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Archive for September, 2010

Ironman #18: The Coming of Age. Part I.

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Here in the USA, when you turn 18, you legally become an adult. That means you no longer need your parents to sign permission slips, you can buy cigarettes, vote in elections, and go to your local porn shop. You can’t buy liquor yet though. That’s not for another 3 years.

Ironman Wisconsin was my 18th Ironman and the final race of my All-American Superstar Summer Ironman Tour. It seemed only logical that I would come full circle to the very birthplace of my Ironman career: Madison, Wisconsin in 2002.

In many ways I feel this 18th Ironman was indeed a “coming of age” in my triathlon career. But let’s start at the beginning of the trip…the intro below is so pathetic that when I truly become a successful triathlon superstar and write my autobiography, this will probably be the opening scene. It will of course get adapted into my life movie; I haven’t yet decided who should play me–if not myself, I really like the kickass Maggie Q of the new Nikita TV show, though she’s a bit on the skinny side, being one of those vegetarian girls…but I digress!

$4.32

That’s what the ATM receipt told me my available balance was after withdrawing $10 cash to supplement the $16 I had in my wallet. I would need $25 to pay the Badger Bus driver so I could get my brokeass self from Milwaukee airport to Madison for the Ironman. While I was grateful the ATM let me pull out money in increments of $10 (asking the machine for more than what was in your account resulted in having your debit card spit back out at you…I know because I tried) I couldn’t help but look at that sorry, pitiful three-digit number at the bottom of the receipt and think… “Payday, please come soon.” I didn’t even have a return ticket to San Francisco yet. I had been hopping all over the country racing every Ironman on the summer circuit, and buying one-way tickets when I could scrape together enough money…which meant one at a time. Now would be a good time to start winning prize money.

Isn’t the life of a pro triathlete glamorous?

To be continued…

autographing all day is exhausting!

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

whew, I am pooped, but can’t go to bed without posting up a quickie blog!

yeah, that's me! I'm on a poster baby!

Wow, signing autographs and schmoozing with people for over 10 hours is pretty tiring…not quite the same as racing an Ironman for 10-ish hours but exhausting in a different way! ;) One of the fabulous photos that Snap-Attack took during the Thailand photo shoot became immortalized as a giant Wongstar promo poster and a bazillion postcards for me to sign. Pretty frickin’ sweet!

this is what my handwriting looks like.

Thanks for everyone that came out to see us at the Haamonii Smooth Shochu booth at the J-Pop Summit Festival. It was great to meet new fans, see some familiar friendly faces, and of course help “share harmony” and promote “the low-calorie, no-hangover choice of triathlon superstars!” For those of you new to my blog, welcome, have a look around and I hope you stay!

the choice of triathlon superstars!

Huge thanks to Haamonii Smooth Shochu for sponsoring the “1st and only Asian-American female professional triathlete in the world!” ;) More photos to come, stay tuned as always!

Moo’ing at the cows

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

MooooOOOOoooooOOOOOOoooo

Obviously I am still stalling on writing my race report. Been busy here at home with a couple sponsor obligations–today worked on building a new shoe lift for the travel sponsor, and getting ready for tomorrow’s all day autographing extravaganza with the Haamonii team. I’ve also been writing some stories here and there for MSN TV, my kickass “employment sponsor.” ;)

To distract you and build up suspense to the surely super awesome race report, here is the Wongstar with random painted cows, kind of like the random painted horses in Louisville.

I think this one is supposed to be Frank Lloyd Wright-ish

let's go fishing!

armed...er, hoofed?...with waterproof rubber boots

let's race! I'm more aerodynamic...than a cow...I should hope so!

is that a banana in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

San Francisco fans: meet the Wongstar this Saturday!

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Some people laughed at me from the beginning when I said I wanted to become a triathlon superstar. But I took my superstar aspirations very seriously, not just focusing on putting in the training to get faster and go pro and get faster still, but on marketing myself as the image I wanted to become. I wrote fun blogs, answered the occasional fanmail, was very approachable in person, and practiced signing autographs, giving them out when nobody asked for them. I looked for my own sponsors whose goals aligned with mine and somewhere down the line, strange things started happening.

People I didn’t know started coming up to me at various events. They yell for me in races and tell me they love my blog. They scream “Go Jocelyn!” when my bib number only says “Wong(star)”. I actually started getting requests for autographs and offers to pay for postage on autographed photos of me. I still try to act very nonchalant and not shocked when this happens but it’s kind of weird, in this fantastic sort of way. I used my very charming personality and uniqueness as Asian Triathlon Superstar to land my own “post-race re-hydration sponsor.”

Yep, this Saturday, I am going to have a very sore hand signing autographs because my liquor sponsor, Haamonii Smooth Shochu, will be sponsoring a big event in San Francisco: the J-Pop Summit Festival in Japantown. I’ll be helping to “share harmony” at our festival booth and am being billed as the headliner!

Yes, indeed this Saturday in San Francisco, you can meet the world’s first and only Asian-American female professional triathlete and get her autograph. (Gosh, that does make me feel pretty special. ;) ) When James, head of Haamonii, told me he wanted me to sign photos, I mentioned I usually get them done at Costco for 13 cents apiece, that I could pay for them, and how many should I print out? …thinking maybe a hundred… Well apparently over 30,000 people will be coming through the booth and they want to print out “several thousand” photos.

WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Luckily he didn’t take up my incredibly stupid offer to pay for the thousands of prints myself! I’ll be there from 11am until 6pm, and then we are hosting a VIP party from 7pm to 9pm.  You can get on the guest list by signing up for the email list on the Haamonii website. Hope to meet some local fans and make new ones!

Enjoy Haamonii Smooth Shochu…the low calorie, no hangover choice of triathlon superstars! ;)

“Walmart for Farmers”

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

When you tour around your very own country, you meet different people in different places with different jobs who shop at different places from you. Much like I had asked “what the heck is a Wawa?” when in Delaware, I found myself in Wisconsin, AKA “America’s Dairyland,” asking “what the heck is Blair’s Farm and Fleet?”

Blair's? Blain's?

Well, it turns out it’s not “Blair” despite how the logo looks like a cursive “R” but “Blain.” And so I was told that “Farm & Fleet” (for short) is kind of like a Walmart for farmers.

"where the hardest working people in America find value"

So although I say I’m “from San Francisco,” that’s not technically true, as I’ve always grown up in the suburbs in the San Francisco Bay Area. So I am not quite a city girl but most definitely not a farm girl either. I am sure it would be entertaining to throw me into the role of farm girl for the day, like Paris Hilton on The Simple Life, but until I get that phone call, I had to settle for a trip to the Farm & Fleet.

"Farm Girl Lively Stock" LOVE IT!! :D

Let’s start with the clothing here. You see a ton of plaids and flannels, and in the juniors’ department there is a hip line of clothing called…”Farm Girl.” Yes, you do want to click on that link and make sure your sound is on; it’s priceless!

no city boys! too clean and wimpy for a farm girl!

Ingenious and cute slogans on these shirts, but at $17.99 I didn’t think the prices were very Walmart-like.

Milk it, baby!

There was what I would call the “Mom’s section” because I could see Momma Wongstar shopping here. Me and the WongSiSTAR often throw an Ugly Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl over the holidays and have been known to raid Mom’s closet. teehee

not ugly, just different. ;)

Rick saw a shirt in the men’s section he really liked:

a great place for Halloween costumes too.

I was pretty excited they had a whole selection of cowboy boots to go with your outfit too!

wow almost as cool as the ones I got in Cozumel!

And what I thought were rainboots, but Rick told me they were for stepping through cow poop and mud.

poop boots!

Oh yeah! And John Deere socks!

they also come in pink

There was also a ginormous selection of “bibs” and these weren’t the kind you go cycling in.

which color should I get?

Next there is a giant hunting department.

camo jackets for your little boy or girl

This was a very educational field trip. I learned that the fluorescent orange color is called “blaze orange” and that deer are actually color blind.

the blaze orange is so you don't get shot!

Air rifles now come in pink for hunting chicks.

yeehaw for feminism!

You can also buy decoys and lawn decorations…

Canadian geese. Don't be fooled, they're not real.

I think these were lawn decorations too, but I wasn’t sure:

they're like lemmings!

And if you want to bring your dog hunting with you but don’t want his bed to startle the prey, you get a camo bed for Spot.

camo camo camo everything

That provides a lovely segue into the next section of the Farm & Fleet. The part that is like Petco or PetSmart, for big farm animals!

this is like baby formula for baby cows

And if you have more than one kind of farm animal, you can save money on “baby formula” for the baby farm animals by buying the MULTI-SPECIES version. Which isn’t so weird if you consider we humans drink cow and goat milk…right?

sharing is caring! across species!

You can buy hot pink harnesses for your horsies. This aisle was definitely like being at PetSmart, like buying a leash for your dog.

so many choices!

And to make sure you don’t spread germs while milking cows, make sure you get some Teat Dip and Udderwash.

dip those teats!

I wouldn’t know how to use them.

keep them udders clean!

This section which made me think of Jurassic Park. Apparently you need to have zapping fences to keep the cows from escaping and terrorizing the neighbors, just like the dinosaurs in the movie.

bzzzzzzzzt!!!

If you need all the muck from the animals contained, you should get…a muck cart. Obviously.

muck muck muck! what a great word!

There’s also a pretty extensive tool section, but I’ll just post photos of these. A “snow thrower” which I’d never seen, as I don’t live anywhere that snows or actually own a property large enough in a place that snows to need snow to be thrown.

throwing snow, I thought that was called a snowball fight.

And what did I say about this being an educational trip? I learned that this brand is the “gold standard” in chainsaws. And there sure were many to choose from!

I'm no chainsaw connoisseur, but this is the gold standard here!

There were cute little mini versions of tractors and other farm equipment. Like Micro Machines for farmer kids.

cuuuuute

And lest you think I am not blogging about anything triathlon-related here, let me tell ya…even farmers can become triathletes and still shop here for their training and racing goods!

wheelbarrow tubes for swim training

There’s a whole bicycle section. It’s no Bike Boutique and no Cervelos, but hey, bikes!

bicycles; it's not about the bike right?

And the third discipline, the run! I was impressed seeing these very familiar orange and grey shoeboxes…well if it isn’t our very own running shoe sponsor, AVIA!!

Avia's for farmers too!

Ok I hope you enjoyed the tour. I found it very fascinating and educational. Oh, you can also find all the things you need to rob a bank. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

stick 'em up!

random Mooooo photos

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Here are some random Wisconsin photos to distract you while you are waiting for the official race report! Enjoy! :D

land of the cheeseheads!

dueling cheeseheads

The Onion was founded in Madison by two UW students. I’d never seen the paper version before!

my kind of humor!

This guy “Captain Ironman” was on the run course cheering us on:

give him a wrinkled shirt and he's your guy

I was surprised he didn’t have a box out for tips like a street performer!

iron iron iron away

Another fan whose dad was racing. She made this tote bag herself.

there were also Irondogs in M-dot t-shirts but I didn't see them

Memorial Union Terrace and the iconic terrace chairs. You can actually buy your own for $265. Not the big version, the normal size ones.

Feeling small in a giant chair

Awards banquet…which is really the same (having been to well, four in a row this summer) except that the people on stage and giving speeches is different.

weird not having teamTBB up here, I know, I'll do better next time.

the dudes. all different shapes and sizes.

I really liked Joe Gambles‘ speech–he mentioned how just two years ago he was considering tossing the towel in, and his grandpa was nagging him about when he would “get a real job.” He is the same age as me but has been racing pro much longer, so it was inspiring to hear that even he had to go through the same things I’ve pondered.

and then they played "We Are The Champions" by Queen. **jealous**

I am still clawing my way up to get to that podium. Not there yet, but that doesn’t stop me from celebrating my small victories with the best liquor sponsor in the world

Sharing Harmony with Pantani, who got a Kona slot! high 5!

I even got to thank wetsuit sponsor blueseventy in person via rep Guy Crawford!

bartering sponsor goods

Good-bye Wisconsin…good-bye summer…can’t believe the Superstar Summer Ironman Tour is over. Just landed home in San Francisco. Stay tuned for the next adventure!

eating like a cow in America’s Dairyland

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

if you ever can't decide, the answer is "BOTH"

This edition of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” brings your fearless food adventurer to the land of the cows, where you can eat like a cow and be as fat as a cow… if you didn’t do Ironmans or something. This gave me ample opportunities to check (and double or triple check) everything off the “5 Things To do in Wongsconsin” list!

Fried cheese curds @ Fifth Quarter

Let’s start off with cheese. Friday is known as “Friday Fish Fry” day so a trip to Fifth Quarter Sports Bar & Grill in Verona meant fried cheese curds as an appetizer, then fried fish as the main course.

self-proclaimed cheese-disliker

I was skeptical, but when in Rome…

Fried fish, fried shrimp, fried hashbrowns

Fried anything is pretty darn good.

Next stop, Ian’s Pizza on State Street. We ordered half Mac N Cheese and half Steak N Fry.

so big you can swaddle a baby in it

Mac N Cheese on pizza has got to be one of the strangest looking things ever!

it's a pizza! no, it's Mac N Cheese! no, it's a pizza!

The fun part of the Steak N Fry pizza was the crinkle-cut fries on it:

the BBQ sauce makes it too

Then a trip to Michael’s Frozen Custard

CAUTION: contents are lethal!

…for a peanut butter cup chocolate frozen custard sundae. AW YEAH!

I didn't really eat the whole thing.

It’s true what they say. It’s like ice cream, BUT BETTER!!! :D :D :D

oh crap. the empty cup and cheesy smile don't lie.

Even the napkin holders say so.

oh boy, meet hot retro boys here!

And they also sell a dog-friendly version of it called K9 Custard!

safe for consumption by doggies

So we had to bring back some for Maggie. She doesn’t like being left out.

Maggie has also been known to eat...Neosporin, rubber bands, tissue, and of course, cat poop.

People always ask what I want to eat right after an Ironman. It always depends on how my stomach is feeling, sometimes it’s all jacked up and sometimes it’s great. I find that after all the Gatorade (er Powerbar Perform?) + Coke (Pepsi?) + Hello Pandas + Mocha Frappuccinos during the race, I am not in the mood for anything sugary, more salty and savory and…MEATY. You may recall I am a big fan of beef. I was lucky after this race, my stomach felt great and ready to not only eat like a cow, but actually eat cow, in the land of the cows.

this won the prize for "best thing I ever ate" in Wisconsin

The Old-Fashioned Tavern & Restaurant was right on the run course, a few blocks from the finish line. While waiting for Jeff of Team Glas fame to come by I ordered a #30, minus the cheese (I told you I don’t like cheese): the House Burger (medium rare) with hickory-smoked bacon, a fried egg, and garlic sauce on a buttered bun. And fries. Oops, sorry, I just drooled on the keyboard thinking about it again. Yep, your four main food groups right there: cow, pig, chicken, and taters.

beer cheese soup with popcorn topping

They also had something so bizarre that we had to try it. The #16 was Wisconsin beer cheese soup garnished with popcorn. It was gross. Like thick warm beer with soggy popcorn. But hey, I tried it and I’ll try anything once. (That’s what she said!) Ok, maybe not anything.

And beer! What about the beer, Wongstar? Here is photographic evidence of my finisher’s beer:

taken with my crappy camera phone in the dark

While my post-Ironman stomach was quite happy with the bacon + fried egg burger, it could only tolerate half a beer before it said “ok thanks that’s good.” It was also quite happy to instead drink some Haamonii Jolly Rancher martinis tonight.

recipe: 1 part Haamonii, 1 part Midori, 1 part fresh lemon juice

And you know what they went with that’s also on the Wisconsin list? Ok, not my original list but everyone said I had to add this on:

bratwurst!!

Wow, yeah, apparently bratwursts are a big deal in Wisconsin. Anyway, MOOOO…. I think I’m ready to eat vegetables again.

money money money money!

Monday, September 13th, 2010

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

money money money money!
I won prize money today!
my very first American prize money paycheck!

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Today Ironman Wisconsin was the first race under the new prize money rules and Kona points system. I swam pretty terrible, 22 minutes behind the leaders, and had a decent bike (I seem to be stuck in a 5:30 rut)–was surprised to see the results later that my bike was actually pretty strong compared to the other pro women. I was so far behind in the swim and didn’t recall catching anyone on the bike, so I figured I was just running in last and really struggled from T2 on. A lot of Coke stops (or I guess here it’s Pepsi) in addition to the nuun-enhanced Frappuccino in my Camelbak. With 3 miles to go I was really fighting the mental demons when I saw one of the pro women walking. Then 2 miles to go I caught another one, and not even knowing I had moved up to 8th place (the last prize money spot) I ran like a bat outta hell all the way to the finish thinking “ohcrapohcrapohcrap she’s going to come back and catch me!!!” I was so scared that I didn’t even want to slow down to enjoy the finish line but did the glance-behind-the-shoulder thing and did slow down a little, even gave two little Asian girls high-fives and had a big cheesy Wisconsin smile going into the finish chute. ;)

I didn’t even know what place I got until after I finished, then I got really excited and proceeded to tell everybody (EVERYBODY) that I won money today. Ok so everyone wants to know how much I got paid. A whopping $500 and 480 Kona points under my belt. Not that much, but $500 more than I’ve gotten paid to do tris all year, so I’ll take it! Not too shabby for backing it up 2 weeks after Louisville, eh?

Special thanks to my homestay family, Gail and Rick, for hosting me and being support crew and cheerleaders all day today!

hooray for homestays!

And so the Superstar Summer Ironman Tour concludes with…MONEY!!!! $$$ :D $$$

physically challenged much?

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

just a short little pre-race blogaroo! Racked the sexy beast of a White Tiger this afternoon and looks like we got bumped down from the PRO rack to the physically challenged rack.

I'm certainly not politically correct, either.

Well, at least I will be by my friend Jeff Glasbrenner AKA “Team Glas,” who is bib #60. I just saw that he received the honor of Ford Everyday Hero, congrats Jeff! And technically one could say that swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles is a physical challenge for all of us!

cheesehead + cheesy smile! :D

You know the drill, you can follow me online at www.ironman.com beginning at 6:50am Central time. My Twitter feed @theWongstar will also be linked up to the athlete tracker feed, unless the ironman.com website blows up again from a “cyber-attack”. Send all your positive vibes to bib #53! Thanks everyone!

lucky number 53

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

I met the neighborhood chalk artists today! Everett and Braden, who are 4 and 8.

aren't they precious??

We realized that Braden is going to be my lucky cheering squad, because my bib number is the same as his football number.

Go #53!

I haven’t WongSTAR-ized the bib # yet, but figured I should throw it in the blog.

without a STAR, I'm just a... Wong.

Interestingly enough, the first time I did this race, my race number was a couple numbers lower!

8 years ago, we didn't have our names printed on our bib numbers.

I was #51. Because first there were the pros, and then the college kids from youngest to oldest. I was one of the youngest, so I had a super low number. Almost pro! …Not really!