I QUALIFIED FOR KONA!

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I QUALIFIED FOR KONA!

Ha! Made ya look! But that is my other big news.

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Truth is, I am going to Kona! I did qualify. But not for the Ironman World Championships. Back in January, I applied for the USA Triathlon Level II Endurance Certification course. And I got accepted. So, I'm headed to THEBIGISLAND for three and a half days of triathlon education!

But, I WILL get to see THE Ironman. It's my Super Bowl.  It happens to be the weekend after my certification class. So, I will get to see it all first-hand. Ace and I have even signed up to volunteer for body marking on race day. I'm hoping to spot a few of my favorite pros (Alicia Kaye and Sarah Piampiano and Mareen Hufe)  and meet some amazing age-groupers. I really, really, really want to see Chrissie Wellington get inducted into the IM Hall of Fame.

Right now, I'm more excited about the certification than the race. In the last week, we've gotten the schedule and some content. I've been re-reading some of my content from USAT Level I certification and studying up on TRIATHLON SCIENCE. I've read up on the case studies we'll be assigned and prepping for a presentation we'll have to give on the last day. I am totally nerding out.

Honestly, I've never really wanted to do the Hawaii Ironman. I will never qualify by time - I'd have to be top one or two in my age-group (although IRONMAN's motto is: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE). I may someday qualify for the Legacy program - but that would be years from now. Plus, Kona is hotter than White Lake hot.

I will say that I have always wanted to coach an athlete to Ironman. That is my Kona dream. This experience is going to launch me in that direction. I already have the athletes on my roster that are poised to become Kona qualifiers.  This is the tipping point for all of us and I can't wait to see what happens.

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THE BIG FIFTY

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THE BIG FIFTY

My very first triathlon in 2008. The Charlotte SheRox.

My very first triathlon in 2008. The Charlotte SheRox.

I've teased in a couple of posts about what's on the horizon for the rest of the season and so here's the big reveal! The first one:

In two weeks I'm doing my FIFTIETH triathlon!

Whaaat?!

The Sandling Beach 50 in Raleigh is a mile swim + 40-mile bike + 9-mile run and it will mark my 50th triathlon since 2008!  [HERE'S the story of my first one.] The idea started earlier in the year, but I don't quite know what sparked it. I was hoping that IM Santa Rosa was going to be THE ONE. I counted up all my tris - including relays - and thought I could make it. But, I skipped two races this spring and one got cancelled and so I had to readjust.

What it means is that I'm cramming FOUR races between August 19 and October 1:  Riverlights Sprint, White Lake International, White Lake Sprint (the next day), the WB YMCA Sprint and finally the Sandling Beach race.

The White Lake Sprint in 2009. Thinking peaceful thoughts before my second tri.

The White Lake Sprint in 2009. Thinking peaceful thoughts before my second tri.

I can't believe this will be number 50! I've come a long way and I can't wait to do 50 more!

Fifty shades of cray.

Fifty shades of cray.

 

Next up: the biggest news yet!

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COACH'S CORNER

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COACH'S CORNER

This year marks my fifth year as a USA Triathlon coach. It is my favorite job I've ever had. I don't know what's better, watching newcomers finish their first race or veterans of the sport beat their best. I love the little victories that my athletes experience in training and the big ones when they reach a racing milestone. I can tell I was born for this when I get off the phone with an athlete and say, out loud while clapping, I love doing this! Every. Single. Time. 

I started with two volunteer athletes on my personal roster. After I took the USAT Level I certification and passed the test, I promised I would coach them for free to gain experience in planning and practice. That year, both of them finished an iron distance race. The next year, they both PR'd their race - one by 30 minutes (on the marathon) and finished in the top ten of her age group and the other bested her previous time by almost two hours. Although I realize that their talent and determination counted for 96% of their success, I am proud of the 4G% that I contributed to their training and race experience.

This year, I have grown to 12 triathletes. Plus, I am the run and bike coach for our YWCA tri club (which is 10-20 athletes strong).  I love them all.  I want them to grow and succeed and learn. I like to see them gain confidence, connect to their professional or personal life and have fun.

In the past, I haven't written much about my coaching or my athletes, but through the end of this year and in 2018, I'll be able to feature the stories of first-time athletes from sprints to IRONMAN, swimbikerun comebacks and more! 

Plus, stay tuned for some exciting news about my coaching career.........

With my YDUBTRICLUB coaches: Lance Tate and Alan Sandrin

With my YDUBTRICLUB coaches: Lance Tate and Alan Sandrin

With my YDUBTRICLUB girls! Cassie, Maria and Tonya rocked out on the Azalea Tri in March 2017.

With my YDUBTRICLUB girls! Cassie, Maria and Tonya rocked out on the Azalea Tri in March 2017.

 

 

 

 

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IRONMAN SANTA ROSA - BEYOND THE FINISH LINE

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IRONMAN SANTA ROSA - BEYOND THE FINISH LINE

The finish of the race is never the end of the day. Believe it or not, I not only need to keep walking, but usually spend an hour or more at the finish area. Standing up. And, we walked almost a mile back to the hotel! I am so grateful that Ace and Sunshine were there as soon as I walked through the finish area to pick up my medal, my tee, my hat, my aluminum foil cape and get my picture. I'm pretty sure that Sunshine jumped the barrier before I crossed the line. I hugged her and kissed him and made my way out of the barricades. I got a hug from Boss and Yoga Spice and they took care of me - wrapped me in warm clothes, found me a port-a-potty and followed me to the food tent.

The finish of the race is never the end of the experience. Hours later I remember what the lake tasted like, what the sun felt like on my shoulders on the bike, what the dirt tasted like in my gum on the run, what the finish chute sounded like. Days later, I am content and satisfied and wearing my medal everywhere I go. Weeks later I am giddy and proud and amazed (at even myself). A month away, I will dream of the hills or the peace at the swim start and I will relive my favorite parts of the day. I still dream of biking in France and running across the line with my two best friends - one in 2013 and one in 2016.

I get lots of questions as I return from the MDOT bubble. Here are a few, plus the replies.

WHAT DID YOU FEEL LIKE AFTERWARDS?  Immediately after this race, my right shin was sore and both of my lifters (my hip flexors) were tender. But, I have never felt stronger after a race. I will say that I was I was too uncomfortable to get a good night's rest. My quads were puffy and sore to touch and my neck and shoulders hurt. And I was sunburnt. And chafed by the zipper of my tri top down the front of my body. And mini Wrunder Woman had scratched a hole in my spine from my back pocket.

HOW MANY CALORIES DO YOU BURN? AND WHAT DO YOU EAT ALL DAY? My Garmin showed that I burned 6000 calories that day. I was in an aerobic heart rate zone most of the day and was probably on target. Once the race started, I ate: seven GU or CLIFF gels [Caramel Macchiato, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter, Raspberry (which eaten together is a PB&J), Mocha, Vanilla and Root Beer), 400 calories worth of my Infinit Custom mix (named GUSTO GRAPE), three packs of CLIFF chomps (new Gingerale is AWESOME), two bananas, one packet of Justin's Vanilla Almond Butter, 1/4 cup of Cola Gummies, at least two Red Bulls and some cola.

Me and Honey at the Iron Horse Vineyard.

Me and Honey at the Iron Horse Vineyard.

WHAT DO YOU EAT AFTERWARDS? I am always so hungry right after the race. I crave salt. Usually, I want a ChickFilA sandwich. This time, I filled my plate with delicious local pizza (which I gave to hubby), french fries, pulled pork tacos and two chicken sliders. I ate about 10 french fries and maybe an ounce of the chicken. And it took my 30 minutes just to get that down.

The next day I was able to eat a full breakfast including scrambled eggs, potato wedges, a bowl of fruit, bacon and sausage. I also downed a whole bag of my new favorite chips.

And I drank some wine (#toomuch) and had a normal lunch. And I've been eating ever since. My sweet tooth has been off the hook since the race. I joke that I left Whole Foods last week with only junk food: two boxes of pop tarts, banana muffin mix, chocolate cake mix, coconut milk ice cream (two flavors) and fig newtons. [But hey! They were gluten, soy and dairy free!]

ARE YOU NAKED UNDER THE WETSUIT? No!

WHAT WERE YOUR MANTRAS? I mentioned in a previous post that I tried to think of a new mantra for every four-minute interval on that last loop. Here are a few I remember:

I AM ONE WITH THE FORCE AND THE FORCE IS WITH ME

I AM STRONG AND FAST. OUTRUN. OUTLAST.

YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU BELIEVE. YOU HAVE GREATER POWER THAN YOU KNOW.

I AM STRONG NOT FAST. I'm BUILT TO LAST.

I AM MOANA OF MONTANUI. YOU WILL BOARD MY BOAT. 

MENTALLY TOUGH. FAST FEET. STRONG LEGS.

SCOOP YOUR BELLY. TUCK YOUR TAIL.

NO MORE RHYMES NOW. AND I MEAN IT. ANYBODY WANT A PEANUT?

 

 

DO YOU GET THE IRONMAN BLUES? Yes, but not yet. I actually think this gets better each time. WHAT DOES THAT FEEL LIKE?  I miss each race after it's over. I miss the experience and the challenge. I miss the training. I miss the interaction with other athletes.  I feel relief - which wears its own sadness. I am relieved that I am safe.  I am relieved that my body faced the test - and passed. That we traveled to and from a land Far Far Away. I am grateful. Which doesn't make me blue but does fill my heart to overflowing. I am grateful for my life. For my husband and his support and encouragement. For my friends who traveled 3000 miles. And for my friends and family and training buddies who cheered from home.

I mentioned in a previous post that on the bike I had to avoid at all cost thinking about how far I had to go in the race. I caught myself in those hours after the race thinking about how far I'd come. One hundred and forty point six miles. In one day. It put me on the verge of being emotional in those days following but, it it has actually taken more than a week for it to finally hit me that I did an IRONMAN.  Again.  It's a feeling I want to hold on to.  It's clarity and happiness and holy-cow-ness and power and love and joy. I want to feel that and put that out in the world. Because these days, we sure do need it.

DID YOU WIN? ..............

WHAT'S NEXT? HOW SOON DO YOU START THINKING ABOUT YOUR NEXT RACE? ARE YOU DONE YET?  I am not done. I have already started thinking about next year. I have several ultra distance tris on my bucket list and I can't wait to get them on my calendar. Mt. Tremblant. Boulder. Copenhagen. These are the dreams of those who will never qualify for Kona.

I am also not finished with 2017. But, I will save that for next time.

Boss, Om, Me and Dirty Spice

Boss, Om, Me and Dirty Spice

Day After: Me, Boss, Honey and Sunshine at the Iron Horse.

Day After: Me, Boss, Honey and Sunshine at the Iron Horse.

Day After the Day After. We turned on the fire pit at 9:00AM and sat in the sunshine.

Day After the Day After. We turned on the fire pit at 9:00AM and sat in the sunshine.

 

 

 

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IRONMAN SANTA ROSA - THE RUN

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IRONMAN SANTA ROSA - THE RUN

THIS IS GOING TO TAKE LONGER THAN I PREFER. Those were my words to Michelle as I passed my crazy crew at mile seven-ish - near the end of the first loop.  I wasn't feeling so hot and the same feeling that I had had on the bike was chasing me on the run. I didn't want to do this loop two more times. It's too early to feel this way. It's hotter than I prefer.  This gum has dirt in it. 

My first four miles had been great. I stuck to my plan of a four minute run + 30 second walk. But, somewhere on the out and back spur I made the mistake of worrying about the outcome. This was not going to be the run I wanted (4:45ish for my 45th triathlon), my friends were going to have to wait so long for me to finish. I was not going to finish in under 12 hours. Worry. Whining. Wimpy. Whipped. Walking. Not 4G philosophy. Not Wonder Woman words.  I could barely hear the sound of my friends cheering for all the whining in my head.

This was my mini Wrunder Woman. She was in my back pocket for the swim, bike and run. Here she is protecting my Emergency gels.

This was my mini Wrunder Woman. She was in my back pocket for the swim, bike and run. Here she is protecting my Emergency gels.

But, as soon as the words left my mouth, I was able to let it go. I need a reset, I thought. I pulled out my mini Wrunder Woman (yeah, I spelled that right) and walked for two minutes. I danced through the BASE SALT energy tent (they were playing Lady Gaga -- loudly -- and dancing). I made my way up out of the greenway and into the fan zone: three blocks of spectators, plus special needs and an aid station. I was back on it and ready for loop two. I danced back through the BASE SALT zone (Gangam Style) and past my crew. Sunshine was screaming U2 lyrics at me, Ace was taking pictures and cheering and Boss & Jess high-fived me.

I loved the run course. There were parts that were in the sun and parts that were packed gravel and the return lap is up a gradual hill. But most of it was paved and shaded. It followed Santa Rosa creek and felt far away from downtown. It was quiet and there were places I could hear the creek below and see the runners on the north side as they headed back in. I saw wild turkeys (including three minors), I spotted a musical performance of Much Ado About Nothing in the park and saw Mr. Push-It again. This time, he was wearing only a sign (or so he made it look with his bare chest and exposed legs). I think his sign said: IF YOU WALK, I DROP THE SIGN. As I passed with a group of women, he said: eyes up here, girls! Eyes up here! And pointed to his own eyes.

I had been dreading the second loop but it actually flew by. I admit it:  It may have been the Red Bull. I had waited until mile 8 to drink one and it was worth the wait.  Plus, I liked ticking off the spots that I'd only have to see one more time. I only have to go up this ramp one more time. I only pass by this aid station one more time. I passed my crew, then the BASE salts [I wanna say DONTCHA by the Pussycat Dolls], then the fan zone, then the BASE salts [Baby, You're a FIREWORK], then my crew. They headed to the finish line and I finished up my last loop. This loop was even better. I could tick off every spot that I was going to see for the last time.

I played leap frog with two other runners who were also run/walking. I made up six new mantras and repeated one for every four-minute run interval. I counted to 100 in French. I ran my secret goal pace (9:30/mile) for two of the four minute intervals and it did not feel great so I quit looking at my pace. I read the signs that my crew had written on the sidewalk: HI! WANNA BE FRIENDS? and IT'S NOT A HILL. IT'S A SUNFLOWER and 4G: GUSTO GUMPTION GRUEL & GRACE and UNC GIRLS ARE FAST. Hey, wait a minute!

I came up out of the greenway and was ready to finish. I knew not to start too early because it is about 1200 meters to the finish (three times around a track), but I picked up my cadence and tried to propel myself forward with a bit of a pick-up. I made it past the bike transition, around the changing tents and towards D-Street on the heels of two runners - one much older (he was 75) one younger (she was 26). Go Get that Finish, she cheered as I passed. C'mon, let's go! I shot back. I bolted up the finish chute which was so long - and not long enough. I started yelling my fool head off. YES! I shouted. I AM AN IRONMAN. I DID IT! I started prompting the people on the sidelines to cheer back - fists pumping, arms raised - WOOO HOO! I heard Ace and Jen cheer on my left and high-fived Michelle and Jess on the right. I practically jumped across the finish line, faced the cameras and did my best Wonder Woman pose.

COMING SOON.......THE FINISH & MORE

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IRONMAN SANTA ROSA - THE BIKE

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IRONMAN SANTA ROSA - THE BIKE

I mentioned in my swim post that I have a list for my pre-race routine. That bulleted list includes: ABC BIKE. It stands for AIR, BRAKE, CHAIN. I had completed that checklist on Friday when I handed off my bike to TriBike Transport. (They provided a bike shuttle service from downtown Santa Rosa to Transition 1 which I highly recommend.).  On Saturday, I checked off my list: AIR, BRAKES, CALIBRATE. I did not check my chain.

So, when I rolled out of T1 and hopped on at the mount line, my chain had jumped the track. Duh. Mentally, I could have freaked out. Mainly because my chain was already in my head. I had taken Lucinda to the bike mechanic on Thursday before the race and he had commented on my front derailleur and how worn-out my chain was.

One woman near the bike exit caught my eye: are you okay? she asked. I'm great! This is perfect! I stopped, dismounted, quickly fixed it and off I went.

THIS IS PERFECT was my mantra for the day. I had already written it on my bottle's wetsuit. I knew that no matter what happened it would be perfect for me: perfect timing, perfect lesson, perfect walk break, perfect scenery. You can use it sarcastically or with belief, but if you tell yourself THIS IS PERFECT for 140.6 miles - it is going to be perfect. Perfection has held me back, but if you believe that every moment is perfect for that moment then it can change your whole trajectory.

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I loved the course coming out of Lake Sonoma into Cloverdale and south through the wine country. There was one hill that (as my friend and mentor Sami said) got my attention and took over ten minutes to climb, but otherwise the rollers were manageable and fun. In fact, I wished there were other hills like the big one. The best part of that long, first hill was a spectator K. Chang who had a boom box playing Salt'n'Pepa's PUSH IT on repeat. He had a sign and was yelling PUSH IT REAL GOOD! It would not be the last I saw of him.

My goal for the first 30 miles was to go easy. Ridiculously easy. To keep it low: Watts low. Heart rate low. Yes, speed low. It is so freakin' hard to do. People are passing and I felt great and it feels like a net downhill. At mile 32ish I reached Spiceland! Ace Spice, Sunshine Spice and Boss Spice were waiting for me at the Fredson Road out-and-back. They had a pink raft as a sign that said GO BETH in glitter. They had chalked the road with inside jokes and 4G phrases. I rode down Fredson, hit the turn-around and headed back. I was able to see them again and flash them the 4G!

My goal for the next 50 miles into town was to ride like a ninja. Ride the terrain like a pro. I had taken some tips from Endurance Nation and Matt Dixon in training and deployed those tactics on race day. I played leap frog with another athlete for 10 miles until finally passing him at the Wilson Winery. I hit 36 mph on one amazing down hill and took in the scenery - wineries, redwoods, horses, cows and birds.

I had a low moment as I hit mile 65 at the 4-hour mark. It was the start of the double loop and I knew I'd have to see this point two more times. Plus, I wasn't even at the 80-mile mark yet.  I felt whiny and hot and thought: this is dumb. I've got so far to go. But, I remembered the wise words of Matt Dixon: avoid at all cost the thought of how many more miles you have to go. I remembered that THIS IS PERFECT. This is exactly what is supposed to happen. And I know just what to do. So I stopped.

At the next aid station I took a nature break, got sprayed with sunscreen, I ate a banana, I drank part of a very cold water and poured a lot of it on my head. I ate a Ginger Ale Clif chomp and had some BASE salts. I suddenly felt better. I got back on Lucinda and we headed into town. Right after that, I heard and then saw my peeps. It was a surprise and was the emotional boost I needed.

I did not love the downtown loop of the course. There were a sh!tlotta turns, there was little shade and there was Irwin Road. There were 24 turns per loop! I liked the part through town because there were crowds and the turns and barricades made it feel like you were racing the end of a stage in the Tour de France. As we headed out of downtown, the shade disappeared and there was juuuuuuuuuust enough wind to make it feel like there was head wind the whole way. I did like that we rode for a second on the 101. And then, there was Irwin Road. Sami had warned me about Willowside Drive at mile 56ish and I'd survived it. But Irwin was something else. Potholes, gravel, rutted patches, grass in the cracks. It felt like cyclocross!

On that first pass, my torpedo water system on my aerobars became unhitched at the velcro strap. [THIS IS PERFECT] I stopped and tightened it, but couldn't get my Garmin Edge to sit correctly on its mount. It was tilted forward so I couldn't see any of the data. I had my watch, but don't usually use it for the bike (eyes on the road, people).   I was lucky that was all that went wrong. There were more tires and tubes, cages and bottles and nutrition than I've ever seen on the side of the road.

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My goal for those two loops was to feel strongest on the last one - and I did! I made a point to drink more water on this ride (close to 80 oz) and take in more salt and it worked. Plus, I saw my cheerleaders at mile 90 and that gave me another boost. Knowing that I had only one loop to go was exciting - because then I get to run. [Wait. What?] That last loop wasn't any faster than the other but I felt great. I was positive and happy.  I finished in 6:50:23. It wasn't a personal best, but I knew I'd set myself up for a solid run.

 

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IRONMAN SANTA ROSA - THE SWIM

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IRONMAN SANTA ROSA - THE SWIM

IRONMAN NUMBER SIX is in the books! It was fantastic. It was an amazing day and I want to remember it all. All 13 hours, 35 minutes and one second of it. Okay, no. Honestly, there are parts I would like to forget, but here are some highlights:

The day started at 3:00am. I took my meds [more on this to come], prepped a spot of tea and checked and rechecked my gear bags. At 3:40, Ace and I headed to T2 to meet Sunshine, drop my gear bags and hop on the bus. I ate as I walked.

My team scoping out the swim start the day before the race.

My team scoping out the swim start the day before the race.

My team had debated for days about going to the swim start. The race organizers had discouraged it and early on I had decided to take one of the shuttles from downtown SR to Lake Sonoma. The trick for spectators is that once you are on site, you are required to stay until the last cyclist leaves T1 around 9:30am. Ace & Sunshine wanted to be at the start - but didn't want to get stuck in traffic and miss portions of the bike. They had spent part of the day on Friday concocting a plan in secret and I had no idea if they would be there or not. I felt the butterflies as they stood on the curb and the bus pulled away.  

My bus ride was pretty chill. The white noise of the bus engine was actually soothing.  And it was a relief to not have to navigate through traffic, pull up Google Maps or even have to talk! I popped on my headphones and listened to my IRONMIX. Sunshine had given me a card for each day before the race so I opened the last one marked SATURDAY and read it in the blue glow of my phone.  Like the others, it was filled with U2 lyrics, favorite scripture verses and encouragement. I read my Wonder Woman card from Eliza and Renee. I breathed. I ate (a banana, a pop-tart and a Picky Bar).

We arrived at the swim start at 4:45am and I hustled to start checking things off my list. Yes, I have a list. It's like a scavenger hunt! Written down in the order that I prefer:  Find Lucinda. Drop my bags. Find the port-a-potty. Find a pump to borrow. Pump tires. Load bottles. Load bento box. Do a little dance. Drop bike gear bag. Warm up. Tri Glide. Sunscreen. Wetsuit. Drop morning clothes bag. Walk to swim start. Drop shoes. Swim warm-up. Get in the chute. Do another dance. Shuffle. Shuffle Shuffle. SWIM!

I was amazed at how fast time flew from the moment I stepped off the bus to the time I stepped into the chute. I was as amazed at the way time slowed from the minute I stepped into swim corral til the moment my toes were in the water. I seeded myself close to the front of the 1:10 - 1:20 section and we started the long descent into the corral. It took nearly 20 minutes for me to get in the water.  FOREVER! I kept looking up at the bridge high above and couldn't believe that I'd be biking over it. I kept looking down at the guy's feet next to me (seriously, they were huge). I kept looking out over the lake and thinking, Daaaaaaammmmm (because there was one).

My swim start.

Photo: Alvin Jornada/Press Democrat

Photo: Alvin Jornada/Press Democrat

The first loop felt easy. I immediately fell into my breathing pattern and found my stroke. It was crowded, but I followed someone's feet and let the crowd pull me past buoy after buoy. It felt like swimming in the channel with the current at home. The steam that was rising from the swimmers was my biggest challenge. Usually I can sight at least a few buoys ahead, but with the surface fog, I could only spot one at a time. Each buoy was more crowded than the next and I got frog-kicked on one and had to readjust my goggles at another. I also got flustered at the turn into the marina but quickly recovered. This was the one buoy you have to keep on your left shoulder and I started veering into the marina too early. I had to readjust my line back to the turn buoy and for a moment felt frustrated at myself. But, I had one more chance to get it right on the second loop!

And I did. The second loop felt fast. I had more space, could see better and found a great rhythm. I loved swimming under the bridge and looking at the sun rising over the dam. I came out ready to bike in 1:12:10.

The biggest challenge in the swim is actually the transition! It is a 10% grade for a quarter-mile to get up to the bike area. I left shoes somewhere along the carpeted path, so I picked them out, put them on, jogwalked 200 yards to the wetsuit strippers, sat down, took off the shoes, let them strip off the wetsuit, put the shoes back on and jogwalked another 200 yards to the bike chute. I predicted it would take me 15 minutes to do all that, grab my bike gear bag, take it to the changing tent, put on helmet, shoes, shades and headband, drop bike gear bag, run to bike and leave. I am thrilled to have done it eight minutes!

TOP TIPS

Take the shuttle to the swim start

Drop your shoes for the run up

Don't forget sunscreen

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WELCOME BACK

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WELCOME BACK

On Saturday, at mile 94 on the bike in Ironman Santa Rosa I got my mojo back. Not my athletic mojo, but my writing mojo. I realized about a month ago that have taken almost a year off from writing articles. Instagram makes it easy to be creative in short bursts without words. Plus, on that bike ride I realized two things have been holding me back: comparison and perfection.

Part of my break is due to comparison. Why would I put anything out there when there are PLENTY of other talented coaches and bloggers out there already? What content can I put out there that is different or will make a difference? What can I say that hasn't already been said? Why would I write about my experience when other bloggers will share their race reports with better grammar and a bigger audience?

I actually met one of my favorite bloggers at Ironman Santa Rosa. It was as exciting for me as meeting a pro athlete! I recognized Amy Stone of amysaysso.com on the way out of T1 on Friday before the race. I've been reading her training and racing stories for about three years. I love getting her updates delivered to my inbox and always take the time to read them - and save my favorites. I stumbled upon her blog a few years ago and devoured her IMFrance race report. It helped me last year execute some of the details of my own race last June. The last thing I said to her: have a great race and keep writing!  My inner voice said: take your own advice.

Amy Stone - FAMOUS TRIBLOGGER

Amy Stone - FAMOUS TRIBLOGGER

Just like comparison steals my joy, perfection is the enemy of my progress. I want every article and thought to be whole and profound and complete and PERFECT before I hit publish. I fear the misspelled words and fret that my advice might be wrong.  But, dude! I don't even have an editor.  So, of course, there might be bad grammar and too many commas. And, this is my blog! So,  I have the power to retract a statement if I learn otherwise.

And so, I am going to write again.  About training, races, athletes, advice and more.  And yes, I'm sure these two things are holding me back in other areas and so I'll probably write about that, too. I hope you will join me for my next adventures. Ta Ta For Now.

 

 

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FOR PINK

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FOR PINK

In 2012, I wrote that I did all this training and racing for the pink swim caps. Who knew that pink latex could bring such joy. This year I earned two pink caps for IMFrance and IMNC. It's always fun to look around in the swim crowd before a big race and spot all the women getting ready for this amazing adventure. Those pink caps make me feel strong and pretty.

I really do triathlon for ALL things pink. Racing in pink makes me happy and faster. This year in France, I did the swim and the bike in red, white and blue, but for the run I actually changed clothes and ran in pink! It's wonder I don't have a pink bike.

Pink Chevron at IMNC 140.6

Pink Chevron at IMNC 140.6

Even Pink Bibs and Shoes for IMFRANCE

Even Pink Bibs and Shoes for IMFRANCE

So. Much. Pink. I showed up to yesterday's session in head-to-toe pink.

So. Much. Pink. I showed up to yesterday's session in head-to-toe pink.

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Tis the Season

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Tis the Season

A lot has happened since I last wrote (in August!). Life and training and racing and fun and coaching and now the holidays. The great news is that it was a fabulous season. The bad news is that it simply got in the way of writing. And, that is really not a bad thing! I have been writing, but I actually blogged the old fashioned way: I wrote about my adventures in diary form in my calendar.

Of course, I can't leave this format forever. I like posting pictures and telling stories right here in my own little corner of the interwebs. And, I love to look back and remember what stood out in the past 365 days. Like I did HERE and HERE.

In keeping with that first link, I'll look back this month at some of my favorite memories of 2016. I wrote back then in response to the question: what keeps you motivated? why do you train day after day? Why do you race year after year? As you might have guessed, the answer is similar to back then:

TO FIND MY EDGE:  I did two IRONMANs this year. And one of those was in the Alps of France. I hope I never forget that feeling of flying into Nice and seeing those mountains in the distance. I was truly scared that I would not be able to climb them - after a 2.4 mile swim and before a 26.2-mile run. I thought I would fail. I was afraid, discouraged, vulnerable. I was awestruck: a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear. 

I also hope I never forget the feeling of getting on my bike days later and facing that grueling ride. I hope I never forget the feeling of riding up a 17% grade hill for half a mile with people screaming for me to succeed and running alongside me. I hope I never forget the feeling of climbing at 9mph on a 8% grade for 90 minutes in the sunshiney switchbacks of the Alps-Maritime.  I hope I never forget blazing down the slopes in the rain and thunder. I hope I remember the feeling of finishing that ride on the Promenade des Anglais - the noise, the people lining the streets, the emotion. It was more than pride or relief. It was joy and more awe. This time, a reverential respect mixed with wonder.

 

I had seen the edge the lineof what I thought I could do - and I crossed it.

 

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