Blowing in the Wind

photo by liz kreutz, via

So, I didn’t say a lot about the actual race in my last post, but I was looking through some race day photos by sports photographer Liz Kreutz, and this one of Lance Armstrong does a pretty good job of capturing how strong the winds on the Queen K and the road up to Hawi were that day.  I was essentially terrified for 3 hours.  Those trade winds are no joke.

And below, the stupid lava fields.


Back at work, in my cubicle, drinking the “coffee” from office kitchen, looking out the window at the rain, I think about where I was a week ago today:



So, just a little background, two weeks ago I traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii to do the Honu 70.3 with my friend Alix and her sister Catherine.  It was my first time to Hawaii.  On the plane, I pretty much ignored the rules to turn off electronic devices as we were landing.

reefs from the sky

Alix’s parents are pretty frickin amazing and let me crash with the family at the house they had rented.  They also fed me delicious delicious food to prep us for the race.  It was…ridiculously awesome.

We all arrived 2 days before the race.  Our first day there we went to this beach near Puako for a 30 minute swim, as instructed by Coach Allison.

I miss swimming in the ocean.  A lot.  And swimming in this particular part of the ocean, I considered never getting out.  We saw clownfish, parrotfish, pufferfish, butterflyfish, humuhumunukanuka’apua’as (yes for real, they’re everywhere), and (the best part) a SEA TURTLE…or honu, in Hawaiian, which I took as a sign of good luck for our race.  I was in love.

But before we could have any real fun, there was bike maintenance, race registration, transition bag drop off, and, of course, the race.  A short race summary with pretty much all you need to know:

Honu 70.3: A Haiku

Blow blow blow great wind
Make waves, knock me off my bike
I saw Lance Armstrong

I was a ways off my goal time, and Alix got 2 flats (and fixed both of them herself…way impressive), but it was a pretty awesome experience and we all survived.

After the race Alix rented a truck and we took a trip around the whole island.  There were more beaches…

…some with black sand…

…and some paddleboarding at Kona where we ended up smack in the middle of a pod of dolphins for about 10 minutes.  It was amazing, but nobody brought a camera.

There was some camping in the higher altitudes at Volcanoes National Park…

…where the ground smokes…

…and volcanoes live.

Some hiking through the jungle along the Kilauea Iki Trail…

…down to the hardened lava lake below that was created by an eruption in 1959.

can you find alix and shayna?

(steam still spills out of a lot of the fissures along the ground, it’s awesome)

We also walked through a lava tube.

From there we headed north towards Hilo, into the rain…

…then back around to Kawaihae, to our final camping spot at Spencer Beach Park (which, btw, closes it’s gates at 9pm…for future reference).

We found a little secret path and decided to follow it…

…that took us to a little, empty, white sand beach.

We got to spend our final evening with a family of sea turtles that were hanging out in the shallow water.  After that we headed out to a dinner of unbelievable sushi.  On the way out there were rainbows rainbows everywhere.

It was going to be the perfect ending to an amazing trip.

Then, while trying to get back into the campsite after dinner, I fell in a lava field and we spent the rest of the evening in the Kona ER.

20 stitches in this unassigned tourist’s right arm.  We all flew out the next day.

I felt pretty bad about ruining the last night in Hawaii.  At least someone was happy to see me when I got home.

But seriously, a major thanks goes out to Alix and her family for their generosity and all of their help with everything.  The whole trip was a truly amazing experience and I absolutely wouldn’t have been able to do it (especially in such style) without them.  Far above and beyond anything I expected.

I’ll leave you with a pic of my favorite sign in Kona.

More pics of the trip here.

For a real, full, looooong race report, go here.

I’m alive!

…and back from Hawaii!  I know I really fell off the boat (is that even a phrase?) in terms of keeping this thing updated, but things got a little insane right before I left and I didn’t use the computer once while hanging out on the Big Island.

So what was I doing all this time away from the computer?

Well, a little bit of this…

…a little bit of this…

…and a little bit of this.

Yes, I found the most flattering picture I could, taken by a friend who was thoughtful enough to pull out her camera while I was getting my wound numbed up before they put in stitches.

And if you’re wondering what kind of face that is, it’s a “oh no biggie I’m tough done this a million times this doesn’t hurt but really I feel like I’m going to barf or cry or both but I see someone has their camera out so I’m going to try to smile/give a thumbs up for the picture” face.  Turns out that probably isn’t the look I should have gone for.

Full race report to come soon.

Double Whammy: Racing the Delta

Good MOOOOORNING Mississippi!

As I mentioned earlier a group of us (including Paul) headed down south this past weekend for some back-to-back races at Memphis in May: a sprint triathlon on Saturday and an olympic on Sunday.  In addition to the Paula Deen buffet, the race had an Amateur Challenge with cash prizes for the top 15 combined times for men and women who did both races.

Again, to spare you from pages of detail that most of you don’t care about anyway, below are haikus highlighting the important parts.

Race #1: Sprint Saturday (400m swim, 14m bike, 5k run)
Out of the water
Freak clown monster face like woah
So terrifying

Race #2: Olympic Sunday (1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run)
New triathlon suit
Means zipper chafing on chest
Legs feel like cement

Paul’s 10K leg of the Olympic Race
Paula Deen and heat
Cannot stop this beastly man
From dominating

56 minutes

Paul was super relieved that he didn’t die on the run.  I ended up 7th in the Amateur Challenge which = DOLLA DOLLA BILL!  (almost enough to cover my entry fee…ha)  Still stoked.  Spike missed us and was very happy when Paul came home to study with him again. 

Full race reports posted here and here.

Etc, etc

Based on FB stalking, it looks like this weekend was full of beautiful weather pretty much everywhere, multiple weddings (including Mark Zuckerberg), and a solar eclipse.

I spent much of it here:

The transition area of Memphis in May…which was actually held in Tunica, MS.  I don’t get it either.

The race location was a hop, skip, and drive through the ghetto away from downtown Memphis.  Not that close.  So, the moral of the story is we didn’t get to partake in the MiM events.  Sad.

We did, however, have this on site:

Oh yes.  Welcome to Mississippi.

Once the pics come back I’ll do an update on the double header race weekend. Until then, I’m going to start figuring out what I need to get done before Hawaii (I fly out in 9 DAYS) and continue to wear my compression socks to work.

Cute, I know.

In other news, I came back to my cube today to find my little cubetree had sprouted a new appendage.

Hmm.  Awkward.

Happy Monday.


Last long weekend of training before Hawaii…DONE.

Saturday: 60 mile bike ride followed by a 2 mile run (called a brick, when you go for a run straight off your bike) at 10K pace.  I did 2 hours of the ride with some friends, and about 20 miles on my own.  The last time I headed out on my bike by myself I got hit by a cab and ended up in the ER getting surgery on my hand.  So making it home in one piece was a personal victory.

Sunday: Mother’s Day! (of course)

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

…plus a 12 mile run (at 7am in the pouring rain…yay?) followed by a 3K swim that actually looked a lot like the above. And a rainy walk with Spike.  Time to bust out the Squall again.

All fueled by R&M eggs.  Of course.

They’re still coming, 2 every day.  Look how much bigger the ones on the left are.  One of the chickens is seriously outperforming the other.

Also got a nice surprise call from my sister in Afghanistan on Sunday (she’s doing well), and did some studying for this god-forsaken online class I’m taking.

I can’t help it, I hate taking classes online.  And yes, Spike always sits like that.

Next up: MEMPHIS!  This weekend!  A friend of mine gave me the name of a friend of hers who is actually competing in the BBQ World Championships.  Woah.  This could get crazy.

And to top it all off…Paul is going to be running the 10K run leg of the Olympic triathlon on Sunday in Memphis as part of a relay team.  He hasn’t run more than 2.5 miles in a year.  That should also be amazing.

Onward and upward.

Arbor Day and Potentially Poor Life Decisions

Yeah buddy.  It’s getting hot up in these parts.

Hope you all had a wonderful Arbor Day.  Spike and I walked down to the Arboretum, where they were giving away free indigenous trees. Paul has been talking about these trees for about 4 months, so we picked up a Kentucky Persimmon.  His mother picked up an Eastern Pine and gave it to us…which can grow up to 160 feet.  Not sure where in our little yard that will go.

The Persimmon tree will reach it’s peak fruit-bearing in 8 years…but who knows, maybe we’ll get some little persimmons before that.

So I’ve been trying to shake this flu/cold thing that took over at the end of last week. Getting back into training hasn’t gone smoothly.  My run this morning was…kind of terrible.  I was tired.  Sore.  Not feeling it mentally.  So what did I do to break myself out of this funk?

Signed up for not one, but TWO back-to-back races the weekend of May 19th.  A sprint triathlon Saturday (400 swim, 12 mile bike, 3 mile run) and an olympic triathlon Sunday (1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run), both in Memphis.

Why?  The short answer is: Allison made me do it.

Memphis in May is actually an international festival in Memphis with all sorts of music and performances and exhibits…and two triathlons!  Allison encouraged me to sign up largely because I missed the race in Florida last weekend and she wants me to do at least one race before Hawaii.  I told her fine, but only if we can go to Graceland and possibly Dollywood on the way home.

This race is notorious for being brutally hot.

(this is a real picture from a finisher at the race last year)

…which is part of the reason Allison was pushing for me to do it.  Hawaii is going to be brutally hot, and I don’t tend to handle the heat very well.  So it’s kind of like heat training.  Which most likely means I’ll be regretting this decision on the run course.  Twice.

The good news is, after the races, there will be some world class BBQ.

The World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest will be happening when we’re there.  HECK YEAH.

Summer is heeeeere…

Mele Kalikimaka

So, this past week was supposed to be “END BLOBTOBERFEST!”  I was going to get back into training and put together a training schedule and GET ON THE BALL.  But then I got the flu and it knocked me on my butt for the whole week.  I didn’t exercise once.  Not even close.  But I did experience some soreness from lying in bed so much.

So, what did I do during my week off (aside from turning into a pile of white, doughy grossness)?

Signed up for a half Ironman.  Of course.

My good friend Alix is getting married next summer and decided to do the Honu 70.3 in June before the wedding.  And I am joining her.  It is going to be my A race for next year (I’ve never been to Hawaii before…I am beyond excited.)


Steelhead 69.1

I’m thinking of getting this tattoo.

So yes, the swim was cancelled.  Which generally means I am completely screwed, because that’s the only part of the race that I’m remotely good at.

BUT!  I did get in to test out the water the day before the race…

…and after a short bike/run actually got in to splash around with Paul.  The water temp was in the high 70s, and the waves were juuust big enough to do some body surfing, which I did quite a bit of.  Probably not the best pre-race activity, but I couldn’t help myself, the water felt so good.  I miss the ocean.

Our hotel was in South Haven, about 30 miles north of Benton Harbor, and our stay coincided with the National Blueberry Festival.    We just missed the parade where the National Blueberry Queen made her debut, which was a shame.  But we did catch the South Haven Vintage Baseball Club baseball game in full swing.  They even played without gloves.

The weather that day was completely erratic, going from severe thunderstorms to sun all day long (we left the beach just in time to see a major storm rolling in), which wasn’t super promising for the race.

Woke up on race day with serious winds, and upon entering transition the first thing they announced was that the swim had been cancelled, there was a small craft advisory, and winds of up to 25 mph were predicted for the day.  Boo.

So we did a time trial start on the bike, going two at a time by bib number.  My bike was solid, I think…never raced 56 miles for time before and wasn’t sure what to expect…but I averaged significantly faster than I did in the 14-mile bike leg of the Markey Race (yes, for reals) and came in a solid 10 minutes under my goal time of 3 hours.

My run was GREAT…for the first 8ish miles.  My 10K split was right around 51:00.  I was on pace to easily break 2 hours, no problem, and was running at a totally comfortable pace.  Then suddenly, this happened:


It was ugly.  I walked for about a minute.  The next 2.5 miles were a combo of walk/run, and I grabbed a gel, some coke, and Gatorade from the aid stations as I went.  I finally got my legs back and was able to jog the last few miles to the finish line.  But it wasn’t pretty.

Final run time: 1:59:34.  Just squeaked in.  Paul met my semi-coherent self at the finish line, and helped me find my way back to transition to get my stuff.  I also had  knots the size of watermelons on my neck/shoulders from the new aerobars, which I rode on for almost the entire race.

Oh, and apparently I’m from Lexington, CA.

BUT!  I finished, didn’t die, broke 5 hours, and learned that I need to eat or drink more earlier on in the run.

More on the race (if you actually want to hear any more) to be posted here shortly.

…here it comes…

for allison, who was in hysterics for like 30 minutes when she found this picture on the web

…and on a similar note to the previous post…

Steelhead 70.3 is this coming weekend.  All those months of training are finally coming to an end and I am TAPERING!  After Nashville, I am only slightly less terrified than I look in the above picture that I might crumple up in a heap and die halfway through the run.  Paul and I are driving up on Friday night, I’ll be doing all race-related reporting here.

I effing hate race pictures.