Rev3 Quassy Recap

Ahhh, so much to talk about, so little time! I just got back from Rev3 Quassy working on the staff for the weekend and I leave this weekend for Chicago where my brother in law Todd is getting married to my soon to be new sister in law Minna. We are so excited for them. Between all the travel I have been trying to fit in all the training that I can and I have tried to remain diligent in my coaching duties.

I met one of the athletes I guide this weekend at Rev3 Quassy. Her name is Danielle and she is a complete doll! It was great to see her in action, and to get to chat the bit that I did with her. She lives on a tiny little island and I can’t wait to go out and see her for a visit. Helping out other athletes is an absolute blast!

It’s always really fun working the races and absolutely blitzing yourself so that no stone is left unturned for the athletes. One of the highlights of my weekend was getting to ride in the vehicle that Eric Wynn was in as he took pictures of the PRO women during the run. I pretty much got a front and center look at how the best in the sport run.

Wow, what a learning experience. It was also the first time I have seen Angela race this year, and it’s neat to see all the progress she has made in the off season.

I took a ton of photos on my phone which was pretty funny since Eric Wynn had a HUGE lens, and I had…my iPhone… ha!

Julie – who took the win, and held off the chasing World Champ!

Rinny – hard charging to catch Julie, but hard to catch when she was out of sight.

Ang – finished 3rd and was clearly in the hunt. It was great to see her run a 1:22.

I liked to compare the ladies form and run style, all three very different, all three very fast. I also enjoyed seeing the look behind each of the ladies eyes. The look Rinny had while chasing, the look Julie had being chased, but knowing she was throwing down an excellent race, and the sheer grit and fight that Ang had behind her eyes. It was really really really motivating.

Congratulations to all of you who participated in Rev3 Quassy. I hope that we were able to make your racing dreams come true and I hope that you enjoyed the event and the atmosphere of the race. We all worked ourselves to the bone to provide the best product possible.

A special congratulations to my PIC who had a great race and took home 1st in her AG, we are proud of her!!

And now, I am back to training HARD, and loving it. The weather has turned to summer here in Colorado and we have already been treated to some 95 degree days. I’m eating them up!

Rev3..The Other Side of the Fence

I’m here in Knoxville, Tennessee at the Rev3 race, but, get this, I’M NOT RACING! Crazy, huh? This year I was offered a position with the Rev3 staff to work at three of the Rev3 events. For a company that is extremely family centered and family run I feel honored to have been asked to join the group. I said “yes” without a moments hesitation.

I raced two Rev3 races last year and really enjoyed my experience at both Quassy and Knoxville. They have built a reputation quickly in the triathlon community as family friendly well run, yet challenging, events. Now that I am working on the other side I totally understand why this is.

The atmosphere of the race is dictated by the people that put the event together. If a race you attend feels stuffy or anxious, it’s because the race staff is. If you attend an event and you feel like they are money hungry, it’s because they are. The event is a representation of how it is run and who is running it. Your inner feelings always shine through in event management.

The REV3 crew is family. It doesn’t matter if they are related or not, everyone is treated as family and there are lots of “Unkle So-and-so”, and “So and So Senior” and “So and So Junior” running around. I have been adopted, although my nickname has yet to be settled on, a few have been tossed out, but they involve cuss words…so I’m hoping a different one will stick. HA!

Above is Sandy, the Rev3 puppy. Recently rescued, I think everyone works better when there is a dog and a few kids running around….which there are here!

The crew runs a well oiled machine where everyone is willing to help anyone, athletes included. This race will pretty much bend over backwards for any individual athlete. Need to switch races, yup, need to be explained the course, yep, need special treatment, yep. They are all about helping the athlete and their family.

That…in a nutshell…is why I am here. I wanted to be involved with a triathlon company that wants to change the culture of what is expected at races. That change will come, because these folks are the real deal and because they are unique.

Anyways, I’ve bragged enough about the sweet crew I am working for. Oh, what am I doing? Besides helping with lots of odds and ends, I am primarily working for the timing boys, checking out chips and taking finish line jumbo-tron photos. It’s work of the social variety and I absolutely love it and eat it up. I have felt more refreshed and rejuvenated here on site than I have in awhile.

These creepy eyes are watching down on us! It’s okay, eyes, we are doing a good job and the athletes are having so much fun. I can’t wait to take a turn on the inflatable tiger!

Hope to see you at the races!

Kona – The Run

Heading in off the bike they have you run all the way around transition to the back side of the pier, in a way reversing your steps from T1. It’s quite a run so you get a taste of how your legs are going to feel. Mine were basically saying “What on earth have you done to us”? They were pretty heavy. I grabbed my bag, ran into the change tent, which seemed rather busy and dumped my bag out on the ground. I had two volunteers helping me and although it was a bit crazy, I got through the entire T2 in about 3 minutes.

I hit lap on my watch coming out of T2 and it said “Delete History, Active Memory Full”. Grrrrr. It does this to me in training and the only thing to do is shut it down, turn it back on, delete all history, and restart the watch. But that would mean I would loose all my ride data. I remembered my watts, 169 average. But I was sad about losing the data. I ran that first mile going “think Sonja, think, what to do”? I thought maybe I could steal a watch off someone else. No, that’s not a good idea. Maybe I could delete some old training sessions and see if it would let me hit lap. I tried that…which was a pain in the butt to be clicking buttons while running. It didn’t work. Back to the drawing board.

After running a bit longer and “thinking” I finally decided to delete everything and start new. So I cleared the history, restarted the watch, turned it to run mode, and hit start somewhere just after mile 1 of the run. It was a good decision. It would have been fun to look back at my ride data, but, it was more important to have access to my watch during the marathon!

I gotta admit, I wasn’t all too sure where exactly the run course went. For some reason I thought you spent a lot of time on the Queen K, and very little time on Ali’i drive. I had driven the Queen K portion, I had run the Energy lab, but I had not scoped any of Ali’i drive. Some surprises are needed.

After the watch incident I got going onto Ali’i drive and my legs were turning over very nice. I saw Bree Wee and we tried to slap hands, but we completely missed each other. It was so kind of her to give me some Aloha out there. At mile 2 I started wondering when we were going to turn around.

I need to talk about the aid stations here on Ali’i because they are worthy of their own post. The stations were phenomenal, there was so much aid to be had. Sometimes I think they took up 0.1 of a mile, with multiple opportunities to access the goods. I had on my new Nathan waist pack (which I love) and a Nathan 10oz hand bottle in my hand. I barely needed them. The stations had me covered. It was a bit hot so I was taking full advantage of the fluids on the course. I even had a few gels on Ali’i drive.

I saw my family coming directly out of transition, and then I saw Chuckie, Michelle and Angela around mile 2. That was awesome, lots of booming cheers from them, I totally loved it! Chuckie told me to find someone and work together with them. Great idea. A lady had just gone past me at a good clip so I tried to get her back. But she wasn’t the working together sort, so I was still “dating”.

At mile 5 we finally turned around. My mile 2-5 splits had been somewhere around 7:45, 7:41, 7:51, 7:52. I spent a fair amount of time those first miles wondering if I had gone too hard on the bike. I was working pretty hard those first miles, but having trouble really telling where my body was at. They weren’t flat miles either, there are some hills on Ali’i drive.

The 5 miles back on Ali’i were pretty uneventful. I saw Brynje who is coached by Chuckie too, and she looked great. I continued to eat a bit too much at the aid stations, but it all tasted so good. Those next 5 miles were 7:58, 8:00, 8:04, 7:57, 8:03. I really was paying very little attention to my watch. Back through town, back through the awesome cheers from everyone.

Then we ran up Palani hill. This is so much harder of a task than it looks like when you watch it on TV. Palani is like a 3 block hill and it’s steep. I knew I shouldn’t spike my heart rate so I tried to take the hill as consistent as possible, but I won’t lie, it hurt. I heard my name being cheered for and tried to smile as much as possible. My friend Jordan was there with his girlfriend Chrissy. Mile 11 with Palani hill was 8:41. That’s a big slow down, but it’s to be expected on the hill and I wasn’t concerned at all.

Now I was on the Queen K, yeah! The infamous Queen K that I’ve been waiting for! Coming down the first hill I mentally noted “big hill…coming up this will suck in 15 more miles”. At the bottom of it Michael Lovato passed me on his way to the finish and he said “Good Job Sonja”. He was wearing an orange kit with orange Kinvaras and the whole look was very cool. Orange is a color more athletes should try. I tried to give him kudos back, and I think I did, hopefully they didn’t come out like “Humph go huh huh michael”. I remember getting goose bumps after he said good job, I was really touched by the gesture. That was very kind of him to give me props out there on the course.

And so it began, the Queen K. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s 1 part hot, 3 parts hilly, and 2 parts relentless. You’re on it for about 6 miles until you turn into the Natural Energy Lab (NEL). So this is where I needed to find my zone, and crank it out. I was trying to find my zone, and I was still looking for someone to work with, but I was feeling a little inconsistent. I was having to give myself little pep talks, lots of them, my zone was being elusive. Miles 12-14 were 8:12, 7:59, 8:12. Somewhere in there Bree Wee and I passed again and this time we were successful in our hand slapping. I wish I had a picture of that.

I have several triathlon “angels” in my life, at least that’s what I call them. They are people whose presence I consider lucky and they always seem to share wisdom with me in a selfless way. Bree is one of them, as is my friend Adam who has raced Kona before. So I felt an extra boost with that high 5 from Bree, and again I got goosebumps.

Mile 15 was my first really big challenge of the day. I had noticed at about mile 12 that my tummy was a bit poochy. I thought to myself “You’re taking in too much, the tummy isn’t digesting”. I had already peed twice on myself during the first 12 miles, and I’m not talking little pees. I was HYDRATED. But during mile 15 I started to get the sloshy tummy. I could hear it thumping and moving. I was hoping it was the guy next to me, but it was me. Towards the end of mile 15 I got the sudden feeling of “OMG I have to poo like pronto”. I was looking for bushes and well…it’s the Queen K…there are none, just LAVA! I saw an aid station soon and knew they would have a potty. I tried to run fast…but not too fast, and with about 50 meters to go, I lost a bit of the battle with my tummy. It was the worst feeling, knowing what I was most likely doing in my shorts.

I finally got to the port-a-pottie and did my business. I tried to clean myself up the best I could. But really, I didn’t give a crap…literally, okay, wait, I guess I did give a crap, but you know what I mean. I just wanted to get back on the course and limit my potty time. The pit stop took exactly 42 seconds and I was back on the road. I made some new “rules” for myself, which were no more eating or drinking for 2 aid stations, and tread lightly while my system recovers. Mile 15 was 8:53 including the potty.

We had some hillage from there and eventually we turned into the NEL. This portion of the course is tough and I’m not exactly sure why. You go down a pretty big hill and all the special needs bags are here. It should be a good place, but I think it’s one of the hottest sections of the course. You can see the runners just ahead of you here and I saw Whitney from Boulder looking very very strong. I saw Wendy Mader as well, can’t miss the Timex kits! Miles 16-18 were 8:10, 7:59, 8:17.

I made the turn and headed back out of the energy lab. I started to drink some fluids again as my stomach seemed to be okay. I tested it bit by bit. I passed up my special needs bag. It was only 8 miles to the finish and I didn’t want anything I had stashed in there. Running out of the (no) Energy Lab is really brutal. It’s a hill and it’s hard and hot. Lots of people were suffering through here, me included I guess. I tossed my hand bottle at an aid station, knowing I could make it to the end without it.

I passed Wendy here and she was not happy. I’ve heard nothing but cool things about Wendy from my friend Fred, but I keep meeting her in the middle of races when she is struggling. I felt for her, and I didn’t want to pass without saying anything, so I said “Are you Wendy” and she said “Yes” and I said “I’m Sonja” and she said “Hi Sonja”. But the way she said “Hi Sonja” was in a very sad little mouse voice, and I just felt worse for making her talk. Mile 19 up the NEL hill was 8:54.

Back onto the Queen K your spirits really lift. There is a downhill after that big hill and you only have about 7 miles to go. I was looking forward to the 10K to go mark, because anyone can suffer for 10K. This guy came past me, and he was running like there was a fire under his toosh. You could tell it hurt, but this guy was embracing the pain cave and throwing it down. I immediately hopped on.

And this is where I found my Zen mode. For a good 5 miles I latched onto this guy and we ran through aid station after aid station. I was one stride behind him, just staring at his back for 5 miles. Sometimes other people would jump in the mix, but eventually they would drop back or move along. I don’t know if I annoyed him, but I tuned into his stride and zoned out completely. Miles 20-24 were 8:03, 8:18, 8:02, 8:26, 8:17. And I was happy with them. The guy that I latched onto is in a ton of the pictures above, he has on a dark red top with a huge M-dot in the middle. He so totally rocked!

I passed my dad and my Uncle Norm and Cousin Kyle. They were cheering up a storm and taking pictures. My Uncle Norm was helping a woman that was done. I felt so bad for her, especially after hearing the story my Uncle told. She was only 2 miles from the finish, she was in my age group, and she was just done. Her name was Megan Newcomer and I hope some day I can find out if she is ok. The stories were pretty scary. Uncle Norm is with her here.

At the top of one hill this volunteer was telling everyone “it’s all downhill from here”. My brain went crazy for a bit over that one. I knew there was one big hill left, one really big hill. I made sure to tell my stud pacer friend this. I also asked him if he knew what race clock time was, he didn’t, but I found out he had an Australian accent. Sure enough we hit the bottom of the hill and there it was facing me. BIG HILL. I had about two miles to go and I thought, poop on this hill, I’m going up it HARD. So I did. I ran up the last hill on the Queen K like the finish line was at the top.

And at the top of that hill you turn and get to run down Palani. I ran down Palani as hard as I knew how, pretending the finish line was at the bottom. Then you turn left on Kuakini and I ran along that as hard as I knew. I was now getting tired of running hard. I turned the corner towards Ali’i and there was Chuckie and Ang and PIC. I started crying and heard Chuckie yelling to GOGOGOGO. I went harder, my throat choking up, but with no tears. Then I turned onto Ali’i and it was all smiles. Ali’i was AWESOME. It was lined with people, all of them cheering like crazy. I saw a woman right ahead of me and thought “oh no, I gotta get her, what if she’s in my age group”. When I got up near her I noticed she had 3 numbers on her arm which meant she was a pro, so I didn’t give chase. They started 30 minutes ahead and I wasn’t going to ruin my finish line experience racing her, ya gotta milk those last steps.

I ate it up on Ali’i. It’s truly the best finish line in the world and it did not disappoint. Because I had to restart my watch I had no idea what the race clock time was. I came around the corner, looked up and saw 10:17 on the clock. I was totally flabbergasted, I was ecstatic and my whole body washed with goose bumps. I ran over that finish line full of smiles and warm fuzzy feelings. My last two miles were 8:00 and 7:12.

The race volunteers were amazing afterwards. They take great care of you and before I knew it I had a lei and medal around my neck and I was laying on a massage table. I had an interesting thing happen after the race this time. I couldn’t find my family and I was horribly tired and I actually got sad and upset. I think it was a blood sugar thing, but I shed a few tears of sadness walking around afterwards. The massage helped a ton and then I found my family.

The evening was spent dancing it up at the finish line until midnight. It was an amazing experience, that midnight finish line. Thousands of others were there too.

I have a treat for you for tomorrow on the blog. My aunt Grace took some great video of the day and I made a movie. It turned out really good, so I’ll post it after my closing thoughts tomorrow.

total time: 10:17:53
swim: 1:10:41
T1: 2:24
Bike: 5:30:47
T2: 3:17
Run: 3:30:46
W30-34: 15th
amateur women: 31st
overall women: 60th
overall: 637

Team Trakkers 2011

Wanna be a part of Team Trakkers in 2011? We are a group that has a lot of fun! We meet up at Rev3 events, we keep in touch via twitter and each others blogs. We enjoy using our sponsors gear and representing them to the best of our ability. We like that our team has lots of different abilities and different backgrounds. We blog, we laugh, we are kinda techy.

Still interested?

Here’s the application for 2011.

And the direct link:

Harvest Moon Long Course Triathlon

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a race report. I made the decision after IM CDA to train exclusively for Kona and purposefully put zero races on the schedule. As I got into my training Chuckie suggested that I race the Harvest Moon Long Course Triathlon as a Kona tune up race. It’s just a 20 minute drive from my house, it’s on local territory, and it’s affordable.

As the race grew closer I realized that it was the same day as the Rev3 Cedar Point races and I was kicking myself for not going to CP to cheer on my Trakkers teammates who were doing the 140.6 race there. But then, looking at it from the Kona prep side this was the right decision. No airplane (germ exposure), travel trip expense (Kona spending money exposure), days of reduced training (kicking butt in the future exposure). But, I really missed out on Rev3 Cedar Point, and I would like to send out a huge congratulations to all the new 140.6ers!!

I’ll admit, I was a little nervous about racing. This close to Kona (4 weeks) I pondered what would happen if my results were lackluster. Then I would have to do the important job of figuring out what went wrong, and making sure my confidence didn’t take a plunge. Racing can be a little scary sometimes! But the night before the race, I did my normal mental work and I talked to myself about stepping on the line with a clean slate, with ZERO expectations, and just seeing where the race goes. It will be a good indicator as to where I am at, but if I let nerves get in the way, then it won’t be a good indicator. I thought I went to bed with peace, but I had a nightmare that Annie got bit by a spider and died, so maybe not all my issues were resolved. I love being a mom, do the irrational thoughts ever stop?

We arrived early that morning and waited in a long line of cars until 6am when the reservoir opened. Of course Annie had to go pee while we were waiting, and of course when Troy was taking her in the bushes (what few there are out there) the line of cars started moving. Troy was so happy that I didn’t drive off without him, and I was so offended that he thought I would do such a thing. 🙂

I got a GREAT spot in transition, right close to the bike exit and facing the proper way out. I set up my goods…minimal minimal minimal and got out of there. One of the things I forgot is that racing so close to home you see all your friends, all the triathletes that you miss at travel races. I loved bumping into everyone that I did, especially some of the multisport newbies like Brett, and Ron.

I was in the second wave to go off. In the first wave was the elites and the women 35+. I’ll admit right now that I think I was a little confused about the Elite wave. It said on the website that you had to have a PRO card to win money. And I interpreted that to mean that you had to have a PRO card to enter the Elite wave. So I did not. But I was wrong, someone like me could have entered the Elite wave, but I wouldn’t receive $$ if I won, since I’m an AGer. Live and learn.

So wave #2 it was. I wanted to swim good so I went hard from the start. I got out really well, swam really straight, and found feet. Sweet. They were great for awhile until they started loosing their navigational focus and I went solo from there. I tried to swim hard, pull hard, stay straight. I lost it a bit towards the last 20% of the swim but what I lacked in navigation, I made up for in effort. I exited, checked my watch to see 31:17 and ran UP UP UP to the transition and timing mat. It took 1 minute to run UP UP UP that hill.

I heard Chuckie say something to me on the way up…right as I was pulling off my wetsuit top, so I heard his words as: “Humngh Sonja, your mshyo sjhlli hukrps”. Right, got it coach!

Is it just me or are my legs frighteningly tan? I wear sunscreen, I swear!

Into transition, off with the suit, on with the glasses/helmet and I was out of there. I would like to highlight that I won the overall mens and women’s T1 race. Yes, sir-eee I went 0:48 seconds for an overall race best, Tim Hola’s got NOTHING on me (except swim/bike/run). Tyler would be SO proud!

Ha! Onto the bike. I had ridden the course several days prior with PIC and we had Kona like winds. We were going about 9mph for miles and miles. I felt prepared to have wind on race day and I almost wanted it so I could practice for Kona. When things were rather calm I was a little bummed, but not for too long. I got into my groove and incorporated a few things that Chuckie has been teaching me during training. I was racing without my race wheels, so I had my training PowerTap wheel on the back, and my training American Classic on the front. One thing CV has taught me is to avoid heart rate and power spikes during the race. This was a course with rollers, so I really tried to SIMMER during the hills, and keep the intensity HIGH on the flats and straights, thus keeping power and heart rate consistent. This is called “Being nice to your body and doing it a favor so you can ask it to run fast later”, or “BNTYBADIAFSYCAITRFL”. No really, it’s a technical term, it’s in all the Exercise Physiology books, look it up. So with that in mind I stayed focused during the race and tried to nail the task at hand.

The other CV thing I worked on was to not let my watts drop over the course of the race. This (apparently) happens often to athletes, so I really kept an eye on the watts and steadily rose them throughout the 56 miles. I was expecting total headwind the last 10 miles coming back on Quincy and almost shouted “Hallelujah” when there was none to be had. I pushed the entire way back, keeping the heart rate in check and really pushing hard down the hills to keep watts up.

I love my new gearing! It’s perfection! The compact with the 11-25 is just perfect for me and when Chuckie said the new crank length would make me faster, he wasn’t lying. My bike split came in at 2:26:49 and 22.9mph.

I also wanted to highlight Amber Rydholm. Despite the fact that we have only met once, she cheered me on by name out there. Amber is an Iron-chick and did both Placid and St.George this year. It was great to talk with her, and we got to know each other a bit better after the race. Cool Chick!

Amber and I on the podium with Annie, Um, Amber is really tall, did I mention that?

So I rolled into transition, threw on my socks and run shoes, grabbed my hat/number/nutrition and ran on out. It was cool to see lots of empty racks. I hit my lap button at the timing mats and I looked down at my watch. It said 3:01 for the overall race time. I was really really shocked at this. It all started to come together. Immediately I said to myself, if you can run 1:30 you can race 4:31. My PR from Clearwater last year was a 4:40, and I was pretty jazzed about that time. To know that running under 1:39 was going to result in a PR got me a little excited…but just for a moment.

I had a 1/2 marathon yet to run. I immediately got focused. I was excited to test out all the work we have been doing with my run. Well, not “work” really, but just the things I have learned about awareness and going Zen, and keeping my posture. (for you non-runners, find yourselves the best waist trainer, and try running with it on, you might be surprised at how much cardio you have already.)So, that’s what I did. We had some wind out there and I was lucky to work my way up to a guy running very close to my pace within the first mile. I tucked behind him settled in.

I focused on lowering the heart rate, standing tall, keeping my arms high, shoulders back and “boxing” with the hands. I tried to keep the belly engaged, and the head movement minimal. Focus Focus. And the miles started ripping by. My Garmin would beep at me every mile and tell me my split and they were all in the 7:00 range, some a little under, some a little over.

On one of the aid stations my wind block and the #1 male took all the aid and I wasn’t able to pick anything up. I remember thinking “This is part of the sport”, now what can I do about it? I decided to forgo the wind block in order to come into the next aid station first. He hung super tough with me though. I think he wondered why I was picking it up and passing him. He asked my name, I asked his, and then I told him “I really need aid at the next station”. I think he understood then.

I was able to get aid and keep my pace. I got to mile 6 and I saw the first lady pass me going the other way. I immediately recognized her as Mandy Mclane who I knew recently moved to Boulder (rad). She was one mile ahead of me, and I was actually really happy to be within one mile of her. What I didn’t realize was that she had registered in the Elite wave, so she had started 5 minutes ahead. But I didn’t know that at the time. Near the turn around on the dam I saw the #2 lady, Wendy Mader. I gotta admit, the Team Timex outfits are just plain daunting. Wendy looked like she was HAULING, I didn’t know if I could catch her. I also didn’t know that she started in Wave #1 as well, not as an Elite, but as 35+.

The aid station just shy of the turn around had my friend Brett’s daughter manning it. She recognized me and the aid station went BALLISTIC for me on the way back. LIKE CRAZY BALLISTIC! I loved them so much, I wanted to give them all kisses. It really made me laugh, and I think if I can inspire ONE young female cross county runner to stay healthy, EAT FOOD, and SMILE, then my job is complete. Thanks girls!!

On the way back I struggled a bit with the aid stations. They were on one side of the bike path, so when you were running back in, the people going out were in line for the aid and I didn’t want to have a head on collision with any of the racers. I missed one station, and then two more I just pulled over and took cups myself instead of taking them from the volunteers. I’m trying to have better aid station edict because this is something I’m not great with. It’s a work in progress. On the way back in I also had SO MANY people shout “GoSonja”. I really tried hard to wave at every one of them, another work in progress there. Please know that I hear you, and I value the fact that you are willing to take energy out of your race to shout my name, it means A LOT and it makes me run faster!

I had been watching Wendy HAUL in front of me, and then I came around a corner and she was right there. She soon stopped to stretch out what looked like a calf that was in pain. I FELT for her, as I know that when racing most athletes one goal is to keep moving forward at a steady clip with minimal issues. That’s one goal I think we all share. So I ran by Wendy but hoped that she would be able to stretch it out and get back into her pace.

I ran into Richard, who REALLY made me laugh. Richard is the dad of one of Annies schoolmates last year. We have become really good friends with their family and Richard got into Kona via the lotto (what are the odds…two parents in one preschool class of 12…headed to Kona). Richard was going out when I was coming in and he shouted “I’m coming for ya”, which was funny. But then, he kept shouting it like 5 different times and his voice kept getting fainter and fainter. In the moment it was hilarious and it was the one thing that broke my focus during the whole race. I lost it and just laughed for about 20 seconds.

I knew at that point that I was in second, behind Mandy, and I assumed she started in my same wave since we are usually the same age group. I was pretty jazzed. Heading into the last mile I switched my watch over to race time and noticed that if I ran hard I would be able to break 4:30. I couldn’t even comprehend it. I really couldn’t. In triathlons there are others to “race” but really, we “race” ourselves. I try to use other people for motivation to do my best, but when it comes down to it, it’s about finding the motivation from within and letting the chips fall where they may. Focus on what you can control…which is you…and your best results will shine through.

I ran strong into the finish keeping my form as perfect as I could muster. At the end they have this HUGE slip-n-slide that ROCKS. I took not one, but TWO trips down the slip-n-slide. I really think that this should be mandatory for races, it was really awesome!

I was standing around at the finish talking to Jen who I met at CDA and just love. Her husband Mark came up and said “You won”. I said “No, Mandy Mclane won, she was in front of me”. He dragged me over to the results and sure enough, I saw “Elite” next to her name which meant that she started 5 minutes ahead of me, and with that factored in, I was 13 seconds ahead. I was first overall, and I felt a bit bad that we hadn’t started in the same wave. It’s always hard to race someone who is in a different wave.

Shock, really pure shock. Chuckie says I shouldn’t be shocked, and I’m trying to get over it, but I was shocked. The 4:29:29 was an 11 minute PR over Clearwater. Although my Garmin did have the run course as short, there were a lot of twists and turns and the Garmin tends to underrepresent that. It could have been right. If it was right, then my 1:28:50 was a 2+min half marathon PR.

I learned so much during this race. Besides the fact that I got to practice all this stuff that CV has been teaching me in a race setting, I also learned the value of training. I never thought in years past that all my racing was impacting my racing, but this triathlon, and how I felt during this swim/bike/run really showed me just how much you can gain when you do commit to train for a big race. If you don’t race every little race along the way, then you might just shock yourself (and shocked i was). Racing is fun, it’s gratifying, and it’s a thrill. Training requires focus and diligence. But I never realized what huge rewards it can pay…until Sunday.

I also realized that I have sold myself short in the past. We all derive our identity from different places and I’ve always considered myself as “the hard worker”. I realized today that hard work can take you a long way. Hard work can win you races, and talent is a multifunctional word. It can mean lots of things, including your ability to work hard and capitalize on what genes you have.

Lastly, while this race was a great result for me, I plan to put it in my back pocket and then put my nose down and continue to do what I do best: comit. I have 26 important days until Kona, and I know that any mistake I make will be punishable by the island gods. Several weeks ago on a ride up to Ward I was joined by Cam Widoff. I don’t think I have to explain who that is, but let’s suffice it to say that he has raced as a PRO in Kona more times than….well…pretty much anyone. I asked him his advise and he said that the years he came to Kona humble and just ready to focus on himself and do his best were the years that he raced well. So that is my plan. Do the right thing from here on out. Focus on diligence in sleep, eating, limiting stress, and training. Spend minimal time attached to electronics, and maximal time spent with my legs up against the wall. And finally to arrive on the island humble, happy to be there, and happy to have the opportunity to race well.

Thanks in a very big way to: Trakkers (congrats to Rev3CP finishers), Goal0 (keeping my electronics solar charged), Saucony (my Kinvaras rock), Mix1 (2 for breakfast), Core Concepts (bamboo t-shirts rock), Tri-Massage (keeping my body happy), First Endurance (in my bottles, in my tummy), Justin’s Nut Butter (chocolate almond is heaven on earth), Nathan (just ordered 4 new hand bottles for KONA), NUUN (did you get any in transition?), and TriSwim (do I smell like chlorine…nope).

An especially huge thanks to Troy and Annie who were out there in full force, you guys rock, and I love you tons. I promise to take you on a Hawaiian vacation in 26 days.

And to Chuckie: humble thanks, my coach. Thank you for putting in the hours with me on the bike and writing me schedules that make me laugh and make me fit. You continue to train me in a way that makes me surprise myself. 26 more days until Kona, here we come.

Results can be found here.

Rev3 Quassy HalfRev

Hi All! Below is my Quassy race report. I don’t have many photos, I’m sorry. What is here from race day Michelle Beeson took, thank you!!! It’s quite wordy, you’ll have to use your imagination more than usual! Enjoy!

Driving to the race that morning, MIchelle and I in a red little Chevy thing and Kathleen following in a Red SUV we hit EVERY DARN LIGHT on the way there. It was comical as we sat there at 5am waiting for the light to turn green, not a soul in sight.

Red lights or not, we made it with time to set up transition. I had the sweetest spot I’ve ever had in a race. I’m pretty sure it was better than 90% of the pros. It’s such old hat setting up now, doesn’t seem to matter if it’s oly or half, same stuff for the most part. I keep it as minimal as possible: run shoes, hat, race number. My bike shoes are on the bike, all my nutrition is on the bike, helmet on the aerobars. That’s it, do it quick, a little air in the tires and get the heck out of the crazy land that is transition. I tend to race without sunglasses because they bug me…but I do try to train with them (when I don’t forget them…don’t get mad dad).

PIC Fordy-Ford and I headed back to the car and put our bags back. The parking lot at Quassy is right next to transition and all cars are accessible. We Tri-Slided up, threw on a few Trakkers temp tattoos on our calves, and grabbed the wetsuits. PIC headed to the potty and I headed to the water. I got in my exercises from Josh, and sat in the WARM water for a little while. I saw all the waves go off and waited for mine which was second from last. All the mens waves went off before the ladies. PIC was in the last wave 3 minutes behind me. I knew she would pass me in the water and I would need to catch her on the bike, if I could. If not, then the run maybe?

I got a good spot on the start line, and I got out well with little contact, and I found some feet for a little while. Somehow I got stuck in a little group of three, all of us idiots swimming shoulder to shoulder to shoulder. I was in the middle and we were drifting off course. I would try to veer back on course, only to smack the girl next to me over and over. Eventually we got sorted out and went around the first turn buoy. I got on a set of feet that belonged to a girl that was the same speed as me, so I felt like I was swimming too easily on her feet, and I kept tapping them. Apparently she did not like this (I don’t mind people tapping my toes in a race by the way, I just assume I have a friend with me, you wanna join the party…hop on board). She stopped, turned around a little and kicked me. Wowah! So, I swam off. Yikes. Wow, I wonder what her heart rate was! Dude, life, and racing, is soooo much better when you chill out a little.

So then I proceeded to swim in a general off course nature for a while. I actually missed two buoys, but they weren’t turn buoys so I’m assuming that it’s okay. The last several buoys I finally started getting into a rhythm and was feeling some mo-jo. I exited the water 5th in my age group (out of 28) in a somewhat slow time of 34:29. Anthony also swam a 34 and we swam the same at Knoxville as well, so either we both swam bad, or it was a little long (PIC swam a 27, so that makes it seem not long, or…she’s a fish right now). Who knows! Either way, it’s all good!

I was through transition super fast (1:20) cause my spot rocked the house. Off on the bike I knew that I would recognize much of the course from last year (only a few modifications to the bike course this year) and I knew that my Trakkers teammates were manning the mile 29 aid station so I was looking forward to seeing them. I got going into the bike and it’s always dicey the first few miles. It’s where I get an idea if my legs decided to show up. Would they ache and need a longer warm up, would they be stiff, or would they feel good and rested? I don’t know how on earth, but when I took roll call, and I said “Legs?”, they said “HERE”. Boo Ya. I didn’t spend much time easing in, I just started rolling.

About 10 miles in I spotted PIC. From 100 yards back I could tell something was wrong. I got up to her way too quick, I would have expected to reel her in very slowly, if at all. When I pulled up next to her she said “I’ve already flatted”. I immediately thought, “She’s still 3 minutes ahead of me and that included a tire change” (b/c she started 3 minutes back on me). So I told her “Your still three minutes up on me, it’s okay” but as I rode on I didn’t get the feeling that she was coming with me (not in a drafting sense, we don’t draft, it’s not legal, but in a “momentum” sort of way). I could feel her frustration, it’s the first time she flatted in a race. I felt for her.

I rode on and I tried to focus on myself. Getting back into my rhythm was easy, everything just felt so good, and the work was work, but it was fun, and I was racing. I did a lot of smiling because my legs showed up for work and I LOVE it when they do. Since we started behind all the men it was constant passing. Always chasing and passing the next guy. I passed one of my Trakkers teammates Chris on the side of the road with a flat. There were a lot of flats, but really nothing on the road that I noticed that would lead to flats…strange. Chris had it taken care of and he passed me a little later in the bike looking strong. Then I passed him back, then he passed me back. And then he was gone.

This bike course is so dang challenging. It’s definitely the hardest bike course I have ever ridden in a race, and many others were agreeing. If you did Rev3 and you know of a harder bike course, I’de like to hear about it! There were 87 hills…in 56 miles! Steep buggers too! I stayed focused the entire time, taking the turns as strong as I knew how, and being bold on the descents. I watched my heart rate and my power on the climbs and tried to stay consistent and evenly paced. I was surprised to be descending at 40mph in my aerobars. At home I tend to play the chicken card.

The mile 29 aid station ROCKED. My Trakkers teammates were full of so much energy, and I gave them lots of smiles and loves, even though they were directly after this gnarly hill. It’s was a blast to see Michelle (anthony’s wife, not PIC) at the aid station because to me, she is a piece of home, and of family. By the way, she volunteered BOTH days. I love her!

Here is the handoff to Amanda Lovato. Nice one!

Onwards I went. We got to the out and back and I started counting ladies. It was hard to tell who was an age grouper, and really, who was a woman (as sad as that sounds) but I thought I was in the top 5-10 non-pro chickas and that got me excited. I looked for PIC behind me and I didn’t see her, which made me worried that she had flatted again, or had DNFed.

The last miles I was feeling the climbing in my legs, but they were still very much underneath me, going strong. I wondered if I was going to beat the 3 hour mark and it looked like I would. Rolling back to transition I started counting ladies in earnest. I could see the numbers on their arms and knew that 2 digit numbers were pros. I saw that my teammate Kathleen was in the lead and I told her so. There was a lady hot on her tail and then I saw maybe 4 other ladies, but couldn’t make out numbers on them. I rolled in off the bike in 2:52:35, good for the 6th fastest amateur bike split. My bike is really coming along and that has me excited. I’m feeling more powerful this year and my legs have gained some “girth”. Yes, I just said that word.

It was go time. I was FIRED up. I rolled into transition and I was back out 0:56 seconds later, socks and all. Boo Ya! By the way, I love my new Saucony Kinvaras. They rock the house. Totally squishy and supportive, in 7 ounces. LOVE THEM and they are my Ironman shoe, FOR SURE! I have found that I do prefer a minimalist shoe. My feet feel stronger when they are allowed freedom. A light weight trainer is about as heavy as I like to go. Except for a trail shoe…but this year even has me thinking differently on that front.

So I take off running and I know that the first 1.5 miles is really the only sustained downhill section of the course. It’s not time to settle in, oh no, it’s time to take advantage of the downhill and RUN. I came through the 2 mile point in 14:05. mile 3 was 7:00. About 1.5 miles in a lady cheering said “nice job ladies”. WAIT, “ladies”, that’s the last thing I wanted to hear. So I turned around and looked. Crap, she’s right, there is a lady in black right on my tail.

Of course it shocked me for a second, how long had she been there, was she gearing to pass? But then I remembered…calm, think, no need to race anybody. Just run the best race you know how and if this lady is still around in about 11 miles, then you can reassess. I generally like to run my own races. So I decided to do just that. I relaxed for a little while and then checked up on my heart rate monitor and settled into a similar heart rate that I had maintained the first three miles which I had run entirely by feel. That really worked for me. Then we entered the hilly portion of the course. And there were lots of hills for 11.5 miles. Big hills, little hills. Short hills, long hills. Hills above, and hills below. Red hills, blue hills, yes I would like two hills, Sam I am.

And again, this was the most challenging run course I have ever been on in a tri. But I had prepared in my head for it, and my legs were on FIRE (in a good way). My abs were working strong and I was standing tall, keeping my form, and smiling for the most part. I came upon Robert from the Terrier Tri Club. I LOVE Robert, he’s adopted us Trakkers folks and he is just the nicest guy, even though he once cleaned up dog poop with a Trakkers shirt. On purpose. I thought about slapping his butt when I went by him, but wasn’t sure if it was appropriate so I pulled up right next to him, shoulder to shoulder, all quiet like. He said “I knew you were coming, how are you feeling” I gave him a big thumbs up and he said “Go get em girl” and SLAPPED MY BUTT! Hahahaha. I felt so loved, in a Terrier tri club kind of way!

And off I went. I reeled in lots of people and it was really motivating. Around mile 5 I finally saw a lady in the distance and I worked hard to reel her in. When I got up to her I saw she had a “P” on her calf for PRO. I felt bad then, knowing that they started 30 minutes ahead of me and she must be having a tough day. On a short out and back section I was super relieved to see PIC. Whew! She looked a little miserable, but I was just happy that she was still putting up the good fight.

Of all the people I passed I only had one guy go with me and he was the cutest dude. At one point I kinda freaked out and turned to look at him because his footfall was so soft and light I thought he might be a chick. After my look back he pulled up next to me and said “I’m sorry to tailgate you but I can’t seem to pass you”. I said “As long as your not a girl it’s fine”. We ran close to each other for most the race. It was really nice and motivating. When he felt strong I would work to stay with him, and visa versa. I think it’s always fun to find a buddy on the course.

There were so many hills I can’t even tell you about all of them. I had an 8:16 mile in there, seriously steep! But I was still running fast(er), taking names, and feeling good. On a second out and back I passed another PRO and I saw I was in 5th (amateur), with 4th in sight. I worked hard to run her down and when I pulled up on her, I saw a “R” on her calf. So I pulled up next to her and said “Are you a relay?” She said “yes and you gals are crazy”. I love that! And then I ran on. The final mile was the most brutal on the entire course with a very demanding and steep prolonged up hill, it was a 8:21 mile! Ouch!

Just before it started I had a visitor. Charlie (owner of Rev3) pulled up next to me on a golf cart! He said “How ya feeling?” and I said “GREAT, I’M IN 4th”. He said “Yea, but there’s a girl right behind you”. He’s ALWAYS giving me flack and I knew better than to believe him. Plus I knew that if anyone challenged me at this point in the race they would loose, I felt super strong. BTW the lady that was close to me at the start never made a pass. Funny how much can change in 11 miles. We chatted a little, and he asked if I wanted a ride…which I did not! Silly Charlie. Rides are for quitters.

Coming into the finish was awesome. I had talked to Troy the night before and asked him what he wanted me to do on the finish line. I knew he would be watching on the live coverage that Rev3 does and he said to jump up and down (original, I know). I came down the finish line and I went CRAZY. I was skipping, and jumping, and leaping, and just being generally crazy, all for Troy. The crowd was laughing and the announcer was getting a kick out of it. I hope I was at least a little entertaining out there! He was watching, and he was laughing. I blew him kisses into the camera too. I was really happy. My run split was 1:40:47, the 3rd fastest amateur split, and only 39 seconds off the fastest amateur run of the day (but not even close to all but two of the pros).

To finish 4th overall non PRO is awesome, a great result for me (5:10:07) on a hilly course. They awarded top three overall, so I was given the age group win, being 4th, although the first overall woman was in my age group, so it’s kinda like a 2nd age group, if we are to get technical. All that is exciting, and always fun, but the best part was my LEGS! It was such a boost in confidence to remember what it feels like to have my legs under me, to feel like I can race hard and strong. The border collie was out in full effect today, taking advantage of being off the leash. I felt like the Sonja that I like to be with lots of smiles, lots of go-go power and lots of Grrrrr. With IM CDA three weeks away this race was a really good confidence booster and I feel ready to tow the line in three weeks.

Team Trakkers had many podium finishes!

Love Tony, love PIC. Love sharing these races with them.

I’ll admit, it was hard to see PIC come in, tears in her eyes. She’s such a trooper and the rest of the day she kept saying “That was the hardest thing I have ever done, I wanted to quit 100 times”. By the way, she was 2nd in her age group. Her blog is

A huge thanks to Charlie. I love the Rev3 races and was really pleased with Quassy, just as I was last year. The course is challenging, but it’s honest and it’s a true test of your stamina, strength, pacing, nutrition, and heart. If you are all up into your times, or want a super fast course, this is not that. But if you want to find what you are made of, if you want to challenge yourself, or…if you just want to race at an amusement park…then this one’s for you.

Also, I can not thank Vahid and Shallah enough for hosting not one, not two, but THREE of us crazy Trakkers triathletes at their house for three days. They fed us and took amazing care of us. Many humble thanks!

Vahid and Shallah!

Sitting out on their back yard beach the night before the race, having a (small) glass of wine, enjoying life!

Chuckie… thank you Chuckie, thank you Chuckie, thank you Chuckie!!! We are getting there aren’t we?

Rev3 Knoxville

Well, the first race is done! And I not only survived, but thrived!

Walking to the start in the morning with dad, Troy, Annie, and Sharpie was a definite highlight. The sunrise was gorgeous, and the water looked inviting.

Chuckie had explained that for me, with my swim, my race is made or broken during the swim, so get on that line and SWIM. I was really excited for this. I wanted to swim hard, leave it all out there! Being in the elite amateur wave was super cool, especially lining up with PIC, but I’m not sure I’ll do it again, it depends on the race, me thinks.

So right after the pros we hop in the water and get ready. The swim is an out and back. The gun goes off and I GO, like, I REALLY go. I was in the thick of it, but not getting punched around too much. I found my place eventually, and got into my groove. I was with one other person and I couldn’t see feet. The water was very murky and your couldn’t even see the bubbles that you could feel. So I pulled up beside the person and swam beside them. Now I know this defeats the drafting thing, but it helped me with the straight swimming thing, which was a big issue for me last year.

About every 20 strokes my friend and I would body check each other. I’m sure they hated me as much as I grew annoyed with them. The reality is that we both probably suck at sighting, but we kept each other relatively straight! At the end of the swim I dug even deeper and pulled away from my friend. Getting out of the water we had to pull ourselves onto a dock. It took me just a split second of thought “Humm, can I actually do this after swimming so hard”? I pulled myself up, and slid myself onto the dock belly first, just like a seal…or like one of those Antarctic penguins.

As I ran up the dock and pulled off the top of my wetsuit my Garmin strap popped off. The strap went flying into the water, and the Garmin part went flopping on the pier. I reached down and grabbed it, and shoved it in my pocket.

I was OUT OF BREATH. I had swam HARD. Troy yelled on the dock that PIC had 3 minutes on me, and I was pretty jazzed about that. PIC is like my litmus test because her swim is so fast that it can barely get any better and thus, it’s pretty consistent! So, she’s a guage. And last year that deficit was in the 5-12 minute range, so 3 minutes is SWEET!

Off through transition, huffing and puffing, over LT (whatever that is, if I knew) and onto the bike. Breathe Sonja, breathe. Olympic racing HURTS! I pushed on the bike, yes, my dear, I pushed. I LOVED the course. Here I am literally huffing!

I was all by myself out there after passing one lady about 5 miles in. I just got into Zen mode and went hard. There were some great little climbs, and some awesome descents, and I’m happy to say that I didn’t touch my breaks ONCE. Not once, I was BOLD Sonja.

My dad and Troy were cheering up a hot storm, taking photos, and Annie was so cute in her Trakkers shirt. She kept telling people “Take it home”. I love that! What kid says that?

Coming towards transition I was going hard and then I saw PIC running. Dang, she looked good, and she looked FAST, How on earth was I going to get off my bike, through transition, and THEN catch her? DANG! She’s so fast!

I came into transition…still as hypoxic as I left and while running through transition my Trakkers devise went flying out of my pocket. The volunteers were so nice to pick it up and leave it at my transition spot (so glad I didn’t loose it). So if you saw my devise stop in transition, that’s why! I took off running, but of course my hypoxic brain took me to the wrong exit, and then the volunteers directed me the right way.

Headed towards the right way out I was jumping over towels, bags, and transition bike racks, I made transition into a total obstacle course.

Whew! Onto the run course. I dug my now strapless Garmin out of my pocket and hit the lap button. That way I would have an idea of my splits. Wow, I’m going as fast as I can. Where is Michelle?

I’m not feeling any more taxed than on the bike, but I can’t seem to will myself to go any faster. My first mile (after I dug the Garmin back out to check it) was in the low 6:40 range. Ok, not bad, that sounded like a good spot to hang around.

I stuffed the Garmin back in and just focused on keeping consistent. Where is Michelle? She’s NOWHERE in sight.

I’m running hard. Mile 2 goes by and we are on a bike path. I’m still looking for Ford. I was counting Elite amateurs and had counted three. I thought Ford was in 4th and I was in 5th. I was stoked about this. Then I see her. She SWEARS she waved at me, but we were both going as hard as we knew how. She was running from me, and I was running for her. I hit the turn around and knew it was going to take some serious work to catch her. Sure enough I worked really hard the whole way back and with two miles to go I could see her.

She had me! I worked the uphills, hard! I was gunning for her, but coming into the last quarter mile she still had 100 yards. We came in one after another and it was all hugs and wide eyes. I think both of us had forgotten just how much Oly racing hurts. It’s over quick, but it hurts in the process.

All in all I’m really pleased with my race. I’m super pleased with swimming hard, keeping some sort of contact with the front and not feeling like the rest of my race was lethally compromised. It was a really solid effort and has me excited. I think I am in a better place that I originally thought I was. It’s hard with the 100 miler race only being 5 weeks back. There has been lots of recovery, and less fitness building, but I am pleased with where it has all landed me.

I could still feel a little of the 100 miler in my lower inner quads, but I think that’s to be expected and I think that going hard helped to get a little more of the deep junk out.

The definite highlight of the week was meeting all my Team Trakkers teamies. We have had so much fun this trip from BBQ dinners, to pre race ice cream meetups, to post race happy hour…VERY HAPPY HOUR! I feel like I have a network all over the US of super cool folks and I just adore everyone I’ve gotten to know this trip.

Another HUGE highlight was all the love I got on the race course this weekend. It was so awesome the last two miles to have literally 20+ people cheer for me. The best was while we were in the water waiting to start all you could hear was GO SONJA! Beth and Tyler were going crazy and I think everyone was thinking “Who is Sonja”. Even Kathleen was laughing. I have the best friends EVAH!

Ford and I with Megan, she so rocks the house.

Ford and I with Jamie

Having Troy and Annie at this race was such a blast. I will have to put a post together of funny Annie pictures from the weekend, there are some pretty hilarious ones! Troy, your a rock. And your shoulders are going to rock, because you carried Pook around for 4 days on your shoulders. Love you babe, thanks for helping me chase my dreams!

We got to meet Tara from the biggest loser. It was so interesting to hear about how hard it is to go from weight loss to athlete. Something both Tyler and I have had to negotiate. From low cal, to fueling to perform, from no salt, to ample salt, and learning how to eat while exercising! It’s all new stuff for her. Good on ya girl!

I also really enjoyed having Beth and Tyler at the race. I think they had a fun time and Bethie won her age group! Super cool!

There are way too many cool pictures to post, I wish I could put them all up! A huge thanks to my dad for taking like 1,000 pictures for the team this weekend. We loved having him around.

Finally a huge THANK YOU to my sponsors: GOAL0 (I know I know, you are all wondering what, who, huh, no worries, you will know soon), Trakkers, Saucony. Mix1, Core Concepts, Tri-Massage, First Endurance, Justins Nut Butter, Nathan, NUUN, and TriSwim. You all so totally rock the house.

Season Opener and Trakkers Premier

Tomorrow I will step on the line (errr, float in the water) for my first triathlon of the year, and my first race entering the elite amateur category. To say, for several reasons, that I have some healthy nerves would be to state the obvious. Olympic distance racing always hurts whether you are in shape or not! Racing in the Elite amateur category is something I have always shied away from since my swim was in a different ball park as most elite amateurs. This year, I said, yes, I’m going for it. And going for it at the Rev3 races, where my Team Trakkers is racing as well, feels like a safe and supportive place to do so.

The race is going to be so fun. If you are here in Knoxville you can come down to Worlds Fair Park and watch the entire race unfold on a huge Jumbotron, and then see the finishers come through the chute. If you are spectating from abroad, you can watch the live coverage HERE on

Also, you can watch the Trakkers showcase! Tomorrow will be the live Trakkers debut. I have my devise, its charged up and ready to go. The devices aren’t waterproof yet, so my devise will start trakking and will sit in transition while I swim. When I get on the bike you should see my green dot moving. Michelle and Kathleen (Kathleen is the current Kona amateur record holder) are also wearing devises and are in my elite amateur wave, so be sure to watch and cheer for them as well! The link to watch can be found by clicking HERE, or you can go to

You’ll want to click on “Rev3 Knoxville Olympic” to see me.

Lastly, you can follow twitter where Troy will be tweeting it as he sees it. Follow @gosonja on twitter, or click here to see my feed.

Today has been a blast. We had a great photoshoot this morning featuring the very famous photographer….my dad! He did such a good job and we had a lot of fun too.

Then we were off for a run with some teamates. We ran down to transition and around to the swim start. We loosened up the legs and FordyFord and I got in a few pickups.

Off on the bikes, Michelle, Jamie and I went went and rode a little bit of the course including a really rough section that we were nervous about seeing it on the drive. It’s as bad as we thought and I’m glad that I got a preview.

Back to the expo we met back up with all our Team Trakkers crew and we had so much fun giving away lots of free First Endurance goodies. People were so excited and it was great to hear so many people say “This stuff works”. No Duh! That’s why we use it!

I caught sight of Julie Dibens. I really dig her, and she is killing it on the pro scene recently. She was so nice to take a quick snap shot with me.

After the giveaway we headed out to the water for a swimy-swim. There were lots of cool parts to the swim but some of the highlights were hearing a talk from Pip Taylor and Heather Golnick about how to swim the swim.

Another highlight was that our Trakkers swimsuits came in so when you looked around the swim deck there were lots of teamies and you could recognize them easily. So much so that Mary Beth Ellis came over and asked to borrow a swim cap. She is on the Trakkers Elite team and I think of us as the age-group minor leaguers. Knowing that she could turn to any of us AGers for help made me feel good. It’s nice to feel like you have a family out at the races.

Hopefully our Pro team will come to understand that we age groupers totally dig them and are always willing to lend a helping hand, whether it be at a race, or if they are racing in our hometowns. We are a big network of people who love this sport. In return our pro team has been so awesome about reaching out to us age groupers. Every one of them has stopped by at some point to meet us, wish us good luck and answer any questions. Here is Dede Griesbauer coming by to say hello.

The swim was a total hoot! The dingy water was actually really nice. I even tasted it and I was impressed. Apparently the only reason it’s dingy is because of the recent storms, and it’s actually a really nice river to swim in (so we were told, and I would agree at this point). Beth, Michelle B and I paused at the first buoy for a photo op!

There are no words to explain this photo, pure happy!

Finally after the swim, a little lunch, and a little Trakkers booth time, Michelle and I headed back to our respective hotels to nap, blog, and rest our feet. This evening we will drop our bikes in transition, grab some grub, and hit the hay…it’s ALMOST RACE DAY!

Team Terrier Tri Club is going DOWN (as is Dynamo Multisport)

Wednesday is Pro day in the Wieck House

Before I even get started into this post, I have to share with you the epic smack down that the Team Trakkers Elites are throwing down. They have challenged Team Kswiss/Trek to a showdown at Knoxville. Winner takes home $5,000. You have to listen to this smack talk from Lovato and Cunningham. Wowah!

Okay, with that start, let’s get this rolling.

Last year when it got close to Ironman time, my good friend Debbie helped me out in a HUGE way. Debbie is the mommy to Annies best friend Kat. These two get along like sisters and are so cute together. Last year Debbie (or Troy on occasion) watched Annie every Wednesday for the last couple months before IMC so that I could ride/run all day. Most of these were spent riding an 85-100 mile out and back section of road out east and then running 45 min to 18 miles off the bike. They were long days and what helped me through them was knowing that Annie was in amazing hands, playing up a storm.

This year Debbie has stepped in again, but it’s more complicated because she is actually picking up Annie from school and then delivering her back at our house at 5pm. This will allow me an entire day of training and access to our car. Today Troy actually stepped in, which was awesome, but it will be Debbie going forward. Thank you Debbie, I love you!

So, I’m now calling Wednesdays “Train like a pro day”. I get to wake up and start my day on the right foot with a good family breakfast, then it’s off to my “pretend” job. Today was the trial run…to work out the kinks. Troy was on Annie detail, so I got her off to school at 9am, then dropped the car back at the house, grabbed my huge bag stuffed with all sorts of training gear, and headed out the door on foot.

Since Troy would need the car to pick up Annie from school I was going the public transportation route. I walked the one mile to the light rail station and procured myself a round trip ticket. I headed over to the University of Denver and got busy with a weights workout. I love that gym because it’s full of college kids and they are always pretty cool. After weights I downed a Justins Almond Butter and honey sammy like it was no tomorrow.

Next workout! I changed into my swimsuit and met up with PIC Fordy Ford and EVAN on the pool deck! Evan is coached by CV too and we were so stoked to meet him and work out with him. So, we got knee deep into a tough swim workout. I loved having Evan in the lane with me, it was nice to have someone to chase after, and quite the chase he provided.

After the swim I bid farewell to PIC as she was off to run and I was off to a secret Chuckie workout. I would tell you about it, but, well, I can’t. So I’ll just say that it was brutal, but super good too.

Whew! Back to the locker room for a shower and to pack up. It was beautiful and sunny out as I walked back to the light rail station, eating a second Justins Almond Butter sandwich. On the walk back home from the station I was noticing something that was going to be an issue. The wind!

I walked in the door and Pook (Annie’s nickname is Pookette, or Pook) and Troy were having a blast. Troy was getting in some work and Annie was playing up a storm. Everyone had survived, Troy did a great job (I don’t know why I worry).

But, I wasn’t done! It’s ride time and that wind had me nervous. But the pros don’t get nervous about the wind, they just get it done. So into bike clothes and off I went for a 90 minute spin. There came a point in the ride pretty early on (10 min) where I had to decide whether I wanted to head into the wind, or just ride around where I would be in and out of the wind the whole time. I decided…”face your opponents head on” and I went straight into that angry weather.

It was so bad it was almost funny. But really, I think I prefer a headwind to a stiff cross wind or unpredictable swirling stuff. This was supposed to be an easy spin but there was just no way. I tried, but fighting that wind it was impossible to spin like I was out for a Sunday stroll. I was debating when to turn around. I knew I would be flying home and I didn’t want to spin around the neighborhood to make up time at the end so I decided on 11 miles. It took 57 minutes to get there, but 11 it was.

When I turned it was HILARIOUS! I was spinning alright. I was in the biggest gear my bike owns, I was going uphill, I was spinning, and I was going 27mph. It was almost a little scary to feel like you are being pushed home by a freight train. I definitely prefer the challenge of a head wind to the push of a strong tailwind. I made it home in 32 minutes, despite hitting almost every stoplight. Crazy!

Check out these details, they are super funny.

Lap 1: 57:01, 11.14 miles, average MPH: 11.7, average HR: 161
Lap 2: 32:12, 11.14 miles, average MPH: 20.6, average HR: 128

All of that and one very large helping of Polenta with peppers, tomatoes, pepitas, green onions, cumin, avo, cilantro, and a little cheddar and my first day working as a pretend pro is in the books. Ha! Too bad I’m just pretending. Tomorrow I go back to my real job, that I love, being head mommy to Pookette. Nevertheless I am looking forward to my wednesdays for the next few months where I don’t have to balance a million things during the day and I can put my nose down and train hard.

Thanks again to Troy, to Debbie and to my munchkin.

Tri-Scene Update

What’s new in the triathlon scene? Well, a few things this week that I thought were worth note.

Rev3 has started a weekly radio show on BlogTalk Radio at 8pm eastern (that’s 6pm mountain). It will be Wednesday nights with Heather Gollnick and Simply Stu doign the interviewing. Tonight is insane. They are interviewing Julie Dibens. Julie Dibens is the only woman to have finished ahead of Chrissy Wellington in 2 years (Boulder Long Course). She won Clearwater and if you want to ask her questions, you can call in! The number to call is here. It should be a great Q&A session! I’m trying to think of something good to ask.

WTC has started screwing with it’s rules again. Remember a few months ago when they came out and said “NO COMPRESSION SOCKS” in Ironman ever ever again? Then a few weeks later, they were like “Ok, you can wear them, we were just being lame”. Well, they are back to their old tricks.

They have decided that for the professional athletes they will no longer be awarded a Kona slot unless they are within 5% of the winning time. So if there are two slots and the 2nd place chick isn’t within 5% (if Chrissy or Julie are racing then she most likely won’t be) then she won’t get the slot. If the slot rolls past the 5% time…it’s a dead slot.

If that wasn’t harsh enough, they also instituted a rule saying that if you aren’t within 8% of the winning time, you don’t get a paycheck. Your money is redistributed to those who were within the 8%.

The top dudes in the sport (you can guess who I’m talking about) have come forth on twitter saying they support the change. Uhhh, duh? More money for them, they not a developing pro any more. I just wish they would look forward a bit. I’m not cool with the rule. I look up to pro’s like Bree Wee who aren’t always out there within 8% of Chrissy, but they are still clearly pros, they train like pros, they behave like pros, they race like pros. Plus, the last thing I want is them back in my age group (Eek).

I’m just hoping that Rev3 can grow quickly enough to be an alternative solution to WTC races. I’m thinking that REV3 should bring back “the original” Ironman on Oahu where it all started in the beginning, and call it the “Original World Championships”.

I’m not sure how, but there needs to be a way to support the pros in our sport better. We age groupers totally geek out on the pros, and I’m one of them. Did you know that if you make it to the first round of the US Open and you loose, you walk home with $14,000 after taxes? In triathlon, that’s a phenomenal day for a top level pro who wins a World Championship. Now, you can’t tell me that tennis is more exciting on TV than triathlon, or that more people play recreational tennis than do recreational triathlons?

Help, I’m confused? Maybe this is what I should ask Julie tonight on the Phone….how can we as age groupers support and help the pros make a sustainable living?