See You There?

Show Up
The key to improvement in the endurance world is consistency. There isn’t one single session that builds the ability to conquer a goal. But how to achieve consistency when it seems hard, when it seems cold, when the motivation is waning due to stress and obligations? I am here to say it: Just show up!


Showing up means being prepared to put in the work, regardless of outside factors or obstacles, including your own mind at times. Showing up for yourself is important, but also showing up for others. You may be the catalyst that just helps a fellow athlete get through a session.


Success (measured in different ways for everyone), is achieved by hard work. So make it a point to show up, whether physically being present or mentally committed to getting something done. Head out for 3 miles, meet a friend at the pool, or tackle that interval session on the bike. Put on those shoes, grab your pool towel and let’s get to work creating a stronger YOU and a stronger community.


2022, a Year Well Lived!

Living in Wilmington, NC, I can’t help, but love Michael Jordan and with 2022, almost, in the rearview mirror, I can’t help but think of a popular quote:

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
~Michael Jordan

Moving forward into 2023, change is upon us and it’s time to Be Bold! So often, we remember all of the shots we missed and in the coaching world that can mean a lot. As a coach, I have learned that although the knowledge gained from missed shots is important, focusing on athletes’ successes keep us in the game. And we had some great games in 2022!

10 Successes of 2022 (in no particular order)

Ironman20221. My first Zoom call with all my 60 yr + Rockstar ladies. I came away feeling amazing and more in awe of what we can accomplish together. 5 Rockstars still getting it done
2. Fusion Endurance Coaching’s first Tri Club Team Race. We were small, but mighty! It was really cool to be represented at IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells this year.
3. Making it out of the hospital to watch Susan Shafer conquer #12. Watching Kris Segna cross the finish line at Chatty for #12 on the App and tracking Sara Larson’s IMAZ to qualify for Kona were exceptional highlights for Fusion. It was such a privilege to watch 3 women accomplish their dreams and goals, while going for it and taking opportunities presented to them.
4. Assisting with the formation of the first Youth Tri Club in Wilmington.
5. Helping Angela Leonard get to 4 years of running 1 mile/day. Yes, you read that correctly! Amazing.
6. While it was not technically part of Fusion, it was part of our endurance sport community and having the most successful IRONMAN 70.3 NC ever was remarkable! As one of the largest 70.3’s, this was an extraordinary accomplishment and it was also one of the top for athlete satisfaction. #nothingcouldbefiner
7. Assisting 4 strong athletes to accomplish greatness at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in St. George was inspiring.
8. Assisting Lenoir Rhyne University, a NCAA program during the summer was an honor. As they searched for a new coach, I welcomed the opportunity to impact collegiate athletes and had a fantastic experience.
9. Coaching 4 pure cyclists (all Women). Fusion has coached some pure cyclists previously, but watching this field of strong women grow has been remarkable. I am proud to be a part of their journey.
10. Our camp weekend in Oakland with my Oakland Tri Club athletes and other athletes in the club was filled with fun, training and camaraderie. What a weekend! Stay tuned, for more camps to come!

GroupWhat this list does not include are all of the calls, the conversations, the coffee talks, the spreadsheets, the debriefings, the “fastest miles ever”, the PR’s, the training, the friendships built and the dreams accomplished. These are perhaps the most important outcomes of 2022 and the big take aways from 2022. Thank you, athletes, for making these happen.


So where does that leave us for 2023? Well, candidly, in a fantastic position to do even more great things! Here’s a taste of what’s to come for 2023!

Fusion Endurance 1. BE BOLD! We are creating a new kit and focusing on some rebranding for Fusion. We will be bold, big, bright, professional, and so much more.
2. My Grand Masters Women will continue to meet. There is some consideration of possibility opening this small group to others, as we continue to create an amazing community
3. We will hold additional camps which focus on athlete improvement and performance, as well as collaborate and build a stronger triathlon community. Four are already in the works with 2 Swim camps (in Wilmington and Yorktown) already planned, a bike retreat in April and a March retreat working with the Oakland Tri Club.
4. We will build an IRONMAN small group for Fusion’s athletes consisting of every 4-6 weeks meetings to discuss training, nutrition, planning, travel and more.
5. We will continue to improve IRONMAN 70.3 NC. Through this event me and my team are able to have a far reaching impact on athlete accomplishment.
6. And most importantly, we will continue to build stronger relationships and guide athletes towards accomplishing their goals while they improve their lifestyle through endurance sports.

Onward and Upward to 2023 my Rockstars and friends! We know that together we will create an amazing atmosphere for athletic achievement, growth through sport and so much more.

Coach Sami

Winter Warm-Up Swim 2020 Clinic


Join us on Sunday, January 19 in Wilmington, NC for an action-packed day of swim skills, speed and success! This one-day clinic will feature everything you need to jump start your season. It will set you up with the swim fundamentals that you can take with you for the rest of your year.



Our Coaches will capture high-quality video of your stroke from above and beneath the water: both from the side, and from the front and from above. We use the state-of-the-art swim grid system designed by Olympian Sheila Taormina to better identify the strengths and weaknesses of your swim stroke.

You will be filmed once, and then we will immediately go over the video on the pool deck and identify the one or two primary areas you should focus on improving. You will then get back in the water for another round of video capture. This will allow you to focus on those one or two key points, and to see if you can feel a difference. We will then go over the second round of video to see if you have in fact made a small improvement, and if you are able to feel the difference.


CSS is an acronym for Critical Swim Speed. It’s an approximation of your lactate threshold speed and you can find it by doing a couple of swimming tests (no messy and invasive blood lactate tests involved – just a stopwatch!). It’s not precisely the same as lactate threshold but it will be extremely close and plenty accurate enough to guide your training.


Have you ever wondered what you could be doing out of the pool to increase your strength in the water? The key to triathlete functional strength is to to “train movements, not muscles.” This session will teach you a vital circuit to practice on deck before or after your regular swim training.


The Stroke Rate Ramp Test is a series of 50-yard swims with a short break in between. Our on-deck coaches will help you find your base stroke rate and then train you how increasing your stroke rate can benefit your swim training.


Stay tuned for additional upcoming Camps/Clinics!

My Spanish Adventure | Take 1 – Mallorca 70.3

Two years in the making, 2 years!!   2 years ago we dreamed up this crazy dream to travel to Spain for Mallorca 70.3 and Barcelona 70.3.  If you’re going to do one then why not do 2 70.3’s. I may never get back, so let the planning begin.  

Injury recovery had other plans and I was honestly uncertain if I would be able to swim stroke #1 or run Step #1.  Talk about anxiety, but I was going to Spain!!! The adventure was amazing, the friendship was amazing, the Spanish villas, Montserrat, the people, the sights and I even stayed in a real castle!!!!!!   Like a fairy tale☺   

The VRBO in Mallorca was absolutely stunning as we prepared for our adventure.   6 of us tackling the day and 2 amazing support crew. The day before we did the usual tasks;  shake out, bike check-in, hydrating, eating well, KT taping the shoulder (wait that isn’t normal) and prepping the coffee for the am.   A bit of anxiety here about the unknown, but happily throwing banter about racing and who is finishing first!!!!  

Mallorca 70.3 is the largest 70.3 in the world and the transition is HUGE!!!   European IM’s are so awesome and just expect you to follow the rules and get the job done.  So, let’s do it. We arrived at the race site, checked our bags and headed to get our wetsuits on for the swim.  Absolutely perfect weather! I line up in the 35-39 minute corral and await my turn to wade into the water. No wading, it’s time to go!!!   First, unknown answered, yep, the shoulder hurt (had a bit of bursitis, from sleeping wrong??). Shoulder hurt every stroke, but just keep swimming.  Be like Dori and just keep swimming! Four turns and I found myself at the end of a fairly uneventful, but mildly painful swim. 39 minutes, so perfect.  Well, ok ok, I would have liked to swim 36 minutes, but not expected after NO swimming since March. Did I mention this was May?  

Wetsuit off and quick transition….time to go catch one of my teammates on the bike.   I settled into a nice pace on the bike until Mile 20 and then BAM! The Mallorca Mountain.  We had driven the course the day before, so we knew what to expect. Well, we thought we did. A nice 9-mile 3000-foot climb, bahahahahahahahah!   Up we go! I could give the play by play detail here, but suffice it to say, it was a long slow climb!!! But wait, I am in Mallorca, I am racing and I am on my bike.  The Trifecta! And, here’s the gas station, yeah, we are on the way down. No sheep, please!!! (Yes, there were sheep on the bike course). The Europeans know how to cycle.   I am the classic Flatlander and these were the classic switchbacks and people were flying by me. But, guess what, I caught them on the flats! Yeah, no sheep and finished with the switchbacks.  Then we rolled through some small towns and I felt like I was on the Tour de France, well, the Tour de Mallorca! As I rolled into town, we were hit with some headwinds, good ole headwinds, but off the bike I went.   

Having only done ONE 7 miler before this, who knew what to expect.  At the sign of any foot numbness, I was headed to walk, but I believed my body could do this.  It was cooler and a beautiful day and I had a teammate to catch. Got through the first 4 miles and then I knew I was getting closer.   I made a friend, a new friend and we cruised 5 miles and my body was working. NO pain here. Now 4 more miles and just running aid station to aid station and walking every aid station and that is exactly what I did.    

#36 in the books!!  36 xhalf IM’s and #103 Triathlons.   Mallorca did not disappoint and I almost almost almost caught him ☺   Ran out of real estate. I highly recommend this race as it is everything I love;  beautiful, challenging and just plain racing.  

Now time to recover for Part 2 of the Spanish Adventure!!

Soar Higher than you Dare,



I Will Be Back … and other various ramblings

It has been a while since I’ve taken some proverbial pen to paper and we’ve seen the winter and spring of 2019 come and go. Summer is here in all its glory and it would normally be time for my summer trip for Alaskaman (having done 2017 and 2018), but I’m here on the sidelines. Let’s be honest, I am soooo excited for a friend who gets to participate in the best race ever, but I can’t help but be a bit sad. I WANT TO BE THERE! I love that race for all of its beauty and found some peace in Alaska that is hard to describe, but I AM NOT THERE. Why? Because I made the decision that my body wasn’t ready yet for the grueling demands of the day.  

The dreaded word, injury, that no endurance athlete wants to hear. And what about when the injury is life-related.  Ahh….the aging process. The discovery of your endurance mortality perhaps, BUT today is not that day and this year is not that year, so overcome we did. I herniated L2-L3 after running the Disney Princess and had well, a bit of pain (a lot really) in my leg and some numbness. What does that mean, pretty much lockdown until the numbness goes away? Getting older, hmmm…getting wiser ☺ Ok, into lockdown we go.  

When you give up a daily dose of happy endorphins, what do you do?  Well, you think and discover ways to help others who may be faced with something similar.   Why is injury so hard??? Well….

  1. Like it or not, a lot of our identity is tied up in the sport.  I am a veterinarian, a coach, a dog Mom, a girlfriend, a house owner, a volunteer coordinator (and the list goes on), but I am an athlete.  It is what I am and what I do. I mean isn’t it natural for the alarm to go off at 4:13 am to get up and train. Everyone rides 25 miles before heading out for their day.   Yep, it’s so hard, but my identity is tied up a bit in this awesome and amazing endurance life.  
  2. The brain is wired to love positive feedback and after all, reaching new heights:  running farther, cycling stronger, swimming more yardage, accomplishing a difficult workout, finishing a challenging race, conquering a fear, sends these good vibes that provide enjoyment and satisfaction that prompts us to dream bigger. While I (we) don’t need the external feedback (but let’s face it, many love it), that internal loop makes us feel stronger and invincible in everyday life.  
  3. Above all, exercise combats stress!! Known fact, not debated. Oh my gosh, more stress in my life…what!!!  
  4.  Your social circle may change. We meet for runs, for bikes, for swims, plan races, etc… That unknown of navigating injury rehab is often scary, but sad too. Who wants to walk when they can run. Deep breath because there is still coffee to be had and even a glass of wine. A walk to appreciate the beauty of where we are does the soul good!  

That was March and now it’s June. I love adventures and I love to travel and my plan was to complete 3 Xtreme tris this summer. After a dirty double 70.3 and a jump off a ferry. All sounds reasonable right?? So, no Alaska for me, but as with any injury we become wiser and I am now monitoring for any pain and being extra diligent with those paraspinals, but that is another story. Swedeman and the Land of Fire and Ice, it is. 

DURABILITY!  RESILIENCE!!!  My new words.  

I’m on it and have navigated the comeback trail once again.   

I think that skipping Alaska has a deeper meaning than missing the race (which is the most amazing).  When I stepped off the plane in 2017, I instantly took a deep breath and was able to think clearly. I think I have evolved as I hit my 50’s and realize there is so much to see and do.  Kinda like the last frontier and that is what Alaska is. Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my. Well, bears for sure are there. Alaska brought back a desire for a simpler life, a take a deep breath and enjoy kinda life, an adventuresome life, but a calm life at the same time.   Decisions became clear and again in 2018. I firmly believe Alaska was the beginning of my coaching evolution and veterinary evolution as well. 2018 renewed my desire to fine-tune my vision for what I want. Believe me, I’m not there yet and it is scary, but small steps, small steps.   

Most endings are new beginnings, we just don’t know it at the time.  

So here we are, going from injuries, why they hurt so bad, to making tough decisions and sad that I can’t make more. Kinda got some crazy thoughts, but that is another story. And another story is how can I help my athletes navigate injury. I’ve got some thoughts, but wait for part 2!

OK, kids, Onward and Upward we go!  Soar Higher than you Dare and bring on Fitness Fusion Fantasia for Fido and Friends!!! (My inner secret)

Until next time, which I hope will be sooner rather than later…Go Erin Go and have an amazing journey. Alaska, I will be back, of that I am certain

Be the person you are, not someone you are expected to be.  Keep sparking!


My Blog Relaunch:  What, When and Why

Pink Iron Chick:  What started as a fun way to chat about triathlons, endurance and anything and everything went quiet for a bit as I lost my focus and my intent.  Ahhhhhh, my intent, my focus, my why and that made me think and wonder should I re-brand or go back to my roots and you know what, I went back to ME!

I am Pink:  I love the mix of the passion of red, but the calmness and quiet of white.  I love the warmth, but at the same time the brightness of pink; I love the nurturing and compassionate side of pink, because it is my passion to build a strong athlete, but also help them navigate the challenges of the endurance world.   I love the optimism of pink and the youthfulness it portrays. I am PINK!

I am Iron:  I simply fell in love with the Ironman.  I fell in love with the distance and the challenges and the thought that anything is possible.   My original goal was to complete 12 events and qualify for Kona by the legacy, but proving in the vein that anything is possible, I qualified at #12.  It is the lifestyle that I love; the friendships I have made; the challenges I have attempted.  I am IRON.

I am a Chick:  Well, that goes without saying and honestly, I don’t talk colloquial often, but I do have a few “Sami’ism’s.”  But now as I rebrand a bit and build Fusion Endurance, a coaching company dedicated to a vision for the future, I am reminded of the hawk, as they have a steeled eye vision for what they want. Chicks, Hawks; somewhat related, right. I am a CHICK.

Pink Iron Chick promises thoughts on athletic performance, integrating training into your lifestyle, building a vision for your future, but also thoughts on life and navigating the challenges of an endurance journey.

For now, welcome back — to me, to you and to Pink Iron Chick.

Onward and Upward we go.

Soar Higher than you Dare!

Walking in a “Winter” Wonderland

Winter, meaning Sami Winter, meaning the weather, meaning the season.  Maybe all of the above, but any way you look at it we are entering a magical time of a year.  This is the time of year in endurance sports to take a small break (and I do mean small) and focus on life and resetting your mind, body and soul. This small break should last 2-3 weeks and perhaps more if you have had some tough challenges during the year, but even these 2-3 weeks can contain some movement. Sitting is the new “evil” and sitting on your bootie all day does nothing for your bootie.  Your dogs might like it if they can sit and get petted, but they can go for a fun walk too.

After your time of re-discovering some other parts of you it’s time for the Winter Wonderland.  Here is where you, no, we can get some great work done for the upcoming season.  Here is where we can make training have a purpose, but be just a tad bit different and exciting.

  1. 4-6 weeks of progressive strength training
  2. 4-6 weeks of a cycling block
  3. Try a trail run and work on running form and economy
  4. Tour de Sufferlandrian and challenging yourself

All fun training, but with a purpose.   Working in specific way to make you the best endurance athlete for 2019, so that you can reach your goals.

One of my favorite “Sami’isms” is “Consistency is King!” Consistency begins by setting up good habits for the big training blocks ahead.  Consistency begins now for achieving those big goals during the season.   It is a truism that strong work during the Winter Wonderland will pay huge dividends for your season.

It’s a beautiful sight watching athletes shine so bright and training in our Winter Wonderland.

Becoming a Yoda

1 . DON’T TRY. DO.

Do or Do Not

“Do or do not… there is no try.” [Or as triathletes like to say, “tri”]

When you say that you will do something there is more determination and power behind that decision.  When the inevitable obstacles (and they will) start to block your path you are determined, because you are prepared. You will do this. So you find ways over, under, around and through the obstacles. And that’s what you have to do most of the time to actually get things done. Smooth sailing with no problems at all is pretty rare.   But race day isn’t the hard part.  You have completed your Ironman, you have completed your training over months and months.  That is the hard part.  If you followed your plan and completed all (well, almost all) of your workouts that you have the foundation to go over every obstacle in your path on race day.  Why, you ask, because you have already tackled them.   Take time to evaluate your training log and see the consistency of your work;  review your frustrations;  celebrate the victories and soon the race day victory will be yours!


“Fear is the path to the dark side.”

Overcoming your fears is one of the most important things to improve yourself and grow.  What is your fear on race day?   More headline news: The Ironman day is about not “overcooking” the bike and staying on top of your hydration and fueling game. Period.   Review section 1, because if you have put in the work then you are ready.  Can you swim 2.4 miles in 2 hours and 20 min:  that’s 3:30/100;  Can you bike 112 in 8 hours and can you run 26.2 in 7 hours.  You will have plenty of time, so relax and control what you can.   Not overcooking the bike and drinking and eating.  Simple, right.  No fears.   OK, so the fear of a flat tire:  carry tools;  visit your LBS to review how to change a flat;  What else???   Keep it simple.  Banish your fears and jump on in!


“You will find only what you bring in.”

You find in your world what you bring into your world.  By observing the world around you can gain insights into yourself and what you may need to improve.  So, we’ve chatted about time goals and key points, but how to make your race day a reflection of YOU, you ask; let me help. Make lists and lots of them. Read the athletes guide. Be prepared. Be very prepared and focus on what you can control. The Ironman “bubble”…put yourself in the bubble and let all the negative energy bounce off your bubble. You see, you are headed to have the most awesome day ever and nothing and no one can get you down. Bring in positive energy. Everyone worries about the swim, right-done, check. More headline news…you aren’t swimming with 1500 people, you are probably swimming with 4-5 max. Do the math, 1 on each side, 1 front and back and maybe one someone close. Everyone else is close, but not in your bubble. If the person on your right decides accidently, of course to hit your head then swim faster or slower. You are in control of your day.

So, I say bring on #14! It promises to be amazing and full of smiles, obstacles, and where else can I find a buffet of gourmet food at my disposal.

How To Use Races to Train For Other Races

I was published – well, interviewed – by COMPETITOR.COM! The article highlights the way to use races to train for other races. Check it out HERE


Road to Kona!

Today’s blog is an interview I did with my friend Lowell. It’s a wrap-up of my training for Kona World Championships in 2015.