A New Year….whew

The last few days all I could think about was getting rid of 2015. I just could not wait for it to be over and done with. I didn’t blog much in 2015, there is a whole Ironman I haven’t written up, #15, and a doozy with lots of juicy details.

What went well last year? So much! I launched a business! Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching is going strong! It’s interesting, there really aren’t any entrepreneurs in my family, not a one. I come from a long line of carreer oriented individuals, a strong focus was always put on education. When I wanted to switch my major to anthropology in college there was a swift and resounding “absolutely not” and on to mathematics I went. I was getting Cs in my math classes at the time, but it was better than I was doing in the engineering classes. Ha! My second two years of college I found the As in math and really fell in love with pure mathematics. None of it prepaired me for entrepreneurship though. I would say the best education for that was my triathlon experiences. 

Starting a business is about wearing a million different hats and solving a million different problems. One minute you are sitting in a lawyers office, the next you are designing inspirational quotes in Canva. You move from thing to thing seamlessly and quickly after awhile. And most of the progress comes from sitting down and getting busy with work. No time to feel stuck or doddle. You gotta jump in, dive in! 

I don’t remember much of the year to be honest. There were countless days where I was up until 2 or 3am trying to finish something huge. I’ve had to learn how to not finish my to do list and often there are 30 little 2 hour tasks left on it for another day. I have struggled with balance more this year than any other and when it came down to it, I just worked longer and harder day in and day out to make it all happen. And I’m a little tired.

So, what did we get done? Well! I went from a team of one, to a team of four. I have three other beautiful souls who are using RTTC to grow and market their personal expertise within the sport. That feels awesome, to be able to create that opportunity for others. We have a group of talented and amazing athletes on board this year. Each of our coaches play a part in each athletes experience so it feels good to watch our athletes get support from so much expertise! I can’t wait to see what other coaches come onboard this year. 

I built some super duper robust systems. From our public facing website complete with a full line up of apparel, to our back end members only athlete portal stacked with oodles of resources for the athletes, I’ve spent a lot if time on the computer. Business these days is about online systems and I went full in with CRM software, online accounting, billing, and payment processing. Lots of back-end programming. We systemized the getting started process and made it truly seamless for the athlete.

I did all that so I would have time for athlete communication. Coaches spend a lot of time doing work that the athlete barely sees or notices so I tried to systemize as much of that as I could so that time could be opend up down the line for work with the athletes. I also wanted to create an environment where our coaches can spend their time growing their expertise and working with athletes.

I also did a soft launch and a hard launch of our business model and ran a free 10-day challenge for athletes to be of service and introduce our business in the market. Those tasks each took hundreds of hours to develop and roll out and I spent the better part of September-December knee deep in those tasks. Oh yea, and I ran a 2X a month webinar called IronMind, which will become something bigger in 2016. Whew, typing that made me tired! 

All if this requires so much vulnerability. It’s funny, when I was staying small with my coaching, people were constantly trying to get in with me. When I spent my life building a better coaching product then opened that to the world, the dynamic changed. I had to explain my coaching philosophy and process over and over, new for me. So many lessons learned! The fastest way to personal growth is through starting a business!

On the personal front, I did three Ironmans in three months in the middle of all this. I relied deeply on last years strong depth of fitness, as you can tell by some pretty nontypical run times off the bike for me. It was always the plan to step back this year and I really got lucky at Tahoe with a strong block just before the race that got me back to being able to put in a strong one day performance. Norseman was all pneumonia and Los Cabos was the most I have suffered in and ironman other that Norseman. Los Cabos showed me that my past fitness was pretty used up, and reminded me that it’s time to get training harder.

As I write all of this I realize that I want 2015 gone because it was a year where I suffered in so many different ways. The biggest suffering was emotional, losing some relationships that I can’t talk about but are probably the reason why I threw myself so deeply into creating a business, so I wouldn’t be left alone with my thoughts (don’t try this at home). These are always the biggest wounds, aren’t they? I’m still trying to get over this hurdle and one thing I’m learning is that going through life means picking up a lot of wounds and healing them into scars. Some things just never fully heal, and that’s called being human and living.

So what does 2016 hold? Ooh, I’m excited. I went ahead and planned the whole year. The trips are all set in stone which feels really exciting. 

January: I’m headed to complete the Dopey Challenge in Disney world (5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2 all on consecutive days) 

February: we are headed to Costa Rica as a family with friends to vacation, learn to surf, meet sloths and go zip lining. 

March: We are headed to Moab with tons of RTTC athletes to run the Canyonlands 13.1 and the the following week we host the first RTTC training camp in Denver which is lining up to be awesome (fun to fast is our 2016 motto).

April: I’m headed back to Boston with Mikki and to meet up with many Coeur ladies to run “the marathon” and I CAN NOT WAIT.

May: I’m traveling to Santa Barbara with a group of ladies who do not swim bike or run to do a women’s retreat to keep me sane and moving in a positive direction emotionally. After that I’m off to IM Texas to coach the athletes we have racing the season opener. 

June: I’m staying home this month, hunkering down and training.

July: I’m headed to San Jose for training camp and the Vineman 70.3 and then off to Tahoe for more training and the Trans Tahoe relay with the dolphin pod. After that I’m off to IM Whistler to coach our athletes who are racing.

August: I’m cheering and coaching at our local Ironman Boulder and then headed to Timberman to race with Amy Farrell, first time since Kona 2014. 

September: I’m excited to head to the mountains to take on the first ever Dillon Half IM and later in the month off to IM Chattanooga to coach our athletes who are racing.

October: the big dance, off for Kona #6 for me and with 4 of our athletes who are already qualified. After Kona, I’m traveling to Greenville to experience the Hincapie Gran Fondo, should be good times!

November: I wouldn’t miss IMAZ for the world, headed there to yell at Mikki and chase her around the course on my scooter.

December: The big plan is to head to Columbia for the Cartegena 70.3. New passport stamp and adventure!

2016 also holds a return to training consistently, and getting outside doing what I love. I’ve missed it and find my computer screen a crapy replacement. I’m hoping for lots of mini-adventures around Colorado this year, along with lots of swimming with my dolphin pod. 

Also, 2016 must include better work life separation and harmony, I’ve got some work to do healing my heart this year and that just can’t be done if I don’t give myself some breathing room and thinking time. So that’s a big focus for the year.

I wish you all much success in 2016, hoping that you paused at the end of 2015 to take stalk, celebrate the success of the year and are now looking forward with hope and positivity. My wish for you is a life filled with adventure, whatever that looks like for you, kindness, both towards yourself and others, and a splash of adversity, because it’s our greatest teacher and yields all the good juicy stuff. 

Happy New Year!

Vineman 70.3 2015

I raced Vineman 70.3 in 2009. It was one of the first 70.3 races I ever raced and I had a rough go at it. I remember a few things. One, a tree fell on the course at mile 7. It fell on three competitors and one of them broke their back. The race was stopped and we all piled up, and when they cleared the way and we got to go it was a crazy large pack draft fest. Two, I met Audra Adair on the course during said tree incident, and we remain friends to this day. I went on that day to melt on the run, and she went on to run her butt off and qualify for Clearwater 70.3 champs. Ahhh, back in “the day.”

This go around, 6 years later, I was excited to be racing this iconic course again. We drove down in Muddys truck, traffic was smooth, and we did the expo business dropping our run shoes off, attending the meeting, picking up odds and ends, and making friends!

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Two highlights here, you know, besides the Mark Allen one of course! First off kudos to Jasmine, who is a mama to 5 beautiful kiddos and was racing her first 70.3! I met her in line at packet pickup and she was just such a bright light! I had a bit of a girl crush on her! She finished in flying colors! I made her and the kids do jumping photos at the finish line, and then I made everyone else standing around get in on it too!!

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And also Shannon, who I have vaguely known electronically, but now know personally…I love that! Great Job Shannon finding that finish line Sunday! Rockstar!

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We ate at the Black Bear Diner and stayed at Motel 6. It was all very ghetto fabulous, but because we had met up with Ron (AKA Punky) life was good. He may see me as his annoying coach (or bratty little sister) who makes him wear a HRM and never lets him train as much as he wants to, but to me he is family and I always feel more happy and silly and at ease around him. We happened to find ourself at the Walgreens late at night buying snacks…no ice cream…sad.

Race morning arrived, 4:40 alarm went ding, and I was up and excited. Calm, and tired…but excited. We loaded Ron, Joaquin, and I’s stuff into the truck and Muddy drove us to the start and dropped us off.

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My wave was really late in the day so we got to stand around and watch the PROs start…and finish the swim leg. I had a very sweet conversation with Magali Tisseyre’s mom during the PRO womens swim, beautiful woman, wonderful mom. Finally it was time to mosey on over. I met up with Christine, and Hailey, and I met my Coeur teammate Lindsey for the first time. We got ourselves into the water and I got in a short warm up before it was go time.

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I never really stopped to think “wait how do i do this again?” I just got up to the front line and when the horn sounded, I started swimming. Pretty hard. I wanted to snag some feet. I always want to snag some feet. I watched Christine and Hailey disappear quickly into the distance, I knew it was them, just knew. I was rusty! I really banged into quite a few girls, not because I was being overly aggressive, but because I was being dumb. A few times I ran into someone and was like “Oh that was rude” in my head and then 15 seconds later “oh crap, I did it again”. I really DO NOT swim straight when I am trying to swim hard and after brutalizing this poor woman about 10 times I finally clued in and just got on her perfect feet and followed them. If you are in Womens 35-39 and you had to roll over a douchebag woman about 8 times out there….I apologize, that was me, and I think I owe you a bottle of wine.

Vineman is special in that it is VERY shallow. You can stand up pretty much the entire swim. At the turn buoy you can actually walk. I remember people walking in 2009 and this year, I decided to give it a go. I always like to try at least SOMETHING new each time I race, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. So I stood up and I walked and I waded and I made a few friends, and we laughed and I looked around at the view, which is STUNNING, and I stretched my arms a bit and then when it wasn’t walkable any more I dove back in and kept swimming. The lady that I brutalized and then was drafting off of was swimming this whole section right next to us walkers and by walking I lost about 1-2 feet on her. When I dove back in I jumped out a little bit and was right back on her feet. She took the most amazing line towards the right hand shore all the way back and delivered us right onto the shore with perfect accuracy!

In fact…there she is…right there behind me in the photo, I think…. If you know this girl, hook me up so I can send her a care package!! Also, I look really sad here…and tired, and old. Triathlon is glamorous. Go Roka!

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I ran to my bike and right as I got to it I saw Hailey running out of transition along the outer path. I felt good about that because I knew that she had probably stuck on Christine (super swimmers) feet and would have swam fast. Being one transition behind her I felt was pretty good.

I was sure to step right in a big puddle of mud before I got to the mount line, you know, just to make sure the interior of my shoes were coated in mud the entire ride. Winning!

There is a steep little hill right out of transition. I had my shoes clipped into my pedals. I was rusty, there was some fumbling, and muddy feet, but I did tell myself to keep calm and just get my feet on my shoes as efficiently as possible. If you ever go to a triathlon to watch, go to the mount line, it really is the most hilarious part of the race. People, myself included, do all sorts of silly stuff. You will be laughing for days! Go Quintana Roo! Love my PRSix!

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And…finally I’m on my bike and rolling, whew. Heart rate check in…174. Genius. Okay, that’s probably not maintainable. But the bigger problem. My legs. Oh my legs. How can I accurately describe my legs. Well, they were a sort of mixture between the feeling you get when you are walking down the stairs the day after a marathon, and the pain you are in when your favorite PT gets out that metal tongue depressor thing to do “graston.” I remember thinking at one point, “I might actually be breaking them” Soreness, pain, sharp pain, resistance, anger, not happy, my legs were NOT happy.

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From mile 0 to mile 56 I managed the angry legs. Because I like to be honest, and because it’s kinda funny looking back, I will share with you some of the thoughts that my brain decided to come up with while I was out there.

  • Oh lordy, they are broken
  • this is not any fun
  • this is sub-fun
  • why do I do this shit?
  • you are screwed for norseman
  • you are never taking time off again
  • screw muddy
  • F$%k muddy
  • damn you muddy
  • god this hurts
  • maybe i should quit
  • this can’t be good for me
  • sheesh this course has a lot of shifting
  • why did I ride so hard on wednesday night?
  • can’t we just ride straight for a little bit, preferably down hill?
  • is that wind?
  • it doesn’t even matter
  • oh my gosh they hurt worse
  • how is that possible?
  • is it my bike fit?
  • why did I let muddy convince me this was a good idea?
  • you are so screwed
  • how are you going to run?
  • there is no way you are going to be able to run
  • you are never taking time off again
  • muddy lied to you

Yea, that’s some of the fun stuff the brain likes to bring up. BUT, luckily, I have tools and adversity is what the tools are built to withstand, so every time these thoughts came, these are some of the other thoughts that came behind them. Granted, these new thoughts are choices.

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Choices to NOT go down the rabbit hole. And choices I can only make because I meditate and I practice recognizing when I’m thinking unproductive thoughts. I’m actually getting really fast at identifying “not helpful” and reshifting. But the whole darn bike was like one long painful meditation session of refocus, refocus, refocus. Over and over and over, AKA, fighting the good fight.

  • getting in shape hurts Sonja
  • you won’t die sonja
  • push pull push pull
  • doing your best isn’t always fun in the moment
  • remember what Kona felt like
  • Muddy knows best
  • push pull push pull
  • 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8
  • trust your coach
  • hard work always pays eventually
  • relax your shoulders
  • today is not Norseman
  • point your toes
  • engage your butt
  • is this the best you have right now?
  • what doesn’t hurt?
  • push pull push pull
  • my nose doesn’t hurt
  • my toes don’t hurt
  • dang my shoes are full of mud
  • push pull push pull
  • head down chin up
  • lean into the pain
  • relax your jaw
  • trust your coach, trust your coach, trust your coach
  • race your race, push pull

At that was how it went. I didn’t pass anyone in my AG and only a few men passed me. It was kinda lonely. Towards the end I was passed by two women in my AG and that was helpful because it gave me a nice little dose of adrenaline and competitive spirit rather than brain/thought/leg/pain management. I was able to use that pass to REINGAGE! hahaha! Joaquin would be proud.

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Coming into T2 I spotted Muddy from a mile away on the side of the road. It was so good to have him out there screaming up storm like he likes to do. He gave me some good splits and I was happy to hear I was actually IN THE GAME, in the HUNT, in a podium position. Coolio.

There was a really long narrow run into T2 and it was slow going as many of the waves were mixed up so some people were walking that section and we had to weave our way around them, which is totally cool, just takes a little maneuvering. I ran to rack 9 where I put my shoes and a few of the ladies in my AG couldn’t find their shoes. Apparently someone had moved their shoes overnight! They were screaming and freaking out big time. Can you imagine being in the hunt, podium position and then your shoes aren’t there. I remember having no T1 bag in Kona that one year, your brain is already in fight or flight and something like that really illuminates how you handle adversity. Most freak out! It’s the normal human reaction.

But I knew that I couldn’t get wrapped up in their drama, my shoes were right where I had put them, so I immediately encapsulated myself in a big Glenda the Good Witch Bubble…you know what I’m talking about, the pink glittery one, and I sat down, put my socks, shoes and race belt on, grabbed my stuff and got the heck out of there.

Running the first mile is always a joke. Usually too fast, sometimes too slow, feeling wonky, it’s never an indicator of the day. But I know one thing, my legs did not hurt like they did on the bike, not even close. So that was good news. Around mile 1 I saw Muddy and he said I was in 3rd. I knew that 1st and second had to be Hailey and Christine, two of my closest friends in Cali. I got this big smile on my face, because it was the three of us, and that felt special! Already a win win!

I caught Punky somewhere in here and asked how his knee was holding up. He said it was okay, but I could tell he was battling with it. We haven’t been able to run him in two weeks, so this was a big wait and see. He said there were two girls ahead, both in pink. I asked if one was in the same kit as me and he didn’t say yes. So that confused me a little.

It wasn’t until several more miles when I caught up to Christine. She was running really strong and smooth and in control, she looked great. We ran together a few seconds, exchanged “I love yous” and “your ass looks HAWT” and then I pulled ahead and kept charging. I didn’t look at my watch the entire run for some reason. By mile three I was feeling really strong and steady and beast-like and I didn’t want to look down and see a split that was slow, so I just decided not to look and to continue feeling good about myself! Haha! Matt Dixon even said I looked good, and in my head I was like “RIGGGGHHHHTTT OOOONNNN.”

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Mark, Hailey’s hubby (the guy who thought Princess Kitty was a bear….skoff) was out on his bike. And of course he’s in his Dodo Case kit! See, on the Coast Ride in January, Mark is my favorite wheel to ride. Yes, I love Hailey’s husbands wheel. I know that 95% of the time that’s her wheel to ride, but sometimes they ride side by side, in which case I can be found on Marks wheel. So, the Dodo Case kit to me is a symbol of comfort: steady, strong, ease for me, and he was in THAT KIT. BAM, loving the symbolism!

Hailey was up the road, beyond sight and Mark was there on the side when I went by. Possibly to get a split for Hailey, but I just pretended he was there to help me. Again, I could have gone either way in my brain, but I was into optimism. I asked how Hailey was doing, and he said “good, she’s a little over 4 minutes up.” I got a big smile. Four minutes is legit, she was racing great, I was happy for her.

Then he told me I was in second, but I just felt I was in third, so I told Mark “people are telling me I’m in third” and he asked about the number ranges. I had noticed at check in that some of us had numbers in the 200s and others had numbers in like the 1200s or something. So I told him that and asked if he would investigate. Sure enough a few miles later he told me that Jen was about 1 minute up the road in pink.

For some reason, that information combined with how strong and steady I felt just lit the fire under me. I had been running with a guy named Alex (I think) and chatting and the chatting ended. I had no fear, it was just “what can I do to try to close that gap?” I looked down the road and knew exactly who it was because we she was who passed me at the end of the bike and we had introduced ourselves to each other out there. I had no idea she got out of T2 ahead of me and she was running fierce!

Into the Vineyard I ran as hard as I possibly could and whenever I could see her pass a pole or a tree I would take a split on my watch to see if I could run that section faster to close the gap. Then another split and another attempt to put just a little more into each turn, cut each tangent a little tighter, stand a little taller, move the legs a little faster. Out of the Vineyard Mark was there again and told me I was 30 sec back. I clocked it at 28.

We were getting to the turn around around mile 8ish and we are close to the turn and I see Hailey! I did not expect to see Hailey at all. I assumed she was past the out and back before I even got on it. And right behind her is Jen. Now all of us are within about 40 seconds with about 4.5 miles left to race.

And honestly, I think because it was my first race back and I had nothing to lose and nothing riding on it, I got super giddy. It was all just so much fun that were were all out there racing our butts off, and that we were strong women, friendly on and off the course, but getting the best out of each other. I usually would be a little nervous with things close like that, but I wasn’t, it felt like girl power. I tell ya, we ladies provide some entertaining racing!

Jen put the hammer down to pass Hailey and then she ran like a boss! I caught up to Hailey and we ran side by side for some time. I had it in my head that when I got to Hailey she would magically just run side by side with me and we would run down Jen and it would be a sprint finish and we would all end up falling over at the finish line from exhaustion and racing and awesomeness.

But no. Eventually I pulled away from Hailey and set my sights on running the remaining hills on the course to the best of my ability. Jen continued to gap me and increase her lead more and more. I was running as hard as I could and my form was as good as I could get it. At mile 11 Muddy was there on the side screaming at me how proud he was to which I screamed 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8…which means…engage! Then he said “I told you so kid” to which I yelled the F word and the YOU word. Not my finest choice of words, but it was more of a “damn you were right.” Then I told him about my legs on the bike and how horrible they felt which felt good to get off my chest.

The last two miles are mostly downhill and I could see Jen up there, but she was UP there. I tired to run with all I had, but I wasn’t able to pull her back at all. I fought, but she was the better woman on the day, and that was 100% A-Okay! Hailey came in just a tiny bit behind me. All three of us, pretty darn close, some awesome racing out there. It was an honor to be a part of it!

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All in all, for me it was a great day out there. I was floored with how good my legs could feel running after they felt so bad on the bike. Joaquin had the same exact experience, to a T. So that was interesting as well. It was a good confidence boost for me going into the next few months and it feels fantastic to have that SPARK back in me. Motivation is high! Okay, one more time, cuz I bought the silly photos!

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Huge thanks to the ladies I raced against for your great sportsmanship, you all are class act. Thank you big time to Coach Muddy, Coach Barbara, and to Joaquin for being my family the last three weeks and also to Troy and Annie for letting me get away to work on my hobby. Also, Thank you to YAY (you have to have a good attitude when your kit says YAY on it), Quintana Roo (PRSix rode so great), Tribella (thank you for the constant help and advise), Coeur (for the sisters, the teamies, the kits, the training clothing, and for Hailey/Kebby/Reg), OSMO (I could not have gotten through 3 weeks and this race with out PreLoad, Active, Recovery, and Stacys advise through the years), Smith glasses (my new fav sunnies), and Punk Rock Racing (where I get my spunk).

Swim: 29:07, T1: 1:36, Bike: 2:39:25, T2: 3:19, Run: 1:34:46, Total: 4:48:13, 2nd in W35-39, 4th Amateur.

Next up, August 1st….Norseman!!! Bring it on!

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98 days to Kona

Warning: Explicit language. F-bombs and what not below…Ms.Pams kids, I’m talking to you…

Thursday, as Hailey pointed out in a text message to me was 100 days until Kona! Monday marks the 14 weeks to go date which is conveniently 12 weeks of hard training plus 2 weeks of taper/sharpening. The last few weeks have not been easy when it comes to my training schedule, but what’s past is past and I made it through. The next 12 weeks will be the hardest of the year, and also mostly likely the hardest of my entire triathlon quest up until this point. Muddy has been very clear with me that we will be skirting “the edge” during most of this time period, and if the last 2 weeks are any indicator, which they are, then I am in for a doozy.

It’s pure focus, it’s go time, it’s what we’ve been reaching for all year long.

–Coach Muddy

As happens so often with these Ironman builds, and I see this with my friends and my own athletes as well, when it comes down to dedication time, those 12 weeks prior, most people see initial setbacks right off the bat. Right when they are supposed to ramp up, they get sick, or the stress in their life goes off the deep end, or a knee decides to keep them from running. I keep seeing this over and over and I struggle to put the reasons why into words, but of course, I’ll try.

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My best guess from personal experience is that “dedication time” requires a shift in my daily normal life and routine. Not only does my schedule change with more training hours, but my family/friends must suddenly adapt to that new schedule as well. My daughter who is used to me taking her to camp, is suddenly getting dropped off and picked up by dad a lot more. And she is okay with it, but it’s a change. Nature always seeks equilibrium and transition upsets that. There is always a rebalancing that’s required.

The people that I communicate with suddenly see and hear a lot less of me and they make their own conclusions about that, which are very rarely “Oh she’s training really hard for Hawaii.”

Who would really think “She didn’t call me on July 4th because she’s deep in training for a race on October 11th?” I’ll tell you who? No one. I try to use other times of the year to catch up, to develop and foster my relationships, to give my time and ear to others. But sometimes I think that I am just setting an example that people come to expect as status quo throughout the year. When this time period hits there is a readjustment for both me and my loved ones. I suddenly become a “delicate flower” to everyone close to me (so that I may pummel myself in training).

The amount of myself that I am able to carve out and spend on the needs of others drastically shrinks, both in my availability, but also in my patience.

And that’s really the big one. When this time period comes around the number one thing I see is that my ability to “handle my shit” goes way way down. Something that I might have been able to brush off when I’m training 15 hours a week, I suddenly am very upset by. The stress that comes across my doorstep sticks with me more, and my ability to cope is lowered.

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Each person has a bucket for stress. I talked about mine a long time ago on this blog, it’s a green bucket, looks more like a tub. Inside that bucket goes training stress, life stress, lack of sleep stress, shitty diet stress, heat stress….ALL the stress. When the bucket gets above a certain level I start to lose my marbles. When the bucket overflows, I completely lose it and shut down and pretty much don’t speak to anyone for 5 days.

My bucket got to the lost marble stage this week.

Yesterday I did this very hard run. It’s the one session of the week that scares the ever loving crap out of me. Muddy actually has Troy ride next to me for it and do all the pacing and I “just” have to keep up. Well, yesterday we got out running and 20 minutes in he hands me the bottle of Osmo he prepped for me and it’s full of recovery drink…not active. It’s 90 degrees, full sun, several miles from home. I was mad. At him for putting it in there, at myself for not packing my own bottle…mad…again, less able to handle my shit. If this really important session gets screwed up because of this I would beat myself up for that…prove perform please perfect. Yea, yea, I got problems, 99 of them.

We made a plan to hit up a faucet in the park and kept rolling.

This week I have felt the pains of “dedication time” that I described above. Several situations this week had me asking Troy “Why can’t people be nice to me, I’m so nice to so many people, why are others mean to me.” All week I have had various situations in the front or back of my head. They nag and I watch that bucket get full as the training gets crazy this week. Now, I have TONS of people that are wonderful to me, but during this time the negative ones really pack a punch. Part of the transitional phase is reminding myself to steer clear and keep away from these sorts of situations.

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**I totally stole these quotes from someone on twitter…Beth maybe?

I get into the fast work and 5 minutes in I feel my throat constrict. I tell Troy I’m stopping on the side of the road and I just crumple in a heap of tears and a little ball on the ground. Sadly my first thought was “There’s no crying when you are wearing a trucker hat” A guy pulled over to see if we needed help as Troy stood over a very upset Sonja that didn’t want to be looked at or touched. After a bit of a cry-walk with my head stooped as low as it could go I started to get ANGRY. A resounding “Fuck them all” came into my head. I told Troy “let’s go” and I started running my speed work. I think he was pretty freaked because he didn’t really say anything to me the rest of the run. Traumatic for both of us honestly.

Was it pretty, no? Did I hit my numbers? Not all of them. Did Troy and I both continue to mess up on the run? Yes. Did all those thoughts continue to swirl in my head, absolutely! It was constant “BLAH BLAH BLAH….Fuck them” over and over and over.

And when I got home I was so raw and exposed and drained and tried, and upset.

That’s what this training does to me. 25-30 hours a week is no joke, and add in the hard stuff and trying to reach my personal limits so that I can adapt and become stronger…well, it’s just really really hard. Hard on a family, hard on my tired aching bones, but really hard on my head.

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But here’s the deal folks, it really is the only thing I want to be doing with my life right now. It’s why I get so upset when anything comes into conflict. I want to see how far I can go, how much training I can handle, how fit I can get. I’ve worked hard for 8 years and this year feels like the one where it’s all paying off.

Having been through the Kona build 4 previous times, not to mention a few more with non Kona Ironmans I know it’s temporary and in a few days or weeks everyone in my circle will know that Kona training has hit and to just give me my space. The people in my very close circle know it’s buckle down time and Troy who takes the brunt has already started to put on his armor and his apron.

It’s a hard thing, but a pure thing, dedicating yourself to one endeavor. All I have ever wanted was for someone to push me to my physical breaking point, but I have yet to have a coach be willing to go there. Until this year. As I look forward, I know I have the best gear this year. I have the QR PR6, 100% brand new and it flies. I have HUUB, a phenomenal swim skin and wetsuit on my back. James and Liz at Tribella fully support me and I don’t have any of the bike mechanical issues I used to since James sees my bike every 2 weeks and keeps it ship shape. I have the support and my husband who is willing to bend over backwards. And finally I have a coach who is willing to give it all to me, hold nothing back. Anything less than my best would be a waste of everyones time and resources.

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So, for the next 14 weeks…the twitter and FB will be mostly silent, except when it works for me. The blogs will be as well, except when I need to vent. Emails will go unanswered, and calls not returned. My priorities have to be very simple and very clear.

Family, Training, Coaching. Everything else will be sitting at the back of the bus.

The island awaits and I’m not wasting this opportunity.

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Okay February, Let’s Do This

February is here. Wow and wow, February is here! Training the last few days has been poop. It’s hard to get motivated in the cold weather, with all the snow, but I’m getting it done. I just hate training when it’s a chore. I always like to find ways of making it fun and enjoyable. Even if it’s singing or downloading my favorite songs, I want the process to be enjoyable, because it’s my hobby and fun is a choice.

So, I would love to hear what some of you do to keep it fun and lively when you are getting bored on the trainer? Sometimes it’s the tinniest things, like a new favorite hat, or a new song on the playlist.

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After having traveled in January I came home excited about the prospect of being home the entire month of February. But then it snowed like every single day since I got home and now I’m ready to leave again. Haha!!

I will say though….I just applied for a travel visa….??!!!! To….???!!! Any guesses?

Some hints, I’m headed to a race, but I’m not racing. And….. it’s sometime in March.

This past weekend while the Broncos forgot how to play the game of Football Annie and I were working on her Valentines Day box. Did you have to make these as a kid? Valentines day was my second favorite holiday as a kid. Halloween being my first. But Valentines day….ooohhh, the making of all the little cards, then putting them in all your friends boxes. Then getting to open up your box and read all the notes. LOVE! Like totally LOVE!

Since Kindergarten Annie and I have sat down and worked on her box together. the first year her’s was covered with buttons and feathers. It was pretty cool and top notch for a 6 year old. Then last year we went big. We covered her box in the fake flowers. Actually, she covered it and I managed the glue gun. She said glue here, and glue away I did. It was beautiful and floral and amaze balls.

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This year she had decided on an ocean theme and I was thinking to myself, how the heck are we going to pull this off? So we went to Michaels for our hour of meandering and crafting our plan. Well, at Michaels she found these fairy garden lawn furniture do-hickies. That’s the best I can describe it. A trellis, bench, wheel barrel, you get the drift. The spark had struck. And then we were off. Rocks and fake plants (lots) and moss (several kinds) were procured. Then the idea of a pond was hatched, so pond rocks and sparkle ribbon was procured. I grabbed a few helpers, some more glue for the glue gun and we were out of there.

The process was the same this year. Annie thinks and brainstorms, says what she’s thinking and I help make it happen. I run the glue gun, she pokes, and cuts, and puts rocks down, and moves things, and creates cute little flower pots full of this and that. This was the Annie show. When we got done, we were all itchy from the moss so we had to go take a bath, but after that, we sat back and marveled at it. It was her best yet. She can’t wait to take it to school!

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And I gotta say, much to the distaste of Troy I do not put up a stink about the financial implications of these projects. Fine art costs! So what if it’s used for one day just to put Valentines in. We have so much fun with it, she’s so proud of it, and I let her get whatever she thinks she needs to make it happen. So yes, $120 Valentines Box and I could care less about the money. The memories are priceless and timeless. It’s the little things like this that are so hard to carve out for our children. The traditions that are so loved and cherished. These things are really important to me.

Yesterday I went on a cleaning and rearranging the whole house binge. That felt darn good. I moved some rooms around, finally got Troy to move his office from the family room, which I turned into a room for riding the trainer, into a spare bedroom we have. Now he has a room with a door that he can close and it’s quieter and lighter in there. Happy Troy. Lots of throwing away stuff and boy did it feel great!

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Today was super awesome. I spent several hours at Denver Fit Loft getting a Retul fit from Daniel there and it was awesome. I now am the owner of two fully built up TT bikes. Oh my! My CD01 frame was sitting in a closet and now it’s built up and fit to me, and will live on the trainer. A huge thanks to James at Tribella who built her up beautifully. I almost felt bad for my Illicito because she looks a little drab next to the CD01 now. Daniel did great getting the two bikes to match even though they have completely different head sets. I also filmed a video blog at the Denver Fit Loft:

Life for the rest of the week is about to get a little wild. Michelle has surgery to reconstruct her ACL Thursday and we are so excited that we get to bring her back here and take care of her for those first rough days after her surgery. Someone else for me to spoil with love! I’m really hoping that her recovery goes smoothly, so send her some healing vibes please.

Other than that, all is well and great! Oh and if you are looking for a good book to read, Katie and I are going to launch into Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. I loved her Ted Talk on vulnerability (13 million views!)

 

And Katie says we all need to watch the one she did on Listening to Shame.

 

Okay friends! I’m off to bed!

 

Whole30: Day 15 – Light and Happy and Radiant…Oh My!

Wake Up: 7:00am

I got 8 hours of sleep last night. It wasn’t the best night and I definitely could have used more sleep, but I woke up feeling restored and spunky.

Breakfast: 8:20am

Last night I made Egg Muffins with sweet potato, spinach, sausage, and tomatoes. I forgot the nutmeg. They are so good though. They really pack a punch. I also had a little salad with 1/2 an avocado, tomatoes and cucumber and drizzled some Apple Avocado Oil Vinaigrette on the top. It was really good!

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Lunch: 11:33am

Troy and I went to lunch together today at one of my favorite places called Zooks. They have an amazing garden, which is pretty much winterized right now, but it’s still a great place to sit in the sun. It’s very peaceful and we enjoyed tea for me, Coffee for him, and lunch. I had a salad with olive oil and balsamic, Troy had a panini. There was no protein in my meal but it was a great “starter” to lunch. Just fresh garden veggies and nothing that would distract from health.

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They have a sweet kitty at Zooks that crawled up in my lap and gave me a ton of cat-love. That made me feel special, she walked right by Troy, the cat lover of the family.

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Lunch #2: 1:10pm

Of course after getting home from lunch I knew I needed to complete my lunch. I sautéed up some organic ground beef with diced apple, nutmeg, and cinnamon, all cooked in ghee. I cut up a mango and had that along the side. My two lunches held me over great until dinner.

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Dinner: 7:30pm

I have been so excited to try the Balancing Paleo Turkey Stuffing Loaf ever since Michelle posted it. I got the stuff today while Troy and Annie were at her reading tutor and whipped it up. I must say, oh my lanta. I love it! At first Troy was like “Why is there no salt in this” and I was like “there’s lots” and then started to realize that Troy and I’s palates are diverging because my Whole30 is setting in. I’m tasting the different elements of food so much more than he is right now. Everything tastes more vibrant to me.

I served the loaf along side a bowl of roasted veggies. I roasted together: mushrooms, brussels sprouts, fennel, shallots. And I drizzled on the top: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lots of chopped fresh tarragon, and expensive sea salt. They were to die for! We had my BFFs daughter over for dinner and we even got her to try mushrooms and brussels sprouts. It’s fun getting kids to try new things. Oh, and look at my plate compared to Troys, I tell ya, I AM EATING A LOT!!!!

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Half Way:

So this is the half way point in Whole30. I must say, I’ve gotten more so far than I ever hoped for. My headaches from food are gone. I’m only getting headaches when I’m really stressed now, or when my neck muscles are so sore they are pulling on my head. They aren’t a daily occurrence any more. I don’t snack at night. Not at all. The days of eating from 8-11pm are totally gone, poof, just like that. I was talking to Ron today about it and I was saying that it’s nice to not even want to snack at night. I thought I would just get good at avoiding the temptation, when in fact it’s more that the temptation is gone. That’s really nice. Also a huge perk is that I am really happy. I have happy responses to hard conversations. I am more patient, I am more present. I still feel a bit spacey sometimes, but I’m happy and spacey, so I’m okay with it!

I’ve had some interesting comments from some people around me that I thought I would share.

Today Ron said that in my pictures from the race and the days leading up that I am glowing. I have better color and skin tone. I would agree. He also called me a dog with a shiny new coat. I will take this as a compliment. hahaha!

Yesterday Jim said I looked skinny in a photo I put on FB. I’m not here to lose weight at all, but I think that reducing inflammation is a super awesome thing and can be contributing to that here.

Troy, this is the best. Before I left for Arizona he said that he had never seen me look and act this healthy in our entire marriage. 11 years…dang! That’s quite the observation.

It’s kinda crazy what you can do in just 15 days of not eating food that causes emotional, hormonal, gut, or inflammatory damage. The body truly does want healthy foods, at least mine seems to. I don’t know what the next 15 days will bring. We all have Thanksgiving coming soon, which I’m actually not stressed about, I’m excited to see family and the food is just a small part of that. Plus, it’s just one day. I did 6 days without a kitchen or microwave and kept it Whole30, I know I can handle one meal that is based around Turkey!

2013 Ironman Arizona – Swim

This was the first Ironman I’ve done without Troy being there. Michelle and I traveled together to race and we were in charge of taking care of each other. With Ironman Brazil and Kona this year, funds were just not there to make a family trip. The worst part about that is that originally when I signed up to race we assumed everyone would go so it was not a big deal that Annies Birthday was the Friday before the race and Troy’s the Monday after. Yes, yes, I missed both of their birthdays, and that fact would come back to give me renewed vigor during the run.

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We did lots of Facetiming, but I still longed to be with them on their special days, sad to miss it, maybe more sad than they were about it.

Michelle and I did our thing. We travel well together, we like the same things, it’s easy. I have been hesitant to really put this out there, but I jumped on the Whole30 bandwagon, and race day was Day 12 into it. Honestly I was afraid to put it out there because I thought there was a chance I would bonk or something and I would have nothing to blame but that. Haha, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I started a blog on my Whole30 process and it’s linked on the left, under goSonja FOOD!

(When your friends flat…it’s best to just take photos…love Stephen!)

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Our pre race workouts went great. The best part was running into all sorts of people that we knew, and making friends with new people that we didn’t know. Huge thanks to Mac at Quintana Roo for letting us crash the tent at the expo and use it as a mobile training center!

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After asking all the people on Facebook we found a great swimming pool in Scottsdale, called the Cactus pool. This pool is heaven and we met up with friends to swim and be silly. The best part of Ironmans for me is the family reunions with all the people from around the globe I have met while racing and training. Plus the cactus pool had a special baby lane just for me. I’m kidding, but how cute is this mini lane?

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Okay! So eventually race day rolled around. I have no photos, I’m so sorry. Maybe some will come out of the woodwork, but it’s mostly gonna be words!

The morning of the race I felt good. I slept great and I had worked really hard the past 72 hours to make sure that my glycogen stores were topped off…and yet in a way that used no grains, no dairy, and no sugar. Oh yea baby, sweet potatoes are my friend.

For breakfast, I went with two hard boiled eggs and a banana. Seemed a little light, but that was what I had.

Michelle and I stuck together all race morning. We did our stuff in transition and then went to find coach Mud to chat and stuff. He and I had a big chat the night before and whenever I talk with him I always come away believing I’m more capable that I thought. That morning I looked and him and said “I just have to punch my ticket right?” and he said “Yup, kiddo, that’s it, and it’s all good.” Big hugs from coach and Michelle and I were off to the swim start. We split a bottle of Osmo and a honey stinger waffle just before we hugged BIG hugs and jumped into the water.

The last few months I have not been able to drop Michelle on the bike. All year long, when I put in an effort, she’s off the back, but the last few months I knew that things were coming together and kept finding myself saying “Shit, the girl is back” I watched her running pace at MAF fall fall fall and I knew she was in a position to slaughter it. I was not shy with this fact and told her many times this week that she was FIT and READY, and needed to grab the opportunity and run with it. I’m so proud of her! That’s one really nice thing about having a long term training partner, sometimes they know you better than you know yourself, and you can trust what they say because they are more objective.

Okay, so I’m in the water. It feels great. I actually feel pretty good. I line up closer to the buoys this year, but a little farther back than in the past. I didn’t want to go lightening bolt off the line. The horn sounded and we were off. It’s a great swim start, I love the spectators along the swim course. I had a relatively smooth start and didn’t feel too hindered in my pace by others. I even got some clear water for a few minutes.

I swam well. I felt strong the entire swim. I didn’t have any dips or dives in energy I was just steady. I messed around with my stroke, trying to get more streamlined with the wetsuit and really pulled my stomach up and tightened my butt. I swam strong and steady, and that’s exactly what I needed. I’m really happy with my swim. 1:04 may not seem like much, but with how I felt about my swim fitness going in, this was great. I also loved that they numbered the buoys. On the way back it was nice to count down to the finish, except I could SWEAR that there were two #2 buoys!

Getting out of the swim was crazy, there was a set of stairs and I really flopped myself onto them like a beached seal. The volunteers were amazing. I had my wetsuit stripped and it took 4 of them. The freak did not want to come off. It was funny once the lady got it off she threw it on the ground about 5 feet from me. She was so mad at it, then a guy went and retrieved it for me. hahahah!

In the change tent it was busy. I have 3 things in my T1 bag. Shoes, because they won’t let you put them on the bike here, my helmet, and my sunglasses. So it takes me very little time to put those on. Most my time in transition is spent running through the obstacle course they put you through. I’m pretty sure I passed like 5 people on my age group IN the change tent!

Off on the bike I went!

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Whole30: Day 2 – Totally Nailed It and Had Fun ‘Cause it’s Still New

Wake up: 8:00am

Oh my lanta! I slept well last night. Was asleep by 9:50 and that, my friends, is 10 uninterrupted hours of peaceful sleep. I think I can safely say that we have Annie out of our bed…it only took 8 years (<wince>). I slept deeply and wok up lethargic and had trouble getting going for the day.

Breakfast: 9:30am

3 eggs, 1/2 avocado, spinach and home made salsa. Same as yesterday, but this time with 4 slices of pineapple. Make that 3…Annie thieved one. This was good! and quick! Not sure how long I can have the same breakfast, but for now, I’m going with it.

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Run: 11:30am

10 mile run. 5 at 8:30 pace and then 4 doing swing pace (1/2 mile at 7:45, 1/2 mile at 7:15), 1 mile cool down. I took 10 oz of Osmo with me on this and filled up with 10 oz water at 5 miles. I could tell that I didn’t have the glycogen stores that I am used to having in my training. By the end of the run I could feel a headache coming on and it lasted most of the rest of the day. Just a dull ache, 4 out of 10. Sometimes I think it’s my sports bra straps pushing on my shoulder muscles that hurts my head. BUT, the run was the best I’ve felt training wise since Kona so I’ll take it!

Snack: 1:00pm

I packed a baggy of pineapple, and almonds for after my run. I was happy to have them waiting and I wolfed them down.

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Store Run: 1:15pm

I picked up more groceries, stuff to make egg muffins and I was looking desperately for Jones Brand Sausage that Gina recommended but there was nothing like it at King Soopers. I ended up with some Aidells that is compliant that I can use while I keep looking for Jones. I also went on a limb for the Applegate bacon, but there is less than 2% sugar in it. That still makes it not compliant. So, hummm.

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Lunch: 2:00pm

Left over salad from last night. It was better after being in the fridge overnight, and then I sautéed up 2 Aidells sausages with 1/2 a yellow bell pepper and a handful of mushrooms. This was really good and I should add it to my 15 minute meals.

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Dinner: 6:00pm

Ohhh…I done good tonight. On prep day I whipped up “Best Burgers” from the Wildtree freezer meals. It’s just the Chipotle Lime Blend with the RSR. Troy banged those out on the grill. Then I roasted some sweet potatoes with EVOO and RSR, and I made the Sautéed Greens with Leeks and Garlic from Clean Start page 108. I left out the mirin which was fine. Big hit of a meal with the whole family. Took about 45 minutes from kitchen to table. Eating at the table is time consuming! We usually eat in front of the computer or on the couch. I also find myself nagging at Annie to EAT much more when we sit down to the table. It took her 60 minutes to eat her dinner tonight. Awesome.

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Swim: 8:00pm

Just a flop in the evening. 30 minutes, 1500 Meters. The sky was clear, the stars were out, and the coyotes were yipping up a storm outside of the pool. My little slice of heaven for the evening.

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Homework:

Self-efficacy is the measure of the belief in one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.

The Whole 30 email today talked about self-efficacy, your belief that you can “get ‘er done” (or as the email said “I know I can rock this”). When I think about that I naturally think about my triathlon journey and how that belief has changed through the years. I think that sometimes you have to fake it until you make it. You have to believe you can do something, and that in turn helps you to actually do that thing, which then makes the self-eficacy the next time around that much easier. It’s a house, and you have to build it from the ground up.

I also think…what do I have to lose by believing that I CAN do something? Face? Ego? That’s it! If you don’t succeed then you just have to repeat over and over “Well, I had the strength to try” and move on! So, I’m going to take this attitude with the Whole 30. There are some obstacles coming my direction in regards to Whole 30, but I’m just going to believe I can “get er done” and I’ll deal with it if I don’t. I’m going to see these obstacles as opportunities to learn more and to challenge myself.

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Buddy Up – another task from the email blast!

Okay, I got really lucky here! Gina reached out, and we totally are buddying up! She’s one day ahead of me, so she can tell me what I have to look forward to each day. Day 2 SUCKS was her epiphany of the day! She’s a mama to 2 munchkins and still nursing, so she’s pretty much doing an Ironman every day. Thanks Gina! You rock for being my buddy!

Already being an awesome internet buddy she suggested that I make some Egg Muffins to have an alternative to the breakfast I’ve been eating for a solid week now. I found this recipe on Lesley Graham. They are quite easy, like a fritata in a muffin tin (but without cheese or milk). They can be stored in the fridge and after I saw them out of the oven, I kinda want to wrap them in a wrapper and take them as a portable for my long ride tomorrow. Humm?

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Mood Grade: B-

I had a headache most the day, but it was really low grade. I was less moody and I think I kept myself together a bit better than yesterday. Still lots of room for improvement but a wee better than yesterday. Also, I don’t think I’m going through the normal Whole30 Day 2 because I did 4 days, then binged on candy, then started over. So I think my mostly good choices before this are helping me out.

Kona 2013 Run


I get out and running and the first thing you do is run up one block of Palani. It’s a hill. Everyone always forgets but it can pack a punch. There are a lot of people around cheering and I just wanted to soak it in and slow down. Coach and I had a plan and it involved running 8 min pace down Ali’i. I was trying so hard to slow down, consciously slowing down, but it still didn’t happen.

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Mile 1-3: 7:38, 7:48, 7:45

Right at mile 1 Mikki and Mo, my two athletes were there and they went BALLISTIC cheering like crazy. I gave them a big smile and a “simmer down” gesture. I noticed they had laid out a pair of run shorts all nicely for me just in case. Thankfully, my tummy was a happy camper. There are so many spectators to be conscious of in those first several miles, and then add in the multitude of runners, it’s more of a logistical situation until everyone simmers down.

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As I progressed down Ali’i I got passed by some girls and I passed some girls. I didn’t worry about it at all. I just let them do their race and I did mine. One girl was kinda going back and forth with me. She was looking great but I had to put her out of my mind and just do my thing.

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Miles 4,5: 7:49, 7:50

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I hit the turn on Ali’i feeling really in control. Coach and Jim we riding their bikes around the course so I was seeing a lot of them. Mostly I watched them ride way up ahead chatting each others ears off with barely a glance back. This made me laugh inside, business as normal.

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On the way back from the turn on Ali’i I was hot and going through the liquid in my Fuel Belt pretty quickly. It was gone by mile 8 or so, so I tossed it to Jim at an aid station. I felt the most in control during these miles and just tried to stay in my happy land.

I passed my family in here, mom told me I was 5th off the bike. Same as last year I thought, but in a much better place mentally. I knew I had been passed by a few ladies in my AG thus far, but it’s a long day.

I heard Troy cheering but something sounded weird. Usually he’s right there on the line and as I pass I look over and see Annie totally passed out in his arms. Poor muchkin had been having so much fun in the days leading up, that she took a several hour nap on that wall on race day. Ann napped as well, apparently in a beach chair, with many people taking her photo. Hilarious.

Miles 6-10: 7:58, 7:48, 8:06, 7:59, 8:08

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I had talked to my parents and Troy before hand, and one thing I didn’t want was to see them on Palani. Last year Palani was where I lost my marbles and this year I just wanted to run up that hill like it was any other hill on the course. No drama, just run up Palani, keep in control and move on.

So when I got there I did just that. nice and steady, head down, chug chug chug. I tried to keep my form strong, and just get it done.

Mile 11: 8:43palani

(Meanwhile…back on Ali’i)

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Onto the Queen K…

Now the race begins. All the people are gone, although Jim and Coach were still on bikes out there, but the crowds are gone. It’s now you, your body, and some jet black asphalt hills. These miles were hard for me. I was struggling with the ups and downs. I felt like those hills went on forever.

Miles 12-14: 8:03, 7:48, 8:11

Then I hear coach next to me say “you’re on your own now kid” and my first thought was “WTF does that mean?” Then I see the sign saying “no spectators beyond this point.” That was new this year, they actually stopped any and all spectators from like an 8 mile section of the course, even those who had ridden their bikes out there. Totally new this year.

There was a downhill mile and then a painful uphill mile before turning into the Energy lab.

Miles 15,16: 7:55, 8:20

Ahhh, the energy lab. How do we love thee? The run down this year was hard! There was a headwind and I was starting to really feel like a slug with a flat tire. Going down into the NEL was the first time I had this wonderful deep pain in my left quad. I felt like it was trying to break my femur, but I know better than to be swayed by this sort of thing. Just the brain saying “Please stop!”

No thanks, not today!

Mile 17: 7:52 down into the NEL

Down in NEL hell Mile 18: 7:54

I counted girls coming back out of the NEL. I wanted to know what place I was in. I was seeing a lot of 35-39 year old women. That AG was the fiercest it’s ever been this year (right as I’m about to age up…of course…love it!).

I counted, and suffered, counted, and suffered. I was hurting bad, but I was moving forward and really trying to keep the pressure on. The out and back seems to go forever. I counted that I was in 6th place in my AG. 6th, top 5 make the podium and get the fancy bowl. But the hard thing was I took a time split and I was 6 minutes back of 5th. 6 minutes to the podium with 8 miles to go. All the girls ahead looked strong.

Miles 19,20: 8:40, 8:46 back out of the NEL

Climbing out of the NEL takes a bite. I was hailed pretty hard from that climb and just trying to will anything I had left out of me. I was thinking about the 6 minutes and my brain was telling me that it’s never over until it’s over. I had a talk with myself and I decided that if I gave everything I had and never let up for a single second, that maybe, just maybe, something up ahead would happen and I would be presented with the opportunity to race for a bowl.

Miles 21-23: 8:17, 8:05, 8:11

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I was giving everything I had, trying to keep my form in tact. I came back by the “no spectators beyond this point” sign and Coach and Jim were there waiting for me. I was so glad to see them but I was probably in more pain than I have even been in during a race. Everything hurt and it was taking 100% focus to keep the paltry 8:30 pace that I put down those miles. I was falling apart and my mind wanted nothing more than to give more effort to the situation.

Those two miles hurt 24,25: 8:24, 8:28

Once you get to the top of Palani it’s all good from there on in. I ran as hard as I could that entire mile down. I couldn’t wait to get to Ali’i and to see the crowds and the Banyon trees.

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Mile 26: 7:20 Last 0.29: 2:18

That finish line never disappoints and this year was the same. I saw that the clock said 9:54 and I was so happy to get a sub 10 race on this course. No bowl, but sub 10 is awesome. I fought for every inch out there and I took risks. I’m proud of that. I’m starting to understand just how addicting that finish line has become for me. I have high expectations for myself, but that finish line is the one place in the world that I feel successful despite what happened during the last 140.5 miles.

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Big jump at the finish line! Total joy and so happy to have a good jump AND a good finish time on the clock to match.

By the way, a lot of people ask me how I have the energy to jump like that at the end of an Ironman. Well, my friends, the secret is revealed. It’s an optical illusion. If you jump…not very high…but lift your legs up really high…it looks like  you are catching serious air. Try it at your next finish line, you won’t be disappointed!

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The thanks belong first and foremost to my family. My parents Eric and Helen, my husband Troy, and daughter Annie. Thank you for all the sacrifices you  made this year so that I had a chance at redemption. Huge thanks also to Ann for being with us during this journey and part of our family as well as Mikki and Mo for traveling out to see me race. It takes a village!

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Next order of thanks goes out to Muddy. I’ve written about him a few posts ago but he is to thank for what has been a comeback from last year. I asked him for a wing to be under and he’s provided that and more. Also a huge thanks to Jim. He’s like my coach#2 in many ways, just an uber supporter and big brother to me, and I thank Muddy for bringing us together. Also, the Muddy Love guys and gals, you know who you are. Operation Banana baby!

My sponsors have been great this year. Quintana Roo and Mac continue to support me in so many different ways. Amrita gave me so many bars this year I never had to wonder what to eat on the bike, thank you Arshad. Kompetitive Edge has stuck by me for 3 years despite up and down results, and lots of change within the shop. Punk Rock Racing has helped in so many ways as well, Ron keeps me laughing every day. His inspirational texts the week before the race kept me focused on the prize. A huge shout out to Osmo Nutrtion. I bugged them so much they agreed to sponsor me for next year. I can thank Stacy for a successful nutritional day. (The top three American women in my AG: Katie, Me, and Hailey all fuel with Osmo….coincidence….?)

(This was race day after I finished and changed clothes, SUPER HIGH, and Annie looks rested)

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Many thanks to all of you out there. I think about you when I cross a timing mat, and when I write up these reports. I hope that a glimpse through my eyes might give you a little more motivation to take one more step in the direction of leading a healthy happy life.

Swim: 1:07:12, Bike: 5:09:05, Run:3:32:42  Total:9:54:42, 6th AG, 16th Amateur, 39th woman.

Kopi Lani, ran into a legend or two…

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Midnight finish never disappoints

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Vegas Baby!

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Oh Yea Baby! We’re in Vegas! Michelle and I flew here this morning to prepare for racing the 70.3 World Championships this weekend. Woo Hoo! World Champs!

It was awesome to see the swim course from the airplane. What wasn’t so awesome was to go to the actual race site and take a look at the water. The quality is really really bad. I planned on attending the practice swim tomorrow, but after seeing it, I think the 30 or so minutes I will spend in it on race day is more than enough. Ewww!

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Transition is LONG! Lots of running and it took a long time to find the mount line. Love the M-dot in duct tape. I thought that was impressive. The weather was quite hot.

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We drove the course with coach after checking out T1 and I was happy to see that I have actually been on the course. The first 70.3 distance race that I ever did was on this course, and I won that race (I think there were 30 women). So I feel really good feelings on this bike course, it’s got goo juju for me.

Nothing says Vegas like a pair of badass panties.

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After our course recon (it was 109 on the bike course when we were driving it) we went out on the town with Mom and Dad. I forgot how fun Vegas is, and we had a lot this evening.

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Tonight was fun, and tomorrow is business. It’s always great to be traveling with PIC and with my parents too. It’s easy to cut loose with them and to forget about the task at hand. Tomorrow we have the whole check your bags routine and then Sunday is race day. Whoop!

Experimentation – How do you actually do it?

I recently wrote an article for Amrita on fueling for the long haul (you should go read it, I worked kinda hard on it. Also, maybe pick up some bars…plant based, all good stuff in them). When asked to write an article on fueling it’s tough not to write a novel. Since starting this sport in 2007 as a way to keep healthy and keep my weight under control, I feel like I deserve a BA in triathlon. I’ve learned so much and I’ve experimented so much. I’ve sought out experts advice and I’ve still failed, even while following it. The truth is YOU possess the tools to figure out YOU. It’s on you to know yourself because when your race goes south, blaming an article on gatoraid.com for your nutrition mistakes isn’t going to net you much.

I put the following quote in the article and this little nugget has really stuck with me!

“Learning isn’t acquiring knowledge so much as it is trimming information that has already been acquired.”

–Criss Jami

In todays day and age, the acquiring knowledge portion of experimentation is easy. Spend a night performing various Google searches and reading articles and you will have more than enough nutrition guidelines to get going. Keep scouring the net, and you are going to get information overload really soon.

So, then comes the question. You’ve got some information, you’ve got some nutrition products sitting on your counter…now what?!

Here’s how to do the “trimming information” portion of experimenting, the finding out what doesn’t work part:

1. Pick 2 training sessions every week for 6 weeks that focus on nutrition testing. These sessions are not the ones where you stop and eat a Snickers at the quickie mart (because you can’t carry Snickers on race day because they melt…I’ve tried). One of these should be your long ride, and hopefully you have a run off the bike here. You will know how your nutrition is going to work for sure with 60 minutes running off the bike, so make sure you have two of those in the 6 week testing period.

Your second session should have race pace intensity in it. Now, remember, sometimes the experimentation phase isn’t the ideal training you should be doing, but if you don’t nail down your nutrition, who cares how well you were trained. You gotta dot all your “i”s and cross all your “t”s.

So now you have 12 workouts, 6 long bikes with increasing runs off them, and 6 sessions with race intensity.

2.) Write it down. You’ve got some “acquired knowledge” right? You did some google searches and you got a general idea of what might work. You know that you can’t have 30 calories an hour and that you can’t have 700. You think maybe you should have 200, maybe 300, maybe 100. Pick what you think might work and write down your plan on paper. Decide what you are going to eat and drink each and every hour. Set out a plan of attack.

One caveat here: don’t make it complicated. I had one athlete that was using like 6 different products on her training efforts. It was a little of this and a little of that. She was mixing different brands of products and it was just a huge mess. Keep it simple. Have a product in your bottles, have an edible product or two in your pockets. Have one salt/electrolyte product if you feel you need that. That’s it. As a personal example: Osmo in my bottles, Amrita bar and honey stinger chomps in my pockets. That’s it. The experimentation is all about concentration of my bottles, and when I eat what. It could just as easily be First Endurance in my bottles, and picky bars and GU gels in my pocket. Or Perform in my bottles, and Power Bar blasts and gels in my pocket. I’m not saying this to endorse other products, but more to make a point that you just need to pick something.

3.) Go train. And guess what, follow your plan until disaster happens. In other words don’t go rogue. Don’t have the Snickers Bar at the quickie mart…don’t do it. But do write in your log afterwards that you were craving a Snickers Bar at the quickie mart, because that’s important information. Stick to what you are testing and if you said you are going to drink 27oz per hour, then drink 27 oz per hour. Do this plan for both nutrition testing sessions of the week because nutrition is likely to go south in one of two instances: when you go long OR when you go fast (or both…ouch!).

4.) Assess and analyze on paper along the way. Write everything down. If you had GI distress or you puked, you either put down too many calories, or your calories were too concentrated in your fluid. So change your plan to take less or dilute them more. If your watts or pace trailed off into oblivion along the way or your run off the bike lacked any energy and you were weak-sauce, then you probably need more calories, or more fluid, or more electrolytes, or more of all three. OR, you were going too hard and you need to slow down.

Decide which of these things went wrong and adjust your plan. Write down the new plan and you are ready for next week.

The overall point here is: pick something and work it until it works. If after 6 weeks if you still aren’t there, pick a different brand and start over or adjust…change the Picky bars to Amrita bars, or change the Amrita pars to Power Bars. Adjust, but use YOUR experiences, not others and give your initial products a decent chance at working.

5.) After 6 weeks of this process, I promise you that you will be 90% there, or you will be 100% sure what doesn’t work. And guess what, you won’t have to wait until race day to find that out! If you did not go rogue, if you really stuck to doing the plan and then assessing afterwards, 6 weeks later you will have made serious progress.

So, why aren’t people really doing this? I will tell you this. The good ones are. The good ones are doing a little reading, a little research, they are keeping their thumb on the pulse of the nutrition industry, but for ever hour they spend researching, they are doing 20 hours of personal research. Once you have a working plan that only needs minor fine tuning, it’s very easy to ignore the mass of articles and dribble out there that constantly is being spewed forth (like this one…CRAP…abort abort…stop reading…go riding).

I think in this sport, a lot of people just want to go out there and train. They just want to shut off the brain, and use the training for fun and stress relief, to feed their ego. A lot of people are out there hammering away the personal issues they are having in life. And for those types, often times, race day is where they have to face the true consequences of those decisions. It’s reactive training, not proactive training. I think it was Brett Sutton that tweeted, “we only train to be faster on race day” (but probably with more typos). Think about that one.

The people at the top…they are proactively training. They are experimenting often because they are in the sport to learn more about their limits, or more about how limitless their limits really are. That type of training means constant, calculated, and reflective experimentation. It’s getting out of your head, away from your issues, and onto the task at hand.