Saturday, November 20, 2010

Last Long Run: Not the Only Hurdle Before CIM!

This past week I was getting pretty stressed out about the upcoming marathon.  I was basically just putting a lot of undue pressure on myself.  This is the last shot to make the Trials standard for two of my teammates, with whom I raced this weekend, and I think some of their tension rubbed off on me.  Additionally, I didn't have the best 5 mile tempo track workout on Thursday and I was crushed.  I was letting it get to me and thinking very negatively.  Luckily, I know who to call-- Dr. Z.

On Friday, I called Dr. Nate Zinsser, the Director of the Center for Performance Enhancement at United States Military Academy.  He was able to squeeze me in to his busy schedule and talk some sense into me!  He heard my sob story and quickly got me back on track.  He asked me if I enjoyed running, to which I responded "of course!"  Then he said

"just ENJOY yourself and think of this marathon as an OPPORTUNITY."

Today, I felt so free on my 18 mile long run (is that redundant?).  I went out without a Garmin and just had fun.  That Eagles song "Get over it, Get over it, All this whinin' and cryin' and pitchin' a fit 
Get over it, get over it" was going through my head the whole time :)  I felt strong the whole way and picked it up for the last 6 miles.  I ENJOYED myself and am, once again, EXCITED to race at CIM!

I am so grateful to be in WCAP, with the opportunity to do what I love, representing the US Army and the incredible Soldiers who serve our Country.  This is my opportunity to show off how hard I've worked.  This is my opportunity to get to the Olympic Trials.  I know that I can do it and I can't let negative thoughts get in my way!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tips from an Ironman Champ

There is a reason why Chrissie Wellington wins Ironman…
Her 10 tips are what makes an athlete perform to his or her best ability.  How many times have you heard me say many of the same things!
Please take a minute to read through these “pearls of wisdom”
Coach Lisa

Performance tip #1: Passion gets you further than gear.
"You've really got to be passionate and enjoy the sport and never lose sight of that. Amateurs sometimes get caught up in the minutia. You've got to have the latest bike and this, that and the other thing. You have to keep the love for the sport in mind."

Performance tip #2: More isn't always better.

"There's always a tendency to think that more is better, especially with regard to Ironman training. People think, 'I have my log book and I have to be a slave to it and log as many hours as I can.' Whereas for me, people are always surprised that I don't do as much volume as they think. Don't get me wrong; I work incredibly hard. But always err on the side of quality rather than quantity."

Peformance tip #3: Don't be afraid to go fast.

"Lots of people go for long, slow, steady rides. If you ride long, slow and steady, you're going to race long, slow and steady. You have to go faster, harder and stronger in order to reach those faster times. There's a place for periodization and for not doing too hard of intervals too early in the season. But as race season starts, you want to change it up. There's still a place for those slow miles, but you also have to incorporate harder, faster efforts as well."

Performance tip #4: Rest is as important as training.

"Recovery is an integral part of training. People have their log books, and they tick everything off in all of the columns, but where's the column for recovery? That's the 4th pillar. Without that, the whole structure collapses. I break recovery down into nutrition, compression garments (which I wear), getting enough sleep, and resting between sessions. Also learning not only to relax your body but also relax your mind. Without recovery, I wouldn't be the athlete I am."

Performance tip #5: Train your mind, too.

"It amazes me how little time people spend on mental training. 30K into a marathon on race day is too late to figure out that you need to train your brain. There are many different tools you can use. Have a bank of positive images and songs. It doesn't have to be related to sport at all. That way, when the going gets tough--and it will get tough--you can draw on those images and have peace of mind."

Performance tip #6: Have a mantra (or two).

"I have some that I write on my water bottle and wristband when I race. One is 'smile,' and another is 'never give up.' There's a poem I write on my water bottle--Rudyard Kipling's If. It encapsulates everything you need to do to be a good athlete, especially the mental side of the game. 'If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;/If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,/But make allowance for their doubting too...'

It's all about keeping calm under pressure and knowing that triumph and disaster are one and the same thing. You can win or lose, and often losing can be just as much of a learning experience as the victory can. Someone said to me in an interview the other day, 'You've never lost an Ironman; what would it feel like to lose?' And I think, is coming in second losing or is it coming in second? It's changing the concept of success and failure, triumph and disaster."

Performance tip #7: Make it hurt.

"It's important to hurt in training and to learn to suffer a bit. Embrace fatigue and pain--welcome it and develop strategies to embrace it. If it doesn't hurt, you're not working hard enough. You're not always going to have easy days in training--you're going to be frustrated and have a bad day and it's important to learn to endure those in training. When you experience it in a race, you've already encountered it and can have that peace of mind."

Performance tip #8: Develop a deep understanding of your own body.

"People say how do you know how fast to go? I've trained at that pace I know I can sustain for X number of hours. Whether you train with a power tap or heart rate monitor or another device, that's all well and good, but you need to be able to control your own effort and your own intensity and internalize that race pace so when you get onto the course you know what pace you can sustain. When everything's hurting 30K into the marathon, no heart rate monitor is going to help you."

Performance tip #9: Get stronger by getting smarter.

"You have to be prepared to be objective and honest about weaknesses and where you can improve and learn from your mistakes. That's how you grow."

Performance tip #10: Eat!

"I eat a really healthy, well-balanced diet. I think it's important for women that they have role models who consume a sizeable amount of calories each day. Nothing is naughty or banned for me; I eat sensibly and healthfully. I eat red meat once a week and have lots of good fat and lots of carbohydrates. I fuel my body, and that's an integral part of my training.

Breakfast is a big huge concoction of oatmeal, flax seed, chia seeds, nuts, coconut, and then another cereal (like Kashi GoLean), and I put yogurt on it and put honey on the top. That's after my first training session. Before it, I have maybe three to four rice cakes with nut butter and honey."

"I'm uber-competitive and I don't make apologies for that. I love racing other athletes, and I wanted to race them on the best stage of the world [Kona]. I love the atmosphere, the cameraderie, and the thrill of winning. But when I first got into the sport, I said to my coach at the time, Brett Sutton, 'I feel so selfish, I'm doing this for me alone.' I had just moved from international development to becoming an athlete. He said, 'within a few years, you'll be able to affect more change through your sport than you ever thought possible.' And it's true: I'm not just racing for myself I'm racing for a cause, for women in sport, to spread awareness and inspire and encourage people. I don't just want to win. I want to win in a manner that affects change but in a way that shows my passion and my love and inspires others."

"Think like a bumblebee and train like a racehorse!"

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Big Sur Half Marathon

A great shot of me and the guys at the start!

Getting some goodies on the podium.

What a gorgeous race!  The event was run flawlessly (even the weather cooperated) and the events for the elite athletes were top-notch.  

The conditions leading up to my race were not exactly ideal: battling the flu, a knot in my IT band, falling on ice, and a twenty-miler on Monday.  But I certainly can't complain about the results:  I got second place overall!  

It was a lonely race, because the first girl ran a 1:09 and I was all by myself from mile 4 on!  I was a little disappointed with my time, but I just really didn't have any competition out there, so I let myself get comfortable for the last 4 miles.  I am mad at myself for not giving it my all, but second place with a 90% effort is not too shabby.  It was a great race before my marathon because now I am HUNGRY.  I have to put in a few more weeks worth of work and then I get to redeem myself at California International!  

A few articles from before and after the race:

JET SETTER: Ethiopian Gebre breaks course record with time of 1:09:43 -

Big Sur Half Marathon Elite Field

Such a pretty place!

Goofing off before the awards.

Post race ice-bath in the bay.  It was outrageously cold!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Heading to Big Sur!

I am waiting to board the plane to Monterey for the Big Sur Half marathon.  It'll be a welcome escape from the recent winter weather that arrived abruptly in the Springs of the past week!

I barely made it out the door this morning!  As prepared as I was to leave super-early, I got everything (including a very tired and cranky 3 year old) into the car and couldn't find the car keys!  I ran back up into the house a few times and looked through everything but couldn't find them!  I finally found a spare, but thought that I may have accidently left the keys in the front door.  So I ran up the steps, which turned out to be COVERED in ice (which is totally my fault for not de-icing them)!  On the way back down I busted hard and really hurt my shoulder.  Of course I wasn't wearing the brand new pair of snow boots with traction that I bought just yesterday.  I managed to make it to on time, despite some whimpering.

I'm very excited for the race!   You can learn about it and look for my results here:

Big Sur 1/2 Marathon

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Watching the NYC Marathon!

I'm back in Colorado and enjoying a lovely morning sipping cappuccino and  snuggling with my daughter while watching the NYC Marathon!  It's a beautiful day for a race in NYC.  Our USA guys and gals are running strong.  Of course, the Meb vs Geb is going to be GREAT to watch!  They just went through the first mile.  The Women's race actually started 30 min prior, so they have excellent coverage of Shalane Flanagan, Kim Smith, Tulu and all of the Pro-Women.  You can check it out here:

It's so exciting to watch, but I can't WAIT to race again!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Product Review: Sweaty Bands

Wearing my Sweaty Bands with the Chief of Staff of the Army

My Mom bought me my first Sweaty Band at the Army Ten Miler Expo.  They had a ton of adorable bands in a wide range of colors and styles displayed on a large rack that was surrounded by women.  My Mom found some cute headbands for herself and my sisters and surprised me with a headband that matches my Army uniform.

I was skeptical at first because I have been through all sorts of different head bands.  Not only do I have long, unruly hair, I move my head A LOT while running (I can't help it).  The Goody ones (with the grippers) stretch out and fall off, my Lululemon headbands that have the plastic inside move around and just frustrate me while I'm running.  I opted not to risk wearing it for the Ten Miler (never test out new gear on race day), but put it on right after the race for my cool down.  I was pleasantly surprised.

Sweaty Bands on the Podium at ATM

Since then I've worn it for over 100 miles and I am hooked!  I wore it casually at the AUSA conference, for a long run (20 miles) and speed work on the track.  Not only is it cute and comfortable, but it STAYS in place!  I was browsing the website tonight searching for more and I thought I would share them with you!

Here's the link:

Sweaty Bands