Friday Faves

It’s kind of a crazy day in the US today.  Today is also my day off, so I’m spending it doing what I do on many of my Fridays off – doing laundry, getting my house in order, and getting a super painful, but super helpful massage.  And in honor of Friday, here are some things that I’ve been loving as of late.

The Royals on E!

A coworker recommended I watch this show, and I started it while on a marathon trainer ride.  I was hooked.  It’s a show about a fictional present-day royal family and they are a MESS.  It’s exactly the sort of drama you’d expect from E! – affairs, scandal, intrigue, drug use, murders, and people coming back from the dead.  And it is a joy to watch.  The first two seasons are available for free on Amazon Prime, and the third can be streamed on E!’s website.  It’s total trash tv, but it’s so addicting.  Not everything you watch has to be deep and meaningful.

Metal Earth 3D Model Kits

I have wanted to make these models for a while, but couldn’t bring myself to buy them (plus if you remember, 2016 was sucked up by 70.3 training).  Santa (who in this instance look strangely like my mom and dad) brought me a tool kit and a couple of Disney models.  I just finished the Haunted Mansion and am probably starting the Wheel of Death… I mean, Mickey’s Fun Wheel this weekend.  They are incredibly tiny, so it helps to have good lighting and good tools (and good eyes or glasses), but it’s nice to just sit and make something.  I’ll probably work on some non-Disney ones at some point, so if anyone has a favorite, please let me know.

The Bright Sessions Podcast

The Bright Sessions describes itself as “an audio drama about therapy for the strange and unusual.”  I don’t remember what led me to this podcast, but I’m certainly glad I found it.  It’s definitely hard to describe.  Each episode (for the most part) is a recorded therapy session with someone who has special abilities.  The cast of characters isn’t too huge, so you really get to know the different patients and their abilities.  Of course, they can’t stay separate forever, and the stories start to work together.  It’s really well done and worth the listen.  Definitely start at the beginning.

My Instant Pot

Santa also brought me an Instant Pot.  For the uninitiated, this is an electric pressure cooker.  I’d been hearing about them and decided that I definitely wanted one.  And I was not wrong.  This thing is amazing.  I haven’t done any major recipes yet, but I have used it to cook:

  • sweet potatoes
  • hard boiled eggs
  • chicken breasts (from frozen!)
  • quinoa
  • steel cut oats
  • spaghetti squash

So really, I’m just getting started.  The big perk to the Instant Pot is that everything cooks so much faster than it would using traditional methods.  Considering I’m always putting together meals in a rush, this is awesome.  Is it something everyone needs?  Certainly not.  Plenty of people have no trouble finding 45 minutes to bake a spaghetti squash.  I am not one of those people.  If I can cook it in under 20, count me in.

How to Choose a Coach

So you’re ready to take your racing to the next level.  Or maybe you’re just struggling with planning out your training plan.  Either way, you’ve started to think about hiring a coach. But how in the world do you go about doing that?

Finding a coach is more than just saying “Oh hey look, that person is a coach.  I will hire them!”

First you have to figure out what you’re looking for in a coach.  Ask yourself these questions.

Local or no?

Do you want someone local who can meet you for workouts or do you just need someone who is accessible by phone and email?  There are benefits to both, it just depends on what you prefer.

Personally, I don’t love super structured workout schedules. I like knowing that I have to do this workout on this day, but when I do it is flexible.  It makes things like getting stuck in traffic much less stressful.  So I don’t need a coach who will meet up with me.

Group or Individual?

Some coaches do group coaching, where they will help a group of people get ready for a particular race.  This is a bit less individualized (and also often cheaper), but you get the benefit of the group camaraderie.  You’re going through it together, and that builds a lot of team spirit.

Coach Certifications?

What qualifies your coach to be a coach?  There are various certifications, depending on sport and location.  I’m not going to say that any one is better than another.  Just do a bit of research into who your coach is and what their experience is.

What does the Coach require of you?

Different Coaches have different requirements of what you need to do as an athlete.  Some ask that you race wearing their branded gear.  This can build a great team atmosphere if you use a local coach.  Some require you to show up to a certain number of training sessions.  Others are more hands off and require that you update your training plan with completed workouts or share your Garmin/Strava data with them so they can keep track of your progress.   None of these requirements are bad – it just depends on what you want from your coach.


Sorry, coaching isn’t free.  And the more specialized attention you want, the more you’re going to pay.  You might find some coaches just starting out who are offering their services at a discount while they work on their coaching skills, and that can be beneficial to both the coach and the athlete who doesn’t have as much to spend.  But in general, the coaching fees are going to vary, so be mindful of your budget as you are researching coaches.

Also, be mindful of what sort of contract the coach requires.  Some require you to sign up through a season, so you’re committing to paying through a certain date.  Many simply require you to pay monthly or on another set schedule, and you can quit at anytime if things just aren’t working out.

Now What?

So you know what you’re looking for.  What are the next steps?  Ask your friends who are in the sport.  Who do they use for coaching?  Who have they heard of?  Who do they recommend (or not recommend) and why?

You can also find listings of coaches through the various certification services.

Before you officially hire your coach, take the time to interview them.  Talk through your goals and ask about their coaching style.  Are they ready to take on an athlete like you, and do you like their methods of coaching?  A lot of coaching is finding someone who you can work well with, and that is very personal.

Now go out, find your coach, and meet your goals!

Wednesday Workout Recap

This guy has nothing to do with this post. I just liked him. PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Birthday week!  So… I didn’t get in all my workouts. But I tried, sorta?

Monday – Rest day.  Choir rehearsals.  It’s sort of a workout.

Tuesday – My birthday!  Also Team Fight swim practice and Lee brought me cupcakes.  Spoiler alert: I ate too many cupcakes.

Wednesday – Felt like I was coming down with a cold, so I opted for early sleep over anything else.  Gotta stay healthy!

Thursday – The sleep seems to have worked.  But tonight, I had dinner with an old friend who was in town rather than workout.  It happens.

Friday – Easy 30 minute spin on my bike.

Saturday – 2 hour bike ride including an FTP test.  My legs no longer work.  But these sorts of rides always feel amazing.

Sunday – 9 mile run.  So much nicer than last week.  So much faster as well.  But I was definitely sore afterwards, more sore than normal.  Probably a combo of the cold temps and the fact that I destroyed my legs the day before.

Rambling Weekend Update

Cadu the cat with greenery

Someone was displeased about the removal of Christmas. Mostly because he likes to sleep under the tree.

Over the weekend, I successfully de-Christmassed my house.  Yes, I waited until this past weekend to do it.  And yes, I do put my tree up early.  If I’m going to do all that work, I’m going to enjoy it for a good long time.  Plus a long weekend is the perfect time to get it done.  Plenty of time to get everything packed away and get in all my workouts and have time for fun.  Or sitting on the couch.  Or both!

I’m not sure my brain is ready to be back in full training mode.  This weekend involved two hours on the trainer, a 9 mile run, and some strength work.  Since it gets dark so early, it always feels like the day gets away from me.  Not that I’m working out in the evening on the weekends, but the days do feel so much shorter with less daylight.  I’m sure it will become the norm soon enough.  Plus it will be nice when I can get started on my long runs earlier.  This weekend, I waited until it had warmed up a bit.  Way better than last weekend, but still kind of chilly.

This week is going to be interesting.  Holiday yesterday.  In the office today for some meetings.  And then Wednesday and Thursday, we’re on telework because my office is inside of the security perimeter for the Inauguration and they’re like “Yeah, you can do your job at home.  Don’t come in.”  And then Friday, we’re off for the Inauguration (because the government wants to limit the people coming into the city – this is how Inauguration works every 4 years, not just for this particular event).

Not that I would be anywhere near Inauguration anyway.  This isn’t a political statement.  I didn’t go to either of Obama’s Inaugurations either.  I don’t like massive crowds, and have you experienced DC weather in January?  I would much prefer to be… well, just about anywhere else.  So during Inauguration, I will be getting a deep tissue massage.  Hurts so good.

Friday Link Love

Happy Friday the 13th!  I started my day with a black cat staring me in the face.  I consider that good luck though.  He’s a sweetheart.

As I read through blog posts in Feedly, I bookmark links that I want to share.  I realize it’s been quite some time since I’ve done that, so here’s a partial backlog of some interesting reads.

How to Pack for Winter in a Carry On – I am the world’s worst packer.  I need to re-read this over and over again.

When Mama Gets a Man Cold – There is a crazy cold going around right now and this post made me laugh and laugh.  Colds are real, people!

Another good laugh is My Continuing Quest for the Sub-2 Half Marathon

Harry Potter Christmas Recap – If you don’t read EPBOT, you should.  The creativity that these two bring to just about everything they do is phenomenal.

I saved two posts from Swim Bike Mom – A Homework Assignment for the Last Few Days of 2016 (so what if it’s late, it’s still a good read) and How to Get Back on the Wagon

Two posts related to body image from two great ladies – Cyber Bullying and Body Shaming and What is an XL

Two great posts about Carrie Fisher and what she meant to people dealing with mental health issues – Stay afraid.  But do it anyway. and Carrie Fisher Helped Me Understand My Mental Illness and Addiction

And finally, the recipe roundup, which is mostly just “Things I want to eat.”