Thursday, June 27, 2013

TriMonroe EDR Race Report "Race with Passion!"

    It has been a few days since my race, but after catching up in my calculus class this week, I finally have time to write my race report!
    TriMonroe marks my first year training and competing full time in the sport of triathlon. I felt a bit emotional in the process of preparing for this race and even during the whole race experience, because it really just hit me how far I have come as a person this year and how my life has drastically changed. This year was not only a transition in my academics and athletics, but it was a transformation of my identity in a way. I like this new identity better though, so it was all worth it I think.
    I usually only get nervous the day before a race after packet pick-up and pre-race briefing; However, I was nervous on the Wednesday night before leaving Thursday. Woke up at 3:40am bright-eyed and bushy tailed (not really I was exhausted!) I really tried to stay relaxed, even though I was already having trouble maintaining my cool-calm composure, which I try to do in public. I tried to sleep on the plane, which helped me catch up on sleep. We arrived in Seattle, and played tourist for a couple hours, going to explore the Pikes Market. I love traveling because we get to see so many new places, and honestly it is really fun people watching and feeling out the energies of new places. We went back to the hotel and assembled the bikes; Funny thing is, it took me probably twice as long as my teammates! I need to get better at this. I am a mechanical engineer for goodness sake!
    We went for dinner at this really good Italian restaurant, but we were all pretty tired so we went to bed early. I finally got a good night sleep; noticed that I sleep so much better at low altitude. I woke up in the morning refreshed. We went to the venue, Lake Tye Park, and did all of our pre-race rituals. I felt pretty good, better than I had felt in a while. I think with all of the hard training and efforts you put in mentally and physically into training you become tired; when you have the few recovery/taper days before races you really build back up and come race day the plan is to be energized and ready to race. I definitely felt energized and recovered, but mentally I was not in the right place. I was really doubting myself and my nerves were getting the best of me for sure. My teammate Kathrine Warren (we call her "Moose") helped me a lot during this race; she kept telling me to loosten up all the time, which is what I needed. "It's just a race," she said. She was absolutely right; it was just a race, like any other race. She said I looked like I was really freaking out, which I was! Sometimes when you feel like you are panicking the best thing to do is accept it and acknowledge this feeling. That is exactly what I did, and it helped with some of my nerves.
    Everyone is probably wondering why I was so much more nervous for this race than any other races. This race last year was my first race on my team, PEAK Multisport, and I had just started working with Ken Axford, my current coach. I was not a strong swimmer last year; I almost got lapped out on the bike (made it by 15 seconds!). I have always been a decent runner, so I made up for it on the run, but last year I had no idea what I was doing. It was a terrifying experience! Naturally, one would feel a little nervous going into the same experience the following year. In draft legal racing the swim is that much more important; my main goal for this race was to exit the water with others.
   Race morning I woke up nervous, but my race wasn't until 2:15 so I knew I had a lot of time before I had to be ready to race. I paced around in the parking lot and at the venue all morning, trying to stay relaxed, but struggled. I finally went into a shady spot on my own, listened to some soft music, and tried to relax, which helped. My dad and my sister Alexa arrived at the venue (my dad was visiting Alexa because she is working at Boeing). It was nice to spend some time with them and have them watch me race. Everyone told me before the race that I was going to do great and that I was a new person and athlete this year, but I still doubted myself. I felt that Greeley Triathlon was maybe just luck (that I just had a good day), and I really wanted to prove to myself that I CAN repeat with another good race. Coach Ken asked me "you nervous?" before my swim warm-up. Typically he asks me this when he can tell I'm nervous. I was nervous, excited, and freaking out at the same time!
    Right before my swim warm up, I did something which I don't normally do at that time, but it helped a ton. I closed my eyes, then opened them; with a new perspective I really studied the swim course. I imagined myself starting the swim strong, committing 100% and swimming a straight line. I then imagined myself exiting with others, and having a pack on the bike. That was it, I wouldn't allow myself to see anything different. This was the last image in my head so I had that feeling inside me at the race start that I was going to swim my heart out and exit with others. My friend, who is a professional XTerra Triathlete, Kim Baugh, wrote me before the race to "race with passion." I really took this in and told myself to "race with passion" and then no matter what I couldn't be disappointed. If you never give up, if you always fight, there is nothing to be disappointed about; this is my attitude in just about everything in my life. I often tell myself in Hungarian"legy eros" meaning "be strong."
     I had probably one of the best swim starts I have had, and my swim went just as I had seen it. I exited the water with two girls, and we went into the bike together. We caught two other girls on the way and worked really well as a pack of five. I am really glad my Coach Ken had us do all of the paceline drills because it felt natural during the race, and for once I was one of the people communicating with the pack. I felt really strong on the bike. They were calling times on the side "1min...40 sec...20 sec.." I was confused because I thought they meant 1 min from getting lapped. Typical me! They meant 1 minute from the leaders! We really made some ground on the bike, and I had the fastest U25 bike split, which was exciting, since last year I couldn't even stay with one girl who tried to work with me.
  I saw the leaders just ahead. I knew that I probably wouldn't be able to podium, but I didn't care. I wanted to do the best I could possibly do. I came off the bike last out of our pack, but caught most of the girls, except one girl in the first lap of the two lap run course. I was in fifth place, fighting to catch the girl in fourth, who was in the 25-29 category. I almost caught her at one point! In the second lap, I heard Coach Ken's voice yelling "go go keep it up catch her!" from the water. I find it amazing how Coach Ken really sacrificed his race for his athletes. He was cheering for me during his swim warm-up; made me laugh a bit. I put my head down and made some ground on the girl running with her for a while, but into the last straight away I lost my kick a bit and my legs weren't as strong. The run course was a little longer (around 3.3 miles)' maybe if it was exactly a 5k I would've caught her; need to get stronger! I crossed the finish line in fifth place, which I was pretty proud about. I really surprised myself in this race, and it showed me how much I have improved in a year! I realize that a lot of the time, my worries are irrational; they are completely in my mind, and this demonstrates just how important the mental toughness side of sports are and how important confidence is in athletics. I feel that this race helped me build the confidence to continue to improve; it also gave me the confidence to know that I am capable of doing well in draft legal racing. The goal is to get my swim stronger, which I am working on!
    I have said this so many times, but I truly feel blessed to be on this team, and to have such an organized, methodical, and thoughtful coach. I also feel lucky that I had the support of my sister and my dad at this race. I love my family so much, and it means the world to me having their support.
    Over time, I will build a base in training and with that I will build confidence to know going into races that I can do well. I am excited to keep training and racing this summer, and to enjoy the process of trying to be the best athlete and person I can be. Go PEAK!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Promise Yourself

“Promise Yourself"

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.” 
― Christian D. LarsonYour Forces and How to Use Them

Monday, June 10, 2013

Greeley Triathlon 2013

          I have to say that yesterday was a fulfilling day for me. The past week was far from easy. About a week ago I was puking my guts out and spent 34 hours in bed from food poisoning, losing 6 pounds over night. I tried my best to recover quickly so I could be ready for my first race of the summer with my team PEAK Multisport. One of the team mom's was nice enough to take me to get an IV over the weekend, and I think that was what allowed me to jump back into training last Monday since they gave me two full bags of fluid! Although early in the week I had no appetite, I forced myself to eat smaller meals more consistently to get the calories I needed in me, since I was still training the same amount (after taking a few days off). Monday, I felt terribly during our track workout. My heart rate was around 200BPM, so any normal human being would have some difficulty breathing, but I didn't quit and I pushed myself; even though my times were about 5-10 seconds slower than usual. My coach, Ken Axford helped me keep things in perspective when I became a bit frustrated. This allowed me to stay motivated and keep moving!

       I gradually started to feel stronger throughout the workouts in the week, and my appetite increased, so I could eat more, therefore have more energy for my workouts. Last weekend I thought there was no way I would be ready to race at Greeley, given all the struggle I had been through with being sick. I gained confidence during the week, especially on our team's long ride, when I noticed my energy didn't fade and I stayed relatively strong the whole time. By Friday I was so excited because I knew I was ready to race, and I was looking forward to going to the first race of the summer season with my team.
        We left Saturday morning for Greeley, and the car ride was pretty entertaining, listening to Matt and Ken's funny Southern accents as they played it up. We arrived at Promontory Park, the race venue, and did all of our pre-race swim, bike, and run. That was the best I had felt all week, and in fact, the best I had felt in a long time.  Having the kids around and being in the team environment, made racing much less stressful for me, plus having my Coach Ken there always comforts me because he definitely knows how to guide me through any type of racing (crits, running, and triathlon), and he covers everything I need to know, so that gives me the confidence to know I am ready to race.
      Race day woke up at 4am not feeling too great, probably because it was 4am :)  I went about my warm-up rituals and my legs felt heavy and tired but I reminded myself that it is called a "warm-up" for a reason. I focused on staying loose and getting a sweat so I could be warm for the race. It is always nice to see familiar faces at races, and I really enjoyed getting to see my Colorado Triathlon coach, Mike Ricci in transition and throughout the day. I did not really have a lot of competition in this race, since not many girls were registered, so I knew I had to focus on only myself and time trial the whole race. Coach told me my goal was to break an hour, and to really only focus on myself during the race. I had a pretty good swim. Was only about 30 seconds behind the better swimmers in our group; I was mostly just happy to have Andie Turner, one of my teammates in sight, because she is an incredible swimmer.
     I think I had a pretty good transition and smoothly did my flying mount, which was exciting :) I felt great on the bike and found a comfortable position in my aerobars that I could hold for most of the race. I got a rhythm on the bike, and it seemed to feel effortless; this doesn't just come, it came with all the hard training I've put in on the bike, and the fact that my bike fits me well. I want to thank Cafe Velo for helping me get this incredible bike last August; I think I'm in love! I began to feel more confident, but I reminded myself to stay grounded and not get too excited because it's easy to blow up in a race. I went into the run, legs felt very heavy and feet were a bit numb, since the air was chilly and I have bad circulation in my feet. The first 1.5K was a little slower than usual because I was trying to manage my heart rate and breathing. I saw my sister Caroline and my Dad at the turnaround and that really gave me a boost in energy. I finished the 5k relative strong, running a 20:02. My teammate Chris Athey and I took home the U23 Male and Female Champion title and I took the overall female win for the day, which was exciting. I also got the U23 Female Course record and tied the overall course record with a close! Matthew Ison took home the overall male win and Coach Ken placed second overall, Adam Mckittrick took fourth in Juniors, Yana Brown third in Youth, Liberty Ricca fourth in Youth, and Nadia Duncan sixth in Youth!  I honestly was so appreciative that I could race healthy, and that I had all the support on race day. Last week reminded me that I am stronger than I think. Although it's cliche, Chris told me before the swim "If you think you can or if you think you can't you are right." I think this quote is appropriate for anyone in sports or life. Nothing comes easy, you have to want it, fight for it, and never give up. Most importantly, you have to take every life experience (whether good or bad) as a stepping stone in the process of your endeavors. It is rare that everything goes your way everyday, so I think it's important to take everything as it comes. I feel blessed to have all these wonderful people in my life, and I'm excited for this summer of training and racing! Go PEAK!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

God For A Day- by Caroline Warly

This poem is beautiful and worth sharing. My sister Caroline Warly has a way with putting her visions into words. Her perception of the world is not only wise beyond her years, but truthful and sincere. I truly feel blessed to call her my best friend, and being her triplet sister, we have such a deep connection (the three of us) that cannot be explained. Please enjoy this beautiful piece of work.

God For A Day

If God needed a vacation and
wanted a house sitter
I would take his job for no pay
and wouldn’t be the slightest bitter

I would make people nicer
And fill the world with love
If someone pulled a trigger
I would block it from above

no parents would divorce
and no children would die
and failure would not exist
for those who always try

pets would not get sick
contempt would be swept away
you would never be condemned
whether you were straight or gay

fat would not be gross
all colors would be pretty
and air would taste fresh
on the farms and in the city

people would feel beautiful
and would be treated with respect
any one abused or hurt
I would reach down to protect

I would silence mouths
With nothing kind to say
Oh life could be so pretty
If I were God for a day

How to Stay Motivated in the Winter

I get asked the question "how do you stay motivated in the winter?" quite often really. I am human, like everyone else, and t...