Monday, January 31, 2011

Catching the island...

Spent some time fishing this weekend, mostly caught Big Island. It was the PERFECT recovery, A LOT of beach time and Kainoa time. 2 weeks from today will be time to fly...oh yes, it's that time of year again when this momma jumps on planes across the Pacific Ocean to swimbikerun her heart out for another triathlon season. Let's get this show on the road! I'm pretty excited and even more excited that "round #1" will take place in Costa Rica!

As the season flows along Ill be sure to share all the things my eyes see, my legs and arms feel as they move, ache, and everything else from start lines to finish lines, and of course share the ups & downs of sport in my life. Check out these eyes (poked them out of one of the fish that became bait this weekend).
The travel is the most bitter sweet part of the year for me. It means a lot of things, like leaving behind Kainoa, (most races anyway), and the simplicity of slippers and swimsuits. It also means new opportunity, cultures, and experiences though, those things keep me feeling alive. The people I meet sometimes change my life and the people I get to return home too always have me feeling blessed. Sleepy nights await me, new time zones steal my rest, and sunrises and sunsets in other places have me looking forward to keeping my eyes wide open.
Being able to live a dream, something that you want to do with all your heart is something I never take for granted, something I know will change one day and can be taken away another day. Something that Ive been fortunate enough to have been given this opportunity despite the hundreds of others who want it just as bad. Its something I wish I was better at and will keep reaching towards becoming better at until there isn't another reach in me. It's swimbikerun, it's what I do, its how my life is lived most everyday, it's more than a job but just a job at the same time...
2 weeks till I get on that plane, step on another start line, go as hard as I can, cross another finish line, and then return home as "mom" to my favorite 4 year is good.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mamalahoa between 2 hills...

Sometimes all a girl wants is some lychee's, but it's not always lychee season... in that case, rambutan. There are also those days where just a banana will do, like hour 3 into a long ride, when you've had enough of those gels! And of course, those days where you just keep going because you know it will all be worth it and the words "family day" wait up for you on the training plan...
For 2 weeks I've been logging in the sweat covered miles and hours knowing today would land me at the beach. Coach purposely put "family day" down with the sole intention of working hard towards this day then INDULGING in it full force with absolutely no care in the world but family/friends without any sort of "should I be training more" lingering. Oh I have craved this day and worked ridiculously focused so on THIS DAY I'd embrace it. The soreness, fatigue, and tiredness when I woke up this morning was evidence enough that "family day" had arrived.
Before landing beach side with a fishing pole, Kainoa, good people, a beach chair, and of course that giant pile of rambutan, I wore myself to the point of "one more step, just one more, just another one is all..." and it's been a really long time since Ive felt that sensation of questioning "how much more can I go". It's always a funky spot to land, its the edge of holding strong yet not getting sick, injured, or burned out. Today was a great day to know I pushed to the point of "just one more" and survived without landing face first in a hole. These weeks are so good for us in a really strange, somewhat humbling, goal chasing kind of way...

Yesterday was the tipping point. The final push on some hard work. It was South Loop finished up with Kaloko. If you aren't familiar, (both are popular landmarks for Hawaii and in cycling). South Loop is the landing spot of the famous Captain Cook. It's snuggled in a beautiful blue bay that gives us a 4-5 mile climb up, up, up to land on the Mamalahoa Hwy. Getting there isn't too bad, its an hour or so ride from town, some climbing similar to Hawi style, and much more laid back then in-town riding. Riding the curvy, long, climb out of the bay is pretty good for the soul if you know what I mean.
Once you reach the top Mamalahoa Hwy is waiting for you to hit the cruise control. This hwy is nothing like your typical hwy, its slow motion. It's more of a countryish style road tucked between coffee farms, little shacks, and fruit stands. However, this is where coach tells me to "punch it" and we move through here faster than the local traffic flows. It was full force until I landed here (see above). After the past couple smashing weeks of "this gel and that sport drink in excess", there is no way a gel, a sporty drink, a salt, or anything else could satisfy me for even another mile. Done. My jersey pockets were filled with fruits and I was powered up for one more climb...
Doing my best to prepare for the final climb, I enjoyed my last moment of "flat" riding on this stretch. And then... Kaloko found me, or I rode into it actually. This is a 6.2 or 6.5 mile climb that lands in the "almost cold enough to snow" tree covered volcano better known as Hualalai. By this point all I wanted was to get off my bike, but I had to get up a hill then down it before that idea would become reality. Let's just say, ouch. If I'd of been on a road bike, or maybe had more gears, or perhaps not have felt so trashed prior to going up then just maybe, it would have been "fun". But it was nothing but "get the job done" for me, maybe not even smiling, probably even irritated with the IPOD by this point. Then down. From the bottom of the hill to home, that half hour ride I must have done in my sleep because I do not remember how I got there, maybe rode with my eyes closed and my head rested on my aero bars. 4.5 hours of climbs with only Mamalahoa between them kicked my okole!
From the bike, to Kainoa's school, to the market for berries all happened quicker than T2 on race day! The only thing that was faster than that would be how fast we polished off the berries! And today... all day CHILL OUT with just a tiny, tiny run into the beach...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Apple Pie, the easy way...

Tonight was a Thanksgiving feast in Kona (don't ask), well, okay Ill tell. A friend won a nice big turkey, big enough to feed a small town, so we did just that. Kainoa and I were in charge of the apple pie. Being a high volume, highly pooped training week we went FOR SIMPLE. Here is our pie, it takes roughly 15 minutes from start to finish!
The photos are of Kainoa demonstrating the EASY. Really, even a 4 year old can whip this up. He made a mini pie for himself (see photos) and I made the big one for the turkey feast. Got 15 minutes, try this...
Ingredients for the 9 inch pie:

  • 3 medium apples
  • agave syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup dates
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans (or mac nuts or walnuts)
  • cinnamon
  • lime juice
  • 3/4 cup dates, 3/4 cup nuts, 3/4 cup oats (for topping)

To do:

  • Heat oven to 350*, in a food processor combine 1 1/2 cup dates and the 1 1/5 cup nuts, a few sprinkles of cinnamon. Process till clumpy then spread evenly on pie tin. Slice the 3 apples and lay on top of crust. Drizzle agave syrup lightly over apples and the juice of one lime. Sprinkle with cinnamon. In the food processor combine the 3/4 cup of dates, 3/4 cup of nuts, and the 3/4 cup of oats with more cinnamon and a table spoon of agave. Process lightly then crumble it on top of the apples. Bake for 10 minutes, 15 if you prefer the apples softer and crust more crisp (it burns easy, so check it).
If you are in the ginger mood, we usually are, add in a little ginger to the top layer. It gives it a nice zing, or juice it into the limes for the best homemade ginger limeade you ever had! Oh, for the keiki pie, just divide the recipe by only takes one apple and a 3rd of the other ingredients...enjoy!!
We are counting the moments till the weekend, a good beach day is very needed around here! Happy training!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Today in my life (told by Kainoa)...

ALOHA everybody, it's me, Kainoa. I'm the 4 year old that you often see with my mom. Today is my turn to talk, tell my side of the stories she is always blabbing about on here. My life is pretty amazing, half the time I'm with my mom, the other half is with my dad & Tara, and their baby (my little brother Broady). I have it good, really good growing up in Hawaii-NO KA OI!! Yes, I know WAY more Hawaiian than my mom....

I ka po nei (last night), my mom and all the aunties and uncles took me fishing. We do that a lot, usually when my mom is trying to spend lots of time with me and usually the day before a really big day when she won't have as much time. Spending the evening with a fishing pole, good people, splashing in tide pools, and collecting shells and wana was perfect, but like I said, I knew it meant the next day would be a long, busy, hard one...
. Auntie Wendy and me (she's my favorite auntie)
My silly mom, she loves fishing but I don't like when she kisses them then tries to kiss me, fish breath-gross! Uncle Jason and Matty, they were out with the spear gun, one day I want to do that but mom says I have to get better using my snorkel and mask to go deep...
The sun finally set, that meant time to cruise to the hale (home). Good thing she put me to bed early 'cause i ka la 'apopo (tomorrow) would be here soon!!! 5:14am my mom was up and around, she eats acai bowls most mornings and the blender usually gets my eyes awake soon after. She was packing my breakfast, color books & crayons, filling water bottles, and putting dishes away. I slept a little longer...
Alright, here is where being my mom's son brings me to most these adventures. 5:50 I wake up, I'm an early bird like her and usually up by 6. At 6 were were out the door and to the pool for 6:15 practice! Not me, her! I chill on the pool deck with Coach Steve, I eat breakfast, cheer for all the swimmers in my mom's lane, color or read, and most days there are other children there who's parents swim so I play with them. Today I played with Maddy...
The pool was FREEZING this morning! Every time the swim team is pau (done) mom lets me dive in and we swim together. I love swimming before school, one day I hope to be on Kona Aquatics too! Till then it's all fun and games for me.
Monday's are funny with my mom. The truck becomes our house! She always packs TONS of clothes and food so we can go straight from the pool to school by 8am! Then it was off to school for me and a LONG ride for her. Love my mom, but seriously, biking more than half my school day is crazy if you ask me!
After her ride she ran, I'm not sure how far or how long but it was enough that she was still in run clothes when she got me from school at 3! 3:15 was my turn to play, KARATE! Yeah, I'm big enough now to decide what I want to do and the swimbikerun thing is not for me, I chose karate.
Finally home for my mom and me! What a long day...
Lucky for her she was done after 7hrs of swimbikerun! I on the other hand had homework to tackle. That's sort of how we roll around my house, spend most the day at work or school then top it off with a sunset, dinner, and call it a day...
Time for me to hele aku (get going), I've got a book for bedtime that my mom is going to read. It's my favorite part of the day, snuggling in tight with a good book. Aloha ahiahi!!

Monday, January 24, 2011


That's how my head felt during yesterday's half marathon. It's actually my crash landing in the ocean after the race, but the view is how Id imagine the inside of my head to look. After all those miles we put into my legs, running & swimming the night before the race too, my head hurt worse at the finish then the legs. SO...mission accomplished. I had a workout of the mind more challenging than the legs, in hopes that in even the smallest way it will make me even 1% stronger mentally than I was last season.
Norman Vincent Peale wrote, "If you start believing in little miracles you can work up to the bigger ones". Totally agree, this was my first baby step in the direction of working up to stronger battle fields of the mind. During my evening run the most beautiful rainbows were popping up, double ones too! I was sort of hoping the race would be beautiful like that, but I was reminded those pretty rainbows only come after storms of hard work. I sort of figured it out then that tomorrow would not be all sunny skies in my head. And it wasn't.
The start was cool, I liked my position and was in my own little world just focusing on running positive. Then the race began and the lead men took off with one girl hot on their heels. Then 2 more grabbed the next pack, I was solo and then the head turned on..."Bree. do your own thing". I did a mile of my "own thing". That landed me with another girl, we reeled in another. Then the mind, at mile 2 it became annoying to me that already in the race my head is being a complete B!^c#. Wishing I could just focus on the ocean or a whale or something, then I remembered THIS IS WHAT I WANTED out of this race, for my head to have to work harder than the legs. Junk was coming in, I was doing that mean thing where you measure up your competitors and my head was saying, "Bree, look, 2 of them are for sure serious road runners, one of them even has those ribbon things in her hair that they wear with their school colors! One is so thin her bones are popping out the way those pro runners look, feed her your gels, you don't belong up here, you are kinda big still in the off season and well, not really a runner".
The third mile it got more frustrating, I actually slowed down. Then I called myself a a few cuss words to fire myself up, the "look for whales" wasn't working for me, I had to play dirty with my mind. I got back in the mix and decided I had to get in front so I don't have to look at them. I know what you might be thinking, "hahahaha, nice pass, really, you are pooped and tired from the hard week of training and you want to pass them". I had no choice, my head was hurting so bad and it was only mile 3. One girl came with me and we ran a few miles like that. The head had so much stuff floating in it, not good stuff, but I was making myself stay with her because the leg pain hurt less then the head pain and I needed this if I was ever going to break out of all the self doubt I allowed myself to harbor in sport. Somewhere before the turn a man passed us and I went with him, together it felt good being the first woman and running up to a couple other men.
The way home was a little nuts too. The wind picked up so strong a guard rail nearly ate me alive, the course was running a little long on the Garmin, things that didn't matter, they were conditions that all of us were in together, however I could tell the head was trying to use it against me. Then the announcers voice popped in, "Woman's course record 1:35, set here in 2009". I don't even remember taking notice of that at the start, I must have been focused (thankfully), but now it was entertaining me, not because I wanted it, but because it was trying to play a negative in my head. "Why 1:35?, that's slow for a record, oh this must be a hard course, this course is long, the head wind must slow us down". It was as if my mind was telling me its okay to slow down because its a slow course. I got so fired up at myself for even considering it! Seriously, its as if all the things a brain could ever think in a race mine thought.
I put my head down and ran all the way to the finish. My head was in so much pain crossing the line, more than my legs. They told me I got the record by almost 11 minutes, it wasn't a half PR for me but it was by far the best PR of my brain, ever.
I don't know why I just told you all that story, maybe you deal with it too, (hopefully not). All I know is that its true what they say that racing doesn't always come down to the most fit, but often times the most mentally tuff. My mind and I got lots more work to do, I want out of my body as much as I can get out of it in this sport and for that to happen I have to get out of my own way. Baby step number 1, pau.

I did get my rainbow at the end of the race and a lot of spectacular Maui views too. Then I got lost, that's what happens when a girl with only 2 main roads on her island drives on an island with more than 5 stop lights and several main roads. Maui was good mentally. From that island to this one, the training continues nonstop into REV3 Costa Rica :) Speaking of REV3 Costa Rica, tune in (click here) Wednesday at 2pm Hawaii time (8pm Eastern time), for a live chit chat with me & the REV3 crew, it should be good times.

Oh, and if Maui doesn't get any more exciting for this girl, look at my "way to hold it together mentally" prize. It's a hula vase, loving her coconuts! hahaha...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Run Positive...

Back on Maui, for a run along the coast with views of breaching whales. I'm over joyed to be here, I love this island and love running on it! I'm also looking forward to running tired, the way you feel when you hop off a bike is the way I feel right now. This week and the past couple have been very challenging for me as I jump back into the season. My head often gets in the way, my heart and body can be on the same page but sometimes my mind is out to sea. I've found the only real way to work through the struggles we face in our minds is to go out and get ourselves into situations that often times our struggles hide. It's one thing to listen to self motivation chats and read positive affirmation books, but you have to face things head on some times to get stronger. Maybe it's after embracing them, then pushing through, that we come out the other end better...
I'd like to say this is just a "fun run" for me, because it is going to be fun. But I have a goal, I want to run to that point I often reach in racing where the body says, "oh this hurts, I don't like this, this isn't very fun" and when I get there I don't want to slow, stop, whine about it, or make some excuse for it. This week I worked harder than ever to shove my legs into the hurt box, taxing them out to the max, going to bed almost in tears at how sore they were, struggling up stairs. I wanted them in that most fatigued state, (not because I think running 13.1 miles that way will be fun), because I need to run on legs like that in order to find that spot in a race that sometimes beats me, I want to embrace it and try to find a way through it. I'm not looking for a PR time wise tomorrow, I'm looking for the most positive run I have ever run.
The boyfriend gave me a pep talk, he was my training partner when I got into this sport so he knows where I was and when I got lost. He dared me to just run positive, as soon as something junky begins to entertain me find a way to make it a positive...that's my goal tomorrow. Run positive.
Flying from Hawai'i to Maui all I could think of was the ocean. The deepest blue shades, the most powerful water, waves bigger than houses, currents, and sea creatures, it's the very place I feel most calm, most safe, most at home. My first, vivid memory of the ocean was actually one of nearly drowning. I grew up at beaches that had amazing sandbars. You enter the shallow water and it slowly becomes deeper. Once you get beyond the deepest part you land on a sandbar. The sandbars are so shallow you can sometimes run on them. Beyond the sandbar enters the BIG, BIG, BIG ocean. It drops off and there is nothing standing between you and the rest of the water as far out as you can see.
When I was really young, just after learning to swim my goal was to make it to the sandbar and step off the edge of the other side into the deeper blue ocean. I remember getting on the sandbar with my older sister and looking back to shore to see my parents. We made it. While the other kids were playing I went to the edge of the sandbar, stepped off, and went under. I'm not sure if a rip current got me or I was just a really lousy swimmer, but I was under water reaching for sand, for a breath, for anyone. Still to this day I'm not sure who grabbed hold of my arm and helped me back on the sandbar, it doesn't matter, what matters is that I had the courage to go beyond the safe sandbars.
Staring more into the ocean all I could think of was that day, being that little girl. I still live my life going to sandbars fearlessly, but that courage to step off the edge I really miss.
I'm heading out for a run this evening, I just want to make sure I am EXTRA pooped for tomorrow's run. It's going to be my little mission to get on the sandbar, when the legs scream and yell at me, I want to try and go into the deeper part of the ocean. Maybe I'll be able to hold on and keep afloat, maybe Ill need rescuing again like that day at the beach when I went under. Whatever it is, I just want to go run and not be sitting on the beach for fear of drowning...

13.1 miles of whales and positive thinking, got it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ride, Run, "Swim"...

This is the end of a really good day (see above). It began here, just watching the surf on the way to the hill where I'd be doing repeats on the bike. Part of me really wanted to paddle out and wake up in the salty water of the Pacific. The other part of me wanted to go work hard training and try to bust through the lack luster results I've seem to grown all to familiar with. A few more waves rolled in and after scanning the horizon I felt overly fortunate that there are so many things I am passionate about in life and that today I would be doing most all of them, beginning with the bike...
Up and down the hills I went, like a young girl on her bike...giddy about life and all that has captured her heart. Then there was the tomboy in me that was chasing after her goals in hopes this day, these efforts on the climbs, would bring her a day closer to them, to something more.
From the ride to a run. Before slipping into the run shoes I rode past the surf, again. My heart just wanted so much to be there, it didn't matter if the waves were too big for me, (it was a really big day, almost big enough to hold the Eddie), it wasn't the safest place to be for the fearful, but it was exactly where I love to be. The midst of pure ocean at it's most beautiful...
The run was perfect. One of those runs where you feel like you could go forever and ever. In that zone, that moment, the feeling of "this is what I do and I love it". A smile sweeped over my face and from there, an easy ocean swim as recovery was all that this day of training had left for me.
As luck would have it, Mother Nature smiled down on me. The beaches of Big Island were closed to swimmers, snorkelers, and beach goers alike. Perfect. That meant one thing only, surf and call it "swimming". Coach was okay with it and he lovingly warned not to break anything. It felt more like swimming than surfing today as the waves were so big and so powerful. Over and over I would paddle my heart out in the direction of breaking waves just barely sneaking under them as they wrecked havoc on everything in their path.

Sitting in the line up, looking back to shore, it was nearly a perfect day. Hard work paid off and was gifted by sheer ocean joy. It was perhaps my most difficult swim of the week too. Some of the waves were beyond fierce and I let them roll by, some took my bikini by storm, and others gave me that smile that you couldn't wipe off my face if you tried...
Coach will most likely delight in my training day report to find I survived swim practice without a scratch. My arms hurt like never before from all the paddling and my skin has been kissed by the sunshine. My legs are equally as sore from the ride and run. Tonight will be nothing but sweet dreams after this day of ride, run, "swim"...
sweet dreams....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I just can't get enough! Over and over I ramble on and on about this ride, it's my most FAVORITE training session EVER. Last time I rode it was with coach and Lance, that was a week ago and it was more like cheating since I hung on to an escort car to keep up. Today was just as painful solo! The beauty of this ride, other than all that surrounds me, is that you can make it as hard as you want.
Sometimes I have to go up and down the big hill for repeats, sometimes I have to race it, other times it's jam packed with tempo sections, and on occasion I just ride it for fun. Today the pain came because I rode it AFTER mile repeats! The run was hard enough and backing it up with this ride made it a day I had to leave any wimpy kid in me at home. Needless to say, I loved it so very, very much.My legs are now good and toasted, that's the plan though. Work them so hard all week long then try to run them hard on Sunday. Mission is certainly going to happen the way this week is rolling. But again, I need this, its beyond time to toughen up...
Sometime between tomorrow's long ride up a massive hill, a run, and the swim, there will be thoughts of Costa Rica. Less than a month now till my first triathlon of the season and I am STOKED! Why Costa thoughts in the middle of beautiful Hawaii???? Because REV3 radio is going live tomorrow and I get to talk story with the crew hosting REV3 Costa Rica. If you want to listen in, check it out here: Rev3 Costa Rica. The show will be 2pm Hawaiian time. Thankfully for you it's not face-to-face talking because I wont have time to shower after the ride and run to be part of this interview...
Happy Training....

Monday, January 17, 2011

Surviving the Weekend...

Some weekends are just not that fun and this was one of them. Not gonna call it a couple bad days but they were not my favorites. Thankfully one of them was loaded with hill repeats to help smash out some frustration. The other one was a run session that unfortunately was not doing the job to smash out anything. However, it was possibly what I needed in the long run, a nice mental practice in "Keep on keepin' on".

I must tell ya, a children's book sort of rescued my lackluster mood. Not sure if you can find a Hawaiiana book off island, if not get it online, it's such a keeper. Now it's Monday and I AM EXCITED to venture into a brand new week!

This has been ocean swimming the past few days (see above). It's been a few days of 8-12 footers, some smaller and others bigger. For the most part the ocean is wild and I'm loving it! It really makes getting to the buoys take a lot longer and of course you wash ashore looking like a drowned rat, however, its perfect conditions if your enjoy a little adventure, or to be seasick.
After today's swim, (or ocean survival), it was on the bike. This entire week will be "on the bike". I just checked out my schedule and pretty much did that "jaw dropping" look when you sort of wonder if your coach sent you your plan or that of someone who literally has a bike growing out of their @$$. My bike is about to be growing out of my @$$. Thankfully time on the bike is a favorite place to be and in fact, something that I REALLY need to get crackin' on. The only break I'll get from the 2 wheels will be Sunday, that little Maui run. It's going to hurt and I need that too...more hurt. A big week followed by a big run should help toughen up the part of me that has grown soft and the part that needs to work harder when the going gets tough. So... running next to some whales sounds like the perfect place to get punished. There is this theory I totally believe in, it helps a lot on rough days. At the moment something bad is going on there is something good going on in the same instance. If you focus on the bad then you miss the good and the same holds true, if you are focused on the good sometimes we never even notice the bad happening. So..... while my less than stellar weekend was enduring some unwanted moments there was certainly good going on along side it. Kainoa caught his first fish!!

Mile repeats on the run and a big ol' hill are waiting for me in the morning, time to rest easy till then. Aloha ahiahi...