I have nothing prophetic to say. Not one thing. I was just looking through some old pictures this evening, and watching video footage that I took of Annie when she was little.

Every parent thinks their child is sooooo cute, and I guess I’m no exception.

I can’t believe the little girl that my baby is growing into. Have any of you been reading this blog since she was this little?







We had some difficult years in the beginning. I thought for sure I was going to have my hands full with this little one…can you tell by that last picture?!!

But I don’t. Instead I have this beautiful little girl, inside and out, who repeats with me every morning before she goes to school “I am smart, I am kind.” A child who doesn’t want to give her tooth to the tooth fairy because she wants to keep it (PIC thinks this is very odd). Annie is Annie. She’s an only child true and through, an empathetic little girl who loves to go on adventures, loves to travel, and is so extremely easy going.

I’m so lucky. In so many ways.

On a Whim

I’m not a whim sort of girl. I’m a planner. After getting a Kona slot at Cozumel is was time to look at planning out the season. The races are filling faster and faster. I had signed up for Boston. I had signed up for Eagleman. I put together a schedule, but much like last year it was just a bunch of stuff to get me race ready for Kona. Kona Kona Kona.

But honestly, I didn’t really want to do Boston. Sorry Chris. I could do it, it’s on my bucket list. But really, just the idea of traveling out there, going solo for cost purposes, taking a bus with thousands of others, being all packed in while I ran my butt off, not walking down stairs the next day, etc etc. I just didn’t wanna.

You know what I really wanted to do? I wanted to do this:

I know right. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But to me it does, because I love this distance, and waiting until October to race it again makes me sad.

So, I ran it by Dirk, made my case, and he said to follow my heart. I like that. Follow my heart.

I have three athletes racing: Emily, Katie, and James, so this will excite them…hopefully!

PIC and Big Brother Tony are racing.

Keith is racing. Besides being a phenom 100 miler pacer (bonded for life he and I are) he’s dang funny. Here he is…up to no good.

Some of my closest tri friends in Denver are racing it as their first: Tyler, Beth, and John. You met Beth in the above photos. John is Beths MAN, and Tyler is…well…Tyler. There are no words to describe him. Sometimes he’s this Tyler.

And….sometimes he’s this Tyler…he’s in green

I just love these folks. There are more too, there is Randi, going for IM#2, Katy, who will swim like a :39 or something ridiculous like that. There is Kirsten, PICs athlete too. Also it’s Beths (another Beth) first IM as a PRO.

There is just so much fun and excitement happening. I want to go. I want to race.

And so I signed up…on a whim.

Two Sided Coin

I’ve been rolling around the idea of this post in my head for a few days now. I figure if I don’t try to get it down then the moment is going to pass, and I might miss the opportunity to get feedback from you all. So bear with me here because it’s one of those not so fully formed thoughts. Maybe you all can help me through it in the comments. Okay, here goes…

So as you know I’m getting adjusted with a new coach. His name is Dirk, he speaks German Dirkish, but it might as well be German. I have never felt so lost about training in my life, but what I am coming to realize is that we understand the same things, just in different ways, and different languages. It’s a good thing, it’s all very much a good thing. The learning curve is fairly steep, and as they say, doing things wrong is what makes you know…really know…when you do things right.

So, going through this process of learning about someone new, and having them learn about me, it has made me think more about my own strengths and weaknesses. Go ahead and try to explain who you are to someone who doesn’t know you and is about to tell you how to train day in and day out. It’s hard!!

My first thought….I am tough. That’s what I told him…Dirk…I am tough, I’m a worker, I’m a border collie. And you know, I took pride in that fact. Don’t we all have certain traits that we take pride in? I am one of those hard to break athletes, but it’s funny that I take pride in this fact. It’s really more a matter of genetics than strong will. In my core I honestly think that most all of us are out there going as hard as we can in sport. I think most of our failings are execution and training related more than they are “just not trying hard enough”. I think most of us are ready and willing to go to the well and some of us break ourselves in the process and others don’t. I don’t seem to break or wear down as easily as others.

But I’ve also noticed that I have a propensity to work. I have an ethic that assumes hard work is a necessary part of the process to success in anything, from school, to jobs, to finances, to coaching, to triathlon. Work seems to be just a part of my psyche.

As I talked to Dirk last weekend, after completing 3 weeks of training from him we were discussing how I fared. It was such an interesting experiment because he gave Michelle and I almost the same amount of work and the same workouts. I had a tad more running because I have a 50k on the horizon, but other than that the lions share of the training was identicle. So Michelle and I watched each other through those three weeks and it was exactly as we usually see. As the weeks went on Michelle was surviving well, but a big load was being created. At the end of the 3 weeks it was hard for her to get her heart rate up, and the watts were falling off.

The complete opposite was true for me. The watts were getting stronger and stronger and the third week was my best of the three. Of course I am all proud of myself when talking to Dirk about this. Look at me…I need more work…I am heard to break.

He explains that 90% of athletes are like Michelle, more work, load is created, metrics take a dive, recover…do it all again. Then 10% of athletes are like me, getting stronger as it goes, or not breaking down as much. And he said…it looks like we will have to find a way to create this loaded effect in you. And, I kinda took a deep gulp. Because he kinda said it in his German accent, and that was enough to scare me.

For the first time I realized the flip side of the coin. Because of the way I am built, I may take pride in the fact that I am a work horse, that I am tough. But in reality what it means is that I have to work extra hard, more time, more pain, for every inch of progress I make. Hard to break, also means hard to load, which means hard to force adaptation upon. Which means…sucks to be Sonja…because she’s going to have to do more than the next girl to get the same adaptation.

I don’t know if that makes any sense, but this realization hit me kinda deep. I have never been afraid of work, but maybe it’s because I have known all my life that I’m going to have to work dang hard to see progress that 90% of people see through traditional methods. It’s funny because Troy and I have always shared this feeling. We used to talk about it a lot when we were first married. With school we both had to study harder than our peers to “get it” and we have both felt that we had to work extra hard to make progress in the areas that we seek success. We have always felt united in that.

How’s that for a messed up, back sided, flip flopped way to look at things?

I always say to people: “Our strengths ARE our weaknesses.” I really believe that to be the truth, the thing that sets you apart is usually that thing that sets you ahead, and also the thing that sets you behind.

Are you really committed….you’re probably a little too much Type A too?

Are you really empathetic….you’re probably also over-effected by others moods and by what they think of you??

Are you really good at maintaining distance and perspective in a situation…but do you also lack empathy for others who are in distress?

Are you easy-going…but then do you lack attention to detail?

Have I made sense…or confused you even more?



#24 of 33 Paint Some Pottery

Before Christmas this year I got an email from Ceramics in the City for some discounted paint your own pottery. Since this was on my list of 33 things, and since I was looking for some Christmas presents, I decided to hit it up. I thought some mugs for Troys parents would make a nice gift…if they turned out okay!

I went after I dropped Annie at school and I painted for like 3 or 4 hours. It was so calming and I figured if they didn’t turn out, then no skin off my back. I’m not very original. I just like the tedium and monotony. I did it alone, which I realize looks kinda sad and pathetic, but hey, I don’t have any siblings so I actually crave my alone time every once in awhile.

You want to have plenty of time when you go to one of these places, the last thing you want is to be rushed. I worked on Rogers first. I kinda just went with a striped theme, trying to pick some manly colors that would be happy and vibrant, that someone who wakes up at 4am most days would like to drink from.

I wanted Marlas to be calming and soothing. I liked the greens, but I’ll be honest, I almost like how the colors are muted before it got fired. I think it’s prettier before!!

I signed the bottom with Merry Christmas and laughed as I had visions of them turning out horrible and Troy and I drinking out of cups that had Marla and Roger on them for the rest of our lives.

Here they are after they have been fired. They dip them in a shiny glaze so they come out all glossy looking. I think they turned out pretty good, a little amateurish, but hey, I can’t claim to be anything else. Roger and Marla said that they liked them, but we did make sure to include a pound of really nice Kona coffee, just in case.



Vision Board – Act

I’ve never done a vision board. I’ve known about the concept but never actually sat down and completed one. I was reading my friend Randi’s blog and she put one together, I thought it was pretty cool.

One of my athletes, Kelly put a virtual one together that I thought was pretty awesome as well. You can see it here.

So what’s the point? I don’t know. I just got a bunch of magazines and just ripped through them and found things that spoke to me. I know where I’m headed, all those decisions were made several weeks ago, but this is an interesting process in seeing where my desires lie. I probably have a little too much time on my hands right now while Dirk realizes that I am the triathlon equivalent to this or this or maybe more of this.

Looking at the completed board, I can tell that my family and PIC are like constant fixtures in my life. I want to continue to do a good job within those relationships this coming year, they have really become my day to day foundation of love and support. Food was a big trigger for me. I felt the need to rip out lots of pictures of veggies.

But the vast majority was triathlon related. It was odd that I kept cutting out 9s. I clearly had nine on the brain. And there is a funny little section with a scale and I put all these numbers on it and then the word peace underneath it. That’s because I seek peace with my weight.

There are THREE big purchases I want this year and shockingly I found all of them in my magazines (not as immune to marketing as I hoped)

– The Freak of Nature

-A Zipp 808 Firecrest carbon clincher rear wheel with a Power Tap, and a 404 front to accompany it.

-A new Gamin 910

And of course in the middle there is a hot girl, coming across the line at Kona with a big fat 9 number on the clock. She has abs, and she looks hot…hey, it’s MY vision board!

Some people think if you put all this stuff in front of you, that it helps make it come true. I think it was a concept made popular after “The Secret” came out. Your destiny is in your hand, the power lies with you, yada yada yada. I believe it all, I mean heck why not? I call it “putting it out there in the universe.” I hope I didn’t get that phrase from when I watched the secret like 7 or 8 years ago, that would be tragic.

I just have always been a firm believer of ACTION. I think all this stuff is good, it’s good to display your dreams and hopes and reminders of how you want to act and who you want to be. But it’s scratching the surface. The real secret lies in our actions on a day to day and week to week basis. I can tape on my vision board “Follow the Good” which reminds me of Troy. But if I don’t act in accordance, then it’s all moot. Actions are where it’s at.

Not long ago I was listening to NPR, I think they were discussing 2012 resolutions and someone was saying that they pick a word each year to focus on. A guide for their actions. This struck me, because in 2010 my word was DILIGENT. I didn’t have a word last year, but I wish I had. This year, it’s ACT. I just know it.

So, do you all use these sort of tactics at the beginning of a new year? Do you find them helpful or are they like every other New Year type of thing, forgotten by February? Do you do anything else that helps to focus your efforts?

Snowy Training Day

Today rocked the house so hard core. I woke up to several inches of snow, cold temps, and it was still dumping. PIC, who is usually a little bit more sane than me opted for the treadmill, but then she texted me that the roads were a mess. Rather than drive to the gym, I hunted down and stole Troys YakTrax (I literally wore out mine), bundled up with 3 layers on top, and hit the state park. (have I told you I live literally next door to a state park with 30 miles of trails?)

I was out there laying down first tracks of the day, which made me feel like quite the pioneer. I had some tempo efforts to hit today so I ran out to a flat section of road in the state park that I use for these sorts of things when the track is snowy (between my house and the state park is an all-weather track, so I guess you could say I live next to the track which lives next to the state park).

I got going on the road, a 0.75 mile section that I would cover 8 times today, and a guy came by me in a car, then he came by the other way, then he pulled over in front of me and stopped. This is always an alarming action for a female runner. I was giving him the “don’t abduct and kill me look” also known as the “stink eye” as I ran on by him. Then the next effort I’m coming back by him and his car is in the ditch. Strange, very strange. Then the next time by there was a park ranger, next time two park rangers, next time they are discussing what to do, next time they are hooking up his car to ropes, next time they had pulled him out, next time everyone is gone. It was the strangest series of snapshots while I ran back and forth and back and forth ad infinitum.

I ran on home through the snow after my efforts, feeling beastly and studly, and generaly very Grrr.

The next workout later in the day PIC and I met at the pool. We had to do a main set of 10×400 at IM effort on :15 rest. It seems simple but it’s a doozy. We are in the meter pool, so it’s an IM+ swim, at IM pace, with a little bit of rest in there. Ouch. We also did it in the outdoor pool in 25 degree weather while it was snowing. This may seem very Grrr, but it’s actually one of the more enjoyable weather situations to swim in. It’s fun to be outside, in a swimsuit, totally warm (after the first 100) in the snow. Greenwood Athletic Club rocks in that they keep the pool at a solid 82 degrees year round, and it’s days like this where I feel blessed to be able to train outdoors.

The workout was awesome evil. I held on pretty darn well as long as you ignore #9 where I suddenly came in 10 seconds slower than all my other ones because I was loosing focus. Doh! It was the kind of swim where you have trouble washing your hair afterwards. I had to prop up my elbows on the inside walls of the shower to get it done. Even though PIC was out of the pool, and back in the locker room, sitting in the hot tub before I even did 9 of them, it was still nice to have her company. I always pick it up when she laps me, and that helps keep me honest and motivated. She laps me often.

All in all, today was such a rewarding day. Good work done in bad weather. Today felt like an adventure. I’m just so darn happy to be back training and looking forward to a new season. Today reminded me that most times I tend to find the adventure in adversity, and that makes me happy.

LASTLY, Kompetitive Edge is having a rather LARGE sale on TYR clothes, KSWISS, and Mix1. I would hit it up!!

#13 of 33: Cirque Du Soleil

I found out that Cirque Du Soleil was coming to Denver as part of the Michael Jackson Immortal Tour. I was expecting to have to go to Vegas to check off this item on my 33 before 33 list. Upon finding out, I got really excited because I am a closet MJ fan in a big way. The MJ Pandora station is what I play while training like 50% of the time. I love me some MJ. This was a win-win.

Then I looked up the price of tickets. Oh my lanta! I didn’t think I would need to solicit sponsorship for my 33 before 33 list! They were really expensive. So I bagged it and tried to forget about it. But then I kept checking craigslist every 2 days.

Finally on the day of the Saturday show (they were there F/Sat/Sun) I found a set of tickets that were equally pricy, but the seats were great, and it was a set of 4, and I got a little impulsive, and next thing you know I’m driving across town in a snowstorm when I should be doing my long run to purchase really expensive tickets. In my defense, they came with a VIP parking pass….

PIC was off driving to the slopes that night so I hatched this grand plan. Ann, who lives behind us likes to spend time over at our place from time to time. She’s 11 and we adore her. Annie loves her, and her and her family have made moving to the neighborhood one of the best things we have ever done. So I called her mom and asked if we could surprise Ann and take her as part of our special night. Score!

At 6:30ish we packed up and headed to the show. The girls were HYPED up, they were so excited. We totally splurged, shirts and show treats whatever they wanted, snacks, etc, just for one night we lived it up. This is their “We are really excited” faces.

The show was pretty crazy. Honestly, I think MJ was rolling over in his grave. He wouldn’t have hated it, because that wasn’t his style, but he is really much more into the build up…the slow crescendo. This was Cirque first and foremost, to the music of MJ, inspired by what MJ is known for, but not in an attempt to be MJ…it was clearly Cirque. So it was fast paced, mashing together the peppy parts of various MJ songs, all lights and dazzle, with the main dancer representing MJs sequin glove. Still, I’m happy to listen to MJ all night long, and the acrobatics and performers were jaw dropping.

There was one issue in my mind, the music was extremely loud. I love loud music but I was very glad I brought ear plugs for the kiddos and I even used them a little bit myself. It was funny at the end, Annie actually fell asleep. The music was pounding, they were singing and performing all over the stage, and her eyes drooped shut. Annie is such a sensory seeker, it’s not surprising. The kid was meant to have like 10 siblings.

After the show everyone was hyped and we watched MJ music videos the whole way home. Smooth Criminal is still my favorite all time MJ video, and it was my favorite song at Cirque.

All in all, an amazing show, and just awesome to see them portray so many of the things that MJ was passionate about…his lost childhood, the earth, hunger, poverty, love. I’m so glad I splurged and went to this slow.

Plant Based and Vega Sport

As many of you know, I tried to go Plant Based last year. January through May were easy peasy. I loved trying all these new recipies and I love veggies like crazy so it was super fun to read new books and gain some knowledge. To those thinking about or leaning that direction, I suggest the following:

– Book: The China Study

– Book: Cook Food

– Books: Clean Food and Clean Start

-Movie: Forks over Knives

Movie: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

Now those are great links if you need knowledge on general Plant Based Radtasticness. But what if you train 25-20 hours a week, you live on your bike, in the pool, and on the road? What if you don’t have time to chop chop chop and chomp chomp chomp? Well, you need a few more resources. So, start stalking:

– Book: Engine2Diet

– Book: jaiseed

– Book: Thrive

In spite of reading all this, I still didn’t make it through the year Plant Based. I struggled on several fronts, the main being affordable protein, the second being cravings. Meat is cheep and quick to get on the table. I didn’t quite have the systems in place to make it through the crunch months of serious IM training. But there is always 2012. Of the triathletes that are plant based that I have stalked followed (this is not a short list) through the years, Brendan has gone APE-CRAZY all over the Plant Based for Athletes vibe.

He created Vega which was a supplement line so that Plant Based people could make sure they were getting all they needed in terms of nutrients on a daily basis. But to me, that wasn’t where plant based endurance athletes were lacking solutions. It’s the training fuel, or mainly the large quantity of soy protein out there. If you are Plant Based, good luck finding a recovery drink on the market without whey in it, or a good quality protein bar.

I was stoked to see that Vega launched a new line called Vega Sport a few months ago. I begged to try it out and they let me..because they are nice like that. I got the box in the mail and it was really light. I kinda did a “tsk-tsk, don’t they know I’m an endurance athlete?” in my mind before I opened it. There was  cute little box inside. I was a like, Ummm….this will barely feed me during 2 Ironman training sessions.

Then I opened it up and shazam, it was an exploding box full of every single product and flavor they were putting out. It got to try it ALL (muh-ah-hah-hah). In short, I can say that if you are trying to stay vegan with your sport nutrition, this is your new best friend.

Here’s a little break down of what I think, based on the hard core endurance athlete.


– Pre Workout Energizer: This is for before training. I thought it tasted like Flinstones vitamins. It comes in at 70 calories which is a mere drop in the bucket compared to what I would get down before a large training session. But I liked that it was digestible. I did a double shot and blended it with a banana (about 240 calories) and I felt ready to get into my training day. Taste…strange. Effective…seemed to be.


– Electrolyte Hydrator: A NUUN type of product. It’s a no calorie little pouch of powdered goodness. It doesn’t fizz like NUUN though. I found this to be divine. They nailed the taste and I really really dug both the lemon lime and the pom berry flavors. I used this for a 2 hour easy spin and it worked.

– Endurance Gel: I’m not a fan of gels, I prefer the gummies that are on the market. However, most all those gummies have horse hooves in them so again if you are super jazzed about being plant based, you are probably stuck with gels any ways. These were two of the last things I tried. Mine were cold and they had little crunchy balls in the them…I think it’s the coconut oil. If I’m going to gag down a gel, I should probably gag down one of these, they are made with dates.

– Endurance Bar: Well shiver me timbers. I’m not a big “bar” gal, unless it’s those evil little White Chocolate Macadamia Candy Luna bars. Well, I loved these. They are clean tasting, but good, and they really hit the spot. I had them on a really long 5 hour traininer ride and they really performed well for me.

** During training I will most likely stick to my First Endurance EFS or NUUN in my bottles, but will add in the Endurance Bar and the Electrolyte Hydrator (to have a flavor contrast from NUUN) going forward. I really liked these bars.


– Recovery Accelerator: I was confused about this at first. It’s 80 calories and I was like “How is 80 calories going to get me anywhere after a hard session, I need like 300. ” Again, a mere drop in the bucket. But it tastes really good. I REALLY liked the Apple Berry. I read up and realized, I needed to add one of the next products….

– Performance Protein: 26 grams of Plant Based protein. I add this to the Recovery Accelerator and now  I’m in plant based recovery heaven. I liked the berry flavor the best because it made sense with the Apple Berry Recovery Accelerator. I didn’t want to add chocolate to Apple Berry, that sounded not so good. This combo made for 200 calories of recovery drink, but at 23 grams of carbs, and 26 grams of protein I would probably have a banana in addition to this. giving me 300 calories with adequate carb replacement. This seems like a lot, but this is what I’m looking at directly after 5 or 6 hours on the bike with an hour running afterwards. I’ve most likely skipped lunch and so this has to pack a punch.

– Protein Bar: Are you kidding me. These were amazing. You can tell they sourced the really really GOOD chocolate. I will be ordering two boxes of these stat. They were amazing. The Chocolate Coconut (and I dont’ really like chocolate) should win some sort of best bar award. Major Nom Nom.

** So I have been using First Endurance Ultragen as my recovery drink of choice. The cappuccino has a bit of a cult following in endurance circles and I will admit, it is divine. But it has Whey Protein Isolate and it’s not plant based. Even after trying the VegaSport products, the Ultragen is still the best tasting recovery drink on the market. I would switch to VegaSport if I am committed to remaining Plant Strong. Am I? There are certainly no excuses now that VegSport is on the market.

Also, apparently tomorrow Vega Sport is launching a huge sweepstakes. The prizes are pretty MAC-DADDY with a 15 day trip to awesome places and 30K in prizes. You can enter that at I will be entering for sure.

And lastly…Vega didn’t pay me for this review, they just gave me the tiny little box of stuff that I thought wouldn’t be enough, but ended up packing a punch. Good stuff, really, quite good stuff.

So, thoughts on the whole Plant Based thing? Are any of you hoping to go more this direction in 2012?