Friday, 01 October 2010 14:22

Interview with Claudia Spooner


I interviewed Coach C (Claudia Spooner) recently and it was a great experience to read her answers to my questions.  I hope you enjoy her responses and get motivated from them as I did.

How did you start you career in training/coaching?
I started my career training/ coaching almost 20 years ago. Fitness, nutrition, and competing have always been part of my lifestyle. My goal as an athlete ,is to show others how beneficial, living a healthy, athletic lifestyle can positively affect their lives.

What is the hardest part of your job with training/coaching?
Creating programs that meet the specific needs of each client. Each one of my clients is very different and the races that they compete in so, each day and schedule is very different.

How do you balance life/work and your own training?
I take advantage of my ability to multitask. I also TRY not to take on more than I can handle. For my training, I have built such a solid base and been consistent for so many years I have the ability to train and do what I need to, for a specific race without having to start all over every season. Also, knowing what my key races are and creating my own training for these races are crucial for my own goals as well.

Best venue for a race you have either participated in/volunteered in? Why?
Ironman Wisconsin 2002 the Volunteers and race was just an amazing experience.

Favorite type of race?
Trail Racing (running).. I race so many different types of running distances and triathlons, this is a very tough question. I love the half Ironman as well, it doesn’t take forever to finish;)

Best swag you have received from a race?
3m half Marathon swag bag or my winners prize from Warrior Dash:o) (warrior Helmet)

Tips/Tricks you do prior to a race?
Be ORGANIZED!... Get there early and give yourself time to warmup. I do drills before every race.

Least favorite sport to train for?
I will answer this question based on the season because I love to do all the sports. I do not like swimming in the winter, at all. I freeze even in the indoor pool and so I guess you could say getting in the water is the hard part for me and staying warm, I also think riding in the winter months can be a huge challenge with the numb fingers and toes.

Most favorite sport to train for?
Running :o) Even in the coldest day I still enjoy it as long as the sun is out:o)

What are you goals for the rest of 2010 and the 2011 racing season?
Having a strong performance at World Championship 70.3 in November 2010, then in 2011 I will be training for my 3rd Ironman with the hope of qualifying for Kona. I would also like to become one of the top Master’s Triathletes

What about your career?
My goal is to be the best coach I can be for each one of my athletes and guide them to not only meet their goals but exceed those goals.

Is it hard to coach athletes via the internet or has that made it easier to expand your business?
It can be hard when I cannot assess their forms for the different sports, but most athletes cannot afford one on one coaching on a regular basis. Coaching via internet allows the athlete the flexibility to train on their own time, and allows me to build their schedule based on their needs and strengths and not the needs of a group, etc.

How important is family and friends support for your training?
My Family is KEY without them I would not succeed, I want them to see a healthy balanced life that they are a part of. As for my friends, almost all my close friends are in sports in some aspect so, they are very supportive. Family and friends are my biggest fans:o)

How has training/racing helped you in your life?
Training and racing has helped me stay focused, organized and very goal oriented. We also learn to become finishers, and over comers. I have a very positive outlook on life in general and know that all things are possible.

How do you keep yourself motivated on down day’s?
I get out the door. I start by putting one foot in front of the other. For 20 years I have never finished a training session with a frown. I know for a fact that even on a bad day, a workout of some sort will create a positive feeling in me, even if it’s just a little. It may be that little bit I needed. If I am just tired and know I need a break then I take it, but I know if I am just feeling Blah then I need to go out and get it done, I will be better for it.

What is the one most important exercise you suggest nobody skip?
This is a very individual question. I think nobody should skip training/exercise. It’s a very integral part of living a healthy lifestyle. But, if a person doesn’t like to run no matter how important I say it is, they won’t do it if they just don’t like it. I think people should do what they enjoy.

I think what really driven athletes don’t do, is recover. By recovery I don’t mean laying around eating pizza and ice cream. We are in such a drive to succeed, we forget that our body does its’ finest work when it rests after training sessions, especially a really hard one. So, we hit it again and again, never giving our bodies time to recover. We need to learn to say no and get some rest. Build in recovery/active rest days etc. Go to bed earlier and plan your day so you get things done so you’re not up at night late working etc. That’s what I think is important when you are training for specific events and building fitness and endurance.

What is your favorite recovery drink/food?
I am on the PowerBar team elite, so I am sticking to Powerbar Recovery. I do think Chocolate milk has its’ place for recovery as well. But, I usually try to get some nutritious food in as soon as I can which usually consists of a veggie eggwhite scramble on spinach salad.

How closely do you watch your nutrition and how much do you think that helps?
I don’t eat garbage, I never have. I don’t eat fast food, rarely eat pizza and when I do it’s pineapple and green peppers, I just love healthy nutritious fresh foods. I don’t have to watch what I eat because I don’t like the bad stuff, or at least I don’t even buy it so it’s not a problem. I love Dark Chocolate:o)

During training days and off days?
.. Always

Is Kona the ultimate dream for you in terms of triathlons?
Kona will always be my goal when I start training for Ironman, so yes, I want to race in Kona.

Most important piece of equipment for a triathlete? 
A bike that fits.

In terms of effective cost, what will help a triathlete shave the most time?
You cannot buy speed, smart training is the most cost effective way to get to the top, once you’ve built the machine then start looking into the smaller things that can be changed to get the most bang for your buck. If we are looking at equipment, race wheels and an aero helmet. Just remember though if your bike fit is off, even the best equipment won’t help.

What would you tell a beginner to get them interested?
I would tell them to start with a sprint distance and see just how much fun this is. Once they see that finish line there is no going back. It builds a hunger, a desire to succeed and do it again and again.
Do you believe anyone can become an athletic person?

Do you believe there is an age limit for racing?
No… I don’t

22. Is there an age where one should stop racing?
No way!!! Never set limits!!!

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Published in Uncategorized
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 13:09

Why I Train.....

I just finished reading '17 Hours to Glory' by Mathias Muller and in it he makes a statement about Ironman and it has resonated with me for two days now and tells me why I am training and putting my body through the ups and downs on a daily basis to cross that finish line.

He states:
"Ironman is a metaphor for life.  As with everything else, work comes before success.  It pays to set goals, be disciplined, work on one's weaknesses, overcome setbacks, and avoid being diverted from one's chartered course"

I could read that over and over and never get tired of it.  It truly makes a statement about Ironman, but more so about life.  In my opinion reading that tells you how to approach life and how to make sure that your sails are always with the wind.

If you train you will be successful at the race.  If you focus you will be successful at the race.  If you overcome the lows you will be successful at the race.

That couldn't be more true regardless of the race.  Life is a race.
Published in Uncategorized
Sunday, 29 August 2010 16:02

Going 1/2 Ironman Distances

This weekend had distances involved that would be preparing me for goig the 1/2 Ironman distances.  On Saturday I was to ride my bike for 3 hours and then on Sunday go for a 12 mile run with a heart rate under 150 bpm.

This past week led to this point where I am both excited and exhausted at the same time.  All of the training this week was a lead up to going these 1/2 Ironman distances (although the 12 mile run was 1 mile short of the 1/2 Ironman distance.)

I had some tough swim training this week.  It was difficult enough that on Monday I did only about 75% of the session.  My mind was racing with the job hunt and when you are just going back and forth following the black like you just lose focus and think of everything but form and relaxation.

The second swim sesson on Wednesday was great.  I told myself that I was going to be ultra-focused and making sure that I do the entire session and have a great time doing it.  Isn't it amazing  that when you put your mind to things they become easily achievable.  The swim session on Wednesday was a ladder down.  I start with some warm-up swimming then go to a 500 and then 5x25 hard, 400, 4x25 hard, 300, etc all the way down to a 100 and then cool-down.  I loved the swim that day.  I was on fire with it and just truly enjoyed it.

This week I had a rides of 1hr45min on Sunday, 1h30min on Monday and 2 hours on Thursday.  I did the first two outside and the conditions were brutal.  It was so hot that there wasn't enough liquid around to keep you hydrated.  On Sunday I rode at 12pm and wound up drinking only 1 bottle of water and so on Monday I only brought 1 bottle with me.  About half-way through the ride the liquid was all gone and I did not have a second bottle.  I could feel my lips cracking and the salt just piling up on my face.  It was not the easiest ride.

Tuesday I had a negative split run.  Previously all my negative split runs have been time based, but this one was HR based.  Out in the 130-140 bpm pace and in at 150-160 bpm.  I did 30 minutes out and wound up doing the run back in 22 minutes.  I was on cruise control on the way back and pushed hard.

Thursday I had a 1hr15m SUPER easy run.  I kept a good pace and never felt fatigued.  The purpose of the run was to get aerobic work in and let the legs relax a bit.

The best part of the runs was that I was able to run with the Castle Hills Running Club on both days.  It was great to be able to see all the runners and the best part is that the group is up to around 10 people.  It is amazing to see what was started as a group of 5 double in size and everybody keeps coming out.  With the weather changning for the better I can only imagine that the numbers will continue to grow.

After Friday's day off the 3 hour ride came.  I was on the bike around 10am and the weather was stll very nice.  I took off from Flower Mound and headed north.  I did not realize that north meant going all the way into Denton.  I could not believe my eyes when I saw I-35 and I was in Denton.  I wound up riding 53 miles that day and I felt great when I was done.  It was a great feeling to know that I could do a 1/2 Ironman distance in 3 hours and most likely less.

I spoke with my Financial Advisor and met with my accountant and the business of Marathon Makeover in Dallas is going to be going forward.  I am contacting them tomorrow along with setting up my LLC, getting a business checking account and a business credit card.  The start of moving into my own business is starting and I know that once I start this I will land a corporate gig.  I am ok with that b/c I need to cover the insurance and will continue to develop my resume and perfect my craft.  At the same time my resume will be getting more and more established with the start of this business.

Learning all the ins and outs of running your own business is going to set me up for success in the corporate world.  Making decisions on marketing spending and knowing how much to spend for the biggest return on that investment will only help me in the future.  I am excited about this venture.

Job Hunting -
The job hunt is still going on, but I must say that this past week was a great week for me.  I connected with a handfull of people to get my resume into their network.  One of them works for an agency and they happen to have two openings.  The other works for a local television station here in Dallas.

I also sat down with a realtor who is involved in their church and they are going to push our resume's into their network.

I figured that I would have something setup by September 1st and I honestly think that is still going to happen.  I have a great gut feeling about this week coming up and am excited to see how it all turn's out.

Thank you for reading my blog and keep on training
Published in Uncategorized
Monday, 23 August 2010 20:31

Stories Never Cease to Amaze Me

The stories of the competitors of triathlon never cease to amaze me.  I had a conversation one time regarding triathlon and how I would stop to help a fellow competitor b/c I know what they have gone through just to get to the finish line.  Their response was 'but aren't you competing to win?'

The answer to that is yes, I am competing to win but winning is not done at all costs.  The idea of just running past somebody while they are out of it does not appeal to me and does not say that I beat that person at their best.  The thought of cycling past somebody who has a flat without asking if they need help makes little sense to me.

I am out on the road running and cycling close to 10 hours per week and I know others are doing the same and thus we have a sort of bond as with being in a fraternity.  Helping out a fellow triathlete in desperate need is something that I would do.

As a matter of fact, at the Pioneer Power Sprint Tri we were standing around near the finish line when a competitor crossed the line then essentially stumbled over to our area and collapsed.  Karen and I were quick to get them water and ice towels and a race director to make sure that he was OK.  He looked to be suffering from dehydration as it was terribly hot that day.

Here is a story from an Xterra race in Portland, OR where a racer in 2nd helped out the racer in 1st after she had collapsed.  Just an all around inspiring story:

2nd place racer helps 1st place racer and finishes in 3rd

For more inspiration on triathlon and specifically Ironman Hawaii run, don't walk, to get this book:

17 Hours To Glory

I have read more then half this book in about 2 hours.  Great stories of unbelievable accomplishments.
Published in Uncategorized
Tuesday, 18 May 2010 18:09

Brick Work - May 18th, 2010

Today was a brick day, but this one focused on running at tempo pace as oppose to a long bike and short run.

The bike was 30 minutes and I managed to go 7.73 miles during that time but the most important thing is that I did not fall down on the new bike.

The bike was making some weird noises at first and I think I was babying it instead of riding it, but give me a break that is an expensive bike that I did not want to ding in anyway on the first ride.

Riding on that bike was smooth and effortless.  It went by without any issues whatsoever and is fast.  Very little peddling gets that bike going at a good speed.  Question is whether or not to use it in the Grapevine Tri.  Not sure I want to just yet but at the same time I have got to use it at a race at some point.  It might help push me toward the top of the age group.

The run today was to be a 6 miler b/t 8:30 and 8:45 pace with 4x2 at 8:15.  Finished the run at a pace of 8:44 but I think that the increase pace was faster then 8:15 and the recovery was slower then 8:45, but all in all it was great run.

Karen started her training yesterday with Coach C and she like it a lot.  We both have a lot on our plates right now in terms of training and work, so we need to make sure we balance our lives together at the same time.  This is going to be fun comparing how we are doing in our training.  I am beyond happy for her to go out on this limb and try something new and do something for herself.

Today I get inagurated into the Board of Directors.  What a great moment!!!!!  I can't wait to sit at the table to discuss items that not only affect my family, but also affect those families of my neighbors and those in the community that I don't know.

Being at the table and having a voice is what I ran for.  Being at the table to get a better understanding of Castle Hills is what I ran for.


Once that meeting is done I have a different type of brick to do.  Board meeting from 430-630p then off to playoff softball at 645p.  Probably won't make it there on time but will be ready to go when I do get there.  Our team hasn't been to the playoffs in about 4 or 5 seasons so this is exciting.  We have a very good team and one that can win it all if we eliminate the mistakes.


Swim tomorrow and I'm excited for it.  Going to have a great night and a great morning of training.

Until tomorrow.......don't forget to Tri everything you can in life b/c it is too short.
Published in Uncategorized
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 17:22

It's Official

I am now officially registered for the event.  Registrations started at 12pm EST and I signed up right then.

There is no turning back now.

Find a great Coah ----- check
Register for Race ----- check
Train for a year ----- let's hope so
Compete ----- NO DOUBT
Published in Uncategorized
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