A Punktastic Day of Training

Woo Hoo, man am I feeling better! There is nothing, and I repeat nothing, that can’t be solved with of few days of TLC from good ol’ mom and dad! Some pampering, some retail therapy, some uninterrupted training time after sleeping in and being well fed. It just has a way of turning things around!

I have been in California at my parents since Saturday and I am feeling meeelllllooowww and chillllll. It’s a nice feeling.

Today was such a special treat. My mom took the day off to spend with Annie and I headed up to get in a fun training session with none other than Punk Rock Runner. Ron and I met on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene last year and were fast friends immediately. I love the Punk Rock Racing gear and Ron is just a great guy.


It’s been so cool to watch him dabble in the ultra world and we had a lot to talk about today with his recent finish at the American River 50 miler.

We headed out for a fun ride where Ron had to get some specific intervals in. I had so much fun sitting on his wheel and making him nervous encouraging him along the way. It was a gorgeous day and the route he took me on was full of rolling green pastures, happy cows, and frolicking sheep. It so totally rocked!

At the end of the ride I went back to the car to change to run clothes and he went to his office to change. We met back up and few minutes later and we matched. We had a good laugh about that. We even had the same shoes on, and the same shirt. Totally unplanned! PIC and I do that all the time, but I didn’t expect it out of Ron.

We had a great run discussing training methodology and it was cool to hear about all the progress he has been making. Progress is good!

On the way home from the training session I was just smiling. I have made so many great friends all over the globe via triathlon, but none are quite like Ron. He’s just such a kindred soul.

I finished off the days training with a dip my new favorite pool in San Jose. I always struggle swimming when I am in San Jose. I used to finagle my way into the YMCA pool through my parents membership. Then last year I found the Camden Community Center and I swam there a ton, but I had to swim between 6-8am. Well, apparently California is broke because they closed that pool due to budget issues. So I was without a pool.

I called all around and finally found this totally awesome pool. It’s the student pool at San Jose State University. It’s outside, great temperature, and it’s huge. It does have a lot of green areas on the bottom, and it’s a bit rag-tag, but honestly, it makes me love it even more. Despite it’s battle wounds, it’s still clear, and clean. It has character! It’s open for lap swimming from 7am to 10pm most every day. How rad is that? The best part…it’s $3. The second best part…all the students use it to lay out, not to swim. I’m in love with this pool and have visited it every day I’ve been here. Love.It.

I had a great swim and came home thoroughly rejuvenated. Things are starting to come together. The girls fly in late tonight, and tomorrow we leave for Lake San Antonio. I’m not nervous any more. This little mini vacation has allowed some time for Troy and I to sit and talk deeply about the stress of the last few weeks. I am so lucky to have Troy, he often provides such unique insight and it’s great to be married to someone who naturally lets most everything roll right off him. They have been really productive talks and I think we will come out of this stronger as a couple.

Thanks to Ron for a great training day, let the Wildflower adventures begin!


My Best

I like to think that I am the type of person, who may make mistakes, but tries hard to learn from them. None of us are perfect, but I like to think that it’s your ability to learn and adapt, along with your attitude that really dictates where you head in this world. I always like to think of myself as a learner, an adapter.

That’s been turned on edge this week. Lessons I have been taught the hard way seem to be coming back at me. I should know how to dress for a long ride with hill repeats, I should know not to ascend too high, and that an extra this and an extra that should always be in my pocket. I should be remembering more than I am. Every workout I seem to forget something, whether it’s water bottles, or my Garmin, or my heart rate strap, or my warm hat, or my co2 cartridge.

I am finding myself learning all these lessons yet again, lessons I have already learned, and it made me ponder whether I am as good of a learner as I think I am.

Last year took quite a bit of finagling to get my workouts in. I try to be here for Annie as much as I can and I utilize child care much less frequently than you would think. It took a lot of learning to figure it all out, yet spring has rolled around and I seem to be in a constant panic as to how I’m going to get in my workouts and what to do with Annie.

When does it get easier? It doesn’t. Every day is a new day, every day requires a new set of skills, whether it’s packing the car the night before, waking up at 5am for the first workout of the day, planning meals for me and the family, etc. Every morning it’s a different game with different rules. Yesterday just the sheer matter that Annie had dance class threw my day for a loop, the delicate balance of the daily schedule (or lack thereof) knocked on end.

When I was at camp in Tucson it was so easy. Life was so easy. Get up, get dressed, eat, workout, eat, workout, eat, workout, eat, sleep. It’s so easy to minimze stress. Just take care of you, just think about you.


But my life is not that. I have other responsibilities, and as of recently I’ve pretty much been failing at keeping all the balls in the air. Buying a house threw me over the edge. 12 hours of inspections, sewer guys, roof guys, signing papers thrown into my week completely did me in. I missed a day. The first day in a long long time that I just didn’t train due to other things.

I felt bad, I got frustrated, I wanted to crawl in bed and cry, I did crawl in bed and cry. I get really bummed when I can’t get my workouts in. I was stressed out. I know that stress is the name of the game, and I was stressed, and I was stressed about being stressed. I feel like I let people down (myself included) when I don’t get in my training. So many people, Troy, my family, Chuckie, my sponsors, and you all support me so much in my triathlon pursuits and I feel a sense of responsibility because of that.

I was out running last night. I had one of those runs where you don’t even feel your feet touching the ground. You are effortlessly moving across the earth in a manner that requires zero work. Pure bliss. All of the sudden on the top of butterfly hill I stopped. I felt warm, even though it was chilly. I felt a rush of peace and in one fell swoop I realized.

I’m doing the best I can.

Yes, I realized that one thing. I am doing the best I can, plain and simple. I can not ask any more of myself and when I do it just yields a sense of unease. You all expect nothing more of me, and I need to expect nothing more of myself. My best…it’s good enough, and that’s the bottom line.

I ran home with peace in my heart. I woke up ready for a solid training day today. All is good.


Troy, Annie and I leave Denver tomorrow to fly to San Jose. My parents have never hosted Easter at their house for Annie and she’s at that perfect age to party it up. Troy flies home Tuesday evening and Wednesday night Michelle and Megan fly into San Jose. We pack up Thursday and head off in RCKBITR to the Woodstock of triathlon that is Wildflower.

First race of the year.

Goal: Do the best I can.


It’s funny the path that life leads you down. So many forks in the road and you are always making choices, whether you know it or not.

After Troy and I got married in 2002 we thought the next “thing” to do was to buy a house. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have a down payment, or that we were two individuals looking at 2,500-3,000 square feet homes. They gave us a loan that we could afford on our two incomes, and we moved in.

About 6 years ago, and not even two years after buying our house, I got pregnant (it was next on the list). I always thought I would continue to work. I come from a long line of driven, independent working mothers. I feel strength in my genes from these women, each and every one of them are wonderful. But soon after getting pregnant I knew I wanted to stay home. I had only been in the workforce a few years and Troy and I were clearly chasing after the Jonses.

There was no way we could stay in the house on one income, so we put it on the market immediately. This was when the market was just starting to really tank. We had barely any equity and the house took over 18 months to sell. During that time, and the 100 showings we learned a lot.

#1 You gotta have the most cut throat, “kill it and drag it home” realtor that you can find. You don’t want to be friends with your realtor, you want them to work their butt off to sell your home.

#2 Your house can’t have any flaws in a bad market, the carpet, the paint, the landscaping all has to be prefect.

#3 Hug each other a lot. There were so many tears through this time. It bonded Troy and I together, but at times we were bound together in misery.

Once we finally found a cut throat realtor, he had two offers on the table in 30 days. The closing was a mess and we didn’t know about short sales then (not that we would have gone that route honestly). We had to cut a check out of our pockets at closing for $27,000 in order to get out of the house (closing costs realtor fees. negative equity), that was over 10% of the selling price of the house. We had to borrow money from family to do it.

I just looked and our old house is for sale currently, it’s listed for $57K less than we sold it for. Ouch! Here it is if you want to buy it.

All the time we had the house on the market Troy was commuting 60 minutes each way to work. He hated it, he doesn’t really like to drive. I promised him over and over that when the house sold we would find the closest apartment to his work that took dogs and we would move there.

When we sold the house we did just that. We moved from a 4 bedroom 2,400 square feet house to a 2 bedroom 980 square feet 3rd floor apartment. For several months we literally laid around and licked our wounds. We were pretty down and out and we had a 7 month old that barely slept for 3 hours at a stretch who hated breast feeding. It was one of the hardest times in our marriage.

A few months rolled around and we found out through the grapevine that our family was getting upset that we weren’t making an effort to pay them back. My feelings were pretty hurt that they hadn’t come to us first about it and I googled “Get Debt Free.”

The first link was to Dave Ramsey’s homepage. That was one of the best days in our marriage. I was totally consumed with his message and I was shocked that he is totally anti-debt. So much so that you can’t even buy his products with a credit card, only a debit card. I thought, wow, he is living what he teaches.

He resonated with me. One of the things he says often on his radio show is “The borrower is slave to the lender”. I was really feeling that way. Another one he says is when you borrow money from family “Turkey dinner doesn’t taste the same when you are sitting across from your lender”. Oh that was resonating with me. I vowed that day to never ever borrow money from family every again.

That night I showed Troy his site and we drove across town to a library that had his books in stock and checked them all out. We read Total Money Makeover that weekend out loud to each other. Dave is Christian and his books have that slant. We don’t go to church, but it didn’t matter, the message hit home with us. We went through Financial Peace University online (I don’t think they have it online anymore). We really learned about how to progress in our marriage with our money. We have a budget meeting every two weeks where we give every single dollar a purpose. We pre fund every purchase and if we forget to bring something to the table during the budget meeting, then it waits until the next pay period.

The first goal was to pay off all our debt, and cut up our credit cards. We kept our REI one for rental car booking and some travel expenses (going against the plan…just being honest here), but cut up the rest. We compiled all our debt, put them in order: credit cards, student loans, car, family loan and started attacking it like crazy. It took 12 months and 10 days to pay it all off, $35,583 in debt. We sold our pricey Suburu Outback and bought a cheep and old Volkswagen Passat that is still running pretty well.  I even did triathlons that year but we lived on BEANS and RICE for most of it. I had the grocery budget down to $485 a month.

After the debt was gone, we cranked out saving up a 6 month emergency fund (baby step 3 in Dave lingo), starting contributing 15% take home pay to retirement (baby step 4), maxed the IRAs, got Annies college fund cranking (baby step 5), and started saving for a new car. We had a sour taste in our mouth about ever owning a house again. Troy and I even discussed buying a house on a 100% down plan when we were 45 or 50.

We were in the apartment for 5 years. 5 years!! And we liked it for a lot of those years. Sure, we haven’t had anybody over for dinner in 5 years…we don’t have a kitchen table, and when my parents visit they sleep in Annies pink bed and she sleeps on the floor in our room. But we almost liked being “weird”. We were living an alternative life and we were giving the middle finger to “keeping up with the Jonses”. We were finally doing what was right for us.

It is the sole reason that I have been able to do triathlons at the level I have. Troy loves that we go to all these awesome places and we get to travel a lot, as do I (duh).

Well, we finally wore out our welcome in the apartment. The downstairs lady complained that we were making too much noise when really it was the pipes between us banging against the wall. The fridge died, the dishwahser died. The complex put “new” used ones in. The fridge froze all our new food and the dishwasher is still crap. The outlets in the kitchen aren’t working. The dog downstairs bit Troy. Our mail got delivered to the neighbor for a week and created a fiasco.

All of the sudden we were SICK of the apartment.

So we had “the talk”. We had the down payment, not the 100% down, but what Dave recommends to have down. But there was a slight problem. Annie is registered for Kindergarden and we are at the highest ranked public school in Colorado. The median home price in the schools boundaries is 600K. We are the only apartment complex that feeds to that school. I’ve already signed Annie up for Kindergarden enrichment and paid for it.

We went through Dave’s referral program to find a real estate agent. We talked with three and settled on one that we liked. He’s really nice which made me immedately skeptical, but we liked his track record and he clearly had the “Kill it and Drag it home” mentality. He instantly picked up on what was important to us (school boundaries) and he never once even brought up the elephant in the room (trying to buy a 200k house in a 600k neighborhood). He found two little tiny neighborhoods with townhomes. One neightborhood has 3 bedroom units, built in the early 80’s with an HOA fee of $160 a month (ouch). The other ones are HOA free, right next door to Annies school (and the middle school, and the high school) but the last one that sold was in 1998.

There was one on the market but it just came off an offer (cold feet…I’ll believe that after I see the inspection), wasn’t even listed on the public MLS sites. We went and looked at it, and Troy and I had major role reversal. Usually Troy is the one that is cautious. This time it was me. To be honest the place is exactly what we wanted. It’s small, the price is right, and it has a 1 car garage, a little back yard, and 3 bedrooms. I was pointing out every flaw, scrutinizing every detail, and Troy was like…let’s move in. I find more and more that I am strongly effected by emotional pain. I don’t tend to forget it and going through this process has definitely brought back memories of the pain we went through last time. Honestly, it’s why we aren’t having more children…too much emotional pain from labor and delivery. We all have our “issues”. Troy doesn’t carry this pain like I do, he bounces back and the memories fade for him. My memory tends to be tack sharp.

So, on Wednesday we hired Derek, Thursday we looked at the house, Thursday night we put in an offer, Friday they responded with a counter offer, and we accepted. WTF?

Now we do the inspection and start progressing along in the process. Honestly, it has really made me reflect on the last 6 years. We learned what we call the $35,000 lesson from the last house and this time around I feel so happy to be going through the process the correct way. It’s what some would call “a starter home” but honestly Troy and I don’t buy into that stuff and we would be happy for it to be our “ending home” as well. We just have no desire to have a big house, just enough for the three of us, and affordable enough to leave lots of funds for travel, racing, new bikes, and FUN!

So here’s to being home owners once again. I think it’s going to go much better this go around. We feel prepared to be responsible home owners and we know where we are headed as a family. Plus, I can throw a rock and hit: an all weather track that is barely used, Cherry Creek State Park, Annies school. And we only have to move our stuff 1 mile.

Smack Talk

This week has been an intersting one. There has been a definite theme of the week and as Michelle and I rode along on an easy ride we discussed it. I thought I would write it up here.

The difference in “competition” between men and women.

Without getting into things too much I witnessed some interesting things on Twitter this week that actually, in a round a bout way, made the traffic on my blog blow up, particularly the run portion of my IM Arizona blog post.

It got me thinking about how women compete with each other versus how men compete. First let me say, that I’m attempting to make some observations here. They are generalizations, and maybe they are crappy ones. I’m interested in what you think. So, I’ll put it out here and you can feel free to comment away.

Amongst the men it can be a cool dynamic in my opinion. I have seen groups of boys absolutely slaughter each other, like literally every man for himself, drop you like a bad habbit in the middle of nowhere, find your own way home kind of slaughter. Then, when it’s all over you can find them laughing over a Chipotle Burrito and a beer, making fun of the carnage, like it was all in good fun.

Most men are willing to hurt each other “for the sport of it”. It’s not personal. It makes everyone better. At least these are the feelings that I have seen amongst most men. Usually those who hurt together form a bond. Sure there are exceptions, but generally this is what I have seen.

Men also like to talk smack. We have all seen last years Ironman video when Macca just throws up smack talk all over the camera. Total verbal diarrhea. Then he went forth and beat down everyone. I would say there where a few instances that Macca acted more like a girl than a guy and I will point those out (and attempt to prove that those few points are why he strikes an off chord with so many), but for the most part it’s genuine, bone fide, classic, dude-style shit talking.

I think that guys generally want to beat their competators on their good days. Guys want to show you that even when you show up and have a great day, they are still better.

Chicks are different. Totally different. Sometimes I think that the competition amongst females often resembles high school clicks more than anything. Women seem to want to take down other women emotionally. It’s more rare for women to congratulate other women who beat them. It’s more likely for them to talk down about them. I see a fair amount of personal attacks. The I don’t like her, or she’s a b!tch, kind of comments.

This week the husband of a woman in my age group posted a photo on facebook of his wife on the podium with the age group winners face blacked out. To be fair I didn’t see the photo, just heard about it. Stuff like that is where the females really excel. Anyone seen the movie “Mean Girls”. It’s that kind of stuff that seems to run our psychie. I’m not going to say I’m exempt from it. I’ve been caddy at times. Mostly during times that I personally felt insecure (just trying to keep it real here).

I am a bit intrigued about the “why” though. Is it a self confidence thing that most women would rather their competitor have a blow up of epic proportion or a meltdown so bad they don’t even start the race, rather than a great race? Would they rather take the confidence from a fellow woman triathlete rather than take the podium spot from her? I would like to say that all is decided at the finish line, but it seems with women that sometimes the finish line is where the emotional battle begins.

Back to Macca, I think he borderlines on the emotional side of smack talk. The “Crowie lived at my parents house for two years” comment had a way of saying that Crowie is a charity case. It’s a personal attack, like he’s not enough of a man to take care of himself. It’s classic “chick-style” emotional sabotage. He talks down to Crowie not as an athlete (well, he does that too) but as a person.

So the more I thought about it, the more I think it’s the personal attack kind of shit talking that will really get you a bad reputation. Everyone loves a little friendly smack talk (Dibens and Carfrae), but when it gets personal, I think people start rooting against you.

I think in our hearts most of us (even the ones who make a living at it…which I am not one of those) feel that this is “sport”. You can be a bad person and be good in sport and visa versa. Being a winner doesn’t make you a good person. But at times people try to use the personal attack, or innuendo to break somebody down, so that they may persevere the next go around.

I must say, I am really against this.

I got a comment on my blog one time about my frustration at the aid stations in Coeur d’Alene coming off as “elitist”. I thought long and hard about this because that word “elitist” really hurt my feelings. After a bit of thought I came to the conclusion that an elitist is someone who thinks they are better. On that day in Coeur d’Alene I was better than all but 3 girls in my age group. Was I a better person? No. Was I a better triathlete? Yes. I don’t confuse the two. And I think if you do confuse the two…then elitist is the right term for you.

So, although I know it just seems to be how “girls” are, I will say that the triathlete does not make the person. This is sport and how you conduct yourself within it is a mark of your character. I would say “be a professional” but I don’t quite think that hits the mark, as some of the pro women seem to be awesome at emotional sabotage. So I would say, be a good person.

Don’t pull a Macca, don’t attack the person, attack the athlete if smack talk is your goal. Some people love it and I think there is a healthy place for it. But keep it real. In my opinion, I want every girl in the world that earns a Kona slot on that line in October in the best shape of their lives. I want them to execute perfect races. I want them at their best. Then we all know that where the chips fall, they fall. Whether I am first or last I know it is where I belong. No excuses.

So, to the women in my age group and in others. I support your endeavors. We are alike in our love for swim bike run. I applaud you for fighting tooth and nail for what you want, for racing  your heart out, for dealing with the triumph, and the failure. The more we support and stand behind each other, the higher we will all raise our own personal bars.

Thoughts? Have I bit off more than I can chew with this blog post?

Cheyenne Mountain 25/50K

My good friend Andrea is putting on a 50K race the day before Easter (April 23rd) this year in Colorado Springs called the Cheyenne Mountain 50K. It’s been so fun to watch her go through the process of organizing a race and I’m really jazzed for her. The race is a two loop format in Cheyene Mountain Park. I went out and ran the entire thing a few months ago and it is RAD. It’s primarily single track and there is a mix of all sorts of terrain. There are some climbs in it, but everything is runable and it should be smack dab between a fast and a slow course. Challenging, yet, runable.

I love the way Andrea is acting as a race director. She reached out to all of her runner friends (and she has a lot) and asked what they wanted in a race. Answers like “well taken care of” but “organic” with “great aid stations”, “family friendly”, and “schwag for all levels, not just the winners” all came up. She is really putting together some great stuff.

For example, there will be a Golden Easter Egg hunt on the course. Eggs will not be first come first served, but spread throughout the day. If you find an egg you turn it in for a prize. No waiting around for the raffle, just keep your eye out on course. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo will have docents out with some critters for the kids to enjoy after the kid’s fun run, and Carrabbas Italian Grill is serving up post race grub!

There is also an Elite wave that she is awarding prize money for the overall winners of the race, $500 for the men and $500 for the women. See the site to see if you can enter the Elite wave and race for some rent money. If you’re racing the 25K the first overall female and the first overall male will enjoy a 6 month supply of VitaBev multi vitamin beverage.

I’m very confident that Andrea will put on a top notch, yet home grown event. She’s good with balance like that. I talked with her about offering a free entry to my blog readers and here is what we came up with, and I LOVE it.

If you decide to enter the race, there is a spot on active.com that says “How did you hear about us”. If you sign up and type in goSonja.com or goSonja then Andrea is going to draw names out of hats from those of you that entered “goSonja” and it will be announced on the starting line of the race who won. What do you win? Upon completion of your race, Andrea will hand you in cash, your entry fee. Isn’t that fun?

So, enter goSonja on the “How did you hear about us” section of the entry and you could get some cash in hand at the completion of the race.

Register for the race here

If you are in the area and don’t want to race, think about volunteering. You’ll have a really fun time whether you race or volunteer, believe me!