Sunday, August 17, 2014

Kawela Triathlon

Yesterday was the first inaugural Kawela Triathlon here on Oahu. It was a laid back grass roots kind of 1/2 Ironman-ish event that was mostly fun because every triathlete we know was either racing or volunteering. Very family style out there yesterday! It was the kind of race where I got body marked by one of my best friends (lucky#7!), smiled at one of my favorite bike mechanics when he was on the side of the road with a cow bell, was handed water at an aid station on the bike by the guy who bought my condo last year, and was being hunted on the run by his bad-ass wife! It was the kind of race where afterward, while drinking beers, there were so many friends to talk to I didn't even have time to text my coach the results...

Unfortunately the swimmers once again got screwed with not only a super short swim, but also one where we had to run 1/2 mile in the middle of it. I know the majority of triathletes enjoy/prefer a short/easy swim, but yikes it's such a tired story I can't even get into it again.

I felt like I kept my effort on the swim/run/swim quite controlled... Finished the first lap of the swim in less than 10', 4th (I think?), got passed by ~5-6 men during the beach run, then promptly passed them all back on the second swim and exited the water again in 4th. (One of the swimmers who beat me out was a relay.) I glanced at my watch as I ran into T1 and saw it ticking over to 23' flat and just sort of groaned at the ridiculousness of that. Oh why oh why can we not have any triathlons on Oahu with legit swims?? Moving on.
Mahalo Kim Burnett for the photo!

Have to say, I was way off on my prediction for this bike ride! I thought it was going to be a ton faster and easier than it was... Might have been a more comfortable ride if my P3 was a full suspension bike? The roads on Oahu are ALL in desperate need of repaving. Yikes. We did at times have the benefit of a tailwind but interestingly it didn't translate over into the easy speed I sort of assumed it would... My plan was to hold back a bit on the bike in hopes of being able to run, so I don't feel like I blasted the bike at all... but I don't know... maybe I'm delirious but I just sort of thought I could cruise the ride easy speed but that's just not how it went. In good news I managed to nail my nutrition/hydration and came off the bike in 2:38 feeling pretty good. 3rd woman. Interesting though as I was riding I just couldn't wait to get OFF that bike, which is not like me normally!?! At least I managed to keep air in my tires, which is not something everyone could say. I heard tons of stories of flat tires and mechanicals out there on that rough road bike course...
Mahalo Kalani Pascual for the photo! 

Moving on! My expectation of this run was that it was going to be brutally HOT and that was spot on. The best news I heard at the pre-race meeting was when the race director said it would be fine to get "outside assistance" in the form of a bottle/drink from friends/family on the run course... YES that meant I could get ice cold Osmo on the run... So my friend/athlete Heidi stuck a bottle next to my run gear that I slammed in T2 (mahalo Heidi!!), then Scott was up there with another bottle on each lap of the run and I swear this is what saved my life on that run! I remain such a huge fan of Osmo and it's ability to hydrate an athlete during a hot event is like magic.
Mahalo Kalani Pascual for the photo! 

One lesson I think I will take away from this race is that Expectations are Everything. I think it's best for me always assume that it will all just be crazy hard b/c then when it is, I can handle it better! This was a perfect example b/c yesterday I thought bike was going to be easy, but then when it wasn't, I got kinda pissy and judgmental in my own head. But I predicted the run would be hellishly HOT and then when it was, instead of being upset about it, I was just like duh, of course it's hot and crazy hard! So it was all ok. Kinda funny though at the far end (Kaena Point) of the course, which we went around 3x, I kept seeing Heidi who was such an awesome cheerleader... The second time I saw here there she told me to run like a CHEETAH... ha! Yes what a CHEETAH I was... lol. By the third time I rounded that point (~12 miles in) I told Heidi that indeed I did feel like a CHEETAH... A cheetah in the Sahara Desert, in labor. So I guess it was a good sign that I still had a sense of humor at that point. ;)

In the end, I ran 1:57 which was good enough to hold on to my 3rd place OA (5:01). Being on a podium with these girls (behind Mariane and Lectie) was quite satisfying and a good way to end my 2014 triathlon season. :)
Mahalo again Kalani Pascual for the photo! 
Mahalo to the race directors/organizers for bringing a new local style endurance triathlon event to Oahu!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Just Some Ranting...

I've had so many thoughts that conclude with I should blog about that... Yet the updates continue to be rather infrequent. Hmmmm. Here's a little bit of what's been going on though... warning... maybe a little  <ranting> involved.

Last weekend our island shut down because of the threat of a hurricane. Ok so better safe than sorry I guess, but I feel like decisions were made quite pre-maturely and so.much.overreaction was the result... Everything closed (schools, parks, gas stations, stores) and everything was cancelled (all races and weekend events) and we ended up with a bit of rain and then perfect weather for the rest of the weekend. Honestly I think my biggest issue with this was that even after it was obvious that the storm was headed south and not going to hit us, the news people were still all over the TV warning about DANGEROUS DANGEROUS driving conditions, etc. It was almost as if they didn't want to just say Hey it's cool sorry for the inconvenience but we're all good... I finally just had to shut off the news b/c their reporting felt patronizing to me, and it was almost as if some loved the idea of the drama that surrounds the possibility of a big disastrous storm- playing it up even after the threat was gone. It seems like this happens fairly often but I swear, the more of these false alarms we get, the less likely I am to believe any warning going forward... So that's my rant about the hurricane thing.

This was the day of the 'hurricane'...

So we get to do a half-ironman-ish race tomorrow... It's really called an 'Endurance Triathlon' b/c it's not really a 1/2 ironman. It's a 1/2 mile swim (one way with the current/chop), get out run barefoot on the sand back to swim start, repeat 1/2 mile swim, long run to T1... So once again we have a triathlon where the swim is minimized as much as possible. I won't even start on my rant about that. OK I lied- I'll start the rant- It is possible to become a strong swimmer, but that requires actually going to the pool more than 2x/week and swimming more than 1500/session, and for more than 3-4 months of the year. I do think that if triathletes actually trained appropriately for the swim, they could/would become stronger swimmers, then triathlon swims wouldn't have to consistently be dumbed down all the time. I will say this though- we have been out at that beach practicing the swim/run/swim thing and it is way harder than you think to dive in and swim after running 1/2 mile barefoot on the sand... My prediction is that spectators will see quite a bit of breaststroking in the beginning of that second swim lap!

Then the bike is supposedly 57 miles, mostly with a pretty strong tailwind, so it should be pretty fast. Funny how in my race plan my true thoughts come out... I think my exact description was Not a legit bike course... So the distance is there but I ride that road all the time and know that a rider can go 20+mph averaging ~130w... so the advantage in this race is not going to go to the stronger riders, and the bike split cannot count as a 'PR'... though I suspect a lot of athletes will be pretty damn happy with their bike split when they get to T2 (If only I had a dollar for every time someone will say I had a great bike!). Now, IF we got to turn around and ride back it would be a completely different story- requires 180+w to go 19mph into that wind... That would be a tough bike course!

The run should be legit and hard though- it's flat but will very likely be HOT HOT HOT, so that'll be a good challenge. Regardless, it should be a fun grassroots type racing event, and it's the last triathlon of the year for me, so I'll give it my best shot and see what I've got. Training has been going ok the last few months. I've been doing it all and sometimes seeing/feeling glimpses of fitness but I don't feel as overall like a BULL like I have in past years which makes me think that it's a bit of a crap shoot tomorrow. So we'll see. In all honesty, after this race is over it becomes Running Season and there's something about that that is extremely appealing to me right now... But more on that later!

And of course a blog entry wouldn't be complete without an update on the chickens. They are all good! Snow disappeared (again) for a few weeks and I thought the worst for him (again) but then he reappeared on the side of the road (again) this week so that was fun to see him! Not sure if someone is taking him away to mate with their hens or if he just goes and hides in the fields on his own? Either way, he's been out there long enough that I would expect to see some hybrid silkie chicks here in the next month or so... The other day I stopped to feed him and as I was driving off I saw a woman stop her car, get out and take a picture of him. He really does stand out among all the other wild chickens on that road. Here at home my girls are all doing well too. My new Snowball is happy and healthy and running around with my other little white ones, who are not so little anymore... but they are like a little gang of four following each other around the yard. They are almost big enough for Ozzie to leave them alone, but yesterday Ozzie twice went after them and twice I had to rescue one of them from the neighbor's hard. At least now they are all aware of Ozzie as a threat so they pay attention and are able to get away from him when he gets that stalking look in his eyes. Ellie is still too much of a Queen to associate with any of them, but she does warn them with mad clucking skillz when Ozzie is in the yard and watching, so in that regard, she's shown herself to be a team player. When it comes to food though, she is not a team player. At all.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sergeant Peepers and The Injured Hens Club

OH GOODIE! More chicken stories! This time with lots of pictures...

Peepers first... That poor guy is so anxious and neurotic. I was hoping one of these days he would just adjust to being wild outside and start acting like a normal confident rooster, but so far that has not happened. He does wait for me every day now though... he recognizes my car and will see me pulling up (if I'm driving) and run/fly across the street to get to me. It does make me sad every time he perches on my car (which is several times/week) because I know he's asking for me to just bring him home already.


The other day I was jogging home from swimming... There was a guy sitting in his car on the side of the road near where Peepers hides in the bushes... This is what he witnessed: Girl in bathing suit/shorts runs up, stops, kneels down on sidewalk. Black rooster comes darting out of the bushes and hops on her shoulders. She hangs out for a few minutes talking to the wild rooster. Then she stands up, rooster flies off her shoulder, and she continues running.

Fwiw, I didn't know the guy was watching, but he did throw me a shaka when I finally noticed him. Apparently it is cool to be a chicken whisperer.
Most of the time I bring food and sit down on the sidewalk while Peepers eats. Sometimes when he's done he uses me as a perch. When he is perched, he seems more calm/normal, so I have asked Scott to build him a perch that we can put near where he lives. I've surveyed the area and there aren't any good trees nearly that aren't already occupied by another rooster and his hen(s). I think being on the ground all the time is what makes Peepers nervous though.

What Peepers really needs is a hen! And I've found him one! She is a new mama who hatched NINE little chicks a few days ago... I've been throwing food at them when I am there and she is starting to trust me, coming closer and closer. If Peepers would just act like the ROOSTER he is, he could adopt this pretty lady and her babies and live a normal rooster life, so that's what I'm trying to achieve by feeding her...

Snow is doing well. He acts like a rooster, crowing his little heart out on the sidewalk and protecting his hen and her babies. It's cute and since they are doing well, I just throw food at them and leave them alone.

So you can imagine, feeding Peepers and his potential hen/family, Snow and his hen/family, Ellie and my three little whites, I go to the Feed Supply store fairly often. The guys in there know me by now (and Moana too!). A few days ago I was there and saw a white silkie who is apparently about 3 months old sitting in a little cage... not sure why I had never seen her before? Silkies, as cute as they are, don't always end up being bought because 1) They can't be sexed as chicks so you're taking a risk that you might end up with a roo, 2) They lay really little eggs so if you're in it for egg production this is not your most desirable type. But damn are they cute, and they are really sweet docile gentle chickens so they make great pets. Anyway, when we saw this white silkie who looked like the female version of Snow, I asked the guys about her... they said she was injured and couldn't walk. I think they figured they'd never be able to sell her so they told me if I wanted her I could just have her... Um, ok! Moana of course was thrilled to be bringing her home, but nobody was happier than me. :) So this is Snowball! xoxo

I was nervous about introducing her to Ellie, especially since she wasn't exactly mobile nor able to defend herself at all. Older hens are known to be bullies and Ellie definitely falls into this category. She is queen of that yard and coop and she lets everyone know it with a stern peck on the head if they are in her way or trying to eat her food.

In the open yard Ellie had enough space and I think she figured out that Snowball was not a threat to her at all, so I only witnessed one peck and then I sternly took a swat at Ellie to let her know that was not acceptable behavior. That one peck was all it took though for Snowball to understand her place in the pecking order and now that she can walk normally (yup, all it took was ~48 hours and some open space to roam and Snowball is 100% healthy...) she seems really happy. She's still super friendly and easy to pick up and pet, and she eats right out of Moana's hand.

My three little whites are kind of too young to really have a distinct pecking order already so accepting Snowball into their little gang came easy to them. Snowball found her place with them and they all get along just fine.
The White Gang

So there you go! Life as the Crazy Chicken Lady continues... I swear though, no more chickens... at least for a while... My little gang I have is enough.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

On Being A Crazy Chicken Lady... But Not Bulletproof.

I really should update more often than just every 2 weeks... I'm like, should this post be about my chickens or another weekend race update? How about a little of both? Important things first...

So Peepers is living down the road and I go visit/feed him 2-3x/day. He just sort of hangs out in the tall grass and I walk up and call to him and he comes running! He's become super tame, understands our routine, and eats like a champ. I'm sure I look like The Crazy Chicken Lady sitting on the sidewalk petting and feeding this wild rooster, but whatever! In all honesty, I sort of like having this chicken I get to go visit and feed. He's totally my little buddy.
Snow has been MIA for the last few weeks and I'd pretty much given up hope that I'd ever see him again... but then this morning my neighbor sent me a picture of Snow saying LOOK WHO WE FOUND! I was super psyched and couldn't wait to get home to go find him myself! So it appears Snow had just migrated down the road. I actually thought that maybe it would be good to bring Peepers down to join him... so Crazy Chicken Lady indeed, after I found where he was living, I drove back up the hill, called for Peepers, held him in my lap while I drove down to Snow's new home, and brought them out to meet. Peepers actually seemed super happy! He perked up and clucked happily and ran right to Snow's side. Snow then responded by clucking like mad (not a happy cluck) and ran off! Well shit. Apparently Snow went away b/c he didn't want to be with Peepers. :( I thought best for Peepers to get to go back and live where he was comfortable- he's a bit neurotic and anxious and I thought another 'move' might throw him over the edge, plus maybe best to just let Snow be since that seemed like what he wanted... So I drove Peepers back to his home that he knows and he seemed ok when I left. Later this afternoon I went back and he was indeed just fine, then I went to leave some food for Snow and guess what?! I found him on the sidewalk hanging with a mama hen and her 3 little baby chicks! (No wonder he didn't want another roo around!) Obviously those are not Snow's babies but if those two hang together long enough then maybe I'll be able to post pictures of little hybrid silkies running around down there... ;) We'll see how that goes.

Here at the home front Ellie lays an egg every day and it's become a daily game for me to go hunting for it. She's not really that creative in finding hiding spaces (and our backyard is not really that big!) so I win the game fairly quickly each day.
Having been separated from Peepers and Snow, Ellie is mostly a loner these days but she seems to be handling ok. She does have 3 little chicks (my new ones White, Elsa, and Goldilocks) who are growing up before her eyes. They've recently moved into her coop and she makes sure they know who is QUEEN. They are definitely a bit afraid of her- she can't peck them too much though because they are quick and agile and know to stay out of her way now. They are much less friendly with me, I think because they have each other, and they've been trained by Ellie to quickly zip out of the way if anything/one comes near them. Maybe one of these days I'll win them over by feeding them treats... though until they get bigger and can fend for themselves a bit more, Ellie doesn't let them share in any treats. #Bully

Onto the racing news... It was another double race weekend of swim race Saturday and Triathlon Sunday... In a snapshot, you can get a feel for how they went this round from Twitter today...

Brief summary of the swim... This was a new one in the series. It was 1.9 miles; started in some gorgeous water and ended near a river mouth that made the water brown and nasty. If I cared more maybe I would have figured out how to get up there and scope it out by practice swimming it (ie a lesson in how to avoid reef), but I did not do that, so consequently spent much of the swim wondering where the hell I was going and then feeling grossed out by the brown water and frustrated by my lack of ability to see anything, including the reef/rocks I was landing on. We are seriously SO spoiled with these opportunities to swim and if our waters don't look like this all the time, we bitch and moan. Get out your violin, right?? Nothing new to report. Not my best effort but still ended up 2nd age group so it was fine. 4x swims down, 4x second places. One more try in 2 weeks- 2.3 mile finale- wanna guess what will happen??

If I'm honest I'd admit that I felt like trashed shit yesterday afternoon... just full body stiff and tired as can happen when you've swam like I have the last week (a lot, and most of it very hard). I employed pretty much every recovery technique I know hoping that I'd feel better when I woke up this morning, and for the most part I was successful in that effort. As successful as one can be when #PanicResting anyway. Side note- have you ever tried rolling your lats and right under your armpit/upper triceps on the TP roller? OMG. That was worse than my calves or glutes or feet... Maybe not worse than adductors though.

So this morning was Tinman, a local triathlon I've successfully avoided for the last 7-8 years. It's not a bad race or anything, but I just employed a stubborn boycott of it because of the intentionally short swim... it's 750M swim, 40K/10K. I'd understand the short swim (maybe) if logistically it was impossible to fit in a longer swim, but HELLO we have access to the entire freakin' ocean. I'll save my rant about that b/c if you know me you can guess what it is... Anyway, this year decided to do it just because I'm doing all the local races and saw it as an opportunity to keep practicing running hard 10Ks.

This 'race report' will be boring because essentially I don't feel like I raced very well and nobody likes to hear a lot of excuses, so I'll save those and just summarize by saying that I led out of the water, biked very (too) hard for about 20K then felt myself fading... Had a decent lead on my wave in T2 but since I ran like a freakin' elephant (and mentally completely caved- But which came first? The elephant or the cave??) I wasn't able to hang onto my lead... weird like I didn't even try which is probably the most frustrating thing hours later. I could live with just not having a good day but not even trying doesn't sit so well right now. Anyway, I have some theories about why I've blown up like this in a few races this year. My gut says that since in training I'm working more on my TOP END, I actually for once have a TOP END, which seems like a cool thing to have, right?? Except when I use that TOP END in a race, I blow up and fall right off the cliff. I think since I've never really trained to have a top end before, and therefore never had one, blowing up in a race was never something I had to worry about... I could never go hard enough to blow myself up! But now I can. So I have to be careful about that because being at the bottom of the cliff with 5 miles left to run is not a fun way to race. I think I'd prefer to go back to being just strong and durable, like you are when training for an Ironman... but maybe if I get a top end and then also get back my durability I'll be bulletproof like I want to be? Right now I am not bullet proof.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hilo Triathlon

Another summer weekend of racing is in the books! Saturday was super busy as we got up before the sun, packed all our crap in the car and jetted off to the north Shore for race #3 of the North Shore series. This swim might be my favorite one- a point to point (~1.6 miles) from Chun's to Waimea. It was a gorgeous morning for a swim (again!). I won't go into too much detail here but suffice to say my goal was to stay on the gas the whole time and not settle for thoughts like This is good enough...
I got with a good group right from the beginning and just stayed there the whole time. Two young gals were swimming side by side and I hung right behind them from start to finish. It was very uncomfortable and I almost got dropped several times but refocused and just forced myself to not back off even though I really wanted to. And interestingly, as uncomfortable as it was, I felt happy toward the end because I knew I was achieving my goal (not settling!). I still ended up 2nd age group behind Miki, but this time she only got me by ~1:15 (vs the 2-3' she's been getting in the shorter swims) and I was 38thOA (15th female) which is a lot higher up than I was in the first 2 swims. So I left Waimea Bay with a sense of satisfaction and we were off to the airport!

That afternoon we hopped over to Hilo for the Inaugural Triathlon. It was a pretty small race this year with just ~270 athletes but honestly, that's kind of what was awesome about it. It had such an old school feel to it... Hilo is a little town where locals speak in full pidgin and drifters are hippy with dreadlocks. (Side note- have you ever seen someone try to get their dreadlocks into a swim cap? I don't think it can be done, but saw a few who tried!) The whole town has been over run by these little Coqui frogs that chirp their little hearts out all night long (loudly!) They are actually an uncontrolled invasive pest but I actually really liked listening to them. We stayed at a dumpy little hotel and the whole thing just brought back so many memories of my first year(s) in triathlon when I was a starving college student and 5 of us would jam into the cheapest hotel in town the night before a race, flipping a coin to see who had to sleep on the box springs. Yet here I was, ~20 years later, doing the same thing except now with my husband and 5yo daughter in tow.

My overall impression of the race was that it was extremely well run. The town seemed supportive of the event and it was fun- great course! Of course it rained on us the entire day which was a bit of a bummer but those Hilo folk are unfazed by rain so I tried to adopt the same attitude... (Hilo gets like 100 inches of rain/year- there is a reason it is so green there.) I was more just bummed for the race director that the weather was such crap because he'd obviously worked so hard to pull off this great event and everything that was under his control was exceptionally well done. The weather... well, that's not under anyone's control.

Anyway, can I just say how psyched I was about the swim??? Wow finally a triathlon that gave advantage to an experienced ocean swimmer!! :) The water might have been rougher than normal b/c of the storm that was rolling in just as we were starting the race? Bit of a bummer that it was called wetsuit legal. I'm sure there were spots where the water was cold enough (brackish water so there were pockets of colder water near the start/finish) but the majority of the swim was plenty warm to go without. Anyway, women started 5' back from the men which usually I find to be a royal PITA but in this case it was fine- the conditions of the swim had the men completely spread out all over the place so passing them was a non-issue. I started beside Karlyn- I didn't have high hopes of being able to hang with her, and then the fact that she opted to use the wetsuit since it was allowed made me think my chances of hanging with her were actually now a big fat zero... so when the race started and I was actually hanging on her feet without dying it was like shock and awe in my brain! (Eventually she got away of course.) The water was moving like ocean water should move, it was tough to see/sight much at all, and there was some surf and shallow reef coming in... it was just like this awesome adventure swim that is so rare these days in triathlon and I was LOVING every second of it. I had heard that the race director was allowing athletes to opt to wear fins in exchange for a 5' penalty... at first I was like WHAT!?! But then given the conditions of the water I completely understood. It was definitely the kind of water that would/could be quite intimidating to a new triathlete. Some athletes did choose to wear fins- I passed a guy toward the end who was wearing fins- he was also swimming breaststroke (with a real breaststroke kick) and I wanted to stop and tell him Dude! Fins don't work like that... You're doing it wrong!... But instead I just made sure to swim WIDE around as I passed.

Looking at the results it appears Karlyn and I both out-split all of the men so that was find of fun. :) I got to my bike in T1 and most of the bikes were still there which was an indicator that indeed that swim was as tough as it appeared. I made short work of T1 and was off and rolling in the rain.

It was a good steady rain and consequently I changed some things about the way I planned to race. #1 I skipped the sunglasses and #2 I thought I wasn't go to DRILL IT, but rather it seemed prudent to just ride safely. But then I got riding and within a few miles I'd caught and passed Karlyn and then a woman on the side of the road cheered for me and I heard my two favorite words, First Woman! Hearing that makes it tough for me to lolly-gag on the bike and all of a sudden I was moving right along and feeling super happy! I was still stoked about that awesome swim, I wasn't feeling bothered by the rain, and my legs felt good. The course is a pretty simple out/back with some rolling climbs on the way out and then rolling downs on the way back. So YEEHAW Y'ALL It's ADVANTAGE SWIMMER here at the Hilo Triathlon and I was all about taking advantage of this very rare opportunity!!

At some point not too long after I'd heard my two favorite words, my happy bubble burst right along with both my tires when I hit a giant pothole.

Argh!

I think the pothole was about this big.

I was not prepared to change 2 flats (my fault, yes), which meant that I had to wait for a sag truck to roll up. It's funny how I felt super bummed for like a second and then I just let it go. I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do about it- what's done is done and at that moment there was no air in my tires. And that's what I get for not bringing along two spares!! There were some policemen right there after the bridge so they called the number they had for the sag guys but no one answered... I sat down in the rain to wait and while I was waiting (maybe ~15'?) three more guys hit that same pothole and flatted too. I sat there for so long one police officer finally asked me "Oh, You gun try finis?" Um, yes if I can get air back in these tires I saw no reason to not finish. Maybe I could have a good run?? In good news I was first in line when the sag truck did finally come along. The mechanic did an awesome job helping- his sense of urgency was WAY higher than mine by that point... in fact, when my bike was ready to go he was ready to push me off as if I was doing a TT but I was like, um, no worries man I'm out of it here at this point...

So I got back on my bike and then just cruised the rest of the 40K. It was still raining and I could see no point in trying to make up 20-25' by risking anything with a big effort. So the rest of the ride was super cruisy. I'd definitely like to go back though and have another shot at it b/c I think I could rip off a fast 40K there given better conditions! I should note as well- the Hilo Police did a superb job of stopping/directing traffic and keeping the course safe for the athletes. Mahalo!

One lesson I learned in all of this is that my run speed is not dependent on my bike effort/pace. I was sort of thinking that hey maybe this was my chance to really have a decent 10K given that the effort on the bike had not been hard... it was still raining so it was not hot... the course was mostly flat too just a few short gentle up/downs... so the only reason to not run fast here would just be if you're not a very fast runner! So yes, I proved to myself on this 10K that my run pace at these shorter races is the same whether I drill it on the bike or whether I soft pedal. It was a little bit less uncomfortable than it likely would have been had I ridden hard, and it was maybe a little bit more fun because I actually passed some girls on the run (I never get to do that!). It's hard to say though that my heart was really IN IT though during that run because I felt like I was just OUT OF IT when it came to the actual race, but turned out I ran my way up to 9th OA female (it was a small race) and 2nd 40-49.

3 of us from Honolulu traveled over for the race and all ended up with age group awards!

The atmosphere after the race could have been a ton more pleasant I think had it not continued to dump rain... They had a good band and good beer/food... The mayor of the Big Island did the race and gave a great speech afterward- he is funny! (I would vote for him to be my mayor for sure.) Anyway, overall impression of this first year race was that it was a good one indeed. It was exactly the kind of fun that is the reason most of us fall in love with the sport of triathlon in the first place and even though someone joked that this race should be called The RainMan, I can see myself going back to this one again next year.  Though next year, I'll bring proper Hilo attire. And two spares.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Chicken Saga

OK so a few days have passed and I'm feeling a bit more emotionally stable so I can finally write about what has happened in this past week...

About a week ago, we got a less than friendly letter in the mail stating that we are in violation of the housing association by-laws because we are raising chickens. Shit. Of course we signed all those documents last fall when we agreed to buy this house... maybe you'll be surprised to find this out but shocking news- we didn't read it all... but then again even if I had read the rules at the time I would have glanced right over the part that says we are not allowed to raise poultry b/c at the time it wasn't something we were considering doing.

I'm not really even sure how it came about that we decided to try raising chickens anyway? I think it came after I'd done some research about the factory farming industry and read about how horribly chickens are treated in facilities where they are laying eggs... so really this was my little way of voting against that whole industry. And through the whole experience I have learned A TON about chickens and it's all been really cool. They are really neat animals- much smarter than you'd think- and they have a very interesting social culture as well that is easy to figure out if you spend some time watching them interact. It's easy to really start to love your chickens when you raise them from chicks. I mean, when you start taking selfies with your chickens, you know its true love.

Anyway, since I was new to this whole chicken raising thing I didn't pay a ton of attention to making SURE I had hens to start off with... I didn't think through the ramifications of what if they become roosters... The fact of the matter is that roosters are not allowed to be raised in residential areas and I can understand why. They crow often. They crow loudly. And they crow before the sun even comes up. It's actually sorta cute at first when they are just learning that they have a voice. Their crows are squeaky and not very loud. That lasts about a week and then they crow like legit roosters.

So I guess I'm not surprised that we got the letter stating we had to get rid of them, but I was very sad. I wasn't sure what to do with them- roosters are hard to give away because most folks are in situations like us (neighborhood living no roosters allowed). I didn't want them to end up having to fight (if you sell roosters on Craigslist or whatever they are often forced to fight) and I also didn't want them to end up on somebody's dinner table. I understand that most people eat chickens but eating my pets feels different.

I guess in good news, Hawaii is a place where wild chickens are everywhere. In fact, the road we drive every day to/from our house we have nicknamed Chicken Road because so many chickens live alongside the road. Lots of mama hens with their flocks of chicks as well as other hens and roosters... I wasn't sure if Snow and Peepers would have the skill to live in the wild after being pampered in our backyard for the first 5 months of their lives (doesn't food just fall from the sky??), but my thinking was that if I leave them in the field maybe I can see them more often than if I gave them away to a farm somewhere further away?

I won't write in detail about how I caught Peepers and put him in a box, or about how Snow went crazy squawking like mad when he saw me do that, or about how Snow's legs were shaking when he realized he was next to be caught, or about the look of sheer fear in Peeper's eyes when he was let go in the unfamiliar field. And I definitely won't write about how I balled my eyes out the whole time.

Instead I'll just summarize that 3 days later, Snow and Peepers seem to be adjusting to their new home down the road. I stop by 2-3x/day to bring them food and water and they come right to me every time. I've seen some hens nearby who I hope will soon become mates for my boys. I plan to help them by making their home attractive for the hens (Look girls! Food! And water!) Funny story- earlier today I went down to fill their water and give them some food... then on my way home as I was driving by it looked like a chicken was there eating but didn't appear to be my boys... so I stopped to check it out... And interestingly enough there was a hen there eating their food BUT she was with another rooster! And my boys were just right there watching... I am going to have to give a lesson to those boys about not letting other roosters eat their food... Anyway, I walked up and the wild rooster ran one way, the wild hen ran the other way, and my boys hung out right there with me. And all through the field you could hear roosters and hens in every direction clucking and crowing and just generally being upset by my presence. I think it will be interesting to watch as the weeks go by if/when the boys find hens to join them. I really hope that in the coming months there are a bunch of little Silkie/mix baby chicks running around!

Anyway, here at home we still have Ellie. Technically we are not supposed to keep her either but I'll be surprised if anyone truly has a problem with her being in our back yard. She is generally very quiet. She does sing a little in the mornings when she is about to lay an egg. Funny too- when she first started laying eggs she did it in the nest we built her as part of her coop. But then I stopped finding eggs there... After a few days I started looking around the yard a bit and wouldn't you know it? She's found herself a new little nest under a bush to lay her eggs! It's kind of like an Easter Egg Hunt out here every day now, except it's not Easter, the eggs are not chocolate, and Ellie isn't very creative in finding new hiding places.

I plan to appeal the rule that says we are not allowed to have chickens here. City/County law says households are allowed to have two hens, and I think if the folks in the neighborhood understood what great pets hens make, they'd be more likely to permit us having them. So I'm hoping it's just a matter of education and I hope I don't have to become a member of the neighborhood board to get the rule changed, but if that's what I have to do, that's what I'm going to do.

Monday, June 30, 2014

RACING!

Wow this past weekend was full of racing! Busy for me both personally and professionally but of course was all a ton of fun and TeamBSC had some great results. Here's a bit of the breakdown (and some insight into how weekends go for Triathlon Coaches)...

Saturday a bunch of us locally did the 2nd of 5 ocean swim races up on the North Shore. This one was at Waimea Bay. It wasn't quite as pretty of a morning as we had a few weeks ago... It rained all night which left the water a bit murkier than normal but it was all good.
I've encouraged a lot of my local athletes to do these swim races because they are great opportunities to practice getting comfortable swimming hard in open water. We are so lucky to have these opportunities to race! Here's a cool video I found online recapping the race in less than 3'. Funny I was watching this morning and right around the 60" point of the video I saw a gal in a bikini and thought to myself Hey I was swimming with that gal! Then sure enough there I was right behind her in the video (in the blue suit). I also recognized the stroke of my training partner Mark (~35" into the video) he's wearing the white cap. His stroke is easy to spot b/c of his high turnover rate and how much his elbows bend as he pulls...

Not much to say about this race... I felt like I was swimming pretty well but they started the women 5' behind the men so we spent pretty much the whole swim navigating around them trying to not get kicked in the face as they would stop to do breaststroke. I let the frustration of that get to me more than I should have and by the end of this swim was in a mindset of whatever this moderate effort is good enough. I've pretty much conceded to getting 2nd in my age group at these swims b/c Miki is just a ton faster than I am and I never get to the beach before her. That's kind of a defeatist attitude I suppose but I also see it as realism... Though maybe it's so realistic because it's what I believe to be true before the race even starts? Something to work on I suppose! In good news though our little Kaneohe morning swim crew all ended up with wooden bowls for top 3 on our age groups! Mark is not a triathlete therefore he does not know how to properly hold a bowl above his head.
Anyway, ~10 TeamBSC folks were out there racing and everyone swam better/faster than they did last year so that was cool. Afterward we hung out at the beach for a bit with the BBQ and that's when the text came in from my Ultra-Runner athlete, Sam... results from his brutal 50 miler in South Dakota... 4thOA in what he described as the hardest run of his life. He's fairly new to distance running in general but already this year has run 2x50 milers and 1x100 miler... and it's not like these events take place on normal terrain. He's truly BatShitCrazy but he enjoys that stuff and it's been cool to have an opportunity to help guide him along his journey!
The Ironman racing for the weekend was kicked off on Saturday night... 12 hour time change between Hawaii and Austria meant I got to see Heidi's swim split before heading to bed.
In all honesty I was a bit worried for Heidi because she'd had such a stressful last few weeks going into this Ironman... she retired after 21 years in the Marine Corp which one would think might lighten up her load but the retirement process in the military is kind of a big deal and it happened just 2 weeks before the race so the stress of that was tough on her... Then of course international travel + that law about how if anything can go wrong it will was in full effect for her during race week... So I was nervous b/c I knew her training had been good (she is a very hard worker!!) and I really wanted her to reap the benefit of that at this race. Heidi is not new to the Ironman game- she's been doing this sport about as long as I have and she's got about the same number of Ironman finishes to her name... so seeing this picture that her husband posted on Facebook pretty much brought me to tears. This is Heidi's reaction when she finally realized- that at age 44- she had just set a new Ironman PR. Honestly, this is why I coach.
While Heidi was finishing that race on the other side of the world, I was out on the other side of our island with 4 of my local athletes doing a little sprint triathlon. I think I mentioned in an earlier blog that since I have no big fish to fry for the rest of this year, I'm going to fry a whole bunch of little fish... Marilyn is also encouraging me to learn how to suffer while racing and short little races like this are good opportunities for that type of practice.
So my goal for this race was simply to GUN IT the whole time, and when it started to feel hard I wanted to not back away from it. Goal accomplished! The competition was not too deep at this little race, but I have a little rant about how triathletes need to learn how to swim dammit (the juxtaposition of this race vs the swim race the day before was not lost on me... where on Saturday 23 girls beat me out of the water but at this race only 3 men did) Really though, the first buoy was ~200M off shore... we started 3' behind the men and I'd caught a few before we got to it. Then at the first buoy there were several hanging onto it and resting. Sorry to whoever the guy was but I totally grabbed his back and used him to yank myself around the buoy... but really, if you can't swim 500M without stopping and resting that just means that you have not trained swimming at all... The problem is so easily fixable with just a bit of work. Anyway.

My plan was to ride fast/hard and I did that. My plan was to run as fast/hard as I could and I did that too. It was very uncomfortable and I had to do a bunch of negotiating with my brain about not backing off the effort. It helped seeing that Sergio was leading the men's race (he is unbeaten in sprint distance triathlon on Oahu this year- 3 for 3 OA wins for him!) and since I was leading the women's race I just thought it would be pretty cool to have a TeamBSC sweep of the OA. So while the women behind me were closing the gap on me during that run, the lead I'd built off he bike was substantial enough for me to drag myself across the finish line first and that made the suffering pretty worthwhile.
My other 3 athletes there also came away with age group awards (Vicki 1st 40-44, Beate 1st 55-59, Steve 3rd 55-59). They are all new to me/TeamBSC and I have to say, I'm enjoying teaching in sort of a back to the basics type of way that these athletes need.

Before and after that race I was texting back and forth with significant others of my athletes who were in Idaho racing Ironman Coeur d' Alene. They were facing some pretty challenging swim/bike conditions there with the wind... So once I got home I spent the rest of the afternoon on the Ironman Live Leaderboard tracking splits and placings... Several of them were racing pretty close to each other all day long so that would have definitely been more fun to watch in person! Lots of individual successes there along the way yesterday- No finish time PRs for them but that's standard if you've raced a very 'fast' course in the past then go race a course like CdA with conditions like they had... That said, congrats to all on their strong finishes (once again we've kept our 100% finisher rate streak alive!) and especially to Krista for her rock solid IM Marathon PR (3:52!). I'm sure she'll write a great blog at some point detailing her day. Krista also coached her first Ironman athlete through this one (and she did get a 20' PR GO SIPPY!) and at the end of the day everyone was happy. :)
So how was that for a weekend of racing?!? Phew. #teambsc