1/18/13

Win at all costs - is it worth it?

In light of all the Lance Armstrong talk that is going around, I couldn't help but think about the "win at all costs" philosophy that keeps our society driven to reach the standards of others.

Certainly, we feel pressure to please others or meet expectations and then we feel like failures if we come up short. The pressure that we put on ourselves is often unbearable yet we do it all the time.

Beyond competitive athletes, our society is built on standards. Living a certain way, acting a certain way, looking a certain way. The interesting thing is that we all live in our own community bubble so depending on who we surround ourselves with on a day-to-day basis, that is our standard.

Live in a runner or triathlete bubble? Perhaps you are constantly comparing your body, training schedule, paces or performance to those who are better than you.

Live in a wealthy bubble? Perhaps your lifestyle isn't "good enough" for your neighbors or coworkers.

Live in an extreme bubble? Perhaps you consider compromising your health, well-being or lifestyle to fit within the masses.

No matter what bubble you fit into, if you constantly try to live up to the standards of others, you are going to find yourself defeated. Defeated that you are living the life that you feel others expect you to live, instead of living your own fabulous life.

As a healthy lifestyle professional (if there is such a thing - certainly I didn't go to school for that profession but my background has helped me change the lives of so many), I understand the pressure you may feel to "win at all costs." Not just at your upcoming race but to succeed like those who you admire....likely seen on facebook or a blog (because we all know that our society loves to "show off" on social media).

Winning can be interchanged with succeeding. You don't want to fail at weight loss, performance, education or relationships so you will do anything and everything to "win" at what you want.

Humans are expected to be rational. We grow up learning how to have good judgment and to be sensible. But when we want something, badly, we are not afraid to act beyond common sense and do whatever it takes to succeed. Extreme fad diets, overtraining, neglecting obligations at work or at home, acting arrogant around loved ones. Likely you expected me to say something along the lines of performance enhancing drugs but I feel as if our society does a lot of unhealthy things to the body and mind which may seem "common" but really, are far from "healthy". Yet we try so hard to fit in and that often means compromising our integrity, health and beliefs to be accepted by others.

We have pressure in society to do whatever it takes to succeed because if it doesn't look like we are trying hard, it only looks like we don't want it bad enough. So, if we can at least act the part and be a little hard core, we at least feel challenged by the idea that we are going to succeed because that is what others expect us to do.

Who doesn't love to win? It is fulfilling, satisfying and inspiring. However, if it comes with being inflexible and being an unhealthy competitor in life, it's only a matter of time until you have to pay the price.

To succeed in life, use your common sense. Guess what? There is no perfect way to eat, there is no perfect body image, there is no perfect lifestyle and there is not definition of "athlete".

What there is is a lot of selfishness and greed that comes from a person who is headstrong about reaching their goals and is willing to win at all costs. Sadly, there may be short term gains,  but likely there may be more consequential long term losses.

Take a step back and think about your life. More importantly, your lifestyle. Is your training routine moving you closer to your goals? Is your diet allowing you to have a healthy body composition and additionally helping you to live a long, active life in a hopefully disease/illness free body with a healthy relationship with food? Is your lifestyle conducive to enjoying your days on earth or are you finding yourself bored, stressed and frustrated with how you are wasting your days?

The only person you need to please in life is you. Your family and friends will love you so long as you are not being destructive to your body and mind. Your body will likewise love you if you are doing everything in your power to take care of it.

I know you can win in life. Just be sure you know what you really want and that you are willing to work for it until you get it. Your enjoyment of "winning" is felt by you but it can also be shared by others.

Win at all costs so long as you do not end up bankrupt at the end. What's the point of having everything now when you have the rest of your life ahead of you to keep on playing the game?

1/16/13

Triathlete swim advice & Kiefer backpack product review

If you are currently training for a triathlon event and wanting to improve your swimming, the most important thing you can do right now is to get into the water.

Depending on where you live (weather), pool times and accessibly and overall motivation to jump into water, only to swim the exact same distance, over and over again for x-amount of time, it's likely that many of you will put off swimming until you start to freak out that it is time to start working on your swimming.

As a coach, I call this fear-based-training and it isn't limited to the triathlete who is not comfortable in the water. Fear based training also applies to individuals who do an excessive amount of mileage or volume on the weeks leading up to a race because of the fear of not feeling prepared and thus, the need to "test" themselves that they are physically prepared for race day. Sadly, they end up wasting their best performance in training and end up feeling overtrained, on the verge of injury and inefficient with race day pacing all because of overlook key opportunities to work on skills, drills and efficiency.

I personally couldn't imagine my life without swimming. It is my favorite thing to do to clear my mind and to zone out and I feel very natural in the water. This was not the case when I started riding my first triathlon bike as it took many years to learn how to feel "one" with my bike.

If you are a new swimmer or someone who constantly feels sloppy in the water (regardless of swim speed/pace), it's important to not rush the process of drills and skills. Rather than testing yourself with speed sets and trying to get in x-yardage per workout, focus on time-based swimming whether it is 20 minutes or an hour. There's nothing wrong with doing a main set but don't let your focus on yards interfere with the priority of swimming with good form. The most productive workout you can do in the water right now is to focus on smooth, steady swimming. Rest as much as you need on the wall as no one will penalize you for catching your breath. Frequency is better than long distance if this works with your schedule. Rather than wasting 90 minutes, two times a week on long distance swimming or speed sets, the newbie or uncomfortable swimmer should be in the water as often as possible. As I tell several of my athletes "float" and "play" once a week in the water. This takes the pressure off of distance and time and instead, relaxes their brain as to a specific workout ahead that they may be hesitant to do due to lack of confidence, energy or motivation. Like any physical activity, once you get going, you are happy you did it. Use this time to focus on your catch, kick (from the hips), roll, bilateral breathing, hand entry and head position. Yes - so much to think about but it's much easier to dedicate 4-6 weeks NOW to skill focused swimming than to try to create the perfect stroke along with learning how to be efficient in the water (in order to bike and run strong afterward) along with trying to build intensity and volume at the same time 4-6 weeks before your key race.

As we all know, new gear brings new motivation.

Recently, I was contacted by Kiefer (not the yogurt) about reviewing one of their products. The first thing that came to mind was a swim bag! It's been a long time since I have had a dedicated "swim bag" and not a "gym" or "transition" bag. This instantly took me back to me back to my College swimming days and I couldn't wait to receive the backpack.

Kiefer Team Backpack

One of my favorite things about bags is all the compartments and this bag has no shortage of them. The bag isn't super large so it fits well in a locker at the Y when I swim. Also, since I do end up using the bag for multi-sports, it is nice to have mesh pockets, inside and outside small pockets and the large opening in the middle. This keeps me organized since I tend to be on-the-go a lot for swim, bike and run. The bag is comfortable (which is really important on the back - especially before/after swimming) and the quality of the bag is great as I expect it to withhold my very active lifestyle.

Another great thing..the bag is on sale!
Thank you Kiefer for providing me with this free backpack for me to try and use throughout my upcoming season.

A few other swim-related products in my collection:

TYR Women's Thin Strap Reversible Swimsuit: Black/Red


Depending on where you swim, how often you swim and the quality of your swim material, keeping a swim suit for more than a few months is likely impossible. They stretch, fade and lose color very quickly. Karel purchased this suit for me in early summer and surprisingly, it is still holding up in great condition. It has not stretched or faded and I love that it is reversible.

NOOTCA 207


Before Branson 70.3 I wrote about my new Nootca goggles that I loved instantly! Here's my review on them.


If you are currently training for a triathlon event and wanting to improve your swimming, the most important thing you can do right now is to get into the water.

Depending on where you live (weather), pool times and accessibly and overall motivation to jump into water, only to swim the exact same distance, over and over again for x-amount of time, it's likely that many of you will put off swimming until you start to freak out that it is time to start working on your swimming.

As a coach, I call this fear-based-training and it isn't limited to the triathlete who is not comfortable in the water. Fear based training also applies to individuals who do an excessive amount of mileage or volume on the weeks leading up to a race because of the fear of not feeling prepared and thus, the need to "test" themselves that they are physically prepared for race day. Sadly, they end up wasting their best performance in training and end up feeling overtrained, on the verge of injury and inefficient with race day pacing all because of overlook key opportunities to work on skills, drills and efficiency.

I personally couldn't imagine my life without swimming. It is my favorite thing to do to clear my mind and to zone out and I feel very natural in the water. This was not the case when I started riding my first triathlon bike as it took many years to learn how to feel "one" with my bike.

If you are a new swimmer or someone who constantly feels sloppy in the water (regardless of swim speed/pace), it's important to not rush the process of drills and skills. Rather than testing yourself with speed sets and trying to get in x-yardage per workout, focus on time-based swimming whether it is 20 minutes or an hour. There's nothing wrong with doing a main set but don't let your focus on yards interfere with the priority of swimming with good form. The most productive workout you can do in the water right now is to focus on smooth, steady swimming. Rest as much as you need on the wall as no one will penalize you for catching your breath. Frequency is better than long distance if this works with your schedule. Rather than wasting 90 minutes, two times a week on long distance swimming or speed sets, the newbie or uncomfortable swimmer should be in the water as often as possible. As I tell several of my athletes "float" and "play" once a week in the water. This takes the pressure off of distance and time and instead, relaxes their brain as to a specific workout ahead that they may be hesitant to do due to lack of confidence, energy or motivation. Like any physical activity, once you get going, you are happy you did it. Use this time to focus on your catch, kick (from the hips), roll, bilateral breathing, hand entry and head position. Yes - so much to think about but it's much easier to dedicate 4-6 weeks NOW to skill focused swimming than to try to create the perfect stroke along with learning how to be efficient in the water (in order to bike and run strong afterward) along with trying to build intensity and volume at the same time 4-6 weeks before your key race.

As we all know, new gear brings new motivation.

Recently, I was contacted by Kiefer (not the yogurt) about reviewing one of their products. The first thing that came to mind was a swim bag! It's been a long time since I have had a dedicated "swim bag" and not a "gym" or "transition" bag. This instantly took me back to me back to my College swimming days and I couldn't wait to receive the backpack.

Kiefer Team Backpack

One of my favorite things about bags is all the compartments and this bag has no shortage of them. The bag isn't super large so it fits well in a locker at the Y when I swim. Also, since I do end up using the bag for multi-sports, it is nice to have mesh pockets, inside and outside small pockets and the large opening in the middle. This keeps me organized since I tend to be on-the-go a lot for swim, bike and run. The bag is comfortable (which is really important on the back - especially before/after swimming) and the quality of the bag is great as I expect it to withhold my very active lifestyle.

Another great thing..the bag is on sale!
Thank you Kiefer for providing me with this free backpack for me to try and use throughout my upcoming season.

A few other swim-related products in my collection:

TYR Women's Thin Strap Reversible Swimsuit: Black/Red


Depending on where you swim, how often you swim and the quality of your swim material, keeping a swim suit for more than a few months is likely impossible. They stretch, fade and lose color very quickly. Karel purchased this suit for me in early summer and surprisingly, it is still holding up in great condition. It has not stretched or faded and I love that it is reversible.

NOOTCA 207


Before Branson 70.3 I wrote about my new Nootca goggles that I loved instantly! Here's my review on them.


If you are currently training for a triathlon event and wanting to improve your swimming, the most important thing you can do right now is to get into the water.

Depending on where you live (weather), pool times and accessibly and overall motivation to jump into water, only to swim the exact same distance, over and over again for x-amount of time, it's likely that many of you will put off swimming until you start to freak out that it is time to start working on your swimming.

As a coach, I call this fear-based-training and it isn't limited to the triathlete who is not comfortable in the water. Fear based training also applies to individuals who do an excessive amount of mileage or volume on the weeks leading up to a race because of the fear of not feeling prepared and thus, the need to "test" themselves that they are physically prepared for race day. Sadly, they end up wasting their best performance in training and end up feeling overtrained, on the verge of injury and inefficient with race day pacing all because of overlook key opportunities to work on skills, drills and efficiency.

I personally couldn't imagine my life without swimming. It is my favorite thing to do to clear my mind and to zone out and I feel very natural in the water. This was not the case when I started riding my first triathlon bike as it took many years to learn how to feel "one" with my bike.

If you are a new swimmer or someone who constantly feels sloppy in the water (regardless of swim speed/pace), it's important to not rush the process of drills and skills. Rather than testing yourself with speed sets and trying to get in x-yardage per workout, focus on time-based swimming whether it is 20 minutes or an hour. There's nothing wrong with doing a main set but don't let your focus on yards interfere with the priority of swimming with good form. The most productive workout you can do in the water right now is to focus on smooth, steady swimming. Rest as much as you need on the wall as no one will penalize you for catching your breath. Frequency is better than long distance if this works with your schedule. Rather than wasting 90 minutes, two times a week on long distance swimming or speed sets, the newbie or uncomfortable swimmer should be in the water as often as possible. As I tell several of my athletes "float" and "play" once a week in the water. This takes the pressure off of distance and time and instead, relaxes their brain as to a specific workout ahead that they may be hesitant to do due to lack of confidence, energy or motivation. Like any physical activity, once you get going, you are happy you did it. Use this time to focus on your catch, kick (from the hips), roll, bilateral breathing, hand entry and head position. Yes - so much to think about but it's much easier to dedicate 4-6 weeks NOW to skill focused swimming than to try to create the perfect stroke along with learning how to be efficient in the water (in order to bike and run strong afterward) along with trying to build intensity and volume at the same time 4-6 weeks before your key race.

As we all know, new gear brings new motivation.

Recently, I was contacted by Kiefer (not the yogurt) about reviewing one of their products. The first thing that came to mind was a swim bag! It's been a long time since I have had a dedicated "swim bag" and not a "gym" or "transition" bag. This instantly took me back to me back to my College swimming days and I couldn't wait to receive the backpack.

Kiefer Team Backpack

One of my favorite things about bags is all the compartments and this bag has no shortage of them. The bag isn't super large so it fits well in a locker at the Y when I swim. Also, since I do end up using the bag for multi-sports, it is nice to have mesh pockets, inside and outside small pockets and the large opening in the middle. This keeps me organized since I tend to be on-the-go a lot for swim, bike and run. The bag is comfortable (which is really important on the back - especially before/after swimming) and the quality of the bag is great as I expect it to withhold my very active lifestyle.

Another great thing..the bag is on sale!
Thank you Kiefer for providing me with this free backpack for me to try and use throughout my upcoming season.

A few other swim-related products in my collection:

TYR Women's Thin Strap Reversible Swimsuit: Black/Red


Depending on where you swim, how often you swim and the quality of your swim material, keeping a swim suit for more than a few months is likely impossible. They stretch, fade and lose color very quickly. Karel purchased this suit for me in early summer and surprisingly, it is still holding up in great condition. It has not stretched or faded and I love that it is reversible.

NOOTCA 207


Before Branson 70.3 I wrote about my new Nootca goggles that I loved instantly! Here's my review on them.

Sporti Power Swim Paddles





I believe paddles are a must for triathletes. They help with your catch in the water and developing stronger arms in the water. I don't use fins with my training and don't own a pair but certainly I used them all throughout my competitive swimming career. I don't feel as if they are bad to have or that you are "cheating" with them on. Keep in mind that the focus of swimming is FORM. If you are using fins just to kick faster to cover more yards in a certain amount of time, hopefully the form is not on the bottom of the list for the goals for the workout. These paddles are super cheap and I have had them for a few years and they haven't broke in the straps. 

Attitude Solid Latex Cap


Every swimmer needs a fun swim cap. I do believe that men and women triathletes should be wearing caps in the pool. Not to protect the hair but to get comfortable wearing a cap WITH goggles to prepare for race day. This is my favorite swim cap that I wear all the time. It's super comfortable and the latex will not (or should not) rip apart.

Any other swim-related questions? Just send me an email. 




1/15/13

Finally warming up again

Two weeks ago I braved 20 degree temps in Utah at an altitude of 8000-11000 feet. I stayed extremely active in the snow, both on my board and a few times on my butt. The Oakley Women product testing summit was amazing and I had such a great time stepping outside of my comfort zone.
 
 
 
The following weekend (1/11-1/14) I braved even colder temperatures and traveled to Iowa to speak to the Missouri River Runners group for their yearly banquet. Despite living in Kentucky for the first 21 years of my life, I have become quite soft in the cold..or as we like to say in Florida - when it gets "down to 40 degrees outside".
An average temperature of around 10 degrees each day, with a few flurries and a few gusts of wind making the wind chill drop below zero.

 

 
My talk was on "Common mistakes made by runners: train smarter to reach success faster."
I met so many new people and got to know some of my Trimarni Nutrition athletes (from the web) even better in person. My hosts - Patty, Stacy and Therese were amazing and we had so much fun together. I think the most fun was working out together, cooking together and eating together. I was all for them picking my brain all weekend on all things training, nutrition, diet, fitness and health and I just loved being able to cook for everyone and have others enjoy my creations.
 
 
After arriving around 9pm Iowa time, it was a rather long day and around 11 am EST, I was ready for bed. It was an early morning wake-up call at 5am for we had a full triathlon on the schedule for our training.
6am swim - 2000 yards (indoor)
7am spin class - 50 min
8 am treadmill run - 50 min (I included a few fartlek intervals)
Afterward, a well-needed shower. I almost forgot how cold it was outside until I stepped outside and was quickly reminded I was not in Florida anymore.
 
I was super excited to make the girls some breakfast. I figured our catered dinner would be fairly carb heavy but with our morning workout, I didn't want everyone to feel depleted all day. The perfect creation was a veggie stuffed omelet (stuffed w/ sautéed in olive oil, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, green peppers and spinach) all topped w/ homemade salsa and shredded cheese. We enjoyed homemade muffins on the side (thanks to Therese) and a side of fruit w/ mixed nuts.

 
After breakfast and chatting for a bit we bundled up to head to Hy Vee. This was my first trip to this grocery store and the girls (and Michele) picked my brain on their own private grocery store tour, asking me about all the products that they were interested in adding to their diet. It was a lot of fun but by the time we were finished, we were ready for another meal. Since I rarely call meals "breakfast, lunch and dinner" on the weekend due to timing of workouts, I will call this creation #2 for the day.

 
I'm pretty sure we put everything in the kitchen out on the counter and we each created our own salad from this buffet of food. We also cooked bulgur and quinoa to top on the salad. My creation had mixed greens, pineapple, mango, avocado, dried cherries, pistachios, homemade salsa for dressing, quinoa, bulgur, cottage cheese, onion, pepper, cucumber, carrots and tomato. It was delicious!
 
I spent a little of the later part of the afternoon preparing a little more for my power point presentation. The venue was super cute - a log cabin that is rented out for functions. There was a fire inside to keep us warm but I think I needed a few more of them as I was a bit on the chilly side all evening. Luckily, the catering company prepared a delicious meal that warmed my belly. Vegetarian lasagna (for a few of us), roasted veggies and salad. There was a dessert of brownie or cheesecake but my tummy had no room for it so I decided to pass.

 
My talk went well and the group was very attentive and asked great questions. My focus was to open the minds of new and veteran runners (and a few triathletes) to the many ways that you can enhance training besides just focusing on the miles. I look forward to seeing some great results from the athletes in my talk as I know they were able to walk away with a few tips on how to train smarter to reach success faster.

 
 
I took my own advice on Sunday and woke up without an alarm to ensure a restful night of sleep. But as soon as I woke up around 7am, I put on layers of clothes to prep for my first icy trail run. It was less than 10 degrees out and a wind chill of -6. Let's just say that thankfully, Nike (below) kept me happy the whole ride to the trail.
 
No, I am not frozen. This was after my first ever trail run on ice/snow in snow spikes. Almost 7 miles and an enjoyable change from the normal sweaty, hot Florida run-routine. However, I'm not saying I'd trade Florida for this weather...I'm just accepting of a change every now and then.

 
As I was running, I just couldn't help but think how lucky I am to have a body that is able to travel, workout and stay extremely busy and active and still function at full capacity when I need it to perform. My brain is healthy enough to remember information so that I can speak publicly, my body is healthy enough to move whenever I ask it to perform and my heart is healthy enough to keep on beating so that every day I can try new things and try new opportunities and experiences. I can't think of any other reason than my daily habits that allow me to live a very active, busy lifestyle. I recognize what I want to do in life but I can't expect it to all happen without taking care of my body. It is with good sleep, good food and a deep respect for my body that I am able to live this amazing lifestyle. I only hope you are able to do the same for it is no fun to feel uggh, and to see days pass on by and to feel like you are not able to join in on your imaginary fun and active life. To make those dreams come true, be sure to start with your body as that is the only place you have to live for the rest of your life.

 
Thanks Stacy for letting me run with your snow spikes! I would have never made it without them! I also want to thank Oakley Women for the base layer top and soft shell jacket for keeping me warm during this run.

 
Our running group + 2 fast doggies :)

 
 
Post-run french toast smeared w/ crunchy natural peanut butter and topped with cinnamon and greek yogurt. A side of eggs w/ spinach and fruit w/ nuts. Oh and a cup of coffee consumed with the making of this creation.
 
 
Well - I am finally warm again and I will not be complaining about our "cold" Florida weather any longer. The shorts and sandals are on again and Campy and I are loving our time outdoors. Life is still busy and active but I can't complain.
 
 
 
"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you."