Friday, September 30, 2011

Wake Me Up When September Ends...

Oh wait, September is over now? That would mean... um yes, it is October (ok almost). Which means I should be paying bills right now but whatever... I'll get to that later. Blog and FB come first! Lol.

I've had this song on just about every playlist on my iPod all summer... And what it really means is that oh my It is October and we get to go to Kona! Moana and I are flying over on Sunday... my mom is flying in from Ohio and meeting us there Sunday night... which is awesome. I've wanted my mom to have an opportunity to witness Kona during race week for quite some time now... so there's that... and then she gets to hang with Moana all week which will make them both deliriously happy. It will make me deliriously happy too because then I'll get to be free go cruise around town and do the fun race week stuff and pretend to be cool. Win-win-win for everybody!

The last couple of days have been fun. Julie flew into town and is here in Honolulu doing some work prior to heading over to Kona so we've had a chance to hang out some together. It got me thinking about this whole blog thing and how it is so awesome to actually gain new friends because of it. Somehow Julie and I became blog/FB friends (I don't even quite remember how that happened?) and then we met in person last year in Kona and now it just seems like she is one of my old friends from forever ago... So she wanted to swim while she was here and of course I jumped at the chance to be ocean tour guide yesterday! I showed her a bit of the Roughwater course... We were out there floating in the crystal clear 80 degree water and she was like 'last time I swam in open water it was 59 degrees and so murky I couldn't even see my hand in front of my face'... We had some pretty severe currents (think about swimming ~15' out and ~6' back kind of thing) but I knew that Julie is a strong swimmer so it was awesome that I didn't have to worry about her at all. We could just have fun!

So last night we were making plans for her to come to my side of the island and swim with Nalani and me this morning... and then she asked if she could take a shower at my house after she went for her bike ride. This was like 6:30 last night and outwardly I was like oh sure while internally I just flipped out and immediately went into frantic cleaning mode. Um, if she was going to use my shower that would mean she would see my bathroom and well, let's just say that by the time I went to bed last night it looked very different than it has all year (maybe since last time my mom came to visit?) I swear I used to be a clean person and I kept this house spotless... but then I got a husband and a dog and a baby... none of whom give a crap if the house is clean or a complete pit. After several years of driving myself nutso trying to keep it perfect all by myself I finally just caved and realized I would live a more peaceful existence if I just stopped worrying about how clean my house was... which is all good until that blogger friend who you don't really know asks to shower in your house. Anyway, the house is spotless now! Unfortunately that will not last through the weekend. Oh well.

Anyway, so Julie went out riding after we swam this morning... I pointed her in the direction... my normal ride... and she was totally pretending to be me (on my bike with my bike shoes and socks lol! We really are long lost sisters) except I tried to tell her that usually it's 25mph winds and dumping rain. I'm not sure she understands what I whine about though b/c this is what she got today.

Let's see... what else? Andrew at Bike Fit 808 offered to do a little Retul tweaking to my new bike to make sure it was set up correctly. My two cents- If you live here you should go see him and have him adjust your bike so it fits right. I knew mine was close b/c it's the same bike as my old one and when the guys at ITB set it up they measured them both out and set it up the same... but close is not exactly the same... the computerized thing Andrew did caused him to tweak just a few little things and Tah-Da! Bike feels super comfortable (just like my old one) and I feel more in control of it. Honestly I didn't think it would be much different but it's definitely all good now. So huge Mahalo to Andrew!

In other news... if you're going to be in Kona next week go stop by the Coffees of Hawaii tent on Ali'i Dr in front of Basils. We ordered some Limited Edition Kona 2011 swim suits from Splish... They are a really pretty blue this year! Seriously there are only 80 total (40 women's and 40 mens) suits for sale (actually less than that b/c one of them is mine and one of them is Chrissie Wellington's and 2 of them I've already sold to friends here). Last year we sold out of the bikini's the very first morning they went on sale! SO, if you plan on swimming out to the floating espresso bar and want a suit to take home to remind you of how freaking cool that was, get to the COH tent early in the week to get your suit. They'll also be there at ~4AM on race morning selling coffee so you can get all perky with your caffeine fix before you even set up the nutrition on your bike next Saturday. :)

Ok and while I'm in selling mode, check out these awesome bike kits that Julie sells! She started a fun little women's group in San Diego called and she brought me one of these kits. How awesome is this? LOVE IT! Truth be told I am sure there are some men here who would probably not think this was funny but whatever. I think it's awesome and can't wait to wear it!

OK I think that's it from here... I won't have a computer in Kona so not sure about my ability to update the blog... though Nalani will probably have her ipad and she's nice like that so maybe she'll let me borrow it? A Hui Hou!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My History With Kona...

I had a longish bike ride today (by myself) which gave me plenty of time to think... and I started reminiscing about my experience with Kona... starting from the beginning... and then I thought that some of you might find this interesting? So here you go!

In 1995 my boyfriend was a triathlete (he was the one responsible for getting me started with this crazy sport!) and he was doing Kona... I was in college at Arizona State and I spent the whole day in the computer lab (internet was kind of new- I didn't have it in my little apartment) hitting refresh on the IronmanLive website. This guy was absolutely amazing in my mind but Kona took him like 14+ hours that year (he could do other IMs in like 10 hours) so my first impression of the Ironman in Kona was that it was a ridiculous endeavor.

In 1996 I think it was the same story. Same boyfriend. Same finish time in Kona (or maybe he DNF'd that year? Can't remember). What a bastard of a race that one was!

By 1997 the love affair with the boyfriend had ended but my love affair with triathlon had not. I did my first Ironman in Canada and finished in like 14+ hours. (Isn't that how all Ironmans' go? LOL) I didn't bother attending the awards ceremony but it was brought to my attention later that the Kona spot for my age group (20-24) rolled all the way down past my name... somebody told me that since I essentially 'turned it down' by not attending the awards that I was forever cursed and now would never get to do Kona. Whatever. Did you see my finish time?? I would never be anywhere near fast enough to do Kona. Duh.

OK I can't actually remember every single year (aren't you glad about that?) but I know that from like 1998-2004 I was (for the most part) living in Arizona and I was training with a lot with other athletes who would do Kona every year. Most of the time I would tag along on their long rides (I've always liked riding long) but then I would go get ice cream while they did their brick runs. (Um, hello!? It's like 110 degrees why would you go running after you just biked 110 miles??) Somewhere in there I finished a bunch of other Ironmans. I also got and conquered cancer.

By 2005 I was living in Hawaii so I went over to Kona to watch some of my friends who were racing. It was a blast! We were trashed before noon and hanging out in bikinis in front of Lava Java cheering at all the pro men as they started the run... We were yelping, "You're SO HOT!" That was easily one of the best weekends of the year!

2006 was much of the same... went over to watch... spent much of the day drunk as a skunk as just had way too much fun! I Love Kona!! :)

In 2007 one of my training partners informed me about the Hawaii State Qualifying spots to Kona... What!? So if I was the first Hawaii resident in my age group to finish Honu then I could do Kona? Seriously? I didn't know if I was good enough to do that but I was going to try!  Crossing the finish line in 5:22 at Honu that year turned out to be enough to get me a spot on the start line in Kona (oh my how times have changed). Holy shit. I was in! I was ridiculously nervous that year and felt completely inadequate. Consequently I made some big mistakes but I dragged myself across the finish line anyway... 12:12... then promptly started convulsing in the med tent. What a bastard of a race this one was!

While the race was happening in 2008 I was about 3 weeks from giving birth to Moana so I sat right here at my computer that whole day sulking watching online and feeling fat and blah and wondering if I would ever regain my pre-pregnant self? Poor me. That really was not very fun. But then I got this. So it really wasn't that bad of a year. :)

But in 2009 I was back with a vengeance! Indeed, within a few months I'd regained my pre-pregnant self and I once again snagged the state spot at Honu... With the help of JH I was much better prepared for Kona that year... still suffered a pretty big meltdown on the marathon but whatever! I got to do Kona again and finished in 11:17... a big Ironman PR for me before my daughter even turned one. I felt very satisfied with that one.

In 2010 I missed out on the state spot at Honu by 3' (damn flat tire!). I was there in Kona all week working for Coffees of Hawaii... had a blast working on the Floating Espresso Bar and seeing all my friends race but I will be honest- I woke up race morning feeling severely unhappy to be on the sidelines. I made a bit of a promise to myself that I was going to get myself fit enough so this year I would get to be in the water when that cannon fires! That spurred my decision to find my awesome coach, and well, the rest is history.

I think the lesson in this history goes something like Make a decision about what you want and then act on it... and that while it sure is easier if you do, you don't have to win the genetic lottery in order to qualify for Kona. You just have to be ridiculously patient and committed and consistent. :)

So YAY for making decisions and acting on them! It's 2011 I get to race again!  Funny, last time I did this race it seemed like everyone started asking me "Are you ready!??!" I swear I have not been asked that question once this year. Lol. Duh. I've worked my ass off this year and can't wait to race. Fire that cannon already! :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I'm Not Over It...

Two weeks from right now my triathlon season will be all over for 2011... I think I'll be kinda sad!

I'm so excited to go race but then at the same time I just want time to stop because I don't want it to be over yet... I want it to happen but then I don't want it to happen because then it will be all done. Clearly I have had toomuch coffee this morning. Just ignore me. Lol.

Yesterday morning I started off riding... it was my last long ride of the year (I think?!?)... and seriously I had the thought that I am so glad I am entered in Canada for next year because I'm just not over it yet! And I was thinking that maybe I really should be by now... Shouldn't I be, like, burnt out or something?? I mean, It's been a loooong training year... I started doing long rides in January... I totally lost count of how many I have done this year. Should I go back and count? I don't know if I even want to know? Now I'm curious. Ok hang on I'll go look at Training Peaks...

OK I'm back... I counted long rides (90+ miles)... You really want to know? (Stop reading if you don't because I'm about to tell you! :) I did 21 rides this year that were 90-120 miles! (That's a lot of Inifinit!) One more in 2 weeks... :)

In good news, my ride yesterday was possibly the strongest ride I've had all year (with the exception of my race at Honu). I had a couple things going for me which helped for sure... I was highly motivated and really wanted to ride, the roads were dry (!!), the winds were moderate at 10-15mph (vs 15-25+), and I was on my new bike. Yep! Finally got to ride her for a long time and I'm happy to report she handled the distance with flying colors.

I was also thinking just how much I enjoy riding long... especially when I am by myself (I swear I am not even being sarcastic!) and it also made me wonder why people who don't LOVE riding their bikes do Ironmans? Anyway.

It's a good place to be, mentally, right now. Still being at the point where I feel hungry for more... there's not even a hint of dread about doing my long run this afternoon...

In good news, after Kona I'll have the Honolulu Marathon to train for... and yesterday I got an email invite to the 30th (Possibly) Annual Waikiki Loooooong Distance Swim (yes that is the actual name of the swim) so I've got that 4.5ish mile ocean swim to train for again as well! But I doubt I'll get to do another long ride until January so I'm going to make the most of the one I get to do in Kona in 13 days. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's Not Really A Dress Race

I should stop telling Moana that she is going to Kona next week. She doesn't understand 'next week' very well. This evening she was upstairs yelling "I WANT TO GO TO KONA NOW!!" Yeah, welcome to the club, Sweetie.

Earlier we were hanging out and she insisted on putting on one of her princess dresses (what's new?)... and Grammy sent a box that arrived today so Moana has new glass slippers that light up when she walks so of course she was wearing those (she will probably sleep in them tonight)... and can't forget her pink wings (she knows how to put those on all by herself now). She was holding her magic wand too and then she informed me that the race in Kona was a 'Dress Race'. What is a Dress Race, I asked? Apparently the person who wears the nicest dress in Kona is going to win. You heard it here first, folks!

Maybe I'll put Moana's wings in my special needs bag. Those might really come in handy in that last 10K.

So things are going well here in my world. That rest last week hit the spot and consequently I have been nailing all my key workouts this week and then just totally chillin' out on my easy days. Today I had an easy run on tap. Max HR 145, he said. Um, I don't think I've ever done a run that easy?!? I wasn't sure I could do it with a HR that low. But as a fun little game I made it my goal to actually stay <140 as much as possible... I felt like I was crawling... totally brought back nightmares memories from January/February when I was trying to keep my HR <150 and was jogging like 10'+ pace but this time it actually didn't bug me at all... I just kept barely moving forward little by little and then almost fell over at the end when I saw 9:16 pace avg HR 138 on my garmin.

Let's just review something for a moment, shall we? My Ironman marathon PR is 4:07... that's a whopping 9:25 pace. I'm thinking there is a massive PR coming my way in a few weeks. That's what I'm thinking.

Yesterday I did a swim/bike/run. It was sort of long, parts of it were hard, and all very specific. At the end of the run when I sat down to type my post workout notes in Training Peaks, it occurred to me that I felt like a machine... just program in the sport, the time and the pace and I just churn it out.

So anyway, that is cool. And confidence building. Seems like I've been reading a lot about confidence and mindset lately... This is an interesting time of year if you're racing Kona... it can be so hard to keep yourself from overanalyzing everything... comparing yourself to everyone else and wondering if you're doing the right stuff in these final few weeks... Am I doing too much? Am I doing enough? Am I going hard enough? Am I going too hard? (Is there such a thing?) I think in these final weeks is when a coach is worth his/her weight in gold because as the athlete, all you have to do is shut out the noise and follow your plan... Trust your coach and don't overanalyze any of it. I think I'm doing a great job of that this time around... And I'm really looking forward to testing myself with another Ironman!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stars On My Toes

Moana and I had fun today. She has become such a cute fun little person and I love hanging out with her! I should probably do a real Moana update to document all the cute little things she's doing and saying these days... maybe for her third birthday, which is coming up in about a month. But there's this little tidbit for now... yesterday I got home from my bike ride and like usual was soaking wet and a complete mess and she told me that I looked soggy. Nice vocabulary, used very appropriately! Good girl! Then she looked at my shoes and exclaimed, "Your shoes are fabulous!" That got me thinking that she must not have a very firm grip on what 'fabulous' means, because, um, I have peed on those old nasty dirty stinky bike shoes. They are pretty much the opposite of fabulous.

Anyway, we were at the drugstore today and on a whim I bought these little sticker decal things that go on your fingernails/toenails... actually Moana saw them from the cart and said "Oh can I have those!!?!" and I just couldn't think of a reason why not... So we came home and did our toenails. :) I took a picture of her feet because they are like 100x cuter than mine, even when my toes have little stars on them. Little fact: I only needed 9 stars because I am missing a toenail, which I'm pretty sure is a sign I'm ready for Ironman.

Speaking of being ready for Ironman, I finally had a decent run today. Yay! I had a good swim on Friday and a good bike on Saturday and a good run today... It is all coming together right on time. Interesting too because the run was by HR today... which (sorry coach) I typically hate enjoy significantly less than just running by feel or by pace... so in all honesty I wasn't super excited about doing this run... because runs by HR all year have meant hold back slow down ease up and after a while, well, that just gets obnoxious. NOT that I don't understand the rationale or believe that is good for me- I know it is- which is why I do it- but that doesn't mean I necessarily enjoy being on a leash. But what I found interesting today was that I was finally able to run the effort/pace I wanted to be running at the HR coach wanted me to be running at... and that was actually enjoyable. :) And then at the end I got to bump it up to tempo HR which actually meant "bust a gut HR" so that was pretty cool. Instructions were to keep my HR >165 even on the downhills and the route I chose had a rather significant downhill in the final stretch... I was not sure I would be able to run it hard enough to do that... but I did! I'm pretty sure the stars on my toenails were the key factor in allowing me to do that so for sure I'll be bringing those decals to Kona and performing the mother/daughter pedicure on Oct 7.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rest, Coffee, and Exclamation Points!!!

I'm feeling so proud of myself... I actually started to clean my house tonight. I know. Weird. But seriously, I did three loads of laundry and all the clothes are folded and put away. Even the socks. There's only one explanation for that. Mama had a recovery week.

I know it's kind of an odd time to take a recovery week... 4 weeks out from Kona... but it was completely necessary. I was a zombie. Last week was kind of a half-assed recovery week but that didn't quite cut it. But in good news, we got it right this time and today I actually caught myself singing along to the radio in my car. And my Training Peaks notes about my bike ride this morning said something like, "On the Peppy Scale of 1-10, where 1 is how I felt last Friday and 10 is 'OMG somebody tell that obnoxiously giddy girl to shut the hell up', I'm at least a 7 today. Maybe an 8."

So that's good. I've missed feeling like this! And now I will use lots of exclamation points!!! Lol. Dork.

And as is coach's favorite way to end a recovery week, I was assigned a swim test today. My heart pretty much dropped when I saw that last night because I totally fail swim tests. Write the word 'test' in the workout and I just completely choke. So I actually told Tim that I wasn't going to 'test', but I would go swim as fast as I could and see what happened. ;) I prepared by sleeping a full 8 hours last night and then kept drinking shots of espresso this morning until I started shaking and then I went to the pool and kicked the shit out of those 300's. Yay me! So that made me happy.

Speaking of espresso and good news, I'll share this with you too... Coffees of Hawaii just released a new special roast called 100% Chrissie. How cool is that? Queen of the Ka'ahumanu... They'll be selling this in Kona of course (stop by the COH tent in front of Basil's on Ali'i Dr while you're there!) but you can also order it online starting today. I've got a couple bags of this stuff on their way to me right now and can't wait to try it... I'm sure it's awesome, but whatever, who cares what it tastes like!?! The placebo effect of knowing that I am drinking the same coffee as Chrissie on race morning is the key here. If you're in FOMO, use promo code SMILES for 20% off!



Hawaiian history - past and present - is alive with female achievement. From Queen Ka'ahumanu in the 18th Century, to today's Chrissie Wellington, multiple-time World Champion triathlete. Read more about the similarities here. This coffee reflects Chrissie’s custom cupping profile that is stronger and brighter than our normal line. Intense and punchy, it’s dark roasted and makes a bold statement to start the day. A portion of the sale of this coffee will be donated to two great charities that Chrissie supports:The Blazeman Foundation for ALS Girls Education Nepal

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On Chasing Rainbows

So this morning I went out jogging (Of course. It's Tuesday after all.). After that 1/2 marathon on Sunday I was too pissed off to remember to power off my ipod and garmin so batteries in both were dead this morning... which was fine because I was just jogging and sometimes it's good to listen to your own thoughts rather than Eminem. Except when your own thoughts are still on the pissy side and you're still allowing yourself to wallow in your own misery about what a shitty runner you are.

But really, it's been two days and I just need to snap myself out of this funk and let it go already so in the second mile of my run I tried to think of something positive... how about a positive experience I had this year while running? Yeah. Let's think about that. Let's see. Ok. Well, I PR'd the 10K at the Honolulu Triathlon by 2 minutes. That was a good run! And I PR'd the half marathon at Honu by 3 minutes. And I PR'd the marathon in an Ironman by 20 minutes. Hmmm. I think I see a trend. In all three triathlons that I actually cared about, I ran faster than ever before. 

Ah ha!

So then by like mile 3 of my run I was laughing at myself because when I look back at my running record this year, it's obvious that I'm training like a triathlete. Which is, um, what I asked my coach to help me do. And clearly he has done. So while I may suck at running open road races, my running off the bike has improved dramatically. Maybe in the past I could run a decent 5K, but that never translated over to holding it together in a longer triathlon... Until now...

By mile 4 I had convinced myself that I was not a shitty runner at all! And in all likelihood I'm going to have a new marathon PR when I cross the finish line in Kona in a few weeks! (Isn't it awesome how just a couple miles of running has this power to transform your mindset??) And just when I was daydreaming about how much of a PR my Kona marathon was indeed going to be, it started raining... but the sun was out... and a brilliant rainbow appeared... and I just knew it was all going to be okay.

I didn't have my camera with me on my run but I came home and found that my friend Carol-Lynn had taken this shot and posted it on Facebook. The end of that rainbow was pretty much at my house this morning. It was awesome.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On Sucking

I ran a local half marathon this morning. It was just a low key event in a nearby town. Not a hard course, even if it was a bit long. I didn't run well. Which is frustrating. But not surprising. I've pretty much proven to myself in training lately that I can't even run a single mile within 20" of my old half marathon pace without falling right off the cliff, and since race day magic doesn't happen for me, I should not be shocked. I mean, I wasn't expecting a PR. But I didn't think it was unreasonable to expect to run faster than I would in a half ironman. But I didn't. Three times I've gone faster in half ironmans. And I ran a faster open half marathon when I was 3 months post-partum. With the flu. Go figure.

Anyway, this pretty much proves to me that if I am not doing speed work, I should just stay the hell away from running races. It's just gut wrenching to work so diligently and consistently and then try to run a half-way decent race and fail. Argh. And then after it was over some people were trying to be nice and give me excuses for why I suck, but whatever. I hate excuses. In my mind it doesn't matter what I did yesterday. And if I didn't hydrate well enough yesterday, well that's my fault. I appreciated two comments I got today though... Marcy actually asked me if I was okay because she said I looked like shit. Thank you. Because at least she was honest! I'm sure I did look like shit since I felt like shit. And then my athlete Leigh said the best thing she could have said... "It'll be there when it's important to be there." Thank goodness I have smart athletes to console me. ;) But I really appreciated that from her today. I think that is what I needed to hear to help me keep it all in perspective. And I hope Leigh is right. Because sucking like this 4 weeks out from Kona is not especially confidence boosting.

The one thing that didn't suck about today was that Moana was waiting for me at the finish line wearing her little Nike running shorts and shoes... I asked for my race t-shirt in a child size small and even though it fits Moana like a dress, she wore it all day. So that made me smile.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On Rest And Recovery

My phone call with coach yesterday started something like this:

Tim: "I read your blog post about your swim and then went into Training Peaks and hit delete delete delete..."

Me: "Oh thank you!"

Tim: "WHAT?!? You're happy? You actually want rest??"

Ha! Yes. I actually want rest. Go figure, huh? I know it does not happen often but sometimes I actually do want rest. :) So that got me thinking about why in the past I have seriously resisted rest. And I think it's because I truly didn't feel like I needed it. I mean, why rest if you're not tired?

I know many traditional triathlon training plans call for a rest week every 3rd or 4th week or whatever. But honestly, that is the most arbitrary thing ever. It makes more sense to me to listen to your body and take rest when you need it. And if your life is not extraordinarily stressful, and your nutrition is really good, and you're sleeping 8+ hours/night, and your training is set up to be appropriately taxing, well, you can probably get away with just an easy day here and there and just stay on a consistent training plan for longer than those traditional cookie cutter plans call for. Tim and I have similar feelings about this which is one reason why I think our coach/athlete relationship has been a rather successful match.

Anyway, in the last few days I've been honest with myself and honest with Tim (this is key!) and just told him that I was exhausted. So yesterday I bailed on that second run and this morning I went to the pool and flopped so slow and easy that one of the older ladies there actually stopped to ask me if I was okay. Ha! Clearly I have learned to take my easy days easy... And clearly I actually am capable of embracing rest and recovery when I feel it is warranted. Tim made a good point yesterday too... he said look what it took to get you here... Indeed. I really had to do WORK, and lots of it, to get myself here and that feels rather satisfying. :) In good news, I can feel my energy levels coming back already...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Give-A-Damn's Busted

This morning I went out for an easy jog... I have to say, being by myself and just jogging and not trying to go as fast as I can while having a ton of people around me was a huge freakin' relief. Two days in a row of frantic racing was a lot harder than I anticipated.

Yesterday was the Waikiki Roughwater Swim. This race attracts tons of people from out of state... swimmers come from Australia and California and Texas and well, all over for this race. So it's a good humbling experience to participate because just when you think you're a good swimmer, you get to race against real swimmers and you realize, well, maybe it's really just big fish in small pond syndrome, even though we are actually in a huge ocean. Or something like that.

So I couldn't find any pictures from the race this year, but I found these from past years and really, the ocean still looks the same. And while the conditions were good and calm this year, the pictures would probably look exactly like this.

There were about 900 people racing this year. They split it into 4 or 5 waves so even though this looks kind of crazy, the start was nothing like an Ironman start.

Not surprisingly I was very tired yesterday morning (maybe more emotionally spent than anything- I gave it all away in that bike race Sunday) but I tried to fake it for this swim. That lasted maybe 100 meters. Lol. I found myself in this frantic mess of swimmers and I was sprinting to start and my heart had that familiar feeling of wanting to jump right out of my chest and then I just had this WHAT ARE YOU DOING moment where my Central Governor just really stepped in to shut me down. Then that song came into my head... I really wanna care... I wanna feel something... let me dig a little deeper... nah... nothin'. I'm with ya, Jo Dee.

By the time I got to the first turn buoy I'd decided that I just did not have it in me to dig dig dig for this race. I know it's a big deal for some people but honestly I just didn't care. So I found a gal who was swimming a decent enough pace and I just got on her feet and stayed there til the end.

Looking at these pictures makes me think I should have enjoyed the swim a lot more than I did... it really is quite beautiful, no? No wonder people come from all over to swim here! I need to change my attitude and stop taking this for granted I guess. Since we swim here all the time (well, pre-Moana I swam here all the time... now it's a bit less) it's easy to forget that it really doesn't get much better than this.

Waikiki skyline from the water...

Anyway, I finished in 1:01 which shockingly placed me third in my age group. I don't know how I was supposed to feel about that... 3rd is cool I guess but 1:01 is not indicative of how my swimming has been going lately... but honestly I never got myself to the point of caring. I think I'm on the brink of being overly tired because this is what my brain does when my body needs a bit of a break.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

DEMRR... How It Went Down

I woke up this morning at ~2AM and started thinking about different scenarios about how the race might go this morning... then my HR hit ~150 (I have an active imagination) and I figured I might as well just get up.

No boring details about morning race prep... it was fine and normal and I drank my coffee and went to the bathroom (several times)... I left my HR monitor at home because really, who wants to see numbers like that? Not me.

The first ~30 miles of this race are ridiculously nervous. At least it was not raining this morning. Dry roads were *very* welcome when you've got 120 anxious cyclists jammed into one lane all trying to be right up front behind the neutral car. Motorcycles were jamming by us on both sides trying to keep everyone in the single lane- and it was fine when we were riding 3 abreast but then everyone started trying to move up and at times there were 4 or even 5 people jammed side by side in the lane and I was thinking I just do not have the nerves for this kind of stuff. That was just like 90 minutes of hell and I could not wait for it all to split up on the big climb. I'm in this group somewhere near the front... and that guy was hanging out the sunroof of the neutral vehicle on his bullhorn yelling at everyone to STAY IN ONE LANE...

Finally we got to Kunia Rd (long hill) and the neutral car pulled off and the horn sounded and all hell broke loose. My heart jumped out of my chest and I was breathing 100 times/second and my hamstrings almost ripped off and I still got dropped by the lead guys. That hill is freakin' steep right at the start and I just do not have the power to do what those guys were doing. But Teri did. I watched her ride away and GRRRRRR tried so hard to stay there but just Ok. Plan B. Just ride steady within myself... so that's what I did and I was with a group of 4 guys and we climbed hard but it was doable and before I knew it I felt mostly recovered so I jumped away from my 4 guys and caught another group of 4 guys who were just up the road... I was feeling fine by then but by this point (maybe 1/2 way up the 30ish min climb) the main pack including Teri was gone.

Then, like an oasis in the desert, I saw my teammate Ben up the road... waiting for me. Oh sweet. His mission for the day was to help me win so from the middle of Kunia Rd he just put me on his wheel and started time trialing. Ben is training for Kona and he is strong so he has no qualms about just riding hard and he didn't ask for help from anyone (he was also pulling the 4 guys behind me). As strong as Ben is, I did not think that he was going to catch the lead pack... I was happy just sitting on his wheel though because if there's one thing I know how to do, it's riding steady. And that's what Ben was doing. Riding steady. I was also thinking that drafting one guy I knew well was ever so much more enjoyable than being all nervous and on your brakes and surrounded by a gazillion cyclists you don't really know... So this was by far my happiest section of the race. It lasted maybe 20 miles.

Because you know what? We freakin' caught the lead group. I could not believe it! Be careful what you wish for though, right? Because now we were back in the scenario of being in the middle of all these guys... there were maybe 40 in that lead group which included Teri... but now we were the only two gals in that group so one of us was going to win and man I felt pressure to make it me after all that work Ben did to get me there...

So the next, I don't know, 45ish miles were a mix of GO GO GO with slowing slowing slowing then back to GO GO GO. It would string out and then bunch up and I was just nervous as hell thinking once again that I do not have the nerves for this kind of thing. This is a pretty cool shot of the long strung out line... again, I'm in there somewhere, probably near the back b/c I was too much of a wimp to be aggressive and try to get near the front.

I was feeling okay during that section- not super but not too bad. I knew I'd burned up about 1/2 my matches on that first long furious climb and then maybe one or two more during Ben's 20 mile TT trying to catch the group... then several more trying to avoid a crash (very near miss for me around Kahuku as a rider went down right in front of me). How many matches did I have left? I wasn't sure.

Then the hills started... so I found out... (Hint. Not many.)

The last 25ish miles of this race include a bunch of short steep hills that are the true test... I made it up a couple of them.

And then they got really steep. Yikes.

I felt my quads starting to seize up on one of the climbs and had no choice but to back off the effort and let the group go. ARGH!! I don't think the cramping was an issue of dehydration or electrolytes or fueling or anything- it was just purely the fact that I'd burned up all my matches! Muscularly I was not prepared to dig and go to the well that many times. This was the first time all year I've had any cramps but also the first time all year I've done so much very hard climbing and surging. It is not a coincidence...

Anyway, super teammate Ben might win the award for Most Patient Cyclist today because he soft pedaled and waited for me over and over in the final miles as I just could not dig at all. I had one gear left and that was all I could use. This is a great shot of Ben with me on his wheel... second to last climb of the day... maybe mile 105ish?

I'll spare you the rest (it's boring anyway- just me pedaling my bike and trying to stay upright) and just say that I finished... 2nd female and 34th OA in 5:22, which is 4 minutes faster than I've done this race before, if that means anything. Solid ride for sure and I am happy with it! I really did give my best effort today. The fact of the matter is that to win this race you have to train like a cyclist, not a triathlete. Teri is a cyclist, and she trains like one! (I would know... lol.) I am a triathlete, and I train like one! So there you go.

Afterward we all went out to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner/awards and Teri and I drank a couple beers and shared war stories. :)

Waikiki Roughwater Swim tomorrow morning! THAT, I think, will be a hell of a lot easier than today.

*BTW, most of these photos were taken by Colin Cross (photo credit!)... same awesome guy who came to my house to fix my rear derailleur hanger a couple weeks back...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mama's Gold Chain

So on Sunday I'll get to race my road bike around the island... the 112 mile road race that inspired the original Ironman way back when... 

We start down there on the south side of the island and ride around clock-wise. It doesn't get hard 'til we hit the middle of the island- that's where the shit hits the fan climbing starts... It's super important to get in the right group on that climb b/c after that there's a fast descent down to the North Shore and then ~40 miles of headwind heading around to the east side. I do that headwind section all the time on my normal route and it's really not fun to do alone! Definitely best to be in the middle of a pack of strong men on that section. The last ~25 miles it becomes a race of attrition b/c that last bit is filled with short steep little hills that will break riders one by one as their endurance runs out.

I won't lie- I've done a bit of secret training for this race... I want to win it! (Did I just admit that??) I'm really not sure if I can which is what makes it intriguing... I know my endurance is there but fast/hard climbing? Ouch. That has not been my focus this year, and last time I tried a bike race (July) I got my ass handed to me when it got fast and furious uphill... In an effort to avoid that this time around, the last 3 Saturdays I've driven my road bike to the middle of the island and tried to completely trash myself on those long hills so I guess we'll see if that's enough? I think if I make the right group on the first big climb I'll be in good position for the rest of the race so we'll see how it goes! I know there are some other very strong women who will also be racing - my biggest challenge may actually come from a gal I am coaching (and I *know* the hard training she has done!) and of course we are not the only ones who want to win... In good news, we are all friends and after the race we will buy each other beers and tell good stories about the deciding moments of the race. And if Teri wins she's already agreed to buy the beer. :)

In good news, my road bike should now be in tip top shape for the weekend. Since I haven't ridden it much this year I haven't taken extremely good care of it (are you surprised?)... but my friend Dennis took it last weekend to wrench it for me... I told him it was pretty much fine but just that shifting into the big ring it was kind of sluggish (i.e. I had to push the lever in twice and stop pedaling for a moment to get it to go into the big ring.) Dennis of course knew better than to believe the bike was basically fine so he took the whole thing apart and said it was all completely corroded... so he replaced the cables and the bottom bracket and the pedals and the tires... and he put a new chain on it too... a gold one! Did you even know they made gold chains? I'd never seen one. But it is sweet. I'd take a picture and show you but it's been raining the last few days (shocking, I know) and my bike is a mess again because of course I've been riding it on those wet roads. But it feels like it's brand spanking new and I'm stoked to race on it this weekend.

Anyway, apparently when Dennis took my bar tape off he said the handlebars were completely pitted/corroded and flat out not safe. Lovely. So I got new handle bars for that bike too. This was the email he sent me earlier in the week... Yikes.
"i keep discovering things on your bike, my dear
took the tape off your handlebars, discovered that
the metal (aluminum) is extremely pitted. i am guessing
from a combination of salt, rain, and sweat. i have to confess,
i have never seen a pair of handlebars like this...
usually, they just have a white patina of corrosion."

My poor bikes. I guess that's proof they get used though, eh? I've always said that I don't mind dirty bikes. The only clean ones around here are the ones that don't get ridden. Take my new P3 for example. I keep waiting for a dry morning so I can go out and ride it but we have not had one yet.... so it still looks absolutely perfect. ;)

Anyway, stay tuned for fun bike and swim race stories from the long weekend!

*As an aside, the 3 original events that inspired Ironman were the Waikiki Roughwater swim (2.4 miles which I will do on Monday) and the Around-Oahu bike race (112 miles which I will do on Sunday) and the Honolulu Marathon (which I will do in December). The original Ironman event was held on my 4th birthday (Feb 18, 1978). Pretty cool that I get to do all three of those original races plus Kona in the same year!