Friday, November 28, 2014

These are a few of my favorite things!

It's Black Friday and in the spirit of getting a good deal, I thought that I'd send out links of all of my fave tri products so that you can get a steal on some amazing gear!

For the comfiest, cutest, chafe free clothing on the market:
Coeur Sports is offering 20% off for Black Friday and Cyber Monday...use code Cyber20 and get to shopping! 

For the fastest wetsuits, pulling (AKA, lane UP pants), and swimskins...visit Roka and take 30% off site wide.  No code necessary, discounts are already shown.  How EASY is that?!!

For tasty snacks both on and off the course, take 30% off of Barnana using the code JOLLY14 at Vine Market... Click on the Vine market link for a direct line to your barnana of choice...mmmmm Peanut Butter Barnana!!

For the fastest, most stable wheels that I've ever ridden in the Kona cross winds, get a 10% manufacturer rebate on Enve Wheels when you buy a set from your local dealer.  That's right, keep it local AND get a discount.  For this deal, email me and I will give you a personalized code.  curtnerhailey at yahoo dot com

For the BEST bike on the market, check out All3 Sports for an Argon18 deal.  They have both the 2014 e-116 and e-118 for about 25% discount code needed! Click on the All3 link to go directly to the Argon page within their site.

For sunnies that don't move an inch when you're biking and running, look no further than Smith Optics. I found deals on Competitive Cyclist ranging from 20% off my fave PivLock v90 and more on other frames!  Click the link above to a direct link to the Smith page on Competitive Cyclist.

For both women's specific and universal hydration and recovery products, Osmo nutrition is the finest out there.  Again, after scrubbing the interwebs for you, I was able to locate a 25-30% deal at Competitive Cyclist.  No code necessary, discount is already live! Click on the Competitive Cyclist link to go directly to the Osmo page.

For energy drops and the best Chocolate protein powder around, Muscle Milk is my GO-to and has been for years!  The Vitamin Shoppe always has great deals at almost 50% off MSRP!  Click on the Vitamin Shoppe link to go directly to the chocolate MM page!

Happy Shopping and Happy Holidays!  Hope that this list will get you a jump start on your 2015 season and beyond!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Kona Take 5

Kohala Coast
On the flight over from the Bay Area, I asked Mark if I was crazy I won't tell you what he said, or if everyone going to Kona feels the same way about the Big Island as I do.  If you've not gotten the opportunity to go to Kona for the World Championships, you may think I'm crazy, but there is something about this place that awakens almost a primal feeling in me.  I get overly excited when we land (every.single.year) and for about the first hour or so, I keep exclaiming, "don't you just LOVE it here?!!", "OHHHH, look at the lava", "gee whiz I LOVE the heat"... and so on.  I can't wait to get into the ocean and visit with the fish, feel that first gust of wind and say hello to Madame Pele and thank her.  And after we leave Kona, throughout the year,  I will find Kona in my dreams.  Not necessarily the race, but the views of the Kohala range, the top of Mauna Kea, the beautiful honu and the feelings of being with my closest friends and family.

This year was no different.  This was our 5th (consecutive) trip to the Big Island to race Kona and I could not have asked for a better week.  I was the only one racing in our house, and we kept joking that truly the only reason I do Ironman is so that I can be waited on, hand and foot, by friends and family.  It was so bad, that at one point, Jess scolded me and told me to sit my rear down and she would get me what I needed.  #yesmommy

For those not interested in the nitty gritty, I ended up 5th in the women's 30-34 age group, and 13th amateur overall.  Netting me my very first umeke bowl and a shiny new marathon PR of 3:30:59...subtract one port o' potty stop in the Energy Lab and I'm gonna call it 3:29:59 :)

Saucony shoe pickup
We arrived on Saturday the 4th, one week ahead and spent the first few days up North with some friends before heading into town for Tuesday- race day.  Time always flies when you're having fun, but before you knew it, it was Thursday and it was time to prance and preen for all to see in the infamous Underpants Run.  We had an awesome team uniform for our Coeur gals and Reg was the heart of it all, and took one for the team by wearing what I can only imagine was a HOT heart costume.

Coeur gals have HEART!
After the UPR, the team headed to Puako to hang with good friends and do a little pre-race R&R.  If you've not been, Puako is about 4 miles from Kawaihae, which is the turn that leads you up Hawi.  Puako has phenomenal views of the Kohala's and is pretty far removed from the beaten path, so is incredibly relaxing.  It was good to know that on race day, I'd be seeing these guys along the Queen K, as by the time you get to Puako via bike, you are ready to see some spectators cheering your name to pump you up for the climb to Hawi.

Friday was as calm as it's ever been.  Jess and I went for a quick swim, grabbed a latte and then I and by I, I mean Mark made sure the bike was ready and we headed down to check in and dropped my bike and gear bags off.  It was time to go home, have some dinner (that I so thankfully did not cook) and hit the hay.  I had a minor case of nerves on Thursday, but Friday was remarkably calm and I even slept straight thru from 9-3:30AM...and then from 3:30-4:45 when It was time to get up, I tossed and turned.  I took that as a WIN!  I was up, had my hair braided, ate, got all of my food together and then Mark dropped me at transition so I could do the final prep for the day ahead. 

I found Mark and Jenny before the start and knew that the rest of my friends and family were watching the start and that I'd see them as I headed out on the bike.  The start of Kona is amazing and the energy in the air will overwhelm you with emotion.  I almost always well up with some tears before the start, and this year was no different.  A year of hard work is about to be put to test and the fact that you can only control so much of the day means that until you get the day under way, you're bound to be a bit nervous.

Pre-swim nutrition: Osmo Pre-Load the night before and morning of, one bottle of Osmo active to sip throughout the morning, 2 eggs with rice, a whole milk latte and then a banana about 30 minutes before the gun went off.  ~870kcals

Roka Swim: 1:05:11 good for 8th in the AG
Pre-swim Smiles
This would be the first year that the amateur women would have a separate start from the amateur men and I can't tell you how happy this made me.  Not only were we only 1/4 of the field with 675 of us, but starting with ONLY women, I knew that this swim would be different from every other Ironman I had ever done.  And it was.  I started on the very front line and from the get go, had clear water, never got run over and never got hit, kicked or punched.  See guys, it's really not necessary to be that agro at the start.  People had talked about the fact that we would have some bigger swells a la 2012 and they were correct.  This doesn't bother me, it just means you will go slower.  And everyone did, including the pros...about 3 minutes on average from what I heard.  I rounded the boat at the half way point and did a quick glance at the watch and saw 29:xx and thought, that's not bad...this feels very cruisy, but the way back is always slower and this year it was quite a bit slower.  I found a few pair of feet through out the swim, but think that I was feet for others mostly.  This would be the only thing where it's nice to have the guys with you, as there are more people swimming your speed that you can latch on to.  I had thought about this before the race though, so again, not worried about it, but knew that it could also affect the swim times.  I got out of the water, headed for my gear and got out onto the bike ASAP.

Coeur Bike Nutrition: 14x salty balls, 9 bottles of mango active, 1bottle of coke ~1950kcals over 5.5 hours so about 350kcals/hour which is spot on for me.

Argon18/Enve Bike: 5:34:05 which got me off of the bike in 4th position
Going onto the bike was a mix of the slower swimming men who were now in an aggressive pursuit to catch up to their faster peers and the first 50 or so women out of the swim. The first 10 miles along the Kuakini were still crowded but not as bad thanks to the separation of the amateur starts.  I feel like I was too conservative here due to being around so many (nervous) athletes and I did not want my day to end before it even got going by being too pushy here.  Once out onto the Queen K, the next 20 miles went by quickly enough, but the drafting along this section was not avoidable.  There are so many people on the road just trying to sort themselves out and of course some of them are quite happy to just sit in and enjoy the energy savings and see if they won't get busted.  It is ALWAYS frustrating to see other women drafting, especially towards the front of the race as you know that this is your direct competition and that even if they get busted for drafting, a 4 minute penalty is likely worth the energy and time savings that drafting will give them. The thing is, you can do nothing about it and it's best to just focus on what you can control, and that is YOU.  So that is what I did.  I focused on eating and drinking as it was extremely clear in the morning and it got HOT, fast.

Smiles in Puako
Mark and I had talked about the wind the night before and where I was likely to encounter what type of winds.  Every time the wind smacked me in the face, I was prepared for it and just went slowly and avoided looking at the Garmin.  At times, I was going 9 mile an hour on a flat section of the Queen K.  No biggie, if I am going slow, so is everybody else.  As long as I wasn't getting overtaken by other women, I knew I was still riding strong. I got to see friends about 4 miles from Puako and then saw Mark and Eddie at the turn to Kawaihae.  Then it was time to go up to Hawi and see what the winds were going to bring.  Bring it they did...after the race, the reports were that these were the worst the winds had been in 15 years.  I was incredibly thankful to have been here before as the only thing to do in the winds is to keep in your aero bars, pedal as hard as you can and thank Pele for the day.  The first half of the climb to Hawi was fast and then the cross winds started and up the road, I kept seeing large men get blown from one side of the road to the other.  I seemed to fare pretty well here and I think that the wheels I chose for the day could not have been better (rode the Enve SES 8.9 rear wheel and the uber shallow SES 3.4 in the front). It allowed me to be stable and not ever get out of aero in Hawi.  We hit the turn around and I grabbed my special needs bag and my frozen bottle (wrapped in foil) was still slushy.  There is nothing better than an ICE cold beverage at that point in the race.  I ditched the bag and got back to business.  Remember those cross winds on the 2nd half of the climb?  Well now they were still there but helping to push us down the 40mph.  It was so fun to be bombing down the hill.  You truly have to take advantage of any wind at your back in this race, as the next headwind is bound to be lurking just around the corner. 

Once you make the turn back onto the Queen K, you've got just over 30 miles to go and this is where you typically find a low spot.  Thankfully, I was fueled and we had a massive tail wind, so miles 80-90 literally flew by.  20 miles to go and my back was still feeling great and I did not hate my bike.  This is good, I think I'm ready to run my butt off.   Coming back into town, the energy rises again and you see all of your friends and family.  I did a flying dismount and thankfully my legs were working and I didn't fall ;)

Muscle Milk Run nutrition: 2 bags of Cytomax energy chews, glucose tabs for the last 10k (like a pixie stick in tab form), water, and COKE! ~250kcals/hour

Smith Optics Run: 3:30:59
I hit the run, ready to RUN.  I have been working SO hard on my run over this last build and KNEW that I was capable of running sub 3:30 (see porta potty story at top of page).  I also knew that if I wasn't in too much pain coming off of the bike, that I would be able to run well from the start and be able to fight for the bowl that I had been dreaming about during workouts. 

I saw Mark and he let me know that I was in 4th position but that 5th and 6th were VERY close and we would need to do some major work to keep on the podium.  The first 10 miles along Ali'i typically are really rough for me (at least the first 4) but this year, I was running comfortably at a 7:30-7:45 pace.  My mantra was: wait, maybe that's just what Mark was yelling at me: eat, drink, ice and keep time to day dream, stay in the moment, it only has to hurt for a few more hours and then you can rest.  I would see Mark along the way and he always reminds me to eat and drink and to keep as cool as possible.  Ice under the hat is key for me every year.  We were lucky to get some cloud cover during the run, but once onto the Queen K, the sun came back out.  I got passed for 4th here, but stayed in contact and re-passed around mile 13.  Into the energy lab we went, sun a blazin'. My tummy started to get a bit angry and at mile 19, I had to stop and see if I could feel better.  No dice.  Time to get back to running.  While in the loo, I got passed by the gal who got off the bike in 6th and she was now 4th and I was 5th.  I came out of the energy lab and knew that there were only 6 miles to go.  That is only 1.5 loops of the run that we've been doing every Thursday.  I can do that any day of the week, right?  Time to start popping glucose tabs and focusing on getting to the finish and maintaining 5th position.  Kebby and Mark were telling me to keep pushing, and I was dying to know how much time there was to 6th.  Mark didn't want to tell me for fear that I would quit working hard, but thankfully Kebby let me know I was in a safe spot (unless I completely shit the bed with 3 miles to go- which is possible...I like to tell myself it ain't over until I cross that line).  This made me so happy and with 2 miles to go, Mark told me to enjoy the last few miles, to soak up Ali'i, that I had done an amazing job.
Happy girl with shaka's!

Was it really true?  Was I going to end up in bowl position (we watch F1...can you tell?).  I always smile when I run down Ali'i, as each completed Ironman is a victory in and of itself, but last Saturday, the smiles were even bigger than usual.  I crossed the line in 10:16, good enough for 5th in the fastest women's AG and 13th amateur female.  A podium finish at the World Championships AND that bowl!!! That was worth all of the vino abstaining, early nights and workouts that didn't finish themselves!

I remember thinking during the race, that I wasn't ready for it to be over.  By this time every year, I am typically in a place that I can't WAIT for the race to be over and for the off-season to begin.  Now, it's 4 days post race and I'm already missing my bike.   Don't worry though, I'm sure I'll find my off-season groove, filled with more wine than necessary, later nights and whatever workouts I want.

Coach Finally Relaxes
Sonja and I with our bowls
I am incredibly grateful and really know that racing without the support that I have would be much more difficult.  I am lucky that all I have to do, is focus on the race.  My family, friends and sponsors make sure that the rest is taken care of.  For that, I don't know that I can give enough mahalo's, but I'll try.

Love my girls!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sunday FUNday!

Ooooof, you always for get what doing "just" an Olympic feels like the next day...because it couldn't possibly have anything to do with the vino.  You think due to it's short duration that it's "easy".  Meanwhile, the entire race, my diesel, slow and steady tortoise is screaming at me to just slow down, this is too hard- take a break, it'll be OK and no one will notice ;)

Hubby represents Coeur too!
Yesterday was a VERY local tri in Oakland and it was AWESOME.  I don't think I've had that kind of fun racing in a long time outside of Ironman.  Seeing Mark come home the night before having WON the series he'd been working on all season long got me incredibly jazzed to race myself...I needed to represent the family!

I had lots of friends racing and saw SO many gals in Coeur kits that I insisted on stopping each and every one of them and asking them how they liked the fit and how their race was.
Podium with friends is always better!

Overall result: 1st OA female

Roka Swim/Osmo Swim : 2nd OA swim
We had been told the swim was with a current and wow was it ever...17:13 for a .9 mile swim?  Sure, why not!  I told myself to just GO from the gun and very quickly found myself on the feet on one guy and that was how the entire swim went.  I felt pretty confident that I was the first gal out of the water for our wave and we had also passed hoards of folks from the wave ahead.  Next bit of fun for the race was getting to transition...which meant a run up 4 flights of stairs and then down the other side as we had to get across some train tracks via a pedestrian bridge. I may or may not have said "seriously"...and then just smiled.  Race silly girl!

Argon18/Enve Bike: 1st OA bike of 1:06:42
I was so focused on getting the heck onto my bike that I didn't take any food with me.  I realized that quickly and then remembered it's only an hour ride and I'll get my Cytomax energy chews as soon as I hit the run.  The bike was a two lap, through the city and port of Oakland course.  And while there were tons of turns and pot holes, the course was designed for you to HAUL on.  It was awesome for us love of flats folks.  Put it in a BIG gear and GO.  Why is that just THE BEST way to ride.  No hiding it, even though I live in California, I do not love to ride hills....I grew up in the Mid-West and the flats have my heart. The 2nd lap of the bike saw things get a bit hairy with congestion from the sprint, duathlon and aqua-bike folks also ALL being on the same narrow roads.  A few agro dudes later and thankfully I was safe and sound in I have to do those stairs again?

Da Girlz
 Coeur Sports/Smith Optics Run: 42:48 (think this is a PR for me)
I'm just learning to use my new Garmin 910 so instead of hitting LAP to go tot he run portion yesterday, I hit STOP.  Which is funny that I couldn't figure that out until the finish as I kept hitting the page button and wondering why nothing was showing up.  Shows how little brain power you have while racing!  So...the course may have only been 6 miles and not 6.2 but that is still a fast run for moi! I knew that there was one gal in the wave ahead of my who specializes in short course racing and that I would need to run well to beat her.  I knew I had made up time on the bike, but people who do lots of short course racing can just RUN. The entire day I had just been telling myself when I wanted to slow down that NO, you do NOT get to slow down, it will be over soon and you do not want to have any energy leftover or to have not won just because it hurt.  #suckitupbuttercup  Helping me to not slack off at all was head coach of Team Sheeper.  When I started making my dying animal noises, he told me to keep going, that was GOOD!  Really, it doesn't sound good and surely it doesn't FEEL good.  But it was awesome to have the cheering and I really don't know if I would have run as well without it. 

mmmmm, Dinner
We were home in time to treat ourselves to a burger and fries and then it was time to get prepped for Sunday Dinner with friends.  My fave way to end the weekend.

I don't think that I'm racing again until Kona, but I'm so glad that I did race yesterday.  It was really good to get out there and push myself and RACE.  Good to have the fire back in the belly after pulling the plug on Alcatraz back in June due to lack of mojo. I think that the more years you have in sport, the more you learn that it ebbs and flows.  Sometimes the motivation to race is ever present and sometimes you need to nurture it back to health and find fresh new things that get you excited to challenge yourself.  I can always get excited about Hawaii, but this year, getting excited to race outside of qualifying for Kona and Kona has been tough.  So glad to see the return of the racing's just in time. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Vineman Version 9.0

Flight with Friends!
Hard to believe that I'm old have done 9 Vineman 70.3's in a row...outside of Kona, this is my fave course...even though the half distance is not my expertise, I love this course.  It's close to home, there are always tons of familiar faces and if you do it right, you win wine!! If you have not done it, you must...if not for the race, but for the wine tasting afterwards!  Although, as Mark likes to point out, I talk a big game about the celebrating I will do post race and then wasn't even able to finish my full tasting flight this past Sunday and the thought of red wine made me want to hurl.  One day....

Quick stats before the dirty details:
2nd in the AG (previous best in 3rd AG), qualified for 70.3 Worlds but passed on the spot
4th Amateur female (same as previous best in 2012)
23rd female (best was 16th in '12)

I last raced in March at Ironman Los Cabos.  I was supposed to do Alcatraz, but really just didn't want to race.  And I know that that was the right decision as I was pumped to be at Vineman and see how I could do after so long without racing.  I knew that there would be LOTS of fast ladies racing, specifically Coeur team mate Sarah (who I think this was her last amateur race...GO AHEAD girl!) and buddies Christine and Kayla.  I also knew that we were THE very first wave after the pro women and that was exciting.  No people to crawl over in the swim, an entire bike course to ourselves and empty aid was like a catered training day!  I had also prepped myself for the empty course.  Knowing Sarah and Christine would exit the water ahead of me, I figured when I passed Christine that would be the last of any interaction on the bike.  So going in, I knew it would feel empty and there would be the potential to feel like I wasn't doing well as I wasn't passing folks...but there weren't any people to pass!  So I had prepped for that going in and had only myself to push out on the course.

Mighty Mer, the champ!

Pre swim Nutrition:  bottle of pre-load, granola with almond milk, banana and Wild Friends chocolate coconut PB, bottle of active mango.  Total kcals:  ~800

ROKA swim: 29:57 previous best of 28:26 in '12 (best time TY was a 28:32)
Woof- not the time I was hoping for, but super fish ladies were only 1:25 ahead, so I think it may have been a bit slow for all.  And really it's about how you are performing on THIS day, relative to THIS field and not some time so I don't usually get hung up on times on race day. I was happy with my ability to immediately jump on Sarah and Christine's feet...but that was pretty short lived and by the turn around, the gal who seemed to think that she and I were in need of occupying the same space as the Russian river is only 3 feet wide, had dropped off the back and I was swimming solo for the rest of the way.  It was awesome to have the bouy's marked with numbers 1-12 as you cold keep track of exactly where you were in the swim.  It got SO shallow after the turn around that i had to modify my stroke to keep from hitting the bottom with each pull.  California has been in such a huge drought I was impressed the swim was still on! Mark got an awesome pic of me, and I was truly all alone jammin in my Roka wetty.  Did I mention I had ZERO neck chaffing?  I know it's cute to show up to work post race and have your coworkers wonder if it's a hickey gone wrong, or a wetsuit I was pumped to not have markings of any sort to explain Monday morning ;)

Bike Nutriton: 2.5 Bonk Breaker Bars (left salty balls at home), 3 bottles of active ~835 or 330/hr

Enve & Argon18 Bike: 2:40:07 previous best of 2:30:16 in '12
Thanks Freeplay!
I started the bike in the dense fog, so placed my sunglasses in my helmet and prayed I had the skill that they would stay put until needed! I had seen Mark at the start of the bike and he told me I was only a minute down and sitting in third after the swim.  I had a small pat on the back for decreasing the gap while in transition!  I got to work and started to fuel and try to "PUSH PUSH PUSH" as Mark likes to yell at me (in the most loving tone imaginable).  I was passed by some guys in the wave behind us, but other than that, it was a very quiet ride of me telling myself that although I felt flat and was most certainly pedaling squares and having absolutely ZERO suplesse, I was doing OK, not getting passed and If I was hurting, so was everyone else.  So quit your bitching, and keep going!  Food always helps theses moments, and I just kept eating and drinking.  Within 15-20 miles, the sun was out in full glory and it was starting to heat up.  I lived in Santa Rosa for a year way back when and remember thinking how HUGE of a hill Chalk Hill is...and every year that I compete here, the hill seems to shrink.  Not to say it isn't an effort and it DOES hurt, but as the years go by, you continue to get stronger and what was once a mountain becomes more of a very manageable hill. eating before a big hill is also always a part of my plan and Sunday was no different.  You need that extra bit of kcals heading into an effort like that! I managed to pass Christine and one pro, but got passed by another AG'er, so after the bike, my net was still 3rd place. 

Run Nutrition: Slush bottle of half pre-load/half active for first 2 miles of the run, 1 pack energy drops, coke, and glucose tabs ~350

Happy time!
Coeur and Smith Run: 1:40:23, previous best of 1:36:20 (slightly altered course- best of 1:38:06 in '12 on new course)
Once I hit transition, I quickly saw that I was right that I was in third as there were only two other bikes in our section. I grabbed by bottle of idea ever...and headed out onto the run.  I must have been WAY too excited to see friends and family cause at mile 1, the split was a mind you, I FELT great...but having never held that pace for an entire half mary, thought I might have been a bit ambitious that first mile.  Mile 2 was in check at 7:30 and I just need to do 11 more and we will be home and in good shape.  But being the true flatlander that I am and my legs feeling flat, those tiny rollers of the Vineman course felt like Chalk Hill when I was still drinking and smoking more than I was S/B/Running!  I got a little grumpy with coach out on the run ( I REALLY am trying Mark!!) and walked a few sections of hills (bad Hailey).  I had made up time on 3rd place quickly though and passed her around mile 5 before going into the loop at la Crema winery (running a mile on a private vineyard makes this race spectacular) I was very vocal going into aid stations and drank only coke (since i had topped off salt store with the pre-load during the first few miles), water and had chews and glucose for the nutrition.  The volunteers were amazing and had everything you needed.  I was safely in second place, but not knowing what the other AG's would do, tried to keep pushing. Mark reminded me that the first few mile are always crappy for me and true to form, around mile 10 I was feeling awesome!  Can we just go 10 more miles please...cause I can hold this pace forever...just don't ask me to go faster!  mark told me to pick it up in the last mile, and I swear I tried, but it wasn't pretty.  Somewhere along that last mile though, when I saw all of the spectators, I remembered JUST how much I love triathlon.  All of the people cheering for you, and running down the finish line just can't be beat.

I crossed the line in 2nd place in the AG and was promptly greeted by Mark and Lisa from Osmo shaking a recovery shake at me over the fence.  Here tired athlete, here girl!  I busted a move for that...who wants a veggie burger?  We chatted, watched as Kayla and Christine came in and then took advantage of the AMAZING showers that Every Man Jack had provided...that was a TRUE luxury.  Post race shower?  YES PLEASE!

Podium wine!
After we showered and collected the bikes and swim bags, we packed it up to go have a proper lunch and some wine tasting before the awards...when you start at 6:30AM, you have a bit of time to kill between the finish and the awards!  I treated myself to a massive milkshake, a grilled cheese and tried to have a flight of white wine...nice effort my friend, nice effort.  It was great to hang with Kayla and Jordan and their guys.  Too quickly it was time to go to the awards.  The awards at this race are truly top notch.  Not only did I win a bottle of vino, I also won a ROKA gift card! Surprisingly, all 5 of the gals in 30-34 passed on the 70.3 worlds spots.  There were two to have and I am not sure how far it rolled down, but if you don't already know this...GO TO rolldown if you have ANY interest in just never know.

It's hard to believe that I have done this race 9 times in a row and my very first time, it took me just over 6 hours.  This past Sunday was not a great "time" for me on this course, but it was great to do and now we will take the lessons and apply them to Kona. I think I'll be doing some local races inbetween now and then, but other than that, all eyes are on the Big Island!

The prize
Thanks to my family and friends for all of the support and to the following companies who ensure that ALL I have to do is race, they take care of the rest:  Enve wheels, Argon18 and Mark Manning for not only the best looking bike, but the fastest and most well maintained!  Roka for the fastest (literally- they've done tests) most comfy wetsuit and goggles, Smith Optics for lenses that change shade as the light moves, Coeur Sports for all kits beautiful and comfy, Osmo Nutrition and Stacy and Lisa there for the recipe for Salty Balls, and the magical pre-load and active women's specific products, Muscle Milk for the protein to go in those salty balls and for awesome aminos, and to Compex for the machine that shakes my muscles recovered.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What a difference a year makes

Protein and Sunshine
It's already July and that means that Vineman 70.3 is THIS Sunday!  Originally, I had signed up for Ironman Frankfurt AND Vineman, apparently not knowing how to look at a calendar and impulse purchasing Frankfurt. This resulted in the realization that the races were a mere 7 days and one long inter-continental flight apart.  Both races were never going to happen...either I was going to still be in Europe watching #letour, or I would be here and racing Vineman.  Vineman is one of my fave races and I think this year will be number 9 in a row...I'd like to know how that is possible!  I couldn't break the streak right?!!  Thankfully this year, the organizers let anyone who had completed 5 or more Vineman's register early and not have to panic about registering within the first 30 seconds and hoping that doesn't fail midway through the transaction.  This is also the only way I know that I had done 8. I was sure that I had done 5, but had no IDEA that I am so old  that I've been doing triathlon for so long.  I think I still tell people "oh, about 5 years" when they ask how long I've been racing.  Goofball.

A year ago over July 4th weekend, I had hit the bottom stores of my iron reserve within my body and didn't know what in the heck was going on.  Ironman Texas had been a complete bust and I had had no idea why I had raced so poorly.  Then I remember going to to masters on the 4th and swimming two lanes down (10 seconds/100 slower as a base than my usual) and not even being able to lead the lane.  I was advised to not do Vineman and to let the iron continue to come back up.  I got it tested the week of Vineman and consulted with a Dr that if I raced, it wasn't going to plummet my stores, but that a participation in the race was more advisable than a RACE.  Duly noted.  And that's exactly what I did...I don't think my body was capable of much more than that.  I was so glad to just be able to race and ever since then, with continued supplementation of Iron, my levels have returned to normal.

How you look when you have energy!
Side note here- I was re-tested at one point and the Dr (non sports of course) said, ohh your levels are back up to normal, you can stop supplementing.  So let me get this right, if my levels are back to normal and holding constant while I am STILL supplementing, why on earth would I stop?  I love my health care provider in a general wellness sense, but man I wish they had a special "for athlete's only" section where Dr's who were also athletes could treat us weirdos.  Another thing that I have learned about iron supplementation over the past year is that as SOON as you become a slacker and stop being diligent about supplementing (again, my experience here) is that the levels go down pretty quickly.  And when the levels go down, it's just an ever so noticeable, hmmm, where'd all my energy go?  And you don't always notice that as anything out of the ordinary, because you are in training so you are supposed to be tired...

So this past weekend, on the 4th, I went to masters and swam in the sunshine and remembered that "wow, it's been a year since the poo hit the fan".  THANK BUDDAH that I'm not in that place any more.  If nothing else, I will have the period of time from after Los Cabos this year, through now as a better training block than LY since I am healthier.  And who knows how long it took to really return to proper training after Vineman last year. So that makes me feel good about the build leading up to Kona that is just underway.
What I dream about...

So this Sunday, it's time to shake out the cobwebs.  I haven't raced since Ironman Los Cabos...I was supposed to race Escape From Alcatraz, but my heart wasn't in it and jumping off of a boat into freezing water had zero appeal, so I decided to save the hunger for another day.  I think that my true passion lies in racing LONG distance and that Ironman is where I have the most fun.  The other races are tougher for me to get excited for, as my most favorite part of the year is October in Hawaii.  That's the race that finds me in my dreams year round.

Bon Courage to all of those racing this weekend!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Post Ironman life!

SF in the background
How is it that already almost 6 weeks have gone by since ironman Los Cabos? Last year at this time, I was gearing up to head to Ironman Texas for my first time attempting two ironman's within 8 weeks.  I love Ironman Texas and had done it for 3 years in a row, but  had decided to skip Texas this year and instead head to race Frankfurt in July for a change of pace....more on Frankfurt later.

I think that last year having an immediate goal of racing another ironman soon was enough motivation to keep me going, focused on recovering properly not going big at meal time and emptying my wine fridge and then ready to race again and THEN take a bit of a break.  After I crossed the finish line at Cabo, maybe even before he congratulated me, the first words out of my husband's mouth were "YEAH, you won...we don't have to go to Frankfurt anymore, RIGHT?!!" Someone British in the family was not excited about Germany (what war?) and with Vineman being the week after Frankfurt, we will not be going to Europe this summer.

Coeur Commercial Shoot!
My next race is next month at Escape From Alcatraz. Since this was so far after Cabo, I decided think my subconscious decided against my will that I would take a solid break and then ramp up again for the later part of the season.  But I was thinking, OHHH all of the extra time I will have since I won't have done Ironman Texas, I will just be BANKING the training.  How does this girl not know that after how many years or racing that you need a break?  Cut to almost 6 weeks later and that is where I am.  I don't think that my body was necessarily so tired but mentally I was and I was just incredibly unmotivated to get back at it and there has been so much going on in life with travelling and family that there was always an excuse. This has been my first glimpse at what inconsistent training would look like, and that is a roller coaster I do not want to ride. We all place such high expectations on ourselves to do it all, and the past 6 weeks, I could not do it all and survive so thankfully a break was in order as training was definitely on the back burner. I took the first week after Cabo almost nearly off and then have been getting more and more back into training as the weeks progressed, but not nearly hitting it like I thought I would be.  This week I think I'm finally back on to almost normal training and last nights massage said that normal training has resumed as well.  Ever notice how lovely massage can be when you're taking a break from training...muscles just don't have as much opportunity to jam themselves up?  Bessie, but when you get back to it, that massage will let you know just where you are!

NOT in spandex!!!
I did one of my first speed session yesterday and had that thought of, woah NELLY, you have got a ways to go.  I went to my go-to hill repeat where a great time up it will be xx and a slow time is yy...yesterday was a whole lot of yy's!  And I spent some time telling myself I should just go back home, why bother, my legs just aren't there today.  And then after 6 reps, I saw just the tiniest of tiny glimpses that indeed, all has not been lost and that it will come back with consistent work, and that Kona will not be a failure after all.  That head can be a nasty place to be sometimes, and I consider myself to be pretty good at self talk!  I'm not often put off by a bad workout- you can't let them get to you as your race is not one workout, but the sum of consistent work.  I am almost always incredibly consistent in getting my workouts done, no skipping them (unless truly too tired), so I think that the inconsistency across the 6 weeks and so many external factors requiring me to be more crafty to still get it all done have taken their toll.
The Brooklyn Bridge looking into NYC

Over the past 6 weeks though, I have gotten to be a "normal" person and have gotten to do a lot of cool stuff though, including a photoshoot with my fave photographer to get some rad photos for Enve, Argon and Coeur...who knew that you could find a giant redwood in the hills of Berkeley and find graffiti with a view?!!  I've been to NYC for a bachelorette party, attended a wedding, and done some good hanging out with family!

Now to not embarrass myself at Alcatraz and then begin the build to Kona in October!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Los Cabos Round 2!

The view from our condo
I was SO excited to go back to Los Cabos this year, I really like having raced somewhere before...I know what grocery store to go to, where to get good dinner and I've ridden the course before, so I just have to go in and race my butt off!  I was not only excited to race, but we hadn't been away from work since Kona, so it was time for some VACATION!! As soon as I left work last week, I was just was time to go to Mexico, be with friends and race...all things that make me extremely happy.  I had been feeling great in my taper, but kept reminding myself that while that is a good indicator, it would be best to keep my confidence in check as in Ironman, anything can happen and the best days can be turned upside down lickety split.  We were in the same condo as last year (literally, the same condo...we like consistency, what can we say?), and were staying with good friends so this made pre-race easy and calm.  Mark had to remind me that it was race time, not play time a few times, but I argue that being relaxed is mentally just what I needed- I already get the "I want to vomit/poop my pants, I'm so nervous" feeling often, so anything that can take my mind off of that is A-OK in my book!

A few pre-race rides and a swim and before you knew it, bikes were racked and it was time to sleep one last time before race morning.  Thankfully we brought ear plugs as just like LY, there was a MASSIVE live music concert two resorts down the beach and fire works were included this year! 

Pre-race nutrition: 2 eggs scrambled with white rice and soy sauce, a whole milk mocha (is that acceptable to even type that I had that?!), one bottle of Osmo active, one bottle of Osmo Pre-Load and a banana while prepping transition.  Total kcal's: ~900 
Pre-Race hug from one of my BFF"s Jenny!

Roka Swim: 56:38, new PR by almost 5 minutes and I swam a 1:01:59 on this exact course LY, so I am calling it a legit, apples to apples comparison. Maybe the swim PR was brought on by my new Roka wetty?  Maybe it was just years of swimming Stanford masters with Tim paying off?  Maybe it was having the confidence that I KNOW I am capable of swimming under and hour and finally doing it? All I know is that I am THRILLED with this new swim PR. I have been wanting to bust the 1:00:00 barrier on the swim for a while now and have known that it was looming.  CHECK!
The swim in Cabo is a gorgeous rectangle in the Sea of Cortez and only the first stretch is into the rising sun.  The first half of the swim is into the chop and then the back half you have a much smoother ride home.  I knew from last year that the current pulls hard to the right and so I lined up in the front left (where are all the other women?!!  Turns out, they are hard to find in a race of only 200 gals) and ran hard into the water as soon as the horn blasted.  It felt super congested until the first turn, with me at one time feeling like I was on top of some guys and still moving forward.  Do they really not notice that they are doing that? I could see space open to my left, and got knocked around a fair bit, but as soon as we made the first turn, I made it a priority to just get on a pair of feet, sight and not stay mixed in with the masses.  With so many people around, I couldn't tell if we were all on pace to swim an hour (do that many people really swim that time?) or if I was swimming slow.  Every time I had a slow moment, I thought to myself, "no, you WANT this, it's way too early to go easy...pick it up and increase your turn-over".  In choppy water, it seems to make me more efficient if I also adapt a shorter, choppier stroke to just break through the water.  This was working and I was feeling good and the buoys were ticking away nicely.  We rounded the last turn for home and I thought that I was swimming next to buddy and fellow Stanford swimmer, Kayla, but couldn't tell.  Turns out we were right next to each other and exited the swim in 1st and 2nd position for the AG and 2nd and 3rd amateur females.  I saw the clock said 1:08:xx on it and thought, wow, did we swim that slowly?  No disappointment allowed, just time to get on my bike and move it along.  Turns out, as I was exiting transition, I heard the announcer say that we were just rounding an hour for the amateur swim, meaning that I must have swum under an hour!  BONUS smiles heading onto the bike!! 

mmmm, sandy transition
Side note: Whose Idea was it to place a carpet over loose sand and call it run-able?  My heart was trying to jump out of my chest and I was doing my best to not feel like I was dying a quick death only an hour into what is a long day in the sun.  Turns out, I would need all of those smiles as running through a loose sand transition really takes it out of you and the first few miles of the bike were all, woah buddy, let that HR calm down a bit before you start going OK? 

Bike Nutrition: 10 salty balls (yes, the entire recipe's worth), 8 bottles of Osmo Active (3 from the start and additional single serves carried and dumped into the Speedfil), 1 bottle of 1scoop pre-load from special needs, (hallelujah it was still cold after being wrapped in foil frozen- will def do this in Kona), and additional water as needed at aid stations.  Total kcal's: 2060 or 374/hour.  Don't tell me I'm not a good eater!

Enve & Argon18 Bike: 5:34 over a course of 5k of climbing.  LY was 5:57, but they have changed the course, so not really comparable.
The only way to describe the Cabo course is unrelenting.  There is no flat ground, you are always either going slightly up, more up, or the opposite with wind ;)  It was really windy last year as well and the day was calling for 20 mph gusts with consistent 12-15mph wind.  Mark packed extra wheels so we could make a timely decision and I ended up riding a really shallow 3.4 wheel in the front and my 8.9 in the back.  My comfort with cross winds is growing, but I feel so much more mentally comfortable when I'm not being blown all over the road, so we opted for the more conservative front wheel choice.  I did my usual, timer to go off every 15 minutes, time to eat alarm and like clockwork, had half of a salty ball every time that timer beeped.  Sometimes I don't feel like eating in which case I become fois gras and stuff myself regardless, but this was not that day.  I was actually anticipating the alarm sometimes and was like, "yep!  must be time to eat!" I drank at every opportunity and just tried to really never stop drinking.  I know that carrying single servings of my own hydration product seems so high maintenance or even unnecessary, but truly, the Osmo doesn't mess with my stomach the way perform does and it goes down SO much more easily so for me it is 100% worth it.   This year, the bike course was 3 loops in an attempt to make it "easier" this requires an entire separate rant/post, Ironman is NOT supposed to be easy taking us between San Jose Del Cabo and San Lucas.  I was afraid that the course was going to get crowded with the multiple laps, but most of the time, it felt as if I was riding solo. The views are beyond spectacular...coming back to San Jose, with the Sea on the right, you just can't help but smile.  I had the usual low around mile 90 where my stream of consciousness goes something like: "I want to get off my bike, my lower back is hurting, isn't it time to run yet?".  As you come back into town, there are so many cheers and I hadn't been passed by many women, so I was confident that I wasn't coming off the bike in 11th place female like I did last year.  Thankfully, I was right.  I was off the bike as 2nd amateur female and it was time to run.

Run Nutrition: bottle of half pre-load/half active over the first two miles, 3 bags Cytomax energy chews, 1/2 of a banana, glucose tabs over the last 10k and countless cups of pepsi, gatorade chased by water and more water. Totak kcal: ~(hopefully) 700 or 200/hour

Smith Optics & Coeur Run: 3:34:35 vs LY time of 3:34:44
I came into this race telling myself that a sub 3:30 marathon is TOTALLY within reach.  I think though, that I have been telling myself that for a while now as I continue to run 3:33's-3:35's at EVERY.SINGLE.RACE I complete.  It's a bit baffling really- I am stronger, faster and had the confidence this time in my ability.  So what's the scoop people? Why can I not break that barrier?!! I did not, however have a Garmin as it proved to not want to function, and so I just ran. The first few miles went like they did in Kona, very hard to get settled and I actually stopped to pee.  This is a first for me at an Ironman...I either go without visiting the loo, or I don't go at all.  But I really had to and also, I think I just needed to stop for a quick second to get my life together.  Thankfully, Mark told me to remember that the first 30 minutes of the marathon are the worst for me and I told myself to just keep going, it would get easier.  And it did.  I ate, drank, took some tums, and I continued to tell myself to keep getting stronger. Thankfully, there were also friends ALL over the course cheering for me and telling me to keep it up, that my lead over the AG was growing from 15 minutes off of the bike.  There was a time at which, the running felt my legs were doing what they were supposed to do, and it was "easy".  That didn't last long, though, and then those nice miles were followed by a few, holy crap, my legs/feet are on fire, and my skin feels like it is swelling under the Mexican sun by the minute.  Soon enough I found myself at mile 20, and I told myself that I can run 6 miles any 'ol day, but still did not allow myself to get excited about winning, as it is never, ever over until the fat lady sings...or in a triathlete's case, until Mike Riley says "You ARE an Ironman!!!" I thought that the bike had taken me 5:45ish, so when I finally flipped my watch over to total time for the day and saw that I was at 9:35 with a little more than 4 miles to go, I though, WOW, I am going to SMASH that 3:30 barrier and got a bit peppier in my step.  I caught up to Alyssa, and would be remiss if I didn't thank her for her words of encouragement to push to the finish, so thank you chica!!! And then around mile 25, I got passed by a gal in the 25-29 AG for 2nd overall amateur...wait, wasn't I passed LY at this same spot?  No sorrows here though, as this gal out split ALL of the pros but one, and ran a 3:10 marathon en route to her 2nd place amateur spot.  I saw Mark at mile 26 and thought, YES, only .2 to go...and then he said "nice work babe, only a mile and a half to go!".  I almost lost my mind, and def dropped an F-bomb at him (the man needs some love here...he put s up with a lot from me on race day, I yelled at him twice in Cabo).  Turns out, it really was mile 26, but man did that last .2 really for more like .5...the street that the finish is along is not well paved and my very in pain feet were ready for the day to be done.  I rounded the corner to the finish line and got a massive smile on my face as I had just won my 2nd age group Ironman title, and defended my title from last year.

Post-Race Coco Frios
It was a very special day indeed!  I was also able to secure 3rd amateur overall and 13th place Overall female, besting my OA position from LY (19th) and beating a few pros! Quick visit to the massage tent with a protein shake in hand to avoid last years, med tent experience and then it was off to shower up and celebrate although who am I kidding, I took three sips of my wine and only ate a bowl of soup!!


Kona Bound girls!
Now we're back home, back to reality and all of the sudden it hit me.  I am GOING BACK TO KONA!!!  I think I'm pretty open about my love for the island of Kona and my desire to continue to race there as often as possible against the best in the world, so it means a lot to me that I have qualified again.  It's one of the times of year that I look forward to most.  I get to be with friends near and dear to my heart, have family cheer me on, visit with the honu and listen to the waves crash under the sun.  So now, it's time to rest and repair and then start to focus on the rest of the season!

2 margs at lunch? Yes PLEASE!!
I'd like to thank Mark for being the best partner and coach to me as well as my family and friends for their continued support and love.  And then I'd like to thank my extended family of sponsors.  These guys take such good care of me, it's hard to express my gratitude enough for them getting me to the starting line with not only the best gear but with all of their support. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The long road of triathlon

The Road ahead looks GOOD!
I've been talking a lot with Jess about how this year feels a bit different than last year, how getting up at 4:45AM a few times a week doesn't bug me as much as it did last year. This made it all the more obvious that truly, we are always evolving in triathlon, and that really it's like that in so many aspects of life.  You start on a mountain bike and work your way to a TT bike. I'd like to avoid the word "journey" for this post, as I feel it's pretty overused and can put some people off.  So how about we talk about the long road of triathlon?   So I thought it might be good to get a post out there.

A while back, Coeur posed the question of what prohibits those with the means, to get into triathlon? From even starting along the road to involvement in sport?  I thought about this a lot, as for me it's a no-brainer, I love it...why wouldn't anyone want to get involved in any sport, moving my body is what keeps me sane. I have gained some of my very best friends from my involvement in this sport and interacted with people who otherwise I would not. The answer it seemed for most, was fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of being a newbie, fear of being DFL, fear of something unfamiliar and of being uncomfortable- racing triathlon is generally not a comfy endeavor :)
Trail racing is ALWAYS uncomfortable for me.

Maybe this is SO obvious, but I think that we forget that most top athletes did not start off being AMAZING, sure you have some outliers, that said "tomorrow I'm going to do a triathlon" and POOF, they won.  But for most of us, let's be honest- you start from scratch. When I first did a triathlon, I was still SMOKING cigarettes on the regular, drinking way more than I needed to and 20lbs joke, the pictures are on the interwebs, so it is a fact, but there is no need to post them again!  My very long winded point is this.  "Comparison is the thief of joy"- T. Roosevelt.  Don't compare yourself to this girl or that guy on FaceBook, Twitter or the gal racked next to you at your next event.  Saying "ohhhhh, she looks FIT" doesn't accomplish anything...she just may be on a different portion of the road then you are...OR she may also just be dedicated to a very strict matter, you have to start somewhere.

Where's my vino?!!
What brought me to this post is that I gave up wine (OK, maybe it was more suggested to me than self imposed) about 4 weeks ago to give it up almost 6 weeks out from Los Cabos.  No, one glass of wine won't kill me, or hell, even effect my performance and in previous years, it was harder to make these sacrifices.  Harder to give up wine, or not stay out as late, or just be that little bit more disciplined than I was.  And I don't know when I became more aware of the shift, but this year, it's been easier to go just a little bit further and I've been more OK with it.  But had you told me a few years ago, that I would be staying home most weekends and giving up wine weekends with friends for bike rides with other friends, I would have laughed at you and told you, no way, no how, not gonna happen.  But somewhere along this road the desire to get back to Kona and see the honu has increased and I am trying to maximize my chances of going back to swim with the dolphins.

Wine Country with the laydeez!
But don't worry, after Ironman Los Cabos on the 30th of this month, there will be PLENTY of enjoying some down time, wine with friends and some much needed R&R.  Because, without that type of balance, I would likely go off the deep end!

See you in Los Cabos and beyond!  Hope everyone's season is off to a great start and that your road is looking good!

Thank you as always to the awesome support team of my friends, family and sponsors- I wouldn't be able to do this without you ALL!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Crystal Springs Trail Half Marathon

Oh running races, how I try to avoid  LOVE you so!  I didn't grow up a runner, although I "ran" in high school and college, I also smoked more cigarettes per day than I ran miles.  So as you can imagine, when I first started in triathlon, I was doing AWESOME until the run, where I would promptly get passed by all of the gazelles.  And while I may not be Miranda Carfrae just yet, my running has definitely progressed.  Last year though I thought that it was the year to BUST through that 3:30 barrier in my ironman marathon...having some oh so close with multiple 3:33's...this should be a no brainer, right?!! I did my treadmill sessions, long runs...all indicators pointing to having that 3:30 fall by the wayside and 3:2x appearing.  Well, I may have broken 10 hours in Kona in October, but I was unable to break 3:30 on the marathon.  So coaches order he may have mentioned running races last year was to start to do run races every weekend possible.  Last Saturday was my first opportunity and I decided on a great local trail run half marathon.

After swimming, I headed to Peet's collected my pre-race coffee, ate a Tram bar (have you found these yet?  I picked some up during my Kona build and have been digging them ever since!) and then registered for my race.  You could pick me out of the "runner" crowd right away...I was severely over dressed!  The real runners were in shorts, tank tops and gloves.  People, it is only 45* out!  I was in capris, a short sleeve top with a long sleeve over it, Muscle Milk Visor, and some sunnies...I think I forgot that the entire race was under a canopy of trees! needless to say, they may have been in the correct attire and by mile 3 i was trying to run and strip at the same time! I didn't want to start RIGHT at the front, as if you will reference the paragraph above, I am not a runner by nature.  We get started and this race happens to go up one of the best bike climbs in the area...a bike climbs that takes me 34-45 minutes depending on the it was 6 miles up, then another 1.2 miles up and across and THEN we would get to FLY down the mountain home to the finish line.

I started to pass a few gals a few miles in and told myself on the uphills to just keep moving and try not to keel over from such a high HR and I would do like I do in any race, be the tortoise and make it to the line ahead of some folks.  I had ZERO intention of winning, but the night before, Mark had told me I need to go out there and try to you husband but have you seen my running pedigree?  A few friends were out on the race course and at the turn around told me that the first place gal was only about 30 seconds up...and when I saw her after the turn, I was able to start thinking...ohhh, maybe, JUST maybe if I work REALLY hard, I can catch her.  The pace down the mountain was high and it's single track so I was trying to race, not fall over and trip and fuel all at the same time.  I made the pass of a few guys and was finally at mile 9 hot on the heels of #1 gal.  I decided it was now or never, only 3 miles to go...time to pass and go for broke.  Immediately I thought to myself, ohhhhh this may have been too early- this hurts- what if I can't hold the pace?!!  We ran closely for the next mile until the terrain flattened out a bit and had a few rollers.  I could hear her breathing was more labored than mine and just thought, keep pushing the pace and she will hopefully crack, she's having to work harder than you this point, my legs almost buckled beneath me as the ground tilted slightly uphill.  Silly trail running, you actually have to pay attention to what you're doing with your feet ;) Thankfully, I was starting to open a gap, and with two miles to go, I was on my own and had heard that I was the first gal.

1st Run Race Hardware
WOOO HOOO!  Really, I just crossed the finish line as the overall female winner?  And did you say I set a new course record by over a minute?  There wasn't much time to spare, as less than a minute later, 3 women rolled in together.  We congratulated each other, and the gal who was ahead of me most of the morning told me "well played"...I told her that I was worried I went too early!  The awards were almost immediately after we crossed the finish line...this is SO much more efficient than a triathlon! I took home a beautiful coaster and headed home.

I know that racing is harder than training, I get that...but because of all of the uphill an then 6 miles of downhill running, my legs were honestly more sore than any ironman I've done...It took me until Monday to stop lowering myself onto the couch with arm assistance!  Mark of course says this is "exactly what we wanted to happen" and that we "need to do it again soon" quads may not feel so passionately about the next running race or love him at the moment!

Next up is the coast ride...375 blissful bike miles with friends!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Made in the USA

"Oh no, is she going to blog about a new sponsor?...Boring!!" But I think this post if far from you'll just have to bear with me or just look at the pretty pics while I explain why this next move was so important to me.

Mark (the hubs) co-founded a company called DODOcase that makes cases for iPads, iPhones and other Apple products.  ALL of these  products are made in San Francisco, even though it's likely cheaper to get them made overseas.  Likewise, I am incredibly PROUD to be a stakeholder in Coeur Sports, a women's clothing company that is making, designing and sourcing their hot goods right here in the USA as well.  Again, cheaper to do this elsewhere, but it's a core value to us to do it here in California. See a theme developing?

This year, I've been blessed with the opportunity to work with Enve Composites for my wheels and bike bits and bobs- sometimes you just can't resist a good 'ol Brit phrase! This company is based in Utah, home of ALL things outdoors.  They make their product in Utah and even ship it with a "made by" card.  I know who made my wheels, so when I'm out there riding my guts out, I'm not going to be worrying about wheel failure.  I'm going to know that the person who made my wheels is cheering me on aboard their hand crafted speed! So are these wheels, the fastest out there?  Yes, are they the best looking?  I sure think so.  But more importantly, they have the same core values that I do as an athlete.

I'm hoping if you have a need, you'll check these guys out.  I know I couldn't be more honored and excited to have their support for my 2014 season.