Tag Archives: training

Triathlon + Work

I’m spending an increasing amount of time on work these days.  Yes, this development is positive and I’m truly excited about my work.  But since there’s a fixed number of hours in a day, I’m having to rethink my training sessions.  I’m trying to figure out how to focus more on quality than quantity.  Others already know how to do this, and I hope to learn from them.

Again I know in my heart and head that this is a very good chapter I’ve begun.  I’ve expanded my world to include my career.  I’m meeting with various vendors, networking, taking a couple of courses, collaborating with different specialists and next month I’ll attend a trade show.  I’m setting non-triathlon-related goals and making good progress towards meeting them.

For a while I was not comfortable with this change because I felt I was shortening my special time with Noah.  I’m either cutting back on the length of my training sessions and/or increasing my concentration on drills and new objectives to deliver higher quality workouts.  From preparing for the session to warming up to completing the workout to cooling down to showering to returning to work has me identifying ways to shave off time and become more efficient as well.  Before I had many more moments to just be in the present; to just be with Noah.  Now I don’t.

However I’ve begun to realize that while my special time may be shortened and I have fewer opportunities to just be with my son, my true connection probably — hopefully? —  has not been compromised.  In some ways I feel like my connection has deepened even more.  When I’m struggling with a climb, trying to maintain a higher pace, feeling pain somewhere in my body or thinking of stopping, he’s always right there.  I don’t find myself actually initiating thoughts of him as often.  His presence seems to be pervasive and constant; it’s much more natural than second nature.  Many times it feels like he’s my shadow (or I’m his) and we’re one.  I used to remind myself of all he went through – all of the poking, machines, pain, hunger…everything.  Now what he endured during his way-to-short-of-a-life can feel like it’s seeping through my body.  Sometimes I feel this in my heart, sometimes it’s an intellectual experience and many times it’s spiritual.  As odd as it may sound, when I’m having to engage my legs, my core or other muscles in my body during a climb, run or even strength training I can feel him there.  And of course there’s always my breathing and the beating of my heart.

Then there’s my work.  While the time I spend starting my business and building my first product is very different from training, this time is about Noah too.  He inspired me to start this company.  I believe our training and racing will always be our very special time together but I am greatly comforted by the fact that he’s still very much with me as I work on my — OUR — company.

In a twisted way I was fortunate to have a great amount of time to spend with Noah over the past two years as I trained and raced.  (I know!  What an odd statement!  All of these words should not be in the same sentence when talking about time after losing a loved one, should they?!)  I definitely miss this.  However, in many ways I do think he’s so much more a part of me and my daily life.  I love you, Noah.

—You can follow I Tri 4 You on Facebook.—

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Training Weekend in Tahoe

Thanks to a good friend, I trained in Lake Tahoe this past weekend.  Nineteen of us checked out the Ironman Lake Tahoe race course.  (This race is the Ironman I signed up for.)   It’s a great time to start getting the lay of the land since the race is one year from now.   I was able to get a good idea of what to expect on race day as well as a good sense of the altitude and potential issues I may encounter racing that high above sea level.   I now know what the terrain will be like and can start preparing for it.  Yes I’m still in my off-season so I didn’t push myself too hard nor go the full Ironman distance.

I had an awesome time!

I met some more amazing triathletes.  Most of them are Ironmen already, and all of them are racing Lake Tahoe.  I enjoyed training and hanging out with them.  There were a couple of times when it was challenging.  At one point a discussion about heart related deaths came up and folks got into the finer points of heart issues.  I tried to zone out and busy myself as best I could.  Also I was asked about my silver bracelet which I wear all of the time except when I’m training and racing.  It has Noah’s name, birth date and death date engraved on it.  I guess I can’t expect to go an entire weekend with the same people without encountering a couple of uncomfortable moments.

My favorite aspect of the weekend was feeling Noah’s presence; we had our special time together as I swam, biked and ran.  Climbing the hardest of the two hills — there are two significant hills with one having athletes climb 1000 feet over just three miles — on the bike course, I found myself struggling a lot.  It was so hard I thought about stopping several times, and I wasn’t sure if I could reach the top.  But as I’ve done in the past, I dug in deep.  And with Noah right there with me, I reached the summit without stopping.  In fact I was the 4th person in our group to reach it!  A few folks commented on how fast I climbed it.  I was flattered, especially given the caliber of this group of athletes.  I told them as much as it hurts, I really like climbing hills; there’s something about digging in.  Several of them commented that having less weight helps.  (I’m on the lighter end of the spectrum.)  And passing people provides positive reinforcement.  I just smiled as these comments were made.  While both of these points are true, I know the main reason why I was able to climb that hill as fast as I did.  I didn’t tell them because I don’t know them that well and I didn’t want to risk being a downer.  As I get to know this group better at some point I’ll tell them about Noah and the fact that I’m not climbing alone.

While my official training for the 2013 season doesn’t start until late January, I’m already super excited about it.  And as hard — actually I don’t know how hard because I’ve never trained for an Ironman before but I know it’s going to be really hard — as training for and racing Ironman Lake Tahoe will be I’m very much looking forward to all of it!

What a great weekend!

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Support System

Since Noah passed away, I continue to get advice on self-care.  One aspect of self-care is having and actually utilizing a support system.   Most people have support systems.  One isn’t required to be a member of the sad, unfortunate bereaved parents club to have one.  For me, though, since losing my son, I’ve become much more open to this concept and much more appreciative of having one.

I’m so grateful for my friends and family members far and near who are there for me.  I am grateful for their love, compassion and efforts to walk by my side on my journey.

I’m also fortunate to have a few bereaved parent support groups.  MLH and I had one while living on the east coast.  We were sad to leave this group.  We miss its members and think of their children often.  When we moved I searched for a local group and recently found one.  Additionally I have a virtual group that consists of parents who also have lost Heterotaxy children.  I am so grateful for having these groups in my life.  They’re an important part of my support system.

Within my support system I have “a triathlete section.”   Here I have my friends and family members who tolerate my training schedule, inquire about my progress and cheer me on.

Members of my tri clubs are also part of my support system.  The interesting thing about this group is they don’t even know it!  They don’t know that by showing up, focusing on the workout, talking about a race, discussing technique, and doing pretty much anything related to training they’re providing a tremendous amount of support.  Not asking if I have children but asking about PRs, favorite segments, bikes, races and training schedules is the best support I can get at that time.

What does your support system look like?  Are you utilizing it when you need to?  Are you part of somebody else’s support system?

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Transitioning to the Off-Season

It’s official:  I’m now in my off-season.  I’ve cut back on training time and lowered the intensity of my workouts.  So far the transition has been quite an adjustment which I guess shouldn’t be a surprise.

During my triathlon season I found myself training between 2.5 – 4 hours/day.  Now I’m training about 1 – 1.5 hours/day.  Since I’m not working my body as hard, I don’t need as much sleep.  And I’m reducing my caloric intake.

The off-season has its benefits.  My newly freed up hours allow me to spend more time on work and other interests.  Also, I can exercise with MLH more often which is really nice.

At the same time, these changes have been a bit challenging.  I don’t recall feeling like this at the end of my 2011 season.  I think it’s because my training was not nearly as intense nor so time-consuming then.

Reducing my calories has been easier than expected because I’m not nearly as hungry as I was between February – August.  However, during the season I pretty much burned off all of my desserts and cheat meals (e.g. burgers) with great ease.  (I did pay the price for eating such food during my actual workouts!)  If I want to maintain a healthy weight I should decrease the number of sweets and other “less healthy” foods I eat.

And to truly benefit from the off-season I need to be mindful about holding back during my training sessions.

I think the hardest change has to do with this special time I have with Noah.  And the fact that all of this physical activity — pushing, challenging and strengthening myself  — is so healing and comforting.  In many ways I feel like I have a bigger void than before.

But I really do need to allow my body to rest and repair in order to keep it as healthy as possible so I can continue training and racing for as long as possible.   I’m trying to let my entire body fully recover from this season of triathlons.

I’m starting to think my off-season workouts are precious in their own way given these changes.

I fully admit, though, I’m already very much looking forward to next year’s triathlon season.

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It Starts with Starting

It starts with feeling the need or urge to move, change…just do something.  It starts with putting on a pair of running shoes or a swimsuit.

It starts with running for as long as possible which most likely is not that long.  It starts with pushing to run an actual half mile or mile.  It starts with working out for 20 minutes a few days a week.  It starts with setting a goal of exercising consistently.  It starts with signing up for a 5K or finding a workout buddy.  It starts with reading nutrition articles or asking for cycling advice.

It starts with feeling good after a hard workout.  It starts with looking forward to that yoga session or kickboxing class.  It starts with feeling “off” when a workout is missed. It starts with missing the sweating or hard breathing.

It starts with picking a bigger, more challenging goal than before and then immediately breaking it down into smaller, manageable milestones.  It starts with celebrating swimming 10 laps more than a month ago.  It starts with passing another runner or crossing the finish line for the first time.

For me, it started way back in high school as a rower who barely made the team.  It started again when I joined a dragon boat team during the few years I lived in Hong Kong.  It started again about 11 years ago when I trained for  a marathon but couldn’t complete it because my left leg tightened up so much it couldn’t move.  It started again when I decided to try half marathons.  It started again when I signed up for my very first triathlon after failing (once again) to complete a marathon.  And it started one more time when I desperately needed some way to deal with the biggest blow to my life – losing Noah.  And this is my start or I should say starts.

We each have to start somewhere.  It starts with starting after all.

What was your start?  Or what will be your start?

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