Category Archives: Motivation

Spring is in the air

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shorts weather… finally

Finally it looks like spring is here, while it has been a rainy spring, we have been able to do our share of outdoor stuff over the last couple of weeks. The winter blues were really getting to us, the long days in the basement (aka the paincave) were getting old and it was definitely time for us to play outside and get to breathe some fresh air. We also were able to kick our season of races doing the Rutgers Unite Half. This is the 3rd year doing it and definitely it is turning to be a great race to kick off the season each year. It is in early April which makes me train during the earlier months and push through the winter getting either really cold miles outside or dark miles on the treadmill. Not only that, but it is a great race because we don’t have to spend a lot of money or plan a lot of logistics, since we stay at my parents’ house. Lastly, while it isn’t an easy course, it has a few rollers that make you push a little bit and also it is a good way to measure progress. This year I was really happy with the results, 2 years ago when we first did it we had just moved, our training for it was less than optimal, we couldn’t run much outside due to the snow, didn’t have a treadmill and barely got ourselves to the gym.  Note that this is a longer half with a 13.4 (as seen on multiple Garmins) and I finished with a 2:09:08 the 13.1 mark.  It was by far one of my slowest times.  Last year, Felipe was on a mission to get me down to the 2:00 half and I stuck with him up to mile 10 and told him to go.  Needless to say he finished with less than 2:00 and I was right behind him with a 2:03:53.  We had not trained a whole lot either, we had finished IMCozumel at the end of 2015 and it took us a while to get back to it.

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Race Perks… free downloads on pictures

We didn’t want to run and really weren’t ready for it, but we did our best to get to the start and finish line knowing the results weren’t going to show. This year was different. I have been working on my strength, got a lot more miles in, and in general did my homework on the treadmill, the track, and getting the long runs not only on the trail, but also around on the road where we did hill work and put in the miles. My 13.1 mark this year was right at 2:00:49. Finally back down to the 2:00’s it only took me 5 years to get there and I think I’m now stronger than I was 5 years ago, so I’m really happy with the progress and how it all is falling into place.

 

So that’s how our season got started,  speaking of seasons, this is our 5th season, who would’ve thought that after a cold morning in February, 5 years ago, we would still have the bug. We have learned so much over the last 5 years, while it probably isn’t what most do, at least we’ve learned what works for us.

Few things that we have learned:

  1. Triathlon is a life-style…. it isn’t our life. This is probably one of the most important
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    social life exists outside of triathlon believe it or not

    lessons. We have learned to balance our regular lives and our triathlon lives and we feel like we are doing a pretty good job at it. We don’t slack on our workouts, but if life gets in the way of things, we let it be. We don’t let it ruin our days or don’t simply plan every single day around our training. Not going to say we didn’t fall into that early on when we felt like we HAD to do everything possible to get all the workouts in.  A key to this has been planning our season and sticking to our plans.

  2. Adding to the last point, it is ok to not race every weekend, or even every month, anyways… we got so many medals now that we can’t even hang them all up. We were there, did that, did a total of over 15 races in less that 12 months the first year. It was fun, we felt like we wanted to do everything and didn’t want to miss an opportunity. However, we learned later after getting injured that over-racing was actually one of the issues. Once we started to take that into consideration, our training felt better and also we started to see gains. More importantly we haven’t been injured since. No injuries means you can train better, nail your workouts and also means you save time because you don’t have to start looking for doctors and going to physical therapy.
  3. Missing workouts is ok too. This is one that took us probably the longest to learn. At first we would feel so guilty about it. Getting reds on TrainingPeaks is like the walk of shame. What would our coach think? are we slacking? would we be able to compete? would we have enough miles? so many questions rushed through our heads that we simply sucked it up and ended up moving stuff around to simply get a workout in. Even if we were sacrificing our own regular lives like friends, families, work. Now we take a more relaxed approach to things. We actually don’t feel as guilty now, if we get to do an spontaneous date night at the City.
  4. Love for what we do. Recently I’ve read on social media a lot of posts related to
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    Betty down… sometimes it isn’t all pretty pictures and smiles

    burnout and simply losing the love for triathlon or losing hope.  To me, this life style is something we want to do, that’s a start. Once you lose the love or the interest, you might as well find something else, why do something you don’t enjoy?  About losing hope, let’s set something straight. Losing hope for what? I know we all have or own challenges and demons, trust me it isn’t easy for me, nor do I believe I make it look easy.  It takes a lot of work, perseverance, sweat, and tears. Also, I have learned to reset my expectations. I’ve made the mistake (as many people do) to compare myself to others, often times that other is Felipe (or random people of social media). He is for example a great swimmer, so his swims seem easy to him while I struggle. I have learned to not look at him as I would get down to his swim times, but rather to learn how he pushes his paces and tries to get the best out of the time in the water.

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    4 hours on the trainer had me like….

    Of course my gains are marginal at times, but they are gains and I take them and I put them in the bank with hopes I can cash them on race day. I have learned to be able to reset my expectations and not lose hope nor the love for this lifestyle. Finding the right balance between life, triathlon, marriage, work, friends, has been key for us.

Anyways, those are just my thoughts and a few lessons learned. I’m sure there are more and there will be plenty more. I hope I don’t lose the love anytime soon, I’m having way too much fun still. Even if sometimes I want to throw the towel when days get rough  and I feel like Ironman training simply sucks the life out of me and question my sanity for signing up for it, but the finish line, pushing my limits, and looking forward to racing with my honey, friends, and having fun while at it is what keeps me focused.  Seeing progress is motivation to keep striving for more and making those improvements only I can make.

 

Oh crap… time to get serious

16388333_10154997346218711_8125243064341415882_n.jpgLooks like the time is here, we are 24 weeks from Ironman Lake Placid and the training will start. Not that we haven’t been couch potatoes over the last 2 months since Ironman 70.3 Cartagena, but we definitely haven’t been sticking to the usual routine. We have been trying to fit workouts while we can. Work has been busier than ever for both of us and the winter days don’t make it any easier on us. Days are shorter, the basement is freezing and going down there is so hard no matter what time of the day it is, and heading outdoors when is in the 20s or 30s isn’t any easier.

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Anyways, February marks a special month for us. We celebrate our 5th year with IronTex, our 5th year of this crazy active lifestyle. 5 years of sharing with our Texas family and celebrating our friendships through these years. We are so excited that we get to race with our IronTex friends in July at IM Placid. Can’t wait to see them all and share another big race. Also, we are celebrating our 2nd year in NY. Hard to believe that it’s been now 2 years since we took that leap to move from Texas and start a new life in the East Coast. Now it is something that we don’t regret doing, we love our life out here…. despite the winter. We know we only have a couple more weeks and it is over so we can enjoy the spring and summer months.

2017-01-31-17-13-24So, for now… shit got real! time to get serious and start the training so we are ready for the next crazy adventure of our triathlon life, our 5th Ironman. I’ll try not to bore you too much with the details of our training, they get pretty boring, for that you can check my Instagram feed where I post some of what we do… as usual I’ll come here to share my thoughts, the good, bad and ugly and struggles. Hope everyone’s season is going well and that you stay motivated for whatever races/challenges you have for the year.

Take care and hope to be back here soon.

 

 

Time to get going – #Epic2016

I guess #Adventure2015 came to a close, can’t believe we are already at the end of January and time is flying. I haven’t posted much and I still have to post my post Cozumel trip review and race review. Felipe did his and posted it on the other blog, but I still have to do mine, I have a draft, but needs some finishing touches, so stay tuned to that. I’m hopping to get it out over the weekend.

1044524_491295587724910_3002672429938440107_nHow about getting #epic2016 going, I have struggled a little with the usual winter motivation and in a sense the post ironman blues lack of motivation. Then you add the holidays and having family for 2.5 weeks in town and then any workout goes out the window. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t complained about having about 1.5 months off where I had a TrainingPeaks schedule set by Coach Mike but I didn’t really do it. Yeah, I hated seeing the reds, but I was determined to enjoy the family time and not let it ruin the break we had. I managed to get a couple of runs, a swim and the start of a bike ride during that time, so I wasn’t at all the super sedentary person, and was pretty active. Walked a ton with the family either at the outlets, mall, or in New York City. One weekend we did about 17 miles just on one day.

 

Now that I’ve put that behind me, it’s been a slow start to get back to the routine we worked so hard to get into. It is working, slowly but surely. Sometimes I drag getting on the bike, but come to enjoy it after I’m on it or even getting my self to the pool, but loving it once I get there. I clearly have lost speed but I don’t care, I’m getting it done and I know working hard it will come back.

9464412d-411e-4bb8-8549-4d1f67edfea0My main motivation this year is that I was accepted to be part of Team Betty. Late last year I got word that I was being invited to be part of Team Betty.

Now you are going to ask what is Team Betty? You might have seen me often wearing Betty Designs tri kits. I don’t only wear them because they are super #badass but also because of what Betty Designs stands for.  Their famous hashtag #badassisbeautiful which is their brand motto, means that as badass active, beautiful women, we not only look amazing, but have a strong mind, positive attitude, and work hard for what we want.  As a badass, we aim to get things done and accomplish what we put our my minds to.tumblr_nh0c2q6iZt1rbvyaio1_1280  Every woman should know how bad ass and beautiful she is and despite facing life challenges, a badass keeps her head up and keeps striving to become the most awesome and strongest version of herself.  As a Betty, I enjoy motivating and showing others that they can be powerful and strong, look good in badass Betty colors, and still keep a healthy and active lifestyle… wow.. I think I said #badass enough times there, but you get the idea. You can also check out my YouTube channel for my video app. 

So being part of Team Betty is my main motivation for this year. I have selected a couple of races to do where I will be sporting the kits and you will be able to spot us, because the kits are so rad, skulls, butretumblr_nzvoa05S0H1rbvyaio1_1280rflies and pink… what else can you ask for?

I’ll try to post next week my schedule as it is coming together now. Felipe and I are trying to juggle vacations and schedules to make sure we can get out there and kick some butt.

In the meantime, if you want to get a discount on Betty Designs collections, click on the image below and it will take you to the store and using code bettyspringcleaning

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About me.. part dos (2)

I couple of years ago I ventured on my own to blogging. I had been part of the blog my hubby and I started and I’m still part of it but this time I wanted somethings different as I wanted to share my journey into my new me.

If you have read my About Me you probably have seen a little about my background and the beginnings of my journey. Sometimes I get the question a lot about why I do all these crazy things and those always make me think about the whys. I mean we all do these for fun and if it wasn’t fun then we are paying a lot of money to be miserable. I’ve compiled a few of my motivation tips around my blog and you can take a look around. It is the psychologist in me that keeps popping out and of course I have to apply my own psychology a lot of times. 

IMG_6622I also serve as a Commissioned Officer with the U.S. Public Health Service and I tri to live by our mission and core values. Our mission reads: “…to protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of our Nation.” I live by it because I believe in it, I’m a firm believer that we can have a healthier Nation if we all put a little of our own into this cause. Of course, I am in the frontline of this, but with my job I try to raise awareness about how being active and in general living a healthy lifestyle can lead to many more positive things. I also tri to lead by example, being to my team, my co-workers, my patients, in and outside of work, even with my own family.

I didn’t find out about being healthy and active until well into my 30’s and I wish I had found it earlier, I didn’t dislike exercise, I paid many months of some unused gym memberships through the year and maybe I went to the gym for the wrong reasons. A lot of times was so I didn’t feel guilty for not throwing my money away. Nowadays, we have a membership and we know we have a purpose, we go and we have our mission when we go, finisherpix_0823_028792and best of all, it doesn’t go to waste. We feel accomplished and good when we go to the gym. I still probably haven’t stepped in the weight room in a long time, mainly do swimming, cardio, spinning, but now I see the gym as a fun place, of course I tri to do as much as I can outside, now with the winter is getting harder to do it outside, so the gym is our training grounds.

I hope to continue inspiring and motivating others with my journeys and crazy (for some) lifestyle. I’m sure it isn’t for everyone, but like I always said, if I can change one life at a time I think it’s one more life that we got on the right track. Make sure you follow me on Instagram, Twitter and like my Facebook page, links are on the right hand side of your screen :).

Time goes by so quick… when you are having fun

It is scary to see that 2015 is coming to an end. It will soon be Halloween, then Thanksgiving and Christmas is just around the corner. I’m sure I will have my end of the year recap, but for the time being this has been an awesome year. I will leave the details for that post, but in the meantime all I’m saying is that when you love everything you are doing, have your loved ones close by (or at least closer), your training is filled with fun places and beautiful scenery, jobs are what you wanted, I’d say you are in a pretty good place. The most important part of all is that you are having fun in general. Not that we didn’t before. We miss our tri and non-Tri friends but it just seems like we are in a better place in our lives.

Enjoying a run across Brooklyn into Manhattan

Enjoying a run across Brooklyn into Manhattan

You haven’t seen much of our Ironman Cozumel training, not because I don’t have anything to share. Mainly because I just didn’t want to bore you with the details of our daily grinding. Our weeks are filled with work, swim, bike, run, eat, sleep, repeat. Some weeks are better than others, we try to #WinTheDay on a daily basis. We have been at it since July and to be honest with you, haven’t been feeling as burnt as I was last year at this time. Raceday is 35 days away, and while our bodies feel the load of the peak weeks, our minds are there. We got some weak times but in general we both know how to deal with those and push through or simply help dig each other out of those dark places that Ironman training can throw you in. It happens when you are doing 6 hrs of a bike ride in your basement watching Netflix. As entertaining as it can be, it gets old after the first hour. In general, the weeks go by relatively quick, the weekends too and honestly I can’t believe that in 4 weeks we will be packing to get our bodies to the start line. In two weeks we drop off our bikes to get shipped and that’s when it get real :).

Awesome views

Awesome views

Anyways, didn’t want to bore you with many of the details, but all I have to say is have fun, enjoy the day and you will see how day by day the time goes quick. Your body and mind tend to respond better when in general you are happy. Always remember why you do all this. Being healthy, active and find your motivation. You will be surprised how a bad day, a crappy workout, a dragging swim can turn to a pretty good one because you go back to what got you started in the first place.

 

 

 

Having a good time with my #partnerincrime

Having a good time with my #partnerincrime

 

A hill… A mountain… Only way is up 

One of the things that I found out quickly after starting our #Adventure2015 journey was that the flatlands of Texas were left behind and that our new home was filled with gorgeous hills, mountains, false flats, you name it, anything but flat.

IMG_6354Over the summer our bike rides were pretty awesome, however they weren’t easy. We joined a local cycling club and it has been a great help to push me out of my comfort zone, also getting my riding skills sharpened which has also been a good thing. After riding for so long kind of by myself in Texas, riding in a group has been a different experience that I’m learning to enjoy. I’m not a big fun of pacelining yet but trying to learn to draft for sure.

Cant beat this view

Cant beat this view

Going back to the hills and mountains, I’ve  definitely gotten the work in. We were riding with the group every Saturday and their loop isn’t flat. We ended up also signing up for the New Jersey Gran Fondo, we didn’t do the whole 107 miles but we did the Medio which is 67 miles and over 5100 ft of climbing. That was a first for me. The biggest earnings for me had been a little over 4000 ft last year when we did 117 miles from Waco to Austin. I was definitely scared, was nervous all week. Knowing that 2 of the climbs were timed had me even more scared since these were categorized climbs (felt like I was going to fell off the bike). Anyways I tackled the ride, Felipe promised he would be with me or at least close to me. He did that. Of course on the climbs he will take off but he loves the climbing and makes it look so easy. I simply took it one by one and tried not to give up.

Definitely not walking

Definitely not walking

I didn’t give up, it was hard, legs burned, saw people walking up the hills but I wasn’t going to be one of them. It sure wasn’t pretty but I had conquered the hills. Loved every moment of it and at the end I couldn’t believe I had finished it. So 67 miles later and 5100 ft of elevation gain I had finished my toughest ride ever.

Now fast forward a couple of weeks to 2 weeks ago, the road kept going up literally. I had to work in Lake Placid for a week, so Felipe had this great idea to make it a weekend of training. It sounded like a great idea at the time, except I wasn’t sure what he had in mind for our bike ride. We were enjoying some awesome weather and he had planned a ride up Whiteface Mountain.IMG_6119 I honestly didn’t know how it was going to be, all I knew is that it might be a bit hard. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know in advance what I was walking into (almost walked) so off we went. The ride started at our hotel in Placid and we went out of town, we had done that road before so I knew that part wasn’t too bad. We also got to see the Ragnar Adirondaks runners that were finishing their relay run. It was fun to cheer them. Once we made it to Whiteface Memorial Highway we started heading up to Whiteface. By up I mean 10% up, we made a stop at North Pole, NY where I told Felipe to go up alone, he of course wasn’t going to do that but wasn’t going to let me quit either. He said that the gate

My look at the gate

My look at the gate

(I didn’t know there was a gate) was only a mile up the road and that he knew it was easier from there (boy had done his research). Almost half a mile up the road I had stopped again, I was not happy as my legs were burning and I was just thinking how am I going to make it up there going 5 mph. We got to the gate and paid our toll fee (bikes pay the same as cars) and we continued our treck up the hill. It was 7.9 miles of relentless climbs which didn’t seem easier than the first 2 miles, they were as hard. I managed to go up, made a few stops in between to enjoy the view and catch my breath in between, took my time. Even texted Felipe from one of the rest stops and his reply “see you when you get up here for lunch” then I knew he wasn’t coming down anytime soon and if I wanted lunch I needed to get my butt up there.

One of the many rest stops, until I got the txt

One of the many rest stops, until I got the txt

So up I went again, once I made it up there I got to see why Felipe wanted to do that ride, I wasn’t the fastest ever, I didn’t care, all I was amazed was that I managed to go up one of the toughest climbs in the east coast and one that is compared to Alp D’Huez which I’ve said while watching on tv that seemed like something I could never do… I guess I know now that I CAN. Of course it wasn’t until I had climbed and we were back to the hotel that I started finding out about how epic it was. I even found one description as:

world_climbsRide Description: Whiteface Mountain, NY is the easternmost of the 5 Top 100 U.S. Climbs that are within a 150 mile radius in the northeastern part of the United States (#3Mt Washington, NH, #18 Mt Equinox, VT, #57 Mt Auscutney, VT and #81 Burke Mt, VT). Wikipedia has an excellent description of this route.

Statistics and Details

Distance: 7.9 miles    (From the gate)
Beginning elevation: 1,040′
Ending elevation: 4,571′ (3,509 gains) at 8.3% avg. grade

Got to pet some awesome guiding dogs in training along the way

Got to pet some awesome guiding dogs in training along the way

So, yes a hill, a mountain, a false flat whatever you want to call it, if it has a grade change you might be scared, legs might scream (scream back at them), the sense of accomplishment after climbing is incredible. One thing is that you always get to go down, so after each climb typically there is a downhill, I’m scared on those too but it’s like the reward for a job well done, you have fun. It has made me appreciate the bike a lot more and in general I feel more confident that regardless of my speed I can accomplish anything I set my mind to do. Even if it is after attempting to quit, but lunch date with my love atop the highest peak in NY State can’t be taken away from us and I loved every minute of it.

Lunch with the best view of NY

Lunch with the best view of NY

At the end of the day is all about the attitude you have towards the challenges and how you make opportunities out of them

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Giving back… Helping others 

One of the reasons I started this blog was for me to have a way to share my experiences and potentially be able to help others along the way. I know I haven’t had a good track record of keeping up with my experience sharing but definitely know I have been able to help others in many different ways. From getting co-workers to do 5ks to ironman and anything in between. Those have been really great moments when I get “Thank yous” from people I have inspired to get active, I don’t see it as a big deal and do not go out to the world talking about it, I simply take them, and hope they pay it forward the same way. 

One of the many stories that have touched me was the one from last weekend. One of the ladies from a Facebook group we belong to posted something about how frustrated she was with her fear for open water swims. Backing up a little, for those of you who might think it is just as easy as swimming in a pool, it isn’t. There is a lot that goes through your brain when you enter a body of water that isn’t a nice clean pool. It typically is the nemesis of every beginner triathlete, some overcome it and some can’t move on. In our case Felipe had a ton of issues early on with it. From panics and just in general which was strange because he had a swimming background. Me instead with no swimming back ground was totally fine with the lake. After multiple swims at the lake where I literally had to swim next to him reinforcing him that it was ok he finally let go of the fear and managed to leave me in the dust as he always does :).  

Anyways, enough of a rewind, back to last weekend. Once we saw the post on the group we reached out to her, we’ve chatted with her before but hadn’t met her. She lives about 30 minutes away from us and trains a lot by her self which we figured was one of the issues. It is hard to get a good sense of safety in open water when you are alone, and yet you shouldn’t get in alone either. So we told her that we would swim with her at our local lake. Since we bring our kayaks we will always have one of us in the kayak for safety and we would make sure we are with her at all times. Me in the water, Felipe in the kayak. She accepted and told us she would come. During the week, she contacted me with the usual nerves and then Saturday she said that it was too much that she simply was going to quit triathlons, or at least open water swim ones. I listened, understood, and worked with her over the phone on some of her fears, which are the ones we all go through and sometimes let our fear take over. So after a few minutes on the phone she was back on track ready to come out on Sunday. 

  Sunday came, there were storms rolling by where she lives so she texted us again making sure we had good weather, which we did. So she got on her way. We got ready and she came promptly at 9. By 9:30 we were ready to take on the challenge. As planned Felipe manned the kayak and we both set off on our quest to conquer the lake. It was a good start. The lake was calm, and we had a good rhythm going. I was ahead but keeping a close eye on her and Felipe was right next to her. About mid way she stopped, held onto the kayak and we chatted to get across. Once we got across we stopped. Took a deep breath and went back to the start. Round trip is about 1/2 of a mile. She stopped a few times in between but she did great. We joked in the water, got her comfortable and she managed the fear. 

   

 All in all, the experience was good. She was happy she could do the swim which the previous week seemed impossible and a daunting task which in triathlon was not an option to skip. Unless you do the duathlon or a relay, but that wasn’t the option here. At the same time I was happy that I was able to give back.

It is true when they say that triathlon is a single person sport. At the end of the day if you put the work you get to the start  and finish lines. However, it takes a village. In a way I feel blessed that I was able to do this with my partner in crime who I jokingly call coach, but also I feel lucky to have a real coach who took us with the entire team when we were so lost and didn’t even know where to start. Now they are more than teammates, they are family and as with anything triathlon is a big family. We all share a passion for the sport (and pain) and at the same time whatever the reason it is that got us going (or got you) never be afraid of asking for help. This case is a clear example of complete strangers sharing a passion, but we understood each other. We knew what she meant when she was telling us what she was going through.  I’m definitely looking forward to continue helping her and sharing the little knowledge I have and more than anything being supportive. It boils down to that. Supporting each other and making the best out of it. It can’t be all competition… We do this for fun!