Perception

I watched an episode of Big Bang Theory last night after Annie went to bed. I love that show because Troy belongs in it. In fact last night they were playing D&D and I got a really good chuckle out of that. At the end of each episode Chuck Lorre always writes a little post that you have to pause very quickly to read. I think I watched like 2 seasons before I started pausing and now I always do. They are different passages, sometimes witty, sometimes he talks about the characters, and sometimes, there is a gem like this one. (PS Did you know in real life Raj married a former Ms.India. This makes me smile on so many levels)

You can click on it to make it bigger so you can read it.

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You know when you read something that is the right thing for you to read at the right time. This one was that for me. Perception…it really does craft our world. The word inspirational is such a buzz word now a days. When I look at the people in my life that inspire me, it’s usually because the way they see the world is something I admire. I rarely look up to those that have attained greatness, to be honest I’m usually just jealous, but I often look up to those that see the world as great, as a gift, and it’s because I struggle with that.

I was listening to Rich Rolls new podcast this week and it was another example of just a mix of people and opinions that I admire because they choose to see the world as a light bright place. His most recent one, he had on Gabrielle Reece, and it was a great listen, she was funny, but introspective too! I really enjoyed a section where she talked about following your own inner compass and that means not only ignoring when people don’t like what you are doing, but also ignoring the praise. They both are just opinions, other peoples opinions, and other peoples options are based on other peoples inner compasses. That’s my rewording of what she said at least. I nodded along to that for some time.

Rich is big on each person having a reason for being here. He has very much found his passion and listening to it in his voice, and how resolute he seems to be makes me a little jealous. I can tell by the way that he advocates individuals to find “their thing” that he must feel it’s pretty awesome to be on the other side of the quest. I don’t think I have found mine yet, in fact I know I haven’t or I would be shouting it to the world, and writing books and giving talks. I’m a work in progress I guess. I really like relating to people, and helping people, but I’m not 100% in the right place, I’m still searching for what that is.

I think most of us feel that way most the time.

5 rad things

5 things that I used the heck out of this year and I’m so glad I bought them:

My Klipsch headphones. I have 3 pairs because I lose things a lot. I get the nice ($$) ones because I like good sound and I’m already deaf enough. The toggle button works really well and it stands up fairly nicely to sweat, which is a major problem. Sometimes I have to dry them out for a few days to get the buttons to work again, but the sound is worth it and they are comfy as all get out.

5things1

Teavana. Oh dear, this was a pricy find! I’ve always wanted to be a tea drinker, but I wasn’t really actually fond of tea, until I discovered the herbal stuff at Teavana. My french press has been working overtime in combination with a mix of the Blueberry Bliss and the Kona Pineapple Pop. I like to add a little rock sugar and pour it over ice. Total treat, but not a caloric one.

5things2

Dude, I love my Flylady calendar. We get one every year. This calendar is about FUNCTION. There are no pretty pictures, it’s a work horse…like me (hahaha I crack myself up)

See how big each day is? We have found here in the Wieck house that we have to keep 2 calendars. One is electronic and is on every one of our mac devises (we are up to a house count of 7…we have a problem) , and the other is a paper copy on the Flylady calendar. Annie isn’t going to check the electronic calendar because she’s still learning to read…although it’s on her ipad mini, but she has learned to check the paper one every day. She likes to cross out the days too. She decorates with stickers as well when I’m not looking. She was actually crossing out things for a few months this summer and I kept thinking things had been canceled, but she just got black marker happy. So now the rule is “no using the black marker on the calendar without moms permission.” This thing has saved me so many times.

5things3

My darling ukulele. I don’t get to play it as much as I like, but I absolutely love it. I don’t see myself ever buying another ukulele, this one was made for me. Annie is now taking lessons and I need to sign myself up for some, but until then, I’m at peace when I’m strumming along.

5things4

My indoor outdoor temperature thingee. Why did I not get one of these years ago? Since we don’t have a TV (just 7 mac devises) we don’t have the morning weather. 95% of the time I just want to know how cold it is right now. This little guy tells me the outside temp and the inside temp. I use it when I’m getting dressed to go run or ride. It makes for super quick decision making. Love!

5things5

There ya go, 5 things that have made the year easier, healthier, and more fun. When I was writing this blog I asked Annie what her favorite 5 things were. She said…verbatim: “Toys, the roof over my head, you mommy, oh and daddy too, oh and blankie.” I was cracking up over that one.

Book Report

I love when I get a reading itch! I seem to go through phases of how much I read and what I read. I’ve been hitting it hard recently and thought I would share the few books I have gotten through and my take on them.

Silent Tears – by Kay Bratt

I just finished this yesterday and it was rough. It’s the true story, in journal form, of an Expats time in China, and most of her time is spent volunteering in a Chinese orphanage. Which is an odd name because the children aren’t orphans, they’ve been abandoned because they have deformities or because they are girls. The one phrase I keep coming up with after reading this is “complete and utter disregard for the sanctity of human life.” It’s heard breaking, and the 4 years the author spends doing work there pretty much sucks her emotionally dry. There are things that you can’t unsee, and in my case, things you can’t unread. If you can get through this book without immediately wanting to adopt a Chinese “orphan”, then you are more emotionally resilient than me. Be prepared for total heart break with this one.

The Light Between Oceans – ML Stedman

A total page turner, set on an tiny Australian island occupied only by a husband and wife who tend the lighthouse, this book dug it’s way into my heart. It’s vivid and you immediately place yourself in the story, wondering what you would do. The wife has lost baby after baby when suddenly one washes up on shore in a boat with a dead man. The husband wants to play by the rules, but the wife just wants the baby. What to do, what to do? The book takes a few harsh turns, and in the end, I was laying in bed at 2am balling my eyes out. It wasn’t the ending I wanted, but I understood it, and I accepted it.

Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter

Another island book, but this time an actress from a famous movie set appears there sick with stomach cancer in the 60s. The production company is hiding her away because she is actually pregnant by the main actor. A parallel story is running where an old man appears in the office of a famous producer in Hollywood, asking about the past. As the two stories collide you can’t wait to see how the middle of the story plays out. This book was awesome. I totally loved it, and the various stories that were woven in were so well done. This is the best book I’ve read in some time, loved it!

The Kitchen House – by Kathleen Grissom

Whew, plantation times, little Irish Lavinia is orphaned on the ship over to America and brought to the plantation of the ship owner as an indentured servant. She is raised in the kitchen house, but she is white, which is odd for everyone. It’s a story about the difficulties of being in two different worlds, heart in one, skin in another. This is one of those books that mounts and mounts and you know it’s going to blow up at one point. And it does, it blows up big, and leaves you up at 2am madly clicking the next button on your kindle. There’s no way for this one to end well, and lives are lost, but it’s a great read and worth the pain you know it will inflict.

Unbroken – by Laura Hillenbrand

Everyone is reading this book about Louis Zamperini, the famous American runner who is lost at sea in WW2. One third of this book would make for a great book but it keeps going. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that at the end of this book your jaw will be on the ground and you will feel privileged. No matter the hardships you have been through in life, I doubt that any of it compared to Louis’s life. The stories are all revealed in time, all the loose strings are tied up, and you will never be the same afterwards. This is a must read. Never Never Never Give Up!

HAPPY READING!!

What MATTERS

I hate habit, routines, and patterns. Bleh. I can’t stand doing the same thing every day, in the same order. I am a perfectionist in “HOW” things get done, but not order. I detest morning routines, and bedtime routines. But this year I really tried developing some routines because I thought it would help with my performance and life balance. My morning routine ended up…wake up, take Zeo off and dock it, take pulse, take Osat, open Restwise, fill out half the questions, go pee, check color, note in Restwise, get nude, weight, note in rest wise, put clothes on, check email, check twitter. Oy.

So, in my period of annual reflection I though I would make a list of things that matter and things that don’t. Now, beware, this list is personal and a bit theoretical in places. It’s my list, yours is probably different, but hey, maybe it will make you think about your own list and question some of the things you do that you think matter…but maybe they don’t really.

THINGS THAT MATTER

— Getting to sleep before 10pm, this makes me Superwoman.

— Making training dates with others, playing with your friends and family, being active together, and laughing. Laughing should be it’s own thing. Here…

— Laughing. It matters, big time.

— Eating a balanced diet every day, and developing healthy habits. Being the kind of person that enjoys clean eating, this matters.

— Organizing your training fuel and keeping it in a central location and fully stocked.

— Not eating late in the day. This is Oh-So-Hard for me, but it matters. It really matters.

— PMA …positive mental attitude

— Taking personal responsibility for what happens in your life. You always have a choice including your participation in this “sport”.

— Having organic veggies delivered to the doorstep every week

— Developing the habit to plug in your Garmin the minute you get done training, it’s worth the pain to develop the habit. I had next to no “dead Garmin” days in comparison to years past. Make a training electronics basket, tape a power strip to the bottom of it, and plug your stuff in.

— Reading, both for fun, and for sport depending on your mood. Read for sport when training hours are low and you need to stay motivated towards goals. Read fiction for pleasure when training loads are high. 50 Shades of Grey can give you a lot to think about during a 30 hour training week.

— Eating when hungry (Troy made me add this)

— Drinking when thirsty

— De-triathloning at least once a week, giving yourself time to think and discuss other things with people who don’t do triathlon

— Planning your day the night before, packing for training, and making food for the following day

— Finding solutions that fit you (Troy made me add this one too. I think it’s because he doesn’t want me telling him what to do all the time when it comes to swim bike run)

— The cleaning lady

— A good bike fit

— Listening to your Heart Rate Monitor, it very much matters, especially when you are out of shape!

— Your friends, they matter, big time, listen to them and be there for them when they need you

THINGS THAT DON’T MATTER

—Restwise…doesn’t seem to tell me much more than I know already, but does require me to develop a routine with filling it out which bugs me often. It also satisfies my anal retentive nature, but in all truth, it doesn’t matter, know thyself (as CV used to say)

—Zeo…although fun to wear and makes me go to sleep faster, doesn’t ultimately better my performance.

— Self portraits taken on the bike with your phone…does this even need elaboration?

— Counting calories

— Excuses

— Keeping track of Weekly Training Totals

— Weighing every day

— Drinking when you aren’t thirsty

— Filling in Training Peaks if your coach doesn’t use Training Peaks… really doesn’t matter. However, do upload your Garmin so you don’t have to mess with “Delete Active History – Active Memory Full”

— Foam Rolling (okay…it’s a personal list)

— The iPod, wear it if you want, don’t wear it if you don’t want, it doesn’t matter

— Cooking…not necessary, scrounging in a healthy way is just fine

— Folding and putting away laundry

— Looking up the results of your competitors before or after races

— Make up (duh)

— Looking cute on the podium, despite what recent Lava articles stress…see above

— Responding to comments on your own blog…time suck! Or Facebook several times a day…time suck! or being permanently on Twitter…time suck!

— The size of your Oakley collection…sad, I know.

–Being on time… doesn’t matter as much as the weight I give it. I’m punctual to a fault and spend lots of time stressing out about being late, when most the time…doesn’t matter.

— What kind of car you drive…as long as it fits your bike.

— What kind of bike you ride…as long as it fits you. Just kidding, you should ride a QR.

Next year I plan to go more in the direction of the top list, and less in the direction of the bottom list. More focus on emotional balance and health, less on data and being anal. More laughing, less lying in bed not wanting to get out. More good clean healthy food, less making myself feel bad about food choices. More listening to my body and trying to learn more about myself, less reliance on training gadgets. More fun!

It’s all a choice!!

My Friend Venn

And….the off season continues. Michelle and I got kicked out of Masters yesterday for trying to show up. One walk onto the pool deck had Nick turning us back around for the locker room, scolding us for not taking a break, and being too antsy to get back at it. Another week (at least) he said. We wined, “But it’s hard” and he said simply “It’s supposed to be.” So, we went and saw a movie.

I’m starting to get my thoughts together in a better way for next year. I’m starting to get the distance needed to look at things from a little further vantage point. Last night an impromptu chat with Troy got me thinking about fun and performance and how they link up or don’t.

In 2010, my first year with CV things were fun. Really fun, and looking back, it was probably the biggest growth year I had in my 6 years of racing. A win and successful execution at my first 100 mile run race, 3 Ironmans including an AG win at AZ, and a Kona debut of 10:17 were about as good as this girl could have dreamed. In fact it was beyond my dreams.

I had fun too. I got handed the right amount of training for me at that point in my journey, and I got to do a lot of it with people that I truly loved. We laughed so much and I have really fond memories. I was like a sponge, willing to absorb whatever CV was willing to give me. Giddy with joy, and the results just kept coming that year.

2011 was the same coach, the same set up, but things didn’t come so easy that year. the year started out fun, but I think everyones expectations were higher. 2010 had been great and everyone wanted to build on that. The year was a slow progression away from fun and towards performance results. And the results came, they did. The year was spent reiterating Kona Kona Kona under my breath. Do what’s right for Kona, be PRO, do the right thing, over and over.

I got a PR in Hawaii that year, but it was by the skin of my teeth. I almost broke 10 hours at Cozumel, by the skin of my teeth. The year solidified that I was an executor. I can take a plan and race the heck out of, stick to the correct details, make changes when needed. And I was fit, clearly fit. It was the first and only time I broke 3:30 in the marathon, and when I look back at photos I see the strain in my brow, and the fitness in my body.

Then I lost Chuck. And I found Dirk. I still haven’t met Dirk, hopefully someday. This year on paper was clearly a big step back. I felt fit, I really did. Heading to Kona I felt like I was in the best shape ever. I was seeing numbers that I wasn’t used to. But looking back, this entire year was a failure in race execution. There was a bike flat, but matched with a shakka filled lax marathon. Hawaii was my first disaster of an Ironman, it was the race I have feared for 8 Ironmans and a suiting way to finish off the year I suppose. In fact, Kona was a parallel to my year, “mild disaster but with a smile”.

I feel like this year was a big sweeping curve from performance results over to fun. I really had a lot of fun this year. Kona trianing with Laura, Friday Fundays with J&J including that awesome trip to Aspen on our bikes. NOLA 70.3 was about the most fun I’ve ever had after a race. I would say there was a brief pause in the fun and fast area at NOLA and Moab 55K, but from NOLA onwards the year was a series of less than stellar performances, riddled with execution issues.

As I look to 2013 it’s hard to decide what to do. I’ve been all over the board and yet, all my reflection doesn’t guide me much. How do I get back to what was so magical about 2010? How do I find that again? I don’t have any answers as of yet. I’m in the research and development phase.

But I know where I want to head. I have vision, and I’ve been there before, so I can find my way back. It’s about the journey, right? You can get short term results in this sport, but long term results take time. Sometimes it’s not the accumulation of training that is needed, but learning enough about yourself to let go of some of your hang ups. To grow enough inside so that all the work you put in can rise to the surface. To become vulnerable to failure, and to release your fears. I had no fears in 2010. I was flying by the seat of my pants and too busy to look back, truly present in the day. But this life of ours is an ever flowing river, that changes through the seasons.

Now what?

Doopy-Doo. Laa-Tee-Dah.

Soooooo, hummm, what now?

I’ve been told/urged/requested by pretty much every one I know to take some time off. Like a month….or as PIC says…maybe two. I don’t really even know what that means. Like, off meaning absolutely no swim bike run? Or just put the Garmin away and stay laxidasical about SBR? Me No No.

Is laxidasical a word? Spell check doesn’t like it.

This week I’ve been going to Yoga. I hate yoga. But I keep going. My hamstring flexability is worse than 100% of the 70+ year old women in Gentle yoga…oh and all the guys too. I can not downward dog, can not touch my toes, and the worst… I can not sit with my feet straight out in front of me. Like just sit there, can’t do it. So, I keep going to the yoga. Yes, THE yoga. It’s good for me to just simmer the F down for awhile and be still.

But I can’t say I’m comfortable with it.

Are all triathletes just hyper ADD compulsive exercisers? I don’t even know what fitness and exercise looks like without SBR. So, I’m doing some new things to keep me entertained. I walked the dog at the dog park with Michelle yesterday. It was thrilling…

I had a reservation to go SUP in the res but it was bogus and they were closed. Not the most “with it” state park I might add, letting people make reservations when you closed for the season.

There is probably some Zumba in my future, and some indoor rock climbing, definitely some roller skating. I love roller skating.

Half of me wants to make all these decisions about next year. Get my schedule figured out and tied up, decide what direction I’m going to head, how it’s all going to go down. But then another part of me knows I just need to let things sit for a ¬†little while. Take some walks, think about other stuff. Take a chill pill.

So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m delaying thinking. I’m just simmering.

It seems like in past years there was no break, I was onto the following year before the previous one ended. The “off season” was basically me swim/bike/running around and exercising without my Garmin. Some of my athletes are doing that as well. I can tell, I tell them to take time off, but they just put away the Garmin and call it good. It’s not really time off folks. But, you can probably get away with it for a few years.

I know I lose my fitness very quickly. Every winter with just one month of reduced work I come into the season with low watts and slow running and high heart rate. But I’m trying to not think about that. It usually takes me until June before I feel like I am somewhat back. So this month or two is probobly going to tank me, but I think after 6 years going hard, it’s time.

Did I just type 6 years…. 07/08/09/10/11/12 dang it, 6 years. Yea, this is probably long overdue.

So here’s to embracing real time off. Whatever the heck that means. Here’s to crappy yoga and sitting still and knitting and reading, and really trying to eat well and stay on track there so I don’t have to combat lack of fitness and weight loss at the same time come January. Here’s to embracing the break (shaaa…right).

2012 Austin 70.3

I thought after Kona that my season was done, but when PIC told me that she was going to race Austin 70.3 I wanted to join in. I was in no way ready for this race specifically. I mean, I had more fruity drinks than workouts by the time I stepped on the line. It was a swan song. Just one more for fun.

PIC and I had way too much fun in Austin. We saw Punky in the airport before we left Denver, and we ate at this really good co-op on our first day there. We had burgers, and fries, and they were awesome. It was freezing outside and the weather seemed to get colder as the trip went on. We drove the course, partially in the dark, stopped for popsicles and junk food and ate it all. I had this chocolate banana mexican popsicle that was to die for, and slightly suspect.

We checked into our hotel and it was totally seedy. I think there was a fair amount of drugs being sold in the hallway that evening, and PIC and I spent the hours of 3-5am huddled together in bed thinking we were going to die. I can’t imagine the quantity of drugs you can buy with 2 fully decked out Quintana Roo CD0.1s. Needless to say, we lived through it (barely) and we let out a huge sigh and awww when we checked into the Hilton the following day (you try fitting two built up bikes, two empty bike boxes, lots of luggage, and two women into a Nissan Altima…no easy task). Lunch with Brian was awesome, it’s been years since the three of us have all been together and was great to catch up.

On race morning, which was so cold I had on every single piece of clothing I brought on top of one another, my main concern was thorns. My transition spot was a bed of those kinds of thorns that are multisided and evil. One step and my Uggs were loaded with them.

The transition was a “clean transition.” That was said to us over and over. I knew my tires were good and that I would carry my bike to the mount line, it was my feet I was worried about. They wouldn’t let me put a towel down. I asked, I begged, I gave sad eyes to the cute guy, nope, he was unyielding. I thought about getting an official but decided to not clip my shoes in my pedals and to just wear them through T1.

After setting up T1 we nestled ourselves into one of the cabs of the rented Rider trucks that Ironman had. Nobody ever knew, it was our secret hideaway. The water temp was like 30 degrees warmer than the air so the cold temps actually were fine during the swim.

I swam as best I could, tried to stay on feet, got a bit muddled at the end, but felt good about it. AND, I really enjoyed it. I was warm and it was a wave start so I didn’t get beat to smithereens, which was so relaxing compared to Kona.

I ran to my bike, put a coat on, and started to put my shoes on. I had to wipe 20+ thorns out of each foot. They were in deep. I carried my bike out, mounted and got out of there.

I started in the next to last wave so I had a blast out there. I got to pass lots of people all day and I totally totally loved the course. It was cold when I started and my legs were quite chilly, but they warmed up about 10 miles in and I just had fun. I rode hard, but it felt good to ride hard. I just gave it what I had, and didn’t worry about much else.

Into T2 I threw on the Newtons and went running. 1 mile in I pulled off my HR strap and shoved it down my pants. I just ran by feel, as hard as I could, but I enjoyed myself as well. I found a guy at one point that had a metronome. I asked him what it was set to and he said 89. I run a pretty natural 90, so I had a blast running with him and marching to the beat of his little beep. I’m not sure one of those things would make me any faster, but it was fun for a few miles.

At one point he said “I just did IM Louisville a few weeks ago” and I retorted “Oh yea, I just did Kona” and I felt immediately bad. I even said “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to rain on your parade.” I didn’t at all mean it to come off as arrogant, I just meant to imply that we had something in common. Total dumb bunny move there and I felt bad the rest of the day over that one.

I really liked the course. It was three loops, but not boring loops, they were exciting and I really enjoyed myself. But my feet hurt and I couldn’t understand why. My heels and the balls of my feet were so sore and my Newtons never make me sore. Come to find out after the race it was the remnants of the 20+ thorns in my feet that made that pain. Talk about a prickly situation (bada-boom).

The Mile High Multisport crew was out there cheering and they made me feel like a queen the 6X I saw them out there. They cheered for me like Troy cheers for me, and I tried hard to smile every time I saw them.

The finish line was a total blast, it’s inside the arena. I was glad to make it to the line, as I am every race. I had no idea what my placing or time or anything was, but I did know that I enjoyed the race and it reminded me of how I felt when I first got in the sport. Just happy to be able to race my heart out for the sheer reason of physical movement. Michelle and I have agreed that we can’t ever race it again. They temps were in the 60s and this race is usually in the 90s. We had the perfect day, and don’t dare temp fate. One and Done!
This is probably one of my favorite pictures of all year. I love PIC.

Michelle and I both ended up 2nd in our AG. The lady who won mine was not only drop dead gorgeous, but out swam, out biked, and out ran me, was so far ahead I didn’t know she existed, and put out a stellar performance (maybe? who knows how she felt, but she dominated for sure). I look forward to following her from here on out. The other lady on the podium at the awards was a Nun. Rad.

The weekend was topped off with a few drinks with Jess Smith and friends and some damn fine TexMex. Michelle and I went for ice cream, and then snuggled the night away before a 6am flight…which I slept through.

And with that, I officially put a cap on the 2012 season. It’s time for some time away. The Garmin has been put away for good, and my bike is still in the box. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m not that concerned.

 

2012 Kona Ironman Run

I really don’t want to write this one. Deep Breaths!

So, I get out running and I’m not feeling too great, but I don’t feel horrible. Kona is a hard race, so part of it is that I’m just feeling the accumulation of the days events. Hailey passes me right away and takes off in front of me. I’m at just under 8 min pace and working pretty hard, so I start sipping my EFS flask with some Prerace in it, and taking water with it as well.

I had this awesome encounter with a chick who was cheering. You know how when you are tired you really don’t want to move over at all when someone is in your way? Yea, I totally nailed her, and the photographer caught it. Oops! Sorry!

At the turn around I am optimistic, I’m in 5th in the AG and while I know I have 21 to go, things are looking good. I saw the time gaps back to the runners…okay…to Jocelyn really… and I thought if I had my best run she would have to have hers too to get me. I was optimistic. A lesson to all of you out there…optimism at mile 5 in an Ironman is pointless! At mile 8 I take a few salt tabs, and shortly after things turn south.

I don’t really want to write about this. I’ve debated whether I even should. The thought of it honestly makes me not want to leave the house, it’s embarrassing. So with that, and for the sake of being a masochist, I’ll do it. But just know, if you are grossed out, don’t read this (just scan through and look at the pictures). I’m just hoping that someday I can figure all this out and have some sort of lesson learned. Okay, here goes.

At mile 8 without any warning, I shit myself.

No upset tummy, nothing. All was well (ish) until I had this weird feeling of what was happening. I pulled into a permanent bathroom on Ali’i, pulled down my shorts, and had no idea what to do with myself. I can’t even explain it, nor do I want to, it was really really bad. The worst I’ve ever experienced. I will tell you that I spent multiple minutes in there and that it took multiple rolls of toilet paper and 12 flushes to leave the bathroom the way I found it (which wasn’t great).

Here she is in all her glory. Thank you to Scott who continuously texted me photos of said bathroom after the race. I’m thinking of having a plaque installed “Historical Landmark: Site where Sonja’s 2012 Kona went down the S#!*er”

Getting out of there I was completely and utterly disgusted and demoralized. I had no fight in me and all I could think about was that I reeked like shit and probably looked just as bad. The next two miles I was embarrassed and disgusted in myself. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye who was cheering for me (thank you Kacie, Eggers, Katie). But I kept running, although slower. (Everyone stayed busy with the chalk!)

I got to the bottom of Palani and I saw my mom, and I walked. It’s the first time I have ever walked in an Ironman. Just doing that felt like a major surrender and total failure. Can you tell??

I told mom what happened, and she said that you couldn’t tell. I was not convinced at all, but photos from dad do not show poo all over me like I thought. Knowing what came out of me and how unequipped I was to clean myself up, I just thought I was covered. At the top of Palani Troy was there. I started crying.

I was barely running, and I was crying and talking to him while he walked next to me. I told him I didn’t have any more fight, and that I wanted to quit. I really wanted to quit, and I had no more fight in me. He told me to get some sponges at the next aid station and while there was no way I was going to stick sponges down my shorts, his words did keep me from quitting and gave me the task of continuing on, even if it was just one more mile.

As I took a left onto the Queen K there was a lot going through my head. I was so disappointed that I lost my fight. I told myself I needed to take a break from the sport, from Ironman, from Kona. If I had no fight, there was no point. I was hard on myself. Towards the bottom of the hill, I remembered something I always tell my athletes…”Everything that goes wrong in Ironman can be solved by slowing down.” And with that I gave up.

Now “give up” is what I called it at the time, but with a little perspective, I can now see that I didn’t give up, I didn’t walk off the course. I hold a deep respect for the island of Hawaii, for the sport, and for this race. I did not give up, but I did consciously slow to the pace of a turtle (albeit a fast turtle).

I slowed down, I watched the heart rate plummet. I saw the pace go to 10+ min miles. I didn’t care. I walked through the aid stations. And like not a fast walk, more of a saunter. I had no goals, nothing driving me to keep a good clip, or any clip at all. I just walked and jogged and that was it. Jocelyn passed me and she was hauling ass, I kept her in my mind the rest of the race, just hoping that she made it to the podium (she did).

On one end my mind was horrible. I was down on myself, and disappointed in myself, and then another part of my brain really just didn’t care, and then another part of me just decided to have fun. The fun was more of a defense mechanism than anything, but I figured…you gave up…why suffer?

That’s when the tables started to turn for me emotionally.

So I made friends with a guy in a HelloKitty kit. We jogged and chatted. I had to go to the bathroom again at 15, this time in the port-a-pottie, not my shorts. I noted that I was still disgusting. I ran into the NEL and Kendra who is coached by Dirk passed me. She really tried to get me to go with her, and I kid you not…I laughed and said “Nah, it’s all good.” I got passed by tons of people in my AG and other AGs. I said good job to everyone, smiled, gave shakas and smiles.

In the NEL I had to go potty again. This one was particularly bad and I lost several liters of liquid out my ass, again, I warned you. That was a bit alarming and when I got out of there I was pretty weak. I kinda reasoned that I had that super F-ed up gut thing where the body starts pulling fluid from places it shouldn’t. I got a little nervous in here and knew that I would need to be smart to actually make it to the finish.

BUT! I was so close to special needs. So I got my bag and got my Pringles and Rice Crispie Treat out of there. I started jogging and the Pringles were falling out of the little container. I said to myself “what are you doing, stop running.” So I walked and ate my snacks. Like walked slowly.

No goals, no fight, nada, just focused on making it to the beautiful Ali’i. I ran up out of the NEL…maybe 13 min mile pace. Walked the aid station at the top, cheered for some people. It just was what it was.

Back on the queen K I kept tabs on my watch, knew I would most likely break 11, didn’t really care, but kinda did a little. When Adrienne passed me I told her good job and I tried to go with her, maybe 8:30 pace or so, but I couldn’t hang and felt pretty week from trying.

Then I saw Troy. He had run out there to check on me, since last time he saw me I was wanting to quit. He said he thought I would quit in the NEL and that every time he saw another split come up he was relieved.

He trotted next to me for a little while, it was like 12 min pace I think. He told me about the race and who won, and he told me about Michelle and that she never made it out of T2. This bummed me out in my heart. Suddenly I was filled with gratitude and I started to smile. I felt lucky that I had the opportunity to not quit. Some people didn’t even get that, their bodies gave out before their minds had the opportunity to say no more. What a privilege, to be able to choose to just jog it in.

Eventually Troy ran on ahead and I trotted my way in. I was perfectly happy and looked forward to the top of Palani. Annie ran with me up the Dave Scott Mark Allen hill and we held hands. My dad was there taking pictures and I was happy to see him. I smiled and did high 5s.

I did a hula dance up that hill and then all the way down Palani. I stopped to hug my inlaws. I smiled and gave thumbs up to everyone. I high 5ed the KE guys. I saw so many people I knew and gave them high 5s. People were passing me left and right. I didn’t care. I saw Terry Nugent, and gave him a hug and told him I loved him. hahhaha!!!

Then PIC was there on Ali’i. I stopped and hugged her and told her it would be oaky and we would get through it. I ran down the chute and saw Uncle Norm cheering and taking pictures.

Yup, dude in an arm sling beat me! Hahaha! Good for him, he looks like he had a rough day out there! Didn’t we all?!

Christine came zooming by me just as fast as she did in Cozumel last year. I gave a leap at the finish, and I smiled and waved to the camera, because I know you all are watching and I take that very seriously. Let this be a lesson….fast race in Kona…bad jump at finish….slow race in Kona…..good jump at finish! Hahah!!

Christine and I hugged and hugged and hugged. That girl will always hold a special place in my heart. Neither of us had the day we hoped for (so cliche) but we were both happy as clams at that finish line. I do love my 30-34 ladies!

I was fine at the finish. That was a first. It was like I had a 16 mile cool down jog, which I guess I did. My muscles have rejoiced in less soreness and my feet have not a single blister or sore toenail. I was sunburned and chaffed, but 48 hours later that resolved itself.

As always, a huge thanks to my family and sponsors. I’m glad I thanked them a few blogs ago because they probably don’t want their names associated with the poo-fest of this blog.

Am I disappointed? Yes and no. I am proud of the way I handled the situation. I’m bummed that I didn’t keep fighting, but on some levels I’m not sure I would have made it out of the NEL if I had. After having some time to process it, I feel really really blessed that I had the opportunity to both start and finish the race. A lot of people don’t ever get the chance to start this race, despite wanting to so badly, and some that start, don’t get to finish. I am thankful, very very thankful.

This race has provided much perspective and was such a reminder of all the wonderful people I have in my life. I live to fight another day, and hopefully live to fight during another Kona.

 

2012 Kona Ironman Swim Bike

Race night I slept like the dead. I was tired. Our room didn’t have AC and was rather hot and we were right on the ocean with the waves crashing all night in the windows so I dreamed about swimming in rough waters.

Before the race I was more relaxed than usual. I went through the usual body marking, bike pumping, nutrition downing, portapotty using routine. This year was nice in that Michelle and I were participating in the Korey Stringer Institute study so we got our own loo on race morning. That perk was worth the extra time in data collection.

We found Laura too and she hung with us pre race. I did my typical Kona routine and got a good spot on the wall. We ran into Jen C and that was awesome to have a friendly face there to make eye contact with in those final minutes.

When the guys started drumming, I started dancing. I was definitely more happy than I was nervous, excited to get things started and to get the show on the road.

Into the water we go. I always swim over to the sea wall and wave to my family. It was awesome to see everyone there, especially PICs kids and Annie. I blew some kisses and then swam off to get my spot on the canoe. Check out my awesome TYR goggles that I got to custom design. They are orange, and red, and pink. LOVE!

On the canoe we ran into Grant just like we did last year. I gotta admit, I missed Kendra a bit at that point, but knew I would see her out on the course cheering. Before I knew it we were lining up and the whole “continental drift” was beginning. Every year it’s the same thing. Mike Riley yells at us to stay back, the officials on surfboards yell at us to stay back, and the crowd of 2000 drift forward. Same thing every year.

The cannon didn’t work this year so Mike just yelled GO GO GO GO and off everyone went. Then I felt like the cannon sounded a few seconds later but I could have been imagining things.

Swim swim!!! Here I go. I got out well and actually found clear water in the first 500 Meters or so. Then the bashing began. Next time I am definitely stealing a mens blue cap because I swear the pink cap is a target for bullying.

Let’s just call it like it is, I got brutalized out there. I got booted off the feet I was swimming on, I got run into from both sides, I got decked in the head repeatedly. I just got harassed.

A few times out there I just wanted it to be over, to stop the physical bashing, the stop and go, the speed up and slow down, and the maneuvering that I had to do. But, alas, it’s the way these things go. I’ll keep practicing my swimming so maybe some day I will be amongst less people. I own it completely.

Oh, there was current out there. On the way out it drug us right and the way back it drug us left. In fact when I hit the pier, I actually ran directly into the end of the pier rather than the side of it. Then I had to turn right and swim along the end of the pier before making a left to swim along the pier.

The conditions were no worse than last year, but the water was a bit less clear than last year. I remember trying to relax from a particularly bad bashing and telling myself to look at the fishies and not being able to see them.

I got out and saw the clock and felt fine about it. 1:07, little slower than last year, but not too much worse for wear.

T1 was really quick. The only thing I had in my T1 bag was my sunglasses.

Out onto the bike I felt good. I stuck directly with my nutrition plan and also with my pacing plan from Dirk. I was calculating my time as I went along and felt solid with how I was feeling.

There was a lot of drafting, and a good amount of red cards being given out. This was cool to watch in action. As I have said before I try very very very hard to remain legal at all times. I will share with you something. At a race of this caliber everyone is fit, and everyone wants to have their best day. Most people in Kona have a race plan, and it usually involves some parameters on power or heart rate or effort or whatnot. Riding legal will often cause you to impact your ideal race plan. This is why I think a lot of people don’t think they are drafting and don’t think they deserve their penalty. (PS: I really dig my bike fit, Thank you Scott)

I talked to a woman who was an official and she said that 50% of people who come into the tent with a drafting penalty don’t think they deserved it. So, here’s why. In order to stay legal, you will be forced out of your plan. There will be times that someone passes you and then they slow down. Sometimes they even coast and stretch. To stay legal, you have to drop out of the zone before repassing or you risk a penalty and if the dude is coasting, you may have to break to do so. He will not receive a penalty for coasting, you will get one for drafting. See, it’s a game and sometimes it requires your heart rate or watts or whatever to go WAY below your plan. Just play the game and you won’t get a red slash through your fancy dandy bike number.

The flip side happens too. I had 3 situations, and you can see them on my power file where I passed the person at the back of a group and thus committed to passing the whole group. My heart rate went to 170. My watts were 230, but that was what I had to do to remain legal. It was on me to do so. Was it part of my optimal plan, not at all.

So, these things happened, I watched a lot of drafting, I watched people stay legal, I watched people try, I watched people get penalties, and all along I rode the race I needed to ride. It was a beautiful day out there, although, there were white caps on the water which is really bothersome to see when you are racing, because you know your day will become very hard at some point.

The wind up to Hawi was in your face. But it wasn’t cross like 2 years ago, so I was fine with it. I’ll take the wind in my face any day. Coming down was fun and fast, and then the 2 mile climb from Kawaihae to the turn onto the Queen K gave us a real taste of what we were in for. HEADWIND.

I have riden this section quite a few times and it was the biggest head wind I have experienced. It’s always a head wind, but usually I can cruise in the 19-20mph at race intensity. This year I was at 17mph for 2 hours. Boo. A lot of people just gave up on remaining legal through this section, the drafting advantage on a steep headwind like this is big, and the officials are extinct at this point.

I passed Michelle in here and she looked really good. I mean we were both in the headwind so we were working hard, but all signs looked good to me. There was an official with me at that point and I know he stuck with Michelle for about 5 minutes. Because we were in the same kit I think he thought we might work together, but he had nothing to hand out, because we don’t.

Into T2 I was really excited. I felt quite good coming off the bike and my tummy felt good. I wasn’t tired of my nutrition and all systems felt a go. Into T2 I saw Hailey! It’s not the first time this year we have been in T2 together. That was awesome to see a familiar kit.

On with the Newtons and the hat and I was off to run a marathon. I was pretty jazzed to get into the meat and potatoes of the day. I felt like I was strong and that it was go time.

2012 Kona Ironman Prequel

Gotta admit, it took me some time before I even wanted to write about this years race. I knew how to start it, that’s easy. It’s the ending. It took awhile to really get my head around it. I’m ready now, lets do this. In order to keep you interested, this first post is going to be interspersed with Undie Run photos. Enjoy! Oh and what are Michelle and I this year??? Why…Partners In Crime of Course!!

I looked at the results for the first time yesterday. I finished 19th in my age group, I went 10:51 and on paper, it looks like the wheels fell off. I knew that looking at the numbers I would see the potential and the opportunities that were squandered. Looking at those results were tough, I’m not going to lie there, but before I get too much ahead of myself, let’s get this show on the road.

My post-race thoughts have been more philosophical than anything. And here’s what I have come up with. If someone had a crystal ball, and they were able to tell me how I was going to race at Hawaii and they said to me….

Sonja, you will give up on yourself, you will lose your fight, you will have your slowest time, and when you cross the line you will think you have had your worst race ever.

…then would I still have raced? That’s what I’ve been thinking about for days. And I keep coming back to the same answer…definitely. Yes, even if I had known the outcome before I stepped on the line, I still would have done it. And you wanna know why? Because Ali’i drive is amazing, because the finisher medals are a freaking work of art, because people would gladly donate a limb to race this race, and because failing doesn’t mean I’m a failure, it just means I had the strength to try.

So, there’s that!

Before I get started I want to give thanks. To say this is a selfish sport is totally cliche…but it is. To think that there are people in my life that help me out, that call to check on me, and that are there for me through thick and thin, well, it’s pretty awesome for me.

My family is awesome. Troy and Annie are great at helping me out day in and day out, and both my parents and Troys parents support my racing through and through. My uncle Norm has been to every one of my Konas and perhaps the biggest complement he has given me was to get the triathlon bug himself. He races Honu 70.3 next year!

My sponsors this year have been awesome. The longer I am in the sport the more I realize that some relationships just stick. The guys at QR, the guys at KE, and Ron with Punk rock Racing have been with me through this entire crazy year. Not only do they support me with products, but they really truly believe that I can be successful. The products are awesome, but belief is a priceless gift.

Coach Dirk did his best to get me on the start line in the best shape of my life. My numbers leading up were solid and he gave me a plan the week of the race to go for it. My swimming is getting much better with the help of coach Nick and Karlyn, and I also had lots of diet help from Dina, she’s been awesome to work with.

I also have to give thanks to all the amazing athletes that have been there for me on the pool deck, on my bike, and running with me side by side. These are my people, folks that get it, because we all share triathlon DNA. Michelle, my PIC, she is a sister to me. Not even “like” a sister, but actually blood to me. Beth, Terry, Scott, Wayde, Grant, Kendra, Katy, Jen, Audra, Jocelyn, Jeremy, Laura, Nick, Scotty P, you all have touched me this year.

And lastly, my athletes. They are an extension of my support system and a girl couldn’t ask for better cheerleaders. I hope I continue to set a good example for you (said as she posts photos of her in her underwear).

Thank you for all the support this year. I can’t tell you much about the future, but I can say that a brutal kicking doesn’t take me down. Adversity is only fuel for my belly. There are changes that I need to make and some of them are going to be difficult. Adversity is a given in this sport, and I’ve been lucky to nail many races in past years. In the words of a wise, yet cocky one:

Reassess

Rebuild

Try Again

—Macca

Tomorrow I’ll talk swim and bike.