It’s Almost Time for Kona

It’s Almost Time for Kona

Posted by on Sep 25, 2016 in Kelly's Blog |

It’s hard to believe it was over a year ago I qualified and registered for Kona. And now here we are. Two weeks away from my first Ironman World Championships. It’s been a long year of training and I’m so stressed out and ready to be done that if you want to just do an Ironman tomorrow and call it the world championships, I’m down. Since the double race Pacific Grove-Dipsea weekend back in June, things have been busy. The whole summer passed in a blur of training and racing and trips. In July, I raced the mid-season North American World Championships — also known as Vineman 70.3. Even though I think of it as my local race, Vineman has gotten insanely competitive and intense. I had to be happy with third amateur on the day (and third in my age group, speaking of insanely competitive) — though I wasn’t super happy with getting run down in the last half mile. Better then than now, I guess. Then I headed up to Whistler to stay with Freeplay teammate Christine. She qualified for Kona in the full Ironman! And I got second overall in the 70.3, and then had quite a few beers while cheering her on. It was full in to Kona training then, with a detour to race TriCal’s Alcatraz. My husband had never done the swim from the Alcatraz and TriCal’s event was a lot more tempting than the $750 version. While I got lost somewhere out in the Bay, the husband managed beat me out of the swim — which was not encouraging (for me) and which has prompted him to offer me many “swim tips” — but I came around to cross the line second behind Freeplay ambassador pro triathlete Emily Cocks. Somehow I ended up third overall, but what are you going to do.   The husband and I then headed to Australia for a race-cation, even though I hate that word. He did the 70.3 World Championships and I rode my bike and rode my bike and rode my bike. Also, I got to hold a koala — in important non-triathlon goals. Since then, I’ve been in Hawaii. House-sitting in the middle of a rainforest and putting the final touches on this Kona craziness. You can read a day-by-day rundown of me going insane, which (hopefully) will all come to an end, whatever happens, on Oct....

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A Double Race Weekend: The Pacific Grove + the Dipsea

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016 in Kelly's Blog |

It’s been a year since I started with Hillary. A year of training hard and getting faster, almost like that’s how it’s supposed to work. Naturally, it was fitting that I marked the anniversary with a double race weekend — not this past weekend but the one before that: Pacific Grove Triathlon on Saturday, Dipsea on Sunday. Why am I writing about two weekends ago? Because it turns out when you do two races in 24 hours, the odds of you getting super sick are pretty high. Here is the only tip I have about doing two races back to back: don’t think about it; also do the one you really care about first. There were a total of three times I thought about it the whole weekend: when I needed to spin on my bike after PacGrove instead of laying on the ground when I tried to warm-up the morning of the Dipsea and was like: oooooooooh, ouch during the last 15 minutes of the Dipsea, when my brain was just way too tired to navigate the stairs and singletrack at any kind of speed; the expression on my face pretty much sums up my feelings at that point: There are no pictures from Pacific Grove, which sort of sucks, so here is a story instead. My secret goal was to break the course record. 2:14:36. It’s five minutes faster than I’ve ever gone here, and Pacific Grove is very dependent on conditions, but I still thought I could possibly do it. I ended up missing by 10 seconds, but, well, it’s a long story. I won it in the swim. FYI. I buried myself in that swim. First time ever actually drafting off the front woman’s feet worked. And then suddenly I was in first and there was a kayak leading me. And when I hit the water for a second lap, everything hurt. Holy shit. But I managed to hang in and came out only 5 seconds back from first — who was a collegiate swimmer! This is basically insane. The bike wasn’t awesome. Neither was the run. But both were good enough. I actually got very down on myself after the first bike lap because I wasn’t going as fast as I wanted. Or, rather, because I was “sucking.” But then I decided I was still opening up a slight gap on the women behind me, so I couldn’t be sucking too much. I ended up biking a tiny bit faster than the fastest I’ve ever gone here (which I’ve never even been close to since that one time) and I got the Strava QOM, so that’s how you know it really counts. I glanced at my watch as I hit the run. All I needed to do was run a 42 to get the record. Easy. No problem. And I was pretty sure I was in first. But as I started, there was a girl running...

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Race Report: Wildflower Triathlon

Race Report: Wildflower Triathlon

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Kelly's Blog |

Multiple people the week after Wildflower (which was last week) kept telling me how tough I am. Which I thought was funny. I told my husband, Steve, this and he also thought it was funny, so that’s either encouraging or not. I don’t feel tough. I feel like I had four-and-a-half hours of feeling good at Wildflower and then 40 minutes of feeling like I was going to pass out, wondering if my shuffle would get me to the finish line before I passed out, and being 100% certain no one was moving as slowly as I was. There was a long period where I was not gaining on the larger older man in front of me, and all I could think was: That’s not great. The arguments in my head for continuing to run were: You’re winning the amateur race, you should not start walking. Just don’t screw it all up now. You don’t even have to run fast, you just have to run. And even if you get passed, you’ve still had a great race, so there’s that. (Yes, I talk to myself in the third person during races. Let it go.) In retrospect, though, I guess I’ve gotten tougher maybe. A year ago, I’m fairly certain the long-course at Wildflower would have left me walking most of the time. A year ago, post-bachelorette party, I got 7th in the Olympic race. It must have been the RV this year that made all the difference. After a disappointing race at Galveston 70.3 last month, Leslie, who is also coached by my coach Hillary, gave me a pep talk about how triathlon is supposed to be fun. So I invited myself to join her and Alyssa’s super classy RV to Wildflower. I slept on top of the kitchen table. We hung out at the campgrounds on Friday, got our pre-race stuff done, and “relaxed.” The two of them kept making me take “relaxing time,” which is a new thing for me. That meant on race morning I ended up with hours and hours to talk to The USC Kids and hang out with my Freeplay teammate Christine. See, triathlon is fun! My goal for the swim was to stick with Christine, which lasted for all of 30 seconds. The problem with my swimming right now is I’m not sure yet if I’m fast or not. I’m almost fast? I ended up coming out of the water with one girl, and with two others (including Christine) less than 45 seconds ahead of us. Apparently the swim was long, but I don’t wear a watch anymore, so don’t know, don’t care. I transitioned like a champ, because that’s basically what I’m best at in life. And I caught Christine by the top of the boat ramp. I either did something brilliant or stupid at this point. I decided if I was in first, and I was pretty sure I was, then I should make it stick. To...

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Race Report: Kaiser Half-Marathon

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in Kelly's Blog |

Short version: I ran 1:26:27 according to my watch and 1:26:29 according to the official results. Apparently, I was so out of it at the end that I came to a complete stop as I pressed “stop,” and then it took me an extra two seconds to walk all the way across the second timing mat and have my chip register. Either way, it’s a significant PR over 1:27:58 (which itself was a significant PR back in 2013). Evidently, I’m not just making up this ‘I swear I’m training a lot and getting faster’ thing. Long version: You know when you know you have a good race in you, but you don’t want to jinx it or anything because there was that other time you also knew you had a good race in you and it turned out you were wrong, because basically you never really know. This time I was determined not to use my excess energy last week to fight with any idiots (see: link to previous race) or spend stress capital. I, literally, read two books in the three days beforehand. Actually, for real. And watched a lot of TV. And so I didn’t know at the start line, but I knew. Despite being possibly the earliest I’ve ever gotten to a running race, I still was in the port-a-potty line with 8 minutes to go. And as they started counting down, I was still checking out who had extra hair ties on their wrists and begging one off a random woman. At this point, I’ve just learned to accept this is how things go for me. (She gave me the hair tie too, fyi, because hair ties and tampons are the two things you are legally obligated as a woman to give any other woman who asks for them.) Then we ran. This is my favorite picture from the race; it just cracks me up to the point that I might even buy it: I was trying to both run my 6:30 pace through the crowds and figure out why the hell people would line up by the 6:00/mile sign if they were planning to run 9:00 miles. Nothing wrong with 9:00 miles, but that’s the number that looks like the upside down “6.” Fyi. Also, so. I’m basically not wearing any clothes in that picture because I had this idea that if I dressed like a “serious for real” runner then I’d have to run like one. When I was trying to decide the night before if this was a good plan or a stupid plan, I thought, “I dunno, what if I run really slow and shitty, then I’ll be really embarrassed and look dumb.” And then I thought, “THAT’S THE POINT.” (Side note: I was telling someone this plan and they were all ‘ohhh, I wouldn’t look good, I’d be too self-conscious.’ And I had to be like, “No, uh, to be clear, I don’t really have a full-length mirror in my house....

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Winter Training is Not My Favorite Thing

Posted by on Jan 29, 2016 in Kelly's Blog |

While the East Coast gets bombarded with snow, it’s hard to feel bad for those of us out here in California. I know, I know, we have it so hard. Sometimes it rains. And when it drops below 50, I have to stop wearing flip-flops. But I promise we’re really not soft. I’d maintain that training through the wet and cold Northern California winter is actually as rough as it gets. If it was snowing and not raining, then there’d be no option. You’d ride inside. If it was consistently colder, then our pools wouldn’t all be outdoors. Instead, though, we end up toughing it out on our bikes through hailing sideways rain, and standing on deck in 40 degrees in swimsuits, trying to ignore the ice that hasn’t melted yet. Winter training is not my favorite thing. Of course, for the last five years or so, when it was warm and dry because of the drought, I didn’t winter train. I was burned out and needed a break. I ran if I felt like running and I watched Law and Order if I felt like watching Law and Order. At one point in 2013, I managed to go six months without getting in a pool. There was nothing I missed about the December-January slog. Now, this year, I’m ready to get serious again. And, of course, this year we’re in the midst of El Niño again. Naturally. So I’m back to logging wet miles on the bike and trying to pretend I can still feel my fingers. I have permanent chaffing in places I’d rather not talk about. Winter training is still not my favorite thing. To get through the long dark months before those first triathlon races (oh, April, you seem so far away), I have to come up with other things to mix it up. Too cold to triathlon? Let’s do an obstacle course race instead! Extra bonus: coach can’t make you ride for three hours if you’re at a race. That’s why I’m signed up for a Spartan Race in Temecula tomorrow. Because that sounds a lot more fun that slogging through some more winter base miles. Even if it also sounds slightly painful. Last year I tried a different obstacle race in Temecula. I didn’t take it super seriously — in fact, I went to the car in the middle of the race to change the battery on my GoPro — so tomorrow I get to see what it’d be like to try and race “for real.” I suspect I will, for real, be terrible. But at least it won’t be raining....

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