Monday, August 31, 2009

Head First Into A Guava Tree...

Well, Kainoa and I did park right smack in the overhanging branches of a guava tree while visiting a friends new house... but that really has nothing to do with this, I just don't like every post to be "triathlonish" so I figure a guava tree is more yummy...
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I have a NEW best friend, he plans to spend countless hours with me. He enjoys sunrises and sunsets on the rode, he never complains about my clothes, especially ugly bike shorts. I must confess he is really hot and sexy! And together we are a match made in HEAVEN! Today was our first "meeting", already it was love at first sight. I'm hoping he is ready for a date on Wednesday (I have a 6hr ride I really want him to join me on...). AND here he is:

How beautiful is that??!! Like I said, match made in heaven, so it's only fitting his name is "Kalani" which means heaven in Hawaiian. Tomorrow I have a bike fitting, and I have my fingers crossed that by Wednesday we get to take our first spin around the block, or island since it will be a long ride...
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Sweet Dreams from Kona!
Bree

Saturday, August 29, 2009

How NOT To Get Your Slipper's Stolen...

September should have a special holiday in Hawaii. Maybe "Stolen Slipper September" or something. Each and every September dozens of slippers are stolen from various surf/swim spots scattered around Kona beaches. I'm not saying it doesn't happen all year, but September and half of October are the months where "sticky fingers" just happen to linger.
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November-August we leave bags of stuff and slippers of all prices at the sea wall or white shelves and after the ocean swim everything is still where you left it. Last Ironman flood someone took my $2 Locals, no joke, $2 pink locals! This year while visiting the Philippines I had a brilliant idea the moment my eyes saw this wall! (see the above photo). There are more slippers in one spot than I have ever seen in anywhere here! AND that was just one spot on the wall!! The store clerk was looking at me funny snapping this photo or I would have taken more...
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Anyways, I got this idea... if the fancy slippers of my friends are getting stolen and the cheap ones of mine, then people must not be going for the price value, they are going for the "look".
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I'm about to reveal my new slippers...but I must give fair warning, they are not exactly rated G.

TAAAA-DAAAAAA! What do you think?! GREAT plan Bree Wee! Get slippers with a booty on them, no girl is going to steal those and my feet are way to small for a boy to take them! ha ha... Darrin and I were dying laughing at these in the shop! We bought some for us and I bought some for a few of my friends in Kona! This might just be the first Ironman season that none of my slippers come up missing!

In other news... training is slowly working it's way back in after a mini-Philippines recovery. Today was an hour of wheel hugging behind 10 of the boys. Gotta love that draft and of course the company! The next hour was with Kate-O, that was no wheel hugging, just girl talk of the usual girly topics. Then the fun began... me, myself, and I, for 4 more hours!
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I'm starting to embrace this solo riding, it's helping me find my own pace and some ways to keep myself focused without my training buds. Todays ride was a lot of scoping out the Ironman course (as if I don't see it everyday). Today I picked a bunch of spots on the course and left a few of my favorite memories at those spots out there. I'm going to let them linger until race day, then when I pass those spots I will get to live those moments again and zoom right through the 112 miles full of happy days all over that course.
This is one of my very most favorite spots on the course. It was during my first Ironman. I'm not sure I want to share what happened here on that day, it was a good moment though and I always look forward to being in this spot while riding the course...
I also used the long ride as another opportunity to practice my nutrition. Lovin' it...phewwww. Now if I could just get the pacing down and keep my focus ALL DAY LONG. Belinda Granger is one of my very most favorite Ironman athletes, (And I hope she claims her IM Canada title again tomorrow), and something I learned from her is that you have to be patient as a rookie. She has almost triple the amount of years in sport that I have. When she was here in June she reminded me I am young in sport and that even has she is getting older she is at her best right now, her best ever! That's going to be what I need to contiune to strive for to make it in this LONG DISTANCE stuff...patience...
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Tomorrow is a swim, where I might or might not see a rusty white bike, then a run...it feels good to be back to some training, especially for a race that I am so happy to be part of this season! Even if I do lose slippers for it every year!!
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Ahonui (patience),
Bree

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Today's Swim Practice...

This is one of my new favorite photos EVER! Not because Chris McCormack is running up the beach, but because I made that little pack! Okay, okay, so I got a bit lucky, he lost his goggles and swam a bit more cruisy without them... BUT...never would I imagine coming out of the water with the fast people (including Gina Kehr). I would like to blame it on the following activity:
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1...2...3...GO!
Yes, we have officially declared cliff jumping, snorkeling, free diving, surfing, paddling, and various other water sports as "Swim Practice". If it's in the water it's swim practice. This idea to declare it swim practice was because Pablo was skipping swimming to jump with us and a friend recently asked me if my 3 days at masters were my only swim workouts...now that I count this-NO, I SWIM ALMOST EVERYDAY!

There are hundreds of jumps around the island. This is a personal favorite because I love the water color. It's a 35 footer that hangs over a gorgeous cave... talk about BEAUTIFUL...the life of a mermaid continues...ha ha!
Chris McCormack and Terenzo Bozone's bike specialists and video crew are here filming their Hawaii Ironman training camp. They asked Dave what's cool to do, so we rounded up some local Kona peeps and we took them here for their video... they were highly entertained! A couple hours later and a bunch of jumps and climbing back up the rock wall we were completely full of adrenaline, yet nearly pooped! That said, today I tried to get most of this "swimming" out of my system, the closer Ironman gets the less of this I am sure to see on my training schedule!! Till then, bombs away!!





After jump, jump, jumping we pile back into Dave's tiny pick up, laugh our bums off, and declare that one of the best swim sessions ever! Tomorrow morning is the pool...Kona Aquatics here I come!!
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Happy swimming!
Bree

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Okole Maluna!

It means "Bottoms up" in case you are wondering about that title... today has been one of those days ALL DAY LONG. The kind that you feel as if you are falling on your okole no matter how hard you try to stay upright! My friend said I have the "post Ironman blues", I think I am just a little homesick, which baffles me because I AM HOME WITH KAINOA! And despite drinking the water in the Philippines everyday I am not sick...
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The morning started with breakfast, more food on the floor than on the plates and mommy vs 3yr old I lose again! Kainoa and I both ended up in tears but shook it off and left the mess till we felt better.
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Today is day 1 of Ironman Hawaii training (well, day one of the final block). Motivation and excitement is at an all time high but coach is at an all time low with me. Since I fumbled my plan at Philippines 70.3 I think he is considering firing me as his athlete...not really...but ignoring me for disrespecting him and the plan is making him not want to talk to me for a few days...sheesh! Strike 6 already for this day in my life! Oh, I also found out today I will not be able to race the road race around Oahu! Grrr... maybe one of the best 112 mile races ever...make that strike 7...
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When I have one of these days where I am homesicky feeling for life in a 3rd world country and I miss my moments in Costa Rica I get in this mood where I feel like I have to give all my clothes away and not use the dishwasher for weeks. Then I refuse to buy groceries till all the food in my house is gone. The only way to explain it is that it feels like less is more...and I had that empty feeling for Costa Rica so bad that I had to fill it up by having less...I know, I'm kinda weird, I have this incedibly blessed life and yet I reminisce about life back in Costa Rica where I would wash all my clothes by hand, wear the same shorts for days, and eat only beans and rice for weeks! Most the day has felt like that... so much to do... yet none of it felt good, just busy. It was chores and errands and deadlines for some papers I am supposed to be writing...blah...back on my okole because I am so far behind getting any of it done. Again, the only thing that ever cures this kind of day for me is to forget about me and what I gotta do. So... Kainoa and I created a mission...he actually likes this part of my "moody day". I became good friends with Tracy and Cyrill (the girls from Cam Sur that took care of us). Everyday rain or shine they showed up at my door ready to make my bed or take out trash. I always felt so bad having them do it, so I tried to have the bed made and trash empty before they got there. Then we could talk story rather than clean. We had so much fun learning of each other's culture and they taught me a lot about living simple and smiling no matter what. I always tried to show them how much I appreciate them and their kindness. I knew they didn't have much yet they kept giving. My last day they brought me home made Pilinut treats, it might not sound like a big deal but that was a huge deal for them to do that when they work so much just to put food on their table.
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To rid this blah feeling I told Kainoa we have to shop for our new Filipino friends. I happened to have a $100 Walmart gift card and knew it would be the perfect thing to put to use to make a care package to send back to them in the Philippines. After filling a cart full of little things we get to the cash register to pay. Kainoa likes to hold the Walmart card. Well, this time he dropped it, lost it, and is feeling pretty bad. Of course I can't yell at him, it was his way of helping and he felt bad. If you have ever seen me run, I ran faster than that retracing our steps all over Walmart!
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We never found the card. I kinda felt bummed...but then I remembered the entire purpose of this trip to Walmart, to make someone else's day better. Losing that card probably made the person who found it so happy! While I'm mumbling about my "blah" day they are probably calling everyone they know rambling about how awesome their day is and how they found a 100 bucks to make it better! Hopefully it was someone who really needed $100 bucks to Walmart! I was trying to teach Kainoa not to feel bad about it, maybe in the long run we needed it less. We paid for our things and all of a sudden that dark cloud that had me feeling blah all day long was suddenly gone.
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Now it is WAY past my bedtime, Kainoa is sleeping after a million bedtime stories, and tomorrow is a new day, I'm hoping not to wake up tired.
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Sweet Dreams from Kona!
Bree

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chillin' In Kona, With Bike Parts...

Ahhh, that was one sweet adventure. It's been said not to get your hopes up too high on things because if it doesn't work out you set yourself up for some disappointment...well... I jumped on the plane to the Philippines with a whole lot of hopes for a great experience and let me tell you, I was beyond satisfied, infact everything other than my not-so-smooth pacing plan on race day was better than imagined.

My pre-Kona race to see where I am and what I need to focus on has come to a conclusion and now it's time to gear up for the big show in 45 days! I'm still pinching myself that I get to race! Tomorrow starts back up the training so I am spending this evening with a bunch of bike parts. Just now considering putting the bike back in one piece. Till then it's not going anywhere...
The other bike parts that are causing a lot of day-dreaming and curiosity were waiting for me to return from the Philippines...and HERE THEY ARE! I'd love to know what all this fun will amount to, all I know is I got to pick a name...
Okay, a multi purpose tool is calling my name and some pedals are tired of sitting separate from the bike, I better get a move on before Kainoa loses anymore screws (he is trying to fix the bike now). Happy bike building from the Big Island!
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Bree
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Maybe I Should Just Get Married...

It's almost over, the most fun race and race experience of my entire life is just about wrapping up. I'm pretty sad to be honest, I really fell in love with the Philippines and the people. Next year I will be back (did you hear that one coach??!!). I might cry when I leave... tomorrow we hit the plane for Manila (from the country to the city). Tuesday touch down Kona & Kainoa...

The race went like this...
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I woke up feeling SO READY to race. Butterflies, excitement, and confidence. Confidence has not been my strength lately after a crummy first half of the season. BUT my past few weeks of training have been so incredible and I healed so much from a lot of "other pain", that I just began to believe again...believe that I can race with the best women in sport, that I can do this...
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With my new confidence I toed the line of the swim and instantly decided I was going to be right up front...with the fast people...and it worked. McCormack lost his goggles at one point and ended up swimming a bit sloppy, that meant ME ON HIS FEET. Yeah, I know, could swimming get any cooler?? SO I had him and Gina Kehr pulling me around the big lake. I was smiling SO BIG to be with 2 of the best swimmers in sport. Then came the run to the small lake. Macca took off but Gina was still there. She ended up closing the gap by 11 seconds, BUT it was the best swim of my career (so far). To be anywhere in her time zone and only 45 seconds behind the first man out of the water was insane for this "dolphin hunting snorkeler".
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The bike went like this: GO! And I went as hard as I could for as long as I could. There was no building and no pacing and no strategy-AT ALL. It was me thinking I could win the race if I get a really big bike lead (because I knew all the women behind me are serious runners). I looked at the heart rate, zone 5, it stayed TOO HIGH for too long. I just kept believing though. At one point I was so happy to be leading the race by almost 5 minutes that I was getting tears! Then I rode through a town that reminded me so much of my life in Costa Rica that I really started crying! I high-fived every single child that I rode past (of course praying they would not yank me off my bike). I just felt like I was home, like I was in Playa Hermosa, with the kids again, and I got this energy that made me think I could ride my bike forever in zone 5 or 6! I forgot all about the other women, it was me and the people of the Philippines on an empty street in what felt like a dream. Mile 40ish I started to feel a wall...then I hit it... it was then I decided to get calm down, but it was too late. Near the end of the bike Gina and Lisa B. caught me like I was on training wheels...
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T2/run... us 3 were off the bike together, Lisa had her shoes on just in front of me and just after Gina and I never saw them again. They ran. I survived. A few miles later Charlotte got me and the rest was me wondering if I did a good thing finding some confidence again and going for the win from the start of the swim and of course learning a VERY painful lesson THAT I WILL NOT DO DURING IRONMAN HAWAII... or if I did a bad thing and "what if I built the bike" came into mind. I did however get to run my final mile with my Filipino friend Arland and he sung me the song "Dying together" with 800 meters to go...
I really have to thank Fred (left side) for putting on such a GREAT race! What an amazing race director, friend, and person! In fact, I owe a HUGE mahalo to the entire Philippines 70.3 team! You all far exceeded all of our expectations. And thank you to the Governor for dreaming up this place and letting us all be part of your dreams for the town! To the volunteers, you made the day with your cheers and encouragement! To the people of Cam Sur/Naga, I really love you, so much! The smiles on your faces and the love you bestow on everyone made me feel so at home! To Lisa, Gina, Charlotte, Emma, and the Filipino pro women thank you for pushing me SO HARD, 4th place never hurt so good! AND a HUGE congrats to each and every finisher! WE DID IT!!
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Finally, to the fan that asked me to marry you, let me think about it... to the man that slapped my butt on the run, I needed that to get me moving so I won't kick your @$$ this time! To the woman that called me sexy while I was racing half naked through your town, thanks, I think.
This first class treatment from the Pinoy boys (like carrying my bike back to my room after the race) I could really get used to. Seriously, when was the last time you saw this (see below). These guys treat their women like princesses! Maybe I should consider my marriage proposal a little more seriously...
Thank you so much to my family, friends, training partners, coach, manager, and sponsors for helping make this dream a reality. I really appreciate it more than words could ever express...and I promise... I won't let my confidence make me think I can race a 56 mile ride in zone 5-6 ever again...
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Time to play in Naga! AND Kainoa, see you soon buddy! Mommy misses you like crazy!
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Philippines 70.3...It's Time...

Since arriving in the Philippines it really has felt a lot like I opened a treasure box and each moment here I am pulling out a jewel or diamond, something beautiful and shiny! I remember last year one of my Filippino friends telling me about this race, in that instance my heart said, "GO". I wanted so much to have it on my race schedule. It wasn't until after coming in very last place at REV3 that I was able to convince coach I just have to step away from the mainland races and go some where I am passionate about and re-spark my love of triathlon and racing. And here I am...

Today I got my bike all ready. I've decided to borrow one of the locals bikes, keep it local style, you know. For sure my competition will be happy to have me on this bike! I'm pretty sure Argon 18 won't mind as long as I slap one of their stickers on it!
I'm also feeling rested and fueled! One of my new Korean friends that I was lucky enough to help out during the training camp heard I like (LOVE) seaweed...and he brought me some! That is how it is here, everyone keeps on giving and sharing and loving... it's so similar to the same ALOHA I feel at home in Hawaii...
Of course I needed to spread the aloha too... so when my new race suits showed up, (thank you Trakkers and Splish), the beautiful girl who cleans my room everyday got one too! She was almost in tears, then I told her no need to clean my room, just go play...Truly, it was like another jewel or something having that moment with her and seeing her appreciation over something like a new swim suit...
Then it was time for a swim in the jacuzzie, I mean lake. Honestly, it is beyond bath water here. I don't even think skinny dipping could keep this swim cool... I have yet to see any sea creatures but Kristian did hit me with a giant stick of some sort, so there are things in there...
The swim course really is beautiful. It looks pretty long to me...one giant loop in the big lake followed by a smaller loop in the little lake. I am definitely looking forward to running from one lake to the other, what an adventure as long as blondie doesn't trip up on the carpet!
It has been so much fun getting to know the little town, the other athletes, and the race organizers. By far this is the best race I have been to all season long, and I haven't even raced it yet! The governor has been here meeting us and he told us that it all began with a dream. This town is full of malnutrition, poverty, and not much but the shoes on their feet, some have no shoes... By bringing sport here he believes we can be examples to the children, showing them that you can dream big, reach for the stars, and to never give up. The entire town has been out cheering for us and feeling inspired. They all want to run along side us and ride bikes. I can't even begin to describe the feeling of being here and wanting to just love on this little place the way they are loving on us...
Finally, have you ever wondered what it looks like to sit at the press conference and look out into the crowd or camera crews? If so, here ya go, this had me cracking up for so long I could not even take the meeting serious! Okay... that's a wrap, not much else to do but relax till race day. Believe me I want to go outside and play, but I am forcing myself to sit here and REST till show time! Lots of hugs from the Philippines!
Bree
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

What A Ride!

Arland and I under our welcome banner...
Family foto, I'm getting adopted into this family so I can come back to the Philippines as much as I want!! If I could have 3 homes one would be here for sure! (the other 2 are of course Hawaii and Costa Rica). Head OVER heals in love with this place, the people, all of it! EVEN eating rice everyday of my life, 3x a day is fine with me, not my booty though!
My body guard (above) and my bikes body guard (below).

Post ride with the some friends from Hawaii...
Look at that! 3 Argon 18 bikes in one little spot! Funny how something as simple as the same bike created new friends, except the white bike is WAY cooler than mine, hmmmm...maybe I will see a white bike in my future... MARK ANDRE do you hear me??! ha ha ha ha... KALANI! Zooming around the corner... this is the view if you were legally drafting Chris McCormack... just thought some of the guys would want to see what it might be like that close during a race...
And this is what it would be like if you are NOT legally drafting behind Macca and Terrenzo Bozone... ha ha, I was having way too much fun, I know, couldn't help myself!
AND this is what it looks like when you are riding SO FAST you pass Terrenzo and Macca, on the right side, cause that is how fast I was going...ha ha ha!
More views from the ride. I took 67 photos on the ride, it was an hour ride, that means more than a photo an hour! THAT is how much I love this place and this ride and ALL of it... the only problem, the ride was too fast for my camera and they all turned out blurry except a few! Looks like I have to bring my camera race day! ha ha... just kidding coach.
The camera crew on our ride, thought he might want his photo taken since he took like 300 of us!
Charlotte Paul, Ironman China winner taking it to the boys! YAHOooooooo!
My new home...Kainoa pack your toys!

This was my favorite rider, he rode in slippers! I totally want him for a training partner!
After the ride our training camp was over. It was a very special experience in so many ways. Getting to work with the local athletes in the camp, making new friendships, and just helping out was so worth it... and getting to help alongside the other pros (like Lisa Bentely, Cam Brown, and Pete Jacobs today), I was able to learn so much myself! Now that the camp is over it is time to prepare myself for race day, take that focus I had on helping out and gear it towards my race day... I feel really ready...really excited...and really happy! To start, I'm off to my pro press conference...I can do this...Usually these pro meetings make me cry, but I've become friends with all the pros in this race and I am actually looking forward to it...
Of course lunch with Gina Kher, Charlotte Paul, Darren, Kristian, and our 2 new local buddies is very first, then time to get race ready! 2 more sleeps till the big day...
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Laters!
Bree