Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Swallowing Waves....

Back at it today...South Africa FULL Swim (I mean swing) ahead!! Today started with a 2.4 mile swim. Lucky for me 17 of us were Ironman buoy bound. REALLY lucky for me the ocean was packing a full Hawaiian punch! It was one of those ocean swim days (or any training days) where you think to yourself, "If I can make this I can make anything". The ocean was wild. It was a massive current against you on the way out, choppy slop in all directions, and little surges that would tumble you like a spin cycle in the dryer.
We all made it to the half-way buoy and some of us let the sea sickness settle. My eyes were crossing and my breakfast was in my gut spinning. About the time everyone made it the choice had to be made: Go all the way to the Ironman buoy or not. Let's just say it was one of those days where possibly going is not really too smart...that said...14 of our 17 went back. Not because they were chicken, most are very strong open water swimmers, but because they were realistic. Dave and Mr. Alaska said they would go with me. It was like fighting walls of water all the way out, I never swallowed that much water in my life, and my goggles were being knocked off. BUT we made it, clung to the Ironman buoy and realized it took us 47 minutes. Dave can swim the IM loop (easy) in sub 50, he is one of those "swimmer people". He also had to do some back stroke waiting for me on the way out....
The way back took us 28 minutes, we rode waves back. One wave literally picked me up, lifted me on high, then body slammed me just inches from a shallow section of reef. I wasn't scared till I looked up and didn't see the boys but felt something on my feet. I was so scared it was a shark because I kept seeing (or thinking I saw one with me most the swim). The water was so dark and cold it just didn't have that calm Kona lovin'. When we made it to sand and the shark (well, whatever it was) didn't eat me I pretty much felt like no swim will ever be that insane again in my life.... This is the calm before the storm of that swim. Next up was a ride, in the wind, with good company. Finally my training ended with a run. Today was nothing short of chop, wind, and heat... however, it was topped off with "Taco Tuesday"... no complaints on that one.

OH, since today was a swim session to remember, I better remind you... July 16th is the Kona Aquatics King Swim. Mark it on your calendar now, its the best open water swim race (1.2miles) ever. Super fast competition, good views, great race director, and of course the Kona Aquatics team will be there to join...everyone is welcome, even first time swimmers. And since there are a TON of athletes in town for training camps, you are invited THIS FRIDAY to join our swim team in an open water workout. 7am, Kona Pier. It's guaranteed good times and 90% chance of dolphins joining us. See ya then!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wrapping Up The Weekend....

Baby, wedding, Lavaman, PAU. The weekend has now come to an end as the stars are fully overhead and the moon is up. Fully loaded with good friends, lots of new loves (like the baby and the happy bride and groom), some racing, and finally bikini's on beach towels under palm trees! Breathe. Just breathe.... now all I got on my mind is Ironman South Africa. Those big events (totally life changing for those involved) have sort of taken front row...but now...laser focus!
I'd be lying if I said I didn't care about Lavaman Triathlon and it was just another day at the beach on a bike with some run shoes and a Splish. For me it was a day to brush off cob webs from the "off sort of season", enjoy racing in a low stress environment, and just see whats up with my tri-self during the IM training block.
The swim was fantastic as I finally didn't swim alone. Knowing a couple of the best open water swimmers (like Flannigan) were in the mix it was certain to be scary with all the other guys trying to hold his feet. Thankfully I got to swim with Cotter and Jens and even get my best swim time for that distance. Saw no fish, no reef, no nothing.... just didn't want to swim solo so I looked at feet....yeah, not as fun to look at... The bike was a mix of some head wind, some tail wind, some cross wind, some wind doing that weird thing where you don't know where it is coming from, and no wind (I think it stopped swirling for a minute or more). At one point though it did this weird cross wind thing that made me think I had a flat tire so I stopped at the top of Scenics to check it out. Thankfully it was not flat, just my wheels rubbing into the break pads (note to self: open break pads all the way when using Zipps). Back on the bike and all smiles not having to change a flat.
It was clear to me I had all the long distance miles I could ever want in my legs at this point because I felt strong like I could ride all day long, like 112 miles in South Africa long. As for speedy, well, it never felt "fast" but I know that will come later, for now it's all about going long and I felt long strong today on the bike.

The run...let's just say the Lavaman run course is my favorite run loop of all races (this one and the Lavaman in September too). It is so much fun you can't help but smile. BIG goofy smiles! Usually for me the lava and the coral trip me up, I'm very far from the worlds best off-road runner to be honest. This year it wasn't as much the terrain, nor pacing or nutrition...I lost my breath. Really. It was nothing I ever felt running in my life. Seriously it was horrible and I don't know what it was but I could not get my breath. In high school I had a minor case of asthma (runs on my dads side), but I out grew it and refuse to think it's looking for me... I really think I got too excited, maybe a little anxious and just forgot to breathe. It pretty much sucked, I even walked in a 10k to get a breath then Dusty the man on the bike watching out for the runners had to ride next to me to make sure I stayed upright until I got my breathing under control. It would have been a little embarrassing but I know Dusty well and he was super supportive at that point....

Of course seeing a finish line and some of the people I care about most when I crossed the line was also very welcoming. I'm really happy with where my swim, bike, and run fitness is at this (almost Ironman South Africa) point. Things are smoothing along well and now that the all the busy big events have taken place I'm ready to just keep pressing on to smoooooooooth them out a bit more until the big day. As for Kainoa, I think the weekend hit him pretty good too: see below!

I'd really like to thank my family, Kainoa, friends, training partners, Coach Jimmy, Coach Steve, The MAN-ager, and of course my sponsors: Trakkers, KSwiss, Argon 18, Cerasport, Splish, Johnson Blanton, Bike Works, Healing Island Massage, and Kona Community for making this all possible for me in all the ways you do! LOTS of love lavished on you all!! AND of course....Gerry Rott and the amazing volunteers and race staff of the Lavaman Triathlon BIG HUGE MAHALO for another fun day at the beach!
Of course getting lei'd at the end of this weekend is worth celebrating too! I'm not sure I could jam another big event into a single weekend if I tried...take that back, I think I could. OH.... forgot to congratulate the champ, Chris McCormack, thanks for racing on the Big Island today, you drive the wahine wild and have all the men chasing you too....nice race! Okay, my pillows are calling and the stars in the sky have me ready for some sleeping!!
Good NIGHT from Kona... and thanks for the photos Randy Wrighthouse & Kelly Lewi!

Friday, March 26, 2010

This Weekend In Kona.....

Game face is on! You are looking at it.......It's a mix of 11 hours of sleep in 3 days, total excitement for the arrival of my new nephew, lovin' that I get to see a wedding tomorrow, (Im a VERY big wedding fan, love LOVE!), and then there is that race, LAVAMAN, on Sunday!! I'm totally exhausted physically from all the activities, BUT I'm also very fired up because I get to be part of 3 of my favorite things...new life, new love, and a new triathlon season! WHOOOOP WHOOOOOOOP!

It's been a blast training for Ironman South Africa, I've got some of the greatest friends, training partners, and now experience training solo and ENJOYING it. I'm hooked on the plans coach gives me and we have found a really good balance, and I get to take part in a lot of local events too, like the Lavaman, which I must admit is a very big deal around the islands, bragging rights included, and Macca is here for some fun too. The sweet mix of big time (Ironman events, REV3 events) and local stuff (Peamans, Lavaman's, Mango Man's) are really helping me keep my passion, A PASSION, while also trying to make a career out of it.
And this little face is the reason I have only slept 11 hours in 3 days...and i'm not even the mom! Oh, he is amazing.... Whistler Reef Nelson, 8lbs 6oz, and perfect! I already love him so much I was busted by 3 nurses today trying to baby nap him! The sister and baby daddy are just fine too...
I must confess watching someone have a baby is SO MUCH more difficult than having one yourself. My face hurts from crying! Watching my little sister try to endure contractions and push a baby out was horrible, I wished the entire time it was me not her...but she did amazing! While watching the process flashbacks of having Kainoa came flooding back. I was a total jerk, a lot of my moments were spent in the hall begging the nurses to help me as I reassured them I was dying. My other moments were telling the nipple nazi's to get away from my boobs! (you know, the nurses that try to keep the baby hooked on you 24/7 and grab your boobs 24/7). It was bad...I was bad.
Yay, I'm an auntie again and I love it.... it makes me want a sister or brother for Kainoa! Oh stop already mom, I know you are reading this with some insane look on your face like I've lost my mind. I've also decided when that moment comes I want all of my lane mates in the room with me! FOR REAL! My lane mates have been there for me through EVERYTHING, literally ALL OF MY LIFE. I think delivery would be so much better with them there making fun of my swimsuits, telling me to stop being a whambulance, joking about my foxy cap, yanking my goggles, ect.... I'd love it! Today I enquired about that and the nurse told me only 2 people allowed in at a time...hmmmmm....by the time Mr. Right finds me and a baby actually happens Im sure I'll have a plan ready to sneak in 7 swimmers!!
Okay, wedding tomorrow, bike and gear preparation, some training, and then LAVAMAN Sunday.... Happy Weekend everyone...
MUCH love...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

ALMOST There.....

Another fun training day in the books. Another day that my incredible friends have made me laugh and smile and make this life mo-bettah!! I was cruising on my bike ride, just jamming to the IPOD, an Anuhea song, totally cheesing out...it was a little embarrassing actually. You see, my friend is getting married Saturday and I LOVE WEDDINGS, A LOT. I finally found a dress (looks like a purple Medusa jelly if you ask me). I was day dreaming about all that fun romantic stuff girls day dream about, my fingers were twirling my hair, my lips were singing the Anuhea song, and I even took the ring I wear on my right hand and put it on my left hand imagining I was married.
Mid day dream my friend Jason catches me (he was doing intervals), totally poked me in the ribs, caught me off guard, and busted me in my most girly of girly moments.... it was hilarious enough to almost knock him off the bike. Fun over and I got back to business and back to my truck with the above note on the window (love how my friends always make me smile).
Look closely and the bottom line says I need to go help Brooke. Sure enough the sister was in the hospital with the baby that is past-due now, but later sent home. I just got home from her house, she is in a world of hurt with the contractions, in the bath tub trying to relax, and I just want to rub her belly and take some of that horrific pain for her, been there and survived, dont like seeing her in my old shoes....
I'm so excited for her to become a mother. I think its the best thing on Earth. Even though Kainoa came a little sooner in my life than I was imagining he came at the time I needed him most and it has forever challenged me in ways I never knew and forever changed me in ways I only dreamed would be this amazing. Life is totally blessed when you get to share it with someone who looks up to you the way you look at stars dazzle in the sky...its a love like nothing Ive never known.... I cant stop thinking of my sister and what is about to happen to her in just a few hours or so (I know that baby is coming soon!!).

Well, the sun has set on another night here on the island and tomorrow it will pop up again. 4 more sleeps till the first triathlon of the season for me. Lots of good moments happening with love in the air and a new baby on the way... Good night from my favorite spot on Earth!

Monday, March 22, 2010

This Monday....

I think it's okay when its "One of those days" and you just want to crawl in a little hole till the world feels safe again. As long as you know you can't stay in there too long and you realize eventually there is light at the end, then hiding out to catch your breath is okay...for this Monday.
It's also okay to take off your slippers and stay bare foot even when you should probably have on some run shoes or work shoes. And it's always okay when there are little feet wanting you to put yours next to theirs...because in this life you might only be one person but to them you are EVERYTHING.
And when things really get you boggled you can kick as hard as you want.... just remember that sometimes all that kicking only makes everything get more crazy, but it does feel good and sometimes (like in the ocean) makes pretty bubbles...
Keep looking up...someday all the craziness will be understood and make perfect sense.
This Monday totally is teaching me that sometimes we just have to let the legs dangle in the deep and cross our fingers a shark won't bite them off...maybe that's what trust is all about...
...nothing grows without a little rain and that dark is when stars come out...
Get lost in the ocean on a Monday like this...then thank God these days rarely happen but when they do its a good reminder to appreciate all the more the awesome days that usually exist...
My favorite of all, to escape a Monday like this, is to share it with my favorite friends, like the ones I've known since I was 15...they just understand those surfer girl ways of yours even if now they are colored with swimbikerun and motherhood and broken hearts and all sorts of days that have shaped you into who you are....
Going with the flow today...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Blown Away...

You know what totally amazes me, this crazy beautiful world. In the ocean, just when you think you are powering through the open water or holding your breath as long as the fish while free diving, mother nature comes along to remind you who's boss...just slapping you silly upside your head with a current that takes you back out to sea or a wave that rips your bottoms off. I had a few of those swims this week.

Then there are the runs and rides. You got all the water bottles set, some salts, a bunch of calories you think will save you, your fancy bike and those amazing shoes that seem light as a feather. Totally cruising...then mother nature serves you up heat like you've never experienced and again reminds you of the time you blew off your bike and that it will very likely happen again if you let your ego try to battle war against her. Oh how I so enjoy checking my ego at the door and welcoming whatever is going to happen-happen while training on this crazy beautiful island.
The morning started off with some granola, yogurt, and blueberries. From there it was meet up with Staci (she was the only one wanting to ride really long with me while everyone else gets to taper or play in tomorrow's TT). Anyways, a good breaky busted into "practice race day fueling". We had winds, rain, and heat. Other than that I didn't notice anything...not a whale breaching, a donkey crossing, or the dinosaur in the lava fields (really!!). Usually I see all that stuff but today I was playing "South Africa in Kona". After the ride we jumped off the bikes and ran out onto the Queen K for more wind and heat. It was a very long day that ended in bad tan lines and an ice bath...but it ended the way I hoped my long day would end, like I could go more mentally and physically...
Other than the very long day that I am now laying on the floor too tired to move from, there isn't much else happening, the baby is still in Brooke's belly, phewwwww! A week till Lavaman-that means one thing: time to roll balls for the training partners! Those lucky guys are tapering...I still got a few more rounds of swimbikerun to tackle before I even get to consider that...but I'm sure in a few weeks I'll see that magical 5 letter word...
Happy Training!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

This Week In My Tri-Life...

Some of my best moments I've known are surfing moments. The thing that has stuck with me longest as I'm experiencing more life is something some of the guys I grew up surfing with would say to me...."Bree, you always take the waves you know are going to smash you right on the head, you get beat up, yet you always come up smiling". Life is so like that for me... I take em' on the head, get beat up, maybe get some sand in my pants and shed a few tears but I'm still finding some ways to smile about it all...
The triathlon season is fully underway now, mine is "almost" here. Next week is my first one and 4 weeks after that is my first Ironman of the year. My heart is nothing short of beating crazily. My stomach is already filled with butterflies. And then there is my head. I've had some amazing training days this season, some moments that have given me a lot of confidence and helped me find some hope and refreshed passion. A few days where all the disappointments and hurt of last seasons bittersweet moments fade further into the past and some glimmery sparkles shine towards the future. To say I'm totally confident again isn't totally true but I'm getting back that "fighter" in me with each mini goal coach and I set up and tackle. It's nice...
Yesterday I was having swimbikerun dreams of finish lines with moments that had my arms in the air like I was happy. I fell asleep under a tree at the beach just day dreaming triathlon, I rarely do that, it must be my head and heart are finally on the same page with my sport and life again.
The week has started out with a load of training that has ended in of course, sunsets. Those will never be taken for granted. I've got almost 30 hours of swimbikerun this week, 2 massages thanks to Dawn Henry, and lots of support that also will never be taken for granted. My sisters baby is due too, I've asked her kindly to keep it in till this week is over because I really want my sleep every night so I can make it through the weeks training load...she laughed and said I'll be the first one she'll call and you better believe I'll be the first one to show up!
Time for swim practice...then off to bed, tomorrow wake up to do it all over again. Never overlook a treasure, this week triathlon is a treasure i'm very happy with... oh, and I better share something a friend told me last night. He said, "Bree, the good stuff in life never washes away, the bad stuff always does, it just takes time, but it does go away". Then we put it to triathlon, the bad races eventually fade to the back, the disappointments fade too, but the good stuff, like all those good training sessions, good races, those stay with you...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Run N' Sun...

Coach gave me a long run...build, then hold, then go. So I built, a bit tired after yesterday's 10k, then I settled into my groove for 2hours, then I went, and 22 miles later I called it AWESOME! Very AWESOME! It was one of those runs where you know you have it on the plan all week but you mentally get yourself fired up for it so when it hits you are prepared. I even broke out the KSWISS Japan kicks. Kainoa tested them for me then said, "Mom they are ready". I love new shoes on long runs!! After the run coach said to find some balance with island activities-the beach.

We were beach buns all day, just watching all the children play, some ocean swims, some snorkeling, a lot of laughing, picnics, and whatever else that "Happens in Hawaii stays in Hawaii" kind of moments. For sure it was balance at it's finest after a good week of training.

This is partly the reason I was SO excited about the beach. All run long I was craving a salty spam musubi. I know, I know, cookies and cakes never excite me, BUT this is my one major temptation that I let myself enjoy next to the ocean after a strong long run...and it was heaven in Hawaii! That and Kainoa smiling...
Cheers to another very good week in this life. Time for bed!! And...2 weeks till Lavaman! WHOOOOOOP WHOOOOOP, first major triathlon of the season for the Hawaiian Islands, yahooooooo! If you happen to be racing (or not) and want to meet up to talk story about anything and everything Lavaman, Bike Works is hosting a session this Thursday at 6pm, see ya there!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Aloha Friday.

Another good day on the island. Simple and sweet. Something about sunsets and fire just drive me crazy and even more exciting when men in barely a grass skirt are throwing the fire and hula girls are shaking their hips to nothing but the Kona breeze. This Friday could not have come at more perfect timing, training has me fully appreciating every moment to sit on my bottom without having to pedal or hold myself in aero position.

Poor Kainoa woke up with that nasty bug that booger pickers and kids who share the same toys with slobber always get, something about preschool...so he was told to stay home for the day. We made the most of it with nap after nap. By sunset he was knee deep in Kailua pig, poi, huapia, and rice. When his appetite is back I know I'm safe from the cooties he likes to share from school. That and all the hula girls had him nothing but smiles tonight. Over and over he told me he wants to grow up to be a fireman. Lots of kids say that right? But I'm pretty sure he is saying he wants to grow up to be a fire dancer, he was in such amazement watching the men throw flames and eat it. The banging and shouting certainly had him on the edge of his seat too... in any case, a fireman...whatever you dream to become son. Whatever you dream...
The weekend looks to be some running, more running, and of course whatever the coach orders. And my training plan says, "Hawaiian activities: surf, beach, paddle, sun, find some fun but not too much of any". That's not a joke. That is written under my runs. Lovin' how coach is giving Kainoa and I the green light to play when the work is pau!!
ENJOY the weekend!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Humbling Hawaiian Winds...

Kona Trade Winds Today (as reported by the online news): It's common for trees to be uprooted, branches downed, when reinforced by mountainous topography, down slope winds can gust over 100 mph, causing destruction in low-lying areas. Certain areas can expect 69 mph winds within a few mile area...average wind 52 for the area.
Today's ride to Hawi started out like most long rides, expectations of a long day in the saddle, possible head winds out, guaranteed head wind near Waikoloa, sun burn, and a lot of IPOD singing me along. Kym kept me company the first 18 miles with girl talk about mom stuff, men, and triathlon-perfect warm up conversation. Then I was solo for the meat of Coach Jimmy's Plan: The last 3.5 hours at Ironman pace and faster if I can make it happen, no photos, no stopping, just ride strong to Hawi and back home to Kona. Motivation was at an all time high. I didn't even want the camera!!! Really. My friend Tyson sent me a text this morning telling me to "be one with my bike and stay focused in the moment". Each mile I was focusing rather than looking for whales and falling coconuts like usual. Every time I would catch myself looking around I would get back to the bike, like instant grits I was back to the bike.
Waikoloa was perfect with hardly any wind, Kwaihae was a bit of cross wind but normal style, then towards Mahukona it was unreal! I know winds of all kinds and have braved them all. Today on the way back from the turn around I was no longer in the bars but holding for dear life. Partly was questioning if I was being dumb. I was the only cyclist I saw in the area, I was blowing into the traffic lane, and I was riding on an angle (the bike wasn't even up straight) and a few miles were only 3 mph! It was the most wind I've ever known...should have read the paper before I started the ride, but I was in the moment, focused, one with my bike. I repeated that 1,000 times over and over just to get me through the scary parts (yes I was really scared a few times).
Not really sure what happened next or how , I think the cross wind stopped then turned back on within a second and the next thing I know me and the bike were not riding, I blew off my bike. At first I thought it was funny and even took a photo of the ocean chop, since I was stopped now it doesn't count as taking pictures while riding, and I needed to check out possible battle wounds. Bike derailleur okay, me okay. Then I sent a text to Tyson laughing about not being "one" with my bike anymore. I was in that "dumb founded moment" where you have no clue what happened but you laugh and have to tell someone. I laughed and texted someone.
Got back on the bike and I was frozen scared. The tears began to flow and I realized I was just blown off my bike, tree limbs are covering the road, and trees are on their sides, laughing was not funny anymore. I was scared out of my mind. I refocused, walked my bike for a minute (it was on its side blowing over just walking it!). Kona was 45 miles away! Then I decided to call my friend Rick Beach (he's a super rider) and I knew he would give me a pep talk to get back on the bike and quit being a baby...no answer so I cried on his voice mail. I was crying. My bike was fine, I only had a bloody nose and sore hip but was good to go other than my nerves all shook up. Then I got an idea to take a ride to the highway in the back of a friends pick up truck. But Travis (called him too in search of a pep talk) he talked me out of it and said to ride or walk no matter how slow, but to just do it alone. So I did it alone. 15 miles through the windiest part took me over an hour. The winds almost blew me off again, trucks were honking, it was stupidity sort of and sort of "I must do this now, get back on the horse kind of thing". So I rode as brave as I could all sore like my grandma after hip surgery and scared like a kid in the dark... I was so happy to make it back towards Mauna Lani/Hapuna area. Those winds were more welcoming and I finally was going faster than 10mph in cross/head wind slop. Once back to Kona I sat in my truck motionless, wanting to laugh and wanting to cry. Then I got home to check the wind report and was sort of stoked that I survived that and thankful I had no idea what was happening up North before I ventured up there by bike. Once home I iced the hip, not a real ice bath, just ice on off on off in cold water till it went numb. Tomorrow, back on the bike.... tonight was swim practice where the lane mates made me still lead half of it! Really, what doesn't kill you does make you stronger.

Kona winds, thank you for humbling me. I used to always laugh when I heard stories of people blowing off their bikes, now you can laugh at me too.... Pele, I'm thinking you must really love me to have blown a kiss at me that strong it blew me off my bike!
Night night!