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Archive for September, 2010

Moving in, Day #3: Ikea!

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

don't forget the slatted bed base!

A very successful Ikea date that resulted in a $99 bed, a $20 desk, and a solution to my drawerless kitchen (i.e. the utensil storage woes). Thanks to Emily from the I <3 Wongstar Fan Club for the utensil suggestion! I got one for the spatulas too.

matchy-matchy!

No video blog tonight because it’s really not very exciting until the furniture is actually assembled. While the furniture assembly is in fact, one of the most fun parts of shopping at Ikea (no sarcasm here, I like making stuff, y’know), it is also pretty time consuming and by the time I’m done I will be too pooped to even want to blog, so I figured I should blog before I whip out the tools!

and the fun *really* begins!

As for the date itself, I had to say I was impressed with a guy who was willing to take me to TWO Ikeas (the bed I wanted was sold out at the first Ikea), and help me haul big heavy things up multiple flights of stairs (nope, no elevator here…we call it “secret training”). All on the first date! Bwahaha! ;)

really? do I really need another person...???

Oops, I just realized that the pictograms on the directions are telling me that this is a two-person job to assemble the bed. Hmm, too bad I kicked the boy out. Well…let’s see how complicated this is… Check back tomorrow for the update!

bye-bye in Swedish :D

Wongstar Moves In, Day 2: the Kitchen

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Video blogging is so much more efficient than actually writing down a bunch of stuff! haha! Well, it apparently takes 20 minutes to upload a 5-minute video onto YouTube, so while I wait for that I can then start creating a blog post, take a shower, brush my teeth, etc…

Today’s introduction is brought to you by White Tiger. I got to sleep here last night on the air mattress but today is White Tiger’s first day…Welcome to our crib! Today we focus on the kitchen…

YouTube Preview Image

and you heard right. Tomorrow I have a date at Ikea with an online suitor. (Hey, I’m a resourceful girl who is currently without a car.) Low-priced Swedish furniture and Swedish meatballs! Maybe I should bring the Flip and we can act out a scene like in Ikea Heights or 500 Days of Summer. But I promised that I wouldn’t make him act. :D

Wongstar’s New Crib, Day 1

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

How to Become An International Triathlon Superstar, Step #18: Make enough money as a professional triathlete that you can move out of the parents’ house/your suitcase/various generous homestays’ guest bedrooms, to your very own place.

Yes, the rumors in the gossip mags are all true. I have moved to the first state and just signed a 12-month lease on the super cute studio apartment I fell in love with a couple weeks ago!

And yes, I realize that just earlier this month, I was down to $4.32 en route to Madison, Wisconsin. Actually, what was more obnoxious is that I got double-shafted by those m*****f*****’ ATM fees so I was really down to $2.32. Well, we know that Ironman Wisconsin has always been a magical place for my triathlon career: first Ironman, first (and only) AG podium at an Ironman, and now first paycheck at an Ironman on home soil. That together with more sponsorship money coming through and steady freelance work with MSN TV (the perfect job for a triathlon superstar with a crazy training schedule) meant that for the first time in my life since abruptly veering onto the pro triathlon career path over 3 years ago, I can now actually afford to have my very own place!

Obviously I am beyond excited. To commemorate the beginning of my new life here as a grown-up (didn’t I say that the 18th Ironman was like a “coming of age”?) I decided to finally get over my intimidation of the Flip camera Momma Wongstar got me for my birthday last year. Oh yes…the Wongstar is finally stepping up to video blogs. As much of an attention whore I am, it’s still a bit weird to just talk to the camera. But since I may have to step in for Maggie Q and star in the movie of my life as a superstar, I need to practice, so I’ll try my best! Enjoy :D

In the style of MTV’s Cribs… “Hello this is Wongstar, welcome to my crib!”
…and, “This is where the magic happens!”

YouTube Preview Image

More to come soon.

Oh and let’s not forget, this blog is brought to you by a very generous neighbor (whom I have yet to meet) and his or her awesome 54Mbps unsecured wireless connection that I get a “very good” signal for. Did Comcast really think I was going to pay over $30/month for internet? Thank you, whoever you are, friendly new neighbor, for making the easy and quick uploading of new Wongstar video blogs  possible.

Wongstar’s Favorite Comics

Monday, September 27th, 2010

As I’ve maintained the daily blogging streak, I’ve been getting great positive feedback and nobody has told me they are sick of me yet. On the other side of the world, German teammate Christine has told me it’s her daily breakfast reading. So I started to think of it like being a daily comic strip writer, but maybe without the fun cartoons.

hey kids, back when I was your age, they printed comics on paper!

I’ve always had very fond memories of reading the Sunday morning comics growing up with the family. You remember. There were the Saturday morning cartoons and then the Sunday morning comics. My siblings and I would swap pages while we had donuts for breakfast. Yep, once a week on Sundays, Momma Wongstar would get us donuts in the morning from the local donut shop, and we each had our favorite donut. Mine was the chocolate one with chocolate icing and shredded coconut on top.

I don't know why I Google-image-searched this, now I'm salivating and wanting one.

These days since I am always on the go, and even once I get settled in, am too much of a cheapo to buy a real newspaper…and everything these days is online anyway. We have the wonderful magic of the internet for me to get my regular fix of comic awesomeness. Here are my favorite ones. They can be pretty nerdy, just like your favorite triathlon superstar (who is both pretty AND nerdy, AHAHA). Some of the web ones don’t quite run every day so I guess I have a leg up on them. ;)

“Pearls Before Swine” by Stephan Pastis

The main characters are supercute cartoon animals, very originally named “Pig” and “Rat” and “Zebra” and “Goat.” There is an evil brotherhood of stupid crocs who speak terrible English and are always plotting to eat Zebra; they even have their own frat called “Zeeba Zeeba Eata.” I am a big fan of terrible puns, of which there is no shortage in this comic strip:

Speaking of being a big fan…this one is dedicated to the big Wongstar fans:


“Piled Higher and Deeper” AKA Ph.D. Comics by Jorge Cham

I got hooked onto this one when I was an actual graduate student but it’s fun to still read and think “Oh yeah, I remember those days… so glad I’m DONE!!” I also read that Jorge had completed a triathlon at one point, not sure if he ever did more than one though!

xkcd by Randall Munroe

Self-described as “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language,” the main characters are stick figures and it’s super duper geeky.

“the Oatmeal” by Matthew Inman

This is one of my new favorites and I have tossed some references in my blog entries every now and again. He has comics about all kinds of things, from air travel to bumblebee farts to coffee, and I tried to find one that wasn’t too offensive and full of naughty words, as I’m told I have young school-age blog readers. But ah, here, you know I am a grammar snob, so this is a peek at the semicolon guide:

I recently found out that Matthew is a triathlete (and my age, and kind of hot) and looking to do his first Ironman in the near future. Sweet! He was also featured in the latest Seattle Weekly and apparently made half a million dollars this year just doing his Oatmeal online comic strip and selling shirts and posters of the comics. WHOA.

…anyway, as if you don’t already waste enough time foofing around the internet reading my blog and other timesucks, now you have more places to check out. Enjoy! You know I do! :)

Love the Wongstar? “Like” the Wongstar!

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

In honor of the new Facebook movie “The Social Network” premiering next Friday, we present to you a very gratuitous plug of the Wongstar’s official Facebook page.

The WongSiSTAR loves the Wongstar, do you?

The Wongstar promised her fledgling Facebook fan club that if she hit 500 fans, she would get “I (Heart) Wongstar” stickers printed out. At the moment the fans are just 491 strong, so please visit the page and click the “Like” button.

If you already “Like” the Wongstar, she gives you permission and absolutely encouragement to be that annoying FB friend who suggests it to all your friends too!

And yes…she realizes it’s no longer technically called a fan page and saying you merely “Like” the Wongstar is nowhere near the actual emotional connection you have to her. It is, after all, called the “I <3 The Wongstar: The Official Wongstar Fan Club.”

not a fan of the new verbiage

It’s unfortunate that it’s not a “Love” button or one with a heart or “less than 3″ sign (<3).

Love the Wongstar!

While you’re at it, you should definitely also become a fan of (…I mean “LIKE”…) The Bike Boutique Wilmington, my new local bike shop!

Hope you’re having a great weekend! Thanks for “liking” me and any stronger warm & fuzzy feelings you may harbor towards me!

Summer Tour Report Card

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Since yesterday was the travel sponsor‘s birthday and he likes me to post more tri-related stuff, this post-summer tour report card is dedicated to him. He likes the whole stats analysis thing too, so I’ve tossed around some numbers, as I like keeping my sponsors happy. :) Happy birthday, Mark!

So my first 4 Ironmans occurred over a 4-year span. September 2002 to August 2006. My last 4 Ironmans occurred over well…an 11-week span. What is that, 2.5 months?

11 weeks to get all four. Like collecting McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

Now I know some (er, many) people say you can’t race that much and expect to do so well. Whatever. I just follow the Boss’s orders. They ask which one is my A race? I don’t know. The answer seems to be “all of them or none of them.” See, what I’ve learned is to look beyond all the summer racing, or even this entire season, and look at the big picture. The big picture is beyond this year. Some people get it, some people don’t.

To get really good at racing Ironman, you need to race a lot of Ironmans. It’s like getting a great SAT score. Mostly I just took as many practice exams as I could, then I took the actual exam at least three times. But what was the big picture? Getting into a great college. (Yes, I got into all 6 or 7 colleges I applied to.) Or maybe the big picture was getting a great college education so I could go on to an even awesomer graduate school and then embark on a successful career path to…uh…become a pro triathlete. Hmm, I should’ve stopped this analogy maybe at the part where I got into all the colleges. It’s not working so well, is it? :P

Ahem, ok, well.

ANYWAY. The big picture. That’s later. Not this year. In the meantime, I learned quite a bit in this accelerated course on Ironman racing known as the All-American Superstar Summer Tour. (For race reports, click here.)

I'm not sure why age groupers get first names on their bib's, and pros only get last names. it's ok, I get to WongSTAR-ize mine.

Other than the travel adventures and roaming around the USA visiting parts of my own country I’d never seen before, this was a highly educational experience and of course fitness-inducing challenge.

I learned to “multitask” while on the bike (see Superstar Step #12).

I learned to go full throttle and really get out of comfort zone, and learn to suffer like I only had started learning how to suffer in a half ironman the year Doc was only coaching me online. So like what? Like how I used to suffer at the Olympic distance?

I learned that I can go harder than I think I can, even when it seems like all hope is lost, and that I won’t ever give up. Never, never, never!

Despite the different courses and conditions, my splits were pretty consistent.

rockin' the blueseventy. Who knows how much slower I'd swim without it, eh?

Swim splits: Averaged about a 1:15-1:16 (1:22, 1:14, 1:12, 1:15). Quite awful really. I was consistently last pro out of the water. (Oh, correction. Last pro WOMAN. There were two of those races where I outswam a pro guy.) Funny but my two fastest swims were not with a wetsuit. Maybe the overall slowness had a lot to do with the fact that I swam by myself most of the summer. Hard to find a group to train with consistently when bouncing from place to place, but this has been addressed for the next block of training leading to the end of the year!

the Wongstar + White Tiger = one unit!

Bike splits: 5:46, 5:28, 5:30, 5:30. If you throw out the first split where I had mechanical issues at CDA, I am freakishly consistent. Also minus CDA, I consistently outbiked half the pro women’s field, managing a top 5 bike split each time. Well, that does feel kind of redeeming. Must be the beef. See Pantani, told you I was a gun biker!

yes, I do kind of look the same, and yes Coach, I am heel-striking.

Run splits: 3:29, 3:33, 3:53, 3:39. Throwing out the hot death march in Louisville, I’m still somewhat consistent. Would be nice to start getting consistently under 3:30′s, but I’m patient. I started losing some run fitness the second half of summer; had a slight hamstring niggle after Lake Placid and did no track work since July to prevent it from becoming a full-blown injury. Thanks to doing that and then two Ironmans, I’ve made a complete recovery! :D Now I can go back to hitting those marathon track sessions. Can’t wait!

crossing the finish is always the best feeling ever. Multiply by 4 please.

In the overall rankings, it’s hard to see a pattern because it does depend on who shows up at the starting line, i.e. both how deep and how strong the pro field is. So I also looked at how many age groupers beat me, as I am not above admitting that I still get spanked by age groupers. It’s not a bad way to gauge my progress as pro rookie.

Coeur d’Alene: 12th pro (out of 17 starters and 12 finishers), 24th overall AKA beaten by 12 amateurs.
Lake Placid: 9th pro (out of 14 starters and 12 finishers), 12th overall AKA beaten by 3 amateurs.
Louisville: 6th pro (out of 13 starters and 9 finishers), 12th overall AKA beaten by 6 amateurs.
Wisconsin: 8th pro (out of 13 starters and 11 finishers), 9th overall AKA beaten by 1 amateur.

Well, see, I really did make some progress. Finishing up by only getting beaten by 1 amateur (by 3 minutes) is much better than how I started off the summer!

Anyway, it’s late and I couldn’t remember what other super intelligent analysis I wanted to do or other things I learned and meant to say. I guess as I sit back and compile all these results and pictures, it is kind of really hitting me that I raced 4 Ironmans in the span of 11 weeks. That’s kind of crazy. ;) I still remember when just doing one was daunting. Hell, let’s be honest, doing one *is* still pretty freakin’ daunting!

Christmas trees, snowflakes, horsies, and...wheat?

Looking forward to getting a very solid block of training in these next 6 weeks. Til then…keep on keeping on!

just another dating blog… on exes

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Now that my last race report is done and I have 6 weeks reprieve til I leave for the next one, I can go back to writing about completely non-triathlon related stuff. Like dating. This seems to be a much more popular topic than triathlon, for the same reasons that terrible reality shows on dating are extremely successful. (Yes, I admit that I too have been fascinated by Tila Tequila, NEXT, and Rock of Love.) Maybe I’ll start checking in once a week with “Wongstar’s Weekly Wooer Woes.” Yea or nay?

First I’ll have to say that as a minor internet celebrity, all potential suitors should know that I automatically come with a bright orange sticker on my head that says “Google me at your own risk.” This is my way of saying I have the right to blog about past dates and take no responsibility for any hurt feelings should a former suitor “accidentally stumble” on my blog. (Stalker.) That said, names have been omitted to protect the innocent and repulsive. ;) You’ve been warned!

Today I’m going to talk about running into exes. I’ve been doing triathlons long enough (over 10 years now) and have dated enough athletic-minded folk (triathletes or those that years later might have gotten into triathlon) that it’s inevitable I start bumping into them at random races (especially with the amount of racing I do) or say, training locales back home that we both used to haunt.

I will have to say, as picky as I am, once I do find someone somewhat worthwhile, I am not usually the one who breaks things off. Ok, sure, I’m usually (always?) the one that ends up moving away, but I’m such a romantic sap that I believe true love is worth crossing oceans for. It’s not my fault that the guy never feels the same way now, is it? No matter, I get over it soon enough, and my consolation is fancying myself as The One That Got Away. Makes me feel like less…pathetic of an anomaly for still flying solo when nearly all my grad school classmates are engaged or married.

This was confirmed last week when I ran into an ex at one of the five or so swimming pools I rotate through when back home in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was the one that spotted me, and I really had nothing to say, finished swimming before he did and made a quick escape. After arriving home, an unfamiliar phone number called, and having deleted it years ago, I made the mistake of picking up. (After having my cell phone and thus all my phone contacts stolen in Thailand, really, it could’ve been any one.) Oops. After mumbling something about bad reception, I hung up. He then proceeded to call back three consecutive times. I was wise enough to now save his number and label it “Don’t Answer.”

insert evil laugh here….BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

It’s good to be The One That Got Away.

This does beg the million dollar conundrum: better to delete an ex’s phone number so you don’t drunk dial him, or keep it so you don’t answer it when sober?

Happy true love hunting, everyone.

Ironman #18: The Coming of Age, Part 2. (IM Moo RR)

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

(If you missed Part I, the introduction, find it here.)

Since Ironman Wisconsin was my first Ironman ever, and then my third, I always thought the set-up here was considered pretty normal and standard for all Ironmans. Two-loop rectangular swim in the lake where you don’t get out of the water until you have to get out, and a transition area set up inside a building–indoor changing areas–with bikes in the parking lot. Then I did all these races where the swim is two loops but you get out of the water in the middle of it (and the last IM China was FOUR loops), and transition areas that are completely outdoors with changing tents. So it’s actually Wisconsin that has a unique transition area, where the bikes are set up in the parking garage and you run up, bike down, then bike up the spiral ramp to the parking area–they call it “the helix.”

dizzying.

The cannon went off and I thrashed my way along the pack until the last of the pink caps left me in their wake. Weirder yet, I was managing to stay onto the feet of a silver cap…um, a male pro?! but got pretty annoyed after I kept smacking his feet and he was really terrible at sighting, drifting way off toward the shore. I took a gamble, thinking “I think I can swim faster by myself.” I wasn’t sure if this was the right choice as he seemed to drop me, despite drifting off to the right, but later results confirmed that I had indeed outswam a male pro by 6 minutes. Another bizarre thing is another male pro blew by me in the water 5 to 10 minutes into the swim. I couldn’t hang onto him at all, and was completely confused what this guy was doing behind me–later I found out that Max Longree for whatever reason had started the swim late. Yikes.

The swim is what it is, I will spare you the highly unimpressive details and keep working harder to improve it.

meh!

So I had told Rick and Gail, my homestay family and race day sherpas, that the splits I wanted after swimming was how much time I lost on the lead swimmers. If it was more than 30, I didn’t want to know (don’t laugh, it’s happened). Of course after getting out of the water, running up the dizzying helix, going through the change tent and running from one end of the parking lot to the other, I was pretty confused when Rick yelled “22!” at me a couple times. Um, 22 what? Was I in 22nd place? There weren’t even that many pro women. Was I 22nd woman including the age groupers who started 10 minutes behind? Somewhere along the first few miles of the bike I figured it out. 22 minutes down from the best swimmers. AHA. Not great, but much less than 30 minutes. Maybe I should’ve asked how far behind the next-slowest swimmer I was to give me a carrot to chase.

I got onto White Tiger and just worked on keeping steady and working into the bike. This was the first race on the summer circuit that I didn’t show up about a week in advance, so I didn’t get a chance to pre-ride the course. Even though I’d raced it twice before, the last time was 5 years ago and I knew that actually racing the “rolling hills” bike course would be tougher than when I went 6:21 on the same course as an age grouper. My secret goal was actually to see if I could take a whole hour off my bike split. My new “pro” impression of the bike course was that it was similar to Louisville but more challenging–bigger rolling hills and many more corners (yet somehow I ended up hitting the same exact bike split).

shaking off a dingleberry

I paced myself better on the bike than in Louisville because frankly I didn’t have it in me to hit “almost vomit level” on the Panda Puke-O-Meter so early in the bike. Whether this was because I wasn’t as fresh, having just raced Louisville, or just how the day was going, I didn’t know and it didn’t matter. I felt very strong for most of the bike, called upon my long-lost bike handling and cornering skills from my days as a collegiate bike racer, and got in my nutrition. I hit the halfway at about 2:45 and thought “meh…let’s try to negative split then.”

go White Tiger go!

Sometime during the second lap of the bike, the camera crew on the motos came by and kept me company for five miles or so. I was incredibly confused, as I was in last place. Don’t they know I’m in last? Is it because I am holding a faster pace than the other women and surely this means I am right about to catch all of them and then crush them on the run? Or is it because me and White Tiger are ridiculously good looking? Oh no, am I going to be known as the slow pro girl whose only redeeming quality is being ridiculously good looking? ;)

The things you think about when you are racing an Ironman. ahahahaha. If anything, having the cameras on me gave me a bit of a boost and I made sure to look good and strong and focused while showing off the sponsor logos. Maybe I’ll get on the Universal Sports coverage! Yeah baby, I’m a gun biker!

rolling home through the farmlands

I didn’t pass any pro chicks on the bike so I still had no idea how I was doing. For all I knew, they were all biking just as fast if not faster than me. I did feel strong though, and age groupers that had passed me early on were getting re-passed that last bit of the bike. I hit mile 102 at 4:55 and figured all I would need to do was hold 20mph and I would crack a 5:25 bike split. Easy cheesy, I was bombing down some of those final stretches at over 35mph. What I didn’t account for was getting on the narrow bike path on the way back to Monona Terrace with very tight 90-degree turns…killing my speed quite a bit, and of course going back up the helix into transition. Those last 10 miles always seem so long, don’t they?

Still, I got there, must have slowed a bit as I hit the line in 5:30 with my legs feeling wobbly. Heading out on the run I felt like a wreck. Apparently I looked like one too, as travel sponsor Mark actually saw me on Ironman.com‘s live video coverage and told me so later. I overheard Welchy announce me heading out on the run, something about starting the bike way behind after the swim…ah, but what else is new. I was already breathing pretty hard and feeling awful which doesn’t usually happen until after at least the first 13 miles! Settle in…settle in… I saw Rick and Gail, and Rick yelled at me that 8th place was 9 minutes up, 9th and 10th were another 5 minutes up…that put me in 11th, and I felt like crap.

oh boy. this is concerning.

Put yourself in my position…Out of the water last, didn’t catch anyone on the bike, and now I’m 9 minutes behind the last money spot and feel TERRIBLE. Give me something to work with here, Wongstar. If there is any good motivation for me to swim just 5 to 10 minutes faster, it would be so I stop starting the marathon completely demoralized. Sometimes I don’t even know what drives me, but I just knew I had to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Maybe someone would drop out, maybe someone would totally bonk. Deep down, I knew that even if I wasn’t going to win any money, this was another test, another race that would make me stronger for the future champion that I will become.

At no point during the race did I feel sorry for myself and think “most of these other girls didn’t just race Louisville.” This actually never even occured to me; I didn’t see that as a reason I should do any worse. I remembered my Coke “red ambulance” revival at mile 23 of Louisville so I hit this up much earlier in the run…20 miles earlier in fact. I knew I was already in trouble because I felt really hot and it couldn’t have been more than 75 degrees. Geez Wongstar, where did your hot weather invincibility go? You just raced 20 degrees hotter 2 weeks ago and this should feel like a breeze! I was definitely not feeling like a superhero.

it'd be super cool if they filled up the stadium with cheering fans

No matter, I raced like a demented person, throwing ice down my shelf bra, squeezing sponges on myself and sucking down Coke. I mean Pepsi. (Coca-Cola headquarters was across the street from my building when I was at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, so everything is “Coke” to me. Just like how I’ll keep calling the Powerbar drink “Gatorade.”)

The camera guys came up to me again during the second half of the run. “WTF, don’t they know I’m still last?”

Mentally this was one of the roughest marathons I’ve ever done. I usually don’t start encountering the mind demons until I’ve run 13 miles, but this time I did battle with them from mile 0. But I got through it by repeating key quotes I’ve been told by my teammates and heroes in Ironman, and of course the Coach who knows everything.

Coco told me last summer “You have the mind of a champion.”
Bella who had been injured and couldn’t make it to Madison had emailed at least two times telling me “Give it an extra push for me.”
Tereza on several occasions had called me a “little superstar” and if she thought I was one, then I had to be one.
Coach once told me “Deep down, you are made of the right stuff.” And in one of our first email exchanges, he had said “Jocelyn, it all comes down to want. How bad do you want to be a professional triathlete?”

So that is what kept me going. All I did was repeat these quotes in my head, knowing that if only I kept going, it would take me to a goal I had, not for an impressive result that day, but a bigger goal in the future. The best thing about being on a pro team with Ironman champions, and a coach known as a champion maker, is that if they see something in me that even I don’t see, then surely something is there. They know what it takes, and so this gave me confidence and motivation to keep going.

sometimes I felt better, sometimes I felt worse.

Mile 23 came and this time the tables had turned from my race in Louisville. I caught a pro woman walking, but I wasn’t sure because the volunteers had marked her age on her calf instead of a “P” for pro. Ok, one down. At least I passed SOMEbody, I guess. I kept trucking along and up the road saw another woman ahead with a two-digit race number on her butt. OH?? By then the race course was filled with many age groupers on their first lap, so it was hard to tell who was in the pro race.

But seeing that pro bib number gave me a boost. I can catch her. I can get her. As I got closer, I confirmed it was definitely a pro number. How best to execute the proper pass? I knew from my experience on the other side 2 weeks ago that the best way to pass is to pass decisively to best demoralize your opponents. I was also a little apprehensive that she would come back and get me. So I tried to do a sneaky pass, running widely on the right as there was a group of three men running to the right of her. Maybe she didn’t see me?! Oh, who am I kidding; who else is running this fast at this point in the race?? Oh nooo, she is totally going to catch me back…run like hell!

RUN LIKE HELL

I was honestly completely convinced that she had latched onto me, breathing down my neck, and if I let up my pace at all, she would get me before I hit the finish line. AUGHHH SHE’S GONNA GET ME! In reality I had nothing to worry about, but I wasn’t about to take any chances. I heard Bella telling me “Give it an extra push for me,” and then I heard Coach saying, “You can always go harder than you think you can.” And they were right. I found that extra push, that extra gear, that I could go harder and slowing down was all in my mind. Don’t give up, I never give up, I can’t give up or she’ll catch me…

almost, almost, almost

I hit the last State Street stretch and couldn’t enjoy the screaming crowds, wouldn’t let myself enjoy the screaming crowds, and where the heck was the finish line already? I finally turned the corner and there it was… I did the look-behind-the-shoulder a few times to make sure, and well, there were no women in sight at all. So finally I chilled out and let the big superstar smile come out and of course high-fived two little Asian girls in the bleachers lining the finish chute. It’s my very important duty to inspire the future generation of Asian triathlon superstars.

woohoo!

I still didn’t know what place I was in, but I crossed the line with a very victorious fist pump, because I felt I had won. Whatever battle it was that I was fighting, I had won, and I felt that something had changed in me, in this 18th Ironman, maybe I found something inside of me that will help me in future Ironmans. The will to keep fighting when it seems that all is lost and there is nothing to win. Something in me clicked. This victorious feeling was even further vindicated when I found out about 10 minutes later that I had somehow clawed my way up to 8th place, the very last paycheck spot.

The 18th Ironman, the coming of age. My career as a pro triathlete has only just begun.

keeping fighting the good fight.

Special thanks to all my sponsors for their support in my journey towards Ironman greatness!

Thanks to my homestay, Rick and Gail, for their incredible hospitality!

And of course a special thanks to my teammates on teamTBB who have ever said anything even remotely encouraging to me, thanks for the inspiration and motivation. It might not have been a big deal to you, but it was a big deal to me. Thank you. :)

don’t be sad

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

After a whole summer of touring the USA and staying at various homestays with different dogs by the names of Maddie, Sandwich, Lucky, and Maggie, I got to go home to a guy named Guinness, my favorite canine of all.

awww look at that face!

Then I had to leave again. :(

dogs always know when you're about to leave them

Don’t be sad, little dog, I will be back before you know it!

good-bye San Francisco, good-bye fog!

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Ocean Beach & Cliff House

We interrupt this regularly scheduled race report to pack up for the next adventure. I’ll miss you San Francisco, but I’m not sure I’ll miss all the fog…

play Hide-and-Seek while doing track marathons!

I’ll have time to finish up the race report while on the airplane. You’d be surprised how long it takes me to write one. (Well, no, you probably know if you’ve been following me for a while. ;) ) It wouldn’t take so long if I wasn’t such a writing perfectionist, grammar snob, and well, I used to think I was more of a math nerd but actually scored higher on my SAT’s in verbal (780 vs. 750).

when we were little, Mom always said the fog was from "Grandma cooking."

I’m kind of sad that I’ll miss the season premiere of Glee while up in the air. I’ll have to catch it on Hulu when I hit my destination. In the meantime I get to watch a brand-new Chuck while packing up White Tiger right now. I like them hot nerdy boys. ;)

Stay tuned!