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17 lessons learned from 2014

As I hunkered down into my sloppy run today, a thought crossed my mind. With all the traveling Bryan and I did for races this past year, a handful of memories flicker across my mind. I hope these lessons learned in 2014 will serve as valuable reminders as we make our way through 2015: 1. Never take for granted the value of your race support. From near or afar, appreciate the Facebook notes of encouragement, or the phone calls and text messages that flood your inbox. I remember returning back to the hotel room after a race and feeling awash with gratitude when I read text messages from friends and family. On the same note, don't forget to reciprocate and offer the same support to your friends. 2. Thank your sherpa. It's not until you race and travel without him/her/them that you understand how valuable he/she/they are in your race day. Don't be afraid to specify your needs in advance of the race when his/her/their support is offered. 3. If you AND your travel companion

Priest Lake Multisports

How could one possibly go wrong enjoying a day (or two) on Priest Lake? This must have crossed Ken Eldore's mind years ago when he began building the Priest Lake Multisports events. I first raced the olympic triathlon in 2011, returning just this year to experience yet another stellar day at Hills Resort in Luby Bay. Since then, I've raced the Spring Half Marathon (held in May) and the Priest Lake Half Marathon. Sorry for the brevity of this post. I wrote up a legitimate race report on both my Priest Lake Olympic Triathlon in August and the Priest Lake Half Marathon last weekend, only to discover upon trying to post it, Blogger failed to save anything past the short paragraph above. I went to bed pissed off, and I'm going to attempt to do justice to two races I feel deserve honorable praise when it comes to cool, scenic events in the Pacific Northwest. Both courses begin at Hills Resort, so the half marathon actually took place on most, if not all, of the run course for

Epic Leadman 125, Bend, Oregon

Leadman offered one of those adventures I would have expected only to find north of the border. Yet Bryan and I had just arrived back from the eastern side of the country, and we most definitely found ourselves south of Spokane. Here, Bend, Oregon enticed us. Our morning started out cold, about sixty five miles southwest of Bend at Cultus Lake. A mountain lake, that sense of relief that often occurs when stepping into a body of water when the air is colder didn't happen this time. Nope. I stepped in hoping it would feel warmer given the outside temperatures hovered in the low 40s. The water felt just as cold. However, I couldn't ignore the clarity of the water, the way I could look down at my toes even when I'd waded well out into the lake to the starting buoys. Mountains surrounding the lake mirrored the ones I'd seen in British Columbia, Canada. Tall. Rugged. Snow-capped. Before our departure to the starting buoys, LifeTime Fitness had done a stellar job of serv

Another Canadian adventure: Mont Tremblant Worlds 70.3

Mont Tremblant offered everything Las Vegas didn't. I raced the World Championships there two times before it moved to Canada, and not in the last two years I raced there did I feel like the race was built up for what it truly was: a World Championship. It didn't take long for Mont Tremblant to overwhelm me. Not only did the venue itself seem impressive, but I could feel the way the entire village embraced the race. It wasn't with anything less than pride. Mont Tremblant did everything to give to the athletes that earned their slot an experience they'll surely never forget. As I stood awaiting the start of the race on a relatively cool Sunday morning, the fog started to burn off over the water. Bryan and I swam on Friday, and the mild water conditions left me feeling refreshed and excited to once again experience a fast, comfortable swim. This race morning looked to present much of the same water conditions I'd enjoyed in Whistler just about 7 weeks prior.

Ironman Canada, the race

It has taken me two weeks to work up enough mental stamina to delve back into a race that challenged and drained me so much physically. I finished my second long distance triathlon two weeks ago up in Whistler, BC. Perhaps part of my hesitation to relive the day through words is, I’m not entirely confident in myself to portray the race adequately by words alone. I’ve included pictures, but truly, they don’t even come close sharing Canada’s natural splendor and glory. I may have raced an Ironman, but there never seemed to exist a shortage of snow-capped mountains, clear lakes, forests so thick to make a sunny day turn dark, and wildlife to keep one’s gaze looking and begging for more. Much of the Ironman festivities take place in Whistler Village, home of the 2010 Olympics. Bryan and I stayed in a condo in the heart of the village, just a walking distance from the Olympic rings that seemed to draw a never-ending crowd for pictures. During the week that preceded the race, Bryan and

Race week finale

And then there was one. One more day. Our Whistler, BC vacation has transformed into race preparation for Bryan's fifth (my second) Ironman. The views, the scenery, the buildings and structures have not yet bored us. Truly, I'm thankful for the opportunity to have had the week prior to explore and enjoy as much as we could before delving into our races tomorrow. We could have spent an entire second week (if not a third) to completely uncover all of Whistler's secrets. Perhaps another time, in another season, we'll find ourselves up here again. Today, Bryan and I finished our last tune-up ride and run before taking our bikes to T1 at Rainbow Park. The sun shown through today! Since our first swim last Monday, Rainbow Park has transformed into T1. Bordered by mountains and forests, some of the views from my bike's parking spot made T1 look spectacular. My Quintana Roo Cdo.1 rests at the end of the first row set aside for All World Athletes, part of Ironman's

Vagina Monologues for the Ironman in training

I marvel at the view from the couch in our spacious, three-story condo. Simply put, Whistler is spectacular. Clouds currently idle over us, tangled in the mountains, yet it far surpasses the alternative: smoke clinging to Spokane, I left the city with eyes burning and throat itching. This morning, all I smell is mountain air. After Boise 70.3 and 5 days of recovery, my first 5-hour ride met me in the way of a glorified ass whooping. I knew building to Ironman Canada would require considerable concentration and dedication, but I didn’t want to think what I’d feel like, what I’d think, and what I’d want to do 4 weeks into it. Yet I made it. Six brutal weeks of 5-6 hour rides, long morning runs that had me up before the sun so as to be done before work, and too many 4000+ yard swims to count, I’m thoroughly enjoying the benefit: this small little town of Whistler, Blackcomb. This Ironman will be my second, and for some reason, training for this one—compared to Ironman CDA—felt

Boise 70.3

Teams Big Sexy, TriFusion, and Timex. I'd forgotten how difficult it is (mostly mentally) to prepare for a noon start time. As if waiting for an  early morning start isn't stressful enough, trying to keep myself preoccupied for my 12:39 send off seemed especially tough. Why they boast this feature of the race as a highlight, I don't understand. Yet Bryan and I survived the morning and by 9:15am, we made our way to T2 to drop off our run gear before waiting for the school bus that transported us up to Lucky Peak Reservoir.  The day felt hot. We ambled out of the bus with our wetsuits draped over our arms, already feeling the sun beating down on us due to no cover anywhere around. Set up proved easy, and Bryan and I took one turn at the porta potty before leaving transition at the requested 11:45 cut off. We brought towels soaked in water to drape over our heads in an attempt to keep cool. The umbrella we though might also help to fend off the sun looked better providin

Pend Oreille Mothers Day Half Marathon

I didn't know what to feel as I waited for the gun to go off for the Pend Oreille Mother's Day half marathon in Newport just 6 days after a stellar race at Bloomsday. One thing's for sure: time seems to pass me by so quickly that I barely have time to write a recap before I've finished another event. In hindsight, Bloomsday this year left me grinning. Just two weeks (See?!?!) after finishing the Boston Marathon, I felt so much more recovered than I have the last two marathons I've run. I crossed the finish line at Bloomsday was a personal best time, just 17 seconds shy of my 50-minute goal. I raced in Corporate Cup with the Royal Maniacs, blessed to be apart of a team whose members I work with each day. I enjoy them all. To top it off, we found out Monday morning we'd won our division. This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to race in a small but up-and-coming race directed by Ken Eldore. He and his wife are the driving force behind the Priest Lake Multis

Boston Strong

            Just 100 yards to the finish line, and I couldn’t help but smile. My quads ached, and if I hadn’t consciously thought about each footfall, my knees likely would have buckled. I tried to speed up, just to reflect the enthusiasm of the crowd. Yet my legs refused to respond. It felt peculiar to let my body give out before my lungs. With the finish line within sight, my pain simply didn’t matter.             I could share my data—my average heart rate, my paces per mile, my average pace, my time—but for such an event as this one, it seems trite. This 118 th Boston Marathon marked the success of a city, a country, and a community of runners. Banded together in blue and yellow, we invaded the city of Boston. Its denizens embraced us. Daffodils lined the streets, filled the planters, and decorated the counters of local businesses. This city lacked nothing in the way of determination.             Bryan and I arrived Thursday to a cold, blustery city. Just two days prior