What Did You Learn?

No matter how much experience I gain, there is always something new to learn. That is part of the appeal of endurance sport – it never gets boring. After a race or an especially challenging training session, my Coach Steve Pye’s first question was: “What did you learn?” This question is the best one we can ask ourselves each day if we want to make our path forward on this journey meaningful. This season has rubbed me pretty raw emotionally, physically, and tactically. All of that rubbing has exposed some valuable lessons, which I’m finding especially useful as I make the final, …

Eat the elephant one bite at a time 

I started my run on Sunday morning, and I wasn’t more than 20 steps in when I began to hear the voices. My legs are really sore. Why does this feel so hard if I’m running so slow? How am I going to do today’s workout feeling like this? Was that noise my joints popping?!  Ugh. It’s windy.  You know these voices, right? I bet you’ve heard them a time or a hundred. The day before, I had ridden four hours at a base ironman effort – but with a series of FTP intervals interspersed throughout. Fifty-five minutes worth of …

Philadelphia Freedom

As I ran the final 10k of the 2016 Philadelphia Marathon, the wind swirled, but thankfully at this point, mostly in a tailwind direction. A smile snaked its way around my face. I felt ah-maze-ing. My careful pacing paid off. I felt the strongest I had ever felt in the final 10k of a marathon. Truthfully: it was the best I had felt running in a year or so! I ran the first half of the marathon with a fair bit of discipline – which is challenging when you feel fresh, and the spectators that line the city streets entice you to push …

The Turtle Hunts The Hare: Journeys in Finding Speed, Part 2

Ya’ll, trying to get this endurance turtle to become a speedy hare is hard work. Right about now, I’m am cussing myself out for letting what snippets of speediness I had go by the wayside as I trained long, and then longer still over the past two years. Over the past several weeks, I’ve dabbled in the “delights” of shorter course racing with one sprint triathlon (Egg Harbor Sprint Tri) and one olympic-equivalent 7-stage triathlon (Survival of the Mills). These were fun, local races and I was able to race well. Survival of the Mills, in particular, was an incredibly fun race that mixed …

Is this Normal?

Several years ago, I wrote about the joy of the first time finish line, as a reflection of my first Ironman. Not many race experiences can compare with that feeling that takes over the first time you cross the finish line of an unknown distance or event. It’s empowering. It’s extraordinary. It’s addicting. But, the road to that first (or second or twentieth) time finish line is filled often with uncertainty, confusion, and a healthy dose of fear. As we get deeper into the season, some of the athletes I coach are doing things they’ve never done before: longest distances, hardest efforts, first time events. …

What’s my story?

Readers, forgive me. It’s been two months since my last post. This is the point where you, my readers, absolve me of my blog transgressions. I’ll wait. … Okay, thanks. It’s not that I’ve been at a loss for words – far from it. My draft folder is FULL of the ideas I’ve had since my last post about the Double Anvil. To mention just a few, I’ve got drafts (soon to be posts) about our run across Zion National Park, what our food shopping list looks like, what it’s like to train for a Double Anvil, how to gear up for a …

Daddy’s Girl

Seventeen years ago, our phone rang in the middle of the night. I didn’t hear it, so John wound up answering it. He came into the bedroom, “Maria…” I stirred. “Something’s wrong. It’s your mom.” I looked at the clock it was o’dark thirty – maybe 3 a.m.? I picked up the phone and all I could hear was my mother wailing, all of these whirling noises. “Your father died!” she managed to say between her sobs. I felt myself entering a vacuum where I could no longer hear my mother on the other end of the line. I could only …

Process or Outcome? 7 Ways to Tell if Someone is a Serious Athlete

Many of us have in our minds a picture of what a “serious” athlete looks like, or an idea of what a “good” athlete does. Usually, these pictures and ideas have something to do with chiseled muscles, and speedy movements. *Cue the montage of olympic-esque figures and movements* However, the look or the speed of a person is not the only way (and many times not the best way) to determine the seriousness with which that person approaches the sport. “Seriousness” can be (and should be) defined by more than one’s speed or appearance. “Good” can be evaluated and interpreted in multiple ways. …

Just Do It

Nike had it straight when they came up with this gem: By now, this tagline is cliche. But, think about it this line as if it were fresh, and recognize how powerful the sentiment is. You have a goal that requires hard work. Sometimes, you might not want to do this work. Other times, the work might seem too hard – too far outside your comfort zone. In another moment, there might be fear or anxiety about the uncertainty that comes with training and racing toward bigger and bigger dreams. Think about those moments in light of this line. Now, just …

Boiling Frogs and Gradual Adaptation

Every new distance seems impossible when you first begin to wrap your head around it. Think about the first race you ever signed up for that you thought was really long.  Before you started the training, the race distance probably seemed almost insurmountable, right? I mean, how could anyone go X miles? The very first distance I ran that made me think: whoa, this is going to be LONG was a 6 mile run I did during a high school crew practice, circa 1989. We ran daily, but never that far. But, we had gotten in trouble, so we were punished by running 6 miles, …