Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Big Island Training

I've said it a thousand times and I'll say it a thousand more, I love the Big Island! Last Friday-Sunday was spent on the Big Island for BOCA's annual training weekend. A chance to get away from work, life and stress while spending the weekend hanging out and working hard with a bunch of other crazies passionate athletes. 
Welcome to Kona
Day 1 started off with a swim (and maybe a little body surfing) at Hapuna Beach the site of the Honu swim course. Hands down my favorite place to ocean swim. 

Followed by a ride to Waimea and Parker Ranch, down to Old Mamalahoa,Waikoloa Beach Road and back to Hapuna Prince. Two two word phrases for the day...


Switched things up for day 2 because of the whipping winds to keep everyone safe and did our BOCA swim race on the Honu course (and some more body surfing)...thanks to Jason and his other Lifeguard friend for the support, pointers and course recon. 
We followed the swim up with our long run. Thanks to our wonderful support volunteers (Bonnie, Rick and Joan) for our aid stations! We couldn't have made it through the weekend without you three. 

and we ended the day with a nice catered dinner at the hotel

 Day 3 a ride out to Pololu Valley and a preview of the Honu Bike course.  
BOCA ready to roll
Stopping for coffee in Hawi before heading back to Hapuna
Pololu Valley
Obligatory BOCA Soup picture!

A great weekend was had by all! Thanks Raul, coaches and friends for making this yet another Big Island weekend where lessons were learned, friendships were strengthened and memories were made!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lanikai Tri

Photo Credit Amy Harpstrite
Lanikai Triathlon....hands down, the BEST triathlon/race on the island. Raul, Hina and the folks at BOCA do such a great job with this event...the support, police escorts, volunteers, organizers, sponsors (BOCA Hawaii, Jamba Juice, JACO, Planet Sun), treats and entertainment after the race, they make this a race worth putting on your list that's for sure! This is the third year I've raced Lanikai and third time's a charm! 

Typically there hasn't been great weather for this race...we are getting toward the end of our rainy/wet winter season here so we have to put up with a little bit of rain and cooler weather for a few months....two years ago it was pouring rain, last year ended up being a nice day, that started out a bit soggy and this year the water had a bit of chop, which made for some more difficult ocean swimming conditions (yay!) and the winds were whipping. Weather makes no difference, this is still a top-notch event! Getting to swim in the ocean, ride along the coast (for parts) and run through a beautiful loop on the Windward side of the island always makes for a great time!
THE SWIM: As I said before, the swim was choppy! I never used to be a fan of the chop, coming from a pool swimming background where everyone stays in their own lane and stays in their own spot, but I've learned to LOVE it! The more chop, the better, embrace the conditions, practice in them and you will also learn to love them! Disclaimer: It's always nice to swim in crystal clear, calm ocean water...cue Honu in a few weeks. Back to the race...I was super happy with my swim and being first (female) out of the water once again! But truly, I was second to Jakob Dewald, super swimmer and triathlete, who ended up placing 3rd overall...watch out world he is only 17!

 Photo Credit Mike Schmitt
THE BIKE: If you've been following along, this is where I have struggled in the past, my nemesis and what I'm working on improving this year. I am trying to stay positive, keep pushing forward and put in the work necessary to turn in some respectable bike splits and I think my work is starting to pay some small dividends. This year there was a police escort for the female leader which hasn't happened in the past...when I saw those blue lights and motorcycles it wasn't something I was going to give up! Having a police escort is super fun and motivating. It sure keeps me going!The bike was windy, short, fast and fun...FUN! I said a bike ride/race was fun! That's progress! Baby Steps!
Photo Credit Sau Hsu
THE RUN: Just a little loop around Lanikai with a finish along the beach. Thank goodness it was hard sand and not the soft stuff we dealt with at Lavaman. I would have liked to have been a little faster on the run, but I can't complain. Ended the race 1st OA female and 8th OA! My first win! Couldn't have happened at a better race. That's exciting and I'm super happy with how the day went!

and....I got to meet Erin...another SOAS lady visiting from Carlsbad, CA! 

Thanks BOCA Hawaii, Jamab Juice, JACO and Planet Sun Hawaii for putting on such a great event! What a way to end the morning, with great friends at the beach!  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tantalus TT

When you think you know something and then find out you are completely and I mean completely wrong in what you think you know, it sure is a wake up call. I've been saying for a while that I'm going to focus on getting stronger and faster on the bike and I've made some baby steps along the way...yesterday was my turning point.

Saturday night I signed up for the annual Tantalus TT. A bike race again!? What has gotten in to me? I told you, I was serious. For those of you not from here, Tantalus is a little hill (mountain) here on Oahu that offers a nice 5 mile, 1500ft climb. I love this hill, I've done it too many times to count and what better way to get
better at riding than ride up a mountain as fast as you can, then go ride some more. Side note...last weekend at Lavaman the plan was to ride my bike hard and then see what happens out there on the run...well I learned yesterday that it was absolutely not the case that I rode my bike hard last weekend (I sure thought I did), but no dice, that was an easy cruise-y ride compared to what it really feels like to ride hard. Now I know.

Back to Tantalus. I was prepared for a sufferfest and ready to see what I could do with minimal preparation (I've been riding, but this most certainly wasn't my focus) and a last minute sign up. Aaron and I got to the race super early, as he had a much earlier start time than I did (he was done racing before I even started). We were able to get in a nice warm up, catch up with some friends and get ready to race. The race officially started at 7:00 with riders pushing off every 30 seconds. I started at 7:47, so I was the ~95th rider...maybe I could catch some people!

I chatted with Alika a bit before the start and he told me that I haven't been riding what I'm capable of riding, he basically called me a wimp (if you know Alika, wimp wasn't exactly the word he used....I'll let you use your imagination) and told me I'm riding unfocused and lazy (all probably true given the outcome of this compared to Castle to Hanauma and Lavaman bike). He gave me 2 things to concentrate on for the ride and said not to let my mind go anywhere else. I repeated those two phrases over and over and over and over in my head the entire way up that mountain and I will say that this was the most focused and concentrated I have ever been on a ride, ever! Every time I felt like I wanted to stop pedaling and coast for a few seconds I kept pedaling and pushing forward (what a concept?! you want to go faster and get stronger, you don't coast, you push through! Genius)

I got to the top and I have NEVER hurt so much after a ride, my heart hurt, I was out of breath, I almost fell over. Now, I guess that's what it feels like to ride hard. #lesson learned #nowiknow #hurtssogood

End result: 3 minute PR, 2nd Female OA

Super happy I decided to do this race, thanks Bike Shop for putting on a great event, I *might* even come back again next year!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Big Island Riding

We decided to stay on the Big Island for a couple extra days after the race to take advantage of the riding and make it more of a vacation and not just a trip for a race.

Monday we decided to meet up with our friends Mariane, Tim, Art and Corin and ride the Kona south loop. Aaron and I have done this loop once before and it was by far my most favorite ride ever...I think I've found a new favorite ride (we'll get to that in a bit). What a great ride! 50 miles from Kona, to Holualoa bike trail (I think that's what this was called), to Kealakekua Bay, and back to Kona. Finished with and Acai bowl at Baski Cafe (if you've ever in Kona and want a break from Lava Java check this place out for fresh, delicious smoothies or acai bowls).

Tuesday we ventured North from Mauna Lani to Hawi (hello wind!), up and over the Kohalas (my new favorite ride!!!) to Waimea, down to Kawaihae (that's a loooong 10 miles down) and back to Mauna Lani. 65 miles of awesome. I wish I could do this ride ALL THE TIME. So peaceful, beautiful and full of climbing, love, love, love. I was hesitant about this ride, not sure what the climb was going to be all about, but I'm in love! The smells, the country, the open roads, the cool weather, the serenity..I could go on and on...where was this positive bike energy on Sunday!? I digress.
I could get used to this
A successful trip to the Big Island...I'll be back in a few weeks for BOCA training weekend and I cannot wait!!

Friday, April 4, 2014


Cobwebs dusted and still some work to be done, but my first tri of the year is in the books.  This was my first year racing Lavaman Waikoloa and it was most definitely a fun one. The after party is what attracts many a racer to this event on the Big Island of Hawai'i.

A quick recap:
I decided to switch my entry at the last minute and race elite...mix it up with the fast ladies and see what I could do out there very early on in this season.

The SWIM....was amazing. It also happened to be wet-suit legal, which I don't quite understand. The water wasn't that cold, but it was wet-suit legal and people wore their suits if they had them. The water was clear, warm (in my opinion) and inviting! Everything you want the Ocean to be. Starting in the elite wave gave me a nice fish to chase in Tim Marr. We swam together until the 2nd turn buoy then he put some space in between the two of us and I fell a bit behind, I pushed through, bridged the gap and came out of the water first woman and only seconds behind Tim. Great confidence booster heading into the bike (all my swimming has been paying off!).

THE BIKE....oh the bike, one of these days I will not let myself get negative and pissy (I'm working on this I swear) AND I will be a better, stronger, more confident cyclist come May. Starting the bike with no one in front of me besides Tim was...interesting...I knew the other girls were coming, I just didn't expect them to come so soon and SO FAST! The first two ladies, Magali and Bree blew past me and I wanted to keep them in my sights for as long as possible. That didn't last as long as I had hoped. This is the point in which I need to tell myself to keep pushing, it's only 40k, you're not going to be riding for that long, just go, go, go, go, go, don't think just pedal, but instead I think about my legs hurting and when is the turn around coming and why is this taking so long and on and on and on. Not the best strategy when your plan was to just ride hard and don't think. LESSON LEARNED. Won't happen again. Not happy with my bike, but I learned some valuable lessons and know I have plenty of work to do in the next, less than two months Anyway...

THE RUN...Obviously I was very happy to be running. The run at this race is no joke, it's no regular fast flat 10k. You want beach, trail, lava rock, resort path (right past people lounging at the pool/ocean sipping on cocktails wondering what on earth we are doing), sand and a little bit of road...you've got it! What a fun run, it most certainly wasn't a PR 10k type of run, they threw everything at you! Nothing too exciting to report from the run, the miles ticked away, I was consistent throughout (until the last 1/4 mile on the sand...who does that?!...oh yeah it happens a lot in Hawai'i...read Lanikai in 2 weeks), Kings Trail was a bit technical and caused some slow downs (I think at one point I looked at a volunteer and said, "Really, we are going that way!?" He laughed and said, "Of course"),  but it's a trail you can run along right next to the Ocean, who can be unhappy with that!? This wasn't my fastest run, but it also wasn't my slowest and I finished happy, all-in-all I'm pleased with my run.

AFTER PARTY...Hanging out after races, talking war stories, catching up with friends you haven't seen in a while, making new friends, enjoying the beautiful Hawai'i weather and scenery is what makes racing and triathlon somuchfun.

Michelle's first tri and she was on the podium!!! 

AG winner and 12th OA..not too shabby!

THE VERDICT...if you want a fun, destination, greatly supported, Hawai'i race, Lavaman should be on the bucket list! Great weekend with great friends, new and old!