Friday, December 28, 2012


This past year I learned a very important lesson in rest and recovery. And over the past 3 months I re-learned that it’s actually a lot of fun to be off a training schedule, sleep in when I want to, go to parties, stay out late, and enjoy some aspects of life that sometimes get neglected with the constant balancing act of trying to be a serious athlete. I think that part of my 2012 athletic funk had something to do with the quick turnaround I had from Kona 2011 to IMSG 2012, so it was a little easier to embrace some rest and take the words of wisdom given to my from coach K: you need to get a little out of shape, so you can come back stronger.” So, similar to last year’s off-season post, here’s the list of things I’ve been doing while getting a little out of shape. 

  • Caught up on some reading. “Gold” by Chris Cleave was the best book I read all year.
  • Went to Vegas
  • Got sick – sniffled, coughed, ached my way through the past month. I’m feeling much better now and should be good to go next week.
  • Rekindled my love for college basketball. Go Gonzaga!
  • Kept my bikes clean – rode outside only when it was sunny and dry. This will change Tuesday nights in January.
  • Drank beer at Oktoberfest in Seattle and biked through Oktoberfest in Leavenworth.
  • Checked Training Peaks a thousand times in the past few days – very, VERY excited to back on a schedule.
  • Celebrated the holidays with some of my favorite (or new) Christmas traditions – The Seattle Men’s Chorus Christmas concert with friends, 12 Days of Christmas swim, TN’s Fundreds swim, the Holidazzle and a ski trip to Utah with my family.
  • Watched some really good TV – living solo I haven’t splurged for cable and most syndicated television is on too late or conflicts with my workouts. Since September (on DVDs borrowed from the Public Library) I’ve watched every episode of “Breaking Bad,” caught up on Season 5 of “Mad Men,” and just started the first season of “Homeland.” Some of it I watched while on the bike trainer, but most of it was watched curled up on the couch.
  • Went to an awesome concert that was like a playlist from my best friend Sydnie – The Joy Formidable, Of Monsters and Men, The Lumineers, Awolnation, M83, Muse, The Killers, Grouplove.
  • Tried new recipes, cooked a lot, baked a lot, drank new cocktails, and spent time with the BF.
  • Bought a condo (more on this later) - The whole process went smoothly, but this grown up purchase still took time. I was happy to be going to inspections, meeting with the lender, and signing papers on days that my workouts were very flexible.
Snowy and Sunny Christmas Day
Seattle Men's Chorus Christmas Concert
4th Annual Holidazzle Run
A month into the off-season I was in the “sick of feeling lazy and trying to regain some semblance of fitness” that went well with my “do whatever workouts sound fun” training regime. Still, there were a lot of mornings when I slept through a masters workout or didn’t lift weights or watched “Mad Men” on the couch instead of simultaneously pushing the watts. It was a nice mix of doing something I love (s/b/r) and not being strict about a training plan.
But now here I am, a little nervous about what the 2013 season will bring, yet excited to start putting more time into the sport I love. I imagine that I’m like most athletes and suffer some sort of “fitness dysmorphia” (if there was such a thing) and I have this feeling that “I’m so out of shape with zero muscle or strength.” It’s true; relative to August I am out of shape. But I’m sure a boost in fitness is right around the corner and with a rested body and an eager mind, the ability to come back stronger than I’ve ever been is attainable in the coming year.

More training related posts to come in 2013!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holidazzle 2012

The 2012 Holidazzle is in the works and I couldn’t be more excited to spend the night with my running and triathlon friends prancing through Queen Anne, dressing up in festive outfits, singing some Christmas carols, and completing my go to 5-ish mile neighborhood run route. You can read more about how I dreamed up this event here and our 2011 run here. Like many holiday workouts, the Holidazzle run has become one of my favorite holiday traditions. I wanted to share with you some of the cookie recipes that I bake in anticipation of the big event and also list the Christmas songs that made the 2012 CD.

From top left clockwise: Jimmy's cookies frosted for Christmas,
2011 holidazzle group shot, 2011 carols,
Queen Anne Christmas lights, Macaroons and PB kisses

Holidazzle 2012 CD:
All Alone OnChristmas – Darlene Love & The E Street Band
Sleigh Ride – She & Him
Cantique de Noel (O Holy Night) – Whitney Houston (thought a Whitney tribute was appropriate)
White Christmas – Michael Buble & Shania Twain
Someday at Christmas – Jack Johnson
Christmas is All Around – Billy Mack from Love Actually
Do You Hear What I Hear? – Anthem Lights
Please Come Home for Christmas – My Morning Jacket
The First Noel – David Archuleta
Christmas Without You – OneRepublic
I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas – Bon Jovi
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – Jars of Clay
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Schuyler Fisk
Holly, Ivy, and Rose – Tori Amos
Silver Bells – Martina McBride
Please Come Home for Christmas – Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Joy To The World – Brian Wilson
Wonderful Christmastime – The Shins
When the Bells Start Ringing – My Morning Jacket (featuring The Head & the Heart)
O Christmas Tree – Glee Case
Silent Night – the Biebs (yep, this happened)
What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? – The Head & the Heart (probably my favorite song on the mix)
Auld Lang Syne – Straight No Chaser (because every Christmas CD needs a men’s a cappella tune)
Christmas cookies:
Butter cookies with cream cheese frosting – aka Jimmy’s Pink cookies from my favorite recipe book (recipe below)
Cocoa-Peppermint Patties
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Monster Cookies
Peanut Butter Kisses
Russian teacakes

I will also make chili, some salads, and complete the spread with cocktails, cheese, crackers, humus, and some other fatty delights.

Jimmy's Pink Cookies
For the cookies:
3 sticks of butter, unsalted at room temp (3 - I know!)
1 c. powdered sugar
3 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract

Combine butter and powder sugar. Mix on low speed increasing to medium, until light and fluffy. In medium bowl, combine flour and salt and mix well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until flour is absorbed. Add the vanilla and beat well to incorporate. Lay a sheet of waxed paper on large clean surface, and turn dough out onto it. Press into a thick disk, wrap well, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. On a clean floured surface, roll the dough into a thickness of 3/8 inch (or any good cookie thickness). Using a cookie cutter, cut dough into whatever shape you like. I use Christmas shapes in December, hearts in February, and circles any other time of the year. Place the cookies onto baking sheets and bake for 16-20 minutes, or until the are pale golden at the edge. Do not allow to brown. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

For the frosting (makes way more frosting than you actually need):
8 oz. cream cheese at room temp
6 T unsalted butter, at room temp
3 c. powdered sugar
1 1/4 kirsch (I used peppermint extract, because I prefer mint over cherry flavor)
Food coloring

Combine cream cheese and butter and beat on medium until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat on low to fully incorporate, then raise to medium until there are no lumps. Add kirsch (or peppermint) and beat well. I separate into bowls and use different food coloring depending on the season. Adjust coloring and extract to your liking. Generously spread onto the fully cooled cookies.

Stored in an airtight container, cookies will keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days - and they're delicious cold - or you can freeze them indefinitely.

I hope you all have a wonderful Winter Solstice and a very Happy Holiday!

Best of the Season,

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

#SPONSORBLOCK and a Request for Change

It wasn’t until the 2012 Olympic Games that I became aware of the strict governance from the USATF, USOC, and IAAF that suffocates the athletes we know, love, admire, perhaps train with, or aspire to become. During the Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games, there were many restrictions placed on athletes to speak publicly or promote their sponsors. This is not only unfair to the sponsors who took a risk in supporting their chosen athletes, it’s unfair to the athletes who LOVE their sponsors and finally have a national or international platform to promote them. It would be like a World Champion in Kona not being able to thank their wetsuit, bike, or run sponsor until after all the hype died down and everyone left the Big Island. Read more about the blackout period that Olympic athletes had to respect during the London Games here and here.

Over the past couple years as my athletic success has grown, I’ve been lucky enough to become a sponsored athlete and represent brands that help support my goals. Whether it’s a team sponsorship or individual sponsorships, the fuel, apparel, equipment, or services have helped soften the financial burden that is sometimes required to get ahead in sport. I love these brands and supporters and I do whatever I can to promote them. Luckily for me, the Ironman world stage isn’t plagued by Rule 40 of the USOC and there’s no blackout period around the time of my biggest, most important races.

My sponsorship with Oiselle opened my eyes to the smaller companies and the athletes they support. Leading up to the Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR this past June, Oiselle jumped through several hoops to outfit their athletes in a race kit that complied with USATF/USOC/IAAF, the Track and Field regulators. Check out their video: In this video the women at Oiselle give this process a funny spin. Yet they also prove that it was incredible headache versus the pure joy to design a race kit for their athletes participating in the Olympic trials.

Working with and having friends who work for brands like Nuun, PowerBar, Blue70, Oiselle, and Brooks, I know they carefully select and then take care to ensure their athletes have what they need to compete at high levels. And they don’t just do it for the recognition, they do it because they believe in their athletes, they love their athletes and they want the best for their respective sports. So please join me in supporting the athletes who have become members of TFAA or become a supporter yourself: Attention to this subject will only help the sport of Track and Field (and the many generous sponsors) grab the mainstream attention it deserves.

Follow TFAA here: or follow them on Twitter @TrackFieldAA

Support Track and Field and watch these athletes FLY! #freebird


Friday, November 30, 2012

Heirloom Cooking

Sincere apologies for not posting a recipe last week. My laptop is on the fritz and I was too busy on Thursday running with friends, getting in the holiday spirit, eating Thanksgiving dinner with my boyfriend’s family, and watching friends run the Seattle Marathon.  

A couple weeks ago, I saw this article on NPR’s food blog The Salt. It’s the story of two sisters and their memories of their Aunt Ida and her goldeneh hendts, Yiddish for golden hands. It also includes a recipe for Poppy Seed Cookies that I’m excited to try. This story is not unique, however. We all come from families and cultures that pass along memories in the form of food from one Thanksgiving dinner to the next. Or Christmas or Independence Day or New Year’s.

So, I’d like to share with you a recipe from my Grandma Knutson that I’ve enjoyed every Thanksgiving since I can remember. And as a bonus, it’s on the healthier end of the spectrum of holiday treats.

Cranberry Ice by Grandma Margie
1 quart or 1 bag of fresh cranberries
2 cups of water
2 cups of sugar (I skimped this year and used 1.5 cups)
1/4 cup of lemon juice (approx 2 lemons)
1/2 cup of orange juice
2 more cups of cold water

1.       Boil cranberries in 2 cups of water for about 10 minutes.

2.       Put water and cranberries through fine sieve to squeeze out a smooth pulp (I also add a spoonful of squished berries to the pulp)

3.       Add sugar, juices, and cold water.

4.       Stir to dissolve sugar

5.       Freeze, stirring after several hours for icy consistency

6.       Share family stories and enjoy compliments graciously
I made a batch last week and I’ve been enjoying it every day since. It’s also the only food that sounds good to me these days with the sore froat that has been bothering me for weeks. Although I missed being with my parents, siblings, and cousins this Thanksgiving, I’m making my own traditions. My friend Hallie put together a really fun swim set for Wednesday and a few friends and I have started our own Turkey Trot. We were frustrated with the only options being 5ks, so we run an 8-ish mile route and then go out for coffee.

In my late teens and early 20s, I figured by 30 years old I’d be married with a big house, a dog, and at least a couple kids. But as I look at my life now, I’m really content with the “family” of friends and runners and triathletes who surround me. We’ve made our own traditions of meals, drinks, and workouts. And as I change and life changes, I hope these are the heirlooms that I can pass down.

With Thanks,

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stick to Your Ribs

After a tough track workout last night (but fun and awesome with my PauoleSport teammates) the only thing on my mind was this soup. I wanted something with a little salt, a bit of kick, that would calm my belly, warm my body, and stick to my ribs. My mom and I discovered this soup at Pequot Lakes’ Sibley Station in Northern MN. Years later she sent me a newspaper clipping with the recipe, because when you're a mom in the Midwest that's what you do. I also found it here from the Moosewood cookbook. Everytime I make it, I think of my parents and wish they lived closer.  
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 T. Butter
  • 1 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 t. dry dill weed
  • 1T. Paprika
  • 1T. soy sauce
  • 2c. beef broth (you could probably use veggie)
  • 1c. milk
  • 3T. flour
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a large pot, saute chopped onion and butter.
  2. Add mushrooms and then stir in dill, Paprika, soy sauce, and beef broth.
  3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and flour.
  5. Pour into soup and stir well to blend.
  6. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Stir in sour cream and season with salt & pepper.
  8. Enjoy after cold, hard workouts.
Recipe card sent from my mom
And since this soup doesn’t quite go with my healthy living month theme, here’s the recipe/instructions I use for roasting vegetables (which I can’t seem to stop doing these days). Potatoes, yams, squash, carrots, Brussel sprouts, onions…lots of starchy vegetables down the gullet these days. So warm, wholesome, and delicious.

Roasted Winter Vegetables
  • 1 lb Brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved lengthwise
  • 2 sweet potatoes or 4 medium parsnips, halved lengthwise and sliced about 1/3 inch thick
  • 4 medium waxy potatoes (gold or red or whatever you have on hand basically)
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • olive oil or melted butter
  • coarse salt
  • fresh herbs, roughly chopped (optional) - I'd recommend thyme, rosemary, or marjoram
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Bring large pot of generously salted water to boil. Blanch the Brussel sprouts: Cook the halved Brussel sprouts until just barely tender. Drain and run under cold running water or plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. When cool, set aside.
  3. On a sheet pan, toss the uncooked vegetables with a good glug of olive oil or melted butter (enough to lightly coat the vegetables). Salt generously. Roast for 20 minutes.
  4. While the other vegetables are roasting, toss the blanched Brussel sprouts with olive oil or butter to evenly coat. Salt generously. When the potatoes and onions have roasted for 20 minutes, remove the sheet pan from the oven and spread the Brussel sprouts over the other vegetables and toss all together. Return to the oven and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until golden and crisp.
  5. Toss roasted vegetables with fresh herbs, if using, and serve hot.
And finally, here is the track workout we did: 10-15 minute warm-up, 6x1000m at 10k to 1/2 marathon pace with 200m recovery jog, 10 minute warm down. And the team even joined me for another 10 minutes of core work. It was a fun night under the clear, dark skies. The only thing that would have made it better is the food above, preferably cooked by my mom.
Enjoy with loved ones!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Tale of Two Chilies

While the other coast has been through hell this month, the Pacific Northwest has been surprisingly pleasant. It wasn’t until the onset of Hurricane Sandy that I didn’t have some envy for the people who were registered to run New York. The New York City Marathon will ALWAYS have a special spot in my heart. The first year I ran it (2005), I set a PR. The second year I ran it (2007), I set a PR and so did two of my friends. And the third year I ran it (2011), I was able to pace my best friend to a smashing PR (3:18 – go Sydnie!!). That year affirmed the notion that it’s not always your own personal goals, but seeing the people you care about reach theirs that can mean more.
I had several friends signed up to run NYCM this year, so I was disappointed that they didn’t have a chance to enjoy the 26.2 mile party after months of hard work. But despite the waffling that took place last week, I know it was in everyone’s best interest that Mary Wittenberg and Mayor Bloomberg made the decisions they did. My thoughts and prayers are still with the East Coast, as well as a runners’ prayer for all the racers to conserve their training and energy for an even better marathon in a month, a year, or when the timing is right. For a personal account from a Oiselle friend who was in NYC, check out this post.
With my November theme of sharing wholesome foods, here are the two chili recipes that I have made for the Holidazzle the past two years. Both will keep you warm. Enjoy with friends.

Vegetarian Chili
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 2/3 cups coarsely chopped red bell peppers (about 2 medium)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, drained, 1/2 cup liquid reserved or one can of garbanzos instead of the 3rd can of black beans
1 16-ounce can tomato sauce or a can of diced tomatoes.

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell peppers, and garlic; sauté until onions soften, about 10 minutes. Mix in chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne; stir 2 minutes. Mix in beans, 1/2 cup reserved bean liquid, and tomato sauce. Bring chili to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and chili thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle chili into bowls. Top with chopped cilantro, sour cream, grated cheese, and green onions separately. This recipe is pretty spicy, so if you can't take the heat (insert bad cliche or bad hip hop song), take it easy on the chili powder and cayenne. I'm not sure where I found this original recipe, somewhere online years ago.

Turkey Chili
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
1/4 cup chili powder
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
3 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
3 15-ounce cans small white beans, rinsed, drained (could also use 1 can white beans, 1 can black beans, and 1 can kidney beans)

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until light brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Add oregano and cumin; stir 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high. Add turkey; stir until no longer pink, breaking up with back of spoon. Stir in chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Add tomatoes with their juices, breaking up with back of spoon. Mix in stock and tomato sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans to chili and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes longer. Discard bay leaves. Ladle chili into bowls. Top with red onion, cilantro and yogurt separately.

(Both can be prepared a day or two ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat before continuing.)

Clockwise from top left: 2007 NYCM, double rainbow on
UW campus taken at work, UPS trucks on Staten Island in 2011,
pretty fall day on UW campus taken by JJ

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hello November!

Hello November! Every month I’m thrown at how quickly time goes by. Where did July go? Where did August go? Where did September go? You get the idea.

Years ago when I worked in public accounting, at the beginning of every month I’d tell my audit team: “it’s the start of healthy living month.” Sometimes the impressionable young auditors (they were like 2-3 years younger than me tops) would get on board with me and they’d take the stairs, stay away from the candy dish and occasionally eat a sensible meal. Most times they’d just laugh and order a full fat venti mocha with whipped cream. It was all fun and games until their business casual got a little tight.

My point is: November is healthy living month, even if I said it in October and will say it again in January (not December, because let’s be real). Actually, cleaner eating has been on my mind a lot lately and putting it up on this blog makes it a little more real. I joined a cooking class in late September that focuses on healthier, more wholesome options and habits. I don’t talk about food or nutrition much on this blog (or in person), because I’m certainly not an expert, nor can I prescribe what is best for each athlete. But I can share some recipes and tips that I learn along the way. So, with healthy living November, I’d like to share weekly recipes that you might like to try.

Here’s a little number that has become a fall and winter staple in my kitchen. I posted the link last month, but I think it deserves its own post. I first tried it in October 2010 when my friend Tesia made me a post-Kona feast to hear about my race. She also introduced me to Orangette, one of my favorite food blogs. Molly Wizenberg and her husband live in Seattle and have two restaurants. Reading her book, A Homemade Life, I developed foodie crushes on both of them. (And I am by no means a foodie.)

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon
Adapted slightly from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, by Melissa Clark

4 Tbsp. olive oil, plus additional good oil for drizzling
2 large yellow onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste
A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne or Aleppo pepper, or more to taste
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
If you use veggie broth, it’s both vegan and gluten-free (if you’re into that sort of thing).
2 cups red lentils, picked through for stones and debris
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lemon, or more to taste
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional for a garnish

In a large pot, warm the oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Add the onions and garlic and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the broth, 2 cups water, the lentils, and the carrots. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Continue to cook until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste, and add more salt if necessary. Using an immersion or regular blender, puree about half of the soup. It should still be somewhat chunky, not completely smooth. Reheat if necessary, then stir in the lemon juice and cilantro. Serve the soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted very lightly with cayenne, if desired.

It says it yields 6 to 8 servings, but I can usually make it last for a week or longer (sometimes I freeze it), which will include one girls’ night dinner, 2-3 solo dinners, and a couple half servings as part of my lunch. It also is good drizzled on leftover rice and lentils.

Also, I should add that hot liquids expand when you blend them. (Sydnie learned the hard way when she tried this recipe – one burn mark and several soup spills later…Sorry Syd!)

And while I’m at it, here’s the kale salad that I usually serve with it when I have guests (typically girlfriends over after a rainy run). I believe I found it here. It’s probably not the healthiest, with the large amounts of ricotta, but you can feel good about getting your greens.

3/4 to 1 pound lacinato kale or tender regular kale, stems and center ribs discarded
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 ounces coarsely grated ricotta salata (1 cup)

Working in batches, cut kale crosswise into very thin slices. Whisk together shallot, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined well. Toss kale and ricotta salata in a large bowl with enough dressing to coat well, then season with salt and pepper.

I like to toast pumpkin seeds or chopped walnuts for some added flavor and texture. I should also note that I usually end up with extra “dressing”(the ricotta, olive oil, shallot mixture). You could probably half the "dressing" ingredients and end up just fine. Or you could save the ricotta mixture until you buy more kale.

I'll try to post new recipes and tips as the month wears on. Until then, stay motivated with your healthy habits and workouts during these short, late fall days. If you're like me, you'd rather be parked on the couch watching Breaking Bad versus doing track workouts in the rain. At least this soup will warm you up when you're finished running! :) 

Happy November!



Friday, October 26, 2012

2012 Season Lows and Highs

As athletes, we experience a lot of ups and downs throughout the season. I find it hard to believe that given the pressure many of us put on ourselves combined with the countless hours of workouts (although often fun in the end) there aren’t some war wounds, tender emotions, and broken hearts when we come up short. But there are also a lot of celebrations, big and small, that take place during racing seasons. So here is my list of highs and lows for the year.

Lows – I’m starting with the lows, because I want to end this post on a high note. In looking back on some of my recent posts I realize that I’ve been somewhat of a killjoy the past couple months. This isn’t my personality, nor do I want that to be the tone of this blog. Also putting many of the memories down on paper this season I’m realizing (though I already knew this) that the highs definitely outweigh the lows. And sorry if this seems a little whiny, because I know I'm lucky to be able to do what I do. These are just my thoughts.
  • Not racing IM Coeur d’Alene – although I wanted to mix it up a bit this year, I did miss the IM course that has been a place for PR’s the past 4 years.
  • My first DNFyes, it sucked to sit on the sidelines at Grandma’s waiting for a ride to the finish line.
  • Not hitting a lot of the time goals I set for myself. It’s time to reassess and move on. And believe me – big goals for 2013. I know success in sport takes patience and I’m looking forward to finding out what’s next.
  • Missing the PRs – ever since I’ve started working with Coach K in 2009, I’ve PR’ed in every distance (sprint tri, HIM, IM, half marathon, full marathon) every season. This year: one measly 5 minute PR in the HIM distance. I think I’ve gotten a bit greedy in this regard. It’s fun to blow by the old times, but I need to recognize the other small victories that can occur during a workout, a race, and a season.
  • Feeling lethargic in training after IMSG and having to rest.
Phew! I think that’s it. I’m happy to wash my hands of the lows and to learn from them.
Highs – Another season of fun memories and so many laughs! And as I type this, I get a little teary realizing just how lucky I am to fall in love with a sport and lifestyle year after year. There are probably more little ones that I'm missing.
  • Spending my 30th birthday weekend in Oceanside
  • Surviving IM St. George and the trip to Vegas post-race
  • Morning lake swims Tuesdays and Fridays throughout the summer the routine was this: meet at the lake, hang out, shimmy into wetsuit, swim, shimmy out of wetsuit, hang out, buy coffee and donuts, bemoan going to work, laugh, plan the next one. Tuesday mornings were spent at Madison Park, Friday mornings were spent at the I-90 bridge. Shortest swim: 30 minutes (when the lake was below 60 degrees, I was tapering/recovering). Longest swim (the donut swim): 3 miles.
  • Finishing 1-2 at Troika Half Iron with Sydnie – despite a less than stellar finish for me, I was beaming with pride to see my best friend hit a PR.
  • No major pain after recovering from my winter shoulder injury.
  • Buying a Quarq – looking forward to geeking out on power numbers and dialing it in for training in 2013. Yes, I realize I’m behind the times.
  • 10 weekends spent in Eastern WA, near Lake Chelan
  • 4th of July week spent with family and friends
  • New sponsorship with Oiselle
  • Hood to Coast! – As usual, it’s one of my favorite weekends of the year. This year my team (Puke & Rally) was neck and neck with our rivals – the NY Bad Apples. I had the final leg and was able to chase down their runner and hold her off. She was right on my heels with one mile to go! Our ~200 mile relay came down to the last mile and I was able to put 19 seconds into her. I put my head down and didn’t look back as we raced to the beach! Puke & Rally had one of their highest finishes at the infamous race – 3rd for mixed open and 20th overall!
Weekend of the Year! 200 mile relay from Mt. Hood
to the Oregon Coast! Puke and Rally 4 Life!!

  • Ironman Canada Camp – despite the fact the WTC will no longer hold their race in Penticton; I had a great time checking out the course with my teammates who raced IMC this year.
  • Summer Park Tours – a little tradition that involves bikes, sixers of Coors Light, and Seattle parks. 1) Find a guy and a sixer of beer. 2) Get on bikes. 3) Find a park. 4) Drink a beer with said guy. 5) Repeat steps 2-4 until the sun goes down. (And if things go really well, start dating this guy.)
  • Having my family and friends with me at Ironman Wisconsin
Clockwise from top left: Park Tour at Lake Union in Seattle, Eastern WA
riding, Troika 1/2 Iron with Sydnie, PauoleSport teammates at a Friday
lake swim, bike and typical packing for training weekends in Chelan

Another race season has come and gone. There have been many highs and lows this year, but like I said in my Kona race report last year:

The successes of this year can’t only be measured in race finishes and PRs. Although it’s nice to shave minutes here and there and stand on top of a podium, the real joy I find in this sport is through the lifestyle it has given me, the relationships I’ve made, and the lessons I’ve learned.”
This still rings true. So although I’m not rolling in the trophies or trying to pimp myself out to new sponsors (not that I’ve ever really done this), there were some unforgettable moments in 2012 that in the grand scheme of life were better and sweeter than any finish time out there.
I have a handful of quotes that I’ve written on post-it notes and put up at work. Here’s one that sums up the ways I’ve found triumph this season:
“Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don’t have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up.” –Amby Burfoot
Every year in this sport I learn so much more about myself and what makes me happy – surrounding myself with like-minded athletes is a constant source of happiness. There is so much motivation and passion out there! This year I’ve broken more into the cyber world of triathlon friends and been able to follow the highs and lows of many blog followers and Tweeters. So thank you all for reading this year. It’s been fun to draw on your enthusiasm for the sport and also share my stories.
Looking forward to new memories in the 2013 season!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

While You Were Racing

I was a bit worried as October approached. I figured while the *rest of the triathlon world was getting strong and lean to prepare for the World Championships, I’d get the off-season blues that would result in feelings of remorse and envy. I was worried every other athlete would get fitter, as I just got paler. I thought I’d replay in my mind the awards banquet from St. George where I forfeited my Kona spot and let it roll down. But only a small part of me would like to be there racing. The past two years I’ve been so caught up in the Kona action to miss the fact that most people (*the real rest of the triathlon world) finish their year much earlier. They are able to enjoy the change of seasons without focusing on a taper, avoiding a cold, and flying to Hawaii.
*I sometimes forget that the triathlon world is mostly made up of people who do not get to race in Kona and that is perfectly okay!
Of course I’d trade a day at my office for a swim in Kailua Bay, breakfast at Lava Java, a run on Ali’i Drive, and some free swag from the race expo. But I’m kind of enjoying fall in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve had some amazing weather in Seattle over the past four weeks and I’ve done my share of leisurely swimming, biking, and running – just enough to not feel super lazy, but certainly not too much. I’ve reorganized things at home, tried some new recipes, gone out for drinks with friends, tailgated, gone to football games, avoided the post-race sickness, and gotten enough out of shape to start to look forward to next season’s race calendar.
Yesterday my best friend Sydnie and my teammate Hallie both asked me if I missed Kona or if I was sad seeing all the updates on Twitter. My answer: not really. It’s a little weird to see the pictures, but all the action looks a lot like 2011. I honestly feel like I’m looking at pictures that were posted a year ago, just different swimsuits and kits – all super cute, of course. I was fortunate enough to enjoy the race and the experience for the past two years. But spending this October NOT in Kona has helped me realize that life goes on without racing in Hawaii and without a rigorous training schedule. Life without Kona actually has a lot of perks.
It’s true; I want to go back to race in Kona someday. And don’t get me wrong, racing in Hawaii was one of the best experiences of my life. I’d go as far to say that the first year I raced there was “one of the happiest days of my life” (seriously, I think I smiled throughout all 140.6 miles) and last year was my favorite vacation ever. But this year a break was much needed. As I sit hear listening to The Avett Brothers “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” after attending a beer tasting with a couple Oiselle teammates, I find myself completely content with my decision not to race in Kona. I know it wasn’t a perfect year of racing, so beginning my off-season a month early this year was for the best and a chance to step away from all the World Championship hype.
Best of luck to everyone racing on Saturday! Like my check-in volunteer told me in 2010, “May it be the day of your dreams.” I will be watching and cheering from afar, meanwhile accepting the fact that my dreams and life were a bit different this year.

PS – also while I write, I’m simmering this soup that I just whipped up. It’s from one of my favorite food bloggers. Hallie - do you approve? :) I’ll either serve it with part of dinner tomorrow to celebrate my friend Annabelle’s birthday (also making homemade mac & cheese, roasted vegetables, a kale salad, homemade butter & bread) or save it for the weekend. Molly Wizenberg says, “It also screams for a beer. It says October.” I thought it was very fitting.

Some lovely Northwest riding


UW beats #8 Stanford

Sunrise Swimming