Taking 60 seconds a day to make it a better one

Archive for the category “Triathlon and inspiration in sport”

You are not alone

“At the beginning of a novel, a writer needs confidence, but after that what’s required is persistence. These traits sound similar. They aren’t. Confidence is what politicians, seducers, and currency speculators have, but persistence is a quality found in termites. It’s the blind drive to keep on working that persists after confidence breaks down.”

American Novelist, essayist and critique, Walter Kirn said this about writers, but it’s just as applicable to people who build something out of nothing. Whose empty canvas isn’t a page with a blinking cursor, but an idea floating amidst their wrinkled grey matter.


Kirn could have easily been describing all of those people who lost limbs and go for a run every day anyway; kids who hear “You’ve got cancer” and smile through Christmas, and mothers with four kids under 10 and still make time to prepare for  running, walking, swimming, triathlon or cycling events each year.

Being alone and persistent is a fairly difficult proposition.

I’m not suggesting you need someone physically present with you at all times to help you maintain your persistence; in fact, Dr James Fowler and Dr Christakis Third Degree of Influence rule conclude it’s not necessary.

But being persistent becomes incredibly easier when:

– You start to realize little wins

– Others see those little wins

– The impact of your persistence starts affecting others around you {positively}

And, in all of those, others are necessary.

Who and where are your ‘others’?



Making hairy audacious goals happen

Finishing 620 miles on your bike over the course of 7 days would’ve made me vomit on the spot a decade ago.

Fortunately, it isn’t a decade ago.  It’s now.

And in 2012 I made a hairy, audacious goal:  Raise $10,000 buckaroos in support of the Challenged Athletes Foundation – and then ride my bike 620 miles down the coast of Cali with 100 others who did the same.


Note to self:

There are perks to working your ass off.

The training wasn’t ‘work’.  Meeting your buds for rides around San Diego county every Sunday doesn’t qualify. Neither do the other 4-5 days a week of jumping in the saddle for some QT with my steed count as work.

The fundraising can be qualified as work. And it’s not for the faint of heart.

Fortunately, I’ve been fundraising for my business.  Unfortunately, that act doesn’t get any easier, no matter if you’re doing it for charity or for corporate investment opportunities.

In the end I learned a few important nuggets:

1. Hairy audacious goals are hairy for a reason. Hair = friction And there will be plenty of that on the way to reaching a worthy-to-reach-goal.

2. You’ve got to surround yourself with the best peeps you know (and ones you don’t know yet) in order to realize your goals.

3.  A huge portion of optimism, Can-Do attitude and endurance goes a really long way during those hairy, rough patches that come along during the journey.

Onward and upward, always.


Hills were made for climbing

A lot of us who play outside on our bikes or in our running shoes, tend to get a bit antsy around ‘hill training’.  There’s a good portion of people who question our angst, saying instead “I love hills!  Bring em on!”


We might like to have a Love-Hate relationship with those folks, [love em cause we wish we could have the same attitude, hate-em cause we don’t], but hills – like broccoli and spinach – are just really really good for us.

You are stronger, more confident, more efficient and yes, even faster, when you do more of them. Whether you walk them, run up em, or cycle them, hills help us just be better moving bodies.

In 2 days, I’m starting a journey to support athletes who’ve had their own personal hills to climb.  Kids and adults who have lost limbs due to war, tragedy and illness. I will ride 620 mile from San Fran to San Diego to support the Challenged Athletes Foundation in their mission to give equipment, clinics and mentors to those who can’t play outside and climb their favorite hill just outside their back doors.


And in my journey, I’ll be climbing California coast’s very real, sometimes long, and I’m sure exhausting hills. But I’ll be alongside challenged athletes with one arm, or some that can’t see, or some missing both legs — and hopefully I’ll be able to keep up. [don’t think for a second these athletes aren’t FAST]  I look forward to the challenge, and welcome your comments on the hills I roll over ….  they’ll all be posted here for your viewing!

Onward and upward, always.


Saddle sores and the meaning of life

Recently, the never-ending-running-machine, Dean Karnazes quoted Roger Bannister (the first human to break the 4-minute mile barrier) in his reference to how the ancient Olympic Games are so different than today’s modern Games:

the Greek ideal was that sport should be a preparation for life in general, this increasing professionalization and corruption in concert with burgeoning emphasis on individual victory has led to the decay of the ancient Olympics.

He brings up more than one good talking point in this simple quote, so I’m not going to spend an entire post on all of them.

One in particular, is powerfully poignant.  That whole bit about ‘preparation for life in general’ hits a chord.

In less than 10 days, I am taking on a new athletic journey that will have me sitting on my bicycle for 620 miles down the coast of California. And as much as I’d like to say I’m just doing this of my own free will and desire for adventure, alas, I just don’t have that kind of cajones. I needed a reason other than ‘adventure’.

I am riding with a group of 100 other people who are raising money and awareness for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, a nonprofit that gives equipment, prosthetics, hand-cycles, mentorship and clinics to those who want and need to get back outside and keep playing.

As an able-bodied, somewhat obsessive-compulsive athlete my entire life, I have intimately experienced and understood the inherent values – be they physical, emotional or psychological – that comes from practicing a sport (or many, in my case) for competition.  And barring good parenting, sport is most definitely one of the best things an individual can do to prepare themselves for success in life, health and emotional well-being.

I expect musicians, classic painters, and other artists to disagree.  I mean, you don’t become a Yo Yo Ma without discipline, commitment and focus.  But what you miss in those disciplines are the physical benefits you receive by moving your body on the field, pool or running trails; and understanding of how nutrition impacts your ability to move, focus and concentrate, and the experience of seeing how your behavior impacts others who are counting on  you.

So thank you Roger B. and Dean K. for stating the obvious.

And as I ready my tubes of chamois cream for the ride of my life, I’ll be thinking less about my saddle sores and more about who will experience the benefits of sport as a result of my efforts.

Onward and upward, always!

When it rains it pours

When it rains, it pours.

it’s a proverb that is dripping with negativity.  just the imagery of it implies grimness….

But what if the image in our heads looked like this instead?

Totally different mental image. Totally different perspective. How does that change someone’s behavior?
Anyone who knows me well knows the raining dollars image doesn’t do much to motivate me to do anything. Yes, it’s part of “The Necessary’, but it’s not the Raining  Money that gets me up in the morning.  It tends to be more of the “I’m going to make the world a better place today” variety.

As a firsty-start-up founder, I’ve been lucky to experience things that I don’t think the hardest of criminals could take. and yes, I said lucky.

I’m speaking metaphorically of course. I’m not one to judge, normally, but if they are taking cool drugs, driving fast cars and shootin bad guys all the time, that’s stuff I can’t really stomach. What I mean is the mental toughness required to be hit where it hurts (the heart) and be told in many ways, shapes or forms that what I’m creating isn’t great, or great enough, or big enough, or it’s too small.  I can’t just punch back. [would a hard criminal if their egos were pummeled in public?] I have the stomach to smile, ask for more, and then walk away with a promise to follow up.  And it’s all done with authenticity.

And lately, all the start-up biz has been met with some very personal challenges; making my resolve to turn the rain — as in the water —   from a torrential downpour in my mind, to a more positive outlook on the road ahead.

Take a look at this last week, and tell me your perspective on ‘when it rains, it pours’….

My aunt, my father’s sister, is dying from complications due to aggressive form of breast cancer.  She doesn’t tell anyone about how aggressive it is until she is transported home from the hospital under hospice care. She passes away Saturday.

My sister, recovering stoically for 2 years due to severe traumatic brain injury due to a car accident, and then diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer (for which she is given treatment the last 3 years), is given some life-threatening news.  She goes underground. Our family, a very close one, does a tailspin.

Two dear friends surprise me within a few weeks time with a dozen cupcakes delivered from Georgetown Cupcakes, which i devour each time within a few days.  I feel guilty about it for about 30 minutes – before and after the carnage.

I am an endurance athlete – which basically means i find joy in running, cycling, swimming and sometimes doing all those things together for long distances, even at a relatively fast pace.  I’ve had a hip injury that has caused me more anger, angst and anxiety than normal, and kept me from running for 2 weeks. This is cause for drug-use, and not the kind you get at CVS or Rite-Aid.

My own attempt at turning the rain into a positive?

Riding with friends for 75 miles, over 5500 ft of hills and gorgeous roads, in blazing sunshine.  Celebrating my health, my friends, my ability to mish-mash a crazy lifestyle of starting a company, caring for my family and staying true to my goals of  living an active, healthy lifestyle.

And the mental reward? My friend, Nick, pictured below (a world class triathlete and runner), saying to me “Tanya, you really can ride that bike up hills can’t you?”  (my response: “Well when you only have one bike, and it’s not a road bike, you kinda gotta make do”)

— intermission  —-

(boring clarification:  I was riding a triathlon specific bicycle. they are not ideally suited to lots of hill climbing rides. The other 15 or so riders that day were on road bicycles, the kind you see the guys riding in the Tour de France)


What is special about this ride, and others, was that it’s also a celebration of my ability to focus on giving back, or paying it forward. I’m a fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation, and will be riding 620 miles from San Fran to San Diego in 7 days in October. If i can raise another $6K, I can do the ride. If I don’t, well, none of my training miles goes to waste…. I’m still smiling on each and every ride and loving the fact that I can. And if I can, I’m not going to waste that. It’s a gift.

Any ideas you have for me on changing the rainy imagery to the positive, I’m all ears.

call backs

If you’re an actor getting a ‘call back’ is probably nirvana.


But getting a call back to put your boobs [back] in one of these….

…isn’t what a girl waits at home for.

But the icing on the cupcake is that when the [woman] technician uses a poor choice of words to explain next steps:

I wanted to ask her if she fell asleep during her “How to deliver unwelcome news to patients 101” class.

yes, i put emphasis on “woman” in the sentence above.  Because in this case, it shoulda mattered.

The silver lining?

I am excited for the amazing things coming down the pike for GOTRIbal and the people that are coming around the table as a first management team.

Besides, I am going to be celebrating Independence Day by riding my bicicletta up and down some mountains with my hub-alicious. And THAT is scrumptious.

Onward indeed.


part pack rat, part librarian, part Good Samaritan

I like to follow women that are a bit contrarian. Whether it’s in their writing, their actions, their opinions, or how they do (or opt not to do) their nails. Heck with it! Who needs well groomed cuticles!

Meghan Casserly is one of those women. She’s an online author for Forbes and she covers a lot of good stuff on business. Specifically, women in business. Nothing on manicures yet though.

In her post today, there was something I found myself smiling at. (and this is  my blog so i can end a sentence with a preposition if i want)  She was questioning the value of womens networks.   She had come across four questions in this HBR Post that made her think deeper about it. One – well several – of her findings resonated with me:

Where too many focus on the strength of numbers, the real sign of a healthy—and helpful—professional networking group is who’s there and how they communicate.

What do i love about it?

It’s one more teensy bit of data that confirms my own belief about GOTRIbal {and whether it’s good, bad or otherwise, that’s what we mere mortals do sometimes}.  And, it happens to be one of the things I stand behind when an investor or business-type says “So when do you anticipate reaching 1,000,000 uniques?”

Look people, I get it. The old rules of high school still apply in the digital age:  The more ‘friends’ you have, the ‘uniques’ you have, the more ‘followers’ you have, the cooler you are.  Which translates into dollar value.

To me, and to others in any community, it’s not so much about the billions we share membership with — it’s the value we derive from those billions.  If i could get the same value from 200, who needs another 1,000, 100,000 or million? In fact, in my own Facebook “friend” circle, I have over 400. Small comparatively. But really, when I need help, support or truthfully some shoog, I get it from about 25-30 of those people. And I’m a lucky recipient of some serious shoog.

Let’s look at another [smaller] community.  How about those guys in middle school and high school who were banging away at their keyboards and who had 3 shirts and 1 pair of flood-water khaki’s?

Or the ones mixing goo in petri dishes, playing games with mathematical equations that didn’t have one number in them and more letters than the alphabet?

They all run Google, Instagram and Facebook now.

In their communities, they had members who played part pack rat, part librarian and part Good Samaritan.

GOTRIbal has a good number of pack rats, librarians and Good Samaritans… and it’s not going to take 1,000,000 of us to make the planet a healthier, more connected, more fit place either.

Onward and upward.

Rockin it.


I’m asked a lot about how I’ve done what i’ve done with my wee start-up.  I was asked where’s my team, the peeps who are the technologists, the community builders, the designers.  Investors in particular LOVE this question.  As if buying a team isn’t the right answer. You have to come with a co-team to prove value.  phft.

I said i didn’t have any of those people.

I said I just started.  And kept iterating. And executing some more.  And then some more.  Would it have been better if I spent time looking for a co-founder(s) instead of actually just DOING it, building it, starting it?  Seems in some circles, the answer is yes.

What I was, and am, surrounded by is an amazing community of people who have come in to volunteer their time, to give me their smarts, to cough up their own money, and to donate vasts amount of energy to help me build every, little brick of this brick-less beast.

When i get up at 3:00 am, or go to sleep at 2:00 am, because all i can think about is what i haven’t done, what must be done, who must be contacted…. it’s because i’m worried about not being able to do the impossible.

The to-do list is scary, long and mostly made up of things i have no idea how to do, how to solve, or who to talk to about solving.

Then I look back a year, a month, a day — an hour even — and say how did i do the impossible?

For anyone who has finished a marathon, gotten up out of wheelchair when someone told them they would never walk again, completed a triathlon, or had an idea that blossomed into a business that they built to impact people’s lives around the world, you are totally pickin up what i’m thrown down here.

I just wonder why fear, vs confidence, still overtakes me when i look to the future (whether that’s making it to next Tuesday or next year) and gets me out of bed at 3:00 in the morning…..

Is it because i still haven’t paid myself?  Pretty soon it’s not going to be okay to be in permanent ‘deferment’ mode on my now-very-old student loans.

hmm, nah. it’s not that.

Onward and upward. Always.

being in the peloton

Sunday ride


This past Sunday ride was a ‘reunion’ of sorts. The peeps who have done the ride from San Fran to San Diego for the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s “Multi Million Dollar Challenge” get together and do some long, re-union rides…at least until the ‘hard’ training starts in June.  It’s not often i’m cycling with a group of 30+ peeps, and i often forget the sheer joy, and sometimes ease, of being with such a large group.  – by ease, i mean pedaling along at 23 mph and feeling like you haven’t put your bike into its big chain ring yet.

It got me thinking, especially as I saw a few local challenged athletes ride by me…..

(Below are two photos of two of those athletes; handcyclist and multiIronman David Lee and the blind athlete here riding by with his ‘guide’)

and David one of the multiple times he whizzed by the group, until we caught him at the SAG station for PB& J’s….

David, all smiles.


My thinking?  Like cycling, business entrepreneurship is not a soloist effort.  Even the best cyclists in the world, the best triathletes in the world, train with teams. Cyclists in major tours race most of the race in large pelotons, or groups of cyclists, and even as they sprint and race up ridiculous grades, they try to do so together.

We get stronger with the support of others. A business, even if founded by one founder, is not a solo effort. It’s success depends on others’ expertise and strengths. It’s a world of magnitude harder to go at it alone…which is why I’m looking for a peloton to help me. [if you’re someone in search of a great idea, and a co-founder, i’m your girl]


onward and upward, always.


I endured yet another rather unpleasant skin operation yesterday. it wasnt pretty. i normally like my toes curling under for an entirely different reason than the one the doc gave me.

This event was yet one more walk in the valley of a roller-coaster ride I’ve been on for more years than i care to share.

A[nother] lost connection and financial opportunity for my start-up, a series of emotionally jarring family setbacks, my frequent injuries and subsequent trips to the doctor, all have added up to a rather suboptimal series of events (and subsequent mindset) over the last few weeks.

In other words, things have to get better.  And I can’t wait to see the view from outside this damn valley.

The thing is, even when depression is knockin on my door, the little things have a way of making a significant mark on my way of thinking. Like when I was leaving the rather unpleasant outpatient procedure I experienced, and the nurse was taking my blood pressure.  What is normally a pretty mundane exercise turned my frown upside down (if even for a small second).

Why? Well, the machine was beeping wildly at one point, and both nurses turned to it, recalibrated the machine, and took my b.p. again. This happened twice.

If I wasn’t still so out of it, I probably would’ve gotten upset, but instead I just sat there – looked at the nurse with a quizzical expression, to which she replied “Oh the machine just reacts when one of the numbers its reading seems wrong.”.  [Now I started to get a bit worried].  She continued, “Your heart rate reads 49, so that seemed abnormal”.

I received a short explanation about why my heart rate was likely that low, and then I just got up, smiled and left.

This week is going to be great. The view is already better.

Onward and upward, always.


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