Monday, June 28, 2010

Forget That 'Glass Half Full' Crap

Ok, are you guys enjoying these frequent blog posts?? This is what happens when one is delayed in airports all day long and starts drinking beer. It's your fault, really, for not updating your own blogs and giving Mama something to read.

So I'm sitting on an airplane, at 4:21 PM, in Dallas. TEX-ASS.

I was supposed to depart Dallas at 1:35 on a direct to Honolulu. But since my flight from Lubbock was delayed, I RAN from terminal to terminal to try to catch my Honolulu flight, figuring it must be late because every other American flight I've taken on this trip has been... But wouldn't you know it? THAT *ONE* was on time. They closed the doors 2 minutes before I arrived. Damn. I wish I were a faster runner.

So after I shed some very real tears of frustration, I went back to the ticketing agent to be re-routed. I pleaded my case for a first class seat but the ticket agent had none of that. She re-booked my direct flight for one that connects through LA. I had 3 hours to waste. I hit the bar. Its 5:00 somewhere.

Feeling somewhat cured by the beer, I made my way to my gate just in time to board my flight to LA. Now I'm snuggled like a sardine in my little seat in the back of the plane waiting for lightning storms to pass before we can take off. So what are the chances of my making it to Honolulu tonight? Based on how this trip has gone so far, slim to none. Cat, send me your phone # bc if I'm stuck in LA tonight I'm staying with you.

And some folks from Hawaii just signed up for IM TEX-ASS next May and are trying to recruit other suckers via Facebook. Ha! Fat chance.

The Good Stuff

I'm on my way home! So looking forward to seeing Scott and Moana...

Surprisingly, I don't feel a whole lot worse this morning than I did yesterday morning. Maybe the tequila last night actually did help kill the bugs, as my husband said it would. :)

So you all pretty much know that I'm a 'glass half full' kind of gal... Always looking for the positive in any situation... This morning I've been thinking about all the good things about this weekend in Lubbock. In no particular order:

-Meeting up with Elizabeth, Angela, Kerrie, Glenn, Charisa, and Ian. It was like blogger central in Lubbock this weekend. Even though I traveled alone, I was never lonely because I had all these great people to hang out with. It made me realize just how cool this blog world really is and I'm glad to be a part of it. There are many more of you that I would like to meet. :)

-Chatting with Kerrie after the race. That woman is just hysterical and probably the only person who could have made me laugh like I did during that post-race window of time that I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity.

-Finding the one and only health food store in Lubbock. I ate there 3 times in 2 days, and stocked my hotel room fridge with good stuff to snack on. I swear that whole food nutrition might have been the only thing preventing my immune system from going into complete shut down.

-BSLT 70.3 is a great race. Other than the short swim (seriously, people were still talking about the short swim this morning at the airport), it is such an honest course. We were all spread out on the course... To the point that you would have had to really TRY to draft on the bike (I don't think I saw any blatant drafting)... It's an 'old school' type of course that is set up to be challenging for the athletes rather than spectator friendly. I appreciate this because I hate running by the finish line 8 times while you go out and back and around on short little loops in the name of 'spectator friendly'... I really would rather just do one big loop or out and back and this is what you do at BSLT. It's such a tough course so the strongest athletes are the ones who win, which is how it should be!

-Lubbock is a really easy town to navigate while driving. It's set up on a grid system so all the roads go north/south/east/west and they are numbered so you can't really get lost. That said, I did use the gps component on my iPhone a couple times to get my bearings.

-Um, hello country radio!! At home I've got ONE choice for country radio. Here it was like every other station.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I Will Live To Fight Another Day

I'm not going to write up a play by play about today because honestly, I don't really want to re-live it.

Suffice to say, I woke up this morning with that 'sick taste' in my throat and deep down in my heart knew thy today was not going to be my day. You just can't race flat out for 5 hours when you're not 100% healthy. I really did just try to ignore it... Just wanted my body to hang in there for a few more hours before submitting to whatever virus was trying to attack me... I tried to will myself to be strong...

But when 3 women passed me in the first 5 miles of the bike I knew I was in trouble. Then 3 more passed me in the next 5 miles. Seriously? I had nothing. Just could.not.respond. I knew my race was over At that point but did the best I could to keep moving forward until I got to the finish line.

I was disappointed of course. It was not my day. I had a major mental battle with myself for 2+ hours on that run course. Being pissed and feeling all sorry for myself and not caring at all anymore and all that. And then I'd see a guy in a wheelchair competing in the hand cycle division and tell myself to get over myself. "Quit your bitching Michelle. You have two working legs (sort of lol) and you don't have cancer..."

Anyway, it didn't take me too long to get over my irritation about it all. I came here with hopes to get a kona spot but looking at the results it was clear to me that even on my best most awesome super stellar day, I would not be in the same league as those girls who won. Top 2 in my age group were top 2 amateur overall and I'm just flat out not that fast. Honestly, its kind of a relief that 2nd place wasn't like 5:05 because then I would leave here thinking, "If only I would have been healthy..." At this point there are no 'what ifs' so its all fine.

I'm still super glad I came though! Try, the BEST part of my weekend was hanging out with Angela Kidd and being there when she accepted her Kona spot. It was awesome!! Angela and I hit it off exactly as I thought we would... She is one of my favorite bloggers and we've been reading each others blogs since we were pregnant. In fact, knowing that she was going to be in Lubbock this weekend helped seal my own decision to come... It was super hard for me not to blog about her being here since she was all Slim Shady about her trip here. That's her new nickname by the way. :)

Ok, I have not yet packed my bike. Ugh. And can I tell you how much I'm looking forward to traveling again all day tomorrow? I'm guessing that my severly compromised immune system + a full day of travel = a full on bout of bronchitis. Lovely.

I'll write another post about this later, but I have to say, Buffalo Springs 70.3 is a great race. Super competitive (that is an understatement) but well run and honest (except for the super short wetsuit legal 82 degree water swim).

Friday, June 25, 2010

Howdy Y'all!

So I'm in Texas! This post will be short bc I'm writing it on my iPhone. I think there's an app for this but I haven't figured that out so this will have to do for now.

Anyway, phew! What a trip. Traveling across 5 time zones and through several airports is a lesson in frustration if there ever was one. I won't bore you with the details here, but suffice to say that none of my three flights were on time. Two of the flights I ended up on were not the flights I was originally booked on. I have had a total of two hours sleep in the past, um, I don't know how long... I'm so screwed up time wise... But I still should be able to post a finish time on Sunday that is shorter than my layover in San Francisco.

The first thing I did when I got here was locate a health food store so I'd have decent food to eat. Maybe there are good restaurants here but I have not seen any that I'd like to eat at. The store I found was great though! I've been there twice today and both times was the only customer in the store. Apparently the Lubbock locals don't value their natural foods stores like some of us do. :)

I wasn't able to check into my hotel until 3:00 so I spent a few hours out at buffalo Springs Lake. Being out there brought back lots of memories. I went for a little swim in the lake. The water is really warm. I'm guessing that wetsuits should not be allowed on Sunday but apparently the final decision will be made race morning. We will all roast if they allow wetsuits. Can I tell you now how glad I am that I trained in our hot pool water all spring? Lol. See there's a reason we train through crappy conditions... So when we face them on race day it's no big deal. Speaking of nobig deal... I think the heat here has been overly hyped. Yes. Its hot. I think it was 95 today. But really, it wasn't that bad. It's not humid at all (wish I would have brought lotion my skin is cracking!) The wind blows hard enough to coolthings down. So it's windy, but not as bad as we get sometimes on Oahu so again, no big deal. Maybe I'll think differently when I'm actually out there racing but probably not. I don't stress about race conditions.

I met Elizabeth Rich at packet pick up tonight! The first thing I noticed about her was how nice her skin looks. Oh, to be 25 again. I'm like a weathered prune compared to her. ;) Some other bloggers are coming in tonight and tomorrow so its gonna be fun to meet them at the lake in the morning and do our little pre-race workouts together. Turns out, I actually really like going to a race alone, especially when there are a bunch of cool people that I can hang out with when I want to. The alone time has been good for me so far though!

Ok, so that's the update from Texas so far! I'll try to post a little something after the race on Sunday... But facebook is definitely easier than this whenit comesti mobile updates.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Found The Shirt

Well I just have to say, I've been super excited and pumped and jazzed and all GUNG HO all week since I made the decision to go to Texas this weekend!

I'm excited for a lot of reasons... you know, as much as I love my husband and daughter, the thought of a weekend all to myself is really quite luring. It brings me back to my single days. I was single for a long time (didn't get married until I was 34) and while I would not trade my current life for my old life, there are times when I look back with longing at the days when I had very little real responsibility.

You know that I made a list of things to pack and did not have diapers or wipes or sippy cups or etch-a-sketch on the list? I used to think that the list of things to pack to take to a race was long and there was so much to bring... Now I have a new perspective. Packing for triathlon is NOT hard when you're going alone.

But even more than that, I am excited to go do this particular race again. I've done it once before. In 1999.

If you've been reading my blog for a while then you know a bit of my health history. This is the race I did while I was going through chemo 11 years ago. The one I did to prove to myself that cancer was not going to get the best of me. The one I did to prove to myself that I could continue living my life. Loving my life. I would continue to be ME.

All week I've had flashbacks to racing the Lubbock course. If I remember correctly (and how could I possibly forget??), I was swearing, out loud, at the end of the bike. I think I was swearing at the wind. It was windy. It was hot. I remember hills. Like canyons that you would ride down into and then have to climb out the other side. And I don't remember much shade on the run course.

I found this picture of myself running in Lubbock in 1999. I know the quality of this picture is not good- it's an old photo and has moved a bunch of times with me over the last 11 years. It's one of the only race pictures of myself that I actually have out on a shelf at my house. This one just means a little more to me because of the circumstances under which I was running. It's a reminder that we can do anything we want to do. Truly. Anything.

Would you believe I *still* have that bathing suit? Yep. I do.

So this year the race is once again on June 27. I think it's just so cool that I get to go back and do it again. Under different circumstances this time. It'll still be hot. (Um, 101 degrees on race day? Holy hell.) It'll still be windy. And there will still be canyons to climb out of. But this time, I'm going in as a contender. You know, even if I don't walk away with a Kona spot, the fact that I believe the possibility is there, 11 years after doing this race while undergoing chemo, is a win in my book. Yes. I've already won.

And I dug out a cool shirt to wear on the plane trip over.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wild Hair

So I got a wild hair up my a$$ this afternoon... Wild hairs like this are dangerous and costly because you do things like enter races which require you to travel to the mainland, um, NEXT WEEKEND! Nothing like a last minute decision to spend the weekend in Lubbock. Lol.

I was out running this morning... 14 hilly miles that probably would NOT have been on my schedule had I actually planned on racing another 70.3 next weekend... but I was feeling good... and you know how when you run long your mind goes to all sorts of places that it does not go when you are not running... Well, it was clear to me on this run that I am not over the fact that I flatted at Honu. Not. Over. It. I want another shot to put together the race I have earned all spring. So I came home and logged on to and saw that the race in Lubbock was still open... But it's, um, a week from today. Perfect. Ha!

After studying at the list of gals who are entered in my age group and the results from last year, I did a bit of research on and then had a conversation with my awesome husband and, well, hit ENTER on my computer. It's that easy. Clearly it's much easier to enter a race than to actually race it! Lol.

I'm going alone, but I won't be lonely because I'll get to hang out with a couple of blogger friends! Gotta love this internet thing for how it connects us all. Unfortunately one of the blogger friends who will be there is Kerrie... so let's just say I hope that there's an extra slot in our age group.

Now if I can just keep air in my tires next weekend...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weekend Update

I have been super busy this week and have not had much time to write but I've had all these blog posts written up in my head... none of these ideas are explored fully here but here's a little glimpse of what's been going on.

~So this morning I walked into Moana's room and saw her leg swung up over the side of her crib. Uh oh. It's just a matter of time I suppose until she figures out how to shift her weight over the top and get out. It's kind of a long fall though to the ground so this is the time when we're supposed to transition them to toddler beds I guess. Although one of my athletes (who has been through this twice already) advised me to keep Moana in the crib for a while longer... that at 20 months old she might not be emotionally ready for the freedom yet. I totally agree, so I'm gonna have to go buy some type of contraption to keep her in there for a couple more months.

~My house is a mess. Having a job (ok, more like 3 or 4 jobs!) wreaks havoc on one's housekeeping duties. I suppose I could hire a housecleaner (where's the laundry fairy anyway??), but we are pro's at messing up a clean house so the fix would be quite temporary. I think I'm better off just lowering my standards. In good news, I'm not home as much anymore to see the mess.

~My bottom lip is still completely sunburned from racing at Honu 2 weeks ago. The morning of the race I managed to get sunscreen everywhere but my lips... since then they just blistered and peeled and then blistered again and I can't believe they still hurt as much as they do. Ugh. I also can't believe Honu was only 2 weeks ago. It seems as though a year has passed.

~I rode my TT bike for the first time since the race this morning. I had to search everywhere around my house to find my pedals. I'd taken them off when I gave my bike to the folks at TriBike Transport and knew I put them somewhere but the fact that I'd had 2 beers already by the time I handed my bike over left my memory of where I put them a bit fuzzy. Finally I found them- in my bike bag that normally contains my flat kit. Since I'd used the spare tube that was in there, apparently I thought that was a good place to hide my pedals from myself.

~I'm still trying to figure out my racing schedule for this summer... I have several different options that I'm chewing on and I'm just waiting for one of them to really grab me. I've gone back and forth several times already this week but that's another post.

~I do know what I'm doing this fall though. I'm running the Honolulu Marathon! It's been since 1998 that I've run a flat out marathon that did not include a long swim/bike first, so I'm pretty much guaranteed a PR. How fast? Well, race calculators and tables tell me I can run 3:24-3:35. That seems like a stretch to me but I know that achieving something starts with believing it so I'm starting now to believe that I can run under 3:30. This fall it'll be all about the right training so we'll see how it goes.

With that said, I'm off to read more about marathon training before going to bed tonight. Saturday nights really rock around here. ;)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Current Training Plan: Make It Up As You Go.

Ahhh. Home sweet home. There's no place like home. And all that stuff...

So we had a fun weekend in California with Scott's family. Moana was the hit of the party once again... what a social little thing she is... she was surrounded by her grandma and grandpa and aunts and uncles and 7 cousins and she could NOT have been happier! She especially loved her 9 year old cousin, Erica, who was the only other girl cousin is this family full of boys. And Erica loved Moana too. It was just so cute to watch the two of them play together at every opportunity. Erica had an ability to keep Moana from melting down at times when she otherwise definitely would have- picture the scene- it's an hour past bedtime and we're all still out at a restaurant eating at a long table filled with a bunch of adults... not exactly a toddler's preferred activity... but Erica could entertain her for hours right there on the floor and it was perfect. I didn't even have to drink (that much) wine to stay sane.

And it was fully best case scenario on the plane. Both ways! Moana slept for a couple hours on each leg of the trip and was otherwise occupied by Elmo on the portable DVD player and drawing on the etch-a-sketch. I think it's best to have very low expectations on these kind of things and then be pleasantly surprised at how easy it actually is.

So besides all the fun socializing with the family, I got to go on a couple of great runs while we were there. The first night we stayed with Scott's sister in Menlo Park. I was directed to a park to go running... trail running... oh how perfect! The training plan I wrote for myself for this week called for something like, "If you feel like sleeping in and skipping it, fine. But if you find yourself enjoying a wonderful run on beautiful trails on a perfect blue sky day, then go ahead and explore the narrow trails." So that's what I did. This preserve area had a couple of main fire roads that were wide and wound their way through the park... and then there were other narrow paths that split off from the main road. I resolved to always take the narrow trail when presented with the opportunity. 7 miles later, with dusty ankles, I found my way back to my car and was all smiles for the rest of the day. I had decided that I could definitely live in northern California again.

The next night we stayed with Scott's parents in a retirement community in Walnut Creek. I got up and ran first thing, before it got HOT, and found the roads to be so nice in this area. Wide shoulders with bike lanes and plenty of cyclists out riding... another good morning for running in California. I could definitely live here. Ok, maybe not in the retirement community, but northern California was winning me over with its blue skies and warm weather and perfect roads.

Sunday we traveled down to Monterey and met the whole family for a reunion in Pacific Grove. And while it was nice there for sure, um, what happened to the HOT? Oh my it was so cold. So cold. Like shivering teeth chattering cold. And windy. I take it back. I could not live here. These temperature swings were too much for me. I followed the other option in my training plan when Monday morning came... slept in and skipped it. BRRRRR.

BUT, 2:00ish came around and while it was still not warm, my teeth weren't chattering anymore so I put my long sleeve running shirt on and headed out the door for a little jog along the coast. I told Scott I'd be back in less than an hour. But I gotta say, oh my what a beautiful gorgeous perfect run! I started out at Asilomar Beach (for those of you who know the area) and ran along a little sandy dirt trail that hugged the coastline... stunning views of the Pacific and that coastline! 3 miles later I was NOT ready to turn around so instead I followed my training plan that went something like, "If you find yourself with a very rare opportunity to run along an amazing coastline and you feel good, go as long as you want." So that's what I did. Sort of, I probably would have gone even longer had I brought any water with me (see, now I was thankful for the cold temps b/c I could run 10 miles without any water) but forced myself to turn around at 5 miles so I wouldn't end up too parched at the finish. But seriously, this was one of the best runs I've ever had. It was so so so nice.

I like making up my training as I go. One of these days I'll get back on a real plan, but for now I'm enjoying a bit of spontaneity and just doing what I feel like... And right now, I feel like I'm just glad to be home. Balmy humid air with a little breeze (and NOT cold). Ahhh. I like visiting California, but living in Hawaii is what fits.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Have Etch-A-Sketch. Will Travel.

Oh my. What a busy day. My head is just spinning right now because I had so much to do today and it's 9:00PM and I'm finally finishing up... sort of. We have a flight leaving for San Fran tomorrow morning at 7:00 and I'm not done packing. This is completely different than last weekend when I had the lists made and was all packed with plenty of time to spare... Oh well. My running stuff and heart rate monitor are packed so the important stuff is taken care of.

I guess we thought that we didn't truly test Moana's ability to travel with that piddly 40 minute flight to the Big Island last weekend... so we'll get to feel the full extent of what it's like to travel with a toddler this weekend... 5+ hours on a plane. Lord help us. I keep thinking about that post Angela wrote about how Zach kept repeating, "Airplane. All done." I can picture Moana doing the same thing after the first hour. And I'll be like, "Don't worry sweetie. Only 4 more hours to go!" Argh. Is 7:00AM too early to start drinking wine? Because that *really* helped me last time we crossed the Pacific with Moana.

On my list of things to do today was to go to Target and get a couple new and interesting toys for her. Have Etch-A-Sketch. Will travel. We also have a portable DVD player and a couple of Elmo videos, so that should kill an hour at least.

On tap this weekend is a family reunion with Scott's family. Should be fun since Moana hasn't met any of her cousins on that side (and she's got one almost exactly her age!) and she hasn't seen her grandparents since she was 2 months old. I ended up buying a new Flip video camera today too because we can't possibly see the family once a year and not get it documented on film somehow.

Anyway, tomorrow will be a challenging day I'm sure.... hopefully I won't have to blog any horror stories next week.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Some Perspective. Next?

I love Facebook... and the fact that you can always count on people to be at local events taking pictures and then posting them on FB and tagging you so you know they're there. This was especially great for us because we, um, lost our Flip video camera this past weekend. Such a huge bummer. We had all sorts of super cute videos on there of Moana dancing around our living room and post race playing with a ladybug that Kerrie's daughter, Rain, caught for her... such a bummer to lose those. The camera can be replaced but the videos cannot.

Anyway, here I am coming out of the water and actually running through the sand. (Good thing I am wearing bright green because I was easy to spot and get pictures of. Lol.) That gal behind me actually beat me out of the water but I ran by her up to our bikes. For the record, that never happens for me. Usually I am the one getting passed running up the beach, but it's another sign that my run is coming along... :) Oh, and the speed suit I'm wearing is a TYR Sayonora. Nice fast suit that I got from the TYR rep the day before. Thanks, Kevin!

Here are a few shots from the bike... See how much fun I was having? Even while climbing a hill... It cracks me up to see all the other race photos of people so serious on the bike. Ok, maybe I'm not working hard enough if I'm able to smile like this, but I'm going plenty fast. ;)

Look! I'm even smiling after the flat! I'd been back on my bike and riding for maybe a minute or two when I saw Mike taking photos. I'm not sure why I smiled though because I was not happy.

Here's a finish photo. Finish photos always look better when your hands are in the air and you're smiling. :) Like I said in the last post, I planned on looking like this in my finish photo no matter how the race went, and even though it didn't go exactly like I'd wanted it to go, that smile was very real. I was pretty psyched that my body performed the way that it did on Saturday... but the smile really was a culmination of all the hard work in training and I see race day as a celebration of all of that... the smile is for everything you've done over the last several months to earn this moment and you know what? Celebrate it as you cross the line! That's my philosophy anyway.

Because, you see, you can drown your sorrows in a FireRock afterwards. (Um, don't tell Kerrie but I think Glen is checking me out... Lol.)

Ok, so a couple of days have gone by and I have gained some perspective on my race over the weekend. I'm feeling MUCH better about it now. I knew that given a couple days I'd come around and see it for what it was... it was the performance I was hoping for. It was the performance I had trained for. It didn't result in a Kona spot but I can't help but think that there MUST be a reason that I was just not meant to do IM this year. I feel like fate stepped in and saved me from something when I rode over that thorn... not sure what yet... and maybe I'll never know... but that's how I see it now. Because we all know that what we think we want is not always what is best for us. And I thought I wanted to do IM again this year... and I earned the right to do it with the training I did and the race performance I put together... but since the flat tire is the only thing that kept it from me, I just think that it was not meant to be. And I'm ok with that (now).

So... moving on! What's next?? I am NOT one to sit idle and not have a goal. I took 2 days off from exercising but got out on my bike this morning because I figured I'd go crazy if I didn't go do something today. 90 easy minutes alone on a bike allows a gal to really clear her head, you know? I now have some new race goals, and they are ambitious. Most of the local triathlons around here are over so I'll be doing mostly individual swim, bike, and run races. I'll list out what I'm thinking in a later post, but for now, I feel good about some big goals and am actually looking forward to a very solid run focus this fall. I think that run focus will be really good for me and if I meet my run goals, that leg of the triathlon will no longer be a weakness for me. :)

In other news, I just have to mention how proud I am of a couple of athletes of mine who also raced 70.3's this weekend. Regina finished her very first one at Mooseman and I was just so stoked to hear the happiness in her voice as she recounted the days events to me after she finished! She had a strong solid day and managed to keep it all together and not fall apart at all, which is pretty impressive for your first 70.3! Shoot, I think I fell apart for like the first ten I did. Lol. Nalani also put together a great race. She had a 22 minute PR vs her time last year at Honu... she swam, biked, and ran faster on a harder day! And according to the email I got from her today, she is still smiling and ready to take on a new goal already. :) Finally, Todd also raced at Honu... his second 70.3 but first time at Honu, and he was a full 30 minutes faster than his previous half on a harder course. And he felt great about it! So congrats to all three of them!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hawaii 70.3- An Epic Roller Coaster Ride

So we're finally home from the Big Island and I just put Moana to bed in her crib. Poor thing was exhausted from being dragged around all weekend... of course she was such a trooper the whole time and really had a blast... but there's no place like home and she just jumped into her crib tonight with all her stuffed animals and smiled and said, "I love you" and gave me the signal to get the heck out of her room so she could finally chill out alone in her own space.

Like mother like daughter I guess. Sometimes a girl just needs to chill out alone in her own space. Especially after a bout of bad luck at a race...

Before I start with the race re-cap I'll just say that I had 2 goals for this race... #1 Race right at the edge of my limit, and #2 Hope that was enough to earn me the state resident slot for Kona for my age group.

So we all know that I was totally ready for the race yesterday. Mentally, physically, emotionally... I was there. Race morning I was fired up but still kept myself in check... All my pre-race preparations went smoothly and finally I was in the deep water ready for the cannon to go off. BOOM! Go. All 1300+ of us at once.

I felt good in the water... it was a bit choppier than I remember last year but I knew my stroke felt long and strong and I've done plenty of swimming in choppy ocean conditions so I really was quite comfortable. It was NOT as choppy as what we train in most of the time. I felt like I was working, but not too hard... just good solid steady swimming. I came out of the water and saw 29:xx on the clock and knew that the swim must have been a bit longer than last year which was absolutely *fine* by me! The longer the better...

Onto the bike and I just focused on following my plan... bring it down... bring it down... this course is uphill right off the bat and you can ruin your whole race by flying up the hills early on. So I settled in, but got moving along steadily and I felt great. It had been super windy all morning so I knew this bike would be slower than last year even with the same effort... it made me even more glad about my plan not to wear a watch because we were all facing the same conditions so no need to worry about how long it was taking and allow myself to get frustrated if the wind was slowing me down. But you know what? I just felt great. I had a super solid climb to Hawi and even felt like maybe we had a tailwind? Then we turned around and my plan involved 'getting aggressive' at this point. I flew down that hill. Felt some side crosswinds that maybe could have been a little scary but I imagined them being tailwinds. In fact, I was laughing at myself and repeating in my head... "Wind? What wind? I got a TAIL-wind!!!" I can crack myself up sometimes. It was super fun.

Close to the end of the ride and I was humming along nicely and actually started singing out loud. I knew I'd had a stellar ride (only 1 woman had passed me all ride and she was still right there in my sight at the end) but also KNEW that I was going to be able to run. I actually said this out loud to myself... "You're going to be able to RUN. You know how I know that? Because you have trained yourself to be a strong and durable athlete. Because every single Saturday for the last 5 months you have gotten off the bike and gone running... Michelle, you're going to be able to RUN today!" I was just so stoked. I kept telling myself how strong and durable I was. There's really no better feeling than that! And then...


What? NO. NO. No.

Are you kidding me? A flat tire? Now? I was so close to the end of the bike. I don't know exactly, but probably less than 5 miles from T2. My first and only thought was that my Kona spot was gone. It was mine to lose and that damn thorn I ran over took it away. Seriously? Ugh.

At this point I supposed I could have sat on the road and thrown myself a little pity party but I just got to work changing the tube. Rachel rode by and asked if I had everything, to which I replied that I did... it didn't take me too long to get the tube out, find the thorn and yank it out, put in the new tube, replace the tire, get the CO2 cartridge ready... but then I ran into problems. The little adapter thingy I have hadn't been used in at least a year (I've been 'lucky' in not getting many flats this year...) and it was one of those little spring loaded ones and the spring was metal and all corroded and would NOT work properly. ARGH again... I don't know how long I sat there trying to squeeze than damn corroded spring but it felt like eternity and my Kona spot rode by and I just just so freakin' frustrated but I did NOT give up and I just squeezed and squeezed and squeezed and then finally I felt that sweet sweet sensation of the air inflating my tire... oh phew. I struggled a bit getting my wheel back on (whoever though that horizontal drops were a good idea should be stoned to death) but finally got back on my bike and rolled the last couple of miles into T2.

(I didn't know at the time how long it took to me get it changed, but after the race finished I looked at some splits and based upon who I knew I was near and what my bike split actually ended up being, I'm guessing it was a 6-7 minute penalty for running over that thorn. Damn.)

So clearly I needed a little attitude adjustment now. I was back on my bike. I thought about it and decided that I could still finish the race in a very respectable time if I had a decent run. But I knew the Kona spot was gone so all the pressure was off. You know, usually the way my races go I am just being hunted the whole time and I feel like prey being chased by a predator so I'm in a frantic rush through T2... but yesterday I just kind of steadily racked my bike and grabbed my hat and water bottle and gel and jogged off to the run course.

I did see a clock on my way out of T2 and it said 3:21:xx. I'm not that good at doing math when I'm racing, but I did figure out that if I ran a 1:55 I could tie my finish time from last year, which would be a huge win given that I had a flat tire and all... so that became my new goal. Of course, I had no idea if I was on track to reach it since I wasn't wearing a watch, but given the way I felt, I deemed it very possible. Not just possible. Probable.

So I was just plugging along at a comfortable pace and eventually end up at the first of 3 u-turns on this little clover-like thing we had to run (there is no hiding on this run course!). We were like 3ish miles into the run and low and behold, I see that I am like less than a minute behind my Kona spot. Seriously? Really? I've still got a chance at this? After that flat tire?? Holy cow. No way...

Next u-turn, I'm only like 20 seconds back now. Holy cow again. I did not anticipate this. It was such a role reversal for me- to be the predator instead of the prey. (I kind of liked it.) Then I saw my prey sitting on the side of the road at an aid station. I ran by thinking I could NOT believe she just gave this race to me! But I should have known better. A few minutes later, I heard her, like an elephant charging me down... now I'm the predator again... but 1/2 mile later she's walking up the hill... and once again I become the prey.

Honestly, it was kind of neat to be having this epic battle out on the run course. It's not a secret to anyone here that (for very good reason) this gal and I do not get along. But even given that ugly history, part of me was thinking that this is how it should be- we should have to work very hard for our Kona spots... but then part of me thought, No. This is NOT how it should be. I should be a mile up the road already and not even involved in this battle at all... But I could not change that damn thorn incident so I was making the best of it now and fighting my way back into this race.

So I don't know... like mile 6ish I think... we head back onto the spongy grass golf course with all it's short steep little ups and downs and I had picked up my pace because I was envisioning writing a check to WTC for $550 and oh how badly I wanted to do that... but my legs were not happy on this grass. And they were not happy with the pace I was holding and they were not happy with those short steep uphills. But I was back in my familiar role of being the prey so I just kept pushing... eventually I was caught again and now we're running together... Now like mile 7ish we are facing a short very steep hill and oh how badly I wanted to just be able to scoot up it and stay in contact so I was taking teeny tiny short little steps and then BAM. My whole left leg seized up on me and I was stopped in my tracks. Damn!!! I couldn't even walk forward at this point because my leg was just completely seized. It's that sartorius muscle that runs down the inside of my quad that always gets me...

Unfortunately for me, the epic battle was over. I stretched and walked off the cramp and eventually started running again but this time a little more cautiously. I was able to make it through the next 6 miles ok but not quite fast enough to be a threat again. I finished the run though in 1:52, which for me, on this course, is pretty good! It's a full 14 minutes faster than last year's run anyway! And looking at the splits after the race, it would have been fast enough to earn me the state resident kona spot had I not flatted. Wouldda couldda shouldda... didn't. GRRRRR.

I hope somebody got a picture of me crossing the finish line though because I followed my plan which instructed me (no matter what) to throw my hands in the air and smile... and boy did I smile... Kona spot or not, I saw 5:14 on the finish clock as I rounded the corner and what a pleasant surprise THAT was! It was 2+ minutes faster than last year with a flat tire. There was no not being proud of that! I am also proud of how I kept myself mentally composed and collected and calm under the pressure of changing the flat and then making the best of it and salvaging my race. The day turned out to be such an emotional roller coaster... I had the slot, then I flatted and didn't have the slot, then I claimed it back, but then I lost it, and then I had the slot once more, and then I cramped and lost the slot for good... but then I finished with my best ever Honu time even after all that...

I finished with my integrity and my head held high. And then 15 seconds later it hit me- what had just happened- my bad luck- and I cried.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Process

I feel remarkably calm considering my 'A' race for the year is in less than 48 hours. I think that years and years of doing this sport has allowed me to evolve into a more calm and rational athlete. That, or being married to Scott, who is the calmest person on earth, has changed me. :)

Ot it *could* be the Maui coffee. The Maui stuff seems more on the mellow side to me than the Kona coffee. Just an observation.

Anyway, I got up early this morning because I felt like there were a ton of things I wanted to accomplish today before we leave and I did not want to feel rushed. I sent out next weeks schedules to my athletes and then got on with my little pre-race workout... which of course led me to some deep thoughts... mostly about the process of training for a specific race and how our feelings change as we go through each step.

Like how in the beginning of the season the workouts seem hard... but only because you're out of shape and you know that they're not nearly as hard now as they're going to get later. You worry about even being able to complete them because you're not really fit yet. You do complete them but then you find yourself sprawled out on the couch a lot of the time because you're whooped from the effort.

Then you start to adapt to that workload and all of a sudden you don't have the same fear of the workouts anymore. You know you can do them and you can actually go out and socialize on Saturday afternoons again. This feels good and you start gaining confidence.

Then you do a little tune up race and get a gauge on your fitness. It goes pretty well and you feel satisfied that you are on the right track. Let's move to the next step.

Workouts start to get much more race specific and hard again. The fear of each key training session comes back because once again, you're not sure you're going to be able to nail the specific paces. But most of the time you do, and even if your Saturday afternoons are spent back on the couch in your compression socks after your ice bath, you feel good about your progress.

Then you start to taper. Ugh. And that's when all the emotions start flying and you start questioning yourself because the workout you just did didn't leave you sprawled out on the couch and you wonder if you've done enough (you have) and if it's all going to come together on race day (it will)... These are the weeks when I find myself going back through my log books and re-reading the comments on the big workouts I did where I wrote, "Nailed it." That makes me feel better. It also helps during this time period to IGNORE what everyone else is doing. This is not the time to start comparing your workouts to your training partner's workouts.

Then all of a sudden you're packing up all your stuff to take to the race and no matter what, it's too late now so the only thing you can do is just go do what you've been training yourself to do and hope that your performance on race day reflects the training you've put in. You plan out your race, you try to be smart about sleep and nutrition, and when the gun goes off you GO. And hope for the best.

So I must say, that's the process I went through during the last 5 months or so. It's been a great journey. I seriously have enjoyed every step of it and there's a big part of me that is looking forward to life after Honu, where I'm going to spend a few weeks without structured training. Ahhh. That sounds nice. But before that, I'm going to go Rip Myself Apart on the Honu course. I'm not going to be wearing a watch. I think I race best that way. I think it's silly to speak of time goals in long races like this where the conditions dictate how long it takes you to complete each leg. I'm more concerned about listening to my body and pushing it to its limits rather than worrying about what the clock says. I'll find out in the end how fast I completed each segment and who knows... maybe I'm faster than I think? We'll all find out on Saturday. :)

Follow along on if you want. We start at 7:00AM HST, which is 1:00PM for those of you on the East Coast.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lip Gloss? On A Tuesday??

Today was my first official day as Coffee Sales Manager for Coffees Of Hawaii. I am *all smiles*. You know, it feels goooood to be back among the working women of the world... to have a goal other than getting the laundry done or removing the dog hair from the floor or erasing crayon marks from the walls... No, these days my goal entails brewing a fresh cup of coffee each morning, taking in its aroma, and seeing if I can taste the difference between 100% Kona coffee vs 100% Moloka'i coffee vs 100% Maui coffee. And then there's the blends. Lots of different blends. And the dark roast versions vs the medium roasts vs the espresso roast. This is kinda complicated, you know.

But it's the best of both worlds for me... to be in 'outside sales'. No office to report into, no time clock. Just get the job done kind of job. Of course, there can be a bit of pressure in this just get the job done kind of job because my results are available on the online ordering system at any given time. Which can put a little pressure on a sales girl. Which is actually perfect for me. I'm good under pressure.

So this morning I strapped Moana into the Bob and ran her down to daycare. I left the Bob there and did a few pick ups while running home. Perfect. Fresh and loose. Ready to start my day. A Tuesday. A Tuesday where I put on real clothes. And earrings. And mascara. And lip gloss. This is no ordinary Tuesday.

Eventually I was in my car, essence of Kona Nightingale on my tongue, driving around town, armed with samples and a list of potential customers to call on. It was totally reminiscent of my pre-baby days (and pre-blog too... when none of you even knew me!) when I sold drugs. (Legal drugs. To doctors.) But now I could actually walk in to chat with a customer and tell them about how I sampled the product I was pedaling this morning... 100% Kona coffee... smooth and rich... not a bit bitter... I couldn't say that when I saw selling pills for erectile disfunction.

I found myself excited to be using my brain... trying to figure out the best approach with different customers. I really wanted some tangible success on Day 1. But when you're cold calling on restaurants in the middle of the day, well, it's not as easy as you might think. I figured out that my problem, really, was that the decision making owners and managers are not the ones just hanging out in empty restaurants between popular mealtimes. Don't get me wrong, my coffee samples were very well received by the daytime managers hanging out in the empty restaurants between popular mealtimes, but they were not the ones who will be able to sign the purchase orders. Need. New. Approach.

So I picked Moana up at daycare (which I need to do by 4:00) and brought her home and fed her a bit so she wouldn't be too grumpy, then walked her across the street to a nice restaurant that I have targeted to convert to a Coffees Of Hawaii account. Turns out, the best way to call on a restaurant actually IS to bring your toddler. I finally got a real bite from a real person who can make real decisions about ordering. I was stoked to end my first real work day on that note.

Then Scott got home, took one look at me, and wondered why I was wearing lip gloss. I know. Weird, huh?