On to the next adventure....

Do you feel like you are living your life to the fullest?

Watching the jaw-dropping eclipse yesterday (can we do this every month??) reminded me how important it is to take part in the many life experiences that bring meaning to your life. There is so much to enjoy in life and far too many people are stuck inside, staring at the computer, watching life pass by, because they are too exhausted or busy to enjoy it.

My dad always taught to me to never take a day for granted and to live each day to the fullest. 

When you take advantage of a new adventure, whether it's watching the eclipse, hiking up a mountain, training for a new sport, traveling, changing jobs or trying something new, you grow, you learn and you make life more meaningful.

If you feel that something in life needs to change, I encourage you to step away from what is comfortable and familiar to you (ex. the same life routine, the same job that doesn't make you happy or the same workout or eating routine) and start seizing the day by planning a new adventure in your life. Yes, it will be scary at first but it may be oh-so-worth-it.

If you have recently found yourself just rolling through the motions of life, feeling as if life is flying by, it's time to disrupt your same-old routine by planning a fun, exciting and special new adventure.

  • What's that one special thing in life that would make you excited to get up in the morning? 
  • How can you become the best version of yourself? 
  • What makes you feel so lucky that you are part of this amazing thing called life? 

  • Where will your next new adventure take you in your life?


    Changing up the views

    Prior to moving to Greenville, SC in May 2014, we spent many years in Jacksonville, FL, training on the same running and cycling routes, week after week, month after month, year after year. We would often struggle with motivation as we had few options to change up the training scenery and we always wished we had new roads to explore and new views to enjoy to help spice up our training.

    Well, everything changed when we moved to Greenville, SC. Not only was our move a refreshing nature-filled change as we traded the beach for the mountains but we have no shortage of safe biking and running routes to explore. And here we are, over 3 years later and we are still discovering new routes. 

    On Saturday, Karel and I ventured out on our bikes for an specific interval set that included 6 x 5 min efforts (building in sets of 2 to very strong) w/ 3 minute EZ spin between. My ride was only 3 hours whereas Karel rode a bit longer than me as he is preparing for IM Chatty. We needed a flatter road (which is hard to find where we live) to after our warm-up (~55 minutes) we found a new road and explored it for our intervals. 

    The road was just perfect and it was so refreshing to ride on a quiet road for our build intervals. Like usual, if any cars passed us, they moved over the yellow line and allowed us plenty of room to ride safe, without worry. Oh how I love riding in Greenville. 

    After the ride, I rode home by myself as Karel carried on with his ride and finished off my workout on the treadmill with 6 x 5 min strong efforts w/ 2 min rest between. I choose the treadmill because I needed a controlled environment to find my rhythm. Since we live in a very hilly area, our treadmill was the perfect option. Karel finished off his workout on the treadmill with a run and then finished off his day of training with a PM run. 

    On Sunday morning, I was so excited to check out the Lake Summit 9-mile running Loop with Karel. We have heard so many great comments about this gravel trail, wrapping around Lake Summit in Tuxedo, NC and we finally made our way to this trail, which is only 26 miles away from us. We aren't use to driving to a place to ride or run but this was so worth it and we will absolutely be back again. 

    The trail had a nice mix of terrain with most of the run on the packed gravel trail. Although Karel and I started together, we each did our own thing for this 9-mile loop. 

    I just love running off road and the miles went by so quickly as I was soaking in the views and loving this new running route. 

    My workout included a 40 minute smooth endurance warm-up, which allowed me to soak in the views and snap some pictures. Then I went into a 20-minute strong effort, followed by nice and EZ running to finish off the loop. 

    After the run, we took a nice dip in the lake (~1000 meters) to finish off our morning of training.

    I'm a firm believer that changing up the training environment, whether it's finding a new route, traveling to a new location, participating in a training camp or training with others, is a great way to boost motivation and to add an extra bit of excitement to your training. If you find yourself tired of the same old routes/views, over and over again, it's time to explore something new. Training is tough but it should also be fun.  Make sure to enjoy nature as you get outside and enjoy the views! 


    Traveling tips for the perfect race-cation

    Enjoying the sunset in St. Croix.

    Although I consider myself a competitive triathlete, triathlon is an outlet, a stress reliever and an opportunity for me to have my “me” time. Triathlon is much more than the hobby that keeps me healthy and active but it provides me with valuable life experiences. For me, one of my most favorite things about triathlon is having the opportunity to combine traveling and racing - two things that enrich my life. Traveling to a race, although a bit stressful and expensive, can be a fun and exciting experience, filling you with lots of great memories in your triathlon journey and showing you different places and faces. 

    Feeling cheesy in route to Madison, Wisconsin. 

    When planning your next race-cation, there are a few important considerations that you need to take into consideration to help you minimize the stress and oh-$h!t situations (let's get real here, traveling is not easy-breezy).

    My tips below are not requirements but rather suggestions based on our experiences as athletes and as coaches so that you can have the best race-cation experience possible and most importantly, put all your training to good use come race day.

    Just lounging around in Mont Tremblant, Canada. 

    1. Don't wait to register for your race until the last minute. Not only will you risk your key race selling out but you will likely pay more for waiting until the last minute to register. The earlier you register for a race, the earlier you can start planning for you race. More so, registering for a race commits you to the upcoming journey so you can mentally and physically start preparing.
    2. Before you register for a race, do your research about the requirements traveling to your race venue (ex. international) as well as projected costs for flights, hotel, etc. Signing up for a race may be inexpensive but the costs can add-up quickly when you factor in the lodging and travel.
    3. Don't wait to book your lodging! I can't tell you how many athletes wait until a few weeks out to book a place to stay for a race that they registered for 6-12 months in advance. Not only do you risk having limited options near the race venue but you will likely overpay due to your last minute booking. Keep in mind that most places let you cancel (without losing any money) in advance so do yourself a favor and book your lodging as soon as you register for a race. This also goes for rental cars. Flights, however, may increase/decrease in price over the year so you may need to wait until ~3 months out to book an affordable flight.
    4. For triathletes - review the guidelines for flying with your bike and call the airline ahead of time, letting them know that you will have your bike (at least 2 weeks in advance). Be mindful of the weight limits when flying international versus domestic as well as the price fees for different airlines. Always print out the important details of flying with your special item, just in case you need to help the gate agent with your precious item (your bike is actually a special item - not a oversized item). Other options for traveling with your bike include BikeFlights and Tribike transport. If you plan to fly with your bike, make sure your rental car can accommodate your bike, luggage, you and any other people in the car.
    5. We all love having our support team at the race but it's important to weigh the pros and cons of traveling with your family versus traveling alone (or with a training buddy or just your significant other/spouse). Race day should be all about you and that includes the time that you need to dedicate to yourself leading up to the race, as you get in the zone and take care of what needs to get done for you to have a great race. For an athlete, the days leading up to a race include a lot of exercising, resting and eating with little time for exploring and entertaining. Post race should be all about your family so consider the best way for you to deliver yourself to a great race day performance and still show your family how much you appreciate their support.
    6. Traveling to a race can be costly and this brings a lot of stress. But consider the many ways that you can cut down on costs or save money for your upcoming event. Reduce the extra spending on eating out or buying alcohol or put away $50-$100 from every paycheck into your upcoming "race-cation" fund. While staying close to your race venue (within walking distance) may reduce the need to have a rental car or pay for parking, you can't put a price on a stress-free race experience. Spending a little more money on a place that meets your needs close to the race venue may provide you with a great race experience versus saving $50-$200 by staying 20-30+ minutes away. Another way to reduce stress and to cut back on extra spending is to book a place to stay with a kitchen. You can prepare all your meals in your home environment and avoid overpaying for food or eating unfamiliar food. There are many ways to reduce the costs when traveling (like sharing a big house or a hotel room) but this requires you to plan well in advance. Above all - pay for the things that will help you race better.
    7. Be sure to arrive early to your race. You'd be surprised how quickly the 48 hours goes before a half or full distance Ironman. Although it may feel like you are just waiting around for the race to start on the day before a race, it's important that you arrive to the race fresh and not exhausted from your travels. We suggest to give yourself at least 3-4 days to settle into your race environment so that you can take care of your workouts, food and anything else that needs to be done before the big day. Seeing that your big race was months in the making, don't put yourself at a competitive disadvantage by arriving the day or two before the race and feeling rushed, overwhelmed and exhausted.
    8. Keep yourself on a schedule in the 72 hours before the race. The earlier you arrive to your race, the easier it is to develop and maintain a routine leading into your race. Consider the new time zone as it relates to sleep, traveling as it relates to digestion, where you will eat, where and when you will do your pre-race workouts and anything else that needs to be on your schedule. You put a lot of work to prepare for your race so don't jeopardize your performance by trying to squeeze in too much in the 48 hours before your race.
    9. Avoid the freak-out moments by planning ahead. Whereas you may not run into any issues if you are traveling to a running race, a triathlon event requires a lot of gear and equipment. Always bring more than what you need and consider what could go wrong so that you have a plan B.
    10. Stick to what works for you. It's easy to deviate from your plan and to start changing up what worked for you - training, nutrition, gear. Avoid the impulse gear and food buys or changing up your race day nutrition in the last minute. While it's good to keep your ears open for suggestions and tips, don't assume that the advice from someone else will work for you. Trust your own plan and have confidence in what worked for you throughout your season. 


    Who's ready to travel???!!!