Getting In the Mindset

This past weekend I ran the Colfax 10 miler. There’s a marathon and half marathon distance as well, but due to minimal training and schedule, I opted for 10 miles instead of 13.1 miles, which is what I had originally planned to do. Sometimes when I’m right on the edge of doing something like this, part of me says “Nope. Not yet. Just wait till you are better prepared.” Then there’s another side of me that I listen to more often that says “Sure, you might not do it as fast as you want, but you need this to check your head space and see how your body responds. Go for it. Take the chance. This isn’t the time to be normal.”

So I gave in and did the race.

Did I mention part of the running route went through Mile High Stadium?? Go Broncos!

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The day was awesome. I had a good plan going in and felt confident with the plan. At any time I knew that if I got injured then I could grab a cab, go to my truck and go home. But the plan was simple. Run easy, listen to your body, take time to evaluate where you are in your head and most of all… have fun!

And that’s what I did! I had a blast and ran injury free.

You see, I’m walking into a season where everything with meeting my 2015 goals for triathlon get more intense – right now. I have one year to be in a much different place as an athlete and I will get there. Part of running the race this past weekend was all about me getting my head in the game.

Getting my head in the game is all about changing my mindset. I’m going to be writing on Getting in the Mindset more often as it pertains to so much of what we do in life. I use this thought process when I’m spending the day going over social media strategy and strengths with people. I will unpack the process in later posts.

For me, getting in the mindset to train for some big races next year takes totally immersing myself in the experience. Running this most recent race was one way for me to dive in. As I ran, I watched all of these runners who have been training day after day to beat their personal record. I watched as friends and family cheered them on. I watched as some people ran the one race that was on their bucket list. I got it. I saw it and I experienced it just like so many other times before. I caught the vision even more for what I want out of this and I can see it in my sights.

Getting in this mindset takes on the roll of being part of my every day life. Not something “I have to go do”. Not something that is an add on to my day or my life. But it is part of my life. What I eat, when I sleep, how I schedule my day and how I travel. It’s all part of the mindset.

You know what this is like right? When you have your eyes on a goal. It’s stuck in your head weaving it’s way in and out of your life right? It’s where getting in the mindset begins and for me, the mental side of it is the foundation to achieving the goals I want to meet.

When you know you need to get mentally ready for something, how do you get in the mindset you need to accomplish your goal? 

The Struggle For A Healthy Life Is All In My Head

The struggle for a healthy life is all in my head. It’s a mental game. At least that’s what I think it is.

I have some goals fitness goals for myself for 2014 that lead into 2015. As some of you know, when I was blogging a lot more, I would throw out my goals on my blog so that my friends who read this blog can help keep me accountable.

For years I have always been just a little heavier than I would like to be. Granted. Not a lot by comparison to some. At different times in the last few years I’ve been anywhere from 10lbs to 25 lbs heavier than I would like. Yes, I would be heavier even while swimming, biking and running. But the problem is I love to eat and when you are exercising like that, the end result is you want to eat anything put in front of you.

Healthy_LifeWell, at 43 I can’t do that like I used to. So the real struggle here isn’t getting the exercise. That part is easy. It’s choosing to eat the right foods and the right amount.

And yes, it’s a struggle for me. I grew up in the south where all things fried and fattening was the norm.

I’ve tried just about everything you can imagine to lose weight, but it does really all come down to me taking control and saying no to some things and yes to others.

Last year, I trained for the Boulder Half Ironman (70.3 Miles). Now, know that I had already raced in Ironman Louisville (140.6 Miles) in 2009. It was one of the greatest days of my life. Having had that experience, I’ve been mental tough enough for any race to come my way. However, training for Boulder 70.3 was a different story. I put in just enough training to get across the finish line… and that wasn’t enough.

When I crossed the finish line at Boulder 70.3 I had decided to change everything I was doing and start over. Yes, I was mentally tough enough to finish. But physically – even though the race was half the distance of Ironman Louisville – I felt worse than ever before. I had a better race doing a full Ironman of 140.6 miles than doing the half Ironman of 70.3 miles.

There were several factors involved in my lack of training. But the biggest is I didn’t take myself seriously enough to be where I needed to be.

So for now, no more long course ( Ironman and Half Ironman Distance ) triathlons until I’m in the place I want to be physically.

My goals for 2014 are small in number.

  • Drop my weight to below 190lbs. I’m currently at 215lbs.
  • Focus on running.
  • Compete in several 5k’s 10k’s and half marathons to improve my race times for running.

Why this combo of goals?

Of the three sports in triathlon, my worst is running. I used to hate running but now I love it. The problem is when I have this extra weight on me, it’s much harder. I am running faster in Colorado on average. But the facts are simple. I will be a more efficient and faster runner if I drop some pounds.

I will continue to swim and bike throughout the year in my training. As I drop weight, I will actually improve in these other sports as well. I’ve been at a point with swimming and biking that if I improve just a little and get faster on my run I will be set for something I want to do in 2015.

In 2015, I will start back up with racing in triathlon. But for the first time since I started doing triathlons in 2007, I will race for time and position in my age group. I want to compete on a level that will take me to USAT Age Group Nationals in either Sprint or Olympic distance races.

Those distances are really fun and by that time, I will be where I need to be to get to that goal.

It’s all a process and I’ve recognized the process has to start in my head first so that the body will follow.

It’s a great reminder that whenever we have goals or want to overcome something in our lives, it starts with wanting to do it, deciding to do it and planning out the boundaries and criteria that will help you do it.

And the body will follow.

It’s in this struggle that we can realize the power we have to do something great in our lives. I really believe that.

It’s all in my head.

Is it all in your head?

Re-Connecting People To Life

I’d say it’s been a little while since I’ve written on this little blog. I can’t say that I’ve worried about it, but I would say I’ve missed it. A lot.

What I’ve missed most about it is how simple blogging can be. Think about something you want to say and just write about it. Right?

Oh no.

Purse_Life

I mean. It used to be that way for me but then people actually paid attention to what I was writing and they did that thing called COMMENTING!!! They responded and I suddenly felt to pressure to actually use punctuation and grammar sort of and use spell check. Oh the pressure.

SO I wrote and I wrote and I wrote some more. I wrote so much that I became somewhat known for being a blogger! Kind of cool right?

It is.

But then I wanted more. I wanted a more focused blog. I mean why wouldn’t I? I was starting to consult and teach people about all things blogging and social media. That was fun. (still is actually).

But today… I’m done thinking about blogging and ready to get back at it. Not ready to go to the next level. Not ready to focus on any one subject. Just ready to get back at it.

A while back my blog tag line was Connecting People To Life. I changed that line a few times to make it more focused on different subjects. But the reality is, that was too much for me.

So I’m going back to the basics. I’m re-connecting people to life again. Re-connecting me to my life again and writing about it. I’m going back to the basics when blogging was simply just about writing what I experienced in life and hopefully… hopefully, I might be able to encourage a reader to get off the couch and run their first 5K or attempt their first triathlon or buy some new music they hadn’t heard or find an easier way to travel. Heck, I hope they even learn that having a life in social media can be really fun if all they do is play by their own rules.

So… here’s to the future of blogging in my life. Hope you enjoy the read and I enjoy the process again of just writing and re-connecting to life.

Boulder 70.3 Half Ironman Race Report And My Future Fitness Plans

Well I finished another race. My 30th triathlon to be exact. It was an emotional and painful finish. But then, any race with the name Ironman in it is bound to be just that. Emotional and painful. For those of you just now tuning in. The Boulder 70.3 Half Ironman is 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles on a bike and a 13.1 run.

Half_Ironman_Boulder_

I felt really good going into the day. I felt like I had trained enough to cross the finish line, but knew I had lacked some training at times because of my schedule at home and with travel.

The swim went really well for me. It was by far the best swim I had all summer long. Smooth, easy and strong. My wetsuit felt good and I got out of the water feeling like it was a good start to the day.

Once I got on the bike for the next leg of the race, I kept calm and didn’t go out too strong. This is because the first ten miles is a slow climb and at 5,000 feet in altitude I’m not one to take altitude lightly. Once I got on the back end of that climb, the rest of the ride went pretty smooth until the last ten miles when my neck started to get really sore from the position I was in on my bike. While that was happening, an old frustrating thing that happens with my shoulder when in down in my aero bars started to flare up… or tighten up a lot. It made the last few miles tough on me mentally.

By the time I got into the run, my spirits were really high. I ran a little and allowed my legs get used to running but it was slow… really slow. The weather had turned really hot and with no shade on the run, I was doing everything possible to keep fluids in me. The run was just painful, hot and slow. But I wasn’t going to quit. So I kept going and I finally finished the race.

I finished with tears in my eyes. Partly because I was in pain and ready to be finished but also because the finish line for a race this long isn’t just the finish line for the race, it’s the finish line for a long process of training and a journey that is amazing and takes a toll all in the same season.

For the past few weeks I had been talking about taking 2014 off from triathlon races of any distance and during this race had a lot of time to think through a lot of things going on in my life. Especially, my fitness as it pertains to triathlon. Don’t get me wrong. I love triathlon and won’t quit racing but I am going to re-work how I do it.

Here’s the plan.

Even though training for triathlon is a lot of time in the pool, on the bike and in running shoes – because it’s such a calorie burner, I always want to eat my weight in food when I’m done training. I’ve never been great with my nutrition and honestly, if I kept my meals to fruits veggies and some protein, I would be a lot lighter. But I’m not. I’ve learned to race weighing anywhere between 210 and 220 over the past few years and I’m tired of it. I need a big switch in my fitness and now is the time.

So over the next year, my goal is to drop down to 175lbs to 180lbs. I think that’s a healthy and safe weight for me being 6’2” tall. I’m going to get there by first focusing on healthy cleaner eating habits. Then I’m going to work on being a stronger runner. Running is my weakest of the three sports and having the extra weight really takes a toll on me. I feel it physically but then mentally it usually drags me down even more. I love to run but I want to do it a little lighter than I am now.

I’m also going to be getting in the gym to reshape my body by lifting weights. Not to gain muscle mass but to get lean and fit. It’s proven that lifting sheds the fat and if I’m doing that with running and the occasional bike and swim over the next year, I think it will get me where I want to be.

I hear this stat all the time.

Being healthy is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise.

At this point I’m convinced that’s true.

So in 2014, if you see me talking about racing it will be in the form of running 5k’s, 10k’s or half marathons.

Another reason I’m taking time of from training for triathlon is the time it takes away from the rest of my life. Time for family, friends and work is always lacking when it comes to training this much. My son Micah will turn one in February and I want my weekends with him when I’m not travel so I don’t miss this part of his life. The truth is this. Saturday’s and Sunday’s are long training days and I’m tired of everyone around me including me having to sacrifice that time because I have to be out for a long ride that day.

When 2015 rolls around, my goal is to be down in weight and much faster in my running shoes. Then I will be racing in triathlon for sprint and Olympic distances because in 2015 I’m actually going to compete for time. My goal is to be finishing in the top 10 of my age group. I think I can do it.

Here’s something to think about for all of you attempting anything like this or if you know someone who is. Support is key. Whether you are running a 5k or an Ironman race. Support is essential! Your family first needs to be supporting you, then your friends and as a little extra goodness, my friends online were off the charts in their support when I posted what was happening with training and racing. I know it sounds crazy but knowing there are people following along online really helps get me across the finish line.

So there you go. Here’s to what was a great season of training and racing and here’s to a future of rebuilding and focusing on other parts of my life.

How about you? Have you had times where you have taken a step back to refocus and get better in your life? What did you do?

 

Surviving A Rough Transition

Last week I raced in the Boulder Tri Series Sprint Triathlon. It was a short distance race and I’ve raced in my fair share of them. I was using this race as a gauge to see where I sit physically. The first 5 months of this year where a little tough getting my training in with the birth of my son, Micah, but once the end of May arrived I was able to kick things into full swing.

Transition_Triathlon

I’ve written about transition before as it relates to triathlon and life, so going through this last race had me thinking about how crucial transitions really are in a triathlon.

To catch some of you up concerning triathlons, it is three sports in one race. Swim first, bike second and run third. However, between the swim and bike there is transition one and between the bike and run there is transition two.

I’ve said this in the past. We train in all three sports and get very proficient at all three but spend very little time practicing the transitions. Just like in life. We get really good at doing different stages of our lives, but it’s the transitions we sometimes aren’t as prepared for.

In this last race, even though I did well in the race. I struggled through the transitions and other parts of the race.

Swimming is my best of the three sports and since we got to wear wetsuits I was going to be able to swim even faster, but I failed to remember to cinch up my wetsuit enough to give me enough room in my shoulders to make my swim feel effortless. Instead, I spent the whole swim fighting my wetsuit. I swam slower as a result and was completely worn out as I exited the water into the first transition.

This isn’t the way it’s supposed to go. Not only did I not go into the transition well, I was tired coming out of the transition as I left out on my bike.

The bike portion of the race was fine and when I came into the transition area. The bike next to where I’m supposed rack my bike had fallen on my stuff, which meant I had to pick up that guys bike and re-rack it as well as rack my bike. This was costing me time. I had another little hiccup in transition before I got into the run.

In the end, I just shook my head. Sometimes I’m great at transitions and sometimes I’m not.

I feel like my life rolls like this too. I seem like I’m on a good course to transition well from one part of life into another only to figure out I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was.

Being prepared really can make or break the next stage of either a race or life in general. Don’t you think?

I know it’s been this way for me at times. I always want to perform at my best but for whatever reason, sometimes I struggle through it and don’t get settled in the next stage as soon as I could have.

I’m thankful for little reminders like this. It helps me to evaluate what I did wrong in the race and try to correct it in my training and in the next race. It also helps me to keep a focus on what’s going on in my life so that I can stay on top of what I need to be doing.

How have you gotten through transitions well? In a race or in life? Have there been struggles along the way you didn’t expect?