Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Grand Canyon 2011

Every Thanksgiving JR, me and our friends Pam and Shannon are going away...away from eating and eating and eating (even though that can be fun too). We try to escape to the Grand Canyon for 4 or 5 days. The first year we did it was epic. Last year was absolutely great and I wasn't sure if our adventures could get any better. But this year was FANTASTIC.We were 6 people, Pam, Shannon, Kris, Mindy, JR and me. We hiked from the rim of the Grand Canyon to Havasupai, slept there over night before the best hike I have ever been on started. We hiked down Mooney Falles...and I mean climbing with a 40 lbs backpack:

...then we entered no man's land (it actually belongs to the Havasu Tribe, but I mean no man's land as far as " no one is out there"). The hike takes you through vines in a narrow canyon. On our 12 mile hike we had to cross the river 8 times (that is so much fun). The water is abnormally blue due to the minerals. It looked so warm and inviting, but in reality it was cold. At least the outside temperature was nice.

The mixing of blue Kool aid and the chocolate milk of the Colorado. We made it!!!

Getting water. Don't fall in :-) There is no coming out unless your an Olympic swimmer!!!

JR enjoying the calmness of the Canyon :-)

The sun was teasing us. It was always close but we didn't get to touch the beams. So we searched for them.

And then it happened...PEOPLE. 5 rafting boats came. Canadians, they have really impressive boats, but floating for 20+ days would be really long...and how would you train?

Cooking one pot meals. I brought 1 lbs of spinach and 1lbs of broccoli and cauliflower. Broccoli made the cut, spinach made the cut...cauliflower NOT...that stuff smells bad (even if it is fresh).

And then the goatsheep...aeh I mean mountain goats aehhh mountain sheep came. They inspected our tent and left us some surprises. We were not sure if that means "welcome" or "get out of our territory".

Back to mooney falls.

This trip was sooo much fun. DO it if you ever have the chance.

Next up: Training starts back up. I was going to race a local triathlon and a halfmarathon last weekend, but got sick (not from the trip :-). On Wednesday I get to pick up my new bikes and I am so excited...but that deserves its own post!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Off season fun

After taking my mind off of triathlon for 1 day...I wanted to get back at it. Luckily for me I had many opportunities over the last few weeks to be an "I am training/racing...but I am really not" athlete.

Example number one: The Durapulse IMAZ clinic

Since JR and many of my Durapulse teammates are training for IMAZ, Durapulse offers clinics that include a long OW swim, a long bike and a transition run (and then some BBQ and laughs). I was so happy to be "helping out" at the clinic. It was great to see the pain of training for an IM (and secretly it made me want to do one :-)...

I skipped the 6 am OW swim at Roosevelt Lake (because I really do not enjoy swimming there...there are some very scary looking trees underneath the water) and watched our gear instead :-)

After their swim I jumped on my bike and rode with my teammates. It was a lot of fun to help them get through the 120 mile ride in 100 degree weather. I truely enjoyed helping them, no matter if it was getting ice for them at gas stations, riding with them to keep them entertained, teaching how to change a flat fast, ...it was a lot of fun.

At the end of the day I tried to help 2 of my teammates to get through their run...and since I only rode 70 miles I was a lot more cheerful than them.

All of them did very well, they are ready for IMAZ!!!

Next adventure: Run for Maggie's place

The day after the clinic JR and I decided to race the Run for Maggie's place. It was a no brainer: a race in town, only 10k, the entry money goes to a good cause and we get to see our friends.

Let me tell you: it is harder then I thought to try to run fast after taking some time off. Luckily I found a good rythm and finished in first place. JR won the men's race (after an epic day of training the day before)...very impressive!!! He is ready for anything from 70.3 to IM, from 5 k to 26 mile races :-)

Aaaaand onto the SOMA triathlon:

Well how can I not do this one.

Check out the sweet Lazer Helmets :-)

I entered SOMA with 2 of my Durapulse Teammates as a relay. Since I was the runner I got to cheer for 3+ hrs before I actually had to go run. It was a blast. The SOMA course is very spectator friendly and we watched and cheered the entire morning (we were really loud cheer-ers).

JR came off the bike only 15 SECONDS behind the male PRO leader!!! WOW. He had an amazing swim and bike (even though he has only been in the water...5 times this YEAR!!!) I wish I could do that. The run got hot. It was 104 out there. I started running and decided I would just cheer and not look at my watch. I felt great!!! And fast!!! At mile 6 I couldn't resist and looked at my watch, that was when I realized I was on pace for a sub 1:20 Half...and then my brain started telling me to take it easy...Maybe sometimes it is better not to know how fast you are running. The second lap I cheered even more, because a lot of people were walking. I tried to motivate everyone to at least shuffle or slow jog...I think it worked in most cases!!! I ended up running a 1:25 which made me very happy because I had not ran over an hour in 5 weeks.

It was the end of the season for my frineds Pam and Shannon (who both finished VER well at SOMA) and JR and I joined them for a great dinner.

I felt a little guilty, because all I had done all day was the 13 mile run. They were out there for 4+ hrs...

I am excited for the next few months. I will be entering bike races and running events in the Phoenix area. Phoenix in the winter is great. Perfect weather, lots of races = Happy Angi.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My work here is done...

my 2011 Triathlon season is officially over. Done with racing, done with traveling, and you know what? It feels good, but it also feels strange. On my flight home I was already thinking about what I could do next, but once I got back to Phoenix reality caught up with me: my body needed a break :-) I was tired and exhausted, but I wouldn't change a thing about my 2011 season. I accomplished all my goals and I had some good PR's.

A few weeks have passed and I did what I wanted :-) When I felt like riding I rode, whenever I felt like running I ran (no watch, no HR, nothing)...the swimming, yeah...I didn't really feel like that at all :-) Until today!!!

Phoenix is finally cooling down and we can actually be outside (almost) all day (we have a few more 100 degree days left). The nights are very nice, in the 60's. Perfect for sleeping with the window open. Now can it please be like this all year?

I am competing, aehhh, I wanted to say participating in a Halfironman relay in 2 weeks. I am the runner :-) I am really excited, no pressure, just fun. Then I have a few Halfmarathons planned for the winter and a trip to Germany for Christmas.

You might think now that I am in my off season I have tons of time for everything...WRONG. It seems like my days are filled with work, work, spoiling JR (he is getting ready for IMAZ) and ...SEARCHING for my dog Jack:

Jack with his shoe collection.

On Tuesday, Jack disappeared. We searched for him for 7 hrs!!! We expanded our radius constantly, searched in the neighborhood, alleys, EVERYWHERE. We had the enitre neighborhood looking for a lost Springer Spaniel. JR and I made flyers and they were posted on every corner. We live close to a mountain preserve and we all know that a lost little puppy's chances of surviving a night in the desert are pretty slim (coyotes are always hungry). It got dark and I was still cruising around on the scooter, yelling into the preserve when I got a call from JR. Jack was returned!!!

It turns out that our neighbor had Jack. The entire 7 hrs!!! While we were searching everywhere, throwing our socks and his toys in the street so he could sniff his way home. She said she wasn't sure if it was our dog...and she didn't know that we were searching for him (hmmm...let me think, my dog is nowhere to find for 7 hrs...should I search and be worried???) We have no idea what they were thinking. Jack most likely never even left OUR yard!!! It was a crazy and strange story, but we are just really thankful to have him back.

I didn't do it :-)

It has been an eventful two weeks since I came back from Spain.

I am very thankful for what and where I got to race this season. It was epic to be everywhere (it seemed like) and being able to have a home, a family and working (and I do not mean training by that...Work work :-)

I am already looking forward to 2012 - it will be a great season.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Spain was a ton of fun!!! What an experience going to a World Championship race. I got to Gijon about a week before the race after 33 hrs of travel. We were tired. Sleeping until 1 pm the next day felt absolutely great!!!
Good enough at least to put on the running shoes and explore the coast. We ended up running for a long time, but we just couldn't stop, the scenery was beautiful. We found a 14 km trail along the coast with lots of up and down running. Here are some pics from the trail:

Back in Gijon we decided to play in the tide pools. Spaniards eat sea urchin we learned (luckily only from October to March :-) We are long gone then...

Touching funny things that decide to grab your finger!!!

In Gijon people live a crazy but smart life. It seemed like they worked from 10-12 am, then they go on siesta from 12-5 pm. Then they have coffee and after coffee at around 9 pm they have dinner. We walked around town A LOT, and we saw many strange things including:

This is a healthcare store. Notice the cigarette in the skelleton's mouth? mhhh...

And this would be ham. For 39 Euros you can have the entire leg!!! What a deal :-) Not sure if customs would be happy with that.

And this is what you do when you have a leg: you just take ham off it whenever you are hungry...

Gijon beach - VERY good bodysurfing here in the mornings when the waves were big!!!

Race site: A velodrome...well, it used to be a horse track and then they turned it into a velodrom. 430 m

The age group bike course...This summer I had the opportunity to bike in Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain...and the winner of the most scenic and friendliest drivers award would be SPAIN. Here the course takes you through an Eukalyptus forest.

This is what I saw during my OW swim...nooo, off course not. This is what I saw at the Gijon Aquarium :-)

Here are some pics of the local specialties...I have to admit, it wasn't the prettiest food I have ever seen...here we go: Fabada, Pulpo, ... it all gave me nightmares...the food was so fresh that I ended up dreaming about food walking off my plate...

This part of Spain is not big on noodles, and it seems like they do not eat veggies AT ALL...or salad...or anything that could possibly have vitamins in it...

OK, enough of the food pics and back to the country side:

Super cute little fishertowns everywhere, and noone spoke English!!! GREAT!!! What an advanture!!!

Imagine your neighbor would live this close!!!

Not so sure how they get the laundry back in the house :-)

Then on Friday I finally got to meet my teammates. This was my first official competition for Team USA!!! I am so glad I finally "belong" to a country :-)

I got to meet the German team at the pre race meeting, but when I tried to talk to them they just stared at me...and then at my uniform...and then at me again...It was pretty funny. They were so confused that I had no accent :-) Hihihi!!!

Saturday rolled around and I felt ready to race. My plan was to go out in a 36:XX, bike strong and run the last 5 k all out. Well, I kind of went off plan when I started the first 2.5 km out with the 33-34 min group...and it went downhill from there. After you go out way too fast there is not a lot of hope for recovery. I finished the first 10 k and hoped I would get in a group on the bike. I would get to a group, ask them to work with me, but I never had luck. I think I passed 3 groups and never stayed with them...So I did a 44 k TT :-) The cornery course was a lot of fun!!! I hopped off my bike and was in no man's land, no one to catch anymore. I finished 16th place. I was super sore from the hard TT effort!!! WOW. I hadn't felt that in a while. I have to admit that I was disappointed but realized soon that this is the life of an athlete. Not every day can be a 110 % day. The next day was the team competition: 2k run, 7 k bike, 1 k run. I was the third runner and I think we were in 8th place when it was my turn. I ran as hard as I could for the first 2 k...and I actually came super close to my college running times!!! Yeah!!! On the bike I caught a group and then decided to try to drop them. SUCCESS. One more km of running and I handed off in what I believe was 3rd place. What a fun race and what a good day!!!

Sunday night I drove back to Bilbao without getting any sleep after the race. I hopped onto the airplane and was back in Phoenix monday night.

The trip and the race was a great experience and I cannot wait to go back and represent Team USA again. France 2012!!!