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Archive for August, 2010

putting the “Kentucky” in KFC

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Many locals here in Kentucky have asked why I came here to do the race when there are other races all over the country, and even the rest of the world. Of course most of them don’t know it’s because I’ve been told to do EVERY Ironman in this country this year, but even so, here is the secret truth revealed…I came to Kentucky because this is where Kentucky Fried Chicken comes from. Didn’t we all?

the KFC at the 4th Street Live finish line area

Today in Louis-ville, the infamous Louis took me on a very special KFC trip. Neither of us had ever been to a KFC that was actually in the state of Kentucky.

what do you MEAN there's no Double Down here?!

We went to the KFC at the 4th Street Live finish area. Sadly, it was only a “KFC Express” which meant they didn’t have everything a full-service KFC has to offer. Namely there was no Double Down, and most definitely not the Skinwich.  We had to settle for a box of chicken wings.

the Colonel: the only person more famous than me here in Louisville.

On the bright side, Colonel Sanders came back from the dead when he heard a triathlon superstar of my caliber was coming into town, and we got some great photo ops with the genius behind the 11-ingredient “finger lickin’ good” secret recipe.

nom nom nom fried chicken!

gotta have KFC in Kentucky!

So…was it the best thing I ever ate? Does KFC in Kentucky taste better here than in other states???

while some are into that vegetarian stuff, the Wongstar is most definitely a carnivore.

Well I have two answers depending on who you are. If you are the Boss reading this, I didn’t actually eat the KFC; I just posed with the food for the photos. Awesome pictures, right! ;) If you are anybody else, holy crap that was awesome!  Like a party in my mouth and everyone’s invited! :D

And well…it does taste the same as in California and other states. (From what I recall, and I don’t actually remember the last time I had KFC.) Which isn’t a bad thing. At least now you know, and knowing’s half the battle. ;)

be careful what you wish for!

Monday, August 30th, 2010

We most definitely got the super hot day I had wanted. I killed myself on the swim, slaughtered myself on the bike, and reeled in 5 women on the run to get into the top 5 for a while…only I didn’t know this because the 5th place bike escort was with a fast age group woman. :(

Then I too succumbed to the heat and slipped down a spot with 4 miles to go. It was seriously like being on Survivor. My solid 8:20′s were slipping into 9′s then 10′s then 11′s and I was fantasizing about cold showers and walking…so I made a giant pit stop at an aid station, threw at least 10 cups of water over myself and threw down 5 or 6 Cokes. Somehow I came back to life and gutted out the rest of race to try and make back some time…absolutely left everything out there on the course. I was the crazy girl making obscene grunting noises because I was going so hard and refused to just give up and jog it in.  Quite honestly I could not have gone any faster. Effort-wise definitely one of my best (if not the best) and 6th pro is my best finish on home soil so super happy with my race. :) More details to come in the full-length race report…

Big thanks for all your support!

celebrating my 200th…! ;)

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

So there was this episode of How I Met Your Mother where Barney is celebrating his “200th.” His 200th what? Well, you see on this show, Barney is quite the womanizer. Ha! And some idiots say gay actors can’t play straight people! (“What?! Doogie Howser is gay?” ummm, where have you been?)

so convincingly straight even J-Lo wanted him.

Well my friends, today I am celebrating my very own 200th. My 200th what? My 200th conquest on this teamTBB blog! It is amazing that my very first post here was dated on June 21, 2007…3 years, 2 months, and 1 week ago. And when I signed into my dashboard today, it told me I had written 199 blog posts. So this one is the 200th blog post!

It also happens to be the eve of my 17th Ironman, so I’m just doing the pre-race check-in. Tomorrow’s will probably be short too…since I am racing all day. ;) I got all my touch-up workouts done early, checked in the White Tiger and gear bags, then made a special appearance to the Team-in-Training Los Angeles chapter’s team luncheon at the Hyatt Regency downtown. Triathlon superstars are meant to spread goodwill and smiles and inspiration to everybody, and I’m always so happy and honored when I’m asked to do this. I also like having the influence to tell young girls to appreciate their flat chests. ;)

meeting Louis in Louis-ville!

I finally got to meet Louis in Louis-ville…(pic above from someone’s iphone via Twitter) and he was much shyer in person than he is online. Ok, someone else said “more like starstruck.” Superstar-struck! I will do a separate blog about TNT in the near future, but absolutely love the group and the cause that they fundraise for, as I have close ties with friends and family who have had leukemia and lymphoma. I got to do a little motivational speech for the athletes, sign some autographs, and take photos–the usual superstar stuff. But best of all, thank them for all the hard work they did fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! It was awesome to meet all of you who also follow my blog, and I’ll be excited to see you in your purple race kits tomorrow!

the Wongstar likes it HOT

I am most definitely looking forward to the weather; it’s gonna be a Wongstar kind of day…the kind where I will “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.”  I will be well prepared!

race day nutrition. everything you need to have a superstar day.

In my arsenal, I’ve got my drinks mixed and Pandas ready. I’m under strict instructions from Kellie (more of a big sister than mom really) to shut off the computer when I’m done blogging and chill out. We all know I spend way too much time on the internets! :)

WongSTAR-ized!

You can track me online starting at 6:50am Eastern Time on www.ironman.com. I’m Bib #46 and have already put in my finish line KFC order! Happy internet stalking everybody, unless you are here in person like Louis, you can do it in the flesh! :D

where baseball bats are made.

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

whoa that's a big bat! "that's what SHE said."

Ok, DUH, how could I forget to put “see where baseball bats are made” on my list of things to do here in Kentucky? Especially in Louisville?

and that's why they're not called Wilmington Sluggers.

Now while some of my teammates have been known to follow the World Series when we are overseas at training camp, my own personal interest with baseball has been limited to “hmm, should I let him get to first base or *gasp* second base tonight?” ;) Or, hey! Jew Day at the ballpark! But even so, of course I’ve heard of Louisville Sluggers…  The official bat of Major League Baseball. As you recall, Delaware doesn’t have an MLB team…

Well, neither does Louisville. Despite all this baseball bat-making. Their minors team that plays in Louisville Slugger Field is called the “Louisville Bats.”  Their mascot is the winged creature that Batman emulates…cute and corny right? The Wongstar loves a good pun!

Coach can't teach me to swim, time to take up a new sport.

So here at Ironman central, you can actually get a personalized official IRONMAN Louisville Slugger bat! With your name enscribed on it! Now how sweet is that.

I bet you could get your finish time laser-engraved on it too.

After today’s ESPN interview (where I declared I wanted me some KFC at the finish line), athlete registration, and pro meeting, Kellie took me over to the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, where all the baseball bats are made. They’ve got a giant glove…

me and Kellie--champion homestay!

to go with the giant baseball bat outside.

I feel like I'm on "Honey I Shrunk the Kids"

Gear bags are packed and tonight is the night to sleep! Very cool catching up with my teammates here, and also Jeff (Team Glas!), Minsok and Bliss from Singapore/Austin, Sugar from our forum, and some of the TNT LA crew.  But I have yet to meet Louis in Louis-ville ;)

Mid-season Report Card: Wongstar’s Walkabout

Friday, August 27th, 2010

The travel sponsor has requested a blog that is actually about triathlon and not travel adventures and dating stories. :(

living out of a suitcase. dogs everywhere too. miss ya, Mads!

I shall not bore you too much with the nitty-gritty on training and mileage though, as I find that stuff excruciatingly boring to read. But just because I don’t blog about it doesn’t mean I’m not doing it. If my life were like a reality TV show, it would be some freak hybrid of The Biggest Loser (making and maintaining race weight = a daily battle), Survivor (“stranded in a remote locale, with limited resources”), MTV Cribs (some, no ALL, of these homestays are suh-WEET), the Amazing Race (navigating my way across the USA), and… the Bachelorette. I just choose to blog about the fun parts, just like the TV producers only highlight the drama and shenanigans. :)

But fair enough, it is the end of August with half of my summer tour complete (2 down, 2 to go), and for the year, 5 done, 4 to go. So sure, it’s about time for a midseason report card, isn’t it?

This year, or at least this summer, has definitely been different than the last, as I’ve been set loose here in the USA, squad-less, being coached by the Boss through email, and living out of my suitcase. There were a few reasons for this–finances, teamTBB representation at the American races, and some nebulous “test” of sorts from the Boss. As one of the newest pros on teamTBB, this summer has been my symbolic walkabout: “a rite of passage during which male Australian Aborigines would undergo a journey during adolescence and live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months.” (Thanks as always, Wikipedia.) Ok, so I’m not an adolescent male Australian Aborigine, but I think you get the gist. :)

Living out of a suitcase and traveling solo has been trying at times–just when you get settled in somewhere, get into a routine and learn the roads, get to know people and start forging stronger bonds with them, hey! it’s time to pack up and go again. Still, I’ve met so many great people that have helped me along in this journey and am really grateful to all of them.  I’ve also learned a lot about myself as an athlete and person during this summer tour. What works for me, what doesn’t work, what I want out of this sport, and what I am willing to do to get there.

Performance-wise, how do I think I’ve been doing? You can’t really gauge too much based on times and finish positions because from course to course, the terrain and weather vary, along with how competitive the field at each race is. Last year, it was quite obvious that I improved by leaps and bounds, because even though all the courses were different, dropping 2 hours and 14 minutes off my Ironman PR could only mean…I got way faster. This year as I am primarily racing in the USA, the competition is obviously deeper than in the two ironman-distance races I won in Korea last year, so getting a top 10 finish in the pro field here is arguably harder than some of the races I spanked last season.

So am I still improving, performing well, and getting faster? Yes. Well, ok, I take it 1/3 of that back–my swim has gone a bit backwards this year. My dad compiled my IM stats for this year with all my splits (thanks Papa Wongstar!) and the swim’s gone like this: 1:18 (non-WS), 1:11, 1:17, 1:22, 1:14 (non-WS). EWW. In my six ironmans last year, there were a couple of 1:05′s and a 1:07. I’ve learned just how difficult it is for me to properly swim (and properly swim hard) when I am on my own. But my bike continues to improve–I’ve got big strong bike legs that will stomp down the skinny girls. My run has been solid and consistent and I’ve learned that I can do those big track sessions (even a marathon on a dirt track) completely alone without a squad or coach around, and faster than I’ve ever run them. The race experience I’ve gained from racing so often has been invaluable, and I’m lucky to be able to live here in the USA where there are so many Ironmans. It was inevitable that the chunks of time I kept chopping off my IM times last year would start to plateau, as taking an hour off would get me in the sub-9 club and then another hour into the sub-8 club, and well that’s not quite so realistic. ;) I do believe that I am still improving and on the verge of another breakthrough.

I’ve had a very solid training block in Delaware, and for the first time all summer was able to swim with a squad under Coach Mac’s guidance. I have high hopes this Sunday to continue the upward trend my swim has returned to at Lake Placid. It’ll be non-wetsuit BUT two-thirds of it is downstream, which I’ll take. ;) I lived without a car in Delaware, so got in plenty of extra bike miles in (a 45-minute bike each way to the pool every morning), and the roads in the Lower Brandywine Valley were amazing for cycling. It was also plenty hot and humid, as it will be here in Louisville on race day, and you know how much I love that kind of weather! The hotter the better, so bring it on! :)

Finally I shall leave you with the question I ask myself when I wake up every morning:

my answer is always "BE BETTER"

a blog about boobs.

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

This blog is dedicated to all the flat-chested young girls out there who maybe wish they had bigger boobs.

the view from the window of TBB Wilmington

See, I have always been one of the less-endowed chicks and long long ago back when I was not quite the triathlon superstar I was now, there was a time during those insecure awkward adolescent years when I actually kind of wished for bigger boobs.  Now I actually wish someone role-model-like, perhaps an Asian Triathlon Superstar, would’ve been there to tell my 13-year-old self to be proud of having “mosquito bites” rather than “juicy juicy mangos.”  –> from one of my favorite lines in the movie Bend It Like Beckham:

YouTube Preview Image

Really great movie about soccer girls (or I guess “footballers” since they are British) embracing being cool sporty chicks with small boobage.  Starring Keira Knightley before those Pirate movies and tight corsets, Jonathan Rhys Meyers before he was crowned King Henry VIII on the Tudors, and Parminder Nagra before her six seasons as an ER doctor. Speaking of corsets, I am definitely a fan; amazing how they enhance what little you have. I personally own three of them. :D

my glorious AA cups in the reflection

The B Cup Cafe was a super cute coffee place from my visit to NYC, where the small size is called “A Cup” and the large is “B Cup”.  I am more of an AA.

As I’d always suspected, bigger ones totally get in the way when you run and weigh you down…NY Times actually cites a research study investigating this! Oh yes: “Jiggle may make running both more difficult and injurious than it needs to be.” Bigger boobs are hazardous to your health and slow you down!

You may think that more boys will like you, or you will look better in a dress, but most of my more-endowed friends (who I am kidding, that’s all of them) would actually rather have smaller ones.  They complain of bras that don’t fit, back pain, and see, now they actually have done research suggesting they can cause higher bodily stress.  Selected quotes from said friends:

“Boobs are ridiculous…they make you look heavier than you are.  They are NOT meant for fashion….because cute fashion is meant for flat chested girls.  And you can NEVER go braless.” –Anonymous D-cup

“I switched to a one handed back hand ’cause my boobs get in the way.” –Anonymous C-cup tennis player

For all the boys that feel left out in this discussion, here is a whole website dedicated to Marvelous Man Boobs, by one of my favorite cartoonists, The Oatmeal.

So to my fellow flat-chested females, be proud of what you don’t have and think of how much faster you are because of it. There’s nothing sexier than going fast! ;)

How to Become An International Triathlon Superstar, Step #16: Be proud of your body.

gettin’ lucky in Kentucky

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

I am one efficient triathlon superstar. I waste no time at all ticking off things on my list here in Kentucky. I totally got lucky last night! ;)

I flew in late and my homestay mom, Kellie was there to greet me at the airport. I get to stay with the Jones family here at mile 12 of the bike course and realized last night that indeed I have hit the jackpot! Their version of the “basement” that is mine for the week is GINORMOUS, with a huge living room, game room, bedroom (with big grown-up KING bed!), mini kitchen, bike room (as in two turbo/Computrainers and flat screen TV), AND exercise room (as in gym equipment and treadmill and elliptical trainer). The fridge was fully stocked with the grocery list Kellie kept requesting from me, and since she did the Ironman here last year, I have my own personal tour guide and training partner! They have hosted former IM Louisville champion Mariska Kramer for the last three years, but she isn’t racing this time. So the Jones are a top-class experienced and very expert homestay family! I am soooo lucky! :D

spotted here, 6 years ago.

This neighborhood is actually famous for being where Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson of Newlyweds fame (I know, so 2004) stayed during the Kentucky Derby episode. (I’m putting in the link to tempt you, but you don’t really want to read the episode recap, it might make you cry. Not tears of joy.) Actually, they stayed in the house right across the street from me! So what did I say about the Kentucky Derby and big funny hats…?

still to do...get a big funny hat

Well I have not made any leeway on getting myself one of these awesome hats (gosh and Jessica’s would so totally match the teamTBB hot pink!) but I sure saw a lot of horses today. Kellie took me to do some recon on the bike course and there are horses horses horses everywhere. Reminded me of the Boss and all his horse training stories.

On the KFC front, I have learned that there might be something even more gruesome/awesome than the Double Down sammich. Rumor has it that certain KFC locations are testing out something bloggers are dubbing the “Skinwich”: “5 layers of fried chicken skin, lumped on a bun and topped with white American cheese and bacon.”

mmm the skin is the best part!

Now surely they should have it here in Kentucky. It would be wrong to test out a new KFC product in any other state. ;)

5 things to do in Kentucky

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

1.  Determine how the KFC in Kentucky compares to KFC not in Kentucky.

You would think that Kentucky Fried Chicken is extra special in Kentucky, right? But am I brave enough to try the Double Down sandwich that has been hyped up in our teamTBB forum? :(

2. Get lucky in Kentucky.

This is completely open to interpretation. ;) This may involve lottery tickets, betting on horses (see #4 below), or best yet–no mechanical issues on the bike!

3. Meet a guy named Louis in Louisville.

Yes, there is this guy who keeps posting fan photos on my FB fan page and is fond of Sharpie-ing “I (heart) WongSTAR” on his arms. He swears he’s not a stalker. He’s not the first.

4. Wear a funny hat and see horses.

Yeah, the Kentucky Derby was four months ago but from what I understand, it’s all about wearing funny hats and watching horses.

5. Oh yeah, race an Ironman. Right!

It’s my first time visiting Kentucky so those are some of the first things that come into my mind when I think “Kentucky”: KFC, an Ironman, and the Kentucky Derby. :)

it’s NOT always sunny in Philadelphia

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Dirty rotten liars! I don’t know why they say it’s always sunny in Philadelphia…I am going to tell you something very shocking…it’s NOT! Lightning and thunder and torrential downpours = delayed flight to St. Louis + missed connection to Louisville = better to stay here for another 24 hours than scramble around looking for any Wongstar fans in St. Louis that would want to help put me up for the night. (HMM, that’s a great idea actually–start a Wongstar Fan Database for those of you that live by all the major airports.)

So yes. Back in Delaware for just another night…fingers crossed that the weather cooperates tomorrow, though it is supposed to be thunderstormy too. In the meantime I spied a restaurant in the Philly airport that made me think of one of our teamTBB ninjas, both of whom I get to catch up with at this next race in Kentucky.

Maki of Japan...I will see you in Louisville! ^_~

While patiently waiting to board my flight, then patiently waiting to reschedule my flight, I passed the time away by compiling a list of the top 5 things I want to do in Kentucky. Stayed tuned for the next blog. ***SUSPENSE!***

superstar secrets revealed!

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Today was our first event at TBB Wilmington“The Secrets Behind the Success of teamTBB”.

opening the chamber of secrets...no Parseltongue needed.

I had printed out some autographable photos of myself (taken by Snap-Attack! back in Thailand). A triathlon superstar is always prepared.

you know you wants one.

Our adoring public included members of the University of Delaware triathlon training group, Team in Training, the teamTBB/Deep Blue cycling team, Tri-Dawgs, Coach Mac‘s athletes, and even a Slowtwitcher!

what a cool bike shop!

We all got to talk about being a part of teamTBB and how we’ve improved as athletes since being coached by The Boss.

I look like I have to pee, but I don't, really.

As promised, I came prepared with a Powerpoint Presentation. It was difficult, but I managed to condense the story of my triathlon life in only 9 slides. Impressive, no?

I am an expert on this topic.

I have had my share of critics tell me I have no right to call myself a superstar, as I am still not THAT fast. But as I was putting together my slides, it gave me a chance to step back and realize that what I’ve done in the last two years is pretty crazy. In a superstar-worthy kind of way.

The short version, if you are new to this blog: I spent 7 years as a mediocre age grouper with a 5:15 half IM PR and 12:08 IM PR. After being picked up as a teamTBB development athlete and about 12 months of online coaching with The Boss, I achieved a goal I had been going after for years: I finally broke 5 hours in a half ironman. Gosh, I thought that was the hardest thing I’d ever done. Then another 14 months later (many of those months spent at training camps), I broke 10 hours in an ironman.

WTF right? That’s like breaking 5 hours in two half ironmans back-to-back. Unfathomable. Did this really happen? Yes, and thanks to the magic of the internet, it’s all been captured in this very blog! :)

this is the slide with the secrets. oh you can't see it from this angle?

So I think I am allowed to be proud of myself. Yes, there is still much work to be done, but I will get there. Like James always says (and he autographed the wall with this), “Onwards and upwards!”

Batman signs the wall.

My homestay family, Super J and Super K, came to support their favorite triathlon superstar and learned even more about me than they expected! They thought they already knew all my secrets (especially all the fun dating stories) but they got an earful.

they housed me for 3+ weeks and still wanted my autograph.

Thank you to everybody who came today! Hope you enjoyed it and learned a bunch! Those of you who missed out…well, no secrets for you. ;)