Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Swim Fun/TRX

Last year my body let me do 100x100. This year I missed out on that fun for two reasons 1. There was no way my body needed to be pushed to the limits, it is not healthy enough to take on that adventure and 2. the need for continuing education was calling from maintaining several certifications, luckily I landed in a full day of TRX training. From much experience with gymnastics and pilates, lets just say, by the end of the day we were doing some crazy- fun moves!

To make up for the missed holiday swim I did 70+x100 on a light interval with several of the TNM athletes. We were at max capacity with over 20 athletes showing up for the adventure of doing as many 100's as possible (okay, coach put a limit on each of them based on their swim fitness) in 2 hours. It was impressive to see these athletes take their swimming to another level, to watch Mark attempt diving off the blocks for the first time, to see some bikini briefs that have been in hiding since Canada and to see non-flip turners becoming real swimmers! Personally I enjoyed just swimming and working out with the athletes which I never do because I want to be "coaching" while they are training. But this was a "holiday special" so coaches got to play!

(Mark and his ladies...I mean lane mates!)

Mark is becoming a real swimmer and just set a 100 PR of 1:11 (and he will remind you that he does not do" cheater-flips")!!!

(the last of the fishies)

The full two hours was full of laughs, coffee, and donuts! Cheers... to doing it again and again (okay maybe not multiple 100's but some swim fun for sure)....as we have the pool for team swims each month now!!! Yeah!!

PS...Yes ,I do have a health update for you, but it will come after the Christmas holiday...now is the time to celebrate fun times with friends and family! Happiest of holidays friends! xoxo

Monday, December 06, 2010

Short Post, Big Message

We can all learn a lot from this girl! She truly means what she says and does it all with a smile!
You can click on her post and stop reading here :)

Her most recent post on "wrapping it up" hit home, it made me smile (because I am so proud of her), it made me sad (I miss pushing myself to the limits), it made me excited (because she is a true sum of dedication), it made me happy that I could relate to her message.

Charisa and I raced together for the first time in my first ironman (CDA in 2008). I didn't know her at the start, nor at the finish that day. We became friends through blogging, triathlon, and emailing (still need to figure out the butterfly!). We met for the first time in Kona 2009.

Charisa swam a 1:06 at multiple ironmans (3+) leading up to her pro debut this year. I (well, everyone)watched her throughout the year carry the determination to break that 1:06 barrier (this girl became a fish!). At her first ironman this year, she swam a 1:06 AGAIN....she did not give up and continued with her journey with additional fire in the belly. By the end of the season she swam a :59! I think all of FB had a party for her!

She wasn't just this successful with her swim, but with all the disciples related to triathlon and life. Her message in her post says a lot and I believe everyone can learn from it.

Keep believing, keep dreaming, and recognize that at the end of the day it is you, the clock, your dignity, your passion, and only a "tiny" thing that defines you as a person. Make the best of every race. Hard work does pay off! Be the best you can be...on and off the field!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Back in the Splash.

I never thought getting back in the pool would bring the emotions that it did. I jumped in feet first (normally, I kind of crawl in and don't even get my head wet until half way down the pool...its cold!) and an instant smile from ear to ear and around my head appeared! It was pure bliss!

(Super happy swimmer....the last time I swam....until now!)

The docs often ask what I do to relax...recommending yoga (which you will never find me doing again) and meditation, reading, etc....for me it is SWIMMING that 100% clears my head and takes me away to another land.

The swims these days consist of no clocks, no lap counting, just pure swimming from the heart and doing what feels right in the moment. Some days it is 15 min others maybe 40...it doesn't matter really, the fact that I GET to swim is where the appreciation lies.

(just one of the fun TYR suits I love!)

And what adds to all this fun excitement is that I finally get to wear all those cute TYR suits that have filled my swim bag. Thank you TYR for making swimming that much more of a wonderful thing!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Time is flying by...now that I am past the post-treatment effects! The TNM season is coming to a wraps and we finished off with a super helpful run clinic. Since I can only do light/moderate exercise I am officially forced to work on my form, and let me tell you it was a disaster! So I am perfecting my cross over arms, my floppy feet and learning to run more efficiently...at a slow pace.

(group 1 of 2 on the final clinic day!)

Our holiday plans were re-arranged when we were hit with multiple inches of snow. And the days leading up were filled with evenings out with all of our friends in the West Seattle area, there is something so cozy about being in a restaurant and sharing laughs with your friends knowing that there really is no place better to be and you don't really have to be anywhere the next day either....the snow is magical!

My mother was without power for 3 whole days...so instead of heading over to her home to freeze our booties off, we stayed in West Seattle and went running with a few team members. We lined the streets because the sidewalks were loaded with tailbone-breaking black ice and slushy snow. Nothing beats the holidays with friends and family though because that cold run was finished up with some delish hot cocoa and coffee with loved ones.

(Wild Wagner Webb!)

We finished off Thanksgiving with eats and thankfulness with the Webb family.

We later celebrated with Mom once the snow dried up!

The Seattle marathon falls right after the Turkey Holiday and it was blessed with slightly better weather and Mark ran his fastest Seattle half marathon to date...it was impressive to see him determined and ready! His teammates were close behind keeping the event entertaining for us spectators as our members lined the streets nearly every mile and continually updated me via text at the finish line. A huge congrats to him and great things to come for his Ironman CDA adventure.

(Yeah, it was only a little cold at the start!)

Hope each of you had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Remicade treatment #4 has come and gone with similar affects of the third treatment only landing me an additional day in the hospital this go around. Yes, it is becoming a vicious cycle that even the doctors are trying to figure out. Being truthful, the positivity is diminishing. It is getting tough. Life has changed so much, and in years from now, this will mean very little. But for the time being the cumulative effect of these treatments are taking a toll. Often I think of what I would be doing, how I would be doing it, and how my life would be different had the UC not been here. In a flash my BEFORE and my NOW are worlds apart. I have learned so much in a short time, some things to display proudly, others that have taken me by storm, but all of which have continued to shape my journey. The moments that make me smile are the times I have been able to spend with friends. I used to rush from one thing to the next without taking the time to just “be”. I think this has been a drastic change. I still don’t get out much, being that I have to spend more time horizontal than vertical, but I have spent more dinners, shopping, movies and quality time with people who care and those are moments I cherish. I can’t say thank you enough to those of you that have shown me how wonderful this life can be and knowing that there is more beyond triathlon makes me feel better about this seem-to-be-never-ending-roller-coaster-ride my body is flailing along on. It reminds me that this is all part of learning, growing, and trying to be the best I can be in this lifetime.

Here are a few of my experiences in changes over the past few months (in no particular order):

BEFORE, finding time to eat was a chore. NOW, meal time is fun – spent with friends, enjoying time chatting, savoring the moments.

BEFORE, I would never take the stairs over the elevator option for additional exercise because I was too tired from training. NOW, I still choose not to take the stairs to save every bit of energy to spend on more meaningful moments.

BEFORE, I had scaly dry skin from the chlorine ridden mind boggling laps in the pool. NOW, I have even more scaly skin from medication and maybe even from the scratchy blankets in the hospital beds.

BEFORE, I took have thick, long braids for granted. NOW, my hair is minimal, but holds a great ponytail!

BEFORE, I woke up anxious to get on the bike and ride for miles. NOW, I am anxious to make sure I can make it through my small task list for the entire day.

BEFORE, I thought I knew..... NOW I know what truly defines a friend.

BEFORE, I would long for a rest/recovery day to catch up on life. NOW I am a little more caught up on life and have more rest days in my plan than I do “active” days.

BEFORE a long workout would start at 8am and be done no earlier than 2pm. NOW the exercise starts and ends in the same half hour.

BEFORE, my head ached from being caloric deprived from a stellar workout. NOW, my head aches from medications in hopes of being back to doing those stellar workouts.

BEFORE, I spent a lot of dolla' bills on triathlon “things”. NOW, I have a little “extra” in between pay checks.

BEFORE, I worked a lot, I did a lot, I loved a lot, I helped a lot, I gave a lot. NOW, I work less, I do less, I love a lot to those who appreciate, I help a lot to those who appreciate, and I give a lot to those who appreciate.

BEFORE, I never read. NOW, I have read more, studied more and probably could have earned myself a masters degree in the last three months. I love the knowledge I have gained!

BEFORE, my heart ached to race, a time when I felt free and my mind was quiet. NOW, my heart aches for all those feelings to return, an escape, a time to truly feel free.

BEFORE, I loved my husband and knew he would be my life partner and stand by me through it all. NOW, I love my husband even more and he has PROVEN that he will stand by me through it all.

BEFORE I lived for the next workout, the next day…… NOW I live for the moment.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Maui Xterra and living FREE

We were ready to experience Maui, ready to experience Xterra, and ready to cheer on our friend John . We spent a week in Maui, enjoying life, enjoying a vacation without bikes or racing. No pressure. The week leading up to race day was spent at happy hours, in the sunshine, and at the beach, oh and a ton of sleeping. (laughing so hard it hurt!)

We giggled, laughed, and enjoyed the little things, like water slides and crystal clear water and view....this was so important because lateley things have been stressful.... with the minimal training, the body changing and just the fact that life has been "different". This vacation was exactly what we needed. For the first time in a long time I was able to feel free, able to feel a little more like myself.

(Mark was convinced the fish was trying to eat him!)
The non-racing idea didn't last long once we found out there was a 5k and 10k race on the course. We just HAD to experience the terrain, the course, and the challenges that were to be faced on Sunday. So we signed up. I have not ran a step in over 10 weeks so I just went with walk/jog in mind (against doctors orders...BUT I have been SO SO SO good in listening). Really those climbs were so big that walking was all that needed to be done.

I know you must be thinking that I was pushing it because I got a second place podium for the division...which I am happy about, but truly all these "fasties" were in the 10K. I was beat by TEN kids under the age of 13 (I was racing a kid that came up to my hip).

Mark LOVED the race, and was soaked from running along the shore line. But managed himself a 3rd place division slot. However, he is most proud that he got to share in the spotlight on the podium with Yvonne.

The $25 entry fee was nothing when we look at all the perks that came with this race, we each received:
A race shirt
Box of GU
$25 g.c. to Lulu's (not lululemon ;))
6 pack of Gatorade
Pound of Kona Coffee
Coffee Mug

A huge highlight of the week was meeting up with my long lost pal Tracy! It was like we had seen each other every day for the past two years!

We dined to the nines and failed to skimp even in the slightest at Fairmont thanks to our friends the "Swistaks" (and fab bridesmaid!)
(Beautiful sunset!)
The event Xterra event itself was so low-key, so beautiful, and so fun! John had an amazing race at Xterra (and thank you for the beautiful stay), although we could barely recognize anyone with their faces covered in dirt "masks". He has intrigued us all to participate next year...hmmmm...

To living life and to being "free"!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


So several of you have raced an ironman and I have sat on my boot'ee the entire time......was so intrigued and captivated by your amazing days that I could not even get myself up to eat or go to the bathroom (okay, I did get up but it was fast). Just did not want to miss a moment!!!
However, I did not miss waking up with tan lines like these: (you know each of you have them) Then again that new Scape product could prevent these!

We hurried home from the run clinic and as we pulled in the garage and this conversation happens:

Mark: "Can you imagine if we came home to no internet today?
Me: "Shush, why would you say such a thing?"

As we walk in and rush to get all 3 computers going (Thank you team for the awesome ipad) guess what? Internet and cable are OUT. Yep, OUT! For 45 min and then it magically appeared, then disappeared again around 5pm so we rushed to our favorite Mexican joint that thankfully has internet. Sat there until the computers went dead and came home to internet. Can you say Mark jinxed us!!! Ha!

The race was amazing on all accounts. I had yet to witness a pass in the ironman distance where two athletes hung side by side, stride by stride, it was unbelievable. Witnessing this from a computer, I believe was almost better than being there (although the sun on the back and mai tais were sure missed). I was also busy counting bike and run cadences, analyzing how each athlete raced, how they took fuel, when they were aero, when they stood up, etc, etc. I had a swim coach that made me watch and analyze and it has stuck with me for years. You can learn so much from the sidelines. The online video coverage was amazing and if it was recorded I could continue to watch it over and over and over.

Watching made me think back more and more about racing and the journey. It was a clear reminder that ANYTHING can happen on race day (especially in Kona) and that no matter what every athlete there has a huge amount of support around them from all over the country. The FB posts to all the athletes were amazing to see. Your family and friends just want YOU (the athlete) to enjoy the experience, smile as often as possible and are happy to support you along the way. Times, places, etc, are only a small portion of what racing means to everyone on the outside. We, as athletes are our biggest critics and need to sometimes step back and realize how lucky we actually are...we get to push the limits, test ourselves, and experience the highs of being an athlete. And when we are not 100% satisfied it is important to understand that there are several more races to come and more Kona's too (my day there still awaits...I do believe third time is a charm for this girl!) So many people never take this risk to find out WHO they really are and what talents lie within them. Congratulations to each and everyone of you who raced at Kona, Boston, Chicago, and Victoria. You have inspired so many and I know every one of you will be back for more! Thank you for reminding me of the little things that are truly the big things.

And while yesterday was about sitting, I was exhausted from the emotions.... got myself a nap today, but that was after a 2 hour walk, in the rain! No complaints here though because it was on some amazingly beautiful trails at Cougar Mountain. It was so much fun to be "out and about" and to be with friends. Okay, getting lost for 20 min we could have done without but we managed to navigate our way back to the homeland, soaked, dirty and with numb fingertips.

I decided to log myself back into training peaks since this "walk" was a breakthrough workout. Counting back and it has been 9 full weeks of ZERO exercise (yep, went from 20 to zero hours overnight).

Things continue to look up, but am still under close watch....landed myself in the ER a few weeks ago again and officially am a "frequent flyer" there.....really trying to avoid that place! But the docs and I have come up with a formula for meds (yes, I have to compromise there too, just as I do with the exercise prescriptions) that may be the magic trick going into this next treatment :)

Have a started to lose my mind? Possibly, BUT it is what needs to be done to someday be out there in the races, doing what I love to do. Being sidelined is not "fun" but it is "fun" to see so much from the "other" side. To appreciate racing from a whole other level.

Until next time, the TRX, the bike trainer, and many more walks are lined up and I am STOKED!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fast feet.

Things have been a whirlwind since Canada. Nothing new on the workout part, just continuing to improve, kind of like the "two steps forward, one step back". I try a new food, body says no, I drink more ensure, then repeat.....it's not too exciting on the eating front, but at least now I get to "try" new foods.

And I do try a little something new everyday....like one day the salted caramel cupcake, then the snickerdoodle cupcake, then the chocolate coconut macaroon too! (okay, just little bite....I am aware I am not working out!)....but yum...and the fact that it was post shopping at lulu with girlfriends...I need calories right?!

I have spent way to many hours dreaming and believing (and facebooking).

The other day I ran across the street, I felt like Forest Gump.

The first thing out of my mouth to Mark was:

Me: "When I get to run again, I am going to be FAST!"

Mark laughed.

I couldn't figure out why?

Mark says: "When I get back on my bike I am going to be fast!".

I laughed....

Okay, I get it....nobody says that (well that is humble....but it just felt so true...I mean I ran 10 yards and felt like I was winning an ironman (well, what I imagine it would feel like to win an ironman!).

I can't wait to start training, it is like teaching someone from the beginning: fresh, new, eager and READY!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Canada in pics.

(anxiously waiting are the Cunninghams!)

(pre-race....just trying to catch a glimpse!)


(Bill is an ironman!)

(super bud Beth!!)

(We love the TYR Hurricane)

(2 hour ironman PR by Nate)

(This is Tracy below)

(Johnna raced and her girlfriends cheered!)

(I sat as often as possible, even if it meant in the middle of the street)

(Happy Kara even with a flat and two tip-overs on the bike...don't ask :))

(Mark and Laura)

(pre-race photo)

(our line of high fives!)

(Mark's catchers were TNM athletes- Jenn and Joel...thanks for keeping him on both legs!)

(The super Camps!)

(Karen smiling!)

(No more tears...she is now an ironman!)

(Coach Bridget being super stylin!)

(the rain was coming...thank you Pinnacle for the amazing tent!)

(Kirsten sporting the new run tops)

I would put up our "specialized" bikini briefs that many of you may have witnessed on Yellow lake, but you have to race to see those!!!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Ironman Canada 2010

(the sun came out momentarily for Coach Bridget and I :))

We just had a super stellar week at Ironman Canada. We had 19 athletes racing and all showed up with super spectacular performances. 13 first time Ironman finishers, multiple PR's (by multiple minutes or hours...or so), and a well deserved Kona slot by a super training buddy. These athletes gave it their all throughout the entire year plus and it showed! The next post will be all about the super fun photos of the day!

Each ironman journey tells a different story from year to year. For Mark I tell his story!


Mark completed his 3rd Ironman (Canada '06, '09, '10) and had a very memorable race. Yes, he had some BIG yet reasonable goals, which he CAN accomplish. On this day he came up only 5 min shy of his PR. A day where his thoughts on the bike ride were "that was the scariest/toughest ride EVER". The hail and downpour coming down from yellow lake was more a game of keeping the rubber-side down than anything. Mark pushed through all three events just missing his PR but when he came in for his final stretch to the finish I saw a man with emotion. A man that had given his all on this day at this time, I saw a man that had supported ME during a time that really ALL the focus should have been on him. The two months leading up to the Ironman were nothing short of emotionally draining on him. And he did not complain once. He kept late hours, got up early, did my duties, and thought more about my food and health care than I did. He kept his chin up and dug deep to keep the spirits alive. He had little reserve for race day. He will not say that nor totally believe it, but I do, and I could see it all in his eyes. This is not an excuse...this is reality, a big one for us.

(check out the paparazzi!)

I felt a sense of sadness for knowing that he did the race with "all heart". Yes he had trained, harder and smarter than ever, but he was thrown some major curve-balls and life-changing decisions that are enough to make anyone's "excitement" to race diminish into just "getting through" the race. The final months were tough, and he persevered. He found strength by recognizing that so many athletes would want to be in "his shoes" on that day, that he was blessed to have the opportunity to race. And most importantly he learned so much and can carry it all over to his next Ironman journey in CDA this coming year.

(he looks the same in every run photo!)

("the pic that says it all")

We learned a lot at Ironman Canada from the racing and the spectating. Our team support was so amazing and inspiring and brought everyone even closer. Watching the athletes persevere and making dreams come true was an absolutely beautiful thing. We can't thank you enough.

(His well-deserved moment!)

Huge thanks to our support system! To TYR for the super fast and comfy wetsuit, to Argon 18 for the super fast and safe ride, Mr Crampys for making it all run smoothly, Powerbar for the fuel that kept him moving like a champ. And to the family and friends for giving him the encouragment and the strength to dig a little deeper. Beacause of you he was able to live it up on his day!!! Thanks team!

Mark, I am so proud and thankful to have you as my buddy through everything, and your selflessness has not gone unnoticed. And you are one strong man to get through all you did on race and and THIS ironman journey. Your time to truly shine is coming real soon!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thinking BIG.

Today mark Remicade treatment #2 and now I am resting up for the big Ironman Canada weekend where TNM will be represented with 20 amazing athletes all with different visions, different goals, and different journeys getting them to their race day. So exciting on all accounts.

(Ironman Canada 2009 swim start)

We leave tomorrow to the gorgeous Penticton. I will be on bed rest for two more days and then gradually start my second "block" of training!

With all this down time it has given me the opportunity to think, then evaluate and re-evaluate again. Reading, studying, planning! I am thinking big and dreaming big for the future as my health WILL be better. Mark and I are working together now, literally working together (not just in a relationship) and are excited for 2011. We have fun ideas for our facility, for the business, for the athletes and everything just keeps getting better for 2011 and we are excited! He has taken over the "business" side of things and I just get to help make decisions.....so he does the hard stuff and I get to say how to do it!! Ha!!! Truly though this gives us both the opportunity to focus 100% on what we are great at and what we love to do. And budget and retail are not my thing (okay, they are my thing, when it comes to personal shopping), but not the bulk orders. He keeps things organized and seamless, I mess them up, and then he fixes it again...we are a perfect match (at least I believe so!) . I just write programs, do schedules, and read and learn more and more and talk on the phone....love it!!!

For training and racing I am planning as best I can based on when the doctors think I can race (right now we are looking at a minimum of 5-8 more months before I will be at the start line), but with that said I can at least plan and dream big!!! And the "idea" of exercise is nearing...maybe 8 more weeks (but will evaluate when that time comes, medicine needs to have "time" to work and I am giving it the "time"). I am getting excited just thinking about it.

(Athlete #511 is looking forward to this moment too!)

Thinking big is always a great place to start, details come later!!! Many of you dreamed big a year ago (or more) and the details have all been drawn out, your time is here!!! Good luck to everyone racing this weekend and a special shout out to those of you "going the distance" in the ironman events around the country. Whether your goal to finish, to PR, to learn more about yourself, or to qualify for Kona remember that getting to the start line and crossing the finish line are both HUGE accomplishments in itself. Enjoy your day, your moment, your journey! Looking foreward to the stories, the success and the memories! Ironmanlive.com will be on multiple screens for us!

Dream big and execute!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Things are getting brighter and brighter. Don't get me wrong I am no where back to my "normalcy" but I am closer to normal. It's the baby steps, like eating solid foods (wisely), standing instead of sitting, gaining weight, its all happening slowly! I think of this past week as the first week back to training, you want to do more, your body tells you to do more, but you know that it will create set backs if you do. So you continue to follow your program as coach says in order to flourish in the results later. I am on my first "build" of the program and then recovery week comes a little early (next week) with another treatment of Remicade. But each block will get me a little closer to my "happy, healthy, place!"

I was stoked to be able to go to watch over 25 TN multisporters at Lake Stevens 70.3. I had to "taper" the day before to make it to the race, being on bed rest from noon on! Then we got a hotel room in Everett to have a "calmer" nights sleep since the heat temps in Seattle were record breaking. I was "preparing" for the big day!
The pro field was stacked, TNM athletes were on fire, the heat was up and the results were nothing short of amazing out there. It was fun to be a part of so many athletes "special" day.
(My bum sat like this ALL day! 2 phones, notebook, and a camera!)

(Mark played super coach doing all the "running" around and relaying message from me)

Yesterday was another team event of Swim For Life. It is a 2.4 mile swim across the lake from Medina to Madison park. TNM had 60 athletes participate in the event. In the past the water has been calm and the sun beaming onto the swimmers, however, this year we arrived with lake chop, wind and less than ideal conditions, but the athletes DID it and they MADE it and are stronger because of it! I am so proud of each of them. The money was raised for the Puget Sound Blood Center. Awesome event!

(Team Girls Rock! Johnna, Kara, Bridget, Kim, Karissa, Heather, Ann)

The girls above had to be combined as one team. And I was smiling ear to ear as they took off, 7 blondes, one kayaker and the doubts, nervouseness, and giggles were quite silly coming from these girls that podium at every race! Way to go ladies!

(H* and I staying warm post swim event.....stoked that the braid thickness is coming back from last years treatments!!)

We are now packing up and headed out to Ironman Canada next week. It is a super fun time of year full of excitement. Being sidelined has me balancing rest with building myself back up and enjoying the little things. I am learning so much about "me" and "life" that I can keep with me forever. Excited that things are looking up and we can see little improvements each day. Not so excited that I am SO sore from standing a couple of hours yesterday...unbelieveable, once again...baby steps, think I should go book a post-standing massage for recovery :)