Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sacrificing Health for Sport

Athletes are supposed to be the epitomy of health right?...Of balance, strength, stamina, speed, agility, and power. But that’s hardly the case. To be an elite athlete, to compete at world class level, and to even go on doing so for years- decades- requires some sacrifice of health.

Putting aside health consequences of drug use- like steroids in baseball, to name one- I want to talk about sacrificing our health by pushing through injury, ignoring it until it becomes chronic pain that we just keep shutting up; or pushing through states of fatigue until we blur the line between tired and having our entire hormonal/adrenal system in turmoil; or simply too much of whatever it is that we do.

Reading Andre Agassi’s “Open” is one example. Growing up watching Andre play, I never would’ve guessed behind those ridiculous shots he nailed, the superhuman way he moved along the court, and all the victories, that here was a guy in his 30’s lying down on a hard floor before matches because his back was in excruciating pain.

Well I’m not here to write a book, nor am I claiming to be crippled or with chronic fatigue- it even makes me feel bad going into detail about my issues when all in all I’m a healthy 24 year old and (knock on wood) have never suffered a major illness or life threatening accident.

I do, however, want to provide an insight on what racing and training for 8 Ironmans from age 19 to age 24, along with multiple Half IM’s and dozens of other shorter races, has done to my body so that other teenagers out there wanting to go down this path think twice.
(emphasis on the Ironmans, not the other stuff that I do believe is healthy, Ironman I do not believe to be healthy AT ALL….but I still love it, I guess that makes me crazy).

First of all, I have no regrets, and I was warned that I was too young to keep doing this year after year. But in pursuit of my goal to conquer Kona, meaning achieve what I deemed to be “special” in that race, I kept plugging along, ignoring what would inevitably come back to haunt me.

When I came home from Cozumel to San Antonio, I expected 4-5 days of napping, being constantly hungry, and heavy legged. I did not expect to feel like a complete zombie, have constant migraine like headaches, random stomach issues, and bouts of dizziness for 10 days. I also did not expect to break out in hives 8 days after the race because of a soap from the gym. Looking back at the allergic reaction, after speaking with my homeopath and being on a med since Dec 9 after landing at Urgent Care because my entire body (I’m talking even my butt) was covered in hives- was more than just an allergy. Hives are also brought about by stress or by a detox in your system. The honmeopath made me look back and think if this really was the first flare up. No, it wasn’t. After Kona, in a week training for Coz that had me exhausted, I was in the middle of a long run and had the same reaction- think exercise urticaria.

Perhaps that whole nightmare was a blessing because it forced me to really question how quick I want to get back in to training. My plan now is not until mid January. I tried doing a duathlon with Daniel last Sunday and while I “won” that doesn’t tell the truth. When I crossed the line barely being able to hold sub 7:15 for 5ks(!!) my brother looked like he’d seen a ghost- I was puffed up….I mean like you could squeeze my fingers, my face was all swollen and cankles are an understatement. My entire body did something scary and I don’t know what the hell it was but I did not like it.

It’s been 3 weeks and today I sort of felt like half myself. I felt ok a few days before the allergy ever started but I guess it showed up to stop me because I would’ve been training again by now for sure. The day before flying back to San Diego I had this weird episode at the gym after riding 20min on the spin bike and doing some abs- I got very nauseous and lightheaded and suddenly fell- luckily didn’t flat out faint, just snapped back as quick as I fell.

Ok that’s part 1. Part 2 came today

I went to yoga. I’ve always sucked at Yoga so it was no surprise that I couldn’t touch my toes. What was a surprise was looking at the 50 yr olds in envy. It seemed reverse….like I should be middle aged seeing them be my age and thinking “oh to be young again”.

I look in the mirror and see the slant in my hip and the dip in my back from my bike accident in 2008. It’s been the cause of my constant struggle to be comfortable on a bike, but I’m used to stopping numerous times to adjust cleat bolts even in 2hr rides…I’m used to my left hip and knee, or my right knee from compensating, hurting and swelling during every ride. So it was only normal to see my legs trembling because I had no balance, and my left knee not able to stand that leg on its own without hurting really bad.

Last year when I did yoga it was not so bad, but this year was my last chance for my goal in Kona (which I still didn’t reach by 2min), and so I trained harder, ignored absolutely everything from my bike pains, and told myself I don’t care if I can’t function after Hawaii I just want to blow that race away.

Well now I’ve turned pro, and now I see the signs of a breaking tired self. It’s like these last 3 weeks all 8 Ironmans came down on me at once. I feel so weird and unlike myself it troubles me. I have no choice but to step back, really far back and address all of these things because I will not make the gains I want if I don’t fix my body inside out.

At this point I’m still sorting out the bike I’ll be riding next season, so for the next couple of days I’ll enjoy spinning a road bike around the coast. Then will be fix #1 going back to Studio DNA with a bike that fits my size and get retuled from ground zero.

In the meantime I’ll be a Yogi, and doing some work at Rehab United to work on what I can’t work on once I’m really training. I’m running and swimming as I wish and eating cleaner than ever before.
Lastly getting constant work chiro work by Rob, and ART from Dan, and getting blood work next week. This is what will really let me know if something is of deeper concern. I know my hormones are not in balance at all…I know for various reasons which I don’t want to go into.

So that’s my price for my sport. It’s not every ones price for triathlon, but we all have our own issues- some have bike accidents, some get a gnarly injury like plantar, some unfortunately get hit by illness, others mentally burn out…..some go through sport rather smoothly. I’m not the worst case, or even a terrible one, but this month I’m experiencing things I never thought I’d go through this young. It has made me value my health even more and forced me to take a much later start to the season, and address things not only for continued success and improvement in triathlon, but for my well being as a person.

I hope reading this at least makes you assess your own state of being.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Steppin it up in Cozumel

I spent the week down in Cozumel before the race, meeting new people, relaxing by the pool, and eating some darn good ceviche!

I wasn’t nervous at all going into this race. After all, it’s just another Ironman. Excited though- very much so!

A few of the pros I knew going into this race, were super friendly, and lining up right before the swim I got nothing but smiles….and I’m pretty sure they weren’t the “haha little girl we’re gonna school ya”.

We got into the beautiful warm waters of Chakanab with enough time for a little warm up and then we were off.

Therein lies the first amazingly beautiful thing about racing pro: the swim was not a cagefight the whole way! It’s like there’s a mutual understanding that we’re all going to swim hard, end up on feet or next to each other and if you can’t cut it you’ll be off the back…no need to elbow you or sink you down.

I found a good pack right away and it seems I stayed there the whole time, coming in with the top girls- minus like two that swam 40s high.

Honestly the swim felt super super comfortable- cruise effort the whole way.

Into T1 all was good and off to the bike I went.

On the bike I was going to put out the same effort as in Hawaii and just ignore the girls as they went by, because I had to be realistic with my bike strength and any catching up/moving up spots was really going to come down to the run for me.

Before this race I was told numerous times that in your first times as pro, especially if the bike is your weak point you’ll be alone. This was said as a warning. I, however, adore riding alone. I train alone almost all of the time, and in age group for some reason I ended up in noman’s land all the time as it is.

This held true until half way through the 2nd loop, then I caught 2 other pro women, and some of the age groupers. I was also getting caught by the lead ag men, so really I saw about the same people as I do in other races. Certainly I was glad I was not near the age group packs that form in a flat race like this, because that is extremely sketchy! One wrong move in that one lane road and there goes your day.

Anyway, as to how I felt- I just didn’t have that spark in my legs like I did in Kona. Maybe I overshot some of my training leading in, maybe I still had some deep Hawaii fatigue, maybe it was mental, I don’t know.

I felt ok but just not on fire like I did a month prior. Also, the first 1hr my back and hips were really sore- it was weird!
That said, I am entirely happy with my effort and the result. I could not have ridden faster on the day, and to me that’s all that counts: how much you give. Plus, 2 min faster than last year, on a much windier day- I’ll take it!

T2…..oh this was a nightmare. Please don’t laugh.

So I get in, change into my comfy running shorts- best move ever in Kona (I feel like a runner, they’re dry and free-ing). Into the porta poty I go and leave my flask with salt tabs and 3 gels on my chair and tell the volunteers I’m just going to the bathroom.

I run in, and then spent 30-45secs fumbling with the safety pin for my bib number that came off. Easy to do when you’re just at home….in T2 with shaky hands and in a hurry, not so much.

I come out and my salt flask and gels are gone! They had taken them…like to return to me in my bags at the end of the race. WTF?!?!??!?!?! I don’t appreciate ignorance with initiative- that is by far the biggest flaw in humans. If you don’t know, don’t take initiative!

So the girl says “oh you needed it, it’s gone….wait can you hold on?” Uhhm no! I’m racing! I stand their dumfounded hoping maybe they will just run right in with my flask- the most important thing but no.

I sped out pissed. Actually worried more than anything because if it stayed hot the whole run like it did last year, I would’ve been screwed.

Luckily, cloud cover popped up and after the first loop, for loops two and three, the heavens came down.

I felt ok on the run. It got progressively better which is rarely the case, for me at least, in Ironman. The first lap I didn’t think I was going to be able to keep going I was in a daze. At one point I was seeing blurry, and my stomach hurt bad. I just prayed this was an ache and not the beginning of runs on the run again! But I knew I had to finish this race and I had to finish running not in shambles like last year.

Again, my legs didn’t have the spring they did a month ago. But at least I was running decent. I started eating bananas with coke in loop 2 and that saved me! I had never tried bananas and it was awesome.

In loop two I climbed back into 10th, played cat and mouse with another girl, and eventually held 9th.

I am thrilled at conquering this feeling of hell and it’s a lesson that things can always get better! I ran as strong as I could and the best definition for what I did this day was GUT IT OUT.

When it started raining and we were literally traversing a knee deep “river” of flooded streets, I just had to chuckle. It made for an epic day.

So I end the season, proud of what I’ve accomplished and sure beyond a doubt that I made the right move at the right time to start racing pro. I am also sure beyond any miniscule doubt that Ironman is out of my life for about 5 years. I cannot wait to have the spring, speed, and feeling of real racing that comes with sprints/Olympics/70.3

For now, it’s time to relax, keep moving with some other activities, and enjoy the holidays with family and friends.

Thanks to my support team:

Nytro Women- I had a ball this year racing along side you girls, and to Kristin- thank you for all you did for us! I can’t wait to see what next year holds for ya’ll.

Nytro- thanks Skip and all the guys at Nytro for being there for me, and simply being the best bike shop!

Beaker Concepts- Few people are behind me like you. I appreciate all the advice, and help.

Newton- Best running shoes in the world. I had my best year of running and no gnarly blisters or injuries.

TYR- ya’ll are swimming. Thanks for the new 54min swim PR!

Reynolds Wheels- Best out there! I knew that if my legs didn’t show up to ride, at least I had the wheels to keep me going forward fast.

Lifesport – Thank you coach Paul for an amazing season!

Nuttzo- No nut butter compares. Glad I could get others hooked on this too!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cozumel, here we go!

A LOT has happened since Kona and lucky for me, it's all been great! I enjoyed some down time, indulged in some sinful, but oh-so-delicious, *healthy* junk :) and jumped right back into some quality training for Cozumel.

Right after I ran the Irongirl 10k in Del Mar two weeks ago off a heavy 7-10 days of real workouts, I was smashed...and I mean burried 100ft below ground. So much so that I struggled moving from my bed to the couch and fridge. I even started to wonder if I could race at all and concluded that if this continued into the end of that week I'd pull the plug.

It wasn't only the training, I also moved in 24hrs to my own condo in Carlsbad- which I'm super stoked about...but going from boxes to literally "home" in that time period has its heavy price. It was worth it though- I'd rather work as if on speed and give myself a perfect living environment than dance around it and not be completely comfortable.

But, never underestimate the power of hibernation! After two days of playing "bear" I bounced right back and now am into my first day of taper having polished off some of my best-feeling rides and runs so far this season :)

I tried hard to keep the same weight I had for Kona- 110 race morning, but something about doing back to back Ironmans has me much hungrier during and after training. So while I didn't stray completely off track, I did sturdy myself with 4lbs extra weight for this race. In all I'm ok with this because I'm not feeling on any cusp, I'm healthy, strong, and I'm still at what I consider (for me) race weight.

So now it's Friday and all that's left is a few workouts this weekend, lots of packing, and off to Me-hee-co!!

No matter what the result of my first pro race, I will only ever get one "first pro race" just like my first Ironman, and that is special itself. I'm fit, healthy, happy, and grateful. I will give it my absolute best, and will toe that line with the confidence of knowing I belong. I have no expecations (really for the first time ever haha) except of myself to not let up one bit and stay mentally strong. I will say this though, the Ironman slogan got it right: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Can we please move on

This is the last thing I'll post on my blog related to my immigration issue. But as I was recently given a glimpse of hope at a full time job here in San Diego, a new conversation with my attorney arose, and I stumbled upon an obstacle that I never knew existed.

As far as I knew, all that was needed for me to get a job here was the willingness of company X to hire me and pay for the legal fees required for the visa. Brundage, whom I currently work for, hired me right when my visa expired and since the process moved along without issue, these requirements that I recently found out about went without my attention.

Let this be a final "shut up" and middle finger raised at anyone who's ever hinted, explicitly, or implicitly, about my unwillingness to "just get a job". A) I have one that, yes, I can do from the comfort of my couch. Sorry to those who have to be in a cubicle all day. B) to please the jealous/judgmental/whatever your title should be who obviously would like everyone else including me to be 9-5ing like them, here's a last little peak at what I face:

Today, while researching PR/Marketing firms in San Diego and the surrounding areas, as I have done numerous times before in hopes that I'll luck out, I happened across Mindgruve. They are in Carlsbad which would be perfect for me, and they are hiring for a part time admin coordinator. If I was American, and they liked what they saw on my resume, it'd be as simple as "you're hired, when can you start?" and boom, I'd be on payroll in a jiffy.

But, here's what must happen in my case: Said company has to
1) offer a job that corresponds to what I majored in- marketing, ok cool check!
2) pay legal fees...does the company want me that bad over a free American employee? I don't know
3) *NEW TO ME* offer a job that is not a "sales" job...the government does not consider that "professional"
4) *NEW TO ME* offer a job that requires a Bachelor's degree...uhhhm from the looks of the job description, nope! It's part time, and while there's a lot of computer literacy, etc skills required, there's no mention of a degree needed.

Those are the basics, it then gets more complicated with other criteria such as number of employees in the company...etc

FYI I sent them an email...I am an extremely optimistic person, but I'll likely prove my point further with their response.

In conclusion (this isn't a high school paper so forgive the retarded ending phrase, but from the constant nagging I get about this issue, it appears people either refuse to believe me, or are just plain stupid), it is not that I don't want even a part time job, at the very least (if I were such a lazy a**) to build my resume/work experience, or God-forbid I suffer an injury and can't be an athlete anymore- it's that I have a dozen more hurdles than an American applicant; and from the standpoint of the company, I'm a process, while others are a quick fix.

Yes I swim, bike, run AAANNNDDDD work from home (I am well aware how AWESOME this is). I don't talk about what I do because few do talk about their work especially in social media, unless THAT IS their job. Yes I have a great life and a loving family. Yes a lot of what I have I haven't had to earn myself and with that I've stumbled upon many envious remarks/attitudes. But my family has also gone through very hard periods, as we all do in this volatile life.

Here's the moral of this post, if there ever was one...if you can look at yourself in the mirror and like, no love, what you see and are thankful for the life you have, that is happiness. Do not look for it in the success or failure of others.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kona: where it started, where it paused, where it will end.

Disclaimer: As you may know, my blog is raw. Meaning you get the real me. Often times it is not PC…but that wouldn’t make it as interesting or real. You are free to agree or disagree. To like it, love it, or hate it. But I hope at least you draw something meaningful and worthwhile out of it.

PREFACE
This race was the end of the beginning. I’ve been racing in the 18-24 age group since I started the sport at 19. A friend asked me the other day “when the heck are you going to be 25?” I responded “never, I’m Peter Pan” hehe.

But, alas, I would indeed age up next year. The countless times I’ve heard that I shine because of the category I’m in are humoring. I’d venture to say 9/10 times I race I still would’ve podiumed across all age groups.

This World Championship confirmed that, as I came 11th female Amateur and 32nd F overall. In 25-29 I would’ve been 2nd. Actually given my 2min to break 10hrs, I would’ve loved to have been in 25-29…I’ll explain why further down this post.

As with most things, there’s a huge build up- external as well as internal (within ourselves), and suddenly in a blink it’s gone and you’re only as good as your last result.

4 years ago I never would’ve imagined I would just now be turning pro. With a few good results at the start, I figured it would be no time at all before I saw magnificent gains- enough to take that leap on solid ground. Often I’ve found myself in ruts of injury, frustration, accidents, being above the weight I know I would race best at, etc. However, it happens to all of us, and as a strong believer that everything works out for a reason, at the bare minimum to teach us something, I sit here without regrets, without an ounce of pity for myself, and with raging motivation and excitement for what the future holds.

Despite not reaching my ultimate goal this past weekend, I know sub 10, actually sub 9:50 was in me- and that, not the AG win, is exactly why I’m seeking Pro status. To extract that absolute magic race where your absolute potential comes out though, is few and far between. That’s why in retrospect it’s easy to beat yourself up because only hindsight shows us where those tiny but significant obstacles throughout the day (mental or physical) weren’t surpassed.

Having said that, of course I am proud of my accomplishment Saturday. Starting around April I fixed myself to set up a solid race in Hawaii and it came through. As in Vineman, where I had a good Half, I won’t let myself dwell on an instance of success for long.

Those 2min remain to be eliminated and so I’m working on getting into Ironman Cozumel to kick off my first Pro race in my own country. After that, no more Ironman- just numerous Olympics, and 70.3’s next year to try and qualify for Vegas Worlds Sept 2012.

To get my arse kicked badly and be a tiny fish in a sea full of sharks is what I’m most looking forward to. If I get last, if I wander around the middle, or if I podium or happen to win an event, it will all be a huge learning process the first year. But being forced to dig deeper by being in the back is what I yearn for the most. That is what I meant by wishing I was in 25-29 this past weekend. At some point in that marathon, our mind looks for any chance to rationalize and get relief from the pain. I wish I had been in 2nd chasing first. It was around mile 12 having just come off the slight downhill from the top of Palani heading to the Energy Lab that the fatigue was taking toll mentally more than physically and I let the thought of “well at least you have the AG win” creep in. That very moment is when I lost the sub 10- not when my coach was screaming to pick it up the last 4miles. I chose to settle instead of digging for what was still left inside.


PRERACE
I arrived in Kona Sept 17th to stay and train with my friend Brooke for our last key sessions. We had a really good time and some eye opening experiences such as riding the whole course without aid stations and other people. I had never done that and it forced me to analyze the course as it affects me, personally, and break the sections down visualizing exactly how I wanted to feel in each and what I would tell myself if I had a lull during that time.

The day before I left for Hawaii I went to see Dan Selstad- ART magician- for an emergency hamstring/adductor that I strained the week before. Someone please find out why a lot of us spend the whole year injury and sickness free only to have anything that can pop up do so before Kona!

Anyway, I spent a good deal of time icing, getting more ART, and worrying about it acting up during the marathon. These are the things that live in all of our heads before a race and that you only share with others after, and discover that you’re not alone and the universe isn’t conspiring to ruin your race ;) It’s just peaking/paranoia.

Adding to that was a hell of a wasp sting that left me itchy and swollen on my left quad for 4 days the week before the race.

The final blow was getting sick on Tuesday before the race. I woke up with a very sore throat, and thankfully started OD’ing on Vit C, Echinacea, Zinc, Oregano Oil, you name it, so it cleared by Friday. That was actually a blessing because it forced me to stay sequestered in my condo instead of parading around town.

RACE
I swam the course twice leading into the race. We were in a small group and nailing 1:02ish cruising. I was certain I would swim less than an hour. My swim was feeling the best it’s ever felt. But, typical Kona, even the swim conditions can vary your time GREATLY.

So I opted to line up further to the right nearly on the sea wall- instead of my usual spot near the Ford sign. It was me amongst a group of big dudes fighting for the very front of the line. Gun goes off and BOOM I am getting smacked in every direction and sunk to the ocean floor. I was hoping my eye was punched black so I’d at least look cool the rest of the day, but no luck.

I still felt like I was swimming well and when I exited the water I swear I head Mike Riley say “we are 55min into the Ironman” and I continued throughout the bike thinking I had just crushed the swim and feeling like a rockstar….little did I know I swam 1:05 HAHA. Classic.

Onto the bike I just rode hard and made sure to stay confident on the sections I knew were the toughest on me mentally- namely Mauna Kea resort to the Vet’s Cemetery. Well, telling myself over and over that this was MY section worked. The whole bike I felt good- never over riding, just solidly and fluidly pedaling along.

I was stoked to come into T2 breaking 5:30 for the bike, and was more than ready to throw on my run shorts… especially because (warning!) it was that lovely time of the month for me. Thus, T2 took a bit longer to get all set to run…..2min longer?? Haha

The run felt sooooooo easy the first 5k. I was cruising 6:55’s and here’s a perfect example of an amateur mistake: thinking “no that’s too fast, roughly a 3hr marathon, doesn’t make sense”. That should not have entered my head. I look back at that and want to slap myself for not having the guts to say “yes! 3ish pace, perfect! hold it till you can’t. there’s no reason at all you are not capable of that”. Maybe I would’ve still netted a 3:22, but maybe telling myself to hold it longer would’ve cut off, oh I dunno, 2min…. 

Still I kept a good clip until an intense side stitch slowed me down to almost a walk at mile 4. I dug my hand into my rib cage as hard as I could and either that or just time made it go away by mile 6. Palani sucked I was shivering and really feeling weak. However, I was on top of my salt, and taking in gels on a consistent basis- better than any IM. Palani to mile 12 was great, that slight downhill got my turnover going and I was getting a second wind.

Then came another dose of weak sauce: at the light before the Marina looking at the stretch to the Energy Lab I allowed myself to think. I allowed myself to contemplate the “endless stretch of road to the energy lab”. My mind told my body it was a long ass way and so it was ok to slow things down a bit. WTF?! WHY? Didn’t a want sub 10 sooo bad? Didn’t I know I could be well under that? …..No, see I had my AG win even if I just took down a notch. This is why athletes shouldn’t think when they race. It should be from the heart. My heart would never have settled.

Mile 15 like just before making the left to the Lab, I got myself out of the retardedness and picked it up again and fought for more pain. Bring it!

Out of the ELab to mile 23 I was all heart but my legs were just done. I tried to “pick it up” but I couldn’t enough. Once I started down Palani I was hurting. I knew 10hrs had passed but I just ran as fast as I could while trying to soak up my last stretch of the amazing Alii cheers for a couple of years. It was very emotional for me and awesome at the same time.

I crossed DONE.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Silence means...

I'm too busy preparing to kick ass. Training is phenomenal and we're at T-12 days before I board the plane for Kona.

I can't wait to put in some quality swims bikes and runs on the Big I before taper with Brooke and Pierre- who both snatched their slots by dominating IM Coz last November.

There's one more little test of speed this Saturday at a local half marathon on Camp Pendelton which I expect to be a blast. Fast=fun ;)

For a bit I started regretting missing out on Vegas but the eye is on the grand prize and consistency will trump what would've been a "taper-get cooked in the desert-recover" scenario.

Ironman #7...lucky number seven.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vineman 70.3 A Stepping Stone

This trip to Vineman was an absolute ball. I drove up with my friend Eugene, and we arrived in wine country at around 1pm Friday. After check in and unpacking, we went for a swim in the Russian River with Beth & James. It was nice out but definitely cooler than the years prior. As much as I can't stand wetsuits, any fresh water swim makes me smile :)

That night we had an amazing dinner also with B&J at Willie's Raw Bar in Healdsburg- the cutest little town ever!- insane fish tacos, dunganese crab, and seared ahi that melted in your mouth like butter...heaven! I even had a glass of red.

The following day was sloooow...we lounged around in our hotel room until 10am hehe and then went to pick up our packets and eat lunch at KC Downtown Grill right in Windsor, blocks from the High School. I had a really good grilled salmon salad.

The pre race laziness continued as we went to the theatre to watch Horrible Bosses and then made our way back to Healdsburg to eat one of the most memorable meals I've had in my life at Gratitude Cafe. It's a vegan/raw/organic place and we ate POUNDS of food but amazingly felt light and energized after the meal. I am a raw food fan! The cafe also had a cool hippie bookstore and artifacts section and overall Buddhist feel with happy/grateful zen like titles for the dishes on menu.




Early to bed and RACE TIME.

Now I'll briefly go over swim bike run and then go into the core of this post which is to explain what this race means to me and how I will go forward from it.

Swim- lined up front right and had eyed the good swimmers from their warm up- you can spot a good stroke from here to China. At the first 25m I was ahead with another girl and then surely 4 or 5 more girls were with us. I was bummed they weren't hugging the edge as it negates the head-on current and instead swam right in the middle along the boueys. But oh well, you go were the draft is! In the blink of an eye the small bunch gapped my and another girl which I should've made sure never happened as the whole rest of the swim they were within sight but not quite reachable especially when we began swimming over other wave's slower swimmers. Regardless I knew the girl whose feet I was on was a good swimmer and passing her would yield the same time with a higher effort. So I was swimming super super comfortable and knew we'd be under 30. Came out in 28 and change- might've been 27low/mid with the other girls but I was content.
On to the bike.

The plan was ride hard. That's it. Just go at Olympic effort and get to T2 so I could get my run on. I had this f'ing annoying piece of dirt or maybe an eyelash in my left eye that was very irritating and didn't go away until about 15mi in! OMGosh I was praying I wouldn't have to deal with this the whole way what a nuisance. Cool thing was it took my focus off everything else so before I knew it I was close to 1/3 of the way into the bike. It rained on us a bit, the weather was cool, which had me bummin but whatever it's race day just keep on goin'!
Notice thing in my eye! haha

I got into T2 and felt good, but was sooo ready to be off my bike my hip flexors and low back were screamin...something I have to address on my set up this week.

Run- signature pee stop in T2 and I was out. I knew just holding it together mentally and staying just below 7's on the net up hill on the first half would pay off on the way home. So I saved a bit until mile 7 and then ran hard home.


Finished in 4:39, 1st AG, 2nd Amateur by a little over a min, and 15th OA.


Post race amazing dinner: lamb tenderloin in vegeterian broth w veggies and soba noodles:
Post race wine tasting:

For the first time since I can remember I felt amazing in all three mentally, and more importantly on the run I was elated to be running and even though I was running hard it wasn't suffering in any sense of the word. It was a good hard effort and reflected the way I've felt in and approached my training the last few months- confidence and skilled form.

So was this a breakthrough for me? Am I over the moon with joy and pride? NO, and No. It was a "it's about f'ing time" race, and while I am happy I am also disappointed in myself for not having done this 3 years ago when I could have and should have. This is the very reason I went home in March, why I cut the volume and focused on speed and mental strength, why I re adopted my freakish ways in nutrition and stepped outside the norm in social patterns.

I have looked at myself in the mirror and have looked away in shame. I have gone to the drawing board with my coach, leaned on family and friends that I know are there for me, and have gathered the balls to correct my mistakes by accepting what works for me and DOING IT.

Vineman for me was a check mark- I've finally done what I knew I could. Not exactly too late, but really pushing the cusp. Regardless, you give yourself a pat on the back for getting your sh*t together, and piecing a good race, and move on.

There's no need to swim in a river of glory from one result. For me this result is only a stepping stone for the level that I want and know I can compete at. It's the insatiable need for bigger greatness and higher victory that makes champions.

Now it's rest, recover, take all that Vineman gave me as part of my prep and get ready to PR in Kona by so much that it will seem unbelievable. But to me it will be a slightly tardy beginning into exactly what I came to do in this sport.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What?!

As we age we undoubtedly pass through many stages. But they are not merely childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, "middle-age", & old age. The intricacies of those general, numerical based, stepping stones are individual paradigm shifts influenced from preceding experiences. Over time they help us find our “true self”. That is to say, the passions and interests embedded in our subconscious.

Some people go through life with a building block that is more or less set for them from a very young age by either their parents or themselves. I have friends that in middle school knew they were going to be doctors and, of course, are now full into their residency programs. A few were simply drawn to that field on their own. Others fell into it by way of tradition- one or more of their relatives practiced medicine. I also had girlfriends that from the time they could hold a doll you could see their faces illuminated with joy. They are now happy moms.

So where am I going with this…since this is a blog (primarily an athletic one), and you certainly didn’t click the link to read an entire book! 

Well, it’s my preface to explaining- not that I owe anyone an explanation, I just like to share my journey with others- why I decided (not on a whim!) to go to law school.

First, if you know me at all you know that I love to argue. That doesn’t mean I’m aggressive or angry, but the thrill of a good debate yields as much happiness and endorphins as the feeling of an “effortless” long run. As well, since the time I could thread words together I’ve been told I’m a natural manipulator. Too often people associate manipulation with deceit, selfishness, and basically deem it a vice. In the right context/use I believe it’s a virtue. I’m not advocating utilitarianism without the premise that it be good for the whole vs simply the individual- which as an attorney plays a vital role: arguing your case for the good of society (except of course defending a criminal/murderer). Namely, if you can manipulate a situation, or rephrase it, so that you can switch others’ perception for the best, then that is a virtuous skill!

Second, I didn’t just wake up one day and say “eh, to heck with this pro triathlon thing, time to move on to….hmmm….ooh, I know: law school”. By no means am I burnt out on this sport, and am certainly not giving up on my goal to turn pro one day (the day when I legitimately belong there- not just have a card in my wallet that labels me elite). Since I finished undergrad and moved out to California, I’ve slowly come to understand, by trial, that to be the best athlete you can be you need to balance it. Being an extremist, I figured if I had 24/7 to train, eat, sleep I’d reach my potential. Friends and family can say they told me so, but I needed to see for myself, in my own way, that it’s not the case.

As well, we can pretend to not care or like certain things, but the reality is we can choose what we like better but not what we actually like, for that is entrenched in our being (the soul, if you will) and sooner or later it will resurface. I told myself I didn’t care about pinching pennies, making minimal dollar as I chased my dream. But I call bulls**t on myself. I am entirely grateful for the privileged upbringing I was afforded and certainly want to maintain that lifestyle to old age. It is easy to go up, hard to go down. Plus, my passions have always related to the study of law. All of my free time as well as my elective courses in school, were filled with philosophy, sociology, political science, the Supreme Court, and debate. Moreover, as a highly driven individual, I’ll reiterate that it kills me to be 23 and not supporting myself at least more than 50%, immigration issues or not.

However, pertaining to the immigration side of things, law school certainly supports my trajectory toward permanent residency in the US.

Allow me to digress a bit and explain the immigration law:
- Right now I am on H-1B status for a part time job with Brundage Mgt. That visa does not lead to a green card.
- If I am hired for full time employment by Brundage, or any other company (a company has to sponsor you which entails proving you are more qualified than their US applicants, as well as pay the legal fees to bring you in to their co.) then that is grounds for a Green Card. But, for Mexicans, for the Green Card to yield permanent residency there is a backlog to 2005. This means all cases filed since 2005, go before mine. Translation: I see residency YEARS down the line- meanwhile I am working at a company that may or may not reflect my interests/skills or pay well.
- If my mom, now a citizen from marriage (sadly after I had turned 18) files for me, that is backlogged to 1992!! Haha…you see where that is going: nowhere!
- Another option, or miracle hehe, would be to suddenly become so amazing in triathlon that I am deemed “world class” and granted an O-1 visa which is like a green card. That, if possible, will not be anytime soon.
- However, with a masters degree- JD, MBA, what have you- if you are hired after graduation, it is an immediate Green Card with NO BACKLOG!

Ok that’s the short bit in layman’s terms. Wait, yes, there is the other fairy tale scenario that I meet my American prince charming and overnight I’m a US Citizen. Any takers? ;)

Back to my decision…

My mother half jokingly, half really not, told me when I mentioned LSAT registration, “you know, this could’ve been a lot easier right when you finished undergrad at SMU, and it would’ve saved a lot of money that went to triathlon. Also, you haven’t been in school in over three years, don’t you think you’ll be “rusty” to say the least?”

Let’s break that analysis apart: 1) It would not have worked at all for me to get a masters straight from undergrad. The reason is twofold. First, I was entirely OVER school. I had been a hard working, honors student for approximately 15 yrs and to say my brain needed a break is an understatement. Just like you need mental and physical breaks after a long season(s) or racing, I am a firm believer in academic breaks. Secondly, I had this triathlon bug, and my stubbornness that will make a great lawyer of me one day, was not going to accept anything but packing my car and heading to SoCal to swim, bike, and run. You cannot go into something as hard, and expensive, as grad school without being 100% committed to it.

Therefore, as dreadful as pursuing law school in 2009 would’ve been, going for it fall 2012 will be wonderful. My maturity, enthusiasm, and peace of knowing I can still make the most of athletics as I chase a challenging and financially rewarding career, will allow me to be the best student I am capable of those 3 years.

All that said here’s how I am going forward:

July 5th through August 18 I’ll be taking Kaplan’s LSAT prep course in La Jolla. Then I go home to TX & will be writing my personal statement and fulfilling all the other admissions requirements before heading to Kona late September. In Hawaii, Oct 1 I’ll take the LSAT and as soon as my score comes in will send in my application to the following schools: UT Austin, UC Berkeley, USC, Stanford, & SMU.

If I get in to any of those I’m on my way to becoming a lawyer 

If not, I’ll keep seeking out full time employment at a PR/Ad agency while still working part time for Brundage.

Of course, through it all, you can rest assured that all my free time will be filled with swims, bikes, and runs.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Race Recap

I'm getting tired of race reports, ha. Regardless, here's a very short version of my day which I was very pleased with. I PR'd for that course, didn't best my time from Vineman last year, but in 20-20 hindsight it was a bit ambitious given that Honu is a much tougher course/conditions.

Swim-

My plan was to find Bree and hang on for dear life. That would've worked perfect except that the whole front line(s) of swimmers were past the start boeys and they kept screaming at us to move back or they wouldn't start. No one was budging, but slowly some people began to move a bit toward the line so I turned to swim a bit in and just as I did that BOOM!

So bye bye Bree...it ended up being an all out sprint to try and escape the arms, legs, shoulders, hips, WHACK, over and over. It was a cluster F*&*# until the first turn where I was nearly sunk to the ocean floor, then it settled a bit to the finish.

I was pleased on where I came out. I intended about a 28high/29 swim and felt like I swam that pace/effort once I got that clearness on the first turn.

Lesson: never ever turn your back on the start!!

Bike- not windy. your typical slight crosses in Hawi but totally mellow. A fast day for sure. I felt great but was dying to get off my bike!!! It was to be my last ride in Look pedals/cleats that have been my nightmare for over 4 years now as the q-factor/alignment, whatever the hell, has always felt wrong no matter who fits me and it's never a pain free ride or one that I can avoid stopping at least 2-3 times to adjust them (to no avail).

At least I had set them in an OK position whereby in the end I was only feeling my left IT and right adductor tight.

Run- sooo happy I got my nutrition/hydration all worked out. I felt good and had no cramps, or stomach pains. Went 1:40. Not fast, but couldn't have run faster. Coming from TX, I can attest it was BAKING out there. Just seeing that no women ran under 1:30 tells ya.

So I finished in 4:56, 2mins faster than last yr :) I rolled the Kona slot and didn't take the Vegas one.

Now it's time to really pump in miles and hours- especially on the bike- haven't ridden remotely long since I left CA in March, so I'm stoked to go explore! Also, it will help sooo much that I can ride without discomfort, or having to stop numerous times.

I'm a bit tired, but have slept good and am not sore. Running these last two days feels awesome, and I'm easing into the weekend where I'll start my most solid/detailed prep for Vineman and then tackle on some beastly miles for Kona thereafter.

goal is right around 4:40 at Vineman, and of course sub 10 or bust in Kona :D

Texas left me right where I wanted- fresh from lack of volume, sparky with some great speed workouts, sound from excellent nutrition & recovery, and hungry/motivated from my mental recharge and inner focus.

time to get 'er done, and nothing will get in the way.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Aloha!

After roughly 12 hours of travel from San Antonio to Phoenix to San Jose...I'm finally in Kona! It's hard to believe this is my 8th trip to the Big Island. 7 for racing, one for a camp back in 2008. Since 2007, 2008 has been the only year I haven't raced here. I've really come to embrace this island as a second home, cheesy as that may sound. I'm beaming with joy like a kid on Christmas morning when I step off the airplane.

The travel was real smooth- except for the $200 bike fee courtesy of United Airlines. I had pleasant people next to me on each flight, no delays, in fact we even arrived 30min early!

I got my rental car in like 15min and sped off to settle in at the most awesome condo I've stayed in out of all my trips! We're right in Waikoloa Beach Resort across from the Kings Shops, and with a lakeview :)

Last night I was solo, but today Sara C, her friend, and her ex arrive- fun group.

Saying goodbye to my family was sad, but at the same time it was rewarding to know that the last 2 months were filled with good times, solid training, and that it'll only be a few months before I'm back home.

Monday, Memorial Day, my brother & I raced CapTex Sprint and technically we both won Overall :) I say technically because my brother tied to the second 1:05:26 with another junior- really a cool sprint finish to watch- he caught him at the finish chute turn!

Anyway, I'm feeling great about Saturday. This Island has given me plenty of ups and downs, and I know that pretty much every race Half Iron or Ironman, will unfold like a rollercoaster and success will only be determined by how well you limit and handle the dips.

I'm here to PR from my 4:49 at Vineman last year, and with that will hopefully land among the top women competing.

There's not much to do at this point but be thankful for the opportunity to once again be on that start line. For that I owe my parents, stepdad, coach, the Nytro Women team that continuously raises the bar and inspires me, and our sponsors (see rght column of blog)!

Today, after 11.5 amazing hours of sleep and some Kona coffee that has me wired like crack, I'm off to swim at Hapuna, then packet pick up, and a short ride :)

May the spirit of Aloha be with everyone on Saturday!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In the Zone

I arrived to Texas ashamed of how I had let myself slip in terms of "professionalism" toward my sport. How could I ever expect to be "pro", lacking the natural talent of countless competitors, without doing EVERYTHING under my control as PERFECT as possible? It was the start of a downward spiral to a plateau of performance and a pool of negative emtions.

So, since I stepped foot off the airplane I've been committed to going at this full throttle. We're nearing the end of April, and it's been almost a month, with one more to go before Honu. How's it goin'? Amaaazzziiinnnngggg!

Cliche as it sounds, I've "found myself". That inner tiger, the instinctive voice that brought me home, has been unleashed and it feels great. To wake up every morning with fiery motivation is priceless. Aiding that is my brother's inspiring drive to kick some ass at the State track meet in Austin mid May. Over the years we've gone back and forth motivating each other athletically- he did the first triathlon, Teen to Tot in 2002, then I picked it up in 2006, and reeled him back. He went to watch me race Hawaii in 2007, and then I've seen him progress in swimming, tri's, and especially running (xc & track) to the point that it's contagious to want to get fast. Watching a meet the other day it hit me. We're blood. I have speed. I should be fast, I will be fast.

Helping each other out with nutrition, ways to recover, ways to approach workouts, etc has been awesome. We've made a pact. We will see him top 3 at State and win Nationals in triathlon this year. We also will see me win my AG at every REMAINING race this year- including Worlds 70.3 Vegas and defending my IM Hawaii title, as well as get amateur at Honu & Vineman.

I make bold statements like this because I fully believe that if you cannot see and feel yourself winning then how the hell are you going to win?!

When I first started racing this is the kind of attitude that I had and it's what got me to Kona right away. My first half in Honu 2007, I had zero doubt that I would qualify for the World Champs. I got in the water that morning already a champion inside; and when I went on to train for October, I was training to win not to participate.

One of my favorite quotes is "what would you do if you knew you would not fail?"

To that dreaded word "balance"- I appologize. I have found a new meaning for it. It is not anything that counters an OCD approach to triathlon. Rather it is attaining a level of satisfaction in other things in life which ALLOW you to have that very anal approach to sport. In other words, being home and able to be with my family and physically go into an office for work (work which I cannot be handed when I am out of state), makes me not feel like I am a waste in the "real world".

Believe it or not, one of the most irritating things to me is the bashing I receive for "not working". I am tired of explaining myself. My immigration issues are not a joke. But in short, the part time job that I have when in CA takes me minutes a day. Thus other work that I could be doing, such as helping the HR department as I am now, is only possible when I'm physically present. It is a gutting void that makes me feel useless. All of my life I took pride in excelling academically and had aspirations of holding a respectable and challenging career (not sport!).

Anyway, having that void filled right now, however so small the drippings, is immensely satisfying.

----0----

Onto the training here in TX. My plan is to get to Hawaii and be cold. As it is, I will be. Getting on the trainer when it's humid beyond words under 90 degree sun for anything more than 30min does wonders.

Certain runs I've been doing in the heat of the day as well. I had never really monitored my sweat loss (weighing before and after) but it has proved very useful.

My biggest obstacle is having my stomach cooperate at the intensity I need to race at if I plan to achieve my goals (I am still kicking myself about Galveston!!). So knowing exactly how much salt, calories, and water I need to take at certain HRs and legs of the race is crucial.

I've also acclimated quite well to swimming in warm pool water. It dehydrates you more than you think. I am now very thankful to aquajoggers and old ladies that vote for those temps at my gym. For Hawaii, this matters.

That awesome 2000m swim race in Austin this Sunday will have to be scratched off my calendar :( I didn't see the crazy $115 entry fee!! But I love an excuse to go to Austin so I figured I might as well run around Town Lake and swim on my own at the Quarry to get some more open water. I love Boerne Lake because it's 20min from home but it's quite big and though they removed the gator last year, it's still very eery.

Plans to go watch IMTX have also been slashed. My mom and stepdad will be out of the country so I'm my brother's driver that weekend and I've decided to race a sprint in New Braunfels. It'll be cool as the swim is in the Guadalupe River and I haven't been there since my dad and I used to go Kayaking nearly every weekend up until I was in high school :)

** a little side note...I caved and went into Slowtwitch yesterday and read some thread on IMTX. Some dude had said that it will likely be a little cooler and less humid than Hawaii and that you don't ever see a bitching thread on Hawaii's conditions because likely its participants are more hardcore. My take: I've raced Hawaii 3 times, Honu 3 times, that makes six plus 2 training camps. 2009 Honu was the hottest I've experienced it and that's because we're running in the heat of the day in the part of the island that never gets rain/shade. The Texas 90-100F and the wretched humidity of Houston make Kona absolutely mild. To all those that think Kona is a hot race: No. The bike is hot I'll give you that. The humidity is mediocre and by the time the bulk of the age groupers are running on the Queen K the cloud cover has already cooled it down dramatically.

Just sayin'...I think anyone that does well in this inaugural event deserves some major kudos and their worries about the weather are understandable.***

Anywhoooo.....We're roughly 6 weeks out of my favorite race on planet Earth and I'm reaching the first peak of 2011 that I knew was possible.

I look fowrard to having an absolute blast the rest of the season.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Galveston 70.3

The trip to Galveston was one of the most enjoyable weekend "vacations" I've had in a while. When I was little(8-14yo), my mom and I used to drive all over Texas practically every weekend for my tennis tournaments. My mind is full of great memories from those short trips. Therefore, I very much looked forward to a long time on the road with her and my brother for this race.

We got there midday Friday, and checked into the Moody Gardens Hotel. This race venue is one of the most convenient for those who stay at the host hotel. The only other one I can think of that beats it purely due to its magestic scenery/environment is Honu. My mom was able to sleep in both race days while Daniel and I, repsectively, walked over to set up our transition well before the start time. Not only that, but if we forgot something all we had to do was take the elevator back up to the room and settle the panic in minutes.

After unpacking and getting athlete check-in over with, we showered and headed to dinner on the east side of the Island (what I gathered to be downtown/historical district). Both Friday and Saturday night we ate dinner at Willie G's. The water view was great and the seafood was super fresh.



After dinner, we were off to bed early for Daniel's sprint Saturday.

I walked down with Daniel at 5:30am the next morning so he could set up transition and his warm up jog worked perfect as my 20min run so, as is extremely rare, I got to run alongside him :)

Once he had to walk over to the swim start I went to look for my mom but she was already at the swim exit, camera in hand, waiting. Hehe

But I ran into Lisa Preeg (40ish yo superstar) whom I was surprised and delighted to see the day before (I trained with Lisa a couple years ago in SD and Austin, and we both raced Kona and Arizona the same year), and we watched the swim and then walked over to where my mom was.

Despite not having swum except a handful of times since last tri-season (August 2010), Daniel held his own in the water and came out 3rd in his wave. As well, on the bike he only came back down 1-2 min (I think 3 tops from the fastest dudes) even though he has ridden his bike on the trainer a few times a max of 45min! Looks like so much run training has more than kept him in shape.

Since he was the 3rd wave of men, when he came into transition it was hard to see where he would place overall, there were some men from the previous waves blasting out into the run course.

However, I knew that it would be extremely rare that someone could match this kid's step. He blew by us and ran up to all but two of the guys from the other waves.


In the end he finished 1st Overall with a 15:04 run split! He said his Garmin proved the run to be a tad short, but nevertheless- damn!


After awards, where he ran into some friends that also race Juniors, including Breanna Hemming, who's also his age and took female overall (stud!), we cleaned up and went to lunch.


I found an awesome place called the Lunchbox Cafe that uses local and, whenever possible, organic produce and meats and we had some awesome sandwiches. I can't remember the last time I had a sandwich haha. It had roasted turkey, hummus, olive spread, cucumber, tomato, and mixed greens :P


Anyway, after lunch it was my turn to put on the race wheels and check in my bike.

Now I'll fast forward to my race:

Let me preface by saying that I came into this race tapered- and I mean TAPERED. The longest ride I have done in the previous two weeks was 2.5hrs last Friday. Since getting home to San Antonio I've shifted my focus to spending lots of time in the office and gearing my training to short FAST stuff. It's been in the back of my head that so much long course (70.3 & IM) training and racing has begunt to settle me into a "steady pace" of racing; this is primarily highlighted in my running. So I've vowed to start training like an ITU athlete and racing long course, in the hopes of getting my fast twitch fibers to work again and preserve my body for the many years I plan on being in the sport.

My body felt great going into this 70.3 and my mind has(d) done a 180 since I left California. I'm motivated and confident as ever and I'm doing EVERYTHING as perfect as possible. Never, even when I started this sport and was a geek to the max, have I zoned into my training, nutrition, and recovery as narrowly as now.

Anyway, suffice to say race morning I was worried exclusively about my own day. 5:30am I set up my transition and then went back to the room to roll on the foam roller and stretch a bit while Daniel & my mom sloooowwwlllyyy woke up.

My start was 8:20 (2nd women's wave to the 45+W)- the pros took off at 7am, followed by ALL the AG men. There were some pros and cons to this delay. It was good in the sense that the air would be a bit warmer both for the start and for the remainder of the race (careful what you wish for though!), and there would be no issues with women drafting men.
The bad I only came to realize as the race played out: we were greeted with choppy water vs the calm bay of the early morning (due not only to mother nature but the dozen waves of men mixing up the water), the tight quarters on the 4loop run course on a golf cart-width path, as the fleet of women poured into the various men remaining on the course for their 2nd,3rd, & 4th loops, and lastly, the age group women got the HEAT of the day. Galveston worked like this: cloud cover until 10/11amish, and then clear and blazing sun/humidity till 2ish. So in my particular case, I finally enjoyed some clouds my final two loops of the run. The first two were cookin'.

Ok so the swim- perfect. I lined up front and center and hammered to the first turn boey about 600-700m out. I found the perfect draft of a girl that I knew was a swimmer. We only had some tightness at that turn boey and coming into the finish from having to weave through slower swimmers from the men's waves. I was at a comfortable but solid pace behind this girl and came out 3rd in my wave. I would've normally been very disappointed with a 31min swim, as my swim is doing great right now, but relative to the AG women's field I exited in good standing (the only real point of comparison, not the pros or AG men, as they got the similar conditions I refered to earlier).

Onto the bike it took me about 30min to get into a very enjoyable rythm and I was pushing as hard as I could. At around mile 15 a 23yo girl came by me and I kept her in sight until about mile 20. I just kept hammering away hoping I wouldnt hit the run with that big a deficit and that she may not be a runner. I had no intention of running over 1:35.

The bike was big crosswind and headwind to the turnaround at mile 28, and then fun as hell tailwind from 28-about mile 40, then some cross/tiny headwind again to the Moody grounds.

Into T2 I felt great as I had made sure to really hit my calories on the bike with my EFS pre mixed gel flask that I later topped with a double latte Power gel, and I had hydrated really well with 2.5 full aero drink thingy of water plus 1/2 bottle of Powerbar Perform.

My signature porta potty stop to pee was in order (I've come to terms with this). My legs felt great but "oh shit!" the same exact stomach issue that nailed me in Honu last year for the first 5k was back to squash my dreams of pulling out the run I knew I was ready for.

There's a good and bad to this. The bad is that I lost my AG win by <40sec and severall amateur spots by a couple of minutes, as well the pure frusteration of your legs & mind feeling amazing and limited to what your stomach dictates. The good- this had happened before and I knew it was due to not having adjusted my body to caloric intake at this intensity under this heat. After Honu last year, Vineman, that Oly in Austin, and Kona presented no stomach cramping at all.

The pain is a double side stitch with extreme tightness across the bottom of my rib cage to the point that I stopped at mile 2 to bend over and try to dig/ART my way out of this.

It took the first two loops of the run at a miserable jog pace to settle the cramping down. The last two loops I felt great and was able to pick it up to what I would've like the rest of my run to look like. I had taken plenty of salt so that was not the issue either. It's purely that eating/hammering in the heat thing. So hopefully now with that behind me and some more intense workouts in the 95F temps will yield a flawless race in Honu :)!!

I crossed the finish quite thrilled with where my fitness and overall preparation is at this time, and all but that cramping issue made for a fantastic race for me.

You can't win them all and though I really dislike second places, the girl who won was the best on the day.

I would've like to have known that someone was that close to me the 3rd or 4th loops of the run, as I thought she was more like 10min ahead, but oh well.

Well, after the race we showered, grabbed lunch, and came back to awards. This RD is no joke he starts everything on the dot so it was 4:08 and I had missed my name so i just picked up my award and we hit the road home!

I want to thank all our awesome sponsors for Team Nytro- my Zoot Prophet is the bomb and my Colnago is a helluva ride!!

This week holds a few recovery days and then a fun 80miler in Austin this wknd. But the true excitement is Daniel distrcit track meet Tues & Wed- 2mi, then 1mi the next day!!

Back to fine tune before Honu ;) Cannot wait to step on that Island!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Headcase

In the end, you are in charge of what you do or do not achieve. I am at a point now, 5 years since my first race, that I feel I've heard it all and read it all. We are saturated with knowledge. It is powerful but it can also be destructive.

I am my own worst enemy, primarily because I am never satisfied with my achievements- in sport, be that workouts or great races. I have a winner's high and then it's like my full glass is emptied and needs to be refilled; but this time it's a bigger glass. More more more, bigger, better, stronger, faster.

I've been told I need balance. Eh it's worked, I've normalized myself a lot more these last two years since I moved out here. Slowly, but surely. Now I've made friends, I've found a relative routine and played around with it here and there by going out some nights etc, and discovered that I still function the next day and everything will be ok.

However, I can only play at moderation for so long. I'm not good at it. I don't like it. It feels too balanced. I just don't like middle grounds. Extremities are for extremists, and I like the thrill of pushing the limits.

One of the reasons I don't like downtime is because I begin to conform. I'd rather see rest added into a gnarly block of training than something labeled a "rest period". I like wine, I notice that I have a few glasses at a party one night and I swim great the next day....next thing it's my new sleeping pill and I have an ongoing headache for a week- uhhhm hello, it could be that I'm fastracking my way to AA.....you see no good to tell me something is good for me. If so, it better not start having diminishing returns.

I digress. The point of this post is to face up to my current weakness: blocking out random noise. The facebook/twitter updates of "epic" training days, the opinions on overtaining, undertraining, intensity, lack thereof, eating right, eating TOO right, lack of sleep, too much sleep. While it's true that this can be avoided anywhere, I also want to disappear for a bit from the triathlon bubble that ironically I wanted so badly to be a part of when I packed my bags and moved out here in 2009.

Someone close to me said "you're running away".....my response is "yes". I'm running home to get my head straight. To be with my family, to be physically present at Brundage Mgt., and for 2 months stay away from all social media, and aside from some weekends in Austin, be distanced from anyone remotely devoted to triathlon.

I want to train as if I were invisible.

This is as close to a isolated camp as I can get with the comfort and support of those closest to me. I've said it over and over and I'll say it once more (if anything for my own motivation), this is my very last attempt to go Pro, at least for now. True I can go at it again a few years from now, but if this year it doesn't pan out I'm taking a break from this level of committment for a while to focus on furthering the growth of other areas of my life.

So I'm signing off until Hawaii 70.3. I have a big week ahead and leaving for Texas on Thursday. I'll probably post a Galveston race report. Other than that, it's time go to work and hold myself accountable for whatever the outcome may be.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blog Blurrr

This is a short little update on what I'm up to. I've had a lack of desire to blog frankly because nothing interesting is going on so there's not much to say. I train, I eat, I sleep. Woohooo!

Training has been good. I have some little bike issues that yield niggles here and there on IT bands, hamstrings, peroneal tendons etc etc...really very frustrating. I'm trying to get to the bottom of this issue that's been driving me crazy for the past couple of years. Through the help of Rob at Elite Care Chiro, John Howard, and my own intuition I believe I'm on the right path to getting this fixed once and for all.

Other than that, all is good. I'm not injured, just desperately trying to prevent "niggles" from transforming into actual injuries that bench me.

In two weeks I get to see my studly friends kick some arse at Oceanside 70.3...if I'd won the coin toss, I'd elect to go second, thereby I'm glad they go kick off and I follow the weekend after at Galveston's 70.3

Helps to see where the line is being drawn ;)

After Galveston I've decided to remain in Texas until departing for Hawaii at the end of May.

Why? I woke up 2 days ago with the feeling that I needed to be home. When a strong gut feeling hits me, I don't think twice. Usually when I debate things in my head, and/or seek advice it's because that instinct/deep-seated knowledge (or intuition) isn't speaking loud enough if at all. I've always been very close to my family and a homebody so despite the fact that I call Encinitas my home- the greatest percentage of my heart attaches to where my family is.

Also, it's already in the 80s mid day there, by late April it'll be in the 90s. Moreoever, I found some great bike rallies of 80-100miles pretty much every wknd before Honu, and on the few that don't have organized rides in SA or Austin, I'll be heading to Austin to swim at the Quarry, join UT masters, and get in some longer rides with friends I haven't seen in a long while.

Lastly, I will probably race Cap Tex Tri- one of my favorite Olympic distance races, or of any distance actually. Daniel is also going to race the Oly so it'll be just like waaay back in 2007/2008 :)


Some random fun stuff:
1) on March 29 I will be rocking out at the Lady Gaga concert downtown with Katya and an old friend from high school, Kailtyn- Ra, ra, Ra, ra, RA!!!
2) I finished Stieg's trilogy- Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Girl Who Played with Fire, Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest...and OMG amazing!! I went through them as if I were on speed- so thrilling! I love anything that has fraud, consipracy, murder, social/psycho analysis, etc so this was right up my alley.........now I'm onto Inside Wiki Leaks which is also really good I think I'll be done in just two days, ha. I had gone into B&N to get The Social Animal by David Brooks but they were out of stock so picked this one up and no regrets.


Cool, that's it.

Peace

Monday, March 7, 2011

Desert Tri

I felt the need to cover up that Vegas post with something triathlon related. I swear, I really do train & race ;)

This weekend was the Desert Olympic out in Palm Springs- it was my first triathlon of the season and I'm always very glad I do these local races before jumping into 70.3s, where I thoroughly expect to be in top form.

The race went a lot better for me than I anticipated- not in terms of times or placement, but in "feel". Since starting up training in January my run has felt sluggish and off. But in the Palm Springs Half Marathon, despite tired legs, I felt that little bit of lightness and spark and it gave me hope. Finally in the last couple of training runs I've had that spring in my step that makes you feel like a runner and usually results in the runner's high of wanting to go on forever.

Anyway back to yesterday's race...

The swim was a s*itshow for the first 5-10min and it's my fault for not remembering what I promised myself after my good swim in Cozumel: line up as the FIRST swimmer. Our wave was elite M&F and M25&U, and I had a couple of people in front of me when they said "go", so when I dove into the little lake I didnt go out far enough and basically stayed in place getting jumped on for what seemed like forever while the group of faster swimmers that I planned to be with- & honestly should be with after what I'm consistently producing in the pool- was off and away :(
So I got a bit beat up, at one point my goggles loaded with water thanks to a kind elbow, but once we turned that first bouey I found some good feet and got into a nice rythm back to shore.

From there all else was good- nothing to complain about. The bike is pancake flat and I just rode as hard as I could. It took me about 30min to get rid of stiff legs and get rolling, and found my way into transition chomping at the bit to put on my Newtons!

The run was the best part of the day :)! I came out in 2nd and held that for about a mile. Meanwhile, Erin S tucked behind me until a spectator said "good job ladies" and blew her cover (the whole time I heard breathing right behind me, I was like "please be a dude") haha...and that's when she passed me. I couldn't hang and she got me by about 40sec. So it was 3rd for me, and I'm psyched about probably one of my best runs in an Oly since I can remember. I'll take it so early in the year :)!

That's it. More training and 5 wks left for Galveston 70.3!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vegas!

I get why they call it Sin City. What else is there to do on a couple of miles of barren terrain lined with nothing but posh hotels/casinos, restaurants, and nightclubs?!
Traveling with two other triathlete friends, Tawnee & Sara, I'd say we kept things at a more appropriate level than 99% of people- especially our age. Still, for those of us with the lifestyle of a physically active 70yr old- i.e. bedtimes before 9 (ehhm sometimes 7!), our primary source of alcohol being the miniscule amount found in Kombucha, multiple workouts a day, gluten free this, raw that....it was definitely a SHOCK to the system during our 48hr adventure.
Nevertheless, it was a blast, and so worth it. To be remembered, but perhaps not repeated...anytime soon that is, ha.
So we lett Friday afternoon and hit some traffic but managed to get there with plent of time to check in and plan out our night.
We Started out with a delicious dinner at Botero at the Wynn, and then I made a little money at the blackjack table :)

Then, as Sara's friend Chelsea is one of the acrobats for La Reve- a badass show that resembles Cirque du Soleil but all about water- she scored us free front row tickets! Not only that, but after the show we went backstage to see their wardrobe room and get an insight into how the show functions so smoothly night after night- so cool! Those people are incredible athletes...makes me feel like a wimp!

Following the show we went to a club called Surrender, but the guys were very disappointing and so after a couple of hours we decided to call it a night and save up for tomorrow.
We went to bed at a very innocent 1:30am. 7am ish, we were wide awake and eager to get some sort of workout in- yes, GEEKS!
Urban running on the strip! Powered by the frequent inhalation of cigarette smoke.

Then, since that wasn't enough, I googled a lap pool, which turned out to be pretty good, and we actually cranked out a pretty solid set of 3700yds. I was very surprised to have what I'd ordinarily call a good swim. Ironic.
Can you tell we just got done swimming?

How do you hydrate post swim in Vegas at 4pm?? Pre-drinking with a bottle of wine and two or three Diet Cokes & Rum, of course.
Night two was epic....

Stayin' classy we headed over to the Bellagio for dinner at Olives where I had an amazing buffalo sirloin (medium very rare, please!) with baconed brussel sprouts and mashed butternut squash :P

Time for the Black Keys! But not without a couple of shots at the Cosmo:

One of the highlights of the night was the guy with the pigtail-ed beard in a pink onesy- HOT!

The Black Keys were awesome!! Lots of head-banging and my-feet-killing-me-in-those-heels later, and more drinks at the Chandelier Bar before Chelsea once again hooked us up with a bouncer-escorted entrance into the Marquee.
But by then I was dead! The club was packed to the point of not having room to breathe- except outside but it was freeeeezzziiiing. Yes I had a large coat but I took that to coat-check right away so I lasted like an hour and a half before I told Tawnee I was out. She was supposed to come with me but we got seperated and we couldn't get texts/calls so all of us ended up going back to the room by ourselves in intervals of about an hour haha.
By the time Sunday rolled around we were ready to get out! I'd had enough of waking up to casino lights and cigarette smoke on my way to Starbucks.
Such deviations make you appreciate our healthy lifestyle so much. I don't understand those that live the nightlife for years.
My favorite form of trashing myself in one go is Ironman.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Palm Springs

What a fun weekend! I feel so lucky to be part of a team comprised of such great women!
Kristin & I drove out early Friday afternoon and got to Lori's in plenty of time to settle in & chit chat while she cooked up a delish dinner.
The next day we were up mega early (especially me with my crazy 4am wake ups, ha) to get rolling ahead of the masses for the century.
It was freeeeezzzziiiiing the first hour but then it warmed up quickly to the most perfect mid 70s in clear sunny skies. We were very fortunate with weather this weekend as this upcoming one is supposed to be roughly 20deg colder and possibly raining! I stripped off my top layer of pants, socks, long sleeve baselayer gloves, and arm warmers within the first 90min :)
I spent the majority of the ride with Polly who let me just say is a badass- she drilled the century at a solid pace as well as the half with our bonus warm up (more on this later) all with insane pain from a root canal!!
The ride was so much fun. We got to the house at 105mi at around 5:20ride time (I think).
The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging by the pool, which was the perfect ice bath temperature and definitely helped all of us for the half mary the following day.
Another yummy homemade dinner, more red wine, and then we took a short trip over to hang with the Rehab United crew. The night wouldn't have been complete withouy froyo so we hit up Golden Spoon.
Not enough sleep later, it was time for 13.1....however, I rallied Polly to warm up from the house to the race start with me which we had mapped out to be 3.6 miles. 50min of running later, we had warmed up like 6 miles to the start- we had to book it when we were told it was "about a mile and a half that way"... literally got there as the announcer was going "four, three, two, one!..." haha awesome.
Needless to say I had my gel before mile 2 :)
The great thing about this bonus run beforehand was that I logged in good mileage for the day without having to gun out a cool down jog after that race effort and it exaclty mimicked the feeling in the legs that comes in aorund mile 18-20 of IM marathon.
At 6miles into the race I was with a little group holding 6:20;6:35s and thought wow, I may just break 1:30 today. But then at mile 8 my feet were throbbing and my legs weighed a ton each. Holding sub 7:30s was a big task.
My coach was actually happy with this as it made for excellent training, and proved my run hasn't completely disappeared. Now a mellow week and then Sin City!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Finalized Schedule

On the right hand side....I think this is the final decision. I'm registered for all of them except Vegas which I still have to qualify for.

I was toying with the idea of not attending 70.3 Worlds again and using all the expenses tied into that race for a longer stay in Kona before Ironman. However, I actually want to race worlds now that it is in a hilly (hopefully draft-free) venue and close to home.

Also, there are some fast girls my age in those 70.3's, but wouldn't it be cool to be 70.3 and Ironman World Champ the same year?! Yes.

After my partially self-inflicted exhaustion, it took one day- last Monday- of full blown sleep to recover. Overtraining is bull- I adhere to the belief of under-recovering as the culprit. So once I recoverd I bounced right back and the fact that it took <2 days means I was not burried, I am simply working hard.

Friday was a swim only day so I scheduled the blood work that coach Paul has been asking me for since January of last year. I hate needles, but I obliged :) I highly doubt I am deficient in Iron as I have never, and will NEVER be vegetarian/vegan (anyone that knows me knows I love a good steak!). But at least Paul can see whatever it is that my blood results will reveal.

The weekend was much lighter in training than the past few. I drove north to ride Santiago Canyon and do a short trun on Saturday. Sometimes I just need to get away from the coast, change scenery, and ride by myself. It was a good day, warm and sunny. Then I hit Mother's Market for a good late breakfast.

Sunday was a long run that felt like mile 20 of Ironman the whole time...."are we there yet?!?!" But a fun Super Bowl gathering made up for that.

That brings us to yesterday which made it very clear that I need to stay away from wine, or any form of alcohol because I have zeroooo tolerance. A few glasses the night before and I was useless that morning! Instead of dragging my unwilling a** to the pool early, I ate breakfast and went back to sleep. Then kept waiting until I actually felt like swimming. Go figure, I swam well when I actually wanted to be in the water! That's all I did :)

Today... What happens when you go to sleep at 8:30? You wake up at 3:30. FML! So I'll be swimming by 5:30 only to have time to go back to sleep for a few hours before heading over to The Wolf Studio for a run LT test. Oh joy!

Last time I got tested was back in 2008- the whole deal- metabolic testing, VO2, bike/run blood LT. Honestly, I doubt my HR zones have changed at all but at least I'll know for SURE. Now that I have my new pink Garmin I might as well use it correctly. Who knows, training with numbers again might make me super duper fast. Watch out!

Almost time to hit the pool, I'll hopefully take some post-able pics this weekend in Palm Springs century/half marathon and put em up early next week.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

First block of 2011 DONE

Things are going very well right now. Sunday I ran the Carlsbad Half Marathon, and though I didn't even come close to a PR, let alone break 1:30 (1:33), I am content knowing that I ran the best that I could on that day and after a tremendous 3 week build back into training.

I've tried not to sit still at all except on key recovery days and after 4ish- if I'm not s/b/r'ing you can find me on the tennis court! Bedtimes have been in the 7-8:30pm range which is grand. Sleep is great and I'm eating close to perfect.

The weather in San Diego has been spectacular- 70's by 10am pretty much this whole month! We are very lucky to live here...or smart.

There's really nothing exciting to report. I'm not going to Noosa for camp in March- it's too expensive, gets in the way of any work I have to do, and is a little sketchy immigration wise. Hopefully I get to go to Tucson, as that is another fantastic camp.

February will be cool. Our Nytro Women's team is heading to Palm Springs for that century/half mary weekend of the 11&12. Then I head to Vegas with Tawnee and Sara for the Black Keys concert the following weekend- stoked on that short escapade as I've never been to Vegas :)

I may sneak in Galveston 70.3 early April, but if not, there's no triathlon-ing in my radar until May.

That's my incredibly thrilling life for ya ;)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm Back!

AHHHHH!!! Words cannot describe the feeling of landing in San Diego this past Saturday :)

To make things even better, we had a little get-together for New Year's Day so I went from zero humans for the past month, to socializing with my favorite peeps!

Sunday morning I couldn't wait to get on the pool deck for masters. Hux signaled me over to lane 2, and though it hurt to swim longer than 45min at that pace, being in the water daily in Cancun paid off! My swimming is at an all time best, and I can't wait to work on it even more this year. I'll be in that lane huffing and puffing as long as it takes until I can lead it...hopefully that will transfer my Cozumel swim time into Kona.

Running also feels fantastic. Today I ran my longest since IM- 75minutes. Julie took me along the coast from Carmel Valley down to the fairgrounds and it was a great route- constantly rolling with like 2 long graduals. It was an awesome way for us to catch up too :)

Also, yesterday was my first "strength" workout at Rehab United and I loooooved it! It's a fun group of people and a kick ass session. No doubt it will play a big role in my fitness this year.

Lastly, I picked up my beautiful Colnago Flight at Nytro yesterday!!! Andrew helped me swap my parts from the Cannondale, and today I'm headed to Matt's for a fit. I know it will take about 3 weeks to feel "right" on the bike again, but I also know from how fired up I am and how great my body feels that 1) I was TRASHED after Cozumel...and 2) the long break sans bike and with all short non structured stuff is key to how AMAZING I KNOW this year will be for me.

I had A LOT, and I mean AAA LOOOOT, of alone time in Cancun to think about where I am in life, in this sport, and what I want and know I can accomplish this year and a couple of years from now. But more importantly, this year, as that is what's in the present. Being away from the US, specifically from the privileged place that is San Diego and the life I live here, with such a great support system in my family, friends, and coach, helped me realize more than ever how fortunate I am and how everything is set up like a fairy tale for my success.

I'm starting 2011 with what I guess you could call "resolutions" in my head. But most of them are concepts that you really cannot describe in writing or even verbally. They are modes of approaching situations, people, training sessions, races, achievements, and failures that stem from my 23 years of life. Every day you learn something new, but new years allow us to reflect on a much deeper level and offer a globally unified opportunity to "start fresh"- a great feeling!

Some of my changes will be noticeable, others not. Some might make sense to others, others not. But rest assured, I've thought things over and what I will do is what's best for me....IMHO ;)

Anyway, I snatched a bib from a seller on Craigslist for the Carslbad Half so that will kick off my racing for 2011! After that, Palm Springs Century and 1/2 Marathon in early Feb....and the rest is on the right hand pannel of my blog ;)