So you need a coach?

“I can follow a recipe,” I tell them.

I’m not auditioning for a restaurant.  I’m talking about my ability to follow a plan. And I’m looking for a personal coach.

“I believe your FTP is close to 150 – don’t panic!” my new coach writes.

Me panic?  I’m not panicking.  I knew exactly what my power was.

I imagined the coaches sitting before their computers, looking at the data and then drawing straws to pick their new clients.  One of them drew the short straw.

But can he make me faster?

Doubt:

My first workout is a threshold workout of four intervals.

  • I’m a little panicky for the first set – a small seed of doubt pops up like the one that sometimes comes before a race.  “Can I do this?” I wonder.

  • Second set… BAM! — I knew I was home free.  But I’m always like that at the half-way point.

  • 3rd set, sweating hard.

  • 4th set, legs are burning and cadence is a little uneven. I hit the final minute of the interval and “Whoop, there it is” streams up the white strings to my ears.  Hell yeah!  Take that coach!

Who needs a personal coach?  How much difference is it really going make?  These are the nagging questions that I’ve asked myself since the end of last season.

I met my new coach last week.  He’s half my age.  It registered like a small little ripple on a pond and then bounced back as a question “When did I get old?”

Some might be alarmed with a coach that is half their age.  But I’ve been down this path before.  Although the boot was on the other foot so to speak. I was the trainer. When I was competing with horses I frequently gave lessons to people twice my age.  I only had a couple of doubters.  Adults are definitely harder to train then kids.  Adults always want to know “why?”

But I figure we’re in this thing together, “The Coach and I.”  Not sure if it’s musical worthy but in my mind both of our names are on the line.

Things have come full circle since I started the Sock Series.  I’m back on a women’s racing team – Tough Girl Cycling, although I joke that they let me on to help with administrative stuff and be the team comedienne.  At least I think I’m funny.  Our team is a full range of abilities from pro and former pros, to national champions, state champions and women that race with their heart – uhh that’s me.

This year the Sock Series is an experiment. The socks are still part of the game, and I still dedicate my races to Chicken Soup, but I’m running a Dara Torres experiment on myself.  Although my resources are a little more limited than that aged swimmer, I’m certain I have a stellar support team — a personal cycling coach to push me — a PT/massage therapist to put me back together — Samadhi Yoga instructors to teach me mental focus and make my core and balance strong — a somewhat skeptical family support, but supportive all the same.

Perhaps the real question is not do I need a coach but “Why do I race?”  I just keep learning stuff — Stuff about myself, about communicating, about dealing with pressure.  It’s not something to solve really.  It’s just a journey.  Let’s just see where it goes.  Stay tuned for the “Coach and I.”

Outtakes:

  • FTP is Functional Threshold Power. It’s the maximum power you can maintain through an hour’s effort without fatiguing. Generally considered a barometer of fitness and performance ability.
  • Dara Torres is a national competitive swimmer who returned to competition at the Olympic level and earned an Olympic silver medal in her 40s.  She makes me believe anything is possible if you work hard.
  • The Sock Series has run since 2010 ~ and it’s more than a pair of socks.
  • Tucker Olander with FasCat Coaching is my coach.

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