Juggling work-life balance can be a real three-ring circus, which Lauren & Jesse know first hand. Led by listener questions, the Work, Play, Love Podcast is all about sports, biz, and family. [ASK YOUR QUESTION]
Worrying about how you might be perceived by others can make it challenging to make decisions, pursue your goals, or figure out your next moves. If you’re failing in a project, you might be able to realize it yourself, but how do you break it to your community? If you leave work early for a weekly running group or other exercise, will it jeopardize your job? Should you keep your last name when you get married, or will your family and your in-laws be disappointed? And if your race didn’t turn out the way you expected, does that mean you didn’t train well enough, or race smart enough? Lauren and Jesse tackle these questions about perception and more—like, you know, if a triathlete pees on the bike, do they smell when they reach the finish line? Most of the time, it’s best to take a look at the evidence and let you do you.
Don’t forget that June 5th is Global Running Day. Make a pledge to run and celebrate being active. It can be a jog around your neighborhood, or a middle-distance crutch! However you decide to move, you’ll join an international community of fellow runners. Head over to: globalrunningday.org/workplaylove to make your pledge today.
Jesse’s been with the kids for a few days straight, but it’s felt more like two weeks. Lauren and Jesse talk survival tactics, like throwing on a movie and making funny sounds to make them laugh.
Meanwhile, Lauren’s back from a meeting at Oiselle about The Volée, Oiselle’s running team. She talks about the importance of team, especially after collegiate sports, and shares how Oiselle is re-thinking the concept of team with The Volée.
Jesse and Lauren also talk about some exciting new developments at Picky Bars, like a fun new product, and how they’re exploring a crowd-funding investment model.
17:53 - What do you think about the looming Instagram change (allegedly no longer going to show how many likes you have to prioritize engagement) do we think this is going to break the internet?!!
Lauren and Jesse don’t really know much about the upcoming changes, but they do take a few minutes to discuss their views on social media.
20:45 - Triathletes pee themselves on the bike. Do they do that on the run too?
Yes, triathletes do pee themselves on the bike and also on the run and usually end up at the finish line as sticky, sweaty, stinky messes. But, hey, that’s that triathlete life! A few things to consider: letting pee out a little bit at a time can make this a more…comfortable? experience. And you can use water at rest stations to sort of rinse yourself off.
24:24 - Why did Picky Bars change the name of Cookie Doughpness to Cinnamon Roll’n?
While Cookie Doughpness is an awesome name, we got a lot of feedback that folks expected the bar to be chocolate-chip-cookie-dough flavored. Fair, right? So it was a little bit of a disconnect when they bit into it and they tasted something more like cinnamon rolls or oatmeal raisin cookies. Cinnamon Roll’n is truer to the taste—also a cool name—and still one of our most popular flavors!
26:30 - What is your approach to award saving?
Jesse and Lauren aren’t too precious with their awards. They keep a few that are really important to them, but they don’t have them on display around the house, and they’ve thrown plenty away over the years. If you’re thinking of getting rid of your trophies or awards, consider this advice from Scarce.org on doing so sustainably: SCARCE FAQ on Recycling Trophies
30:32 - What are some indoor exercises do you recommend when you can’t leave the apartment but want to get your heart rate up, build strength, and improve running and cycling performance?
Here are a few things we recommend:
34:35 - My husband and I just ran a 50K (fueled by Picky Bars!!). I looked back on my race performance and thought, "How could I have trained better?" My husband looked back on his race performance thinking, "How could I have raced better?" I'd love to hear your thoughts on these two different methods.
Both of these thoughts hold water. On race day, if you feel like you executed your race well, but could’ve gotten more out of yourself, it’s possible you could’ve done more in training. By contrast, you may have results from your training that beat your race day performance, leaving you wondering if your race strategy or other factors stopped you from meeting your potential.
40:18 - Is it acceptable to occasionally leave work early to do a group workout or go to a running club?
Every workplace is different, but research shows that taking a break, and prioritizing exercise during the day improves productivity. At a place like Picky Bars, as long as someone is showing up and getting their work done, ducking out early for personal fitness goals is acceptable. The best thing to do is to check in with your boss and your co-workers and make sure it’s something that fits in with your work culture—but we think this is something that should be encouraged!
44:20 - Can you speak to your decision to keep separate last names?
Lauren legally changed her last name to Thomas soon after she and Jesse got married, mostly to avoid issues that might arise from having a different last name than her children, who each have the last name Thomas. Professionally and publicly, Lauren still goes by Lauren Fleshman because she wanted to maintain consistency with the career she built in sport.
This is a personal decision and there’s no “right way” to do it. Today, it’s more accepted that there are mixed families, divorced parents, foster parents, legal guardians, and plenty of other family units. The issue of having a different last name than your children isn’t as big a deal as it once was.
50:47 - What are your thoughts and experiences on failure? Particularly when it’s not just a personal endeavor, but something that impacts the community?
There’s no getting around it. Failure is tough. It’s a difficult thing to realize and admit to yourself, and it’s even harder to admit publicly—to your community, your business, your supporters, friends, and family. But when you recognize failure, you can take the weight off of your shoulders by diving headfirst into the experience. Say it out loud and to the people you need to say it to. You’ll feel a lot better, and you’ll start the process of learning from your failures faster.
In follow-ups, listeners write in to the show to respond to past episodes with their own perspective on previously asked questions.
57:35 Shaved legs and triathlon
A listener writes in to challenge Jesse’s recent claim that shaving legs makes a difference in race times for triathletes.
59:03 Training and Cancer *Request for feedback!*
A listener writes in with a question that Jesse and Lauren open up to the WPL community for some listener wisdom:
Do you have friends who have continued to train at some level while receiving treatment for cancer. If so, do you have any advice to give me?
Send your follow-ups to email@example.com. Jesse and Lauren recommend the following resources: check out Gabe Grunewald’s account, and her Brave Like Gabe foundation. Shaluinn Fullove’s articles on the Oiselle blog are also great.
1:02:10 Iron supplements for athletes
A sports scientist responds to a question from Episode 42 with some expert information about athletes and iron supplementation.
1:04:05 KT Tape
Jumping in to the conversation about KT Tape covered in Episode 43, a listener says they use KT tape all the time on long runs to save the nipple! They also offer up some other fun(ny) uses, so tune in to get the down low.
1:04:35 Grief and Racing
In episode 41 a listener wrote in with a question about racing while grieving the loss of his father (17:46). Today that listener follows up to describe his first major race after losing his father. Here’s his letter:
Hi Jesse and Lauren, I just wanted to write back and follow up on my question from a couple weeks ago about racing through the emotional stress of losing a loved one. As I told you previously, my dad passed away quite unexpectedly on April 1 due to complications from emergency heart surgery. I really appreciate the kind words you shared in your response, and I'm very happy to say that this past Saturday, I crossed the finish line in Santa Rosa to complete my sixth Ironman, and the first one without my dad there to cheer me on. In the days leading up to the race, I reflected a lot on the advice you gave, and I went into the race hoping for the best, but not really knowing what to expect. As Jesse said in your initial response, Ironman is very emotional on the best of days, and this situation added a whole new level to that emotion. There were so many points during the race that I really focused on the memories of my dad, and during the many times that things got tough, I could hear him in my head, telling me to just keep moving forward, no matter what.
The swim went well, and the bike was decent...not quite as fast as I had hoped, but not bad. The run started well, but halfway through the second of three laps things got tough. I got super dizzy, couldn't keep any nutrition down, and found myself throwing up in the bushes at mile 14. At this point I didn't think I could even finish, and was overcome with a feeling that I was somehow letting my dad down. As I walked along, I just kept picturing him in my mind, telling me that no matter what, he was proud of me, even if I didn't make it to the end. I even began thinking about how Jesse had said in his response that it may get to the point that I just decide I don't have it in me to finish, and by that point I had pretty much convinced myself that it was ok to stop, but I at least had to make it back to the end of the loop to see my wife, my kids, and my mom.
As I got closer to them, though, something changed, and I found myself running again, just a little at a time, and when I saw them, the tears just started flowing. I hugged my kids, and when I hugged my wife, before I could even get the words out that I wanted to stop, she told me that no matter what happened, they were proud of me, and that I should walk as much as I needed to, but I needed to keep going to the finish. Those words, and a hug from a random guy in a speedo, were all I needed to get me going. For the last 9 miles, I ran from aid station to aid station, and with every mile, my dad's voice got louder and louder in my mind, telling me to JUST. KEEP. GOING. In the last mile, I thought about everything that I had overcome in the past few months to get to that point, and I was so glad that I got to the finish.
For the entire race, I carried with me a small pendant that has some of dad's ashes in it, and as I crossed the line I held him tightly in my hand and finished with a smile on my face and my head held high. I'm so glad that I made the decision to do this race, and I'm even more glad that I have such an amazing family that carried me through to the finish. I didn't get the Kona spot that I was hoping for, but I still managed a respectable finish of 10:18. In the time I spent walking, I reflected a lot on what it took to get me to the start line, and how much the people I love the most had sacrificed.
I know dad would be proud of me if I had qualified for Kona, but I also know that the thing that was most important to him was family, and training for Kona would mean more time away from my family. For that reason, I'm not really sad about not qualifying, as it means that now I have that much more time to spend with my awesome kids. For now, I feel like my Ironman journey will have to be put on the back burner while I focus on some things that are much more important. Thank you again for taking the time to respond to my question, and thanks for the words of encouragement. I hope that by sharing my experience, it will be able to help someone else who may be going through the same tough times that I have been experiencing. For now, I will continue to work, play, and love to the best of my ability, because that's what my dad would want.
As always, submit your work/play/love question at pickybars.com/workplaylove - Thanks for listening!
For someone "on a break" from triathlon (Ross, is that you??) a mid-distance gravel race in beautiful Sun Valley Idaho proved exactly what Jesse needed. Video recap + Q+A...
Jesse offers his top training tips for preparing for Ironman World Championships, he and Lauren talk Netflix, battling amenorrhea, whether Picky packaging is recyclable & more.