Why does healthy eating choices have to be a ‘diet’?

A friend posted a photo of her dinner last night………. salmon teryaki and steamed broccoli.  It looked amazing!   I wish i liked salmon.  Following the photo was a frenzy of comments surrounding the new diet she must be following.  She responded….. not following a diet protocol, just making wiser choices surrounding my allergies and health.  

And I thought to myself, shouldn’t all eating choices be that way.   Based on your needs.   This morning’s breakfast:  three eggs, tomatoes, fresh spinach and New Zealand Cheddar cheese.   Simple.  Satisfying.   Because I wanted an omelette for breakfast.  

Perhaps, we should consider reducing processed foods instead of just persuing a diet prtotocol.  



Posted in coaching, food, fuel for training, NutritionCoaching | Leave a comment

Programming…. it’s OK to overshare

Sometimes, devloping a program can be one of the most challenging things I have to do as a coach.   There are so many nuances to the art of buidling a program suitable for the athlete.   And yes, at times I have borrowed ideas for sets, reps, intensities, movements, and executions from other coaches, because I like the way it presented.   But the art of coaching is like a dance…… sometimes leading, simetimes led…… with everything moving toward the goals established.  


I was thinking about this this morning, as I was programming for the upcoming week(s), on how critical communication between the athlete and coach is.  We have many cool platforms and tools at our disposal yo write, read, send receive programming and feedback, but it is still the dynamic of the relationship of athlete to coach that determines the efficacy of the program.  

It is really challenging for me, to coach someone that I do not receive feedback from.  Even weekly, a check-in is valuable.  The check-in is more than stats, and numbers.  It is an opportunity for you, the athlete, to tell me, your coach, what’s up?  Are you, ill, or tired?  What changes or stressors are in your life right now?   All of these influence the ability to execute a program that should be brining you to a ready position to compete and perform.   Despite popular belief, coaches are not mind-readers.   While we can guess a lot, without communication, you are allowing us to program blindly, without a compass.   

Personally, I have the need for control.   I want the people who are giving me advice and direction in my training and performance to know as much about me, about how I performed in the last training session, and what else is going on in my world.  I want these individuals to be empowered to ask, knowing they will get a response.   I want to overshare.   I want the positive dynamic of a relationship, knowing that the information I am sharing will be heard and used to develop a solid plan.   


As your coach, it is OK to overshare.  Text, email, phone.  Be certain to keep me in the loop.  


Have you talked to your coach today? 

Posted in athletic development, coaching, coaching girls, coaching tri, coachingkids, commitment, communication, compass, goal setting, listeningwithintent | Leave a comment


I find myself in an interesting position as Head Coach of both the Otter Tri Team, as well as Houston Christian High School Swim Team.   I am recruiting.   And while coaches tend to forget that a BIG part of their role is salesman —selling the team, selling  their services, selling themselves— I am faced with it Every. Single. Day.   What they forget to tell you is…… a BIG part of selling is the personal relationships developed, the time spent with the client, team member, or prospective is KEY.   How you answer their questions, the time you take for them, how clearly you explain expectations (all things at which I have failed epically!) influences the buy in.   


  • I  always carry business cards.   I am at practice and parents are watching what we are doing, the interactions I may have with the kids, the interactions the kids have with each other.   I would like to be able to collect everyone’s contact information, so my card does not get lost, but it is not always possible, when coaching.   


  • I speak to the kids.   Ultimately, it is the kid WHO is being coached.  I want kids present who want to be there.   I want kids to be engaged, and want to participate.   And so, it is the dynamic that I establish with the kids that makes the differemce.   I shake their hands, I get down on their level (i am 6ft tall, afterall).   And then I speak with the parents.  


  • And I remind myself, that while it would be pretty cool to coach or work with the next great one….. all the kids I coach are pretty awesome in their own right.  They have pretty diverse goals and objectives and are coming together to participate in a common sport.  
This morning, I got a text message from a potential high school swimmer.  ‘I might be recruited by x on the swim team.  I am not sure if I am welcome, because my skills are ok.’   Awesome!  You should come and join us!  We are looking for swimmers who want to learn, get better, practice hard, and have fun!  Response:  Great!  I will be there!  And so, I have made an impression on this high school kid, that it is important to try and learn and improve, and we are not all perfect at swimming.   
My attitude and words greatly influence the kids with whom I work, regardless of their age.   
I keep learning how to express myself, to allow my compassion, energy and empathy shine through.  I want to attract people to my programs, and not chase these away!   
And in all of this……… I am recruiting.   
Posted in ambassador, being engaged, coaching, coaching girls, coaching tri, coachingkids, community, recruiting, swimming, triathlon | Leave a comment


As part of my journey to compete in Lavaman 2019, in conjunction with Team In Training, I get messages from the Team Coach.   To get to know the members of the team better, he send out notes periodically and recently asked us about our swim.  

These were the questions.

1. Can you swim 200yards without stopping?

2. What is your average pace?

3. Is becoming a more proficient swimmer important to you?

4. Are you worried about the 1hr and 10minute swim time cut off at LavaMan? 


My responses(insert humor).

1. Define stopping.  I train in a pool and there are walls.  

2.  Is a shark chasing me?

3.  Always working on efficacy in the water.   Drills in application to the swim. 

4.  No, not really.  I want to swim fast to get out of the water.  See question 2.


I chuckled with friends about the answers, and one said, ‘The coach does not knkw you coach or have to swim for your job’.  


In ALL seriousness, the questions I found interesting.   I may insert into the personal assessment for my athletes.  I see many triathletes who struggle with the swim.  I am in several forums where swim is discussed regularly.  From beginners on up, at some point there is some drama related to the swim discussed.   And yet, from time to time, less emphasis is placed on the swim.   

The swim, while the shortest leg of the race, is first.  It can set the tone for the entire race.  Not all of us are able to shake off the results of the swim during the rest of the race, and keep going stepping into a new zone.   Many of us carry that part of the race with us into the bike and run.   

I remember one athlete telling me after his first season, he changed his entire approach to training for season two.  He spent way too much time on the swim, in the previous season.  I responded that he needed to spend that time and energy on the swim.   He was learning how to swim, and how to be proficient in the water.  He spent the appropriate amount of time on the swim, to lay a foundation from which to build.  And his training should evolve as he continues on this triathlon journey.  

As seasons are winding down in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the time to start considering improving your swim for next season.   The off-season is a perfect opportunity to spend time developing or improving a swim skill that will carry you into the next season.  The same holds true for the other weak links in your race.  I personally would taper down over-all training, and focus on one or two skill sets on whcih you want to improve.  From there start building into your preseason training.  But many wait until preseason to consider skill development.  At this time, you can only hope for improvement as your racing schedule commences and you have compounded poor skills into habits.  

Take a moment to answer the questions asked of me.  And self-evalaute your swim.   Granted, you may not be preparing for LavaMan, but consider the races you are putting on your 2019 schedule.  What are those distances, environments (lake, ocean, river), and time restrictions?  How do you feel about your OpenWater swim vs your Pool swim?  And how are you preparing?  

What drills help you find your stroke, catch, and feel of the water?   Are you using those to improve your stroke, or are you drilling through your race?  How comfortable are you in Open Water?  

Remember, I am here to help you.  I can evaluate your stroke via video, or work with your privately (or in a small group).  

The swim sets the tenor for the race.  How ready are you?  

Posted in coaching, coaching tri, goal setting, planning your race, seeyouathefinishline, swimming, training, triathlon | Leave a comment


Transitions…… I say the word and the David Bowie Song…. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!  Pops in my head!   

Ask one of the Otters, and they will tell you how important transitions can be.  In fact,  Clara will tell you how she went from 7th place to 20th place in her last race, because her transition was not the best.   

But what is transtion besides the ‘ATHLETES-ONLY’ space where you get to store your gear during the race?  

Transition is where the change from swim to bike, and then bike to run occurs.   

Transition is the fourth leg of the race.  (Nutrition is the fifth).

With that said, transitions need to be practiced.   (Cat is optional).




If you ask my Otters, we spend a lot of time putting on our helmets and shoes.   We learn to set up transtion so our helmet sits in our shoes (my Otters are not yet wearing cycling clip-ins), so the first thing we do is put our helmet on our head.  We may lay out a towel to dry our feet, and place a hand towel either on top of or beside the helmet to dry off quickly.   Socks, if we are wearing, are placed on top of our shoes.   


So, dry-off, goggles and cap off, helmet on, socks, then shoes!   RaceBelt on, drink some water!  Unrack Bike!   And you are off!  

When returning from the bike:  Rack Bike, change shoes (if wearing clip-ins), drink more water, and off for your run!  


Practice setting up your transition.   What works for you?  What is comfortable? What helps with flow? 

Practice putting on shoes and socks when you are wet.   (Step in a bucket of water, or do this after you swim.  It helps).

Practice drying off and putting on helmets, racebelts and other gear.   

Practice putting shoes on standing up.  Do you tie your shoes or do you have zip-ties?  



Practice running your bike.  How you move in and out of transition while pushing your bike demonstrates your comfort and can help your comfort with the overall race.   I know there are times I overthink things, and fail to flow even when I fumble and make mistakes.  Keep moving onward.  


Transitions do not seem like much, but this can influence your overall race.    Practice to build your comfort and skill for your race.   






Posted in coaching, coaching tri, seeyouathefinishline, transition, triathlon | Leave a comment

Ever wonder about how real your goal is?

Be forewarned this, yes, THIS is going to get personal.  

I want to apologize.  I feel I have neglected you.  (As well as my personal blog).   My focus has been the Otter Tri Team, PINK otters and growth, that somewhere you got lost in the shuffle.   It was my intent to write twice a week…. sharing inspiration, achievements as well as interesting facts….. and being a party of one, it sometimes becomes extremely overwhelming.  And I do not know where to begin.   That said, I think of you often as I share on the FB Page, and IG Account.  And MSJ Athletics, Otter Tri Team and The Pink Otters are growing.   And I am thinking of new ways to better serve you.   In that, I welcome your ideas.  


I want to talk today about goals.   As I am approaching my 51st birthday (August 15th), I am reflecting.   This is something I tend to do each year.  Where am I now?  Where am I going?  Do I like where I am going?  And what do I need to do to change that course or direction?  Sometimes, I like the answers I come up with.  Sometimes, the answers scare me.  And sometimes, I really have no clue.  

It is easy to sit in your chair and advise.   Sometimes, the break from the every day is what I need.  But I find that my body physically hurts if I have not taken action.   My body hurts if I am sitting for too long. 


BUT have you ever come up with a goal?  

Written out the plans?  

Taken the time to invest in the goal?   

And then not acted on it??  

Instead of taking action, you sat down.  

I cannot explain this phenomena, but it has happened.   I am not certain if I am paralysed with fear, overwhelmed with the prospects of success, not diligent enough to put it all together, simply lazy, or the goals are not true to me…….perhaps, not part of my belief system, part of the me that makes me tick.  


 This quote from The Swim Coaching Bible, Volume One, resonated with me.   Are these things I am setting forth to accomplish part of my being?  Do they consume me?  Or is it OK for me to plan and not execute?   The answers to these will provide insights.  Perhaps it sounds good to others for me to be doing these things.  Perhaps, I want to be percieved differently.  Perhaps……..


Perhaps, you can relate. 


And so, I took the time to reflect and plan and determine what it is I really want to do, and what I am willing to ‘give up’ to make these things happen.   And HOW will I feel if I dont achieve or at least put in motion the effort to achieve these thigns?  Or will I see the obstacles?  



The result scares me actually.   Not because these are unattainable goals.  I can achieve these with the diligence and work necessary to make these happen.  I am not willing to walk away.   And so, I need to be willing to stretch my comfort zone.  


I need to be willing to do this for me!  

As I am preparing for the things I want to accomplish at 51, I want to encourage you to join me.  What is it you have been thinking about accomplishing?  What is it that you can taste but are not certain you can make it real?  Please share with me.   I am sharing today, to share my struggles.  While my intentions are good, I sometimes fail miserably.  

Your ambitions do not need to be triathlon related.   I want to know and encourage you. We can work together to expand our comfort zones, and challenge ourselves.  


Posted in ambassador, athletic development, being engaged, caring, celebrate, coaching, commitment, community, courage, flow, goal setting, goals, goals, goals, goals, mentored, motivation, networking, paying attention, planning the day, preparation, running, seeyouathefinishline, starting on offense, swimming, training, trainingtogether, triathlon, truegoals | Leave a comment

Begin your journey today

 The only impossible journey is the one you never begin. -Tony Robbins. 

Today begins National Triathlon Week.  While many of you have successfully completed your first, second or even twentieth tri, there are some reading this who are still sitting on the fence, not sure where to begin.   I participate in several different triathlon groups, and I will say the hardest part is taking that first step.   


USA Triathlon has broken a week down as described in the photo above.  This is not a tranng plan, but an example of how to celebrate triathlon, and begin.   Join me as I will be executing the training focus each day.  And feel free to reach out for direction of how to begin.   There are many opportunities for coaching, including the Otter Tri Team (for youth), and the Pink Otters (for the ladies).   I am open to building and defining new training groups.   I look forward to working with you.  



Posted in ambassador, athletic development, celebrate, coaching, coaching tri, commitment, community, cycling, goals, goals, goals, goals, motivation, motivation Monday, preparation, running, seeyouathefinishline, training, trainingtogether, triathlon | Leave a comment

GAIN 2018 — Reflections


You can only grow if you’re willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.   ~Brian Tracy




It is easy to become an island in our thought processes, as well as our social interactions, both professionally and personally.   It is not easy learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, challenging our thought processes, to step in new directions and go!  But it is doing those things that have provided me the ability to move across country and relocate to Houston, to announce I am taking my career in a new direction and leaving the ‘swim lesson’ business, and founding The Otters, a youth tri team.   And sometimes, the results are spectacular, while others an experiment in learning.  


To continue challenging myself in the aspect of coaching and athletic development, I have joined an amazing community of professionals around the globe at GAIN.   Founded and organized by Vern Gambetta, the premise of a week of coming together to learn and share ideas has evolved to what it is today, a community of professionals from different aspects of sport and performance, coming together to learn and share, to challenge our thought processes about training so we can in turn provide for the athletes we coach.  We spend the week together.  Housed at Rice University, much of the learning takes place outside the classroom.   We eat together, have organized Movement Madness (organized and structured playtime) together, as well as trips to Valhalla in the evenings.   Friendships are developed over the week, and nurtured throughout the year.  

Continue reading

Posted in athletic development, coacheseducation, coaching, coaching tri, coachingkids, GAIN2018, goals, goals, goals, goals, kidsinsport, kidstriathlon, mentored, motivation, networking, preparation, training, triathlon | Leave a comment

Global Running Day

My intent for Global Running Day was to create opportunities to share my love of RUN with all the people I encounter during the day.   Brooks Running used the theme #runitforward to encourage individuals to not only share the love of run, but also to dedicate the run to a specific cause.  


First up was my personal run.   I ran 3-miles, as per my marathon training plan.   Then I ran another 3 with the PINK OTTERS! We ran a casual and chatty pace at the Rice Loop. (We meet on Wednesdays at 5:30am, come join us) 

And then, my Indoor Cycling Class.  At Rice Rec Center, I decided that the cycling challenge would surround running.   And so, using the skill with the bike, we spent a great deal of time out of the saddle…….  running.  We ran to catch something, we ran in intervals, we ran uphill.  All to celebrate.  And work hard.  These ladies rock!  

You should come join us.  Wednesdays and Fridays at the Rice Rec Center at 12:15pm.  You do need to be a member, or with a member.  



Posted in #runitforward, coaching, cycling, global running Day, running, seeyouathefinishline, training | Leave a comment

What is your Motivation?


This morning’s calendar tear-away.   I have been training and going and recently hit the stop button.   I dont want to go, I dont feel the fire burning inside to tackle my goals.  And yet, I want to accomplish them.  


And today, I took a moment to evaluate what motivates me.  This is in hope of inspiring you. 


1. Determine your goal.  What is it I want to do? I have signed up for three running races, and one swim event.  And I will probably add another run or two before the year is up.  Why?  I am conquering the goal of marathon.   Lofty, yes. And definitely accomplishable. 

Know what you want to do, and the rest should fall into place.  

2. Come up with a plan.  Developing a plan —perhaps with direction of a coach, can ensure you are on your way to achieving the goal.   Fear can be paralysing.  As can the overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to begin.  

A plan helps direct you in your way. 

3. Take Action.  This is sometimes the most challenging for me.  I orchestrate and direct, and when it comes to my own training…. my get up and go, got up and left.   At times, this is a sign that I am doing too much.   I might be embarrassed at what others might think of my struggles —after all, I am a coach and I should have it all together.  And at times, EXCUSES get in the way.   

Small steps pave the path to the accomplishment. 

Ultimately, the process is completely up to me.   In a years time, do I want to be where I am now?  Or do I want to reflect back on the journey and say, wow!  That was amazing. 


The motivation needs to come from me.  

Posted in ambassador, coaching, coaching tri, commitment, community, goal setting, motivation, preparation, seeyouathefinishline | Leave a comment