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:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Just Plain Awesome

We only have what we give.  ~ Isabel Allende
One of the things that makes me successful in my life is that I have surrounded myself with awesome people.  Some of them are positive and enthusiastic.  Some are brilliant and knowledgeable.  Some are role models and leaders.  Some are excellent training partners.  And some simply “get me” and can talk me down from Crazy Mountain.  And then there’s that one person that is all of these and more.  For me, that one person is my friend, teammate, coach, leader, training partner, and all around awesome human, Sara Dowdy.
Last fall Sara knew I was struggling to train and asked me to do the swim on a relay at MiamiMan in November.  It was exactly the purpose I needed to get in the weight room and the pool three days a week and put me in the best swim shape I had been in since high school.  She could have chosen any of the many swimmers faster than me, but it was exactly the thing I needed, and it was a fantastic weekend with Sara and her family. 
This spring Sara organized the Trinity Team for the IOC 5K.  I was happy to join as a walker, and it was exactly the right thing for me at a time when walking was the best rehab for my knee.  There were plenty of runners, but making a place for me on that night turned out to be inspirational and exactly right.

To be fair, Sara does this all the time.  No matter what race she is training for, if someone needs her help she is there.  She opens the pool and does all the open water swims with our newcomers.  She runs with anyone that asks and will do a workout or a race with anyone, no matter the pace.  She trains with her parents, her husband, her sister, her friends, her students, and in fact, any random stranger I recruit to our team.  She has single-handedly dragged me out for so many rides, despite the fact that at best the ride will be is tough.  On a “great” day she will break me, exactly when I need it. 
This past week was typical Sara.  On Monday she rounded up folks for a run/walk for Boston.  On Tuesday she discovered she had a wicked ear infection.  By Saturday she was out in St. Petersburg helping her own kids become triathletes.  On Sunday she competed in her own Olympic length race, once again qualifying for nationals.     
I have learned more that I can ever explain from Sara, but for me the big lesson is clear.  Surround yourself with people that move you forward.  Find those folks that inspire you and attach yourself to them like barnacles to a boat.  Let them lift you as only they can do.  And when you achieve your goals, turn to the newcomer, the neighbor, the friend, the child, and do exactly the same.

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.  ~John Holmes

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Grind


It has been a hard week for the United States.  The bombing in Boston, ricin on letters to the president and a senator, and a factory explosion in Texas filled the news feeds to overflowing.  The only good news on the current events front is that I haven’t even thought a minute about North Korea this week.  Maybe that’s how we deal with this petulant child-man-leader.  If we ignore his tantrum, he goes away…  but this isn’t a blog about international politics or parenting.

There were some uplifting moments this week.  I headed down to Lake Eola Thursday night for the IOC Corporate 5K with some colleagues.  I could only walk, but it felt good to be down there with over 16,000 runners and walkers.  I am proud that so many were undeterred by the events in Boston, determined to run or walk without fear. The people of Boston were definitely in our thoughts, with many wearing Boston colors in support of the victims, runners, spectators, police, fire, FBI, and medical personnel.  It was inspiring and the fact that it ended with a beer didn’t hurt a bit.  My thanks to teammates and colleagues Sara and Jason Dowdy, Linell Ela, Jonathan and Sarah Gray, Catherine Hay, Nicole Kanouse, and Kyle McGimsey for their awesome support and excellent efforts.  One of these days I am going to remember to take a picture.

I am feeling pretty tired these days.  I am grateful for the fact that I am able to train more fully due to the new meds, but that puts me in full on training with a race only 4 weeks away on May 18.  I am trying out a 10 day cycle for this race, 9 days of training + 1 day of rest, 12 workouts per cycle.  I am in the middle of cycle #2 of 4 and I can definitely feel it starting to wear me down, but it’s supposed to.  I know that I don’t have near enough time to get anywhere near my peak, but I am going to give it my best shot.  It will give me a really good benchmark for what a mere 6 weeks of serious training feels like on race day when I have been doing 16-18 weeks for years.  What I miss is that slow ramp up, that feeling of gradually building to this point in the training.  It feels more like boot camp this time around.  I’ll get back to you on my thoughts on this after the race.

My friend, coach, and mentor Mark Oakes sent me a new website he and some friends have been working on.  The site’s purpose is two-fold.  First, it offers used tri-bikes and equipment.  Looking through the beautiful pictures had me wishing I had a few dollars to upgrade my bike.  More importantly, the site offers advice to triathletes for free.  Mark is an ironman and has been very effective in coaching me over the years, including a couple of moments where he talked me down from the crazy that strikes athletes at some point.  I so appreciate his expertise and patience and hope you will take advantage of this incredible resource.  If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas, please email them to his group through the website.  I know they will respond.  They are really eager to make this an excellent, free resource for the triathlon community.  Check it out!

Weeks like this one remind me that our time here is limited and that living without regret is one of our biggest challenges.  CBS Sunday Morning ran a story today about one woman’s efforts to help.  I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of the athletes in my life.  Your spirit, determination, and friendship mean more to me than you will ever know.

If you are interested in donating to the families affected by the Boston bombing, you can do so here.

If you would like to participate in the Orlando run/walk on Monday, April 22 in support of the city of Boston, you can get more information here. 

Here’s to having a better week.
The mill cannot grind with the water that is past. ~Daniel D. Palmer

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ten Websites for Triathletes

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”  ~Dr. Seuss

So I read about fitness and triathlons a lot.  Tips fill my Facebook and Twitter feeds, and I subscribe to blogs and newsletters galore.  I read helpful things every day, and I find that I experiment with ideas that sound interesting and the best of it tends to stick.  So this week I thought I would share some of the internet sites that I have found pretty helpful over the years in case you were looking for some light reading.  Every tip doesn't work for every person so you have to try things out and see what is effective for you.  I chose a variety of topics, but all of these websites provide much more than the article listed.  Let me know in the comments if you find something awesome!  What's your favorite triathlon website?

1.  Why Not Tri? from Runner’s World

2.  Strength Training for Triathletes from active dot com

3.  Four Quick Early-Season Tips for Triathletes from USA Triathlon
4.  10 Simple Nutrition Tips for Triathletes from trifuel

5.  Open Water Swimming Tips for Triathletes from tri-newbies online
6.  Cycling Tips for Triathletes from 303Cycling

7.  Running Tips from Ontri
8.  Triathlon Race Day Tips from REI

9.  8 Transition Zone Tips to Finish a Faster Triathlon from Daily Mile
10.  100 Tips for a Successful Triathlon from Tips for Triathletes

I love Clif Bars...  And just so you know, this is NOT how the swim start goes... 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Why Triathletes are Genuises

You know that moment when you walk into a room and you forget why?  I bet everyone has experienced that moment.  It usually happens to me when I’m tired, and although it has always happened, I’ve noticed that it takes me longer to remember what I needed as I have gotten older. 

We’ve known for more than 20 years that exercise positively alters brain chemistry, but some recent work on different types of exercise has me really excited.  The New York Times reported on two studies that explored the relationship between exercise and memory.  These studies compared the impact of weight training vs. aerobic exercise on cognitive functioning in both animals and humans and the results are enlightening.  Aerobic exercise increased proteins in the brain that support existing neurons and help new neurons develop.  Weight training increased proteins that encourage cell-division in newly formed neurons.  Both types of exercises contributed to improvements on cognitive tests.  Thus the combination is like a double shot of awesome for the brain!
We already know that a varied approach in exercise is healthy in other ways as well.  Weight-bearing exercises including weight-training and running help to prevent physical ailments such as osteoporosis and heart disease.  And surely if some variety is helpful, more variety might very well add to the awesomeness of this program.  So adding regular sessions of cycling and swimming, both easier on the joints, creates a truly comprehensive exercise program.  I love that triathlon training is an excellent long-term program for maintaining healthy hearts, bones, and brains. 

The trifecta of triathlon giving us a trifecta of health benefits.  Genius.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Look to the Horizon

“One grateful thought is a ray of sunshine.  A hundred such thoughts paint a sunrise.  A thousand will rival the glaring sky at noonday, for gratitude is light against the darkness.”  ~Richelle E. Goodrich

This week I went to my orthopedist to discuss my ongoing and continued pain and stiffness that was making running and frankly even walking for distance almost impossible.  Her suggestion?  Stop walking and switch to using an elliptical to foster continuous movement without impact.  I told her I needed a different plan and she suggested a chemical solution.  If you know me at all, you know I hate taking drugs and will try anything else.  But the idea that I was so arthritic that I could no longer walk 3 miles put me in a place I was unwilling to live.  So I took the drugs.  AND I got back on the elliptical.  Five days in it is like a miracle.  I am still a little stiff, but the pain is largely gone.  Instead doing minimal workouts, I had two 90 minute workouts that got my heartbeat up to 180 and left my legs blown.  I am surprised.  I am reminded of how things used to be.  And I am grateful that at a time when I was beginning to think that my career as an athlete might be over that there is still some hope and perhaps a little time. 

Which takes me to our upcoming race now just 4 weeks away.  I have been thinking by the numbers as is my nature, and I figure you have about 8 swims, 8 rides, and 8 runs left if you train each event twice a week.  With that in mind, perhaps this race is close enough now to get you to put your head down and get serious about training.  You still have time to improve your overall conditioning, make yourself stronger and more ready for this challenge.  There is still time to make good choices about food intake, sleep, and hydration.  There is still time to ask questions and mentally prepare.  There is still time to be ready to lift your head and see what you are working toward with excitement and pride. 
I have been given a window of opportunity to try to salvage something from this season.  It is a gift of a month to remind me why I do this.  I am unbelievably excited to know that this year I can go out there with a plan to have fun.  This will not be my fastest race.  It will also not be the agony of a year ago.  Instead I am content to take whatever is given to me on race day, because I know this road is not a dead end.  I started this season with surgery and hope.  As always, hope is not a plan, and this has not been the journey I hoped for.  But it has been an adventure and for the first time in a long time I am raising my head to look to the horizon.  I am ready to face the day, whatever it brings.  And I am grateful that I will be sharing it with so many of you. 
"At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear"  ~Norman Maclean


Thursday, April 4, 2013

It's in the Cards

Lots of teammates have told me they are travelling in the last couple of weeks and last week I too was on the road, staying in a hotel with no gym.  I remembered a workout my former trainer Amy Gutierrez had given me called the Deck of Cards workout. I couldn’t find hers, so I googled it and there are lots out there, but they were BORING, just 4 exercises, one for each suit.  What I loved about Amy’s workout was that instead to just four exercises, there were lots of different exercises, so greater variety and frankly, fewer burpees.  
The cool part is you need no equipment except for the desk chair in your room.  You can go at your own pace and choose your length of time or work your way through the entire deck.  You pick a card and find it on the chart.  The number of reps is the value of the card, the exercise is listed on the chart

Click on each exercise below to see an explanation with variations so you can tailor the difficulty to your fitness level.  Swap out anything that looks or feels too difficult and work your way up.  The whole mess is good strength training and cardio, plus some fun…  Good luck!
Excuses are merely the nails used to build a house of failure. ~ Habeeb Akanda