62 mile training run

The day started early, driving the 0.8 miles to the starting parking lot with Troy and Annie. Moab 100 kicks off at 7am, so I wanted to start at the same time. I pulled up and to my shock and amazement all of the parking lot and sidewalks were chalked up for me. I had no clue who did it and wouldn’t find out for another 56 miles. Tyler, Boone, and Bret were waiting for me. I thought I would just have Tyler, so this was pretty rad.

At 7am on the dot we took off running. It was great to get to know Bret as this was my first time meeting him. Boone is working on moving out here, and his wife and I are bloggy buddies (soon to be “real” friends). Tyler kept things alive and crazy as usual. I didn’t feel very good at all. I felt like I had already run 20 miles, and at first this scared me a little. But my brain just started thinking “Well, if I can run 62 feeling like crap this, I will know that I can do 100 with a taper and feeling better”.

Pulling into the parking lot for lap two I was shocked to see Julie and John and Jon, none of whom I was expecting. Bret stayed on for another lap as well. We had a great lap chatting and Bret told me some great stories that I will totally think of when I am running the 100 miler, super cool.

Laps 3 and 4 I had a literal entourage. The Jons stayed on for another lap. Keith, Barry, and Melissa joined in, and Melissa brought her husband Ryan and her SIL Jen. Those two were super cute and were running farther than they ever had.

Talking to Sharpie this morning she reminded me that when people come out and run with me they are showing me with their bodies how much they support me. I really am so blessed that I am able to get people out the door to push their limits, that is my MO and main motivator. You all keep me pushing to the next level. It’s truely a win-win!

Lap 5 I was still pretty much feeling like dog poo. Not that you would know it, but the end of that lap with Michelle and Keith, and a little bit of Barry was pretty quiet. Inside my head I was just focused and trying to not puke as I was a little nauseous. I couldn’t help but think…only 30 miles in..Oy! Michelle and Keith got me through that one. Also, I really didn’t think I would have anyone with me for the rest of the day until maybe the last lap in the dark where I knew that Ben would come ride with me.

I pulled into the parking lot and I saw people. I got excited. Maybe they were there for me. And sure enough, such an unexpected surprise was Carrie and Tess. I’ve only met Carrie two or three times, and Tess was one of my Mountain Mamas YEARS ago. Tess and I have kept in touch via facebook and she just decided to come help me out (BTW you have to check out Concert for Cash). John also showed up about 1.5 miles into the lap on his mountain bike.

I tell ya, Carrie and Tess are two of the most vivacious people I have met. They both got me headed down a completely different path. By the end of lap 6 I was feeling better than I had all day. It was totally them…all them.

Carrie stayed on for lap 7 and kept me 100% entertained. She’s a great pacer…I tell ya!

Then pulling into the parking lot I was again preparing mentally for a solo lap, but didn’t have to prepare for long. Keith was there with his bike. That was a painful lap for me but he stayed right with me, keeping me company, letting me talk about stupid stuff and slurr my words.

Ben came out for the last two laps. Whew, because I was now eating massive amounts of pink and white Circus Cookies, and Yellow Peeps. I was getting loopy and a little out of it. Ben is perfect for these conditions. He totally kept me on track and moving forward. Ben lets me talk about ANYTHING. I think I spent like 30 minutes retelling him the story of Annies birth, including ALL the gory details. I swear I could talk about my period for an hour with him and he would totally be like “No kidding, Hillary is that way too”. But I didn’t…

At the end of lap 9 Bret had come back to cheer for me in the parking lot, that was a nice bonus. We also realized that somewhere in lap 9 my Garmin had fallen off. Seriously? But it gave me something to focus on for the last lap…finding my $300 Garmin! We looked everywhere and sure enough after like 5 miles of looking, we found my Garmin laying in the middle of the trail. The strap had broken.

Troy followed us in the car the entire last lap. I gave Annie a hug in the last mile and apparently its just what she needed because she fell fast asleep. Finishing was great. I was giddy and pretty high. It was pitch dark and I hadn’t turned on my iPod once, I had company from sun up to sun down.

I hobbled into the car, and straight into the ice bath from hell. After that it was food, jammies, and bed. I couldn’t sleep most of the night, was even up at 2am tweeting. A nap is in order today!

Friends, oh friends, I love you all for helping me. Moab will be so sad alone, but it sounds like many of you plan to make the trek out there to pace me at night and have a bit of Moab fun!

There is one last thing I wanted to share with you. I lost 9 toenails last year. And yea, they hurt and were annoying, but more annoying is my ability to get blisters. Last year every run over 15 I got blisters. I didn’t even mind them after awhile and just assumed it was part of the program. I have always gotten ones on the top of my toes, and I don’t care about those, but the ones that really kill are between my toes. On my 45 mile run a month ago I got a sizable BLOOD blister between my toes. Youch.

This got me thinking that I should try some of those Injinji socks. Wow. For me…blister prone woman, I am sold. I ran through wet mud for 62 miles, I changed socks once because I was just soaked and doing the squish squish dance, and when I pulled my socks off at the end of the day… pruney wet feet…totally BLISTER FREE. Let’s just say I’m now going to have to harass them until they let me be a product ambassador. I don’t even know what it feels like to be blister free. I do have one toe nail that will probably leave me…again…in a couple months. But no blisters after 3 years of weekly blisters is HUGE. Thank you Injinji!!!!!

Here is the video of my day, I hope you enjoy it!

62 mile run from sonjawieck on Vimeo.

I am training for the Moab 100 which is a looped course. This was my last big training run and I ran 10X6 mile loops out in Cherry Creek State Park. All my friends came out to run with me and it was a total blast. This is a video of my day, sun up to dark

6 hours after 62 miles

At 2am, I should not be blogging. I should not be awake. But here I am, starting my blog on my iPhone, laying here in bed with a sound asleep Troy and Annie. I am awake because the pain woke me up. Not that I was sleeping that well anyways. Tossing and turning, shoving my pillow between my legs, searching for a position that my legs would accept.

Ben asked me on lap 9 to explain the difference between the sprinters paincave and that of the endurance athlete. While the sprinter dealts with 100% all over mind degrading pain, the minute he or she stops it would take a small miracle to conjure up the severity of the pain. To the endurane athlete the pain is much like that of injury. Every single step hurts with searing sharp pain in the hips, knees, and ankles. But, you are there for it. There is no mentally escaping from the endurance runners pain. The pain does not stop when you stop and often times haunts you for days. The endurance athletes pain is almost a form of depression. And when it wakes you up at 2am, when you obviosly need your sleep, you feel utterly broken. That’s the difference.

So yea, I hurt. But as I said many times during my 62 miles of running yesterday, “I’m still me”. I’m still smiling, chatting, laughing, downplaying the effort, and just generally exicuting sound strategy. I’m still totally humbled by everyone who came out to run with me. Several of them, including X-stud quarterback Ryan, and his motorcross racing wife, Melissa, went father than they ever had before. They dragged Ryans sister Jen out, who doubled her longest run of 6 miles out to 12. She’s probobly feeling very similar to me right now.

As I lay here waiting for the Vitamin I (as Chucky calls it) to set in, my big thoughts of the day include.

– I am so supported by my running friends, I had someone with me every lap! I can not thank you guys and gals enough.

– My husband Troy continues to shock and amaze me and others with his ability to watch Annie in a boaring parking lot for 13 hours while keeping me refueled, doing a check on me every lap, being time keeper, welcoming runners there to pace me, and supporting all of us.

– The gear my sponsors have provided totally rocks. First Enduance, Nuun, Mix1, and Justins Nut Butter kept me fueled, Nathan provides the most comfortable running packs, Core Concepts clothes me in things that do not rub or chaffe, Trakkers hats keep me sunburn free, Saucony has created a shoe I never once wanted to change out of even when they were a soaking wet muddy mess, and Josh at Tri-massage with his fixing techniques and exercises kept me on my feet.

– Although most of the entire run hurt, I reached a pain plateau and it was one that I could manage.

– There are 38 more miles in me, I now know this.

– Do not sit down. Beware of the chair. Sitting is reserved for the port-a-pottie.

– Circus Animals (the pink and white ones) and yellow bunny peeps saved the day. These two things rocked my mouth!

With this thought, I will post this rant and get back to bed. The pain has gone from a 29 to a 16 and I think I might be able to sleep. I took video during my run, so tomorrow I will edit it and post it, along with a play by play report. Until then…yawn!

How to Prepare for a 60 mile Run

Actualy this is how I prepare for a 60 mile run. I wouldn’t dare recommend this sort of insanity to anyone else.

I don’t know what I’ll crave when I’m out there tomorrow and despite the fact that King Soopers is a mere 0.3 miles from my aid station parking lot, I must be prepared.

Step 1: Buy one of every junk food* item that looks good at the store.

* note: after the run you must immediately package up and hide all left over junk food for the next big run…or you will gain 5 pounds in the 3 days following.

Next you need to think about all the food you should be eating. EFS, blocks, gels, liquid shot, nuun.

Step 2: Raid your secret closet stash of training goods for appropriate goodies, take multiples of everything.

The weather forcast tomorrow is calling for a high of 49. But I will start in the early, cold morning and will end in the late, cold evening. Also in the middle of the day it may get just nice enough for shorts and you don’t want to miss out on that opportunity.

Step 3: Do all laundry. Make sure every piece of athletic clothing is clean and pack 2-3 of everything. Shorts, tights, short sleeve, long sleeve, rain jacket, sun hat. Prepare for all weather. Take three pairs of shoes and 5 pairs of socks.

A huge component of a successful run is the electronic component. iPod, Garmin, iPhone, headlamp, camera…

Step 4: Charge Garmin and iPhone. Refill with new songs and charge iPod. Make sure camera battery is charged, and memory cards are empty. Replace batteries in headlamp.

Now you have to put all of this somewhere.

Step 5: Clean out the car. Throw away Recycle all 30 Mix1 bottles that have accumulated in the back of the car.

Throw all your junk in the car and consider yourself almost ready.

Now to prepare the body. However it doesnt really matter how well you treat yourself in the 24 hours prior, you will still hurt like hell tomorrow for the last few laps.

Step 6: Have a great meal, some Salmon, veg, some carbs. Put on some comfy pants and relax. Do your exercises from Josh, watch a boring movie and hit the hay for a good nights sleep.

Just like that, easy as pie, I am ready to crank out 60 miles. All I have left to do is run! 7am tomorrow the mayhem begins.

Sun Up to Sun Down

A week from today is a big day for me. It’s my last gigantic run before Moab. It’s a sun up to sun down run, with the goal of 60 miles or so. Again, like the last big one, it’s all in 6 mile loops and of course you are all welcome to join me out there. Email or comment if you want to come run or mountain bike a lap or two, or three…or ten.

I love the Sunday emails from Chuckie. He lets me know what’s going on for the week, what’s coming in future weeks, where my head should be, etc, etc. Todays email included this tid-bit.

The week is all about maintenance until Sunday, at which point the aim is to conquer new ground. Crawling is acceptable. Falling is acceptable. Puking is acceptable. Tears are acceptable. Pain is acceptable. Injury is acceptable. But quitting, well, quitting is entirely unacceptable. You will learn more about yourself on Sunday and again a month later than ever before.

Grrr it up.


First off, I want to say that I love this. Chuckie is equal parts tactical and emotional. PIC and I’s trainer ride for Saturday came to us in a 1 page long Word document full of detail with 6 different parts. And then I get emails like this that inspire me and get my Grrr all revved up. Emotional, yet tactical.

So, it got me thinking… I’ve never been to this crawling, falling, puking, crying place. I tend to smile through most all things I endeavor. Maybe the smile is a front, maybe it’s an excuse. My times of suffering seem to be over. Despite what is dished to me, I tend to roll through it lately, happy to be alive, happy to be training, happy to have supportive family and friends who love me as much as I love them.

Maybe I will get to that place next weekend, maybe not. I do know that quitting is entirely unacceptable. This run will happen, despite what challenges I encounter along the way. 60 miles is no slouch. it’s six 10 mile runs, it’s three 20 mile runs, or maybe it’s just getting up early, before the sun rises and doing what I love to do, with the people I love to do it with until the sun goes down.

Maybe it’s just that.

Coupon Love

One thing I love about my life are the companies who support me. All of my sponsors (on the left) are companies that I wanted to represent. I love their stuff and so I went after them, hoping they would let me test their products and put them through the ringer. They help me and I consider each and every one of them family.

Well, because you seem to find yourself back at my blog often enough, they love you too. I have been collecting a few discounts for all of you and wanted to share them in one place.

Check out my newest sponsor, Trimassage. This is a funny story. I met Josh (owner) because I sat next to him and his little lady on the way back from Nationals this past year. Josh explained to me that he didn’t really do massage anymore because he found muscle restoration to be more beneficial. He explained it to me in theory, but I had to see for myself and yup, it’s really good stuff. If you have something nagging, or it isn’t even to the nagging point yet, go see Josh, he’ll fix you. He’s in Boulder, but I drive the 45 minutes from Denver because he’s that good. If you are on the Front Range, he’s worth the drive, hands down.

You can make an appointment here where it says “Schedule Online” and you want the “Muscle Restoration Laser Therapy, Initial Consult”. Tell him “Sonja sent me to you” and he will give you $20 off that initial consult. If you aren’t wondering how the heck he made you all better before you walked out the door, then your a hopeless cause. I’m kidding….kinda. PS he will give you homework.

Rev3 Races. Still wondering were the heck you are going to race this year? Looking for a race that is going to put YOU first and make you feel like you are on the PRO circuit rather than just a massed together age grouper. Wanna meet the pros, get pics with like ALL of them, and send your family to play at the amusement park while you act like a star struck triathlete. Sign up for a Rev3 race. Use my code PracticalRev3 and save yourself a “Jackson” (not to be confused with a Benjamin).

Core Concepts. I love testing products for these folks, they are mom and popish and they are GRAND. I live in their clothes, if you read this blog often enough, you know these things. Want 40% off, it’s like a pro deal, from me to you? Use pro0210sw at their online store for the next few months and get some goodies.

Just a little love from me to you, just in time for your tax returns. Happy shopping.


In 2009 I ran my first 50 miler. It was an amazing experience and a huge part of that experience was due to a darling lady named Jenna Gruben. She was the 2008 winner and also acted as the local volunteer race organizer. She not only helped put on the event, but she also ran the race, and she won it again.

Jenna and I traded of the lead for the entire race. We ran a 6 mile stretch together. When do you ever see two people in the lead position of a race running together, chatting it up, and developing a friendship on the trail? This is part of the magic that is ultrarunning, and also part of the kindness that was par for the course for Jenna. Jenna eventually pulled away from me at mile 42 and took the win, with a smile on her face and jumping into the arms of her husband.

Jenna and I had just a week to add each other on Facebook and throw around a few conversations about teaming up for the Trans Rockies Run this year, but first she was off on a 4 month honeymoon to Nepal. This girl lived life in a big way. She did things that we all dream of. She made them happen.

Recently back from her honeymoon, I saw Jenna on this starting line this weekend. She introduced me to her two running pals Cara and Angie. They were super excited to run the 33K which Jenna called “the fun run”. We exchanged a big hug and it was time for me to hit the starting line.

Jenna ran a great race and placed 4th amongst stiff competition. She hit the road with her gal pals to head back to Steamboat after the race.

Jenna and her two friends were involved in an auto accident on the way home and Jenna is no longer with us. I am so terribly saddened by this, and I know she wouldn’t want me to be sad but to think of the amazing things she did with her life. And, really, her short life was truly an amazing one.

Ah, she will be so very sorely missed.

Today all I can think of is her wonderfully loving husband, her running partners that adored her, and her family. I am willing thoughts of love and strength their direction. We all know what an absolutely amazing person she was, it oozed from her every pore.

One that Jenna liked:

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”

Jenna makes an appearance in my Run Rabbit Run movie.

moab 50k

What a great weekend! After several days of single momming it while Troy went snow cat skiing in Utah I was ready for an adventure. I really wish Troy and Annie had come on this trip, I always forget how chill and welcoming the ultra community is.

Moab has quite a bit of snow and the race director sent an email the day before the race stating that we would encounter a bit on the course. He said the starting area had the most snow. When we got there that morning there was a fair amount but the road we were to run on was crusty and seemed like it would all be very runable.

The race director did a really cool thing for this course which I think more ultras should adopt (as long as they communicate it to the runners). He marked the course with pink, and he marked where you don’t go with blue. You know when you get to a point in a race and you aren’t quite sure which way to go? That blue “don’t go” marking was genious!

Keith and I were running the race, and Andrea and Steve were along with us for their own adventure. They were getting in a 13 mile run, a mountain bike ride, and cheered throughout.

Before I knew it they said “go” and I found myself starting at the back of the group, still taking video and not knowing that we were about to start. Oops, but good too. My guide advised me to go out in a non taxing way and then unleash the “Wieck Fury”. Haha, I love that, and it’s not “Weeeek Furry” it’s pronounced like “Wick”. We started on a road that was snowed over but the traction was good. I ran a little ways with a guy who had one leg. Dang! He rocked and was awesome to watch do his thing.

We turned upwards towards Gemini bridges and I had a lady pass me. After confiding with my watch I let her go and watched her run out of sight. I remember coming down this hill on a mountain bike 8 years ago when I brought Troy to meet my parents. I remember my dad and I hooting and hollering down that hill while Troy remained silent, it was a sign of the future (Troy is a rather quiet guy). At the first aid station I decided to strip down. I went from tights, long sleeve, and beanie, to shorts, short sleeve, and Trakkers hat. I can’t tell you how awesome it was to be running in just a little clothing.

Then we hit crazyness! I call this the “snowshoe race” section of the course. Several miles of mid calf powder. Slick, choppy, gnarley, ankle killer powder. I would have paid $500 for a pair of snowshoes at that point.

It was at that point in the race, the point that comes in every race where the racing gods ask “who are you”? You can respond with frustration (as most did, and believe me, I understand it), you can give up and slowly walk through it (a few took this path), or you can smirk, groan, and dig in, cave[wo]man up. You can guess where I was here. I Grrrrred my way through miles of that stuff. It took 100% focus and constant reminders to keep my chin down, to pull in my core, and to use my snowshoeing skills to put my feet in the right spots. I didn’t dare look at my HR monitor, I think I would have freaked myself out. I passed many people through here, heard lots of groans, and a few F-bombs as well. The Wieck Fury was staring to seep out. I found and passed the lady that took off on me in the beginning, but i completely recognized that I was handling this snow better than most and expected her to reappear.

Around mile 12.7 we hit an aid station and got back onto a snow covered jeep road. While still snowy, it was more manageable and of the 10 or so people that I passed on the “snowshoe” race section, a few passed me back.

Around mile 14 I knew something wasn’t right. My nutrition plan was the same as my 45 miler but I think bc I was going so much harder, I had problems. I’ve never pooped in a race, but I had to bad. I was in the middle of a field, no trees in sight, but well, there you go. I watched 10 people pass by while I huddled behind a bush.

Shortly after that I pulled into the next aid station at about mile 15 and dumped out my entire bladder of EFS. I replaced it with NUUN, and knew I would have to focus more on blocks/beans since nuun is calorie free. Believe me, I will be hitting up the Team First Endurance site big time this week to get this sorted out and get some help with dissecting what went wrong.

Pulling out of that station, the lady that passed me in the beginning and then I passed back in the snow had caught back up to me. She must have cranked out a great pace on the flats.

After a quick descent we were into the strength section of the course. Up lots of hills, down lots of hills. No trail, just the course markings, single track, ledges to jump, snowfields everywhere to cross. There was a section of several miles that I didn’t see a single runner. No one ahead, no one behind, just alone. I hit a low point in there and decided to pull out my camera to take a little video. I suddenly saw someone catching up to me. Yea!

His name was Ryan, he was from Albuquerque. He passed me and I just latched onto him. I just went with him, and within a mile he had managed to pull me out of my funk. We exchanged names, and where we lived and then we ran together the rest of the way. We took turns leading and it was so helpful to have him.

When we hit the final switchbacks and I knew we were close and I just let it go. Knowing that it would all be over too soon, I let loose and ran free and happy all the way to the finish singing and laughing the whole way. Ryan and I finished pretty close, and he probably thought I was a crazy chica those last few miles.

I was really pleased with my time for this course, 5:38, for 32.5 miles and 4,500 feet of gain. I felt like given the conditions, this was more challenging than the November Moab 50K. The relentless up and down of the slick rock, combined with the early “snowshoe” conditions made for a particularly challenging day for most. I was also stoked that Ms.Western States, Anita Ortiz ONLY beat me by a little under an hour, hahahaha! I feel like that’s a big feat, to get within an hour of Anita! Still, it’s ultrarunning, so at the end, and for the entire evening, everyone pretty much drinks beer and chats it up.

This was a great experience for me. I ended up 3rd overall which was a complete and utter shock for me. First and foremost I am a triathlete, that’s where my heart lies. But a huge chunk of my soul lies in the hills and mountains, running. I am really getting my trail running “fix” this winter and all this time to think in the mountains brings me strength when I am head down on my trainer trying to keep my heart rate dialed into 140 or 150 or 160… Trail Running gives me a peace and calm that helps me battle the more mundane sessions of doing what I need to do to be the best triathlete that I can. It gives my mind a place to wander off to when I am in the pool, or on the treadmill.

Lastly, I raced this race, I put it out there, I ran smart, it wasn’t conversational (my Avg HR was 168), and I know a little bit more about myself after this race. I am really thankful for that.

I made a video of my day, I hope you enjoy it.

Moab Red Hot 50K from sonjawieck on Vimeo.

I ran the Moab Red Hot 50K on 2/13/2010 and this is a video of my experience as a runner in the race.

Results are here.


I called to book lodging in the Grand Canyon for my R2R2R adventure and EVERYTHING is booked solid through June. Last year we booked very close to the trip and this year is a completely different story. I guess the recession is over?

So, what does this mean? After discussing with Coach CV we decided to “postpone” the Grand Canyon. I will give it another try in the fall, which will be neat since I have already been there in the spring.

This will help him breathe a little easier in preparing me for IM Coeur D’Alene and making sure I get proper recovery after my 100 miler in Moab at the end of March.

But, Dang it, that STINKS!

Sorry friends :(

Also, I am headed out tomorrow to Moab for the Red Hot 50K. Some crazy Ultra runner dude (hahaha, he’s actually a super cool ultrarunner dude) wrote some predictions up for the race over at RunColo. Little does he know…I’M A TRIATHLETE (actually I think he does know that) and I’M NOT AN ULTRARUNNER (just one that’s in the closet). This race is a “trial run” for what I am affectionately referring to as “Moab-the sequel” (Moab 100 at the end of March).

So, wish me luck as I try to prove Nick wrong and come in like 20th or something. By the way, what is up with these ultrarunner folks, they just love to “predict” races. Before every single big ultra there are all these blogs on “predictions”, it’s a riot. I guess with too much time spent alone running in the mountains, one must think about something.

A Little TT in the Pool

Whew, I’m really becoming a swimmer this winter. I haven’t posted a status update recently, and with todays workout involving a time trial (TT) I thought it was about time. Chuckie has me swimming a lot, most days of the week. Not all my swims are huge workouts, and recovery swims have become a staple. I finally really understand how I am supposed to do them (slow, and easy, but throwing in a bit of “work” to get the blood going), and why to do them (because it aids my recovery and I am back to normal quicker after them, sometimes it’s 12 hours quicker, sometimes a day quicker, sometimes it grants me a few hours).

The last several weeks I have learned what strength sets/workouts are. Chuckie has a plan, he has theories. I seriously hope he writes a book some day so that his stuff is shared. I dig his philosophy and because it’s all so new, I am enjoying the work. I say “because it’s so new” because strength sets hurt. Oh yes, they hurt. And I have had a few so I feel competant to say that.

Like yesterday….80X25 all out on 30 seconds. WTF? So much speed? Don’t be duped, it’s a strength workout, see, it’s even listed under STRENGTH on his post. I only had to do 80, not 100. I didn’t have to do them with paddles…but I can see that in my future. It’s was actually a really fun workout, and makes you feel pretty gnarly, especially when you were told to lift upper body weights before the swim.

Yes, my arms LOVE me this month. There are days where I don’t want to lift my arms over my head afterwards, but they always come around by the next swim.

Todays swim entailed a 1000 yard TT. There was other stuff before the TT, and a series of 100’s after the TT at 1000TT pace, those were especially evil. This was a Steady State workout.

I was nervous. I tell ya, just add the word TT to one of my workouts and instantly I am a more diligent athlete. I eat a proper dinner, make sure I get to bed on time, I eat a good breakfast, do the right things for myself, all because of those two little letters.

I met PIC at the pool and we hopped in a lane together. She hates splitting a lane in the pool, but also probably didn’t want to have to pass me repeatedly during her TT either, so she obliged and we split rather than circle swam. Thank you PIC.

The opening warm up and sets were great. Chuckie wrote the workout where when I did 10×50, Michelle did 12X50 so that we stayed together for the workout. Such a little thing, but it meant so much to me as 9 times out of 10 I am the last person to finish a swim workout. After our opening sets it was time for the TT.

We looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and off we went. right away PIC is so fast. The first time she lapped me was on lap 8 (lap, not length) and immediately my goal was not to let her lap me again until lap 16 or 15 at the worst. I was going for broke today. I gave it my all, that’s all I can say. I swam as hard as I knew how, checking my split at the 500 mark, 7:13. Ok, Sonja, keep that up, that’s really good. On the way back to the wall on lap 15 PIC passed me again and I didn’t let her go. I stayed on her…for like 7 seconds. But she remarked later that she was proud I went with her. I may not be the fastest, but I’ve got some Grrr in me.

The last 250 was pure pain. I got that feeling in my stomach, the “If I keep this up I might puke” feeling…I’m told that’s LT. Oh, LT, great, there ya go. With two laps to go PIC is done, this really got me jazzed to go as hard as I knew how. On my last lap she was doing a little backstroke and I had fun passing her for the first time ever in my life, trying to keep perfect form, making sure I didn’t miss the wall on my flip.

And then I was done, whew, ouch, whew…14:30. Really? 1:27 pace, Ok, Sonja, that’s pretty good. PIC was like 2+ minutes faster…but at least it wasn’t 5, like it would have been six months ago. At least I felt like I sorta, kinda, half-way belonged in her lane. Maybe next time we can circle swim.

Heeeelllllloooo 1:20’s. Watch out cause I’m coming for you. 1:25 pace is next and to think…I’m still in the strength phase. I love being a swimmer.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Seriously, did I even just write that as a title? It’s totally cliche. I feel lame even submitting it to type, but I formulated some thoughts several days ago and have been wanting to share them. The title is lame, but maybe you will find the message to be better.

I read lots of professional triathletes blogs. I admit, I’m kinda a junkee in this area, but I’m just really fascinated by their day in and day out training. Hello, my name is Sonja and I’m addicted to professional triathlete blogs, there is a group, we meet weekly.

One pro that I read recently posted a blog on how he/she needs to be bold, and stop questioning him/herself…etc etc. I have read a post like this before from him/her, and it’s just really hard to believe that such a bad ass pro can feel like “lack of risk taking” is their weakness. I know they have lots of discipline, and maybe I romanticize their life (cause lets be honest, mine rocks pretty hard core too), but lacking risk? Really, racing for $ to pay your bills is a low risk lifestyle?

I really started rolling around in my head this concept of weaknesses. Don’t we all have that one thing that every few months we feel like we’ve circled back around to. We we were doing really well and then it… “degraded” and before we knew it we were back to our old ___insert what you want here___ (ex: non risk taking, overly risk taking, emotional acting, unemotional acting, procrastinating, Type A, overly analytical, under analytical…I can keep going here) ways.

I have found in my life that these “issues” are pesky. They are like Constantina Tomescu-dita. Remember in Spirit of the Marathon how she kept coming back, relentless little thing. Nabbed herself Olympic gold in Beijing as the oldest woman to win the women’s marathon at 38. But I’m off topic now.

Where was I? Pesky! That’s right. So, I have this theory on these pesky traits of ours that keep coming back in our face. In my mind there are only two ways to productively look at them.

ONE: When you love and embrace it, you can part with it. That was a little secret I learned when I struggled for years with weight loss. If you beat yourself up about being overweight, it just never leaves. It wasn’t until I accepted how big I was and where I was at and started to work on things in a positive way that the pounds melted off. It was actually pretty easy once I got my attitude in the right ballpark. No more negative reinforcement, love it, embrace it, and then you can let go of it. Everyones path to this place is different.

TWO: Our strengths are our weaknesses, blah, cliche. But…get this, our weaknesses are our strengths. The above pro triathlete may shy away from risks, but I bet that trait is countered with a damn patient athlete. I bet he/she is calculated and smart about racing actions and tactics, because people that tend to not take risks, also tend to not make stupid mistakes. Believe me, there is always a way to see your weakness for the strength that it brings you.

So, maybe number TWO has something to do with number ONE. Maybe understanding how our perceived negative trait is actually disguised as one of our strengths is the key to accepting it within ourself so that we have the clarity to move past it if we so choose.

Honestly I think labeling “strengths” and “weaknesses” is part of the problem as it judges and compounds the mental hang-ups surrounding those issues. Sure I get it, you swim a 40 minute mile and that’s clearly your weakness. But, maybe that 40 minute mile makes you one badass cyclist and runner because you are chasing down everyone in sight. Maybe if you had never been “given” that 40 min mile you wouldn’t understand just how hard you can go in the other two disciplines. Accepting that 40 minute mile for what it gave you will give you the strength to turn it into a 25. And when that 40 minute mile turns to a 25 you will know something about yourself that you never would have if 25 minutes had been handed to you on a silver platter. Believe me here…

Long winded, but you get my gist. Think about those supposed “weakness” (said with a roll of the eye) and think about what they are giving you, how they are strengths, what you may have lost if you never had them. Now hang on to all that good stuff and use that strength to move beyond, work harder, seek wisdom. Don’t wait for that day in the future where you will look back and understand what it was there for, make that day today.