Thursday, December 31, 2009

It Can Only Get Better From Here

2009 was the best year yet, so I plan on making 2010 even better. Things got started just how I wanted... whew, passed the first test.

My New Year's Eve festivities went something like this:

A little Beatles Rockband, and I was the only 100% sober one which made it that much more fun...

Playing chauffeur for my sister and her friends...
However, I told Karlee my driving services were only good until 11 p.m. After that, it was bed time for me. That's because the highlight of my New Year's fun took place here, at MV Nadadores, bright and early Jan. 1:
I've already had a big swimming week combined with upper-body strength training, so I was sore when I woke up... thus a little weary about the "special" New Year's main set of 50x100 or 50x75. But what the heck, gotta start off the year with a bang! I did the 50x75 set because there was no way I'd ever survive that many 100s on a 1:20-1:30 interval. The 75s were a nice, easy alternative. Maybe next year I'll be able to do the 100s.

Anyways, as for a 2009 recap... frankly, I don't really feel like taking you down memory lane and relaying all the good times that were had. If you want to do that, there's a whole list of previous posts to the right, which I spent a lot of time on, especially all the photo uploading! I wonder how many total hours I spent blogging and/or reading blogs in '09? Hm.

Speaking of totals... I totaled my swim/bike/run mileage for 2009. I pretty much did half of what Charisa did. Interesting... I expect my mileage to increase in 2010, as I've had a solid year to introduce my body to a full-time triathlon lifestyle and can take it up a notch. However, I still adhere to the philosophy of quality over quantity. So everything will be methodically planned out, and on time-based training sessions for the most part. So whatever the miles are, that's what they'll be (profound, huh).

One thing's for sure: my swimming mileage will increase the most in 2010. You might have noticed I swam at the Nadadores this morning...yup, with the new year comes a new master's swim group. Don't get me wrong, I loved my old group and old coach, but it was only 4x a week at 6 a.m., and it was sort of far from my house. This master's has 5 sessions a day plus weekends and is only 2.5 miles from my house! Very convenient... especially when I want to sleep in and swim at noon.


As far as 2010 goals go...

I don't really have anything specific, except try to beat my 2009 times. It's a new AG and anything can happen - I'm not going to get too caught up in that. I'm more concerned in "racing myself." My '10 schedule has a lot of repeat races from '09, so hopefully I'll get those faster times.

The first race is in 23 days (C-bad half marathon). The first 70.3 is in less than 3 months now! Can't believe it's already been a year since I did my first half-Ironman... I looked like such a newbie dork back then...
Looking forward to having D in attendance at O-side this year. Drinks and Disneyland are on tap for the post-race fun!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Xmas - Bing, bang, boom, done!

To quickly sum up Christmas fun....

Santa brought our family workout toys (I was Santa's consultant on such items).
We were sick of turkey so made "turkey balls." Got to love balls. I also made my world-famous cranberry sauce. Be jealous that you didn't get any of it. I now have to make gallons of it to satisfy the family and ensure leftovers will last for weeks.

My sister and I rode Santiago Canyon on Christmas mid-morning while mom cooked... my first 30 miles in a long time. It wasn't pretty.

Family came over, and the wine drinking began.

The drinking continued until way too late... Xmas-night partying was in abundance at our local bar. Like a high school reunion for me, weird! Even my sister joined.
I'm not drinking again until my birthday, which happens to be two days after Oceanside 70.3!

New year's post tomorrow....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wasting Time Online

My motivation to work out this week is slowly decreasing. Acceptable and expected, given it's Christmas! Things started off well, but now I don't want to do much activity that requires a HR above the 130s (aka nothing above my Zone 1), and I think my body is on board for that. Yesterday I ran 6 miles at the slowest pace I've run in a while. Maybe it's because I spent the previous night country-line dancing for hours, which is quite a workout, especially in boots with heels (foreign footwear to me). I might slip into the pool and weight room today, or I might bake, we'll see. Both perhaps?

I've been trying to get some work done too, but since that's all based around the computer, I inevitably get caught up wasting time on those websites: FB, blogs, twitter, YouTube, even email convos...

Here's one festive video on YouTube that I gave me a good laugh... the best part is the last minute when they go through all 12 videos (remember Chocolate Rain?! hahahaha)

Happy holidays! Hope everyone enjoys this week whether that means being a bum workout-wise, indulging in holiday goodies, swimming massive amounts like Charisa or a combo of all that.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Keeping it Real

This guy who works at SPI always says to me, "Keep it real Tawnee." This weekend was a great example of doing just that.... I got a little taste of everything that makes me smile: solid workouts, friends and parties, Ironman on TV (look out for my rant), good food and good grades.

It started Friday morning with a killer 5-mile trail run with my SPI boss, Mike, through Laguna Beach. Mike, of course, is super fast and knows those trails like the back of his hand, so it was challenging at times to keep him in sight; my HR would get pretty high when I was chasing him at a sub-7 pace, but it was a great run and it put me at 25-ish miles for the week. Slowly getting that mileage back up there. He gave me lots of trail-running tips mostly in the form of "ohhh nooo, that's not how you run; you need to change x-y-z; we have a lot of work for you to do." Haha. I love it though... the more I can correct the faster I can get.

After that I caught my dad just as he was going to the gym, so I joined him for an hour or so of strength training and rowing.

So, with all that... I earned my Friday night splurge, which happened to be in the form of Beer Olympics with fellow kinesiology grad students. At first I thought it was going to be events like the beer mile, but, no, it was just straight up drinking games--beer pong, flip cup, etc., done in a surprisingly well-organized legit competition at a dive bar. Prior to Friday, everyone had been divided into teams representing a country, and costumes were mandatory. I was on Team Vatican City. And just fyi: It was not our intention to mock religion or offend people... all in good fun and we just wanted God on our side ;) I dressed up like a nun, and was joined by the Pope, two priests and another nun. Despite my lack of college-esque drinking skillzzz we managed to win. See, God was on our side :)

Team VC with our medals...

There was even Beer Jenga... a Team Japan member in action...

The Greeks showed up too (as did Germans, Team Thailand, etc)...

Saturday I felt a little hazy, so I did some chores and errands, skipped working out and was settled on the couch at 1:30 to watch NBC's Ironman special. (I was hoping it would possibly inspire me to work out after, but it didn't.)

And, now, I'd like to share my rant NBC's coverage:

First, any time triathlon is on mainstream TV, that's a plus. But...besides that, I wasn't impressed with the coverage. Maybe I'm biased because I'm obsessed with the sport, I don't know. They did a decent job covering the pros, but beyond that it's the same ol' format: stories of people who overcame some hurdle to get to Kona / those who are finishing just before midnight. Don't get me wrong, that stuff is inspiring and always brings tears to my eyes (like Kyle Garlett missing the swim cutoff), but here's the problem:

NBC fails to highlight a huge chunk of Ironman Kona athletes: the fit, healthy, hard-working AGers who are pulling off some damn impressive times. Those who earned their spots by living, eating and breathing swimbikerun while juggling careers and/or families and/or a life (or lack thereof ). I knew far too many of those folks racing out there this year and I strongly believe that demographic deserves its 15 minutes of fame.

Also, I loved watching Rudy Garcia-Tolson's story, he's just incredible, but they should have mentioned that he went on to compete in and FINISH Ironman Arizona just a month later. Kind of a big deal.

So, yea, after watching that, it makes me want to do my own TV special... follow around a Kona qualifier or two for a year leading up to October and then show America what your everyday triathlete puts into this one race. See the sacrifice that it takes.

Ok, rant done.

Because I skipped my Saturday workout, I failed to meet my 12,000 yds in the pool for the week... oops! Grand total of 10,000 by Sunday. But I did close to 5,000 meters on the rowing machine over the week, does that count? Plus, with all the strength-training I did, I was surprised how fresh my arms still felt for 3k in the pool on Sunday... I swam a couple timed 500s, going well under 8 min for each, a big improvement for me--that wasn't even possible about 6-7 months ago.

Sunday I also went on an ez/mod bike through Santiago Canyon. Half of it was purely just to "earn" another night of spluring on holiday yumminess, half was to see if I remember how to ride a bike. Well, I burned the calories, but my riding legs never showed up. It was pathetic. Hopefully I can become a cyclist again by March! Break is over pretty soon.

Last week I had finals (lots of essays, lots of pain... it's a blur now). traditionally, when finals are done I begin checking the school website waaay too much in anticipation of grades being posted. Finally, on Sunday, one grade was up: I got an A- in Stats! Probably the biggest relief ever considering I wanted to puke after that final, it sucked and made me feel dumb. But I did well anough to keep an A-. Still waiting on the other grades... aka still checking CSUF's website like a crazy OCD person.

After I snuck in a nap, Sunday night was Christmas Round One with my Grandpa (the race car-driving one) and that side of the family. We talked a little about our Sunday rides. My grandpa and uncles ride Santiago Canyon, too, but on a slightly different sort of bike. They always stop at Cook's Corner, and unfortunately I have yet to run into them or even catch them whizzing by... but it's bound to happen. Sounds like I just missed them on Sunday!

Anyways, their house is like a race car museum... I always find something new to look at when I go there, the memoribilia is insane. So is the garage... ya know... just some crazy motorcycles all over...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Racing is in my blood*

This is the Christmas card photo I received from my Grandpa (taken at his shop)...

"Dan Gurney’s All American Racers is celebrating its 45th year in business"

*Now I just hope I can tap into that gene ;)

Brainless Gibberish

Yes, in my last blog I mentioned how there'd be a Part 2 (a response-ish thing to Ryan's recent blog)... but it's finals week and all my intellectual juices are going toward my exams. So this post is the opposite of my last "over-active brain" post. Just a general summary of what's happening on the day-to-day.

Starting off on the training front, of course it's offseason with lots of indulgences—late nights, social life, wine, yummy foods, non-swimbikerun activities, etc—going on. And although my training volume has decreased dramatically, I still see this as a great opportunity to work on my weaknesses. Being sedentary doesn't work for me. I've been bonding with the pool especially—nothing too major, shooting for at least 12,000 yds per week (key: shooting for)—and am running still. The Felt and I, on the other hand, are on a break from each other minus a few rendezvous. My run workouts are mainly high-intensity low duration, not much LSD. Really, it's just to get in as much "work" in the least amount of time so training doesn't rule my schedule. Plus, the benefits of tempo runs/HIIT training can be just as, if not more, effective than LSD. In the pool, I keep a rather high intensity too, but, really, since I suck at swimming, it feels like every master's workout is at my max because I'm just trying to survive the intervals.

I'm also trail running again. I forgot how much I love it! The miles fly by compared to boring roads. I stopped doing it earlier this year after I sprained my ankle running downhill on an OC route by Modjeska. That happened during my Oceanside training, and it put the fear in me. Now that I'm back on the trails, I'm just running "smart." The reason I started running trails is because a while back (in a state of idiocracy) I signed up for the XTERRA 17k Crystal Cove Trail Race that I did last year. I like the idea of repeating certain races to see how I've improved. But the first time I ran El Moro for practice I was cursing myself for signing up. It's hard. You gain more than 2,000 feet over the 17k, with most of that in the first few miles. If you think I'm exaggerating/being a baby, come join me on a run out there and see for yourself.

The race was supposed to be Dec 13, but someone was watching over me because conveniently that major storm hit SoCal last week and caused it to get postponed until January. Secretly I was jumping for joy. It's not that I don't want to do the XTERRA thaaang... now I just have more time for some specific trail/hill training... I have to get away from that flat Clearwater stuff once and for all.

I'm also back in the gym strength-training again, and I LOVE it. I am definitely one of those people who can easily spend a couple hours at the gym doing my little circuits. I love lifting and I love watching the crazy (and pointless) exercises that so many people do. Very entertaining.

So that's the working out.

In other SAD, AWFUL news, my wasabi-green Republic bike got stolen outside the kinesiology building at CSU Fullerton last week. I walked out of class that night, and no bike. Part of me wasn't even surprised, as bike thefts have happened a lot on our campus this semester (ghetto area, but thankfully not a ghetto master's program). Don't get me wrong, I was majorly pissed, as was my friend Brian who was ready to go agro... more pissed than me I think! And before you ask—yes, it was locked, with a quality lock that I borrowed (not stole) from my "Home-Depot-loving-I-have-every-gadget-in-our-garage" dad. I filed a police report and am staying optimistic, but it doesn't look like my odds are good. Bummer. Keeping an eye on Craigslist, too.

And last but not least, I'm doing a lot of 2010 planning. I have the majority of my race schedule all set (again, lots of repeats from this year), and also have some other big & fun triathlon-related plans. But that's still top secret. So excited though!!!

Non-triathlon-wise, I'm trying to build up my clientele as a personal trainer/coach (so if you know of anyone in south OC who needs someone.....!). I have a great facility that I'm working out of, Sport Performance Institute. The guys operating the place range from a triathlete (my main boss, mentor and a freakin awesome guy) to master trainers who come from soccer, baseball, basketball, bodybuilding, etc backgrounds. I'm learning a lot from them... Including what it's like to be the only chick trainer who gets a lot of sh*t from the boys. I can take it ;)

Then, there's that other little thing... my thesis. Yea. No biggie. Except that I have NO IDEA what it will be on yet. I'm hoping to find that out next semester. I know it will involve endurance sports and likely some environmental factor (heat, cold, hydrating in heat or cold, etc), but the specific research question and study? No idea. I considered a study on altitude training (the "live high train low" theory), but that will require way too many hours and my entire life... so no thanks.

That's all I got for now... maybe my next post will be "intellectual" or maybe it will be about the Beer Olympics I'm participating in this Friday. We'll see.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

the only constant is change

In high school I went though a punk-rock phase. I was more of a "surfed-out" giggly wannabe punker, definitely not a grungy/dark drugged-out punker. Essentially, I just loved going to shows, rocking out and wearing Converse shoes and Volcom clothes. That brand, Volcom, was pretty much king in my world, and their entertainment label included some pretty cool bands. One of their compilation CDs I had was titled "The Only Constant is Change," and it's a phrase that's always stuck with me.

After all, you won't ever catch me in a mosh pit again. (Take that back - a triathlon swim start is pretty much a mosh pit.)

Fast-forward to the time after I graduated from SDSU and I was thrilled to be a full-time newspaper employee--an adult in the workforce--saving money and aspiring to have my own place. I'd go to my desk early every day, work my butt off till 5ish then work out or go home and pass out tired. The scariest part of that phase: thoughts of getting married were floating in my head and it was something I'd legitimately consider. Ahhhh!

But look at me now. None of of that represents who I am today (well, I do love surfing and some good punk rock).

The only constant is change.

But currently, I'm in an overactive-brain phase (sounds like Elizabeth is experiencing this too); there's just so much I want to do and be.

That said, I've signed up for a lot. I'm busy. Really busy. Sometimes I wonder why I do it, but at the end of the day I know I'm a free and unattached twentysomething and now is the time to try it all out, be selfish and get experience.

However, you know that question that often gets asked in interviews: "What's your greatest flaw?" Well mine, hands down, is taking on too much. I love being busy, but it can get out of control. I have to draw the line somewhere because I want to ensure I'm giving each aspect of my life the attention it deserves. Going into 2010, I've had to give some thought about where, what and to whom I want to invest my time. I made a list. I'm good at making lists... there's always one floating around.

So, starting with what I'm NOT: I never thought I'd say this, but I thoroughly enjoy being single. I have no intention of having a boyfriend, let alone getting married and having kids, any time soon. Investing energy in a relationship is pointless to me right now. Someday though. Ask me this after I've qualified and raced in Kona, and maybe it will be a different story.

On the flip side, the four things I AM (in no particular order):

1. Triathlete
2. Student
3. Personal trainer/coach
4. Writer

Seems simple, but those four account for roughly 90% of my time. The other 10%? Just let me sit back, relax, enjoy the company of friends/family and have a glass of wine here and there.

So what's the take-home message here? There's a couple parts.

First... The only constant is change.

Second... It's those changes that allow you to narrow in on what really matters. Right now, in December 2009, I'm the happiest I've ever been in my entire life.... for one reason: passion. Everything I've done, all the phases I've been through, have led me to find what truly excites me... I'm living my passion.

But maybe that will change? Maybe in some form, like if I relocate to San Diego (!!!), but I think I've found something that will never get old. Who knows.

In my next post, I plan on responding to Ryan's recent post. Read his, then check back here soon for my thoughts on the matter.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Perfect T-Day Morning

Oops, guess the racing isn't done yet! PRs all around Thanksgiving morning for the Prazak girls. Of them all, I couldn't be more proud of my sister Karlee. At the end of October, she decided she wanted to do her first 10k run—her first organized race—at the Dana Point Turkey Trot, and it was my mission to prepare her in 25 days. She had never run more than 4-5 miles, let alone at any sort of "race pace." However, she is athletic and exercises up at Cal Poly, so we at least had a fitness base to work with.

Her goal was to run the 10k in 1 hour, a ~9:39 pace. Definitely a challenge for her. Not easy for me, either: I had to assign her adequate training miles without overdoing it or causing injury in a very short time period. My first test as a coach. Her longest run was 7 miles, about two weeks or so before the race. I incorporated a good amount of cross-training too.

Then, of course, she got sick—as do most college students who party, work, study and burn the candle at both ends. She still trained, but even up to Thanksgiving morning she wasn't in perfect health. Basically coughing up a lung. The day before she was clearly uncertain if 1 hour was possible—and the way she sounded sick-wise, I wasn't too sure either.

Mom & sis on race morning... cold

But, my sister has that competitive spirit that is deeply innate in my family, and she got her 1-hour 10k! And now she says she's ready to tackle a sprint triathlon in 2010! Yaaayyyy.

My mom also pulled off a PR performance crossing at around 50 mins, a solid 3 min improvement from years past. Gettin better with age... excited to see what she pulls off at Vineman 70.3 next July!

See Mom in blue, bottom right, charging through. Notice the major congestion in this 4,000-person 10k!

As for my 10k, a few things: 1) The knee appears to be ok & problem fixed, let's hope, so I was cleared to run. 2) I'm in total recovery/offseason mode so no big expectations; however, 3) in all my previous 10ks I was in way crappier shape, so chances of me PRing were high even without trying my hardest.

Plus, Sara was running with me, and I think that got me to push the pace a little more... we were side by side the whole time, and according to my Garmin, we averaged 7:18 miles (negative splitting the whole time) and finished in just over 46 min. If that doesn't add up it's because the course was long, ~6.4 mi.

Sara & I

For the most part I felt pretty good; although, that "goodness" started fading toward the end... ouch. Amazing how fast you can lose fitness, learned this in the pool over the week too. Sara, however, was solid the whole time—or at least she looked that way. I love having fast friends/training partners, doesn't allow me any room to slack off!

I couldn't help but laugh, and be pleased, looking at my past performances at the DP Turkey Trot:

2007- 53:06, hey-o slow! Must have been hungover ;) I do remember a shoe coming untied.
2008- 48:24, coming off knee surgery & in torrential down-pouring the whole time
2009- 46:06, a week after half-ironman

I need to start building a running resume. I've actually never raced a half-marathon (only in 70.3s) nor have I had an "A" priority 10k—they've all been for fun or on a whim. But that will change in 2010, first with C-bad half in January. Should be interesting!

Prazaks happy like we're on prozac... I'm thining- feed me turkey and pumpkin pie mmm!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

70.3 Championships: Last RR of the Year

First off, THANK YOU! The most special thing about racing in Clearwater was the support I received from everyone--family, friends and my random Internet amigos. I traveled out to Florida all on my own; yet, never once did I feel alone. At the beginning of this year, I could count my triathlon friends on one hand... no longer the case. And that does wonders for my racing. To know people are Athlete Tracking me or even just thinking of me is the best motivator possible. So thanks to everyone who reads this blog and to everyone who sent me a good luck message at some point.

So Florida. Imagine sunny blue skies, high temperatures, humid air, mellow sea breezes and a sparkling crystal-clear ocean. Then throw all that away and replace it with overcast gray skies, cold temps, angry oceans and gnarly winds. Yup, that's what I arrived to. Well, actually, I arrived at 1 a.m., so I couldn't really assess the weather till sunrise. From my hotel room in the Holiday Innnnnn, this is the ickiness I saw: This pic doesn't do the choppy, currenty mayhem justice:
I meant to get in a little workout Thursday, but the day got away from me. From meeting up with friends, athlete check-in, bike pickup and finding the local grocery store to stock up, before I knew it the sun was setting and I was headed to the Athlete Dinner with Ben and Perry (met Ben back in Kona). We rode our bikes over to Sand Key Park--probably not the best idea because it was pitch-black riding back, but I let the boys lead the way so they could eat it and not me. (No one ate it.) By the way, I was very impressed with the dinner served to us. Honestly, it was better than what we got in Kona! And we even got big ol' M-dot cookies!

Thursday night, I noticed the problem with my bike. Thank god I was able to get it fixed Friday. Lesson learned: Always get to an Ironman with at least two days to hang out before the race to adjust, settle in and take care of any potential disasters.

Friday morning I went on a ride with fast people from SD: Chris Berg and Lauren Chiodini. It was my first time hanging out with Lauren, and glad I did! Besides the fact she's A LOT faster than me, we are very similar: same age, from south OC, played volleyball for the same club, high schools were in the same league so our VB teams played each other, college in SD, mutual friends. Parallel lives that finally crossed in Clearwater. Small world. I'm stoked b/c now I have another chick training partner who kicks ass! (It's always good to have fast friends rather than AG rivals)
After the three of us rode part of the course for about an hour, it was time to check in the bike and gear bags. It's pretty cool to get your own escort through transition. Very VIP-ish.
As tempting as it was to play outside all afternoon (the weather had improved a ton!), I instead sat on my butt for probably eight hours watching movies, texting, talking on the phone, FB-ing, eating---RESTING. I did nothing that actually required intelligence. It was pretty awesome. And since I had a kitchenette in my room, I didn't even have to leave for dinner. I was all prepared and had a perfect pre-race meal.

For the first time ever I didn't have trouble sleeping. Woke up energized at 4:30. Did the usual routine, had the usual oatmeal concoction then headed out and walked the ~15-min trek to transition. Once there, I realized I forgot my swim goggles. Crap. The only time I was wishing I had a sherpa with me; instead, I jogged back and grabbed the goggles. Still made it to transition with time to spare. Whew. Chatted with friends, and was feeling calm. Even in those few last minutes as I got corralled to the swim start line, I was talking with Colleen, and it was as mellow as if we were in the ticket line at the movies, not about to start a half-Ironman Championship race. Sucked down a last gel and it was go time.

As you may have heard, the swim course changed from the Gulf to the bay due to the insane chop and currents in the sea. As a result we had a "time trial" start. Huh? A first for me; I was clueless until I was doing it: single-file line, walk to the end of a little dock, plop into the 3-feet-ish deep water (no diving) and get going one at a time. It was weird. A very anticlimactic beginning to the race.

As always, I was blinded by the rising sun. Ridiculous! My saving grace was being in the mix of swimmers and letting them guide me from buoy to buoy. The good thing about time-trial starts is that there's no massive crowd of people thrashing around at the beginning. However, about 10 min into my swim, the faster guys who started behind me were catching me and I got the token MAJOR blow to the head. Had to stop and regroup for a good 30-40 seconds. Ouch. But overall, I felt pretty good swimming. The only other bad part was the taste/smell of the water--like pure diesel. Nauseating.

Exiting the swim was a challenge. We had to narrow into a tiny little dock, while dodging wooden poles in the water. The exit was right by a red pirate ship (random), which helped to sight. Still, I slipped and tripped climbing up that little ramp. By the time I hit the mat it was just over 35 minutes. But I think my swim time was sub-35 if you don't count the inefficient exit I had. A PR for me! (Now I'm setting my sights on 32 min or faster for Oceanside in March.)

Thanks Heidi (Lauren's mom) for getting pics of me! Too nice...

Wetsuit strippers rock. But the whole bag thing/changing tents was new and I was confused. Slower transitions than normal, but whatever.

My one time to shine. Like I said before, I was determined to stay away from any drafting. Didn't care if that meant a lower ranking/slower split. I wanted to ride my own 56 miles. Unfortunately my knee was bothering me right away. I was pissed. But since the bike doesn't pound the knee like running, I said to myself, "Screw it--if there's a change I can't run the full 13.1 miles b/c of the knee, I might as well hammer the bike as hard as I can to shoot for a good split."

Generally the course is pancake flat, but there are several gradual hills--nothing major. Plus there are a lot of turns and narrow roads. It's a good recipe for drafting, even if you're not trying. I can see how it's easy to get caught up in a pack. You literally have to stop/slow way down to avoid them. Which I did. A bummer, but it is what it is.

I still very much loved my bike experience. (In another life, I'll be a pro cyclist.)

I've almost perfected my bike nutrition, this time taking in a variety of gels every 20-30 min, sipping G2, water and water+Nuun—like clockwork. Next 70.3, however, I will bring along some actual food. I need to mix it up with the gels, which get nauseating after a while.

By mile 49 I was so ready for the bike to be over. Another indicator that I'm not yet ready to do a full Ironman. Total bike time- 2:31, avg 22.2 mph—major PR.

Oops, I tried something new. Proof (see shoes attached to pedals)....

First of all, this run IS NOT flat. The bridge you run over 4x is a painfully long ~12% grade uphill—like full on ships travel underneath it, a lot bigger than I expected. Of course, you get to run down the other side, but it still sucks. (Looks like the bridge in the picture posted above.)

I started off strong, ignoring the knee pain as best I could because the thought of a DNF killed me—really, it wasn't an option, I'd walk if necessary. At first, I held a good pace from low 8's to sub-7's. I made it through the first loop in decent time. Then sh*t hit the fan. The knee was aching. My body was aching. I wanted so badly to at least hold an 8-min pace, but toward the end I fell apart. Yes, the knee undoubtedly played a role, but really the fact is my legs just didn't want to go anymore. (Yet another reason why Ironman can wait a couple years.)

I still PR'd the run, going sub-1:50. But I wanted to do better than that! Grrr! With all those painful hours spent running, I should have done better than that!!!

I somehow managed to pick up my pace to ~7:30 for the last mile+, realizing I was getting close to the 5-hr mark. Just missed it. I crossed at 5-0-stupid-1. Immediately, I beelined for medical to ice my knee.

Meanwhile, I was afraid to remove my shoes and see the blister damage on my arches. But, I'm starting to connect the dots: Those blisters are definitely caused by my high-arched-feet-gone-flat, which, in turn causes me to run in poor form and, thus, the knee pain. Ha! Biomechanics in action! Changes are being made.... I think I've caught the problem before it's too late!!!

The post-race food was pretty crappy, especially the pizza. That disappointed me more than the :01 attached to my 5-hour finish. I ate just enough to hold me over, said some hellos to friends, then rode my bike back to the hotel, crazy, I know. Ate some real good food there.

I thought I'd fit in a nap, but it never happened. Next thing I knew, I was headed to the Awards Dinner with Ben, Lauren and crew. A view of Sand Key Park/Awards Dinner from my room:I felt great Saturday night, believe it or not. My body is getting used to half-Ironman racing on some level... earlier this year, after Oceanside I pretty much was worthless by 4 p.m., after Vineman I had about 1 glass of wine and was dozing off at dinner (remember, Ian?). But at Clearwater I charged through the night until almost 2 a.m.

Besides the most hilarious awards speech ever given by Michael Raelert (winner), the two things Clearwater's awards had that Kona lacked:
Awesome fireworks...
Best mini key lime pies ever... After awards, I got our dinner crew to meet up with the Breakaway Training crew at the Sheraton Hotel bar. With a drunk Chris drinking foo-fooey appletinis, Felipe's birthday, two podium athletes in the mix (Lauren and Ben's friend), me & my wine, a friendly bartender and post-race delirium, good times were had. See pictures on FB.

I continued on to the post-race party at Shepherd's, where only the hardcore racers were still up and energized ;) Triathletes can be like monks before a big race, but man can they also party and drink hard when all is said and done. Pretty funny to see. I danced for quite a while—don't know how considering my knee hated me and the legs were stiff and sore. You only live once, though, and who knows if I'll ever be back in Clearwater to race.

As expected, I felt like total crap on Sunday. Like a semi-truck had rammed into me.... repeatedly. But successfully made the long journey home. And offseason has officially begun. Ahhhhhh :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Brief Clearwater 70.3 Recap

I have tons to do today, including getting a new cell phone thanks to a silly mistake on Saturday night, so a real race report on Clearwater will certainly be up soon. But for now, here's a few thoughts (and photos) from my Ironman 70.3 World Championship experience:

1. Drafting
Yup, it's all over the place. Here's how I dealt: I didn't go into the race with hopes of landing on the podium. I knew jumping into a peloton of riders would be my only shot at moving up the ranks, and that just was not worth it to me. So I'm proud to say my bike time was all my own effort; I refused to get caught up in a big group, despite many opportunities to do so. However, in letting the many pelotons pass, I was forced to slow down majorly—like get up out of aero, stop pedaling and go from 23-25 mph to 15-16 mph to let the pack pass... every time it felt like an eternity. I'm certain my bike split would be at least 4-5 min faster had I been able to keep going my own pace and not slow down to avoid draft packs. It's crazy that drafting, and honesty, can slow you down from your true potential.

2. My Goal
I got it! Plus one stupid minute. 5:01... I hate that :01. Oh well. I'm still going to say I PR'd by "about 20 minutes" since Vineman (40 min since O-side). That time was good enough to get me top 10 in 20-24F... I'll take it!

3. I PR'd in all three
Swim- 35 min
Bike- 2:31
Run- 1:49

My swim has improved by 4 minutes since my first half-IM this year at O-side, and my run by about 5 minutes. I wanted a better run, I know I could have executed a better run based on how training was going, but Saturday wasn't my day to do so, mostly because of my knee. As for the bike, given my blatant slow-downs and vow to ride on my own, I'm content with my time and the improvement I made.

4. The knee
So, what's up with my knee? Well, I've had a lingering "issue" for several weeks now—I've been in denial (an "If I don't acknowledge it, maybe it will disappear" sort of thing). But it's there: Medial pain on my R knee (from surgery? who knows). The pain subsided during taper, so I prayed that meant it was gone for good. Nope. As soon as I hoped on the bike, I felt it. I was literally wondering if I'd be able to run the full 13.1. I took Ibuprofen the days before, during and after the race to mask the pain (5 or so?). But I think wanting to finish the race decently well no matter what helped more than some pills. Hopefully I didn't do a lot of damage by running on it for that long. Thankfully, as of now, Sunday, I'm not in constant pain. I'll find out what's really wrong as soon as I can get in to see my knee specialist.
Me on the right:
5. Everything broke and now I'm broke
My bike: When I picked up my bike from TriBike Transport it was making this awful grinding noise and each revolution felt clunky—definitely not normal, not good. Ahhhh!!! Took it to bike tech, and in about 1 min, Taz determined I needed a new chain. What a rookie! $100 later, my bike was repaired and raced beautifully.

My watch: My trusty Timex watch also saw it's last days in Clearwater. Thankfully it waited until after the race to die on me. I'll miss that little guy, he's been through a lot with me in the last couple of years and never failed me. I'm thankful he held on for one last hurrah.

My phone: On Saturday night I was washing my face, and it was late. Like 1 something in the morning. I had just gotten in from the night's celebratory festivities and, yes, I had consumed alcohol, but by no means was I wasted. Just exhausted (rightfully so!). In one clumsy sweep, my cell phone was in the sink, in a pool of soapy water. It's still hanging on by a thread, but I'll be getting a new phone asap.

Conclusion: Triathlon = $$$$$. Doing Clearwater all on my own—no travel mates, no sponsors, no financial aid—wasn't cheap, but it was worth it... The nightly view from my room:And on that note, family and friends be warned: this coming holiday season, instead of presents you can expect big hugs and homemade "stuff" from me.

That's it for now. back to work for me. I'll have my full race report in a couple of days. I have lots of good stories, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nope, not giving up my coffee...

...because I'm waking up stupidly early this week to help adjust to Florida time and the extremely early wakeup I'll have Saturday (~1 a.m. pacific time). It's so much easier for Californians to adjust for Kona! But thankfully I changed my flight and am now headed out Wednesday, so by Thursday I'll be waking up in a Gulf-view room on Clearwater Beach... doubt I'll have trouble waking up at that point. (fyi - Southwest didn't charge me for changing my flight, wow.)

I'm also keeping a close eye on Hurricane Ida. At this point, it looks like Ida is a now a tropical storm--it "weakened" as it hit Alabama with winds averaging only 45 mph. Psshh haha.
Photo courtesy AP
Even though it looks like the storm is headed in Florida's direction, the forecast for CW is showing that race day shouldn't be anything too gnarly--predicted weather is partly cloudy, high of 79, 20% chance of rain. What do I know, though. Whatever the case ends up being, I'm ready! The more extreme, the better the race report, right?

In the meantime I have to hammer through two major exams this afternoon, back-to-back, in Environmental Exercise Phys and Stats. (Another reason why I refuse to drop the caffeine this week.) I'd much rather be lounging around stress-free, packing and getting as much extra rest as possible, but life had other plans for me. At least I won't have to study on the plane ride home, yuck. However, I have a power-point presentation to do next Monday in Sports Nutrition and am toying with the idea of practicing in front of the passengers on the plane home. Doubt they'll care about fish oil supplementation though. Maybe if I hand out free samples. Hmmmm.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


It's winding down, only 11 more days until Clearwater! I feel as ready as I can be both physically and mentally. I've trained well and have had fun with it, not too much not too little. In short: I'm super excited to race. Refreshed & ready!

Although I've been training hard, particularly on my swim and run, I'm having fun and keeping busy with other aspects of life, too. Maintaining that balance in my life has helped a lot—I'm definitely a happier triathlete! Unless the day comes where I'm an elite racer and have pro potential, there's no reason to live like a monk for this sport. (Acutally, I'm just trying to justify why I stayed up too late and drank too much on Halloween...oops.)

My goal for Clearwater is to PR my half-Ironman time. That's it. Of course I'll always strive to do my best in my AG, but there are fast ladies at World Championship races, and going in the 4:30 range just isn't something I'm capable of yet (stress the yet!!). I'm totally fine with that. Everyone says, "Oh it's a flat course, you're going to kill it." I'll do what I can. And I guarantee I'll race my own race out there.

Until Nov. 14, though, I have a lot going on with work and school (more tests, more presentations, more meetings)... so I'll finish this up with a few pictures that explain why my bike ride on Nov. 1 was not pretty. Yea, I almost hurled on the side of the road several times. But the fun I had on Halloween was well worth it, and thankfully I had gotten in my last key long bike and long run in before the party.

Some of the boys I grew up with (I was the only girl in our neighborhood... hmmm)

This guy (the "Mexican whistle dude") poured a shot down my throat faster than I could react and say no! Ew. Bearded Lady in the background.

My friend Dave's costume... the shirt says "Ask me about my zombie costume."

So I did...

Best costume I saw...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Punch bees in the face

I got stung by a bee, again. Riding downhill at 35 mph. R quad. Bam. This is the third time, the first two were on my face. I'm not allergic, but I do swell up like a balloon. The sting happened Sat morning, 10 mi into my ride. I continued to ride another ~15 miles, then ran 12 later that day, then biked 60 on Sunday. I fought the pain (out of fear of Clearwater), but it all caught up with me Monday. The swelling worsened, my leg was like 120 degrees, I was limping—felt like crap.

It's been brought to my attention that I get stung by things a lot (sea lice in Kona just days ago).

But, thankfully, it looks like I'm going to survive this one too.

The funny thing about Saturday is that I saw it coming. I was doing hill repeats, and going uphill I noticed a lot of bees around—at a slower pace, they were sort of bouncing off me. So going downhill I purposely tucked my head in and was literally praying "please don't get stung in the face again." Well, mid pray—right in the leg. Dammit!

To top things off, on Sunday's ride, a bee FLEW INTO MY HELMET (apparently they're out in full force in So Cal right now). Surprisingly I didn't panic, just cussed and threw the helmet off. Sure enough, the little bugger hopped out of the helmet and crawled away.

I almost took it as an omen that I shouldn't ride. But, that'd be wasting precious training time with Clearwater on the horizon...

Btw, the title of this post comes from one of my favorite Dane Cook bits.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pt: 4 Kona Aftermath

First, some timely news... I got this in the mail Monday:I'm really excited to put this to good use, and I have some great plans heading into the new year!

Anyways... back to Hawaii. I'm sure you're all getting sick of hearing about it by now, especially D, so I promise to make this my last Kona post, and I promise to keep it short...sort of. But I will have a little ranting toward the end, so, D, I think you'll like this one.

Last Few Days in Kona

The day after Ironman was a little bit like the day after Christmas, and that's coming from someone who didn't even race.

Sunday we all slept in then spent several hours in the Media Center uploading, editing, writing, Internet-surfing and consuming all the free coffee and fruit stomachable (a word?). The goal of the day was to feel good for the Awards Ceremony and post-race parties that night.

An afternoon swim helped me get some energy back, and by 6 p.m., I was eager to get the fun started! Awards had great food, not sure what it was to be honest, but it all blended well on my plate Thanksgiving-style. Plus there was “free” beer (with the $48 admission).

To sum up awards, check out
this video on

Kevin and I ran into Hilary Biscay at awards, and of course Kevin knows her, so thanks to him, he had Hilary add us on the list for the K-Swiss party. Sweet!

Well, en route to the party, just after awards ended, the downpours began. Last year during Awards it rained, this year it waited until right after. But that wasn't stopping us. We got wet but made the ~1 mile walk to Huggos where the real fun began.

Not gonna lie, I was initially intimidated by the all-star crowd—all the top pros, all the top names in triathlon, pretty much everyone except Crowie. It’s one thing to see the pros in a press conference or racing, but to be mingling with them at the same party? It was too much. It took a while to get brave and just go up to people like Andy Potts, Chrissie Wellington, Belinda Granger, Faris Al-Sutan, etc, etc and strike up conversation. And when I did, I tried not to be “that person”—like the teeny-bopper wanting Britney Spears' autograph. Still, I wanted to take pictures with everyone and of everything, but I contained myself and kept it to just a few, including:

We all got kicked out of Huggos too early… so everyone migrated across the street to Lulu’s. Even Chrissie was still energized to keep partying (what is this woman made of??). I have to say, besides hanging out with my new super cool friend from Gu, I think Faris Al-Sutan wins for being the funnest person to meet and talk to. And he was lookin good freshly shaven too... he said, "I didn't want to look like an 80-year-old man anymore." Ha.

I didn’t want the night to end. But sadly, it did. Still, not after everyone hung out in the parking lot after Lulu’s kicked us out too…. talk about stamina among the triathlete crowd.

Most people were leaving town, so I was ready to start enjoying Hawaii minus Ironman.

But first, I hit up the Stand-Up Paddleboard Demo at the King Kam with Chris Lieto, the Multisports crew, Surf-Tech, etc. Got lessons from Lieto and it was a blast. I felt comfortable, it came pretty naturally to me, that is, until I tried tandem with fellow media dude, Kai, from Germany. We ate it a couple times, which was refreshing more than anything!

Also hung out with Jessi Stensland a bit and learned about her new MovementU classes. Really good stuff, and great CEUs for coaching! I’ll be attending the Nov. 7 session in Lake Forest.

After SUP, I headed out for a 1-hour ocean swim (battled some gnarly chop!), refueled then rented a moped to venture beyond my little world on Ali'i. Glad I did. It was so refreshing to cruise around, see the sights and work on my tan.

I even made a pit stop at Target for some cheap snacks and more gum (I’m a total gum addict, it’s bad). After moped-ing for the full 2.5 hours, I got in a 7-mile run. I was feeling really good—actually getting used to the heat, or maybe it’s because I waited until sunset (i.e. cooler temps) to run. Another good night ensued, but this one was alcohol-free and early to bed!

Got in my last hour swim and 45-min run then hit up the farmer’s market for the last time to stock up on fruits and veggies for the trip home—I knew I wouldn’t want to spend $30 for a crappy airport meal. Before I knew it, I was in the taxi waving goodbye.

Then the dream vacation turned sour...
The airport situation was a disaster. I don't recommend flying Mesa Airlines aka Go Air; I learned the hard way that they have a bad rep for canceled/delayed flights and planes with air-conditioning issues. My 4:40 p.m. flight to Honolulu got delayed until 8 p.m. So about 6 hours of sitting in Kona. But that’s not the worst of it: We got to HON at 8:30 p.m. and due to some other BS I dealt with before the trip (rescheduled flights) I supposed to pick up my bags, recheck them and go thru security again—all in time for my 9:10 p.m. red eye back to LAX on AA in a different terminal. 40 minutes to do that? Uh, no chance in hell.

So, what else: I started crying. I swear, it works (for girls, at least). In no time, I had at least 5 airport staffers trying to help me get over to AA while searching for my bag and getting it over to my red eye (I won't even mention the other major mess up by Mesa). Meanwhile, I basically said screw my bag, left it in the hands of the airport Gods and started running because if I missed the 9:10 flight, I’d be stranded in the airport overnight and AA would charge me $200+ to take the next available flight out in the morning because Mesa’s delay “was not their fault.” Argh!

Well, the airport Gods were watching over me: I made the 9:10 flight (got a crappy night's "sleep") and when I got to the LAX baggage claim on Wednesday morning my bag was the first to fall into the carousel. (First off, meaning it was the last on!!) My heart dropped, and I said a mini prayer thanking the folks who helped me in Honolulu in particular.

Made mom pick me up from LA at 5:30 a.m. (heehee) and then I was home.

And that's it.

Alright, D, I'm done :)