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Archive for the ‘All-American Summer Tour’ Category

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!

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. :)

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…

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?

“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!