Another year has wrapped up. It’s time to review 2013!
In 2007, I left a dream full-time job to start my own coaching business. Since then, I haven’t looked back. In 2013, I continued to coach full-time with a great roster of athletes – all different ages, abilities and from all over the place. Some are podium finishers. Some are total beginners. When I’m asked what’s your approach, my answer is athlete-driven. It depends on who the athlete is and what they need. Some thrive on high volume. Others high intensity. I try to keep it challenging, engaging but above all, based on the basics of what you need to do well at triathlon. You can read more about what we accomplished last year at my business website: www.multisportmastery.com
Last year was also my fifth year of coaching the Ironman Wisconsin training program through Well-Fit in Chicago. We’ve branched out to accommodate many Ironman races in that program. In 2013, we guided 36 athletes to Ironman finishes. This continues to be one of my favorite coaching experiences each year and I’m proud to be a part of what feels like one of the best Ironman training programs in the country. Our secret? Education! We empower each athlete with the knowledge and skills to become a better athlete, not just do workouts to finish a race. We still have a few spots remaining for 2014 – you can find more information here: www.wellfitinc.com
I also continued with coaching masters each week through the Naperville Park District. I coach a weekly distance free workout as well as some weekend workouts. I’ve gained the reputation of the coach who can and will sneak fly into any workout. It’s double-arm freestyle, friends! It makes you stronger! This group consists of all levels of swimmers. If you want a crash course in how to coach, stand on deck with everyone from 1:10 per 100 swimmers to 3:00 per 100 swimmers. You will learn to communicate, motivate, adapt and teach in all different ways. If you’re ever in the Naperville area, contact me so you can drop into one of our swims.
This past spring I went on my second year of coaching a kids swim conditioning program. Three times a week, I taught a fantastic group of children, ages 7 to 13, to develop the skills and fitness for competitive swimming. We do plenty of drills, games and little bit of swimming. I’m a big proponent of long term athlete development believing that fun should come before fitness with kids. Noodle races, drills with water polo balls, Fin Friday – these were some of our favorite activities! This experience gave me the confidence to interview with one of the big age group swim teams in the area and get on board as a coach for 2014.
As far as developing myself as a coach, I’ve participated in some certifications – though have to admit that many certifications feel like a waste of time and money as you simply go through the motions of watching videos and clicking off boxes. Most of the time those experiences are great for recertification credits – and that’s it. Beyond that, I turned to books, TedX and mentors to broaden my knowledge base. Four of my favorite books that I read in 2013: Superbodies, The Alchemist, The Power of Habit and Switch. This year I limited Twitter to 100 followers which has been a great way to filter it for the ideas of key coaches, thinkers and social scientists. And then I just try to get in front of as many people as possible, get my hands dirty and coach for experience. My husband asked why I do the classes and swim coaching – economically, it’s much less of a return than for me to take on another private athlete. However, the return on investment when I do hands-on coaching is far more valuable than the time or income I give up. Remember you cannot “learn” the art of coaching in a classroom, lecture or sitting behind a computer screen. You have to experience it hands-on, head-on in real time to learn how to coach.
2013 started with a slow start. I came off 9 weeks of inactivity after failed IVF (as in: I DID NOTHING). Each time I go through an experience that requires time off, I always prove to myself that you can come back hungrier, fitter and stronger. Deep rest is very powerful! After only 8 weeks back at training, I was setting new PRs on the bike and in the pool. Kurt helped me to rebuild my fitness, setting me up for a strong day at Eagleman. After that, I completely switched gears to take on a new approach en route to Vegas. Adam showed me how to integrate a higher volume of quality training to get a little more out of my performance. It worked!
Thank you to Training Peaks for making it easy to find the following stats! I trained roughly 600 hours in 2013 (or 11 ½ hours consistently per week). My biggest month was July, coming in at 82 hours of training or 20+ hours a week (I remember that, and remember it was very painful). By sport:
Swimming: 463,074 yards
(biggest month was 58,800 or 14,700 per week in January)
Consistent volume of 9600 yards per week
Biking: 4,950 miles
(biggest month was 900+ miles or 225+ miles a week in July)
Consistent volume of 103 miles per week
Running: 1,112 miles
(biggest month was 136 miles or 34 miles a week in August)
Consistent volume of 23 miles per week
Compared to 2012, I trained a lot more throughout the year. Mostly this was me trying to “catch up” from the time I missed from the 9 weeks off. Was it sustainable? Would I do it again? Not really. At the end of the day, I’m not one of those athletes that thrives on big training. There are so many other things I want to and need to do; spending time with Max, cleaning my house, working, drinking red wine, reading, daydreaming. Now, I don’t think you can shortcut the work you need to do to achieve big things – for example, I don’t think 99 percent of the athletes out there can do a sub 10 hour Ironman on 10 hours a week of training. But I do think that everyone needs to find their personal formula for what gives them a level of success they are satisfied with along with life balance, enjoyment and health.
Want to get really into the numbers? Me neither but for those that do…..On my performance management chart, my biggest ATL was 163 and CTL peaked at 126. Both happened in August. TSB dropped to -42.8 in March when I did a cycling focused trip to San Diego where I trained at a level that my body was not fit enough to handle due to the extended time off in December (but rested hard out of that trip and saw nice fitness gains). I hit -30 to -40 a few times in July and August and highly recommend NOT doing that to yourself for any extended period of time if you want to maintain a will to survive. I raced best with my TSB between 15 and 25 for long course and found I raced short course fairly well even with a negative TSB (these are patterns I’ve noticed over the years, as well). Side note: I don’t put too much into the performance management chart but find it interesting for tracking patterns over time for peaking and recovering (but to use it you must be exceptionally diligent at entering TSS for every single workout).
Forget all of those numbers, this year I had a lot of fun with my training. There are three people who made that happen: my mom who watched Max periodically when I needed to get out during the day. My lanemates at masters who are all men, all 20+ years older than me and make me feel slow when I need a push and fast when I need the confidence. And, Amanda. Rare is the friend you can find who not only is on the “same page” but the “same speed” as you. I have so many fun memories of our adventures in San Diego, Plainfield, traveling to races and who can forget Amanda's last supper (apparently not a certain bartender at Front Street who offers me Patron every time I go in there).
My biggest accomplishment every year is and always will be my son. Day to day life with him is an absolute blessing and joy, even on the most trying days. Parenting has taught me patience, resilience, love and maturity beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. Most importantly, parenting has taught me that it’s not all about me. A very valuable lesson that keeps everything in perspective! At times I just look at him and my heart melts out of love, joy and the amazement of how did I get this lucky!?
Max turned 3 this year and shows an interest in electrical engineering (ie., plugs), machinery, construction and as of right now – he wants to be a fireman. He will be my pack rat – his crib is jammed full of monkeys and “budgies” (his special blankets). He loves to work with his tools or help daddy with household projects. He loves cheese, fruit and beets. Yes, beets, he eats them like apples (ew!). He loves his daddy so much that he has no problem saying “Mommy, I don’t love you” when daddy is around. I’m ok with that. I think.
What comes out of his mouth (and mind) continues to impress me every day. He’s hilarious! At 2 years, the doctor suggested I have him evaluated for a speech delay. I did and they rated him as 29 percent delayed, meaning he missed the “needs a state intervention” cut off by 1 percent. I would like for all of those evaluators and doctors to eat his words. This kid doesn’t shut up! He has so much to say about the world. I’ll credit this to Chris who reads him about a dozen books each night (and can recite every Bizzy Bear book from memory at this point).
Oh, and yes, I still have a husband and a dog. Both are house trained and obedient. :)
Around the house, I poured a lot of time, passion and money into my landscaping. I am that crazy woman on the corner who will shout out her window: GET OFF MY LAWN! There are days in the spring and summer where I’d rather work in my yard than work out. And some days, my yard work ruined my workouts! I’m meticulous about mowing my lawn, and according to my neighbor, I mow it really, really fast. It’s over a 2 mile walk! I have my “vision” for my yard and each year it gets a little closer to my master plan. My goals for 2014 are to create beautiful containers of annuals and keep the junior high kids off my lawn.
I also got ‘into’ beer – no kidding! I’m a die hard red wine fan but when the training picked up and the days got hotter – I needed two things: carbs and refreshment. There’s only so many carbs you can eat when you’re training over 20 hours a week so I went the next best route: DRINKING them! Nearly every evening this summer involved a beer with no regrets. (some of my favorites: Tyranena Rocky’s Revenge, Oskar Blues Deviant Dales, Deschutes Obsidian, Three Floyds Zombie Dust, Solemn Oath Butterfly Flashmob). And I also picked up a nasty frozen yogurt habit thanks to a certain athlete. Like I need high end yogurt in my life. I don’t but it tastes really, really good.
So that’s 2013 in summary. The point of this post was – I have no idea. It’s fun to reflect on where I’ve been and all that I’ve done. But while I look back on 2013 with a lot of success personally, professionally and athletically, I am always looking ahead to the next big thing. 2014 will be exciting for sure! More coaching opportunities, Max will be 4, we’re redoing our laundry room (hey, I spend A LOT of time in there!) and it’s only 10 weeks until spring which means lawn mowing season is right around the corner!
Oh, yes, and there might be some training.
Happy new year!