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Archive for triathlon

Setting Goals: Twenty Fifteen

Well, the year has come to an end, and it’s time to start thinking about what you want to actualize in 2015. Here a little acronym to think of when setting a goal: S.M.A.R.T.

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relavent

T – Time-bound

They are helpful for two reasons. First, they are effective in quantifying success. Second, they address unrealistic expectations. For example, you may want to finish a marathon in less than 3.5 hours. If this is your first marathon, you can see why this might be an unrealistic expectation. The key to SMART goals is to use both outcome goals, which focus on bottom-line results, and process goals, which address how you will train to achieve those results. For example, “To finish in the top five at the local Triathlon in my age group” is an outcome goal. The problem is that we have less control over outcome goals than they have over process goals. If you fail to accomplish an outcome goal, you may question the efficacy of your training, and get too self-critical. We have greater influence over process goals, such as “To run 2,000 miles during the calendar year.” Plus, in the end, this stuff is suppose to be fun! Enjoy life and have hope for what you can accomplish. It’s a new year and a new time to actualize your dream.

And remember, a goal without a plan, is just a wish.

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Interested in getting in to triathlons?

Ahhhhh! The rewards of biking!

As we wind down 2012, the new year is right around the corner. It may be time for you to try a new challenge. One of the most calorie-burning sports out there is triathlon. It’s also a great way to keep fit in a diverse set of movements, not to mention all the benefits to your lungs and heart. It’s tough to find many other sports that compare. Plus, the sport has transformed by life, my body and my mind’s expectations of what I can accomplish! So, I hope you get inspired!
A few tips on breaking in to the sport:
1. Work on your weaknesses: if you come from a running background, get out and start swimming. If you come from a swimming background, get out and start pounding the pavement on the bike and run. We are all drawn to do things we’re comfortable with and feel that we’re good at, but this is not how you become the best triathlete. Keep focusing on how you can improve.
2. The bike! It’s usually the biggest proportionately in any tri. So, it’s good to get a good bike and ride it often. If you’re trying to ride a Tri Bike, check out this article: http://triathlete-europe.competitor.com/2012/11/07/seven-tips-for-getting-comfortable-in-the-aero-position/
3. Consistency: as with accomplishing any other goal you need to have consistent diligent efforts. That means do not take off two weeks or even one week randomly just because you’re feeling lazy. Get up and get going! Don’t make excuses. You only have one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do in life. One step at a time consistently train for your race.
4. Lastly, get a coach. Even if you just need that extra guidance for your first race. They can offer expertise, knowledge and know-how to avoid all the mistakes they made or that you could possibly make. It’s worth a few extra bucks to get to the starting line well-prepared.

Triathlon is a fun challenging and very rewarding sport! Good luck.

It’s all about the People

Saturday I competed in Burlington, Vermont at the USA Triathlon Age group National Championships. The first place woman was a former Olympic bronze-medalist, Susan Williams. My race went well however the competition was so intense that I was blown away. In my age group I placed 32nd of 108 top-notch women who raced their hearts out! After training consistently and hard for the past eight months, not qualifying for the World Championships let me down a little. However, I did race the fastest I’ve ever raced overall with a time of 2:28:05 as I came sprinting across the finish line, passing several women in the last few seconds. I believe I was the first female in my age group from California, which is a feat. But the greatest feeling of the day was hearing those fans who cheered me on loudly. Jeanette Davey and her parents Bill and Dorothy as well as my own mom and dad Mark and Nancy Paola shouted at the top of their lungs every time they saw me run by changing from wetsuit to helmet, and then helmet to running shoes. The transition area was packed with a large audience and hearing “GO MAGGIE” honestly made me smile inside.

Competing at the sport at that level is very intimidating and no easy feat to travel from San Diego to Burlington, Vermont and race at 7:46 AM (that’s 4:46 AM California-time). However, having the cheers and the positive encouragement from people close to you brings about an emotion of deep gratitude and joy for life. My final kick across the finish line felt exhilarating — not because every ounce of muscle and oxygen in my body was recruited for those 30 seconds — but because I could hear the crowd particularly my friends and family going crazy! I collapsed across the finish line and life was at it’s best! Oh what a feeling – Triathlon!

Get the Family into It!

Although your Great Aunty Ruth may not be the first relative to try down hill mountain biking, you may discover that your big brother (with a big belly) has an interest in doing a triathlon, or your sister-in-law may try her first half-marathon with a little encouragement. Involvement in athletic pursuits is inspirational to others. Although, people at the office may tease you for being a “tri-freak” and say you’re insane for waking up at 5 AM to exercise, the act of working your hardest to achieve the best results does not come easy socially. People heckle, only out of their own awe for how much less they’re doing in their life. The ex-husband of an “Ironman” woman, once said that those who did the sport of triathlon were in a cult. Maybe that’s the reason why they’re not married anymore! However, those who see the positive side of your athletic endeavors can reap great benefits by giving it a shot. The 69-year-old father of a triathlete recently accomplished his first sprint triathlon this month! His daughter was overcome with joy and excitement to share the experience with him. Also, my own dear old dad, with a former beer belly, just rode his first 65-mile bike ride at age 62. One year previously, he was precribed heart and cholesterol medicine and he was overweight. Today, thanks to his good nutrition and riding his bike he’s slimmed down and is off the medication. Many family members may never say it, but they’re craving a day when they can join you at crossing the finish too. It’s possible you just have to invite them. A healthy lifestyle is contagious. A little encouragement goes a long way.

Inspirational Athletes

The in-water swim starting line April 2, 2011

Have you ever watched an endurance sporting event before? I mean from the starting line to the very final crossing of the finish line? I have participated in them since my hobby is kicking butt at Olympic distance triathlons. And I have done a couple half Ironmans, also known as Ironman 70.3 since you travel 70.3 miles through the water, over the road on a bike and on foot. But as a spectator Saturday, April 2 at the California 70.3 in Oceanside, I witnessed professional athletes all the way to challenged athletes conquer the distance swimming biking and running. As a spectator it was awesome to see how the excitement and energy of those competing spread to the crowd watching. People rang cow bells, shouted, snapped photos and high-fived athletes running by into transition. It’s quite an awesome accomplishment to give it everything you’ve got over the course of 4 – 10 hours. Even the pros like Andy Potts and Mirinda Carfrae were  giving it a great shot – they both got 1st place by the way! But every person out there racing really inspires me to train hard and get more prepared for my next race. There are not too many events that we are so challenged by and get the chance to put your heart into it and do our absolute best. Congratulations to the athletes who do!

Pacing it: one step at a time

Often in a workout we start out blazing fast in the first interval and by the last one our energy is zapped. Often this happens in races too, we start out energized and focused only on being competitive in the moment. If I’m out for a Sunday endurance ride and I’m approaching the first hill and suddenly there are a pack of people riding up behind me, do I suddenly bolt in to Zone 4 and try to drop these guys!? I probably shouldn’t! I’ve done it a million times before and so has 99% of the people out there. It’s an extremely common mistake to warm-up and then go for broke. Often the first push of a workout should actually feel easy, efficient and nearly effortless. OK, maybe not effortless, but you get what I’m saying. Keep in mind you may need the energized surge of adrenaline to last you through the whole workout. Many people in bootcamp start out revved up and then by the end of class they pitter out. If you don’t exert such a huge effort at the start of the workout, by the end you might just surprise yourself with the level to which you can accomplish it. Once I did a 4th of July Firecracker 4-mile run. I really thought I was going to win. I started out the run doing a 1-mile race pace! I kept up a good strong pace for 3 of the miles but by the last mile I had nothing in the tank and got passed by five girls, the fifth one as I was coming across the finish line I heard my friend Richard yelling “Go Maggie! Finish Strong!” I didn’t know that meant there was someone inches behind me as I approached the finish line! She passed me one second ahead of me. What a bummer! A bittersweet lesson on pacing.

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