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Poof, 5.5 weeks GONE! In the blink of an eye it seems that December is lurking. I really like December, it's a fun month! Looking back on the last month, I'm kinda wondering what on Earth I even did with myself. I wasn't particularly diligent in any one area. I did get some home stuff done. Both cats are now current on their shots and on official weight loss food. The vet saw Grey kitty for the first time in 4 years and although I thought she MUST have a thyroid condition, it turns out she's just fat. Apollo is also fat. We raise fat cats, we have no backbone. So, now everyone is on a diet.

The Wooden Bowl found it's permanent location in our bed headrest. Please ignore the bag of pretzels and the bag of trail mix, sometimes I get snacky at night. Speaking of night, they are a lot more lively now that I don't spend them in bed exhausted. We have been having oodles of family adventures and that has been SO MUCH FUN. We each take turns picking an adventure and then we pack up the car and off we go. We have tried to institute a no cell phone rule during the adventures and that's made it extra fun. We even went to a chocolate festival, it was amazing and I ate like $50 in chocolate in like 90 minutes. Hooray for the off season! Being able to relax and engage with each other - man was that needed! I really love that Troy and Annie are so chill and easy going. I got the cream of the crop!

Ummm, can I get a woot woot for the Giants winning the World Series?! Thank you Punky for sending me a world series hat. The coolest part...they won on my birthday. I was so happy for all the people I have met this year that are associated with the Giants, they sure are some great folks working behind the scenes and I can't wait to celebrate with them a little when I make my way back to the bay area for more training.

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Last weekend was Ironman Arizona. Never have I ever been so happy NOT to be racing! I knew a lot of people on the start line and had 5 athletes of my own out there towing the line as well. My new razor scooter got put to work, 27 miles I scooted on that thing in one day! Morgan and I scooted around all day chasing everyone we know around the course. It was great to see the Coach Muddy athletes knock it outa the park and to watch my own athletes lay down some stellar performances! My two girls Ellen and Mikki both ran 3:41 and 3:43 respectively off the bike and dang was I proud of those chicks' run splits! Ellen missed Kona by one place with a 4th and I'm excited to see where next year will take her. It was great to hang with Mo a lot of the day and I roomed with Ali, who signed up for next year, and AZ will be her first. I'm excited to watch her progress through that journey next year!

Dude, the scooter is awesome because I can go around the course and pick up all the Garmin heart rate straps that people ditch when they are sick of them. Those things are like $70 and I've ditched my fair share of them running through aid stations. Into the washer and bam...all mine! Score. It's also funny how many people throw stuff at me during the race and then I spend this week mailing little packages all around the county to return it all. Too funny! And again, I've had people ship me back stuff that I have tossed to them. It's like Ironman karma!

I've spent a fair amount of time the last few weeks stalking the country of Norway via the internet. I have SO much to learn about the Norseman race course and google maps has been my best friend. I finally got lodging for the two days before and the two days after the race for my family and my crew. I'm so excited that Laura and Andrew from the UK are going to fly over and crew for me. They will have a 2 year old and a 2.5 month old by this August and I'm so excited to meet the babies! Laura and I trained in Kona together several years ago before we both had somewhat disastrous races and we haven't seen each other in 2 years. This reunion will be so sweet for me, and I know that they will make the best crew a girl could ask for.

I'm still researching what Troy, Annie and I are going to do after the race but I know I want to SEE NORWAY! When Annie and I were in Disney World this year we watched a video showcasing Norway and all I can think of is hiking hiking hiking. Annie is going to need to do some serious training this summer so she's fit and ready to keep up with post Norseman mom and dad. I really want to go to the Trolltunga, and also to Preikestolen. Huge rocks, epic views!

This is what I look like most the time when I am researching Norway and trying to pronounce all the Norwegian names for things. This is also what I look like when I am trying to convert American dollars to Norwegian krone. So confusing! Eventually I know it will all come together and we will have an epic trip, but in the mean time I expect to have this face for a few more months. I read one blog of a family who did a camping vacation there and food was so expensive that they literally bought 8 steaks and cooked one caveman style over a fire every night. I have no idea what else they ate, but every night they had a steak on the campfire. Note to self....bring lots of bars.

My dog and I have been attached at the hip for 5.5 weeks. When I leave the house and don't take her, she sits at the front door scrunched up in the little corner looking out the front door window and she waits for me to come home. When I'm home some part of her is touching some part of me 24 hours a day. She loves her mama. I never knew she could be such a cuddle pup but she sure is. When I took Annie to Glenwood Springs for her birthday to soak in the Hot springs I didn't dare leave her home. 8 hours in the car that day, and Lolli was happy as a clam. And look at how cute my munchkin Annie is getting. She is a happy girl, and she's 9 now! Also, I looked a little into modeling and I think she is too tall to be a child model. So we decided we will wait until she grows up a bit more and then look into our options. Annie just has one of those photogenic faces and she's long, tall, a great traveler, and great with people.

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While I did take a huge break from swim bike and run this off season, I did not take a break from my BUTT! I have been really diligent this off season on continuing with my glute and core work with my trainer Jenny. She has this class that I take 2X a week where we spend an hour just strengthening our whole hip region and our core. I have been in this class for 2 years now and it's amazing how much progress I've made. It's always crazy when someone new shows up to class, usually a triathlete and they are doing the exercises for the first time. Oh lordy! Knowing how to fire your glutes first and foremost, thus lessening the dependence we tend to have on our back and hamstrings has been such a game changer for me the last few years. I also learned that "activating the hips" really just means "engage your butt" or similarly weak hips really means glutes aren't firing. I may not look any stronger, or have any sort of well defined abs (genetics and body fat %), but they are strong and they are functional.

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Okay, I am so hesitant to share this next thing. Half of me wants to keep it all to myself, but sigh, that's just not me, now is it? My friend Matt sent me the best book! I have had so many ahh-haha's from this resource. As a coach I have watched some of my athletes never have to foam roll a day in their life, no injuries, no issues. And then others ones are just on the thing all the time. I have often thought that there has to be a better way, there has to be more information about what we should be doing for consistent body maintenance.

"If you're going to make the demands on your body that being an athlete requires, then it's your job to support that body" --Dr. Kelly Starrett

I totally agree, but the devil is in the details. I think we all agree that foam rolling is a generally accepted "good practice" and that just straight up stretching is a "heated topic." I like this book so much because it really walks you through figuring out where you are week and how that general body maintenance can be steered to minimize those problem areas. I found out that I am the queen of Plantar Flexion, but have a long ways to go with Dorsiflexion. My Hip Flexion is amazing, especially with all the Jenny work these last few years, but my Hip Extension is ridiculous. Like, really bad. The "couch stretch"...eye papi! Needless to say I devoured this book and have already gone through it like three times to reread the parts I needed more help with.

Me attempting the couch stretch  (you'll have to get the book) and of course the dog must be involved. She totally scrunched herself into that tiny little corner while I was stretching. I think all the moans and groans had her concerned. Oh Couch Stretch, you are my nemesis!!!!

2015 is going to be the year of awesomeness and I had so much fun putting together my race and travel plan for the season. The entire spring is going to involve a ton of running. I'm very excited to get back to my roots and I've already spent some time on my favorite trails! I signed up for 2 ultras this winter that I'm nervous, scared, and excited for. It's been years since I've raced this long and honestly, I pine for it often. When I am running in the hills it's a very zen experience for me. The time flies by and I love leaving the rigors of pace this and pace that. Sometimes you run 14 minute miles and sometimes you fly downhill at 8 minute miles. Constantly watching where you are stepping with my favorite tunes in my ear is basically like ice cream for me. I bought myself a pair of Hokas for the trails this winter, didn't know what to think, but common, they are hilarious and cloud like, and amazing all at ones. So, Hokas in the trails, New Balance flats in the gym, and my Kona kinvaras for kicking around.

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Between now and April I'm going to do a 1/2 marathon in December, a 50k in Cali in January after the Coast Ride, a 100k in February that has me scared, another 1/2 marathon in March, and then Boston in April. It will be nice to get a solid 5 month running block in. After April I will be happy and content and can start spending day and night riding my bike through the Colorado mountains in prep for Norseman. Also, the 100k in February is a qualifier for Western States. Only the top 2 get a slot, therefore this race is the one I go to bed at night dreaming about. I have wanted to race Western States since 2008, and I've always said I can't go for it until I take a break from Kona. So, I'm going to train hard for the 100K, and see where it takes me! Life sure is an adventure, I can just never predict where it's headed, but it always ends up being AWESOME!

 

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