Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kona Conquered!

Hey Athletes and Friends!

WOW! What an incredible experience I got to enjoy here at the Ironman World Championships in Kona!

I was determined to enjoy my entire time here both pre race and during the race...and I definitely did just that!

The weeks leading up to this race were really crazy, what with the 2 weeks in Europe and racing in Budapest and feeling like I really wasn't ready for this Ironman here in Kona.

I figured I wasn't gonna set any PRs for myself and just wanted to make sure I didn't hate the sport when I was finished here. So...I tried to take it really easy on the swim and bike and just make sure I didn't fall apart at any point during the day...and I definitely still LOVE this awesome sport of triathlon!

Here is the breakdown for the day.

I actually arrived not just on time, but early for the race. My husband Cade dropped Spencer Woolston and I off at the race by about 4:45 a.m. (Spencer likes to be early to the races so I figured I'd give that novel idea a try). It was great! I had so much fun just hanging out and watching all the other athletes and especially spotting all the pros and checking out what they were doing during their race prep. Guess what...they do the same things we do! Double checking gear, stretching, visiting the port a potty (I actually went into a port potty right after Craig Alexander...I know, you're all jealous that Craig and I shared a loo!)

When it was finally time to begin the swim I made my way to the left front area and just enjoyed the moment. I had about 5 minutes of treading water before the cannon sent us off. Now, not to be too cheesy or anything, but there is really only one word that can describe how I felt (and not at this moment, but really for the entire race)...

Gratitude. I actually got a little teary eyed before I began the swim because I was just so grateful to be experiencing this event in my life. I mean, how many people ever get the opportunity to be doing what I just got to do? I just figured I was very blessed and fortunate to even be participating and I was so happy to there!

I have described the Ironman swim in several different ways before..washing machine, crazy school of fish, intense. This swim was the king crazy of all swims for me. It was like being in a washing maching with rabid pirhanas and a hurricane blowing down on you. It was a really messy swim! Don't get me wrong...I still enjoyed it! But, I definitely got some serious beatings out there....and NO let up during the swim..ever! Except when I did have a moment of space to myself which then made me nervous so I spotted and realized I was heading out to sea! Which would explain why no other rabid piranha triathletes were trying to pummel me to the ocean floor (they were all busy swimming in the right direction!)

Needless to say, not my fastest Ironman swim. Actually my slowest ever. But, that's ok, cause I wasn't here to set any records. I was here to enjoy! And, enjoy I was!

Running out of the ocean and into transition, I quickly grabbed my gear and threw on bike shoes, helmet, bike and off onto the ride I went.

The first 8 or so miles are in town and it was great fun to have so many people cheering me on as I zipped past them. I was super comfortable on my Scott bike and want send a big huge THANKS to PowerTri for helping me get the perfect setup on my bike! Seriously...thanks!! When you are riding 112 miles, it sure is nice to be comfy (or as comfy as you can be for that long) on your bike! It was also really fun to know that there was a great group/party going on at PowerTri as everyone was cheering us on!

This course is very sneaky! There are really NO flats on the entire ride. You are either going up or going down. And, once you are out of town, you are either going up or going down with wind at nearly every point.

Once we got out onto the main highway (known as the Queen K) we just followed that main road for about 30 miles until the turn off that takes you to the quaint little Hawaiian town of Hawi (pronounced Havi). This is where the real biking begins! Between the hills and the winds, it was quite the ride. They aren't lying when they say that Kona is challenging because of winds. I was on pace for a nice little bike time around mile 50, but that last 10 miles until the turnout definitely slowed me up! But, I wasn't worried. After all, I was just grateful and happy to be doing this. I was passed by SO many people on this bike ride. But, I held my heart rate and pace and enjoyed. At the turn around point in Havi (mile 60) I was able to grab my special needs bag and very happily inhaled my apple fritter and replaced my fuel bottle (mix of CarboPro and EFS). That apple fritter was heaven!

My fueling during the ride was very basic. Drink lots of water, take ThermoLytes EVERY hour (which I did religiously), keep dumping water over my head and body at EVERY aid station (which were every 5 miles...NICE!)....and enjoy my mini Snickers bars every 30 minutes with a banana thrown in every hour or so. I was so wet that my toes were pruned during the entire bike ride (and run) and are just now drying out!

So, after the turn around at Havi and having battled through the winds climbing into Havi, I was hopeful that the return ride would ease up. Not to be! Apparantly the winds shifted and I got to battle the winds ALL the way back to town as well! Head winds for just about the entire 52 mile return! Never fear...I am just SO happy to be here! Really. I didn't have any major troubles or mental breakdowns (like I did in New Zealand). I just figured I'd keep pedaling and eventually I'd have to make it back to the Kailua Pier where I could finally get running! This course was so great! I just kept thinking of St. George and how very similar they felt to me. Lava rock everywhere, sands, winds, hills. I love it! And...the bonus of a gorgeous ocean view to the side of me was great!

If I had entered this race with a specific goal of finishing at a specific time or place I would have been miserable! I would have felt so much internal pressure and stress and especially been frustrated with the winds and my lack of tremendous speed. But, I know how I work and I know that I don't respond well to that kind of approach to a race. So, I am really grateful that I've got that part of me figured out, cause with no personal pressure applied to this, I was able to really just relax and came off the bike feeling great.

Here's the deal on the run. I NEVER look at an Ironman run as a marathon. It's not. It's just 26 one mile repeats with awesome support thrown in at every mile break! I plan on taking advantage of those aid stations and make sure I walk pretty much every one of them to ensure I don't miss out on any of the fun! Here's how the course breaks down. As you leave transition you immediately run up a hill and begin running south. You then run down a short hill and start the real run on Ali'i Drive. This is the road that goes right along the ocean heading out of Kona. This is also the road that you see everyone running on during the week before the race. It is really gorgeous with the ocean right next to you and shade trees lining the road. It is also NOT flat. So, you get to climb lots of hills and then descend. So, we pretty much ran 5 miles out on Ali'i Drive and then turned around and ran 5 miles back into town. At about mile 6 I caught up to a guy that looked like we were holding about the same pace and pretty much forced him to run with me for almost the rest of the run. I have figured out the approach to the run that I have to take. It is called "Manic girl talking non-stop and being irritatingly cheerful as she yaps her way through the run!" So, my victim for this run is named Chris. He is from Australia/Singapore/Hong Kong and is 41 years old and his back is bugging him. He has 2 children and one wife. Nice guy. I find every topic in the book to talk about and pretty much yip my way with him all the way to mile 22. We have walked every aid station (coke, oranges, water, ice, sponges and a little more water pretty much every time). When we are running we are able to hold about an 8 min. to an 8:30 min pace which isn't bad. I'm feeling good. I'm still taking my ThermoLytes every hour and my Sport Legs every 2 hours...just like on the bike and they are magic! Thanks Heath for the ThermoLytes...I'm sold! I remember taking inventory at about mile 8 and asking myself how I felt. Besides just the regular fatigue, I was feeling quite good. Not too hot with the ice and water and no cramping whatsoever. Good stuff!

At mile 10 on the run we turn right off Ali'i Drive and head up Palani which is a very steep one mile climb our of town that then spits you back out on to the Queen K Highway. Decided to save my legs and walked the steep hill. Good idea cause the climb out on the Queen K Highway was still a good leg burner and we definitely didn't walk that. Plus, my awesome husband Cade was right at the top of that hill and I was able to give him a huge (sweaty, drenched) hug and kiss before I headed out to the real heat.

Once we were on the Queen K we had about 5 miles until we reached the turn off to the Natural Energy Lab. So, the Natural Energy Lab is just a somewhat industrial area off the highway down by the ocean that is very hot with no shade and has a good hill when you climb back out. I never knew what it was and figured it was something that Ironman had just put together for a certain stretch of the race. Nope. It is an actual area that is a business area that apparantly does research on creating natural energy. Now you know!

I saw Doug Gordon about a mile ahead of me and he was doing great! We gave each other a big hug and he kept running his way and I mine. Once out of the lab and back onto the highway I only had about 5 miles to go til the finish. I was feeling really good, but my new friend Chris was feeling a bit less...chipper. So, we hung with each other for about another mile and he said he needed to hang back. I told him thanks for the pleasure of running with him and picked up my pace. At this point, I knew that if I pushed it I could finish under 11:30 hours and felt that was a decent time for me. So, I started really trying to push it a bit. I stopped at the next aid station (mile 23) and walked as I got more fuel and then I just charged on to the finish line. My legs were feeling a bit like heavy lead at this point, but I just told myself that it was just a short little 5k and I would be done. I'll never forget watching the sun as it was setting over the ocean at about mile 23 for me. I told myself to remember that moment, cause even the next day when I watched the sunset, I would always be able to remember that magical moment when I was running the last few beautiful miles and marking that sunset. It's moments like this that stick with you and remind you that it was real and you were there! They are the moments that count.

I hadn't really hurt at all during this race and figured a little pain might be good at this point. So, I pushed it. But, I made sure I was still able to smile and be happy cause that totaly works for me. I had a total blast running down Ali'i to the finish line! I saw Sean and MIchelle Warren about 50 yards before the finish line and stopped and gave them a big hug. It was so great to see them there! I also saw them during the bike to run transition. Very cool!

As I was high fiving my way down the finish line I saw Doug Gordon right in front of me! That was so awesome! He crossed the line and kissed the ground and as soon as he got up I had crossed and gave him a big ol' congratulations swat right on the butt! It was great cause I don't think people knew that I knew him! Yep, Doug was the guy with the mohawk! We had been together all week as he helped me get more familiar with the course and was an all around total stud for helping me out all week! I was SO super proud of him and excited that he had such a wonderful race! He deserved it!

The euphoria of not only being able to participate in such an awesome event, but to also finish and have such a great experience is hard to describe! I think the biggest thing is just how grateful and happy I was to be really living and involved in something so much bigger than me. It was just about seeing what I can do and to be there with so many other amazing people was even better.

My husband Cade was right there after the finish and was so terrific to be such a great support. He helped me in so many ways to be able to do this. I definitely owe him BIG time for being such a total stud (and patient saint!)

I guess the main thing is that we are so lucky to be living such good lives. A lot of it is our own choices. But, it is also just flat out blessings. I am super grateful for all of you and for how much you ran through my mind and kept me not just going, but happy! I knew that you were cheering me on and that meant so much to me! I wanted to be able to send you a great race report and make you well as let you know that you can do anything you set your minds to! Whether it is an Ironman or something more personal that you want to do to make your life better.

Thanks for being such great friends. I want you guys to know how grateful and blessed I am for having you all in my life!

So, two World Championships down (Olympic distance in Budapest and Ironman in Kona)....just one to go! I'll be heading to Clearwater, Florida next month for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships! Yahoo!

Then....lots of indentured servitude to my ever wonderful, loving and supportive husband for putting up with such a crazy wife!

And...cheering all of you on as you work for and reach all of your goals! It's gonna be awesome!

Happy Training!



Friday, October 8, 2010

Keena in Kona!

What a terrific week I have enjoyed here in Kona!  I fear I have enjoyed myself way too much cause I have really just enjoyed a  nice vacation with the the Ironman and all the fun that goes with it as a bonus!  I have just been mostly chillin with some nice Ironman activities thrown in.  Determined not to get sucked into the adrenaline and craziness that this event is known for.
And...I've never felt so out of shape ever!  This place is crawling with the most FIT people in the world!  I am amazed at how many people of all ages are just absolutely amazing looking!
BUT...can they bring it when it REALLY counts...out on the course??  We'll see!
As long as they  look good, right?
So, here is the breakdown for my last 5 days (really?  5 days already?  how fast they have flown by!)
Got in late Sunday that doesn't count.  But, Doug Gordon was SO awesome and came and picked us up from the airport and brought us straight to our really great hotel right on Alii Drive.  So cool!
Monday morning we swam the entire 2.4 mile swim course at 7 a.m.   Great swim!  Loved it!  If only I could always swim in a crystal blue, clear, gorgeous ocean with the sun rising on a tropical island!  Sorry AF, don't hold a candle to this!
After the swim we went back to the hotel for breakfast (great buffet here) and got settled in.
I also went for a nice 45 minute jog in the afternoon.
Tuesday we swam again on the course at 7 a.m. or so.  Then Doug and I went and drove the ENTIRE bike course.  It was great to see the course and get a little better sense of what to expect. 
It is MUCH hillier than I was expecting.  But, the wind is really going to be the unknown.  Even driving, we could feel the wind on the ride out to Hawi pushing our car around.  But, what I really LOVE is that this ride really reminds me of being down in St. George.  The lava fields, red dirt, hot somewhat desolate landscape.  Even winds.  We have those down in St. George.  And, I love riding down there! 
So, my game plan is to pretend that I am down in St. George riding with all my awesome friends and having the best day of  my life!  Can't wait!
Wednesday was another swim in the morning and then registration.  I got lucky and missed the crowds, so I just walked right in got my stuff and went out with no problems.  I LOVE the weather here!  It is WARM and humid and feels awesome!  I know...the humidity might be an issue during the race...but, I am going to just focus on how much I LOVE it! 
Thursday was another swim and the well known underpants run!  I got lucky cause just when I was getting out of the water from my swim, i noticed all these people running in a group towards the pier.  Then, I noticed the lack of formal clothing and knew I had lucked right into the middle of the annual underpants run!  So, I grabbed my camera and started documenting!  Doug Gordon was RIGHT in the front having the time of his life in a pair of bandanas knotted together to cover his delicates!  Documented!
So, Friday has been a good day.  I got on my bike and made sure everything was working well.  I ran into trouble on Wednesday with one of my wheels and was going to have to rent a replacement, but I got lucky and ran into a friend (literally) on Alii drive who said I could borrow his wheel cause he wasn't racing.  Cool!  So, I had the bike worked over by the local bike shop here (I had some brake cable and front derailleur problems as well and hadn't been able to ride the bike since Tuesday), put the wheels on and had a great (short) ride today just to make sure everything was working well. 
At 2:00 today Spencer and Megan and Cade and I drove to the bike check in and Spencer and I got all our gear checked in and headed to lunch.  It was crazy checking everything in cause as you walk through the chute where you check in the gear there are just people lined up checking you and all your gear out.  Talk about feeling self conscious!  Especially when everyone is so freaky fit!  You just have to keep in your own head and not worry about anyone else!  I had a great time just enjoying the energy and magic of the whole experience!
Oh...last night (thursday) was also the pre-race banquet.  It was terrible food...but, it was great to be there with all the other athletes enjoying a pretty cool show and then getting familiarized with the course, rules, etc.  They also announced that the Ironman 70.3 World Championships will be moved to Lake Las Vegas for the next 5 years!  Cool!  Actually,....HOT!  September!  Yikes!, YES...I had peanut butter and chocolate ice cream for dinner from Baskin Robbins!  Cade and I also went and watched "The Social Network" tonight.  It was pretty good!  Made me glad to be kind of stupid and happy (and definitely NOT rich!).  I wouldn't want to have his life...I'm happy with mine!
So, here is my game plan for tomorrow's race:
Take it somewhat easy on the swim ....draft every stroke possible, and enjoy the time in the cool water.  I plan on staying somewhere in the middle of the pack for the most part.  Hopefully under 1:10 (my swim has been very weak lately).
Go easy on the bike for the first 40 miles.  Think of it as a nice warm up and don't let anyone else affect my pace or effort.  I am wearing my heart rate monitor and plan on staying in the mid to high 150s and let it drift into the low 160s during hill climbs or heavy winds.    Keep the cadence high and mental attitude even higher.  Songs are gonna be flying as I ride!  Who knows which songs yet...but, they will be keeping me company (and perhaps my fellow riders as well).
Run is going to hopefully be a social experience.  I LOVED my run in SG IM and would like to try and simulate that same wonderful experience.  Get a couple of great people, talk and motivate each other and remember how great it is to be doing this.  I plan on walking most aid stations and staying happy!
My time could be anywhere from 11 or so hours up to 16 hours and 59 minutes!  (Hopefully closer to the former rather than the latter...)
But, mostly...I just want to LOVE every minute of my day (yep...every minute...even the really miserable ones...cause they will be there)
I have had a terrific time with Cade and he has been a really great support during all of this!  That is a BIG bonus and I am really glad we got to spend time together!
OK...guess I need to go to bed cause the night is getting late and I need to get up at 3:45 a.m.!
Happy Racing!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

All righty!  I am home and think that Utah is....A pretty Great Place!  Hey that should be their slogan.  And, I think the beehive should be their symbol...cause we are all so industrious.  And, the seagull should be the state bird cause of that whole cricket fiasco way back when.  I am SO ingenious.  Maybe I should offer these ideas to the big wigs up on Capitol Hill.
So, I am a little funky right now.  Meaning...even though I absolutely, positively without a doubt LOVE traveling....I am not super confident that traveling loves me as much!  I think my two weeks in Europe packed a few pounds on me (at least it sure feels that way...and I really didn't even eat half as much as I do at's just the quality of the food...and way too much bread..cause it's everywhere and I was desperate!)   That was a very long side thought!  And...I didn't get in that consistent training and recovery that I would have gotten in at home. And now I am really fatigued and don't even WANT to be training!  Lame! you think for even a minute that I wouldn't have gone to Europe just for those very silly, minor detail reasons?  I KNOW...Kona is next weekend and I am afraid my (what feels to me) out of shape self is going to suffer a little too much....but, traveling around to those awesome cities in Europe and getting to learn so much more about the people and the history and the architecture and just the whole experience....It was totally worth it!
So..bring on Kona and the dark hole of Hell!  I'm up for it!! (I think!)...
I figure the worst I can do is walk and end up really, really, really last.  At least I am there and living the experience.
I just don't want to let people down that have been so supportive and excited for me!  That is one risk I guess we take when we involve others in our activities, huh.  Well, bring it.  I'll do the best I can with what I have on the day I race!  And...I am determined to ENJOY every minute of it (even when it isn't super enjoyable I still plan to find a way to make it good!)
I am also looking forward to spending a good 10 days with Cade!  Poor soul had to cover my butt for 2 solid weeks while I played in Europe.  It's pay back!  Hopefully he enjoys this time in Hawaii.  Leave it at that!
Kids are doing super!  Spent all day Saturday at boy's baseball games.  Weather was awesome, games were great and I double dutied my time by preparing my Relief Society lesson.  Glad I got that over with today!  And...I think it even went ok.  phew.  Maybe I won't be kicked out...yet!
I have also been cleaning my house cause my awesome (but very clean) in-laws are going to be watching our kids while we are in Kona.  Do you have any  idea the kind of pressure I feel (I is self created pressure) that my house is NOT a total disgusting disaster for my in-laws?  My husband doesn't even care...but, I told always reflects on the woman if a home is not clean!  I don't want to be looking like a slob!  I mean I am already leaving my kids AGAIN to go on yet another least have a clean house when you abandon your family!  Priorities, people! I am simply blabbering on about very silly things (that seems to take up too much of my mind power and energy). 
I am a very deep and thoughtful person as you can tell by this underwhelming post.
With that I will bid anyone that actually made it to this point, Adieu!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Farewell Europe....Hello Utah!

It's 6:30 a.m. here in Paris and we are leaving for home in just a few hours.  I woke a little early to get in a last run, but I had a small wreck on my bike ride yesterday and landed hard on, the run this morning was too painful on the hip to keep going.  Oh well, it'll heal after a day of flying and I'll get in a perfect run tomorrow in my good ol' Utah mountains. 
Had an awesome bike ride yesterday!  Left around 6:30 a.m. (as soon as there was just enough light to see where I was going) and pretty much just followed the river Seine for the entire ride, which ended up being almost 5 hours long.  I headed out through all the sights of the city and just kept the river in view and eventually was able to get onto a really gorgeous river trail that was unbelievable.  I was always surrounded by buildings, houses, people, etc. This city is huge! I guess I made it to the suburbs, but never out to the countryside.  After about 90 minutes of one direction, I turned around and went to the other side of the city on the river.  Ended up in Bolougna and was riding the opposite direction of some big bike race.  Fun to watch all the cyclists riding hard and not feeling the need to join in....just spectate as I rode the other way.  I was really glad our hotel is right by the Eiffel Tower...figured that is one monument that even I can locate when trying to make my way back to my home base!  Not the best sense of direction do I employ! 
After my fabulous ride I hurried and got ready and met Nichole and Kristin at the Concord and we went up to MontMarte and up to the Sacre Coeur Cathedral.  It was a beautiful day and a really impressive sight! So many people in Paris!  Everywhere we went was jam packed.  But I didn't mind because I think it is fun when a lot of people are together and happy!  There were street performers everywhere and just an overall mood of goodness. 
Out of all my travels, I think the most memorable experiences I always seem to have are the ones where I am running (or cycling in this case).  It just feels like I get a better sense of the lay of the land, the people that are living there, the sights, sounds, just all seems to impact me more when I am completely engaged as I am moving.  I feel really bad for people that can't or don't get out and move!  It just seems like everything is clearer, happier, stronger...just better when I get out and move everyday! are a few things of note on this trip:
#1:  Everyone smokes here in Europe! I have developed a sore throat, hacking cough and headaches every day from all the crap in the air. Did these people not receive the memo that smoking ain't the best thing for you?  Did I mention....EVERYONE smokes here?
#2: There are no drinking fountains to be found...ANYWHERE in Europe!  No one drinks water. It is a rare commodity that you have to buy from the sidewalk shops, airports, train stations, etc. No water fountain will be taken for granted by me again.
But, here is the reason why no one drinks water here....
#3: You must PAY to use the bathroom...everywhere!  So, why would you WANT to drink a lot of water when you are going to have to go on a treasure hunt to find a bathroom...and then have to pay to use it?
Just smoke and that will fix your water and bathroom problem!  These Europeans have it figured out!
#4:  It would really suck to be a disabled person in Europe! It would be impossible to use their mass transit (especially the Metros) as there are very few elevators and the entry to most of these systems are too small, steep and demanding to be used by anyone in a wheelchair or otherwise disabled. My hat goes off to those people. And, it makes me just that more grateful for a body that will allow me to do everything I am doing.
How blessed I am.

I have to go get the rest of my luggage put together before we haul our bike box and the rest of our "crap" down into the Parisian Metro system to head to the airport.  Yes...we are too cheap to pay for a taxi here in Paris.  We used one to get us from Prague to the airport, but it is too expensive here. Plus, it is just too awesome an experience to haul that huge ol' box down the stairs, up the stairs, across the road, back down more stairs, onto one metro train (amidst a packed tram car and curious or downright nasty looks), then back up more stairs, and onto another tram and then jostle our way to the airport.  Why would we want a calm and luxurious ride to the airport when we could be having WAY more fun with the opportunity to enjoy the aforementioned experience??
Like my dad always says...and with which I agree whole heartedly...
"An uneventful trip is soon forgotten"
So true Dad!
When I get back home I will write down more memories from each city...Budapest, Vienna, Prague, and Paris.
And, more details about my race.

Until then,
p.s. Less than 3 weeks til Kona. Guess I should start getting ready for it....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Europe sure ain't Utah! Post race recap and post race fun!

Just a quick check in with you guys. 
Budapest was absolutely AMAZING!!  I can't even begin to tell you how cool it was to be swimming in the Danube, biking around Budapest and running through some of the most historic and beautiful sights EVER!  If you ever get a chance to race over here in europe...DO IT! ! 
The race was flat and fast!  I had about 15 different people ask me about my bike and make comments on how nice it was!  I also wore my PowerTri visor and my black PowerTri long sleeve shirt so I would be representing!  I feel pretty good about my race efforts.  I sure wish I could swim just THAT MUCH faster, ride just THAT MUCH faster and definitely RUN just THAT MUCH faster!  That way I would be placing just THAT MUCH better!   I ended up racing a 2:10 time and placing 16th.....but, that is at a World championship.  So...I am pretty pleased with that.  I just know that I could do better....but, maybe that is just because I am always thinking I could be doing better.
Guess that's what keeps me motivated to keep trying.
But, I sure am enjoying just the joy of being able to do what I am doing!
 So, after the race we went to the awards ceremony and party and then got about 2 hours sleep before we got on a train (with ALL our race gear, bikes, bike box, etc.) and went up to Vienna.  Spent 2 days there...totally awesome and amazing and loved every minute of it....and we hopped on another train (and I mean hopped cause between two bikes and all our gear it is a miracle we made it) and have now arrived in Prague.  Yet another amazing place!  Oh...and I ran 3 hours along the Danube yesterday morning which was the best pre-Kona run I could have done!  I also rode my bike this morning for just a short hour before heading to the train to head into Budapest.  I was hoping to do a long ride here in Europe...but, it's tough between getting lost, not having enough time and all the cobblestone roads!  I am thinking I will try and ride here in Prague and even get in a short run along the Moldau.  We'll see what tomorrow brings for weather as well....cause man it has been wet here!  Lots of rain!! 
Anyways...we'll spend just one more day here in Prague, head into Paris for 2 days and then Home again! 
It's been a great trip and an amazing experience!
Hope you are all doing well!
See you next week, when I decide to do some real training again...cause Kona is only THREE weeks away!  Time to get to work again!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Twas the Night Before the Race and All Through The House.....

Still here in Budapest and haven't been lost permanently, arrested or killed by a car or angry Hungarian! 
All is well!
Visited an amazing museum today called "House of Terror" that documented all of the horrible events that have happened here in Budapest/Hungary during WWII and during the Cold War.
No wonder the people here are not quite....friendly....
They are helpful...enough, but they don't quite warm up to you (or maybe it's just ME!)
They also seem to have a somewhat resigned attitude towards their lot.  meaning....they just shrug their shoulders and say "ehhh...just wait"  or "Eeet Eees Eempossible" when we ask them if we can go here or do that. 
I think a solid couple of generations of communism could do that to a people!
Anyways...been so preoccupied with learning about this beautiful area and just trying to not get permanently lost in this place that the race hasn't been giving me too much nerves or stress.
But...NOW...the night before the race...Time to FOCUS! 
It has been SOOO wet that everything is sloshy and I feel like a prune from head to toe.  But, it hasn't been as cold today and that makes me verrrryyy  happy!
We set up our bikes at transition today and it is great!
we also watched the men's elite (pro) race and it was impressive!  Those guys can fly!
It was also so cool cause on our way to set up our bikes at transition we were allowed to take them right over the chain bridge (the most amazing bridge here in budapest) while it was closed to all traffic.  So...just Nichole and me, riding our bikes over the bridge.  We made sure to document it with some pics!  It was awesome!
So, tonight was a perfect dinner with some pasta and then back to our room to get all our soggy gear packed in our bags and then we will be heading out to the Metro to take the train to our race at about 5:30 a.m. (or about 9:30 p.m. for US time!)
Haven't done much swimming, biking or running over the last 5, I hope to feel very FRESH and ready to race tomorrow morning! 
Here goes!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

More Fun Times in Budapest

Day Two in Budapest was spent  mainly with Team USA stuff, getting ready for the race and still trying to find Nichole's Lost Luggage.
Yes....we are now on 3 days and no luggage for Nichole.  It has been very stressful for her.  We even drove out to the airport yesterday just to try and get some help in person.  NO LUCK.   They pretty much just said..."wait".  No real help there.
So...good thing is that Nichole has both Kristin and I with clothes and luggage can keep her clean, clothed and doing pretty well.
We ran the course is gorgeous!  We run over the same bridge three times (it is the oldest bridge in Budapest, called the Chain Bridge).  And we also run right past the Cathedral we are staying right next to (St. Stephens Cathedral)...the largest cathedral in Budapest.  The streets are all cobbled and so charming.  I am enjoying just walking them right now....but it is going to be so cool to run them on Sunday.  All the streets are going to be completely closed for the we are going to be owning the city for the day.  Fun!
We also swam yesterday.  We are swimming in a side tributary of the Danube (so...all the cold water without the incredible current).  Water temp is FREEZING!!  It is around the low 50 degrees right now!  BRRRRR......
But, we swam and it was fine once we acclimated.
Bikes are also good.  Rode around town yesterday and everything felt good.  So...that was fun and a great way to see a ton of sites!
After doing all those fun events, we hired a taxi and rode out to the airport.  No luck on the luggage, so we just turned around and came back.  DANG...poor Nichole!
Finally, ended the day with Perfection! 
Got ourselves a nice little gelato (of course there is a gelato shop right next to our hotel) and we went and sat on the large steps of St. Stephens Cathedral and listened to the bells ringing while we enjoyed our gelato and chilled.  It was truly perfect!

Today is going to be all about sightseeing!  Planning on doing the hop on hop off bus and then going to as many museums and sites as possible!  It is really our only training free/triathlon not focused day so far.  So, I have every intention of enjoying every moment of sightseeing!
Nichole and Kristin are both terrific traveling companions and we are having a terrific time!
Off to see Budapest!