My Spanish Adventure | Take 1 – Mallorca 70.3

Two years in the making, 2 years!!   2 years ago we dreamed up this crazy dream to travel to Spain for Mallorca 70.3 and Barcelona 70.3.  If you’re going to do one then why not do 2 70.3’s. I may never get back, so let the planning begin.  

Injury recovery had other plans and I was honestly uncertain if I would be able to swim stroke #1 or run Step #1.  Talk about anxiety, but I was going to Spain!!! The adventure was amazing, the friendship was amazing, the Spanish villas, Montserrat, the people, the sights and I even stayed in a real castle!!!!!!   Like a fairy tale☺   

The VRBO in Mallorca was absolutely stunning as we prepared for our adventure.   6 of us tackling the day and 2 amazing support crew. The day before we did the usual tasks;  shake out, bike check-in, hydrating, eating well, KT taping the shoulder (wait that isn’t normal) and prepping the coffee for the am.   A bit of anxiety here about the unknown, but happily throwing banter about racing and who is finishing first!!!!  

Mallorca 70.3 is the largest 70.3 in the world and the transition is HUGE!!!   European IM’s are so awesome and just expect you to follow the rules and get the job done.  So, let’s do it. We arrived at the race site, checked our bags and headed to get our wetsuits on for the swim.  Absolutely perfect weather! I line up in the 35-39 minute corral and await my turn to wade into the water. No wading, it’s time to go!!!   First, unknown answered, yep, the shoulder hurt (had a bit of bursitis, from sleeping wrong??). Shoulder hurt every stroke, but just keep swimming.  Be like Dori and just keep swimming! Four turns and I found myself at the end of a fairly uneventful, but mildly painful swim. 39 minutes, so perfect.  Well, ok ok, I would have liked to swim 36 minutes, but not expected after NO swimming since March. Did I mention this was May?  

Wetsuit off and quick transition….time to go catch one of my teammates on the bike.   I settled into a nice pace on the bike until Mile 20 and then BAM! The Mallorca Mountain.  We had driven the course the day before, so we knew what to expect. Well, we thought we did. A nice 9-mile 3000-foot climb, bahahahahahahahah!   Up we go! I could give the play by play detail here, but suffice it to say, it was a long slow climb!!! But wait, I am in Mallorca, I am racing and I am on my bike.  The Trifecta! And, here’s the gas station, yeah, we are on the way down. No sheep, please!!! (Yes, there were sheep on the bike course). The Europeans know how to cycle.   I am the classic Flatlander and these were the classic switchbacks and people were flying by me. But, guess what, I caught them on the flats! Yeah, no sheep and finished with the switchbacks.  Then we rolled through some small towns and I felt like I was on the Tour de France, well, the Tour de Mallorca! As I rolled into town, we were hit with some headwinds, good ole headwinds, but off the bike I went.   

Having only done ONE 7 miler before this, who knew what to expect.  At the sign of any foot numbness, I was headed to walk, but I believed my body could do this.  It was cooler and a beautiful day and I had a teammate to catch. Got through the first 4 miles and then I knew I was getting closer.   I made a friend, a new friend and we cruised 5 miles and my body was working. NO pain here. Now 4 more miles and just running aid station to aid station and walking every aid station and that is exactly what I did.    

#36 in the books!!  36 xhalf IM’s and #103 Triathlons.   Mallorca did not disappoint and I almost almost almost caught him ☺   Ran out of real estate. I highly recommend this race as it is everything I love;  beautiful, challenging and just plain racing.  

Now time to recover for Part 2 of the Spanish Adventure!!

Soar Higher than you Dare,

Coach

 

I Will Be Back … and other various ramblings

It has been a while since I’ve taken some proverbial pen to paper and we’ve seen the winter and spring of 2019 come and go. Summer is here in all its glory and it would normally be time for my summer trip for Alaskaman (having done 2017 and 2018), but I’m here on the sidelines. Let’s be honest, I am soooo excited for a friend who gets to participate in the best race ever, but I can’t help but be a bit sad. I WANT TO BE THERE! I love that race for all of its beauty and found some peace in Alaska that is hard to describe, but I AM NOT THERE. Why? Because I made the decision that my body wasn’t ready yet for the grueling demands of the day.  

The dreaded word, injury, that no endurance athlete wants to hear. And what about when the injury is life-related.  Ahh….the aging process. The discovery of your endurance mortality perhaps, BUT today is not that day and this year is not that year, so overcome we did. I herniated L2-L3 after running the Disney Princess and had well, a bit of pain (a lot really) in my leg and some numbness. What does that mean, pretty much lockdown until the numbness goes away? Getting older, hmmm…getting wiser ☺ Ok, into lockdown we go.  

When you give up a daily dose of happy endorphins, what do you do?  Well, you think and discover ways to help others who may be faced with something similar.   Why is injury so hard??? Well….

  1. Like it or not, a lot of our identity is tied up in the sport.  I am a veterinarian, a coach, a dog Mom, a girlfriend, a house owner, a volunteer coordinator (and the list goes on), but I am an athlete.  It is what I am and what I do. I mean isn’t it natural for the alarm to go off at 4:13 am to get up and train. Everyone rides 25 miles before heading out for their day.   Yep, it’s so hard, but my identity is tied up a bit in this awesome and amazing endurance life.  
  2. The brain is wired to love positive feedback and after all, reaching new heights:  running farther, cycling stronger, swimming more yardage, accomplishing a difficult workout, finishing a challenging race, conquering a fear, sends these good vibes that provide enjoyment and satisfaction that prompts us to dream bigger. While I (we) don’t need the external feedback (but let’s face it, many love it), that internal loop makes us feel stronger and invincible in everyday life.  
  3. Above all, exercise combats stress!! Known fact, not debated. Oh my gosh, more stress in my life…what!!!  
  4.  Your social circle may change. We meet for runs, for bikes, for swims, plan races, etc… That unknown of navigating injury rehab is often scary, but sad too. Who wants to walk when they can run. Deep breath because there is still coffee to be had and even a glass of wine. A walk to appreciate the beauty of where we are does the soul good!  

That was March and now it’s June. I love adventures and I love to travel and my plan was to complete 3 Xtreme tris this summer. After a dirty double 70.3 and a jump off a ferry. All sounds reasonable right?? So, no Alaska for me, but as with any injury we become wiser and I am now monitoring for any pain and being extra diligent with those paraspinals, but that is another story. Swedeman and the Land of Fire and Ice, it is. 

DURABILITY!  RESILIENCE!!!  My new words.  

I’m on it and have navigated the comeback trail once again.   

I think that skipping Alaska has a deeper meaning than missing the race (which is the most amazing).  When I stepped off the plane in 2017, I instantly took a deep breath and was able to think clearly. I think I have evolved as I hit my 50’s and realize there is so much to see and do.  Kinda like the last frontier and that is what Alaska is. Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my. Well, bears for sure are there. Alaska brought back a desire for a simpler life, a take a deep breath and enjoy kinda life, an adventuresome life, but a calm life at the same time.   Decisions became clear and again in 2018. I firmly believe Alaska was the beginning of my coaching evolution and veterinary evolution as well. 2018 renewed my desire to fine-tune my vision for what I want. Believe me, I’m not there yet and it is scary, but small steps, small steps.   

Most endings are new beginnings, we just don’t know it at the time.  

So here we are, going from injuries, why they hurt so bad, to making tough decisions and sad that I can’t make more. Kinda got some crazy thoughts, but that is another story. And another story is how can I help my athletes navigate injury. I’ve got some thoughts, but wait for part 2!

OK, kids, Onward and Upward we go!  Soar Higher than you Dare and bring on Fitness Fusion Fantasia for Fido and Friends!!! (My inner secret)

Until next time, which I hope will be sooner rather than later…Go Erin Go and have an amazing journey. Alaska, I will be back, of that I am certain

Be the person you are, not someone you are expected to be.  Keep sparking!

Coach

My Blog Relaunch:  What, When and Why

Pink Iron Chick:  What started as a fun way to chat about triathlons, endurance and anything and everything went quiet for a bit as I lost my focus and my intent.  Ahhhhhh, my intent, my focus, my why and that made me think and wonder should I re-brand or go back to my roots and you know what, I went back to ME!

I am Pink:  I love the mix of the passion of red, but the calmness and quiet of white.  I love the warmth, but at the same time the brightness of pink; I love the nurturing and compassionate side of pink, because it is my passion to build a strong athlete, but also help them navigate the challenges of the endurance world.   I love the optimism of pink and the youthfulness it portrays. I am PINK!

I am Iron:  I simply fell in love with the Ironman.  I fell in love with the distance and the challenges and the thought that anything is possible.   My original goal was to complete 12 events and qualify for Kona by the legacy, but proving in the vein that anything is possible, I qualified at #12.  It is the lifestyle that I love; the friendships I have made; the challenges I have attempted.  I am IRON.

I am a Chick:  Well, that goes without saying and honestly, I don’t talk colloquial often, but I do have a few “Sami’ism’s.”  But now as I rebrand a bit and build Fusion Endurance, a coaching company dedicated to a vision for the future, I am reminded of the hawk, as they have a steeled eye vision for what they want. Chicks, Hawks; somewhat related, right. I am a CHICK.

Pink Iron Chick promises thoughts on athletic performance, integrating training into your lifestyle, building a vision for your future, but also thoughts on life and navigating the challenges of an endurance journey.

For now, welcome back — to me, to you and to Pink Iron Chick.

Onward and Upward we go.

Soar Higher than you Dare!

Walking in a “Winter” Wonderland

Winter, meaning Sami Winter, meaning the weather, meaning the season.  Maybe all of the above, but any way you look at it we are entering a magical time of a year.  This is the time of year in endurance sports to take a small break (and I do mean small) and focus on life and resetting your mind, body and soul. This small break should last 2-3 weeks and perhaps more if you have had some tough challenges during the year, but even these 2-3 weeks can contain some movement. Sitting is the new “evil” and sitting on your bootie all day does nothing for your bootie.  Your dogs might like it if they can sit and get petted, but they can go for a fun walk too.

After your time of re-discovering some other parts of you it’s time for the Winter Wonderland.  Here is where you, no, we can get some great work done for the upcoming season.  Here is where we can make training have a purpose, but be just a tad bit different and exciting.

  1. 4-6 weeks of progressive strength training
  2. 4-6 weeks of a cycling block
  3. Try a trail run and work on running form and economy
  4. Tour de Sufferlandrian and challenging yourself

All fun training, but with a purpose.   Working in specific way to make you the best endurance athlete for 2019, so that you can reach your goals.

One of my favorite “Sami’isms” is “Consistency is King!” Consistency begins by setting up good habits for the big training blocks ahead.  Consistency begins now for achieving those big goals during the season.   It is a truism that strong work during the Winter Wonderland will pay huge dividends for your season.

It’s a beautiful sight watching athletes shine so bright and training in our Winter Wonderland.

Becoming a Yoda

1 . DON’T TRY. DO.

Do or Do Not

“Do or do not… there is no try.” [Or as triathletes like to say, “tri”]

When you say that you will do something there is more determination and power behind that decision.  When the inevitable obstacles (and they will) start to block your path you are determined, because you are prepared. You will do this. So you find ways over, under, around and through the obstacles. And that’s what you have to do most of the time to actually get things done. Smooth sailing with no problems at all is pretty rare.   But race day isn’t the hard part.  You have completed your Ironman, you have completed your training over months and months.  That is the hard part.  If you followed your plan and completed all (well, almost all) of your workouts that you have the foundation to go over every obstacle in your path on race day.  Why, you ask, because you have already tackled them.   Take time to evaluate your training log and see the consistency of your work;  review your frustrations;  celebrate the victories and soon the race day victory will be yours!

2. OVERCOME YOUR FEARS

“Fear is the path to the dark side.”

Overcoming your fears is one of the most important things to improve yourself and grow.  What is your fear on race day?   More headline news: The Ironman day is about not “overcooking” the bike and staying on top of your hydration and fueling game. Period.   Review section 1, because if you have put in the work then you are ready.  Can you swim 2.4 miles in 2 hours and 20 min:  that’s 3:30/100;  Can you bike 112 in 8 hours and can you run 26.2 in 7 hours.  You will have plenty of time, so relax and control what you can.   Not overcooking the bike and drinking and eating.  Simple, right.  No fears.   OK, so the fear of a flat tire:  carry tools;  visit your LBS to review how to change a flat;  What else???   Keep it simple.  Banish your fears and jump on in!

3. YOUR WORLD IS A REFLECTION OF YOU

“You will find only what you bring in.”

You find in your world what you bring into your world.  By observing the world around you can gain insights into yourself and what you may need to improve.  So, we’ve chatted about time goals and key points, but how to make your race day a reflection of YOU, you ask; let me help. Make lists and lots of them. Read the athletes guide. Be prepared. Be very prepared and focus on what you can control. The Ironman “bubble”…put yourself in the bubble and let all the negative energy bounce off your bubble. You see, you are headed to have the most awesome day ever and nothing and no one can get you down. Bring in positive energy. Everyone worries about the swim, right-done, check. More headline news…you aren’t swimming with 1500 people, you are probably swimming with 4-5 max. Do the math, 1 on each side, 1 front and back and maybe one someone close. Everyone else is close, but not in your bubble. If the person on your right decides accidently, of course to hit your head then swim faster or slower. You are in control of your day.

So, I say bring on #14! It promises to be amazing and full of smiles, obstacles, and where else can I find a buffet of gourmet food at my disposal.

How To Use Races to Train For Other Races

I was published – well, interviewed – by COMPETITOR.COM! The article highlights the way to use races to train for other races. Check it out HERE

THERE’S A DIFFERENT ART TO RACING.

Road to Kona!

Today’s blog is an interview I did with my friend Lowell. It’s a wrap-up of my training for Kona World Championships in 2015.

Honolulu Sun

Ahhh, here we are opening the chapter of 2016.  The year is full of promise and so many athletes gear up to change their habits, their training, their mindset and more.  I for one am included in that group, but what do I want to change: I want to change my career.  For those of you that know me well, I have worn many hats and I wear many hats and I want one more…I aspire to be the candle namer at Bath and Body Works.  WHAT??  That’s crazy, but it isn’t!

The person that has that job is brilliant.  They are one of the best motivators that I know, one of the most creative minds, and one of the most innovative thinkers in their field by establishing a connection with you that makes you want to try new things to improve your home and surroundings.

But wait, I don’t need to change my career,  that sounds just like the coach that I aspire to be.  I often spend time evaluating how I want to change and improve and I want to be a “candle namer” in a sea of coaches.  I aspire to motivate you through challenging workouts, proper periodization of training which enables you to see improvement in yourself, nutrition information for a healthy body and by providing up to date information on how to prevent injury and stay healthy.   I want to have a creative mind that is constantly taking new material and applying it my athletes.  I want to be creative in my approach of each and every athlete, so that each and every athlete has the plan that is best suited for them and will allow them to achieve success.   I want to be an innovative thinker and constantly question how and why, when and what.   I want to learn and grow as a coach, so that I am able to provide you with the best knowledge available.   There are one billion candles and there are one billion ways to coach.  I want to tap into your energy and your mind and find out what makes you succeed and improve.  YOU are the HOME and Without Limits is the SURROUNDING.

Many of you have goals for the upcoming season and this is the time to begin planning the season.  I ask you:

  • What is your dream for 2016?

  • How will you get there?

  • What is your plan?

  • Will you make it?

The only way to know is to try!  Or “Tri” in triathlete terms. 🙂 The “candle namer”…I like it, but for now I’m dreaming with my newest purchase from Bath and Body Works (see below!) Who else is in?

An Attitude of Gratitude

It seems impossible to not blog about Thanksgiving at this time of year and why not?  It is, in fact, my favorite holiday because it truly makes us acknowledge what we are thankful for in our lives.   As triathletes and runners we have an amazing support system, through spouses, family, significant others, friends and more.  Honestly, we couldn’t do what we do without them – it’s very simple.  People often say triathlon is a solo event, but no way!  I know it takes a village and I appreciate that village.   Besides our support system, we are thankful for our health and the ability to do what we do at no matter what speed…right?  (We notice this especially when we are forced to become creative in our training attempts);  we are thankful for the freedom to be able to train and race and so much more.

Snoopy is my favorite and he says it all.

  • I am grateful for everything!
  • I am grateful for perfect weather conditions on race day!  It doesn’t come often, but when it does, WOW!
  • I am grateful for light winds on the bike and tailwind on the way home.
  • I am grateful for waters just cold enough for a wetsuit, but not too warm to overheat.  Wetsuit legal is an awesome term.
  • I am grateful for tri shorts that are the perfect fit.  No chafing, and no rubber grip to make the “sausagelook” around the legs.
  • I am grateful for Tri Slide, Body Glide, Vasoline and especially those volunteers that hand out Vasoline on the run course of an Ironman.  Good grief, what a job and those volunteers are awesome.
  • I am grateful for my muscular legs because honestly they make me a strong cyclist and I love to ride!
  • I am grateful for water bottles that fit securely in the cages on my bike!
  • I am grateful for Caffé Latex…if you’ve never tried it, it’s a must and it saved my IMFL 2014 and probably more cycling adventures than I can count.
  • I am grateful for a smooth bike course on race day and no bumpy roads to rattle everything on my bike.
  • I am grateful for the volunteers at each and every Ironman and especially the one at Kona that put a cool towel on my head in transition and helped me put on my socks when my feet were so swollen. Thank you!
  • I am grateful for goggles that don’t leak or fog!
  • I am grateful for my training buddies that are ready to tackle any adventure.  (This does fall in thefriends category, but it’s a must).
  • I am grateful for hand warmers and those of you that know me know this is a must.
  • I am grateful for the ability to stomach almost any gel, drink, etc…offered on the course.  (that isn’t for everyone)
  • I am grateful for my bike mechanic,  my coach, my blog poster, my athletes, my team, my mind, mytrainer and so much more.

Finally, I am grateful to you for taking the time to read about my crazy thoughts.  May you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving and take time to enjoy the day and reflect on how lucky we are.

Celebrate family, friends, and the food that nourishes our bodies.    May you have an amazing day!

Prep for the Prep Season

It’s all semantics, but typically every coach or coaching group has a different word for the time of year between the ending of tri season and the first triathlon.  Unless you live in Australia (which we don’t), that is usually November-ish through March-ish depending on specific races that you have chosen.   I don’t really think there is an off-season, but instead a period of time to take a mental break from the structure of training and mental stress of training, but continue to prep the body and the mind for success in your next season.   

I don’t cook, but I like to equate the The Tri season with cooking:

MAKE YOUR GROCERY LIST = write your dreams and goals for next season! Dream Big!

YOU ORGANIZE THE FOOD & EQUIPMENT NEEDED = Plan the race the schedule and look at your schedule of life and want you can realistically accomplish with all of your other life commitments

PREP THE MEAL = Getting ready to start the “true” training by prepping the body, mind and soul through recovery and less mental stress of a specific training plan.

COOK THE MEAL = Base building, speed endurance or other preparation block of training.

EAT THE DINNER = Race specific training plan block

EAT THE DESSERT = RACE!

Here are the top 10 ways to PREP YOUR MEAL:  

  1. Work with your coach to establish both short term and long term goals.  So often we are just training for the next race or the next 6 months, but I bet most of us Type A personalities have BIG GOALS!   It’s OK to think about them now and make a roadmap for success.
  2. Commit to technical improvements in swim, bike and run.  This is the chance to bring down the volume and focus on the swim stroke, or learn how to handle your bike in a curve, or head to the Computrainer, not just for a workout, but to focus on pedal form, running drills for improved efficiency and so much more.
  3. Think about equipment changes now and not during the middle of the season.  Are you moving to a triathlon bike, looking at new running shoes, or trying to find those perfect tri shorts…this is the time to experiment.
  4. Numerous triathletes decide to run “winter” marathons, but understand this is not necessary for the overall development of you as an athlete.   It is okay to set up the body for the next season through strengthening of the musculoskeletal system though shorter runs and carefully applied stress within the run.
  5. Swim more and be swim fit!  We don’t have to be fast, but we have to be strong and fit to bike and run after the swim.  Focus on technical work.  Find a buddy and commit to enjoying the pool.  Make it social, but get it done and get swim strong!
  6. Strength and conditioning work.  We’ve covered that multiple times and be specific in your choice.  Find the weaknesses and become stronger.    This is a long term benefit for you in life!  Take it from personal  experience…recovering from surgery is no joke and thank goodness, I can do a squat!
  7. Focus on fueling and where you feel you can make improvements.  Make it a goal to improve your daily nutrition whether it is eat healthier or eat more or eat right.   Small improvement will pay huge dividends.
  8. Focus on recovery.  We are recovering in this time right?  If you’re running long get in the habit of refueling within that 30 min window.  Take the time to stretch after the bike sessions.  Commit to the small improvements and they will become big improvements.
  9. Start a dream list…Wish list for the events you want to conquer.  Challenge yourself and dream big!
  10. Lucky #10!!  HAVE FUN!  We should be having fun all the time, but it is so easy to get lost in the training plan and making the training sessions a job.  Be different, stay fit, plan for next year and HAVE FUN!