Monday, November 2, 2015

2015 In a Nutshell

It seems silly at this point with instagram, Facebook, twitter, snapchat, and whatever other social media tools we use, to write paragraphs on what those snip bits covered on an almost daily basis.

But, at the port-a-potty line of 70.3 Cabo last Sunday, a woman I'd never met came up and introduced herself asking if I was Tatiana as she loves to read my blog and is very happy I'm back racing and involved in the sport. WOW! That made me blush and it was so cool to have that kind of reach and appreciation from people you may run into once in your life or maybe not at all.

Triathlon, and sport in general, connects us like that- and it's special. We can all inspire and motivate people when we don't even realize it.

Deep talk aside, I'd like to note for years ahead when I read back at 2015, that I am incredibly thankful for what life has given me these past months!

After accepting the Austria Worlds 70.3 slot at Galveston, I enjoyed an amazing two weeks in Spain that were a welcome change to every other kind of vacation/travel I'd ever been on. I met some wonderful people and experienced things that I thought only exist in movies.

After that escapade, I was back in Cabo hosting our SMASH/DIMOND camp. It went really well, and only cut short due to a tease from Hurricane Blanca, that luckily just caused some rain and power outages...but led to me fleeing Cabo early for the summer.

Back in Texas, I jumped into Lubbock 70.3 to get my butt into gear for Austria training and then followed my good friend and teammate, Dawn Elder ("Kona Dawn"), to a month long training camp in Tucson.

I LOVE TUCSON! We had a ball- and the camp resulted in another fabulous friendship with Lauren Palmer, who I'm sure I'll battle out the 25-29 in Kona next year if the cards line up for us;)! Some other HPB/Smash athletes joined us for some random training days, and I left for Europe feeling fit and in love with triathlon all over again.

Europe can't even be summed up here. Austria is the most beautiful country on Earth. The training at Hotel Mohrenwirt was absolutely perfect. I've never been to or seen such picturesque and ideal training grounds for triathlon, and road or mountain biking.

After 3 weeks alone in Fuschl Am See, my brother and mom joined and we headed to Zell Am See for Worlds.

The race went as best as it could've. I swam and biked my heart out, and may or may not have paid for it on the run but that was the plan- just GO FOR IT. Im happy to see cycling finally clicking- just need to run like I used to with that new bike rhythm.

After Europe I touched down in Texas and raced TriRock Austin which is always a blast! Then it was off to Chicago for Short Course Worlds. Chicago itself I'm enamored with. What a cool city! I hope to return to enjoy it as a pure tourist soon. I had some issues in that race- just felt flat on the run, and a fiasco in T1 with running in bike shoes through literally wet mud puddles resulting in minutes trying to clip into my speedplay pedals.

To end the year, I had the intention of racing Ironman Cabo and again joined Dawn for her final long Kona workouts in Texas.

However, when I returned to Cabo at the start of October I realized Ironman felt daunting. The heat those first two weeks was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. Also, and in hindsight it's even clearer, I was unplugged after that whole summer of training, racing, and traveling. So I opted for the 70.3

That half was important to me as I have a lot of people that look up to me here in Cabo, and I needed to perform to give back in effort what this place and the community means to me.

I probably rolled over the last staple-thing before the turn to the manicured airport toll road at around mile 30 of the bike. I was leading the age group race by 10+ minutes and after standing around for a miracle pit stop from a mechanic or anyone that would loan me a spare wheel, I called it and went on to cheer for my brother, Daniel. He ended up winning overall amateur in his first 70.3!

There's no excuse for not carrying a spare but I'll give my reasons- I have no race wheels here. Daniel even forgot my front and I scrambled to find us another wheel from local friends that weren't racing 1 day before bike check in. He even had to use a front clencher and rear tubular.

The disc I flatted I just bought from a friend a few weeks ago and it had a bike shop glued tire that after the race took me 30+ minutes to peel off. I had no pit stop here...and in the end YES I did say "last race, all or nothing, here goes!".

Bitter sweet weekend as a lot of friends, new and old, were in town racing and we hit up some of my favorite spots. Superstar Mel McQuaid decided to stay a couple more days with me and we went with some other triathlete friends to swim with the Whale Sharks!


What that flat caused though, is a fire inside me that I haven't felt since I last raced Hawaii! It made me so angry that I couldn't put all that hard work to use and showcase it in front of my hometown. Naturally, I looked for what race I could do this year- but not just any, one that could have an end purpose and a lot at stake.

Enter IRONMAN COZUMEL. My last Ironman in 2011, my first race as a Pro, and in my country. BAM! Unfinished business is an understatement.

This last week ramping up the mileage and planning the training showed me that I needed that recovery/taper week leading into Cabo 70.3, that I was EXHAUSTED beyond measure and I couldn't even sense it myself!

Right now I am a mix of awesome emotions- I'm pissed, motivated, ecstatic, hungry, ambitious....I want to go to Cozumel and absolutely race my heart and body out. I want to cross that finish line with nothing left- nothing but a deep exhalation of what an amazing year Ive had and how fortunate I am to be surrounded by wonderful family, friends, and supporters.

Training and racing aside, things in the sport development realm in Cabo are going fabulous! We have a new government in place and investors/local business keen on attracting sports tourism and brining in the infrastructure needed to make Los Cabos an athlete's paradise. I won't share more until things are clearly defined, and honestly because there's too much to share I could probably write a book!;)

Keep an eye out.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Galveston 70.3

In 2013, I "raced" Galveston after barely surviving Qt2 Pro Camp, and months of underlying fatigue that just wouldn't go away. Only now that I'm healthy do I realize how grey that cloud was that loomed over me. There was almost complete apathy toward being there and taking one more step- I felt bloated and stone legged, annoyed, and just wanting to move on from the world of swim, bike, and run. The back pain lasted for days after, and it wasn't long before I called my coach at the time, Jesse, and said I'm done racing.

In the last 2 years I've discovered that the general health issues had to do with my body's ability to process folic acid, and its need for bio active folate...which I talked about at length in another post. I also did find balance in my life, and got a life ;) haha. As well, maybe it was just giving time, time, but I learned to manage my back pain and spent many of what felt like stupid minutes a day doing tiny exercises/stretches that have accumulated to nothing short of a miracle.

I don't for once take my health for granted, so I know that the back pain is a part of me as an athlete and the spondy as a condition is a part of me as a person in whatever activity or lack thereof I partake in.  So I can only continue the diligence when it comes to this bodily maintenance.

Onto the race...

I arrived in Texas on Wednesday night, got a great night's sleep, and was eagerly at the pool at 6am on Thursday. Everything was going perfect until 11am when a sudden urge to puke my brains out hit and didn't stop until 5pm that I was letting out vile and coiling in screams at the stomach pain. Realizing I couldn't even keep down 2oz of water, and my mom said I looked like death, we headed to Urgent Care. I passed out in the car over. Two IV bags and a triple dose of anti nausea medicine later, and life looked promising again.

The doctor said it was a virus, so not food poisoning, and that if I wanted to race I just had to get as much fluid and hopefully solid food in by Sunday morning (race day).


Saturday evening in Galveston was my first real meal aside from boiled potatoes, fruit cups, and bananas. I even felt good enough to have a glass of white wine.

The mistake was made on Sunday morning when I should've been preemptive and downed some electrolyte tabs, or drank a bottle of sports drink with Base salt.

The race----
Swim: I lined up front center, and ended up swimming 99% of the course on Alicia's feet ahead of the whole group, minus one girl that was farther ahead of us. It felt cruisey and the only bummer was having to navigate hundreds of slower age group men from prior waves. I did cramp 3 times on my right calf in the swim and still didn't take the hint to load up on extra salt on the bike!

I lost Alicia through a crowd of those men right before the last turn bouey toward the ramp.

Onto the bike I felt awesome. The Dimond is just ridiculous, that's all I need to say. I opted for a disc in the most perfect flat conditions. I passed Alicia a few miles into it, and then she caught back up with about 10miles to go.

I ended up coming into T1 only about a min ahead. I knew she ran well since she trains with my friend Sam Mazer, and so I just hoped I could run strong and even if she did end up ahead by a couple minutes she had her Worlds slot so I'd be good and have had a breakthrough race.

Looking at my watch if I ran 1:35 I'd be finishing right at 4:35-:4:40 so possibly a 70.3 PR (Vineman 4:39)...I was stoked!!!

Then it happened. Roughly 2 miles in, the quads started to cramp. I stared grabbing bananas, gatorade, and coke at every aid station like I was at an eating contest vs a triathlon. Too late. It was very humid, but I train in heat and I do well in humidity, and have never ever cramped in a race- EVER.

By the middle of the first lap I was about to hand my chip in and call it a day. The pain was ridiculous. Every step felt like my legs were going to buckle and I was jogging at a frustrating pace. It sucks when you feel great but your legs are worthless!

At the middle of the second loop I actually laid down for about 10min and had a massage on my legs to try and get the cramps out enough to just finish.

Devastatingly enough, I got passed with about 3/4mi to go by the girl that got second, and thankfully managed to hang on and finish because the slot rolled down to me for Austria.

Some things are just out of your control, but I do feel a bit of anger at myself for not having the light bulb go off and load up to prevent the cramps. It was such an obvious possibility that I dropped the ball. But, you learn.

That said, I am thrilled that I PR'd the bike with a 2:22 and had almost ZERO back discomfort. Knowing that with even a decent run I might've PR'd for a 70.3, motivates me like heck to put my head down and drill the training for Austria and Chicago.

You never know what will happen on race day but I'm in it to win it so after a couple weeks break, I'll be back to work;)!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

One month to go!!! Racing for the Children's Tumor Foundation

I am Incredibly grateful to my friends that have already donated to this great cause which I hope to race not just the Hawaii 70.3 for, but many more events!! 

It will be an honor to line up on that start line knowing that the journey was more than time spent in a pool, a trail, or cycling highways. It was about being thankful each and every day for health and the OPPORTUNITY to be able to do each of those things. Children born with neurofibromatosis battle obstacles much greater than most of us could ever imagine. 

From all the reading I've done regarding neurofibromatosis, it is wonderful to be able to play a part, however small, in funding the research and education/counseling for families affected by this genetic disorder- especially with my recent involvement with all the kids in Cabo, and our own TriCaboKidz foundation. 30 days left for us to reach the goal together!! Thank you!!

CLICK HERE to help!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

ITU La Paz Moonlight Triathlon

This weekend was one of five Mexican Federation's age group qualifying races for the 2015 ITU Short Course Worlds in Chicago. It also included a draft legal race for Elite men and women that went off 20min before us.

Until yesterday, I had only done 2 Federation races- both in Ixtapa- but as an Elite in the draft legal category. There are 3 defining things about me as a triathlete: 1) the longer the race, the better I perform 2) I don't like draft legal 3) I seek out races according to temperature - HOT HOT HOT please!!

So hearing that the AG qualifier was non draft, that the bike had been lengthened to 48k (I think the main reason was to really separate us from the draft legal event on the course), and it was obviously going to be summer temps, I was immediately keen to sign up and give it a shot!

Last June I raced a half marathon in La Paz- all along the Malecon (stretch along the coast that's got a run/bike path and lined with restaurants, shops, and hotels), and into the Marina and Costa Baja golf course. Needless to say it was spectacular and I couldn't wait to do another race there.

Unlike 99% of the races, this one was set to start at 3pm...about the time I usually crave a nap in my day:) Joking aside, I was looking forward to this start time as it meant it'd be warmer, and it was something new and thus exciting. The only issue was making sure I ate very simply the whole day so as not to start the race with stomach trouble. A reason for this late start (not that it's the sole reason but one I know of) is that it's the "Moonlight Triathlon" - the idea is you finish at sunset and then party.

Mid morning Friday I left Cabo. It's a gorgeous, desolate, 90min-tops drive along the Pacific Hwy 19 (which I train on regularly). Since hotel check in wasn't until later, I met some friends from Mexico City and Cuernavaca at their hotel, caught up over coffee and lunch, and at 3pm the race organizers set up the swim course for a recon.

The wind was blowing pretty hard so the current and chop were gnarly- which I was stoked about! We swam the 1500m all against the current, and knew all the open water practice in Cabo and daily fun in the waves was going to pay off.

That afternoon I checked in the hotel and walked across the street to have an early dinner at a really cool new Mediterranean place, and then ended up accompanying a friend that had yet to eat, later that evening on the Malecon. It was great to get out there at night, walk a bit, and potentially stay up so as not to wake up at 6am Saturday and twiddle my thumbs waiting to race!!

Saturday morning I did a little jog first thing, showered and ate a normal breakfast of eggs, coffee, juice, and potatoes...then spent the rest of the hours relaxing until bike check in. Afterwards, I just ate a Powerbar and Vega Sport Protein with water 2 hours before the start. It worked like magic!

Just like the day before, the wind, chop, and current were on their game! The sprint race which started from a different point and a couple hours later actually ended up pulling people out of the water because of the conditions. Many even called it quits voluntarily:(

All the women went off in one wave which was awesome because I hate guessing where I am until the results are posted!

I lined up on the far left- it was a running start- as I knew the current would push me right/toward the beach, and sure enough I sprinted to the front and caught the feet of the girl who was swimming in second position. After a few strokes i decided to pass her and try to bridge up to the lead swimmer who I could see well within reach. Ultimately I couldn't latch on to her but dropped the other girl so ended up swimming solo in second a few meters back from first all the way to the exit.

We got out with a good lead on the rest of the women, and here commenced my T1 sh*t show haha...
supposedly ITU rules state that if it's non wetsuit, then whatever you swim with you must bike and run with. Therefore, if I chose to wear my TYR swim skin over my two piece tri kit, I'd have to keep it on the whole race- what?! Umm NO!

So I swam with a bathing suit and put on tri shorts in T1 to prevent chaffing ;) Well that took a bit of time, as it frustratingly does when you're wet. I also love my road shoes so I took the time to put those on and hop on my bike leisurely, ha. It was good as at least I calmed the HR through that locker room scenario.

Onto the bike I caught the lead girl at about 5km in, and continued to lead the race from then on. The bike was STUNNING!! It's the absolute most awesome bike course I've ridden. Rolling hills along some of the world's most incredible beaches with the opposing desert landscape just taking your breath away (no pun intended).

The bike leg was fabulous- my new Dimond is a rocket! I've never felt so stealth on the bike before- and was just having a ball!

As for the back pain, an ortho doc friend that was racing too kineseo taped it, and placebo or not it helped tons! I did feel it lock up at times and I'd just soft pedal a few seconds until it relaxed. The only thing I can do now that's non invasive is aggressively tackle the core work before the 70.3 events coming up to make sure the little hiccups don't completely ruin my race like in the past.

Anyway...onto T2, and then started the run feeling great minus a bit of air trapped - you know when it's like cramping, and you just have to hope you burp and it settles. Well luckily at about 2km it did, and I continued on a decent pace, feeling better each km to the finish. I didn't run a spectacular time, but had a clear lead and no need to completely gas myself. At the last turn around toward the finish, however, I saw a girl (who ended up running like the second fastest split, men or women) pretty close to me and picked it up to make sure she didn't catch up. She finished only about a min behind me- making up a ton of time with that awesome run.

I can't describe how happy I was to cross that finish line with little physical issues, and just overwhelmed realizing how much I enjoy this sport and how beautiful that course is. After 2 years of not racing I was chomping at the bit!! Winning was just icing on the cake.

At night we enjoyed the awards party, beers and food, and it almost felt like Ironman with the late finish except I could actually keep food down and walk:)

Sunday morning after breakfast a friend from Cabo and I check out and decided to head to Balandra and Tecolote- the most renowned beaches (where the bike turned around) and relax a bit and grab lunch before driving back home. It felt like I was on LOST and really just wanted to pitch a tent and stay a few days.

Now home, Chicago ticket in hand, and with 4 weeks until Galveston 70.3 I have some serious work to do to qualify for Austria Worlds. I feel privileged to be able to train and race- something I can't deny taking for granted many years. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hawaii 70.3- Children's Tumor Foundation!

We're fools if we do things the same way expecting different results, right?

Well, the last time I raced Hawaii 70.3 was in 2012- the birth of the low back "injury" that has haunted me since. I kept racing that whole season, and tried again to swim/bike/run in 2013 until calling it quits at Galveston 70.3....

Fast forward to now- I'm attempting a return to triathlon but this time with a different perspective and cause.

For one, I've come to terms with the low back situation and see it as a "dare" to manage it through a whole season by successfully getting to the finish line at each event without having to sacrifice performance.

Secondly, being on the SMASH/DIMOND women's team has renewed my sense of purpose and reach, in terms of being able to inspire others, by belonging to something bigger than myself. I feel accountable to these women and what we stand for, as well as all the people and companies supporting the team.

Finally, as part of TriCabo and TriCaboKidz, I want to be a role model for the triathlon school of Cabo and to walk the talk of sport development in Baja Sur.

I guess on top of all of this, is also the weird sense that if keys from the Universe keep showing up at my fingertips to hold steady on the triathlon road, it must mean I shouldn't give up! Not a believer in coincidence, I think when obstacles are thrown at us, and walls block us even from what we (*think*) want most in life, we have to take it with a grain of salt and accept that we are meant to be on a different journey.

For some odd reason, the triathlon train still reserves my seat! So I've decided to hop on board again.

I don't have a clue how I'll fare this weekend at the La Paz Olympic, or Galveston 70.3 in April, and I've now committed to raising money for Hawaii 70.3 May 30th...but I do know that I'm in shape, healthy, and ready to leave the back pain and results to fate. The daily process of and interaction with other athletes in this crazy sport is what makes me happy.

That said, I know that if I am to race on the Big Island again, it has to be for something other than myself, so when a friend mentioned Hawaii 70.3 and I curiously looked at the site the "entry for charity" stood right out.

The sense of training and racing for kids in need is far more motivating and fulfilling than for any podium spot or qualifying time.

The Children's Tumor Foundation asks for a minimum of $3000 dls by May 1st for the charity entry and it would mean a lot to me to have your support.

Please share, and follow the link if you want to help me in this cause:)!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cabo Half Marathon

This was the third year for the Los Cabos Half Marathon  and it went from a couple hundred people to over 1000! From the expo/packet pick up to race day, everything was smooth and professional- a real top notch event.

The course is similar to the Ironman run, in beautiful historic San Jose, finishing on the main plaza in front of the church and surrounded by coffee shops, bars, and yummy restaurants.

Naturally, I ran supporting the TriCaboKidz Foundation which meant sponsoring a kid's entry, and getting a cool tshirt in return, which I proudly wore after the event:)

 I saw a few friends race morning and found Miriam who I also raced in La Paz- she's a local stud that beats me up on the bike and run any time we get together haha.

Training leading up to the half had gone great- it wasn't specific to this race obviously as I switched back into triathlon mode about a month ago, but I had banked some awesome runs (even marathon long ones for the supposed Carlsbad full) so I felt I was carrying solid run fitness.

The course was awesome! It took us from the Plaza along the San Jose hotel corridor, over to the Mayan Beach Club, back and over the Puerto Los Cabos bridge, where the hills start into Fonatur then down to the Marina, some trails in the huerta/farm, back to the bridge again and a small out and back to the Plaza finish.

All along there were people cheering, awesome volunteers, clearly marked kms, and aid stations with gatorade and water.

Along with the 21k they had a 5k and a kids 3k and 400m dash.

At the start I lined up next to Miriam and hung on through 3k, then dropped back a bit where I stayed within sight until the end, never able to catch up. Around km 18 another local, and also SoCal chick, Melissa, caught me and we played cat and mouse until 2km left and she snatched 2nd place a few seconds before me.

At the finish, I chugged some Baja Brewing Co beer, and then enjoyed a short walk over to Miriam's where we showered and then grabbed some foooood! Ive never rushed a buffet like that since awards were going to start, but Tropicana Inn is a must for the breakfast buffet- paella, delicious hashrbowns, and omelets, fresh juices....

Half marathons are the best distance honestly- long enough but intense enough to give a quality fitness deposit, and so I'm thinking I'll go race the inaugural Rock N Roll Half Marathon at altitude in Mexico City March 15th. It sounds amazing since you start at sunset!! The post race party will be good ;)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2015 Race Team & Schedule!

I could not be more thrilled, honored, and motivated to join this amazing group of women in the 2015 SMASH DIMOND Triathlon Team!!!

In a few weeks I'll have my hands on this sexy bike and plan to fly with it in the following races...

March 21- ITU LaPaz (Chicago 2015 ITU Worlds Qualifier)

March 29- Cabo Whaleman Half Iron Distance (tentative)

April 26- Galveston 70.3 (Intention of qualifying for Austria 70.3 Worlds which hurricane Odile kindly stepped on my attempt to grab the slot in Cozumel last Sept!)

May - August a few sprints and olympics in Texas as I go home for the summer to train for Chicago and Austria (fingers crossed!).

Depending on how my back fares....end of season Ironman to have just one chance at my new AG 25-29 that I never raced Kona in, and...well...I've never been known to just treat Kona as a "fun run" ;)

BUTTTT above all the goals and results, is getting to meet each of my teammates, train and race alongside them, and inspire and be a role model for other triathletes.