17 hours of swimbikerun


Ever since I have told my loyal blog readers about the 17 hour training day group, all people can ask me is “When is the 17 hour training day?”

It’s a totally valid question.

And one that I finally have an answer to.

It’s on the Fourth of July

And we need help. To think about the logistics that go into finishing an Ironman…well the four of us will be swimming, biking and running for the maximum time period of an Ironman. It’s called overdistance training and I can’t even imagine the mental strength that will come with knowing I have 17 hours in me.

We are inviting friends, family, and loyal blog readers to come out and help us with our day. We have two campsites rented at Chatfield State Park #112, and #113. Practical Coaching athlete Tyler is acting as “cruise director” (AKA organizer) and there will be BBQ, and tons of family fun. There are lots of options if you want to join us for certain sections. We are completing the bike portion in two sections, a 4 hour section and a 4.5 hour section. Then starting at 4pm we will be running 10 mile loops around Chatfield Resevior using the campsites as home base. We are hoping that lots of people will opt to run a loop with us, and we are especially hoping that some people will join on their mountain bikes and ride along with us from 8:30pm on.

5am to 10pm we will be out there, rain or shine. Ready for what the day deals to us. Please come out and join us. RSVP and Checkin with Tyler Walton: tylerjwalton AT aol DOT com.

Here is the invitation:

Where to put your head?

Last weekend at Loveland Lake to Lake my mother in law Marla watched me swim. She is a great swimmer, as is Troy (taught by her) and I’m always curious how good swimmers think I am swimming. After the race she talked to me about how my head was very deep in the water and that it might behoove me to try to get my head up.

Today I had three laps in the pond, which is a lot. It’s approximately 5700 yards or meters, you choose, it’s open water so it kinda depends on how you swim it. My PR for one length of the pond is somewhere in the 18 minute range. I have trouble swimming straight…

So, I decided that today I would give Marla’s advise a try. It took some getting used to and each length of the pond I just kept working on it a little more. The first thing I noticed was that my awareness in the water increased by about 200%. Suddenly I was aware of who was going by me, who I was going by, what was happening on shore and which direction I was swimming. The second thing I noticed was that I was swimming straight. I was able to take little mini sights more often. I found it much easier to take a breath and my breaths were more relaxed. The last thing I noticed was that I was getting to the other side of the pond faster. 20 min is normal for me, maybe 21-22 if I’m tired. Today 19 minutes was common and then 18. On the last length I still felt very strong whereas I am usually tuckered out by the last length of a three lap day. Tony had caught me and we swam the last length together. I decided to hit the crono on my watch to just see what I would swim on the way back and it turned out to be a very unexpected 16:48. This is the fastest I have ever swam a length in the pond, I was not winded and I could have done 2 more laps. Now, my mantra for swimming is “Stop expecting progress and start enjoying the process”, so the times are cool, but definitely not anything I’m going to get excited about just yet. More exciting for me was that awareness in the water. It made such a difference to not swim along with my chin to my chest, whole head submerged. I enjoyed it more because my sight wasn’t buried in the deep brown of the pond. So, I’m a little excited for the sheer enjoyment factor.

Tonight I got online to research the head position thing a little more. My feelings about swimming remain unchanged: EVERYONE HAS DIFFERENT ADVISE.

Here is Dave Scott saying “The head must be straight down”.

And here is the Thorpedo with his eyes looking forward

And here is a great video telling you to “Do it what ever way works for you”. Now there is some advise!

So, again, no real answers, just more learning. Thank goodness my new mantra for swimming is “Stop expecting progress, start enjoying the process”.

And in tribute to the swimming video research, here is my running advise: “Run whatever way makes you faster”. That helped, didn’t it?

To Wiggins and Back

Being a part of the 17hourtrainingday.com team this year has been the best stroke of luck I have ever encountered. When Steve asked “Do you want to do an Ironman” and I said “Definitely” I would have never guessed that I would embark on so many awesome adventures. Michelle, AKA PIC (Partner in Crime) lost her job (and luckily never found it) and although she didn’t sign up for Ironman (though we begged her), she has been completing most of the training with us, cause she’s a bad a$$, and we’re going to make her sign up for an Ironman next year. She’s so studly that her first 70.3 was at Kansas and she is headed to Clearwater because she cranked out a 5:03 and nailed second in her age group. Oh Yea!

So, Steve called and said, “put your big girl panties on ’cause Wednesday we are headed to Wiggins.” Wiggins? Like out in the middle of nowhere Colorado Wiggins? Like your somewhere between Kansas and Nebraska and you can’t even see the mountains any more Wiggins? Yup, that’s the one.

So Wednesday morning we loaded the bikes into Steve’s truck and headed up to Boulder. Carole (Team Mom of Team Trakkers) was so kind to let us park at her place and even tagged along a little on our ride, although we started out much too slow for her since we had a long day ahead of us.

We headed up the diagonal and then went east on Hwy 52 where we rode STRAIGHT (like only two mini turns) for the next 78 miles. It was insane. I kept taking pictures, but they all looked the same.

Here’s a great one, look we’re on a straight road and PIC thinks she’s on fire so she riding so fast to try to put out the flames.

Oh look, another straight road now Steve is pulling, but he’s being normal…no fires to put out

Check this one out, it’s amazing, we are on, you guessed it…a flat road, and welll, that’s pretty much all I have to say.

Here is Steve smiling, probably because the road is so flat…

Our first stop was after 80 miles in Wiggins. It was HOT, somewhere in the upper 90’s. We refilled all our bottles, ate nuts and jerkey, stocked up on Snickers bars, and hit the road. We had made it to Wiggins, now could we make it back to the truck?

The way back was a blast. I was lovin’ this ride. We took turns pulling anywhere from 1-3 minutes, except as the day got longer so did Steve’s pulls. The road was just flat with some nice steady easy ups and downs. Being on the TT bike was great because I now know my bike fit is puuurrrfect (courtesy of Steve).

Around mile 115 something happened to me. I had a bikers high! Kinda like a runners high. I took a couple pulls and I pulled too hard and started to go off the front. Steve yelled at me and I apologized. But I was still so excited, giddy, and happy. So, I started singing. I figured that we all had our iPods in, no one would hear. Well, I’m pretty sure they could, and that I entertained everyone for about 20 miles. I’m not such a good singer, especially when I can’t even hear myself. Man I was having fun.

You’ll never guess what’s behind me here…flat road!


We had this awesome section that was 21 miles long and we covered it in exactly one hour, like to the minute. It was pretty cool to be cruising along at 21mph 100+ miles into the day. We stopped with 47 to go, and then with 25 to go. Those were more emotional stops than they were physical stops. There does come a point when you are close to the conclusion of something big where you are just ready to be done for the sake of being done.

That’s PIC and I screwing around before Steve can catch us and tell us to start pedaling again. Don’t PIC and I look like a bag of Twinkies…two in a pack, totally identical!

We rolled back into Carole’s neighborhood 9 hours after we left. We had covered 156.2 miles with about an hours worth of stopping. Great day. Great accomplishment.

This was a good stepping stone for me. On August 1st we have a 225 mile ride planned with the 17hourtrainingday.com team. It has been our goal from day one to double the distance of each of the Ironman events. Biking 225 is the last “distance double” that we have left to do. I was a little daunted by the sheer numbers, but after the 156, I knew I had 70 more miles in me, so I gained a lot of confidence for that workout that is coming up.

On the way home we were giddy, and Steve had just about enough of us girls! Why he continues to tote us around everywhere, I don’t know…he must think we have some talent or something!


A huge Thanks to Debbie for watching Annie, and to Troy for kinda being a single dad for the day so I can be a triathlete.

A Little Then And Now

I am in the middle of my third triathlon season and I’ve loved most every minute of it. It’s pretty cool how much this sport can change your life. I feel like I have found an outlet as an adult for my drive and competitive spirit. It’s such a healthy sport, full of camaraderie. I started doing triathlons after I had worked on loosing the weight I had gained in pregnancy and the 4 years prior, but I continue to do triathlons for so many more reasons.

Just for a little fun, here is a shot of me in my first ever triathlon, Pelican Fest Sprint. I had so much fun and was insanely addicted!

Here is a shot from last weekends Loveland Lake to Lake tri in the same part of my stride as the other shot.

I can’t believe how much I have learned between those two photographs. Some physical weight has been lost, about 6 pounds, but mostly the difference between those two shots is a lot of endurance, confidence, knowledge, and fun times!

Loveland Lake to Lake Triathlon

Oooh goodie goodie, my first Olympic distance triathlon of the year. I love Oly races, they are hard, but oh so fun. You just have to take yourself to that place of real pain and I tend to have a lot more anxiety for these total hammer fests. Loveland Lake to Lake is one of my favorite hometown races because the bike course is really awesome and the run is flat and fun and shady.

We didn’t need the shade today, the skies were overcast all day. I could race in weather like that every day of my life, it was absolute perfection. Leaving Steve’s house after my NormaTec session yesterday he told me “This race means nothing, have fun with it, I don’t care if you blow up on the bike. Go with people, race, make mistakes, have fun”. Sweet! I rarely race like this, I like to execute as sound of a race as I can so blowing myself up is never an option. I was excited for the challenge.

Annie was checking out the anatomy on this statue waiting for mom.

As I marinated over what Steve said I decided I was going to swim my tail off, like, hard as I can go from start to finish. This is an odd race in that it has a very long run after the swim up to transition (like several minutes), but the guy said on the beach that the swim was between 1500-1600, so it’s not like they shorten the swim.

I also decided that if I wasn’t completely shot from the swim that I would try to bike my tushie off as well. It’s a fun, longer than Oly course (by 5 miles) and I wanted to hammer it hard. Just throw it out there, see how it sticks, ya know?

So, I arrive at the race nice and early to get the most PRIMO of transition spots because Tyler and I have a 6 pack of beer on the line for who out of the two of us has the fastest T1+T2 time. We like to throw down like that. Since this race is a totally open transition Steve-O parked it next to me. He did that last year too. It was neat to see our two little matching Isaac TT bikes lined up together.

The team was giddy and everyone got together to put wetsuits on before the swim. It was really nice that we all connected like that before the start of our races. It would be nice to do that more often, a pre race meet up and last minute good lucks, I really liked that.

My wave of white caps, ready to go

I got a NICE LONG swim warm up, all the way out to the first buoy and back. Loved that!! Wave 1 went off, then my wave, #2. I lined up right and went for it. I swam as hard as I knew how. It wasn’t always straight, and I didn’t always find feet, but I swam on them when I could find them, and I swam as hard as I could. I exited the water 9th in my age group. With swims you never can tell whether your time was good or not, I know there weren’t a lot of women out there swimming 22’s. Most the better swimmers seemed to be swimming 24’s, so my time of 27:21 seems A-OK. Obviously I need to continue LIVING in the pool, but I’m excited about my progress. I swam 27:30 last year at nationals and it didn’t have a run to the timing mat…sooooo, I think there is some progress happening!


Onto the bike after the fastest transition I could throw down (just for Tyler). Whew, I was a little tired from the swim. No time to be tired though, onwards!!! I just tried to hammer. Last year I biked 1:27:17 and I wanted to crush that. So hard I went. I picked off a lot of ladies but wasn’t really keeping track. More I was keeping track of my friend Ed, who I passed and then we battled the entire bike. It was legal battling, but fun to keep passing each other the minute the other one lost any steam. The climbs were strong and I just felt fast. I loved the course!


On the rollers during the last 5 miles I got into a little trouble. A little group had formed and I was trying to stay legal (no drafting) but it was becoming a challenge. Normally in a race I would just sit back a little at this point and let the group go and work on getting my legs ready for the run. But today I felt it was time to do something different. I tried a break away. AND, I was successful. I put my head down and peddled as hard as I could muster even though I was close to the finish. I broke out of the pack, and came into T2 all alone. I bike a 1:21:21, so about 6 minutes faster than the previous year. BooYa!

Broken away from the pack just barely, you can see them back there.

Troy with Annie snuggled in close watching all the triathletes go by.
Rounding one of the last cornersl2l6.jpg

I tried to make it a fast T2 so that I didn’t have to buy Tyler beer, but I had a moments trouble with my shoe. Doh. We’ll see. Off on the run. Holy Moly, my legs do NOT feel snappy. I told myself to just wait it out. A lady that I battled on the bike passed me. She wasn’t in my age group, but still, I was racing everyone at this point. I had no snap out of the gate. After one mile some speed was coming to me, and by mile 2 I was rolling along. As I approached the turn around I saw that I was running in 4th (but there were other waves of women that started behind me). I also saw Tyler up ahead and wanted to run him down. When he passed he said “You better come get me”. I love Tyler!

Catching a little air

My mellow, content hubby, I love this photo!

So I made the turn and I just started running harder. My legs started coming back to me and I felt like I was clipping along rather nicely. I wasn’t making ANY way on the ladies ahead. But I was making some way on Tyler. It took me until mile 5 to catch him, he was running so dang fast (he PR’ed in the 10K, not the off bike 10K, but the 10K, by 2 minutes today!!!). When I caught him he gave me such a boost and I just rode on the Tyler High for the last mile. I crossed the line, happy, tired, and ready to be done with my “three races in three weekends” journey. a 42:27 run today, my fastest ever off the bike in an oly.

Gunning for Tyler, trying my hardest to chase him down

I threw my top because it was bugging me. Despite my less than desirable stomach I think I will race in the sports bra more often as I prefer it.

Ahh, done. Another super fun race in the books

Tyler won the epic transition showdown. His transitions totaled 1:08, mine were 1:17. 9 seconds he beat me by, I may just buy him 9 beers for that one!!

I owe this guy a 6-pack if beer for his awesome t1+t2 time, great race Tyler!

It turns out that I won my age group and took 5th overall for the day. Very happy with that. I took 7 minutes off my time for last year, almost 6 of that on the bike, a little on the run, a little on the swim. Great progress. And I think I have an idea on what I need to work on for Nationals this year. Very good learning experience this race was!!

Chatting with Katie Bell, I always see her name in the results and finally have a face to put with that name!

Some of the crew:(L to R) Andrea, Beth, Barry, Michelle, Laurie, Tyler, and Doreen

What a great day the Practical Coaching crew had, I couldn’t be prouder to be a member of this excellent team. Also, my Father in Law, Roger took all the photos of the race today. They turned out awesome and I am very thankful for them. Thank you Roger. Also, my Mother in law Marla was on Annie duty and took care to watch my swim form too. Chris, my good friend was out there cheering in full force, that was awesome. And always TROY, he dealt with set up and take down of the Practical Coaching tent, ran around the course and cheered, and was so uber supportive of me. Thanks Troy!!

And then, the fun part! Steve, Anthony and I rode home from the race. 85 miles. Yup, it was really fun. I just adore those two guys, I often feel like a little puppy dog that likes to follow them around all the time, but it’s just because they are so totally fun to hang with! So, 4pm I rolled into the house, long training day, but OH SO fulfilling!!

The boys, riding home

Tony being silly

Tony taking a pic of me taking a pic of him

Happy to be riding home and having yet another adventure

Good hard day of training…ice bath is necessary

This weekend is the final installment in the “three big races in three big weekends”. I am racing the Loveland Lake to Lake triathlon this weekend. It’s one of my favorite hometown races, only 1.25 hours from Denver and Troy’s parents live in Loveland so we get to stay with them. The little bit of added crazy to this race, because you knew that there had to be something, is that Steve, Tony and I are going to go ahead and ride home. It’s like 80-90 miles. I’m of course a little nervous, and a little giddy excited too. It’s a good thing Sunday is the longest day of the year, because we may need the light!

Earlier this week on Wednesday we had a great ride/run and as is becoming more normal I could tell that I was mostly recovered from Sundays race. Wednesday seems to be the money day to hit it hard again and we cranked out a 85 mile TT ride with a run off the bike. The coolest part was that Whitney (from the Sky Mesa Marathon) rode with us. She is totally awesome and I was so excited to find out that we have similar abilities on the bike. Now if I could just swim as fast as her I would really have something going. She is the BOMB in the pool! So Steve, Whitney and I got a great paceline going for 85 miles or so. Coming home I hit a large object and blew out my tire, Steve’s wheel, and Steve’s tire. We both stayed upright…but it was close. Whitney rode off into the sunset…hahaha! She did come back to get us! We were close to the car so Seve rode back on his rim and we went off for a run.

Thanks to everyone for the calls, emails and sweet comments on my blog. Can you tell that I am having the time of my life right now? All the training has been so fun, and while the house isn’t clean, my soul is fulfilled. An especially big thanks to Debbie who has been watching Annie on Wednesdays this month so that I can ride long. Last Wednesday when I picked her up she said “I don’t want to go home, I don’t want to see mommy”. So, I guess she is getting enough mommy time too!! Troy, my lover, thank you for helping me balance all of this…but it hasn’t been that hard has it??? Love you all!!

Kansas 70.3

While I have completed two half-iron distance races this year last weekend was my first foray into the official 70.3 arena. I heard from others that these races are super intense, hard core, lots of talent grottos. I was so ready for the competition and also a bit excited to see what I had against a stacked field.

Originally I was afraid to ask Steve if I could race two 1/2 iron distance races on back to back weekends. It’s just seemed like an obviously stupid endeavor. But as the winter training progressed and wacky-nuts seemed to be the name of the game I approached the subject. Steve said yes and we toyed around with which race would really be the focus. We never really decided and the truth is it’s nearly impossible for me to give anything but everything when I step on a starting line.

Still, I wanted this race to be fun. When the race director sent a message stating that we could reserve a camp spot near transition for two nights for just $40, I got a little giddy. I asked Troy “Should we camp”? He said “Heck Yea!”. I’m 99.9% sure that every one of my teammates thought I was nuts. But ohhh-nooo they had it wrong. Camping was the best thing we could have done. I feel at home camping, I sleep better in my tent than in my bed, and I love cooking outdoors. I am more relaxed, and more settled when I’m camping, so this was a good choice for me.

We arrived in Lawrence KS at about 2pm on Friday and the camp spots were awesome. Lots of room. Unfortunately our site didn’t have any shade so we erected the Practical Coaching 10X10 tent over our tent and made a trip to the store for three 16lb bags of ice. I knew I needed to stay cool. I picked up my packet, witnessed the hugest M-dat tattoo (had to take a picture), and we had a very chill evening with some yummy fajitas. I also met Taryn who was camping across the way. She told me she reads my blog which made me a little bashful and then she told me that Sunday would be her first triathlon! You go girl! And if you are reading, make sure you make a comment, I’m so proud of you for finishing!!

Our camping spot

Can we say M-Dot?

Saturday morning Troy, Annie and I drove out of the park and attended the Lawrence farmers market. It’s the oldest farmers market in Kansas and it’s a producers only market so the person you buy from is the person who made/grew/raised what you are buying. Troy and I both agreed that is was one of the best markets we have ever been to, and being a farmers market junkie, I feel qualified to say that.

Lawrence Farmers Market

Some veggies, honey, and breakfast later we headed back to the race site to meet up with the Practical Coaching crew for a race recon mission. Everyone was so super giddy. We rode one loop of the run course and talked about the transitions and the swim and bike along the way. Very informative, and nice to spend some time together as a team.

Annie attempting the Navy Seal net in her pajamas.

Keith and Steve

We found some uh interesting things during race recon…who goes to a 70.3 for their Bachelor Party?

Race Recon with the crew

All lined up looking goofy

I then headed back to the tent for some lunch while everyone else waited in line to grab their packets. Heh Heh heh. I eventually headed over to drop my bike in T1. There were two transitions for this course and our camp site was smack dab in-between the two. I covered my seat and drive train with bags in case the rain that was called for overnight came to fruition. Then it was chilaxin time. Troy and I had a great dinner of pasta with veggies from the market and italian sausage. I even got the backpacking oven going and produced a beautiful batch of brownies for an evening snack. We read, and talked. It was so nice to have some quite time in the outdoors with Troy to reconnect and to laugh together.

Kids love tents

Troy loves outdoor cookin’

Everyone loves Brownies, Annie is OUT!

That evening when we stepped into the woods there were thousands of fireflies. I’ve only seen them once in my life, but this was so much better. It was like the stars were twinkling in the forrest, such a highlight of the entire trip. I also received a very inspirational email just before I went to sleep that made my sleep very peaceful that evening.

The next morning I slept in until 5:15! Transition opened at 4:45 and my wave went off at 6:58. Sleeping at the race site compares to NOTHING!! I got dressed, waved to my triathlete tent neighbors and headed over to T2 to set up. That took several minutes and I found Steve and Sara. We headed to T1 to set that up and I just loved the atmosphere. Steve and Sara were giddy and we had a nice time walking over to T1. Once at T1 I set up there, hemmed and hawed about whether I should leave my arm warmers on my bike, looked into the sky, told the sky gods to keep the temps manageable and put the arm warmers away. I quickly found Troy amongst the 2000 triathletes, he’s so tall and was wearing his red coat. Most of the Practical Coaching athletes found him and were handing off last minute items to him. We are so lucky to have Troy! He’s such a pillar for our team (and for me). I threw on my DeSoto and my yellow cap, kissed Troy and Annie goodbye, and lined up in the stall.

Steve, Sara and Doreen pre race.

Annie in front of a HUGE Gatorade bottle

My wave was big. I lined myself up and I had on of the best starts ever. No jostling, I swam straight, I stayed calm…it was good. I tried to find feet to swim on but for some reason I had a lot of trouble staying on the feet. The water was very murky and it was a big challenge to see the feet even when I was tapping them on every stroke. So I didn’t have a lot of luck with that. I did however really try to push this swim. No regrets, give it a good go. My time may not reflect as much, but I was proud of my effort throughout this swim.

Swimming back to shore it looked like there were 50,000 spectators. All I could see was people, and as I ran into T1, all I could hear was Troy. He’s such a phenomenal cheerer, loud booming voice and he really puts some heart into it! I had a very quick, olympic style transition: put your helmet on, grab your bike, and go. The lanes were really tight and I did a lot of yelling “On your left” to get through other people in transition.

I was really excited about this bike. I had no idea what to expect but I just knew in my heart that there was no way Kansas could deal out what Las Vegas and Middlebury dished on me. Kansas = flat, and honestly, after my last two 1/2’s, Kansas delivered. People afterwards complained about the hills on course but I wasn’t one of them. I loved this bike course. You could fly, and fly I tried. As always the first 5 miles is the warm up zone. I got passed twice by ladies in my age group. Rah Roh. When the second lady passed I said “enough” and went with her. This got me back past the first lady that passed me but this second lady was screaming fast. She ended up being the top amateur for the day, and her bike split was the same as Chrissie Wellington (But Chrissie got a “puncture” as she calls them and lost about 4 minutes). Still this chick was flying (Marisa Asplund)!

I had such a fun time on the course. There were a lot more cyclists on the course than I am used to. I got to battle with a lot of dudes and one in particular couldn’t take being chicked and tried to drive me over the double yellow into oncoming cyclists. I’m happy to say the bike racing paid off, I held my line (in aero) and used a nice amount of attitude in response. There were other guys out there that were just treating me great. One (who had wings tattooed on his legs) told me I was flying and asked me if I ran 7 min pace so that I could pace him on the run. Was he hitting on me? If he was, I’m flattered. I couldn’t believe how the miles were ticking by, the course was marked in 5 mile increments and they were flying by.

Now, I don’t wear a heart rate monitor, I don’t have a power tap, or a fancy GPS thingee. I don’t know how fast I’m going, but I do wear a watch. You know just a pain old “keeps time” watch and I like to have a little fun with it. Since in my last two 1/2s I have gone 1:41-1:43 range for my run time I was hoping to break 1:40 on a flat course. I also was secretly hoping to break 5 hours, since I did a 5:07 and a 5:11 previously. Now, I can talk times all day, but when the rubber meets the road I just want to throw my effort on the wall, and whatever sticks, I’m happy with. So I was playing a little game with my watch, trying to guess what time I would get into transition, all the while creaming myslef on the bike. Harder, faster, smile. I just kept surprising myself as the miles went by. I was estimating that I would get into T1 at 3hrs 20 min.

I roll into T2 and I look for a teal towel with shoes covered in a plastic bag. I find it, rack my bike, throw my helmet on the ground, pull off the plastic bag…uh…not my shoes. I look at the number on the rack. Not my number. So I grab my bike find my number, rack my bike, put on my shoes, go back to the old spot, retrieve my helmet, put it back in the proper spot, grab my hat and number and run off. I drop the hat and number, pick it up and say to myself “CALM DOWN”. I run out of T2, look at my watch and it says that to break 5 hours I need to run a 1:47. Holy cow, that I can do!

Not two seconds after thinking that a lady in my age group goes flying by me. She is the same lady that flew by me on the bike and that I passed back. She is flying and I don’t want to let her go. The lady in first I know is long gone (I timed the first lady in my age group on one of the turn around sections on the bike and she had 4.5 minutes on me). I was gunning for a second place age group but didn’t exactly know where I was in the race. this lady was running super strong and her first mile was under 6:35. I just didn’t go with it. I sat back. The dude with the wings on his legs was with me and I told him she was in my age group. He said we were running super fast. I never know how fast I am running until mile two because I always forget to hit the lap button at the start of the run, so I usually never get the first mile split. Mile two was a 6:33 and I wasn’t making any ground on the lady in front of me. I thought to myself, well if she can run the entire half marathon at 6:30 pace, then she probably has me. But I didn’t think that was likely either. There were lots of cheering fans around and I figured it was more likely that she was excited.

How can you not be excited when you get to run by Chrissy Wellington!

At mile three we had one of the two hills on the course. It’s a short and kinda steep little bugger and for some reason I just said enough is enough. I ran hard up that hill, passed the lady in my age group and then I ran for my life the next mile and a half. I ran by Troy and I gave him the “I’m scared and I’m running fast look”. He cheered so loud! Mile three up the hill was 7:12 and mile 4 was 6:55. I felt like she was breathing down my neck, but I convinced myself that I had opened up a gap. I settled into the race, there were so many people on the course it kept things very lively. Mile 5 and 6 were a combined 14:07 and 7/8 were 14:11. I had hit my stride and it was just over 7 min pace. I was a little shocked, but it felt smooth, so I just kept running.

At mile 9 I ran by Troy and he said that “one was 2.5 up”. I knew the super fast lady was 7+ minutes up on me, but I had apparently missed another lady in my age group. I put a little fire in my engine and miles 9/10 were a combined 13:07. I was stoked that it felt oh so good to be running that fast. I caught the lady in my age group and at that point I felt confident that I was second age group and that first was outta sight. I took a gel that the course had provided and it had 2X caffeine. I suffered several miles of stomach cramping and learned a hard lesson that 2X caffeine is too much for my tummy. Don’t just grab and eat without looking. Mile 11 was 7:13 and mile 12 was 7:30. The last mile plus extra was 9:06. For the last few miles I hung onto a guy that everyone called “muffin”. That cracked me up and somebody had drawn chalk muffins all over the asphalt. I felt like I was running with a celebrity, that was fun!

Coming into the line and looking at my watch and seeing 4:45:32 left me in utter shock. I walked through the shoot and I started crying. It was really emotional for me. I had hoped to break 5 and to do so in this way was exciting and unexpected. I was instantly happy with the manner that I executed my race. I just stopped crying when I turned around to see my PIC Michelle finish, and low and behold she was crying just like me. She had scored second in her age group as well. Very emotional.

Swim: 35:39
T1: 1:39
Bike: 2:34:10 (21.79mph)
Run: 1:32:41 (7:04 pace)
Total: 4:45:32
12th overall
6th amateur
2nd F30-34

The best part of the day for me was watching the other Practical Coaching athletes complete their races. Seeing Andrea break 6 hours and have a huge smile on her face. I can’t describe the joy I had in watching my friends succeed at this distance. Beth took a 4th age group slot, and I was so hoping a Clearwater slot would come her direction, but it got snatched up. Sandy took two and a half hours off her time at Rage, she went 5:27 versus a tough 8 hour day at Rage. Taryn, my camping neighbor finished her first triathlon, and it was a half!

Everyone is happy with a race well done!

We have such a great crew!

Chrissy Wellington is a total class act. She hung out and took pics with just about every single participant. What a class act world Champion!

So, before the race I talked a little with Anthony, my 17hourtrainingday.com teammate about whether he would take a Clearwater slot if one came his direction. After some chatting I was convinced that I wouldn’t take the slot, and he said he wasn’t going to either. But when all was said and done and I saw that I got a slot (there were two in my age group) I was asking Troy “did we bring a checkbook”? It was so exciting. Michelle was taking her slot and I figured GIRL TRIP. Then while attending awards I watch a slot make it down to Anthony, they call his name…and he says “I’ll take it”. I had such a huge grin on my face.

Anthony and I, he is such a great guy and talented athlete!

BUT then, We had Steve, our fantastic coach. Would he get a slot? There was one of four slots left. They start calling names, and sure enough, they call his, and I hear “I’ll take it”. I was so happy for him!

Okay, here is the last bit, and it’s a little funny. They take your $$ on the spot and they give you a piece of paper that has directions on how to sign up for the race. It has a password and it has dates that you can sign up within. The lady tells you “Don’t loose this paper or your money is gone and you can’t sign up”. So I turn and give the paper straight to Troy.

Last night when we got home Troy takes the paper and sets in on my desk in front of the computer. We go to bed. Annie wakes up at 6am and Troy pops her in a DVD and goes back to bed. When I get up we clean up from the trip, take out the trash, vacuum, etc. Then we realize the paper isn’t there. We searched the house for TWO hours. Troy even went and got out the trash from the dumpster. Then the trash truck came. The paper is GONE. We have a call and an email into the race director. But my precious Clearwater slot is hanging in limbo. I figure if they won’t let me in I will inundate them with this photo. I have also sent this photo (taken on my iPhone) to every tech-savy person I know to try to deduce the password off of the sheet.

All in all this race…and this month, and this season has been just an awesome experience. I can’t thank my coach enough…Steve Pye is his name and I can’t believe how much he has changed my life. My husband Troy is a total saint, always there for me with a hug and relentless support of my passion. Annie, my darling little girl that keeps me laughing at life and helps me to maintain balance in my life. Also, my mom and dad who have really gone above and beyond to help out their GROWN CHILD with getting to all these races, and for tweeting and texting their love and support. I love you guys!

Lastly I can’t forget Core Concepts, who treats me so kind with yummy clothes, and Trakkers, who you all will love when they get their awesome little triathlon trakking devise on the market!

And Here We Go Again!

The car is at TDC Car Summer Camp (the mechanic) and we have a minivan rental car.

The minivan is packed with camping gear.

The TT bike is nestled amongst tents, sleeping bags, and camping stoves.

We are headed on a family adventure!

Destination Kansas 70.3.

I am especially looking forward to the extremely scenic drive (cornfields), and the peace and quiet (a hyper three year old). The camping should be serene (300 other type A triathletes) and the weather should be divine (forecasts call for thunderstorms).

I think athlete tracker for the race can be found here. If not, search Google for “Kansas 70.3 Athlete Tracker”.

The race is Sunday and I will be posting lots of tid bits on twitter. If you happen to be going to Kansas 70.3 please add me on twitter and send me a message. Andrea and I are having a little contest to see who we can meet via twitter! I won’t tell you her twitter account name :). Mine is goSonja

Humm, I think that’s about it! Hooray for two 1/2 Ironmans on completely different sides of the US in 7 days. Can we say fun-a-licious!

Rev3 Long Course Part 2

I arrived at the race site too early, as usual, I’m punctual to a fault. The perk was that my parking spot was ten steps from transition. I mentioned how cool transition was in my last post but let me reiterate. The pros had a section right next to the age groupers and the race staff had printed banners for each pro. The cool thing was in the morning you could watch them all get ready and you knew who was who.


It was also neat to see whose bike was whose. Matt Reed’s Fuji looks like the bat mobile, and Amanda Lovato has a pink camo rear disk wheel, how hot is that?


I set up my transition stuff, realizing that I forgot a pair of scissors. I had to ask around for a pair which was a little awkward, but I needed to cut the loose ends off the new race laces I installed on my new K-Swiss K-ONA s, and I also needed to trim some of the velcro on the “bento box” I bought for the top tube of my bike. Wowzer, I’m becoming such a long course triathlete, next thing you know I’ll be sporting some aero bottle thing! I hit up the porta pottie and on the way out I saw this guy that had an absolutely amazing spread of Ironman tattoos wrapped around his ankle. I asked it I could take a picture. I had to take two…


I can’t even comment on what I think about that…

The race numbers for Rev3 were made by the same company that does the ones for the Ironman events, so you had your name on your bib. This is a pretty awesome perk when you are at a race all by your lonesome. It’s nice to have spectators yell your name out. I also had a new Trakkers uniform to wear for this race. I was a little sad to not be suiting up in my Practical Coaching outfit, but I was here to support Trakkers, and after putting on the new race kit I was in love. It’s so stinking comfortable. The Practical Coaching kit better watch out! PLUS, racing in lime green you sorta feel like some sort of reptile, but boy did I stand out!


I suited up and turned on my Trakkers device. I was able to successfully get it into Trakking mode, but I noticed that it was having trouble keeping cell coverage and kept blinking red. I gave it a kiss for good luck and headed down to the water with my new friend and teamate Kelly where we helped various people turn their Trakkers units on and get them into Trakking mode.


A few of the waves were switched around and before I knew it they were calling for purple caps. I lined up, and off I went. The course was a large triangle with big orange turn buoys and large white sighting buoys with the Rev3 logo on them. I got out well and I swam to the right of the buoys. I had trouble finding consistent feet so I just tried to stay steady and set a strong pace. After the first third of the race the wave behind of men started passing me and for some reason I was feeling good. I hopped on every red caps feet that I could and when I would loose his feet I would wait for the next red cap to pass and would hop on those. It kept things quick and kept me from getting bogged down. I had a really strong second half due to this little tactic of mine. I want to thank Tyler for letting me hop on his feet in my last long swim, because it gave me a chance to practice with someone faster. At RAGE I swam a 36, and this swim was a 33. It felt more like a 33, and I was happy snappy with it.

I exited the water 7th in my age group, and low and behold, no Troy. I know this sounds silly, but I was looking for my husband, even though I knew he wasn’t going to be there because he was back in Colorado with Annie playing stay at home daddy. It was a long run through the amusement park to transition and by the time I got to my spot my wetsuit top was off, and my bib was pulled down over my hips.

I didn’t even notice if other bikes were there, or if they were gone. I just threw on my helmet and got the heck out of there. I exited transition 4th in my age group and I thought immediately of Steve’s advice before my first 1/2 Ironman in April…”The first 5 miles of the bike don’t matter”. I just think it’s crazy to go flying out of transition on the bike. It takes time to get warmed up, your legs are cold from swimming. I really feel it’s necessary to tread lightly the first five miles of the bike course. Well, come 2 miles in a lady in my age group comes flying by. Oh dear, I swear Steve was speaking in my brain “Let her go, she will come back to you”. Man she looked so strong. I named her “red shirt with name on the a$$”, turns out she is Kona bound Adrienne Saeger and she was one fierce cookie! But, I needed those first five miles, so I let her go.

It took about 15 miles to get warmed up. It was one of those situations where it could have gone either way. I could have felt heavy and crummy, or I could warm up and feel good. Luckily at mile 15 the legs let loose and I could feel any stiffness melting away and they were starting to tell me to go go go. The course was insanely technical and hilly. I swear it was UP, DOWN, TURN, UP, DOWN, TURN. There were like 50 hills and like 50 turns, it was insane. But, that kept it fresh, and it kept you honest. Every turn had a police officer and five or so volunteers. Each turn also had a sign depicting what the turn was like so that you knew how to set up for it. It was these kind of touches that were above and beyond what 99% of races achieve.

The bike has tough, and I put in some hard work, but it went by relatively fast. Towards the end there was an out and back section. I love these because you can figure how how far down you are on your competition. I was 2.5 minutes down from red shirt with name on the bum, but I was only 10 seconds up from a girl on my tail. She soon decided to make a pass. It seemed that she wanted to play a game of cat and mouse. I’m not really cool with that, sometimes it can keep you energized to have a little competition, but I was more into racing my own race that day. She also wasn’t obeying proper passing laws, namely getting her three bike lengths before attempting to repass. I didn’t want to risk any sort of penalty. Every time she passed she was breathing very heavy, so I finally put a little kick into my pedals and ended the games.

We had a crazy technical downhill and I rode it in a way that would make Steve and Tyler and anyone else who thinks I ride downhill like a sissy proud. I killed the turns and didn’t touch my breaks. At the bottom of the hill where we had to ride up what seemed like 10 more never ending hills at the end of the race I finally saw red shirt with name on the tush. I was patient, and she did indeed come back to me. I was proud of that. It wasn’t long ago that I wouldn’t have been that patient, that I wouldn’t have played things that smart. That was big for me.

Of course all I could think from that point on was “But can she run”? We got into transition and she was off ahead of me. I decided to wait back and see what she was laying down. I figured she went out hard on the bike and maybe she would do that again on the run. I found out very quickly that “The girl can run”. She can run like nobodies business. I admit, it was a little disappointing, yet challenging at the same time. At mile 3.5 I was just off her shoulder. I had worked to catch her.

We then hit the section of the course called the K-Swiss mile. It’s a timed one mile uphill section that is brutal. I’m from Colorado, but the grade of the hill combined with how compromised my legs were at that point…I didn’t have a lot to give to the hill, and red shirt with name on the bum pulled away from me big time. One mile later she had one minute on me and she would keep that minute on me the rest of the race. She would finish just one minute ahead and I had her in my sights the entire 13 miles, but wasn’t able to mount another attack, she was strong, and I think she will race great in Kona!

Why no attack? Well, let me tell you, the stinking course kept getting in the way. There was hill after hill after hill. They were insane, and thank goodness for those volunteers. They were skilled and did such a great job. I was taking water, gel, and bananas at the aid stations and they were great at handing things over and getting you what you needed. The course was very pretty, but it was just so dang hard that it took all I had to keep focused on the task at hand. Good runners were walking. The last hill I saw a guy just give up and walk, and he was running fast up until that point.

When I knew I was coming into the finish I got so excited. I couldn’t wait to run through that neon finish line. It was such a fancy chute, I was excited, and I was proud of the day I had and the manner in which I executed my race. Nothing but joy coming down the line. We were handed water, a medal was put around our neck, and we were given a finish shirt and a goody bag. More Schwag!! This race was schwag-a-licious.


Again, a little strange to be all alone. No Troy, no hugs. Just, OK, I’m done. And being in the front of the pack there were just the pros and a few age groupers that were finished. I headed to the massages. After a short and adorable conversation with Amanda Lovato she hooked me up with the lady that did her massage because she was good.

Oh my was she good. She worked on me for 45 minutes and I SWEAR that’s why I feel so good today. She worked everything that hurt.

Troy called me after my massage with the results and I was really pleased.
2nd F30-34
4th Amature
17th woman
Swim: 33:36
T1: 2:28
Bike: 2:50:02
T2: 1:30
Run: 1:43:26

This course was much more challenging than the RAGE course, but my time was pretty similar. I felt it was a strong effort and I am excited to see what the season continues to bring.

Rev3 Long Course Part 1

My plane pulled into the Hartford airport and it was raining cats and dogs. My bike and luggage made it safe and sound and before I knew it I was in my rental car headed to the Hyatt in Hartford for one night. The Hartford airport Enterprise is the friendliest rental car place I have ever been to. They treated me so great. After checking into my hotel I went for a run around Hartford and quickly realized that there was a rap concert right next to my hotel.

Great run around the capital.

My evening was spent building up my bike, eating room service, relaxing in the swanky hotel bed and just relaxing. At about midnight the ghetto rap concert let out and there was about 10 minutes of screaming and yelling in the streets, but the cops had things pretty under control.

Saturday morning I was up bright and early and off to the Rev3 race site to meet team Trakkers for the first time. At 8:45 most of the team was there and we went through some introductions and then got the low down on the Trakkers devise. The devises that they had at the race were the first ever run of the product, 80 prototypes. This is an electronic product and it’s really still in development so we had no clue if they would truly work at all. After some product info Carol dished out all of our team Trakkers goodies: shirt, hats, race kits. We were feeling pretty lucky! And then up rolled Bree Wee, Lisa Mensink, and Chris Thomas. Bree and Lisa are pros and Chris is an amateur, but he’s like the most kick butt amateur out there. He was the top amateur at California 70.3 this year.

Team Trakkers with Lisa, Bree, and Chris

So after a few pictures the pros took us out for a nice little race prep run. Just a simple jog through a portion of the course. It was awesome to see how approachable they all were, they had genuine interest in us as athletes and in team Trakkers. So nice!


Lisa, Me, and Bree, so strange to meet your favorite pros!!

After our run I worked in the Trakkers tent for some time. We needed to power on all 80 of the units and put them through an initialization phase, then test them to decide if they were lemons. Some of the units performed pretty good, but most of the units had some trouble finding cell coverage as it was pretty dim at the race site. The units are pretty cute, about the size of a pager, but lighter. Almost everyone just stuck them in their jersey pocket.

Athletes were also coming by the tent to check out units. We explained to them that all the units were beta tests, they may work, they may not. The response was overwhelming. People didn’t care. They just wanted to help beta test and to try one out. We had a huge waiting list after we handed out all the beta units. So, I am pleased with the attention Trakkers is getting. As with any brand new electronic, it’s going to take a little time to gets things going 100%.

This Saturday was an interesting time for me. It was the first time I traveled to a race alone. Team Trakkers quickly became my family away from my family. Since I was staying over an hour away with my friends Vahid and Shallah, and because we were having a team dinner at 5pm, I hung out at the race site the entire day. I usually get in and out quickly, but this time I worked the booth, picked up my packet, worked a little more, checked my bike into transition, worked a little more, listened to the pro panel, worked a little more, picked up lunch, bought a new pair of K-Swiss running flats…the K-ONA, worked a little more…etc etc. The last thing I did that day was stage all of my race stuff in the back of my car. I was completely ready for the next day, all I had to do was attend our team Trakkers dinner, drive to my friends house, and sleep. It was nice having my own agenda!

Check out the transition. It was pro style for all the amatures. Check out those personalized boxes!

The team dinner was awesome. It was at this great fancy Italian place, and it was fun to get to know Carole, she runs team Trakkers, and my cheeks hurt from laughing at all her antics that evening. Michael Lovato also came to dinner and I think all of us were a little star struck from that point forward.

After dinner I hopped in the car and drove to Vahid and Shallahs house in Gullford, CT. They were such great hosts, when I walked in the house they said “Are you hungry”? After I said no they said “We know you must have many pre race rituals, please feel free to attend to them and we will catch up tomorrow night with a nice meal”. AWESOME. It was a triathletes dream. I collapsed into a comfy bed with a zillion pillows and slept blissfully until my 3am wake-up call from Troy.