All grown up

I made her take this picture. It was right after she said to me “Just think, you are never going to see this face again.”

Sounds harsh, but she was right. Her front two teeth have been wiggly for sometime and then all of the sudden one of them got really loose. After she said that to me, I started crying. It had been a long day and I just wasn’t ready for my baby girl, my only baby to take that next step. So I made her pretend that tooth wasn’t about to come out and to let me take one last photo.

She’s a little doll. Especially recently, just so much fun to hang out with. Such a nut too. Here she is with the evil snaggle-tooth. It reminds me of that weird movie with the nanny and the tooth that sticks out. What one was that again? I kept tell Annie “Don’t lose it, I’m not ready” and she would say “Ohhh mom.” Am I that mom now? The one begging for time to stop.

She wiggled and wiggled and spent about 2 hours in the bathroom in front of the mirror admiring her snaggle-tooth. She pulled on it but it wouldn’t come out. At one point she got it all turned around and the sharp part was digging back into her gums and then it got stuck that way. She started screaming “Ouch” and I ran into the bathroom, got a piece of tissue and pulled it out. It was barely hanging on. She looked at me and said “That didn’t even hurt.” It’s true that the forethought of pain is usually worse than the actual pain. Not just with teeth, but in life.

And then I cried, and I cried, and I cried. I just can’t handle the fact that now a big tooth is going to grow in and she’s not going to look like a little girl anymore. Michelle has been preparing me for this and Troy tells me I’m silly, but I just can’t get over it. This tooth has made me want to have another baby more than I have wanted to in the last 6 years. I just lament the fact that I only get to go through this all once. Time please slow down. I beg you.

But it won’t. I’m screwed there.

While the munchkin is rip roaring around summer camp, I’m keeping myself busy with Kona training. I am challenging myself more, I am loving my training and I am doing lots of fun things, especially on “Friday Funday.” This past week PIC, J&J and I went to Glen Havn. Actually, half the J went to Estes and missed the cinnamon rolls, but us ladies are all about sweets and rewards, so we weren’t about to miss them.

We had one of those remarkable days where there was a tailwind going uphill and a headwind coming down. MY FAVORITE! If you are going to have wind, that’s the wind to have. And the cinnamon rolls did not disappoint. We had a good day and the fitness is coming along nicely. I’m so glad to have PIC back on the bike and I’m going to miss J&J when they go back to Pittsburgh, but they said I can come visit. I’ll have to take them up on that.

On the way back to Boulder jacked up on a sugar high I decided that a mid ride swim made a lot of sense. It was amazing to take a dip in the little lake on the Big Thompson river. I would do it again, hands down. Especially since the temps here in Colorado have been blistering. It’s been perfect Kona training, now if those temps can just last through October…I doubt that!!

This last weekend we said goodbye to the trusty VW. We beat that car to smithereens. Like bad! I’m pretty sure they are going to have to total it. We traded it in for a new one, something I’ve wanted for a long time, a Honda Element. This bad boy can fit both Troy and I’s bikes upright inside it without taking any wheels off, and can still fit Annie in the back seat. It’s awesome and I feel so lucky to be driving it around now. I’m going for 300,000 miles on it! that’s the goal….275,000 to go! I heard this guy on NPR, he hit 3,000,000 miles on his car recently. Insane!

Have a great week, I know mine will be. The end of the work week PIC, J&J and I are going on an epic adventure, and then this next weekend Troy has his first ever triathlon! The HITS “half ironman” in Sterling Colorado. It’s supposed to be like 100, I hope he doesn’t melt. I can’t wait, I’m so excited for him!!!

 

More On Hunger

Last night I had dinner with one of my athletes, you might recognize her, she’s a breath of FRESH AIR. Ms.Ali as we call her, was the first woman to ever win the Biggest Loser. She’s this awesome mixture of smiles and strength, kindness and determination. She’s just rad, and it’s so much fun to be a part of her journey. It’s a win-win for both she and I.

After dinner Troy and I were talking about that fighting spirit. What is it in someone that makes a winner? Ali told us that when she was 4 weeks into the BL she made the decision to win. That decision was firm and she poured every ounce of herself into it. She said, when I decide to win, I win. I LOVED this. It’s speaks strongly to her ability to commit fully. How is it that some people have this innate ability and others don’t seem to, or don’t use it?

It goes beyond hope, beyond “setting realistic goals”. There’s just something in some people that allow them to throw caution to the wind, and get downright crazy about their goals. I respect that. It gives me goose bumps. Ali gives me goose bumps.

———–

I visited with the Kompetitive Edge guys this evening and we had some great conversations. I can’t say enough awesome things about this shop. They support me so well, but the truth is they support everyone that walks through their doors. They listen, they advise, they nurture…and when nothing can be done about your problems, they set you up with wonderful gear and services to get you back on the road training to be your best. (PS have you seen the Oakley women’s running line…KE carries it and I have every piece they put out, it’s the best running gear I’ve ever worn…hands down)

We have an insanely talented team. We are mostly Denver locals and yet, the podium positions just keep racking up. Grant and Kendra just won the overall amateur titles at Vineman. Katy won the top amateur swimmer and was 5th overall woman at CDA (including PROs) in her 2nd IM. These women are my teammates, but they are also the ladies I have watched come up and then pass me in the sport. They are both better than I am right now.

I was telling the guys at KE that I hope I’m still of value, now that we have faster, stronger women. It was a bit awkward to say it like that. The guys assured me that I’m still loved. I say that sarcastically, because these guys are just so supportive, but I know in my heart that others have passed me on their way up.

As I drove home I felt a bit like an underdog, but I also felt a little more fire in my belly than I have these past months. Do I want to be the girl who watches everyone get better, while I tread water? Or do I want to get busy? It’s the later. The pilot light has been lit deep down.

Dreams really do come true…but it takes a lot more than kissing a frog.

I have been spending some training time this week with Jocelyn and Jeremy. They are awesome. I really love the both of them. We have been having fun riding our bikes all over the place, some epic fun indeed. It’s been cool to show them Colorado. Unfortunately PIC is totally out of commission right now with a few lingering IM issues, so that’s the one thing I miss. Crime is not as fun without a partner!

I have deemed Friday as “Friday Funday” it’s my new thing. On Fridays I have fun. For now that means I go ride my bike somewhere cool. Mt Evans this week, hopefully Aspen next week. Wherever my heart is, that’s where I’m headed on Fridays. Last Friday it was Loveland Pass with J&J.

I figure with the amount I train, keeping one day set aside for fun day is a good call. Especially with the weather being so awesome right now, I’ve just got to get to some of these amazing places!

And, lastly, I can’t help but posting this one. Today PIC and I hit another milestone in our relationship, she got to witness my child projectile vomiting hot dog all over the back of my car. Just when you think parenting is getting a little easier….

Thank goodness for good friends and for being able to call in a “CODE RED” to Troy who biked home from work like he was in the TdF.

(PS dopers suck)

(PPS but sometimes they are still hawt…)

(sorry…bad tangent)

Without further rambling….sock hop Annie

Have a good week everyone. Challenge yourself, dream big, and go for it! There is no time like the present!

The Man

I got an interesting 10 year anniversary present from Troy this year. I got an hour with another man.

Come on folks, get your head out of the gutter….I know what you all are thinking.

No no no.

Troy got me a one hour visit with none other than Dave Scott. What would you give to sit down with triathlons biggest legend for one hour to pick his brain and ask him all sorts of questions? Well, that is what I got for an anniversary present.

Dave actually spent 90 minutes with me and it was a really cool experience. So cool that I forgot to get a photo with him…sad…yes I know.

We discussed so much and most of it I’m packing up and locking away with a key and a big dead bolt. There’s no way I’m sharing all these pearls of wisdom. Nope, not happening.

However, after processing things over the last few days I will share some of what our discussion has reminded me and brought up in my own brain. These aren’t Dave’s words, but more my ahh hahas after thinking about our conversation and kinda jumping to my own personal conclusions. I think it’s great when people can inspire you to do better and be better. Dave did that for me.

Okay, first off…meeting him. It is a CRAZY moment when he opens his office door and introduces himself to you and suddenly there you are standing in front of DAVE SCOTT. Act cool Sonja, act cool! I had to not think about the reality of it, which meant I couldn’t really look around his office, because the lifetime achievement award kept staring at me. Can you even imagine what it would be like to deserve an award like that? I can not.

HUNGRY

So, one thing our meeting made me think about was the concept of being “hungry”. When I told him about my day at CDA he said to me “You weren’t hungry.” He pegged me in one line (he is very direct). I’ve thought a lot about hunger and desire and where that comes from, what happens when it gets lost, and how to find it again. I have been riding this week with Jocelyn who won the overall amateur at CDA and that girl was hungry. I know Katy B who had a fantastic race, and she was hungry for a win and for a stellar day. PIC was the most hungry I have ever seen her and I’m not shocked at what it yielded.

I spent the days before CDA getting my head screwed on straight, my ducks in a row, I was lightyears behind “hungry.” I was trying not to be weepy. I was hoping if I came off the bike with the amateur leaders that I would grow hungry and race harder. That’s bullshit, never gonna happen. I vow here and now that I will never stand on an IM start line again unless I’m hungry. Bottom line, I gotta have the eye of the tiger when I race, these opportunities aren’t to be squandered. If I can’t find that, it’s best to rethink my hobby.

Where did the hunger go? I know in my heart where it went. After Kona last year I had a hard time believing that there was better in me. Not because I had such a great race that I felt complete, but more because I worked so hard last  year, and the result was 8 minutes and 10th AG. I can’t even say I had anything go wrong, that was my best, most well executed day that I had in me. I went to Cozumel trying to break 10, to prove that all my work had trained me to do that, it was my hope to do it at Kona. I thought I was ready to do it. Then I didn’t do it at Cozumel either. Another day where I raced so hard, I executed the best I could, I left it all out there, and I pulled up short.

It’s hard to describe but I’ve just had this feeling over the months that I’m no good. That I may get marginally better with oodles more of work, but I no longer could see a path that would put me on the podium, or at the top of the podium in Kona. The ladies were getting so fast, and at 8 min PR chunks it would take me another 5 years go get to where the top girls are right now. Who knows where they will be by then? Nobody sees me as a threat, I can be swam down by swimmers, biked down by bikers and run down by runners, why would they? So not only was my hunger gone, I just couldn’t find my way back to having hope. After Cozumel this year, I told myself my goals were too lofty, that I just wasn’t good enough to dream that big. I had given it a go, but I was at the flat end of the progress curve and didn’t have enough talent to score one of those wooden bowls at Kona.

So what do you do then? You race happy. At least I did. I love Ironman, and I’m not surprised I was able to find joy out there.

STRENGTHS

Dave reminded me that it’s important to maximize your strengths. Work on your weaknesses, but hone those strengths. If you are tough, then be tougher than everyone else. If you are a work horse, then work harder than everyone else. If you are cunning and calculated…do that…whatever you do well, do it really freaking well. Take pride in your strength and use it. Don’t spend all your time focusing on where you suck, spend some time honing where you rock. Because when you know you’ve done the best at what you are good at, you can walk into a race with an aura of success. To not run the runner means that they get on the start line with questions in their head about their strengths. Where’s the confidence in that?

CHALLENGE

Make sure you are challenged. Whether it’s in your body, or your head, or your heart, make sure that you look at your training schedule and some of it scares the shit out of you. If you aren’t challenged, it’s hard to think you are making progress. I don’t know how other people work upstairs, but I know I need some adversity. I need to feel strong and powerful, and I need to feel weak and busted. If I’m not crawling into my bed exhausted at 7pm at least once a week, then something is missing in my life. Sometimes we all get in funks, but if you are in one and it’s not a result of injury, then I ask you, “Are you challenged?”

It’s been an enlightening week to say the least. How often do you get to meet a legend, someone who has success and hard work oozing from their every pore? To just absorb that energy and to ask questions and hear his point of view was awesome.

10 years

Last week Troy and I celebrated the 10 year mark of being married. 10 years! It’s gone by so fast. When I look at the photos I feel like we were so young, but I feel like the same girl that was in those photos. I guess I talk a bit nicer to myself nowadays, and I am a stronger woman, and thus able to be a better partner. I think the years have been kind to our marriage. Sure we have our gripes, but 95% of the time we are happy come home to each other after our days work.

He still looks at me like that every day. And also…I was plumper… hey..it happens.

In the last 10 years we really have been busy making this:

And we have done well. She is a doll and the best work we have done together has been to raise her and show her the world. So many wonderful years to come with this as well.

We decided the new anniversary tradition would be a timed mile in the pool together. Coach Nick counted our laps for us. I am so impressed with Troy, over the last 6 months he has basically caught up to me in swimming. What took me 5.5 years, has taken him 6 months. I get a little sore about this every once in awhile, but alas, I will just have to swim harder. You can see below I swam a 23:31 and he swam a 23:44. dang! Boy did he swim it “wrong” though. I can’t imagine how fast he’s going to be when he learns to pace. I wonder what our 11th anniversary will be…

After the TT in the pool we realized that with all the fire bans there would be no firework shows. It was the first year since our wedding day that we didn’t watch fireworks on the 4th. Therefore I headed out for a late long ride. I don’t know how I’ve never made it up Loveland Pass from Idaho Springs, what a mistake on my part. It’s my new favorite ride and I can’t wait to get back up there. Here are some photos, it’s just gorgeous, and with 4,500 feet of uninterrupted climbing in 47K, it’s no slouch!

I think you can do the entire descent…30ish miles, without pedaling…but you would have to have mad skills to do it. I pedaled…like 30 times…if that!

Well, Troy, we made it 10 years. What can I say that hasn’t been said? We work, we found that other person in the world that makes life fun and rewarding. We are in for the long haul and I’m really lucky to be your wife.

Happy Anniversary!

Ironman CDA 2012 – The Run

Off I went, clomp clomp clomp down the path. There were oodles of people lining the course the entire first mile. It was uphill but I didn’t even feel it, I just waved, and smiled, and did more shakas to everyone. I felt just great, not bad from the bike, a little heavy like usual, but nothing out of the ordinary really. I quickly settled into the pace that I had discussed with Dirk and just cranked along, waving, thanking volunteers and making friends. Who am I?

At one point I remember thinking, I’m being fueled by joy. That really was it. The miles clicked off more seamlessly than ever. I was working, don’t get me wrong, but it was so fun it didn’t feel like work at times. I passed a few ladies and I made sure to really support every single one, telling them good job and to keep it up and run hard so that we could meet again in Kona. So many of the people around me were in the hunt for a slot and they all knew it, but I felt off the hook a bit.

I will say that having my slot was a nice feeling, and I felt that I could relax more than I typically would. I made a friend from Ft. Collins and we ran together for a long time, around 11 miles I think. Side by side for most of it, we even chatted it up. It was his first, and I’m not sure where we lost each other, but I thought we were going to stick together until the finish. I don’t understand how I don’t have a single picture with him in it, but I don’t. Sad.

I thought I would hate the hills that were added to the course since I did this race in 2010, but they weren’t so bad. I had given them too much credit. I saw Katy and Michelle on the hills and they both looked really good, focused, like they should be, but good. Katy looked like she was going to hang on for the AG win, but Jocelyn did run her down just at the end. Those ladies were both way up the road and I was miles behind so I didn’t exactly have a huge sense of urgency, knowing that they were both phenomenal runners. But I also didn’t give up, and for the first time I didn’t even know where I was in the AG. Usually I’m counting and looking at numbers, but this time I was just running and staying strong and very in the moment.

I caught up to Michelle. She was having the race I always knew was in her. She was hurting, like all 30 minute PRs should, but she was doing it! Not a lot of chatting went on, I didn’t really know what to say, she was killing it…I told her that. She was winning…I told her that…the next lady was way back there…I told her that. What else could I say? Oh, I did tell her that I flatted which she didn’t hear, which was probably a good thing. Then she told me to “Go on now” and I didn’t stick around to bug her any longer. She had an amazing day, an AG win, and a trip back to Kona.

The fun did eventually run out for me, somewhere in the 18 mile range. I was sad to see it go, but like all good things, they come to an end. I noticed the pace starting to go south, and the pain sinking into my joints. I got quieter, limiting my engagement to shakas and thumbs up, the smile probably faded, and it took more focus to keep pushing forward. This is common in Ironman, no matter how well your day is going, a time will come when things hurt pretty darn bad.

My knees hurt, and my foot was cramping. It likes to do that sometimes. But this time, I just went internal and I really focused on my foot and the word “release.” I could feel it let up and then tighten again, then let up, then tighten, and I would really focus hard on that word. About 3 minutes later, after a lot of focus, I felt the foot let go, and it straightened out, and the foot cramp never came back. It happened in about the same spot at CDA 2 years back, so maybe my body was just remembering and I had to make a new memory.

Those last miles hurt, but there is also this anticipation that you are almost done, that you “did it” whatever “it” is, and that you are going to make it to the line. I always feel good about that and it lessens the pain those last miles. With about 1 mile to go Troy and Annie were there and I gave high 5s and Annie ran down the street holding her sign that said “Go Mommy Go.” Those really are the moments where I am fearless, all my concerns have melted away and I’m just watching my daughter run down the road cheering. What a life.

I made the final turn and I milked it. I was neck and neck with a Wattie Ink guy “Dan” and I knew I was stealing his thunder. I knew it. He was letting me steal it too, and I am thankful to him for that, a true gentleman, he was. I really lived it up the whole way down that line. I gave a good solid jump at the line, like a nice one, and then I was done!

I felt great, no need for medical, not even close. I got my pizza, chocolate milk (best finish line food ever), chips, grapes, and then headed to massage. Half way through a lady came in and said that my friend was in medical and that everyone out there wanted me to know that. So I got off the table and went to find what I knew was Michelle in medical. She was sitting next to Tony and they were all cuddled in blankets, which was funny because Michelle had two ice packs on her quads. Eventually they both came around, no IVs needed and made their way into recovery.

What a great day! Being a part of so many of my friends first Ironmans was amazing. Having Katie and Emily get through their first Ironmans was rewarding as a coach. Seeing James complete Ironman #12 of this year was awesome. It was just a really neat day. I’m not a fan of that swim, but it was well worth it for that gem of a bike course. Stunning really.

I stood on the line fearless, I gave it what I had, and returned oodles of data to Dirk for inspection. So hopefully we can build on this race and set a strong course for Kona. I am constantly humbled by the Ironman. I see such perseverance out there, such inspiration, and it always teaches me new things about myself. A week ago, I felt like success in this race was going to be hard to come by, but little did I know it was the opposite. It was an extremely joyful day.

Thank you to my sponsors Quintana Roo, Kompetitive Edge, Punk Rock Racing, TYR, and First Endurance. Thank you to Jim at Cyclemetrix for making my bike ride flawlessly, despite the sorry state it came to you in. Thank you Troy and Annie for always being there for me, for believing in me, and supporting all that I dream of. Lastly a big thanks to Dirk. He is one patient German and I am blessed to have him in my corner this year.