Saturday, March 31, 2012


This is no April Fools joke, as much as I wish it were.

It was coming DOWN today.

My most favorite part of belonging to a team and training with friends is creating memories, doing things you may avoid at times (my bed was pretty toasty this morning), and experiencing new places.

Cougar Mountain is not "new" to me, but we definitely don't get out there as often as we would like. We had a big group of us run together today and we were laughing about as much as we were running. The snow, the slush, the dirt....but it was all in the beautiful trails of Washington.

Cheers to creating memories that we will laugh about forever on the last day of March in 2012!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 Mercer Island 10K Race Report

Yep, only one week out from Costa Rica and another race report. But something magical happened upon return. I can't put my finger directly on it, but since the return I have had three of my most fantastic runs in a long time. The pool has also been VERY good to me too. I think a little bit of "tough-arse" competition was what I needed.

Prior to this week a GREAT run would really just fall under the category as mediocre. I think a huge part of this is mental strength and physical strength.  There is SO much anxiety when I go running and depending on intensity it multiplies.  The harder the run the more time in the restroom (sorry if this is TMI). This is where I do better with z2 runs with a little bit of z3/z4 mixed in here and there (this usually limits the bathroom stops to less than 3).   I get anxious, then cold after a stop, then upset, then I must carry on. It is not the exhilarating, take me away, I love running feelings.

I got a small, okay HUGE, dose of suck-it-up-sister if I am going to get faster.   I went out and nailed two runs so decided to show up at the 10K, as part of my long run for the week.  I did a 35' warm up, lots of restroom breaks (thanks to my awesome run buddy who understands this need) and then lined up for the event. 
(Elizabeth-run buddy, Vicki-killer half marathon!, Me)
I believe that not all races are about the time or the place, but more about learning and working on areas you would like to improve upon.The goal: Start out slow, build and then finish strong.  I needed a finish strong race for my own personal confidence.  Coach certainly did not talk me into this event and basically left it up to me.  He believes in me, I was doubting myself.

I followed my plan to a T. The first 1.75 miles were high z3 HR and I felt GREAT.  Just steady, not breathing hard, not pushing, just running and focusing on form.  From there I built by effort.  I went from a 6 (on a scale of 10) to a 7, then to an 8, then to a 9.  By the last two miles I was staying in the same position but really wanting to make up a few places. I watched the two girls I could see ahead of me.  They would definitely get a bit of ground on me on the climbs, but the gap I could close on the downhills and flats.  The final stretch (about .2 miles) is a little downhill a longer uphill and then a slight downhill to the finish chute.  I made the plan to really go for it.  I had to make up as much ground as possible on the downhill to even have a chance in keeping these girls on the uphill. For the first time EVER. I passed two girls in the final stretch.  They both picked it up and left me in a sprint to the finish, but I was able to keep the lead (10th place!).  I FINALLY felt the ounce of confidence that all this run training is paying off.  The power from the late night, rainy hill repeats arrived. The short sprints repeated over and over and over arrived. And the tempo runs arrived all during this short 10K.
My time was not my fastest, but each mile was faster and the last mile was my fastest mile in 2012 yet (been forced to do a few mile tests every now and again). 

What is best about the Mercer Island event is all the local teams, teammates, and friends that come out to participate or cheer.  It was so much fun to see all the fabulous performances and too see all the TNM athletes,too, feeling their hard work pay off and getting that extra boost of confidence.  It has been a wicked winter/fall/spring here with little racing and a lot of training (ie: indoor training) for most.

It was such a pleasurable day to have the sun shining and people smiling! Congratulations!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rev 3 Costa Rica Race Report

So, so happy! I would be lying if I said I was not nervous for this race.  I was going into this race with the most fitness I have had since being hospitalized for the first time in July of 2010.  It wasn't like last years events to just show up and cross a line. I had goals, I had a plan, and I was anxious to see where I was at. I am looking at this year as my real "rookie pro" season.

3:20am wake up call and the six of us were out the door by 4am.  No need for any long sleeve attire here as the temps were already mid-70's. The TYR carbon kit was all I needed. We headed down our back-wheelin' hill and arrived at Playa Conchala with the sounds of wildlife in the near distance.

For starters, this race taught me a lot, gave me a lot to practice, to learn and a new prospective on racing.

The swim was a beach start.  It felt great to be back in the TYR Sayanora that has been tucked away for so long. I knew this field was stacked but looking back realized that it was my open water skills that held me back.  This was a great learning experience.  To be stacked up against these phenomenal athletes (not to mention how fast these girls are in the water) and see where I fell back.  From the initial contact with the water I was a body length back. I made it up and was with the huge lead pack (8 of 12). Around the first buoy I had to play catch up again, then the second buoy the same thing happened (didn't learn the first time!). I found myself swimming just off the lead group.  Coming in from the first loop I went to stand up and was swept back into the ocean, literally, had to start swimming again to get back to shore. It made me laugh and was even more pathetic that all the half ironman racers were there to witness my little "yelp".  I was now going to be leading the second pack the second loop.  I came out of the water 8th, not what I am used too, but realizing that this Olympic distance racing is no joke.  Immediately two girls passed while running on the sandy beaches to mount our bikes.

 (Finishing the second loop. Know this because I am not being swept back into the Ocean as the previous loop.)

The bike ride was two loops with big climbs to and from transition.  This was my first race and third bike ride on the new Specialized Shiv. I am in pure LOVE with this bike.  I have also learned to love to climb now.  Before, (meaning before my training hiatus) I was solid at the flats and at a high cadence, things have changed a bit and I am needing to find the balance between using my strength (low cadence) and being able to keep a high cadence, I prefer above 90.  This is where I have work to do and will do a smaller race here locally in order to just focus on racing with a high cadence again. I passed a girl on a climb and the first loop (there are lots of out and backs) was able to keep an equal distance on all of them, with the lead group of riders making a couple minute gains.  The second loop was a different story.  As I was maintaining the same watts but was getting passed.  I think it was a combination of them speeding up and me not being very efficient and grinding on my gears.  The things I know, yet, need to learn to apply again.  My effort though was beyond where I thought I was capable with my watts nearly 50 higher than the last Olympic I did back on September of 2011. And my HR was exactly where I thought it would be so overall, outside of bike handling I know I gave it my all on that day.
(Seriously THE BEST photo I have ever seen! Bree dodging cows! Her laugh, the humor, and really what describes and defines this whole trip is captured here.)

I started the two loop run course in 12th and had felt so great on this run a few days prior.  My legs just didn't want to go. I am a firm believer that your bike sets you up for a solid run and knowing now how low of a cadence I maintained this run is of no surprise. Each loop consists of approximately 1.5 miles of beach running, soft, but not quicksand soft. Then a little out and back trail through Brasilito and then up, up, up the road and through the golf course, then a nice downhill through transition and repeat.  By the start of the second loop I was chilled and a bit nauseous. The heat? More fluid? Not sure, but it was a battle of my mind and body. The locals were more than generous with their sponges, literally chasing us down and keeping us cool, at least for a few minutes.  It was the most refreshing feeling when they soaked us. Heart stopping, bone chilling, refreshness.  With Erin hot on my heels I decided to run as strong as I was able until she caught me (great mental thoughts, right?!).  But the miles kept ticking and I was not hearing her footsteps, so I had to keep going strong.  The last .25 miles (the course was 6.5) are the real quicksand super soft beach running, I should have been down on Alki practicing.   Thank you for pushing me to the finish line and for sharing an ice bath!!

I am excited that this season has finally started.  TYR has stood by me for years on end now and I can not thank them enough for the speedy swim attire, the stay-cool-and-look-cool-kit, the goggles that make the buoys so visible and the love from the TYR family. To Gerks for keeping the Specialized Shiv dialed in and ready to go at all times. To Cyclops for keeping me honest in my training and helping me "see" fitness gains. To Powerbar for the tasty fuel that keeps my engine running. To Zoot for the amazing shoes that feel so wonderful to slip into before hitting the pavement. Rudy Project for keeping the sun out of my eyes and my head safe.
And to my coach whom I laughed at when he told me the watts I was capable of when we first started working together. Thanks for getting the most out of me with my training limitations.

To the Rev 3 crew.  Your friendliness, your generosity, your kindness are what truly set you apart from any other race.  These are characteristics that can not be "learned" but are ingrained in each of you. Myself and the TNM crew that witnessed your top-notch assistance in everything this past week have nothing but praise to say about you and your events.  Thank you so much for all you do!

And lastly, my friends, teammates, family and husband. You each continue to inspire and amaze me day in and day out.  You help me be a better person, coach and athlete.

Until next year Costa Rica, you will be missed!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our daily excursion!

(or use this link:
The most challenging part of Costa Rica was the final 15' drive too and from home each day. Although the gorgeous home, with the most amazing sunset and a pool to relax in made it all worth it. We really needed an ATV.  Check it out!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Costa Rica-training days

Day 1.

(Rebecca, Jason, Mark)

The first day was just a nice easy jog.  Remember that hilly drive we had? Well our option was to run there, or run where we could be in the paths of rattlesnakes.  We took the path most chosen.  The wind definitely killed the heat and the humidity was not nearly as rough as I was planning.  But the hills were not our best decision.  I came up with ankle roll #1 of the trip.  OUCH! But still managed to run just fine, just a little tender around the muscles.

Laps in the 7 yard house pool...something is better than nothing right?! 10' of dizziness.

Day 2.

(New TN tri shorts!)

Bike ride with the TNM crew!  The talk was the "hills" going in and out of the park were similar to the beast at ST Croix.  Not the case.  The duration is far less and the steepness is brief in comparison.  However, we were sweating buckets immediately and the wind and gravel paths were our bigger challenges ahead.  100 feet of gravel and a fish-tailin' I was.  My mind checks out on race day so hoping that it does during that part.

This was the last opportunity really to ride until Friday.  It is true what we were told the roads are great for riding (except that there is no shoulder) but the drivers are a bit scary. We were nearly afraid to even drive on the roads.

Laps at the hotel pool.  Although it looks to be a long play pool, it did not have lane lines, and the distance had to be about 25 yards if not a little more because my stroke count was hanging out right at 18.  My little sweet spot! So it felt a little like open water swim practice, but not Playa Conchal open water swimming, that's a whole different level.

Day 3.
Mini-swim with the girl who lives in the ocean, Bree. We decided to give the chilly rough water ocean a try and circle around the  main boats.  First round was about 6 we did it twice.  Yep, the water was that rough. Hours later my body was still filled with sand.

Then a quick jot around 1 loop of the run course (we do 2, the half-iron does 4).  Did I say quick jot....I take that back....we stopped to see a sea turtle preparing to give birth and lay her eggs, I guess in humans that would mean she was in labor. Twisted the same ankle again....GRRRR!!!

Day 4.

The buoys are UP and so we went for the entire loop (750 yards exactly on the garmin 910).  I tend to giggle when the waves or so rough I can not even control my swim stroke, but the group was a bit more serious today, almost leaving me stranded at the first buoy just because I had to laugh at how much "flailing" it felt like I was doing.  And just watching these waves try to take us out is pretty humorous. Maliaka and Bree and I darted out for one more out and back to the last buoy and then it was picture time!  Honestly, the rough water is so much more manageable with great friends to swim side by side with.  Time flew by with these great girls! And being stung by sea lice was not my favorite.....little pinches and a lot of "ouches".

(Two fast fish and myself)
Little spin on bike to check out some bike mechanicals and NO run, based on my history so far here in CR I think that is the best.

 Today is one last sleep before my first triathlon of 2012.  Smiling already!

PS. Here are the dog photos I really wanted to post yesterday....aren't they adorable!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Costa Rica-the oridinary

Costa Rica has been a little big adventure.  We have escaped to a land of fun, easy living, and some amazing friendly people.  We have truly been welcomed with open arms, from the Rev 3 crew, to other athletes, and most importantly to the locals.

Aside from all the difference of our home state we are able to appreciate the difference to a degree that reminds us daily to value what are merely expected at home.

Our drive to and from home everyday is 15' of full on 4 wheel drive 20%+ incline hills and rocks, dust and potholes like the real off-road deal. 

Or the fact that the rental car company "reminded" us of jumper cables in the back of the car for convenience?!  We've only used them twice. :)

The concept of GPS, road signs, and heated car seats are not even factors in cars here.  The locals get comfy and cozy on their bikes and make their rounds.

It is easy to take the everyday things for granted. Where the material things here are so minor and the family bonding time is high priority.  Every night you see the doors open in homes with families around the tables, or friends walking the streets, or parents cycling their kids to school. Nothing out of the ordinary around here.

And all the dogs wandering... wish I could take them all home with me.  I have been trying for over an hour to download more photos but it just is not working now so the dog pics will come at a later time (or just check FB).

So glad we chose to stay away from the resort to experience more of the culture here. 

Every time we travel to Hawaii I remind myself to take a little piece of it with me everywhere. Costa Rica now also has that special place in my heart too. Thank you!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Total March Randoms

I have work to do to hold up this new years resolution.  Posted 6 times last March (the biggest month for 2011). So watching "The Women Tell All" is the best time to update some girly stuff.

Hard to believe it is March when the weather man is still calling for snow. But nothing helps the screaming-pain of ANOTHER indoor training ride like watching another round of Legally Blonde.  And my last 25' interval was a hit yesterday with one of the best scenes ever in the "Sex and the City Movie". Brings back memories, in fact I think I may have owned that teal/green dress!  Their energy was contagious and the power in my pedal stroke reflected it.

One week until we leave for Costa Rica and Dr Web MD has now diagnosed me with being "allergic" to the sun.  Yep, explains the complete itching episode after Colorado (swimming outside) and then it happened again after a quick trip to the fake-n-bake.  Yep, Humira is linked to sun-sensitivity and I have it.  SPF 100+ forever.  But I have a colon....the pros outway the cons.  Oh, and Dr Web MD has diagnosed me as a hypochondriac too......seriously when will it stop?!

Besides our upcoming trip I couldn't be more excited to read Chrissie Wellingtons new book.  It is downloaded and hollering my name.  Can't thank the TNM team enough (again!) for the sweetest gift of an ipad.  It  has provided company during some of the quietest times, brought a smile to my face so very often, and every time it is opened I am reminded of the of the amazing support by my side.

Dream big! Lots more to come this month!