POISON…

I thought poison oak didn’t grow in Colorado..yea, not so true
Poison IVY
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In green are the confirmed counties in Colorado that have Poison Oak and/or Ivy
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My Poisoned shoulder
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Yea, so…I’ve got some itchy bumps. Not those kind of bumps, get your head out of the gutter, no, the poison oak kind of itchy bumps.

I swore, and swore, and told others, and swore to others that poison oak doesn’t grow in Colorado. I knew that Poison Ivy grows in Colorado, but I’ve only seen it once and it was South of Durango (if you can call “South of Durango” Colorado) in Mesa Verde National Park.

Well, I am still sticking by the fact that I have never seen Poison Oak in Colorado, but I am now 99% sure that Poison Ivy is more prolific than I first thought. I have this large patch on my shoulder and several patches on my legs too.

I must have been somewhere WILD, and CRAZY, and WAY IN THE OUTBACK. Yea…no…I was at Chattfield State Park, doing the normal trail loop that I run all the time out there. BUT, it’s really narrow, and right next to the Platte River, and if I were poison Oak or Ivy, I would totally grow along that trail.

Why my shoulder you ask…well humm, how do I put it? Yea, uhhh, I fell down. On Saturday my workout was 2 laps at the gravel pond (3800 M) and then 2 laps on the trail that leaves from the pond (9 miles). About 2.5 miles into my first lap on the trail I tripped on a hidden stump and ate it HARD. I fell into the bushes, knocked my cheek against a log, scraped up both knees and my stomach, and I think that my left shoulder landed in a patch of Poison Ivy (I refuse to think it’s Oak). Sooo…several days later…itchy bumps.

This puts such a buzz-kill on my FAVORITE running trail.

So I did a little internet research and the above map of Colorado shows all the counties that Poison Oak or Ivy have been confirmed (the green counties). Now, I’m not really good a figuring out which county is which, but I can tell that around Denver…there is some Poison ISSUES!

Man…I am so upset!

Boulder Peak Olympic Triathlon

Photos by Roger
Swim Start
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Exiting Swim
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Bike Dismount
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Run
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John, Beth, Tyler, Me, and Amy
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The alarm went off at 3:15. And oddly, it wasn’t so bad. I hopped in the shower, and progressed through my race morning routine. Race day is all about routine. It’s a way to add some sort of control before the madness hits. At 3:30 Troy was up and packing the car. With the car packed and idling we ran up and grabbed Annie from her crib to transfer her to her car seat in one quick swoop. 4am and we were off, headed to Boulder, Colorado, triathlon capital of the world, for my second Olympic tri. The Boulder Peak triathlon is the most well known of the Colorado triathlons, every one who is anyone comes out for it. They have a huge pro race and all the top of the line age groupers are out in full force.

The course is a challenge. The swim is the swim, as they all are, but the bike is WILD. The first 7 miles are up-hill, ending with a 15 degree hill called Olde Stage. On the other side of Olde Stage is a steep downhill with a speed limit, complete with two Boulder Police officers with radar guns enforcing the automatic disqualification if you exceed 35 mph. There is a section of 10 “rollers” just to keep your heart rate above threshold. It’s a challenge.

The run course is out and back and is the complete opposite of the bike. It’s flat, hot, boring, stupid, lame, and frustrating.

We arrived at the Boulder Reservoir at 4:45am, transition opened at 5. I got a really good spot on the transition racks, laid out my stuff and got the heck out of there. It seems to me that transition becomes one of those places where people like to hang out and waste time. This can’t be good, you can psyche yourself out looking at others peoples bikes, or bodies. The whole point of transition during the race is to get out of there as soon as possible, so I figured I should do the same pre-race.

At Nationals I didn’t warm up well so I wanted to change that this time around. 45 min before my wave I went for a 12 minute run with my iPod. Then came back, put on my wet-suit, said hi to my best friend Amy who came to cheer, and got in the water for a swim warm-up. This was a must have. I felt like I got all the kinks out and didn’t feel so anxious at the start. I will always do a swim warm up now!

My age group was in pink caps and we were the third heat. Off we went. The swim felt much better, I was sighting off those around me, and sticking to ladies heels. I watched the buoys pass one by one. Out of the water and off to transition…it was a long run up and over a hill, and they didn’t sweep transition so I was stepping on all sorts of rocks and junk, youch! My wet-suit came off soooo super easy, quickest ever. Off I went on the bike.

It took some time to get into the bike, it’s a bit tough knowing that you are starting off with 7 miles of up-hill. My teammate Tyler passed me, he looked so good, like he was having fun, and like he was having a strong day. He said later that he matched my cadence out of transition and that I was pedaling really well, thanks Tyler! As we headed uphill I noticed a lady in front of me CLEARLY drafting off the lady behind her. I just kept thinking “Get a Clue”. Olde Stage was a hoot. There were spectators dressed up like the devil on the hill, it was hilarious and they were yelling GO GO GO! I found Olde Stage to be hard, yet comical, and impossible not to keep a smile on your face. So many people were out there helping us up that crazy hill. At the top I minded the speed limit, smiled at the cops, and after them got into Aero and hauled butt. I passed a “Bear Crossing” sign that the race director had made for the spot Sabrina crashed. I giggled. The rollers flew by, I passed IronLiz somewhere in there, right before her chain fell off (Eek), and before I knew it, I was heading back to transition.

My bike dismount was successful and transition was quick, I felt so good heading out on the run. SOOO GOOD. Then something happened, and I’m still not sure what. I sorta hit a point where usually I would continue to ramp up my speed but it didn’t come. I felt really hot and thirsty, but I had hydrated well before and during the race. I just didn’t have that extra edge that I usually have. The course was so hot, and so boring. My mind wandered, I wasn’t able to pull it back, and all the while I was running 7:45 pace…about 45 sec per mile off what I wanted to run. Youck. I was grabbing two water cups at each aid station and even that didn’t feel like enough. I knew I wasn’t running as fast as hoped and I was bummed and disappointed, but couldn’t seem to pick it up. Since the course was out and back I passed lots of my teammates, and that was great. It was just so nice to know that they were out there with me, and I was hoping they weren’t suffering as much as I was.

I picked it up slightly the last 1/2 mile or so, and when I finished all I could think about was getting back in the reservoir to cool off. I was definitely teary as I walked over to the res. Amy and Troy were there, they could tell I was about to cry as I said “That was really hard”. And the truth is…it was. It was a difficult race, if your off that day, you are miserable, if your on that day, then you feel like a rock star! Amy was really helpful with kind words and support. After cooling off I felt better, but continued to walk around in a bit of a stupor.

As my teammates started rolling into the finish things got more fun. Seeing them and talking to them helped. It was wonderful to hear about their races and to live their stories a little bit. Tyler ended up having a phenomenal race that day, and a lot of others struggled with the heat like I did. We all accomplished so much, we survived and some of us even thrived.

At the end of the race I thought, I’m never doing Boulder Peak again, but with some reflection, I DEFINITELY will. I can’t wait to test myself against this course again. It’s a tough one, but it teaches you where you “really” are at with your training. And hey, at least I didn’t hit a bear!

On the way home my bike fell off the top of the car. Luckily we were in the apartment complex, and it feel inwards towards the middle of the car. My front fork now needs replacing. Luckily Steve got me a good deal and hopes to have it fixed by the weekend.

Also, it turns out I punctured my heel in transition. I stepped on something nasty and got two deep puncture wounds in my heel.

Details:
Total Time: 2:40:07
Swim: 31:23 (with a log run before the timing mat)
T1: 0:59
Bike: 1:19:43 (19.6mph)
T2: 0:56
Run: 47:03 (7:42 pace)

16/107 Female 25-29
64/539 overall woman
332/1417 overall

5 years…has it been that long?

Yup folks, 5 years goes by and this is what it looks like…I LOVE IT!
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Last week Troy and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary, on Independence Day. I love that we picked the 4th of July to get married, we always celebrate with fireworks, family, and BBQ, it’s awesome.

This year was no different, we spent the day with Troy’s family in Loveland. Roger takes a lot of pictures (I LOVE this) and I was skimming trough them trying to find one of Troy and I on our special day…above is as good as it gets.

I realized, AH HAH, we’ve been married 5 years. That’s the point where just doing what we were doing above is pretty wonderful. Chatting with family on a sunny afternoon, watching your kid play in the wading pool, reading a fantastic book, and knowing that your husband is there by your side, expecting nothing, equally as happy, that…ladies and gentleman….is a darn good marriage. I could never have asked for more.

I love you Troy, happy 5th.

Cabbage Head Duathlon – Mile High Duathlon Series

The Cabbage Head Duathlon is a 5K Run, 30K Bike and 5K Run Event. Super Fun!!
Photos by Roger Wieck
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Today was the final installment in the Mile High Duathlon Series. I really enjoyed the previous two races so I was excited to finish off the third with a bang. They give away a series award to the person in each age group who accumulates the most series points. You are awarded points for how well you finish in each race. I was tied with another lady going into this race. This makes things particularly dicey. I have a bit of a competitive streak in me, so let’s just say I was gunning to beat a “certain someone” today, and she shall remain nameless.

I like duathlons b/c I don’t have to swim :). It makes transition easy :).

After a beautiful drive up to Wiggins (again BFE) Colorado, I decided to give our friend Chris a call. After all, it was 7am on a Saturday. I woke him up and convinced him to get in his car in the next 20 minutes and drive to Wiggins (40 minutes away for him) to come cheer me on. He totally did it and even got here in time. Roger, my FIL, also called us on his way out of town saying he was heading out to watch. You have no idea what the support of Chris, Roger and Troy means to me. I can not put it into words. I was one of the only people there with a cheering section, and I am always so humbled by the fact that my friends and family get up early in the morning on a weekend to come and watch me race. By the way, at the end of this race several people were asking who “Sonja” was, and they were even called the lady who won “Sonja”. This was all because everyone heard my cheering crew. That’s how AWESOME they are!

The first 5K was fast, fast, fast. It was a hot day and the ladies in the lead were duking it out! I kept wondering who the girl in the lead was. She looked so familiar, but I couldn’t place her, and it was more than just a normal “seen her at a race” familiar. Humm. I finished the first 5K in fifth place, BUT I CAME OUT OF TRANSITION IN THE LEAD. That’s how smokin fast I was! My first transition time was 28 seconds and there were several men who had a faster first transition, but no women…not a one. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I don’t know what but this just makes me laugh, b/c it’s like free time!

The bike was THE BOMB. I got passed by Heidi who is just the best person to race with b/c she says all these nice things to you when you pass her, and when she passes you. AND she always thinks of a new nice thing to say. She is like the Hallmark Card of Triathlon. I loved it. Plus, she’s just a super cool stud chic! Two months ago, at the Barkin Dog Duathlon, Heidi beat me by almost 3 minutes on the bike so I really wanted to stay with her today. I have been working so hard on my bike that I really wanted to push it here. We passed each other back and forth, back and forth. Always, a nice comment from Heidi…did I say how much I love this girl?? Somewhere in there Sabrina passed us like a bat leaving purgatory. Sabrina is the “familiar chic”. Again…where do I know her??? I continued to push hard. I knew that both girls are great runners and I needed to stick close to them if I had any chance in the run to get them. I biked like I have never biked before 🙂

Transition #2 was studly fast as well, but not as exciting b/c I didn’t pass 5 girls in it! I just put on my shoes and took off my helmet. Kinda basic.

The second run hurt. I couldn’t get my legs to return like they usually do. Even at the one mile mark, I still felt icky. It was hot, I was hot, I just didn’t have a lot left. It was a-okay though. I was happy.

I finished in 3rd place for the age-group women competitors. If you add in the Elite women (who go in a special wave ahead of the age groupers) then I was 6th overall woman. I had a better race than the lady I was tied with for the series award so I ended up winning that. I got a gift certificate to a Boulder bike shop…woo hoo! Heidi is in my age group so I ended up with 2nd in my age group 🙂

So after the race Heidi, Sabrina and a few other ladies were introducing ourselves and I remarked that Sabrina was rocking the house on the bike. I asked if her bike had a name and she said yea ‘The Bear Basher”. SUDDENLY it all became clear. Like two days ago I was reading an article about a triathlete who hit a bear on the bike course of the Boulder Peak Triathlon. Yea, she totally hit a bear and crashed her bike. The Boulder Peak triathlon is in two weeks and I am doing it this year. So now I know why she looked so familiar. HAHAHAHA! Here is the article

SHE HIT A BEAR!!!

Stats:
Total: 1:34:42
Run (5K): 20:36
T1: 0:28
Bike (30K): 49:36 (22.55 mph…I was going zoooooom)
T2: 0:32
Run (5K): 23:32
2nd in 25-29 women
3rd age-grouper woman
6th woman (including Elites)
55th finisher out of 250

Results

2007 USA Triathlon National Short Course Championships

Me at packet pickup
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Steve checking my bike to make sure I put it together correctly
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Jewels, Me, and Michelle the day before the race
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Me, Andrea, Michelle, and Beth the morning of the race.
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The Practical Coaching Team: From Left to Right:Steve (our fearless leader and coach), Kirk, Jason, Michelle, Barry, Beth, Me, and Jewels
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Me finishing
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Team shot of: Michelle, Beth, Jason, Me, Jewels, and Barry
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Jewels, Me, Michelle and Andrea eating dinner after the race.
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Me right after I finished
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Me with Chris and Debbie, two of my parents good friends that were there spectating
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Lastly, the girls with Barry!
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I don’t even know where to start! Sorry it’s taken me this long to get things up. I was waiting on photos, and since I didn’t take my camera…I had to be patient!

The trip started with me almost missing my flight to Portland. It was at 6am and we didn’t wake up when the alarm went off, so we were rushing to get there in time. When I got there they weren’t sure my baggage or my bike would make the flight in time. I had to run to the gate and they were holding the plane for me! I had a layover in San Francisco and as I watched out the window of the terminal I saw them load my bags and my bike onto the connecting flight…big sigh of relief! From then on the trip was flawless. Rental Car pickup, hotel check-in…it all went really smooth. I drove around Portland, got a little lost and relaxed in my room before it was time to go pick up my roommate, Michelle. Michelle and I had only met each other once, but the lady she was going to stay with on the trip couldn’t go b/c her dad was ill. So at the last minute Steve hooked Michelle and I up b/c he though we would get along well. He couldn’t have been more right, we had so much fun rooming together!

Friday morning we met some of the team for breakfast and we were super giddy. We headed over to packet pickup where we met the rest of the Practical Coaching folks and we had a blast. Packet pickup at these event can be a huge mind game. Everyone has these great bodies and they are all really intense, so it was cool that we stuck together, rough housed, and generally made everyone jealous that we were having so much fun. After that we drove out to the race course. We were required to leave our bikes in transition over night, and we all wanted to survey the course. We decided to bike the run course, and to drive the bike course. We had a lot of fun! We counted the hills, talked strategy and tried to stay calm. The day ended with everyone doing their own thing…people are pretty picky about their pre-race routines. Michelle and I got some grub, headed to the hotel, backed our bag for the next day, got excited, and hit the hay.

I didn’t sleep too well…duh!

The next morning we arrived with plenty of time to set up transition and watch the first waves go off. Steve caught up with me and told me I looked nervous, I almost cried. Tears started welling up, I don’t know why. I was nervous, and scared, and the swim just looked really far. I tried to calm down, it didn’t really work. Before I knew it I was in my wet suit, and treading water with all the other 25-29 year old females waiting for the bullhorn to sound. What the heck did I get myself into?

THE SWIM:
I can not even think of the correct words to explain the situation. I am treading water with 75 other ladies that know they are the bomb. It doesn’t matter what happens in the other age groups, as we tread and look around we all want to kick each others A**. One of these ladies in my age group goes on to win overall today, another goes onto 2nd overall. Four (4) of my fellow Coloradans come in top 10 in the age group. We are treading water and we sort-of know, but not really, that this is the most competitive age group of them all. Some say it’s 30-34 or 35-39, but you run the numbers off of this years race results, and it’s us, 25-29 ladies. And somehow, we all know this as we tread water and wait for the bull horn to sound. The energy and spark in the water is unreal, and finally we are off. The swim course is a 6-buoy rectangle and we are to swim counter-clockwise, keeping the buoys on our left.

About half way to the first buoy I look up and I am all by myself, the entire field has left me, I’m just too slow to keep up. I panic a little, but continue to swim and try to focus…while I panic. Between the 2nd and third buoy I am being passed by the wave behind me…the 30-34 men. I round the third buoy, and round the fourth and I am now getting passed by the wave after that, the 30-34 year old women. Panic is an understatement. I feel like I’m swimming correctly, and as fast as I can, and I am overwhelmed by this sense that “It’s not good enough to compete on this level”. That is truly how I feel the entire swim. That…and that it drives me nuts that I can’t swim straight. I keep veering right. I do the best I can, and before I know it, I am coming in, right between the two piers like I am supposed to.

TRANSITION:
It goes smoothly, and about the only thing I notice is the glaring fact that none of the bikes on my rack are left, meaning that I am last. Okay, last, I knew this, okay, okay, this happens. Little over my head, I guess. (As a note, I actually did beat 4 ladies in my age group out of the water…out of 74)

THE BIKE:
There is a steep hill leaving transition, so I am not able to get into my shoes until I am at the top of it. I thought it would be really hard to climb that hill out of my shoes, but it’s no problem. Once in them at the top of the hill, I am off. The course was awesome, no real flat sections, just a lot of up and down. It’s a two loop course. I start to pass people in my age group and go back and forth with lots of women in the 30-34 age group that caught up to me in the swim. It was good to have some ladies to compete with and I had a lot of fun. There were a few pretty tough hills that I was out of the saddle at the top for. I finally felt like I was redeeming myself a little. I one point a motorcycle pulled up next to me. I got a little nervous, thinking that it was an official, and wondering what I was doing wrong. I looked over and it was a guy with a video camera, Then I got a little self conscious. At the end of the second lap the runners are on the right side of the road, and there are lots of spectators, it’s mayhem! As a result I sort of “forgot” to get out of my shoes.

TRANSITION: I ended up getting to the dismount line, unclipping and running to my transition spot in my bike shoes. Oops. Most the bikes were back, but not all of them :). On with the running flats and off I went.

THE RUN: Up up up that big hill again. The run was really exciting because now I was really reeling in the ladies in my age group. I think I passed around twenty of them on the run. There were 6 large hills on the run course, 3 out and 3 back. I hit the turn around (5K) at 21:50, which is about what I run for an all out flat 5K here at home, and this time I was doing it after 2 hours of racing! The way back was fast too, mile 5 was a bit tough, but my pace didn’t slip. One mile to go was at the top of the last hill. There was a guy playing a drum and I knew this was the spot to give it your all. I took off and just booked it home. I left it all out there that day. When I was done…I was DONE.

POST: We had a great dinner together that evening. At the awards ceremony we got to watch Kirk receive his 6th place medal, and qualify for World Championships. None of the rest of us qualified for Worlds. USAT said that this was the most competitive National Championships they have ever had. Wowzer! It was such a good experience for me, and it just makes me that much more hungry to get better. I know I have more in me, and I know that with experience I am going to be able to tap into it. I was surprised how quickly the 2.5 hour race went by, you are so busy, no time to think! I learned that my swim needs serious work, I have to find a way to get better at it. All in all I am really proud of my performance. I learned a lot, and I will be able to build on that experience from here!

THE DETAILS:
Swim (1.5K): 30:19
T1: 1:23
Bike (40K): 1:14:57
T2: 1:13
Run (10K): 44:13
Total Time: 2:32:04
40th 25-29 year old female (out of 74)
192nd woman (out of 475)

Results