Thursday, September 14, 2017

Turning in my chip- the final blog entry.

This past June, at Ironman Boulder, I gave EVERYTHING I had both physically and emotionally.

In 2012 I was forced to abandon triathlon- it was a huge turning point in my life that in retrospect I am forever grateful for. It took me back to my roots in Mexico (where I swore I'd never live- the irony is awesome) where I connected with some amazing people, and experienced both challenges and gifts that I'd never imagined life would throw at me.

This time, in the middle of a World Championship race, around mile 30 of the bike, I looked around at the motivated, fit girls zooming by, and all I could think of with a slight grin on my face was "dang, I'd rather be at brunch right now". In a sudden moment of clarity, I knew I was done; that life in sport had come full circle for me, and that this time I was CHOOSING to exit. I felt healed, strong, and armed with knowledge of what I want in life, and this was far from it!

So, I rolled into T2, and turned in my chip to an official who asked "are you sure you're finished?", and without hesitation, I said "yes, I am sure".

I knew if I continued to run, despite the fact that my back was also screaming, I could rally to the finish and there was the risk that endorphins, mixed with "I did it despite x..." could lead me to continue down this rabbit hole and through Hawaii and who knows what.

But my soul, my deep down desire of self and purpose, said "No, stop! There is so much more you want, and if you keep at this you're just distracting yourself from, and delaying what you yearn for to enter".

They say when you really close a door, another opens. So this is my dare to the Universe (or whatever you want to call it)... the door is closed. What do you have in store now?

Last year, I had a taste of the perfect balance- where I could share sport as a hobby, whilst living life as a normal young woman. Just shy of getting the job, settling into a relationship, and connecting all the little dots, it all shattered. It was one of the biggest blessings in disguise, because through that, and in the months that followed, I grew the equivalent of a decade as a person.

I gripped triathlon again full force, and used it to propel me out of grief, and into relentless power. Once that had been achieved, once I reclaimed my strength, I just went through the motions of training because I was having a blast with friends and trips, and "workouts", but my body was exhausted, and my heart was ready to move on for no one else but ME.

One of my favorite quotes, sums it up perfectly. I hope that in reading this, just as I'm told I've inspired people to train and race, I hope others are inspired to own their downs just as much, if not more, than their ups, and voice their emotions so they can connect, learn, and ascend into so much more than they thought possible- it's the essence of being human. There's no shame in expressing your feelings, and feeling them through. It's the only real, raw, vulnerable, and courageous way to heal and grow.

"I sought help when I needed it and honored my feelings instead of trying to 'be strong' and 'man up' just so everyone could think I was some emotional superwoman. My true strength came from acknowledging my weaknesses, my fears, my heartbreak, and myself." - N. A.

Now, sitting in a Starbucks, at the place where my and THE triathlon seed was planted- Encinitas, CA- I have peace and open arms for whatever follows, and am thoroughly enjoying working out for pleasure.

There's no list of goals or OCD planning- because life has taught me that the most wonderful things can never be anticipated, because they are usually greater than anything you could've dreamed up or written down.

Maybe I'll get a job in CA, maybe in Mexico, maybe abroad? Maybe I'll travel a few months.. Maybe I'll fall in love again...

Maybe all of the above

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Life is full of them, in every context. Some we open/close overnight, others take longer, maybe even years. Whatever the case, it's when we heed the lessons life is trying to teach us, when we finally outgrow something,  or it just doesn't serve our purpose or path anymore that these pages of our life story turn to another chapter.

Ironman Boulder was a closing of a cycle in my life. It was much more than training these last few months- it was rediscovering WHY I wanted to race an Ironman (which btw, when you can answer that, is when you know you should be doing it), rediscovering my strengths, and more importantly my weaknesses in multiple aspects, finding out who is there for me as a true friend/supporter, what thoughts, feelings, and things do or don't serve me, and what it is exactly that I want for myself at least in the short term of a few years.

To quote one of my favorite authors, and public speakers, Brene Brown, "Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. It is not weakness; it is our greatest measure of courage." 

That is racing, and that is life lived authentically.

I'm back home now, after achieving the one goal I had for IM Boulder: the slot to Kona. It'll be my fifth time on the island for that race, 10 years after my first Ironman which happened to be Kona! So to say it is special, is an understatement.

After a solid few weeks of incredibly needed rest I look forward to putting on the best preparation of my life for this Ironman. It starts a new cycle with immense experience, growth, grit, and connection to the people that are really my pillars for this fabulous journey.

Let's go over Boulder briefly....

First, I want to thank Andree and Chris Miceli for being the most wonderful hosts during my stay! Spoiled doesn't even begin to cut it. I met them in Cabo when they were there for IM in 2015, and that's the cool thing about triathlon- in one weekend you make friends for life.

I went in to Boulder, mentally ready and of course physically since I had prepped well for IM TX and also had that event in my legs. But that was a double edged sword...a couple weeks ago I felt the deep fatigue in my legs that just wouldn't shake. I did nothing too "long" in these six weeks between the two Ironmans, but still it lingered.

The swim was the best part of the day, it was a beautiful morning, and the Res is awesome. Exiting the swim, I found myself right next to Larissa- our newest 18-24 IM AG World Champ also from Mexico! It was super cool to head out onto the bike together :)

About 20miles into riding my legs were shot. Just bricks. Fortunately, I was enjoying the ride/scenery too much so convinced myself to just get to T2 and it was okay to hand in my chip there.

So I got to T2, and I honestly have ZERO idea how suddenly I was running. It was robotic, like I didn't even think and just headed out.

I ran about 8-10 miles decent, at least it qualified as "running" so this pumped me up and got me thinking dang I might just be able to finish this quite well, what a lovely surprise. Then slowly from there, everything fell apart.

This was unlike anything I'd ever experienced in a race because it wasn't mental demons, it wasn't caloric lows, or GI upset, or was UNPLUGGED, DONE, ZAPPED, LEGS WILL ONLY WALK STOP TRYING TO RUN RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

So at mile 16 the walk began. Larissa passed me and yelled to hang with her. LOL, girl was moving! I smiled and told her to keep at it because I was beyond done.

Then an angel came by :)... At around mile 10 I had met this guy in a Timex kit, later to find out his name is Kyle, we briefly exchanged some words of encouragement and I ran ahead. At about that mile 16/17 aid station he saw me walking and said "Oh no, you said you want that Kona slot, you're not gonna miss it! Move your a**!" He was moving slower than Larissa, and it was like hearing my coach say none of that this hurts business, how bad do you want it?! So the jog of death began.

We walked the aid stations, and trotted the rest. The last 4 miles were an indescribable agony. It literally felt like I had to lift 200lb legs each step.

But then, there it was, the finish chute... Kyle and I ran in together, and he was right- KONA BABY!!!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

We fine tune who we are by filtering out what we are not....

Hi! Ha!

It's been almost a year since my last post, and so many life changes, adventures, races, new friends, old friends, highs and lows....I kept wanting to post an update, but it just seemed overwhelming at times.

Now I feel there's been such a delay that it can be easily summarized...

You may or may not know, I moved to Mexico City for a few months last year (what I thought would be at least a couple years- figuring if I really couldn't stand the city at least I'd land a solid, decent paying, job that could grant me "experience" and eventually justify a work visa back to the US).

I spent 3 months on countless interviews- some for really exciting opportunities, others not so much. Regardless, the salaries and hours were akin to selling my soul. No thanks. Add in the traffic, the pollution, and just the every day hurdles of a city like that and I realized day by day that the simple, and at times too-peaceful, life in Cabo was beginning to resemble UTOPIA.

Eventually, I did get an offer and was one day away from signing the dotted line- but felt like I was betraying my entire self in doing so.

In addition to a personal issue, the decision to honor what I value in life and of myself, had me packing my bags quicker than when we got hit by Hurricane Odile lol, and back to Baja I went :)

Despite the harsh realities on the career front, I had an AMAZINGGGG time racing and traveling all over mainland Mexico and truly did come to appreciate the many things Mexico City has to offer. It will always be a place I enjoy returning to for brief periods at a time.

It was an experience that I had to live, and do not regret for even a second. That city had taunted me for many years, and I feel it was inevitable that one day I'd try it out.

Most of the traveling last year was (surprise!) to triathlons, and that was another silver lining- getting to check off all the races that when living in Cabo are just too far to go to all in one season!

Throughout all that Olympic/draft legal racing, my back pain started to subside, and my stubborn AF little voice inside started to wonder ... "can I make a comeback?...."

Naturally, the second I landed back in Cabo, equipped with some altitude training and "race weight" by default haha, I wasted no time in laying out my goals for 2017.

It helped that I had already singed up for our inaugural Los Cabos Marathon, which took place end of January. To add to the fun, a few killer athletes had recently moved to Cabo and so the perfect training bubble was in place!

The marathon went well- it was a super gnarly course, all along the hotel corridor, with relentless climbs and downhills that just crushed the quads. But the trail running prep for the marathon plus the race itself, formed an excellent base for the year.

I kicked off the season at the La Paz Olympic- which is one of the best, most beautiful, races out there. I placed first in the AG, and 2nd OA behind by new training partner, and stud, Cibelle.

After that the focus was on Ironman Texas to qualify for Kona. It was a race I'd mulled over registering for or not all winter, but went for it just shy of 2 months out, because it seemed far enough to get in good form, but close enough that I had no time to lose motivation, or get overtrained for.

I did manage a mountain bike injury and a nasty head cold (of course!). Nonetheless, come April 22, the hunger to race was at its peak, and I was thrilled with the result. It landed me one spot and a few minutes short of the 3rd Hawaii slot for the 30-34, but to pull off a 10:15 feeling solid was enough to keep me pushing forward. Either way 70.3 Worlds was still on tap.

In less than 48 hours I signed up for Boulder, and that brings us to today!

There are no expectations for Boulder other than to bust my A** for that Kona slot. The body feels good, the inner demons are being quiet, and so it really boils down to controlling what's in my hands, and accepting what's not.

Ironman is an incredible metaphor for life- all you can do is show up, give your best effort, and let the chips fall where they may.


See ya'll June 11, in CO. Thank you to my family, friends, supporters from all over that I have never even met, but ya'll reach out (it means so much!), my new coach, and some very exciting new sponsors!!!