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

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Beginning of the End

We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success. ~Thoreau
It’s time to start thinking about race day and what you can do in the next two weeks to be as ready as you can be.  It’s easy to fall into panic mode now.  Panic leads in one of two directions.  One road is frantic over training, somehow trying to make up for months of missed sessions.  Athletes try to cram in long sessions of intense workouts that leave them exhausted, sore, and sometimes injured.  A second road is quitting.  Out of fear, athletes simply give up and quit training all-together, essentially ensuring that they will underperform as a means to find something to control.
Neither of these roads leads to the successful conclusion you are hoping for in these final weeks.   There is a right way to prepare for this race in the final couple of weeks, and if you do these last two weeks well, you will perform at your peak.  The process you are going to begin this week is called tapering.  The idea is to slowly dial back the length of workouts while maintaining intensity.  If you have been training regularly and consistently through the triathlon season, then this week it is time to start the process. 
A good benchmark might be to train through this week completing 70-80% of your total workout time, dedicating about 60-90 minutes of this time to high intensity workouts, riding, running, or swimming at race pace.  Thus if you train five hours per week, you can drop the total time to four hours this week.  Ten hours per week dials back to 7-8 hours this week.  You might try training 15 minutes per day at very high intensity, near your maximum effort or do a couple of longer high intensity sessions interspersed with more moderate efforts.  The point is to maintain your current levels of fitness without creating more physical breakdown. 
Next week is race week, and it is then that you really need to reduce your training load.  Training sessions should be brief with very short periods of high intensity, 5-10 minutes.  You should feel physically strong, well-rested, and frankly restless.  At the end of each workout you might ask yourself, is that it?  You should want to do more.  If you do not, you are not rested enough.  You must allow this restlessness to build, allow your body to feel good, to be fully recovered.  You will want to do something, go play, burn up some of your extra energy. Resist this impulse.
Tapering is a tricky business, and it may take you a few races to determine what routine works best for you.  The level at which you have prepared determines the number of days you will need.  Honestly assess your level of exhaustion.  If you have really been pushing hard during this season, then it is time to cut back.  If your workouts have been hit or miss all along, then you probably need cut back for only a few days and can maintain levels this week. 
You can also go a long way toward making this work by eating well, hydrating effectively, and getting plenty of rest.  These last two weeks are more about what’s going on in your head and less about physical training.  You have put in hundreds of physical miles over the past few months.  You have a thousand miles to go, but most of them are in your head.  Run this race in your head over and over and see yourself finish.  See the race go exactly the way you want it to go.  Do this every day. 
As your body rests, your mind takes over and controlling your fear and visualizing your way to success remains the final long road.  When the panic sets in, see it for what it is and take control.  Don’t over train.  See yourself finishing the race, crossing the finish line a triathlete! It’s the finish that counts.
The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get. ~Jim Rohn
As a side note, many of you know that I badly injured my knee this week on a run.  I so appreciate all of your good wishes and support.  I have received a shot of cortisone to reduce the inflammation, and it is my hope that this temporary measure will provide enough relief so that I can meet my own goals in the race.  But regardless of the outcome of this treatment, I want you to know that I will be there with you at the Danskin.  Just like you, on that day I will do what I can with what I have been given.  As I do every year, I will throw my heart to the finish line and then go retrieve it.  And no matter the outcome, I will find the lesson in the day and the strength of my teammates. This Danskin, like all the others before it, will be a day filled with love and pride, dirt and sweat, hugs and tears, and most importantly, dear friends old and new.   Thank you for being there for me this week and for joining me on race day.  I will need you there, as you do so much to lift my heart and speed me home.  I could not do this without you.
Train safety, hydrate, stretch, eat well, sleep.
Safe journey.  Wind at your back.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mercy, Wisdom, and a Slice of Humble Pie

Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.  ~Albert Einstein
I never much thought about this biking quote until this weekend.  But then Marie, Donna, and I headed out to ride the Clermont course.  The course is 95% street riding and once again, conditions were not ideal.  The wind was strong and the rains came about half way through the ride.  It was a cold, slippery, half blind sprint to get home.  I wish my glasses had wipers.  Instead I found Humility Hill, Mount Mercy, and Wisdom Wall.  I offer a course review.

The Super Sprint Course:  If you are riding the super sprint course, it is 8 miles of pretty much flat around Lake Minneola, just as advertised.  The rolling “hills” are only hills in the sense there are almost none of them in and around Orlando, so you will notice, but can manage them without much trouble.
The Sprint Course: The 12 mile course is the first 4 miles of the super sprint course, 4 miles of hills in the middle, and then the final 4 miles of the super sprint course.  Thus it is divided in thirds and it is only the middle third that I need to comment on.
The middle 4 miles are really a two mile out and back.  Every hill is ridden both up and down.  The ups are really up, hard rides that REQUIRE changes in gearing.  The downs are fast, fast, fast downs that REQUIRE careful riding and braking. 

The first hill comes right at the start of the out and back.  You make a sharp right turn onto Jalarmy, and it is an immediate hard up.  I turned onto this road in the wrong gear today and was unable to downshift fast enough to get up this hill.  It stopped me dead in my tracks, and I was forced to dismount and walk up.  (Not speedy Donna…  she rocked it!)  It is vital that you anticipate this first hill as best you can.  This hill will be forever in my mind, Humility Hill, for I was nothing but humbled by its challenge.
Humility is attentive patience. ~Simone Weil
The second hill is right at the left turn onto Cherry Lake Road.  This is a LOOOOOOONG downhill and you will build up considerable speed.   Be careful!  You can take advantage of this coasting to catch your breath and prepare for the next uphill.  For me, this hill is Mercy Mountain, for it comes at a moment when I needed some mercy. 
We do pray for mercy, and that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy. ~Shakespeare
A sharp right onto Wilson Lake Pkwy takes you to the third hill.  Again, there is not much time to downshift, and again, because you must turn right onto the hill, you really cannot build up a lot of speed.  Some better gearing got me to the top of this one, but it required some hard riding.  This hill is Wisdom Wall, for it is here you will hit a wall and discover if you learned anything on Humble Hill. 
A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew.  ~Herb Caen
The turnaround is just past the top of Wisdom Wall so at this point you do everything in reverse.  The steep uphill climb of Wisdom Wall becomes a steep downhill glide with a sharp left at the bottom.  You MUST slow down to take this turn.  The LOOONG downhill of Mercy Mountain rises up before you in a terrifying splendor, but once you’re on it, you realize that Mercy Mountain truly is merciful.  It looks far worse than it is, for it trades steepness for length, a LOOONG but not terrible rise to a sharp right back onto Jalarmy.  A downhill glide on Humility Hill will again require hard braking to make the sharp right turn at the bottom, and from there you are back on the flat for the final four miles. 

For all of us who have very little opportunity to ride hills, the course will be a challenge.  The two steep ups do not allow us to build up speed in preparation and the steep downs cannot be ridden out to our advantage, for they end at sharp turns.  I hope you will make every effort to head out to Clermont in the next few weeks and ride these hills yourself.  There is no substitute for personal experience.  Because of the relative inexperience of all the triathletes in this race, everything you can do to prepare and remain safe is to your advantage.
Knowledge is power, community is strength and positive attitude is everything ~ Lance Armstrong
Train safety, eat well, sleep, stretch, hydrate.
Safe Journey.  Wind at your back.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Oxygen is Overrated

When the earth floods from global warming, the swimmers will rule the world.  ~Author Unknown

Last week the triBE headed out to Lake Sybelia twice to master the open waters.  What an adventure!  Sara Dowdy and I headed out early Saturday morning to make sure all was ready, and she and I enjoyed a good half mile swim before the team arrived.  By the time the rest of the team arrived 30 minutes later the wind had whipped up strong and the calm, clear waters had turned to choppy whitecaps.  Without a doubt it was the worst conditions I have ever encountered in10 years of lake swimming.  Certainly with the lake acting like the Atlantic Ocean, our newest swimmers were in for a serious challenge.
In the first 5 minutes of the swim, it was clear that courage was required above and beyond facing the usual fears, but the triBE was undaunted.  Twelve women braved the choppy waters and fiercely conquered them.  There was choking, there was panic, noodles were deployed…  but most importantly, there was survival.  Some even asked to swim more.  Donna told me she wants to wrestle each challenge to the ground and beat the crap out of it.  She swam a mile that morning.  Marie told us the waves were so rough, she broke a nail.  She wasn’t kidding.   I was sure the waters were going to rip the goggles right off my face.  As I swam the last woman in, they stood on the dock cheering.  They had been talking and sharing their stories.  The veterans were sure it was the worst ever.  The newcomers were more worried than ever.  But they agreed to come back in a few days and try again.  I promised it would be calm the second time.  And it was. 
Round two was smooth sailing!  Sixteen strong, the triBE leapt in the lake and showed serious swimming muscle.  There were no whitecaps, but also no panic and definitely no noodles.  Each woman owned her swim start to finish.  The neighbors came out to watch in wonder as we spread out across the lake, brightly colored caps bobbing along like a string of buoys.  When I climbed onto the dock Wednesday night I felt so proud to know these women.  I had seen their courage, I had known their strength, and I had the true belief that every single one of them was prepared to succeed in this race. 

So there were some good lessons from the swim. 
1.  Lakes are darker than pools and can be disorienting.  Patience.  You will adjust.
2.  If you feel panicked, flip over on your back and catch your breath.  Then begin again.
3.  Weeds are weedy. 
4.  It is easy to get off course.  Be sure to lift your head and spot your target regularly.
5.  Repeated exposure to lake swimming (or anything else) will lessen your fears.
6.  Never let a scary first experience deter you from trying again. 
7.  There is power in the group.  Find training partners and train together often.
8.  Wind makes for rough seas. (And hard rides.)  You will overcome.
9.  There are no gators in the lake.
10.  If the worst thing that happens is a broken nail, you’ve have a really good day.

It's been told that swimming is a wimp sport, but I don't see it.  We don't get timeouts, in the middle of a race we can't stop and catch our breath, we can't roll on our stomachs and lie there, and we can't ask for a substitution.  ~Dusty Hicks

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

Sunday, April 8, 2012

No One Ever Drown in Sweat

Mother-Daughter Awesomeness!
Pam Wilson and Stephanie Selig

“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last.  You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.” ~Fred Lebow, NY City Marathon co-founder

Part 3 of 3

Minimum training equipment

·         Good running shoes

Additional training and race day equipment

·         Running shorts and TEK/Wick tops
·         Good running socks
·         Watch/pedometer
·         Running app for your phone to track your progress
·         Heart rate monitor
·         Race belt (for your race number)
·         Lace locks (so you don’t need to tie your shoes)
·         Body glide or Vaseline to prevent chafing

12 Tips for Running Success

·    Go the distance:  We all start with walk/run and week by week extend the run longer.  You should train to your race distance first and then extend that distance.

·    Mix it up:  Every day should not be the same run.  Eventually you get bored and can’t give running your best.  Try interval training.  You can find some samples here.  Change your route.  Change your distance. 

·    Partner up:  Find someone you enjoy running with and join them occasionally.  The miles will fly by.

·    Join a group:  There’s tons of running groups through your gym and other organizations that can help you train regularly and prepare for races.

·    Train up:  It’s always a good idea to find someone a little better than you and let them push your pace once in a while.  You get better and they get some company.

·    Reach back:  Find someone that is not quite as fast as you are and train with them.  Not every workout is an all out sprint.  Recovery runs are an important part of training and you can do some easy miles while you help someone else get faster. 

·    Start easy:  After the bike portion, your legs will be “confused” at the start of the run on race day. Start easy and get acclimated to this new movement after the ride. 

·    Turn off the music:  Headphones are illegal in races.  This is a safety issue. You can sing if you like. 

·    It’s all in your head:  I find this to be the most mentally challenging part of the race.  It’s just you and your lonesome here at the end with no equipment or real traffic.  I can only say, it will be over soon.  I promise.

·    Hydrate:  It’s ok to grab some water when it’s offered.  (Usually every mile) Even if you only rinse out your mouth, take the water.  Pour it over your head if you like.  It will be warm out there. 

·    Smile for the cameras:  If you see a photographer, be sure to smile.  You may not feel like it in that moment, but you will appreciate a good picture later. 

·    Finish strong:  You will start to hear people cheering as you approach the finish.  Even if you weren’t running much, it’s a good time to pick up your feet. Lift your head and remember, you are finishing a triathlon.  You ARE a triathlete! 

“I often hear someone say I’m not a real runner.  We are all runners, some just run faster than others.  I never met a fake runner.” ~Bart Yasso

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

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tri triBE Roars in Moss Park

So I’m right in the middle of a 3 part series on Triathlon preparation, but I’ll have to finish that later, because I am so excited!  This weekend seven members of the triBE met up in Moss Park for the Spring Fling Triathlon Festival and I have to tell you, it was an awesome good time.  The course was slightly shortened, perfect for a first race, and the weather was awesome.  So were the results!

Trish Horel was back in the open water for the first time since last year’s Danskin with some unfinished business.  Last year she had a flat on the ride, so it was great to see her get back on the bike and have a strong race.  I don’t know if she knows this, but her 2.8 mile run was almost 4 minutes faster than last year’s 3.1 mile Danskin run.  Her response to today’s race:  “Good race.  I need to get in the pool more.”

Trish, Nicole, Marie, Deb, Sara, Amanda
Nicole Ledbetter is working her way up to a full triathlon.  Last year’s “swim only” turned into today’s aquabike which will lead to a full triathlon in May.  Nicole was third in today’s race!  At the end of last year she said, “Screw lupus.  I’m doing the whole thing.” She’s right on track!  Her response to today’s race: “I can’t wait for the Corporate 5K next month.  Oh, and I need to get in the pool more.”

Donna Walker completed her first triathlon ever this weekend and now proudly wears the moniker, TRIATHLETE!  She also earned the nickname “Mountain Bike” as she heard lots of fellow bikers cheering “Go Mountain Bike!”   She’s looking to borrow a racing bike, so if anyone has an extra, she’d be grateful.  She overcame some jitters at the start of the swim and finished strong.  Her response to today’s race:  Tears of joy!  And “I need to get in the pool more.” 

Amanda Dean rejoined the triBE after a long hiatus.  She’s been exploring the amazing sport of Adventure Racing, long distance canoeing, mountain biking, and trail running with orienteering.  A “short” race is 3 hours!  Her last triathlon was in 2008 and so she returned to the sport by doing the “My First Tri” category which features a shortened swim.  And she had a heck of a race, overcoming her nervousness at the start of the swim and becoming the category champion!   Her response to today’s race:  “I need to get in the pool more.”

Trish, Deb, Donna, Amanda, Sara
Marie Leticee finished her 2nd triathlon today by winning her age group!  After learning to swim for last year’s race, she back in the open water, conquering her fears and knocking 3 minutes off her swim time unassisted.  There were no swim angels at today’s race!  Marie continues to rock on.  Her response to today’s race despite the fact that she’s run a marathon: “That run was really hard.”

I also completed the aquabike as I continue to struggle with a sore hamstring, making running a bad idea.  It was nice to win this race, as it plays to my strengths.  I loved the bike course in particular as it was flat, windless, and wide open.  I lost my bike odometer before the race and my wristwatch malfunctioned, thus I did the entire race “blind.” To be honest, it was really nice to not know my time and just ride hard.  And not surprisingly, I really didn’t miss the run at all.  My response to today’s race:  “Man, that was sooo fun!”

The amazing Sara Dowdy joined us for the sprint and was the overall race champion!  She too is struggling with an injury, and we talked her out of the Olympic distance so she could rest her foot.  She ran a very strong race, and it is always so great to spend the morning with someone who is so positive and so supportive.  Her response to today’s race: “I’m satisfied with my time.  I had some pain on the run, but it was fun!”

Some lessons and thoughts from today’s race
  • Everyone should practice a complete triathlon.
  • Open water swimming is very dark.  Do a lake swim soon!
  • We all could use a little more time in the pool.
  • No matter how strong you are, the end of the race is going to be hard.
  • Make sure all your equipment is working well, but if it fails, adapt.
  • Plan to be dirty!  There's lake water, sand, mud, and sweat.  
  • This triathlon business is really, REALLY fun!
Train safely, stretch, eat well, hydrate, sleep.
Safe journey friends.  Wind at your back!