I've always been scared of this race. My friend Tyler has spent a large portion of it puking, I think Anthony has flatted like 3 out of 4 times racing it, and last year when I did my long run during the run portion I witnessed massive carnage out there. It's a hot race, and hot is good for Kona, so Michelle and I signed up. Angela was racing too which is always really exciting for all of us.

My parents had come to help with Annie and dad was there to take photos. This always gets me really jazzed up to race. I knew so many people racing, and two of the athletes I coach were racing too. All in all a big day for me.

Jen just before a GREAT day!

My wave started 1 hour and 5 minutes behind the PROs and 50 minutes behind Michelle. I got to cheer for Angela and Michelle coming out of the swim before I even had to put my wetsuit on. Oy! Bring on the heat!

Ang was out of the water as 3rd PRO, and just a couple minutes down on Kelly. I got all nervous excited for her. PIC was out of the water 2nd in her AG and it was on like Donkey Kong!!

I put my wetsuit on, deposited Annie with grandparents and lined up for my wave. The more and more I race with my Kompetitive Edge teammate Kendra, the more I love this girl. Never have I met someone that is so genuinely supportive and positive. I love her energy and wish I could bottle it for a rainy day.

Kendra, Me, Grant, PIC Michelle...pook too!

We took off swimming and apparently I led out the entire age group. This is bad. This is not what I should be doing. I wanted feet and I finally found them, but they were too fast for me. I spent most the swim on my own, meandering between trying to catch a few different people and ultimately loosing ground on all of the them.

Not my wave, it's Michelle's, but it's one of my favorite photos!

I have taken to keeping my watch on the bike, so I don't know my swim time until the end of the race. I encourage anyone who is constantly disappointed in their swim times to do the same. It lets you put it behind you and get on with your race if you don't know your swim time going out on the bike.

As I ran into transition I could hear the cheers and screams of my family and friends and it was AWESOME. One of the best feelings evah! I saw Melanie in transition so I figured my swim was in line with what I usually do since the two of us are always within 30 seconds of each other out of the water. I gave her a little good job pat on the back as I ran to my bike and immediately realized this probably bothered her (transition is sort of a "no touching" zone).

My trusty QR CD0.1 Blackjack was waiting patiently in transition, and she was AMPED. I could tell she wanted to ride fast. I was game! I headed out of the reservoir ready to ride fast on the roads that I have trained hundreds of miles on over the last 18 months. Right when I got out of the reservoir Angela came flying by me and she said "Toot Toot." She was in the lead, I could tell. Her confidence was obvious, she was clearly riding out front and not riding like she was chasing. Off she went. I made a secret little plea to the triathlon gods to let her hang on for the win.

After Racine when Chuckie looked at the numbers from my Garmin, we both agreed that I most likely rode a bit too hard on the bike and that effected my run. So at Boulder I wanted to get off the bike with legs that were ready to run hard. I didn't want to leave it all on the bike today. I tempered myself and aimed to ride hard, steady, and about 6-8 heart beats lower than Racine. It was good! As I got around to mike 18 or so Kelly Williamson passed me on a pink camo QR (Puurrr) and I knew Ang had quite the lead.

I continued to look for the ladies in my age group. I found a few. I rode a steady race, and was happy to see the officials pass me quite a few times throughout the day. I like a well monitored course as I am really attentive about the drafting rules.

I saw my dad out on the bike course a few times, that was a definite highlight. I passed lots of friends, Bret, Nicole, Amy. It was just a good day.

Off the bike I didn't really know where I was in the Age Group but I knew that my teammate Kendra was in front of me. I had seen her on the out and back and she of course cheered in support. I set my sights on running strong. The course is 2 loops around the resevoir. The first 3 miles are hilly, the next 3.5 miles are flatter. So I break the course into 4 parts and try to do my best on each part.

The hilly part I try to keep the heart rate under control and keep my turnover going. The flat part I try to run hard, punch the air in front of me, keep my form, and go go go. At mile 2 I saw Kendra. Yip. She saw me on the out and back and when I joined her around mile 3 or so she was her normal Kendra self "Good job Sonja...you're rocking it." I asked if she knew where we were in the Age Group and she said we were 1-2. I think most people would feel like they had to race upon hearing that news.

For some reason, and it's totally because of Kendras personality, I didn't feel that. I felt like we could use each other to push together and both have great races. There wasn't really any competition between the two of us which I thought was an oddly pleasant surprise. We ran together side by side for almost a mile and a half. It was like we were a little team of two, Kendra talking, me grunting back.

After a bit, Kendra told me to go on. I was a little bummed. She was running so strong, and part of me wanted to just run it out with her. Kendra...I can't really come up with words for today, but you rock!!!

On I went and I just tried to stay focused, consistent, and well fueled. The heat was not bothering me, I was feeling really good in it, and it wasn't that bad. I felt we got lucky out there. At the end of lap one my parents were there with Annie and it was so nice to run by all the crowds.

For the second loop I just tried to make it like the first. I had ditched my heart rate monitor strap because it was squeezing my chest and I ran by feel. It was wonderful and I felt like the wind was beneath my shoes. I tried to dig deeper for some more speed, racing the clock, and myself out there, but in the end I dead even splitted the loops (says the Ironman site).

Running through the crowd at the end was everything it always is, fun, awesome, exhilarating. For some reason today felt that much sweeter. There is something about putting together a solid race start to finish that leaves you with an inner satisfaction. I was happy with today, and very happy that I continue to build momentum for the big dance in October.

One of the coolest parts of my day was a conversation I had with Katy who got 5th in our Age Group. She wanted to know if I was taking my slot to Las Vegas World Championships. I said no and she got so excited and so giddy. I congratulated her and urged her to go kill it in Vegas. The excitement on her face was really awesome and it kinda made my already made day.

That was a cool part of the day, but the MOST COOLEST (not a word) part of the day was Angela winning the race. I didn't get to see it, but I know how hard she has worked for this. Angela has taken 2nd place at 15 Ironman 70.3 races without ever winning one. Now, I will say that Angela typically picks the hardest races with the stacked fields because she likes to race with competition, but still 15!! She has gotten second to Julie, Rinny, Chrissie, Cat, etc ,etc. But today, she stood on the podium and made the winners speach. We are so darn proud of you Angela. It was extra special that we were all there for it. Here's to many more!

To all of you who finished today, I congratulate you. To those of you who took this distance on for the first time, Bret, Amy, I commend you. To those who put themselves out there and raced with all your heart, Emily, PIC, Jen, I bow and curtsey to you. To those I shared the podium with today, I thank you for the motivation to race hard. Each of you have a story and I have loved hearing them all.

A huge thank you to my parents, who turned this day into magic for Annie and I, and to dad who is gifted with a camera. I can't thank my sponsors enough for all they do for me. GoalZero, Kompetitive Edge, QR, TYR, Punk Rock Racing, Justin's, Love Grown, First Endurance, Nathan, NUUN, and Tri-Massage. How do I love thee, let me count the ways.

Lastly, and not leastly (again, not a word, but ooh will it bug him), a huge shout out to the notorious Chuckie V. He knows his stuff, he knows how to empower those he guides, and today I can speak for all three of us when I say that Angela's win, my AG win, and PIC's podium position were just a small token of our thanks. Let's keep this train rolling!