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April « 2010 « Jocelyn Wong's Blog

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Archive for April, 2010

I’m getting married in St. George!

Friday, April 30th, 2010
courtesy UtahStGeorge.com

courtesy UtahStGeorge.com

It’s so pretty here that every time I go outside, I am just enthralled with how beautiful it is. So much so that I’ve decided I’m going to get married here. Never mind that I have yet to figure out who (or even meet) the lucky future Mr. Wongstar will be. Odds are that he is probably not a native of San Francisco, or even California, or even the USA, and a lot of couples with geographically split-up families end up getting married in Vegas, so everyone can fly in there from all over the world relatively inexpensively, and then shuttle over here to St. George. We can have our bachelor and bachelorette parties in Sin City, a la The Hangover…Beck made me watch it to prepare for this trip–so awesome I want to steal a tiger too!

ANYWAY.

Speaking of true love and things of that nature, I got some love sent to me in the form of RACE WHEELS (!!!!!) from Token and my first package from CAMELBAK!!!

Thank you Token for my C50 race wheels!  50mm clinchers :D

Thank you Token for my C50 race wheels! 50mm clinchers :D

For the longest time Coach said I could not race with race wheels until I showed him a bike split worthy of race wheels. So the last 8 ironmans I have done whilst racing for TBB have all been on my baby training wheels. I have graduated!

High Rolling baby, just like Ill be in Vegas!

"High Rolling" baby, just like I'll be in Vegas!

As for Camelbak, I have proclaimed my love for them over and over, and was waiting for the right time when I got fast enough to approach them for sponsorship. One day when I was in Thailand, I got an email from them asking if I needed anything. I was so excited I nearly peed myself, and immediately wrote back saying “I WOULD LIVE AND DIE FOR CAMELBAK!” (I am full of life and passion, so sue me.) Not that you’d be surprised, but I seem to lose a lot of brain cells when packing and leaving training camp…especially after doing a 3-hour run the morning of my first flight. I left my favorite Camelbak out to dry (didn’t want the sweat to turn to mildew in my luggage)…and uh, really left it out to dry as I left the country without it.

*squeeeee* Camelbak loves me too!!

*squeeeee* Camelbak loves me too!!

So did I need anything from Camelbak? I only realized I was without one when I started packing for my trip to St. George! Well my whole love affair with Camelbak is kind of like when you have a die-hard crush on a super cute boy and he finally notices you…and maybe just maybe he likes you back! Just in time for the race, Brian from Camelbak OVERNIGHTED me the 2010 Classic (I’ve been racing in the red one) in the color I wanted…the sexy silver one! THANK YOU BRIAN!!

Im bringing sexy-bak with Camelbak.

I'm bringing sexy-bak with Camelbak.

Yesterday Canadian pro Miranda Alldritt picked me up for lunch and registration. We’ve been doing all the same Ironmans this year since Malaysia, and Coeur d’Alene will make it 4 for 4. Something new at this event…AIRBRUSHED TATTOO BODY MARKING. NO WAY.

Miranda is #61, and will be for an entire week until this wears off.

Miranda is #61, and will be for an entire week until this wears off.

I had them paint my forearms as I am racing in my usual longer sleeve superhero-esque race top.

first you get a special stencil.

first you get a special stencil.

Then you get airbrushed with black paint!

Then you get airbrushed with black paint!

then they blowdry your arm and baby powder your skin.

then they blowdry your arm and baby powder your skin.

I’m #57.  The bib numbers have your last names on them, I will have to embellish mine with a STAR after the WONG. ;) Like Rachel on Glee who puts gold stars after her name, because she’s gonna be a star!

The number tattoos look much cooler when you wash the baby powder off, I swear.

The number tattoos look much cooler when you wash the baby powder off, I swear.

Back on the homestay-front, it’s Landon’s 7th birthday on Ironman race day, so we celebrated last night with the family. He’ll have another party with friends on Friday, and then Saturday will be an all-day party when he’s helping out at Run Aid Station #4 (at mile 3).

Birthday cake!  with ice cream of course!

Birthday cake! with ice cream of course!

I miss little kid birthdays. And by little kid birthdays, I mean my own. I remember how fun it was to only get toys. One year my mom got me a GLOBE. If I knew what the F-word was back then, I would’ve said “WTF Mom?!” I was probably only 8, who the heck gets a boring old globe for their 8-year-old?! I totally resented that gift and shoved it in the back of my closet.

no stinkin globe for this kid, he got Transformers, trucks, games, and a future trip to Disneyland!!

no stinkin' globe for this kid, he got Transformers, trucks, games, and a future trip to Disneyland!!

But maybe Mom foresaw something that I never did…that someday I’d become a world-traveling international triathlon superstar. 8) Thanks Mom! and happy 7th birthday, Landon! :D

Hello, St. George!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

To fly to St. George, the closest big airport is…

Viva Las Vegas!

Viva Las Vegas!

Where there are slot machines right by the baggage claims…

winner winner chicken dinner!

winner winner chicken dinner!

and flashy ads for all kinds of entertainment Las Vegas has to offer!

there is also the Thunder from Down Under ;)

there is also the Thunder from Down Under ;)

Then it’s just a 90-minute drive through a little corner of Arizona and into Utah. The city of St. George is gearing up for their very first Ironman!

clear the roads, Ironman is coming!

clear the roads, Ironman is coming!

It’s really beautiful here, I took a lot of pictures while previewing the bike course yesterday, but they don’t really do much justice…

red rocks everywhere!

red rocks everywhere!

Here is the view from my wonderful homestay; the bike course literally goes right by this neighborhood in Ivins (about 9 miles northwest of town):

beautiful!

beautiful!

Part of what makes this homestay so wonderful is what’s on the inside…of the freezer. I like to help perpetuate the rumor that pro triathletes can eat ice cream every day and still be skinny. ;)

theres 9 flavors in there!  only 22 short of Baskin Robbins

there's 9 flavors in there! only 22 short of Baskin Robbins

No, seriously, the wonderful part is the family I’m staying with. Jenifer, her adorable 6-year-old son Landon, and her sister Erin.  Jenifer’s the recycling coordinator for the county and also captain of one of the run aid stations–the locals are all really excited to bring on the first edition of Ironman St. George.

theres a small Post-It that says Dont Touch. I was very tempted. So many dials!

there's a small Post-It that says "Don't Touch". I was very tempted. So many buttons and dials!

This morning Jenifer took me to the local radio station conglomerate, Cherry Creek Radio, which is sponsoring the Ironman as one of the media partners.  We got interviewed by FOUR radio stations!  It was my first time being on the radio!

Jenifer ON AIR

Jenifer ON AIR

Jenifer put a plug out for volunteers (the race still needs volunteers!), especially for her run aid station at mile 3, and I got asked all kinds of questions about doing Ironman and being a professional triathlete.

hey Mom, Im on the radio!

hey Mom, I'm on the radio!

It was really funny because I’m so used to being around people who already know all about Ironman. So a lot of basic questions about how long each discipline is, how long it takes to finish, and pretty much every DJ said something like “I can’t do that…I get tired walking to my car!”

you dont have to look good to be on the radio, but its hard for the Wongstar not to be ;)

you don't have to look good to be on the radio, but some of us just can't avoid it.

Two of the DJ’s asked for my autograph! Triathlon superstars always oblige:

hanging out at the Jon Smith Morning Show

hanging out at the Jon Smith Morning Show

Clearly disc jockey Jon Smith is famous himself, having his own morning show…so we did an autograph exchange. He signed a shirt for his radio station, Sunny 106.1.

an autograph for an autograph

an autograph for an autograph

All the DJ’s loved that my alias is “The Wongstar”.

Go Wongstar! yeah!

Go Wongstar! yeah!

Athletes are starting to trickle into town. At the pool today I had a new experience…when I finished swimming, the woman in the next lane over asked “Are you the Wongstar?”  Whoa, superstardom!  Who says I’m not a big deal?  Thank you, Colleen from Wisconsin, you made my day!  I had my swim cap on and I was still recognizable?? The Wongstar is still learning to get used to fame and everything that goes with it. ;)

More to come from race week as it unfolds…

BIG THANK YOU to Sofian & Tip, my KL hosts!!

Saturday, April 24th, 2010
Tip and Sofian: very sweet and generous KL hosts!

Tip and Sofian: very sweet and generous KL hosts!

As mentioned before the missed flight fiasco, I had to overnight through Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on my way back home from Krabi, Thailand. Triathlon superstars make new friends all over the world, and KL is no exception! I had seen Emma’s very good friend Sofian on the race courses at both Ironman Malaysia and Ironman China, and we connected later through the magic of the internet. Sofian and his awesome wife Tip offered to host me when I came back through KL on my way home. Sofian is a bit of a triathlon legend in Malaysia–he did his first triathlon in 1989 (hehe I was only 7 years old!) and has represented Malaysia at Ironman Hawaii and other triathlon world championships multiple times. We compared numbers and Ironman China was #13 for both of us!

under the KL Twin Towers

under the KL Twin Towers

Tip met me at the airport and took me to KLCC, the city center and business district with all the big fancy buildings, like the Petronas Twin Towers. Really cool and beautiful at night–all I had seen of KL on my first trip through was the neighborhood by the Bike Boutique and Emma’s condo!

They put me up in a nice hotel, complete with elevators, hot showers and air conditioning :D Simple things you DON’T take for granted when you’ve lived in the cheapest room at the Tawanthai Hotel for the last 2.5 months!

We ate dinner at Chili’s, which I had to smile about, being in Malaysia and eating at an American restaurant to prep me for my return home! At the bookstore, Sofian told me I could pick whatever book I wanted for some airplane reading…I secured a copy of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” as I have heard it is good prep for becoming an Ironman world champion.

read this to become a cutthroat Chinese warrior/triathlon champion

read this to become a cutthroat Chinese warrior/triathlon champion

The next day we went to visit Emma at the shop and to go for a swim before I flew out. Tip is an excellent baker and had baked us these mini cupcake/muffins. Super yummy and I really think she should open up her own little bakery!

mmm homemade baked goods!

mmm homemade baked goods!

Then they got me to the airport in time to make my flight…too bad I was a total goober waiting for the wrong one and missed mine!

right before the fateful missed flight fiasco

right before the fateful missed flight fiasco

Well, you live and you learn, and I did get home safely albeit 24 hours later than Plan A. I’m only home for 2 days (and enjoying my fill of fresh California strawberries AKA the yummiest things on Earth) and then fly out again tomorrow morning. Yes, I put my bike together yesterday only to ride it a couple times and take it apart again tonight. The next airport White Tiger and I are bound for would be !VEGAS BABY!, en route to the first Ironman on the American circuit–Ironman St. George on May 1st!!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

A huge thank you to Sofian and Tip for being such fantastic hosts in Malaysia! You can read Sofian’s account of our KL adventure on his blog here.

a winner from the Harvey Mudd School of Geniuses

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
How not to be an international superstar, Step #1: MISS YOUR FLIGHT!!!

How not to be an international superstar, Step #1: MISS YOUR FLIGHT!!!

Quote of moral support from travel sponsor (and my Obi Wan jedi master of travel advice) Mark Cathcart: “I’m just your travel sponsor, it’s not your world that’s disappearing over the horizon, just your flight! There will be others…”

What a nightmare!! After a great overnight stay in Malaysia (more details and pics to come), I totally screwed up by waiting at the wrong gate for another flight by Cathay Pacific bound from KL to Hong Kong.

Had to spend an extra night in KL at the airport budget hotel and then this morning got on a flight to Hong Kong. But it was delayed by 45mins due to the weather, so I missed the connection to SF–the layover was only 55mins.

BUT since it was Cathay Pacific’s fault I missed the connection…they put me up in the swanky airport hotel for “day use” while securing me a boarding pass for the midnight flight I’m currently waiting in line to board. Instead of putting me on standby. I got access to the sweet hotel gym and thus a great treadmill run and recovery spin…and best part…free $50 buffet dinner!

I had really yummy Peking duck, seaweed salad, tried kangaroo meat (like beef) and sampled 5 different desserts :D

I even got my first Hong Kong stamps in my passport because the airport hotel is outside immigration…ha!

bon voyage!!

an Easter special: a post on religion!

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

They say never to discuss religion or politics in mixed company (or your blog?), but in honor of Easter Sunday and the random monks that we see almost daily (living next door to a huge temple) I’ve been inspired. Plus I’ve got all these sweet pictures!

I still get tripped out seeing the monks get out of a pick-up truck or answering their cell phones.

I still get tripped out seeing the monks get out of a pick-up truck or answering their cell phones.

Religion has the power to unite people but also causes far too much conflict and war.

My mom is Catholic and will no doubt be going to Easter Sunday mass. My dad will be going to his Chinese Baptist church. At home in the kitchen, the wall is adorned with Jesus, Mary, various Buddhas and other Chinese deities. When we go to the cemetery to pay respects to my late grandfather, we burn incense… along with paper clothes and paper money for him. And do the three bows.

All my cousins on my mother’s side grew up Catholic and went to a private Catholic school in San Francisco. Meanwhile, my siblings and I went to public school (but heck, we turned out ok). My parents didn’t want to choose between their two religions, and so they didn’t push a certain religion on us. Plus, public school was free…saved that tuition money for college.

Sure my mom threw in the occasional Bible story during bedtime; Noah’s Ark and Adam and Eve mixed with Green Eggs and Ham, Corduroy Bear and the Very Hungry Caterpillar (my personal favorite…hahaaa). We even got dragged to church with Mom every now and then on Christmas and Easter. I was always jealous of my cousins who got to eat the bread and drink the wine.  My favorite part was singing along to the songs. When I was younger, I was terrified of ghost stories and thought maybe if I believed in God, the ghosts wouldn’t come get me at night. Oh, who am I kidding, I still hate scary movies. :(

I’ve lived all over the USA where the degree of religiousness varies from one end to the other. I was in college in California when the Pledge of Allegiance debate happened in our state–to remove the clause “Under God” from the daily pledge to the American flag. That same year on the other side of the country, stickers were placed in science textbooks in Cobb County, Georgia, with a disclaimer that “evolution is a theory, not a fact…” I would actually go on to live in Cobb County, GA when I moved to the Southeast USA for graduate school. When living and racing in that area, I got accustomed to a “morning prayer” for the safety of all competitors before the starting gun went off. In Texas, I’d sometimes drive by the mega churches on the freeways…which caused traffic jams on Sundays.

I believe in being a good person and doing good things, and have pretty high morals. But I don’t believe you should go to Hell if you are homosexual, or if you use birth control, or if you believe in evolution. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and I respect that. To each their own. Unfortunately not everyone agrees with my philosophy–while I have an open mind and heart, I do get bothered when others try to convert me. When I worked at a running store after college, one of my coworkers was always sneaking religious materials into my cubby hole. She would make snide comments about how all the hours I spent on triathlon training would not help me after I died, but if I spent that time studying the Bible, it would.

When traveling the world it is also interesting to observe the different religions wherever we go. In the Philippines, it was Catholicism to the core. It was actually difficult to find tampons in the grocery store. Here’s a picture I never got around to posting of the Easter parade that went through town when we were in Subic:

Easter is a big deal in the Philippines

Easter is a big deal in the Philippines

Here in Thailand, most of the Thais are Buddhist, but there is also a sizable Muslim population. So there are temples and mosques every where.

Central Mosque of Krabi Province

Central Mosque of Krabi Province

We live next door to Wat Thum Sua, AKA the “Tiger Cave Temple.”  The big temple is currently under construction and it’s a very impressive structure. Easy landmark to spot when you are coming home from a bike or run!

Wat Thum Sua!  i.e. what to tell the taxi drivers as your destination

"Wat Thum Sua!" i.e. what to tell the taxi drivers so they know where to go

offerings to one of the two tigers guarding the temple

offerings to one of the two tigers guarding the temple

under construction!

under construction!

its a flying god!

it's a flying god!

When I was in Nakhon Si Thammarat a week ago, one of the local women took me on a mini tour of the city, which included seeing the Lak Meuang, or City Pillar Shrine. Most major cities have one, which houses the city’s spirit deity. Visitors are encouraged to pay their respects and also make a wish, expressing your heart’s deepest desires.

Lak Meuang of Nakhon Si Thammarat

Lak Meuang of Nakhon Si Thammarat

I was caught off guard and wasn’t sure what to wish for. All I could think of was “to always be happy and healthy…and my loved ones too.” Of course now I think maybe I should’ve wished for the ability to swim, or maybe to be able to eat ice cream every day and still be skinny. But I think if I am happy and healthy, then many other good things will come my way. :)

make a wish!

make a wish!

I was wondering why there were all these chicken statues hanging out around the shrine. Our host told us that whenever someone’s wish comes true, they bring a chicken back to the shrine. That’s a lot of wishes that have come true!!

like the chicken in The Hangover...how did these get here??

like the chicken in The Hangover...how did these get here??

The ceremony to give out the legs was actually hosted by a local Chinese temple…yup a Chinese temple in Thailand. There is a big Chinese population here too.

reminds me of SF Chinatown actually.

reminds me of SF Chinatown actually.

I think we have some of these at home too.

I think we have some of these at home too.

So have a Happy Easter, or whatever you may celebrate or believe in!

And thank you to the little Easter bunnies Zali and Sophie for the chocolate Easter egg. Now that’s something I can truly believe in. ;)