Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Team Evotri Q&A: What Motivates You?

In addition to the race reports, check-ins, long form essays, and interviews, we're adding something new to Evotri.com, the Team Question. We'll ask a simple question, collect responses from every team member and  share them here. Feel free to join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Without further ado, our first question is, "What is your motivation to train?"

stu on treadmill
Torture Stu
Stu: This may seems strange but I love training in "not perfect." For example, I love to run in rain, cold, extreme hot, or snow. If there is torrential rain in the forecast, I will try to train right in the the middle of it. If the forecast is for -10°F, I'm in! Running in a snowstorm is amazing. I also love to run on the treadmill, with low light, no TV and no music. I call it the "Torture Stu" run. Later in the season when I start to hit the hurt locker, I think back to those workouts in "not so perfect of conditions." All of the above are times I figure others are NOT working out, so I gain an advantage and this motivates me. Anyone can run on a 75°F calm summer day. It's the crazy, off the wall days I love the most. I really think this quote from Muhammad Ali says it all, "The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights."


JP: I do it for a ton of different reasons- some healthy, some not so healthy.  I am going to be 100% honest because introspection is, in my opinion, only a valuable exercise if you can be vulnerable and open.

What got me in the door? One of the reasons I started endurance sports was essentially an eating disorder and distorted body image.  I was a chubby freshman in high school and felt incredibly self conscious. I grapple with this today and that still drives me to stick with the sport because it shapes my body the way I want it to be shaped. Vain and sad but true. The other reason was my sister's success at running.  She was basically shredding every race she entered and getting incredibly fast. I couldn't be slower than my little sister and I couldn't get faster without training my ass off.  I also figured if she was so go, I might be ok too.  So I headed out the door for my little two mile jaunts in the dark.  I ran at night as it was really peaceful and no one could see me.

What made me stay? Several things:
  • Endurance sport allows you to get deep into your own head.  It allows for a lot of alone time which, as more of an introvert, I really love. 
  • I like how racing for me is like holding a mirror up and seeing what my guts look like.  I found out early that I looked pretty pathetic and cowardly when the mirror was held up.  I didn't like that so it's been a project of weeding out mental weakness race by race. I like the mind game of racing a lot.
  • The feeling of floating when you are super fit and you feel like you can push as hard as you want.  You feel invincible.  If I could bottle that, I wouldn't be living in a 900 sq ft apartment.
  • Being outside. God made a good thing and it's cool to be out in it.
Matt's view
Matt: After a PR at Ironman Austin 70.3 last fall,  I got lazy throughout the winter. Especially with my swimming and biking, but I was running injury free for the first time consistently and was loving it, so I continued to rack up the miles.  At the turn of the new year I re-focused my energy back to triathlons, all with the goal of bringing peak fitness into the American Triple T in “Bigfoot Country”, Ohio. A weekend jam packed with triathlons, ice baths, and less than ideal hotel bed comfort. JP and I are competing as a team throughout the grueling three-day, four-triathlon event. My training has been more consistent than ever, with the help of a proper training schedule and structure from my good buddy and coach at HUB Endurance, Andy Sweet. I have noticed a major boost in fitness across all disciplines. My bike power continues to improve, my swim is and always seems to stay in good form regardless if I train it or not, and lastly my run, which has become the backbone of my tri-racing the past year.

Michelle: I had to think about this question for about five minutes. It was that easy. But, getting it down on paper has taken about five days! Three simple things come to mind:
  1. GET INTO MY PANTS! Eating is a fabulous thing and I highly recommend it. Eating daily dessert, bagels laden with peanut butter and jelly, pastas and cream sauce are some things I don't so much recommend. Unfortunately, I love them all. Some days I literally train just to consume the calories that I've shoveled or will be shoveling into my gut. Not the best or smartest reason to get motivated to train, but it's TRUE! 
  2. CHECK IT OFF MY LIST I've said this before. I'm a list girl; live by and love my lists! If it's on my list, it has to get done. It's really that simple. I don't over think it or let my head get in the way. Just do it! Nike would be proud!
  3. WINNING! Yes, I said that. Call me a beyotch if you like. But, it is true. I want to win when I race. How am I going to win? Train. And train consistently. LOOKING at the treadmill or the trainer isn't going to make that happen. If I'm not training for a reason, there is no reason to train. (Wow, I'm impressed! That sounded pretty profound!)

Sarah reading the hours away.

Sarah:  My overarching motivation to train and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle is to be there for my family as long as possible. It’s no secret that many of my family members were dealt some bad cardiac genes. Many of them are overweight. I have had cholesterol  numbers that have bordered on high for the past 15 years. Training and exercise in general have made me a more confident, focused, and patient person (and mother!).  I am a naturally high-strung person, and getting in a good workout calms my body and mind in ways that I can’t always articulate. My secondary reasons for training are that it makes me a better person, it helps me to set a good example for my family, friends, and patients, and it gives me the stamina to chase after a toddler on a daily basis. The above reasons don’t always get me out of bed when my alarm goes off in the morning, though, or get me out the door once Henry’s in bed for the night. Signing up for races is one of the easiest ways to motivate myself. If all else fails, I rely on my husband, a fellow triathlete, to keep me motivated. I’ll ask him the night before to kick me out of bed when my alarm goes off in the morning, or if I tell him I’m going out for a run or to the basement for a ride, he’ll point out if I’m stalling.

Sara: My motivation to train is to be the best version of me possible.  What that means is there are a few versions of me:  stressed out me who yells at everything and throws stuff, super chill but sluggish me who bonds with the couch, overwhelmed me who tries to do way too many things, and then zen me who knows the world around me is going at 110 miles per hour but doesn't seem to care.  I'd like to be zen me as much as I can, which is why I try to do at least a little something every day.  I want my kids to continue to see me living an active, physical, healthy life.  I love that they imitate my "exercises" and try to do planks and downward dogs and pedal as fast as their little legs can go on their two-wheelers.  Zen me knows that to teach full-time while raising two preschoolers and be a good wife, mother, and friend is a balancing act like no other, so in order to do that, I need to sweat it out a little bit every day.  I love to push myself in the pool in the early hours of the morning and get to work feeling a little tired but like I can conquer the day.  I enjoy breaking up a marathon grading session with a quick ride outside.  And of course, I love to go out on date night and have a delicious Hoegaarden and a big fat burger knowing that those 12 miles I ran in the morning with my girl friends as the sun came up balances all--well, at least most-- of that out.  The races are just the icing on the cake, and to me I love to look at races as almost a celebration of all the work and early mornings and quick but purposeful training sessions that I squeezed in to get to that starting line.


Rob's CD0.1 on the trainer.
RobbyB: When I first got into triathlon, there was "the finish line." The finish line represented my motivation to race for 140.6 miles, swim/bike/run for months on end, endure countless hours of pain, and to tell friends, family, and others, "I can't, I have to train." That all ended once I crossed that line. From that point forward it quickly went to "Now what?" followed by "I can't go back. I can't be like I was. This is too much fun." And so my motivation at this point has been to prevent the past from catching up to me. The past me would not be a good dad, he would not be a good person, and especially not a good example to others. I lace up the shoes, straddle the bike, and jump into cold water because it allows me to get out and share good times with others, hopefully encouraging them to do the same.

Chris: It's sometimes disheartening to me that most people don't "get" great literature and poetry. I don't mean "get" in the cold, analytical, academic-sense. We academics have done more harm than good in terms of helping society as a whole gain a better appreciation for a poem or a play or a novel. Many academics that study literature -as opposed to those who create it- focus on ever-narrower ways of interpreting and dissecting poetry and prose. Yes, knowing how to do a post-modern, feminist analysis of a piece of literature can increase appreciation among a certain literati-geek subset of people, but that sort of thing is only further off-putting for the average Joe.

The real, deep, value of literature and poetry lies in its unique ability to help us to make sense of ourselves and our interactions with others. Being human is a singular experience- we can never really know what is like to be someone else, but a poem, song, or novel can help bridge that gap to the "other".

I often turn to literature and poetry to help me understand the big questions in life. Understanding what motivates me to participate in endurance sports month after month and year after year and now decade after decade is certainly one of those big questions. Anyone that has followed my blog for a few years will have noticed a pattern that my more philosophical posts that try to get at the concept of "The Goal is the Journey" usually lead with (or contain) a quote from outside the sporting world. That is the sense-making ability of literature in action. The question at hand: "What motivates you?" is fundamental to both success and longevity in sport. Continue reading Chris' thoughts on his blog...

Tracy: Training motivation has been a long evolving process for me. When I first started, I needed rigid structure in my life, which training for three sports at the same time pretty much guaranteed. The comfort the structure provided was cathartic, and first served as the motivation I needed to continue, but after Ironman, things shifted. I didn't need that rabid structure anymore, so my motivation for training became more about quiet time in the day, usually waaaaay before the rest of the world woke up. I suppose my motivation to train now leans toward the latter, but with the added endeavor of also trying to keep up with my kids! For the first time in my life, I completely understand the extra long exhale my dad would make getting up from the couch, or why he braced a forearm on one knee when he'd bend down to pick something up--when your kids are a certain age, and you're super busy with work and family, exercise can sometimes fall by the wayside. Let me tell you what, if it does, the years and the miles catch up to you in a hurry. So, these days, with a 24-7 schedule and ALL the mom activities that go along with it, my motivation for training is to stop the world for an hour each day, as well as to assure myself that I keep pace once it starts up again.

Charlie: I think my biggest motivation to train has to do with health. My family has a very strong history of heart disease, and exercise is at the foundation of preventing or treating the risk factors. I love to eat good food, and working in the health care field, I see the broad spectrum of disease caused by too many calories in and not enough calories out. Exercise is also a great stress reliever for me - I feel better, I have more energy, and I sleep better when I'm exercising. Ultimately, I'm hoping to set a good example of a balanced, healthy lifestyle for my daughters and, by taking care of myself now, improve the quality of my life in later years.

Monday, March 11, 2013

JP Catches up with Bryan Rhodes



JP: Last time we spoke with Rhodsey, he was sidelined with a major Achilles injury.  Fast-forward three years and you’re rehabbed and back mixing it up at the top of the sport.  What was it like coming back from massive injury like that?
Rhodsey: Yes it's been a long 3 years of rehab and strength from my Achilles rupture to get back to the top level needed to be a pro triathlete. Many days, nights, and weeks I didn't think that I would get there. The hardest thing is you want it so bad that you rush it.

 JP:  I’ve spotted you doing a bit of race commentary.  How did you get into that and how do you like it?
Rhodsey: The race commentary is something I'd really like to do when I finish racing as a Professional as I love being around triathletes and know all of the athletes who race. My life is triathlon and was lucky enough to get offered a position on the IronmanLIVE team for IronmanTexas which I jumped at. Then was offered again for Pro Ironman Champs in NYC that meant I couldn't race which is a pity as that race won't be held again. 

 JP:  I know this is the annoying interview cliché but it is a very interesting one for pro triathletes.  Where do you see yourself in five years?
Rhodsey: I'd like to be married or at least in a healthy relationship as my travel and race schedule has been horrible with having a long term Girlfriend plus Triathlete girls are super hard to live with.

JP:  Talk us through a typical training year for you. Where do you base yourself, routines that you have in different places, training partners, etc.
Rhodsey: I've traveled and trained everywhere but Christchurch, NZ and Boulder, Colorado are probably the two best places to train in the world with many triathletes there to join you on some sessions.

JP: If you had to pick one spot as a training venue for the rest of your life, where would it be and why?
Rhodsey: Well I think I will finally settle down in Christchurch as I really miss my family when on the road and it's going to be such a cool city when they finish the earthquake rebuild. I'm really going to find the winters hard but it's only 3 hour flight to Queensland for some beaches and sun.
JP: Lately, we’ve had a bit of a go at each other over our bikes via Twitter.  Sadly you aren't on a Quintana Roo and are thus throwing away valuable minutes but that doesn't seem to bother you.  Tell the people what you are riding now and how you like it.
Rhodsey: Well I'm riding the fastest bike on the planet- the P5- and you are throwing watts down the toilet riding the QR. I've been with Cervelo for 15 years and the longest sponsored triathlete. I will die riding my Cervelos and won't be talked into riding any other bike!!

JP: I know you work with Phil over at Hypercat racing to dial in your bike fit.  How did you hear about Phil and what do you think of your new fit?  Was it a major overhaul or just little tweaks to get you set up on your new bike?
Rhodsey: Working with Phil has been awesome as he really has fitted some amazing bike rides and teams with Rabobank. We have been able to get me in a pretty aggressive low position on the P5 and it's super comfortable which allows me to run fast after a super hard ride. We will have a look over things again in April and see if we can get a bit more power out of me.

JP:  What are the plans for this year?

Rhodsey: I've just placed 5th at Challenge Wanaka and was a little disappointed as I had trained super hard and wanted the podium but was a bit too impatient at the start of the run and paid for it around the 15K mark. I was pretty even through my half times so that is positive. Just really would have loved a podium.

JP: 
How are things in terms of sponsorship?
Rhodsey: Sponsorship has been brutal as I've sent out my resume to a lot of companies and not even had a reply, that's hard as I would rather have a "No" than "no reply" as I don't even know if they got my resume. I hope to have a few new sponsors but it's still a wait as see game. I was sick a couple of weeks ago and nearly chucked in the towel as hadn't had replies. I just went out and smashed my body around for two days and that help get my mind back in the game!!


JP:  TIME FOR THE LIGHTNING ROUND
Rhodsey:

  • Best race ever? Ironman Lankawi 2000 1st Ironman Win on my 28th Birthday, Winning Ironman Canada in 2008 is a close 2nd
  • Potato chips or French fries? Potato Chips
  • Beer: IPA or Stout? Stout
  • Favorite bike workout? Hill reps!! Even tho I'm not the best climber it hurts so good
JP:  Thanks for the time.

You can follow Rhodsey on twitter @Rhodseylive and check out his websites: www.rhodsey.com & www.rhodsey.co.nz (both are under construction and will be ready soon.)

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Week in the Life of Rob

We're in the homestretch of our look into the typical daily/weekly/monthly life of Team Evotri. So far, we've had SarahSaraMichelleJPCharlieChrisSimply StuTracy, and Matt. Rob closes the series for Team Evotri. 

A week in my life four years ago was vastly different than the one described below. As several of my teammates can attest to, having kids will do that to you. Add a couple of side gigs for fun, and that changes the ballgame even more.

In the "real world," I work as a traffic engineer. (No, I cannot fix that one traffic signal that won't turn green for you.) What I do is figure out what the needs of facilities are for the future. I test various alternatives in computer programs that simulate traffic conditions of the future. It's not at the level of Grand Theft Auto, but it's one of the more flashier products produced by engineers.

With my current "real world" work, I'm committed to travel from Madison to Milwaukee three days a week. So this Monday starts out on the road, up by 6 and out the door before anyone wakes up by 7 AM. A good travel day gets me to the remote office by 8:30. A bad day will add an extra half hour. Today was a bad day. And, given this winter, I've seen more bad than I'd like to. Several meetings and a full workday later, I'm back in traffic on the way home, hopefully before 7 PM. (I make it.) I grabbed what's left for dinner and hung with the kids. After the kids went down around 8:30, I settled in and compiled the schedule of races I will announce this summer. Race announcing is one of the side gigs I've gotten into. (This year, it starts on St. Patrick's Day and continues nearly weekly until the end of July. Then it's every other week through September.) I send the list off and head to bed around 11 PM.

Tuesday starts at 5 AM. I'm out the door 15 minutes later to the pool for an hour of masters swimming. We're out of the water around 6:30 AM and I'm back on the road to downtown Milwaukee by 7 AM and in the office by 8:30. (It was a good day.) More meetings, traffic, reports, yadda, yadda, yadda, then back on the road by 5:30 PM. Same routine with dinner and kids' bedtimes, but this time we fit in a bath. After that, I address some issues and answer questions regarding this year's WIBA, add some Facebook info and answer more emails about other stuff.

Wednesday I typically spend in my Madison office, so it's a much shorter commute. (Sometimes in the warmer months I can even bike.) However, due to the fact that I'm home, I can help get everyone up and started with their day. No one but me in the house is a morning person. What happens is that I tend to get into the Madison office later than I do when traveling to Milwaukee.

This specific Wednesday, I'm up at 6 AM to get a treadmill run in. Then rustle the kids, change a diaper, make oatmeal, pour chocolate milk, toast a waffle, shovel a bowl of cereal down my throat, put outfits on, load/unload the dishwasher, pack my lunch and only then can I leave for the office. Today, that puts me in my chair at 8:45, and yadda, yadda, yadda, I'm on my way home by 6 PM. This winter, Wednesdays are swimming lesson days. Since today was the last class of the session, we celebrate the daughter's with birthday cake frozen yogurt covered in sour gummy worms. I elect for the peanut butter/white chocolate combo covered with crumbled Heath bar. Delicious. After the bedtime routine, it's once again following up on emails related to WIBA, changes in the announcing schedule, and some Rev3 Wisconsin Dells issues. As the local race coordinator, I work with the local officials on the planning, permitting and local staff to make sure the race is successful. I'm in bed by midnight.

Thursday is like Tuesday; up at 5, out the door at 5:15 to swim and on the road to Milwaukee by 7 AM. After a full day of work, I turn around and make my way home, this time on the phone following up on Rev3 emails sent out the night before. After dinner and the bedtime routine, I actually get to spend time with my wife to watch two more excellent episodes of House of Cards. Reluctantly, we leave the final two episodes un-watched and get to bed at a more reasonable 11 PM.

Friday is back in Madison, I fit in another 6 AM run, enjoy breakfast with the family and head to work to catch up on the week and get things planned for the next week's meetings. I answer some more questions about race announcing and confirm that I can add two more races to the schedule. (Woot!) That night, we get some pizza from the local place, amuse ourselves playing Go Fish! with the kids and finish out the final shows of House of Cards.

Saturday morning always starts too early. For some reason, I can keep myself afloat during the week on minimal sleep. But with the release of the week's stress gone, my body says, "nuh-uh" and I can never get enough rest. Today, my sweet, wonderful wife lets me sneak an extra half-hour of snoozing and gets the day started with the kids. After breakfast, my wife takes the youngest with her to a mommy/infant yoga class and the toddler and I head out to the hardware store. Then it's off to the pool for open swim. She gets comfortable with her goggles and discovers a whole new world below the surface. We're then back home and I finally set up the Quintana Roo CD0.1 in the basement to get riding. Unfortunately, those hills in Chattanooga are going to get any less steep the more I don't ride. My pedaling is entertained by early episodes of Breaking Bad while the rest of the family naps. Then, it's dinner, bedtime, and more emails before turning in relatively early at 10 PM.

Same kind of thing happens on Sunday. I sneak a little sleeping in, but usually get busted by the three year-old. Somehow today I got suckered into staying home with the kids while the wife was out and about shopping. Good thing she started ribs in the slow cooker. Me and the kids lounged for most of the day, playing around the house. When the wife came back in the afternoon, the sun was out and it was in the 30s. We all got outside and I ran while they enjoyed a walk. My route overlapped with theirs several times, the best of which was spent jumping in puddles with the three-year old. By the time we got home, the ribs were done and very tasty. (Nothing like Chubby's BBQ, though.) After dinner, it's more bedtime routine, followed by pulling out the work computer to preview the next week holds.

Lather, rinse, repeat. It's a busy life for me and will only get busier once summer comes. Weekends will be filled with an event either Saturday or Sunday, sometimes both. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Because after those long days of yadda, yadda, yadda, when that door opens as you pull into the garage and your three year old is screaming, "Daddy!" jumping and hopping around while she just can't wait to show and tell you all that she did during the day is just about the best thing ever. Cliche, yes, but mostly awesome.
At the Rev3 Wisconsin Dells finish line with my daughter.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Week in the Life of Matt

We're in the homestretch of our look into the typical daily/weekly/monthly life of Team Evotri. So far, we've had SarahSaraMichelleJPCharlieChrisSimply Stu and Tracy. Now Matt shows us what it's like to balance training and travel.

My weeks start out bright and early Monday morning with a 4:30am wake up call. Unlike the typical triathlete early wake-up call which is followed by a masters swim or group run, my wake-up call is followed by a trip to the airport. I work for Terex (a diversified global manufacturer of heavy equipment for a variety of industries such as Materials Processing, Construction, & Aerial Work Platforms) as an IT Business Analyst, and the current project they have me on requires me to travel to Memphis nearly 80% of my time.

Upon landing in Memphis, I shoot over to the car rental facility, pick up a slick ride (I like to go for the sports car convertibles such as the new mustangs, Chrysler 200’s, or the occasional Suburban if I have my bike with me) and blaze into the office. The hours are long and monotonous, but the people I work with help make the days go by.

After a long day of travel and work I will usually head to the hotel, check in, unpack my bags, and either go out for an easy run, or hit the pool for a swim. I am a member at 24 hr fitness in Dallas, and luckily there is a 24 hr fitness in Memphis about 20 miles from my hotel, so I don't have to pay to go swim which is a bonus. The only drawback is that 20 miles is just far enough away to contemplate and convince yourself of not going, but at the same time close enough to keep your mind on the fence. I usually fall to the right side of the fence and get the swim in, and always feel better about myself for it afterward.

After a very long day, I usually hit up a nice restaurant close to the hotel, sit at the bar alone, get a nice big steak and throw back a few brews while watching sports. A nice relaxing way to end a long and jam packed day.

The thing about business travel that people don't realize is that it’s actually really nice if you do it in moderation. Getting all the flights, rental cars, hotel stays, meals, etc. paid for is a major perk to the job. Racking up all those points, getting free personal trips, earning status, those are nice benefits indeed, but the overlooked piece is that if you are travelling as much as I am, those things get old quick. Living out of a suitcase week in and week out is miserable. Not having flexibility in what you can do throughout the week is mentally draining. And worst of all, my training schedule is compressed massively when I travel because I only have small windows of free time. Having to be at work from 7:30-5:30 every day, sometimes team dinners afterward, only leaves me with a few windows to get workouts in. And as you will see throughout my write up, I have to be very disciplined in order to be successful as both an employer and an athlete outside of work.
Tuesday morning alarm goes off around 5am and I dread crawling out of bed, but know in order to do everything I want that day I need to sacrifice the extra hour and a half of sleep. I usually get up and go for the opposite of what I did Monday night. So hit the pool if I went for a run Monday night, or vice-a-versa. Going for a run really kind of blows in Memphis because there are no good routes. There are some neighborhoods that I go through, but I find myself repeating common routes multiple times throughout the run/week and that gets old quick. After finishing up the morning workout I hit the shower, grab some breakfast, and head into the office.

The morning drags along, analyzing spreadsheets, testing bugs in the system, etc. But like I said above the guys I work with sure ease the monotony of the job, and before I know it its lunch time. For lunch we usually go out as a group and hit up local dine ins. Or if we have worn out our welcome at those establishments we hit up a chain. Eating out every day for every meal is definitely a bonus and I never go hungry, but it pays a toll on the midsection. After about 3 months of travelling I started to find myself blossoming a nice muffin top. I didn't ever think that with how much I work out I would be affected by eating too much or eating too much of the wrong food, but I was mistaken. So now when we go out I try to mix in some healthy colorful food from time to time to please my system.

As the day wraps up Tuesday and we head back to the hotel. I will usually get in a bike while watching TV in my hotel room. Andy will feed me some brutal intervals and I will suffer, but again will relish the pain and know that it is going to pay off big time in the long run. Riding on the trainer in a hotel room is the worst, but knowing I have a nice gourmet meal awaiting me once I get through the workout always help speed up the hands on the clock.

This is not the customary activity every week, but occasionally a few co-workers and I will pack up in the rental car and hit the casino. There is a bundle of casinos about 20 minutes south of the hotel in Mississippi, and it’s always a good time to go get a free buffet, throw back some beers, and kick it with some funny old guys. Early on in my trips I was killing it, taking home $100-200 each visit, but the last 2 times I have lost $100 and had to go home empty handed. I guess that's why they say the casino wins in the end!

Wednesday morning is usually a sleep in day if I went to the casino the previous night, or a nice easy 30 min run if there was no casino fun. There is just something about a nice easy run in the cold air in the morning that I love and take advantage of every time I can.

After another long day of work, and a calorie packed BBQ lunch, its back to the hotel to get in another workout!! Wednesdays tend to be another bike workout. Again Andy will feed me something treacherous to try to make me cry, and normally come very close to it! It’s painful, but in the long run very worth it.

So after the bike and hitting the powder room, its out for the night with the boys. Wednesday nights are “Bike Night” on Beale Street in downtown Memphis. For those unfamiliar with Beale Street, it is very similar but smaller scale to Bourbon street in New Orleans. 4 blocks of police monitored and sectioned off from vehicle traffic. You can buy a pint from one bar, walk outside and up and down the street, and even enter another establishment with it. They also have an alcoholic slurpee place called Wet Willies (my favorite) that has over 20 flavors. These beverages are very potent and you can only get away with consuming 2 before things get blurry. After filling our veins with liquid courage at Wet Willies we usually end up at a karaoke bar where each of us tries our luck at becoming the next big thing.

Bike Night on Beale St.
Thursday morning usually greets me with a minor headache to say the least, but that doesn't stop me from a refreshing workout. I usually hit the pool for some laps before work, so that I can sweat out those slurpees from the night before, and not have to go into work looking like I got hit by a bus. Thankfully Thursdays are our departure days and after another fabulous lunch I head to the airport to head back home to Dallas. Depending on whether the flight leaves on time dictates whether I get the luxury of getting another workout in Thursday night in Dallas, but most of the time I will be too drained from the events of the week to do anything and I get eaten by my couch and fall asleep watching my beloved 70” TV. A little Harry Potter usually does the trick ;)

Friday morning comes around, and it's a nice sleep in, usually wake up around 7, shower up and hit the office. The Dallas office is very relaxed and people come and go as they please…its more of a get your work done and the hours are irrelevant atmosphere. So I tend to get in just before 8, and get out by 1. After leaving work I will hit the local 24 hr fitness for another swim, before again being consumed by my couch.

The other main drawback of being on the road travelling constantly is that I don't have any food in my pantry or fridge. Since I’m gone 5 out of 7 days a week it doesn't make sense to go to the grocery store, so I always seem to be hungry!

Friday nights are usually spent with my lovely girlfriend Iris. We just relax and hang out on the couch, watch some super magnified TV (70” is the real deal!) and fade in and out of consciousness.

Saturday morning comes quick with an early wake up call for both Iris and I because that's our long group ride day! It usually takes a snooze or two to get us up, but once we get moving we are pretty amped to get out and ride. The ride usually lasts 2-4 hrs depending on the weather and workout for the day, and can be anywhere from 30-90 miles depending on how the wind is that day. Most of the time we have a nice massive tail wind on the way out (the route is pretty much an out lollipop, and back) and the worst head wind home. It really gets frustrating, but if you put it in perspective Texas doesn't have any hills, and so I relish the times we have major headwinds because those are my hill simulation opportunities :)

After the long ride, Iris and I will again spend some more time together, if it’s nice out we will sit by the pool and get some sun (we have thick northern skin both being from Michigan, so if its 60+ and sunny we are usually at the pool). If the weather isn’t so nice we will usually hit up a pub and get lunch and a few pints before settling back into the couch for the rest of the night, pretty exciting life we live together!

Sunday mornings are usually medium to long runs solo. Occasionally, Iris and I will run together, but most of the time we do our own things at our own paces, and it gets pretty boring. After the run (anywhere between 8-13 miles) we will group back up at the house, stretch, shower and clean up, possibly get some food (or make it if we make a special trip to the grocery store), and get ready to do it all over again. After eating I usually have a bunch of laundry to do to get ready to pack up my suitcase for the bright and early flight in the AM. Aren’t you envious of my weekly routine?? ;)

As much as the monotony of traveling wears on me, I really do like doing what I do. I wouldn't do all my workouts at the worst hours of the day & put my body through punishing pain day after day if I didn't like it. I love being a triathlete, I love training, and best of all I love seeing the hard work paying off in races. If it weren’t for the little things like that I don't know what would keep me motivated. But I definitely am! Every day I wake up motivated to go one step farther, race 1 second faster, put in that one extra hundred in the pool. And that's why I continue to do what I do. It’s for the Love of the Game!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Day in the Life of Tracy

We're in the homestretch of our look into the typical daily/weekly/monthly life of Team Evotri. So far, we've had Sarah, Sara, Michelle, JP, Charlie. Chris, and Simply Stu. Up now is Tracy, who comes back to the team after a year-long break from triathlon balancing a family and expanded responsibilities as she transitions from a single sport to back to three.

A lot has changed in a year.

When I was training for Ironman, I'd get up at 3:30 or 4:00 every morning to get my workouts in, then, teach full time, come home and do the domestic goddess of the universe thing, go to bed around 9:00 or so, rinse and repeat the next day. Now that our kids are in 5th and 6th grade, though, and there are music lessons, games, practices, performances, and troop meetings on top of family and bedtime routines in the evenings, I have no doubt that I'd promptly fall face first into my dinner were I to try that dark o'clock craziness again. So, training has become an evening thing, and by training, I mean skating, and by skating, I mean in a pack of seven other women, full throttle, stopping and turning forward, backward, and sideways on a dime, all while trying to block and knock the veritable will to live out of the opposing team's "jammer" (point scorer) as many times as possible in a two-minute period--taking care, of course, to avoid going to the penalty box in the endeavor. This is roller derby.

How I went from triathlon to roller derby is another post altogether, but suffice it to say for now, while it's been a blast, I'm in the process of transitioning back to triathlon training. Believe me when I say this is a JOB. Everything about roller derby is different, not jut the number of wheels on the ground. From muscle groupings to mindset, I feel like I'm starting all over as a tri-geek fledgling with trying to fit three sports into the slot I created for one.


Here's why:
My day starts at 5:00 in the morning. I shower, get dressed, leave my hair to air dry, spend ten minutes on makeup, and promptly set out to double check backpacks, homework, put together snacks, pack lunches, and fill water bottles for the day. Fast forward to 6:00, and it's time to wake up the kids...I flip on the lights and begin uncovering, tickling, poking, and even singing the Barney and/or Dora theme song -- much detested by the preteen -- in an effort to bring forth consciousness any way I can. Around 6:15, they rise from the dead, get dressed, and appear downstairs where breakfast ensues. By 6:30 we're packing up, and by 6:45 we're on the road to school.

I drop off our son first at their elementary school, then drive to the middle school to drop off our daughter for zero hour band (from which she'll take a school bus back to their elementary), then drive to my school and arrive by 7:30 (OK, 7:35 most days). And then..let the learning begin!

Almost.

Because in addition to teaching high school English, I'm also the department chairperson, I'm responsible for the general management of the department and staff each day. I check our copiers, ensure that any subs have everything they need, etc., and then make my way to my classroom where three periods of 12th grade English Literature and two periods of 12th grade AP English Language and Composition await. One prep period and one department management period later, the bell rings, and I am either tutoring, writing curriculum, or attending meetings for an hour or so before then heading uptown to pick up our kids for the 30-minute drive home, that is, unless our son has a drum lesson that day, in which case, THEN we head home.

Fortunately, my husband is an amazing cook, so he usually handles dinner, after which we may have a Boy Scout meeting, basketball practice, or a flute lesson to get to before I can make some gluten-free, starch-free bread for the remainder of the week if need be, have everyone hit the showers, and then all cuddle on the couch for an hour or so of Netflixed Dr. Who before putting the kids to bed around 9:00.

This brings us to the magic hour in which, dear reader, now that derby practice is no more, I will need to start making time to train. The problem is, training for three sports takes up more time than the two hours twice a week that skating took, so I have a sneaking suspicion that if I ever want to say more than good morning and goodnight to my husband, I'm going to need to revive getting up before God again in order to train, at least for a few days a week.

Yep, a lot has changed in a year, and I think it's safe to say this is just the beginning!

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Week in the Life of Simply Stu

We're continuing our look into the typical daily/weekly/monthly life of Team Evotri. So far, we've had SarahSaraMichelleJP, Charlie. and Chris. Now, Simply Stu takes us through his week leading up to an early season half marathon.

Tuesday - Since this was race week, I finally got to take a break from my usual Tuesday speed work. Today I only had 5 easy miles on my schedule. After working a full day and running my scheduled miles at lunch, I had to teach spinning. This was such a great way to end the workday. After class, I packed for my trip to Mississippi for my half marathon.

Wednesday - Today was an off day of running. I almost felt guilty for not running, but did enjoy the day off. After work, I picked up the family and we headed towards Mississippi.

SNOW!
Thursday - We woke up early to beat the snowstorm that was heading directly towards us. It was another 6-hour day in the car, but it felt so nice to finally be in Mississippi to see my son. I miss him so much while he is away at college, so any excuse (like a ½ marathon) to travel south works for me. After a quick 3 mile run to shake out my legs, we headed out for a family dinner at our favorite place on the square.

Baseball? In February?
Friday - Friday was all about visiting the university and taking in a baseball game. Can you believe baseball has already started? After the game, I drove the marathon course. I was certainly prepared with my last 16 weeks of training, but this was one of the hilliest routes I have ever seen. I averaged between 35-40 miles of running during my training, so I felt really prepared to race. My goal was top three in my age group.

Rowan Oak - Home to William Faulkner

Saturday - My wife drove me to the start line so she could have the car. The plan was for the family to see me at the grove on campus. After a nice warm-up, the race was on. The first half-mile was straight down a hill. While it was a great way to start, the course finished up that same hill. My pace was right on schedule for the first 4 miles, but I started to feel a bit sluggish at mile 5 and 6. At mile 7 I saw my family, and this made my day! After seeing my family I negative split each of the last 6 miles. I didn't discover the negative split until I looked back at the data from the race. I attribute this to the training mileage I put in over the last 16 weeks. It was amazing to feel as good as I did. I finished 20th overall and 2nd in my age group. I have run faster half-marathon times, but it is really hard to compare since this route was so incredibly hilly!

UMiss Basketball vs. Auburn
We finished the day with a basketball game against Auburn and a family dinner. We walked back to the car and said our goodbyes. I can tell you that I hate goodbyes – it never gets easier. Oh, how I miss my son while he is away at college.

Sunday - We got up early on Sunday and headed back to Wisconsin. We drove 11 straight hours back to Wisconsin with only short stops.

Monday - It was back to work day. A long day in the office, but felt good to be back. After work I drove home, had dinner and prepared for my Rev3 Radio show on Tuesday with guests Lauren Goss and Heather Jackson.

With my run focus over, I will break for 2 weeks before I start a 10-week preparation for the Syttende Mai 10 miler. I will also get back on my Quintana Roo in preparation for the Evotri Chattanooga training camp!
Stu's QR CD0.1 ready for action