How do you know when you have made another step in the journey you are on?
It's not always clear when you're "in it". But then afterwards when reflecting on it something clicks and you realized that, wow, maybe you have made a step you were even aware you were making.
One thing hit us over the weekend. After almost two years of training you start picking up a thing or two; a hint from a fellow trainee, something you read in a book or magazine, a tip from a coach, and you find then you start imparting these things to others. Giving out a hint or two is one thing, I think we all do that, but to be sought out for hints or tips, well ... that is entirely new.
I am not an expert in this. I probably never will be an expert. But I do have some ideas. My ideas and style doesn't always jive with others in my group. Even Jenny and I disagree on types of training to do at times (Jenny likes long straight swims. I like shorter interval training. The funny thing is we still finish at the same time.). So if we are asked "how often and how long should I swim" my answer and hers is always the same about "how often" (at least twice a week), but as far as distance I will usually say "2-300m warm up, 20 x 100m splits, 200m cool down). Megan saw this in play last weekend when she joined us on a ride. We had 40 miles in front of us, and with Jenny hurting still and my back having problems, I suggested that we do sprints to each 5 mile stop, then stretch out, get water, then hit it again. I LOVE this kind of workout. It breaks up the monotony of long rides, you can push push push knowing the stop is ahead. Just helps me mentally. Jenny loves the long continuous rides, but that's how she is ... energizer bunny ... keeps going and going. I think Megan liked the different type of work, but she can speak for herself on that.
Megan wrote a blog entry on her Facebook page speaking about the training ride and was very complimentary of us, our help, how we try to be supportive of everyone. It made me feel good reading it, because you don't always know how your input is being taken on the other end. I know myself, and I can tend to be ... what's the word ... blunt, when it comes to feedback. You've seen it on here if you've read this for any amount of time.
"Stop complaining about your weight if you're eating at Five Guys three nights a week!"
"Your ass hurts after the bike because you only ride once every two weeks. Get on the damn bike."
"5 miles on the elliptical is not the same as 5 miles running!!"
I am guilty of some of this too, and I expect, and welcome, the "Come to Jesus" emails, tweets, notes, etc. I get from my peers. This has recently sent me to massage therapist for my back and also looking into yoga, two things I thought I would NEVER do. I'll still never get a manicure or pedicure though. Let's not get crazy.
Last night was event #2. Jennifer and I were actually asked by a teammate (and TNT Coach) to help her in her swim. She is an excellent runner and has been swayed to give triathlons a try. She bought her bike and has been getting saddle time, and has signed up from some short course races, but has never really swam like this. So since she goes to LA Fitness as well she met us there last night, and since Jenny can't swim yet due to her injury, she helped her while I was getting my laps in (20x100's ... as usual). It is odd watching someone just starting out because I have had MANY issues in the swim since starting, and then hearing the same things I was struggling with (breathing, face in the water, etc.) coming from someone else's mouth. Jenny was really coaching her well, she was channeling KC in her "show them your smiley face" routine. The funniest part though was when I finished a set and stood up to watch her swimming back to me, and she was doing well, every third stroke breathing, face in the water, until you saw that her goggles were on the top of her head. Been there. The cool thing was, tough, that she knew it right away by did NOT stop and finished her set.
She definitely triathlete material!