Rap Stars Run

Today, the cobwebs are officially dusted off my running legs.  I'm happy to report that I did race pace intervals with a 3% incline - yay!  I won't tell you how long they were, BUT that it felt great.  I'm celebrating that I did it and trying not to dwell on the fact that I have a LONG way to go.  Ok, there I said it!
Treadmill runs are not my fave, by any standard, but today I had a blast.  For some reason, my Lady Gaga (don't laugh) station on Pandora wanted to play almost exclusively rap, so I went with it.  To everyone else I looked like the same old "ME", but on the inside I was having a Lose Yourself, Dirt Off Your Shoulders, Remember The Name MOMENT.   It's funny how music can change your whole state of mind.  I was transformed from having a good run, to feeling like a total bad ass!  Eminem, Jay-Z, Linkin Park, B.O.B...you are welcome on my runs anytime!



If you have read some of my previous posts, then you know that I have recently committed to a tough decision.  That decision was to leave my comfy, stable and still rewarding job to follow my wee-little-heart to a new-ish career and life that scares me to death!  Of course, that's not the whole of it.  I also left my comfy, stable home that I share with my boyfriend, to embark on an also scary long-distance relationship...which, is hopefully temporary.
My journey to this destination has not been a short one, and to clarify (or confuse) a little, I don't actually believe I have even reach some sort of destination, more that my course of trajectory has changed dramatically.
So, back to what I was saying.  When I decided to leave my job and embark on this new career, it also meant moving back to Wenatchee, WA, which makes my heart dance with joy.
It seems that ever since I arrived here everything has really been clicking.  I'm not sure if it's just the newness of it all, or if there is some real synergy going on.   Whatever it IS, I like it!
So, here I am with a job as a personal trainer and coach, living in Wenatchee, WA...aaaand, I just scored a spot on the Wattie Ink Elite Triathlon Team - BOOM!  All this, and my brain still finds time to doubt and question what I'm doing.  WHY IS THAT?  Thank goodness I expected that and came prepared!   I have set up daily goals for not just productivity and keeping my business growing, but to also grow my confidence and emotional strength.  I know that I can't do what I want and need to do with my life if I'm petrified by my own doubt, so I work hard at it, VERY hard actually.  So far, it seems to be working.
It wasn't until just about a year ago that I started listening to my voice and really put effort into being truly authentic.  I was afraid to talk about my goals, because they are a little lofty and might seem CRAZY to most people and because if I said them out loud, they might become a little too real.  Well, I decided to blow up my fears and start living the life of my dreams.  No holding back.  Here. I. Am.

An enormous thank you to everyone for being supportive and embracing me, just as I am.


Don't believe me.

If I told you that you could live the life of your dreams, would you believe me?
If I told you that you couldn't, would you try to prove me wrong?

As I sit here with a list about a mile long of things to do, anxiety mounting by the minute, for some reason I have a sense of peace in my heart. Peace because I'm excited to be embarking on a new adventure that fills my soul with joy and because I'm giving myself permission to accept that I can't possibly do more than I can do.

Has it taken me a long time to get here? Yes. Do I think this next step in my life is going to be easy? Not at all. Do I feel like it's going to be worth it? Absolutely. How long has it taken me to believe in me? My whole life. There, I said it...MY WHOLE LIFE.

Though I have achieved a lot of things, a lot of really great things, I have never believed that I was worthy. I have never truly given myself credit for any of it. Seriously.

Today I choose to believe that I'm worthy. Today I choose to believe in myself. I choose the challenge it will be to say it to myself every day because I know that's what it is going to take for me to succeed.

November 15th, 2012 is going to be my last day working for Stemilt Growers, a company and people I have grown to love like family! I have truly loved every minute I have been able to work at Stemilt, which makes it painfully difficult to leave! But it's because of them that I'm leaving. Being surrounded by smart, passionate and entrepreneurial people has been an amazing experience and ultimately inspired me to be one myself.

Not too long ago, my Mom was searching for a new path and I asked her what she would do if she wasn't afraid. Typical Mom fashion, she responded "what would you do?" Of course I knew exactly, I recited what the script I've played in my head EVERY day for years! I am happy to report, that she IS doing exactly what she was afraid to do, and so am I :)

It will take work, faith and some tough times, but in the end I would not have it any other way.

What would it take for you to believe me that you can live the life of your dreams too? See, that's the problem. It's not me that can convince you, it's you.

If I can believe in me, trust that you can believe in you too. Start today.

Don't believe me, believe YOU!


Salty Air

There is undoubtedly something magical about breathing in salty air. Breathing in the air, surrounded by sand and ocean waves nourishes my soul.

Running has a similar affect on me, so you can imagine how I feel when I get to run along a beach!!
While in San Diego a couple weeks ago, I did just that. As much as possible.
Since I was exhausted going into the trip, I managed to restrain myself from going over board with the beach running. Barely.
We were able to have a little down time, hanging out with one of Ryan's long-time friends, a little shopping, a little eating, a little running, a little ocean swim...

The main reason for the trip was the USA Triathlon Level 1 Coaching Certification Clinic, also a remarkable experience in it's own right. The roster of presenters was second to none, complete with one of my all-time favorite people in the whole world, Bobby McGee. Bobby has been a huge help in putting together my mental "game". Though it was mere weeks prior to IM 70.3 Worlds, I felt like I had made massive improvements and was armed with a "bullet proof" mental race strategy. Unfortunately that plan was over shadowed by a small (by small, I mean BIG) mechanical mis-hap. The presenters were rounded out with Shelly O'Brien and Bob Seebohar, which are equally impressive.
After 2 days straight, I was a bit overwhelmed with everything I had learned. Overwhelmed and exhilarated. All I wanted to do was learn more. It was 2 days of full triathlon immersion, and I'm addicted.

...if only I could figure out how to transplant to the beach full-time...

Until then, I need to at least figure out how to visit more often!! 


HALLOWEEN HANGOVER (not the drinking kind)

No, I don't mean that I'm actually hung-over.

It's funny when random things smack you in the face with "ah-ha moments"!

This Halloween struck my thought life hard, and completely unexpectedly. Halloween isn't exactly a holiday that evokes emotion, but for some reason, this year it really got me thinking.
Costumes. It's fun that for one day a year, we can dress up and be ANYthing we want to be. Why can't we do that the rest of the year too? I say WE CAN and we should! I don't mean dressing up in silly costumes all the time, but if there is something that you truly want to be, and aren't being just that...then you are essentially hiding behind a disguise every day. Trust me, I get it. I’ve fought that fight, it’s truly and absolutely exhausting!

And then there is Day of the Dead, and the symbolic La Calavera Catrina, reminding us that no matter wealth or poverty, we are all equal in our mortality. Embracing our self expression is how we show our appreciation to be alive and gratitude for all the gifts we've been given. Fulfilling your passion is not a selfish act, it's an expression of gratitude for life everything that makes you uniquely you. We are all created to be absolutely different. On purpose.

I know, all that from Halloween!

Just food for thought. Man, I think I need a little chocolate...



For most triathletes, the off-season is spent recuperating. Time spent regenerating, resting and being kind to their bodies that worked SO hard all year long. I do that too, but first I have to get in a few good cross races! Admittedly I use the term "race" loosely. Sure, it's a good effort for most of the 1 hour out there, but by no means do I put it all on the line. Most of the reason I go is for the atmosphere, spending some quality time with friends and to get in a workout w/o having to think about it. Most of the time on the course, I'm focusing on things so far out of my comfort zone that I can forget it is an actual race. It's a good thing there are lots of "fans" to remind me of when I do something stupid, that it IS a race and I should be going harder. I love cyclocross fans, they're so honest. The fact that the beer starts flowing around 9am might contribute to their honest, fun loving nature :)

The season started on October 7th, with Cross Crusade #1, Alpenrose Dairy. Usually this race coincided with Hood River Hops Fest, but I was thankful to have a whole week to recover before jumping back on the saddle! Alpenrose is generally the biggest race of the series, mostly because it's the first one. This year did not disappoint! We even had personal fans this time! Ryan's Dad came all the way from Idaho Falls, and my Dad and Brother were able to make it as well! For me, the race was kind of ..eeeh. The course is pretty technical, which does NOT play well to my strengths. Technical and super bumpy, left me feeling discouraged and a little discombobulated. Not to mention it was hot and dusty, leaving me extremely thirsty! I am not usually a big soda fan, but Ryan's Dad bought us some Coke's after the race and it was the BEST THING EVER! I finished almost exactly mid-pack, and happy to be alive.

Cross Crusade #2, Rainier High School. Out of all the courses, this one is definitely my favorite - yay for hills! The day was typical Oregon coast fall weather, a little cloudy, a little drizzly and a whole lot misty. It felt so refreshing! I had a horrible start position, but found a good hole at the beginning and was able to work my way up to top 10. The girls I hung with were the perfect balance for me. I was a little stronger climbing and thru some of the technical sections, but they pushed me on all the gradual and flat sections. The race ends on a climb, and I tactially set myself up for a sprint finish, swinging around another girl just before the finish line. I did get a little too anxious and went too soon, but was still able to hold her off - whew!

Ryan and I had scheduled in a "break" for the following weekend, but were persuaded by some friends to race again. Though I am exhausted...there really isn't much I would rather do with a fall day! Heading into cyclocross season, we always intend on being under full control of the season and what races we do...but the fever is nearly impossible to avoid. Before we know what happened, we inevitably spend 7 weekends in a row, driving at least 7 hours per weekend to participate in cyclocross. More specifically, Cross Crusade.

Cross Crusade #3, PIR Heron Lakes. In the few years I've done Cross Crusade, I have yet to do this course. It was a blast!! My legs did not want to give me much, so I just accepted what they could give me...for the most part. I did make them suffer a little bit...but was mostly nice :) I had a great starting position, but squandered it by not being able to clip in right away and missed a good hole. Anyway, I worked to get up to the second group of girls, and stayed with them for most of the race. There were some nice open sections that were perfect for picking up a draft when the "A" men would pass, but the rest of it was a little slow going thru mud and gravel. Though it didn't have any real significant climbs, it was a good mix of terrain which kept it fun and interesting. I didn't quite finish as well as I did at Rainier, but am not too disappointed with my finish of 13th place...after-all 13 is my lucky number :)

This last weekend, we missed the Cross-Crusade double header in Bend, OR for a trip to San Diego and a USATriathlon Coaching Certification Clinic!!  It means a lot that Ryan would give up a weekend of Cross racing to be my moral support person and travel buddy..it made all the difference! 



I'm sick if being bombarded with new fashion trends for fall, for a couple of reasons.  #1, I'm on a budget.  #2, I think we would be a lot better off if we spent more time on content that matters than browsing the internet for cute clothes and sweet deals.

These trends are not for the weak, but I wouldn’t share them if I didn’t think you could do it. Please don't follow these trends because I told you to. Do it for yourself.

1. Follow your heart and start living the life of your dreams.

2. Stop following what's trendy and find what's more authentically you.

3. Do something that scares you. Today.

4. Start believing you are worth it.

5. Set a goal that is going to push you beyond your comfort zone, and say it out loud. Every day.

I didn't say it was going to be easy. But it will be worth it.

Trust me.





I have been struck by a flood of inspiration today, and as I went to write this, I decided to take a look at the news. Out of all the articles I read through, the one I can't get out of my mind is Nicole Sherzinger speaking out about her bulimia. For the past few hours, my good mood, filled with hope and inspiration has had a dark cloud over it, that I just can't shake. I don't know Nicole personally, but I can't help but feel heartbroken.

It's interesting that Nicole is a person so publicly celebrated for her beauty, yet for some time, all she could focus on was the distorted self perception that she faced every time she looked in the mirror.

As I was reading it, I was struck by a memory I have of when I really started to turn the corner with my eating disorder. Sure, I had been "eating" and had recovered to a more "healthy weight", but hadn't really done any of the work to recover. I was looking through pictures of a race, and I came across someone running and said, "Wow, I wish I had legs like that!". The person that I was with just gave me this funny look and said, "Um, that IS you."

Ha, ha...oh....REALLY?!?! You mean, I was punishing myself everyday...working out, restricting calories, hiding in baggy clothes, telling myself very awful things over and over...so that I could be what? The person that I already was. I was hiding behind what seemed like an infinite wall of shame and self-hatred on a journey that ultimately lead me to see that I already was the person I nearly killed myself trying to be.
Now, the tricky part is accepting that...we'll save that for a different day.
Sure, I'm no Nicole Sherzinger, but do you see the point?

What if we all had the opportunity to actually see ourselves for what we really are? Would we be impressed? Do yourself a favor. Today, I want you to block your mind of all the things you have yet to accomplish. I want you to sit down and write all the things you HAVE accomplished, all the goals you've achieved, all the fears you've conquered. Write those down on a list and post it right next to your mirror, and smile. Go ahead, I dare you. And when you achieve your next goal, ad it to the list. You are more beautiful, more kind, more smart, more wonderful than you have ever given yourself credit for.

Start seeing yourself for who you really are, see what the world already sees in you.



Even though it would appear that I face fear all the time, in reality I train so I have confidence in what I do and not have to face fear on a regular basis. This has prepared me to be able to set goals and come up with a plan to work towards them. Life, on the other hand, does not always allow for planning time. On a daily basis, we are faced with course changing decisions, whether we are aware of them or not.

Some of the choices are not difficult, but sometimes they stop us dead in our tracks. Sometimes something stops us mid-way as if to say, "are you sure?"

Recently I was faced with an "are you sure?" moment. And I'm not going to lie to you, it was hard. So hard it took me days (6 days to be exact), to be ready to move forward. I went back and forth, analyzing every angle and direction, I even made a spread sheet. Needless to say, I didn't really need to do all that, because what my heart was saying wouldn't change. It didn't change. Sometimes no matter how much analysis you throw at an equation, the right solution may not follow any logic at all.  That doesn't make it any less right.

And as I sat and looked at all my daily inspirations, I was confident in my decision and empowered that I had, in fact, faced my fears.
Photo by sbbarkley



It's now been a few long, emotionally torturous days since IM 70.3 Vegas. Yes, I'm glad I finished the race and relatively proud of my performance, but it has been tough to swallow how far off my goals I was. Even worse to accept was that it was essentially all my fault and could have been avoided. Awesome. Mentally, I was more prepared than any race I had ever done. I felt confident in my training and my ability. I trusted everything, except when a little voice told me something wasn't right.

Here's how the day went.

Wake-up 3:50am. I felt pretty good and was amazed that I was actually able to fall asleep that night! I wolfed down some breakfast and Ryan and I headed out the race start. It was strange getting ready for a race that I didn't even need warm-up clothes! Needless to say, it was pretty easy to get ready.

Once I got to T-1 and the swim start, I filled up my tires and water bottles, covered myself in body glide and tried to stay calm. There was quite a bit of waiting and not much to do, so I decided to hang out by the pros a little. By the time my wave was in the water, the lead pro men and women were already exiting the swim, which was pretty cool. I have to say, I'm glad I didn't have a helicopter flying over my head the whole time, but I'm sure it made for some great film footage! The water was murky, smelly and 83 degrees. Damn, I wish I wasn't so used to clear, crisp mountain water! The swim was a little brutal, I've never been pulled on so much in my life! Other than that, it was a typical swim...it took forever because I was slow!

Anyway, I quickly made it thru T-1 and was on the road! The ride was amazing! I loved it :)
But something just didn't seem right. I knew I should have been faster than the people I was around, but I just couldn't drop them. I looked at my tires to see if they were flat, and they looked fine, so I just kept plugging away. By the time I got to T-2, I was a good 20 minutes off my goal...huh. No idea how that is possible, I felt like I was riding pretty hard.

As I headed out on the run, I can't even describe how I felt...but it was NOT awesome. My legs felt like they were going to buckle, I had no power. I was toast. OMG, really? I had done all that training to get to Vegas and my legs have nothing? Something wasn't right, but all I needed to do at that point was not worry too much about it and just try to keep going. Forward. I saw my family as I headed out and tried to keep my head up, but by the time I saw them again 1/2 way thru the first loop, I broke down in tears. Ryan was trying to be positive and motivating, but I couldn't handle it. I knew if I looked at anyone resembling comfort I would want to hug them and never let go. I felt weak, but I didn't want to quit. So, I kept my head down and kept plugging away, hoping I would feel better. I ended up walking all the aid stations, yes ALL the aid stations. And yes it was hot, over 100 degrees, but I don't think I noticed the heat at all on the run. I just couldn't figure out what had happened to me. Thankfully I finished the run, more than 20 minutes off my run goal. Crap.

So, I had a bad race. It just didn't feel right, something wasn't adding up. Then later, when I grabbed my bike to start packing it, I tried to spin the rear wheel. URCH! URCH! What the....? My brake was rubbing so bad I couldn't even spin the wheel. My stomach sank. That would explain everything. Why I was working SO hard on the bike to come in so far off my goal...and then had NOTHING left for the run.

Great. So that voice who told me to quickly run thru my gears and everything 10 seconds before transition closed knew what they were talking about. And that voice that said something wasn't right while I was out on the bike course, knew what they were talking about. The only voice I wasn't listening to was my own. Lesson learned. Why do I always have to do things the hard way?!?!?! UGH!!

A BIG thank you to all my supporters. Ryan <3 all="all" and="and" base="base" believe="believe" best="best" bobby="bobby" brooks="brooks" brother="brother" clif="clif" coach="coach" coaching="coaching" dad="dad" efficiently="efficiently" ever.="ever." family="family" for="for" friends="friends" game.="game." gear="gear" globe="globe" happy="happy" helped="helped" i="i" it="it" izumi="izumi" jason="jason" jeff="jeff" jerbear="jerbear" josh="josh" luna="luna" made="made" mcgee="mcgee" me="me" mental="mental" mom="mom" more="more" my="my" nbsp="nbsp" nephew="nephew" nieces="nieces" nike="nike" not="not" nuun="nuun" on="on" or="or" out="out" over="over" pearl="pearl" performance="performance" polar="polar" racing:="racing:" rcx5="rcx5" rely="rely" run="run" sister-in-law="sister-in-law" sort="sort" specialized="specialized" step-dad="step-dad" supportive="supportive" thanks="thanks" the="the" to="to" training="training" tri-cities="tri-cities" trip="trip" tyr="tyr" vegas.="vegas." water.="water." wenatchee="wenatchee" who="who" zipp="zipp">
I could not be more ready for some good MUD therapy! Bring on Cylcoross! But first - Hood River Hops Fest :)



Trust [truhst}, noun; reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence. Confident expectation of something; hope. A person on whom or thing on which one relies: God is my trust.

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with having the right mindset during a race. Through most of my life, the races were short enough (less than 1 min) that I was able to get by without much of a struggle. As I've ventured into endurance racing, it has become increasingly difficult to quiet the nay-sayers in my head!

After a recent Mental Skills session, I felt confident that I was now equipped with all the tools I needed to conquer my own demons. After about a week of going over everything (15+ pages of notes) and practicing what I'm going to say to myself and what to focus on, etc, etc. It all comes down to one simple concept. Trust. Which is a relief, because I had no idea how I was going to memorize 15 pages!

Trust my training. Trust my coach. Trust myself.

Of course I DO trust in these things, but during a race, I usually start to question everything and my trust turns into what-ifs, which is exactly the time when I start to feel tense and anxious (and slow down). Obviously NOT a coincidence! Recently I have really been trying to live by my new definition of "trust" and it's been incredible.  It wasn't until I had it all lined out and really looked at all the things that trouble me; self confidence, self efficacy, fear of failure, fear of success, being able to overcome negative thoughts, being in control of my positive mental attitude, belief in my ability, focusing on the moment at hand, believing in my amazing support team, etc., doesn't trust conquer them all?!

That said, it's not as easy as I thought it would be. I catch myself ALL THE TIME, questioning everything I've done in preparation for my upcoming race.  Before every race, small or big, I have fought a battle against my trust, not feeling as if I had any control over what was going on inside me. Now I know I do.

I choose to embrace it, I'm tired of fighting. 
Instead, I'm going to give myself a big Sar-Bear Hug of TRUST.



Preparing for this race proved to be a little more challenging than I had anticipated. My training was absolutely stellar...up until about 11 days before the race. I had one of the best training rides ever on May 29th, but lack of sleep and stress caused my body to go into an absolute tail-spin! I was tight and fatigued up until a few days before the race. I knew I had done the training for it, so I kept my focus on the moment at hand and tried not to stress at all about what I might feel like on race day. It felt like it took forever, but I eventually shook out most of the tightness and fatigue, but the mental and emotional fatigue were threatening to overcome me at any moment. At one point I wrote a note to myself..."Now is not the time to give up on yourself. It might feel like the only way out - but you are stronger than that and can overcome what's in front of you. No second guessing and no looking back. All in - ALL-HANDS-ON-DECK"

By Friday I was feeling calm and collected, but there was still a lot to get done before I was ready for Boise 70.3. As the week progressed, Saturday's forecast kept getting worse. By Friday the forecast showed temps from 45-57, 70% chance of rain and a "wind advisory" of 25-30 mph sustained winds with gusts up to 50 mph. The Tri Cities is very windy, so I ride in it all the time, but 20-25mps is my absolute MAX. This was SO FAR out of my comfort zone I honestly had no idea how to process it. The only thing I could control was what wheels I put on my bike, so I opted for a 404 on the rear and a standard aluminum wheel on the front. I added embrocation, a vest, arm warmers and gloves to my usual bike attire and stuck with my plan on everything else.

As we arrived to Lucky Peak Lake 2 1/2 hours before my scheduled wave start, it was raining pretty good and about 45 degrees. Ryan (iron sherpa/saint) helped me hike my gear up to the Lake and I got everything situated. As I was in line for the bathroom trying not to shiver all the energy out of me, the announcer proclaimed a course change. My first thought was PLEASE don't make us get into the lake, the temp had dropped a few degrees from the day before and was now between 54-57 degrees :( WHAT?!?! Then the worse news I could imagine - the bike course had been cut significantly, from 56 miles to "about 15" due to driving rain, snow and 50mph wind. The bike is my absolute favorite part of racing. This news just added to being BEYOND my comfort zone, all I could do was laugh. For some reason, I never even thought about dropping out...maybe because I had spent a LOT of money for this "experience". The constant stream of athletes leaving the lake shocked me, I couldn't believe it...we're triathletes! Someone told me they were leaving because the couldn't stay warm...I offered them some warming oil, and they just looked at me like a freak! It was either the warming oil comment, or the fact that I was jogging in my wetsuit w/ a coat over it and a hat. For a second I even thought it would be a good idea to bike in my wetsuit (apparently I wasn’t the only one, at least 12 people were spotted biking in wetsuits, including champ Matty Reed). As we were being corralled to the start, I saw people already being dragged in from the swim, shivering uncontrollably. Way beyond out of my comfort zone.

DEEP BREATH. I thought the water would feel warm compared to the air temp, but it did NOT! I don't know why I never considered dropping out of this race, but I knew it was something I was supposed to be doing.

The swim not a very good experience. I could not get comfortable and never found a rhythm at all. I just tried to keep moving forward, one buoy at a time. There was supposed to have been a "warming tent" with propane heaters, but I never saw it :( I just kept running to the wetsuit strippers - which I was very excited about. I sat down stuck my feet up and was basically drug around the turf by my feet until finally my wet suit slipped off. It was not fun, or fast. I hustled to get my bike gear and opted for just vest and gloves, but I would put my gloves on as I rode so my hands could dry a bit...obviously I was thinking clearly!

I slowly rode over the dam and was able to slip my gloves on in between speed bumps, and off I went! The ride was very fast and loaded with traffic. I was worried about a blocking violation since I spent the whole ride on the left, but I never once saw an official – whew! Even though I knew it was short, I thought I should probably not all out sprint the bike because a 1/2 marathon is still pretty long and I needed to have a decent run. The last time I ate was about 6 hours previous, and the citrus Clif shot in my pocket was calling to me, but between the cold, wet roads, passing people and breathing hard, I was only able to choke down about 1/2 of it. Somehow I managed to have the 2nd fastest bike - my only guess is that everyone must have been saving up for the run.

On a side note, the poor spectators that patiently hung out in the cold/rain/wind all morning, worrying about their athletes becomming hypothermic; had planned on having 2.5 hours to get down to the run course, now had to madly rush down to town along with the hundreds of racers packing up in 1/2 hour...as if spectating wasn't stressful enough!!
Transition was a little slower than I would have liked, but it wasn't long before I was off an running. I knew my tendency is to go out too hard, so I held back to a pace I felt was comfortable and not as hard as I could go. Something happened to my GPS so I was just going off of "feel", and I felt really good. On the run, it was as if the first part of the race had never happened. The sun was out, hardly any wind and everyone was smiling. I tried to shift gears every 3-4 miles, but by mile 12 I could NOT kick...which is not like me at all. Suddenly my legs were starting to cramp up..eeek! RELAX, relax, relax. And just then a girl in my AG passed me - good, I'll stick with her and out sprint her...ummmm, ok...or not. My legs had other plans, so I just went with it and was happy to finish still running and smiling - woohoo!!! Considering everything, I managed to PR in all 3 ;) disciplines. Even though the swim ended up being more significant than the bike - I managed to eek out a 4th in my AG and 17th over-all female, and a spot to 70.3 Worlds!  

It was definitely an unconventional race (29.3) - certainly not a combination I would have willingly signed up for, but I am so glad I did it :) I know there's no way I could have done it w/o the support of so many people - my entire loving and supportive family, Ryan and his family, my coach, friends, co-workers and community, not to mention the Boise 70.3 team. It was an amazingly well run event and so much fun – this will not be my last IM 70.3 experience!

Race day nutrition:
7:30am - blueberry bagel w/ almond butter and honey
8:30am - 1 Ensure
9:30-10:20am - 2 scoops carbo pro + nuun
12:25pm - 1 Chocolate Cherry Clif Shot
12:39 - swim start
Bike - 1/2 citrus clif shot, swallow of water
Run - 1 citrus clif shot and 1 PB Gu, plus a sip of cola

More pictures to come.


Sarah :)


First Aid Kit or Emergency Flares

As some of you may know, I'm what I would consider a "safety girl". Yes, I do like to push limits a little bit, but I do like to make sure that all possible safety precautions have been addressed.
This past Saturday while out on the Chinook Road "Race", I carried my first-aid kit with me, as usual.  Unfortunately I had it stuffed in with my food and while reaching for a gel, it jumped out of my jersey.  Great, just what I needed, another opportunity to red-line it for 5 minutes just to barely catch up with the group...and I do mean BARELY.  That isn't exactly the point of my story.
As we were riding, one of the guys made a very astute observation, "I don't really know you that well, but you don't seem like the type of person who would slow down enough to address something that a Band-Aid would fix.  And if you did encounter something that actually made you stop, is there anything in your first-aid kit that would really be much use to you?"  First of all, you don't know me...but it's amazing how insightful complete strangers can be!  Secondly, you have made some excellent points.  Mostly I carry around the first-aid kit just for piece-of-mind, but I never REALLY thought about how much use it would do me.  
This got me thinking, what exactly could I carry that would help me out the most if I were to be injured badly enough that I couldn't keep riding.  Emergency Flares, of course!  
Now I just need to find the perfect one for my jersey pocket. 



One of the biggest highlights of the weekend was participating in the Chinook Road Bike Training series ride #5. The Training Series is what the locals consider a "racing" series. Granted it's mostly locals, but usually the strongest local riders..and it's usually all men. This Saturday did not disappoint, drawing out some of the finest cycling talent in the Tri-Cities...and only 1 girl other than myself.

When I had started planning on doing this ride for my long weekend ride, my boyfriend and my coach were planning on going, so I felt confident I wouldn't be alone. It was just my luck that my coach decided he would rather be at home in Wenatchee and my boyfriend decided not to go because he was afraid of pushing himself so hard that he couldn't recover. So, I put my big-girl bike shorts on (my brand new SET Coaching kit) put on my racing tires (figured I could use every little advantage I could get), and headed out to meet the boys. As soon as I got on my bike to spin around before the start, I noticed my front tire was low, not a good sign. I quickly changed out my tube and headed to the pre-"ride" meeting. We were given instructions on the route and team assignments when I noticed a goat-head thorn in my tire, ugh!! Good thing I hadn't actually ridden on it yet, otherwise my new tube would have been done for. With some help, I deflated my tube, plucked the thorn out and re-pumped it up, just in time.

The first couple miles was a neutral start, which was exactly what I needed to calm my nerves. As I chatted with some of the guys, I thought...this isn't going to be so bad after-all...or was it... As soon as we turned around, the race was on!! I thought for sure I would be in trouble as we headed down-hill with a tail wind...compared to a bunch of guys, I don't exactly have a weight advantage for descending. Somehow I managed to hang on, and at one point ended up in the front, not by choice...I knew that if I didn't want to get dropped, even though I was feeling good now, I needed to conserve energy. Just then, one of the strongest riders came by me and said, "stay in the draft, this is a long one"...yeah, no kidding!! Even if it was only behind one person, I stayed hunkered down and was able to maintain my position in the lead pack. I was even able to lead the group back up to some break-aways and definitely held my own on the climbs. I was having so much fun, I honestly had no idea how hard I was working!! By the last 18 miles or so, I was starting to feel it a little bit, but I couldn't hold back, it was too fun :) On the last couple of miles, I thought maybe I should just let the guys duke it out and hang back, since I really didn't care how I finished. However, I felt that I had earned my place, just like them, and didn't owe them anything. So, I smartly hung at the back of what ended up being a little group of 4 and waited, waited, waited, and SPRINTED for the finish line...yeehaw! My patience worked, and I beat them in a sprint for 6th place over-all.  I could hardly believe it! Our team ended up sticking together for the most part and working really well to take the "W" for the day. Thanks team!

Sadly I didn't stick around for awards because I had to get on with my 50 minute transition run. That run was BY FAR the hardest part of the day! Before my w/o that morning, I read an article that Ironman did on Kelly Fillnow, where she talked about being in the moment, and it worked wonders. Feeling that tired, I normally focus on how bad I hurt and if I will ever be able to do this for 50 more minutes? 45 more minutes? 40 more minutes? On and on....but I just got thru each moment as it came and kept my mind off of where I was going, and how long I would be running all alone on those hot desert hills, and it was so much less stressful! It's not that I had never thought about it before, but for me, sometimes I have to be in the right place mentally to accept a challenge and make a change. I was ready to make a change in my mental focus and Kelly gave me motivation and inspiration. Challenge accepted and change adopted :)
Thank goodness, becuase I also would not have made it thru the extra 2 miles I accidentally added to my long run on Sunday!
Now it's time to relish in all the hard work I accomplished last week and focus on recovering before my first triathlon of the season, this Sunday in Walla Walla :)


Pretty big deal

This past Saturday, I passed up the opportunity to do a local race with a lot of my friends to head down to Hermiston, OR by myself to run a 10k. Many of you might question my judgment, but I assure you it was worth it! For the past 2 years, my training has indicated that I am capable of running a 10k well-under 40 minutes, but mentally I was not quite there. Knowing I could do it, was not enough (it never really is), I had to prove it to myself. The week leading up to the run my legs felt tight, sore and tired...FLAT! As Saturday drew near, I had to force myself to keep my head up because my knee-jerk reaction for so long has been to hang my head in defeat before the race even starts. Not this time. Even if it was forced, I was not about to let myself out of this one. I'm not usually a believer in this theory, but I had to fake it to make it.

The race was off to a quick start with the lead runners out well below 5:30 pace, I knew to just hang back unlike my usual self and it paid off. I was able to hang just behind the lead runners for the first 5k. It was awesome! I came thru just under my 5k PR (18:46) and felt great! Not too long after that is when the discomfort set in. My legs started to get heavy, breathing was definitely more labored and my pace started to slow. No big deal, I told myself, this run isn't over yet. As I came down from the little climb, I felt great and accelerated for about 100 meters. Then another little rise, and at the top I could no longer see the leaders. PANIC set in a little bit. I told myself to chill out, keep going. DO NOT give up on yourself. Forget about the leaders and focus on your form, lean forward and quicken your turnover. Ok, ok, I can do this. But that was when the "what ifs" set in, "what if" I'm just never supposed to break 40 minutes..."what if" this IS where I belong..."what if"..."what if"..."what if"...UGH i hate that place! I was stuck in the "what ifs" for what felt like an eternity...and I was afraid to look at my watch to see what was really happening to me. Finally I looked. WHAT!? My average pace had slipped off my initial goal, but was well within coming in under 40 minutes. All that hard work IS paying off! Not to say it didn't hurt, but I picked up my pace and ran it in HARD! As I passed the clock it ready 39:09...I could hardly believe it!!! I crushed it!!! My official time was a little off @ 39:19...but it's all the same at this point.

Do I think I have it in me to go faster? Absolutely. Am I disappointed with my race? A little that I wasted so much time questioning myself, but not with my time. That said, I was able to overcome that doubt - and that is what I'm most proud of!

Usually when I get to that place, there is no coming back...at that point I had in the past let myself back off so that I wouldn't have to face the unknown...I wouldn't have to, because I knew I was in control of NOT achieving my goal. In the past, I wouldn't lay myself on the line because I was terrified that I wouldn't be enough. I have to tell you, it's way better to go for it, even if you lose! Breaking that barrier was a huge accomplishment for me, I feel so incredibly FREE! Thank you to everyone who helped me get there!

As for the race, I placed 2nd...to another girl! The only race I've ever done where the top 2 overall winners were WOMEN!!!

Thank you for reading!

Up next: Onion Man :)



Recently I have had too many inspirational topics to pick one...so while I'm letting them sit and grow a little, I thought I'd give a plain old update. I am not the type of person that can just race, race, race, and race some more. I get exhausted, worn down and sick. April is the first time I have ever successfully completed 3 races in a month.

The first was the ACSD, in Wenatchee. Beautiful! It was a great race and a perfect day. Other than my ridiculously long transitions, I was very happy with my race.

Second was Rage in the Sage. The first of a series of 6 local multi-sport events. This race was a perfect follow-up. The course was a little shorter, but off-road and a tiny bit hillier on the run. Because this race is so short, I usually don't even worry about it...and every time I think, geez that race HARD! My focus this year has been on running and swimming, so I was very pleased that my runs we're faster and felt better, the first one was actually just under 6min pace! I was still able to hold my own on the bike too, whew! When I say it was "off-road" that doesn't mean technical, it's on service roads thru the vineyards at Kiona Winery. Yes, you guessed it, that means they actually give away wine :) winning a bottle of wine makes all that pain bearable!! Thank you Kiona!

The following weekend was the first 1/2 marathon in 7 or 8 years. Since I hadn't done one in so long, I had nothing to gauge off of, but I was very pleased finishing second behind Marlene Ferrell, an Olympic trials qualifier for the marathon, and just off my goal time. My body and mind were basically finished at the 10k mark (which I ran at my 10-k PR pace), and it took me about 3 miles to talk myself back into the race. Other than losing a lot of time in those 3 miles, I thought the race was great, and it was yet another perfect day in the NW!

It's been 2 1/2 weeks since then, and I've spent most of that time mentally recovering and preparing for the real race season to begin. Because we are blessed with so much snow in the NW, our open-water races don't start until Memorial Day weekend...which is only a couple weeks away! YAY!!

I guess that means it's time to bust out my wet-suit and inspect for holes!

Only a couple weeks after that is my first "A" race of the season, which is so hard to believe! Really? I'm ready already? Really.

Well, there is just one more obstacle in the way...a 10k.  I have been stuck at a certain time for the past 2 years, and even though I've improved dramatically...both physically and mentally I have yet to prove it in an actual race.  This weekend I get another shot at it :) 

Here's to a great 2012...it is, after-all, the year of YES!



Someone asked my why, after years of racing, I still get nervous. 
First, let's take a look at the definition of nervous.
NERVOUS: highly excitable; unnaturally or acutely uneasy or apprehensive: to become nervous under stress. Of or pertaining to the nerves; nervous tension.  Characterized by or attended with acute uneasiness or apprehension: a nervous moment for us all.  Vigorous or spirited.

Keeping all those things in mind, I came up with a long list lot of stressors that run thru my mind contributing to my nerves before races...or should we say "vigorous spirit" - ha!
After weighing all the facotors involed, the thing that makes me feel nervous is racing with my heart.  Above all else, I put myself on the line.  In life, I hold myself back a lot, afraid of what everyone will think of me When I race, there are no curtains to hide behind.  Just me out there truely testing myself, fully emotionally exposed.  It's a little scary, but as I let myself be free to chase my dreams, I know that I need to rely on my heart to carry me.  The more I expose my heart thru racing, the more I embrace my true self - it's like therapy...only much more expensive!! 
I know my heart is strong, but it's the kind of strength that can only be tested by faith, not tangible or quantifiable measurements.  How I feel about my race afterwards, honestly has very little to do with the result, but more about how I carried my self during the race. Did I believe in myself?  Did I believe in my training?  Did I believe in all the people that believe in me?  Did I allow myself to feed off the energy of the event and everyone around me?  In otherwords, was I couragous enough to race with my heart wide open?  Or was I too afraid of getting hurt? 
As I venture off to my 3rd weekend in a row of racing, I carry my heart with me.  So yes, I might be nervous, and a little tight and tired, but that's all okay - my heart will show me the way!!!


1st multi-sport race 2012

Considering weather patterns in the NW in April are relatively unstable, this first race is always questionable.  In fact, I have only ever started this race once before and ended up dropping out because I could not stop shivering when I got off my bike.  Lucky for me, this weekend was exceptionally beautiful!
I'm not a huge fan of duathlons, but none-the-less I was very excited!  It was also exciting to be in Wenatchee, I adore that town and all the people there!  The turnout was a little less than what I was expecting, especially considering the weather, but the competition was fierce!!  We headed out on the first run and by the time we got to the turn around, I realized the course was much hillier than I remembered!  Despite the little hills, I felt strong and smooth, coming in 4th I think.
My transition was terrible!  Note to self, PRACTICE!!  Once I was finally on my bike I marked my first target.  After a while of chasing, I realized I was never going to catch that guy and my strategy turned into just hanging on and to not let anyone pass me.  For the first 1/3 of the bike, my legs were on fire and I didn't feel comfortable until the last 1/3 or so, and by then I felt unstoppable!  The only thing bad about ending my bike leg on a good note, was it made me dread the upcoming run.

No biggie, just 3 more miles of running, woof!  I felt pretty good after about the 1st mile, then by the start of mile 3 I tried to push it a bit to see if I could pass someone and my hamstrings felt like they were on the verge of cramping.  So again, I backed off a bit realizing I didn't really need to push it that hard on the first race of the season.  Of course, I knew the person behind me was running very strong, so I couldn't exactly back off either.  Before I knew it the race was over and I ended up 3rd overall (including guys), which was my goal - yay!
I couldn't have asked for a better start to the season!
My thanks go out to everyone that put on the Apple Capital Spring Duathlon, all the participants, my Mom and Jeff for the wonderful pre-race meal and undying support, SET Coaching (my coach),  Wenatchee and all my friends and family for supporting me ALL the time!



I've never considered myself a quitter.  If I have my mind set on something, there are very few things that will slow me down, let alone deter my course.  That said, it's not always easy.
People ask me all the time if I have always been active.  By-and-large, yes. But it's not just because it's habit our routine, it's because of how it makes me feel.  I know that nearly 100% of the time I will feel better afterwards, and that is what gets me out the door.  If I'm not having a good day or just don't have much energy, I make a deal with myself to at least do my planned warm-up and if I'm not feeling better then I probably wouldn't get much out of a workout anyway and I can turn around and go home.  Do you know how many times I've turned around?  Only once that I can remember.
Yes, I can usually muster up the courage to get out the door.  But that's not always the hard part.
Sometimes the hard thing for me is not feeling 100% once I'm already 1/2 way thru a workout and finding the strength to keep going.  Training for endurance events gives me a lot of alone time with my thoughts (scary).  Last week I was in the middle of a good "swim focus week" and during one of my workouts my pace seemed nearly impossible to hold on to, but I wasn't slowing down.  Learning from some experiences this past year, I told myself to "relax", "not every day is going to be perfect" and "just being there shows I am not a quitter and there is no way I'm letting myself get out of the pool defeated".  So, I swam.  As the set went on, it just felt harder.  Finally, the last 2 x 100s were my fastest of the day!  Ha!  Just think, if I would have quit, I never would have had that victory!
Yet again today, I was faced with a massive obstacle.  Head wind.  As I headed out on my 3 1/2 hour ride, I knew that I felt WAY too good going up hill and I would pay for it as soon as I turned around.  Sure enough, I turned around and it felt like I was spinning in place!  I told myself there has to be a lesson in this.  So, I put my phone away and kept spinning, knowing that I could not waste precious energy on frustration or I could likely never get home.  It ended up taking me about the same amount of time to get back, which left me about 1/2 hour left...and I was starving.  NO Sarah, now is not the time to give up!  Ok, ok.  I took 2 bites of my Powerbar and headed out on a short loop around my house...that I just rode by (ugh).  Still pushing hard into the headwind, I was feeling like I had not made a very good choice.  Finally, the last 10 minutes I actually found a tail wind again!! AND wouldn't you know it, the SUN came out.  WHAT!?!?  Thank you guardian angels!
Even though I never did quit, sometimes I do question if all this training is worth it.  I believe it is.
Believe in yourself.  Don't panic if things aren't going your way.  Most of all, don't give up on yourself or you will never know what you are capable of.


Don't be me.

At one point or another, I think all or most of us, have looked at someone else and thought, why can't I be more like "them"!?!?  I knew these thoughts had power over me for a long time, but I didn't realize how powerful they were until someone said them to me. 
I was encouraging someone who seemed very excited to talk about triathlon, to actually do one, and they said they didn't want to because they knew they would never be like me.  My response caught me off guard, I was insulted.  They had discounted what I was saying, something I do all the time.  Ouch!
I truly believed they were MORE than capable of doing exactly what I said they could do.  I believed they were capable of MORE than they may ever know.  I don't encourage people to do things so they can be like me, I want them to know I believe in them
Believe people when they believe in you.



The most unexpected places

I have a lot of usual places that I look for inspiration. It's mostly calculated, I know when I need an extra boost and I know where I can look to find it. The past few weeks, I have had unexpected inspiration. The first came after I completed a small local 5k that I was using as a test to see where I was at. Though I had set a :51 PR, I actually missed my goal by :15. Instead of celebrating, i let myself fall into an old habit of beating myself up. As I was ranting quietly inside my head, a man came up to congratulate me on my run (1st female, 2nd overall). He had caught me at very vulnerable place and I had to practically choke back my tears to respond. After we chatted for a minute, packed up and headed to the pool. What was probably an insignificant conversation to him, had not only lifted my spirits, but filled my running shoes with hope. Fast forward 1 week. It was Saturday again, but this time I was in the pool doing a super hard swim on my own. Afterwards, I was readying myself to go run while deep in self analysis mode thinking about my swim, when another woman in the locker room startled me. We talked about triathlon for a minute before she had to take off for work. Before she left, she said, "by the way, you're a good, no great swimmer." I would have settled for good! Since then, it's almost like the water actually feels different. It is. These conversations will probably never be recalled by those two people, but will forever have a place in my heart. Be that unexpected inspiration to someone, even if you think it's not that important. I can assure you, it is.


Natural Heat

We are all comprised of many different things that make us unique.  Dare I say it, special. When I think about what things make me especially special, I can name off some good and some bad.  I think part of the reason I can be a bit reserved is because I’ve been afraid of myself.  Afraid of what will happen if I actually say and do what is on my mind and in my heart.  As it was said in The Bird Cage, I’m afraid of my Guatemalan-ness…my natural heat.  Let's say my heat is my passion. When I feel things, I feel strongly, and I can’t help it. It wasn't that long ago I read a paper that I had written in 5th grade. It was a paper outlining what I wanted my life to be like when I grew up. The thing that stood out the most was how strongly I felt about voting and exercising our freedom of speech to stand up for what we believe in. Yes, even then i was full of fire. Somehow I got to a place in life where people had turned me down or not listened to me so much that I began to believe what I had to say was not important or didn't matter. Luckily, with the support of loved ones, I was able to pull my self up by my tri-shoe straps, look myself in the mirror and say, you matter to ME. My Guatmalen-ness is back! What I have to say may not always or ever be important to you, it doesn't have to be. What is important is that we all feel free to have our own fire, I like that yours is different. Most of all, I like that you have one, too.


Acceptance or denial?

As I looked at myself in the mirror today, I thought of a blog post I had recently read about how what we see in the mirror can sometimes be a filmy version of the truth.  Blog post here: (http://www.beautifulbodybistro.com/).

When I look in the mirror all I see are "thunder thighs". Over the past few years, I've learned to appreciate my legs because they allow me to do the things that I LOVE to do - and accepted that if they need to be "big" to do that, so be it. It didn't ever dawn on me that my thighs probably aren't that big and what I see in the mirror isn't the truth. There in lies the question, had I accepted my body for what it was or am I in denial that what I see isn't the truth. For the past week or so, I have tried really hard to see myself clearly.

From what I can tell, my legs and the rest of my body are far from "thunderous"...to say the least! The truth is that I rarely look at any part of myself clearly...my legs were just the most obvious. Since I've acknowledged this truth, I feel that I've faced and conquered a huge fear of mine - if I looked at myself truthfully, would I like what I saw? If I didn't like what I saw, how would I expect anyone else to like it either? Facing myself fully and accepting myself clearly will allow me to accept the acceptance of others.

Thank you to everyone who has accepted what I have been so afraid to face. I couldn't have done this without you!


Here we go!

This year, I entered it knowing full well that I was committed to my dreams, no matter what. And so far, one week in, I'm loving it! Today was my 5th swim of the new year, and I actually swam one lane above my comfort zone. This is a great start and a really BIG deal. I feel like I had been a little too settled into my safety zone, and it's about time to let myself go. Not only did I swim much faster than I normally do, but it felt easier. My spirits were sky high and even though I couldn't breathe, I didnt feel the normal state of panic that usually overwhelms me. I stayed calm and swam my little heart out. A few days ago I realized my mentality had done a total 180. I used to get frustrated and think I'm never going to get faster and continue with more negative self talk until no matter what happened I left the pool feeling defeated. The other day I saw the send-offs on the board and said I want to swim on the fastest one, and actually thought "I will"! Yes, I will! It might not be today or tomorrow, but I will. This is the year of "yes"!


Year in review 2011

There are a lot of things that happened in 2011, at least in my world. Here are a few of the defining moments:
Ran with the elite women at Bloomsday.
Upgraded my cycling category by winning Frozen Flatlands road race and the Tour of Walla Walla. Completed my first 1/2 ironwoman...with the bonus of an extra long bike leg.
Installed 3 shade sails in the backyard.
Raced in China...where I had my first flat tire in a race.
Walked a section of The Great Wall.
Ran into one of my dearest high school friends in the Forbidden City.
Learned so much about how wonderful it is to be American!
Spent a week training with 9 amazing women and Cliff English in Arizona, all in honor of Sally Meyerhof.
Won my first cyclocross race (and second) and was forced to upgrade to race with the crazy fast and talented elite women (and men).
My brother Heith and his wife Doricela welcomed baby Noah Glen Eric Barkley to the family.
I also welcomed an I-Pad to my family this Christmas :)
Oh, and I welcomed my new cross bike the family as well!
More than doubled my yards in the pool!  I look forward to this paying off?
Countless cherished memories with family and friends!

All in all, 2011 was a wonderful year!

2012 - THE YEAR OF "YES"

As I think about the possibilities that lie ahead in 2012, I can't help but get excited!  I've made the commitment to myself to be my dreams.  Last year I struggled to keep my feet under me, let alone make forward progress.  It gave me the perfect opportunity to give up on my dreams, knowing full well this coming year could prove to be even more challenging.  I looked in the mirror yesterday, directly into my own eyes, and said "BRING IT"!!  I'm not ready to give up on my dreams and certainly not ready to give up on myself.  Last year brought to life one of my favorite quotes: 
"All your life you are told the things you cannot do.  All your life they will say you are not good enough, strong enough or talented enough.  They'll say you're the wrong height or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this.  They will tell you NO, a thousand times NO.  Until all the NOs become meaningless.  All your life they will tell you NO, quite firmly and very quickly.  They will tell you NO and you will tell them YES!"  
There have been far too many times that I've held myself back - afraid of failure, afraid of success, afraid of being too shiny.  And it's exhausting!  I'm tired of telling myself NO, I don't have the energy for it anymore.  
This year, don't be your own enemy, tell yourself YES!