So as you can see, I like to take the bull by the horns. However, it doesn't always work out as planned.... but when it does, holy cow, the sweet succulent nectar of success tastes SOO good. This past year has been a bombshell of goodness, almost like I've been attacked by Santa Clause, constantly surprised with amazing opportunities and "presents" along the way. Since I'm a total slave to my cell phone and have a 2 second attention span, I don't really remember EVERYTHING...BUT I'll try and list some sweet events that have kept me chugging along:
- Joined the US Military Cycling Team, attended the most noteworthy camp ever (most miles I've ever ridden)!
- Met some local Pro's and trained with the best in Clermont, Fl...signed on with coach Tim Crowley @TC2 Coaching
- Sustained support from colleagues and leadership within the U.S. Air Force. Totally appreciated!
- Finally getting over some lower leg injuries with lots of PT/massage/A.R.T...Thanks Dr. Rubin and Matt Shanklin
- Traveled to London to compete in Age Group World Championships!!
- Joined forces with Jon Noland @Tribal Multi-Sport. Couldn't be happier to coach along side him!
- Earned Elite Card! Next year I'll be at the bottom of the totem pole with the big dogs....but not for long!!!
- Earned USAT Level 1 Cert and 1 yr long Master Trainer Cert with ISSA...Always learning!
- Started Coaching U.S. Masters Swim Program at St. Pete Beach
- ACCEPTED AS 2014 ELITE TRIATHLETE ON US MILITARY ENDURANCE SPORTS....truly honored!
So the road ahead is still full of questions! Will I perform well and continue to grow in the professional ranks of triathlon? Will I develop a phobia of water and become a duathlete? Will I move to Iceland? Who knows!!!?? That's the best part about life, the direction you take is totally up to you! Of course you have to have the courage to take a path less traveled but IF you LOVE what you do, you're no longer at a "job". At least that's what I've noticed about being a coach. Waking up at a steady 4:30 am most every day to either workout before work, coach masters, get home late from a strength and conditioning session and staying up late-er to take care of training plans/research better ways to thrive as an athlete...Now that's my JAM! Of course the icing on the cake is being part of the U.S. Air Force, knowing every day I work to help sustain the mission and support our nation. So when I hear people complain about not having time and they don't have kids....I just sigh and hope one day they get their priorities in line. Life is to short to have excuses!
Next season is packed with lots of travel and proud representation of the US Military Endurance Sports team and our sponsors. I'll be cruising on a new Scott TT Bike, staying warm yet flexible in my Xterra Wetsuits, hydrating with OSMO in my bottles, keeping my noggin safe using Rudy Project helmets, wearing some great Primal kits, rolling on American Classic wheels and precisely monitoring power and selecting gear ratios on SRAM hardware! I'm pretty much spoiled! Given this opportunity, I plan to race with a fury I've not yet experienced. This new year is sure to throw some curves and require deviation from the plan but shoot, I'll remain resilient. I'll be like an amoeba, just mold me into a new shape whenever you want! So for now, thanks for all of the support and continue to CHASE your dreams!!
So, starting this jam-packed blog off with a bang should be easy since I've got some truly remarkable news. I'm joining forces with Jon Noland and Tribal Multi-sport. You might be asking, what the heck does that mean? It means Jon and I are going to blend our training philosophies to create super-mega athletes. Okay, that might be a little extreme but just know, we're kind of a big deal. The overall goal is to add value to each athletes experience. You can check our mission statement and program at Tribalmulti-sport.com. Officially, the website will be 100% operational 1 January but I wanted to give those who read my blog a sneak peek. I couldn't be more excited to be accepted into this stellar network of athletes. Training on my own all the time has been dull and I definitely benefit from having a positive energy around me! Super Pumped!
Holiday Weight Gain? Don't stress!
I'm not sure how everyone tackles the holiday season in relation to food and drink but I'll give you a glimpse of a stress free method I currently practice. As a striving top-level athlete, I'm continuously thinking of performance and if you ask me, nutrition is most definitely linked into my plan. It's probably a "Top 3" priority. That being said, I don't have any races for awhile and this is the time of year to accept a few healthy pounds. My goal was to finally get to 160 lbs by December, which I managed to do in a very healthy manner. I think it took be about 5 months to lose the 3 or 4 pounds I had set my sights on. Now that I've reached my goal, it'll be easy to get back there once the training volume increases. Since then, I've been allowing more sweets and treats into my diet, never stressing about a moment of indulgence. Despite the previous statement, don't for a second think that I've been lowering the level of "quality" food I eat. If I decide to eat something a little on the sweeter side, I'll bake or make it myself. That way I can closely monitor every quality ingredient I enjoy, knowing that the bar is still set high. To be blunt, you wouldn't catch me with a store bought pie, snickers or fatty fudge sundae. I LOVE FOOD but I also know that everything adds up and being "mindful" now will, will pay off later. If I feel like eating more sweets, why wouldn't I keep the quality high? Why wouldn't I want to be involved in it's creation? Why settle for garbage ingredients you can't even pronounce? My point is this, be passionate about your food and it doesn't matter if you eat meat, diary, gluten, soy or wood chips...set a high standard for what you'll allow into your body. Remember you're a finely tuned machine and you need high octane fuel!! Enjoy the off-season, gain a few pounds and spend time with those who have been neglected due to high training volume :)
Tri Key West Race Report
First off, you cannot beat the weather. While the rest of the U.S was hitting some cold weather, we had the pleasure of some tropical vibes and limited clothing! The long drive was well worth it, especially since I was able to make the journey with a fellow athlete, Brett Hendricks!
This race is a little late in the season to really "care" about but it's always fun to do it. Since the past month or so has been super relaxed, I wanted to hit the race with cruise control set to "moderate". With that in mind, I'll briefly take you through where I was mentally and what went into the race prep.
- Prep- We arrived mid-day, ate some awesome squash, enjoy the beautiful view and enjoyed the full belly (a little too full) of treats. Breakfast was at 4:30am and consisted of a banana and almond butter, followed by some coffee blended with avocado, ghee and coconut oil (for real). I always get in my breakfast AT LEAST 2 hours prior to "go time". This race actually had a "Pro/Elite" field and I was pretty pumped to see a few names I recognized from last year! The competition would still be there and I was pumped to see how I would perform on limited preparation.
- Swim- Well, this is where I first noticed I was lacking comfort at "race pace". I quickly slacked off into a pace I could maintain without totally de-railing. I ended up 3rd out of the water with a high 22 min time. Not stellar by any means, but good enough for the day. The warm water and awesome sunrise set a perfect stage.
- Bike- I've accepted that when I race this course, my chances of death increase 20 to 30%. With tight corners, two way traffic, police marshaling cars in front of you and sudden course changes....you have to really be on your toes. I was a little slower than last year but was still happy to ride down the 1st place swimmer (from Aruba). We entered T2 like a couple of buddies and he quickly applied some speed to which I mentally replied "PSH.......whatever". With a jovial attitude, I pressed forward, sweating like one of those Corona bottles in a beach commercial.
-Run- So 1st place dude from Aruba pretty much went out too fast and blew up by mile 3 (Mentally I thought, "AHA"), which meant my effort was enough to pass and hold him off. I quickly accepted a top 2 position when I was run down by the stud behind me...but then he also blew up with 2 miles left. I thought, well I might as well see what I have left, taking full advantage of his misfortune. At the end of the day, it all worked out and I was able to walk away with nice win. A steady pace won the race!
All in all, I couldn't be more proud to have been part of this event. It's not because I won but because 2 of my athletes raced along with me. Brett Hendricks, despite coming off a hip injury, smashed his AG and took the win in the Sprint. Lannie Marsh, taking on her first Olympic Triathlon, took 3rd to some very fast women in her AG. I have to say, watching these two succeed and having been part of their journey was incredible and solidifies why I love being a coach. For the love of sport and the company of extraordinary people, I'll continue to thrive with this lifestyle!