Thursday, October 19, 2017's a love-hate relationship

Kona is my happy place the 9 days leading up to the Ironman World Championship!  IMWC is my favorite swim, the bike and I have an inconsistent relationship and the run, well let's just say we are at odds.

This was my 6th Kona and every time I well up with tears of gratitude and excitement treading water Kailua Bay and again at the magical finish line.

So here is how it went down in 2017!

Swim: 58:05.  Best swim in Kona.  I felt great the entire swim and was swimming strong and comfortably, never out of breath and just under, pushing it too hard.   I worked for this.  Post IMBoulder we did a 3 week swim block of 25K a week with a few 7-8k swims and this gave my swim a bump that carried me through to Kona.  I consistently swim 15k a week with a few 18K weeks.  2 solid masters sessions with 5k where I am all in and often would finish up a bit smashed with a lolling head in the showers.  3rd swim a long aerobic swim with lots of pulling and the 4th varied from a recovery swim to a shorter masters session.

Fueling:  pre swim:  20 oz Right Stuff and 1x Glukos Gel

Bike: 5:49:35  I have ridden faster and slower here, but looking at power which is what is telling, I was within 5 watts of my good years. But what was different this year was the last 30 miles I was feeling great.  The grind from Waikaloa to the turn to town I was in my aero  bars, hitting my power and feeling solid.  Most years I am massively uncomfortable, fighting the head wind and miserable.   Few changes here was a core focus that last month which was really for the UPR and I think that really helped my lower back. Every day 10-12 min, nothing crazy but made a difference AND my last long mid week rides were post long swim.  There is something about the neck and lower back muscles swim to bike.  We do a lot of bike to run bricks but I think long swim to bike are beneficial as well.

Fueling:  Plan was 2x 750 calorie bottles with carbo pro + caffeine but when I reached for my bottle turning onto the Queen K it was gone. So either I hit a bump and lost it without knowing or someone grabbed it - hard to say.  Minor panic and had to readjust.

First 3 hours:  1x gatorade endurance + 100 calories shot blocks + 1 1/2 bottles water /hour with Right Stuff: 250 calories and 1800mg/sodium
Next 2:50min:  Special needs I had 200 calories stick rice balls + 250 cal/hour carbo pro + caffeine and 48oz water with the right stuff

Run:  4:34:46  - this pains me to type. OTB I was wobbly on the pier but who isn't.  Running out of T1 I was feeling relaxed and great.  First few miles breezed by with ease, holding back the pace  I took in a water at each aid station + shot block but SHOULD have been drinking 4-5 cups and started the sodium immediately. OR had a full bottle with the goal of getting it all in the first hour.   Mile 4 I started seeing black spots and feeling dizzy and my legs locked up.  I increased fluids and sodium was running ok until mile 7-8 and then  coming up Pilani I had serious waves of dizziness and black spots and had to walk. I was terrified my race was coming to an end.  I was walking and jogging to keep moving.  At the Queen K was more walking. Between MIke and John telling me more fluids, coke, salt I was tuning them out and giving up, it was just horrible.  Mike told me run 100 steps and walk 10, I ran 100 and walked 25 and slowly increased the running to 200 and managed this through the next few aid stations but was so low and was passed by enough women with 8's that my dreams of a podium finish were slipping away, it became about finishing the race.  Around mile 13 I changed it up and took 1 cup of everything, water, coke, water, Gatorade, red bull, water and the volunteer dumped 1/2 gallon ICE water on my head and the fog began to clear and I was moving , slowly but running.  So every aid station I did it all, hat in ice water and a liteny of fluids.  It was just so damn hot,  the lovely cloud cover we had in years past was non existent- it was full sun blazing sun that was relentless.   From here it was one mile at a time.  Entering the Energy Lab I was feeling better and running back around the 10:00 mile pace.   It was not pretty and it was painful but I was moving and just kept going,  I was chasing the sun and decided I'd rather drop on the road versus walking any more.  The slog back up the Queen K was a new place of pain  and suffering but seeing PalinI I started to cry, I am going to finish.  Ruining down Pilani was so painful I cannot really explain it and then it gets a bit fuzzy.  Years past, not matter how hard that final run to the finish line is so amazing, slapping hands with tears of joy but I don't recall much other than the girl who passed me in the chute, yes my AG and beat me my 6 seconds.

I remember finishing and then it goes dark.  Next memory is the med tent.  Lost 9lbs and when asked could not give a clear answer about my location.  When the Dr asked me to follow his finger with my eyes I apparently told him that if he held it still I could follow it.  That along with telling him I was at a circus and I earned and IV.  10 min later it was all coming back to me.

So with that I have conflicted feelings.... elated to have have been her and finished but so disappointed to not have held my run together! 

John and Mike were invaluable out there, thank you!!  Hillary, your words got through to me as well.

So we close another Kona.  Here is what I know

1-I will be back but not in 2018
2- I  have to figure out how to manage losing 84L of fluid/hour and 3100mg of sodium before I return.  The heat and humidity is what is killing me here.
3- My run needs to be at at different level
4- I  need to fix my imbalances that are limiting me on the run

So Mike and I are working on a plan that does not include IM in 18, expect maybe very late in the year -  it's a long list to fix before I come back to Kona!

Even with the pain and suffering this is an amazing place!  hats off to those who can executed a sold race in Kona.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Chattanooga 70.3 Race Report

Racing alongside these 2 awesome women who I also
coach is priceless! 
I swam 1.2 miles, bike 56 and ran sort of 13.1 miles, ate tacos, drank wine and called it a day.  

Swim: 29:20  I went out hard with 2 solid swimmers and by the 1st turn buoy I was gasping for air and struggling, nearly had to roll over to catch my breath.  This pace was not sustainable so I dialed it back a bit and swam hard.  Sighting was nearly impossible due to the sun coming up, even with polarized goggles, I could not see.  

Water was fairly open for about 500 meters and then we started to come upon the slower swimmers.  I felt like I swam 26-27 and am thankful I did not see my swim time or I would have been a bit upset. I was 5th out of the water which tells me I did not swim all that well.  FYI I don''t like getting beat on the swim, I don't like getting beat in general, but on the swim, especially NOT.  So to say I was running through T1 psyched would be a bold faced lie.

T1- out of the water, along the grass, sharp left up the ramp to the top, up the hill and into the bike racks.  My helmet was on and I headed right to 464 looking to make up time in transition.  Turns out my number was 364 and that took some time to figure out.  So onto the bike feeling pissed.

Legit bike course I should have LOVED
Bike: 2:56:30  Goal was 2:50.  I kept saying, find your happy place, find your happy place, fck my legs hurt, find your happy place, my legs really hurt and so it went like this .... Onto the climbs, the steep 3 miles where I should have been happy but I was whining that my legs hurt, my power was low and where for the love of god was the top. Crested the top and thought "8 miles done, 48 to go"  WTF,  why did I race, I could be drinking coffee or wine now and so it went.  My head was in a dark spot, I was even secretly wishing for a major mechanical so I could stop, a " gentle" run in with a car where I was not really hurt nor was my bike, but I had to quit..... okay not really, but maybe.  I rocked the descents!  I was spot on my nutrition and hydration but legs were flat.  I did my best to stay positive and enjoy the descents and the frequent women in my age group passing me.  I stopped counting, okay not really, I just got more frustrated.  I tired to enjoy the countryside, the cars on the roads that were closed blocking me from passing a few women, focus on how fortunate I was to be there, wishing I was not there. pondered competitive knitting, planned post race celebrations and then it was onto T2.  Tried not to throw my bike at the volunteer and did say thank you running to my bag. I had the right #, go the right bag and tried again to maximize T2 so hopping on one foot, put my socks and shoes on, knocking over a chair filled with urine, gross- who does that? Just pee on your bike and yourself.  Started to run out of T2 with my bike bag but decided to drop it off.  Onto the run, Yea! 

All those hill repeats SHOULD have helped 
Run: 1:58:44 END OF BLOG.... This was sad, mile 1 was nothing spectacular and I am going to be honest here.  I was so far off my goal race I did give up.   I am ashamed of this but honest about it.  I just ran, no watch and minimal effort.   I did not walk and I did not yell at anyone, except the one large volunteer who said "come on honey, pick it up"  and I dropped and F Bomb.  When that happened I decided I maybe having a shit race, I may not be happy, but I can be nice.  So for the next 8 miles up and down those dang hills, over those lovely bridges, I was nice to the 500 women that passed me, to the volunteers and kept my fits clinched to not to accidentally flip the bird.  To say I was miserable physically would be lie, my HR was low and I was our for  Saturday jog, but I was in a world of mental hurt.   Considering 2 weeks prior I ran 17 miles 20 sec/mile faster, I did not deserve that medal.
That Aero helmet looks amazing on you ....said no one ever

The finish line was (for those passing me), red carpet, jumbo tron and tons of crowds! 

Yeah I am done!   Having friends, my athletes and so many familiar faces made the finish line and post race fantastic.  

There you have it..... onto Kona.  Most work here needs to happen in my brain!  

Currently on my iPad
- How Bad Do you Want it
- Calm the Fck Down
- Elite Minds

I need some attitude adjustment.....

Nothing sugar coated here my friends!  

Ironman 70.3 World Championship

This is not my race report but more an overview of the 70.3 World Championship venue, format and overall experience.  Race report to come later.

Chattanooga is a very cool town!  I have been to Nashville, love it and to Knoxville, back in college and arrived in Chatty with minimal expectations.  Its a beautiful town, rolling or extreme steep mountains hills, lots of green and the river right down the middle.  The downtown area is clean, walkable and a offers a great venue for a race. Clearly the city knows how to do this with an Ironman and 70.3 already held at this venue.  

We stayed at the Springfield Suites, .4 miles from the Village, and this was ideal for a few reasons. Modern accommodations with a fridge and microwave and small sitting area works well for a race.  Free breakfast was helpful for the coffee, oatmeal and fruit.  The rest of the offerings did not fit my pre- race diet - ie: powdered eggs, fruit loops and donuts but did offer a variety for all.   The location was not downtown which made getting in and out easy.  The traffic in Chatty is horrible, so when we needed to drive anyplace, Whole Foods twice a day,  it was relatively easy.  

This is the first year Ironman split the men's and women's race.  Women only raced on Saturday and Men on Sunday.  We arrived Wed after a long day of travel- no direct flights. But we there in time to hit WF and settle in.  
92 countries 

Thur AM we walked to the practice swim and it was chilly 59 degrees,  The river was moving reasonably well and the 600M course was 65% faster down river.  I was excited for this for race day!   Water was warm, no wetsuit and really comfortable.  
Turns out by race day the turned the current  off, or at least 95% of it and must have tested the water with and ice pack.  So the promised "challenging" swim was now more like a lake and wetsuit legal. Shame on you Ironman, dumbing down the swim.   When do they ever make the run course easier?   The argument was they wanted everyone to make the cut off...really?  this is a World Championship!   My #1 complaint.  The swim start was by age group but self seeded by time within the wave. Every 10 seconds 10 went off.  Interesting start and while I prefer a mass start I was informed logistically by @ceoironman that was challenging as we only had 300 meters to the first buoy, not enough room to spread out.  400 athletes in the bigger waves and 300 meters to get to the buoy = cluster fck.   The idea of the wave, staggered starts was also to spread out the course.   Personally I saw a fair amount of drafting but was quite happy to see the 2 worst offenders around me get nailed.  @CEO says 50 drafting penalties for the women's race, not sure about the men.   

On that subject WHY not make it a 10 min penalty at a World Championship?  

A few 35-39 yo guys on the plane said "massive packs", there was no way around it.  He was telling me he was going 24mph at 150 watts for over 10 miles, claims he did NOT want to draft but could not hammer around 20 guys, Hard to say....but that is his story.  I have since reported him - ok not really but I did publicly shame him on FB after I recoreded the conversation, ok not really but that would have been funny. 

Registration was packed even on day 2 at 11am.  30+ minute wait but the volunteers were great and it was reasonably painless. Another $400 backpack and we were ready to roll.  

Racing on Saturday with women was fine, personally I like to mix it up.  I am old school, lets do mass starts and deal with the masses on the bikes.  I know a lot of women really enjoyed the "female" only race day.  I liked it for 2 reasons - 1: female pros got their own race, without the fastest AG men coming up on them and 2- it was great to watch the men's race on Sunday.

I understand the format is going to stay this way, so I suppose I need to accept it. But so help me if they do this in Kona..... 

The bike course was not the same as the 70.3 or the Ironman and it was tough!  At mile 3 you start a steep 3 mile climb, it was steep and tough!  the rollers and a few more steep climbs through mile 22. Somewhere along that portion you cross into Georgia.   The course was challenging and beautiful. My complaint is the open roads, we had cars along the course, both directions and a few times I was stuck behind a slow car who was stuck behind cyclists.  It was dangerous and I saw a few women pass the car on the left, crossing the center line and risking oncoming traffic.  I was floored the roads were not closed.  Although I learned on Sunday the roads were in fact closed, so there you have it- Impossible to manage all the small side streets and turn offs.   I am thankful no one was hit.   I had a few encounters with some unhappy locals that involved the finger ( on their part). 

Run, so this was brutally hard especially since my legs did not show up.  But it was fair and a great course for spectating and crowd support.   The course stared up hill  and then went down along the river, through neighborhoods, across the river, up and down and up and down and back over the river and again.  

Finish line was a nice down hill and epic!  World Championship red carpet, 92 countries flags flying, jumbo tron and the music to make you smile even if you were barely moving.  Great finishers area with good food options  Piggy Mac (shredded pork covered in mac-n-cheese- welcome to the South), Fajita tacos or Pizza and Beer.   Large grass area and great area to hang out.   Training Peaks had a booth and you could get instant results with your stats- nice touch.  

Finally a very cool finisher hat- Boco Technical trucker hat and another ugly shirt, which Les and I decided is on purpose to push people to buy more merchandise.  Another medal, personally I'd prefer a nice water bottle but I maybe in the minority there too.  

Final thoughts....

- Chatty is great venue for an Ironman- would definitely consider the full or the 70.3
- Great town but you are not in So Cal and the 2 times we dined out that was apparent BUT there is a Whole Foods minutes away so that levels the playing field. But you can get almost anything chicken friend, even at WF "chicken fried tofu"
- Nicest people, 99% of the people we met were friendly, appreciate the race and wished us good luck
- The Tennessee River is really nice
- Ironman knows how to put on a top notch race
- No Southwest or Alaska flights to bikes are expensive- instead of paying American $300 I paid TBT $350 and that is a seamless way to go
- Check your connection, flying through Charlotte to San Diego IS NOT the most direct route home 
- watching the men's bike out-  my PSA is that if you are not 100% efficient at mounting your bike with shoes clipped in, and you cannot seamlessly slip your feet in, DONT do it.  We say 2 crashes from guys weaving trying to look at their feet, get their feet in and took out another biker and themselves.  Watching Javier Gomez run at a faster pace than I raced with one had on his saddle and leap onto his bike and pedal off, was amazing!!!    Most of the men I watched with shoes attached were slower pedaling out and getting their feet in than those running in bike shoes and hopping on. 
- Transition practice may not have helped at this race unless you practiced exiting the water, stripping wetsuit, running across grass field, up a ramp with slippery tape, up a hill and into T1, but something to consider. 
- they needed signs in T2 like they have in Kona, "peeing in a chair will result in penalty" I opted to transition standing up after seeing 5 chairs with pee puddles.   Seriously, pee on your bike or use the giant blue structures in T2
- Racing with 2 of my athletes and friends was amazing and fun!  Seems 1/2 of San Diego was there.
- FINALLY a tracker that works!! It was great to see someone go into T2, see the tracker update bike split, and then see the T2 split and know I would see them .5k later.  
- I now know how to property spell Chattanooga 

Cheers... race report up next, once I have courage to review my stats. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Green Noser

Come on .. you know who you are!   Training Peaks Users ... the ones who will sacrifice whatever it takes to ensure their workout shows green.  It maybe 9pm but you are hopping on the trainer to get in that 45 min spin, you are waving you arm under water while kicking so the Garmin tracks the yardage correctly or are emailing coach with "the why."  I could write and entire blog on why it's not green.

For those who have no idea what I am talking about .... Training Peaks is a coaching software and the coach writes workouts, athlete uploads workouts and it athlete does the workout as planned the workout shows completed and turns green.  If you are  50-79% or 121-150% the workout shows completed and turns yellow and god forbid if you are less than 50% or greater than 150% the workout shows red.

Green Noser

Rainbow Training Peaks
So you can see a few examples -  sure we all like to comply but as in life there are the A+'s the perfectionists who freak out if it is not in  " my kicking did not show up in the swim and it is now yellow- can I manually change it"  , " I got stuck at work, can I move and make it up tomorrow so it is not red?", " I stayed in a bit longer but only recorded 30 min as I wanted it green"  and the list goes on and on  and on....

And then there are the rainbow athletes- all colors every week.  I had an athlete after months of working together say to me on a call, "hey by the way, what to all the colors mean in Training Peaks"  Okay, all you Green Nosers, collectively sigh :) 

Here is the deal, as a coach, I care more about what you accomplished in the workout-  did you hit the intervals, the numbers, the watts, paces - whether your gamin paused or died or malfunctioned is your issue.  Did you DO THE WORK and if so how did it go?    If there are 6 red... are you skipping workouts or totally over training? I don't care about the red, I care about are  you getting the work done, understanding the workouts and making it happen. 

As for green, yellow, red... I get it, I am an athlete too BUT don't lose sight of what is most important.

So maybe someone can do a deeper study do Green Nosers have impeccably clean house, are the Type A personalities, are the meticulous, do they leave socks in the middle of the room, do they leave unfolded laundry on the bed.....

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

HUUB Axena Triathlon Wetsuit

Talk to most lifelong swimmers and you hear the same thing.. “I don’t like wetsuits.  They are restrictive, don’t allow full ROM in the shoulders etc.”  I have tried nearly all top of the line wetsuits- sure some are better than others but when I first put on the HUUB Axena I knew it was different.  

It is by an easy on and off wetsuit but is tight as every once zipped up.  The flexibility is o outstanding with no tightness in the upper body, chest, shoulders, arms, neck or the back of the knees. The construction of the suit allows for the wearer to easily get it past ankles and wrists. It is the only suit that does NOT feel restrictive in the neck and chest when you initially put it on.  Breakaway Zipper, the quickest in Triathlon (it takes  a few tries to figure it out). The zipper needs to be started before you put the suit on and cannot be zipped to the top or you activate the quick release which I did about 5 times in practice, yes I did practice pre- race.  When someone is zipping you up, make sure you explain this.  As you exit the water you pull up hard and the zipper releases and opens up down the back. Zero chafing for me without any lube or glide- I have done 3x 70.3’s, an Ironman and an Oly – no issues!   The soft material allows easy removal as well.     

I have a WM. According the Huub size chart, a medium fits women 5’2” – 5’9” of medium build who weigh 122-142lbs.  I am 5’8 138 LB and the suit fits me perfectly!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

how an 83 mile ride takes 9 hours and costs $127

Some days are epic riding days.....and then there are days that are NOT

Saturdays 80 mile ride plan was roll at 5:45 to knock out the ride early and get on with the day!  I had lunch plans with an athlete and allowed PLENTY of time for any unforeseen issues, or so I thought.

5 min into the ride Lil realizes she has a snapped cable and cannot get into the big ring, ride killer for sure.  So she had to bail and was back in her car by 6am.

Les and I rolled along making 2 Garmin stops as her Garmin was "misbehaving"  Should we have been wary?  No, because during a garmin repair stop when I hopped in the bushes I found this card (see below)  and thought it was sign.  I gave it to Les and said " we are good for the day"  One time ticket...

Well it seems we were NOT good

At Garmin stop #3,  I realized my aero bars were loose, well one of them was. 2 or 10 minutes later after I remembered righty tighty lefty loosy we were ready to roll out of the prickly bushes and gravel that likely had glass in it and I realized I had a slow leak.  Lets make this 15 min stop a 20 min stop and change it.  Instead I decided to use Pitstop which may have been 1 or 3 years old and was rusty and nipple kept flying off. The Pitstop  was mostly in the tire and my wheel looking like I rode through snow, I spun it around to "distribute the sealant"  Tire a bit low so I top it off with C02 and BOOM.  Tube #1

Quick(ish) change after I threw my tire levers in the bush and then picked them up so I did not litter,  after using Les' levers and new tube filled and ready to go.

On we go up the 79 and BOOM - Tube #2 (lots of possible reasons why, one being operator error and many others being from above)

We pull over again and change it again, with Les's levers and now her tube as mine are used up.  Fastest change yet and we are good to go for 30 sec and it goes again. WTF!  Tube #3

Clearly there is something in the tire, which we take off, again, turn inside out and lick the entire inside, okay not really, but thoroughly clear and check and check the wheel and Les now gives me a tube but the valve is too short, so I steal the extender off my front wheel and inflate and nothing.  Okay do we try one more, sure maybe I screwed up for the 10th time, and the CO2 goes in and out.

So Les now has 1 tube and no C02 and I have pile of gear and we are 40 miles from Nytro or home and John is working so I call Lil who is free due to her bike mechanical but she is 50 min away.  I try uber/lyft and find a driver 12 min away, which really is 30 min because the lyft map pings me 6 miles from where I actually am because I am jinxed on this day I send Les away as the driver is on her way or not.   I am in a safe place, reasonably so and Shannon, Lyft driver calls and says she is at the gate.  What gate, we then realize Lyft has picked a random address 6 miles away.  At this point I start to lose it, Shannon is very nice and patient as I drop a pin and text here.  30 ish minutes later she arrives and I get in her white car with white leather and I am covered in grease, tree sap (no clue) and dust and dirt from sitting along the road.  
Yes I cleaned this up 

She happened to be in Ramona, thank you lord (see he was looking out for me) but she lives in Oceanside. She was up early picked up a guy in Oceanside who needed a ride to Ramona.  Apparently he got in her car and said "since we have nearly an hour drive, I may as well tell you, I went out last night in Poway and woke up in Oceanside and I'm not entirely  sure how I got here"  LOL... thank goodness he was drunk and far from home as she was THE only Lyft/Uber options.  She used her Reiki on me, I guess she could feel a lot of my energy and let's say it was not the best and she gave me a great sunscreen tip, as she is also an estthetician.

I arrive at Nytro by 10, I have been up since 4:30 and ridden 28 miles.   30 min later  I am done.  Nothing wrong with the tire - the last tube had 4 tiny holes but no clear reason why.  Restocked and started my ride again.....  Found Les near Rancho Sante Fe, she only had 90 min left and I had 3.5 hours....  I was finishing in Elfin and deciced to  call it a day and go home and then I realized my car was off Lomas Sante Fe...nearly 9 hours later I had forgotten so I pedaled along back to my car.

4 x bike tubes @$8.00 =$32
5x C02 @ $3.00 = $15
1 x Pitstop @ $15
1x Lyft ride from (nearly in) Ramona to Nytro Multisport $52
1x waterbottle launched and run over later in the ride $6
Normal ride food/beverage $7 which may have included powdered sugar donuts at 2pm

For the record.....I am not a complete idiot about my bike.  I am actually pretty good- I can change ac a cassette, my brake pads etc- and I thought a tube. I better practice 5 more times. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Boulder 70.3

HIGHLY Recommend this race!!  here is my rundown

1- its FAST, partially because there is only 1700 ft of elevation on the bike and partially because the bike course is only 54.4 miles.   Funny how NO one mentions that on FB as they are boasting about their amazing splits, but when Ironman Boulder was 114 miles, EVERYONE had to mention it and some people even had 142.6 stickers made.  Yes it is a PR course but if you compare this bike to future will likely be disappointed.  If it's your PR, I'd put an * next to it, but that is just me.

2- It's mostly easy logistically, as in it all takes place at the Boulder Res vs split transitions, which my last 2 70.3's have been.  So registration, check in and T1/2 all in the same location.  Registration and bike drop off were not an issue but race morning...holy cow!  miles of traffic backed up to get to the Res, with one road in and out, it takes some planning.   Transition was open 5:30-7 and my place was to arrive around 6, with my wave not going off until 7:53.  I allowed 30 min for the 15 min drive and arrived at 6:05, but those who were later were in horrific traffic jams.  Plenty of parking at the Res. Race was delayed 15 min due to traffic delays- plan ahead!

3-  Wave starts vs rolling swim.  While I have been quite vocal about disliking the rolling start I was eager for the wave start so I would know where my competition was.  But that being said it makes the swim a shit show.  Wave 14, at least we were the first women's wave, but I must have swam over 500 people. I just don't think elementary backstroke is the right choice for an Ironman swim as you cannot see where you are going and the up/out/together with 2300 people you are likely to kick 1 or 100 people in the gut.  If you are struggling on the swim, get out of the thorough fare and roll on your back, but around the turn buoy is not ideal.  While the swim was a challenge i did like knowing where my competition was - legitimately not with any delay.

1 loop swim and the res is murky, water temp 72 so wetsuit legal.  There was cloud cover so we did not have to swim into direct sun.  Easy in and out with time to warm up.

4- Big transition area so you can bring a back pack and set up your area, but again not big enough for a bucket or costco size beach towel.  I was in the rack of misfit toys as I signed up late so it was the rack that was added and almost in Denver vs the AWA racks near bike out and bike in.  You exit transition and run up a hill with your bike, I had bike shoes on and no issue there and off you go exiting the Res for the bike.

5-  Note the roads are not closed and there are not cones blocking the lane so be mindful.  And please for the love of GOD ride on the right side   There are a few areas where you maybe at mile 3 or 18 or on your first loop or finishing so please pay attention.    When you ride to the left, it makes others have to go into traffic to pass.

6 -  Run is flat mostly but on gravel and not a fast run- look at the times.  For the Coloradans and other mountain goats I would think a reasonable run but this is where the altitude killed me.

As for my race....

swim was uneventful, other that than the obstacle course of people and lack of of 02.  I held more of an Ironman pace as pushing too hard simply gassed me.   27:26 right about where my other 70.3 swims have been,

T1 uneventful other than I could not find my bike-  duh!

Bike as noted mostly flat with a few false flats and the Nelson climb from IM Boulder. Temps were warm but not hot and my plan was to ride harder than usual.  The watts were a bit lower but if you take the altitude into consideration they were quite high.  I felt great, strong and fueling was spot on all with Gatorade, 100% new on race day.  3 1/2 x 24 oz bottles of Gatorade for total of  630 calories or 250/hour based on 2:30.  2x 24 oz of water.  52 oz/hour.  I wanted to try the "new" Gatorade endurance, less sweet, to how I would tolerate it. Taking nutrition from the course is so much easier.  It worked okay I think.  I tried it as this was a B or C race - if I puked then so be it - good place to try something new.

So I have been chasing a sub 2:30 bike split for a while and at 2 hours I had 10 miles go and I was riding 20.5 mph so I knew I would make it. I was super excited at mile 53 I was at 2:19 so 3 miles to go and 11 minutes NO problem ! And then boom at mile 54 we were turning into the Res, I figured a hot lap around the res to 56 miles but nope .4 miles later we were at bike dismount.  WTH?  Well I am still counting it as a legit sub 2:30 as I had time in the bank for another 1.6 miles.  2:22:57  23+mph

Run - legs were stiff coming out of T2 and I'm thinking oh boy.... the idea of riding harder than usual sounded like a good plan until now.  What if my run split is slower than my bike split?    Mile 1 is great,  all the tri club tents, I see coach and wave and am asking am demanding intel, where is she, how many minutes back???  .5 of a mile and your are out of civilization and onto the dirt/gravel for a short downhill and then a not so fun mile ish up hill-   My legs are not cooperating and I am not happy.  At mile 3 the garmin is turned around I just run by feel, because looking at the pace was really getting me down. So I  taking it 1 mile at a time, enjoying the downhills and trying to keep my form.   It was not pretty and the pace was slow but I stayed steady.  I got some intel that 2nd place was 2 min back and running well, at mile 11 she blew by me and there was not even a choice to go with her.  She beat me by 1:16 - not a lot BUT a lot with 2 miles to go. From there it was bout holding 2nd and i was hurting.  At mile 6 and 12 there is a sharp left, steep downhill and u turn and back up, all on gravel, on the uphill I saw 3rd and nearly panicked, okay fully panicked. She is a MUCH better runner than I and I had one choice, bury myself for the last .75 of a mile and I did, panicking and looking back in the chute.    I beat her by 1:10.  1:53:03- my slowest run of my last 5 70.3's but it was enough to hold off 3rd and 4th.  The altitude is where I really felt the run, trying to push the pace and I just could not.  Fueling:  2 cups of water at mile 1/2/3 with 1 shot block each mile, 4/5/6 1 shot block and 1 gatorade, 7-11 screw the shot blocks,  1-2 cups coke every aid station with water+ ice over my head. At 1 hour 1200 mg salt stick + with caffeine.  11-13 fueled on adrenaline and determination- #notstopping. That adds up to .... you do the math.

4:47:50 - I'll take that a YES!  solid race with little specific prep or taper.  So find the positives, don't dwell on coulda shoulda ... and look forward.   5 weeks to 70.3 Worlds and 11 weeks to Kona.

While Boulder is not a  home town race it is close with my sis and family living there and D3 based there. Having coach on the race course is motivating and just plain fun!   The D3 tent and support of the team was amazing. Follow that up with  a BBQ at Coach's house and call it a fun weekend!

The Ironman train is leaving the station.....
Why NO pictures.... I was solo - but promise you I was there :) 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Mixing it up a bit

One of the reasons I chose Ironman Boulder to try and KQ was its timing, With the goal or racing in Kona in October I wanted to see if I could have some time between the IM's versus last year's 3 Ironman races in 11 week scenario, which I recommend to NO one. 

I was fortunate enough to punch my ticket and then have a bit of breathing time before the IM build. In theory that could like like a solid mid- season break, shed fitness, eat / drink and relax and then rebuild.  But you know me and well that lasted about 7 days and I was itching to train.

Had a "summit" meeting with Coach and he came up with a great plan.... massive swim block for 3 weeks - as in 25k/week of swimming with lots of aerobic biking  and then upping the riding for a month, as in ride your bike as much as you like, no power guidelines, no trainer, no pressure, meanwhile keeping a modest run base (which scares me a lot, it's not like I have run fitness to lose, but I know, trust the process and the coach which I do 100% of the time)  

Give me a number, 25K and I am good to go.  Funny how 6k workouts became the norm and a 3K felt like a dip and dash, it's all about perspective.   After the block I was ready to dial back the swimming a bit and let my hair and body de-chlorinate.  Did I see big gains, no not really, but looking at this through the rear view window it was a good way for me to satisfy my " I want to be training" but allow my body to recover from Ironman. Good thinking Mike! 

The biking was great - hours of biking with the occasional review of power, and when I did review it, it was low, crazy low.  I was feeling great, rolling with a lot of volume until I wasn't...  and it all hit me like a ton of bricks.  Tired, sluggish, not sleeping, eating all the time and not really having fun. 

Eat more lemon thingies
What was it?  Too much volume?  Needed recovery?  NO, what changed was I started looking at my power meter and lost sight of the "just ride" and I started working towards a number, a goal and wanting to see my power back up.  That DOES not work!  Intellectually I know that, I needed rest before working on intensity, but well that is why I have a coach, I lose all perspective when it comes to me.  #followtheplan 

So we rested, hard!  With my brother and family in town it was time for a break- as in 4 days off of training and easing back into it.  I feel a bit like I am starting over, but know the fitness is there someplace.

I did the Solana Beach Sprint- ooff, short and hard!   The swim was a sh&t show, with a broken zipper on my speed suit (dusted that off from last year and clearly did not try it on) suit so I was swimming with an open back.  The broken zipper debacle did not allow for a warm up swim so I could not scope out the uneven entry thus fell in a few holes, nothing like running into the surf and poof face plant. Add the the long transition up a hill barefoot, which is a challenge for my wonky foot, and it was not my best.  Onto the bike.   Crushed the bike, all 9 miles of it- LOL- dug deep and had a ton of fun. Onto the run, sockless for a still not really fast transition and around mile 1 was regretting that.  The run was 20 sec/mile off where I wanted to be, just did not have it-  So tried to stay steady and around mile 2.3 when the blister opened up, hold cursing tyraid, I slowed and then did all I could to pick the pace back up and finish.  Amazing how and hour can be so painful. It was ton of fun with so many friends and racing along side one of my athletes- good stuff!  Les and I rewarded our selves with delicious toxic, chemically filled lemon thingies- seriously we could have eaten the whole box.  Purchased at Costco, they just maybe in our condo for consumption on October 15! 

Onto Boulder 70.3 .... because?  well I am in Boulder for Training Peaks Endurance Summits and the race is happening and Mike suggested it and well why not?  A lot of reasons actually 1- stiff competition as in 2 Kona podium girls racing, 2- my run fitness is not there as I have not been running much 3- bike is iffy, we are good for volume but the power for a 70.3? we shall see and 4- altitude.  But for the why? 1- I am there 2- my swim is good 3- I am health and can race 4-  I will not shy away from the fast girls even though I want to.

So we shall see what Saturday brings.... Post Boulder will be a bit of recovery from the race and then onto the Ironman build, with another 70.3 9/10 in Chattanooga!    Even though the post IM block was not a break perse, I am feeling eager and ready to get back to the Ironman build!

Friday, July 7, 2017

I want to swim faster

If I had a nickle for every time I hear this..... in all seriousness, I think it is the # 1 goal  I hear from any triathlete that not a swimmer from childhood.  Because frankly from my perspective, the swim is a frickin hour and the run is much can I dial back the clock to when I was 5 and swimming on the summer league team and put myself on the track.  WHY couldn't I have logged those million miles on the track? Well..... I did not and suffice to say that if I had been running track it is not likely I would have earned a scholarship to LSU for track.  I loved swimming and I loved growing up a swimmer.  I have been getting up at 4:30 since I was 12, I have had damaged hair (often green) and smelled like a bottle of beach most of my life.  I did take a hiatus from swimming from the age of  21-38, other than when I was pregnant, because I was SO burned out. Let's just say my last collegiate swim was the 1000 at SEC's, I hopped out of the pool, did not warm down, threw my cap and goggles in the trash can and said peace out to the pool, chlorine the lifestyle.

I became a competitive drinker and eater and was as successful as I was at swimming. Gained 20 lbs and felt just as poorly, but was hungover vs over trained.  18  months later I recognized this was not a sustainable lifestyle and went back to the pool, tried masters. The 2nd workout when coach gave a set I did not feel like doing I hopped out of the pool... because I COULD.  Again I said peace out and I decided to try and get fit on land.

I started running and loved it. It was a whole new world. 1- music 2- chatting with friends 3- I could go out my front door 4- no chlorine damage 5- no historical data to compare it to.

I was a recreational runner for years but somewhere around 30 I started to take it up a notch, sign up for races, go to the track, buy a giant GPS watch and then the cycle of injury began. See in swimming from Sr Age Group to College every workout was nearly to failure, puking was fairly common and pushing yourself to a limit of white lightening was common. So I applied a similar approach to ruining.  And I learned bones break, tendons tear, all pain is not good pain. See I did not know the difference.   Years of injury and recovery led me to triathlon...

So I digress that is my history!    When triathletes some of whom  I coach, others are friends - either in real life or on facebook, say " I want to be a better swimmer"

Here is my response

1- do you have the same commitment to swimming as you do biking and running
2- What does that mean?
   - if you are training for Ironman - are you logging a minimum of 15K per week
   - you are are training for 70.3 are you logging a minimum of 9K per week?
   - NOTE minimum and that is NOT because I am swimmer, it because that it what it takes to swim well.
3- Assuming you are logging that much (which most are not) how are you logging it?  ez swims, independent swims, OW swims without efforts?  Junk miles in the pool or OW are not helping you reach your potential.  I see so many just swimming along without using the clock, working hard efforts etc-  would you just ride your bike ez every workout?
4- think about what you do on the bike and run? Intervals, efforts, hill repeats- do you apply the same stimulus in the pool
5- Masters Swimming -  assuming you have access to a good program (which many do not I realize) you need to get your arse there.   I cannot push myself as hard as I do when Hux or Hillary is on deck at the Y.  It's hard, uncomfortable and sometimes down right miserable, but that is what it takes.  Ther are days post  swim I can be found on the bench, head in my hands trying to recover.   If you don't have a program that works, find  a buddy, commit to workouts and use the clock to dig deep and go hard.
6- Just because I am a swimmer does NOT mean I hardly swim- I swim a LOT and I swim hard to maximize my strength.

Questions....message me!  happy to help. Happy to explain what a base interval is and WHY you need to know it and how to use it.  Happy to explain why NOT to stop and start the fricking garmin the entire workout.   You want to wear it- no problem but start at the beginning and stop at the end!  You should be working so hard that you CANNOT be managing a watch.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ironman Boulder

Ironman #13 ! Go
having my sis and nieces and JD along the course was

The Why... early race, June 11, my sister and family live here- great accommodations, my Coach lives her and I've never done it.  

The Why (not)  Its at 5430 elevation!  Nuff said
my happy place

But I committed and signed went very well, finally hitting some solid run paces, had 2 good 70.3's and was feeling really optimistic going into the race.  That is until the taper started...yes we all feel crappy tapering but I think this was the crappiest ever.  I kept waiting for my legs to come around, for my swim to pop and I was coming up empty handed on most workouts and finally quit using a watch.  I was still holding out for the race day adrenaline.

Arrival here was a shock!  Encinitas has been 64 and cloudy for 3 weeks, which I personally love btw, but not ideal training for heat. My 5 days of sauna training was not seeming to be enough!  But who was heat training, it snowed in Boulder 2 weeks ago. We landed Friday and it was 93!  Yowza...I arrived as late as possible to try and "beat" (LOL) the altitude.  Ideally I would have come Saturday but that is not an option for Ironman so we came Friday with the goal of racing before my body figured out it was at 5430 feet.  I could not afford a month to acclimate so went with the 48 hours.  
why I love triathlon- amy, fellow HPB
fast camp camper

Not a lot of time to stress.... build bike, test ride, D3 party, sleep, pre- race running around, eat,  try and sleep 3:15 alarm - Race Day! 

Swim:  Boulder Res.  Wetsuit legal, although Friday night it was rumored non wetsuit and I left my skin suit at home total rookie move, so I panicked called Les at 4:30, she flew in her car, booked to my house, got the suit to fedex at 4:59 and I had it Saturday by 1pm. Meanwhile seems they opened up a damn or valve and let some icy water in and it was back to 69.  Reminder, come prepared for anything.
Another fast camp camper

1 loop swim- YES- love this as there is no lapping anyone on the 2nd loop.  It makes for a LONG swim but clean and nice.  I could feel the altitude immediately and backed off the effort, I let my O2 intake dictate the swim effort. Focused on long and strong and swam with loose group of 5 swimmers. Swimming in fresh water is preferable to me any day. Again I cannot say enough about my HUUB Axean Wetsuit- most comfortable wetsuit I have ever worn, with generous flexibility in the shoulders I hardly feel it. At 69 degrees i was warm but I will always go for a full wetsuit (vs sleeveless)up to 73 degrees. More buoyancy = faster swim, plain and simple.   Swim time 57:55, with my swim fitness I was hoping for a 55-56 but the altitude dictated my efforts, and overall, am happy with the swim.

Long transition but mostly on grass and with the wetsuit strippers it is fairly painless. Raced in my D3 Betty Designs kit with the Castelli Aero top (wore this under the wetsuit) Definitely NOT a fashion statement but I believe it's worth it-  reduced  drag on the bike and nice coverage from the sun.  There is some pretty solid data that really it gives you free speed.  
my sis! post race

Bike - 3 loops which was not bad and a solid course.  Not easy by any means AND 2 miles long- yes 114 miles.  4367 ft of elevation.   We adjusted my power targets for elevation and lowered my FTP by 7%  and I held to that, riding the course at 71%  (or 68% of my sea level FTP)  I am not going to lie, the bike was not all the comfortable after the first loop. My power dropped a few watts each lap and I was in more pain then should be that early in the race. And despite the flat aero rides i did in training my neck, shoulders and triceps were screaming in pain.  I am thinking it is the hard swim effort prior to the bike that is the added pain. So will talk to Mike about a few long swims pre long bike. 

Boulder has some beautiful riding and this course does no capture much of it- with 2 sections on the 36 highway you don't see a lot of stunning scenery.  The 3rd loop was definitely congested and if this race had 3000 ppl it would be a mess.   Roads are not closed so there are cars to contend with and had one near miss with a guy who passed and then pulled in front and stopped to turn right.  You need to be vigilant out there.  

Stuck to my nutrition plan
of course a selfie with Jay
10 x 24 oz bottles consumed- in 5:42- peed 5 times so stayed hydrated
2x bottles of Osmos  @105 calories each
3x bottles of Glukos @ 230 calories
2x Glukos bars (which the quit making so had to stock up off of Amazon) @230 each 
1 x bottle  Gatorade endurance  off the course @  180
1x cliff gel @ 100 calorie
1405 calories = 250/hour 

I was hoping for sub 5:30 bike but riding for time in an Ironman never makes sense... 1- course was long 2 - if its windy you lose time and are chasing speed over power and that will hurt the run and 3- ride with what you have

T2- even longer and painful on concrete, across a wooden bride and then 200 meters on the track, up the stairs and to the tent. Barefoot running aggravates my left metatarsal that did heal correctly and add a marathon on concrete and my foot is still angry today.

Run- I cannot remember the the IM I started running feeling great and this was no different.  I never asses how the run with go until mile 3, as sometimes it takes that long to settle in.  Let's just say by mile 3,  I knew it was going to be a slow really difficult run.  Add some serious GI distress and it was going to be tough. The support was  amazing and really what got me to my 2nd place finish and KQ.  #1 fan my devoted husband was all over the run course, I saw him at least 10 times and each time he was motivating and know what to say, just keep moving, run aid station to aid station.  #2 my family- sister, bro in law,
This is a MUST have- sold only in europe but
I can tell you it worked instantly.  3 porta potie
trips and got this and "it" stopped
nieces and my son- again popping up in random spots with signs and shirts. 

They all saw that deep in the hurt locker side of me, no expression and sheer pain look.  # D3 teammate and local support- being a home town company everyone knows D3 and much support and #4 my coach Mike-  having coach on the race course is such a bonus and he is tough, encouraging helpful.  I cannot explain how deep I dug and how much this race hurt. I new 1st place was a long shot as she is a 15x KQ with multiple podium finishes and local here in Ft Collins so it was about holding 2nd place. 

 It is so easy to justify walking to ease pain and let go of the dream- I walked the aid stations only and broke it up to 10 minute sections and took the course 1 mile at a time.  I quit the sport 10x , took up knitting and Kobucha brewing, visualized giving away all my running shoes and then I would visualize Alii Drive a just keep moving.  I reflected on " How Bad do you Want it"  " The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occassion"   Both are great mental toughness books.
Honored to be heading back to the Big
Island for #6 

Run was a 4:20 with a goal of 4 hours...but considering the altitude and how I felt I will gractiously accept this run - AND be happy.  Tough course...not sure when I dug this deep and suffered for so long. With only 5 amateur women going under 4 hours it was definitely a tough run course. 

All worth it.... punched my Kona ticket.  So onward to Kona for # 6 on that crazy island. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Pet Peeves (of the week)

Taper time..more time to blog :) 

1:  Masters swim and leading the lane.  We all have our respective lanes and most lanes have a few people who are the leaders most of the time (thank you) Either they just love to lead and/or they are fast enough to swim in a faster lane but choose not to.  They respectfully take the lead and pull us all- on a few occasions when they fatigue or are not feeling it, one of us but not all lemmings steps in to lead.  Then there is the day that NONE of the leaders show up. During warm up I know I am not the only one practicing my sighting to see if by chance a leader is lingering on the pool deck.  But alas..the first set starts and no leader.   We are left with a lane of no one wanting to lead.  I will generally start leading, it only seems fair, and it only seems obvious to me only apparently  that each of us non leaders will take a turn. But it never fails to surprise me when I say, "okay I lead that set, who is next?"  And the lane is slipping further and further back along the lane line, avoiding eye contact so I am the only one on the wall.  I could play the game too but I no I cannot do that so I continue leading with pent up aggression clearly.  Sometimes I rock it , others times I have to put on paddles to get it done.  Sunday I was fricking dying and literally bailed 2/3 of the way through the set.  Jumped out and said peace out.  Rant done!   And THANK YOU to the frequent leaders of lane 2 at NCMS! 

2:  Dog Beach:  If your dog loves to steal other dog's ball's please make sure you can get the dog to release it.  It is frustrating to no end when  said dog steals Roo and Mako's ball and runs away.  I try to get the ball and when I have no luck I go to the owner who is generally clueless and phone surfing.  "hey can you get your dog to drop the ball?"  Floors me when they say "no Fluffy just loves squeaky balls and won't give it up. If I chase her she just runs away"  followed up an annoying laugh and a blank stare.  Seriously?    I always bring 2 balls in case of dog theft or strong current.  But my spoiled dogs like the $3 squeaky balls so it gets expensive.  Or the people who come to dog beach with a ball obsessed dog and no ball and expect their dog to run and chase Roo and Mako's ball.  I get that Roo and Mako cannot expect exclusivity ok not really but play with your dog and get OFF your GD phone!    Seriously - I've been there. Zen was obsessed with various toys including little kids stuffed animals  and had lockable jaws so I carried treats for such occasions.  MANAGE your dog!   I will admit that when Zen stole an Egg McMuffin off the beach I could not bribe that away from him -but seriously  if you leave food on dog beach, seems it is fair game

3: The Y lockerroom.  The benches are for your gear NOT your naked butt!  Unless you are 75+ years old and NEED to sit down, please don't sit on the benches and get changed.  If you MUST please use a towel.  RE: real estate.  Yes it is Murphy's Law that if there are 6 people in the locker room we will all be in the same row using lockers on top of each other, so plan on that.  In the event you get to your locker and no one is there but the parking lot, pool and weight room are full, expect people to come.  You cannot take the entire bench to lay out, sort and deal with your gear.  Pile it up and be respectful.   If my swim bag happens to be in front of your locker it's okay to move it or politely ask who's bag this is vs harrumphing loudly and saying " I cannot get to my locker"  Yes you can get to your locker it may take a little maneuvering.  Remember this is NOT a $300 a month exclusive club.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Ironman Taper

If training is going well as in you are crushing workouts and barely surviving taper is all you can think about.  A few weeks before it's taper time do you find yourself counting how many hard workout are left, the last long ride, last long run etc.  And then you finally put the nail in the coffin finish the last big week and it's taper time!
You are elated for about a day and then begin to wonder if you have done enough, too much, wished you had nailed that 5th interval on the trainer ride last Wednesday  and more.... The volume has dropped off but your appetite has not, the grey area of not depleting your glycogen stores but also not packing on 8lbs in the final week so the new Castelli very tight aero top will not zip up.

Waiting for the spring in your step but your legs are actually getting heavier each day, you wake up with what feels like a hamstring strain from sleeping, all the phantom niggles and aches are running abound and you still want to sleep 9+ hours a day.

The short workouts you expect to be crushing but the watts are not coming and the garmin must be broken?  Let's not even start with the mood swings.  Sorry honey.

How many days to Ironman Boulder?

What is so funny is that I coach my athletes through this all the time with great clarity, reflection and good feedback as to why this is happening. "Perfectly normal, if you were feeling great now we would have messed up your taper, your body is adjusting, yes you should feel that way, trust me, trust the process"

As me the athlete you should see my training peaks panicked comments.  The what is wrong with me question to my coach, I will not be ready, I suck, when can I start carb loading for the race,...

T-6 days to Ironman Boulder!  

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What motivates you?

The fact that I have started this blog 3 times maybe telling....

In any case, in my Santa Rosa 70.3 race recap I was clear what motivated me that day.... nacho's and wine. While that worked for race day, as a parent, I know food bribery is not a good idea on a regular basis although I seem to use it a lot lately. 

Most of the time when I am not dead tired from Ironman training,  I wake up before my alarm at 5 ready to knock out some work and my first workout of the day.   And I carry that with the help of caffeine into the 2nd workout of the day.  Note, the most....

These past few weeks have been tough.  After a short 4 day recovery from Santa Rosa I hit it hard again.  I admittidely often bribe myslef with X food group to get through a transition run.  During my 2nd run on Sunday it was Fro Yo-   1- hold this pace and 2 - finish the run and reward is Fro Yo.  I did both!  But when I finished I dove in the pool and than laid on the floor for an unknown amout of time and the idea of getting int he car to drive to Fro Yo was overwhelming so I opted for some quality recovery food and was in bed by 7pm in the Normatec's.  So sometimes just the idea of the rewward is enough.

My least favorite workout, and this is putting it nicely, is the trainer.  I sometimes feel like it has an aura around it that says #suffer.  Maybe I need to do more easy spins on it to adjust my feelings, but ez spins are social time for me, so no.    I was struggling last week and thinking up many reasons as to why I could not do the workout, none of which I actually texted to Mike.  I even went so far as to think of a better workout on my bike outside, but alas did not suggest that either.   So I looked up my competitors recent race results and whamo I was motivated!  Along with a new playlist, I crushed the workouts.

So what motivates me...

1: Success
2: Food rewards or just the idea sometimes
3: My Coach(s) -  I include my swim coach too as he is HIGHLY motivating when giving what seem like impossible sets.  I appreciate the fact if he expects hard swimming he is all in to.
4: My competition- I feed of their success and may or may not panic train a bit 
5: My athletes. While they often think I give them BSC  worrkouts, 99% of the time I have tested them first so I know the pain and suffering. When I see their success I am motivated.
5: My friends- it's fun to train with friends and teammates
6: A new playlist - don't discount music when you are digging deep