Cord Monster

I’ve really been laying low recently. I’ve been home from Hawaii for almost 2 weeks and not too much has happened. I came home to late fall/winter like conditions here in Denver. In fact we had a nice big snow in the middle of last week.

This week was my first bigger one back into training. I am racing Ironman Cozumel at the end of November. After booking all of our airplane tickets and renting a cute little two bedroom bungalow for the trip I’m getting fairly excited. I still have some solid weeks of training ahead of me, but I’m jazzed that we get to visit warm weather yet again this year.

After Cozumel it’s a nice long December full of rest for me.

I turned 32 yesterday. It’s a rather uneventful number…not prime or anything, divisible by tons of other numbers….16, 2, 4, 8…but none the less marks the fact that I have kept myself alive for yet another year…no small feat I guarantee you. Facebook’s one redeeming quality is illustrated on your birthday and I smiled all day as my phone continued to beep and buzz at me with people saying Happy Birthday. Thank you!

Troy totally stole the husband of the year award this year. Troy has a really hard time not giving me my presents once he has purchased them. So he usually waits until the day before, and then he insists that I stay up until midnight so he can give them to me. This year was the same, and I admit….I love this! This year he spoiled me with a down mattress topper, and a new down comforter. This girl was in heaven! Thank  you Troy for making my bed like a fancy hotel!

Yesterday I cleaned out my closets and did some organizing. Remember that crazy electronic corner I had going on? I posted a picture of it in one of my past blogs, it looked like this:

I knew there had to be a better solution for this. Troy and I went around to various organization stores (by the way, we are not the shopping kind of people) and we found some products that tried to hint at a solution for this mess, but they were weak. Finally I just decided to do it myself.

So, cord organization for the triathlete. Here we go. Grab yourself a bin, get a kinda big one, because if you are like me, you have Garmin, camera, video camera, underwater video camera, iPod, iPhone, Kindle, and back up Garmin (Timex global). Maybe more?? If you want to store these things under your bed (which is a good place I think) then make sure to measure the height before you procure your bin (I did not and wish I had).

Find yourself a power strip, you should have several extras of these somewhere….go check the garage…you’ll find them. Also you are going to need some little containers (some Tupperware that has lost it’s lid would work pretty darn well here). Oh and also, some duct tape (duh…what project doesn’t require that) and I got some cord clips (but they are optional and not necessary in retrospect).

Okay, cut a hole in your bin in the side and fish the power strip cord through it. Duct tape the power strip to the bottom of the bin. Then duct tape your small containers to the bottom of the bin and fill with your electronics. I stashed those cord clips on the edges to direct the cords and make sure things stayed organized, but you can see they aren’t totally necessary.

Wha-Lah! Now all the electronics are in a bin, I can move the bin to wherever it needs to go and all it requires is one outlet. It’s on the floor in my closet right now. I’m so impressed with myself right now.

So, I hope you might be able to get a little use out of my idea, surely some of you all will come up with much better ideas, but hopefully this gets you thinking.

Thanks again for all the well wishes, cards, and goodies on my birthday yesterday. You all made my day great.


Post Kona 2011 Thoughts

It’s been ten days. Ten days since I crossed that magical finish line on Ali’i drive. I was in Kona long enough to see the race stuff get cleared, the athletes leave town, the fish reenter the swim course. I actually ran into a turtle on my last day swimming. I never realized just how little you watch the surface when you are swimming. I was looking at the fish below and then I thought I ran into a buoy…but it was a turtle…and I felt horrible. He (she?) was just fine though.

I got to experience a super cool trip to the Waip’io valley. I wanted to be dropped off down there for good, I was ready to move there for the rest of my life. Insane. Someday Troy and I will live in Kona….someday, mark my words. I may be 80, but someday we will call that town home.  Chase your love.

I’ve had lots of time to sit on the beach and swim in the ocean and just think. The whole year, all the training, the things I said “no” to, was it all worth a 9 minute PR? It’s easy to stand back and look at things that way when you have your results in hand. Suddenly, life feels like a book with a tidy little ending.

It was. It definitely was. It was worth just the opportunity of lining up at the start line. I like to think that I live my life to the fullest, but there are times when frankly, I don’t. There have been times this year where I just trained, to train, to check the box. Treading water in that bay, and going through what I did out there reminded me that living that way is no bueno. No bueno at all. Once you live that way too long…as the Hawaiians say…Pau. Done.

This Kona experience has been a wake up call for me. Find the peace in life, but hang on tightly to your love. Hang on to what gives you an inner grin and never reduce it to “going through the motions.” After all, the Ironman will ask you questions out there in the middle of the Queen K, and you better have the answers to them.

It’s this lesson that Chuckie has been trying to teach me all along. Don’t squander, don’t complain, keep your love (I don’t think he would say that last part…I totally added that…creative discretion). I haven’t always been the most receptive. I was better last year, less good this year. I’m just being honest here, honest with myself. I thought I had more to loose this year. But if every day wasn’t fun, then I’ve already lost…Pau. I preached a positive attitude, but there were times when I didn’t have one…Pau.

I hurt badly out there on IM day, but I rejoice in that pain, for never have I felt so alive. I retreated into myself, I focused on completing the task at hand. Chuckie once wrote to me:

The main thing to remember is that it’s a long day at Kona, and that the swim has to be fairly enjoyable and relaxing. The bike not so much. The run not at all.

-Chuckie V

Push is supposed to come to shove. I was fitter, I was ready. I realize that now.

Another one of my favorite quotes.

If being uncomfortable is inevitable and the only way out is forward…through the misery…then we must embrace it.

-Jonathan Basham

My season is not over yet. I have Ironman Cozumel in a few weeks, six actually, but I do feel like a chapter has closed and I am moving towards 2012 now. I feel good about taking the lessons I have learned and applying them forward, with some added joy. More Aloha, less Pau.

Thank you Chuckie for helping me stand on the start line, and for all your guidance in the good times and the bad.


Kona 2011 Run

As I headed out of transition I immediately knew I was in trouble. I was feeling hot and nauseous and my tummy felt mucho ill. But I felt like my splits were right where I wanted them to be. I ran through the hot corner, and saw my family. It was great to hear all of their voices loud and clear and they were full of good jobs and way to gos.

After my first mile I could tell that I needed a port a pottie and I was getting in a tight spot. I went through 2 aid stations looking for one and never saw one. I also started drinking coke and I remember thinking “who starts Coke at mile two, you are so screwed.” I remember running past a few port-a-potties on our training runs, but couldn’t find one.

I was now officially in a tight spot, and needed a potty like several minutes ago. I started looking for a bush. It took a mile to find one, still no port a pottie. I found a bush and I hated every minute of it. It felt like my entire intestinal track just turned itself inside out. In my mind all I can say is “Oh crap oh crap oh crap.”

I got out and running again, only about 1 minute delay for the pottie stop. I will remind you here that the only time I have had to use the potty in an Ironman is Kona. Kona is such a different beast. I can not quite describe it but everything here is a little more “real” and you are made to pay for every mistake you make.

After the pit stop I went through a really bad period. I have never felt this bad in an Ironman and the only time I have felt worse was at the end of the Moab 100 miler. I was hurting and I can’t quite describe it other than just feeling ill and crappy. My mind played many tricks with me during this time. I remember thinking “This is going to be a 14 hour day” and “My luck has run out.” None of these phrases are things you want going through your head.

I remember using every trick I had in the book to keep going strong. I looked at my watch and picked a heart rate to nail. I kept myself accountable to that heart rate. I started chanting crazy things. “One and done” was in there, “PR or ER” was in there. There was a particularly sadistic section of “Eat the Pain.” I don’t know where I come up with this stuff, but it just pops into my head.

In front of Lava Java Troy was there and I looked at him and said “I feel horrible.” There was nothing poor Troy could say, by the time it registered I was gone. However, the guy running next to me said “You need to eat, get down calories.” For some reason I believed him. First I had to get up Palani. Oh Palani, I think I ran 10 minute pace up Palani. It was really bad. I saw Keith there just before Palani and told him how I was feeling. He told me to keep going, to be strong. You can read so much in the eyes of Ironman athletes. It’s like you can see into my soul in this photo. All the work, all the training, it doesn’t mean a darn thing when you are out there. Trow it out the window, and go chase your pain.

I didn’t feel very strong but once on the Queen K I started to pound the calories. I had been taking Coke since mile 2 but now I was drinking Coke, Perform, eating oranges, and pretty much having a buffet out there. By mile 13ish I was coming around and starting to feel much better. Once that happened I tried to put my nose down and RUN.

The hills out there are pretty big and it’s hard to keep consistent mile splits but I just tried to do what I could. The Natural Energy Lab was a lot more fun this year as I was feeling a tad bit better than last year. I saw Kendra ahead of me at the turn around, she had 2 minutes on me and was screaming at me to come get her. I tried. I tried for 8 miles, but I never even caught sight of her. Two Kompetitive Edge girls finished within 2 minutes of each other. We were proud of that one.

The last part back through the Queen K I just tried to stay strong and run on the edge. This race is such a hard race. As I write this, “hard” is all I can think. It was hard. I tried to stay strong, talk nice to myself, never loose hope, and doing all of that was really hard. I felt that sub 10 was not a possibility any more but I thought sub 10:10 still was so I worked hard towards that goal.

The final mile was quite sad. I ran hard up the Iron War hill and I passed a lady that wasn’t in my age group, she was 35-39 and a guy on the side of the road was telling her she had to run strong to keep her 3rd place. That was hard for me to hear. I knew I was in 10th in my age group, and she is a few years older than me and was in 3rd. I was actually envious. Add to that how much I hurt and let’s just say the F-bombs were flying all willy nilly around in my head.

This is what you look like when you see the finish line…stay away from the light! I look like I am running to my death and I’m happy about it.

The girl stayed with me and then we made the turn down Palani. I ran really hard but it all hurt a lot and it was the first time I had this feeling that I might not make it. I made the turn on Kuakini and I knew I needed to conserve myself. I was not doing well, my vision was not acting normal and I had flashbacks of Paula N-F sitting at the banyon tree with her shoes off.

Turning onto Hualalai I got passed back by the girl that wasn’t in my age group and I barely cared. I was so glad to see the Banyon tree on Ali’i and I was still a bit nervous about making it. I did make it, and I tried to do a little jump at the finish but I was not really successful at getting both feet off the ground.

The most fake smile that I could muster…and it was completely fake. I wanted to lay down in the fetal position right there.

I was in bad shape and my catchers had their hands full with me for about 10 minutes. At all the other IMs they seem to head you toward medical if you are “on the edge” but at Kona they seem to not do this. They try to get you to come around and then hand you to family. I saw Grant and Kendra and was released to them. I want to post a picture of Kendra at the finish line because it’s awesome. She went 10:06 and was so solid all frickin’ day. Amazing!

I was exhausted. But within a few minutes the endorphins set in and I was smiling and happy. 10:08:44 this year in Kona, 10th in my AG, 19th amateur woman, 39th female, 536th overall. A years worth of work specifically for this race and it netted me 9 minutes. 4 in the swim, 4 on the bike, 30 seconds in transition, and 30 seconds on the run. I’ll take it.

In the video I said I wanted to flirt with the 10 hour mark. Well, I flirted, and this year it turned me down. But that’s ok, I’ll be back again to give it another go. This race is one of the most demanding and RAW experiences you can go though as an endurance athlete. You find out what you are made of out there, you find your demons and the chinks in your armor are revealed.

Congratulations to all of those that I raced with, you all showed so much grit out there. Thank you to my sponsors, Kompetitive Edge, TYR, Quintana Roo, GoalZero, Punk Rock Racing, Love Grown Granola, First Endurance, Nathan, Tri-Massage, and Nuun. Thank you to my family/friends who traveled so far to cheer for me out there: Troy, Annie, mom, dad, Norm, Grace, T, Kyle, Kirk, Melissa, Keith, Nancy, Jared, Peter, Mark.

Thanks Michelle, for being my Partner in Crime, my PIC, and congratulations on being #1111 and going 11:11:11. Here’s to many more!


Kona 2011 Bike

As I headed out on the bike I swore that the course was different than last year. I didn’t remember going by Target and then up on Queen K before the out and back on Kuakini. But there we were, doing just that. There is no way to tell how your legs are doing just yet, I just focused on getting my heart rate under control from the mayhem that is “transition.”

My plan this year was much the same as last year. Simmer the heck down until about mile 40 of the bike, then start to build my effort. Lastly come home strong, with my head down and my legs going hard. It worked well last year, why not do it again this year? I do realize that every year is different, what the day dishes out is different, but I had to have a plan, however, I do recognize that plans change with conditions.

The out and back on Kuakini I got to see where the various people I knew were, and how much time I had lost in the swim. I was pleased and felt like I had a leg up over last year.  I also got to see ALL my family members screaming their heads off out there for me. I saw and heard their booming voices and I loved every second of it. Heading out on the Queen K, I settled into my effort and just started ticking off the miles. I remember feeling like it was a bit windy but nothing super bad. It felt a bit hotter. I wasn’t nearly as excited and pumped, in fact, I went through a bit of a lull in those first miles. I just likened it to all the training rides I’ve done. Sometimes it takes me a little while to get going on those too. Also, I know that Chuckie does not train us for our best day, he trains us to excel on a less than ideal day. I wasn’t too concerned.

The ride to Kawaihae was fairly uneventful. One guy made friends with me and he was really trying his hardest to strike up a conversation every time he passed me or I passed him. I was trying not to be snobby, but I’ll admit I was a little cold in return. It’s just that I know it’s a long day and I try not to go out of my way to waste any additional energy. It takes enough focus to keep executing your plan without being social. I wasn’t quite feeling 100% myself so I was trying to just focus on the task at hand.

I forgot that it was 20 miles from the turn to Kawaihae to Hawi, for some reason I thought it was like 11 or 16 or something. I saw Drew Scott at the side of the road during this section and I felt really bad for him. After all the wonderful juju the island has given his father, it was sad to see that the juju didn’t carry on down the generations. He was on the side with what I believe was a flat, and he had full on puppy dog eyes going on.

The climb up to Hawi was easier this year, no cross gusts, but the last 3 or so miles to Hawi was insanity, worse than last year. I got a chance to see where the leaders in my age group were and it was awesome to see that they had already put 30+ minutes on me (ouch). I just continued doing my thing. I can only do what I can do with the cards I have in my hand. I spent a lot of time with my head down, uber focused.

I pulled into special needs, replaced my bottles and shoved a bag of gummies up my shorts. On the way down from Hawi was when I started to wonder why I was feeling a little off. I just felt a little ill, but was continuing to try to get my EFS down. I craved water and coke, which is a scary thing to be starting at mile 65 on the bike. I kept feeling my tummy to see if it was poochy… a clear sign that I put too much nutrition down the hatch. It wasn’t and I was relieved, but I had that ill feeling. It wasn’t too bad though, I have felt much much worse so  I continued on with the plan as scheduled.

I came down from Hawi as hard as I could, I passed PIC in here and that was a freakin’ godsend. I was at a point where I really needed the pick me up. She looked very strong, very steady, and consistent. I asked how she was and she said good and asked how I was. I told her I loved her and she said she loved me back (insert your own joke here). Just like that we separated and had to continue with our own plans. Mine involved staring at a solid white line.

The last 32 miles of the course is where I try to nail it home. I did just that, putting my head down whenever I could and just focusing on the Garmin and the white line. I tried to get the heart rate up as high as I could, which is never that high at that point in the day. I tried to tuck and be as small as possible. Last year I didn’t get passed at all in this section, but this year I seemed to get passed quite a bit. My tummy was still off feeling but I was ignoring it and just focusing on going to my pain cave, executing my plan. I was grabbing coke and water, and trying to sip my EFS, but my focus was on riding hard over all else.

I really wanted to ride 7 minutes faster than last year. 4 in the swim, 7 on the bike, 7 on the run, and the 10 hour mark is mine. So all along I was doing the math and fighting for those 7 minutes…but it looked like 4..maybe 5 was going to be the reality. As I rode along the Queen K at 24 miles an hour, push push pushing my way back to the pier I gave it all I had until the very last moment. I think 4 minutes was all I got off last year. 5:26 I believe.

But I tried darn it, I tried. I remember thinking…4 won’t do…that means you need to run 3:20. But I added the 4 to the previous 4 from the swim to make 8 and I filed that away.

I handed off my bike to a lovely volunteer (love that part) and I ran around through transition. It’s quite the run in there. I felt my legs and thought they were doing pretty good. I was excited to get through transition and get the heck out of there. Once in transition I got a chair this time. Put on the compression socks and my shoes, grabbed my hat and race number and ran out of there. Socks, shoes, hat, number is all I put in my bag.

And now the real work begins.



Kona 2011 swim

I slept like a log. Seriously, a dead, floating log, that was me on Friday night. I have never had a better night of sleep the night before a race. Who knew? I think it was because everything was done, the bike was in the barn, the bags hung and done.

In the morning PIC and I were both up and ready to go. We had the typical breakfast (Justins, Naan, Love Grown Granola, Coconut milk) and hit the road. We found a perfect parking spot and headed over to body marking. Everything in the morning went very smoothy this year. It was cool to have Michelle with me and we even found Jen and had her with us too.

I had it all planned out. As the pros got in the water, we sauntered over to the edge of the pier and hung there. Just after we did that they held the AGers behind and corralled them in. We had front row views of the action and escaped being corralled in a nervous crowd of athletes. My dad even found us with his BIG lens from like a half a mile away.

After the PROs were off and swimming we AGers were let into the water. Jen, PIC and I got in right away so we could find good spots and not be rushed. It was flawless and I think we all entered the water pretty calm. I swam over to my family on the sea wall and said hello, they like that, it makes them feel good (and me too). Lots of blowing kisses and I could see the excitement in all of their eyes.

Last year I found a canoe to hang onto and I headed out to the do the same this year. Honestly, I think it was the same canoe. The water was warmer this year, but there were some nice waves and swells that weren’t there last year. I’m the one half out of the water.

The swells were calming down over the last few days, but it wasn’t glassy by any stretch of the imagination. I always feel that I do better in adversity so I was excited that there was a tad bit of chop (is this really me talking). Check out those waves!

I oscillated between doing warm up drills and hanging onto the canoe. Karlyn taught me this awesome chicken drill that I totally did to stay warm (and scare off my competition). As they started counting things down, I started to get excited.

I lined up left of the car about 30 feet and just happened to line up next to Terry Nugent who trains at my same club. That was crazy and it calmed my nerves to have a nice chat with him on the line. I ran into my teammates Grant and Kendra as well, and we shared hugs and good lucks.

Kinda abruptly the cannon sounded and we all took off.

I got out well, smooth. I can always tell when I have had First Endurance PreRace before the swim because I feel like a rabid squirrel. Go go go!!!!! SWIM!!!

I didn’t get messed with too much, which was lucky. Starting on the line next to a very fast 6 foot 5 inch 200+ Terry Nugent is not the best idea for me, but I didn’t feel a thing and before I knew it the first buoy was passing by. The cool thing, or bad thing, about Kona is that the crowd never thins out. It’s wall to wall people the entire swim. I found feet and clung to them with all I had.

At one point a guy on my right was headed left and I did this cool roll over the back of him trick that Karlyn taught me.  It worked like a charm and I was back on the feet that I had been on.

The turn buoys were especially crazy but I made it around them using the hip trick that Karlyn taught me. There was a sail boat at the turn around and I was thinking that I wish they had a race clock on the boat. It would be cool to see your half way split.

Around the boat I went and then headed back to shore. This felt long, but it always does. I found a few sets of feet and stuck to them. A few times I got pummeled by people, always men. The women (pink caps) seems to swim offensively at Kona, maneuvering their way around and barely touching anyone.

The way back also seemed to be very swelly. There was lots of rockin’ and bobbin’ around and I remember wondering how many people were getting sick or losing their breakfast in the water. It was a bit of a mosh-pit at times.

As we merged along the pier things got especially feisty. They really create a bottleneck here and people are tired and thrashing about. When my hand hit the sand I was more than ready to be done with the swim. I’m in the back with the pink cap, and green goggle strap.

I ran up the stairs, keeping my footing this time and I glimpsed at the clock. I saw a 1:06 and I remember nodding to myself and saying “That’ll do Sonja.” I stuck “4 minutes” in my brain (I swam 1:10 last year), let the time go, and ran into the change tent, collecting my bag along the way.

In the change tent there wasn’t any chairs, so I dumped my stuff on a table, grabbed what I needed (I had a race belt and sunglasses in the bag…that’s it) and put my speed suit and goggles/cap on top of the bag. I asked a volunteer to pack it up, she nodded and I ran out of there.

I got to my bike, put on my helmet, and ran my bike down down down to the entrance of the pier.

Step one was done…now onto the next!


It’s Go Time

A huge thank you to everyone for all the well wishes over the past few days. I want to thank my friends, family, coach and sponsors for all the support and generosity over this last year. It’s been a lot of work getting here, but well worth the journey. Thank you all for allowing me to do this sport in the capacity that I do. I will think of you amongst the lava.

Here is the video from the TYR house. I’m pretty sure they won’t be asking dork 1 and dork 2 back…

PIC 1 and PIC 2

It’s underpants run day!! The best day of the year! It also means this blog should be mostly photos and less “talking”, which I’m sure you will all appreciate. Michelle and I have been so excited about our play on Thing 1 and Thing 2…except PIC1 and PIC2 all week. A huge thanks goes out to Jamie for making our PIC logos, and to Ryan at KE for screening everything on.  We needed to get a swim in first so we headed out in our PIC1&2 outfits. We were already getting comments and looks. We went to the coffee boat and had a sip and then headed back in.

The water is quite crazy right now. The swells are pretty big and you get quite tossed around out there. I’m okay with it though, if I stays until race day, I’ll be okay. I tried to stay with PIC today but we got a little separated, once when I thought I saw something jelly-like…stopped to look and there went her feet, another time because of a near collision. Whew!

After the swim we got suited up for the underwear run. It was so much fun, like SO much fun. I think our costumes were perfect for PIC and I, we had fun taking hundreds of pictures with all sorts of people and everyone thought we did a good job with them. We felt like celebrities. So, here are all the photos I can find, we tried to take shots with other people who were dressed up too. ENJOY!!!!!

After the run we headed to Quintana Roo. Brad HOOKED us up and they got us chairs to sit down while they worked away on our bikes. Thank you QR, Mac, Brad, and Kristi!!

While waiting for the bikes we had a great chat with Pro athlete Heather Wurtelealong with First Endurace Robert Kunz. Heather will also be rocking the EFS out there on the lava fields, and she has won St. George and Lake Placid this year using FE products. It works!!! Oh, and way back when I was first turned on to First Endurance I have to thank Heathers husband Treveor for taking the time to explain the entire line to me. I’ve never looked back.

We didn’t want Heather to feel too tall…look at PIC and I, we are on our toes…

OK, this was COOL. One of the highlights of the day was when John Cobb approached me and introduced himself because I ride his saddle (insert any one of several awesome jokes here). I actually was riding my bike several weeks ago and was thinking what I would say if I ever met him (odd…I know). I got to ask him a ton of questions and that was really neat for me!

Next up was the TYR house for our pre race interview, and lots of goodies from them. I felt like such a sponsored athlete. The TYR folks were just so kind, and giving, and sweet to us. Thanks to each of them for their generosity with us. PIC and I did a fun little interview with them, we will have to track it down!

After that…and well, yet another Acai Bowl, PIC and I headed to the house to officially get off our feet. We tried to lay low but it was hard. Lots of chatting.

This evening was the welcome dinner. It was awesome…until the torrential downpour. That was wild and we had to cut out and seek shelter.

This welcome dinner marked the turning point. Things are very real now, no more “ooh, I’m in Kona.” It’s serious. It’s time to be relentlessly diligent. There are people who have raced this race 27 times, Dave Scotts son is here for goodness sake. Lou Hollander is 81 this year, and still looks about 60. The underwear run started the day off whimsically, the welcome dinner ended it seriously. 2 more sleeps…


Fords Feet

Today was a much more relaxed day. PIC and I just needed a day of extreeme downtime so we put a moratorium on any “extras” today and just stuck to our previous schedule.

We started off with a swim. I think the water was the most choppy and crazy today of any of the days I’ve been out in the water. It was Jen’s first longer swim today and the waves were crashing all over the place and it was WILD!

We decided to start off with a coffee boat visit to get the day started off on the right foot. We ran into Brave Mandy at the boat. I only run into Mandy at Kona. She is such a cute little thing, I wish we had the time to sit there and chit chat all morning.

The coffee was good, but the Erin Bakers cookies were even better. Super Yum. I love the people at the coffee boat too, they are just the sweetest, taking photos for us and attending to all the crazy triathletes whims.

Jen, PIC and I then headed out at our seperate speeds, I was headed for the third buoy, PIC a little farther, and Jen was out for 10 more minutes. I used the time to focus on some of the tips from the clinic yesterday. Honestly, I felt the strongest in the water today, I hope to build on that feeling over the next few days!

At the 3rd buoy I had a chat with Regan. He’s a retired local and comes out and volunteers in his kayak to make sure the swimmers stay safe. Even though the Ironman says the course is not “lifeguarded” during the days leading up to Kona, they still have 5-10 kayakers out there making sure the swimmers are safe in the morning. Regan is rad!!!

I was too busy chatting with Regan that PIC had turned around and was back at the third buoy. Rah-Roh. PIC was feeling a bit iffy from the chop, and she was feeling like her breaky might come back up. While this was quite a bummer for her, it slowed her down quite and bit and I was able to fight for my life to stay on her feet all the way back. This was definitely the HIGHLIGHT of my day. I’ve been swimming out here alone all week and it was so unbelievably cool to swim with PIC. It made me want to get faster so that we could do it again. THANK YOU PIC!!

After the swim we hit up the Ironman store, and then headed to the Acai Bar again. Seriously, I’m going to be at this place every day. I so totally love it!

After refueling we had some errands to run at the expo. Both PIC and I needed new compression socks for race day. We also wanted to stop by QR and NUUN to see what they were up to.

We ended up trying out a pair of Yurbuds…and then each buying a pair of Yurbuds. I’ve been hearing the hype about them on twitter and wanted to try them out. They are cool, your music is really clear and great quality, but they are not noise canceling, so you can hear people talk to you and you can hear if you use them while riding.

After that it was R&R time. We lazed around for the rest of the day

At about 3 we got ourselves together for a trip to the Natural Energy Lab. It’s a tough portion of the course and worth getting a view of. I wanted PIC and Jen to see it so we spent some time there and then headed out for our bike ride.

PIC mentioned that we needed to take some time during this ride to pull over and give thanks to Madame Pele. We found a great spot half way through our ride, gently set the bikes down at the side of the road, climbed up into the LAVA and took some quiet time.

It was needed, just some time to sit quietly with the wind whipping and the heat rising off the lava, just some time to give thanks, to appreciate, to recognize that we are simply visitors to this land. Hawaii is a special place.

PIC and I did a bit of slightly peppy but still many many beats away from IM tempo session on the way back. We took turns leading, took turns feeling the wind in our wheels. Sitting on her wheel I was reminded just how strong she is, and how smooth she rides, Michelle is so strong. I couldn’t have asked for a better training partner all these years.

As we pulled in to the car, done for the day, happy, thankful, I was starting to get quite a bit of pep in my step. The ants are starting to crawl, I’m feeling the jitters and the nervous energy begin. Thank goodness tomorrow is the underpants run, that should take everything down a level…or five. Michelle and I have REALLY prepared for the underpants run…..but you’ll have to wait for tomorrow to see photos.We have a costume of sorts planned, can anyone guess what we are going as?


Acai Yummy Yummy

The best thing to do early in the morning during Ironman week is to head out to Ali’i drive for a morning run. It’s hilarious! There are crazy athletes everywhere and they are running insane paces with very little clothing on. We fit right in…except for the insane pace. What we lacked in pace we made up for in nudity. We saw famous people, we say someone who has won the Big Dance 6 times, with his son, who I believe is racing this year. That must be surreal for him!

After the jog, and some food we headed to the swim start to meet up with Karlyn for an open water swim clinic focused on the Ironman swim course. There were just three of us in the clinic which meant awesome one on one (or one on three I guess) personal attention. We learned so much and now I think PIC and I feel really solid about where we are starting, how we are starting, and we have some great tips and tricks to make things easier.

If you are in the Denver area, Karlyn is teaching a swim form clinic Oct 28 or 29th in Highlands Ranch. It’s a cool opportunity to learn from someone who currently holds 47 FINA Masters World and over 95 United States Masters National records. wow!

After the clinic PIC and I headed over to registration to get our goodies. This is always a really exciting time because it’s when the Ironman people bestow on you the famous “wristband.” It’s how all of us tri-aliens know the other people who are from our planet. I kid. Honestly, it’s just that level of “wow, I made it, I’m racing” that they tie to your wrist.

The volunteers at registration were great, just the nicest folks from all over the world. So awesome! It was really neat to go through it all with Michelle. It was fun to see her get excited and giddy. A lot of hard work went into getting here and you can see it in so many peoples eyes.

On our way home PIC and I just decided on a whim to hit up this Acai Bar. OMG, we both agreed that even though we had THE BEST DAY, the Acai bowl pretty much took the cake. This place was amazing and I am officially making these at home.

After the bowl we had Michelle Simmons over for lunch which was great. She is superb company and we ate like starving triathletes. It was nice to talk about race plans, and just generally geek out about triathlon.

Once Michelle left it was time for us to go pick up our wheels from Race Day Wheels. Marc hooked us up big time and now the bikes are sporting fancy sets of Zipps and they look gorgeous. Black and White and fast all over.

We had to go test them out so Jen, PIC and I went out on the Queen K for some time and felt the smooth ride of the new wheels. Now it really feest like race week .

After the ride we took care of some errands, had a nice dinner with teammates Grant and Kendra and are ready to hit the hay. I thought today would be a mellow day, but it was packed and I’m ready to go to bed. Things start to really get serious tomorrow. It’s game time all the way. No more swimming with the turtles, no more running naked down Ali’i, it’s time to focus!


Honu (turtles)!

Today was all about the OCEAN. The day started off with an awesome swim with lotsa lotsa electronic friends who are now friends for real! It was neat to meet the great girls that I connect with via twitter and Facebook. Such speedsters they all were, and just kind and nice. I love the community that comes with triathlon.

Michelle, Michelle, Beth, Libby, Katie and I

All of the them are divine swimmers so they took off to “kill the course” and I took off behind them to meander around the course, sometimes haphazardly, sometimes offcourse, but always with a smile on my face.

I had a good swim today, I felt like my body is starting to come around and feel more like normal. That last big block was a doozy and I’m loving all this swimming to bring things back to normal. This is my view from the middle of the ocean on the course.

and underwater…

Haha! There is this section out there where there is nothing on the bottom but sand. I don’t like this section as much as the others. I can sight really well when there is stuff underwater to follow, but when it’s just sand I tend to get lost more often. The swells were big today so most the time you couldn’t see the next buoy when you looked up. It was awesome. Apparently a swell is coming in and the waves are getting big. Fun times!

After swimming we had a great brunch with Peter (green hat). Peter is coached by PIC and it was great to sit around with him and talk abut life and sport. Great guy, great conversation! Plus, I threw together a pretty yummy brunch to boot.

Next up it was time for PIC to get a little joggy jog on. I went with her on my bike..while wearing a dress. I feel like it’s important for me to act like “one of those stupid triathletes” every once in awhile…today was that day. Riding in a dress is an interesting experience. We traveled just a few short miles but were treated to an Ironman Perform aid station and a Cytomax aid station. You won’t go thirsty on Ali’i drive, that’s for sure!!

Next PIC and I were really in the mood for some fresh fruit. We packed up snorkel gear and headed in search of a fruit stand. We were NOT disapointed. We shared a coconut…very romantic. We even put the lime in the coconut…and drank it all up!

We are now armed with pineapple, sweet potatoes, avocado, bananas, and rambutan.

Next up was massive snorkel time. Last year I never did see any honu so we went on a honu search. We were successful. Here is Michelle ready to find honu.

And me…very ready!

Sure enough… HONU!!! They were as awesome as I hoped and just put a big smile on my face.

What an awesome day. We are headed out to ride and then dinner after that. One last thing for today. TYR was at the swim today handing out their new goggle that hasn’t even hit the market. I swam in them today, I don’t even think they have a name, but I totally loved them. They were comfortable and had good peripheral vision which is great when fish abound. Thanks TYR for supporting the sport like you do.