Monday, July 23, 2012


70.3 Belgium was only a short 3 hr drive from JR and my temporary home, so why not. The nice thing about European 70.3's is that most of them don't have pre race meetings and most of them don't start until later in the day. We drove up north on Saturday, went to our hotel (which took us an extra 2 hrs since downtown Antwerp can be really confusing). Without a GPS, a cellphone and without a map this city can be a mess :-)

 Heet u welkom to you too!!!
 Fake street workers... genius way to safe the country money. This muppet just moved its arm up and down and up and down. And as a driver you automatically slowed down because you thought there were people on the interstate.

Once we dropped off bike and equipment we attempted to try to find the race office. Well well well...Antwerp is separated by a large river, which has three tunnels leading to the other side, where the race office was. After many wrong turns, we finally made it. Here is what every racer received:
A bottle of wine, a backpack and a Tshirt. Absolutely no coupons that usually end up in the trash :-)  I think everyone liked the wine idea.

Then it was time to explore the city (yes, I came here for the race, but I still wanted to see the city. How often do I get to go to Belgium)...JR and I went on an about 4 hr exploration tour and here is what we saw:

 Rent - a - bike!!! Genius idea in the city. You give them your credit card info and they charge 3 $/day or 5 $ per week!!!
 Small house, big house, new house, old house.

 One of the many chocolate factories (the building also used to be Napoleon's house).
Chocolate poodle.

 Chocolate fish.

 Chocolate frog - prince!!!

 Downtown Antwerp.

 Poor pig :-( 

 The finish for the race.

 JR can enjoy a Belgium beer while I run around in circles.

 Blue carpet on cobble stone.

 But most of the 13.1 miles looked like this and let me tell you between cobble stone and train tracks there is not a lot of "easy" running ground.

 We made it to bed at around 10 and my favorite movie of all times was playing: Indiana Jones!!! This time they were searching for the holy grail. But I was too tired to finish watching it (which means I must have been really tired) and I fell asleep right when the German's were taking his dad. Oh, the movie was in German, even better!!!

Race day:
Breakfast at 7 am, walk/ride the 6 km to the start. 11 am start is perfect, the sun was out, it was a beautiful 22 degrees, perfect for racing.

 Skinstrong sunscreen application before the race. No sunburn for me!!!

 The swim:
The swim was interesting. They only said: you have three minutes, then they said: move back, move back and then the gun went off. WHAT? I just swam. I found some feet, then passed those feet just to realize it is a lot easier to swim behind the feet. I passed some more feet going around the last buoy, and exited just in front of the second pack. We had to run 200 meters before we hit the timing mat and I managed a 27:09. So I am thinking - 40 sec for the 200 meters: 26:30. Definitely a surprise after spending maybe 2 times/week in the pool for the past month. Interestingly when I swim more miles I don't usually improve, but when I swim less and just focus on form I do well...
I was in 7th getting out of transition of the 21 females.

 The bike:
I felt great. I had an amazing 70 km of passing people and feeling strong. All those Gainey Village rides helped. After lap 2 I was in 4th place. I was on pace to finish the bike in 2:25, when all of the sudden at km 70 my gels decided to come back up. I am not sure why, but here is some speculating:
- super sweet Powerade they were giving us?
-the lake we swam in?
-lowered stem (lowered it about 2 cm 2 weeks ago)
I am thinking it was the lowered stem, but not sure. I lost about 5 min on the last 20 k, which cost me 3 places. I started to feel a little weak and lost a lot of time, getting int T2 in 7th again :-( I had to sit up and just soft pedal after throwing up the second time, because I started to feel dizzy. BUUUUHHHH. BUT: very very happy about how the day went until then. 

 Scooter police making sure we are safe.

 The run:
I started the run feeling kind of like in lala land. I ran the first few miles at just under 7 min pace, ate a gel, but that decided it didn't like it in my body at mile 2. At that point I started fading BAD, actually I wasn't even sure if I could make it 13.1 miles. The cooble stone run didn't help with being dizzy cause that just makes you more dizzy. I carried another gel with me but finally threw it away at mile 9. There was no way anything sweet would stay in my stomach. So I went from 4th to 10th place and just shuffled to the finish.

Hey, I don't come to Belgium to DNF. Out of the 21 females only 10 finished. Lot's of DNF's in the male race as well.

So much can happen in a long race like this, I just have to learn how to tackle this distance. I still had a ton of fun. Running the three loops through the crowds with people drinking, smoking, eating on every corner made it very interesting. I definitely love the European way of life, socializing, drinking wine outside at 11 am, having a good time and tons of people watching.
My equipment worked 100% on every part of the race which was fantastic!!! Thanks to ZOOT, BH, ENVE, SKINSTRONG and TRIGGER POINT.

JR and I got my bike, packed up and then sat down in Antwerp one final time to grab some food. Belgium apparently is famous for three things: Beer, chocolate and POMMES. I had no idea.

Next up is a lot of running through the forest over the next few weeks, followed by a trip to Timberman 70.3. Let's hope I can put it all together there :-)

Friday, July 20, 2012


Lucky me. We had an unusual week in Phoenix just before I left for Germany. 90's and 4 days of rain. Perfect for training after a loooong frustrating time of 105 + degrees and no bueno training. Here is what happens when it suddenly rains in the desert:

Things start blooming and life returns to the valley. Even the birds came back and my backyard sounded similar to a jungle.

They predicted a rise in temps from here on without rain, so I packed my bags (just kidding, the flight was booked a long time ago). I spend some quality time with puppy Jack before I left. We watched Springer Spaniels on youtube. He totally enjoyed it.

 Then it was off to Germany and the most unusual 2 1/2 things happened:

1/2 : I almost didn't have to pay for my bike. The guy kept saying that bike count as a mode of transportation in Europe and that is why he believes I only have to pay 75 $. He asked me and I said: I have no idea (crossing fingers behind my back). Unfortunately he called HQ and they said 200 $. BUUUHHH.

1: I had a row to myself. 3 seats for me. That was the start of a great 9 hr nap.

2: They didn't open my bike box, therefore they didn't move anything and they didn't have to close the buckles again (which they seem to have a big problem with). Therefore, my bike got here in 1 piece and all the straps are still on my box (that is a first in my 10 years of traveling!!!)

After I got here I went for a run and then had some DOENER!!! comes like this:
 or like this:
 It is simply delicious. Why don't we have on of those in Phoenix?

Today I went for my first bike ride. I most likely averaged 30 mph (hahaha) and had a HR of 250 (hahaha) due to being scared...we are pretty spoiled in the US. US bike lanes are about as wide as a two lane street here. There is a white line and then the ditch, no bike lanes. I have to admit I was a little scare but then I realized that people handle cars really well here. I went on a few streets, one of them suddenly turned from a two lane street (one out one back) into a one lane street (but still counting as an out and back). Let's just say that the street would not have been wide enough for a Hummer, but here it counts as a "normal" street. I love Germany :-)
 Oh, more food pics. Pastries. Can't go to Europe without going to bakeries. Luckily Germany is full of them and the baked goods are fantastic. I wish I would know how to make these:
Tomorrow we will be traveling to Belgium which is a "loooong" 3 hr drive :-) I have never been there. I always thought Belgium is famous for chocolate and beer but in reality it is POMMES (french fries) and beer. Who knew. The race doesn't start until 11 am and guess what: Ironman Europe allows you to pick up your package the day of the race :-)

I am using the race as a training race only. I have had a strange 2012 so far and since there is no way for me to earn points anymore I am just focusing on the fall season. I am really excited for this race as it goes downtown Antwerp and it is a very spectator friendly race.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Oh Flagstaff, what a pretty town and what a great place to train. I was so excited to escape the heat and spend 3 days in Flagstaff with Jack and my friends Elliot and Ken. Here are some pics from the trip:

 Romantic sunset with my man Jack.

 Jack got to sniff around in grass (which is pretty much non existent in the desert).

 Happy puppy.

 Coach Jack giving a motivating speech to Elliot.

 Coach Jack telling Elliot to go FASTER :-)

 Recovery hike at Snowbowl with lots of giggling. Elliot and Ken are great company!!!

 We did the outdoor gymnastic trials. This is the balance beam.

 This is the uneven bars.

 Ken and Jack enjoying the evening on the Mountain.

 Elliot on one of many many many trails.


Jack and Elliot going for a run before the sun goes down.

I am so excited to go back to Flagstaff this weekend for some good racing and some good training. Friday: Hillclimb, run and swim. Saturday: RR and run, Sunday: Crit and run.