Aloha!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Energy Lab...


NELHA... the famous "Energy Lab" of the Ironman Hawaii run course. It has made several athletes crumble and others pick up a second wind and go onto victory. It is HOT, lacks any shade, completely unprotected from the winds, salty-sea spray, has a tiny climb up to the highway that can hurt even the strongest quads, and home of one of Kona's most fun surf spots, a seahorse farm, great tide pools, sea algae farms, the BEST water you have ever tasted, one of the states best schools, and a dozen other attractions.





I LOVE running in the Energy Lab. Prior to becoming a triathlete I only ever knew of the former attractions and the previous listed ones (the heat, sea spray, wind, quad-kill-hill, shadeless) never crossed my mind because I was "clueless" of the horror stories of top pros dying a slow death in there...

So today, my long run, I had 3x Energy Lab repeats. They started as North as you can go in the E-lab and went up to the highway, down to Kona Mountain Coffee shop, then back again. Repeat 3x. Yes it was hot. As used to the heat as I am, 86* is hot! Really hot when you are running on black pavement next to black lava rocks.


Quad-kill-hill...
I always thought that was a pretty silly name for this hill. It isn't that steep or that long, but after 3x of it I understood.

One of my 2 aid stations

And finally... my reward! The best water ever put in a bottle! After 2.5 hours of near-heat-stroke PURE Kona deep sea water from 3,000 ft below the surface, bottled right there in the E-Lab, never tasted SO good! Loaded with electrolytes too!

And... to make the legs chill out... ice! Loading this ice into my truck was hilarious! The men at the Ice House would not even help me carry all 50 pounds of it! They stood there and laughed at me. laughed at me trying to carry it, laughed when the bag ripped open and spilled all over, laughed till they cried! Finally one of them decided to help load it!

Yes, I use all 50 pounds in my ice bath! An ice bath has to be at least 56-58* in order to work and one bag doesn't cut it when it is hot in Hawaii! My legs were on fire and it took 50 pounds of ice to chill them out!

Cheers!!! and a BIG thanks to Randy for riding with me this morning... next time I hope you can run with me too!
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Simple Must Haves... and the link for the socks...





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There was once a time (about a year and a month ago) when I swore I would never do an Ironman... at the finish line of Hawaii 70.3 talking to Rachel to be exact.

But life happens and here I am in knee deep (or thigh deep this week) in the training of Ironman #3. Thinking about HOW IN THE WORLD IS MY BODY MAKING IT! I have come to conclude it is the "simple must haves" that are making it a little easier...

Of course none of it would be possible without my awesome supporters, coach, family, friends (including blog buddies), and all the BIG stuff (like my bike and Asics and Splish suits)... but everyday daily stuff requires "the simple" things.

Here are some of my FAVORITES that I totally trust to help me through...

  • Tiger Balm (extra strength!)
  • Calf compression tights-Never sleep without them...
  • Bar wrap (any color BUT black)
  • Nuun electrolytes, DAILY, a few times a day!!!
  • Epsom salt baths, ice baths, and Alba sea salt scrub
  • Hawaiian Island Creations sunscreen (only kind made in Hawaii and works ALL day in Hawaii)
  • TP massage stuff
  • Dawn Henry Massage (1x a week!!) and ART from the AWESOME Nancy in Kona!
  • My tempo trainer and HR monitor (but only because coach makes me)
  • My blender and juicer
  • 101 swim lessons from coach Steve (must have!!)
And that's it! Those few little things make everyday just a little less painful and a little more do-able. Wishing everyone happy-healthy-injury free training days!




Hope this helps:
  • Here is the link for the compression socks, I REALLY like the ones that go to the hip too, BUT one suggestion is to order them a size too small because they run a little big. Link for the socks: http://www.zensah.com/
  • Compression socks increase blood flow, keeping them oxygenated, and can help reduce the pain/soreness of micro tears. People all wear them for different reasons but I use them because they feel like a little massage and cool down the aching pains I have and Charley Horses I wake up with in the middle of the night in my darn calves. I started using them about 4 years ago because James Cotter gave me a pair of black ones and anything Cotter did or used I copied because he was the stud of Hawaii... I still have the ones he gave me too!


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Monday, July 28, 2008

Race day Magic...


A few years ago a really good friend of mine told me something that totally "clicked". It was the week before my second ever triathlon and I was a little freaked because the previous 6wks all I had done was aqua jog- no running. I was so new to sport that I just did whatever anyone else was doing. On a Monday if a friend was running 10 miles I would go. On a Tuesday a group in town did hills, you get the idea, I just did whatever was happening in town. No plan of my own. That lead to a left-legged-disaster! My left leg had achilles tendonitis, ITB syndrome, and a pulled calf muscle, not to mention I could barely walk with out the cho-pat around my knee. I became an "aqua jogger".

After one of my aqua jogging sessions I was talking to a good friend and he said, "Bree, don't worry about the race. It will all come together, there is a little something that happens on race days, called "Race day magic". You will be fine". A week later I dismount the bike at T2 and set off for the 10k run hoping the aqua jogging worked and this "race day magic" is for real...

Ahh, "race day magic"... I ran that run with no pain, it disappeared and I was strong to the finish. Race day magic became my new plan prior to any race that I didn't feel 100%.

Fast forward to yesterday...

Coach gave me the most challenging run session of my life. I struggle and battle and go nuts over anything with my HR/pacing. He knew my IM Japan marathon (which I ran in zone 1/2) was from my lack of trusting my HR and training my HR. He was on a mission to give me these crazy new runs that would force me to hurt (not hurt because the effort, hurt because I really dislike HR training) and run in zones...

Yesterdays run is best described as a HR ladder that had a few steps really close together and a section where I think a step was missing. Just imagine climbing a ladder where the steps are not all evenly spaced... it was a HR/zone challenge for me... it was not my usual Sunday long (one easy zone) run.

So on this run, at a point when I felt like falling over, "race day magic" came into mind. I thought about how I could just back off a little and feel so much better. That when race day comes my race day magic will make up for my errors in the workout...

Then it hit me, how much better could I actually race if I make this workout count? Really count? I dug so deep, the kind of digging that only happens when I am chasing Lisa. Basically I told "race day magic" to go where the sun don't shine... I decided it was a great encouragement a few years ago, but now I need to make everything count. Hit every detail and not depend on some good vibes from a race day to carry me through. The pain of making things count...

This morning I am fully enjoying a "legs day off"... Cheers to making it count!
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Friday, July 25, 2008

Tonight in Hawaii...








The beach at night...after the noise of the day settles down... and the sun is about set...there is just something about it that fascinates me.

Deep oceans help me feel humble, the dark quiets me, and the whispers of the waves remind me of some of the best memories I've ever lived. Memories of watching stars in hammocks back in Costa Rica, running on the beach in the dark, skinny dipping, sleep overs on "Jolene" (a sail boat we once had when I was a little girl).

I love it. I love to swim out deep in the ocean at night, a little scared of what is beneath me-it helps me feel alive. Watching the moonlight sparkle on the water and the cold sand in my toes. Tonight we took Kainoa. No words of sharks or deep sea monsters, we just let him go... he went as deep as he could touch in the pitch black with only the moon to light his view. He made sand castles in the cold sand, and stubbed his toes on rocks out of view.

Before too long he will be swinging in hammocks appreciating the stars at night, skinny dipping, and night surfing. This is one gift I hope to leave him, a love for the beach at night...
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wanted: Training Partner...

Lisa, Coach, and I at Thetis Lake

I am home and "officially" back in the full-swing of training. After 4 solo training sessions I am MISSING chasing Lisa and my coach on my case... They make me better. So, here goes nothing...

Training Partner wanted, must enjoy:

  • Long treadmill sessions
  • Hot Kona mid day runs- you carry the fluids...
  • 5:30 a.m. bike sessions (have to be prompt! I need to get home for Kainoa)
  • For bike intervals I need someone to get on my case, I often day dream on the Queen K.
  • Swim as fast as Lisa and let me draft, not yell at me for touching your feet...
  • Open water swims-sometimes in big surf. No wet suit needed.

Just let me know if you are going to be in Kona anytime from now till August 18th... I could use some IM Canada training partners...

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

In between 2 Ironmans...

My second Ironman...

Today is officially the mid point between Ironman Japan (4.5 weeks ago) and IM Canada (4.5 weeks away). My goodness this was NOT my plan. But now I am more than THRILLED that it is happening this way...

Plan "A" was to just seal-the-deal in Japan. Get my Kona slot and hang out till Kona. Didn't happen... 3 minutes too late. I am officially fine with it (thanks coach for that). He has me SO EXCITED about IM Canada that I cannot even sleep at night... I bet I am feeling for IM Canada the way people feel when they get to come race IM Hawaii... feels unexplainable-ly(is that a word?) good.

Watching Hilary Biscay (who I totally love) race back-to-back Ironman's over the weekend made me realize that it is more than possible to handle the Iron sized load that comes with training & racing an Ironman... thanks Hil!

So one down, another to go, and I am feeling ready! With 4.5 weeks to go I could not be more excited! Ironman #3 of my life... see ya soon!

My First Ironman...
ps... Hooters went out of business, Kainoa needs a new finish line shirt... if you click the photo you can see he is a proud supporter of the chicken wings.

.
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Monday, July 21, 2008

See ya in 4 weeks Canada...


Home to Hawaii! Bitter sweet because I LOVE Canada and I really enjoy my time with coach, Lifesport family, the locals, and of course my team mates!

Icing will never be the same freezing in cold water with friends...

Coach on deck... oh man I will miss that! Even though I am sometimes crying under my goggles, he makes me believe in myself & makes me the best athlete I can be! Back home to the yard pool...


Meeting, chats, debriefings with coach... nothing like it! Yes, coach, I will quit my day job!

And the runs, the awesome runs that hurt so bad... I wish I could take coach home with me... NOT really. I will see him in 4 weeks, that might be 4wks too soon! Just kidding...

Ironman Canada here I come!
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

1400 Calories Later...


Today was a little different... we started with a late run then had a late bike. Usually I am all about hitting my training sessions before the sun pops up- but today we started at 9:30am.

The run. My goodness coach must be on fire with this speedy painful stuff. He is calling it "strength and base camp". Not really too sure if those words fit. I have only seen "speed and pain camp". But he is the boss and has done wonders for me in sport so I just go along with it.

After a nice warm up and some drills we hit the main set of 12x2 with 90 off as fartlek. No stopping, just easy jog for 90 seconds after running as if lions are on your feet for 2 minutes. Instantly the group of 17 divides into 3 groups. Asics Adam way out front, after round 3 never saw him till the finish. Dan, "Lisa the Olympian", and me. Then a giant chase pack with13 other runners and coach Paul. (sorry you couldn't hang with Lisa, Dan, and I coach Paul, maybe next year!).

I tagged coach Dan as my personal coach for the run. He helped me learn to make the second minute of each interval faster than the first minute, got my feet under my bum rather than striking out front, and helped me cool it on the 90 seconds. Thankfully the set went by fast and I only saw my death bed 2 times. Those 2 times would be the last 2 rounds when the Lisa the Olympian totally annihilated me! I used her to push me harder then my legs could go, I imagined that we were in a sprint finish for the line, 2 minutes to go, me vs her... she got me both times! But I would never have run that quick without her there.

Then we had a bike ride. A long base ride 60 minutes post run. It was not base THANKS COACH DAN... he chose a nice hilly course that kept the HR in zone 4 all 101 miles long. I was hoping that a "base" ride would mean I could snap a million photos of all the awesome Victoria views! But that never happened... the pace was painfully quicker than base and my legs fell off...

These are my Victoria base ride photos...

Got this one when Lisa and Caroline were peeing in the bushes...

Climbing up Malahat... Coach Dan let me stop for 9 seconds to take my photo... he was running a boot-bike-camp for Lisa, Caroline, Adam, and me...

Stop #2. 21 seconds long. During the stop Caroline said we should put our helmets in the freezer while we buy more drinks. The cold ice froze the sweat in our helmets and they felt AWESOME to put back on... I hope nobody buys the ice after we sweated it like that!

Caroline stuffing in a bar. Coach Dan said stops do not count as time on the bike and we have to MOVE it... he was on a mission...
This was the most hilarious part of the day... Dan and I drop Caroline off after we finish biking and as soon as she gets out of the car she runs into her home stay STARVING from bike-boot-camp and totally tosses her bike on the ground with her little home stay brothers bike! This was the fastest I have ever seen her run!

This long 7 hours of training could only be topped by big suppers... like steak and lasagna and protein shakes and blueberries and... you get the idea! I am refueled and ready for tomorrow. Now time for bed!

Tomorrow is a long base run and a long open lake swim... I will let you know if it ends up being base... I kinda hope so this time.

PS: if anyone is driving around Sooke Lake and sees 2 legs, those would be mine, I left them on the side of the road trying to keep up with Coach Dan down some hill. I need them for my run tomorrow. Please return.
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Friday, July 18, 2008

Pushing Through...

Top of Mt. Doug with Sam Mazer and Caroline Smith


Yesterday may go down in history as my most challenging training day ever. Maybe if I was super fresh, tapered, rested, or under other circumstances it would have been fine. But yesterday hurt. It really hurt. Mentally and physically it was all or none and nothing in between would get the job done.

When it comes to all or none there is something special about being at a training camp with incredible athletes and coach Paul & coach Dan... they help you make it happen...

The swim. I was instantly feeling my arms fall off when the main set was given. It totaled more LONG COURSE METERS than I do in one week of practice back home! My brain hurt wondering how it would focus that long. My arms hurt and they hadn't even hit the water yet. My legs hurt and they weren't even wet.

BUT there was a small part of me knowing that THIS IS WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A BETTER SWIMMER. I was going to do it. I wanted to do it.

The challenge was 2 broken up miles... as 2x (400, 2x200, 4x100, 8x50) and they only get faster. The amount of rest is insane short... so insane that if you let the pain, the fear, the doubts of making the send off creep in you would not make it. Anybody that knows how to swim could swim the set, it was the pace that would make or break you.

The first part was a good challenge as coach let me pretty much leave on Lisa's feet. He knew for my survival I would need to draft. Her swimming compared to mine is night and day... her feet I clung to as best as I could, knowing if I let go for even one tiny moment of doubt I would be lost, on my own, in that long meter pool. A part of me was having fun, a small part hurt, and a part was in shock that me + swimming were "friends".

Round 2, I had to leave 10 seconds back. Instantly it went from "fun" trying to draft to "help". The first 400 of the second round pretty much felt lonely without the feet and Lisa was slowly moving further and further ahead, more than the 10 seconds I left behind her...

Something happened though, I had made the first round so unless my arms really do fall off I was GOING to make the second round. My mind was made up... I maybe died 4x in that set but it was by far the one of those sessions that go into the "Heck ya!!" tool box!

Thetis Lake... did you know this swim spot was written up in Tri Mag as one of the top swim spots in the world! Of course it was listed AFTER Kona...

The Olympian, Coach, The Ironman...

After the swim the day got better...

We had a run... 8 x 2k repeats. They were on the 10 minutes... I had to make them sub 8 minutes, it was my mission. I wanted to hold as close to 6 min. mile pace as possible. (if my math and miles/kilometer conversion is right). Warm up felt good, life was good, I wanted to run. Usually on the insane runs my mind poops before my legs. Today was different. The mind was so tuff (thanks Terry!!) Maybe some Japan left in them (I am tired of that reason) maybe coming off a half ironman 5 days ago, not sure, but the legs decided to stop. Honest to goodness they told me OUT LOUD that they were done. Not usually one to cuss I told them a few choice words that meant WE WERE GOING TO HAVE A BREAK THROUGH RUN! They were in the pain you feel during the last 6 miles of a hard marathon.

Coach Dan and Olympian Lisa (I love saying that) were my targets. Pretty much I told myself 8x I would have to stare at the back of their heads or I might as well go home and watch Oprah... I don't like the Oprah Show so I ran... hard...

That workout hurt worse than any race. I know that if you can't do it in training then when the going gets tuff in a race you won't be able to handle it... I might want to pop out another baby than ever run that again! Now, when that HORRIBLE mile 20 of the marathon hits I will be able to imagine the run where I did whatever it took to breathe down the back of Lisa and Coach Dan's necks... they pushed me to some new run pain tolerance for sure...

Post run... Just before the ice bath...

To top off the swim and run that hurt worse than child birth, Coach Paul's dad, (Poppa Bruce) caught us the most beautiful salmon I have ever eaten! THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES! I think coach could use a meal like this to bribe me into another run session similar in the near future...
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Victoria Training Camp Day 3...

5:45am: Quiet time...

6am : Breakfast

6:45 am: Swim practice. This was an amazing swim for me. Last year I swam under coach with a set of 10x100 on my IM goal pace and pretty much was belly aching because it is a meter pool and long and I hated swimming- blah blah blah. It hurt, I was barely making my goals of 1:20, in fact, I wasn't. I was doing 1:24's and 1:20's on the "good ones". This year, he gave us 12x100 but TWICE through as the main set. Same meter pool, same coach, same everything, BUT better attitude.

AND this year I made all 24x100 on 1:16-1:20 (and only a couple were 1:20!!!). I was stoked to have made that much improvement. From 10 to 24 x100's and cruising under the 1:20. A nice 5,000 meter swim and all I could do was think about FOOD!

9:am: Eat.

9:15 am: Meeting with Terry. I had an awesome meeting with sports psychologist Terry Orlick. Just incredible how much he can help with the battles in the mind that limit us in sport. That is all I will say about my meeting... and that it was INCREDIBLE... I am ready... let's race.

11am: Chat with coach. I totally love my chats with coach (even though more times than not I am in tears). But today was easy...IM Canada planning... that's it... he gave me a surprise too. I LOVE surprises! Check it out! Thanks for my new visors coach!


12:30: quick eat and goof off in the Lifesport Office with Janet, Shantel, & Sam

1:pm: Bike ride through the country (all base! Phew...). Oh man it was breath taking! Very few places capture my heart like the beach, and the one that does is the country! Just LOVED every rolling hill, all the flats, the cows, even the horse poo smells, the giant pigs, the tractors, I just could not stop staring! Felt like a kid on my bike!






4Pm Swim at Durance Lake: Goal-hit the beeps! Yes, we had to swim with the tempo trainers in the open water and every beep-beep-beep we had to take a stroke! Main set was 6x300's and I just held on to Lisa the Olympians feet! I literally did not let myself get off her feet. I made it my lesson in drafting.



6:pm Dinner! : Finally a REAL sit down meal! Today was nothing but training! (either my body or brain) eating was on the GO! We got back to Lisa and I's home stay and pigged out! Janet, Lisa, Sam, and I literally enjoyed EVERY single bite that Donna made for us!

7pm: shower

7:20 pm: Call Jim and Kainoa & read a little


8:15pm: Computer


8:30pm: Good Night! Tomorrow is a hard 6:15am swim and 2k run repeats...

Happy Training!
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Guess who my roomie is!?

YEP! I am rooming with an Olympian...

Everyone already knows Lifesport team mate Lisa Mensink made the 2008 Olympic team! AND I know why, she can swim! I tried to draft her in an open water swim today (lasted till coach told me to swim my base pace, slow down my turn over), no I did not keep up!

[id_2497_2008HamburgBGTriathlonWorldCupEliteWomen20080706_13511.jpg]

Camp was super fun and very much a base day (thankfully!! As everything in me still feels like I have an elephant sitting on my quads).

We started off with a run around Elk Lake. About 15 of us... totally one of the best groups of athletes I have ever ran with. Everyone from Coach, to Terry Orlick, to super model Jenny Fletcher, to IM France stud Katya M, to our Olympian Lisa, to up and comers, and a few other amazing girls and their men too... it was a good social run... very social... kept the pace chill...

Then off to a 2:30hr bike through some BEAUTIFUL farm land! This was a complete gong show to say the least. Katya and me coming off an IM and then into a full on speedy 1/2 IM were about toast, the others who raced were a little pooped too, but Lisa (the Olympian, I like saying that) lead us and just about killed any drop of un-hurt muscles left in me! Of course I wanted to spank the hills (I love hills) but man I paid for it!

Pretty much we were a rolling comedy show of 8 clowns on bikes through Victoria! Caroline Smith (one of the most hilarious team mates a girl could ever have) wore her aero helmet (she left the training helmet at home) and I could not stop laughing (there is a BIG joke with me and those helmets) and her and I were on twin bikes, Eileen and her hubby wore matching outfits, NERDS!!!, then Andy was riding a 33 pound bike called "Iron Horse", that kept Katya and me dying of laughter till she about lost a banana and Eileen freaked! Lisa was racing (not really but she is an Olympian so she looked fast). Sam was just so happy to be riding with the pros and being semi-local girl knew the way but some how got us lost or on a long-cut, then she tries to motor pace a scooter scooting to work... it was just gut busting laughter the entire ride. Not to mention I forgot my helmet so John gave me a mushroom to wear & I was labled "super Mario brother". Oh, and Reid still had his race number on his bike, Katya had a race number on her helmet from like 9 races ago-flapping in the wind no less, and Eileen stood on everything that was even slightly an incline (including a speed bump)...

Then a swim in the lake. Wet suits optional. So we all went naked. Not really, but man it was warm in that lake so half the crew stripped outta the suits. Hawaii chick kept it on baby! Nothing like a nice long easy swim...

Now finished with a great meal from my home stay mom (Donna- super kind lady!!) and about to call my boys back in Hawaii to say "Good Night!". Tomorrow starts the "hard" stuff...

Bring it! With this crew I am more than excited!







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Monday, July 14, 2008

Training Camp Day 1.

Today was easy...

Sleep in. Swim at 11:30. Tease Coach Dan for spying on my swim trying to get tips. Meet Heather Wuertel (I think I spelled her last name wrong, sorry Heather), the IM CDA winner!! Fun little chat with Terry Orlick (author of "Pursuit of Excellence"). Hang out with Janet in Coach Paul's office-gotta love that. A really good dinner. Now playing on the computer. Then bed.

Coach says tomorrow is easy too. A run. A bike. A swim. (sounds easy). He said the "fun" starts Wednesday, after the recovery from the 1/2 Ironman...

Till then, here are a couple photos.

Katya, Caroline, me, Rachel (I think she is going to be the next Lori Bowden!), Cheryl

BEAUTIFUL Vancouver!! LOVE the snow on the mountains...

My Vancouver buddy Brad! He is my most favorite windsurfer, fall out of a chair, tri-chef ever! AND if ever in Vancouver eat as his restaurant "Mon Bella". Tell him I told you it was on the house!! ha ha, sorry Brad, love ya!

Swim buddy Eileen & my run hero Sammy Sosa Mazer who ran a 1:25.41 SMOKIN'!!
My Vancouver mom and dad! (home stay for the past 2 years). Angela and Joe
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