Sunday, December 21, 2014

December in San Diego

post race re-fueling plan
San Diego simply does not surprise there!  There just some days that San Diego amazes me... 12/19 was one of them.  The sun was out, 68 degrees and Les and I rolled up to the 25th Red Nose Run in Del Mar on the beach, on the sand!  5k at 2pm.   $50 fundraiser for SemperFi (wounded military) and you get a stunning run, a red nose and a buffet at Poseidon that puts Ironman pizza to shame- veggies and hummus, mixed green salad, nice fruit salad, assortment of creamy  way to caloric for a 5k,  pastas.  Heaters as it dropped below 70 and the wonderful bar at the Poseidon.

The 5k was painful and slow, did  I say painful.  I am dreading blessed to do a 5k a month - this was #1 and it was hard.  But I digress.... I chased Leslie and it was over sooner than later and onto the fun!  Perfect December Friday.

So much else.... going to list it out - short and sweet

1- new house!  baam- we closed escrow on Friday- we are moving to Encintas 12/30!  Yee haw-

2- offer on hold house - no details don't want to jinx

3- swam 25,000 yards this week- hair stylist " um, what have you been doing to your hair other than abusing it?" She suggest coconut oil. Great idea....until I wake up to Roo sucking on my hair.  Speaking of Roo...another Oofos bites the dust.  That dog can jump 5 feet to get an Oofoos... and now I am down to 1 pair of hot pink and 1 mixed pair (1 purple and 1 teal)  So if anyone has any extra size 8 Oofos I'l buy them, even a right black one, see i have the left.  Swim goal 100k this month. 70,600 to date. 10 days to go - 3K a day - travel 3 days, pool closed Christmas. - 8 days = 3750 a day- doable.  May have to do a few 6k swims but I'll get it done.  Swimming makes me HUNGRY but also nauseous.  Over 5000 and my belly is not happy and I cannot eat too much before so I have been a bit bonky and not recovering too well, paying for it the next day.  Nutrition is key!  for the 10k swim- at 600 calories before and had a bottle with 300 calories but could not get it down, barely got in 12 oz water.

4- Pedicure- nail lady says " what on earth do you do to your feet?"  #hokatoes  Will I ever have 10 toe nails?  not sure

5 - New bike :)  Cervelo P3 black, Di2, 11 speed- got it just in time to I have not been on an inaugural ride.  But will soon.

6- return to Yoga is humbling.... can i use 2 blocks?  not that bad but really, really stiff, imbalanced and not heat prepped- lots of "childs pose for me"  and even a little savasana,  But I am committed!   flexibility, strength, heat - its all good!

7- Work.. what holiday?  traveling 12/21-23.  Its GOOD -  busy is good!

Friday, December 12, 2014

All over the board and boring no pictures kinda blog

Training is all over the board right now.  I parted ways with my coach in mid-November and have been “winging” it since.  A break from structured training is very welcomed but I am ready have some structure focus and start working toward 2015.

I have been running nearly every day but sometimes 20 min and other times 90 min.  All in the trails with the dogs and often with John- some days easy and others we race to the finish.  It was great for a few weeks but now I have some deep fatigue in my legs and they are heavy and not too responsive, so the joy is not quite there.  My brain and body tell me time to back off…. Which I have significantly.

With that the NCC swim challenge has begun and I logged 22,500 yards last week and have a realistic goal of 80,000 yards this month and a reach goal of 100,000,  BUT it is Thursday of week 2 and I have only logged 6000 due to travel.  So…. If can pull off a BIG swim weekend I am back on track, which I can.  Riding is coming back too….I have returned to the weekly GWL and it has been humbling…but had a few good days out there.   Only riding 2x a week right now and that is fine for now, but  that needs to and will ramp up sooner than later.

And with 2, yes 2 new bikes coming!!! I will be riding a lot…. New bike sponsor Cervelo and the deal was just too good to pass us.  So I have a rocking new P3 with Di2 and a new road bike coming any day now.  Yeah baby…. Sold my Felt on eBay for a great price so cannot complain there.    

I spent the last few weeks interviewing new coaches. 
1-      I know I need a coach
2-      I like to see how other coaches coach
3-      I need a different approach- at 48 if I want to continue to approve we need to mix it up, really attack my running and get my cycling back to where it was. My cycling has slipped in the last 2 years and that I cannot afford.  2014 was about returning to Ironman and racing successfully, which I did in Canada, but 2015 is about reaching my potential.
4-      With my last coach I did not thoroughly interview coaches and made a decision based on what a few people said, what I had “heard” and what I wanted to believe.
a.       Don’t get me wrong- I had a great season but there is more to triathlon than results for me anyway) It is about a relationship. 
b.      It is a relationship and needs to feel right to both parties
5-      This time I took the time to really figure out what I need from a coach, what kind of coach I am looking for and did some research.  I asked each coach the same questions, asked for references (this was key) and then did some recon on my own.  I had dialog for a few weeks with random questions, comments etc. to see who was also a good personality match.  It was pretty easy and I am excited!!

So decision made!  We “officially” start Dec 15 but have already engaged in some really good dialog, went through my 2015 race season and I filled out the longest form ever.  16 pages of background information – really interesting and detailed.

The first few weeks will be flexible, I hope, with a pending move and the holidays my schedule will be a bit up in the air.   Planning the Jingle Bell 5K on the 19th and then the Holiday ½ Marathon.  I have ZERO speed but both will be good benchmark races.   I will be doing a 5k a month- this is new for me and frankly guess my first one will be ½ my 10K, but we have to start someplace.

We close on our new house on 12/19!  So by then end of 2014 we will be Encinitas residents!  The house is perfect for the dogs and we love it too. I am beyond excited and will save $100’s in gas once we are in the city I spend so much time in now.
We still need to sell Gainsborough and are trying to do that on our own…The FSBO  (for sale by owner) is great in theory but in reality means fending off, hitting with a stick, hanging up on hungry, aggressive and condescending Realtors who are calling to ask “why do you think you can sell your home vs a qualified real estate professional”  “what makes you think…”  It is amazing… if they are calling to berate me then great but if their hope is to get the listing, I say try a different approach.  This aggressive, I am the King or Queen, and you are a moron approach frankly does not lend well to working together.  We. HAVE a Realtor who we vetted and will list with come January, we just wanted to give this a go.

Toward the end, before I switched out my number for Johns- he wanted to “take the calls”. I took a new approach to the aggressive ones.  I would reply with “what makes you think you can be a complete ahole?”  Or when asked “did you thoroughly vet the Realtor you selected” I’d reply “no I collected 10 business cards and picked the prettiest one.”  Yes you condescending xx we researched and interviewed potential Realtors and we chose a qualified representative.  YOU MISSED OUT!

Ok done with my RR (Realtor rant.  See I LOVE and respect Christine who found us our new house that was not even on the market.  And our potential Realtor Dolores is great.  Professional, nice, normal but good business people.  We interview a few males and they were often very condescending…. Not sure what that is all about.  But I taught sales training for a while and I can tell you – aggressive and condescending were not in my manual.
So we are still getting Gainsborough ready, packing – well not really but I should be,  finalizing our loan, which is the most time consuming and hope jumping experience I have been trough in a while.  If anyone defaults on a loan these days I’d be amazed.   The lender has every detail about every penny and where it originated.  When asked where X fund originated for the 10th time I wants to say the mint.  When the 100th email said, we need “proof of X” I was waiting for “please submit your last physical exam and blood test results” I mean really…. Okay so LR (loan rant) is also done.
When people say “are you ready for the holidays” I laugh…. My house has 2 Poinsettias and 1 red flower in my garden.  Yes- ready.  Gifts…fortunately we are not beg gift givers but for those whom I give to…. Let’s just be clear here- amazon? Apple? Or name the gift card of choice.   Annual family calendar, right- I have pictures of my nieces and nephews but none of my kids.  This will get done ….they too have overnight shipping- so I have a few days.

Traveling 12/21-23 for work is really ideal too J  December used to be fairly quiet for my HPN business but I am busier than ever.  So with HPN, Coaching, Loan Expert, and Realtor – I have 4 jobs and all getting done!

Last year at this time I had 3 athletes as many take a few months off, I don’t, but many do.  This year I have 7 through the off season and it looks like 12 as of January/February.  I am capping my coaching clients to 15 – that really is the max I can coach, the way I want to coach, which is individual and personalized.  I don’t want to lose my approach to take on more athletes. So it will be odd if the day 

Thursday, November 27, 2014


My first sentiments about thanksgiving or about Christmas....back off!   I find it amusing that Starubucks had its Thanksgiving blend out 11/1-12 and then it was swarmed, swallowed and covered by 10 different variations of Holiday blend, and red cups.... bah humbug!

I am thankful for....don't worry not a list of the usual sentiments or maybe it will be.

Waking up in Santa Cruz in our funky Air BnB hippy love shack with my best friend and number on fan John is the way to begin a day of thanks....of course sharing overtaking  the bed is Roo and Mako.  One big family in a very small bed.  JD is upstairs- so great to see my boy!  Poor Riley got called into work at dinner last night but it is so good to see her...she is thriving in SC and happier than I have ever seen her.  We rolled into town and checked out her place, while definitely a college house, its 1 block from the beach and pretty sweet.   6 girls in a 900 sq house- 2 to a room, but location, location, location,

How we ended up on the hippy love shack it a nightmare....once again a rental scam.  Long story, we thought we vetted the listing on CL, used paypal etc. come to find out the house is owned and lived in and NOT rented to us for Thanksgiving  Us meaning my family of 4, my 81 yo Mom, Sister and family from Boulder....the idea one big house for 4 days.  We scrambled and are making the best of this... so far its all good.

So what in general.  I am blessed to have both my parents alive and well and in San Diego!   We lost my step father last January but my mom is doing well and I cherish that we are so close.  My dad and step mother are  in LJ and we see them regularly.
 Seeing my mom and dad on a semi regular basis is really important to me and I am thankful in so many ways.... My siblings although in Boulder and Hong Kong we are very close. I talk to my sis a few times a week and we are like best girlfriends but more.  My bro and I are close even with the miles.... Thanks mom and dad for having all 3 of us :)

My friends.... you know who you are...we may talk 4x a day and have each other on speed dial or maybe once a month but each one plays a special role in my life.  Surrounded by good friends is anther blessing. We rode 1000+ miles this yards together, traveled to races, drank wine and shared many a Bonk girls make triathlon amazing but really complete my life.

My athletes....I am honored and thrilled to have coached and be coaching so many amazing people- most for Ironman, my passion.  Seeing them grow, get stronger and faster, crossing the finish line is what keeps me motivated every day.  Each one is different and I thank them for allowing me lead the journey!

Sooo happy to see my baby!! 

kids and Mom
Dinner was 14 of us.... 3 families and a giant joint effort of cooking and fun! And a HUGE surprise from my bro- flew in from Hong Kong!      We started the day with the Run for Pie in Aptos...10k in the trails and it was hard and fun!  Kids and sis did the 5k with the dogs.... family and running = happy mom  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Off Season - what is that?

a time of suspended or reduced activity; especially :  the time during which an athlete is not training or competing

What does the off season mean or look like? Depends on the athlete, your current season and next season.  After your last big race of the year is when you  "off season" begins.  My advice don't make any decisions about the off season for 2 weeks. 1 week post race you either still have not unpacked your gear and bike or you maybe dreaming of not losing all this great fitness and feel ready to go.  Generally 2 weeks post IM are a better indicator.  Also consider when is your first A race in 15?  March vs May is very different.

The goal for the off season is to physically heal up but really mentally to take a break from a rigid schedule of swim/bike/run- early AM's, long weekends.  If you want to swim swim, if you don't don't.  2 weeks post IM I don't like any schedule- just cap your workouts at an hour and no running for at least a week.   If you are nursing any injuries NOW is the time to let them heal.  4 weeks off running now is doable but mid season is a game changer.
Now is the time to plan...if you do nothing that is okay but be sure to include that in your build phase for your next season- it will take longer.

 If you want to work on a weakness- have a plan for 4-8 weeks a strategy. This is a great time to work on your swim technique while you are not worried about fitness- commit to 4-6 swims a week 30-40 min and work on technique- get a few swim lessons and really commit to getting more efficient.  Do a few running races- 10K's or 1/2 marathons.  Bike 5-6 times a week.  A single sport focus on your weakness is ideal and back off on the other 2, it's okay.  Have fun... relax and don't be so regulated.
Ride without power, leave your Garmin at home- just run, hit the trails. Swim OW or get out early - less stress now allows for a serious season. 

Do yoga, work on strength It's okay to gain a few pounds, especially if you got really lean for your last race. Now is the time to have some wine, more dark chocolate, be less vigilant. Why?  So when it comes time you are ready and willing.

What does my offseason look like?  Been on my bike 5x in 5 weeks, swimming 1x a week max, running in the trails nearly every day with my dogs... go garmin and no clue how hard or ez, just having fun! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

The only thing you can control is your attitude

This was what Mike Reilly (voice of Ironman) into the loud speaker minutes before I started my first Ironman.  And he is is a long day with a lot of unknowns, keep your attitude in check and the journey is more pleasant. Will you still suffer? yes.  May you consider quitting? maybe.  But you will prevail....

With the cancellation of Ironman Tahoe due to fire and the cancellation of the swim this weekend at Ironman Florida due to severe riptides and high winds we need to be prepared mentally for anything. Ironman is about months of training and sacrifice.  You have missed social engagements, stayed at home when others went out for happy hours, skipped the dessert to get to race weight, been tired, hungry, sore and grumpy for weeks all in anticipation of the big day!   You have sacrificed! 

You visualize the big day...but what it the big day brings 4 flat tires, 30 mph winds, rain, hail, cancellations...what will you do?  Other than a cancellation you will persevere, pull up your tri shorts, suck it up and enjoy the journey.  You are privileged to be doing such an epic event. This is your choice, your dream and about your goals- so live it, embrace it and enjoy it what the day brings.  

When Tahoe was cancelled I had athletes racing and it was devastating, I now I would have been angry, sad, frustrated.....but my favorite comment back to me from Tracy "yes I am disappointed, but I feel much worse for the people who have lost their homes"    In the scheme of things....yes we are lucky!  

So for those of you toeing the line int he next few weeks in Arizona, Cozumel etc.... be ready for ANYTHING!   Embrace it all and know if you can prevail you will be an Ironman! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

The other side of racing

I make it a point to volunteer at at least 1 race per year and try for 2...but this year I only make to one.  I am so appreciative of the many who are out there race after race making it happen- THANK YOU!!!

I signed up for Oceanside Lifetime Tri last weekend and emailed the race director and said put me where you need me.....return email says T1- report for duty 4am.  Um...are you sure you don't need me at say 8am?  

3am alarm and I pick up GrooveTri teammate Gina, who greeted me with a hot cup of Costa Rican coffee! And off we went.... In T1 by 4:03.

We started with body marking which is great way to see a lot of friends and well lets just say M20-24 are okay to write on.... just sayin.  After that we moved to sign girls- we held up the wave signs and it was great. Talking and hanging out while THEY got to be nervous and jump in the water.  We saw the pro me and women enter and exit swim (crazy fast) and it was inspiring to see Olympians out there.

Once we were done with the signs we booked it for hot coffee-as we were freezing....yes freezing.  After months of heat it was down right chilly.

Final work was gathering bags in T1. With a split transition the athletes were supposed to, NOTE SUPPOSED, to put wetsuit, cap, goggles - their gear in the plastic bag.  We would then tie it off and put in right box to be transported to the finish where they gather the gear.  

I will say 80% did it right....the other 20%...
1- when  you leave your gear laying on the ground- my thought was I'd leave it there too,  You cheated....sorry your competitors took the time, all of 20 seconds, to bag their gear as instructed.  I am fairly sure if their gear was left in T1 they would NOT do that again
2- if you are going to bring 1, 2 or even 3 towels for your transition area DON'T leave them all nasty and wet for me... cause I bagged them up for you.
3- here is what I found most amusing in T1
    - Caviar jar- WTF? salt, quick snack?
    - Pyrex dish with Quinoa salad - hello this is an Oly race?  really did you sit down and eat it
    - hair brush- who brushes their hair before putting on a bike helmet?
    - full transition backpacks filled with 10lbs of gear?  what was in those bags?  and what don't you understand about USE the race bags ONLY. 

I am a rule follower...when they say put your wetsuit and all wet gear in the bag or it will not be transported- I do that!   

Thank you for all that did and for those that did not..... you are lucky there are nicer volunteers! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Social Media...

I like social media....yes you see my Facbook and Twitter fun,  but I have 2 good stories...

1: OOFOS the best flip flops ever!!!  "They are designed to jumpstart the recovery process, our incredible footwear offers unparalleled impact absorption and arch support. Whether you've just finished running, playing, lifting, or just a long day, keep in mind that the last step is the most important."   The shoes are wicked comfortable and don't hurt my plantar fasciitis which is gone btw... (blog on PF still coming)  I was told NO FLIP FLOPS but these shoes, when my PF was bad, were the most comfortable shoe I could wear.  So there..... and they are still the MOST comfortable shoes I own.

Any way I now own 4 pairs of flip flops and 1 pair of Oofos Clogs (yes they make clogs)  So back to the story...Roo Roo has been in love with my Oofos since she came home and I dillignely put them away or up when I take them off.  Last wekeend , when they were alone oviously for too long  she helped herself to my Plum Oofos and I came home to this. Eaten Oofos,,,,  I yelled and yelled and Roo and she rolled on her belly and wagged her tail.  Meanwhile Mako was cowering in the corner... #sensitiveMako.

So for fun I took a picture and tweeted to +OOFOS  "can you make a Roo proof Ooofso?"  And I got a reply... " email us " I did with my Roo story and was thriled when they wrote back... "send us your size, color and adddress and we will replace them" Bam!! Love it!!

In return I have to tweet a picture of shaming be on the look out for Roo shamed!  

#2 +Starbucks Coffee at 6:30 Saturday AM on my way to coaching an IMAZ race Simulation I hit Starbucks and there were 2 custimes, 1 barrista and 1 guy slowly stocking yogurt. I stood at the counter while he metholically stocked yogurt and the barrista make 4 drinks for customer 1 and took customer #2's order and began on his drink.  9 minutes have now passed.  Yes I looked at my watch as I did not want to be late.  I suggested Cliff take my order and he held up the 1 minute finger and slowly contininuntied stocking yogurt.   I could have unloaded my entire car filled with yogurt  by time he finsished.  So I make a note on Starbucks FB page how about the 14 min wait while Cliff stocked yougurt...  

Message in my inbox asking for details, store number, recap of "incident" and name of offender.  24 hours later circled back, "we have shared your customer service issue with the store and district manager and thank you for speaking up"  Free drink coupons are on the way.....

Any way.....I like when companies pay attention and take action! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Kona 2014

Groove Tri Girls ready to rock Kona
in Betty Designs kits

Kona 2014

Friday Dinner was copious amounts of fresh pasta with small amount of steamed spinach, EVO and generous amount of Parmesan cheese.  All consumed by 5pm while sipping on Osmos Pre Load (nasty tasting concoction)  And to make it worse, Les whipped up a pineapple, Malibu rum concoction for Geoff and I was salivating. Literally.  And I licked the blender.  

2 Sleep Aid + 1 Melatonin and I was horizontal at 7 and asleep by 7:30. I slept great, other than 2 bathroom breaks it was solid sleep until 3.  UP and at em.. Les was up and chatty and we were starting the day.  12 cups of coffee going, Les had a potatoes in the oven and I whipped up a large batch of GF pancakes.  Start the eating fest…1500 calories later- pancakes, butter, syrup and a bit of almond butter and it was a delicious feast.
We rolled out the door 4:35 and Alii was eerily quiet.  The jumbo tron and finish line was up and it is the calm before the storm.  Pre- race is fun with friends… we filled bottles, peed, checked out bikes, added stuff to bags and then all fond each other on the grass for some Groove chill time. 

The start this year was different… 6:25 males pros, 6:35 female pros, 6:50 AG men and 7:00 AG Women.  In the past I have seen the pro start from the pier and the entered the water….this time women were held back and we missed the navy seals parachuting in to the water etc.  Men were off and we were still on the pier… as soon as the canon went off women entered the water. 
500 women vs 2000 is very different…while it was calmer I did miss the chaos of the churning water as we (in years past) treaded water for 20+ minutes.  Cannon off and we went. Dog fight chaos only lasted for 200 yards to the Body Glove turn around in years past. But it was not smooth water from there on out… we  were overtaking the slower male swimmers and the further I swam the more I encountered swimming diagonally and the number of idiots  athletes who stop to check their Garmin at the turn around. DON’T STOP during the swim…. if you cannot glance underwater or while swimming JUST KEEP GOING.  And to the chick who touched me feet every 3-5 stroke for 2 miles – I could KILL you!   Nobody touches my feet, not even my husband, so she was pissing me off.  But all in all, it was a great swim... Kailua Bay is stunningly beautiful and clear, you can see the bottom 25+ feet, perfect temperature and although some minor swells nothing to worry about. This is by far my favorite part of the day

1:01 swim- I was happy! Roka Viper Skinskin- ROCKED!  Once I wrestled it around my hips it was great…no chafing or rubbing and comfortable.
T1 was wicked fast and on the bike.  The first 7 miles is in town and a lot of fun – looking all around, crowds and Ironman excitement.  Then we hit the Queen K and well this is when this race begins.  Hot- yes.  Humid –yes.  Windy- yes.  I settled in and was sluggish but knew my legs would come around.  By mile 12 it was apparent there was a big head wind…..well fighting a headwind is okay as long as you get the tail wind.  38 miles to Kawaiha and I was struggling to hit my watts vs Whistler where I was holding back, but I was on target and HR as where it should be.  Nearing Kawaihi the crosswinds hit hard and this was scary and relentless.  With the turn towards Havi we now were climbing with headwinds and crosswinds.  Frankly I was NOT having fun, the legs did not come around.  Turn around was okay and coming down form Havi I saw a women get blown off her bike and go down…. Fricking scary.  Lots of people sitting up and holding on tight. 

Around mile 70 when I was climbing aero I felt a weird pull and pain go down my right glute.  It was startling and painful - I spun it out but it was nagging.  Soon thereafter I realized we had a headwind going back and I was demoralized.  In pain, had not peed since I got on the bike and my watts dropping.  I forced the nutrition- no GI issues but was having a hard time getting calories in.  I was worried about not peeing and just kept drinking. It was hot and miserable.  Again…Kona is not a beautiful, amazing course- it is hot and lonely.  I tried a lot of self-tak – how lucky I was be there racing alternating with what a dumb ass for coming back to I am honored to have qualified with I hate Hawaii. It was windier and windier…. Long ride back …. Finally the airport in sight and this hell will be over.  By this time my glute was seizing up and my quads were totally cramped.  When I handed my bike in Whistler I jogged/ran through transition.  When I handed off my bike on the pier I nearly feel. I was walking, slowly around the entire pier holding my glute wondering how the heck I was going to pull this off.

I got my bag and sat down and puked all over T2- oops…sorry. Sat there and pondered.  Really slowly shoes on, hat on, salt etc…. stood up and walked out.  I knew I had to start the run and go from there. Mile 1 was agonizing and slow.  By mile 2 I was walking and wondering what to do.  When I saw John by mile 4 I was in tears, in pain and thinking am I really going to walk 22 miles.   KP was out there and gave me a few stretches to do and I did those at each aid station and was able to run a bit.  I was running – really slowly- aid station to aid station with cramped legs and my right glute in agony.  Self-talk the whole way…. WTF, I love Ironman, I am the dumbest person o do this, GO ME…..

At mile 10 you leave Allii and town and back out to hell on the Queen K and I was demoralized.  I decide to walk and so be it. I walked a mile and then jogged a bit, walked a bit and then just started walking with a cool Norwegian.   We walked a mile and Amy jogged by and I decided to run with her.  She was hurting to and we jogged between aid stations and walked the station.  I was feeling a bit better and happy to have company. I was a bit delirious and I recall saying things like “wouldn't it be great if they had puppies on the sidelines” and then I was so happy picturing Mako and Roo’s along the run course… we talked about the miserable awesome bike adventure.  How fricking ugly this Island is.  I tried more positive self-talk….it sort of worked.  We hung together for 4-5 miles into the Energy Lab.  So the Energy Lab for the record is more of an energy sucking place in hell, but off we went.  They were playing soothing Hawaiian music, are you kidding me?  At the bottom, yes you run downhill a mile and then out to the end and turn around.  At this point my race is th time I saw him on the run. 
blown and I just want to finish.  Amy needed to stop and change socks and use the pottie and I decided to keep trotting along.  Along the way I got my 4 Advil’s and that was helping my glute and I stated drinking chicken broth and it was helping.

That with my glucose tabs and I was moving, actually running.  I went from 11-11:30 pace to 9:30 and was feeling ok.  So I started running and ticking off the miles.  John is usually parked outside the Energy Lab on his bike but there were not letting bikes that far this year so I was totally shocked when I saw him waiting there.  Huge smile on my face, running and so in love with him for being all over the course. This was the beginning of me loving this race, smiling, talking and feeling so fortunate and blessed to be here.

So I ticked off 1 mile at a time, walking the aid stating and downing chicken broth.  Let me digress. It was Campbell’s Chicken broth and thank you Les for texting me the label at 4am after race day to read what disgusting byproduct are in it- but frankly it saved my race.   My suggestion- Miso Soup.  Really?  Good for all of us…. Come on Jen W get WTC on that one. 

Ran with Sven form Sweden for a while and drilled him about Ironman Sweden.  I had done the same with Danish guy about Ironman Copenhagen.  Sven a youngin at 24 was great…. But he slowed down at 22 and then I met Constantine from Melbourne and we chatted it up for a while until 25 and then I took off.  Another blog for my stories….but Coni was funny when I took off and said “come on” he laughed and said no you go then yelled “Julie you are a bad ass” No idea where the 8:00min mile came from but I was the horse gong to the barn ….saw John coming down Palanii and its downhill, left on Konkani a bit lonely and dark – yes it was dark.  My first experience in the dark ( I did not like it ) and then the magic of Allii drive…. Tears, music, screaming fans, passed 5 people in the last .20 mile (1 in my ag) and ran into the light and the voice of Mile Reilly!

DONE  11:59…. My slowest Kona finish BUT I finished.  Kona is not like any other race- it is humbling to most….. and it was not my day so it was about readjusting goals along the way, living in the moment, soaking up the experience that it is and truly being thankful that I was there!. Early in the run (walk) I told John and Les when she passed me it may be a late night ….but you just never know. Take it 1 mile at a time.  Yes I negative split my marathon but it does not really count when you walk 5+ miles in the 1st half.

Swim- loved the Roka!  - No calories, I eat 1500 at 4am and nothing after that, Osmos Pre Load 30 min prior
Bike:  5x Bonk Breaker (espresso chip was my flavor of the day) 3x bottles of Osmos Mango for women and as much water as I could handle
Run – 1 bottle of Osmos preload through mile 6 and then whatever I could handle. 

Within in 20 minutes of finishing I see Marty and Carol and he whips out the “butteriest chardonnay I could find” He know me well and there we were…. Leslie and I were soon slugging wine in the King K lobby.  Les and I were ready to go eat and drink but our family and friends strongly suggested we shower.  Lisa and Marcus allowed me to clean up in their room and we hit up Lefties.   I don’t recommend Mexican food in Kona but the drinks were fantastic and we ate!  

Slowest finishing time BUT best trip ever! Wyndham was ideal location 1.5 miles down form the Pier, close but not too close and we had fun all the time!   Other then when Leslie poisioned me Monday night at Sushi we had a grand week. 

John was amazing…. He was everywhere race day and again my solid rock out there.  Geoff popped up, Amy’ family rocked and so many other familiar faces makes this place magical. Marty with the bottle of chilled Chardonnay at the finish - that was classic! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Twas the night before Kona...

(phone post no pics... will post some later)

Twas the day before Kona and the town is a buzz with triathletes in spandex and compression galore.  The vibe is a good one and people are ready.  The energy is out there and infectious. 

We were up at 5am, our usual this week and had the 12 cups of Kona coffee going immediately.  We go through 24+ cups a day in our house.   Today is about eating, hydrating, eating, gear bag prep and eating.  Building up fuel stores are key as tomorrow we bite 10-12,000 calories so storing a few extra is beneficial. I eat normally race week- so lots of kale, veggies, egg whites... And each day a bit higher carb intake.  I've been eating Trader Joes GF. (No I don't do GF race week but John has celiac so it makes it easier ) Pumpkin Pancakes each am.  They are THE BOMB!!! Get some now. Each day I add one more pancake so today I am up to a stack. 

40 min spin at 6 with with Les and Amy and then Sag Monkey did a bike check and final once over.  10 min shake out run.  Headed to Dig Me beach for a final test of my Roka Viper swimskin.  The water is just amazing... 82 and clear as far as you can see.  Early in the week I saw pods of spinner Dolphins every day- babies and adults playing and spinning along with the manta rays.. Coral and colorful fish.  Truly an aquarium.  Today was a lot of lean, as in eat a cheeseburger lean, bodies.  Short swim to the coffee boat, espresso shots as you hang in the edge and listen to the myriad of accents and languages.  This is when you realize this a World Championship - not just a bunch of yanks....

The goal after that is get out of the sun and off our feet....but we had to go get some more love from Bonk Breaker ( or more fuel for tomorrow) and then one more iced Kona coffee and home.  Pancakes round 2 and RnR.  Out of the sun, horizontal, reading, on the phone, working (yes working) and then the bags... swim gear, bike gear, run gear and special needs bike and run.  Lots of mixing of fluids, tiny bags with salt tabs and other pills, water bottles, race numbers..... and no pictures.  Focused and just got it done.

Then the red carpet/cat walk.... where you check in your bike - a long carpet lined with people and clipboards marking off what bike, helmet, shoes, glasses etc you are wearing for the "kona count" which is published later. Helmet check for safety and the personal escort to your "box" on the pier to rack your bike then the the LONG walk around the pier to the hanging racks for swim and bike gear bags.  Lots of familiar faces and hello's.  It was overcast with intermittent rain drops..... please be like this tomorrow.  And it is done.... lots of lean, fast and excited people.

Home.. then early dinner of pasta, EVO, parmigiana and some spinach. Osmos PreLoad and now water...chilling out and hope to be horizontal by 7.  ... alarm goes off at 3 :)

1028...wish me luck 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tiki Swim

I had the opportunity to do the 4th Annual Tiki Swim yesterday in Oceanside.  I have to say it was an amazing event.  Well planned, priced fairly, nice swag and a good time other than than the water temp dropping, me freezing in the not wetsuit swim and the big waves.  

 Parking was easy race morning.  They offer a 1.2 and 2.4 mile swim. I am not sure about logistics for the 1.2.  For the 2.4 you have a gear bag at the start  (which is near the pier- where i parked (although next time I  would have parked at harbor near the finish) and they transport it to the finish ( at the harbor) 

It is a beach start and we had some surf for sure... I was not "race ready"  Siren went off and I leisurely walked into the water, it was cold, really cold.  I chose the non-wet suit option, they have both, as I thought it would be a great Ironman prep swim. 2.4 miles non wetsuit,  It would have been great LAST week before the water temp dropped.  But I was committed.  The water was cold.  First wave tore off my goggles (duh goggles were out outside of cap)  Grabbed goggles, cap off, goggles on and I am still standing in the surf.  Pep talk and in I went.  Navigating the surf was tough but took my mind off the cold.  Swim was wavy and challenging.  

When I hit the 1/2 way mark I was a bit depressed as I was sure I was nearly done. But I still had 1.2 miles to go.  I got my head in the game and went work, focused on strong swimming, sighting and stopped the pity party.  I passed a few people and went to work trying to catch as many Orange caps (2.4 milers) as I could.  

Once we hit the harbor it warmed up a lot.  I was relieved and then started wondering if the warmth was due to the fuel in the harbor.... ditched that thought and kept swimming.  This was now like the Oceanside 70.3 finish,  Up the ramp and done.

I was definitely cold, a bit disorientated and chattering, Thank you Jim Murph who got my bag and towel.   Quick change and I was soon warming up. 

The emcee was great encouraging everyone to cheer and help out the people coming in.  They had post swim egg and bean breakfast burritos - I was starving and at almost 1/2 of it.... I regretted that BIG time on my long run an hour later, but at the time it was sooo good!  

The race had  good community feel. Brian Long was all over and supportive,  It sold out this year and suspect it will in the future,   I don't like paying to swim 1 mile, sort of like a 5K, I want more pain and suffering  :)  The distance was great and timing perfect. 

Manged a 2nd AG finish and a nice TIKI.  Grabbed the free shuttle back to the pier and had to muster the mental and physical strength for my last long run.  I am not going to lie, it was not fun.  I settled in for the 1st hour and was holding my pace and feeling decent and then I died...  next 15 min was ok but hard and then the last 30 min was tough. Running out of water and dealing the GI mishap of a breakfast burrito DID NOT help,  It was one step at a time. Got to my car, drank 40 oz of water and started to feel human again.  I had zero calories on the run due to the burrito distress so was in a depleted state and was feeling sick.  Venti  iced mocha sounded good and went with full sugar  for the much needed calories.  

Stopped for an Apple n Greens Smoothie from Jamba... solid food was not happening for me. A blend of apple and strawberry juices, kale, peaches, mangos and bananas and it was delicious! Major work is done!!! Let the taper begin....
Apple N Greens


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Giro San Diego and what's happening....

Full training mode for Kona means, run repeat.  I'm feeling good and having fun so that is the good. No injuries - yeah!!

 One of my athletes...not really sure which one, but suspect Lisa, suggested Giro San Diego.  105 miles and 10k + of climbing- been there done that, so figured why not.  It would be a great day of training with many of my athletes.   

Ride starts in Solana and weaves around, includes climbing Palomar, then Cole Grade and a whole lot more. What I did not factor in was the massive heat wave we are having meaning temps were well into the 100's, my legs were shot going into the ride from a 15+ hours already and did I mention the heat.   Lets just say I used an entire canister of NUUN, 20 salt tabs and drank 20 bottles of fluid in the 7hours and 19 minutes it took me to finish.  HOLY Shit.  In Valley Center the ice queen offered the ice bucket challenge to empty her water and I took it- saved me.  Liz was feeling crappy so turned around 6 miles into Palomar so I was solo from there on out..... It sucked honestly but around mile 80 I found a group and we pace lined it for a bit until 95 and then they freaking died as in we hit a small climb and they nearly stopped. Done- so the last 15 were just gut wrenching, alone and a giant pity party  - 

Meanwhile I had an 8 mile run to do. It was 88 in Solana Beach and I was cooked, fried, lobster and done!!!   No freaking way, but I had to at least try so I decided to run 1 mile at least, it was okay so I ran 2 and knew that was an issue, mile 3 was ok, mile 4 felt like mile 22 of an Ironman.  I ran 4.3 and kicked off my shoes and jumped into the ocean.  It was not even that refreshing. I hit the shaded, thank you, food tent and served up a mound of greens, pasta and sauce. Beer was out of the question but 6 glasses of iced lemonade hit the spot.  Mind you I had not peed in over 4 hours.  UGH!   But I did it and was darn happy!  once I was home, on my 2nd plate of nachos and had taken a shower.

Nothing like getting home after 6pm... long day.  All I can say is training like that makes Ironman seem easy.  I am so proud of my athletes who endured and suffered- they got poured on when descending Palomar and many were in the saddle close to 11 hours.  Again IMAZ will seem like a sprint tri after that!

A few days of swimming than back in the saddle and had a pretty serious run this AM and rolling into a big weekend - and for the record temps are looking to be in the 90's with a low of 70.   I know I know heat training....but really, really I am DONE.  But I am not suffering alone..I get it.  We are all sweating together, right? 

As for the rest of life.... hold on, We are putting the house on the market when we go to Kona which means working every day on packing, cleaning, sprucing up - perfect to be doing during IM prep.  I told John no way- NOT before Kona but when the realtor pointed out that selling the house while we and the filthy, smelly destructive dogs are gone will be SO much easier, I acquiesced. SO 2 hours a a day I pack-  we have to get ride of ALL our personal stuff and make the house look bigger.  

Painters come this weekend and then John is redoing the floors next week.   

We are excited..... the work will be worth it when we sell this house and find a new one in Encinitas.  We are looking and have found few we could buy today- so that is good news- but we have to sell this first.  

Empty next.....still rocks!  miss the kids tons but don't miss living with them.  Feels like we did our job and launched them... not kidding ourselves they could be back but that is why we are looking at 2 bed 1 bath house.  JK....we will always have room for the kids to visit for a max of 5 days. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Empty Nest, Life after Ironman, Next Ironman

While we were whooping it up and suffering on the race course  in Whistler, Riley launched herself.  Her original plan was to move in August to Santa Cruz and start at Cabrillo Community College in September with the intent to transfer to UC Santa Cruz.  After her last "scouting" trip to SC, departure of her best friend and becoming tired of making pizza at Round Table until midnight every night she escalated her timeline. Without a place to live, she let me know she was planning to leave the following Friday.  With a bit of me freaking out and insisting she have a place to live  planning she was resourceful and sublet ted a place for 2 months and decided to move up there with what she could fit in her car. And she decided to move while we were out of town....   The conversation went like this.  Mom " Riley we will be home in 3 days, can't you wait and we can do this together?"  Riley " Mom, I am packed, gave notice at work, my entire room is boxed and I am ready.  I'll be back to get the rest of my stuff in 2 months"  Mom " um ok"  meanwhile crying and thinking really, really she cannot wait??  Meanwhile Riley is packing her car.

But I get it now- she was ready and determined and I am so incredibly proud of her for her integrative and courage to do it.  So she is gone..... it's odd.  I miss her like crazy but did not cry for 2 weeks like I did when JD left.  I honestly think I am so incredibly happy for her and her next phase of life that it overrides my sadness.

And frankly....I really enjoy sleeping all night and not wondering where she is and when she will be home.  When my kids are under my roof I worry.

So our house is crazed with 3 dogs and is a circus most days peaceful and quite without the kids.  As for John and me. We are empty next issues there.


So after that incredible feeling of "I did it" I qualified for Kona there is the $850 payment on demand and then the sinking feeling of OMG I have to do it all over again in less than 3 months.  Standing there with bloody toes, toenails that are glued on and quads that do not work really it is a bit overwhelming....

For me it was 6 days of NOTHING, as in NO training.  Not triathlete "no training" which  really means ez bikes and swims, it was zero working out.  And this was key for me, I think.  The day after Whistler I flew to Boulder for Training Peaks University so it was easy to take time off, being out of my normal routine.  6 days later I did an ez swim and 30 min run, the another swim and run and after 8 days and ez 2 hour spin and eased back into it.  The next 7 days were aerobic recovery. 30-45 min runs, 1 hour swim and 2 hour rides but zero intensity.

So by week 3 I was ready to get back at it with volume and intensity.although my idea of intensity and coaches are a bit different  I am feeling pretty good so feel like the recovery plan went well.

My Ironman hick up had to do with registration,  You pay on site at the awards and you get a letter saying you will receive an email within 2 weeks to link you to officially register.  Les got hers and mine was MIA   I waited and figured spam? checked spam and nothing. So I emailed as instructed and the email bounced. I figured I must have misspelled it- so I recheck and send- come right back, So I open a "ticket" at  2 days and nothing.  I open another ticket and then 4 more (ok I am totally panicking now)  I am NOT registered and it is 3+ weeks post race.  I reach out to Jen who works at Ironman and plead for help - this poor girl gets requests every day form her "friends" - I let her know she could put my previous request of Bugles on the run course on hold to help get me registered.  I was in the voicemail hamster wheel for 40 min trying to leave a message at athlete services and finally did ( and maybe left 4 messages)  Meanwhile Les reaches out to Andrew Messick ( yes the CEO) via Slowtwitch and another friend of hers all with the message " help me register!!!) please

Well...24 hours later I had 11 emails " click here of your registration to Ironman World Champoiships"  I am covered now... and don't pay attention to the 11 Julie Dunkle's currenly on the start list.

Shit now I have to race :)  

As for 70.3 Worlds on Mt Tremblant- I qualified and want(ed) to go. But with the expense of Kona, a week of travel to DC this week it just did not make sense 1- money has not started growing on my money trees 2- the time away is too much 3- its far away and I am just not thrilled.  So I'll do the Giro instead 105 miles of riding with over 10,000 ft of climbing including Palomar!  

I really want to get ot Mt Tremblant...but not this year,  Maybe 2015 Ironman? hard to say- but possibility

As for DC- 5 days done and I am en route back home.  Travel + Ironman training is hard, but I did manage to run every day and do 2 solid 90 min runs. Running through the monuments by the White House was just too much fun!  

Tomorrow..... 113 miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing + a little run- WELCOME back to reality!!!  Yeah baby....

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ironman Canada

Ironman Canada... grab a a cup of coffee or maybe a bottle of wine- it's a long one

I was excited and scared….my last IM was Cabo which was a DNF (not a surprise due to a pulled hamstring) but pulling out was hard.  Previous Ironman was 2012 Lake Placid- my worst Ironman ever, felt terrible all day and the marathon was miserable.  So I was scared and wondering if I lost my Ironman mojo.

This was #8.

Alarm set for 3:15 and I woke up 2:45 wide awake.  I was in bed at 7:30 and asleep by 8:15.  I take 1 Sleep Aid before a race, I practiced at home and was fine, but this allows me to get a solid sleep in before the big day.  

3:30- beet power + amino acids.  Cooked and ate 700 calories of gluten free pancakes with oats, topped with butter and almond butter.  2 monster cups of coffee with almond mild.  Done eating 3:45 and managed to do a bit of work, really I was calm and comfortable. This is why I stay in a house, condo or 1 room suite, so John can sleep I can get up and move about comfortably.

4:15- sunscreen, kit, timing chip, HR monitor, sweats, long sleeve jersey, beanie and sweatshirt + wool socks and oofos. 

4:30 left to meet Liz and Lean and standing there I see a guy with his wetsuit and the alarm goes off- mine is in the hotel room.  2 minute jog back, key to side entrance to building does not work, run to front desk, hysterically demand calmly ask for a new key, retrieve wetsuit and back in time to walk to the shuttle

4:50: drop special needs bags

BIKE: 1 bottle of 120 calories OSMOS and the other 4 Bonk Breakers cut in ½ in a bag
RUN: glucose tabs. Aquaphor, socks, kit kat from mini bar ( really?- yes)

5:10 on the bus to swim start.  Swim is 2k walking or 3.8k driving. Feeling calm and excited. Chatting with Liz and Leah.

5:20 – arrive Alta Lake- mist on the lake, snow capped mountains, trees everywhere, music playing, and energy is rolling.  Now it gets real. That pit in my stomach is there.   Pee, check bike, Garmin on, bonk breakers in bento box, bottles in cages and now off to find friends.   Less nervous talking and hanging with SD Peeps.  Long lines for porta potties so Les and I forage in the trees- watch out for poison ivy.

6:00-drink Osmos Pre Load with 16 oz water. 

6:30- where the time goes I don’t know- and our wetsuits are on, bags dropped but kept the socks. Grass is wet and it’s chilly.  Sun is up and this is happening!!!

SWIM:  IM Canada is a 2 loop swim course with a water start. Pro’s Men went off 6:45 and Pro Women 6:50. I was in the water 6:50 and did a light warm up.  I don’t do much of swim warm up for an Ironman.  I found my place font row near the red buoy (far left buoy) the setting was sensational – now capped mountains surrounding the lake, that sense of calm before the storm.  I was calm with a few butterflies but all in all really happy.  Of course around 6:59 2-3 guys swim in front and try and take their place in front of me.  I bully my way back to the front. The cannon went off without any warning and the dog fight began. I was beat up a lot the first 300 meters, pushed under twice by a giant hand on my back, swallowed full mouthfuls of water (hoping this lake did not have Giardia) and soon settled in.  But the 1st buoy I had settled in and was feeling good.  Loop 1 seemed long but I had a guy in sight and he kept me on task and focused on pace.  I was swimming comfortably strong and within my limits. After the initial cluster I settled into every 3 stroke breathing.   Swim done and out …. I usually don’t look at my time as I don’t want it to affect my day.  But someone shouted 55 and I was pleasantly relieved!  The long OW swims and really, really tough masters swim pay off.  

To get faster even better swimmers need to really be pushed and 90% of us cannot do that on our own. So going to 6am Masters with Hex at the Encinitas Y 3x a week paid off.  Interval swimming is what it takes.  I averaged 13-14,000  yards a week and added 1 OW swim a week toward the end.  People often say to me “you are such a good swimmer can’t you just swim 1-2 days a week” The answer is yes and I have done an Ironman on swimming 7-8000 yards a week.  I swam 5-6 minutes slower BUT came out of the water tanked.  This is the key here, even if you don’t get a lot faster, if you can get out of the water fresh, then you ready for Ironman. Questions on swimming?  Email me

Moved through T1 calmly but quickly, Used wetsuit stripes and on my bike. I sip water only for 20 min, allowing my stomach to settle, get used to being up right again. 

I had specific power targets and caps for the bike and I rode spot on.  The bike is 1 “loop with nice long descent from the start out to Olympic Park, and then what seemed like a lot of climbing up to the actual Park where the ski jumps etc. were. It was stunning.  I was in control and had so many flying by me on this climb, out of the saddle, feeling good and going for it. I stayed seated and stuck to my power cap.  This hard as it seems so slow.  The descent back down was spectacular and I flew past the 2 girls who passed up on the climb. We climbed back to Whistler Village, and then a long descent to Pemberton, and then a VERY flat out and back in Pemberton.  This is 35 mile TT- all aero, now using and recruiting different muscles.  I was feeling great- power spot on and was able to hold it without an issue.  Around 85 we began the near 20 miles of climbing back to Whistler and much of that at 10% grade. This is where it gets really.  6mph and a headwind.  I was on task with my power and riding past many of those who hammered by me in the beginning. 

Water on 30 min
Every 30 min ½ bonk breaker
Hour 1: 22 oz water only
Hour 2: 22 oz Osmos  + caffeine
Hour 3: 22 oz water
Hour 4: 22 ox Osmos + caffeine
Hour 5: 22 oz water
50 min: water only
Total Calories:  1650
Bike split 5:50 xx

Set up : Speedfill A2 between aero bars with water only and would refill at aid stations
Osmos in bottle cage. Used Special needs for 2nd Osmos bottle + additional bonk breakers. Reynolds 404 in front and Zipp disc in rear (loved the hummmm of the disc)  

Rolled into T2 and handed off the bike (LOVE this feeling) and could tell my legs were okay.  In and out of transition on onto the run.

The 1st few miles feel great to everyone and my goal is to hold back on the pace.  With a goal of 8:35 pace I wanted (and did ) run my 1st 3 miles at 9:00.  It felt like 11:00 pace but I kept it in control.   The run course is 2 loops a mix of bike path, trail and road, lots of shade with nearly 2000 ft. of elevation gain.    Loop 1 went by quickly and I was feeling good. At the beginning of the 2nd loop it got hard, Ironman hard and I was waiting for Les to pass me.  It was going to be any mile but I was focused on my race and what I could do that day. 

My pace was off and I had decided not to push it around mile 5 – the it was not there.  Mile 18 had to make a porta potty stop and I was worried GI issues were setting in but it was just one bout and then back running in a lot of pain now and around 19+ Les came by running like a bat out of hell, it was inspiring to see.  At this point my goals were 1- keep eating 2-keep moving 3- where the F is 3rd place. 

Around 21 when it was getting dark I see John and he says “just keep moving you can do it Jules” Ok I do.  I am now running 100 steps walking 25 and NOT happy.  Self-doubt battling with positive talk, I am taking it 1 mile at a time, crowds are good.  23 John “don’t give up, you are awesome, you got this” he is excited and tearful, I feed off his emotion.  I was walking 50/50 and I go to 75/25.  

My back is searing in pain, my legs are cramped and some sort of blister is is hard to move, and something is on fire on my foot- I LOVE IRONMAN.  Mile 24 God bless him more encouraging works and then around 25 “ I want to go to Kona, come on Jules”  I start running and figure it’s the least I can do for all he puts up with is get him a trip to Kona. Soon that surreal feeling of running down chute.  OMG it’s over….  Leading the race until mile 19 was fun, knowing Leslie was running me down was not fun, but I have to say if I had to take 2nd, I would not have wanted anyone else to take 1st. Now I have a training partner for Kona.   GO LES! She rocked it that day and had the better race....I still have one more shot to hold her off 10/11 :) 
300 calories of Ignite InCarb + Osmos I had in T2 fermented so that was out
Water + perform every aid station through mile 13
Water  + coke 13-26
2 packages of Honey Stinger Organic Chews

Final thoughts… Swim was excellent.  Bike was spot on. Run, my fitness was simply not there (yet) for a marathon at the pace I want to run.  Taking 5 months off running takes a toll.  So the goal in continue to work on running and not be injured!

And the appreciation… most of all for John, who without his undying support and willingness to put up with this exhausting/time consuming sport, I would not have been at the start line.  For Chris @ AIMP Coaching, for taking me out of my comfort zone nice way of saying kicking my arse.  When I would freak out and self-doubt, Chris ignores the hysteria and moves forward, tough “love.”  Nytro Multisport for being the greatest Tri/Bike shop ever! Russ- the kick ass mechanic.  Betty Designs for the coolest kits on the course.  BonkBreaker for fueling 2nd to none.  Aquasphere for wetsuit that helped me beat a few of the male pros. Speedfill A2- easy access up front on the bike.  Giro and Oakley for the cool sunnies.