Kona 2016: Part 1 with Dan

17 Oct

FRIDAY morning (10.13.16) we were set to leave Portland to Kona (via Seattle shuttle).  Long story long: We got to the airport; the first flight to Seattle (8:30, we were on the 9) was delayed; air traffic controllers weren’t letting any planes into Seattle.  That made me nervous.  They were trying to get as many people onto the flight as possible because they didn’t know how many of the shuttles were going to get to go out.  We secured a spot on the 8:30(BARELY).  We were on the plane ready to take off…late as it was.  Then we deboarded…Seattle wasn’t ready for us!  It was going to be 90 minutes.  (Kona flight was at 11:10)  Everyone off the plane, into the line to be rebooked, people were going to miss their connecting flights.  Dan gets on the phone and AK Air says if you leave by 10, you will be ok.(if not call back)  (cue the tears…I knew there was zero chance of us leaving by 10)….Dan stayed positive…I on the other hand was pissed and sad!!

We re-boarded at 9:55 and were off at about 10:15 for the 35 minute flight…we got to Seattle at 11.  There were quite a few of us on that flight that was going to Kona, I knew if we could get to Seattle and had to run it would be fine.

We ran through one terminal, got to the in-airport shuttle to the other terminal, thought we were on the wrong one, literally got to the gate and the doors were shut…and you know when the doors are shut you are in trouble….BUT….she let us on…along with the 15 or so other people from our flight that didn’t run, that weren’t sweaty, about 15 minutes after us.  I knew in my gut we would be ok…but I thought if we don’t run and we miss it, I would be even more sad!!

We made it!!! I was just happy to be here!!! We weren’t sure that our baggage had made it. But it finally made its way out the baggage carousel!!

We had a nice afternoon of relaxing, walking around Kailua-Kona, we hit up Kona Brewing Company for pizza.


Our first Kona sunset!


SATURDAY: Ironman World championship

We got up super early. We didn’t know how hard it would be to get a good spot to watch the swim.  We grabbed some coffee and checked out a few spots before settling on what turned out to be a great one!!


We got a few viewing tips for the guy sitting by us.  We saw all the waves go off.  By the time the AG women went off, the pro men were coming in.  We went up to Kuakini Hwy to see the bikes and we got there right in time to see the first mens pro go by.  You can barely recognize them.  They go by in a blink of the eye.  I knew what some of my faves were wearing so I could cheer for them.


Top left clockwise: Jan Frodeno, Jessie Thomas, Ben Hoffman, Heather Jackson, Miranda Carfrae

We walked down to the hot corner to see a bit more of the racers come down and up Palani.    I wanted to see Erin before we headed back to the condo.  I cheered for her 3 times before I actually cheered for her.  All the Coeur Sports ladies were in the same kit on the same bike.    It wasn’t until that 3rd time, I knew it was her. I cheered extra loud for her and then headed for breakfast.

We were staying on Ali’i drive at the 2 mile marker of the run (and 8 mile on the way back).  We had a perfect viewing spot for the run.  We went to the pool to get cool before we would need to be back to see the pros.  We did some serious cowbelling.  It was so fun seeing Jan and Sebastian running neck and neck.  We saw all of our faves.  I cheered extra loud for Jessie, Ben, and Andy!!  Finally the pro women were coming through and it was kind of hard because we had to be paying attention to both directions now!! Heather, Rinny, and Linsey come through.  So fun to see them. (You like how I didn’t use last names like they were all my best friends)😉

It was so hot.  Like miserable hot. Every single racer looked MISERABLE. Not comfortable. Not happy. MISERABLE.  We went back to the pool to cool down again.

Everyone is so fast.  Of course they are fast, they have to be fast to get themselves there!!  We waited for Erin to come through.  Like a totally bad-ass loving life, she cruised by us at mile 2 and 8 with a huge smile on her face.


So much fun.  What a day of spectating.  Spectating really is hard!! Dan said that I should try to get a legacy slot to Kona.  I thought it would be pretty cool to try to work up to that point but it just looks so hot and miserable!! #neversaynever

**I will get back to this legacy business later*


We got up and went for a run.  I thought well I am going to have to run at some point.  I better get it done.  You can’t tell in this picture but I was dripping in sweat and it was 7:30 in the morning.  I texted the girls and said you better be ready to run in your sports bras cause the heat is no joke!!


We headed (on foot) to Kahaluu Beach.  We snorkeled and saw a ton of fish.  There was 6 honu(turtles) there.  It was so awesome.  I love turtles.  I could watch them all day!

That afternoon we walked back to Kona Brewery Company for their brewery tour.  It was super fun.  They started in Portland and made their way to the big island.  We met a gal who got a slot as a legacy racer.  It was fun chatting to her about the race and how many IMs she has done(15).  (Of course I started to think that legacy would be a good idea. #whatiswrongwithme)



We picked up the rental car and headed north.  Our first stop was Hapuna Beach. Lots of sun and waves.  We soaked up a ton of sun this day.  We went up further north to Hawi to get some ice cream. We read about Kohala Coffee Mill.  They have Tropical Dreams ice cream, which is a local brand.  It was nice to have a break from the sun and perfect treat for such a hot day.

That night, definitely the highlight of the trip, was a night snorkel trip with the manta rays.



We went with the Kona Honu Divers.  We had so much fun with Captain Frank and his crew.  They were super fun, knowledgeable, and helpful.  We got to snorkel before it got dark and then back to the boat for a manta talk.  We learned about the mantas and the story behind them.

We got back in the water with our wetsuits on.  It took a little bit of time to see our first one but when we did we were all really excited!! I was nervous we weren’t going to see any. I was like well at least we got to see 1.  Then we saw Big Bertha.  She is the largest one down there with a 17 foot wingspan.  (There is 250 documented mantas around the island) She came up under us and it was insane.  So awesome!!!!!  We got to see 4 total but they put on quite a show for us.  We were in the water for an hour.  What an hour it was!!!


Another early morning.  We were set to go down south to the black sand beach and volcano.



We hit up Punalu’u Beach.  We walked around a bit.  Not a lot of snorkelers and not a lot of sun.  This beach has more cold water due to the offshore freshwater.  We decided we didn’t want to snorkel. So we didn’t take anything with us to the opposite side of the beach.  Once we got over there.  We saw a family snorkeling and I said I bet there is a turtle(s) here.  Sure enough one popped his head out of the water right then.  I was so excited and in the 10 minutes it took us to walk over there, the sun had come out.

Back to the car to get snorkel gear, towels, and sunscreen.  We swam(it wasn’t too cold), hung out with the turtles, and soaked up some more sun!


We finally made our way to the Hawai’i Volcano National Park.  We had planned to be there after dark to see the lava but there was no way we were going to make it 5 more hours until dark.  We opted to go over to the Visitor Center, Jaggar Museum to see the Kilauea Caldera, and hiked the Kilaueu Iki Trail/ Thurston Lava Tube.



It was a super fun trip with Dan.  #livinthedream We both packed up Tuesday night.


I was sad to take Dan to the airport at 9am but excited to go back to the airport at 11am to pick up the girls for a different adventure.  Ragnar Hawaii here we come!

Have you been to the Big Island?  Any favorite spots?






2016: 2nd & 3rd Quarter

6 Oct

I’m not sure where the last 6 months has gone but here is a recap of my 2nd & 3rd quarter.  Here are some of the highlights!

April happenings:  I celebrated my 37th trip around the sun.

Dan and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary. We froze some cookies from the party.

There is always weddings!!

Palm Springs, CA

Leavenworth, WA


We went to Bend to celebrate the 4th of July:


Gelato!! Freedom ride: They do a freedom ride on the 4th and it is madness. There is bikes everywhere.  We were warned that it was crazy.  The picture doesn’t even do it justice.  River walk by the Mill District. Juniper pool. 50m outdoor pool. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.🙂




The baked treats were done more in the spring and fall.  Dan and I decided to do a summer challenge of no sweets.  The problem is “sweets” is such a broad term.  We didn’t really make the boundaries very good.  It started off we were going to eat zero treats.  That lasted a week.  I wanted a treat after Blue Lake Tri.  We thought we will do a 1x week (on the weekend) treat.  That worked for a while.

Then it happened.  The worst possible thing imaginable.  One of our favorite ice cream shops OPENED NEXT DOOR!!  So 1x a week turned into 2-3x per weekend. We were good during the week.  Of course as you can see we stopped tracking it too!

It was more of a bet then a challenge.  If I ate less than Dan, he was going to buy me a new tattoo.  If he ate less than me, I was going to have to watch all 7 Star Wars movies.  (full disclosure: I have never seen any of them)

The challenge ended after Wisconsin.  We still haven’t declared a winner!

Fun with the threesome!


Date nights!!  This was from movie in the park. Jaws. Neither one of us had seen it.  “We are going to need a bigger boat!”


Our annual berry picking afternoon.  We were a day late so we had to settle for frozen ones.


My good friend Mandi came to town for work training for 2 weeks so we spent lots of time hanging out.  This was at the Pine Street market.


I got to meet a few blogger friends IRL.  Lee and her husband Tony came to the Pacific Northwest and started their trip in Portland.  We had dinner and of course took them to get ice cream.


I got to meet Erin at Ironman Wisconsin.  She is racing in the World Championship this weekend and a total bad ass.

I got to meet Kecia the day after Ironman Wisconsin for breakfast and war stories.


It was an awesome 2nd and 3rd quarter.  I’m ending the “summer” with a 12 day trip to the big island.  Dan and I leave for Kona tomorrow morning to spend 6 days going to the World Championship, the beach, swimming and relaxing.  The 2nd 6 days is with my girlfriends doing the inaugural Ragnar Hawaii Ultra style.  Why would we have a 12 person team when we can have a 6 person team and run double the miles!  Can’t.hardly.wait!!

What were your summer highlights?




Guest Post: IronFan Wisconsin

2 Oct

I begged asked Dan to do a “spectator” report for Ironman Wisconsin.  He is a great writer and very funny.  Enjoy his report:

Why am I writing this? Good question, we’ll get there. Sometimes I like to write for fun when I don’t have to write on a specific topic for work or academic reasons. I like to tell a good story and maybe get a few laughs along the way. So when Leslie asked me to contribute to her blog post I thought, what the hey, let’s see if her readers might like to hear what the Iron Fans go through on race day.

Super quick background on me. I’m a marketer by day, student by night, athlete in the morning, and a pretty rad husband to Leslie every second in-between. I still consider myself a runner even though I’m also an Ironman, a Spartan, and a triathlon coach (Go Team!).

Now stop me if you’ve heard this before but Leslie is a pretty damn impressive athlete. The one and only time I did an Ironman, I got to watch Leslie crush me in the same race by over 3 hours. Her athleticism and commitment to this crazy sport just amazes me. I don’t often get to watch her race so when she told me a year ago that she wanted to sign up for Ironman Wisconsin, I said “hell yeah, do it and I’ll be there to cheer you on.”

Fast forward a year to Ironman Wisconsin.

Leading up to the race in Madison, me and the rest of the support crew did everything we could to keep Leslie sitting down, drinking water, and fueling up. She’s a restless one though, like the rest of you crazies, always trying to go wander around, explore and burn off nervous energy. We cooked and did store runs for her to at least try to keep her down and chilling.

Ironically, she had no problem sleeping the night before the race but I was wide awake all night. Nervous energy must have just passed over from her to me so I hit up the couch and tried to sneak in a couple or three hours of rest. So, this a spoiler alert: it’s NOT a great idea to spend a full day spectating on no sleep.

Getting up at 4:30 and rousing the rest of the support crew, we managed to get a surprisingly relaxed Leslie dropped off at transition by 5:30. Off to a great start already, we found free street parking relatively close to the finish line and we were on a roll! We walked the 3 blocks towards the start line and found a relatively empty large-coffee-chain-from-Seattle ready to fill us with our first much-needed caffeine fix.

Now, who’s in the support crew? There were 4 of us (including me) there for Leslie. Leslie’s mom (who we lovingly call Mama Block) and her sister (who for lack of a better nickname we call Aunt Lavon). These two ladies were rockstars all day, carrying their share of foldable chairs and always being ready with a cowbell and a smile. Also joining us was our good friend and my fellow Retironman (one-and-done retired Ironman), Sheryl (aka Shanderson).

As a crew, we rendezvoused at the swim start a little bit later than we’d have liked. There were way more spectators there than we expected. The best viewing spot turned out to be on top of “the helix” (which is a sexy term for a parking lot, apparently) so we tried up there first but it was a cluster and we wouldn’t have been able to spot Leslie in a sea of green and pink caps. So we moved to the swim exit and fought the crowds for a good spot to catch her coming out of the water.


We tried to find Leslie in the crowd of athletes going into the water but it was impossible to distinguish her between the black wetsuit clad mass. When are the wetsuit companies going to start dyeing neoprene already?!

So, we passed on watching the mass start and lined up behind the wetsuit strippers. Pretty good spot to see the swimmers getting out and a great spot to get sprayed by sea water and who knows what else. Next time I’ll treat it like a Gallagher show and bring a plastic sheet.

We saw Leslie fly out of the water WAY faster than projected with a big ole smile on her face. We screamed as loud as we could to get her to see us because I knew the triathletes usually get all confused and deaf when they get out of the water. To our surprise, she saw us and waved! Woot, all morning’s efforts paid off for 10 seconds of viewing time!

Then, it’s time to mobilize the crew and get out on the bike course. Had we been a little more mobile, we might’ve been able to skip over to the other side and see her coming out of T1 but it would’ve required some running and maybe a bulldozer to get through the crowd. The athletes get a pretty cool experience running up the sexy-parking-lot to T1 with crowds cheering them on, we just weren’t in the mix for that.

We made our fatal mistake as a support crew at this point. We understood there was a shuttle that would take us to “mile 15” on the bike course where there’d be a great viewing area and food vendors. A party! Well, we hustled to the shuttle while our bellies rumbled with hunger pangs. We crowded onto a school bus while the mostly Wisconsin-based Iron Fans listened to sports radio and cheered on their Packers who were also playing on race day (the nerve!).

When we arrived at “mile 15” we found the following:

  • 2 porta potties
  • 1 community fundraiser selling “walking tacos” (which are a bag of fritos with hot beans and meat dumped onto it)
  • 3 community fundraisers selling “brats” (which are like a fancy hotdog)
  • A lot of volunteers sitting around
  • A lot of fellow-confused Iron Fans

After some investigation, we figured out that we’re actually waiting at mile 56 so the Ironman staff didn’t need to set anything up for another hour. There was no “mile 15” waiting area at all. We (or more accurately, I) goofed. So, we made ourselves comfortable and debated about which Wisconsin delicacy we’d try first. Finding nothing appealing for sale, I opted for more hot coffee and a Kind bar I had on me.

Eventually, the staff set up the barriers and geared up for the cyclists to come through. It turned out to be an awesome spot to watch the race! We could see the cyclists coming from a long way down the road and we were close enough so they could hear us cheering. Lots of great crowd support so the smiling triathletes got their first taste of how the spectators do Ironman Wisconsin.

We found 2 spectators rocking a custom “Team Leslie” t-shirt so we took a picture together with them and thanked them for supporting our girl.


I guess there are two Leslies doing Ironman?

We saw Leslie ride by and she definitely saw and heard us for a split second. Woot, mission accomplished for another 3 hours of hard spectating! At that point, Shanderson and I needed an actual meal so we timed out that we could shuttle back to Madison, eat, and be back to see Leslie at mile 90. So we did just that and got a good meal and a beer (because why not) for a minute and made it back just in time.

Leslie cruised by a little slower than she’d estimated for mile 90. We were a little worried about her but we knew the bike course was supposed to be tough. We also knew she’s tough as nails and would eat up the run course. So, back on the shuttle for the 4th time in a 4th different route (who knew Madison traffic patterns were so flexible).

We didn’t think we’d be back in time to see her at T2 but the crew made it just in time and we divided up the spotting duties to see her. Boom, spotted her again! Another hard effort paid off!

img_2253-2Still smiling after 114.4 miles.

I knew the crew was getting worn out but I wanted to push hard and get to mile 1 on the run. Shanderson went out to take a break so I gave Mama Block and Aunt Lavon directions on where to meet me and I went off running to mile 1. I made it just in time to spot my badass wife running strong down the street. Even though I was pretty much alone on the corner, I had to scream and wave to get her attention. She jogged over for a tired kiss and said the sweetest words I’d ever heard: “Babe, don’t ever, ever, ever, ever let me do this again. Ever.”

The rest of the crew rendezvoused there a few minutes later and I recounted my exchange with Leslie. I then broke the bad news to the crew that we had to keep walking another 2-3 miles to see Leslie again. They begrudgingly gathered up their chairs and we moved on.

After a long walk down State Street, we set up cheering on the corner where we’d see Leslie twice more.


The super tired runner needed some encouragement so we told her to get moving because there was an awesome crowd ahead (there really was). She got serenaded with cheers for a couple miles then met up with us again in the same spot. I decided to run with her for a couple seconds just to keep her spirits up. First thing she did, she asked me for some chapstick which I fortunately had on me. Ironically, we just learned about this guy who DQ’d at Ironman recently because his spouse gave him some chapstick on the course. Good thing we didn’t get caught! (And if any race officials are reading this right now, consider this a satire piece, mkay?)

Leslie asked what her bike split was. I knew it was 20 minutes slower than she wanted. I didn’t want to tell her but she asked so I told her. So, that was a mistake. For any other Iron Spouses out there, if they ask how they’re doing during the race, just tell them they’re crushing it! I told her to keep rocking it and I’d see her in a few miles.

The crew mobilized back to mile 13 and we were gassed so I had them park their butts while I got some ice cream for everyone. A quick dessert break was just what we needed to power us through another hour of cheering! After seeing Leslie cruise by just behind her friend Stephanie (who was behind Leslie for most of the race), we made plans to split the crew in half – Shanderson and I would keep cheering on the course while Mama Block and Aunt Lavon would go settle in at the finish line. Leslie came by at mile 14 a few minutes later in front of Stephanie. Leslie was still running strong and steady so her splits were looking very predictable.


Shanderson and I had time to eat again so we popped in for dinner and a beer at a pub. I managed to get a few sips of beer and a few fries before I had to go hustle to mile 19 and see Leslie again. I caught her on State Street and kept stride with her for maybe a block and told her how awesome she was doing. Unfortunately, I pulled off the course right in front of a police officer. He was thrilled to explain to me all of the reasons I shouldn’t be “illegally” running on the course. All I could do was plead ignorance (which was true), apologize and say “yes sir” and “I understand sir” until he got bored with me. So, Leslie didn’t get in any trouble for my ignorance but now I’m a bandit. And I’ll tell ya, the life of a criminal is exciting and all but I won’t be doing that again.

Shanderson and I headed down to the finish line to try and find the rest of the crew, to no avail. We set up shop on the stands to await Leslie’s arrival. Her pace was looking so good that we thought she’d sub-13 the crap out of this course if she hurried up. Turns out, she was fighting a little bit of late bonking down the stretch so we anxiously waited about 10 minutes longer than expected.

While waiting, I snapped this amazing photo of our friend Jon as he finished victoriously:


 I was so proud of that picture and I could only hope that I’d catch another awesome picture of Leslie coming down the chute. I worked my way down as close as I could get to the front of the crowd but there was a bunch of tweens in the way. So, the best I could get of my rockstar wife was this garbage photo:


 Undeterred, I pushed through more people to catch her in the athlete’s area. Couldn’t have been more proud of her than that moment. She fought a hard race, pushed past her own disappointment on the bike to have a great run, beat her competition friends, and never lost her smile along the way. Afterward, she hardly even looked like she just finished her fifth freaking Ironman.


From the Iron Fan side of things, this shit was hard for us too! My Garmin said we did 13.75 miles of walking and running. We were exhausted! There’s no Iron Fan training plan that can prepare you for this stuff. Still it was an incredible day and so fun to witness my wife’s badassery in full display.


Hope you enjoyed reading Dan’s post about spectating Ironman Wisconsin.  I guess it is as hard as the actual race!!😉

Have you ever spectated an Ironman?  



The Storm: IMWI 2016

18 Sep

Sunday morning! Race day!!  I got up at 3:45 to eat breakfast and then went back to bed until 5.  I didn’t sleep but tried to relax.

We were out the door at 5:30 sharp.  The logistics to getting to and from the lake/Terrace were difficult in my opinion.  Everything was so spread out.  I knew my 10 minutes of transition time would be a stretch goal.  Dan dropped me off, and I had no idea where to go first.  I saw 2 people walking with bags then they split off. I followed the one that had the special needs bags.  I dropped them off and met Erin, who I knew would be volunteering at the run special needs, I didn’t think there was any way I would find her but I did. It was fun meeting her and chatting for a few minutes.

I went to my bike to fill my aero bottle and put my nutrition on it.  I hadn’t gotten ribbon or sunscreen for my gear bags when I dropped them off the day before so I went into those 2 rooms and did that. Erin had told me to head down to the lake at 6:30.  I headed outside, there was too many people everywhere in the Terrace and I didn’t really know where to go.  I put on my wetsuit and walked toward the lake.

Oh man, how did I get here. I was about to start my 5th Ironman race. I vowed to never do a mass start after Whistler.  What was I getting myself into!!!

Got into the corral in a good spot. Happened to see Jon, Steph, and Laura. It was perfect. Not sure how we found each other! I think our toes hit the water at about 6:49.  We definitely didn’t want to be in there that early. But it was what it was!!

Swim: 1:10:10 // 1:49/100m


{photo cred: Erin}

I really didn’t want to be in the mix like I have before. I really wanted to stay out of the washing machine effect. I was over it. I seated my self far from the buoys. I thought far enough. Not so much. It was rough and dirty!  I just kept telling myself I was far enough away from the buoys that everyone would cut over and I could get some space. Not so much.  The buoys were coming and going pretty fast.  I got around the first buoy pretty easily and the second too.

The long stretch was coming up.  Just keep calm.  Just keep swimming.  I moved a little closer to the buoys but I still wasn’t right on them.  It was still packed and rough.  I think that the swimmers that can’t keep a straight line would be on my right and then they would see the buoy, cut over to get close to the buoy, and then cut back across me.  So every time a buoy would come, it would get rough. I would find some clear water or catch a draft.  It was a non-stop cycle for 1700m.  FINALLY, I got to the next buoy. That is a long stretch! :)  I had wished I would have studied the map a little bit better. I was a little disoriented and got off track a bit.

It was over. The brutal (probably the most brutal) swims I have ever done was over. Not sure why that was. I had read in past reports that IMWI typically had a not so rough swim but they were obviously wrong.  (**I did hear from everyone I talked to that it was brutal for everyone**) I was pleasantly surprised when I came out of the water at 1:10. I thought for sure it was longer than that!!

T1: 7:37

The long haul to transition. Long run up the helix which was kind of fun but super annoying. The spectators are awesome. They line the runway!  All I could do was smile. Put my shoes, helmet, and sunscreen on.  Then another long run to the bikes and through all the bikes to finally mount them.

Bike: 6:50:16// 16.38mph

Definitely my most disappointing part of the day.  I am not quite sure what happened.  I don’t even want to analyze it either.  I think it will make me more sad.

I knew I needed to be conservative on the first loop, which I thought I did but maybe not enough.  The second problem was I dropped my chain at about mile 25.  In all the years I have been riding bikes, I have dropped my chain once. ONE TIME EVER.  I am usually really careful.  Again not sure what happened. After that point, I was nervous that I would do it again.  I stayed in the small chain.  I wouldn’t get the speed down the decents like I normally do, to get some momentum up the next hill.  I soft pedaled way too much.

It was frustrating.  It was what it was.  The next problem was the roads were rough. Bump after bump.  I thought the roads that we ride on regularly were rough. Oh no we have it good compared to the roads the race was on.

The spectators were amazing on the big climbs. They were lined with screaming spectators. There was big talk about the “Barlow” climb. It was new this year as they had to change the course due to construction.

I knew it was at about mile 35.  I think the anticipation with worse than the actual climb.  It was a stair step climb. Each pitch was harder/steeper then the last. There would be 3 of them.

I saw Erin on the 3rd and final one.  It was hard but I got up it like a boss.  Erin got an awesome shot of me.


The rough road definitely took a toll on me.  I was pretty miserable and loosing it a bit mentally at about mile 80.  I would do some self talk and it would be better.  I would try to get some food down. That was difficult at this point too. I got my snickers down pretty easily and wished I had another one of those instead of the cliff bar I was trying to get down.  I was sick of the orange Gatorade too.  I wish they would have another flavor just to mix it up.  I took a gel at about mile 105 in hopes that would help.  I think the caffeine helped and that got me through the end of the bike.

Up the helix to finish off the bike. I had never been so happy to get off the bike before.  (I didn’t know what my time was because I had messed up my watch)


T2: 3:43

Pretty uneventful. I had a great volunteer that traded out my shoes and sprayed sunscreen on me.  Just like that I was on my way to run a marathon.

Run: 5:01:52 // 11:31/mile

Well the BIG goal here was to keep it slow and keep it “running” for as long as possible.  I saw Erin once again right off the bat.


Honestly, the run was my very favorite part of the day.  I had forgotten about the awful swim and the awful ride.  The spectators were AMAZING.  You hear that the spectators are amazing…but you can’t imagine until you are running the race.

The run course goes by the Capital and through downtown. There are a ton of out and backs.  I saw Dan 6 times. It was so much fun!!! I got to see the rest of my support crew 4 times.  I saw Steph and Jon’s family multiple times.

The first time I saw Dan (about mile 1), I told him that I was never doing this again, EVER!! 5 times was enough.😉  You get to run through Camp Randall Stadium(where the Badgers play). It was definitely more fun then I thought it would be.  I saw the rest of the support crew about mile 7 after the first time conquering Observatory hill.  You have an awesome view of the lake.  You should have seen the sail boats.  There had to have been a 100!! That was tough.  But I got up and over it pretty quickly.


Still smiling. You run another out and back through downtown but pass through this spot again so when I saw Dan again.  He ran with me for about 90 seconds.  I asked what my bike split was and he told me.  I was sad but I didn’t let myself get too down.  I still had 17-18 miles to go.  I was running great and I was still happy!!

My favorite spot to run through was over by the lake on the trail.  Base Electrolyte Salts had a tent blaring music.  We ran by them 2x and could hear the music 1 other time on each loop.  That was a huge energy boast.

I saw Steph at about mile 10-11.  We talked for a few minutes.  She passed me looking good.  I hadn’t seen her all day.  I saw Laura and Jon a few times.  I made it through the half way point.  Feeling better than I ever have on an Ironman run before.  Going by the Capital and the half way point was so fun and uplifting.  I saw the crew at about 14.  He said I was in front of Steph again.  I said I never saw her.  (It turned out she stopped at special needs and I didn’t)

I was definitely in it. I was mentally in it.  I was having a great run.  I thought I could definitely do a sub 5 hour marathon.  I couldn’t believe how well I was doing. Back by the stadium, the crowds, Base Salts, up and over Observatory Hill, I was getting it done.  I saw Dan one final time at about 20ish.  I was still feeling good!  I was encouraging the first loopers, talking with some the second loopers, just having the run of my life. Well almost!!🙂

At about mile 23…I was tired….I was still happy and smiling but I was walking a little bit between aid stations.  I couldn’t believe I had gotten through 23 miles of only walking the aid stations (and Observatory hill).

I needed to use the restroom and I finally found an open one at about mile 24.  I knew my goal time was out of the window so I thought who cares if I stop for a minute.  A couple of thoughts came to mind:  If I sat down could I get myself back up?!! Barely! What about pulling my pants back up. That would not be on easy task either! I succeeded though!

I was so close and so pumped to be almost done.  Every Ironman finish line is amazing and this one was one of my favorites.  I was so happy and so happy to be done!!!


Final time: 13:13:48  Definitely not what I was hoping for or what I thought I could do but it was OVER and I was pumped!!! What a day!!! I would never do this race again.  But I will say the spectators were amazing and I am not sure that I would have done as well without them!!

I can’t thank Dan, my mom, aunt, and Sheryl for making the trip and being awesome spectators!! They were just as tired as I was!! Until next time!!!🙂


The Calm B4 The Storm! IMWI 2016

14 Sep

Ironman Wisconsin was here!! Just a quick recap of training.  It went really well! I had felt like all my training days for the most part were awesome. I had a few not so great work outs. But I felt like my build was good and I was ready to rock n roll.  I didn’t feel burned out like I have in the past. I was mentally ready! I was really excited and a little nervous.  Mostly cause of the uncertainty of the course, the bike course especially, BUT I was definitely ready!!

My loose goals were: swim: sub 1:12, bike 6:30ish(wasn’t even sure what was realistic), run sub 5, and transition totaling no more than 10 minutes. I would love a sub 13 but the goal is usually to be happy!!😉

We left on a red-eye Thursday night. I know. Not an awesome idea but I didn’t want to waste an entire day travelling. I slept on the plane pretty good.  I wasn’t too worried about it. We did the same thing traveling to NYC for the marathon in 2014 and it ended up working out well!

My mom and aunt were meeting us in Madison Friday morning, after a red-eye as well.  Needless to say we were all tired but excited to be there!

Our AirBNB host had texted me the day before and asked what time we would be in. I said early. She said 10!! I said perfect!! I thought we wouldn’t be able to “check in” until later in the day. We got there, “checked in,” and went down to the lake to meet Stephanie, Laura and Jon.

Packet up was a shitshow and it took forever.  I received all the goods and a pretty good back pack. My Whistler back pack is totally shot so I have been waiting for this weekend to get another!! It is pretty legit. Not like my one from Arizona or Whistler!!


We went for a quick dip and it was warm. Notice we all have long sleeved wetsuits. This was the warmest water we have EVER swam in. (73ish degrees) Hoping the rain would cool it down(which it was supposed to do later in the day/Saturday)


Dan, my mom, and aunt all were in tow during all of this and were good sports. We had an amazing lunch at Graze. So delicious!  Went back to relax (but not take naps-so we would sleep that night) and get organized.

The crew that was racing, significant others, and some family went to an amazing italian restaurant for dinner: Porto Bella.  We had lots of food. It was delicious and super fun!

Saturday morning: Another quickie work out: the 4 of us were meeting to go on a short ride/bikes to transition/drop off bags. Dan took my mom and aunt to the farmers market.  They were going to get supplies for dinner.


We biked the first 5 or so miles. Jon had driven the course that morning so he knew where he was going.  He told us about the course and what to expect: hilly and rough road.  I had planned on driving the course in the afternoon but it was later than I thought it would be when we got done so we opted to just go home and relax.


All the buoys were out! It is funny how 1 loop swim courses look so much further than 2 loops!!🙂

My mom and aunt made an amazing pasta dinner.  Fresh pasta, veggies, and cheese from the farmers market.  It was delicious!!


It was 12 hours until go time and I was definitely anxious for the cannon to go off!!

My 6th: Hood to Coast 2016

30 Aug

The last full weekend of August you can usually find me and 11 of my friends running Hood To Coast. No exception this year.  I had applied for a team before I decided to do Ironman Wisconsin. I thought well we got a team last year there is no way we will get in again this year. I was wrong. We got in. That wasn’t my favorite conversation with my coach but he “allowed” me to take part!!

I decided to run leg 12 this year. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with work so I thought the later the better!! We had a late start time this year. BUT it probably benefited me the MOST because it got into the high 90s on Friday!

IMG_5664Van 1: Shawn(2), Dan(4), Christa(3), Kat(5), Alana(1), and Doug (6)

Team Fanny Pack was off and running at 10:15 Friday morning.

Van 2: was a little anxious to get on the road because of traffic but we managed to get to the first major exchange early enough to stop and get coffee. I decorated the suburban a bit.  We sat in the shade and waited for van 2’s arrival.

IMG_5654Van 2: Rollin(10), Stephanie (7), Me(12), Laura(11), Erica(8), and Nik(9)

Erica and I were the only ones with duplicate fanny packs.  Everyone was pretty creative with them.  They definitely come in handy!! Phone, gum, credit card, chapstick!! Hello!

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 8.44.17 PM

We met up with van 1 and all of a sudden we were off and running!!! It was HOT!!! Everyone did awesome in the heat!! I couldn’t have been happier being leg 12. I didn’t run until about 7:30.  By that time the sun had gone done. It had cooled off but still a bit humid!

I ran a pretty flat leg of 6.4 miles and averaged 9:45s.  I didn’t want to get crazy. I was running on tired legs anyway since I was getting ready to start to taper for Wisconsin! Not ideal but it decent! No pressure.  :)

Van 1 took back over and we headed for food, showers, and a few hours of sleep!

We took back over the running at about 3am.  We all felt relatively good and ran good!!

My second leg started about 7 so the sun was up. It was a nice crisp morning. It was a treat since I have been trying to run in the heat of the day for the last couple of weeks preparing for WI! As you all know the night leg is always my favorite leg. This was no exception except it wasn’t nighttime. It wasn’t even early morning!! My second run was awesome. Felt awesome!! I averaged 9:31s for 4.87 miles. Flat-ish.

After sitting in traffic for about 2 hours(that is the problem with van 2) we finally got to the next major exchange to sleep for a bit.  I always feel like it’s the hardest to sleep at this exchange because we don’t really know how the other van is doing because there is no cell service.  We were about 20 minutes ahead of the spreadsheet when van 1 took over for the 3rd legs.  But we didn’t know if they would keep it about 20 minutes or if it would be faster or slower you never really know!

About 40 minutes before we were due next (about 20 minutes ahead of the 20 minute ahead of schedule) Erica and I went to use the port-a-potty. While we were standing in line, Erica was like oh no is that Doug(at the exchange point).  It was! Erica ran to get Stephanie and I ran to tell Doug she was on her way. Luckily enough he had just gotten there and Steph was ready to roll!! So now we were about 30 minutes ahead of schedule!!🙂

We ran back to the van and we were off again!!

This was exchange 32 and Erica was getting ready to run!! We look so delirious!!


The last legs were good. Everyone was still feeling strong and right on pace.

I was the caboose.  I was finally going to finish this relay off.  I had a 5.2 mile run into Seaside. I averaged 9:51s. A few rollers to start and then flat.  There was some headwind and it was cool.

It was fun to run into the finish line.  It is a little anticlimactic at HTC because they make you wait for your whole team.  We get our finish time but once everyone is there we can run through the actual finish line.

First a selfie:


We still didn’t get everyone in when the volunteer took the picture!!


We had an awesome time!! Fantastic team!! We came in 30hours  and 52 minutes.  We were 30th out of 107 in the mixed submasters(everyone had to be 30) division.  Until next year!






Inside 35 DAYS!

7 Aug

WELL we are inside 35 days until Ironman Wisconsin. Training has been going really good so far.

Swimming: Swimming has been steady. Intervals are hard. I felt like I was getting faster in April/May and then something happened. I was tired and not making interval times. I was a little frustrated but kept trying. I was writing Chris, saying I was tired..the swim was rough..I was trying to rally. BUT whatever I was doing it was working.

I had an awesome 4000m swim at Hagg Lake. Always a fun event and a good marker.

My swim in CDA was really good too!! That is always a good marker too!

I’ve had a few good 3200M training swims at Hagg in the last couple of months!


I’ve really stopped worrying about it! I go to the pool and swim my laps. Do my intervals. If I only have a few seconds rest, I only have a few seconds rest and chalk it up to all the one other hard work I’m doing.  I’m putting in the work and that is all I can do!

Biking:  This is the first year that I have really used my power meter.  I’ve been nailing my intervals.  I’ve had a few awesome rides with some friends.

Rode Larch Mountain with Nadia.


I have not done this ride (all the way to the top) since I trained for IM Canada ’09. I tried to find my time from that day but couldn’t find it!! I record everything, I just have to look harder!!🙂



I had a couple great rides with Darrell.  We ride really well together!!


I had a SWEET ride to the coast yesterday!!  Portland Triathlon club does a ride to the coast every year. They have a 100, 65, and 40 mile option. There was 6 of us who finished the 100, 8 started but 2 ended up doing the 65.


We all started together and when we started climbing we all kind of dispersed. I had intervals to do so I was ok riding by myself.  It kept me engaged and positive. I fueled. I rode smart. I felt amazing. Really pumped with how it went!!  I rode with Blake for a bit and did some chatting. He is training for CDA/his first IM!! I finished really strong!!

I’m pretty sure that is the fastest training century I have ever done! Bam! I had a knee problem before CDA and have been seeing a PT. She says my glutes (weren’t) firing. They now have finally joined the party. I’ve been doing my PT exercises 2x/day for the last 6 weeks. She says they are definitely firing now!! Bam!!



We saw some whales too! Super fun!

Running: Has been surprisingly great. It is always a work in progress as you know.  I’ve really been working hard. I run with some Oiselle gals on Wednesday. I can absolutely credit Liz, Nadia, and Krysta for making me run faster and getting me out of my comfort zone!  I’ve been doing my long runs in conjunction with those runs to make it extra hard!🙂

Dan and I have had a couple runs together. Usually start together, but I always have to go longer!


Needless to say training has been going good and I am contemplating another Ironman next year. I hate to say that with 5 weeks to go because anything can happen. But I’m positive and happy!

The Olympics might kill me!  I love them!!! BUT I am staying up way too late. Once swimming is over I should be ok!! Time will tell!!

Things I am looking forward to after September 11th: Running with music again, more yoga, cooking different stuff then the same ol’ every single week, and not drinking Gatorade/Skratch almost every single day!