Loveland Lake to Lake Triathlon

After an evening of nonstop laughter I was so ready for race morning to come at 4am. Michelle, Steve, Christopher and I traveled to the race site and got a primo parking spot. After racking our bikes and getting THE CLOSEST transition spots we hopped in the car and people-watched for an hour. What a total hoot. Triathletes are just funny. They are so different than runners who usually stretch and act calm. Triathletes like to walk around all nervous like, spend unimaginable amounts of time in the port-a-pottie, and strut around wearing too little clothing for 4:30am. They also like to ride their bikes around with no helmets to warm up, which can get them DQed. Doh!

Swim Start
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Pook on the beach
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Most of the PC crew did a warm up run together, and I probably shouldn’t have gone with them. I was in the second wave and as I got to the swim beach and pulled on my wetsuit I heard the gun for the first wave. I had 4 minutes to get my two caps and goggles on, get in the water, find the right spot to start, and get ready. Boom, I was off and feeling rushed. It was a typical swim for me with a moderate amount of body bumping, and some settling. I sighed pretty well and seemed to hit each buoy with consistency. As we turned the last buoy the next wave started to pass me. I had fun jumping on 4 different guys feet from this group, catching a 30 second draft and giving myself a reason to push push push.

As we exited the water I looked down and my watch said 26 something. My first thought…the swim is short. Ha! Give yourself some credit Sonja! The two minute run to transition was tough in the wetsuit, but a little fun too. Turns out the swim was a bit short, but the swim plus run to transition seemed to be closer to a normal mile swim time. 28:15 was my official swim time…so my first time seeing the 28’s in a race. There was still lots of room for improvement in my swim execution, but it’s getting stronger.

T1 was great. I enjoyed having the primo spot, and it was oddly reassuring to see Steve and Michelles bikes on either side of mine. I was sandwiched by two of my favorite triathletes. 43 seconds later I was on the bike.

So the bike was a total sight unseen course for me. I had heard rumors about the hills and that it was pretty but had never ridden the course. It took awhile to get going. Steve and I just had a pow-wow last week about my TT form and so I was still “messing around” with where to sit, how to sit, how to pedal, how to feel comfortable, and what gear to be in. It took some time. Troy and Chris were ALL OVER the course and they are seriously the loudest cheerers I have even encountered. They really do it up good. Anthony caught me several miles in, and the Tyler caught me a few miles after that. I know I can bike with Tyler so I put some “giddy” in the “up” and started to go hard. I kept Tyler in sight and used him to keep me focused and accountable. The hills were great and Troy said it was fun to be on the course and to watch me eat up all the ladies ahead of me. I just tried to consistently pass people and put in a hard effort. On the last stretch down Wilson Steve passed me and I really wanted to keep him in sight. It was great to ride behind my coach and to watch him in action.

As we came into T2 Steve was first, then Tyler, then me, but we were all within 30 seconds of each other. When I entered transition and racked my bike Steve was departing (and we were racked next to each other). That was cool. I had trouble getting on my second shoe, but even with that, a 38 second T2.

Taking in Water outside T2
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I rolled out of T2 and saw Tyler ahead. I worked my way up to him and told him to jump on my shoulder. He hopped on and we ran to mile 1 together. I looked at my watch and in my running stupor I couldn’t get the correct words out and threw down an F-bomb. Poor Tyler thought that I was upset with the first mile split (which was 6:57) and claims that I “took off”. But…this is not true. The f-bomb came b/c I was trying to get the right words out. I was perfectly happy with 7 minute pace. I did however see SEVERAL ladies in front of me, and the truth is when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. I had to go get those girls. So I took them one at a time and tried not to over think things. Whenever I would come up on a girl I would straighten up my form and put a little surge in. This way I would give of the impression that I was running much harder, and then they would feel like they couldn’t go with me. It worked over and over again. Troy and Chris were near the turn around and again…wild and crazy cheering ensued!

Troy and Pook
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At the turn around I saw five ladies very close ahead and vowed to get them all. A mile later I had them, but I knew my good friend Amy was on my heels. By mile 5 she had eaten me up, much like I tried to eat up all the other ladies I passed. Ha! What goes around comes around! She had a terrific pace going so I just tried to lock into her effort and drive harder with her.

As we came around the last turns my FIL was there taking pics and Annie and my MIL were playing at the palyground.
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Here I am running my guts out and it was crazy to see Annie playing away! As we come around the last turns I see this lady ahead and she looks my age. She is clearly running slower, but I am running out of real estate. I watch Amy kick and eat her up, and even though I am kicking, the finish line is coming too quickly. We cross 6 seconds apart and I see she is in my age group. Doh. That was a tough one.

Can yo see me?
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Coming down the home stretch
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The point where I knew I wasn’t going to catch her
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After a 5 minute section of feeling very near puking (I’ve never had that at the end of a race, but I think it was from the sprinting) Steve and I headed out for a cool down and to chear on others.

Post race Pow-Wow
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Post race pook Hug
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Practical Coaching had a GREAT day. Steve won his age group, Michelle was 2nd in hers, Beth 3rd, Barry 3rd, Anthony 4th, and I was also 3rd in mine. A great day, and a testament to what a great coach Steve is!

Pook and I on the podium
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Michelle and Beth on podium
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Results are here
Swim: 28:15
T1: 0:43
Bike: 1:27:17
T2: 0:38
Run: 43:10
Overall: 2:40:04
14th woman
3rd in F25-29

Cycling Excitement on the Forefront

So I know I have a race tomorrow, and believe me I’m excited beyond belief. But, man, next week is shaping up to be some exciting training.

Tomorrow is exciting for several reasons. I haven’t raced this race before, so there is the newness and the unknown that’s exciting. I am recovered from Alcatraz, finally, so I am happy to be going into the race in the right physical frame of mind. Being in the right place in the body helps me have the confidence to get my brain on track. I have an exciting race game plan that I am looking forward to having fun with. All my teammates, and tons of friends will be there, so lots of good vibes on the course. Lastly, lots of us are staying up there tonight and I am REALLY looking forward to hanging out with my team and engaging in some extreme pillow fighting madness.

So, don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about tomorrow.

BUT…next week. Oooh, next week.

On Wednesday we have an all day ride planned from Golden to Winter Park, via Rollins Pass. The road was closed to auto traffic some time ago and the rumor is that much of it is dirt. We are doing it on our road bikes, and have HEARD that it’s passable by road bike. All the photos I can find of people doing it are on mountain bikes, so it should be an adventure!

We are in for a real treat up and over Rollins Pass.
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Then Saturday we are heading up Mount Evants on our bikes with the ENTIRE PC crew.
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It’s 14 miles to the top and then most of us plan to ride all the way back to Denver, including a few more climbs along the way. Should be a super fun week with lots of mileage, lots of vertical feet, lots of laughter, and probably a good 10 almond butter sandwiches consumed!

The Mid Season Mind Game

Man, mid season can be a giant mind-job. I tell ya, it’s been a struggle for me to keep my outlook consistent. One day I’m up and happy-snappy, the next day I am low and my outlook is grim. Recovering from the extreme high that I had after Alcatraz has been interesting at best. Let’s just say what goes up, must come down. Or does it have to? I’m not entirely sure? So maybe I should say, “what went up, came down”.

I have known all along that it will pass if I just stay patent and consistent, and I think I am on the “other side” of it. I have been doing a better job in public of handling this quiet time. I took a few pride blows after Boulder Sprint, but I am happy to say that I learned a lot about myself. I learned that my pride is not teflon, comments and expectations do affect me, but it’s something I need to take care of, something I need to prepare for. I used to think I could take anything, that I was super strong in my mind… and I am…when I am racing to my ability. But when I have a less than stellar performance, comments and expectations hit me harder. So, that’s something I continue to work on.

The odd thing is, I just want to train more, to train harder. When I am rested, I feel like I am under-trained, and when I am tired, I am frustrated that I can’t train harder. I have really enjoyed the training this season, especially the cycling.

I have my nutrition on the right track: fish, veggies, and whole grain rice almost every night. Breakfast has been right on and my portion desires have calmed down from growing teenager, to trained triathlete. It’s been nice.

So, where from here? I continue to work on my mental outlook, to stay strong, and to stop questioning my training. I continue to work towards performing up to my currently ability, to remain a good role model, and to keep an authentic smile on my face. Consistency, inclusiveness, and light heartedness, despite steep competition, and nerves. That’s the goal.

This weekend is the Loveland Lake to Lake triathlon. It’s a Saturday race, and I’m excited to have friends and family coming to support me. Chris, Roger, and Marla should be there for sure, along with almost the entire Practical Coaching team. Should be good times.

Another Artist in the Family

Following in her grandmothers footsteps, using the “Oh-So-Popular” self-canvas. I thought she was with Troy, he thought she was with me. Little did we know, the artist was hard at work.

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The good news is that after playing in the Chattfield Gravel Pond today with her Papa for 3 hours while I swam and ran, most of it has washed off. The good thing was that she didn’t color on a single wall or piece of furniture. Knock on wood!

A Little Shout Out

So I have to give Tyler a little shout out. He’s caught the blogging bug and I’m lovin’ it. My friend Tyler is one of the most fun guys I know to hang around. He’s got a great head on his shoulders and knows how to work hard when he needs to. He’s the one coming up with the Alphabet Game to play on long bike rides (you’ll have to join us to know about that one), but when it comes time to climb, the boy drops the hammer.

His triathlon blog is great and I strongly urge you all to meander on over and check it out. Leave a little comment love and let him know what he’s doing is inspiring. He’s a dad of three and with the support of his wife Anne he fits it ALL in.

He’s always willing to throw in a little Booo-Yaa to the mix. Enthusiasm, exuberance, yet kindness and inclusiveness are constants with Tyler. He’s just a class act dude.

He ends every post with “I love you Anne” which just makes my heart melt. Check out his blog here.

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Core Concepts Wins the Apex Award!

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Let me be the first of many to extend a HUGE congratulations to Core Concepts! Every year Polartec awards several high tech garments their prestigious Apex Award. This year Core Concepts Carve Full Zip jacket is sharing the podium with other stellar companies including Patagonia, Marmot, and Merrell.

As an avid wearer of the Carve Full Zip jacket let me just say this coat is top notch and extremely deserving of the Apex award. I have been product testing it for the last few months and have yet to uncover a flaw. It fabric is divine for us women, and the stylish details will leave your friends drooling…like my friends are! Right friends? Don’t worry, the Carve Full Zip goes on sale in September.

Congratulations to the Core Concepts crew and especially to owners Noah and Erin! You have been such a joy to work with and I know that as the years go by Core Concepts will become a household name in outdoor apparel. Keep up the great work and I can’t wait to see the Carve Full Zip walking around the streets of Boulder, or on the slopes in Vail. Because, when it comes to ‘Active. Life. Style’ you guys nailed it!

Off Your Rocker

I’m off for an all day ride in the mountains with my team, but here is a little photo love before I go. Hillary, Laura and I went to Berry Patch Farms yesterday to scope it out. Annie really liked the turkeys.
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Veggie Update

The garden has been busy while I have been racing my tail off all over the country. Troy tended things well while I have been gone.

This just in: Early Girl Tomatoes rock! I have a tomato that is getting RED. Yes RED, like, as in edible RED!

My three tomato plants have oodles of tomatoes on them and have grown in height above their cages, despite the fact that two of them are supposedly 2 foot high patio tomatoes. Out of 14 green been seeds sowed, I have 10 successful plants happily growing up the trellis. My snap peas look too pretty to eat with their ripe pods dangling high from my balcony. The basil is happy, but the cucumber is slow to start despite much coddling. Here are some photos for your salivary pleasure.

My Early Girl
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A close up of the ripening tomato
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The galvanized pot garden with basil, Early Girl, 10 green bean plants, and 1 cucumber.
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My two patio tomatoes, brimming with tomatoes
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A close up of the bounty to come
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Lastly, a great shot of my snap peas.
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Boulder Sprint Triathlon

Today’s race was all about friends. My good friends Hillary, Ben, and Tana came out, bringing along Bens dad as well. You can image my surprise seeing them cheering for me as I came out of the swim. Very excited! Troy’s parents Roger and Marla came out as well. I haven’t seen them since they got back from a several week trip to Greece. I wish we could have visited more. It was great to have Troy and Annie out at the race again. Having my husband there always makes me feel better. Annie is such a trooper at the races. The Practical Coaching crew was in fine form and I thank them for all of their cheers. It was great to race with Michelle (who knocked it out of the park today), Beth (who is sooo back), Sara (who is ready to kick it into gear again), John (a dad who who was supported by his three cheering teenage daughters), and Barry (who I saw for 2 pico-seconds and he looked GREAT). It was also great to race and cool down with Amy, who has really put in the mileage and has become SO much more than just “Jordan’s Girlfriend””, look for her on the podium this year! Great job to all the racers, and many thanks to all the cheerers!

We had wonderful weather for the Boulder Sprint Tri today. It was warm, but not too warm. The water in the Boulder res was CHILLLY still. I did a little over a two mile warm up run, and then ten minutes in the water. After watching the start of other waves I headed to the right side of the start line in the water. I noticed that there was much less jostling in this section as most the racers headed left at the start of the race.

The swim start of my wave. Photo by Roger Wieck.
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Here is Troy trying to keep an eye on me during the swim with the sun in his eyes. Photo by Roger Wieck.
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Because of my optimal start location and sighting every stroke for the first good section I got off to an amazingly good start in the swim. I felt strong and confident and just tried to stay steady. When I got out I glanced at my watch and was excited to see the 13 number. I was hoping to swim in the 15s at least, so 13’s was even more exciting. We had to run quite a ways up the beach before the timing mat and so my official swim time is in the 14s. But still, very happy. I got a better idea of the intensity that I need to bring to Olympic level races in the swim.

Coming out of the water. Photo by Hillary or Ben, not sure.
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Onto the bike. Any course in Boulder is a challenge. There is always a climb to get out of the reservoir, but you also get some screaming downhill. The way back is always a set of serious rollers. Crazy, but fun. It seemed like there were a lot of people with flats, or dropped chains. I just tried to stay steady, keep the effort consistent, and make big circles with the legs. I came into transition and had a particularly good dismount.

Coming into the transition. Photo by Hillary or Ben.
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Off onto the run. Usually my favorite part, but it’s always tough out at Boulder Res. It’s flat, it’s gravel, it’s straight for a long time, and it can get boaring. LUCKILY, the Practical Coaching team had taken on the task of the run aid station. They went with a Christmas in June theme. Tyler was dressed up like Santa, and all the girls had cute little red skirts on and decorated tank tops. They went crazy when I ran by, I wish I could have stopped and chatted. I know everyone on the course today got a big kick out of the Christmas Aid Station.

Bookin’ it home on the run. Photo by Roger Wieck.
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John coming home on the run, check out the definition in the legs! Photo by Hillary or Ben.
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Beth bringing it home. Photo by Roger Wieck.
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Results are here.
Swim: 14:20
T1: 0:51
Bike: 49:42
T2: 0:47
Run: 22:06
Overall: 1:27:44
5th in Female 25-29

Disaster Strikes!

The hard drive went out in my Mac. Thank goodness I got the Apple Care plan so the replacement was totally covered, but I have been without a computer all week. I also forgot my cell phone charger in California, so I have pretty much been without a cell phone since Tuesday. Yesterday the cell phone was back, but I won’t have my computer until Monday.
I finally figured out how to post on Troy’s work computer. If you read my blog from Internet Explorer, I am very sorry. I just noticed that things don’t look “quite right” with this browser (posts are far down the page, wording to the right looks funky). Ick.
So tomorrow is the Boulder Sprint Triathlon. I just raced last Sunday and I had a tough week of training and travel so I am definitely going into this race with a bit of a handicap. I’m glad it’s a sprint and I am looking forward to giving it a good effort and using it as yet another tough training day. The fact that I have three more races and then it’s time to gear up for Nationals gives me the heebie-jeebies. Live every race to the fullest, right?

I have so many bits of news that I can’t wait to post once my computer is back in my possession.