Archive for February, 2012

h1

31 days

February 28, 2012

We’ve got several items of business to attend to before we begin today, or skip right down to the bottom for today’s ultra enlightening post.

Biking: Get the Basics

This is the third webinar in our Score This!!!!  Learn This series presented to you by QT2 Systems! During this half hour we will talk bikes, what type, where to buy, what to buy, how much to spend and some basics to help prepare you to hit the roads rolling!

Thursday March 1st at 8pm…… FREE!!!!!!!  Click here to register, and remember space is limited!

Core Diet Orientation

For a long time I have been a follower and a believer of the Core Diet. This is not really a diet, it’s a healthy way of eating. It’s not Atkins, it’s not lose 10 pounds in 10 days, it’s not a pills and bars way of eating. It’s building your health from the bottom up. Many believe we at the Core Diet never get to have sweets…. of course we do. That’s part of our big secret. Stop guessing what it’s about and find out during this FREE webinar. You will learn everything you need to know about The Core Diet and even have the opportunity to ask questions.

So many health issues can be prevented simply by good nutrition. Why wouldn’t you want to know more?

March 6th at 7:00pm. Free. Click here to register.

Bike Loft East!

I am extremely lucky to live in an area where there are fabulous bike shops. I have had the ability to put my name behind some excellent ones and I am really honored to be putting my name behind the gang at Bike Loft over in Syracuse. I met Jeremy Clay back in June of 2011 and I was unbelievably impressed with his professionalism, his knowledge and his passion for what all of us do. Now I get to help promote his awesome shop and what they have going on over there. I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to do that! My new Kestrel will be from there and once it arrives I will bring you through the bike fitting process. It was a no brainer to jump in when offered and be able to support one of our biggest QT2 sponsors… Kestrel! Bike Loft and Kestrel are such a positive team to be a part of and I can’t thank Jeremy enough!!!!!!

Congrats to the Wizard!

In case you haven’t heard, QT2’s head couch and founder Jesse Kropelnicki earned his USAT Level III coaching certification, allowing him to join the elite ranks of about 20 coaches nationwide to attain this level. I thank my lucky stars for the ability to be coached by, mentored in coaching and to have been invited by him to join one hell of a coaching team at Qt2. I don’t think words can express how much I LOVE what I am doing. Congrats to Jesse!!!!!

Yoga at Breathe

As I eluded to last week I have been cutting a few things from my schedule, and my Tuesday night Downtown class had to be one of those casualties. It’s so hard for me to say no. But I still am teaching at Breathe’s Pittsford location Monday nights at 7:15pm and Saturday mornings at 10:30am. What? You aren’t flexible? Good. I am your teacher then.

Whew. This week we also begin our second four-week session of Teens Living With Cancer……. so we will have an update on Thursday!

TriDigest

Big thanks over to our pals at TriDigest for making us their featured blog this week! Which reminds me that I am behind on my publication writing!!!!!

And now…… back to our regularly scheduled blog.

There are 31 days left until I swim under the stars. Unless you live under a rock in my world you might have a slight clue that I swim outside from April 1st through November 30th. Outside in western New York? Yes. Yes it’s true. I swim at the esteemed MidTown Athletic Club. The pool is eighty degrees, the lifeguards are the best and there is even a fireplace. In fact while I am swimming the lifeguards will put my swim parka in front of the fire.

31 days to go.

In the winter I spend four months in swimming purgatory. The YMCA. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the YMCA for everything that the YMCA is. It’s the perfect place to train. However there are pool characters in every pool that I find to be incredibly entertaining. They actually make my four months indoors more tolerable. I am very sure that when they see me return to the pool for these four months their eyes roll. Why?

Lane balance. I upset the lane balance.

Everyone has their lane in the pool and they get territorial. Once a woman stopped me while swimming and told me I was in her lane. I smiled at her and asked her if she paid a special rate to swim in this particular lane. Confused she shook her head, in fact she didn’t pay a membership at all as she was an employee. Now anyone in the world knows if you are an employee where you train…. you have last priority when it comes to anything. At Breathe if a class is sold out teachers are the first to get kicked out. That’s not only courtesy, it’s good customer service. So I reminded this lady that I essentially paid her salary so swimming in the next lane over would probably be a good option.

No problems ever again.

Then there is angry dude. This man walks onto the deck at 5:15am pissed off from the get go. He never says good morning or hello. Ever. The only thing he ever says to me is “Watch those paddles.” To which I will reply…. have I ever hit you? He never answers. The answer is no. I have never hit anyone in our pool in fact.

They treat me like a criminal when I whip our my paddles and I kind of like it. They act like I wear a lethal weapon. Well, I am related to Chuck Norris so I could see how that could happen.

The truth of the matter when swimming with me is this: as a swimmer my awareness in the pool is the best. I know where you are when I flip turn, I know what stroke you are doing. I know when we will pass and I time my stroke accordingly. Not only have I never hit anyone with my paddles, I am your dream lane mate.

Why?

Because I am not chatty. Because I stay on my side. Because we will never hit hands. Because if you are nice and my paddles make you that nervous…… just politely ask me to not wear them…. and I will take them off. Verbally assault me like angry dude does and I will wear them for 4K.

If I see you standing on the deck I will invite you to circle swim. Sure it’s great to split a lane but unless you pay a higher membership rate then the poor chap waiting on the deck….. suck it up and learn some technique. Get in with us… I will say. My lanemate will hate me but it’s swimming. Come on.

Growing up swimming etiquette was drilled into our heads. My Coaches were instant that we would be good swimming citizens. We were taught how to circle swim with faster and slower swimmers. We were taught that it is really the faster swimmer’s responsibility to go around you, not yours to stop and let them pass. We were taught to circle swim on the right and on the left. We were taught to split the lane with two and three people. Yes…. three. We were taught how to swim in a crowded pool with paddles the size of garbage can lids and never hit anyone.

If you do hit someone, just move on. It happens. People have wide recoveries, people swim like Grover runs. It’s life. You can spend your hour in the pool pissed off, or you can spend your hour making it work for you. Make a challenge out of it….. can I pass this guy here? If the guy with the wide recovery is coming towards you and is hogging the lane…. what if you dolphin dove under like you were rounding a buoy?

I was practically born in the pool and while I am a far cry from the swimmer I once was (I am also a far cry from the 10K per day we used to swim) I can still hold my own while swimming much less than others. I swim because I love it. I swim because I love the sensation of the water as I push-off the wall for the first time. I love how the world goes from noisy to quiet when I take that first stroke.

I love to stare at the black line.

I love to race the clock. The old-fashioned clock. Not the digital.

But soon, my days at the YMCA will come to a close for 8 months. The pool characters will miss me, I am oh so sure of it. I am sure they will survive.

For eight months I will breathe fresh air every time I take a stroke. I will cherish every darn yard I do. Because I will be swimming OUTSIDE!!!!!!!!!

31 actually!

 

 

h1

Focus

February 27, 2012

I spent a few hours on Saturday morning staring at a wall. There is a nail in the wall and I don’t know why. The only time I look at it is when I am riding. The only time I even wonder about it is when I am riding. I have no idea why it is there. I have never thought to take it out. I just stare at it.

And so goes the life of a triathlete. Truth of the matter is this: I have spent the better part of 15 years doing these types of trainer rides. These days however they stay a bit on the shorter and more frequent sides….. I was just never the same after that one trainer I did a few seasons ago. Five hours in the dark. No music no TV no fan. Yeah, I hae not been quite right since.

Since I have put in my time I ride my 200 miles spread out amongst the weekdays now with a 3-4 hour-long ride. When I get outside…. I hit the road for at least 6.

I am beginning to feel like a bear in a cave.

Texas 70.3 is not far off and while I never come blasting out of the gate in PR mode….. I feel a little bit itchy. I have been on lots of race courses and this might be the most boring ever. 27-28 miles out…… turn around and come back. Flat as flat can be yet wind that is not only confusing, it’s downright hellacious. It’s a one gear, stare at the nail in the wall in front of you sort of course. And it’s hot. It’s Texas for crying out loud. If I wanted cold I’d not go to Texas. There is something about Texas though that keeps drawing me back. This time I am leaving with a cowboy hat.

Hopefully by then I will be aboard my new Kestrel, if not a Cervelo P2 Carbon ain’t a bad bike to … sigh…. have… to ride. .

I do know for sure that I am eager to get out there and dust off some of these cobwebs. A lot has changed this season. A lot. Me as an athlete. Me as a coach. The competition is stronger and younger, but I am stronger and older. And wiser. They might be running 1:15 half marathons but I have done 6 Ironmans. I know what it’s like to barf on the rocks and I know what it feels like to completely nail it. It feels good but oh so bad. You learn something about yourself through 140.6 miles. I can talk about it all I want but until you experience it…. well you just have to wait then.

I came out of last week… and everything it brought with it…. with a calm and focused feeling. While it ripped me apart emotionally I nailed my week of training to add to the previous weeks and blocks. It would have been okay to miss, to relax, but something about achieving miles day after day helps me deal with the miles I was traveling in my mind. Not only did I nail the miles I nailed the restoration. That’s the real key right there.

Sunday I was fortunate to spend the day on the couch (after workouts were done) with my feet up and my laptop. It was like the guys knew I needed a decompression day, that’s what they gave me. No one body slammed me, poked at me, harassed me or made bodily noises around me (if you have boys you know what I mean). It was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Along with a pretty big dose of focus.

 

 

h1

Finding Mary

February 25, 2012

First things first: there is nothing to worry about. Everything is fine. Sadly however there is no alien baby… and how odd is it that when I collected names Chewbacca happened to be the top of every single list? We come from the same generation friends.

Once again please accept my thanks for everything throughout the past week. Out of the woodwork came friends that I hadn’t connected with in years, messages and just words of love poured in and let me be honest…. I was extremely overwhelmed. See, when I am writing or announcing or teaching the class there is a certain amount of control (if you will) that I have over the situation. When I put out there that this abdominal mass was found I did it because….. someone, somewhere out there has gone through this. Touched……. comforted…. entertained…… are not even the words to describe. Possibly connected. I can’t thank you enough. I really can’t.

Too many in this situation though…….have yielded a much different result.

I got lucky. Real lucky.

I am best case scenario.

Thank*You*God

Quite honestly last night was the first night I slept in over a week. It’s funny what possibilities will ignite something within you that you didn’t even know you had. Maybe it’s a mother’s instinct but I kept thinking to myself…. like hell am I leaving this kid. Feel that, feel just a touch of that and it’s understandable how women move semi trucks off their children with their bare hands. Something frighteningly powerful and strong rises right out of your heart and you draw your guns with the intention of absolutely blasting anything that might stand in your way. Do not f*ck with me. It became my mantra all week-long. Still is in fact.

Remember that mental fitness chat we had the other day?

When my doctor stated I could get back to training….. I thought…..like I stopped? Somehow I have hit one of the best training weeks of my season so far. I am seconds away from hitting the numbers I crave… that magical 20 hour week. I feel incredible. I feel like I have run 10 miles this week. And I have run over 40.

Remember a few weeks ago we talked about (my) fear of failure?

Yeah…. cured. Imagine that. Snapped right out of that.

Instead it’s been replaced with this intense feeling of focus. That cut the clutter get out of your damn head  focus on the task at hand and listen to your dreams kind of focus. Where you don’t consider the word fear or the word failure. That get me to the start line in Texas April 1st because I am going to throw down and turn my damn self inside out and take all of this… all of these feelings and let them rise to the surface. I am going there on a mission.

I have a fire that’s just waiting for fuel.

In October when I cross the finish line of my 7th Ironman I will come back and read this post and I will remember what came before it. The week of hell but of love. The week of shedding the layers and getting crystal clear of myself. The week that I got incredibly lost yet at the same time I was freaking found. I will realize what the lesson was supposed to be and I will understand why this happened in the first place.

Nothing happens without a lesson. The universe will give you exactly what you need.

What I needed was clarity.

Anyone home upstairs? I can learn in less stressful ways. Then again….. that’s not true at all. I am my father’s daughter after all. (Slightly bull-headed).

Please accept my thanks for the incredible cloud of kindness that you have floated me on the past week. It was unexpected but so appreciated. It was overwhelming, and that is a good thing for me. Like I said it’s nothing and nothing to worry about. We are continuing the game around here but this time the horizon isn’t foggy.

It’s crystal clear.

I am here for a reason. And we’ve got work to do

h1

Inside the mind

February 23, 2012

I have really been diving into mental fitness this season. Not only is it part of our QT2 approach to training, it’s something many of us have struggled with at one point or another in our careers. Maybe we didn’t even realize it either. This week especially my mental fitness if not my mental health has been put to the test like never before. Sometimes the diagnosis isn’t the issue, it’s the waiting.

Update? There is no update. All we have right now is mystery alien baby whose name will likely be Chewbacca. At least that’s the name that gets all the votes. By Friday afternoon the question of the gender should be answered.

Before I forget… many thanks for the unbelievable kindness and love and words. One thing you realize through an event like this is that you have more people in your corner than you possibly realize. And the two people who run in the opposite direction….. were never there to begin with. Now let’s move on because I am NPO after 6am, and have a workout to do!

One thing we must remember about mental fitness….. it’s different from mental health. At our QT2 coaching conference in December Jesse phrased it perfectly “We won’t have physical fitness without having physical health first. And we can’t have mental fitness without mental health.”

Well said coach.

With the publishing of Chrissie Wellington’s autobiography we are already reading snippets of what it will be about. One things has always been clear about Wellington: she has superior mental fitness. It seems however we have become so drawn into the gadgetry of our sport that some think this whole mind over matter thing is something new.

It’s not. It’s the oldest trick in the book. Wellington happens to be a fresh reminder to not forget about it. To be honest it’s what catapulted Lisa Bentley to 11 Ironman victories despite having Cystic Fibrosis. It’s what Natasha Badman used to earn her Kona wins and certainly what brought Mark Allen to the finish line before Dave Scott that day…. back in the day. Now athletes have all the right tools, but need to remember the most important tool. Their minds.

If you were in our sport in the late 90’s, even early 2000’s you know that not only was a Garmin unheard of, no one had a powermeter, unless they had a computrainer. Most didn’t know what to do with that either. Many had heart rate monitors but there was none of this incessant (guilty myself of this) tracking and analyzation of our performances back then. The boom of technology has been awesome for our sport. It’s brought athletes to entirely new performance levels and allows us as coaches to become even more connected with those we coach.

Many think that when I came to QT2 I was switched out of my head and body and onto my Garmin. Sure it looks that was from the outside, but I assure you it isn’t the case. I came here a broken athlete who was promised a return to new heights if I had patience. I have had a lot of patience and I have used these past two years as my seasons of understudy. I learned to ride the bike correctly. Outsiders think we at QT2 sit back on the bike. We don’t. We ride at our best sustained effort for 56 or 112 miles (depending on race distance). The reason it appears that way is because others ride it as if it’s a 10K time trial. It’s not that we held back and surge ahead, it’s that they fall back and our athletes rock the run. When so many of our peeps run sub 3:05 in Kona off the bike, of course it might appear otherwise.

What I have learned is how to evenly pace. I learned to handle my nutrition. Before I came here I was a vomiting overpacing wreck of an athlete who struggled with injuries and other issues. Now I am about to embark on what I feel may be my best season yet. Hinging of course on alien baby.

But back to this mental fitness stuff.

I did allow myself to become distracted from it. Not because of a Garmin but because of a busy life. My issues with mental fitness stem from putting everyone else first, which we all do as Moms. Embarrassing as it may sound I have spent much of this season so far paying just as much attention to me.  There is a difference between narcissism and making yourself a priority. I don’t know how we become our own last priority but we do. It’s made all the difference so far this season.

I think there is a very healthy balance we as athletes can stroke between our mind and our watches. Have you ever stopped running because your Garmin hasn’t located, or freaked out because your heart rate is reading 220? Have you ever done it in a RACE? I can proudly say I have never done that, but I have seen and coached athletes who HAVE. Keep running I will scream at them…. it doesn’t matter… KEEP RUNNING!

They will ask me… what should I do?????

Look UP! I will say. It’s time to then turn it off, look away and don’t worry about it. It’s a watch. It’s going to at some point fail and don’t let that hinder you.

Now at the same time maybe you’ve been that athlete who is running along, you look down at your Garmin and say, whoa I’d better get my ass moving! In this case it’s a help.

As I said I think there is a healthy balance. just like with all things in life. Healthy balance. With food, with training, with anything. Too much of an imbalance in anything is unhealthy.

Yesterday I came across this fascinating article called “Talk Nice“, which talks of the mental side of sport as studied by the Acclaimed Dr. Tim Nokes. Nokes refers to this thing called “The governor” which is our mind, and it’s true power over what we can, and think we can’t do. Read it.

Once you realize that you even have a governor, once you see that and see what it has prevented or talked you into doing….. you realize that the most powerful muscle you have in your body is the space between your ears. That’s not just true in sport, it’s true in life.

 

h1

Lessons

February 20, 2012

I questioned myself on whether I should write about my abdominal mass. I really did. Is this something I really wanted to put out there, share on social media? At first I just wrote it all down and saved it, not intending to share it. Just intending to act like everything was normal.

But it wasn’t normal. And I am not a good actor. I am a writer and I share things. Somewhere someone might be going through the same thing and if I write it down someone might at least know they are not alone. I am not one person here and another in real life. I’m just not one of those people who can’t not be real.

It’s a lonely place to be to be truthful, even though there is an entire world around you. You smile at the well wishes and you nod in understanding and hope with everyone that it is in fact an alien baby (what will we name it?). But at the end of the day it’s you. In the arms of whom you love, yes, but still feeling the big black hole of that unanswered question that you began the day with.

If someone else knows that I feel this way too then it’s worth sharing the story. Whatever it is we are going through we are alone but yet we are not.

One day at a time never became so true and so important.

My husband keeps things real. My son keeps things light. My mother and father keep things in perspective. My doctor (s) keep me realistic, My Coach keeps me in the present moment,  and my friends keep me laughing. Then there are the people who pop up with the kindest words and the shoulders to lean on. The ones you don’t expect. Like my friend / colleague Doug. My friend Lynn who treated my concussion in Lake Placid and asked me to spell WORLD backwards. Those are the chocolate chips on top. You put it out there not asking for it or needing it but appreciating the genuine love and friendship around you. That you don’t always take the time to remember is even there.

So lesson number one through all of this is man….. I am eternally grateful for every single person I have in my life. Many I never realized were there.

Sunday morning I got to share a wonderful long run with Greg. I ran without pace and without heart rate just the effort and the feel. I ran a route I have not run in ages, yet it used to be my old standby. Halfway through the run I wondered why I hadn’t been running out here, when I did I became so strong. It’s relentless with hills and beautiful and beautifully painful all at the same time.We ran longer than necessary yet not a minute shorter than needed. We didn’t say much if anything at all but man it was just good to run.

Lesson number two….. run more often with friends and run in beautiful places where I am reminded that there is a great big world out here.

When I got home I made pancakes and eggs and the three of us had a good old fashioned Sunday breakfast. I took a nap on the couch while Curt built a fire in the wood stove. There is nothing like the smell of a wood burning stove. I recently started streamlining my schedule to be home, because home is where I love to be. When I have had to weather storms in my life I am so wickedly lucky that Curt freaking Eggers is the one I weather them with. This man is the sail in my sailboat. The wind beneath my wings and eleven years ago when we said those vows to each other, hell we meant them.

Lesson number three…… home with these guys is where my heart is.

Let’s remember that things like this found in this manner are more often than not benign. It would be really rare if this was a big horrible malignant tumor. Yet these are the situations and experiences that clarify everything very quickly and cause you to realize that you can get caught up in the bullshit of life, or you can get caught up in life. We should not need a brush with anything to snap us into that reality. Suddenly those few people in the world you don’t seem to align with….. don’t matter at all anymore.

Lesson number four  … leave the crap on  the ground.

I felt such freedom in my training just because I looked up and not at the watch, and just to see I recorded everything I did. When I hit everything just as I would have if I were looking….. I came to the understanding that I really do know myself as an athlete. I really can feel it deep within me again. The thought of the remote and small possibility of losing my season hit me hard. For the reason of……. I love to race. I love the taste of the salt water, the feel of the wind on the bike and the sight of a finish line after giving the distance my all. I love that feeling that competition brings to me. I can’t describe that feeling but I feel it when the gun goes off and I feel it when I am in the thick of it. It’s where I find myself every time, I mean find myself. I won’t give that up for anything. I won’t give up that opportunity for anything. Call it love of the game, call it what you will. I won’t let that slip through my hands and once and for all I will just simply remove all the barriers I thought that I even needed to work through. Simple. Start, go, finish. With my heart and my head and the preparation I have underneath me.

Lesson number five……… never allow my passions to be halted.

Believe it or not, whatever this all turns out to be I am glad it happened. I needed a good slap in the face. I needed a good wake up call. I needed a good grab me by the shoulders and shake me and shake me hard. If it turns out to be Alien baby then we need not only a good name but I need a good agent as the press will soon be descending upon my residence and I will need a good deal to be published in tabloids!

Let me straight, in my heart and soul I don’t believe this to be anything horrible. I don’t call that denial I call that realism. I *may* have had a slight panic on Friday to poor Jesse, and a few others (rolling my own eyes here. Get your head on straight Eggers), But they are the ones who snap me back in line and do it quick. We don’t worry about anything until we have something to worry about. I will let you know the moment I know.

There is power in community and there is even greater power in love.

Lesson number six….. soak up the power of love.

Now should you ever experience a scare, unwanted alien pregnancy, whatever it might be….. please know I am here for you. We lean on each other, we get through.

Lesson number seven: don’t be afraid to lean.

Lesson number eight needs no explanation: your parents are always right.

THANK YOU.

h1

Let’s Be Hopeful

February 19, 2012

That’s what my dad said to me when I told him the news. Somehow it’s just so much easier to tell your spouse, and your coach then to tell your parents. As a parent the last thing you want to hear is that anything might be wrong with your child. As a child the last thing you want to do is cause them that feeling. It’s such an interesting experience when you become a parent yourself. You look at your own parents so much differently.

Yet in three words my Dad did what my Dad always does. Acknowledges worry, fear, terror…. and helps you look forward with your chin up.

My doctor found a 4 cm by 4cm mass in my abdomen on Friday. When you find that there are two thoughts that go through your mind: incarcerated hernia or giant tumor. If you are in the medical field you know all too well that knowledge is power but in this case it’s power in a bad way. You scan your doctor’s face for a reaction knowing full well they won’t show anything. How many times have I known a child has a brain tumor before their parents do and come into the room and act like nothing is wrong (because the doctor hasn’t told them yet).

And since I do so much for Cancer and am a nurse….. I am supposed to have a free pass past Cancer, aren’t I?

Then you go to schedule your CT scan and the secretary looks at the giant hand written ABDOMINAL MASS on the requisition and rolls her eyes, because of the type of insurance I have. She motions to the wall behind her and sighs “They just have SO many phone numbers.” She said resting her head in her hand. Now my situation isn’t dire but honey……  don’t act like that requisition is for you. I am more than happy to call the 1-800 number on the back of my card and get this show on the road.

To make a long story short…. and less dramatic than it needs to be… right now we don’t have any definitive answers. I know too many people in this town and field to make me feel better however. Worse than the internet and Web MD are friends who are doctors and nurses. There is a possible  A, B and C diagnosis but nothing for certain just yet to give an answer in any particular direction. And it is a weekend. And Monday is a holiday. We know in healthcare weekends are when things get lost and missed.

It all becomes one giant mental f*ck.

What do you do when it’s you in question? what do you do when it’s you these questions are swirling around? You control what you can control. You have a Shamrock Shake (when did they start putting whipped cream and cherries on shamrock shakes by the way?). You notify those closest to you of the situation. You decide whether to write about it, decide not to, then decide to because it’s more for me than it is for you.

I brought my bike up into the living room this morning and Luc played the wii while I rode. No heart rate, no power, no fancy computrainer. Just the sound of many of the 1,8000 songs on the iPod and watching him fight Darth Vader with incredible eye hand coordination. I am not the biggest fan of these video games but man they sometimes intrigue me. I get such joy out of just watching this kid. I think about the odds he’s defied and the lessons he’s taught me. And I draw upon those lessons.

You control what you can and let go of what you can’t. Or try to. You remember that if it was anything terribly serious you’d be in the emergency department right now. You show off your abdominal mass like it’s a stupid human trick on Letterman.

And you vow that if these results come back and indeed I do face this smoke monster… that I will tear it’s goddamn head off. Most masses like this found in this manner are completely benign. And that’s exactly what we are looking for.

Until then….. as my Dad said … Let’s be hopeful.

h1

I got a feeling

February 18, 2012

Sometimes I just fall in love with this sport all over again. For the experiences it’s allowed me to live, for the people it’s afforded me to meet (my husband for example) for the health I am allowed to live with and …. well for everything. When I think about this the victories and finish lines become the last things I think about. Sure it’s fun to win. Sure it’s great to have a course record but if that was all I was about I think I’d be the saddest person on the face of this earth. Instead I feel like the wealthiest. Not in terms of money but in terms of life. This sport has not just given me a lifestyle…. it’s given me a world that I am more than grateful to live inn.

This week I lost the data on purpose and I got down to the business of training. Sure I recorded everything, I just chose not to live and die by it. Or even look at it. Instead I just wanted to feel it. I love when I do this because I nail my stats better than when I do look at them. I know my body better than any heart rate monitor does and I know my zones by feel. I am very proud of that ability.

It also brings me back to the why of it all. The why I even do this in the first place.

Because it makes me feel so gosh darn alive.

Some people are motivated by words written on their hands or scripts in their minds. I am motivated by feelings and music. Music brings out a feeling when I ride. On the computrainer as I approach Richer Pass (Ironman Canada) I play the same song every time. It’s an instrumental by the band Bond. It’s the 1812. Bond is a group of four violinists who have a more modern feel. Their work hits me and hits me deep and draws out of me something I can’t explain. It just brings something out in me that helps me fly when I need to fly.

And that’s what I go back to during a race.

for me it goes beyond power and pace and HR. I record those of course, but again I no longer look. I again have been able to tap into the feeling which brings me to my personal why and then it closes the loop for me.

It sounds complicated yet it’s simple. My zone 1 run (aerobic / endurance run) should feel a certain way. Like I can talk to someone during it, like I am in a comfortable place. My zone 2 run (tempo effort) should feel like I am going hard, yet if my nemesis pulled alongside me I could take them. Best sustainable efforts….. are balls to the wall efforts.

To me it’s really that simple. What the gadgets do are teach us to learn our bodies again. At some point we stopped trusting them. At some point we stopped believing them. Or perhaps we never learned them.

This week I have to be honest….. it was rough. We all have rough weeks. Hitting the roads for a run and just knowing where I was, looking at the moon, just breathing and moving. It’s the best medicine out there. There are studies that demonstrate that exercise is just as effective as antidepressants in lifting one’s spirits. In fact there are some great studies out there that demonstrate exercise is as effective as antidepressants in alleviating some cases of depression.

That is no secret and that is no coincidence. Move once a day….. is what I have always believed.

There isn’t anything I can go through that a swim, bike or run can’t bring me through. That is the truth.

There are many lessons to be learned on these roads. There are many ways to run 6 miles. You can do it looking at your watch. Or you can do it by looking up, appreciating the world around you and tuning in to what you already know.

That download can happen later. First…… enjoy the ride.