Finding Dory

Back in March I attended a really magical retreat with the AMAZING Tiffany Josephs. It was in Santa Barbara and we had an absolute blast. I got to run for hours along the beach every day and Tiffany crafted a really fun, refreshing, intuitive retreat for us complete with scavenger hunts, photo shoots, and cake by the ocean…..


On the final night of the retreat we did the coolest exercise. I don’t want to share all of Tiffanies secrets but this cat needs out of the bag. We got in a circle (9 of us), got our journals, and opened to a blank page. Tiffany instructed us to make a scribble on our page. Like a 3 second scribble, whatever felt right. Then we passed our journals to the right. So now we each have the scribble from the person to our left. Our instructions were to add what was needed to the scribble. Whatever felt right. And we had very little time, maybe 30 seconds or so, before we had to pass it along. The journals traveled all around the circle, getting additions and being worked on from each lady, and 9 passes later you had your journal back, but you could barely recognize your scribble! It had turned into a masterpiece, an oracle of sorts.

Tiffany explained to us that on that page was something special, a message, from the universe. And we went around the circle and each shared what we saw in our drawing. I would never share this, after all you don’t share journal pages, but this is all too good, and I have to.


So, mine was hilarious. My original scribble is in purple. I literally sat there and just laughed at it for a good long while. And then you are sorta trying to figure out what the heck it all is? I saw a fox in there, one who is stressed! But happy too, and smoking some pot which I have never done. That bird I thought had some male genitals, but I might have read into that and it’s just his tail feather. Is that an aardvark in the corner, and then there is all this business with “what if” and Nemo, and Finding Dory in the bottom. I concluded at the time that the universe would like for me to lighten the heck up and have a little more fun.

Tiffany told us to pull this back out in a few weeks or months and have another look, that things in here would make more sense as time went on.

Fast forward to the next morning when I went for my 2 hour run. I was listening to Pandora the whole time and thought it was hilarious because the whole run every single advertisement it played to me was for the movie Finding Dory. I thought it was so strange because that was on my page from the night before. I was totally having one of those crazy universe moments thinking “No way…crazy”

As I traveled home from the retreat on Mothers Day all I could think about was how much California and the Central Coast is in my blood. I grew up in California. I lived the first 10 years of my life in a little town called Tehachapi that is in the valley. When I was 10 we moved to a little town outside of Morro Bay called Los Osos. Morro Bay sits at the front of the bay, and has a giant rock, and Los Osos sits at the back of the bay. When I was 15 my family moved to San Jose, CA during the week of my Easter break from my sophomore year of high school. I cried most of the trip. It was a very sad day to move from one of the most gorgeous places on the planet to the city of San Jose where my graduating class had more kids than the entire high school I came from. I made my way in San Jose until I graduated and went to college at UC San Diego (not the party school….but the nerdy school in La Jolla). After UCSD I moved to Colorado.

I called Troy while I was sitting in the airport coming home from Santa Barbara and asked if we could move. Well, I kinda begged him to move. And I cried too, the whole way home in fact. We discussed it and although he works from home, he wasn’t sure if they would be okay with this sort of move. Also, he wasn’t okay with it. Annie likes her school and we live in a sweet location, he’s lived in Colorado all his life.

And I had to respect that.

Fast forward a couple months and I went to IM Texas to coach our 5 athletes who raced (phenomenally) and when I looked at the forecast for Colorado on my way home it was going to rain all week. So when I got to the airport I changed my flight to San Diego. My friend Ang was hanging there for a few days and I had a place to stay. On the way home from San Diego I met the most amazing man who was my uber driver. We had an insane 15 minutes and he really opened up my mind to A LOT of things. The main thing I received from him was that there are different levels to this life. The physical level, the mental level. He straight up told me I have those two down pat. But I’m stuck on the heart level. And he was right. We still keep in touch. He sent me this quote and I used a picture on San Diego for the background:


I came home from San Diego really alive and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Ang on the ocean, watching sunsets every night and shopping at the farmers market together. I brought moving up again with Troy and he knew I was still pretty serious. We talked about it, but life was so crazy. So we couched the idea.

Last Sunday was Fathers day. Troy loves Chinese Food, it’s like his absolute favorite. So I researched where we could find the best Dim Sum in Denver. By the way, that would be Star Kitchen, super authentic and super yummy. We went to Dim Sum that morning and were having a great day together as a family. After our bellies were full I asked what he wanted to do and Troy said that he wanted to go see Finding Dory. Now, a little about my wonderful husband. He loves movies in the theatre. Like LOVES. He pretty much watches everything when it comes out. He and Annie go a lot and it’s hard to go to a movie with Troy because he’s already seen it. Well, it was opening weekend for Finding Dory so none of us had been. Off we went (PS I  love that Troy will go see literally ANY movie with me, RomCom, Comedy, Drama, doesn’t matter, he’s game).

So we are sitting in the theatre and watching and all of the sudden Dory is trying to find her family, she’s trying to go home. But get this, where is home?


The town of 10,000 people that I grew up in. The town that I left my heart in when I left at age 15. The only town I come back to with that deep sigh when I visit. That town.

And all of the sudden my picture from the retreat is flooding back to me, and how it said “Why not?” and “Finding Dory”


I look at Troy with eyes like saucers and I’m mouthing to him “We have to move”

Then I’m texting, he’s two seats away but I’m flipping out…and darn autocorrect….


The whole movie I pretty much flipped out. I felt deep in my heart that we had to move.

After we got out of the movie we had a long chat and I told Troy: It’s time, I’m ready, I want to go. I’m ready to go, can we please go?

And he got it. At a deep level, one that makes me cry when I type this, my husband understood that we had to give it a shot. He’s lived here his whole life and I respect and honor that, but I have been given so many signs to follow my heart and I know where my heart is, I just know.

He called work first thing Monday morning. They approved the move. It was a non issue. All this time, and it was a non issue.

We hired a real estate agent Monday night (one message off to my childhood bestie Lauren who lives there and she put us in touch with a phenomenal agent).

We put in an offer on a house on Tuesday morning. We found out we didn’t get that house on Friday morning.

Thursday night I was searching craigslist and found a place that wasn’t on our list of prospects (there are only 4 houses on the market in our price range in Los Osos and Morro Bay). I searched a little more and found out it was under contract. I emailed our agent and asked her to look into it. Friday she called us and said that it’s under contract, the sellers agent said the contract was going to be cancelled and we could put in an offer. We wrote a cover letter explaining how much we love Los Osos, described our family, and bid 40K over asking. This house was much nicer than the first house we put an offer on. It has much more space, the location is better, and it has a tiny view of the water. They countered our offer with a technicality and no increase in price, and as of yesterday we are under contract on the perfect little house that we haven’t even seen. But the way all of this is going, I know it will be fine. I just know.

Meanwhile we prepped our house for sale over the last few days, with the plans to put it on the market this Tuesday. Yesterday our neighbor said he would like to buy it and would have an offer to us on Monday.

It’s been one week since we made the decision and pretty much all the big decisions and questions have been hammered out. It’s truly been a downhill flow sort of situation.

Next weekend is the 4th of July and I cancelled my plans to race Vineman and instead we are headed to Los Osos to review the inspection and check out our new house….and it’s tiny bay view, and it’s big beautiful balcony that faces the ocean.

I can not explain fully how much my heart is exploding with YAY. I feel so lucky that Troy works from home and I built Rising Tide to be movable. I can’t believe all the signs and how easy every thing came together. I feel a little sense of pride that I followed the signs, I followed my heart and because of that, things have flowed!

Oh and Annie, the best part. She’s super excited. Happy to go, excited for the adventure. She’s an amazing kiddo.

Move date looks to be the beginning of August. No final date just yet, but definitely before Annie starts 5th grade.

KonMari What? It’s Magic!

I year ago I heard some buzz about the #KonMari method of decluttering. Marie Kondo wrote a book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and I had a few friends that were raving about it. A little before the beginning of the year my friend Andrea brought it up and for some reason (fate…luck) I instantly pulled it up on Amazon and downloaded it to my kindle.

I read the first chapter, was amazed, and then read it to Troy and Annie. They looked at me, and both said “Let’s do it.” Troy does not buy things, he’s a self proclaimed minimalist. I, however am a maximalist, and so is Annie. We like our STUFF, but sometimes we make hasty decisions and accumulate stuff for the sake of it. We don’t have a large house, about 2,000 sq feet, and it’s not packed to the brim or anything, but there was lots of stuff just hanging about.

Also, wherever women go to learn about how to make a house pretty, I missed that lesson. Our home has always been 100% utilitarian, I’m afraid to paint walls, or buy nice things because I always feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, and would rather spend my money on yet another airplane ticket somewhere fun. I’m not good with color, or fengshui or knowing what furniture goes where.  Not my thing. But I do wish for joy, comfort, and tidiness. Clean tabletops, and things put away make me feel grounded.

Marie has you declutter your entire house in one fell swoop, as quickly as possible. You are not allowed to “put things away” until all the decluttering is complete. And there are a few simple rules. One, you declutter by category, not by room, and there is an order: clothes, books, papers, kimono (which has a ton of sub lists) and mementos. She suggests you declutter as quickly as possible and says it takes most families about 6 months (Yea….it took us three and a half weeks…not really surprising if you know me).

There is one rule you have for deciding whether to keep or toss and it’s to hold the item and ask “Does this item spark joy?” Now I know that your brain is coming up with all the “but what about taxes”…yes, you keep taxes, but the other 99.9% of stuff is subject to the joy constraint. When you decide to get rid of something you thank it for it’s service and send it along to its next life journey. The thanking part is really important, if you neglect this step you will feel hollow and empty at the end of the process.

After you finish decluttering your entire house, you find a home for each and every object, and you treat your objects like they have feelings. So you don’t put objects on top of each other (because the bottom ones would get squished and feel sad), you ask clothes if they prefer to be hung or folded, and you keep like things with their friends. Shoes with shoes, scissors with scissors, sheets with sheets. 

So, as a family, we dove in! We don’t currently own a kitchen table so we cleaned out the kitchen area and used the floor as our collecting area. First clothes. That was fun, we were trying on things and asking the joy question. We got through those and felt a deep sigh. The clothes we actually put away via the KonMari method of folding (it’s a thing…and it’s amazing…google it). I took 16 bags to the goodwill of clothes and shoes. Our closets felt really spacious and we were smiling when we got dressed.

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The after is quite amazing!! A full dresser with everything folded and upright!

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Then it was on to books. We had books in every single room in the house. They were everywhere and there were a ton of them! Annie and I both went through the joy test pretty quickly and I ended up with I think 17 books and Annie about 25. Troy was another story. We had to read the chapter on books to Troy 3 times…outloud. At first they all brought joy to Troy, but then, when he really really looked at why he was hanging onto them, it was something else that he needed to face. He went from about 400 to 84 really joy inducing books. And now when I see him walk by his books, he smiles.

Bye Bye books! They filled up our entire car (before she went to car heaven)…

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The purpose in life of a book is to be read. So if you read it and then put it on a shelf for the rest of it’s life, you essentially put it in prison, it can’t live it’s purpose ever again, sad book. It wants to be read, so we had to send most of them along on their life path, so they at least had a chance of being read again and fulfilling their purpose. It felt good to give them another chance at life!

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We donated them to the library, and when I went to throw away an empty cup from our car in the library recycle dumpster do you know what it was filled with? BOOKS! I never thought about the fact that the library gets so many book donations that they throw away dumpsters full of books. I can’t believe that a trash hauling service would do that! I tried to put that out of my brain when we drove away. Bye Books, good luck!

Troys books now, in the happy hallway!

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After books is the category: PAPERS. It was impressive. We pulled every single piece of paper from the house and put it in the kitchen. It filled up the entire floor, boxes and boxes and bins and bins. And one by one, we went through every piece of it and asked the joy question, then asked the “required to keep” question. This was the most liberating step because really, there were only 2 pieces of paper in all of the papers that brought joy, our wedding certificate and Annie’s birth certificate. TWO! We now have one small box of papers that had to be kept, and we each have one small box for work. We also weren’t afraid to take photos of papers and store them in ibooks on our ipad. Things like hand written recipes and school calendars, but crazy enough there are only 32 papers that we felt needed photos on the iPad. Not many.

These are now all the papers in the house except a small box in each of our offices. Ahhh, it makes me so happy.

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After those three categories are done you breathe this huge sigh, because you are getting the hang of things and your joy meter is getting honed (warning: if you are in a place of depression, Ie: having a tough time finding joy, you are going to throw out a lot of stuff, so be careful)

By this point we are in hook, line, and sinker! Next up is Kimono which there is some fancy definition but to me meant “all the other categories except the special stuff.” We tackled category by category: bathroom stuff, linens, toys, games, camping stuff, luggage and travel items, triathlon, and electronics.

This is the bathroom stuff. It’s ridiculous. We have two small bathrooms. Never again!!!

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Then we each worked on our own personal stuff, but not the “special stuff”, that’s saved for last.

By now the neighbors were asking if we were moving because we had a HUGE pile of stuff outside the front porch. Troy kept telling them “My wife read a book!” He totally threw me under the bus. Stinker!

I got on Craigslist and called a man who calls himself “The Junk Guy” and asked if he could come take our stuff away. He said yes, for a price, and asked if he should bring his trailer. We shouted YES! We didn’t have enough stuff to need his trailer, so I looked at Troy and said “We have 5 hours to fill his trailer”

So…we attacked the garage. And by attack, I mean attack. We were thanking things left and right and out it was going. Five hours later, by the time The Junk Guy came we filled his truck, his trailer and still had an entire truckload left over. We had emptied our box of 56 black plastic giant trash bags I had purchased for the task. This was half way through the garage! This pile doubled before The Junk Guy came! Thank you swimming pool, thank you tag-a-long, thank you broken Christmas Tree. Thank you thank you thank you!

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It felt good. The stuff that was left was really stuff that sparked joy and it was a cool process to go through and find all the treasures! Many things brought short term joy but when asked “have you served your purpose?” the answer was yes, so off it went to it’s next life, but only after a deep thank you.

From there it was time for the kitchen. Books to Troy was like kitchen items for me. So much attachment for me, but when I really held the items and asked if they had served their purpose and were ready for their next adventure, most of them said yes. I did have a long conversation with the skillet I make my eggs in every morning. I don’t like it, but if I tossed it I couldn’t make eggs. So I told it that it could stay, and I promptly ordered a new one on Amazon, and crazy enough, that’s the only new thing I bought through this process. When the new one came, the old one went along it’s way, Thank You Skillet!

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Once the kitchen was done we pulled the mementos we had been saving and dealt with them licity-split. I was dreading that part, like Baby Annie clothing, and keepsakes from trips and what not. There were lots of great memories and many things were kept. It was actually a joyful process, and pretty much the exact opposite I thought it would be if we had started with these things. There is a reason you save the special stuff for last.

Photos were all put together into one bin and I still haven’t gone through them. There is a whole KonMari process for photos but I’m not emotionally ready for them, so they are staying in their box for a few more weeks. And yes, they aren’t happy about it.

Now it was time to find a home for everything. We had little piles of JOY all over the house and it was time to put everything in place. The funny part about this was that it took like 2 hours to put our entire house in place, and most of that time was spent repurposing some shelving that had to be removed and put up somewhere else. It was simple really. There was so much space, all the closets were empty, it was easy as cake to designate a category to a closet or a shelf, place what was left in there, and be done with it.

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Annie turned her closet into her reading nook, she loves to hang out there now.

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All in all, to do our entire house, from start to finish in the KonMari method, took us about 3.5 weeks. We were diligent and we worked every night on things and during our lunch hours, sometimes a little in the mornings too. The result is beyond words. For the last couple weeks we have just enjoyed with wonder our house, and the space that has been created. Literally every shirt we pull our of our closet and every cup off the shelf is a smile. There is space and so far, not a single thing is missed. There hasn’t been a single “If I only kept…”

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Our belongings have taken on personalities. The other day Annie came into the living room and said “Mom, your snow boots are sad” and I was like “why?” and she said “they are in the bathroom all alone away from their friends.” I said….”ooh, that is sad” and moved them back with their friends.

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Things that haven’t been put away immediately feel out of place and I feel this duty to them to put them back in their home. My purse gets unpacked every night and all the insides put back away. And you know what, our house is happier. I feel like the light shines a little brighter in it, and my clothes stay a little cleaner, and my food is a little tastier. Who knew?

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I will say, that I would not consider myself a tidy person (duh). For 14 years Troy has had to get used to what he calls “Sonja piles” because I seem to like to make little piles of things all around the house. I didn’t grow up in a tidy house and I always felt that there are more adventurous ways to lead your life than to spend so much time “cleaning.” But now, I don’t clean. Things have a home, and I take them home at the end of the day, and when I see an area collecting some dirt or dust I feel sad for it, and I take care of it, so it’s happy. Dishes get done within a few hours because we only have a few now, not even enough to run a full load in the dishwasher anymore. Everyone has one coffee mug, and one water glass. There are a few spares for guests. That’s it. I have 6 cycling water bottles. 6 is 3 more than my bike fits!

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It sounds silly, but this process has helped me tap into my emotions. I had to hold things and really decide how they made me feel. Lots of generally benign things brought up some heavy emotions based on who gave it to me or when/why I procured it. Some of the things I had been hanging onto because they were worth something went right out the door when I held it and felt it. Like a hot potato. Sometimes I cried! But many other times I laughed and nodded.

If you are looking for a space transformation, I suggest picking up her book and giving it a read. You will know right away whether this is something you are ready for, or not, and I would say, don’t force the issue if you aren’t. Pass the book on to a friend and see if it was meant for them! When I posted on Facebook there were lots of responses from others who were digging her method as well but not a single person said they had completed their whole house, so I just want to note something here. The feeling of completing the project is the best part. Knowing every single item has been handled and sorted, and thanked or recognized for it’s joy brings some pretty serious zen action. So if you have done a few categories and fallen off, I’m urging you to hop back on the train. The ending is divine!

**this was the post I published that flatlined my blog a few weeks back. Troy was able to save the words and I’m just now posting it again.

It’s been a little over a month since we finished this project and I can’t believe what a game changer it has been. Our house has not gotten dirty or junky a single time since. The things that weren’t working really stuck out like a sore thumb. For example, our electronics got stored in this:

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I thought it was pretty organized, each of us had our own shelf, I love this little shelving unit and I love all the electronics in it. But I hated the cords being everywhere. I had an idea, but didn’t know if it would work. A few weeks ago I went for it. I bought a little set of drawers and I drilled holes in the back of all of them and mounted an electrical strip and a USB strip on the back of the set of drawers. Then I fished all the cords into the back of the drawers and now every electronic has a home and gets put to bed at night.


The fact that everyones iPads, iPhones, Computers, headphones, tablets, readers, goPros, you name it have a home and a bed to rest after a hards day work makes me really happy. I’ve also been trying to get electronics out of our bedroom and this project sealed the deal. They get put to bed like Annie does, like we do.


We also bought a kitchen table. It took us 5 hours in the store to make a decision. We sat at every one, many times, and finally decided on one with two benches and counter height. We all love it lots, it’s a major joy sparker.


I would love to hear others experience with KonMari and her books. If anyone has been through the process for some time now, I would like to know if it all sticks? Do things stay this way forever or does the clutter creep back in?

Off Season Shenanigans

Poof, 5.5 weeks GONE! In the blink of an eye it seems that December is lurking. I really like December, it’s a fun month! Looking back on the last month, I’m kinda wondering what on Earth I even did with myself. I wasn’t particularly diligent in any one area. I did get some home stuff done. Both cats are now current on their shots and on official weight loss food. The vet saw Grey kitty for the first time in 4 years and although I thought she MUST have a thyroid condition, it turns out she’s just fat. Apollo is also fat. We raise fat cats, we have no backbone. So, now everyone is on a diet.

The Wooden Bowl found it’s permanent location in our bed headrest. Please ignore the bag of pretzels and the bag of trail mix, sometimes I get snacky at night. Speaking of night, they are a lot more lively now that I don’t spend them in bed exhausted. We have been having oodles of family adventures and that has been SO MUCH FUN. We each take turns picking an adventure and then we pack up the car and off we go. We have tried to institute a no cell phone rule during the adventures and that’s made it extra fun. We even went to a chocolate festival, it was amazing and I ate like $50 in chocolate in like 90 minutes. Hooray for the off season! Being able to relax and engage with each other – man was that needed! I really love that Troy and Annie are so chill and easy going. I got the cream of the crop!

Ummm, can I get a woot woot for the Giants winning the World Series?! Thank you Punky for sending me a world series hat. The coolest part…they won on my birthday. I was so happy for all the people I have met this year that are associated with the Giants, they sure are some great folks working behind the scenes and I can’t wait to celebrate with them a little when I make my way back to the bay area for more training.


Last weekend was Ironman Arizona. Never have I ever been so happy NOT to be racing! I knew a lot of people on the start line and had 5 athletes of my own out there towing the line as well. My new razor scooter got put to work, 27 miles I scooted on that thing in one day! Morgan and I scooted around all day chasing everyone we know around the course. It was great to see the Coach Muddy athletes knock it outa the park and to watch my own athletes lay down some stellar performances! My two girls Ellen and Mikki both ran 3:41 and 3:43 respectively off the bike and dang was I proud of those chicks’ run splits! Ellen missed Kona by one place with a 4th and I’m excited to see where next year will take her. It was great to hang with Mo a lot of the day and I roomed with Ali, who signed up for next year, and AZ will be her first. I’m excited to watch her progress through that journey next year!

Dude, the scooter is awesome because I can go around the course and pick up all the Garmin heart rate straps that people ditch when they are sick of them. Those things are like $70 and I’ve ditched my fair share of them running through aid stations. Into the washer and bam…all mine! Score. It’s also funny how many people throw stuff at me during the race and then I spend this week mailing little packages all around the county to return it all. Too funny! And again, I’ve had people ship me back stuff that I have tossed to them. It’s like Ironman karma!

I’ve spent a fair amount of time the last few weeks stalking the country of Norway via the internet. I have SO much to learn about the Norseman race course and google maps has been my best friend. I finally got lodging for the two days before and the two days after the race for my family and my crew. I’m so excited that Laura and Andrew from the UK are going to fly over and crew for me. They will have a 2 year old and a 2.5 month old by this August and I’m so excited to meet the babies! Laura and I trained in Kona together several years ago before we both had somewhat disastrous races and we haven’t seen each other in 2 years. This reunion will be so sweet for me, and I know that they will make the best crew a girl could ask for.

I’m still researching what Troy, Annie and I are going to do after the race but I know I want to SEE NORWAY! When Annie and I were in Disney World this year we watched a video showcasing Norway and all I can think of is hiking hiking hiking. Annie is going to need to do some serious training this summer so she’s fit and ready to keep up with post Norseman mom and dad. I really want to go to the Trolltunga, and also to Preikestolen. Huge rocks, epic views!

This is what I look like most the time when I am researching Norway and trying to pronounce all the Norwegian names for things. This is also what I look like when I am trying to convert American dollars to Norwegian krone. So confusing! Eventually I know it will all come together and we will have an epic trip, but in the mean time I expect to have this face for a few more months. I read one blog of a family who did a camping vacation there and food was so expensive that they literally bought 8 steaks and cooked one caveman style over a fire every night. I have no idea what else they ate, but every night they had a steak on the campfire. Note to self….bring lots of bars.

My dog and I have been attached at the hip for 5.5 weeks. When I leave the house and don’t take her, she sits at the front door scrunched up in the little corner looking out the front door window and she waits for me to come home. When I’m home some part of her is touching some part of me 24 hours a day. She loves her mama. I never knew she could be such a cuddle pup but she sure is. When I took Annie to Glenwood Springs for her birthday to soak in the Hot springs I didn’t dare leave her home. 8 hours in the car that day, and Lolli was happy as a clam. And look at how cute my munchkin Annie is getting. She is a happy girl, and she’s 9 now! Also, I looked a little into modeling and I think she is too tall to be a child model. So we decided we will wait until she grows up a bit more and then look into our options. Annie just has one of those photogenic faces and she’s long, tall, a great traveler, and great with people.


While I did take a huge break from swim bike and run this off season, I did not take a break from my BUTT! I have been really diligent this off season on continuing with my glute and core work with my trainer Jenny. She has this class that I take 2X a week where we spend an hour just strengthening our whole hip region and our core. I have been in this class for 2 years now and it’s amazing how much progress I’ve made. It’s always crazy when someone new shows up to class, usually a triathlete and they are doing the exercises for the first time. Oh lordy! Knowing how to fire your glutes first and foremost, thus lessening the dependence we tend to have on our back and hamstrings has been such a game changer for me the last few years. I also learned that “activating the hips” really just means “engage your butt” or similarly weak hips really means glutes aren’t firing. I may not look any stronger, or have any sort of well defined abs (genetics and body fat %), but they are strong and they are functional.


Okay, I am so hesitant to share this next thing. Half of me wants to keep it all to myself, but sigh, that’s just not me, now is it? My friend Matt sent me the best book! I have had so many ahh-haha’s from this resource. As a coach I have watched some of my athletes never have to foam roll a day in their life, no injuries, no issues. And then others ones are just on the thing all the time. I have often thought that there has to be a better way, there has to be more information about what we should be doing for consistent body maintenance.

“If you’re going to make the demands on your body that being an athlete requires, then it’s your job to support that body” –Dr. Kelly Starrett

I totally agree, but the devil is in the details. I think we all agree that foam rolling is a generally accepted “good practice” and that just straight up stretching is a “heated topic.” I like this book so much because it really walks you through figuring out where you are week and how that general body maintenance can be steered to minimize those problem areas. I found out that I am the queen of Plantar Flexion, but have a long ways to go with Dorsiflexion. My Hip Flexion is amazing, especially with all the Jenny work these last few years, but my Hip Extension is ridiculous. Like, really bad. The “couch stretch”…eye papi! Needless to say I devoured this book and have already gone through it like three times to reread the parts I needed more help with.

Me attempting the couch stretch  (you’ll have to get the book) and of course the dog must be involved. She totally scrunched herself into that tiny little corner while I was stretching. I think all the moans and groans had her concerned. Oh Couch Stretch, you are my nemesis!!!!

2015 is going to be the year of awesomeness and I had so much fun putting together my race and travel plan for the season. The entire spring is going to involve a ton of running. I’m very excited to get back to my roots and I’ve already spent some time on my favorite trails! I signed up for 2 ultras this winter that I’m nervous, scared, and excited for. It’s been years since I’ve raced this long and honestly, I pine for it often. When I am running in the hills it’s a very zen experience for me. The time flies by and I love leaving the rigors of pace this and pace that. Sometimes you run 14 minute miles and sometimes you fly downhill at 8 minute miles. Constantly watching where you are stepping with my favorite tunes in my ear is basically like ice cream for me. I bought myself a pair of Hokas for the trails this winter, didn’t know what to think, but common, they are hilarious and cloud like, and amazing all at ones. So, Hokas in the trails, New Balance flats in the gym, and my Kona kinvaras for kicking around.


Between now and April I’m going to do a 1/2 marathon in December, a 50k in Cali in January after the Coast Ride, a 100k in February that has me scared, another 1/2 marathon in March, and then Boston in April. It will be nice to get a solid 5 month running block in. After April I will be happy and content and can start spending day and night riding my bike through the Colorado mountains in prep for Norseman. Also, the 100k in February is a qualifier for Western States. Only the top 2 get a slot, therefore this race is the one I go to bed at night dreaming about. I have wanted to race Western States since 2008, and I’ve always said I can’t go for it until I take a break from Kona. So, I’m going to train hard for the 100K, and see where it takes me! Life sure is an adventure, I can just never predict where it’s headed, but it always ends up being AWESOME!


We got Rescued!

Note: Not a triathlon post, but a post that made me cry to write. 

I’ve been pining for a dog for about 6 months now. I had fallen in love with a few Italian Greyhounds and really wanted one. But Troy did not. We had a running joke in the family after he told me that we (he meant “I”) could get a dog if I won my age group in Hawaii. When I told Annie this, she said “Awwww, he said that because he knows it’s never going to happen” which honestly made me laugh in hysterics for quite awhile. The way she said it was totally honest. Ha!

Troy is a cat person, Apollo is his BFF in the house and even though I was the one begging for the big orange cat at the shelter, Apollo and Troy have bonded like no other. He sleeps on Troys chest every night…so yea…! Because Troy tends to be the one to keep the whole house fed, watered and functioning, the dog decision really was his call. I knew I needed extreme buy in. So I kept working on him day by day, week by week. I finally got some traction when he said that we could get something like a border collie or a cattle dog. The cattle dog Ranger across the street is awesome, as was Audras border collie Levi (I wanted to abduct Levi at one point). So of course I immediately went on Pet and found border collie cattle dog mix puppies that were being fostered by a rescue organization in Denver. Troy had to say yes (yup, I backed him into a corner) and I submitted an application.

The next day I went for my long ride and I was so hyped about the fact that I had put in that application to meet those puppies. On the way home form my ride I checked the website to see if the puppies were still listed. One had been taken off. Just by chance I clicked on “Events” and it said there was an Adoptathon happening Saturday from 11-4. It just happened to be Saturday 11:30!!!! I considered it FATE.

I picked up Annie from the babysitter (Troy was off playing paintball) and asked her if she wanted to go to a dog Adoptathon (I really didn’t know what that was), but she was game. I was hoping that since the rescue hadn’t answered my application (it had been a mere 20 hours) that I would find my way to these puppies. So we loaded up and drove across town.

As we pulled in, I was a little overwhelmed. I quickly realized that this was a huge adoption event with about 15 rescue organizations coming together and bringing MANY dogs for a massive group adoption event. It was pretty awesome. In Colorado and I’m sure other states as well, there are groups of people that get together and run rescue organizations. They rescue dogs and place them in foster homes and then work tirelessly to adopt them out. Colorado is a very dog friendly state!

As a segway here, Annie was bit by a dog in the face when she was little. I grew up LOVING dogs but after the bite I found myself very protective of Annie around dogs, and I became apprehensive around most all dogs myself. That’s why when I meet well behaved gentle dogs, I am quite wooed. I LOVE dogs, but I am scared at times of them after what happened to Annie. She is also very apprehensive around dogs that move quickly or suddenly, but she OH SO wants to love and engage with dogs. We are all a work in progress.

So we walk into this adoption event and there are dogs everywhere and I’m a little taken aback and on guard with Annie. I bee line for the rescue that I put the application in with and immediately introduce myself and inquire about the puppies. The lady in charge of that rescue says that the puppies aren’t here, they are with their foster home and to just wait a few days for them to get in contact with me. They never actually did now that I think about it.

I’m like humm? But I look around and there are like 300 dogs there, and like 40 puppies, so I said to Annie, let’s go play with some puppies!

We played with ALL the puppies. That place was awesome, they have a sponsorship with a pet product company, they write pet product reviews so they have tons of toys to play with. We visited every single one and I was definitely looking at each of them to see if I wanted to adopt them. There were puppies everywhere and we spent time, picked up, and played with every single one. One of the rescues on the fringe was Waggin’ Tails and we went over there to play with a cattle dog looking puppy they had. We picked him up but he was so pooped out from playing that he was just a sleepy limp noodle. The ladies were very nice and I found myself chatting with Lejla. She was holding a leash with “Cindi” on the end and who to me was just another of the many adult dogs looking for a forever home. As I was talking to Lejla I started petting “Cindi” and Lejla started telling me about her. “This is the best dog, she’s so sweet, we fostered her for three weeks, this is how she is all the time…etc etc” She really knew the dog and I just kept petting her.

I wish I could say it was love at first sight but I wasn’t sure. She wasn’t the look of the type of dog I would choose. You can’t really say what she is…mutt with a capital M, and her eyes are kinda creepy to me, a crazy shade of brown. But the more I pet her, the more Lejla told me, and the more Annie snuggled with her, I was falling deep. “Cindi” is a passive dog, lacks some confidence, but is sweet and kind. She did not make one sudden movement. “Melts like a puddle” is a good way to put it. Before I knew it she was on her back in my lap wanting belly rubs. But she was 1-2 years old…not a puppy.

I needed a walk. We went and played with all the puppies a second time and I was getting a bit attached to this black puppy with a silver collar. We came back to “Cindi” and pet her some more and I thought…unknown puppy that will 100% pee on my carpet…VS…adult dog that I know is sweet and calm. I had to walk away and think. I called Troy….paintball…voicemail. I called again, and again…voicemail. Annie and I walked around. I called again. We bought a lemonaid. We went back and asked to take “Cindi” for a walk. We walked her around, she was chill, just hung with us, no pulling or lagging, just hung. Troy called. I told him about her and he said “GET HER”…so we did.

Okay…TWO crazy things came out of this and then I talk more about “Cindi” who is now “Lolli”.

One: I friended Waggin’ Tails on facebook and Lollis foster mom Lejla and her wife Mollie and I have a mutual friend, who just happens to be Paul, Angela Duncan (Naeths) hubby! Triathlon world and dog rescue world collide! In fact, they had seen the video blog I did with Angela. What??!! They recognized Annie! What??!! Molly knows Paul from middle school. What?!!

Two: Remember the puppy with the silver collar. Well, my across the street neighbors daughter adopted it. I didn’t even know she was at the event, and it wasn’t until a few weeks later that she was house sitting and I recognized the puppy and we put two and two together. It gets better. The daughter was house sitting for her mom, and left the puppy in the bathroom while she went to work. The puppy got in the sink, pressed the stopper down, turned the faucet on, and flooded two floors of her moms house.

The universe has never been so clear that we made the BEST decision to adopt Lolli.

In fact, I really think that she adopted us. The care and tenderness that she has with Annie has melted my heart. Troy loves her and I see him really loving the first dog he ever has in his life. She’s SMART, so smart. I went to Cali for a week and Troy taught her sit, down, stay, come, and is close with heal and back. She anticipates needs and watches over all of us. When we are all in separate rooms she makes the laps to keep tabs on everyone. She is PHENOMENAL on the leash, doesn’t pull, doesn’t lag. And she can run. She’s been healing for me. Very healing.

There have been zero negatives. When I think that she was on the 72 hour kill list at a high kill shelter in NM before being rescued I want to cry. I just want to cry. I am so thankful to Waggin Tails for saving her life.

Annie cut Lejlas head out of the photo! Sorry!! This was at the Adoptathon. 


Our first car ride. She curled up on Annies lap and we were trying to figure out a name other than “Cindy” for her


This is when she and Troy first met, one of my favorite photos of her. She looks so happy and cute!


Day 1 – she’s a go go dog and just wants to be where her people are


That first day we walked her for hours. She was SO good on the leash, how could we not!


Everyone needed a nap!


That first week she was very attached to me and did not let me out of her sights. I took her everywhere because I didn’t want to cause her more pain. I had to pull over several times because she would crawl into my lap while I was driving. She doesn’t do that any more, but she just had to be close that first week. 

In the front seat, with her people. 


This was the first week as well. I knew so quickly that she would love and nurture Annie. She checks on her constantly, and is always right there with her, never any sudden movements and always with care and tenderness. This from a dog who was surrendered to a high kill shelter, close to the end of the line, in foster care with a loving family, and finally to us, and yet still has the capacity for care and love. How?


Just cute. I can’t even take a bath without her in the bathroom.  It’s gotten better now that she is attached equally to Troy, Annie, and I, but those first weeks it was all about mom and staying with mom.


Yup, pretty much sums it up! 


I love this one. lolli13

When Annie goes into the front yard to play and doesn’t take her along, she sits just like this and watches her play. She did this for almost 2 hours on this day. When Troy goes to yoga she will sit here, watching, and waiting for him to return. 


In the car, she’s in Annies lap 90% of the time. She doesn’t exactly enjoy the car rides, but it’s much better than being left home. Last week Troy took her on a long car ride with him and she laid in the back and had dreams of chasing bunnies. She was howling and the feet were running! 

On her normal walk (to Starbucks) she gets to go by what I call “Lollis bunnies” She loves them and wishes she could chase them. She will freeze and stay VERY still watching them. Sadly, she thinks our downstairs cat is a bunny and has tried to get it a few times. The upstairs cat and her are fine. It is very strange. She’s totally fine with cats that don’t care about her, but downstairs cat is really scared of her, and so she thinks she can chase it. Yikes! 


Yup, they sometimes sleep together and this makes Lolli a very happy dog because all of her people are in the same room and she can relax. She is snuggling with her hedgehog here, whom she ripped the legs off of! haha!


Needless to say, we could not be happier. I’m so thankful to Waggin’ Tails Canine Rescue for rescuing her, and to Mollie and Lejla for fostering her and being such great foster moms. I never saw myself adopting an adult dog but I’m so so so glad we did. There are so many loving dogs that need homes. I know you hear that all the time, but wow, I did not fully understand what great dogs are out there. I had this misconception that they were damaged goods, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth! We were the ones RESCUED!



I got knocked on my fanny this week. Troy got knocked on his as well. I ended up in the ER Tuesday night because I passed out while in the middle of my 6th or 7th case of bad diarrhea that was mixed with puking sessions (flu?). Troy called 911 and the EMTs were in my bathroom picking me up, BP was 80/55. Annie handled it like a champ, waved the Fire Truck down the driveway and wiped my tears in the ER. Troy drove following the ambulance, despite being on Perkaset and just having had a visit to the ER Monday morning for his back pain. Oddly other things are happening within my family right now that reminds me how lucky we are in that our troubles will ease with the passing of time. None of our problems require surgery or hospice. As much as the last few days have been rough and brought up many emotions my family has pulled together more than ever with lots of FaceTime chats home, and my dad and I have taken this as an opportunity to build our bond by helping each other through. It’s like crocuses that bloom in the snow. Mom just blames it all on the Blood Moon…?


Like I said, time will heal these things and I am so lucky in that I have people who care deeply about me, and me them, on my speed dial. I have too much love and support in my life to really feel down, just a hurdle and a reminder.

I was reminded this week that I need some down time. At first I thought “well, I just got the flu, this wasn’t because I’ve been go go go, it’s just because I got unlucky.” That was my first response, recover from it and get moving again. Then I thought a little deeper and had a chat with Muddy, and realized…Ohhhh, yea, this is reality knocking on the door trying to provide a wake up call. Funny that I wrote a post about burning the candle at both ends and not 48 hours after hitting publish I’m in an ambulance headed to the ER. Coincidence? I wish…but no, it was not.

So now I’m taking some down time. Rest, relaxation, and sleep are on tap for the next few days. Even the lion sleeps most of the day.

Sleep/Whole30: Day11 – Just a Fantastic Day

What a great Sunday I’ve had! Working with Kristi in the pool today was a totally awesome experience. She has some shoulder issues and we are really trying to work on her form to alleviate the pressure on her shoulders. We made some nice progress today in that regard. I just feel so passionate about my athletes success, it’s awesome to see things click.

Sunday is schedule writing day and tends to be the most stressful of my week, but today I had more focus and clarity than usual. We had terrific office hours today and the crew asked some great questions about running track, ironman nutrition, and using 70.3s during their Ironman builds. It’s been fun, this year some of my athletes have put picking the races they are doing this year in my hands, so I have built a few yearly plans and I’m excited to see those get executed. All in all, really good stuff.

I had a great run today, it was on the treadmill while I had Kristi spin out her legs. I messed around with some different inclines on the tready and now I’m excited to incorporate some of that into my athletes schedules (insert evil laugh here). Many of their sessions stem from things I have done here or there through the years.

Food today was awesome. I made sweet potato/eggs breaky…the usual but without avocado because I didn’t have any. Lunch we went to Smashburger and I didn’t have the bun, but had sweet potato fries and the innards of the burger (patty, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and some bacon…just one slice).


For dinner Kristi and I were coming home from the gym so we swung by and got Chipotle. It was more eating out than I usually have but it was all really good food, and when it’s good food I don’t really sweat it. I had a bit of a headache this morning, not sure from what.

I’m sucking in the Sleep30 department. I’m still not a morning owl. I’m trying but I’m still struggling here. Today I hit snooze. 4:30 just seemed so early and I flunked morning person school today.

Dina asked me if I could talk about inspiration and motivation on the video blog (every time I write v-log it gets autocorrected…..) and so I did.

Also, before I go, I want to chat a little about motivation. If you are doing something you love, like triathlon, and you are needing motivation to get out the door, or going through a funk, I have a little advise. First off, it can happen, it’s normal, you can get in a lull, but I will tell you this. Through the years I have learned that it isn’t really worth it to force it. If I am lacking motivation, I usually just don’t train. GASP! WHAT? SERIOUSLY? Yes, most of the time, if I’m just not feeling it, I skip it.

I just don’t want triathlon to be about delayed gratification. I want to WANT to do it every day, and I think doing it when I don’t want to is the shortcut to getting burned out. So, I generally just skip a session when I’m not feeling the love. It means letting go of perfection, but then when you have some stellar races despite (and maybe because) you skipped some stuff, you start to realize, Oh, it’s kinda a little special secret in the sport. Bottom line is that most of us are plenty trained, but sometimes our mojo is overtrained. I work best when I value both equally.

2013 Ironman Brasil – The Run

Getting off the bike I felt that I was in the lead for the amateur race but I wanted to make sure. The course is 1 long loop of about 13 miles, and then two shorter loops of about 10.5K. When I put together my race plan I really wanted to run the long hilly loop conservative and then throw down the hammer on the short flat loops.

Did it go down like that?

No, of course not. Negative splitting the Ironman marathon always seems like an awesome plan on paper but never really comes together in reality. I’m not sure if everyone feels this way, but I almost always feel great getting off the bike (Kona being the exception). This time I felt better than usual, my nutrition was sitting super well. I felt great getting out running and 7:30 pace felt easy. I ran that pace all the way until we hit the hills.


There was a short out an back around mile 3 and I didn’t see anyone ahead. I checked my watch and started looking for AGers behind me to get a time split. I was almost out of the out and back and saw two of them. I had 7:30 on the second AGer. I felt pretty darn good about that. Knowing I was aiming for a 3:30 marathon, that meant either of those girls had to run 3:23, on a hilly course. Okay Sonja, now, don’t screw this up. You still have like 23 miles to run.

What can I say, I loved the hilly section of the course. I ran the first long one up and down. Then the second steep one, I had to walk that! It was short and walking felt just as hard as running. At the top I got back at it. The third one I ran. On the big descent down to the ocean I saw Haley Chura (you have to read her Brazil blog, it’s hilarious) and had to give her a high 5. She looked really solid!

I hit the ocean road and we ran along that, past our hotel, and out to another out and back. I was feeling good, but was just barely keeping things under 8min miles in this section, maybe 7:45-7:50 range. Those hills really take a bite out of your mojo. I turned at the out and back and was happy to have that part of the course done.


I took another time split and now saw that I had a 12 minute lead over the second AGer. That was when I breathed a big sigh of relief. I just felt confident that I could hold onto that lead until the end. I still had like 18 miles to run, but my nutrition was going so well, and I felt really in control of my tempo and emotional state. My self talk was 100% positive, I was having a great day.

At mile 11 my liquid nutrition had run out. I had decided to run with a waist pack for this race. I have had trouble in past races on the run with nutrition. If you read this blog often, you’ve heard it all from me. After my bonk at Oceanside this year, I am more into being prepared and having what I know works with me, than being light. Duh…that only took 9 Ironmans to figure out. So I had 2×10 ounce bottles in my waist pack with Osmo in them and I had 2 packs of chews in what I call my Kangaroo pouch. At the aid stations I had been taking water at each one and drinking it or pouring it over my head.


Speaking of water. I need to talk about the WATER! North American Ironmans HAVE to adopt the Ironman Brasil water situation. Do you remember the cups of orange juice you used to get in Kindergarten with the foil lids? Well, thats what they handed out on the run but in water form. So it was a cup of water, with a foil lid. This was the most genius thing I’ve ever seen. No more losing half the water during the handoff. You could carry it and use it later, you could poke a little hole in the top and pour it over your head. It WAS GENIUS. Best EVER!

See the water in the cups on the right. This is a different brand, but it’s the same container.


Okay, so after my Osmo ran out, I tried some Pepsi. Boy, immediately it made me feel very up and down emotionally. So I knew I had to get into my special needs and get more Osmo. At mile 14 I finally hit special needs, and grabbed a spare bottle of Osmo and refilled my waist pack bottles.

So one thing that was really different for me during this Ironman was my sense of being alone. I knew there was zero chance of anyone out there knowing me, so I really just focused on taking care of me. It was truly an independent day and in some ways, I think that actually helped. Now I don’t get outside assistance from people, but just running by your family on the course is always such a huge boost. I was without that, and nobody around me spoke English. Even telling volunteers my number at the turn arounds, I quit doing that because I didn’t know how to say my number in Portugese. So it was a quiet day.


Now I’m on the short loops and it’s time to boogy. Crap. Where is my boogy? I’ve got no boogy. 8min miles was where it was at. Not a lot of urgency, just running strong. I passed Claire and we had a little conversation. IN ENGLISH, oh how that felt good! On the first shorty loop when I was going into the out and back I heard this huge booming voice screaming for me on the other side of the road. It was Troy headed out on his long loop. It was so good to hear his voice. And to be honest, I felt this huge sense of relief because I knew he would finish, and that he was safe and alive.

The Brazilians don’t really cheer for people they don’t know, and they don’t own cow bells. So it was oddly quiet out there and I hadn’t actually heard my name all day. But I knew from day 1 that this race was about tucking into my own head and getting it done.

At the end of long lap 1 we got the coolest arm band to mark our completion of the lap. I was so excited about that, and then at the end of shorty lap 1 we got another one. The excitment to get the arm band was unbearable. I looked forward to it for miles and wondered what color it would be. You could use the arm bands to tell what loop other people were on and it helped the course volunteers direct people.


Finishing my second shorty loop I was headed to the finish. I was feeling so great, so happy, and I just kept running. The finish didn’t come…kept running…still not there. I checked my watch and it read 3:31 at 26.2 miles. No finish in sight. It wasn’t until 26.6ish that I hit the chute and in a blink of an eye it was all over. The chute was way too short.


I did a jump at the line. I felt really really good. They didn’t catch my jump, and the race photos are so funny, prejump, and post jump, but no actual jump. First jump I’ve done that didn’t get caught. Oh well, the face on this photo is pretty classic.


I turned around and saw 9:51 on the clock and just started crying. I felt really alone, but really happy, and I felt a little foolish for being so emotional. There were all these people staring at me, and the announcer was talking to me, but I had no idea what he was saying (theme of the trip). There aren’t any finish line catchers in Brazil, you just sort of walk off like after a 70.3. They put a dry towel around my shoulder and I soaked it with tears.


I made my way into the post race food area, grabbed some pizza (they had a pizza oven in the finisher tent and they were hand making pizzas and they were AMAZING) and sat down at a table by myself. I just cried for awhile there, there were happy emotional tears. I felt really dumb, but I couldn’t stop. So many thoughts were swirling through my head. It was mostly a loop of “Did that really just happen?”

I must say, I want to thank Hillary Biscay. She was in the tent and she was the only person that talked to me, not that I expected anyone else to or anything. She asked me how I did and if it was my first time under 10. It was really nice of her. Ken Glah was in the tent too and he looked tired. He won his AG, and was about a minute ahead of me. Amazing.

After a few minutes I got out of there and made my way to the hospitality house that Ken Glah has on the race course for all the athletes and families of the athletes. I cleaned myself up in the bathroom and went out to the course to wait for Troy to come through. Sure enough, he came running through with 1 shorty lap to go. I got to see him twice and he asked me how I did. I told him and he did this big fist pump as he ran away from me. One lap later I got to run through the finish line with Troy (they allow 2 guests down the chute with you) and that was so so so awesome. Except I had to ask him to slow down, that was a little embarrassing. He  jumped up and touched the Timex sign, a 1 hour PR for him in his 3rd triathlon ever.


Run Time: 3:34:15

Overall Time: 9:50:49 says the results.

Final Placing: 1st in AG, 1st Amateur, 11th woman, 123th overall in the race.

Tomorrow, some thoughts and reflections….

An addition to this blog post 18 months later! I was contacted by Guto saying that he took a photo of me that he was entering into a photography show at a studio (PS Guto takes amazing photos of naked triathletes, so you are going to want to visit his site!) He is a photographer in Brazil. HE CAUGHT MY JUMP!!! So 18 months later I have a jump photo of the finish and here it is in all it’s glory! haha!! It was just a reminder to me of the pure joy I experienced with that PR and first IM amateur win. It was such a special moment for me and I am so thankful he reached out and shared his talent with me! So awesome!!! 

Sonja - Guto

2013 Ironman Brasil Pre Race

Man, I have started this post so many times. I really want to blog about Ironman Brazil and I’ve struggled with writing a short blog, or a long blog, or 5 blogs, or what not. After going back and forth a million times, I just decided, heck…I’m verbose. Anyone who knows me, knows I can’t shut up. So, why should this be any different. I blog so that I can read back about my experiences after I forget about them, so I don’t want to leave anything out, because this one was too special.


So, Part 1 of what will be a 4, maybe 5 part series. IRONMAN BRASIL…everything you’ve ever wanted to know…and then some. Let’s get this party started!

Getting to Brazil is no small feat. Just preparing to get to Brazil is crazy. However, if you are going to go for it, I suggest Ken Glah’s Endurance Travel. It’s well worth the money and I will use his company again in the future. In fact, it’s made me more confident to travel internationally to Ironman, because I know Ken Glah will take care of me, and I can focus on the fun.

After leaving Annabelle in the capable hands of my mom, complete with power of attorney and a notarized will, we took a plane from Denver to Dallas and boarded a large half full plane to Sao Paulo. This flight was perfect, it left at 9pm, arrived a 7am and was about 9 hours of flight time. They fed us, turned down the lights and I slept on Troys shoulder for a solid 7+ hours.


Taking my toothbrush, contact case, blanky, and pillow made things easy peasy. Once in Sao Paulo we had to clear customs and recheck our bags to Florianopolis. Our bags were the last ones to show up, and we met Claire (who was american and spoke english) in the customs line. Finding the airline to recheck our bags was our first hurdle. There isn’t a lot of English spoken in the Sao Paulo airport. We would show our itinerary to someone and they would point us down the hall. We kept doing that until they pointed us back the other direction. Then we got in a line, they made us go to another line, then they made us go to a third line. Finally, we got in front of the right person. We literally needed help from 15 people to make that happen. They were good to go with the bike box (no fee) and bags and we were were left to wait out our 8 hour layover that was now down to 5.5 hours (yes, that’s how long it took).

At the advice of Jocelyn Cornman we used a double bike box on this trip, and let me say, it was awesome. My KE teammate Jordan Sher loaned us his and we only paid one $150 fee the whole trip (American leaving Denver). Our box weighed about 65 pounds with both bikes and all 4 wheels and it was SO easy to pull around the airports. Major bike box success.


The fight from Sao Paulo to Florianopolis was probably the most low budget airline I’ve ever been on. There was like 6 inches of leg room. Troy’s legs didn’t even remotely fit so he spent that flight pretty uncomfortable with his knees in his chest…which just happened to make the BEST pillow for me. I slept from take off to landing.


Suddenly here we are in beautiful Florianopolis! We got our bags, again, our bike box (the monster) was last off the plane and we almost missed the Endurance Travel folks because the door out of baggage claim got blocked when three nuns ran their bag cart into the wall and couldn’t get it unstuck. Literally, I couldn’t make this shit up.

Once united with Endurance Travel, just as they were about to leave us behind, and as a result, we got to ride in the front seat of the shuttle. That was a total highlight. We got a great view of the city during the 45 minute drive to the hotel which was mostly along the Ironman course.


Our hotel, Al Mare, was the cheapest that Ken Glah offered, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We like to keep things basic and we both let out a huge sigh when we walked into the room, it was basic, but clean and comfortable. The first night was full of barking dogs and we kept the windows open and the cool breeze flowing.


Our hotel had breakfast and dinner every night and that was a nice perk. To know that you only had to hunt down lunch everyday while getting in all your Ironman preparation was a good thing.

Thursday we loaded up and headed to the Ironman practice swim. They did a mass start which we did not participate in. The beach was amazing, white sand, so beautiful with little islands off in the distance we just had permagrin. We got in to swim and there was a buoy out there we wanted to swim to. I thought the buoy was a normal sized buoy but after 30 minutes of swimming and finally arriving at the thing, it was like 3 stories high! There are no sighting buoys in this IM course, just turn buoys.


The return trip was quicker, and we encountered a lot of small jellyfish along the way. At times it felt like you were swimming in a sea of corks, and you could grab handfuls of them. They didn’t sting, so it was more awkward than anything. Our swim to the FIRST (of 4) turn buoy and back took 50 minutes and hence I started worrying about the Ironman swim. Also there is a current dragging you left, and I was pretty worried about how to handle that.


After seeing the swim Troy and I decided to go on a course tour that Endurance Travel offered on Friday because we heard that Ken Glah leads them and we knew we would get good beta. I got a massage Friday before the bus tour and then we parked ourselves up front on the bus and asked lots of questions. Ken was great, answered every one of my (and others) questions and I totally understood the course after that. The good tips I got, which of course I will share are the following.

#1 – You can get messed up in the swim. You have to determine the current on race morning by watching the boats. It can change from day to day. If it’s right to left (common) you have to aim to the right of the turn buoy (1000M out). Start right, stay right, and aim right.

#2 – Brazilians know how to swim. There are fast swim times because of fast Brazilians, not necessarily because the course is fast. Also, they don’t really believe in the concept of the “Bucket List” so most people in the race are serious about Ironman racing, not a lot of one and done types.

#3 – Special needs is not so good for this race. Nobody hands you your bag, and you have to hunt for it. It’s also like 20+ miles into the loop so you aren’t getting it at 56, but more like 76ish. Ken said he always uses special needs, but not at this race.

#4 – Two of the hills on the run course you need to walk up, and down. There is no point to run up or down them, you are faster walking, and they will hurt bad if you run down them.

#5 – They write a massive amount of penalties at this race. Last year about 150 of them, and there are only 2000 people in the race, so almost 10% get a drafting penalty. Drafting penalty is 10 minutes served in a tent in T2.

So I felt like that race course tour was well worth the money. Later that night we went to the PreRace Pasta party. The food was really good and we did not understand anything that was said over the loudspeaker. They did have a fruit boat though. That was pretty awesome, no dessert, just an awesome fruit boat!

Poor Jody was still hoping that his luggage would arrive, and in the nick of time it did. He had the most crazy adventure getting here, but handled it so well, I’m really proud of him for that. We actually thought he might have to beg/borrow/buy every single thing to race. Whew!


Saturday was GAME ON day. We got up, I got another massage, and we got in our training for the day. A super scary bike ride where we passed not once, but twice, the Passion Motel! It was a pretty scary ride, Brazil is not so safe. We had a run off where Jody was barely breathing and I felt like I was panting and out of shape. I always feel that way during my Ironman taper.


After training we hit up an awesome Brazilian steakhouse and had a little adventure down in the downtown area. By now I was feeling pretty at home and we were excited that race day was soon to be here.


We were required to drop our bikes off between 6-7pm so we loaded the busses and went through that hullabaloo. They had a sweet bag to cover each and every athletes bike. This was an AWESOME perk (note to North American races). Troy and I were racked right smack next to each other and Jody was just a few feet down. They walked us through transition and when we walked in and said “Hi”, they immediately screamed “English” and there appeared a guy who spoke English to explain everything to us. Back home, and it was bed time.




Recently I have been sleeping really well before my races. I was hoping for a great nights sleep, but I found out that when both Troy AND I are racing, and we both have pre Ironman nerves…there is double the tossing and turning. Neither of us slept great, but at 5am we were on that bus with Jody, ready to go!


Transition was awesome. We hung together with Jody, got the bikes ready, visited the portapotty, and headed to the swim start. I ate a white bread sandwich with jam and salt and finished off a bottle of Osmo. I ripped THREE new holes in my Freak because my nails were too long. I smiled because ripping a hole in my wetsuit means I’m going to swim fast, and I just ripped THREE. We got in the corral together, and Troy and I held hands while I peed in my wetsuit. I hugged Jody, he slipped a bit in front of us and Troy and I stood there together totally freaking nervous. We were all the way right and we had NO IDEA what the announcer was saying.

The last memory I have before the gun went off was staring at the beautiful sunrise off to my right, and just soaking in the pure beauty of the situation. I also looked around and could not find a single solitary woman. I was a in sea of men.


IronFamily Observations

Ironman training is in FULL EFFECT. This is the 9th time I’ve been through this and each time I learn a little more. This installment has required entirely new levels of efficiency since Troy is training too. I take the days, and he takes the morning and nights. I generally get Saturday, he generally gets Sunday. I train 2.5 hours to his every 1, he eats 2.5 calories, to my every 1.

So, a few observations this go around:

1.) We need huge amounts of training fuel. 18 bars will last about 5 days, and energy drink needs to be purchased in $100-$200 lots. We totally go through it. Chomps, blasts, gummies, etc… we need lots of different kinds so I’m pretty much buying these ANY time I see them. A LOT of them.

2.) Freezer Meal Parties. Thank you Michelle Ford for becoming a Wildtree rep and letting me crash most of her parties. At one point I had 37 frozen meals in the freezer (and I fit it all in the freezer side of our refrigerator). We are down to 8 meals left, and there are 6 weeks to go. I will need to crash more parties STAT. These have been the biggest lifesaver because most of them are done in the crock pot so we just put one in each day and there is food ready when we need it. Hot food. There is something about training that makes you want HOT food that smells good. Between these meals and our weekly door to door organics box we barely have to go to the store (usually only at 9pm for cookies and ice cream).

3.) Leftovers. I will admit that the biggest fight Troy and I have gotten into during this double Ironman situation is over leftovers. I thought it would be about who trains when, OH NO, that’s been fine. But if I come home from training and I’m hoping to eat the leftover fajitas and Troy has eaten them, and I’m starving…huge blowup! So we had to sit down and have a heartfelt conversation about leftovers. He was under the assumption that if it’s in the fridge it needs to all be eaten ASAP. I had to tell him that leaving me lunch is a sign of love. Now we are on the same page. He eats the leftovers, but always saves me some so I don’t lose it.

4.) Uncle! Sometimes we just have to call uncle. Troy and I have both experienced this. When it was just me training my training was priority and now that there are two of us, sometimes we can’t get everything we both need done. Sometimes, we have to bag it. I think this is what keeps triathlon marriages together. Both people need to be priority and sometimes training has to get ditched. In the long run, it all works out. It helps that Troys training schedule is rather loose, so he moves and shakes depending on his mojo. But I have lost my motivator. He used to really shove me out the door when I was stalling, and now he’s like “Maybe you should nap and I’ll go train.”

5.) Feelings! Troy totally knows how I’m feeling. He’s feeling the same way. I thought this would be a problem, but actually, this time around when I talk about being tired or just wanting to go to bed, I don’t feel bad anymore, because he is like “I totally agree.” His empathy for me and my empathy for him have really gone up and that’s been good for our marriage. I have felt less bad this go around than any other. We are both happy to be able to go to Brazil and being in it together just makes me smile.

6.) Sharing successes. This has been another awesome perk. We share our training successes so much more with each other. He had a breakthrough in the pool the other day and called me the minute he got out. I finished a big session and went straight to him for kudos. Also, we have really contributed to each others athletic success so much more than ever. Now we are in the pool with each other pushing one another, and it’s all for the same goal. The other day he wasn’t getting on his bike when he should have been and I told him “I don’t want to come back at midnight to pick you up, you better get on your bike.” We literally sat there and laughed for 5 minutes over that one.

7.) Laundry. Barely happens, and forget folding.

8.) Annie. Her life has really been minimally impacted in a negative way. She’s in swim school two nights a week and has lots of homework, so sometimes she’s busier than we are. This morning, Troy was traveling for business, and I meet with my trainer at the gym (Jen) at 7am. So I got up at 5 and packed everything up and then woke up Annie and she came and lifted with me. Jen gave her all these exercises and she had so much fun. Annie also gets lots of extra time in the swimming pool because most of Troy and I’s workouts are longer than her swim school, so she plays afterwards (just like she’s doing as I write this). So Annie doesn’t really see or notice any changes. I’m really happy with the lack of impact to her.

All in all, things are going really great. I am so darn happy this year. I’m having so so so so so much more fun. I’m enjoying my training to the n-th degree and I feel so much more well adjusted this year. Sure I still have my freak outs, but all in all this year is a 180 from last. I think a big part of that is having Troy in it with me. I’m so glad we are an Ironman family and that we teach our daughter daily to chase her dreams, to work hard, to have fun, and to be healthy.

All grown up

I made her take this picture. It was right after she said to me “Just think, you are never going to see this face again.”

Sounds harsh, but she was right. Her front two teeth have been wiggly for sometime and then all of the sudden one of them got really loose. After she said that to me, I started crying. It had been a long day and I just wasn’t ready for my baby girl, my only baby to take that next step. So I made her pretend that tooth wasn’t about to come out and to let me take one last photo.

She’s a little doll. Especially recently, just so much fun to hang out with. Such a nut too. Here she is with the evil snaggle-tooth. It reminds me of that weird movie with the nanny and the tooth that sticks out. What one was that again? I kept tell Annie “Don’t lose it, I’m not ready” and she would say “Ohhh mom.” Am I that mom now? The one begging for time to stop.

She wiggled and wiggled and spent about 2 hours in the bathroom in front of the mirror admiring her snaggle-tooth. She pulled on it but it wouldn’t come out. At one point she got it all turned around and the sharp part was digging back into her gums and then it got stuck that way. She started screaming “Ouch” and I ran into the bathroom, got a piece of tissue and pulled it out. It was barely hanging on. She looked at me and said “That didn’t even hurt.” It’s true that the forethought of pain is usually worse than the actual pain. Not just with teeth, but in life.

And then I cried, and I cried, and I cried. I just can’t handle the fact that now a big tooth is going to grow in and she’s not going to look like a little girl anymore. Michelle has been preparing me for this and Troy tells me I’m silly, but I just can’t get over it. This tooth has made me want to have another baby more than I have wanted to in the last 6 years. I just lament the fact that I only get to go through this all once. Time please slow down. I beg you.

But it won’t. I’m screwed there.

While the munchkin is rip roaring around summer camp, I’m keeping myself busy with Kona training. I am challenging myself more, I am loving my training and I am doing lots of fun things, especially on “Friday Funday.” This past week PIC, J&J and I went to Glen Havn. Actually, half the J went to Estes and missed the cinnamon rolls, but us ladies are all about sweets and rewards, so we weren’t about to miss them.

We had one of those remarkable days where there was a tailwind going uphill and a headwind coming down. MY FAVORITE! If you are going to have wind, that’s the wind to have. And the cinnamon rolls did not disappoint. We had a good day and the fitness is coming along nicely. I’m so glad to have PIC back on the bike and I’m going to miss J&J when they go back to Pittsburgh, but they said I can come visit. I’ll have to take them up on that.

On the way back to Boulder jacked up on a sugar high I decided that a mid ride swim made a lot of sense. It was amazing to take a dip in the little lake on the Big Thompson river. I would do it again, hands down. Especially since the temps here in Colorado have been blistering. It’s been perfect Kona training, now if those temps can just last through October…I doubt that!!

This last weekend we said goodbye to the trusty VW. We beat that car to smithereens. Like bad! I’m pretty sure they are going to have to total it. We traded it in for a new one, something I’ve wanted for a long time, a Honda Element. This bad boy can fit both Troy and I’s bikes upright inside it without taking any wheels off, and can still fit Annie in the back seat. It’s awesome and I feel so lucky to be driving it around now. I’m going for 300,000 miles on it! that’s the goal….275,000 to go! I heard this guy on NPR, he hit 3,000,000 miles on his car recently. Insane!

Have a great week, I know mine will be. The end of the work week PIC, J&J and I are going on an epic adventure, and then this next weekend Troy has his first ever triathlon! The HITS “half ironman” in Sterling Colorado. It’s supposed to be like 100, I hope he doesn’t melt. I can’t wait, I’m so excited for him!!!