Big Ideas!

Lots of racing, training, and life changes lately! I figure I will split this post into two parts so that it does not get too long.

I’ll pick up where I left off – Ironman 70.3 Galveston back in April. I can’t even believe it has been that long already!! The best part of that race was seeing my wonderful friend Brittany, spending some time with her, and finally meeting her uber cute little boy. Peter and I were so thankful her and her hubby invited us into their home to stay.

We were exceptionally excited to come down to Texas for a weekend full of sunshine and to take a break from the freezing cold Colorado weather. Unfortunately, that didn’t pan out and it ended up raining the entire time – so I felt like I was at home, shivering on the bike and battling pelting rain. I guess I was well prepared for the race!

I also met an amazing friend on this trip. It was our first time working with Wes who owns Pro Bike Express. He has this really cool setup in a custom trailer he built to transport bikes from Colorado to races all over the country. His saying “mi casa es tu casa” is very true, I can’t tell you how nice it was to have him there helping us with our bikes and all of our gear. Anything we needed, he was there for us and more. And, he was even out on the course cheering for! I must say that I felt like first class rolling my bike out of the trailer right before the race and then rolling it back on right afterwards. No hassle and no worries – it was awesome.

I only had one pretty simple strategy for this race – go balls to the wall on the bike (as Peter would put it). I have always heard other athletes warn against putting in too hard of an effort on the bike portion because it can be detrimental for your run. You know, kill your legs for 56 miles and then try and run a short 13 miles right after – it feels like death. I had never experienced this first hand and, although it may seem a little twisted, I really wanted to know how it felt. Sometimes I think it is good to understand your limits.

not a race pic but I had to show off the new race kit!

not a race pic but I had to show off the new race kit!

Well, I definitely accomplished that mission. I finished the bike in 2 hours 21 minutes.   Don’t get me wrong; this was an extremely flat course. But with the rain and crazy wind I was still very excited about my time. And, I am fully aware that you don’t win with just a fast bike time, but I would like the tiniest moment to boast that my bike time was faster than 12 of the 16 female pros that were racing. Okay, selfish boasting segment over, sometimes you need something to feel proud of. But all in all, I feel like I am making awesome gains in this aspect of my training and I am at least heading in the right direction.

And, there is a reason why the pros are pros…I ended up paying for my kick-ass bike on my run, posting the slowest run time I have ever had in a 70.3 race. And it wasn’t just my slowest run, it was by far my most painful! When your legs are so numb that the sensation starts to trickle up to your face, you know you have a problem of some sort. Sorry folks, there is no positive mental talk that will dig you out of that hole…maybe if I had just sat down and forced myself to suck down 5 of those nasty gu packets.

At the end of April, Peter and I decided to tag along on a group training trip out to Moab, Utah. We brought Tucker along with us and packed our tent to save some money in hotel costs, and get in some family camping time. The first morning Peter and I got up early and met up with Liz, our awesome supporter from Tribella, and our new friend Wes. We were excited for a peaceful morning biking through and exploring Arches National park. And it was exactly what I had hoped for – beautiful weather, early morning sun shining on the magnificent red arches, and wonderful company to bike with. I had been yearning for a ride like this for a long time.

Beautiful morning

Beautiful morning

Liz and I...great company

Liz and I in Arches National Park…great company!

After a nice afternoon nap in the tent, Peter and I met up with Liz and James for some Mexican food and Margaritas at a small local joint. As many of you know, Liz and James own Tribella and have graciously agreed to sponsor me and let me race for their 2014 team. Honestly, I mostly wander around wishing there was something I could do to repay them for how amazing they are. I am honored to wear their race kit because it is very meaningful to me. To Peter and I, they are more than just a bike shop that we have the amazing opportunity to work with. They are an awesome couple that knows there is more to life than just bikes, triathlon, and training…they are passionate about people and building meaningful relationships. They understand that there needs to be healthy balance or else you will go crazy! And, even though they are instrumental in my ability to race and train today, I am so thankful for the advice and help I have been able to get from on other aspects of my future life.

Okay, so take a pause from the Mexican and Margs and let me quickly take you back a few weeks. I had mentioned in my previous blog that Peter and I had big ideas and I would share them soon…well Big Idea #1 was for me to quit my job and start my own business. For Big Idea #2, you will have to read part 2 of this blog!

Now, fast forward back to Margs and Mexican. Might I remind you that James and Liz are small business owners who quit their own jobs to pursue a dream. So, as I am at the dinner table expressing my inner turmoil of quitting my job and pursing my own business dream, I couldn’t help but feel like I was meant to have that conversation with them right in that moment.

If I have kept any of you on the edge of the seat (or if you are falling asleep wishing for this to be over) the moral of the story is that 1-week later I quit my job. After thoughtful consideration and amazing support from my family and friends I made the decision to jump head first into starting my own business.

To prevent myself from boring you with a novel, and to maybe entice you to ready my next blog, I will save our Big Idea #2, details of my business, my Ironman 70.3 Boulder race, and some other fun details like my new bike!

Cheers!

Advertisements

Cold days and long nights

“You can’t always get what you want – you get what you need” as the Rolling Stones would say. And on this last day of March as I am emerging out of winter hibernation I am looking for new-found motivation to train, blog, and race. My state of “hibernation” this winter seemed like it didn’t have much of “what I wanted” and I am still hoping that I will soon learn it was “what I needed”.

I fell in love with triathlons while living in Hawaii. So it makes sense that when I think of a love for running or biking (or I guess swimming even though I never use “swimming” and “love” in the same sentence) I associate those feelings with warmth, sun, and the ocean. Not much can top a long run along the ocean in a sports bra and shorts and then jumping into the coolness of the green-blue water. Or a bike ride around the island with never-ending panoramic views of water on one side and the massive Koo’lau Mountains on the other. Then in the height of the excitement around my new-found passion, I was ripped away to a new location. Colorado is beautiful and has a lot of great places to explore and be outdoors, but I wasn’t prepared to be in-doors, training in the dark all winter. And don’t kid yourself, I did my fair share of runs in below zero temperatures wearing two pairs of leggings, 3 long-sleeves, a down vest, beanie, mittens, down jacket…sweating but freezing at the same time. But you can’t ride your bike outside on the snow and ice so I became a slave to the trainer. And sadly I have ridden inside so much that Tucker now knows the difference between when I slow pedal for rest between intervals and when I slow pedal to cool down and finish workout. I no longer swim outside in the sunshine but rather in the stuffy chlorine-vapor humidity of the indoor pool. For three years I was used to having these major tan lines that made my white parts look ghostly white… now those lines are gone. As you can probably tell, none of this was particularly “what I wanted”.

Mom, I'm really cold...

Mom, I’m really cold…

This sun kind of feels like Hawaii...

This sun kind of feels like Hawaii…

How do I get inside there?

How do I get inside there?

In this hibernation period, Peter and I both struggled with our motivation behind training at such a ridiculous level. I didn’t feel like enjoyment and love like it did in Hawaii. It felt like hard, miserable, please-make-it-stop work. If you haven’t met us yet, I will save you the confusion: we are high-strung over achievers that have a hard time not being the best in whatever we do. It’s not that we have to beat out everyone around us, it just means that we have a hard time half-assing things. If I am going to just be mediocre at something or do something and not really try, then I would rather not do it at all…it feels like a waste of my time. This means that we will either put up huge 20-hour training weeks where we train twice a day so that we can realize our full potential, or just quit all together. So when you are both exhausted, waking up at 4:45am so you can do a bike ride before rushing to work and then go straight from work to the pool and then straight home to make dinner and hopefully eat by 8:30pm (and you don’t even have kids!!) you wonder what the heck you are doing this for. There have to be reasons beyond self-fulfillment and self-satisfaction because soon those things can turn into self-glorification.

IMG_1481

If only the ocean were really behind us

I decided to take a long hiatus from blogging and posting things about my training or the small races I did over the winter to prayerfully reflect on my motivations for training so hard and sacrificing so much. And even though I felt so enclosed all winter, confined to this feeling of hibernation, I am hoping that all of that focused training and reflection was “what I needed”. Here I am, one week out from my first 70.3 race of the season in Galveston, Texas. I am excited to race and see how all of my hard work over the winter pays off and I am especially excited to race for my awesome new teammates on the TriBella team. Maybe God had a reason behind all of my sacrifice. But I am determined to not make this season of my life all about self-glorification. After a lot of prayer, Peter and I have come up with some fantastic ideas that I am excited to share. Stay tuned, more to follow. But first, it’s time to race!

Piece by Piece

I think it is amazing when pieces of your life begin to come together and form a picture that is not quite what you imagined, but is much more amazing than you could have dreamed up on your own.  Shortly after arriving in Colorado, I noticed my back tire rubbing on the frame of my road bike.  It was subtle at first but after a few rides, the rubbing became more substantial and started to wear the frame and the tire.  We went around to a few local bike shops to get it looked at and received a myriad of responses.    One shop trued the wheel – which means to make it spin straight again –  (or at least they claimed to) and when that did not fix it, suggested that we shave out a notch in the frame.  I was extremely weary of altering the frame of my bike, especially since it is a super expensive carbon frame.  We decided it would be best to take the bike to a cervélo rep in order to get better advice on how to handle the situation, especially if we wanted to go through the warranty with the company.  We searched for a cervélo shop in the Denver area and one of the first places that came up was TriBella in downtown Denver.  Peter was the one who did the google search so I knew nothing about the shop and only assumed it was another typical bike shop.  I was not particularly excited about going since it was a Sunday afternoon and I did not want to waste it driving downtown.  But, Peter was motivated to fix my bike so we headed that way.

We walked in the door and the first thing I noticed was all of the pink colors around the store.  Awesome pink swivel stools sit underneath a wrap-around bar that opens up to the work area. You automatically feel invited to sit down and watch or strike up a conversation as the lead mechanic and shop owner, James, works on the bikes.  Peter’s first comment was that the store had no men’s clothing.  Instead it is full of triathlon gear for women.  (You have to check this place out!) I felt comfortable and at home, wandering around the store to look at all of the clothing and equipment.  I have never had an experience like this.  Usually bike shops are very intimidating, male dominant, and full of guys eager to share their macho biking stories with each other.  This can be very uncomfortable, especially if you are new to the sport.  Before talking with anyone it the store, I knew what TriBella stood for and I loved it.

76369_519610121413069_333948387_n

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that TriBella aligns with who I want to be as an athlete.  I want to be more than just an athlete who promotes an active multisport lifestyle.  I want to share the love that I find in triathlon training to inspire and motivate anyone and everyone to jump that intimidating hurdle of trying something new.  TriBella cultivates that atmosphere and I know that is why I was so immediately drawn to them.  So I am tickled pink (no pun intended!) to share that TriBella and I have decided to work together to achieve that common goal.  I am so honored to have TriBella as my very first sponsor.  It is my future goal to pursue this sport as a professional triathlete and I am so overwhelmingly thankful to now have TriBella there to support me on this journey.  Another wonderful part of this relationship is that the husband and wife shop owners, James and Liz, are well on their way to opening up a men’s specific store, separate from TriBella, and with that they have decided to sponsor Peter.  So, Peter and I now have the opportunity to work together on this mission of empowering other’s to reach their potential. We can’t wait to get started.

IMG_1375

The shop took care of us right away getting us a top of the line bike fit at the Denver Fit Loft, a bike fitting studio in the back of the shop.  This is honestly one of the coolest things I have had the opportunity to do.  The Denver Fit Loft uses a Retul 3D Motion Capture system and the expertise of their head fitter, Josh, to uniquely fit your body to your bike.  They hooked me up to these motion sensors, analyzed every angle possible from my ankles to my shoulders, and then positioned me on my bike in a way that optimizes my power output, efficiency, and aerodynamics.  When you spend hours and hours on your bike, it kind of helps to know that it is adjusted properly to your body and I am eager to see and feel the benefits of my new fit.  The best part of this fit was what I learned from Josh.  From the video analysis he was able to show me different things about my ankle flex and where I sit on my seat and how minor adjustments to things like this can greatly improve my efficiency and power.  I find this stuff so interesting.

I got my first chance to sport my new TriBella kit this past weekend.  Peter and I rode the 78-mile Copper Triangle organized alpine road ride.  It is an amazingly beautiful route that crests Fremont Pass, Tennessee Pass, and Vail Pass with 6,000 ft of climbing.  It is a no pressure ride and we thoroughly enjoyed the casual atmosphere and the scenery that comes with climbing in the mountains of Colorado.  It was also really cool to hear a few other cyclists shout out “TriBella!” as I biked past.

My next big adventure will be the Kona training camp I am going to this next week, put on by my coach.  It will be five days and four nights of straight training with lots of mileage in the ocean and on the roads.  I can’t wait to be back in Hawaii, to swim in the ocean, and to breathe the wonderfully moist sea-level air.  I will be putting lots of miles in on my bike so I am also very thankful to have my new bike fit.  All of the athletes are staying in big a house together with my coach and this will be an amazing time for learning, growing, and sharing with other athletes.  I cannot wait!

Thanks to a random issue with my road bike (which, by the way, James fixed for me by correctly truing my wheel), I was led to a bike shop in downtown Denver that I am not sure I would have found otherwise.  My life picture is forming and pieces are coming together in ways I could never have dreamed of.  I am just excited to share it with others!