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introducing the race sherpa

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Yesterday was my 2011 triathlon season opener, the New Jersey Devilman–about a third of the Ironman distance with a slightly longer bike (0.8-mile swim, 40.3-mile bike, 8.8-mile run) and actually the first triathlon I’ve done shorter than an Ironman in the last two years.

I ended up as 2nd woman overall and it was a great way to shake off the cobwebs since IMAZ back in November, get in a solid “speed” training day, test out some new race gear and of course prep my equipment with custom stickers and stuff!

we can't all be The Wongstar.

I had my aerodrink bottle Wongstar-ized, made a special edition Hello Panda bento box, and put on the new *pink!* Blaze Hydrotail from Beaker Concepts.

I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes... LOVE is all around me and so the feeling grows...

I tried out my new Project X wetsuit from 2XU, aka the “Tron Wetsuit”, and it was super fast!

Project X!

I raced in my teamTBB edition golf ball aero helmet from Louis Garneau

the super fast golf ball helmet

Scottie had sent me my 2XU race uniforms since I missed the photo shoot in Thailand. Everything fit but the one-piece race kit, which was just too short for my long torso. It gave me a front and back wedgie, like I needed to be 3 inches shorter, so I ended up racing in my cycling kit which looked super sharp.

pic courtesy of Tri-Dawg Lenny

Most importantly I got to test out my new race sherpa, who made his triathlon debut. He won’t be coming to all my races since he is just a rookie sherpa and undergoing very intense training in order to become a full-fledged Ironman sherpa, but I think he performed rather well yesterday considering he had never been to a triathlon before.

I interviewed him after the race and finally started playing around with some video editing software, so hopefully this means I can post up more fun videos when I leave for Ironman China next week. I didn’t save it as a super high quality but that means it won’t take forever to download/upload.

Without further ado, here he is, with the race report! :)

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a pro triathlete’s workweek: a belated Tax Day special

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

yes, happy indeed that I got a refund!

Despite my… excessive use of terrible puns (see what I didn’t do there? that took restraint) my friend Larry in Beijing is still happily demanding “more blogs!” Very well, I had started writing up a “tax day” special that was supposed to go out April 15th but that came and went, and by now I’ve actually gotten my $206 tax refund from the IRS, so hooray!

I’ve always done my own taxes since I had my first part-time job in college but this year was different and a bit intimidating since I was doing them as a “professional triathlete” for the first time. Well, not just as a pro triathlete, but also as a freelance writer and the marketing manager of a bike shop. Three jobs. Tricky stuff!

People are always asking me “is this like your full-time job? Do you get paid just to work out all the time?” so I thought I’d blog a little about the financial logistics of being a professional triathlete. As a pro triathlete, you can get money from sponsors and are also eligible to win prize money at races, but it’s not like being an NBA or NFL or MLB player.

Of course a pro triathlete’s salary is nowhere in the ballpark (heh heh) of the top superstars in those big sports, and even when you Google “lowest NFL salary” you’ll find out that the NFL Players Union has the minimum salary negotiated at $340,000 for 2011, for rookies. I don’t know this for sure but I’m thinking that’s higher than what the top pro triathletes make. I’ll, uh, let you know when I get there. :)

Like me, most pros have other jobs to help pay the bills while they are climbing the proverbial ladder to becoming a triathlon superstar. A lot of them coach. Some of them keep their full-time jobs because it’s very hard to make a living off just triathlon.

I like to consider myself a full-time athlete with other side jobs to help me fund the triathlon dream. An ideal “workday” means I’m out the door by 7am and done with my workouts by 6pm. 5pm is even better, because that’s what a 10-hour day at the office is like on Ironman race day: starts at 7am and finishes by 5pm. Every day is different but I’ve usually got 2 or 3 workouts per day, for a total of 25 to 30 hours a week. I think it mentally makes a difference on race day if you consider being an athlete your main job on a day-to-day basis, as opposed to thinking of it as more of your hobby or something you do for fun.

Obviously I still think it is fun and enjoy it, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. I made $500 in prize money last year, and they kept changing the money rules so that doesn’t include the $3000 or so I would’ve won if the rules were more consistent. :(

mmmm bacon

As for the side jobs that actually bring home the bacon (mmm bacon), the trick is to find one (or two!) where you can work flexible hours and work from home or on the road. In between the training (or usually afterwards, at night) I’ll work 15-20 hours/week doing promotional stuff as marketing manager of The Bike Boutique here in Wilmington. Then another 10-20 hours/week doing freelance writing for MSN TV. So depending on the week, there are times I’ll work up to 70 hours/week if you put all 3 jobs together, and that includes weekends and holidays. Those hours don’t include all the fun self-promotional things I get to do to market myself as The Next Big Thing (you know, Facebook, Twitter, theWongstar.com, dying my hair hot pink and blogging).

There was one day last week where I got up early and worked on writing a feature story from 6am until 6pm, then got on the trainer for 4 hours, then worked on designing an ad for the bike shop until midnight. Then there are those Wednesdays when I have 7+ hours of training and don’t bother turning the computer on at all.

One of my pet peeves is that some people have the misconception that I am on some kind of permanent vacation and I don’t have a real job. Hmm, that’s all I will say about that as I try my best not to be a whiny little bitch in my blogs, and in my normal life really. :D

So there you have it, a small glimpse into the glamorous workweek of a triathlon superstar. Perhaps in a future post I can go into other financials like budgeting and expenses. Oh, and let’s not forget there are also the pros who have rich spouses as their “#1 sponsor”. I have yet to snag me one of those but finding a guy who still pays for dinner after the first month is always very promising. ;)

first spring in the first state

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

for some odd reason, the number 300 makes me think of super ripped shirtless dudes with capes.

Wow, I signed into wordpress and saw this will be my 300th blog post here. My very first post was in June of 2007 and I just realized something else: with the team roster changing every year…I’m now officially the person who has been on the team the longest. Double WOW. That is something I’m sure nobody would have predicted back in 2007, or even 2008, or 2009…

So instead of being in super rainy Thailand meeting all the newbies, I have the privilege and honor of staying home in the USA and helping to get our first American Bike Boutique store off the ground. Which really means I get to go to parties every weekend to “network” with the community whilst pursuing true love with an all-American boy who is actually smart and cute and tall and has an excellent command of English. (It is honestly amazing how much your standards drop after living at training camps for so many months where a good-looking chap who speaks the same language as you is a rare commodity.)

staying in one place long enough helps increase your odds of finding true love.

Spring officially sprung (sprang?) over a week ago so I could finally say I survived my first East Coast winter. I never actually used the snow shovel I bought for $14 at Lowe’s; it’s still sitting in the backseat of my car and I’m considering returning it (they have a 90-day return policy). I can buy two meals at Chipotle for $14! and Chipotle is actually opening here next week!! It’ll be right by the UD campus, home of the Fighting Blue Hens. (I have an awesome UD shirt that says “FEAR THE BIRD!”) Not the first Chipotle in the first state, but maybe the second.

Um, where was I?

the cherry blossoms are supposed to blossom soon.

Oh, spring. Right. Spring is great–I had mentioned when I came back here after Vegas, the snow and ice was completely gone which meant I could ride my bike outside again. Sure there are some “hard-core” people who try to ride their bikes outside through nasty winter conditions, but as a pro athlete, Coach made it clear that it was an issue of safety, not an issue of HTFU.

You don’t want to ruin your season slipping on a patch of ice and breaking your collarbone or wrist or worse; that’s just dumb. In that same vein, there are lots of things that are too risky to do when being an athlete is your livelihood, like play ultimate frisbee for fun or go to open tryouts for Philly’s Lingerie Football League this weekend. But the frisbee boys are ok if I just go their parties as a groupie and my boobs are probably way too small to make the “Philly Passion” team anyway. You know Michael Phelps’ mom wouldn’t let him even go bowling, right? (I read that in his book.)

it's a pink elephant! spouting out a rainbow!

So I had to wait until every last remnant of ice and snow was completely gone. Then HOORAY! If you have never been through a snowy winter (like I haven’t been), you don’t realize how much you take training outside for granted. I might seem like a “sunshine and rainbows” kinda girl, oozing with an ungodly amount of eternal optimism and spirit fingers, but believe me, I can be all dark and twisty like Meredith on Gray’s Anatomy. I’m sure we all can. I just choose not to blog so much when cavorting with the Dark Side because negativity, like positivity, is contagious. People would much rather read about sunshine and rainbows than misery and angst.

Sunshine and rainbows!

sunshine and rainbows!

I meant for this to be a blog about my latest ipod playlist (I call it “spring mix” like it’s a salad) but I rambled on for too long, so perhaps the next one. :)

First Valentine’s Day in the First State

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Wow, it’s the first time in 3 years that I actually get to spend Valentine’s Day in this country and not at training camp in a hot & humid Asian country. In 2009 I was in the Philippines and last year I was in Thailand.

I didn’t get a chance to post up a V-day blog last night as I was too busy eating a hefty slice of Godiva chocolate cheesecake. I usually don’t like cheese or cheesecake, but if it’s chocolate-flavored then that makes it allll right. ;) Plus the Cheesecake Factory gets “bazinga” points from the Big Bang Theory. :)

Bazinga! no, seriously. It was REALLY GOOD.

Anyway, nothing says love and hearts like my favorite little Asian comic girl. She likes white boys, just like me. These are from Lela Lee’s book “Angry Little Girls in Love.”

Here’s my version of the 6 stages of dating:

Stage 1. The First Date.

Yes, this happens all the time. Boys lie and post up old (or strategic) photos of themselves.

Stage 2. You realize he’s not The One.

Wait for it...wait for it...

heh heh heh. Some of us are happier being single. Then there are those who bitch about being single all the time.

Stage 3. At this point, you don’t really care if you hurt his feelings.

Man up. Guys don't really have feelings.

Stage 4. See other people.

Stage 5. Dammit, why can’t I get rid of him?

Boys can never take a hint.

Stage 6. Realize that he still pays for dinner and that you are still a struggling pro triathlete.

Keep paying for dinner and I'll let you stick around. ;)

Hey, a girl’s gotta eat. Happy Valentine’s Day :D

a very Wongstar Christmas

Friday, December 31st, 2010

It was just like A Charlie Brown Christmas. There was a dog:

Snoopy, played by Guinness, supervises the home cooking

There was a Christmas tree:

this tree has an Asian angel on top

There was even some advice, with me as Lucy in the psychiatrist booth.

Only it wasn’t. There was a lot more food and dessert, a Nerf war, and some adult beverages…and my advice was very questionable.

Haamonii lemon + champagne + lychees + frozen berries = mmmm!

But then again, Lucy’s advice has always been questionable. ;)

Anyway…this is how my original blog began:

The end is near! The end of 2010 anyway. And the end of a decade. Has it really been over a decade since I was in high school? So over Christmas, at one of the many family feasts, my older cousin invited her co-worker and his family, which included twin teenage daughters that were high school sophomores.

My cousin proceeded to brag about me: what I do for a living (triathlon) and also what I went to grad school for (prosthetics). I then found myself giving sage advice to the high school girls on how to get into every college you apply to and, of course, dating advice. By then this was the third Christmas feast and I may or may not have been tipsy. Sober or not, I found it equal parts miraculous and hilarious that I had somehow turned 29 years old within the last month and was in the position to give advice to 15-year-olds. Holy crap I just did the math on that; they were like half my age. (!!!) Ok, maybe they were 16. Still.

Well, whether I was qualified to dispense advice or not, here’s what I said…

How to get into every college you apply to:
1. Get really good grades.
2. Study like hell for the SAT’s, and retake them a few times.
3. Kiss up to your teachers so you can get great reference letters.
4. Participate in extracurriculars.

They asked about the “personal statement” and I wasn’t very helpful; I just said that I had always enjoyed writing and was always pretty good at it. I also didn’t elaborate on the above four points and tell them about my 4.0 GPA and valedictorian ranking, or the 1510 SAT score, or that I was captain and MVP of the cross country team, rifle captain of the color guard, played the flute in the symphonic band, and was some type of board member for various clubs (the Chinese Club, the science club, the Spanish club, the Block W letterman club). Ah, minor details. But that’s how I got into every college I applied to. (Yes I just tooted my own horn but keep reading.)

My dating advice was along the lines of “Go to prom but don’t take high school boys very seriously.” Their dad wanted them to wait until college to date and I remarked that he was being pretty generous as Momma Wongstar didn’t want us to date until we graduated college. (HAHAHAHAHA.) They wanted to know who I went to prom with, and I said “some idiot who now works at the Costco gas station. That is why you should date college boys, because high school boys are dumb.”

Of course, being high school sophomores, this whole thing could totally backfire and they might hook up with college boys while they are still underage. Oops.

I also told them that in high school, it was important to learn not to be so awkward around boys. Maybe I was really just talking to my 15-year-old self. I was way more dorky and awkward than these super cute twin girls, who aren’t really awkward at all, and who probably get asked out by ALL the high school boys ALL the time. You know, my own nerdy high school self probably would’ve hated them. Yeah, the high school Wongstar had to ask three boys before scoring the prom date who now pumps gas. But she got into all her colleges and turned out all right despite being such a late bloomer. Wait, how did this turn out to be a rant about me during those awful high school years… :(

Anyway, here are a gazillion Christmas photos from the multiple feasts where, if you remember my Thanksgiving blog, we slaughter the entire friggin’ animal kingdom. Every meal includes at least 5 types of meat and 5 types of dessert. Hey, we Wongstars don’t do anything half-assed. There was a Chinese/American feast, a Burmese feast, and a Chinese/Filipino feast…

The edible animal kingdom:

honey-baked ham. almost like bacon

Mom with the prime rib

crab, cow, pig, salmon

Now there are two things you can add to any dish that make everything taste better: garlic and REAL BACON.

fends off the vampires. Team Jacob, hey!

my sister didn't come home so we didn't have to have that turkey bacon crap.

They went into the mashed tators and my new holiday favorite as inspired by white people: green bean casserole!

we put garlic AND garlic salt in the mashed tators. 100x the goodness!

when in doubt, spell out things with bacon.

Speaking of high school days, the holiday soundtrack included Hanson (my collection), the Carpenters (Mom’s collection), and the very awesome Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

yes, the Mmmbop guys! who looked like girls!

While the girls did the cooking, the boys (my bro and my dog) had a little Nerf war:

terrorizing the dog. go Giants!

Guinness takes cover!

The first bottle of Haamonii was popped open before 3pm on Christmas Eve, and let me tell you…holidays with the family have never been so tolerable! I mean, enjoyable! I mean…!

Right, moving on, dessert:

we adopted Amy again and put her in charge of the dessert

she made two gluten-free pumpkin pies, not that it mattered with all the other gluten-filled gluttony. see what I did there? ;)

dessert from a Filipino bakery (Goldilock's) and a Chinese bakery (Sheng Kee)

more pie and more Christmas logs

Apparently white people do fruitcake and Asian people do Christmas logs:

another Christmas log. the prettiest!

fried bananas with ice cream

And it wasn’t Christmas without a screening of Elf!

one of my fave Xmas movies :D

It was also the first Christmas for the newest generation of our family, baby Ethan:

baby Ethan with his Uncle Kenny re-enacting a scene from "The Hangover"

Seriously. And so you see why one of my winter goals is always “Don’t get fat over Christmas.” I managed to escape any further fattening and made my way back to The First State without getting stranded in any more airports. I will miss the dog and everyone else but it’s back to work. You don’t become a triathlon superstar by getting fat over Christmas.

hope everyone had a great pig-out over Christmas like we did!!! :D

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 corn maze labyrinth

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Things to do in Delaware, #5: go to a corn maze.

I went to a corn maze yesterday. I had never been to one before and was pretty excited, maybe it would be like that big maze in the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter (you know, where the guy who plays Edward from Twilight dies…maybe that’s when he becomes a vampire ahahaha)…

Team Cedric!

…or like the labyrinth in Pan’s Labyrinth…

this scary bad boy was the best part of the movie!

…or like that board game I played when I was younger…

I was on a first date so I didn’t actually take pictures, because that’s completely rude and weird. I like to save that for the second date. ;) Instead, I did a Google image search of “corn maze” to show you how intricate some of these mazes can be:

barnyard animals

David Archuleta

the good ole USA

where the good ole USA eats and gets fat

no worries, the Wongstar has a brain.

I'll always be a California girl at heart. Go Giants!

Well, we went to a little farm here and the maze wasn’t as spectacularly intricate as some of those depicted above, where you can end up completely lost. It was a good idea to start small, in case we found out we hated each others’ guts, we wouldn’t be stuck together for hours upon end. Or worse, get separated and then stranded as he was the one that drove us there. Wow, that would be a pretty bad date! :(

Next up sometime this week is how to pick and carve a pumpkin, per Becky May’s request.

breaking the news on the first date

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

In this edition of “Wongstar stays in on Friday night to do laundry, blog, and go to bed early cuz she’s AWESOME” I believe it’s time for an update on dating shenanigans. Or lack thereof actually.

I think I need to rethink my strategy in the incredible game of boyfriend hunting. So turns out there’s a downside to being the most popular triathlon superstar in the world. If you think I am exaggerating, please humor me. Google “triathlon superstar” and see who gets the top 4 hits and 70% of the results on the first page. The only other athlete who makes top 10 would be…Chrissie Wellington, at the bottom of the page, hit number 10. :D

Anyway, yes, there is actually a downside to all the fame and riches. If I tell a guy I am a pro triathlete before we meet, in this day and age of Google-stalking, I am so Google-able (“Jocelyn pro triathlete” or if I don’t tell them my real name but I usually do, “Asian pro triathlete” will do it) that he is bound to find out all about me before our first date whereas I might not know much about him at all. Which I’m not sure is really fair.

(Oh hey, hi potential online suitor, congratulations, you’ve found my blog. Now stop reading if you know what’s good for you. Or read at your own risk and decide if you are still man enough to ask me out.)

So in my past few first dates, I haven’t told the guy what my actual job is until we met in person, because I didn’t want him to Google me and have preconceived notions about me. The degrees to which this has been successful are questionable. It takes a certain kind of guy not to be intimidated by a woman who is an athlete at the elite level–and I am sure even my female amateur counterparts have this dilemma too. Some guys just can’t handle a girl who may threaten their masculinity. If you want to know the story behind why I am a height snob, this dates back to my first boyfriend in high school, who was maybe an inch taller than me and weighed 20 pounds less than I did. He once told me I threatened his masculinity. Comments like that scar people. Now he ruined it for all the wonderful–but short–guys under six feet tall.

As a side note, I have come to realize that I would probably do best with a guy who also partakes in regular exercise…and spending 2 hours a week “in the gym” doesn’t really count. Or anyone who refers to exercising as “cardio.” Grilled Cheesus, maybe I am a height snob, grammar snob, AND exercise snob. …Too bad!

Anyway, most guys are taken aback when I break the news. I’m used to it by now. But maybe it’s not fair to spring it on them on the first date. Maybe that’s why they say they’ll call me and then don’t. And it sure is awkward when he finds out and then Googles you on his iphone. Right there and then. And skims through your blog right in front of you. Damn you, technology!

So screw it. I’ve decided to just drop the bomb before we meet, and if he Googles me and is reading this right now: try not to take everything I write so seriously. I am way cooler in person and not so scary, really. :) This will just be another of the many steps in the filtering process; even if it means less first dates at least I’ll have quality over quantity. ;)

the elusive token Asian boyfriend

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Right, last night I totally forgot to mention my other favorite show, Glee. Duh. What’s fun this season is that the two Asians hooked up. Seriously. They’ve been referred to as “the Asian” and “the other Asian” on the show. I’m not being racist. Sue Sylvester said it. So in the season premiere, the two Asians tried to deny rumors that they hooked up over the summer: “why? just because we’re both Asian? That’s racist!” “Totally racist!” Well indeed they spent the summer as camp counselors at “Asian camp” and Tina totally dumped Artie for Mike. Or rather…Mike’s abs.

I've officially left Team Jacob's Abs for Team Mike Chang's Abs.

Wouldn’t you? I’d hit that. Where’s my token Asian boyfriend?

"what, just because we're both Asian?"

Well tonight’s episode did not disappoint. Tina is annoyed because the only time they go on dates is to have dim sum…with his mom. OH. MY. GOD. I could not stop laughing. She just wants to be able to eat a salad that does not have chicken feet in it. :D :D :D

They even get to do a duet together!

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Ok, maybe I don’t want a token Asian boyfriend. The tall enough variety with abs like Mike Chang are few and far between, if in existence at all. :(

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.


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