Monday, December 31, 2012

Merci 2012.. Bonjour 2013!

Last year, my year started with 7:30am mass at KasisisChildren’s Home in the outskirts of Lusaka, Zambia followed by a 2pm flight out from LUS to SFO. It was a long journey home that even included being proposed to at JNB by the passport security guy. Cute, those South Africans. Awkward but cute.

Here we are the last day of the year and I showed up to work with my team at 7am because it's PCF Monday- yay (not really)!

Family – my heart.

Friendships- Thank goodness for friendships. Make the effort to keep the connections; being too busy is hardly ever an excuse.

Love – Dear Love: You were really funny the first half of 2012. Seriously, now let's quit the jokes. What I have learned in the past few years is that old school is preferred over new school. Slow it down; there is no rush in getting to know a person or making any decisions. Often times than not, you end up crashing and burning in the fast and furious route. Having said that, there are no rules, be you. 

Work- If you don’t like the course you’re on (with anything), change it. I was fortunate enough to put that into action pretty quickly this year.

Travel – France, a country of depth, you were a pleasant surprise. Movie moments do happen… in Paris. Time will tell where 2013 will take me... Vietname/Cambodia/Burma, New Zealand, Brasil/Colombia, or ?

Life – The world had a way of breaking my heart time and time again this year but it just serves as a motivator to spread kindness even further and deeper than the day before. Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I am not sure when I will be able to make it back to Kasisi but until then, I can spread it locally whether it’s buying that homeless person a hot cup of coffee, doing something a little extra for someone during the holidays or buying a garbage man that made fun of you for eating a soft serve cone on a cold rainy night. I promise you’ll get the BIGGEST smile in return.

Notables – Joe Quartini… Every day, I become less and less curious as to why the universe took you the way they did. I can only be grateful for the friendship that we had. Happy belated 32nd birthday… I can still see your smile and hear your laugh.

Here’s to taking 2013 by it’s horns! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Whoa.. December Is Going..!

Hello... where did I last leave off.. ah! yes! I promised to come back to give you my Kona thoughts. Obviously, it's taken me awhile, my apologies, life happens. So by now you all know that Pete Jacobs of Australia put on a perfect race to win the 2012 Kona Champs & Leanda Cave would not let Rinny run her down as anticipated to grab the win. While I am happy for Leanda, I am ecstatic for Pete! I met Pete in 2009 at the Kona KSwiss after party at Huggos. In the midst of all the alcohol and noise stood this soft spoken shy guy who I believe came in 7th that year. MG introduced him to our group and said to watch out for this guy as he was going to win one year. While that was great, I was more focused on what a nice guy he genuinely seemed to be, hence I am ecstatic that a nice and genuine guy took the Kona crown. It's unfortunate I didn't make the trip to Kona this year as I received emails about companies and sponsors wanting to purchase my race photos. So there you have it, my post Kona thoughts, a world that I've stepped away from but still can appreciate it.

December seem to have come and gone. For the first time in a few years, I am home for the entirety of the holidays and I must say, it feels very weird. I can't help but miss being with the kids at Kasisi Orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia. I landed there during Christmas Eve last year and while I was among 220 orphans, I ironically felt like the orphan that the kids were taking in. I miss them and my time there so much. Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays, but it's also one of the tougher ones to get through. When I was 12 years old, my grandpops passed away at 8:45pm on Christmas Eve in our home. I watched him go through a long battle of lung cancer. I learned pretty early on that smoking is deadly, from taking my turn as the grand child to stay overnight at UCSF Long Hall part of the hospital with him to watching his health and senses decline, I remember all of it like it was yesterday and it's during the holidays that it's a bit more apparent.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and the Happiest of Holidays with your families. May you have health in your bodies, peace on your minds, love in your hearts, warmth in your souls and gratitude in your lives. Until next time friends!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hello World..

Reaching out into the world of blogging. Tomorrow is the big dance in Kailua-Kona (aka Ironman World Champs) and I can not tell you how happy I am to be on the couch in front of my laptop tracking the race vs. being there in person! So friends, I will be unreachable between 930am - 5pm PST time.

There are a few reasons why I decided to not make the trip this year but mainly because last year just tired me out! The thing is, I can't be a half @ss spectator. When I am there, I am all there. I am running around all week, capturing photos, supporting friends, going here and going there and next thing you know, I am sitting on the couch at 3am the day after the race with cankles. Also, I just returned from a 3 week trip in France and well there's only really one of me at work so responsibilities call! Speaking of which... you can catch up with my travels here... a glimpse into my three weeks of bliss in France..

I'll be back in a few with my Kona race thoughts! Promise.

Monday, August 27, 2012

2012- Ironman Canada Race Report

2012- Ironman Canada Race Report

Swim- 2.4 miles - 2:05:02

I think that's officially my longest IM swim time to date! I swim like a tank but my last Canada swim was 1:30:00. I never get cramps when I train or at races but apparently someone had different plans for me this morning... halfway through the swim.. calve cramps... and now my swim has turned to a pull. Well, that's great. And then I started to bonk.. that's even greater!! Valley- cramps & bonking. Peak - foggy goggles cleared up around the same time cramps started... not sure the trade off was worth it!

T1- 4:17 - T1 PR - yes!

Bike- 112 miles - 7:44:13

Oh the bike.. mentally I was really good.. physically .. not so good. I started to replenish calories early on in the bike and hydrating as well but realized that I had not pee'd during the last 4 hours of the bike AND i wasn't sweating.. just radiating heat. Neither of these has ever happened to me before. I was also starting to feel very sleepy & tired.. instead of being on my bike.. I wanted to just curl up in a ball and take a nap! The last time I did this race, I thought Yellow Lake was the worst of the two evil. It could have been because it was hailing two years ago. This year, I am thinking Richter Pass definitely wins. Valley - feeling like I had heat exhaustion. Peak - Hearing a tire blow and thought it was mine except it was the tire of the van driving next to me- phew! Missing a deer crossing the road by about 5 feet as I was looking down at my bento box trying to decide what I should consume next.

T2 - 4:28 - T2 PR - yes!

Run - 26.2 miles - 6:02:54

The run... got to the first aid station.. stopped to grab my cup of Perform and immediately started having dizzy spells. I've never had dizzy spells at a race before. Hm. By the second station.. I started on the coke, the chicken broth and water. The run was the run.. I had a steady shuffle going on for the first half .. as long as I wasn't standing still I was ok and then blisters kicked in with new orthotics that my foot doctor "doctored" up to help relieve toe pain I was experiencing. The best part of the run was seeing all the familiar faces. It was so great to see friends Jerald Balgos and Bill Shen out there supporting! Saw my friends Pia and Sandy rocking it out on the run course. Saw my friend Jennifer Huston from AZ!! Immediately behind Jennifer, I saw my friend Ben at an aid station. We were at different aid stations across the streets. Ben and I met through Team In Training in the Spring of 2007. I was his mentor. He told me last year that he wanted to do an IM. I had already told myself I am retiring from this but I couldn't let Ben do it on his own!! Anyway, I saw Ben and yelled out, "Hi Ben!" He yells out in return, "I hate you! I hate everything about you! It's your fault I am out here." I yelled in return, "This was YOUR idea! It's your fault!"  I am sure people around us had a few chuckles at our minor aid station spat. Valley - Continuation of the physical issues.. dizzy spells. Peak - seeing my friends and the finish line.

Total - 16:00:54 -- Crossed the finish line with I think the biggest smile I've ever had at a race finish line. Thank you to Sandy for being my post catcher caretaker! And Ben's wife, Joan for picking me up. What a journey today was.. definitely more valleys than peaks.. my mantra was "be brave.. no pity parties.. keep moving forward." The town of Penticton i truly special. I think the volunteers is what makes this race what it is. There is not an event with a community like this one! I wish Challenge Penticton the best of luck!! Ironman #5 was a tough one to get.. and now I sit here consuming sprite and toast due to a queasy stomach..hopefully that subsides as I plan to eat EVERYTHING and ANYTHING I want today!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

2012- Lake Stevens 70.3 Race Report

Lake Stevens 70.3

Coach's race plan.. short version.. get through swim, Bike HR stay in Z3 .. can crest into Z4 on climbs but don't stay there..Run... 85% 1st half.. 95% 2nd half. 

And then there's the race plan from my beloved friends who often make me laugh. The night before the race, I was sent this plan from one of my good friends:

Find a mean girl and pass her! Find a muscle man and drop him. Find a hottie and chase him! See a sister struggle and pace her. Remember your smiles and use them! See the hills and roll with them. See hottie you chased post race and pick him up! Then catch up with the Killian's and spill it.

Think that about covers it, have fun!!

Like I said, I love my friends!

NIght before race dinner- pasta w/ olive oil, garlic, chicken at 5pm.

Race morning eats- Peanut butter/nutella sandwich + 250 cal bottle infinit + 1 gu 30 min before swim

The great thing about doing a race with a bunch of friends is that you're never really alone. Ben and I drove in together.. with the best $20 bucks I ever spent on a parking pass. Phil & I headed out to the swim start together and then my friend Maureen & I started our swim wave together. Onto the swim.. 

Swim- 54:08 

Definitely swam more than 1.2... it was a little hard to see for me both going out and coming back in. What can I say? It's the swim.. I am a tank in the water.. I just try to get through it.

T1- 3:53 

BIke- 3:43:46 - Avg HR: 157 Max: 169 - Here we go... it's officially raining now.. but also the most fun I've had on a bike course ever. I was able to keep HR in Z3 during the entirety of the ride with the exception of some downhills and uphills but was able to either bring it up or down back to z3. I don't think I've ever done that on a bike course before so that was positive! some dodgy sharp turns here and there but managed to get through and even max'd out at 45 mpg on a descend... scary.. don't look! I took the climbs easy and went for it on the descends + crests + flat parts... bike course was all round fun.. i was mentally in a great place (what rain?!) and maybe one of the hills felt significantly tough towards the end but other than that, great bike course! Notable mentions... 10 miles into the bike.. this guy rolls up next to me and says,"nothing sexier than a woman that knows how to snot rocket!" Ha ha you know it! Don't get so close to me bud! The day before the race.. my friend Ben and I drove the bike course and noticed it was a course full of hairy turns. This was a technical bike course.. one of the turns was a sharp right into a wall of an uphill.. a long steep one at that. Mean! Through the bike.. I was anticipating this one sharp turn into a wall... every right turn we made.. i was ready but was met with many false alarms. It would come towards the end and a lot later than I had anticipated. There were a few folks who were having issues and I tried to give them some verbals encouragement as I pass them. This one woman and I played the cat & mouse game the entire time on the bike. She would kill it on the hills as I took them easy and then she would coast the flats and descends as I went for them. She'd get irritated and grunt every time I passed her... which spilled over on the run.. except I was able to finally leave her and her grunting for good during the second half of the run. 

Bike nutrition- 1 pack of Gu Blocks (200 cal), 1 gu (100 cal), 2.5 bottles of 250 cal infinit (625 cal) + plain water from aid stations.

T2- 2:53 - switched to dry socks and off I go.

Run- 2:37:05 - Avg HR:151 Max: 163 - oy! I had two issues on the run: 1. i didn't feel like i had the "power" to push for faster 2. i have this bunion on my right foot that's getting a bit worse and showing itself on the run.. almost makes the bone that connects your big toe to your foot want to break or that's the feeling. Anyway.. i know i can run faster.. i feel like i can run faster but didn't have that oomph... does that even make sense?? I had a little tough time breathing the first half but figured that was normal. My younger sister showed up to watch me race and I saw her when i started the second loop of the run. My sister who is twice as outgoing as I am, bursted up from sitting on the curb and started excitedly asking me all sorts of questions and I gave her five words, "I don't want to talk." Crazy girl! Looking forward to the day she does her first triathlon!

Run nutrition- 1st aid station half a gu and water, stations 2 -8 coke + water, felt a little hungry so stations 9-12 gu + water.

Finish -- Once you cross the finish line...they hand you a bunch of stuff.. water.. medal.. hat... astro blanket.. I ended up dropping my hat and before I can bend over to pick it up.. this nice man says, "No no... I will do it.. you don't bend over." Nice sweet man!! Thank you! 

Photo below: with my friend Ben and with my sister Tammy.

Overall- 7:21:45 - no PR here but I think it was one of the more fun races and I was mentally in a great race for most of the race. It got a bit iffy on the run and the swim well i just try to get through. No nutrition problems felt. No mechanicals. Stayed upright. Fun good race!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dear Joe Quartini

While I was in Hawaii, I found out a friend of mine, who I had met during my Team in Training days in 2007 had passed away from a surfing accident while on his honeymoon in Nicaragua. I was heart broken. At 31 years old, the thought of never seeing him again or hearing his voice never crossed my mind. I was bummed that I would miss his memorial and so had my own goodbye moment with Joe in Hawaii while the sun was setting Saturday evening. As the sun was setting I was also asking the universe... what. the. hell? Why take a good guy when there are so many bad ones out there doing bad things? I was on the phone with a friend and he said something that run so true. Life isn’t too short, it’s how you live it while you’re still here. I couldn’t agree more.  

A little about Joe... He loved to surf! He used to tell me about his last minute surfing trips to Costa Rica, his New Zealand adventures among others. He was excited about life! He is one of the most genuine, caring and down to earth guys you’d ever meet with old school Italian chivalry. My favorite memories of him started flashing before me.  Our camping trip at Big Sur… how he wanted to be the protective guy friend and have a moment with the guy who I was dating and wasn’t treating me so well at the time. The way he’d say, “That’s bulls*t” whenever we share guy/girl dating stories. How much fun we had ringing in the New Year with our friend Mary and his friend Ben in Tahoe drinking champagne and watching Tila Tequila. He was a friend who I can always have fun with whether it was being his date to his company christmas party or just an afternoon coffee break. 

Joe, wherever you are, I know your smile is still bright and the ocean waves are still big.

Honu 70.3... a spectator's race report

Race morning, I arranged for the Dkyhouses to pick me up on their way to the race start. Coach joined in and when they rolled up, Bo was in the car as well!  We all arrived at Hapuna Beach.. all walking towards the entrance to T1 when I stopped on my tracks and claimed a rock to step upon right over the Pro area. In case you hadn’t heard, Lance was racing! Yes, I am a Lance fan and have been for over ten years. Lance appears and it’s like being in the presence of a rockstar.. no wonder the guy needs his little posse around him.. dude gets surrounded with a crowd wherever he goes. You can tell that word was getting around that Lance has arrive as you see AGers running towards the fenced off Pro area.

I make my way down to the beach and found Bo, Nat and Kevin. The Dkyhouses and Coach later joined us. They all headed towards the swim start as I made my way towards the opposite end to claim my spot at the swim finish.  Coach decided to stick with me until he finished his swim prep.. he handed me his bag.. I wished him luck and off he went to join the rest. He, Coach, Chris as I will refer to him was a bag full of relaxation and indecisiveness. I think up until race morning he was going to wear the old school blue TYR suit but race morning, he went for the TYR Torque. I think one of the only things he was decisive about was what he was going to have for dinner two nights prior to race when most of us headed to Pau in Waimea. He, alone, consumed a quinoa salad, a big bowl of turkey chili, 6 slices of pizza and 2 beers. Oh, and he was sure he wasn't going to wear a heart rate monitor. Anyway on with the race... 

The canon goes off for the Pros and then a few minutes later for the AGers. About 20 or so minutes later, my camera was clicking away as Tim Marr (Pro a.k.a. Macca’s man crush) was the 1st to exit the water. Lance came in 3rd and I found myself relaxing a little bit before I realized Chris was coming towards the swim finish as well. And he said he wasn't fit to be competitive.. not even in the swim. Liar. As he was making his way to T1, Greg Welch, gave the crowd a little back story on him. Chris Hauth...  former Olympic swimmer out of Mill Valley etc etc etc. I waited for Kevin, Natalie, Dykhouse and Bo to exit the water before reuniting with Nicola for a ride back to the hotel. We came upon a little traffic jam to make the turn into the Mauna Lani and I thought I’d have to get our of the old jeep to start pushing because the car would stall from all the stop and go. Luckily, we made it, phew!  I made my way to the run out at which I had to sit down because the winds were so strong that it’d blow me out of stance when I stayed standing up.  It was announced that Lance was in the lead off the bike (duh) and I can see him from afar getting off the bike and running through the tents to get onto the run course. As this was going down, these tri newbies asked, “why is Lance running already?” Referring to the bike off run towards the tent and I was immediately brought back in time when I used to sneak out of work to catch that last hour of the coverage on the then, OLN channel (pre- Versus). The Il Fornaio coffee guys were nice enough to save a seat for my co-worker and I every morning. People use to come in and say… why isn’t Lance leading (during a Sprinter’s stage)?

It wasn’t long before Chris ran through and he looked good.  All the while, I am quadruple tasking between tracking people on my phone, returning text messages, posting race updates on facebook and taking photos. I must have looked like I knew what I was doing because then I had a small group of people asking me to predict when I thought their loved ones would be coming through if they gave me their swim times and the level of their bike strength. Funny, I know. About 20 minutes before the winner would come through, I made my way to the finish line.  Lance comes through first, then Greg Bennett, followed by Lieto for the top 3. From afar, I see a red blurb running and I knew it was Chris so I got the camera ready. He comes through, 1st AG and overall amateur. I went to greet him at the finish where Greg Welch was interviewing him followed by an intense conversation with Diana, the race director. I asked Chris what happened and he said you saw what happened at the swim? I said no…. and so he tells me about the course cutting accusation.  OOOH.

Nicola would join me at this point and we waited for Kevin, Natalie, Bo and Dykhouse to come through. When Bo finished, I asked her if she saw Dykhouse and she said,”Yea.. he didn’t look so good. He was bent over grabbing his hamstring saying f*ck f*ck f*ck.” Cramps.  A few minutes later, Dykhouse crosses the finish and my time at the finish line is done! All my friends finished, did great and none of them looked all that bad! Time to hydrate and feed myself. I tell ya, spectating is tough!! I head up to the Dkyhouses room to recharge my phone and to rest a little before heading back down for the awards. They started the awards ceremony with a public apology to Chris Hauth. I was shocked and Chris himself was not even here for this. The apology went something like this... "We as race directors, staff need to make sure that all athletes are racing the full course. We don't always get it right and this one athlete got really angry at us. Blah blah blah... I want to apologize to Chris Hauth and ensure all of you that he did indeed kick all your @sses. In fact, he'll kick all your @sses all day any day." I thought.. oh my god... Chris' head and hair is about to get a lot bigger. I got my phone and texted the guy and said … you’re missing your public apology. He didn’t believe me so he called me and all he said was really? Really? Really? I know I can be creative but even I couldn’t have made that stuff up!  From then on, it was like the Chris Hauth triathlon celebrity show.  If you left the AG awards ceremony not knowing the name Chris Hauth, you must have been sleeping. TYR AG swim awards, Chris Hauth come claim your award. Chris Hauth… 1st AG in Men 40-44. Kona/Vegas slot roll down… Chris Hauth.. are you here? Ok, we’ll skip to the next AG and come back to that one. True story, that happened. We’re making our way to dinner and had to stop many times because now it seems like everyone who’s ever met him wants a word with him. I felt like it was Kona week in October and I am walking down Ali’I Drive with Whit and it takes us an hour to walk from the banyan tree to the Thai restaurant near Lava Java because everyone and their moms wants a word with him.

Next day, Chris Hauth celebrity show is over and we’re sitting at the beach at the Mauna Kea Resort… we get settled and I say to him.. we’re at an old person’s beach.. look at all the pot bellys!

To view photos from the event- click HERE!

Oh, in other news, the OKC Thunder won a road game vs the Spurs while I was flying home. SWEET!! Go OKC! In case you didn't know, it's the NBA playoffs.

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's NBA Playoffs Time

I started watching basketball and football as a little girl with my dad and my cousins. I grew up with all boys so I guess it's not too surprising that I caught the sport bug. It's going to be a sleep deprived month with the Tour de France in July and then the Summer Olympics in August. What can I say... I love this stuff!

Just popping in to say hello.. I am deep into the NBA playoffs... go OKC Thunder!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's The First Night!

After 30 or so years living in the city and a stint in the southbay, I have finally made a move... north... tourist town... known as Sausalito!

Different zip code = $300 savings in annual car insurance. Warmer weather. Quaint cozy own.. walking distance to a bunch of restaurants and shops.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Back At It!

It's been one week since my return from Africa and I miss the kids at Kasisi terribly. I am so fortunate to have had the African experience that I did-- everything from the miles and miles of land that I saw, 3,700 kilometers to be exact, the people, the smells, the culture and yes even the bugs. I miss the "TIA" (this is Africa) moments and the moto "In Zanzibar" anything is possible! One of the things I learned from my trip was that all a kid truly needs to be happy is unconditional love and structure. The 200+ kids at Kasisi was hands down the largest group of happy kids I had ever seen and let me add well behaved! In the world that I live in, parents often give their kids what money can buy vs. something that is priceless: their time. The second thing I learned is about relationships. There was a guy on our trip named Rudy. We called him the International Man of Mystery. He is, I would say in his mid 60s, he is married with children but travels all over the world on his own. One rainy day in Malawi, Brittany asked Rudy about his wife and life. In telling his story, Rudy was praising how wonderful his wife is and then he went into a story about how his wide used to drive him nuts over how she dug into the butter. Rudy likes to shave it with a knife smoothly from the top and his wife would take chunks from it. Rudy would often make comments about it to his wife and finally one day, his wife asked, "does it really matter?" A light bulb went into Rudy's head and at the end of the day, it does not. I think anytime there is a conflict of some sort, that is a great question to ask! The third thing is more of an amazing discovery.. I had no idea how much influence and development China had over and in Africa. Billboards written in Chinese were pretty prominent in the main cities of Africa!

While I was in Africa in Vic Falls more specifically, I was going to bungee jump off the Vic Falls Bridge over the Zambezi River. I think it's the third highest bungee jump in the world. By the time we arrived in Vic Falls, I had changed my mind about the jump mainly because throughout the entire 2 weeks we have been overlanding in Africa, I've yet to see a big hospital or treatment center anywhere!! Fast forward to this week.. just read an article and saw a video about an Aussie girl who bungee jumped off that exact same bridge and fell into the river because her bungee snapped!! They had to air her into South Africa for treatment. Point proven.. I made the right choice- phew!

Anyway, back on the training wagon!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy 2012!!

Happy New Year, everybody!

I spent most of December in Africa... you can read about it here on my travel blog. Cheers!