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Monday, December 15, 2008

Ironman Arizona...Race Report



Okay, so most of you believed I could do it. I can honestly say- I was starting to wonder if I could as well. 3 Ironmans in 3 Mos- actually, in 57 days. That is a feat only Joe Bonness or Hilary Biscay would attempt, and be really good at. I had some great results thus far at IM UK, taking 4th in AG and finishing in 11:45- a brutal day, weather-wise, and the course wasn't too easy. Then, Kona- of course, beautiful scenery and demoralizing humidity- 11:54, finishing time. Going into Arizona, I was really really hoping to finish in under 12 hours- and praying that my body would hold up and I wouldn't snap an Achilles or strain my IT band and have to pull out. Who knows what you start to think going into a final race- especially when having raced for so long the entire year- and having 2 very long, intense races under your belt prior.

I drove myself to Arizona- Tempe, to be exact. I was having a dear friend of mine from the Midwest, Nicole, come and meet me there. Last time she was at a race of mine, I took home 2nd Place overall and $250. So, she had been good luck in the past. I could hope for better weather than both the UK and Kona- at least, weather that resembled Santa Clarita. Leading up to Arizona, after taking 1 week off after Kona and doing some easy swimming and spinning, I made up a "loose" training plan to lead up to Arizona. Basically- do what I felt like each day, and make sure that I got in at least 1 longer workout a week in each discipline. I ended up only swimming a few times, but did multiple indoor bike workouts- some of which were 2-3 hours, Interval training focused. My runs, I kept off the pavement and made routine drives to go run on trails and on the grass- like Santa Monica, San Vicente...

I got into Arizona and met up with Mike, a friend of mine from college. He took me out and had dinner. Then, the next few days, I just chilled out at the hotel and did some exploring of the course. I had my car, which was really nice- I was able to have that freedom to check things out and drop my stuff off when I wanted..didn't need to wait for anyone to give me a ride, or pick anyone up. I liked that- a lot less stressful.

The days leading up the race, I was actually nervous. Can't say why exactly, but I had some doubt that I hadn't yet felt this year. Perhaps my last "hurrah"- so, I didn't want to screw up my last race. I called my mom- asked for her advice, she gave me some good luck, and after I cried a few times, I felt better. Yeah, I cried. I was super nervous. Nic was getting in very late the night before the race, so I slept lightly until she got into the room at 11 at night. It didn't matter- I was mentally ready, and I told myself- this would all be over in less than 24 hours.

Woke up, drove to the start. Got my bike checked one last time. It was going to be a great day to have a fast bike if I did everything right. I was mentally ready to crush this mo-fo. I was embarassed at Kona- I am not kidding. I thought I should have ridden a lot faster, and I didn't want to do that again. I had worked my ass off on that thing, and I was determined to show myself that I could ride a sub-6 hour bike in an Ironman. No excuses today. I was going to ride hard, and if I blew up in the run, I would- the bike, I needed it for my own sanity.

The swim was a great start- Tempe Town Lake. Dirty, dirty...cold as hell... and a 'jump in' water start. I am the kid at the end of the pool who dips her toes in, then up to the ankles, then to the knees..then...maybe 10 mins later, "in". I hate a jump in start- that is just mean. But, I went in with a new (cute) friend- he counted down, and I couldn't help but jump in with him and follow him to the start buoys.

I love the music before the start- they have such goofy songs to play before the Ironman. I mean, it is a long long race- you would think maybe they would play something a bit more mellow...yet still intense...maybe a bit meditative- no, they play AC/DC 'Thunderstruck'- last IM in Wisconsin- Eminem. Cracks me up- but, got me fired up. Did one last 'P' and was ready for one last long day.

The swim was an out and back. Felt great the entire time...despite the lack of swimming I had done after Kona. I was still in great swim shape, and let me tell you- the roughest swim I have had. Mean, mean people- smacking my head, I don't know how many times. I am not scared- I will get up in that mess. I am an agressive swimmer myself, but honestly- I don't hit people 'harder' on purpose. Some of these athletes get so agro. Funny, it really is.

I headed back into the finish and ran up the stairs. Lots of volunteers there to strip the wetsuits...no way. I can take off my own. I had swam in 1:01. Not too bad...Looking good going into T1. Got my bike stuff on, and ready to head off onto the 3-lap course. That was going to be the hardest part of the day- going 3 x's around the same course. But, would be predictable and easy to pace if I did it correctly.

I won't tell you about the entire bike. Just that I hated the first lap, and then it got better after mile 40 or so. Didn't have any malfunctions- Dominique fixed my Kuota up super fine after Kona, so it was running perfectly. I had a great 3rd lap- met a friend along the way, and a few 'not-so-nice' riders. One guy in particular had some beef with me b/c I talked smack about him eating on the bike and not paying attention. He said something to me in Spanish- I understood, but played it off like I didn't. I beat him into T2, so that should have said enough. Coach Nic was taking pics the entire time and she was there everytime I came around for the laps. Damn, I felt good today... Super sunny, and in the 80s. Perfect riding day.

I came in off the bike, and holy sh$t, I rode a 5:31. Yeah, it wasn't too hilly- but the wind was a challenge for us, and you had to bike it smart so that you didn't mash too hard- wondering how the run would feel. I got into T2- penalty/free this time- and changed into my customary marathon apparel. I didn't know it at the time, but I was 3rd in my AG coming off the bike. So, in good position for a Kona spot again.

The run would also be 3 laps. Good because there were lots of people cheering you on. Bad because it was the lap thing again, and it was a bit up and down in spots. Hard on the legs, really is- especially when it is all pavement. The first 6 miles were tough- mainly b/c it was still hot, and not shaded at all. I was holding a 8:45 pace- and then, mile 12, I was feeling a bit hungry and light-headed. Needed to eat a bit more. I had 1 Clif bar on the bike- 16 salt pills, and about 8 gels. Close to 4 Gatorade bottles..enough calories for what I was expending for sure. Just needed a wee-bit more. So, took it a bit easier until mile 20, then my goal was to get under 11 hours. I could do it if I really hustled- and perhaps ran 8:30 miles. It would be a lot to ask, but so darn close.

I was close. 11:01. I missed it by 1 min. And only got passed on the run by 1 other chick in my AG- so, I finished 4th. Not too bad for my 3rd IM in that short amount of time- 4th in UK, 4th in AZ. I had a great, great race, and I was super excited when I was done. Nic and I went straight over to get a beer and Quesadilla at Hooters- of all places, and then met Mike at Applebees for a Oreo Shake.

Onto next year:
*New Age Group: 30-34
New Orleans 70.3
Wildflower Long Course
Ironman France
Ironman Louisville
Kona!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Kona Final.. Race Day



Woke up at 4:45am...got picked up by Lisa and her family. Had my breakfast and my coffee...and, got ready to head to transition for body marking..

The transition area in Kona was really similar to any other, except it was much more organized and they had nice, fake green grass down on the ground around the bikes. Our T1 and T2 bags were hung neatly and our escorts were there in the morning handing out extra bike pumps to make sure we were perfect. No wetsuits to worry about in the swim, so got in line for the bathroom, and headed close to the water. I decided not to wear the skin suit- I will swim like I swim, with nothing on but my sports bra and shorts, and call it good. I was freshly shaven and I felt damn fast anyway..who needs a skinsuit...

The swim start is in the water, and it takes a few moments before they set off the canon. And, hopefully, I won't be right under it, or maybe I will.. Seriously, right under it. It was so loud, and all I could think about was, "this was going to be a long day...have fun". The last two words I said to myself- HAVE FUN.

The swim was very unique and almost calming. It was beautiful how clear it was, and all the fish I had seen the 4 days before were the same- they were not aware of us swimming around in their world. Or, maybe they were- no one noticed. I followed all of the feet to the big boat turnaround- just one turn, that was it. A very straight forward swim, actually. I had reached the turnaround, and had felt a few feet in front of me. I thought they were feet- but, in fact, it was one of the amputees. I was a bit shocked, but then a bit humbled all at the same time. It was pretty amazing to me to know that I was racing with these athletes, without equality in limbs, but with so much passion, drive, and spirit- it really made me happy to be alive and healthy.

I finished the swim, and was feeling great. I had swam a 1:10, which was about 10 minutes slower than my wetsuit time, but honestly, I was happy. I wanted to get changed and get on the bike. I have never really looked forward to this part of the race, and especially this one- I knew the wind was an obvious force and had no idea just how gnarly it was going to be. But, let's just say I was up for anything, and there was no turning back.

The first 30-40 miles were not too bad. Cyclists around me even after 30 miles had white rings around their pants where their sweat had run. I looked at me- same story. I had already started popping salt pills, and after 3 hours, had taken about 10 or so. I had planned to take 30 on the bike, and had enough to last me. I was confident in my nutrition that way. We headed up to Hawi- to the turnaround. It was a very pleasant STRONG SIDE-HEAD wind- not sure what the hell you wanted to call it. All I know was that you couldn't ride aero- no matter who you were. If you were 300 lbs, you couldn't. This wind was serious, but I was singing the whole time. No way was I going to get mad or fight it. I went with it, and knew..only 20 miles and then we can get a little help on the way back...just mind the nutrition.

Turnaround- it was great. People there cheering, and an instant downhill for a bit. The next 30 miles were a bit more of the same, but I kept my cadence high and didn't fight too much. I figured this was a bonus for me. Come mile 90-110 or so, I was in great shape and I actually passed a lot of people who were just dying. A bit too hard in the beginning and now people were in trouble. I actually ran into my friend Graham and he needed some more salt. So, I gave him a few pills- it was going to be a long marathon for him.

Come Mile 105, I had a interesting interruption- a guy in black and white stripes on a motorcycle wanted to bust me for drafting behind the Navy Seal champion guy...the big handsome black dude- do you know him? Anyway, I was only behind him 10 feet when the guy flashed me the red card. I was like, where is the next penalty tent- I am practically on the run.. He said, "In T2- you are probably tired and want a rest anyway- that will be 4 minutes". Funny- the only penalty I have ever gotten, and it was at the World Championships.

I got to the tent- peed, and had a chat with Kathy. Then, got to my T2 gear, changed up for the run, and then headed off to Ali'i drive. Yes, 26.2 miles to go. I don't remember too much about the run except for miles 12-20 out to the energy lab totally sucked- I mean, I was holding 8:45 pace, but that just slowed me down to a 9min mile pace...and I was feeling so tired. I was hoping I would find my 2nd wind...and praying to get out of the lab to the last 10K. You know you have done an IM or two when you start praying for mile 20 of the marathon and hoping to descend your last 10K.

I got out of the energy lab, and had my last solace in a bottle of vaseline, which I spread all over my underarms and thighs. I was greased perfectly, and I even ran by a bag of M&Ms- a huge bag, someone must have had in their special needs, but didn't need. I thought about taking a handful, but didn't have the energy to pick it up. I had 6 miles left, and I wanted to finish before dark. I WAS NOT GOING TO TAKE A GLOW STICK. HELL NO. So, I turned on all the adrenaline I could muster, and looked at my watch- I could definitely whip out a sub 12-hour Kona if I paced this just right and didn't blow. I was on my way...

Mile 23, great. 24, even better. Mile 25- the best sign in the world at this point. You should see me sprint the last mile of the IM Marathon. I look like I have the biggest diaper on that you have ever seen- not sure my hips moved that way. And, my poor feet! I was sprinting, though..and I crossed the line, felt great, and didn't need much help. I was a 2x Ironman and had the biggest smile on my face. I conquered Kona, like my mom said, and it was the most amazing feeling I have had in a long time.

1 more to go...Ironman Arizona...5 weeks...can she do it? Report to follow...

Monday, November 17, 2008

KONA- Part 2...

Oh yeah..so Shave Ice. That is where I left off. I swore by it. Everyday, right before sunset, I would have a large one...sometimes with the frozen yogurt inside. It was so good. I really really love that stuff. Wouldn't have it everyday if I were not training or racing, but a definite treat.

The day or two before the race, people were still running around training heaps, as if they hadn't trained enough for it. I am sure there are countless people who are injured that go into Kona- because they qualified at a race so far before the actual October dance, yet they are not going to miss this- the most important one of the season. I mean, there are lots of people who end up walking the marathon, just to finish and say they completed Kona. Not sure if I would have been able to do the same, but I wasn't in their shoes. Very very tough to NOT do Kona, a race that you worked so hard to qualify for- some people, spending their entire lives to do the big race.

The day before, I was getting all of my stuff ready. Monty went out with me to do a short jog, and then Lisa gave me her skin suit to try for the swim. I was thinking about it- as we can't wear wetsuits for the swim. I was thinking that I would wear the fast suit, but then again...was also thinking it would be too much hassle. After all, had never wore one in a race before, or even practiced enough in it. I decided to shave instead- I shaved everything, from my arms, to my legs of course, to my hands, to my feet, to my tummy...everything that was exposed to water and would feel the fastness of the shaven skin against the water.

I had all of my Transition bags packed and headed into the T-Area to check my bike and get my bags ready. The bike count at Kona is always crazy. Lots of bike people sitting at the entrance of the Transition area counting the brands of bikes. Cervelo won again this year, much thanks to Wellington and her wins. Kuota was in 2nd place, though. Good job for them. Honestly to me- it is really not about the bike. I was on a Felt that I had to borrow in order to win Oceanside, so that worked that day for me. It was really me who biked the shit out of that course- not the bike. But, honestly, it might be my Kueen-K who shows up this weekend and bikes hard on the Tempe course. Looking forward to this weekend for sure!

I had a nice dinner prior to the race. I had a cheeseburger with some fries, and a beer. Pretty good mix of carbs, fat and protein. No need to watch your calories the night before the race. I never do. In fact, the entire week before, I try to eat healthy in healthy portions. I don't always eat red meat, but the night before, it gives me the extra boost of energy.

I went back to the hotel and fell asleep by 10 o'clock. I was getting a ride in the morning at about 4:45, and I thought that would be plenty of sleep. Honestly, I don't sleep all that well the night before a race, but that night, I really did sleep well. I slept very well. So, when the morning came, I was ready.. Heat or winds, bring it on...

Part 3- Race Report- to come...

Friday, November 14, 2008

KONA RACE REPORT- Finally! (Part 1)

Okay...so, I apologize for this taking so long, but I am finally done with it. I mean, I have let the entire experience soak in and now I can finally publish all the sights, sounds, feelings, and emotions of the week..in this little space. I am not going to tell all, just most- and if I forget anything, that is ok- I am sure I will remember in another blog...

I might even split this up into Part 1/Part 2...

Part 1: The days leading up to the race...The race is on October 11th. I got to Kona on the 3rd and was hanging out by myself for a few days. I checked into the Royal Kona Resort and had a room right on the water. I was hungry, so went down to eat at Huggos on the water- and had a waiter who had done Kona 10+ times wait on me- and tell me his stories. Campbell is his name. We had a great chat and over a traditional Mai Tai and steak dinner, it couldn't be any better. I woke up the next morning and saw what the stretch of Ali'i drive was going to be like- and found Lava Java. Yes, everyone and their mother goes there for coffee fill and food- way over-priced, but did I mention- EVERYONE goes there :) It is a great place to meet other tri dorks and see the pros- If you are into that...

I tested the waters at the swim start. I was only 1 mile away, so I would run nice and easy to the water in the morning, swim for 40 mins, and then run back (hittin' up LJ on the way back). You can imagine the water- clear as you can see down, fish the colors of the rainbow...and, rough and rugged triathletes tearin' through the water and not paying attention to the beauty around them. That is what I wasn't getting- so many people training, so serious..everywhere you looked. I vowed to not fall into that trap and enjoy the beauty that I was taking in...and, still, get focused. You can do both, you really can. This water was just unbelievable- nothing like East Beach or Manhattan- or even LaJolla..or even Laguna. Laguna- maybe 1/3 as clear as the beach in Kona..maybe...

Still...breaking in my surroundings. I had 3 nights at the Royal Kona, and then, was going to move back up the road a bit to my permanent stay Condo, in which my coach Rachel sponsored me for (you are awesome coach!! thank you so much again). I had met a few Belgian guys at Huggos and we had decided to meet for a little ride out on the Hwy- 2 hours or so, easy spin, on the 5th. So, we did, and I had my first taste of what the scenery was like. I knew that part of the ride was going to be through these lava fields, and then, once a left hand turn made up to Hawi, I was going to see a bit more of a windy-type/far-off ocean view scene, with some brush trees blowing in the gusts...I shouldn't get ahead of myself- didn't do that with the Euro guys during the ride, just FFWD to the race...not there yet. Still on Part 1.

Every night, I had to fend for some dinner- and you had to eat out, always. I wanted to meet as many peeps as possible and share some non-tri stories, but that was pretty hard to do. I met a guy Nate at the pool at the RKR, and we shared a dinner that night and chatted. he lives in San Diego- and had gotten into the race via Lottery. That is cool, I must say. I have nothing against peeps who qualified and/or did lottery- everyone deserved to be there. But, Nate was saying peeps gave him some grief for not "officially" qualifying- are you kidding me? Anyway, we had a great dinner. His entire fam was coming to watch. I had Monty coming, and some friends that were also racing coming. Mike and Clancy just got married- and were going to be there to watch me and some other peeps as well. Was looking forward to it!

I made my Shave Ice a ritual everyday- I am sure you read that in the previous blogs. Crocs were the official shoes of Ali'i drive, and I walked away from the race week with a pair myself- bright yellow. Super ugly shoes, but comfy as hell and definitely attention grabbers. Met a local who ended up making me a palm-leaf bracelet. I also met some great peeps at the ABC store, and my friends at the Kava Bar...Security Guard on Ali'i drive who said I had amazing Hawaii spirit- and my friend Kelly at the Condos, who took care of anything/everything I needed and also said she loved my Aloha spirit. I really could love it over there, but not sure enough to live permanently...

Well, I must go for now.. I promise to pick up where I left off. I am thinking I have 3 parts to this story...Not quite finished with Part 1..but stay tuned... Until then...I HAVE IRONMAN ARIZONA IN 9 DAYS AND I HAVE BEGUN THE MENTAL PREP AND TAPER..BRING IT ON!

~Aloha, Erika

Friday, October 17, 2008

KONA...The day before...

Sorry it has taken me so long to get this down. I have been back now for about 5 days and, let me just say, I had a great time in Hawaii, but I am glad to live in California. I met so many great locals and truly lived in the spirit of Aloha when I was there. It reminded me of when I studied in Australia when I was in college and I made more Aussie friends than American friends- as it should be. Thanks to all the friends I made and am now keeping in touch with via email and facebook. Truly blessed in those regards.



The day leading up to the race (Friday), was very calm. I woke up in the morning and went for a little jog with Monty. He actually ran with me, which was nice. I ran for about 40 mins, ran into Lisa along the way. Then, Monty and I went to eat breakfast and get coffee at the nearby Green Lantern cafe- we, for once, didn't go all the way down to the busy Lava Java. Love that place, but honestly -not the best coffee for the price. Then, I pretty much rested for the afternoon until I went to bike check in..which was interesting. It was funny to see how many people line up to count bikes. I mean, every bike rep was there looking at each bike, and scrutinizing materials, set up, position, water bottles...even the riders. It was quite interesting. Had I known it was such an event, I would have dressed a bit better. I was escorted by a man to put my bike away and then my 2 transition bags. I was set for the next day. It felt good to be done and then, eat a nice relaxing dinner with Monty. We went to Bubba Gumps and I pigged out on a burger and fries. Perfect pre-race food. Protein-fat-carbs- great combination.

I went back to the hotel and relaxed again. I checked my pre-swim bag and got all of my stuff ready, once again. Then, I did something I never thought I would do. I shaved my body. I decided against the skin suit. Everyone was going with one. I had one that Lisa let me borrow- but, honestly, thought I would be fine without it. Monty suggested that I shave, though- everything. Arms, tummy, hands, feet. Why you might ask? Well, because the way the water feels on your body can make you feel a lot faster. I am a sub-1 hour swimmer in a regular Ironman with a wetsuit. I figured I would be anywhere between a 1:10 and 1:15 without a wetsuit- perhaps faster. Depends on how the swim was measured. But, at least I wouldn't have to contend with one of those goofy suits. Honestly - I wasn't looking to get a 2 min advantage in the swim. I could easily make that up somewhere else.

So, after I shaved down, I tried to relax and went to bed at my normal 10 o'clock. 4:30 wake up call. Clif Bar for breakfast, with a Starbucks iced espresso. A banana as well. I was getting excited!!! See you tomorrow...(Race Report to follow...)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

KONA...3 Days Till Race

Good Morning! Thanks again for even checking in. I appreciate the comments- thank you to the "plane" guys- you should send me your emails so that I can thank you and keep in touch. Jenn- thank you for your comment as well. I am proud of the support from everyone. Know that I will be working as hard as I can and I will try my best.

Today- yes, met Graham again for a run down to the swim. Very light run today though...we swam for about 30 minutes. Then, went up to Lava Java and, today, I had pancakes, egg whites, and fruit. And, 3 cups of coffee. We met Monty for breakfast as well. He rides my bike down from our hotel- about 1.5 miles or so. We don't have a car, so that is most convenient for him.

The weather is still mild. Last night, we met up with Paul, Patrice, Dominic, and the other people from Kuota- and Tri Bike Transport, to have dinner up at their house. They are staying out of town, up at this amazing house. It was great- they grilled and had veggies, with rice, and nice wine. It was nice to spend sometime away from the hotel and meet others affiliated with the race.

This morning at the swim start, I met up with Scott again. He and I always seem to be running into each other. I am hoping we can meet for lunch before the race as long as he isn't doing something with his "team." They have a lot of events planned- mostly to keep up with the Norminator. But, Scott is so down to earth. Would be cool to share some time. Also, saw Bella at Lava Java and we chatted about IM UK. She, too, agreed that it was the hardest course of this year so far- even harder than Lazarote. Partly, because of the conditions, but mostly because of the course. Very very hilly. Hard to get a rhythm at all down. She wished me good luck, and I wished her good luck with her wedding.

People are still running around this town like crazy. Getting in all the last minute training they can. I think it must be such a mental thing. Maybe people gaining more confidence- like they are not already sure that they can swim/bike/run fast enough. Let me tell you- in these conditions. it is not a matter of finishing in a certain time, unless you are a pro and your sponsorship is riding on it. I have written off any of my predictions for the race on a personal level. Honestly, I don't want to put any "time" expectations on me- I just want to plan out my nutrition and pacing. I figure 1.5 gels on the bike an hour, with 1 bottle an hour of less than 100 calorie drink. 4 salt pills each hour on the bike (24 pills total). 2 pills each hour on the run (8-10 pills total). Walk the aid stations of the marathon. Coke a gatorade at each mile of the run. Smile as much as possible. Just enjoy the race and say hi to as many people as possible. Very fortunate to be here.

Today, there is a party at our pool at 4pm. I might meet Lisa today to have lunch nearby. I decided not to ride with her today- she wanted to ride for 2.5 hours. Too much for me a few days before the race. But, lunch is ok.

Thanks again for reading! If you are the guys that wrote to me from the plane, send me your emails. Maybe we can get together for a beer after the race!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

KONA...4 Days Till Race



Today, woke up, made my coffee and met up with Graham again down at reception to run. It is sunny again today, then fades into a gloomy/overcast afternoon at 1pm or so. I felt great again this morning and my blister is finally healing and not bothering me too much. I think the night without the bandaid on helped a lot.

Last night, Monty, Cornelia and I had some pizza and pineapple. Monty shared his best ironman stories with her and she was very entertained. She is racing for the Dutch, but she is German citizen. She is also with the Hannes travel group here. This guy is making millions getting all these people organized for the race. She is probably with about 400 other Germans over here for the race with his group. A very popular organized trip for just under about $4000 US dollars. Crazy!

Spoke with a friend, Lisa Newman Wise, who is here from the EAFB area of CA. She raced in the military division last year, but will be racing age group this year (20-24). Bree Wee (who won my age group last year) is now racing pro. There are some awesome age group athletes here from all over. Just amazing to be with all of them here in one place.

I just purchased some Bob Marley on iTunes...just one of those things when you are in Hawaii... Also, bought some tropical flowers to share with my friends here at the hotel I have met to wish them good luck and thanks.

Today, for "training", I swam with Graham this morning, and then probably ran close to an hour or so. We ran there today. Don't trust riding my bike down to the swim and then letting it stay down there when I am in the water unlocked. A pro's bike was already stolen since being here- not trust worthy. I have also ran back and forth to town to meet Monty for breakfast. Will ride just a little bit with Lisa tomorrow out on the course. She wants to familiarize herself with one part of the course. I will go out a make an easy spin out of it.

I have to go and get my bike checked out. I will drop it down at the Kuota booth this afternoon and keep it there for them to look at it. Also, will go down for my ritualistic shave ice at about 4pm (see pic above). Tonight, Monty and I are going to join the kuota guys and get some dinner with them.

Well, that is it today. Not too much else to report yet..check in for more updates. As always, thanks for reading!

Monday, October 6, 2008

KONA...5 Days til Race

This morning, woke up to another sunny day in Kona. Yep, still humid. Lots of mosquitos..they love me. I have never been bit so much in my life. So, I am itching a bit. I am trying to sleep with the windows open and get outside as much as possible to get out of the air conditioning. It actually feels pretty mild today. I am also getting off my legs a bit and resting my feet today. Too much walking around during my off time. Want to chill out a bit more...

Monty just flew in, so he will be joining me shortly. I am just getting used to hanging out alone..but now I will have someone to hang out with. Yesterday, Graham and his wife Tracy (my new friends from Toowoomba Australia) went out to dinner and then Graham and I went for a little swim this morning. I don't plan on biking or running today, but perhaps I will swim again. You almost think that swimming is one of the most refreshing activities to do here. I will tell you that it is so hard to not go out and do 5 hour workouts while you are here.

Scott Neyedli and I were chatting a bit before the swim start this morning. He was at the Ironman UK, like I was, and so we were recapping that one and then he was giving me some professional advice for this one. Both he and I agreed that this was the shortest time in between Ironman races that he or I have ever done, but we both agreed that this last week or two that we have been feeling better, as if we can get back to a big block of training. I actually spoke to this guy the other day who was telling me that he PR'd at Kona after doing an IM a month befofe it. I feel condident about the race being so close. My body feels really good. Nothing to worry about.

Last night, I was actually watching TV here in Kona Hawaii, and Saugus High School (my alma mater) was playing football against Notre Dame. It was pretty cool. Totally random, but pretty cool nonetheless. Then, Washington was playing Stanford in a volleyball match on tv. I felt right at home, that is for sure.

Well, I am now waiting for Monty to arrive here from the airport. You have to ride your bike or take a cab around here if you want to get anywhere. Not a big deal, and it beats renting a car for the week. I am still looking around the hotel and so many people are going out for runs and rides.. you would think I was out of shape not doing any training... Some people on their honeymoon. They must have not planned this week out very well.

I will catch up with some more stuff later...sure I will have more to blog about. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

KONA IM- 1st few days...


Wow, I am so stoked to be here!

I can first say that I am very grateful to my sponsors- Rachel Cosgrove and the entire Results Fitness Team and Neasi-Weber International for making all of this possible. Thank you so much- I owe it all to you guys for being able to take part in this amazing event.

I have been here for 2 days now and it is just as I imagined Hawaii before- just not as humid as Oahu. So far the weather has been a bit "mild"- I still am drenched in sweat after a 30 min run, but it is "fogged" in because of the volcano. So, maybe some respite in the late afternoon for the run. I have swam every morning in the ocean- which is a site to be seen all in itself. Cameron, a fellow coach of mine, and Lisa, a client, have been swam here and said it is like an aquarium. They are right- you are so distracted by the beautiful fish and wildlife that you forget you are actually swimming. It is pretty cool!

First night- I got in Friday night and was super hungry...so headed to the closest restaurant next to my hotel (Royal Kona Resort- for the first 2 nights). I sat next to some Swiss guys at dinner. They were excited to meet me and ride with me the next day. I was nervous- these guys looked skinny, and really good. (like everyone here). Let me just tell you- everyone here must not be ready for Ironman b/c they are training like crazy people. Everyone here does at least 1 swim, 1 bike, and 1 run. Guaranteed. So, I felt like I need to at least get in this ride with these Swiss guys. Not everyday you get to ride with some Swiss guys...

1st full day- Saturday. I called my mom and the other important people in my life to let them know I survived the flight. I had already met a lot of special people- the locals especially have been nice. I actually stop to smell the roses and say hi to them- and not just ride/run by. I like that. I have been very blessed to be here, and let them know that I am thankful to be on their turf.

So far, I have met:
2 Swiss guys
3 Austrian guys- the 1 guy, 3rd at IM Austria, his coach, and his Physical Therapist (that is a whole other blog in itself...)
1 Hawaiian Security guard-Ron
2 Lottery guys- Nate from Portland, and Graham from Toowoomba, Australia (yes, Toowoomba- a whole other blog in itself...)
Kelly, my Hawaiian hostess at my current hotel- The Royal Sea Cliff.
Alicia- my massage therapist at the Royal Kona Resort
Dick Campbell- Head waiter at Huggos and 7-time IM finisher here at Kona (thanks for the free stuff)
Lots of Germans at my hotel- just met Cornelia Roth, from Regentesselaan, Rijswijk
Guy in Shower from San Fernando Valley
Hawaiian at Farmer's Market- thank you for the Guava
Guys in water from Argentina whom I had an entire conversation with in Spanish
So so so many more...more of which I will talk about later..

So, that is the update for now. I finally have some free wireless, so I am going to take advantage and blog as much as I can. I am good- I feel healthy. Burned the balls of my feet a bit yesterday but I am good now. Will catch up more later...

Hope all is well with you all- thanks for checking in.

Special hi to mom and Tay and my family of Wenrich's...and Results.

Talk soon...off to check into my condo now...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

IRONMAN UK- RACE REPORT




Wake up: 3:55 AM. Walked downstairs, chip on my left ankle, ready to go make me my oatmeal in the microwave I had set out the night before. I also downed some coffee- made it extra strong. We have been having Maxwell House Instant Coffee Crystals everyday since I have been here and been becoming very accustomed  Franchesca elected to get up and take me to the castle for the race, so she got up at 4:30 and we were off to the race by 4:45.

The weather looked dry- at least so far. Of course it was cool, but it was still dark so it was difficult to see if there were any clouds in the sky. I walked into the transition area and first got body marked. I had a “B” on my leg- which signified my age group- 25-29. Then, I walked through to my bike and double checked the tire pressure, my brakes, and made some quick jokes with the guys next to me. I always love cracking jokes race morning as everyone has deer-in-headlights looks and (more or less) want to be left alone- until I start making jokes, then people start laughing and smiling…

I threw on my wetsuit next to a girl who kind of looked like me- blonde hair, blue eyes. Just sitting by the side watching me and everyone around her. Her name was Lindsay and she was from California- 24 years old. This was her first full Ironman- so I was excited to talk to her and help calm her down- even though she didn’t need it. She was really collected and cool. We actually started talking about lots of other things besides the race, which was perfect. As it got closer to start time (6am), we started walking toward the entrance to the water. However, we were delayed. Some people had parked on the run course and they needed to move their cars before we could start the race. So, needless to say, we were all standing there in nervous anticipation (I had already peed 4xs in my wetsuit by that point) and were waiting for the escort- then, by 6:20, they allowed us to go down to the water. We actually had to get in the water (really really cold), swim out 200 Meters to the start buoys, then wait for the whistle.

I swam out with Lindsay and then we got to the buoy. We were waiting literally in a sea of light blue capped heads…bobbing up and down. I asked the guy next to me, “hey, want to make out?” just as a joke of course- but, he said, “yes”, so I wasn’t sure what to do. It was pretty funny actually because he didn’t hesitate- and I don’t think he spoke very good English (like 50% of the participants there). It was pretty crazy how many countries were represented- but, to find Lindsay in transition was really remarkable. Not that many people there at the race were from the US. Met a few Canadians….but, lots of people from Europe. It was actually really cool to be so involved in this event- regardless of the race.

I was feeling great. Ready to go. Better than I did at Santa Barbara 2 weeks ago. They started the swim- and off we went. The swim involved 2 laps- out and back around a far end buoy. The buoys actually made a funny wide-L shape and if you were smart, you swam in a straight line- to the end buoy and back. But, so many people were all over the place…I felt sorry for them. So, I wasn’t following them, that was for sure. I had some good wacks in the head and ended up on the feet of this guy who was absolutely a horrendous swimmer form-wise, but had a fantastic kick that I embraced as he pulled me along for at least 70% of the swim. At the turn of the 2nd buoy, I knew he wasn’t going to go the right way, as you had to vere off to the left a bit away from the previous turn buoy, so I took it upon myself to get off his feet and head left and swim right in. Only 2 other people figured this out, and then, with about 700 Meters left of so, the guy found me again and swam right next to me. I slowed a bit, and let the spaz pull me in. It worked out great. I am thanking him for the great pull, but I am sure he is happy that I directed traffic in to the left rather than right. I came out of the water, and forgot about the cold (for then) and looked at my watch. 59 minutes, and 20 secs… Wow, I thought, either short swim or just a really good swim for me. I was pretty excited- always good to get off to a good start.

I ran into transition to get ready for the bike. By now, still no sun. Still about 50 degrees or so. But, the weather said, “light showers, warmer” today, so I wasn’t about to be hassled by a jacket on the bike. I thought I would be ok with my Lucky Charms Jersey and comfy bike shorts. I put my lube on, remembered my socks before I stuck my shoes on, grabbed some extra nutrition, and ran to my bike. I just prayed today- I just want a safe bike. No rain, safe roads. I was excited. Still feeling good. A bit cold, but good. I would eventually warm up….wouldn’t I? 

The bike course was 3 laps. So, I would get a good look on the first lap and see how I was to pace myself. Of course, my plan is always to negative split everything. Every lap, last one faster than the first. But, go easy on the first lap. That is what I told myself. And, glad I did. Each lap was about 38 miles or so. The extra miles made up in the ride out of town and then in after the 3rd lap. The ride took you out into the country. Not just “rolling” hills, but some pretty long climbs, with a few steep out-of-the-saddle climbs. I was pretty smart in getting up once in a while to stretch it out, which really helped my legs and my left glute/piriformis which is always a pain in the ass- literally. So, the first lap felt really good. I only got passed by 1 other B at this point, and unsure about how many other Bs got out the water before me. This didn’t concern me really- but this chick went by me pretty good- I thought, damn, can she keep this up. I started my 2nd lap and was still cold. The sky- still gray. And the wind, still howling. The 2nd part of each lap was a mo-fo. That is, it was terrible. I honestly thought I wanted to quit. C’mon, I really don’t need to do this---- I have Kona in a month, right? No way. I changed my attitude to one of “I am going to conquer” this sonufabiatch. Rachel and I have done some rides when preparing for Oceanside in some FANTASTIC weather just like this, so I just sucked it up. Plus, passing all these guys on the course was actually a very empowering experience. By mile 66, I was warming up a bit. The drizzle was on and off, but at least I was warming.

Not too many bike problems on the course. Over 112 miles, I only had 2 misfortunes. Chain fell off one on a hill, but was my fault. And, then because I have such funky rear brakes, I had jammed one to the side after the chain fell off and so I had to manually adjust it back b/c it was now making my left tire not move. That only took me 3 mins to figure out. Then, I had a problem downshifting in time for this little steep climb that practically bucked me off of my bike because of my delay, so had to do some fancy “off and then on the bike” on the hill moves, and luckily didn’t fall off having clipped in successfully. All of this before mile 80 or so. My nutrition was going well at this point. My tummy felt great and I had great energy. Probably from the chicken meal the night before with fresh veggies and fresh fruit. Erica had cut up every kind of fruit you could imagine and put them in a salad for me. So awesome.

Met some interesting people on the bike. Met a South African guy who, like me, was just as cold. He was a white guy, with this awesome South African accent. I just slowed up for a little while just to let him talk to me. I thought he was going to stay with me for the last 10 miles, but he couldn’t. He was pretty much done at this point. I said, we still have 26 miles to run! He said he wasn’t looking forward to it. He didn’t like running. Oops…

Well, I finally finished the bike and rode into T2. I AM SO THANKFUL TO HAVE FINISHED THAT BIKE. LITERALLY THE HARDEST THING I HAVE YET TO COMPLETE IN A RACE. SWIM/BIKE/ANDOR RUN. THE HARDEST CONDITIONS AND ON THAT COURSE- 3 TIMES. CRAZY!

T2. Got in, they took my bike, and at first, didn’t feel my legs. Was out of sorts…definitely in my zone. Got changed fast (well, not fast), but got my new socks on, my shoes, changed my shorts. Took a long sleeve capilene with me- tied it around my waist. Took my sunglasses (WHY? I AM NOT SURE) and then my cap. I was freezing, but knew I would warm up on the run. Didn’t know what to expect except 3 laps again. I wanted to do each lap in about 1 hour, 20 mins. That would put me at 4 hours or so for the marathon. I heard it was hilly, so I figured I could do it. And, half of each lap was going to be ‘off-road”, which was perfect for your legs.

I got going and at the aid stations, they had Pepsi, bananas, water, Gatorade, pretzels, bars, and Gels. I was already in good time. I had done the bike in 6:30- which was slower than I would have wanted to do 112 miles in perfect conditions, but the fact was- that was hard/tough/IM conditions, so I was going to settle with the time as it was right now. I actually came out of T2 at about 7:40 or so…so, I was hoping for a race under 12 hours for sure. 11:30 if I was really lucky and flew on the run. But, miles 1-3 of the run, I was wishing I had stopped again…Man, the first 1-2 miles was out into the country, up a hill or two for the first mile, and then, up a gradual uphill, which you didn’t know was an uphill until the guys running down besides you were saying, don’t worry, this is an uphill…I was still wearing my Lucky Charms jersey because it is funny and appeals to the crowd, so to be a bit selfish- they all cheer for me and say, Go Lucky Charms- whether or not they know me at all. The Irish seemed to really really really like me. .In fact, I had many fans by the end of the race because they remembered me and my bright red Lucky Charms Jersey.

Whenever I wanted to stop because it was getting tough, I thought of a few things. I mostly thought about Barbara Warren who died at the Santa Barbara Triathlon on the bike course in a crash. I thought, she would give anything right now to be alive and doing this- crappy weather/conditions/pain, whatever. I was lucky to be alive and doing this. So, I thought of her. And, then I would think of Taylor, my sister. She has been having some bad knee pain lately and is in her 3rd year of college basketball at University of Oregon. I have never seen anyone work as hard as she does, and selflessly. She really works so hard and never shows weakness. And, I also thought of Monty. Why? Because he would never have complained about this weather. He would do anything right now to be racing and I can’t have a negative thought like I would not want to be racing right now..he would kill me. And, then he would remind me that he can’t race. And, then I would feel bad. So, this one was for you too, Snake. Oh yeah, and of course, I thought of Rachel and the rides we did together out to Canyon Country in head winds that we would just be cursing. Unreal weather sometimes. And, we managed to get through those days.

So, by mile 4 of the run, I started getting into a groove. I was afraid I was running too fast for the current time, but was starting to see that the 2nd part of the lap was around the town and there were people at least cheering for you. That was really nice to see. That is where I saw my Irish friends.

Some of things people would shout out:
“Hey, Lucky Charms!”
“You look good Lucky Charms!”
“Good Going Lucky Charms!!”
“Somebody’s Always After Me Lucky Charms!!”
“I want to see your Lucky Charms!”
“Why are you wearing that shirt around your waist- take it off so I can see your best part, Lucky Charms!”
“What are you doing after the race, Lucky Charms?”

That was all very motivating, you see. So, why anyone would want an Ipod on a run course is beyond me. As I watching the other runners, I was making up stories in my head about what they must have been feeling/thinking at that point in time. Some people looked like they were good. Most looked like they were never going to do this again. And, some looked just happy to be there. I saw several people out there smiling as they were running and you knew it was their first one. The lead woman, Bella Comerford, ran in about 10 hours- just under 10, actually. Which meant it was a bit of a slow course. I also heard that the lead man was over 9 hours, also validating that fact. I got to mile 13 and my legs were feeling it now. Just a bit tight in the quads. But, feet good, and tummy good. So, my routine of Pepsi/Gatorade/ and then maybe a half of a banana now and then was working perfectly.

I knew that my next mental “goal” was mile 20. That was after that first hill of the last lap. Didn’t particularly like that part of the course. I ran up that hill for the last time, visited the cute old Rotary Club men at the aid station at the top (mile 19 or so) and was happy to be moving my way down. I was in fact ahead of a lot of guys that had passed me on the bike. Not sure that they were happy they went that fast on the bike now.

I had only 1 girl pass me on the run that was a B. One other girl on the bike had passed me that was a B. So, let’s just say that if I was 1st out of the water in my AG, I would be 4th right now. No girls behind me that I could see in my AG, so I think I was safe. No girls to chase…just a few behind me on their 2nd lap (me on my 3rd) that I was pretending were so that I had something to race against. Actually, I was racing against a few of the guys on the course that I didn’t want to overtake me. A thing about this race- 1650 total entrants- and 150 or so were women. The rest men. That just shows how dominant IM still is with the male population. So, not many women to see on the course. Lots of guys walking to the side to pee and do other stuff- right in the middle of the course- in plain sight. They didn’t care that we (women or other men) saw them..but, I must have seen close to 20 or 30 men during the day with their pants to the side, so-to-speak. Oh, and 1 female pro squatting in the bushes.

So, I ran up one last time to about the mile 23 turn around and I see Julie and Sean! They had made their way to Sherbourne just to catch me race, and sure enough- had walked right out of a pub and saw me at that very moment- at the turnaround. It was fate, really, I was hoping they would be at the finish. So great to see them to give me that extra push I needed. mile 24 was there. I saw the sign, and of course, started to dig in. Wanted to run my last 2 miles at 6 min-mile-pace, so I really kicked it into high gear. Yeah, right. Anyway, kicked it in, which meant maybe 8:30s for the last mile or two. I had a gentleman behind me that I had been running with (him right behind me) for the last mile or so. He must have been a D or so for the males. And, as I was running into the finish, the crowd was so loud and they all had those balloon bangy-thingies you see at baseball games. They were all banging them together and kids had whistles and I looked up- 11 hours, 45 mins, and 30 seconds. I had received my medal and was overtaken with emotion. Because that was really hard. That was all I kept saying, “That was REALLY hard!”. The gentleman that was right behind me and finished stopped me and wanted to say, in his attractive British accent, that I was marvelous and helped him to finish. He was right on my heels and trying to keep up. In fact, he said I was extraordinary.” Wasn’t sure exactly what I did, but he was grateful for it, so it made me feel good.

I saw Julie and Sean at the finish and had Julie come in and take my IM photo with me. Sean got one too. I was looking for Franchesca and Erica, but didn’t see them yet. I grabbed my clothes, did a quick change in the tent they have set up for IM finishers, and grabbed some food (curry and some Beer). The beer was marvelous, but honestly- didn’t feel like eating anything just yet. I ran into Paul (my Czech friend) at the finish and his dad was also there. He had taken lots of photos, so couldn’t wait to see them. I invited them over for a beer at the house later, and once I saw Chesca, she was fine with that. So, Julie, Sean and I went to dinner in Sherbourne and then dropped me off by 9 or so at home. Paul and his dad, and then Paul’s friend from Sweden, came by and we all had some beers and sparkling wine to celebrate. Paul had raced a 10:20 race, which was awesome. He finished 3rd in his AG (40-44 yrs) and his Swedish friend, same AG, finished in 10:55 or so. I figured I finished 4th, and I did. I ended up 4th and then 18th overall Female (pros included). What I thought was cool was that I was 1st out of the swim in my AG and 3rd on the bike. Only passed 1 time on the run. Not sure what 5th place raced, but nonetheless- had a great race and feel pretty good today (the day after). I am not going to lie- I am very very sore. Mostly in my quads. My feet feel good. My neck a bit sore, but because we were in the aeros by spent some time out of the saddle, it worked out to be pretty good on the body to stretch and stuff. Overall, very happy with the result and I am looking forward to Kona!!! Getting back the heat will be fantastic! We shall see…

Friday, September 5, 2008

Ironman UK...Sherborne Days 2 & 3





(The pics above are the aerial view of the storm set to hit Sherborne the morning of the race...get your rain/wind/cold jackets on!)

Woke up yesterday morning and, after a long sleep in, WOKE UP TO WIND AND RAIN, and had a great breakfast again. Every morning, I have had cereal with milk straight from their farm, 2 cups of coffee, and some toast. Then, I have usually gone back and had a little nap again, especially since it has been raining here so much over the last 2 days. I knew that I had to register today (Thursday), so I drove over with Francesca to the Castle (where the tri headquarters are) to get all of my stuff, in addition to looking to see where the bike course was going to start. I wanted to ride a bit of it- but not too much. Just to get a feel for the roads, etc…, that is all I wanted.

Erica, Francesca’s mom, was going to meet me to drive me around the 40 mile or so, inside loop of the route. So, I first hopped on my bike and went about 5 miles in, then 5 miles back. There is a long, gradual climb for the first 2 miles right at the start, which is like the climb out of Wildflower triathlon, but 2 times as long and as gradual- maybe not as steep. Which is fine..but, that is what the entire course is like out here. Erica picked me up 1 hour or so later (raining again) and we were on our way to travel around the loop. There are some pretty good climbs on this course, but with pretty fast descents, which should cancel them out. So, if I ride this course with some decent strategy, I can make it a fast course without putting my legs in too much jeopardy for the run (which is also very rolling). I would say that the bike course is similar to that of Wisconsin’s course, yet there is nothing here I haven’t yet experienced back home in CA riding. I am looking forward to a fun ride- but, could deal without the rain or wind. The roads here are slightly rough- that vibrating rough if you know what I mean. So, tush could be definitely sore after 5-6 hours on this stuff. I believe the bike measures out to be somewhere 113 miles or so…

As Erica and I drove around the bike course, we stopped in Cerne Abbas, which is the home of Giant’s Hill- a huge Herculean type figure carved out into the side of a hill, with his manhood laid out in great detail- very “large” detail. Giant’s Hill is said to be a good place to go when wishing for healthy fertility- to go sit on, touch, or even just have a glance at Giant’s “Giant” can make one lucky to have an abundance of children. I stayed away...  Then, Erica and I had some tea at a tearoom in Cerne Abbas and had a look at the town- some buildings of which are definitely more than Centuries old.

Last night, Erica and her husband Ron took me to a pub for 2 ½ pints of some English beer. I reckon the beers here are pretty good- and not as strong as I thought they would be. Or, perhaps since I have had a beer or two every night since I have been here with the family, I could be getting used to it. Don’t worry- still have the race in mind, so I have been well behaved. Health wise, I feel strong and good. I have noticed a bit of a sore throat here and there, but think it is because of the damp, cold weather and just acclimatizing still. I have been sleeping very well, as it has been cool, and I also have been eating quite well. Erica is an amazing cook- so, needless to say, I have had my share of some type of meat, veggies, and bread at every night’s meal- in addition to some treat.

We had 2 surprise visitors last night in Paul and his dad, from the Czech Republic, who had to stay with us for the night because Paul’s home stay could not be reached when they came in from their 16 hour drive. Yes- 16 hours to drive here for this Ironman from the Czech Republic. Paul (not his Czech pronunciation by the way) spoke O.K. English, and his dad, none. Paul (not his dad) was doing the race. Both of them had dinner with us last night and shared with us some Czech beer and some really really really strong fire water, as Ron called it. Fire water- 50% alcohol, to be used as an after-dinner drink. (My hosts here think I am a very “fun” triathlete because I have the occasional drink- as many who have stayed here before don’t drink at all- at all. So, me having just 1 beer is seen as being very laid-back and fun- a sip of the fire water was all I could do, however). Oh, did I mention that Erica made homemade Apple Pie last night? Well, she did. It was just “alright.”  Went to bed fairly early after speaking with a new friend of mine in London (hi Rob), which helped set my mind at ease and sweet dreams…did not have any dreams about the race (i.e. getting a flat tire, being late for the swim, etc…, so that was good).

This morning (Friday) I woke up and it had stormed all night long. Can you believe there are triathletes staying outdoors- on a farm, in a tent, during this race? I think that is crazy. But, there are. They wanted to save about $40/night doing it, and perhaps that works for them, but the weather here has been no where near what you would want it to be for decent camping, it is not worth the savings in $. Plus, you can’t put a $ value on the feeling you get when staying with the Denings. They really have made me feel right at home. They will have a hard time kicking me out!

I was going to have a swim in the lake this morning from 9-10, but it was storming fierce and I decided against it. Will have a chance to do the same tomorrow morning, so I will wait for that. I did go to the boys school again today (Erica brought me) so I could swim there for ½ hour. I did about 2000 meters in the pool for 30 minutes, which was good enough for me. I had brought my hand paddles with me, so it helps to break up the monotony of the laps. I would really like to get out and run, but tell myself that I will have plenty of running on Sunday. I thought about it- and, roughly about 1 whole week’s training in 1 day- that is crazy. After swim, Erica and I (we have really become quite good friends- Erica is in her 70s, but has the energy of most 50-year-olds I know, and is quite an active and funny lady. So we have had fun together going around the city of Sherborne when we can). I had bought a Sherborne Boys School beanie, so I put it on to keep my wet head warm as we walked around in the RAIN AGAIN. It really has been raining just so much…I am preparing for the worst, expecting the best! Erica and I had some coffee in town and then went home- had some vegetable soup, and now, I am writing in my blog to you guys… Tonight I will have the pleasure of finalizing what to wear for the race as it could change come race morning. I definitely have a rain jacket to bring with me on the bike ride, which will keep me warm, even if I don’t wear long sleeves on a jersey. Erica likes my Lucky Charms jersey, which is the same one I wore in Wisconsin. I also have my bright green Penn Cycle jersey, which might also suit me well in this race, as it has some great pockets in the back. My bike has been riding quite well lately since my tune up in Santa Barbara (thanks to the great tech there that sorted out my miscued derailleur cable). So, I feel good that way- might give it one last look tomorrow when I go for my swim in the lake.

Tonight, we are having Shepherds Pie for dinner, with some bananas cooked in butter and brandy..I suppose you are jealous?

Oh, and yes...did a few things today that I haven't done in a while. #1: Used an umbrella, #2: Went to Starbucks, and #3: Got nervous thinking about the race...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ironman UK...1st Day in Sherbourne



I am in Sherbourne now and went for a swim this morning with the mom (Erica) of the house I am staying at. It is absolutely beautiful here. Very pretty country. Reminds me of Minnesota a bit. Went by the castle to see where the transition area is, so that is cool. My bike came here in one piece and I put it together last night. I am actually staying at the house of the headquarters of the homestay- that is, I am the only triathlete here, and the daughter of Erica (Francesca) is the director of accommodation for the race. So, she knows everything there is to know about the race and when/where things are...when I need to be there...etc... She is pretty "switched" on, so that is cool.

Just arrived in the UK 2 days ago. Spent 2 amazing days and nights in London, and regretfully had to leave the city to go to my race :) Looking forward to it, though...don't get me wrong. But, loved the city and plan on visiting again. Got my bike case, my bag, and myself on the train to the country and arrived in Sherbourne yesterday afternoon.



The weather is slightly cool. Went out for a 20 min run yesterday, and got POURED on. It was actually a nice rain, but I think that it is going to be cool on race day. Perfect racing weather. You should see this lake we are swimming in- it is man made and a bit small. I think we are going to do 5 laps or something...Could also be a bit windy for the ride, and possibly rainy and hilly for the run. Very good racing weather, though. Might have to plan on some warm-weather clothes on...rain jacket for the bike and maybe for the run as well.

Anyway, things are going very well. I have 2 dogs here to keep me company as well. Jack Russell terriers- Russell and Bailey. The Denings (Erica, Francesca, and Ronald- the dad) live on 500 acres here. So, we had all veggies from their farm last night for dinner, and real milk from their cows. I am getting a great experience- not even sure I would need to race at this point :) Don't get my daily Starbucks fix, but perhaps that is good for me. They eat really healthy around here, so that is a good thing. I have taken a liking to their pudding here with real whipped cream. Great pre-race food I am sure of it.

Well, hope to talk to you more soon. I will try to blog as much as I can in order keep all of you whom I can't call readily updated.

Have a great day,
Erika

Friday, August 1, 2008

Training in Malibu with Carol...

This week, I got a lot done. Not only did I have a great week at work, but I was getting excited to visit Carol in Malibu. I had met Carol Montgomery at the USAT Coaching Certification course in Albuquerque and seeing that we lived only 1 hour away from one another, we made plans to meet up a couple of weeks later. I was also not able to race in Barbs Race because I am working on Saturday, so I wanted to make a big weekend of training out of being in Malibu. Friday and Sunday, in particular, will be my 2 big days- 1 big brick day, and then 1 big ride day. On Thursday, Carol and I had a swim at Chris's guest house- a 20-or-so yard pool. Swam for 30 mins. Then, got out, showered up, and hit Duke's up for a couple of beers and fish tacos. Met Ryan and Joey (our 2 waiters) and watched a few people at the bar make-out during dinner. Other than that, not too exciting. But, Bob and Larry (Carol's 2 Standard Poodles) were livin' it up, waiting in the car for us patiently to come out to greet them after dinner.



Friday, August 1st: I woke up at 8am after sleeping in without an alarm. It felt super awesome to get a lot of sleep because I hadn't been getting too much this last week. I got up and Carol and I had coffee and hung out with the dogs. Then, we went out to the beach and ran along the water for 30 mins. Then, we took the dogs back, and I proceeded to run another 40 mins around the neighborhood of Zumirez Canyon. This house, by the way, is absolutely amazing. I am going to take pictures, but haven't yet. Promise I will and post them...stay posted.

Then, after the run, I came back and had a small bit of oatmeal. Then, I went out to PCH and took my bike (my NEW bike- my Kuota Kueen K) out for a 4 1/2 hour ride. I went into Oxnard and rode around...then back into Malibu, went South for a while, then...back to the house. I got in, put my running shoes on, and then went for a little run down by the beach. I ran for a total of 60 mins, and felt AWESOME. My body felt really REALLY good today. I had great nutrition. On the bike, 1 bottle of Gatorade, 1 Clif Nectar Bar, 1 can of Sugar-Free Rockstar, and then 1 unsweetened Green Tea with Energy from Starbucks. I know that I felt really good because my "after" run was very comfortable. So, I will (again) practice this same type of nutrition (little gels..little bars..but still SALT pills- took them every 1 hour today- 3 to 4 pills). But, overall, great day....

Carol and I are now showered and ready to go out to dinner...more blogging tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Share a "Thank You" with You



Each day, we give thanks. Whether we directly thank someone in person, or think of "thanking" in one's head, or just purely say THANK YOU and genuinely mean it- we are aware that being grateful is one of the most priceless and fulfilling "feelings" in the world. I happen to work in a field that is constantly working in gratitude- and I am constantly being "thanked" for something I did that day with a client- whether it be helping them with nutrition, talking to them about their day, or simply motivating them when no one else would.

I have a very special client in mind that always gave "thanks"- and I say, "gave", because she relocated and can no longer train with me. I am totally bummed because this client was like no other. I trained her from Day 1 on our gym and saw her go from one person, to who she is now- and she is loving life.

She had written me a Thank You card before she left and I wanted to share it with you.

Erika,
I wanted to thank you for all of your time, patience, and perseverance with me. You have helped me reach goals that I had given up on and you helped me to find the "me" inside I have been looking for so long. You are a great coach, motivator and wonderful person who I admire so much. Just to know that you do to achieve your goals is a great example for me. Your positive attitude and care of all of your clients makes you the best! I would love to have you visit me. Good Luck always to you. You deserve to reach your dreams.


Hearing this makes it all worth it- knowing that I had helped one to believe when she/he almost gave up...that makes my day.

Give Thanks to those who you care about- let them know. They may not know just how much they mean to you and vice versa.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ironman Training in Full Swing...

Hi guys...

Ironman training has been going pretty well lately. I have had a few weeks of 200+ mile riding, 30 mile running, and 4x/week swimming at about 3000yds (avg) a workout. I feel pretty good- however, been fighting a bit of a cold this week. Have slept a lot on my recovery, and this weekend, I will be attending a USAT Coaching Clinic in New Mexico. Looking forward to some continual learning and meeting some people with like-interests. Also, I will be getting in some swimming and running this weekend- in the heat!

Have a great rest of your week and keep up your training!

Master's Swim at 5:30 tomorrow...

Coach E

Monday, June 30, 2008

First LONG BIKE- Century ride this weekend!

Last weekend, I had my first long bike ride of the season- the Ironman Training season, that is. My IRONMAN schedule is as follows:

September 7th- IM UK
October 11th- Kona
November 23rd- IM AZ2

I plan on doing at least 4 100+ mile rides in preparation for IM UK. I am going to get my new Kuota this week- the red Kueen K that I have been dreaming about. It is an XS frame, which will fit me better than my Kalibur did.

So, this last Sunday, I rode 85 miles with a small group of friends. We rode through the orange orchards in Ventura County, and then finished up Grimes Canyon, on the '23', down back to our cars parked right outside of Piru. It was a great ride, and considering I put in 40 miles the day before, I had a great 100+ weekend- in less than 24 hours.

I am going to do a Century Ride in Ventura- the Three Harbors Tour, on Saturday, July 5th. I am pretty excited- will be my first organized Century, so I will have many other people to ride with (below is the map of the route).



Congrats to all of my friends who completed the Ventura race this weekend! Nice work- Danielle, Dan, and Lisa!

Have a great week- whatever you might be doing...do it well and do it smart!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What Did YOU do today?

I looked at my training for this past weekend:

Run 12 Miles on Saturday...
Biked 3 hours on Sunday, Ran 5 miles...
Biked 1.5 hours on Monday...

What did you do today? I want to hear about it!

*Also, if you would like to do a book review of our book, SO YOU WANT TO TRAIN FOR YOUR FIRST TRIATHLON, please let me know!

Have a great week!

Erika

Monday, June 16, 2008

Get SMART




This weekend, the Results Fitness Team was at a Perform Better fitness summit for 3 days to see some of the best speakers in the WORLD speak and demonstrate some of the newest, latest, and greatest techniques out there for us as coaches to use as tools to get our clients the best success. Today, we had Dr.John Berardi come into our gym to speak to us even further about nutrition and goal setting with our clients. An interesting point came up- do you set GOALS for yourself and if you expect your clients to it themselves and YOU don't, then how do you expect them to be successful? Rachel Cosgrove has written some awesome stuff on Goal Setting that might help put things into perspective for you if you need help setting your own goals. Don't limit goal setting to fitness either. Use these techniques that Rachel suggests for every facet of your life!


Setting SMART Goals

Before putting your goals down on paper, keep in mind that you want your goals to be S.M.A.R.T. which is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive. This acronym is great because you want to be “smart” when you set your goals. You want to intelligently decide what your goals will be so that you can actually accomplish them. You want to set goals that your heart conceives, your mind believes and that your body will carry out. Before writing out your goals let’s take a closer look at each of the components of S.M.A.R.T. goals:

Specific- Set specific goals. They have a more powerful impact on your subconscious than general goals. When you are specific, you set forces into action that will empower you to achieve your goals. You know exactly what it is you are shooting for. Never underestimate how important it is to have very specific, concrete goals.

Measurable- Set measureable goals. You must have a way to objectively measure your progress, otherwise you’ll never know whether you are getting closer to achieving your goal and ultimately whether you’ve actually reached it. First get a baseline performance to determine your actual ability before determining the desired or ideal goal level for you. Record and measure your improvement, review the measured outcomes and seek information on what you need help on. Make sure you are measuring your progress along the way to insure that you are on track. For example: If your goal is to complete an Olympic distance race in 24 weeks, at the 12 week mark you should be at least half way there so you should be able to swim a half mile, bike 12 miles and run a 5K. Keep track of your on going measurements to track your progress.

Attainable- One of the detrimental things that people do- and they do it with good intentions- is to set goals that are so high they are unattainable. It is very important to set big goals that excite you and motivate you, but it is imperative to make sure your goals are attainable. A good way to ensure that your goals are attainable is to break each goal down into short term goals. It is easier to commit to these small daily and weekly goals and reaching these will lead you to attain your big goal. As you begin to think about what you want to accomplish specifically, don’t just write down one goal, make an entire list. You should have short term and long term goals. Long term goals provide motivation and inspiration for training and performance efforts, but short term goals can provide specific strategies and techniques that will lead to goal attainment. If you only look at the big picture, it can sometimes be unsettling to realize how much farther you have to go. Set yourself clear daily, weekly and monthly goals. To reach your goals you must develop good habits everyday. You develop good habits by setting daily action goals and working on them repeatedly. Write out a list of daily goals, habits and to-dos you want to develop- this could include eating breakfast every morning, getting your training done, drinking your water, etc.

Realistic- Your goal also needs to be realistic which is different from attainable. You can set any goal you like, but it may not be realistic for you. A goal has to be something that you can reasonably make a reality in your life. There are some goals that simply are not realistic or are not realistic in the time frame you want to achieve them in. You have to be able to say, even if it is a huge goal, that it is entirely realistic and fits in with your priorities. This is totally up to the individual: a goal that is realistic for one person may be totally unrealistic for another. Be very honest with yourself as you look at your priorities and do your planning. You may want to start with a smaller goal that you know is realistic. Start with a sprint distance instead of the Olympic if you need to.

Timetable- Every goal you set should have a timeframe attached to it. A very powerful aspect of a great goal is that it has an end, a time in which you want to accomplish it. You should break your goal down into smaller deadlines to keep yourself on track and accountable. Also make sure the deadlines you set are realistic. There are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic deadlines. Be careful not to limit your progress by trying to adhere to unrealistic timelines for achieving your goals. Allow yourself plenty of time to complete your goal but do give yourself a timeline so you have something to shoot for. A goal without a deadline is just a dream. With triathlon you’ll have to pick out your race and you should sign up for it so you absolutely have a deadline.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What would you do if...



Let's say that you are like me- you have a hobby that you are passionate about that you plan most of your daily life around. For instance- triathlon for me is a hobby like that. I would put off doing most things, like grocery shopping, washing clothes, going out to dinner, or even give up going to a party simply because I am in training for a race. It is that important to me. However, I get bugged when I run into a friend and the first thing they ask me is, "how is biking?" or "did you go for a run?" or..."when is your next race?".I am not saying that it is not completely annoying to be asked these things- however, I like to be known for something more than just my sport. Get to know Erika and who she is when she is not in training- even though, it means so much in my life.

So, this brings me to the whole reason I am blogging today. (and sorry it has been so long...this one is a good one). My sister is in town from Oregon this weekend and last night, we went to see A Chorus Line down in Los Angeles. It is a musical about a group of dancers and their audition to be on this Chorus Line in Broadway. Getting to be on this Line is EVERYTHING to them. It is their livelihood in most cases. It is their entire reason for living. It is THEM. Toward the end of the musical, one of the dancers gets hurt- and is 'OUT' of the audition. All the other dancers are crushed as they can just imagine how he feels. He is now nothing. His life is over. His dancing is gone...

How dare he have to find something else to do in this world? What else could he possibly be good at? He has danced for his entire life, what else does he know? What else will he do? These are all the questions that these dancers now ask...each other and themselves.

It was at this moment where I thought- wow, I love triathlon, and it is in my plans for this entire rest of the year (last IM is the end of November), but what if, just what if, I was to get hurt tomorrow and not compete or train. What else would I do?? What if that happened to you- what would you do?? Just an interesting thought.

I know our bodies are not perfect and things happen that might make you perform less than your best or not at all. Just ran into a friend of mine yesterday who is a fireman. He was 2 mos. just outside of passing his probationary period when he was working in a fire and tore his miniscus. Now, he is out and can't take his last test. Not sure how long he will be out for, but right now, he is not able to firefight. That is his livelihood- the health of his body means everything. He needs to be fit in order to survive. What else does he do?

It is an interesting thought. I have my own ideas as to what I am good at and if I couldn't train anymore, I would become a pro bowler or something else. I would find other things I am good at and practice that. Triathlon is special- but not my life. Training and health are definitely ranked a bit higher than being able to compete, but I don't take that for granted. Each day is a gift of health and well being. Don't take yourself for granted. Enjoy who YOU are- no matter how you SEE yourself and what you bring to the world.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Wildflower 2008 Olympic



Yesterday, I competed in the Avia Wildflower Olympic Distance triathlon in my quest to prepare for the USAT World Championships in 1 month. I need all the practice I can get racing FAST, as I will be getting into Ironman shape come mid June, preparing for IM UK, which will be here before we know it.

Both my coach (Rachel) and I are doing Worlds, so we both decided to do WF. My goal for WF was to finish higher than 4th place. I knew better to not set a "time" to beat (2:36:52) of last year, but to beat my place. I knew that the course was probably very similar, so I would need a solid strategy prior to my start in order to race strong and positive.

Swim start was interesting this time. I had all the proper nutrition prior to the race, and everything started pretty normal. I went off really quickly, and I think I might have gone out too fast. I literally had a bit of a freak out in the water, which is not like me at all. Swimming is very "easy" for me, so I was shocked that this was happening. But, after 4 mins or so, I settled in and relaxed a bit, but for the first min or so, I was thinking "this is not fun, I want to stop." I found some feet to draft off of at the turn around, so I hitched a ride in and finished my swim 2 mins faster than last year- in about 22 mins.

The bike felt really good this year. I took it a bit easy on the hills and really focused on steady spinning and not grinding too much. Not 1 chick passed me on the bike, and I could only hope that I was 3rd or 4th out of the water. But, still not sure where I was. Didn't see many women ahead of me..

The run was awesome again this year. Each event kept getting stronger and I was now just warming up. I knew I had as strong run last year- but, this year- not sure if I was going to beat it. But, I ended up running 1 and a half minutes faster this year. (I compared my splits below). I ended up running just under 7-min miles for the 10K, which I am very excited about. I had some slower transitions this year, so I can get better at that for sure. I was also excited about my sprint finish, that put me ahead of the 4th place woman in my AG by only 20 secs or so. It was an exciting finish for me, and I finished with a lot of confidence in those regards. Great race overall- congrats to Rachel and Jason for also meeting their goals, and Kim for a great half-ironman race on Saturday!

2007 Splits
0:24:40 0:02:05 1:23:15 0:01:45 0:45:07 2:36:52

2008 Splits
0:22:09 0:02:26 1:21:57 0:02:13 0:43:35 2:32:22

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Training for USAT Worlds...

So, after finishing Oceanside, I had to put the rest of my season into perspective and start planning for some shorter distance racing prior to starting the training for my IMs this summer and fall. I have Wildflower Olympic as a prep for the USAT World Championships in Vancouver, which is in the first week of June. Training for an Olympic distance is a bit different than a half-distance: mainly, because you are increasing the intensity of all of your workouts to increase your speed. I am still doing about 2 hours of total workouts a day- taking one day off- but swimming a lot more than I was prior to oceanside. And, sprinting more- that is, doing more interval work on my runs. I am also working on some quick transitions- and doing sets of 7 miles ride x 1 mile run repeats on the trainer/treadmill (or run outside).



I am feeling really good right now and my energy is good. Hope your training is going well, too. One of my good friends, Peter Mendes, is here this week getting in some training with me, so that is always fun and exciting. We ended up riding yesterday with Rachel on the 25-mile Newhall-to-Saugus-to-Canyon loop. And, today calls for a long swim and a gym workout- with 20 mins of sprints.

Have a great training week. Remember that all of your workouts, summed up, equals how you will do in your next race. So, don't put in junk distance :)

Monday, March 31, 2008

Kona or Bust!

That is exactly what Rachel wrote at the top of my last year's training programs and I had to stare at it everyday before my workouts, whether I believed it or not. And, on Saturday at Oceanside, that dream came true. I qualified for Kona by taking 2nd in my AG at the California Half Ironman in Oceanside. (Final time: 5:11:17)



I had a strong race and finished without a smile on my face- just like Rachel encouraged me to. I didn't want to save anything the way I usually do on the bike, and thought I would be a bit more aggressive than usual, and then if I had to pay for it on the run, I had to pay for it on the run. But, that didn't happen. I ended up running a very strong, 1:41 Half-Marathon (7:47 min/miles) and I felt great. (Sunday I was really sore, but that is besides the point). I had an easy spin today and a swam about 2000 tonight to stretch things out. I feel pretty good, but heading to bed. I will do a full race report soon, but just wanted to get out the official news that I indeed qualified- now, to kick butt in Kona...

Back to the drawing board...

HAVE THE BEST WEEK AND, WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT WITH PURPOSE AND TRAIN HARD!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Saugoydian Rides Again

I got an original Felt road frame with all of Gonzales's old components and now I am ready to ride. After all, it is not about the bike, right? I am even lighter now than I was on the Kuota, believe it or not. If anything, the Aluminum frame is just a tad rougher on the ride, but nothing THAT significant. After all, it is about the rider- about my legs cranking harder, faster. Not the damn bike.

One thing about taper week is that it is hard- hard to not work out. Did nothing today. Just relaxed. Well, I worked on my feet all day, and gave a volleyball lesson, but besides that, didn't do too much else. I am visualizing for the race, getting ready for breaking 5:09. I want to at least go faster than I did last year- that is my 1st goal. 2nd goal: to break 5:00. 3rd goal: to get the qualifying Kona slot in my AG. Hey, I can have the race of my life- you never know. Hence the 3rd goal. If the water is anything like the temp was at Laguna last weekend...my swim will be very very fast.

Well, Alwyn Cosgrove gave me some good advice for this week- with the taper. He said...
"Be careful...there's nothing you can do to get better, but there is a whole lot that you can do to fuck it up." And, so I believe his advice and I will do well in the race...

Thanks AC. Have a great training week!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Setback is just a Setup for a Comeback




I heard this today from a fellow strength coach of mine and it really rang true for me- for this week. I had a very eventful weekend, which was full of some adventure, some grief, some challenges both emotionally and physically, and most of all, some mental strength tests. Sometimes you wonder why life is the way it is- without sounding too cliche. I had been in Canada for the weekend to visit a friend for my birthday. I had a good time, but a friend of mine, Peter Mendes, sent me an email to let me know that Kristy Gough had been killed. Kristy was a young pro triathlete who had been hit on her bike by an oncoming car on March 9th, the day my father passed 7 years ago to the day. I used to swim with Kristy and remember her as such a positive, shy girl who was extremely modest, and very encouraging. She was always telling me to swim in her lane- the #2 lane, and get out of the #3 lane because it was too slow for me. She explained to me that it wasn't too hard to be pro and that her and Clas (her Swedish pro boyfriend at the time) really enjoyed training together. I admired her for her teamwork with him and her work ethic to become the type of cyclist that she had been. Kristy will be remembered in my mind as that and in the sport that we compete in, death on the bike is something that we will deal with more than a dozen times in our lifetime.

I came back from the weekend pretty tired, yet ready to head back to my job because I love it and because seeing the clients and their progress always makes me happy. I had only a couple of hours to workout, one hour at a time, so I ran 7 in the morning break and then biked 20 in my afternoon break. During my ride, I had a crash- with another cyclist and my carbon fiber bike cracked significantly. I, of course, flew off the bike, yet was pretty unscathed. Bloody shins, bruised quads, sore back/shoulders, and wounded pride. And, Gonzales was toast (my 1-yr old Kuota). But, I took it in stride and thought about Kristy and couldn't be too upset. I got up, rode back to work, and then finished my night.

The next day, I went to the bike shop and, with all the luck in the world, was offered a frame (an original Aluminum Felt frame, perfectly my size) at Newhall Bike Company and Roger, who worked so hard to put it together for me, was so awesome. I thought that my triathlon season was over when Gonzales cracked, but now- with my new bike (to remain nameless until tonight when I go pick it up) I have a whole new attitude about the season and another reminder about how precious life really is.

Not one day is guaranteed. Do something each day that you have to think twice or three times about because it might scare you. Call a friend you haven't in a while- book a trip to Hawaii- spend time with your spouse and kiss them a little longer than you normally do- workout a bit harder, because you know that Kristy would have. Be kind to the people who you come into contact with. Clean your car. Ask yourself, "did I grow today?". Thank the ones around you. Smile more. Drink great coffee. Take a walk. Take a deep breath. Live life. Be passionate. Mean what you say. Love life.


Get out there and live it!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Snowboard When Bored...

If you ever want to try something new for your workouts, don't fear stepping outside of the box and skipping a swim/bike/run to do something else active that your really enjoy. This time of the year, I enjoy the ocasional drive up to Mountain High (local ski resort) to snowboard. I got into snowboarding about 5 years ago and spent 4 years in a row heading to Big Sky, Montana to ride for 5 days or so in a row. I hadn't snowboarded yet this year, so last week, I took my board in to get it waxed and the edges sharpened so I could shred the gnar on Friday.

I headed to Mt.High and had a great 4 hours. I went on the black diamond slopes a few times and left just in time for the snow to get really wet and slushy. It was almost too warm to wear the jacket I was wearing, and sometimes I went down sans gloves- which wasn't the smartest thing to do on my last run, when I touched down and scraped my hands against some really sharp, icy snow- very painful. For my birthday, I am meeting a friend up in Canada and snowboarding in Whistler for at least a day. Should be a great time.

So, my point- I was going to do a short brick on Friday morning, but instead- went snowboarding. I didn't feel bad about skipping my "workout" one bit- had a blast, and was actually sore the next day. Still sore :)

Have a wonderful week!

Clancy, Mike and I

Clancy, Mike and I
SB Tri Finishers- Nice Tiles!