Archive for January, 2008


Leading By Example

January 29, 2008

Practice what you preach, lead by example, there are two thousand ways to say it. But what I did over the weekend, or rather, what I didn’t do…. only needs one word.


Saturday I ran the Hearnish 10K (which was 6.5 according to my Garmin, and for the record, 4 miles too short!). The hilliest 10K+ that I have ever run. Then I worked 13 hours on my feet, well into the wee hours of the morning. Follow with a 10 mile run and a sweet spot ride, then 8 more hours on the good old feet.

Monday morning I awoke looking for the wheel marks of the truck that had apparently run me over.

The good news is that I hurt in all the right places. General pain, general soreness, nothing in the AT or that suggests a muscle strain. Whew.

The bad news is that all of this could easily have been prevented. And I know better.

I simply neglected to recover myself.

Typically after hard efforts, days and races I follow the very basic laws of recovery. I take an ice bath, I practice yoga, I use my stick, I do a 30 minute inversion.

Clearly I did none of this. It disappointed no one else but me. This was all preventable. Now things are a little bit off kilter. Coach moved my first cruise interval run from Tues to Thurs. I am at easy efforts today and even that seems like a challenge.

But it is no one’s fault but my own. I know better than anybody that recovering oneself if just as important as the workout. No one notices it more than the 30+ athletes that I currently coach.

They look to me to lead by example and this weekend I did not do it. For no good reason either. So I am coming clean. Today’s workouts needn’t be moved around had I followed my own rules.

My body doesn’t care that in 2007 I did 2 Ironmans. That doesn’t matter this morning. The woman in the mirror tells me to get over myself as she sings “Glory Days.”….. again.

Tuesday is recover myself day. A bike, a swim, and a recovery run. The stick, an inversion, and a big cup of hot HTFU. I was really looking forward to my first official Cruise Interval Run this morning. By my own fault I am looking at Thursday instead.

Should I be hard on myself? Yes. Because I know better. If I am expecting my athletes to do the same as I do, I’d better be doing it myself.

Lesson learned, lesson counted.

Three cheers for recovery day!


Birthday Blow Out!

January 26, 2008

It was a perfect birthday, I couldn’t’ have had any more fun!

It all began at Masters where even Ken’s eyes widened at our given set. My mouth hit the floor. But we did it. I did not get lapped once. I made every interval and I had to lay down after practice for a few minutes!

“Happy Birthday” Coach Lorie smiled at me. I hadn’t done yardage like that since college. I hadn’t felt like that since college either!

Next it was off to breakfast at Cracker Barrel, where I had every intention of chowing down! I ordered it all, eggs, pancakes, sausage patties….. the classic swimming hunger was on board.
But I couldn’t even finish it. One pancake and I was full.

The Strong National Museum of Play and the much anticipated exhibit Grossology was awesome. Only our school district had the day off so the crowds were light. Grossology was quite interesting, you truly did learn the science of bodily functions. I shall post some pictures tomorrow.

There is a new exhibit called the Butterfly Garden, which was by far the best part. A butterfly even landed on Luc’s nose! We giggled and giggled… this morning my abs are sore from the laughing.

Later on after Curt came home from work my parents came up from Buffalo, and we had a small family party. Luc selected Strawberry Shortcake Birthday hats, Backyardigans noise makers, and whistles as party favors. Over pizza and cake we laughed some more. The fireplace was roaring, it was pure bliss.

I think I started to appreciate my parents when I was 20…. the culmination of my illness. I distinctly remember having the realization that I was loved, I was supported, and we could together endure this storm. It’s been that way ever since. They are truly incredible people.

Last night I took that step back, I looked at everyone and I told them how grateful I was for them. We are only the sum of all of our parts, and right now I have some pretty great peeps in my life.

Thank you so much for all of your kind birthday wishes. They mean more than you could know!

Now it’s time to bundle up! I have a hilly 10K in 2 hours, and guess what! It’s the warmest day of the week, twenty eight degrees!!!! WOO HOO!

Litte Update! The race went fine! I got in a good 20 min warm up…. a 6.5 (according to my Garmin) race and a good 10 min cool down. Till mile 3 I was thinking “These hills ain’t so bad” and then they came. Holy camola! But I accomplished all of my goals. I got some tempo work, I got some hills, I ran a 10K in the winter and I had a lot of fun. My performance reflected where I am at in my training program, and I am looking forward to some more good winter races. Who says 28 degrees is cold??????

🙂 Mary


Thirty Four

January 25, 2008

Thank goodness I am a triathlete. Age is looked at with respect, and there is always a new place to go. New age groups, new opportunity. Every few years you get to the the youngest.

Yes it it true, today I am thirty four years old. My age doesn’t freak me out, the fact that I have a seven year old child freaks me out! My sister called my mother last year crying that she turned 30. I called my Mom gloating that I am the elder in the age group and next year I get to be the baby!

So what shall I do on this glorious day of mine? Well wouldn’t you know, it is “Grading Day” in the Rush-Henrietta School District. But I understand. They have to call it grading day. How would it look if they declared today a district holiday (which it is!).

So what does the big day involve? A trip to the spa? No. A Movie? No.

We start off with masters swimming where my intestines will be yanked through my ears for 90 minutes. Continuing on with a short easy run, then Luc is taking me out to breakfast. (funny…. when a seven year old takes you out to breakfast their ATM is your wallet…. B.O.M. …. Bank of Mom).

And then….. hold your pants on….. this is where it gets exciting. We are headed to the Strong National Museum of Play. You see they have a new exhibit. It’s called Grossology? What’s that? You’ll be glad you asked.

Grossology is the study of boldly functions. Burping, farting, how those are formed…. you get to smell them, climb a wall of skin and feel the hair brush against you. You can stand under a nose and get blown on.

Now that…. it puts the F … back in the word FUN.

I will be sure to bring along my barf bag…. the kind that breaks open like on my flight home from Germany this year. Yes, that’ll do.

So thirty four, here we come. We have great things to accomplish this year. And first we will start it off in the grossest of ways!

And don’t worry…. I will let you know how it goes!

🙂 Mary


The Answer

January 24, 2008

I don’t believe Ironman Lake Placid to be a hilly course. Before you slap me understand that where I live, it’s hilly. Ironman Lake Placid doesn’t have any stand and grind hills. Every hill on that course is a slow rise. Around here we have some good steep and die types of grades.

So when I tell you that this 10K (10 ISH) I am running on Saturday is hilly….. you’d better believe it.

A friend of mine asked me this the other day “Aren’t you afraid of having a slower 10K published where other people can see it?” I could feel his anxiety.

“Buddy…” I told him, “I am a triathlete. On July 20th no one will give a rat’s ass what my 10K time was in January!”

So no, I am not afraid to have anything published. I have had slow times, I have had fast times. All published. And guess what? Here I stand! Alive and well. I just don’t worry about the small stuff anymore. The only one who will really care is me, and that’s all that matters.

Whatever kind of performance this Saturday’s 10-ish K brings me, I am looking for a few things. Hills….. got that. Some intensity….. until this week it’s all been E Paced. Fun…. that will naturally happen, many from my team are running. Something a lot out of my comfort zone….. I don’t love road racing in the winter because I hate wearing tights…. so this will give me an opportunity to turn resistance into strength.

I am also looking to HTFU. Trust me on this course, that’ll happen.

To push past plateaus, to make breakthroughs, you have to step outside or in my case run outside of your comfort zone. What will happen? I don’t know. I am putting my head down and running to the best of my current ability, I will look for the edge and I will see what I can do with it.

Because it is all part of the plan. One thing will roll into the next. The next part is built on this part, and that part is built on the next part. It will all lead up to one day…. July 20th.

As I am heading down the chute of my fifth Ironman I want to be able to answer one question. Did I do everything I could possibly do to achieve this goal?

I can assure you this…. the answer will be yes.


Navigating the Jungle

January 23, 2008

As you may or may not know, I am the mom of a child with what has become the catch phrase “Special Needs”. Most of all I think he is a 7 year old boy. But he does have some delays. With those delays however, there isn’t a child more full of sunshine than he is. In the whole world.

He believes that while he is at school, I stay home and play with his teddy bears all day. And as long as he can keep believing that I know I have the right balance.

Having a child with unspecified special needs is a lot like being blindfolded in a jungle. You stumble, you hit trees, you have no map to follow and if you did there would be no way to see it or even make sense of it.

Every single day though, you get to feel the sand and the sunshine though. Every single day. And believe me we do not take that for granted.

Sensory Integration Dysfunction Disorder is what has been unofficially diagnosed. Luc fits the profile, and as with anything he is always changing. His issues are always changing. Part of my job as a mom is figuring that all out.

At the age of four someone in education suggested he be placed on Ritalin. That ended with my fist slamming on the table. Yes, medication has it’s place. For the right child, absolutely. Our boy does not fit any of the symptoms for ADHD and we have the most wonderful pediatrician on earth to back us up on that.

Besides he was FOUR.

Luc is a square peg that they want to fit into a round hole. Until now. Our schools were realigned and the special education programs were shuffled around. Without even knowing it, we landed in the right place. Our Principal works personally with Luc and her goal is to integrate all of these children by 5th grade.

Last year I was told by our school principal that special education children had no hope for integration.

His teacher is phenomenal. The gains he has made academically are outstanding.

We also enlisted the help of the Sylvan Learning Center.

And it is all coming together.

Tonight Luc sat and read me a book. I smiled the whole time but what he could not see were the tears in my eyes. He sounded out words, I held back from doing it for him. He figured it out without getting frustrated. He read confidently and calmly.

While I don’t use medications with my child, I use something that has been around for hundreds of years. I use essential oils. Specifically with Luc I use Peace and Calming and Lavender. At my yoga studio we use them. We learn about them and I do believe they work. Do the research, but research correctly.

Every morning I rub these oils on Luc’s feet. The days I don’t…. I tend to get a call form the Principal. What should I say “I didn’t put his oils on today!!!” How would that sound? Actually knowing this woman, it would sound just fine.

Another thing we do for Luc is ….. gasp…. keep him active. He’s grown into quite a swimmer. He’s completed a triathlon. He’s getting good at balancing on his bike. He loves to shoot hoops. He loves to play.

He owns no video games. We won’t even have them in the house. When he was born we decided he would not be one of these video game / TV obsessed children. And I think that’s been a big key with his development.

So as Luc grows, we grow with him. We provide a loving and stable home for him, rarely if ever a babysitter (aside form Granny’s house!) and plenty of Mom and Dad time every single day. My life is structured so that I get him off the bus (and stay with him!!!) every single day.

I believe that parenting itself is the very best medicine for anything that ails. Anything at all.

Together we navigate the jungle. We hit the trees, we sink in the sand, and every single day we take off the blindfold and feel the warm sun on our faces. We learn together. And we grow together.

We’ll get there.


The Coffee Bill of Rights

January 22, 2008

It was all going great until my husband got involved. His involvement has since been trouble. Nothing but trouble.

You see, until now I have been in charge of the coffee at my house. He cooks, I make the coffee. And I am good at it. He even bought me the coffee makers of all coffee makers a few years ago, the automatic grind and brew. But I was in charge.

For Christmas this year we replaced it, it was a risk. I was a dare. But anything that involves coffee and taking chances I am in for in my search for the perfect cup. So he got me the Kureg.

And I love it.

No more wasted pots of coffee that need reheated. It’s 40 seconds to a small, medium or large or in this house….. a too small, a too small and a Venti cup of joy. Set the temperature, use your own grinds or buy the pods. On a daily basis I have coffee galore to choose from.

It was all going well until I allowed Curt to begin making his own coffee.

This morning we couldn’t find the coffee scooper. Nine years together and this is the first time the scooper has been missing. The only thing that changed was that he got involved in the coffee making.

I can make coffee without a scoop and I can drink it without a cup. So not too much rattles me.

Except when I go to fill the pod and it’s got grinds in it. Coffee respect has not been upheld. You clean it when you are done to allow it to be ready for the next person.

This rule has not been followed. It caused a delay in getting Mary caffeinated. Four days before she turns thirty four this is not so wise Mister National Champion. Not so wise.

I am not in charge of much around here… which is just fine with me. The Mom stuff, my business, and until now the coffee.

So there are new rules instituted for coffee consumption and especially for coffee making;

1. Scoop remains on the left side of the coffee maker. Period.
2. Use your own filter. You are responsible for cleaning it out. Period.
3. If we go to make coffee at the same time, Mary goes first. Period.
4. Keep the water filled to the top at all times.

The first one to break this rule has to drink instant coffee. Unless it is me.


Balancing Act

January 21, 2008

(I saw and stole this picture from Chuckie V’s Site…..for you Marit 🙂

Even though my friend Ass Cold has made a triumphant return to Western New York, I have been waking up smiling and ready for each and every day. Things are going well here at Train-This on so many different fronts, and I am truly so grateful.

My athlete stable is at capacity, and we’ve got a waiting list for those who want to come on board. Which led to the decision to add a third associate coach, named Teena Clark. Teena is one hell of a duathlete and especially a time trialist. She’s the mother of two, a physical therapist, a teacher and the wife of Rich Clark…. who owns Score-This… the brainchild of Train-This! She will be taking on athletes beginning in February, and believe me this is a great problem to have.

I am also referring athletes to the other local coaches…. see if we can drum them up some business too!

The more difficult schedule I have tapered into is holding very steady. I even am taking a lot of couch time, at least 20 minutes per day. Just as important as time on…. is down time. In fact the busier you are the more important it becomes.

My son believes that while he is at school I am home playing with his stuffed animals. He thinks I sit home and wait for him all day long. As long as I can keep him believing that, then I know i have found the right balance.

This week was a bigger week of training for me, about 15 hours worth, and it’s going really well. Nothing long yet, but lots of frequency. I remember last year struggling through some four hour trainer rides, and feeling like it was hanging over my head all the time. This season we are working intensity early on the bike, and we will add the volume as camp HTFU approaches.

New to the schedule this season are some road races in the winter. No tapering, no resting for them, a chance to toughen me up. This week it is the Hearnish 10K. Key there being -ISH. Rumor has it this is closer to 7 miles, and it’s nothing but hills. I am aiming for it to be a good tempo run with my team. If nothing else, it will be fun and it will be cold!!!! With this race we begin some intensity work, as it has been E paced galore so far!

I am feeling good, I feel that my body is adapting to training and to the schedule. I feel healthy, I feel happy.

It’s a wonderful way to start the year and I am so grateful for it!