Tag Archives: Rich Roll

Getting Perspective in Lake Placid

About a month ago (yikes, I should’ve published this sooner), I packed as many synthetic socks, PowerBar gels, and Smashfestqueen cycling kits as possible into my backpack, vacated the Big Apple, and retreated north to Lake Placid for a triathlon training camp with the awesome Work Live Tri folks.

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Wheels up.  Lake Placid, here we come!

As a kid, I attended basketball, softball, and field-hockey camps during the summer, but I had yet to go off the grid and escape to this type of atmosphere as an adult. And I was so excited! Spending quality time swimming, biking, and running in paradise helped me regroup post-bike crash, refocus my tri training, and ultimately rediscover my motivation—in terms of triathlon and life.

Lake Placid will always be my happy place.

Long before I heard of triathlon, my high school basketball team traveled to this area of the Adirondacks for a holiday tournament. Unfortunately we didn’t win, but we made memories that we still talk about today—like that time we broke the hotel bed. My family has also made the trek up for a few daytrips, so my first impressions of Placid centered on quality time with friends and loved ones.

Fast-forward a few years to when I discovered the swim-bike-run world—and Ironman.

In 2013, I experienced this epic race weekend for the first time. They say if you watch an Ironman in-person, you’ll have one of two reactions: it’s either “yes, I am so doing this one day!” or “I will absolutely never do this, ever.” Training, volunteering, and spectating lit my 140.6 flame; even though I couldn’t (and still can’t) wrap my head around the 2.4-mi. swim, 112-mi. bike, and 26.2-mi. run, I knew then and there Lake Placid would be my Ironman. The atmosphere during race week was unlike anything I had witnessed, which says a lot coming from me as a former collegiate athlete. And training amongst trees, rivers, and mountains was also unlike anything I had experienced. Paradise had officially been found.

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View from my room:  home is where the lake is.

In 2014, I became even more familiar with Ironman training and Lake Placid itself when I functioned as a full-fledged Sherpa/emotional guardian. Everything that happened last year—watching the training, seeing the sacrifices, and becoming invested in the journey—highlighted just how inspiring it is to do an Ironman. And actually being there on race day—volunteering as a wetsuit peeler, getting swept up in the emotions, and celebrating the accomplishment—further solidified my desire to tackle Lake Placid one day.

Thanks to these memories, I could not wait for training camp.

The environment motivates me.

My bike crash resulted in some serious training funk, and I hoped retreating to my happy place would restore my spirits. And did it ever.

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Almost too beautiful to be real

Training camp centered on long-course athletes doing Lake Placid and Ironman Mont Tremblant, so I knew most, if not all, of my workouts would be logged solo. Aside from the first ride, I basically did my own thing and embraced the headspace.

Swimming in Mirror Lake and cycling through blink-and-you-miss-them towns was absolute bliss. Lately, I’ve been feeling uninspired by the NYC training grind, so I appreciated the sunshine, the clear skies, the mountains, and the breathtaking rivers even more. Finding inspiration in your surroundings is powerful: this is how training should be. This is why I love it.

The journey motivates me—and the feeling motivates me.

Each time I wiggled into my wetsuit and jumped into Mirror Lake, I found my groove quickly. Residual bike crash/rib flare-ups simply did not make themselves known. For the first time since wiping out, I felt natural in the water. I can’t believe it feels this easy—and this blissful. When I swim for distance, my mind wanders and eventually finds a zen space; and as I made my way to the other side of the lake, I felt grateful: to have the body and health that allow me to swim; to have supportive and genuine people in my life; and to physically be in such a gorgeous and peaceful place. Then I remembered where I was—physically, mentally, and emotionally—this time last year, and I was humbled by how much I’ve grown.

Each time I pumped up my tires and buckled my helmet, I felt excited and inspired to ride; these feelings have been missing since my crash. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect mentally during these solo rides, but Placid lifted whatever post-crash barrier was holding me back. I just rode and reacted to the course. I felt “at one” with the bike. My mojo returned!

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Signs of a successful smashfest.  Picture this setup on ten different bikes.

I didn’t think about the crash, but I spent a lot of time reflecting on last year’s training. For whatever reason, I was lucky enough where everything fell into place pretty perfectly. Although I knew it during the season, I didn’t truly realize how rare it is. It never happens like that. While out there on the course, I discovered an even greater sense of appreciation for last year, especially since transition has defined my training this year.

Basically, each time I thought about where I was at this point last year—in terms of training, work, and life—I felt incredibly humbled, grateful, and motivated. Even though I try to focus on the feeling during training, I definitely fell victim to the numbers game: chasing swim splits, becoming obsessed with power wattages, wanting faster run paces. If you’re looking to compete, this is part of the sport, but the trip to Placid reminded me I simply love the lifestyle: swimming, biking, and running. And really, that’s what it’s all about.

Teams and training groups have different vibes.

For the past two years, I logged essentially all of my triathlon training with a team, but I broke off and am currently doing my own thing. Because I have diversified my “triathlon arsenal”—it now includes folks from a masters swim team and my CompuTrainer studio—I’ve gotten to know, learn from, and train with new people, which has been beneficial for both my triathlon and “real” lives. And going to Lake Placid with a new-to-me group was an eye-opening experience. Prior to the long weekend, I knew only the coach and one other woman, but everyone welcomed me into the tribe with open arms. I’ve trained and become friendly with a lot of people in the triathlon community here over the years, and the Work Live Tri folks were absolutely top-notch individuals. (On a related note, this trip made me realize my old team dynamics/dysfunction is not normal, but that’s neither here nor there.)

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Also not normal:  having Podium Legs at your disposal.  I used them so frequently there was an inside joke about going through withdrawal.  I sort of did.

“There is comfort in that grind. I get solace and a sense of self out of that, but that’s not my life right now. And I’m OK with that. I’ve been nudged to do this kind of stuff, and I’m happy to do it, and I love it.” –Rich Roll

Overall, Placid reminded me that triathlon is about the journey, the progress, and the relentlessness to be better. “Unplugging” from power and swimming by feel highlighted how much I love this sport at its core. Although racing provides an opportunity to tangibly track progress, I don’t need to compete.

Aware of this front-of-mind perspective, I thought about Rich Roll’s recent podcast with Josh LaJaunie, specifically the abovementioned quotation. A lot of Rich’s ideas resonate with me, and when I listened to this statement, I felt like he had a birds eye view of everything that’s going on in my life. (Sidebar: Rich, will you be my life coach?) Even if I don’t have a race coming up, I’ll always find a strong sense of self when I swim, bike, and run, and it will always be an aspect of my lifestyle.

I say this because there’s an opportunity at work (#vagueblogging), and I want to immerse myself in it 150 percent. What’s on the horizon is reinvigorating my work life and giving me a strong sense of self and purpose. And honestly, I haven’t felt this excited and focused since … the only instance that comes close is Honors Week during college.

That’s not to say racing doesn’t matter any more, obviously. I definitely associate triathlon with who I am. But now, my #workflow also comprises my best, most authentic self (#fangirl).

“Congratulations, you’re a human being. It’s not going to be perfect.” –Rich Roll

In mid-June, Rich came to one of our stores for a social run and book signing, and he also hosted an informal Q-and-A session. As a self-professed fangirl, I took notes, and this quotation hit home.

Life brought a lot of changes this year—tri life, work life, and actual life—and coming off a nearly perfect 2014 training cycle, these transitions seemed even bumpier. My swimming, biking, and running essentially took a one-eighty, and although there were some who did not support this change, I know my current regiment is exactly what I need to be doing.

We’re still in the midst of a lot of work changes too. It’s cliché, but the focus and dedication that leads to solid swimming, biking, and running also sets up success at the office. All I can do is keep showing up, giving it my all, and trusting the process. Of course it will feel challenging and uncomfortable and maybe even impossible at points, but just like training, it’s about focusing on the task at hand and knowing the struggle is where the personal growth happens.

Triathlon Training Log – Week of June 15 (Week 24)

Oh, it was just another week …

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… that I got to hang out with RICH ROLL.

General training notes: Spending a long weekend training in Lake Placid helped me re-unlock my triathlon mojo, and I was pumped to get after it this week. Overall, my swim and bike are back, but it’s taking longer to “refind” my run fitness. Unsurprisingly, Coach Pat has been supportive and insightful, and we’ve decided to ease off the run intensity and slowly build it back up for a *fingers crossed* strong showing at Nationals in August.

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength training; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Easy five miles with 10 strides, plus upper-body strength training and corework. I skipped the Bearcat masters workout because RICH ROLL was hosting a podcast/book launch event in Brooklyn.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Two, 10-minute blocks at my sweet spot wattage. My legs didn’t feel all that great, so I was relieved Coach Pat told me not to brick. (But then I got to run in Central Park with RICH ROLL that night so …)

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

VO2 max fun: 5×1-min. efforts; 3×5-min. efforts; and 1×5-min. efforts. To keep it interesting, there were some hills sprinkled in, which actually made it a bit easier to hit my numbers.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters; p.m. run

I’m back, Bearcats! Everything felt a-OK rib-wise, and it was awesome to log a longer, 3,700m swim. After work, I ran seven miles in Central Park with a colleague. We settled into a nice, easy pace, but I sort of dropped/lost him once we got to Harlem Hill. Whoops!

Saturday – a.m. bike

It wasn’t a long ride in Lake Placid, but it was still pretty close to paradise: wheels went up at 6:30 a.m. and 60 miles were logged.

Sunday – a.m. run

Steady 40 minutes with 10 strides.

Do you plan recovery weeks or are they spur-of-the-moment?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of March 9 (Week 10)

Self-doubt. All athletes fall victim to these negative thoughts that creep into our heads and try to convince us we’re less than: Can I hang with these people in the water? Can I endure 12, two-minute VO2 max efforts? And how in the world am I supposed to run off the bike after?

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Can I finish this slice of apple pie?  No doubt there.

I struggled to silence these questions this week; it was definitely more of a mental battle than physical one, which stems from the fact my first race of the season is about one month away. Yes, everything got done, but I didn’t feel great about a lot of it.

General training notes: As I outlined above, this proved to be more of a mental training/taxing week. (With Cherry Tree on Sunday, I backed off volume and intensity early in the week, and Coach Pat also had me taking it easy in terms of the run.) On the bright side, I would much rather work through this stuff now, so it if surfaces on race day, I know how to deal with it.

Monday – a.m. bike; p.m. run

Easy 30-minute spin-out on my indoor trainer, plus three easy miles along the West Side Highway after work.

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat Masters

Easy five miles in the morning and 2,500m after work with the Bearcats. We’ve been doing a lot of kick sets during these Tuesday practices, and the line of the night occurred during our 8×75 set: “If I wanted to use my legs, I’d be a runner!” declared one of my lanemates. (I decided not to mention I ran that morning.)

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Oh, biking; you never let me down: two, seven-minute blocks during which we built the effort and added gear every minute. Then we tackled 5×1-min. VO2 max efforts with one minute rest. And finally, ten minutes at threshold.

Thursday – a.m. run; p.m. swim

Easy six miles on the West Side Highway, plus an easy, tech-focused 1,300 yards after work. (Victoria, I actually did catch-up and thought of you!)

Friday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and run at Finish Line PT)

Well, this could’ve gone better. I used my new power numbers during the VO2 max intervals, which made both the ride (gotta work for more watts) and run much harder. Coach Pat told me to run three miles, and this was the first time it took me a while to settle in. The pace felt sustainable, but I could tell immediately I “over biked,” and that’s when the mind games started. I struggled to stay in the current mile—the old “run the mile you’re in” mentality didn’t quite work—but I was able to hang tough until things started to feel better around mile two. Bottom line, I got it done, but it left much to be desired. Again, on the bright side, I can draw on this experience if and when something similar happens on race day.

Saturday – “off”

I MET AND RAN WITH RICH ROLL.

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He was here for the NYC Veg Food Fest, so I organized a group run and book signing on behalf of JRab. He gave me a hug, and we are now BFFs.

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#FanGirl #MostAuthenticSelf

Sunday – a.m. run and bike

Steady 40 minutes on the ‘mill, strides, and corework, plus an easy two hours on the spin bike.

What was the highlight of your week?