Monday, July 27, 2015

IM Canada....the highlights

Some days are about racing and going fast and other days are about taking the punches that are thrown at you and persevering to the end even when everything else tells you to stop. IM Canada 2015 was that day. I've now completed 4 Ironmans and countless other athletic competitions and this was by far the toughest day I've ever had athletically. 
Here are the highlights:
-amazing swim, couldn't be happier. Clear clean water the whole way. A little chilly, but by far the warmest part of the day. Fastest woman of the day! 
-bike was 42 degrees and raining. I heard there was snow, but that could just be a rumor. It was miserable and horrible. Never, have I ever been so cold for such a long period of time. I couldn't even get warm on the climbs. And there is some killer climbing on this course. Supposedly, this course is beautiful and I'm sad, because of the weather, we weren't able to experience that. 
-run course is a must do! A straight up marathon on this course would be epic (but probably not do-able with a mass start since a lot of the paths are narrow). Beautiful, beautiful course. You are running in and out of the woods, around lakes, on trail, gravel path and bridges with almost zero road running. AND I saw a mama bear and her cubs. Kinda scary, but super cool to see them in their element. I'm sure we scared the crap out of them though. The mama came out of the woods and lunged at a runner (he was fine and kept on running), then she went back in and herded her cubs up a tree. She then stood there kind of waiting to see what would happen, we proceeded with quick caution and got the heck out of there. A spectator called animal conservation so the bears and athletes would be safe. 

So those are the highlights, if you want the nitty gritty stay tuned....

Monday, July 13, 2015

#bikecation on Maui

late to the blog....

After Cycle to the Sun, we spent the next 4 days on Maui for a #bikecation.  We, well Aaron was fortunate enough to get a sweet deal from one of his friends and we were able to stay out in Kaanapali. What a treat! The hotel was great, even though we spent not a lot of time there at all; we spent the majority of our time riding on the beautiful island of Maui. We rode everyday and it was amazing. I have never really spent time riding on Maui before. We were there in March with the BOCA group to ride up Haleakala and we also rode the West Maui loop, the day before but that was it. Now, we had 4 days with nothing to do but ride! (Well, and also celebrate Michelle's birthday!) 

Kaanapali Sunsets

Dinner at the Plantation House for the June Birthday Girls!

West Maui loop with the gang!
Iao Valley

Obligatory Shave Ice and Banana Bread from Lorraine's

Upcountry Cycling! Look at all the wide open roads!

Breakfast at Longhis in Lahaina on our last day 

Riding back up Haleakala on our last day

Now, I'm not so sure which island I like riding on best, Big Island or Maui, they both have so many different things to offer and are both stellar places for a #bikecation...I'm undecided, they are both great! 

What an amazing 5 days on Maui...thanks Aaron! Can we go back?! 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Climbing THE BEAST

The past few years, Aaron has gone over to Maui at the end of June to race, "Cycle to the Sun." And every year he's come back and said I should go over next year to do the race. Well, this year, I decided it was time!
Cycle to the Sun is a bike race on Maui that starts in the little tourist town of Paia, climbs 10,023ft., over 36 miles, up Haleakala, the world's longest paved climb.
I didn't really know what to expect from the race, other than it was going to be hard.  I hadn't done any specific Haleakala training, but I hadn't been sitting around on my butt either. I'd only been up the mountain once before, back in March with our BOCA group and that was more of a celebration of the end of cycling clinic, it most definitely was not a race. The weather race morning was perfect (unlike our conditions in March). You could actually see the top of the mountain and that's always a good sign. There wasn't a lot of wind, the sun was out, the skies were clear and the heat wasn't terrible. When the race started, I was going to race my own race, not get caught up in the group and enjoy the day!

Well, as we were lining up to start the race, I somehow ended up in the front row, excellent, just what I had planned (NOT!), I was on my TT bike too (I would do this race again on that bike, great decision and I don't think it hindered me at all, I love my new bike and it climbs like a champ!), not ideal for a mass start, but I was stuck so I just rolled with it, the starter yelled, "GO!" and we were off. I pulled over to the side a bit so I wouldn't get in the way of all the lead guys and just started to settle in. I kept the lead group in my sites for a while, but I just wanted to ride how I felt and be strong and consistent the whole time, so they were out of site before Makawao.

The first few thousand feet were uneventful, I rode with Sau and company and we were chatting away, pedaling up the mountain. At about 3000ft (I think), I decided to start pushing a little bit more and left the group, from then on, I was riding by myself. It's beautiful up on that mountain, the time goes by quickly as you are pedaling and watching the scenery. Climbing, climbing, climbing. I'm not sure when, but at some point, I passed Brown Sugar...I knew he was wanting to ride around 3:30 so I had to be in pretty good shape at that point to have a solid ride.

The miles kept ticking away, I was just riding solid enjoying my time on the mountain. Right around 8000ft I started to see more and more people, up in the distance, I don't know if it's the altitude (which doesn't seem to effect me, so far anyways) or my endurance training that had me passing people, but this made the 1000ft from 8000 to 9000 go by pretty fast. Once I hit 9000 feet, I was over the ride already, that last 1000 takes FOR-EV-ER. But I just kept keeping on. Finally you make the final turn and the last 200? or so yards is so steep, into a headwind and you are just ready to be done, that when you see the finish line, it is a sight for sore eyes!  I ended the day in 3:28, so with no expectations and just wanting to have a fun day out there, I'm super happy with my result!
It was a great day up there on the mountain and I'm excited to do this race again!
 Great job to everyone who was out there racing, epic day on top of Haleakala!
top 4 out of the top 5 ladies (1st place not pictured)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Honu...from a different perspective

This last weekend was Honu 70.3 over on the Big Island. I LOVE THIS RACE! It's not an easy race by any means, but I suppose no race is an easy race if you are truly racing. Anyways, if you read my last post, you know I wasn't able to race. But I was able to be there to support these guys, who have been putting their hearts and souls into training and preparing for this day. And it was great to be out there supporting, cheering and watching all their hard work pay off! I couldn't be prouder of this group!
I was however able to swim. As always, the swim at Hapuna Beach is amazing! I absolutely love swimming there; this is one of my most favorite places to ocean swim. The swim was a bit different this year as there were no pros racing and they decided to format the swim as a wave start. Nothing new here, I'm always starting from the back of the pack and get to swim through people. Aaron has helped me realize (or at least believe in my head so I don't go crazy and get pissy about having to swim through literally thousands of people) that swimming through moving water is faster than swimming through open, clear water. Well, Saturday it most definitely was. I was in the 4th wave out of 5 and the waves were about 4 minutes apart. I immediately had clear water and took the inside line the whole way through the course. The only time I ran into people was around the three turn buoys, which are always a cluster, but I hugged the buoys tight and got in and out as quickly as possible. I felt strong and smooth the entire way and before I knew it I was rounding the final turn buoy. This is where it usually gets a bit dicey as you are swimming directly into the sun and can't see a thing. I made an excellent choice and went with the new ROKA F1s in Dark Grey Mirror and was able to see perfectly. Made that final turn and booked it in to shore. Toward the end I got a little disappointed that I wasn't going to be able to continue (but I know this was the right decision for me and my body). I knew I was having a good swim, but didn't know how good it really was until I got out of the water. The final approach to the beach could have been super fun had you been able to time it right, there was a pretty decent swell and if you were able to catch a wave, your swim finish would have been riding a wave in to the beach, the waves were not in my favor and I just swam right in to shore. I exited the water and didn't know where the timing mat was so ran ALL THE WAY up to transition. I heard Guy Hagi announce that I was first woman out of the water and had had the fastest swim time on the day for both men and women! Since I had to pull out of the race, it won't stand as the course record (26:46), but it was still the fastest time of the day, which is pretty exciting and I'll be back next year!
On to the rest of the day.....Let me tell you, if I had the choice to be a spectator or to race, I'd always choose to race. It's hard out there in the hot sun watching everyone suffer (I guess maybe a bit harder when you wish you could be there suffering right alongside everyone else!). But it was fun to be on the other side of things for once and when you have Super Sherpa Extraordinaire Bonnie who knows all the best spots to watch from and how to get there it makes the logistics a breeze.
We definitely had fun out there and hopefully our signs (thanks Amy!) and cheers got some people to run a little harder, longer or faster!
I have a few fun pictures from spectating and I'm going to post them, but for some reason they won't align properly and are formatting in the wrong direction, so do with that what you would like. 

Here's a few snaps to sum up the day! 

Great stuff out there and I was fortunate enough to be able to witness some stellar racing! Congrats to everyone that was out there on Saturday! It was a tough day and you all pushed through some hard times and came out the other side stronger, happy and 70.3 finishers! 

Post Honu, sunset at the Grotto. Always a nice way to end the day. Gorgeous sunset, dinner, drinks and friends. 
Sunday morning, I was able to drive into Kona and have the most fun ocean swim!! I met Bree and a few of her swimming buddies and we went and swam the Ironman course. We got to swim with dolphins! The one time I don't have a camera when I'm ocean swimming!! I've been on a boat cruise to Capt. Cook's Monument and we swam with the spinner dolphins there, but this was so much better than that. The dolphins were literally fingertips away from us, they were so playful! Jumping out of the water, spinning around, doing their thing! It was AMAZING!! Most definitely the coolest experience I've ever had ocean swimming (apparently this happens almost daily here!). The dolphins lead us on our course for a while and were actually swimming WITH us! How cool is that?! Words can't even describe how much fun this was! Thanks Bree and co. for letting me join in on a little piece of heaven you guys have here in Kona! Can't wait to do it again! 

And this is just a PSA: Don't drop your phone from a table at Huggo's in Kona, it might just slide right off the table and under a tiny, tiny crack between the deck and the groups and then you'd have to spend an hour trying to get it out before the maintenance man comes with an electric screwdriver and has to remove a wood panel in order to get your phone back.  

 Until we meet again Big Island!


With all the social media outlets around these days, we usually only see the warm and fuzzies of everyone's lives, people tend to not want to share the ugly things that are happening. But that's life and let's be honest, not everything is rainbows and butterflies. AND with where I'm at and what's going on with me right now, I think it's important to keep it real.

Sometimes life give you things you wish you didn't have to deal with and you wonder why this is happening now, of all times, but it's important to put things into perspective and remember, there's usually a light at the end of the tunnel and as bad and unfortunate the timing of life's circumstances, things could be worse.

Let me back up. I've had a few posts lately about all of the good things that have been going on swimbikerun related (South Shore Swim, North Shore Tri, adventure swimming to the Mokes, Honu (will update about that in the next post), to name a few), yet there has been some yucky stuff going on beneath the surface that I haven't talked about.

Long story short, I somehow injured my knee, no trauma was experienced, it just happened, still not sure how. I went from crossing the finish line at a local race two weeks ago to not being able to walk. I'm back able to walk and am in less pain and the swelling has gone down a bit. I'm hopefully on the road to recovery as long as I take care of myself and give my body the time it needs to heal.

However, I had this little, not little, kinda big race on the schedule. Hawaii 70.3, our local big race. I've been set on this race as a tune up and pre-race, race before the big, big race IM Whistler at the end of July. What to do? Could I do the race, absolutely I could. I'm in great shape (in my opinion) and I'm race ready. I can push through a pretty good amount of pain if need be (but that could be what got me into this predicament....funny how you can go from feeling no pain at all to being incapacitated, the mind is a powerful thing, but you need to be aware of what's going on in your body). But is doing the race going to jeopardize my body for Whistler and/or the next 20+ years? It could and that's not a risk I'm willing to take.

Triathlon is something I'm passionate about, I truly enjoy it: the physical stuff as well as the relationships gained from this close-knit community, but it's not my money maker, right now it's my hobby. Something that I love to do.

I'm not one to make excuses and doing this race was part of the plan all along, but in doing this race could I jeopardize the rest of my season, maybe, maybe not, but that's not a chance I'm willing to take.

I opted to not even bring my bike over to the Big Island for the weekend as I didn't think I could swim, ride and then not run. So the plan was to swim and then be super Sherpa Cheerleader for the rest of the day. It was a difficult decision to make, but one that I think is best for me.

As cliche as it is, life gave me some lemons, but I was able to make some lemonade by watching and cheering for everyone else that has worked so hard to get to this race!!

As a good friend told me, "Life is a series of temporary situations." Thanks Amy!!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Mokes Swim

Typically, Memorial Day is a day most people have off from work, it's a week before Honu and a big group of people usually get together and swim to the Mokes. Today was no different. 
There were probably close to 100 people that swam out to these islands today (the biggest group I've ever swum out there with): a group of youngsters from the local swim team, Aulea, the BOCA Hawaii fam, Kailua Masters peeps, Kaneohe swim crew, UH masters folk and some local ocean swimmers and triathletes, to name a few. We all took the opportunity to enjoy a little piece of happy Hawaii has to offer. 
Not a bad way to start a Holiday Monday! Thanks to all who serve(d)!
All gave some, some gave all.
GoPro Pics thanks to Stacia and Kimi! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

North Shore Triathlon

Sunday was the inaugural North Shore Triathlon. This race took place, as the name suggests, up on the North Shore of Oahu at Mokuleia Beach Park. I'm going to quote a friend, Sergio, because I think he put it best, "This weekend people had two races to choose from. One is a relatively flat course with thousands of people racing different events and running around cones. The other was a much more challenging and beautiful course with all your closest friends. #NoBrainer #NorthShoreTriathlon." #FTW. 
I couldn't be happier with my decision to race this race, it was a great prep for what's to come in a few short days. A chance to get the kinks out, race hard on a beautiful, difficult course that's never been done before, but do it in a SAFE environment where you don't have to worry about other things (getting lost running around cones, people riding bike in the wrong direction, passing on the wrong side, while worrying about getting hurt, run over or crashing)
On to the actual race....What a morning it was! 5;45am comes fast when it's about an hour drive to the start. The swim, although it was a short (I guess Olympic distance race swims should be longer, but who cares?! everyone has to do the same thing, the length of the swim is the length of the swim! as is the length of the bike and the length of the run!), it was NOT an easy swim by any means. It was 2 loops of about 400-500meters, the water was shallow and navigating was difficult, adventure swimming at it's finest! I swam with Jason Hagi, a local swimmer extraordinaire (his goggles snapped right before the start and he swam the whole race without goggles, kudos to him!) and a few times we both stopped, looked at each other and said, "where do we go?" The course was difficult to navigate, swimming back in towards shore (a bigger flag or something instead of a small cone on the beach would be helpful! :-) ), but it super fun. It would be cool to have it be a longer swim in the future, but not necessary. I ended up F(woman)OTW and we had a kind of long, deep sand beach run up to transition. Not what I was expecting, but knew it wasn't going to be easy given the walk down to the beach before the start.
On to the bike! I LOVE MY NEW BIKE! I'm finally comfortable on my bike in my TT bars and it climbs like a beast. This bike course was epic. There's this road here called Snake Road, (well that's not its real name, if you want to look it up, it's actually called Kaukonahua Road) , that we can't/don't normally ride up because it's super unsafe, there's no shoulder and people drive like maniacs up and down that road. Chris, the race director was able to get full road closure so we could ride up this amazing road allthewhile being safe! I loved this ride, the roads were clear of cars and I got a police escort!! Love that! Only 1 complaint, was the shameless relay boys drafting while climbing up hills, but I suppose people don't like to get passed (I get it, but come on! Race your own race!). Anyways, the bike was tough, it's only a 3.5 mile climb and then some rollers, but those 3.5 miles were no joke! After that it was a fast descent back down to the 4 mile flat back to transition. I was pushing the pace a bit, but in retrospect I probably could have and should have gone a little harder (can I pedal any faster? yes, can I push a bigger gear? yes. Not great answers once again). I'm learning, but it seems to be a slow process. My mind needs to catch up to my body!
The run was a short out and back on a relatively flat course, with a few small bumps, right along the ocean. Couldn't ask for more beautiful scenery! You got to see everyone the whole time and the encouragement and cheers from everyone is always welcome and motivating! The run ended up being a little shy of 10k, but that's AOK with me. Again, everyone running the same course! And guess what?! Police motorcycle escort on the run as well (poor guy having to ride that motorcycle sooooo slow, you could totally tell he was uncomfortable standing up, squirming around and having to ride his bike at a regular pace for a little and then come right back to me. He even apologized for not having his fancy bike with a radio for music, now that would have been a bonus)!
I wanted to push the pace from the beginning, but didn't have the spunk I would have liked. I was able to run comfortably uncomfortable, but not as fast as I planned/anticipated. I wasn't running with a Garmin or anything, but could tell it wasn't super speedy. In the end it was enough and I was happy with how the day unfolded. Got to get the kinks out and be ready for Honu in a few short days!

Thanks Chris Gardner and BOCA Hawaii for putting on such a great event, I can't wait for next year as I can only see this event growing and becoming more successful in the future.