Beware, Crazy Ahead

Crazy Times! Last night Annie and I went to the airport (with my mom helping me with the 3 bags, car seat, and bike box) to catch our 7:30 flight. It was delayed until 9:50. Yea, no way I was going to do that. So I had the lady book and confirm us on the 7:15am flight today. We got to stay an extra night. Mom and I got a little more time together. Troy got to drink more beers than usual after his exam and didn’t have to worry about sobering up to come get us at the airport.

Pook being silly on the plane.

But, ooh, up at 5am today, with a toddler to catch an early flight. I didn’t sleep very well last night and I was TIRED! The plane was less than 25% full so Annie and I got our own row. I really tried to lay down and go to sleep, but Annie was in a impish mood. She was crawling all over me and trying to run up and down the aisles like a crazy banshee. She used the bathroom on the plane 4 times, mostly because I think she liked the confined space.

Pook and her impish face.

I surrendered and tried to balance playing with her and reading the manuel for my new camera. I was able to do both!

The first picture Pook has ever taken of me…all by herself. I’m a little sleepy, can you tell?

So why didn’t I sleep last night?

Well, I’ve got a long run on the brain. Tomorrow is going to be epic, and then some. Most of the Practical Coaching crew is meeting tomorrow for a crazy attempt at some uber long distance trail running. The first three legs of the Colorado trail total up to about 41 miles. Some of us are going to attempt to run the entire thing. The first leg is 16 miles and almost everyone is going to run that one. A few are going to hang on and run leg two as well, and then there are the few crazies that will shoot for all three legs.

The weather is supposed to be fantastic, and Beth did an awesome job organizing all of the support crew. What an adventure! 41 miles. Whew! All right. Time to find out what I am made of!

Annie in her Halloween costume, with her Trick-or-Treat booty.

29 Times Around the Sun

Yup, today is the day. I’ve been around the sun and experienced the seasons 29 times today. My mom and I celebrated this morning by taking Annie to the Children’s Museum. She insisted on wearing her Halloween costume. We call her a garden fairy/princess/TinkerBell thing. What a hoot. We had so much fun, I loved it! We started in the bubble room. She loved it! My mom blew a big bubble at her and she screamed with joy.

Scary Bubbles

Bubble Hands

They had this great “thingy” that you could push on and leave your imprint. Then on the other side, people could push the do-hickys back your way. We battled with some 7 year olds for like 10 minutes. We pushed, they pushed, we laughed, they laughed! What a hoot.

My moms hands

There was this cool thing you could climb into and it was like a kaleidoscope inside. I drug Annie in there too, and mom even came in too.


They had this great room for Annies age with just tons of fun stuff. They had volunteers helping the kids through crafts and if I lived here I would be meeting other moms in this room for playgroup. It was the bomb. It was all carpeted and it had a whole reading area with couches, pillows and TONS of books. It had a dress up area, a tea party area, a sand sensory area, and tons tons more. There was even an ultra-padded baby/infant area. Very neat-o. Annie really enjoyed the painting area.


They had a tunnel and it had stars on the ceiling and all these neat little windows to look into.

Annie enjoyed a nice tea party.

Lastly they had an Alice in Wonderland exhibit. It was a bit of a buzz kill, but I did take a rather nice self portrait.

We spent the rest of the day napping, and enjoying each other. Mom took me out to a fabulous dinner at Cheesecake factory, complete with a take home slice of cheesecake (which I am about to go consume). Mom let me pick out a new camera for my birthday (I have been begging). I am now the proud new owner of an Olympus Stylus 1050 SW. It’s supposed to be one of the most freeze-proof, drop-proof, waterproof, shockproof point and shoots on the market. And for this girl, that a necessity for use. Check out this awesome review.

All in all, I had a great 29th time around the sun-iversary.

Epic Saturday – Daddy Daughter Time


Last Saturday was such a hoot. Dad and I left Annie with my mom for some grandma spoilage and headed off for some fun in the outdoors. There was a local low-key hill climb event that my dad’s coworker Rich had told us about. I’ve never done a bike specific race, much less up a gnarly hill, but what the hay, when in Rome?

We found our way to the very low key start, I got in a relaxed warm up. After a few brief instructions from the race director we rode to the start which consisted of riding down the 3 miles of hill that we were about the race up. The “bottom” was a closed entrance gate and everyone pooled down there. It was a rolling start but on a really steep uphill. The race was started and I couldn’t clip in. I was in the wrong gear despite consciously attempting to be in the correct gear. I stopped several steps up the hill to get in the right gear. I walked back down the hill and tried again, and again. And finally I got going. Most of the field was long gone and I was left with the others that were trying desperately to clip in, like myself. Ha! What a hoot. From there I just rode hard. I’m so used to climbing 1-2 hour hills and this entire climb took me like 18 minutes, so it was a bit of an interesting race for my conditioning. The first part was so steep I would have been really concerned to drive a car up it, but it was rather short in duration. The last half was gradual with rollers through the trees and I got a lot of momentum and rode this section really hard.


My dad was at the top taking photos and that was great. I talked to a few of the ladies who came in ahead of me and waited with my dad until the last finisher came in and we packed up and headed to the next adventure.

I had a 23 mile run on tap for the day, but I have been having some issues with my foot. It’s felt like I had a bruised heel, but after talking some with Steve I think it’s actually my sciatic nerve acting up. I have been doing all the exercises he gave me to do and it was feeling really good, but you just never know until you run on it. Dad and I drove out to Wilder Ranch which is north of Santa Cruz right on the water. The trails go up in the hills and are super steep with ocean views. Awesome. Right before I got out of the car to run my phone got some coverage and in popped a voicemail from Steve saying to go easy, don’t run 23 miles. That eased my mind a bit.

Dad and I took off, he on his bike, me on my feet. We had the best time running all around Wilder Ranch and the best part was the last 3-4 miles where we ran on this trail that was directly on top of the bluff above the ocean. It was gorgeous and just what the doctor ordered. We ended up running for 2 hours 30 minutes, not sure how far b/c I don’t have a garmin, but it felt great the whole way.

No soreness after the run at all and today (Monday) I’m feeling like the exercises have done the trick b/c I am 100% pain free.

Dad and I had such a great day together, it ended with a Halloween Party in Santa Cruz with family friends, and meeting back up with mom and Annie.

Puurfect day.

Cali Bound

It’s way to cold here in Denver. Like 30’s today. Brrr. Annie and I say NO MORE. Plus Troy is in his final week of exam study, and he’s getting a little nuts-zo. Let’s just say the car keys have been found in the fridge several times. And the milk in the bathtub, yeah, that was strange.

We are escaping! Annie and I are headed to California for a week. We are leaving the absent minded actuary all by himself to cram cram cram for this last week. If you see a large pillar of smoke towards the tech center you might want to call him to make sure he didn’t put the clean laundry in the oven.

We know he’s going to do great on his test, and we will be back the night after he sits for his exam. In the meanwhile, we will be hangin’ in Cali, soaking up the mid 80 degree weather. We’ll be hitting up the beach, doing long runs on the trails, and riding with my dad and his buddies.

Cadence Hoodie Keeps the Ponytail Bobbing

Whatever you do, just don’t take my Cadence Hoodie.


Core Concepts Cadence Hoodie has been the surprise HIT in my wardrobe this year. For a girl who tries desperately to make outdoor clothing look wearable anywhere, this hoddie has helped me immensely. It’s very cute, in fact, it’s the little top that all my girlfriends want.

The Cadence Hoodie did a superb job at passing the running and biking tests I put it through. I have run 18 miles on a chilly Spring morning, and the perfectly positioned thumb loops kept my hands warm. The ponytail pull-through (my favorite feature) in the hood kept my ears warm and my ponytail bobbing.

I biked 60 miles with some rip roaring descents, all sporting the Cadence Hoodie. The sneaky little pocket came in handy as a place to stash two Goo’s and the breathability is great, even after many washes. The top is a little longer in the back, perfect for cycling.

The one problem you will have with the Cadence Hoodie is finding it. Mine lives in the dirty clothes hamper and seems to make an appearance in every load of laundry I do. That’s what it gets for being my “Top of Choice” this year.

Okay girlfriends, your opportunity has finally arrived. Instead of drooling over mine, you can now get your own at the Core Concepts Online Store.

Denver 1/2 Marathon – Epic Eco-Friendly Adventure

I decided this year to compete in the Denver 1/2 marathon a little differently. I wanted to add some Eco-Friendly flavor. Plus, Ironman training dictates lots of base mileage, so any extras are an added bonus.

Yesterday, Troy walked Annie and I down to the lightrail station and then took off to study. From there, Annie and I hit up the lightrail to downtown (using free ride passes I got from answering some lightrail survey questions), and then hopped the 16th street mall shuttle to the convention center. It took about 1.5 hours, be we arrived safe, sound, and happy at packet pickup. I got the MOST RAD number ever: #6900. Can we say Ooh-La-La! At packet pickup I met fellow blogger and skinny mommy extroidinare Laurie (in the bathroom of all places). We realized we had met on a Mountain Mama hike, she was uber-supportive over the last week so it was the highlight of the day to meet her! Annie and I then grabbed some lunch and walked back to the light-rail station, this time skipping the mall shuttle and opting for a leisurely stroll. Troy met us at the station, having covered like 40 someodd flash-cards in our absence and walked us back home. I felt really good about using public transportation to attend packet pickup. We had the time, it was pretty convenient and fit better with our physically active lifestyle, and Troy got in some valuable study time! Win Win Win.

This morning I was up and out at door at 5am. I had lights affixed to my bike via duct tape (red blinky in back, white in front). I met Michelle (PIC) at a local parking lot and she was READY to go. We biked our way, in the total dark, all the way to downtown. It got a little colder towards downtown when we were by the Cherry Creek Stream but we reminded ourselves that we would soon be warm enough. I learned that riding in the dark is not scary, it’s actually very peaceful. It’s also extremely fun when done with friends. My pre-race nerves were ZERO, I was actually more concerned about biking in the dark. We rolled into the race site at about 6:20, called Troy and met up with him and Michelle (Pueblo sistah, not PIC). Troy had picked up Michelle from a friends house and this was to be her FIRST half marathon! Eek. PIC and I stashed our bikes in the car, changed out of biking clothes and threw on our running diggs, and tried hopelessly to warm up a little. The portapottie line was insanely long so we ended up “improvising”. Court house tree.

We really had no time to diddle daddle. I hopped the fence and got in the back of the 7 min mile group. 2 minutes later the gun went off. My instructions were to take it out at 7:45 for a first mile, then start descending from there. It is soooo insanely hard to take it out that slow. For one thing you don’t really know your pace, I don’t run with a Garmin. And secondly you feel fantastic. Ooh, and it’s a downhill mile. So, for me it was 7:14. Doh, so I thought “okay, maybe I can just run the next few mello”. But the terrain changes quite a bit over the next four miles. I came in at 7:00, 7:06, 7:08 and 7:03.

Then something happened. I just felt really good, like suddenly. I was naturally picking it up and I figured since I had allready run 5 miles I wasn’t going to kill myslelf by going with it. That yielded 6:46, 6:55, 6:51, and 7:06. One thing that always gets me about the Denver Marathon (or 1/2) is that my first race was in City Park. The marathon course runs down the same portion of pavement as my first 5K finish. I always get a little teary there. I think back to what it felt like to finish my first race, I was so proud. I think about the fact that the journey started right there. As I run that stretch of pavement I give a mental thanks to all of those who have been with me along the way.

Then, the uphill starts. Ooh, I distain this uphill mile. It’s on the way to Cheesman park and it’s just no fun. 7:25.

But then you run around the park, and it’s pretty, and there are lots of people cheering, so my next two miles combined were 14:09. I guess I was having so much fun I forgot to look for the mile marker.

Ahh, the last mile. You know you can let it all out here. Troy was there, on a nice quiet corner, screaming “Go, Gorgous, Go”. I love that man. On the final leg down broadway Anthony cam barreling by me. Anthony should be a good 10 minutes ahead of me, so I was really, really, really confused. He waved his hand for me to go with him, and I did, no really, I did, for about 12 seconds. He was running so fast, I wanted to hang, but I couldn’t. Turns out he got stuck in the portapottie line and started 10 minutes after the gun went off. Ha!

Final stretch and I tried to pull the form together and give it all I had. I saw Chlesea and Michelle (Anthony’s wife) cheering and then just like that, it was all done. Anthony was right there and we walked through the shoot and food goodies together. My last 1.1 was 7:29, so I was barreling pretty hard home. My watch had my overall time at 1:32:16, so a PR by about 38 seconds.

The post race festivities were great. We met up with lots of people we knew. I even ran into my old coworker Jon who I miss dearly (it was his first 1/2, way to go Jon!!). After things died down and I had said my goodbyes and good jobs to Michelle (Pueblo) the team headed out to breakfast and I had the best bleu cheese burger. Mmmm. Then I hopped on my bike and rode home. The ride home was fantastic. It’s one of the more gorgous days Denver has ever had and I took my time and tried to keep my heart rate down. I had a couple people challenge me on the bike path and the last guy I just had to go with. I grabbed his wheel and stuck like glue. Then we hit the final stoplight before home and I yelled thanks and bye to my new “bike-path-racer-friend”. I pulled into home happy and not too tired, nothing a good shower wouldn’t fix. Troy only beat me home by 10 minutes.

Troy was such a rock star today. Even though he’s all “jacked up on flashcards” he drove to the race, picking up Michelle along the way, cheered at 4 locations along the course, took care of Annie the whole time, helped load bikes and gear into the car like 3 times, drove PIC back to her car after breakfast, and put Annie down for a nap before I got home. I sure appreciate him, and if you get a change please drop him an email sometime before the 30th and wish him good luck on his exam.

So, walk, lightrail, tram, walk, lightrail, walk, bike, run 13.1 miles, bike makes for an Epic Eco-Friendly Adventure.

Official” 1:32:14, 20th female overall, 9th in F25-29.

Muuuuuch Better

I can not thank all of you enough for your comments, calls, emails, facebook comments, etc. Something each of you said touched my heart and really helped me get over this hump and back up on the hoarse again.

Many of you (Hillary, Cami, Laura) were accepting of my emotions and gave me the insight to let the natural process fuel my future progress, I really thank you for that insight, it’s a recommendation I couldn’t come up with when I was in the thick of it.

I really appreciated Dan’s comment that with any qualifying process someone is in that “just out of reach” spot. It was comforting and at the same time gave me a different perspective. There is someone in every age group that wished they had gone a few seconds faster to nab that precious slot. But, as Dan pointed out as well, that 21st slot can light a fire underneath you. And, if you think about it, you can’t PAY for that kind of motivation!

Laurie said that she will draw on my experience and strength when reaching for her own goals. There really is no bigger compliment, very cathartic I must say.

Jumper asked my why I race? And he was so right, I race for so many different reasons and if I had to give one reason it would be: I race to inspire others, to show them that anyone can choose to live a healthy life. And really, my main goal was completely unaffected by all of this.

Mom, thanks for blaming yourself. Yes, you should have had me a year later, but then I probably would have been a boy and you would have had much bigger issues on you hands, as Willis boys tend to be a handful (look at Dad).

Doug, what can I say, giving me some goaltender advise is so much appreciated. I was headed in such a bad direction a few days ago that your advise really made me realize that if I continue to spiral downwards, I’m just punishing myself, and my future efforts. I wrote some of your words on a 3×5 card and they will stay with me for a long time.

Michelle, my PIC, was really there, wanting to help and comfort, and I resisted that. I want to thank her for her efforts, and let her know that she did help me. My good friends always pat me on the back when I do well, and Michelle is there to pat me on the back when I’m mad and angry. A big thanks to her.

An email from Dave was really when I started to see the forrest through the trees. Thank you Dave for your email.

And lastly, Troy and Steve. Wow. I know Steve doesn’t read my blog, except when he’s forced to by me not talking to him (Sorry:)). Troy and I went over to Steve’s yesterday and had a really long and therapeutic talk about this. It was really helpful. I feel so blessed that I have two guys in my life who care so much about me that they are willing to sit in a room with a crying girl and work through things. That’s usually a “blessing” only bestowed upon Troy. I can’t say enough Thank You’s. I was given some homework to do, and Steve gave me a way me take this experience and use it to help my future experiences in a very tangible, real, tailored for Sonja, way. He really is a great coach, but more than that, a great friend, and mentor. I can’t speak highly enough of him.

Once again, many large and warm thanks to all of you that let me be a little angry, but also reminded me to get though it and to learn from it.


I want to thank everyone who has called or commented regarding my last post.

Went out and did what I do best yesterday. Ran my ass off.

At times the tears were rolling.

At times I was laughing.

I’m trying to be such a big girl for all of you. Trying to pick myself up, and to hide my weakness from all of you. Trying to show you that I have this great attitude, despite adversity.

All I can come up with is anger.

I work so fricking hard, so hard. I’ve ridden my bike all over this damn state. I run my butt off. And I give it my all in the pool. I watch what I eat, I remain disciplined, I barely ever have a drink. I’m not just throwing a half-ass effort at this. It doesn’t come easy for me. You may think it does because I try to keep a good attitude, but the truth is I have to work 100 times over for any gains I make. Including the attitude.

14 fricking seconds. But of course the chick was 7 minutes and 46 seconds BEHIND me in the race because she started in a different wave, because she’s in a different stinking age group. How am I supposed to compete with that? The girl who I raced at the finish and beat…yea, she gets a guaranteed slot now because with all the ladies moving out of the age group she in now miraculously 16th. I’m an altruistic kinda girl. One who believes in fair, in truth. It all infuriates me.

All I can come up with through this is an intense desire to become a fierce, intense, ass kicking girl. I want to throw the good attitude out the stinking window and become that girl that I fight not to be. You know the intimidating unapproachable one?

I leave you with some American Idol wisdom:

Hurry up and wait
So close, but so far away
Everything that you’ve always dreamed of
Close enough for you to taste
But you just can’t touch

You wanna show the world, but no one knows your name yet
Wonder when and where and how you’re gonna make it
You know you can if you get the chance
In your face as the door keeps slamming
Now you’re feeling more and more frustrated
And you’re getting all kind of impatient waiting

We live and we learn to take
One step at a time
—Jordin Sparks

Some of you may not agree with this post…my blog, my emotions. Let’s not paint lipstick on the pig.

World Slot, or Lack Thereof

Well, it’s been three weeks since Nationals and Steve urged me to call USAT today and inquire into my prospects with a Worlds slot. I put in a phone call today and it was just returned.

This is what I was told.

Since I am aging up next year, this is how they handle it. They age everyone up to their appropriate groups for next year and then they offer the top 16 automatic slots and they roll down to 20.

So what place was I once they did this?


The nice lady at USAT said “I hate to be the bearer of bad news but we won’t be offering you a Team USA slot and you won’t be going to Worlds”.

Yup, that’s definitely one way to put it. That’s what they say when 19th just wasn’t quite good enough.

Although I’m disappointed, I am sticking to my previous post. I had a great race, I raced my heart out, and I can’t be more proud of my performance, Worlds slot or not.

I wish Michelle, Anthony, and Beth the best of luck at Worlds, and also good luck to Steve who has been appointed the official coach of Team USA.

The one good thing? Now I won’t be bugging all of you, my loyal blog readers, with my fundraising activities.

Kona Perspective

I just watched Craig Alexander run himself to a blazing victory in Kona.

This race has a special place in my heart today because I will be attempting Ironman Canada in 2009. From Olympic to Ironman in one season; big step, and one that I have been keeping on the down-low until Steve announced it this week to the Practical Coaching team. Kona was very exciting to watch today, and it made me wonder what trials and tests are in store for me over the next months.

I got a little teary hearing the announcers talk about Craig Alexander and how for many years he couldn’t afford to bring his family along to races or abroad to where he trained. Troy and I are definitely struggling with that balance this week and it just hurt my heart to conceptualize what an amazing athlete he is, and still, his family had to stay home. He has said many times that his family is his main support and I sympathized a lot with that. It wasn’t until he won a 200K purse prize that he was able to start bringing his family along.

Putting together next years race schedule is causing me to sweat. It looks like USAT Short Course Nationals will be the weekend of August 22/23 in Alabama, and then for me, following one week later will be Ironman Canada. If Worlds becomes a reality, then that race is 2 weeks after Ironman Canada. So, needless to say: Olympic, Ironman, Olympic in 3 different countries in one month. Sweating Bullets.

Troy and I have no clue how any of this is going to be done, or if it’s even possible, and at this point I am having a little trouble seeing the forrest through the trees. On one hand I keep thinking “How am I going to do this”, but on the other hand I am so thankful to have a plethora of options, rather than the alternative. It definitely gets tricky in triathlon when your options are limitless and the decision is up to you!

Again…feeling very blessed, but a little overwhelmed too.