Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Find YOUR own rhythm!

I was in a funk and honestly am scared to declare that I might be out of it, but I feel the fire starting to burn again! How did this happen? A series of things!

1. I decided to say F-YOU to the early morning work out! I AM NOT a morning person!
2. I said F-YOU to A LOT of coffee.
3. I spent a week w/ my family and went easy on myself for not swimming or hitting all my workouts.
4. I RAN HARD and FAST w/ no knee pain (for a whopping 15 mins).
5. I went on a NICE LONG bike ride.
6. I made myself swim (after my week of reprieve) and it was good.

I think the number one thing I did was to respect my own rhythm. As endurance athletes it's almost required to get up at an ungodly hour to get your workout it. It's as much of a bragging right as the distance you s/b/r. "Oh yea well I got up at 3:30 am and dropped a century ride before most sane people are out of bed on a Sunday. Who's the badass now?" You know you've heard it ... and been a little jealous of their discipline. Well I hate to get up early to do pretty much anything... so I decided I'm done doing that (at least for now.. for the summer.. while I don't have to.) Not to say I NEVER will just to say it's not going to be my regular practice. I want to enjoy this process... getting up before 6am to workout is not really that enjoyable for me. A better idea for me is to get up early before the family (I don't mind doing it) to get other stuff done... like blogging, cleaning.. whatever. Then doing my workouts later around the 9am hour. I can take the kids to the gym with me ... they love it. Great friend time for them. So what's best for YOUR rhythm? Is there a way that you can honor YOUR rhythm and still maintain balance and normalcy for your family!?

It's no secret that I love coffee. I don't love caffeine, but I do love me some coffee. It's my number one comfort food.. followed closely by dark chocolate. I'm fine so long as I keep the consumption under control, but in May when life exploded I got out of control and was having a hard time getting back under control. I was so tired and agitated all the time. So I just ripped the band-aid off. Added the decaf to our mix of beans and slowly backed it off to having just some caffeinated beans. And now if I feel I MUST have a coffee in the afternoon it's decaf. Life is getting better already. (for everyone.) There is still room for progress...

My Aunt and cousins came to visit for a week and it was so nice! I got to spend time with people... and we've talked about how lonely I've been. We just kicked it and did normal stuff. We went to NYC one day of the week, but he rest of the time we just hung around. They taught me that it's really okay - and quite beneficial - to just chill sometimes. You don't ALWAYS have to be going going going. I was able to relax and had even more help with the kiddos. They were IN LOVE w/ their cousin Steph! I also came home to find Steph and Amanda (both in their 20s.. wait.. Amanda might be in her 30s now?) out playing catch! WHO does that? ha We also spent time in the yard as a family trying to do cartwheels. (Damn why did no one get their camera.. there was some good footage there.) It was so fun! We rarely go just hang out in the yard. Okay, that's not fair. I don't go out in the yard w/ the kids much. Tom does. Must change that.... FOCUS Laura.

In the midst of this 'chilling time' I went up and did my coaching thing with the NMSC tri club. We did an hour ride and 15 min run. That 15 mins was the best 15 mins I've had in the 'triathlon' world for a LONG time. I loved EVERY SECOND of it. I decided to just open it up and see how it went. My legs still have some speed! YEAH! And 15 mins of pushing as hard as you can provides that runner's high I have been missing so much. (hmm so you mean to tell me I don't need to be out there for hours to get that feeling? Hmmm) Well, the feeling for the hours lasts longer than the feeling after 15 mins. Anyway my point being that it stoked the fire and I can feel some flames again. Let's hope the knee can continue to feel good if I ease into it. Track workout today to test it out!

The main reason for the family coming up was to ride the Bike NY Hudson Valley Ride. Getting a solid bike in really helped me to see that all is not lost on my fitness and once again reminded me that I DO in fact LOVE this stuff.

And then as a nice capper I had a great swim on Tuesday. Again with the rhythm. I was faced with an opportunity to swim when I hadn't expected it and just jumped on it.. because well I NEED to be swimming. I got in by myself.. no lane mate to kick my ass up and down the lane. No friend to try to keep up with. Just me and MY pace. While I get the benefit of swimming (and biking and running) with others because it pushes you to be better I also feel that - for me - I am better served - right now - to do my own thing at MY pace with no pressure. At the state I'm in with swimming (that kind of I can swim, but not real fast gray area) I need to just get the yards done and not worry so much about my speed. It's just who I am and where I'm at right now and I (NEED to be) am good with that. I was thinking about the progression of my running. In the early days I just focused on getting the miles done to prepare my for the event.. it was years before I worked on speed. My body/mind seems to want to follow that same progression with swimming. I really enjoyed swimming my pace and focusing on 'letting go' and 'feeling the water'...... so I'm going to roll with it!

What do you do to get yourself out of your funk... I know we all fall into it at times! Now when I fall in a funk again I need to refer back to this game plan!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bike New York - Discover Hudson Valley Ride

Who knew that all I had to do to get my Aunt and Cousins up for a visit was dangle a long ride in front of Cousin Steph! Family came up for the first time and we road the Bike New York - Discover Hudson Valley Ride. It was a great day!

The race started in Poughkeepsie, NY. Wow is that a place I never need to go back to. The website I looked at made it look all quaint and cute... either we didn't ever get to 'that street' or Poughkeepsie was hit hard by the recession .... like 50 years ago...and has yet to recover.

This organized ride thing is so different from racing. We had a 'rolling start time', there was no pressure or nerves, everything was laid back. There was no grand beginning or end. It was actually kind of nice. There were a various distances to choose from. 15, 30, 44, 62 and 100. Dad was doing the 30 and Steph and I were heading out on the 62. She's from Texas. She has ridden all of ONE time in CT / New England... uh, two days ago. It's a little hillier (she would argue 'mountainous') here than it is in Texas. We set out and I was prepared to do whatever she wanted to do. If she wanted to suffer through the entire 62 miles of hills I was going to be right there with her.

We went over the Hudson River on a foot bridge. We had to go really slow because it was a FOOT bridge with a good deal of foot traffic, but I guess that's good because it made us take in the scenery.

Dad and I.

The view of Poughkeepsie.

Steph and I.

We got to the 17ish mile mark and we were coming up on decision time. I could tell the hills were wiping her out a bit, but I stood firm that it was up to her. She opted for the 30 miler. I think it was a good choice. She is just getting into cycling... and has zero experience climbing true hills, er mountains, and she didn't need to kill herself over ONE ride.

I decided to finish up the 62 mile ride. I need to get my butt in gear w/ this training thing ... because I guess I am technically training. Off I went. At first I thought I wasn't going to see another soul then I started passing a guy here and a guy there. I passed one guy (an older guy) on a hill as he was taking a shot block or something. He grabbed my back wheel as I went by. I had intended to try some pacing on this ride as I usually blow myself to pieces on the bike, and I'm not exactly distance fit right now. I also didn't have a ton of fuel with me ... you know the kind you need for BLOW YOUR QUADS to SMITHEREENS riding. Anyway, so this guy grabs my wheel and all of a sudden I feel compelled to kick it into high gear. I'm torn as to whether or not it was my pride feeling like I had to prove to this guy that I do in fact have some skills and fitness or being kind of irritated that he just grabbed on.

Either way I took off.. though I did follow my plan to take the climbs easy then kick it in on the flats and descents (working my strengths). And when I would slow down a bit thinking either he would take a turn or just pass me he would just slow down and hang back there ... SERIOUSLY! I know at this point I did get irritated. Did this guy think he was just going to ride my wheel for 44 miles? I came to the first available rest stop on this 62 mile section and had planned on blowing by all the stops, but hoped this guy would keep going. So I pulled off to grab some DELICIOUS beef jerky (really.. I always wondered who the hell eats beef jerky on a ride, but it was good). Wheel sucker cheater dude continued on to find another chick wheel to suck and I was able to get barrings as to how much further I had to go. Note: I tried to drop the guy, but couldn't. Tom said he needs to teach me to use power in the out of the saddle climb. He said it's good to give a little look back about 3/4 up the hill and then take off. He's got more skills than I.

So off I go to finish it up. I was cruisin' along by myself happy to not have some solitude to ride my own ride w/o the pressure of feeling like I needed to maintain a certain pace. (though I have no clue what that pace was as I had no computer.) At about 15 miles out I ended up being taken over by three older roadie dudes. We chatted a bit and when they set a pace line this time I grabbed the last wheel. I wanted to hurry back to meet the family and knew it would get done faster if I got with them. I FULLY INTENDED TO TAKE MY TURN PULLING IF THEY WOULD LET ME! They were finishing up the century ride, but were looking strong. Frankly after looking at their back sides and legs for a bit before seeing their faces I was shocked at their age. First thought: Gotta get the hubs back on the bike so he can 1. still be doing it at that age and 2. so he's still looking that good at that age.

Anyway, I rode in line with the guys and it was so fun. Not only did I feel like a rock star rolling as the only chic w/ the dudes (cause I like to pretend I'm a badass every now and then) it was so much more fun than riding by myself. It's such a different ride to ride a pace line than it is to ride alone. You have to be more aware.. no mind wandering. And pulling is HARD WORK! The first time I pulled we went almost immediately into a hill...not the best for me. I had been doing okay keeping up with them on the hills (yes, I was proud) and thought maybe I be able to suffer through enough without slowing down too much, but the group broke almost at the top and someone else pulled ahead. Bummer. When the front guy came back to get behind I tried to let him in, but he said, "you took your turn you should stay in".... barely took a turn, but I guess it counts. Later in the ride the group broke on some back roads for a little break and I waited a while than took off (nice long flat ahead) and hoped they would catch my wheel. They did and I got to do a nice long pull almost to the end. Felt good to lead (though I was surprising nervous and had no idea as to pace bc I had no computer). I was glad they let me. I was thinking they might pull the 'dad' thing and try to carry me the whole way because I am a girl and am young enough to be their daughter.

When I came in... I'd say to the finish, but it was just kinda.. done. Anyway. I saw part of the family standing on the stairs and headed toward them. Mom yelled that I needed to get my Tshirt. I said, 'yeah, I will." she said, "Now." What? Okay. So over I went and Jason and Lily handed me my t-shirt.

the Kids volunteering.
Apparently Jason loitered in the back of the tent then finally asked the man if he could help. They invited him in, gave him a tshirt for him AND his sister and eventually she came to join in the fun. That kid cracks me up. All he wants is a job!

Best Coconut water EVER!

After I got my shirt and we stooged around waiting for Jason and Lily's shift to end I strolled around the 'uh, expo' and found Zico Coconut water booth. I was a bit dehydrated and wanted some nice cold coconut water. They had this new chocolate flavor and I was haggling the woman saying it couldn't really be that good. I mean chocolate WATER? Really? She said it was good and told me to try it if I didn't like it I didn't have to drink it. OMG! It is SO damn good!!!! I mean really. It's nice and creamy! Apparently they put coconut cream in there. It does have a little bit of sugar, but it is minuscule compared to your standard (hfcs) chocolate milk. She said it was a new flavor. You better believe I'll be stalking the shelves at my local grocer and requesting it until it arrives.
I had a great time with Steph and dad. They both did a great job on the New England hills. Steph shows great promise as a cyclist. Hopefully she'll find some more people to ride with at home to keep honing those skills! I was impressed with her drive to just get out there and see what she could do. She didn't let the hills intimidate her and she didn't let them take the wind out of her sail. She just kept going. She took breaks as she needed and kept plugging along. Great job Cous!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I had a pain free run! Could this be a turning point!? I haven't run in so long ... well at my own pace and without pain... that I had forgotten how much I love it! How it makes me feel accomplished and happy.

The NMSC Tri group went out for a brick workout. We rode 15 miles ( a nice long warm up for our short run) then ran just 15 minutes afterward.

As always you get off the bike to heavy legs (I haven't run off the bike in a VERY long time). At first my legs felt heavy, but about 5 to 7 minutes in things started to click. I decided to just run my pace and lap back - if need be - to pick people up. I wanted to see if my body remembered. I negative split the second half of our run by 2 minutes. I hit a 7.5 - 8 min pace. (haven't run with my Garmin in a LLLLOOOONNNGGG time either). Granted it was a short run (uh, VERY short), but my legs remembered how to turn over quickly. I was SO happy. I wouldn't have been able to hold that pace very long, but I DID it.. even if I had only hit it for a minute I would have been happy. It was glorious.

And it's the first time I've really truly opened it up in my Avia Bolts!

I've been wearing these shoes around like nobodies business .. because I like the way they look and they are comfy. I've run a few short slow painful runs in them, but let me tell you running fast in them is FUN! You can feel the road. You know exactly when you make contact and that it's time to turn over. I loved it! Now I just hope I can talk the ol' legs to running longer and that the bolts are good for the distances. Avia hit the nail on the head in function and style with these bad boys. I get so many compliments on them and they make me feel fast! :)

I'm so super stoked about my tiny little run. Six months ago I would have thought 15 mins (ok, w/ the negative split it was 12 mins, but I kept running after that... for the few of you that might be trying to figure out how I negative split and still ran 15 mins) was like nothing, but yesterday it was 15 minutes of glorious off the bike speed and I loved EVERY wonderful second.

I can't believe how much the blood pumping adrenaline filled run seemed to turn my attitude around! I love the bike - it's good fun, but for me there's nothing quite like a nice hard run! (Apparently even a short one! Note to self.)

Watch out ... I'm makin' a come back.

Friday, June 17, 2011


I did my first crossfit workout today. My friend, and fellow triathlete, Betsy, introduced Crossfit to me. She loves it and has the bug. She's going to get certified this month! I also discovered that my Trakkers teammate Mike is into CF as well. They both sang it's praises and I've been feeling kinda stale lately so I decided to rock the CF!

I did my introductory class at Crossfit Danbury. I was definitely nervous. Betsy had forwarded me some videos and of course I had googled the crap out of it and watched plenty of bad asses doing their bad ass stuff.

I tried a few things at home.

Like hand stand push ups.

Um, I couldn't even do one.

I know pull ups are a big deal too and I can do, um, ONE w/o assistance and I'm sure it ain't pretty!

So as I'm headed over I'm PRAYING I'm not the only girl and it would certainly be a bonus if I wasn't the only first timer! I envisioned me looking like a complete and total LOSER while these dudes (all muscled and what not) banged out the WOD (workout of the day) w/ me huffing and panting and dying in the background.

So I roll up and Austin and (shoot can't remember the other guy's name) are very welcoming and nice. "Other guy" and a member are finishing up a workout and I have 10 minutes to just stooge around so I look at some pictures of clean and jerk and what not. Thinking OH SHIT what have I gotten myself into.

Another lady shows up... clearly her first time as she has the 'where do I go.. what do I do?" look on her face. She's small... and fit. (she later busts out EIGHT unassisted pull ups.)

Turns out there are FIVE women and two men in our class. YEAH! Though the women are STRONG.. don't get me wrong. Ass kickers! So we start the warm up ... I NAILED it.. well except for this thing called the Iron cross where you are supposed to lay on your back and touch your opposite hand w/ your foot.. yeah I couldn't even come close to thinking about doing that!

We did some practice OHS (overhead squat - there's like this whole CF lingo thing that I am clueless about). Basically holding a barbell over your head and squatting all the way to the ground.


I can do that.

Now let's add 20 lbs to that 20 lb bar.

Make sure your arms are straight, look forward, keep your hands back, back.. no, back.


Alright I got this.

Not so bad.

Okay now here's your workout: 100 pull ups (HUH?), 100 kettle bell swings (okay, never touched one of those before), 100 double unders (or something like that.. basically jumping rope w/ it going under your feet twice per jump. Okay I jumped rope like 30 years ago I should be able to figure that out), 100 OHS. SHIT!

I was then told I could do HALF of the workout since this was my first one. Oh, okay!

AND I got to use a stretchy belt thing on my feet to help me w/ the pull ups. SWEET! So I did like 7 practicing w/ the two different weight stretchy things... but those apparently don't count because you do it all for time.

AND GO!!!!!!!

50 pull ups were um, hard. I think I actually only did 40. First 15 or so w/ the 'medium weight' stretchy thing and the rest w/ the 'heavy (most assistance)' weight stretchy thing. And Austin might have pushed me up a 'couple' of times. DAMN!

Kettle Bell swings... check.

Jump rope.. I did 100 w/ SINGLE unders or whatever you call them. One time around per jump.

50 OHS... so my legs were a-okay.. I could have kept going at that weight, but my shoulders and back crapped out on me a couple of times.

Note: you don't have to do any of these STRAIGHT through.. you can take micro breaks in between. Like to a count of 5 to 10.. you want to keep the intensity up.

So I did the whole thing in about 20 mins. Then went home.

I loved it. Throwing weight around and using your body weight is pretty cool. I felt like a big girl. Like not a baby.. not big like BIG! :)

Here is some video of what we did (just stuff I pulled of the net.. not us)
Pull ups (w/ the band thingy)

OHS - this chick is a true bad ass (I only did 40 lbs)

kettle bell swing

I think you know what jump roping looks like. :)

YEA! I'm a bad ass! You can be one too!!! Look for your local Cross fit gym!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Rev3 Quassy - the MOST Amazing experience!

I had the BEST weekend I can remember having in a LOONNGG time. I had the pleasure of working for Rev3 as the Local Volunteer Coordinator. I've been helping them for months to find volunteers and the Volunteer Coordinator, LJ White, is amazing. Many months ago I had to ask her if she does this job for all the Rev3 races because she was always so bubbly and fun. I couldn't imagine that she could possibly be doing it for all the races because surely if she did she would be a complete and total stress case. When she confirmed that she does indeed do them all she stated that she just loves it so why should she be stressed.

This must be the secret to Rev3s success. EVERY single person that I met throughout race weekend seemed to share this sentiment and attitude. Their jobs are HARD don't get me wrong, but every single one of them both loves their job AND their boss. I didn't even know that that was possible. I mean really? Who loves their job AND their boss AND their team!

If you are considering Racing with Rev3 or Volunteering with Rev3 this year or in the future you truly could not pick a better race (any of them) to race. You WILL experience the race of a lifetime. You WILL feel like a rock star athlete. You WILL get to race with the pros (okay not 'with' them, but you know), you WILL race a beautiful AND challenging course, you WILL be able to share the experience with your family, AND you WILL be supporting an truly amazing team of people!

You in!? Okay, Great... here is the link to get your self all set up to race with and/or volunteer with the best races out there!

While you are at it hook up with them on Facebook to see all the feedback about races and get links to the videos from the races.

And hey, why not follow them on twitter too!?

Note: Yes I do realize that I could be biased since I race with Team Trakkers which is affiliated with Rev3, but believe you me what Rev3 does for Team Trakkers is just the tip of the iceberg. This post comes solely from my experience behind the scenes and has nothing to do w/ my Trakkers affiliation. Had I never worked for Rev3 I wouldn't truly grasp how awesome they are!