Monday, December 12, 2011

XTERRA 15k ~ Last RR of 2011

One of my favorite races was yesterday... the XTERRA Crystal Cove 15k, part of their So Cal Series. This was my third time doing the race; although this year was an entirely new course. Thankfully I got the memo on that a couple months ago so I knew well what the new route entailed. It's hard to say if it's easier or harder than the past, but overall, I'd say the new route is harder. Just as much elevation gain (1500ft) in a shorter distance and crazier hills with grades that are so steep I have to walk -- which isn't the case on the old route -- and there are more technical parts like climbing pure rocks and navigating narrow single track. That said, mile 1 and the last 4ish miles on new route aren't so bad (tough but not death) so you can make up some lost time. For those familiar with the old route, mile 1 is NOT easy and part of the last miles have some big rollers to get over

My goal for yesterday's race was to do it in 1:20 +/- 2 minutes. Predicting time based on results from past years wasn't doable due to different courses/distances, not to mention it's hard to set specific goal times on a trail race because you can't really predict your mile splits as well. What I did know was my fastest hard training run on the new course was in 1:24. So, I assumed I could shave off a few minutes if I dug deep and let that HR average to be north of 170.

I also wanted to get an AG win because that's what I did the past two times I did this race. Had to keep that streak alive :)

So a quick recap on my race: It was a blast in that crazy sadistic pain sort of way. I was well warmed up and started off hard but not too hard, i.e. I would have liked to have stayed with the top ladies but there were some fast ones (including my girl Marta!) who's paces I could not match, and I had to race my race (can't fake fitness as someone wise once said hehe). I still stayed in the top-10 range and focused on controlling the controllables.

Most the elevation gain is in the first half of the race starting at mile 2. My body felt strong and well-prepared for the 9.5 hilly, rocky miles, but I was still huffin and puffin. Some of the hills were just killin' me and I hammered up with my best effort but I didn't have that extra gear to climb them as fast as I wanted. (Time to get very specific with hill training going into 2012, right Lucho?)

All that hill climbing climaxes at mile 4.5, when you hit The Elevator, aka "the wall." First you must go descend down a steep-ass section before going up. I'm pretty sure not a single person was able to run up The Elevator (I asked around after). It's pretty insane, a wall indeed. Oddly, that was my favorite part of the race. I knew what to expect and seeing everyone else suffering up the hill with me was fun. Even walking up it I think my HR was in the mid-high 160s.

After that the uphill grades are more manageable and I picked up the pace through the finish. At mile 5, after being around dudes the whole time, I finally caught and passed a couple girls. Nearing the finish and upon the final decent I saw that my goal time of 1:20 was close but I'd need to pick it up. My last 2+ miles were in the 6's (thank goodness for downhill lol) but it wasn't enough. Finished in 1:21 and change.

That finish was definite PR for me on the new route and in the race, and it got me 1st AG -- kept the streak alive. Sweet. I also got 8th female overall out of ?

Here's the course profile. Note that middle dip/incline, that's The Elevator.

So that does it for 2011. Ending the year with a fun, great, hard effort at my favorite local running race was definitely awesome. I got a lot done in '11, and I'm looking forward to even more in '12!

How about some pics...

Marta, Mom and Me -- all podiumed and PR'd! Marta even got an overall podium, girl has gotten fast :)
Bonus: The one and only ER came out to play and podiumed with me! She had a great race and is definitely making a stellar comeback into sport!
High five friend!
And of course my favorite sherpa was there. He's coming off his big 25-hour race car race from last weekend and wasn't up to racing again just yet... so instead he read "I'm Here to Win" while we were running and was on camera duty:)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"So Deep" with Myorope

I've been a dedicated foam roller for a long time now. OK, I'll admit, I do slack on it every now and then because that thing can hurt, but overall I love what it does. I also use two tennis balls that are duct-taped together. So when I got word of a product that sort of combines those two things into one, I was intrigued.

It's called Myorope, and I likey! A good addition to the world of recovery as a tool for self-massage, trigger-point therapy and myofascial release.

According to it's creator, Neil, a triathlete who also strength trains, etc., Myorope was created to do what most self-massage tools can't: Target hard-to-reach spots that a big foam roller can't hone in on, and pinpoint those spots --including trigger points -- with multiple balls (that aren't covered in duct tape) vs. just one or two.

So I got a Myorope, and at first I thought, well, I have my foam roller and my tennis balls, and both seem to serve my needs, why do I need another similar device? Well besides the obvious reason that more balls are better than one (or two even) haha...

Here's what I like...

Myorope rolls a lot better than the tennis balls. I tend to get "stuck" on tennis balls.

The size of the balls -- size of a lcarosse ball -- is ideal and they dig into you well. Tennis balls are just a little too small and, for me, it's like I'm just sitting/lying on the floor, negating their effect. If that makes sense.

It actually conforms to the area I'm rolling and makes it easy to target a muscle or muscle groups.

Way more effective on my back than foam rollers and tennis balls. As validation of that: My boyfriend who has had back issues says he loves the massage and relief that Myorope provides.

Surprisingly works well on the IT Band (thought it wouldn't be tough enough).

Gets my hamstrings better than foam roller/tennis balls.

Easy to store compared to foam roller (think: travel).

Better looking than a clump of duct-taped balls (a good conversation piece too*).

Cheap ($15-$25 depending on your ball # preference).

On the flip side (just so I don't sound like a total infomercial)...

I still think a foam roller is better on IT band and calves.

If you're supine (face up) or sitting and want to roll out muscles like your quads or calves, then I think products like a runner's stick are better at digging deep than Myorope.

Foam rollers, tennis balls and like products (i.e. TP Therapy) will still do the job. Heck, we even have yoga mats wrapped around large PVC piping and that works! Myorope just might be better in certain areas.

Final Word
Overall, I would definitely recommend Myorope to any of my clients of triathlete friends. It's innovative and really is able to target certain areas unlike tennis balls and foam rollers, with the added bonus that it rolls really easily and so on.

*I won't lie, when I first got my Myorope my boyfriend and I had a good laugh. The product looks similar to something else that exists in this world, just a lot bigger version of it. If you know what I'm saying, then get your mind out of the gutter ;) And, no, for the record, I don't have that undiscolsed "other" product!

Friday, November 25, 2011


Turkey Trot was super fun. Definitely not as cold as I was expecting nor did it rain like the rumors were saying, so I think the 12,000+ participants were happy. I had a great morning, except the ~45 min downtime in between the 10k and 5k standing in sweaty (thus freezing cold) clothes. I brought a change of clothes but didn't think I'd have time to change with all the chaos and getting back to the car blah blah, even though I did (oh well), then I dabbled with running in between to stay warm but didn't... never mind.

My 10k was a pleasant surprise; I PR'd (more on that in a few). The Dana Point Turkey Trot is a fun, flat run around Doheny Beach and Dana Point Harbor, and it seems they finally have it figured out so the whole race isn't just a giant traffic jam. Good amount of out and backs so you can watch all the other runners, you always see some entertaining stuff -- this year there was a Santa and reindeer ensemble of about 8-10 people roped together in uniform, jingling along. Uh, that does not sounds fun for 10k!

My mom was out their running too, and damn she's in the best running shape I've ever seen. Her current 10k PR before yesterday was 50+ minutes, which she shattered yesterday with a 47:xx (7:36 pace). Unbelievable! John was also out there running too and PR'd in the 10k as well as the 5k!

My 10k ended up being a PR too: a 42:48 and a sub-7 average pace, a first. From the get-go the legs were turning over nicely at a ~7:00 min pace. Heart rate was responding well too, and overall I just felt good, so I rolled with it (original goal was more of a 7:15 pace). I ended up negative-splitting into the 6:50s toward the end, and the HR went up a bit, but that still it didn't leave me trashed. Once I knew a sub-43 was possible there was no problem kicking it up a notch. The annoying thing was, when I crossed the finishline my Garmin had me at 6.15 miles or something. So a bit short on the course. Wish it had been a true 6.2. As such, average pace on my Garmin was a 6:59 pace, but the official race results will probably show a faster pace. Regardless, I'm still happy that I had that kind of speed in my legs.

For the 5k, after all that downtime and getting cold then trying to warmup in a jam-packed corral (not possible), my goal was to simply go 7:30s +/- 10 sec. More of a cooldown run with a lower HR. The 5k course ended up being a little long according to my Garmin (3.16 miles), go figure, and I finished in 23:30 or something.

After that we did the kid's 1-mile run. Loved the good vibes of that! Our 5-year-old that we ran with did a 11:55 mile, not too shabby!

Then it was onto the eating (after the post-run nap). Good times x2 :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Trotting Along

I've recently starting ramping up the run miles again, and things are going along well. I enjoy running, and I'm OK at it, but not as good as I want to be/can be. So in 2012 one of main main goals is to become a better runner... get that discipline more up to par with my bike (yes, beth, your last comment was spot-on). Then maybe in 2013 then I can focus on becoming a swimmer ;)

Tomorrow I'll be getting in about 10+ miles of running before we feast. Doing a local Turkey Trot 10k and 5k (double whamy!)...oh and the 1-mile kid's race too, with a cute little 5-year-old I adore. I don't have any mega 10k/5k PR goals because I haven't been training for that kind of speed. The plan is to WU well then go hard-ish in the 10k (shoot for ~45 minutes), then the 5k will just be extra mileage filler. It might rain and that downtime between 10k and 5k might suck.

After trotting, it's on to TWO thanksgivings. Yikes! Wish me luck in the self-control department! I need to start thinking about losing those post-IM lbs I've put on. But tomorrow's not the day to worry about that, at least the runs will help ease the damage ;)

That's all I have for today. If you want to hear more from me, and you haven't checked out any of my Endurance Planet podcasts, now is the time... my "Ask the Ultrarunner" show with Lucho is going really well and is getting a great response from listeners. Here's this week's hour-plus episode full of good info!

And not to discount the other shows (because I love them all)... here are a couple other recents...

PS - Who else is getting in some killer T-day workouts?!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Coach For Me!

Yup, I finally made the move to hire a triathlon coach for myself. This is something I've wanted for a really long time, especially as a coach. I devote so much time to my athletes and their training plans -- thinking about them, writing them, talking about them with my athletes, etc., etc. -- then when it comes to me? I just sort of wing it based on what I know. It's worked alright so far. Thankfully I'm an intrinsically motivated person so it doesn't take much to get me to SBR.

But as a coach, I see the value in having a coach. I think it's important to have someone else's perspective on your training and racing. It provides an objective point of view that one's self can't fully achieve, and it's someone with whom you can collaborate. Not to mention a coach, at least a good coach, will also be part psychologist -- because we all know triathlon goes deeper than just swim, bike run -- among other roles.

There are lots of other deep, thoughtful reasons I could list on why it's great to have a coach and why I want one... but for time's sake, the bottom line is, yes, I do want someone else in charge of assessing my needs and goals, writing the plan, analyzing my data, giving feedback and so on in effort to get me faster. I'll worry about my athletes in the meantime! It's really a win-win for all parties involved :)

The thing is, I'm picky. Not surprising. I want someone who shares a similar philosophy and outlook on this job. He/she doesn't have to be exactly like me, but we can't but heads. I've had my feelers out for a while now, and I just haven't found that person. Then recently I started a new podcast over at Endurance Planet and was introduced to this guy. I knew of him, I've read his blog and was excited to start chatting with him on a regular basis. After recording a few episodes, the seed was planted... I had a good feeling that this guy might be the coach I've been looking for.

So I asked him.

And, now, I got me a coach -- Lucho!

Friday, November 11, 2011

What do John Lennon & I Have in Common?

I've been totally MIA lately, but that's because I'm working my buns off, enjoying good people in my life, taking naps, watching the sunset whenever it's not cloudy, etc :)

But you can expect to hear A LOT from me again in the future. I'm planning to start a new website and have lots of other stuff floating around in my head.

In the meantime, just wanted to share something that I hold true to my heart, and apparently I have this in common with John Lennon. The one thing I need in life, the thing that drives me, is HAPPINESS. What good is anything in life--sport, travel, relationship, job--if you're not happy?

That's why I do what I do.

Monday, October 24, 2011

RR: Sprint Triathlon? Sure, Why Not...

As a coach, I'm normally not an advocate of last-minute races being added to the schedule. I like to have rhyme and reason to a race schedule, and time to work toward a race or at least prepare, whether it's an A or C race. Being random isn't a good plan. But, there are asterisks to that. I think there are cases where it's OK to be sporadic and do something last-minute for fun and within reason....

On Friday night I found out I'd be doing a local sprint triathlon Sunday morning. I haven't raced in about two months, nor have I really been doing what you'd call specific "triathlon training." But what the heck?! I'm still in shape and a sprint would just be a fun, hard workout in an environment that I love being in... And, yes, I've still been riding my bike (mostly slowly), running a decent amount and strength training a lot. But swimming, I have not been doing. Maybe three swims since Canada. (Giving the shoulder some time to rest and heal.) That all said, I would never jump into a big race like a half-Ironman or more given where I'm at, nor would I advise that for someone, but I knew a sprint was safe and OK in the condition I'm in.

I can't forget to mention the other two big attractions for doing this race:

It was going to be the first triathlon for an athlete I coach and I couldn't miss that. Heck, I had been planning to be at the race long before I knew I was participating! She and I practicing ocean swimming last week in Laguna....
Two: My boyfriend was doing it too so we'd get to race each other--I mean "race together"--for the first time :)


Sunday morning the alarm went off at 5 a.m. At that moment racing didn't seem like such a good idea, staying in bed did, haha. But once we got going I was amped, and rightly so: The Kring and Chung Newport Beach Sprint Triathlon has been going on for 34 years and is a very well-run race on a fun little course. The race organizers and volunteers are amazing, lots of goodies pre/during/post race, and of course some fabulous prizes! I did it back in 2009 and got 1st AG, I think (I just remember the gift certificate I got for El Ranchito Mexican Restaurant - score!).

As we drove to the race site, I chowed down some oats and thought up my oh-so intricate race plan: GO hard and make it hurt. Don't let up until the finish line.

And we were off.....

After spending the better part of the morning with my athlete getting her all squared away, my wave went off in the foggy, chilly weather at just after 7 a.m. The water was warm but tasted like ass. It was nasty, not as nasty as Mission Bay, but still gag-worthy. I felt pretty decent on the swim but had no clue what pace I was potentially holding, swimming itself felt foreign and like I had lots of kinks to work out. All I knew was my HR was high--due to inefficiency and lack of training on top of still trying to "go fast." It was a 1/2 mile and I got out at 15:xx and change, at which point I tripped when standing up--smooth! Not all that concerned with the swim because what can you expect when you don't do a sport for two months and then try to race? It's just too bad they had to add the run back to transition to our swim time, making us all look even slower ;) On a positive note, the shoulder felt fine, yippee!

Nothing special except I messed up my watch. Funny that I can get the Garmin to run smoothly for a whole Ironman, but I mess it up in a sprint.


In addition too fog, it was misting out so I remained soaked the entire race; the drowned rat look was a very good look for me, let me tell ya! ;) The roads were kind of slippery, but thankfully the course wasn't too technical or sketchy so you could still hammer. It was mostly all flat along Newport Back Bay with one steep hill that you have to do twice (two-loop course).
I saw the BF and my athlete, and the both looked smokin' fast so that made me happy.

I was having derailleur/chain issues and decided to stay in the big ring up the steep hill out of fear of something messing up from switching between small and big ring. Yup, that pretty much fried my legs, but I went without any mechanicals so I was content (like I said, offseason, so not doing much bike maintenance thus derailleur/chain issues that weren't fully fixed pre race lol).

Other than that, I spent most the ride passing people, especially on the second loop, and reminiscing on the olden days.... Flashback: I first started riding Back Bay when I was 3 or 4 and on the back of my dad's bike, we'd ride that trail weekend mornings to go pick up donuts. Great memory but WOW, times have changed. I don't think my dad or I have had a donut in years, and now I was racing on that road like a madwoman haha.

Finished the bike in 43 something, about a 21 mph average. I know me, and I should have been faster, but whatever.

All I gotta say is I need to work on bike dismounts for racing from here on out. At least my hideous dismount is accompanied by a smile :)

I've been doing some run intervals with my strength workouts at the gym and I'm training for that Xterra trail race, and based off that I knew I could pull off a sub-7 pace for 3 miles. believe!

When I started the run I noticed I was surrounded by only men. Hm, doing alright I guess. A couple spectators then gave my splits on how far back I was from the lead women, and how many were in front--to my surprise, only three were in front at the beginning. At one point I ran my way to second, but then got passed by the eventual winner and sat in third.

I felt really good on the run. By that, I mean it hurt, but 6:40-7:00 pace was doable. I had a couple people yell to me that my form looked good, which must have been in stark contrast with the drowned rat look I still had going on in the wet weather. Then this older guy said the funniest thing as I passed him: "Ya know, in my day, it'd be inappropriate for a young girl like you to pass an elder like me...." or something like that. I said "you're funny" and kept running.

Those 3 miles went by fast... I ended with a little sprint down the finishline, and my run time was just over 20 minutes, a 6:45 average pace. Nice.

I never caught my BF, which I had contemplated trying to do being that he started two waves before me, but I was close! I still beat him overall though hehe... granted he did swim and bike slightly faster than me. Even though my overall time was faster, I have to say this guy is a total stud: It was only his third triathlon ever (first was in July this year), and he finished top-10 AG for the first time! He'll be an animal in no time!

Annnnd: My athlete who was doing her first tri also finished in style, going faster than the predicted goal time and earning 7th in 35-39 AG! Can't beat top 10 for a triathlon debut! Best part, she can't wait to do another one!!! Happy coach :)

I managed to pull off 1st AG, which was a pleasant surprise. I thought I had secured 3rd overall female, but turns out there were a couple older women in the wave after me who beat me by about a minute when all was said and done. Oops! Never forget about the waves behind you, not to mention the superb ability of the veteran women of the sport! Yowza! That said, it was still fun during my run when I thought I was "racing" for the overall podium :)

Podium.... who's the bum in the beanie?! I mentioned this race has good prizes... this year another gift certificate for mexican, TYR gear and a flat of bottles of a new, healthy drink!

Oh, and I got another gift certificate to the same Mexican restaurant for earning 1st AG. Guess what I did last night.... Margs and Mexi!

We might be headed to Catalina in a couple weeks for another round of hurt! ;)

PS - BIG thanks to John's sisters for coming out to the race and taking pics!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Spaghetti Squash & Shrimp Saute

As offseason goes, we normally tend to indulge in all those things that, for the most part, we stayed away from during intense training. I know I've loosened up with my diet, sleep habits, social calendar... and the list goes on. It's healthy to let loose a little and enjoy new things. Heck, I've even replaced most my swimming with surfing!

Anyways, while it's good to indulge, it's still important to keep up with healthy, wholesome eating. So today I wanted to share a yummy dinner recipe that won't leave you feeling weighed down after you eat it, and is a healthy balance of protein, fat and carbs. The recipe is based off a pasta dish I found on Eating Well. I made it into a gluten-free, grain-free dish that is boyfriend approved (and he's a tough critic, being that he isn't gluten free and eats everything under the sun lol. He really seems to like my healthy cooking though, yay).

Spaghetti Squash & Shrimp Saute

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 12 ounces or one frozen bag of shrimp
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup mushroom soup (I sort of eyeballed this to be honest)
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • dash of red pepper flakes (optional) -- we like spicy!!
  • extra-virgin olive oil / spray evoo

Preheat over to 350. Cut spaghetti squash in half and spoon out the seeds. Place each half, flesh down, on a baking sheet and fill with a layer of water. Put in oven for about 60 minutes or until you can easily stick a fork through it (will depend on size of squash, oven, etc).

In a large skillet, saute shrimp, bell pepper and peas with EVOO and 1/2 the little lemon juice. For asparagus, I quickly steamed mine before adding it to the skillet with the other stuff, but you can add it in with the veggies if you want it more crispy.

In a separate bowl, mix yogurt, mushroom soup, rest of the lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic, parsley and any other seasonings you'd like. Add the yogurt mix to the shrimp/veggie mix, and mix well. ***Note on greek yogurt: the amount you use will vary depending on how much spaghetti squash you have and on how thick you want your cream sauce.

Last but not least, when spaghetti squash is ready, remove flesh with a fork and add most the squash to the skillet with all the shrimp, veggies, etc. You might have extra spaghetti squash, again, it just depends how you want to ratio your ingredients.

Let everything simmer together for another 5-10 minutes before serving.

Sorry I didn't get more pics of the cooking process! Plus, I think the flash on my camera made it look less creamy than it really was. Weird.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Decisions That Matter

I've gone to Kona for the Ironman World Championships the last two years to do media work, and I've loved it. This year, I'm not there. I'd by lying if I said I weren't jealous of all the tweets, pictures and articles coming out of Kona, but I've known this was going to be the case for months....

I had to make a choice this year.

One of my best friends from high school and college chose her wedding date to be October 8, 2011. The second weekend of October....oh man....doesn't she know that's like a holiday weekend?! Haha jk. Not only was I invited to the wedding, but she asked me to be a bridesmaid. An honor I don't take lightly.

When I got this news I was torn. Going to Kona for Ironman is a big deal for me on a lot of levels; I don't just see it as a fun vacation in paradise (although it is a blast out there). The networking, the media experience, learning about the race first-hand rather than what NBC tells me, fostering relationships, just being in that environment 24/7 for a week.... it's all an important part of my career and lifestyle, and in the past two years I wouldn't have traded those two weeks in Kona for anything; I've learned more than I can describe. So, I wanted that trend to continue annually...

But there was a choice to be made.

My friend will only be getting married once, and although I'm not the world's biggest fan of weddings nor the girly girl stuff that goes along with being a bridesmaid, I knew I wanted to be there for her big day. Even if that meant giving up Kona.

I'm lucky enough to have some friends in my life who are wonderful, unconditionally loving people; who've been there through thick and thin; and who I know will still be around until we're old and gray.... this particular friend is one of those people, and we share a mutual love and respect for each other. That's something I take seriously, as I know a true friend like her doesn't come along every day...

Case in point: when I told her the issue of conflicting dates she even said it was totally OK with her if I went to Kona instead because she knows how much it means to me and my career. That's a true friend.

But I chose her. Kona will always be there year after year, yet this wedding will only happen once. It's something I can't miss.

So that's why you won't see me running around Dig Me Beach, Ali'i Drive, The Queen K, etc., this year.... and I'm content with that decision!

Now, that said, I will most likely be the only girl at the wedding checking her iPhone religiously to get Ironman updates on Saturday (except, I might be on the alter when some gnarly racing is going down on Ali'i!!! Oh maaaan!!!!). Hopefully the sports-obsessed peeps at the wedding will understand ;)

PS - Wish me luck walking in even higher high heels than I wore at the last wedding I attended in Sept....yikes!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ready to Race Again

As I've mentioned, after IMC I spent a full month doing no real endurance training. Any swim, bike or run was purely for enjoyment and it usually was spent with someone else. It was refreshing to have a month of unstructured, laid-back SBRs. That said, with less SBR and with IMC fatigue fading, I started hitting strength training hard again and am loving it (more an that in another blog soon).

But I won't lie, I've missed having an endurance race on the calendar. I've been planning potential races for 2012, and I'm pretty sure I know what I want to do (read on), but I also am not done with 2011. So... I signed up for something! The Xterra Crystal Cove 17k Trail Race, which is probably in my top-3 of all-time favorite races! So excited! However, I hadn't run the trail in a loooong time, so I needed that butt-kicking wake-up call to see what I got myself into. Sunday I ventured out, and, I swear, I think the trail (hills in particular) got more difficult, lol. I definitely had to walk parts of some of the hills. I was expecting my time to be 10-20 min slower than my fastest time ever, but turns out I guess I still have some IMC training in my legs as well as a strong body tough enough to handle that terrain, as I ran a 1:28 and change for the full loop, about 4 minutes off my PR there.

I might do some more run-only races this year (1 or 2), and maybe a short tri if I get the bug, but, really, I'll be OK if IMC ends up being the last tri I do for '11.... because in 2012, the tentative plan is to do several 70.3s, the first two being ones I've wanted to do the last few years but haven't been able to due to school obligations/mayhem....

Wildflower Long Course

Honu 70.3

Vineman 70.3

...and maybe one more late-season 70.3, as well as a handful of shorter, local, "fun" races throughout the year.

Yup, no full Ironmans on that list! After a lot of thinking and debating, and some major self-introspection, I decided that it's more important for me to focus on my career/business next year rather than train for another IM. Being that my business is in the health & fitness industry, that means there's a lot of activity involved, and that in itself is tiring. I can manage 70.3 training into my schedule easily, but I know IM training is on another level and takes a toll. It's about prioritizing, and for 2012, my priorities lie in my career as a triathlon coach and personal trainer/strength and conditioning specialist (as well as writer, podcaster, etc). I'm willing to invest more time into that than into my own personal endeavors in SBR.

It's also all about patience. I'm only 26, I don't see any rush to be doing full IMs every year, especially if I plan on being in this sport as long as possible. Ironmans will always be there, and you better believe I plan on doing plenty more in my life, but I don't want to run myself into the ground before I'm 30 by trying to do it all. I have long-term goals, and those require patience. It's also important, in my opinion, to have the ability to live in the moment each day and not always be focused on something outlying.

So that's the plan, so far! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go stretch and foam roll... this morning's strength sesh and trail run did me in, yikes!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Talk with Chrissie

One of the things I love most about journalism is the randomness. For the most part, you're always researching and writing about something fresh, and you're talking to an array of fascinating (or sometimes not so fascinating) people. It's never "the same ol' routine" -- and that's just how I like to do life.

Last week I was trying to get in touch with Chrissie Wellington for an article I'm working on for 3/GO. I figured I'd not hear back at all or I'd have to talk through her manager via an email interview (neither are my ideal choices for any article). With someone of her caliber and being that Kona is right around the corner, you can't expect much, I get it.

Funny how things work out...

Last Thursday I had to teach a noon fitness class at my gym. I was having a blah morning, but the group of folks who showed up to class got me out of my funk. It's always fun times teaching our classes. After class I was planning a run of ??? miles... I was just going to go with the flow based on how I felt. Well I got going and immediately felt like poop on a stick. I turned around at about .65 miles in! Weak sauce! But some days you just don't have anything, and I wasn't going to fight that. No reason to right now in the year.

I got back into the gym and went to grab my purse (I mean, Trader Joe's bag). I was feeling a little self-defeated after the crap run, even if I didn't need the miles or anything. I just don't like "failing" at a workout, and running only 1.35ish miles at a sloooooow pace is a fail for me.

Just then my phone started ringing, and it was a number I didn't recognize. Often times, I won't answer random numbers, but for some reason, this time I just said, "whatever" and answered. "Hello?"

A woman with a British accent answers, saying, "Hi there, this is Chrissie Wellington."


Totally unexpected, and I was totally unprepared. Being that I was at the gym, I had ZERO resources to conduct a decent interview. I asked Chrissie if I could call her back very soon so I could rush home, but she said it had to be now because she had to go out and train again (in my mind, that meant either figure out how to interview her now or possibly never get a hold of her again before my deadline this week). So I started scrambling to find a piece of paper and writing device while making crazy small talk. Markers and the white board crossed my mind for a sec, but then I found an old piece of red construction paper with workouts typed on it, found a pen and started winging the interview in a small, dark side office in the gym (no time to find the light switch).

Thankfully I had been pre-planning some questions in my head so I had some rhyme and reason as to what to ask. But as with most interviews, no matter where I do them, I like to let the conversation dictate the Qs I ask, which ended up being the case with CW. She was enjoyable to talk with and is clearly good at being the interviewee. My notes are a little more sucky compared to how I normally record interviews, and apparently I also "destroyed" a very valuable workout chart (the red construction paper) that the guys use. Ooops! But I had a good laugh about it with Mike after the matter because he had seen me over his shoulder scrambling to get to business.

That's journalism for ya! Never the same ol' routine -- a theme that I feel is a good way to approach life, both in a career and in training. Keep it interesting, always find new stimulation and never settle for the same ol' cookie-cutter agenda. It's amazing how that way of life allows you to be your best and give the best of what you have to those around you.


Pictured below are my shorthand notes from the interview (after that I rushed home to fill in the holes while her words were still fresh in my head, now that's journalism skillzzz lol)....

Btw, after talking with CW about her pain threshold, I have no doubt that her battle wounds from her recent crash won't even phase her at Kona. One. Tough. Chick. (Duh, right?)

Oh and stay tuned for the article in 3/GO in a couple months :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

IM Canada in Pics

I'm makin' a comeback!

It's funny, you'd think after an Ironman you'd have so much extra time with all those hours you'd otherwise be spending SBR'ing. Not the case over here! When one chapter ends, another begins. I've taken the lack of IM training as an opportunity to do new things (like read a book for pleasure in under two weeks, big deal for me), hit the gym for more intense strength training, work a lot more, have fun/let loose when I feel like it. It's also a good time to take a break from things like early-morning weekend mega workouts and even blogging. Granted, being taking it slow on a weekend morning is not always easy for me to being that I'm an adrenaline junkie/crazy triathlete that likes to GO GO GO ;) But I think it's important to keep your mind and body fresh throughout the year and not do the same thing day in and day out... you'll undoubtedly have more enthusiasm when you make your comeback to the thing(s) you love the most (i.e. triathlon).

So now that I'm back to blogging, I must end the chapter on my Ironman Canada experience once and for all with a few pics before starting some blogs on new adventures and new topics!

Starting off the pics with a couple great ones my sis caught of IMC champs Jordan Rapp and Mary Beth Ellis...
Now that I have you sucked in with those pics (hopefully lol), a little timeline of my race experience in pics starting with pre-race dinner at our house on the patio. Very relaxing and delicious!
Race day. Swim start, then off on the bike feeling happy and good shown by the big wave/ thumbs up (?) that I'm giving :)
Fast forward a looooong time and after many highs and lows and here we are at Yellow Lake (last big climb). The scene was just what any athlete would want at this point -- a lively crowd treating you like TdF riders. It almost made me forget about the nausea and bonking for a brief time -- enough to eek out some smiling :)

Then the start of the run. These three pics are when I saw my family right out of T2 when I was really contemplating my ability to do the marathon. You can see my face is sort of distressed. But after the tears we shared, I decided I had to get 'er done, and off I was!

Don't really know when this run pic was taken, but that's John running next to me and all I can say is that having him there for those brief moments meant the world to me.

And after all that, an IM that was a year in the making and one of THE BEST experiences of my life to date, comes to an end. I was so emotional, in so much pain and just feeling out of this world. With all that was going through my head (combined with feeling delirious haha), it's no surprise that a huge smile came across my face. Btw, my sister was sooo pissed that dude's arm got in the way of capturing this moment. Oh well, there will be more chances to get this shot in the future :) Feeling the biggest sense of satisfaction ever
And of course one more food shot.... day-after breakfast #2 :)
PS - A special thanks to my sister for taking some great pics! An my mom, dad and John for being all over the course to cheer me on (i.e. my mom and sis pictured when they were all camping out at Yellow Lake for a looong time). And thanks to everyone else who helped me in some way....

I've made some decisions about my 2012 season, so stay tuned for the details!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ironman Canada RR: The Run & Finish

If you haven't read my swim and bike race report, click here. Read that before starting this post :)

I know you were on pins and needles after that first part ;) Sorry for the delay. I would have had the run section up Tuesday, but it was a long day of travel and no computer time. We left Summerland just after 7 a.m. and arrived in Seattle mid-afternoon, where we spent a few hours exploring and eating before our flight. Space Needle, Salumi's (omg - I ate a sandwich on good ol' fashion white bread; that's like against my religion haha), the Fish Market, and of course the original Starbucks. It was fun to check out the scene, but it wasn't so fun getting home to Laguna Beach at midnight.

Anyway... back to the race...

Run 4:31
My goal was 4:00. After I sort of regrouped in T2, I was "ready" but unsure. The mental battle was beginning. As I ran out, I heard Jordan Rapp's name being announced as the winner, and then I saw him run by me in transition, heading toward the lake to cool off. It was hot as can be out there, and he'd just run a 2:53 marathon. Holy crap. After that quick distraction, I came back to reality and the fact that I had 4, maybe more, hours ahead of me.

Within the first 1/2 mile, I was getting very emotional. Then I saw my family and John. I stopped briefly by them and started crying pretty hard, telling them my bonk situation. They all started tearing up seeing me so emotional. Seeing them emotional made me more emotional, and I knew it was time to make a decision: run away and go for it or give up right then and there. You know me... I could't quit.. it wasn't THAT bad. So I ran.

It wasn't just my family and John that inspired me at that point, it was everyone in my life -- my athletes I coach, friends, co-workers, family, everyone who's sent message on FB and Twitter, my grandma, etc. This Ironman was bigger than just me, lots of other people were involved and I wanted to show them that it's possible to carry on and FINISH even when it seems impossible. Erica, my athlete who was also racing, was especially on my mind. This was her third attempt at IMC, with the first two resulting in DNFs (issues out of her control, but nevertheless she had unfinished business). I was more than confident that she WOULD make it to the finish line on Sunday, and that alone was enough to get me there as well. (I'm crying just thinking about this now haha.) I wasn't dying and my legs were working, so I'd find a way to get through the run no matter what. Done deal.

I got going. It was HOT. I looked at my Garmin and saw I was running on pace (in the 9’s) so that helped boost my mood. However, I knew my nutrition had been severely disrupted, and that the lack of calories on the last part of the bike was probably going to affect my ability to reach my goal effort/intensity on the run -- just not physiologically possible. I'd have to stay in a low-intensity zone while trying to refuel if I wanted to survive and not completely bonk to death. That said, I settled on a goal of maintaining a running pace of 9:00-10:00 miles, and I'd walk the aid stations while trying to choke down any calories. That was realistic and the best idea at the time. In truth, that wasn't far off from my original plan of a 9:09 overall average.

The run course itself wasn't so bad, but the heat was. And when I hit Skaha Lake it seemed to go up another 10-15 degrees. It had to be 90-100 F out there, with little to no shade. I had the EXACT same thoughts as Jordan Rapp, according to what he wrote on his blog, "And on a day when Skaha Lake serves as nothing more than a continual tease, ceaselessly inviting you stop running and take a dip..."

People who lived along the marathon route were outside with hoses to spray down the runners -- what a relief that was! Thankfully that section was fairly flat, and because it was an out and back, it was a good distraction to watch runners going in the opposite direction. I had seen the top pros while still in town, which is always a treat, but watching AGers is something special in itself. I had so much respect for everyone who was so far in front of me and running strong. Like when I saw Rachel Ross whizz by looking like she was as fresh as being on the first mile. Amazing! Can I be like that one day????

I also saw my friend Christian who did the Epic5 this year, Kiet, Matt Q, and many others. I even had a runner, Mary, come up to me and say she reads my blog! That was super special for her to take the time to do that, and meant a lot to me :) Another special moment was running into PunkRockRacing Ron. It was our first time meeting in person -- fitting :) I told him my whole story of the issues on the bike. While talking with him, I think I had willed my way to feeling better on the run and was optimistic that I could stick to my plan.

But after I passed Ron, the reality was, I was still feeling nauseous and queezy. Nutrition-wise I wasn't doing well with calories, and I the exercise physiologist in me knew it was only a matter of time before that'd start really taking its toll. I attempted some pretzels, sips of cola every now and then, water and endurolytes. I tried my hardest to muster down a gel, but it wasn't happening, same thing with banana and sports drink -- wouldn't stay down. So pretty much pretzels and a little cola were the only calories I had on the entire marathon. Even at a low intensity, that was not enough AT ALL.

In attempt to not to get too wrapped up in how crappy I felt, I started thinking of everyone in my life again. And as I watched runners going in the other direction, heading home, the one person I was thinking of and waiting to see was Mike, my training partner. But no sign even as I got closer to the turnaround. Meanwhile, it was starting to get more hilly. I had to walk some of the hilly sections.

I was nearing the turnaround, and still hadn't seen Mike. Weird. I was praying he was OK. Mike had to get an emergency root canal on Friday before the race, and the procedure went fine, but it was still a "trauma" to the body, so who knew if it'd play into his performance on Sunday. I would later find out, it did take a toll. Then I saw him. He was maaaaybe a mile ahead of me, and walking :( There was a good chance I'd catch him.

At the turnaround I got a BIG surprise. My dad and John were there waiting for me. John ran with me a bit and said some things that not only brought (happy) tears to my eyes, but gave me a big burst of energy. I had reached the halfway point and was ready to head home, happy that I'd seen my boys!

Then ahead in the distance I saw Mike. My other boy! I caught up to him; he was walking. I made him start running again with me, and I told him my whole story of the swim and bike and the flats ughhhh, hoping that help distract him from the pain he was in (root canal aftermath was wreaking havoc). He was in shock to hear my story, and he felt so bad because he knows more than anyone how badly I wanted that 6-hour or faster bike split. While we ran together, it felt like "home" and was comfortable... I imagined it being just one of our regular training runs, and I was at peace.

Unfortunately it wouldn't last for the rest of the race. Mike had to stop and walk again, and I tried to keep running. But at around 18 miles, I was having to walk more than just aid stations and hills. It was during that time that I started walking/running next to random people, and we'd feed off each other's "energy." It's pretty intense to share moments like that with complete strangers. Some tough folks out there. Makes me tear up just reminiscing.

Toward the end, I was starting to fade and felt delirious. I had hit a wall big time, was feeling sick, and I was pretty much running on empty. At times, I felt like I do when I have the flu. The walking segments were increasing, but I refused to only walk. I had to keeping running. I knew my goal of 4:00 was out the door, but I could still make it in before 8 p.m. and definitely keep the marathon sub-5, so that was the new goal.

As I finally reached downtown Penticton, as expected, the energy of the crowd allowed me to find a way to run the last 2 miles at a 9-something pace. John later said I even looked OK at the point, but I don't believe him ;) The final stretch of the marathon was a blur, yet I remember it so well... every sight, sound, smell. I will hold that moment dear to me forever. You can never repeat your first Ironman, and, damn, is the finish a special moment. Despite having no energy to spare, I found a way to smile big down the finishing chute (I think).

I saw 12:45 on the clock, and thought, "Heck, after all I've been through today, and all that time spent on the side of the road during the bike, that ain't so bad. Mission accomplished."

But right after finishing, my body knew I was done, so it was done. I crashed. Headed to medical to chill out, hoping I'd score an IV but no such luck. Shoot! Barely choked down a cup of chicken broth, and then all I wanted to do was leave there to be with my crew at our home. I could barely stand up, but I wanted medical to release me, so I pretended I was feeling "great" again :) I peaced out, and my family took me home. I was still nauseous, but an hour or so later I was able to eat the better part of a couple pizzas, and I shared my story with loved ones, while I listened to the stories they had from the day.

I'll repeat what I said in my last post: In the end, my Ironman wasn't an ideal day "on paper," but to me it was a perfectly un-perfect day and one that I'll cherish forever. I wouldn't change a thing. I think it's the adverse moments that made it even more special for me. It was a challenge like none other, and I came out a stronger person.

I'm ready to do another one....

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ironman Canada RR: Swim & Bike

I started this blog at 4:30 a.m. Monday, but between all the eating, floating down a river and another mini wine tasting, I’m just getting to it again. That early morning wakeup was a result of post-Ironman insomnia and hunger. Yup, started the day with pasta, quinoa, eggs…. and shortly after a burger.

Onto IM Canada. What an amazing day! I loved it, the highs & lows -- all of it! On paper, you might think, “Oh man, that looks like it was a tough one.” But I’m glad everything didn’t go perfectly perfect. I learned a lot of lessons, and I’m definitely a stronger person because of it. No matter what happened, I carried on. I was determined to cross that finish line No. Matter. What. And I did, 12:45 after the gun went off. Man, was I a happy camper at the finish; although, it probably didn’t look like that… but more to come on that.

For now, just the swim and bike, the run portion will follow. And, sorry, no pics yet!

Swim -- 1:21
Surprisingly a highlight of the day! I really enjoyed the swim, honestly! I started middle back with Mike, and I probably started swimming close to a minute after the gun. (The mass start was insane and I had no place being more in the front.) The insanity remained that way until about 1,200 m. My goal was to stay calm and no freak despite getting beat up on in the sea of people. Goal achieved. I was able to keep my cool among the chaos, getting kicked, trampled on, punched, etc., probably because I was swimming with a HR of about 110 and was thinking happy thoughts lol.

About a mile in, I felt cramp potential in my calves. They were like ticking time bombs. I did everything I could to keep them from seizing, but at 1800, the left one cramped seized. It felt like a tennis ball in my calf and was debilitating. I had to stop and work on it. I thought of my grandma at that point, while I was wading out in the middle of the lake, and I felt a calmness. Soon after the cramp was gone. I worked through it, and was fine for the remainder of the swim! A first!!!

Overcoming the cramp was definitely motivating, and I was pumped to keep going. By 2k, I was pretty much alone in my area, and that’s when my shoulder started hurting. But it wasn’t that bad. Totally manageable. I think the trick to it feeling good on race day was lots of rest during taper, good pacing during the swim and positive thoughts.

I got out of the water happy to see 1:19 on my watch. With starting in the back, and lagging when I finally stood up and ran out, official time was 1:21.

T1 3:20
In and out pretty quickly. As I left on my bike I saw my family and John, along with thousands of others and I couldn’t help getting tears in my eyes, what a moment! I was thrilled!

Bike -- 6:39 official (6:05 of actual riding)
If there’s anything that could have killed my mojo for the day, it’s what I dealt with on the bike. That said, if there’s one thing I learned Sunday, it’s that Ironman will throw anything at you. It’s all about how you deal with it. In my case with the bike, I refused to let some bad blows get the best of me.

I actually had a great bike ride overall and enjoyed the course for all it had to offer (heat, hills, scenery, spectators, and all). But unfortunately, I was plagued with a reoccurring flat aka a tire that wouldn’t hold air. Without going into too much detail, I had a valve stem fiasco with my rear tire that caused major issues. Pre-race I had to go to bike tech because I couldn’t get it to fill. They fussed with it, and said they were pretty sure it’d be OK for the day. Unbeknownst to me, I would start the bike with very low pressure. It was flat by mile 10, right in the middle of the first hill. I saw a bike tech car and stopped to have them check it. They refilled it, air was holding, I left.

But then, next thing I know a race official was riding next to me giving me a penalty! Apparently, I didn’t merge back to the right lane quickly enough again. In my defense, I began riding after the tire got filled while still mid-hill (steep hill), so it wasn’t the easiest situation to maneuver, and my adrenaline was high so I wasn't working at my smoothest. Regardless, 4 minutes lost. Bust! That was frustrating, especially because the race official seemed to have an evil smirk on her face when she flashed the card at me, even when I told her my story. I said to myself, “I have two options: 1) whine and be a baby or 2) carry on with a smile.” I chose #2.

After that, the bike was going along fine, and I was pacing myself per everyone’s recommendations, yet still averaging 20 mph. That first part is fast! Around mile 20 I could sense the tire problem returning. Rear was flat again. No!!! That would be the theme for the first half of the ride: Rear tire went flat every 7-10 miles, at which point I’d stop and refill with CO2. I was still riding fast without too much effort in that first 40 or so, so I didn’t feel like I was losing too much time. But I was running low on CO2 (maybe 1/2 a cartridge left).

I served my penalty just before Richter Pass, where I chit-chatted with the officials, not acting like a whiner. Then I started the infamous climb, and it was scorching hot at that point, but no different than a hot day climbing the mountains where I live. Meanwhile, rear tire wasn’t doing well. When I was finally nearing top of Richter I waved down bike tech driving by because I knew I'd never last with the CO2 refill plan, and at that point I was riding on a virtually flat tire up a significant climb. Not good. So bike tech guys decided we had to fix it right or I’d be done for the day — they had to rip off my tubular and put a new one on. Took foreva! Probably over 20 min. I was determined to keep a smile on my face. I borrowed their phone and texted John to tell him my situation and that I was OK and ready to keep having fun. I can’t state it enough: The bike course was legit, and I wanted to enjoy it all.

That was the end of my bike issues. All in all it cost me about 35-40 min of being stopped on the side of the road. All things considered, I’m OK with that because that means I was pretty close to my planned bike split of 6 hours.

After Richter, we got the seven bitches, which I thought were hard but fun. They reminded me of some hills I do on PCH at home. Plus, at that point, the course had thinned out a lot and I was on my own. I was enjoying moving along through Canada country and my pace was decent. Part of me wanted to go faster to make up for lost time, but I had to stick to my plan to make it through the whole race. I knew Yellow Lake would be a toughie with the climbing.

The wind started to get bad, but that was the least of my worries. My tummy was starting to act up. At mile 80, I literally became ill. Could no longer take in and hold down calories; everything just kept coming up. It was gross. What was I having? Various gels, Clif bars (which I now realize were the culprit for the GI issues) and secret drink mix. I couldn’t stomach anything, not to mention the sweetness and sugary nature of everything I had was freaking terrible! And I was pissed! So I went without nutrition for the last 32 miles of the bike, only having water and endurolytes. That put me in a caloric deficit from which I was never able to fully recover. Bonk town USA. Dang it. *Update* Looking back I did some experimenting and realized I cannot handle many of the ingredients in Clif bars - those things cause me bloating, gas and clearly I don't digest them well. A little Clif bar here and there is fine, but taking them in like I was in Ironman and for that duration/intensity made my tummy a ticking time bomb. Mostly I think it's the soy.... yuck. I practiced/trained with Clif bars, but I was done with them after IMC.

I kept wondering when Yellow Lake was going to come because I knew that meant one more big climb then home free with descents lol. Finally I was nearing it. I think that may have been the hottest part of the day. I wasn’t really that amped to climb because I felt so sick and more depleted by the minute, but I was pretending that I was normal and this was just another training ride. That kinda helped. Then I got a surge of energy when I started Yellow Lake because *surprise* my crew was out there to cheer me on. It was great seeing them, as well as all the other peeps making it for a very Tour-de-France-like climb :) THe spectators at IMC really know how to do a good job throughout the whole course!

After that the rest of the climbing was a blur. I was bonky. Yellow Lake actually looked kind of yellow. Was that just me being crazy? As I approached mile 100, I won’t lie, I was ready to be off the bike so I could find some non-sweet, non-clif calories in T2. That said, it probably was not good that I bombed the downhills in a delirious state lol ;)

Last note on the bike: I wore my Garmin during the ride, which automatically stops at a certain speed. So I know that my real bike ride time was just over 6:00, and I was stoked on that! Officially my split was 6:39.

T2 9:50ish
I had to take my time to try and refuel so I could do a freakin marathon not completely depleted. There were non-sweet snacks in the changing tent, so I had some. Saltiness was good and what I needed. I was hoping that’d help bring me back from being without calories for so long. While I sat in T2, I had the demons in my head challenging my ability to go out and do 26.2, and part of me didn’t think it was possible. I was getting a little teary-eyed and unsure. I didn’t want to go there with my thoughts, but I couldn’t help it. I felt weak and emotional.... but not about to quit. No way.


OK, that's all for now... stay tuned for the run and finish! Thanks for reading :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Canada, Day 5 & 6

Friday was pretty hilarious. I wanted to drive the bike course a bit, and my mom and sis wanted to do a hike, so we decided John and I would drop them off to do their thing, and we'd drive a portion of the bike course, then pick them up.

Well, little did we know, my sister chose a route in the boondocks! It wasn't so bad at first... we drove out east of P-town on Green Mountain Road (great for a bike ride, btw, a long gradual uphill going out). I was navigating with my iPhone GPS, and we finally found our turnoff... a dirt road, that we'd have to drive on for a looong time. Did I mention we're in a big ol' mini van, one not meant for offroading? Thank goodness John is a race car driver and knows how to handle any kind of vehicle. Or not? ;)

See where P-town is on the first screen shot, then check out the blue dot on the next one; that's where we went.

The dirt road was gnar! Miles of dry-stream ruts, rocks, rough terrain... all in a mini van?! It was so Griswald vacation-esque lol. Meanwhile, my mom and sis were starting to freak out about the potential of bears. I made the joke of, "hopefully neither of you are on your period" (Anchorman, anyone?). We finally got to a part of the dirt road that wasn't even on Google maps. Ha! In the end, the minivan offroading adventure took all afternoon, and the girls never hiked because it was kinda sketchy out there. On top of bears, it was very desolate and the bug situation was insane. They would have been eaten alive.

John moving rocks so we could pass...
In the middle of nowhere, BC....Badass minivan ;)Found the trail head for their hike eventually! But.... no hike haha

So no hike, and no course recon. But the best part? The whole adventure was a blast for all of us. Practically laughing the whole time (partly because it was funny as heck, partly because we were all a little nervous). It's those random unexpected things that make the best memories :)

Oh, there were no bears, but we did see cows. Weird...

Back to P-town for a few errands. I got a real treat when I randomly ran into Kiet and Matt in Whole Foods! I love how blog world can bring together athletes from all over the place. It was really nice chatting with them for a bit. And how fitting is it that we'd meet in a place like WF ;)

After some chill time, it was time to eat again. Man, lots of eatin going on around here! We decided to ditch the athlete meeting/dinner and head to The Local again. This time we were in good company with my Mike and his wife and daughter. The food was again amazing and we chatted it up for quite a while. Good times. The rest of the night was spent putting together all my bags and whatnot. I even had to call on Ron for some help on what I needed to get together for Saturday check in vs. what I could hold onto until race morning. He, being the veteran he is, had all the answers ;) Oh yea, I saw him cruisin P-town in a baller red convertible today... rock on Ron!! Did I mention how cool it is to have blogger friends?!

It's now mid-Saturday and I'm chillin, feet up and enjoying some down time. The bike and bags are checked in, work is done, now it's just about resting, eating and enjoying my loved ones until GO time manana!!!

Oh, I also met up with Ben Greenfield in town this morning to record a short little video about my first IM for our Endurance Planet podcast. Check it out. (Btw, I give my race time predictions for swim, bike and run in there!!!)

Peace out!

PS - I miss D :(

Friday, August 26, 2011

Canada, Day 3 & 4

Wait, I'm doing an Ironman Sunday? Cause it sure feels like I'm on a vacation doing my thing -- well at least that was the case on Wed/Thus (minus working, but that entailed writing an article on Rinny, so I can't complain lol). Granted, it's not like I've been out hiking in the mountains or doing extreme physical activity, but I'm not about to hide in our house for a week when I'm in beautiful British Columbia. It's been really nice getting here early to have time to chill rather than feel rushed and having it just be all about the race.

Yup, we are having a blast! Just another random evening in our yard....

On Wednesday, the day began with Mike, John and I going into P-town for a morning swim. Talk about a confidence booster/stress reliever! My shoulder actually felt pretty good, even in a wetsuit (thank you Zoot Prophet!), and the water felt amazing... not too cold at all, but chilly enough for it to be wetsuit legal. I felt fresh and mentally ready to tackle 2.4 miles! Unfortunately the shoulder was sore as heck later in the day so I decided to scratch any swims until race day.

After swim I did a short run and the legs were kickin. Maybe it was the rad scenery of wineries combined with some great tunes on my iPod and just general excitement, but I held myself back from going too hard and too far :)

Backing up a little... on Tuesday, we were going to attempt a "mini" wine tasting because we're staying along "Bottleneck Drive" wine country, but we headed out too late and everything was closed (figures), except for a fruit wine place, but that was weird (pumpkin pie wine is just too much, even for me). I was hesitant to go wine tasting on Wednesday with the race getting closer, but John had gone on a 40-mile bike ride around the lake and up the other side into a town called Naramata, and he came home raving about all the cool wineries he saw... and wanted to visit :) I decided it'd be nice to drive out there and check it out, and hitting up a couple wineries along the way wouldn't be detrimental. Not to mention, they give pretty small tastes here in Canada, and turned out I didn't even get a buzz, a good thing in this particular case lol. I even saw some other triathletes doing the same thing out there haha.

View from Laughing Stock Winery...Stopped at Hillside too...

While we were wine tasting, my mom and sister got a raft and floated down the river. For anyone who's in town, it seems like a great thing to do. I'll probably do it Monday post-race to soak my legs in cool water. My mom and sis later told us that the first half of the float is pretty awesome, but the second half gets really slow and they kicked most the way -- it was a 3-hour trip even with them kicking to go faster!

That night, we were all hungry so we hit up The Local Grille & Lounge in Summerland. Hands down some of the best food I've had in a long time, and we were all in agreement on that. Legit! I got the halibut with a potato-celery-root mash, asparagus, a corn sauce and some other stuff. Took pictures of the other dishes everyone else ordered, too...

Thursday was a mellow morning (aka I worked) so we eased into the day and eventually made it to the expo for check in and picking up my bike. The highlight was FINALLY meeting my athlete, Erica, who's doing the race too! She's just as sweet and awesome in person as she has been on the phone and email for the past year :) She's had some tough blows in her first two rounds at IMC, so I'm confident that third time is a charm. She's going to do great.
After getting my bike from Tri Bike Transport, Mike, John and I went out on a little ride along the 97 Highway. At 10 miles in, PPPFFFFFFF!!!!! I got a flat!!!! Ahhhh! Long story short, I got a whole new tubular put on and everything is taken care of. Just praying that was THE ONLY flat I'll be getting in Canada :)

Mike and I waiting for our sag wagon along Lake O (John was way ahead and didn't even know I flatted till later lol)...

That evening John and I went on a short jog at around the same time I hope to be finishing on Sunday. It was so nice out, and I felt very at peace. I could see myself getting more excited with every step. Then it was back to work on the Rinny article for the evening, while my crew cooked for me. Love them :)

There's been much more going on, but that's all I got time for now. Stay tuned for Friday's crazy adventures :)

Btw, BEST sweet potatoes EVER here...