Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Riding what "everyone" else is riding

2 years ago I switched bikes from Felt to part of that decision was driven by sponsorship but I had a choice among a few bikes.   I remember when I was deciding and chatting with a few people, I frequently heard "don't go with Cervelo, everyone has one."   Around that time I was here in Kona and I had minor bike issue that needed working out.  Felt was no where on this Island thus I was forced to go to the "Ironman" bike shop, wait in line, leave my bike and pay for the service.  I recall watching by the giant Cervelo set up and seeing 4 techs there cranking out tune ups and service on a Cervelo.  I was jealous.  I than recalled seeing them at many NA Ironman races and took that into consideration.

Today I was glad I own a Cervelo. Again some minor issue needed addressing and I rolled up, filled out a "VIP" ticket and 90 min later my issue was fixed and they had done a once over to make sure everything is in working order.  While I had a full tune up from my trusty mechanic at Nytro prior to leaving, my bike was on a plane and I have seen those bikes tossed around.  It is a piece of mind, knowing all is well!

I have used  Quarq power meter for 6+ years now and love them.  Again, it is a popular PM and not the newest, flashiest etc but it works! I was sold on the Stages when I bought this bike and it was nothing but problems. Not only did it scratch my bike, it dropped power, was inconsistent and the customer service was not all the helpful.  I eventually returned it and went back to Quarq.   Sometime between my last ride in San Diego, in pouring rain, travel and some work on my bike, my power was not reading.   I though it was okay when I rode Sunday but later realized I had picked up Sarah's PM and was recording her power- that is a whole other story as she is much smaller than me, thus power is much lower, so I was freaking out that I had lost all my fitness.... OMG- only to realized it was NOT my power.     (can we say Ironman brain)

John called customer service and they were extremely helpful and once she realized where we were suggested we go to the Quarq tent when they opened.  I may have been a bit hysterical when I got there and the tech says "are you Julie?"  had all the info, the asked me to leave my bike and after some troubleshooting and realizing it needed a firmware update and  they did not have the right tool, instead replaced it with a new power meter.  When Rory called me he says " we are not taking any chances in Kona"  DONE!  Customer for life!   I've had athletes I coach have issues with Stages and  Garmin Vector and maybe they have worked them out- not sure, but I am sure Quarq works and stands behind their product. AND they are in Kona!  

Hanging in Kona

So I landed on this magical island Friday evening, after taking a not so short flight with a 3 hour layover in HNL, vs the non stop on Alaska on Sunday.  Worth the extra travel time to get her Friday at 6:15.  Sun is setting as we depart the plane into the tropical air.  Found a fellow D3 athlete in HNL and killed the time eating and chatting. Then found more friends on the plane to Kona.  I was thinking back to my first time here in 2007 and I knew maybe 2 people. And now I see friendly faces in airports, on the street and around time.  It's like old home week!  I am so awesome ;)  totally kidding

Without my sherpa loving husband I had to manage the bike bag, duffel and briefcase - but did so without grace but with ease, mostly.    Got the car and onto the Kona Reef.   Office closed, random phone next to it and I call and hear the woman so who, what is your name?, when is your arrival.   That feeling of sheer dread is pouring over me that I may not have a place confirmed for the busiest week on this Island, even though I have a confirmation number and an email confirmation that she says means nothing to her. It is not 7:30 or 10:30 my time, well past the I turn into pumpkin time and I am starting to lose it as in cry on the phone.  I am looking at my van thinking can we live in this for a week?  Will I have to sleep in it tonight.  After a LONG wait she comes back on the phone and gives  me a unit # and a code for tonight.  She then tells me to go to the office at 10am and they will "try" yes try and sort this out.

I fitfully went to bed.  As the office did not open until 10am ( welcome to HI)  So I headed to the Ho'ala Ironman Training Swim.  This is a great pre- race swim if you can get here by Friday. It is 2.4M and is the Ironman swim, finish is a bit different but you get the 1 loop LONG swim.  Water start and relatively mellow.  It is a good reminder of how far out we go.  Sensational water- so warm and clear. Sheer heaven.

I came back and worked on my bike,  after I hit Lava Java for coffee and my favorite Island style macadamia nuts.  Yummmm.   I was fogging up the glass on the office window "let me in"  LONG strory and 90 min later it was sorted out....some issue when I changed my reservation to arrive early.   It was locked, cancelled, moved - who knows BUT the saint in the office got me our ocean front condo, and I only cried once.   Got my bike built up and hit the Queen K with Sarah, another D3er and it did not disappoint.  Lovely on the way out and hello WIND on the way back, welcome to Kona.
pancakes with bananas and

Did a HOT run on Alii but loved it!  OMG I love this place.   And on Saturday it is still pretty mellow.... quiet streets without the crazed athletes.   Food shopping ($250 for a $125 worth of groceries-  Kona pricing)  and went to ugh Wal Mart, after going for my mom when she was sick, I swore I would never go t this store again, but there I was.  Buying bikes for kicking around town and for the kids to use on race day. Rentals are $100 a day and mopeds are $300 for 2 days. So for $109 each I got the f'ing heaviest bike you can imagine but it rocks!  

I was wiped out and laid low on Saturday....Sunday there was a random 10K which I did NOT do but was psyched to have the streets closed for my run.  Waking up with the ocean crashing, drinking Kona coffee on the Lanai- this is what Kona is about.  Great run and off to pick up John!!  
Walmart special $109

We settled in and went out exploring on our bikes- no expo, no madness just pineapple at the farmers market and a killer dinner at the Fishhopper with some old friends and new friends.   Sheer heaven!  

Monday hit the swim early and another majestic AM in the ocean- ton of fun with Kevin and his go pro - I was so excited I went and bought out and used it this AM.  Seems I was off on the settings so I video the inside of my swim top the whole way out, stopped it to view the fish, started it in my top and stopped it to view the dog on the SUP, resumed in my top and stopped it for the Coffee Boat.  My career in video needs help, just saying.    Dinner that night at On the Rocks in the sand with more friends from Smash.....we all met at camp in March and here we are on the big island sucking down Mai Tai's  not really, eating Kale Caesar with fresh Mahi Mahi and loving life.

smash girls and a betty
Riding, running and swimming with John and friends makes this place magical.  It's a slice of heaven each day.  Tue it gets real...seems like 9000 more people, expo opens and registration - when the wrist band goes on and you pick up another $800 back pack, it is GULP, this is a bit more than a Hawaiian vacation.  More and more really thin people, time to start freaking out about weight- I know I know but it's hard not to feel fat on Alii this week.   Man should have done that juice cleanse last week, where is my 6 or 12 pack hiding.

My weight neurosis is so bad that when I did the Gatorade Sweat test I made the nice tech (female) come into the tiny hot changing tent and take my weight. She was so nice and understanding when I told her I could not look at the scale :)

And BTW John knocked out 28 miles runnning on Alii Dr on Monday!   R3 training

Kona moments...
1- the couple who rang up $1611 of IM World Championship Merchandise  and the card was declined- guy goes nuts yelling at the cashier.....
2- the women I registered with and I ask if she is ready?  " its in God's hands now"  Wow, how big are those hands anyway?
3 - 4 inch MDot tatoo with 6 race logos tatted below it- what happens next? tatoo that says "see front" for the next 6?
4- Bike just wow-  I definitely need a $15,000 bike
5- so many products that are "guaranteed" to make be faster, fitter, stay hydrated and fueled well- I'm planning to try them ALL on Saturday and new shoes - why not?
6- No matter how fit you are, you are fat in Kona

Saturday, October 1, 2016


When you utter the word Kona to a triathlete they immediately assuming you mean Ironman World Championships- Kona.   To triathletes Kona is the Super bowl of our sport.  It is the biggest professional race of our sport with $150,000 awarded to the male and female winners as well as Championship for the top amateurs around the world who have qualified.

In my 10 years as a triathlete this will be my 5th time on the start list.   I feel privileged and honored.  Sacrifice, hard work, commitment are just a few of the words that describe the journey to this special place.

For those going to the “big dance” as it is so nicknamed, it is an amazing week of warm island winds, Lava Java, rubbing elbows with the pro’s, the amazing sponsors, the give always and the sheer fun of  Ironman week.   There are 1000 #kona posts a day on Instagram and Facebook.  The people here are proud, have earned it and want to share the experience.

8 years ago not going to Kona was different.  There was no #Kona16, no daily updates/photos and check in’s the Lava Java.  If you were at home, you went about your day and on Ironman Saturday you logged into your laptop and followed along.   In 2015 and 2013 when I was at home, Ironman week was a daily reminder that I was not there, I was not in Kailua Bay, I was not riding on the Queen K, I was not drinking Kona coffee and eating macadamia nut pancakes at Lava Java and it was tough.  Whether it was due to injury or just not going fast enough I was not there and it hurt.  One more photo and I was going to scream.

I am honored to be part of the 2016 Kona Ironman World Championships and I cannot say that my FB and Instagram will be dark this week.  I will be soaking it all up and capturing as well.  So for those who don’t want to see it, take a break from Social Media, as I promise you a good portion of the other 1999 athletes will be photo documenting their week as well

Thursday, September 29, 2016


I have a love/hate it seem sacrilegious to say hate relationship with Yoga.  I have tried to commit to this relationship for years... But here is the truth, I just don't like it.

I have tried Bikram, who really likes Bikram, Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, name it and I am either too hot, too bored, too challenged, too confused, too stiff, too sore, too b

I do admit that I feel better after yoga and I feel even better after Hot Yoga.  So I decided when my Coach said I had to to commit to yoga 1x a week for the last 8 weeks and ramping it up to 2x a week for the final Kona build.  Here is the deal, I may as well do Hot Yoga to help with heat acclimation.  We have had the mildest summer, as in heavenly temps, low of 65 and high of 75. Sheer paradise but not ideal when training for a hot race.   We had 2 days of massive heat this week, as in 104 on Monday, what the heck? and 95 on Tuesday.  But, alas, I am tapering thus no epic sweat fest rides or runs to "practise" melting on the Queen K my hydration and nutrition in hot temps.

Here is my 8 week yoga summary.  ITS OVER!!!    OK more to share...

1-  I will NEVER I know never say never but I am sure take Yoga Teacher Training so I wish they would stop selling it at the end of every class
2-  I "like" Core Power Hot Power Fusion, if I have to pick a yoga class.  102-108 degrees and steamy.   It is the same class every time - so I know when we get to tree pose  I am 1/2 through the class and at pigeon we are at 45 min.  I like that know.  Not that I am counting the minutes, okay really I am .
3- The room, floor and people don't have that "hot yoga BO smell" because it is lululemon encinitas kind of yoga
4-  The locker rooms are nice!  Showers are plenty cold, because who takes a hot shower after HOT yoga.  Clean floors and I can hose down- I don't know HOW people stroll out of HPF and get in their car.  I am still dripping sweat as I drag myself into the locker room- OOH, yuck - the idea of getting in my car.  
5- I did acclimate.  When I started I needed 2x 20 oz bottles of fluid and I had to take at least one break, as in walk into the AC lobby and contemplate leaving.  This AM- I had 1x20oz bottle and felt great at the end of class.
6- When I started I did child's pose at least 10x to prevent from passing out.  Today I only did it when instructed.
7 - I wish I could tell you I am better at yoga, but I am not.  I still am a falling tree on my left leg.  I refuse to really do chair pose as my quads are generally tired and this is "recovery" not my workout for the day, eagle bound airplane just does not happen and standing splits is just cruel.
8-  I am no longer angry when I go.   When the instructor tells me to stay on my mat, emotionally,  I do for most of the class.  I still wander off a bit but try to "stay present" for the 60 min.  I no longer hurl mean thoughts at the accomplished yogi's or the chipper instructors.
9- I just cannot get into Savasana when it is 105+ degrees and I am laying in a soaked towel of my own sweat.  I do a bit more stretching.
10 - I like it when the mirrors fog up as I don't want to watch ME doing yoga.

Will I continue?  ha ha ha ha ha.... I used my last class on my punch card and the person who checked me in asked if I wanted another 20 card pass?  I smiled and thought no f'ing way. I am done with this for a while  and said not today, I will get it next time, which I can assure you will be in 2017!  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

(some) people suck

As in the people who burgled our house (not robbed) burgled ....yes on Monday I went to swim at Masters and had a long ride to make up, after my week of "fun" in Cabo.  My ride was challenging and I tanked my run due to fatigue... 19 days from Kona it is better to error on the side of conservative.  

As I drove up and opened the garage I noticed all the cupboard were open.  First thought, John was frantically looking for something, yes I have seen this before.  Next, the door to the house is open, that rarely happens and the side garage door is open.  I am more pissed at his recklessness, at this point as I glance up and realize both road bikes and 3 sets of wheels are gone. BUT John had moved the bikes into the bedroom when I was traveling so I thought he must have done that again.

I call the dogs and they sheepishly came out.  Red flag #1.  I walked in the house and all the drawers of my desk were open.  Back to "what was John looking for" and then I see my "trainer bike" is not on the trainer and I see all the drawers open in the bedroom and it hits me.... FUCK we have been burglarized.    Mild or major hysteria sets in and I call John.  I am wondering through the house realizing what is gone and I am in disbelief.  Our gate was propped open and clearly they grabbed and ran.   The aholes took my FAVORITE pillowcase (yes I have one)  and filled it with my entire jewelry box and lots of other misc items.   As I wandered around I see they took our check books and get this the 4 pairs of running shoes new in boxes, sunglasses, the hydration vests we ordered to try on for R3 and more..... The list is over 75 items.  It is surreal and I wish it was a dream.

There is so much more to say.....but I don't know who stole from us and if they ready my f'ing blog! They knew our patterns and knew what to take.  They bribed our dogs with french fries and left us feeling violated, angry, scared, sad, and more....... The last 3 days have been about building walls in every sense.  We will be living in a fortress, both virtually and physically.  I dare those bastards to try again, ok not really.

All I can say is that sure it is stuff and that can be replaced....what feels horrible is not feeling safe in your own home, wondering who did this, knowing someone pawed through all your stuff.   I go to sleep worried, wake up in the middle of the night scared and burst into tears a few times a day.  I am so thankful for my friends and the support. The outreach from so many offering bikes, wheels  and anything triathlon related is amazing and why I live this community.   Knowing we are loved means so much.  From bringing us dinner,  to an offer to simply keep me company in my house while working and reaching out with support, I feel the love and thank you all!

We are fine and will move on....but for now!  Fuck sums it all up 

Monday, August 29, 2016

3 Ironman races in 11 weeks

I've had a few people ask me how to you rest, build, taper and race so many Ironman's in 11 weeks. 

 Well, considering this is a first, we are entering into uncharted territory- I leave this so my coach to figure out. 

Post IMCA I had 4 weeks to CdA. 

-Week 1:  only real training was a 30 min recovery swim and 2x cruiser bike rides in Vancouver. The rest was travel, dog walking and a work trip. I do eat a lot the first few days post race - after one gluttonous meal I try to get back to my clean eating but the calorie intake is high.  

- Week 2: was 19 hours but a lot of very aerobic training.  
Swim: 3 masters swims - 4100-4500 yards each
Bike:  2 really easy 3 hour bikes, 1 hour spin and a 5 hour ride with 3 hours of IM watts and 1 hour of 85%. 
Run: 3 runs 
1st run was Tue (9 days post IM) 45 min and legs felt good,  Thur 45 min run and Sat was my  "long run" of 1:35 
Yoga: 2x hot yoga

- Week 3:
Swim: 2 x 5k masters swims and 2 x recovery 30 min swims
Bike:  2x 2 hour bike sessions with a some short intervals
Run: 4 runs 1x 35 min with pick ups, 1x30 min ez, 1x 22 OTB, 1x45 min
Yoga: 2x hot yoga

- Week 4 Race Week
normal race week- 4k masters on Monday and the rest was 45 in bike with pick ups, short runs and swims and 1 hot yoga

Bam! there you go! 

Post IMCdA
This was a bit more focused.... Post race I ate a steak and mashed potatoes- yes I did.  It looked good and I went for it!

I have been in the Normatec Recovery Boots every day min 30 min and if possible 2x 30 min sessions
Deep Tissue massage on thursday followed by Epson Salt bath

Mon: travel day - OFF
Tue: 30 min ez swim and 30 min spin
Wed: 90 min ez spin
Thu: 45 min swim
Fri: 4k swim, 1 hour hot yoga and 10 min pool running
Sat: 2.5 hour ez ride, body weight strength work and 20 min pool run
Sun: 4500 y masters and 25 min pool run with intervals 

I have a roughly outlined schedule from coach but we are going to stay flexible to see how I come around. 

Tomorrow i finally get to run outside!  I am pool running on days I am not outside to build on the run but not take the beating.  BTW I really DISLIKE pool running.  Yes I have a waterproof iPod, but it is just plain boring.  For more on pool running and how to do it?  here is a great article.  

My body feels pretty good, except my feet.  I had to go to the Dr and he removed on toenail and lanced the other toe, which is now infected, and the nail will drop off soon.   Today is the first day they don't hurt just siting here.  I started soaking them in epsom salt and putting bacitracin + bandaids on.  

Next priority is shoes!  Thank you to Dan Beaver, owner of Cadence Running in Glibert, AZ for reaching out to me with some suggestions.