I remember when I first heard about Pacific Crest Triathlon.  Everyone I knew raved about it as being fun, beautiful and very challenging.  Being the girl that I am, obviously I signed up as soon as I could!  It is all that legend told, and more!  There are 10 or so events throughout the weekend, which means lots of people and a guaranteed good time!  And it's in a mountain resort town, obviously very beautiful.  And challenging, in so many ways! I mentioned it's a mountain resort, right?  MOUNTAIN = Cold, that's the first challenge.  Today we pre-drove the course, and sections of it still sport a 6-10 foot snow bank, for example.  Not so bad, unless you start the day swimming in sub 60 degree water - starting to get the picture?  I guess I probably don't need to mention the climbing, since the snow gives away the elevation bit.  The run course is pretty gentle, if you don't consider that it is 40+ degrees difference from when you started the race, another perk of the mountain town!  I'm not the only one that enjoys said challenges, which is probably why the race draws the most competitive bunch in the Northwest, giving it that extra special added challenge of competition, yes it IS a race after all!
For me, the biggest challenge is within myself.  Yes, I'm tougher on me than the fore-mentioned lake, mountain, snow and competition.  So, thank you for everyone for your encouraging words, that I'll be playing in my head over the course of the race.  Here are some of my favorites:
"you are the only one that can beat you"
"you may even surprise yourself at what you are capable of"
"if it doesn't hurt you aren't going hard enough"
"don't be afraid to shine"
"I will cheer for you when you sprint across the finish line in first and I will still cheer for you when you can barely make it to the finish in whatever place"
"don't forget to breathe"
"if you learn something from this race, it is a success"
"I love you"

Thank you everyone.
Tomorrow, I will be a 1/2 ironwoman :)


HARD days are rarely the hardest!

Over the few years that I've been training, I've become a firm believer that it's not the hard days that make the athlete, it's all the OTHER days!  It's the gruelying long "easy runs" and "light spins" that are the hardest to get through.  First of all, you almost never feel like doing them.  And Secondly, they never feel easy.  Honestly, recovery weeks are my least favorite weeks.  Sure, there are a few fewer hours I spend in the pool, on the bike or running, but I wouldn't really be able to do those extra hours if I tried!  Those are the hours my mind starts to play tricks on me.  Do you really need to get up at 4 to go swim, really???  Wouldn't you rather meet for Happy Hour than do an "easy spin"?  Oh man, am I ever going to feel better?
Getting thru those days is where you find a lot about yourself and your mental strength and determination.  It will also teach you a lot about your friends and how much you rely on them to make grueling workouts barable.  Not to mention, your loved ones and their ability to love during these hard times!



I realized today how long it's been since I've actually trained and/or raced in warm weather!  8 months!  Dear Sun, I think I like you, please stay for a while.
Luckily my body is still in shock, otherwise I'm sure it would have revolted against my training.  My first ever half (ironman) is coming up, so training is intense right now, focusing on all that high end speed.  It's sort of grueling, but definitely my favorite part of training...and that's not the only thing wrong with me :)
One other thing wrong with me is allergies.  Today, I forgot to take claritin and was an absolute mess on my ride.  Honestly, not that unusual.  However, when I passed a couple of guys who decided to hang on to me w/o letting me know, they were not too happy when snot came flying back at them...oops!
Other than that, my 4 hours of training went off w/o a hitch!  Ok, other than that dehydration thing.  It's one of those things that happens when summer finally decides to show up.  Like the first time in spring when you accidentally forget to wear sunscreen.  It only takes that one time and you never do it again, until next spring.
This weekend makes the countdown 3 weeks until the "big race" - holy crap!  Physically, definitely ready. The rest of me, well, I'm doing better than I ever have!  I'll be ready, and so excited!


Here we gooooo!

It's hard to believe the first race of the season is already over...which means triathlon season 2011 has officially started!!! Of course, just like the spring has been in eastern Washington, the race was cold and wet.  In fact, you might have heard me cheering at the top of my lungs Sunday morning when the race director announced they were cutting the swim short because the water was so cold.  That was my favorite part of the race.  Oh, and the last mile of the run when the feeling finally returned to all 10 toes.  The swim went surprisingly smooth, other than having to dodge some bobbers and crazy side kickers, nothing catastrophic happened.  I brilliantly placed the only thing that was supposed to keep me warm, on my transition towel, under my helmet.  Of course, the absorbent towel created a mini-lake under my helmet for my "warm" gloves to paddle around in.  Ok, so I guess my 4" shorts and a tri-singlet will keep me warm?  Answer = NO!  By the time I knew I needed to get some calories, my hands had frozen into the position of hooks, making it nearly impossible to get anything out of my jersey pocket.  Luckily, it seemed I wasn't the only one suffering from the cold temps, by the time I entered T-2 I had a pretty good lead.  Since my feet were frozen in one position, it was easy for me to slip my foot into my running shoes...not able to feel a thing, I just hoped my toes weren't bent backwards or sideways and off I went.  By mile 5 of the run, my toes finally regained feeling and I actually felt warm!  What a great way to end the day - feeling good :)
This race was so much more than a victory for me!  I have been working extremely hard on my self-talk during a race and I feel like I've made huge improvements so far this year.  Not to say I don't have a long ways to go, but at least for once I finished the race with a positive attitude!  Actually, I was shocked at how good it felt...of course the wine tasting afterwards helped a bit too :)
Thanks to everyone who has helped me get to where I am - I could never have found this road alone!