Denver Botanic Gardens Kick-Off


My friend Hillary and I visited the Denver Botanic Gardens this morning for our 2008 inaugural visit. We had the kiddos in tow and toured for several hours. As nice as I’m sure it will be once everything is in bloom, there was a certain beauty in the resting plants. You could tell that things are starting to happen under the soil, and some of the bulbs are just starting to make their spring time appearance. We will have such an appreciation during the throws of spring and summer since we have seen the gardens in their current state.

I seem to be melding into my environment lately. There is so much going on under the surface, yet a confidence that everything will come in due time. Today the gardens reminded me how nature can miraculously bring you back to the now, the present, and can at the same time teach you to anticipate the future. That’s how I feel right now about life, anticipating, but constantly reminded to enjoy the now, enjoy the process.

How much sweeter does your food taste when you grew it yourself? How much sweeter is a PR when you trained rigorously for an event? Delayed gratification is so sweet. When you watch something, or yourself, or your children, grow and learn it’s the process that is so beautiful, not the outcome. The outcome is sweet, only if the process was memorable. Nature does it effortlessly, part of the cycle of life.

Training a la mode

The last several months I have been in the throws of base training. I’ve been having a blast, running long cruiser runs, biking when it’s nice out, and working on my swim stroke. I have been so patient. The last week Steve let me bust it out. My excitement was similar to when I tell Arwen that it’s “Time to go for a walk”. Shakes, wiggles, pure excited anticipation. I learned this last week why you stick to your scheduled workouts and don’t go crazy doing extra work. Weeks like this will come along where you need every ounce of stamina to get through the workouts smiling. Steve still hasn’t started me on any speed work, this week was all about long miles, and long workouts all strung together. It was so fun to be doing two-a-days again, I missed those. It’s weeks like this that I “feel” like I am training like a professional.

I am proud to say that I got through the entire week with a big fat smile on my face. I have been left at the end of this week with sore muscles and the desire to shout “I love triathlon” from the tops of tall mountains. It’s when I test my limits that I really start to feel an inner peace with myself. I suppose it’s weeks like this that really keep my soul in the competition. I feed on this stuff. I am happy to be patient with my training like Steve is always reminding me, and to “Keep on Keeping on”, but weeks like this are the dessert of my training, the dessert of my life, I just love them.

Here are the numbers for the last week:
biking – 150 outdoor miles, including about 21,000 vertical feet of climbing
swimming – 13,384 Meters (that’s 8.32 miles)
running – 27.68 miles

So, from here I get to go back to being patient, and remaining in my Zen training mode.

Ooh, and lastly, here is an updated shot of my herb garden. Most of the plants are doing great. I am a little concerned about one of my basil plants, but my dad says I just need to stop worrying and putting negative energy into it. The rosemary/thyme/sage/oregano side of the box is doing wonderful! The basil side is growing, but a little less happy.

Here they are:

Mental Mondays (5): The Real Reason for Base Training


This post came from a conversation earlier this week with my good friend Laura. Since Laura just might be the only person that reads my Monday posts, I apologize! Sorry if you don’t get any new information this week.

I want to talk this week about Base Training and what I feel the purpose of it is. So many athletes use the off season to catch up on things that got left behind during the regular season, family, work, relationships. Most the time people are so burned out that they just need some “time off”. I hear about a lot of people that stop training altogether, or train sporadically. Then, as this time of year comes around, February, people start to wake up again, planning race schedules, looking for coaching or teams to join. They get all hyped up, and that hype carries them through most of the season, until training gets especially difficult, or boaring. Then by the end of the season, everyone is all burned out again and the cycle starts over.

Hard things take time to do. Impossible things take a little longer.
– Percy Cerutty

So base training…it’s what the “especially dedicated” do, right? It’s for the people who don’t have enough obligations and can “afford” to spend all off season training, right? Sometimes, I think this is the view people have of me. This really is my first of season of base training, but I can already tell people think I have a bit too much time on my hands. Ha, that’s okay, I forgive you.

I have learned a lot this off season, but here is the big “Ahhhh-Hah”.

The base season is not just a time to get in lots of long boaring training miles, it’s the time we set aside in our lives to establish our BASE PERSON. What diet, motivation, emotional state, attitude, level of energy, and lastly training can we handle each and every day that we wake up? It’s about establishing a lifestyle that is not only maintainable, but sustainable. You see the BASE part of base training has so much more to do with establishing the baseline that you want your life to follow. What level of training makes you a happy well balanced person? That’s the level of base training you should complete. Now we all know that being a healthy person is one of the fundamental reasons we all train, compete, own a bike or a gym membership. And, we all know in our heart of hearts that we need to move our bodies in physical exercise every day. Therefore, this yo-yo-ing during our years really isn’t good for us. What’s good for us is consistency, honesty with ourselves, and the ability to be patient.

This is the time in our year where we practice the motto “Just keep on keeping on”. By the end of base training you should feel like an extremely balanced peaceful person who is ready emotionally, and physically to start the training that will lead to your peak performance throughout the year.

This week it’s time to do some reflection on what kind of base training, or OFF season you have had. Have you scaled back and maintained a level that is sustainable, have you been training your fanny off, or have you not trained at all. What do you think about your level of training given what I talked about above? Are you going into this season with a balanced head on your shoulders? If not, what got in the way, why? Write a little note to yourself for the end of the season and tell yourself how important it is to scale back and regain balance in all facets of your life once your season ends.

“Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must move faster than the lion or it will not survive. Every morning a lion wakes up and it knows it must move faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be moving.”
– Maurice Greene

Annie’s First Sleep-over

Annie spent the night at her Grandparents (Troy’s parents) house all by herself for the first time. Well, of course grandparents were there, but Troy and I had a night alone for the first time in over 27 months. It was strange, but we made the best of it!

Annie did really well at her grandparents house. She didn’t cry when I packed her into grandma’s car, even though she was sad. We were told that she said “Rabbit” for the first time, and that she played up a storm. It’s so good for Annie to get to be around her grandparents. We have found that Annie does best when she is surrounded by LOTS of people that love her and interact passionately with her. Her grandparents really do that!

They even sent a CD home with her of pictures took during the visit. It was great to see what she was up to…playing with many toys and playing the piano! Here are some cute shots!


Locked and Loaded


I am getting things in ORDER! Today I finished booking all the arrangements for Saint Anthony’s Triathlon in St. Petersburg FL, Capital of Texas Triathlon in Austin TX, and National Championships in Portland, OR. Whew! Flights are booked, cars are rented, hotels are reserved, I am locked and loaded for FUN!

Also locked and loaded is Boulder Sprint, and Boulder Peak Triathlon. Luckily, those are local races and therefore quite a bit cheeper to attend. The goal of this year is to focus on the Olympic distance races, and get myself to BIG races where I can compete amongst the best of the best. To really get in with the big girls and give it a run for it. Sounds fun huh??

I don’t think my tri schedule is quite complete just yet, more races are likely to come, but no decisions have been made yet. I am so excited for what’s on tap already. Troy is coming to Florida with me, and I am attending the other two alone (with teammates).

Good Girls Get Rewarded

Beth sent me this picture that she took of me at the Beaver Creek Snowshoe race two weekends ago. It just makes me laugh. I look like such a goof, but it totally reminds me of how much fun I have when I am around my teamates. They bring out the best in me. Thanks so much Beth for taking the time to snap this shot…you rule!


The last two days have been DIVINE here in Denver. I feel like somebody “up there” is saying:

“Good Job Sonja, You’ve been working so hard in miserable weather these last months that we are going to give you a two day reward”.

What was my reward? Well Tuesday I had a 6 mile run to do and I was gifted with nice enough weather to do it in SHORTS and a SPORTS BRA. Yea, that’s it. I bet you wish you had been there…it was sweeeet. I didn’t even remember what my belly button looked like…until yesterday when we were reacquainted! Warm sun on my face, great views at Cherry Creek State Park, I was eating it up. Before I left on my run I started my GPS and stuck it in my sports bra (broke the strap…remember?) and at the end when I looked at it, I was a bit shocked/giddy to see 7:30-7:45 pace for an easy mellow training run. I guess wearing 15 layers does slow you down a wee-bit.

THEN, as if that wasn’t enough, today I had the pleasure of riding for 5.5 hours with Steve. We did the Highgrade/Shaddow Mountain/Little Cub loop in FEBRUARY, and get this, the weather was more than cooperative and there we only a few very small patches of snow on the entire 60-70ish mile loop. Several times on the ride today we would just look at each other with big giddy grins on our face, still in shock that we were up on Shadow Mountain…ON OUR BIKES…IN THE SUN. Now that is HAPPY. My dad watched Annie in the morning, Troy watched her during lunch, and then dad come back and watched her in the afternoon. I am getting so spoiled having all this support around. It was a really sweet gift they gave me today…allowing me to ride this wonderful ride, while the weather was supreme. Ahhh.

I feel rejuvenated. I wasn’t feeling particularly down or anything, but just this touch of spring has been such a reward for my training.

PS: A garden update: plants are still alive, but I had a minor bug issue. They were eating basil and sage leaves. I sprayed the plants with mild soapy water per my dads advice. Bugs gone…I think.

President’s Award


Troy got awarded the Presidents Award at work Tuesday. We are so proud of him, and apparently other people are impressed as well! His award came on a large…I mean VERY large bar of Chocolate with lots of etching, and fancyness! They have a formal banquet at a later time, which he is pretty excited about.

Landmark Theatres


Have you heard of the new Landmark Theatre that just got built in Denver? Dad watched Annie while Troy and I had a date afternoon and we decided to go see Juno at the new theatre. It was awesome. The ticket prices are $9 for matinee, and $12 for normal screenings. That includes all you can eat popcorn and sodas! They have a full bar when you walk in and if you purchase the VIP seating for an extra $2 then you get a leather love-seat to share with your date, along with a waiter, and a nice little menu of food, desserts and drinks. We truly enjoyed our time, it felt so decadent, and we really didn’t spend more than we usually do when we go to the movies, but had a small lunch and enjoyed the VIP treatment. So, totally fun!

Now, as for Juno, oh my goodness. I loved it. Who isn’t now-a-days? It was so quirky and totally cute. I just fell in love with Juno. I have to admit I was quite teary afterwards. As more time passes I thought I would heal more from the experience of birthing Annie, but it’s the opposite. I have become even more sensitive about the birthing process. Any visual images just hit a sore note with me and I get really emotional. However, the flick was great, and I really enjoyed having some time alone with Troy.

Mental Mondays (4): Knowing and Buying Into Your Purpose for Races


I missed a mental monday this last week while I was on vacation. So I owe you one. I should be able to make it up in the next couple weeks. This week I want to discuss and reflect on knowing and buying into your purpose during races. I was struggeling a bit with this last week and I want to address it, hammer it out, and feel more confident about it in the future.

What makes the great triathletes successful is their ability to perform their best under the worst possible conditions against a formidable field in the most important race of their lives.
– Jim Taylor & Terri Schneider in The Triathletes Guide to Mental Training

This last weekend I raced in the Jeremy Wright Snowshoe Championships and I wanted to have a stellar performance, better than I have been performing in past weeks. But where was I going to pull this from? This may have been the direction I had in my heart, because I am competative, but it wasn’t the direction my coach had, and it wasn’t the direction of my training. I was destined to be dissapointed, because my expectations were unrealistic.

Please read this post from Bree Wee’s Blog. She struggeled in a similar situation and her coach has some great words.

I know that her coach is discussing the difference between amature and pro, but I think of it more as the difference between “ignorance of your purpose” and “strength and determination in your purpose”. Does that make sense?

Another example: Steve and I were having a discussion about a certain individual that always finishes in front of me in snowshoe races. I keep getting close to her and was talking about what it would take to overcome her in a race. Steve said to me “I know her and I know she couldn’t care less if you beat her”. He explained to me how this person was a seasoned professional and knows that snowshoe season is about training and getting strong. This person knows that training has ebs and flows and that her real focus is triathlon, and that is where all of the training is taking her, to prime performances in important triathlons. It’s funny how my attitude changed when I was told someone couldn’t care less if I “beat” them in a race. Pretty darn humbling, that’s for sure. But I get it too, if you are concerned with ever person around you in races, and you know all their names, and how good they are, you just put yourself in a box. It’s hard to break out of boxes you put yourself in, and when you do break out of them you are “ALL PROUD OF YOURSELF”. But really, if you hadn’t put yourself in the box in the first place, and you just relied on your training, and your direction, and giving your best performance on that day, you won’t ever be disappointed. I tend to get too obsessed with results, and placing…time to let that go.

So, this got me thinking about just how important it is to not only be aware of your purpose in early/pre-season races, but also to buy into that purpose and to remain controlled. This requires that you understand and trust your training program, that you have good communication with your coach, and that you buy into and agree with the direction of your training. It’s also important to keep in mind that “It’s your life”. These are YOUR goals that you are going after, so as in my case if I wanted to do better in the snowshoe race, and was disapointed, then my coach and I probably don’t have a clear understanding of where I want to head. Or, I may not have a clear understanding of the trade off’s required to have strong snowshoe races. Either way, if you experience a disconnect between race desires and your training level to complete those desires, it should serve as a red flag.

So what to do from here? Well, I think this week I will focus on making sure I understand a little better where my training is taking me. Knowing what the focus is, what races I want to perform my best at, and how my training will build up to that. Since Steve puts my schedule together on the monthly basis, it keeps me from looking far ahead. I need to have a discussion with him about future races, and we need to be on the same page.

Once that happens, I need to do some mental work before each race about knowing my purpose, knowing my goals, and being properly prepared for the races I have been trained to complete.

So, tasks this week are to get a better understanding of where my training is taking me. And then, to put together part of my pre race routine that involves some preflection (opposite of reflection…also not a word) about my goal and purpose of that race.

I definitely don’t see getting on the medal stand as something that’s attainable. I see it as a lofty goal. What I’m trying to focus on is going out and competing against my fellow competitors, the racecourse, and myself. I’m going to give my best effort, and if it warrants a podium finish, that’s what it warrants.
– Andy Potts