Archive for November, 2010

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Boxers or briefs?

November 30, 2010

Is this not the most adorable picture there ever was???????

The other day Luc asked me when he was going to get an outfit like Dad and like the athletes on my team. I looked at him….. was he serious? Or brainwashed? I couldn’t tell. But he wanted an outfit for his races this year. How many more months until I can race again??? (OMG SERIOUSLY??????? pinch me, pinch me, let me enjoy this while it lasts.)

Our team uniform coordinator, Kim just traded me in her team kit, because she has assembled the most awesome team race kit for our team this year from Louis Garneau…. they will be here in seven weeks!! The colors are the same but they are just a little bit snazzier.

The whole point is that the above is Kim’s uniform. She’s that little. I know.

Luc stood there proudly. Wow. That’s all I can say.

The next morning for me, things fell apart a little bit. I was in a fog from the moment I got up, went to the gym and executed a really good endurance based run, working on my form. Trouble seemed to start for me when I hopped off.

“Excuse me…” The man on the treadmill in the row behind me called out. “Why are you cleaning a treadmill you didn’t run on?” I looked down at what I was doing. Then I looked one treadmill over. The one with the towel, the iPod, the water bottle….. the one with sweat drops on it…..  the one i ran on….. and I wondered the exact same thing. I slowly turned around and smiled. It was all he could do to not bust a gut laughing.

“I have no idea.” I laughed. Whoa, I thought. Stronger coffee necessary next time.

I walked into the locker room and reached my hand into my bag for my favorite 3″ cycling shorts, as I was hopping into a spinning class. Ah, there they are, I pulled them out.

WHAT?  I opened the bag and began to search. Nothing else. But these:

Yes, those are men’s boxer briefs. How the hell did these get in here? I had reached into the bottom of my cycling shorts drawer (what…. your cycling shorts don’t have their own drawer? loser!) and pulled THESE out? UGH. UGH! I can’t spin in running shorts, although the new Lululemon Speed Shorts are freaking comfortable as all get out. Not for cycling though. UGH.

I slid the underwear on. Okay, these are black, no one will know.

And no one noticed. I can’t say they were wicked comfortable but they did the job.

After I came home I pointed my finger right at my husband and told him what had happened. I am sure he planted them there for that very reason! I WAS SURE OF IT!

“I don’t wear boxer briefs.” He said to me. Shouldn’t I know this? I argued that he did. He corrected me that he used to. Great Mary, I thought as I confirmed by looking in his underwear drawer. Sh*t. This is disgusting.

I immediately felt like grabbing a brillo pad and a bottle of alcohol. WHOSE UNDERWEAR DID YOU WEAR MARY? He wanted to know. OMG I DON”T KNOW!!!! I will admit, I felt a bit freaked out. Who has been here overnight in the past year? OMG OMG OMG.

Not to worry. They were Curt’s. He did used to wear them. He didn’t like them. He got rid of them. Somehow a pair got mixed in with my stuff at some point and were waiting for this moment in time to mess with me. At least that is what I am choosing to believe because if for one moment I believe that I rode a bike for an hour in some guy’s used boxer briefs…… then I will be bathing in Purell for about a month.

After I sent the boys off, I had 5 minutes before I needed to leave…. so I just sat down with a good cup of coffee. Wake up Eggers, wake up. I swear someone screwed around with my coffee. And that person will pay.

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Getting started

November 29, 2010

A giant congratulations to our friend Ultra Adam…. who finished the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii yesterday in 29 hours and 17 minutes, smashing his Ultraman Canada Time that he set just this last August. The entire Train-This team is so incredibly proud of you friend!!!!! Now get some rest!

Speaking of Train-This Team….. we would like to introduce to you the newest edition to our coaching staff…. my good friend Kristen Roe of Syracuse!!!!! She’s got experience, an Iron distance  win, and Kona qualifications under her belt, not to mention tons of successful athletes that she’s been coaching since 2005.  Please click here to read all about her!

We are so lucky to have an incredible team of coaches ’round here. Look for some webinars and such coming from all of us!!!!!!

Life is good. I am blessed. And believe me, you have no idea how grateful I am.

Week one of the pre-season is down! Week two is up next …..not week three, not week four. Notice there is a logical progression. You think that’s a joke, but you’d be surprised at how many athletes jump from week one to week eight with the thought of, wow if I feel this good this week I will just skip the rest and jump to the good stuff!

We are truly our own worst enemies aren’t we? I mean, so many of us have smart brains inside of there, good coaches, all the resources at our fingertips…. and one small dose of impatience + ego will equal disaster.

As I begin my progression through my pre-season into my season….. I am taking complete ownership of my performance indicators this season. Which is really fancy talk for paying very close attention to them. (And I went to college to learn to think like this! Amazing!).  Monthly I am going to share my performance indicators with you so that you can see progress. If it helps keep you motivated to beat me, excellent. We all need some motivation! But I want to show you that a logical consistent approach through the season should yield you improvements.

You can follow my progress here. These stats are my pre-Ironman Florida stats as best I can remember them. (See, here lies my problem. Own it Mary!) At the present moment my zone R (zone recovery) running pace has been 12 seconds faster than my Z1 (zone 1= which is about equal to Friel’s Z2 / Endurance / Aerobic zone). So I seem to have made a giant leap in my running paces through resting. Allowing the fitness I have built over the past year to sink in. I have many many years of endurance based fitness to cash in this season.

One of my personal limiters is my run. I have never been a stellar runner, and while I have made small gains annually with my running, I have never held myself this accountable for my running. I have always relied so heavily on my swim / bike combo to keep me out in front. Every race I have ever won has been on the swim / bike. I run for life on the run and I hope.

This season I am aiming to really hone in the run. I put the deposits in the bank for it in 2010 and I am already seeing the gains, and all I am doing is running easy. My swim and bike this season were good, but I am better at both. I know when I need a little focus, a little kick in the bootie. and that’s now.

When you look at the paces, understand that my running pace is my every day running pace. I will define race pace and tempo pace and all of that later. My power on the bike is my 20 minute power which is different from FTP (functional threshold power) which again I will define later.

QT2 does things a little bit differently…. and again I shall define that as best i can later on.

My hope in sharing…. is that you will do the same, tracking your own performance indicators.  I do this for my athletes and I give my own coach too much responsibility in doing it for me. These are mine and I shall own them. However you do it…. make a list, out it on your fridge, and whether you test yourself monthly, every 6 weeks or every 8 weeks……. don’t let time pass between now and June with you wondering…. am I improving? If I am… what is working….. if I am not….. why not?

Hold yourself accountable. What is it you are aiming for this season, this year? Don’t wait till january 1st, start it today. losing weight? Make a graph on excel. Write down what you eat daily. Look in the mirror every single day. Face what haunts you every single day. Allow no time to pass between now and then to have you wondering. Own it.

I will have a full set of stats in december when I go to Boston for my annual assessment with the Wizard.

So let’s do this together. What do you hope to accomplish this season?????

That goes right here.

What are the things you need to do in six months to help you achieve that goal

Those go right here.

Those are the big things. Next we need to look at the micro things, what do we need to do in the next 30 days to achieve the 6 month goal which will then in turn help s achieve the big goal?

Write those down here. find 3.

How about this week…… what are three things we will do this week to achieve the monthly goal?

Write those here.

Now…… print them out. Put them right in your daily planner, or somewhere you will look at it every single day. and I mean every single day.

Once I meet with the Wizard in December I will define for you my own season goals. We go through them step by step to make sure we achieve them. in the meantime I have defined my own weekly goals for this week:

1. 2 sessions of swim / bike / run / strength lasting no longer than 30 minutes.

2. Track all nutrition as I always do, to hold myself accountable for staying in the core.

3. Work on my flexibility. The yoga teacher slacks in this department.

There we are friends…… here we go…… a season awaits.

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The ties that bind us

November 28, 2010

Ultra Adam has conquered 6.2 miles of swimming, 216+ miles of cycling. Today…. a 54 mile run stands between him and the finish line of the Ultraman World Championships. I would share his text yesterday with you…… but there were too many f bombs to repeat. When you go this far into yourself….. you come out a different person. You come out stronger and you come out better. You have been to emotional places you have never dreamt of. That only Ultraman can take you to. And you go there because you wonder if you can.

It’s like jumping into a canyon and not knowing how deep the canyon is, you plan to land on your feet but don’t know what it will feel like.

Ultraman is the ultimate leap of faith. In yourself. In the world. In the power of belief. We are so proud of you Ultra Adam!

************

I will see you here at 8am.” I said to Kim as she headed up the stairs to yoga. I remained on the treadmill, a little bit surprised at my pace this morning. 8:06. Zone 1. (as a reference that means my 5K time is about 90 seconds faster) What? This treadmill must be wrong. I hopped to the next one over. Same thing. Okay…. fine. I hopped to a third. Same thing. When I was in full force Bulimic I owned 5 scales. I’d weigh myself on each one every single day. This felt a lot like that. I looked around like a crack addict to see if anyone noticed. I don’t think a single soul would have cared.

8:06. My zone 1 pace a month ago was an 8:42.

Smile. Just wait, let’s see what happens in a few weeks. We’ve only been running for a week sister. Don’t get ahead of yourself, but just in case, give yourself a good smile.

YES.

I got a text from Kim a little bit later. She’s been through some stuff in her life. A car accident in 2002 left her in a halo with her body pinned together. Eight years later, an Ironman under her belt, surgery in September to remove screws from her ankle…. because she doesn’t need them anymore….. and she’s back to running. She told me tears were in her eyes because she’s been running. And she feels like a runner again.

She gets it. She gets it.

Ken ran his fastest race ever last week. Sub 7 minute miles. On a few weeks of base training. I know how he was feeling. I know what it meant. Because I know where he has been.

That’s why I think we get each other. That’s why I think a lot of us on the team get each other. We’ve been through stuff. Ken broke his neck in 2008. Just months after I sustained such a bad head injury I didn’t know who anyone was…. for weeks. I could go on….. but those of us who have been through stuff….. we take this sh*t for a lot more than what it might be meant for.

For many of us it’s been hard. Hard is the understatement and we are not talking about sport. We are talking about life. we are all dealt a certain deck of cards. It’s how we play them that makes the difference. Or if we just fold.

These are the ties that bind us.

There is something about this sport that has brought certain people into my life and me into theirs. It’s what we are, together and apart that make us a team. We can come to each other with serious stuff and we can sit on our bikes together for hours on end.

We might not speak for hours, I might have to drop back to deal with the space between my ears. Nothing needs to be said. Nothing needs to be hashed out. We just get it and we get each other.

When we are racing the other is holding their breath. When one of us fails we fail together. When we succeed we succeed together.

I feel the essence of  team on every single level. From pushing each other in the pool to calling each other on the carpet when needed. I swear these guys have cried with me when i have cried. They have laughed with me when I have laughed. It took me a long tie to find them….. but right here and right now they are right here.

Through the years I have been in this sport people have come and gone through my doors. All but a few have gone with smiles and best wishes….. but when you deal with as many people as I do…. you are bound to run into ego and that’s normal…. that’s life. You can’t allow that to get int he way of what is true and what is good in your life. I have been on that other side of ego. It wasn’t pretty. I learned and I learned the hard way.

I can share with my team the tales like this morning…… the strange 8:06 on the off season. Will it last? Was it a fluke? Was my HRM broken? Or has the switch finally flipped?

Never stop believing…. they will tell me.

We will keep running.

Through this time of the year I tend to go inside, to the gym. It’s probably because I have spent the past 6 months alone. Long rides, long runs, alone. I enjoy being around people. I am a people person. That’s why I do what i do. I run the treadmill this time of the year because I enjoy being around people. Both that I know and that I don’t. I enjoy being warm. I enjoy the honesty of the treadmill. I welcome a litle bit of music. I enjoy chatting during a run. Kim and I will just run. Different paces, but we will just run.

I am so lucky for the camaraderie that this team affords me. It’s so unspoken yet so indescribable. It’s like being part of a family, it’s like being family, maybe even closer than family.

“See you tomorrow.” Kim confirmed with a smile. Then we texted to confirm a few times after that. I’m lucky. Damn lucky. To have a team I can call friend, family….. to lean on, dream with and hope for.

Thank you guys!

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Planning a season

November 27, 2010

Stay tuned on Monday, we will be announcing  fourth coach to the Train-This coaching staff. Someone I am really really excited to have working with us!

Our good friend Ultra Adam has completed day one of the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii. He completed the 6.2 mile swim and 90 mile bike in about 10 hours. Today he will be riding 180 miles and then running 54 miles tomorrow. This morning’s text read: “That was the hardest F*cking bike ride I have ever done.”

GO ULTRA ADAM!

Let’s talk about training today. Two points I want to cover today are Gadgets / Training devices and creating a plan. We’ve got a lot of coaching files on tap through December and some webinars to be announced on Monday! Exciting times, so stay tuned!

Training is not complicated. Many athletes make it complicated. Coaches make it complicated sometimes as well.  I’ve been in the coaching industry for a long time now and I have come across amazing coaches. Most will throw a lot of training jargon at you, but the good ones…. they know how to connect with their athletes. The coaches I stay away from are the ones who attack each other. There is just no place in this sport or in life for that kind of behavior. As I always say…. look in your own mirror before you look in someone else’s.

There are thousands of great resources out there for exactly how you should train. Like we talked about the other day, I am going to tell you the real secret to training and to improving. Come in close now I am only going to say this once:

1. Apply a stressor or workload

2. Allow the body to absorb the work through rest (this does not mean lay in the couch, we will talk about that later)

3. Apply a new stressor or workload.

Truthfully, it’s that easy.

I like to match the training modalities to the athlete. Some of my athletes have powermeters, Garmins, and some have none of that. I sometimes train strictly by power and pace, other times just by heart rate. My favorite is to mix both and see what happens.

One of the most important things to remember as a coach in my opinion…. is that training is an art and a science. I tend to weigh more heavily on the art of it all….. because that’s what it most often comes down to. The science is important but we can not be dictated by it. Again, my opinion.

As I said earlier, two topics I wanted to address today are gadgets and creating a plan.

1. Gadgets / devices. (HRM, GPS, powermeters, etc).

I like my athletes who use the gadgets to be comfortable without them. I like those who don’t use them to be comfortable with them. Ultimately these things will fail and if they fail they fail on race day. If an athlete has trained with their powermeter all season long, all year long…. in truth I should be able to take it away and they should be able to nail their zones.

What these things really teach us to do is know our bodies. You know if you are going to hard. You know. You don’t need a powermeter to tell you that…… pay attention….. you know. And vice versa…. you know if you are not going hard enough. These two situations are the true test of the athlete in my opinion. They show whether the body and the mind are in sync.

If you really don’t know….. and I mean really don’t know…. after 12 months of training with a (Insert your gadget here)….. that during a 56 mile ride in the middle of a 70.3 race if you are going too hard or hard enough….. then I believe the work needn’t be done on the bike as much as uniting your mind and your body.

Good athletes know. for the record….. I don’t quantify the term good athlete with times. I quantify the term good athlete as an athlete who can unify the mind and the body.

Good athletes know exactly where they are at any given moment. And don’t need a powermeter to tell them.

Use these devices to help you to get to know your body. When they fail, be so connected in mind and body that it does not matter.

2. Creating a training plan; overview

Where the heck do I start??? I like to use the annual training plan feature as taught by many of the sport’s top dog’s. As with training programs, many coaches use different types of annual training plans, or ATP. My coach for example uses what he calls a histogram. Essentially, this is a map of your season.

I take a look at a middle of the road training week for an athlete, which is easy to do is I have worked with them previously. I take that section and use it to calculate their annual training hours. Now note: I don’t take their biggest Ironman volume training week 🙂

I use that to get an estimate of hours per week to train. And then according to the athlete, their experience, ability, strengths, limiters, goals, injuries (or hopefully lack thereof)…… I create a plan for the season. I am not absolutely stuck to it, but many athletes become married to it. If the ATP calls for a 12 hour training week and they are sick and don’t hit it…. I just adjust the week and the plan. It’s that easy. Yet at the same time athletes will feel like missing that mark is some sort of failure.

See how this becomes art and science and a little bit of psychology?

From the annual training plan (or ATP) I divide the season up again according to the athlete. Most of my athletes cycle through an 8-12 week phase of base training where we really develop their aerobic engine. This is by far the hardest part of the season for many, because the belief is always that this should be hard and hard means killer workouts. Those will come. Endurance / aerobic / base training is the foundation on which everything else is built.

Think of it as the foundation of a house. You want a house built on rock, not on sand. Add speed and intensity too soon and that house will crumble (injury).

Now the workouts through these weeks are not all sit on your trainer in zone 2 with cadence of 90. There are drills, hills, big gear and some tempo efforts. Again…. this comes back to the athlete. It’s extremely individual. I might have a library of workouts that I use annually…… but I apply them to each athlete differently.

As you are sitting down to map out a season, look at the big picture. What are you going to embark on today and this week that will allow you to build a house on a rock solid foundation? What devices are you going to use to help you get to know your body, and most importantly…. what’s your system of measurement?

We will be delving into all of this in detail in the coming weeks. Stay tuned and happy planning!

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The Coffee Bill of Rights

November 26, 2010

Here is an archive from 2008…. please note the addendum at the end.

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.

2010 Addendum:

  1. I am no longer in love with the Krueg. It’s definition of a large coffee and my definition of large coffee are grossly different. The Krueg’s definition is a TALL sized cup at Starbucks.
  2. With the invention of Via …. via Starbucks….. instant coffee is great!
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Happy Thanksgiving

November 25, 2010

I love Thanksgiving. I love being home for it. I love having all of this time with my family (bonus of my new position… no more nights weekends or holidays!!!!) So happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours! By the way, Curt did get his CT with contrast and we are awaiting results. He’s feeling better….. but I am still suspicious. Blood in urine is likely nothing because it’s such a small amount. but still….

“BAM!” Luc cried out and sat back. I was sitting next to him on the couch last night scrolling through my athletes’ weeks. The previous night he and I assembled our first Leggo set together. He did great. I know… he’s ten and this is his first Leggo set? Yes. He’s ten and this is his first.

Oh he’s had several. But he lacked the fine motor skills to put them together and frustration and tears resulted. We stayed away from Leggos for a long time. He started putting together puzzles within the past year. Some incredibly difficult ones. His ability to problem solve has flourished. The other day when he asked for Leggos we selected a simple small set. We did it together.

Last evening we got another one. A slightly more difficult one. As much as I wanted to do it together I knew how important it was to allow him to do it on his own. So I sat next to him and worked. All by himself he did this:

That might not be a big deal to you…. but it’s a big deal to us.

Earlier in the day I caught the tail end of his Fast Fitness class. It’s an agility and skills class taught at the YMCA by an incredible coach (JUSTIN). This is Luc’s second time through the class, and he’s made giant gains.

I watched the kids cycle through a ladder drill. It consisted of complicated footwork, quick moving light on your feet fancy footwork. Through the glass I took a deep breath. The other kids danced through it. Luc did not dance through it. His arms flapped. His face was contorted. If these were mean kids they would have made fun of him. The coach walked him back to the start and did it with him. He did it. He lacked the grace and skill the other kids had….. but he did it. He tried again and he did it again. The complexity of the footwork was his. He was awkward but he did it.

His smile was giant. Mine was bigger. He saw me through the glass in the door and we shared a thumbs up. I’m always behind you buddy, I thought. I’ve always got your back.

As I think of what I am thankful for…. I am thankful for this child in more ways than one. He’s taught me more than I have ever learned in school, more than anything in this world has taught me.

He teaches me to keep trying and to keep reaching. He teaches me while I might not hit it gracefully, I might throw up all over the course, I might wave my arms and I might have a grimace on my face, keep going. We keep trying.  We keep reaching. And we do not ever quit. I am grateful he does not see me win all the time. I am grateful he sees me stumble. Little does he know…. I learned how to get back up….. from him.

A.L.W.A.Y.S.

He teaches me to have faith. He teaches me to believe in something bigger and me. He teaches me that sometimes I have to close my eyes and jump even though I don’t know what I am jumping off of, or jumping to.

After all….. faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is a terrific recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes, perfect for this morning!

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

recipe found on joythebaker.com
makes 14-18 small pancakes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour 

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

pinch of ground ginger

pinch of ground cloves

1 cup milk

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 egg

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter

Whisk together flours, salt, spices, sugar and baking powder in a medium sized bowl.  

In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg, pumpkin and vegetable oil or melted butter.  

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.  Don’t worry if you have a few lumps.  You don’t want to over beat the batter, it’ll produce tough pancakes.  

Let the batter sit for 10 minutes while you heat the skillet.  Over low-medium heat melt a tablespoon of butter or vegetable oil .  Once skillet is hot, spoon a heaping 2 tablespoons of batter per pancake into the skillet.  When pancake starts to bubble slightly, carefully flip over.

Once browned and cooked through place pancakes on a oven proof plate and place in the oven set at 200 degrees F to keep warm while the rest of the pancakes are cooked.  

Serve with whipped cream and cinnamon sugar.. or maple syrup.  Delicious!

 

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Change

November 24, 2010

Superman update: CT scan on Wednesday! He’s hanging in there! broken ribs are no fun at all!

But what is fun????? Fun is opening up your son’s backpack and finding this…. give that Thankfulness Turkey a good read.  I often wonder what goes through his mind as he shapes into a young man and develops his own life……  then I pull out these beauties and I feel like I catch a glimpse!

Last week I got to chat with one of my creepy internet friends….. Chad . Chad not only grabbed himself a spot to Kona in Lake Placid this year, he grabbed himself another spot to Kona last weekend at IMAZ, three Ironmans in 5 months and the third under 9:30.

What I admire about Chad…. is that you look at this season and think man… where did this guy come from?

He came from one place.Hard consistent work and recovery.

 Throughout the past few years Chad has been nailing Ironman races…. and just missing the Kona spots. It’s never the athletes who easily grab Kona spots …. or insert the big goal here…..  that I admire…..it’s the athletes like Chad, who are a lot like me….. who have had ups and downs and near misses and great days. Who work hard and keep at it when things don’t always go as planned. I know the disappointments and I know the small victories…. and I also know my season is coming. 

Athletes like Chad know what it’s really like. They are the ones who can dig even deeper at mile 20. They are the ones who appreciate it more and who teach me the most. And that’s what’s cool about this blog world. I met Chad and his lovely wife Jennifer in person in Placid a few years ago. Standing on the steps…. waiting to swim. I love our multisport family!

Where was I? Hang on…… sip of Starbucks Christmas Blend here……. by the way we are going to need to talk about the Christmas Blend Via they have out……. if I had ten stars to give it I would give it twenty.

It's worth gving up the sauce for 8 weeks, for that first cup back!

Ahhhhhh… okay! So I am changing many things up this season. to keep things fresh, to challenge myself, to help me become even stronger.( I think I have proven how tough I am…. check!!!) I will still be coached by Jesse Kropelnicki of Quantitative Triathlon Systems (QT2), who is hands down one of the top coaches in our sport. You don’t take oppertunities like these lightly. If this man says you do an Ironman…. you do an Ironman.

Here are the ways I am adding some spice to my multisport life…..

1. Swimming: Can I tell you a little secret??? I was stunned when the Wizard scrutinized my stroke. STUNNED. In good swimming shape I can knock off 100s sub 1:10 and easily swim a 60 minute swim in an Ironman. Click here to see the swim analysis.  I know above the water I have a left arm swing but below the water, whoa. I am a swimmer! A collegiate swimmer!!! ME? bad stroke????? OMG.

Which made me realize….. it’s not that I need harder intervals or to HTFU in the pool any more than I do. I need to focus on my form for a good solid chunk of time. And if I can make those biomechanical improvements then well, I have faster swimming ahead of me!

I made the very difficult decision not to swim with my masters team this season. After 9 years and a coach that I love like my own Mom, I decided to spend one season working The Wizard’s program completely. It means I have to be more accountable for times. It means I have to push me when needed to be pushed. It means I have to slow down for a while here and work biomechanics. The only saving grace is that my outdoor pool opens on April 1st. Four more months of indoor swimming to go.

Two tools I am working with now are the PT Paddle and  the Finis underwater clock. The PT paddle is incredible, and I am one of those swimmers who loves to pull with giant paddles. Give these a try, they give you a whole new experience in the water. The clock….. ah just for fun.

2. Bike: With the death of my ergomo, much of last year was not spent training with power. However for the 2011 season I have a few tools that I enjoy using that will be brought back into use: My computrainer is hooked up and ready to go again. This will allow me to save each and every ride, analyze my watts, speed, hr and allow me to repeat repeat repeat on various courses all over the world, form the comfort of the Eggers’ training shack.  I am also getting a Quarq powermeter. A few of my athletes have this one and it downloads flawlessly and the reliability of it is excellent.  I am also back in spinning, but more on that is coming.

3. Running. I have started doing some treadmill running, specifically because I hate the treadmill. part of my continued run work is to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Not only do I have access to a treadmill at 3 gyms, our new treadmill is on the way for the shack.

4. Schedule. With my new nursing position I have the ability to work ona  regular schedule in a position I ADORE, does not physically exhaust me, and allows me a full 8 hours of sleep every single night. Of all the things I have listed, this is most important.

So that’s what’s new in terms of equipment.

It doesn’t really matter what you have though, I have all the tools in the world but it won’t make a shred of difference if I don’t put in the homework. Last season I put in the homework, that’s for sure. The Wizard knows it, I know it.

There was one crucial piece missing I realize and that was me taking ownership of my goals not just on a macro level but a micro level. Because I am also a coach I focused more on my athletes week to week progress than I did my own. I just gave it to the Wizard. I didn’t sit down week to week and review, and then set goals for the upcoming week.

I realize now as I am planning my team’s season, just how important it is for me to do that as well. I got away from it. This is perhaps the biggest and most important change of the 2011 season.

There are a few other changes, small gear changes, utilizing things that I already have, but again it’s the productive use of all this stuff that makes the difference.

With all of these gadgets, coaches, books, webinars…… there are really just 3 secrets to becoming a successful athlete:

1. Apply a stressor / training load.

2. At the right time allow your body to absorb that stressor / training load.

3. Increase the stressor/ training load.

Have a system essentially. The only other component I would add to this simple model:

Fuel your body to handle the load, to recover from the load and to accept a higher load.

I am excited to have hit the ground running again. I am excited to be sore and tight again. I am excited to be back in the Core again. I am excited to have amazing role models around me. Who understand what it’s like to have had years that are amazing and so many near misses it’s comical. These guys are the ones who inspire me. These guys are the ones who get it.

I am the luckiest girl in the world!