Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Heart in its Right Place

Pic: Team Continuum wins the team division at Montaukman

We all know someone who has battled cancer, or who is fighting the fight as we speak. It's so hard to know what to do or say to help, especially when it's someone you love. John is helping a cause that is important to him by raising money to help amazing people like his godfather.

Read about it here:

And check out Team Continuum. They raise money to help provide direct assistance for families in hardship due to a cancer diagnosis. I think that's really an awesome thing to do. When my dad was sick we were lucky because his employer continued to pay him while he wasn't able to work. This is incredibly rare and I have met many people who haven't been as lucky. These people are the people who will receive assistance from the efforts of Team Continuum.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Desparate Times, Desparate Measures

I guess it can be hard for guys to get beat by a girl, something that Ironman Bobby actually has first-hand experience with. It also seems that getting beat by a girl (at anything) is even more painful when the girl is your girlfriend. You may have heard of CGBBMGFS (Can't Get Beat By My GF Syndrome) before. The symptoms make the illness easily diagnosable and include but are not limited to:

- shameless begging
- empty promises
- nudity
- exaggeration
- unrealistic expectations of others
- and an inability to accept reality

Here are some textbook examples of a patient suffering from an extreme case of CGBBMGFS. These examples were found on Twitter:

@j_hirsch "
RT come on y'all! @IronmanBobby with a week left the interview of @j_hirsch is only 30 downloads behind @holisticgurus:"

@j_hirsch "
Peeps, I will get all kinds of naked on the next one, now go to so I can beat @holisticguru"

@j_hirsch "
@2for1 I know, I know. But seriously, come on peeps, I must get 30 more downloads!!!"

@j_hirsch "
@bryanhammer dude, surely you could watch it again from your work machine! Come on people, I NEED this one!"

@j_hirsch "@SKDickey watch it and help me win and I will lower taxes, cut debt bring war or peace (u pick), make jobs, schools, take some clothes off"

@j_hirsch "
Judging from my fb status I am close to beating @holisticguru in # of downloads at go there and download me!"

Often, patients will show symptoms in more than one location. Here, we believe this may be the same patient, but found on Facebook:

John Hirsch I only need 30 more people to download my interview on to beat my gf's interview! come on peeps, go to that site! PLEASE! I must win!"

And in the most desparate cases, symptoms can spread to the blogosphere:

If you believe that you or anyone you know may be suffering from CGBBMGFS, please contact the help center immediately at 1-800-YOU-LOSE. Again, that's 1-800-YOUR-GF-IS-AWESOMER-THAN-YOU

Oh, and check out our informational video here.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

If You Are a Pheonix

Today I have a serious story to tell you. I got some great news and I’m excited to share :)

Pic: My dad, my baby sister Nikki and me, taken on a cruise a couple of months after his diagnosis


In 2005 my father was overweight, had high cholesterol, and many of the other typical health concerns that men face in their 50’s. I was graduating from New School University and my family came to NYC for the event. My dad showed up with a large lump on his neck, no big deal. He had gone to get it checked out the day before and the doctor said it looked like a swollen lymphnode. They did some testing anyway. We weren’t concerned.

After graduation I went to visit my family in MA for a couple of weeks before I started a new job. When I visit my family I try to do as much as I can with them, so when my dad said he had an appointment for lab test results I decided to go with him. On the way there I jokingly said to him, “what will you do if they tell you you have cancer?” (always with the dark humor) and my dad responded, “what will YOU do?” Neither one of us thought it would actually happen.

When they called him from the waiting room he said, “Are you staying here or coming? For moral support…” I laughed with him as I followed him into the exam room. I don’t remember much up until the doctor said, “Well Jim, I’m afraid I have some difficult news for you. Your lab results show that you have cancer.” This is the part I remember clearly, I didn’t really HEAR what the doctor had said. I heard it by watching my father. I watched the color drain from his face the way it happens in cartoons. I watched my strong, brave, indestructible father faint in front of me. It was at that point that I became the adult. I was strong, brave and indestructible. I was scared out of my mind. I held him and then I called my mom at work to tell her that our lives were about to change. “Come home”.

From that day EVERYTHING changed. I was living in NYC and driving to Boston every weekend (and any other chance I got). My dad quickly went from bad to worse. He had stage-4 throat cancer and we had no idea what was going to happen. With chemo and radiation he lost energy, weight, and he lost his ability to swallow food. He had to get his calories through a g-tube. He couldn’t do much more than lie on the couch and sleep. He was SO scared for his life and he couldn’t hide it from his four girls or his loving wife. Sometimes we would see his sense of humor sneak through… like when friends would come over and he would make jokes about “having lunch” through his tube, offering some to everyone. I have so many scary memories from that time. The scariest part was that I couldn’t find my dad, but I knew he was in there somewhere.

At the same time I was applying to grad schools. But I just couldn’t focus on completing the applications. I was about to give up when my mom told me she knew of a holistic nutritionist and she thought I’d be really good at doing something like that. I agreed with her and did some searching. I found IIN and everything fell into place. I started school immediately, with a mission to help my dad. I shared everything I learned with my family. I took over his diet. When I wasn’t able to be there I told my mom what to feed him. He was very limited because he had an incredibly difficult time swallowing food but we found certain foods that worked really well for him. Nutritionally we built him back up. We were also keeping his swallowing muscles strong so that he wouldn’t have to live with a g-tube forever.

He started to recover. His chemo and radiation ended and to celebrate he decided to train for the inaugural NYC Half-Marathon and race it with me. He was amazing. He was running/walking 14 miles at a time. He was eating healthy food and he was back to being himself. Throughout this journey it was unlikely for him to pull through his sickness, yet he did. He fought and he won.

Pic: My healthy dad and his healthy lunch last Sunday


A couple of weeks ago I got some fabulous news… my dad got his CT scan results back. He is now CANCER FREE for 3 years!!! He's healthier than he has ever been. In fact, he’s just as passionate about eating well as I am. He’s even inspired other people in his life to take control of their health. In a conversation with him recently he said, “Christine, if I could go back and change anything I WOULDN’T. Cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me.” I agree. Completely. And with my whole heart. I have my dad back… better than new.

For the past several years I have kept this idea at my core. I was having a conversation with my boyfriend about this last night. He actually brought up the topic in reference to his own journey over the past year. You can look at anything terrible or scary that has ever happened and then place your finger on exactly why you should be grateful for it. I try to imagine where I would be without the challenges that I’ve had to face and the events that have molded me. I can appreciate the lessons I’ve learned along the way and the strength I have earned. It’s when you think you’ve been burnt to the ground, or that the rug was pulled out from underneath you… you’ll never get up again. But you have a choice. You can fight. You can pick yourself up. You can learn and grow and take risks and then, suddenly, you might find that you’ve become better than new. That’s when you can look back at your life as it was and recognize that without the bad things, not only would the good things not exist in contrast, but you might lack the ability to recognize or appreciate them anyway.

You wouldn’t change anything. The bad things can be the best things that ever happened.

"god help you if you are a pheonix and you dare to rise up from the ash, a thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy while you are just flying past" -Ani Difranco

Pic: Me and my dad enjoying an ice cream at Old Orchard Beach

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jigsaw Falling Into Place


Sunday was the last day of off-season for me (finally). I really missed having the routine of training and I also noticed it was MUCH harder to make healthy eating choices while I was less active. It was also harder to motivate to do anything because I got stuck in lazy mode. I tend to be very Vata, so without routine I can become imbalanced and spin a little out of control. Because of this, taking a break really makes me appreciate my very active lifestyle. I had visions of days filled with working, hiking, rollerblading, yoga and crazy amounts of cooking. Instead I played with a puppy, twittered, played with a puppy, slept, hiked with a puppy and caught up with non-triathlete friends. Believe me, it was far from terrible.


And I have a new coach! I’m really excited about this because I have this friend Phil and I pretty much think whatever he does (triathlon) is what I should do. He used this very same coach for kicking ass at IMLP this year and now that I’m in for next year it’s clear that I should just do whatever Phil did. You can check him out at

Monday - was day #1 of my new training plan. It was a rest day. Boy did I feel rested by Tuesday.

Tuesday - ran easy for 45 mins.

Wednesday - went to the pool in my bikini and swam 2500 yds.

Thursday – should have been on my bike for an hour but my bike gears are broken so I spent the bike hour wishing REALLY HARD for a shiny new bike.

Friday – did the famed ZenTriathon Mega Swim Workout. Swam 3000 yds in an hour with rest intervals. I started doing this workout in the summer and it helped make me faster but my arms started to get really buff. I had to cut back on it because boys were afraid to talk to me. It’s like aqua-steroids.


During my “off-season” (it was 4 weeks), I gained a little bit of weight. If you know me in person you know that this is NOT a bad thing at all. I’m not underweight and I’m within a healthy range, but I need to work at my diet to keep weight on when I train a lot. So for 4 weeks I stuck with a healthy diet but it was a very relaxed healthy diet. I had treats, I paid less attention to increasing protein and I obviously didn’t eat any training foods. I was still eating gluten-free and mostly vegetarian (more on that later). I noticed that the less active I was, the more food I ate AND the more junk I craved. This is a perfect example of the Primary and Secondary Food theory that I teach to my clients. Anyway, I don’t have “skinny” jeans and “fat” jeans but I do apparently have “off-season” and “on-season” jeans. I made the switch and appreciated my new WOMANLY figure (boobs and butt). Normally I look more like a tall little boy :)

So now that I’m back on with my training I’m also back on with my training diet. I already notice the difference in my cravings and hunger level. My on-season plan is simple:

- start my day with my Nutiva Hemp Shake
- plan my meals around vegetables then add protein and carbs/grains
- continue keeping my diet free of wheat (because I have a wheat sensitivity)
- consume minimal amounts of caffeine, alcohol, dairy (yogurt is an exception), sugar and processed foods

I have to say that this healthy eating and awesome training has both improved and become easier because I have so much support from my boyfriend. I’m so grateful and feel very lucky to have him in my life… which is not to say that I would discredit past relationships, every one has been valuable and beautiful in its own way. I’ve always been a lucky girl.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I Feel Pretty

Just a quick funny story... I'm blogging it because it was too long to tweet :)

So this week I'm back in the pool because I started a brand spankin' new training plan. I also recently moved into a new apartment and have been unable to locate my "sporty" swimsuit in my yet-to-be-unpacked boxes. My dilemma: the thought of wasting my new coach's time by missing workouts already was depressing... so I went to the pool anyway, armed with the only swimsuit I could find (a pretty white string bikini complete with sparkles, flowers and sequins). I wore an old race swim cap in hopes that people (other triathletes) might still take me seriously.

Today was my second swim in this fabulous get-up. I was doing a crazy hard interval workout by Brett and at one point a man stopped me and said, "yoo muss be european". So I was all, "why? are europeans wicked fast swimmers too?" and he was like, "no, becuss yoo are weering ze string beekeenee".

So much for being a badass.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Eat Boys Like Bobby for Breakfast: ToughGirl Race Report

Once again, the fun began at the HFWT the day before the race. It was awesome having everyone together to fit bikes, go to packet pick-up, and chow down. I love hanging with my buds before, after and even during tri-events. That's what it's all about for me. THANK YOU to Kate and Phil for always having your doors open.

This was my first official half-iron distance triathlon. The course was definitely Tough and the run was INSANE, which I kinda loved. I was also racing @IronmanBobby because he decided to pick on a girl and I wanted to teach him a lesson.

Since people ask me all the time about training and racing foods (for some reason) I'll include my nutrition details. For breakfast I had 2 eggs, gluten free toast, water and coffee.

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous before the race. I don't race often so I don't have a great pre-race set-up and packing routine. I was sure I'd forget something. My main focus was to get through the swim because that's the part that makes me the most anxious. Before the swim I had a delicious banana since breakfast was a few hours earlier. Starting the swim was weird because the water was shallow (hip level) and everyone was walking out pretty far. Someone once told me that as long as your hands aren't touching the bottom you should be swimming. So I started swimming as soon as I could. The water was choppy and it made it hard to know if I was staying on course. And it tasted funny. I know, I'm not supposed to drink it.

Swim: 37:23

Coming out of the water I was told that I was in second place (in my race against Bobby) but I wasn't concerned. I knew he'd beat me in the swim. T1 was slow because I was thinking about how much I hate triathlon and that it was stupid that I signed up for IMLP 2010. On the way out a guy fell over next to me or I pushed him. I can't remember. I thought he was Bobby.

T1: 2:31

I started out taking it easy on the bike to save a bit for the run (where I would squish Bobby). I was also on a borrowed bike and didn't want to crash (again) so I needed more time to get used to it. Once I settled in I started my gel every hour and race cookie at halfway plan. At about the 8 mile point I heard someone yell "Go Holisticguru!!!" and I was all, "who the heck was that?" I thought about who came to the race with me and none of my peeps volunteered. This guy was wearing a volunteer shirt. So then I realized I didn't know him. He knew me. Then I realized I was famous. Then I was thinking how am I going to wear a big floppy hat and oversized sunglasses when I'm racing so that I'm not always recognized by my crazed fans? Then I realized I was getting ahead of myself. Regardless, that guy got me all pumped and that was the moment when I started racing. His name was @IronmanLongRunr.

The rest of the bike was hilly and fun. I started to think about how much I love triathlon and how psyched I am that I registered for IMLP 2010.

Bike: 3:25:18

As I got closer to transition I saw Bobby already on the run but walking up a hill. He was pretty far ahead of me but the fact that he was walking meant that I could likely catch him. Even if he just walked up the hills. T2 was uneventful.

T2: ?

As I exited the park I ate a race cookie. I was on a mission and I set out to catch Bobby, with a HUGE smile on my face. I LOVE running and I decided that my run goal would be not to walk, not even for a second, no matter how tough it got. At mile 4 I passed Phil coming from the other direction as he was almost done with the race. There was a guy in front of me (#111) and I decided to keep him in my sight. I liked his pace. Running over the dam was beeyouteeful and it led to a switchbacky trail nightmare. The kind of nightmare I live for. I didn't walk even though most people did. I caught #111 and ran with him while chatting him up instead of walking. Just before the turn around I saw Grant and he told me that he saw Bobby ahead of me but I would cach him because he was taking walk breaks. I gave him a high five as a thank you for the information. Then I saw Bobby (after he passed the turn around) and he said that I would catch him by mile 9. I picked up the pace and #111 came with me :)

After the second time crossing the dam there was a huge downhill. I was going to warn my new friend that I run SUPERFAST downhill but decided to surprise him. He couldn't keep up. I dropped him. Running downhill, out of his life forever. I bet I'm his girl who got away.

Meanwhile, I was having a gel every hour and water at almost every aid station. I kept thinking everyone in front of me was Bobby. I climbed the Fake Bobbies like a ladder until I caught him at mile 11. He was taking a walk break (turns out he had a run/walk plan that worked really well for him). I told him to run with me, slowly, and we could finish holding hands. He said we had 17 minutes to run 2 miles and finish under 6 hours. I thought that would be pretty sweet but knew it was too early to pick up the pace without having my wheels fall off. Bobby decided to try anyway and ran ahead. Wicked fast. As the distance between us grew, as I was holding steady, Bobby was screaming and cheering for me "COME ON GURU! LET'S DO THIS!" At that moment I loved Bobby and I loved triathlon and racing. I also missed Coach Adam because if he was there screaming at me I would have been running a 6 min mile the rest of the way.

Sadly, Bobby blew up in the last quarter mile. He was walking again and I tried to get him to come with me. He just cheered for me and told me to keep going. He rocks.

I sprinted to the finish hearing "here comes #234, Christine from NYC, with an impressive sprint to be finishing a HIM".

Run: 1:57:59

Phil, Kate and John were waiting there for me at the finish. I was SO happy to have them there. As soon as I collected my hugs, a bee stung me on the neck. Asshole.

1st HIM finish time: 6:03:09

6th in my AG

Thank you again to Phil and Kate for being the awesomest kind of friends. Thank you to John for lending me pretty much everything I needed and for being a kick ass athletic supporter. And thank you to Bobby for pushing me (he ended up with a 45 minute PR).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I've been so many places

I've traveled all over Europe, but the US is foreign to me. I grew up on the East coast, I've stayed somewhat local, I've been to the states that touch my own. I went to Florida when I was too young to remember and SF twice to visit friends and attend a wedding. That's about it. This summer I decided to go on tour. Or, well, it sort of happened that way. The best part is that I can call it "work" even though its been exhaustingly fun. If I manage to squeeze in a podcast or an interview, counseling sessions or a blog post, I'm working. If I laugh until my abs are sore I'm playing. Most of the time I'm doing both. I love what I do.

*The fun (hard work) started the last weekend in June with our Mega Deth Training Weekend in Lake Placid. Then I flew to TX to finally meet Texafornia in real life. I laughed and "worked" my ass off there.

Some Texass cactus. I wasn't skeered.

*From TX I took the following week/end with the fam in MA for a race that I completely flaked out of by not registering in time. I ended up having a beautiful solo ride along the MA/NH coast instead, which I can't wait to do again.

*Then I flew to Oregon to visit my good friend and web designer Molly Bermea. It was an awesome non-triathlon related weekend. We went rafting and hiking and I got to relax, a lot. We even ended up on a CA beach at one point (which I am SO counting as a destination when I tally up my summer travels).

*After OR I had less than a day in NYC before packing up and heading back to Lake Placid for IMLP. That totally rocked. And yes, I completed my self-supported HIMs and had a ton of fun. All the guys had a great Ironman day and I signed up for IMLP 2010 (no biggie).

This is what the sky looked like after I registered for IMLP. I think it's a good sign.

*During my Lake Placid trip I took 2 separate days to be the airport limousine service for some friends to Burlington, VT. While I was there I made a day (or 2) of it.

This is the car I drove to VT. The car happens to be ON A BOAT.

*Back to NYC for 3 days then to Block Island for a visit and a race. John won the BI sprint overall and I scored 1st in my AG. I should race more. So I'm gonna.

Yesterday I had a blast at Coney Island. Thursday I'll be at an amusement park in Bristol, CT. Saturday I head to West Virginia for a race. Virginia is for lovers, not workers. When do I work? This IS work. My life RULEZ.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Totally Naked Self-Supported Endeavor

(Pic: One of my favorite gems in our Lake Placid house)

Next week I’m headed back to Lake Placid to support my tri-peeps for their IM. Last year’s IMLP trip was ridiculous amounts of fun and we have another great group this year. I’ll be staying in our usual house with Rambonie, Phil, Javier, Bill, Farrah, Gustavo, Michelle, Nathan and Kristine. And now we even have Triboomer right next door! I’m seriously giddy about this. I can’t wait to help my friends by being a sherpa, a cook, and a cheerleader. As an extra bonus, I get to hang with Kate Lavoie and Janet Brode (two of the greatest tri-wifes ever).

So I figured that since I’ll be there, and since the course will be marked, and since I love to train… I’m gonna do another self-supported HIM on the IMLP course the day before the race. Rambonie and I did this last year and it was fricking awesome. We also got the better weather of the 2 days (fingers crossed for good weather this year). So on Saturday I’m going to do one loop of the swim, bike and run. David Mak and Jackie V are both going to join me for all or part of the “event”, and we may even be joined by some other tweeps. And of course, keeping with tradition, the event has a name. I’ve decided to call it the Half-Naked self-supported HIM for 3 reasons:

1. We will be scantily clad because we are triathletes.
2. The word “naked” draws attention (which I like).
3. I have been on a mission for the past year to be 100% myself, honest, genuine and authentic almost to the point of discomfort. This has actually been incredibly enriching and has opened up so many new opportunities with work, friends, family, etc. I sometimes call this “being naked” with people. So the Half-Naked is dedicated to this mission. It shall be a celebration.

One more thing… I was in Lake Placid for a Mega Deth Training Weekend only a few weeks ago. The purpose of the trip was to be a big push in training, on the race course, for my IMLP tri-peeps. Well, being that I lub them and hanging out with them always happens simultaneously with swimming, biking and running, it turns out that I’ve trained a lot more than needed to complete a HIM. The LP training weekend made me realize that the Half-Naked wouldn’t be enough of a challenge. I know I can do it. I wanna do something that I’m not sure I can do. Soooo… I decided to do ANOTHER Half-Naked, completely alone, on the Friday before. Yes, an IM distance split into 2 days. Of course this will be called Totally Naked. And I really don’t know if I CAN do it. Although, I do know I’m a badass, so I’m betting that I can.

If anyone else wants to spend time Half-Naked with me, let me know and I’d love to have you join in. Unfortunately for you all, I only get Totally Naked by myself :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm a BIG STAR on the latest Zen and the Art of Triathlon podcast

Check out the show from my visit to Texas (via

Click here to listen

"Christine Lynch ( came down to Texas from her hometown of Harlem to show us how to shop and cook better. In return, we took her on a killer bike ride and then to Lance's bike shop in Austin.

Christine proved herself to be a grocery store ninja and also a master of hot bike rides. She had a great time and we truly enjoyed her visit.

Listen in to get lots of shopping and cooking tips from a true master.


  • Christine, Kai, and Brett making hemp milkshakes with ingredients from Nutiva. Thanks, Nutiva!
  • Christine and Brett out on the Ride of Truth. 70 miles in the hot Texas sun... Will she crack?
  • We take Christine to the weirdest 4th of July party ever.
  • Off to Barton Springs for some swimming and trail running.
  • Partying at Mellow Johnny's bike shop.
  • Driving from Austin to Houston in the ZenTri Mobile Studio."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wicked Training Weekends

I've had two mega awesome training weekends recently. I luv swimming, biking and running but it only gets better when I travel for it.. and when I'm surrounded by my best buds... and when our sponsors send us tons of delicious nutrition to stuff in our faces. My Nutiva friend, Mark, is the bestest for rushing the stuff through the mail to get there in time for the madness.

First we had the Mega Deth Training Weekend in Lake Placid. The boys are all training for IMLP and that means that I sometimes train for IMLP. That also makes me a badass because I'm not even doing an Ironman this year. I should also mention that I never really felt like I needed to recover from the 19 hrs of training in 4 days because my nutrition was perfectly spot on. I felt incredible. The weekend went something like this:

  • *Friday - Load up the car with the essentials (Phil, Javier, bikes, Nutiva goodies, Nuun goodies, Action Wipes, and ONE Coconut Water). Then swim 4k at Pond Blanco and run 10 miles before driving to Lake Placid to meet up with Rambonie and Jen.
  • *Saturday - ride an LP loop (56 miles) then stop for snacks (Nutiva energy bars and ONE coconut water) then start another loop and cut it short due to a mysterious cycling accident by Javier (Crash Gomez). After a short break, a run loop (13 miles).
  • *Sunday - Hemp shakes for brekky, made with coconut water to fuel up for another bike loop (56 miles) followed by a 3 mile run then a 2k swim in Mirror lake. We had to be on the road by 6pm to head home and people were psyched that we shared our sponsor goodies which also left us with less stuff to pack into the car.
  • *Monday - A spontaneous 14 mile run with Phil because we're just nuts, then recovery hemp shakes made with ONE acai juice (such a yummy mix). Phil is officially hooked, even though hemp is NOT addictive. It's a choice... a smart one.

Next up was my trip to Texas to meet Texafornia in real life and survive the Ride of Truth:

  • *Thursday - Missed my connecting flight in Dallas because of a delay in NYC, but didn't mind because I got to meet Triboomer and his wife. I have so many people to thank for helping/ offering to help with that situation as soon as they saw my updates on Twitter. Triboomer picked me up in Dallas and drove me to Waco, TX (3 hrs round trip) to meet Texafornia in Waco and drive back to College Station (3 hrs for him as well). This was all pretty crazy, especially since the airline offered to put me up in a hotel, but Tex said no to that because we had a trail run scheduled for the morning. Crazy, I know.
  • *Friday - Trail run with Texafornia. We were joined by his 4-year-old triathlete son Kai. I hope to be as tough as Kai someday. He started out on his mtn bike and finished up by running with us. Then we made hemp shakes and had a taste test with Kai. We recorded audio of this which is supposedly hilarious, listen for it on the Zen and the Art of Triathlon podcast via iTunes. After that we went on a healthy food shopping tour, joined by @Envirogisgirl and a cooking lesson (Sweet Potato Quesadillas) for our pre-ride dinner. We also made potato wedges with Nutiva coconut oil to fuel our ride.
  • *Saturday - ROT ride. I took the healthy hippie approach to fueling for this event by drinking my TOP SECRET maple syrup energy drink, and eating potato wedges and dates. I won't say much because you'll just listen to the podcast. I will say that it was 121 degree (heat index) when we finished the 70 mile windy ride. I survived and didn't complain once. I did feel like I got hit by a train for days afterwards. That night we went to a 4th of July party where we saw nothing that was weird. Not one bit.
  • *Sunday - Hemp shakes for everyone before our trip to Austin and Barton Springs for a swim lesson. If you ever have a chance to get a swim lesson with Texafornia, jump on it. It was awesome and I now have a few things to work on that will make me a more efficient swimmer. At 2pm, in the heat of Texas, we decided that it wouldn't be insane to do a trail run for 45 mins. After that we suffered heat stroke, jumped in the water again, then went to Mellow Johnny's for a Tour party. We also did another healthy shopping tour with ZenTriNurse (Texafornia's fabulous wife).
The above photo was taken right before the Ride of Truth. I do not have an explanation for Texafornia's behavior here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mindful Eating = Zen Eating "I see you food"

Again with the shownotes. I'm so good to you.

Zen and the Art of Triathlon podcast - Eating Mindfully

Click here to get to the show.

8 Tips for Eating Mindfully:

1. Set the mood for meal prep AND eating (candles, music)

2. Chew your food (start by practicing with 1 meal per day)

3. Limit distractions

4. Use all of your senses

5. Avoid stressors

6. Don't stand or walk while eating ("drive thru eating")

7. Eat like your life depends on it by making meal time a quality time

8. Even one meal a day of eating mindfully will make a big difference

Action Steps: (how to begin)

1. Ask yourself and identify where you're at with mindful eating and where you're starting from. You can do this by journaling, blogging, talking to someone, or even just really thinking about it.

2. Choose one thing to try and start tomorrow (or today) and add one more each day as a focus. Add the next one even if you haven't yet mastered the previous. This will give you a taste of how great mindful eating can feel.

There's so much more info in the show. You NEED to listen to it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm like all cool rockin the show notes

Zen and the Art of Triathlon Podcast - Power Squash

Click here to get to the show

So I thought it might be nice to post some show notes because you're all gonna wanna do what Brett and I talked about in this awesome episode.

8 tips for controlling your portions:

1. Use smaller plates and bowls

2. Use chopsticks or small utensils

3. Pre-pack leftovers, pack left-overs in serving sizes for easy reheating, avoid serving "family style".

4. Fill half your plate with veggies.

5. Re-frame how you think about and plan your meals. When asking "what am I having for dinner?" think of your veggies first and your protein/carbs as a side dish.

6. When you want seconds (or thirds) ask yourself why. Are you still hungry? Was the food just damn good? Maybe you were distracted while you were eating and missed out on the experience of the meal.

7. Set the mood (it's not lame).

8. When not eating mindfully you aren't able to recognize the triggers and signals from your body, like fullness.

If these tips aren't really making sense its because you need to listen to the show. Do it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

You Win Some You Crash Some

The Ridgefield Tri was my first race of the season. This is only my second season (I was a runner before) so I still make a lot of beginner-scaredy-cat moves, like getting in the water last so no one will kick me. Then I just chill when I swim. That's what I did this time but somehow I was passing everyone in my wave and I was first out of the water. In my head I kept thinking "Woah, I'm so awesome" I think that made me swim faster. I also think I swam faster because I've been doing all my swims at the 50 meter Big Boy Pool.

On the bike it took me awhile to feel warmed up, as usual. I'm stronger this year because I've been riding a lot more. I wasn't being passed as much as usual and I wasn't paying attention to how fast I was going. At one point early on, I was passed by a girl in my AG. My first thought was that it didn't matter because I would catch her on the run as long as I kept my eye on her. Then my superhero powers kicked in and I passed her, like by a lot. At this point I realized there was a good chance I'd be first in my AG because I felt great, was riding well, and running is my super strength so I still had that to look forward to. This realization encouraged me to overzealously take a sharp downhill turn WAY TOO FAST. I knew better. I rode this course a few times with my tri-studs (Javier, Phil and Tom) and I came close, every time, to smooching the guard rail in front of me. The problem is that I love going downhill fast, especially with turns. I love taking risks and I love being scared. Add these things together and they equal STUPID.

It happened in slow-motion... I saw my rear wheel out of the corner of my right eye, fishtailing. I thought uh oh. In response, I applied some brake action, flipped over the front of my bike, tackled the pavement, skidding, skidding, skidding down the hill, somehow totally relaxed the entire time. Then I got up as fast as I could, ran up the hill to my bike and tried to get on before that girl could catch me. I looked at my rear wheel and it was a goner, not only that, my chain was dangling. I also heard my Knight In Shining Fireman Outfit screaming "Don't get on that bike! Are you okay? Don't move!" as he ran towards me down the hill.

Long story short, my Fireman Knight checked my wounds (even the ones on my butt cheeks) and his fireman friend checked my blood pressure and all the rest of that deal. I started to feel dizzy and nauseous and I was yawning a lot so they wanted to call an ambulance. I hate hospitals and ambulances so I disagreed on that particular idea as being a good one. I told them I was probably just a little too excited about my awesome crash, took deep yoga breaths, and magically my blood pressure came back up. I also used my fembot powers of persuasion, which always seem to work ;)

While we waited for the last rider to come through I chatted it up with my new friends. I asked them to describe, in detail, how awesome my crash was. I got to wear a fireman jacket AND a super heavy fireman hat to match. I kept them well entertained. Then they drove me back to the start, listening to my suggestion that it would be helpful to use the sirens for my entrance. We got there and found Javier (my coach) and I skipped over to him, covered in road rash all excited about my first crash.

Overall it was a great day for my tri-studs. Phil was fourth in his AG, Javier made it to the top third, and JH won overall and set a new course record! Also, people were coming up to me and saying that they had never seen someone so happy after crashing. Ain't nothin gonna breaka my stride...

I was not thrilled about removing this bandage

A cute little road kiss.

Knee and shin.

Elbow: day 2

Leaving the race, being a self-sufficient badass.

Oh, and my bike's gonna be okay. Just needs a wheel and some TLC.

Friday, May 29, 2009

"I think you should blog about how to change your diet when tapering"

"Just sayin"

This was in an email that I received from a tri-bud earlier this week. We'll protect his identity by changing his name. Let's call him James Bulloney.

So James, or even Jamie for short, is tapering to race the heck out of Rev 3 HIM in a couple of weeks. I asked him to give me an idea of his diet, as a jumping off point. This is what he sent:

Here is what a typical day probably looked like for me last week. I'll use times, because I have rarely been actually siting down at normal meal times for food.

7:00 - bowl of frosted flakes w/ 1% milk. Multivitamin and fish oil pill
9:00 - teal w/ stevia and half a grapefruit
10:00 - peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread
12:00 - another PBnJ or some sort of chicken sandwich
3:00 - hand full of fig newtons or something else stashed in my desk drawer
6:00 - stuff something fast down my face before PM workout. Usually reheated leftovers or BBQ sandwich w/ pickles.
9:00 - bowl of cereal w/ 1% milk
10:00 - bowl of ice cream

Ummmm... do pickles count as vegetables? This guy needs to sit down and re-listen to that excellent Sugar podcast from Zen and the Art of Triathlon. He must seriously be feeling the effects of being on the energy/sugar rollercoaster.

Moving on.

Tips for tapering:

1. Take some of the time that you would normally use for swimbikerunning and focus on your 4th discipline - nutrition.

If you normally get up early to go to the pool on Mon, Wed, Fri but your coach has you only going twice this week, you can use the extra "free" time to make a healthy breakfast. You can even sleep a bit late and still get up with enough time to prepare a simple and delicious meal.

Try making an omelet or a veggie scramble for a protein breakfast and add avocado because it's crazy good. Or try making steel cut oats or quinoa porridge. You can even make a creative breakfast/protein shake.

OR you can make your lunch ahead of time. You get the idea. Fourth discipline. Yah.

2. Focus on quality and not quantity.

When "carbo-loading" the point is not to eat as much white pasta as you possibly can until you're ready to explode. Instead, you want to increase your awareness of the quality of your carbs. Why are you choosing a certain carb in your meal? Is it to nourish your body and build you up for race day? Do you want to fill your glycolic tank with the Regular fuel (white pasta, bread, etc) or does your body deserve Premuim fuel (quinoa, brown rice, vegetables)?

Try choosing whole grain pasta, brown rice instead of white rice, and sweet potatoes and other root vegetables. And remember to stick to your portion sizes. Thirds and fourths (servings) will not make you faster, it will make you bloated. Bloated does not equal faster.

My favorite pre-race or taper meal is brown rice sushi.

3. Get re-acquainted with your grocery store AND your kitchen.

Find the recipes that you keep saying you want to try and put them in front of you. If they're healthy, awesome. If they aren't healthy, see what you can do to make them healthier. Need suggestions? Email me. For reals.

Then make a shopping list from your chosen recipes.

Then come home and light a candle and play your favorite cooking music. Mine is Sepultura.

Cook the meal.

Then grab your beloved(s). This step is important because even though your reasons for cooking were purely selfish, you can make it seem as though you were creating a meal, full of love, for them. You will increase the balance in your Domestic Points Bank, which is good because if you're a triathlete it's probably already low.

Remove the distractions, chew your food, have a nice conversation, tell the kids to stop fighting, eat with all of your senses, assimilate your nutrients, tell the kids they'll be asked to leave the table if they don't cut it out, eat slowly, BREATHE, tell the kids that this is what's for dinner and if they don't like it then don't eat, be all zen and stuff.

4. Be aware of the work that different foods do. Hire them for the job.

What do carbs do? They provide fuel/energy by filling your glycogen storage tank. We already talked about Premium vs Regular fuel.

What does protein do? It rebuilds and repairs your muscles. This sounds like something that might be valuable while tapering for a race, right? Eat protein with every meal. Try experimenting with a variety of healthy sources like: lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, quinoa and other grains, hemp shake (obviously I'm obsessed with the stuff), nuts, tofu, tempeh, and even bee pollen.

*As you get closer to your race you may want to favor the vegetarian protein sources. You should experiment ahead of time with what might work for you and your digestive system. Everyone is different.

Protein snacks are great because they help you to feel satiated longer and they will provide you with steady energy.

What about healthy fats? Eat them. As part of a healthy diet they will work wonders on your body by decreasing inflammation, and improving: brain, cell, heart, nerves, lungs, eyes, digestion, organs and immune function. Wait... if healthy fats do all that, why were you even considering buying that crazy product that your favorite athlete is endorsing? Just eat healthy foods dude.

Try to incorporate healthy fats like: oils (olive, sesame, coconut, flax, etc), avocado, nuts, fish, and olives.

So, Mr. James Bulloney, I would suggest having your food journal look more like this:

7:00 - Steel cut oats (made ahead of time from HolisticGuru's blog recipe) Multivitamin and fish oil pill.
9:00 - tea with stevia and half a grapefruit
10:00 - apple slices or celery with almond butter or peanut butter and raisins
12:00 - quinoa cooked with veg or chicken broth, cut up veggies and beans (sweet potato and black bean with salsa sounds yummy in my head right now and would only take 25 mins to make... you can make it while you're cooking the steel cut oats)
3:00 - handful of dried fruit with dark chocolate chips and a giant glass of water
6:00 - hummus sandwich with veggies (lettuce, tomato, cucumber)
9:00 - quick omelet and a side of something leafy and green and maybe some potato wedges
10:00 - bowl of fruit sorbet, or a small amount of ice cream isn't terrible

This all sounds totally doable right? If you guys can motivate, dedicate and discipline yourselves to be triathletes, I KNOW you can make healthy food choices. Look how awesome you are!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Days 7, 8, 9: HolisticGuru is no longer dirty (not that I ever was)

The pic is the one I took for the Triathletes Coffee Shop website. Mango requested that listeners send in photos of themselves with their coffee. I took this one yesterday. It's artsy and speaks to the holistic side of my being. The title is "This is my relationship with coffee, what's yours?" :) Please be sure to send your photo to Mango at:

The last few days of my cleanse were uneventful. Actually, my diet of veggies, whole grains and vegetarian protein was pretty close to my usual diet. The only difference was that I wasn't making any exceptions for the "unclean" foods: coffee, alcohol, sugar, milk, meat, chemicalized and artificialized junk foods. Normally some of these things have a place in my diet in moderation.

I did have a tiny "cheat" on the 7th and 8th day. I baked cookies for a friend's birthday and I ate some (a lot) of them. They were my healthy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies though, so they were still pretty clean :)

Now that I'm done, I'm going to get my first coffee in 9 days. I'm going to sit there and drink it and enjoy it. It's gonna taste and feel good. My favorite benefit to cleansing is that it resets your appreciation for your indulgences.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 4: When life gives you lemons, make it all spicy with cayenne pepper


I decided to combine all of my Master Cleanser days into one blog post since they all look pretty much the same. I went into this portion of my cleanse without knowing what to expect as far as training would go. I ended up feeling incredible… but the wrong kind of incredible. The lemonade makes me feel, like, all hippie-softie. On Saturday I was trying to study for a final exam and I thought the timing would be perfect because my focus would be intense. Instead, my intense focus was directed at how much I loved every little detail of everything I could take in with my senses, rather than focusing on the different types of muscle fibers on the note pages in front of me. It was a very focused distraction and it was not going to help me get an A on the final, so I decided to eat a healthy/clean dinner. I’ve used Master Cleanser this way in the past: lemonade all day and a veggie and protein dinner. In trying to maintain my study focus and my training volume, it just made more sense.


I cycled a total of 2.5 hours on Saturday and 2 hrs on Sunday with a fast 30 min brick run. Monday I swam 3300 yards. I did all of this while just drinking lemonade and recovering with an evening meal. Lots of it. And I felt incredible. Please don’t try this though. I wouldn’t suggest anyone train on an all-liquid fast. If you do, its not because I told you to.

So there were a few reasons why I felt awesome:

1. Lemonade makes me feel totally relaxed, de-stressed and euphoric
2. I nailed the timing and was VERY calculated with my intake
3. Maple syrup is a sugar/carb and has tons of electrolytes, calcium and iron (all things I needed to replace)
4. My body is an efficient machine when it comes to burning sugar, carbs and other sources as fuel. I never have a problem with training and racing nutrition and this experiment reconfirmed that I have myself figured out. I keep a record of what works, I listen to my body and I don’t overdo it with too much fuel.


Saturday dinner – hemp shake with maca (while I cooked and after my ride), omelet, sweet potato, raw veggie salad, sauerkraut

Sunday dinner Рhemp shake with maca, sardines, potato wedges, saut̩ed greens; grapes for dessert

Monday dinner – hemp shake with maca, grilled tempeh on brown rice bread with mustard and pickles and an arugula salad


I never weigh myself. I just pay attention to how my clothes fit and how I feel. On April 13th I participated in a scientific study and they took my weight, which was 128 lbs. For the past few weeks I have felt myself getting a bit thinner with my increased training, especially with higher running volume. I weighed myself yesterday and I was down to 122.5 lbs. I’m 5’7. This is getting to the low end of my healthy range and I should not fall below 120 lbs. So for the next 3 days of my cleanse I will be adding more carbs from grain sources and upping the protein a bit. This will be a way for me to ease myself off the cleanse. So the plan through Wednesday is almost exactly the way I would normally eat, except that I will not be taking in any “bad” foods. Normally I allow myself coffee, alcohol and sugar in moderation. Honestly, the only thing I miss is an occasional coffee. I’ll also continue to avoid meat through Wednesday.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 3: Yoga happened

After writing all day I got to go for a run. I ran a loop of the park even though my training plan had me making paper mache racing helmets (my coach has me doing some wacky stuff to make me a faster triathlete). I finished up with a juicy yoga practice on the grass, facing the sun. It was exactly what I needed. The pic is Jhon T, the yoga master who taught me everything I know at Atmananda yoga studio.

As for food, today I decided to add more protein with dinner because my body was asking nicely for it.

breakfast - burdock tea, hemp shake with maca

lunch - leftover spaghetti squash with wilted arugula, garlic tomato and raw basil

snack - apple, orange, grapes

snack (again) - sardines (go ahead and think its gross; you're wrong)

dinner - omelet with basil, roasted sweet potato wedges, arugula salad

Get excited about tomorrow. You get to read about my awesome ride and my new-secret-superhero-power-training-food.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Day 2: These Are the Cries of the Carrots

Yesterday I actually had a detoxing headache! I was a bit surprised because my diet is pretty clean so I don't usually experience difficult cleansing symptoms, just a heightened sense of clarity. I assume that the headache is due to my increased caffeine intake over the past few months, which still isn't more than one coffee per day. And when I drink coffee, I drink coffee. I sit and enjoy it. It is all very zen and hippie crunchy. When drinking coffee, drink coffee; when riding your bike, ride your bike. What is the lesson?

Anyway, I appreciate the headache because it demonstrates to me that my body is doing its job and making me all clean on the insides. I was pleasantly surprised when I had a fresh veggie juice with a wheatgrass shot, which made my headache go away. I felt all wonderful and stuff after that.

I also decided to add a bit more protein, from a source other than hemp. One hemp shake per day is enough for me. So I added some homemade hummus yesterday. As I was eating the hummus (with carrots and celery) I was thinking, this isn't all that different than the way I eat normally. I'm really only removing grains, coffee, condiments, and meat (of which I eat very little). My diet has been pretty stellar over the past few months and I barely realized it. This realization made me fall a little bit more in love with myself :)

One last thing, some of you know I've been taking some classes this semester and I'm finishing finals this week. Because of academia I have been a total slacker triathlete and I'm usually very focused on getting my training in. I've had to take the last three days off! I'll be running and doing core today but I feel like a lazy ass. The yoga hasn't really happened yet during the cleanse. I'd like to make the yoga happen. I might call my friend Karen to help me with that. She's the awesomest yoga teacher. More awesomer than me.


breakfast - apple, burdock tea, hemp shake with maca

lunch - leftover steamed broccoli, carrots, and burdock; a sweet potato

snack - veggie juice, hummus with carrots and celery

snack - a little mix of strawberries, pineapple, mango

dinner - spaghetti squash with sauteed garlic, tomato, fresh basil, wilted arugula

I've been adding flavor with a little sea salt, pepper and olive oil. I usually water saute then add olive oil as a dressing after cooking.

Tonight I'll be going to the store to get some lemons and maple syrup because tomorrow morning starts the lemonade chapter of my cleansity-cleanse. This is my favorite part because it makes me sink way inside my head, like an active meditation vacation.

My ipod, Sydney, played this song for me yesterday while I was eating lunch. It made me giggle:

"The cries of the carrots! ...tomorrow is harvest day and to them it is the holocaust." -Disgustipated by Tool

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 1: Spring Cleaning

First, I have to say I'm super pumped that several people are joining me on this cleansing project. It's so much better to do this kind of thing with a group to stay motivated. Thank you for your support and feel free to post specific questions as comments or email me so I can support you too :)

Today was easy. I enjoyed getting back into the kitchen with the intention to be totally creative with my cooking.

breakfast - burdock tea, hemp shake with maca

snack - pear

lunch - raw veggie salad with romaine lettuce, tomato and jerusalem artichoke; steamed broccoli, carrots, and burdock; and a small baked potato

snack - berries

dinner - sauteed garlicky kale, baked sweet potato with avocado and white onion

dessert - banana

I had more than enough food today and probably should have had another hemp shake or some other type of protein. Will do that tomorrow. I just got a bit overzealous with cooking up my Urban Organic produce!

I did crave one thing... I wanted a coffee this afternoon. Not because I needed energy but because I just like to sit and taste a cup of coffee. I got over that one real quick when I found a sunny spot in the park to sit and enjoy instead.

And I'm thinking spaghetti squash with tomato, basil and garlic for dinner tomorrow night. I'm pretty excited about it.

Oh, and these are the homemade aphrodisiac truffles that are sitting in my fridge, threatening to seduce me into totally losing self control. So far so good. I will conquer and devour (or not).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

So I'm Totally Gonna Do My Seasonal Cleanse

Starting tomorrow morning I will embark on my annual cleansing journey. Last year I nailed it. I created the perfect cleanse that fit safely into my training/ working/ being awesome lifestyle. Over the years I've tried some pretty tough stuff but this one is very simple. Plus, I don't need anything that intense, I'm not that dirty on the inside to begin with ;)

HolisticGuru's Personalized 9-Day Spring Cleanse

Days 1-3: It's about what you CAN have, not what you CAN'T have.

hemp protein shakes - 1-3 per day
any veggies I want, lots of root veggies for carbs - going sweet potato crazy
fruits - limited
olive oil - as seasoning
sea salt - very little
herbs and spices - I get creative here
herbal tea

I'll take it pretty easy with training, keeping volume but nothing too intense.

Days 4-6: Master Cleanser

lemonade with maple syrup and cayenne - getting at least 2000 cals per day
veggie juices
herbal tea

If anyone has ever tried the Master Cleanse you might be aware of the mental clarity and focus you can experience. I'll be studying for a final so it should be perfect for making me feel wicked smart. By this point I will also start to feel like cleansing my space/life. I'll probably clean my apartment and throw things away.

Days 7-9: Same as days 1-3, although if I feel the need I will add:


*I will also practice yoga every day.
*I will try "zazen" sitting because Texafornia will think its cool.
*I will take naps.
*I will take hot baths and maybe even get a massage or platza treatment.
*I will not be cleansing myself from the internets... don't worry.
*I will post something about the experience on my blog every day.

Anyone want to join me? We can even create a personalized detox for you to follow if you want something more or less intense. Email me at: for more info.

Why 9 Days?

During my yoga teacher training at Atmananda, John T said, "in yoga, the number 9 represents completion". This was why we were holding our Chakrasana or "wheel pose" for 9 breaths. Ever since then I have used the number 9 to represent completion in many areas of my life. I'm not even sure why. I just like it. So my cleanse is complete after 9 days.

Why Cleanse?

Throughout the year our bodies accumulate toxins from our diet, environment, stress, etc. In the Spring we detox, whether we choose to or not, the body naturally begins a cleansing process. Usually we experience cold symptoms as this begins to take place. We can choose to support this process by eating healthy foods, or to avoid it by medicating when we start to feel 'under the weather'. The problem with taking over the counter meds in this case is that the cleanse doesn't have a chance to work its natural magic and you can end up with a secondary infection (i.e. a runny nose becomes a sinus infection).

With each season Mother Earth produces a different variety of fruits and vegetables to nourish us. When we eat with the seasons, we are eating the way that nature has intended; the same way that our ancestors ate since the beginning of the human race. Each seasonal harvest grows the perfect combination of vitamins and nutrients to protect us from our environment, prepare our bodies to defend against illness, and remove toxic build up. By doing this, and by allowing ourselves to slow down for a few days, we are supporting a very valuable process.

Can I do a Cleanse and Continue With My Training?

Yes, you can. You just gotta be smart about it. Your cleanse can focus on whatever works for you and your lifestyle.

- it can last for 3 days, or even 21 days
- you can commit to avoiding all "bad" foods or you can choose 1 or 2 to avoid
- you can focus on adding in healthy foods rather than taking away foods
- you can get adequate amounts of calories, protein, carbs, fat, etc
- you can make it whatever you want it to be

So, who's in?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Potato Wedges (ZenTri is Not a Cult)

So I made potato wedges tonight. Not because "everyone else is doing it", not because I'm a slave to some crazy cult, but because I FELT LIKE IT. Okay?

Anyway, these babies are supposedly awesome to eat while training or racing because they have calories, simple carbs, potassium, sodium, you know... the good stuff. And when you've been at it for hours on end you sort of get disgusted by the idea of anymore sweet foods (like gels and sports drinks). If you're drooling all over yourself at the thought of pizza during your race you might be super psyched to find potato wedges in your transition bag.

I made mine with *pretty* purple, yellow and red potatoes from the farmer's market. You can use whatever potatoes you want... I really don't care.


Step 1: cut your potatoes into whatever shapes you want

Step 2: put them into a bowl and drizzle some olive oil. Not too much! Seriously! Just coat them.

Step 3: Add your flavorings. I used sea salt, pepper and herbs de provence. Mix it up.

Step 4: Spread them on a baking sheet and place them in the oven at 400 for 30 mins or until golden.

Oh, and then you might want to make some hummus. Not because hummus is trendy, but of your own volition.

Mmmm. Hummus.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Open-Ended Question Maneuver

Today was my first real opportunity to run since I suffered a stress fracture in my hip last September. Up until this point I've been limited to 20-40 minute easy runs, and let me tell you, it has been difficult to hold back. I love running.

This morning I was thrilled to see that my coach, Javier, had posted a 1-hour run with moderate pace and pushing up hills. Yes! I threw on my Newtons and ran out the door, sort of wishing I had company to share my excitement with. When I got to Central Park I started with Harlem Hill and felt amazing. I reminded myself to chill a bit because I still had to run for the hour, so I pulled back.

Well, it wasn't long before I was playing running leap frog with some Random Runner Guy. He would hold his pace just past my hip and I would then take my place back in front of him. Back and forth, back and forth, until we finally just ran at each other's hip for a couple of miles. I was grateful for my new best running friend but soon the competitive side of me took over. I heard his breathing was labored and saw his face getting redder to hold our pace. Then he started to push a bit harder and tried to pass me (clearly he was afraid to get beat by a girl) but I was still feeling pretty comfy. I considered breaking the rules and pushing past my "moderate" pace but decided that it wouldn't be worth another injury. So I unleashed the secret weapon... the "Open-Ended Question Maneuver" (thank you @texafornia).

"So what do you do for work that you get to run at 2pm?" - timed perfectly with the start of a hill.

"How do you like running in those New Balance shoes?" - I pull back a bit to enjoy my company.

"Oh yeah, what was it like recovering from that injury?" - raising my voice to project backwards.

I'm really not that mean. It was fun and I did enjoy the company. I can't wait to get out there again. I averaged a 7:25 min pace for the entire 6.2 miles! Not a bad comeback.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Remembering: The Day I Lost My Multi-Sport Innocence

Haha! I just found this race report from my first Duathlon. It was last May, 2008. This is too funny...

Race Report

This report is particularly important for me because I have so many questions and so much to learn before my first triathlon.

Greenwich Cup Biathlon- Sunday, May 4th, 7am

Weather: temp in the high 40's, overcast and damp but not raining.

Purpose: To find out if I can handle riding a bike in a race, to experience a transition, and to bombard Adam with as many questions as I can think of.

Planned tactic: Just go. If I planned a tactic I would have been OCD with sticking to it even if it needed to be adjusted. I just expected to do what the people around me were doing and the specific people would be determined by how much effort it took to be wherever I was.

Pre-race: Clif bar and 2 large glasses of water at 5:30am. Not what I normally eat before a race but it was easy for a sleepover. I was feeling a bit anxious about not knowing what to expect but excited. Adam says "This is such a short and easy race it's not even worth eating anything before" I think "maybe for you..."
We arrive, I ask questions "how often do I need to pump the tires?"..."now would be a good time", "does this helmet look too small?"..."don't wear it on the back of your head like that", "oh my god, you have to hang the bike up?"...
Adam shows me the transition area then disappears. I'm not sure which group to line up with so I decide to go with the second one, to be safe.

Race/execution: 2.5-mile Run- Ready, set, go! I realize that I'm not sure how to gauge my pace because we didn't line up with pace markers, so I check in with myself... it's only 2.5 miles and I know I can push pretty fast for that distance, but do I need to save some juice for the bike and the second run? Since I'm not sure how I'll do with the rest of the race I decide to push because I know I can run. I pass people one by one and I'm going strong although my legs still feel a bit sleepy. Just as my mind starts to wander to the fact that I have to ride a bike after this, I feel someone jab a finger in my back and I hear Adam, "you're hard to catch up to, do you have a plan for this race?" He was clearly impressed with my swiftness. I told him that my plan was to go with my strength. (Time- 18:49)
T1- As we got to the transition I started to get excited. I ran over, grabbed the bike, shed a top layer and kept moving as I put on my helmet and gloves. I was glad that I didn't have to deal with shoes or anything else. I wondered whether any of that fancy stuff is worth it because I was on the bike and riding in a flash. (Time- 1:13)
10-mile Bike- It didn't take long for Adam to catch up. I wasn't passing people but I wasn't falling behind either. Adam was so helpful riding with me and explaining about drafting "pass on the left and you only have a few seconds to do it because of drafting rules" and he told me how and when to shift gears for hills. This was especially helpful because I was afraid to use the left ones. I was brave enough not to use the brakes on downhills except for the one that went through an intersection. During the bike, I did wish that my feet were strapped to my pedals because my feet kept slipping and I was constantly readjusting, not to mention the fact that I couldn't use my legs to pull the pedal back up after I pushed it down, like I learned in spin class. My legs started to get really tired from all the hills and I couldn't wait to be done. I told Adam that I passed a girl in a pink shirt on the run, then she passed me on the bike, so now I had to catch her and pass her in the next run.
T2- As we came closer to T2 Adam told me to slow down and spin my legs. I jumped off and walked the bike (not sure you're allowed to run it in) to hang it back up. I glanced back and saw a man fall and skid into the transition area, glad that wasn't me. Again I was happy that I didn't have to change shoes or anything. I took off my helmet and gloves, took a sip of my coconut water and I was off. (Time for bike and T2- 35:16)
2.5-mile Run- I had forgotten to hit the button on my watch when I got off the bike so the bike and T2 are together. As I start running I think, "Woah, my legs feel funny. They feel disconnected and jelly like". As I keep moving it starts to feel like my legs are much shorter than they're supposed to be. But guess what... I'm passing everyone! I passed The Pink Shirt Girl right away. I figure since I'm leaving everyone in my dust I might as well take off another layer and show off my RwP singlet so that they have an explanation as to why I'm passing them. Soon Adam is by my side again, "You made it really hard to catch up to you" but I was running too fast to say what I was thinking... that Coach Adam and RwP are actually what made it hard to catch up to me. I never thought I would be actually racing a race. I usually run to complete not compete. For some reason I was running this one like I had something to prove. And I did have something to prove to myself...that I can totally take this triathlon thing. At this point I'm feeling proud and inspired, appreciative and uh oh... like I can't keep running this fast for another 5 minutes. Adam notices my pain and starts yelling at me "cadence, cadence, cadence... pump your arms!", and I'm all "but I'm gonna puke", and he goes "good! keep going! push, push, push!". Somehow, as I glimpse the finish, I'm running even faster. I'm through the finish and some Random Guy Behind Me says "awesome push at the end". I look at my watch, 1:11:39, and I wonder... is that good? (Time for Run2- 16:20)

Lessons learned: 1) I can do this 2) I should try actually racing races more often 3) I need to buy some of those cagey thingys for my pedals 4) The gears on the left side of the bike are good to learn how to use 5) Multi-sport is fun

Coach Adam's Version

So my version of the day. Following coach adam's usual propensity for taking it all in stride and also because I figured that some things simply need to be experienced to be learned, we showed up with about 15 minutes to register and go. After getting the bikes off of the truck and pumping air in the tires, it was just about time for the groups to go.

I figured Christine was probably freak'n out a bit but I was equally convinced that once she started running, habitual instinct would take over, which it did. I stopped at the bathroom since I didn't have time to do so when we got there and started well after everyone else, (hey it's kind of my thing like I did at Lehigh last week.) And Christine in her grey shirt was booking, passing dozens of people and it took me about a mile to catch her - she was running about 7:20's.

I think she liked the idea that all she had to do was grab her bike, put on her helmet and go, which she did. Since I had to put on my cleats, she left transition in some sick 30 seconds or something. So then I had to catch her again and immediately realized that Christine had no clue what she was doing - it was endearing. I paced her up the first few hills explaining that she didn't need to subscribe to the Bob Scofield method of not changing gears out of the big chain ring for fear of the bike braking. She encountered her first hill and I don't think she liked it much and we were passed by a few riders - again, I don't think Christine liked being passed much but I told her to maintain cadence and stay in the saddle - oh yeah, by this time, I'd noticed that Christine and another slim poneytailed girl wearing grey had been seesawing back and forth since the run - they looked like sisters; I'm not sure Christine noticed her.

So as every good coach does, I try to take film of Christine by holding my camera in one hand, while steering with the other and holding my sunglasses which were totally fogged up in my mouth. Yeah, not so good. I dropped my Rudy Project glasses pulled over to the side while Christine carried on forward. After watching a pelaton go by without running over my glasses, I was finally able to pick them up and then I had to actually race to catch back up to Christine. Some gal on a Madone was drafting off me the entire time - really good rider with strong legs. In the end, I catch back up to Christine just as we're headed back into transition when I tell her to drop her gears and spin out to refresh her legs in preparation for the run. Draftgirl, passes us and hard charges to the transition area, only to drop to the pavement right at the dismount point - nice road rash, she had.

Again, Christine is all about drop the bike, take off the helmet and go, her T2 had to be about 20 seconds at most and she was off. I was taking off my shoes, putting on my running shoes and then I also headed out, but at this point I realized that Christine meant business and she was GONE!

I have no clue where poneytail girl came from but she and Draftgirl were both ahead of me and behind Christine. I passed both of them fairly rapidly but I couldn't close the gap on Christine, so I had to take my now Clydesdale body up to a new level and started picking off folks one by one, but ahead of me Christine was doing the same. Again, it took me about a mile to catch back up and I remembered that i caught her at the same point I caught her on the first run. She had already peeled off her grey shirt and the orange RwP singlet was absolutely luminescent in the shadows of the misty course. We ran side by side until we were about 3/4 of a mile out and then we hit a stretch where we run along the bay and you can see runners coming at you and in front of you as far as you can see. I noticed that Christine relaxed just a bit. Now if I was racing against her, I would have known that she had just given up and I would have turned it on to break her spirit completely, but since we were working together, I pulled her head out of her asspirations and encouraged her gently to focus only on her cadence, which she did. I then pulled slightly ahead and subtly suggested that she stay on my hip, which she did. Once she figured out that she was nearing the finish, she found the energy that I knew she had held in reserve and surged forward, with me trying valiantly to stay on her hip into the finish.

In short, she went out perhaps a little fast, but then again, she ran a negative split on the runs, so in truth, she didn't go out too fast and she probably could have pushed a bit harder on the bike. In the end, if this brought her a 3rd place finish, this girl has skills. The best part was that she told me that Sasquatch had left her a message calling her a HAC Guru which really, must have given her more energy.

Now what Guru forgot to tell you was that when Javier, Guru and I went back out for our cool-down loop we passed some runners still on the course who responded to Guru's performance in the only way possible: "You suck!"

Yes, another great morning in Greenwich, CT and the world of multi-sport.

Yoda out.