Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Reasonable and realistic training thoughts

Last week, I stumbled upon an old email exchange with my former TBB teammate, mentor, and later coach, Beck Preston, which had a sample of my weekly training program I had followed for over 6 months when I was out of training camp and training on my own:

  • Monday: swim 90mins (longer intervals), 30x800's on the track (week #1 schedule) OR long continuous run (3-4hrs)
  • Tuesday: double swim day, easy 45min spin on turbo in between. swim #1--4 x (10x50 PB/B + 100 band only + 100 free recovery). swim #2--9x400's (3 with PB/B, 3 with P/PB/B, 3 with P/PB/tube)
  • Wednesday: big brick day. swim 90mins (40x100's P/PB/B with Mac's squad). 4hr bike (rolling hills) w/ 90min run off the bike OR 15x800's on track (week #2)
  • Thursday: active recovery day--45min easy turbo + optional 30min easy run
  • Friday: swim 90mins (4 x 16x25's band only + 200 TT with P/PB/B). 2hrs turbo bike--10x5mins hard w/ 2.5mins recovery
  • Saturday: swim 90mins. 21x800's on track (week #1) OR 2-3hr continuous run (week #2)
  • Sunday: 5hrs long bike on pretty flat TT course.

"not healthy at all!" LOL!

.... of course it was so mind-blowing to me that I used to do this day in, day out... week in, week out.... month in, month out... I had to share it on my IG training log account (@wongstargram). Some random pro triathlete I don't know made a comment about how it was "not healthy at all". Um, rude!

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about how to build a reasonable and realistic training program with my current responsibilities. I know I have some scary looking races at the end of the year that I'm hoping to do, like a half ironman and a 50-mile ultramarathon, and I know what I want my training to look like for those particular distances, but can't quite wrap my head around doing any of that any time soon.

Right now I run 2 times a week. Sometimes 3. So instead of freaking myself out looking too far ahead for the year, I reminded myself that last year, I couldn't even get myself to train enough for an Olympic distance triathlon. I have rearranged some stuff in my life to make my own health and well-being a bigger priority this year, but what has also been helpful is giving myself the patience and time to get back into more training and racing postpartum, instead of rushing and pushing too much too soon.

I do feel like training for the Olympic distance is pretty reasonable as a working mom. I didn't end up going forward with an Olympic tri last year, because these are the building blocks I felt I would need to hit in order to race an Oly decently:
  • Weekly 2k swim
  • Weekly 2-hour bike
  • Weekly 90-minute run
Last year my shoulder surprisingly flared up from carrying my large child so much, and it took a while to build up my run mileage as I rebuilt my body post-surgery. A 2-hour bike ride would also wipe me out!

I think if I can do those 3 workouts at a minimum each week, I'd be solid! Even better would be 2 each of swim, bike, and run (6 workouts). Something like this:
  • Monday: 2-hour long bike, optional open water swim (30mins)
  • Wed: 4-5 mile tempo run on the treadmill
  • Thursday: 45mins bike intensity on the trainer
  • Saturday: swim intervals 45mins (2km)
  • Sunday: long run 10 miles (90ish minutes)
Totally doable! (Tuesdays and Fridays are rest days, if that's not obvious, and I don't work on Mondays.) But I'm not there yet. Hoping to get there by summer. In the meantime, here's how I'll build up to it:
  • February: run 2-3x per week
  • March: add 1 bike per week. so 2 bikes & 2 runs per week, or 1 bike and 3x runs.
  • April: add 1 swim per week. 1 swim, 2 bikes, and 2 runs
  • May: OWS season starts! add that optional Monday night swim at the reservoir for that 2 swims, 2 bikes, and 2 runs.
So, by summer--June, July, August--repeat that proposed Olympic distance schedule above. July 9th and August 21st there are local Olympic tris I want to hit up.

September: increase the long bike to 3 hours, and the long run to 2 hours. Half ironman is October 1st!

October & November: transition from triathlon training to ultra training. Too scary to think about for now. Will circle back.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

you can't be -- everything to everyone

Last week I had to discharge a patient. It doesn't happen often, and it's not a decision I make lightly, but I have become more protective of my time and energy stores since having Ainsley. As the week went by, the thought popped in my head:

"You can't be everything to everyone."

I thought about the many roles I play in my life:
  • Mom
  • Wife
  • Dog mom
  • Prosthetist-orthotist
  • Daughter
  • Daughter-in-law
  • Sister
  • Sister-in-law
  • Friend
  • Granddaughter
  • Cousin
  • Aunt
  • Niece
  • Great niece
  • Coach
  • Volunteer chapter captain
  • Employee
  • Coworker
  • Mentor
  • Instructor
  • Neighbor
  • Teammate
That's 22 roles, and I'm sure I forgot some.

There's some roles were I am that person to only 1: mom to 1, wife to 1, dog mom to 1. But then there are others where I am that person for many: prosthetist-orthotist to many, coworker to many, neighbor to many, chapter captain to many.

And all these relationships require my time and energy. And some of these relationships take up a disproportionate amount of my time and energy, to the detriment of other relationships. And that's not fair.

In the end, I realized that I had an Everclear song stuck in my head. "You always try to be...everything to everyone."

Not any more.

Not my usual peppy blog update, and 2 days late for "new blog Tuesday", but a stomach bug tore through our household earlier this week which gave me further confirmation of putting my own health before others, in order to take care of others.

Take care of yourselves!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Year of the Tiger (Mom?)

Chinese New Year just kicked off today, and it’s now the Year of the Tiger. Which has gotten me thinking a lot about what kind of Asian mom I want to be, as we are all too familiar with that stereotypical Tiger Mom. Ainsley is half Chinese, and she is definitely being exposed to all our traditions, the red dresses, and THE FOOD. She loves the food! Potstickers, shu mai, dumplings, and jook. Yes, please!

Fun fact—most know that I was born and raised here in the USA, but did you also know that I was in ESL in kindergarten? Yep, that’s English as a Second Language. I grew up speaking my parent’s dialect (Toisan) and I even remember at one of my first dentist appointments, we had a Chinese dentist who spoke English to my older sister, and spoke Chinese to me…they thought I couldn’t speak English but I honestly was just really shy. Stranger danger!

Yes, another fun fact—I was once shy! HA!

Once we started kindergarten, my dad wanted us to only speak English at home. Soon enough, my ability to speak Chinese went away, although I can still understand my parents talking to each other. I even tried to take Cantonese and Mandarin classes at various times in my life, and it was really hard. I remember thinking when I first joined teamTBB that I would learn to speak Chinese again for that moment I knew I would get interviewed in front of the Chinese media. And OMG of course that actually happened, but of course I was too braindead from all the Ironman training to re-learn a language. At the very least during the Ironman China press conference, I knew how to say “My Chinese is not good” in Chinese to get a few chuckles. But UGH I had to have a translator just like all the white pro triathletes. Not my finest moment, but the media still loved me.

Ironman China 2010 media frenzy!

They almost got my actual Chinese name right!

Even though we now live in a predominantly white area, we actually have a public elementary school with a Chinese immersion program just 2 miles away. I would love for my girl to be bilingual!

New Year gift: “Bao Bao Learns Chinese”
This book sings Mandarin songs!

I’ve also been impressed with the recent (and long overdue) increase in Asian-American representation in the media. Crazy Rich Asians in 2018 definitely kicked that off, and I know I was not the only one who felt so seen. Only 10 years prior, I was Rachel Chu, if Rachel Chu was a Chinese-American triathlete who traveled to Singapore to follow her pro triathlon dreams, and felt stuck between the two worlds—never quite Chinese enough in Asia, and never quite American enough in the USA. 

With The Bike Boutique crew in Singapore
(the TBB in teamTBB)

I’m excited that Ainsley will not just have the original animated Mulan that came out when I was in high school, but there’s been Abominable, Over the Moon, and Raya and the Last Dragon very recently.

Raya and the Last Dragon

drinking boba in Over the Moon


This year, American Girl finally came out with a Chinese-American girl doll (for $110!) and Barbie just released a super fancy and gorgeous Chinese New Year doll ($75!).

Not sure Chinese parents would approve
of these teal highlights, Corinne Tan!

A Barbie with Chinese eyes!
I would’ve loved this as a kid!

Of course, I’m enough of a Chinese mom to realize I wasn’t going to spend $75 to $110 (“don’t waste money!”) on a doll for little Ainsley and was able to locate a much more affordable baby Mulan doll. She was thrilled! I remember having a blonde Skipper doll (before Skipper got upgraded with boobs) and relating to her because she had a flat chest and was the little sister to Barbie. But I think I would’ve LOVED to have a Chinese Skipper doll!

This was a bit rambly and all over the place, but in conclusion, representation matters and having Ainsley embrace her Chinese side very much matters to me.

Gong Hei Fat Choy everyone! Hope you get rich!