The Right Fit for my Feet

This is totally the week of product endorsements! When you train the distances that I commonly do, you become very fond of certain products that gracefully allow you to do your work. The good products, the helpful products, have a special place in your heart, because when your gear goes wrong, your training tends to follow suit.

One of the most important places that you want your gear to work is your feet. When you love to run A LOT, as in you love it A LOT, and the amount you run is A LOT, you have to have more than a good shoe, you need a great shoe.

This last year I gave up having three different shoes: a lightweight trainer for short fast runs, a heavy weight trainer for long road runs, and a trail shoe. I found a shoe I love and I wear it for everything except races. And crazy as it sounds, it’s a trail shoe.

Oh my, what shoe is this Sonja?

It’s the Brooks Cascadia.

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I love it so much I rotate through three pairs. I have 3 pairs of the Cascadia 3…maybe next up I will buy 4 pairs of the Cascadia 4…which I hear is MORE comfortable, and boasts an environmentally friendlier BioMoGo midsole, the world’s first-ever biodegradable midsole for running shoes. The laces are made out of recycled materials as well!

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Brooks has a great site that helps you figure out what shoe would work for you. Check them out at www.brooksrunning.com

They are also on Twitter…they are so cool! Follow them: @brooksrunning

Sport Science

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Have you received any of these crazy Sport Science shirts in your race packet lately? You can tell because they have the little bright yellow tag on the sleeve. Last year our Phidipides shirts were Sport Science and I found myslelf working out in it a lot. At first glance it looked like your run of the mill cotton t-shirt. The first time I put it on I couldn’t believe how well it fit. They make women’s and mens shirts separately. The other track club members were pretty jazzed about it too.

A little about their philosophy:

In 2003, we launched sport science™ smarter performance™ for the fun-having, sport-playing, running, walking, hiking, commuting, climbing, training, traveling, going, doing active people of the world.

Our mission is to create products that do more so you can do more – clothing that can go anywhere and do anything, not just in regards to function, but to comfort and style as well. When true technical performance fuses with incredible comfort and versatility, smarter performance™ is the result.

Then I worked out in it and I knew something was different about it. The fabric that Sport Science uses feels soft and nice like cotton, but it wicks. Normal race shirts are either cotton, or tech. I never feel like I can wear my race t-shirts that are tech shirts around town because they are a little thin and breezy, and somewhat see through. I definitely can’t wear the cotton race tshirts to workout in. Not for any considerable workout at least. But these sport science shirts really bridge the gap. Practical Coaching used this company for their shirts this year…I bought three!

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Cruising through their website it looks like they make all different cuts of shirts. I would love to try out a sleeveless and a long sleeve, I definitely see a tied dyed shirt in my future, and the wool line looks really enticing.

Oh, and this isn’t just a chick thing. Troy has a habit of wearing things he likes over and over again until they die (usually beyond when they die). Despite the fact that our 17 hour training day shirts are pink, he wears it every other day (when he’s not wearing the grey Practical Coaching shirt). I haven’t told him it’s pink (he’s color blind). He hasn’t worn them out yet, and he said that if it was his choice he would wear only this brand of t-shirts. Pretty strong feelings from my mellow-smellow hubby!

If you haven’t raced a race that has Sport Science shirts you’ve got to find one! You wont be disappointed. If you know of a race that is putting Sport Science in their packets, leave the name and link in a comment below. And if you are Sport Science and you are reading this, I really love your product!

Bannock Street Crit…a first for everything!

My first crit experience. Wow. Where do I even start….??

Note: First off a little explanation for those of you who don’t live in (or near) the biking world. A crit stands for “criterion”, and it’s a type of bike race where you are on a closed course that is a loop of about 1-2 miles long. You do loops on the course for a set amount of time. When it gets close to the end the announcer will tell you how many laps you have left and at the end of those laps the race is over. It’s fast, crazy, turny, and wild. If there is one in your city (they are usually in downtowns) you should go check it out, it’s pretty unreal.

OKAY, so Steve is writing my schedule a few days out at a time as Ironman gets closer. On Thursday I asked him for a few more days and he said to sign up for the Mike Nields Memorial Bannock Street Crit on Sunday. I watched this race last year and was in shock and awe at the process. It’s fast, each loop is about a mile and has 8 turns, and last year I had trouble envisioning that I would ever be ready for such an endeavor.

This year, different story. I definitely had some first time jitters the night before and the morning of. PIC arrived at my place at 5am so we could ride to the race together. It was nice to talk with her and to know that she was racing, as was my other teamate Beth. Sarah, who isn’t a PC chick, but used to be, and races a lot was racing too. So it was nice to know that I knew some of the participants. When we got down to Bannock an hour later the nerves really got going. Steve took us through each turn and told exactly how we should go into it and come out of it.

Pre Race Ride through.
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The line he taught us was the same line the pro men took through the course.

But was it the same line the Cat 4 ladies took? Hardly.

We asked Steve what to do if the other ladies didn’t take that line. He said to stay up front, and force the correct line. All righty, don’t have to tell me twice.

He gave us a great pep talk before the race and I felt like I was in the right mood to really race strong. I was no longer intimidated, I was ready to ride aggressively, and I was ready to race like it was the last 40 minutes of my life.

The start line
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Can you tell PIC and I apart? It’s tough!
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Off we went. Sure as bears eat honey the ladies did not take a strong line. The first 5 laps were spent pushing my way to the front, and taking my own line. Most the time I wasn’t on a wheel, but I came out of turns accelerating, where as the pack was decelerating and I would pick up spots. To take my line I had to cross the field after each turn and this pissed them off like no tomorrow. There were lots of F-bombs thrown my direction, but it was just a waste of energy on their part. Some definite Lemming action happening. There was a small hill and I tried to jump every lap when we went up it. I took some pulls….following my line of course.

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We came around one turn and as I was pedaling out of the turn my pedal hit the ground. I didn’t fall but it was a gut check. I told myself, Don’t do that again! Oddly watching the pro mens race someone in the pack almost always hit their pedal on the exact turn, you could hear it every time they went by.

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Several turns and almost an entire lap later I have Beth on my wheel and I take the turn on the line we are supposed to, and I somewhat pedal through the turn and I hit my pedal again. This time, not so lucky, I feel the bike slide out, I try to pull it back up, I don’t make it. My bike goes down on its left side, and I go down right due to the momentum my body had trying to pull out of the fall. I fall mostly on my bike. All the riders manage to evade me, I think because I was sliding out of the turn. I hop up, pick up my bike and I think “It’s over, dang”. Steve comes running down the course and says “Get on your bike”. He rams my shifters back into a manageable position, tells me to go to neutral wheel support and get pushed back into the race. “Yes, boss”.

Note: for the non bike world people…if you get a flat or crash in a crit you have 1 free lap to get back into it. It’s just part of the rules.

I do as told, and the wheel guys push me back in. My adrenaline is crazy! I’m so amped and so jazzed to be back in the race. I jump, I jump again. I just felt wild. I hung onto the lead pack, took jumps, tried to get off the front, and just raced aggressively. At one point I sat into the pack and took the wrong line with the ladies. Wow, talk about crap. The accordion effect is nasty, and you have to get up and out of your saddle after every turn to close the gap. I definitely liked Steve’s line better. No brainer there.

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As it came down to the final lap this is when I realized yet again that I am no Cavendish. I can’t seem to find a lead out, and I can’t seem to get my act together for the sprint finish. I was 7th despite giving it my all. And that’s 7th in the lead group of 7, total number of racers was 21.

I was so unbelievably jazzed about this race. I came around the corner and Steve was running along one of the alleys. Big hugs all around. I told him “I had so much fun!!!”. “That was so totally awesome”. I was surfing on some serious adrenaline! Regrouping with Beth, Michelle (PIC), and Sarah was crazy. They were way more traumatized by my wreck than I was. Apparently my wreck created a gap that allowed the front group to pull away. That front group was the one I got pushed back into. But Beth, Michelle, and Sarah ended up in the second group. Shucks!

Then I looked at my bike. RahRoh. My handle bars had hit the side of my frame on the top tube. It had 5 different 2-3 inch cracks. I met back up with Troy. He said “You did so good”. I said “I think I broke my bike”. He said “It’s ok, we’ll work it out, you raced so well”. I love my husband!

Michelle (PIC) and I then got on our bikes and had a great hour ride back up to my house. We skipped the coffee time with everyone else, and had some girl time on the bikes. Geez, I love that girl! We laughed about some stuff that I can’t even repeat here. All I can say is “Ohh, Shut Up”.

A bike is a tool. I am incredibly blessed to have a beautiful work of art as my tool, but the bottom line is that a bike is fixable, or replaceable. What’s done is done, we move forward from here. We have an email into Calfee to see about a repair. Onwards. My body is fine, yes there is some soreness and a few scrapes, but my soul is fulfilled, and thus I am fine.

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Oh yea…need a new helmet too now, any suggestions? PIC says it must be blue so that we can remain twinkies!

I am so incredaably proud of Beth, Michelle and Sarah. These crits are no slouch, it was balls to the walls racing, pain to the Nth degree. They all raced superbly. Also my hubby Troy. He was out there with Annie and I think he likes the idea of 40 minute races! HaHa! You wish Troy!

Lastly Steve-O, coach of the decade. A lifetime of bike racing in his past. Most wouldn’t take the time to teach a bunch of newbie girls how to take the right line, and how to get the look of the shark. He’s got this way of dishing out to me stuff that is new and crazy and awesome, but that I am capable of excelling in. He just rocks.

If you don’t follow me on Twitter….

You are missing out!! (Ahem…@gosonja) Just in case you aren’t addicted to twitter, let me show you what you are missing. See, on twitter I can post little blurbs, with fun pics attached.

If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you are missing me showing off my new awesome Oakleys!
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If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you missed an adorable shot of the two most awesome CHICKS in my life.
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If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you missed the whole massive excitement when a new pair of Reynolds Race wheels appeared on the doorstep before Vineman 70.3…Okay, I actually had to go bail them out of the UPS warehouse after hours…but you would have missed that whole process too.
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If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you couldn’t play the “How many M-dots in the picture?” game.
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If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you would have missed dad and I pretending to drink from the plethora of grapes hanging at the finish line of Vineman 70.3.
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If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you missed my most recent pic of a HUGE M-dot tattoo…adding that one to my collection, along with this one and this one and this one.
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If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you never would have known that there is a HUGE artichoke in Watsonville….I’m just sayin’
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Now, don’t plan on me doing any more of these Twitter updates on my blog in the future. I consider it your personal responsibility to become a voyeuristic, stalker-like Twitterite…just like me!!!

Twitter name is @goSonja

Original…I know!

Vineman 70.3

The hype for this race was pretty wild. Vineyards, wine, a beautiful location in California. This race was meant to be a treat. Troy flew in Friday night and mom and I had the van packed and ready to go camping. Saturday morning we hopped in the car and drove two hours up to Windsor for packet pickup. It was a scorcher of a day and the projections were that it was going to be even hotter for race day. I grabbed my packet and we spent the day checking out the swim, bike and run courses. The evening was filled with a great salmon dinner by dad, some marshmallow roasting, and a luxurious night of sleep in the van.

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4am wake up call and we were off. We had scoped a good spot to park the van where my parents could skedaddle after the swim without getting into a traffic jam. The race area is extremely congested and difficult for friends and family to maneuver through. The two transitions are 15 miles apart and it’s all a little tricky.

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I headed down to the water, racked my bike and got ready for the swim. The swim is in a river, you swim up river first, and then back down river to finish. It’s so shallow that you can stand up at almost any spot in the race.
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Lining up I really didn’t feel nervous. I got a spot on the line off to the left. I liked my spot and it made for some good pictures for my dad.
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That’s totally me sighting in this shot.
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When we went around the turn buoys I stood up and dolphin dived and the water was at my knee/thigh level. I got a good start out of the gate and spent about half the race on some nice feet and then the second half by myself. I didn’t feel the nice rhythm that I was quite used to in the water, but I felt ok, and emerged ready to get going on the bike.

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Transition was crazy. I was allowed to hand my wetsuit over the fence to my mom, so I did that, but it was a little weird. The transition was in a dirt lot and by the time I got off with my bike I was a muddy mess, and my bike was a dusty wreck.

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I obeyed my 5 mile rule to chill and get my legs under me. We had a nice flat section, but then they took us into a curvy crazy section where all the volunteers were telling us to slow down and one volunteer yelled that there was a bad accident at mile 7.

We head up this big hill and just on the other side I see about 30 racers stopped in front of me. There are ambulances, and police. A lady is yelling that a tree fell onto the road and pinned two cyclists. They were halting the race because they had to see if the wire that was down was live or not, and they had to get the racers safely into the ambulance, and they had to remove the tree. I just unclipped, stayed calm and messed with my new Garmin that didn’t seem to be behaving how I envisioned. People in the crowd were going crazy, one lady was yelling “Can you release the names of the cyclist”? I slowly moved away from her. Sheesh, calm down. Cyclists piled up behind me and I couldn’t help but think about how this would effect my race. I’m a slower swimmer and I spend so much of my race trying to catch the fast swimmers. Anyone in my wave who was a faster swimmer would not have been stopped in the accident, so they were long gone.

Note: There were actually 3 racers involved. The tree was about 4 feet in diameter and came down between two cyclists. For the one in front it hit him in the back, entangled him and his bike in the tree and I believe he either broke, or nearly broke his back. He is still in the ICU. For the one behind the tree it ensnared him and his bike and he broke his collar bone. The next rider crashed as a result of the tree falling and ended up in the bushes and broke his collar bone.

After about 10 minutes they opened the road again and everyone took off, like a road race. People were riding 6 across, on a very narrow twisty road, they weren’t obeying the center line rule, and the road was still open to traffic. And…they are triathletes, with triathlete handling skills…need I say more. I have never felt more unsafe in my life in a race. It was total Danger Will Robinson! I waited for the congestion to dissipate but a mean little pack was forming.

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I’m not going to do the whole tattle tale thing on this blog, but I will just say that the rest of the bike was a tad frustrating, and I had trouble enjoying the scenery. I will say that I will think twice about ever doing another race where the course is left open to drivers. If you can close down the roads in San Francisco for Escape from Alcatraz, then you should be able to close down the back roads in Sonoma county. I felt very unsafe and at one point watched a police officer wave a car out in front of me. It was just odd and not what I was at all expecting for a 70.3 with such a great reputation.

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Into transition and off to the run. It was hot hot hot. I have heard reports from 95 to 106, and to me it felt like about 102-103ish. Ice down the sports bra, ice down the pants. Water with ice, Gatoraid with ice…just lots of ice. From mile 1 on I could tell that it wasn’t going to be a repeat Kansas performance. I was hitting around 8 min miles, and didn’t feel motivated to go much faster. I did enjoy myself through. The course was quite hilly, lots of little ups and downs. I liked the run, but was begging for cooler temps.

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I love this one of Keith with the “No Dogs Allowed” sign
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I came through the finish glad to be done, ready to sit in a tub of ice! It was great to see my dad’s coworkers Jonathan, and Jeff out there. They both knocked it outa the park! Also Keith was on course, but I didn’t see him. He was out there though. It was a bummer not to have all my practical coaching hommies racing with me, but I thought it was a good effort on a day that was riddled with challenges! I made a few friends, and had the wonderful support of my parents and Troy. Many thanks for all the well wishes and congratulatory notes.

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Jonathan and Jeff, my tour guides and training partners for the week
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Pook post race. She was such a trooper in the heat!
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So..at one point during the race a guy rode by and said “nice bike”. I was like “thanks” cause, you know, I get that a lot. Then I looked at his bike and WE HAD THE SAME BIKE. Now if you ride a Cervelo I know this is nothing new for you, but it’s RARE RARE RARE to see another Isaac. So, after the race we took some pics together. Notice how I just cozied up to this guy, apparently if you own an Isaac I’m more apt to snuggle my sweaty body up to yours. Oh, sonja…img_0420.jpg

Swim + T1: 36:45
Bike: 2:49:07
T2: 2:24
Run: 1:45:31
Overall: 5:13:49
11th F30-34 (1st,2nd,and 3rd overall were in my AG, and all three of them were under 4:35, pretty tough competition)
46th female

Vineman Athlete Tracking

This Sunday I am racing the Vineman 70.3. They will have athlete tracker going for the race. I usually go to the main page of Ironman.com and they have a link for the races that are currently running. Also, Vineman has several twitter accounts that they will post updates about the race leaders, so follow @vinemantri and @DL83 for those. Joanna Zeiger is racing, as is Craig Alexander. Oh, and my mom will be tweeting on my phone during the race, so be sure you are following @gosonja. I will tweet before and after, lots of pics and pro sightings if I can find them! My wave takes off at 7:18am Pacific Time.

Also, my teammate Keith Negri is racing if you want to look him up on athlete tracker too, I’m sure he will LOVE that I’m telling all of you that! Muh-Ahh-Hah-Hah.

And, finally, Troy flies in tonight and I am so stinkin’ excited. I’ve missed him. I’ve worked hard to gussy myself up for his arrival, maybe I should buy some flowers or something! So, safe travels to Troy (and to Keith and Nancy as well) as they travel out to Cali for what is going to be some fantastic weather and racing!

Christmas in July

The blog has been quiet! I’ve been out here in California, visiting my parents and training hard. It’s been so nice to have some time with my parents, this trip was especially needed, I’ve been missing them. Annie has been spoiled rotten and it’s going to be tough weaning her off all the indulgences when we head back home. This weekend I compete in the Vineman 70.3. One of my training partners Keith is coming out for the race, so it will be nice to see him on the course. I have heard Vineman is a great race, so I’m excited to be involved in another 70.3 and to race with lots of studly competition.

It’s not just Annie that’s been spoiled, my parents have spoiled the HECK out of me. I can’t even go into all the details, because you would get insanely jealous, but the most substantial are these :::>>>
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They are a set of Reynolds SDV66T Wheels. The crazy part was that my dad talked to Steve and ordered them from him. Steve glued the tires on and got everything all set up. Then he mailed them out to my dad here in Cali. Everyone, including my husband and PIC knew about them, and I DIDN’T SUSPECT A THING. They were a total surprise, so much so that I am still in shock. These will be with me for a very long time, and although it sounds so sappy it’s special to me that Steve was involved and that Troy knew as well.

So, ASAP they are going to get put on bad girl Scarlett. She was been on very good behavior here in Cali, but that’s probably because I take her out to the beach and ride her all over the place.
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Of course it would be wrong of me not to take along my personal photographer.
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Scarlett has been so happy here with sunny days, and cool ocean breeze
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She’s ready for Vineman, she’s peppy and happy.
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I also told her that she has a new Partner in Crime (PIC), and I told her that they are twins except for bar tape. She is very excited to meet her and hopes that they will be best friends forever.

Congratulations to those that raced Boulder Peak, bummer that the swim was long, but Congrats to all the persevered!!

The 17 Hour Training Day

In Ironman you get 17 hours to get it done. 17. Hours. Our crew named ourselves the 17 hour training day crew because we subscribe to extended distance training for Ironman, and all other distances that we compete in. The Fourth of July was the date set to complete a 17 hour day. We were all really excited.

There were several goals here. One was to keep on our feet for the entire time, stay swimming, biking and running. Another was to involve our friends, family, and training partners so that we could get a little help, and so that they could experience up close and personal a little of what we do. Lastly, we wanted to be A-OK throughout the day. No balls to the walls, just a training day, getting it done together, putting in the miles, learning lessons about nutrition and mental issues.

Troy and I arrived at the campsite the night before. I wanted to make sure the kayak and tent situation was taken care of. Troy is a phenomenal triathlete-sherpa, but I still have to make sure the loose ends are tied up so that I don’t stress during an event.

Our friends Laura, Wes and their toddler Abi showed up to the campsite around 6pm, great timing as the storm had just blown by. It was great to camp with them that evening, to chill, relax, chat, etc. That evening with two kiddos and tents we got “some” sleep. Abi had trouble going down and Annie woke up at 3:15 crying because her feet fell asleep. We just got up and walked around the campground for awhile.

At 4:45 Steve, Andrea, Anthony, and Michelle B rolled into the campground. They dropped some supplies and we hurried over to the gravel pond. We had obtained a special permit from Chatfield State Park to swim in the gravel pond from 5am to 7:30am. We were required to have a monitor on the beach preventing other swimmers from entering the pond, and we were required to have a rescue vessel. Laura was to be our kayaker for the morning.

This is by far my favorite photo of the whole day.
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After some starting photos we hopped in the pond and started swimming. It was predawn and putting your head into the dark water to swim was a little wild. Not scary, just exciting. So dark and ominous.

Starting in the dark
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Right away the boys took off and I wasn’t really in the mood to start swimming that hard just yet. The sunrise was in full effect and I wanted to enjoy it. My first lap was the slowest I have ever swam in the pond (a 45:30) because I was enjoying myself. Laura had my camera and took some pictures.

Silly boys
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Happy swimming Sonja
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Hot Air Balloon in the Background
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After lap 1 I felt warmed up and in my groove. The sun was up and I relaxed into a comfortable pace. My second lap was almost 10 minutes faster and I was laughing about that one big time. The third lap was relaxing, it was strange to just have the four of us in the pond. A guy did try to jump in the pond at 6:30 and Laura caught him and kicked him back out. He was friendly about it. It was so nice to have the pond all to ourselves for 2.5 hours. At 7:30 on the dot, after about 3.5 laps for me we all got out of the pond and changed into our cycling stuff.

Our morning crew of Troy, Michelle B, Wes, Laura, Annie and Abi had shlepped all our gear to the pond and had our bikes set up, tires aired up, and our nutrition and clothes out and ready to go for the next leg. Putting cycling shorts on was a little challenging, but I got it done.

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We rolled into the parking lot and waiting for us was Tyler, Max, Michelle F, and Sara. We planned the ride in two parts, the first being a 4 hour ride towards Golden. We headed out and it was nice to be on the bike. We were all on road bikes today and I almost forgot what it was like to ride my lovely White Bike.

We rode too slow. I think we were all focusing on being cautious because there was a big day ahead. At times it was a little painfully slow, but we were out there for time today so it’s not a big deal. It was nice to be on a social ride again. I haven’t seen any of those in a while so it was refreshing to chill. We made it to Golden and turned short of climbing lookout because we really wanted to be on time to pick up our next group of riders.

Our typical Tyler, oh how we do love him
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At 11:30 on the dot we rolled into the campground and refueled our bottles. Amy D was mixing up Mix1 smoothies for everyone around, so totally awesome!! She mixed up a huge one for me and put it in my water bottle. It was awesome and had mango Mix1 with banana and berries. SO GOOD! Thank You Mix1 for sending Amy with plenty of Mix1 to keep us going.

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We took off on leg two with lots of riders. We had Amy, Michael, Michelle B, Laura, Sara, Rob, and Gaye. We climbed up Deer Creek and I almost fell off my bike laughing when Steve told Amy and Laura to go catch a guy ahead of us. Watching them hammer was great entertainment. Of course when Amy caught him she then proceeded to tell him all about the 17 hour training day. He probably hates us now!! Steve, Anthony and I actually picked it up for the final push up Deer Creek, I think we all felt like we needed to push our legs just a tad, in a nice controlled way…if not, I’ll just blame it on Anthony…it was his fault.

I love catching Tony in shots like this, cause then I can embarrass him later
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My boys, I’m going to have trouble sharing them next year with new 17 hour members!
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We had a blast of a descent down Deer Creek and it resulted in our group breaking into two groups. Gaye, Michelle B and Rob stayed with Andrea and the rest of the group was with us. We headed out to Roxbourough and came back to the park via a dirt road that we love riding. A quick pit stop at the campsites for a refuel, one more hour of riding through the park and we headed into the campsites, completing the bike portion. It was 4pm.

6 hours of running lie ahead. Tyler made us Hamburgers and I actually ate one. I snacked on all the goodies that were brought by friends and changed into my run clothes. I remember feeling great, like “no problem, this is easy” great. I had been pretty quiet the whole day because I didn’t know how this week’s cold was going to effect me. I was happy to be going into the final 6 hours with lots of spunk and smiles.

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The plan for the run was to run our 10.8 mile loop around the Chatfield resevoir. Our campsite was right on the path so we could stop after each lap and refuel. Troy even dropped a 5 gallon jug of water at the half way point around the loop. I love Troy!

So we headed into loop 1 run with Michelle F, Tyler, and Ross who was totally new to our group and got QUITE the initiation. Gaye also suited up and headed out with Andrea. I am so thankful Gaye came out to help us, and Andrea especially. Boy, poor Ross! We were giddy and usually when we are giddy every single comment turns dirty and raunchy to some extent. We were laughing our pants off, and Tony (I say Tony, not Anthony for a reason) has this strange knack for making me laugh so hard that I pee my pants. OK,OK, TMI, but please, I’ve had a baby, and not peeing while laughing really hard is tough post labor and delivery…I’m just saying. So, Tony was on fire, as was Steve and it was so tough to run between all the laughing…and peeing.

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After about 5 miles we finally calmed down and got into some real running, of course it started to rain. The rain wasn’t so bad just light, but I was secretly hoping it would stop. The nice thing was that the temperature was staying cool and perfect. The last mile into the campground the boys picked it up a little, which made me roll my eyes…turn the boys to the barn and off they go. We pulled into our aid tent and everyone was there. There were kids everywhere, BBQing, people laughing, it looked like total mayham with cars, chairs, kids, food! Crazy. I inhaled 4 of Michelle F’s rice crispy treats that she made and I could have had 4 more but I did regulate myself. I also changed my shorts, all the peeing had created some bad chaffing so I applied a ton of BodyGlide and got into dry clothes.

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Steve, Tony and I took off into lap #2 with Randi (Ross’s wife) and I felt bad because she missed all the funny talk. We got going into that lap and we were pretty quiet. Randi asked if we wanted a mental puzzle and I was like “No”. We were also sort of slipping into our “Happy Place” so we could crank out some miles. Randi was happy to oblige and just run quiet with us. About 5 miles into this lap we got more chatty and had some nice discussions. A mile from the tent Tyler came up on his mountain bike and escorted us into the campground. He was pretty happy and chatty, I think some beer was involved.

Pulling into the aid tent we found out that Andrea had to deal with a large blister but was fixed up by Laura and was back on the trail with Jane as a partner. I’m so thankful that Jane came out to help Andrea get through those final hours. We knew that it would be hard to head out on the last lap, but when push comes to shove, you just go through the motions, getting done what you need to. Laura headed out with us on this lap and I was shocked. She had been our kayaker at 5am, had riden with us, had watched kids and made Cherry cobbler and here she was on our last lap with us.

I noticed that the more laps I ran, the fuzzier my photos got…
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She saw the worst of us that day. We were very quiet on that last lap, we were all within our own heads, getting the job done. We ran into a huge swarm of gnats that followed us (like a foot in front of our heads) for several miles. I thought Tony was going to go crazy, he was hating those gnats. I think he almost puked up a few at one point. I pulled my hat down over my eyes, put my head down, and tried to just run through them with minimal extra effort. We finally got onto the road and Wes pulled up to retrieve Laura. We would be on our own from here on out. I say “on our own” but that’s a joke. We had each other.

Having done so many amazing things with Anthony and Steve has made us very close. I don’t think there is anything we wouldn’t do for each other. Those boys have become some of my closest friends. Running together is easy and we get each other. When we are together it’s effortless. We pull each other through hard times, we don’t get on each others nerves, and we know when someone is suffering. We check in on each other and when all is well we can run miles without a single word. We feed off each others energy and strength. Food is passed around depending on what someone feels like. We really work as a unit.

My late night photo of Tony
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and of Steve…can you tell I’m a little out of it?
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On the dam the fireworks are going off all around us. We can see 6 different shows and tons of neighborhood pyrotechnic action going on. And, we don’t care. For the most part we have our heads down, keeping our pace, staying strong and steady. Towards the end of the dam we see a little light in the distance. Although we have lights in my bag we felt more comfortable running without lights. Our eyes were acclimated and we see better without them. Steve gives a whistle and low and behold its Tyler. We didn’t say much but we were all secretly ecstatic to see him. We made him turn off his light and he escorted us in the dark all the way back to the campground. The last mile was typical “I’m so ready to be done, just run and dont talk”. The park ranger pulled up next to us and was trying to talk to us and we all just kept running. Tyler stopped and dealt with him, but I can’t imagine what he was thinking about three dead to the world runners.

Coming into the finish at 10pm involved some quick words of love and hugs from the three of us. We pulled into the campsite and Troy, Annie, Michelle B, and Gaye were all still there. They took pictures of us, attended to us, and in the background Troy was packing up all the last stuff, still working. Andrea came in just a few minutes later with Jane and we took some more finishing shots.

All done, and happy…in the dark!
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Troy had packed everything up, all I had to do was change clothes and hop in the car. Saint, pure saint.

So, 17 hours is a long time!! Running 30 some odd miles is tough after a long day of activity. I learned a lot about my nutrition, but I also continue to learn things about the mental aspect of endurance training and racing. If you don’t feel great, you can solve the problems. Don’t think about the miles, or the hours, just keep taking body assessments and moving forward. I really was super happy this entire day. Michelle took a photo of me going into the third lap on the run, so 15 hours into my day, and I want to share it with you because when I look at this photo it reminds me of how I felt the entire day.

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I sat in the bathtub at 11:30 that night and I cried. I cried because I felt so humbled by the outpouring of generosity that I witnessed.

Laura and Wes were with us all day. From the kayak, to the bike, to the run. They worked their fannys off for us. Laura made Cherry cobbler for everyone in her dutch oven, and I ate a ton of it on the drive home. Wes watched the kids, and helped out in more ways than I even know.

Tyler Walton and his wife Anne were huge for us. Tyler acted as cruise director, and took care of the organization of making the day great. We gave him the framework and he ran with it. He BBQed, mountain biked, ran, biked, parented, and took care of our needs. A big thanks to Anne for her support too.

Amy D came and made us smoothies at the exact time when we all really needed them. And they were to die for. Thanks Amy!

Gaye came out to support us and really ended up supporting Andrea big time. Gaye pushed her own barriers and I’m thankful that she had coach Andrea to progress through that with. She stayed until the very end with us and it was so nice to have her…because I had to have someone to give way too many hugs to.

The Ford family. We had both Michelle and Michael on separate legs of the bike, and Michelle for one leg of the run. They came with food, Michelle’s rice crispy treats saved my life. They BBQed burgers and fed people, and managed kids. It was also really nice to have my PICs smile when I would come into the aid tent. She would look me in the eye, check on me, and made sure I got off each time in good order.

Randi and Ross! OMG, I heard that they were awesome with the kiddos, and hosted the movie theatre in their van when it was raining. Imagine having all those dirty stinky kids hanging in your van. I hope that they had fun hanging with us, and boy were Randi’s jello jigglers a huge hit! Ross was a wonderfully calm presence and really a blast to run behind when it’s windy!

Sara…great company on the ride and let me charge some goodies to her tab on the bike. Love ya Sarah, it was great to have your company! Max, thanks as well for the company on the ride!

My husband Troy. Thank you for spending our 7th anniversary working your butt off. He was the only one out there yesterday that didn’t get in a workout (did Anne, maybe he and Anne??). He worked. The. Entire. Day. My day was a success because I have this rock of a foundation beneath me called Troy. Don’t worry though, I had enough energy left at the end of the day to thank him accordingly. xoxo

So, for all of you reading, sound like fun? It is! It’s a lot of fun. Push your boundaries, join me for an adventure. Ross and Randi did and we didn’t eat them alive. What are you doing today to feed your soul?

A Huge Congratulations…

Goes out to my good friend Amy Dannwolf who found out today that she was granted her PRO/Elite card through USAT. Amy is a stud up and coming triathlete, be sure to keep your eye out for her as she’s going to be kicking butt and taking names. Amy will be racing her first PRO race this weekend at Boulder Peak, if you plan to be out there, give her a shout of encouragement as she toes the line with the big dogs.

WAY TO GO AMY!!!

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Amy races for Riptide Multisport, a local (Golden) elite development team.

4th of July – Happy Anniversary Troy

Tomorrow is Troy and I’s anniversary.

7 years married.

5 automobiles (trooper, tundra, chevy truck, subaru outback, VW passat).

5 houses (boulder cabin, boulder room, longmont duplex, northglenn house, GV apartment).

10 bikes (red stump jumper MB, green stump jumper MB, grey GT MB, black fuji MB, black giant RB, specialized RB, blue giant RB, purple cruiser, white isaac RB, black isaac TT).

1 dog (arwen)

5 cats (Abby, Cleo, Smeagol, black kitty, grey kitty)

1 wild urchine (Annie)

23 hobbies (14er climbing, camping, backpacking, rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, snowshoeing, skiing, biking, running, swimming, WW rafting, soccer, gardening, cooking, drying food, brewing beer, canning, making butter, reading, sewing, playing D&D, knitting, we’re probably forgetting some…).

9 jobs (Math TA X2, catering for traditions X2, Milliman, Healthgrades, ING, Great West, Cigna)

20 states + Canada (Hawaii, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma, New York, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Connecticut, Florida, BC Canada)

A lot can happen in 7 years. We both have a zest for living life and joining forces 7 years ago really brought out the best in both of us. I guess you could say we have “settled” into marriage, if you can call being on an adventure every weekend “settling”.

Troy, you are the light in my life, such a rock for me. When I walk in the door from a long day of training and mommying and you give me a hug and say “Everyone in this house loves you and supports you”, I know that we will still be laughing together for 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42… more years.

You are the rational to my irrational, the brains to my guts, the thoughts to my impulses. Because really marriage isn’t about right and wrong, it’s about finding that other puzzle piece in the world that fits with you. Thanks for being my matching puzzle piece.

I love you Troy.

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PS: How are we spending our anniversary? 17 hour training day of course. Troy will be Triathlon-Sherpa, with Annie in tow, while I swimbikerun around Chatfield SP all day. What a guy!