Friday, December 25, 2015

Freakin' A Friday!! 008 - What the Holiday?

As a fitness professional, my schedule tends to be the opposite of most people.  When you're busy at work, I'm off doing my workouts and work around the house.  When you're out of work, I clock in!  And when there is a holiday - major or minor - it's just another day for me.  That fact alone has caused some frustrating incidents!

Where is everyone?

It's a Monday/Friday just like any other week and I decide to catch up on some errands before work.  In the spring and fall, I will head over to the town hall to drop off my tax payments.  To my surprise, the typically packed parking lot is empty.  It's 10am.  Where is everyone?  It's not until I get to the door and see the sign "Closed for [Insert Holiday]."

Gosh Darnit!

Columbus Day, President's Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, etc.  I never remember when any of those are! 

Or it happens this way...

Where did everybody come from?

I'm at work and all of a sudden I take notice of the people around the gym.  Either it's simply over packed for the time, there's a lot of kids there during school hours, or I start to see the regular evening goers working out well before their 5pm work release time.  What gives?  If it's a few people, maybe they just took a personal day, but after a certain number, I know I've missed something.  Eventually somebody clues me into whatever holiday I've neglected.  With luck, it's not anything I had to prep for!  haha

So can you do me a favor?
Tell me when the next holiday is.
I'll probably miss it otherwise.

Freakin' A!!!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Freakin' A Friday!! 007 - Procrastination

Ok, when was the last time this happened?!

You got up or got home and your plan is to start your workout in 30 minutes.  You have a schedule to keep of course!  You're a triathlete (read: Type A).


You prep the bike, your swim gear, run shoes, or gym clothes.  You're all packed.


You grab a water bottle or any nutrition you need.  Check!


You check the workout just to be sure you remember what it is.  Don't want to forget it!!  Maybe you write it down just in case. 


You check the GPS watch.  Is it charged?  Yes, it is.  Good! 


Let's get a quick snack.  It has been awhile since you ate. 


You check your email "one last time" to be sure you're free to step away for awhile.  One quick email.  Good, done. 


What's the weather like right now?  Should I wear something different?  Nope, just what I expected.  I'm good.  


Well, you're already online, so let's check Facebook.  Oh, a couple notifications.  Hmmm... A message from Pete too.  Ok, real quick!  Oh, look at that video Sara posted!  Haha


I gotta' go!!  You shut your computer.

Let me hit the bathroom and I'll be off.  *flush*


Check the phone again.  Still no messages.  Cool!


Any emails?  Nope.


Did I grab enough water? 


Hmmm...  Maybe I do want to change my shirt...


Did Pete get back to me on Facebook?  Nope, but there's another post from Sara.  Hilarious!


And little do you know, an hour has gone by!
Procrastination takes down yet another hard set plan.

Freakin A!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Freakin' A Friday!! 006 - Frozen in Your Tracts

I'm sure many of you have had experiences while running on the road and/or sidewalk like last week's post.  Because of that, plenty of us search out non-traffic laden routes.  Whether it be a rail-to-trail, a local park with a paved loop, or the good old trails off in the woods, we find our sanctuary somewhere. 

...until something like this happens!

You get up early (okay, "early" according to everybody else) on a beautiful weekend.  The weather is crisp, the sun is just peaking over the horizon, and you're up and ready for your run.  You're tired of the roads, so you head to your local trail.  It's perfect!  Plenty of beautiful views well away from any traffic to hinder you.  Awesome!

You get there to find a number of other cars parked.  These are your comrades in arms; other early morning runners, cyclists, and walkers!  

You get out, warm up a bit, pack your water, and make the biggest decision of the day. 

Do I head left?
Or do I head right?

Hmmmm....  After a second, you decide you always go right, so why not left today?  Sure!  Change it up.  It's all an adventure.  Off you go!

If you've got music, you pop on the perfect song.  If not, you just get into the groove of your breathing and listening to the peaceful surroundings.  Then it happens! 

There's a rustling in the woods.  "Hmmm... Maybe a squirrel or a nearby dog."  Then out pops one of nature's majestic creatures...

Hello there!

Until this moment, you have never fully understood the true meaning of "Frozen in Your Tracts."  As the seconds tick by (which feel like minutes), you earn a full comprehension!  You dare not move a muscle other than to blink!

In those frozen moments your mind starts to wander (read: RACE LIKE A WORM OUT OF THE MOUTH OF A BIRD!)

Can I out run a bear?
No, you can't outrun a bear, you idiot!
If I run, will that provoke it to follow?  Or should I stay put?
Should I play dead?
Is it "Brown, get down.  Black, move back"?  Or am I getting that mixed up?
Shoot!  What do I do?
Why is that lady ahead of me still walking this way with her tiny dog?!
The dog is so going to provoke the bear!
I am screwed.
I should have written a will.
I wonder what the HR data will look like on my Garmin.
I am so done for.

In reality, the bear merely ran across the path on it's own way actually more afraid of you than you were of him/her. 

But in that super-extended moment of panic, it felt like your final moments were going to look something like this...

How much did those track workouts do for you??

After what seems like 5-10 minutes, you s-l-o-w-l-y walk backwards the way you came, being sure to keep an eye on the spot where the bear ran back into the woods AND the lady up ahead with the dog who has now stopped to take pictures.  IDIOT!

Twenty (or maybe it was 100) steps later, you turn and walk, then jog, then run back to your car being super sensitive to any rustling of the leaves no matter how far off it may seem. 

As you get back to the car, you take a moment to celebrate.  "I just survived a black bear attack."  Noooooot quite!  You were lucky to simply not pee your pants in the middle of the rail to trails.  But that's not how the story goes when it gets told to your friends when you get home.. 

But of course you're a Type A personality, so that has to wait until after you finish your run.  Sure, there's a bear off to the left side of the trail, but that still leaves the right side!

What A Morning!

Freakin' A!!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Freakin' A Friday!! 005 - Look Both Ways Please

How many times has this happened to you??

You're enjoying a nice long run.  Plenty of good weather, other runners out on the sidewalk and roads, and lots of light (no dark run today!).  The adrenaline and endorphins are running high!

Then you come up on either a parking lot exit or a crossroad with a stoplight/sign.  As you approach, you can see around the corner quite clearly as should the car that is approaching.  However, as they approach the exit/street, you're watching their head which is pointed in the opposite direction of you; presumably looking for traffic.

You approach the crosswalk at your own speed just KNOWING what is about to happen.  "Please don't let me be the next 'Runner hit by car' headline."

The car approaches the crosswalk completely ignorant of you being there (or anything on that side of the car.  It could be T-Rex and they wouldn't know).

Then at the last moment before they pull out, they turn to look forward and...


There you are right smack in front of them.  They SLAM on the brakes.  You hear the screech of the tires.  Their hands shoot up.  We choose to assume they're saying sorry instead of something else.  You may have even tapped your hand on the car hood as you ran by in a way of saying "Thank you for not hitting me.  Please look both ways next time."

Freakin' A!!

Monday, November 30, 2015

I am a Vegetarian no longer

As of Friday, November 6th, 2015, I am no longer a vegetarian.  By that I mean...

I ate fish.

Salmon to be specific.  In a salad.  To answer the question of meat eaters, no it wasn't delicious and a glorious re-entry into the world of meat.  To answer the question from vegetarians, I still very much support vegetarianism and 95% of my diet will continue as such.

First off, let's back it up a bit.  I went vegetarian on September 1st, 2013.  And as anyone who chooses to follow a specific diet knows, a lot of people have asked...

Why did you become a vegetarian?

Of course, the meat eaters are asking because they want to challenge you and convince you that you're doing the wrong thing.  The vegetarians are super supportive and just want to know your story and offer recipes.  The vegans only ask because they want to know when you'll make the "Next Step" and if you're answer is no, then they continue ignoring you.

Over the 2 years that I was a vegetarian, I've had different answers to that question.

My answers didn't vary because I changed my thoughts, but because there were a lot of different circumstances leading up to that decision and I'm not sure which one was the main reason I made it.

  1. I had lost the bulk of my taste for beef in 2005 (after 3 months of vegetarianism).
  2. I never really cared for chicken.
  3. I enjoyed trying new foods and knew that most of my meals were based around a protein source.  Vegetarianism forced me to think differently.
  4. Through triathlon training, I had cut out various foods that didn't sit well or limited my workouts.  At the end, I found myself only sparingly consuming fish and ground turkey.
  5. I had also begun cutting out foods that I felt were holding me back performance wise (trying to eat healthy) such as pasta and processed foods and using more whole foods.
  6. I've always believed that our daily diet recommendations for protein are too high and we can get away with much less.
  7. And I read the book Skinny Bastard

If I used any of the above reasons the most, it was #7, 6, and 4.  Skinny Bastard seeded my distrust for the meat industry.  At the time I was only three products away from being vegetarian anyways.  And I strongly believed I didn't even need those to get what I needed in my diet.

Done!  With all those combined, I went vegetarian!

I will say that right from the start, I told people that I would be willing to eat meat as long as it avoided my distrust of the meat industry.  By that I mean that it was local, wasn't raised with antibiotics or hormones, was naturally fed, and slaughtered locally.  I even looked into a few local farms that offer meat in the first year, but I never did it. 

Over the next two years I enjoyed great racing with zero issues.  Okay!!  I had one issue!  I went from what we guessed to be 20g of fiber/day pre-vegetarianism to upwards of 90-120g.  The US average is 15g and recommendations site around 40g.  Other than that, I was great for 2 years and loved it!  I had an occasional meat craving, but it was out of convenience more than taste.  I was good!  My races were more competitive than ever and the doctor loved my blood work!

Everything was great.
So why go back to eating meat?

Jumping ahead, I was able to partake in a triathlon certification course involving the nutrition section taught by one of the previous US Olympic Dietitians.  It was awesome!  And he focused on one single item that I've always known... Nutrition is first about balancing blood sugar, then about supplying energy. 

There are a number of things you can do to balance blood sugar.  One of them is to alter the ratio of your macronutrients (fats, carbs and protein).  As a vegetarian, there are very few options for pure protein without the attached carbohydrates and most of those involve processed protein powders or lots of searching.  In the end, I knew that if I was going to give this new diet idea a try, I had to go back to a more pure (and still unprocessed) protein source.  Meat!  And of all the meat options there were, I missed seafood the most.  I don't know why honestly.  I was the worst seafood eater as a child.  My parents will vouch for me! 

I will admit that even once the decision was made, it took at least three weeks before I actually acted on it.  I had become so habituated in eating vegetarian that I A) felt like I was giving up a streak that I had held onto so long and B) had no idea where to start!  I decided on one thing - as long as it was wild caught and had the least amount of preservatives I could find, I would work with that.  Otherwise, I would continue my vegetarianism.  The first thing I found (and keep finding thankfully) was wild caught Salmon. 

I've also altered other aspects of my diet to attempt lowering my carbs a bit and balancing out those lost calories with fats and a little protein.  And I'm getting more used to how to cook and season the salmon.  I have been out of practice for some time!  haha

That's my story!

I've been through periods of eat anything, the typical "try to eat healthy," vegetarianism (back in college), frozen food lover, Paleo diet twice, a slow adaptation of diet based on training improvements, back to vegetarianism, and now pescatarianism.  In the end, life is an experimentation and there is no one right way to eat or live.  I'm sure in time I will make another change and scoff at something I do now. 

Until then, eat up!


1.  What have you changed about your diet over the years?

2.  Could you see yourself going vegetarian?  
I did it first in college for 3 months and recently for 2 years.  I found it quite easy.  

3.  What is one food you think you could NOT go without?
I used to think I could live on PB&J.  I used to drink 1/2 gallon of milk a day.  I really don't think there's one food I couldn't go without.  However, I'm quite attached to eggs, cheese, and peanut butter.


Friday, November 27, 2015

Freakin' A Friday!! 004: Really?!

You're riding along, enjoying the fall foliage, and even having a pretty good ride.

Yeah!  Something like that.

Then you hear the sounds of a car behind you.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  You can tell they are speeding up, so they'll probably pass you.  Okay!

"Car Back!!"

A double tap "beep beep" honk.  Clearly they didn't see the post on Honking at Cyclists!  Ugh!

You have two lanes and no shoulder.  'They'll move over to the other lane.'  Uuuuhhh.. NOPE!  The driver insists on not changing lanes and driving close by.  They also give you the "What are you doing out on the road?" look.  'Yeah, yeah.  You don't know the rules of the road.  I get it.  Drive on.'  You've experienced it plenty of times before. 

Then as the driver pulls ahead, he and his elderly wife not only pull back in front of you and slow down, but they merge right into the new right turn only lane.  You're left in your own (now the middle) lane thinking...

You couldn't wait five seconds to let me get ahead?
You had to speed ahead (on the left) and cut me off just to get into the right hand lane?


Friday, November 20, 2015

Freakin' A Friday!! 003: It Burns!

You're at the pool enjoying a tough, but successful swim set. 

Half way through the main set, you're feeling accomplished and pumped to finish if off strong. 

Then all of a sudden you want nothing more than to turn this into a hypoxic set and stop breathing all together.

OMG!!  What is that?!

The lady who recently finished (and thankfully left an open lane for you to take over), must have hopped into the shower.  With every breathe you are gulping in fumes of the strongest fragrance of a body wash/shampoo known to man!! 

Ohhh!  It burns!!  
How is that not eating away at her skin right now?

But because your are a triathlete (read: Type A personality), you finish off your workout anyways. 


Friday, November 13, 2015

Freakin' A Friday!! 002: Beep! Beep!

The following was a flow chart I found posted on Facebook for helping motorists understand when it is okay to honk at cyclists.

It is simple and to the point.  DON'T HONK!  I don't care if you're a moped or a semi-truck (I've had them both honk at me).  I've had the long "OMG, get out of the way" honk and the quick double tap "Excuse me, but could you move over a bit more?" honk.  No matter the intention, it only does one thing; scares the heck out of me!  It is neither helpful nor safe.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Freakin' A Friday!! 001: Maintenance Ruins It All

Your whole day is planned; before sunrise to well past sun down.  Everything will fit perfectly as long as nothing slips. You get through work.  You get through scheduled errands.  And with the 90 minutes you scheduled for your 60 minute workout, you rush to the gym and arrive 15 minutes behind schedule (now down to a 15 minutes of wiggle room), to find the following sign...

The pool will temporarily be closed for maintenance.

"Ohhhh...  No worries" the attendant says.  "It should be done in an hour or two.  Just give us a call."  He is clearly not aware of your evening schedule!  Of course, the only other option is a 15 minute one-way drive and putting me in rush hour traffic.  Ugh!!


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Triathlon Research Coaching Clinic - Day #3

Day #3 at the Triathlon Research coaching clinic was (sorry Lance)... "all about the BIKE!"  We were led by Shane Eversfield of Zendurance Cycling.  Shane is an ultra endurance athlete (many Ironmans, the only person to do an Ironman with Power Cranks, has done a triple Ironman, ultra marathoner, and plenty more!), a Total Immersion coach, owns Zendurance Cycling, and does it all from the central principle of Zen and being more in touch with your own body than any parameter that gadgets can measure.

However, before we started with the bike, a group of us went for an open water swim.  Up at 5a to leave at 5:15a!  You can tell we all look wide awake!

We arrived to the swim site and it was still quite dark when we signed in.

The sun was j-u-s-t coming up as we went out into the water to start.  And it had risen over the trees by the time we finished.

To one side we had the sunrise.  To the other, we had the mountains.  Gorgeous!!


Back at the hotel, we got a quick breakfast and headed into the conference room for an overview of the bike.  Today was going to be a lot of outdoor work, but we had to go over the basics and set up what we were going to do later.

In the morning session, we went out into the parking lot and worked on a number of tips and drills.
  • Athletic Pose
  • Cycling Dilemma
  • Saddle Silence
  • Single Leg Drills
  • Double Leg Drills
  • Turns
  • Slaloming

Then in continuing with our coaching education, we broke into groups and rotated through the above points teaching one another as if we were running our own clinic; making assessments, adjustments, going through cues and helpful tips. 

When we were done, we rode over to the eNRG Performance Lab for lunch thanks to Chef Adam and Kelsey.  Delicious yet again!

Inside, Shane continued going over topics concerning the bike. 

We then headed out to give some practical feel to the ideas we just learned.

In the Ken-Caryl Valley, we worked on hill repeats.  We focused on the athletic pose, saddle silence, body alignment and positioning, adjustments to position to address muscular changes, and methods of climbing.  Not only did the elevation have our heart rates spiking, but the repeats were tough thanks to the expertise of Bob Seebohar picking the locations.

After the second session, we had roughly 2 hours before dinner.  My training schedule listed a 75 minute building long run.  I fully admit that I was nervous about this workout at altitude, but I headed out anyways to see what would happen.  I also did an experiment and took a packet of Generation UCAN, a complex carbohydrate source, before the run.  It turned out to keep me plenty energized.  If only it alleviated the affects of altitude. 

I headed out through the Ken-Caryl Valley...

Took a turn off the roads onto the Coyote Song Trail in the South Valley Park...

And quickly discovered that it was both beautiful and rather hilly!  These were not the types of "trails" I'm used to in CT.

Littleton, Colorado

Simsbury, Connecticut

At the end of the trail, I found a warnings posting of Rattlesnakes.  Good thing I don't run with headphones.  

I can't say I hit my run targets on that run (I did while going downhill!), but it was good to get out for the run.  It also solidified some of the points from earlier in the day and yesterday concerning focusing on the neural system instead of the metabolic and/or mental systems. 

Things are already getting put to use!

It wouldn't be Coaching without some homework.

Before bed, we had another opportunity to put the material to use - two homework assignments.  The first was an analysis of our run weaknesses, what the root cause was, how to address it, and our perspective on the video analysis software.  The second was a similar analysis of our own and our partner's bike weaknesses, the root cause, and how to address it.  As always, the more we can repeat the analysis methods and receive feedback from other coaches, the better we can be.


1.  Do you run on trails, road, or both?

2.  Do you have any specific weakness or strength on the bike?  

3.  How in tune with your own body do you feel you are?  Can it be improved?  How can you work on it?


Triathlon Research Coaching Camp - Day #2

Welcome to Day #2; the run!  As always, it started out with breakfast.  Bob Seebohar (founder of "Metabolic Efficiency") may not approve much of the options, but he at least provided us guidelines of how to make the best choice with the options provided.  If only they could get more hard-boiled eggs!

Then we headed to the hotel conference room to go over an overview of the run.

Off to the South Valley Park in the Ken-Caryl Valley. 

Reem Jishi, who has worked extensively with Bobby McGee, took us through a number of activation exercises and running drills.  As coaches, we paired up and retaught our partners as if they were our athletes.  This is by far the best part of camp; the practical application of the skills and getting experience with different types of athletes (we're all different) along with getting input from everyone else at the same time.

We also took videos of everyone's run so that we could analyze them later in the day as well as get used to how to video tape and some of the software that is available out there.  

The Ken-Caryl Valley was a beautiful backdrop to our morning.

Back at the eNRG Performance Lab, we had yet another delicious meal.  The food is beyond amazing and all in line with the Bob's Metabolic Efficiency principles.  I would switch right now if I could have these meals every day! 

Our afternoon session involved analyzing our videos from the morning run.  We went through what to look at, how to identify weaknesses, how to show our athletes, and how to address their weaknesses.

Before dinner, I headed out for a bike ride through the Ken-Caryl Valley and snapped a number of pictures.  I think it's easy to see that I love scenery photos and the mountains!

The wind REALLY picked up on my final interval.  Once I got back into the Ken-Caryl Valley, I saw why the wind had picked up.  RAIN!  I even saw lightning.  I ended up with an extra interval trying to get back to the hotel before the weather got to me.

But you can't go out with the required selfie.

Back at the hotel, dinner was served!  Each meal seems to outdo the last. It's incredible!  Chef Adam is amazing.

Day #2 was an incredibly in depth view of the run, drills, and analyzing methods.  They left us quite well prepared to go home and coordinate a run clinic as well as how to identify weaknesses in our athletes to address.

Homework time!

Tonight, we had to perform an interview and assessment of a partner's food log based on a recall from Sunday, the day on which most of us traveled.  After obtaining the meal timing, what they ate, and why they ate it, we were required to assess what and why they ate.  While I am by no means a dietitian, it was eye opening to really pick apart not only WHAT my partner ate, but the WHY.  With Bob's guidelines for nutritional advice, the question of why became much more important in coming up with our comments and suggestions.

Wednesday is the bike!


1.  Do you do any run drills regularly?

2.  Have you ever attended a run clinic?

3.  What is the most beautiful place you've ever trained in?