Archive for November, 2011

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Swimmers past

November 30, 2011

A few items of business this morning first:

  • How is your 30 days of juice going? Stay tuned for Friday…. we will have our update and some of our recipes. I am also updating our progress over on Twitter, hit that button over there to the left to join in on the fun!
  • Thursday December 1st is our first indoor trainer night at Berts! Please click here for more information, I hope to see you there! (FREE)

The name popped up on the right side bar of Face Book and all at once…. my heart stopped, jumped, paused, and hurt. I was so happy that I buried my face in my hands and I began to cry. It only took one name, to open the flood gates of more names and more reconnection and a whole host of memories from my days as a swim coach in Buffalo.

Face Book is an interesting dichotomy to me. I feel that many of us are the last breed of a generation that goes our separate ways. The kids who graduate from high school may not physically see each other for twenty years, but they are still connected.

It’s connected me to so many people I have parted ways with. For one reason or another. Each time that connection is made, each time that friend request comes through and it’s a name I have thought so much of but haven’t in so long at the same time….. it gets me.

I loved the kids I coached on that swim team. I absolutely loved them. They were my world at the time.

I was newly recovering from my eating disorder and suddenly I was in a role of being the leader, the good example, the coach.

I remember the gifts they gave me that first Christmas….. I actually still have all of them. every single one. In fact as I look over the screen of my computer… there they are. A painted tile that was framed from Alex. A picture from Tyler, a drawing from Kurt.  A birthday card from Donny that reads…. thank you for always believing in me. There is one from Cailtin, Lucy, Elizabeth…… these kids have no clue how important they were in my recovery. In fact I don’t think they ever knew I was sick at all.

I was close with these kids and I was close with their families. I babysat most of them. The culture was incredible….. one of the highlights of my entire life was the time I spent with them.

That swim team healed me from an eating disorder I never thought I would live through.

Often times athletes think they need to thank their coaches, and sure, they might…. there is nothing wrong with that. It’s been my experience however….. in 100% of the coaching relationships I have had, from age group swimmer to elite triathlete….. 100% of the time I need to thank them. They are the ones who teach me. I share what I know, and they teach me. Every single time.

Those kids taught me to view the world outside of myself. They taught me how to see something that no one else could. That each of us has potential, that each of us has a dream of some kind….. and that each of us no matter what our age has the ability to go after that dream with 100% of everything we are. forget age, weight, height. Forget what happened 5 years ago and who cares about what will happen 5 years from now.

They all had a clean slate and taught me that I could have one too. My past and my illness never defined me, and as much as I tried try to allow it to…… it will never.

They taught me to try again if I fail. They taught me to laugh again. They taught me that together we can achieve and together we can achieve and they taught me that everyone swims faster when they are being screamed at. They taught me that a missed wall can be made up for….. we are going to miss walls in life. Pity the person who never misses. Pity the person who hits it every time. The first time they don’t they won’t know what to do.

They taught me that it’s okay to cry in my goggles and at the same time to pump my fist in the air when we nail that wall.

Their victories became my victories. Their disappointments became mine, yet they taught me what it meant to rise above.

When they walked out onto that deck for meets my heart would swell with pride. I knew the work they put in. I knew the practices (I wrote them!). I knew what they overcame whether it was an injury or a thought in their mind. I knew. And they knew that I knew that they knew that I knew.

Exactly. Just like that.

Through the past 15 years I have thought about them. I thought about them during my first Ironman. I thought about them during my sixth Ironman. I look at their cards every single day. As they are floating back into my life through Face Book through my tears of happiness are eyes of pride. I have wondered what they are doing, where they are now….. where did life take them?

It’s taken them some amazing places.

I am grateful for things like Face Book, I am so grateful for the ability to be apart from some people and experience the thrill of finding one another again. It’s a blessing beyond description.

What I never got to do….. and what I have always wanted to do….. was thank them. I want to thank them for what they did for me. They took a girl who was struggling. Against herself. They brought her out of that absolute madness. They taught me to see the world around me. They taught me to see the forest beyond the trees, and they are the ones who helped me heal.

And they never even knew it.

Through the holidays as I make a pass through home I am hoping to reconnect. To give all of them a hug. To introduce them to my husband and especially to my son, who is about the age that they were….. when I coached them. I wonder if they ever knew, or could even comprehend the impact they all had on my life and where it’s gone.

Technically I was the coach. Truthfully, they coached me.

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30 Day Juice Challenge

November 28, 2011

Jesse…. aka “The Wizard” posted a terrific article over on his blog about juicing. I’ve been doing an elementary form of juicing with the magic bullet for over a year now….. I would actually call it smoothie making. My smoothies consist mostly of fruit and water and I tend to pop things in there that I wouldn’t normally eat on my own. Breathe, where I teach yoga makes organic juices that are absolutely to die for, so anytime I really need to get something in I just head over there.  But Jesse’s post got me thinking…. I wonder if I could do 30 juices in 30 days? (note: that did not say drink only juice for 30 days).

One of my wonderful friends hooked me up with her juicer, which is a hugely amazing gesture (thank you MANDY), and we got right down to learning how to juice.

First, let’s steal it right from Jesse’s blog…… the benefits of juicing:

For athletes, the benefits of juicing run pretty deep.  Juicing fruits and vegetables provides a huge dose of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) in a very concentrated, easily absorbed form. This quality, alone, makes juicing whole, fresh, ripe, and raw fruits and vegetables one of the most powerful vehicles for achieving optimal health; upon which speed is built. Here are some of the most commonly touted benefits of juicing:

  1. Many of the common juicing ingredients contain chlorophyll, a substance found exclusively in plants.  It has a structure similar to hemoglobin which is the substance in blood that is responsible for transporting oxygen. Some research has found that consuming chlorophyll enhances the body’s ability to produce hemoglobin, thus improving the efficiency of oxygen transport.
  2. Fresh juices have the ability to deliver a group of nutrients know as enzymes. Enzymes are your body’s work force.  In addition, fruit and vegetable juices are good sources of the traditional nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
  3. Since juicing removes the indigestible fiber of fruits and vegetables, nutrients are available to the body in much larger quantities than if the fruit or vegetable were eaten whole. Because the process of digestion that is necessary when you eat whole foods is bypassed, the body can quickly absorb larger amounts of nutrients from the juices than it can from solid foods.
  4. Finally, fruits and vegetables provide one more substance that is absolutely essential for good health in the athlete – water!

I don’t know about you…… but the benefits sounded good enough to me to give it a shot. Besides nutrition has become a passion of mine and I am constantly trying to learn as much as I can….. nutrition and health are one in the same to be honest…..you only need to  lose your health once to realize that. Check!

My first juice was  simple…. apples and ginger. It was quite good! The type of juicer that I have is the Breville (I ahve been told to get the Vitamix, I just wanted to be sure I would actually use a juicer before I bought anything extravagant!). The Breville eliminates all pulp (I hate pulp), is very easy to use and easy to clean.

Day two we got a little more daring. Curt is much more food adventurous than I am, so we made slightly different juices.

Day two: Apple, Kale, blueberries and ginger!

The preparation is easy!

Pop in the whole apple slice....

Apple, kale, blueberries and ginger juice!

Curty added celery and pomegranate to his juice!

So far I find juicing to be fun. It allows you to be creative and really design to fit your taste. Once we get a few more juices under our belt, we will be doing “juice night” here, making a particular juice for the week. Curt actually made much more than I did and has two jugs of his concoction. I hate celery…. so that’s one way to keep my hands off the goods!

There are lots of ways you can juice….. most economical would be the good old-fashioned blender or magic bullet (the bullet is my favorite and would make someone a great Christmas gift), although these two devices seem to be best for fruit based juices and smoothies. I have been doing the smoothie thing for a while now, here are some tips for that adventure:

1. Use either water, greek yogurt or even skim milk as your base

2. Frozen veggies such as dark cherries, blueberries, and mango give you a sweet drink plus loads of vitamins and antioxidants.

3. Toss in some baby spinach for a serving of vegetables, and you won’t even taste it (I promise!). You can freeze that baby spinach too!

4. Freeze your smoothie for a wonderful frozen treat!

These days there are so many ways to get in those fruits and vegetables. As Jesse outlines in his blog, the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables reach far beyond them being good for you. The vitamins and antioxidants and properties can help enhance recovery and performance. I know a lot of athletes who send $100+ month on supplements and various products that are delivered right to their door. Instead, save some money, eat food in its natural form…. and gain even more from it.

Stay tuned, we will share more of our recipies over the coming weeks!  Juice on!

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Hitting the dirt

November 27, 2011

This week, Thursday’s at BERTS! Click here for more information!

“Be meticulous in your preparation.” I love that quote. I don’t know who said it, but I love it. How true.

When you set a goal and aim high you have to be. When you are on the comeback trail, you have to be. The great thing about where I am right now is that there is nothing to lose and everything to gain. If there was ever a time that I have felt focused it’s right here and right now.

Especially as I have been dodging hunters all weekend on my mountain bike.

When the autumn hits I hit the mountain bike. There is no better skill building opportunity than this. Want to improve your pedal stroke efficiency?Mountain bike. Balance? Mountain bike. Want to go out and get lost in the woods?

Mountain bike.

Trouble is that deer hunting season is now too. Dress bright and head to the trails that are populated. Hope that all of the time I put in the trauma bay as a nurse was paying it forward.

To be honest I am a poser mountain biker. To say my skills are average would be putting it kindly, but I am a work in progress. Mostly fear holds me back, and we know what fear is…… False Expectations Appearing Real. But mountain biking, whether it’s at a bona-fide park or just hitting one of the rails to trails….. is an awesome experience. The feel of tires on dirt, the sound of the leaves, the friendly faces on the trails….. the whole no car thing….. I crave it every fall.

Lucky for me I live near a rails -to- trails trail (whoever thought this whole rail to trail idea up by the way is a freaking genius, thank you so much!) which leads me to Dryer Road Park, a popular mountain bike park ’round here.

Here is a video of one of the more fun trails called Humpty Dumpty, this video does not do justice to the hills! I personally sh*t myself each time I ride this trail…… maybe the video does it justice and I just am a major wimp. I can admit that.  I don’t know who did this video, I found it on You Tube!

You can see that there are no big logs (on this trail at least), but it’s narrow and skills get developed.

The scary thing about mountain biking is that we are all afraid to crash. Crashing on a road bike is frightening because it usually involves speeds of 20+ mph and a car. Crashing on a mountain bike is likely because you have hit a tree or missed a corner. Speeds are not as fast on the dirt so honestly, the crashing isn’t that bad.

Here is a video of the 2006 Fat Tire Festival at Dryer Road, there are some great crashes where you can see, it’s just from clipping a tree and no harm was done.

The main reason I am not a great mountain biker is that I really only do it in the fall. As with anything the more you practice, the better you get. At the same time I love being the novice out there. In my life there are so many things I am proficient at, this is something that helps me dust the rust off so to speak.

I firmly believe that the benefits of cross training, especially during the base phase of training, are more far reaching than many would like to believe. Some of the best athletes around here play all winter long on their mountain bikes and in cross-country ski races. My husband is a huge cross-country skier and this season I will be following in those tracks. The benefits are just too good.

Weren’t we talking about being meticulous in our preparation?

Yes, yes we were. So what does that have to do with mountain biking and cross-country skiing?

The more rounded an athlete you are, the better prepared you will be. Specificity is important, there is no doubt about that. But what’s the most critical part of an entire season????

The base, the foundation, the aerobic engine. Developing that aerobic engine, even if you have been at it for years, can be done many different ways. Sure I will spend many hours on the computrainer this season…… but you’d better believe that I won’t hole up and stick my head in the snow.

I will be outside playing in it.

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Dreaming of Iron….. again

November 26, 2011

Before we begin today….. here is a little video Team Eggers did with the awesome Jim Costello of Berts Bikes….. explaining what we are going to be doing at Berts on Thursdays….. beginning this Thursday! Click here for more information!

I get a little bit excited on Ironman days. So much so, that I thought Ironman Cozumel was today. Buzzkill. It’s tomorrow. Great. Now my day of spectating and harassing Wheeler and Charlie on Hey Tell  will need to wait.

I so thought today was Sunday. I feel like I woke up and thought it was Christmas. And it’s not.

Excited for an Ironman there Eggers?” One of my friends emailed me as they laughed at my FaceBook wrong day good luck postings…… I felt like I got caught red-handed. I am excited for an Ironman… I admit. In fact, it started again some time ago and I haven’t quite been realizing it.

I am dreaming of Ironman again.

With 6 Ironmans under my belt I don’t churn these things out annually. My first Ironman came 8 years after I even began this sport, but it was truthfully due to accessibility back then. Until 1999 the only North American Ironmans were Ironman Canada and Kona. Lake Placid began in 1999.

I am a durable athlete, I have good base and I am healthy. I certainly could race Ironman a lot. I know loads of athletes who churn 2-3 Ironman races out each season, which is terrific. To each their own. It’s not me though. I have to be drooling and chomping at the bit to be on that starting line. In the meantime I satisfy my thirst for competition with sprint, olympic and 70.3 races.

With the boom of Ironman I think these shorter distances have become somewhat of a lost art. How many times has someone said to you “I just do the short distances, not the real one:. Remember this: swim, bike, run of any distance is a real triathlon. If people feel the need to intimidate you because you choose not to do Ironman then that’s their insecurity.

At QT2 we always say that taking on Ironman is like going to grad school. You have to put in the time, there is no other way around it. I see a lot of athletes sign up for Ironman, find themselves unable to put in the required training and then wonder why race day becomes such a sh*t show.

Ironman takes time, bottom line. The athletes I respect most are the ones who respect themselves, who know when it just isn’t for them, and at the same time the ones who know it is. If you honestly can’t balance the time requirements with your life and therefore choose not to do Ironman….. that’s a good choice.

There are so many other distances and events and series to do. Don’t limit yourself.

As I loaded up the computrainer the other day I felt a crazy butterfly like feeling in my stomach. I was just embarking on a 45 mile ride of the Ironman Canada course. My HR was skyrocketing, I was riding much too hard and after a few minutes I halted…. what is going on here? Oh Eggers…… you are excited about Ironman again.

I smiled. I took a deep breath. I knew it’d come back to me. I knew it. If I am patient it always does.

Looks like our Ironman Canada 2013 plan is a go then.

I even jumped onto the racermate website and took a look at the real course video. Ironman Canada is there, and it’s on its way to me. If you know anything about Ironman Canada, it’s stunning. It’s Lake Placid on steroids. And it’s still owned by Graham Fraser, if you haven’t done a GF owned Ironman then you are seriously missing out.

2011 was very much about getting my health together, and making the transition from small business owner to QT2 Coach. That process in itself was and still is a giant transition. But now I don’t have to worry about all of the details of running a business. Now I just learn and coach. Don’t get me wrong there are still details with QT2. Things like being part of a coaching team instead of being just myself, learning the details of how we set things up and flow them along instead of my old way of running my show. These are the things that I love and I feel as if I have been refreshed in an entirely new way.

It’s as if my slate has been wiped clean as an athlete and as a coach. I am approaching coaching from a new perspective….. and I am approaching training from an entirely new vantage point. My training is now suddenly more focused. I am coaching in the same system I am training in. I am not worrying about small business details, I am learning coaching details.

My energy is focused for the first time in I don’t know how long. So long that I didn’t even know I didn’t have focus.

I am healthy and I am hungry, and 2012 is at my feet. A clean slate. A canvas on which I shall paint my dreams and goals and all the other stuff that comes with it. 2012 has very definite goals, and 2012 leads directly into 2013 which is the race I have dreamt for the past 11 years about. Ironman Canada.

So my following fellow teammates and friends at Ironman Cozumel will have to wait 24 more hours. In the meantime I can revel in the excitement that I feel so lucky to be able to feel again. It’s the excitement that causes you to dream again, causes you to reach again, and causes you to look forward to 140.6 again.

Game freaking on.

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Giving thanks…..

November 24, 2011

It’s only been a year since I have been out of the hospital scene. Pediatric Emergency is where I have spent many -a- holiday throughout the past decade. To be honest working the holidays weren’t bad at all. We nurses, doctors, residents, administrative staff and even the environmental services folks were close and it was good to spend that time together.

We knew how holidays flowed and when peak times would be. After noon is when the “face versus wall” lacerations would arrive, nothing more than a few stitches to cap off a game of cousin tag. There would be the times when the trauma bells would sound and a mercy flight would be on the way with a hunting or car accident.

There was the one Thanksgiving where we delivered a baby in the parking lot, baby and mom were fine…. those are the ones you really feel grateful for your role as a nurse. That you are able to be a part of that.

Throughout the years I have seen my fair share of children die, and by children that’s up to age 18. Children of that age in certain populations get tangled up in gang fights. One holiday…. I forget which one it was….. I had a fourteen year old stabbing victim that I took a chance with and asked the honest questions of.  I wanted to know how at the age of fourteen this was his life. He and I might live 15 miles away from one another and at the same time it feels like we lived in two different countries.

“Every day you have to fight for your life.” He told me, “This is the third time I have been stabbed.” I wanted to hug him, in fact I probably did. Stabbed three times at age fourteen. Even though as a nurse I saw that all the time…. I probably took care of him all three times…. it horrified me each time. In essence we did live in two different countries.

Too many times I stood in the trauma bay or the family waiting room with the physicians telling parents we could not save their child. Some collapse, some threw chairs at us….. and trust me we understand. I always shook and sobbed when we delivered that news, our docs themselves took it harder than you could ever imagine.

Being a holiday it’d never get better and never get easier. Too often we’d finish our shifts with heavy hearts and red puffy eyes. Normally we waited for one another and we’d walk out together. No one outside of our world understood what we saw. All we could do was go home at the end of the night and hug our children and pray that since we were the ones who saw it and lived it….  somehow that’d spare us from this kind of life horror. As strange as that sounds it’s what we all believed.

Believe it or not there were some really good times in there. So many smaller injuries came in that required us to be creative. Magnets up the nose on the septum, beads in ears…… you name it…. we saw it. As I look back upon it now it’s like we went to a very crazy college. Many mornings we woke up and thought…. did we just do that??? Yet at this point, I don’t think I could ever go back. I have done more CPR straddling gurneys through CT scanners, been X-rayed so much I probably glow, contaminated so much evidence because we didn’t know it was a homicide or let’s be honest…… when in a code situation it all just gets thrown on the damn floor.

To say we gave 100% to our patients and one another would be the grossest understatement in the world. How many times we stopped when we should have stopped an hour before. How many times did we throw our arms around parents who were told the most unthinkable news….. how many times did we stand in the CT scanner and realize….. that this was a shaken baby.

That was one hell of a team in there…… you think your favorite NFL or NHL team was incredible? They had nothing on us.

At the end of the day we’d wish one another a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year. We’d walk out together and recap the day. Sometimes we’d still be laughing, more often than not we’d still be crying.

If nothing else it taught us all how damn precious life truly is, and how in an instant….. it can be gone.

Throughout this past year believe it or not, I have struggled a bit on holidays. I think about those I spent so many holidays with and I miss them. There are days I miss the work we did together. It was exciting, dramatic, difficult, enlightening, rewarding and heartbreaking. I got to see and experience all pieces of life and of love.

When people ask why it is, that I am the way that I am….. this is a big part. Spend one day cracking the chest of a seven-year old who walked into your emergency dept 30 minutes earlier…. and you will learn that your biggest problem in the world is not the ugly sweater you have to wear at Christmas.

Experience what it’s like to tell a parent that you are sorry, that you did everything you could…. and you learn that those relatives you dread seeing aren’t so bad after all.

Stand across a gurney awaiting the arrival of a child with CPR in progress…… look your colleague in the eye with fear and faith and declare that  “We can save this one”….. and suddenly the fact that it’s 7am and you still have food to prepare and a house to clean before everyone arrives….. suddenly it becomes not that big a deal.

To me….. life is a big deal. Screw the details, the house might not look perfect, we might burn the turkey….. we might disagree with Aunt Mildred and man we just might have to wear the fugliest sweater on earth so Granny doesn’t feel offended.

All of that is okay. All of those are the small things. Those are the privileges.

So while today we are thankful….. let’s take life by the balls and live every damn second of it.

You don’t know when your time is up and when it is not. You don’t know when. Bottom line. You don’t know when.

So hug Aunt Mildred with all of your might and find her stories of the old days told a hundred times already…… find them exciting just for today. Don’t argue with your sister, because who won Dancing with the Stars is not something to fight about. Help your Mom in the kitchen because of all the times you blew it off as a kid.

Kiss and hug your children. Because we just don’t know.

As for me…..  I will do all of that and at the same time think of all of those kids that have touched my life through the years. I am thankful for how they influenced me and the lessons they taught me. There was no other way I would learn them.

After a little workout this morning to get the blood flowing…. we will be off to the home of my parents. Not too far away. Because at Christmas time my sister will hog the couch I have one big goal for today…. lay on the most comfortable couch on this earth, and just experience the day with my family.

But then again….. since my mother bought the millenium falcon leggo set for Luc’s birthday…. I have a feeling today could get complicated.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Thursdays at BERTS!

November 23, 2011

Last week I told you about my exciting new sponsorship from Bert’s Bikes in Buffalo & Rochester. This week I am even more excited to tell you about a very exciting series we have coming to the Henrietta location. The bad thing is….. we need a name for it. Come up with the name and we will give you a free gift! From BERTS!

The scoop:

Next Thursday December 1st, and every Thursday through the end of March, bring your bike and your trainer (we will have trainers available, but bring yours the first week until we determine need) from 6:30-7:30pm. The Eggers family (and yes, all THREE OF US) will lead you through a ride on the trainer, then we will hop off and finish up with some functional strength training. We will change the focus weekly, from super spinning and big gears to a little bit of yoga to utilizing tubing.

We have you covered.

Throughout the series we will share our triathlon experience, knowledge and secrets and help you uncover the athlete that already lies within you.

The best part……. all of this is FREE. FREE!!!!! FREE!!!!

Did I mention free? YES FREE!

Not only that…. we will be traveling to Berts Bikes locations throughout Rochester and Buffalo delivering knowledge of training, product, etc as we give bi monthly clinics beginning in January! Stay tuned for those dates and locations, we would love for you to join us.

Multisport is where we met, where we created our family…. and now that our little boy is not so little anymore…. he’s in on the excitement as well! Luc will share his tips of the trade of what it’s like to be a multisport youth!

Like I said last week, I am over the moon excited about reuniting with Jim Costello, my bike guy for over 15 years now. remember Jim was fitting bikes before anyone even thought of FIST! To be partnering again with Jim is my whole triathlon family coming full circle again. We have always made one heck of a team.

Stay tuned to Facebook and Twitter as well as right here for announcements…. a spruced up fancy blog right here…. and much much more.

2012…… I love you already!

See you Thursday December 1st! AT BERTS Henrietta!

 

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How to choose a triathlon coach

November 21, 2011

At a recent USAT Coaching Clinic I learned that there are 150,000 USAT members (and that isn’t including the one day athletes), and 2,100 triathlon coaches. If my math is correct that’s 71 athletes a coach, which obviously shows one thing….. there are plenty of coaches to go around, or rather, plenty of athletes. Sure these days it might feel like coaches are a dime a dozen…. they are popping up on every corner with varying degrees of experience. In my opinion….. every coach has something to offer. You just have to find the one that’s right for you.

Since 2004 I have been coaching triathletes, my experience in this sport spans over 15 years and prior to this I was a swimmer since age 5 with a collegiate swimming career, and a YMCA swim coach. To put it simple, sport has been my life in one way or another. I am extremely honored to be part of an incredible team at QT2. Just look at our coaching team. Throughout my years I have seen a lot as both an athlete and as a coach.

By the grace of God I have had nothing but spectacular coaches. When I say that to my father he reminds me…..  I have just been able to pull what I need out of every coach I have ever had. True, very true. There will be good coaches and coaches that don’t click with you, I believe it’s up to us as athletes to pull what we need from those who we pay to guide us.

So how do you choose a triathlon coach? Here are my tips on finding that match.

1. Experience: When choosing a coach I look for years in sport and years of coaching. For me…. and this is just my opinion….. a triathlete in year two of competition won’t have what I need to draw from as a coach. With that being said if the prospective coach has experience in sport other than triathlon and coaching I’d definitely consider them. Nothing speaks louder than experience. In that same breath…. I know plenty of good coaches who don’t have years of experience, but have an ability to learn and apply and read an athlete.

2. Certifications. I do believe certifications and education is very important. I look for USAT, or an equivalent even  if the prospective coach has e a background in health or exercise science. I think that a good understanding of exercise physiology is vital as it eliminates the…… I read so-and-so coaches’ training protocol and that is what I will use, or this is what I do, so this is what I use. I’d look for both a triathlon certification and a personal training certification from an organization such as ACE or ACSM. I have taken all of those exams and trust me they are not easy. They are not open book and someone with those credentials must have a good understanding of the material. On Wednesday we will talk more about certifications.

3. Reputation. I need to know the reputation of the prospective coach. To put it simply…. I need to know that are a balanced human being without a history of acting out of character and able to remain open minded. I need them to be able  to work with people…. especially other coaches. I will stay away from anyone who bashes another coach as respect between colleagues is important.  If they have worked with athletes before I connect with them for their opinion and I keep it off the record. I need  honesty. I also need to know how they deal with parting with athletes and how they deal with difficult situations. If they are rash, condescending and disrespectful….. then they are placed on the no list.

4. The triathlon stuff. These are the things many athletes look for first, but are the things I look for last.

  • What is the coach’s training philosophy?
  • What training protocols / methods do they adhere to?
  • How to they structure a season?
  • What type of assessments to they perform?
  • What level of communication methods do they use?

I usually know before I even speak to a coach that they are the right one for me. In 2009 I emailed four coaches who I thought would make a good fit with me. The coach who emailed me back these four words was the one I chose immediately “I can help you.” That was Jesse Kropelnicki and even though I had a tough story and tough road to navigate…..  he accepted that challenge, and immediately put my concerns to ease. His  we will take care of all of it attitude was not only comforting when the other responses were full of excuses…… it made me realize that not all athletes click with all coaches.

Not that anything was wrong with the personalities, backgrounds or programs of those three other coaches….. we just would not have worked well together. Which is why I looked closely at four and not one.

So take the time you need when looking for someone who is going to be this involved in your life. Look for experience, balance, education and an ability to be a part of your life without being overly emotional.

In my opinion if you can find those….. you have found your coach.

Are you someone who is thinking of getting into coaching? Stop back on Wednesday, we will walk through some important steps you need to take to begin. And remember….. with over 150,000 USAT members, there are plenty of athletes to go around!