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Archive for November, 2010

mini IMAZ race report via video blog

Friday, November 26th, 2010

hey Wongstar fans,

for my birthday I got the first edit of a video from the Wongstar documentary series from my friend Felix Cervantes. I am about to board a plane back to the East Coast so enjoy while I am scrunched up on an airplane! It’s a mini race report, the 5-minute video version. No worries I will write a full-on race report with all the nitty gritty details too.

http://www.vimeo.com/17206330

how to swim faster in 5 easy steps!

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

So. It happened. I swam faster. It was awesome. It was glorious. I wasn’t the last pro out of the water. I actually came out in front of 5 pro women. And 2 pro guys. I will write out a full race report within this next week but am home for just the next 36 hours for my birthday, I mean Thanksgiving, so I will blog about what everyone wants to hear about most anyway…my swimming!

Well last year after a lot of hard work, I got my swim down to a 1:05 at Embrun. But I was also training with Coach and the squad, while overseas at training camps for 7 months out of the year. It is easy to be motivated in a group setting with a scary Australian man yelling that you are weak sauce and throwing water bottles at you while stalking you up and down the pool deck every morning. Yup, that is what Coach means when he says he’s got his foot shoved up your arse at training camps. Well, training camps are expensive for a rookie pro and after racking up some good debt last year, we knew that it wasn’t a sustainable option for me. It’s not like I’m a Chrissie or James, where I can keep going into debt for just another year and then break through and start winning races left and right. I’m pretty in touch with reality (while just a bit out of touch, enough to chase the dream) so I know that I still have some years to keep chipping away before I get there.

Now that my season is finally over for 2010, I can look back and get a clearer picture of things. I was initially surprised when Coach had me stay in the USA for the summer, but now I know it was because I needed to learn to do this on my own…without his foot shoved up my arse. The funny thing was that when the year began, Coach told me in Thailand he didn’t care if I didn’t swim faster than 1:05, we should focus on my biking and running as I could make greater gains there.

Unfortunately I never came close to 1:05 all year–2010 began with a 1:18 in Malaysia, then a promising 1:11 in China, but got slower and slower until I hit a low of 1:22 in Coeur d’Alene. My swim had a bumpy summer, I trained mostly on my own since I was moving around so much. My average swim split for the year was about 1:16 for the 7 ironmans going into Arizona. It got to the point where I was losing more time swimming than biking or running. Which is totally dumb when the swim is only 10% of the whole race!

After Wisconsin, I had a very serious Skype talk with Coach to re-evaluate the plan. It was time to really focus on the swim. Otherwise, “next year will be more of the same.” Now, the only question that remained was, do we start the new swimming plan before or after Arizona? He had me give it a think. The swimming plan meant much more swimming and putting the bike and run on the back burner. My conclusion was to dive right into the swim plan, otherwise “Arizona will be more of the same.” I didn’t want to stay the same. I wanted to get better, to be better. I was willing to sacrifice having a worse bike and run and told him that if I came out with an awesome swim and nothing else, I would still be very happy with my race.

Now there have been a lot of you very concerned with my swimming this year and lots of well-meaning fans (as well as ill-willed internet trolls) who have tossed me all kinds of advice, encouragement, and insults. It seems everybody has their 2 cents. It’s been tough trying to cover my ears while navigating all of this but I think after going 1:06 in Arizona I am finally on the right track. So without further ado…

How to Swim Faster in 5 Easy Steps.

1. Have faith in your coach.
We tried some new things both this year and last year, and learned what didn’t work. Which is part of the process in figuring out what does work. I admit that it was frustrating having my technique experimented with and it seemed that we were starting over at every new training camp. There were times when I struggled not to question what we were doing and times when I felt Coach had given up on me as a swimmer, but in the end, I kept on listening. When there are so many other “experts” trying to tell you to do 100 other things, I have learned to just smile and defer back to The Coach.

2. Swim more, swim harder, and swim with others.
There came a point where I felt like I lost a ton of swimming fitness, probably right before Coeur d’Alene. Swimming 2.4 miles alone was actually a struggle. On the new swim plan we embarked on just one month ago, I ended up swimming more than I was biking and running, with more than half of the sessions in a group setting to push me out of my comfort zone. It is hard for me to swim with high intensity when I train on my own. On race day, I ended up just pretending I was swimming with my lanemates Zeke and Mike, and was able to stay on some feet the entire way…without feeling like the swim wore me out!

3. Pray to Grilled Cheesus.
Just like the Genie in Aladdin, He listens. I wonder what my next two wishes should be. I’m thinking true love and the ability to eat whatever I want without getting fat.

4. Believe in yourself.
See, Coach had told me it was all about mastering the Jedi mind tricks. He said the one thing I need to work on is the brick wall in my head that says “I can’t swim.” So I decided to shut off my brain each day as soon as I jumped in the water. (I don’t dive.) And just swim. And just swim hard. And not worry about what my form looked like. (More than 3 swim coaches can attest to the fact that when I try to think about correcting my form, it gets worse.) I had to start believing. Believing that I could swim faster. Believing that I could stay on that person’s feet just a little longer. Believing that someday I will have a pro-worthy swim split. I stopped doubting myself, and just went for it.

5. Expand your swimming wardrobe.
This was the biggest secret yet! Coach said “Swim like Bella.” He probably meant for me to attack every swim session like Bella, but of course I also interpreted it as “get as many swimsuits as Bella.” Staying motivated in your least favorite discipline can be difficult when you have to swim 7 times per week. But not when you have a superfun and cute outfit for each of those 7 swim sessions! :)

Ok, I don’t have 7 different cute swimsuits yet BUT it is my 29th birthday tomorrow and I am not above accepting birthday gifts from fans. If you want to help me swim faster, you can send me a sparkly new swimsuit to the Bike Boutique in Delaware. Size 32. One-piece. I’ll totally model it here on my blog. I’m not being facetious. I’ve had random fans ask me if I could set up a P.O. Box so they can send me random fan packages without me thinking they are stalking me. Just send it to me in c/o the store and that way I don’t have to tell you where I live. I also accept gift cards from Trader Joe’s and Itunes. :D

yup, happy birthday to me and happy Thanksgiving to everyone else! Don’t forget to catch the Punkin Chunkin broadcast on the Discovery Channel tomorrow at 8pm after you stuff yourselves silly. Hopefully they won’t cut the part where I’m sporting my pumpkin tiara. Happy eating day tomorrow and thanks for all your support!

IM Cactus pre-race blog

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

The blog’s gone quiet as I’ve been gearing up for a spectacular season finale here at Ironman Arizona. Hard to believe that it’s already here…I’m already here…and the race is tomorrow. I’m feeling fit and strong. There’s a huge pro field here, probably the biggest I’ve been in. Ironman.com actually referred to it as a “superstar professional field.” Obviously because I’m on the start list. The Wongstar is not too concerned though. I don’t even know who most of them are. None of their names popped up when I googled “triathlon superstar” so what’s there to be worried about? ;)

Serena and White Tiger

I am staying with my high school assistant track coach and his family in Phoenix. “Mr. R” knew me when I was a prepubescent 13-year-old super scrawny runner and he was actually younger than I am now when I was in his U.S. History class my sophomore year. Serena is their bubbly 5-year-old and super excited about everything like I am. :)

Momma Wongstar gets interviewed

Also making her first appearance at one of my pro races is none other than Momma Wongstar herself. She hasn’t seen me race since I did an almost-14-hour day at Ironman Florida…7 years ago. The superstar family has been followed by a camera crew filming “Wongstar: the Documentary” and we did some training footage and interviews today.

girls in pink

I got to catch up with my big sisters Donna and Coco who I hadn’t seen since Thailand in April (Donna) and Korea over a year ago (Coco). Also excited that my little triathlon sister, Amy, also flew in as support crew!

Track me tomorrow on Ironman.com, #73 (see–big field, my biggest bib # this year!). Race begins at 6:50am Arizona time, which is 5:50am in California and 8:50am in Delaware. They don’t do daylight savings here, not sure why, something about all the cactus (cacti?) getting confused.

bad dates and awesome dates.

Monday, November 15th, 2010

So there have been the bad dates.

You know…

  • the bad kisser
  • the prude (apologizes when your hands just brush…on the 2nd date)
  • the one who doesn’t stop talking about his ex-girlfriend…by the 4th date
  • the ones (yes, happened more than once) with clean-shaven profile pics who show up with beards
  • the one who says “I’ll call you!” and doesn’t
  • the one who you’re so not into who keeps on calling
  • the one who Googles you on his iphone during the date
  • the one who is almost kind of perfect but kind of has bad breath
  • the one who calls you the wrong name on the first date!!

Then there have been the awesome dates.

…I reserve the right to keep the warm & fuzzy details to myself. ;)

Suffice it to say that when dating a triathlon superstar chick, there are many ways to score bonus points:

  1. tell her how hot she is on a regular basis
  2. never interfere with her training and racing schedule
  3. be understanding of any strange/neurotic eating behaviors
  4. don’t ever make her choose between you and triathlon. that’s called “relationship suicide.”

And scoring bonus points always leads to scoring. Aw yeah!

the first haircut in 20 months. in the first state too.

Friday, November 12th, 2010

It’s Movember and I can’t grow a mustache no matter how hard I try, so instead I will post egomaniac pictures of my new haircut.

White Tiger approves of this haircut.

It was a monumental occasion today as I haven’t had a haircut in over a year and a half…probably 20 months actually. If you recall, back in January of 2009 I cut all my hair off in a very Mulan-esque warrior girl gesture. Well, no, it was in support of my cousin who was going through chemo and had to shave her head. I said I’d keep cutting my hair until hers grew back longer than mine. And so it did.

the old 'do circa March 2009 @ Singapore 70.3

I loved having short hair. I kinda miss it!

Then I was no longer in the Philippines for training camp, where haircuts are $5 or less. (Or like $1 for the dudes.) Being back in the States, I got cheap and wasn’t about to allocate grocery or travel funds for a haircut. I was so used to having supershort hair and not having to actually comb or brush it that it started to get kind of gnarly after swimming, super tangly, like a Hair Battle Spectacular. So then I had to go invest in some extra combs at the dollar store.

I know. I’m so gross. And cheap. :)

So that was when I figured it was time for a haircut. I polled all my new gal pals here in Wilmington on where they go for haircuts and how much they pay. One of them said “I went home to Singapore and paid $5-$10″–yeah, not helpful, Caroline!! Two actually went to Supercuts for $15, there was a $32 option, and then jackpot! Anna K, Filipina wife of local superstar triathlete Jeff K, sent me to her “Mexican lady,” who is supposedly very awesome with Asian hair. The Asian connection is key!

Off I went to Gisele at “Salon de Belleza Cynthia’s” in Claymont. $15 for “Damas” (that’s “ladies” in Español, amigos) unless it’s Wednesday when there’s the $10 special. All the signs were in Spanish, as was the TV station blaring in the background. And oh gosh, when the scissors started snipping, I remembered how enjoyable it is to get a haircut.

yes...my phone is bedazzled with "LOVE" :D

I came out losing 2 pounds of hair (aha! that’s how to get to race weight!), smelling really nice, and with a new super soft feathery layered coiff. Slightly Farrah Fawcett-like, but I doubt I’ll have time to style it with the blow dryer like Gisele did. I’m SUCH a low maintenance kinda girl. Figured I had to snap some self-portraits to admire it before I end up just tossing it in a ponytail and having the chlorine start beating the crap out of it every day again.

and this is the first and last time you'll ever see it styled.

Some have asked if I’ll bring the red or hot pink streak back and while I never say never, suffice it to say that it’s retired for the time being. Having fun colors put into black hair requires an insane and unhealthy amount of bleach, and swimming so much means the color only lasts a week or two before you have to reapply. Like I said, I’m a low maintenance kinda superstar.

Yep…not as exciting as growing a mustache, but what’s a girl to do?

Speaking of mustaches, here is a gallery of “TV’s Top Mustachioed Men” if you boys need some more inspiration…

someone explain this one please.

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

snapped during today's bike ride

Maybe running red lights is acceptable in this part of the country, except when signs dictate otherwise?

How to be a Gun Biker in 5 Easy Steps

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

It’s true, I fell off the daily blogging bandwagon around Halloween. Not due to the lack of excitement in my superstar life, more an overabundance of it. :) It is definitely a balancing act between being the resident celebrity pro triathlete, brainstorming fun events for the TBB store, chasing true love, making rent via alternative means, and then of course training my body to exhaustion every day.

So with less than 2 weeks to the season finale in Arizona, here is…*gasp* a blog that is actually about training.

How to be a Gun Biker in 5 Easy Steps!

Powering the "Pumpkin Trap" with bike monster legs

  1. Eat more protein. If you want to grow monster biking muscles, ya gotta eat more protein. The Wongstar recommends real meat, but hey, do what you want. Everyone’s got an opinion about nutrition, just like religion and politics. The Wongstar’s cycling teammates in college and grad school called her “Quadzilla” because she had bigger bike muscles than the scrawny cycling boys.
  2. If you don’t feel like you are about to vomit or cry while biking, then you aren’t going hard enough. Since I am swimming more than I am biking or running these days, every bike ride counts. So I just go as hard as I can every time I’m on the bike. My internal powermeter tells me I’m going the right intensity if I feel like I want to both vomit AND cry.
  3. If you go so hard you vomit, you went TOO hard. Yes, there is a fine line. Ironman is about taking in nutrition and keeping it down. If you experience a “reversal of fortune” as they say in competitive eating, you are totally screwed. The Wongstar does not endorse vomiting, bulimia, or other eating disorders.
  4. Also, your legs should be screaming. If you can’t hear them, you aren’t going hard enough. If they are already screaming, you can always make them scream louder. I like to play the game where I yell at my legs, “I can’t hear you!”
  5. If you finish your ride and your legs are shaking so hard you almost fall over getting off the bike, you are on your way to becoming a gun biker.

Extra credit! Bonus points if your legs feel so smashed from your bike sessions that you still feel them screaming and crying during your next few training runs. What, did you think you would get to run the Ironman marathon on fresh legs or something?

bustin’ myths about pageants and punkins

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Oh gosh, we are overdue for a superstar step.

How to Become An International Triathlon Superstar, Step #21: Work your superstar persona to get on internationally-broadcasted television with international TV stars.

with Adam of the Mythbusters

So you remember how excited I was about entering this year’s Punkin Chunkin Pageant? Well, the day came today. I’d be working the event for MSN TV to do a story on the Discovery Channel/Science Channel Thanksgiving Day broadcast of the 25th annual Punkin Chunkin World Championship.

I shopped for a cute outfit. I practiced my speech. I watched America’s Next Top Model and worked on my stage walk.

The pageant was at 12:30pm. They said to get there by 11:30am, 12noon at the latest. But “come early to avoid traffic.” Ominous.

We left the hotel (15 miles away) at 10:30. I had to get in my morning workouts before we left, of course. Priorities! At 11:15am we got in a huge line to the parking area. Which was 5 miles away. At 11:55am we were still at least 4 miles away and I realized I was very likely going to miss the competition.

At 1:30pm we were finally in. Yep. I missed the whole damn pageant. Who knew it would take 3 hours to drive 15 miles? I regretted leaving White Tiger in the hotel room because I could’ve easily biked there in time! :(

Ah well. No worries. The pageant director still gave me my pumpkin tiara and contestant sash…because it’s America, where everyone’s a winner. People still congratulated me and wanted to take photos with me.

of course there is pumpkin funnel cake!

For consolation, I went to watch the pumpkin firing machines and hunt down the Mythbusters; we tried the pumpkin pie and of course pumpkin funnel cake. All in the name of journalism of course.

I got to meet Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame (the duo is hosting the Punkin Chunkin TV broadcast), intending to interview him. Instead, they turned the tables around after hearing about my ridiculous pageant-that-never-happened story and interviewed ME for the show. :)

little did they know, I am used to being interviewed. ;)

I guess they know superstar quality when they see it! ;)

I got to show them my pageant queen wave too.

In conclusion, I got air time on TV for actually missing the pageant, whereas the actual winners did not. Who’s the real winner? :D

I am such a cheese. I know.

vote today!

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

hanging with Colin and Bill

Whatever your political leanings might be, don’t forget to exercise…your right to vote today!

Ready? Ok! :)

San Francisco!!!!! GO GIANTS!

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

You can take the girl outta San Francisco but you can’t take the San Francisco outta the girl!!!

I am sooooo proud tonight!!! Giants just won the World Series for the first time since 1954!!! Actually the first time since they moved from New York to SF. :D :D :D :D

I don’t ever even watch baseball on TV. But I did tonight.

WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Congrats Giants! :D

(random Wongstar fact: I was in the glee club in 5th grade and we sang the national anthem at a Giants game when they were still at Candlestick Park. My first Giants game!)