Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Down Time

After a much needed two week break of no training (and I mean NO training!) I am finally in my 5th week of base training and despite the chilly temperatures here ( 30's -40's) I have managed to get out and get some solid workouts in.

My cousin Serena is home from University of Hawaii where she is on full ride scholarship for swimming and she is putting the hurt on in the pool. I'm bummed that she's only here for a week though and then it's back to the grind for her!

Track & Field at MPC

Starting mid-January I will be helping to coach the distance team at MPC (Monterey Peninsula College). Although this will be my first time coaching collegiately, I have coached high school cross country and track & field. There are at least 8 men and women on the distance team and I will be working about 3 days/week with them.
I am very excited to be able to help out and gain experience coaching at the collegiate level.

To Bri: I'm glad you are excited too and I look forward to meeting you when track starts!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Thank You

I received an email the other day and I just would like to say Thank You to RJ for your support. Keep on walking and I'll see you on the recreation trail.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ford 70.3 World Championships

November 11, 2006
Clearwater, FL

Usually Treasure Island Triathlon is my last one and by the time it rolls around, I'm ready for the season to be over with. This year, however, my season was extended one more week for the 70.3 Championships, an inaugural half ironman series. I'm glad that there is this series, because it's long overdue. This is such a great distance and by the look of the numbers of athletes I'd say I'm not alone in that.
Jay and I caught a red-eye flight out of SFO on wednesday. I think we slept a grand total of about 3 hours before eventually landing in Tampa. We made it to our hotel and then to my pro luncheon just in time; the reason for us taking the meeting and the fact that Jay had taken so much time off work. After getting our packets and quickly perusing the expo, we went back to our hotel and put our bikes together. We then went for a short ride to make sure that the bikes were in order and then I went for a short 15 minute run to loosen up from the plane ride. There was an opening ceremonies dinner provided by the race management at 6pm at the Sand Key Park, so we decided to check it dinner??? Hey, we're there! This event is put on by the same organizers that do IM Hawaii, so the format was pretty much the same; entertaining and a good show.
By the time the dinner was finished, Jay and I were exhausted. We headed back to the hotel and went to bed.
The Swim Course

Friday morning rolled around and we found a cute diner to have breakfast at. After, we went for another short ride and I went for a run. Since we didn't have time the day before to check out the swim start, we did it today. The water was comfortable enough to probably swim without wetsuits, but because it would be a wetsuit swim tomorrow, we decided to put ours on. It was a short swim, but enough to test the water and loosen up.
After another short ride and run I was ready to relax, have dinner and then prepare my gear for tomorrow's early awakening.

We were up at a little after 4am. Our bikes were already at the transition area (we had to drop them off yesterday) so it made it quite easy to grab our bags and go...after breakfast that is!
It was still dark out when we arrived at the shuttle bus stop at Sand Key Park. We got on a bus and they took us to the transition area, about 2-3 miles away. I made sure that I had my gels for the bike as well as my electrolyte pills and that my extra tubular was on securely. I did a short warm up run with a few pickups before dropping off my shoes in my run bag. The way the transition area worked here was very similar to all of the IM races; what I mean is that there are specific bike and run bags and your gear must fit into these bags. Upon finishing the swim you run towards the bag pickup and enter change tent. Every person must go through the change tent and then on to where your bike is racked.
The pro men started about 5 minutes before we did. It was a beach start with a one loop rectangular course. The gun went off and we all ran into the water and jockyed for position for quite some time. I found myself in the middle of a pack and wanted to get out into some open water. I finally made it to the inside (closest to the buoy's) and proceeded to work my way up.
The further I swam, the better I felt. I kept telling myself to relax as I thought I was too tense and spinning my arms instead of gliding through the water. I eventually got behind a group of girls and I followed them into the swim finish. I was exciting to figure out that I had exited quite well, top 7 in a time of 27:32. I had a quick T1 and was out of the changing tent and running to my bike while putting on my helmet and race belt. I left T1 and was out on the ride. Within only a few miles I had caught two women. I was now in 5th place. I felt quite strong for the first 10-15 miles and then I had a few women pass me and then a pack of 3 women pass and I got irritated that they were drafting when this was a non-drafting race. I kept on pressing doing my own thing. The course was relatively flat with a few small rises...usually these were across bridges. With about 15 miles to go I got swept up in a huge age group pack of men and women. I want to make it perfectly clear that this was a pack of at least 65 people and there was no place for me to go except with them until it was clear enough for me to move around them or they continued their pace and left me. I was quite frustrated with it all because not only were these age group athletes drafting, but there were pro women mixed in as well which is not fair for anyone involved. I must point out here that if it's a drafting race (which is normally for pros only) then I'm all about drafting as it's part of the game. BUT...when it is a non-drafting race, it is NON-DRAFTING and I will abide by the rules. This is a bit off topic of the race, but I have read many arguments on drafting versus non-drafting and I often read about age group athletes who are against drafting, but when it comes down to it who do I see drafting in a non-drafting races??? Age groupers! So, I don't think it's fair for age group athletes to bash drafting when they themselves are out there breaking the rules. This is just my thought on the matter.

Now, back to the race!

I entered T2 (bike split of 2:29:58) ready to run and after grabbing my bag and heading into the change tent, I was off to catch some women! The run was mostly flat, like the bike, with 2x up and over the hill bridge. I felt good and was able to hold a steady pace and catch approximately 6 women on the run. With a mile left to go though I caught a glimpse of a women just ahead of me...could I catch her?? I was going to try. I picked up the pace and with a determined look on my face I kept her in sight and kept pushing every step a bit closer to her. I was in the finish shut now (and let me tell you, it was one long finish shut!) and I was just behind her; I decided to go for it knowing that there was approximately 100m left to go. As soon as I was just in front of her and she was able to see my number, she picked up the pace and I was unable to hang with her...she out sprinted me by only a few seconds!(Run split of 1:28:03) I finished in 4:29:28 (My predicted time was 4:30..right on!).

I was glad with my performance knowing that this year was a bit of a stuggle to remain motivated and it only showed how well I will do next year with a specific plan!

I didn't want to miss Jay coming across the finish line, so I waited for just over an hour! I was thirsty and hungry, but I didn't want to miss him! And I didn't...he had a great big smile on as he ran by me and into the finish line!

We enjoyed the post race awards ceremony and dinner and instead of going out that night to celebrate...we went to bed early knowing that getting up at 3:30am the next morning and flying home would be an ordeal in itself and we needed to be as rested as we could be.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Treasure Island Triathlon

November 4, 2006
San Francisco, CA

I wasn't sure how well I would do here, but I wasn't too nervous when we lined up in the 54 degree water at a little after noon. There were only 9 of us competing and the money went 10 deep, so I found some comfort in that I would at least make a little bit of money this weekend! I did however have one goal in mind and that was to move one spot up in the overall Tri-Cal Pro Series. Now for me to accomplish this task, I had to finish in front of one particular competitor. It seems as though Kelly Couch and I seem to flip-flop in each race and by that I mean, I will finish in front of her at one race and then the next race she will finish in front of me! So, it was up in the air at this point.

The gun went off and I found myself in a pretty good position to draft off a few women. Once we rounded the first buoy, I was still in a pack of three other women and I felt pretty good. A few times I tried to manuever around them, but decided that it might be a good idea to sit in. Once around the second buoy though I noticed that there was a slight gap between the girl directly in front of me and the two other women. I decided to make a move on the inside and pass the girl that I was with. I was surprised how good I felt and how easily I was able to catch the other women by the turn around buoy. I had created a gap of approximately one minute and now found myself exiting the water with Mirinda Carfrae and Malaika Homo, whom I've never come out of the water with before.

In the past I would be about a minute behind Malaika, but today was different and I was exited that I would have some people to work with on the bike. Before we started the race, my friend Beth had said that if I can come out of the water with Mirinda, that she's a pretty strong cyclist; so I was pleased that it happened to work out like that!
I exited the water in 21:32 with a :52 T1, the fastest of the girls!!

Mirinda, Malaika and myself worked well together for about a lap or two before we dropped Malaika. We had passed Karen and picked up Linda and the new group of three worked well and we were making time on Becky, the first place woman. The course for those of you who have never been here is quite technical with approximately 21 turns per each of the 6 laps. The turns are not very sharp as you can pedal through most of them except for the u-turn at the top of a small climb. The sun started to peek through the clouds at about half way through the ride to help us thaw from the frigid waters of the San Francisco Bay. A lap or two before we were finished I saw Kelly walking her bike...she must have gotten a flat. She was no longer a threat to the overall points, but it is bittersweet luck; you never want to see someone flat out in a race.

Linda, Mirinda and I entered T2 at the same time; with Mirinda and I tying for the fastes bike split of 1:05:59! Mirinda had a quick transition and was out. I was just behind her but knew that I would not be able to catch her on the run. I was in third place and wanted to at least keep it there. I didn't have the snap in my legs that I'm used to, but if I could just keep a steady pace I'd be okay and hold onto third.My run time was 37:20 and total time of 2:06:22.

I was able to do just that; 3rd place and I moved myself into 2nd place in the Tri-Cal Pro Series!!

Now, there's just one more race to go, the 70.3 World Championships is Clearwater, Florida on Saturday.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monterey Bay Half Marathon

October 29, 2006

I was graciously invited to compete amongst the elite runners in this year's presentation on the Big Sur Half Marathon in Monterey. I last ran this course in 2004 where I placed 2nd. I felt though that this year might be a bit more difficult as there were 2 Olympians scheduled to compete. I wanted to run this as a training race considering I was to race the triathlon at Treasure Island, SF the following saturday.

I woke up at 5am so that I had plenty of time to eat and have coffee before the race. My sister Erin was so excited about her first half marathon 3 weeks ago that she had decided to sign up for this one as well; so she arrived at my house a little after 5am and we got ready. I live about a mile from the start of the race, so we decided to jog down there for part of our warm-up. We got there in plenty of time to drop off our bag and run a little more before lining up in our specified corrals (like cattle!!). I was in the first corral and Erin was in the second. The gun went off at 7am and the pace didn't seem too fast in the beginning. I stuck with a few of the lead women for a few miles before I decided that I was just going to run my own race. I figured if I could hold close to a 6 minute mile average I'd be very near my PR.

The course is relatively flat with a few small inclines, but not hilly. The high-light of the course is running through the tunnel that connects Monterey to Pacific Grove. This is normally a car only tunnel, but there have been a few times where I've gotten to ride my bike through and now run through! There were a few musicians along the route which was entertaining, but nothing like the Rock N' Roll halfs. Nonetheless this is one scenic half marathon.

The turn-around point is near Asilomar Beach. There is a gradual uphill before the U-turn and I belive this is approximately at mile 8. About a mile or so before the turn around I saw one of my competitors who had passed me a few miles back stop and stretch her calf...she had cramped up and had to stop!! This gave me motivation to pick up the pace and see if there were any other women who might have "run" into trouble...pun intended!!

I began counting the women in front of me and quickly found that after passing the girl, I was now in 8th place! There was prize money to be had and 8th place was the last place to win money. I wasn't sure if I could pick off any more of the women in front of me, but I wanted to make sure that no one could come from behind. After I made the turn I kept my eyes open to see where the next woman behind me was and baring nothing happened to me, it looked as though I was good as gold to maintain my place.

I had no expectations for this race because I had been having some breathing issues for the past week and a half. Come to find (just recently) I had severe allergies, but to what I haven't figured out yet. That will come hopefully after my last race of the season.
I felt good during the race; no breathing problems, but I could tell that with about 2 miles to go that I was not in the best shape that I could have been in. I did however come very close to my PR; I was only slower by about :45. I also wasn't as sore as the Rock N' Roll half I did 3 weeks ago and even recovered quicker too.

My time for the half was 1:22:05 and I was able to hold on for 8th place!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monterey Herald Article

October 30, 2006

Records tumble at Big Sur Half-Marathon
Herald Staff Writer

Course records tumbled, quite predictably, at the fleet feet of the world-class cast of runners populating the pack Sunday in the fourth running of the Big Sur Half-Marathon, a 13.1-mile gallop through downtown Monterey, along Cannery Row, down the scenic coast and back.

A star-studded field included former Olympians, numerous NCAA All-Americans, a U.S. champion, and, of course, a couple of Kenyans, a combination that resulted in the fastest pace ever in both the men's and women's divisions.

The overall champion, former Stanford star Ian Dobson, broke the tape in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 32 seconds in the first half-marathon he's ever run. That time was the fastest ever recorded on the Big Sur course, besting the 1:05.12 set in 2004 by Michael Aish of Gunnison, Colo.

"A 10K was as far as I'd ever gone. I'm more of a track runner," said Dobson, a nine-time All-American in college and an NCAA runner-up at 5,000 meters. "I knew I wasn't going to run away from these guys early, so my strategy was to sit behind the lead as long as I could and hope I could last. I knew I'd probably be faster than the other guys for a mile, so I figured I'd be all right if I could stay close until the end."

Dobson was pushed to the finish line by Fernando Cabada, a U.S. champion at 25K, who finished in 1:02.45. McDonald Ondara, a Kenyan now living in Santa Fe, N.M., was third overall in 1:03.12.

"We've run against each other many times. I ran against him a lot in college, mostly in cross country, so I know a lot about him," Dobson said. "In fact, we're really good friends."

The women's race, equally loaded, featured a one-two finish by U.S. Olympians Jennifer Rhines and Kate O'Neill, pro teammates who, like Dobson, are training at 8,000 feet in Mammoth Lakes.

Rhines loped to a course-record time of 1:12.18, and placed 16th overall, finishing with a solid lead on O'Neill, who was clocked at 1:16.33. The previous women's best at the Big Sur Half was a 1:15.13, set two years ago by Nicole Aish, of Gunnison, Colo.

Brooke Wells, a 2002 Carmel High graduate, now living in San Francisco, placed fourth among the women with a time of 1:17.58. She was 25th in the field. Piedmont's Heather Gibson finished third in 1:16.56.

"The women's pack broke up pretty early, actually. I was running with a man during the first part of the race, but basically ended up running by myself the rest of the way," said Rhines, a Team USA marathoner. "I pulled away from the other women during the first mile or two. I knew where I stood because I saw Kate (going the opposite direction) when I was coming back (toward the finish line) after the turn-around."

O'Neill, an Olympic 10K runner, was competing at the longer half-marathon distance for the first time in her career, and wasn't necessarily focused on winning the event.

"I tried to be conservative today to make sure I'd have some energy left at the end," she said. "I've been a 10K specialist until now, but I'd love to move up in distance, so this was a good place to start. But once you get to six miles, you're usually done. And at that point (in a half-marathon), you're only halfway. So, for me, it was mostly about getting past that, mentally."

Monterey's Alexis Waddel, a world-class triathlete and former runner-up in this event, said she ran her own race, avoiding the temptation to keep pace with the nation's elite distance runners.

"I'm a triathlete first, and I just can't compete right now with Olympians. It's two different types of training, so I really didn't attempt to hang with them today," said Waddel, who said she's also been fighting mysterious respiratory problems recently. "I figured if I could hold a six-minute pace, that would be good, and I came within 45 seconds of my (personal record), which is very satisfying."

Her time, 1:22.05, was good for eighth in the women's division, 37th overall.

The first Monterey Peninsula runner across the finish line was Jeff Magallanes of Seaside, who was second in masters, in 1:15.11. He was 21st overall.

"I ran with my solo coach, Dwight Smith. We were working together today, but he did almost all of the work," said Magallanes, who was 19th overall in the 2005 race. "Dwight was willing to sacrifice himself today for some of the rest of us, which is the kind of guy he is, and the result was that I ran the fastest I've ever run. I did a 1:15.12 three or four years ago, and never thought I'd run that fast again, so I'm really ecstatic."

Smith crossed the line right behind Magallanes at 1:16.45.

Local runners who won their age division included Kevin Magallanes of Seaside, (male 12-15, 1:42.59), Ashley Madison of Monterey (female 12-15, 2:04), Daniel Tapia of Castroville (male 16-19, 1:16.19), James Migletz of Seaside (male 35-39, 1:17.36), Lisa Miller of Pacific Grove (female 40-44, 1:30.06), Dan Zulaica of Carmel (male 45-49, 1:19.39), Stella Gibbs of Pacific Grove (female 45-49, 1:31.26), Don King of Salinas (male 60-64, 1:36.48), Nelly Wright of Pacific Grove (female 60-64, 1:44.18), Ignacio Perez of Soledad (male 50-54, 1:26.44), Rod MacKinley of Pebble Beach (male 65-69, 1:37.53), Hansi Rigney of Carmel (female 65-69, 1:44.07), Frances Sackerman of Carmel (female 75-79, 2:26.00).

Dobson and Rhines each won $2,000 as overall male and female champions, and each also got a $1,000 bonus for setting course records.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Article about BS half in Salinas Californian

Runners take to the coast
Half marathon is Sunday
The Salinas Californian
October 27, 2006

This Sunday's Big Sur Half Marathon is expected to attract 4,500 participants, the most since it began in 2003.

The event calls on entrants to run, jog or walk along a 13.1-mile stretch of the Monterey Peninsula.

Participants take part in the 7 am. contest for a variety of reasons. Some will use the race to help get ready for next month's New York City Marathon. Others will use it as a measuring stick to prepare for April's Big Sur International Marathon. And some will just enjoy the peninsula as they walk.

"We're expecting the usual enthusiastic crowd," said Franca Gargiulo, director of media relations with the marathon.

Coordinators with the Big Sur International Marathon created the half marathon event four years ago because the full marathon event, a 26.2-mile run along with various other running and walking events, continued to sell out at a rapid pace. Sunday's half-marathon also has sold out.

"The numbers have grown every year," Gargiulo said. "There are a lot more walkers, a lot of baby boomers that are injured but still want to be in it. And more people are getting into fitness."

Some of Sunday's competitors took part in last weekend's Chicago Marathon or the Baltimore Half Marathon earlier this month, although Gargiulo said she doesn't know how many.

Steve Sundell of Redwood City is last year's men's champion, winning the race in 1 hour, 5 minutes, 20 seconds. Marina's Heather Hanscom won the women's title with a run of 1:17:24.

Among this year's female challengers is Pacific Grove professional triathlete Alexis Waddell, a runner-up in 2004. Former Olympians Jen Rhines and Katie O'Neill are also slated to participate.

Ibrahim Limo, a Kenyan who trains in Cary, N.C., and who won the men's division last year, is a scheduled participant. In 2004, Limo won the Big Sur International Marathon . Another participant originally from Kenya, Richard Kimeli of Albuquerque, N.M., has a personal half-marathon record time of 1:03:15, which would have bested Sundell's time last year by two minutes.

With a mostly flat course, runners won't have to worry about steep hills. It begins at Del Monte and Tyler streets in Monterey and goes toward Lake El Estero. The course continues along the coast toward Lover's Point in Pacific Grove. The course then runs through parts of downtown Pacific Grove before going back to Monterey. The finish line is the Custom House Plaza on Fisherman's Wharf.

Weather won not be a problem (although Gargiulo said runners would come even if it was raining, as it did two years ago); temperatures are expected to be in the mid 50s at the start of the race. No rain is expected.

"Runners should be aware of exhaustion," Garguilo said. "Slow down and enjoy the course. Take it easy and have a good time."

Along with the half marathon, there's a 10-mile walk and 5-kilometer run that takes place at the same time.

The men's and women's winners earn $2,000; the top eight men and women all receive money. An extra $1,000 is awarded to the runner that breaks the course record in his or her gender.

Contact Glenn Cravens at

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Big Sur Half Marathon --Monterey Bay

For Immediate Release
Franca Gargiulo
Director Media Relations

Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay Announces Elite Field

(October 24, 2006 – Carmel, CA) The Fourth Presentation of the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay once more embraces a sold-out field that includes a world-class group of elite runners from around the country. On October 29 over 4,500 runners and walkers will participate in the Half Marathon and 10-Mile Walk on a scenic course that winds through historic downtown Monterey, along world-famous Cannery Row, and continues along the Pacific Grove coastline. The race will end at Custom House Plaza, adjacent to Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf.

A revamped prize purse for the 2006 race has drawn interest from world-class runners around the United States. A strong women’s field is headlined by Jen Rhines, a 2004 Olympian competitor in the marathon event who owns a marathon PR of 2:29. She will be joined by another Olympian, Kate O’Neill, who represented the U.S. in the 10,000 meter event in 2004 and has a PR at that distance of 31:34.

These two female runners will be challenged by Hannah Mitei, a Kenyan training in Albuquerque, NM whose half marathon PR is 1:16 along with Heather Gibson of Oakland, CA who claims 5K/10K PRs of 16:34 and 33:59. Rounding out the women’s field are Camille Herron of Corvallis, OR, 2005’s third place finisher at the Big Sur Half; Angela Strange, a triathlete from Palo Alto, CA and winner of the 2003 Detroit Marathon in a time of 2:43; local professional triathlete Alexis Waddell who placed second here in 2004; and the 2005 female masters winner, Christine Kennedy of Los Gatos, CA.

The men’s race is equally impressive with two Americans headlining the field. Fernando Cabada out of Tennessee is the U.S. 20km record holder, while Ian Dobson, also of Tennessee, holds a fast PR of 13:12 in the 5000m. They will be joined by Ibrahim Limo of Albuquerque, NM, a former Big Sur Marathon winner and 2nd place finisher at the 2005 Big Sur Half. Kenyan Richard Kimeli, also of Albuquerque, has a 2004 half marathon PR of 1:03:15 and has run 10 miles in 49:07 this year. His training partner McDonald Ondara placed fifth in the recent Baltimore Half Marathon and hopes to improve his time at the Big Sur Half. The field is completed by Christian Hesch, Sergio Reyes, Jeff Gardina, and Miguel Nuci, four fast Central Coast runners with PRs in the 1:06 range. Vying for the master’s title are local runners Jeff Magallanes and Dwight Smith, both of Seaside, CA.

In addition to the Half Marathon and 10-Mile Walk, the Run Forrest Run 5K will take place on Sunday, October 29 as well. There will be a Health & Fitness Expo on the Friday and Saturday preceding the races, held at the Monterey Conference Center. Race participants as well as the general public are invited to this fun and informative event with a focus on health screening checks and demonstrations, sports medicine and fitness programs, the latest in fitness clothing, shoes and training aids and a variety of other run and walk related products and services.

To learn more about the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay, visit

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Big News

October 21, 2006

In August Jay and I went on holiday to Canada. This trip was originally meant for Jay to compete in IM Canada, but unfortunately he had to pull out about two months before the race. We deicided to go up to Canada anyway and have a nice holiday.
Our first full day there after getting coffee, we walked along the Okanagan Lake in City Park. We decided to take some pictures of us, so Jay put the timer on the camera and we got positioned infront of the lake. After this first picture, Jay decided to take another one and the picture says a thousand words:

Yes, he proposed! I couldn't believe it, but of course I said yes!! We have yet to set a date but it will be sometime in 2007.
Oh, and this is the original re-enactments here!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

San Jose Rock N' Roll 1/2 Marathon

October 8, 2006

Erin at dinner the night before the race

In April my younger sister Erin decided that she wanted to run in a 1/2 marathon, her first. She saw a flyer for the Innaugral San Jose Rock N' Roll 1/2 Marathon and signed up for it...then she thought, "I guess I should quit smoking now." And that's just what she did. It's been about 5 months on non-smoking and I'm happy to report that she completed her first 1/2 in 2 hrs. 5 min.

Erin at our hotel

After volunteering at the Big Sur Trail Marathon, 1/2 Marathon and 5 miler on Saturday (event organizer Dave Horning, Erin and I drove up to San Jose and while she checked in, I decided that I would run also. A last minute decision on my part, but I thought it would be a good training day.

Our huge tub in the hotel

Erin and I stayed at a hotel a little over a mile away from the start. We woke up early (Erin wanted to make sure that she was up and awake)...5:15am!!

Erin, race morning

The race was to start at 8am and Erin would start in corral 7 and me in corral 1, just behind the elite runners...and let me tell you, there is a huge difference in body type of elite runners and elite triathletes! The course was mostly flat with local bands playing approximately every mile or so, which helps keep you motivated! I can't believe people were actually wearing iPods during the race???

Andrew and Erin and the Train concert

From what Erin told me about her race, she had a great time and was able to negative split her entire race! As for me, I took it out way too fast!! It felt comfortable and so I ran with it, but eventually I felt my legs begin to get heavier and heavier and even felt the soreness setting in. I had a feeling I might be the first "amatuer" female and I was until I got passed at about mile 10! I ended up 2nd overall "amatuer" female and 1st in the 30-34 age group with a time of 1:22:21 (about a minute slower than my PR).

Me and Erin at the Train concert

Both Erin and I were so pleased with how we did and mom and dad were there to see us compete. We hung out in SJ after the race...went to eat, check out of the hotel, visit the Tech Musuem and then went to the HP Pavilion to see Train in concert (free entry with 1/2 marathon registration!). I was very impressed with their performance and we had a great time! We drove home afterwards...actually I drove while Erin snored in the passenger seat!!


Erin is so excited that she signed up for the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay in 3 weeks!

Tinley's Triathlon

September 30, 2006

Tinley's is the only other race besides Wildflower that we get to camp. And as far as I know I am one of very few pro athletes who take on the challenges of camping the night before a race.

I got a ride with the Brigantino's because Jay had to work a bit late and I wanted to get down to Lake Lopez in the daylight hours to pick up my packet and get my gear together for the 8am race the next day.

I didn't get the greatest of sleep that night due to the fact that skunks had invaded our campsite and were rummaging through the trash that was left by the table. Our dog, Sprocket, kept barking at the skunks all night long. Oh well, at least non of us got sprayed!

I woke up early, around 5:45am to make sure that I'd get some coffee and have enough time to eat some oatmeal before I headed on down to the transition area. There was a small group of professional women most of whom I know. I got a short swim in...I should have swam longer in retrospect.
The air temp was cold while the water temp was a bit warmer which usually happens at this particular race. Here the men and women pros start together and it was a bit of a mess. I started out okay but then got bumped quite a bit and eventually found myself spit out the back just after the first buoy. I need to work on my skills within the first 400 am I going to do that you ask??? I haven't figured it out yet, but when I do, I'll let you know!! I tried to catch the pack that was just in front, but I felt so sloppy in the water that I wasn't able to and swam the rest of the 1 1/2 loops by myself. Upon exiting the water after the first loop, the ramp was covered in algae that I almost slipped a few times. Coming around the second and final loop I encountered some of the back-of-the-packers of age group athletes. I exited the swim in 22:34 and quickly was on my bike to catch as many girls as I could...sounds familiar doesn't it??

The bike course reminds me of Wildflower in that it's a two lane road in the country, undulating hills and a semi-looped course.

As soon as I left the park, I saw two women ahead of me and decided to go after them. I couldn't tell who it was, but I found my immediate goals. There was something else going on this weekend because there were more cars on the roads than in previous years...suv's towing trailers and boats. Matter of fact, I was almost run off the road by a suv towing a boat...he came so close that I had about another foot before I was in the dirt. Of course this made me angry and so I pushed the pace a bit harder and eventually caught and passed Karen L.

Now, I raced this course 5 years (this year makes 6) and I've never gotten lost or mis-directed. The volunteers have been great, but as Karen and I rode past the first left hand turn, which looked familiar, I saw a police man standing there holding up traffice and watching us ride by. In the nick of time I yelled if that was where we were supposed to turn and he non-chalontley said I yelled at Karen to turn around, that we missed the turn. We flipped and headed back (thank goodness it wasn't that far, maybe 30 sec. off our time)and I yelled at the officer again that there should be someone here directing the athletes. So, again I pushed the pace looking for my next competitor to pass. I was in 6th place after the bike turn around and Kelly C. was just ahead. I wasn't sure how fast I was going because the computer on my bike decided it wasn't going to work today!

I unfortunately didn't catch anyone else on the bike (1:09:31), but once in T2, Shozgood said that I was about :45 down from Kelly. I knew she was a fast runner and that Malaika and Linda were in front of me and that maybe I could at least catch them which would put me in 4th place. Within less than a minute I saw and passed Linda and was on my way to see who was left in front of me.
The run course is challenging because of not only the two loops but because of the rolling hills that you must go up twice! I figured if I can stay strong on the uphills I'd be better able to catch the next person, Malaika, which I eventually did. In the past, I've been able to catch up to Malaika on the bike, but she has been working extremely hard and as I found out after the race while talking with her, it was her goal to not have me catch her on the bike, and it worked.

I kept going thinking that maybe I could see Kelly once I rounded one of the corners or got to the top of a hill, but no such luck, she finished :39 ahead of me to take 3rd place while I finished in 2:11:59 for 4th. It's now a battle between me and Kelly for 2nd place in the Tri Cal Pro Series.

At the Awards

I've stepped up my training...actually, I will be consistent and have a plan for the next few weeks until Treasure Island and hope that this last minute training will pay off!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Yosemite Trip

Jay and I on our way to Yosemite

September 22-24, 2006

Sometimes you just need a break from training and racing. That's why I opted to go to Yosemite with a group of friends and forego training for a weekend. I know, sounds funny, but I was so glad to be where I was and not off in some far away country.

Mark in the Cabin

Jay and I drove up friday afternoon and got into Curry Village a little after 8pm. It was dark and we didn't know which cabins were ours. Jay thought that it'd be a good idea to wonder around in the dark listening for voices that we might recognize but after walking around and noticing that there were more cabins that he though, we decided to walk towards the parking lot when in the distance I noticed Mark T. I yelled his name and he turned around! Whew. No moe wondering around in the dark looking for our party...we had found them!

Jay in bed at the cabin

After setting into our cabin, we made our way to Brandee's cabin where we proceeding to have wine, bread and cheese and great conversation for the next hour or two before calling it quits and going to bed. It was going to be an early morning for sure.

Getting ready to hike Saturday morning

There was a knock at our cabin door at 5:34am...Shozgood was frantically looking for her stove so that she could make her morning coffee! We slowly got up ourselves and we too made coffee and breakfast and sandwhiches for the rest of the day. There were a total of 16 of us on the trip and the plan was to hike up Half Dome. We all left at about 7:15am and proceeded to the beginning of the trail where we took a "before" picture!

Scenic Waterfall

It was a great morning; a bit cool, but you could tell that it would get warmer as the day progressed. I'm not sure how many hours it took us to reach the saddle of half dome...but we stopped quite a bit to take photos, rest, wait for the rest of our group and have lunch.

Climbing to Vernal Falls

Jay on top of Vernal Falls

It was so crowded though when we reached the saddle that there was a line to climb the last 400meters or so up the side of Half Dome. Some wanted to wait in line and others, like Jay, Mark, Laurie, Macy, Brandee and myself decided to hike back down and go to the river!

Shozgood and I on top of Vernal Falls

We made it back to our camp at close to 5pm or shortly there after and all of us were in need of a good shower and some hot food!

Scenic Lake near Vernal Falls

Those that stayed to climb up the last bit of Half Dome followed home shortly after and when they were clean, we all headed to the pizza pub for dinner. 5 pizzas later we were full to the gills and ready to relax back at our cabins.

The Beauty of Yosemite

Sunday we slept in til about 7am and after having coffee and breakfast we took the shuttle to Yosemite Falls which was dry! We walked around and at the visitors center hiding in a tree was a relatively small black bear!! I tried to get some photos, but it was hard to see.

The line to Half Dome
We then went to find some spider caves of which we crawled though! It was eventually getting late, so Jay and I said goodbye to everyone and we headed home.

This is just what I needed...a little break from routine training; oh, my legs were still sore though after that 18 mile hike!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

PG Triathlon

PG Elite Awards

September 9, 2006
PG Tri

It's that time of year for the PG Triathlon. I was excited not only to race, but I had two friends who were coming to compete at this race for the first time, Beth Hibbard and Flo Chretien. The three of us have been racing together for at least 4 years and it was great to have them here in my hometown.

Erin & I before her race

Saturday morning, Jay left early as he was swimming in a relay with Taylor Tolleson (cycling) and Mikah (running). Flo, Beth and I hung around the house and waited anxiously until 10am before riding down to Lover's Point. It was only a 3 mile ride down there, but was enough to get the legs moving. After setting up transition and checking in we went for a short run of about 10 minutes and then proceeded to the water for a short, cold swim warm up. The pro men left about 15 minutes before we did.

Mom was 1st in her age group

There were 13 women who started and finished the race. I started out the swim in a good position, but found myself locked between a few girls, so decided to roll over one of them to get in a clear spot...I happened to roll over Flo!! We laughed about it afterwards. I soon found myself caught between two packs and swimming by myself. I exited the water after the first loop and saw the girl infront of me. I was gaining on the girl towards the end and exited only 8 seconds behind her. My time was 22:42. I had a quick transition and left before Erika (the girl who exited the swim before me) did. I didn't know how many women were ahead of me but as usual, I was in the chase. Erika rode up to me and we worked for a while before I pulled away and continued my quest for the next person...who happened to be my friend and phenomenal swimmer, Linda Gallo. The two of us worked for a while and by this time I could see who was ahead of me, Becky, Sarah, Evelyn, Maliaka and Karen. Linda stayed with me for a while and I could here she was really working. Unfortunately, she couldn't hang (she sliced her foot awile back at the half vineman and is still recovering) and I again found myself alone. I continued to push the pace until I reached Karen and the two of us worked together. I looked back at one point and there was no Karen; alone and now the wind is starting to pick up on the 3rd loop. I saw behind a chase pack of Flo, Beth, Kelly, & Linda and with every loop I think they were gaining on me. I kept pushing the pace and noticed on the last lap the Evelyn had dropped Malaika and had caught up with Sarah and the two of them were working together. With ~2 miles to go to the finish, I caught Malaika and we worked briefly until we reached T2. My bike time was 1:07:37 which is 22 mph and good enough for the second fastest bike split after Becky with a 1:04:42!

Dad won his age group too!

I entered first but had some trouble getting my run shoes on, so Malaika headed onto the run first. I got myself together and gave chase and within a minute or so caught and passed her. My legs didn't feel too bad when I started, but they weren't the get up and go that I've had in the past. I didn't want anyone to catch me, but I didn't know if I could catch any of the girls ahead of me. I was in 4th place heading onto the run and I at least wanted to keep that. After the first loop I noticed that Kelly was gaining on me. I worked the 2nd loop as best I could and at the closest I think Kelly was about 30 seconds behind me. It took everything I had, both mentally and physically, during that last loop to push myself as hard as I could. I could feel liquids in my gut sloshing around as well as side cramps that wouldn't go away. I knew though that if I could make it up 12th street one last time with enough of a gap and run down 13th street with gravity that the crowd on Ocean View Blvd. would carry me to the finish line holding onto 4th...which I did! I ran my heart out and everyone at the finish could tell I put it all out there that day. Kelly finished only 14 seconds behind me to take 5th place.
My run time was 38:17 for a total time of 2:10:40.

Me at the Awards

Don, once of the race announcers wanted an interview after I crossed the line, but it would have to wait as I doubled over with abdominal pain...luckily nothing came out and with a few minutes of recovery I was standing beside Don for an after finish interview.

Erin-pre race

My next race will be at the end of this month at Tinley's Toughest down at Lake Lopez in San Luis Obispo.

Pictures to come soon.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Boston Tri That Wasn't

Rip & Suzie- My homestay

September 3, 2006
The Boston Triathlon

My last race was in Long Beach about 2 months ago and I had put in some consistent and solid training and was ready to test my fitness in Boston this weekend. I was also very excited to see my homestay family and good friends, the Reeves and well as my friend and fellow pro athlete Flo Chretien.

Rip & Suzie at dinner

I arrived in Boston on the evening of September 1 (friday). My homestay, Rip, picked me up and took me back to his house where I was greeted by Suzie (his wife) and their three girls, Taylor, Emily and Claire.

The kids at dinner

Saturday at 2:30pm Flo and I were at our pro meeting where we found out that due to inclimate weather the swim had been cancelled and there was now the possibility of a duathlon. We wouldn't find out for sure if there was going to be a duathlon or if the race would be cancelled completely.

Taylor & her friend

The high winds and rain from Hurricane Ernesto was apparently coming up the east coast and beacuse the bike course goes through downtown and the Big Dig where there are numerous potholes, the organizers were worried that a terrible crash could happen.

Me at Walden Pond

At 5 minutes after 6pm I checked the race website to find out that indeed the race was cancelled. It's unfortunate for all of us athletes that came from far away as we won't be reimbursed for our expenses.

Walden Pond

I must say I was a bit excited to not have to get up early the next day and race. The Reeves family, Flo and her son and I went out to dinner.

Suzie & Taylor

I woke up to rain on sunday morning, but I don't think it was that horrible that the race should've been cancelled. We are professionals that have trained and raced numerous times in the rain.

Emily & Me

After having some coffee and a lite breakfast Rip and I drove out to a park where we started our rainy run on trails, but after stepping in plenty of puddles we decided to run on the road. I picked up the pace a few times to get in some kind of workout, but it just wasn't the same as a race. After our 35 minute run, I got my wetsuit on and we walked to Walden Pond for a swim in the lake. It was absolutely beautiful, with trees surrounded the entire lake. We covered about 1.5 miles total.

I had a very early flight home on monday morning; plenty of time left in the day once I got home to celebrate Jay's birthday!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Long Beach Triathlon

Well, it has been quite some time since I've written about my races and to be honest there is only one race that I need to write about, so here it goes...I caught a ride with Brandee the day before the race. We left early enough but ran into a few rough spots along the way...the first being a large piece of rubber from a tire that was kicked out into the air by an 18-wheeler and happened to just miss the passenger side of the windshied (where I was sitting) and hit the right front of the car. We pulled over quickly and determined that it looked okay and that we were very lucky that it didn't hit the windshield. I did however notice a slight dripping of something under the car but didn't pay too much attention as I thought it could have been there before the car got hit. So, we continued our drive south on I5 only to discover that just prior to one of the major exits on the freeway that the temperature gage had skyrocketed and we needed to pull over; so, we did just that and let me say that it is pretty scary to be on the side of I5 on a friday afternoon! We had plenty of water and were trying to figure out where it went when a guy pulled his car over and came over to help us...are you sure we're in L.A.??? That doesn't happen here, right? Apparently his brother is a mechanic and he worked with him some time and knew a bit about cars so for about 30min. this guy proceeds to fill the cars resevoir with water and help us out!! Eventually, we got the temp. gauge down a bit and thanked him and decided we'd take a chance and finish the drive to Long Beach.
Well, we made it and in time for the 5pm meeting too. I was able to catch up with a college friend/roomie of mine whom I hadn't seen in about 8 years! After dinner, it was back to the hotel to pack up my gear for the following day.

Race morning was an early one, but I'd rather it be ealier than later as we had a long drive home ahead of us. I checked in, got my cap and chip and proceeded to my transition to set up. I must have dropped my chip along the way becuase when I went to put it around my ankle I couldn't find it. I looked on the ground and eventually went back to tell the volunteers that I'd lost it. After having to go see a few different people on this subject and receiving a new chip I actually found mine on the ground! Wheww, that was lucky.

I decided to do a short warm up swim and since it was about 6:15am the water was a bit chilly and luckily wetsuits were allowed. We finally started the race closer to 7am (a bit later than expected) and with a running start into the flat ocean we were off to complete two loops where after the first loop you got out of the water and ran around a few cones and then got back into the water for the second loop. I was with a pack of women as I exited the water after the first loop and ran hard to make sure I stayed with them. We entered the water as a group and I must say that I was out of breath as the pace seemed to quicken once back in the water! I need to work on that I think...swimming hard, running around the cones and then swimming harder to stay with the pack. I exited the water with a pretty good group of women in a time of 21:43 and ran the 400m or so to T1. I missed a group of 3 girls who headed out on the bike just before me. I did however notice a girl about 15 seconds infront of me and I knew how strong of a rider she was, so I tried to catch her; if I could catch her, I knew we could catch the girls up ahead. Unfortunately that wasn't going to happen as my legs just wouldn't accelerate and the girl pulled away from me until I eventually saw her join the group of 3. I continued on my own trying to push as hard as I could only to realize a group of 3 riders coming up from behind.

The bike course was mostly flat except for two small overpasses which normally I could ride over effortlessly; but not legs were so heavy and I had no energy for cycling. I had my sunny's ontop of my head (in my helmet) when I looked down at one point and all of a sudden in slow motion I saw my sunny's fall from my helmet, bounce off of my top tube and fall to the ground. I tried my best to catch them but I didn't. So I'm guessing that some homeless man/woman has a nice pair of sunny's on!!

With ~ 2 laps to go I was caught by Jessica, Beth and Kelly. The four of us worked well together but were unable to make any progress in catching any of the girls in front of us. I was struggling on every little uphill bump that we went over, but I made a point of riding as hard as I could to stay up with my pack. My ride time was 1:05:42.
We entered transition and I exited onto the flat run course with Jessica. We stayed together for about 3/4 of a mile when she pulled away from me. I had no legs to go with her. I was also passed by Kelly somewhere on the run course, but I continued to run as hard as my legs could go despite the heaviness and eventual huge blisters that lined my arches of both of my feet. The last lap of two laps on the course, I could only think about how much my feet hurt and how I couldn't wait for the run to be finished. My run time left much to be desired at 40:18! My overall time was 2:10:23 and I placed 15th.

I figured out why I was so tired; or at least I think I did. Part of the reason was because of time in the car driving down the day before. My legs were tight and I was unable to get a good warm up the day before. The other reason is that I didn't taper for this race. I kept my workouts the same as I would any normal training week. I guess there is something to be said about tapering for a race!

Monday, June 05, 2006

I Escaped from Alcatraz

Beth and Chris at the awards

June 4, 2006
San Francisco, CA

Swim Exit

This was the first time this year that i didn't mind getting up at 4:25am for a race. Lately, I've been questioning getting up that early for a race; why, when I can sleep in, would I choose to get up that early??? I was excited about this race and I actually felt ready.

Run to Transition

Jay relaxing at the awards

The day before (Saturday) I had a nice bike and run with Beth and a short swim in Aquatic Park with Beth and her homestay Gordon. He belongs to the Dolphin Club and invited us to go with him to the club and a swim. The water was cold and both my head and Beth's were spinning. I've never had that feeling before and it wasn't that the water was any colder than I was used to. Unfortunately, Jay forgot to bring his wetsuit (he wasn't racing, but he could have gotten in and swam the day before) so he went to grab a bite to eat while we swam.

Jay, Beth and me at the awards

Later in the afternoon I was scheduled to do an interview with IMG. It took about 10 minutes and I thought it went okay. I'm not sure if it's for the DVD or for television, but I'll find out soon. At 5pm we had our pro meeting where the announcers proceeded to tell us about the Sand Ladder Challenge. There would be timing mats at the beginning and end of the 400 step sand ladder on the run. It would time each person for the steps and then find out who was the fastest up the climb. I told Beth that I'd like to win it! I'm not sure if you get anything for winning, but it be a cool title for at least one year!

Linda Gallo

Sunday morning I was up at 4:25am like I said. I drank my coffee and ate part of my plain bagel while getting ready to leave. Jay dropped me off at the transition area and then went back to the hotel to sleep for a while longer! Lucky guy.
I was surprised to see that I was the first pro to arrive! Usually there are quite a few "early birds" but for some reason, I took the cake this morning! Not long afterwards though Beth showed up and we got our transitions set up. Because there is such a long run from the swim exit to T1 you are allowed to drop off a bag with an extra pair of shoes to run in; I usually just run barefoot and by the end of the 800m run on the pavement my feet are on fire. This year I decided I would put a pair of shoes in the bag just in case I decide to use them. After dropping that bag off, Beth and I rode our bikes for a short while making sure everything was good to go.


I was debating whether or not to carry a spare tubular with me and if I did decide, where I would put it. I finally thought that it couldn't hurt to have an extra spare with me and with electical tape and rubber bands I secured the tubular, tire irons and co2 into my second bottle cage and hoped that it wouldn't bounce out on the bumpy roads of San Francisco!

Me on the stage

After our ride, we put our running shoes on and went for about a 3 minute run as time was flying by and I didn't want to catch the last bus bound for the pier. One last glance at my transition area and we caught the bus. I don't know why, but both Beth and I were so giddy on the ride to the pier. Maybe it was nerves or maybe we weren't quite awake yet, but it was a fun bus ride!! Once at the pier we found a marking pen and body marked our selves and then stood in line for the port-o-potties. I was lucky enough to get in before Erin came around and zip-tied the potties shut forcing the rest of those in line onto the ship.


Once on the ship there was nothing to do but sit and wait and chat with friends. It took about 35-40 minutes to get out to the island and position the boat. Then we made our way outside and lined up according to our race numbers. With a few minutes before the horn was to sound, we climbed over some chains and stood on the 1 foot ledge while holding onto the railing waiting to jump into the bay. The horn sounded and the male and female pros jumped and dove into the cold waters of the San Francisco Bay. I had a good position and decided to follow the swimmers on my right. I got behind a girl and was able to stay with her for the majority of the swim. The water wasn't cold although I eventually felt my fingers going numb, my body was warm, almost too warm at times. The weather when we jumped was sunny with an easy breeze, but within only a few minutes of swimming I remembering looking up to sight and noticing grey dark clouds. The water began to get rougher and I knew that we must be in the channel. It gets rough in the middle of the swim then usually it calms down and makes for a pleasant swim into the finish. But this year, the rough water seemed to last until the very end of the swim. It made it difficult to maintain a proper stroke especially when your hand enters air instead of water! I don't even want to think of how much salt water I swallowed out there!! After exiting the swim at the St. Francis Yacht Club and climbing the slippery steps towards our bags, I quickly striped my wetsuit off and decided to put on my shoes that were placed waiting for me. My swim time was 34:40. I began my run towards T1 and was very glad to have those shoes on my feet! What made the tranisition even longer was the run on the grass to the back of the transition area before heading to the front where my bike was racked. I had a quick transition but had some difficulty getting my feet in my shoes and ran into the fencing and had to get off my bike and start again. I could only laugh, try again and then continue with my race! How funny.

Top 10

There was such a strong head wind on the way out but I kept pressing as I had a time goal for myself on the bike. It was to ride a 52 minute 18 miler through the streets of SF. I was able to pass a few girls going out but didn't see any more girls on the way back into T2. No female passed me on the return either which I was thankful for! I was quite a ways off of my time goal (57:04)which I attribute to a very strong head wind.

Jay and I after the race

As I pulled into T2 and got my running shoes on I noticed Sam McGlone and Pip Taylor heading out on the run. I wasn't too far off and my goal was to try and catch them. Toward the beginning of the run I was able to pass two other women on my quest for Sam and Pip. I could see Pip in the distance but I unfortunately never caught her or Sam for that matter. I got to the sand ladder and completely forgot about the challenge; I was focusing on Pip who was just ahead of me. I passed a few age group men and continued to focus on Pip. We got onto the pavement and had about a mile and a half to the finish and she slowly pulled away.

The Infamous Sand Ladder

The street was lined with spectators yelling and cheering and taking photos which really spurred me on and I picked up the pace to the finish line. My run time was 52:46. I placed 8th and was happy to be in the top 10...which was my original goal. My overall time was 2:29:47.

Run Lexi Run

After the race I had an appointment with the Power Bar photographer for a photo shoot. I rode my bike down to Chrissy field and found the warehouse where they had set up. It only took a few minutes, but I had to clean myself up and redo my hair! It was fun and I hope I get to see what the photos look like!

A wave to the crowd as I finish

I made it back in time for the awards and after we stepped off the stage and were collecting our checks Terry Davis looked at me and said so and so won the sand ladder challenge. I didn't hear the name so I asked him who and he said me!! How funny that I completely forgot about it; but I won by 1 second over Becky Lavelle! Again, I don't know if I get anything for it but the honor was sure nice!