Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Breathing Blue...

The very moment I stepped on the pool deck this afternoon Coach Steve grabbed my hands and said, "Bree, breathe". He knew, he knows, he sees me almost everyday and can read me better then most. He could tell I was barely catching my breath. Everything is moving so fast, Ironman is getting so close, the tiny town of Kona is so full, it is getting harder to breathe...
I've been reading that focus book night and day and one of the major points is breathing. In a quiet spot, like the ocean it is easy to breathe. In a more active spot, like a crowded grocery store or traffic, breathing full breaths takes more focus and the ability to calm down. In an event like Ironman, breathing takes even more focus, more ability to control deep within yourself. I was barely breathing on the pool deck, a second home to me, and Coach Steve could see that. I am on a mission to R.E.L.A.X and breathe right through this weekend and race week and then through 140.6 miles.
My plan is to think of everything blue. Blue is my favorite color and everything I love most in the world is blue. The colors of the ocean, the sky at it's brightest, the shade of my son's eyes, the way the moon sparkles on the sea at night, waterfalls, and the depths of the Pacific... I will breathe blue...
The beach, the local races, and my Hawaiian adventures are all winding down. Before long all I will only be left with crossword puzzles, books, and movies. Today was my last longish hard ride. However, hard was only part of it, the other half was fun! WAY TOO MUCH FUN!Today was the Kona Wahine Bikini Ride! No way could I miss it, not a chance! Whenever the local Kona girls get into Ironman it becomes a celebration, next year all the Big Island girls racing better show up! Today we were five. And I could not stop laughing...we felt like little kids on our bikes playing in the summer time without a care in the world!

The ride wasn't all fun and games. After Vicki and Kym turned it was time for intervals. 3x15 minutes and bikini or not, sweat was flying, hair was blowing, snot was spraying, and the heart rate was maxed out. There really was nothing feminine or pretty about it. The legs screamed, the heart was pounding, and knowing it was my last hard day on the bike I had no choice but to make it count the way I do when chasing the Hawaii Cycling Club boys.
After the intervals it was one hill, 5 times. This time I was on my own. No girls. No boys. Just me and Kalani (my bike). It was like all the training I did all year long with all my favorite training partners prepared me for what's to come, 140.6 miles by myself, and the hill was warm up for that moment to come. I loved today's ride!
To make the ride even better we ran into Kawika! I have not ridden with Kawika in years! Honestly, years! My first ever bike ride was with him. One day, while skipping paddling practice, he took me on my first ride. We rode all of Alii Drive! ALL 14 MILES OF IT (round trip)! Then, I thought that was SO LONG! He was on a mountain bike and I was determined to keep up. The next day I would take my second ever ride, to Waikoloa (50 miles round trip), so this Alii Drive was practice.
Today, on the bikini ride, we had a good laugh at how my first ride, skipping paddling practice, turned into an Ironman! What a sweet ride this triathlon life has been!
To make everything even more fantastic... Kate, Kiwi, and me returned to massive side walk chalking! My truck was left with bikini's decorating it...(wonder if the girls drove home topless)... what a celebration! It has been amazing to have such fantastic people to share this triathlon ride with! I just adore the friendships triathlon has brought me...

Just when I was thinking life is really as close to perfect as it can get, a rainbow came up. At that moment I was able to breathe the deepest of deep breaths...big blue breaths!
Coach has landed in Kona.. ALL the Lifesport coaches are here! It's a really good thing. Perfect timing in fact. The first words out of Coaches mouth (after saying how EXCITED he is to see me, of course), is that my sunshine days are done till October 11 and from here on out is is FOCUS ON IRONMAN ONLY. Tomorrow morning we are running together. Well, me running, him on a bike, so if you see a crazy man chasing me don't worry, I'm okay, it's just Coach Paul.
Good Night from Kona!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Po akahi (Monday)...

Ironman Hawaii 2009, 11 days...
I woke up this morning with a smile on my face as big as the sun! It was the type of morning where all the birds chirping were like songs to me. Happy-happy-happy! My head was focused (yes, coach, really...), jumped into the swimming pool.... SINK...SINK...SUNK....
No way! How is it that my head and heart are good to go and the body is on a different page. I blame the start of taper. Shake it off Bree, shake it off. We shook it right to Kekaha Kai. AND wouldn't you know, on the way my MOST favorite song from middle school came on the radio! Listen here... With that, the windows went down and I sung at the top of my lungs. The other 4 friends in the truck tried to jump out, went deaf, then told me I am the worlds worst singer-EVER! Ben and Pablo thought it would be better to walk through white wash over rocks and risk slipping or tripping then to ever, ever, EVER hear me sing again...whatever boys, Karaoke??
The Kiwi, Kate, and I took full advantage of the "daily 20 minutes" of sunshine coach has given me. Most of it was under a shade tree still finishing up my book...ALMOST PAU!
However, the main purpose of this trip was a little Hawaiian thing. A local Hawaiian friend that really believes and follows all the "ways of the island", gave me some Hawaiian chants, offering things to Pele, and some little peace thingys I should do to "get with the island"., myself, and I, left my amigos and went on my way... first stop was finding a honu...
Then I found some peace and quiet away from everyone and everything...just me and some really long Hawaiian words that I can barely say or even begin to say... I'm pretty sure my offering sounded more like a child learning to read then the beautiful Hawaiian chant it was meant to be...

After getting my groove on with the island I found my friends, tried to sing them "Three Little Birds", but they went under water...and Pablo, well, he is never speaking to me again because his ears fell off.
"How we spend our days is how we spend our lives"-Annie Dillard
It was another really good 20 minutes on a white sandy beach, another day closer to the big dance, and another day that I feel as if I lived a really good day in my life. Tonight will be sunset with Kainoa, then I will sing him a song to sleep, (and he LOVES my singing), then tomorrow swim and run...with 10 days to go!
I ku ka makemake e hele mai, hele no me ka malo`elo`e.
If the wish to come arises, walk firmly...
Hugs from Hawaii,

Sunday, September 27, 2009

An Ironman Story...

You know how every year tons of Ironman stories are published...about people doing Ironman? They just select people throughout the year and write a little story about their training, journey, or life as an athlete. This world is REALLY big and it has A LOT of people racing Ironman, I love all the stories, all the journey's I read about, each so different. Well, I got a cool story to tell...
I have this amigo, Pablo. Last year we got our Kona slots at Ironman Florida. For him no big deal, he has gotten it 9 times, won his age group at various Ironmans, top amateur at 3 different Ironmans, one of those fast people in the top 10 at Kona. Fast doesn't always mean easy road to Kona though.
Back home in Argentina he sold his helmet, bike shoes, AND BIKE to pay for his ticket back to Kona. Not kidding. So here is this fast guy with nothing to get through 112 miles, but he got to Kona. I tell him don't even worry, you can ride my bike! So for the past month he has been here training on this bike that is so small for him. NEVER ONCE complaining! He has been racing some of the pro men and hanging on with this tiny, tiny, tiny bike. He won't even take off my nerdy blue bar tape and pink skewers, he is just so happy to have a bike so he can race.
Day in and day out I have been watching this. Seeing someone so happy just to be in the race and so thankful just to have a bike to use (I think he would have even borrowed Kainoa's with training wheels just to race).
Last night I get this idea... ask Marc-Andre (my incredible Argon18 bike sponsor) if he can help. Like the family Argon 18 is, they tell me, OF COURSE! Pablo was like a little child hearing that Argon18 was going to help him for the race. They are letting him use one of the 2010 Argon18 E114! What a story... going from no bike, to a borrowed bike that is way too small, to a top of the line E114! Argon18, thank you for being more than just a bike company!! Don't forget to check out the new E114 Wednesday October 7, 3pm at the Ironman Expo... really great people, really great bikes!
In other Ironman news... town is filled with athletes, I saw Yvonne and her hubby cruising down Ali'i this morning and Belinda Granger and her hubby last night, 2 words for those couples, FIT & FABULOUS! In Kona news... this morning was Mango Man. I love that race, do it every year. This morning coach said, "No". I did Lavaman & Peaman the last 2 Sunday's, he said, "No Mangoman, the next man I get is Ironman". ha ha ha!!! I swam and ran and played cheerleader. Then my good friend Bobbi reminded me I have been in the sun more than 20 minutes and with that, I went home! Sheeeeeesh, but it's all good... 13 days till the big dance!
Happy Taper :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nani, u'i, maika'i Ola...

Life is BEAUTIFUL... Yesterday was beautifully painful. Every Thursday in Kona we have a group ride, double hills. BIG HILLS. Down Napapoo then climb out. South along the highway, down Ho'okena, climb out. What makes this ride so amazing, (other than the fact you are still alive when you reach the top of the hill), is the view from the bottom! Woooooo, it is breathtaking! The local boys were blessed with the strong legs of a couple pro men in town (Ben Hoffman & Bruno Clerbout). I hung on for DEAR LIFE up and down the hills....

The first climb out I was feeling pretty good and hung on with the ability to snap a foto, laugh a little, talk a bit, and smile. Climbing up Ho'okena was another story. Spit, snot, tears were flowing! No camera, no talking, my legs were burning, it all hurt so bad. Ben, Bruno, Aussie Dan, and Aussie Adam started racing... sheeeeeeesh....and that is when I saw the most beautiful pain second only to child birth... It really hurt, to say the very least.

Ho'okena Beach...

The hand shakes and fist bumps were sincere at the start and finish of the ride, but everything in between was "every man for himself". Hold on or get off the ride pretty much. I was just thankful they let me come, I guess the Hawaii Cycling Club realized this kid sister is a tag along!

Hang on hula girl... it's just a 4 hour ride... and only I have to run off the bike!

I fell more in love with my bike then the day before & the day before that...

Beautiful Waipio... untouched and free...
Today was another beautiful day! I'm getting all my training done physically and working on that other part, the part in your head. The focus part. Coach gave me a book that I am reading for the 3rd time about FOCUS. I'm working on "Distraction" this week. It was time to get away, step back, and look at the big picture. Think on my goals, see my goals, let my goals come to life... off to a quiet spot...
Since Ironman training is in full effect I know coach would be happy if I ran all the way up and all the way down the valley, it's not too steep... ha ha, just kidding, we drove...

My amigo Pablo and I set out on a mission to train our minds for Ironman. All the hard work is in the bank. With about 2 weeks to go it is time to sharpen up the minds... so a little escape was in order...a place where NOBODY else would be...

Under the shade...

Reading, high-lighting, my brain. Working hard on getting my "focus on". No outside distractions of other athletes, no training, just a beach with only our foot prints, the ocean to remind us of how great life is, and the gentle breeze to remind us we are alive! It was perfect...

One of the 7 valleys. After Ironman we are planning a trip to hike all the valleys... its an ALL DAY LONG thing... maybe 2 we drove (it's called taper??).

15 days...
Okay, off to bed...tomorrow is a cruisey easy ride, I can handle that!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Buoys Went Up...

Today in Kona the Ironman 2.4 mile swim buoys went up, lots of bright orange balls cover the ocean. Butterflies have officially taken over my belly.

Post run, on the side of Ali'i where Kate-O caught me talking to coach (he is really on the phone in this foto, ha ha ha!)
"Yes, coach". "Anything you say coach". "Okay coach". "I promise coach". "Thank you coach". Last night I had a long chat with coach about today's run. 8x1 mile on this certain section of Ali'i Drive, by myself. Today I set out to do exactly as he told me. It hurt, I made it all with a smile on my face dripping in sweat, then I called coach with excitement right from my truck the second I was done! SOME HOW I still messed it up a little bit. Sheesh. He gave me 7 stars (I know, he has to coach me like a 5yr old), he said it easily could have been a 10 star run, but I got toooooooooooo excited and went into a zone I was not supposed to touch, (I felt TOOOOOO good).
He explained to me that this saved up energy from not playing between training is not supposed to be used to race my mile repeats, I was supposed to nail my zones. I get it now. I would like to blame my enjoyment on my new playlist! Here was todays jams...

  • Breathless, The Corrs
  • Shine on, Needtobreathe
  • Bidi Bidi Bom Bom, Selena
  • The Awakening, Switchfoot
  • Just Like Heaven, Goldfinger
  • Working, Katchafire
  • It Wasn't Me, Shaggy
  • Superman, Gold Finger
  • Look What Happened, Less Than Jake
  • You Make My Dreams, Hall and Oates
  • Here in Your Bedroom, Gold Finger
  • Hold My Hand, Sean Paul
  • Hope, Shaggy
  • You're The Inspiration, Chicago
  • Celos, Fanny Lu
  • Feel The Rush, Shaggy
  • Procura, Chichi Peralta
  • Inolvidable, Reik
  • Get Down, Audio Adrenaline
  • Wouldn't It Be Nice, Beach Boys
  • Vivir Sin Aire, Mana'
  • Audience of One, Big Daddy Weave

That list I built up with a bunch of my best memories on this journey to my first Ironman Hawaii as a professional. Each song has a special meaning. The 80's songs were ones my sisters, mom, and I danced to as little girls with leg warmers on when my mom told me I could do anything, even dance in FAME if I really wanted to. The punk tunes were from all the surf trips I took with the crazy Florida surfer girls, we just celebrated life SO FULL. Procura is from my best days in Costa Rica. Vivir Sin Aire is from Ironman Florida with Pablo where I qualified for Kona. The Other songs are from just learning how to love life and live it. Anyways, the songs got to me on my run and I just took off a little faster than coach asked for.


I have a plan... since I have to sit on my booty all day between training, if you want my Ironman Hawaii 09 mix you can have it, but you have to be one of the first 5 people to email me your address, then I will make you a mix and send it to you... Beautiful Lyman's Beach Bruno also doing his fast miles along Ali'i this morning... Water bottle pit stop Beautiful plumerias filled my run with the sweet scent of life! Once the run, refuel, and ice bath was pau, it was time to enjoy the ocean (that is how recovery works best for me). So, a few friends later, it was 20 minutes at Kua Bay (honest coach, just 20 minutes)...

"Laughter is the sensation of feeling good all over and showing it principally in one place" -Josh Billings "Follow what you love and it will take you where you want to go"

-Natalie Goldberg

"Life has to be lived, that's all there is to it"-Eleanor Roosevelt
"Do one thing everyday that scares you"- Unknown
"In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities"-Janos Arany
Now time to visit Makai Chiro for some ART then swim practice!! Woooohoooo...
Hugs from Hawaii,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Name Drop...

SO... i've been introduced to a lot of new things with all these pros in town. Like weird food choices on the bike, where to stuff things in your swim suit, crazy bike fits and funky shoes, sleep habits and shoping spree's and a little thing called name dropping. Name dropping is something the "nerds" do, they just drop the names of all the "cool" kids they see, meet, hang out with, or something like that. I AM A NERD & I AM ABOUT TO NAME DROP...
I can't help myself. I still look up to, admire, and respect a lot of the people in triathlon. BUT this day, was one of the coolest. After my swim with Monroe and Bruno (I'm droping their names...Monroe Roos is my local swim bud who missed the Olympic Trials for Aruba by less than a second, and Bruno is my new friend from Belgium who happens to be part fish too). Anyways, they took me swimming today, the full IM course making sure to keep it sub 1hr pace (and we did because they are that fast and I just hung on). THEN we got to chill with...are you ready...MAJOR name drop time... Marino Vanhoenacker!!
Oh my gosh, talk about break out my marker and autograph book like a little kid at Disney!! I'm not sure the fancy of meeting some of these super stars will ever wear off... Yes, they are just human, but darn they are cool humans. If I were a bet maker I would place a few of my bucks on him at Kona this year... after just a minute of meeting Marino and seeing how human and normal he is (depsite being unhumanly fast), I was telling him he should join our local swim squad tomorrow and ride with us Thursday... he is just that chill...
More name dropping... Ben Hoffman... he is just a rookie in Kona this year, he's here for a month of training pre-race and he has totally befriended everyone! He is pals with the super pros and the locals and the age groupers, everyone! I'm telling you it's really cool. He's like a normal guy! Today he was making jokes, picking his nose (not really), and even invited nerdy me to Orange Tree! I was kinda blown away, there are very cool people in our sport and luckily I keep meeting them!
Town has been filling daily with more and more and more professionals and age groupers. It's very exciting and a little crazy at the same time. I pretty much stick with my usual local buds, usual routine, and usual way of life. Even if the big names that I like to drop are exciting, there is still nothing better than the people I've known for years and years and have been to the end of the world and back with on my bike, in the water, or in my sneakers. So to finish my name dropping fun: Dave, Pablo, Cody, Andy, Kevin, Monroe, Jim M. Luis, Kate, Kawika, Wendy, Penn, Eric, Jason, Sam, Kona Aquatics, HCC, you will always be my favorites :)
Okay, time to get that Weezle Bread out of the oven, then sleep time!!