Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Hope My House Doesn't Catch Fire

I get to go to Kona on Tuesday! So psyched about that. Kiet is already trying to blame his impending Type 3 Fun on me but I won't let him do that... I think my insane love for training on the Big Island will rub off on him immediately and he will buck up and the fun will certainly be Type 1. And if it's not, well, the 120 mile ride on Wednesday was HIS idea. Not mine. Just putting that out there in advance.

So anyway, stay tuned for fun training stories and pictures from Kona later this week.

As for now, I'm just trying to figure out how to get my legs back before my flight takes off on Tuesday morning... Remember how I've written so much about all those easy runs where I'm holding back and jogging and la la la bored-out-of-my-mind? Yeah. Those days are over. These days I read my run workouts and think either a) Coach has me confused with one of his other athletes who is clearly a more accomplished runner than me, or b) That fall he took last week on his mountain bike hurt his head worse than we thought.

I did my long run this afternoon... It wasn't one of those just get the miles in types of runs... It was more like how fast can you run 18 miles? Turns out, faster than I thought, (but amazingly right in the range that coach thought). So that was cool. But then later I was crashed out on my couch and emailing one of my athletes who was lamenting how much her legs hurt after her long run and I commiserated by saying that I wasn't sure I could get up off the couch if my house was on fire.

In other news, ladies... listen up. Last week I resorted to using Moana's diaper cream for my second long ride... but today I stopped into my local bike shop and inquired about some stuff that might work even better... And I found it! (Huge mahalos to Sonja at ITB for recommending it!) Hoo Ha Ride Glide... Have you tried this stuff? I balked at the $22 price tag on the big tube so instead just bought a couple little travel size packs to try out... I was sure I wouldn't use that whole huge tube. But, um, let me just say this- I didn't even ride today but I used it. Twice. This stuff is nice. Cool. Tingly. Now I'm thinking that I would pay $44 for that big tube and surely would use it daily. I mean, really. Even if you don't ride bikes this stuff might be worth checking out. Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

More Tofu, Please!

Tonight we went out on a family date. Mostly b/c we couldn't find a babysitter but we were tired of sitting around at home on Saturday nights so we figured what the heck. Maybe Moana will like Thai food? So we brought her with us. And... Indeed! She is a fan of Thai. She ate green papaya salad and tofu/vegetables... she was insistent on using her chopsticks and we just let her try. I think she liked the tofu because she could successfully stab it with a chopstick and then pretend it was a popsicle to eat. It just kinda cracked me up though when she was all Can I have more tofu please? I wonder how many two years olds ask that? Lol.

Moana is starting a new pre-school next week. I told her it was Flying Fairy School so obviously she is PUMPED about going and tonight after dinner we went to gather the list of supplies the school requested. (Don't be too jealous of my very glamorous life.) Moana couldn't wait to get her new "School Surprise". She kept asking about when she was going to get her new wings. I wonder how she'll feel about this new school when she finally figures out that they're not actually going to teach her how to fly?

This morning was another ocean swim race. Moana loves ocean swim races. It means she gets to play in the sand all morning! Scott dug her a private little pool to jump in.

The race was something like 1.6 miles along the north shore from Chun's Reef to Waimea Bay. This one might be my favorite of the four races in the series... maybe because it tends to be a bit choppier than the others and sometimes there's a good current against us and it requires some ocean navigation skills to make sure you don't swim like 2+ miles. The picture below makes it look a lot more simple than it actually is.

Here's a photo of some people trying to get out to the start. This actually makes me laugh a bit... all these people trying to get out to the start buoy via the most direct line, which also happens to be right over the shallowest part of the reef. All they had to do was go right or left and the water was deep enough to swim in without getting cut on the reef. This is kind of like the first piece of the puzzle when it comes to ocean navigation skills...

Anyway, not much newsworthy about the race itself. I felt a little lost because I was never swimming around people I knew. It was weird. I kept looking around at the people I was swimming with but it seemed like everyone I saw was a teenage boy. Where were my people?? Anyway, I swam hard, think I took a decent line, felt pretty good, and came out of the water ahead of everyone else in my age group. So that was cool. It's been a while since I've won my age group at one of these races... like a couple years I think? Gosh... now that I think about it, maybe even 4 years?? Last year I was 2nd-4th every time, the year before I was 2nd at all four swims to Miki, and the year before that I was pregnant... so yeah, it's been since 2007 that I've won here. I just talked (wrote?) myself into feeling better about this race. Lol.

Of course, a 13 yo girl came and whooped us all and won for the women. Damn kids. Of course, 11 years from now when that is Moana I'll be like super proud mama!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How I Want To Feel On Oct 8

So we're in the time frame where coach is trying to kill me again. It might be time for me to dig out my cat suit.

I just had a rather ridiculous 3 days of training and I'm trying to remember if I've backed up long rides before the way I just did? I don't think I have? Maybe once... but all this training is killing off my brain cells so I can't be sure. It was interesting though b/c yesterday I really struggled and couldn't get my HR up (and swore a lot)... that had me rather worried about how I was going to get through another 90+ miles today... but as they say, today was a new day and I felt like a freakin' machine on that bike. (Nailed it!) I kept a mental imagine of Ange's new blog picture in my head on all my intervals today as a reminder that THAT is how I want to feel when I finish Kona. I know Ange worked her ass off this year in prep for Lake Placid and it paid off for her (clearly!). I love seeing that- when people are consistent and diligent and focused in their training and then BAM! Awesome race when it matters. Very motivating for work horse athletes like me. :)

Anyway, ~70 miles into my ride today I was stopped at Turtle Bay to refill my bottles one last time... Turtle Bay is a nice resort on the North Shore and it was almost lunchtime and I could smell the burgers grilling and the place was full of rather overweight pasty white tourists lounging by the ocean and relaxing on vacation and I just had this thought... No thanks, I'll just have another GU and go bust my ass into that nasty headwind one more time... Because I want to feel like Ange on October 8... But ya'll enjoy yourselves.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sharks On The Big Island

Call me a romantic, but I always assumed the waters off the coast of the Big Island were free from sharks. For whatever reason, even when I might have a bit of fear of swimming alone in ocean water elsewhere, swimming at the pier or at Hapuna always seemed totally benign (like a giant aquarium, right??) and I wouldn't hesitate to jump right in. And I probably I still won't when I am there next week, even though the shark sitings in both places have come one after another this year...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday night bullet point style..

~Last night we had a party b/c it was Scott's birthday. Normally I wouldn't drink margaritas the night before a race but I was just trying to be a good supportive wife and then suddenly somehow the entire bottle of Tequila (the huge one- from Costco) was *gone*. There were only 6 of us drinking margaritas so you do the math.

~Some of the margs were blended with lilikoi and some were blended with lime. The lilikoi was totally better, but all the lilikoi and limes came right off our trees which I thought was pretty cool.

~I spent much of the day yesterday making carrot cake from scratch for Scott (cream cheese icing too). I finished it up, put it in the fridge, then about an hour later opened the fridge and watched that cake fall right off the shelf and splat onto the floor. Unfortunately Moana learned a new word and then we went to the bakery and bought a new cake for Scott.

~When Scott got home from surfing Moana greeted him at the door and said, "I didn't do it. Mommy did it."

~I got a message from Nalani this morning telling me that lilikoi and lime are good luck the night before a bike race. I think what might have been even luckier was if I would have done any threshold hill repeats in training lately. Turns out, the fitness required for a fast hilly bike race is different from the fitness required to put together a decent Ironman, and I'm not as good at faking the threshold stuff as I hoped I'd be. It was fun though and even though I humbly got my ass handed to me, I'm glad I went. Those people who just ride bikes are very fast. And big congrats to my athlete Teri who flew over from Maui and won!

~This afternoon we took Moana to see Sesame Street LIVE. Imagine a concert hall full of kids ages 2-6ish and a bunch of adults dancing and singing in large furry animal costumes... Moana was enthralled and just enjoyed every second of that show. Especially the audience participation part... She was happy and she knew it! :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Just Freakin' Rise To The Occasion

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. And some of my athletes are going to call me a complete hypocrite because I just wrote a piece for them on setting appropriate goals and ended that post by saying that you simply have to earn yourself a level of fitness to support your goals. And I still believe that whole heartedly.

But then there's Thomas Voekler.

Not saying he's not fit enough to achieve his goals- just saying that in the past that guy has not shown that he has the physical capability to do what he is doing this month in France. But he's doing it. So what's the deal with that?

And this is a total aside, but I have to say, I do wonder if he is a master player in the psychological game... Every day he says that he doesn't expect to keep the jersey tomorrow but then he goes and fights like hell for it all day... and then keeps it. We all know athletes who do this to some degree (and btw I hate it when athletes do this)... they say, "Oh I can't go as fast as you..." blah blah blah and then you're training/racing together and they totally do go as fast as you and becomes this psychological blow... b/c you're killing yourself going as hard as you can and that sandbagger athlete is still riding right on your wheel or running shoulder to shoulder with you uphill and the obvious implication in your own mind at that point is I am not as fast as I thought if I can't drop this guy/gal who told me he/she couldn't go this fast... So I do wonder if Voekler is getting under the skin of the other contenders when they attack on a climb and can't shake him. It must be a bit of a blow to their confidence when they see that guy hanging on like such a sticky booger. Maybe that's why they only attack for like a second and then sit up? Anyway. That was a complete aside.

Back to Voekler. My thought there is that he actually really does truly believe in himself. He must truly believe that he is as good as those other climbers. So if day after day we hear all the commentators say that he doesn't have the physical capacity to climb with them, but yet, he is climbing with them, then it must all be in his head, right? So maybe there IS such a thing as Race Day Magic? Or in his case, Race Month Magic... where you have a good deal of baseline fitness but then race day comes and you just freakin' rise to the occasion. Previous ceilings you may have put on yourself... break through them! To hell with your heart rate monitor and power meter on race day. Just go race.

Now I may have completely jinxed Voekler here and he might just get dropped like a bad habit tomorrow when they climb those huge Alps... but even if he does, well, he still showed me something this last week about what we can all be physically capable of if we just believe ourselves to be.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gutting It Out

So yesterday I was at the pool and chatting with two guys I see there a lot... recreational swimmers. Sam said, "Michelle I see you running all the time and all over the place! Kualoa, Kaneohe, Kailua..." Then Steve piped in with, "And biking too! I see you biking all the time!" Such is life when you live in a small town... can't hide when you're out training I guess! Then Steve asked me if I was going to be at the Waimea Bay Swim race today... Indeed, I would be... then he asked me if I ever rest/taper. I told him that I do, for some races, but not for these summer swims... (I was trying to picture the look on coach's face if I asked him to rest me for these swims... lol.) Anyway, I told Steve that while I was planning on racing to the very best of my ability today, that I would not cut any other training to try to make my time any faster. I said, "Well, let's put it this way... tomorrow I'm going to ride up to the start (34 miles) then do the swim race, then bike another 60 miles." Steve laughed and said Ok got it. I felt like the crazy gal in that I Am Training For Ironman video.

Anyway, the race was super fun this morning! Waimea Bay is beautiful in the summer (in the winter the waves here can be HUGE and crazy... but summer it's calm like a lake up there.) I was walking down the beach to the start with Nalani this morning and I made a comment about how I needed to get my brain into RACE mode... I just didn't feel like I was there mentally... I told her I needed Jana (my old swimming rival) to get really pumped up for these races. Unfortunately Jana moved away this spring... Anyway, we swam out to the start line and I heard a gal say, "Is that Michelle?" I said yes and looked at the gal who I could not really see b/c of the sun glare... She said, "It's Robin!" I laughed. Perfect! Race mode ON. Robin is an excellent swimmer and in my age group... an old friend of mine from my AZ days... she came to Hawaii to visit last summer and beat me in a couple of these swims so I knew I was going to have to really be on my game if I wanted a shot at the age group win today.

The women swimming out to the start line while the men wait on the beach... Stole this off Miki's FB page. :)

So the horn went off and we all started sprinting (see my FB page for a video of the women's start if you are so inclined!) I was out at the far buoy with the majority of the fast gals all right around me... went HARD for the first ~300M or so and then looked around me and saw that I had Nalani to my left and Lectie to my right... nice. Nalani and Lectie both beat me by ~a minute at Honu so I knew I was in good company if I was with them... Then I started channeling my inner Thomas Voekler (sorry, Cat- I know you hate him but you have to admit it's impressive what he has done the last few days) and decided that just b/c I cannot normally swim with these gals does NOT mean I couldn't today! So I made the decision to buck up and grit my teeth and gut it out and battle for position (And we did battle! That Lectie is aggressive! And I was aggressive right back! Love you, Lectie!) and I hung right in there as long as I could. Right around the last turn buoy I saw Robin come up on my right and I was like shit Michelle GO GO GO and I dug and I dug and I tried to get her back...

So ok, I lost. She got me by 5 seconds! BUT, I am happy with this race b/c for once I felt like I really tried and I did not give up mentally like I have a tendency to do sometimes when the going gets tough. And to be only 20 seconds back from Nalani, well, that's the closest I've been to her in years! We were talking about this race afterward while we were riding... I told her that I got exactly what I wanted out of it... a solid hard effort where I stayed mentally engaged and in it the whole time. The place matters less to me than the effort I gave... I did not back off when it got uncomfortable like I sometimes do. (I did not 'give' Robin that win today- she earned it!  Fair enough.) And now that I know Robin is back for the summer, well, now maybe I'll have some fire in my belly in the days leading up to the next race in the series. Stay tuned. :)

And for those of you coming out to race Kona in October, I hope you are practicing riding in the wind. Because, well, it's been freakin' W-I-N-D-Y here. Riding home was brutal. At one point I wondered if we were riding into a hurricane? That's all I'll say about that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My New Love

Some good stuff going on! Bullet point style:

~Our pool was open today! Happy! Yesterday I swam in a grossly hot and cloudy pool (YUCK) in the neighboring town. At noon, because that's when its set up longcourse. I blanked out on the sunscreen which was BAD. Totally sunburnt back and shoulders last night. :( Normally we swim at 7AM so I don't worry about sunscreen... but if our pool had continued to be closed (and the noon swims would have therefore been more regular) I would have had to start worrying about it for sure! 

~My biking is coming right back. Every time I go out on my bike the numbers I see get better and better. Makes it quite motivating to go ride my bike! :)

~My swim and run are coming along more slowly. They are coming along for sure... a little better each day... but not quite as quickly as the bike. Regardless, it feels good to be back on a set schedule again and just doing my thing. I still really like training for Ironman.

~My conversation with coach yesterday went something like this:
Me: Are you going to kill me in the next few months?
Coach: I'm going to try!
Perfect. I wonder if I'll still like training for Ironman come September? I bet I will.

~I took Moana to the playground this afternoon. It's been forever (maybe a year??) since I've tried to do a pull up. I remember I used to do them all the time when I was at the playground with her... I knocked out 6 today without a ton of effort and called it good. I might have been able to squeak out 1 or 2 more if it would have mattered... But I'll never know b/c in my head it did not matter.

~I have a new love. My Blendtec blender. Bought it at Costco last week after the guy demo-ing it told me it was better than a Vitamix (I've always wanted a Vitamix!) Anyway, I saw how the thing worked and just forked over my credit card and now we all drink smoothies several times/day. I went through a whole big bag of spinach in like 5 days b/c I'm experimenting and I put spinach in everything I blend. Seems like it's really easy to eat raw/paleo with this thing. I'm not totally raw nor am I paleo but I'm trending in those directions more and more and this thing is making is eeeeasy. I bet I'm getting 10 servings of fruits and vegetables these days, which really is quite satisfying. That smoothie I took a picture of (below) is guava juice, lilikoi (from the tree across the street), kiwi, strawberries, spinach, Udo's Oil, and some whey protein. I'm pretty sure I could live on smoothies like this but Scott tends to give himself ice cream headaches b/c he drinks them too fast so he prefers solid food. So I still have to cook some meals. But I kid you not, Moana ate green 'ice cream' the other night and asked for it again tonight... I called it Popeye's Ice Cream b/c of all the spinach! She just remembered it was green and said, Can I have the green one?

~Nalani claims that the Vitamix makes a mean margarita so we're going to have a margarita face off next weekend... her Vitamix vs my Blendtec... and we'll use the lilikois from the tree across the street to make them even better! It's Scott's birthday next week so that should be a fun theme for his party. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011


Swimming just got harder.

I rode my bike over to the pool this morning only to find out that the pump broke yesterday and they don't know when it'll be fixed. Parts have to be ordered from the mainland and in the past when this has happened it's been months of waiting... So this news made my heart drop. :( Of course I'll find other places to swim but logistically it'll be harder. Nalani and I are truly spoiled having that pool so close (1 mile from my house and about 1/4 mile from Nalani's work) so normally swimming rarely involves driving a car. AND that pool is longcourse which I just LOVE. I think we will start getting up super early and driving over to a pool on a military base that is longcourse yards. I know. Who makes longcourse yards pools??

Anyway, that got me thinking about consistency and about how it's so much easier to be consistent when logistically you can fit training into your life. With a free (heated!) pool located 1 mile from my house, I really have no excuses not to swim, you know? So I'm consistent. And therefore I get better at swimming. Which makes me enjoy it more. Which makes me want to keep doing it. Nice upward spiral, huh? Vs the other situation that I think a lot of people face... It's logistically a pain in the ass to get to the pool, so they skip workouts a lot, which makes swimming harder and improvement hard to come by. Then it's hard to enjoy swimming b/c the workouts aren't fun b/c they're just not seeing improvement... that's an ugly downward spiral that I hope to avoid during these next few months of logistical-pain-in-the-assness I am about to face with this sport.

So it was a no go on the swim this morning... which just meant that I got started earlier on my bike ride... and of course as soon as I started riding it started raining. Perfect. Obviously it's Monday. I felt like I was being tested. But whatever. I passed the test! :) Each time I've gone out on my bike I've seen my avg pace get a little faster while my avg HR gets a little lower. So it's all heading in the right direction and that is motivating.

As it was raining on me this morning I thought about an interview I saw with Andy Schleck (Go Andy!!) the other day. The interviewer (Frankie Andreu?) asked him if he thought rain would be a factor in the uphill finish of the stage and Andy's response was classic. He just kind of shook his head (rolled his eyes?) and dismissed the question with a quick 'no'. The gist of it being, of course, that as professional cyclists they don't let things like rain get in the way of their riding. It's a non-factor in their minds. I liked that outlook and adopted it for myself this morning. Of course I also had visions in my head of all those professional guys crashing all over the place this last week so I would be a fool to say I didn't heed some extra caution on the wet roads... yikes.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Just Me, Myself, and My Heart Rate Monitor

So I'm continuing down this road of trying to recover from CdA. I think it's going as expected. I don't feel super but I don't feel terrible and I think my head is in the right place. Coach is encouraging me to be patient which I appreciate.

I'm back on the heart-rate-monitor-as-choke-chain plan... jogging and riding and seeing those numbers and then backing off and going even easier and walking up hills and well, you know the drill. This morning I actually drove to Kailua to get my run in because it's flatter there and I didn't want to have to walk half my run (which I would have had to do to keep my HR in the right place on given the hills around my house)... so there I was jogging ever so gently on a flat road being passed by a very old man who appeared to be barely moving forward but obviously he was going faster than me and in my ears Jamie Foxx was singing You know you're looking at a winner winner winner I can't miss can't lose can't miss you know you're looking at a winner winner winner yeah cause I'm a winner... It was a rather classic ironman training moment in my world. Lol.

Anyway, whats interesting to me this time around is that I find myself much less frustrated at the slow pace I have to jog to keep my HR in the right place. In the winter when I was just doing this for the first time it was incredibly frustrating. Right now? Notsomuch. I was thinking about that this morning while I was jogging and I came to the conclusion that last time I was only like maybe 75% sure that this was the right way for me to be training- and 100% of that 75% was simply because it's what Tim told me to do and he sounded so confident in it... (I swear the only reason I stuck to it was b/c I didn't want to let him down by not following the plan.) But this time around I am 100% certain that this is what I need to be doing. I know that it's going to get better and I know that by putting my time in with this slow/easy stuff now I'll be able to really push the harder workouts that are coming in the next few months. So it's all good. I am not worried.

Interestingly, I got a note yesterday from a young gal who trains here locally... she told me that her coach was making her train at HR 140-150 and that she was very frustrated at the slow pace she had to hold and that she couldn't hang onto any group rides at that heart rate and that she felt like ending every training session in tears... but she heard that's how I trained and is that true?? I smiled with understanding and wrote back to her- yep, true. That's why I ride alone so much. Just me, myself, and my heart rate monitor.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Surviving In My House

Recovery from an Ironman is interesting. You think you feel fine, then you go swim/bike/run something short and easy and think ok I feel fine- this is great and then you go try to do a real workout and think um, ok maybe not.

I've been 'exercising' the last few days and feeling fine so this morning I tried to do what I would consider a 'real' swim workout... descending 200's. I bailed after 6 of them b/c I felt heavy and sluggish and thought Really, there is no point to doing this today. It's just not there yet. Interestingly, I was completely fine with my decision to bail on that workout... I very rarely bail on workouts because I hate feeling like I failed... but I think I'm getting smarter in my old age b/c I didn't feel like I failed at all this morning. It's like I've got this new objective perspective on myself as an athlete... and when my body is telling me NO, it's easy for me to listen and back off or stop. After years and years of this, I know that the good feeling when you're training ebbs and flows and soon enough I'll be killing it again.

But since I much prefer the killing it flow vs this heavy/sluggish ebb, I'm thinking I really need to start paying attention to details again when it comes to recovery. I'm sure I didn't do myself any favors (when it comes to physical recovery anyway) by drinking four beers within a couple hours of crossing the finish line in Idaho... or by eating all the crap that I did and not really sleeping much at all while camping in a tent at 8,000ft when it was less than 40 degrees... you know... those things probably didn't help. But whatever. It's fine. Now I'll get back to doing the things I used to do that allowed me to feel good training... because now I want to feel good training again! To that end, I went to Costco today and stocked up on avocados, broccoli, mangos, blackberries, raspberries, cherries, strawberries, lemons, spinach, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, almonds, cashews, chicken, fish, shrimp, cottage cheese, and greek yogurt. When I was checking out the guy at the register looked at my cart of food and said, "I could never survive in your house!" Ha! That cracked me up. If he thought that then I pretty much guarantee that I would never survive in his house either. To each his own. I was wearing a tank top that said Ironman Coeur d'Alene and he asked, "Did you really do that Ironman??" I replied YES. And I won! (ok little white lie- should have said almost won but I could not resist). Then I told him, there's a reason why I eat all this food! So here's to good recovery going forward... :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pictures From Yellowstone and Glacier

Some of these pictures are Kurt's... some are mine... here's the token picture from Old Faithful. It really does go off ~every 90 minutes and though it was cool, this was probably my least favorite part because it was very crowded and touristy.

We saw lots of wildlife in the parks. Bison are huge and this looks painful!

And check these guys out.. crossing the river!

How would you like to wear these antlers all the time? I wonder how heavy those are?

Check out the bear crossing the street! I did not actually see this- Kurt and Nalani did though.

We spent several nights camping here in Yellowstone. It was really cold and there was snow right next to our camp sight. Moana was intrigued.

We hung near the fire and made it all better by toasting marshmallows.

Moana had her first s'more.

It was Moana's first time camping. She was a champ about it, though that may have had something to do with the air mattress, the princess sleeping bag, her doggie pillow pet, her stuffed elephant, and her blankies. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, right? (My hardcore camping coach is cringing right now. It's okay. We are wimps from Hawaii, remember? ;)

My favorite part of Yellowstone might actually have been this...

The drive from Yellowstone to Glacier was rather long. We stopped every few hours (every time Moana cried "I WANT OUT!") and had a bit of fun family exercise.

East Glacier was just gorgeous. Words just can't describe this.

At sunrise...

Trails here were amazing and I could not resist running.

Everywhere we turned we were warned about the bears.

Like I said before, I never saw one but apparently the threat was real.

Nalani and Kurt saw another black bear along the side of the road in Glacier. They said he was just chillin' out and eating some flowers.

We saw more benign animals. Moana and I checking out a deer right in front of our cabin...

It wasn't as cold here at it was in Yellowstone, but Moana still wanted to hang out right near the heater in our little cabin.

I went jogging along this lake on the last morning we were there... and I had this really strong urge to swim... It had been a full week since I'd swam and I was going into withdrawals and thinking that a swim here would just be totally amazing but let's be honest... This lake made the lake in Coeur d'Alene seem like a hot tub. I wouldn't even stick my little toe in there.

Moana was fascinated by the cold water. She kept asking, "Can I touch it?" Sure you can, sweetie. Go ahead. 

Hiking, in Moana's world. That's how she rolls!

Moving on... we spent the 4th of July at Silverwood Theme Park in Idaho. It was actually quite warm so on the odd occasion we could tear Moana away from riding the horses on the carrousel, we spent a good  amount of time at the water park.

We'll call that a fun family vacation!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pictures from Coeur d'Alene

You may have seen most of these pictures already... most of them were taken by Kurt. He got a new camera a few months ago which was awesome b/c he just snapped away the whole time and now our whole trip is preserved digitally. Well, not all of it was awesome. Some of the pictures were (very much) less than flattering but luckily Nalani has a good eye for those and she spent much of our return flight last night hitting the delete button on Kurt's computer.

This first pic was from the first day we were there. It was 80ish degrees and sunny and my breath was taken away by the beauty of the place. I was ready to sell our place here and move to Idaho. But that only lasted about a day and then the cold rain came and I changed my mind. 

We swam in that icy lake every day trying to acclimate ourselves. One of the days (can't remember which one- it's all a very cold blur) it was rather windy in the morning which made for choppy conditions in the water. I like this picture- those are two of my athletes out front of me.

See how warm we look? Sometimes, when I get really nervous, I stick my fingers in my armpits and then I smell them like this... Maybe Nalani should have deleted this one.

Race morning we did everything we could to keep our core body temperatures up before the start. That included putting our wetsuits on in our condo prior to walking down to the start.

Notice the super stylish shoes!?! Scott found those at a thrift shop- socks too! And what you can't see are the chemical foot warmers inside the shoes. Our feet were toasty and we wore those things until about 3 minutes before the cannon went off and then just left them there on the beach for some lucky soul who might find them. Genius.

I saved this picture as 'swim start chaos'. That pretty much sums it up. There's a slight possibility that pink cap you can barely see there on the lower right corner is me or Nalani. We started near the front line somewhere around that area...

Running back into the water for the second loop (that's me in the pink cap with the orange stripe on my wetsuit)... There was pretty much nothing more unappealing at that point than getting back into that ice water and repeating the loop but those are the times you just shut your brain off and get it done. Like a robot. But it turned our that the 2nd loop was actually less miserable than the first because by then I had some room without too many people trying to swim on top of me.

Based on the fact that I'm no longer wearing my vest, I think this was about 70ish miles into the bike.

It wasn't always all smiles. Sometimes it was just ride. And check your HR on your garmin again.

I wore my helmet through T2... you know, just in case I fell over or something while trying to find my bag.

There weren't too many pictures from me on the run. Or maybe those were the ugly ones Nalani was smart enough to delete. Anyway, this one is from mile 26.155 of the marathon. I wasn't smiling because I had just been passed and I was watching the skinny gal dressed in black with the 36 on her calf crossing the finish line and winning our age group.

I regrouped though and smiled with Nalani after she finished! 11:11 was her finish time. That should be easy for her to remember... Ironman #1 and her finish time involved a bunch of 1s... I've secretly always wanted an 11:11 Ironman finish. Glad she has one! :)

Now you feel like you were there, huh? Kudos to Kurt for his photography skilz.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Our Trip...

There's way too much to write about regarding our travel adventures... So I'm just going to note down some of my thoughts and observations.

~Moana has been a traveling champ. She's so seasoned at this point. Going through airport security she automatically takes her shoes off now before even being asked. I did think at one point that a 2 week trip that involved 4 states and tons of driving and camping in cold weather climates (37 degrees in Yellowstone!) was really too much to ask of a 2 year old... Especially since we were all sick and coughing and Moana ended up with an ear infection that had us at an urgent care room at 10PM the other night begging for anti-biotics. But even with that, she's a champ.

~Alaska Air is awesome. I'm very pleasantly surprised by the service we've gotten. And they only charge $50 for bikes. Still too much in my opinion, but better than Delta/NWA $200 charge. I've officially boycotted them. But back to Alaska... Get the credit card for $99 companion ticket and a couple of passes into their 'board room' and get free drinks on your layovers. Oh, and they paint some of their planes with Disney caracters like Tinkerbell which makes your two year old deliriously happy.

~Cold weather makes your nose run. I've been using chap stick under my nostrils bc my nose is all chapped. Same with Moana.

~I'm the only one on our group who didn't see a bear while we were camping. But Nalani took some sweet pictures of one they saw so it's pretty much like I was there.

~Speaking of Nalani, she and Kurt are probably the best travel companions we could have asked for. They are totally organized but fun and laid back at the same time. In two full weeks of spending every day with them, I am not tired of them. Impressive, because I like my alone time.

~Early morning running in rural Montana and Idaho is very peaceful. Yesterday morning Nalani and I went jogging and saw 5 deer frolicking in a meadow... Then we saw two little fawns chasing each other around. It was way cool.

~I'm feeling quite recovered from IM already. I guess that's how it goes when you're pretty fit and ready going in.

~Two weeks is plenty of time to be away. We had fun but I am ready to be home. Pictures to come once Kurt uploads them. I think he took 1000+ so it might be a few days before he sorts through them. In the meantime, race pics are up on FB so you've probably at least seen those already.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Livin' Large

Oh my. It's time to go home.

We've been traveling for pretty much forever it seems... It's been fun of course, but um, yikes... Let's just say we've been eating our fair share of food... Much of it falling into the category of "crap". And yes, the huckleberry stuffed French toast that the B&B lady made us this morning falls in the crap category, even if it might have been the tastiest damn stuff I've ever eaten.

Today we are back in Idaho at the Silverwood Theme Park. I suppose if there's one place on earth I could come to make me feel like less of a lard ass right now, it is this park. These people are huge. And the park here is doing it's part to help them (us!) all get bigger, what with the ice cream, funnel cakes, cotton candy, kettle corn, corn dogs, and french fries everywhere. I swear you cannot walk 10 feet in that park without encountering another opportunity to eat crap. (It's the perfect "All-American" way to spend the 4th of July, no?) Moana ate Dippin' Dots for the first time. She was a fan. I ate half a bag of kettle corn then just had to stop. I think tomorrow when I get home the first place I am going to go is the health food store... Ok, who am I kidding... The first place I'm going to go is the pool bc I'm dying to swim... But after that I'm going to the health food store. I miss feeling good.