Friday, September 30, 2011


Wow 2 days of fun on Oahu....come and gone!  Just took a quick nap in order to ensure I am awake to pick up John and the kids at 9:30.

Arrived late Wednesday and checked into a sensational suite - holy cow- check out the living room
and there is a master bedroom and another room with 2 beds.  I could get lost in here alone....thank you for the generous room Kelly Sanders, General Manager at the Sheraton Waikiki (my old boss)  And thank you for the nice amenity....I was starving after the huge meal zero food that was served on my 5+hour flight and was too tired to stop along the way.  Nothing like a cold glass of Sterling Chardonnay, smoked Gouda and fruit and the entire box, 2 small chocolate covered Macadamia Nuts I devoured nibbled on.

Crashed in bed and was up early....gotta love the time change.  Got some work done and was off to Kaimea Beach to meet Michelle Simmons We met at the popular open water swimming spot near Waikiki.   We swam to the windsock and then hung a right and swam for 15 minutes, hardly moving mind you.  We paused and chatted a bit and then swam back the same distance in 6 minutes-can you say current.  Then as we followed the pipes back to shore it was a sensation of a washing machine - pushed out pulled in.... but the water was stellar- crystal clear and warm!  I would swim open water living here that is for sure!!

After the swim I had an ez run and hit the road heading toward Diamond Head.  So nice to be in a different environment and exploring new territory!  

Workouts done and I showered and changed. I had  busy afternoon- was looking at 2 hotels for my HPN clients and then calling on 2 bike shops for ZocaGear  The sites are no brainers...the sales calls were a learning experience.  My first call was nothing short of a disaster... Couple a really sophisticated buyer with the first time I am showing my samples- they were totally disorganized, falling all over, I could not find what I needed as he was asking me what type of thread we use.... He was asking questions that I am sure were not in my training materials, not that I could find those either.... after all that he tells me is will not longer be the buyer come November- what....actually for me, probably a blessing.  I gathered my gear, put my tail between my legs and departed.  Okay I had 30 minutes before my next call.  1- went to Von's and bought freezer bags for each kit!  done 2- Starbucks for a lot of caffeine and sugar.  3- reviewed all my materials.

And the 2nd call was awesome...I was there for over an hour, he is VERY interested and it went well!  Okay, I can do this.  The only issue is my eyes have taken a dive since last week.... seems turning 45 is the magic year for me needing reading glasses. I pulled out our pricing list and it was like, really?   What is this font 6?  I was trying to read it and had to sort of he has on reading glasses and asks if I want to borrow them.  I used to bond with my customers drinking beers now we share reading glasses.

Off to my final hotel and it was a full day....time to sit outside overlooking the ocean and enjoy seared ahi and a nice glass of wine! I keep thinking maybe I should skip the wine, well with Ironman now 8 days away.... maybe when I am a week out??   Anyway a smashing day!

Up early today 4am....had some work to do and was sort of awake anyway- really 7am in CA.   Drove the Windward side of the Island, after stopping at Peets in the lobby!  Really- Peet's coffee in the lobby at the Sheraton Waikiki!

.  Met Michelle and Nalini at their pool...okay this pool is nuts.  You show up at 6:55 and people are waiting- no fee to get in for a 50 meter long course pool!  But wait there are no lane lines- right on. You don't get  lane per se you get the black line or to the right or left of it- so you have 16+- people swimming long course no lane lines and no clock. Really?  So we warm up 1000- all is fine...see I don't like swimming with a clock anyway, especially this close to a race- just don't want to know- if I feel good than great! If not, don't want to see the time.  So after warm up we have a set of 12x200 descend in 2's through 6/100 ez and repeat.  First set is okay...but by #6  I am not feeling the 2nd set, Nalani was miles ahead and Michelle mile ahead.  Was tough for me and not what I wanted to did I fight and hang on, no I slowed down about 20 seconds per 200 and finished.  Any fighting I have will be saved for October 8!

After swim we went to Michelle's and she graciously offered up her old TT bike- forgot my pedal wrench so she again graciously offered me her pedals and her shoes and her socks..... Since I had her shoes she was not riding with me.  She sent me North- ride until you feel like  turning around.  Sounds computer on the bike - good for me- no data.  So Michelle has Speedplay pedals  and I ride Look.  I have always wanted to try Speedplay (maybe not the week before a race, but well....anyway)  As I am riding off Michelle says the first time she rode Speedplayaero for fear of falling off.... had a tough time settling in, riding with ice skates, different bike etc and nearly turned around.  And then it clicked and I was feeling the Island charm.... I was loving the mountains, the ocean and the peaceful ride.  Before I knee it I was well past the 1 hour mark...oops- turned around and enjoyed the spectacular scenery home!

I rolled in and Michelle was just about to wonder what happened...oops I forgot I have an Ironman in 8 days!  Loved it.... Funny I walked in her house like we are long lost friends...sort of funny we met via blog land and only one time, last year in Kona, but someone clicked and it has been great hanging on her turf these past few days!  I hope she will come to San Diego sometime so I can return the hospitality!

Such fun...and I feel great, except for the disastrous swim! Legs are what really matters here!

Few more sales calls today...few more lessons- note to self- be sure to ask if they sell more than Mountain and BMX bikes...."so our one piece tri suits are not ideal for your BMX customer?  "  Another lesson...long sleeve jerseys and arm warmers not a big seller in Hawaii!  It's all good...I'm learning along the way.

So now I am enjoying the view from my paradise

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Leaving on a jet plane.....

Really is it time already..... It seems like a week ago or maybe 2 that I wrote the big check and accepted my Kona slot at Oceanside 70.3, back in April.  Gulp...where does the time go?  I raced Wildflower a few weeks later and then it was the big mid-season break and plenty of time to get really fit for Kona.  Oh right and Vegas 70.3 World Champs along the way.   Yet I don't really feel like I had all that time..... I sort of remember the "off" season- which really for me means little swimming and running and lots of miles on my bike.

And then I swear it was 10 weeks to Kona, drop the hammer, log the miles....get really fit and ready for Kona.  And now I have what 10 days.... shit, did I drop the hammer, did I log enough miles, were they the right kind of miles, enough aero time, enough climbing to build strength.... and the questions go on and on and on.

The thing about Triathlon is that even when you think you are really fit and ready to race you show up to a race and sure enough 1/2 the girls look fitter and faster.  Complete mind f&*k really.  As Jen put it.... she swears that she will be leaner and stronger than the year before when she shows up in Kona.  And the years that she is leaner and stronger, she still feels overweight and weak. See that is the thing about the World Championships- these people make it a goal to be as lean. as strong, as fit as possible.... ugh!   Too late...

Now don't get me wrong, this is not a "I'm so fat" post looking for "no your not comments" this is real thoughts... and for many others racing the same thoughts they have.  Walking around Vegas with a few of my friends I noticed them too saying. dang look how strong she is, look how lean she is part of our sport.

So this is when coach chimes in (thank goodness)  What  I don't know is who maybe too lean (really? yes possible), who is over trained, tired. injured, stressed....etc.  No one wears that on their face right-  okay, maybe he has a point.

The bigger issue is really how ready am I to race Ironman?   And race it well.... that is hard to say.  Sure we looked at Training Peaks  and looked at the data.... sure we know what I have done, but what we don't know is what will happen on race day.   And honestly with Ironman it is hard to say... sometimes I don't know until the run.... sometimes I think I know and then things go South.... This  is the first year I have not done more than one Ironman- good yes?  Yes I am not tired..... but then the doubt, I haven't done an Ironman this year- how will the marathon go?

So what else is different this year....
1- I am going earlier ( today in fact) 10 days before the race.  Not all play - few days of semi work in Honolulu but hoping the extra time helps with the heat acclimation
2- Entire family is coming- 1st year I went alone (bad idea), last year was John and me (and lots of friends there) good - but having the kids there will be great (I hope)
3- Less stressed... really and truly looking forward to the big Island fun- going to soak up all the fun again and enjoy the week- each year seems to be less stressful.
4- Goals- of course I have a goal, but really I want to enjoy the day- these women are the best in world and I am not sure I can hang with the best of them- and that is okay, really it is.  Top 10 and I will be more than happy!   For me to get on the podium it would have to be the perfect race for me + a little bit of race day magic, possible yes. realistic maybe.... setting my sights on it- not really.  I am feeling confident but realistic.

So I an eager toe have some fun in HNL. hopefully make some sales with my few job at Zoca,  enjoy my kids and husband, have fun with Jen, Chuck and Rob in our very cool (hopefully) house. hang with the many wonderful friends I have made in this sport - both those racing and spectating and have a good day on Saturday 10.8.

So as for the question about Zoca- new job? what you left HPN Global?   No I am multitasking.....HPN is my main gig, so to speak, love my clients and will continue to work hard for them as well as work with training new associates.   It's all good.... Zoca is a triathlon, cycling and running apparel company based in San Diego.  They want to grow the brand and need a local rep!  I am interested in doing more the world of multi sport - good match.  What drew me to Zoca is they are based in San Diego and all their stuff is custom made right here- no exporting overseas.  The quality is high and they are constantly making improvement and changes.  Even though my territory is Southern CA- I have all my samples and am eager to chat with local bike shops in Honolulu and San Diego!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Guys are great but sometime girls just rule.....Saturday was my last long(ish) ride before Kona and possibly for the year!  I rode with some of my favorite peeps...we had a great ride and some conversation that was second to none.  Sometimes we ride and laugh out tails off, tell silly jokes and humor each other up the climbs. Saturday was day about friendship, listening to what is going on in each of our lives (and not the highlights) more like the bumps or mountains in some case...  And well we commiserated, empathized, yelled at cars and other people, shed a few tears but did laugh out loud and cherish each other for who the the other is.

Thanks know who you are!   Looking forward to our next ride for coffee, scones and lots of silly laughter. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gotta Blister...

I had not 1 but 2 blisters smack dab on the bottom on my foot.  Blister 1 was a deep blister, under the callous, on the ball of my foot- courtesy of my brilliant move of running Vegas World Championships sock less with my Orthotics (which I had only done for a 5 mile run)  This blister did not cause too many problems... could use the general blister band aids  and ran pretty well.  It was a recovery week and all but they worked just fine.

Until Sunday that is.... long run and I used regular band aids on top of the blister band aid just to be sure.  Well the skin below the band aid, the really tender skin on the arch of my foot, rubbed and created a big blister.  Now that one really hurt....hurt to walk even!

Yikes... last solid week of training and I need to run!   Here is the solution,,
1- soak in Epsom salts as many times a day as you can
2- when it's time to run.... give yourself 10+ minutes to prep
3- apply 2nd skin blister protection... a 3 step process that is great!  Basically you add a layer of skin that comes in a package, make a mole skin donut around the blister and the wrap with athletic tape,  If you are really serious, you wrap in Duct Tape- what the ultra runners do
4- put Blister Shield in your shoe.  Use 1scoop of this "powder" shake and rub inside.   It creates a water barrier that keeps the foot dry.  Amazing.....

It works!!!!

Running pain free and now I am down to 2nd skin and blister shield only! Out the door much faster.....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Racing Vegas was not the boost I hoped for...mentally that is, but I already cried about that race so onward.   The good thing about a crappy run is that the recovery is much faster....slower run means faster recovery.  After O'side I was smashed for a good week.  After Vegas by Tuesday I was feeling pretty good and running on Wednesday.  The massive blister on the ball of my foot was doing okay so I was feeling optimistic.  As the week rolled on I was feeling good and the legs loosened up. Come Saturday I was feeling looser than I did 1week ago, pre race.  Coach was clear and it for Kona.  Don't prove anything now..... so I did.  I rode mostly alone to ensure I was doing my ride and not sucked into someone else's pace.   Amy joined me for the middle 2 hours and that was perfect...the rest of the ride was me and my iPod.

Come Sunday...other than very little sleep due to raising teenagers and dealing with late night crises, altered states, misinformation... I was ready for my long run.  I decided to put a band aid on my blister just to be safe- BAD I created a new blister on the skin rubbing against the band aid.  Ouch, ouch... this one big and puffy on my arch.   Dang it..... But the good was solid and my foot DID NOT hurt.   The nagging, painful random injury was 99% gone. Why? Probably because I finally went to a Podiatrist who told me it was nerve damage and it will slowly get better 6mos-2 years (yes years) and that I could not do more damage...I think that was all I needed to know-that I could not hurt it any more.   And the fact that Dave Jewell at Zoot  is a rock star in making sure I have the right shoes for training and racing.  Thank you!!!

And here we are less than 3 weeks to the big day..... I am feeling good and coach has a solid week on the books- instructions are NO mistakes, NO adding volume or intensity, SAVE IT FOR RACE DAY.  This has not been an issue of late as I have been tired ...but I am feeling like it is coming together so it is tempting to test my fitness.  But I am not going to!

Today was fun....really fun!  Getting paid to ride with someone.  Okay that sounds desperate...this was a coaching gig.  Rode with someone getting ready for a big ride and she needed some tips on climbing, pacing, execution. Worked perfectly...I had 2 hours in the saddle and rode to meet her, had our active coaching session and rode home.   This is my kind of was so much fun!

8 days and I am off to Hawaii.....Heading to Oahu for 4 days, 2 days all alone :) and I am super excited to hang out and train with Michelle S on her turf.  John and the kids arrive on Friday and then we all head to Kona on Sunday!!!  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vegas Recap....

Race reports after stellar races are really fun....... Guess what, this is not a fun report!  But it seems only fair to write the good and the bad....

Well......the race was not what I hoped!  No race day magic, not a confidence building day for Kona, not a fun day out racing.... it was a tough day.  I finished and gutted it out but it was not pretty.

What happened....wish I could tell you.  Swim was good, but did not "feel it".  The bike was hard, the course was hard but my perceived effort was high for the watts I was putting out.  Usually in a 70.3 I have to hold back a bit in the beginning and pace myself, in Vegas I had to push myself.   I trained on the course and left there not feeling like it was all that was tough and we got lucky- it was not 110 degrees and there was minimal wind.  The hills were fair and took a lot out of me, the downhills requred hard pedaling - there is no break on the course.   Hopping off the bike in T2, I could tell my legs were spent...I usually feel good right off the bike, so this was my first sign that it was going to be hard.  The 1st mile is downhill so I had a bit of false confidence. As soon as I hit mile 2 and went up, I knew it was going to be a long 13 miles.  So I checked them off one at a time and made the best of it.

Serious hot spot that lead to a big blister on the ball of my foot, but that was not the cause of my slow run.  My foot held up which is GREAT news for Kona!  My nutrition was not good... why I still struggle with this I don't know!  I am seriously considering solids on the bike in Kona- I train with Powerbars and Cliff ShotRoks and am thinking it maybe the way to go.  Save the gels and Gu's and liquids for the run.  Again, nutrition was not the cause of my slow race, but my gut was not happy and if was a full IM I would have had serious GI distress.

Weather was great (for Vegas) that is...high of 95 I think- could have been 105+ so that was fortunate.  The split transition is a bit of a bummer....we stayed at Green Valley Ranch - near the finish and I think next year I will stay at the Loews or another Lake Las Vegas Resort- too much driving back and forth, up early to drive to swim, then back later in the day to drop off bikes, riding from GVR is not that nice vs taking a nice spin from Lake Las Vegas, GVR is a big casino hotel which means cigarettes and a hike to get to the car etc.... would rather stay in one place- drive to register and take the shuttle back after the race.  There are some great condos right there which could be a lot of fun.... cooking in and hanging with friends!

The trip was fun.....Ian was our sherpa and chauffaur which was awesome. Great fun with Riikka, Ian, Beth, James, Darcy, Diana, Jody and Stacey.... so that was all good!  Lots of familar faces on the course- Whiteney and Liz were the rockstar cheerleaders....hooting and hollerin such positive mojo as I nearly crawled by.   You know the race is going down hill when lap 1 KP gives me my position in the race, lap 2 says hang in there.... lap 3 not even sure what he said or if I could see him.

Anyone doing Vegas next year or ITU Worlds....hills, hills, hills....ride and run hills.  Train like you did for Wildfllower!  Serioulsy- it is a tough course.

Recovery for a few days...and final push for Kona!  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ironman 70.3 World Championships

Reporting here from Las Vegas...Green Valley Ranch Resort- I can feel the base blasting from the pool in my hotel room.  Clearly not everyone here is racing tomorrow....

Race is actually in Henderson, just outside of LV proper.  This is the Kona for the 70.3 (or 1/2 Ironman for my normal friends)  Same have to qualify and the race is a big deal just 1/2 the distance.... and well you swim in a murky lake vs the beautiful pacific ocean, but I digress...

Super excited to be here- have qualified in years past but never "punched my ticket" so to speak as the race as been in Clearwater FL in November.  1- I strongly dislike FL, yes the whole state.  2- Nov is just too late ( I want my season to be done by then) 3- if I was fortunate enough to race in Kona, that is enough. 

Ironman made a big move and the race is now in Vegas- hot and hilly and early!  Some say perfect tune up for Kona others say bad idea.  Some of my friends racing Kona passed on Vegas as they want to focus on Kona prep....I decided to go for it.  When you have 2 races so close you have to pick A race and B race. For me...Kona is my A and Vegas my B.

What does that mean....I am a bit tired, did not taper much (rest for those normal peeps again) so I will not be as fresh as usual for a big race.   Why is that...tapering allows the body to freshen up and get ready to race, but one also loses fitness, which is great if you are racing and then taking a few weeks off. But to be ready to race Kona, a full Ironman in 4 weeks, I needed to keep training. 

So...we shall see. Is there ever the perfect race prep? not sure..... My worries 1- will my foot hold up? 2- Did I rest enough to lay down a good race 3- Will I survive the heat?  All will be told in less 24 hours...

I am excited.  The venue is great, the course challenging - which I like, and so many of my triathlon friends are here.  It is so fun to see so many familiar faces all over the hotel, at the race site etc.  It makes me realize how many special people I have met over the years and how comforting it is to see them all, know they are nervous and a bit anxious as well.   With a 70.3 we start in waves, vs all 2000 people at once as in an Ironman, so we will be spread out a bit.  

The bonus for me is I am the 1st wave after the Pro's.  Big, big deal...why? 1- I will have open water to swim in. 2- Will be cooler...thank you race director for letting the old ladies go off first and 3- so fun so see everyone out on the course.  The course has an out and back on the bike so will be great to see where everyone is. The run course is all out and backs so I suspect a lot of high 5's and good on ya's throughout the day as well are all running up or down the hills.  Not a lot of flat on the bike or run course.

In honor of the race I added a bit of color..... yes I died my bangs purple.  It's all fun....and will be gone in 4-6 weeks...

So my bike is checked in and my bags are dropped off.  Fridge is stocked from Whole Foods...T-1 to race day means okay to eat simple carbs....a treat I do not often enjoy anymore.  So I am getting my fill of Amy's Parmesan pita chips, spinach and artichoke hummus, grapes (had to cut myself off) and a bit of black licorice.  Staying off my feat and thoroughly enjoying the monster suite thanks to Green Valley Ranch, working in the hospitality business, does have it's perks at times. 

Considering I don't own a TV at home and rarely lay around.. this is heaven.  Flat screen, surround sound and eating in bed!!! See Ironman is really not that hard.

Always have a mantra for a race....why? Not if, but when it gets hard, you need one to fall back on.  Mine for tomorrow... "thank god this is not a full Ironman"  and for the more positive mantra " at least I CAN do this, make the most of it"   I am fortunate to have my health and wits (well many not my wits)....

Time to fingers are cramping and I need them fresh to buckle my helmet on the fly tomorrow

Family....where is my family?  John hates Vegas and the heat - enough said there.  No husband far outweighs a cranky one.  JD taking ACT and Riley shopping for Homecoming dress.  I have my triathlon family out here.... Ian (bless him) is Noko and my sherpa and he has been awesome!   So many SD friends are racing and cheering... I wil be just fine! 

Monday, September 5, 2011

More coaching than training this weekend

I have been doing some work with coachme triathlon coaching, a very cool new coaching operation with a new approach to coaching with mostly face to face coaching that can be booked in 1 hour increments.  While there is ongoing coaching available the majority of the coaching is for specific needs; swim needs, specific bike and run coaching, race prep, nutrition consulting, transition...really anything specific to the sport.   Coaches are all over the US and are active triathletes who are in the top 10% of the sport- so they bring real life training and race experience to the table. 

coachme partnered with a new 1/2 Ironman race, Orangeman, on 9/25/2011 in Dana Point.  This is a first time race and looks to be a very cool race!  Ocean swim which is rare for a 70.3 around here, most are in bays, harbors etc. So there will be waves, current and who knows what else.   The bike is awesome, close to 3000 ft of elevation, and they are closing the Ortega Highway which offers great riding but traffic usually makes it unreasonable to ride.   Some steep climbs getting out of Dana Point.   And the run is a 2 loop course that is a bit hilly as well.  This looks to be a great race!

coachme triathlon is the official coaches for the race and is offering swim, bike and run clinics as well as a few 5 hour clinic to go over the race from start to finish.

I went up Saturday as one of 3 coaches for the clinic.  We unfortunately could not get in the water due to large surf so we only scoped out the swim, did the wetsuit on and off demo, discussed surf entry and exit, placement strategy etc.  And then we rode a portion of the bike and it was great to talk with the campers about packing, how to approach the climbs, descents, fueling on the bike, aid stations, recovery, compression ( I was sporting my Zoot compression sleeves etc.  For about 1/2 of the group with will be their first 1/2  IM)  so the distance is a bit intimidating.  While you can wing nutrition and make mistakes on shorter races, that can be detrimental on a 1/2 IM.  The rest of the group has done the distance but was taking advantage of the day to learn the course and gather additional advice from 3 other coaches.

With 3 weeks to go they can practice a lot of what we discussed well before race day. The final part of the day was 1 loop of the run course which I skipped due to my ongoing foot/shin injury, which I don't want to discuss, and then wrapped up the day with Q&A. 

It was one of the most rewarding days I have had in a long fun to be with people jumping up to this new distance and to see the excitement, anxiety and passion for this sport which has become such a mainstay in my life.   Each and everyone of them was so appreciative and shared how much they learned and how valuable the day was.  That made the 2.5 hour drive home in bumper to bumper traffic worth it.

If you are looking for a fall 1/2 Ironman I would definitely add Orangeman to your list.... close to SD and a stunning venue!  I hope to be there on the 17th to cheer them all across the finish line.