Monsoon to Market?

Core Concepts treats this girl so well. I got an email last week from them asking if there is anything I have had my eye on? Heh Heh. Really? There are just a few items left in their line that I don’t have and the big one I have been drooling over is the Monsoon to Market Jacket. This jacket reminds me of an episode of Project Runway where they had to design a garment that served two purposes. One guy tried to do a jacket that was an umbrella, and it was a flop. Well, Core could have won that challenge because they made a rain shell that turns into a cute purse.

Isn’t it cute?

Oh, and I have on the Polartec Excellence award winning Plush Pullover in the above picture. It’s white and I don’t know how I have managed to wear it like 3 weeks straight and yet haven’t stained it. I think they put some sort of stain repellant karma into the fabric or something…

It’s a pretty smart idea and even has a pocket for your goodies.

for some reason, maybe because I test and give lots of feedback to Core Concepts, their clothes fit me so perfectly. I slipped on my new coat, it’s a womens medium, and it fit to perfection.

It has pockets, and a great fitting hood. The purse part of the coat is hidden away in your back area with a tidy little zipper. It’s all connected and you would never even know it’s there. You can even shove stuff into the pocket of the purse while you have the coat on.

See the purse turned into a pocket and hidden on my back?

This coat is totally waterproof. The seams are taped, the zipper is waterproof, this one is made for the elements. And, with a twinkle in my eye I can say that it’s 9oz. So it’s perfect for a fastpacking trip. Core has yet again impressed me. They continue to make functional clothing that has a twist. There is always a little something extra with their stuff. Me likey!

Core does really fun giveaways on their facebook page. You can become a fan here. They are also one twitter. @coreconcepts

FTC disclaimer: So you all know, as I mentioned, Core Concepts provided this coat to me, as they have with all their other products, free of charge. I don’t return the items to them, I continue to test them throughout the years and provide feedback. They are a great family owned small company, they give back to the environment, and I love their concepts.

A Husbands 1st Confession

This is the first time I have ever asked someone else to write an entry for my blog. It came about because I hear from a lot of people “oh, your husband must be so supportive”. I asked Troy to write a few things from his perspective, enjoy…

Sonja asked me to do some writing about being her husband. We threw a bunch of numbers into a hat and drew. I now have to do three posts and this is the first. (I will caveat this with “I am not a blogger”. So if I make any mistakes – forgive me.)

Apparently Sonja gets questions about me and why I do what I do… Why I do what I do? I do it cause of you babe! (That was my plug for a good kiss.)

Seriously, I seem to go to her races and help out, I work at home some days to help her train, and I drag Annie along with all of this. It also appears that we balance all this out between her goals, and mine, and Annie’s needs (I’m waiting for her to get some goals of her own into the mix). Well “seems to” and “appears that” are exactly the phrases to use here. It’s hard work and we work hard at it. Both failing sometimes and reveling in our successes. We talk, we hash out, we negotiate, we concede, we inspire, we frustrate, we laugh, we win-win and we try to avoid the loose-win or worse, loose-loose.

I do like going to Sonja’s races and helping with her workouts as sag support or recovery. There is a tremendous amount of benefit I get from it. (Get your minds out of the gutter.) Participating in someone’s struggles and victories after we have all worked so hard to make it happen is joy within joy. It’s a habit that is easy to forget to do when things get tough, but its rewards are something that we can carry with us for a lifetime (and brag about to our workmates).

I believe that participating and taking interest is something that bonds one with another person – even if it’s not your cup of tea. I believe that we should do this for our spouses and our kids like we do for our friends. We spend time together, we talk, and most importantly we grow together. I haven’t figured out how to do that by being apart in some of the most important parts of our lives – every second.

Ritter Sport Chocolate Giveaway Winners

With the help of this morning 4 winners have been chosen.

– Emily:

I just decided to race my first triathlon ever! It will only be a sprint, but considering the longest race I’ve ever done thus far is a 5K, I think that will be more than enough to take on. Started by getting in the pool last night for the first time in ten years! I could only swim two laps at a time, but I didn’t drown! It was a big confidence boost after a baaaaad year.

– Tess

My Ritter Chocolate Goal is: to run sub 8 min miles consistantly for 10k. Hopefully placing higher than 8th overall in the Lakewood Trail series next Sept. Qualify for Boston….that’s always the goal. Run Boston, that’s the dream!
big hugs my friend.

– Ron

This year I’m going to be in the Clydesdale-Fat Tire (Old Man) bracket, but I’m doing 3 duathlons. And I’m doing my 4th charity hike up Pike’s Peak in under 5 hours.
All this because your blog and the comments are so inspiring. And because I like chocolate.

Kim Nixon

My first goal this year was to get on XC-Skis and not fall down. So this year for (an early) Christmas I went to a local ski shop and was outfitted with boots, poles, and skis. I had ski’d 2x in my life and spent more time in the snow on the ground with my butt then upright. I had a feeling that, this year, after becoming a runner might be different. I trail run and my balance and core strength have improved. But I had to set a goal–to enter in my first race a 12k!! So today was my first day upright on skis and in less than 45 days I have a race!! Whew! I got my work cut-out for me.
I’ve lost 50 pounds in a year BTW

Thanks to everyone who submitted a comment. Your remarks were incredibly inspiring to me and others. This will be a post that I read over and over for years to come.

If you didn’t win, don’t be too bummed. I have another contest in the works, this one for goodies from one of my sponsors. Keep working towards the goals that you wrote here because the next contest will required that you have made some progress in that direction. More details to come!

Me? A Blog Award?

I just got notified by some of my friends on twitter that I have been selected by the EverymanTri site as one of the top 10 endurance blogs of the year. Me? Little old me?

The Voting is here.

I scanned some of the other blogs, just to see who I’m rolling with. I wasn’t surprised to see the man who will be guiding my pursuits next year, my new coach, Chucky V. It’s not his first time on the list. I have been wooed by his blog for years (which oddly makes me feel like I’m being coached by a celebrity now).

So, apparently there is a voting contest for the top three. I was like, WOW, I should tell my friends so they vote for me. But then I started scanning the other top ten’ers. Ummm, how on earth an I supposed to compete with this guy? He’s like majorly ripped, and quite ummm, fashionable in that white uniform [read “hot”]. Unfortunately (for myself) I felt compelled and went and voted for him, I assume others will do the same. Although, just his top post made me want to sign up for the Ultraman (double Ironman). What is it with this guy? Hummm?

So, I’m supposed to compete with Bree Wee? But she’s MY favorite pro evah! And Gale Bernhardt? I haven’t coached any US Olympic teams, and I don’t even blog about riding bikes with dogs! Oh, but of course, I will whoop FatCyclist, yea, I’m sure of it, after all, he only just spent time riding with Lance and team Radio Shack. Seriously? How is little old me in the same ballpark?

The Voting is here.

I can only imagine that some of you out there like reading about a crazy mom in the Rocky Mountains that isn’t afraid to dream big and to chase those dreams with reckless abandon. Maybe you like following my crazy antics because so many of you know me personally and know that I’m in your corner, I’m just one of you, and I would gladly line up to shave my head for you.

Well, regardless of why I made this list, I am honored. Honered that representing and motivating and inspiring you all has landed my jumbled blog amongst the truely awesome.

The Voting is here.

If you are hear to see what I’m about so that you can make an educated vote, watch my videos, this is me for reals, just don’t forget to vote.

The Voting is here.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon R2R2R from sonjawieck on Vimeo.

Run Rabbit Run

Run Rabbit Run 50 mile race from sonjawieck on Vimeo.

The Voting is here.

Mt.Evans Winter Summit


Last year I did a running adventure on Mt.Evans. My knee was smarting pretty bad at the time so I turned around at mile 7, and the boys went all the way to 9.5 before turning around at the lake. I knew, ever since that trip, that one day I wanted to run all the way up to the top. Mt.Evans is what we who live in Colorado call a 14er. It’s a peak who’s summit is 14,000 feet elevation or higher. We have 52-54 of these in Colorado, depending on which list you believe. I have been up 9 of them and none in the winter.

Mt.Evans is one of 2 Co 14ers with a road all the way to the top. I have ridden my bike to the top of Evans, but never run, or walked, for that matter. Saturday I was going for it. I convinced PIC to come some of the way with me since she had a three hour run to do, and at the last minute I convinced Dave to come all the way with me. He said “I haven’t done anything crazy in awhile”. Hang out with Sonja on a regular basis and you’ll get roped into something crazy! Here we are, leaving the parking lot at the Mt. Evans toll booth (closed for the season).


My plan was to run all the way up Mt.Evans. I thought it was 11 miles to the top, and then Dave told me he looked it up and it was 14.7. Humm, let’s just ignore that fact for a little while. The first three miles of the road have the most snow because they are in the shady tree line. The road has been closed for several months now and those first 3 are painful as your calves adjust to the hillage and you get warmed up.

Dave in the shade with some road peeking through

At about 3 miles you turn a corner and there is the glorious sun shining upon you, with the most amazing views. Suddenly, you feel very happy to be alive, and very happy to be healthy and on the mountain. It’s an Ah-Hah moment and all three of us couldn’t help but get a little giddy.

Michelle in the sun

Me in the sun

You wind your way around, and when the road is in the sun you have no snow to deal with. It’s runnable, although the effect of the altitude really starts to hit. There are no guard rails on the Mt.Evans road so at times you feel like you are running on the edge of the world. It was so clear, and so crisp.

Michelle running on the edge


The views are spectacular, as we wound our way up up up. We didn’t see anyone out there, just some bighorn sheep (in the same place I saw them last year and pointed them out in my video). We ran together most the time, and always within close sight. One person would stop for some reason, the others would go ahead and we rotated around like that for awhile.

Dave having a little solo time.

Pointing out sheep

Too soon, just before mile 7, it came time for PIC to turn back. She’s got a marathon in January and she was being diligent towards that goal (something I’ve just got to break her of…hahahaha). We took some parting shots. Behind us is the summit of Mt.Evans.

The three musketeers, that road behind us is the first of the big switchbacks, at about mile 10ish

Finding training partners that you are compatible with is one of the best things in life.

And then off PIC went, back down the mountian

As we ran towards the lake, passing the 9 mile mark we encountered some crazy wind. We hunkered down and just persevered. You would never know it’s windy by this shot. Also, I didn’t notice that it looks like a rainbow threw up on me. That’s kinda my style…I match, by not matching.

Me, on the way to the lake.

I had been munchin’ on Sport Beans all along but as we got through the 2.5 hour mark I was craving a little more substance. Justin’s Nut Butter to the rescue. 200 calories of honey almond butter bliss. I have a mouthful of it here, shut me up for awhile too.


Dave and I were having an absolute blast and both felt really good. After the lake, around mile 10 the wind was just whipping across the road and it was gorgeous. This also marked the point, mile 10 (on the first switchback) where we realized that it was not 11 to the top, but indeed we had 5 more miles of up up up. We were both feeling great, and were game for it.

wind whipping

We wound our way up through switchback after switchback. Back (headwind) and forth (tailwind). We hit a rhythm together and would run in unison without a spoken word. Dave is a great adventure partner, he never complains, he always sees the beauty in things, and when the work needs to be done, he just settles in and does it.

We come around a switchback, and ahhhhhh, there are those views that we so love here in the rockies!

At mile 12 we hit a road block. We had been navigating the switchbacks, but boom, we we encountered a wall of snow. Not knowing what the other side looked like, we opted for a little rock climb instead. That was fun!

wall o snow

an accidental picture (I was zoomed in) but kinda cool none the less

Through the last 5 miles we would alternate “run to the next pole, walk to the next pole”. The running sections felt like intervals on the track. The legs were just loaded and in pain. Then we would walk and they were immediately fine. Walk run walk run. The last 2 miles, we walked. Fast, but walked. The altitude was just crazy, and it was cold, and windy. We arrived at the parking lot at the top, threw on all our down layers, and made the short rock climb up to the summit block. The view was phenominal.

Here’s Dave on top

It was time for a mix1 on top…and another Justin’s Nut Butter, and sone Nuun.

Dave and I on top

We spent 30 minutes or so at the top, and were able to pick out tons of 14ers: Longs Peak, Pikes Peak, Beirstadt, Greys, Torreys, Harvard, Columbia, Lincoln, Democrat, Bross, and Holy Cross. Wow! We were both hesitant to head back down, but alas, it was time to get a move on.

Instead of the switchbacks we off-roaded and rock-hopped our way straight dawn, saving like 3 miles of running. Once we hit the bottom switchback it was pure running all the way home. We ran into one guy on skiis skinning up to the lake at about 7 miles from the car. He was enjoying himself, but rather hung over as well. Ha Ha!

We came around the big horn sheep section and boom, in all his glory, guarding his pack.

The last few miles you are always ready to see the parking lot, and before we knew it we were back down to the car. We couldn’t help but be happy to be done and pleased with a fantastic day. 27.4 miles round trip in just a little over 7 hours. 4,000 ft of elevation climb or so. I can now say that I’ve bagged my 10th Colorado 14er (I have 2 in CA, 1 in WA). PIC’s car was gone which meant she was safe. We changed clothes and headed home, with silly grins plastered all over our faces.

Push Your Boundaries, Win Some Chocolate

You like chocolate, don’t you?

Ahh, but for me, not all chocolates are created equal. When Ritter Sport emailed to ask if I wanted to review some chocolate for free, I said, heck yea, send some over. But, what Ritter Sport didn’t know…I don’t really like chocolate. I like hot chocolate, I like brownies, but normal old chocolate, I can do without.


Unfortunately after testing (and oh I was diligent) 30 different chocolate bars, I now know that not only do I really like chocolate, it’s just that I only like really good, really high end german Ritter Sport chocolate. The taste is not overly sweet, but it’s clearly chocolaty. The chocolate taste stands out above a sugary taste. It also goes down very smooth.

Ritter Sport is square, as in the package is square and the little chunks are square. I thought that was cool and it’s very easy to break off just one or two chunks, rather than devouring the entire thing (i tried both ways). Ritter Sport was founded in 1912 in Germany by Alfred and Clara Ritter, and the company is currently run by Alfred’s grandson.


In 1996 Ritter Sport became the first company in the confectionary industry to organize environmental protection systems at the company level. They promote sustainable cacao agroforestry through their “Commitment Nicaragua” project, they have their own heating and power station, and the packaging is totally recyclable.

Lastly, my favorite thing about Ritter Sport, other than the fact that it turned a chocolate abstainer into a chocolate lover, is the way you open the package. You sort of snap off the outer squares and the packaging pops open. It’s handy, and smart.

My favorite flavors thus far (and I have gobbled up 11 of the 19 flavors) are:
– Cornflakes (the bright yellow one)
– White Whole Hazelnuts (the off white one)
– Whole Almonds (the green one)
– Yogurt (the bold white)

I thought that Ritter Sport would be like $7 chocolate, but I just grabbed three packages (for teachers gifts) at Walmart and they were under $2 (another fact I should probably forget).

I put Ritter Sport through some pretty evil testing. It went along with team “Bunnies for Boobies” for 44,000 vertical feet this weekend. We had chocolate in between most of our ski runs, and none of us bonked. The nuts in the almond chocolate we were eating kept us groovin’ down the slopes. With the nifty packaging it was easy to stick an open package in our pocket. You could eat it with gloves on.

Over the last several weeks I have been taking a minibar (4 little cute squares per package) for after swim practice. I find that a little treat helps me recover from an especially grueling workout before I can get home and eat my next meal.

You all want some don’t you? Ritter Sport has been kind enough to let me give away a box of mini chocolate to 4 of my blog readers. This is what a box of minis looks like (there is 84 in one box…I know this because they sent me one, and I ate them all…okay, not all, but I’m working on it).


How do you enter?

Since my theme this year is to inspire others to do a little more than they thought possible, to enter to win a box of 84 mini Ritter Sport chocolates, leave a comment on my blog giving me an example on something you plan to do this year to push your own personal boundaries. That’s the rules.

Wanna be entered to win some chocolate? Commit to something that challenges you.

Want a second entry? Mention this contest on your own blog, then comment with the link, and I’ll enter you twice (as long as you commit to something that pushes your boundaries as well).


On December 22 after AM swimming I will assign everyone a number and then will use Random to pull 4 random numbers and those will be the winners.

Excited to win some chocolate??


FTC Disclaimer: Ritter Sport provided me with oodles of free chocolate. If you have been to my house lately, you know this because I have made you eat some. Ritter Sport is also providing free chocolate to the contest winners.

2010 Epic Fun

What epic things am I going to endeavor in during the year 2010?

2010 is a big year. Ten years in the 2000’s. What better than to make it extra special by running, biking and swimming all over the place.

My 2010 schedule is set, and I’m sure that you want in on some of the action. The year will be divided between epic adventures, and kick butt racing.


~ Moab 100 miler, 3/27 – 3/28 (running)

~ Double Crossing of the Grand Canyon, Monday 4/19

~ Ride Across Colorado in 3 days, 470 miles, 7/16-7/18, taking the north route through Poudre Canyon/Steamboat.

~ Double Summit of Mt. Evans, bike up then run up, late August

~ Something in the summer in the Tahoe region. Not quite sure yet, but the Tahoe Rim Trail will be incorporated. Still scheming.

KICK BUTT RACING (the big races)

~ Rev3 Knoxville, 5/8, Olympic distance

~ Rev3 Middlebury CT, 6/5, 1/2 Iron distance

~ IM Coeur d’Alene, 6/27

~ A second Iron Distance Race, either the big island one, or this one.

~ USAT Age Group Nationals, 9/25

~ IM Arizona, 11/21

So, who’s in for some fun? Did my Grand Canyon video last year make you want to join me? My goal this year is to inspire others to do a little more than they thought was possible. To that aim, all my adventures will be well supported, well schwaged, and well planned. If you want to come along, contact me, ask questions, leave a comment, hunt me down…

Pink Chase

Wow the Pink Chase was a blast. Michelle, Amy and I totally ripped it up out there. You all helped us raise almost $1,500 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Pre Costumes (before we went undercover):

And Undercover bunnies:

The costumes were a huge hit and nearly everyone we made eye contact with throughout the day said something to us about bunnies, or boobies, or both. We were like the Pink Chase spokesmodels, people were eating it up. I think all of our cheeks are sore from smiling.


We were totally stoked that our ears held up the entire day. I had sewed wire into them and duct taped them onto our helmets. Without the ears…I just can’t say what would have happened.


Of course we triathlete/ski bunnies were out to win it. But when we saw that some teams had raised in the $3,000-$5,000 range we knew that if they planned to ski hard, and dressed up reasonably well, we might get beat. Its always going to go to those who bring in the loot.


We gave it our all and we skied our tails off. We literally skied as fast as we knew how the entire day. We gave Michelle one potty break, but other than that it was eating lunch and snacks (Ritter Sport Chocolate) on the lift (thanks AMY for pizza) and bombing down the runs. The skis that Amy scored for us (the K2 Burnin’ Luv) were awesome (check out They were so fast, and we felt very matchy matchy.


We covered 44,890 vertical feet. We missed one “hot chocolate” checkpoint worth 1,000 vertical. We actually went there, but they told us they were out of coco and didn’t give us a sticker. If we had that sticker, we would have won the most vertical for the day, we lost it by less than 200 vertical feet). Not bad for a bunch of tri geeks.


Our costumes however, they were unbeatable and we were awarded the grand prize in that category. Too bad the prize is manicures, and well, we’re triathletes. Do you know how long a manicure lasts when you swim every day? About 1 day.


However, we can’t thank Smith Optics enough. They hooked us up with helmets and goggles, both of which were fantastico (the Anthem Goggles and the Intrigue Helmets)!


We had a blast ripping it up. I think that we were one of the best teams out there, but we were edged out by the notorious and Vail residing “Snow Angles”. However, we swapped cameras with them for one lift, and let’s just say, they will remember the Bunnies for Boobies team for a long time. They will probably also never swap cameras with someone again!

Thanks to Tyler who came out and skied with us for two runs, we have a video of our day! THANK YOU TYLER!

Pink Chase Ski Race from sonjawieck on Vimeo.

Many thanks to all of you who donated to our cause. We tried so hard to win for you all. We had the best costumes, we pretty much skied more vertical than everyone out there, and we came armed with the donations you provided. We are eternally happy for the experience, and on behalf of the entire team we wish we could have brought home the grand prize for you all.

Solid Swim Week

This last week felt like one of my more solid weeks in the last couple months in the pool. I hit all 5 days M-F of masters sessions. That meant a 4:25MWF and 4:50TuTh alarm clock setting. I pack my stuff the night before so that I can grab a sandwich and a Mix1 and hit the road. I have started keeping the Mix1‘s in the car, since they are shelf stable. I like them cold and since it’s been quite chilly recently, the car is perfect.

The highlight of the week was the 1500 yard time trial in Susan’s Masters on Thursday. I haven’t done one of these in ages and I felt really good despite feeling lackluster on Wednesday. I broke it into 500’s in my head. I tried to set a steady strong pace for the first one, then up my game for the second, and then bring it home hard for the third. It was a good strategy, and I executed it well, but when I hit the wall to finish, I knew that there was still a little more in me. I didn’t get to that “crazy” point, I was still pretty much in control. I swam a 22:11, which is 1:29/100yds pace. That’s great for me. Happy to leave the 1:30’s.

Then Friday, which is speed day, lived up to it’s name. Paul did a great job getting us to leave it all in the pool. After a couple thousand yards we did 4X100 off the blocks with a 20 second rest after 25 yds. They were all out efforts and I think every one of us thought that would be all and we had and swam accordingly. Then he gave us 4X100 off the wall with a 20 second rest after 75. Again all out. But for me, they were getting faster. Then all out 50’s (one of which was fly, and I even stayed afloat!) and finally all out 25’s. I think we were all really excited when those 25’s came around because we knew he wouldn’t take us back up to 100’s. I’m sure he will play that trick on us at some future session.

So the total yards for this week came it at 20,200, with a PB in my 1500yd. And, the more yards I do, the stronger I feel, and the more like a swimmer I feel. I’m feeling the motivation, feeling the traction. Another couple weeks and I will head back to SwimLabs for another assessment by Mike.

The other nice perk has been my arms. They are really starting to show the swimming progress. I’m not ripped like PIC or anything, but it’s been nice to see some physical progress of my aquatic lifestyle. Check it out.


Last Minute Beg

This is a last minute plea.

Tomorrow is the “Pink Chase Fundraiser” at Keystone resort. Amy, Michelle and I will be going for the grand prize which is a combination of costumes, vertical skied, and FUNDRAISING. Our team is currently sitting in 7th place for fundraising, but is only a few hundred dollars from 4th place.

If you were thinking about donating, today is the day! Please-O-Please.

You can click on the box on the right of my blog, or you can go here to our team fundraising page.