Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Thank you Kyle for all you do. For being stuck on a ship, spending thanksgiving and Christmas on the flight deck for a steel beach picnic. For working long hours for endless days with not much free time. Sacrifices.

I knew I'd be alone this year for some major holidays, so I had planned a while back to head home over Christmas. Luckily I drew Christmas Eve as a bonus PTO day at work so vacation wasn't totally blown before the upcoming Panama trip in February.

I flew to Phoenix late on the 23rd and stayed with my sister and brother in law. Saturday I flew to Duluth, MN on a cheap charter flight with 1/3rd of passenger being below the age of 6. Birth control. Sat next to a super nice girl from Wisconsin who bought a 2nd beer for me after I'd been kicked non stop since takeoff.

I got the white Christmas I paid for as it had snowed right before I came. [although it has already melted]

Christmas was spent at my parents house. My mom had 26 relatives over for dinner on Christmas day. Craziness for sure. White elephant was the hit of the day. Silly Smith sisters.

Monday we went to Duluth for some shopping, food, and a Christmas light display called Bentleville [after the founder's name]. Pretty, but it's a pretty big use of energy. The biggest steel Christmas tree in North America. Monday was the last night so they had a fireworks show.

The best part was it was free!! Something like this in CA would cost 20 bucks to get into and charge ridiculous amounts for hot chocolate coffee and cookies. Yeah those were free too!! Half way around they had fire pits and gave out roasting sticks with marshmallows!! Did I mention it was free?! Seriously, sharp metal sticks and open flame fire pits and no waivers or restrictions? This cannot be 2011.

Tuesday was spent running, which I'll save for a different post. My parents made a delicious dinner and I got to see my old friend Kelly, who also has a husband is deployed. [to a much scarier place with the Army] I finished off the night spending some quality time with the dog on the couch watching The Cutting Edge.

Writing this from the blogger app on my phone. Excuse the typos. On our way to MSP for errands, friends and I'm flying out tonight. Back to the warmness of San Diego.

Thanks to my dad and mom for everything. I hadn't been home for 2 years and that was too much.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Giving thanks this year to my husband as he embarks on this 9 [now 8] month journey while I get to have the luxury of leading my regular [on land, and in the ocean, but only when I want to] life while he must float in the sea. Not fair. But that is life. And for that I am thankful.

I started writing this at Thanksgiving. That's what happens when your husband is gone. Rather than spending absolutely every free moment with him and "soaking" it all it before he leaves, skipping daily tasks of laundry/cleaning, now every day is full of something else.

That "something else" as of late has been training volume. Which has been welcomed, mostly. Granted, I'm not as diligent as I once was [as an Ironman in Training] now that I'm only training for a half Ironman. But I have a plan and I'm [mostly] sticking to it. Establishing consistency is now a thing of the past, and these base miles are somewhat flying by. I've been adding a bit of tempo work and learning to love Fiesta Island again. I do have a secret; her name is Noko. Without her, this winter training thing would be absolutely crazy, instead of just crazy. Somehow having her on the schedule allows me to peel myself out of bed when it's 39 degrees to head out on the bike. I know, I live in San Diego, this is not normal, nor accepted very well by those of us to have to get the ride in before work. Yuck.
Noko - starting up GWL. Burr. Let the climbing warm us.
Thanksgiving was good. Although Kyle-less it wasn't lacking in family. I drove out to Phoenix after work on Tuesday and had fun with the sis, her hubby, my mom, dad and then grandma+grandpa came for Thanksgiving day. Good food. Great conversation. So good to be lucky enough to have a supportive family. Good tv too, as I don't have cable, so I got my yearly fix of HGTV. [and cherry pie]

I got in a couple of good rides. Went to a local tri shop to ask about any group rides on turkey day. Dude mentioned a ride leaving from a location less than 2 blocks from my sis' place at 6:30am. Okay, sweet! Show up the next morning to approx 250 road cyclists. Seriously perusing the parking lot and there were NO tri bikes. I only brought Kermit. This is going to be interesting.

Road to south mountain. Everyone pulled over, grabbed a rock and started up the climb. I had done the route the day before so I knew what was coming. I started in the back as everyone looked uber serious, "kitted" out, and pimping expensive bikes. We are on a low grade and everyone around me is huffing and puffing. We have barely started to climb. Okay, so I'm in aero and just start passing people. The entire way up. WTF Arizona? This is barely a "hill" in San Diego. Was pleasantly surprised at my performance. And the rock? The faster riders are supposed to grab bigger rocks to even the playing field, and chuck the rock at a designated spot on the way up. Okay. weirdos.

Ride back was a Men's Cat 5 crit, without the cornering. It was kinda fun, till it wasn't. Managed to survive without a crash. Corners would have for sure added to the madness. Turkey day ride. Can't believe it has a website! If Meg stays in Phoenix, I'll have to do that again and remember to bring Cookie Monster.

Thanks to my family for being so understanding of my triathlon "needs" and having Kermit over for dinner as well. Drove back to SD on Friday night really missing my Mr. Driver. Ugh, long drive, but at least I "gain" that hour back on the way home.

Looking forward to more family fun over [white] Christmas in Minnesota. Haven't seen the brother or gramps in a while. Will have to break out the crampons for winter running. [yeah for more treadmill fun!! must prepare my ipod]

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Screaming Barfies

I had a dream. [not a surprise to anyone who knows me.] I was drinking out of moldy water bottles. Like nasty moldy. And I was swearing up and down about how amazing my immune system was, and about how I don't get sick. I had that dream. And I woke up with a sore throat in real life. GREAT! How all my colds start. And it lasted like 10 days. I didn't feel sick, I just had a cold. Runny nose, a little cough, and some sinus congestion. Nothing a bunch of snot rockets by day and NyQuil by night can't handle. It probably didn't help that I raced on day 5. In 52 degree water. In 45 degree air temps. That was the high.

HITS: There is a new triathlon series that had the first race in Palm Springs. I had the itch to race over Thanksgiving and checked out my schedule. I registered over the phone the Monday before the race. I switched my schedule at work [thanks Cory!] to be able to barely squeeze it in. 

Drove out on Friday night after work. Got to the campsite/race venue at 10:00pm. It was freezing. So instead of setting up the tent, I set up camp in the back of the Rav4. Kermit and I had a great night's sleep. Alarm set for 4:30am, as I missed registration pickup on Friday [remember I work till 7pm]. Wake up. OMG it's freezing. I do NOT feel like getting out of my amazing down sleeping bag, taking off the wool long underwear, and putting on spandex. 

Ride my bike over to the race venue. No line. No issues getting my packet. Rack my stuff in transition. Wait until the last possible moment to take off the down parka and sweats. Seriously I was the last person in transition before the race as they were kicking everyone out. The sprint started at 7am, and the Oly at 7:30, so I wasn't in a rush.

I watch the reaction of everyone "warming up" in the water. Not good. I somehow convince myself it'll be good for me, as I always yell at my students to get in and warm up. I may retract that statement for water under 55 degrees. It was more of a cool down than anything. I was wearing my wetsuit, a silicone swim cap,  neoprene swim hoodie, and the race cap. And still my face had never experienced anything quite like it. I'll call it the super duper ice cream face ache. Burr.

Interesting race as there was only 1 Olympic distance wave. Seriously?!! A mass start, this is AWESOME!! Pretty ghetto as the race director without a bull horn just yelled go. And we were off. Found feet. Drafted the entire race. Two loop course where you have to get out half way. Stayed steady with no effort or surges. Just sat in. Felt uninspired, and had no motivation to be the first out of the water, as I didn't feel like putting in any extra effort to go around anyone. 

Swim 20:57. 1st Female

Got on the bike with solid blocks of ice for feet. Literally, feet were chopped off during the swim by a barracuda and replaced in transition with bike shoes resembling rectangle bricks made of ice. Bike computer was dead and I didn't grab the Garmin. Had NO IDEA how much I was pushing or how fast I was going. Apparently there was a tail wind on the way out as was evident by the head wind on the way back. 

Felt like I was in no-man's land on the bike. I think maybe 4 dudes passed me, and with a vengeance. A vengeance of disk wheel mashers. Ate one or two gu's. Can't remember. There were a bunch of 90 degree corners with tons of sand, so I was unable to use my crit skills as I was having to brake hard before the corner. Saw a dude skid out and eat it hard. Course was VERY poorly marked. Almost no cones and I wasn't sure if it was shut off to traffic or not. Almost blew past a turn on the way back as I'm frantically asking/yelling at the cop, sitting in his WARM car which way to go. He ever so nicely pointed his arm in the direction I was supposed to turn. Road quality was crappy farm roads with a ton of dirt. Really glad I didn't flat. 

Bike: 1:10.xx 7th Female. Not happy. Winds affected me more than I wanted them to. Must work harder on Fiesta Island. 

Got into T2 with frozen feet. Still. Even with toe warmers on the bike. Shoved shoes on the blocks. Grabbed a handful of stuff [visor, garmin, salt tabs in tube, gu, and bib number]. Had a juggling contest running out. Here I am fixing the visor. And lifting my heels!!

First aid station had only Heed. Great! My absolute favorite race fluid! NOT! [Hating Heed, Any SDIT race, SuperFrog, etc - seriously not a fan] I looked at my running water bottle in transition and opted out since a) I was already juggling handfuls of crap, and b) they advertised race aid. 

Never trust a first time event. Really, you should just never trust race support. I'm a water drinker. I go through 2+ bottles on an Oly bike course. On my 3 mile technique run sessions at home I have the bottle. I can barely make a brick session without longing for water. I just got used to running with it through my IM training and race that now I can't live without it. And for some reason on race day, I thought I could. 

Feet started to warm at about mile 2. Just about the time 2 girls passed me at the same time. Man! I really need to get faster at running. Work in progress. Anyway, feet were heating up, and it wasn't good. Blood flow began to occur and it BURNED! I've experienced this in my hands, back in my ice climbing days in Minnesota. It's called the Screaming Barfies. Not kidding. Couldn't believe it was listed in Urban Dictionary.  Feet seriously felt like crap. Couldn't lift. Couldn't push. Just kept chugging along. Mile 3 was an aid station with water. Took a salt tab. Feet started to come around on the last lap. Was paying for the early speed. Random dude passed me and encouraged me along saying we had 10 min to break 2:20. Not sure I really cared at that point. Looked back just once and didn't see any ladies. Cruised into the finish line.

Run: 46.22 9th Female. Happy. But the course was short. And I worked hard. Stayed 3rd female OA and 1st AG. At a very small race. But hey, sometimes half the battle is showing up! They have a lot to do in race management and execution, but it was a race. And I felt I needed to race before Panama. Things are on track. It gave me confidence and also things to work on [cough] brick sessions [cough]. 

So that's it. This week was about rest, getting better, turning the corner and starting to build again. Rode Swami's with the big boys yesterday. Today was 10 run miles with Noko and Erin. Another big 2 weeks and then it's vacation!