Tag Archives: swimming


Hey there RYPEness!

It has been a whirlwind of the past few days! So much going on…and not enough time to get it done! Sometimes you start to feel like there is no way you are going to over-come, accomplish or catch a break. Days can get full…between responsibilities for your career, responsibilities for your children, responsibilities for your spouse, it sometimes feels that there is no way that you can take some time for yourself.

black-woman-stressed-536x250Bottom line? You have to. And the relief from the aforementioned stresses can be gone is a little as 30 minutes. Sounds too good to be true, ey?

Try this…go for a run. Go for a nice 30 minute intense run. And if running isn’t your thing, power-walk!

If you run with music, put on a playlist that is positive. I had a friend advise me to create a playlist called “My Soundtrack”. That playlist was to only contain songs that encouraged me, spoke to me, made me feel good, made me feel powerful, made me feel empowered. If you are stressed out, the last thing you need is Lil’ Wayne yelling obscenities at you. Save that playlist for another time! Right now, put your soundtrack on repeat…even if it’s only one song.

If you are not a music runner, clear your mind and put yourself in your favorite place. Imagine calm. Talk to your Creator. Be introspective.

….and RUN. Release all of that stress, release all of that negativity, find your greatness and let it out!


Check out a few of these facts on what exercise does for you:200512522-001

  • It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
  • It’s meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.
  • It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All this can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

Nice right? Just 30 mere minutes can do that?

Yep….sure can. Here is a link to the complete article that talks about other benefits of exercise on your mental health:


So, you still think that finding 30 minutes a day is too much for you? I didn’t think so. Go to your local Meetup.com and find a run group. There are soooo many out there that are awesome and can definitely meet your running needs. Think you may be a solo runner? Then cool…find your 30 minutes for “me” time and re-align yourself with your personal soundtrack. Exercise is key to feeling good!


And….your sanity is not a bad reason to start training for a triathlon. I’m just sayin…

Hyped 2b RYPE!

Why Tri?

Hey there RYPEness!!

It’s always fun for me to look back over my triathlon career and marvel at how far I have come, and how funny training was in the very beginning. Actually…I find myself in the midst of some pretty funny shiggity in my current training season. HA! So I went back through some of my notes, and found a very old blog (from spring 2008) when I was training for my very first 70.3 race. I found it hilarious…so I thought I would share:

Twas an Epic Weekend

Well…the end is almost near…White Lake Half Ironman Triathlon is only three weeks away. I can hardly believe it myself.

On Saturday a good portion of the Western Carolina Team In Training teams participated in Charlotte Racefest. Those training for shorter distance events did the 10k run, the rest of us did the half marathon. At this point, I have never run farther than 9 miles.

 “That’s OK…” my coach said. Umm-hmm.

Miles 1 -3, just getting the legs stretched…easing into the stride…chit-chatting with the pack around me…having a good ole time. Got to mile 4…still feeling awesome…my buddy and I did about a 60 second walk…then picked the pace back up. Feelin’ good. Mile 8…lawd, lawd….not feeling good anymore, but not feeling bad either. Mile 9ish…HILL!…thank you little two year old, whoever you are!…that cute little cheer got me up to the top. Seriously y’all…she was adorable! Mile 10…HILL! Are you kidding me? Mile 11…HILL! Please. Help.

All in all, it was great. I was extremely proud of myself. I have always dreaded running and have never run in a half marathon before. So crossing that finish line – not last – felt so incredibly good. I felt like I could lay back and bask in my accomplishment…

…NOT! Why? Cause we have another training event on Sunday! What you ask? We are going on a 60 mile bike ride…starting at Crowder Mountain…MOUNTAIN!

So I wake up Sunday morning. My legs feel like 100 pound weights. I step out of bed…almost fall because the 100 pound weights immediately turn to wet noodles. At this point I really think that the best option is to take a couple of Advils and return to the fetal position. But noooooo….I decide to brave the ride.

I arrive at the meeting location…legs tight as I don’t know what. I ask one of the coaches about the course…his response “oh….its hilly!”


But he tries to console me with, “But!!!…if you can do this then the White Lake course is a piece of cake!”

Yeah. OK.

So we start the ride…immediately out the park there is an uphill. Get up it, no problem (fresh legs). So we are going through rolling terrain…moderately hilly (as the course was described)….no big issue. One of the ladies riding beside me says “my coach said the worst hills are in the first mile.”

GREAT! Lets ride…I am sure we have gone a mile already!!!

So I am riding along…meet a new friend, Suzanne. She has been here in Charlotte since the 80’s…originally from Buffalo…lives in the suburbs…you know, just great “gettin’ ta know ya” chit-chat on a beautiful 60 degree, sunny afternoon in the Carolina’s. For miles and miles, through the back roads of North and South Carolina, the terrain is mostly FLAT!

Man…this is great! We get close to the first rest stop…we are in a little over 20 miles. I get my first fall as a result of the clipless pedals. At the stop sign…over I go. No  biggie…it was bound to happen. And who cares…THE TERRAIN IS FLAT! So we get some needed water, grab a banana, clean my “knee vs. gravel” battle wound and off we go.

Then we make a turn. Something inside of me felt funny when we made that turn. Like danger lurked ahead. It was a dark, uncomfortable feeling…but I didn’t listen to that inner voice…I just road…like a woman on a mission…down this poorly paved road…shaded by rows and rows of magnificent trees.

Down hill…flat….down hill….flat.

This is just too good.

Down hill…curve….what?

Suzanne, “Shelly, you see this hill?”

Shelly, “Damn”

So we get some momentum…and before you know it, we are at the top! No biggie.

Then another curve…What?

Another hill. Bigger and more daunting then the first.

Then another! AND ANOTHER!

Are you freakin’ kidding me???

We climbed ALL THE WAY UP into Kings Mountain National Park.

I think then can just bury me here. Cuz I’m DUN!

But we made it. Actually…I cut my ride short about 3 miles. There was a little footnote on the route sheet:

In case of emergency, there is a short-cut…”

All I needed to hear. My thighs actually having a voice of their own to scream obscenities at me classifies as an emergency to me.

The alternate route cut the ride by about 3 miles and E-LI-MI-NA-TED a very challenging hill (you like that term huh?…I took it from our coaches…they think they can say that and trick us…like we don’t know that means KILLER BEAST OF A – YOUR QUADS WILL EXPLODE – CLIMB!). So I take the short-cut… that unfortunately was not short on hills!

I’m ready y’all. I am ready for whatever White Lake has to throw at me. I made it through Epic Weekend! And you know what? I am very proud of my accomplishment!


So…Why Tri? Because…it’s totally worth it to have stories like this to tell!!

Stay RYPE!


Runners for Boston

Good morning RYPEness

Today I am going to one of our local run stores (Run For Your Life) and participating in “Runners for Boston” memorial run. “Runners for Boston” is a free, casual run that will take place all over the U.S. starting at 6:30PM tonight (April 22nd).  Runners are encouraged to wear the Boston Marathon’s signature blue and yellow colors, or any Boston Marathon apparel.

Last Monday was a horrible day in the US, and unfortunately one that is among too many that have occurred over the last year. We find ourselves living in a time that most of us never fathomed. It can, if you let it, paralyze you from fear of what could happen next. We cannot allow that to happen. We have to pay tribute to those who have been affected by these horrible acts by continuing to live our lives with joy and love in our hearts; prayerful that the abundance of these two things beaming from within us will choke out the few bad who do these evil things. We have to. The alternative is not an option.

I hope you can join in this run today. Find a group or go it alone….but just go. Be it a run or walk, at 6:30 tonight let’s run united for peace.


Faster! Faster!!!

Hey there RYPEness!!

Happy Thursday to ya! Who out there really feels like a snail when riding with certain groups? If you are like me, there is nothing more intimidating than to join up with a few cycling enthusiast to take on a nice morning ride, and at mile 5 you are so out of breath because you can’t seem to keep up with that 18mph pace! And its not like its something you dont want to do…you just CANT! Well, the only way to get better is to train better. I was reading my digest from Active.com and they listed some really good tips for boosting your average MPH, so I thought I would share….and maybe you can hold me accountable for actually executing these on a regular basis!

Keep Pedaling

You may not have noticed that you coast a lot. Some riders get into the habit of coasting for a good percentage of any ride. If you’re spending a lot of time coasting, you’re not building the fitness necessary to keep high average speeds for low metabolic cost.

As an experiment, ride a mostly flat course that has no stop signs and very little traffic. Aim to put power to the pedals continuously for 30 minutes. Keep the pressure on the pedals light so your effort remains aerobic; but keep your legs moving and feel that you are generating power with each pedal stroke. If 30 minutes is easy, aim for 60 minutes.

I suspect some of you will find that you are spending more time coasting and not generating any power than you realize.

Ride a Rolling Course

After practicing the skill of keeping pressure on the pedals on a flat course, it’s time to take that skill to the hills. Find a rolling course that has few stops and distractions. After your warmup, ride for 30 to 60 minutes at a steady, aerobic effort, keeping force on the pedals all the time.

This workout requires that you play with the gears on your bike to figure out what gear combination allows you to keep force on the pedals 100 percent of the time. Yes, that means on the downhill portions too.

Hill Repeats

For this workout you’ll need a heart rate monitor. Find a hill that takes you some 3 to 5 minutes to climb. Note a start and stop line for hill repeats. The goal of the workout is to find the gear combination that gives you the fastest time on the hill climb without exceeding the top of the aerobic zone (Zone 2) on your heart rate monitor. Get full recovery between each climb, spinning easy for some 3 to 5 minutes before beginning the next climb.

Isolated Leg Training (ILT) Indoors

Many cyclists do ILT work in the winter and on an indoor trainer. The workout helps reduce or eliminate any dead spots out of your pedal stroke. One common workout example is to do a warm-up, then with light resistance on an indoor trainer, do 100 percent of the work with one leg while the other leg is resting on a stool.

The bottom of the stroke is similar to the motion of scraping mud off the bottom of your shoe. The top of the stroke can be improved by driving your toes and knees forward. In all positions, keep your toes relaxed. Do not allow them to curl up and clinch the bottom of your shoe. The aim is to be smooth and keep power applied during as much of each revolution as possible.

Begin with 20 or 30 seconds per leg and build up to 60 seconds per leg. After doing one set with each leg, spin with both legs for some 2 to 4 minutes before starting the ILT work again.

Start with a cumulative time of 3 to 5 minutes on each leg within the workout and build time as you become stronger. Be sure to stop pedaling and change legs or spin with both legs when your form becomes sloppy or jerky. Do not worry about achieving any particular heart rate–smooth pedaling form is most important.

Once you’re efficiently making smooth circles on the trainer in a normal setup, you can put blocks under your front wheel to simulate hill climbing. Build the time you are able to complete ILT drills on hills.

ILT Work Outdoors

After achieving good form doing ILT work on an indoor trainer, move outdoors to a flat course. One method of doing ILT work outdoors is by relaxing and unweighting one leg while the other leg does 90 percent of the work. (The unweighted leg stays clipped in.)

A second method is to pull the non-working leg out of the pedal and allow it to hang about 6 to 12 inches away from the bike. In either case, use a gear combination that allows you to keep force on the pedal for the majority of the pedal stroke.

Be sure to change legs when fatigue sets in, or set a specific time interval to prevent excess fatigue. Again, correct form is most important. Similar to doing the drill indoors, work your way up to an interval of 30 to 60 seconds per leg. After doing a work segment with each leg, spin easy with both legs for a minute or two and then return to single leg work.

Finally, when you’ve achieved what you consider to be a good skill level at ILT work on a flat course, try the drill on a slight uphill. Of course it is most challenging when the non-working leg is removed from the pedal.

Why Do ILT Work on Hills?

At least one study concluded that cycling uphill decreases gross efficiency and is associated with changes in pedaling technique. If you train your legs to be as efficient as possible going uphill, of course it only helps your cause of increasing speed.

By practicing good pedaling technique and making a conscious effort to keep power to the pedals, I’m willing to bet your overall cycling speed will begin to increase. With foundation skills nailed, you can begin adjusting volume and intensity to make even more gains.


So there ya have it! My goal is to get in a hill repeat workout at least once a week. My challenge is going to be getting on my trainer for those isolated leg trainings….YUK. But hey, you have to do what you have to do to get where you want to be, right? Right!

Oh…on last thing: Do NOT forget to moisturize. Crossing the finish line with ashy lips is a no-no!


Hyped 2b RYPE!!



Why Tri?

Because there are some really cool races in some really cool places! I saw an article on Active.com and had to share it. Maybe its just me, but I love the idea of picking  a race in a vacation destination. It kind of gives purpose to the vacation, know what I mean? You show up, you get prepared, you race…..then you chill! Basking in the after-glow of your accomplishment.



So if you find yourself in a slump and needing that little extra kick to get you going, then Tri vacation! I have my eye on that Chicago Triathlon…there is nothing more fun than Chicago in the summer time! Get up, race, hit up some of the finest restaurants in the world…then go listen to some good ole Chicago House Music!I know, I know…sounds the bomb right?!

Tri Vacations are an easy way to stay motivated AND convince your BFF’s to Tri with you!

Happy training RYPEness!

Article: http://www.active.com/triathlon/Articles/Vacation-Destination-Triathlons.htm?cmp=306&memberid=147438380&lyrisid=40513537&email=mlgrady1126@gmail.com

Good morning RYPEness,

The horror that took place yesterday is unimaginable. The innocent lives lost and the number of spectators injured brings a sadness to my heart that is heavy. As an endurance event athlete, I cannot imagine. So today, please take a moment to say a prayer. Pray for the families of the lives that were lost. Pray for the recovery of those who are injured. Pray for healing of those who witnessed the aftermath. Pray for our society…pray that evil is removed from it, and that fear does not morph us into a country that is unrecognizable.


What ta eat???


I hope everyone is ready for a great weekend!! You know we like to talk about food on Fridays, and I found an article that I thought was very important to share. Us triathletes have to understand that there are four disciplines to our sport: swim, bike, run, NUTRITION! Eating right is key, more so than your training. If you arent putting the right things into the machine, you simple will not get optimal performance out of the machine. Its a rather basic equation really. Here are five very important things to remember:

1. Reduce Consumption of Refined Foods

Refined foods do not provide the necessary energy levels that are required for triathlon competitions. This is because refined foods contain sugar alcohols that the body absorbs rapidly, and they are of no value in terms of nutrition per calorie. In addition, the processed foods tend to stimulate blood-sugar levels, and this can be detrimental to an athlete’s health. Refined foods also tend to cause inflammation of the muscles and joints, especially processed oils such as hydrogenated vegetable oils. Natural, unrefined foods that contain whole grain ingredients may be the best choices for triathlon athletes as they are rich in nutrients.

2. Eat Early and Often

Reliable research shows that foods that are consumed early in the morning are more likely to become heat energy rather than stored fats. Skipping breakfast tends to cause people to overeat in the evening, which is a practice that leads to the storage of fats, because the body will not need the calories that are consumed immediately. Eating frequently and in small quantities is ideal for triathlon nutrition, as it tends to provide the necessary energy that is required at any particular time. Moreover, frequent eating constantly supplies the body with the energy that is required for training and workout sessions.

3. Eat a Balanced Diet

A triathlon athlete needs to incorporate a balanced diet in all of his or her meals at all times. While preparing for a triathlon competition, there is no room for compromise. Consumption of “junk” food is not encouraged. Triathlon athletes need to consume more proteins and carbohydrates, as these foods contain calories that are essential for the production of energy.

4. Include More Fruits and Vegetables in Your Diet

Fruits and vegetables contain fibers that are necessary for the normal functioning of the body. They also contain nutrients that are effective in helping the body maintain fitness levels. However, you should avoid taking fruit juices, because they contain too much sugar and less fiber. Eating fruits and vegetables also helps in body recovery, especially after a training session.

5. Drink More Water

Water is also important in triathlon nutrition, as it enhances exercise performance during workout sessions. It increases blood volume and lowers body temperature through hydration, and therefore, it improves performance. Sport drinks are often better than plain water since they contain additional contents that are more absorbable and have a better retention rate.

So remember when you are heading to that snack room to raid the vending machine that the action will derail any progress you are making. Opt for fresh fruits…’tis the season to find yummy selections at your local market. Also, keep a glass of water with you at all times….and flavor it if need be! I add slices of cucumbers, oranges, strawberries, even apples with cinnamon sticks to make the water taste super yummy! You have added some flavor while maintaining the integrity of the water!


Happy training RYPE-er! And have a MAGNIFICENT weekend!!


Hey there RYPEness!!

I have asked this question before, but I will ask it again….Why Tri? Because there is absolutely no reason for you not to! It’s amazing how sources of inspiration or reasons why I should have NO excuses show themselves just at the right time! As I ran this morning, with a buddy of mine who is much faster than me, I kept this story in the forefront of my mind. I know that I want to get faster…I also know that trying to get faster is PAINFUL for me! HA! However, if you want what you want, you have to do what you gotta do!

Check out this article: http://www.runnersworld.com/races/mike-fremont-91-finishes-knoxville-half-marathon-304

91year old

91 and still running half marathons? Seriously? Do you know what that says to me every time I want to just be a couch potato? Or when I want to stop running and walk? Or when I simply want to cry when climbing a hill on my bike? It says, “SHUT UP AND GET OVER IT! Mike Fremont gets it in…so can you!!”

So think about this man…this VERY inspirational man…when your mind throws doubt and laziness in the mix. Because barring some injury, there is no excuse for you not to just Tri.

Happy Hump Day RYPE-er!

FUN in your RUN

Good morning RYPEness!

First let me give a shout out to the Louisville Cardinals for their National Championship win last night…and Coach Rick Pitino for being the first coach to ever win two National Championships from two different schools!!! That was probably one of the best games ever!! Kudos to the Michigan team because you surely played your hearts out!!

So…remember yesterday I told you to get your race schedule together to build that momentum and motivation needed to be consistent with your training? Well, let’s piggy-back off of that. Include some FUN in your RUN! Look around, its not hard to see that fitness has become a focus in this country (about dang-gone time!). As a result, we are seeing more and more races show up on the scene….more and more creatively FUN races! Do you know how much being surrounded by “fun” energy helps get you through the event? I remember when I did IRONMAN Florida, I looked forward to the aid stations because they were all themed (there was a Christmas themed one, a superheroes one, a medieval themed, etc.) I would get distracted from the fact that I was ONLY on mile 64 out of 112 because I was focused on getting to the next aid station to see what was in store! Endurance events are actually ones that will welcome a distraction…I mean, there is only so much focusing on form I can do when I have to run or bike for hours on end, know what I mean?!

Race schedules are out now…so Google “fun runs” or “fun triathlons” in your area and get those on your schedule. Grab a bunch of your friends to join you! I am sure you have that one friend that swears they “can’t” run or that a triathlon is too much for them. Once you get them to do one, I will bet money they will do another! It’s just so empowering to do your first event, especially when you were your own naysayer, and cross that finish line. It WILL change your life and outlook….forever!

I created a Team RYPE for the Electric Run that is coming here to Charlotte! If you are in this area, come join us! It’s going to be a blast!! But if you aren’t, check the list because this event just might be coming to your city too! And if it’s not, I know there are some cool, fun, different events that you can motivate your friends to participate in with you.

Start a movement near you to “Realize Your Potential Everyday!…to be healthy: mind, body and soul!”

Keep it RYPE!!

Electric Run


Race! Race! Race!…

….it’s what motivates you to train!! In turn, training develops sexy bodies!! And who doesn’t want a sexy body???

Good morning RYPEness!

Today is the day to start developing that race schedule for the year. Whether its your first 5K race, your first triathlon or if you are a seasoned veteran, setting your race schedule is a major source of daily inspiration…sometimes the biggest source. Once you sign up for a race….thus paying your hard earned pennies to enter….the last thing you want to do is fail at your attempt by not completing it OR wasting your money by not participating in it. Know what I’m sayin’?

To help get you started…here is my race schedule thus far:

April 28th – Huntersville Sprint Triathlon

June 15th – Enka Spint Triathlon

August 3rd – Stumpy Creek International Triathlon (tentative still)

September 28th – Charlotte Half Ironman Triathlon

BAM! There it is….keeping about two months between races, and allowing it to be a build up to the ultimate goal of another Half Ironman. This should definitely keep me busy!!

So…there it is, my “motivation schedule”. I put it out there hoping that it will motivate you to create your own.

Have a wonderfully RYPE Monday!