Gonna Party Like it’s 2010?

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“Triathletes”, “friends”, yes you.

You are planning your 2010 season aren’t you? I knew it! It’s what December is all about!

Well, if you haven’t looked into the Rev3 races, you just gotta. Next week I am going to have a discount code on registration, but I wanted to give you a heads up so that you make sure to take some time to cruise the Rev3 website. There are three races you need to know about and you can check out the details further with the links below.

The really cool thing about the Rev3 company is that all of their races have options. We like options, Olympic, half, full…we like options. What do we like better than options? We like happy families. That’s why when you race at Rev3 races, your family and friends get access into the race venues….which just happen to be amusement parks.

May 9: Rev3 Knoxville. The main event is the OlympicRev distance, but they also have a HalfRev. The finish is smack dab in the middle of World’s Fair Park. Don’t believe me, check it out.

June 5/6: Rev3 Quassy. I went to this last year, it ROCKED THE HOUSE. They have added an OlympicRev to the docket this year. Your family gets to ride roller coasters at Quassy Amusement park all day while you race your heart out. Win win.

September 12: Rev3 Cedar Point. This the the debut of the FullRev, oh yes folks it’s the real deal: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, marathon. There is a HalfRev as well. All the action is in the middle of World Famous and grandiose Cedar Point Amusement Park. My mom said she would totally go, but that she would ride the coasters all day. Thanks Mom, just be sure to drag me home after 11 hours or so.

The race experience at a Rev3 event is like no other. Race staff create a forum where the pros are approachable, the schwag is delicious, and cozy, everyone is treated like a world class athlete, and where your family is extremely well taken care of.

Give the site a looksey, you will likey.

DISCOUNT CODE COMING NEXT WEEK.

Oh, and you might want to sign up for the Rev3 mailing list. That way you will stay in the know.

Double Oh, and for all my TBL fan friends, look who is doing the entire series, including the FullRev? If she can do it, so can you!

Triple Oh, I am on team Trakkers, and team Trakkers has an affiliation with the Rev3 organization. I get entry into the races for free. Just trying to keep to the new full disclosure rules. I do however pay all my travel expenses, lodging, etc, unless one of you out these would like to help me with that. Any takers?

Devils Backbone

I hit up a new trailhead today that is just a few miles from Troy’s parents house. After a little research I couldn’t believe that this awesome of a trail had been this close to his parents house all along. Doh!

Troy dropped me at the trailhead and I took off on my way. We had added up the distances on the map and we thought that one way was about 8.5 miles. It turned out to be 9.5, so close enough.

Trail running alone is something I haven’t done a ton of, so I was extra careful to have my map with me, pleanty of calories/fluid, a second top, and I carried my cell phone. Troy met up with our good friend Chris and drove to the end of the trail and started running back towards me.

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I made my way through the trail system, taking a calculated left here, and a well researched right there. The entire trail was single track. Some of it extreemly technical, but most of it was the nice perfect dirt single track trail that I enjoy so much.

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6.2 miles in I saw the boys. They were having a blast running together and chatting it up. When we met, they turned and continued with me back towards their cars. It was awesome to have some company in the middle of my run for about 3 miles. I dropped them at their car, where they decided to go about a mile more on a different trail and I turned to head back.

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I had covered 9.5 miles in 1:36. I wondered whether it was mostly down on the way back. Shortly after I turned a hit a low point and realized that I had done a poor job fueling on the way up. I downed two gels and a cliff rope chewy thing that they make for kids and low and behold about 5 minutes later I was flying down the trail, singing, and happy as a jay bird.

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The way back flew by as I made all the requisite turns with ease and confidence. At one point I spied some mountain bikers ahead. I was close to catching them as they stopped for a break, but they took off before I could get to them, I assume because they didn’t want to pass me back. When I came over the top of the hill they were far ahead, enjoying the downhill.

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On the following up hill I was running strong and I caught them. I heard one of them say “How did she do that”? I got a kick out of that. I didn’t hang around to rub it in, but these boys on mountain bikes had just been officially chicked by a girlee runner. Sorry boys, better luck next time.

I enjoyed the technical single track again, although a little less than on the way out since my legs were getting sore.

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I enjoyed a bomber long downhill and pulled back into the parking lots at 3:06 on my watch, 6 minutes faster than it took to go out. Troy and I had agreed that I would just run back to his parents from there, so without a pause I headed for the road home.

Man that was harsh, running on asphalt after all that glorious single track, but I couldn’t expect Troy to know when I would be done. I cranked up the tunes and settled into a pace that would get me home quick.

I’m starting up the final hill before his parents house, thinking to myself “one more hill” when I see the trusty VW come pulling out of the driveway. Ahhh, Toy was coming to pick me up, he had just been too late. He picked me up 100 yards from his parents place and drove me back.

It’s the thought that counts, and it was nice to hear from him “You were faster than I thought”.

20.5 miles today enjoying the scenery and the fact that my legs love the trails. Also, this was the first run that I tried out my new Sprint Zip Neck from Core Concepts. The last one of these they sent to me was a prototype and I cut the sleeves off it in the Grand Canyon (see video here), and then wore it for the entire Run Rabbit Run 50 miler (video here).

Core Concepts was so kind to send me the new model, and this one has sleeves! It did not disappoint. Apparently they took my “alteration” in the bottom of the Grand Canyon to heart and put in a front zipper (such a better option than my knife was). It breathes wonderfully, and to know that I don’t have to store it in my pack if I take it off because it converts into a little fanny pack (not the lame 80’s kind) is a major perk.

You can get your own Sprint Zip Neck here. You can also follow Core concepts on Twitter and Facebook. They like to do lots of contests for free gear and deep discounts, so keep an eye on their pages!

Fort Collins Thanksgiving Day 4 Mile Race

I requested and received a free entry into the Fort Collins Thanksgiving Day 4 mile Race this year from RunColo. Last year I did the Loveland Turkey Trot and enjoyed it, but I was excited to do the other Northern Colorado race this year. Troy’s family lives in Northern Colorado, so we always end up here for Thanksgiving.

Troy and got out of the house a little late, but still found ample parking downtown. Hearing the announcer we were shocked that we got good parking as they were expecting 4000 racers. Seriously, 4000 people. I got my comped entry, which they were very nice about. I’m starting to learn that if you have a comped entry you are always going to have to hunt down the person in charge to get your packet. But, it’s free, and so I am thankful!

It was freezing cold. Brrr, like below freezing. I did a lice long, ample warmup and quickly realized this was the most competitive turkey trot I have ever entered. They paid 5 deep and 1st prize was $800. Being relatively close to Boulder I’m pretty sure it drew every fast runner in the area.

As always, Troy was there doing Annie duty. Troy’s parents also came to watch, and Roger took all the pictures here.
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After my warm up I was really warm, and the sun came out just in time. I shed my 19 layers and went down to a pair of tri shorts and my Trakkers top and hat. That Trakkers top was awesome. It’s so crazy lime green that my family had no trouble finding me in the sea of 4,000 runners and I’m sure you can’t miss me in the pictures.

As I enter the starting area it’s clear that there are fast pro runners here. The amount of booty shorts was intense. Lots of sponsored people and just all around crazy chicka runners.

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I get on the line and I look over and there is Whitney!! Whitney, AKA super stud has won the full Vineman two years in a row, and we ran together during the Gateway Colorado trail marathon. We caught up on the line a little bit and then we were off. We “gobbled” down the entire first stretch.

Lots of fast men, I’m not even visible here!

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I went out way to hard. Having been sick this last week it always throws off my sense of speed. Despite going out hard, it was crazy to see just how fast the fast ladies were. By the first turn the leaders had easily 20 seconds on my. Wowzer.

Can you see the lime green?

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I went through the first mile and my watch said 6:15. Crap crap crap crap. I never do this. I never go out stupid fast. Sometimes I go out a little fast, but never stupid fast. And… this is a 4 mile, not a 5K. So I seriously reigned it in. I consciously pulled back, slowed down and regrouped. The second mile came in at a nice 6:45. It’s been a long time since I have been treated badly in a race, but boy I had this older male runner really dish it out to me. He wanted to pass, there was no room as I had a young kid on my shoulder and he “shoved” and “man handled” his way between the two of us. It was rude, mean, and way overly physical. I decided I would not let him beat me. I picked it up, started pulling my pace back up. I felt recovered from my evil first mile and wanted to drop it back down. The third mile was 6:25. Suddenly things were getting crazy. People were picking it up, people were dying, it was getting scrappy. I kept telling myself “six more minutes”. Just run hard. I passed evil pushing man, he didn’t even put up a fight. I pushed harder and there were ladies all around me. I really wanted to be the first across the line in my group. One lady was just relentless but she pulled me past all the others in my group. She stayed ahead of me, but clinging to her really made me run hard. My final mile was 6:13. Booo YA!!

Pink shirt lady is a studette.

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Coming down the final stretch was an all out effort. My father in law was waiting right there as I finished. He said I was somewhere around 15th.

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Turns out I was 16th overall female. You know it’s a crazy race when Sara Slattery (CU alum, pro runner) is 6th, and Kara Roy (only woman to qualify for the marathon Olympic trials using a Colorado Marathon at altitude as a qualifier) is 11th. Romanian Olympic marathoner Nuta Olaru, was second, and the winner Adriana Nelson, ran just under 5:30 pace with a 21:58 finish time. Ey Carumba!

I chatted with Whitney some more and then we headed towards the car. I assumed that with so many good runners there was no need to stick around for awards. The awards were pies for the age groups, so I was a little bummed that the race was so stacked because I would have really liked a pie. Mmmm pie!

Later that night I pulled up the awards and low and behold, ALLLLL those ladies ahead of me were young. College age or slightly older, but none of them were “old” like me. I had actually been first in my age group. And a legitimate first, as in none of the top 5 were in my age group either. Seriously should have stayed for awards. Major bummer!

4 mile race
16th woman
1st in W30-34
time: 25:41

Great turkey race! Great competition, great vibe!

Back on the Grid

After some massive compassion from the Aspen Grove Apple store, I am back on the grid! You can call, text, and whatnot again. Thanks for all the supportive emails and texts! It’s meant a lot.

Also, I signed up for Ironman Arizona in Nov 2010, so I’m pretty excited about that one!

Lastly, team Trakkers has been sponsored next year by TriSwim, TriSlide and Foggle. More to come on this, but I’m so very excited!

Criminal Minds

Sunday, while running with my friends, Tyler’s car was broken into. We were parked at a common trailhead, next to a major road. Tyler had given Michelle and I a ride to the run and as a result my wallet, phone and grocery money for the week was in my bag in his car. Michelle, in genius fashion had stashed her belongings in the truck and the thief had not bothered with the trunk.

This was a calculated criminal because in the short time it took us to run, he racket up thousands of dollars on Tyler’s credit cards. They did not touch my cards until the following morning. By then they were all cancelled, but they did attempt to charge on every one of them Monday.

Sunday afternoon we headed to the Apple store to replace my phone, only to find out that since my contract was not up for an upgrade, it would be $499 to replace my iPhone. I walked out of the store crying, telling the store clerk that I could not make a decision like that under such emotion.

It’s been interesting how many times I have been blackmailed through the process. Our renters insurance company told us that if I filed a claim they would up our premium by 25% and increase our deductible. Um, thanks? WE plan to file a claim. Last time I checked property and casualty insurance companies are begging for customers.

After being shocked and revolted about the iPhone I called customer service (several times). The last lady I talked to was the best. I asked her how much it was to cancel my contract. She said $130. I asked why they were going to charge me $500 to keep my contract, when I could cancel it for $130, then open a new one and buy a $99 iphone? Her response…so totally classic…

“Because that’s illegal”

I said “What’s illegal about it?”. She angrily said “Hold one minute, I have to talk to my supervisor”. She then came back after 5 minutes to tell me that it wasn’t illegal, but that she would be very surprised if they issued me another account if I canceled mine. Nice, more blackmail.

I find it interesting that when someone commits a very blatant crime against you, so many companies choose to treat you so badly. Haven’t they done like 100 studies that have showed that in times of stress if you treat your customers with superb customer service, they will become lifelong customers?

Clearwater 70.3 World Championships

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What a freakin’ awesome time I had last weekend. Friday morning, waking up in Clearwater, I could tell I was about to get sick. Troy has been really sick for several weeks, and then Annie caught the illness and had it pretty bad. I was feeling like the immunity rock star…until Friday morning. We had lots to do with packet pickup, course recon, and bike drop off, all the while I could feel the illness heading my direction.

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My dad was in FL on business so he booked a room for the weekend, and became our extremely valuable, sole support person. Plus, he had a rental car…something we had forgone. He picked me up and drove me to the store and then let me splurge on all sorts of cold “hold-R-off-ers”. I started hitting those hard, just hoping to push back the onset of the bad symptoms for 12-24 hours.

The four of us athletes in front of transition.
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Saturday morning we woke up at 5 and Michelle, Tony and I headed to the transition area to pump up our tires, take the plastic bags off our bikes and double check our stuff. Our hotel was this cute little place, just one block from transition so we were able to walk back there before our race. It was really nice to use our own bathroom and to grab “second breakfast”.

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I laid down on the bed, not feeling very snappy and threatened to go back to bed. I definitely didn’t feel like myself, but I also knew that the cold wasn’t in full attack mode just yet. I simply felt a little bogged down. I told Michelle and Anthony that I was thinking about “staying home and watching athlete trakker”.

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They got a laugh out of that, but they also dragged me out of bed, and into my wetsuit. It’s go time. I may feel mellow, like I want to go back to bed, but really, I was excited to race. I didn’t know how I would be effected, but you just don’t know until you try!

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We walked to the new swim start (they changed the swim from gulf, to intercostal b/c hurricane Ida had kept the water quite choppy). I said goodbye to my peeps and lined up in the corral. The new start was a time trial start and I was looking forward to this. Michelle offered me some last minute coaching, telling me that the TT start would help me to stay focused on my own race, to swim my own swim and to kill it.

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My masters coach Paul had set me a text the day before “Have fun & it’s fun 2 go fast”. That is really the essence of me, and I decided to use it as my motto. Deep in my heart, I wanted to have a stellar swim, and I planned to go for it. I loved finding Adrienne in the swim corral, we caught up and laughed together. Adrienne is a phenomenal athlete, she spanked me at Rev3, and went to Kona this year. I loved sharing my pre race excitement with her.

Before I knew it I was sitting on the timing mat and sliding myself into the water. I felt strong from the start and just settled into my pace which we spent a lot of time practicing at masters this past week. I struggled slightly with my sighting since we were looking straight into the sun, but before I knew it I was making the turn. On the way back in we had to navigate down a narrow waterway and I got a little off course here. They did great with the buoys, but I swam a bit wide. This made for much less swim traffic, but also involved a little extra swimming.

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The water was very murky and I did not catch a single set of feet. Exiting the water was dicy as the very steep ramp was quite wet. I used the handrails and pulled myself up to the pavement. Whew. I looked down at my watch to see the result of my effort: 00:00:00. Opps, I guess with the TT start I forgot to hit the “go” button. Oh well…didn’t bother me, I felt good about it.

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Through transition…Ironman style. Grab your bag, hit the change tent, grab your bike, get outa there. I would suggest to anyone that the less you have in your transition bags the better. I like not having to make any decisions, just get what’s in there and go.

I’m off on my bike and barely into my shoes before we have to climb up this large causeway, which is no big deal because we are on a bike…but knowing that I am going to have to run over it 4 times is a little daunting. I had a great bike ride. My nutrition went well, my pacing went well. I smiled at everyone, stuck my tongue out, laughed, and just generally had a good time. In between the fun I put my nose down and pedaled my butt off. Before this race all I heard about was the drafting. I was secretly a bit nervous about the drafting. At Vineman 70.3 this year I had a lot of trouble with the drafting and I felt that I couldn’t get away from it even though I tried. That was my fear with Clearwater, that I would get stuck in the packs and that I would have trouble getting out of them whether it’s off the front, or the back. Staying away from the cheaters was a huge goal of mine.

I am not in this picture 🙂
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I am happy to say that Clearwater is a race where (in my opinion) you can stay completely honest, if you so choose to. Now I can’t speak for people that are faster than me, but for me, it was extremely easy to stay out of the packs. In fact, there is a huge out and back section in the race and I had a blast “counting” the packs. I counted 12 of them. And each one had 20-60 riders. The road would actually be empty, or would have 1 rider every couple bike lengths, and then there would be a pack. I was personally overtaken by 6 different packs. It was actually pretty funny. I would be riding my own pace, minding my business and then the group would swarm me, overtake me, and spit me out the back, all in about 20-30 seconds. I just did not engage. I would stay to the way right, and just let them do their thing. I had the officials right next to me one time when it happened too. It was odd to see the penalty tent empty.

During one of these incidences I watched my Garmin. I was pedaling along at 23.4 mph. That seemed to be my go-to pace. The road is flat so I was just trying to hold that pace. Then I was “swarmed”. The drafters came past me, I did not engage, just stayed to the right and maintained my effort. After the pack passed me, my garmin said I was going 25.2. Wow, the pack had engulfed me, and then spit me out the backside going 2 mph faster. I got a good chuckle out of that…and then watched my mph slowly drift back down to 23.4.

Towards the end a pack came by and engulfed me and boy did I want to entangle myself, but I didn’t. I had been talking to myself all day about the fact that I wanted a clean race because I wanted to know how good I, Sonja Wieck, was. I didn’t want any little * in my head as to my time for the day. Whatever time I went, I wanted to know it was a solo effort. This allowed me to not even be bothered by the drafters. I know that in their heads, they have an * next to this event, and I don’t. It’s a choice. I was glad I made the right one. There was a little headwind the last 6 miles, so by the time I pulled into transition, I was ready to be off my bike.

Coming into transition for the second time it was nice to see a lot of the racks for my age group empty, that’s always a good feeling. It was awesome to have a volunteer take my bike and rack it for me, I’ll never get over how cool that part is.

On with the new Brooks running shoes and I was out of there. I saw my dad and smiled. Apparently Michelle smiled at him, as did Tony. I guess everyone was having a pretty good time.

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That’s because we hadn’t gone up any hills yet! Man, that stinkin’ causeway is STEEP. Mother! Up and over the causeway I went. I didn’t feel lousy, I didn’t feel awful. I just felt like I was going to put down a strong effort. I went from aid station to aid station, running between 7:00 and 7:30 pace and it felt pretty fast. There were lots of people passing me, and I was passing people too.

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It was great to see my dad twice on each lap. He cheered up a storm for me. I only heard my name called one other time and that was from TriBoomer. Thanks Dad, and thanks Boomer!

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Finishing up the first lap, my dad yelled at me that “PIC is right up ahead”. Those were great words to hear. As I ran through the turn around I looked and looked for her but she was nowhere to be found. I picked up my pace and tried to look through the crowds for Michelle, but she was being extremely elusive.

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Back up that monster hill for the third installment. This time I decided to really push it. I suddenly saw Adrienne. That was a major boost. She had passed me early on the bike. I slowly worked my way up to her and when I passed her she said “Good job Sonja” with this super enthusiastic voice. I was so focused I couldn’t say anything. I wanted to tell her to come with me, run with me, but all I could muster was a thumbs up. We ran through my favorite aid station with the pirate theme and then onto the out and back section. That was when I saw PIC Michelle. I was close to her, but she was moving fast. I spent the next mile working really hard to catch her.

Finally on the last hill of the day I pulled up beside her and said nothing. She said nothing as well. We were at like mile 11 or so. I could tell she knew it was me but we just ran in silence up and over that crazy causeway. After a little while she said “You are going to need to go ahead”. I told her “Run your pace, I’m here because I want to be”. And I was. Michelle has been such a huge training partner and friend to me this year (and for many years). She’s a rock and we have leaned on each other numerous times throughout the seasons. It was such a special opportunity to be able to run with her in a race. Again she told me to go, and I told her I wanted a picture and just to run her pace. It was so fun running through the aid stations. I would grab a water and a energy drink and take a sip and then hand it to her. I felt like we were in the tour, sharing water bottles.

We ran together for 1.5 miles. We saw my dad with about 0.5 mile to go. He took these AWESOME pictures.

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After that Michelle said “You’ve got your pictures, now go! I’ll see you in a few minutes”. Fine, off I went, into my finishing kick. I ran across the line just as the clock turned 5 hours. I wondered how long after the clock started did I begin my swim? Just knowing that I would be under 5 hours was exciting.

Since I didn’t start my watch on time I had no clue. Michelle was in a few seconds after me, we took a picture together and there was Tony, standing there waiting for us. It turns out that Michelle was 9th in her age group, with a 27 minute swim, second in her age group out of the water, total time of 4:42.

I had the swim of my life with a 32:30. I biked a very solid (and solo effort) of 2:25:32 and ran a 1:37 to finish in a 5 minute PR of 4:40:25. That was good for 16th out of the 69 women 30-34, and I was the 76th amateur woman (out of 395). Great day for me as well!

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Tony flatted but finished very strong with a 1:27 run. Steve had a solid effort from start to finish and was pleased with his race.

The rest of the day was spent celebrating, eating, and drinking. We attended the awards which was a pretty awesome experience, complete with fireworks, and a great speech by Raelert. The next day was spent like this.

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And there it is, the end of yet another absolutely fantastic season. Two World Championships, an Ironman, a 50 mile run race, the Grand Canyon. Lots of fun. This season has been brought to you by the letter “T”, as in my main sponsor….TROY. Thank you Troy, thank you Trakkers, Brooks, Core Concepts, and Nuun. Next year will be even better, different, but better.

Thanks to all of you out there that support me with emails, tweets and calls. I love you.

Clearwater Packing

This weekend is the 2009 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, FL. I qualified for this championship at the Kansas 70.3 where I scored a 2nd age group finish. I’m pretty excited to attend this race, but am also trying to keep my expectations low. I have been to some AMAZING races this year: Rev3 Quassy, Ironman Canada, ITU Oly Worlds. It’s hard to believe that Clearwater will be on this level. Many of the pros that were at Rev3 stated over and over again that they wished Rev3 was the World Championships, and that it should be. With that endorsement, I’m keeping my expectations in check.

This will be the last time in 2009 that I take apart and pack up my trusty steed. Scarlet is boxed and ready for her flight. She needs a tune up when I get there, she has a few little shifting issues. Other than that, she is ready to ride fast and hard.

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My feet are excited to race too! They will be sporting a brand spanky new pair of Brooks Launch in neon greeeeen, which is odd, because with the Bio MoGo sole, they are green. Wait, are they green? They look kinda yellow? Maybe they are yellow? [Official color is: Mantis Green]

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Green [or yellow] with envy? My feet were so excited to get these on, they just couldn’t stand still.

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Happy feet for me!

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Then I head on over to the fridge, trying to think about what I’m going to pack for my trip, and wow, look who’s all ready to go?

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Apparently somebody thinks that we are going to Hawaii, no no, Mix1, it’s the “other” World Championships. But that’s okay, I think they allow hula skirt clad Mix1 bottles on the plane, no really, no need to repack.

I scored a major deal on some Nuun last weekend so I am planning on bringing a few tubes to clearwater to hide in various spots and then tweet where they are hidden. A sort of Nuun scavenger hunt. What do you think? Is this a good idea, could be pretty fun for me too!

So, that’s about it. I’m ready to go, even more ready to have fun, and most of all ready to kick some butt out there on the course. The race is Saturday, athlete trakker will be up and going on the Ironman website.

Look Who’s Home

Last July I did a couple bike races. While they were amazing fun, my amateureness at crits took me into a turn pedaling and I hit my pedal on the pavement resulting in my annual crash of the year. Steve got me hopped back on the bike, I got my free lap, and experienced another 20 minutes or so of adrenaline pumped racing. The result was a completely shattered carbon frame, a frame that Troy says I rode twice, but it was really like 20 times (which still isn’t much).

Everyone at the crit was telling me “Send it to Calfee“. It was my understanding that a busted carbon frame was not repairable. Not so! Calfee repairs frames. After lots of emails back and forth they told me my frame was fixable.

Steve stripped it of all it’s components and we packed it up and shipped it off. Several months later, it came back to me.

I decided that since I crashed my frame, and it’s now a “fixed” frame, I would never sell it. Since I will never sell it I decided to have it customized with my website!

Steve built her back up today, and I am so giddy to have her back. I promised her (and my dad, and my husband) that I wouldn’t ride her in any more crits.

The work that Calfee did was awesome. You can’t tell in the slightest that it was busted. I would highly recommend them from both a customer service point of view, and a quality of work point of view. Price wise, I was very pleased as well, even with the custom work that they did on the frame, the repair/paint job was just a hair over $600, including shipping. That’s quite good considering that my frame was in the $3K price range.

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Meal Planning Ease with Magnets

Okay, peeps, this is mostly a triathlon blog, so some of you might just need to tune out this post, but I think it’s related, so I’m posting it! When I am training hard the first thing to go out the door is meal planning. When I loose time, I neglect to sit down and plan, I’m in pure “survival shopping mode”. It’s a solid fact that meal planning your week saves you money, and helps you to eat healthy more balanced meals. I’m sure there is some study out there proving it. And when you are training hard and racing hard, saving money is what you most likely need to be doing. I wish I could claim this idea as my own, but actually Troy came up with it on a whim, and I implemented it.

His idea was to have a magnet for each common meal that we make. When we plan for the week we could just fill in a sheet that is taped on the fridge with magnets for what we want to eat. Then if we had a binder that had a sheet for each meal, even if it’s for something simple like “salmon with rice and veg” that explained how to make that meal to back up each of the magnets.

This would enable us to:
– Easily plan a weeks meal: scan magnets, pick what looks good, and stick on sheet.
– Easily create a grocery list: flip to page in binder and write down what we don’t already have
– Cooking is easy: with each meals directions written out, Troy can make a meal while I am training (cooking is usually my deal, which means when I’m training Troy ends up with hamburgers, pizza, and fried rice, but he’s good with directions)

Tonight I implemented the plan.

I found these great magnet sheets at Office Depot. They were under $4 for a pack of 4 and even though I bought two packs, one would have sufficed.

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You peel the sticky sheet off the back of the magnet, then stick a piece of paper on it.

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Then cut the paper to fit the magnet.

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Then start thinking of recipes and write them down on the paper. I got tons of recipes on one sheet by just being space conscious. I made several “leftovers” magnets, and made multiples of breakfast items since we don’t have a different breakfast every day, usually just 1-2 different ones a week. Same with lunches, I made some magnets that said “same” so I could put one lunch in the lunch area on Monday, and then put “same” for the other days.

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Cut them out and stick them on the fridge. I kept them to the top half, so that Annie doesn’t get “curious”.

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I also made a few magnets to remind us of events that seem to happen weekly, like track club, Sonja racing, Troy racing. You could get creative here. I may add some that say “Troy cooks” or “Sonja cooks”, something to that effect.

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Then you can “meal plan”. I printed out this sheet, which is the template I use to meal plan on a regular basis.

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Lastly I pulled all the recipes I have for meals on the magnets, I labeled the end of the paper with the exact name on the magnet, and stuck them in a huge binder alphabetically. Now Troy can find the meal easily.

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I also made a list of meals that I made magnets for but don’t have recipes for (the ones that live in my head) and plan to work through those this week to create a sheet on each of them.

Troy loved seeing Type A Sonja attack his idea with a vengeance and we did the meal plan for next week in about 2 minutes. I made the grocery list in about 5 minutes. It was so much easier!

I love to try new recipes and I think this system will be easy to incorporate new recipes into. I put lots of blank sheet protectors in the binder so I can just slide a new recipe into, and I put spare magnets on the side of the fridge, ready for a new meal to be written on them.

Not totally triathlon related, but I hope it can help some of you out there!

More Resources:
This Week for Dinner: Jane outlines some meal planning tips
Definitely not Martha: Leslie outlines her meal planning process with a nice excerpt on how to organize your grocery list (step #5)
Meal Planning 101: I like the idea of making a pre-made grocery list where you just have to check what you need, I would add a “quantity” section next to each ingredient.
Simple Mom: this is a great link for A-Z menu planning.