Monday, August 29, 2011

I'm A Lifer

So Nalani sent me an email this morning that said, "I have the registration open for IM Canada right now."

And that was all it took. I didn't need a beer or even 10 minutes to think about it. I called Scott who said yes (although on the condition that he gets a trip to Bali at some point... fair enough!) and since I have my credit card number memorized, it was just a matter of pressing some buttons on my computer and then Ta-Dah! "You are now registered for Ironman Canada".

In all honesty, I had not even considered doing Canada until I got that email from Nalani. I've done Canada twice before though... 1997 and 2002. Canada '97 was my first ironman (you never forget your first time!). I was injured most of the summer and therefore did not bike or run much at all. Unlike some people I cannot just go pop off a 10 hour IM without training... But I did pop off a 14:20! :) Anyway, I do love that race and I will be happy to go back to Penticton next August for my 12th ironman.

So that got me thinking... I wonder when I'll get to stop doing Ironman? At what point do you say enough is enough? Hmmmm. I really do not know. Maybe when you get to the point where you don't enjoy the training anymore? I'm definitely not there yet. I still love the training. I love the lifestyle. I love the racing. Maybe I'm just a Lifer?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Watching Ironman And Running Long...

Watching Ironman online is fun! I woke up this morning at like 6AM without my alarm and popped right out of bed to come down and check out the online coverage of Louisville and Canada... I had 2 athletes racing in Louisville (Armando and Scott) and 1 in Canada (Mary)... My phone was going off with text messages and videos and phone calls from Marianne and Meg (wives watching in Louisville) and everybody just did GREAT! Armando's goal was to qualify for Kona... we knew it was kind of a long shot for him but he went for it and knocked out a 10:17 (35 min PR!). He PR'd across the board swim bike and run splits and dug as deep as he could and got pretty close landing in 20th place in his age group. Maybe there's 11-12 spots so doubt the roll down will go to 20th but I'm so proud of his effort. He called me after from the med tent and sounded as happy as one could be in that scenario. :) Scott did awesome too... not sure if you remember his story but he is my old high school friend who got up off the couch last summer and decided to do a sprint triathlon... He has lost ~50 lbs in the last year... Then he won the lottery and got a shocking spot to Kona! So he just used Louisville as a day to gain experience and I instructed him to drop out after ~4 miles on the run and save it for Kona in 6 weeks. Scott swam a 54 this morning. I about fell off my chair when I saw that but so happy for him! Then he went and biked a 6:06 which isn't too shabby for someone who just started riding about a year ago. Scott has about the best attitude of any triathlete I know and I can't wait to toe the line with him in Kona. He and Nalani and I are going to have a bit of a swim race! How fun will that be?!? I am pumped. Mary also threw down a 4' swim PR this morning in Canada- still waiting to see her finish but great start to the day for her!

Anyway, this was kind of my first taste of watching my athletes race Ironman via my computer... but there's a bunch more to come... I've got athletes racing in Florida and Arizona later this year and then next year in New Zealand, UK, NYC, Mont-Tremblant, and Wisconsin (so far)... Coaching athletes through Ironman is highly rewarding I think.

In other good news, I've had a bit of a breakthrough lately with my running. Had a super longish brick run yesterday and then nailed another 20 miler this morning. Coach's philosophy when it comes to me and running has gone something like this: Oh, so running 20 miles is hard for you? Then keep doing them until they are not hard anymore. And finally, it appears I'm there! 20 mile runs have become so common place in my world that I almost don't think twice about them anymore. I think this approach has worked for me because a) I'm ridiculously motivated and b) I've become rather durable and am not injury prone so I have been able to actually handle/absorb them. I did today's run mid-morning when it was just brutally hot and sunny (and humidity at ~100% since it had just stopped raining) and just set my garmin to show only distance... I've found that I truly do better when I don't micro-manage pace and instead just run by feel. I don't think there's a 20 miler I've done this year where I have not negative split so that is very confidence building! :)

I actually haven't really kept track of weekly miles much this year... sometimes I add them up just out of curiosity though... This week seemed like a rather big run week so I did the math and came up with 53 miles. That's a pretty solid run week for me... and when you add in the 20 miles from last Sunday it actually becomes 73 in the last 8 days. I think that must be some sort of personal record? It's cool though because the more I run the more I like running and the better I feel. Running has this 'automatic' feel to it now where much of the time it just flows. 6 weeks til Kona.

Friday, August 26, 2011

If It Ain't Broke...

So I've been wanting a new bike for quite some time now (I know, who doesn't want a new bike, right??) but I've had this guilty feeling about it because, well, I have a nice bike and besides the fact that it is ~5 years old and has about a billion miles on it and it's all corroded and stuff, sometimes it shifts just fine. And I've raced really well on it. I think I was afraid of even talking about getting a new one because what if she heard me and got pissed off? And then, like, took it out on me during Ironman? And what if my new one didn't fit as well as my old one? Because let's face it, that P3 fits me and I've had some success on it over the years. Could I find a bike that was even better for me?

Since the only thing I was really dissatisfied with about my old bike was the fact that, well, it is old, it crossed my mind that my dream bike was really the same bike, but just new. (i.e. with parts that function flawlessly.) Don't get me wrong, my old bike has some new parts (2 chains, cables, aero bars, bottom bracket, headset, and pedals this year alone) but next up I was going to replace the shifters and that bottom bracket was still clicking on me. Riding here in the rain all the time and in this humid salty air is really tough on bikes and bike parts. Then after I stripped that bottom bracket hangar thing a few weeks ago and thought the whole frame was ruined, well, Scott said "Just get a new bike." Really?? A new one?

Don't have to tell me twice!

The guys at ITB completely hooked me up and I went to pick up my new P3 today. It pays to be a longtime loyal customer! I took my old one in so they could get my new one set up the same way... and ta dah! My new machine.

So even though there really is not room for a third bike in my kitchen, my plan is to keep my old one for a while and ride it most of the time in training... especially on wet days. This white one will be like the baby that gets to go out sometimes on sunny days and when it's time to race. Funny how just the thought of this new bike makes me all nervous... I guess I should at least ride it enough to stop being nervous just looking at it, huh?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Are You Gonna Do Now?

So yesterday I was talking to coach and he said that today I was going to have my hardest swim of the year. My ears perked up. Really!?! Sweet. I love hard swims.

I think had he not actually told me about it I would have assumed he just typed it wrong. Because seriously, how can the entire main set (2700M) be done with just paddles and bands? That's a lot of swimming with just paddles and bands. I haven't kept track really of how much of that I've ever done before but I'm rather certain that I'd never done that much before. But then I looked at it this way: I've been swimming for almost 30 years now (wow that makes me feel old) and to do something I've never done before in a swim workout, well, that was exciting!

So there's this guy who's always at the pool... he's training to do the Maui Channel (~9 miles) solo in a few weeks so he's swimming all.the.time. He watched me going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth with just paddles/bands so he tried it to. I admit I laughed a little because the first time he tried it his body formed the shape of an 'L' with those bands on and he had a hard time making it across the pool. I helped him a bit with some technique tips (chin down, rotate hips!) and he got it better after that... but he was like wow that was hard! I told him to keep doing it. It gets easier. :)

When I finished up my main set he said What are you gonna do now? I told him, 4 x 100's fast @ 2:00. Lots of rest, so swim fast. He did them with me, and indeed, we swam fast! This guy rarely does any fast interval type swimming so for him the panting breathing thing was a unique experience. I think he liked it though because it seemed like he wanted yet another set... Again he said, What are you gonna do now? I replied, "Well now I'm gonna do 100 cool down and then go bike 100 miles." I think he thought I was exaggerating. Lol.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Didn't Actually Piss Myself

Like once a year I buck up and go ride with a group of hard core roadies. I just looked back in my blog archive (I love blog archive!) and found a post I wrote about the one roadie ride I did last summer. Funny b/c I said it was the hardest ride I had done all year... So today I went with the same group and again, I proclaim (hands down!) it was the hardest ride I've done all year. Yikes. Those guys don't mess around.

In good news, I had several very light/easy days in a row this week which brought me back to life. I wore my HR monitor today though just to make sure that I was indeed out of the woods and back to normal. Given that my HR went up to 115 while putting on my cycling shoes, I figured I'd have no problem with being unable to elevate it today. I'll blame the 115 on the fact that I was nervous as hell 2 big cups of 100% Hilo coffee I drank on the drive over to the ride... (By the way, isn't it odd to drive to a bike ride? Anyway...)

I won't bore you with all the details, but suffice to say that I got what I wanted out of the ride. Some super hard climbing efforts, lots of grit your teeth time, a max HR I've only seen maybe once this year, and some practice uttering words that I can only say when Moana is out of earshot. I learned that Pineapple Hill is actually quite a bit longer and steeper when it comes ~80 miles into a ridiculously fast ride vs when it comes at ~40 miles after relaxing in your aero bars with a nice tailwind. And at mile 92 when I was chasing the guys over some steep rollers and desperately trying not to get dropped, I thought I might actually lose control of my bladder. That has actually never happened to me before. It was crazy because I was standing up and sprinting as hard as I could up this hill and thinking "Am I going to piss myself??" I didn't, if you must know, but that was such an odd feeling. I mean, I've pissed myself on my bike before, but always on purpose and only while racing. Today was not that.

Doesn't that sound like fun? Honestly, it was kind of fun. I'm super glad I went. But I'll also be super glad to get back on my TT bike next weekend and just chill out forever at HR 150... How easy is that going to seem after today?? I swear, so many times I wanted to say to those roadies today Pssst! Hey you know what? This would be so.much.easier if you guys would just chill out and ride steady 20mph instead of slowing down to 10 and then speeding up to 30... And then they probably would have responded Um, shut up Tri-Geek... why would you get off a perfectly good bike and RUN?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Avocado Shopping

Yesterday I went grocery shopping. Remember the crisis about not having peanut butter?? It's resolved. Phew! Well I also bit the bullet and bought a couple avocados. I love avocados. But, um, yikes. They are $2 EACH right now. Which doesn't make sense when we can go avocado shopping for free in our backyard.

My neighbor and I took turns this afternoon straining our necks collecting avocados and Moana was an awesome cheerleader... Chanting stuff like You almost got it and Yay great job you got it!

In less than 15 minutes we'd collected the motherload of avos. We left some on the tree for next week.

This one is bigger than Moana's head!

So one of these came off our tree and one of them I paid $2 for at the store. Guess which is which? Argh.

But let's stay relentlessly positive, shall we? In ~a week when these get ripe, we're going to have a HUGE batch of guacamole! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Value Of A Coach

I've been living right on the edge of my recovery limit for the last probably ~10 days and I finally raised the white flag today. I started my ride and even though my bike felt great (yay for new cables!) my body was telling me no so I bailed and came home.

The beauty of riding by HR (especially for an overzealous workhorse like me) is that it does not lie and when you can't elevate it even when you are standing up 'powering' over a hill, well, it's time to go home and rest. I ride with HR almost 100% of the time so I know what is normal (for me) and what is not... It really helps put some objectivity into what would otherwise be a subjective decision to bail on a workout... It eliminated the question Am I just being a wimp?

Coach has taught me so much in this regard as well. We were talking yesterday... and since I write detailed notes about my workouts (and since he actually reads them!) he could tell that I was just barely recovering from day to day and knew that at some point soon I was going to crash... he cautioned me against pushing through in a scenario like this... one day that is too hard could just push you right over the edge and then it could be weeks to recover... I think today could have been that day. I could have jumped off the cliff but I'm getting smarter in my old age so instead I just took a little peek and decided I was afraid of heights so I backed away. Herein lies the value of a coach. I think some athletes need a coach to cattle prod guide them into training more or at a higher intensity than they otherwise would on their own... but some of us need a coach who can be totally objective and tell us to STOP. DON'T JUMP. So instead of running twice tomorrow I get to take a nap. Beautiful. Notice how I'm not even resisting? That in itself is a clear sign. Lol.

So now I'm going to follow the advice I give to my athletes when they bitch communicate about being tired... Eat plants. Eat protein. Drink water. Sleep. I'm also going to go take a shower and actually wash my hair and then go buy peanut butter. It's been 2 days since we've had peanut butter in this house. That's gotta be some kind of crime.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ok I'm A Thief But It Was Totally Justified

Ahhh. I finally ate enough food to feel satisfied. I swear, I've been like a bottomless PIT this week. It's ridiculous.

So yesterday was the last swim of the North Shore Swim Series. Normally this is my favorite one... maybe because it is the longest, but also because more than any of the other swims, the point to point course requires knowledge of the ocean and navigation skills.
There was an unusual west swell yesterday which caused some decent shore break that made simply entering the water and getting to the start buoy challenging for some. Before the swim I was talking to Robin (my age group rival this summer!) and I told her that best/fastest route along this course requires staying on the inside, hugging the rocks to whatever extent you are comfortable. But then in the pre-race meeting the lifeguard got on the loudspeaker and said not today... today it's better to be on the outside he said... he also informed us about an extra buoy they placed past Waimea Point (around that last point before the bay) and said we needed to go around that on our left shoulder... Then he made us all put our hands on our left shoulder to make sure that sank in. Normally there's no buoy there but I guess the idea was that since sets were rolling into that point maybe it was best to make us all stay pretty far from those rocks we normally hug. Anyway, then I felt bad thinking maybe Robin thought I was trying to steer her wrong by telling her to stay inside when the lifeguard just clearly said it would be better to be outside... argh... so we talked again before the gun went off and I didn't know what to do and told her it was a crap shoot- maybe best course of action was to just swim with our people and hope for the best??

I could make this a really long story... but I'll do my best here to just hit the highlights... I swam hard. I swam strong. I was in a good solid pack of mostly girls but Lectie and Robin were also in my pack so I knew I was in good company and swimming with my people... I fought like hell for Lectie's feet when a couple people tried to steal them from me... um, I don't think so. Our pack was very aggressive which was fine by me. You want to play like that?? I can play like that. So I threw some elbows and kicked rather forcefully a couple times to make my point and eventually I won the battle for Lectie's feet. Robin was on my feet. I never even really looked up the whole swim (only at Lectie's feet!!) but I knew we were farther out than I've ever been because I never saw the series of rocks we normally swim right over. The water was deep the whole time. Then around Waimea Point I finally saw that last orange buoy and I remembered putting my hand on my left shoulder in the pre-race meeting so even though I watched my whole pack skip that buoy (instead making a beeline to shore), I headed for the buoy. I figured I was either going to lose to that whole group or else there would be a lifeguard forcing them all to go back around it in which case I would be there first... in the end, no enforcement of that last buoy at all so I got beat by ~a minute by my whole group. Oh well. I got what I came for which was a good solid/sustained ocean swimming effort. Robin sent me a nice note later and said she appreciated our competition this summer and that I should have won in her book by choosing to go around that buoy. In the end I was officially 2nd. I let that bug me for about a minute and then got over it.

In the end our whole group got our asses kicked (they were mostly 1:01; I was 1:02, 9 minutes slower than last year!) because people who didn't listen to the pre-race meeting and swam inside like normal beat us all by minutes. And the total newbie people who listened to the lifeguards and swam really far outside ended up like 30+ minutes off their expected times.... the current was definitely worse the further out you went so those instructions were totally off. I heard that ~40 people got pulled from the water because they just weren't making headway at all. Yikes! Anyway, so that's a wrap on the swim series. I'm bummed it's over!

Then I went and did the type of bike workout that makes your legs burn when you walk up the stairs later. O.U.C.H. I don't do those much. Totally different type of riding/fitness required for that type of riding! But definitely fun to do something different and to ride on different roads for a change.

Today I had my first real bonk of the year. Bonking sucks! I'm usually super careful to avoid it because, well, it sucks! My problem was that last night we went to a concert (ok the concert was not the problem- the concert was fun!) but it was lawn style seating and no outside food/drink allowed so we had to eat the crap they were serving and I'm sorry I'm just not going to eat those deep fried chicken wings... so my dinner last night was rather small. I knew I was hungry but made the choice to not eat enough vs eat the crap food. The short version results of that decision had me sitting under a shade tree ~13+ miles into my run this morning (I say morning but it was almost noon and ridiculously hot by then) having thoughts like I suck at this I should just go home and clean my house like a normal wife/mom I have completely craaaaacked because I have just flat out trained too much I'm so tired this sucks. I ate a GU at that point but had the thought that there's not enough e21 vespa gu or inifinit in the world to save me now... I swear to you if I would have had my phone I would have called Scott and just sat there under the tree until he came to get me. But since I had no phone, eventually I convinced myself to stand up and I started jogging toward home. A few miles later I found myself at a corner looking at a McDonalds that I've never previously stepped foot in... I had no money but I thought maybe I could either bum some of somebody (surely I looked pathetic enough- like a drowned rat really) or convince the teenagers behind the counter to donate some Coke to save a poor girl's life... I carried my empty bottle in there, saw how crowded/busy the place was (really?? That many people eat at McDonald's for Sunday lunch??), and walked out with my bottle full of Coke. I swear I am not normally a thief but in this situation I was desperate! I totally justified that in my sugar-deprived mind anyway. I stood there in the parking lot and downed ~20 oz of fully carbonated Coke, burped, then ran home feeling like a million bucks. That stuff is seriously magic.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

You Can't Catch Me!!

So Moana's new favorite game to play is "You Can't Catch Me!!" She runs around the house squealing and repeating that phrase while Scott and I run around squealing and pretending we can't catch her. Anyway, tonight while we were playing I was thinking that would be a good phrase to write for Kerrie on the 'motivational' board they set up coming out of the Energy Lab at Kona. :)

In good news, I have my brain back! All it took was two really easy/relaxed training days, some really nutrient dense food, and a couple nights of 9+ hours sleep. Turns out, that combination is actually quite magical on the third day when you go to train again. I actually thought I was mis-reading my watch a couple times this morning in the pool... haven't seen numbers like that in, well, I can't remember how long? So that was cool.

Then my instructions for the bike afterward were pretty open... basically, if you can get your HR up above 145 then do the ride, if not, bag it and spin home. It took ~30 minutes and some focusing, but eventually I got my HR to 145 and I felt strong so I gave myself permission to continue riding. And then I thought about how far I've come this year. I remember coach telling me last winter that a time would come when I would worry about getting my HR up to 150... which seemed incredibly ridiculous at the time because all the riding I was doing back then involved getting dropped by groups and a whole bunch of soft pedaling to keep my HR <150. How could it possibly change so much?? But there you go... this morning I was flying along Kam Hwy and really did have to focus and ride rather fast keep my HR above 145. And I felt like I could have gone on at that effort forever. Ok, well, not forever. I take that back, coach. Please don't make me try to do it forever. Though I guess when your water stops look like this maybe riding forever wouldn't be such a bad thing? (Check me out- taking a picture for you guys!)

In not so good news, my bike is acting up again. Ugh! It was shifting all on its own today and the jerking I felt last spring in the left crank is back. That poor bike has been through hell this year. I took it to my friend Dennis this afternoon and he's going to wrench it for me and see if he can't make it work appropriately. Maybe new cables will help? Maybe if I cleaned it and took better care of it that would help?

Anyway, I started this post with a bit about Moana so I'll finish it with a bit about her as well. She started her new preschool this week and is so happy... I took her Monday morning and she just ran right into that room (where she knew no one) and yelped out HI EVERYBODY!!! She is not shy. And now she comes home and sings songs to me about monkeys teasing alligators... you can't catch me!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I'm Too Tired To Think Up A Witty Title For This Post

It's Sunday night and I'm brain dead (again). I find it interesting how when I'm training hard/a lot that my brain just shuts down and I'm unable to think. This was a pretty big week and I'm tired (clearly I'm brain dead b/c in reality is was a huge week but I'm in denial or something calling it a "pretty big" week). What's funny is that I find myself rationalizing that I'm not like incapacitated or anything so I'm not really that tired. Ha! What will it take before I raise the white flag? I don't know... I'm not quite raising it yet... though I think many (most?) athletes would be raising it right now if they felt like I do right now. I guess I just think that if I'm still able to go out and complete my workouts and nail 'em all exactly like they were intended, then does it really matter how I feel between sessions? Don't answer that.

So Friday night I was preparing for my bike ride on Saturday morning... got all my nutrition together (this will not surprise Kiet!) and then figured I better put my bike together... it was still in its box in the back of my car. So Scott brought the box inside for me and then I went to work putting it together. I do this a lot it seems and have not had a problem with any of it since I can remember so it was really odd to me when I couldn't get my rear derailleur screwed in... what is going on?? I tried for several minutes and then wondered briefly if it was stripped? I didn't even know this could really happen but I stopped trying  and googled it and sure enough... OMG... it's not the derailleur that gets stripped- its the hanger on the frame... which on the P3 is integrated into the frame... so at this point I was completely sick to my stomach thinking I just ruined my bike and was going to need a new one... holy crap... I tried one more time but saw the little aluminum shavings and just thought I was going to die (extreme I know but um we don't have $4K for me to get a new bike right now). I called a friend of mine who has been working on my bike and he wasn't sure what to do when the hanger isn't one that can come out and be replaced (like it can on my road bike). I put it on FB and within like a minute got a message from a local mechanic who was sure he could fix it... along with several other offers from friends who said I could borrow their bikes. I was so overwhelmed with the kindness! Colin actually came over at 10:30 PM with a tool that rethreads that hanger and fixed it for me. Which was most amazing because I don't even really know Colin... I mean, I've seen him around and know his name of course but it's not like we've been close friends for years. He's just a good guy with a good heart who understood my desperation and wanted to fix my bike for me. Amazing! Anyway, he said the smartest thing I did was stop trying to force the derailleur in there when it wasn't going. So learn my lesson- make sure that derailleur is square in there (not crooked) before you try to install it and if for whatever reason it doesn't go in, stop trying and call a professional. :)

So, phew! Even though I didn't get much sleep (was up way past my bedtime with this bike fiasco!) I got to go riding on Saturday morning. I went with the group which I don't normally do (usually I ride alone) and turns out it's infinitely easier to ride with a group on a windy day. One word. Drafting. What a huge difference! Coming home I was watching my HR and it was a difference of like 20bpm when I was out front vs when I was sitting on.

Today was interesting. On the schedule was another hour of repeats up and down a long steep hill... running this time instead of biking though. It takes ~50 min (of short steep hills) to run to and from the (long steep) hill I used... so you can do the math and figure out how long I ran... Anyway, I nailed the repeats and currently have the FKT on Old Pali, which I plan on keeping because I'm not telling anyone else where I start/finish so therefore no one can beat my time. ;)

Anyway, after the last hill repeat my water bottle was empty and I was thirsty but the closest park bathroom I knew about was over a mile away... I was desperate and wanted water before that so I went out of my way a bit to get to a church that I knew was around the corner and would certainly have a water source. So picture the scene... It was ~9:15 on a Sunday morning and every resident of Kaneohe was driving into this particular church parking lot. I was in my "I could/should wring out my socks" state when I realized that I would have to actually go inside this really nice church building to fill my bottle... so I pretended that I didn't look like a dorky triathlete (who am I kidding?) and walked inside the building, where I was greeted by the church greeters who graciously directed me to the bathroom while pretending not to stare at my compression socks. I proceeded to drip sweat all over the granite countertops as I filled my bottle. Down in one (I was thirsty) and filled my bottle again, smiled at the little old ladies as they filed into the sanctuary, and decided that next time I'll just gut out the extra mile to the park bathroom rather than subject this poor church building to my bodily fluids dripping off me like a faucet.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

If There Are No Pictures, Did It Really Happen??

Can you believe it? 2.5 days in Kona and not a single picture. Not one. Sorry! Kiet said it was b/c we were too focused on training. I'm saying it was because my jersey pockets were too full of fueling products to carry a camera. Anyway, Kona looks the same as it always has. Lots of black lava rock, some palm trees here and there, a very blue ocean, and blue skies every morning followed by some cloud cover in the afternoon. Oh, and it's ridiculously windy. And hot. Well, not that hot. Mostly just windy.

I'm not even sure where to start about the trip. I can sum up by saying it was awesome! We nailed 6 workouts in a row over the 2.5 days and spent the rest of the time eating, sleeping, and talking about Ironman... Ironman fueling and Ironman pacing and Ironman training and Ironman tapering and Ironman mentality. Lots of Ironman talk. I guess that's what you'd expect out of an Ironman training camp! We are such dorks.

Tuesday I got up at 3:30 AM to catch an early flight to Kona. I arrived at 6:30AM and we were riding by 8. We rode long- out to Hawi and back. It was pretty cruisy riding out and then we put in a solid effort on the climb and then on the descent we got passed by a guy who was flying down the hill. I made  a snap judgement to jump on his wheel. I should check max speed on my garmin from that ride b/c I bet it was the fastest I'd ever made that descent! Super fun. And kinda scary. The crosswinds weren't the worst I've experienced up there, but they were pretty solid. Then when we hit the rollers section to Kawaihae Kiet took over the pulling and was kinda putting the hurt on our new super descending friend. Turns out this guy was from Moscow and was training for Ironman Florida. The three of us traded very strong pulls all the way to Waikoloa where Kiet and I pulled off to fill our bottles one last time. I was kinda glad to be rid of our Moscow guy b/c I figured we could then ease up a bit on the effort for the last 25 miles. But then in Waikoloa Kiet swallowed a couple of e21 tabs and I reapplied my chamois cream and before I knew it we were hauling ass back to Kona into a nasty headwind and climbing one hill after another and riding side by side both too stubborn to take a break and draft even for a second and Kiet kept upping the pace and pulling like an inch ahead of me and I was like um I don't think so so I would up the pace further and then see another hill ahead and swear under my breath and then Kiet would up the effort again and so would I and OMG the wind was brutal and then another hill and there is no way I am going to crack but are you kidding me aren't we done with these hills yet?? We were both so stubbornly persistent and neither one of us would give a freakin' inch so we just crushed each other for like an hour straight into that wind. It was awesome. Then we rolled into Island Naturals all sweaty and disgusting and ate a ton of really good food. And talked more about all things Ironman.

We got back to the condo and I wrung my socks out off the side of the lanai and Kiet was like see, we totally should have a picture of that. I bet that's not the photo you want from Kona though, huh? You'll just have to use your imagination on that one.

Yesterday was a weight training session on two wheels up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down Hina Lani for like an hour and instructions from coach were to add on length to the ride as we felt... turns out we both felt like adding time so 3.5 hours later we got back and headed out for an hour long race pace brick run. Nailed that but holy cow I really had to work for it. That run ended with me flat on my back in the shade on the sidewalk for at least ten minutes. Follow it up again with more good food and talk about all things Ironman and then really? Not done yet? PM masters swim practice. Super. Kiet was like I'm having hot flashes are you having hot flashes? Uh huh. Waves of heat just took over my body randomly all afternoon/evening. I was exhausted and brain dead and rather intimidated on top of all that because there were a ton of people there swimming (like 7-8 per lane) and I wasn't sure where I fit in but What the heck? I jumped into lane 1 anyway. Seemed like some feathers were ruffled b/c the feeling I got was that a couple of outsiders weren't exactly welcome taking up precious space in lane 1. Odd. But I just kept my mouth shut and busted my ass trying to keep up with the feet in front of me while not holding up the people behind me and just sprinted for 50's and 100's for an hour never being able to calculate a single split or figure out pace or send-offs or anything. Short course yards flip flip flip OMG I hope my legs don't cramp. Then it was finally over. Coach Steve was warm and gracious and invited me to come back anytime but I think next time I go to Kona I'll avoid the drama at the pool and stick with the ocean.

Speaking of the ocean, we finally got in it this morning! I drank like a pot of coffee first. Kiet doesn't drink coffee. I tried to convince him but he was steadfast. Ok. I'll just be all perky all on my own! :) Then we ran what some people might consider a long run but my coach called a moderate long run... mid morning on Ali'i Dr out past Keauhou and it was hot and I taught myself that I can run race pace on that course in those conditions and it was all very confidence building, even if I'm still having hot flashes every few minutes.

In the end, it was an amazing couple of days. Kiet is super cool- a great training partner and good conversationalist too! I'm trying to remember a time when I enjoyed training so much... Tough to say but this may have been one of the best little training blocks I've ever done. All totally Type 1 fun!