Focus on what you can control -Eagleman 70.3 Race Report

Posted by on Jun 16, 2015 in Anna's Blog |

  Triathlon training and races are much more about life than just racing and performance. Life lessons are learned with each step. The longer the course and harsher the conditions, the more grueling each step becomes and consequently deepens each lesson. That is why I became a different person when I crossed the finish line at IRONMAN Lake Tahoe 2013 and why Eagleman was no different in gathering experiences and lessons that can be applied throughout life. This particular race had a conversation with me…It went something like this: Eagleman: think you can just arrive and think it’s only going to be a flat and fast course and a little warm? Forget that, here you go. 95 degrees and 85% humidity, wind, current and an 8:12am wave start. Yes, that means you are going to have a bunch of people ahead of you. you call them “live buoys, don’t you!” Me: Hi race…ha, yes…live buoys, my favorite. NOT! and actually, I think i can just toe the line with rather little training over the last 7 weeks. Eagleman: Never take me lightly. Never. You will feel my might.  You will see people suffer and collapse today. You will receive unexpected gifts. Consider them, from the bottom of my heart, for you! So you can grow, be challenged and see what you are made up of. Me: Bring it on race. Show me what you got. Eagleman: enjoying your slow swim? Yeah, those currents, just so that you stay in the water longer. I won’t let you get to your bike just yet. Drink up, have another wave. Me: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. Tautness, cadence, high elbows, feel the connection, keep your head down. Stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke, sight, stroke, stroke, stroke, sight. Dolphin dive, push, get to your bike. GO! Eagleman: have some wind! You need to up your watts. Me: Shut up race, this is my time. My bike and I. There is no space for you, not here. Go away. Eagleman: hows this for a challenging run experience? Feeling hot yet? hows that abdomen of yours. Cramps huh. Yeah, you aren’t breathing right. You are not going to shake this. Not today. So get comfortable in your discomfort. Me: F$%^…seriously Race? This is rough….I’m feeling really hot, I can’t run, my abdomen hurts too much. I have no Shadow. Race give me a little shade at least. Ambulance? Sirens? Again? Eagleman: not planning on it. Me: What if I quit now, why am I doing this? Focus on form, remember Matt’s words. Arm pits, thumbs, cadence, think of Mary. Keep the cadence! Keep your focus, she said the run would be mentally challenging. This is it. Why do I even bother with these run speeds? I am a joke, this is ridiculous. I am not made for this. Eagleman:There we go, THAT is what I wanted. Quit, go...

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Dare to go Hard- Oceanside 70.3 Race Report

Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Anna's Blog |

I am just reading Heather Wurtele’s race report and I want to take her first lines to start mine as the time leading up to Oceanside was a rather turbulent time for me. “It is hard not to want to explain things. I think that a pretty basic element of the human condition is a need to feel understood. “This is why…”  Heather is a triathlete I particularly look up to because she is my height. It is easy to victimize yourself to factors beyond your control. Heather shows me that height is not a limiting factor to being fast. And she is right, it is hard not to want to explain things… So let me explain: Triathlon is a hard sport. It is physically taxing. It is mentally draining. It asks for sacrifices and for setting clear priorities. You can’t set priorities without a “Why.” Once you loose sight of your “why”, a domino effect of declining performance awaits and it is a steep climb towards the sweet spot for the grind that requires sheer willpower, determination and discipline to get back to. The foundation for race day: I had such a domino effect leading up to my first big race of the season. About 3 weeks before the race I had hit an absolute physical wall.My mind wanted to go, but the body didn’t. This was the week leading up to the Stanford Sprint Triathlon. The week after the race I was pushing at about 50%. I was dragging. I was not a pleasant person and my world seemed to crumble brick by brick. After a conversation with Matt about what I was feeling physically and mentally, he put me on another 72 hour full rest. This was 5 days before Oceanside. I watched the entire 4 seasons of “Girls” over that weekend, but I had no guilt for vegging out completely. I ate well, gave my body the rest it wanted and just accepted this for what it is and not turn this into another existential believe crisis. That said, going into a 70.3 with almost 2 weeks accumulated rest does not make for a very “fiery internal feeling” for race day. Discovery: During my 72 hour rest and between the couch marathon I was clearly winning at, I thought about the “Why.” I took the time for myself and dug deep into why I want to push so hard in this thing called “triathlon.” The thing that never let’s me rest, the thing that makes me always want to be better, faster, leaner, more aero, more efficient, more everything. My Why: I re-discovered that the sport and the lifestyle embody my values. I value hard work and earning your achievements solely for putting yourself in the driver seat of your life and working hard to get yourself over that mountain towards the finish line, only to find...

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Stanford “Treeathlon” Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in Anna's Blog |

Leading up to the race: Just a week before the race I had hit the infamous training wall so many athletes hit. It is a common physical and emotional reaction towards heavy training blocks or after a big race. I had all the typical symptoms and this made for a very grouchy Anna. I realized that I have much to learn in this category. My thoughts mirrored more an existential breakdown and questioning the reason why I am alive, rather than just admitting to feeling tired and then giving my body the rest and sleep it wanted. Albeit a small race both in size and distance, executing the plan for this particular race remained important to me, regardless of how I was feeling. The plan was the following: If I only feel 70% that day, then I will get 100% out of that 70%. See it as a test to turn the machine on even if it struggles getting started. Don’t let the foot off of the gas. Push forward and push hard. Run hard off of the bike. The process: The water was cold and muddy and yet it didn’t faze me. I enjoyed the “warm up” which felt more like a “cold up.” I had a blast and simply enjoyed every moment. I didn’t think about my bike for once, I didn’t think about getting to the shoes. I swam and sighted often, then got out and ran for it. Again, it didn’t occur to me that we had 0.5miles to run to T1. The body was told to run, so it ran. The bike felt awkwardly short. My hamstrings started complaining because I had done so very little this passing week. But instead of lingering on that feeling, I just said “shut up, keep going.” I dismounted and found myself with really high foot speed running to my transition zone. “wow, awesome” I thought. I put on my shoes, and continued the same cadence. I was on a 7:45pace all of a sudden. This never happened, barely even in a bench mark test run. Outcome: I came in at 1:13:14. 3rd in my Age Group and 4th Over All. This is the second race this year where I solely focused on process and trusting my training and surpassed, by far, my own expectations. Lessons learned: Besides the obvious “it is time to start believing more” and “you are your own limiter” something occurred to me. I must develop more confidence that I can complete the longer distances as well. At the swim start I never once thought “can I actually swim this distance without stopping today?” Same with the bike and the run. I knew I could hammer through for that distance. This is where the challenge starts. I have to start developing more confidence in my ability to cover longer distances at the appropriate intensity...

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Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Anna's Blog |

Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon What a successful day it was for me. Although the Kaiser was not an “A” race, it was still a big day on my calendar because for 2 years I have been trying to become strong enough to be able to run a sub 2 hour Half Marathon. Running is not easy for me, so to accomplish this goal would mean a lot to me. My last half Marathon had a time of 2:20:xx. Allow me to share with you this picture of my journal entry leading up to the race.   For weeks leading up to 2/1/15 I would talk about “time and pace.” I had planned to write 1:59:59 on my hand. Then the day prior, I realized that I needed to focus on process and not outcome, especially since my leg was not in a happy place. The official clock has me at 1:52:12 and my Garmin shows an average 8:30min/mile pace. Allow the process to produce a good outcome. The Half Marathon experience is going down as a breakthrough race for me. Not just physically and performance wise, but also mental. I am becoming more intelligent as an athlete and simultaneously more gracious with myself without giving up the ambitious drive to succeed. The leg is doing great. I saw my friend and business partner Ken Look (Athletic Trainer) for treatment and getting me race ready: it worked! I taped up my legs with both Kinesiotape (vertically up the posterior tibialis) and white athletic tape horizontally around the top of the ankle and right before the calf muscle (Soleus) and put a compression sleeve around both legs. I crossed the finish line with tears in my eyes due to the joy and pride I was experiencing. I felt and feel very proud of my accomplishment because I have put in a ton of hard work. This feels really good! Here a post race picture:-)   My legs are definitely still on fire, so there is much more adaptation that needs to occur. What comes next: Plan is to ride in Oceanside in a way that I can copy this run performance fairly close off of the bike. This means my bike will have to be slower, almost boring, but the focus will be to run strong with good form and foot speed. These running legs need to catch up to my cycling legs!...

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