Pelican Fest Triathlon – Photos, Results, The Scoop

This was such and awesome day for me. I had some of my closest friends here with me to share in the special moment that was MY FIRST TRIATHLON. Ms.Amy was here, as was Chris and Troy and Annie and my Mother and Father in Law. Everyone was so UBER-SUPPORTIVE, I felt like a rock star. I don’t think I could have asked for a better first triathlon. I am such a lucky woman!
All photos were taken by Roger, my Father in Law! Aren’t they great!?

I SURVIVED! I ACTUALLY MADE IT. I just wanted to get that out of the way for those of you that were wondering.

I got a great nights sleep last night at Roger and Marlas house in Loveland. I woke up feeling refreshed and REALLY STINKIN’ NERVOUS (like urp-up-my-banana nervous). Mostly nervous about the swim, I wasn’t sure I would live through it. We got to the race site in good time, the parking lot was filling up and all the good spots in transition were getting taken. Expensive bikes were everywhere, and I’ve never seen so many Zipp wheels in one place. Troy, Annie and I walked over to transition and set up all my stuff, then headed back to the port-a-poties. LOW AND BEHOLD on my our way there someone says “I know you”. It was Ms.Amy, one of my best friends standing right there in front of me. TOTAL SHOCK and SURPRISE. We are like 1.5 hours from home and she DROVE up to watch me do my first triathlon. I was just elated and jazzed and really happy to see her! AMY you ROCK! Amy helped me walk through my transition stuff, and the steps I would take to transfer from swim to bike and bike to run. Her support was so valuable. Soon enough it was time to put on the wet suit. Amy zipped me up and we walked to the start (first picture on left). Troys parents were also there (all photos from Roger…he is the BOMB photographer), and Chris also came out to cheer. Chris has been my most consistent non-family support, he’s been to TWO 1/2 marathons and now a tri of mine, and he cheers REALLY LOUD. I LOVE HIM!

I didn’t get eaten by sharks, or killer frogs. I started to the left of the crowd (in WAVE 4…the last wave) and when the siren sounded I ran for about 10 steps, clumsily fell into the water and started swimming (thrashing about). The first stretch was SCARY. I ended up swimming completely through the bulk of the people and ending up on the right side of the pack which resulted in many kicks, elbows, etc., all b/c I was sort-of swimming off course. After rounding the first buoy I stuck next to a guy and made sure I stayed close to him b/c he was actually swimming straight. After the second buoy there were a few more kicks and thrashes. By the last two buoys I was getting tired and just trying to make it to the finish. I felt like none of my swimming skills came in handy, it was COMPLETE survival swimming most the time. There is a lot of work to be done on my swim, but I survived and I am proud of that. Also, my goggles were GREAT, and my wet-suit is really noticeable so my cheering section found me easily.

Out of the water, put goggles on head, through the sand, up a grassy hill, TONS OF CHEERING FROM THE CREW, unzip wet-suit back, pull wet-suit down to waist, off with goggles and cap, into transition area, locate bike, strip off wet-suit, throw goggles and cap on ground, put on bike shoes, turn towards bike, knock helmet/sunglasses/race belt onto the ground, pick up helmet and put on, pick up sunglasses and put on, attach race belt with number, grab Azure and run out of transition, TONS OF CHEERING FROM THE CREW.

It starts with a short straight-away, and then directly into a rather large hill. Something I didn’t expect…I’m cold. I just left 68 degree water and I’m wet on a bike, therefore I’m cold, muscles and all. So that was a shock. The bike course was out and bike and I was able to stay on the Aerobars most the way. I got a new Aero-bottle drink system which was loaded up with HEED, and I sipped away on that…love it! The course was a bit hilly with some wild turns. Because I started in the last wave it was a bit odd. I felt like I was at the END of the race, and it was hard to be competitive. I would try to catch ladies in front of me, and I didn’t find a single one in my age group. So I just tried to continue with a strong effort, the best I had in me. The cheering squad found me once on the way back, which made me ride faster.

Pulling up to transition area, un-strap one shoe, kick out of pedal, dismount bike, run into transition , locate stuff, put Azure in bike rack, off with sunglasses, off with helmet, off with bike shoes, on with racing flats, fiddle with tongue of racing flat, run 1/2 way out of transition, stop and fiddle with tongue of racing flat again, run out of transition.

Ahhh, my favorite part. I saw Marla with Annie right at the beginning of the run, big smiles all around. I passed through a tunnel and my cheering crew was there going crazy. I headed up into a huge hill on the golf course with their cheers pushing me to go faster. Up Up Up this hill. I was passing people who were walking up the hill. I am FLYING by people, going up hill. Down a hill, and up another equally larger hill. I am talking HUGE stinkin hills! More people are walking, I just kept trucking…actually FLYING…my racing flats are sooo light and fast. Down the hills I let myself completely go. I have this gut feeling that letting yourself go on the downhill helps your legs to recover from the bike…I don’t know, just a theory. After the hills we looped around the golf course and it looks like the course is about to go into the finish, but at the last minute it veers right and we have to do an out and back portion. I see several girls in my age group on the out and back and can tell that they aren’t catch-able…bummer. But the whole run I ran really strong and fast, and felt great from start to finish.

The finish was great, my cheering section was going wild, I was continuing to pass people left and right and then it was all over. My first triathlon…OVER. I finished the run and I was hardly winded. I SERIOUSLY could have gone and done it again RIGHT THEN. I can tell that my endurance is BOMBER right now and it’s time to start working more seriously on speed. I’m not even breathing particularly heavy…I’m just…DONE…done with my first triathlon. After some chit-chat, and refueling, we headed back to the transition area, cleaned up, packed up, and headed to the big tent for the awards ceremony. It turns out that I did really good for my first triathlon. I actually had the second fastest run time for a woman!! I got third in my age category, and the woman that I had hired for a short time as a coach was there, and saw me and said good job. It felt good for her to see that I had continued on my own with my training, and that I am successful!

Here are the stats!!
web-link: Pelican Fest Statistics

Final Time: 1:06:45
Rank in Age Group: 3 out of 10
Rank in Woman: 12 out of 108
Rank overall: 90 out of 288
Proud Moment: being the 2nd female in the run, only the winner was faster!

Swim Time/Rank (800 M): 14:18 / 151
Transition One: 1:23
Bike Time (10 Mile): 30.45 / 116
MPH: 18.5
Transition Two: 1:05
Run Time (5K…but I think it was short): 19:12 / 48
Min/Mile: 6:11 (but again, I think this is off)

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY

Tomorrow I will put on my wet-suit and step in the open water with many others. I will swim 800 M in the peaceful lake, get out, strip my wet-suit off, throw on biking shoes and a helmet and ride like the wind. After 10 miles of riding I will throw on my new racing flats and I will run like I have something to prove for 3.1 miles. TOMORROW I will do this all for the fist time, TOMORROW is my FIRST TRIATHLON. You only get one FIRST.

Thinking back over the last 6-7 months makes me shake. I have put in so much training, I have come so far, I have met new people, I have found inspiration, I have been inspiring, and I have created an entirely new body that I don’t even recognize sometimes. I have done this all while:

1) training as a mother…biking and running with Annie ALL THE TIME
2) training with friends…inspiring others to DO MORE, BE MORE, STAY FIT
3) having fun, who knew…even the long runs, life has such a richer taste after you have a baby, you are so much more aware of what you are capable of!
4) making friends! riding, swimming and running with people I NEVER KNEW!
5) not just maintaining a great relationship with Troy, but building on that relationship…I have become more balanced with all the training, and my moods are less of a see-saw. And Troy loves the body! He loves that it’s ATHLETIC, not just skinny (i do too).

Looking back on the weeks and months of training I strongly feel that it’s the best thing I have EVER done for myself. It is the best investment in the BANK OF SONJA that I have ever made.

So on the eve of triathlon, here is a recap of progress, some STATS if you will:

1) The day this all started: walking into Prudence’s office 10/02/2006 weighing 163.2 pounds, and with 29.5% body fat, and down right fed-up.

NOW 7 months later: 137 pounds, and 20% body fat, muscles everywhere, and the knowledge of how to keep it off, how to maintain, and how to inspire MYSELF. Now that’s a large deposit in the bank of SONJA.

2) My first race: The Red Thread Run on 11/4/2006, it was a 5K and I ran 26:50, and got third in my age group (and felt like a rock star).

NOW a little under 6 months later: James Spank 5K in 21:17, second woman in the race, and the knowledge that I can run as fast as I did in High School, that my athletic ability can get better, that I am not just some “spent” high school athlete that could never make it in the big world of college sports. I can be bigger that ever…NOW.

3) FOUR duathlons, TWO half marathons, TWENTY-ONE races total since 11/4/2006, so in 6.5 months!! And BUSTING the myth that you can’t race every weekend and not burn out, that it impacts your training negatively. Bah-Hum-Bug, you WANNA race? Then RACE!

4) THREE attitude adjustments, FIVE “I am strong and fast” meditation sessions, ONE new love of swimming, ONE new best friend named Azure, MUCH more sex, ONE happy baby, ONE happy husband, and ONE HUNDRED new and improved happy SONJAs


Annie’s Photo Shoot

Grandpa Roger took these pictures of Annie on Mother’s Day while she was playing in the front yard with a bucket of water. I think she is so photogenic, but I’m partial!

Mothers Day

My mom and Annie
Me and Annie
Grandma Marla and Annie
Great-Grandma Gloria and Annie

I wish I had one of Great-Grandma Donna, but I can’t find one…note to self for next time we are together!

I can’t believe this is my second Mothers Day! It’s my mommy’s 27th Mother’s Day, my Mother in Law’s 28th Mother’s Day and both of my Grandma’s had their 50-something-th Mother’s Day.

Just think…50 plus years of waking up every day and thinking about your children before you even get out of bed.

I can’t believe how much my life has changed for the better these past two years. I never knew such a small little being could become the love of my life. She has taught me so much about strength and laughter.

And thinking about my own mom, I am so luckly. Motherhood truely is a thankless job, and one your children don’t understand until they have children themselves.

Mom, you were right…about it all.

To all the moms out there, here is a “thanks” for your thankless job.

The Weekend in Races


I had two races this weekend, the Barkin’ Dog Duathlon and the Title 9K for Mothers Day. All pictures above were taken by my FIL at the Title 9K race today.

Barkin’ Dog Duathlon. It was to be a really warm weekend, and it started off HOT. The Barkin’ Dog Du was a 5K-run/30K-bike/5K-run event. Kinda like a triathlon but replace the swim with a 5K run. Arriving at the race site was a bit intimidating, it felt like everyone had such fancy bikes and they all looked like they were in such great shape. I found what I thought was a good spot in transition and racked my bike and set out my bike shoes, helmet, and water bottle. The race was to start in waves with the Elite competitors first, and then all the men, and relay teams, then the 35 and under women, and then the 35 and over women. After about a 25 minute late start we were off. I didn’t want to run too hard in the first 5K because I knew that I had so much more of the race to go. I had forgotten my watch so I had to go off how I felt. I felt good, I raced hard, but I felt like I left quite a bit too. I came out of the 5K somewhere around 9th in the heat. I tried to make my transition as quick as possible, off with sunglasses, off with hat, throw hat on ground, on with helmet, on with glasses, off with running shoes, on with bike shoes, grab the bike, run out of transition…it took about 1:07, not too shabby.

Onto the bike and cruising’. The bike was about 18 miles, and went around cherry creek and up and over the Dam road and back. I got passed by a few ladies, and I passed a few myself. I felt like I really held my own on the bike, especially for my first time. I learned a few lessons, I need a hydration system. Being on the aero-bars the whole time makes it hard to drink from a caged water bottle, I need an aero-bottle. Also, I need a better system for tying on the race number to the bike. After a mile or so the wind hit my bike race number and made it hit my leg every pedal stroke, ouch, so I had to rip it off. Probably not a legal thing to do in a bigger race.

After the bike it was back to transition, quickly into running shoes and off, but this time it felt horrible. Your legs feel like lead weights after the bike and it’s slow going to get them moving. After about a mile I was back and going. I managed to pass many men and one woman. Coming down the finish stretch a guy yelled to the dude ahead of me that he better speed up or he was going to get passed by a girl…but to me the funny thing was that if he was a man, he had started in a heat AT LEAST 7 minutes ahead of me, so really…I had passed him LONG AGO. All in all it was a great first race, a few lessons learned and a really tough effort.

First 5K Run: 21:38
First Transition: 1:07
30K bike: 51:57 (average 21.528 miles per hour)
Second Transition: 1:06
Second 5K Run: 23:07
126/479 in the race
13th woman (non-elite)
3rd in 25-29 age group (women – not elite)

Mother’s Day Title 9K. I was having a bit of trouble getting going this morning. I had a rough night last night trying to recover from the duathlon. It took a toll on my body and I needed a nap and lots of food to get things on the healing side. I woke up this morning with no appetite, and felt sick to my stomach. We got to the race site really early and had a rice walk around before anyone got there. Once people started getting there and I met up with some Mountain Mamas I was feeling better. I got Annie loaded up and with a little bit of a late start we were all off. There were TONS of women in this race and the start was really slow. It felt like eons before I was able to get around people and get going with my pace. Once in the clear I was off. It was hard running with Annie, I haven’t done it in awhile. She fell asleep for a bit. Troy was riding his bike and so I saw him many times on the course. Even Roger and Marla (FIL and MIL) showed up to cheer and take pics. I started picking off baby jogger after baby jogger and finally got to a place that I was amongst runners of my pace.

In the end there were three of us baby joggers battling it out for what we thought was the first baby jogger spot. I ended up second in the group after a long hard push to the finish. Little did we know there was a baby jogger like 5 1/2 minutes ahead. So I finished as the third baby jogger. I think my official time was 45:02, they said like 8:04 min mile pace. Here is the data from my watch, it’s pretty funny!

Overall in Race: 47th out of 1627
Official Time: 45:02
Category: Jogger: 3rd of 111
Time to get to the start line: 0:58
Mile 1: 10:18
Mile 2: 7:22
Mile 3: 7:18
Mile 4: 7:49
Mile 5: 7:44
Last 0.52: 3:35

Yea! So…pretty wild! We had a great time after the race hanging out with Mountain Mamas and their families, it was great to meet some of the husbands of the women I adore. Also, after the race I felt like a whole new woman, I felt recovered from the previous day, like this was just what I needed to get rid of my funk. Good Times.

Cinco De Mayo 10K in Pueblo


We traveled down to Pueblo again this weekend for another race, and to visit with Michelle, Ron and Sam. This time the race was a 10K (6.23 miles) and it was the final one of the series. We went down on Friday night and visited a little before hitting the hay. On Saturday, Troy and Ron had planned to go on a hike to some dinosaur tracks, so they disappeared early and were home for dinner. They had fun on the 11 mile round trip hike to the tracks. They were really proud that they were the only people that walked there that day, the rest were mountain bikers. Ron wasn’t real happy about the final hill up to the car but he survived!

Michelle and I took the kiddos to the park where they had a lot of fun. Annie went down the slide all by herself about 15 times and it was one of the big-kid slides. Sam enjoyed flinging rocks with a stick he found. Then we were back home for naps and chatting. It was nice to get a day with Michelle to catch up and talk.

Sunday was the day of the race, and I think it’s safe to say we were both a bit nervous. Troy and Annie came to the race, and Ron stayed home b/c Sam was still sleeping. Ron and Sam arrived a little before we finished the race.

The race was really neat. There was a lot of small town spirit and the hispanic culture was well represented. There was a Mariachi band performing at the start line and a team of runners from Chihuahua, Mexico had been hosted by local Puebloans and were running the race. The race benefited the at risk youth in the community so it was a great cause as well.

The gun was off and so were we. The course was one huge loop through the fair grounds and the City Park, passing by the zoo and the playground we were at yesterday, and weaving through some residential areas. I tried not to go out too hard, but around a mile there was a woman (who I had finished ahead of two weeks ago) in the lead about 30 seconds ahead. I was a little shocked, but I didn’t want to go out too hard so I hung back and ran my own pace. BOY WAS I GLAD I DID. I had forgotten that people could have entered a 5K division, which she had and at 1.06 miles she turned right with the 5Kers and I turned left with the 10Kers, thus putting me in the lead for the women. We headed down a big hill and at the bottom, low and behold, Troy and Annie were waiting, and cheering, and waving, and clapping, and being generally silly for me! They had driven the car over and I was expecting them around mile 4 but they made it all the way to mile 2.5 about.

At this time I sort of hooked up with a runner from Chihuahua, and it was great to have someone to pace with. He would pick it up and I would go with him, and visa versa. I saw Troy 2 more times, he was really getting around the course well with Annie! At a little over 5 miles there was a hill and I took a little bit of a lead on my running mate, from there it was just a strong push to the finish. Troy, Ron, and all the kiddos were there. They announced my name as the female winner, and it was really heart warming to see all the people looking at me with smiles, and looks of WOW on their face. One of the volunteers wrapped a yellow t-shirt around my shoulders, which made me feel special. It turns out that the man from Mexico that I ran with was 59 years old!!! He was in wonderful shape and I will always remember running this race with him. I can only imagine the stories he could tell me if I only spoke Spanish!

I don’t like to stick around the finish, especially when I have friends running, so I started jogging backwards along the course cheering for everyone that passed and looking for Michelle. Her goal was to be under an hour and 10 minutes. Troy and Annie came with me on my jog, Troy laughed most the time because I cheered like a rock star for every person that came in. We turned a few corners, and there came Michelle, booking it like usual. She looked great, nice and strong for the finish. I jogged with her for a few seconds and then left her to run to the finish so I could cheer there. It was AWESOME to see her come down the final stretch. She had really great upper body form, she was relaxed and smiling. I got chills. I strained to see the clock at the finish and noticed that it was somewhere around one hour and ONE minute, so she was 9 minutes ahead of her goal!!! She finished in 1:01:18, which was 9:52 pace. Two words: ROCK STAR.

The official stats for my race are the following:
Mile 1: 6:35
Mile 2: 7:01
Mile 3: 6:54
Mile 4: 6:56
Mile 5: 7:41 (hill)
Mile 6: 6:52
Last 0.2: 1:11
Final Official Time for 10K: 43:14
Female Winner.

Also, as a added benefit, they gave me a huge engraved beer pitcher for my 10K win, and I also ended up winning the series for the women, so they gave me a $100 gift certificate to Runners Roost for some new shoes! YIP! Michelle was also a champion, she took 3rd in the series for her age group. WeeHoo!

Photos courtesy of Ron!