Archive for May, 2012

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Race Week

May 28, 2012

In less than a week I get to race again. Short course. Sprint. None of this race fueling and teeth stinging stuff. None of this pee myself on the bike and cap the HR or power. Just balls out 75 minutes of go as hard as I can go. Professionally speaking we call it “Best sustainable effort”

Again, I am going with balls out. It’s my favorite pace.

I have been dying for this.

I am returning to where it all began for me, literally. Where I did my first triathlon in 1995, or was it 1996? I was under age 25 back then (I am 38 now) and I have gotten to live so much of the triathlon change and growth and history.

That’s what much of this season shall bring for me. Short, hard, turn myself inside out efforts. Until Vegas anyway.

The past 5 days I have taken a good chunk of time to myself. For the most part the phone has been off. The past 8 weeks have been insane, and sometimes you don’t even notice the insanity until one day it comes to a halt and you find yourself trashed. It’s been wonderful. It’s allowed me to reconnect and rediscover and fall in love with many things all over again.

When things get quiet and things get clear that old friend of mine …. I notice him lurking in the corner.

Just a picture for fun! My little Ironman supporter!

Ironman.

Ironman and I have a tumultuous relationship at best. We click or we don’t. Ironman has taught me more about myself than I have ever wanted to know, good and bad. It’s brought out the best and worst in me. It’s seen my best and good lord, it has seen my worst days. In 2008 I was carried of the Lake Placid Course in an ambulance. In 2010 I came back, yet it wasn’t my best. I have 6, or is it 7 of these damn races under my belt. Yet I find myself again hungering for more.

Ironman and I have broken up and reconciled more times than I want to admit. I swear Ironman off, for a year, for forever and find myself longing for it again. I can’t commit either way. I plan on one then I change my mind. Unless I am signed up for one. I love and hate the pull it has on me. I love and hate the way it has a grip on me. I love and hate that I love and hate it at the same time.

I am strong and weak when it comes to this distance. The worst part is this: when I go short course for a season or two like I have done, I see Ironman and get drawn back in. I wish I could relax about our relationship and just admit that sometimes we are good together and sometimes we are not. But I can’t. I waffle when it comes to Ironman. But I accept that about myself. I accept that about this relationship. I know what that finish line means, I know what it represents. It’s not the 140.6 miles you cover on that day. It’s the journey that begins the 365 days before race day.

However Ironman….. you are still on the back burner. At least for 2012. Because Vegas is not that far away and I have some miles to get in and some speed to develop.

Looking at long term development as an athlete is difficult. For many of us long term development means this season. It’s rare to have an athlete, myself included come to us and just have that ability to look 2-3 years down the road. I had a long term plan 2 years ago, and some bumps presented themselves along the way that didn’t disrupt the plan, just changed it a bit. Just because things changed doesn’t mean the long term plan and the long term goals don’t exist anymore. It just means we readjust and align them again.

As I rode for a touch over four hours I felt like myself again. I felt healthy. I felt strong. Part of it was that I am ready. Part of that is that I am healthy. Part of that is the new bike. Something new always feels good.

But I have the desire. That’s all I need. When I have the desire…… look out.

Here at QT2… we have the system. It’s proven. Look at the results of our athletes. We have healthy thriving athletes, who are taking the scene by storm. What we have here works. How lucky am I that I get to train and race in that system?

How lucky am I that I get to work with amazing dieticians at the Core Diet? We have the whole package, I have made so many gains and I am ready to make more.

It’s race season, and I am raring to go. Five more days till I get to toe a start line. And I can’t freaking wait.

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Up next

May 26, 2012

I declare summer…… HERE. We’ve got lots happening!

News:

  • Thanks to Lisa Barnes (writer) and Danielle Meagher (photographer) from Lava Magazine for coming to cover our event this past Wednesday! That article is right here.

Coming events!

  • Saturday June 3rd, triathlon clinics at Keuka! I will be doing two clinics on Saturday before the race.  My transition clinic will begin at 3pm, and my Powermeter clinic will begin at 4pm. For information and location, please click here.
  • I am announcing at Keuka on Sunday and will also have Duel in the Pool T Shirts available! Please stop by the announcer’s tent and buy one, or come on over and say hi!
  • CAMP! We still have a few spots left in our QT2 Systems Lake Placid camp! June 21-24th we will be in Lake Placid training our big hearts out and we’d love to have you along. Click here for more information.
  • Core diet: are you looking for a good quality nutrition program to offer your athletes? Look no further, we now have a Core Diet Affiliate program for coaches and coaching groups. Before I joined QT2 Systems as a coach, I went through this program with my athletes and my former company. It was everything we needed it to be. I highly recommend it. For more information on that, click here.

To say it’s been a busy few weeks, months would be an understatement. The past few days I have literally just been swimming, biking and running. Over this long weekend I am in a mini camp, all by myself, just to clear my head and get ready for what’s coming!!!!I am excited to be racing a bunch of short course events this season and yes….. a return to Ironman in 2013 is on the docket. There is one Ironman I want to do above all other Ironman races. You know which one it is.

Kershaw Park is open for swimming. My group normally meets a few times a week there at 5:30am. In the morning we enter at the boat launch, I believe that if you swim during  the day you’d want to enter through the boat house (I am not 100% sure about that). Swim along the buoys and you will be all good. Clearly I had an issue with swimming straight on this one!

On Friday I wore a sleeved suit, but would have been fine in sleeveless, which I will wear on Monday! remember to swim with a buddy even though it’s shallow enough to touch the whole way. Safety first!

 

I use the Garmin 910Xt

 

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TLC Fit: The Cait Snow visit

May 24, 2012

To understand the end, you have to understand the beginning.

My introduction to teens and cancer began long ago as a pediatric nurse. Until you are on your hands and knees at the side of their bed, holding their head as they vomit and vomit and vomit. Until it’s 2 am and you are fishing for that vein in an overpoked body, weary and bruised to the bone, because you have to get an IV line, and they are staring at you with tears in their eyes.

Until you have watched them take their last breath and open their eyes like to many do as they are about to cross from this life to the next….. and you see the look of joy and the lack of fear and the courage beyond anything you could ever have yourself…..

Until you have experienced that side of cancer….. well until I did at least….. this is why I feel the way I do about these kids. For this and many other reasons… this is why I understand the fight they fight and for this and too many other reasons…. this is why I hate cancer.

Cancer in this age group has a bastard of a tendency to be misdiagnosed, not diagnosed, diagnosed late. Just last night we discussed case after case of late diagnosis. Cancers that diagnosed 18 months ago, could have been curable. As parents we don’t look at teenagers bodies the way we do toddlers, so we miss bumps and bruises. Teenagers certainly don’t tell their parents about them.

As teenagers symptoms such as anemia is often lumped into “All teenage girls have low iron.”. That happened to Melissa. Or fatigue is blamed on mono. Leah had thyroid cancer for ten years that was blamed on mono. Then a giant mass was removed from her neck. 16 months later she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s. That’s an awesome way to spend age 14-30.

Last night was the final assessment for our Teens Living With Cancer  fitness program. On January 25th we cycled through these same assessments. You may remember from that night it got ugly. Real ugly. Like they needed anything worse to happen to them.

Hey there, you survived cancer. You missed so much of your teenage years, you lost your hair, your friends, some of your body parts. Here is how out of shape you are! Have a nice day!

They came back. For eight weeks they came back. Slowly they began making eye contact with me again. Slowly they started creating goals for themselves and as you and I have discussed before, they went from forgetting to set a weekly goal and forgetting to work out…… to working out daily and setting more goals than we wanted them to.

At the end of eight weeks we did the same assessment again. The results were so-so. for a variety of reasons. A variety of controllable reasons. They didn’t walk out of there disappointed…… they walked out of there hungry. Not satisfied. Wanting more. The next 8 weeks they were on their own, we didn’t meet weekly. We wanted to see if they would continue. The goal we set was the Lilac Festival 5K.

Last night they rocked their assessments. Jeremy pulled a total of 46 seconds off his timed mile. The girls chicked the guys in situps. They smiled, laughed and realized the efforts they had put in were worth it.Last night we also had a special guest come to see them. I am fortunate to have the platform of this blog and social media to share these teens with you. Many of you have been following them and their story for the better part of a year, a year ago is when this all began, in the planning stages at least.

They have captured your hearts in many ways and have inspired many of you to do something, and even to jump on board with us.

Professional triathlete and QT2 Coach Cait Snow came to town with her sister, Mikalea. Cait returned home on Monday from Ironman Texas where she placed second with a stunning 2:51 marathon off the bike, one of the fastest Ironman marathons for the women in Ironman history.

Cait donated a helmet to our kick off raffle back in April when Mr. Armstrong came to town. By complete chance one of the girl in the TLC Fit program, won her helmet. That girl’s name was Michaela… same name as Cait’s sister. Michaela, survived Hodgkin’s and she’s a tall beautiful girl. She doesn’t like to be the center of attention, she thinks she can hide in the back of the crowd unnoticed…. but we noticed her. Cait…. inspired by Michaela’s story had an idea of how she might be able to help.

Michaela didn’t have a bike. In this economy it just wasn’t on her family’s radar. She looked so beautiful in that helmet, but the helmet would probably need to be saved for another time, another day another chapter.

Cait was swimming one day and had an idea. If there is one thing I learned through all of this, and one thing we all should have learned through all of this, is that there is no harm in asking, in dreaming big and in reaching. So Cait…. did just that.

She asked her bike sponsor Quintana Roo, if they might be able to help her secure a bike for Michaela. The kind folks at QR knew all about Teens Living With Cancer and the kick off with Lance Armstrong….. and they were quick to let Cait know they’d be happy to help. And the idea was born and the plan was created. She and Mikalea came all the way from Boston and surprised Michaela with a Quintana Roo bike. Signed by Cait of course!

The presentation of the bike!

Michaela had NO IDEA. We told her mom just moments before, who erupted into tears. Not only did Quintana Roo send a bike for her, Pearl Izumi donated running shoes, jerseys, hats, t shirts and arm warmers. Rudy Project donated bags, visors, t shirts and sunglasses. Fuel Belt donated hydration projects. Blue Seventy donated swim gear. FOR ALL OF THE KIDS. Each teen got a Rudy Project bag FILLED with great things…..

Thank you Cait and all of the sponsors!

The Geneva Bicycle Center has also donated a bike fit for Michaela, and are going to teach her the ins and outs of how to handle such a great ride!

I can only imagine that Cait, as a professional triathlete who relies on sponsors for not only the best gear but for supporting her career… has to feel pretty damn good to be representing such quality companies. They all gave selflessly and without question. They know that giving these teens this stuff doesn’t make what they went through better. But it inspires them to continue their journey.

Thanks to all of Cait’s incredible sponsors. And of course to Cait and Mikalea for coming all the way out here.

Cait and Mikalea took in the stories, the center, they listened and talked with all of the teens. They watched them go through the assessments, wanted to know more, learn more and really understood what Teens Living With Cancer is all about. And how small we were. They got it. They really got what happens here. To be able to share this with them was such a gift. Their presence last night was such a gift to the teens. They listened as Cait told her story about how she got started, what inspires her, motivates her and what it means to run down Ali’i Drive every October.

You could tell that the inspiration was flowing both ways.

When you walk into the center you see a wall of pictures. Pictures of faces of the teens that have been in the programs that TLC has to offer. These pictures depict healthy, smiling happy teens. In the below picture you can see a bit of that wall. This is Katie, we call her Katie the researcher, who was in charge of the research piece of the study (she’s our unsung hero and due…. today in fact!)

Whenever people come in and look at that wall, I let them know that many of the pictures are of teens who are now dead. Who didn’t make it. In the picture, you see Charlie, he’s at the top, with curly brown hair. He died. He would have been 25 this past March. He didn’t make it.

That’s the stark reality of this whole thing. This  b*tch we call cancer. In this age group especially due to more factors than we even want to admit, it steals these vibrant beautiful teens from our lives.

Getting the word out there is my mission. Our mission. Many of you have jumped onto this mission because you realize and understand that we can’t lose another Charlie. We can’t have late diagnosis, we can’t mis diagnose and treat for mono when cancer is the culprit. Through all of this … you all have realized that as well. Those of you who have come to our aid … we are indebted to.

Sharing is the way we did this. You allowed me to share these Teens with you and you in turn shared them with your world. People out there want to help, especially triathletes. We want to do something we just don’t always know how.

Lance Armstrong told us that we have to take care of each other and we have to pay it forward. I think through these past 6 months that has been shown, proven, demonstrated… that we can and that we do.

This chapter might be over, but this endeavor is far from over. This was the first fitness program for Teens Living With Cancer, in the country. The next grant is being written, the fitness program is being adapted, modified changed. And there is another kick off coming this October in Kona…..

Thank you. Thank you to all of you. Thank you to Cait, and Mikalea and to all of the sponsors who sent gifts last night. Thank you to all of you for stepping up, stepping forward and for making the last few months really special for these Teens. I will have that donor list this week and I can’t wait to write every thank you card myself.

Thank you Lauren and Leah. You are the ones who work this from the ground up.

Thank you Melissa. What you had to go through was too high of a price. But we know you are up there watching, smiling. We know you are with us, and we can only hope that we are helping your mother keep the promise.

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Lilac 5K race Report

May 21, 2012

This is a different kind of race report. This was the goal that we set together on January 25, 2012, which was my birthday and the first night of our Teens Living With cancer Fitness Program. As you remember that was a rough night. The teens walked into an assessment that revealed to them how strong and fit they were not.

Their lack of strength of fitness was due to their journey through cancer. Chemotherapy, surgeries, medications, hospital stays, etc. Our most difficult training days as athletes pale in comparison to what these kids went through.

And then we kicked them in the teeth.

Many of them didn’t want to come back after that first night. Reality is a hard thing to face sometimes and to be honest, they’ve seen more than their fair share of reality. More than you or I ever will at least.

But they came back and through the next 8 weeks they changed their lives. They practiced yoga, built strength with ther-a-bands and lifted weights using water filled milk jugs (we didn’t have funding for actual weights, we got creative). They walked circles and circles inside of a building. When it got nice out we went outside.

And Sunday…… we finished what we started. They completed the Lilac 5K.

Alec was the first to pull into the parking lot. He was just declared Cancer free a few weeks ago and has his last biopsy this coming Wednesday. He’s an adventurous sort of kid and he jumped out of his car looking like he …. was tired. It was after all, 7am.

“I got 6 hours of sleep” He cried out. To me that’s bragging, but to a teenager, that’s torture! I smiled. I am so proud of these teens.

They rolled in one by one by one. Paige snuck out of the house after returning home from her own sister’s wedding at 1:30am, and needing to get this 5K done and over with, because she had to get back home to help with family brunch. She essentially snuck out of the house. “My mom’s gonna kill me.” she said.

They all arrived and we donned our matching orange T shirts, thank you to Mike Rief at Innovative Edge Sports, for these, and to the Richard Burke Family for sponsoring our team!

One by one they arrived, looking tired yet excited. This was everyone’s first race ever, and it had been a long time coming. It was a gorgeous day and we were ready.

Together we walked over to the race site, walking nice and briskly to get warmed up. Within our group would be two groups. Runners and walkers. My training buddies laughed when I told them I was walking a 5K. But today I was very proud to walk a 5K. These teens and I set this goal together and we would achieve it together.

Before the race I had the unique opportunity to address the athletes on the microphone. Our group was standing in front of the field, facing it. One or two runners did ask me if we were going to move. Knowing that these guys would feel like absolute asses when they heard what I was going to say on the mic, I assured them we would be as soon as I gave a quick few words. They meant no harm, if I had seen a bunch of kids standing in front of my swim in a triathlon I would have said the same thing. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of a perspective bump. After all this is a pretty big race around here and the best of the best come out.

Dan Medved welcomed the crowd and the runners and then handed me the mic. I introduced them to the kids, and let everyone know that this goal had been set on January 25th of this year. People are starting to know who we at Teens Living With Cancer are….. in fact big thanks to Chrissie Wellington and Greg Welch of Ironman dot com, as they gave TLC and our Duel in the pool a giant shout out during Ironman Texas coverage!

I reminded them that our worst training day is nothing compared to what these teens have been through. Chemotherapy, surgery, things we can’t imagine. It’s true. What….. we have some sore joints…. a high heart rate? Try having bone marrow drawn from your tailbone. Perspective.

The crowd gave them a giant cheer and we assumed our position in the field according to what we were doing.

As the gun went off I settled in with Brittany, Bryn, Michaela, and Lauren. We had a good and steady pace. We averaged just under 15 min miles and they were all amazing. We walked briskly, navigated water stops, the girls had a riot throwing their cups on the ground (don’t worry, they get picked up!).

I kept reminding them that each step was a step closer to the finish line.

They relished the race experience. With each passing mile they knew it wasn’t bad, they kept up the pace, they hit the water stops.

Brittany, Michaela and I ran once we hit mile 3. We had a few competitors we needed to drop. You would have thought these girls were the race winners with how the crowd went nuts. I did my best to scream and point to them and I stayed right behind them. We were in this together, that’s for sure.

Post race we met up with the running group and there were awesome tales. The “Oh man I felt like I was gonna hurl” to “I dumped water right over my head”. They were spent but they were elated. There is nothing, nothing like your first finish line. I always remind athletes that they only get one first finish line.

They loved it. absolutely loved it.

I thought back to that night in January. They didn’t know me well, I didn’t know them well. They put their blind faith in me, in us. I didn’t do anything magical, this credit does not belong to me.  To them I am the nudger. I am the cheerleader. They are the ones who overcame. They overcame cancer, they overcame doubt, they overcame all those barriers that hold people back from achieving their dreams.

Cancer gave them a unique sources of perspective to draw from. “I had cancer, I can do this.” They can apply that to anything in their life.

Of all the races I have done in my life, the wins, the qualifications, the defeats….. this was my proudest. I was honored to walk alongside these Teens who have been through days that I can’t even begin to imagine. Who have legs that are pinned together, who were given odds not in their favor. Who walked around in the most impressionable years of their lives without hair, without knowing if they even had a future.

This 5K was them not grabbing their life back, but continuing to create their path.

They wanted to know when the next race was.

Soon grasshoppers, soon.

This coming Wednesday is the final assessment of our TLC Fitness program. We are testing their fitness levels 8 weeks after the study ended. So far the research concluded that I could have pushed them harder, which I knew. We are already planning the next program where the ante will definitely be stepped up. Instead of milk jugs filled with water we are hoping for kettleballs. I have some TRX suspension trainers on the way. I have ideas and thoughts and things flowing.

The sky is the limit. That’s what these teens have taught me. Let nothing hold us back, and never stop dreaming.

Way to go team!

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Eggers vs Macca. It’s on.

May 18, 2012

As I stood at the Teens Living With Cancer Hole in one golf tournament I couldn’t help but stare at the pictures. They were like posters on a stick with the faces and the names of the Teens. Every other one….. is dead. Sobering to say the least.

The passion for this two person organization burns still and it burns bright. I f*cking hate cancer. HATE IT.  My hatred for it stirs something within me that I can’t explain. Cancer is a bastard. I am so tired of it ripping people away from me and away from ….. anyone. Right now I have one way to fight back and one way to arm these teens who have had cancer… in their battle to prevent a secondary cancer.

Challenging World Champions to a kick off. Good god it happened again.

I am not sure how we got it started. My homegirl Jen Small and I were conversing on Twitter yesterday and somehow…. with a few others joining in on the conversation I found myself with another challenge on hand. This time…. two time Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack, known to those of us in triathlon world as Macca.

So it’s on. Macca and I will kick off in Kona this October. I will be there coaching and well, for the underpants run. Lifelong dream folks. I know, aim high.

I will be very honest with you. Since the Armstrong kick off ended I was feeling a bit lost. We raised a lot of money but we have more to go. We have more to do, we have more teens to reach. I have this platform and I need to use it. I look at these Teens week after week and I need to keep this ball bouncing, rolling, spreading. I feel an insurmountable … feeling that I need to continue this.

How Mr. Armstrong fared……

Having a bigger purpose is a gift. Having something to work for that is so much more than you gives you drive like none other.Those who don’t understand will think it’s about you. Those who do get it….. you guys….. get that it’s all about Teens Living With Cancer.

Mr. McCormack lost his mother to breast cancer and began a foundation called MaccaNow. It’s amazing. It’s wonderful. What a way to honor the woman who raised you. I identify with him in his experience with cancer just like I did Mr. Armstrong. Just like I do these teens. What if we keep pulling those who are at the forefront in the fight…. what if we keep pulling them together. Keep fighting. Keep challenging, keep kicking….. together you and I ….. we make a difference.

Many more details to come. We have some time. And don’t worry, I ain’t afraid of M. McCormack. He is an Aussie which means he is completely crazy (crazy good as we say ’round here). Hell…… he gave me the secret to getting in his head right in his book. Mr. Armstrong wasn’t easy on me and I sure as hell don’t expect Mr. McCormack to be either. You bring it on brother.

The beautiful thing is this….. I have read your book, I have watched you race. You know nothing about me. I have had good results, I have had bad results. I have had everything in between sir. I have you right where I want you.(insert evil laugh here)

Mr. McCormack though….. is just another example of a professional athlete who is willing to use his platform and his place in this world to make a difference in a positive way.  admire that beyond belief . I am inspired by that. I am inspired to reach as someone like he does. I thank people like him in this world who do something. And for the right reason.

“You did what?” My husband asked me. “Oh my god.”

It’s back to the kickboard I go. Being that those of you who aren’t in the world of triathlon aren’t aware of who he is…. this becomes a bit more intimate, a bit more organic but trust me we have the same focus and the same drive. Details are being worked out as we speak because…. well I didn’t have a plan for this. It started out as a joke between Jen and I and well,Mr. McC. never backs down from a challenge.

I chicked Mr. Armstrong (choke, laugh) …. can I chick Macca? More importantly, how much can we raise? How much awareness can we bring? Can we absolutely kick the sh*t our of Cancer AGAIN?

Maybe these things are my way of giving cancer the middle finger. I have a feeling…. Mr. McC might feel the same way.

Oh and before I forget! Next Wednesday is our final assessment night of TLC Fit…. we have a special guest coming. An Ironman Champion. Stay tuned!

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Speaking my language

May 17, 2012

I opened Chrissie Wellington’s book expecting to read about Ironman. I expected her to reinvigorate me about the race, draw me back to it and inspire me all over again.I expected to read about training under Brett Sutton, about the feeling of being the Hawaii Ironman World Champion not once, twice but four times. I expected to be brought to tears by the feeling of winning.

What I didn’t expect was to open a book to read about someone with whom I resonate very deeply with in two areas of life that are not related to multisport. Eating Disorders and our work. As I read her words that detailed her thoughts about what it was like to live in the mind of one with an eating disorder I thought to myself…. exactly, she is articulating it exactly as it is.

I read the thoughts of a woman who has been there like I have and who understands the battle and who understands the shame and the feelings that you have when this is actually the world you live in. It was like she opened my head and read my mind. That battle of perfection, that self-created pressure of competing against yourself, being your own harshest critic and expecting nothing except 110% of yourself. No one in eating disorder world ever speaks of that. And that’s where it is and what is true. Those of us who are fortunate to have found recovery get that, understand that and we feel that we owe it to those who we hurt through it.

As you travel through your life and come into the presence of people who would do anything to have the health you once literally flushed down the toilet, you notice a deep and insurmountable desire to pay it backwards at the same time you pay it forward. Their lack of…. becomes your cause. Because you had so much and chose to treat it badly. Your obsession became your worst enemy and now…… you feel indebted to those who need the help you can give.

You give to them not for accolades. Not to be noticed. Not to become famous. You do it because it’s the right thing to do.

It’s one thing… as Chrissie says… to hand them a pen with your logo on it. It’s an entirely different situation to teach them to do for themselves.

I have always….. always struggled with that. For ten years I threw up and deteriorated my own health. When I was able to gain it back I embarked on this athletic career which has given me more than I deserve. What we do with that….. how we do it…… let me correct myself…. what I do with that and how I do it became extremely important to me.

This whole thing with Mr. Armstrong my main focus was the kids. It meant I had to do a lot of press but as long as we stuck to the issues we were on the good foot. It was inescapable that we had to embrace the star power and how it all happened. At the end of the day I slept well each night knowing that what we were doing and why we were doing it was because of the most authentic intentions. We raised over $61,000 in that experience and while the media hoopla has died down, we have kept on going.

Because we can give a teen a t-shirt and tell them it’s going to be ok. Or we can teach them the tools they need to make their own OK.

I found Chrissie’s book to speak to that passion for this kind of work, that lives inside of me. That feeling that isn’t guilt for what I have and someone else doesn’t, but that feeling that I can use my platform as an athlete and all the things I do to make a difference in my own way. Trust me when you are able to do that your biggest trophy is teeny in comparison.

Mr. Armstrong in his speech reminded us that we have to take care of one another. That we have to look out for each other. That we have to pay it forward. Chrissie emphasizes that as well, and daily I see more and more people embracing it. Some will always do it for the recognition they think it affords them or for personal gain. In my opinion, who cares the reason? If it helps someone then what happens in the end is that it teaches us to do the right thing and to be the right person.

This Sunday I will be walking with our Teens from TLC Fit in the Lilac 5K. When a friend heard I was doing that he asked me….. are you ok with a walk time in print?

I was almost offended at the question. He pointed out my competitiveness. He’s right. Absolutely, I am competitive. That is not a secret. I felt good, really good that the thought had not crossed my mind until he asked me that. This walk isn’t about me it’s realizing a goal that we at TLC Fit set together on my birthday in January. The first night of the program.

That night we said that we would complete the Lilac 5K in May. There are teens who can’t run and trust me they want to. But they can’t. I will be with them. Not because I want to be seen doing that, but because on that evening back in January some of these teens didn’t believe me that they’d be able to do it.

And now they are just days away from it.

That… will be more rewarding than any Ironman finish line I have ever achieved.

Reading Chrissie’s book helped me feel validated in this endeavor. That it’s okay to use what you achieve to catapult something else. That it’s okay to repay what you did to your own health by sharing what you know with others. At the same time it’s okay to feel the passion that you feel for your sport and it’s okay to pursue your goals and dreams simultaneously. In fact do both together and have the most exhausted and rewarded feeling when you collapse into bed each night.

It’s an odd mix of passions but ultimately one that can go hand in hand. My parents have always taught me that when it comes to chasing your dreams that the rules don’t apply. As long as you are good to others and treat people right then the rules of what should be just don’t matter.

I highly recommend the book. Expect to be talked to about heart rates and wattages. Be blown away by the passion for making a difference. My challenge to you then, is to follow through with it.

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Life is but a dream

May 14, 2012

Before we begin…..

  • Thank you to everyone who came out to the Teens Living With Cancer Hole in One Contest this weekend. It’s still going on, so visit the website for details! Click HERE!
  • Because of the above, I wasn’t able to get the donor list yet (Lauren is slightly overwhelmed, can’t imagine why?) but I shall have it soon. I can’t wait to sit down with a PEN and a beautiful Thank You card I had specially made to hand write my thanks to all of you. This may take me some time but they will come.
  • Professional Triathlete Jennie Hansen will be presenting a clinic on running injuries and biomechanics. It’s this Tuesday night at 7:15 at fleet Feet Rochester. The girl runs a sub three-hour marathon and a 1:22 half marathon off a 56 mile bike. I’ll be there, and I hope you will too!
  • Tuesday mornings have become the new Friday night at Cycledelic Indoor Cycling Studio. We’ve been hitting up Matt’s class at 6am, and we love it. Come join us, if you are a triathlete this will suit you well!
  • My other secret obsession is Fusion. A functional strength training class taught by one of Rochester’s best personal trainers, Steve from Midtown Athletic Club. More to come on that class, but it’s the new Saturday night. 6am. You should be there.
  • Our Teens Living With Cancer Fit Program will be at the Lilac 5K this weekend! I will be walking with some of our teens, others will be running but THIS was the goal of the program! We’ve got some great sponsors to thank, so stay tuned!

After a weekend like this past one you can’t help waking up Monday morning feeling like the world is at your fingertips. No matter what your situation, what your status, who you are I can promise you this: your life is 100% what you MAKE it to be.

Look at an athlete like Olympic bound Manny Huerta, who at this weekend’s ITU San Diego race earned himself a spot on TEAM USA in triathlon. Look at his story and understand that the United States of America is the field of dreams. I hear a lot of people blame their circumstances for what they fail to achieve in life. They are too poor, too slow, too this… insert your excuse here, and then there are those like the Olympic hopefuls that we watched on Saturday who threw it all aside. Manny isn’t the only underdog story out there, believe me. There are a hundred more, he’s just the easiest to use because of what he accomplished this past weekend.

You want to talk about a man who had nothing? Manny Huerta started out with the damn shirt on his back. He could have worked the system and stayed in poverty, but he and his family worked hard. It seems they realized the opportunity that is in this country and they worked their asses off. Working your ass off does not mean it comes easy either.

You want to get to the other side…. you have to walk through the damn fire.

While we all may not have escaped a communist country to do that….. you and I have crossed our own fires before and we continue to do that today. In my life I refused to be a victim, refused to play victim, and when I was down and out I bucked the hell up and got myself to a place where I wanted to be. I have had plenty of chances  to sit down, quit and complain. But my parents taught me otherwise. And they did so without any handouts. They taught me what work meant. They taught me what being responsible for oneself meant.

It’s all in your own hands.

I love what I saw this past weekend from athletes on all levels and in all races.

On Saturday morning I had the opportunity to take part in an indoor triathlon (actually, it was outside, as the pool is outside!) at my gym. I never do short races like this and I haven’t done a relay since I was pregnant (I did three tris as the swimmer while carrying Luc). A team needed a swimmer and I fit the bill. Was it hard to not do the whole thing? No not at all. It was awesome to be a part of something.

We ended up winning the division and a bottle of Chardonnay! Is that like pink wine? And one of my athletes turns out some wicked time trial stats in his last-minute jump into the race!

I got to watch the beautiful group of Moms in Motion here in Rochester, many doing their first, the husband of one of my friends did his first. The man sidestroked that entire swim but damn he did it. I was so honored and proud to see all of the athletes there reaching for a dream. It was amazing.

While I was racing one of my athletes Jennie was out racing in a short duathlon in the next town over. It was the end of a recovery week and I like to give her some zone 3 when possible. I spent the winter slowing her down in training (99% of my job is not to kick your ass, it’s to slow you down) so when the chance arises to give her some speed….. I like to. It’s like giving a kid chocolate.

Not only did she execute, she took the prize money from the race and donated it right back to the foundation the race was raising money for, Two Smiles One Hope. The ability for someone to look at the bigger picture like she did, and use her position as a professional triathlete to set the example, shows what a class act she is. I am more proud of that act than I am of her physical performance.

At the same time that all of this was happening, Ken (another athlete of mine) was racing his season opener in Virginia at the Kinetic Half. His work and consistency over the past 3 years came shining through with one of his best performances and equally best execution ever for him. At the same time Steve up in NH throws down a near PR half marathon in a training race. Really? Awesome. Saturday night I announced the Fly By Night Duathlon down at Watkins Glenn where Greg rips 11 minutes off his time from 2011, Don executes a kick ass race. This weekend it came from all around. Positive people doing positive things with themselves and their talents.

In the San Diego race our QT2 Teammate Ethan Brown turned out the performance of his life, setting the stage for a future olympic bid. This kid has worked long and hard to get where he is and is one of the truest examples of what hard work can do for someone. The stories in San Diego are many and they are all unbelievable. Olympic dreams were realized for some and lost for others. It seems that the ones that were lost though…… the ability to even toe that line was cherished and appreciated.

Mornings like this make you walk outside, take the deepest breath of fresh air that you can, and motivate you to make something of the day and of yourself.

My thought process is this….. when I am 95 years old I will not look back at my life and say…  I could have, should have, ought to have done…… I am going to be sitting in my power lift rocking chair with a carbon fiber walker (that I will have cracked eight times) telling my grandchildren stories of my life. I will tell them of the races, the adventures, the jumps out of airplanes. I will tell them of my near death experiences, of how I raced Lance Armstrong and of all the insane things I got to do. I will teach them how to grab life by the balls and make the most out of every single day. I will encourage them to live hard and to fall into bed every night exhausted. I will teach them to never settle, never allow themselves to be a victim of circumstance. I will teach them to be passionate and to fight for what they believe in, but to fight the right way. I will teach them to take the high road and if you have conflict with a person to be the better example.

I hope that is what I am teaching our son right now. Trust me it’s not easy. But I don’t like things that are easy anyway.

Then I will sit back in that power lift rocking chair, my body will be weary and bruised to the bone, and I will smile.

The Manny Huerta story is the true American dream type of story. One that we should listen to. One that we should hold tight.

There is nothing better than an Olympic year. Get your American flags out and prepare to stay up late. Prepare to jump when Phelps dives in the water and to scream at our triathletes as they run down the medals.

And realize this……. your life is what you make of it. So make something of it.