Checking Out

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Troy, Annie and I are heading up to the cabin for a few days to check out of the world. I’m feeling the need to get in some solid training, just me, and my new red iPod (my old shuffle bit the dust). Troy’s brother and his girlfriend are coming in from Cali and Chi-town to hang with us, so it should be good old fashion mellow times. I have downloaded some new Pussycat Dolls tunes, so I’m ready to rock and roll. It’s getting so close to Nationals I just feel the need to be alone with myself, to process what is coming up, to check out of the daily grind, and to give my body a chance to train, rest, train, rest, etc. I am taking all of my Core Concepts clothing to get in some final product testing before my reviews go live on my blog. Exciting huh?

We will be back later this week, rested, rejuvenated, and ready for what lies ahead. Peace Out!

Silence

Quiet Blog. I bet you have been checking in, waiting for a post. I’m sorry. I’ve been thinking about you all, just wondering what to say to you. It seems to be “that time” in the season. The time where days click by slowly, and you find your mind wandering to the prospect of Nationals. How will it go down, will I have a good day? My friends, it’s tough. I don’t want you to expect things of me, and I don’t want to set expectations upon myself. But, they have a way of creeping up anyways, don’t they? My coach says it’s easy to fly under the radar, to be unknown, but that with success comes being known, and expectations are placed upon you.

The best thing I can do in these coming weeks is attempt to manage those expectations, to talk myself into having a fun race, and to keep a level head. Beyond that, what else can one ask for?

So, if you see me in the next few weeks, don’t be afraid to give me a pat on the back, tell me that everything is going to be fine, and remind me that I know how to kick ass and take names when I need to.

Happy Training.

Some Wild West Relay Photos

Here we are at the starting line. L to R: Jill, Tim, Susan, Chris, Me, Steve. We look so clean, and fresh, and rested.
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Steve running, Susan handed water, Jill is there to retrieve it.
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Tim running, me in the back, and Chris is doing what he does best, yelling, encouraging, being silly.
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Our van.
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Finish line picture. We had so much fun.
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Masters Ooh La La

For the past couple months I have been without a swimming home. I left Greenwood where I was swimming in hopes of finding a masters program where I had multiple people in my lane. I loved swimming at Greenwood, loved the facilities, and the boys I swam with, but I just needed more people to chase.

My teammate Jenna was talking last night about this coach in Highlands Ranch that has a great Masters program. I swim in Highlands Ranch sometimes on Fridays b/c I like Suzy. It’s a good Friday program, not too intense, but good work, so I was familiar with the pool.

So this morning I hit up the new Masters that Jenna had suggested. Oh my gosh! 8 lanes, 2-3 people per lane and my first impression of the coach was awesome. The workout was HARD, I think around 4200 yds when I totaled it. But it was a great variety of work and never once did it get mundane. I loved it. I was giving all my might to stay with the guy in front of me, but he was super strong and quite out of my reach. Sooo.good.for.me! People asked my name and were generally very friendly. The group has been around for sometime and they seem comfortable with each other.

The best thing? It’s at 5:30 am. 5am is too early for me to swim, it means I have to get up at 4am. But 5:30, now that is totally doable. It’s actually my favorite time to swim. That half hour makes a huge difference.

So, I’m hoping I found a new swimming home. If you are hunting for a strenuous, yet friendly group, check out Highlands Ranch 5:30am M/W/F. I believe he also coaches Tu/Th 11:30-1. Thanks Jenna!!

The Women in my Life

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I have been so lucky to have lots of wonderful active women to train with the last several years. An important sub group have been my close mom friends that I bike with. We dubbed our group “Bike with your Bambino” and there is a pretty substantial group of us that continue to bike with our kids as they get older and older. We went out for a 2 1/2 hour ride yesterday and had a total blast. It’s really fun to ride at the back of the group and listen to all the comments of the people who pass us. I hear “The baby brigade”, “wow they are racing”, “moms unite”, and many other hilarious little comments. Our kids have grown up either in the backpack or in the Chariot and most the time the kids are perfectly happy for 1 or 2 or even sometimes 3 hours riding. We get in great workouts, after all, every ride pulling 60 pounds is like a hill workout.

Laura, Gaye, Hillary, Me, and Lindsay
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So thanks to all the moms in my life, and to all the women that I train with, we sure have a lot of fun staying healthy.

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Annual 5K on the track

Every year Phidippides Track Club has one night where we do an all out 5K on the track. It’s an exact 5K since the track don’t lie. Afterwards we get together for a potluck and it’s always a fun time.

The point for us Practical Coaching folks is to PR in this workout. It’s the only one we have for the day, and it’s meant to be run hard. I’m so excited to say that almost everyone had a great day and really threw down.

I prepared mentally, and physically most the day, making sure that I took and extra short nap with Annie, and that I ate a good lunch with proper timing. I haven’t run a 5K in over 4 months when I ran 20:25 back in April. It’s been a goal to break 20 for awhile, but I could just never get it done.

The goal was to go out slow and make up for it on the last two miles. I really struggle with that direction b/c I “think” I’m going out slow, but it always turns out to be faster than I can hold.

The first 0.15 was in 36.01, and then it was onto counting laps. The first mile went 96.46, 95.19, 94.65, 94.91 for a 6:21.21.

I knew I had gone a little fast which meant it was still important to drop it down harder. I tried to quicken it up, but two laps of that and I was dropping into a little lul. The next mile was 94.06, 94.90, 97.10, 97.44 for a 6:23.50.

At this point I looked at my watch and did a little fuzzy math. It read 13:20. My oxygen deprived brain was able to figure out that I had to run under a 6:40 to break 20. I was so excited. I knew if I could just settle into myself and crank out the laps I would be golden. 98.44, 98.13, 98.23, 94.45 for a final mile 6:29.25, and a final time of 19:49.

It hurt, it hurt bad, but it was doable, and I think it’s doable in a more consistent and better executed race. I would love to try to complete it backwards, so 6:30, 6:23, 6:20. That would be really fun. This really was a big milestone for me to get through as I have tried unsuccessfully to get it done a few times. It was definitely a deposit in the bank of confidence.

Congrats as well to my other teammates who had a great day, and for those who didn’t, I hope you were able to learn more about yourself and your racing.

Speed Hurts

So I get an email from USAT today.

“Six weeks. Six weeks? Yep, it’s the final six weeks of training for the biggest race of your life. The top 16 places in each age group (rolling down to 20) will represent Team USA on the Gold Coast of Australia. Will you be flying into Queensland next year? We hope so. Remember, this is the ONLY race that qualifies you for this Aussy extravaganza.”

Okay #1: 6 weeks, holy molly, I feel the sudden urge to be faster, do more, be more. Calm down Sonja, breathe. breathe.

#2: 16 slots, what the heck? For the last 10 months they have said on their website that it is 8 slots rolling down to 13th. Now it’s 16, rolling to 20th. They are seriously going to need to roll down a little farther b/c some people just aren’t going to want to go all the way to Australlia.

#3: Yes I know it’s the only race, why do you think I’m so stinkin nervous, but yea, thanks for rubbing it in.

So, the time has come in my training where I get to go fast…A LOT. Yes ladies and gentleman, start your engines. My workouts have been quick, fast and peppy. I have been looking forward to this part of training for ooohhh, about 11 months, and now that it’s here all I can say is OUCH. I forgot how much going fast hurts. The muscles are actually groaning every night. I have some sort of “build to race pace” in every workout, it seems. I get home from these epic suffer-fests (that I secretly love) and I am hitting the ice bath, the foam roller, the trigger point rollers, the stick, some husband lovin’, and occasionally the jar of Advil. I wake up the next morning, and the legs are like normal again. It’s just uncanny.

Some Awesome News: Susan won the Leadville 100 mile MTB race this last weekend. Lance Armstrong came out to race as well and he got second in the mens race. But Susan, heh heh, she got first in the women’s race. All that, a week after the Wild West Relay. She is truly a stud woman! Here’s an excerpt from the Rocky Mountain News:

Though the main attraction lived up to its billing in the 15th running of this race, the top female finisher came as much more of a surprise … at least, to her.

“I am just shocked,” Susan Williams, of Littleton, said after crossing the finish line in 8:40:55. “I just wanted to get under 10:30. I just can’t believe how this turned out.”

It was Williams’ first time riding in the Leadville 100, and she knew little of what to expect but stayed focused on what she though her strengths were.

Some Perspective

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Troy and I headed out to Boulder this morning to watch and cheer those we knew that were competing in the Boulder 5430 Long Course. Apparently we just can’t get enough of triathlon b/c we are still at the races on the weekends I’m not racing. Also, Trakkers had a tent set up and I couldn’t wait to meet Charlie. We missed meeting each other at St. Anthony’s and he has come incredible distance with the Trakker product since then, so I was excited to talk to him in person.

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When we first got there we were able to see Anthony and Kirk come in off the bike and go out on the run. I also saw Jordan finish his first loop on the run and was excited to see him in the top 10 in the men’s Pro field. He was throwin’ it down! Troy, Annie and I headed over to meet Charlie and had an awesome talk about the Trakkers product. You guys and gals are going to love this product when it’s out. You will wear a devise during the race and all your peeps back home can watch your progress online. The screen shots of the site look awesome, and Charlie has some great goals of having TV monitors at the Trakkers tent in big races where he will be streaming the stats of the runners wearing Trakkers devises. There are so many places he can go with technology, I can’t wait to wear one in a race! Supposedly he is planning on having 10 athletes wearing the first prototype at Kona this year. Exciting business! Charlie also hooked me up with some great new training aids. A new cycling/tri outfit, and two awesome Splish suits are now making their home in my closet. Many thanks Charlie and Trakkers for making me feel super special today!

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Okay, so speaking of Splish. Do you are have any of these suits? They are the bomb and I now know why lots of pro triathletes like Bree Wee and Amanda Lovato are racing in them. You seriously DON’T need a sports bra. The fit on them is awesome. I would love to get my hands on a few more of these!

Note: Troy is cleaning in the background while I am AGAIN embarrassing myself with the built in Mac camera.
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Back to the race! We were able to see lots of friends out on the run course. The course was two laps around the reservoir and we hung out by our favorite tree cheering on everyone that went by. Luckily the temps stayed in the 80’s today and overcast which is very untypical for this race so lots of people were having great days and running super strong. Kirk looked like a rock star, Anthony looked strong and like he was having fun. Dennis, Julie, Jill, and Todd were all running great. So much fun! Chelsea though…that lady requires her own paragraph.

Chelsea is one of those competitors that makes me learn things about myself. She is not in the front of the pack, quite the opposite really. She was shooting for the 7 hour mark and I just can’t begin to explain what a different race she endures in comparison to the 4-5 hour athletes. Chelsea came off the bike looking strong and happy. By the time we saw her at the end of the first loop she was playing the numbers game…looking at her watch wondering why she was so off her goal time. I ran as far as the officials would let me with her, and told her to stop looking at her watch, to stop ruining her experience. She took off her watch and gave it to me. Right there…in the middle of her race…she relinquished her watch. I was really impressed. Troy, Annie and I hopped in the car and jetted over to the other side of the reservoir. I walked back along the course and encountered Chelsea running along at what would be mile 10 for her. The lady is determined. I was lucky to walk/run a mile with her and it gave me a new perspective. I guess I was under the impression that competition fizzles out towards the back of the pack. NOT SO. Chelsea is as competitive as I am, keeping her focus, remaining determined, and aiming for a good attitude. Her race may be longer in time, but it is no less intense and focused. We left Chelsea at mile 11, running…to the finish…of her first half-ironman. I was humbled…in a big way.

Adventures of Potty Training

This is my most favorite picture of Annie recently. She is at Steve and Kristin’s house, in their backyard river.pook-sitting.jpg
Annie has been such a rock star recently. We endeavored to start the potty training escapade about a month ago and I was expecting the worst. Several of my friends have had what I would call a more difficult time with this milestone. I tried to prepare myself for poo in the pants and tinkles on the kitchen floor.

Boy was I in for a treat. Annie did a great job learning to do her business on the pot. I followed the direction of a book that my friend Amy emailed to me and we were getting some good traction. Troy watched her one day about 4 days after we started the training and I came home to a pretty much potty trained kid. He kinda threw out what I was doing and went with his own gut. Why does this make me furious and in awe at the same time?

He was able to tap into her natural desire to use the potty. A few days later we had the infamous first “poo” in the pot and she’s been pretty much golden ever since. Two Words. Rock Star.

We have had a little trouble getting her to go on the big potty in public places…they are kinda scary, but today I’m glad to announce she hit up the Costco potty like a champ, and Monday she was chill with the potty at the day care, so I think we are well on our way.

She loves her Winnie the Pooh potty and we kinda have to drag it everywhere. In fact we just take the little purple cup when we are on the go. We have had several embarrassing moments where she pulled out the purple cup from the diaper bag, pulled down her pants, put the cup down and did her business, all unbeknownst to us. Once it was while Troy was cheering at Boulder peak, another time when I was at Costco looking at frozen veggies, and more recently at a Criterion race that Troy and I were at with Steve. I thought Steve was going to DIE from embarrassment. Like DIE for real, I’ve never seen him so red in the face!

Update: I was just searching for a picture of the Winnie the Pooh Potty and I found out that it was recalled. What the heck? Apparently the little picture of Pooh and his friends has that crazy China lead paint. Troy is currently ripping the plaque off as we speak. Fun Times.

Annie and I tubbing down Boulder Creek at Tana’s Birthday Festivities.sonja_annie_tubing.jpg

Accept…Move On

Some of my triathlon peeps and I went to dinner this evening and we were talking a little bit about weight loss. I got to thinking this evening and realized that I have maintained my weight loss goals for about 18 months now. I can’t believe that I actually made that thing they call “A Lifestyle Change”. It’s been equal parts of more exercise and better eating. A lot of you that read this blog see the current Sonja as the newer thiner version of the Sonja you know, but my triathlon peeps never ever got to know the rounder Sonja. I went searching for a few pics this evening and found some.

In many ways the plumper Sonja is still right there inside of me, and I really enjoyed her. In other ways, I really like the new self confidence that I have found with a fit lifestyle. I found that loving the body I was in was what gave me the permission to release the extra pounds. “You gotta love it to leave it”. I’m not ashamed of these photos, I’m proud of them, proud of what I was able to part with and proud of what I hung on to. It was when I stopped talking down to myself about my weight, and started being proud of who I was that I started getting some traction with weight loss and self acceptance.

My best friend Michelle recently hit her weight loss goals and I am so super proud of her. She has also made the lifestyle change and found “the secret” that doing the right stuff for your body is easy when you do it right (eat enough, exercise enough, find the balance, accept yourself). I’m so proud.

So, without further delay, here are a few pics of the body I used to inhabit.

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