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My favorite Race (well half of it) , 2017-07-06

Okay, had to add a new beginning onto this one – yes I did finish this the same day as the race.  No, I did not post it immediately. Unfortunately I was having some issues with my website when I got home from the race.  Of course that was fixed 3 or 4 days ago, but then, as I’ll write about down below, when I’m back to mom-mode, blogging is not going to happen in a timely manner.  But, still under 2 weeks later, here it is!! My first blog post in almost 10months (oops!)

 

Just 7hours ago I crossed the line of CDA 70.3 in 5th. Now I’m on the plane on the way home, beyond excited to see my husband (who I’m assuming will still be awake) and daughter (who had better be asleep).  This might be the fastest I have ever written a blog post race, BUT I know that if I don’t do it now, it won’t happen.  Right now I’m just a professional triathlete.  When I walk through the door at home, I’m mom.  And mom doesn’t have time for blogging.

 

I was so excited to be back in CDA this weekend.  It is the site of my first Ironman (EVER!) back in 2007, and the site of my first top 3 pro finish in 2014.  I have great memories of racing here, but I also love the town.  It’s scenic, friendly, easy to navigate, not too busy, but has a lot of cool things going on. Although I had to go solo to this one, I was excited to be back at one of my favorite race venues.  Now, I probably should admit, while I missed my family like crazy, it was also nice to have some alone time.  The day before the race I just lied in bed for about 3 hours, watching crap tv, and it was AWESOME!!

 

IMCDA2007 looked a little different from IMCDA2014 :)

 

This morning, when I woke up at 3:30 AM (ugh, even though my alarm was set for 4:10) I was excited to race.  I knew there would be some fast gals on the start line, but that’s always the case now! I was just excited to see if I might be in the mix.  My big focus right now is on IM Whistler in July and I don’t always have great 70.3’s during big IM training. BUT my training has been getting better so I knew if I followed my race plan, I could have a decent day.  (to my athletes – that’s right, I also set my own race plan and I FOLLOW IT!).

I think my favorite part of the course is the swim – which is saying a lot since I typically hate the swim the most even though it’s probably my best of the 3 events.  The water is cold (not too cold), pretty clear, and fairly calm. It is really just a beautiful lake to swim in – and the course is super easy – a straight forward rectangle.  When the gun went off, the swim quickly became my least favorite part of the day.  I started on the inside and immediately got stuck in a pack of gals who kept swimming on top of me. It took me to almost the first turn buoy to get out of the washing machine.  At one point I felt like I couldn’t breathe and had a panicky moment where I thought I might just pull out of the race.  I did a quick stroke of breaststroke, took a calming breath, and told myself to stop being such a baby. After that I settled in and just swam.  I caught a gal with a few hundred to go and was pleasantly surprised to get out of the water in 2nd! My training time has been a bit limited with work and being a mom so I have had to prioritize the bike and run.  That means most weeks I only swim twice, and it’s usually on my own.  It’s not ideal, but it’s what I can do.

 

Once I got on the bike I was in heaven.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this bike course! BIG rollers, pretty scenery, and after the first 15miles you just GO! I got passed by a few gals early, but stuck to my HR plan.  HR is such a great way to race – it tells you how your body is doing on the day. I know that if I keep my HR just under 150  I can have a strong ride (that is sustainable) AND still have legs to run after. Sometimes it’s hard to let girls go when I feel like I might be able to hang, but I have gotten caught up in the melee before – it usually results in a great bike and a really shitty run. The bike flew by and I was off in 6th.  I just had to hang onto that to take home some $$!

The first time I really got a look at my competition on the run was at the first turnaround, just past mile 3.  I saw that a couple gals were several minutes up (eventual top 3 finishers), one gal was about 2 minutes up and another was only 2 minutes down.  Now the girl that was running in 7th at that point, Alicia Hill, had just beaten me a few weeks before at the Santa Rosa 70.3….by 5 seconds! She is a way stronger runner than me and she was definitely COMING! I decided that I was just going to try to hold her off as long as possible, even after a quick bathroom stop in some bushes (oops!) By the time we hit the half way point, I heard that 5th was starting to fade.  I was less than a minute down – that was doable.  I knew that 7th would probably get me so in my mind I thought I would have to run down the girl in front of me to take home a paycheck.  FINALLY at mile 12 it happened.  I was a little worried to make the pass because I was starting to fade as well, I backed off the pace a little to recover and then I tried to look as strong and fast as I possibly could when I finally went around her (just after mile 12).  I was really hoping she wouldn’t call my bluff! As I got closer and closer to the finish, I knew Alicia was probably right on my heels. I tried to pick up the pace and increase my turnover. I gave that last mile EVERYTHING I HAD. With about 20 meters to go I took a look behind me and no one was there. I breathed a sigh of relief that I didn’t have to sprint it in, smiled, and crossed the finish line in 5th.

Of course I’m excited to get a paycheck and pay for my first 2 races of the season. BUT I think the thing I’m most proud of is that I executed my race plan exactly and kept fighting even when things got really hard.  I am also excited that I am continuing to make progress.  It’s always hard to be away from my two favorite people (Mark and Hanna), but I hope that I am setting a good example for my little one – that you can be a good mom (at least I hope I am!) and still follow your dreams.  See you in Whistler! 



Where there\'s a will... , 2016-09-02

Yesterday I woke up, and for the first time in 12 years, don’t have a “full-time” job! I know, crazy, right? Well, let’s be honest, it’s not that I’m not working, but just don’t have the typical 9-5 anymore.  Yesterday, I said goodbye to my amazing Pottery Barn Kids team, and my 8 year tenure at Williams-Sonoma, Inc.  The company is incredible, but my head and heart have been pulled in another direction.

 

Let’s start from the “sort of” beginning.  From the time I entered the workforce at 22, I have always thought a desk job and a life in corporate America wasn’t really for me.  But I found my niche in Business planning (anyone who knows me knows I’m a HUGE planner) and when we moved to CA 8 years ago I settled in well at Pottery Barn.  The people were great, the job was as fun as a job inside at a desk can be. Eventually I was able to gain a lot of flexibility with my hours and work from home 3 days a week to pursue my professional triathlon career.  Not every company would be willing to make that happen, but WSI really does care about its people.  In the back of my mind, I always thought I would eventually leave corporate America, and that I would really like to get into coaching, but I had a good gig and the years kept ticking by.

 

Then Hanna was born.  I absolutely LOVED being with her on my maternity leave.  I know a lot of women say they kind of look forward to going back to work – they get to interact with adults and feel like they have more of a purpose than just keeping this tiny human alive.  Which, let’s be honest, even though it’s an incredible experience, isn’t always super exciting.  I am NOT judging those moms, IN ANY WAY, but I just wasn’t one of them! Even though I liked my job, I wasn’t looking forward to going back to work. Maybe it’s because I found a great rhythm with training and mothering, or maybe it was just time to find something else “to do”.  My maternity leave ended in January and it only took about 3 weeks of being back at work before I finally decided it really wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore.  I missed my baby and I needed a change. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Check!

Now to find the solution.   Step 1 was already in place.  For the last couple years I have had the privilege to work with the incredible team at Coeur Sports (www.CoeurSports.com), planning and purchasing.  Until this year, my contribution had been pretty small, just a few hours here and there.  But the business has been growing quickly and each month there seems to be a bit more to do than the last.  I saw how very soon this could easily be my full-time job, or at least part-time to start. 

My new work wordrobe - this really isn't a plug for Coeur gear - i just LITERALLY wear my Coeur run shorts and hoodie EVERY DAY!

Step 2 was to FINALLY do what I had been wanting to do for years…coach!  But how should I get started? What about insurance? What would my strategy be? What about my business model? There are a lot of details to work out before I even THOUGHT about taking on athletes.  For some help getting started, I reached out to pal, Sonja Wieck.  She is an amazing triathlete herself and has been coaching for years.  To my surprise she didn’t just answer my questions, she offered me a job. She had just launched a coaching company, Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching (www.risingtidetri.com) and was looking to bring on additional coaches to help with all the athletes that were pouring in.  This was the perfect situation for me – I’d get to coach in a big community (have I mentioned I love people?!?), have Sonja as a mentor, and let RTTC handle on the administrative stuff!  Very quickly I reached my 1 on 1 athlete capacity (my pre-set capacity while still working full-time) and KNEW this was what I was meant to do! I am so passionate about health and fitness and love love love working with people and helping them reach their athletic goals!

One of my new offices!!

With Coeur and athletes, I was getting close, but I still needed a little more work to make up the income gap if I were to actually quit my dayjob (may this Bay Area place is PRICEY!).  I have made some money racing this year, but I know better than to count of prize purse paychecks for income (pass the food stamps)! Then the tipping point came. I had been discussing doing some masters / tri group coaching under my coach, Tim Sheeper.  While I was away at Vineman (70.3) Tim sent me an email that said he was looking for a masters coach 3 mornings per week and someone to coach a B ride on Saturdays – starting pretty much straight away (www.menloswim.com , www.teamsheeper.com – look me up if you are in the area and want some awesome training!!). That same weekend I got an email from the owners of Coeur saying they wanted more help as well.  With the additional Coeur hours and new coaching responsibilities I was there! I couldn’t believe it, I had reached my goal.  Now I just had to give my noticed.

My other new office - wtih a gorgeous arrangement from my dear PBK coworkers!

That next Wednesday (July 13th) I told my boss I was leaving.  I gave 4 ½ weeks notice, feeling guilty about departing at all.  I was asked to stay on a couple extra weeks so my end date was set for 8/31.  The only problem with that date was that I was already working the additional hours at Coeur and began coaching for Tim at the same time.  Needless to say the end of July and all of August were quite busy! I was basically working from 5AM until 9PM every day, with a few hours for training and as much Mark and Hanna time as I could squeeze in.  When my last day finally came it was almost surreal, and a huge weight off my shoulders at the same time.  That night I checked in on all my athletes and after went to check in on my PBK email.  Then it hit me – I don’t have to do that anymore!! I am beyond ecstatic that now all my focus can go to my family, a company I adore, my athletes, and of course a little more training time for this mom as well J

 

My goal was to quit my dayjob, my stretch goal was to do it before Hanna turned 1.  Now here I am, 2 weeks away from Hanna’s first birthday, writing a blog in the middle of the day on a Friday! Not only do I have more flexible hours and the ability to work from home – I have done it by transitioning into the exact work I wanted, and LOVE!, to do.  I couldn’t be happier and I am SOO grateful to all the people who helped make this happen!  It seemed like a long road to get here, but once I made the decision to go for it, it only took me 7 months to make it happen.  It just goes to show you, where there’s a will, there’s a way!