Wednesday, May 17, 2017

On Curling

So this post should have been written, done, and dusted ... two weeks ago? ... but, well, lots of life changes going on over here so I'm getting to it now.

Back in high school, I was a bit of a Canuckophile. Blame my crazy love of hockey that blossomed, but I became obsessed with pretty much all things Canadian. This also included the, at the time, relatively obscure sport of curling. Curling, which you may or may not know, because a bit more of a household sport in 2002 thanks to it being added to the Winter Olympics.

I married a Minnesotan who also loved hockey and also curling. He's a way bigger curling nerd than I, really, and actually tried it once up in college.

A few years back, the Denver Curling Club opened up here as a dedicated facility to curling (next closest? Somewhere in Arizona and in South Dakota. I think.). We've been tossing around the idea of doing lessons pretty much since then, but I finally signed up for information and, what do you know? They opened up a few spring classes and one of them was open AND fit in our schedule. Whaaaaa?

I signed us both up.

So, back on May 3, we took a Learn to Curl class at the DCC.

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The sheet.

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Brandon on the ice.

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Me curling, as posted on Instagram. 

It. Was. So. Much. Fun. Seriously. People may not think curling is much of a sport, but you're doing a lot of lunges when you're the one handling the rock and sweeping? Can be exhausting. Especially if you're playing a game and you're one person down so you only have one sweeper (as opposed to two). 

We loved it so much that, in the fall, when the ice goes back in, we might sign up to become members. We probably won't join a league (yet), but as members, we can book practice ice and we can sign up to sub on teams just to start getting the practice.

It might not have been multisport related, but trying new things and cross-training is always a good idea. So whatever sport/activity you might have been tossing around trying? Sign up for a beginner's class! You might just fall in love with something new.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

April Round-Up

Ugh, April. You weren't much better than March. In fact, you might have been worse ...

Swimming: 3000m (1.86 mi)
Cycling: 45.25 mi
Running: 10.52 mi
Lifting: six sessions (3:06)
Other: two hikes (1:00), one session plyometrics (:25), one walk (1:00), four yoga sessions (:49)

I tried resetting for April, but clearly it didn't really work. The early part of the month was tentative, but successful-ish. I look back at the month and I didn't have too terribly many off days, but I didn't do a lot of triathlon-related stuff. I also had a few very rough days emotionally (Dad in the hospital for major surgery will do that ...), which didn't help.

I am trying to be more positive, though, so here are a few things I can positively take away from April:

- I raced again. Sometimes, a little thing like that can get me going. The Sneak wasn't my fastest 5K, but it certainly wasn't my slowest and even though it was (given my history) a fairly mediocre time, it was probably one of my best executed races. I'll put it this way - I haven't been that sore after a 5K in a really, really long time.

- I've started hiking. With Pikes Peak Ascent in August, I'm not only going to need to start trail running (which I also did a tiny bit), but I'm also going to need to hike to get used to that. I've started that process.

- May is still planned out. I haven't totally given up. In theory, Santa Cruz training starts the 22nd. I probably won't be following the plan to the letter, but I have it as a guideline/baseline to where I should be.

- I signed up for SMASH camp. Yep. Early August will see me back in Tucson SMASHING it with Hillary Biscay, Alyssa Godesky, and a lot of my other TeamSFQ teamies. I already know the loose schedule, which includes a crazy ass swim (at least 50x100), climbing up and over Gates Pass, climbing Mt. Lemmon, trail running, and some track work. This camp? TERRIFIES me. Which is probably a good thing, because if nothing else will motivate me to get my ass in gear, this will.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Race #3 of the Season: Cherry Creek Sneak

Also known as the race that almost never was.

Training has been crap. It really has. I don't know if I'm mentally waiting for my life leaf to turn over (quitting my job May 5!) which will give me all of the time to train (... if I get focused ...), or what, but it hasn't been good. Add that in with my Dad going through some serious health problems ... well ... it doesn't make it easy.

That being said, Brandon and I still kind of wanted to do this race. We hadn't raced it in a few years and we knew that it wouldn't be anything spectacular, but we're working on accepting on where we are now as opposed to where we were or where we might possibly be in the future, so we decided to run, and not get cranky if it wasn't sub-30 or sub-10 per mile, as have been our general 5K goals for the past few years.

We got down to Cherry Creek early, but still not early enough to avoid all the road closures, so we parked on the other side of the mall than we usually do. Did. Have done. We walked to register, popped into Safeway so Brandon could grab a snack (and the bathroom), and then back to the car to stay warm for about an hour.

With about an hour to race time, we got ready to go and left the car. I knew of a couple other Skirt ambassadors running thanks to some Facebook posts that morning and I ran into Emily almost as soon as we got back to the race area.

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Stolen from a FB post she made post-race. She killed it, btw, looking up her results post-race. I'm here wearing Skirt - Free Flow tank and Lioness skirt - and some SMASH - my new Team SFQ arm warmers and some SMASH compression socks.

In warming up, I also thought I saw our friend Nic running - Brandon didn't think it was her, but I totally did so I called out her name and lo and behold, it was Nic! We weren't able to catch up with her post-race, but it was great to see her as we haven't hung out in ages. Nic, I might add, won the women's 5K race and came in 9th overall. When we originally asked her about the race, she thought it went okay and was hoping for around 18 minutes. Yeah, we told her she won and did 17:53 (which was about 20, 25 seconds faster than second place).

I also managed to see another Skirt ambassador in the starting corral based solely on the outfit she posted on Facebook pre-race ... I have an uncanny knack of finding people if I know they're going to be out there. I missed a few others who I didn't know were racing, but that's probably why - if I knew they were going to be there, I'd find them.

Anyway, the race.

First mile felt pretty good. We were keeping it steady and easy ... and the first mile is so congested anyway that it's pointless trying to do anything unless you're at the front of the pack. I briefly snuck a look at my Garmin when it beeped - it was around a 10:30.

Second mile is mostly slightly downhill and we noticeably picked it up, but it didn't seem terrible. I was having a bit of a time holding on and not walking, but I managed it alright. Took another look at the beep - uh, that's dropping the pace, but too much - it was around a 9:40.

I finally couldn't hold on any longer (lungs, mostly) at around 2.6 miles in and we walked. I was so desperately trying to stay running, but I did not have the fitness to do so. We walked way more in that third mile than I think either of us would have liked, but that was the way the day shook out.

I did manage to beat Brandon by a second though, so ha.

Final Stats:
Time: 32:32
667/2165 overall
299/1332 gender
53/149 division (F30-34)

Not my fastest 5K, but definitely not my worst. It's a pretty accurate showing of where I am right now, but also a nice little wake up call since I've got some very scary shit on the schedule - Pikes Peak Ascent being the obvious one, with 70.3 Santa Cruz right behind it, but I'm also probably doing a SMASH camp in early August that I need to show up prepared for. 

Cross your fingers that I figure out a way to get my ass moving again, because it seriously needs to ...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

WRtW April Event

We were back to all female speakers for April's event, which was pretty awesome.

The first speaker was Jackie (Jacqueline) Ros, founder of Revolar, a safety wearable for runners and everybody, really. Her word was confidence.

She developed Revolar because her little sister is a sexual assault survivor, and a phone often isn't fast enough to call for help ... particularly because 9 out of 10 times, your attacker is someone you know, and safety isn't black and white. With a touch of a button, you can have a friend virtually walk you home and map your run. You can press it once to check in, twice to make your phone ring - convenient excuse to get yourself out of a situation where you feel off - and three or more presses will send for help.

Ros chose confidence as her word because she believes it is the number one thing holding women back. We have an unconscious bias, saying sorry for having an idea when we should own that. For her, confidence has overwhelmingly been the thing that has gotten her foot in the door.

As a start-up/small business owner, naive confidence has been the best thing on the planet. She had no idea that building a hardware company was so much harder than building a software company, which is also why it's been harder getting investors.

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(The tiny white thing at her waist is the Revolar.)

The second speaker was Laurie Nakauchi, a teacher and ultrarunner, who chose superpower as her word.

Nakauchi, an ultrarunner who has finished 11 Leadville 100s, said that she was terrified when she was first going to speak, but knows that you have to step into fear.

She picked her word for two reasons:
- We're really good at pumping each other up, but so hard on ourselves - why do we do that?; and 
- As a teacher, she always teaches that we have superpowers and kids always believe it, but adults? Not so much.

We need to realize what our superpowers are. We don't often take the time to figure out what they are, but we can never use them if we don't know what they are.

Her superpower is the power of "Why not?", saying "why not?" when someone suggests something to her. It's how she got into her first marathon and long distance running, how it got her into ice hockey, how she got involved with the Iditarod, and how she and another friend (or two) became the first women to run the Colorado Trail.

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The final speaker was Siri Lindley, world champion triathlete and coach, who chose gratitude as her word.

Her talk was amazing and contained a lot, so I'm going to do my usual and condense it down to bullet points.

- The reason for her writing her book (Surfacing) was to help people.
- She was riddled with fear and anxiety as a kid, but at the same time, had an incredible imagination with incredible dreams.
- We can be so paralyzed by fear that it can hold us back from doing anything great.
- Our mind is here to protect us from pain and fear and failure, but it's not the voice we should always listen to in our lives.
- We are so amazing as human beings; we have hearts as gifts. We can do anything we want in our lives. Fear is okay; bring it along with you, but do the thing anyway.
- When we fail/fall is when we figure out what we're made of and how we can be better - failure is a gift.
- Tony Robbins - growth leads to progress; progress leads to happiness.
- A bad race is needed to catapult you to the next level; look at bad races as opportunities to learn and grow.
- Where focus goes, energy flows; you truly create your destiny with how you think.
- We owe it to ourselves to step into the unknown, take a chance, and strive for something way beyond ourselves because if it is important, we will get it.
- She is so grateful for everything that has happened in her life. When struggle comes her way, it's okay, because she knows that something amazing is going to come out of it. If you keep your mind on that fact, the struggle is easier to bear.
- Focus on what you have and not on what you don't have.
- Saying eff it and doing it anyway is an empowering thing.
- Often times, it's when you least expect something amazing to happen is when that something does ... but you have to hang around long enough for it to happen.

She mentioned something at the end of her talk that reminded me of a message that Jen Szabo had last month - we sometimes need someone to believe in us first ... but we have to feel it ourselves for it to come to fruition.

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I should mention ... because I've forgotten to thus far ... is that if you ever want to listen to these talks yourself, they are always posted live on the Skirt Sports Facebook page during the event and then in the video section afterward. I highly, highly recommend listening to Lindley's talk, especially.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Training in Tucson

I've been hoping on pulling off a Tucson training camp for B and I for a few years now. We were kind of hoping for one in May, but logistically, it wasn't going to work out. 

(I maybe might be going to a paid camp in August, but that's not 100% sure yet.)

Since we wanted a vacation anyway, and Tucson needed to be a thing for both of us, we went down last week and obviously brought bikes and things to get a bit of training in.

It wasn't heavy - a bike, a trail run, and a hike - but it was good. The trail running also taught us that we have some work ahead of us before Pikes Peak Ascent.

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On the Tucson loop trail.

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Bike selfie. (SMASH kit, obvi.)

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On our trail run on the Phoneline Trail in Sabino Canyon.

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"This shit is hard." Rocking all the Skirt (plus SMASH socks).

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Next to a saguaro in Saguaro National Park. SMASH tee and Lioness skirt.

We didn't bother with swim stuff because Brandon has been doing PT for a shoulder issue and wasn't cleared to swim at the time of the trip and I didn't much care about trying to figure it out logistically (things you don't bother with when you're not on a swim streak ...).

We didn't get in quite as much training as we'd hoped, but all in all, it was a nice little trip with some wonderful time in the sunshine. As well as a stop at SMASH HQ to buy stuff and talk with Hillary, because of course.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

March Round-Up

March, I'll say right now, numbers-wise, was a disaster. Read on ...

Swimming: 3100m (1.93 mi)
Cycling: 45.83 mi
Running: 15.61 mi
Lifting: five sessions (2:16)
Other: one barre session (:35), three walks (3:57), four yoga sessions (:54)

Back in February's recap, I said that March might be a down month, and I was apparently definitely not kidding. I obviously didn't plan on it being this down, buuuuut ... life is a bitch sometimes.

There's a possibility the swim streak ended up killing me mentally; I had this huge goal and I hit it and without anything else on the horizon ... I think I came out of it with a letdown. I may have spent so much mental energy getting that streak completed (which I did, yay) that I needed a mental break.

So I took one. And it lasted most of the month.

The other thing that didn't help was that Brandon got injured. We're not sure it was swimming or work or yard work (killing this spiky bush of doom in the backyard), but he strained his rotator cuff and has been doing PT on it for most of the month. Since he really hasn't been able to train when he's home, it's been hard for me to go do it without him. We'd been training separately some throughout the first few months, but we were doing it at the same time. This is a poor excuse and I should have just gone anyway, but brain chemistry is a funky, fucked up thing.

I have stubbornly planned out April, although it's definitely not as structured as the first few months were and has a lot more flexibility. Hopefully it works ...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

WRtW March Event

This month's Women Run the World event once again, had a man.

The three speakers that Nicole DeBoom rounded up for March were Frank Shorter, Katy Meuer, and Jen Szabo.

Frank Shorter, for those of you who might not know, is known as the founder of the modern running boom. He won the 1972 Olympic Marathon, had a running store/clothing company at one point, founded the BolderBOULDER ... he's a living legend.

The first part of Shorter's talk was a little scattered; it was almost as if he "didn't understand the assignment." I believe his word was persistence, but it might have been consistency. I take bullet point notes during the talks, so that's how I'm going to share his:

- Part of the last all male classes at Yale.
- His book, "My Marathon," was named one of the best NPR books of 2016.
- Lent his name to an event for early childhood education for physical fitness and diet/nutrition - Healthy Learning Paths - the Frank Shorter Race for Kids Health
- Experience in history of women's running/Title IX was one of the best things that has ever happened to women's sports.
- The more consistent you are, the better margin for error. (bolded, because I've heard this advice from more than one professional/former professional athlete.)
- Joan Benoit Samuelsson was competitive back in the day with Shorter and Bill Rodgers.
- Persistence doesn't know a gender; mental capacity to be consistent with training.
- Munich games were his most memorable race - he woke up and knew he felt good and felt better and better as the race went on. He had the strategy to turn the Olympic marathon in to a track race which worked, for at the time, the race was a war of attrition.
- His second best memory was when he lost against (Steve) Pre(fontaine) in a three mile race (or 5000m; wasn't clear) up at Hayward Field in Eugene.

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The second speaker was Katy Meuer, founder of Live Your 10 and a Beachbody coach. Her word was catalyst.

Meuer is a head master trainer for Beachbody. She grew up as an athlete, playing Division-I soccer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her thought was that if she felt she solved a problem, she reached a goal and she would feel enough, that there's one place with no judgement (world of fitness) where the only plus is if you show up.

(more bullet points because holy crap, my notes are scattered)

- Fitness classes are like a fishbowl.
- She did not have love and compassion in other parts of life.
- She had what she calls "destination addiction," it doesn't matter what one is working towards, just that one is working towards something.
- If you have this DA, you can't handle sitting still/waiting.
- She had enough of never feeling enough.
- She spent a year feeling enough in every area of life.
- The hardest part is showing up, but it's still not enough to just show up - you need to check your judgement at the door.

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The final speaker was fellow Skirt Sports ambassador and overall rockstar, Jen Szabo. Her word, obviously, was rockstar.

Szabo believes that we all have an inner rockstar. For her, she came up with this partially because she hears music and lyrics and hears it as poetry. Becoming your inner rockstar isn't a bulleted process; it's being in the moment and not hitting the skip button when you hear a song you don't like.

She went into a run group orientation and went to leave because she felt like she didn't belong. One of the coaches stopped her at the door and called her an athlete. The feeling of liking that designation let her to stay and then kept showing up to run group which eventually turned into branching out into triathlon. As a result, she created a new community through endurance sports which changed her life.

She couldn't do her own self-validating recognition/acceptance of her own self, thoughts, behavior, and feelings, but by becoming her own inner rockstar, it helped her to reinforce her self-worth, meaning of life, and personal identity, helping her accept the space that you're in.

Szabo ended by saying, whether you feel like a rockstar or a roadie, both have to show up for the show to go on, so just show up.

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