Monday, January 25, 2010

A good start

Sunday's Half went well. Although I paced it like a total rookie, I'll take that 1:30with a smile on my face at this point in the season. What we perceive as flat on a bike definitely changes once you're running that's for sure! Those rollers along the Carlsbad coast made for some good hurtin'.
It was chilly at the start- low 40s, but we couldn't have asked for a better day- light winds, sunny, & clear as can be. It's always enjoyable to come up to, or be caught by other runners and motivate each other along the way. I had two guys in the middle of the race that I exchanged words of encouragement with, and a girl the last 1-2mi that accompanied me to a fun "sprint" at the finish.

Today's a much needed day OFF, which is good because I can finish some extra work to free myself for the wk ahead, and take care of errands, among them getting the oil changed in my car that's about to die on me.

This week will be gnarly, and in turn a blast :) I've got the Swami's ride that's made a permanent mark on my schedule on Wednesdays, and two other longish ones for the wknd with some long runs after each- should be a good challenge!

Friday be sure to stop by the Tri Expo in San Diego!!! I'll be with CEEPO roughly the whole day (11am-7pm).

Saturday I debated getting a ticket for the Endurance Sports Awards, but with the upcoming trip to Canada and other race fees left to pay, it's just not worth it. Plus, it looks as though my Team and I wil be getting together for dinner up in OC- no offense ESA's but that sounds way more fun ;)

No racing this weekend, but am already signed up for Xterra Mission Gorge 15km trail run on Sun Feb 7 which I am thrilled about. I just loooove running trail and this will be my first trail race! I'll be doing that one & Black Mountain in March.

The week after it's off to Victoria for some a** whoopin' (where I'll be the lucky victim hehe).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ready? GO!

Yay! Let the racing begin! First event of the year tomorrow- Carslbad Half Marathon. So glad I got to in thanks to a friend deciding to transfer her entry over. This run is in my backyard, though I've only cycled along the course, never really ran north of Leucadia along the coastline- note to self to start heading that direction.

Anyway, the weekend kicked off good. Last night was Beth & James' bday get together at Wine Steals. I'd never been there and loved it! The food looked delish & the wine kept flowin' so will make a plan to revisit soon!

The season hasn't really started (right?!) so I had a few glasses :)

Today was an early start for a mini run on the treadmill and straight to swim practice. Thankfully after the warm up I remembered coach had told me to include a 30min straight swim for distance because the main set sounded too similar to Friday's. So I hopped into my own lane and got that taken care of.

After breakfast it was off to the Expo, then came home and crashed into a 2hr nap! Ahh soo wonderful. Tonight, I'll be having dinner with my friend Katherine and her husband who came in from Arizona for the race. I met Katherine back in July when I visited the CEEPO gang. See, Gus, who works for CEEPO, also manages a tri coaching company with his wife Bettina called Racelab, so in the weekend I spent there we did some training with there group of which Katherine's a member. I kept in touch with a lot of them and was happy to catch up again during Ironman Arizona.

Tomorrow should be fun and beautiful as the rain has finally cleared out! However, I do suspect slightly cooler temps...Another reminder to look for Tawnee and I after the race to donate your race shirts for Haiti.

Monday, January 18, 2010

RAHA Triathlon

We finally got together for lunch, after a couple of weeks settling down from our off season travels. Tawnee, Lauren, Sara and I met with Brad, our agent/manager at Sundried Tomato Cafe in San Clemente- which by the way is super good!!

What we have coming up for races in 2010, non profits we want to align ourselves with, and sponsorships for now through years to come is super exciting! We're young, driven, and passionate about the sport of triathlon and a healthy lifestyle. We have much to achieve and together, am sure, will be able to surpass our expectations, and have a positive effect on others along the way.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Week 1

Finished to perfection :)
I thought my arms wouldn't function by today- but am absolutely loving 6day swim weeks!! I've always thought swimming is like tennis- where one day out and your "feel" is gone. It has been completely verified.

Rainy weather got in the way of me joining the "Wednesday ride" for the first time. All last year I steered clear of Swami's & other group rides but am glad coach has them on schedule now because it's a sure way for me to get in a hard workout and be pushed more than I would myself riding alone. I'm apprehensive of such groups now that I'm sans road bike, but know to keep off my aero bars so knock on wood there are no accidents to come.

Anyway, that morning I was ready to go as it was only slightly drizzling, but by the time I stepped out the door, bike in hand, it came down hard! So I said "screw it" and pulled out the trainer. 15-20min after it died down, but by then I wouldn't make the start of the ride so just went out solo for my own tempo 3hrs and came back drenched anyhow.

Aside from lots of swimming and semi long riding, today marked my longest training run since pre-Kona! 2hrs of trail goodness :) It was cold for my standards so gloves, beannie, longsleeves/pants I drove out to RSF early and got a good 30min warm up on my own, then joined Caroline G for the 11ish mile loop and we were clicking along at a solid pace. We were both pretty surprised to be running this well, low HR's and perceived effort (as we planned for a cruisy long run), having both ridden pretty long & hard yesterday- Caroline had climbed Palomar.

So that's that- all's good. Feeling the fitness coming along well and the body is whole.

Next week's forecast sucks- all rainy and chillier. Good thing is it's more of a swim/run focus for me so aside from having to suck it up this Wednesday on the Swami's ride, I'll be on the trainer for short periods the other days.

Swimming everday except Sunday and getting the legs going w/ track Tues, another long run Thurs, and hopefully having some step for the C-bad Half Mary on Sunday!

Speaking of Sunday- Tawnee & I will be collecting finishers shirts from those wanting to donate them for the victims of Haiti. If you're running please come find us near the finish, or if you're just spectating, bring an unwanted NEW shirt to give away :D

We'll be shipping those off the following Monday to Fashion Delivers- an organization sending items to Haiti.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Turning Pro

It's no secret that's my immediate goal. I want to get my pro license at the end of this year. In 2009, I moved to California with that same goal in mind, and boy was it a learning experience. Looking back, I am soooo greatful for everything I experienced despite not even coming slightly close to that achievement. There are a lot of reasons for why I came up short on my overall finishes that would've prompted me to get my pro card; and as I start this year, I will take all of the lessons learned and make the necessary changes.

2010 will be a more mature journey on the route to racing as a pro and I look forward to blogging about it and invite you to read along :D

First- a look back at my 2009 mistakes/obstacles:

1) Lack of stability.
They say moving is as stressful as getting a divorce, the death of a loved one, or losing one's job. Well, thankfuly, neither of those have happened to me but after moving 4 times in less than 6 mths I can definitely tell you it's no cakewalk!!
I went from nannying at a family's house in Mission Viejo that I had only met online/by phone from Jan - early March, to the house of a new friend I made in those few months, in San Clemente, to a more stable/comfortable environment at the Mayer's house in Encinitas March- early June....and FINALLY to my own apartment in Encinitas as well mid June to the present.

CORRECTION: This year, definitely gets started with much greater balance having my apartment and zero plans to move an inch other than to a few races & a training camp.

2) Financial/immigration mayhem.
I spent all last year under OPT status (optional practical training) where I could only work part time in a marketing (my major) related field. After the nanny gig, I had to keep relying on my parents for money, albeit sending tons of resumes to any place that would file me under a part time marketing position. Damn the economy! I never got lucky. I babysat here & there, and did some packaging stuff for my friend Andrew- Beaker Concepts- but 99% of my expenses were still provided by my family (mom & stepdad).

As well, I raced scared, which looking back took some of the enjoyment off my racing. I got into this sport and fell in love with it because it was MY thing. MY goals, and I got a bit of satisfaction that my family knew close to nothing about it so the tennis expectations/pressures that led to my burnout were gone. Why was I racng scared? Because I felt like every race was make it or break it in regards to the plan of filing me P-1 or O-1 visa (for athletic accomplishments) at the end of the year.

After Kona, I realized how stupid this was. Not only had I lost perspective on the fun of the sport, but also on how little it mattered at the end of the day, because nothing really changes if you win or lose on the grand scale of things. My family and friends still love me and are alive/healthy, and actually getting my green card visa was the smartest option for my long term future. I just didn't know if I was going to be able to land a job that would grant me a H-1B workers visa until my stepdad offered me a job at Sun Loan.

CORRECTION: I now have a part time job with Sun Loan that enables me to have greater financial independence, and feel like I deserve what I'm doing in triathlon a lot more. In 2009, I felt like everytime I'd swim, bike, or run, I was a bum because I wasn't pro, I had no job, and it felt like I was just going out to "play".

3) Waaay too many equipment changes.
This sport, like any sport or skill, requires practice of repetitive motions. That in essence is "training". I made soo many changes particularly to my cycling that never enabled me to adapt and improve. I went from a Cervelo 49 P3, to that same bike with a 56/46 chain, which led to a knee injury, a change in bars, stems, you name it. Finally back to a 53/39 on the P3, then to a CEEPO 45 (too small), constant cleat, saddle, bar adjustments to feel comfortable on a frame too small, to finally a CEEPO Venom 51, 700c right before IMAZ (like 1.5wks before).

CORRECTION: I finally got a fit that works. I am comfortable and am not making any changes.

4) Too much steady effort/emphasis on volume, no intensity, no listening to my gut/body.
I did 1 track workout the whole year, added road intervals on my own a couple times because I craved intensity, and my rides were ALL steady and only saw power spikes/HR elevations because of terrain changes (ie climbing).

CORRECTION: I feel the coaching philosophy/background of LifeSport matches what I believe in and what I need at my age for the level I want to achieve. There won't be crazy volume (obviously for Kona prep it does get high), but the main emphasis will be on intensity- getting fast, increasing my FTP. Also, because so many areas of my life (home, financial, equipment) are stable, I will be able to devote an insanely larger amount of time to recovery/rest.

5) Being FAT. Like VERY fat!
I spent the whole year at roughly 10-15lbs over my ideal weight. True, in the early part of the season you don't want to be at your leanest, but that means 2-5lbs not carrying around a layer of insulation that leaves you huffing and puffing. I was able to swim a bit better due to bouyancy though haha.

There are no excuses when it comes to weight. It's logic. Calories in, calories out. While that's true, it is bullshit that because you did a 5hr ride you can eat whatever you want. It is also BS, that what I eat you can eat or vice versa. Everyone has a different metabolic rate. Some people can get away with eating crap, or just eating a lot of calories, and never gain weight. Others eat a carrot and balloon.

Although I've eaten insanely "clean" no junk, sweets/deserts, sodas, as little processed food, etc etc as possible since I was 16, 2009 was a year where I did not listen to what my subconscious was telling me, and I became a wimp. I was a wimp because I ate whenever I was hungry, I obliged to the athletes need carbs mantra, and I ignored my gut that told me "No! Although a lot of professinal athletes keep it a bit hush hush, there is a great amount of sacrifice that needs to be made to race at that level, with that little body fat." As an example, no offense, but the tour riders are not healthy, they are in amazing "form" but not what I would call healthy.

CORRECTION: 2010 and beyond it's performance over health. Call me crazy, stupid, I don't give a crap anymore. I know what I want to achieve, and I know how to do it. I am not blessed with a Ferrari of a metabolism, so for me to be lean/get to my ideal race weight, I do have to go to bed hungry more times than not.

If when I'm 40 and older this comes back to haunt me because I get osteoperosis, or whatever other illness people can come up with as a result of what I will practice the next 15 years, so be it. As long as I have a winner's crown to justify it, I can deal.


So, it's simple- all out, no regrets. There's a fine window for professional sports and I will make the most of it.

Today marks my first day in 2010 of a coached schedule. Carlsbad Half Marathon will be my first event of the year, and I'm off to training camp in Victoria, BC at the start of Feb.

Let it be in writing - my goals for 2010:
Win my AG at every tri I enter
Top 3 amateur F, top 10 overall F at all 70.3s
Top 3 amateur at Kona, win my AG, get my Pro card

I hope everyone has a great season and may you reach all your goals!!


Friday, January 8, 2010


Starting this year 3 friends and I- Sara Davis, Lauren Chiodini, and Tawnee Prazak- will be racing for/represented by RAHA SPORTS (
We're very excited about this opportunity as we feel that being young women in such a fast growing sport, gives us a platform to promote health, fitness, and social responsability to both older and younger generations.
Our key mission is to align ourselves with companies that understand the significant relationship between our environment, sport, and well being. We're driven not just by love for triathlon, competition, and to achieve our utmost potential, but also by the desire to be a strong force in the green movement.
Our sponsors for 2010 and beyond are still in the making, and we look forward to establishing relationships both inside and outside the multisports industry. Given that we're all in our early 20's, we have plenty of time to inflict change and fulfill our role as leaders.
Look out for us at an event near you ;)!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Immigration 101

Ok so my life's pretty much an open book- I tell things like they are and I vent about issues that some may deem very personal (which has bit me in the butt more than a few times) but that's just who I am.

That said, if you know me in the least, you're aware that I have an immigration problem- namely the fact that after living in the U.S. for >16yrs I still struggle with visas, employment problems, etc.

Many friends have reached out wondering how this can be, offering advice, or just seeking to understand why the hell I have such a hard time staying here. After all who is oblivious to the millions of illegal workers that cross the border from Mexico every day?!?!

So let me explain......(I'll do this in bullet form to make it shorter and more reader friendly)

- unless you plan on washing dishes or picking strawberries, hopping the border isn't going to enable you to make a living in the U.S.

- there are tourist visas where you have to prove an intent to return to your home country (ie no family ties in the US, etc) and you go back at max every 6mths. - which is what my parents did for a long time

- you are a student F-1 visa at a private institution in the U.S (you prove residency and stable family income in your home country, and other stuff)...this is what I did through college

- you marry an american citizen, or are the son/daughter of an american (<21yrs old), or you are born mom remarried (a legit relationship btw) but did so after I turned 18 so I was an adult and couldn't be filed under this new family tree

- you are an outstanding athlete (or musician, artisit, whatever) 0-1 visa, or secondary to that P-1 visa...I sought the P-1 in 2009 but my accomplishments fell short and also a P-1 only allows you to live/train here not work so how would I eat?! Also, I would have to prove, as in a tourist visa, an intent NOT to stay in the US- impossible now for me because my little brother was born here and my mom is now a resident, almost citizen, and I've lived here so long it's obvious I like it here ;)

- you invest a certain amount of a couple hundred grand, or open a company that employs a large number of Americans,....perhaps if I won the lottery

- you get a Green Card through a company that hires you for work- where you prove that you have qualifications that are needed, no other American can fill the job (more or less), etc ....this is what I'm doing for Sun Loan is an expensive process for the employer so 99% of companies avoid it and hire an American instead of me. This is my best option and the one I chose because I can earn money, which I need to live.

- for those wondering about getting my masters, ie another student visa. well, do you want to pay that extended schooling for me? also, again, I cannot prove an intent not to stay anymore.

- ideally, there would be exceptions in US immigration policy for unique cases like mine. good, honest, hard working people, that have fully assimilated to the American culture and language, and seek to pursue their own American Dream

- I would give anything to be able to work like all other Americans and have equal chances to being hired. But hiring me is a pain for the employer and expensive. I'd love to work part time at a bike shop, as a receptionist at some office, whatever to keep pursuing my athletic goals. Were it not for my part time job from Sun Loan I would literally be facing having to go back to a country where I do not feel at home.

So now......

I go to Mexico for a new visa- Green Card one. More mountains to climb
1) get there 2-3 days ahead of set appt date to renew passport and pay the Mexican bank, Banamex a processing fee that you need to show a receipt for at the consulte
2) arrive at 6:15am at the consulate and wait 3-5 hrs...this is Mexico so plan on waiting the full 5hrs
3) present your documents to the consulate, one little thing wrong or not filled out and they don't have time for you and say bye bye make another appt come back again (weeks more of waiting if that happens)
4) say you get the visa, wait 5-10 days, Mexican terms this could mean WEEKS, for it to be delivered in your passport to your home.
5) some day, hopefully by Christmas, I can fly back to California and may also be denied entry at the airport for whatever reason (unlikely but still it's a fear I cannot get rid of)

Why is Mexico so bad Tatiana? Lots of people live there, lots of people do triathlons, run marathons, etc from Mexico...You guys have pretty beaches....

Mexico City does not have a beach. It is a smog filled valley with approx 29million people. Anything a mile or more away takes at least 1hr due to traffic. I don't feel at home there at all (I feel the same way an American would if they were thrown into my trip), I don't have a car, my mom and brother are in the US, I refuse to eat the meat, yes I'm a spoiled American first worldist who needs her Trader Joe's/Whole Foods (people this is not my fault, my parents brought me here when I was young to have a healthier life)....I become a gym rat because I will cough up a lung trying to do any activity outside, I have constant fear of being assaulted (there's lots of white people in Mexico believe it or not, but I'm still "guerita" and that does me no good). Plus, my discomfort shows and I could easily be labeled a tourist because of how lost I look.

I could go on forever.

Anyway, this is the summary of my immigration issue. Thanks to all who care and I my hope is that one day (I pray soon) my story can touch the ears of more powerful people in government and perhaps change legislation and set precedent for future cases like mine.