Friday, June 28, 2013

To Want. To Believe. To Begin Again...

As of 45 minutes or so ago, the plan was put into motion.  It really is still the same plan that was penned out in January, except plan B had to happen rather than plan A.  Originally the goal was to lock down the points for Ironman Hawaii at Ironman CDA, head to the Philippines 70.3, then focus on October.  Plan B from January originally meant return to Ironman Louisville if I needed some more points.  Tiny change up. No Louisville (it's only 1000 points). New destination is Canada, for 2000 points at Whistler or 4000 at Mount T.  The plan still feels on track, the train has not been derailed, it just decided to head to another country...

We decided Mount T.

Part of me wanted Whistler, it's my nephews name, its closer, it's about $200 more affordable.  The other part of me wanted Mount T.  It is a week earlier, I heard it might be humid,  and more possibility for points.  In my brain, it looks like Whistler would be a pressure cooker, "MUST. GET. TOP. 3".  And you know what happened last time I put myself in a pressure cooker, I took a chance that did not take me back.  Mount T is more of, "Do your race Bree, just your own" and then I land in the points.  AS Ironman goes, both hold ridiculous amounts of possibility to be humbled.  Ironman will forever be respected as I know how long and hard it can be and is. 

And I'm already spilling the plan because there is no better way to stay committed, focused, and motivated, than to state the goal and be held accountable...

Philippines 70.3, wipe out points from Ironman Melbourne with Philippines
Ironman Mount T, race with some faith, score it as my 5th race for KPR
Ironman Hawaii

Yes, I know... 4 Ironmans in a year that would be.  We can talk about that later. For now, 2 races to focus on.  How it will all unfold actually getting to Canada, not really sure yet, kind of a bummer school is out for Summer as that was my extra work with some teaching.  There has been an unbelievable amount of support, encouragement, and prayers sent my way though,  It really makes all of this dream come alive.  And, thank you for making it possible...

It is now sunset on the island, I have butterflies.  Opportunity always does that to me...
Have a good weekend!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Mahalos...

As promised, today I'll list my many, many mahalos!  Today while dolphins swam all around us, the sun shined down on us, and every flower seemed to be showing off it's colors, I was reminded home is my favorite place on Earth, and I love it.  But...nothing is as wonderful as the people we have in our lives.  And so, here are my many, many mahalos...

  • My family& friends, for unconditional support.  I know sometimes I freak my mom out
  • Kainoa, 'nuff said.
  • Coach Steve & Kona Aquatice, the reason I love swimming
  • Kawika & Wendy, you keep me real
  • Tammy & Family for the love and flight
  • Brooke, for teaching me to breathe
  • Chandler & Leahi, for pushing and pulling me to pain
  • Sal, for running with me
  • Life guard Melissa, for playing with Kainoa so I can swim 
  • All my bloggy friends, your support makes it easy to keep this blog going
  • Odin Willmont Chiro, cracking me, fixing me, keeping me going
  • Junko Sheilds, the incredible massages
  • Gary Wong, for paying for those great massages
  • Staci, for the best care packages a girl could have
  • Sue Hutter for hooking me up in Idaho
  • Robyn & family, YOU made Idaho the reason I LOVE Idaho
  • Nick & Bike Works, loving my bike...haha.
  • Coach Jimmy, for keeping me on a plan and believing in me
  • Splish, first sponsor ever & you still hang tuff with me
  • Zoot, making sure my feet are happy, gearing me for training/racing
  •  Swift Carbon, thank you for my beautiful bike
  •  Rolf Prima, for really nice wheels
  • Breakthrough Nutrition, keeping me fed
  • Mike...for loving me
That's not it, I could totally thank the good people at Island Naturals, the post office, Janet at Sack n' Save, for real, the entire town of Kona makes this life that much better.  So forgive me if you feel left off the list, it's just a list and I appreciate more that what's written...

My first day back home was beautiful.  I'll be honest, a lot of it was spent day dreaming up the next race.  At the moment it is Philippines 70.3, thankfully already paid for so it will serve as a chance for a payday.  However it will still leave me shy of the points I need to safely land in Kona.  After that I am thinking to go over to Canada in August...Keep ya posted. 

Mahalo plenty!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Holding Strong...

Sport has taught me more about life than I ever envisioned.  Who knew lacing shoes would open up so many doors of opportunity and teach me lessons about life that otherwise may have been left unknown.  I had just one goal for Ironman CDA, to come home in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place.  All of which would mean I finish the course, one that once quit, and KONA.

The amount of notes I get telling me how lucky I am to have sponsors fly me all over the world to swim, bike, and run could fill a shoe box.  Little do they know, that is not how it works for me, I have been given a bike, shoes, gels, swim suits, and an opportunity.  The rest is up to me.  While I'm so thankful, the harsh reality of chasing a dream always catches up to me.  My dream is to race Ironman Hawaii this year, after sitting out the last 2 seasons because I was too financially challenged to chase the points us pros need to qualify.  The thought to retire sport and go back to teaching, a much more knowing income did entertain me, but greater than the question to take an easier path has been  those in my life that just believe with me...

And so...
My friend Tammy help fly me to Idaho, Robyn and her Family took me into their home, and I was in position to grab points for Hawaii.  A top 3 would seal the deal and I was near certain I'd then be on the start line in October, no more need to wonder what race next and how.  Done deal.  That made my race plan simple.  Be smart, but when you need to be brave, be that...

Bravery sometimes looks like stupidity to those that have yet to understand or be brave in their own lives.  My race went like this....

A very cold swim, but I was smart.  I used the first loop to warm up and hung on to feet, the second loop I felt right at home and passed one of the girls in our little pack to run up the beach in 2nd.  It felt easy, it was safe.  On the bike I rode my own ride, let Heather go knowing she was on a mission to undo some damage that was done to her on the course last year.  A little pay backs.  Watching her was my own personal inspiration for my mission too.  Humbled, she was so far out of any woman's league Sunday.  Riding in 2nd till nearly the end of the 112 mile bike, it was time to run.  I felt great, it felt like wings grew passing mile one, knowing the last time I was on this course I didn't even make it that far.

Running in 3rd, holding  strong and feeling good, better runners than me were gaining.  And so, the time to be smart, what I felt all day, grew into the time to be brave.  I ran as fast as I could up a hill trying to chase down the girl who just over took my 3rd place, and I blew up.  Just like that I crashed and tumbled.  It may have been dumb, but it would have been horrible to land back in Kona, with a safe 4th or even 5th place, and wonder, "What if I ran hard, what if I tried?".  I went for the goal and blew up.  It was the only way I thought I could hold a chance to grab all the points I needed, playing it safe works sometimes, but not when you have just this one chance.

I finished 7th.  And while it did move me up to 32nd female pro of the 35 they will take to Ironman Hawaii.  It is such an unsafe place to be.  21 races left in our season, points will change us girls with each race we do or don't do.  That means I still need another race other than my Philippines 70.3 (that has thankfully been all set & paid for).  Back to the drawing board leaves me wondering and where and when. 

 Onto more thrilling parts, the giant hill we run up and over 4 times has a lot to do with the courage I grew out on that marathon.  The support that has been given to me is by far some of the most beautiful gifts in my life. Thank you to the little town of CDA for the cheers, the spankings, the water hoses, the dancing girls, all the fun 140.6 miles could hold.

Thank you too, to this man that made me run, and never walk, no matter how much pain I was in.  Knowing the longer I was out there meant the more time I would have to put up with that speedo was enough to keep me shuffling.  Congrats to his wife too., on her Ironman finish.  Visit them in AZ at Cadence Running Company if you need help running (or new shoes & speedos).

Now that I'm one more flight from home, I can officially say, I want to go back.  Everything about Idaho became very special to me.  In some ways I grew confidence that probably was buried a little deeper than it should have been.  It took finishing I once started, chasing a dream, and good people to make it all possible...good boots help too!

After the race was all fun and games, because there was still much to celebrate.  My homestay family took me on the boat for cliff jumps and freezing.  It took my breath away to be back in that lake without a wetsuit, but I highly recommend it if you ever land in position to shock the piss out of yourself!!
AS for my thank yous, the list is really, really long.  I think I'll write them all out tomorrow.  For now (since the airplane woman is telling me I have to board), I really want to thank Robyn, Rick, Alex, and Ben.  Your family is beautiful and I am so thankful for you... thank you!!

ALoha, Bree

Saturday, June 22, 2013

It's all about the run...

This one and only photo from today's news paper pretty much sums it up.  I really want to finish.  It's the run and me, perhaps one of the most beautiful run courses on the Ironman circuit, it holds 26.2 miles that I need to run...

Tomorrow will be special for a lot of people, for many reasons.  Just parading through the bike/bag drop you could feel the emotions.  First timers so unfamiliar with the entire routine of blue, red, and green bags full of everything we need to manage 140.6 miles.  The pros looking so confident while racking their bikes as if it is second nature.  On lookers in amazement.  Volunteers just wanting to be of the best possible assistance.  The men and women hungry for Ironman slots to Hawaii.  Nervous lovers that watch their athlete go through the butterflies knowing it's time to let them fly.  Training partners happy the day is finally within reach.  Its both exciting and exhausting.  Whatever the personal case may be, it holds true for all of us, for some reason we are on the start line...

As with everything in life, love, and sport, I've grown a lot stronger.  Finally the courage has come to go to places that need me to meet them head on and get over them.  This is one of them.  At bike/bag drop today I looked at the horrible corner where I gave up in 2010.  Where everything in life, love, and sport just seemed too much for me and I wanted I quit. 

Today my friend Sue, the mother across the street from where my homestay is, went with me.  She knew about that corner because in 2010 she was the one that found me there and picked me up.  I would have had no problem going at it alone today, but I would have cried.  Tomorrow my little sister is going to run all 26.2 too, so Ill have her with me...

Kona Marathon is tomorrow, at some point in the day we will both be running our marathons at the same time.  Together.  We both told each other our run goals.  Secrets sisters keep.  And we made a deal, if ever during the run we are tempted by those demons, as most of us are sometime during a race, we will silence them knowing we have to do this together...she has her reason and I have mine.

Okay Ironman CDA, lets go...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday In Idaho...

Yesterday this momma hugged her favorite 6 year old aloha for a couple days and was only partially homesick.  Usually it's a little ridiculous how emotional I get before my flights, but Kainoa has his grandparents in town and if there is one thing a child does not need while grandparents are around, it's his mom.  Let the spoiling, the treats, the great bedtime stories, the endless amounts of hugs, and constant attention begin.  He is in great hands and that has set me free to go to work...

You all know what happened last time Kainoa was left with my parents-I had a great race.

My final prerace run on home soil was perfect.  You know when you have that complete peace in your heart, that everything is just as it should be.  Life, love, and sport...I had that.  The sunrise was brilliant, the ocean breeze was actually refreshing rather than the usual heat it blows on my runs, and all the plumerias a girl could ever want were in full bloom.  Ready to jump on the plane...

Landing in Idaho way past my bedtime right into the support of Mrs. Hutter.  Thankfully the welcome sign was bright enough to wake me up, bling baby!!  It's always very nice going to a race where you know the faces.  She gave me all sorts of motherly love and advice.  We girl talked about boys.  We sport talked about Sunday.  We had a nice drive from one state to the next...

This morning the swim looked cold, was cold, but was tolerable.  I'll be really honest, at first tip-toe, I was over it.  My mind mentally went ballistic and home sounded like the best place on Earth.  Then, each and everything, the fears and demons of 2010 paraded in my head.  It was so ugly.  The misery of that cold swim, freezing to exhaustion on the bike, then dropping out of the run left me single highhandedly ready to put up a fight.  Not this year Bree, not this year.  So I faced the cold, swam, then got right out and into the hottest shower you ever will know in you life.  Point of the story, I know it's going to be cold for a girl like me, however, I know I have a bigger will to brave it than I ever have.  And... it is really, really pretty here.

Next up for the day was pro panel.  Honestly, these are not my favorite moments before a race.  I like people, take that back, I love people, but I'm not that good at sitting in front of them.  So of course my fingers were crossed that if by chance I had a question thrown at me an answer would come out of my mouth.  I only got one.  I'm pretty sure the best part of that was having found my friend Wilma in the crowd.  Once again, it is the familiar faces making this race so much more enjoyable, so much more like home...

Then pro meeting.  Nothing exciting there, just know the course.

AND then the Zoot run with Ben Hoffman, Joszef Major, and me.  It was pretty cool jogging through the down town with the 2 speedy guys that have the big Ironman CDA win as a big possibility and once again, it was a really nice opportunity to in some very small, small, way give back to the community. Just being able to run with new faces and meet a few of the volunteers that will be out there all day Sunday was a good expericence...thank you in advance by the way, to those lovely volunteers.  While I'm at it with the "mahalos", sincerely thank you to my incredible homestay family!  I always think I get the best of the best and this time is just the same, they are the best...

And here they are, my new Zoots.  If you ask me, they look like the ocean swirled over white wash.  The laces are a beautiful coral color much like the seashells of home too, perfect for 26.2 miles...

And just before I tuck in, I have a really blurry photo for you of my race day stuff.  Minus the wetsuit that is trying to dry without icicles.  There are 5 things that just look super out of place.  #1.  Arm warmers.  #2.  Toe covers on my bike shoes. #3 Socks in my bike bag (just in case) I have yet to ever where socks on the bike.  #4 A rubber freezing cold water swim cap, hoping not to need it.  #5. Ear/head band thingy.  I'm not even sure of the proper name, I like it though.  When you run you can wear it over your head and it covers your ears. 

Okay, I better try and sleep. Good night from Idaho!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Easy, Breezy...

I am officially embracing the wetsuit, full on loving it, living in it, and enjoying it.  Really.  When you swim nearly naked in the warm waters of Hawaii, having to put on that big floaty suit truly feels like you are un-human in the water.  Maybe seals and whales like it, not me...until this week.

The wetsuit has now done an Ironman distance swim in salty Pacific water, it has even been cut to fit my ankles and wrists the way I like it.  In fact, I no longer finish a swim with those high school looking hickeys that usually take over my neck after a make out (er, swim) session with the deep blue.

Just to make sure it truly has become a "friend" to love on race day Sunday, I gave it the final test...sit in the ice box.  You know what, it was warm.  Zoot has made a wetsuit a girl on an island highly approves of!

Tomorrow it's off to Idaho.  Excitement is filling all I do around here lately.  Of course, even with an eagerness to do something I love, I am fully aware of the discomfort that can happen during an Ironman.  Much like life, sometimes we land in places we want to give up, wonder if we have enough strength keep going, fear the unknown, hurt, question how much longer we can hang on, wonder when the pain will pass, and have to dig deep to keep giving after we feel we have given our everything.  It's in those moments it always helps me to believe in some relief, in the case of a race-the finish line.  And after every finish line it always helps even more to have something to look forward too...

So here is my very brief list for soon after the race:

1.  Grab hold of Kainoas medal
2.  Call home
3.  Ask my homestay to take me to that cliff they jumped off, all I know is it lands in the cold lake and you take a boat.  That sounds brilliant to me!

And later after the race, when normal life resumes:

1.  Take a hike to a waterfall
2.  Fix up the gardens
3.  Take my sisters Booty yoga class that I keep saying I'll go but haven't.
4.  Night dive 
5.  Make a donation pile of those clothes I never wear
6.  Think up a way to be on Molokai when Leahi swims the channel

See ya in Idaho,

Monday, June 17, 2013

Race Week.

Yesterday was a day for the head.  You know how sometimes what you think is way more important than reality, that was my yesterday.  After a tiny taste of the flu bug flying around Kona, I was on the up swing and wanted to grab hold of a couple final good sessions for race day, for my head. 

Sunday's run held a good portion at goal race pace, I needed to feel it and breathe it in.  I've yet to run a marathon during a race the way they go during training.  Over and over I kept repeating, "You can do this, you got this, legs you know this pace".  Over and over. It felt really good, really comfortable, and then over the ocean a rainbow filled the sky.  That will for sure be a keeper in my head on Sunday.

From run to swim, where I landed a beautiful draft during a local swim race.  It felt way better going from flu to fish.  Now to settle down, way down and keep the positive thoughts strong while the race week tries to play it's tricky mind games with my body.  Trust time...

As of a couple hours ago, all but the bike and wetsuit are packed too!  My goal was to use the small luggage despite the need to bring more than shorts, sun dresses, and bikinis.  Somehow the island girl in me has kept it simple, not much more than what I need to race (and stay warm).  I have heard lovely rumors that the lake is warming up and the trees are absolutely gorgeous this season.  Sounds really nice and I'm very much looking forward to a return to Idaho.

Now to be honest, I promised to lay way low in the final wrap up to the Ironman, and I have.  Yesterday though, after sitting in a lawn chair like a cheer leader who lost her pep during the boys ball game, I got up, ran after a foot ball or two, and never felt so thankful for the boys in my life. This little family together for Summer has truly meant the world to me.  Life with 4 boys has perhaps been part of the best preparation into the Ironman.  For many reasons, other than learning to use dirty toilet seats (similar to those on race day) and eat some gnarly food. 

Of course, Saturday did hold Kainoa's race and who better to teach me how to race than Kainoa...

1.  Be focused on the start line
2.  Stick to your own routine and plan (like no shoes if that's your style)

3.  Stay positive even when you hit rough patches
4.  Breathe in the support & cheers of the crowds 
5.  Celebrate the finish line

6 more sleeps till the big dance, almost ready...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pretty Day For a Long Ride...

This morning was absolutely gorgeous, not that it's ever really ugly, but it was especially beautiful out this morning.  Swim practice was just okay.  Nothing special (I was hoping for fireworks).  One thing I've found in this sport, it's never really a disaster because you have at least 1 out of 3 chances for things to go "boom, bang, oooo, aaaaa, and wow".  That said, I got my fireworks on the bike.  

When I landed at the Kawaihae intersection all of me wanted to turn right.  A right turn on Friday means Hilo.  That ride and me have become best buds, not today, the North side of the island I went.  Left hander means Ironman Hawaii course.  With today being flag day too, the island pride was roaring beautiful.  And all of a sudden, it felt good turning left, to be on the Ironman Hawaii course.  After all, next weekend at Ironman CDA I'll need to keep these pretty Hawaiian moments at the forefront of my mind when the going gets rough...because I want to race at home in October.

Just so you know, Hawaii has the best aid stations.,,

As said, today was perfectly pretty for a 4 hour ride.  Just me, focusing on next weekend, focusing on the moment, focusing on the possibility of October and me.

The rest of the day was spent in the dirt with a 6 year old.  He was certain we landed in heaven because every seed we planted was now edible.  It took time (I even grew impatient) but here we go, seeds planted have finally paid off.  Kind of like training...eventually it pays off. 

Tomorrow is a day off.  The challenge will of course be, to sit more than stand.  To rest more than play.  And to pack...

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Swim Optional...

The 10 day window is upon us!  It's within those 10 days before a race I roll a little easier into "pre race mode".  Of course all the day in and day out of training, sleeping, and eating leading up count too, maybe most of all.  But I have found it silly for me to really put too much focus or stress on the minor details too soon before the 10 day window, because I belly flop.  Months before a race I'll do all the work and more.  I'll eat really good and more.  I'll sleep good and more.  But then again, more of everything else happens.  I'll miss a workout to get Kainoa from school, I'll bake a birthday cake for a friend and eat some, and then I stay up too late at family movie night.  Of c.ourse you can relate, that's life..

And so, the 10 day window is here. My beach time, up late time, and cake eating time is out the window.  Sadly, that means those super training adventures are too.  Friday was my Kona to Hilo ride, the one I have fallen in love with because it lands at Mikes truck, where he will drive me back home with him and be okay with my stinky self sitting next to him gushing about all the fun on 2-wheels that happened. 

I pretended it was my Ironman CDA bike route with all those big trees and deer.  Except with other trees and llamas.   However, our sunshine did hide and a rain storm tackled me for a good hour-freezing.  Now I can say I have officially trained in the cold, ready.

My ride ended up being the longest time I have ever, ever, ever spent with my bike.  Thanks to my ever so adventurous heart for exploration, it was pretty much all day long. The best part was going down a hill, turning up it in the big ring, and falling over.  You can picture feet clipped in the pedals and slow motion side flop with the bike on top of me and the feet still hooked in, of course.  I managed to laugh it off and tell the men wanting to help (while laughing) that "it happens all the time, don't worry, I'm okay".  Oh it was embarrassing...

 I love that ride, it is now my new favorite in all the world...

 ...and driving back to Kona with Mike, delirious, makes it like a finish line to some adventure race I just won.  Back to Ironman CDA, I'm ready.  I'm excited.  I'm happy too.  Most everything is packed and today I found out that I'll be racer #37.  In the Kona points I'm sitting #50-yikes.  The goal is to take all the hard work, use it on race day, and grab as many points as I can.  Seriously, sounds funny to be a point chaser, but that's my job holding a goal to make it into the big dance this October...

The final Hawaiian Summer days leading up to the 10-day window have included a jump or 3 off the cliffs.  That was fun, now it's done.  It has included girl time on bikes, talking about boys.  A few movies on Netflix that went past my bedtime.  Some beach with family/friends under our gorgeous sky, and you know...baking.  Now I can officially sit on my bum and just think about 140.6 miles...

 As for the optional swim, coach gave that to me for tomorrow.  After so many races under his guidance I have finally matured enough to understand them.  At first, it seemed like a must. Always. Of course do what it says to do no matter how worn out I feel. Its the ocean after all.  Now that I have learned to make training sessions really count, when a day off happens, sometimes it's money in the bank to make them count by taking the day off.  What a luxury it is to be in the 10-day window and see the beauty of an optional swim...


Monday, June 10, 2013

The Sunday Run...

There will forever and always hold a special spot in my heart for the Sunday run.  Since 2003 when I decided to start running, 'er jog/walking, Sunday has always been the best morning.  Maybe not always waking up to run when it's cold, or I'm sleepy, or everyone is going to the beach...but after...

And sometimes during.

This month celebrates my 10 year anniversary of  "I want to be a runner".  Its so special to think back on the runs, the people I have met running, the places I have run through and things I've seen.  To think of the races, challenges, and the cute shoes and clothes!  To think of everything and anything that comes with lacing shoes and finding a little piece of happy in the middle of  "being free".

Without a doubt Sunday mornings have landed as my favorite mornings.  And yesterday was the same.  Mike loaded his bike in the truck, some water bottles, and kept me company.  We run together sometimes, but these mornings when he rides and I run, are when I feel so completely blessed.  These are the mornings when he gives up his time to be part of the journey of my dreams.  He rides next to me, holds my goal pace, and even spits out some motivation.  Of course I know how fortunate I am!  This is something I used to dream about, and now it happens.

Yesterday was my "focus on Ironman CDA" run.  And for the first time since really going full focus on reaching Ironman Hawaii this October, it felt as if he was more sold on next weekends Ironman "job to be done" than me.  Mike did that thing some really good friends/family do for us, they get right in your face and make you face yourself.  He brought up the run from Hawaii 70.3 and made me go back to that rough spot when my pretty little moment of being in the lead went dark and ugly, and he challenged me like nobody else, only I have in the the quiet moments when I get mad about it.  He asked me why I didn't try to chase the girls back down, why did I just try to hold off 4th and be okay with giving up my lead just because of some tuff-luck.  He was so right, I never chased down the 1 and 2 girls that took advantage of my disadvantage out there...

With tears in my eyes, feeling like I left some of my race out there, he challenged me yesterday on that run to be an even better runner.  I love how running does that, how it makes us that much better every time we lace our shoes.  And I love how it brings good people to our lives, helping us go one more step...

Happy Running!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

On a beach in Hawaii...

If the path is pretty I lose the need to ask where it might lead...

It took till Thursday this week to calm down enough to be able to soak up a single moment at a time, without having to know all the details. Sunsets do that to me, especially running to them.  This day has been filled with Summer favorites, saltwater, sand, surf, and sun...

Today was my "Ironman CDA swim/run" day.  2.4 in the wetsuit and plenty of running.  I'm absolutely positive the beach in Hawaii could have done without the full suit for that swim and I'm most certain our palm trees are not the same as those in Idaho.  But Iron distance stuff is still Iron distance no matter the views (or temperature).
Tomorrow I plan to ride the "Ironman CDA" course.  It will be different, I already know that, because 112 miles in Hawaii might not be as hilly or chilly.  Good night,