Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I never thought I'd become a fan of yoga. I've discussed my new love yoga since discovering Sculpt Fusion. I wish all athletes had access to this style of yoga! The studio and the instructors there have definitely enhanced my training this year (and recovery!). My week is never the same without a smile from yoga instructor extraordinaire, Claire

Claire has become super involved in the athletic world via her work with active.com. Check out her recent article on "yoga for triathletes." I wish everyone could take in the true yoga experience at one of her classes. But if you don't live in San Diego, at least you can absorb her expertise via her writing:
A big hug and thanks to Sculpt Fusion, Claire, and the other awesome instructors there for helping me survive 2009 with positivity and contentment!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Movin' on

Who's that on the far right? She looks ready to rumble! Thanks to Glynn and the entire XTerra team!

The past two weeks I've focused on recovery! Massage and a.r.t. from THE best in the biz got me on the fast track for recovery. The quote of the week came from Brian (a.r.t. master mind!). First he worked through the areas that cramped. That hurt BAD! As he moved from the gluts to the legs he said "man, you're legs should feel like WWII after an ironman. Your legs feel like they're 3-4 weeks out from an ironman." He confirmed what I already knew: I didn't run fast enough to totally trash my legs. Good news for the immediate future.
It's now time to move beyond short easy recovery style "workouts" (if you can even call them that), get back on schedule and waking up before 8am, and stop eating excess amounts of sugar and unhealthy treats that are not part of my normal diet.
I will use the excitement from Hawaii to motivate this final push for the 2009 season. Here are the final images from Kona. Man it seems like it was months ago!

Next time I get in this torturous washing machine I will prevail! I'm swimming really well and refuse to accept that my swim times don't confirm this!

Here I am happy to be heading towards Hawi!

Battling the head winds! Lesson learned: stay relaxed (my face doesn't look too relaxed!), and keep the cadence up.

Happy heading out Ali'i Drive. My exit from T2 would of made for a great Brooks ad. I was so happy to be in my comfy Launch shoes!

How nice of the photographers to take all the run photo's in the first 8 miles. I promise I didn't look this "good" thereafter.

I need to come up with a better finish pose! Suggestions? At least I'm smiling...

The book is officially closed on Kona 2009!

There is more fun to be had...Stay tuned. Cheers!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Post Ironman

A few last race pics...I love these because they show the spirit of athlete and race supporter! Just before taking this pic the cramps began. I was feeling pretty down in the dumps, but refusing to start walking. Matthew was determined to take out anyone who stood in his way of offering me encouragement. I can't say thank you enough to him! Pre-race, race day, and post-race would not have been the same without him! THANKS BRO!!! When and where is your next ironman! I've got a tough act to follow, but I'll be there!

The week after an Ironman is always strange. It seems to be a race for which will recover faster: the body or the mind. After my first I felt battered, bruised and broken (literally, because of crashing on the bike and fracturing my ribs). After my second I suffered from major PID-post ironman depression! I was about to start studying for the bar exam and thought I'd never get to workout again. Last year after Hawaii I was in a total daze- I had just lived my dream and was on cloud 9. This year I feel, well...strange. People ask how it went and I feel like they want to know if I'm happy with my time. Fact is I'm happy I finished. I've read so many of the pro's blogs and 99% of people have the same recap: awful cramps on the run which led to the run/walk/shuffle. I don't know how to really answer the "happy?" question. I feel like I want to preface my response with "well I wish I ran faster," but instead I just say "Yes, I'm happy! It was an unbelievable experience."
Today after swimming (yes I know, I shouldn't train. but easy swimming is ok, especially considering my eating habits this week!) a girl asked me how the race went. It's obvious by my discussing peeling back that I was just in Hawaii. I simply said "It was brutal, but I fought and I'm very happy with it." She smiled and told me she still dreams of racing there. She said she watched last weekend and was upset and sad to see people not finish. That is exactly the spirit I fought for while I was out there!!! I gave her a hug, looked her in the eyes and told her she too could get there (She's been close to qualifying before). It's been years since her last ironman, but before we left the locker room she was inspired to sign up for one next year and try her luck at Kona. Now that's the spirit! I LOVE IT!

Here are some final post-ironman pics (black sand beach and volcano)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The memories!

I had many race day goals and must do's, but I also had a few in place for after I crossed the line. Last year I didn't go back to the finish line before midnight, and didn't make it out to the after parties Sunday night. Both were on my "must do" list!
After the wonderful magnesium i.v., half a pizza, and some ice cream it was time to get back to the race.

I was invited to enjoy the rest of the race from the v.i.p. area behind the finish line. I stood there for over 2 hours watching the final finishers fight for their finish. These are the moments that make this event so spectacular.

Several of the pro's came down to hand out leis. The time ticked down. We were all there at willing those still on the course to the finish. With one hour to go there were still 8 athletes out there... So we kept dancing, cheering, and willing them to the finish so they too could hear those words we all desire to hear from the voice of ironman himself!

I can not believe how much energy Mike Riley maintains throughout the day! Thanks for bringing me across the line again Mike! It has been wonderful to get to know Mike since getting involved in the sport. It's beyond awesome to have a friend call me through the finish! Mike you're simply the best.

I congratulated our 2009 champions and enjoyed hearing about their amazing accomplishments! They were both so unselfish and kept asking about my race. My response "oh I promise my race was no where near as exciting as yours, so tell me more!" I was obviously out on the course when they crossed the line, so enjoying a bit of their victory with them was quite memorable.

Here are your 2009 Ironman World Champions!!!
Crushing Paula Newby Fraser's record, CHRISSIE WELLINGTON...

And battling from behind on the run to take the win once again, Crowie!

It was awesome to see Rinny and congratulate her on her second place. She killed Chrissie's run record as she ticked off her competitors one at a time. This is truly remarkable considering the conditions out there! It was her first Ironman, and she told me she likes the distance and of course will be back again. Congrats Rinny!

The final finisher crossed with only 8 second to spare. Downtown Kona was going nuts! The music was pumping, the cheering was non-stop! They had to be able to hear us from 2 miles out! (then thanks to NBC the line stayed "open" for an unofficial finish by the former biggest looser winner). The traditional fire dance ensued and just like that the 31st Hawaiian Ironman was in the books!

As the day came to a close I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. To be part of this athletic event was just amazing! I am very thankful to be able to part of the Hawaiian Ironman family!

The celebrations continued through Sunday night. And once again it rained and poured on our festivities. (pictures of bonging beers from the flamingo have been omitted ;) It was awesome to catch up with everyone and rehash some of the stories from race day.
No matter where you go in the world The University of Michigan is represented through its alumni. (Tommy- thanks to you and GU for your powering me through this year, me, Andy, and Matthew). Congrats on an awesome race Andy!!! GO BLUE!

I miss Kona already, but these pictures help remind me how amazing my Ironman experience was! So amazing that I haven't squashed the idea of adding one more race to my 2009 season ;) More memories to come???...we'll see!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ironman Race Report

In preparation for my first Ironman in 2003 coach told me the day would bring an array of emotions. The highs would be very high! But the lows could get very low. Ironman athletes hope the highs overshadow the low's. Those who finished this years race hopefully remember their high's for a lifetime!
I of course set several race day goals, however one stood above all others: stay positive no matter what came my way! I knew there would be emotional low's and physical challenges, but it is how we deal with these moments that define the experience and mold our character.
Race time 0:00. It wasn't long until the town of Kona would erupt!

As I stood on dig-me-beach waiting for the pro's start I looked around and was instantly comforted by the number of familiar faces. Seriously, my Kona racing experiences have been so awesome because of the number of other athletes I know there. Sharing the ironman experience with so many friends and training partners is simply the best. It's like San Diego packs up and heads to the big island for the week. My closest beach mate was a former Her Sports team member of mine. It was her first trip to Kona. All week I tried to keep the "kona ironman virgin" mentality alive within myself. There is a fear of the unknown, but also an excitement for the experience. I reminded Darcy to enjoy every moment, and do so with a smile. It brought an instant smile to my face and tranquility to my body! I took off for the line and was ready to enjoy my day.

Swim: There isn't much to report here. I was pummeled from the beginning. I was kicked, punched, pulled, and dunked. I opted to move to the far outside of the course and felt more comfortable having a bit of open water to my left. I had an "out." It didn't take long until I felt my legs tighten. NOOOOOOOOOOOO, not again! I have cramped in the water once before. Just happens it was last year in Kona. Long story short, my legs cramped all over. I said a few prayers and continued on. I wasn't breathing hard, I wasn't trying hard, and I was incredibly frustrated. Why did I do so much swim training if I couldn't even go after the swim. Swimming should be my strength, but in Kona it's been everything but. My ability to stay positive was instantly tested. I reminded myself I was competing in the Ironman World Championships! That was enough to get through this first test.

Bike: The first 10 miles is a quick out and back. It's a hammer fest. My goal was to stay calm, turn the pedals over, and settle into my own race. Up Palani and onto the Queen K.

The bike portion of the race was quite different from last year. My time doesn't tell half of the story! Even though I only dropped 20mins, I felt way better out on the course. The miles went by much faster. My heart rate locked into the 150's and didn't move. I couldn't believe how happy I was, that is until the wind and heat picked up on the way back from Hawi. My nutrition plan, my heart rate and my average speed was right on. I tried to forget about the fact that I felt like I was riding through an inferno. I typically don't mind the heat, but this was ridiculous. I can't even describe the heat and humidity out there, so I won't even try.

I had planned to "start my race" at mile 80. Problem is the wind was turned up 10 notches at this exact point in the race. The entire ride back down the Queen K was into an intense head wind. I was going downhill at 14 mph (not good considering I went up them at over 18mph on the way out). I watched my average pace fall but tried to stay within myself. I felt like I was taking in enough fluids and electrolytes to last my body a lifetime. Mile 90 my glutes and vmo muscles began to cramp. It tried to keep my mind at ease and I remained positive. I hammered my way back to town praying I'd get in under the 6hr mark. I just missed it, but if I pulled off even a decent run this race would be a success.

Run: The first words out of my mouth to my brother were "the head winds sucked." I had to let him know that his morning wind report was a bit off (as a navigator (sailing) half his job is weather and wind prediction). After running around the block towards Ali'i I spotted him again. My comment then "I feel great, I'm ready to rock this." He updated my facebook status with this awesome report (everyone who thought I was updating my own facebook status while racing cracked me up!).

I started down Ali'i forcing myself to slow down and settle into my race pace. On the way out things were all good. I enjoyed every ounce of encouragement sent my way by the countless friends lining the road cheering me on. The Cervelo team was there to give me the thumbs up and encouragement I needed. Soon after I ran by Glynn from XTerra and the GU boys.. I appreciated every ounce of support they sent my way before, during, and after the race!

This race is no joke, and race day on the island included conditions only those present can understand! Many were already experiencing really awful low moments :( It was a scorcher out there and I tried to only take in the sights and sounds that brought about positivity. There were so many images of carnage. And we weren't even to the end of Ali'i yet.

At mile 8 my race took a big turn. Sadly my mental game of "just get through the bike, you don't need your ass to run so who cares if it is cramping" didn't work. In order to extend your legs in front of you to run you need a decently loose gluteus muscle. My run up Palani was a far cry from last year. I was sluggish. 3:30 seemed well out of reach. Gaterade, salt, carbo pro mix. I took it all! After 2 crazy slow miles I sat down. If I could just get this muscle to relax I could get back to my target pace. It helped and I was off: back at 8:15miles. It only lasted 2miles and then I was forced to adopt the ironman shuffle.

At that moment I thought of each and every friend of mine who wishes they were racing in Kona this year. I might have been walking, but I was there, and I was smiling. Everyone that passed me tried to get me to run with them. Last year I wasn't passed by anyone after mile 6. This year there were many. I told myself I could not allow more than 3 people to pass me before I had to run again. Everyone was suffering, but together we suffered along the road where dreams are made: The energy lab sucked me dry. It took everything from me. My friend Jason came up from behind, put his arm around me and told me to go with him. I tried to hang for as long as I could, but eventually sent him on his way so I could sit on the burning pavement to stretch again (the pavement was scorching hot!)

I only had 10k to go. I never ever thought I wouldn't make it to the finish. Although my fist was pushing into my butt muscle, I wouldn't give up. My goal time came and went, and I smiled. I was running down the Queen K in one of the greatest spectacle in all of sports! One foot in front of the other. I couldn't waste this moment on negative thoughts. Too many people wished they were racing (although no one actually there spectating wished this, it was just ugly out there). As we ran down Palani my brother was there to make sure I was enjoying myself. I hurt, but I wanted that finish.
Pain and all, I was happy with how handled the cards I was dealt. I felt the whole spectrum of emotions as I turned the "hot corner." I smiled so big, and held back the tears. I high fived anyone willing to share the moment with me! One wave to those who had been cheering me on for over 11 hours and the finish line was mine.

Those who have competed in Hawaii always say it comes down to the run. Now I understand 100% what they mean by this. The highlight of my race experience came well after I crossed the line. First I was off to the med tent to cry my way to an I.V. Cute Doc couldn't deny me like those stingy nurses. More on the post i.v. events to come in my next post.

Mahalo for reading and cheering me on last weekend. The race came and went, but the memories will last a lifetime. To share this memory with so many friends makes it that much sweeter! MAHALO!
(and revenge awaits...6 weeks Ironman Arizona? It's a possibility...Stay tuned)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Race Ready!

Ready or not the 2009 Ironman World Championship is about to unfold! I happen to feel ready :) Today included a quick swim, bike, run. Then it was off to check in my bike, and gear bags. My baby is ready to roll!! Wind? Bring it! Heat? Ok, sounds good. This race is what it is because of the conditions and the competition. I'm sure tomorrow will not disappoint.
My bike was one of the first to arrive today, but tonight he'll sleep amongst some ridiculously fast machinery. He's so happy to be back in the mix again this year!

I was quite excited to check my bike and receive my Cervelo Kona t-shirt from the Cervelo crew. If you choose to race the best TT bike on the market you get a personal "Thank You" from the company. I love it!

Another thanks to everyone who is here, and home, following the race! It will be awesome to see so many familiar faces along the race course (both racing and supporting), and when I feel alone I'll think of everyone back home and race for that next timing mat!

Goodnight from Kona!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Aloha and MAHALO!

Ahhhhh, yes! I have returned to the lava fields! I arrived in Kona on Monday and have been enjoying every minute since! I feel surprisingly calm, and relaxed. It's amazing the difference between tackling this course for the first and second time. Instead of being scared about the unpredictable winds, I expect it! Instead of wondering whether the sun will bake me and take away every drop of fluid I take in, I expect it! Anything better will be considered a gift from the island gods!
I've fit in a few good training sessions. It's quite motivating to be out on the road training and spot not one, but 8 of the best triathletes in the world. Tuesdays ride featured: Mirinda Carfrae, Belinda Granger, McCormick, Amanda Lavato, Linsey Corbin, Normann Stadler, fellow UM alum Andy Potts, and one of my favorite pro's: Brad Send ;) The best part about racing here is to be amongst such amazing athletes.

By far my favorite training sessions have been those spent out in the Pacific. My brother arrived on Tuesday and has been up for any and all swimming and run sessions (he's out biking the Queen K while I blog and rest today).

Wednesday's swim included a stop at the coffee stand in the middle of the swim course, a turtle spotting, and swimming over a large white tip reef shark. Actually the shark sighting caused an interesting response from me. Matthew pointed towards the shark, while I looked up and said "well ya, but it isn't real!" It just came out. I couldn't believe there was a 10foot real shark swimming under me. Thankfully he wanted nothing to do with the hundreds of triathletes swimming 30 feet above him.

If there was a coffee stand in the middle of the ocean back in San Diego I'd be up for ocean swimming way more often!

And then there is the famous underpants run! I laughed non-stop the whole time. Roch, and Paul never seize to amaze me with their endless humor!
Matthew getting ready for his first run down Ali'i

Duke, where are your undies?

I can't wait to race with Charisa again! We're ready to shred!!!

I also had a blast visiting some of the companies that have supported me this season. They each add great motivation and enjoyment to my training and racing! I am so undeserving, and so so thankful for everything they've done to help my season along....and to get me back to Kona! It was great to see Marc from Tribike Transport! There was an interesting and promising meeting with Chris from Cervelo (more on that later), and I got in a few laughs with the Gu guys.

I now know why people that live here have a ridiculous number of bathing suits. I thought I had a lot, but if you live here you clothing is simply optional! It is ridiculously hot here this year. It seems much warmer than last year, although the humidity and heat are all part of the experience here. Bring it! =)
All that's left to do is rest, smile, and enjoy every moment between now and 7am on Sat. After that life only gets better! Oh how I can't wait to bike through Hawi and run through the Energy Lab!

Deepest Mahalo for reading and for your support!!!