Sunday, September 10, 2017

Collecting Beautiful Moments

Let me just get straight to the heart of this post- I got into HURT100!  All those miles (far from aimless) finally got to resonate purpose and direction.  A 100 miler is in my near future getting nearer and nearer and nearer...YAY! More than ever before I am discovering that attitude is everything and trails don't discriminate how dang strong you are or how many miles you can run in a week-your MIND is your greatest tool.

A hurricane is covering Florida right now with the worst of it about to land on my family. I can just picture my poor little mom hiding in the closet hugging her Bible like it's nobody's business.  While they did everything they could do to prepare I know the waiting is the hardest part. Back in college our parents would let all of our International and out of state friends stay with us for hurricane evacuations.  They always made the dangerous conditions a bit less scary and still today they have opened their home to let a few other families stay with them to wait it out.  But I know my mom, she's scared and the thought of her in a closet hiding out caused me to write this post...she needs something to read.  So momma, this one is for you while you try to take your mind off the storms of life...

Life has been a bit of a whirlwind lately. Perhaps growing up in Florida I am used to everything swirling around me, a touch of chaos, and windblown at all times.  So once again I threw myself into full motion taking on the challenge of getting my masters degree while braving First Grade yet again this year, (3rd Grade was so much easier for me-but hey, easy has never been my style), while holding up my favorite job of motherhood to a middle schooler, and then I went and threw the ultimate dream of running 100 miles into it all...and got in! Needless to say, my parents taught me well just how to keep calm in chaos, prepare for everything, take on help if you need it, give help because you can, and no matter what don't you dare quit-hide in a closet if you must, but keep going.  I can honestly say, everything is pleasantly beautiful at the moment, am I in the eye of the hurricane right now?  I ran and ran and ran all Summer long as if the 1 in 130 chance I'd get into HURT100 was my destiny.  I was #125 by the way, obviously I cried and peed my pants at the same time.

In the span of 10 weeks I managed to do 8 races of all distances from 22 mile trail to road marathon.  It was like a dream of a Summer for a girl like me. I've always been so passionate about sport and find the very moment we are thrown into that place where it's you vs you life changes for us. Back in my triathlon days there is no way I'd race that much, it would be absurd, landing you lackluster results or worse-injury.  But now that my bike is hung and goggles are lost I get to run my life the way I want, for the sheer purpose of enjoyment, free of a payday, pressure, or results.  This is the for real #runhappy!  I've told myself I can have a rest (taper) before Peacock 55 miler and HURT100 as both those races will be my longest ever and I know will require way more respect to the distance than what I've been running through.  Last weekend was my race #8 in 10 weeks, the Kauai Marathon.  I picked this race out at the beginning of the year with a goal to grab my Boston qualifying time-clearly I am just working on my bucket list goals at the moment.  Like finally getting around to that masters 15 years after college graduation!  Well... Kauai it would be.
 I was up to the challenge like never before!  And having the sole goal being HURT100 I want and invite all the challenges I can get my legs into.  In fact, I've come to truly enjoy taking no rest from training to prepare for races, you completely avoid all kinds of pressure that come with putting all you have into a single day. Saturday was Triple Trek on Oahu-three trail loops.  It was the race I was least looking forward to (Maunawili 22 miler was my favorite and ended up being my favorite yet!).  I still need some work on my down hills over crazy roots and rocks and admit to only enjoying the uphill of that course.
Turns out-I got lost.  Completely lost and only managed to make 17 miles of the race.  Part of me wanted to go finish it just for much needed practice climbing down things (I was of course disqualified for not knowing how to even get back on course where I got off) and part of me shrugged it off.  Not that I didn't care, I am just so far removed from results defining me since I quit racing triathlon. I don't get hung up on times and places strung next to my name anymore, only miles these days all on the way to making it through HURT100.
 After collecting my thoughts I didn't punish myself with the last loop "just for fun", besides I needed to catch a plane.  Yes, shortly after we jumped on a plane to Kauai.  Kauai is one of my most favorite places to be on Earth and instantly refreshed the mess of me I made on Oahu.  Immediately I let go of my DNF and focused just on tomorrows 26.2 miles awaiting me. Once again, never ever would I go run a marathon the day after running 17 trail miles and to top off a 70+ mile week, but times have changed and what better way to collect miles towards your dream than in a marathon with hundreds of other people around to motivate you and aid stations!  All my trail miles have me appreciating aid stations by the way.

Sunday morning came and the ankles were a bit stiff from rolling them the day before over some
down hill attempts at not going slower than my grandma.  A deep breath on the start line, a big kiss to Mikey, and a reminder that I have got to learn to be strong when my legs and mind are most tired is the only way I'll make it through the HURT100.  I started out super easy, sitting in as 6th place girl and just kept repeating, "Be patient, be humble, be kind".  Over and over.  Every single mile I'd ask myself if I'm being patient, "Keep calm, just breathe, take your time".  Are you being humble?  26.2 miles no longer feels far to me but I always want to remember the days when it did, to respect that the distance still takes a lot out of a body.  Are you being kind?  My big goal was to truly appreciate the other runners around me, I was in some small way using them as motivation after the long miles of the week and the run the day before.  For me, both are big feats.  I'd never run back to back bigish distances nor long mile weeks before races.  So I wanted to cheer on everyone I passed, thank every single person who handed me drinks, and love the heck out of Mikey when I saw him standing at mile 11 of the run.

Mile 11 is when things really began to get good.  We begin the hills, the kind of hills that if we were in a trail race everyone would be walking.  (I say this because the day before everyone was walking up the big hills over those crazy roots and rocks), again this is something I am learning-power hike!! Well, for the road runner in me I tossed out the idea of walking and promised myself I'd run all 26.2 miles no matter what, it would be practice for my final miles of the HURT100 when everything is just sort of hanging on for dear life into the finish line.  Mikey told me there was now just one girl ahead of me.  I admit to fighting the old me, "Go get her!" and had to remind myself, "Be patient, be humble, be kind." My day was all about HURT100, just collecting miles and learning to run tired as @#$&!  Have I ever got a story for you, I did indeed catch her about mile 14, up a hill, my favorite!  Then she pulled ahead down a hill, my least favorite no thanks to my thunder thighs pounding pavement.  Being Kauai we got another long uphill where I caught her and kept my goal of being kind, "Good job, we got this, almost home." And just stayed next to her, thinking we could run together.  Well, well, well, she was not about that at all and elbowed me in the ribs.  I was so shocked I didn't really believe it was real.  Then she did it again and ran right into my little space on the road causing me to run into the shoulder.  By now I was taking all the deep breaths and saying "Be patient, be humble, be kind" over and over till I was annoying myself and decided to let her go.  I literally just dropped back behind her and let go.  The best part was we were approaching an aid station (uphill) so they got to witness all of this and were totally enjoying the show, like fist pumping in the air and hoots and hollers.  I didn't feel like a total wuss for backing off, I felt like I passed the test for being patient that might come in handy for HURT100.  Sure enough...coming down a hill I see her hurled over and throwing up.  I put my hand on her back and try to encourage her to keep at it.

Of course I'm a little scared and feel as if she will come up running behind me down the hill, never have I wanted an uphill more in my life!  About 2 miles to go and I still feel super strong.  I'm not setting any PR's here but man it felt so good to just run patient and strong and never hit the wall, I just kept wanting to run more and more, like 55 miles or something!  haha.  Getting to the finish line they announce I was 2nd overall behind Mike Wardian.  What!? WHAT?!  It was cool winning my second marathon of the Summer and all but Mike Wardian was here on Kauai!  He's one of my favorite ultra runners to follow because he just collects miles, too, so joyfully!  Anyways, I ended up grabbing my Boston Qualifying slot by 25 minutes on the hilliest, hardest, least Boston Qualifying course I've ever run.  The people of Kauai and the views kind of set into motion all the reasons why running is so special to me.  Of course, without a doubt,
having Mikey along for the ride has made all the difference, too.  He doesn't always understand my full-plated life or wild at heart ways but he is always willing to be part of it in any way he can. what's next?  Well...I'll run a trail race here on Big Island in a couple weeks but the day I am more excited about is the Peacock 55 miler in 6wks.  I already know it'll be brutal and beautiful at the same time.  Till then, I'll just be running through First Grade.  Ps... my parents just informed me the hurricane is calming down so I can end this post so my mom doesn't have an entire novel to read in her closet. The biggest mahalos of course to God above, seriously I am always counting blessings these days for the way my life is turning out.  And of course to Mikey and Kainoa for literally loving the hell out of me and giving me so many reasons to keep on going through life with purpose.  Bike Works has truly been generous in still keeping me chasing goals despite not being at triathlete any more and I know being a school teacher back in college I'd be on the struggle bus without them!  To Kalani Pascual & Augus To, I am so thankful for all your pretty pictures out on the trails, they are becoming beautiful memories of my first 100 mile journey. Finally, my run friends...I just love every single mile with you.

Bree xo

Saturday, July 15, 2017

HURT100 Practice

At least, bare minimum, 100 thoughts happened during my loop of the HURT100 course.  I'd heard stories and tales about what happens on that trail, similar to how Madam Pele rules Big don't get to just go where you want anytime you want.  Some of us have never felt her wrath on a run over the volcanoes, I'd like to think it's because she's cool with me being there and only leaving my footprints all the while having massive respect for where I'm at.  But Oahu trails I have ZERO experience or knowledge of, only the stories that precede them.  Scary ones.  Beautiful ones.  All kinds.  So let's just say I approached the trail in complete darkness, doing my best to let go and undo the thoughts in my mind that others had me entertaining.  Except one, "The trails just call some people."

Let me back up...
Friday a group of us from Big Island flew over for a weekend of "Eating Mountains for Breakfast". The Mango Madness 10 miler (put on by the HURT100 family) was about to become my first for real experience of racing a trail.  It felt similar to my first for real triathlon, including the finish line, "Am I real trail runner now!?"
I think it took me 6 triathlons to be able to call myself a triathlete, I was awkward, wearing t-shirts on my bike rides and bikini tops as sports bras.  Back to the Mango Madness.  Melanie and Jacque put on the most down to Earth race I have ever been part of!  It was very humble in production, very welcoming during the bib pick-up, and even more accepting and embracing upon finishing.  It began really grass-rootsy, I think they said the race would be between 10-13 miles long, follow the white ribbons out, green ribbons back, never the blue ones, have fun, and start in 5 seconds-GO!  I never heard 1-4, I just remember going really hard from the start. We began in a park, then up a paved road, right into the entrance of the infamous HURT100 trail.  I clung to my friend Stover like I do on all our training runs and was way up front.  That is until the trail began and being a road runner would never, ever,
not even close, help me.  At all.  We started up a big climb which is cool because I love climbing...but then a million roots were exposed, rocks were hanging out everywhere in no particular fashion that could be followed, and potholes sprinkled in from the rain (I think! or pigs).  I didn't really know how to not fall on my face but worse was not knowing how to navigate it quickly.  I mean, I could get up and over, but it was more like an eager girl stepping onto the beach for her first time in a bikini.  It was intimidating. Malory (the absolute Queen of trail running for the state of Hawaii) blew by me up a hill.  It wasn't running, it wasn't walking, I don't even know what it was-hiking?  Dancing in trail shoes with hands on your thighs? So I just copied her up the hill.  That worked really good until the down hill.  Where I never saw her again.  She was like those ninjas that gently place a foot on something then spring off it like a flying squirrel, fast and light.  I tried so hard to run fast, so fast I went off course!  Twice in fact.  Perhaps that's why the mileage would be between 10-13?  I ran 11.5.  Throughout the entire morning I was having the time of my life.  I couldn't ever run fast enough to get tired, I got better on the uphills and worked myself back near some packs I could follow around to stay on track, but absolutely got
humbled down every single hill. In fact, I was passed by a total of 13 people down the hills, some I caught back on the flats or ups, others just buried me in laughter, like the time I had to take a down hill sitting to get off a ledge and one man jumped right over my head while doing a 360* all while telling me I would be better down a hill if I'd quit blinking.  What? 

When all was said and done I was covered in happiness and mud from head to toe.  I landed 2nd to Malory which meant way, way more to me than winning Hawaii 70.3 the week before.  I actually trained for this race and poured my heart into it. It meant something to me that has been fueling my life for several months now.  I can't explain, I was just really happy.  Stover was waiting at the finish line, he took 2nd male and spit out some of the funnest words I had ever heard, "I'm going for HURT100!" He was on the fence about committing to HURT100 until he actually tasted it in the race and felt that same flood of adventure and joy that I got (Now we have to fight over Mikey for #1 crew).  But it was what Melanie told us afterwards, "The trails just call some people", that solidified the answers to WHY?  The trails just call some people.  The rest of the Kona crew sprinkled in, Mikey, Grant, Sara, and Janet.  We all wore smiles and had
experiences that would fill the rest of the weekend conversations.  I can't thank Janet & Grant from Bike Works enough for taking a little crew of us over to be part of Oahu trail running. Even bigger is how supportive they have been (are) of my dream of HURT100 since day1.  I guess after leaving triathlon I'd just assume I'd take on all my goals solo, but they are still at my side like they were when I was a girl on a bike.

Now... HURT100!!  Has this post run too long to write all 100 thoughts that happened?  Mikey, the absolute most selfless person I have ever known agreed to go an entire loop of the HURT100 course with me. HURT100 is five 20 mile loops, I just wanted to experience 1 loop so I could return to Big Island knowing a little more of what I'd be in for!  No matter how much people had been telling me about the race or their experience words can only mean so much while experience would mean infinity more.  Sunday morning finally arrived, the legs felt pretty good even after Mango Madness, Sara, Mikey, Grant and I would begin together...

This isn't so bad, just like yesterday, I've seen this part before.
Why is Grant starting so fast?!
I'm going to take this like I saw Malory take this part yesterday.  
I wish I could run this with all the Oahu trail girls!
I like the view from the edge better.  I bet this is scary in the dark. Get off the edge Bree.
Trail map.
Bye Sara and Grant, have fun on the hike to the waterfall!
Just Mikey and me, yay.  Like a date on the trail!
Mikey, I can't read a map, I'll just follow.
Maybe I should tell him I can read a map I just don't want to argue 'cause I think I'm right.
Woooooo down hill! Weeeee!  Not wee.  Faking weeeeeee. DO NOT FALL.
I need to pee.
Mikey, are you okay?  
I am going to name this part of the course rooty.  
So many roots!  So many roots.  It's like a fallen ladder of roots!
This is the worst date ever. He is ignoring me.
Bree quit being so damn happy on a trail, you're annoying him.
Why do people run injured?  
This is going to be the longest day ever if we walk the entire thing 'cause he's injured.
This is going to be the longest day ever if we don't talk the entire thing.
I feel like running.
I want to run.
I'll run all the run-able parts, hike the crazy parts, and not fall down the hills.
Everybody out here hiking is so happy. 
Just keep fueling like it's an Ironman. Good girl. Eat more. 
Will he be mad if I run ahead of him?
This is wrong, all wrong, pretty sure we are off course, Bree DO NOT argue, just go this way.
Yep, off course, he figured it out. Just smile. Just smile. He looks so upset.
Why do men get upset about directions, maps, and navigational skills so easily?
I don't care if we got off course, I am having the best time.
What's 2 extra miles?
Mikey Brown quit being grumpy! 
I don't care if we went off course, I did twice yesterday and still had fun! 
Oh, but he's injured, every moment extra out here is just more pain for him.
I'm naming this part stair master. 
When I get home I'm going to learn to love the stair master and do it all day one day!
He looks so miserable. Don't look. Don't look. Don't let him see you looking at him.
Now I feel so bad. He's out here for me and I'm not even talking to him,
Go tell him how much this means to you.
What guy on Earth would suffer this trail for a girl?!
Hey, I love you. Do you need drinks or anything?  I have lots.
Bamboo forest! Is this for real! The BEST wind chimes in the world.
Wow! The view.  This view.  And him. He kind of looks cute being a pain in my ass.
I wonder if he knows I love him even though I don't like him right now.
Nearly to the waterfalls!  Seriously, this just keeps getting better!
Slippery. Don't fall Bree.  I fell.  
I think I broke my knee, stop exaggerating Bree.  Big girls don't cry.
Mikey just walked right around me, leaving me on the trail on my knees, my broken knee!
YOU'RE fired Mikey Brown!  You can't crew for me being a butthead!
Wait, I'm the butthead, he is out here for me!  He doesn't have to be.
Pick yourself up and run. Go catch back up to him.
And he is leaving me in the dust! RUUUUUUUUUUUUN.
I hope we get a rainbow.  
Oh my gosh!  This is the prettiest view I have ever seen!  I want a picnic here!
If I was a guy I'd propose to my girl right here!  This place is so beautiful!
I'm going to run, run fast, it's okay if he can't keep up, I'm running!
I wonder if Madam Pele ever rules these trails like she does back home.
Mikey, I am running down this trail and back up solo, you can wait here and rest your knee.
Is that mean?  No. That's nice.  He won't make it worse doing this super steep section.
I'm a good girlfriend letting him rest the knee.
I'm the worst girlfriend ever.  Ugh.  What's a girl to do!
Wow, this is my new favorite part of the course!  
I have never seen anything like this in my life!
I feel like an explorer finding paradise!  Hard to get to paradise.
Okay, do I slide down this rock on my butt or what?!
I'm totally sliding on my butt, please don't rip shorts, please do not rip!
This is probably dangerous being down here by myself, nah, he knows where I am.
Okay, this must be where aid station #2 is.  Cool.  Not lost at all.
No wonder the finisher rate for this is like 40% or something.
Keep humble Bree.  Keep patient.  Keep kind.
I still can't believe this is my life.  SO THANKFUL.
Up. up. up. up. up.  Hey, there's Mikey!
I am so happy to share this with him. I wonder if he's having fun. I hope. Nope. 
Hey, let's run this part! It's straight up like nothing I have ever been up!
I am totally taking a picture of this.  It's like a wall.  Do the girls walk this or run this or crawl this?
How do people do loops 4 and 5 in the dark?!  
I'm going to pee again.  Hydration game on point. And Mikey just took off.
Only 8 miles to go!  
I'm kind of sad this is almost over.
Not really, 8 trail miles is not like 8 road miles... plenty to go.
5ish miles to go.  Now I'm really sad.  I'm not ready to get off the trails.
Oh, he's running strong now!  Yay!  He totally did not make his injury worse.
Cool, back to being a great date! 
1.8 miles to go. Really not ready for it to be over, I feel like going as fast as I can.
I wonder if I'd eat it if I just let lose and ran carefree?
Nah, be mindful.  Don't risk falling this close to the finish.
I want to hug and kiss him!  Mikey we did it! loop done!  I would like 4 more, please.
I know he'd never punch me but he looks like he could punch me.
Did I just give him the world's worst 20 something mile experience?
Well, at least if he hated it he won't want to race it and will crew for me. 
I secretly enjoy being covered in mud. And these shoes are amazing.
Don't tell anyone but that was funner than Ironman.
I am so glad to not be a triathlete anymore.
Can I call myself a trail runner yet?  I'll run a few more first, for now I'm just covered in dirt.

That's what I can remember of the day.  So many thoughts, so many emotions.  I hear stories of couples and best friends
throwing away relationships out on that trail.  I surely ran through a million thoughts of my own out there, mostly all pleasant, entirely desiring to be part of HURT100, yet also reminded of how fortunate I am to not be taking on the trail dream alone.  Despite everything that went on out there I was so thankful to share it with someone who I know will stick with me through the highs and lows of being support crew. Yeah, even after announcing somewhere over looking a gorgeous valley that Mikey was fired as my support crew (we had a good chuckle) both of us are enjoying these days on trails and just figuring it out as we go.  We don't find out till August if we are in and I'm still entirely okay pouring so much of myself into this while not losing myself, that's what makes the unknowns so special-going despite knowing.

What's next...?  I'll play in the Kona Marathon next weekend. I've never had the chance to run it because I was always doing an Ironman somewhere far away or saving my legs. I'm totally looking forward to banking up some miles in a race I've yet to run through my backyard...

Happy running!
Bree xo

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Hawaii 70.3

It is officially Summer (sort of!).   I have 3 days this week of some Professional Development training on using Thinking Maps in the class to make AMAZING readers and writers, doubt you care, let me carry on...
The final school bell did in deed ring, wrapping up my return to the classroom with a big girl job of 40+ hours a week, a real payday, and actually understanding what Friyay truly means. Admittedly, it feels nice being able to relate to all my friends who did not spend all day most days outside in their bathing suits, on bikes, or chasing dolphins. Other than sobbing like a baby when I hugged all my little First Graders goodbye, another something special happened at the little school by the beach-Kainoa finished up his years at Kahakai Elementary and celebrated his middle school promotion.  That boy has been going to Kahakai since his days in my belly!  I used to throw up my morning sickness in the rubbish just because I could never make it to the restroom on time.  This momma is now a mother to a middle schooler-yikes. Wow. Cool. I think...

Other than that I have spent every single spare moment running.  Mostly on trails. More running than I ever thought possible for a regular two-legged girl.  I've now had a couple 70 mile weeks, an 80 mile week, and 3 weeks ago a back-to-back weekend of marathons!  I know!  I'll refrain from the profanities I used to think about the people I've become like.  But I did that stuff, ran that stuff!  A marathon Saturday on top of Mauna Kea and the good 'ol marathon Sunday in sun-kissed Kona. I'm pouring my heart and soul into this pretty (often muddy) little-big dream to join the HURT100 family.  It's truly ambitious and humbling to go after a dream you have minimal control over. It really doesn't matter how much you train, how qualified you are, or if you win or lose races.  They don't care, nobody cares.  That's part of why I have fallen deeply in love with Ultrarunning.  It's a family of support that does not judge you, hold you on any kind of podium, or belittle you.  You get to be you.  BUT you have to put in the work and be more disciplined than I've ever been before.  Because...just in case your name gets called in August you have to be knee (or maybe its waist deep) in your mileage by then.  I'm not entirely sure as I've never run that far or done anything like this.  I just know you can't fake it till you make it like I've been known to do far too many times to admit in triathlon.  It's been maybe one of the biggest gifts to my life to become an ultrarunner.  The journey alone is a lot all my old travel experiences.  So very rich and rewarding. This is just happening more often and without having to fly around the world.  Back to that fake it till you make it stuff... 

Part of increasing my run miles included this plan to swim twice a week and ride twice a week January-June, to avoid injury and cross train. Some weeks it worked rather well and I made it to the pool or threw in a local bike race for one of my rides.  Other weeks school was just too demanding and motherhood needed me far more than training.  I never skipped my runs but I had no problem missing swim or bike.  My heart truly doesn't feel the same passion for it that it once did and I'm okay with that.  Other weeks I was actually motivated to swim or ride but the pool was closed, shark sighting and closed beaches for ocean, or my bike tire was flat (insert excuses that I didn't mind having). Somewhere
along the lines of committing to this swim/bike thing I signed up for Hawaii 70.3, actually it was Mikey's fault.  He was racing, we could do it together, I know, so cute. Under The Bodhi tree signed me up, payed my way, I could not say no. A sincere MAHALO to them for the kindness, the opportunity, and helping me afford it.  About a month before the race school got busy with tests, report cards, helping Kainoa learn/understand everything for his giant test, and I just lacked time to ride.  The weekend before Honu I promised I'd go ride with the Saturday group, they would whoop me into shape, remind me how to suffer, and connect to my bike.  Except 40 minutes into the ride our group had a horrible crash leaving 3 men down.  Broken rib on one, broken clavicle on another, and road rash on all three.  It was absolutely enough to get me away from my bike till Honu.  I didn't really care if a race was coming, it was scary to see friends injured and nearly miss being part of the pile up (I was hit but stayed upright).  The next day my friend Staci encouraged me to ride with her, we rode 2.5 hours and I was convinced that was now more than enough.  Race week I rode 30 minutes and left it at that.  I did swim more race week than I probably swam all year though.  5 days! While everyone else was tapering I was cramming in my yards...awesome!!  Honu, finally arrived! Insert excitement.
However, Mikey was no longer racing.  Believe me, aside from feeling sad he was side-lined I was poking my eyes out that I would still be out there suffering, because of him! I could have spent the day on top of Mauna Kea running (I have spent almost every Saturday for the last few weeks up there).  Well, if anything I figured the race would be great mental practice to push hard (ultra running is teaching me to take it patient) and I could use the experience running exhausted.  The coolest news happened the night before the race, I got an email that I had been selected to run the Peacock 55 miler!  Like HURT100 you are on a waiting list and wait.  Kainoa and I did what any passionate mother runner would do, we went for a run!  He hopped on his bike and paced me along, it was awesome!  I'd never, ever, ever just go take an evening run the night before a triathlon back when I was a for real triathlete.  No way would I deviate from a plan and stop my chillaxing.  But we did.  Kainoa has come to truly enjoying riding his bike so I never miss a moment to share miles with him.  Back to Honu.  It was great to catch up with everyone, smack talk as usual, wipe my blue face zinc on, and be part of something kind of unknown.  As with all races you just don't know what the body is going to do...but you do it anyway. Hawaii 70.3 has changed a bit since I last raced it.  Having no expectations I never found room to
complain or even entertain much about any outcomes.  I'm super goal oriented so I of course had a couple for the day.  #1 was to enjoy with no pressure.  I made myself promise not to get mad about anything out there.  That was an easy one.  The 35-39 girls wave start was awesome!  Loads of fun women.  A lot of laughter, plenty of "good lucks" and "have funs".  Kind people.  The difference was we had waves, unlike previous years I've known. Our wave was 42 minutes after the first wave, which meant we had heaps of people all over in the water to navigate through.  I absolutely loved it!  It kept me motivated, focused, and entertained.  I never punched, hit, or blacked eyed anyone! Very different than the pro waves I remember.  A few ladies in the 65-69 year wave that I caught did however breast kick me pretty good, but it never phased me.  I knew then this day really would be mostly rainbows and butterflies.  Having Kainoa, Mikey, and Stover on the sidelines made it really fun, too.  They were everywhere and had all sorts of cheesy faces and cheers.  Onto the bike my goal #2 was to ride for Josiah.  He was the boy who took the worst of the spill last weekend.  I marked his initials real big where I could see them on my arm and just put my head down for him. I also begged and thanked Madam
Pele for the winds.  Having minimal bike fitness I knew an easy day of winds would never help a girl like me.  I wanted it scary and wild.  The kind that having a strong mind could possibly trump having lots of bike miles.  She provided.  I loved the ride!  It was so much more fair than I'd ever seen this course! Coming from way behind I just pedaled along saying "hi" to all my Kona friends and others I'd met over the years going up to Hawi.  I figured I was riding strong because I was passing people but had no idea since part of the plan was no Garmin or watts or heart rate.  Hills have always been my favorites so that may have helped, too.  The downhill was pretty lousy.  It was the only time I got passed.  My crank is way too small for me but I refuse to invest in anything for triathon, so I just spun out like a little rodent in a wheel.  Again, thankfully the winds were out by the time our wave hit Hawi, they probably helped me a little bit being familiar with them.  Once I jumped off the bike I figured no matter how horrible I felt I'd at least be running.  Yay.  All I felt like doing.  Except I didn't feeling like it.  My lower back hurt so bad from sighting so much the entire swim and my neck had me in tears from looking up from my aero bars.  Perhaps I was now being humbled to tears for thinking I could just go out and do this with years and years of muscle memory.
The legs, lungs, and fitness were just fine.  But the parts of the body specific to swim/bike were not.  Stover was in transition waiting to tag his biker for the run.  I looked at him and said I don't think I can run.  I train on the trails with him more than anyone so I figured he would have something to say.  I don't think he said anything because I heard nothing.  So I said, "Catch me if you can" and took off running.  Jogging.  Slow poking right into this guy name Ben.  As luck would have it, he's an ultra runner and his coach has actually won HURT100!  Forget Honu (even though I was currently 57.2 miles into it!) We ran an entire loop together. I told him I just got into Peacock 55 last night, want to run HURT100, and a bunch of other stuff that probably bored him-except he never ran away from me.  He kept reminding me that how I feel is how I'll be feeling at the end of my ultras, to embrace this, and work through it.  Honestly, my back and neck never hurt so bad.  It was making me want to throw up.  The pain was insane. But the legs-handled like champs. As if they could indeed run 100 miles.  The second loop I was on my own with Nell ahead of me.  I truly had no idea where anyone was.
With 45 minutes of women spread out you just don't know.  I tried to catch her, I cheered her on when we'd pass the out and backs *had to stay true to my ENJOY the day & be nice plan.  I saw Mikey and Kainoa, they told me she was in a wave that started a few waves in front of me.  SO I spit out some smart mouth remark, "Oh, who cares then." because the Math told me my finish time if I kept it up would be faster than hers.  They yelled at me, not sure what it was, I think it was, "What a wimp, you're not even going to try!".  SO I put my head down and reeled her in.  We ran together for a little bit, I asked her to stay with me and run in together, using each other for company, but she let me go ahead.  She is one of my most respected and favorite women to race with.  Women like her remind me of some of the wonderful of the sport.  Crossing the finish line was obviously a very, very welcoming sight.  Everything never quit hurting.  My neck and back are still super angry at me, but the legs are only reminding me that they are right where they need to be with this super long running stuff.  I was expecting a laughable swim/bike combo and an amazing run split but got nearly the opposite out there.  Everything else went according to plan, I enjoyed the day, rode for Josiah, and took good note of those on the side lines and volunteers who really helped move me (all of us) along out there. I had a few mention I should return to triathlon but my heart is just not there and Honu reminded me of that.  The ultra running scene is so much more my style these days.  It's so embracing.  And nobody is calling me out that I don't belong because I'm en ex pro triathlete.  Yes, I was shamed by a few women (I'll call them girls because where I come from women throw compliments and support around like glitter) for being out there.

What's up next?  Mango Madness 10 miler this weekend.  I know, soon.  But that's okay.  I'm no stranger to being humbled and I have to, for me.  It will be my first for real trail race over on Oahu. A bunch of us from Kona are going over and plan to spend the following day on the HURT100 trail-you know, just in case I get in.  Not living over there where HURT100 happens we are maximizing our moment on Oahu.  I seriously am beyond excited!  Never would I have imagined putting on a Camelbak and some big 'ol Hoka trail shoes would be so cool!  But for me it really is!  I used to tease the crap out of both the packs and the shoes and now they are like my two dearest friends every weekend.

I guess that's all I have to report on.  I've already forgotten how to keep up with this blog.  Maybe over Summer it will get better being as I'll be outside more and at the run races often.  Massive mahalos to Bike Works Kona for always, always being there since my first ever bike.  To my brother n' law at Velofix Hawaii for clearing the cobwebs off my bike and making it like new every time I bring it to him.  To Under The Bodhi Tree for putting me in Honu, it was wonderful practice for suffering on a run that I thought would come so easily.  For SOS Rehydrate, you are pretty much the only drink that works in Kona heat.  Hoka, for my pretty hot pink and neon green tracers.  Kona Aquatics
for letting me jump back in the pool here and there as if I never left the team, you are truly the best crew to swim with.  The FOMO FB training group.  It was rather annoying most days getting daily workouts that you all were doing but I couldn't make, although I always appreciated the invites! You all at the very least made me feel in good company and motivated.  Pat & Billy, all the run miles. Mikey, for signing up for Honu-if it weren't for you I wouldn't have.  Also, for my hot pink saddle.  There is no way I could have ridden that far without it. And mostly just for being okay with all these ideas I come up with that hardly ever make sense to anyone but me. And Kainoa, everything is always because of you.  I just want to be the one in your life who reminds you to always see the bright side and go do things, whatever they may be-live purposefully and with all your heart.  I dedicated this race to my 2016-2017 First Graders...They had to deal with me on the daily pushing them to never be wasting time, wasting kindness, or wasting their gifts.  I would get so angry when they wouldn't try, I hope they remember that and will always be tryers (I may have made that word up).  They made me work hard on Saturday to not waist my time, my kindness (I would have liked to yank the woman who breaststroke kicked me), waist my gifts, but more importantly-try. Like try to run down Nell... Ps... thank you again, Nell!

See you all on the trails.
Bree xx

Monday, May 15, 2017

All in a year

Today officially marks my one year anniversary of being retired from triathlon.  I decided to write (bring the blog that only my mom reads) back into bloom...

There we are, Liz, Jen, and I after Ironman Texas 2016. Ironman Texas 2017 just wrapped up (I felt it my duty to stay awake till the midnight finisher).  So now it's super official that I made a year as a normal girl, with a normal job, and a normal life.  Just kidding...I'm still completely wild at heart, I just spend more time grading papers than picking out sports bras.

All in a year I became a First Grade teacher, got a boyfriend, stopped riding my bike and swimming all together, started riding my bike and swimming again (1-2x a week), ran a 50k and won the thing! Spent more time playing Legos with Kainoa, decided to go for my masters, and the biggie-begun training for a 100 mile race.  The 100 mile race is actually the reason I am bringing the blog back-to collect moments wrapped up in words that serve as my reminders of where I've been.  I kept my blog for triathlon all 8 years and it has been one heck of a beautiful trip down memory lane to go back and read.

Here's how this whole super long run thing started... My little sister was training for a 100 mile run. (I thought she was insane-kinder choice of words than what I feel like writing!).  But then her and the hubby got pregnant with baby #2 about the time I was handing in the pro-card and facing a life many retired athletes face, "What next?"  I knew post career depression is a very real thing and I wanted to avoid it at all costs.  So I quit triathlon all together, even tried to sell my beloved bikes and threw myself into my classroom.  Until my friend Stover asked me to go for a run. A few runs later we landed at a 10k I'd always wanted to race but couldn't with my triathlon/travel schedule...Pu'uWa'awa'a, my favorite little slice of paradise. It was brutal.  Straight up the hill and then down the hill.  My true to form style of racing came back to me-out too fast, hold on, survive to the finish line.  I had missed racing so very much.  But I didn't cry. Instead we made a goal.
We were going to sign up for the Hilo to Volcano 50k!  I'd never run that far, my little sister was once the defending champ who wouldn't be making it back to defend her title with the new baby, so I decided I'd run it for her.  Little did I know I'd land absolutely loving the journey it would take to run up hill that far.  Many night runs after work, 4am runs before work, and long weekend runs that took us all day began to change my life in ways I didn't see unfolding.  I was falling in love with running, my friends, and Mikey (more on that later).  But most of all I was loving sport in a way I haven't loved it in a 

very long time. It was no longer a place I went to escape my life. It was no longer a place I went because it was my job and I had to.  It was no longer the way I made ends meet. And it was no longer defining me.  I was not my result-winner, loser.  I was just a First Grade teacher that liked (loved) to run. Sure, I miss the traveling, all the countries I was so fortunate to experience, and the many wonderful people who became friends over the years.  But I needed to lose something that took up a big space in my heart to remember how I first came to care about it.  Mikey, Stover, and I just kept running.  A lot.  And I decided I did not want to stop.  In fact I wanted more.  Something and someone soon began to take up space in my heart where I only let triathlon dwell.  It was me-I was going to set this HURT100 goal into motion because I felt the passion to do so strongly it certainly must have been placed there as my gift from God (I always believed the things we love most in this world are gifts from above).  And it was him-Mikey.  I took a full year off dating to make sure I was clinging to God while figuring out what exactly to do with my life and to put all my attention on Kainoa. When I least expected it there he was.  I mean, it's not like he was new to my life, we met almost 8 years ago and have been friends ever since. But he was a triathlete!  You know I don't date them, they shave their legs, count calories, get fixated on Strava and other gadgets that tell them how far they ride bikes, and they rarely have time for anything other than swim, bike, run. I didn't want to be close to anything or anyone that resembled my former life.  Except he just kept running with Stover and I.  And then he started to get all supportive of my 100 mile dreams and patient with my transition away from triathlon (almost like I was redifining myself).  
The thing he did though, was set me free.  He was helping me realize that who I was and who I am is the exact same girl.  My heart still beats the same and these passions that move me will never, ever, go away. I'll always be wild at heart.  And then he showed me how to swim and bike again without letting it consume me.  Which lead me to doing my first triathlon in nearly a year (3 wks ago!).  I'm not going to lie, I was super nervous to toe a start line again.  Not because of what people would say or to put myself back on a bike.  But I was afraid I'd be sad if I was slower.  That I'd compare my old times to who I am now.  Or that maybe I'd regret my decision and wish to go back to being a triathlete. None of that happened.  I played a two piece bikini. I was much slower. And winning felt different.  You know what changed that day?  It was the way I felt about myself.  As if I was doing exactly what I'm meant to do with my life and enjoying it.  All the changes, the new dreams, they are helping me thrive (you know I'm scared to become complacent-ever!). And even more special, I'm sharing it with someone that I feel is with me for the very beat of my heart and not any accolades or titles that once defined me.

What's next?  Stover has me convinced to run Kona Marathon in June with him, (he's the Hilo Marathon champ and wants to have a crack at both titles this year).  Of course I agreed, I have yet to run it and always wanted to.  In fact it was the first ever race I began training for way back in 2003-but I ended up doing the half.  Now I get my turn.  Like the weirdo long distance runners we've become, we decided next weekend we will just go run the entire course-for fun!  It's been a blast having my entire focus on HURT100 yet jumping into these local run races on a whim. Like Mac-a-Thon 10k a week after Hapalua Half Marathon, which was a week after Lavaman. I know!  3 races in 3 weeks, but that's my style-dive in head & heart first!
Hapalua was not was once one of my more glamorous races.  Attending is always an honor that I hold with massive gratitude, being able to represent Big Island, so I ran as best as I could on the day and settled for a belly flop.  The highlight though, was being on Oahu!  Home of the HURT100 course.  It was pretty special to finally set my feet on the course.  HURT100 will happen January 13-14, 2018.  I don't even know if I'm in yet!  The entire experience is so new to me.  I'm used to working my butt off and qualifying for races.  You get in or you don't based on your results.  HURT100 is totally different.  It's a lottery system.  I mean you have to actually complete some Ultramarathons to even be considered (which I've done 1 and have 2 more on my map coming this year).  You don't get in just because you win anything or have a bunch of experience.
You enter...wait...but keep training as if you are in because should you get in you can't fake 100 miles.  I've truly been enjoying the journey, should I get in it would make it all that much sweeter.  I've gotten up to a 41 mile run so far and feel better than I have ever felt about running down a dream of mine.  It's just so exciting to be part of something bigger than my shoes have ever attempted.  And to even go after something so extreme that the finisher rate is less than half the starters. I know it's one of the most difficult races in the world and that's why I want to run it, I have never been one to shy away from adversity or difficult experiences.  In fact I thrive when life holds just a touch of chaos.  In the wise words of Bethany Hamilton, "I don't need easy, I just need possible".  I guess that's about it. I'm still finding time to swim with dolphins, (though it's not on week day mornings like it once was). Summer is roughly 5 weeks away, not that I'm counting, maybe I am just a little.  I can hear the trails calling me and runs further than I drive in a day teasing me to come play.  I'll keep you posted on the journey to 100 miles as honestly as I can, like all the poops and pees you take in bushes.  Thanks for reading (if you made it this far).


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Someone got a new website...

If you're looking for me, I'm over at 

Thanks for the continued support that I've been fortunate to recieve on this website, it's been above and beyond appreciated.  If you want to continue to follow along on my triathlon journey, I'll see you over at the new website.  Have a great day! 


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy 2015

And here we go, 2015 is fully underway!  Same resolutions I always have are tucked in my pocket: To just enjoy life as best as I can and do good to those in my life.  Sounds so easy, sadly all over the world many are struggling to smile...or feel happy.  I get it, life is hard, things unexpectedly happen, I cry my fair share too, when I just don't understand. Above all though, happiness and joy exist in the least likely places and really simple moments.  My greatest reminder always takes me to my days in Costa Rica, life in a developing country truly shows you how many pleasures we have and fail to recognize.  And Nicaragua, the night I was walking home and saw the happiest couple I have ever seen in my life smiling just to be alive.  Never, ever will I forget that. And keep reaching for that kind of love.  So, it's a goal yet again to just keep striving for joy in life despite whatever is happening around me.  

I got a second tattoo, too. Felt twelve getting it because my mom was doing her best job of being kind while telling me I'm ridiculous.  I thought being a Bible verse she would at least be a little cool, I mean she loves God more than almost anyone I know.  But somehow I was her kid again coloring on myself on New Years Eve, being ridiculous. Awesome if you ask me.

"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love". 

It's my gentle reminder to love when I do not feel like it.  I spent a little too much time last year near the ending of my relationship, not really having nice feelings towards a couple people, surely they didn't care, but I was feeling rotten, mostly because I was letting their opinions matter more than mine own.  And certain life happenings I was not loving either. But at the end of my trials I learned to love them, I guess I'm still learning that when you place your faith in something bigger than yourself it's easier to trust the path...

We spent Christmas in the snow, like most the rest of the world. Funny how the end of a year makes you cling so tight to all that survived or remained in the year alongside you. It was one of the best Christmases I have ever known, to have so much left to celebrate despite so many changes.  From Christmas to New Year was discusting...! Literally every drop of food that looked yummy I ate in an attempt to nail the 7 pounds coach wanted me to put on for recovery, rebuilding, and just a mental break from being super disciplined. My favorite was my friend Becky's rum cake. For not liking rum or cake, it was amazing and easily the best food to pile on pounds.  

We skinny dipped, surfed, took a road trip, and made wishes on stars to welcome the new year.  I Made some sporty goals and set up a few little personal pay off my credit card, no TV, and get back on my feet entirely.  So far so good, I don't like tv anyways and haven't booked a flight to race just yet, as for back on my feet, me and Kainoa are all set in our new little place.  My mom calls it our Cracker Jack palace as if the prize is inside the box.  We like it, tiny, convenient, affordable, but we no longer have our dog or garden and that is gutting me.  One day...


Well, hello 2015 triathlon season! It began with a bang, building some muscles...again.  It hurt.  It was a comedy, and I have a ways to go.  I forgot how much I love routine and having my rhythm in sport back, not to mention the training partners, as so much of what we do in life really is more enjoyable shared.  So here we are, almost 2wks into the year and it feels as if I've already settled into it with an ease and excitement... Keep ya posted.