Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Finding My Rhythm...

9 years ago I took ukulele lessons, 9 years ago I stopped going to practice. Music does not come easy to me, finding rhythm is something some people feel and comes out pretty, I don't even know where to begin to look for it. I don't feel it and when I try to play or find it I cant even hear how wrong it is to even fix whats wrong. It's sort of like a "fish out of water", I'm the fish trying to strum some chords but cant even breathe and in return make my own self deaf.
9 years later, after starting and stopping lessons, I started again. I had too, it's going to make me a better athlete. Let me explain, being able to play the ukulele is not only a VERY BIG CHALLENGE I will overcome, it's teaching me lessons that will carry into swimbikerun, life for that matter.
Today at practice my teacher told me, "slow down, calm down, be patient". Sounds so much like the start of the run for me. I also heard, "listen, focus, take your time", reminds me of an Ironman. Then one of the VERY talented high school boys that grew up with an ukulele in his hands began to play mine, it sounded like I imagine heaven to sound. He held it different, use different fingers to strum, and he even had his own fancy beats different than that of the teacher. Both him and the teacher were beyond amazing, if it were a race they would be the winners, both different rhythms but they would get there long before most.
Sport is like that, you really have to become one with what you do, (your bike, your favorite goggles, the shoes you run best in), then make it work for you, find your own rhythm. You know what the teacher and I noticed? We were talking about how at mile 3 of the half marathon Sunday I took off the IPOD. Ive always done well having 18 different things going on at once in my head, Sunday I only wanted the race in there. I think my Thursday lesson before the race taught me that, to silence everything else out and be focused on a single sound at a time, at mile 3 of 13 I wanted only the sound of running, (breathing while running that is), and I was able to shut most other things out.
Today I played a few chords together pretty enough to put a smile on my face. Of course the "let's get the party started" in me still wants to pick up my ukulele and bust out a song really fast and now, today! Its so not that simple, I have a long way to go. But on that journey I am finding some rhythm and finally picking up something I put down a long time ago, sort of like getting back in the race after a DNF. And of course, having a little "chill time" never hurt a girl like me who struggles to sit still...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Half of a Marathon...

Today was the Kona Marathon, and a bunch of other distances. I lined up with the "half of a marathon" runners and was glad I did. Sunday runs have always been a favorite part of training and even more cool when you get to line up with most the run community and roughly 1,500 people from all over in 2 shoes. This race is so awesome, the race directors, the volunteers, friends, family, and so many people from K-Town are out there making our day possible and helping us get it done.

2 goals hung with me today, #1 run smart and #2 break a 1:20. The second I thought would happen if the first happened. From the get-go I let all the boys go, I started at 6:25 pace and thought to hang onto that for 2 miles then pick it up. The pace felt so easy (but doesn't everything feel easy from the start?!). Patiently I waited till the end of mile 2 to get moving despite feeling like everyone and former students were passing me (seriously).


Sometime during mile 3 I realized I was not focused. My music was bothering me, that has NEVER happened. So I stuffed my IPOD in my sports bra and all of a sudden the focus was there, seriously I could hear myself breathe and feel my body running, it was kind of weird. Then I saw my friends Jim, Jim, and Maggie on the sea wall, I got so excited! You would have thought it had been months since I'd seen them judging by the following photo (in reality it was Friday at Swim practice I saw them last, and Jim yesterday on our bike ride).


Ready to see a VERY embarrassing photo? Okay, check it out, that IS NOT FOCUS like goal #1...

Okay, stop laughing, joke is over. At that point the focus came on strong! I got my pace where it needed to be, the IPOD was now hiding far from my ears, and everything was smooth sailing along the Kona Coast...

That's my focused self, thanks Wendy for the photo!

I kept the focus the rest of the day, the only problem was the first 2 miles were too easy and I never made up the time. Oh believe me I tried, a couple miles dipped under 6 but it was not fast enough and I landed with 6:10 pace for a 1:20 and change.. Maybe for once I started too easy, but really I'm thinking I lacked any speed work since we just got back into base & volume after the Half Ironman. The legs felt like they could run all day but never any faster than that, Ill totally take the day, anytime my focus makes an improvement (like ditching an IPOD), you better believe that is a major milestone for me...

As for very cool news, my little sister ran her 2nd half marathon today, she did amazing! She had her son last year, the hubby got her a jogging stroller, and today all the baby pushing paid off! She raced her little heart out and landed 3rd woman over all! This photo is awesome! (Thank you Wrighthouse family). The 4th place girl was hot on her heals the last few miles and Brooke just never gave up, it was such an incredible finish between the 2 girls, so many of us were loving the excitement as they gave the crowd a show for the podium! She ran a 1:36, 10 minutes faster then her first try! Way to go sis, love ya! AND of course congrats to Rebecca (our dear friend in the wheel chair above) who tackled the 5k like a champ!

All around good day for the Kona crew and those from outer islands, Japan, and the mainland! Same place, same time next year?! I love this race. 2 more weeks now till the REV3 Portland half, getting excited for another trip, another triathlon, and another opportunity in sport...

Oh, last thing, check out the stud in the photo! Frank Shorter, in yellow, he always comes back to this event. He won the gold in the 1972 Olympic Marathon and calls Kona Marathon one of his favorites, I agree with him! Today he ran the half, cruised it more like, he said he reached the turn around 3 minutes before his PR for the entire half years ago, nevertheless very inspiring to see him around the run events with such a history in the sport.

Mahalo Nui for all the support! Lots of aloha, and congrats to all the runners today for waking up and running on the island together!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Half Full Kona...

The weekend started here (see above). After the training it was off to the beach for Kainoa's field trip. It's one thing to play at the beach with a couple little beach go-ers, but an entire preschool full was ANOTHER thing! It was lots of splashing and laughing, perhaps a perfect day at "school".

Tomorrow is Kona Marathon Runs. You have no idea how much I wanted to run the full marathon. FULL, FULL, FULL. For years I've wanted to run the full, but this year more so than ever. I'm not racing Ironman Hawaii this season, to race the full would help me feel as if I'd run at least the marathon part of the Ironman. It's the same course except we start in Keahou, (near the Alii Drive turn around of the Ironman), still run past the pier where the Ironman marathon starts and then out to the good ol' Energy Lab. It's not the distance of 26.2 miles, (I'll have my chance with that at a REV3 Iron distance and a WTC Ironman event later in the season), its just doing that special part of Ironman Hawaii that I will really miss...


HALF, HALF, HALF, is what i'll run tomorrow. I'm cool with that, I'd like to PR it, and the reason for the half over the full is that wonderful race in 2 weeks, (I'm pretty sure I can recover faster from a half than a full). The hard part is I "FEEL" marathon ready! The endurance and the pace are totally in my legs at the moment, you know how that "marathon pace" sort of takes over in training. The half is a different speed and well, hmmmm, let's just say I hope to run as fast as Kainoa did in his race last weekend! He took that race by the horns and never looked back, it was all GO and nothing stopping him, not his mind, not the giant cinnamon roll for breakfast, not even the other boys. He just ran. In fact he ran in the way he knows how, starting with that "ready stance" he learned in karate class.


Tomorrow I better run like I know how, training race or not, and look on the bright side that I get to at least run HALF of the FULL Ironman Hawaii marathon.The sister will be racing too, you know how that goes, "sisterly love". It's time to roll out the legs from today's ride, I've got 13.1 miles to run with all my guts and heart and legs and mind and maybe a couple gels too...



Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Sips....

Guess what time it is?! It's Summer, yes I'm still pretty excited about Summer, it means a lot of things, like more races! In 2 days is the half marathon and in 2 weeks is REV3 Portland! Training has been kicking my okole, the sun has been shining down full force, and cooling off requires more than just ocean swims.
I've got two of my favorite sips to share, (my apologies if you have been witness to the green and purple thirst quenchers already).
Hawaiian Lemonade:
3 cups spinach
Huge chunk of ginger (The size of a cork x2, you might only want half that)
3 lemons or limes (limes are the favorite in the Wee house)
1 apple.
Put it all in the juicer, (spinach first). The ginger will give you lots of energy to keep up with your life, spinach adds a little iron after those grueling Summertime workouts, limes/lemons are loaded with vitamin C, and the apple a day keeps the doctor away, says my grandma. For real though, this drink is good ice cold, like ginger lemonade, and the apple takes the "green" flavor from totally taking over.
Purple Paradise Smoothie:
2 cups beet juice (juice it first or buy it)
1 frozen/chopped banana
2 cups frozen cherries (or blueberries or 1/2 of each)
1 cup frozen pineapple
Ginger to spice it up (as much as you like)
After you have the beets & ginger juiced (or bought) pour it into the blender with the other ingredients. It's tastes better than it sounds...honest!
Speaking of cool and refreshing, here are some tips for surviving the cool race events, such as REV3 Portland: Read here. Hey, good luck to everyone racing Kona Marathon Runs & IM CDA this weekend, hope you have the race you trained and hope for! WHOOOP WHOOOOOP!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Challenge...

The good news is I love riding my bike, it fits SOOOOOOOO good! In fact, today I had a 4hr ride on the plan and somehow I just got caught up with the wind and the comfort and didn't turn at 2 hours, home was reached 5hrs later. The not so good was getting very dizzy. A lousy job of hydration in the Summer sun had me seeing "lychee" at a nearby market, of course I stopped. Looking at the sign now, after some good ol' water and electrolytes have saved me the sign clearly does not read "lychee"...

The bad part of my long rides is that I always find and land at farmers markets on the side of the road. I use them as my "fuel". Sometimes I grab bananas and mangoes, other times musubi, most the time the sweet sticky rice rolled in ti leaves, (a favorite as it's soft like those shot blocks, sweet, and carb loaded). It's such a bad idea because race day I never carry sticky rice, musubi, or mangoes. Then I find myself trying to use gels and bars only to miss my farmers market aid stations. I've got to train myself to pack gels more often...

Seriously, wouldn't you love this to be an aid station in an Ironman?! How can I not stop here during a long ride, its perfect, just perfect and saves me every time!

...the challenge. Sunday is the Kona 1/2 marathon. Today the road notices for closures were set out, of course that got me all excited. The challenge is going to be another one of those opportunities to race right on through a nice sized training block. I'm getting better at this as I'm embracing the opportunity to have a mental workout day. Oh I'd be kidding myself if I said I didn't want to race for a PR, who wouldn't! So it looks like its going to be hold on, hang tight, get er' done as fast as you can with what you got on the day reaching for the PR. In the long run it's more needed to have a workout of my mind than perhaps another physically demanding day.


Tomorrow is reverse triathlon day, runbikeswim. The good news with that plan, my day will end in the ocean!




Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hello Summer!

The first day of Summer was spent on the island of Oahu. Despite the fact Hawaii is hot and hotter year round, Summer is in the air! I mean, the longest day of the year & National Bikini Day today, those are for sure signs of Summer! And we got a South swell to kick it into action...
My day began with a run up and over Diamond Head and through Waikiki. Running here is always so pretty to me, so different than back home in Kona makes me love it and at the same time appreciate home all the more. The best part of my first run of summer was the rainbow! It shined up the entire coast line and had me counting blessings like a crazy girl on a mission. For some reason whenever a rainbow fills the sky I get a little more motivated to live my life better, can't explain it, just makes me feel good seeing colors fill the sky like that...
Then a surf! How can you not spend the start of Summer in the ocean?! (Don't answer that if you are landlocked). As children, when school let out for Summer all we did was play! Outside games, bbq's, you name it, we played it! Then we get older and the start of Summer is just an ordinary day, nothing worth celebrating-ugh, not me, I never want to let go of my childlike passion to celebrate! One of my best friends I grew up surfing with, (she lives on the North Shore), met up with me after my training and we waxed some boards & lived like kids again-celebrating Summer! It was the perfect recovery for my tired legs and of course nothing refreshes the motivation like a little "cross training".

Tiffany about to tackle the long paddle...

One of the best things about life on an island is all the endless opportunities to enjoy outside . One of the hard parts of having your job be the use of your body is all the endless opportunities to enjoy outside. Part of you wants to save every drop of energy for the next swimbikerun and of course be careful not to break, twist, sprain, or hurt anything. The other part wants to live life to the fullest so when you are 80 you don't regret anything, like sitting inside all day playing it safe. So...today...being nearly 3wks out from another half ironman I was thanking my lucky stars to run up the beach after surfing in one piece!


Okay, now that the first day of Summer is over it's back to business. Just swimbikerun, I'll keep my "cross training" activities limited to yoga and stretching. You know, indoor activities.

If you ask me, I put myself in way more risk of harm just driving in the big city of Honolulu than a surf session. 6 lanes of traffic had my heart rate through the roof way more than any wipe out today.


Happy Summer!!


Monday, June 20, 2011

RETUL-ing Around Oahu...

Today was a very important day at the office, it involved a trip to Oahu for my final bike fit. Good news, MY BIKE FITS! Andrew is the man in Hawaii if you want to become a team with your bike. It's amazing how something little, less than an inch, can throw things off big time. It's even more cool to see how 4 little things, (I had 4 to fix up), can totally make your bike feel like an entirely new ride.

There's my beautiful Swift Strike pre-retuled. The changes we made were both minor and major, (at least to me, the girl who has ridden that bike all over the Big Island). The biggest fix were my cranks. The length was clearly too long and despite the fact I often struggled to spin even in the little ring, it took Andrews magic retul-ing to discover it for me. Now, fully equipped with smaller cranks I can spin! In fact I may have reached a new spin record for me and hopefully will forever lose that ridiculous 73 cadence that I "spin".


We moved the seat forward a little and up a little. We also made some adjustments to the bars and my bike shoes. So excited about it all and even more thrilled to be fitting my bike just right...

MAJOR mahalos to Andrew Tanaka of 808 Bike Fit! Seriously, I'm stoked about this bike fit and thankful to have someone willing to touch my disgusting bike shoes to make it happen!

I originally intended to make this trip all business and no play, but the small town girl in me HAD to get out of the big city of Honolulu. Traffic, 6 lanes of it had me scared out of my mind, so of course I headed North where it's just 2 lanes like back home. Oh the beautiful beaches calmed me right down. Tomorrow I've got some training to do and I am thrilled to do it on this island, exploring some new roads and swim spots, (out of traffic hopefully). I'll keep you posted!


Happy Spinning!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Racing At 4...

Racing at 4 is very exciting stuff. It starts off with strawberries, eggs, rice & peas, and a giant cinnamon roll, because you know all 4 year olds could use a little "extra" energy. Yes, that is PRE-RACE fuel Kainoa Wee style! Today was a special day, his race day, I pretty much let him rule the morning...whatever he needed to get ready to race (and of course it didn't take anything more than me to drive him), but I wanted to full on make the morning about him since he does that for me on my race days...

Then it's all about lacing the shoes. It has to be JUST RIGHT! If it's too tight it's not happening, if the tongue is crooked forget it, and if the socks have a crinkle in them take the shoe off and start over-IMPORTANT stuff, especially to a boy who never even wears shoes because slippers and bare feet are way more cool!

He did not want or need a prerace chat. I tried really hard to be the "super supportive mom", you know, "You can just have fun, no worries about win or lose, love ya, try your best, say hi to your friends". He just ran lap after lap, by the time he was done warming up he ran at least 10x the distance of the race itself. Once again I didn't let the "trimom" in me come out, the one that wanted to say, "just chill a little, save it for the race", instead, the boy ran and ran and I smiled! (actually I could take a few lessons from him on prerace).

He lined up in karate stance, I asked, he told me he wanted to be in "ready position" like sensai makes them practice. "Trimom" had to bite her lip and tongue, and refrain from reminding him THIS IS A RUN not karate, but I let him prepare with karate fists clenched, then took on the butterflies for him. (This should serve as a lesson, you gotta prepare in a way that works for you, not someone else).

3...2...1... and they were off! His wave (yes there were a few heats) had 7 of them and Kainoa was in 6th, then 4th, and hung to 2nd for almost the rest of the race. On the side lines were his dad & Tara, little brother, aunties and uncles, and of course "trimom". I wanted SOOOOOO bad to shout out, "GO, you got this, push to the finish", but instead I just cheered for all the kids and took pictures and yelled one time, "Goooooooooooo Kainoa". It's so hard to be a trimom sometimes, you get all excited and fired up, I think that's okay, but I'm afraid to look like a soccer mom, (NO OFFENSE SOCCER MOMS), okay, I'm afraid to look like "some" soccer moms, they have the most intense reputation for "cheering their children to wins" that I have ever seen in children sports. At least the farthest from the karate moms, we all just watch and oooh and ahhhhh, its so night & day different. Anyways, I could tell I'd be a soccer mom that would get kicked off the field so thankfully Kainoa doesn't want that sport, (yet, anyway).

The finish...Kainoa won. Just as the lead boy got in the finish shoot he noticed his mom on the sidelines full on cheering, he stops, FULL stop, like the kind you do at a stop sign when a cop is behind you, looks over to her, and in that second Kainoa runs through for the win. Of course I felt a little bad, I made Kainoa give the boy a hand shake & say "good race" at the end. It was cool. The little boy seemed to care way less than his mom, of course Kainoa was stoked, I was beyond glad I held myself somewhat calm as a "trimom".

Thankfully Kainoa is still at that age when hugging mom in public is cool, so I got a good hug out of him. Well, until he noticed the girl of his dreams. Wailana graduated from his preschool last year and her little sister is in Kainoa's class this year, he has had a crush on her for 2 years now...

...so he ditched me and put his arm around Wailana...nice.

Then of course a little congrats from dad, Tara, and baby brother. It was a cool day for the little champ. After all the postrace jumping around and family moments it was off to recover at the beach!

I may have learned more at Kainoa's race than I have at some of my own races. Do your own thing, keep calm, don't ever stop till the finish line, eat what you like, have fun, start in "ready stance" like in karate class if you must, and of course ditch your parents as soon as you see your friends (or in his case his crush)...


Happy racing,


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Beautiful Ride....

Today was all business! Whenever you ride South Loop it's all business, no fun and games! From town you do a steady little climb into my favorite old town, then zoom down the hill, across the middle road, down to the shore, across rickety black lower road to the bay, then 4.5 miles up, UP, up, UP. It's my favorite ride on the island! The views are worth every drop of sweat & pain in the quads you might endure...

Every time I ride this loop I get the brilliant idea to ride it more, then I do, then I don't. But for real, it's an awesome way to spend 3 hours (depending where you leave from). Today I made myself leave from town rather than home that way on the way back I could stop at home, drop the bike off and put on the run shoes and run back to my truck. THAT was today's brilliant idea. From now on I think I'm going to start driving to start my bike rides, then end the ride at home, then run to the truck-love it! It forces me to get running off my bike more!


The idea worked great till I ran out of time and found myself smashed with less than 45 minutes to refuel and get back to town for swim practice! Let's just say swimming hurt today!

The day ended with a "bake off". Kainoa vs me in the kitchen. He followed my old banana bread recipe with real sugar and flour, I made up a new one with agave, oats, and coconut. He won. But I promise the new one did not taste like cardboard, totally blame the tasters for being sugar freaks without any taste buds for coconut! Or maybe Kainoa is just a really good cook...


Happy riding!