Week 3: It gets better

There was a day, during the bad period in December, when I was doing a short walk/jog and there was an older larger man also walk/jogging around the neighborhood in his basketball shorts for his health. And I was not gaining on him.

Which is fine, except that the whole time I was taking walk breaks, I kept thinking to myself: YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL AT THIS. (I talk to myself in the second person, or maybe that’s the third. Whatever.)

Continue reading “Week 3: It gets better”

Week 27: Ironman Mont Tremblant 

I’m currently sitting in the Air Canada lounge in Montreal, because when I changed my flight to go to New York after the race it was cheaper to end up with a business class ticket than to pay the change fee. Turns out the thing the rich people never told us is with all the free food and drinks you basically end up ahead. Money makes more money and all that.

Ironman Mont Tremblant happened on Sunday. I finished in 10:02:something, and that’s totally good and fine. It’s a PR and I’m proud of how I rallied on the day.

Continue reading “Week 27: Ironman Mont Tremblant “

Week 26: What We Have In Us

It’s time to race Ironman Mont Tremblant and I’m in taper mode, so I probably have argued with you about some tedious fact, because goddamnit I was right. I also feel terrible. You can read all the weekly recaps of how we got here.

When I signed on with Hillary in June 2015 my goal for IM Wisconsin was a solid race under 11 hours. At some point, while training, I realized I could maybe hit 10:45, and if things went really really well I might slip in around 10:30 and be in the top 4 or 5 girls.

I ended up finishing 2nd in 10:21 and I’m pretty sure if you had seen me in the last two miles, while I was high-fiving every person there, you’d have known exactly how surprised I was about it.

Continue reading “Week 26: What We Have In Us”

Week 19: Take a Break

My poison oak finally started to let up last Sunday, just in time for the Costa Rican bug bites and jellyfish stings to kick in. And then Wednesday or Thursday a new rash appeared, which seems related to the original poison oak, or the blisters got infected in the ocean, or it’s some kind of reaction to the jellyfish or something in Costa Rica.

Whatever it is, it’s been miserable. The only thing that’s getting me through is my super secret trick: I stand in the shower and blast the water as hard and hot as I can until it burns the feeling out.

Continue reading “Week 19: Take a Break”

What’s Your Triathlon IQ? Fun AND Fundraising. Wow.

A few months ago, the Health IQ people asked me to contribute a question to their Triathlon IQ quiz. I did (and my question is amazing), and then I sort of forgot about it.

BUT.

To promote the quiz and their other health quizzes, they’re donating $1 to my charity of choice for every person who takes the quiz via my link. Cool, but I figured since my mom is the probably the only person who will click on it, that wouldn’t amount to much of a donation.

But then, Hillary and Alyssa asked us to all help raise money for Exceeding Expectation, which sends kids to college who otherwise wouldn’t have the means. They’re trying to raise the money right now for a specific kid, John Alvarez. (You can read more about what they’re trying to do on Alyssa’s blog.)

So if you take the quiz, $1 will go to help John (and his siblings) exceed expectations. And Health IQ says that offer’s good across all the contributors until the $20,000 they have set aside for donations is claimed. So.

Life Insurance: Special Rates for Triathletes by Health IQ

 

Quiz: What's Your Triathlon IQ?

 

START QUIZ

Powered by Insurance for the Health Conscious - Health IQLearn About Life

Contributors:



Twanee GibsonEndurance Coachcoachtawnee.com



Kelly O’ MaraPro Triathletesunnyrunning.com



Rich SoaresPodcast Hostmilehighendurance.com



Amber FerreiraPro Triathletehttp://amberferreira.blogspot.com/



Matthew BachPro Triathleteironmattbach.com



Alison DuttonPodcast Hostenduranceladies.com

 

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Laurel WassnerPro Triathleteathletefood.com



Terry LaughlinSwimming Coachwww.totalimmersion.net



Brock BigardEndurance Coachhttps://totaltriathlon.com



Lisa RobertsPro Triathletelisajroberts.com



Mikael ErikssonTriathlete Coachscientifictriathlon.com



Sarah AlexanderPro Triathletesarahealexander.com

Questions Approved By:


Siri Lindley - Two -Time Triathlon World Champion & Team Sirius Head Coach


Siri Lindley

Head Coach (Team Sirius) and 2X World Triathlon Champion

Siri Lindley dominated the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Rankings, winning 13 World Cup races between 2000-2002 and was the 2001 ITU World Champion. Siri won the World Cup Series both years by being the #1 ranked triathlete in the world!

 

Show bio

 


Cody Beals - Pro Triathlete


Cody Beals

11X Ironman 70.3 Podium Finisher

Cody is a Canadian professional triathlete. His resume includes multiple IRONMAN 70.3 titles and bike course records. Cody prides himself in taking an evidence-based, data-driven approach to training and racing.

 

Show bio

 

In Support Of:


USA Triathlon


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Week 17: Everything Looks Perfect From Up Here

When I landed at SFO on Monday evening, flying back from Victoria, the sunset hit the bridge and the city just so everything looked exactly perfect out the window, as if the whole thing was simply a toy model of itself. In between the clear sky and the golden shadows, it looked like every picture you’ve ever seen of the landmarks, the hills popping up in miniature.

But all I could think was maybe that’s true of anything. From this height, if you get the lighting right, anything can look like a postcard.

Continue reading “Week 17: Everything Looks Perfect From Up Here”

Week 15: What’s Next?

Read all my weekly updates about being a Professional Triathlete

We own two cars. One has a front end that’s all smashed in. If I’m driving that car, people always let me merge. They get out of the way quickly. When I used to park in the neighborhoods around USC, no one ever questioned if I belonged on the street. I can basically do whatever I want in that car, because I clearly do not care.

The other car is a 2005 Prius. Not only do people not let you merge in a Prius, they’ll speed up to pass you — even if you’re going over the speed limit. And when I used to park it in LA, I routinely got notes left on the windshield with variations on: “Stay out of our neighborhood.”

Continue reading “Week 15: What’s Next?”

2016 Was a Big Deal. What Now?

What changes when a woman becomes an athlete? Everything.

This year was a big deal for me. Not that anyone else cared, but for me. I made a very conscious decision at the end of 2015 to create space in my life to see just how good I could be at triathlon — which makes me sound like the Oprah of triathlon: you get extra recovery time and you get more sleep and you get some mental focus. And now that the original pilot project proved its viability this year, it’s time to actually start planning long-term. You can tell I’ve committed to this because I bought new cycling clothes for the first time since 2008. (Obviously, I went with Chisel. Because you just keep chiseling. See.) And we’re going to be replacing the six-year-old bike. Not that it’s not the sturdy Chevy that was your first car — just keeps hanging in there — but it’s time to upgrade to a…I don’t know, that’s the extent of my car metaphors, some fast car…a Porsche?

This year was a big deal for me. But the last few months have been hard. And also some of the other months in there too. I’m not really very happy with a lot of things going on in the world. I’m worried about the hard coldness that seems to be permeating our ability to care about each other. I feel like I should be doing something to make things better. I don’t know if creating space in my life is that thing. I have friends who help asylum-seekers whose families have been killed by the drug cartels. I have friends who do investigations into the disproportionate number of prison deaths for mentally ill inmates. (I have friends who have shitty jobs too.) And what do I do? I write about triathlon and I exercise.

Continue reading “2016 Was a Big Deal. What Now?”

Why I Started Crying on the Top of Mt. Lemmon

I wrote this right after training camp in Arizona in early March, but then I also had written a story about training camp for espnW, so I decided to wait until that ran to publish this. Then, my editor asked me if I had thought more about why I randomly started crying. And I was like, OH, HAVE I. (And also, for the record, all this anger/confidence mellowed out some right before Galveston; we’ll see if it comes back.) So here is my original post:

There’s been this thing recently — as is perhaps obvious — where I haven’t really felt the desire to write stuff here. And I could say it’s because I’m tired and busy (sure, true, whatever), but it’s also because I’ve been fighting this weird simmering unease and anger that’s hard to pin down and that seems to be intricately connected to triathlon in some way that I can’t explain. Since there was no clear and perky thing to write, I didn’t write.

But then I was thinking about Ta-Nehisi Coates’ idea that you write not to make an argument, but to refine your argument in the first place. Not to answer questions, but to understand which questions are the ones you should be asking. And I realized the question wasn’t why I wasn’t blogging or why do I want to punch the old men who make vaguely sexist comments at me when I’m running. Those answers are somewhat obvious. The question really came down to: Why did I start crying at the top of Mt. Lemmon at training camp last weekend? (Less obvious actually.)

Have you seen the new Under Armour ad campaign? The first gymnastics video made me want to go fuck some shit up, but the subsequent Michael Phelps ad did that + so much more. I wanted to break things and cry and prove everyone wrong and buy Under Armour. Kidding, but not really.

Almost every female athlete I know who watches this has had the same reaction. I thought everyone was having the same reaction. But then I showed Steve and he was: *shrug,* the same as Nike. And one guy after another agreed. It was not that interesting to them. The more I think about this, the more I think this isn’t coincidental.

It’s in the tone of the ads, in the darkness of them. Nike’s “Just do it” is a great ad slogan, particularly for guys who have always been permitted to just do it. For women, though, there’s an element that it doesn’t capture. There’s a part of “just do it” that doesn’t speak to all the times you’re not supposed to do it, of putting in the work when no one even wants you to anyway, when you’re being told you should be doing something else, that you shouldn’t be doing this. I think that’s why these Under Armour ads, this slogan — “it’s what you do in the dark that lets you shine in the light” — resonate with female athletes.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the gendered expectations of what I should or shouldn’t be doing lately. Because, I swear to God, I can’t go a day without someone asking me to justify my life to them. Why aren’t I having kids yet? If I’m not having kids, shouldn’t I be climbing the corporate ladder or something? When am I going to get a real job? Oh, this triathlon thing you’re doing must be nice; it’d be so great to have that kind of time.

The idea that I have made a conscious decision to see how fast I can get right now and have made choices to support that effort is so alien as to be an entirely different language. In fact, now, I’m wondering if I should just start sign language-ing the next time I find myself in this conversation. *Signing: I do not acknowledge your boxes; stop trying to put me in them.*

It has also recently come to my attention that I don’t necessarily look like I should be a good athlete. This isn’t a passive-aggressive call for compliments, but a fact. I suppose it’s because I’m small and turn bright red and tend to look like I might pass out or die. This has been true my whole life, but given the difficulty of some of my workouts in the past few months, the degree of redness and possibility of passing out has increased. This is prompting a lot of people, mostly strangers, to make more comments than usual to me. I am a constant source of inspiration, evidently. It’s amazing I’m out here at all. I really should wear sunscreen. Am I sure I’m OK? I probably need a break. You know, I really ought to “ride a higher cadence/drink more electrolytes/midfoot strike when I run/not be out here by myself.”

I’ll give you two guesses about which gender has made every single one of the SUPER HELPFUL comments about what I should be doing.

And, you can be sure people would like to let me know that the science is still out on if women should even, biologically speaking, be pushing their bodies too hard. What if it makes you infertile? What if it’s just too difficult to overcome all your hormones and stuff? Besides, no one wants to see women looking like that. Right?

It’s annoying and bullshit and an artifact of a time I mistakenly thought we were no longer in, but it’s also made things very simple. I spend a lot of time talking to myself while I’m training, because there isn’t anyone else to talk to. And, when so many people have opinions about what I should be doing, it’s very easy to tell myself, “Screw them all, I’m nailing the shit out of this workout instead.” It’s really easy, when I think I might cry, to think instead: I don’t want that old guy eyeing me like he’s got something to say, to think, even for a second, that my crying is why women shouldn’t be allowed to do sports. When I want to hit Stop on the treadmill, I find myself arguing that I can’t, because I want the high school girl watching me to believe, even just a little bit, that she can do things too. It’s exhausting, but it’s also simple.

Last weekend, I was at training camp in Arizona with Hillary and Smashfest teammates, and one of the things I appreciate is that there are a LOT of fast women there, and guys who aren’t the least bit fazed by fast women. Of course, none of this stuff was consciously going through my head during camp; I was too tired. Mostly, I was just trying to try my hardest and not give up. Because if this is the thing you’re doing and you don’t do it, then what the hell are you doing anyway?

So we ran. And then we rode 118 of the hardest miles I’ve probably ever done on Friday and swam 3,000 yards of the fastest 200s I’ve ever done. And Saturday we were in the pool for the longest I’ve ever swum (10,000 yards) and rode some slow slow recovery miles. This meant by the time we were set to race up Mt. Lemmon on Sunday, I was wrecked, but I was determined. I rode and rode, and when I got dropped around 15 miles in, I rode some more. And then I started to fall apart. Maybe this was all a waste of time. Maybe I hadn’t come as far in the last nine months as I felt like I had. Maybe this whole triathlon thing was better as a hobby. Maybe everyone else (not at camp) was right. Maybe I should buy into the American Dream after all, meet expectations.

But then I started to talk to myself like I usually do. And I thought about what you do in the dark, and why it matters. Mt. Lemmon crests just after 20 miles, and then descends, and then there’s a little climb again before you descend the last mile or so into town. I started really hammering that last few miles and arguing with myself about why I needed to try my hardest even if it didn’t matter, even if no one else knew or cared. I would know if it wasn’t really my hardest. And, all of a sudden, as I’m descending into town, when it’s all over and the tough part is finished and you’re basically done, I started to cry.

Why? Because I was tired, yes. Constant fatigue is an overwhelming part of serious training that can not be ignored. But it was also because ‘Screw them all.’ Because I’m doing it anyway. Because who cares if I cry or not; I reject the traditional male lens through which you view sports. Because I was worried I had somehow failed in those miles I’d questioned myself, as if everything could fall apart so easily. Because I don’t have to justify anything to anyone.

And, of course, from there we finished camp and I tried my hardest. And no one really knew how big an emotional meltdown I’d had (ed note: or no one knew until I wrote about it for espnW, hah). Or that in the question of why I needed to go into the bathroom at the Cookie Cabin at the top of the mountain and sob for a few minutes were so many other questions I can’t answer.

 

The Costs of Triathlon

The other day I was so tired I forgot to pay for daily parking. Literally just forgot. And it’s not like it’s secret that you have to pay a day fee for parking. I walked out of the lot and didn’t think about it again until I got back. Which made me think the $45 ticket is part of the cost of triathlon, since I was just so wrecked my brain was fried.

What else would count as part of the cost of triathlon? (Besides all the clothes + shoes + equipment + travel + races + hotels + doctor’s appointments + gym memberships. Ugh.)

  • Lots of pairs of headphones — now that I’m running on the treadmill 1-2x/wk I am frying headphones at an alarming rate
  • Which means you can also add the long-term effects to my hearing to the list of eventual triathlon costs, because you have to turn up the sound really high on the treadmill
  • Food, so much food, all the food, and since I’m too tired to make food I have to keep buying it already prepared
  • Lost income from the work I don’t do because I fall asleep on the floor
  • The super amazing magazine/producer/angrier-version-of-Oprah job I don’t have, obviously, because of triathlon
  • Healthy relationships. Hah.