Troy’s Lucky Day!

Today was a huge day for Troy! Being that I am the competitive/exercise/outdoor junkie he always gets the shaft when it comes to new gear. He’s the last to get new ski boots, the last to get new outdoor clothes, and he always wears shoes until his toes are sticking out before he replaces them. It doesn’t help that he hates spending money on himself, and that I am sorta the opposite :). He’s such a martyr!

Not today!

Tax Refund Baby!

Troy has wanted a custom jacket and pants from Beyond ever since they sponsored me. I am sort-of your average everyday sized girl, and Troy is odd in every way. At 6 foot 4 he has a standard sized torso, and extremely long legs. He’s skinny skinny. He wears medium shirts, but needs them extra long in length. Do they make those? No sir.

Beyond is the perfect company for Troy. Besides the fact that their garments have the best construction I have ever seen in outdoor gear, it’s custom. completely custom. At non-custom prices. Sweeeeet.

So today we measured Troy, all 20 measurements they wanted.
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And then we designed and built this:
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and this:
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The khaki color of the pants (not to be confused with kahiki…inside joke) will match the stripe on the sides of the jacket. He’s got custom pockets where he wants them. He added a waterproof zipper to the coat, and ski boot gaiters to the pants. This set up can take Troy from the slopes of Vail, to the ice falls in Ourey, to the peaks of Peru. It’s a versatile set up that he will get years and years (and knowing Troy…a few more years) out of it.

Congratulations baby on a year of hard work at Cigna, a year of shlepping around Annie gear to a million races, to becoming a much better skier, runner, and cyclist; for being a kind, humble, helpful guy, and for putting up with all my crap. I love you!

Sonja’s Christmas Picks

It’s December 2nd, the year has flown by, and Christmas is upon us. Wondering what to get the rock star athlete in your family? Here are my top picks for this holiday season…with a few perks along the way.

yhst-40534594257474_2031_81234.gifCore Concepts Clothing: Cadence Hoodie, Midtown, Carve, you name it and I love it. If fashion+function is a must have, these clothes hit the mark. AND, if some of your friends, or family members are a little TOO outdoorsy and a little LESS fashionista, then this is the perfect “hint hint”. Friends of my blog receive 20% off!!! Use coupon code at the online store: FF20OFF (that’s “20” as in the number, and “OFF” as in how much your saving)

beyond.jpgBeyond Technical Shells: Not everyone fits in normal sizes, especially lean and long (and hot) climber dudes (uhhh, and dudettes??). If you have an odd sized duck in your family, or need superb 100% guaranteed perfect fit, travel over to Beyond Clothing and design something for that odd duck…or duckette.

sigg.jpgSIGG Bottles: Now-a-days you gotta be using reusable water bottles and SIGG’s are the way to go. Especially for those kiddo hikers in your family, SIGG makes great children’s sippies. Right now they have free shipping on orders over $30, and they make the perfect stocking stuffer.

moons.jpgLuna Moons: These are really what every kick butt outdoor diva wants to train with. But, sometimes we just can’t rationalize blowing through 6 bags of them in a workout. So what do we do? We settle. We settle for other products, wishing all along that we had moons in our pocket. If you have a dirt diva on your shopping list, grab some moons for her stocking. She will smile, and you will see a little glint in her eye as she envisions her next trail run. Beware: do not stick Luna moons in your favorite dudes stocking unless you are the practical joking type, or your trying to hit on his girlfriend.

bpep.jpgZingermans Fantastic Bread: Mmmm. Bread! I was given a loaf of this YEARS ago as a Christmas gift and to this day it’s the most memorable gift I have ever received. They will actually ship a loaf of the most awesome bread to anywhere you need it to go. The Parmesan Pepper Bread is my favorite! Can anyone say “Carb-loading”?

Tufo Tubular Clincher Tires: They fit your normal clincher rims, you can stop dealing with the whole tire tube thing, and they are so stinkin’ resilient. I rode twenty miles on a MTB fire road on my road bike in these things. Say goodbye to flats, and build some muscle while you stretch these onto your rim for the first time. These tires are Ggrrreat!

pink.jpgZensah Pink Compression Legs: The recovery benefits of compression attire are proven. BUT, has it ever been this cute? These pink compression socks will make the endurance athlete that you snuggle up at night squeal with delight. Because seriously folks, the white medical ones you get from Rite Aid, well, they just don’t cut it.

left_bottles.jpgMix1 Drinks: These have saved my life. Okay, maybe I am stretching things a little bit, but (true statement) they have saved my workout. Some of those saved workouts have been quite extreme. 41 miles running on the Colorado Trail, 34 miles running in the Moab desert, 32 miles running on an Ultra Relay Team, these are “stay strong or suffer severely” events. I am a firm believer of incorporating protein into endurance events and Mix1’s are palatable and shelf stable. Besides, a case of them comes in a box and is easy to wrap.

Take care of your loved ones this season. Remember, when you have the right tools to train, you can chase your dreams. Give someone a gift this season that will encourage them to get outside. Cool Breeze, Fresh Air, that’s a happy life!

Cold Play Soft Shell Pant

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Once again I am a lucky lucky lady. I received a pair of the Cold Play Soft Shell Pant from Beyond Clothing this week. They are custom, as is everything that Beyond makes and they fit puuuurfect. It’s just wild because when you put them on you know they are made just for you. I can’t really describe the feeling of perfect fit, it’s WILD. The problem is, I’m spoiled now. I keep thinking…Beyond should make swim suits, Beyond should make bras…etc. I don’t think they are quite game for that, but once you go custom, it’s pretty tough to go back!

After wearing these pants up in the mountains this weekend I got thinking about climbing 14ers again. These pants would be very well suited to climbing 14ers, backpacking, hiking in Colorado with it’s crazy weather. They are surprisingly light for their obvious durability. I can’t wait to put these pants to the test! Dad and I are already knocking our heads together on how we can get up some 14ers together soon. You can bet I’ll be wearing these pants!

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Snowshoe Shuffle Results

The snowshoe Shuffle today went great. I think it was one of the best races I have had this season. The weather was quite wintery! Most of the course had 8-12 inches fresh powder from the night before. It was snowing cats and dogs, and I’m pretty sure it stayed well below 10 degrees. I love adversity.

I got a great warm up in, mostly just to keep warm in the snow. I lined up for the Dash for Cash as usual, and had a great dash! I got a good start, sprinted as hard as I knew how, and won the $100! Woo Hoo, 2 out of 4…not too bad of a record. Here is a photo near the race finish.

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As usual after a D4$ win, you really feel the nervous energy fade away for the start of the race. I was relaxed and ready to have a fun race. I lined up on the start line and after a countdown we were off. Very soon into the race the 10Kers were in the powder. One lady post-holed with her snowshoes up to her upper thigh! Eek! She got totally stuck, and it wasn’t until several miles later that she passed me, what a bummer for her. I had a little lazy section around mile 2, but after reminding myself that this was the last BC race, I picked up my chin and kept chipping along. Even though it was really snowy it was beautiful to be out there, mostly alone, enjoying the race and the peace. I loved it. Around mile 3 I was amazed that I was only half way done, it felt like I had been out there for eons and covered so much terrain. At mile 4 I woke up and really started pushing, knowing that I had enough in me to finish strong. From here I continued to ramp up my effort all the way through the finish, and as I came down the last downhill, I was in full stride, running as hard as I could, and making all sorts of wonderful noises. I think the 5Kers that I passed (who were walking) thought I was a total weird-o as I came by grunting, and spitting. Dad and Amy were cheering their heads off for me and boy did I appreciate it! Not one of my prettyist moments, but definitely an intense one. Here’s a shot dad took of me coming into the finish.

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the post race was all about warming up…I highly recommend bringing a thermos of warm fluid to snowshoe races, total saving grace! Troy and Annie had already headed back to the condo b/c it was so cold. Dad, Amy, Amy’s mom and dad, and I hung out at the post race raffle. I got to collect my $100 for my win. Here is a shot of me on the podium with the mens D4$ winner.

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And here is a shot of me acting very giddy b/c I just won money!

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Lastly here is a shot of Amy and I. Allthough we missed all of our friends that usually do the races with us, it was great to spend time together, doing one of the sports we both love. Good Company! She has come so amazingly far this year. She’s such a RACER now, and I love watching her continue to outperform herself.

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My time was somewhere between 1 hour 5 min and 1 hour 10 minutes, and dad told me I was fifth, but the results aren’t out yet. I’ll update the post once things are out.

On the Eve of the Snowshoe Shuffle

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Tomorrow is the final installment of the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series. I’m sitting here in a condo in Avon (thank you Roger), just reminiscing a bit about all the fun Beaver Creek races I have done this year. Last year I was always attending these crazy races alone, but this year they have been packed full with friends and family. I have seen so many people grow and change from scared newbies to experienced racers. You all know who you are…congratulations! Most the people that show up to the races have helped me in some way shape or form, as have every one of you who are reading this. I am constantly amazed by all the support I get, and what awesome feats your support allows me to accomplish.

Next weekend I get to travel to Ogden to race in the National Championships, and I sit here tonight, thinking about how both tomorrows race, and next weekends race are the icing on top of the cake (or the whipped cream on top of the Butterscotch Malt I had at lunch…mmmm). The training is all there, nothing different is going to happen on that front in the next week. My support system is behind me, and you guys aren’t going anywhere, right? It’s time to look up, enjoy the view, take it all in. Because if I didn’t I would be letting you down. So here’s to the start of an AWESOME FUN BODACIOUS next week, and my final two snowshoe races.

PS Do you like today’s photo? My dad took it this afternoon. It’s the bomb huh? We went out this afternoon and took a ton of super great photos. When I say “we” I mean he did all the work, I just ran around pretending to be a model. I plan to roll them out slowly, because they rock. Can you tell my dad loves me? I love him too!

PPS Okay, Okay, just one more…but then you are cut off…

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Good Girls Get Rewarded

Beth sent me this picture that she took of me at the Beaver Creek Snowshoe race two weekends ago. It just makes me laugh. I look like such a goof, but it totally reminds me of how much fun I have when I am around my teamates. They bring out the best in me. Thanks so much Beth for taking the time to snap this shot…you rule!

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The last two days have been DIVINE here in Denver. I feel like somebody “up there” is saying:

“Good Job Sonja, You’ve been working so hard in miserable weather these last months that we are going to give you a two day reward”.

What was my reward? Well Tuesday I had a 6 mile run to do and I was gifted with nice enough weather to do it in SHORTS and a SPORTS BRA. Yea, that’s it. I bet you wish you had been there…it was sweeeet. I didn’t even remember what my belly button looked like…until yesterday when we were reacquainted! Warm sun on my face, great views at Cherry Creek State Park, I was eating it up. Before I left on my run I started my GPS and stuck it in my sports bra (broke the strap…remember?) and at the end when I looked at it, I was a bit shocked/giddy to see 7:30-7:45 pace for an easy mellow training run. I guess wearing 15 layers does slow you down a wee-bit.

THEN, as if that wasn’t enough, today I had the pleasure of riding for 5.5 hours with Steve. We did the Highgrade/Shaddow Mountain/Little Cub loop in FEBRUARY, and get this, the weather was more than cooperative and there we only a few very small patches of snow on the entire 60-70ish mile loop. Several times on the ride today we would just look at each other with big giddy grins on our face, still in shock that we were up on Shadow Mountain…ON OUR BIKES…IN THE SUN. Now that is HAPPY. My dad watched Annie in the morning, Troy watched her during lunch, and then dad come back and watched her in the afternoon. I am getting so spoiled having all this support around. It was a really sweet gift they gave me today…allowing me to ride this wonderful ride, while the weather was supreme. Ahhh.

I feel rejuvenated. I wasn’t feeling particularly down or anything, but just this touch of spring has been such a reward for my training.

PS: A garden update: plants are still alive, but I had a minor bug issue. They were eating basil and sage leaves. I sprayed the plants with mild soapy water per my dads advice. Bugs gone…I think.

Daddy/Daughter Day – Talons Challenge

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On Saturday my dad drove down from Aspen so that he and I could participate in the Talons Challenge together at Beaver Creek Ski Resort. It was a sort of daddy-daughter date and we had such a blast.

The Talons Challenge is held once a year at Beaver Creek and it’s a free event where you attempt to ski the 13 hardest black diamond and double black diamond bumped out runs at Beaver Creek Resort. These runs are super challening, expert only, bumpy LOVENESS! AKA – SUPER FUN! If you complete all the runs then you get entered into a raffle for sweet prizes and a chance to win a week long ski trip to Austria. Plus, finishing gets you a brat, a beer, a finishing pin, and and a hat!

Since dad has been a ski bum the last month he has gotten wicked good at all sorts of terrain. My bump skills have gotten much better recently. Dad has been helping me learn to properly weight my uphill foot. I am skiing nice and controlled over them now. 13 runs gives you some serious practice time! I was also really excited to try out my new Beyond jacket skiing. It’s the BOMB. I had the pit zips open most the day, and my map, Talons pass, cell, and chap stick were always accessible via my chest and arm pockets. Dad said I was really noticeable due to the lilac color. It’s just so nice to have something that fits perfect, especially skiing, when you already feel like a stuffed monkey.
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We started off the day trying to hit the hardest double blacks while the snow was still good. The resort had 4 new inches from the night before. That was on top of an awesome powder base. You really can’t beat the snow in Colorado right now…it’s the best we’ve seen in years! Dad and I worked our way through the runs, one run at a time, one bump at a time. We snacked on the lift ride, and chatted with tons of fun people. The challenge really brought out some awesome folks! I couldn’t believe how many little kids were out there kicking major butt on the bumps! We rode up with one little boy that this was his 3rd year doing it, and he was 10!
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By the last few runs dad and I were ready to be done done done. The legs were shot! We finished strong, got our raffle tickets, and went to cash in on the free food. Not 1 minute after I sat down to eat my brat did I hear them call my raffle number! I won a Talons Challenge sweatshirt. I was pretty happy about that one! We stayed and basked in the sun until the end of the raffle where we did not win the trip to Austria (shocking). Strapping on our skiis to ski back to the village was delightful (ouch) and we just missed the strawberry lift by 10 seconds, so we had to ride the bus back down to town and then walk back to the condo.

All in all it was such a great daddy/daughter day, we both just had a blast together. I feel so blessed that I have such an active father. I could tell that lots of people we met yesterday were jealous of dad and I’s relationship. It’s not everyday that you see dads and daughters together on the mountain, enjoying the time they spend together.
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Beaver Creek Snowshoe race #2

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Last Sunday was the second installment of the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series. Troy, Annie and I had been up in Vail since Friday, and both of us were able to ski on Saturday. It was one of the best powder skiing days I have ever had, but I thought I might pay for it the next day in the snowshoe race with tired quads. Luckily I woke up Sunday feeling quite peppy and ready to go.

We had lots of Practical Coaching folks out at the race which always makes things fun. My dad also came up from Aspen to watch the race and he took a ton of great pictures. It’s always easier to race with friends and family around. I am the type of person that likes to chat before a race, so this was ideal!

I’m not sure what happened in the Dash For Cash this month. I think they gave the money to someone who didn’t run the race, or someone who clearly didn’t win. I thought it was between Amy and I…but neither of us won it. Still, it’s a great little sprint to take the nerves away!

The course was tough. There was a lot of powder and the path wasn’t quite wide enough so my ankles and inner shins are one big bruised up mess. I went out hard and tried to keep a good pace, but eventually you just get tired and end up walking up the big hills. I was proud to say that I didn’t walk one step until mile 3. For snowshoe racing…that’s a feat!

I also got to race in my new Beyond Clothing Steal Action Shirt, and it is quite the bomb. Not one ounce of snow stuck to it and for being windproof and waterproof it was totally breathable. Loved it! I also got to stay warm before and afterwards in my new Cold Fusion X Jacket. Isn’t the lilac color awesome. I love it!

I was able to pass several people in the later half of the race which meant I was hurting less than most. I kicked it into the finish, however with an uphill finish, that’s not easy to do!

I got 7th place in the womens 10K field. That’s one better than last month. I cut the gap between me and the lady in front of me from 2 minutes to 1. So I think I am making progress. I can feel myself getting stronger and stronger, and I know that the hard work will pay off in Triathlon season with a strong base to build upon.

This race was a huge mental test. It tested your focus and your mental fortitude. I can tell I am getting better in this area. I am also improving on my pre-race mental focus. I am able to get on the line calm and relaxed, confident that I belong in the front, and ready to rock the house when the gun goes off. You learn a little something every race, and in this one I learned that I am getting to be quite the bad a** chick.

Many thanks to Beyond for my new coat and shirt.

Happy Trails!

BEYOND Clothing and Sonja

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I have some great news!

I have been selected for Beyond Clothing’s 2008 Technical and Tactical Clothing Sponsorship Campaign .

I feel honored that Beyond Clothing has decided to support me this year as I race in the snow and mud. I have so many adventures on tap for this coming year, and knowing that I get to stomp around the country wearing some of the best technical clothing on the market makes me absolutely giddy!

I just put in my first order for several technical pieces of clothing and you would be amazed at how many questions they ask you. Every piece of clothing that Beyond makes is totally custom! So I had to put in all my measurements, and they ask you wild questions like “How far down your zipper do you want the bottom of your jacket to go”. Crazy…in a totally awesome way.

We are planning on ordering Troy a jacket soooooon. Being 6 foot 4 inches tall makes it tough to find anything that fits. While I was ordering my clothes…Troy was drooling!

The first three pieces that I ordered are:

Cold Fusion X Jacket
Steel Action Shirt
Cold Play Shock Pant

I ordered the Cold Fusion X Jacket in Lilac, and I can’t wait to see it.

A big Thanks to Dan and everyone at Beyond for thinking I’m cool…I think you guys are way cool too!