This is a blog for the strong, the determined, the wild. In the past ten years more than 100 have joined the triBE on a journey to BE strong, to BE fierce, to BE triathletes. We are dedicated to the belief that anyone can BE a triathlete and support each other in every endeavor. Our team members are all sizes, speeds, and ages. This is our story.

"When anyone tells me I can't do anything, I'm just not listening any more." ~Florence Griffith Joyner

If this isn't enough you can read more from me here:

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Long and Winding Road

Let me climb into your memories for a minute and see if this rings a bell.  You have a good day.  You know, an especially good run, faster, further.  You have a good ride, easier, exhilarating.  You swim 4 lengths freestyle and you don’t feel like your heart’s going to explode.  And in your head, you start planning.  If I can run a mile in 12 minutes today and it wasn’t so bad, next week, I’ll run it in 11:45, and then 11:30, and by May I’ll be an 8 minute miler.  Or I rode 6 miles this week, then 8 next week, then 10, then finally a hundred…  or eventually a mile of freestyle or whatever you dream up in your head on a good day.  You get the picture.
And my response to your plans is, yeah…  kind of.  I really, REALLY wish training was perfectly linear.  I want you to be able to plan every workout exactly and predict your progress completely.  I wish it were true.  But it’s not.  A lifetime of competitive sports tells me it’s not.  You see every day, every workout is a combination of dozens of interacting factors.  What you ate, how you slept, how sore you are, your mood, your stress level, the music you chose, your training partners, the temperature, the surface you run on, the air in your tires, sunlight or clouds, new shoes, old shoes, comfortable clothes, everything you can control absolutely matters when you train.  And the hard part is, even when you absolutely control everything perfectly, when everything is exactly right, sometimes the workout is still wrong.
So maybe your plan works for a while, you improve on schedule for a week, or two, or more, but them it stops and you think, what am I doing wrong?  It’s a sunny 72 degree day. I have great shoes and my favorite shorts, awesome music, I ate well, I slept well, work is fine, my family is fine, I am fine.  But this run is NOT fine…    And you think, what did I do wrong?  Sometimes the answer is going to be, NOTHING.  You’ve done nothing wrong. 
You see training is not linear.  You will not continuously improve.  You will have setbacks.  Some are of your own making.  You eat wrong, drink too much, fail to sleep.  Sometimes life sets you back.  Stress with friends, family, work.  It all gets in your head.  And sometimes a good workout just doesn’t happen. 
If you’re lucky, it’s just one workout.  But sometimes it seems to go on and on.  You don’t feel like you’re making any progress.  You don’t get faster, you don’t go further.  So you start tweaking.  You eat differently, change the time of day you workout or the routine, you try something different.  You straighten up and fly straight and get back to doing everything right.  And maybe it works.  YAY!  And sometimes it doesn’t and you want to quit.
That’s when I want you just keep going.  No matter what, no matter how bad, how slow, how it seems like you are getting worse, I’m asking you to keep going.  Every athlete I have ever known has these times where it’s just a grind and they can’t see any light.  It seems to go on and on and they wonder if it’s all just pointless.  And then suddenly it happens.  On a random day, when they’ve practically given up hope, that’s when it happens.  There’s some kind of breakthrough and suddenly they have this amazing run, this awesome ride, this powerful swim.  And they start thinking… and you start thinking, start dreaming, start planning again…  If I can run a 10 minute mile this week, next week it will be….

When the road ahead seems too long, look back to see how far you’ve come. For, even if the hill before you is steep, the view gives you hope to finish the journey.  ~Daniella Kessler
Train safely, stretch, eat well, hydrate, sleep, DREAM.
Safe journey.  Wind at your back. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Power of Words

Can you take two minutes, right here, and watch this little video.  Then I will explain.  The Power of Words. (Click to the left.  It’s really only 2 minutes, I promise.) 

A week ago a friend returning to running after a long hiatus proudly posted on facebook that she had met her running goal for the day and had run 7 miles.  She also admitted that she had gotten lost and had to walk an extra 4.5 miles to get back to her car.  Many people congratulated her on her success and lamented the extra walk.  In the course of the conversation she mentioned that she was a slow runner, so much so that her son told her she was not allowed to call what she does running.  She is “merely” jogging. 

This woman ran 7 miles.  I cannot today.  Most women cannot.  I defy anyone to marginalize her accomplishment, to lessen her achievement.  As you enter this week of training, I ask you to think about the words you use to describe yourself to others, the words you use to talk to yourself.  Our culture has programmed us to speak with humility, to downplay our accomplishments. 

Perhaps your victory this week is to fit in all your workouts.  Perhaps your muscles ached from lifting weights.  Maybe you ran a 7:30 mile or swam a 1000 meters.  Perhaps you rode your bike over some big hills or made it two lengths of the pool without stopping.  Perhaps you said out loud that you were doing a triathlon. 

We each have our own journey, our own successes.  My victory this week:  Today I walked/mostly ran 3 miles in 36 minutes.  I am proud of this.  6 weeks ago I could not run a block. 

I am asking you to defy your cultural conditioning and proudly post here your training successes.  Each of you has victories that may seem like nothing to someone younger, more successful, more able, but to you, they are victories.  We are all on this journey both together and alone.  The words we use to talk about this journey matter.  Your words to yourself matter.  I am asking you to talk about yourself with pride, to graciously accept that you have accomplished something, even if it is not as impressive as someone else’s victory.  The only race you are running here is with yourself. Let’s be together, support each other, love each other by celebrating all these victories.

From this moment forward, this is your mantra: 

I'm a winner. I can do this. I am beautiful. I'm worth it, I'm good enough. I'll survive. It's tough, but I'm tougher! I can make it... I WILL make it. I'll reach my goal. I AM loved. I am special. I am Blessed.

Tell yourself daily. Declare it, don't just think it, say it out loud. And speak that same truth to the people around you.

Train safely, hydrate, eat well, sleep, stretch.
Safe Journey.  Wind at your back.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tri Tribe

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.  Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.  ~Jane Howard
So it’s Tuesday night, 7 pm, and I’m sitting in my car writing this while I wait for one of my cubs to finish an acting class.  It’s been one of those days.  You know the ones.  You go and go and go and the day just flies by with work and unexpected meetings and questions and answers and lunch at your desk and 20 minutes for dinner on the run and by the end you think whew… that was nuts!  When I get home tonight at 8, I will want to sink into a chair and watch Glee with my cub and then slide into the quiet of deep sleep so that I can start this madness again tomorrow, but on this night, I have one more thing.  This time when I get home at 8, I’m changing clothes and going for a run.
Now there have been times in recent months when I would blow this off and think, I’ll go tomorrow.  This is crazy.  There’s no need to do any more today.  You’ve gotten your fill.  But on this night I HAVE to go and this compulsion is actually because of you.
You see Danskin opened the registration this week.  I know you got the emails.  And Danskin did everything they could to eliminate the things were annoying about this race.  First there was the long trek to Disney not once, but twice, both on Saturday and Sunday, complete with remote parking and bus rides.  So much time spent.  Now with the race in Clermont, there’s easy parking and less of Mother’s Day weekend consumed.  They cut the price by almost half to make it more affordable for everyone.  And they offered a super sprint option with shorter distances.
The result is that many of you said yes.  Some of you who had told me no way you’d ever do a triathlon have changed your minds.  Others have returned to the race after quitting because you just HATED something about it…  the time, the cost, the dreaded swim… something deterred you…  no more.  And finally there is a whole batch of newcomers, people who said yes when I asked a long time ago or last week and now really have no reason to say no. 
It’s awesome…  truly awesome.  Dear friends, new friends, youngsters, women in their 70s… you’re all in and your enthusiasm, your determination, your passion leaves me no choice but to go running tonight, and tomorrow, and every chance I get.  I really have no choice but to give it my best because so many of you have decided to give it your best. 
In the end, that’s all this was ever really about.  We build this community that lifts us and encourages us to reach new goals, to be fitter, stronger, and healthier than we were a few months ago.  And in the process we make new friends and learn a little something about ourselves.  I want to thank you for making tonight’s run happen.  I hope that at some point in the next few weeks and months, I will say or do something that makes a run, a ride, or a swim happen for you.  Rest assured, I’m always just an email away and I’ll check back in with you soon.  In the meantime my clan, network, tribe, family… gotta run.
Train safely, eat well, hydrate, stretch, sleep.
Safe journey.  Wind at your back.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Life is Full of Obstacle Illusions

Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement. ~Brian Tracy

So maybe this weekend you were thinking, what the heck am I getting myself into, or getting myself into, AGAIN?  A triathlon…  Really? 

So here’s the plan.  A half mile swim followed by 12miles on a bike, and then 5 kilometers on your feet, in that order.  Here’s the reality.  You can swim any stroke, take as long as you need, use a noodle if you need to.  You can ride any bike, even one with a bell, basket, and flag, enjoy the ride and talk to a lot of people.  You can walk, run, jog, skip, or jump to finish the 5K.  This is as much a race as you want it to be.  And that’s where you come in.  It’s time to decide what you want this to be.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” ~CS Lewis

Goals are an important part of any process, and especially important if you are doing something for the first time.  You must decide what you want this event to be about.  First timers often decide their first goal is to finish.  This is a great goal.  Repeat offenders may try to improve their time or fitness levels, overcome difficulties with certain parts of the race, or do more of the race than they have in the past. Everyone should have a goal.

Just as important are the means to achieve a goal.  How are you going to get there?  What’s your plan?  Some of you are going to play this day by day and try to decide what to do each day based on how you feel and how much time you have.  Others will plan things out more long term, either week by week, or for several weeks.  I can’t tell you what to do, but certainly some long-term check points are probably in order so that you can be sure you’re on the right track. We need to know that what we are doing is working, we need evidence of progress.  So put things in your plan that will provide you with evidence of progress.  You gain confidence and have things to celebrate.

The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.  ~Ayn Rand

Let me give you an example so you can understand what I mean.  I always have many goals for the race, but here are two that I will be focused on in these early weeks of training.  I’d like to lose 20 pounds and I’d like to increase my running so that I can run 60 minutes without stopping.

Ok.  What are the means to achieve these goals?

First goal:  To lose weight I must record what I am eating and try to keep my daily caloric intake to around 2000 calories per day.  I use this website to record both my food and exercise and the process of doing this recording keeps me more honest about what I am eating.  The website will give you information about nutrition and calories for your height, weight, and activity level.

Second goal:  Right now I am running about 15 minutes without stopping, doing a total of about 30 minutes of run/walk.  In order to achieve my goal, I must add 5 minutes of total time to each walk/run each week and work to lengthen my run.  So at the end of 6 weeks I will be doing 60 minutes of walk/run, with significantly more running than I am doing now.  How much more than 15 minutes of running at a time will be determined by how my back responds, but I am hoping to be back at the 3 mile mark in 6 weeks.  I must run 4-5 days per week.  You can see my training schedule at the bottom right of the website.  I plan week by week, based on my work and family schedule, but I do have a long term check point.

So your turn.  We are about 18 weeks out.  These first 6 weeks are a great opportunity to get started on fitness, to add strength training to your routine if you are not already doing so, to make some goals and start a plan to achieve them. If you are truly starting from scratch and want to swim, bike, and run every week to see how you feel about triathlons, there is a GREAT 6 week plan posted here at the website for beginners. 

If you have goals but are not sure about the means to achieve them or need some suggestions, drop me an email and I can help.  Every plan is individualized and every person responds differently, so I hope you will give this some serious thought in the next week. 

Life is full of obstacle illusions.  ~Grant Frazier

Train safely, stretch, hydrate, eat well, sleep. 
Safe journey.  Wind at your back.

New Beginnings

“There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.” ~M. Scott Peck
There must be something about being human that makes us love a new beginning.  The beginning of the new year is always a time in which we talk together of our plans and resolutions, our hopes and our intentions.
As luck would have it, I begin to seriously train for the Danskin at the same time each year.  And so I sit here thinking about this next year, this next race, and what I will need to do to prepare.  I have been thinking about this process a lot in the last few days, and I have realized that I really love (yes love!) so much about the transformative power of this race.  I love how as the temperatures warm, the running becomes easier, the pounds drop away, my focus improves, my friendships grow, and my life is truly and deeply enriched.  Like a snake shedding skin, this race helps me shed the old habits, the Christmas cookies, and the malaise of everyday living.  There’s the excitement (yes for me it’s exciting!) of getting into the pool again.  There’s the pleasure of the group rides.  There’s the thrill of hearing your training stories and watching you discover how strong you actually are. 
So I am ready for this process.  It is important to me in so many ways.  But this year is different.  This year I need something from you.  I need your help.  You see this year I am starting from a different place.  As you may know, about 6 weeks ago I was in a biking accident that left me with an injured back. I have had and still have trouble training.  I am slowly returning to running, but at this point I am out of shape, too heavy, and sore. What I need to do is drop some pounds and run, most every day, until I am stronger. 
A few weeks ago I tossed a rock into the sea in an effort to shed some negativity from my life.  I attached the words “I’m not much of a runner.” to the rock and flung it away.  Here’s where you come in.  I need your presence in my life to hold me accountable.  I need you to ask me, again and again, are you running?
My friend Christine tells me that I should demonstrate more vulnerability, to share more of my thoughts and feelings, to let people in.  If you know me at all, this feels like fishing in the desert.  But I’m going to share this thing with you in the hopes that you will walk with me and we can truly do this together.  You see, I’m worried.  To be honest, I’m not really worried about any of you.  I KNOW how strong each of you is.  I have seen you overcome so many obstacles, endure and emerge from so many challenges.  Honestly, I am worried about my ability to come back from this setback and do this training and race in a way that makes it worthwhile and fulfilling for me. 
So I’m hoping you’ll take a risk with me.  I’m hoping that if I tell you about my fears, you’ll tell me about yours.  I’m hoping that we can hold each other accountable and face the challenges together.  I’m hoping that in May you will feel that same pleasure that I have felt so many times.  It is not only the pleasure of accomplishment that comes from finishing, but also the thrill of watching my friends succeed when they thought they might fail, watching them grow and learn to be more than they ever thought possible. This is the journey we’ve always been walking, but this time I’d like you to help me get there too.
“The two important things I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavor is taking the first step, making the first decision.”~Robyn Davidson

Let’s get started.  It’s time.
Eat well, hydrate, train safely, sleep, stretch. 
Safe journey friends. Wind at your back.