Monday, May 16, 2016

There's more to triathlons than a perfect race day

I'd like to share a little of what happened to me personally yesterday at the Honolulu Triathlon. 

I had a great swim, I was really happy about how great it felt and how much fun I had. It flew by and I was feeling strong for the bike. Yay!
Coming out of the swim leg

Then when I got on my bike the brakes started rubbing right out of transition. We'd had this issue since getting a tune up but thought it had been fixed. It seemed fine last few rides. But nope, at the race it started up again. Of course that's how it is, right?

I stopped twice to try & fix it but it kept going back. The little bolt holder inside the brake pad (I don't know the official name of that tiny piece) was stripped or forgotten to be put back on after tune up last month (which was when the issue started). 

So I rode with brakes 'on' in the back. Needless to say, it sucked. I hadn't gone so slow since my first triathlon. It was frustrating because I had been so excited
about the new bike and the effort in training and then my payoff was this really bad ride.

Several miles in once realizing nothing could be done at that moment, I made the decision to do my best with what I have to work with & not let it get me down. I stayed under my lactate threshold (slow moving) so I could finish without burning out, smiled & gave thanks. The run was affected but I was still able to pace myself well anyway, enjoy it fully & have a GREAT time. 
Before the event. Go team OnTrack Fitness!

Sure I was disappointed. I'd purchased a very nice new bike, trained a LOT in the saddle & was super ready for speedy times. I'd done everything right. By the way, this had been one of those elusive 'perfect training seasons' for me.

But the reason I'm sharing this isn't about disappointment. 

Let me point something out: if I hadn't done all of that prep and training, I would've had a REALLY hard time with those conditions. Quite honestly even though I was going slow while working just under my threshold it still went by quickly. The mileage seemed easy, I didn't notice much pain and I knew all that time in the saddle was paying off, just in a different way. I thought that was pretty cool. 

We just never know what the race will bring. We train smart, plan well & do our best with what we've got. Race day is not a guaranteed perfect day, which is part of the challenge isn't it?  
Still had a blast at the
Honolulu Triathlon!

As athletes we give 100% in each moment even if 100% looks different than we thought it would. We enjoy and cross the finish line with a smile knowing we've left it all on the course. 

That's exactly what I did at the Honolulu Triathlon.

I'm glad to be a able to demonstrate how to deal with these crazy things that pop up. There's more to being a triathlete than swim bike run! Far from it, which is why being a triathlete is a title earned not given, is something to be proud of and thankful for & why many people never even try to become one. 

Plus there will always be another race. But this one was definitely one of the very best for so many reasons.

This experience will be part of my memory of the day but there was so much more to it than that. This will only be a blip. I'll
It was a great day!
have nothing but wonderful memories of the day filled with happy smiles from all of our clients who kicked butt, talk of how everyone did & of future plans for the next event.
Can't imagine anything better than that! 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Perfect training seasons are rare

You're never going to have a perfect training session. Ok, maybe not never but very close to it. Training for a race, whether it's a half marathon, marathon or triathlon, is going to be filled with surprises. It's part of it. It's why many people never start. You can't wait for life to settle down because it's not going to.

My 1st marathon (Honolulu Marathon), which happened to
be the very FIRST training season that
went exactly as planned start to finish. This was 2013,
19yrs after I started doing races.
Illness (yourself or kids or the entire family), overtime hours at work, work trips at the very worst possible time, family emergencies & the list goes on & on at what can come up. Those things are going to be there no matter what. So don't wait. When they do come up, remind yourself that it's part of life & don't freak out over training. Do what you can and keep moving forward.

I started doing events in 1994. Guess how many 'perfect' training seasons I've had? Two. Guess what I found out about it. It doesn't matter. The events are the same. They're still a challenge whether nothing unexpected came up or you missed a week due to travel. You'll still cross the finish line. You'll still be glad you started & kept going and you'll still sign up and do another! - Coach Emily

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Nutrition & fitness: a days worth of food

Nutrition & fitness go hand in hand, everyone knows that right? But I see so many of us confused about nutrition. I see so many of us being a slave to food. That's not how it should be. 

I thought I'd share a typical days worth of food so you can see how this coach & athlete eats. It's my hope that if you've been a slave to food, something in this post will ignite something in you so you will no longer have to be enslaved to food. Food should be enjoyed, without guilt, no matter what size shape or fitness level you are.

Before I share today's meals, I'd like to discuss some habits I have:

  • I rarely think about deleting food. Instead, I enjoy looking for ways to add in foods that will make my meals healthier. That's a mindset shift from 'can't have' into a more positive thought of how can I include something to bring balance.
  • I eat chocolate, donuts, cookies etc without guilt. If I'm going to eat it, I'm going to fully enjoy it.
  • That being said, I strive to eat 80% wholesome, nutritious foods & 20% discretionary. A healthy diet can - and should - include 100-400 calories of discretionary foods a day (depending on how many calories one can have per day). I say should because having those treats is real & it's unreasonable to try and cut out treats altogether. Unless you want to feel deprived, overindulge, have guilt, over restrict & repeat. No fun, no thank you!
  • While I strive to eat nutritiously, I do not want to be a slave to food. This isn't how God intended. I spent several years in my teens enslaved to food & I can tell you that I'm much happier, well rounded and optimally fit than I was when I had harsh restrictions.  And honestly, restrictions are very seldom about health are they? Oftentimes we do it to punish ourselves because we think we're fat. Right?
  • I very rarely measure things out. I do, however, keep track of general serving sizes of each food group. I go for a balanced diet.
  • I try to eat at least 3 food groups per meal and 2 per snack. Again with going for a balanced diet.

When you see the food below, you may see ways I could have made better choices. I agree. I'm not going for perfection & I hope you don't either. On the other hand, you may think this is not enough food for you, not enough chips or chocolate. I'd like to remind you of two things 1) When I see these pics I agree it doesn't look like much. But I was full & satisfied & couldn't have eaten more. 2) There are certainly - certainly days that I have more chocolate or potato chips. I sometimes eat a donut for breakfast. Yep! Just not every day & I try to space things not chips and donuts all in one day. Please remember that. 80/20 folks. 

Breakfast: whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, babybel light & berries, was thoroughly enjoyed. I've been on a cream cheese kick lately, but I'll also have peanut butter or cottage cheese on my bagels. This gave me plenty of energy for my morning sessions & my own swim workout. 
Whole wheat bagel had 8g of fiber. I always look for
a minimum of 2g per serving.
The Babybel gives some calcium & protein plus it's fun to play
with the red wax :) Berries are loaded with goodness.

Lunch: Single serve hummus with baby carrots & crackers plus a veggie salad topped with an egg, low fat cheese, tomatoes, avocado, cauliflower, low fat dressing and a few more crackers. Might not look like much but I was quite satisfied. Great refuel after my workouts.
Single serve hummus is convenient & delicious.
I like to have at least some veggies with it because it's
an yummy way to get more veggies.
Egg atop the salad gives me another food group, and I have to really work
to get enough protein so always keeping this in mind.

Mid day snack: Easy. Small smoothie I made with a bit of soft tofu, strawberries & half a banana plus soy milk & stevia. Just enough to get me to dinner so I don't crash. 
Yet another way to get more produce, calcium
& protein which are things I have to work at. Sweet enough I don't
want cookies anymore! Holds me over so I don't crash & eat the world.

Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce (I added fresh tomatoes) & 95% lean ground beef. Side salad. We had a coconut fruit bar for dessert. 
We really need to eat more meat. I know that's unusual but
in our household, we need to. The pasta gives me energy & nutrients that fruits & veggies
don't have in them. Carbs are important as long as they're not over eaten..just like
anything else. Always looking for ways to add in more produce, hence the salad (& tomatoes in the sauce). If not for the salad I'd probably had seconds of pasta. Instead I kept it more balanced. The fruit bar was delightful.

Night time snack: Half a Clif Builder Bar. Chocolate! These few calories will help me not to wake up and overeat. 
I ate half because I wasn't terribly hungry. The chocolate was satisfying. 

There you have it: full disclosure! I pray that this gives you an idea of what an imperfectly healthy day looks like. 

If you want to learn more about balanced nutrition, there are some resources I recommend., read Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Mindless Eating & Eating Mindfully. These are great starts to learning more on your own. If you need more guidance get in touch with a professional & make sure they're a Registered Dietitian. Contact me if you have questions. - Coach Emily

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Training & race day nerves

Since we're coming up on race season, I thought it was time to get real with you about something. 

I've been a runner since the early 90's, a triathlete since 2000 and in the fitness profession since the early 90's (I started in high school). Yet I still have thoughts before I go for a run like this 'I'm not going to be able to do this.' I still get nervous before a triathlon. Sometimes I feel too slow, who can relate?! That's right, your triathlon coach has feelings! 
Before my 1st Olympic distance triathlon.
I was nervous but ended up loving the distance

Before you think if I feel this way then you'll never feel better - let me tell you those thoughts and feelings are fleeting. Very fleeting because I've had years of swim, bike, run, training etc to draw upon. I know I am going to be ok. I know I can go out for a run, even when I don't feel like I can do it, because I've done it countless times. I've done it when I don't want to. I've ran many miles of intense, hot, humid, hilly, tiring miles and came out the other side just fine. Better than fine. Stronger, healthier and feeling great. 

I'm slow but who cares. I give 100% just like everyone does. I'm not a pro so I don't get paid for being fast or winning races. It's all for fun so I've learned to stop worrying and enjoy the ride.

Same goes for swim and bike. Years of doing events has taught me the feelings will come but I don't have to allow them to dictate my actions. I've learned to acknowledge my nerves but let them float past me without negative reaction. Sure it took practice, but it's worth it.
After a chilly half marathon in Indiana

Some people use nervous energy to get them pumped. I don't do that. I let them pass and move on with what I'm doing. They go away pretty quick if you don't feed them. You may be someone that getting pumped up works or maybe not, but whatever you do with your doubts and nerves never believe them. Don't react to the voice in your head telling you that you don't belong at an event, that you won't be able to do it, that you're too fat, too slow, unfit, don't have the right gear, didn't train well...whatever the voices are saying. I guarantee you it's lies. 

Remember that we all get doubts. We all have nerves that come up at the worst possible time. We all occasionally feel out of place or inadequate.  But with practice it gets easier to allow them to come and go, and realize you belong there just like everyone else and that's a great feeling. Keep doing what you love!