To Swim or not to swim , 2016-04-24

As my coach once said, “You’re never going to win a race in the swim, but you can lose one.”


The swim in a triathlon is almost always relatively short compared to the bike and run, probably somewhere between 8-12% of your total race time.  So why even bother spending time in the pool?  I mean you could work your butt off for months (maybe even years) and only gain a few minutes in the water.  What's the point? (There is a point, I PROMISE!)


The point is that the swim is the first thing you do in your race.  Sure, you might only be a few minutes behind your competition when you exit the water, but how much more energy did you use? The point is you shouldn't think about your swim fitness in terms of your swim time.  You should think about your swim in terms of how fresh can you feel for the bike and run!?! 


I'm often asked, "How can I improve my swim?".  The number one way to improve your swim is to SWIM! There's no substitute for time in the water.  There are, however, a few ways you can enhance your swimming and make staring at that black line a little more effective AND FUN!


Recently I collaborated with Sonja Wieck, triathlon coach extraorinaire and founder of Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching, to come up with a super fun and informative 7 DAY SWIMMING CHALLENGE.  The challenge is FREE (of course!) and you can sign up here:

(Just click the banner at the top of the page!)


Each day you'll get a new bit of info on how to improve your swim (wtih a video and some commentary by yours truly).  There will be a daily challenge AND PRIZES! So sign up here if you are interested in jump starting your swimming and/or being part of a community interested in improving their swimming and overall racing!  During the challenge we will cover these ways to a faster swim in your next triathlon!


Improving your swim technique

Pool drills to simulate open water swimming

Swim specific strength training

Breaking down the race gear - what you need and how to choose the gear that's right for you!

Open water swimming strategy

Mental preparation - it's not just physical!


I hope you'll sign up and follow this 7 day journey with us!  Sonja and I will be available every step of the way to answer questions and help you get going! To be eligible for the prizes (register) and then use the following handles and social media outlets to enter! (and keep us updated on how you are doing throughout the challenge). I'm SUPER pumped to get everyone out the door and in the pool next week.  I hope you'll join us!


#7dayswimchallenge @RisingTideTri



  • FaceBook: (make sure to like RTTC) @Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching

  • Instagram: @RisingTideTri

  • Twitter: @RisingTideTri


Happy Swimming!!

Back from Baby , 2016-03-06

It’s hard to believe the last time I wrote a blog was 3 weeks before our little munchkin was born.  Now we have an amazing, giggly, wiggly 5 ½ month old! I’m back to work (tear) and after a stomach bug and a 3 week long cold to start 2016, I’m also finally back to “real” training!

So fun to be climbing in the redwood forests again!!


So how have things been going? Pretty well, I think!  Hanna is a super happy baby and has gone pretty easy on mom and dad.  That’s not to say we haven’t had our challenges – for the first 6 weeks she ate every 90 minutes AROUND THE CLOCK (and still eats about every 3, sometimes even at night – no full nights of sleep so far!).  But she hardly every cries, started smiling regularly at about 3 weeks, and is pretty content to be in the stroller while mom runs (THANK GOD!).

Poor little miss has spent A LOT of time like this!


When I wrote my last blog (at 37 weeks pregnant), I was adamant that I would at least TRY to go back to racing pro.  That has definitely NOT changed, although I think my expectations for how well I will race have.  I signed up for the Wildflower Half on 4/30, so in just 8 short weeks I will be lining up with some of the best ladies in the business.  If you had asked me 6 months ago, I would have said I would like to try to be where I was when I raced Wildflower in 2014 (cue the laughter from those with kids).  Now I just want to have a solid day and finish strong.  I have seen new moms accomplish some pretty amazing things – racing WELL at Half or full Ironmans just a few months after their babies were born.  Since the precedent has been set that something like that Is POSSIBLE, I wanted to be able to make it happen, too.  However, now being back at work full-time and squeezing in as much training as possible, while still try to be the best mom I can be (and breast-feeding), I realize if I chase that goal I’ll kill myself.  HUGE respect to those ladies who pulled it off!  Instead, I have decided to nix the version of myself that got into a massive hole of fatigue and illness in my first year as a pro and actually practice some PATIENCE this season.  (patience, what’s that, right?) My new goal is to PR at Ironman Arizona at the end of the season.  It’s time to play the long game! 

A lot of people have asked what my progression back to fitness has been like, so here goes.  The first 4 months I didn’t worry about “training” at all! I started exercising a few days after Hanna was born – walking, jogging, cycling, then finally adding swimming about 3 weeks later.  BUT I kept the intensity low and just tried to enjoy what I was doing.  I think the biggest shock was how terrible I still felt in the pool the first time I jumped in post baby.  I had read that returning to swim post partum (if you had been swimming during late pregnancy) was that you immediately felt amazing – no lung capacity of someone at 14,000ft, no drag from a huge belly.  Maybe I didn’t feel worse than when I was pregnant, but the first swim did not feel amazing!  I felt like I was drowning – I wasn’t sure if my arms were really clearing the surface! And I was definitely still out of breath.  The best part of the road back to fitness is that after having a baby, though, was that because I was SOOO slow in the beginning, I have gotten to make AMAZING progress the last few months.  I think I dropped about 10 seconds / 100m in the pool in just the first few weeks!  I don’t think I have seen that kind of progress since I was about 7. 

Hanna has gotten in a little swimming of her own!  And she INSISTED on watching the marathon olympic trials!


Now I’m building back slowly and paying careful attention to my heart rate in training.  If Hanna (and subsequently I) have a bad night of sleep, I cut back on the training that next day.  Last week I got in just over 16 hours of training and will probably max out around 20-22.  For those of you who are interested, the 16hrs included:

Swim: 3hrs

Bike: 7.5hrs

Run: 3..75hrs (3 of which were with baby+stroller)

Strength: 2hrs

Because I’m not going to be able to put in quite the same number of training hours I used to, I’m just going to have to train SMARTER! I’m also going to have to make sure my diet is 100% in check. I know some of the women (maybe guys, too) will be curious about my weight loss journey these past few months– I know I wanted to know how other moms managed to get their bodies back!  For the first 3 months I didn’t really TRY to lose weight – I wanted to make sure I could keep up with feeding my hungry little girl (and her 12lbs of weight gain in the first 5 months!) AND let’s be honest, I didn’t want to miss out on any pumpkin pie or Christmas cookies.  I was pleasantly surprised that I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight in about 4 months, although my body composition is still a little different (a little less muscle, a little more tummy).  I’m sure I could have done it sooner without the holidays, but man did I enjoy the holidays!  Now, 5 ½ months later, I’m back to my “training” weight, but still have about 5-6lbs before I get to my “goal race weight”.  This is where the challenge begins.  Breast feeding helps the cause, but I had to start saying no to bread and dessert, two of my favorite things.  I THINK about going to the donut shop down the street on an almost daily basis, but I have managed to steer clear (for the past few weeks anyway).  I try to jam as many vegetables into whatever I’m eating as I can, eat HUGE salads for lunch, and even celebrated national pancake day with a grain and sugar free version (bananas, eggs, coconut flour ).  So far I think it’s working, but we’ll see if I can get to where I want to be by April 30th.   My husband laughs at the hours of pain through which I’m willing to suffer for training and racing, yet somehow I can hardly stand to be hungry for 30 minutes! 

First attempt at cauliflower pizza - thank god for the sauce, pepperoni, and cheese!


In addition to getting back to fitness, I hope to be a better blogger this year.  I hope to continue telling my story of juggling all the things that life throws at me, while still pursuing my passion.  I don’t share my journey to impress or awe, but to hopefully show that if I can do it, any mom (or dad) out there can do it, too!  You just need a little determination and desire – and some solid planning ;)



My VIP this blog is an amazing athlete, mom, coach, and friend!  She recently launched an online coaching business, Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching (RTTC), and was kind enough to let me join on as a coach.  She has an incredible wealth of knowledge when it comes to training, racing, and how to work with athletes and I feel INCREDIBLY lucky to be able to join her team! 

VIP#38 Sonja Wieck!!

I first met Sonja in Austin back in 2012.  We were friends of friends and decided to meet up for dinner after the race.  I knew I liked her instantly.  She’s extremely positive, but real.  She is an incredibly hard worker and I’m so inspired by the way she has pursued her passion on and off the race course.