Aloha!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Aloha Friday in Mexico...


This was a little gem of words given to me before take off, "Keep calm and love life".  That and a million packs of gum, hair bands, and a book Masuda packed me were what held me together through 17 hours of travel to Cozumel.  Now I'm here & happy as ever.  Even thinking in Spanish.  Masuda used to get me a book before every flight when we first started dating, that was like 20 races ago, and 2+ years. Now I help him out & and pick out my own book (when I'm supposed to be getting kombuchas or something) because I can't expect him to keep up with this racing business and I never want my man striking out. But it's still his treat and still something so special to me...

Back to the book, it's "Unbreakable" the Jenni Rivera story. Seriously, it is a must read if you like true stories.  The book was super fitting as she is a Mexican girl and I was on the way to Mexico.  Her life was one thrilling ride to read, her perseverance became influential within the pages. Books totally captivate me, how we can take from ones story and let it become inspiration as we live out our story.  Anyways, if you have been following my story, you know very well that I have endured my own heart breaks in all things life, love, and sport.  I feel like I'm growing stronger for each of them every passing day though, finding more beauty in the moment than ever before...


This Ironman, the final one of 2013 is personal to me, special in fact. I finished the 70.3 here in Cozumel last year, but the last time I was on the island I dropped out of the full Ironman during the marathon as I was having my period running down my legs and could not find the courage to gut out a finish, humbled & defeated.  But I'm back now and excited. My head, heart, and legs are all stronger this time around.  You know the day you break out your tiny pink salsa dancing dress your confidence is coming around like a woman comfortable in just her mans t-shirt.

Remember I have a handful of beautiful sisters, the younger yogi-psychologist one sent me a note.  (she always writes me a personal note before races).  "...You are stronger than you realize.  Hope Mexico shows you your strengths, your patience, your challenges, and your peace of mind.  Have a beautiful journey, enjoy the moments..."  I think I've read that sentence of it 99 times already.  And I've been cruising through the streets of Mexico doing just that...

On yesterdays morning run Ashley Clifford and me ran into each other.  She is always full of life and has been coined the speedy Gonzalez of Mexico as her run has earned her a reputation in our sport.  We ran and chatted, I soaked up the moment to share an American Holiday, Thanksgiving, with someone who gets it.  During our jog my sisters letter kept lingering in my mind, "...your strength, your challenge, your patience, your peace of mind..." and I realized I was running so fast, her fast, and I needed to own my own run, after telling her to run ahead so I could settle down, she eased her pace. It all started to make sense to me, what my sister is always saying, "Do your thing, stay on your path, life will sort itself out".  Not that something so deep could be totally summed up by a little run, but it did for this blonde runner...

After that I poured my heart into soaking up the island as much as I could without wearing out my rest into the race.  A precious woman made me couple shell bracelets, they made me smile.  She made me smile.  Traveling always gives me a deeper gratitude for people, even in another language you can read their hearts without having to speak.  Soon after that I got back to the room and found a nice message from a friend back home...


My little yogi sister ran and won the Wobble Gobble back home!  My little yogi sis is one of my biggest inspirations and everything she always speaks to me is the way she lives her life, a direct reflection of totally owning your very happiness and being confident as you do so.  From there is was off to dinner with a handful of Oahu locals.  It was very nice to share a turkey dinner in Mexico, complete with Christmas music and Christmas decorations, with familiar faces.  I was so thankful for company, every drop of their laughter and conversation kept homesick for my loved ones manageable...
 Merry Christmas from Mexico!  Happy Thanksgiving, too!!  Thank you for dinner to the lovely Rick and Lori Keene, as well as the other Oahu amigos. Back home in Kona it was paddling and subway, see...




This morning was a trip to Chankanabb for a swim,  however, "grandes olas" closed any swim access.  Maybe coming from Hawaii I'm a bit of a brave soul, but I never saw any big waves out there.  Yes, current was undeniable.  You could literally see it rushing and I'm sure it would feel like a water treadmill, but waves, no.  So they cancelled the swim and everyone is now crossing fingers that it will be swimable tomorrow and of course on race day. Perhaps one of the best things that has come from racing all over the world is being able to easily adapt to the changes that each race location bring about, nothing to do but go with the flow...

 I ate a lot of Mexican eggs instead...


...and went to the pro meeting...


...and drank the water.

...and drank more water.  A little secret, "treat everyone like family", is a really pretty lesson I'm learning down in Mexico.  Cause when you do, they bring you more fresh water than you can imagine, not to mention you gain some amigos.


The sun has set, 2 more sleeps to go before the big race.  I am excited.  Thank you for the outpouring of kind messages that have come leading into the Sunday, they mean a lot to me.  Hope you all had a really special Thanksgiving...

...and that's what Kainoa is doing back home.
Love,

Bree
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Random Airport Musings...

I dont have a picture to post because I've yet to ask the high schooler to teach me how to upload pictures from a phone. Since I'm writing from a phone the Spelling mistakes are sure to be more than usual too. This now feels like a book without pictures. Kainoa has just upgraded his bedtime stories from those cute picture books I love to chapter books, I miss the pictures.

I think that is what life is trying to teach me right now, to take what I see and tuck it in tight to my heart. Simple. Because sometimes I focus so much on the view I miss the lesson. And its teaching me to just listen and from there paint a picture in my mind...

Anyways, I am at the airport. 2 flights down and one to go. My heart races from total excitement, thankfulness, and being in the moment, to a little bit sad. Not a lot, but a little. And not the bad sad where you are unhappy, im happy, the kind of sad where you would like to be in two places at once or have all that you love at one time. Kind of ironic on the way to Mexico to be eating at a burrito place, but I am. A family at the table next to me is so precious, on the way to grandmas for Thanksgiving. Now I miss my family. I wish they were all on the way to Mexico too.  Now there is a man paying and came up 7 cents short, I would have given him money if another girl in line didnt. If you stop and look around there really is a lot of good going on in life.

You know what I think is sad? The people that wish they were on the way to Mexico to hideout from their families. Not my place to judge, sorry God. I guess im just so thankful for my family and friends. Maybe after youve been blessed to see so much of the world and travel, there really does come a point when home is the most beautiful spot on Earth and even all the bickering and disagreements that happen at home are more special than spending a holiday alone. Not to say I dont appreciate solo adventures, some of my best ones, when I was 15 or that trip to Nicaragua made me the woman I am today and no picture could paint for me what I learned having time shared with just me.  But I have also found Im a royal pain in the ass and when I leave for races im always faced with those moments I maybe took for granted and didnt appreciate or give just a little more to my loved ones.

Maybe thats why travel is good for the soul, sometimes it helps us return home better versions of ourself. Kainoa got his cast off yestetday, Im so greatful to have been home for that. At school he read a book with his class about being thankful and told me his favorite part was when the mom said she is most thankful for the day the doctor put her baby in her arms. I wrote kainoa a note last before my flight and tucked it in his backback, I wrote that im most thankful for the day the day the doctor put him in my arms. I cant wait for him to read it, In some small way I know it will bridge the gap of the distance from Kona to Mexico and make him feel special on Thanksgiving. I feel the same about Mike. I miss him a lot when I see lovers experiencing travel together, but you know what, I always end up smiling just knowing how thankful I am to have him to miss. And at the end of every travel trip when I get home there is nothing I saw more beautiful than when I walk into the door of home and see him and the boys. So for now, its just work, ive got a 140.6 mile job to do Sunday, and one I absolutely am passionate about and the best part is always landing back home after a finish line somewhere further from home...

Boarding call, make good turkeys! Monday night our family celebrated and we took turns saying what we are thankful for.  It was Mikes idea and it has had me smiling since. Try it tomorrow, take turns and see how good it feels to say what you love and hear what your family cares about.

Bree
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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lavaman to Ironman...


It only seems fitting that I go from Lavaman today to Ironman next Sunday, because that's the way triathlon all started for me in the first place.   Today's race was the perfect "welcome back to racing" after the minor mental & physical fatigue that saw me hit the pillow pretty good after Ironman Mont Tremblant.  Kainoa gave me the pre race pep talk, "Have fun mom, go hard, don't get in the ambulance, I'll wait even if you're last".  And then it was time to race...



The race went just like this...
A beautiful swim in the Keahou Bay, I'm talking gorgeous.  Things started out wonderful, the "dream draft" if you will.  Then, about 800 yards in, I lost it.  You know how that goes, let go and the pack is gone.  I took feet that felt strong but we were here, there, and everywhere. Like a rag doll in the Pacific I went all over the place and the swim opportunity slipped away, totally my fault, as I saw the chance to bridge a gap but I "just swam". 

The high light of this Olympic distance triathlon was having an actual Olympian to chase all morning!  Kiyomi Niwata of Japan put a nice dent on me in the swim, I caught her on the bike and knew very well that my only hope was to put in time before T2 where her super weapon, the run, would be unleashed. Oh I rode like a crazy girl on a mission, snot flying everywhere.  It hurt, I'll be honest, those hills down South Ali'i were no joke, but I felt strong on the bike and safe to go hard.  The run would have to be a little smarter...

Ran out of T2 with a small lead that was chewed up and spit out all by the end of mile 1!  I wasn't standing still but it sure felt like it when Kiyomi passed me.  The plan was go for 3 miles pretty strong and if we are together stay with her and work till the finish, if not, turn it off at mile 3 and cruise it in to save for next Sunday.  Mile 3 came, no Kiyomi in sight, a quick glance back and no sign of the 3rd place girl, so I cruised  the final 3 miles hoping it saved my legs for the marathon and wrapping up 2nd...


The run reminded me how much I love racing, how thankful I am for the days I get to enjoy sport like I do, and of how much I enjoy being around the other athletes.  Laughing, cheering, just celebrating in each others accomplishments (big or small) really had me happy about how something as simple as a sport can bring so many people together to share a day.  Um...not to say that it is all smiles out there.  Olympic distance hurt after all the longer, slower days that make up Ironman training and a few times I wanted to cuss.


As with all races, not possible without the incredible support crew that make up volunteers, family, race staff, and medical people spread throughout the course.  THANK YOU GUYS, to Gerry Rott and the Lavaman family, truly well done...and yes, you may have created the most challenging course of any Olympic Distance I've ever done, but man the views made it worth it.


To the 3x Olympian, Kiyomi, what an honor to race with you.  Thank you for showing up on the Big Island to woo us all with your talent and make us Island girls have to work that much harder.  Humbled, oh yes.  Good luck on your jump to the 70.3 distances.
 
Finally, thank you to the incredible support that my family and friends give me day in and day out for the big and little things in life, like a race.  It makes it so much more fun sharing the experiences.  And Kainoa, you are a super trooper at these races with the big smile on your face at 4:45 wake up, sure wish you could be in Mexico with me next Sunday.  To the great people that take a place in my life beyond just being on a suit, Bike Works, Splish, Zoot, Breakthrough Nutrition, Rolf, Coach Cotter, Kona Aquatics, Junko, Odin Willmont Chiro, I really like you guys :)


Time to call it a day, night!
Bree
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rest Up, Darling...


...And so it begins, taper.  The rest n' relax heading into Ironman Cozumel has begun.  This time next week I'll be preparing for a red eye departure from one island to another.  Yesterday was spent teaching 7th grade Math, it was way more challenging than I remember and beyond words more difficult than swim split calculations.  Did my best to keep the feet up,  that absolutely did not happen, lap after lap around the class it was...

Today was so much more my style:  Swim, bike, and run in a single day, with a rare power nap.  I'm absolutely looking forward to getting back to Cozumel.  I've traded the "poor me, gonna miss my family" for "rest up Darling, there is hard work on the horizon".  Not to say I'm not feeling the effects of a Thanksgiving away with all the grocery stores stocking piles of fixin's for a feast on display, but I'm handling pretty darn good.


 Before you totally harass a girl about putting up Christmas lights, let me explain-I really wanted to.  I did the thing that drives Masuda crazy, lights before Thanksgiving.  Patience has yet to be my strong point and the adrenaline that comes with excitement set me in motion, sent me straight to the roof.  Just a strand.  One.  After Mexico I want to do it up National Lampoon style.  I do believe a little softening of Masudas heart has happened though, he bought me a Christmas wreathe.  Okay, let's cut to the chase...the butterflies are parading already.  Dear God, please let it mean I'm just really excited.

As much as I love racing, all of it, I still struggle with the unknown of "between start line and finish line", I think that's the part out of control.  One thing I am learning though, is to truly trust your training.  It sort of takes care of everything you can control.  This block of training has been the most I have ever followed numbers and data.  Seeing a repeated split, pace, or number really does reconfirm that hitting a mark is no accident.  It happens repeatedly because I work for it repeatedly.  A new, beautiful lesson.



The absolute best part of all of this, is them.  The other night I tried really hard to make a wish on a star, it's my favorite, and I couldn't even think of one. Things are going good on the home front, I do believe 2014 is going to hold a few promising sponsors, and everyone in my family is really healthy, (other than Kainoa's broken arm), so those wishing on stars don't belong to me at the moment.  Oh, but I do want them to fall into place December 1st...


I've got my last "longish" run tomorrow, those have become my favorites even more than I already loved them.  Masuda put plenty of new songs on the 'ol IPOD and it's given fresh life to the same run routes.  A few songs are about as mushy as I've ever heard, but I love them.  In fact, the fairytale, love struck, romantic in me can officially outrun Cinderella when hearing them.  And...a race.  Sunday is Keahou Lavaman, a local olympic distance complete with training partner bragging rights.  I'm doing it.  A week before an Ironman there is a part of me that has to keep that passion for racing ignited, so a hometown tune-up it will be.  And there is prize $$ on the line.  A girl has to pay bills, right?!  The coconut wireless has announced that an ITU superstar from Japan is on our start list, with 3 Olympic games to her name it should be a good day for me to practice butterfly calming before Mexico. 

...and our white pineapple is blooming, finally.  The last 4 I picked when they were barely the size of my fist.  This one is going to be my patience practice.  No picking till it's good and ready...

Good night from Kona,
Bree
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Monday, November 11, 2013

Smile. Just smile...


Every morning for almost a month my little sister has been sending me a text, "Smile".  It's really simple, really short. But so powerful.  Life is good and I've endured enough in it to appreciate it all, yet I forget and have been too forgetful, so no matter the day, by 6am she has written just that word to start my day.  My recent sadness has been Thanksgiving.  I'll be on a different island, Cozumel.  When planning up this race I only focused on the race day, December 1st, never crossing my mind it would mean tacos without them to land in Mexico prerace.  Oh but I'm a big girl and this is my job, I know, but I still care.

And I've been spectacular at just focusing on the training too, maybe because I have a coach now and he writes what to do, I just wake up and do it.  But then the other emotion humans have, or maybe just girls, or maybe just me, took over.  Anxiety.  It sort of wiped me out the other day.  Having not raced in a couple months now, being able to just train and teach so carefree, that dreaded feeling of risk and need for a payday has not lingered. Doing what I absolutely love without those emotions has been so nice, but then I remembered that what happens between the start and finish line determine so much, it took my breath away abruptly.  Like every sunset though, the feelings faded away with the day and I woke up to my sisters reminder to smile...again.

Back to training, it has been so incredible.  It feels ridiculous (in the very good way) to stay put for such a chunk of time and just train without those long flights, race, long flight, race, repeat, that feels like the rest of the season.  I love it so much.  And it has me excited to get on a plane to be honest, other than the timing be at Thanksgiving that is...

So I've been writing down the workout, doing it, and landing proud of myself, a very needed emotion for a girl that has been needing reminders to smile.  (Sorry for the incredible honesty that sounds like whining).


I have a new tool too.  You know, every now and then we have to mix life (or sport) up.  It helps freshen the mind and body. SO I am using one of those little Garmin foot thingys now.  It has baffled me that I can run sub 3 marathons but have yet to even crack a 3:15 off the bike.  After paying a little attention, it has a lot to do with my massive stride length.  Coach had me put this thing on my shoe and the first few days with it I was about 65, yeah, I know, I turn my run pace over at 65 steps a minute or something silly.  I had a break through the other day on a 30 minute run off the bike, it was all above 80 for the first time ever!!  I even made an 88 at one point!  It had me really happy to see I can pick up my feet a little and not take such big strides so slowly.


My other break through, which I have done one other time this season, was a big swim.  Our swim squad rarely cracks 3300 yards a workout, so I did what a pro triathlete should do and swam more, I made 5 miles in a day.  It was a very happy moment that landed even our new dog amazed...


For fun I have been reading the sugar packets.  Truthfully, I close my eyes and pick one, call it my fortune.  This is the most recent and it is so fitting for this girl. I do indeed love my work and I will indeed never give up on love.


The best ride of this training block happened this weekend too.  To Pololuu Valley and back.  I'm pretty sure anyone losing the motivation for a long ride (or run) needs to turn the workout into a designation ride. It fills you with such a beautiful feeling to ride to a place you love that riding all the way back home is actually more pleasant that dreadful.  Oh I loved it.  Landing home to eggs made for me helped too...


And this was the best morning of the past week of training. A rainbow barely peeked through the clouds, but it did peek enough to remind me that I am doing exactly what I should be doing.  Those reminders certainly bring meaning to life.

 Good billboards help the miles too...



Well folks, it is a holiday, "Happy Veterans Day" by the way, so the boys are off school.  They have been building fort-like beds but are now ready to go check out the beach action.  So we are off to a much sandy place than home.  Have a good day and smile,
Bree
 


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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Is it Nap Time Yet?

I've officially survived my first nap in a very, very, long time.  It felt so wonderful, even slept through the alarm waking me up for swim practice.  But I made it.  Then worked my bumper off chasing kids half my age across a pool and back, repeat.  That pretty much sums of the last couple weeks.  I'm trying not to slack at all, at anything.  Even if I don't like it, I do it, find a way and just get it done as best as I can.  Then I fall asleep, really good at night...

The rides have taken me through some pretty windy days that test my patience.  Some hot days that force better nutrition management.  And through some easy days that just make me so thankful that THIS is what I get to do, most days of my life.  Training has me really happy lately, 3 weeks out from a race is probably good timing to feel some passion raging.


Zoot sent me new run shoes so my feet feel happy too.  Again and again I'm counting my blessings with the support I have.  The past week or so has landed me running long, running hills, running beaches, treadmills, and with a dog...



Our family decided to rescue a dog and it has been the best addition we could have imagined!  In 2004 I asked for a dog, got a cat.  In 2006 asked for a dog, got Kainoa.  In 2011 asked for a dog, got Masuda.  In 2013 the boys asked for dog, I got a dog (we got a dog).  He's house broke, thankfully.  But he has yet to learn his name, how to sit, how to shake, and not to jump out of the back of the truck.  He's making progress though.   One thing this dog can do, is run!  Brian (that's his name) made 45 minutes of beachy trail run with me so far.  It was incredible, I've always had visions of running with a dog and now it's for real.  He stayed right next to me the entire time.  Now I can finally join the other cool girls that run the beach in bikinis with a dog (I think Brian is faster though).


That's pretty much it in the way of swim, bike, run.  Been doing a lot of it, seeing progress, and getting excited for my final Ironman of 2013.  As for food, I have 2-must shares.  Beets and banana smoothies.  No joke my friends.  I was searching for a way to eat beets more decided they go really good at breakfast, with frozen bananas and a handful of blueberries with vanilla almond milk.  I've also gotten excited about oatmeal again (it got so boring for a while).  At night, I put it in a jar, throw whatever fruit, seeds, nuts, we have in the fridge on top, then shake it up with some milk and leave it over night.  In the morning it's the cold cereal not from a box.

 Yum. 

I've also landed the jack pot!  Not exactly the lottery, but a purple lilikoi found on my bike ride. These are pretty rare on the island and so much sweeter than the yellow ones, I loved it so much I forgot to even share it.  I'm pretty sure this is natures gift to me for riding my bike that day...


In motherhood, Kainoa got his 2nd grade school picture, the pins out of his arm, and a pretty new red cast on his arm.  My mom has kindly reminded me to really be in the moment with him because one day I'm going to turn around and he will be in high school, too busy for me.  She's right, I was at the beach more than with her when I was in high school and he has already grown so much the baby days are just memories now.  I think that's part of the reason that I am enjoying subbing lately, working at his school let's me see him even more...

That's it.  Thanks for reading and keeping up with this triathlon journey.  2 more triathlons to go this season. Have a good night!

Bree
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