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Britt

Meet the Athlete: Rose

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I used to admire her as the girl who ran fast, rode horses, and worked at the local running shoe store. But after having had the pleasure of running alongside Rose Carlman and even chatting over a cafe au lait, I am an even bigger fan of the way that she lives her life with an attitude of gratitude. Rose is currently training for the Boston Marathon which will take place on April 16th. At just 22 years of age, you might think that this is one of her first ventures into marathon running. However, after discovering the sport only 4 years ago, Rose literally ran off with it. She has finished numerous marathons–including 2 previous Boston finishes–and has recently covered ultra-marathon distances. Perhaps most impressively, she broke the 3-hour time barrier over 26.2 miles last fall (that is 26.2 miles at 6:50 pace or below!)…and then did it again only 7 days later, just for good measure. While some might pride themselves on such achievements, Rose isn’t one to flaunt her many accomplishments but rather accepts them with a thankful heart, as gifts from God. If you’d like to follow Rose’s journey, you can find her on Instagram @arcarlman. Check out her interview below for some wise training and life advice!

Current place of residence: Ventura, Ca

Hometown/place of birth: Glastonbury, Cy

Day job: Sales (horse industry)

Dream job: Equestrian (riding and training)

Favorite sports or hobbies (besides running): Show jumping

Best Race distance/type: Marathon

Dream training camp location: Anywhere near the ocean

Dream race location: Either somewhere tropical or somewhere close to friends and family so we can all have fun together, but either way a place with good scenery.

Current race goal: I’d like to do the New York marathon and some races in Europe

Why do you want to accomplish this? Just for the fun of it- seeing new things, meeting cool people and trying new food.

When/why did you start running? I started really training in my first or second year of college because I wasn’t able to ride horses every day and I need to be active and moving all the time.

Favorite accomplishment in the sport thus far: Breaking the 3 hour marathon for the first time– I was so grateful to accomplish that and so excited when I realized it as I crossed the finish line because I try not to look at my watch too much when I race.

Favorite non-sport accomplishment: Graduating from college. College felt never-ending.

Hardest race you’ve ever completed: Some of the trail ultras I’ve done have been really difficult mentally, but it’s always so rewarding to finish and there really is no choice but to keep going when you’re in the middle of nowhere on a trail.

Most memorable race moment: Running the Boston Marathon the first time. It’s the most energizing race and there’s a ton support and people screaming on course-it’s amazing. However, it’s also humbling to run in memory of those who are unable or were injured in the bombing. People come up and are appreciative of the runners; it’s eye-opening to see being a runner from their point of view.

Best athletic encouragement you’ve ever been given: I guess what helps the most is being reminded to really just focus on what’s right in front of me and really just giving my all to what’s happening in the moment without worrying about the next mile or whatever else is coming up or has past. This goes for the rest of my life as well.

Words of wisdom to someone considering training for their first endurance event: Don’t worry about your time or what your watch says. Go with how you feel and the pace that will make the experience both challenging and rewarding to the point where you really enjoy it and want to continue and improve.

Something you’ve learned about yourself through endurance sport: Usually “I can’t” is simply “I won’t”–we can all achieve more than we think.

What motivates you to keep training and competing? I don’t really get motivated, I just do it whether I want to or not. I have weekly goals that I hold myself to and I just accept it and do my best even if I don’t feel like it. Though, ultimately I train for my fitness and because of the people that have been positively affected. Racing has impacted those around me and it’s a million times better to inspire someone else than anything I do for myself.

What motivates you when it’s tough to start/complete a run? Usually food, sometimes alcohol.

Who inspires you and why? Those who have achieved more in the sport. We all know how demanding it is and everyone who has pushed further inspires me to do the same.

What are the first thing and last things that you do each day? I try to start, maintain and end my day with prayer, however long or short.

Favorite type of running shoes: I have a lot of different go-tos , but I think my number one right now is the Saucony Freedom.

Training tips: Listen to your body. There are times you can give more and there are times you just can’t. Sometimes a day off is healthier than adding an extra workout. Everyone is different; trial and error will show you the best way to train to achieve maximum performance.

Racing pet peeve: I hate when people stop or slow down without moving over. It’s really hard to maintain my pace if they stop right in front of me. People of course can stop but it’s nice to give a little wave or move over so others can pass.

What does “Fuel” mean to you? Fuel is what powers one through the race (or day) allowing the athlete to reach their full potential, and it’s gotta taste great.

What does being “Fit” mean to you? Fit means living a healthy lifestyle which enables me to strive to do my best every day; its living well, being happy and being the best version of myself. Exercise helps me physically, mentally and emotionally, and I’m so happy running is a part of my life.

Pick one:

Trail or track? Trail

Snot rocket, sleeve, or tissue? Sleeve

Solo or group training? I enjoy a mix of both, but I’m usually solo

Chocolate or cheese? Chocolate 100%

Watch on your left wrist or right? Left

Morning or evening workout? Morning

Cheerios or Wheaties? Cheerios

Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? Tea

Crocs or Birkenstocks? Birkenstock

Any other fun facts about you? I love to try new things, whether it’s exploring a foreign country, trying new food, or day trips . I really enjoy being outside and can’t stand staying still, so why not make the most of my restlessness?

Thanks, Rose! Hoping you have your best Boston experience yet 🙂

Austin 70.3 and Curiosity

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You know how sometimes someone says something that you have always known without knowing it? They put into words what you have felt to be true but never really expressed. This has happened to me twice in the past month or so; both times regarding the topic of curiosity. Two athletes that I admire, both runners, mentioned something very nonchalantly about their motivation to compete. Both spoke with simple terms that conveyed a message my heart had always known. Both spoke of a deep curiosity–a deep yearning to know what might happen if ____. What might happen if I give my best? What might happen if I dare to lay it all on the line? What is possible for me? I am recognizing that at the root of my sporting endeavors is this same curiosity. I am curious about where my God-given limits are. I wonder what potential lies within me. I think that inquisitiveness can spur me on in all areas of my life. Some areas are just better at provoking my curiosity–and those areas are the ones that I will pursue with the most passion. Maybe I need a spark of curiosity regarding bathroom cleaning techniques…

In other news, I finished my last triathlon of the 2017 season at Austin, TX. Brice and I stayed with some good friends (Thanks, Lauren, Vincent, & Mona pup!). We had a nice sampling of Texas food (tacos, coffee, baked goods, Italian, and Tex Mex). We checked out Lance Armstrong’s bike shop/cafe, and swam in the Barton Springs pool. We even got to see our Aussie/Kiwi friends, Emma & Sean, who are currently living in Houston.

Here’s my recap of race day:

I woke up race morning and felt that with each piece of race preparation–the brushing of teeth, the eating of breakfast, the drinking of coffee, the putting on of socks– I was getting ready for battle. That feeling can be scary and intense. It can make you feel so alone. But then I remembered that I don’t have to feel that way because the Lord is with me in every moment. I don’t have to do any of it alone. He is with me (Psalm 118:6). He is for me (Romans 8:31). He is my helper, so I will not be afraid (Hebrews 13:6). Remembering these truths gave me so much relief. I can’t do it, but He can. All my confidence is in Him (Jeremiah 17:7).

Austin was uncharacteristically cold for the day- just under 40 degrees at the start. But, the water was warm (and just barely wetsuit legal), so the swim felt comfortable. I was able to get out quick and then settled into my own pace for the 1.9km. It was my fastest 70.3 swim split to date–win! The transition was fine. I still felt pretty warm and decided not to put on any extra clothing for the 56 mile ride, assuming I’d warm up and be fine. I was wrong.

I now know that low 40s is too cold to ride my bike for almost three hours in nothing but a wet bathing suit. I could not feel my legs or hands. When I picked up my snacks/bottles I did so very slowly and carefully because I couldn’t feel whether or not I was actually gripping them. My power meter worked for about 5 minutes of the race. I am not sure what went wrong–it was fine the day before the race, and it’s fine now. Hmm…so this combination of not feeling my legs, getting limited food/drink in my mouth, and having no power meter made for an interesting bike. Also, my chain fell off halfway up a hill so I put it back on and then walked my bike to the top. I remember thinking to myself that these moments when things aren’t going “our way” are so important; We can choose to give up, get negative about it, or we can trust that God is in control. We can give our best to Him and trust that He knows what we need. Even though I felt like my race was going downhill, I could have a little laugh about the situation and then do my best to move my legs and warm my body up. Once things thawed out, I felt strong again and was surprised to have a bike split not too far off my fastest 70.3 bike split–Hooray!

T2 was smooth and I was finally feeling warmed up. By the time I hit the run course I could even feel my feet! At the start of the run I was happy to see that my legs were moving faster than they felt, as had been the case at both of my previous 70.3 races this season. It wasn’t as hard as usual to settle down into my goal race pace (usually I start too fast and have to control myself for the first few miles). After about 3 miles, I knew I was drifting off of my pace and felt that I was slowing (it was hard to tell with the rolling hills on the course), so I ignored my watch and tried to go by feel. I even started mentally checking out and thinking about what I was going to say to my loved ones after my “bad race”. I had to remind myself that it wasn’t over yet and that I needed to stay present. The inner conversation went something like: “Don’t write yourself off yet! (10 points if you just started singing Jimmy Eat World) Just because you might not hit your “A” goal doesn’t mean you default to ‘just get it over with mode’. Stay in it! Focus on the opportunities still in front of you rather than what is behind you.”

Then, a male age grouper going the same pace as me ran with me for the middle 4-5 miles and was super encouraging–thank you, friend! At mile 9 I had to stop to use the porta potty for the first time in a triathlon, ever. After the stop, I felt great and starting speeding back up, only to slow back down for the last couple of miles. Those were probably the most mentally tough miles of the whole year for me–I felt so slow. Thankfully, I had Brice, Emma, and Sean to cheer me on and greet me at the finish.

Overall, I was happy to come away with a 70.3 PR. I don’t typically worry much about times since every course is different, and I don’t believe that times tel much of the story, but PRs are hard to come by so I celebrate that. Thanks to Coach Gareth for preparing me for the pain. Thanks to Metal Mountain Cycling for keeping me confident in my rocket ship. Thanks to Dr. Romeo for the top-notch treatment. Thanks to our Austin hosts, Lauren, Vincent & Mona, and to our “Juan in a Million” friends, Emma and Sean for making the trip out to Austin so we could see you. Finally, heaps of thanks to my handsome photographer-sherpa-husband, Brice <3

Meet the Athlete: Kathy

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Kathy Broder could be enjoying her retired years with extra hours of sleep and leisure travel. However, in her 70th year of youth, she would rather be waking up at 5 a.m. to walk onto a cold pool deck and plunge into a pool with her teammates. She prefers to travel with her bike and piles of triathlon gear to compete in triathlons for hours on end. I find Kathy’s daily decision to endure discomfort inspiring, and wanted to find out more about her “why”. Thanks for taking the time to fill us in, Kathy!

Current place of residence: Camarillo, CA
Hometown/place of birth: Los Angeles
Day job: Retired
Dream job: College career counselor
Favorite sports or hobbies (besides triathlon): running, grandma-ing

If you had to remove one leg of the triathlon and swap in a new sport, what would you subtract, and what would you add, and why? My swimming is very sad, so I would dump swim and put in jump roping.
Dream race: Perfect weather, down current swim, hilly bike, downhill run in the shade
Current triathlon/race goal: to survive IM AZ
Why do you want to accomplish this? Not sure…because I spent the money and because I allowed my teammates to badger me into doing a full. (Not really, I just got weak and signed up.)

When/how/why did you start triathlon? In 2008 I was camping in Carpinteria the weekend of the tri. I had never seen one before, and I was hooked. I started the following year…then I signed up for swim lessons.
Favorite accomplishment in sport: Surviving 70.3 Worlds in Chattanooga this year. (Note: Kathy finished 5th at Age Group Worlds!)

Still smiling, and on her way to finishing 5th in the world!

Favorite non-sport accomplishment: Raising 5 fabulous kids.
Hardest race and/or workout you’ve ever completed: St. George 70.3 a few years back. I was so cold that I couldn’t think how to stop racing. It never occurred to me to stop and ask an official…I just kept going through the freezing wind and rain.
Most memorable training race moment: Memorable would have to be getting a flat at 5 miles before the end of the bike at Coeur d’Alene this year.

Best athletic encouragement you’ve ever been given: Just enjoy yourself…I forget that one a lot!
Words of wisdom to someone considering training for their first triathlon: Take it slow and grow into the sport. Buy your equipment after you figure out what you really need.
Something you’ve learned about yourself through triathlon: I’m pretty tough, but I really don’t like to hurt and I don’t push myself into that zone.
What motivates you to keep training and competing? I love the sports and the camaraderie. I look forward to training.
What motivates you when it gets tough during a race? I think of all the money I spent to hurt so bad.
Who inspires you and why? My teammates and all the other racers in the events. It’s amazing what we all do!

Race mantra: For the run, when it gets tough, I count one “e” and a two “e”…up to twenty, then I walk one “e” and a two “e” up to five. (This must be a piano player thing)
Pre-race ritual or superstition: I stress out on the minutia of it all…believe it or not, that’s what calms me down.
Pre-race pump up jams: “White coral bells upon a slender stalk…”

What is the first thing and last thing you do each day? Drink coffee; drink wine
Favorite type of running shoes: Asics
Dream training camp location: Coeur d’Alene
Training “secrets”: I always have a variety of food available
Racing pet peeve: People who arrive late and expect me to move over…not gonna do it.

What does “Fuel” mean to you? Nutrition that varies with length of race
Any favorite recipes to share? I swore off cooking when my last kid left the nest.
What does being “Fit” mean to you? Being in excellent shape

Pick one:
Long swim, long ride or long run? long run
Open water or pool? pool
Trail or track? track
Snot rocket, sleeve, or tissue? sleeve
Solo or group training? either
Chocolate or cheese? both
Watch on your left wrist or right? left
Morning or evening workout? either
Hat or visor? hat
Swim cap or no cap? swim cap
Cheerios or Wheaties? Cheerios
Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? coffee

Any other fun facts about you? Don’t get me started on my newest grandson…he calls me blam-ma (I think.) Cutest kid ever!

On her way to an age group WIN at Santa Cruz 70.3

Ray Charles & Santa Cruz 70.3

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“Learning to read music in braille and play by ear helped me develop a damn good memory.” -Ray Charles

I admire Ray Charles as a man who chose to make the most of the hand of cards he was dealt. Growing up in an impoverished family, Charles contracted glaucoma which (untreated) left him blind at age 7. He witnessed the drowning death of his younger brother (prior to losing his sight) and lost his mother when he was just 15. A student of music at a state school for deaf and blind children, he grew up to become a legendary singer, songwriter, and composer. He is considered one of the pioneers of soul music.

While most of us will never know the same roadblocks which Ray faced in his life, I think that we can all learn from the way in which he chose to interpret obstacles–whether our obstacles are seemingly insignificant (e.g. “first world problems”, inconveniences, etc) or insurmountable (e.g. grief, loss, addiction, illness, etc). Ray Charles did not see obstacles (pun intended); he saw opportunities.

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on this concept with regards to racing. In close proximity to race day, athletes tend to be extra aware of things–obstacles– that may hinder performance. When in this “high alert” mode, it is easy to allow a less-than-ideal situation or “sign” trip you up and cause you to doubt or descend into a spiral of negativity. This might include thoughts like “I didn’t have time to go to the grocery store to buy a banana for before the race. I always eat a banana pre-race, so now I can’t possibly race well!” or “I have been feeling really stiff and tired this week. I think I’m out of shape. This is going to be a bad race!”…

Something that has been helpful for me is to only look at the positive “signs”. I either ignore the negative ones (i.e. obstacles) entirely, or else turn them into something positive/helpful (i.e. opportunities). When race day is in sight, I have a very selective tunnel of vision/hearing/thinking. I filter out any little bugs that may pollute my positivity. If it appears that it might help me, I keep it. If it appears that it might not, I reconfigure it or toss it out. For example, if I find a heads-up penny on my run, I pick it up for “good luck”. If I find a heads-down nickel on my run, I decide that nickels are the new penny and heads-down is the new heads-up! When things are going as planned, I think “this is just what I need to have a great race!” If everything is going wrong, I think “I train when things are not ideal, so I can race when things are not ideal. Imperfect conditions are to my advantage.”

This filter is extremely biased towards positivity. Regardless of the situation, it works in my favor. I’ve found that this is the best approach to fend off doubt and fear heading into a race. Recently, at Santa Cruz 70.3, the swim course was cut very short and our start was delayed by about an hour due to heavy fog. I had already eaten my pre-race snack and consumed my electrolytes. I had timed it “perfectly” so that I would be well topped-off and hydrated for the race. Then, we were delayed and my snack/drink plan was derailed. I also felt well-prepared for the full swim distance and knew that it would probably be my strength of the 3 disciplines. While the negative thoughts tried to pry their way in, I chose to think “I will be fine. I am used to performing in imperfect situations. Everyone is in the same boat. I will give my best and see what happens.” Additionally, when I was on the bike  course being passed by every single woman in my division, I was tempted to panic and go harder than planned, but I chose to stay within my power range, thinking “It’s okay. Let them go. I will race my own race.” Then, I was able to feel strong on the run and gain back some lost ground–I even ran my half marathon PR. Not that the race was perfectly executed, but I’m improving!

Thanks, Dean, for finding this pic of me at the Santa Cruz 70.3 finish!

Continuing with the Ray Charles theme, I recently dug up some wise words of his:

“The notes are right underneath your fingers. All you gotta do is take the time to find the right note. That’s what life is, we all got notes underneath our fingers and we gotta take the time to find the right notes, to come up with our own music.”

Triathlon/sport is one of the things in my life that music was in Ray’s. I want to keep learning and improving– searching for the right notes. I want to find the notes to the song that God has put inside me. I want to express it fully and beautifully.