AMMBR recap and reflection

It was a hard day today... It was physically hard, it was mentally hard and emotionally draining, to say the least.

I have to admit to overconfidence going into this season. I had ridden a metric century before so I am in better shape than most people. I know what pain is and how to deal with it (or so I thought).

Let's backtrack to the beginning of the year. I am working full time and I decided I did not want to do Wildflower... not my type of event and not my type of lodging. Why cycle and not run is a good question and one that I don't know if I'll be able to answer any time soon.

It was a short season, at least it felt that way, and it was a humbling learning experience. I no longer believe I can do things cold and without preparation. I've learned to place a higher value in training and in learning to listen than I did before this event.

Don't get me wrong, the ride itself was beautiful. At the top of King's beach or coming down from Spooner it was wonderful. It just wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, if you can ever consider a century ride an easy under taking.

It also made me think a lot about mental strength or as Macca puts it how to embrace the suck. I hate to admit it that pain, fear and uncertainty caught on to me... my brain was just not there for the toughest part of the course.

At first I was pissed that my mentor even suggested that I get on the van and sag to the top of spooner. In hindsight it was the right call and it was one that I grew more and more comfortable with as I drove up. If I hadn't then the risk would haven physical and for the rest of the year just remember how long you took to recover from your ankle injury.

Once you get past that ugly and sad period of just pure anger it gets better, it made more sense to ride from the top of Spooner and be healthy about it rather than run the risk of hurting yourself for the long term and not just screwing up AMBBR, but for PG and SDTC as well.

Attitude wasn't the best either. I talked to one of my Triathlon coaches about it and he pointed out one little thing: if you think you're going to fail at something you most likely will. Part of the mental game is to never doubt that you can do it, whatever "it" is. When I did PG last year there wasn't an ounce of doubt in my brain that I was going to make it; even when Drew asked me if I was ok, my mind was completely set on finishing the race.

Thinking I wasn't ready for AMMBR gave me an out and, whatever the reasons why I took it, I used it.

After I was able to put the SAG ride out of my mind, I can’t really deny how exhilarating it was to come down Spooner towards the finish line. I decided to pay the price and push hard down hill (are you supposed to stop when you come to a parked cop in motorcycle?) and how much fun I had overall.

I had a wonderful team, coaches and mentors. I don't think I would have made it as far as I did if it wasn't for them.

Now to transition back to the comfort zone of the tri team. More on that later 😀

Learning to ride again

Ever wonder what you'd say if you were asked to give a Commencement speech? Pearls of wisdom from Jeff Dauler:

"When you learn to ride a bike as a child you're learning so you could be like all your friends. You need an activity to occupy your time until it's ready to be taken over by a new activity. It's mindless fun filled with imagination, excitement, speed, and no purpose. When you ride as an adult, it's different. There usually is a purpose ... a reason for riding the bike. Maybe you're trying to get into or stay in shape. Maybe biking is your hobby or social time. Maybe you use the bike to commute to work.

Often, by looking at something just a little bit differently, you can understand it more. Often with that understanding comes appreciation, which is one of the many things that they don't teach you in school, but you have to learn on your own. Life becomes vastly easier and infinitely better once you receive and understand this lesson. Perhaps I can enlighten you a bit here using something you should already know - riding a bike - with this commencement address.

We shall call this talk:


First, lets talk about the hills. You'll find hills on every single journey. Some will be small and subtle, some will be big some will be quick and steep. Some will be long and subtle, some will be long and steep. You're not going to escape them, and you can't go around them. Embrace them.

As a kid, hills were a way to pick up speed and pretend you were flying. The hills you see as a grown up are a bit different. Part of that is perspective ... as a kid, you focused on the speed and ease of the downhill … no thought to the climb as it was a means to get to the fun part. As an adult, you'll focus on the challenge and agony and duration of the climb. This is natural ... but you need to enjoy every second of the up and downs.

Going uphill, don't keep your head down the whole time. When you are pushing yourself, it's natural to tuck in, look at the ground, and focus on the tough task at hand. If you do that all the way up, you're going to miss a lot of the scenery. Look up. Look around. See the views you pass by, as it might be the only time you're in that place.

When you were a kid, the downhills were a place to go push to go as fast as you can. As a grown-up, it might be natural to do that as well. When things get easy, you'll keep pedaling and pushing and trying to go as fast as you can. You don't have to do that. It seems natural, to use the 'easy' time to fly harder and faster. But sometimes it's ok to coast ... it gives you time to take a breath and relax and enjoy the labor you put in to get there. You didn't push up that incline just to race through the downhill, did you? Take a moment to enjoy the work you put in to get there.

Everyone falls. You will, and you will watch it happen to others.

If you fall because of your own doing, just pick yourself up and keep going. It happens to all of us. Dust yourself off and get back on. You'll probably be scared … and scared is OK, sometimes.

When you're the cause of someone else's crash - and you will be - sincerely apologize. And when someone apologizes to you, accept it and move on. Don't dwell on past incidents, other than making them a learning experience for everyone involved. Your ride is too short to hang onto grudges long after your skinned knees heal.

If someone keeps causing you to crash, simply stop riding with them. That seems so obvious … but somehow being all grown up complicates these sort of things. Know when to cut ties.

Enjoy the view. Pay attention as you pass things by. By doing this ... learning and absorbing while you're moving ... you won't have to stop and look behind you or turn around. This might mean you have to move a little slower. And that's OK. You're learning and absorbing as you are going, and that is never a bad thing.

Have trust that the people coming up behind you, and everyone around you, will do the right thing. Change that opinion once they show you otherwise, but give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Life is just easier if you think most people are capable of, and will do, the right thing. Some people won't, and you'll see very quickly who they are. Act quickly to steer away from them when you see that … but until then, stay the course.

Sometimes the people behind you are going to see your ass crack, but don't worry about that. It's not your problem. If they don't like the view, they can pass you. They pick the view they focus on … you don't control that. Focus on you.

Never stop pedaling. Always move forward, even if you're only going fast enough to keep your balance. Life only passes you by when you stop … so don't ever stop. It's always easier to keep going rather than catch up … especially on the hills. It's going to get hard. You might even have to get off your bike and walk with it a bit. But don't just sit there. Keep moving forward.

And finally … remember what it was like to ride your bike like a kid. Carefree, with no purpose other than fun, with your bestest friends in the world. Sun up to sun down. Do that every now and again. Forget the race and the purpose and the NEED to ride. Just ride. Appreciation cannot happen without comparison. Keep the energy and spirit of your irresponsible youth alive by going back there every now and again.

And, most importantly, be safe, have fun, and have a GREAT ride."

The search for sunrise comes full circle

Has it only been 3 years?! It's feels like it was yesterday that I was at a Info meeting in Palo Alto deciding that yes, that I was going to do a triathlon and that I was going to do an Olympic distance race!

Today was our kickoff meeting and the more things change the more they stay the same indeed. It was so cool seeing all the familiar faces and giving those hugs that I thought I would never give again...

there is always the sadness of the people you don't see. When I heard the honored hero speak I couldn't help but remembering and missing Jim Delaney tremendously. Yes, life goes on but the world is a little sadder and a little more lonely because of him having left us.

I have a lot of goals and objectives but I'll just open with two because the season is long and because I have to start somewhere

I want to get my time down to 3 hours (maybe 3:10 is ok) This is not hubris and pride. This is my way of setting a challenge and motivating myself to push hard because the bigger goal is still ahead. I'm starting to get the bug of the full Ironman for 2013 but I need and I want to know that I can make it at a shorter distance before I do this crazy thing called Ironman. This is also my way to finally accept that breaking my leg was a setback not the end of the world.

I want to have fun and enjoy the ride. The longer I've been outside training looking in to what my friends are doing how and why they are doing it the more I realize that I need to enjoy what I was doing.

This doesn't mean I wasn't enjoying the team in Georgia but, sometimes, I questioned if just training was a good enough reason to stay

The expected, the half expected and the new quest for motivation

(originally titled The expected, the half expected and the fuck-if-I-expected-this)

Time to regroup again.

IM (Vineman or otherwise), STP and any other endurance events are out for 2012 as well (see the end of the previous post as to the reason why this happened). So the question, once again, is now what?

Unless things change i'm scheduled to get my leg cut open on January 6th (Update: Got the surgery moved ahead to December 22nd) which leaves me without putting weight on it until late February and who the hell knows how long will i be in PT and strengthening my whole body but particularly my legs before I can even consider doing another triathlon much less an Ironman.

I'm just getting to the point where I can accept a 2012 without endurance sports. The stubborn me says that I still have time to train for Pac Grove Olympic if i'm out of the cast by February, this is the same me that explored every little possibility to actually join the Iron Team in the Valley this year for a 2012 race.

But I have to surrender to the limitations that my body is putting on me. No means no, it doesn't mean that I can try again in a few weeks. I'm honest enough to accept the fact that I can't even walk more than a mile without being in excruciating pain.... I wouldn't be able to walk even a 3 mile race much less a marathon 🙁

How do I stay motivated

If your life were a book and you were the author How would you want the story to go?

Amy Purdy

Fuck, 13 or even 6 months feel so far away and in such a different world.

Will I still want to do an Ironman at the end of 2012 and into 2013? THe people who don't understand the mindset you need to do this tell me that sure I'll be in perfect shape for IM Canada in 2013 and I want to agree with them, I want to believe that it's all a switch you turn on and off whenever you're ready and feel like it.

I guess it boils down to how bad you really want this... How bad you want that tattoo on your calf that says you're an Ironman and how bad do you want to push yourself to what is certainly going to be your limit and maybe even beyond that?

in 2011 I had the drive because it gave me continuity... Triathlons and TNT were the bridge between California (friends and life) and what I was trying to build in Georgia. That went down the shitter in a hurry when i quit my job (about 30 seconds before I was fired) and later when I broke my leg so 2012 was to get back what I thought (and still think) that I deserve (whether I do or not is a different story for another argument and another post).

So the big question for 2013 (and we haven't even started 2012 yet :P) is:

Do I want to put myself through all this crap again? Train 5 to 7 days a week from December through July and then spend 17 hours killing myself (no other way to describe it) in order to accomplish a goal that most people would think is crazy?

And it's not just that. Back when I was trying to decide if I should push or not (outlined on this earlier post) I realized that there are a lot of other questions that I should be asking regarding Ironman training beyond the simple can I or do I want to

DO I want to commit to something as crazy as this for as long as this is going to take when I'm not 100% sure that my leg will heal properly or at all?

Commitments and Resolutions

Then it hit me. Three things that make up commitment: care, consistency and confidence.

If you’re going to make the commitment, you’ve got to care about what you’re committing to. You’ve got to possess it for yourself. It can’t be something your coach, your team, your sponsors or any external source wants you to do. This has to be for you. When you care about something, you value the outcome, you place meaning on it. When you personally care about something, you do things because you want to not because you have to. You do things because not doing them disappoints yourself – not someone else.

When you don’t care, you do things half-heartedly. You skip things. You find better things to do than what you’re supposed to be doing. Your practice becomes half-assed. We’ve all been there. Whether it’s because of burnout, a goal that we set too high, or something we’re just not that into, if you don’t 100 percent care about the goal and outcome, you won’t make the commitment.

When you do care, you’re unstoppable. No morning is too dark, no day is too cold – you’re up and at it. The other day, someone asked me why I was doing Ironman. They gently reminded me that I don’t have million dollar contracts. This is true. But I’m doing it because I set a goal a year ago, one that I care about and I won’t be satisfied until I either achieve it or finish knowing that I’ve given it my best. It doesn’t have to bring me fame, money or anything external but intrinsically it means something to me. It makes me want to stay committed.

Part of commitment is consistency. It’s day after day, mile after mile, doing it when it feels good and when it doesn’t. Doing it when everyone else is doing something else. The cornerstone of commitment is sacrifice. To get something you have to give something. Whether it’s giving it your best, giving a lot of your time or giving up _____, this type of day after day sacrifice and practice is the consistency it takes to stay committed.

After years of competing as an athlete and working with other athletes, I have uncovered only one secret: the only thing that matters is consistency. Without it, you will not gain fitness, you will not make progress, you will not gain anything from what you do. Read that again. To get to where you want to go months from now, you need to be putting in the day to day work right now. No shortcuts. The week before the big race is too late. The month before the big race is too late. It starts now.

When you are committed, you are saying that you will be consistent. To be consistent you have to stay healthy. This means paying extra attention to your diet, health, recovery, sleep and stress. Each can influence your consistency. A week of poor eating, catching a cold, an injury, unnecessary life drama – all of this interrupts your consistency. True that it takes a lot of time, money and energy to give each of these things proper attention. But the meaningfulness of your commitment impels you to do so. To keep yourself in balance and healthy. It’s worth it.

When you make a commitment, you do so with the underlying certainty of yes you can. That is confidence. Confidence is what sparks us to think – I can do this – and then empowers us to get it done. Confidence is the bottom line with any commitment. If you think you can or you can’t – you’re right. If you’ve committed to something, you know you can – so honor yourself and do it.

In life, you will encounter many people who try to take away your confidence. People say all sorts of stupid shit to make you feel less able, guilty, weak or less confident. Understand that you have no responsibility to believe any of what they say. Know who to listen to. Listen to yourself, listen to the opinions of those who mean something to you (your parents, your coach). Don’t place value on anything else. The best piece of advice I’ve ever received: don’t change who you are for anyone else.

If you made the commitment for a goal, you are confident. You know you can. You care about this goal and believe you can do it. It will take consistency in your practice and habits to follow through. So, when you think about what commitment means – it’s about setting a goal you care about, it’s about acting consistently to do the work required to achieve that goal and it’s letting your own confidence carry you through.

So ask yourself: what am I going to commit to this coming season? Is it a personal best? Is it winning my division? Is it showing up to every morning practice? What will draw you out of bed each morning when the big event is months away, when the water is cold or it’s the dead of winter. The beauty is that you decide about your commitments – you make the choice. Which means the process of commitment and achieving things is entirely in your control.

from Elizabeth Waterstraat

It's coming to that time of the year again when we have to make plans for the year ahead so here it goes. Because of the leg I'm actually making plans for 1 and 2 years ahead... hopefully this is not going to sound too crazy 🙂

  • I'm committing to Ironman Canada for 2013.
  • I'm committing to be strong and fit as I was when I was training with the team in Georgia.
  • I'll work with a nutritionist so I can decide upon and reach my target weight for Canada (and yes, I have someone in mind already).

As far as training goals, I have a few things in mind

  • Beat 1:15:00 on 2.4 mile swim
  • Get to cycle 300 miles a week
  • Run the San Jose R&R half in 2012

Step by Step

It's been about a month since I came out from surgery with the pump still attached to my stomach and about 3 weeks since I've been able to exercise again. It's felt like forever and a couple weeks. I started working out as soon as I felt it was safe (and my mom would let me) after the surgery and I'm almost to the point where I feel I'm back on the saddle.

I've learned the benefits of patience as I get back onto the team's dynamics and distance. In the old days I would have pushed as hard as possible maybe even before I was ready physically and emotionally. I almost dropped out of the team because I didn't think I could do it.... I wanted the reassurance that I wasn't going to die on the road in Tempe come November. Both Mike and Mary reassured me that I would be ready and now, a couple weeks later, I'm finally starting to believe they are right... it took beating the shit out myself today (0716) in a 3k swim and a 45 mile the following day (0717) to prove to myself that I can do this...

I've always targeted the swim to 2 hours or less. Mike Gaw, who did the swim with us, predicted my swim in the 1:50:00 range... exactly what I was looking for. It's not just the validation (I've only been out of surgery for a month) but it's also my finally accepting that all the training I've done was worth it and is allowing me to produce results a lot sooner than I thought I would.

Saturday's ride wasn't hard but it wasn't easy either. It was windy and that made my legs have to work harder and harder. I'm still not fully comfortable riding on a bike that is light enough to be pushed around when the wind gets too hard or it may be that the rider is also lighter and not putting too much weight on the bike to counteract the wind 🙂

I wrote this on Friday when I was finally cleared for unrestricted physical activity:

it feels so amazing to be able to do things without holding back and actually pushing yourself to see how far you can go. No more holding back, no more being careful that you'll get a hernia, no more being afraid if you're going to make it to Arizona or not.

And I meant every word on that post. I honestly did


One of the worst things you can do to me (until now) is to make things random and unpredictable. Over the last few months I've come to accept that the world works on unpredictability, that there are so many shades of gray in this big world that if you can't deal with surprises you will be taken over by people who can.

What are you afraid of?

In case you didn't notice I'm on Lady Antebellum kick this week(end). Reading one of the prompts in the wheel of life exercise made me realize something (again) I'm terrified of opening myself up to people so that they'll hurt me and rip me to shreds and then move on with their own lives. It doesn't have to be that way but, in the end, that's how the cards have played and I'm not really looking forward to put myself through that grinder again.

But who do you turn to when things get rough? Who do you turn to when the shit hits the fan and you need to vent? And who will you do that for in return? I think you're really good at being the shoulder people cry on but you're really bad at accepting help and letting others take care of you when you need to. Yes, you are a control freak but even control freaks needs help once in a while and, the smart ones, accept the help from others

This song makes a compelling argument why I should. Listen to it and tell me what you think.


Scout Basett has always been an inspiration. Not only as an athlete but as a person as well.

It would have been so easy to give up and to just say look and pity me. I lost a leg and lived in an orphanage for years in a country where little girls are looked as a burden but look at where she is now... UCLA student and triathlete.

Baselines: Sports and fitness

Just as we set up baselines for our training I'm working on setting up baselines for where I'm at so I can better decide where I need to go.

OMG, I'm under 220lbs for the first time in who the hell knows how long!!!

Goal is now to get it between 190 and 200 before the end of the year 🙂

The baseline that I hope to accomplish by the end of July are

  • Swim: 3000 yards
  • Bike: 40 miles
  • Run: 8 to 10 miles

Some concrete goals for the end of the year:

By the end of August:

  • Swim: 4000 yards
  • Bike: 60 to 70 miles
  • Run: 10 to 12 miles

End of September

Ironman 70.3 Augusta (again)

Why didn't I hear about this earlier

I almost posted something like this in Facebook earlier today

Carlos is seriously thinking if he can make in 3 weeks the qualifying time for US Masters Swimming Long Course Nationals. The time is 5:15 and the qualifier meet is 30 days from now. Wonders if he should push to meet that time or if he should wait for next year and see if he can cut it when he's healthy and not with Ironman written all over his head... tough question

It makes me wonder if I'm ready to push that hard so soon. If I'm good and listen to the doctor then I have about 9 days to really train for this. The stupid me is saying why wait, start now and be ready for those last 9 days. Practicality wins in the end... I'm in no shape to push 400 meters in 5 minutes and, at least this year, I have a good reason not to... it's in Arizona in November 😀

I think it’s time to commit

I've been back and forth as to whether I want to stay with the team or drop out now and concentrate on moving back to California. I'm pretty sure I'm getting old; before it would have been an non-issue, just push back through pain and through discomfort and get back to doing what you're certain is the best thing to do; Now I'm struggling with a decision that shouldn't be even a thought. I know why I decided to do this when we started in January and I know that, one way or another, I'll see this through the end, whether as a participant or as spectator supporting my friends, that remains to be seen.

There are things that are more important than pain, there are people who deserve your continuing to push yourself even when you think you can't go any further. It doesn't mean be stupid and reckless but it means that, within your limits, only you can decide how far to go and how hard to push.

It is both a matter of pride. I've invested too damn much physically and emotionally on this training and on this group of people to give up and quit. My body may not be 100% where it needs to be but I'll be damned if I'm not going to give it the best effort I humanly can.

Sometimes I question what I'm getting myself into... something like the swim start below:

In the end, I'll look back at this and know that what I did was right and I did it for a worthy cause and for people who truly and really deserve the support.


1. Stay POSITIVE!!!!!!!!! No matter what course you're on....keep focused and STAY POSITIVE! Be aware of your mind, body and spirit connection. Running is an excellent time for meditation, prayer, self therapy, reflection and bonding!

2. Train hard when you are training - but also remember: keep a pace that is enjoyable and safe in between! Nothing is worse than going out for a "killer" run that your body is not yet trained for. Your own flesh and blood ends up rebelling against you because you are being unrealistic. Your body knows what it needs, so LISTEN to it.

3. Aim for consistency - like most things in life, that's the key. It can take a while to get into the 'rhythm" of running. Find the time to get out often!! Even if you aren't "feeling" up to it. Guaranteed - when you put those running shoes on and get out the door you will ALWAYS be glad you did! (something about more oxygen and a good sweat 😉 Embrace the inner child. Feel the movement of the ground under your feet - enjoy the rhythm. It's good for you... like music, delight in the rhythm. You're always a child, no matter how many races you've run.

4. Run! You don't have to be a "pro" or a marathon runner to enjoy the benefits of staying in shape (both mentally and physically). Do yourself a favor....Stop looking at the ground, your watch, or others around you and just move your feet, SMILE ... just for you 😉

5. Tomorrow starts with Today!

From Find Your Path and S.T.A.R.T.

it was an awesome race

We did Rev3 Knoxville on Sunday and all I can say is damn!

It was all I could hope for and the some. It wasn't an easy course but I still managed a very descent PR. The swim felt like it took forever but it was only 30 minutes. More than once I had to stop because I kept being punched, swam over or kicked by the people swimming the Half Iron distance swim... Whoever said that swimming wasn't a full contact sport never swam a triathlon!

knoxville tennessee_8679

Image by mondays child via Flickr

The swim felt a lot more sluggish than the time indicated but I'm starting to get used to the feeling. It was 30 minutes even and, considering all the times I had to slow down or stop because I was hit, I was damn pleased with it (30 minutes for 1.5k).

The bike was a whole new experience. It's the first race that I do with Angie, my Giant Tri-Bike (yes, I name my bikes) and it showed me both how much I've improved in my cycling and in my fitness level overall. The  course was hilly, nothing terrible but something that would have definitely killed me this time last year.  I posted my best 25 mile time ever by about 17 minutes.

As usual with the run, I was aprehensive and a little sore after the bike but in a totally different way than in prior races. It was the quadriceps instead of the calves and hamstrings. It wasn't as painful as I expected it to be (see my  race report for 70.3 Augusta last year for more on my reaction to running pain)

I think that what made this race so different than all prior 4 was the fact that the support was right there. If anything it felt like Pacific Grove in 2009. I still remember the coaches and all my friends