Tuesday, November 30, 2010


If you ask any triathlete why they put themselves through the months of training and strenuous day of an Ironman, there's not a lot of really concrete answers.  I enjoy the challenge?  I want to push myself to achieve something difficult? Because I want to buy every last item in the Ironman shop that has the M-dot logo on it and plaster it all over my car, my attire and on my body?

Hmm, all legitimate answers.  But I have been pondering this question since I watched the finishers at last week's Arizona Ironman.  I have assembled of a short list my personal answers.  For convenience sake, I have entitled my list - Why I Run.  But it can just as easily be applied to Why I Swim, Why I Bike or Why I Do Triathlons.  Here goes:

Running Away - Morning runs are usually preceded by a not-too-eventful yesterday. But occasionally, there's a catastrophic problem that falls into my lap.  My father's death, my friend's divorce, a family issue, an argument with my child.  Have you ever wanted to run from your problems?  On these mornings, I run and run and run, and allow the tears to fall.   My labored breathing becomes the only thing I allow myself to focus on as a tick off the miles.  I let the loud beat of my heart block out the crisis.  The respite from reality is short lived and therapeutic.  It calms my nerves and restores my vitality.  Some sort of wonder drug - maybe?  But if it is, I am addicted.

Running In Circles --   My internal alarm clock no longer allows me to sleep in past 6:30a.m.  So I meet my girlfriends, we say our good mornings, then we are  off.  Routine. While we run the canal out-and-back, the Rita Loop, or the Big Loop, (always running in circles) we share our latest problems/concerns/situations.  We have the unwritten rule "What we say on these runs, stays on these runs."  It is a code of silence by which we all abide.  There is no judgement here.  When we share our issues, we are seeking advice from trusted moms and sisters.  Sometimes it takes the pre-dawn darkness, with all eyes looking forward, to make one feel most comfortable sharing life's sticky situations.  But the good thing is, tomorrow someone else will be seeking council for their own difficult problem. And thankfully, there will be ladies ready and waiting to lend a listening ear and offer some excellent advice.

Running To Race - There's nothing like crossing a finish line.  Nothing like making a plan, executing that plan over many grueling months, then putting that hard work to the test.  I crave it.  A race gives you something to work for, something tangible on the calendar with a start and end date.  And running/biking/swimming allows you to seek out those races, set those goals and push yourself to your physical limits.  If you've ever doubted your abilities in anything, a great remedy is to set a lofty yet achievable goal and work toward it.  It will help to eliminate self doubt.  Baby steps, line upon line, putting hay in the barn - any way you phrase it, if you are making daily effort toward a worthwhile goal, you are bettering yourself.  Stretch your limits and you'll be amazed at what your body can do, and where your mind can go.  There's no better time than today to plan for a race and most importantly, to Dream Big.  It's good for the soul.

So, now it's your turn.  Why do YOU run?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Cycling Schedule 101

USA Cycling Coach Selene Yeager has this to say about training for distance.

"Distance riders often skip SPEED WORK because they  think they need volume, not intensity, to go long.  But riding fast improves your endurance by raising your lactate threshold, the point at which your muscles scream "Slow down!"  When you raise this ceiling, you can ride faster and farther before your body hits the brakes.  Once a week, aim to do four to six very hard or max efforts ranging from 30 seconds to two minutes on one ride; in between, spin easy for twice the length of the interval.  Do these on a challenging stretch of road, such as a hill or into a headwind.

Pro Triathlete Caroline Steffan - images from Timothy Carlson 
The other two rides in a three times a week schedule should be a LONG RIDE in Zone 1-2, which will recollect the familiar feeling of fatigue -- all too familiar in century races.  And a STEADY RIDE, where you aim for two to four longer efforts (15 to 30 minutes in length; 15 minutes easy pedaling in between) that increase your heart rate to 80-85 percent of your max heart rate.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Yes, even in sunny Arizona the temps can dip down to a titch above frightful.  Maybe we're Southwestern wimps, I mean, we're never threatened with blizzards like Utah's "Snowmageddon" last week.  But when you're used to 110+ degree summers, mornings in the 30s don't make cycling sound too enjoyable.

If you still want to get your cycling workout in, but don't want to dawn anything fur-lined, you might consider this:

Kinetic Cycle Trainer

This is the Kinetic Bicycle Trainer and you can get it here.

I tried this kawasaki green machine out at Interbike and quickly realized it was not your typical indoor trainer.  The Kinetic trainer moves with you, making it more like riding outdoors.  It strengthens your core, exercises your balance and improves your stability.  It's a total departure from that stiff un-bike-like feel of traditional trainers.  I was particularly impressed when I got OUT OF THE SADDLE to climb, virtually impossible with my old trainer.   I also liked the stable, wide base of this model.

Two thumbs up from this consumer, and a great gift idea for your cycling friend/spouse/child.  Faux fir is not very breathable.  Get this instead.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saving Daylight - Ironman Arizona 2010

Behind the scenes.

What a difference a day makes.

All eyes on Chrissie Wellington, the fastest female triathlete on the planet.

Friday, November 19, 2010

No Excuses

Me with Sister Madonna, age 80

Sister Mary: "Hmmm, I'm not sure where I need to go to register."
Me: "Oh, you need to go straight through Registration to the Pro Tent."
SM: "Really? How did you know that?"
Me:  "Because I know who you are!"

Me:  "So Sister, what number Ironman is this for you?"
SM:  "Well, I've just about lost count.  I've started, I think, 45.  But I count the ones I don't finish, too."

You rock, Sister.  Good luck at Ironman Arizona this Sunday!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wanna Get Away?

MARCH 2 - 6, 2011

 Registration is NOW OPEN for EVERYONE!
  • Epic Tucson training: Mt. Lemmon, Gates Pass, Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon
  • Fully supported (SAG) rides
  • Pool Time at UofA & personal Swim DVD & analysis
  • Workshops & Seminars on current endurance & multisport topics like:  nutrition, metabolism, HR & Power, sport specific & functional strength training...
  • Certified & Experienced Coaching Staff
  • Low Athlete to Coach Ratio
  • Awesome camp swag
  • Our very own "shop time" at TriSports.com with amazing discounts
  • $1,400 includes hotel & meals
  • Upgrade options including:  VO2Max testing, Pro Bike Fit & Single Occupancy
There will be a CYCLING ONLY OPTION again this year so please specify at registration!  What is this?  If you are a cyclist not interested in swimming or running OR a triathlete who wants to focus camp time on cycling, then we have additional rides (with SAG & coach support) for cyclists when others are swimming and running!

Swim, bike, run, eat, sleep, repeat....get off the trainer and ready for your best season ever!  Price increases on December 15, 2010.  Click here for more information and click here to get started on your registration form! A $500 non-refundable deposit will reserve your spot at the ultimate winter training camp!

Please call or email lorie.tucker@gmail.com  if you have any questions!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Words of Wisdom from Will.i.am aka My Theme Song

"There's nothing I can't achieve, because in myself I believe."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Atta Boy, Haile!

First there was Sunday, then there was next Monday.  Like I always say, don't ask a mom right after she's had a baby when she's having another.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Haile Gebrselassie added another fast finish to his record-setting career: The Ethiopian star called off his retirement after eight days.
Gebrselassie said Monday he had changed his mind and would run until the 2012 London Olympics. The 37-year-old marathon world-record holder had announced his retirement after pulling out of the New York City Marathon on Nov. 7 with 10 miles to go because of a knee injury.
"I want to thank everybody who supported me last week and gave me trust that I could still continue my career and that I can continue my road to London 2012," he said in a statement. "Running is in my blood and now my mind is clear again I can continue competing."
Gebrselassie had long insisted he wanted to compete through the London Games. After his retirement announcement at a post-race news conference, he immediately began reassessing his sudden decision.
"My announcement in New York was my first reaction after a disappointing race," Gebrselassie said on Twitter. "When my knee is better again I will start focusing on my next race."
Gebrselassie's manager, Jos Hermens, told The Associated Press last week that Gebrselassie was in an emotional state when he made the surprise announcement in New York.
"I don't want to complain any more after this, which means it's better to stop here," Gebrselassie said at the time.
Hermens went to Ethiopia last weekend to talk to Gebrselassie.
"Gebrselassie took some time to think things over," Hermens said in a statement. "Coming back to Ethiopia, he was overloaded with heartwarming reactions from all over the world."
Gebrselassie has won two Olympic 10,000-meter gold medals and four outdoor world titles. He set the marathon record of 2:03:59 in Berlin in 2008.
Hermens said doctors who examined Gebrselassie's knee in New York found that "he had the knees of a young man" and should not face age-related problems in the lead-up to the London Games.
Gebrselassie runs two schools and several businesses in Ethiopia, including a car dealership, a movie theater and a newly opened hotel.
"I never think about to retire. But for the first time, this is the day," Gebrselassie said after the NYC Marathon. "Let me stop and do other work after this."
He's decided he has more work to do in running first.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Paraphrasing ProTriathlete Jessi S... Or Where Do I Fit In Core Training?

Imagine your body as a wheel.  

Your wheel has strong arms and legs that have been trained to move forward with energy.  But what about your core?  The core or hub of that wheel is what keeps everything stable.  Is your core strong, or is it made of silly puddy?  
Your core is where it all begins...
Are you neglecting it in favor of longer miles or more time on the bike?  
Get back to the basics, start with your center and build your strength outward.  Take the time to develop proper movement with a solid pillar.  It will make you a stronger triathlete and in the long run, will help you maintain great posture and balance for a lifetime.

And yes, my core probably IS made of silly puddy.  Back to the basics for me.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jenn's Story - Halloween Half, No Trick All Treat!

Avery and her Mom, Jenn
I’ve never been an athletic girl, in fact just the opposite. I was very overweight until gastric bypass surgery in 2003, where I lost 175 pounds.  I had one beautiful daughter, Avery before the surgery.  Thanks to the success of gastric bypass, I was able to have two incredible little boys that complete our family.
I was able to maintain my weight loss pretty well but never considered myself fit, strong or athletic. Then this summer when looking online at a Mud Run a friend of mine was doing in Utah, I saw a link for the Provo Halloween Half 13.1 (www.halloweenhalf.com).

One of the first lines in the run description was “The most fun you could have in Provo without being arrested.” This made me laugh so I kept on reading: a downhill run wearing a costume, this might be for me. Something clicked that morning in my head that said I could do this and that I should do this.

I counted Saturdays on the calendar to see that I had 14 weeks until the race, and then printed out a training schedule. I called a couple of friends and got them on board to do it with me and the journey began.

The hot Arizona mornings were tough in the beginning and most mornings I did more walking than running. It took almost 6 weeks until I felt like I could run a good distance without constantly stopping to walk. As the weeks went on I began to enjoy the accomplishment and mental benefits of preparing for 13.1 miles.  It was amazing!

In the last few weeks before the race the fabulous people from Provo Halloween Half started doing Facebook contests and updates about the race. It got us all excited and really helped me become more comfortable about what I was about to do. I was so grateful for so many friends and even strangers I met while preparing who were so encouraging and helpful.
Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon

The morning of the run I was not sure of what I had gotten myself into and actually had to hold back a few tears of fear.  But the adrenalin and excitement from the runners and the spectators pulled me through. As the sun came up over the mountain and we started running down the beautiful canyon with all the fall leaves past Bridal Veil Falls, it was indescribable! I was thrilled to finish 2:57 (my goal was to be under 3:00) with my daughter running the last half mile to the finish with me.
Is that Jenn or Sue Sylvester?
I can’t think of an adequate description of the great joy this was and can’t wait to not only do this race again but many more in between.
You earned this, Jenn!  And very cool medal, I must say.
Congratulations, Jenn!  You did it! You've inspired me and your three kids and husband and countless others with your quest to step out of your comfort zone and work for something hard! Love you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thanking Our Veterans-- The Ride For Semper Fi by Bernie Aungst

From Bernie:

This year was the third annual Ride for Semper Fi.  This is a charity ride that begins in Scottsdale and ends four days and 430 miles later in San Diego.  This year we rode into Sea World.  Fifty three cyclists including some former Marines, completed the journey.  This year's fundraising goal was to raise $177,500 to benefit the Injured Marine Semper Fi fund, but the final donation was over $250,000.

As you may know the increased action in Afghanistan has put a tremendous stress on the resources of both our military and civilian hospitals.  Our hospitals are filling back up with newly injured service members and the injuries are serious.  Many are arriving with multiple and life-threatening injuries: quadruple, triple, double, and single amputations: head trauma, significant body burns, and severe internal injuries.  They have joined others in the intensive care units who are fighting for their lives.
The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund is a non-profit charity that has give more than $38 million in grants to more that 15,000 injured Marines and their families.  The Fund provides immediate financial assistance to defray hospital bills and recovery expenses.
Bernie is a rock star.  She is a proud American and avid cyclist.  She sent me this quote from President Regan today, on Veteran's Day:

“Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem.”

Thank you  Bernie and thank you United States Marines!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dan, Al, and the NYC Marathon

Dan and his wife Bopper, my college roomie
Settle in for a nice little story about the 2010 NYC Marathon, from one heck-of-a-nice guy's perspective.  
Take it away, Dan....

My trusty steed
A friend of mine coordinates a group of 21 "spotters" for the NBC broadcast of the NYC Marathon...

...so he asked me if I wanted to be a spotter and since I'll try most anything (that's pure and wholesome) once, I said sign me up.

So I got to ride the marathon route with super cool guys like PJ...

and Dave.

We waited at the off-ramp of the Verrazano Bridge at mile 2...

...and watched with anticipation as the helicopters hovered overhead and the police escort came down...

...and then the timing truck....

...and then some of us peeled off to track the splits and locations of the elite women.  Go Shalane!

And then the elite men.

But the most coveted spotting job was all mine.   As soon as the flood of the first wave passed, I got a glimpse of my assignment... 

That's right... Today show funny man Al Roker!  Is he still the weatherman, too?

As I made contact with Al, I was told that he had just recently completed the Chicago Half Marathon...

Meredith, Meredith's trainer, Al, Al's trainer
...in just over 4 hours.  Wait.  DID HE SAY 4 HOURS?  Hey, that's Meredith Viera in the pink jacket...

Yeah, I don't know who she is either.  Anyway, I quickly did the math and realized that I could be out here for six hours.  No wait... EIGHT HOURS!  Eight hours?

While most of my cycling comrades finished in under 2:30, drinking something hot and eating catered food back in the trailer, I'd be tailing Al...Roker for EIGHT very long and cold hours.

I was up for the challenge though.  I would not let the viewing audience down.  Does anybody really watch a marathon when there's football on?  At least he was RUNNING down 4th Avenue in Brooklyn. Right?

But then kinda shuffling through most of Queens...

And then walking very slowly down 1st Avenue in Manhattan.  When all of the sudden an angel spoke to me through my headset after five hours on the bike...

"The TV broadcast is over.  Any riders on the course, come in!"  YEE-HAW!  GREAT RACE AL! HOPE YA MAKE IT!

I made it back just in time to see the Chilean miner cross the finish line...

...which was pretty cool.  Who was happier to see him?  The race organizers...

...or his wife?  
Anyway, it was A TON of fun and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  Thanks Keith!  And great job AL!  He finished in just over 7 hours!  I'd like to think my final words of encouragement made the difference.

Dan, you're my man.  Thanks for the story, the photos and as always, your wit!  And give Kristen a big hug from me!
Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.

Dreams That Have Come True