2011 Ironman Cozumel Bike

I got off and biking and right away my Garmin is showing 87 heart rate. I adjusted my strap, moved it around a little and waited for the Garmin to pick it up. Once it did it said 170…oh my lanta! Get that puppy DOWN!

I relaxed, got in some nutrition, and tried to simmer. It took a good solid 10 minutes to get down to 160 (still too high) and another 10 to see 155. My goodness, high numbers I haven’t seen in some time.

The IM Cozumel bike course is three loops. The first loop is just about 33 miles, and then then next two are 39ish. You ride the only road around the island and T2 is about 6 miles away from T1. Does that make sense? I always try to be detailed here because I know many of you read through these race reports before you do the race in future years.

So the first loop you get to see all the terrain you will pass through two more times. Apparently the winds this year were much worse than last year. They were tough! I cruised along through the bushes for several miles and then hit the coast. It was gorgeous, but I barely enjoyed it because it was race day and because it was quite windy. I was able to stay completely aero the whole time, but the wind was a sort of cross head type of situation. There was a 22 mile section of the loop that I rode between 18-19 miles per hour. SLOW!

Once you hit an orange building you make a left hand turn and then are treated to a “Weeeeeeeeeee” huge tail wind. The road is good here and I flew at 24-25 miles per hour through this entire section. On this section there was an official that had been driving around near me for about 5 miles. Being my 6th IM, I’m pretty used to the drafting situations that you see in an IM.

There are basically two kinds. The pack dynamic, and the blatant solo drafter. The pack is where people see others drafting and they sort of hang around amongst it, not particularly trying to draft, but not working towards staying legal either. These are the ones who fly by in the group and they are coasting. It’s an unfortunate dynamic, and I understand that it’s hard to physically go backwards and watch your HR drop in order to stay legal, but sometimes that’s what you have to do (to stay legal…it’s a choice). It’s a lot of drafting by association that tends to create the packs that are so despised.

Then there is the blatant drafter. This is the person that sees someone go by them and literally and purposefully gets on their wheel. I saw quite a bit of this in the windy sections of the course, especially on the third loop. I see how it happens, people get tired, someone goes by strong, the officials haven’t been seen for hours, and in a moment of weakness they jump on the wheel and ride it for awhile. It happens. I had this happen a few times out there (people get on my wheel), sometimes (most the time) you don’t even know it. Usually I just turn around a give a sort of half evil look and they back off. It’s not my job to police anyone out there, but sometimes it’s just not cool.

Anyways, I bring this up because it’s always a question with a flat course…how’s the drafting? And the truth is, yes, it’s there. We had an official doing a great job the first lap, and then I didn’t see anyone on laps 2 or 3. There is drafting there, however, like I have always maintained, if you want to stay legal, it’s completely possible to do so. You aren’t going to get caught up in anything you didn’t consciously decide to get caught up in.

Okay, onwards! So coming into town we still had the official with us. He was writing red cards when needed and was doing a smashing job in my opinion. At the end of the loop you come into town. This was awesome, lots of cheering, I think everyone in Cozumel comes out to the course to support the athletes. Lots of noise makers and the kids will run forever to try to catch your discarded bottle. Super cute!

Still photos are a poor representation of reality when it comes to drafting, there is that foreshortening effect. People were actually staying pretty legal through here and you can see the official in the red shirt just up ahead.

I saw Troy through here and that lifted my spirits.

Loops 2 and 3 were tough. My heart rate was running much higher than normal. I knew I biked 1:40 for the first mini loop and I was hoping for a couple of 1:52 or so loops to finish it off. If I had a shot at the 10 hour mark, I felt I needed to ride 5:25ish. It was tough. I think I over biked just a tad here, and I definitely rode the knife edge a lot closer than I have in any Ironman. It was just a super windy day and you had to fight that. The end of loop 2 it rained a bit on me on the east side of the island. On the fast section I wasn’t seeing the 24-25 mph, but only 22-23.

Loop 2 ended up in 1:55 and I worked quite hard just to make loop 3 a 1:55. I hemmed and hawed about stopping at special needs on loop 2. I wondered if I would regret stopping and wasting that time at the end of the day. They always say Ironman is a long day, but I felt like it was all going to be so close, and I couldn’t waste any time. I stopped anyways, knowing that using my nutrition (First Endurance EFS) and getting some cold bottles (I froze them the night before) would help my run if anything.

Special needs was great, they did a good job with it, helping me big time, grabbing my bag, opening it for me. They were awesome and supportive.

I had an interesting exchange with a guy who was pretty peeved about a drafting pack that went by. I had a really nice chat with him about how staying legal is a choice and it’s doable. He said “well those are the guys who are probably going to get the Kona slots.” There was a woman in the group and I said “well she is in my AG and I’m racing her for a slot but the run will decide it all and I plan to keep it legal.” After that he dropped back and he continued to ride legal. We passed each other throughout the last lap and it was really nice to have him go by every once in awhile.

As I came in on lap 3 I was computing the numbers and I thought I would be 5:27…maybe 5:26. But then I hit 112 and was just turning into town. I watched the minutes click by. The bike came in at 112.89 on my watch, and that took me over to the 5:30 (5:30.39). I had my work cut out for me on the run.

As I came to the dismount line I was out of my shoes and totally ready for a perfect dismount. The dismount area was very narrow, with room for one person. The guy in font of me (who I had the conversation with prior) stopped literally 20 feet before the line….and then I ran into him. I was not expecting him to stop so far before the line. Our bikes got tangled, we were stuck together. It was awesome (NOT). We untangled and I ran into T2, handing my bike off along the way.

T2 was awesome, very short, very easy to get my bag. I was the only one in the tent. I put my shoes on, grabbed my hat and watch strap and was out of there so crazy fast (57 seconds).

In retrospect the bike was quite a bit more challenging than I expected. I thought I would be able to ride a similar time to Kona, even given the wind. This is indeed a flat course but depending on the conditions, it can be a rough time out there. I felt mentally prepared to handle the task at hand, I flirted a bit more with the edge than I usually do, and had no real way of knowing how much it would come back to haunt.


2011 IM Cozumel Swim

We left our little house at 4:30am because I was nervous about finding a taxi that early in the morning. 5 minutes later we were in a taxi (needless worry) and we arrived at Chankanaab (swim start) at 5:00am…30 minutes before transition even opened. Well! I didn’t know it would all be so easy!!

Troy, Annie and I hung out, I was really calm, not flustered, just mellow. At 5:30 transition opened and I aired up my tires. I also helped a few guys air up their own tires. They had this tiny little pump that worked really well but the pressure gauge was too small for either of them to read, so I was their eyes.

I got body marked…SUPER COOL here, instead of age on the calf, they write a letter that corresponds to your age group. I was “Q.” I turned in my morning clothes bag, got down to the swim holding pen and realized I still had my crocs on, and also that I had forgotten a gel, my Prerace/EFS combo or even some water. I completely forgot to pack nutrition for before the swim. Doh.

I flagged Troy over (minor miracle this happened) and handed him the crocs and stole some Gatorade off him. I saw Michael Lovato (who won the whole she-bang) and Amanda. I met Sarah Piampiano for the first time (nice work on your first pro race, takin’ home the bacon) and I snagged some sunscreen off of Tami Ritchie (because I forgot mine), at least that’s who I think it was. Thank you!! This is my “I’m a mess this morning” face.

Before I knew it we were headed on the dock and instructed to get in the water. I knew exactly how I wanted all of this to go down thanks to the super trusty advise of Kim Schwabenbauer.

I was one of the first 50 people in the water and I went straight over to where I wanted to be on the line and then grabbed onto the underwater fencing (AKA dolphin cage…no comment here). Lots of others did this, but my spot was the bomb. I bonded with the folks around me as we huddled together shivering in the 84 degree water from nerves.

They said “ocho minutos” and then 5 minutes later “siete minutos” (??) and then thirty seconds later “tres minutos”. I got off the fence and swam to the front line. I got wicked stung by a jelly treading water there. These are seriously phantom jellyfish, you can not see the buggers. And then the horn.

I was not touched for 10 minutes. Not once. Totally calm clear water for some time. The current was opposite years past with easy northbound, hard southbound. I got into my rhythm the first section, the turn buoys were pretty mellow. I found some great feet for the long haul southbound and hung on for life defending my territory. The new stroke I have been adopting has a wider entry and I love it for open water racing because you defend your space better in the pack.

At the third turn buoy we had a major snafu. For some reason, in the span of about 20 yards the entire group got pulled 50 meters inland. It was odd, all of the sudden we all had to make a right hand turn and swim straight away from shore to make it around the third turn bouy. Once we made the turn, the current was so strong that it only took a few strokes to get to the fourth turn buoy.

Race staff getting a bit too close to one of the pros in my opinion…Troy said this was a big issue the pros had to deal with.

The last quarter of the swim went pretty well for me. I got stung by quite a few jellies. Also, I was swimming on a girls feet and she had used a safety pin to help keep her timing chip strap on, well the safety pin had come undone and I hit it and it ripped a slice down my pinky. Not that big of a deal but I did spend a few minutes wondering if there were sharks in these waters, and then I reminded myself that they can smell fear.

Back into the dock they had built a set of stairs for us. I plopped myself up on those bad boys and crawled up them. I saw 58 minutes on the clock and got a big grin from that (official: 58:22). Okay, folks, this is a notoriously fast swim, and this year was no joke. I don’t know if it’s the current, or it’s just short, but every year it’s fast. Still, a fast swim is a nice treat, and I’ll take it!!

Into T1, I didn’t anticipate needing to communicate in Spanish, not sure why I didn’t think of this. I thought it was odd that there was only one other girl in the tent. That’s never happened in my life, usually I can’t even find a seat after the swim. I forgot the word for “help” in spanish (ayuda) so I was left to my own devises. They made me pack my bag up and take it with me to my bike rack, that was new, usually I just leave all my junk in T1 and run out.

I apologize, the “TYR” on the front of my swim skin came off, but I am indeed in my TYR Torque, and I love that thing, so fast!!

I grabbed the bike, ran through the MAZE, and got to the mount line. My shoes were on my pedals and they had hit a few bumps and spun around on the run through T2. I went to get on my bike and my chain was off. I put that back on, got the bike sorted out, got on it, and off I went. Small mistake…but they add up!

Locked and Loaded

While I am busy packing my IM bags, and sorting out all the last minute details (what details?) these two are living the life of luxury. Yes, we have a hammock in our living room. A lot of the locals do the hammock thing here, when we walk through the town in the evening and look into open doors you can see living rooms full of people swinging around in the them and socializing.

I think this has been the most relaxing Ironman ever for Troy and Annie. They know they have a big day ahead of them tomorrow and they are resting up for it too. Luckily our place is 4 blocks (short little tiny blocks) to the run course, and 1 block to the bike course. Unfortunately it’s about 4-5 miles  to the swim start. They will have an early morning getting out there to watch and then getting back home via taxi. However, after that, they can use the house as home base and things should be rather easy for the rest of the day.

I dropped my bike today at T1. On the way there I got a great view of the swim course from the northern most turn buoy.

It was a zoo to check in at 11. It was supposed to be #0-200 but there were all sorts of people there who wanted their bikes to win the “first in T1” award. I think I won the 1st one OUT of T1 award. It took me like 8 minutes to drop my stuff and get out of there. I had no desire to linger.

My bike should have a nice day in transition. It’s right next to a palapa and the beautiful ocean. I though about racking her the other way so she had a good view, but I thought that would just confuse the volunteers.

I keep the transition bags simple. It is so hot and humid here that I don’t think it’s advisable to leave nutrition in the bike and run bags. So for me in the bike bag is helmet, sunglasses and race number. They let you leave your shoes on the bike here. Then in the run bag goes shoes, socks, hat, and Garmin strap. That’s it! Oh, except I tape a replacement set of 1 day contacts to the inside of my bike bag in case I loose them in the swim.

Transition is a total maze here. Check out all the carpets going every which way. I love it. My spot is super duper easy to get to, and I’ve got that palapa to look for too that my bike is in front of. The place was very well numbered and I don’t think people will have too much trouble getting to their bike as long as they keep their wits about them.

I am posting this picture as a reminder to myself. I keep having this “thought” (think panic session) that I put my bike stuff in my run bag and my run stuff in my bike bag. This photos proves to me that my helmet is in there and this is my bike bag. I think it’s because I don’t have PIC with me here that I keep second guessing things. Usually we keep an eye out for each other and provide that listening ear for the “panic comments.”


Sonja: “Did I put my helmet in my bike bag or my run bag”

Michelle: “Bike bag, you are fine”


Sonja: “Did I put my helmet in my bike bag or my run bag”

Sonja: “crap, I don’t remember, did I do it right, I think I did it right, wait what if I didn’t, should I go back and check, that’s $20 in taxi fees, no you did it right, I think you did it right, omg what if I didn’t do it right, my race would be over, could I find and extra helmet in T1, no they wouldn’t let you, I would be screwed, I’m sure you did it right, gah I hope I did”

This dude decided to tape the gels on today. All I can say is he is going to have some fiery hot gels tomorrow! Squishy! And I say “he” because we found out last night that of the 2,325 participants, just under 500 of them are women. THAT’S IT! Ladies!!! If we want more Kona slots, and need more female racers!

Speaking of Kona slots it was really funny to hear a story from Kacie about her and her husband George going to the bank yesterday to pull money in case they both get slots. Even though Ironman said on it’s site that you can pay in pesos or US dollars (it must be cash, no check, no visa, no travelers check, nothing except $750 us cash) at the race meeting they said pesos weren’t allowed and they would only take dollars. So Kacie and George went to the bank, had to pull out pesos, then had to go exchange them into US dollars, then they RAN RAN RAN all the way to their hotel as fast as they could. They said if they don’t get slots they are going to use the $1500 to pay their mortgage. Hahahahaha!

I’m all checked in, and I’m laying in bed for the rest of the day. The water bottles are in the freezer, the special needs bags are packed, the red kit is laying out and ready for wearing. I’m all set and ready to go.

We found gnocchi and pancetta at the store and Troy just made me a big bowl of it. It’s a good carbalicious, yet gluten free (not that I need that) meal with some protein. To make it just sauté some pancetta until it’s crunchy, you can add garlic too if you like. Then dump in a can of diced tomatoes and let those simmer with the pancetta for awhile. You can put in kale or spinach here too, but we are in Mexico, so no lechuga for me. Lastly dump in those gnocchi that have been boiled for about 3 minutes. Wha Lah. 3-5 ingredients, perfect away from home pre race meal. It’s not vegan, but it will have to do for today! Thank you Troy!

And now it’s feet up in bed the rest of the day. Of course, a few of you are waiting for some schedules, so I will work on those as well.

Happy racing to all of you who are on the island this weekend. Great job to all those racing Ultraman this weekend in Hawaii. Thank you to my sponsors for what has already been a fantastic year. Thank you to Chuckie, for getting me through “the double” and to my family for their awesomeness. Let’s hope I can end this season with a bang.


Cozumel Pre Race

We arrived safe and sound here in Cozumel. With 9 cruise ships docking at the island every day I think we are the more rare ones to see the island in a different way. When the ships are docked there are drunks on the street and all the merchants are out canvassisng the tourists. When the cruise ships sail motor away then the island resets back to a casual calm place where nobody tries to sell you anything, everyone looks you in the eye and smiles, and there is an easiness of normal life.

We decided to rent a little house through VRBO instead of staying at an all inclusive resort. I looked at both options and the all inclusive was probably a little bit cheeper, but Troy and I just didn’t want to get asked to buy a timeshare. Our little house is 4 blocks off the main road and Troy and I have yet to see a tourist (other than ourselves) more than 1/2 a block off the main road. It’s locals only back here. The neighbor kid slept on his roof last night…with his two dogs.

As I sit here there is a local bar two doors down..like I mean “a bar for the locals,” and there is live music right now. I can feel beat of the cow bell through the cushions of the couch. Honestly…it is awesome! Our place is cozy and fun and we get to cook for ourselves, which has been an adventure! There is an Annie sized swimming pool that she has been living in. It’s cute, she’s cute.

Today I got in the water on the swim course. I got stung by just 1 jellyfish. They are phantom jellies, you don’t see them, but then you feel them. It’s like 1/2 of a bee sting, not bad at all. The current today was the opposite of what everyone says it usually is, it was easy out, and hard coming home. They say it switches all the time. I’ll deal with whatever happens.

They had the athlete meeting today as well. This has been the first Ironman that I really needed to attend the meeting. I had a ton of questions, and luckily I got them all answered. My favorite was asked by a friend:

“Do you mark the course in miles or kilometers?”


“no? You don’t mark in miles or K?”

“no, no markers”

Okay! Got it.

For anyone in the future who plans to race IM Cozumel, the one thing that’s been difficult about this race is finding all the places you need to get to. The packet pickup, athlete meeting, and athlete dinner are all in difference places and it was confusing for us to find all those places, especially on foot. So just ask a friend who has done it before (like me) before you head out.

I went for an hour ride today as well. It was one of those rides where you don’t want to turn around because you want to see what is around the next bend. I guess I will see it all eventually since I will ride on pretty much every road this island has by the end of the week. I love that every one of the locals gave me a kind smile and head nod. You can tell that the locals really like having the athletes in town. In fact, even though the drivers are crazy here, I am seriously not treated this well on the roads in the US. Here nobody is on their phone and they give the cyclist the right of way, you can tell they are looking out for you. Complete opposite of home where we are detested.

I didn’t know if it was a big fat joke, but sure enough…to follow in the footsteps  of PIC at Kona, my number is #111. You know what is sad, and what says a lot about me? The numbers were assigned in order of how quickly you signed up for the race. Oh, so Sonja is the #111th nerd? Um…nope, because the PROs get the numbers under 100….so I am officially the 11th geek to hit “submit payment.” Yes, yes, quit your laughing. Wanna know the most rockin’ thing about athlete registration (other than the fact that they photocopy your passport)? They give you a sweet cycling jersey in your packet. Long sleeve, and AWESOME!

This evening I am starting to get my feet under me. I have been unusually drained feeling the past few days, not my usual Type A self. I’ve been trying to rest as much as I possibly can. I tried to nap today, but ended up just laying in bed. I did sleep really well last night. The race is on Sunday so I still have two good sleeps to get in before it’s go time. I think it’s probably just a factor of finally being here, I’ve been thinking about this race for a year (okay, stop laughing about the #111 thing again) and I finally get to see what all the people who rave about this race are talking about. Let’s just hope my feet are under me on race day.


It’s Race Week

It’s Monday of race week. A few weeks ago I felt like it would never arrive, but here it is. Watching IM Arizona yesterday left me with my jaw on the floor. I can’t believe how many flaming fast performances there were by people I know and follow on twitter. I don’t think anyone had a bad day out there. It was insane as I watched people float across the finish line with stellar PRs. Congratulations to all of you who set records and an uber special congratulations to Baker who can now call himself an Ironman. Way to EXECUTE Baker, awesome work!!

So, I’m packing the race bags, trying to remember what I’m forgetting.

I sat down to write my list and vowed that I was going with the KISS principle. I kept the list short, and yet, as I get it all laid out, it looks like WAY TOO MUCH STUFF. I just don’t think you can be a light traveler as a triathlete. Hopefully I can think of some stuff to not bring along!! We shall see. I would love to not bring my computer, but who am I kidding?

I’ve got the race wheels out and ready to go. Tomorrow afternoon I head over to Kompetitive Edge to have Ryan do the final adjustments on my bike and to put my race wheels on. Speaking of KE, have you applied for next years Kompetitive Edge team? The application is due Nov 28th and can be found here. I’m excited to see who makes the team for next year. Woot!

We fly to Cozumel on Thanksgiving day this week. I’m pretty excited about this fact. No worries about eating too much, or making all the right sides, no thoughts about all the dead turkeys. Instead I get to sit on an airplane and think about all the carbon emissions. Ha! I kid..sorta…not really actually! I will spend Black Friday swimming in the ocean and sitting on my butt, resting. I think I’m going to set some new records for the amount of rest I plan on getting in before this Ironman. I’m sleeping in every day and just letting my body fix and mend itself.

Before I can do any of that I need to finish my final workouts, get the family packed up, and…well…that’s about it!

One thing I have been thinking about all week is Kona, and what a crazy dynamic it is. I think one of the reasons that it’s the pinnacle race of our sport every year is because nobody on the start line got there easily. Not Chrissie, not Crowie, not a single AGer. Nobody got there as a shoe in. Most people think that I am confident that I will go down there and race to a slot. HA HA FUNNY JOKE. Being 10th in my AG at Kona this year people have asked me if I have to qualify to get back. Umm, yes, we all do unless you win your AG at Kona. There were 9 ladies in my AG that took me down at Kona, I don’t think any of them will be on the start line at Cozumel as an AGer (go Sarah in her PRO debut) but I know that there are many ladies just waiting to have that stand out performance that puts them on the map. They will be there and I know that.

Qualifying is never easy, and I don’t think for one minute that I’m going there to do anything other that fight tooth and nail to get “every last once out of my body” (a phrase that has been painfully overused by Chrissie Wellington). If I do that, then I will be happy no matter what the results are. If everything falls apart then you can bet that I will do everything within my knowledge, experience, and control to correct it and stay on my feet.

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” You’ve got to find the treasure, so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense.“

– Paulo Coelho

It will be my 6th Ironman. I’ve had 5 Ironmans under 11 hours. they have gone: 10:47, 10:37, 10:17, 10:22, 10:08, ??:?? What will the future bring?

So, I head to Cozumel this week ready for some rest, but also ready for some work. It’s the calm before the storm, the pulling back of the rubber band before the letting go of it.



#2 of 33: Swim a mile in the pool faster than 24:00

Wow, what a slacker I am! See, there is a back story here. In April of 2010 I swam the mile in the short course masters swim meet. I think I swam 24:08, actually I know I did, how could I forget that? It’s been almost 2 years since then and A LOT of meters in the pool but every time Chuckie assigns a mile TT (usually it’s a 2K TT) I can’t seem to get under 24 for the mile. I’ve tried probably 10 times over the last couple years and it never comes together.

So, in my mind, I think I am faster than a 24 minute miler, but until you’ve done it, you can’t really say you are. Since the number seems to be a pesky little barrier for me I put it on the 33 things before 33 list. Little did I know I wasn’t quite aiming high enough.

I usually don’t blog about the exact workouts CV gives me, but today I will break the mold. I had a morning swim that was 500 warm up, 2K time trial, then cool down. Then I had some other training to get done during the middle of the day, then in the PM, back in the pool for the same exact workout. 500 w/u, 2KTT, cool down.

So this morning, even though I have swam a gawd awful amount this week, and I swam like poo yesterday, I was feeling kinda peppy. I decided to give the old 24 mark a run for her money. Boo Ya! I ended up with a 23:41, and a PR in the 2k with 31:51. I was jazzed, pretty pleased with myself, put me on a bit of a high the whole day.

Troy, Annie and our neighbor Anne came to the PM swim with me. Troy said he would swim every other 50, and some 100s in the lane next to me to keep me motivated. I was a little irritable…I was nervous. I just PRed that morning, what on earth was I in for this evening?


1500M = 23:27

First time under 30 for 1900M (1/2 IM swim) in 29:51

and PR in the 2K with 31:24

Troy made a video! Photo evidence!

You bet your britches that I am eying that 23 minute barrier now. It’s nice to have a day like today, believe me for every day like today in the pool, I have 50 that feel like poo. Every once in awhile, the work that has been put in just oozes out of you, and today was one of those days for me.

#33 before 33: Buy a Real Camera

Well, that was quick! This one just sort of landed in my lap. I was down in the computer room answering some emails when Troy came down and said he was going to the store. 45 minutes later he came back home and handed me a box. He had purchased me a new Olympus Tough.

Wait? Didn’t I just get a new point and shoot camera a few months ago? Why yes I did. I got a Fuji XP. I was really excited about it, but the one thing I didn’t like was the battery hatch. When you closed it, it made a little click, and the yellow indicator showed it was closed….but it wasn’t REALLY closed. You had to push down on the hatch super hard to hear a second “click” that was indeed closed.

Long story short…hatch not closed…day before Kona…camera dead. We tried to revive it for weeks by drying it out, etc etc, and just yesterday did it start to work again….sort of. I had been lamenting the unreliability of it’s resurrection, and wha-lah, Troy just bounces home with a new Olympus. The Olympus is the first camera I had, and it lasted a long time (given what I did to it). So while I gave the Fuji a try, it VERY MUCH failed the Sonja test.

However! The bag that Troy had in his hand was not empty after he handed me the Olympus.

“What’s in the bag Troy?

“My birthday present”

(his Birthday is Friday)

“What did you get for your birthday?”

“A camera”

And then he pulls out this!!!

Wha???? So…. #33 Buy a Real Camera can officially be checked off the list. Apparently he has been looking for a few months and my husband who is super money conscious just went out and bought himself a new camera. Very exciting. So the remainder of the night we each spent geeking over our new cameras and taking pictures of each other, and the cat, and the kiddo, and stuff like that.

I will wait a few months to pry it out of his sleeping fingers to try to learn how to actually take photos with it! Super Cool!

I must say, I am looking foreword to having some family photos that are a little bit better quality than the ones we have been taking. I’m excited to learn a little more about photography…as soon as I can get it out of Troy’s hands! I have forgotten how photogenic and expressive Annie is, she is such a ham!


I headed to the pool today to get in my swim. Masters was just finishing up and I was sort of stalling at the pool deck before asking to share a lane with one of the ladies. I noticed that one of the lane lines had a lot of slack so I bent down to adjust the tension.

Just then…. a little snake jumped off the lane line and started swimming across the lane. SNAKE SNAKE SNAKE IN THE POOL!!!!!!!!


Women screaming, me jumping up and down.


Yes, it was little, but it was a SNAKE.

Poor thing was scared for it’s life and it attached itself firmly to the next lane line.

Of course, that didn’t stop me.




I interrupted nearly everyones workout. Finally this super nice guy who is always at the pool when I am lept out of his lane to save me (never mind that I was still on the deck) and rescued the snake me from certain death.


I wish I could say that I swam a bit faster today because of the adrenaline and fear, but I’de be lying, I swam like crap. Every little stick or blade of grass was…




Today….Me….Boulder….my bike!

Jen and Mark joined me today in Boulder for a long ride. My longest ride since Kona actually. It was a gorgeous day out, nearly perfect and the weather was warm enough to not lose the feeling in my toes. Such a bonus.

Jen had quite a strong ride today, have to give her kudos there. It was great to have Mark, her hubby, along as well. I had a giggle when he pulled out two bagel PB&J sandwiches out of his pockets. The man was prepared!

We rode to Masonville and back, one of my top 3 rides in Boulder, and we get to ride down my favorite super secret awesome road that I love and that has a waterfall. Total highlight.

I got to ride Ironman tempo for a long long time. It’s the perfect heart rate where you can’t really think about much, you have to stay in the moment, but it doesn’t hurt so bad that every 5 minutes you are counting down until your done. It’s the sweet spot. The Zen pace of training.

Today was the best day of training I have had since Kona. Today reminded me why I love this (which is easy to loose sight of in my basement on the trainer).

Afterwards when I made a quick pit stop at Whole Paycheck for some to go food or the ride home the above picture was painted on the pavement. Smile indeed!


The Double

For those of you Kona-addicts, and I know there are some of you out there, you might be wondering if the Kona/Florida or Kona/Arizona or Kona/Cozumel doubles are a good idea. There are two prevailing camps on this:

1) It’s a good way to carry over Kona fitness into a slot for the following year.

2) You crazy

This will be the second year in a row that I have done a Kona/xxx double and I thought I would jot down some of my feelings, since feelings tend to wear off.

When I think back to last year I think to myself…what a great idea it was to do IM Arizona, especially since CV had a good plan with how to rest me properly from Kona and then sharpen me back up just before race day. It worked out pretty well last year. Not flawless, but pretty well.

I woke up on race day with a cold, but I was still ready to work as hard as ever. I’m starting to wonder is this just me? Other than the swim, my sore throat didn’t bother me too much. It did completely pummel me after the race though, I was sick for 7 days, like didn’t leave the couch kind of sick. Also, at AZ with 10K to go I was out of a slot in 4th place, and then 10K later I was running for my life winning the age group. I always felt a little bit like I nabbed it by the skin of my teeth. But in retrospect my feelings were “That was awesome.”

So I signed up for Cozumel this year. After all, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. I thought of the things I would do different this year. Mainly a little more focus on productive rest (not the margarita kind), and some immunity strengthening precautions so I didn’t end up sick on race day.

You know, what I failed to take into account? All the things I had last year that I don’t have this year that helped make the double a success (and fun). I thought I would just fix what didn’t work, and I didn’t pay any attention to putting in place the things that DID work last time. So what worked last time? I had Michelle and Chuckie and Angela to train with all the way up until race day, that majorly worked! It was Michelle’s first IM and I was so excited for her, another thing that “worked.”

I don’t have that this year. As much as people have offered to “train with me” and help me out with some company, it’s nearly impossible. People may not be done training for the year but they are done training hard for the year. All I’m doing is training hard. They call to ask what they can join in on and I say…”Sweet, can you meet me at the track at 12:20, warm up with me and then run 8 miles at 7:20 pace around in circles, not talking, or altering your heart rate by more than 3 beats?” You can imagine what the answer is to that. Hey, training partner, wanna join me for a 6000 meter swim workout…most of which is going to be as fast as we possibly can go on a very tight interval? No…why not?

See, it’s just the nature of the time of year, it’s everyones off season, and when off season comes, most people are more than ready for it. Michelle said to me, Hey, I can join you for some of your easier stuff. Umm great…I’ll see you in December… !

So, the Kona/Arizona double with friends, and excitement, and good times…hell yea! The Kona/Cozumel double alone with a winter storm every 5 days…not so much fun.

Unless I absolutely fall in love with Cozumel and I want to go back very very badly, I most likely won’t do the Kona/Cozumel double next year. Having made that decision I’m not really sure where that leaves me for 2012. A lot of it depends on if I qualify for Kona at Cozumel. Like I said, last year it was something that came together in the last 10K, if I had faltered then, I would have had to change my season around.

I will say that if you desire to test your motivation, to see if you really love training for and racing Ironman, if you want to test your ability to be self motivated, then this is a great choice. Go train for an Ironman when everyone else is done training, that will make you hard like Iron. I think parts of this have been good for me. There will come a time when I am going to be on my own more than I have been, like a lot of you all already train, and I need to have structures in place to keep motivated week after week of training alone. This is a good skill to have whether you have access to great training partners or not.

It’s common to hear people say “You have to race on your own” but that is so not true. Race day is full of outside stimulus, and that’s what I miss about training alone…in my basement…or on the treadmill…or in an empty pool in the middle of the day. There is very little to distract, and thus you must be skilled at keeping your focus where it belongs.

17 days remain until Ironman Cozumel. We fly to the island on Thanksgiving day (not my favorite holiday so I am happy about this) and we are there for a week. I can tell you that the 4 days after Cozumel is going to involve a ton of thinking, planning, figuring. There are so many balls in the air right now that I’m ready more than anything to have some things tied down and decided upon.