Tuesday, June 30, 2009


will try and post pictures...but connection is very slow and I have to walk next door and pay 6 Eruo a day!!!

Barcelona and Santa Susanna

Arrived BCN and we were beat! But navigated through customs no issue and found a cab and headed to your hotel to meet the group. Hotel was 20 min outside the city…argh and did not look so great. And well, it was not so great. Rooms not ready so we piled on the bus and off to Barcelona for some fun.

Beautiful city, so lush and had plant covered balconies, gothic buildings, cathedrals and more. We started in Las Ramblas…touristy but quite fun. Interesting street figures and people all over. The highlight was the market which had everything one can imagine.. the candy is what really go the boys. That and well the skinned pigs, rabbits and more But it was filled with locals doing their shopping- the produce looked spectacular and wonderful tapas and bars throughout. We had great fun and then had to meet the group for lunch.

Most went back to nap after lunch but we powered through and went back to Las Ramblas and to the market- where the boys had fun for over and hour. After a long walk to the beautiful waterfront we were so fatigued and dragged ourselves back to the bus. Hot and humid. We arrived at the room around 5 and dinner was at 7, very early for Barcelona but we could not stay up any longer. I unintentionally fell asleep for and hour but rallied and we had dinner. Boys were wired, swimming and playing and then we all crashed hard at 9 and woke up to an alarm at 9:30 in a daze.

Quick morning training for the boys and then off to Camp Nou- where FC Barcelona plays futbol. Massive stadium and we had a tour, checked out the press box etc…the boys loved it. We could not see the pitch as they were setting up for a U2 concert but it was better than I expected. From there we headed to Barcelona's Montju├»c which is a really a hill with a relatively flat top overlooking the harbor to the southeast of the city centre. The eastern side of the hill is almost a sheer cliff, giving it a commanding view over the city's harbor immediately below. This is a 17th century fortress with a castle as well. There are many cannons and remains which the boys were fascinated with. JD managed to climb onto the cannon that jutted out over the cliff- many nervous parents indeed.

Next we had to check out some of Gaudi’s stunning architecture. We saw the La Sagrada Familia and it was stunning. At this point the boys and adults were hot and tired…..so we took a siesta of sort in a local park. With the hotel being out of town we could not return for a proper siesta. Shortly after, the coach and guides took the boys to dinner and the adults were free to go out for a nice meal. We found a beautiful spot outside, tree lined and outside the Las Ramblas. We were the only Americans and they did not speak English. Wonderful Tapas and regional red wine and before we knew it, it was after 11.

Final day in BCN and we headed to the Cathedral so see the locals meet and dance in the square to Catalan music. It was great fun and the boys quickly tired so we headed to some Roman ruins discovered under the city in the 30’s. It was an entire city and it had been restored and preserved. Amazing to see the laundry, wine vats and cellar, fish preparation bowls and more.

After lunch it was on the bus and off to Santa Susanna.

Spectacular drive up the coast and the highlight for the boys was the up-close view so the beaches…which of course are topless. Santa Susanna is a very touristy beach town, few Americans, but touristy for the Europeans. The boys love it and we have settled in fine.

Monday afternoon John and Riley arrived and they were excited to be here…weary and tired and we forced them to persevere and stay awake. John and I have a nice room of our own, a nice change after my former roommate JD, love the kid, but well, a kid at that.

This also was Opening Ceremonies for the tournament, Over 100 teams from 16 countries, mostly Spain and Italy. We played our first game at 4pm vs. Malta and lost a tough game 2-1. It is 85+ degrees and humid and the sun sets around 10 so it was hot. The field is about 5 min from the hotel so they had time to come back, jump in the water and head to game 2 vs. a Spanish Team. The team was massive, 3 boys over 6ft and they were all shaving. Not sure who checked passports but it not evenly matched. We lost 3-0, pretty respectable considering the team.

Late dinner and the boys had a swim and off to bed as they had 9am game today. We watched a Flamenco Show at the hotel and had our first Sangria, which is mad with Brandy; we discovered this AM as we all awoke in a fog and haze. John retired early but Riley was a trooper.

Today we played a team from Madrid and another Italian team. It was over 90 degrees at 9am and it was hot. The boys did great and we had our first win 5-0. Quick swim and back for 2nd game to a much larger team and we held our own until the last 5 minutes and lost 2-0. With only 1 win we do not advice which is disappointing to the boys.

JD and 3 others were asked by Coach to come to 2 more games this evening for his older team that is here U16 as they do not have enough sub’s. We passed on going as the field is 20+ min away and we elected to have a wonderful lunch of Paella with another couple, who also have a daughter. Riley and Shannon became fast friends this AM in the pool and are both much happier now.

As John is taking a siesta I am working, catching up and getting ready for a run. It is so hot but we decided it was good Kona training. I passed on the Cervesas as lunch and will get in a run before dinner.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thur 6-26

Well the Ironman blog will take a sabbatical and become the Dunkle family European blog. Forced recovery from training and racing. KP says 3 weeks is what the body needs to heal from IM. Usually about 10 days and I am ready to hit it hard again and then I get frustrated, want to log long rides, runs, he says No and I have to listen….so this time, well good forced recovery. Will be good so I can hit it hard when I return on 7/13 and get ready for Kona.

JD and left 25 June with the Carmel Valley Manchester Soccer Club- JD’s U15 Competitive soccer club. We are headed to Callela, Spain to play in the Copa Cataluna Tournament. We are traveling with the team and families. Steve (JD’s coach) is bringing 2 of his teams- U15 and U17 boys. Steve is Scottish and has taken other teams of his to European Tournaments and thinks it is a great opportunity to see Europe and see what soccer is like over there.

We arrive in Barcelona and will stay for 2 days and head to Santa Susanna where we will stay 5 days and play in the tournament in Calella. We will be in a village in Costa Brava, on the beach and swimming in the Mediterranean. There will be soccer late in the day/evenings and sightseeing and leisure time during the day. Following the tournament the team heads to Lloret de Mar for some beach time and local touring. We plan to leave JD with the team and head to Monaco for the start of the Tour de France. We are planning to follow the tour for 5 days back into Barcelona and then we head home via Newport RI for a few days with John’s family.

John and Riley head over on the 28th, arriving in Barcelona the 29th (RM’s 13th birthday) They will join up with us and then determine how much we stay with the team or take off and do some exploring on our own. John has some friends to visit nearby.

With an 8am flight, and my recent unfortunate travel issues, we arrive at SAN at 6AM and cleared security and were at the gate by 7. After missing a flight, I am happy to wait. The boys all smartly dressed in their Manchester golf shirts and Adidas outfits, we were off. SAN-JFK was painless and the team was dispersed all over the plane, mostly sitting as families, so no unruly boys on board. JD and I had a different flight from JFK to BCN so we left the team and did the 15 minute terminal transfer…. Trains, trams, escalators and a lot of walking to the two Iberia Airlines gates. With time to spare, I partake in my last Starbucks for a few weeks and JD of course if hungry. Iberia is not an upscale airline… think Southwest or less across the Atlantic. Poor audio and seats were marginal. Fortunately JD can sleep anywhere and the post Ironman and lack of sleep since my race allowed me to sleep as well. The 7 hour flight to Madrid was painless, after the 14 hour flight to Australia, this was easy. Changing planes in Madrid was quite a feat as well. As with many major European airports, Madrid is expansive, artichecturally stunning and a pleasre to navigate. Posted on directions to our terminal was time to get there. When we saw 20 minutes, I balked, but well it was 18 minutes after we cleared customs, took 3 escalators, walked .25 miles, up the what seemed like the 3 escalators we just came down, tram ride, down the 3 escalators again, back through security (with out shoes on) and back up the 3 and to the gate.

I slept through breakfast and was famished- double espresso with leche and a chicken/herbs crepe- spicy and delicious. And here we are on the final flight to Barcelona……

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kona bound...

Where to begin…. The race rocked! Really it did, well not that it is over and I qualified!

Weather was a concern all week- pending rain, dropping temperatures….

Race Day- Up at 3 and ready to roll. Arrived at Transiton when they opened at 5am- got a great parking spot, was body marked and bags dropped off by 5:30. Time to relax. Big mistake…no shoes, only flips and it was 55 degrees. I wish I had my swim park, big socks and I would have been a happy clam. I found shelter and settled against the wall and got into a good Zen state for about 30 minutes.

Hit the porta pottie and then jimmied on my wetsuit, dropped off my dry clothes bag and my heart rate was beginning to increase.

Holy cow….it’s almost show time!

6:25 Pros are off and the beach is open. I head down and take a moment and check out the water, choppy and a current, for sure. Find Mike and KP and that is a good distraction. Mikes wetsuit is leaking and we all laugh at that. The voice of Ironman is booming behind us, gotta love Mike Reilly. One thing you can control today is your attitude!” That was my mantra all day when it was tough out there.

The swim was choppy, choppy baby! Mass start was crazy as all IM’s are but this one had added waives and current. Heading out was tough – hard to see the buoys and never got in a rhythm as it felt like a washing machine. Round the buoy and then the current was pushing us towards shore but we had to get across so I headed way up and hit the buoy spot on. Coming back was great with the current but was rolling and hard to get in a good groove. Out on the beach for the turnaround and hit the mat and say 29min, oooh slow, wanted to be 27, headed back out and while there were less people it was still tough with all the chop. Finally heading back in and began to focus on T1 and the bike.

Out of the water headed for the wetsuit strippers, love them. They rock! Dropped on my back and whamo it was off. Grabbed my bag and jogged into the tent. The volunteers are awesome they dumped my bag and put my helmet on for me. I did not swim in my jersey as I was worried about the cold so that was tough to get on wet but with 2 helpers it was quick and I was out. My bike was 2nd from the end so easy to spot and off through the grass. Cross the mat and jump on and start to pedal and my chain falls off- On crap, total rookie move, left it in the big ring. Jump off and I am headed out. The bike goes through town with screaming fans and it is great.

My HR came down fast and that was good and I was sipping water to get my stomach settled and ready for some calories. As soon as we hit the lake I felt the wind, this is not going to be an easy day. I was chanting, “One thing you can control today is your attitude!” So I grounded myself and began to settle in. The course goes through town and on some busy streets until around 20 and then you hit Hayden Lake and here come the hills. My legs were tight and I was not feeling great. Girl with 40 on her leg passes me and I am bummed- already I am getting passed. Work through the hills and the wind. I am cold, wishing I had the arm warmers, but am fueling well and hydrating well so all is good. Loop one is ending and I am not sure how the day is going to pan out, negative thoughts are creeping in and I am in a dark space. I look at my time and lap 1 is 2:50, holy cow, 10+ minutes faster than last year. I feel better, I am sticking to my Power Plan from KP and am doing what we discussed, if I go harder, I may blow up on the run. #2 in my AG passes me, don’t panic, stick to my race. Loop 2 was much better, the hills I felt strong as many were starting to waiver and slow down. The course has 6000ft of elevation gain so the hills are not mere rollers. At 90 I am really feeling good- the PBHoney from my special needs was awesome! Chowed it down and was loving the energy. Guy passes me and says “ you f*&^ing rock” Gotta love that. As we are screaming back to town, a car pulls up and slows down and rolls down the window and says “ hey you are going 24mph, nice work, now go get those boys” . Rolling and feeling good and start to think about the run. Soon thereafter I pass #2 and am totally psyched now. 1st place is well ahead and not on my radar.

Left my shoes on the bike and jumped off and handed to bike to the T2 lady…wanted to say “oooh don’t touch the seat..” but was too focused and off to T2. In and out fast, I really dig the people helping us dress and well undress and clean up after I take off.

Legs felt good! Yes!!! Slow down, first 3 miles are to be really, really easy. It’s hard because my legs felt good and there are people everywhere shouting. I locked in my pace and started ticking off the miles. Soon I was at the turnaround and feeling good. Run has some rollers and they all felt fine. KP came up and let me know I was putting time on 3rd place so that is good. My miles are even and spot on and before I know it I am back in town and the crowds are awesome. Fueling is going well and I am having fun.

Some Tri Club has Viking hats on and they rocked- high 5’s and lots of yelling. Spiderman was on a bike and he was cheering me on. Elmo was out and about- it was hilarious. I was having a great time and the miles were clicking by. Volunteers rocked at the aid stations and soon I am mile 20. HS only 6 to go and I are feeling good. Start to pick it up and by 23 I knew I had it but just could not let myself believe it. I picked up to 8:20’s and was flying by everyone and people were screaming and it was just plain awesome. Pain and suffering yes, but it was so great. Cold, yes, rainy, yes…. But I realized I was about get my Kona slot. Last 400 yards is downhill and packed 10 people deep all screaming. And there it was 10:41:53!!! 2nd W40-44, 4th female (amateur)

What a day- so many tears and KP was there at the finish! Jen came in just under 11 hours and got a slot from the roll down Chuck got a slot at his first IM, Mike has his fastest run split….it was good despite the cold weather winds… Funny the conditions sucked but it was my day, my race and I was not going to let the weather dictate my success. All those rides when I rode in the rain, was cold and uncomfortable prepared me for this day. You never know what race day will bring-










Saturday, June 20, 2009

Off to bed...

Monster Pasta Dinner with Sourdough bread and Gatorade, drink of choice in this household. Nervous energy is about in the house, all a bit more subdued this evening. Everyone mixing their race concoctions in the kitchen- amazing to see 1500 calories in one water bottle. Such a waste, would rather sit down with plate of cookies than drink them all on the bike, but well, cookies and Ironman...only mix after the race.

Laid down and stood up with a ferocious headache...oh crap, panic, what is it, why now... KP did some work on my neck and back and within a short time most of it subsided. This is when every little thing seems major, oh no my head is stuffy, well duh I was laying face down in my pillow- okay not sick.

Trying to read a book and when I realized I had read the same page 3+ times. time to put the book down. Just not able to concentrate on much. This is when I need a total brainless book...too late now. Does not seem like a good idea to head out shopping.

Learned a new trick, sprayed my feet with an entire bottle of Nu Skin. Why you ask? Just to see what happens. No really, the reason is to help prevent blisters. 2 others swear by it, so we all have shiny and somewhat sticky feet. Very thick skinned. Will see how it works. May as well let the Nu Skin rub off before my skin. Few other tricks but those I am keeping a secret in case anyone in my age group is reading this :)

Good night.....Up at 3am to eat again,.

Race day -1

Oh boy.....tomorrow at this time I will not be at Starbucks enjoying a decaf latte on a comfy couch surfing the net. I will be 4.5 hours into the bike and looking forward (ha) to the run.

Nerves are up and down....they come in waves. KP asked if he could do anything to help today and I say, "Yeah, take away my nerves.." And you know what he did a pretty good job of it. We walked through the race plan and it seems so simple, stick to the plan and all will go well. Right, right..... The test comes when I get passed on the bike, stay settled and follow my plan! Next test is first 3 miles of the run, it is sooo hard to go slow, after going 20 mph for 5-6 hours, running is just so slow. But I am committed to starting slow, I have to remember what the last 6 miles feels like and how much I want something left at the end.

Weather is all over...who knows. Forecast now says rain late in the day which would be awesome. No rain on the bike is what we are hoping for. I can run in the rain, but riding in the rain can just be miserable. The swim was choppy this morning, due to the wind. Tomorrow will be windy, almost guaranteed, so that will slow the swim and bike times. Head winds slow everyone down. The wind also causes more of a current in the lake, bonus coming back but we have to fight it going out.

We are geared up for a monster pasta dinner around 4pm and then settling in....really want so sleep early. Getting up at 3am makes it hard to get a solid 8 hours, but the more the better. Slept really well last night- so that is a bonus, sleep in the bank so to speak.

Kids and hubby are all good....nice to know they are doing well.

And well.....I think that is all I have to say for now. Mind is circling, do I have everything, what is the weather going to be like, what did I forget, how fast is everyone else out there... and it goes on and on.

Ciao....chat with y'all post IM!

Friday, June 19, 2009


Rainy and windy, yes it is. Took the bike out for a nice 45 minute spin and it was windy and rainy but actually not too cold. Rode with my jacket for about 10 and then was too hot and rode in my race kit. Hopefully race day will be similar. Cool and cloudy is just fine with me.

Local free wireless spot is great to check and get a bit of work done. Squeezed in a massage in the Ironman Village and then off to the Erin Baker booth for some team pictures and spreading the goodwill of granola and cookies. We helped out Erica for a bit and handed out samples, restocked out depleted supplies, took some fun pictures and then headed for cover as it started raining.

Settled back at home, working a bit and ready for another power nap.


So the bummer of missing my flight was that I lost my rental car reservation. I called to "change" and was told the deal I had was not changeable....so the $28/day mid size car is now $75/day economy car. The car is a Chevy Aero. The bonus is it probably gets 100 miles/gallon. The tires are the size of a large donut and at 65mph it starts to shake. Another bonus is I can probably fit in a motorcycle space. It runs, its clean and has a hatch back that hides whats in the back- so my gear is hidden.

Up early 6am and was happy to have a full pot of coffee already made! Thanks KP. Went to bed at 9 and after the nap was not all that tired but wanted to get a lot of sleep. Plugged into the Economist Podcast and never fails....was asleep in 10 minutes. Perfect!

Caffeinated and ready to go we rolled out around 6:45 and headed to the Lake. 62 degrees, windy and a bit rainy outside. There is a storm system hovering and the weather is chilly. The lake is 64 and felt great. Short swim and got a good feel for the water and out and changed. Warming up a local Starbucks, waiting until I can get my bike. Tri Bike Transport has them locked up, with security guard, until 8:30.

Ran into 4 UCSD swimmers, always nice to see familiar faces. Going to get some work done and then head out for a bike ride and off to meet at the Erin Baker Booth for a team picture and more cookies.....We cruised by yesterday and stocked up for the house. Granola and cookies all over and everyone is loving the goods.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Registered and Ready to go....

Made it to Coeur d'Alene!!! Hour and 15 min in line for security this AM. Traveling is just not that fun anymore....But I am here and was able to pick up my Reg gear. Check out the race site, nice that is familiar. Windy, choppy day! Will see what Sunday brings.

Great house in the suburbs with KP and 3 others. Kinda funny how you become acclimated so quickly with strangers when you are sharing house, grocery shopping and cooking together. One big group house. Nice group dinner on the patio and everyone is pretty relaxed.

Had time to get some work done and stay on top of things and even take a late afternoon nap.

Settled in and off to bed,....up early to see how the swim looks at 7!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I missed my flight.....

What a frickin dumb ass!!!! Biggest race of the year for me, my A race. I arrive hour and 5 minutes early. I travel ALL the time and sit and sit waiting for my flight. I think I am being conservative, plenty of time right. NOOOOOO Terminal 2, security line is around the upstairs, across the bridge and starting to snake down to the parking lot. Okay, don't panic, long lines in T1 move so much faster than I ever imagine, I mean come on, how long can it take. Well 45 minutes to be exact and no one was coming around calling people for flights. I am sweating, panicking and trying to not stress, wasted energy. Just get me through security and I can sprint to my gate- last gate in the concourse, thank you very much. Okay, come on, come on.... I take off my shoes, belt, phone, computer out, Ziploc bag of liquids out and I am golden... I can make it and then the dreaded, dreaded works "Bag Check" And yup it is mine!

Damnnnnnn!!! TSA moves at a snails pace. I politely expressing my flight is soon leaving and any expediency she can apply is greatly appreciated. NONE! Next thing I know my $200+ helmet is on the floor, whoops. Then she finds what she is looking for the Gu's....AH dumb, dumb me. Of course they are liquid, my fault. Does she stop there- NO, keeps digging and pulls out my pre measured bag of Carbo Pro powder. Nice, zip lock bag of white powder- does not phase her. So I could be smuggling a quart size bag of cocaine and that is of no concern, but the GU's now those are dangerous!! Right the double caffeine is the trigger.

So she finishes. My masterfully packed back is now all over and she allows me to repack- so I shove and zip and oh wait, have to send it through again. Finally I am off, sprinting to the gate with my race backpack and roller bag and arrive, whew 10 minutes in time. But, wait, Delta closes the gates 15 minutes prior and will not reopen. The plane is still attached and sits for 10 minutes and takes off as I am standing there.

Breathe Julie, breathe- it is only Wed. Plenty of time- Huge breath and nice voice to the agent, please get me on another flight. Next 4 flights to Salt Lake are sold out and I can put you on standby but then cannot guarantee you I can get to Spokane tonight. Best case, takes 6 hours, worse it takes 8 hours to get to Salt Lake and I am stuck. Frantic, check other airlines....nothing. She offers 7:15 tomorrow AM and I will be in CdA by noon.

John and the kids come back nicely and get me and we head home. My 3rd trip to the SD Airport in 3 days and I have yet to go anyplace. Let's home tomorrow is my day :)

So people say "why go so early?" Just stay home and relax. Right.... I am loaded up with energy from tapering and race nerves. I have chewed 1000 pieces of gum and cleaned the house. Right rest up, trying, but well hard to do. I need to get on a plane and get out of here.

Met a good friend for coffee- right just what I needed a latte at 3:30- what was I thinking? They do have decaf? Hello-

Well my bags are packed and I'm ready to go (hey I sound like John Denver) Will be up early, good race day practice and will be there in plenty of time to make my flight! I just have to relax and think good thoughts...... Off to take the dogs for a walk and then I will relax. Right

Gotta love my kids!

Woke up to this today....on my way for a quick swim, final packing and then off to the airport!! Thanks JD and RM
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Monday, June 15, 2009


It is just not easy to do! I go to the Tri Club BBQ yesterday and was listening to all the long ride, long run stories of the weekend and wanted to be out there getting stronger too! This sport is just plain nuts...I could not wait to be finished with my last long ride and now I am longing for 5+ hours of suffering on the bike. But well... 6 days from now I have 11 hours of suffering, I mean fun to look forward to.

I did have a great ride on Saturday, race bike is off to CdA, so I am on the road bike and head out toDel Dios. Drizzle, again, what's up with that???? Just me and cruising along, through RSF which I love and out and up Del Dios. Could not do the Harmony Grove loop as I was only riding 2 hours. Lots of people riding, waves and hellos. On the way back 2 roadies come up and cruise past and have a good pace going so I let them go- I am tapering after all. But they soon slow down and ride along and I am gaining on them. Ugh, hate this, speed up, pass a girl, and the slow down. I ride on their wheels for a bit and then go around them. You got it, within 1 minute they pass me again. We are coming to a climb so I fall back, feign I cannot keep up, and ride there for a bit and I see the casual glances over their shoulders. About 1/2 way up I let the hammer down and blow by them and see them react and jump out of their saddles and chase. Mind you, I am tapering, not hard riding, but I knew my turn off was about a 1mile up and they were going straight, as I overheard them. It was great fun, dropped them both and turned off and resumed my steady ride back home. Hee, hee.... gotta have some fun once in a while. And it is nice to have some power in my legs!!!

School is out...kids are home.....enough said

Friday we had a grand idea for a bonfire at La Jolla Shores! We packed up wood, hot dogs, s'mores, boogie boards.... you name it. Added 2 more kids and headed to the beach in the cold- 65 degrees and zero sun. Well, we and many others had the same idea. NO fire pits, so now what. It was cold, windy and none of the occupants of the pits looked like they wanted 10 +teenagers and families to saddle up. Would you? So we head back to PQ and our friends brought over the portable fire pit and we have our bonfire in the back yard. Few adults and 10+ kids and mayhem. Dad and Kathi were going to meet us at LJ Shores for the bonfire and I calledto say we were headed back home and they were welcome to come. Thank goodness they had the sanity to stay home- this was far from anything relaxing. Hot dogs burning, marshmallows dripping, dogs begging and 11 in the jacuzzi built for 8. The Jacuzzi was hot. but the pool was 75 and it was cold outside. But with enough sugar in their bellies all the kids were swimming and having a grand time. A grand start to summer. 10:30 I threw everyone out and left most of the mess for the morning. I sent the dogs out first to do ground clean up. Amazing they hoovered up all the crumbs, bits of marshmallow and thanks to Zen's agility he even cleaned the table as well. 50% of the water was gone from the Jacuzzi and the pool was a bit cloudy.... no harm all restored and back to normal. Next time, we stake claim sooner for the fire pit- but that will have to wait until we return.

2 days and I am off to CdA. Need to lay out all the gear, nutrition, pack and repack (which I will do a few times) I only do this for a race, for other trips, throw it in the bag and go, little stress, but for a race! Check, recheck and recheck. Butterflies just thinking about it. Sunday was a day off- ugh ! Restless but followed KP's plan. Today I went on a run, expecting to feel like Ryan Hall, but was slow, sluggish and tired- Panic...not the taper, feel good run. I have been here before but nevertheless is not easy.

PS... like the new logo. Website is under construction and logo'd gear coming soon.
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Its Official Now!

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Oh my gosh.....Week from yesterday I leave for Ironman. Seems to close all of a sudden. Excited, yes, Nervous, yes.... It's all good but so hard to focus on the rest of my life....job (which is very busy), family (who needs me), life ( well you get it)

Week from today I will be up early and swimming in the Lake CdA at 7, race time, to get an idea of race conditions. 1- it will be cold, water temp is 60. Takes some getting used to for sure. Although last year was even colder and come race day, the adrenaline and people and all it was not an issue.

Training is good. Had an outstanding 75 minute run on Tuesday. Easy warm up and then did some HR pacing. Running at HR 145 (IM HR) felt like I was walking, it was so easy and my pace was right on. Seems a no brainier to hold that for 26.2, but oh yeah that 112 mile bike ride plays a critical role as well and that quick 2.4 mile swim. Ratcheted up the HR to 155 and it was also so comfortable and was fun. First time in a while I just wanted to run, no worries about the time etc. Oh the wonders of a taper, rested legs and all. Still over a week to go. Yee haw.

Bike is ready to go- John helped me get the race wheels on, new tires (minimize all risk for flats and of course the old tires matched the old bike - had to put on very cool orange tires) Going for a 90 minute ride today and the dropping the bike at Nytro tomorrow for Tri Bike Transport to bring my baby to CdA. With John not going to help me reassemble and after the ease of using TBT at IM WI last year it seemed the way to go. No stress in will my bike make it, will TSA damage it or not repack it somehow, renting a monster car to haul the bike and it goes on. And the best, best part is finishing IM and wheeling the bike to TBT and saying good bye. No hassle after the race.

So with all this extra time I am trying to get a lot of outstanding issues tied up with work! I return from Ironman, quick business and then we are off to Spain and France. My iPhone is set for International and I will have my laptop so the beauty of my job is I can work from anywhere and can be readily accessible to my clients no matter where I am. So I will be working and traveling but that is okay by me! It is the beauty of this job.

I have spent so little time on the Europe trip as I am all consumed with Ironman. But with 48 hours between trips I am gearing up for both trips. The first part of the trip is pretty well planned out as we are traveling with JD's soccer team and we have hotels etc. John and Riley arrive on the 29th and can hook up with us and we may leave JD with the team and do some cool exploring, visit Johns friends...will really just wing it. The adventure starts July 4th when we roll into Monaco and become Tour de France groupies. Here is where we have decided to wing it and go with the tour and hope to find lodging. Monaco maybe an issue, but we can drive out of town and surely find someplace. I have spoken to a few others and they never make pre arranged reservations and both said, as long as we are not picky, we will find something. I figure we bring 2 sleeping bags and John and JD can always sleep outside :)

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Why dogs are not stressed out

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Where to begin.....

Okay it's really not that bad.

I bonked on a short ride! Okay 3.5 hours was all I needed and it just did not go so well. Why....own fault, trying to lean up before Ironman and have been cutting back on calories but did not eat in anticipation of a 3.5 hour ride. So within 30 minutes I am bonking...can you say rookie move??? So I am inhaling Cliff Shot Blocks, 400 calories worth and I am feeling better. Problem is I am burning 700+ calories and hour. This is why if you are in a hole it is very hard to eat your way out so to speak while exercising. Short of stopping at Robertos for a 1000 calorie Carne Asada Burrito it is hard to make up what you missed. But I did! 2 Powerbars later I was feeling human again. Bad idea, under fueling. Not a good confidence building ride. And in my weariness I reset my bike computer, not once, but twice. By the time I made it home, after a stop at the market for Double Shot Mocha into my water bottle...I was feeling like I was ready to start the ride. This is why fueling is sooo critical.

Spent the rest of Sunday chilling at a fun Lacrosse Party. Hanging in the park, bbq and so much food that it was easy to soon make up the calorie deficit I created.

OHG 2 weeks to IM. This AM KP sent me a link with the temperature of Lake Couer d'Alene and I had my first twinge of anxious excitement. Mind you I think about the race at least 10 times a day and have for months, but the butterflies just started. All good feelings.

Had a nice UCSD Swim this AM and that was all for the day, workout wise. So strange to not be thinking about a run or a ride after the swim. I just drove home. Without stopping at Starbucks. I have only been to Starbucks 1 time in the last 2 weeks! Good for Julie!! When I realize how much money I give to Howard Shultz and the stockholders it is horrifying. Added up....not a pretty sight. The good or bad of Quickbooks.I just love, love it! But with the economy tanking, my business falling off, spending $4 a day on coffee just has to stop. And it has....well is tapering off.

Then it was all work....don't get me started, just a lot of stress, mostly related to the economy. We need companies to have meetings, lots of meetings!!! No more cutting back. Thank you!

This afternoon I drove Riley to the dentist, left her there, came home to get JD and drive the carpool to soccer, rush home to reply to an urgent matter, back to RB to get Riley (after my step Dad kindly rescued her from the Ortho)...anyway 2 hours later we are almost home and come across a horrible accident. And there is a guy and his dog sitting near one of the nearly totaled cars, all alone. So we stop and he is disoriented and just not right. We called his brother and finally the police and fire department came over, apparently, he caused the accident. I tell you- THAT puts it all in perspective. Whatever stress we have, thank goodness we are all home safe and sound. See what happens when I train less....blog covers so many random thoughts.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What to do what to do....

Here I am tapering and thinking I am going to have all this free time.....Well taper is all relative when it come to Ironman. Taper means a 12 hour week vs 19 so I guess I did have an extra 7 hours this week. I think I spent a lot of them sleeping. It took me until Thursday to start to feel normal again. I slogged through some swim workouts and slow bike rides and finally my run Friday was feeling good. Had some power in my legs going up the hills. Saturday was a short run and ride and tomorrow is my "long" ride. 3.5 hours- seems like nothing and I am looking forward to that.

Should be an interesting ride. There is a very cool event call the Qualcomm Million Dollar Challenge. http://www.challengedathletes.org/compete/MDC_2006.htm It is an awesome ride from San Francisco to San Diego to raise money for the Challenge Athletes Foundation.

Participation includes a fully supported ride, including hotel accommodations for seven nights, daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, tour leaders, sag wagons, mechanical support, first aid, massage, and bike transport from Southern California to San Francisco prior to the start of the ride.

I know people who have done it and have just raved about it. Well here is the kicker, you have to raise $10,000! That is a lot of $ and I just don't have the time for that right now. But there is a very cool other option.

Radio Station XX1090 (local Sport Radio I think) DJ Scott Kaplan has a contest and the winner gets to go on the Qualcomm Million Dollar Challenge. There was an online application, so I of course filled it out and to my shock received an email that I am finalist. All this info was emailed and instructions to show up Sunday June 7 for the 1st training ride. There are rides each Sunday and starting July 14 the eliminations begin.....is this like Survivor? NO CLUE

I get the email all excited and begin to process what this means....Weekly training rides beginning Sunday, every Sunday from now until October. Oops, I have a big rice coming up, Ironman, I am tapering and then racing and then oh yeah that little trip to Spain/France where I am gone for 3 weeks. And my family, right a week away for a bike ride. Where are my priorities.... So I miss a month of rides.... they won't have to eliminate me, they wont even know who I am. And, and the ride is October 17-23. If all goes well and I go to Kona...I am sure a 620 mile ride is the perfect recovery plan 1 week after Kona. Oh boy....so I email the nice person with all my enthusiasm and all the issues....she writes back CONGRATULATIONS (I still have no idea how many entered, how many finalists there are) " ...missing some rides will not eliminate me...winner is based on attitude, team spirit, dedication and interest in the CAF Cause..." maybe I can pull this off...but missing a month, just not sure about that- Oh well, tomorrows ride is 40 miles and I need to do about 60 so I will do the ride and add on a bit and learn a lot more about the crew, process etc. Maybe I need to rent Survivor (since we don't have a TV and I have never seen the show but have heard a lot about it) and learn how to make alliances and all..... Stay tuned, will learn more tomorrow.

School is out on Thursday.... kids are ready to be done. Riley has turned in all her books, why are we paying for another week of school? Go ahead and shorten the school year, save CA some money, our taxes are basically paying for 4 days of parties, field trips and fun! (okay off my soap box) Whereas JD....welcome to HS and he has finals next week. He learned his lesson with mid-terms, or so we hope, and has been studying all week and has committed to this weekend. The backpacks looks untouched but he reminded me today is only Saturday.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Big Training is done....

Hooray!!!! Last big training weekend is finished. And what a weekend it was. UCSD held it's 1st Annual 2 day Ironman. 2.4M swim in the pool,112 mile ride and then for those crazy people running the RnRoll Marathon on Sunday. For me. I showed up for the swim, modified ride and a transition run.

A few weeks ago I was thinking it would be a good day to test out hydration, intake of salt, work in the heat and feel what is it like to run after being in the sun on the bike for so long. Well, actually it was quite the opposite. Was it June gloom, nice day in the clouds? No it was actually raining. Whole other set of conditions to deal with. As KP once said to me over a year ago when I pondered moving my long ride due to rain, " as long as you can get the race directors to change the race if it rains, go ahead and move the ride." Hard Ass, as my father said.

So there we are at UCSD 6:00am and ready to swim 2.4 miles, 3900 meters long course. That is 39 laps for 78 lengths of the 50 meter pool. Off we go and the 1st 1000 went pretty quick and I was feeling good until I realized I was 1/4 of the way. UGH, boring.....but I held a good pace and ticked off the 100's as we went. Around 2100, a guy passed me and I decided to swim in his current for bit see if I can hang on. Well clearly he sped up passed me and then swam my pace. The draft was quite nice and comfortable....but it was training, drafting makes it easier...so I slide over a lane and suffer along alone. Finsished the swim 1:01, not too bad, throw on a wetsuit and drafing on race day and I hope to swim 54 which I did at IM WI.

Onto the bikes in a steady rain....My T1 was very long as I wanted to wait for Marion and a few others so I took a hot shower, changed, dried off- very not IM like, but was all okay for the day. Off we headed in the rain. Within a mile I realize something is wrong on my bike, the front derailleur is rubbing when I am in my big chain ring. Marion asks cant I ride in the small one? Right for 100 miles- don't think so. On and off I am fiddling with the bike. We hit La Costa and head inland and thankfully someone had a flat, well not for them but good for me, as they were stopped and I borrowed an Allen Wrench. Did a bit of work and bingo I am the master bike mechanic and we are off, only to then learn now I cannot get in my small ring, and not that is not a option. So this is a really fun day, raining, chilly, mechanical problems and my legs are dead tired, not coming around as I hoped. We are well over an hour into the ride and they are not good. As we are cruising through Harmony Grove I am not happy and ultimately decide to leave the group, head to B&L and get my bike fixed. At 2:40 into my 5 hour ride, my bike is thankfully fixed. He throws it on the stand and makes a lot of adjustments and now rides like a dream. Legs are still dead, cannot generate power and HR is low. All glaring signs of fatigue, but i am determined to finish today. I head North and realize I am under fueled and begin dreaming of Pop Tarts again. At 3:45 into the ride I stop for a double shot Starbucks and consume 2x chocolate pop tarts. Forget the gus's, gels, and powerbars, we are talking now. With the caffeine rush and sugar rush I am new person, rain is letting up and I am headed back to UCSD.

Ride done! Yahoo. Transition run, 30-45 minutes, within 1 mile my legs feel great. Amazing, I run 6 miles and felt like I can keep going, but of course stop and, and I am so excited I packed some post training treats. At the PB/Honey sandwich first, have to get in some good recovery fuel and then went to work on the choc chip cookies- the ones i took out of the oven early so they are doughy. Oh yes, i am doing my own happy dance in my car. I am wet, muddy and me new bike looks very old and tired, filthy actually. Luckily all the cookies and caffeine had me amped up so I gave my bike a good cleaning, wipe down and it is good as new.

Sunday, last long run....I wake up less than motivated, stiff and tired. Read the news online, drink some coffee and begin to procrastinate. Zen is hounding me to go out so I use his motivation to get going. Lace up and head out with the dogs and actually don't feel too badly. After 30 min bring the pups home and grab some fuel and a few Espresso Gels and off I go. Run was great- 15 miles and I was feeling good. HR was a bit low which is due to fatigue but pace was steady and I finished strong.

Meanwhile, my family is functioning, existing and being so supportive I am incredibly thankful. Sat night Riley is at a friends, John is sleeping (one would think he was the one with the 8 hour training day) and JD comes home to get something. He feels sorry that I am alone on the couch watching a movie and offers to stay home with me. My heart swells and I am gushing but send him off, thanking him, and secretly enjoying the peace and quite by myself.

Now I working through fatigue....so tired. Monday day off and tried to get some good work done but was sooo tired. Today went for a 45 min run and felt like 10 miles. All the work has piled up and my body is waiving the white flag. KP has lowered my volume and shortened much of this week, need to recover!!!