Kawela Endurance Triathlon

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Elated at my finish, pouring water over my head.

Elated at my Kawela Endurance Triathlon finish, pouring water over my head.

Hit refresh; I made some edits.

Yesterday I completed Boca Hawaii’s inaugural Kawela Endurance Triathlon. This was my third 70.3 mile event, and my best time so far. Everybody gets a personal record, “PR,” the first time they do an event. That was all of us yesterday. Yay!

My Garmin results were better than the official results, but that’s OK with me. I finished in less than eight hours, which was my goal. My swim was fast for me, my bike ride was strong, and I left myself plenty of time to endure the heat during my run. In Hawaiian, Ka Wela means ” the heat,” a point founder Raul Torres wanted to emphasize in this event he plans on hosting each August. While the swim was cool in the early morning, and the bike was wet until we cleared Oahu’s east side, the run was spectacularly hot.

I must give a shout out to Raul and my coaches Alika Chee, Ryan Leong, Stefan Reinke, Tanya Florin, Felipe Rael and Chris Moore. The training of my body, mind and spirit came together yesterday and I feel positive about improving for future races. By no means am I a superstar when it comes to triathlons. Instead I am just a regular mom who wants to stay in shape, have fun, be healthy, and inspire her family and friends. And if I can do triathlons, what else could I do?

Third 70.3, best finish so far!

Third 70.3 triathlon, third place. My best finish so far at 07:44!

Yesterday, it was still dark when John dropped me off at Kailua Beach Park with my bike and swim gear. The plan was for him to meet me at 2 p.m. at Camp Erdman for my finish. John usually sticks around through my entire races, shooting lots of pictures and witnessing the victories of the top finishers, all the way until I get across the finish line. He is so dang positive when I get over that line, I don’t know what I’d do without him. I finish so far back in the pack that it’s easy to slip into despair.

Yesterday’s swim started in Kailua just as the sun rose over the horizon. The waves sparkled in the darkness, the stars gleamed between the dense clouds that moved with the brisk breeze. It rained while we set up our bikes at transition one (T1). Shades of Lanikai Triathlon. Seems to always rain just as we start our swim. I was very pleased with my swim. It was with the current, so I bet everybody’s results were fantastic. We got out half way and ran back to the start and got back in the water for one more lap. That way no one had to swim against the current. Smart.

Running to swim lap two as the sun rises in the east. Mahalo for the photo by Kim Burnett.

Running to swim lap two as the sun rises in the east. Mahalo for the photo by Kim Burnett.

By the time I got to T1 after my swim, the corral looked deserted, there were a few bikes left. I was calm. I didn’t have any jitters for this race at all. The day before I took The Great White to the back of Hawaii Kai and spent an hour getting in and out of my bicycle shoes that were attached to my pedals so I could mount and dismount quicker. Success! That was a big deal for me. I rode the last few miles on my bike with my feet cooling on top of my shoes. It was heaven. Credit Coach Alika Chee for my newfound skill.

The bike ride felt good, even though it was wet through the first 18 to 20 miles. But it was early enough that traffic was minimal so we could ride in the road and out of the puddles. Quite a few triathletes had to stop to fix punctures. Police throughout the race were on task and very cordial. I absolutely love it when each officer holds up their intersection for me to race through. Each time I sent up a shakka wave of mahalo and aloha to the drivers who patiently waited! Those officers were so great! I think every one of them cheered me through! Priceless.

The Great White needs a good cleanup.

The Great White needs a good cleanup.

It was a fine ride through the North Shore of Oahu, with just a couple of bottlenecks. At one point I got stuck in sand and did a big wobbly fishtail. Somehow I recovered. I swear this bike and I are an awesome team. I love my Cervelo P2!!! I ride with care and I have never had a puncture in a race. I know it’s more a matter of when and not if. It will happen. Sometimes I change out my tubes just so I remember how to do it under pressure!

When I got to Mokuleia, I was secretly bummed that so many participants were already running. The winners finished hours before me. But I am a triathlete who has to focus on completing and not competing. I came in third yesterday because one of my friends in my age group got too dehydrated to finish. I am sure she would have beaten me.

My T2 was long because I had to use the bathroom before I started my run. But, getting T2 and bathroom business done in less than nine minutes is nothing to be ashamed of, right? We ran from Camp Erdman to Kaena Point to Mokuleia Beach Park to Kaena Point to Mokuleia Beach Park to Kaena Point and finished at the camp. For the first lap I was trying to get my legs back. I didn’t feel horribly spent. I drank Coke and Mountain Dew, used my Power Gels, used their Power Gels, was fed an apple banana and pretzels by friends, and always had my hands full with ice and ice water. My coaches Ryan and Felipe kept me in ice cubes the whole way, and I poured a lot of it on me and in me! I was waterlogged by the final third of my run, which is a far better condition than being dehydrated.

When I turned onto the dirt road and made my way to the finish the first person I saw was John and it was the best thing ever!!! He ran ahead of me to shoot a few pix of my finish. I was so happy to be finishing that I cheered and poured more ice water onto myself and crossed with such joy at 07:44:31. I’ll take it! There were times yesterday during the run when I wanted a shortcut. But in my heart I knew I had to complete the whole race. Following my Ironman 2013 and 2014 finishes of 8:12 and 8:23, I am pleased with this result. I’m improving.

Race with Passion is the motto of Boca Hawaii. While it is a simple and sweeping statement, it also emphasizes how each one of us has personal dreams and goals. If you don’t have passion, then what do you have? I have really come to love the Boca Hawaii ohana.

 

2014 Honu Ironman 70.3: Racing Against My Own Demons

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Finisher. For the record: 08:23:56, 12 minutes slower than last year.

Finisher. Official medal and Cookies by Design edible medal from Bonnie Leong. For the record: 08:23:56, 12 minutes slower than last year. Swim, bike and transitions were minutes slower. But my run, despite my walking quite a bit, was faster. Amazing.

No matter how well you train, if your body doesn’t respond, react or deliver as expected on race day there really isn’t much you can do about it.

It was perplexing for me. Throughout the race my body was not responding to my directions. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, except that I worked so much the weeks before and didn’t get in enough rest. And believe it or not, it is possible for ME (YES ME) to not eat enough before and during a race.

I had the best training! I was part of a great (and large) group for Endurance Triathlon Training with Boca Hawaii. The fast kids were gracious, the well-established kids were welcoming, and the coaches were supportive. It was so incredible, that I signed up for Summer Triathlon Training, which begins Saturday, June 6, in preparation for the inaugural Boca Hawaii Kawela Triathlon later this summer. After my Honu results, and after a sort of decent night’s sleep (despite the high-maintenance cat), I’m feeling it.

I’m feeling that triathlon thing again and it’s all good.

Pros in white caps, men in blue caps, women in pink caps. Officials. Spectators. Photographers. Kids. It's crazy. We're all nuts.

Pros in white caps, men in blue caps, women in pink caps. Officials. Spectators. Photographers. Kids. It’s crazy. We’re all nuts.

Here’s my blow by blow.

When we arrived on Friday morning in Kailua-Kona and were driving north in our rental car to the Fairmont Orchid hotel, I was giddy. I was loving the hot, fresh-out-of-the-oven baked brownies look of the lava fields, I was admiring the beautiful deep blue ocean, I loved the dark and ominous clouds that clung to the volcano summits.

“I have to find a way to live here,” I said to my husband. “I feel like this is where I belong.”

We would need a few million dollars, that’s all.

We didn’t have much time to shop for a new home or to make a land purchase, so we went straight to the Fairmont so I could check in to the Ironman 70.3 event. I needed to get my race packet, sign several releases, get my race chip, pack and leave my run bag, check into the hotel, attend a mandatory race briefing, pick up my bike, sweet talk the TriBike Transport guys to put the new tires on my wheels so I’d have fresh rubber on the road the next day, and get dressed to ride my bike to Hapuna Beach Park to set it up at the bike start. After that we went to Foodland up the street to pick up some sandwiches and bottles of water. I slept well until 3:30 a.m. and had coffee and breakfast with John. We met our friends Rick and Lori in the elevator and they graciously gave us a ride to the start, so we didn’t have to take the shuttle bus. That was so great!

First swimmer on the beach. So eager! So ready! No idea how the day would go, but that's really how it is for anyone.

First swimmer on the beach. So eager! So ready! No idea how the day would go, but that’s really how it is for anyone.

I was the first athlete down the chute and to the beach. I heard the little beep as it read my race chip when I walked under the giant inflatable that hovered over the checkpoint for transition one from swim to bike. I was in my new Aquasphere skinsuit, I was at the most beautiful beach in th world, and I was eager to achieve a personal record on my second Ironman 70.3. My day didn’t go as planned. Before the horn blew at 7 a.m. for the women to start swimming, the wind picked up and the sun was hot on our backs. The weather had announced itself: hot and windy.

Honu 2014 women's start.

Honu 2014 women’s start.

I hovered in the back of the pack at the start of the swim, and I felt good as I worked my way up and through the other women. Before I got to the first buoy, I was already passing some of the men who launched seven minutes before us. In fact, I passed quite a few by the time I got to the finish. I felt like my swim was going well, I didn’t lose sight of the yellow buoys that I needed to swim around. I spotted underwater photographers taking our pictures from the sandy floor. I thought how so cool those photos would be.

Swim to bike transition. See how happy everyone is around me? I just realized my time was slower than last year.

Swim to bike transition. See how happy everyone is around me? I just realized my time was slower than last year.

I got out of the water and saw that my time was seven minutes longer than last year’s. I was so defeated. The evil self talk began and stayed with me most of the day. After all this training, how could I be so slow?

My transition from swim to bike was about two minutes longer, but I was changing out of a skinsuit, putting on sunguard sleeves and getting into a bicycle jersey while soaking wet. My coaches told us to slow down and be deliberate during transition because haste makes waste. So I didn’t worry.

Headed north to Hawi from the Mauna Lani turnaround, 50 miles to go.

Headed north to Hawi from the Mauna Lani turnaround, 50 miles to go.

The bike is my thing, most of the time. But it would not be the case during Honu. Last year I finished the bike segment in 03:38. This year it took me 03:57, 19 minutes longer, on a spiffier and lighter new Cervelo P2 bike, too. I have a very difficult time eating on the bike. I can’t stand it. I also don’t like to drink, but I force myself to use my aerobottle. By the time I got to Hawi, I thought to myself how I was so DONE with this race. It took me nearly two hours to get up there. How in the world would I beat last year’s time of 03:38? I was defeated. I used the bathroom, drank two Power Gel lime drinks and ate a Bonk Breaker bar. It was wonderful. I felt better and I got back on the bike feeling refreshed. I bet I spent 12 minutes up there, but I needed it. I couldn’t believe that it was taking me so long to get up to Hawi. I was worried it would take me another two hours to get back, and it just about did.

Honu 2014 finishing the bike and telling John how I'm worried I won't finish in time.

Honu 2014 finishing the bike and telling John how I’m worried I won’t finish in time.

I saw my husband John as I was rolling back toward bike-to-run transition and I said, “At this rate, I don’t see how I’ll finish on time.” He smiled, encouraged me, and clicked off a few pictures. Later he told me that he felt I might be right.

I worked on the self talk. And fortunately, I had lots of teammates and friends on the course whose encouraging words put some steam in my steps. I am one of those people who needs the attagirls. You can look at my Garmin stats and see the points of encouragement. My pace picks up, my heart rate bumps up a little bit, and I get a little more positive. If it weren’t for my friends Janet, Kristin, Miriam, KC, Marcy, Karen, Lisa and Eric, I might have finished well outside the cutoff. Especially Janet and Miriam. Such compassion!

At the start of my run I realized I had a water bottle in my back pocket so I tossed it aside as I went by John. I also had a tire tube but I didn't realize it until miles later.

This year’s run was 03:23:59 compared to last year’s run of 03:32. I am amazed I was faster this year because I was truly struggling. But I was determined to finish in time and I had to get my act together. The running training paid off. I still have a lot of room for improvement.

Last year’s run was 03:32. I don’t think I did any walking except for at the aid stations and only until I was finished eating or drinking. I cannot eat, drink, and walk or run at the same time. Such a dork. I’d throw up. This year I did a lot of walking. The Honu run course weaves in and out of the hotel grounds, the hotel’s golf course, through lava fields, behind the shopping center, and back onto the golf course lined with beautiful homes where we run along the fairways. Yesterday it was so steamy hot that I dreaded walking on the grassy parts of the route. It seemed to radiate with so much heat. Finally the course dumps you on to what many of us refer to as Death March Road, which is hotter than heck possibly because it is through more lava. It isn’t smoldering, it is just black and very, very, hot. It was on this road, from miles nine through 11, that I saw a herd of wild goats. Now my friends think I was hallucinating. I wasn’t. They were there!

I ran the first three miles of the 13.1-mile course, then I started walking. First I saw Janet who checked on me from across the road. She was way ahead of me. Then my teammate Marian came up from behind me and cheered me on. We ran together a little bit and then I said to her, “You know, I might have to start walking again, so don’t worry about me.” She started walking at that point but I was still running. We had a good laugh about it. Eventually she passed me and finished before me.

I will be the first to tell anyone that running is hard for me. I cannot stand to run. But running has helped me dropped a little bit of weight, so I’m starting to see the value in doing it more often.

When I emerged from Death March Road, two course marshals told me I had 28 minutes to cover 1.5 miles. Even if I walked, I could finish on time. But I was in pretty bad shape. I was really sad. I thought I spent all this time and money training for my A Race and I was going to miss finishing it on time by minutes. My dream of coming in under eight hours was shot to hell.

Once again I wrestled with my demons. I started to run the best I could. It was more of a crappy jog, but it was faster than walking. I reached the last stretch of golf course and I saw two nene geese in the shade to my left. I love nature. I swear, I look around a lot when I do my triathlons. Maybe I should do less sightseeing?

First there was Lori and Rick and the TryFitness group to holler their support at me as I struggled to beat the clock. John ran alongside me for a little bit — barefoot in the hot grass — and told me that I had it, that I was going to make it, that I would finish on time and get that medal.

I turned the corner, made my final approach and finished the 2014 Honu Ironman 70.3  in 08:23:56, compared to last year’s 08:12: 25.

I wasn’t that upset because I finished before 08:30 the cutoff. And when I got through the finisher’s shoot, my Boca Hawaii coaches and teammates were cheering for me, which was the nicest thing ever — considering most of them had probably finished hours before me. What’s nicer than a group of friends lubed by beer and burgers anyway?

Triathlon is a mental game. Where the winners compete with each other, people like me compete with ourselves. But we don’t just compete against last year’s time or our personal records. We have to beat down the voices that diminish our effort. We have to tell our legs to shut up when they throb and feel too heavy to move. We have to protect ourselves from the flailing arms and legs in the swim and then, when we emerge from the ocean, beat the vertigo, get up on our feet without wobbling, and heave all the way up the sand to transition.

Each race is a transition in our lives. Finishing is an accomplishment that affirms we’ve got within ourselves something more powerful than we know. Part of my future training will have to include mental pushups that will keep me from slipping into the abyss of self loathing.

And (are you still here? still reading?) I also know that I have to not eat so much after a workout. That’s something else I can take care of right now.

I have some wonderful coaches in Boca Hawaii owner Raul Torres, and Ryan Leong, Filipe Rael, Stefan Reinke, Alika Chee, Ray Brust, Lee-Ann Watanabe and Todd Iacovelli. While I continue to improve physically, I want to also work on my mental fitness so that I can push the crap out of my mind faster and get on with my race.

 

 

Alone Time


I’m a little disappointed that no school needed me to sub today. However, I can get to work on the next three story assignments I have, and that’s a good thing. But before I do, I thought I’d do some writer calisthenics here on lavagal.net. It’s been a while. Alone time.

My SIL1 is waiting for my blog about our trip to Volcano on the Big Island a few weeks ago. I looked back at my pictures and realized that I had not taken any photos of my four sisters-in-law and the lone fellow out-law husband of SIL4. Instead, I took photos of the volcano, the darling bungalow we stayed in, the flora, the fauna. There are a few photos of us on top of Mauna Kea, but the best ones are in my husband’s camera. I’ll ask. What I loved about our trip was how chilly the volcano area is. We spent very little time in Hilo, so most of the time we were bundled up in socks and sweaters. For those of us who live in Hawaii, that is always a joy. I cooked breakfast one morning, recruited by SIL1, and I made egg McBobs, named after her late husband. I brought along some hashbrowns and served those on the side. That night I made linguine with caramelized onions and yogurt sauce, a dish that is out of this world. I plan to cook the onions on our grill the next time I make this dish — that’s how many onions are in it.

While on the Big Island, a Costco Hawaii Kai manager called me with hours for the following week. I got 32 hours and Sunday, January 19, was my last day. I’m now waiting until February 19 to see if I get a permanent part-time gig. I had also been scheduled for a job interview for a full-time communications administration position, but I declined it. It felt too much like the soul-sucking experience I’m still recovering from. Stepping away from all that is a good idea. I’ll stick to the freelance writing, and, in the meantime, taking all the substitute teaching assignments I can.

Yesterday I taught 7th grade Social Studies, which focused on the Hawaiian Overthrow. How embarrassed I am at the behavior and arrogance of the men who dethroned Queen Liliuokalani. Many of these public school children are not white, many are of mixed race, and some are of Hawaiian descent. I’m not quite sure how much any of the students cared about the lesson, but they need to learn. Such lessons will hopefully create a better world. That’s why we need to learn our lessons.

Last Friday I taught kindergarten and it was the 100th day of school. So there was all kinds of 100 Day things to talk about. I felt a little bad for the teacher as 100 day is pretty special. The kids counted out 100 fruity o cereals and then strung them on red silk cords that I tied when they were done. I then put them in a plastic bag and ordered them to put them in their backpack (as instructed). Kindergartners are a trip. I was grateful that the school provided two helpers for the first hour (they spend the day taking turns in the K classes). I sometimes feel like I’m flying blind, but the day went well. I slept well that night!

Gearing up now for the start of triathlon training in about two weeks since I’m returning to Kona for the Ironman 70.3 on May 31. I’m actually resisting the urge to enter a lot of events this year. I think I might enter two or three before the 70.3. Staying low, invisible, unnoticed.

So this should do it for now.

BTW, I can’t figure out how to get photos off my MotoX with the WP app and onto the blog. Soon.

 

 

Riding with a seasoned triathlete and Kona IM finisher.


I had the opportunity to ride with Lori McCarney yesterday. Here are our stats and the map of our cycling voyage.

A few weeks ago the words “Lori McCarney, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN,” were recited as she crossed the finish line in Kona. So, yeah, you could say she’s one of the superhero moms in my world. Thanks to a lot of hard work to QUALIFY  — because lottery entries had not yet begun — Lori was in Ironman Kona in 2009, but fell short of her goal when the clock ran out and the finish line was in sight. Heartbreaking. This video really wrenches your gut.

Lori and I in our TryFitness kits.

Lori and I in our TryFitness kits at Makapu’u Lookout. What a beautiful day and ride!

When I first met Lori about two years ago, I couldn’t tell what she was about. But as I go to know her, I became a believer in her positive spirit and personal drive. Lori doesn’t keep secrets and willingly shares training tips. Yesterday we discovered that we were riding with the same tires, Continental Grand Prix 4000s. Her Cervelo is such a little Maserati. I have bike envy, that’s for sure.

Sometimes Lori and I share age groups, sometimes we don’t. But that never matters to her. Lori gets it. Her training and goals are different from mine and everyone elses, but she believes there are plenty of wins to go around when she shares ideas and tips that help people like me cross their finish lines.

For yesterday’s ride I promised clear roads along the Ka Iwi Coast because of the road construction. Wrong! Construction makes progress and the one-lane closures weren’t there, so neither were our opportunities to ride without vehicles along this narrow and precarious curvy stretch of road with minimal shoulders. But we did it. Plan B was to go back along Heartbreak Hill and to ride through the Hawaii Kai farm lands out to Hawaii Kai Drive to avoid the road construction on Lunalilo Home Road. Success! It was a smart choice.

Mahalo, Lori! Great ride. Let’s do it again!

My Honu half Ironman Triathlon.


The day before the race John shot a photo of me with the Ironman rocks at the entrance of the Fairmont Orchid Hotel. Eager and anxious.

The day before the race John shot a photo of me with the Ironman rocks at the entrance of the Fairmont Orchid Hotel. Eager and anxious.

I was reminded the day before this race that a year ago I blogged about having Honu Envy while I watched online as my TryFitness teammates complete the Honu half Ironman triathlon on the Big Island. I was thrilled for them as I watched their times update, and I was sad for those who didn’t make the cutoff as each leg of the event concluded.

Having worked out with these women for quite a while, I knew of their strengths and weaknesses, drives and doubts, and the commitment to themselves while pursuing careers, raising families, and keeping up with meals, chores, laundry, children’s performances, and teacher and doctor appointments. Life is full, so of course we should do more.

The Red Firecracker at rest in the rack, the day before.

The Red Firecracker at rest in the rack, the day before.

Fast forward to early 2013 and I get a chance to make this desire a reality. On Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays we met for our group workouts. The schedule also had assignments on the other days of the week, too. Usually we got a break on Monday, and maybe another on Friday. We didn’t necessarily have to do those workouts on the days we weren’t with the group, but if we wanted to be our best, they were heavily advised. Hint. Hint. They would be a swim, a run, a ride, some isometrics and ab workouts, or a combination. The schedule, refined over the years by our mentor and coach, Kristin “KC” Carlberg, is designed to deliver each of us to the best we can be on the morning of our event.

We visited the bay at Hapuna Beach State Park the day after the race. What a gorgeous place.

We visited the bay at Hapuna Beach State Park the day after the race. What a gorgeous place.

So last Saturday on June 1, I finally got my turn at Honu. I had eight and a half hours to complete the 1.2-mile swim, the 56-mile bike ride, and the 13.1-mile run. My swim was about 48 minutes, my bike ride was 03:38:51, and my run, which is my weakest side of the triathlon triangle, was 03:32:07. The full event, including transition from swim to bike and transition from bike to run, took me 08:12:25. They turned out the lights at 08:30:00, so I was thrilled to make the cut.

Oh, it's just some bracelet I got for being an athlete.

Oh, it’s just some bracelet I got for being an athlete.

I was also thrilled to know that I would be worthy of wearing the logo wear I had purchased  at the event expo, LOL.

Your mileage, your experience, may vary. But here’s how this works for me. Sure, I’m competitive, but I’m realistic enough to know my limitations. I’m in my mid 50s, and let me assure you this does not mean you’ve got one foot in the grave. I do have a few maladies to contend with: Left leg plantar fasciitis. Right leg persistent knee problems thanks to the full Achilles tendon burst in 2010. And emotionally, I can be riddled with all kinds of negativity. Until this event I realized how easily I was giving bullies permission to diminish my accomplishments and to plant doubts into my psyche. For the past few years my husband has been doing his best to help me get through this emotional cesspool. During these last few months Coach KC had also taken me aside to help fortify my mental game and to help me realize that I should know in my own soul how I can achieve this and that I am worthy.

In my first triathlon, the Lanikai Triathlon in 2012, I panicked in the water. A squall had passed through and the ocean was churning. Throw several hundred triathletes in the water and it can get overwhelming. I wanted to slip under the water and never come back up. Of course, I sure as hellas do not want to miss out on what a great life is in store for me and my family. I pulled myself together and got out of the water. It was a slow race for me, but I finished and I was so proud.

For the Honu swim, I felt good. I stayed back a little bit at the start to avoid the thrashing, but then I managed to work my way through at my own pace with just a few minor punches and grabs. When I got out of the water, I was really stoked about my time. John, KC, and my teammates cheered me through to transition where I became a bicyclist.

The workouts up Pineapple Hill, Sierra Heights Drive, Kilauea Avenue, Kamiloiki, “Heartbreak Hill,” and Makapu’u, paid off in spades as I climbed the Big Island’s Kohala coast toward Hawi. The persistent winds for the last few months meant that I’d be able to withstand the headwind that resisted our efforts all the way back toward the second transition. When I saw the cones directing the bicyclists toward the Fairmont Orchid, I came to tears because I was so happy to be almost done with the ride. As I was racking my bike, a young man passed me draped in maile lei. It was the overall winner, Craig Alexander. I said, “You’re done and I’m just starting my run!” He took my hand gave it a squeeze and said, “You can do it!” And of course I could.

I slid into my running shoes, had the sense to put on my visor and change my sunglasses, put on some lip balm, forgot my belly bag and my gels, and gingerly started my run as I was  still on my rubbery bicycle legs. Our team’s support crew and my coach cheered me on as I took off. KC asked how my legs were and I told her I couldn’t even feel them. I was so charged, I was so happy, I knew I could complete the 13.1-run in less than the three and a half hours that were left on my clock. Other people can do that run in remarkable times, but it’s not easy for me. As I was running through the lava fields, over the golf course, under roads and through tunnels, I thought how it would be great if I could finish this triathlon in less time than it took me to do the Honolulu Marathon in December (08:10:25). Dang, I missed it by two minutes. As I approached the finish, I could see the clock was already at 08:22 and counting. We would deduct 10 minutes from the clock because the women’s start was that much behind the pros earlier that day when the whole shebang begun.

I’ll take 08:12:25 for my first 70.3 Ironman.

Honestly, I didn’t think I’d want to do it again. When I was done, I was so happy that I danced to the music while waiting for my finisher T-shirt, hat, and medal. I wiggled while waiting for my free beer and cheeseburger. I giggled while I ate solid food for the first time in like 20 hours. My husband was so relieved and was as happy as I was. He used that long lens on his camera to spy me on my final approach and I could see from a 1/4 mile away that he was as happy as me.

So, yes, I’m going to do it again next year and bring our daughters along because we missed them so much while we were enjoying the beauty of the Big Island.

Way Too Much Fun


Sun, clouds, sea, Ka Iwi.

Morning sun, clouds, sea, Ka Iwi.

I will admit that taking the girls to school in the morning with John, followed by a cruise around the Ka Iwi Coast to watch whales and to enjoy each other’s company, is a lot of fun. Going to bed each evening without dreading going to work in the morning is a real switch for me. For the first week after leaving HMSA I continued to wake at 420. But now I don’t. I wake up refreshed and relaxed. We have cappuccinos and conversations.

I am a writer in the wild and I’m enjoying every minute of it. I took a drive to Koolau Farmers in Kailua yesterday to get some BT to battle the worms that are eating my gorgeous kale and other vegetables and herbs in my garden. Beside me is a tomato I picked the other day, waiting to be put in a tomato sandwich for lunch. I swept the floors, we’re getting bicycle gear ready for tomorrow’s Bike Swap in Kapahulu, and I’ve been a good girl watching my nutrition as I train and close in on the Honu half-iron 70.3 on June 1.

This week I met with a friend about some writing projects and I had an interview with a company that is so close to the beach lunch-time laps to the Kaimana windsock would become a daily indulgence. Who knows? All I know is that there are people in this town who put value in the way I shape the alphabet into words and phrases that connect and motivate readers into action. It’s kind of fun to write about something that’s fascinating to me and therefore so important to share. It’s important to me that people connect with my writing and are inspired to ride a bike, relax on the beach, plant a garden, knock out a wall, or buy a house. I love it when my blog or my articles are shared. Thanks for that.

I must find a way to make this bliss last forever. The first step is the joy that comes from living simply and simply living.

When it’s not easy to write.


Like now. I prefer to write about positive things, and I don’t like to cloud the blog with an overcast atmosphere. I guess that results in everyone thinking I’m on top of the world all the time, but it’s not the case. Is it ever the case for everyone, all the time? Probably not.

I’ve lost a little momentum in getting our house in order. I think it’s the heat. We’ve taken bags to the nearby Goodwill kiosk, and we are preparing bicycles and bicycle gear for the Island Triathlon & Bike swap and shop on April 27. We’re selling 4-5 bikes, FYI. Tomorrow we’ll try to make one big sweep, vacuum, dust, and mop. Our dining room table will be clear. We’ll have a nice family meal.

My triathlon training saves me. I’m enjoying the 2,000-meter swims I’ve been logging in lately. I will ride tonight with my TryFitness teammates to the heights of Kahala, and I will gingerly walk or jog until my sports doctor decides what can be done about my plantar fasciitis. I’m pretty sure I can go all out for Honu on June 1. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a half-Ironman in  me. Every day I’m getting better and better at it.

Now that I’m a bonafide writer in the wild, I’m actively seeking work, projects, creative opportunities, and inspiration to start generating interest in me and paychecks. So, if you hear of anything, please keep me in mind. I think about describing soft breezes as they blow through the sheers at the French doors, the sweat that trickles between one’s shoulder blades when they rip old asphalt off a roof, the spring green potential of seed sprouts poking through the rich soil, the tickle of a tiny crab as it climbs up my thigh while I’m waiting for a wave on my surfboard. Writing that’s pretty much all over the map.

My friend Sue from New Jersey, whom I’ve known since we were both little kids, checks up on me from time to time. This morning she sent me a private message on Facebook, encouraging me to get my wish to the universe first thing in the morning and then forget about it. Fortunately for me I have friends and a husband who see me in a much better light than I see myself. And my children have so much faith in me. I go out to the yard and my cats watch for the lizards that jump when I clip a leaf of kale or inspect the eggplant.

Positives abound in my life. I might appear to be running off a cliff, but I have to believe I’ll stick the landing.