The Results are In….2011 Comes to an End

12/31/2011

2011 comes to an end and its bittersweet honestly!  This year has been absolutely wonderful.  So many great things have happen to me and the people I love, and I am so thankful.

My sister and her boyfriend have moved in together, two of my best friends had babies, two are pregnant (one after a long road of trying to conceive), another great friend got engaged to the man she loves, my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with a marathon-long trip to Italy, our dog Parker pulled through a very tough time, my sister adopted a kitty that was very much in need of a mother after losing hers in a terrible tragedy…and I’m certain there are tons of other wonderful things I have forgotten (if you were one of them, I’m sorry!).

As for me, I had an extremely successful first year of coaching, I got promoted at my “real” job, I was fortunate enough to qualify for Team USA in a race that was not my best, I completed my first bike races and fell in love with a new sport, I met lots of new people, some of which will be friends for life, I got a new coach who cares about me like family and would do anything for me, I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend a training camp in Tucson, I got to know myself better than I did in 2010 and tried my best to be the best daughter, sister, athlete, friend, coach and role model I can be!  I may never succeed at being the best, but I continue to recognize my faults and try to be a better person.

Athletically, this year was great.  Training Peaks is a great system for athletes and one of my favorite features of the system is the ability to track your annual mileage and time spent training.  I am a “log-nazi” as my athletes can attest, but I do lead by example from that regard.  As most people prepare to (or already have) delve into NYE celebrations, I sit here recovering from a 100 mile ride this morning (feeling like I might be coming down with a bug).  I didn’t have big plans (somewhat by choice, somewhat because every one of my friends is pregnant!) and I have zero complaints about that.  As dorky as it may be, one of my favorite things to do on 12/31 is to total up all my miles and hours of the year spent training.  2011 included:

5,113 miles on my bike in 259 hours (19.7mph average)

1,107 miles running in 149 hours (8:01/pace average).

328,707 yards swam in about 125 hours (187 miles)

55 hours of yoga and strength!

So, I covered 6,407 miles in 588 hours or basically 24.5 full days of training and racing in 2011!!

This compares to last year where I completed:

5,445 miles on my bike in 293 hours

1,333 miles running in 212 hours

371,133 yards swam in about 148 hours (210 miles).

71 hours of yoga and strength

For a total of 6,998 miles in 2010 in 724 hours or 30.2 days of training and racing.

Obvious to see that 2011 included much less volume but a lot more speed (which is all relative).  I focused on short course this year, but was still able to maintain pretty solid volume.  Next year will likely look a lot like 2011, with perhaps even less volume.  Stacey is much lighter on me with respect to volume than I’m used to so I’m already excited to my results of 2012!

All in all, 2011 was a pretty phenomenal year for me and those around me and I truly am so thankful.  I well up in tears as I sit and think of it all – and those who know me, know I’m not kidding.  I take after my parents – who are both a little sappy 🙂  As I always say, there are certainly things missing in my life that I one day hope to have, but I am enjoying the life I have now and am trying to be as patient as possible in waiting for the next phase of my life to come.  Thank you to everyone who made this year fabulous!  Onward and upward in 2012!  Happy New Year everyone!


Merry Christmas from Parkie!

12/25/2011

I love Christmas!  I love the spirit of the holiday, the down-time with family (though I do get antsy and have to sweep the floor and entertain myself often), the good food, giving gifts, and especially reflecting on all that I am thankful for!

 

As crazy as this may sound, one of the things I am most thankful for this year other than the obvious family, friends, my health, etc…we are thankful for our dog Parker being here with us for one more year.  Parker is our families oldest dog who has been around for almost 15 years.  He is “part human” and is a very special part of our family.  He is my Dad’s buddy.  He and my Dad go to the “store” together every morning on the weekends when my Dad is home and I think Parker helped my parents a lot with “empty nest” syndrome.

Parkie snuggled up in front of the fire

 

We had a scare earlier this year with Parker and thought it was our time to say goodbye.  Though we realize he won’t live forever, we were all devestated at the time and not ready for that time – especially my Dad.  What also may sound crazy is that Parker loves Christmas.  Even still, at nearly 15 years old and with heart failure, he gets SO excited to squeek his Christmas toys, chews his bones, and acts like a pup for the day.  We love it!

 

Merry Christmas from Parkie!!

 

Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope you all take some time to reflect on what you are thankful for today!


Tucson Wrap Up

12/12/2011

After an early morning TRX workout led by Trish, the girls and I packed up and headed to the airport.  It was bittersweet I must say.  Yes, I was ready to sleep in my own bed and ready for a day of recovery.  But on the flipside, it’s time to re-enter the real world.  The daily grind, if you will.  The daily grind is so very different for each of the girls which is what makes coming together as one such an amazing experience.   Everyone’s goals, life, race schedule, abilities were all so different, yet we all shared one thing in common – a love for triathlon.  


As cliché as it may sound, I have returned home feeling like a new person.  This camp was literally a “once in a lifetime” experience.  The generosity of Jim to put this camp together and the time Cliff spend with us are irreplaceable.  The cards and gifts we’ve given and no amount of “thank you’s” can come close to justifying our gratitude.  


First and foremost, I feel rejuvenated.  Looking back, I realize how bad I needed a “week off” from life.  I talk a lot about how much I love everything I do in my crazy life, but the reality of it is that it can be exhausting.  I wouldn’t want to be forced to give any of it up, but a week off every now and again is sure nice!  I also return excited to share what I’ve learned with my athletes and to build on the fitness I gained during camp. This week is a recovery week and Saturday kicks off with some sort of mystery hill repeat test set. I can only imagine!  

Secondly, I am in awe.  I spent the week hearing the accomplishments of the girls surrounding me – most of the time with my jaw to the floor.  From being recruited to complete in the Olympics to sub 10 hour Iron-women. To one girl that will head to the Olympic marathon trials in Houston running a sub 2:40 marathon to (several) others who can swim 100’s on 1:00 like it’s a jog in the park.  Girls who are turning in sub 16 minute 5k’s to others who swim Ironman in sub 53 minutes.  Girls who can ride Mt. Lemmon much faster than I can (or at least when I can’t breathe) and girls who have finished on the podium at Kona.  These are honestly just a few of the examples I can think of and I’m certain there are so many accomplishments that weren’t discussed.  So awesome to be in such company!

I also feel realistic.  I have always been a “good” athlete…never the absolute best, but always successful at my endeavors whether I was playing softball and volleyball earlier in my life or as a runner and triathlete later in life.  Early on when I started doing triathlon, I thought I’d like to pour myself into the sport to see what I was made of.  Over the years though, I’ve learned that the reality is there are so many far more talented girls out there (hence the previous paragraph).  Camp has solidified that I’m 100% okay with being a “pretty good” triathlete.  My aspirations are not to be the next Chrissie Wellington (don’t get me wrong, that would be awesome) but I realize that’s never going to be the case, and I can rest my head at night perfectly happy with what I’m able to accomplish.  

Lastly, I feel pretty stinkin’ drained.  My body doesn’t feel as physically exhausted as I thought it would…I just feel drained.  Here in Charlotte, I chose to do a lot of my training alone because so much of my work day requires me to be “on.”  My training is “my time” where I can reflect and unwind and collect and organize my thoughts.  Having been group training for the last week has been an awesome change of pace, but also different than what I’m used to.  In addition to the quantity of training, the chatting, laughing, coordinating, arriving on time, remembering your room key, your chapstick, your phone, etc, etc, etc for a week straight was somewhat exhausting.  Day to day life is a well-oiled machine that doesn’t require as much energy to operate.  Coupled with a (to-remain-nameless) snoring roommate that limited my usual 9-10 hours of rest, and I’m officially spent.

So that wraps up the week in Tucson. I am so happy to come home a better coach, a more fit and experienced athlete, and with a few more friends! I’m looking forward to following all of the girls throughout the season and hope to cross paths with some of them on the racecourse! Thank you Jim, Cliff, TJ, Sean, Damon, Kelly, Meghan, Trish, Gwen, Laura, Sarah, Amie, Melissa, and Jennifer for a week I’ll never forget! 


Day 3 Tucson…

12/11/2011

After day 1 and day 2, I was actually feeling great by day 3.  I knew I could at least “hang” with the girls which was a relief.  I was a little low on sleep but still managing to feel good!  On deck for day 3 was a swim, a 2-3 hour ride and an optional run after.

We started the morning with another great swim set coached by Cliff.  We did a lot of drafting work and swimming on hip/side-by-side which is so perfect for me.  By day 2 and 10,000 yards into swimming, my shoulders and lats were pretty tired by the last set we did – 3 x 300 in pace line with rotating leaders for every 100 but we cooled down shortly thereafter and I had officially survived swimming with the fishies!!

Some of the girls at the pool
A fun under water shot!!

I was getting anxious sitting around in between the swim and the run so I opted to go to the fitness center with Sarah and do some functional stretching and a little bit of core work.  It felt so good to stretch really well and feel strong again.

Our ride a bit later was originally scheduled to head up 8-10 miles up Mt. Lemmon again, but Cliff decided to change that….I was not that disappointed.  We opted for a 40 or so mile ride around Tucson at a moderate pace.  It was nice to feel good on my bike after 3 days of riding and running.

The gang…

I chose to do the optional run by myself after our ride so I could go at my own pace and do some exploring.  I was glad to be alone.  The altitude again really started to get to me and I was hardly able to breath…even while running downhill!  I was disappointed that I was the only one who seemed to feel the altitude.  Nonetheless, I did some walking and some running and enjoyed seeing some of the big houses in and around Ventana Canyon.  The weather was absolutely beautiful and I was loving feeling the sun on my shoulders in December!

 

Day 3 wrapped up with a road trip to Tempe with the girls for the Run for Sal 5k on Saturday morning.  We had a good time on the 2-hour ride there and shared tons of laughs!

Amie, Sarah and I at dinner on the way to Tempe

Day 3 in the books and time for the Run for Sal!


Tucson Day 4 – Run for Sal

12/11/2011

We awoke Saturday morning in Tempe bright and early for the Run for Sal 5k.  As I’ve discussed in my blog earlier, Sally was a Duke teammate and good friends with some of the girls who were at camp.  She was tragically killed in Tempe on her bike earlier this year.

Over 1,200 people participated in the first year of the event which just goes to show how much Sally made an impression on those who knew her.  Sally was “eclectic” and sported leopard, hot pink, running skirts, and braids for all her events.  I would say 75% of the people at the race were wearing pink in some fashion – compression socks galore, skirts, braids, all of the above!  So amazing to see.

Some of the girls and I at the Run for Sal 5k

The 5k was a bit of “talking point” between Stacey and I.  She wanted me to go super easy, but knowing the girls there, I knew they would all be racing hard!  I was indecisive as to how I wanted to approach the run.  I opted to let the girls go ahead and run a “moderate” pace.  Nothing too terribly hard, but not totally easy…a compromise with Stacey.  After the 4 mile run to the race site and a 21 and change 5k, I was glad to be done for the day.  My 21 minute 5k hurt much more than it should given the altitude!  I was breathing like a freight-train!  I honestly think I have some sort of altitude induced asthma, if that exists.

I watched Sally’s mom cross the finish line with a few of the girls from camp and I was in tears. I can’t imagine how a mother deals with loss of a child.  Watching Sally’s mom throughout the morning was amazing to me.  She was so well put together despite how hard the day must have been.  I was in awe of her strength.

After the 2 hour drive back to Tucson, I was ready for a long nap before our big night out.  We had a private room rented in the back of a very fancy restaurant in downtown Tucson and it was delicious!!  It was fun to get dressed up with the girls and enjoy some wine and good food.  We also celebrated Amie and Laura’s 31st and 29th birthdays with some amazing cake!

We were all very ready for bed by the time we wrapped up dinner and headed back to the lodge!

The girls and Jim after dinner

Our last day was upon us and we were all pretty bummed to be returning to normal life.  We planned one final TrX workout bright and early with Trainer Trish before we had to head to the airport!  Wanted to make the most of the week!


Tucson Day 2 Wrap Up

12/10/2011

Welcome back Tucson Blog followers….

Today, day 2, was even more fun to me than day 1, and day 1 was awesome.  The girls and I are all getting along really well making these workouts and our time here that much more unforgettable.

Today started same time as yesterday with another 4,000 swim set.  Today’s set was much harder and I was glad to hear it was hard for everyone…not just me!  I’m swimming in the “hard workers” lane as Kelly labeled it (Cliff called us the more “moderate paced swimmers” – hahaha) with 5 others and I am fitting in just fine.  Much of my anxiety about this camp came from being in the water with these little fishes but I have been very relieved to know I’m not the girl with the swim-dunce cap on!  Our 5×400’s after a 2000 warm up/drill set really topped off the swim and I was glad to be done.

After a little bit of downtime, we hopped in the cars and took the quick trip to Sobino Canyon, about 2 miles away.  The Canyon is breathtaking – I have lots of pictures but they’re all on my real camera.

 

All the girls with Cliff and Jim!

The plan was a 75 minute trail run.  There was a nice jog that led us to the trails that we all did together.  Once we got to the trails, we had to decide if we were up for “technical” trail run or just a more moderate surfaced roadway.  Given my lack of trail running experience and the fact that the trail on deck was known to be very technical, I opted for the “less likely to injure myself route” and stuck to the roadway with Melissa.

 

Headed to the trials!

We ended up having a great run.  What we didn’t truly realize while we were headed out from where we started, is that the trail we chose was pretty much uphill for 4 miles, turn around, then run back downhill for 4 miles.  Our watches were not ticking off paces that were anything to talk about, and we were both working pretty hard, but given we climbed over 1000 feet, I feel better about it.  Much of the climbing was false flat, with some other steep climbs.  We walked some to enjoy the views and took the run at whatever pace we felt like running.  It was perfect!  Turning around and clicking off some much faster miles made us both feel a lot better that we’re not as out of shape as we felt heading up!  All in all, an awesome run in the Canyon.  A few of us opted to run the 2 miles back to the resort which got me nearly 9.5 miles total.  I was pleased with how good my legs felt considering the events of Day 1.

 We then had about 2 more hours to chill before we headed out for our “recovery” ride.  Our recovery ride took on a slightly faster pace than a usual recovery ride and also include the 4 mile climb Melissa and I ran in Sobina earlier today.  One would think on a recovery ride you’d take a 4 mile climb easy but nah, a few of us rode pretty hard, for no real reason other than it was fun!   I have pictures from this climb too but those are also on my real camera.  😦  Our ride ended up being about 25 miles and I would have actually loved to have kept riding.   Being at 3000 feet again, it was nice to feel like myself on my bike again….not gasping for air!

 So day 2 wraps up…we finished tonight with a big dinner with Cliff and a few of the pro racers that Cliff coaches.  We went to a nearby Mexican place and had a blast laughing, talking non-triathlon and even enjoying a cocktail!  Given how amazing day 2 was, I have a feeling they’re only going to get even better from here and by this weekend, I’m not gonna wanna cone home.  Oh wait, I kinda already don’t!

 Until next time….sleep, eat, swim, eat, ride, eat, run, eat, sleep, repeat is on deck for tomorrow!!

 Having a blast in Tucson….


Day 1 in Tucson

12/09/2011

Hey blog friends…

Now that I’m rested and not quite so delirious I can update on day 1/2 here in Tucson.

First and foremost, the girls here are amazing.  We are all on the same page….with respect to how hard we like to train.  Are we on the same page ability/fitness-wise?  Well, not so much, but I’m 100% okay with that.  A lot of these girls are pro’s, Kona podium-ers and/or Olympians but I prepared myself for that coming in.  They are all so nice and I’m so happy to be here with them!

Yesterday was an amazing day.  We started at the perfect time….7:30 am at the pool!!  4300 yards later, we all checked off the first swim session of camp.  Cliff English is leading camp and he is an amazingly cool, and super nice guy….not to mention one of the best, if not the best, coaches in the country!  What a treat.

We met later that morning for our trek to Mt. Lemmon, which is a +/- 5,000 foot climb starting at about 3,000 feet above sea level.  The climb is 25 miles and is, with the exception of about 2 miles total, straight up hill.  Yes, you get the climb the 2 downhill miles on the way back down so its 25 miles of climbing all together.  That’s a lot, FYI.

This is Mt. Lemmon from a distance…

Yep…we did it!!

 

The ride was amazing.  The ride was HARD.  The altitude really really got to me, much more than anyone else unfortunately.  My legs felt great the whole climb but I literally could NOT breath!  (or maybe I’m just really out of shape?)  The hardest part of the ride for me was mile 8-14 with the whole “not almost done but still starting to feel the burn” feeling.  We took a nice little break at mile 14, refueled quickly, and headed back up!

View from mile 14 – kinda blurry.

 

Nonetheless, 2 hours and 25 minutes later, we arrived at The Cookie House and treated ourselves to one of these (though I refrained and split mine with Cliff).

Half Brownie Half Peanut Butter amazing cookie….

 

So day 1 was a huge success…I wish I had felt better on the climb up Lemmon but I did it and I’m proud of that!

We tucked in about 8:30 to prepare for day 2.  Day 2 included….drumroll….swimming, biking and running!  Shocking right?!!

Blog for day 2 to be updated as soon as I can…