Microadventure #1 – January

I stumbled upon a tweet from Chrissy Wellington the other day that lead me to the profile of Alastair Humphreys. He has this ongoing challenge or concept called #microadventure. Oh yes, I did just include the hashtag.

The concept is that you spend one night a month outside. That’s it. Outside. Preferably not in a tent. Yes, that means in most places it’s going to be a cold start, Brrrrr. And when talking about Colorado, probably muddy too. The goal is just to go looking for adventure close to home. To explore your local boundaries and remind yourself that adventure truly is around any bend.

I ran the concept by both Annie (who is 9) and Troy and of course, they were both totally in! Alastair puts together this calendar and as the year goes on, a bit of a community forms since people are spending the same night outside. I find it hilarious that Feb 14th is the designated night for February. Sorry Troy…


In January, and especially if it’s your first microadventure, he urges you to stick close to home, like, backyard close. Start small he says. And in time, start spreading your wings. He gives all sorts of suggestions for themes you can apply to your microadventure as you get more in the swing of it (river, hill, mountain, beach, wood, friends, alone, kids, by foot, by bike, work night, weekend, etc etc).

A few nights ago I started pulling out all of our sleeping bags and mats and seeing if we even had enough warmth to spend a night outside without a tent. Then I got all excited because the stuff was out all over the place, and I’m less of a planner and more of a doer, and I yelled at Annie, “wanna sleep outside tonight?” Of course she did, so she and I did a microadventure betatest.


Gear: we had our tent tarp on the bottom, I had 2 backpacking mats, Annie had a thick purple sleeping mat (like 4 inches thick, I think it’s a Japanese sleeping mat). Annie was in the 1978 (err… ’77? ’76?) North Face “red mummy bag” (antique) and I was in my zero degree bag inside a 1978 North Face mummy bag. Yes, I was double bagged. We both had our favorite blankets shoved down in there too, and pillows with cotton pillow cases. There was a very light misting rain that was coming down and we didn’t have anything to keep the bags from getting wet.

Annie and I laid there in our bags, chatting about the clouds, lack of stars, the wind, and the neighborhood sounds. Even though it was like 8pm, I found that my body responded very quickly to the darkness with sleepiness. I’m a night owl and usually really struggle to get to bed, but I think that maybe I am just very sensitive to house lights at night time.

This is how Troy and Lolli found us in the morning. Yes, we are actually in there, and yes, Annies feet migrated towards mine. Awwwww…


Lolli growled at us at first and then when she got close enough to smell us she got all excited and woke us up with lots of undesirable dog kisses. There was a thin layer of ice on the bags, but both Annie and I slept great and were warm all night. Except my pillow froze, so I had to pull my head inside my bag. Pillows seemed like a good idea, but not so much.


The test run was awesome, and I especially loved Annie waking up in the middle of the night to tell me the moon was up, the clouds were gone, and to ask if I thought the thing next to the moon was a planet or a star.

A couple nights later was the night Troy and I designated for our official January #microadventure, the one where the whole family would partake. In the theme of sticking close to home we headed to the state park next to our house and purchased a one night camping pass for a campground that included zero other campers.


Annie and I stuck to the same gear (which we had dried out over a few days) and Troy wanted just his sleeping bag and a pad, no second bag like me. For Lolli we put her in her sweater and I had an older GoLite 20 degree down bag that I draped over her. Lolli is a survivor, she curled up in a ball on Annies big purple sleeping pad right next to our heads and probably slept better than all of us combined. I was nervous she might wander in the night so I kept her on the leash, but she didn’t budge.


(My goPro is taking fuzzy pictures…I must sort it out…next ones will be better)

We used Troys phone to identify lots of stars. Orion was in full effect and Annie told me the moon rises at 12:30am. We identified constellations and Annie picked out her favorites. It was really weird not to have a tent. I thought the ducks were coyotes, silly me! I read some of my book until my hands froze, and before I knew it, we were all sound asleep. Soundish asleep.

I didn’t sleep quite as well as I did in the backyard. I woke up maybe 5-8 times through the night to readjust or find more comfort, I got a little cold in the middle of the night. The low was forecasted as 22F but I think where we bedded down it dipped a bit lower than that. Annie, in her words, slept “a little bad.” Of course Troy, ever so stoic “slept fine.”


We talked about the moonrise and where it would be at different times in the night and I found it comforting when I woke up to look for the mood to judge what time of night it was. I don’t wear a watch and didn’t bring my phone. With the first light all of us woke up together and laid in our bags, toasty warm. The dog meandered a bit. As is the usual, nobody wanted to get out of their bags. Finally, I dragged myself out to head to the bathroom and troy packed everything up for the 3 mile drive home where the hot cocoa lived.

There were a couple things I really enjoyed. It was definitely “getting away.” No computers, no dishes, and no fridge where I tend to snack all night. No staying up late, LOTS of oxygen, fresh crisp oxygen, that’s a highlight. Even though I woke up a fair amount, I slept so many more hours than usual. Troy and Annie had a long conversation at 4:30am but I don’t remember hearing any of it. It was just a really sweet time. Good for everybody.

The microadventure is definitely something I want to keep trying. Part of me was ready to go home, and part of me kept thinking about situations where I could spend many more nights in a row outdoors (PCT, ACT, Camino de Santiago). For now, I know each month will get a little warmer, until it doesn’t and as we go along with more experience and more fun places, I think new goals will emerge. Bivy sacs are probably in our future, but not for awhile unless we can find some used ones. We didn’t purchase anything for this adventure, and that was rather fun too.

If you want more information on #microadventure check out the following:

Alastair Humphreys – he’s the ringleader, he even wrote a book about it.

What to bring – good to read through a gear list. We survived 12 degree lows without a bivy sack, but if rain was in the forecast, a bivy sack would be needed.

Just a good article for inspiration – we all need a little bit of that sometimes.

An awesome read about a winter microadventure in Chamonix – sleeping in the snow, I want to add that to the to do list!

Happy Adventuring!!!

Wildflower 2011 Race Report

After being in the sport of triathlon a few years I’m starting to put together a “bucket list” of races. You know, the big hitters, the epic races around the world. Wildflower was definitely on that list and this season I really wanted to race there. I can now say that Wildflower lived up to it’s “Woodstock of Triathlon” reputation, and I have have the pictures to prove it (too bad they are full of public nudity and I can’t post them on my blog).

Megan and Michelle arrived late Wednesday night and we packed up Thursday and headed to Lake San Antonio. We were three women driving a huge van so needless to say we missed every exit we were supposed to take. Sometimes you are too busy singing, chatting, or smelling the flowers to remember where you are headed. It turned out to our advantage though because we got to preview 75% of the bike course that way. Big Nasty definitely lived up to it’s reputation. It was big, steep, and definitely nasty.

We got a super sweet camping spot that proved to be decently quiet, yet still in the thick of things. We headed out for a ride and a swim. All three of us were sporting new TYR Hurricane wetsuits and we couldn’t wait to test them in the open water. But first we had to get them on. 20 minutes later, Michelle was victorious, but Megan was still struggling.

Friday was where we really got a taste of how nice it is to camp. We woke up leisurely, made a great home made breakfast, got in a bike and a run and some expo shopping and then crawled into bed to relax and chill the rest of the evening. We were ready to go and excited to race.

Saturday morning my parents showed up at our campsite with Annie in tow and I found out that she woke up with a raging fever. I told Megan and Michelle to go on to transition without me since my little darling just wanted to lay in my arms. I was pretty worried about her because we didn’t have any medicine, all the roads where closed, and it was going to be a major pain for my mom to find her way to a store to get medicine. I asked dad to ask some of our fellow campers who had kids and he came back with some medicine. She laid in my arms and we talked. Annie’s biggest concern was that she would be too sick to give me high 5s on the run and daddy had asked her to give me high 5s for him. She kept saying “I’m cheering for daddy” meaning since dad couldn’t be there she was cheering in his place.

I finally tucked her into our bed in the van, covered her with every blanket I could find, watched her eyes nod shut and then booked it down to transition with about 15 minutes to spare, leaving my mom to watch her. She slept for the next 3 hours in the van and my mom and her made it out to cheer for me coming in on the bike and then she passed out for another 3 hours. Sick little girl.

As I booked down to transition I was so thankful that Wildflower is the kind of event that is “totally chill” but “totally well run”. I had plenty of time to set up and use the port-a-pottie and collect my nerves before my wave took off. In fact, they never really close transition, you are just expected to stay out of other peoples way if you are going to be in there. I liked that!

I lined up for the swim ready to go. I tried to put aside the mornings events and just clear my mind. The water looked inviting and my old high school boyfriend was doing the announcing so it was nice to have a friendly and familiar voice over the loudspeaker. He even said “Previous Morro Bay Pirate and Leland Charger Sonja Willis…I mean Wieck”. Those are the two high schools I went to, and that cracked me up a bit. Great job with the announcing Nick, you are well suited for it!

Before I knew it he was counting us off and the horn sounded and we were dashing into the water. I got out really well in this race, probably the best I’ve ever swam the beginning of a race. It was straight, and I don’t think anyone even touched me. I felt fast and rhythmic and I really really liked my new wetsuit. I can’t believe how free my arms feel in my TYR Hurricane compared to my old De Soto and how buoyant I felt in the water. I ran into 3 kayacks and 1 surfboard in a row which definitely wasn’t a highlight of the swim, those things hurt when you bump into them.

As we rounded the buoys to head back the chop became a major issue. Quite choppy but I just tried to swim as strong as I knew how. I had some navigational struggles in the chop and found myself bouncing from buoy to buoy more in a pinball fashion. Not exactly ideal, but my mantra for the day was “Do your best” and I was trying my hardest to just swim as well as I could.

I exited the water and I hadn’t worn a watch so I didn’t check my swim time. Later on Michelle would get downright parent like on my butt for standing up when I was still waist deep in the water after she saw the above photo. I had a quick transition and the Hurricane came off so quickly. Literally zero struggling there. I grabbed the bike and got out of there. There is a huge hill about 2 miles in and we had preridden it the day before (see picture below). I really tried to simmer up that hill. It’s a long long day and I wanted to settle into the effort before I started hard charging.

The Wildflower bike course is pretty awesome and pretty insane. There are parts that are pretty tame. For those parts we had an evil headwind. There are parts that are totally hilly, for those we had a wicked cross wind, and then there is Big Nasty. It doesn’t matter what the wind is doing on Big Nasty, slow slow slow is the name of the game. To do the course justice there is a 10 mile stretch or so where you have a downhill and a tailwind and you can get back some of the time that you lost on the other sections.

All in all, I really just did what I could do. I rode a steady race, doling out my energy in an even fashion, trying to save a bit for the run, but trying to keep my heart rate high and steady with minimal dips or hops. That means hauling ass on the downhills as hard as I could go, and tempering myself on the uphills minding to not blow the heart rate through the roof.

I was passed early on by two ladies in my age group, at the same time, ouch. They were hauling and it was early so I didn’t even try to go with them. Sometimes you have to ride your own race, sometimes riding your own race puts you out of the hunt. It was a decision I made, and I’m not exactly sure it was the right one, but I made it, and I’m learning from it. I was also passed by Susan Williams, which was an absolute pleasure. She rides with such ease and skill and I wanted to tell every person around us “She has an Olympic Medal”. It was very cool and I feel very lucky to be wearing the same Kompetitive Edge uniform as Susan.

I was pleased at the end of the ride to see Kendra from Kompetitive Edge pass me back and give me some kudos and encouragement. It reminded me that we need to train together because we are similarly matched across the board. Kendra?

Now I was ready to see what this insane run was all about. I took off in the beginning miles and quickly realized that the parts of the course that I thought would be flat like “along the waters edge” were very rolling with steep little kickers all the time. At mile 2 I took some EFS liquid Shot with PreRace in it. The caffeine gave me a definite boost and I found myself flying past pretty much every person I encountered.

Up the hills there were lots of walkers and at the hill in mile 4 I was the only person in sight not walking up the hill. I was slow, but I ran. I like to keep my cadence up and keep my momentum going and walking never does that for me, so even if it’s steep I try to keep to a run. I was passing people, I think a few were in my age group. I had no idea where I was in the age group, I knew 2 went by me on the bike so I just kept chanting “do your best, go go go, do your best, go go go”.

A lot of the course was on a dirt trail and that made for lots of extra fun. The steeps are steeper and the downhills are evil steep too. I ran down with reckless abandon, caring not for my quads or my face should I have taken a fall. As we wound around the campground I got a second wind. So many people paid me compliments and one lady said to me “You’ve never looked better” and I actually believed her. Ahh the power of a positive attitude.

I knew there was an evil hill at mile 10 and it was at the bottom of an out and back section. I counted here and saw that I was the 8th woman (without factoring in all the wave starts or age groups, or the PROs who started first) and I made the turn, finished off another dose of EFS and PreRace and tried my hardest to run fast up that stupid hill. I also noticed there was a lady pretty close behind me (yes, that is her in the below pictures, she was FAST).

The end of Wildflower is crazy. You are treated to 1 mile of some of the steepest downhill you will ever run on a road. It’s crazy. As I rounded the turn to start the last mile the girl behind me had caught me, and she was in my age group. It was the first time I had been passed the entire run by a guy or a girl. She was running so fast and we were going into the final evil downhill. I said to myself “no Sonja, no no no”. And I passed her back. She immediately passed me right back.

I ran a few steps, thinking, thinking. I realized there is no way to be more tactical, there is no way to outsmart this. If you want to come in ahead of her, you have to run like your life depends on it.

And I did. I ran down that hill faster than I have run since high school. I wasn’t just pushing the downhill, I was running all out downhill, panting and grunting like a wild bull (why do I always end up in this situation). I pulled away from her and I was so scared to look back, to show fear, but I was freaking scared for my life. I let myself look at my watch just once and it was 5:32 pace. Holy moly, I didn’t know I could run that fast.

I ran that hard the entire way to the finish, determined to not look back until I was safely in the finish chute, where I landed feeling totally woozy and amazed I held her off. I looked back and she was right there. Whew. She was totally NAILS!

I had the craziest thing happen afterwards and I think it might have been due to the fact that I took an entire serving of First Endurance PreRace over the 13 miles. I was really hungry. Usually after racing my appetite is low. Well, this time there was three huge bowls of fresh strawberries at the finish line and I just stood there and ate and ate and ate and ate. I ate strawberries one after another all the way until Michelle came into the chute. Probably 30 of them. Then I ate more food. I estimated that I ate 2000 calories within 30 minutes of finishing. It was a really good thing though because I ate minimally the rest of the day.

After Michelle and Megan finished we collected our stuff and collected our results. I came in 4th in the age group which I was pleased with. It was a good test of my early season fitness and I think Chuckie and I know where I need to go from here. I had an absolute blast at Wildflower and I will be back for sure! It was a total hoot.

Fantastic job to PIC Michelle who took 2nd in her Age Group behind Susan Williams. Congratulations as well to Tim Hola who took 2nd in his AG and 3rd amateur, and to Grant Bovee who won his AG and took 2nd amateur. Kompetitive Edge had 7 athletes race, 4 podium finishes, and 7 solid solid performances. Great job CREW!!

Me, Michelle, Kendra, and Grant from KE.

Trish, Michelle, Me and Kendra. It was so much fun to have all the Kompetitive Edge athletes out there. I felt like I was amongst friends all day.

The next day Megan, Michelle and I had a fun little adventure as everyone wanted to dip their toes in the ocean. Cambria and Morro Bay it was. Thanks girls for a great week.

Thank you so much to my awesome sponsors. A huge thank you goes out to Kompetitive Edge who put together our gorgeous TYR uniforms. The TYR Carbon line is by far the most comfortable tri kit I’ve ever raced in. Not one chaffed spot, not one sore area.

First Endurance came through for me yet again. This time the experimentation with PreRace during a race was a total success. I think I have the downhill at 5:30 pace to thank for that!

Also a HUMONGOUS thank you to my parents who let three silly girls borrow their very expensive Sportsmobile and who then drove to the race with a sick child to cheer and take pictures. My dad Eric took all the race shots and they rock!

Lost Coast Day 1 Quick Update

Whew! I’m alive! Check this out. This is the page with all my SPOT data. I put the SPOT on tracking mode today and it pinged every 10 minutes. It was super reliable and worked like a charm (Click on the photo below to go to my SPOT page where you can zoom in).

Wow, what a day I just went through. I lost my camera today somewhere along the way, but I didn’t loose my video camera so I do have all the video footage I took. Video coming sometime in the next few days hopefully. My dad took a few photos out on the beach so I included a few here. It’s all I’ve got for now!

I’ll just post a quick update here. A few days ago the forecast was for a clear day today, and rain tomorrow. Well, it rained all night, and 90% of today. I would say 20% of today was in the torrential downpour category.

I got going this morning on time and quickly realized today was going to entail some of the toughest weather conditions I’ve ever experienced. Most of the day was 30-60 mph winds. I picked the North to South route because I heard the wind would be to your back. Today was not that day, today the wind was in my face all day. There were several times that I could not physically take a step forward. There were times when the wind was pelting me with small grains of sand.

The real dangerous part of the day, and the reason that the plans I had for Day #2 are now thwarted is because of the rain combined with the spring runoff. There were about 5 sections today where a river was merging into the ocean. I think usually these are small affairs, but spring and all the rain made them dicey and unsafe today. About 5 times today I waded through thigh deep water, where one misstep would have taken me into the ocean (and not a nice ocean). Another 10 or so times today I crossed sections that were knee deep.

Tomorrows route would take me over similar rivers but instead of crossing them on a beach where they have a chance to spread out as they enter the ocean, I have to cross them in the nooks of narrow mountainous regions. The danger factor is high. Combine that with being remote, on my own, and trying to complete a point to point run, and I’m sad to say, the Day 2 that I planned is a bit too dangerous this time of year.

I am totally stoked with what I was able to do today. It was EPIC. It was 26 miles in 30+ mph rain and wind in a secluded remote area. It was EPIC! You guys will love the video. Today I felt like I was literally running through Jurassic Park (minus the Dinosaurs).

So what did I learn today? Well, I’ll try to get all of it in a more elaborate post later, but I will share my overriding thoughts at this moment.

One: I’m so glad I did this alone. I would have felt “responsible” if someone else was with me, and I would have felt bad. The conditions were such that it could have broken many a strong athlete. I ran into a few backpackers out there today and while I stopped and asked if they were ok and if they needed anything, I think each and every one of them was completely annoyed that this peppy girl ran up to them and then ran away from them. They were miserable, and cold, and wet, and pretty frustrated. The phrases they used to describe me when I told them where and when I started were pretty hilarious. Let’s just say I’ve heard the term BAMF a few too many times today.

Two: I really had all the excuses I needed to have a horrible day today. As I ran along I knew that this was a mess, it was brutal. But, I got out my headphones, I popped them in, and I continued to have a pretty great day. It was brutal, don’t get me wrong, but I really learned that when things get tough, and I’m all by myself, my default response is one of positivity, and “let’s do this”. I knew the conditions could turn dangerous for me if I got cold, or fell in a river. So I focused on what I could control and I minimized my risk where possible. I’m proud of how I handled myself today, and only I know how I did. It’s true that I am my own biggest critic, but my own biggest cheerleader too.

Three: I’m in good shape. Physically the effort today was demanding, but after a change of clothes and some good food I feel like a new girl. Dad and I went out to take a few running photos (the ones you’ve seen here) and I was barely stiff. Despite running through deep deep sand most of the day, I’m in a pretty good spot and I wouldn’t be worried about a day two if it was happening.

Four: I have a fantastic family. They have helped me so much and when I pulled into the beach at Shelter Cove, an hour ahead of schedule, I walked up to the bathroom in the parking lot and my dad came driving around the corner with a blanket and a mug of hot cocoa. My mom had Annie set up with a movie and she looked at me like “Oh, your back”. Clearly, she was having so much fun with my parents she hardly noticed I was missing all day. My parents had to put up with the rain and wind today as well, and they just smile, and are totally there for me. I am lucky!

I’m bummed I won’t have more photos (because I lost my camera) but the video turned out well, so I’ll get to work on that. Thanks to all of you who followed along. I hope that you guys have found my new blog, I don’t seem to be getting many comments recently so I don’t know if I just boring, or you all are lost!


2010 Epic Fun

What epic things am I going to endeavor in during the year 2010?

2010 is a big year. Ten years in the 2000’s. What better than to make it extra special by running, biking and swimming all over the place.

My 2010 schedule is set, and I’m sure that you want in on some of the action. The year will be divided between epic adventures, and kick butt racing.


~ Moab 100 miler, 3/27 – 3/28 (running)

~ Double Crossing of the Grand Canyon, Monday 4/19

~ Ride Across Colorado in 3 days, 470 miles, 7/16-7/18, taking the north route through Poudre Canyon/Steamboat.

~ Double Summit of Mt. Evans, bike up then run up, late August

~ Something in the summer in the Tahoe region. Not quite sure yet, but the Tahoe Rim Trail will be incorporated. Still scheming.

KICK BUTT RACING (the big races)

~ Rev3 Knoxville, 5/8, Olympic distance

~ Rev3 Middlebury CT, 6/5, 1/2 Iron distance

~ IM Coeur d’Alene, 6/27

~ A second Iron Distance Race, either the big island one, or this one.

~ USAT Age Group Nationals, 9/25

~ IM Arizona, 11/21

So, who’s in for some fun? Did my Grand Canyon video last year make you want to join me? My goal this year is to inspire others to do a little more than they thought was possible. To that aim, all my adventures will be well supported, well schwaged, and well planned. If you want to come along, contact me, ask questions, leave a comment, hunt me down…

Sport Science


Have you received any of these crazy Sport Science shirts in your race packet lately? You can tell because they have the little bright yellow tag on the sleeve. Last year our Phidipides shirts were Sport Science and I found myslelf working out in it a lot. At first glance it looked like your run of the mill cotton t-shirt. The first time I put it on I couldn’t believe how well it fit. They make women’s and mens shirts separately. The other track club members were pretty jazzed about it too.

A little about their philosophy:

In 2003, we launched sport science™ smarter performance™ for the fun-having, sport-playing, running, walking, hiking, commuting, climbing, training, traveling, going, doing active people of the world.

Our mission is to create products that do more so you can do more – clothing that can go anywhere and do anything, not just in regards to function, but to comfort and style as well. When true technical performance fuses with incredible comfort and versatility, smarter performance™ is the result.

Then I worked out in it and I knew something was different about it. The fabric that Sport Science uses feels soft and nice like cotton, but it wicks. Normal race shirts are either cotton, or tech. I never feel like I can wear my race t-shirts that are tech shirts around town because they are a little thin and breezy, and somewhat see through. I definitely can’t wear the cotton race tshirts to workout in. Not for any considerable workout at least. But these sport science shirts really bridge the gap. Practical Coaching used this company for their shirts this year…I bought three!



Cruising through their website it looks like they make all different cuts of shirts. I would love to try out a sleeveless and a long sleeve, I definitely see a tied dyed shirt in my future, and the wool line looks really enticing.

Oh, and this isn’t just a chick thing. Troy has a habit of wearing things he likes over and over again until they die (usually beyond when they die). Despite the fact that our 17 hour training day shirts are pink, he wears it every other day (when he’s not wearing the grey Practical Coaching shirt). I haven’t told him it’s pink (he’s color blind). He hasn’t worn them out yet, and he said that if it was his choice he would wear only this brand of t-shirts. Pretty strong feelings from my mellow-smellow hubby!

If you haven’t raced a race that has Sport Science shirts you’ve got to find one! You wont be disappointed. If you know of a race that is putting Sport Science in their packets, leave the name and link in a comment below. And if you are Sport Science and you are reading this, I really love your product!

Vineman 70.3

The hype for this race was pretty wild. Vineyards, wine, a beautiful location in California. This race was meant to be a treat. Troy flew in Friday night and mom and I had the van packed and ready to go camping. Saturday morning we hopped in the car and drove two hours up to Windsor for packet pickup. It was a scorcher of a day and the projections were that it was going to be even hotter for race day. I grabbed my packet and we spent the day checking out the swim, bike and run courses. The evening was filled with a great salmon dinner by dad, some marshmallow roasting, and a luxurious night of sleep in the van.


4am wake up call and we were off. We had scoped a good spot to park the van where my parents could skedaddle after the swim without getting into a traffic jam. The race area is extremely congested and difficult for friends and family to maneuver through. The two transitions are 15 miles apart and it’s all a little tricky.


I headed down to the water, racked my bike and got ready for the swim. The swim is in a river, you swim up river first, and then back down river to finish. It’s so shallow that you can stand up at almost any spot in the race.

Lining up I really didn’t feel nervous. I got a spot on the line off to the left. I liked my spot and it made for some good pictures for my dad.

That’s totally me sighting in this shot.

When we went around the turn buoys I stood up and dolphin dived and the water was at my knee/thigh level. I got a good start out of the gate and spent about half the race on some nice feet and then the second half by myself. I didn’t feel the nice rhythm that I was quite used to in the water, but I felt ok, and emerged ready to get going on the bike.


Transition was crazy. I was allowed to hand my wetsuit over the fence to my mom, so I did that, but it was a little weird. The transition was in a dirt lot and by the time I got off with my bike I was a muddy mess, and my bike was a dusty wreck.


I obeyed my 5 mile rule to chill and get my legs under me. We had a nice flat section, but then they took us into a curvy crazy section where all the volunteers were telling us to slow down and one volunteer yelled that there was a bad accident at mile 7.

We head up this big hill and just on the other side I see about 30 racers stopped in front of me. There are ambulances, and police. A lady is yelling that a tree fell onto the road and pinned two cyclists. They were halting the race because they had to see if the wire that was down was live or not, and they had to get the racers safely into the ambulance, and they had to remove the tree. I just unclipped, stayed calm and messed with my new Garmin that didn’t seem to be behaving how I envisioned. People in the crowd were going crazy, one lady was yelling “Can you release the names of the cyclist”? I slowly moved away from her. Sheesh, calm down. Cyclists piled up behind me and I couldn’t help but think about how this would effect my race. I’m a slower swimmer and I spend so much of my race trying to catch the fast swimmers. Anyone in my wave who was a faster swimmer would not have been stopped in the accident, so they were long gone.

Note: There were actually 3 racers involved. The tree was about 4 feet in diameter and came down between two cyclists. For the one in front it hit him in the back, entangled him and his bike in the tree and I believe he either broke, or nearly broke his back. He is still in the ICU. For the one behind the tree it ensnared him and his bike and he broke his collar bone. The next rider crashed as a result of the tree falling and ended up in the bushes and broke his collar bone.

After about 10 minutes they opened the road again and everyone took off, like a road race. People were riding 6 across, on a very narrow twisty road, they weren’t obeying the center line rule, and the road was still open to traffic. And…they are triathletes, with triathlete handling skills…need I say more. I have never felt more unsafe in my life in a race. It was total Danger Will Robinson! I waited for the congestion to dissipate but a mean little pack was forming.


I’m not going to do the whole tattle tale thing on this blog, but I will just say that the rest of the bike was a tad frustrating, and I had trouble enjoying the scenery. I will say that I will think twice about ever doing another race where the course is left open to drivers. If you can close down the roads in San Francisco for Escape from Alcatraz, then you should be able to close down the back roads in Sonoma county. I felt very unsafe and at one point watched a police officer wave a car out in front of me. It was just odd and not what I was at all expecting for a 70.3 with such a great reputation.


Into transition and off to the run. It was hot hot hot. I have heard reports from 95 to 106, and to me it felt like about 102-103ish. Ice down the sports bra, ice down the pants. Water with ice, Gatoraid with ice…just lots of ice. From mile 1 on I could tell that it wasn’t going to be a repeat Kansas performance. I was hitting around 8 min miles, and didn’t feel motivated to go much faster. I did enjoy myself through. The course was quite hilly, lots of little ups and downs. I liked the run, but was begging for cooler temps.


I love this one of Keith with the “No Dogs Allowed” sign

I came through the finish glad to be done, ready to sit in a tub of ice! It was great to see my dad’s coworkers Jonathan, and Jeff out there. They both knocked it outa the park! Also Keith was on course, but I didn’t see him. He was out there though. It was a bummer not to have all my practical coaching hommies racing with me, but I thought it was a good effort on a day that was riddled with challenges! I made a few friends, and had the wonderful support of my parents and Troy. Many thanks for all the well wishes and congratulatory notes.


Jonathan and Jeff, my tour guides and training partners for the week

Pook post race. She was such a trooper in the heat!

So..at one point during the race a guy rode by and said “nice bike”. I was like “thanks” cause, you know, I get that a lot. Then I looked at his bike and WE HAD THE SAME BIKE. Now if you ride a Cervelo I know this is nothing new for you, but it’s RARE RARE RARE to see another Isaac. So, after the race we took some pics together. Notice how I just cozied up to this guy, apparently if you own an Isaac I’m more apt to snuggle my sweaty body up to yours. Oh, sonja…img_0420.jpg

Swim + T1: 36:45
Bike: 2:49:07
T2: 2:24
Run: 1:45:31
Overall: 5:13:49
11th F30-34 (1st,2nd,and 3rd overall were in my AG, and all three of them were under 4:35, pretty tough competition)
46th female

The 17 Hour Training Day

In Ironman you get 17 hours to get it done. 17. Hours. Our crew named ourselves the 17 hour training day crew because we subscribe to extended distance training for Ironman, and all other distances that we compete in. The Fourth of July was the date set to complete a 17 hour day. We were all really excited.

There were several goals here. One was to keep on our feet for the entire time, stay swimming, biking and running. Another was to involve our friends, family, and training partners so that we could get a little help, and so that they could experience up close and personal a little of what we do. Lastly, we wanted to be A-OK throughout the day. No balls to the walls, just a training day, getting it done together, putting in the miles, learning lessons about nutrition and mental issues.

Troy and I arrived at the campsite the night before. I wanted to make sure the kayak and tent situation was taken care of. Troy is a phenomenal triathlete-sherpa, but I still have to make sure the loose ends are tied up so that I don’t stress during an event.

Our friends Laura, Wes and their toddler Abi showed up to the campsite around 6pm, great timing as the storm had just blown by. It was great to camp with them that evening, to chill, relax, chat, etc. That evening with two kiddos and tents we got “some” sleep. Abi had trouble going down and Annie woke up at 3:15 crying because her feet fell asleep. We just got up and walked around the campground for awhile.

At 4:45 Steve, Andrea, Anthony, and Michelle B rolled into the campground. They dropped some supplies and we hurried over to the gravel pond. We had obtained a special permit from Chatfield State Park to swim in the gravel pond from 5am to 7:30am. We were required to have a monitor on the beach preventing other swimmers from entering the pond, and we were required to have a rescue vessel. Laura was to be our kayaker for the morning.

This is by far my favorite photo of the whole day.

After some starting photos we hopped in the pond and started swimming. It was predawn and putting your head into the dark water to swim was a little wild. Not scary, just exciting. So dark and ominous.

Starting in the dark

Right away the boys took off and I wasn’t really in the mood to start swimming that hard just yet. The sunrise was in full effect and I wanted to enjoy it. My first lap was the slowest I have ever swam in the pond (a 45:30) because I was enjoying myself. Laura had my camera and took some pictures.

Silly boys

Happy swimming Sonja

Hot Air Balloon in the Background

After lap 1 I felt warmed up and in my groove. The sun was up and I relaxed into a comfortable pace. My second lap was almost 10 minutes faster and I was laughing about that one big time. The third lap was relaxing, it was strange to just have the four of us in the pond. A guy did try to jump in the pond at 6:30 and Laura caught him and kicked him back out. He was friendly about it. It was so nice to have the pond all to ourselves for 2.5 hours. At 7:30 on the dot, after about 3.5 laps for me we all got out of the pond and changed into our cycling stuff.

Our morning crew of Troy, Michelle B, Wes, Laura, Annie and Abi had shlepped all our gear to the pond and had our bikes set up, tires aired up, and our nutrition and clothes out and ready to go for the next leg. Putting cycling shorts on was a little challenging, but I got it done.


We rolled into the parking lot and waiting for us was Tyler, Max, Michelle F, and Sara. We planned the ride in two parts, the first being a 4 hour ride towards Golden. We headed out and it was nice to be on the bike. We were all on road bikes today and I almost forgot what it was like to ride my lovely White Bike.

We rode too slow. I think we were all focusing on being cautious because there was a big day ahead. At times it was a little painfully slow, but we were out there for time today so it’s not a big deal. It was nice to be on a social ride again. I haven’t seen any of those in a while so it was refreshing to chill. We made it to Golden and turned short of climbing lookout because we really wanted to be on time to pick up our next group of riders.

Our typical Tyler, oh how we do love him

At 11:30 on the dot we rolled into the campground and refueled our bottles. Amy D was mixing up Mix1 smoothies for everyone around, so totally awesome!! She mixed up a huge one for me and put it in my water bottle. It was awesome and had mango Mix1 with banana and berries. SO GOOD! Thank You Mix1 for sending Amy with plenty of Mix1 to keep us going.


We took off on leg two with lots of riders. We had Amy, Michael, Michelle B, Laura, Sara, Rob, and Gaye. We climbed up Deer Creek and I almost fell off my bike laughing when Steve told Amy and Laura to go catch a guy ahead of us. Watching them hammer was great entertainment. Of course when Amy caught him she then proceeded to tell him all about the 17 hour training day. He probably hates us now!! Steve, Anthony and I actually picked it up for the final push up Deer Creek, I think we all felt like we needed to push our legs just a tad, in a nice controlled way…if not, I’ll just blame it on Anthony…it was his fault.

I love catching Tony in shots like this, cause then I can embarrass him later

My boys, I’m going to have trouble sharing them next year with new 17 hour members!

We had a blast of a descent down Deer Creek and it resulted in our group breaking into two groups. Gaye, Michelle B and Rob stayed with Andrea and the rest of the group was with us. We headed out to Roxbourough and came back to the park via a dirt road that we love riding. A quick pit stop at the campsites for a refuel, one more hour of riding through the park and we headed into the campsites, completing the bike portion. It was 4pm.

6 hours of running lie ahead. Tyler made us Hamburgers and I actually ate one. I snacked on all the goodies that were brought by friends and changed into my run clothes. I remember feeling great, like “no problem, this is easy” great. I had been pretty quiet the whole day because I didn’t know how this week’s cold was going to effect me. I was happy to be going into the final 6 hours with lots of spunk and smiles.


The plan for the run was to run our 10.8 mile loop around the Chatfield resevoir. Our campsite was right on the path so we could stop after each lap and refuel. Troy even dropped a 5 gallon jug of water at the half way point around the loop. I love Troy!

So we headed into loop 1 run with Michelle F, Tyler, and Ross who was totally new to our group and got QUITE the initiation. Gaye also suited up and headed out with Andrea. I am so thankful Gaye came out to help us, and Andrea especially. Boy, poor Ross! We were giddy and usually when we are giddy every single comment turns dirty and raunchy to some extent. We were laughing our pants off, and Tony (I say Tony, not Anthony for a reason) has this strange knack for making me laugh so hard that I pee my pants. OK,OK, TMI, but please, I’ve had a baby, and not peeing while laughing really hard is tough post labor and delivery…I’m just saying. So, Tony was on fire, as was Steve and it was so tough to run between all the laughing…and peeing.


After about 5 miles we finally calmed down and got into some real running, of course it started to rain. The rain wasn’t so bad just light, but I was secretly hoping it would stop. The nice thing was that the temperature was staying cool and perfect. The last mile into the campground the boys picked it up a little, which made me roll my eyes…turn the boys to the barn and off they go. We pulled into our aid tent and everyone was there. There were kids everywhere, BBQing, people laughing, it looked like total mayham with cars, chairs, kids, food! Crazy. I inhaled 4 of Michelle F’s rice crispy treats that she made and I could have had 4 more but I did regulate myself. I also changed my shorts, all the peeing had created some bad chaffing so I applied a ton of BodyGlide and got into dry clothes.


Steve, Tony and I took off into lap #2 with Randi (Ross’s wife) and I felt bad because she missed all the funny talk. We got going into that lap and we were pretty quiet. Randi asked if we wanted a mental puzzle and I was like “No”. We were also sort of slipping into our “Happy Place” so we could crank out some miles. Randi was happy to oblige and just run quiet with us. About 5 miles into this lap we got more chatty and had some nice discussions. A mile from the tent Tyler came up on his mountain bike and escorted us into the campground. He was pretty happy and chatty, I think some beer was involved.

Pulling into the aid tent we found out that Andrea had to deal with a large blister but was fixed up by Laura and was back on the trail with Jane as a partner. I’m so thankful that Jane came out to help Andrea get through those final hours. We knew that it would be hard to head out on the last lap, but when push comes to shove, you just go through the motions, getting done what you need to. Laura headed out with us on this lap and I was shocked. She had been our kayaker at 5am, had riden with us, had watched kids and made Cherry cobbler and here she was on our last lap with us.

I noticed that the more laps I ran, the fuzzier my photos got…

She saw the worst of us that day. We were very quiet on that last lap, we were all within our own heads, getting the job done. We ran into a huge swarm of gnats that followed us (like a foot in front of our heads) for several miles. I thought Tony was going to go crazy, he was hating those gnats. I think he almost puked up a few at one point. I pulled my hat down over my eyes, put my head down, and tried to just run through them with minimal extra effort. We finally got onto the road and Wes pulled up to retrieve Laura. We would be on our own from here on out. I say “on our own” but that’s a joke. We had each other.

Having done so many amazing things with Anthony and Steve has made us very close. I don’t think there is anything we wouldn’t do for each other. Those boys have become some of my closest friends. Running together is easy and we get each other. When we are together it’s effortless. We pull each other through hard times, we don’t get on each others nerves, and we know when someone is suffering. We check in on each other and when all is well we can run miles without a single word. We feed off each others energy and strength. Food is passed around depending on what someone feels like. We really work as a unit.

My late night photo of Tony

and of Steve…can you tell I’m a little out of it?

On the dam the fireworks are going off all around us. We can see 6 different shows and tons of neighborhood pyrotechnic action going on. And, we don’t care. For the most part we have our heads down, keeping our pace, staying strong and steady. Towards the end of the dam we see a little light in the distance. Although we have lights in my bag we felt more comfortable running without lights. Our eyes were acclimated and we see better without them. Steve gives a whistle and low and behold its Tyler. We didn’t say much but we were all secretly ecstatic to see him. We made him turn off his light and he escorted us in the dark all the way back to the campground. The last mile was typical “I’m so ready to be done, just run and dont talk”. The park ranger pulled up next to us and was trying to talk to us and we all just kept running. Tyler stopped and dealt with him, but I can’t imagine what he was thinking about three dead to the world runners.

Coming into the finish at 10pm involved some quick words of love and hugs from the three of us. We pulled into the campsite and Troy, Annie, Michelle B, and Gaye were all still there. They took pictures of us, attended to us, and in the background Troy was packing up all the last stuff, still working. Andrea came in just a few minutes later with Jane and we took some more finishing shots.

All done, and happy…in the dark!

Troy had packed everything up, all I had to do was change clothes and hop in the car. Saint, pure saint.

So, 17 hours is a long time!! Running 30 some odd miles is tough after a long day of activity. I learned a lot about my nutrition, but I also continue to learn things about the mental aspect of endurance training and racing. If you don’t feel great, you can solve the problems. Don’t think about the miles, or the hours, just keep taking body assessments and moving forward. I really was super happy this entire day. Michelle took a photo of me going into the third lap on the run, so 15 hours into my day, and I want to share it with you because when I look at this photo it reminds me of how I felt the entire day.


I sat in the bathtub at 11:30 that night and I cried. I cried because I felt so humbled by the outpouring of generosity that I witnessed.

Laura and Wes were with us all day. From the kayak, to the bike, to the run. They worked their fannys off for us. Laura made Cherry cobbler for everyone in her dutch oven, and I ate a ton of it on the drive home. Wes watched the kids, and helped out in more ways than I even know.

Tyler Walton and his wife Anne were huge for us. Tyler acted as cruise director, and took care of the organization of making the day great. We gave him the framework and he ran with it. He BBQed, mountain biked, ran, biked, parented, and took care of our needs. A big thanks to Anne for her support too.

Amy D came and made us smoothies at the exact time when we all really needed them. And they were to die for. Thanks Amy!

Gaye came out to support us and really ended up supporting Andrea big time. Gaye pushed her own barriers and I’m thankful that she had coach Andrea to progress through that with. She stayed until the very end with us and it was so nice to have her…because I had to have someone to give way too many hugs to.

The Ford family. We had both Michelle and Michael on separate legs of the bike, and Michelle for one leg of the run. They came with food, Michelle’s rice crispy treats saved my life. They BBQed burgers and fed people, and managed kids. It was also really nice to have my PICs smile when I would come into the aid tent. She would look me in the eye, check on me, and made sure I got off each time in good order.

Randi and Ross! OMG, I heard that they were awesome with the kiddos, and hosted the movie theatre in their van when it was raining. Imagine having all those dirty stinky kids hanging in your van. I hope that they had fun hanging with us, and boy were Randi’s jello jigglers a huge hit! Ross was a wonderfully calm presence and really a blast to run behind when it’s windy!

Sara…great company on the ride and let me charge some goodies to her tab on the bike. Love ya Sarah, it was great to have your company! Max, thanks as well for the company on the ride!

My husband Troy. Thank you for spending our 7th anniversary working your butt off. He was the only one out there yesterday that didn’t get in a workout (did Anne, maybe he and Anne??). He worked. The. Entire. Day. My day was a success because I have this rock of a foundation beneath me called Troy. Don’t worry though, I had enough energy left at the end of the day to thank him accordingly. xoxo

So, for all of you reading, sound like fun? It is! It’s a lot of fun. Push your boundaries, join me for an adventure. Ross and Randi did and we didn’t eat them alive. What are you doing today to feed your soul?

Kansas 70.3

While I have completed two half-iron distance races this year last weekend was my first foray into the official 70.3 arena. I heard from others that these races are super intense, hard core, lots of talent grottos. I was so ready for the competition and also a bit excited to see what I had against a stacked field.

Originally I was afraid to ask Steve if I could race two 1/2 iron distance races on back to back weekends. It’s just seemed like an obviously stupid endeavor. But as the winter training progressed and wacky-nuts seemed to be the name of the game I approached the subject. Steve said yes and we toyed around with which race would really be the focus. We never really decided and the truth is it’s nearly impossible for me to give anything but everything when I step on a starting line.

Still, I wanted this race to be fun. When the race director sent a message stating that we could reserve a camp spot near transition for two nights for just $40, I got a little giddy. I asked Troy “Should we camp”? He said “Heck Yea!”. I’m 99.9% sure that every one of my teammates thought I was nuts. But ohhh-nooo they had it wrong. Camping was the best thing we could have done. I feel at home camping, I sleep better in my tent than in my bed, and I love cooking outdoors. I am more relaxed, and more settled when I’m camping, so this was a good choice for me.

We arrived in Lawrence KS at about 2pm on Friday and the camp spots were awesome. Lots of room. Unfortunately our site didn’t have any shade so we erected the Practical Coaching 10X10 tent over our tent and made a trip to the store for three 16lb bags of ice. I knew I needed to stay cool. I picked up my packet, witnessed the hugest M-dat tattoo (had to take a picture), and we had a very chill evening with some yummy fajitas. I also met Taryn who was camping across the way. She told me she reads my blog which made me a little bashful and then she told me that Sunday would be her first triathlon! You go girl! And if you are reading, make sure you make a comment, I’m so proud of you for finishing!!

Our camping spot

Can we say M-Dot?

Saturday morning Troy, Annie and I drove out of the park and attended the Lawrence farmers market. It’s the oldest farmers market in Kansas and it’s a producers only market so the person you buy from is the person who made/grew/raised what you are buying. Troy and I both agreed that is was one of the best markets we have ever been to, and being a farmers market junkie, I feel qualified to say that.

Lawrence Farmers Market

Some veggies, honey, and breakfast later we headed back to the race site to meet up with the Practical Coaching crew for a race recon mission. Everyone was so super giddy. We rode one loop of the run course and talked about the transitions and the swim and bike along the way. Very informative, and nice to spend some time together as a team.

Annie attempting the Navy Seal net in her pajamas.

Keith and Steve

We found some uh interesting things during race recon…who goes to a 70.3 for their Bachelor Party?

Race Recon with the crew

All lined up looking goofy

I then headed back to the tent for some lunch while everyone else waited in line to grab their packets. Heh Heh heh. I eventually headed over to drop my bike in T1. There were two transitions for this course and our camp site was smack dab in-between the two. I covered my seat and drive train with bags in case the rain that was called for overnight came to fruition. Then it was chilaxin time. Troy and I had a great dinner of pasta with veggies from the market and italian sausage. I even got the backpacking oven going and produced a beautiful batch of brownies for an evening snack. We read, and talked. It was so nice to have some quite time in the outdoors with Troy to reconnect and to laugh together.

Kids love tents

Troy loves outdoor cookin’

Everyone loves Brownies, Annie is OUT!

That evening when we stepped into the woods there were thousands of fireflies. I’ve only seen them once in my life, but this was so much better. It was like the stars were twinkling in the forrest, such a highlight of the entire trip. I also received a very inspirational email just before I went to sleep that made my sleep very peaceful that evening.

The next morning I slept in until 5:15! Transition opened at 4:45 and my wave went off at 6:58. Sleeping at the race site compares to NOTHING!! I got dressed, waved to my triathlete tent neighbors and headed over to T2 to set up. That took several minutes and I found Steve and Sara. We headed to T1 to set that up and I just loved the atmosphere. Steve and Sara were giddy and we had a nice time walking over to T1. Once at T1 I set up there, hemmed and hawed about whether I should leave my arm warmers on my bike, looked into the sky, told the sky gods to keep the temps manageable and put the arm warmers away. I quickly found Troy amongst the 2000 triathletes, he’s so tall and was wearing his red coat. Most of the Practical Coaching athletes found him and were handing off last minute items to him. We are so lucky to have Troy! He’s such a pillar for our team (and for me). I threw on my DeSoto and my yellow cap, kissed Troy and Annie goodbye, and lined up in the stall.

Steve, Sara and Doreen pre race.

Annie in front of a HUGE Gatorade bottle

My wave was big. I lined myself up and I had on of the best starts ever. No jostling, I swam straight, I stayed calm…it was good. I tried to find feet to swim on but for some reason I had a lot of trouble staying on the feet. The water was very murky and it was a big challenge to see the feet even when I was tapping them on every stroke. So I didn’t have a lot of luck with that. I did however really try to push this swim. No regrets, give it a good go. My time may not reflect as much, but I was proud of my effort throughout this swim.

Swimming back to shore it looked like there were 50,000 spectators. All I could see was people, and as I ran into T1, all I could hear was Troy. He’s such a phenomenal cheerer, loud booming voice and he really puts some heart into it! I had a very quick, olympic style transition: put your helmet on, grab your bike, and go. The lanes were really tight and I did a lot of yelling “On your left” to get through other people in transition.

I was really excited about this bike. I had no idea what to expect but I just knew in my heart that there was no way Kansas could deal out what Las Vegas and Middlebury dished on me. Kansas = flat, and honestly, after my last two 1/2’s, Kansas delivered. People afterwards complained about the hills on course but I wasn’t one of them. I loved this bike course. You could fly, and fly I tried. As always the first 5 miles is the warm up zone. I got passed twice by ladies in my age group. Rah Roh. When the second lady passed I said “enough” and went with her. This got me back past the first lady that passed me but this second lady was screaming fast. She ended up being the top amateur for the day, and her bike split was the same as Chrissie Wellington (But Chrissie got a “puncture” as she calls them and lost about 4 minutes). Still this chick was flying (Marisa Asplund)!

I had such a fun time on the course. There were a lot more cyclists on the course than I am used to. I got to battle with a lot of dudes and one in particular couldn’t take being chicked and tried to drive me over the double yellow into oncoming cyclists. I’m happy to say the bike racing paid off, I held my line (in aero) and used a nice amount of attitude in response. There were other guys out there that were just treating me great. One (who had wings tattooed on his legs) told me I was flying and asked me if I ran 7 min pace so that I could pace him on the run. Was he hitting on me? If he was, I’m flattered. I couldn’t believe how the miles were ticking by, the course was marked in 5 mile increments and they were flying by.

Now, I don’t wear a heart rate monitor, I don’t have a power tap, or a fancy GPS thingee. I don’t know how fast I’m going, but I do wear a watch. You know just a pain old “keeps time” watch and I like to have a little fun with it. Since in my last two 1/2s I have gone 1:41-1:43 range for my run time I was hoping to break 1:40 on a flat course. I also was secretly hoping to break 5 hours, since I did a 5:07 and a 5:11 previously. Now, I can talk times all day, but when the rubber meets the road I just want to throw my effort on the wall, and whatever sticks, I’m happy with. So I was playing a little game with my watch, trying to guess what time I would get into transition, all the while creaming myslef on the bike. Harder, faster, smile. I just kept surprising myself as the miles went by. I was estimating that I would get into T1 at 3hrs 20 min.

I roll into T2 and I look for a teal towel with shoes covered in a plastic bag. I find it, rack my bike, throw my helmet on the ground, pull off the plastic bag…uh…not my shoes. I look at the number on the rack. Not my number. So I grab my bike find my number, rack my bike, put on my shoes, go back to the old spot, retrieve my helmet, put it back in the proper spot, grab my hat and number and run off. I drop the hat and number, pick it up and say to myself “CALM DOWN”. I run out of T2, look at my watch and it says that to break 5 hours I need to run a 1:47. Holy cow, that I can do!

Not two seconds after thinking that a lady in my age group goes flying by me. She is the same lady that flew by me on the bike and that I passed back. She is flying and I don’t want to let her go. The lady in first I know is long gone (I timed the first lady in my age group on one of the turn around sections on the bike and she had 4.5 minutes on me). I was gunning for a second place age group but didn’t exactly know where I was in the race. this lady was running super strong and her first mile was under 6:35. I just didn’t go with it. I sat back. The dude with the wings on his legs was with me and I told him she was in my age group. He said we were running super fast. I never know how fast I am running until mile two because I always forget to hit the lap button at the start of the run, so I usually never get the first mile split. Mile two was a 6:33 and I wasn’t making any ground on the lady in front of me. I thought to myself, well if she can run the entire half marathon at 6:30 pace, then she probably has me. But I didn’t think that was likely either. There were lots of cheering fans around and I figured it was more likely that she was excited.

How can you not be excited when you get to run by Chrissy Wellington!

At mile three we had one of the two hills on the course. It’s a short and kinda steep little bugger and for some reason I just said enough is enough. I ran hard up that hill, passed the lady in my age group and then I ran for my life the next mile and a half. I ran by Troy and I gave him the “I’m scared and I’m running fast look”. He cheered so loud! Mile three up the hill was 7:12 and mile 4 was 6:55. I felt like she was breathing down my neck, but I convinced myself that I had opened up a gap. I settled into the race, there were so many people on the course it kept things very lively. Mile 5 and 6 were a combined 14:07 and 7/8 were 14:11. I had hit my stride and it was just over 7 min pace. I was a little shocked, but it felt smooth, so I just kept running.

At mile 9 I ran by Troy and he said that “one was 2.5 up”. I knew the super fast lady was 7+ minutes up on me, but I had apparently missed another lady in my age group. I put a little fire in my engine and miles 9/10 were a combined 13:07. I was stoked that it felt oh so good to be running that fast. I caught the lady in my age group and at that point I felt confident that I was second age group and that first was outta sight. I took a gel that the course had provided and it had 2X caffeine. I suffered several miles of stomach cramping and learned a hard lesson that 2X caffeine is too much for my tummy. Don’t just grab and eat without looking. Mile 11 was 7:13 and mile 12 was 7:30. The last mile plus extra was 9:06. For the last few miles I hung onto a guy that everyone called “muffin”. That cracked me up and somebody had drawn chalk muffins all over the asphalt. I felt like I was running with a celebrity, that was fun!

Coming into the line and looking at my watch and seeing 4:45:32 left me in utter shock. I walked through the shoot and I started crying. It was really emotional for me. I had hoped to break 5 and to do so in this way was exciting and unexpected. I was instantly happy with the manner that I executed my race. I just stopped crying when I turned around to see my PIC Michelle finish, and low and behold she was crying just like me. She had scored second in her age group as well. Very emotional.

Swim: 35:39
T1: 1:39
Bike: 2:34:10 (21.79mph)
Run: 1:32:41 (7:04 pace)
Total: 4:45:32
12th overall
6th amateur
2nd F30-34

The best part of the day for me was watching the other Practical Coaching athletes complete their races. Seeing Andrea break 6 hours and have a huge smile on her face. I can’t describe the joy I had in watching my friends succeed at this distance. Beth took a 4th age group slot, and I was so hoping a Clearwater slot would come her direction, but it got snatched up. Sandy took two and a half hours off her time at Rage, she went 5:27 versus a tough 8 hour day at Rage. Taryn, my camping neighbor finished her first triathlon, and it was a half!

Everyone is happy with a race well done!

We have such a great crew!

Chrissy Wellington is a total class act. She hung out and took pics with just about every single participant. What a class act world Champion!

So, before the race I talked a little with Anthony, my 17hourtrainingday.com teammate about whether he would take a Clearwater slot if one came his direction. After some chatting I was convinced that I wouldn’t take the slot, and he said he wasn’t going to either. But when all was said and done and I saw that I got a slot (there were two in my age group) I was asking Troy “did we bring a checkbook”? It was so exciting. Michelle was taking her slot and I figured GIRL TRIP. Then while attending awards I watch a slot make it down to Anthony, they call his name…and he says “I’ll take it”. I had such a huge grin on my face.

Anthony and I, he is such a great guy and talented athlete!

BUT then, We had Steve, our fantastic coach. Would he get a slot? There was one of four slots left. They start calling names, and sure enough, they call his, and I hear “I’ll take it”. I was so happy for him!

Okay, here is the last bit, and it’s a little funny. They take your $$ on the spot and they give you a piece of paper that has directions on how to sign up for the race. It has a password and it has dates that you can sign up within. The lady tells you “Don’t loose this paper or your money is gone and you can’t sign up”. So I turn and give the paper straight to Troy.

Last night when we got home Troy takes the paper and sets in on my desk in front of the computer. We go to bed. Annie wakes up at 6am and Troy pops her in a DVD and goes back to bed. When I get up we clean up from the trip, take out the trash, vacuum, etc. Then we realize the paper isn’t there. We searched the house for TWO hours. Troy even went and got out the trash from the dumpster. Then the trash truck came. The paper is GONE. We have a call and an email into the race director. But my precious Clearwater slot is hanging in limbo. I figure if they won’t let me in I will inundate them with this photo. I have also sent this photo (taken on my iPhone) to every tech-savy person I know to try to deduce the password off of the sheet.

All in all this race…and this month, and this season has been just an awesome experience. I can’t thank my coach enough…Steve Pye is his name and I can’t believe how much he has changed my life. My husband Troy is a total saint, always there for me with a hug and relentless support of my passion. Annie, my darling little girl that keeps me laughing at life and helps me to maintain balance in my life. Also, my mom and dad who have really gone above and beyond to help out their GROWN CHILD with getting to all these races, and for tweeting and texting their love and support. I love you guys!

Lastly I can’t forget Core Concepts, who treats me so kind with yummy clothes, and Trakkers, who you all will love when they get their awesome little triathlon trakking devise on the market!

Core Concepts Sale

It just so happens that the same day I received my most recent Core Concepts order, they issued a fancy email with a 40% off sale on base layers. the coupon code for their online store is: BASE0209

I ordered the Firefly Long Sleeve in blue and it’s super cute.

I have been drooling over the Full Tilt Zip Neck for some time, so I ordered myself up one in Plum. I love love love the off center zippered neck. It’s cute zipped up or down. The fit is really similar to the Cadence Hoodie.

Lastly, I thought their Bamboo shirts were super adorable, so I grabbed the one with the fancy little bike on it.

Interested in some Core layers for yourself? 40% off is pretty sweet, the online store is here, the coupon code is: BASE0209

Core Concepts Wins the Apex Award!


Let me be the first of many to extend a HUGE congratulations to Core Concepts! Every year Polartec awards several high tech garments their prestigious Apex Award. This year Core Concepts Carve Full Zip jacket is sharing the podium with other stellar companies including Patagonia, Marmot, and Merrell.

As an avid wearer of the Carve Full Zip jacket let me just say this coat is top notch and extremely deserving of the Apex award. I have been product testing it for the last few months and have yet to uncover a flaw. It fabric is divine for us women, and the stylish details will leave your friends drooling…like my friends are! Right friends? Don’t worry, the Carve Full Zip goes on sale in September.

Congratulations to the Core Concepts crew and especially to owners Noah and Erin! You have been such a joy to work with and I know that as the years go by Core Concepts will become a household name in outdoor apparel. Keep up the great work and I can’t wait to see the Carve Full Zip walking around the streets of Boulder, or on the slopes in Vail. Because, when it comes to ‘Active. Life. Style’ you guys nailed it!