Aloha!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sporting Joy...


...January is almost here, I'm well on the way to welcoming it.  But of course I have left alone the routine, the extra vitamins, many miles, and the usual glutton for punishment to stride through some other challenges.  Buti yoga, where my goal has been to get my foot to my head, (the sister blows me away while I am struggling up a storm).  I plan to take the "stretchy, flexy" things I've learned into the new season with me.  I have also managed to crank out 3 pull ups in a row!  My goal of 5 is so close.  You know what I finally did???...


Crossfit!  Crossfit Kona is like a fast catching flu on the island, seems like everyone is doing it, trying it, loving it.  I was intimidated at first sight, not just because of my lack of pull ups, (the other girls are busting out 25 in a row, like it's candy or something).  I was scared to "bulk up".  Muscles look nice on guys, I can appreciate the hard work muscley girls do to get there, but my body I've always liked to be more "curvy" like a salsa dancer.  So I was sort of nervous it would make me loose the tiny boobs I barely have, get those neck muscles, and have man arms.  Finally, I had a suspicious feeling that the addiction would happen to me (training with a group and chasing goals is right up my alley) and I'd have to stop once season started up again.  Well... I am addicted, I've made new friends,  made goals (5 pull ups and 100 pound snatch), and love the way it feels embracing friendly competition with myself and others.  That said... I am hoping to keep some strength training in 2014 with the Crossfit Kona crew.


Sporting Joy over the holidays has been amazing.  And I needed it.  Yesterday I did Peamans 50th Birthday Biathlon (He was the one that got me from Peaman to Ironman and I felt happy to support the race).  We were winning the girls race half way through the 4 mile run till our dog stopped to poop, stopped to pea, stopped to sniff flowers.  It was incredible to truly feel that "sporting joy" without feeling like I have to win or at least go for the win.  Kainoa raced with me, it hurt the entire swim, as I have truly taken a swim break and done ZERO masters swims since before Mexico, but I love it, start line passion was parading.  I am so looking forward to getting back into routine.


Our island finally got hit with a beautiful Winter swell.  Waves for days and days.  Some days were so big beaches were closed, helicopters made a couple rescues, and camera men were in heaven gathering footage of walls of water.  I saw broken boards, endured my fair share of wipe outs, and witnessed Mike snapping a leash that left swimming after his board.  It was beautiful in every single way.  Perhaps this was the swim training that will help me most with those outrageous swim starts in Ironman!  But for the most part, it just made me feel beautiful to spend so much time in the salt water...


We managed a ridiculous Christmas picture, spent hours building legos, failed at a few "raw food" cookie recipes, and saw Santa, really.  It was a good holiday, not because of any incredible gifts received, well I did get a few good waves that morning, mostly because it was a really challenging one for our family but it once again revealed that at the end of the day all I ever want is what I already have...

What else, oh yes, kickball!  A bunch of rowdy 21 and older kids got together and had an all day (literally 10+ hours) of kickball.  It had a purpose, to raise Toys for Tots who would have nothing on Christmas.  We sure did raise some $ and toys, not to mention have a lot of fun doing it!  Once again, it was the perfect "off season" competition and sporting joy that this girls loves.  I met a lot of new people and got way out of my comfort zone, not just because we had to chug beer, (it was sponsored by the Kona Brew Pub).  I highly recommend feeling like a kid again any chance you get...


This was my birthday gift to myself...
A scoby!  One of my "bucket list" things for 2013 has been to make my own Kombucha and I finally have!  Its so yummy, so fun to make, and pretty addicting to experiment with with the creepy little things.  My family thinks its gross and weird.  Well, I think putting mayonnaise and cheese on food is weird so we are even.


One more Winter race, The Jingle Bell 5k.  It was a full on dress up (you know I love that) of any green and red you could find.  I had the honor of running with Santa to lead the keiki race.  As for the grown up race, mission accomplished, "get unfit".  It hurt so bad, to run a fast 5k after not training at all after Ironman Mexico had me thankful to be in a tutu since I was running at "parade pace".  Honestly, I was humbled to the point that I know 2014 will be so much faster.  I keep hearing these great stories of athletes in all sports that truly take an off season coming back better than ever, I'm clinging to hopes that they mean the same for girls on an island too. 


This was the view from our mountain top the other day, I borrowed the picture from a friend because I am craving a trip to the snow!  Just a little moment of chill before the holidays are over.  AS for 2014, I am so excited for the new year.  It's going to be good, I just know it. Not that I'm wishing for any year to just be over, I am just pretty sure there are some good moments on the horizon.  It won't be any easier, I already know that, but 2013 feels like it has been the year of on-going lessons, really hard ones. It has also been the year where it felt like I grew the most in a long time.  That said, I am ready to make a new 2014 bucket list and cheers away!


Have a good last couple days of 2013, check off some more goals if you can crunch em in quick!  Cheers to you guys :)

Bree
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Day 1


...the sun is setting on DAY 1 of "training".  Well, it counts as training because I am being guided again on what I should do in my sport life.  It feels very good, very relaxed, very easy, except it takes away my time watching cartoons and cereal in the morning.  It's starting simple, as in get moving again and leave any sort of number devices at home.  During my break I managed to put on 6 of the 8 pounds we were aiming for (remember it's good to do that, rebuild, build immune system, pig out, ect).  I wasn't crazy about it but I like fruitcake enough to trust the plan. Standing in a bikini before ocean swim today we had some laughs, but the best was Keish, maybe the most talented guy on the block, who took his off season after Ironman Arizona very serious and packed on 20 pounds! He is one of the fittest guys I know, however I could not stop laughing to myself,  maybe that's why he can do back to back Ironmans all year and have them all strong results without getting sick or injured!

So there we were, all confident enough to trust that the new found softness will eventually transform into something useful come 2014 race season.  The too-tight bikini however was a little frustrating, but that's life on an island and I can handle...


What exactly was Day #1 training?  It included an ocean swim.  The dolphins were my company, they kept me peeking under water (as to not go too fast), they had me thankful to be out "exercising" again, and of course they have me motivated to return tomorrow and do it all again...


Then I had a short, easy run.  That meant Bryan (our family dog) could be my company.  He is amazing at anything 6 miles or less.  My secret dream of running with a dog is such a gorgeous reality now.  He runs right next to me, no leash, and keeps up.  We ran right into sunset...


All new beginnings (like 2014 training) should start out as "dream like" as possible if you ask me.  So we ran to my favorite run spot, took off the shoes for the last mile, and enjoyed it so much that we decided not to return to our normal lives till the sun sank into the ocean...


I gotta confess, back to training has begun but I did eat one more bite of fruitcake that was hidden in the freezer.  Just one.  Now it will probably sit there till next year because I'm the only one that likes it at home. Tomorrow morning I'll go to the market and get real food...

Here we go, back into the swing of sport.  Night.
Bree
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Turning 34...

Time flies when you're having fun, true story!  Life has been far removed from the swim, bike, run that usually fills my days.  It has been buti yoga, walking the dog, lifting weights, surfing, building legos, and many days of teaching.  I miss running, a lot.  All the surf quenches my thirst for swimming and I must admit, it feels really good to spend more time on waves than above a black line.  Have yet to miss it really and for me, that's a good thing, the holiday break is serving me well.  All the time teaching has been helpful putting $$ in the bank and helping keep our family afloat.  Today was special, Kainoa was in the 2nd grade class I taught.  Tomorrow it's Kindergarten, not going to lie, I prefer the older kiddos... but like most the population, I must work even if it's not my favorite cup of tea...

Once the holidays have wrapped up and life becomes more triathlon involved I will be much, much better at posting & sharing some workouts, favorite shoes, and goals for 2014.  For now, it is so healthy for me to truly take this holiday break to the fullest and venture off my usual routine. I am.   

...and now, let it snow, let it snow (I am praying for snow), today, I'm 34 years old....



In 34 years I have learned that life is gorgeous, but not because of the pretty views.  It's because of the way our hearts interpret what we see.  Having traveled to 15 countries now, I've learned home is the absolute most special place on Earth, no matter how incredible the adventure.  I also know, the grass is not greener, the sky is not bluer, and few things are more miraculous than the rainbows that appear after braving the storm. People are also better than we give them credit for.  Forgiving really is the best medicine to heal pain.  And dreams still do come true...

I have learned that great moments of the past are okay to cling to for as long as you need them to be your strength, but eventually you have to stop clinging to them so tightly and open your hands to welcome in brand new moments that with time can become even better if you let them.  Motherhood might always be a work in progress for me, but it is my greatest achievement. My son has saved my life while I have given him life.  And I have found that my heart has enough love to love 2 more boys as much as my own son. Music makes life better.  The ocean is my therapy.  Family is everything to me.  And the best and most perfect surprises are the simple ones, like having your green tea made for you every day.

I have held the same dream for 21 years now and will never, ever let it go, because life has taught me to never give up. My favorite words to hear will always be, "I love you", and I am not afraid to love, it's my favorite.  Eating healthy is refreshing, not for looks of course, but truly it does feel so much better (learned that lesson after devouring an entire fruitcake after Mexico).  Some people will never like you, I have stopped worrying about them.  Pull ups are possible.  Pineapples are the best.  Dogs can make you happy.  Life is long enough to live some pretty damn good and worthwhile experiences, but too short to spend it any other way than with the ones you love, doing what you love, and mostly being where you are happy.  I love to travel.  I miss Costa Rica every now and then and day dream of a family vacation there.  Holding Mikes hand makes everything better.  Triathlon makes me feel challenged enough to know I am truly living up to good expectations I place on myself.  My bucket list is really special to me. I believe in God. I believe in myself.  My friends are beyond amazing.  My mom is the most wonderful person ever, maybe I should let her know that.


Sunday I lived one of my favorite moments, I was out surfing with Sammy and Mike when Kainoa (who was content playing on the beach), grabbed his board and paddled out.  I LOVE that we share the same passion for the ocean playground...


Sunsets will forever and always be one of the most happy places I land...


Teaching really does make me feel like I'm doing something good for someone other than myself.

 ...and, it has been one of the best birthdays of my entire life, complete with home made carrot cake, a nice walk on the beach with the dog and Masuda, girl time with Wenders, Kainoa's giant hug, and surfing with friends....

Good night!
Bree
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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sea to Sunset...


Talk about one gorgeous lake!  Okay, so it's kind of ugly in the picture, but isn't beauty in the eye of the beholder??  We hiked in 37* to that lake on top of a sleepy old volcano, Mauna Kea.  It is the start of one amazing Winter.  Fun clothes, shivering lips and teeth, cuddles, and snot running from your nose, WINTER!  Well, Winter in Hawaii anyways...and if we had rain, we would have had snow!  My fingers are crossed for a white Christmas, I really want snow on the 25th...


One of my bff's from high school flew over from the North Shore last night, we woke up to lolly gag, freeze, get dizzy in the elevation, and bundle like the rest of the US is having to do right now.  We totally fit into Winter...  My training plan for the week arrived too: 

"Walk away from triathlon this off season.  No talking of races, training, or looking at tri websites.  Just clear your mind.  You can do 3 light swims this week, bike only to get coffee or treats, and no runs, just walks with family and the dog."

It is so lovely to wake up and make breakfast that I'm not eating in the car on the way to practice, but in a chair on the lanai. Today is a full week since the Ironman and I can honestly say that the "post race blues" that more than likely happen to 90% of athletes after big events have not even tempted me like they do about 3 days later than the race.  I'm wondering if it's because I have literally walked away from sport mentally, not just physically this WinterGuilt is far from my head and heart too, usually I feel like I have to think about sport or it means I don't care or I'm not a good athlete if I am not brainstorming or day dreaming about finish lines and goal times.  But this time, this Winter, it feels nice to "be in the moment, the snowy, cold, holiday season". 




Back to our Volcano top...
It was the perfect hike, short and sweet.  It held the gorgeous sunset that always takes all my attention and it made me realize, again, that I love the life I get to live.  There are few places I'd rather be than a mountain top, it's like getting presents and gifts around every corner with all the changing views.  Today even held my favorite, rainbows...


  Oh, I did do one of my 3 swims for the week too, no swim cap, just goggles so I could see the fish.
 

 I think yesterday counted as one of the 3 swims too, a surf...

The only thing that I am slowly starting to get over is the eating habits.  I'm not really one to put a lot of attention on my booty, belly, and jiggles here and there.  But I know it all counts for good health and fast races.  That said, coach gave me a little "ease up" on the usual attempt to eat right.  8 pounds is fine to tip the scale this Winter.  And so... I have been above and beyond ridiculous.  At first, it was all sorts of fun.  Fruit cakes, french fries, chicken wings, cheese burgers (and I don't even like cheese), chex mix, green and red m&m's, you know, everything and anything that happens to fill bowls in waiting rooms, friends homes, and your kids plates.  But today, it just felt and tasted like a cardboard box and my teeth felt dirty from sugar coated ingredients that I am not even sure how to pronounce.  So...tomorrow, I think I'll go back to more papayas and things from trees. There is no scale in our home so I'm not sure how much I tipped it.  I do know that having a full week of eat all you want, when you want, and whatever you want is a great way to make you crave a salad bar and things that the bowling alley does not sell.  You should try it, honest it will make you realize that what you eat makes such a huge difference in how you feel.  I feel like a tooth ache coated in salt from tortilla chips...

Night!
Bree
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Friday, December 6, 2013

Easy days...


...and so, a very proper rest, recover, and unwind is in full swing and I am soaking it up.  Today was wonderful, I borrowed a cruiser bike from the sister and went all of 7 miles to buy a pineapple at the market.  It was Wonderful with a capital W.  5 papayas, 5 bananas, and a lime later, I hung out in the parking lot with Masuda and the firemen with no hurry in the world.  And I ...

Watered the garden
Planted more seeds
Picked beans, kale, & tomatoes
Pulled weeds
Made a pile of clothes for Goodwill
Did laundry
Painted a bike
Put on run shoes but did not run
...and started Christmas shopping.


Yesterday was even more crazy!

I swam a little, I mean looked for dolphins and fish
Paddled canoe to the Ironman buoy and around boats
Surfed into sunset
Made dinner and overdosed on fruit cake
Mailed Christmas cards




And the day before that day...

Made a wild blueberry & beet smoothie (real crazy!)
Painted my nails snowflake blue
Taught 8th grade English (yay, making $$)
Decorated Christmas tree with the family
Watched Wolverine and loved it, Netflix family movie night


Realized the boys do not believe in Elf on or off the shelf, gave it to the dog.


I am so happy right now, just want this feeling to last and linger as long as possible.  I know the days will get challenging again as bills fill the mail box, homesickness when Masuda is in Hilo, missing Kainoa when he's at his dads, and just having girly days.  But for now, with the boys happy at holiday time, being home, and being relaxed, I will just sit back and be thankful for the little things, like pineapple picking on a Friday morning...

Have a good weekend!
Bree
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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ironman Cozumel...

 2 flights down, one to go!  Gonna make this snappy so when I land home I can officially start "holidays" and put the triathlete in me to rest for a moment.  And by to rest, I mean I will not be caught in any spandex, eating any gels, or watching swim splits till I've worn out kissing under mistletoe. (If you are looking for tri-blogs to read over holidays, ignore me for a few weeks, it will be non-tri)  Deep breath, baby!

I of course came into the race with some goals, for the most part the confidence was coming back too. Where it was in lack, I kept repeating that special letter from the sister, "...hope Mexico shows you how strong you are...".  The goals were simple, just what we've been doing in training. Makes total sense, right?

1.  Swim smart, keep focused on the feet, stay in it mentally
2.  Bike 22.2mph (Held plenty confidence here, this course that was a deal)
3. 3:15 marathon off the bike, that's what the legs do training


...and this is how the 140.6 mile day unfolded.

Swim, they changed our course thanks to some crazy weather (I didn't notice, but then again people from islands never panic in chop or waves).  Nobody was allowed to warm up, just get in and go.  After plenty of arm circles it was show time, I was struggling to get fired up.  Swim warm ups always give me that moment underwater to myself, to just get my head in the game.  400 yards in I was in a good position, then the annoying drafting I do to better swimmers served me right with a kick in the hand that had me aching in pain.  Needless to say, damn it.  Solo swim the rest of the way and 8th out of the water with work to do.

On the bike, I was already fired up when it usually takes me 20 miles or so.  By mile 5 I caught the chase pack of girls and made my way to the front.  The little train they had going had me scared for drafting calls so I made sure to be on the front and by this time it was near the headwind section on the windy side of the island.  Maybe it was tactically a bad move to fight the wind in front, but I know where I am strong on the bike and it is in the wind, I love it, its my favorite and it feels like home.  I broke away after the first loop and was trying to make up a little time on the 3 girls at the lead, but...I landed on the side of the road with my pedal out of the crank.  I watched all the girls I worked so hard to pass go by me.  Deep breath, heard my sister again, "...hope Mexico shows you how strong you are". I was still calm at this point, got the shoe off, pedal in the crank, shoe on, up and riding.  about 10 minutes later caught the chase girls again and out came the shoe.  Now I was frustrated.  All that hard work and I'm on the side of the road again.  Passed again.  Up and riding again and I beg the drafting marshall to please call the bike support and get me a wrench (thank God for the Spanglish I have).

Turns out, if I pedal with my foot out of the shoe, on top of it, then the pedal stays in the crank?!  So I rode bike for 8 miles with my right foot on top of the shoe mostly only using my left leg!  I catch and make my way to the front of the chase pack again, I feel so island style riding barefoot but thats all I can do until I get to the mechanics.  Little over half way through second loop I'm on the side of the road with mechanics again and seeing my 22.2 mph goal slip sliding away.  But I won't quit, I beg for help, crying on the side of the road again.  And they tell me to just ride one legged and will catch me with tools up the road.  So there I go, catching the girls again...

After the 4th stop I am good to go, the Mexican bike mechanics come to some great fix that I am not sure how I will ever get the crank and pedal out ever again, but at least I am riding.  The 3rd and final loop have no stops, just ride my ass off to catch the chase pack again.  Pass them and work towards Malika now between the groups, the windy section that I love!  I yell to her to lets go, lets finish this ride and make it count, last one of the year...

It was refreshing to see all the bike work we have done pay off, I was confident I could ride hard.  Inside, the temptation to be upset about my 4 stops on the side of the road was crushing me a little, that time it cost and the energy to have to keep catching back up.  But I knew there was still a marathon to run and I had to let the bike go...


7th girl to start the run.  Oh my, the little dream of a top 5 would literally take all my courage.  Within the first mile I was passed by 2 girls.  Scared, no.  Coach helped me believe that I could run the numbers we have been doing in training.  I just had to be patient, stick to the plan, and believe.  That's when the race began...moved to 8th, then 7th, then 6th, then 5th by the half way point.  And at this point I took a Mexican gel that had me hurling over inside and out.  At half way you are never safe so I kept going.  A woman on the side of the road yelled, "Bree, with every step think of your family cheering for you".  I don't know who she was but I loved her for that.

My brain was literally needing to focus like never before, mentally I was getting drained by mile 20.  1...2...3...1...2...3. And I still had to barf and poo.  So I threw up the Mexican gel but could not shake the poo (sorry for too much info, thats sport though).  I ran into the porta potty scared to death that I'd lose my 5th place, but I know me, if I hold it in I'll fall over in a side cramp.  Got out with 4 miles to go and they told me Ashley is about to catch you.

All I could think of was Mike riding bike next to me while I run the hard days, Kainoa telling me to do a good job at work, my sister telling me she hopes Mexico shows me how strong I am, and I just start hauling ass with whatever is left in me.  (That's the photo above from Mo,  "do you see her?")  I could not look back, the fear of being run down after working so hard for my top 5 was a horrible reality that has happened to me many races.  By now a mile to go, into the finish line I did look back, I had too.  I wanted to make sure I had time to enjoy the finish line, the crowd, and soak it up...


This Ironman was the best Ironman of my career to date.  Top 5 felt like a win.  After the hand smash in the swim, being on the side of the road during the bike, and almost pooping my pants half the run, it was so beautiful to feel all the hard work pay off.  As for the run, 3:19, damn it!  4 minutes of porta potty?? I am above the moon happy.  It was amazing to be out there with some of the best women in the sport of triathlon, living out a dream, and finding that in some special way, Mexico did show me what I forget to see sometimes...


The finish line was beautiful, like I always dream a good Ironman would look like.  I was in tears, jumping up and down, laughing, waving, kissing people, it was the perfect way to end the season.  When you give it your all for 140.6 miles it truly is such a humbling, satisfying feeling that I already know will carry me through the holidays.  Thank you so much to the great family, friends, and sponsors that have helped make the moment so unbelievable.  Bike Works, Splish, Zoot, Breakthrough Nutrition, Ceepo, Rolf Prima, Kona Aqutics, Junko, Odin, Coach Cotter, THANK YOU!!!  Masuda and the boys, of all the places this season has taken me, 5 different (and beautiful) countries, there is no place more pretty than home with you guys. The farts, the stinky dog, all of our egg breakfasts while you wait for me to finish Sunday runs, our surf sessions, the laundry piles, netflix nights, homework, singing in the car on dump runs, Costco trips and eating all the samples, I am the happiest woman in the world to know life with you!  It is my favorite moment in life...thank you. 

...and so, it is holiday time, fruitcake eating time, no more geeky tall socks time.

Coach said something like this, "Bike only to get smoothies or coffee, never in spandex and not long enough to ever need fuel.  No run, but you can walk your dog and hike.  As for swim, in the ocean a little, but better to surf and paddle, snorkel, swim with dolphins, enjoy".  It has been a very good season, so many lessons and so much to smile about looking forward to next season.  Till then, a kickball tourney is on the horizon, Christmas tree shopping, Jingle Bell jog (only to dress up in a red tutu), and plenty of time to bake.


Thanks again for reading, I have appreciated all the cheers over the season and along the course Sunday.  And Masuda baby, Thank you for believing in me all season long, especially when I was forgetting to believe.  Home sweet home...

Bree
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