Race Season IS HERE

Most likely you spent one or both of the last two weekends updating the Ironman website on your computer, watching your friends compete at IM Cabo or Melbourne. With Oceanside 70.3 this weekend I think we can safely say that race season is here for 2013. I always think of Oceanside as early season world champs. It’s that first race that everyone is looking to see what sort of form people are in thus far.

 A good performance at an early season race can go either way. It can be an important confidence boost for an athlete that is questioning if what they have done over the off season is working. But it can also be a sign that too much focus was put into the offseason, which can at times yield poor performance in your “depth of season”, especially those all important late season races.

A less stellar performance early in the season can at times be a good thing. Now, I don’t wish bad performances on anyone, but if you’re going to get a kick in the ass, this is a good time to experience it. Truth is, it’s a long year. Starting to find your mojo right about now, in my opinion, makes for strong late season racing. The best seasons I have experienced have been a slow and steady build to a wonderful crescendo.


So, as we start getting into the season, here are some reminders straight from me to you.

Get your Sh!t in order:

Make sure you have clearly defined your inner circle. Who’s in? Who’s out? Who are you depending on this year for coaching, nutrition, support, training partners. Are these people who you are ready to lean on, who will be there for you through the long haul? And are they people who you would do the same for? These are important relationships, and sometimes less is more.

Make sure the past is history. After having reviewed what went wrong last year, and having made the changes towards success for this year, let it go. This years problems will be new problems, so don’t live last years AND this years. Just be ready for a new fresh year.

Check your ego at the door. Part of being emotionally strong enough to take risks in racing is understanding the difference between confidence and ego. Confident people are free to go off the front, free to huck their HRM at mile 10 on the bike. Because if they fall flat on their face, well, tomorrow is a new day, and next month is another race. People run by ego have a lot of bravado, usually talk a lot about being “dream crushers” or “name takers” when in reality this is a huge front for a fragile ego that can’t take a beating. These athletes tend to play it safe, after all, an ego blow for these folks is devastating.

Now that you have your Sh!t in order, limit consequences, and expand benefits:


Now it’s time to enact what I call the “Clean Slate.” Think about a giant chalkboard that you have just done several gnarly math problems all over. Remember calculus, think of that. That board has equations, there’s some drawings, numbers are everywhere, heck there’s a lot of letters in there too, and some are greek! It’s FULL, brimming really. That’s where you are at the start of race week. Now, as race day approaches, start erasing that chalk board. Yea, go ahead and get out the good eraser, the new eraser, the one that returns the board to is original clean black slate. Let it all go. The problems are solved, the answers turned in, every box is checked. Now work towards stepping on the start line with a clean fresh board. Because folks, your gonna need it. If you want to reach your potential the path is not easy or simple and you’re going to need a clean frickin’ chalkboard. What happens if you step on the line without a clean slate? If you are still worried about not having done enough, about facing tough competition (the toughest competition you will face is between your ears), then you will pay the consequences for those thoughts. Consequences usually come when the going gets tough, when you need to dig within for that extra toughness, well, all those excuses will regurgitate back up.  Limit Consequences.


Start kickin’ it with your inner surfer, dude. Or, if you are me, you channel Crush from Nemo.  Whatevvvvves dude. Righteous. Put on your rose colored glasses, build your personal bubble that nothing can penetrate. However you have to think of it, I’ve given you three examples, but the point is you gotta get happy, and you gotta get positive, and you gotta let shit roll off your back. Optimism and chill attitude doesn’t come easy on race week, you have to work at it. It’s way easier to be a raging tapered bitch (again…limit consequences). However, doing the work to find your inner chill turtle, or putting on your rosy aviators pays large dividends on race day. You problem solve better, you utilize your sugar stores more efficiently, and you feel more in control. You are expanding benefits.


Dudes, and dudetts, none of us are forced to race. Sure we have invested lots of hours and money, but would you really trade those new race wheels for a couch at Crate and Barrel? What’s the alternative folks? If you aren’t out there on race day because you love being healthy and you love being a triathlete, then you would be somewhere else. There are plenty of great ways to stay healthy that are way more chill…rock climbing…long distance hiking…yoga. So if you think that being a raging bitch with a fragile ego is part of the sport, it isn’t. Do the right work upstairs, get your Sh!t together, wipe the slate clean, find some perspective, put a smile on your face, and enjoy triathlon. If you can get yourself to that place, I guarantee you, the ass kicking, name taking, and dream crushing will be a byproduct, and one you could care less about. 

 Happy Racing in 2013…


Exploring “All In”

I had the best dinner with my mom last night. I flew home this morning from spending some some time in San Jose seeing my parents, training in San Jose, and just making progress in my fitness. First I have to say that my mom is such a wise soul, she’s a phenomenal listener and she knows me better than anyone on this earth. I’m a lot like my dad, and she’s been married to him for like 35 years. She gets us. We had this really interesting conversation about being “all in”


I was an “all in” kind of girl when I started this sport, Age Group Nationals was my third triathlon. I qualified for it the weekend before, and then flew to Portland and raced. I was all in. Each year that progressed I tried to go even more all in, and through various coaches I learned more about dedication to goals and what sorts of actions got you there. The good sleep, the recovery, the flops, the food, it’s all come in bits and pieces as I tried to go more all in (can there be a MORE all in?)

At some point I noticed that some people seem to be a bit too “all in.” You know the person who’s sole existence is triathlon, their ego and worth in life hinging on race results and power numbers and average pace, etc etc. I noticed that this seemed to be not so healthy in those people, that they weren’t very fun to be around, and I saw that at times I had these feelings myself. Troy and Michelle are probably nodding their heads right now. So is that “all in?” as in EGO is all in?


Along the way I prided myself in the fact that I had never really had a bad race. I had generally progressed in an upwards fashion, finding my way to the podium on most all races through hard work, and solid race execution. I wasn’t the type of person to blurt out my accomplishments to other people, but to ask them about themselves, to learn about their journeys.

And I’ll be honest here. If you trained with me last year, you would have noticed pretty quickly that I was sad and depressed most of the year. Troy suggested that I disconnect from Dirk several times and just do my own thing. I was stuck (by my own choice) in an unhappy place and although I royally defiled a few restrooms on the Kona Ironman course, as I get some distance I recognize that I landed on that island pretty emotionally screwed up. In my core I was afraid that a good race would mean that my sad and depressed year was on the right path. That’s a bad bad place to step on the line. Yea, I defiled a few bathrooms, but if it wasn’t that, I kinda think something else would have derailed me. Self defeating. I didn’t want what felt all wrong to turn out to be right.

As I move forward from last year I find myself asking, what is “all in?” It seems that all in means all in. Like it’s not a spectrum, it’s an absolute, you are willing to do anything to get maximum results. But I know, I just know, because I’ve seen it a ton of times, that if all in means wrapping up every ounce of who you are in the sport, then you aren’t going to get maximum results. So after a long chat with mom I think I have a better idea of all in.


All in is personal. All in for me is a focus on going for it. Throwing out my hangups and insecurities and taking a leap. Going all in means fixing what sucked last year, and then having the sense to call it fixed, to stop dwelling. Don’t take the salt tabs, go chase what makes you happy, surround yourself with people that tell you they believe in you and mean it. My mom in all her wisdom pointed out to me that in Hawaii last year, before I stepped in the bathroom, I was running on the podium. My fitness was there, my body was ready to do great things.

But my head was screwed. Anyone who trains as consistently as I have for 5 years has a wide breadth of fitness. But the hangups and insecurities become the bigger performance limiter. This year I go all in to get rid of them. I will chase the joy, I will have the good attitude both on the court, and within the 4 walls of my home, and I will, I WILL, believe in myself.



Well that Hurt!

I signed up for an open half marathon a few months ago. I haven’t run one since 2008. I thought my PR was 1:29:50. Looks like I was delusional. I went back through the blog and found it and it was 1:32:54. So, it looks like I ran faster than that off the bike at NOLA this past year. Opppp, Nopppe, just looked that up, and I went 1:33. I SWORE I had broken 1:30 somewhere, sometime. But the only race I can find is Harvest Moon the first year I ran it, and I ran 1:28:50 off the bike, but my Garmin showed that as 0.4 miles short. That’s pretty short…I can’t really give myself that one.

So, I’ve been running with faster people recently and I’ve gotten faster. Yup, a miracle, I know. I wasn’t sure how long I could hold onto the speed that I seem to have found, but I wanted to go for it. This is new territory for me so I feel a bit like a baby deer, overly optimistic and kinda wobbly. But hey, I’ll take overly optimistic any day.

One of my new run buddies Carolyn was signed up to race too, so I was excited to have a her out there with me. She’s on her way to Boston and we are very equally matched in the run department, so we lined up side my side.


Off we went, the weather was gorgeous and I was in shorts and a tank top. Oh happy day! It’s March 3rd in Colorado and I’m in shorts! This course is a doozy. It’s 3 miles flat across a dam, then 1 miles super steep down, then 2.5 miles false flat downhill. My friend Todd called it a Credit Card race, as in you put the money on the credit card, then you have to pay it off, ie come back uphill!

(can you find the two nuts on the left side?)


The race started, off we went, and I was flying and it felt EASY PEASY, Like effortless, form felt great, I was breathing HARD, but I was ON IT!.


I hit the turn around at 42:15 and this is an exact out and back course. Miles 1-6 were: 6:30, 6:34, 6:27, 6:17, 6:22, 6:35

Then we start to feel the false flat uphill, and it takes a bit of wind from my sails. 7 and 8 were 6:44, 6:48. Okay, that’s cool, it’s all good.


Then I look down, we are starting up the bigger hilly sections, and my pace does not match my perceived exertion. That’s when I start to dig deep. I’m getting passed, people are pulling away from me rather quickly. Miles 9 and 10 are 7:25, 7:40. Mile 10 was the really big hill that we came down. It was a doozy, and I hurt bad. My calves started to cramp around mile 9. I’m not exactly happy with my Newtons at that moment.


Then we get back on the dam and I think, okay, back to sub 7s, you got this. But I felt like I was running on the bottom of the ocean. After the race all I could think was that it was like a turtle running from a slug. He’s RUNNING for all he’s worth…but he’s a turtle…so…

I fought so hard. I got passed by many ladies and I fought to run with each one. But my mile splits were 7:11, 7:15, 7:10. Ouch! Carolyn found me again with a quarter mile to go and she sprinted on past. We finished within 15 seconds of each other.


So, I now have a new PR in the half marathon. I don’t have to go searching any more for it, it’s now 1:29:07.

I looked back at my race and I CLEARLY made some HUGE pacing mistakes. But you know what? I wouldn’t take them back. I didn’t know how deep my new speed was, but now I do. If I had gone out more conservatively, I still wouldn’t know. At this point in time, my ego is strong enough to handle an internal combustion (somewhat, okay, maybe 70% strong enough to handle it).

I would rather take risks and learn lessons, than run yet another safe race. I must admit, it’s a bit embarrassing to go KaBoom in a race. You’re “that girl” that went out too hard. I knew every lady that passed me was shaking her head going “she went out too hard.” I’ve been that girl, shaking my head at others as I passed them easily in those final miles. But I think, to be that girl again, sometimes it helps to have a race like this every once in awhile. The kind where you drag yourself home and lick your wounds a little.

Despite any wound licking, I had a really fun time out there. I loved racing and I’m so glad I was healthy, happy, and fit enough to tow the line.

It’s the A races that you want all this stuff worked out for. These half marathons that are a few steps from your front door, they are on the schedule to learn, to take risks when there isn’t anything on the line to lose. So, I’m really happy to have a new PR that I can build off of. I hope to run another, FLATTER, half marathon in the future, maybe cut that PR down by a little bit.



12 weeks

Troy and I are less than 2 days away from a HUGE CIRCLED DATE in our calendar. See below!


12 weeks left! This is the first Ironman that we are really really traveling for. My first one was in Canada. But we actually flew to Spokane, rented a car, and drove over the border. No Visa, English speaking, and really easy, we didn’t really even have to change currency. Cozumel was IM #6 and that was international, but we flew direct on Frontier from Denver to Coz. Bikes were free, no Visa, and they took dollars as well. We had to speak a bit of Spanish, but after 24 hours we were in our groove.

Now, Brazil. First off, we don’t know whether to spell it Brazil or Brasil. So, we’re not even sure how to spell the place we are going. We are headed to the town (town?) of Florianopolis. It sounds like a fictional land, and there is a little mark over the last “o” that I don’t know how to make that happen typing. We have also decided that if we are going all the way to Bra(s)zil we should see the Amazon (not the one where you pay $89 a year for Prime to get free shipping).

IM Bra(s)zil has a two loop bike course with apparently 4 VERY LARGE climbs per loop and the rest is flat. I’m not sure what this means or where said climbs are, but I’m going to find out because it seems like that’s something I should know! I do know that last years overall amateur rode a 5:33 and that seems pretty darn fast.

So, we are also going to this Amazon place, to see it…we’ll report back in 13 weeks. I’m expecting birds, crocks, pirañas (yes with a squiggle above the n…it did that all on it’s own), maybe a sloth or two. Oh and it’s very hard to do research on said Amazon without continuously running into the Prime one! I just recently found out the Amazon is not near the Ironman. I now understand that it’s like saying…we’re headed to Hollywood for the Ironman, but if we are going to Hollywood, we might as well see Mount Rushmore….it’s like that…

Amazon is in Manaus (AKA Mount Rushmore). So we go: Denver to Dallas to Sao Paulo to 6 hours of thumb twiddling in Airport where we will probably stay at one of those Fast Sleep places so we can make out to Florianopolis (with a mark over the “o”) to rest relax taper to IRONMAN to Golden ticket (unknown) to Florianopolis (still with the mark) to Sao Paulo to Manaus (Mt.Rushmore) to Amazonian adventure on a boat with hammocks and birds and bugs to Manaus to Miami to Chicago to Denver.

Whew! This is SO not your domestic Ironman. The flights alone for all this travel were just under $1600 per person. Lodging in Florianopolis is another $1600 and the Amazon adventure is another $1600. I have planted a $1600 tree in the back yard. I thought it would bear $1600 fruit but instead I am merely out yet another $1600.


Having both Troy and I doing the Ironman has added some expense over just one of us racing, but in reality, it’s not much. He would already be there spectating, so at this point, why not have both of us race? I think I’m honestly MOST excited about having him racing with me. When I think about lining up with him, going through race morning with him, and feeling the race anticipation with him, I get really darn excited. I wish I could say that I’m going to swim on his feet, but in reality, he will go out too fast for me to hang on and I will lose him.

Getting a VISA for Brazil is no small feat. My drivers license address is not our current address because the CO DMV doesn’t issue new cards for change of address. So today I hiked it down and stood in line for an hour to get them to issue me a new card just so the address on my card matches the address on my Visa application which is a requirement. Step 1 of 40,000 is done. We need notarized copies of all sorts of stuff, we have to provide passport photos…even though we already have passports. They need current photos that are within 6 months. It’s crazy sauce.

Troy and I sat down before I knew this was so crazy and divided up some tasks. I got flights and Visa, he got immunizations, and budget. So yesterday he comes upstairs and tells me, he just had to make 1 call to our doctor and we have appointments for our shots. ME, I’ve got a 40,000 point to do list, and his task is done in 3 minutes. He did say that after I got all the Visa stuff done he would reward me with an ipad. I asked him if he know how much the visas were going to cost? ($280 per person) No more ipad….


The more I plan for this trip the more I understand that this is going to be a once in a lifetime trip. It’s not just another Ironman for us, but a really cool chance to share an adventure together, all for the affordable price of 10 grand. While we are bleeding money right now, I know that once it gets here, it will all be worth it! Memories last as long as I do, whereas money…wait…I think I got that wrong…

So, the next 12 weeks are about getting myself in great shape to race hard, but also about making sure that we really live in the moment, and that we are prepared and ready to enjoy our trip (of a lifetime) to the utmost!