Monday, January 31, 2011

Sponsor updates and a deal for you!!!

And I continue to be blown away. Not only did we hear of a new sponsor they have offered us a friends and family discount!!! is again an official sponsor of Team Trakkers.  And in addition to that they are extending a discount to our friends and family - to include YOU! So next time you find yourself in need of Tri equipment go to and enter this code: GOTRAKKERS for 15% off your entire purchase.  Follow them on Twitter @All3Sportscom.

Rev3 is also in on the friends and family discount action. You can get $10 off your Rev3 registration using this code: Trakkers27.  You'll be prompted to enter as you register on If you register for a Rev3 race let me know.. and I'll see you there! To keep up on all things Rev3 please follow on Twitter @Rev3Tri.

Go Trakkers AND all of our awesome awesome sponsors!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stay Injury Free - Part II The GLUTES, movement prep, prehab, recovery and regeneration

I am 100% geeking out over Jessi Stensland and Core Performance (CP). 100%!! We'll come back to that!

As I dive into this whole 'injury prevention' thing I'm blown away. Maybe blown away isn't the right way to say it. Let's just say that in my years running I've always thought it would be 'nice' to do a strength training program, but always wanted to 'save my legs' for the long run. I was so naive. This quest has created a paradigm shift for me. While the programs I am looking at are not 'strength training' in the sense that I previously thought of it. I thought of it as big weights and leg presses until my legs were noodles. While I think there is definitely a place for that (dependent on your goals) this approach is not what I'm thinking of as I enter into my season. (Wait aren't I knee deep in marathon training?)

I'm talking about movement prep, sustainable strength training to prevent injury (CP calls it Prehab) and recovery. I will get into all of this, but went to delve into some information about your GLUTES!

Now as an endurance athlete you are thinking 'my glutes are rock solid baby!', but I'm here to tell you that they likely aren't. While your Gluteus Maximus might be all well and good those other pesky glutes (gluteus medius and minimus) are likely suffering a bit.

Yea so what?

According to Core Performance (got the book for endurance athletes and would highly recommend you do the same - check the library) "Learning how to use the glutes and the surrounding musculature in the hip cuff will be one of the best things you can do to DECREASE injury potential and improve performance." And let me just BLOW your mind right now. Hold onto your seat! I can't quote this verbatim because I've been devouring everything Jessi and CP, but somewhere along the way someone said... Adding 10 mins of movement prep (etc) to your daily workout WILL benefit you MORE than slogging 10 more minutes out on your run/bike. Basically doing the 10 minutes of movement prep gets you ready to workout, warms the muscles and helps open up joints for proper posture and movement. But if you want to do 10 extra sloppy run/bike minutes as 'warm up' instead and not gain the strength and mobility, but get those MINUTES in ... be my guest. I'll be waiting for you at the finish line of our next race... minus the injuries. Just sayin'!

The glutes should always be the primary muscles that drive lower body movement, but the body will default to the stronger muscles to accomplish this. In most of us our Quads overpower our glutes. You see a lot of people doing squats and lunges at the gym, and while these exercises strengthen the legs their main goal should be to strengthen the glutes FIRST and the legs second. (In order to do this you need to concentrate on firing the glutes - your weight should be distributed evenly on your feet - not in your heels or your forefoot.)

Here is a great video of the proper squat form.
                                                                           Get Adobe Flash player                    

I've always known that the glutes were a powerhouse and I've always ASSUMED that they must just do what they do, but when I did the squat the right way and really focused on what I was doing... wow. What a difference. First I did a regular old squat like I would normally do.. QUADS QUADS QUADS. Hmmm strange. Then I tried the way above and focused on my glutes. What a difference! Then I tried some lunges. Hmm same thing. I guess in the past I thought of these as leg exercises so I didn't give my glutes much thought... just figured a nice side benefit was a nice butt.

Since looking into all of this I have really been concentrating on firing my glutes in every day stuff... walking, crouching down to pick something up, getting out of a chair. Try it. You'll realize you aren't maximizing your glute potential either!

So I haven't come up w/ my final solution to all of this. I'm still just figuring it all out, but I'm starting with the Core Performance stuff (and who knows maybe this is the holy grail for me and is what I will stay with). See the videos below (care of SportSkool) with Jessi Stensland. She talks a bit about how she was athletically when she came to this program and - well - you can see how it all worked out for her. Just watch her run form. WOW!

Warm up


Recovery and Regeneration

Did you do the squat? How are your glutes? Try this stuff and report back here how it worked for you. I know Kelly of Team Trakkers has done some of the Movement Prep stuff and is enjoying it's benefits already!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011... are you really already awesome?

I'm working on my next installment of the "Injury Free" series, but in the mean time...

I am so amazed! You put something out there and it starts to come together. You open the door or window or whatever and things start to happen. I said this year was going to be AWESOME.. and I gotta tell ya at the end of 2010 I was doubtful, but it's all starting to come together!

First and foremost I'm still in awe/denial that I am a part of this Trakkers crew! Things are starting to happen, people are talking, Rev3 is ramping up and I just sit back and wonder how I got on the awesome train w/ this crew!

The pro team has been announced (click here to see video of them introducing themselves) and though obviously I've never met any of these people I've been watching them through the years and can't believe I will be part of it all. (we Trakkers Age Groupers really look up to our faster team mates!!!) And you can come out to the Rev3 race series and race with them ... oh and us age groupers too... though we might not have as much draw!

Hillary Biscay:  2008 Ironman Wisconsin Champion; 15-time top-three Ironman finisher
Courtenay Brown: Danskin Tri & Silverman Half winner; Inside Tri columnist
Kathleen Calkins: 2010 REV3 Cedar Point 3rd place; Top Amateur Kona 2009
Richie Cunningham: 2x 70.3 Champion; 4x Top-Five 70.3 World Championships
Brian Fleischmann: 1st World Team Champs; 2x 2nd place USAT National Champs
Jacqui Gordon: Multiple Ironman and 70.3 Top-Ten finisher
Amanda Lovato: 2010 Pucón 70.3 Champion; Multiple Half Ironman Champion; Multiple Top-Five Ironman finisher
Michael Lovato: 2x Ironman Champion; 3x Top-Ten Kona; 3x National Champion
Chris McDonald: 3x Ironman Champion
Jessica Meyers: 2010 Augusta 70.3 Champ; US National Team; Armed Services Champion
Matt Sheeks: 2010 Duathlon Pro National Champion; 2009 Duathlon AG World Champion

Our sponsorships continue to come together. This part floors me too! I've never been a sponsored athlete and I gotta say it seems a little weird, but I couldn't be more appreciative of the time and effort that goes into it all and of the companies for providing us such wonderful product and service. As time goes by I will be talking about all of the products we use and know that what I say is truly how I feel about the product! Of course, all the companies and products are stellar so... well you know!

So far the line up is as follows

Rev3... have I talked about this race series enough? Click HERE to check out Rev3 radio with Bree Wee TONIGHT Wed 1/26/11 at 8pm Eastern time!
Kestrel Bicylces - I am currently awaiting my 4000 Pro Frame set. Tom will be hard at work putting her together ASAP! oh, is it snowing out. Crap. Okay, but I'll be on her as soon as the weather permits! After all... there is a race on the horizon.
Avia Shoes - my Avi Quest Lites should be here any day now. I can't wait. Mama is in need of some new shoes... BAD! :)
First Endurance - I've been super excited to try First Endurance since I first heard of it last year when I found Team Trakkers. I didn't pull the trigger bc I discovered it after I did my marathon and didn't do so much long stuff and didn't feel justified in purchasing it. I did go out and purchase some Ultragen the other day and OMG that stuff is so good I want to do an epic training session every single day so I can have one! I'm waiting for my EFS and liquid shot to come in.... there will definitely be more reviews on this awesome product!
TYR - if you've ever swum a lap you've likely used these products! We'll be sporting TYR wetsuits this year.. full sleeve or sleeveless that is the question!
SBR Sports/Triswim,Triglide,foggle - I've been using the triswim for a while now and it's fabulous! No chlorine smell and now chlorine itch. The product is smooth and luxurious with a nice fresh scent (nothing overpowering). If you can't even imagine that this is possible than I suggest you check it out ... click HERE and get some samples for your very own post swim spa experience. In addition to having a stellar product this company is run by a fantastic athlete and all around good person. I'm happy to be supporting a small business with good people and good products! Her company philosophy jives with Rev3s main goal of putting the athlete first!

To add to the general AWESOMENESS I've just landed a job with Rev3 as the local Volunteer Coordinator. This does mean that I can't race Quassy, but it also means that I get to be a little bit behind the scenes too! When we were going through the Trakkers process of deciding who was going to be on the team I had posed to Carole that I would love to work with Rev3 regardless of my making the team so when this opportunity came up I jumped on it! See... you put it out there in the universe and it all just finds you!

Plans are getting booked for all of my races and I'm once again blown away at how awesome my husband is. He is totally supportive of all this craziness and is on board to pick up any slack in the home front department.. ie watching kids while I go gallivanting around the country to race and represent Team Trakkers. With out his support NONE of this would be happening! Thanks babe! I love you!

I'm back to rockin on my workouts.. who knew switching to the treadmill would make me feel better? Weird. I'm still trying to find balance with three days straight of teaching spin ... over the weekend without frying my legs for my long run. I have a really hard time dogging it in class.

So all in all 2011 is off to a great start. And great is a gross understatement!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stay Injury Free - Part I Movement Prep

I've added a goal to the list for 2011... STAY INJURY FREE.

The irony of this being that I'm limping a bit and my hamstring / glute is throbbing a bit as I type this. I think it was a combo of snow shoveling (I AM SO DONE W THIS WEATHER), spinning hard three days in a row and two epic duathlon workouts. On a scale of 1 to 10 it's maybe a 2 or 3, but it's there... EARLY in the season. So I went to see a chiropractor that also does ART (Active Release Techniques). I've been to  number of chiropractors in my life, but this is the first time one has watched me go through a number of range of motion exercises to look for weaknesses. Granted I first saw him the day after my 14mile run/1hour spin/4 mile run workout. When he told me my glutes seemed weak I told him about this workout and he didn't bat an eye so I'm not sure if my glutes are indeed weak or if they were just fatigued.

Prior to this pain and my visit to the chiropractor I had been poking around at Jessi Stensland's website Movement U and a site she seems to participate in and/or just link to a site called Core Performance regarding strengthening the core, form and preparing for movement techniques (instead of stretching pre run or just jumping right in). There is so much information at both of these sites that I quickly found myself overwhelmed.

I was pretty excited when it all came full circle and the chiropractor demonstrated a couple of moves for me to do a couple of times a day (which reminds me that I haven't done them yet, ugh) and they were THE SAME as some of the moves Jessi talked about. It's all coming together.

So - though they honestly bore me to tears - I know that these exercises are important to keep me doing the ones that DON'T bore me to tears. I've reached out to coach for some strength/range of motion stuff and am also looking things up myself... cause I like to do that. Jessi talks a lot about going through the exercises WHILE PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION TO YOUR CORE! Do the exercises, but only to the degree and length that you can maintain proper form.

There is SO MUCH information out there in regards to how to prevent injuries that I decided to do this in a series. Part I will be:


The best resource I have found is the Core Performance site. I did this movement prep for my last two runs and I have to say that I felt it helped a lot. Normally I feel some aches and pains as my body gets warmed up and things really start to jive after about 3 miles. These past two runs I got right to work after having done the movement prep moves at Core Performance. I also felt that doing them kept me thinking about my core and body alignment during the run. They are worth the time!

These moves include:
Marching Glute Bridges
Hip Rotations
Leg overs
Knee Hugs
Reverse Lunges
Knee hug to forward lunges
Drop Lunges
Lateral Squats
Inverted Hamstrings
Heel to Butt

Each of these moves is shown (complete with videos) very well HERE at Core Performance so I won't try to explain them. I would say all told these moves took me about 10 minutes to do in total. If you don't have that kind of time (you really do you just don't think you don't) then I would say pick some to do each time and rotate them for different workouts.

Monday, January 17, 2011


No turning back now folks.... the cat's officially out of the bag. Maybe you already knew this, but I think I've been denying it to myself or just ignoring it until I get through the Austin Marathon. I'm doing the full at Cedar Point. (shhh, I still don't like to talk about it too much because it makes me sick to my stomach. I'm scared out of my mind, but really excited at the same time.)

Being that this is my FIRST full (crap stop staying that it's making me sick) I am looking for all the support I can get. I, of course, have my wonderful Trakkers team mates many of which have done not only the full, but the Cedar Point full, and I just joined a great group of bloggers that are all doing a full in 2011. You can check all of us out at 201Ironman. I just added my profile so if you get over there quick the link will take you straight to my details! :) There are seasoned Ironman athletes and newbies there that are all posting to the site. You can also link to all of our blogs if you need some instant inspiration!

This is one of the things I just love about triathlon... we're like family. We're all in this together helping each other out along the way whether it be motivation on a day you just don't 'feel it' or tips on training/racing/nutrition. Blogging has just made this family ridiculously huge! If you think you can't do a triathlon just look out there at all these blogs. If you still think you can't... email one of us. Open the door. We all want to help you all succeed in your tri dreams. I'm amazed every day at the support and communication I get from complete and total strangers as a result of both my blog and reaching out to other bloggers!

You all have numerous ways to check up on me now.... so do so and make sure I'm staying on target with my #1 goal to HAVE FUN! If it sounds like I'm not having fun.... remind me!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Trigger Point Therapy

I first heard of Trigger Point Therapy on Megan's blog inTraining. Now I've been a user of THE STICK and it was okay, but never really did much for me. I've seen and used that big foam roller thing at the gym, but mostly just on my IT Band. This system takes it to the next level. Not only are the products solid they provide endless amount of information on their WEBSITE and YOUTUBE!

And on top of that I mentioned something about being really sore and wondering if you can overdo the TP Therapy and THEY RESPONDED to my tweet! I was shocked! They reminded me to hydrate properly. Told me that YES you can indeed do too much (uh, Laura, newsflash... all things in MODERATION!) and told me to message them directly if I needed more info. Talk about making me feel special and cared for!

So what's this Trigger Point stuff all about? (Trigger Point people please add anything I missed in the comments below!) It basically brings myofascial release to you at home! Massage, while wonderful, can become quite costly and as endurance athletes (or desk jockeys really) we need a lot of it to keep us moving.

Okay that's nice and I'm all for the frequent massage, but really how's this roller and ball going to get me the nice relaxing state of a massage... uh, well it's not THAT kind of massage. It's the kind of massage that hurts a little (ok a lot), but is functional. You won't be relaxed and you might actually break a sweat and it will make you VERY happy you did it.

Per Wikipedia Myofascial release is a form of soft tissue therapy used to treat somatic dysfunction (the impaired or altered function of bodily structures) and accompanying pain and restriction of motion. This is accomplished by relaxing contracted muscles, increasing circulation, increasing venous and lymphatic drainage, and stimulating the stretch reflex of muscles and overlying fascia.[1]

By performing the Trigger Point Therapy/Myofascial release you can relieve muscular aches and pains and restore full range of motion!

TP Therapy has a nice CHART on their site showing various trigger points, but I found THIS one that I think is one the coolest sites I've seen in a long time. It's an interactive Trigger Point Map. How cool is that. Have a pain? Find it on the dude and it will show you a close up of that muscle group and show you where you need to perform your TP therapy to relieve the pain... sometimes it's not in the same place as the pain.

I think I may have over done it on the ol' glutes this go round... so I think I'll stick to the shorter sessions daily to continue to release without so much pain. As I am devouring the TP website I just found this:

"When using Trigger Point's Performance tools, three to five minutes of pressure within each muscle group is all that is needed. This method is recommended before and after workouts and races and prior to stretching. Athletes tend to overdo things. That's what gets them into the painful situation in the first place. Moderation is the key."

I love the lower leg release! LOVE! I swear it keeps me out there.

If you have doubts check this out! I did this little test myself the other day and I COULD NOT believe the difference it made in ONE sitting. I have been doing this awhile, but never tested it.

If you haven't used this system you need to get it! I guarantee it will have you feeling better (so long as you subscribe to that whole ALL THINGS IN MODERATION thing!)

Do you roll your legs? Use the stick? Already a devout TP Therapy ball sitter?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

What do I want to accomplish with this sport!?

What's my purpose? Ok.. not in life, but here on this blog. Why? Why do I write? Why do I train? Why do I race. I alluded to my questioning my definition of AWESOMENESS for this great year of 2011 in my last post. Originally when I thought of AWESOMENESS I thought about crushing the Boston Goal and achieving my furthest distance at some arbitrarily fast pace. Well, as I've been striving toward the Boston goal I've found that I don't have the drive (my teammie Megan wrote a great post about this) to run FAST. I have the drive to run, but not fast. Not right now. I might come back to it, but right now I feel like my purpose is different than proving to (who?) the world that I'm a speedy runner.

So what exactly is that purpose? What makes me the most proud of my efforts? When others, mom's and otherwise, are inspired by the fact that I just get it done at all. I don't need to be super human... I want other people to see me as a 'regular' person.. a solid middle of the pack age grouper.. who is getting it done in my way. I want YOU to see me and realize that YOU too CAN set those goals (dreams) and find the DRIVE to do it. YOU CAN make the time in YOUR schedule to do it. YOU CAN push your body beyond the point that you once thought you could. Because really... if I can do it so can YOU!!! (Don't get me wrong I won't be slacking!! I'm eat up those hard workouts... I'm just not going to focus and worry about it so much. IT being finish time. )

And that we can ALL do it while having a GREAT TIME!

So have I found my WHY? I haven't drilled down to it all the way yet, but I think it's starting to show me glimpses of itself. I know a portion of that why is YOU! All of you... whether you be team mates, friends or family. I think of all of you during the long training sessions. I think of all of you when I race. And I hope to inspire you to dig deep within yourselves to find those dreams and the desire and to start putting one foot in front of the other to GO FOR IT! All the way. We get one life, one chance... let's do it!

What's your WHY?

One last thing.. I would be remiss if I didn't share the hilarity of THIS post with you. Read it.. you will LAUGH OUT LOUD!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

2011 ... ?

2011 is really throwing me for a loop. I've designated it as the year of AWESOMENESS. Okay... what EXACTLY does that mean for me? Well today I figured that out during my run.


I recently saw a quote on a blog (that I've been trying desperately to find so I can link to it, but I can't find it... if you read this please comment below so I can link to you!!) that really resonated with me. Found HIM!

"If you aren't having fun, you aren't doing it right!"

I've also been digging deep to find my WHY? around ... well a lot of things, but we'll focus on my goal to qualify for Boston for now.

Today during my (non-stellar) run I was really thinking about this Boston Qualifying thing and the state of my life/running. Why do I want to try to qualify for Boston? Where did this goal come from? It carried me last year, but this year I'm not really feeling it. So where did this come from? I used to be perfectly happy just running - working on improving for sure, but mostly enjoying it. Well, I met some uber athletes... they had all qualified for Boston. So I guess I grabbed onto them and figured - if they could to it, I could do it. Not only could I, but I SHOULD!!! Why? Cause it gives me street cred w/ running friends? What's that all about!? So as I plodded along on my run trying to jack my heart rate up to 175bpm on hills (where my legs crashed way before I got anywhere near hitting 175) I realized I had my ladder up the wrong tree. At least this year! This year I'm not 'in the mood' to work hard in that manner.

So what does all this mean? It means I could give a rip if I qualify for Boston. I have no real desire to run Boston and I need to follow my own goals. So I'm still running Austin, but my approach has changed. What is it that I love about running... just the running. The mental break I get from it the feeling of having given a big physical effort. I can do this w/o a time goal.

When I trained for a half ironman I went into it w/ the goal of finishing and tackling this long distance I had never done. Then I had a conversation with my Brother in Law (who was also doing the race) about how long I thought it would take me. I literally had no idea. Then I started looking into it, then I got caught up in it, then I was all consumed by it and the process wasn't fun anymore. I almost dropped out of the race (which is ironic because I DNFd it due to bike issues). I don't want to walk down that road this year. I want to enjoy the process.

So what does AWESOMENESS mean?

1. FUN (first and foremost) w/ triathlon and all else in my life.
2. Completing the LONGEST distance I have ever done - twice!
3. Epic adventures and road trips with my Trakkers teammies and friends.

So there you have it folks. While this isn't my 'resolution' post.. it's the beginning of things coming together in my mind. I've been all over the map lately and have been thinking about this post quite a bit. I had something all written up... to only be trashed. There are things in my life beyond triathlon that I need to sort through. The FUN aspect definitely translates to those aspects of my life, but I need to nail down my thoughts and ideas around what I want to accomplish and/or focus on in the other areas.

So more to come. Any revelations for you this new year?

Monday, January 03, 2011

2010 wasn't exactly EPIC.

I'm not sure if it's the start of November and Tom being out of town then the sickies or what, but I've just been in a total funk lately. Happy freakin' holidays eh? As I look back at year end for the past couple of years I'm starting to think that this time of year is just a kind of normal lull for me. I should just accept it and not fight it so much. We aren't really ones to pack a lot of stuff in over the holidays so I don't think it's holiday stress or anything like that. It's probably more about a lack of schedule... things are crazy and I'm with kids a lot more.

I normally enter the new year rejuvenated and excited by the perceived clean slate. I know that Jan 1st is really just another day, but I love the energy that people bring to a new year. I love the feeling of being able to look back on the previous year and then leave it behind and move on to the new year. I'm trying to reflect on 2010, but coming up empty handed... or minded. I looked back at some of my old posts and noticed that in my last post of 2009 I said that 2010 was going to be Epic. While 2010 was 'fine' I certainly would not classify it as 'EPIC'. I've seen a lot of blog posts of people doing pictures through the year. I loved this idea and felt I needed it to reflect on the things I have accomplished this year..... so here goes!

2010 in photos:

Miami Marathon. A near Boston, but not quite. A fabulous PR and a WONDERFUL weekend with friends that I won't soon forget.

Danbury Half. Though I feel it is barely worth mentioning .. it was LESS than epic. But I got out there regardless of the fact that I wasn't really 'feeling' it!

P90X. I vowed to start a strength training program and stick to it. I purchased P90X, took some time off running b/c I was burnt out and lifted some weights. I'm not sure I got the exact results I wanted, but I put on some muscle that's for sure. Now I definitely love the weights... but am back to more S,B,R and less weights. For now. I'll get it to all come together.

The Northface Challenge. I actually listened to my body and mind and went from the half to the 10k. I'm glad I changed. I enjoyed the run... while I think I would have hated it had I almost doubled the distance. The drive out and wait to start were less than ideal (though they would have been better if I had had some friends along for the ride), but all in all I'm glad I did the race. Will it be on the schedule in 2011? Nope.

Trip to Seattle. We made a much overdue trip to Seattle and the sense of relief/home that we both felt as we drove into that city was palpable. A reaffirmation of where we feel we 'belong' was good. Seeing family and friends was the icing on the cake!

Pat Griskus Tri. I got back to it. First tri in over a year and it felt good to be back in the game. Despite some racing mistakes! (no wetsuit.. really? What was I thinking?) The finish was great fun though. A little throw down with another athlete. Complete with big smiles and pats on the back.

Danbury HV Tri. Sweet... got TWO races in. ha And brought along a newbie to do her first tri. Swim still sucked, but I managed a first place in my age group. Don't ask how many people were in my AG. I don't know the actual number, but I know it wasn't a lot.

John Hirsch. I hired a coach. Wowza! This better help w/ the AWESOME factor for 2011. I don't want to be sitting here on Jan 1st 2012 saying, "I said 2011 was going to be AWESOME, but it just wasn't!" No pressure COACH!!! I know it's on ME to make it AWESOME!

Spinning. I got a jump start on goals for 2011 and put my spinning cert to use and actually got a JOB (well can I really call it a job... I haven't had one in so long that I'm not sure.)

Trakkers. Okay the close of the year (despite my funk) was pretty EPIC. I had applied to Team Trakkers and found out in early December that I was ON THE TEAM! I'm guessing this will help with the Awesome factor of 2011.

I'm psyched that it's the new year! Since I love it, but I'm still working through what the year is going to look like. I know what I'm doing for races I will be AT, but am not 100% on the distances I will be racing... which really isn't a big deal since I'm focused on Marathon training right now. A 2011 post is forthcoming... working out the details yet.

Happy 2011 to all my bloggy friends. I'm sorry I've been absent. What are you up to in 2011? What's your NUMBER ONE goal this year?