Wildflower: Still the One and Only

Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Christine's Blog, Uncategorized |

Wildflower holds a special place in my heart. In 2011, it was my first half ironman distance race, and I've raced the long course every year since then. The race is located out in the middle of nowhere and just about everyone camps at the race site. Because of that, Wildflower has become known as the "Woodstock of Triathlon." This year was actually the first time I camped at the race site, and I loved it. It was so much fun spending time around the campfire with friends (old and new), racing with my friends and teammates on Saturday, and sticking around to watch the Olympic distance race on Sunday.They say a picture's worth a thousand words, so here are some pictures (along with a few words) to recap Saturday's race:Exiting the swim, happy that my calf cramp never materialized :-)Running up the boat ramp in T1A didn't seem quite as bad this year... probably because I knew it was coming.When your husband gets an entire group of volunteers to flap their arm-wings and make bird noises when you ride by, you smile and laugh and feel loved.My tired legs were happy to be done with the bike.My tired legs were slightly less happy to be starting the run. Haha.My support crew (husband) got two flats on his mountain bike, so I didn't see him until the run was almost over. I was sure that he had crashed and was headed to the hospital. Thankfully, he wasn't... when I saw him on the side of the course, naturally I started flapping my wings with joy. The finish chute is a very welcome sight after the hot, humid Wildflower course.This is one of my favorite finish photos. I look like I'm flying! :-)W30-34 podiumEven though the Wildflower course has been modified due to the drought the past two years, it's just as fun/hot/challenging/hilly/unique as it has always been. There aren't many other races out there where you can spend an entire weekend camping and racing with your friends out in the middle of nowhere. There is a reason why the race organizers have nicknamed Wildflower "The One and Only." If you haven't raced Wildflower yet, add it to your bucket list of races. You won't be disappointed.-----Special thanks for the support this year:Freeplay Magazine, Rudy Project, HUUB, Salming Running, Fluid Sports Nutrition, Arts Cyclery, Temple Coffee Roasters, Nature's Bakery, Pro Compression, and Taco Works Tortilla...

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Triathlon + Ocean = Happiness

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in Christine's Blog, Uncategorized |

Being a triathlete in California definitely has its benefits, and one of them is the abundance of small beach town race venues. I absolutely love racing by the ocean... it's like a vacation and a race all in one! About a week ago, I kicked off my 2015 triathlon season with an olympic-distance triathlon in Half Moon Bay... and the venue did not disappoint. Even though it was foggy the entire time we were in town, racing by the ocean still put a smile on my face and made me extra grateful that I have the opportunity to train and race in California.We were fortunate to rent an amazing house right on the harbor where we stayed the night before the race. Not only was it by the ocean, but it was within walking distance to transition, which is always a plus!A little relaxing at our rental the day before the raceFor me, one of the best parts of racing is sharing the experience with others... and there was a lot of that at Half Moon Bay. I was joined in the race by my good friend Brittany, my Freeplay teammates Anna and Robin, and Robin's husband Brian. Not only that, but Stephanie and Sean from Freeplay Magazine made the trip to watch us race and cheer us on. It was really nice to see so many familiar faces, to share Anna's excitement when she ran a 10K PR by 3 minutes, to watch Brittany win her age group, and see Robin take the overall win!Enjoying the flat, fast bike course!(Photo by Sean Dulany of Freeplay Magazine)Running by the ocean...one of my favorite things!(Photo by Andy Jessop)At Half Moon Bay, I was able to execute my race plan to a tee. It was one of those days when everything fell into place, which is a great feeling. I felt strong from start to finish, and hit my run splits exactly as my coach and I had talked about before the race. Races definitely don't always go that way, so it's fun to enjoy the times when they do.Next up:  A weekend filled with friends, fun, and racing at the Wildflower...

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Back on (the) Track

Posted by on Mar 26, 2015 in Christine's Blog, Uncategorized |

A couple weeks ago, I began my season with a 5000 meter race on the track. I absolutely love running on the track. I don't know if I can pinpoint what, exactly, makes the track so magical... it just is.The first time I raced on the track was in elementary school. The Hershey's Track and Field Games hosted a local meet every year, and one year my brother and I registered to compete. I'm pretty sure we did as many events as we were allowed, ranging from the softball throw to the standing long jump to the 200 meter dash.We didn't have a team or club to train with, so my parents made up workouts for us. We would go on runs with them, do "wind sprints" on the street in front of our house, and even run repeats around a paved loop in the local cemetary while my mom timed us.When the meet got closer, my dad recruited one of our neighbors (who was involved in Masters Track and Field) to give us some tips. We walked to the high school stadium, and slipped through the gap in the fence for our first track "practice"...I remember learning how to stand so you could get a fast start, that you had to stay in your lane during your race, and that a staggered start meant some people got a head start but it would somehow work out fairly in the end.Running the 400m dashat the 1993 Hershey's Track and Field Local Meet(the summer after fifth grade)400m dash podium in 1993(L to R:  Sarah, Lauren, and myself).I am extra proud of our awesome outfits.Those track meets in elementary school were the beginning of my running career. I ran cross country and track in high school, and (even though I was focused on swimming) I managed to run a few years in college too. While the focus of my running has changed quite a bit over the years, one thing that has stayed the same is my love for the track.Somehow, stepping onto that rubberized surface changes everything. Toeing the line and waiting with anticipation for the sharp crack of the starter's pistol brings back so many memories of track races over the years. I think that's partly why I've started racing on the track again.Last year, I signed up for my first track meet in 11 years, and I had so much fun that I decided to do it again this year. The venue was the Occidental College Distance Carnival, and the race was the 5000 meter run. Last year, I could barely contain my excitement to be racing on the track again, and I went out way too fast and paid for it later in the race. Oops. :-)This year, I came back to the same meet determined to run a smarter race. I stuck to my race plan,...

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The Coast Ride 2015

Posted by on Jan 28, 2015 in Christine's Blog, Uncategorized |

Most cyclists would jump at the chance to spend 3 days riding down the coast of California... so I did! A little over a week ago, my training partner Amy and I joined a group of cyclists for The Coast Ride 2015. We started in San Francisco on Saturday morning and ended in Santa Barbara on Monday afternoon. That's 375 miles over 3 days, for those of you who are counting (I sure was).Amy and I before leaving the Golden Gate Bridge 375 miles behind usOn Day 1, we met at Sports Basement in the Presidio. We took care of all the last minute prep (filling water bottles, pumping up tires, signing waivers, etc.) before rolling out. While there were over 200 cyclists doing the ride, we started in smaller groups so it would be safer and more manageable. We quickly left the Golden Gate bridge behind, and made our way through San Francisco to the coast. Some highlights of the day included riding with some really fun cyclists from the Bay Area (including fellow Team Freeplay athlete Caroline), a long lunch stop in Davenport (where I devoured a club sandwich and fries), and watching the surfers at the famous Santa Cruz breaks. Because we stopped a little longer for lunch (and got lost once or twice), we didn't finish riding until dusk. When we pulled into the parking lot of the host hotel after 8+ hours in the saddle, we were handed slices of pizza before we could even get off our bikes. Don't tell my husband, but I think I may have told the guy with the pizza that I loved him.The second day's route was undoubtedly the most scenic of the trip. Highway 1 in Big Sur is beautiful by car, but even more breathtaking from a bicycle. You will have to either trust me on that one, or go see for yourself (I highly recommend the latter).The second day was filled with views better than this (this photo doesn't do it justice).Highlights from Day 2 included stopping at the Big Sur Bakery for coffee, having pretzels and mini donuts for lunch, joining a paceline from Ragged Point to Cambria, and most of all enjoying the incredible scenery. At the beginning of the day, Amy and I had decided that we would continue past that day's official stopping point (Morro Bay) and ride the whole way into San Luis Obispo (where we would stay the night at her house). Since our bags would still be in Morro Bay, we were planning to drive back out to get them... but during the ride, we met a guy who offered to bring our bags with him when he took a taxi to SLO to get his rental car. What a nice guy... he definitely made our day.Perfect way to start Day 3While the third day greeted us with...

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Wonder Woman for a Day

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Christine's Blog, Uncategorized |

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to be one of the official pacers for the City to the Sea Half Marathon in my hometown of SLO. This was my first time running as a pacer, and I was excited that my number one job was to help others meet their goals.At City to the Sea, the pacers traditionally dress in fun, colorful costumes. This year was no different, and I enjoyed being Wonder Woman for a day. I don't think I have ever had so many people ask to take photos with me. It was also fun hearing spectators cheer, "Go Wonder Woman!" throughout the race. One of the ladies in my pace group said that she kept telling herself they were cheering for her every time she heard that. :-)The 2014 pacers... what a fun group!(photo by Kaori Photo)The race itself was really fun. I loved encouraging others and helping them meet their goals. One of my favorite parts of the day was hanging out by the finish line afterwards. A lot of people made a point to find me to say thanks for helping them through the race. Each one of those conversations made me smile a little bigger.My husband and I pose with Richard, CEO of Fluid, and all-around awesome guy!Being a pacer was even more fun and fulfilling than I thought it would be. Hopefully I'll have the chance to do it again...

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