Friday, December 30, 2016

16 in '16

When Jen first mentioned doing an end of year blog, sort of along the trend of 100 Things About Me (how was that nearly two years ago?!), I was immediately IN.  It's fun to look back over the year, combing through pics of memories created, and taking some time to, in a society where we just get to a place and then say "what's next?!", reflect and be grateful for the past 12 months.  This is a mix of things that happened in 2016 as well as the highlights...with pics of course to make it much more fun!

Happy New Year!! 2016 UK
  • the first fun thing of 2016 was spending New Years Eve and New Years Day with friends and family in the UK.  It was cold and dreary, but seeing Mark's friends and family always makes me wish we all lived a much sunnier and warm environment ;)

  • Throttling around the English Countryside in Mark's other wife, a 1974 Min Cooper that he restored with his mate Duncan.  Her name is Polly and he goes to visit her in the UK as often as possible under the guise of business trips to Europe!
Her name is Polly

Rally bar and seat belts...

    Kona Finish #7
    Kona waters with my sis and bestie
  • Ironman Kona...duh, of course this would be close to the top ;)  This year was my 7th Kona and it was my third year of swim, bike, running myself onto the Kona podium. From swims in the ocean with friends and family, to getting blown on the Queen K, Kona remains one of my most beloved places to be.  

Ending the year as the #1 ranked All World Athlete by Ironman for the 2nd year in a row :) I know it's based on how much you race, but I am pretty proud of it.  
Overall AWA Ranking
  • Qualifying for my 8th Kona this past November at Ironman Arizona.

Focus on Sonja's words...GO!
  • Taking the 35-39 North American Champion Title at Ironman Texas in May.  Ironman Texas has been on my list for a long time, with me racing it all but one of the years it's been in existence.  
Just missed the downpour and now we have shakes!
    Sherpa's gotta EAT, and me too...
  • Claiming my VERY FIRST overall amateur win at Escape From Alcatraz.  This is not my typically jam as it's COLD and SHORT, which makes it an even more awesome moment of 2016 for me.  
Weird arms that I do post race...TGI OVER!
  • Celebrating 7 years of marriage to Mark.  No one tells you that being married is different to living together and that it isn't always easy.  You've been warned!  But it is awesome, and I can't wait to continue this life we've created together.

Does he look aero?
  • Swimming 100x100's...OK, so I'm doing that tomorrow, but 100x100's is always an EPIC event.  Pic to follow tomorrow morning...

just this.
  • Swimming. With. Dolphins....TWICE in one trip. This was something that I had been gagging to do every time I've been in Kona.  I was only ever going to swim with them if it happened in the wild as I don't believe in paying to swim with them.  And it finally happened.  Thankfully the first time was by myself of of the Kona pier as when I saw them, I literally couldn't stop laughing with excitement.

  • Taking a helicopter tour of the Big Island.  It more than solidified that it's my favorite place on Earth and was just awe inspiring.

The other side of the Big Island...lush
  • Getting to race in my home town of Delaware, Ohio at the Ironman 70.3 Ohio.  There's something about KNOWING a course and being back home on the race course with friends and family.  I got cheered on by my BIGGEST fans and longest time friends and family and it was just awesome. My dad has never gotten to see me race as traveling is tough in a wheel chair, so having him out on the course was the cherry on top.

Hometown goodness and another 2nd place :)
  • I celebrated my 5 year anniversary at my job.  I can't imagine working anywhere else and my team mates and colleagues are beyond supportive of my outside of work pursuits and I cant explain how grateful I am for that.
The support I get from my colleagues post IM...just WOW

Coastal Bliss
  • Riding down the California Coast for two days with three amazing friends, Pia, Kayla and Erin. We missed the true Coast ride over MLK weekend due to rain so we made up for it with a GLORIOUS two days in June, complete with lots of mid-ride treats at Big Sur Bakery!

  • Christmas in Tahoe.  The cold may not be my jam, but my family is and the only thing missing was my dad.  But it was AWESOME to be with my sis, my nieces, my mom and the rest of our family over Christmas.  Baby girls even have #heartandcourage and can make a heart better than their Aunty.

Best Nieces evah
Good Friends and vino!
  • Last but not least and maybe not the most exciting, but it's always a highlight to spend another year doing what I love, and being surrounded by those I love.  So cheers to a sturdy (for the most part) body, and friends and family that I can't imagine being without.  
This was a group effort so please see these lovely ladies' blogs for the rest of the theme!  Erin Klegstad, Laurel Richardson, Lizzie Cullen, Christine Cogger, Caitlin Constantine, Jennifer Ward and Elizabeth Rich

Happy New Year's to you and yours and can't wait to see everyone on the course in 2017!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The driest place on earth I wrote this blog and then POOF tried to save more pics to it (#yourewelcome) and it just disappeared.  All of it...except the pics of course.  So I've been sulking and trying to recover the post to no avail.  So here goes attempt numero dos at this blog that will wrap up 2016.

Coeur gals in their Smith sunnies!
Last year when I arrived in AZ, I got a nose bleed every day I was there but race day (due to figuring out my issue).  This year I vowed to be pro-active and not re-active and was ARMED with Aquaphor.  Didn't you know it's best use is for lubing the inside of your nose to protect against nose bleeds?  Works well at altitude too ;)  See why I love humidity?  All of the heat of the desert, but NONE of the dryness.  If I lived in AZ, I would have to get even more serious about my moisturizing game, and I already moisturize with straight up coconut oil, so not really sure where I would go next?
Post race smiles at Snooze

I got into town on Thursday night and was lucky enough to stay with Coeur Teammie, Kristin for the first two nights and then with Sonja, who had flown in from CA to be my Sherpa.  Mark was in the UK working and let's be real, he only likes to come to IM in tropical locales ;) Pre- race was fun as there were SO many Coeur teammates racing that we got to have a dinner before the race and breakfast after.  I got to catch up with old teammies and meet new ones. 

I ended up staying at a hotel on Mill street so was able to walk to transition race morning which was race walk=not so nice!  Sonja and I walked down to transition and I met up with BFF Jess who had made a BIG 'ol batch of salty balls so was giving me half a recipe.  I planned on eating half balls, and half Gu wafels with PB smooshed between it (it has become my new training food LOVE).  I walked over to my bike after meeting with Jess put my stuff down and get to work on setting up my nutrition and pumping tires.  And then I go to get the salty balls and they are GONE.  Just gone.  I saw a gal walk by and pick up a bag, but thought she must be picking up her own stuff as it never crossed my mind that someone would pick up MY stuff that was oh so close to me and obviously not trash or abandoned.  Cue the panic.  I had packed about 600 other kcals so would be way short and depending on on-course nutrition if these things didn't reappear.  I found Jess and we searched and Sonja was on stand by telling me not to panic and that we would figure it out.  Jess and I gave up and then all of the sudden, Jess had them in her hand, saying they were next to the dumpster at the end of the row.  Awesome.  OK, well at least I had my nutrition, but it didn't have me in the most relaxed pre race mood ;)  See pic below with me middle right with eyes closed, cheeks blown out to the max while everyone else is smiling...
Current status is...Pic by John Nickerson

Pre-Race nutrition- 2 eggs, rice, half avocado, cold brew coffee, bottle of BT Nutrition Hydration, and bottle of pre-load 30min before the start.  Total was about 800kcals.  I had a banana and OB but I just couldn't.  

Swim: 58:36 vs 58:19 LY
After pushing my way to the front of the start queue, I found Kristin and a few other familiar faces and it was time to go.  Though we started at the front, they were really restricting the flow into the lake with barricades and letting about 2 people in at a time.  I found clean water immediately and just wanted to stay ON it as I knew that I would need as much of a lead as possible coming out of the water if I wanted to have a chance at winning and qualifying to Kona.  Each time I found feet I asked myself if this draft was fast enough and if not, swam around and found the next set.  The sun didn't come out the entire swim hell it didn't come out ALL day so I was pumped with my choice of the jade tint Roka F1's.  I was able to spot each buoy perfectly.  Kristin and I exited at the same time and got to head out on the bike together.  She's a stellar cyclist so I knew we could push each other all day.

Bike Nutrition: half recipe salty balls, 4 Gu Wafels with PB in-between, 7 bottles of BT Nutrition Hydration and water....oh the water in that dry can ALWAYS drink more in AZ.

Bike: 5:14:56 vs 5:14:21 LY (notice the theme yet?)
Pic by Nick Weiler
Pic by Nick Weiler
I REALLY wanted to go under 5:14 as I think that's my PB on any IM course and thought if there was no rain, really that should be possible right?  Maybe it was the wind, oh the WIND, or maybe it was racing 5 IM's in 13 months, but it just wasn't going to happen.  The wind was pretty strong on the way out which not at all surprisingly seems to encourage drafting.  I kept telling myself I just had to get to the top of the Beeline and then I could scream back into town.  The first two laps went pretty well but I definitely felt the slowdown on the third loop.  I was leading the amateur race until sometime in the third loop when Emily from 30-34 passed me like the freight train that she is on the bike.  So strong!  I was racing blind so not sure if it was just perception or if I really did slow (looking at splits looks like lap 2 going up the Beeline was actually the slowest).  I don't ever look at power when I race but record it and usually go by HR and perception.  I forgot my HR monitor at home and so that was it, perception it was! I'm really glad that this didn't throw me off.  I asked Sonja if she had one and once she said no, that was it, time to just RACE. Small rant...why is it that NOT ONE dude gave me an "on your left" when passing me?  It's safe and courteous...and BTW, if I pull out at the same time as you pass me that I didn't know, we're both going down...not just me, so really, it benefits us ALL if you just open your mouth and utter those three little words.  I rolled into transition in 2nd place for the amateur race and was still leading the AG.  I knew I would need to continue to build my lead if I had any hope of holding Emily K. off as the girl can run (ran a 3;19 in the end).  Unfortunately, I lost a minute to her on the bike and only had an 8 minute buffer.

Run nutrition: one scoop of pre-load as I hit the run and then 5 gels, coke and water at every aid station, a 5hour energy around mile 13 and then glucose tabs during the last 10k.  Total kcals using an estimate of 2oz/coke per aid station (let's say 20 of the 26) is 966 or 276/hour.

Running to the finish. Pic by Sonja
Run: 3:35:26 vs LY of 3:29:35 wah wha...
I think we all feel like this, but I'll still say it.  Why is it that what I can do in training doesn't materialize on race day for my marathon?  I can do my long runs at IM HR averaging why can't I even just seem to manage a 7:55 pace?  I'm not asking for 7:40's (yet...don't get greedy), but come on Hailey.  Maybe I just don't push hard enough?  I didn't have a HR monitor so no idea what my HR was and I was comfortably uncomfortable.  Mark always says I hate being uncomfortable so maybe that is the next things to work on.  Being uncomfortable running for long periods of time.

COKE! WATER! Pic by Nick Weiler
look at those high knees...not mine! Pic by Nick Weiler
The run course in AZ seems so desolate to me.  I think Texas and Kona spoil you, but truly the run support and volume of spectators is so high in TX (3 lap run) that it seemingly never ends.  The Coeur team had an AMAZING cheer section in the middle of nowhere along this course so that was so helpful, but if you do this course, be prepared for some serious YOU time where you will need to rally your positive self talk.  Speaking of self talk, I feel like I had a successful race mostly due in part to my mind on the day.  When I slowed, I assumed that so was everyone else and I told myself NO walking even through aid stations.  At one point, Emily was charging hard and Robin had shrunk my gap down to less than a minute.  But I did not panic and just kept telling myself that I am the durable athlete and that if I just keep WORKING MY PROCESS, I will have the success I am looking for.  Yes, I wanted to qualify for Kona and I knew that meant I had to finish in the top two as there were only 40 slots at this race.  But each time that thought would come into my head, I pushed it out and focused on the moment I was, drink, lean forward or at least try listen to the info Sonja gives you when you pass her and soak in the cheers.  On repeat. ON the 2nd lap, Emily made the pass and I moved into 2nd in our AG.  I had begun to open up a gap on Robin and was comfortably in 2nd.  At mile 24, a gal was coming from the 40-44 AG and Sonja asked me I had to decide if I wanted 2nd OA amateur or 3rd.  I couldn't rally my mind or body to hold on to 2nd and that is OK.  I think you can only go so deep a few times per year and I had already gone there in Kona.  I started to feel really rough from 24-26 and don't remember ever having to really will myself to the finish like I did here.  But then, there it was and poof, just like that, another IM is over and my season was done.  How does a nearly 10 hour day just go by in the blink?  I guess that' what happens when you're having FUN.

Kona Love
After the race, Sonja and I walked back to the hotel, showered up and wen tin search of pub food. The next morning after the usual, up until midnight on caffeine, girl talk and social media, sleep for three hours, picnic in bed, sleep another two hours, we were off to breakfast with the team at Snooze. I love going to this race for the sheer amount of Coeur teammies there.  It's such a special team, I really don't know where I'd be without these ladies.

Then we headed to awards and I accepted my Kona slot.  I can't believe this will be my 8th time on the island.  There's no place I'd rather be on the 2nd Saturday in October.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tri Holiday Guide

So it's Black Friday/Small Biz Saturday/Cyber Monday and maybe you're wondering what could you ever get that triathlete in your life?  Or you're looking for a list to give to folks buying for you...or maybe you just need to treat yo self! Look no further...these are the things that I use day in and day OUT to get me through my triathlife and maybe they can work for you too!  Look for the discount codes too! they for tri, bike run or swim, Coeur Sports has me covered.  We're also doing a Black Friday sale for 30% off so use code BF1630 to get you some as this stuff is rarely on sale!

Wheels, handle bars, stems...all the trimmings to make your whip fast and aero.  Hand made in Utah by the great folks at enve composites.  These wheels have NEVER let me down and I feel oh so stable in them, even in the mumuku winds of Kona.  And if you buy more than $75 right now, you'll be entered into a drawing for a set of wheels or a handlebar.  #treatyoself

BT Nutrition keeps me fueled day in and day out without all of the sugar of powerade.  Keep the hydration, ditch the sugar.  Use code WELOVESNBS for 10% off and see for yourself how much better your GI system behaves once you put the hydration in your bottles and keep the food in your pockets. enough of us pay attention to this and it is CRUCIAL to staying injury free (my new fave word is DURABLE) as well as keeping bone density high for the ladies.  The team at SBT Extreme has THE suspension trainer and right now you can get 25% off using code BF2016

Real Food..I live for it during training so that come race day, my fave race nutrition tastes fresh and like a treat.  Barnana is the perfect training food or pre/post workout snack to refuel with a good amount of carbs and fiber.  These tasty bites are organic and non-GMO.  My fave flavors are coconut and peanut butter. BOOM!

Race food- race day is a whole 'nother ball game and for race day I use a combo of my salty balls and Gu Stroopwafels with a little PB squished in it sammy like on the bike and then switch to gels on the run.  My fave flavors from Gu are the Caramel Coffee and GF Chocolate wafels and then I love the caramel macchiato and espresso love.   Right now Gu is offering 20% off site wide, no code necessary.

Just keep swimming...Just like Dory, we all need to keep swimming and the off-season is a great time to work on that swim stroke with pool toys by ROKA.  They also make the best wetsuits.  Full stop.  I get no neck chafing, and my shoulders feel unrestricted.  My go-to goggles from ROKA are the F1 in the jade tint for overcast days and the dark amber mirror for sunny days. These guys are offering 40% off for Black Friday (no code needed) so get some before it's GONE. 

What to keep all of your dirty clothes in while traveling, or put that wet swimsuit in instead of using yet another plastic bag and wasting things?  Aloha Collection offers bags that I use for everything...toiletries (even if they explode in the bag, i can just wash the bag and nothing else gets ruined), clothes, race day nutrition....the list goes on.  They're offering 25% off for this weekend with the code ALOHAFRIDAY!

Sunnies...for race day or post race looking casual chic, Smith Optics has you covered and looking on point.  My go to's for race day are the Arena for biking and the Asana for runs. For casual glasses, the Sidney is my jam. They also make amazing aero helmets (coming in March) and an incredibly safe road helmet, the Overtake which I've been using for 2 seasons now. 

Protein.  Say it with me, 30min window.  That's what you have after each workout to refuel properly to get your body kick started on recovery.  My recovery shake that I make is so good that I sometimes train just so I can have one! My recipe is 2 scoops organic chocolate Muscle Milk powder, 1c almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 serving peanut butter, ice and Voila!  If you like chocolate and PB, you will love this.  Sometimes i add a shot of cold brew and it's like a mocha. 

This might be on the bigger end of what you're asking for for The Holidays, but hey, a gal can dream, right?!  I've been riding Argon18 bikes for 6 years now.  I can't say enough for how well they handle, how well they are built and how amazing the Argon Family is.  For day to day riding since it's so hilly here in NorCal, I ride the Nitrogen Pro road bike.  I also raced Escape From Alcatraz on this since it's such a technical course and the bike is so aero.  My race bike is the E119 tri+ and it is amazing and so easy to take apart/build for races that include travel.

What are your fave things that make triathlon easier?  I hope you enjoy and have a great Holiday Season!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Big Island Time

Super Supporter
It's already been almost two weeks (how is that possible?) since Kona #7 and we've been home for almost a week.  We flew back home after a week of relaxing with friends post race and arrived home to....rain!  Oh man, not at all what I wanted to see.  Yes, CA is still in a massive drought so we def need the rain, but after a month of sunshiney paradise, it wasn't a beautiful sight.  I know, you can play the worlds smallest violin for me...a MONTH in Hawaii and you are complaining about coming home to California?  I know, terrible, how about we blame the post race blues? do you have post race anything after a month in Hawaii and the opportunity to race your 16th Ironman and 7th Kona?  Now you have a bit of insight into how I feel after each race.  Particularly post Kona is  really hard for me.  Not doing much training, still tired from the race and worst of all?  Friends that you normally see for almost the entire weekend between 6 hour rides, 2+ hour long runs, swims and strength, are also in their off season, so friend time goes down to a lot less (yes, we will work on some dinner/wine dates, but not at all the same as all weekend sun friend time!).  Queue your sad panda face here.  Does this happen to anyone else?  It must, right?

Friends make Kona even better
The race?  Ah yes, the purpose here is to talk about the race.  It's hard to be so Type-A, this was a really hard race for me (what about it was so hard?  I can't put my finger on that yet).  I got back to work and colleagues asked if I had a great race.  I had a GOOD race, it was solid and consistent with my performances over the season.  For that, I am incredibly grateful.  You see the carnage that Kona creates and all along the course, you see dreams crushed.  When I see that, I put any ego in check and tell myself it ain't over until I cross that line, shorts unsoiled ;) I am incredibly aware that I have been gifted 7 solid races in Kona and for that, I am so thankful.  Did I want to do better?  ALWAYS!  Who doesn't?  Was I happy with 5th place and a 3rd umeke bowl?  To use meaning from the umeke, yes, I know what it feels like to feel full to the brim with happiness and gratitude.  The women in front of me, were stellar, all running a few minutes faster than me and a few biking faster.  In order to have done better, I would have had to have one of those, ON FIRE, feeling FAB races.  And I just didn't have that day, and that is A-OK...those races are so few and far between, that you have to mostly do the best with a GOOD day that you can.  And that's what I did.  Below are some thoughts on each leg...

Coeur and Betty Undies!
Race week was so much fun as always, the underpants run is a great fundraiser and a chance to be silly pre-race, and bike check in is like the red carpet for triathletes.   Argon18 had a great dinner on Wednesday for their athletes and getting to see the crew from Roka often was just awesome. 

Pre race food: rice, two eggs, avocado, cold brew coffee, bottle of BT hydration.  30min pre race, 1 bottle pre-load and a banana.  Total kcals ~750

Roka Swim: 1:01:38 (EXACT same time as 2013 aka the FAST year when I went sub-10) ties for my PB in Kona
pretending to swim like a dolphin
I lined up pretty much in the center of the front line.  I planned to go out hard and then hold on as best I could for the swim.  It honestly wasn't that bad, I am such a fan of the separate start for women.  It did get crowded and a bit pushy right before the gun went off, but that's 700+ nerves just WAITING to be released, that is not avoidable.  I hit it hard and at one point was thinking it would be nice to slow down..then reminded myself if I did, I would promptly be run the eff over by the women not slowing down on their dreams.  So I pressed on.  I messed up my garmin at the start so didn't have swim time, but only actual time of day so I saw at the turn around it had been 29 minutes, which I have seen way too often en route to a 1:04/1:05 swim split here.  Finally, we got a bit of assistance on the way back and pretty evenly split the swim.  We started going through the men before the turn around, but I and by I, I mean the gal I was drafting off of for the ENTIRE race seem to have found a better path through them this year and didn't have too many issues.  I was happy that I kept on it and was able to stay focused the entire swim, thinking about good cadence and finishing strong.  As with this entire day, the swim was over before I knew it and it's time to RIDE!

Bike Nutriton: Half recipe of salty balls, two Gu stroopwafels (SO GOOD), 7 bottles of BT Hydration, loads of water, and two bottles of coke (can I get an amen for coke on the bike?) For a total kcal count of about 1700 or roughly 310/hour which is LOW for me, I am typically around 350-375

Argon18 and Enve Bike: 5:39:56
Mile 111 and smiles
Pre-race, for the past few months (er, 6+) I'd been having some pretty rough back pain and had been doing everything I could to quash it....mobility daily, massage, chiro, acupuncture, anything I thought would help it, I was doing!  Thankfully, the rest from the taper made things much better and I was able to ride pain-free which was awesome...I normally start to get really tight in my lower back around mile 90?...maybe an indicator I could have gone harder if nothing was hurting?  I want my 2013 time back please of 5:16!  I've not had amazing bikes here over the past three years and need to get some of my biking prowess back.  This is where I was out split pretty significantly by 4th and 1st place...there is always work to do right?  And that is what keeps us coming back for more, and more and more....The bike this year was very different, I was riding closely to a few women who I know to be very solid performers so thought I was having a pretty good bike if I could stick with them.  It's fun to see how differently people ride, I tend to be strong on flatter sections and will get passed on hills and then re-pass on the flatter to down section.  Being around these women I know personally was great, we were able to encourage each other, exchange a few words about how drafting sucks, etc.  But again, having them in my sights was a great motivator.   There was a head wind in both directions (how does that happen every single year?!), and thankfully the cross winds coming down from Hawi were pretty tame.  Mark was out on the Kuakini, and at Kawaihae along with two other friends so seeing them and getting encouragement is just awesome.  Mark has the spectating game NAILED.  The aid stations were also one point I was giving too many fist bumps to "Let me take another Selfie" and missed a bottle...whoops!  I had also been having some MAJOR stomach issues race week (hello stress and too many acai bowls) so was not able to eat as much as I normally would have and started to crave water only around mile 90 but forced myself to keep drinking the hydration mix as I know how critical electrolytes are.

Run kcals: 5 gels, 2 glucose tabs, coke!  Total about 322/hour estimating 2oz of coke/mile

Smith and Coeur Run: 3:33:00 pretty standard...I ran a 3:32 LY and a 3:30:59 the year before...where is the 3:25 that I KNOW is in there?!!

Anyone behind me?!!
I knew that as I headed into the run, I was a bit low on calories so as I headed out of transition, I immediately had a gel, my 5hour energy, and a top up of pre-load so that I didn't have to drink any gatorade. I carried 4 Gu's with me and had one more in special needs (anyone else find that the Clif gels on course are like bricks and you actually have to bite into them?) and planned to have one every 30min so that combined with coke, I would be able to hit a pretty good kcal intake for the run.  I know that we got lucky this year on the run as cloud cover came in just after I left Alii and headed up onto the Queen K.  So again, it was a hard year for me and really with cloud cover, I'm not so sure why, but MAN did the run hurt.  The first few miles for me are always pretty hard, you've already gone a long way, you've got a long way to go and I haven't yet really found my rhythm.  I immediately start my, ice in the bra/hat, coke, water at every aid station and am oh so thankful for those cold sponges.  I came off of the bike in 6th place and just had my plan of running as I could and hopefully I would find gals as the day wore on.  Going into the energy lab, Mark told me 4th was JUST ahead of me and I made my pass to overtake her on the downhill into the lab.  Unfortunately, Mark had miscounted and he let me know as I came out of the energy lab, that I was actually in 5th.  WAH,wah...6ish miles to go and I had to hang on for 5th as 4th was 7 minutes up the road, there was not likely to be a 4th place finish in my future.  The gal in 6th was about 2 minutes back and stayed there, but the 7th place gal was moving fast and overtook for 6th and ended up only a minute back from me, so the end of the run wasn't super enjoyable as I was feeling the pressure to keep up the pace and wasn't really able to enjoy the end of the run on Alii as much as possible.  Thank you to Michelle for taking the best panic pic of me and telling me there was no one behind me! As I went under the Banyan tree, I tried to smile and enjoy it and as I crossed the finish line, I just had nothing...couldn't even do my normal arms in the air as I cross the line in celebration.  The tank was empty! I had an awesome catcher at the finish line who had to hand deliver me to Mark as I needed a bit of support!

Waterfall landing
It really was one of the most awesome trips ever.  I got to swim with dolphins for the first time ever, hung out with good friends who I only get to see in Kona, and took a helicopter trip of the island that BLEW my socks off. To see lava flowing is just powerful and awesome.  

Jana & I share another podium
There really is no finish line like the Hawaii finish line, the spectators along Alii are just awesome, all of the chalk messages from friends and family, the smell of the Banyan tree, it's just magical and I'm grateful for the opportunity to have crossed another finish line.  It's now time for a bit of rest and to see what the next year will bring! 

I couldn't get to the start line without the help of my immediate and extended family including sponsors and friends.  Many mahalos to all of you!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hometown Racing

Oh man, the procrastination on this one has been LARGE and in CHARGE.  It's been over a week since I raced in my hometown at the Ohio 70.3.  I've never had the opportunity to race at home and it really was awesome.  To have your closest friends and family there, the people that love you the most and could care less about your results, standing on the course just to cheer you on.  If you have the opportunity to do this and haven't yet..DO IT!!  While I feel like I had a pretty lackluster race, the experience was gold.  And like they say, in XX years time, you won't remember what place you got (really?!), you'll remember the experiences you had, this will go down as one great trip home.

My mama, the gal who started it all
One of the highlights from this trip was riding bikes with my mom...even though she didn't always remember WE were in taper mode ;) Riding with her reminded me of how naturally I come by my competitive spirit...I say "i'll be right here" and all of the sudden, she's 100 meters up the road just seeing how long it will take me to catch her.  Say it with me...MOM (roll your eyes).

Pre-Swim w/teammie Melissa
Leading up the race I'd been pretty tired and have been having some issues with my back/hamstring that saw me miss some key sessions.  I'm not setting these out there as excuses as on the day, my swim and run were flatter than a tire that ran over a pile of tacks.  I've raced a LOT this season and have had a fun time doing it, but it caught up to me at this race.  Now the only thing to do is ensure I'm getting enough rest, which is hard for me to do...I loathe seeing/hearing about others knock out BIG training weeks while I'm doing less.  It is hard to keep in perspective that what works for others doesn't work for me. I need to focus on staying injury free and getting to the start line in Kona in the best form possible. This is the time when I just need to put blinders on and focus on what I can do and what MY plan is.

My workouts the week of the race felt rough, but I am pretty good at not letting a workout effect how I think a race will go.  You never know what will happen on race day, right?  That's always my motto. However, the swim was also ROUGH from the get go..not rough water but I didn't feel strong even though I was at the front of our AG wave and then it just felt long, like when in the heck is this going to be over long...where's the finishing arch?  Oh man, over there?!!Just keep swimming...Turns out everyone felt the swim was long or very slow so as always once the swim is over, it's time to bike and forget the swim!

The bike getting dialed in!
Onto the bike we went...this was the best part of the day for me.  I was really looking forward to a flat bike course, this course had only 700 feet of elevation gain.  Do you know how rare that is in CA?! Like never...I can't ride 90 minutes without getting in 700 ft of climbing!  This was a treat as I LOVE flat riding. We were on tiny chip seal roads but there was SO little traffic and so many corn fields that it was perfect.  I saw the tar on some roads heating up and bubbling and remembered when I was a kid we used to go and pop the tar bubbles...Where'd you grow up?! ;) I got to ride in aero almost the entire ride which is great Kona practice and my Argon18 felt great! I've been loving the Gu StoopWafel's so had those on the bike (found the salty balls too tough to eat on really hard efforts like a 70.3 recently) I rode strong and came off of the bike in first place.  Cherish that feeling as it won't last long!

Pics by Dad are always better
Perfect OH summer day
Run...oh the run.  The BEST part about it was my crew.  That and running on roads I grew up riding! The run was a double loop and happened to run RIGHT by a close family friend's house.  So ALL of the family friends gathered there and created the best cheering section ever!  Honestly, the other runners around me all commented on both laps that "wow, you have the best fan club",  "ohh, your cheering section is awesome".  How lucky was I?!! It was cool to have everyone is one spot and then to have Mark leapfrogging me on the course to cheer me on.  He knew there wasn't anything in the legs and once first place stormed by me, he went into cheering mode :) I at one point stopped and tried to say sorry to Mark.  I had had such expectations for this race, so I was having a small pity party at the start of the run.  I then told myself oh well, this is what you've got today now pull your head OUT OF your rear and just do what you can do.  It wasn't even like I felt like the running was hard, but my HR was high and as soon as I tried to push harder, I just would have to stop.  But that's racing, sometimes you just don't have it.  Better here than in October.  And I got to work on my mental game when crap was going wrong, so why don't we count that as a win for the day?
W35-39 Podium! 

FAVE ice cream ever!!
I was reading a blog yesterday by Chris Hauth and it was the perfect time for me to read this.  Not that Ohio was a wasn't (and I know...2nd place is not bad at all), but it also wasn't the kind of result I expect from myself and my abilities.  I've had a week of rest and am now ready to roll into the last push to Kona.

"Failure reminds us what we are working for, why we are working for it.  Overcoming obstacles makes us stronger – helps us realize that the path is littered with challenges.  The path to great results must be hard, hence why it is such a rewarding, valuable, delicate path!  It brings out our true emotions to why sport is important to us.  Failure narrows our focus again on what our goals are."- Chris Hauth

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Lessons Learned

Last Sunday, I toed the line at my 11th consecutive Vineman 70.3 race.  Wondering how that's possible that a sport has captured me for so long as well as looking back on old pics and thinking...MAN, I've come a loooooong way!

W35-39 podium
The short story is that I ended up 2nd in the AG (by an agonizing 71 seconds) and 6th amateur female.  This race continues to be extremely competitive and always brings out the best athletes from around the country. Which is need to lien up against the best to see what you're made of.  It's no wonder either, the setting is ideal and the wine tasting post race is 2nd to none.

Russian River Goodness
The longer version starts here.  Mark has and continues to make fun of me and pretty much ALL triathletes for our complete lack of skills on the bike...lack of flying dismounts (I actually do this), running with bike shoes on, not able to get going on a hill (what, doesn't everybody scoot and then try to pedal?!).  You name it, and he calls us all muppets.  I'm not outing the poor guy, he'll gladly make fun of you to your face if you show up and do one of these things...he expects more from me for sure and feels it's a vital part of triathlon that is grossly overlooked.  Noted coach, noted. I've never felt more sure that I need to work on some things than after this race.  Losing by 71 seconds is a tough pill to swallow.  Not that Robin (the winner) wasn't awesome...she is, but I made some errors Sunday that I am disappointed in and they ended up being costly.   I think in Ironman racing, it's so long, that we tend to overlook the smaller details that could end up saving us time, brushing them off as not necessary in triathlon...when am I going to have to get going up a hill? Vineman?
Post race FUN with friends

To be clear...2nd isn't bad, I'm not ungrateful for the good things, but I expect the BEST from myself and this is the first time in a long time that I felt I made easily avoidable mistakes and for that, I'm disappointed in myself.  As I voiced my disappointment on Tuesday to a friend, I was asked "did you have a good time?".  The answer is YES, I did.  I got to race with friends, and then go out in wine country, and have a great meal with friends. And even in disappointment comes good learnings, so that is a good time too!

Positive take away's from the race:
I was faster than LY, yeah!  Only a minute, but hey, faster is faster, right?!!

Bike JAM Session
The bike...I have been working on trying to have a higher HR on the bike and to really push as last season was kind of meh for me bike wise and I used to be SUCH a biker.  So to really get after the bike was the goal on Sunday and I did that.  It felt great to try to just JAM around the vines.  However jamming, led me to not be loving eating whole food as much as usual...those salty balls a re a bit hard to chew when breathing and snotting all over the place!  Maybe chomps for halfs from now on?

I was destroyed on Monday...almost like I'd done a full I was happy with that knowing that that feeling only comes when we push hard.

Things I need to continue to work on:
LEAN...say it now. Pic by @MarioFraioli
Run form...lean forward coach said...and I just could not lean forward.  I couldn't force the hurt. Don't get me wrong, it hurt...but I just couldn't go beyond that into the next zone. My HR on the run matched that on the bike...not exactly what we're shooting for! I consistently run much faster in training and my IM pace seems to be my 70.3 pace too...not cool dudes.  I hope to really work on this for Ohio 70.3 next month.

Two girls looking to re-fuel!
Speed jersey woes...I didn't wear the speed jersey under my wetsuit as I've not done it (nothing new on race day) so i put it on in that what everyone does?  It is so worth it from a sun protection perspective, but i hate feeling like I lose 10 seconds to do this...see above ;)  I then also took it off in T2 costing another few clicks of the second hand.  It's starting to add up!  In Ohio, I either need to go without or try to wear it under my swimskin...Opinions on this are welcome!!

So now we move it right along and as Mark said to me on Sunday when I asked what the gap was to 3rd..."we're not even looking at that, we are only looking at what's ahead" (FYI, I totally didn't appreciate this at the's a much better metaphor than it is in real time). It's time to look ahead to Ohio 70.3 and the final push to Kona!

Hope your training is KICKING BOOTY and thanks for following along!