This is a pic of me and my AHMAZING daughter, Lyara.  She absolutely MADE Thanksgiving.  As my friend, Jessi would say, "I die."  BTW, those are not her glasses, nor do they contain lenses - that's just how she rollz.
Greg and I got up in the morning and ran our annual, traditional Turkey Trot at Manito Park with several other turkeys teammates in frigid 12 degree temps and also gobbled up a donut at Krispy Kreme (we had to, it's tradition ;). Then we cooked the green bean casserole, simmered the cranberries and baked the rolls.  But what I really cared about and obsessed over all day was the arrival of my daughter from Portland, where she moved two months ago.  Spokane was literally in the middle of a blizzard and I was nervous waiting and worrying that Lyara arrive safely to be with us for the holiday.
She arrived and I went into instant mom mode.  I cannot possibly explain how much a part of me Lyara is, but I feel as if I spent the long weekend with that "new mother glow."

Thanksgiving dinner with my husband, daughter and family was relaxing and cup-filling.  I don't see my sisters often enough, along with their five kids.  No matter, we fell into place with each other and picked up the jokes and hugs where we'd last left off.
My absolute favorite memory of Thanksgiving this year happened when I was in my mom's kitchen and I could hear the raw laughter from all the kids, and recognize the sheer and innocent joy they all felt just being together.  Gives me chills to think of it still.

We adults had some fun too, cooking and cleaning to the music - dancing with each other and embarrassing our babies by dancing with them.  Thanks, mom and dad for providing your home and hearts to share with us.  My family has an incredible gift of accepting and loving each other just the way we are.  This means the world to me because while I adore my sweet daughter and don't give a lick if she shaves her head or wears dreads, or conforms to the typical young adult norms, the rest of the world is not always so kind.  However, my people are a group of distinctly unique and wonderful humans, loving us unconditionally.
For the rest of the week, Lyara and I shopped (obvi), watched movies, went out to dinner, chatted endlessly, shared our favorite music with one another, decorated the house, talked about her future and I truly could not have felt any happier or more blessed.

There are SO, SO many people in my life to be thankful for - and the people are all that matter. I indulge in material "things" and I'm not denying it. I am simply acknowledging when it comes right down to the heart of gratefulness and Thanksgiving, it is only the people that make it so.  I hope your holiday was as memorable and lovely as mine.


Five Greats.

Recently I read a blog post about how this time of year can be really stressful.  You know when the tri season ends, The holiday rush begins ($ is spent), people get sick, days "grow?" shorter, motivation runs low.  The keys to remaining calm and sane are different for everyone.  What works for me, may not work to de-stress you.  But the blogger suggested that instead of focusing on stresses or negativity, focus on five greats.  Name five things that make your life great right now.  I liked this idea and making this list did make me feel better:
1)  Any correspondence with my daughter - texts, calls, emails, Facebook chats.
2)  Sunshine and warm afternoons; amazingly still making appearances daily.
3)  Espresso in the morning.  Now I'm making mine hot, with non-fat milk and caramel syrup, yum.
4)  Mountain biking...I said I'd never be into this, but since the first time... I am in love.
5)  Train's song, "Marry Me."  Sooooo sweet.  Seriously, I will listen to it at least one more time before I go tuck myself into bed.

(Sometimes, my greats combine and grow exponentially greater, as pictured above - sunshine, warmth and mountain biking :)

What are your five greats?



Last weekend Greg and I had a mini-vacay up at Schweitzer mountain with some super fun and adventurous friends...
Things on our "to do" list for the weekend: 
  • go hiking, aka climb to the top of Schweitzer mountain (as we did, and it only took us 6 hours since we were also picking berries all the way to the top)
  • ride the lift back down the mountain (check!)  it was gorgeous and there was a wedding in progress at the very top
  • pick huckleberries (and how!)
  • eat huckleberries  (can you say huckleberry pancakes and huckleberries on top of cream cheese icing on zucchini cake?)
  • have a picnic on the mountain (breathtaking and delicious, WAY better than eating inside, anywhere!)
  • relax, at night only! 
  • laugh A LOT, many times laughing AT me, see below
I'm happy to say that we managed to do everything on our list and then some! 
A particular highlight for me was a little seemingly innocent conversation I had with Emma.  Here's the setting=> On Friday night we stopped at Arby's in Sandpoint, where the boys all ordered huckleberry shakes.  While chatting with the manager of Arby's, we learned that they received their huckleberry supply from a local picker, he charged between $30-40 per gallon.  Emma has been saving her money for the past 6 months to purchase her very own iPod Touch.  She has worked very hard to earn this money, including rubbing feet, stacking wood, saving birthday money, weeding and various other "jobs" around her home.  When Emma heard that huckleberries cost $30-40/gallon, a little lightbulb went off in her brain!  Both Saturday and Sunday we all spent some time picking mountain huckleberries.  At random times, Emma would ask how many "dollars" worth of huckleberries she had picked.  After we finished picking the last of our huckleberry crops, as we were walking down the mountain toward the condo, Emma and I enjoyed some chit-chat.  It went something like this...
Emma:   "How much do you think I should charge for a half-gallon of my huckleberries?"
Naive me:  "Well, maybe you start by telling me what you think is a fair price, then I'll tell you my opinion."
Emma:  "I was thinking between $20-25 dollars is fair."
Stupid me: "If you average it out, that equals $22.50."
Emma:  "That sounds perfect.  Thank you so much, Matalie!"
Dumb-ass me:  "Did I just BUY your huckleberries??"
Emma:  "Yes, and thank you so, so much!"  "I love you."
Jessi:  "Not to make you feel badly, but you just outbid me by $7.50.  Earlier I offered Emma $15 for the huckleberries."
Silly ho me:  "I'm a dumb-ass."  
Everyone, but me:  Unbridled fanatic laughter.
If you know Emma Thompson, you also know that one never messes with his/her commitments to her.  So, when we got back to Spokane that evening, Emma gently reminded me that I owed her money for the huckleberries I had redeemed from her.  She even reminded her mom, Jessi, to text me her credit union account number so I could DIRECT DEPOSIT her cash!  You bet I did too :).  Love her!!!

Today, Emma and I had a play date to bake a huckleberry crisp.  We will share the crisp with her family, the Byrds and my family, since it's my turn to make dinner for the Dinna Club.  She's a champ and made the crisp by herself, with very little help from me.  YUM! 


My First Half.

At the end of last season, after racing several sprint and Olympic distance tri's for a few years, I decided I wanted to train for my first go at the half-Ironman distance.  I had been working hard at riding stronger and consequently my running fitness had improved.  My swim; however, was still far too slow.  I was not spending enough time swimming.  So, I swam right on through off-season for once.  In April, when our masters swim schedule changed to Mon-Fri in the very early morning, I committed to swim everysingleday at masters until open-water season began, then I switched to alternating masters practice with OWS.  I kept my promise to myself and never once swam less than 5 days/week leading up to the race.  I went to work from the first of April through the end of June with my hair in a wet, sloppy bun.  Believe me, I sacrificed ;).

In April, I still hadn't decided which race would be my first half.  I was toying with Boise, Troika and Lake Stevens.  As luck would have it, the decision was left to luck.  At our Tri Fusion meeting in mid-April, a race entry for Troika was raffled off.  I did not win that raffle.  Instead, I won another prize, a product that I am very well supplied with already.  The Troika entry kept getting turned down.  Finally, when one of my teammates was hedging on accepting the entry, I offered to trade her prize for my prize.  She gladly accepted my offer and I was finally committed to an half IM race!

I'm one of those people that needs to be VERY prepared when doing something unknown, challenging or extremely important.  Because of this, I was already following a training plan that was somewhat aggressive on mileage/time spent training, to get myself ready.  I worked my way through three different training tables from the beginning of the season until race day: a sprint plan until March, then onto the Olympic plan through April; to finish with the half IM plan.  I also left myself room to participate in random longer training sessions with teammates and friends and race some fun, local venues.  I wanted to enjoy training and learn from athletes with experience.  I needed lots of solid swims, rides, and runs.

All of the preparation proved to be very physically and mentally helpful.  I'm not saying I never had a "downer" day/week of training or that I felt 100% confident I would finish the race.  I will say that on the last day of training before the week of taper began, when I finished a triathlon followed by a long ride, I finally felt like I just might make it.  Waves of built-up doubt left my mind.

Taper week seemed so boring.  I felt like a person without a purpose.  Absolutely lame, I know.  But I kept my nutrition in check, followed my plan and waited patiently.  The day before the race, I listened to the advice of my experienced (and successful!) husband and focused on a specific race plan.  Nerves eventually crept up on me again about 15 hours before the race.

I managed to sleep almost 7 hours that night and woke up thinking, "I should be excited, this is going to be an amazing adventure, no matter what!"  And so I was.

Race Day (I know, finally, right?)

Publicly, I had NO time goals for Troika.  My only real expectation for myself was to finish the damn thing already.   Get it over with, please.

Swim:  I figured logically that the swim would take me 45 minutes.  In previous Olympic distance races I had completed the swim within 36-38 minutes, but I had made some improvement.  I really wanted to avoid feeling overly anxious at the swim start and swim steady throughout.  I was able to do that.  Before starting, Greg had suggested that I begin kicking harder and really push it in at the last buoy before shore.  Right about then, I got this horrible feeling that I had already been out there for 52 minutes and my time was gonna suck.  But when I got out of the water, I checked my HR monitor and it read 42 minutes!  I gave a little fist-pump as I ran to T1 and let my family/friends know that I had exceeded my private goal.  Just then a smile on my face appeared and remained for the duration of my entire race :)))). 

I have to mention that I had the most incredible and loving support crew beyond belief at this race!  SERIOUSLY.  My husband, Greg, had every.little.thing. dialed in for me for race day.  He had a ton of confidence in me.  He loved me up all day long, with unexpected sightings of him throughout the course and whoo-hooing I've never heard from him before!  Carrying me from the swim all through the bike to finish my run, with hooting and hollering, making me look like a rockstar by encouraging me and cheering with all their might at the race were:  Tiff, Eric, Steve, my mother-in-law, Trish, John, Jessi, Rog, Emma, my mom, step-dad, Rosi, Barb, Tim, Andy, Elise :), Nate, Merissa, Jenn, Adam, Gg, Dd, Craig, Kathy, Eric, Brynn, Teri, Laura, Phaedra, Amy, Jeff, and Rodger. 

Bike:  My plan on the bike was to ride in HR zones high 3-low 4.  I'd used my label-maker to post stickers on my handlebars with those 2 zones only, to keep me totally focused.  I was able to maintain exactly what I planned.  Since I had ridden between 56-70 miles at least a half-dozen times during training, I expected the ride, at my target HR zones, to take 3:05-3:15. There were times when I wanted to pedal harder, go faster and stand up on the hills, but I heeded the advice I'd been given and stuck to the plan. I really only felt a lull in the ride from miles 45-finish, because basically everyone out cheering had gone into town to get ready for the run leg of the race.   I finished the mileage in 3:02 and I was still smiling!

Run:  Typically, the run of any triathlon is the part I am most looking forward to racing.  The run is where I have the most experience. I did not feel the same about the half IM distance.  Running a 5K or 10K after biking your legs off for 30 minutes or an hour is not comparable to running a half-marathon after 56 miles of riding and 1.2 miles of swimming.  While training recently, I'd run 13.1 miles in 1:47 and 15 miles in a bit more than 2 hours.  To put the run into perspective at the end of an endurance race, I wanted to finish in 2 hours or less.  Greg, Jessi and Erica had advised me to start out running conservatively, take in all the nutrition I had planned, and stay steady until about mile 10.  With 3 miles to go, I was to pick up my pace (if I could) and finish strong.  I ran mostly in HR zone 4 and had no idea my pace whatsoever.  I didn't even care.  I just smiled my way up and down the run course, congratulating every racer that I ran by, coming and going.

Again, I followed my plan and felt pretty good the whole run.  In the last three miles, I picked up the pace and ran with my heart, so happy to accomplish a goal that I'd prepared diligently to finish.  I'd pictured the finish line only a zillion times before, but I didn't expect to feel so happy and loved as I did.  An entire hillside was loaded with my family, friends and teammates as I approached the finish chute.  The sound of cheering was ENORMOUS and unbelievable!

 As I de-briefed the race, I checked my run split...1:59:59!  My secret, told-no-one, overall finish goal was to not exceed 6 hours.  Total time = 5:50.  It's good enough for me!

I wasn't the only one out there trying to either make peace with the half IM distance, set a new PR, or try it for the first time.  My good buddy, Matty accomplished a major PR at Troika, overcoming some demons that have chased him before, but no more!  Congrats to a much deserved solid race, long and strong :).  Erica (pictured with me far above), one of my fantastic friends and a fast lady that is crushing the field this season, also endured Troika for a solid PR and a first place in her AG!  She amazes me all the time.  Rene joined me in the first timers club and finished in a highly respectable time! Way to go, man.

Many friends commented on my permanent grin for the entirety of the race.  I was truly happy to have the health to participate at Troika on Sunday.  I value my life and what I have been given and the people God has blessed me with who make me who I am.


Ho Hum, Pig's Bum.

This is a mish-mash post:

We've been busy-busy lately, doing all the usual summertime activities.  However, this week I find myself a little bit bored.  I hate to admit this, because of course there are a zillion people that would love to have a teacher's summer schedule.  Additionally, I could probably better spend my time being productive instead of writing a blog post about being bored.  It's my time though, so I'll whine if I want to ;).

I think I'm bored for two reasons: 1) I'm on a training taper this week, and 2) my daughter is spending the summer in Portland.  Summers past we have always spent tons of time together.  I've only seen Lyara twice since June, and I miss her!  I visited with her today, but I missed her before she even left the car to go.  Oh, I do hope my sweet girl comes back to stay so soon!

Last weekend Greg and I got to participate at a triathlon in Coeur d' Alene.  Many of our teammates also competed at the race, making it a blast!  I only had one goal for the tri...to be faster than last year on the same course, and I was.  I'm not sure Greg had a goal, since he hadn't done this race previously.  Nonetheless, he raced fast and strong!  This season he's been more laid-back about his training than ever, yet he seems to garner terrific results and remain just as speedy as always.  My teammies raced very well too and sure added loads of excitement to the race!

Since last October, two darling friends of mine and I have been doing a weekly "Dinna Club."  Tiffany, Jessi and I take turns making dinner for each other one night each week.  When it's my night, I prepare the food with all its fixings and then deliver it in time for dinner.  Tiff and Jessi do the exact same.  And we make enough for at least two meals.  Meaning, I only really cook dinner three nights/week!  It's genius and has certainly simplified nightly meals for us all. The three of our families are athletic and health-conscience, so we make sure to provide meals of high-quality lean meats, whole-grains, fresh veggies, low-fat and low-cal food.  Participating in the club has caused me to become more creative and knowledgeable in the kitchen.  Greg and I definitely look forward to the dinner deliveries, because we know that Tiff and Jessi are fantastic cooks!

One meal that was a "Dinna Club" crowd pleaser is fish tacos.  I'm not a big fan of fishy tasting food, and it took me making my own tacos to like the idea.  So, please give this healthy, fresh dish a try!

Fish Tacos

1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 pound of white flaky fish (cod or mahi-mahi)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon of ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 cup of cilantro, finely chopped
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup shredded colby-jack cheese or crumbled feta
16 oz. bag of fresh coleslaw salad, undressed
1 lime, cut in wedges
8-10 corn tortillas
1/2 cup Mexican crema (homemade)


Marinate the Onion:  Put the onion in a small bowl and pour in enough red wine vinegar to cover well. Set aside for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours. 

Marinate the Fish:  Pour the olive oil into a small bowl and add the ancho chile powder, paprika, cumin, chopped cilantro, and a bit of salt. Mix well. Place the fish in a tupperware container and pour the marinade over it, making sure to coat the fish well on both sides. Allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes, I marinate mine for an hour or more. 

Cook the Fish:  Heat a nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Remove the fish from the marinade and place in the hot pan (I lightly spray the pan with olive oil). Cook the fish for 4 minutes undisturbed, then turn over, and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and flake the fish in the pan with a fork, making sure to mix in all the marinade that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Set aside. 

Heat the Tortillas:  Place four of the tortillas on a plate and sandwich them between two slightly dampened sheets of paper towel. Microwave on high for 45 seconds.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Assemble the Tacos:  Place a corn tortilla on a plate, add 1-2 ounces of fish, drizzle lime juice on the fish, top with cheese, marinated onion, coleslaw and avocado slices, then drizzle mexican crema over the top.  Bueno!

I may be "bored" this week, but I DO have a long list of things I'd like to accomplish around my home this summer.  And I'm not sure I've done any of them yet!



I apologize.

Lately, it has occurred to me that I spend  entirely too much time talking about myself.  This blog included.  Ya, I know it's MY blog and that's what people do.  BUT.  My original intent for this space was to talk about my loved ones and what every one is up to, how THEY'RE doing, even how WE are all doing together perhaps.  Then, it became this thing where I posted all my triathlon training highlights and race results with an occasional, but heartfelt post regarding someone else in my life. 

That is NOT who I want to be.

Recently I've been around some amazing people, that do ridiculous things with their lives and they don't spend forever updating their status with their latest race stats, or blog about that superfluous info. either.  They use their time to BE.  With the people they like and love.  I respect that, a lot, because it's respectable.

Please understand that I am NOT in any way judging, outing, demeaning or condemning folks that do enjoy updating their status with their stats, or blogging about their accomplishments.  No. Not doing that.  Nor am I stating that I won't ever update on FB or write a new blog post.  I just won't be focusing on my exact training or racing statistics or newest accomplishments. 

I was chatting with a friend the other day and sort of jokingly said, "I still want to make my momma proud."  I wasn't really kidding though.  When I look at life and I think about what my purpose really is, I know that God's plan for me is to just care deeply for people, to be a positive presence wherever I am.  Not to go around showcasing my so-called "accomplishments."  Yes, doing triathlons and hitting new athletic milestones is part of my life, and of course I want to improve as long as I can.  But do you REALLY need to read or hear all the extraneous details about me?  Do I really expect you to care?  I'm sorry that I spent so much of your time writing about myself before. 

There are so many genuinely important events to talk about.  Like when my daughter came to town last week, after being away for three weeks to Portland, and we got to spend some glorious hours together.  Just chatting, catching up, loving on each other.  My daughter is an amazing young lady, with artistic talent and charisma galore.  She's beautiful inside and darling too.  She's nothing like me, but so much like me.  No one else makes my heart jump and start like her.  She's a tremendous gift.  I dropped everything to see her that day, I always will.  Lyara REALLY matters.

And when my mom went to Seattle with me for the weekend.  We live in the same city, twenty minutes apart.  She is always telling me how busy I am and she hates to call and interrupt me.  One day I realized she meant it.  So, we planned a trip together.  Drove to Seattle, shopped, visited her brother, talked endlessly and focused on each other.  We're planning a trip to New York for next summer.  My mom's a tough lady and someone I admire and adore.  Her life hasn't been an easy one, but she is vibrant, funny and lovely.  Oh, my mom, she matters.

As for my uncle, I hadn't seen him in a year and he just lives on the other side of the state.  He lives alone and my mom and our family are his only surviving relatives.   He has a memory so poignant that it shocks me sometimes.  He loves to reminisce about the past and can recall great stories about all of us.  His laugh is hysterical and infectious.  Uncle Eric matters.

My brother, Ernest.  I rarely talk about him.  He died over four years ago, so it's fairly painful to mention him.  I miss him terribly, he was my only brother.  We used to build forts and ride bikes together.  My dad would take us fishing at Seven Mile and then we'd enjoy donuts and hot chocolate at the Spud Nut.  He was an inventor and had patented and sold three different inventions before he left.  He loved cats, just like my mom.  He mattered to us all, he still does.

A list like that could go on and on.  I've got a husband, sisters, a step-father and endless others that matter in my life.  The point is, I spend an extraordinary amount of time DOING what I mean to be doing.  I don't need to go around and display it for you all.  I want to get this blog back to what it was intended to be.  About my people, not my self. 


For him.

Today is our anniversary of many years together and also Father's Day!  These two holidays happen on the exact same day every so often, and we really never get to celebrate properly.  Twice I think our anniversary has actually landed on IM Cd'A as well, when Greg was competing.  This time, it was a day beginning at 7 am to volunteer for our triathlon club's kids' triathlon until noon, and then preparing our home and a dinner for our fathers to celebrate their special day.  But, I still want to be a little mushy and just share a bit about my amazing husband, and the real dad of my daughter, Lyara...
I met Greg a really long time ago, when I was living an entirely different, sad life.  I had recently left a very physically abusive man, I was putting myself through college and raising my 4 year old daughter.  Greg was the brother-in-law of one of my closest friends, and attending the same college I was tutoring at.  Long story short, I eventually ended up working with Greg at college and one day he asked Lyara and I out to watch a kids' movie with him.  We went, and we never stopped seeing Greg after that first date.
 Dating me wasn't easy.  I came with relationship wounds; a small child; high expectations for a completely different, better life; tough skin and, well; lots of clothes.  Greg did not disappoint us.  He let me heal, tried to help and left me alone to do what I needed to do, when I needed that.  He fought hundreds of hard fights with my ex and ended up wounded himself sometimes.  He never. once. gave. up.  Never said he couldn't take any more and that we just weren't worth it.  Ya, he's THAT kinda man.
After 3 years of dating, loving on me and Lyara, Greg asked me to marry him.  Of course, you know I said yes :).   We had a spectacular wedding and then he wisked me off to an outrageous honeymoon in London. 
Twelve years later, I have more respect and love for Greg than ever.  He's a helluva husband and the best damn dad my daughter could have. We're nearly "empty-nesters" and enjoying the newlywed kinda life we didn't exactly have in the beginning, and having a blast!  Happy Anniversary and Happy Father's Day, my love.

The biggest little race.

Yesterday was the 27th annual Trailblazer Triathlon in Medical Lake.  I have raced there at least a dozen times, since it is basically the same race venue for three local sprint races each season.  Trailblazer is a unique race in many ways...it's part of a weekend of celebrations for Founder's Day in "downtown" M.L. where they also hold a three on three b-ball tourney, a parade, softball tournaments and probably an oiled pig contest as well ;).  The race begins at 2 PM, (which totally explains where Boise 70.3 got the idea ;).  The swim begins across the lake from the transition area, so you can either ride over in the back of a pick-up truck or swim the 400 yards across for your warm-up.  After the race, you can find your results posted on a two by four, then once you've figured out your placing, and if you made the podium, you go to the tent and ask for your awards medal and t-shirt.  It seems to host a very large participant turnout for a local sprint.  Even though it's quirky, it is also hugely popular and competitive, the biggest little race.

Our weather has been disgusting lately, providing us with a crap ratio of 1 warm, sunny day for about every 5 rainy, cold days.  We were lucky to feel our first 80 degree day in two full months for the race, which is totally awesome when your race begins at 2 in the afternoon and you haven't trained in any heat yet!  No reason to dwell on the details though.  A race is a race is a race and we're all in it together.

The 400 yard swim warm-up across the lake was fun to do with all our teammates, but we underestimated the time it would take us to get there.  We ended up wading in seaweed for about 15 minutes while we waited for the bullhorn to sound, signaling the race start.  It's a mass start and a straight line (if you can swim straight) to the exit ramp on the other side.  I swam in the middle of the mass, exiting the water with five other people at the same time, on a ramp built for one in about 7:45.

T1 was...eventful!  Although I feel my racing is progressing so far this season, I think my transitions are taking a landslide backwards.  I forgot to get my wetsuit pulled beneath my buns before I sat down to pull it off, then put my aero helmet on sideways with a side strap caught under the ear guard, making it nearly impossible to put on my sunglasses and then I knocked over the bike rack as I exited!  All of this in front of several friends, video cameras and spectators, no less. 

Despite having ridden this course many times, I still remember it as a "flat" course.  But, it is not flat, it's rather windy, rolling hilly, and like the wind changed directions, AGAINST us every time we changed our riding direction.  Anyway, I felt like I was sucking on the bike the whole time, but I think I was just working hard instead.  12.1 miles in 38 minutes even.

T2 was luckily less eventful, even though I did sorta forget which way to head out on the run.  Lucky for me, my BFF Dave told me which way was which and off I went.  Since I am such a lousy swimmer, I usually do the passing on the bike and the run, and very seldom get passed, but not today.  I really felt like crap for the first 2 miles of 3, and unfortunately got passed by some gazelle in my age group.  Big bummer.   However, after rounding the turn at the east end of the lake, I started to feel like I could breathe again and was able to hold my own.  2.9 miles in 22:10. 

Our triathlon club, Tri Fusion, showed up and enjoyed this race!  We had two mixed, fast teams racing each other (for funsies :) that placed 1st and 2nd, and several individual participants that placed in the top 10 overall, along with many supporting, photo and video taking teammies too.  Although I don't feel I performed my best (although I did try), I sure had a ton of fun before and after the race, getting to spend time with some of my favorite people doing something we all love to do.

One of my very talented teammates has been treating us like celebrities lately.  Dave has created a three part video of the Trailblazer Triathlon, featuring us!  I think I made the links to each of his videos work, try them out!  Thanks, Dave. Videos: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


Tri Fusion's Radiant Lake Triathlon

Quick and dirty...

Our multi-sport club, Tri Fusion sponsored the inaugural Radiant Lake Triathlon that was held on Sunday.  Amidst such a fun atmosphere, eccentric race venue, fabulous teammates competing and supporting, alongside some serious competition made this triathlon easy to enjoy!

Merissa and I pre-swim. Breathe in, breathe out.
1/2 mile swim = 20 minutes.  Good?  Eh, no idea!  I don't know the last time I raced an 1/2 mile swim.  Nothing to be proud of for sure, but I didn't drown either ;).

 Coming in from the bike.
13.9 mile bike = 42:36  Good?  Ya, I'll take it.  I pedaled hard enough to keep my HR in zones high 5 to low 6.  Right where I belonged.

Adjusting my number as I approach the finish.
3.1 mile run = 23:30  Good?  Sure.  Possibly the exact same time I ran last week at Iron Eagle tri.  Cheers for consistency, I guess.  Although I'd love to run faster.
Debriefing with my husband and sister-in-law.
Race Results = 1st in my AG and 4th OA woman.  Good?  Not bad.
No, I was not at a ski resort.  I just look like it :).  Podium.
Congratulations to all my Tri Fusion teammates: Greg (my man), Craig, Rene, Dave, Kurt, Eric(s), Cameron, Merissa and Jessi for workin' it at the race and making us look so GOOOOOOD!

A Lesson Learned.

Last Thursday I rode my bike to Deer Park and back, which is a routine route that I ride.  Usually, I have the pleasure of riding with my speedy friend, Tiffany.  However, she had a prior engagement and wasn't able to ride along.  So off I went, happy to be out in the beautiful evening sunshine.  About 15 minutes into my ride, I stopped at an intersection to wait for traffic to pass.  I unclipped both shoes, took a drink of water and set off again.  Stupidly, I didn't get my left shoe re-clipped on the pedal, lost my balance and took a spill.  My right shoe stayed clipped in, my bike fell on top of me, I got a bit scratched up, swore a little and moved on to finish a 2 hour ride.  When I got home, I  cleaned up and noticed some light bruises were appearing on both sides of my right knee, along with the scratches I already knew about.  Finally, although I didn't locate a bruise on my hip until Saturday, my right hip was stinging like crazy.  Fortunately, no serious injuries to worry about.
Fast forward to Sunday's Radiant Lake triathlon.  I hadn't really been on my bike since Thursday, but I did continue to ride 1:45 after I wrecked it that night.  So it seemed good to go for the race, especially since Greg (thank you, sweetheart) had changed my wheels and generally looked it over for me.  HOWEVER, at the race, about mile #2 of 14 of the bike leg, I heard an odd clicking noise and then my right bike shoe shot forward off my pedal!  With trepidation, I regained my composure and was able to "click" back into the pedal.  But when I did, it felt all floaty and not properly clicked in.  Kept riding albeit a tad gingerly.  About once a mile, my shoe would unclip and shoot out in front of me, I'd reclip and carry on.  I literally prayed every single time my shoe unclipped, "Please God, let me finish this ride before my shoe breaks completely."  At around mile 10, as my shoe floated out to the right, I saw that my cleat was all but disconnected from the shoe and out shot my shoe again!  So I made a plan...I convinced myself if my cleat broke off, I'd simply take off my shoe, pocket it and ride with my foot on my Speedplay pedal.  Why not, I only had less than 4 miles to go?  Luckily, the cleat held and I made it safely into T2.  As I rolled my bike into transition, a race volunteer asked me how the ride went.  I told him about my shoe.  While I was changing into my racing flats, he inspected the shoe.  We found that three of the four screws that SHOULD hold my cleat on my shoe, were actually missing!!!  My cleat was holding on by one screw.  This explained the floaty feeling, the disconnection of my shoe to pedal, the clicking sound I heard a few times while riding and the reason I kept coming unclipped.
This is not a post to make excuses of why I could have ridden faster or any other kind of excuse.  This is to say that I really, really should have checked all of my equipment before I raced on Sunday.  After falling over on my bike, while remaining clipped in, I might have suspected all was not well.  This was an important lesson to learn.  One I hope I don't have to keep re-learning through my own stupid mistakes!


Iron Eagle Sprint Tri

Sunday I competed in the Iron Eagle sprint triathlon in Cheney, WA.  This race was my very first triathlon back in 1998, when I took the "triathlon training" course at EWU and then raced at the Iron Eagle for the final exam.  I have fond memories of the race and the race director is an old friend of ours.  Since 1998, I have raced there at least 4 times and always enjoy it. Afterward anyway :).  I was fortunate this year to race with my husband, some teammates, Rene, Merissa and Dave and watch my brother-in-law finish his first triathlon eva.  Yay, Gary!
 Thank you to Trish & John for taking the great pictures at the race & counting my laps!
The swim is 500 meters and is in a pool.  Not my favorite choice to race in, but I thought it would at least allow me to measure my swim progress by comparing it with the 500 yards I timed myself doing a month ago.  Because of course, I didn't remember that EWU's is a meter pool, instead of Whitworth's yard pool.  Whitworth is where I swim Monday through Friday, and also where I timed my 500 at the end of April.  Needless to say, I shouldn't have asked my friends Trish and John during the run, what my swim time was.  Carry on though, right?  Later I would find out my swim was an 1:10 improvement over the 500 pool swim I raced last year and a mere two seconds faster than a month ago. 
 After making it safely into the field house, I put on my new (to me) aero helmet (Thanks Greggy!!!), race belt and shoes.  I managed to screw around in T1 trying to put gloves on wet fingers, to eventually give up the cause.  Unlucky for me, this was captured on film and can be viewed on Dave's blog.
I know I need a more aggressive fit.
Iron Eagle's bike portion is an out and back, relatively flat course that takes you headlong into the wind and provides a pretty solid tailwind back.  I pushed myself hard on this bike ride, never worried about the effect pedaling my legs off might have on the forthcoming run.  I ended up completing the 10 miles ride in 32 minutes.

T2 went much more smoothly, as I just had to take off my helmet, change my shoes and grab my visor to put on while running upwards.
The run starts out going straight up a dirt hill and out the main road from the college.  This year, the wind was at my back going out and eventually downhill, and forcefully and unfortunately inmyface running back uphill and the down to the finish.  Whatever the elements were, I ran as fast as my legs would carry me for 3.1 miles and finished the run in about 23 minutes.
The scenery wasn't too shabby, especially if you like farmland.
After doing the sprint entirely on feel, because my Polar is dead ...we didn't get any results when the race ended!  The Iron Eagle is raced in waves and I was in wave #3.  The director and his crew don't take splits and provide a somewhat shaky approximate finish time.  There is one gal sitting on a rock at the finish line, who asked me for my race number a short time after I crossed the finish line.  Yes, this race is VERY low key!  I know that no one in my wave passed me and that all the women were behind me during the race.  However, I don't know my "official" overall time or placement.  The only reason I know my splits is because I have fantastic friends that timed my swim and run, and I caught my bike time on my computer. 

Finally though, despite not having a lot of precise data I am fine with my performance.  And I know that I have many other "tests" of fitness in store for me throughout the season.  


Swim, Wash, Rinse, Condition, Repeat.

On the power cords, for "Fun Friday."
I know.  I've been a bad blogger lately.  As I predicted in an earlier post, life is busy and just keeps on getting busy-er.  Like you, I have lots of happenings in my life to occupy my time.  Family, friends, working, coaching track, training, church(ing), eating and not nearly enough sleeping have been keeping me on my toes and in my swimsuit, daily.

Last tri season, I had fairly solid races as a local age-group athlete.  But...my swim was LACKING, lagging, way behind my competition.  Can't tell you how discouraged I was at times and how often I felt like quitting the swim and taking up duathlon.  However, I am very fortunate that some of my teammates (also dear friends) and husband encouraged me not to give up swimming.  They also didn't push me and tell me what to do.  For me, that's key.  I am admittedly a stubborn person and I like to push myself, in my own time, on my own terms (don't we all?).
Thanks to Jessi for taking the swim pics of me!
In April when our masters swim practices switched from late night sessions on M-W-F to early morning on Monday-Friday, I decided that I would seriously go to work on that crappy swim of mine.  I'm a month into the five-days-a-week program (6 days including open-water swims on Sunday:) and finally noticing some improvements in my form, power and speed in the water.  I'm still a huge work in progress.  I am dedicated, motivated and adamant that I will become a better, faster, stronger swimmer.

Technique and skills that I am working on in the water=>
  • a strong, powerful & long pull
  • a solid catch followed by high elbows, IN the water
  • streamlined & balanced body position
  • a steady, efficient, from the hips flutter kick - with a "thump!"
  • rotating rather than wiggling ;)
  • increasing my distance per stroke
  • finishing my release phase, each stroke
See?  I have MUCH to do to improve. 

Amidst swimming my arms off, I am also biking and running aplenty.  I have a few sprint and Olympic distance triathlons on my race calendar and my very first half ironman race slated for August 1st at Troika.  Wish me well toward my goals, and best wishes that you accomplish all of yours!


Big Sandy is a switch-hitting, bar bouncing bitch!

Tum Tum
That was the best quote from today's sixty-six mile ride, compliments of my friend, Adam.  A few weeks ago, Erica, a pal of mine asked me to ride the Lilac 66 miler with her + run for 25 minutes afterwards.  Since I'm a sucker and a dumbass, I said yes.  Until this morning, the longest ride I had ever rode my bike was 60 miles and that was last season.  Anyway, I ended up being glad that I was doing the ride, because on Wednesday night after slurping two/too many cocktails, I signed up for my first 1/2 IM: Troika.  So, obviously I need to get out and ride long.
 The crew at the best aid station, they even had chocolate no-bakes, yum :)
Well, as Erica, Adam, Jen and I were rolling along the first few miles we kept talking about our first climb, up Big Sandy.  Eventually, Adam told us that every time I said "Big Sandy" he pictured this switch-hitting, bar bouncing, big-ass bitch!  Hilarious.  And you know what?  She wasn't that bitchy today.  The hill that we didn't know about out in buttfuckingegypt wasn't quite as pleasant though.  As anyone who knows me knows, I have NO sense of direction.  So, I'd love to explain where this 2.5-3 mile hill was, but I have no idea.  I'm guessing somewhere near Reardan or Mule Days or Steve's former home :).
 A sky view from the bridge at Deep Creek
The weather and company for the ride could not have been more ideal.  We didn't kill ourselves out there, trying to ride the mileage in a certain time or race each other.  It was just a solid way to enjoy the beautiful, sunny morning, get in some necessary miles and spend time with really lovely people.
 Erica, Jen & Adam