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Archive for July, 2010

Lake Placid post-race check-in

Monday, July 26th, 2010
this was a grimace/smile hybrid charging up the hill while finishing the first loop of the run.  (courtesy of Sebastian from SLS3)

this was a grimace/smile hybrid charging up the hill while finishing the first loop of the run. (courtesy of Sebastian from SLS3)

Hey Wongstar fans,

It usually takes me a little longer to do my official race report so I thought I would do a brief check-in with some before & after pictures. Today after awards me and Ben are going to ride the bobsleds (!!!), then I am going to NYC for a couple days to meet up with my good friend Carolina to chill and relax before heading to Delaware for some solid training at the new TBB USA headquarters. I’m taking the choo-choo train into NYC from here, so that’s a nice 7-hour journey and will give me a chance to write up my RR.

waiting for the school bus

waiting for the school bus at 5am

Here’s me and Ben on race morning waiting for the shuttle. Yes, I’m in my jammies as I’ve only packed 3 pairs of pants for the summer tour. 2 pairs of jeans and my PJ’s.

The race itself I am happy with overall. They didn’t let pros swim with wetsuits and I came out in 1:13, crossed the mat in 1:14. Not too bad for no wetsuit and faster than most of my wetsuit swims this year! I was very happy with my bike ride after having mechanical issues in CDA and felt it was more reflective of my bike fitness. I bonked on the run but was able to smile through a lot of the marathon with so many spectators yelling for me. Like the guys in the speedos:

I think the guy with the star was pointing at it while cheering for me.  Its like a superstar speedo.

I think the guy with the star was pointing at it while cheering for me. It's like a superstar speedo.

Helped trick my body into thinking I wasn’t hurting so much! But I was actually for the most part very happy during the race and afterwards. Even though it’s painful, racing an Ironman is still one of my favorite things to do ever!  It is funny that just last August, not even 12 months ago, I was over the moon going 3:33 at Embrunman.  I went 3:33 yesterday and I thought my run sucked monkey balls.

Of course it was great seeing Amy on the course tearing it up with the lead bike on the run, so far ahead of the rest of the girls. Go teamTBB!

with the champ after her pee test

with the champ after her pee test

I also bumped into the famous Shingo Tani when he blew by me in the marathon. Unfortunately he got 2 flats on the bike so I was confused why he was behind me to begin with on the run. He says to tell Hiro and Maki hello! He also told me I got skinnier. I knew I always liked him.

one of my favorite Japanese guys, other than Hiro and Maki ^_~

one of my favorite Japanese guys, other than Hiro and Maki ^_~

Ben had a great race and broke 11 hours in his first Ironman! He was one of the 1,000 wetsuit-clad age groupers that passed me during the swim but somewhere on the bike I passed him back and it was great seeing him during the marathon at every turnaround.

Ben Snare, you are an Ironman!!!

Benjamin Snare, you are an Ironman!!!

Finishing an Ironman is the best feeling ever! Lake Placid was my “Super Sweet Sixteen”–my 16th Ironman finish and 5th one this year. The longer version to come, in the meantime thanks for all your support, I love you all! :)

New York: State #3 on the Superstar Summer Tour

Sunday, July 25th, 2010
back in the olden days, before I was born or even conceived.

site of the Olympics, before I was born or even conceived.

The Wongstar’s summer tour continues rolling with the longest flight segment taking me from Washington to New York. I flew into Albany, where one of my best friends, superstar-in-training Amy, is from. She was in California racing Vineman 70.3 but I got to pretend I was “Amy for the weekend” and stayed with her parents for two nights. Like all great Chinese parents, they spoiled me with authentic Chinese food (which I haven’t had for over 6 weeks) and other treats, and drove me up to Lake Placid on Sunday.  Thank you, Chow family!! I didn’t snap a photo with them, but here I am with Amy who sherpa’d me at IM Florida last year:

Amy just qualified for Kona, for the 2nd year in a row.  Stud!

Amy just qualified for Kona, for the 2nd year in a row. Stud!

It was confusing driving up there as all the Christmas trees made me think I was still in the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene region.

I am not allergic to the Christmas trees here though.  YAY!

I am not allergic to the Christmas trees here though. YAY!

At the same time, it reminded me of…Switzerland.

pointy rooftops and ski-lodgesque architecture

pointy rooftops and ski-lodgesque architecture

Seriously, right? There are even those funny snow sports signs like all over Switzerland.

ski jumps and bobsleds!

ski jumps and bobsleds!

But as we approached Lake Placid, it was clear…

definitely heading to Lake Placid, or the Olympics.

definitely heading to Lake Placid, or the Olympics.

There indeed was an Olympics here!  (OMG that totally rhymed.)

I dont know whats inside, but its right by transition.

I don't know what's inside, but it's right by transition.

I kept wondering why I didn’t remember the Olympics being in Lake Placid. Then I realized it was back in 1980 and I was not even conceived yet, as I was born at the end of 1981. ;)

the outdoor sign for the outdoor speed skating oval.

the outdoor sign for the outdoor speed skating oval.

Yup, back in the olden days, speed skating was held OUTDOORS! What a concept!

To go with the Swiss theme, I stayed my first two nights at a place called “Swiss Acres Inn” and my room actually had this poster on the wall:

I think I actually LOLed when I saw this.

I think I actually LOL'ed when I saw this.

Yeah, I miss my teammates in Leysin and the poster made me laugh, because I actually biked through Chamonix-Mont Blanc with my teammates on our “TBB Tour de France” last year, and sounds like they are about to leave for that trip again this weekend.

But Tuesday I got a wonderful new housemate named Ben:

Ben is an ironvirgin and will be popping his cherry on Sunday.

Ben is an ironvirgin and will be popping his cherry on Sunday.

And got adopted into the Snare family for the weekend. My friend Mark Rouse, who is owner of Runners High N Tri in Chicago, hooked me up with Ben’s family. They are generously sharing this awesome cabin with me:

Dont be hatin on me, this is how a superstar rolls.

Don't be hatin' on me, this is how a superstar rolls.

It’s not too bad looking on the inside either.

I could get used to this.

I could get used to this.

The kitchen is pretty sweet and I’m able to cook my own meals, which I much prefer going into a race.

superstar special stir-fry on my menu

superstar special stir-fry on my menu

Yesterday, I got to meet up with teammate Amy for the first time since Ironman China! She is such a big shot now, in all the press conferences and stuff:

Amy is front and center, next to the 2009 mens champion

Amy is front and center, between the 2008 women's and 2009 men's champions

She also brought me a variety of the new blueseventy team kits–very exciting!

hooray I have a 2-piece...*just in case*

hooray I have a 2-piece...*just in case*

Truthfully my favorite part of my team kit package from Leysin was the little note attached to it from a certain Boss:

havent seen this handwriting in a while.

haven't seen this handwriting in a while.

Yes, all it says is “WongStar” but it made me smile, seeing that familiar handwriting with the nickname he gave me. :)

Since I missed the team photo shoot (and oh how a triathlon superstar HATES missing photo shoots!), here I am modeling my new race top with my best “Blue Steel” Zoolander look:

this might be more Le Tigre or maybe Le Tigre Blanc hahaha

this might be more "Le Tigre" or maybe "Le Tigre Blanc" hahaha

Speaking of Le Tigre Blanc, today I checked in White Tiger and made sure to Saran Wrap his drivetrain, just in case it rains overnight. Or in case I get really hungry and don’t want any splattering in the microwave, I have been known to not cover things I microwave and aptly reprimanded.

yum yum microwavable Cervelo!

yum yum microwavable Cervelo!

Anyway it’s nearly GO time! You can track me online tomorrow at www.ironman.com. My bib number is 48. The number 48 is a semi-perfect number, according to Wikipedia, which suits me, because I am semi-perfect as well. It is a double factorial of 6, one-third of a gross, four dozen, and the smallest number with exactly ten divisors. 48 is also the atomic number of Cadmium. Cadmium makes me think of Cadbury Easter eggs…which I don’t really like, that weird filling in the center…

Shoot, I got distracted. :(

We start at 6:50am Eastern time here in New York, which is 3:50am Pacific time back on home turf. But don’t wake up early for me, Mom and Dad, just get up your normal time and I’ll be on the bike by then. ;) Thanks for all your support!

Huge thanks to the Snare family for hosting me this weekend, and if you are ever in the Chicago area, please definitely hit up Mark’s running & triathlon store. I’m seeing if I can squeeze a visit into the summer tour as well! :)

Living it up with the Lee’s

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

I can’t believe that 6 weeks in Spokane just came and went like that and now I am hanging out in Lake Placid as it is race week once again.

chillin out in our PJs

chillin' out in our PJ's

I am really thankful to the Lee family for taking me in as their house guest for June and July. I met Mike and Susan when I was 19 years old and going through my “awkward years” in college. Some people look back at their time in high school and cringe; for me, that’s how college was. As top nerd and overachiever in high school, I could go anywhere I wanted, and I chose a tiny place that was full of even more overachieving nerds. I ran track and cross country but never got faster, not realizing how staying up to do the massive homework assignments and thus only getting 3 hours of sleep a night (plus gaining the freshman 15+ from the dining halls) made such a negative impact on my running performance. Academically, everyone was just as smart or much smarter, so I felt stupid and inadequate, got injured and depressed, and then kicked off the track team to boot. (I had taken up road cycling so I could fuel my desire to compete and actually be good at something again.) The nerd boys all went after the girly-girls at Scripps College (the all-women’s school across the street), who actually had time to care about what they looked like.

I was never smart enough, pretty enough, or fast enough. :(

The summer after my freshman year, I biked 100 miles down the coast to Oceanside, and volunteered at the inaugural Ironman California. Something sparked inside of me. “I want to do that…I’m going to sign up for next year.” Suddenly I became that triathlete girl on campus–because back then, at a tiny engineering and computer science school where the ratio of boys to girls was proudly “pi” (you know, 3.14159…), triathlon (or even working out on a regular basis) was not very mainstream at all. Half the school were pasty computer programmers who stayed in the basement coding; the other half were engineers who were too busy to exercise.

When I signed up for Ironman, miraculously I became even more of a freak in this school of freaks. I went to some local triathlon club meetings, but everyone there was 20-30 years older than I was. I never felt like I belonged. Then I met Mike and Susan. Susan worked across the street at Scripps and Mike was “living the dream” of chasing triathlon excellence. They were only 5 years older than me, which is nothing, but when you are 19 years old, people who are 24 seem so much older and wiser! Mike had also got into Ironmans when he was about my age and ended up coaching me successfully through my first two Ironman races. I took over as president of the tiny Claremont Colleges triathlon club and Mike became our coach.

Maddies favorite nickname is Rat-faced Bastard

Maddie's favorite nickname is "Rat-faced Bastard"

I would visit the Lee’s often to get a break from the stress of college. They were always grilling on the BBQ and adopted the cutest dalmatian puppy my senior year. I was Maddie’s first babysitter! I always felt better after hanging out with the three of them.

Grillin like a villain.  HAHAHA

Grillin' like a villain. HAHAHA

In 2003, we all left Claremont. I graduated, and the Lee’s moved back to Spokane where Mike ended up being a high school teacher and coach, and Susan is admissions director at Gonzaga’s law school. They’d been bugging me to come up and do IM CDA for the longest time, and newly armed with my pro card, I could now get in without signing up a year in advance and forking over $550 (or is it $600 now?).

White Tiger is a pedal bike.  The Harley is just a bike.

White Tiger is a "pedal bike." The Harley is just a "bike."

These days Mike doesn’t ride his “pedal bike” much any more. Instead he got a Harley, supposedly so he could do motorpacing workouts with me. ;) and yes, we had to differentiate between “pedal bikes” and his Harley, which he just referred to as his “bike” and kept confusing me.

Susans first ride.  Her helmet is way cooler.

Susan's first ride. Her helmet is way cooler.

They said I could stay as long as I wanted, and I didn’t want to overstay my welcome, so I made sure to be a very good house guest and offered to help with as many chores as I could. Because you must know:

How to Become an International Triathlon Superstar, Step #13: Barter for Rent.

we call this active recovery

we call this "active recovery"

Yup, I scrubbed the floors, gave the dirty dog a bath, did some random home repairs, cooked dinner at least every Thursday (stir-fry and wine girls’ night with Susan!), and helped with the massive summer backyard project: putting up a new fence.

3 generations of Lees digging holes for fence posts

3 generations of Lee's digging holes for fence posts

concrete mixing, those bags were heavy!

concrete mixing, those bags were heavy!

As token Asian girl with the mad math skills, I had the very important job of calculating the distances between fence posts to make everything line up perfect and pretty.  Not too bad huh?

See kids, you really do use math in real life!

See kids, you really do use math in real life!

Here’s how the Wongstar’s special grilled sea bass turned out:

nom nom nom

nom nom nom

if you ever want to host me, I will cook for you too!

if you ever want to host me, I will cook for you too!

So thank you, Mike and Susan, for everything. Meeting you in college was one of the highlights of my time there and spending 6 weeks with you guys in Spokane was incredible! I will be back for sure! Next summer we are putting in a new deck. :)

And of course little Miss “Bad-to-the-Bone” Maddie. :D Until next time!

Maddie supervising the bedazzling of the seat post

Maddie supervising the bedazzling of the seat post

Lessons of a Future Superstar: IM CDA 2010

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Well, Coeur d’Alene was not a spectacular race for me–I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was a bad race, because like all races it was a great learning experience. So what do you do after a not-so-spectacular race? You learn from your mistakes and move on to the next race. I guess for me, the moving on part is really complete after I write up my race report.

So I learned during the bike that I actually have hot male fans who are my age. One of them told me that the highlight of his week is reading my blog. So sorry, random hottie for not posting anything for 2 weeks now. I am sure it was a sad 2 weeks for you. I’ve been stuck in blogger purgatory because I refuse to write a new blog until I’ve done the race report…and it’s always hard writing up a race that wasn’t so great. More fun to write about, say, online dating shenanigans.

Since I’m not too motivated to go over every blow-by-blow per usual, instead you are getting the “concise” version of everything the Wongstar learned during Ironman CDA. If you are easily offended by references to #1 and #2 you can skip this one. (If you are clueless, go on Urban Dictionary.)

ready set go pros!

ready set go pros!

The swim:

I learned that a 35-minute headstart on the age groupers was not enough for me. It was pretty devastating to come out from my first lap and see that the age groupers had already gone off.

I learned that my swim fitness has gone kaput and the swim experiment of the last 4 months hasn’t been working. So now back to doing whatever got me down to a 1:05 last year…because a 1:22 is just WRONG. I know I have it in me to go faster.

at least I look good in my blueseventy Axis?

at least I look good in my blueseventy Axis?

In T1:

I learned that I had a Wongstar fan volunteering in the change tent, she was awesome, thank you. :D

I also learned you get the whole tent to yourself when you are a slow pro swimmer with a 35-minute headstart on the amateurs.

ironically some people yelled great swim! because 47mins would be SMOKIN for an age grouper!

ironically some people yelled "great swim!" because 47mins would be SMOKIN' for an age grouper!

On the bike…

I learned that there are hot boys my age who are Wongstar fans. Wait I said that already. ;)

maybe Hello Pandas in the back pockets arent so aero but bonking is even worse.

maybe Hello Pandas in the back pockets aren't so aero but bonking is even worse.

I learned that if you are biking so slow that it feels like the brakes are on…you might want to check your brakes.

Yep, 4.5 hours into the ride I learned that my rear brake was rubbing. I had diligently checked them on race morning and I think the whole rear caliper was side-shifted when I hit a bump on the bike. I wasn’t sure why I was going slower than I had expected (first loop took 2:50) and it finally started squeaking as I trudged up a hill around mile 80. ARGHHHH

Unfortunately the way the rear calipers are set up on the P3 required me to remove the whole thing to fine-tune the adjustment. Sooo…I had to hang out on the side of the road and get that adjusted. On one hand, I was somewhat relieved there was an explanation on why I was going so slow…on the other hand I was so far behind the other pro women by that point.

Well, I learned the hard way to make sure all my bolts are tightened before a race–even if things seem like they are lined up okay, they might be loose.

going nowhere fast--check your brakes!

going nowhere fast--check your brakes!

One of the big highlights of my day: I learned how to do a #1 on the bike for the first (and second!!) time ever!!!

I am so proud of that moment that it deserves to be a superstar step…I felt so “pro.” Yep, How to Become An International Triathlon Superstar, Step #12: Learn to “go” on the bike.

I am sure many of you are surprised I have never done this before…I mean, even age groupers do this all the time. But you see, as an overachiever since birth, I was potty-trained at an extremely early age–before I turned a year old. Google tells me that the average age of potty training for girls is 2 to 3 years. Slackers. So it’s been hard for me to reverse 27 years of self-control and mentally allowing myself to just let go while biking (or running, and heck even going in my wetsuit took a while). We all remember the shame of having “an accident” at preschool or kindergarten. I tend to get stage fright with people around me too.

If you are wondering how, because you haven’t, and of course you want to be a superstar too: it was easier when going downhill. Stand up on the pedals and relax. You won’t splash the bike bottle on your downtube thanks to Newton’s First Law of Motion.

no, I wasnt going in this picture.

no, I wasn't "going" in this picture.

In T2:

I learned not to panic about how far behind I was. I was freaking out and rushing through and asking the volunteers “How far behind am I?!?!” and my Wongstar fan/change tent volunteer told me not to worry about it and that I was doing great. That was a total lie, but whoever you are, thank you for the kind words and support. It did mean a lot to me and I’m sorry I didn’t get to thank you in person as I was pretty frazzled. :)

I learned that Wongstar fans will still love you and root for you no matter how far behind you are starting the marathon–this proved to be true during most of the run. Thank you for everyone that cheered for me. It is pretty cool when people you don’t know yell “Go Jocelyn!” when your bib number says “Wongstar.” So like I always say, obviously I am the most recognizable pro out there. :)

Onto the run:

I learned that I can run 7:40/mile pace and feel under control.

holding steady for the marathon

holding steady for the marathon

I learned that I should really race in a 2-piece outfit because as much as I love my one-piece race kit, like T-Mac once asked me “but what happens if you have to use the washroom?” (That’s Canadian-speak for taking a #2.)

Yes, after a great first half-marathon, I learned that having the urge to drop off the kids at the pool is very uncomfortable for 13 miles.

the dont crap yourself face

the "don't crap yourself" face

I learned (in hindsight) it is probably better to stop and spend some time in the “washroom” instead of slowing down to avoid soiling yourself. Dropping the kids off at home was never an option because that is House Rule #1 for staying with the Lee’s. (I told them the only exception should be if I was winning the race but Susan says no exceptions.) I was wearing my one-piece though with the Camelbak strapped on and it didn’t occur to me that stopping to lose a pound or two would make me go faster.

I learned that I can have a not-spectacular run and still break 3.5 hours in the marathon. So, that is definitely PROGRESS!

I learned that no matter how far behind I am hitting T2, I can mentally pull myself together and focus on running a strong marathon as a great training session. I will never drop out of a race just because I am lightyears from winning prize money and many more lightyears from winning the race.

I learned that even with a mechanical on the bike and slowing down significantly on the second half of my run, I still almost managed to run myself up to top 10 in the pro ranks. Maybe given another mile or two…for my efforts I ended up in 12th. I never actually caught anyone but 5 women dropped out. So uh, technically I beat them. ;)

I learned that no matter what, running through the finish chute of an Ironman is still one of the BEST feelings ever:

YouTube Preview Image

Post-race:

I learned that these random hot boys my age are probably a figment of my imagination as they seem to disappear post-race, probably to the comfort of their girlfriends and wives who are playing sherpa for them (vomit!).

a smile for the finish, 5 seconds before the Christmas tree allergies kicked in.

a smile for the finish, 5 seconds before the Christmas tree allergies kicked in.

I shall live to fight another day.

Thank you to all my sponsors for your continued support!