Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bike Commuting and Coach Jamima

Last Friday I canceled my downtown parking pass. I like to indulge in driving to work when it is dark and cold and wet outside. In previous years that's meant roughly December-March. March has usually been an add-on just out of habit. It's easy to just keep driving to work when it might rain and it's kind of still cold... Inertia is really the issue. This year I got my parking pass in January and I abandoned it in February. It looks like tomorrow shouldn't be too awful to commute by bike. No rain at least! I may be driving the rest of the week though!

This is probably a good place to admit that I take advantage of a discount the city offers to people who normally use alternative transportation and I get to buy 12 one-day discounted parking passes each quarter. It's pretty awesome because it's more than half off the normal parking rate, and for the most part, I can bike to work (or run!) and avoid the hefty monthly downtown parking fees (close to $200!). It's a great deal and I encourage you to see if there's a similar program where you live!

Since tomorrow begins bike commute season for me, I thought I'd post a little bit about a few of my cold weather commute necessities this week. But first, I want to write about my all time favorite Ironman training necessity - my coach!

Jamima Wolk (formerly Iley) coached me to my amazing Ironman Florida finish last year. Lucky me - she married a friend of mine from law school! When Dave and I moved to town almost 2.5 years ago, Dan organized a happy hour so we could get together, and that's when we met Jamima for the first time. Dan had told me before that she was a former professional Ironman triathlete, so I was already in awe of her. She is the sweetest person in the world too though. We met just a few months after my first half ironman - St Croix, in which it took me 9.5 hours to get to the finish line. Jamima is such a nice person that she managed to make me feel like I was awesome anyways! Really she is the most supportive friendly person you could imagine. Fast forward a year and I'm sitting at their dinner table telling them how I'm going to sign up for Ironman Arizona. They let me drink out of the pint glass prize Jamima won at some triathlon in Arizona. Closer to greatness. :) We talked a little bit about how a coach might be helpful in my journey. She offered to give me any advice and help along the way. Shortly after that I ended up signing up for Ironman Florida instead. I'd looked into hiring a coach but decided it would be too expensive, after all I'd gotten through all of my other events without coaches, and Jamima had a new baby so I didn't really want to bother her. I figured once I had my training schedule worked out, I'd visit her and see what she thought of it. I got some more books on triathlon training to add to my library and I thought I had a big master plan for training in my head. I just needed to write it down. My weekend to-do lists constantly included "write training plan; bike; run; laundry; etc." I had some vaguely specific plans for the training, but it was hard to follow because it wasn't written down, which also meant if something came up, I'd just tell myself that I could accommodate it and change the next workouts since I hadn't really written anything down yet. Whenever I had time to write down a plan, I was basically paralyzed by indecision. I had too many ideas. There are lots and lots of different approaches to take, and I just couldn't decide what would work best, so I never did come up with my annual training plan, despite many attempts.

After quite a few months of irregular training, Jamima asked me if I had a coach yet. By then I thought maybe she could save me and I hired her before she could change her mind. I never had time to figure out my training plan because I was too busy training. I had just gotten myself through a half ironman (Vineman) and PRed it by over 2.5 hours, but what I really needed was for someone to just tell me what to do and when to do it. Jamima asked me tons of questions to figure out what my preferences were. I like to ride long on Sunday and do long runs on Saturday. I wanted to be able to incorporate my workouts into my commute whenever possible by biking or running to work. There were certain days or weeks that I knew I'd be super busy at work. Or I'd point out a weekend that would be my only chance to see my husband for two weeks. I only wanted to swim twice a week because the swim was the least of my concern, etc.

Jamima came up with this amazing month long calendar for my workouts that fit my life. It was Kendra's Workout Schedule. Not some generic thing that might work for an average person. It fit into my life perfectly and was exactly what I needed. Within a day or two of receiving the first workout calendar, I got dreadfully sick and she had to redo it all!!! I'm still a little amazed she didn't give up on me and send me back my money. I loved getting those emails at the end of a month, letting me know what I'd be doing all of the next month. Jamima basically planned my life for me. She made me into such a stronger athlete and helped me get ready for Ironman Florida like no book could have. I emailed her all the time during those last few months before Florida asking so many questions, and she always had an answer for me. I called her the night before so she could ease my nerves, and as soon as we got back to the condo after the race I called her to let her know how I did. Like a good coach, she'd been tracking me all day, so she already knew, but I wanted to give her details. I'd thought about her a lot during the race, whenever I used a mantra, since that'd been her suggestion. And one of her specific mantra suggestions had really been great. "I'm strong, I've trained for this, I'm ready!" And I was all of those things because of her. I really can't write enough about what a wonderful coach Jamima was for me. She was really invaluable.

I'm not sure if Jamima is taking any new clients right now (if you're interested, let me know and I can find out!), but Jamima has also developed an iPhone app (available for Android too!) for first time triathletes! You can read more about it on her website here. Jamima was the best investment I made for Ironman Florida. I'm a convert now. Having a coach - one who gets you for the athlete that you are - is really the way to go.

UPDATE: Jamima is currently accepting new clients.

1 comment:

  1. my mom would say the same thing about her trainer. Michael is pretty much a member of our family now, I call him my pseudo-brother. :)

    That's awesome that she wrote an iphone app! I am coveting a droid so badly these days.