bikegoofyI never in a million years, did I think I would feel bad after running 16 miles from Incline Village past Tahoe City and back. I’m not referring to the achy legs, sore back, and drained feeling.  I actually felt like I got in trouble for running so much. Here’s the deal… two weeks after the Edible Pedal 100 I am running the Triple Tahoe. Thats 3 marathons in 3 days. I’ve always wanted to do this at 33 years old because frankly, it has a nice ring to it… 3 in 3 at 33. See – it sounds cool, doesn’t it?!

I know, so silly but if I say I’m going to do it, there’s no backing out now.

What I didn’t quite fully grasp is that Coach Julie really cares about me. I should’ve told her about my ridiculous run far in advance. Instead, I had to confess to being on a 16 mile run because I was supposed to meet her for a long ride near Northstar but I couldn’t make it because my darn run took too long. I thought I had to run 14,16,18 miles in a row every week until September 27-29 when I will be running 26.2, 26.2, and 26.2 around Lake Tahoe.

Coach Julie had a very honest heart to heart with me that day. She said the idea of just racking up the miles is very “old school.” It’s not about going out and running and riding forever, its about training with quality workouts and quality recovery (something I also have a problem with.) She said she would help me train for both of these events. She also said because they are so close together in timing, it will be like training for a duathlon. Something she apparently, also helps people with. She’s told me before that she helps all kinds of athletes at Silver Sage Performance Center but I didn’t want to burden her with my goals. I guess she’d rather be burdened with my goals than deal with my injuries if I train incorrectly.

So the next thing I know, my training consists of a balance of running and riding. Instead of feeling the overwhelmed by having to run for hours on top of the cycling workouts, I am now able to run one or two days then get into a hardcore cycling workout the next. She also has me sprinting – something I definitely always thought of as torture. (As I have learned – even if I don’t ever imagine myself sprinting for a finish line it is a valuable training tool to institute efficient mechanics. But like everything else – its all about doing it well with understanding and purpose as opposed to ticking off the box.)

I needed my boyfriend to actually go with me to the track the first few times because I was scared of it! I know, silliness again. But I’m slow. I mean real slow. I can jog alongside tall people who are walking and be at a nice comfortable pace. I’m happy with that. I never wanted to be fast at running, I only want to be fast at cycling – isn’t that enough of a goal?

But I promised to follow my Coach no matter what. So I sucked it up and wheezed my way through the track workouts. My boyfriend would constantly tell me to “push it,” “c’mon you can go for it,” “go faster.” I obeyed but for the first time in our relationship, I hated him for brief spurts.

And of course after the workout I would thank him, while trying to hold back the puke. I needed the nudge.

And guess what?! The more I sprinted and went outside my comfort zone… the faster I got on longer endurance days. I feel stronger now when I run, my back doesn’t hurt and my legs want to go faster, instead of settling into a comfy trot.

Coach Julie is a genius, a life saver, a truly wise athlete, and any other word I can think of for my HERO!

She has really helped me understand the concept of quality workouts and recovery days. Here’s one week in my world: Monday – complete rest or active recovery with focus on off-aerobic foundational work of hip, trunk and single leg stability as well as range of motion, ie yoga; Tuesday – running with speed and power track workout; Wednesday – quality hill intervals on the bike; Thursday running endurance day, with diligence to stay in the endurance zone; Friday – rest, same as Monday. This is then followed by another two to three day training block.

I just completed a four week build of training – and now she wants me to take the next five days easy – complete and active recovery, my mental and physical hall pass from structure to regroup to keep that love of it. Rest, I have learned, is vital – its where I build and take steps forward in fitness, and helps me pace my training to be a lifestyle as opposed to cram session, bucket list-type training approach. I will rest, I promise. I don’t want to have to apologize again for doing something silly that could hurt my body.

Thanks Coach Julie for showing me the way!


Ride With Neda – WHAT THE GU?

Eating properly before, during, and after every long ride has been crucial in providing the energy I need. I make sure I eat a decent meal of ground turkey, spinach, and quinoa about a half hour before I ride. I’ve been a fitness competitor and I still train and diet like one so I’m used to measuring balanced meals, taking them in tupperware and a cooler, and eating in my car, at work, in waiting rooms, at Starbucks, anywhere just to make sure I’m getting the nourishment I need all day.

I have experimented with different energy chews, gu’s, bites, and juices during my workouts on the bike. A little jolt of sugar makes all the difference between a lame workout and one that makes me feel like superwoman. Coach Julie has really created a kick-butt workout plan where every day is different. Some days I am doing sprints every 5 minutes or single leg drills. Other days I am going up and down, up and down, up and down Manzanita, then the next day I will hop on my bike and ride for up to 4 hours to Carson City and back. I’ve seen all parts of Northern Nevada and Tahoe while whizzing by on my bike and its incredible. I pass by quaint homes and large ranches, with the view of the Sierra to gaze upon. I try not to interrupt the horses chewing their grass but my Pandora radio (I listen to Pitbull on my iPhone in speaker mode) seems to always wake them up and they stare at me as I ride by. It’s as if they’re saying, your Pitbull rap music doesn’t belong here. Well don’t worry horsies, I’m going so fast you’ll forget about me in 3-2-1…

Anyway, I’d love to hear from YOU now. How do you eat to ride well – what type of Gu do you Chew?

Here are some of my faves… Watermelon Gu Chomps, baby food in banana-anything flavor (it’s the cleanest form of healthy sugar in a packet, promise!), Bolts from Whole Foods, and Shock Blocks (although they hurt my stomach).


Return to Sport, Better-than-Before, Program

Working with elite high school lacrosse player Matt, post knee surgery, returning him, new and improved, to his sport. To achieve lasting results we implement Movement Performance Institute methodology (read more at coaching plans – return to sport). But its ultimately Matt’s understanding and ability to connect the dots  to his long-term goals, coupled with his consistent diligent work that provides purposeful training and effective results.

O2fitness injury prevention training, gait analysis and return to running protocols are also based on the MPI methodology.


Nancy Taps Her Potential…

Dunnigan Hills Race Report- W4

I am not a sprinter.  In 2012, my first year racing, it seemed like the entire field would pass me at the end.  I just didn’t know how to go fast enough.  This year, I worked with Julie and she convinced me that I could position myself and sprint. I just needed practice.

So I came out for the Dunnigan Hills Road race on Aug. 10th.  I was the only one on my team in the race.  The weather was gorgeous; a perfect temperature a light wind.  24 gals pre-regged. It’s a 46 mile race with rolling terrain. We do 1 lap. The biggest concern is the mammoth potholes on the road.

As we headed out, I wanted to be conservative.   My last two races didn’t go well so I expect this to be a very, very hard race for me. My goal for the day was to stay with the front group. No getting dropped, no matter how much it hurts!

Well, I soon remembered that I really like road races and wasn’t panting as hard at the top of the rollers as most gals. I was gonna be okay!I’d done this race last year and remembered what sections people hit hard. I figured the last 15 miles would be fast so I just conserved energy, until the last section of rollers. I cruised to the front just to enjoy going up at my pace and down with no one in my way. I heard Julie in my head,  “Kept the pedals light, don’t burn your legs up.” It was fun to work with some other gals who were driving the race.   I could see that about 10 gals were feeling pretty good, but no team had enough gals to really try any tactics.

There is a very long slog to the finish line along I-5. It’s a tail wind section and sometimes people attack it so I tried to be near the front just in case.  At about 2k to go, I positioned into 6thwheel so I could take the critical turn onto an overpass near the front.  But I got swamped and per my usual ended up in last place going into the final corner. Fiddlesticks! So now I’m pushing to pass people on the overpass only to find a group of 6 had a gap. I chased them down and the whole peleton seemed to be together.

The next left hand corner had a course marshal and a bunch of cones in the middle of it because there was a huge pothole they didn’t want us to hit. It was very confusing but somehow we all navigated it safely. Surprisingly I came out of that chaos on the yellow line side in 3rdwheel behind Emily, a solid wheel and former teammate, with 1km to go! SWEEETT!!! I have never, ever been in such a great spot at the finale of a race.

I know that Emily will go hard at 200 m when we can use the whole road. Fist pump! When she goes, I follow. At about 125m or so I jump, then shift into a harder gear and go like hell. The finish line gets closer and I’m thinking, “Are you kidding me? I could win!” I hear a gal grunting like a pro tennis player behind me to the left. I kick hard but my pedals are too light with 20 feet left. I shift, finding I have one more gear, but it was too late. Two gals passed me with about 10 feet left.

I did hang on to 3rd!! I would have won if the course was 10 feet shorter. It was a surprisingly good day for me as a racer.  And it’s nice to know my sprint isn’t horrible.

Nancy Fairbanks, o2fitness Athlete


Rio Rider, Rexanne, Reflects

Below – Rexanne Hughes, Rio Strada Cycling team member, offers reflections on summer training plan and workouts…

Hi Julie-

Rex_IMG_3583-LI have thoroughly enjoyed training with you.  You have been so completely professional, encouraging, motivating, inspirational and insightful.  Before I started training with you, I was a bit doubtful of my abilities to race and train hard. In challenging bike rides or training, I would often tell myself, “I am not sure if I am capable.”    I  have gained so much confidence and fitness during our training.  Now, I just do it and don’t think twice about it.  Your encouraging words stuck to me like glue in our practice sessions along with the trainer rides during my clavicle recovery. You kept me motivated even when I didn’t want to get on the trainer. You prepared some great “meat and potato” workouts.  During recovery, never did I get down on my situation and kept a good attitude. You kept telling me that I would be surprised at my fitness when I could ride on the open road again.  I was anxious to see if you were right, and indeed you were correct,  I am back on the bike and I am stronger than ever.  Pretty amazing how effective those trainer workouts are!

As I have expressed to you, I have struggled with balancing being a mom, wife, friend and bike racer.  I know that I will never be a professional bike racer but glad that I have the opportunity to be competitive.

I think you are just fantastic and I couldn’t ask for a better coach.  All of the weekly training session, talks on the phone and the emails were invaluable.  You have always been available and always there to encourage me.  You have given me the confidence on a personal level and as a bike racer to overcome  issues and succeed. One of my most favorite things that you ever said to me was “Rex, you need to take your mom hat off in races, and  take control – act vs react.”   This not only applies to bike racing but in life lessons…Julie, your simply the best!