Thursday, May 30, 2013

I should Swim...

I'm not the smartest girl in the world, but I have found that following my heart is the smartest choice I repeatedly make.  It's a very safe spot.  The hard part about race week for me is following my head. Or my plan.  I just feel so lousy during race week and my brain plays tricks on me.  And so I return to listening to my gut...then coach...then the plan...then friends...then the plan...then back to my gut...then Mike...then my brain...repeat.  

Yesterday there was only one thing on my mind, getting to Hilo with 3 boys for Mikes birthday.  That meant an early bike ride (check!) and a solo swim (ugh...).  The swim was by far the worlds worst swim of my entire pool life.  If a lifeguard had been actually paying attention to me, he would have rescued me.  My head sunk low, face towards the ground, and a little bit of sadness swept over me as the chlorinated mess packed my bags for Hilo.  Swimming has been going so good, remember I actually swam a 58 in the 100 free, from a push, at practice!  Only to land at the bottom of the pool with no lifeguard to save me...

We drove to Hilo, swim behind me...

Told you following your heart is the greatest thing we can do!  Mike was so happy we landed his side of the island (remember, he is in fireman school over there for a year).  My butt really hurt after that drive but everything else felt so good to see him happily surrounded by family!

Kainoa and I took a time out, in a hammock of course, to focus a little on the upcoming race.  Then, poof!  I stopped.  Because a girl like me should not be using her head more than her heart, ever.  It was driving me crazy and lying to me.  Honestly, you want to know why I think this is happening?  Because last year at the very same race, going into the race I was swimming really well.  Then, I swam bad in the race, just flat.  Enough thinking, back inside to do more important things, like spend time with the birthday boy...

Today I took a stand, actually a run.  The plan:  30-40 minute easy run.  That was it.  Thankfully waking up in the land of mochi (Hilo) meant running to a sunrise.  It was perfectly made for me, if you ask me anyway.  I felt kind of blah on the start of the run too.  But I know why, I wasn't running happy, with my heart.  I was overthinking (with my head) this entire rest week and not enjoying the simple act of running.  With that, I looked around, saw pretty Hilo, felt happy to be on the same side of the island as Mike (and worlds best mochi), got excited to race because I love racing, and just let go...

A rainbow literally lit up the morning right after that!  It does help that Hawaii has more rainbows than anywhere in the world, but I took it as a sign that when it comes to my secret weapon, it is listening more to my heart than my head...

The 3 boys and me drove back to Kona side and my heart kept saying, swim.  Swim.  Swim.  Swim.  Kainoa had swim practice, I brought my suit, and when he was out of the pool I asked coach if I could jump in with the high schoolers.  He is always so kind to me, he gave me some very uplifting words, and let me jump in.  You know what happened?  I had a very good swim.  It was not on the plan, I'm not type A personality, at all, but I feel bad not following a plan that coach specifically wrote to me, and Mike has taught me that if I always add or subtract to coaches plan we will never know if it works.  I agree.  But this time, this day, with only a 30 minute run and a lousy feeling about swimming, I had to override the head (plan) and follow the heart right into the pool.  Good thing I did...

The "take it easy week" is going much better now that the swim feels better again.  And my butterflies are very calm as they have all been fed with backyard goodness whipped into a smoothie!  Seriously, our little garden provides!! 

Okay, I better get to sleep now.  Tomorrow is the night before the race and those go like Christmas, kids just struggle to sleep Christmas Eve, myself included.  The bike is ready, bags are pretty much set to check in, and Kawika left us a bunch of Summer Mangoes at the front door...all set.

Sweet dreams.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Easy Does It...

We are here, within the walls of race week.  This is such a funky time for me.  Yesterday was only a little swim, it had just one little section of 200 repeats that always feel easier in the ocean than a pool.  Chandler was the man who's feet we chased and without those fancy flip turns at pool practice, he lost his way to drop me.  It was nearly perfect, except my boobs were barley fitting in my top, too much information for any guy readers (my apologies) but mostly girls read this anyways and I know they can relate. Bigger boobs once a month means one thing...darn that for race day.

It's Tuesday, I'm seriously very excited to race.  It's helped having really good training buddies lately, including another pro girl in town this month (Julia Grant).  Seriously, I wish she would move to the island, it's a different ball game having a girl to train with who is really strong, compared to the boys or so many solo days.  Oh, I do enjoy training with the boys, but when they run off at 5 minute pace it's too easy to just say, "That's okay, they are boys, fast boys always will be faster than fast girls".  With Julia in town it's been more motivating than usual.  I'm finding it helps with the intimidation factor fast girls sometimes bring too, turn them to friends and let the challenge of getting faster with them begin...

Our ocean has been unbelievable the past couple weeks.  Tons of surf, lots of swell, and chop.  I love choppy swims.  By the time Saturday rolls around it should be calm, of course my fingers are crossed we land some waves up at Hapuna to make the swim more my style.  And terrific news, Mike is working the swim! His buds are in charge of paddling around, keeping us on course, and watching out for Jaws and Jelly fish (Jellys were all over up there this weekend, heads up if you are coming for the race).   That excites me to know he will be out there with me, somehow that makes me feel safer too...

Today was run squad, how I wish we had a dozen pictures to share of that run!  It began exhausting for me, race day blahs?  Rest not kicked in yet?  Lazy feeling from an easy yesterday?  The need to worry fled pretty fast, after a pick up or two it felt as if I was on fire.  Taper is so weird like that.  I'll share our workout:

4x30, 4x100, 3x1:30, 4x:45 seconds.  It was a good one to shake out butterflies, loosen up the legs, rev up the engine, but not go to the well or tap into Saturday.  

Again, perfect company out there really made all the difference.  And I have to say, it was a first Julia and I were not the ones out of breath, but the boys! We did that thing good training partners do, hoot and holler to keep up, push, find a way, and bring each other up to speed.  Then you know what I read, "girls break each other down, women build each other up".  It's funny how many girls don't like to train with each other for fear of seeing weaknesses or whatever, but I'm learning from having a girl training partner a little bit this month, that you only get better when you help another get better...

Alright, 4 more sleeps...
Happy Taper!

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Now What?

Very little to report on, 6 days out from the race and I'm a party pooper.  It feels like it anyway.  After practice Friday the plan to go cliff jumping was in the works and this girl somehow worked my way out of it.  After counting the cost of "fun vs possible prevention of a good race", I landed home.  There's also a 3 day Memorial Day camp trip happening at the beach right now,  skipped that too.  Went down there this afternoon for a quick hello and fried chicken, then adios.  Between you and me, I wish I was still there.  Beach+camp+sunsets+ocean=favorites.  Oh, I left out the a good, sweaty, part, the theme is "Party Rock" and there is music and dancing under stars.  Dressing up like a goof ball and dancing, seriously favorites!  But I'm home. I'm not really bored, I just like to be at the beach or in the ocean, a lot.  It's pretty simple stuff...

Last weekend I drank too little water and got a tiny bit of a dehydration head pain so I am trying to be smarter this weekend, you know, save it all up for Saturday.

Today was the final "make this count" run.  The rest look pretty manageable in my sleep, this one not so much. I'm not sure how I got so lucky, but out of the blue Mike said he wanted to ride along side me and help me with the pacing coach gave me to follow. It was so awesome having a rabbit, a pacer, a really encouraging bunch of words to push me along, and support while I suffer along.  If next Saturday runs as well as today ran, I'm going to be a pretty happy girl...

Not every single moment of the past few days have been complete party pooping, a couple graduations happened and I managed to celebrate with special high school students I've watched grow up and swim with. One of the girls happened to be in the very first class I ever taught!  It was unreal to see her walk down the aisle and take a step closer to bigger things in this world.  I of course cried like a baby and remembered back to her as a 7 year old.  And to think, Kainoa will be graduating before I know it!  Shoots, I got emotional seeing him say goodbye to his first grade teacher as school is out for Summer now.  But that's life, we grow up and do bigger and better things all the time...

Another sunset on a good weekend, pretty sure that means bedtime for me!
Happy Memorial Day,
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Calm before the butterflies...

Race week is really, really close.  It excites me sometimes to the point of not being able to enjoy it.  I've tried everything from embracing it, being part of all the activities and group training sessions, and pretending it's party week.  I've also hid out, stayed completely off my feet, and only read books.  Both approaches have landed their fair share of good results and belly flops...

The best things I've learned and try to remember...

1.  Enjoy every training session since they are fewer now (I love training)
2.  Have fun with the triathlete friends from other locations
3.  Trust.  Trust the plan you have & the work you have done
4.  Do chill out a little bit
5.  Think about the race, but not over think it

We are trying to maximize sunsets, as usual.  It always helps me to sit with friends and family that I've had before I ever got into triathlon, somehow we never end up talking about triathlon. I really love the escape from protein powder flavors, new gels to try, and what I will wear race day.  Admittedly, I do love to talk about those things too though, and mile splits, how far I rode bike, and what time I should go to bed. Just not during sunset, or at the beach for that matter...

 Last night was the moment where the athlete in me was full on living right through all the other roles of my life.  We had 2 of the fastest high school girls from Hawaii, Kiwi pro Julia, and one of the strongest masters guy swimmers all throwing punches of trash talk like kids do.  It got as competitive as swimming 3 of us at a time down the lane.  I loved it.  It felt like being a kid again where you have no intimidation or fear.  You just go hard and talk smack as if you might just be heading to the Olympics.  Of course we are not anytime soon, but our lane had that vibe and somehow, for the first time at masters, from a push, I finally broke a minute in the 100 free.  The high school girls and Chandler do it all the time, every practice as if it was as easy as taking a bath, not me.  They pushed me tonight and finally, it happened... I'm pretty sure it was a 58, for sure a 59, and without a doubt less than 60 seconds.  I'm not sure its repeatable without all the fun we made our lane last night. Somehow it did in deed show me that an overabundance of fun in something you love can actually be good for you...

My yogi sister has really been helping me a lot with the "just breathe" philosophy.  It has never been easy for a girl like me who runs around life with a handful of dreams to just chill out, to patiently wait for some of them to come true.  She challenges me mentally more than some of my workouts do!  But, it has helped.  I can run far now without an IPOD, be on my bike and actually "be on the bike", not looking at lava while wondering about dinner.  She is teaching me things about myself and lack of limitations that baffle me.  Today's practice (and sincere laughter in attempt) was about the most fun I ever imagined yoga/focus stuff could ever be!  Notice though, she can put her hand in the rocks and not feel them, I on the other hand needed a mat, not quite there yet...

With race week so close, I am really embracing my butterflies, they are filling me with pride.  Pride because I'm about to do something I love and something I have put a lot of heart and sweat into.  They are also reminding me to keep humble, to know that sport has a way of teaching us lessons that matter in so many areas of life.  Alright little butterflies, let's calm down a tiny bit so I can sleep...


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Next week is Hawaii 70.3.  Excitement has filled my entire heart, for many reason.  Beyond the thrill of a start line, the push & will to go hard for 70.3 miles, there is of course opportunity.  Some hope of a pay day and precious KPR points for Ironman Hawaii.  Not many points, at all, but every little bit helps.  My fingers are crossed that the next 3 races will seal the deal into Kona. Coach and I made a back up plan, but honestly I am not chasing that, I never go for plan B in life.  While sometimes back ups are good and turn out pretty cool, it's hard to rest easy on a plan B...

 A few wonderful things have happened leading up to this race.  I'm racer #19 next weekend so I figure a good way to keep my brain reminded on some of the good heading into next weekend, I should write down (in some random order) 19 of them...

1.  My favorite tree went into Summer bloom, hotter training weather...
2.  The winds did not knock me off my bike when the "hurricane" trades blew
3.  I can keep up with Chandler (almost, okay if he is tired) at swim practice
4.  2.4 miles solo (a few times) and no sharks, plenty of dolphins
5.  Zucchini bread does not make you poop during track practice

6.  ZOOT sent me really bright clothes and new shoes: MOTIVATION
7.  I ran 20 miles without an IPOD and survived mentally
8.  No injuries & Rob is getting better everyday after being hit by a car

 9.  Breakthrough Nutrition has helped me avoid bonking on any long rides 
10. My body has minimized damage thanks to Odin Willmont: Chiro/ART
11.  Coach Steve & the High School swimmers don't kick me out of the pool

12.  Kainoa reminds me to wear sunscreen & chill out
13  Mike continues to keep Pancake Sunday in full force after big days

14.  My new Swift Carbon is such a dream bike (you'll see it race day)
15.  I rode to Hilo!  Still stoked on that big adventure, must repeat...

16.  Splish makes me want to swim, 80's suits are my favorite at the moment

17.  Kainoa asks to go to church (maybe for the food), he keeps me believing
18.  I got to paddle yesterday, it was a needed rest from SWIMBIKERUN
19.  I'm happy.  Sometimes I race better happy...


Cheers :)
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Thursday, May 16, 2013


A good reminder was given to me, it comes from the movie, "The Help". Sure enough it is so fitting, as I feel like singlemom life is trying to knock me out this week.  I almost cried on Tuesday, but then as always, you see your child as the most perfect reminder of all the strength you ever need, he gave me that push to keep strong.   I'll spare the details as everyone can relate to their own lives getting filled to the top, I just knew I needed to find a deep breath...

So we made pancakes.

I actually wrote out this entire post and erased it all, except the pictures.  Because at the end of the day I realized, pancakes with my favorite 6 year can save the world!

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Monday, May 13, 2013

A little motivation please...

Discovery of the weekend: Motivation counts, big time.

At Saturdays swim meet us crazy swim moms, (and you thought soccer moms were bad), had our motivation through the roof.  We weren't even swimming, but we were motivated to be there.  Let me back up.  Maybe sleeping in, the beach, shopping, or a nice romantic hike would have been more thrilling, but for our kiddos we knew we had to be excited about swimming, motivated, because if we are they are.  Without even realizing it a child learns more through example than anything else.  It's not that children can't think for themselves, but they choose things and due to their youth and lack of focus they often are over it after a minute or week or month.  It's then (er, now) we have to help instill in them the drive to keep going, develop a routine, and set some foundation for perseverance.  All possible by keeping motivation strong.  Sure, they will find their own motivation sooner or later...and then sadly like adults, maybe lose it.

Motivation counts.  My goal of the week is to set fire to Kainoa's little and big goals this week.  To plaster my own goals with more motivation, and to do the same for Mike and my close friends/family that have trusted me with their desires or knowing what they have happening in their lives that could take some motivation to get up and go again, and again, and again...

What happens with motivation:  Results.

Today Coach Wenders handed out the ribbons.  All the kiddos want them, they love ribbon Monday, and it's now that they are learning the priceless treasure of "hard work brings reward".  So while swimming is far from the only way to discover this lesson, (it can be any sport, goal, idea, dream, getting through school, baking, ect.), these kiddos have landed some motivation from those they look up to, are finding ways to motivate themselves, and now we cross our fingers these days will impact their future too.

Of course the youth motivate me big time!  This little 7 year old clearly has figured out her own motivation.  Let me tell you a quick story...Saturday at the meet she asked coach what the state qualifying time was in one of her events, got the time, then went to her start block and swam as fast as she could for that time.  She missed it, but she landed a best time, another blue ribbon (she only got blue ones), and was happy as could be.  She wouldn't let me have even one of her pretty ribbons, but I got enough from her with the way she took a goal and made it her mission.  Motivation, it really moves you.  Just don't mistake motivation for pressure. 

Okay that's a wrap over here.  I'll leave you with my Mother's Day card Kainoa made at school, it pretty much means the world to me.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Other Side...

I have officially accomplished thing #32 on my "bucket list".  #32-Ride bike to Hilo.  Something has always intrigued me about riding bike to the other side of the island.  I've ridden all the West side, all the East Side, over the Saddle road (half at a time) up to the top of the island, but never from Kona to Hilo.  Yesterday after swim practice #32 was checked off the list, it was so awesome I am already planning to do it again, and again!

There are so many routes you can take, okay not that many, it is an island after all.  Of the 5 routes I took the safest (as in wider shoulders) since it was a solo ride.  It was not the shortest route (the boys told me it would be 8 hours), it was by far the most beautiful! I took Queen K, North, Hamakua to Hilo.  Packed with 8 hours of fuel and an IPOD full of songs I sung out loud to, it was one of the best days of my life!  First, let me set this straight, it did not take 8 hours, those boys must have taken a lot of pee stops! 

The views are so incredible by bike!  You can peek over the bridges and see waterfalls, hundreds of palms trees, and more birds than a zoo!  It kept taking my breath away, I was literally pinching myself that finally #32 was being accomplished!  About 3 hours in the ride began to zoom by so fast I wanted to slow down time,  it hit me that I could race and be to Hilo in just after 5 hours.  Pedaling with purpose has it's place on the training plan, but today was meant to "pedal with passion".  So I slowed, in fact I took the little 4-mile detour route, then I tried to get lost down a side street only to land at a pineapple stand. 

There was only one part of the ride (okay 3 parts) that were even a little bit freaky-the 3 gulches.  It was here that I really had to embrace the bike and muster up courage, not stupidity where I ride like a chick on a mission, but some courage.  You fly down a winding hill, reaching up to 40, then take a sharp turn that is blind to cars, then ride up a blind turn.  Cars ride all over the lanes here because rocks fall off the sides of the valleys/mountains and take up space in the traffic and shoulders.

My beloved Swift Carbon sure did impress me with the handling on climbs, twists, and turns.  In fact, it was so comfortable I could ride back to Kona from Hilo all in the same day! (but I got a ride home).  Hilo is usually known for rain and rainbows, not today.  It was truly a perfect day on the bike...

The plan was to arrive in Hilo about 4, be at Mikes truck when he got out of school at 4:30, then ride home to Kona with him as he comes home to Kona every weekend.  He had no idea I was going to ride to Hilo, he just knew I had a long ride.  To surprise him was the cherry on top of tackling #32 and his face when he saw me did not disappoint!  It was awesome as could be.  Of course I was very stinky and hungry-nothing new to him...

Arriving into Hilo is always special, the little town is so old and welcoming.  Of course I was here super early so I explored a lot on bike finding more hidden treasure than ever found by any drive to Hilo.  Including that inner confidence to get up and make something wonderful happen that I have always wanted to do.  Seriously, the rest of my bucket list is now calling my name more loud than ever. 

The ride to Hilo is now firmly tucked within for Ironman CDA.  Those gulches, an unknown ride with the familiarity of my bike, and having the guts to just get up and go after something has me really inspired.  Everything felt happy landing in Hilo and having Mike at the "finish line" was the very best part.  This morning I was still so happy that I didn't even realize the fatigue lingering in my legs and somehow managed my long run feeling fresh.  Okay race day, do you hear me?  Let's repeat this...

Today was Kainoa's special day, Long Course swim meet.  He had a bit of a break through in the back stroke with a 27 second PR in the 50.  I'm not sure if he just worked really hard today after a dozen other swim meets of goofing off to tackle that big feat, but to see a child light up by reaching a milestone or whatever you want to call it, sure set me into the best mood for Mother's Day tomorrow.

#33, #34, I am coming for you :)
Have a good weekend & Happy Mother's day to my mom friends and my mom! 
PS.  Kainoa thank you for being my son!

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