Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pro Debut!!

Progress! It’s now only 2 weeks (technically 13 days) from my last race and I’m already writing my blog. Okay, 2 weeks is still a long time, but I’m definitely getting better!

Sooo, Sunday, November 20th, was official my debut as a professional triathlete! It was an exciting day and I was glad I was able to race as a pro for the first time at Ironman Arizona. Just two years ago I raced there as an age-grouper. It was my 2nd Ironman ever, I got a 2:12 PR (that’s 2 hours and 12 minutes), qualified for Kona for the first time, and realized I might actually have some potential in this sport. Needless to say I have fond memories of this race.

Anyway, when we arrived VERY late on November 17th I was super excited to be back. Friday was a pretty busy day. I had to get my bike, get in a short ride to make sure everything was working well, register, and attend my first pro meeting. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little intimidated going to my first pro meeting. So many of the other athletes knew each other, and of course just looked like fierce competition. I have been told that as an athlete I am “very unassuming” which is, I guess, a more polite way of saying I don’t look fast. I was also shocked by the number of pros entered to race. The female field alone had 26 racers on the start line, significantly more than most other Ironmans in the US. After the pro meeting I attended an event at Tribe Multisport – a local triathlon shop. They partnered with Slowtwitch to offer food, drinks, the chance to win raffle prizes, and the opportunity to look at some of the pro’s bikes. It was a fun event and I got to meet a lot of great people. My bike wasn’t the most amazing ride at the event, but it still trumps what I was riding 2 years ago!
Bike 2009
Bike 2011

Saturday was pretty relaxing and I was able to rest my legs and get everything ready for the race. As usual, I was nervous when I woke up on race morning, but not as nervous as I was expecting. Even though this was my first pro race, I think I was just more excited to get out there and race. I didn’t have any expectations except to lay it all on the line. This was going to be my last race of the season so there would be no 2nd chances. I knew I wasn’t going to have a Kona repeat and I was determined to end my season on a high note. I think because my last IMAZ was a great race for me, I had a little more confidence that I was going to have a good day.
It was a little surreal lining up at the start. I positioned myself next to the amazing Meredith Kessler, who I was hoping to stick with during the swim. Unfortunately when the gun went off, I only had her feet for about 50 meters, until I did a couple strokes with my head down and missed a move. The pro field definitely had a FAST start, which is something I need to work on. It was obvious to me I didn’t sprint hard enough in the beginning when after about 10 minutes I realized the pack I was in wasn’t swimming very fast. I was able to get around that pack, then the next one, and finally catch another pack towards the end. I didn’t have quite the swim I wanted, but it was about a 30 sec. PR at :54 flat. I was 7th out of the water, which is further down the field than I was hoping to be, but I was within about 10 seconds of 5th place, so not too bad.

I tried to make T1 a fast one and get on the bike as quickly as possible. I HAVE to learn how to start with my shoes on the bike in the offseason! I really like the bike in Tempe, even if the flat terrain doesn’t suit me as well as a hillier course. The 3 loops allow you to better manage your pace (which is important when you are like me and don’t have power), see your competition more, and of course more often experience the amazing crowd support. On the first loop I was passed pretty quickly by a couple other women. At first I matched the pace to see if I could hang with them, but realized we were on the first loop and if I tried to stay in contact, I might blow up on the 3rd loop. I made the strategic decision to hold my pace and let the other women go, which unfortunately meant I rode alone for almost 100 miles. The only time I was actually able to pace with someone was on the third loop and even that was pretty short lived. My legs actually felt reasonably fresh at the end of the bike, but I was still ready to start the run. My back and shoulders were killing me and I ended up sitting up WAY too much on the last 18 miles. The bay area is GREAT for climbing and building strength on the bike, but not for aero bar riding. Another thing to work on for next season…check!
Run 2009
Run 2011
I felt amazing on the run. I tried to stay conservative on the first loop of the run so I could finish strong on the last loop. Unfortunately what I THOUGHT was conservative, was actually about 20 seconds / mile faster than I probably should have been running. After the first loop I was right on pace to run a 3:20 and I still felt great. The fatigue really didn’t start to set in until about mile 13. It built really slowly, which I guess is good, but by about mile 18 I was starting to struggle and the aid-station walking began (grrr). 2 years ago I didn’t walk a single step and I was hoping for a repeat of that, although I didn’t start out at a 7:20 pace in 2009. At mile 21, I was ready for the race to be over. I was really struggling, my legs were sore, my back and shoulders were on fire, and I needed nutrition, but couldn’t even think about another gu or cliff blok. I saw my coach and he could tell I was in trouble. He yelled for me to only drink coke and water for the rest of the race. I don’t actually like coca cola, but a lot of racers I know say it’s like magic. The next aid station couldn’t come soon enough. I drank a cup of water, then coke, then another water. Within about a minute I felt a lot better. All of a sudden my running picked back up and I felt like I had energy again. Coke was going to save the day! Each little cup of coke would last me almost exactly 1 mile. I would come into the aid station feel like I was about to fall over and leave feeling great again. I kept up this patter for 5 miles until FINALLY I crossed the finish line! It was over! I raced as a pro, I finished, I got a 46min PR and I was 12th overall. With the strength of that field, I’ll take it!

Overall I thought the race went really well. I struggled the last 8 miles on the run, but I still had a 7 minute PR. I can’t be upset about that – although I will always drink coke and will probably start it a little early next time! I thought on my best day I MIGHT be able to break 9:30 so my 9:34 was extremely satisfying. I am excited I was able to end my season on a high note, but also with more motivation to improve and come back even stronger in 2012.
I also have to give a shout out to Leanda Cave, Linsey Corbin, and Meredith Kessler for their AMAZING performances at IMAZ. Linsey jointed the sub 9 hour club and MBK was 9 hours flat…WOW!! Three inspiring performances by three incredible women.

Also, thanks so much to my coach Matt Dixon of Purplepatch Fitness and to my amazing sponsors, especially SOAS Racing. I couldn't do it without you!

This person is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. She is a fierce competitor, an inspirational athlete, and a caring and compassionate teammate and friend. I have had a lot of help from other athletes to get me where I am today, but no one has given more of their time and energy than Meredith Kessler.

I first met Meredith at a Velo SF indoor cycling class in late 2010. Before the class I was amazed by how friendly she was and how much everyone in the class seemed to love her. During the class I was amazed by how strong and focused she was. While others were showing the pain of the class on their faces, Meredith’s expression never seemed to deviate from determination (something that still amazes and inspires me today).
VIP#4 and VIP#1

I was lucky enough to sign on with Meredith’s coach, Matt Dixon of Purplepatch Fitness and since then she has completely taken me under her wing. She checks on me when I’m tired, ensures I am set for all my races, and gives me guidance and support in training. She had helped me navigate becoming a professional and is doing everything she can to make sure I’m set up for success in 2012. I can honestly say I really don’t know where I’d be without MBK! I think there are a lot of other athletes who feel the same. Thanks Meredith for all you do for me and so many others! You are truly and inspiration in and out of triathlon!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I realize it has been 4 weeks now since Kona. I don’t really have any excuses for not blogging about my experience until now other than work has been crazy, I’m back on the training, and blogging still intimidates me! Throwing caution and fear of writing an uninteresting blog to the wind!
Oh Kona, where do I start? I felt AWESOME going into this race. I had just come off a win in Vegas and had a lot of confidence in my training and I just knew I was going to have a good race. Training was going well and I was really excited to get back to the Big Island.
As soon as I arrived I thought Kona was better than I remembered. It was hot and humid, but gorgeous and even with the race hoopla still had the ‘islandy-vacationy’ feel (I believe that is the technical term). Anyway I had a few good training sessions and fun activities before the big day. I was excited to get in a ride with stud triathlete and pal Sarah Piampiano (who had an amazing day with a 9:50 PR and a podium spot – woohoo!). And of course some QT w/ my SOAS ladies! This was my first year doing the underwear run and I almost embraced the theme of the event!
On to race morning – I was nervous, but more excited. I knew it was going to be a tough day, but I was ready to get out there and race again. I woke up early, started in on my breakfast, which I had to force down and throw out half way through. Why am I a bottomless pit every other morning but on race morning, when I need the fuel the most, can I barely get anything down?!? At the race site I had a little time after checking all my gear to catch up with the SOAS ladies again, get some awesome USA tattoos from buddy Beth Walsh, and meet the incredible Lou Hollander.
I was still getting things together when the pros started, then it was time to head to the swim. Last year I lined up pretty close to the pier and was pummeled for an hour straight - maybe the worst swim of my life. I decided this year lining up a little more left might not be a bad idea – especially if I could manage to shoot for the far buoys and cut a good angle. I would have much quieter water and not swim out of my way. The gun went off and I was right next to Team Sheeper buddy Keith Terada. Keith and I planned to swim together (knowing our splits would be close). Really I was hoping to draft of Keith and conserve as much energy as possible. Of course that always sounds good in theory until the gun goes off and all you see is white water and your draft buddy disappears in a sea of craziness. Luckily despite losing Keith instantly, I was able to get out front, get some clear water for a couple hundred and settle in to a nice pace. I definitely don’t think I took a great line, and I wasn’t super excited about a 59 min swim, but I only got kicked in the ribs once and my cap never came off. SUCCESS!
I tried to make T2 a quick transition and get on the bike as soon as possible. I knew my bike would really dictate how the day was going to go. After the couple quick hills and turns in town, I was out on the Queen K and feeling AWESOME. I was staying focused, but also really enjoying myself. I really watched the time and was 100% on my nutrition. I passed a couple girls and when I saw my coach at mile 45 or so he said I was in 3rd and only a couple minutes down from the leader. Still feeling great, I continued to ride strong, although when the temperature started rising, my nutrition plan began to fall apart.
I had been training with Justins Nutbutter packets and bonk breakers bars. I know they seem like an odd choice, but I was working with a nutritionist trying to get the optimal balance of carbs, protein, fat, and sugar early in the ride. Both items are super tasty and great to eat on the bike…at least in the SF Bay area climate. My miscalculation for Hawaii was not knowing how terrible those would both sound after 2 hours on the bike in the heat and humidity. I was only able to get down 1 of each by mile 45 and after that had to switch over to cliff bloks (which weren’t in the schedule until mile 70). Over the next 30 miles I definitely didn’t get enough calories and I knew I was starting to bonk a bit. No problem! I could get it back. I just need to get gels from the aid stations, stay calm, and ride it out – it would come back. I stuck to that plan, but by mile 80 I really felt BAD. I grabbed a few more gels and finally a bottle of coke. I don’t actually like coca cola and have never had any in a race, but I know sugar and caffeine work so it was worth a shot.
Unfortunately while I was worried about getting all these calories, I guess I forgot to take in enough water and was quickly dehydrating. By mile 90 it hit and I threw up. Okay, keep calm, keep riding,…and unfortunately keep throwing up. Over the next 10 miles I couldn’t keep anything down. I would take sips of water and 30 seconds later it was back up. When I finally got to the aid station at mile 100, I had already been off the bike once. I was wabbly, weaving, and worried I would fall over. At that point I figured my dream race was out of reach, but the finish line wasn’t. I planned to sit down, drink, eat, and be on my way. When I got off my bike I collapsed. Luckily there was a med van at the aid station and volunteers surrounded me immediately. Lots of ice, a little water, more vomiting, and an hour later I was in the med tent getting an iv.
What just happened?!? How did I go from feeling amazing to ending up in the med tent with my first Ironman DNF? Because the race is so long, It SEEMS like you have so much time to think, analyze your situation, and ensure you are making good decisions about pace, nutrition, etc… The reality is that when things start to slip your mind gets a little fuzzy. The miles feel long, yet you can go 60 minutes with no calories and not realize it. I knew Kona would be tough and good nutrition was one of the most important components of the day, yet I still failed.
After 2 hour in the med tent and 2 IVs, I was finally ready to get back on my feet. I grabbed a little food with my family (which I threw up later) and watched the top amateur women come across the finish line. Of course I was bummed, and jealous that they were finishing, but it was done. Stuff happens and while I wished I could have finished, even if it had taken me 16 hours, I didn’t. At the time, I was 100% sure I did the right thing. Of course now, being completely removed from that feeling and situation, I think I should have been able to keep going – funny how you always think you could have given more when the pain is gone.
At the end of the day I had to remember that I was in Hawaii. I got to come to an amazing place, race (for awhile) with some incredible competitors, and I guess got in an awesome training day! It was not the end of the world and luckily not even the end of my season. I hoped to never DNF no matter what, but I think I learned more from that race than all my other ironmans combined. I know I will be much stronger and better prepared for the next one and I can’t wait to get back out there!

While I was disappointed in my race, I was so proud of all of my racing buddies, especially those in the W30-34 category! Big shout outs and hugs to Sarah P., Beth Walsh, Beth Shutt, Ashley Johnson, and Hailey Manning for incredible races and inspirational finishes! This group of women is going to do BIG things next year!

And last, but certainly not least - thanks so much to Soas racing for the awesome kits, fun, brunch, and support! AND OF COURSE my amazing family for joining me in Hawaii! I love you all so much and it meant the world to me to have you there (even for a DNF) :)

So once again choosing my VIP is tough – there are so many amazing people in my life – in and out of triathlon. I think this time I have to stick to the Kona theme and highlight the person who has become a great training buddy, friend, and had a breakout race in Hawaii, Miss Hailey Manning.
Ha! Please don't kill me for this one :)
Hailey is one of the toughest competitors I have met, yet she is also one of the most fun girls I know! We first met in June of this year and after 1 race w/ a wrong turn and a few extra miles together, I felt like we had known each other for years. After that race we were able to train together to prepare for Kona. It was great to have another girl to ride with who definitely pushed me to work my BUTT off!
She is so strong and had been training so well (and smart under the direction of hubby & cyclist Mark) I knew she was destined for Kona greatness. She started the season with a 4th place OA finish at Ironman TX and ended to year with an 8th place AG finish at Kona, which was 36th out of ALL women (including the pros). WOW! I can’t wait to see what this girl does next! (I’m sure it will be big after we spend a winter doing TRX in her “garage of pain” woop woop!

Friday, September 23, 2011

VIP #2

I wanted to include the write up on my VIP #2 in my last blog, but my Vegas race report was rather lengthy and I just didn’t have time to add the VIP section at the end - writing these blogs is a little more time consuming than I thought! I also wanted to make sure I dedicated the time to the write up that this person deserves! Anyway, better late than never, right?

My VIP#2 is Chas Pavlovic. I chose Chas partly because I think he is an amazing competitor, but also because over the past year he has been a great teammate and friend. I met Chas at the 2010 Wildflower triathlon – my first with Team Sheeper. We rode the boat back to our campsite together after the race and it was such an interesting conversation. I was amazed by Chas’ knowledge of gear and training (or maybe he made me feel amazed at my lack of knowledge in these areas), and his overall racing experience.

Over the next couple months Chas and I became friends, having chats on some of our team rides. Having been to Kona before, Chas gave me great advice about the race for my first trip there in 2010 (if only I had listened to all of it!). He was also completely committed to helping me get where he thought I could go – always telling me I needed a new bike (road bike with aero bars not good enough?), that I just HAD to go talk to some amazing coach in San Francisco (Matt Dixon who?), and was concerned when I told him I might be racing the full Vineman – that’s not a Kona qualifier!

I think every successful triathlete gets to where they are partly because of some (or maybe a lot) of natural ability, definitely a lot of hard work, maybe a little luck, and of course determination. But I also think most probably have a few friends and/or teammates that are instrumental to their success, Through Team Sheeper I have definitely had more than my fair share of those people (don’t worry, I will definitely have write ups on all of you! Esp you, Mikey Osmond  ), and Chas is definitely one of them.

My coach, Matt Dixon, will tell you that he first heard about me from Chas. When Matt offered his ‘train with a pros’ program, two people from Team Sheeper forwarded me the information and insisted I apply, Chas was one of the two. Not only that, but he bent Matt’s ear about me every chance he got while taking Matt’s indoor cycling classes at Velo SF. I really think without Chas my application for that amazing opportunity might have gotten lost in the shuffle, instead I was chosen and my life has been completely changed.

Now whenever I meet or new goal or accomplish something I didn’t think was possible (or at least possible so soon) I think about Chas and I am grateful for all he has done for me. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for him. He has helped open doors that might have otherwise been closed, and at times has had more confidence in me than I have had in myself. It’s amazing how uplifting someone else’s faith in you can be. His unwavering belief in me has helped me believe in myself and I will forever be grateful for that.

Thanks Chas! You are a true friend!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Somebody pinch me please!

Wow, what a weekend at the 70.3 World Championship in Vegas! In my wildest dreams I was winning my age group or at least finishing in the top 3, but I never really thought about winning the overall amateur division. It feels a little surreal. It also feels like this was only the first battle in a war for the bragging rights in the F30-34 division. I am so honored to compete with such an amazing and talented group of women and while I was lucky enough to be able to pull out the win this time, I know that it really could have been anyone’s race.

Before I go into my full race report, I want to give a few shout outs. First, congrats to Beth Shutt and Beth Walsh on second and third in our age group, respectively. You both put in such amazingly strong efforts and literally had me running scared for 13.1 miles! I also want to give props to Miss Sarah Piampiano. You have the ability to embarrass us all and while it wasn’t the day you wanted, or should have had, you kept pushing anyway and gutted out a tough one. I think it says so much about your character that even when you weren’t at your best, you didn’t give up. You are such an incredible competitor and I know you will bounce back quickly and be so much stronger for the experience (which terrifies me a little since you are already SOO strong!) I also want to thank you for being such a supportive friend, it means the world to me.

Alright, on to the weekend. I really didn’t know what to expect coming in. I have been training my big butt off (unfortunately not literally) all summer with very little racing. The up side to that is being able to focus on training, the down side is not knowing how much I have improved, if at all, or what kind of results to expect.

I got into Vegas late on Thursday night. After picking up the rental car, and spending an hour at ‘Whole Paycheck’ (aka whole foods), Mimi Winsberg (one of my 4 roomies for the weekend) and I were on the way back to the hotel to get to bed as quickly as possible. Our plans were derailed a bit when we were pulled over for speeding. Mimi begged the officer to let us go since we were lost, tired, and supposed to race in a couple days. He asked us if one of us was going to win and Mimi said that I was (with a laugh and a ‘yeah right’ from me). Finally he said he wasn’t going to give us a ticket because he might know the World Champion. Of course being the idiot I am I immediately said, “Oh you do, who?”

The next two days were a little hectic and spent registering, building bikes, training, resting, meeting with my coach, and attending a breakfast and photo shoot for the Soas Ambassadors. For those of you who don’t know, Soas is a company that sells the BEST tri kits for women…seriously, the BEST! The owners Kebby, Reg, and Steph treated us to a delicious gluten free breakfast while I was able to get to know all the other amazing Soas women. (some seriously impressive women on this team, holy moly!)

Finally on Saturday afternoon I was able to take the nap I had been looking forward to all weekend. It was great to finally lie down and actually rest as I felt like I had been on the go since I arrived. I ate dinner around 7PM (chicken, pasta, veggies) and tried for an early bed time. I was hoping for a good nights sleep, but as usual I woke up several times during the night. Each time I would look at my watch and be relieved I had 4 hours until my alarm, then 2 hours, then 1 hour, then oh crap, only 15 minutes!

Waking up on race morning always feels so strange. You put in so much time preparing for a race, and when you register it always feels as if it’s never actually going to happen. Then all of a sudden there you are, looking at yourself in the mirror through sleepy eyes, putting on your tri suit and wondering if you are going to have a good day. After getting dressed, brushing my teeth, and wondering if I really should have registered for this race (a typical, but usually fleeting thought I always get along with the prerace jitters), I headed to the kitchen to start fueling. I recently began working with a nutritionist, Dr. Phil Goglia, so I have been changing up my diet a bit. We had planned out everything I was to eat for the entire day and I was trying to stick to plan as much as possible as this was to be the practice run for Kona. Breakfast was a small bowl of steel cut oats (my new favorite type of oats) with blueberries, ½ an egg – it was supposed to be a whole egg, but I just couldn’t get it down. Finally it was 8oz of a protein shake that I sipped all the way to the race site.

The venue for the swim was great. I got to the race site, double checked my bike, aired up my tires, and went to the bathroom about 10 times – the last time was sans shoes…yuck! The waves started at 6:30AM and after that time flew by. Before I knew it I was diving in the water. Having a swimming background, I knew it was important for me to get on the front line and be ready to race from the gun. I was wearing my new Xterra speedsuit for the first time and was excited to see how it felt (it took me back to my old swimming days because it’s made of the same “paper suit” material I wore when I was 13).

As soon as the gun went off I went for it. I tried to set a strong pace for the first couple hundred meters before settling in to a slightly uncomfortable pace. We were swimming right into the sun and I couldn’t see a single buoy. Luckily there was a paddle boarder leading our wave so I kept looking for her to guide me – having no idea if she was following a straight line or not. Unfortunately I lost the feet I was on and ended up swimming alone for about 20 minutes, definitely not ideal. I new I didn’t have the swim I was hoping for, but was surprised to see a :28:35, about 2 minutes slower than I would have liked. Hey, it’s more open water swimming experience, right? On to the bike!

I was very conservative on the first 15 miles of the bike, knowing there would be lots of rollers, some fairly steep hills, and possible wind in my future. I caught another girl in my age group fairly quickly and then rode by myself until about mile 15. I knew Beth Shutt would be coming after me on the bike so I was hoping I would see her later rather than sooner. When she passed me at mile 15 I was worried I might not be able to stay with her. She was with another girl in our age group so as soon as they passed, I decided it was time to pick up the pace a bit. Over the next 30 miles we worked together (legally of course) to keep our pace strong. This was the most fun I have ever had on the bike leg of a race. I have never been able to ride “with” anyone before and it really helped me keep my focus and stay in the race. About mile 45 I could tell I was starting to lose a little steam. I popped some cliff bloks and within 10 minutes I felt great (thank you caffeine!). I rode to the front and was able to pull away from the other girls (slightly) over the last few miles. I kept thinking any minute I was going to see one or both of them, but on the way into T2, I was riding alone. I had no idea how far back the other two girls were, but I think I might have had about a 35 second lead. I tried to get out of T2 as fast as humanly possible (fast transitions have never been my strong point) as I knew I had some strong runners hunting me down.

The run was definitely challenging. There weren’t any super steep hills or technical turns, but the 2 miles down and 2 miles up combination made it difficult to find a rhythm and stick to it. It was, however, very spectator friendly which meant there were always people along the road cheering you on. I saw my coach and he gave me some quick words of wisdom, which helped me keep pushing and focus on the race plan we had set. I knew I had to race from the front, which I was doing, I just wasn’t sure how long it was going to last. I actually thought at the start of the run that at least I had the fastest swim/bike combo for the day and that no matter what I could be happy with that.

Over the next 13 miles I tried not to think about the possibility of winning my age group. I thought it was within reach, but I knew it was important to focus more on the little things that would keep me running strong – making sure I was getting my nutrition right, ice down the jersey, first and last ice down the shorts (not a fan of that one I discovered), and keeping only positive thoughts in my head. A few times I started to think the run was getting hard and Kona was just around the corner – how could I possibly do all this again x 2 in such a short time? I had to push those thoughts out of my mind, I would have to deal with Kona later. Finally on my last turn, with 1 mile to go to the finish, I knew I had it. All of a sudden my body didn’t ache as much. My turnover increased and the internal smile began because I knew I was on the home stretch.
w/ Coach Matty D

After I crossed the line I had to be helped by a couple of the many amazing volunteers. They sat me in a wheelchair as I tried to recover. My coach checked my final results on his phone and confirmed I had won my age group. It was a couple hours before I knew I had won the overall amateur division – by about 50 seconds…what? I was super excited about the result even though I’m still not sure it has really sunk in. Or maybe it’s just that I know in 3 weeks we get to do it all again. I will be racing all the same girls + lots more fasties for the Ironman title. I have the tiara ready for the winner, although of course I’m hoping I might be able to keep it!

Vegas was not only a great race, but it was also a great learning experience. My swim wasn’t my best, but I had a bike, run, and overall 70.3 PR on the hardest half ironman course I have raced. I felt like I was able to really race for the first time and it was a blast. I am so excited to see progress after all this hard training, and I can’t wait to keep going and see how far I can get in this sport. I also really enjoyed hanging out with my roomies, meeting other amazing triathletes (probably the best part of racing), and of course the DQ blizzard with Hailey (thank goodness for triathlete buddies from the midwest who know what DQ is all about! )after the race (even if I couldn’t finish it). Boy have I missed DQ! On to the Big Island!

Monday, September 5, 2011

5 months down, 5 weeks to go

It’s hard to believe that it’s already September and there are only a few short months until the end of my 2011 Triathlon season! Where does the time go? The biggest races of the year (Vegas and Kona) are just around the corner. Only 5 more weeks and I will be on the big island…I hear the Coco Loco calling my name from the Kona Brewery already!

While I start to prepare for the two biggest races of my season, I can’t help but think about what I have done the past several months to get to where I am today. It has been a crazy ride, with ups, and downs, but truly an experience of a lifetime.

My journey really started about 5 months ago. I had just gotten back from the Purplepatch pro camp in Tucson, that I was selected to attend by Coach Matt Dixon. It was the first time I had ever been able to focus solely on triathlon for more than a weekend and it was AMAZING! After the camp Matt became my full time coach and it has been all down hill from there. Just kidding – the past 5 months have been way beyond what I expected.

Camp picture montage interlude (yes, I do realize I have the same cheesy smile in all my pictures)

Biking up Mt. Lemmon w/ Purplepatch pro Jen Tetrick

Getting ready to ride w/ my new buddies!

Top of Mt. Lemmon w/ some of the best triathletes. Jesse Thomas in his “outfit of the day”

Since starting with Matt, I have added indoor cycling at Velo SF to my schedule, which instantly multiplied the intensity of my bike workouts by about a million. I have stepped up my game at the Stanford Masters practices, although I still haven’t quite made it permanently to lane 1 (just a few guest appearances)…soon! And of course I have been busting my butt to keep up with the boys from Team Sheeper, aka the best triathlon team in the world! Each one of the groups plays such an integral part in my training and I absolutely love being a part of them all. And of course orchestrating all of the work has been coach Matty D. Matt has completely changed my approach to training and racing, for the better, of course. I’m so excited to see all this hard work pay off and to continue working hard to see how much further I can get!

Recent training ride w/ Hailey – 105 HOT miles in Livermore California, good thing we had our awesome Soas kits to keep us comfy!

Making new friends after the Treasure Island Olympic. Love new tri buddies!

Making the case for doing more non-wetsuit races! Mirella and me before the SJIT, where I would go on to do an extra 8 miles on the bike after missing an unmarked, unmanned turn

5 months ago I decided it was time to go after my dream of being an elite triathlete and I made some big changes in my life. Now with 5 weeks to go until my big race of the season, it’s time to start thinking about the little things – getting plenty of rest, not cheating on the diet, no alcohol. I definitely have goals in mind for both Vegas and Kona. I know how I want to finish and what I want my times to be. I also know that while these races might be the end of my 2011 season, they really are just the beginning. Now for the next, most important part of this blog!

In addition to my random blog subjects, I wanted to include a special new section every time I post called “My VIPs”

I think there are a lot of things that make an athlete successful. Of course there is natural ability, hard work, and determination. But I also think, at least for me, one of the things that has helped me be successful are inspirational people. These are coworkers, teammates, family members, and friends. Each time I write a new blog, I want to highlight someone in my life who has motivated me to be better. I chose this person first because she was actually the inspiration for this idea.

My very first VIP is Anne Thilges. Anne, I hope you don’t mind that I lifted this pic from facebook without asking  I felt it was fitting since this is about what you looked like the first time we met.

I met Anne a couple months ago at Velo SF. We were taking the same spin class and realized we had a few mutual friends. Anne was super friendly and it was very clear right away that she is an extremely caring, positive, generous, and amazing woman, not to mention an EXTREMELY hard worker.

It was a Saturday morning spin session (2hrs on the trainers…woohoo!) We were doing some high power work and the workout was starting to “accumulate” (which is what everyone says when you have been working hard for a long time and you feel like you are about to die). Anyway, Anne was clearly in high power and her cadence started to drop. Instead of giving up or lowering her power, she just kept grinding away. In the middle of a set, I looked over Anne looked so focus and strong that it instantly made me want to push harder. I realized that I was able to put that little extra bit of effort in on that set that I otherwise might not have because of Ann.

After that set I started thinking about all the times someone else has done something that motivated me to give just a little bit more. I want to make sure that eventually all those people know how much I appreciate what they have done for me and that they are a part of helping me get to wherever it is I end up going.

Thanks Anne for your inspiration!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First Blog Ever

So I finally caved. Here it is, my first ever blog. I'm not sure who will end up reading this besides my family, but maybe there will be a follower out there who will find my updates interesting or entertaining even though they aren't related to me.

There are several reasons I have decided now, at age 29 - many years after the creation of the blog when almost everyone (except me of course) has a smart phone, tweets 10 times a day, and keeps a record of their life online - to finally start my own blog. The main reason is that I want to be a successful professional triathlete and part of that means getting my name and story out there. There, I said it. No more sandbagging, pretending I hope to some day race as a pro. It's time to lay it all out there and admit I want to be good. I also think I have had a pretty unique (or at least kind of unique) road to get to where I am today. I didn't blow my competition out of the water in my first race and I'm still slowly progressing in the sport. I am also still pretty green when it comes to gear, racing, training, nutrition, the list goes on and on, but I'm learning. I want to share that learning process in hopes that I might educate, motivate, inspire, or at least entertain anyone who decides to follow this blog.

I can't promise my blogs will be funny or even interesting, but they will be honest and from the heart.

Thanks for reading my inaugural blog...more to come soon!