Thursday, March 29, 2018

Pushing the Reset Button


The fall of 2017 involved a pause in typical daily activity while I focused my time and energy on recovery from surgery.  I encountered several speed bumps along the way and am still dealing with some side effects as a result.  By the beginning of March, I had reached a point that I was willing to try anything, see anyone, or do anything that might press the reset button and put me back on the path of health and wellness that I enjoy. 

Over the past several years, I have worked through a nutrition transformation going from heavily carb dependent, to a balance utilizing the theories of metabolic efficiency, pressed further to Low Carb, High Fact (LCHF) bordering on Keto.  Through the transformation, I saw changes to my body composition and my athletic performance as well as a substantial increase in energy and overall wellness. 

In the process of feeling bad, I had lost my motivation to train and to embrace my nutrition.  I weighed more than I had in a while and overall felt sluggish and had a tremendous lack of energy.  In addition, I was experiencing bloating and inflammation in areas throughout my body. 

So, when March arrived I decided that in addition to all of the outside efforts to figure out my ailments that I would attempt to press the reset on my metabolic and body systems.  Through my exposure to Pruvit and Exogenous Ketones, I had been watching posts about the Keto Reboot and decided to jump into the group.  I ordered my Reboot Kit and waited for March 11th to arrive.  You mind plays lots of tricks going into a Reboot such as this.  Your last meal, will I make it, what will I feel like along the way?

Mike decided to join me on this journey.  It was nice to have someone close experiencing it at the same time.  We were able to compare and contrast and support each other when we felt ready to give in. 

The journey began at 8 p.m. on Sunday night.  After eating a normal dinner and dessert we drank our first Keto Tea.  Upon waking Monday morning, we took our ketone blood readings and other basic metrics.  I registered at 0.2.  Mid morning was a bottle of ketones and 2 capsules.  I felt fine throughout the morning.  I don’t typically eat until later in the morning so was not uncomfortable.Around 11:30, I had the first bought of hunger pains.  I was definitely hungry.  This is the time that I normally eat and my body knew that it was time.  I drank some water and pushed forward to 1:00 when I had the Keto Broth and 2 additional capsules.  The broth and capsules curbed the hunger.  I saved my second bottle of ketones for my drive to the cycling studio.  I typically eat a snack on the way so figured the ketones would help to cure the snack craving.  Made it through with no snacks and minimal hunger and returned home for Keto Broth for dinner.  The Keto Tea followed close behind and then was off to bed.  I was actually full when it came time for tea and in hindsight probably didn’t need to drink it. 

Entering the second full day, I came off of a decent night’s sleep.  We did our blood readings and today I registered at 1.3.  I went through the day as yesterday.  I did not feel my peak hunger today and in fact had a lack of appetite when it came time for ketones so I ended up skipping a few.  I was a bit nauseous and kind of felt junky although my energy was very good.  Day 2 was definitely easier than day 1 and little overall discomfort. 


I did not sleep well overnight.  Kind of restless and the nausea continued.  The blood reading on Wednesday morning was 3.6.  A big jump from Day 2 and a really big jump from Day 1.  I was feeling pretty good.  Stomach was still a bit unsettled but overall energy was good.  I was down approximately 7 lbs – some of which was water – a lot of which was inflammation.  My neck and body felt the best that they had in months and other than my stomach settling a bit overall I felt great. 


I took the two capsules on Wednesday morning and then had eggs and avocado about 9:30.  I had a lunch appointment at a Mexican restaurant that would typically mean a pile of chips but I did not eat any.  In fact had ½ of a salad with avocado, tomato and chicken.  I had a bottle of ketones in the afternoon and then I ate the other half of my salad for dinner.  I did a decent ride workout, had good energy for the ride and felt good heading to bed. 

In coming off of the Reboot – my goal was to see how long I could keep things feeling good and pain controlled.  I opted to stay away from dairy and gluten as much as possible as perhaps they are the triggers. 

After two weeks, I am still paying attention to what I am eating although not quite as strictly.  My inflammation still seems pretty controlled and overall my energy and pain levels are staying pretty good.  I am finding some food triggers and doing my best to make conscious decisions.

Overall, I see the Reboot as a success.  I don’t think at this point that I will repeat it monthly but will definitely continue to monitor and follow my LCHF way of eating to the best of my ability.  I will keep the Reboot and use it as a reset periodically to continue to stay on the journey.  #OneDayOneStep

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Success!

As we enter 2018, it is time to set S.M.A.R.T. goals for the year to come. In this month’s Team W Coaching Training Tips - we will discuss each ingredient of a SMART goal.

S is for SPECIFIC.  Determine what it is that you want to accomplish.  Determine why you want to accomplish this goal.  Determine what the requirements are to accomplish goal.  And, determine what obstacles stand between you and the goal.  

M is for MEASURABLE.  How will you measure your progress related to this goal? How will you know when the goal is achieved?

A is for ACHIEVABLE.  How can this goal be accomplished?  What are the logical steps I should take?

R is for RELEVANT.  Is this a worthwhile goal?  Is this the right goal?
Do I have the necessary resources to accomplish the goal? Is this goal in line with my long term objective?

T is for Time-Bound.  How long will I take to accomplish this goal? When is the completion of this goal? When am I going to work  on this goal?

Walk through each one of these questions and answer them to help build your ultimate goal.  Write your goal down and share it with others, then start taking steps toward the ultimate completion.  As we say at our house, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”  #OneDayOneStep  

As you proceed further into your journey, look at a choice that you are about to make and ask, “how does this support my ultimate goal?”  If your answer is unclear, it may be time to move on past that choice onto something that will better support your journey.  Don’t be afraid to say “no!”

If you run into obstacles or need help along the way, find an accountability partner or a coach that understands and supports your goal and will help you stay on track to make your goal a reality.  Don’t be frustrated with the challenges, it is part of the journey.  Embrace each opportunity and you will achieve your S.M.A.R.T. goal.  

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Get into Gear and Resolve to Ride!

You have made the resolution, now to stick to it.  Nearly 42% of people that establish a resolution fail to follow through on that resolution.  Not this time!  Here are some steps to follow to keep you on track and focused on the goal.

Step 1 - Make your goal visible.   A goal in your head is an idea.  Sharing the idea with others will help make the vision a reality.  Create a vision board that reflects the completion of the goal and share your board for others to see.

Step 2 - Develop your mindset around the successful completion of your resolution.  You body achieves what your mind believes.  Recite and/or write your affirmations for your resolution.  Create a positive mindset and curb any doubt that you may have.  

Step 3 - Set small goals that support your larger vision.  There are many known sayings about taking small steps, eating one bite at a time, etc.  Take your overall goal or resolution and break it down into smaller goals to track your progress along the way.  These milestones will establish a plan to keep you on track and allow feedback to stay on course.  

Step 4 - Find a group or an accountability partner.  It is important to surround yourself with those that support you.  Find a group that is focused on your interest to find like minded people or find a friend that you trust to hold you accountable to following your plan.  An accountability partner and group will provide feedback that you may not see on your own.

Step 5 - Hire a coach.  If you find that you are needing additional support or a person to help map your blueprint to success, it is time to consider hiring a coach.  Look for a coach that understands your goals and what it will take to keep you on track.  

A goal may seem daunting when you look only at the end result.  It is important to break it down into smaller steps and celebrate each milestone along the way.  Think of constructing a building.  A building is built one brick, nail and board at a time. Without the blueprints as a guideline, the building would not exist.  Follow your blueprint and completion of your goal will become reality.  #OneDayOneStep

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Life of a Medal

As an active endurance athlete, I toe the line several times throughout the year and with most races comes a medal, a shirt and many times a hat or other token of the event.  For all of us, each race that we participate in carries a different reason.  Our “why.”  And the tokens at the time carry an amazing value.  Over time, the pile of tokens grows and we eventually come to a time when we have medals hanging from lampshades and hooks throughout the house, a drawer overflowing with shirts and more hats than a person could wear in a lifetime.  Does this sound like your house?


This December, I was introduced to an organization called Medals 4 Mettle (www.medals4mettle.org).  This organization accepts donated ½ marathon, marathon and triathlon medals, affixes a new M4M ribbon to the medal, and “joyfully awards them to children and adults who must run a much more difficult race as they struggle to save their lives.  These medals are awarded to honor the mettle and courage it takes to face the challenges of the race we all share together: the HUMAN RACE.”   

The introduction to Medals 4 Mettle could not have happened at a better time.  I have spent a good portion of the fall sorting through my home, donating, selling and clearing out many of these tokens that I have held onto “just in case.” Medals were something I had left untouched to this point as I knew there were places to donate but hadn’t investigated the process to do it.  Committed to deliver my medals to the Colorado dropoff site, I decided to not only pass on my own but run a drive, as many of the people that I am connected to have a similar “medal problem” around their homes.  

As I gathered my medals together today, it provided a walk down memory lane.  I have opted to hold onto some of my medals awarded for my accomplishments over the years.  A finish line or a distance that I never thought possible.  Celebrations of firsts.  My first ½ marathon (boy was that a crazy story), my first marathon, my first 70.3, my first Ironman and many other milestones along the way.  As I went through the medals and reflected on them, I found myself torn for a few.  Do I need to keep them, “just in case?”  - what if I want to put together a frame to celebrate the series?  The hesitation did not last long when I remembered the vision behind Medals 4 Mettle and embraced the opportunity to share my joy from finishing the event with one of the children or adults who will be honored.  

I attended an event in which a friend celebrated his journey to the Ironman World Championships in Kona.  He held up his medal and said this looks like an exclamation point! “It is a story that you just created, ended with an exclamation point!  You will write a story, entry and finish are the bookends.”  Thank you for providing the perspective Tom!

I removed the race ribbons and set aside the medals that I will deliver to the Colorado donation site next week.  I will pick up other’s medals in several places over the next few days and hope that our miles and medals will carry onto others.  The medals will continue their journey and the memories of the race day, the milestone and the celebration will remain as my journey continues on.

If you would like to donate your medals, here’s how:
Contact me directly to determine a pick up location or visit www.medals4mettle.org to find a drop off near you as well as information to ship the medals directly to the organization.

Thank you in advance for your support.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

08-12-2017 A Weekend in the Life of a Leadville 100 MTB Race Crew Member

After sending the girls off for their first day of school, we loaded up and headed to Leadville.  Upon arriving in Leadville, our first stop was race check-in.  We picked up Mike’s race packet and headed off to find our lodging location.  We were fortunate this time around to find Alison and the perfect rental set-up off 9th and Harrison.  We were able to walk to the various race events and would have easy access to the start and finish without needing to park the car elsewhere.

As we were settling in, we ran into our first “issue” of the weekend.  The bike lock keeping the bike on the car was jammed and would not open.  A bit of panic as we headed to ACE and had the fortunate encounter with Ryan who allowed us to borrow bolt cutters and helped us free the bike!  Back to the apartment, dropped the bike and the rest of our gear and headed off to the athlete briefing.  

Picture 100s of people packed into the Lake County High School gym and this would describe the athlete briefing.  We were able to gather our entire group together and listened to the history and stories of the Leadville race leaving inspired to take on the event the next day.  

We had lunch at the Tennessee Pass cafe and headed back to our apartment to lay low for a while.  A final run to the grocery store.  A quiet dinner at the apartment and early to bed.  

Saturday was my first experience crewing for the Leadville 100 MTB event. I arrived in Leadville with several responsibilities for the day as a wife, a crew manager, a friend, and a press assistant, with my number one priority being Mike and anything that he needed to make his day go smoother.   

I learned when Mike ran the Leadville 100 in 2015 that as the event approaches that I need to start keeping notes as he shares his expectations of the day.  I had a decent list prepared of what to expect his needs to be as he came through and with my new found projected timelines that I use at all of my coaching events a reasonable expectation of times that my athletes should be rolling through.  The good news for me this time was that everyone was paced slightly different so I had time to assist each one as they came through as I had three that I had gear for.  My goal for the other athletes that I was following was to cheer, support and take pictures.

Here is how the day went:

4:45 a.m. - The alarm sounds.  It is go time.
4:45-5:45 a.m. - Get dressed, pack up my food cooler, pack up crew supplies cooler
5:45 a.m. - Head out to the start area
6:00 a.m. - Arrive at Corals - drop Mike in his coral.
6:10 a.m. - Meet Thad to pick up crew items
6:20 a.m. - Facebook Live National Anthem
6:28 a.m. - Send Thad to start race - run up 6th to meet Mike
6:30 a.m. - Watch Mike start
6:35 a.m. - Pack up guitar, amp and all supporting equipment in Thad’s car.
Pack crew supplies in his car to pick up as I leave for Twin Lakes
6:45 a.m. - Meet with Hugh and Cole at City on the Hill
7:15 a.m. - Walk back to apartment - use functioning restroom one last time and head out
7:20 a.m. - Pick up Thad’s crew items from his car
7:45 a.m. - Arrive Twin Lakes Dam aid area/Opted to pass first parking option (GOOD CHOICE)
7:45-8:30 a.m. - Unload car/set up crew area
8:39 a.m. - Race Leaders through TL Outbound
8:54 a.m. - First Female through TL Outbound
9:07 a.m. - First First Descents Team Member TL Outbound
9:14 a.m. - Wesley Sandoval TL Outbound
9:18 a.m. - Chris Colt TL Outbound
9:28 a.m. - One Arm Willie TL Outbound
9:55 a.m. - Thad TL Outbound
10:12 a.m. - Race Leaders TL Inbound
10:20 a.m. - Carrie Larson TL Outbound
10:23 a.m. - John Baker TL Outbound
10:45 a.m. - Mike TL Outbound
10:45-11:00 a.m. - Walked to restroom
11:15 a.m. - Columbine UPDATE received on Chris
11:25 a.m. - First First Descents Team Member TL Inbound
11:55 a.m. - Chris TL Inbound
12:03 p.m. - One Arm Willie TL Inbound
12:06 p.m. - Aided Athlete #1998 with water - could not find his crew to refill
1:19 p.m. - Thad TL Inbound
Begin loading car back up/move car closer in event of rain and for additional supplies
1:40 p.m. - Carrie Larson TL Inbound
2:00 p.m. - John Baker TL Inbound
2:15 p.m. - Mike TL inbound
Load car of remaining gear
3:00 p.m. - Arrive in Leadville
Check in at apartment, regroup on supplies, head to finish
4:00 p.m. - One Arm Willie  FINISH
4:08 p.m. - Chris Colt FINISH
Coffee shop to visit with Tom & Margie, meet Laura from CAF and take a break from the rain
6:15 p.m. - Thad FINISH
6:25 p.m. - Carrie Larson FINISH
Move supplies from cars
Home to regroup, send photos, respond to messages
8:00 p.m. - Out to dinner with Colts
9:30 p.m. - To Bed

I always ask my athletes that I coach to provide me with a 5/5/5 report post race.  5 Celebrations/5 Challenges/5 Goals to work towards next time.  Here is my post event report.

5 Celebrations:
  1. Supporting Chris in his final step of a journey we have been a part of all year (seeing his family and experiencing all of their reactions)
  2. Did not miss anyone that I was tracking/watching coming through either direction
  3. Seeing friends achieve milestones in their journeys
  4. Good weather - a bit of rain but most of the day sunny and not too warm
  5. Pictures of nearly all if not all First Descents Team Members

5 Challenges:
  1. Poor service in Twin Lakes - struggled to get messages through to establish meetup location
  2. Celebrating friends accomplishments while others in our pack did not finish
  3. Mike’s return to Twin Lakes Inbound - replaying what had transpired since his last pass through (his expression)
  4. The mood swing of celebrating the cut made to finding out that it was missed and why
  5. Catching people for photos - not identifying quickly enough

5 Goals:
  1. Execute the storage container plan that I have been wanting to start for crew organization
  2. Get a collapsible wagon to easily transport items from car to designated spot - the walk is inevitable (found one to borrow - remember Miss Dee for the next round!)
  3. Figure out how to work with a spotter/tracking to anticipate and catch desired pictures
  4. One bike tool kit of sorts to be shared among all athletes versus duplication of multiple items
  5. Is it worth connecting crew spot to existing tent (First Descents or others?)

Sunday, we enjoyed a quiet morning in Leadville.  A chilly walk to the Golden Burrow for breakfast followed by a little bit of browsing around town.  We then participated in the Leadville Race Series 10K which showed a very fast field at elevation with climbing.  We then headed back to Denver - a part of the I70 heavy traffic to Idaho Springs that the signs told us about.  

Sunday, August 6, 2017

08-06-2017 Swimming with Simone

Throughout my triathlon journey, I have always been inspired by others racing beside me.  The mindset and the “why” are equally and often times more important than the hours of swim, bike and run training that it takes to toe the line at a race, and the life lessons learned along the path carry into everyday life.  


On Sunday, August 6, 2017, I had the opportunity to support Simone in achieving a finish at her first sprint triathlon.  Simone suffers from a very rare and severe form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis.  She has faced challenges throughout her life as a result and has adapted to each one.  


Simone set a goal for 2017 to complete her first sprint triathlon with her friends from her tri group from Colorado Springs.  The challenge for Simone with this race was the open water swim.  With Ankylosing Spondylitis she is no longer able to turn her head to breathe in the water, nor can she lift he head to sight.  Simone swims with a snorkel.  In the pool, this is not a problem with the line on the bottom, however open water is cloudy and there is no line.  
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Simone reached out to the race director to request permission to take part in the Tri for the Cure at Cherry Creek Reservoir.  The permission involved her being able to swim with a snorkel as well as the need for someone to swim with her in the race.  Simone was granted permission to compete and was requested to provide her own swim buddy.  Simone went to the Women for Tri Facebook page - a sight and a community that greatly inspires her.  She posted her need for a swim buddy for the race and our connection was made when I responded to her post.  We scheduled a time to connect via phone.  Simone explained to me about Ankylosing Spondylitis and informed me that my duties would require guiding her through the swim via a rope tied to my ankle and tied to her wetsuit.  This would provide her with a guide in the water so she knew where to go.  A couple of cautions - if the rope gets taught I am swimming too fast or she has stopped.  Don’t pull as it will waterlog her snorkel!  And, keep her away from people as she is very fragile and cannot risk being kicked or punched in the water.  She said my duties for the day were strictly in the water, she would bike and run on her own.  


Simone and I met in person the Tuesday before the race to do a trial swim at her local pool.  We swam tethered together and discussed issues we had with the rope and got a system in place for Sunday.  We were quite efficient in the pool after a very short time!


Sunday morning, we met early at the park.  We took time to set up transition and visit with her tri club friends.  We pulled on our wetsuits and walked to wait for our start.  Simone and I both experienced race day jitters.  Simone’s those of an athlete and me as the role of mother duck - will I be able to keep her safe and perform on the swim so that she achieves the outcome she is after.  I focused my attention, as a coach, on her nerves and worked to calm her down.  I never mentioned mine.  


We watched the other swimmers start the race and waited for our wave to start.  We high fived the race coordinator and entered the water starting last.  We stood in the water once our wave started and waited for the other swimmers to swim away from shore.  We saw our path of clear water and set off.  My goal was to keep Simone to the left side of the swimmers as we were making right turns so congestion would be towards the right.  My mother duck instincts kicked in as we began to pass people and I found myself talking to race assistance and other swimmers to keep them out of our path.  We made it to the first buoy and had a decent rhythm established.  My plan seemed to be working so I kept on.  Alerting people as I made course plans and keeping Simone swimming.  We rounded the final turn and approached the finish.  We had to slow a bit due to other swimmers and we reached the shore.  I tapped on Simone to let her know we were finished.  We stood up in the water and she couldn’t believe we were already done.  We had achieved our goal time in the water and had passed many swimmers along the way.  As we made our way up into transition, I asked Simone to pause and look back at all of the swimmers still in the water and to remind her that she had passed all of them.  She was elated!  
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Transition was smooth and Simone set off on her bike. I waited in transition for her.  She came off the bike finishing in a shorter time than her goal and set off on the run.  And she ran!  My thirteen year old was there watching and said that she was running fast!  We moved to the finish to wait for her to come in.  I had the opportunity to take pictures of Simone in the finish chute and it was awesome to see her pure joy!  She had crushed her goal time on her run too and was feeling great!!  


Simone told me in our initial conversation that my sole job was to help her through the swim.  She did not want to take any more of my time and I was welcome to leave as soon as we were out of the water.  I would not have missed the rest of her race for anything.  The look on her husband’s face was nothing but pride.  He was so proud of her.  The celebrations as each member of her tri group finished were priceless and it was a very special day for everyone.  Simone’s family and tri group welcomed myself and my daughter into their family and it was an honor to share in their celebration.  


Thank you to Simone for setting a goal, for pushing hard to make it possible (and it took work), and for reaching out to the community on blind faith for your swim buddy.  I will remember this day forever and look forward to supporting you in achieving your goals of longer tri distances!!


#OneDayOneStep and as I told Simone race morning #ControltheControllables  

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