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5 reasons self-supported marathons are the best.

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

5. flexible start time.
Why get up before the butt-crack of dawn when you can better simulate a start time of when you get off the bike in an Ironman, which is after 1pm. ;) No, I’m not lazy, we all know I can never sleep in past 7:30am.

4. choose your own route (not unlike MBE’s choose your own adventure).
Because living in a small state is still a novelty for me, I charted out a route that goes into Pennsylvania AND Maryland, just to say I ran a marathon going through three states. (In California it takes 4 hours driving to reach the Nevada border and 6 hours to hit Oregon.) You can also plan to have real flushable toilet stops at gas stations/Wawa/7-11′s!

3. have your own soundtrack.
OK, these days you see a bunch of marathoners ignoring the “no ipod” rule at races but I’d still be freaked out that I could like…win something and then they’ll be like, “wait! She wore her ipod! DQ’d!!”

2. no entry fee!
No further explanation needed, my broke-ass pro status is enough.

……

……

……and the #1 reason why self-supported marathons are THE BEST:

Aid stations have Slurpees and Reese’s PB cups!!!!!

yes there are 4 different flavors in this. the magic running sticks keep cash & route directions from getting sweaty, and are very photogenic.

And anything else you feel like, really. :D with about 90mins left of my run, I found myself at the University of Delaware campus where there was a big 7-11 with 10 flavors of Slurpee. There was Mountain Dew and Pina Colada and Blueberry and Fruit Punch…and Coca-Cola and Lime…so the Camelbak got a Slurpee refill! Be careful not to drink it too fast, brainfreeze you know. :)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…if I could figure out how to keep a fresh Slurpee in my Camelbak on race days that would be like the most awesomest idea ever!

I love a good monster run. :D

These are the legs that winter built.

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

How To Become an International Triathlon Superstar, Step #23: Spend hundreds of hours (i.e. thousands of virtual miles) on your trainer during the winter to grow your bike monster legs.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I officially survived my first East Coast winter and I’m happy to report that I am feeling the positive effects of all my indoor bike miles. Which I just calculated as almost 200 hours worth. And if you do a super low-ball estimate of say 15mph, that’s 3,000 miles!

I'm sure you were expecting a boring picture of me with my massiver quads on the trainer but you get a picture of me racing in Louisville instead. Now imagine my legs are 2x bigger. Then quiver in fear.

Once December hit, I was tired of spending a whole hour putting on so many clothes just to ride outside. And it sketched me out to put on ski gloves so thick that I couldn’t really feel the brakes properly. I told Coach I didn’t actually mind riding the trainer (I have a CycleOps Fluid²) and he agreed that I didn’t have to ride outside any more, pointing out something else scary that manifested on the wintry roads: ICE! Great in cubic form in a fun fizzy drink on a summer day, but freaky and scary and dangerous on a cold winter day. Coach said it wasn’t worth busting my collarbone just to ride outside in the fresh air.

And I really didn’t mind riding inside so much. It was much better than freezing my butt off outside and buying special winter biking layers. For nearly four months (December-January-February-March), I was riding at least 10 hours on the trainer every week. I may have gone outside two or three times, when we got a false alarm early spring in March, but it was a REALLY long winter. I was starting to get cabin fever towards the end of it.

my rain & winter best friend

“Ugh how can you stand to ride on the trainer so much?” everyone always asks. Oh not too bad: that was about 200 hours of TV shows and movies. I became a proud card-carrying member of the public library, where you can borrow DVD’s for 7 days (and renew up to 3 times). For FREE of course! Much better deal than Netflix or Redbox or Blockbuster, eh? It also pays to date a guy with an expansive DVD collection. ;) And for the short 45-min spins on some days, that’s a full episode of Glee or Nikita or Hellcats, or two episodes of The Big Bang Theory, which you can stream online for free. (Yes “FREE” is like a magic word for me.)

Also if you are a cheapo like me, you quickly learn that you don’t need to turn your heater on in the winter if you warm up your little studio apartment by biking inside it. See, I am not only saving the environment but my utilities bill.

So then I waited until it was consistently warm enough for all the ice to completely melt. There were a couple of days back in February when it hit over 50 and people would say “oh, now you can bike outside!” but I still wouldn’t, because cabin fever and all, there were still insidious patches of ice out. So I figured better to have an X-Men movie marathon (Wolverine is my favorite) or watch the Blade trilogy. I even got through the first two complete seasons of The West Wing before I got bored with the third one. A 4-hour ride means two 2-hour movies, and a 3-hr ride is either 2x90min movies or 4x45min TV episodes.

I like to experiment with real food while training.

As an interesting side effect, it seems that my already massive quads grew even larger. (In college, my cycling teammates called me “Quadzilla” because my legs were bigger than theirs. And they were all boys.) At first I was horrified that I got fat and slow over winter, even though my boobs have been shrinking (the surest sign I am getting fit), because my jeans have been tighter in the legs.

Then I started punching out my standard 150km time trial loop every Sunday and was shocked that I have been going faster than I’ve ever been. The same exact loop I had mapped out in October and my ginormous quads just keep going. The Wongstar is pleased. Coach had always said riding on the trainer makes you strong but I guess it took me 200 hours of indoor biking for me to see the light. :)

It is now T-minus 1 month til Ironman China so I’m excited to see what I can do there. So to all of you who bitch and moan and say “I hate riding the trainer!” all I have to say is “You must hate getting faster too.”

The end. :)

the latest playlist: the “Spring Mix”

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Delaware: a place with all 4 seasons... in the span of a month.

Delaware can’t quite decide if it’s still winter, or summer, or spring, or…Seattle. In early March, we had this nice stretch of warm weather right before the actual spring equinox, so I packed away my winter clothes, and of course we got hit by coldness in the 30′s and 40′s again. One morning we got hit by McFlurries again and I wanted to pull out my hair. Now I’m afraid that if I return my $14 snow shovel at Lowe’s, I’ll be jinxing everyone everywhere and we’ll suddenly get a giant snowstorm and I’ll be stuck somewhere with no snow shovel to dig my way out.

Then this past week we got a day in 70+, followed by some rain and sub-40′s, then up to the 60′s, rain again, low 50′s, and tomorrow will be SUPER SUPER SUPER DUPER EXCITING at 86*F! It’s like Mother Nature is having a silly April Fools’ joke.

Still, it’s not torrential Thailand downpours though, and I was disheartened to hear that my kick-off race of the season has been cancelled, as Koh Samui has been devastated by flooding. My heart goes out to the people of Samui Island; the RD said the roads are so torn up it’ll take over 5 months just to repair them and the pictures on Facebook are worth thousands of words…

why there will be no race in Koh Samui...they've got bigger issues.

So looks like my season opener is back to being Ironman China on May 29th. I’ve got no race reports or new training camp stories, so what’s a girl to blog about? I figured I’d go with the tried and true. People like to read about things they can relate to. They want to know what I eat, what music I listen to, who I’m dating ;) and what kind of coffee I like.

I got a good response from my post on my treadmill playlist, so here is the one that I call “Spring Mix” despite the first state’s confusion on what season it really is. There’s nothing like a new playlist to keep you motivated when the forecast calls for rain! I’ve got a mix of new songs plus remixes of old ones. I put in YouTube links if you want to listen to any of them. My inspiration is drawn from TV shows, movies, random websites with cool soundtracks, the real radio and Pandora… I am a big fan of music videos (or heck, silly YouTube vids) too, so I embedded some of my favorite ones in there along with random commentary. Because I’m like a Blu-ray DVD with all kinds of bonus features. :D

the cherry blossoms blooming on my Wednesday transition run route: Brandywine Park

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  • We R Who We R (Danno Darko Remix) — Ke$ha. Me and the wondrously trashy Ke$ha are proud to have a few things in common: we like putting glitter on our eyes, we’re “hot and dangerous”, and we like to go “hittin’ on dudes…hard.” It also goes without saying: “You know we’re superstars, we are who we are.”
  • My Body — Young the Giant. ”My body tells me NOOOOOO, but I won’t quit, cuz I want morrrrre…” the PERFECT song for masochistic ultradistance athletes.
  • So Yesterday (Radio Remix) — Hilary Duff. Favorite lyrics: “If the light is off, then it isn’t on.”
  • What the Hell — Avril Lavigne. Just like the song, the video is totally fun. She steals a taxi cab then goes clothes shopping, then BLATANT PRODUCT PLACEMENT with her own clothing line! (I have her star hoodie.)
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  • Children 2000 (Trance Remix) — Robert Miles. A favorite from back in my college days. Or maybe even high school.
  • Hot to Touch — Werewolf vs. Unicorn. This was actually from an episode of Hellcats, which I got hooked on after being inspired for last year’s Halloween costume. (I’m endlessly amused that I have the same outfit even though there’s no way I can do all those tricksy gymnastics flipsies.) “Werewolf vs. Unicorn” is actually a fictional band and they wrote the song specifically for the TV show. Check out the crazy cheerleader gymnastics:
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  • I Want It All/We Will Rock You (Mash-Up) — Queen, from the Sucker Punch soundtrack. Oh yes, I rather enjoyed Sucker Punch… so much that I downloaded the whole soundtrack immediately and am contemplating skipping Ironman Lake Placid in order to party at Comic Con in a bedazzled sailor girl outfit. Just kidding. Really. ;)

I like to abuse the fact that some people can’t tell when I’m joking or not. Happy training and happy spring wherever you may be in the world! :)

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

First Snow Shoveling in the First State

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Everyone had advice for my first East Coast winter as the temperatures started dropping, especially with regards to vehicle maintenance. “Get an ice scraper.” “Get a can of spray de-icer.” “Get a snow brush.” “Rinse your car so it doesn’t rust from the salt they put on the snow.” “Drive slow.” “Careful around the turns.”

Ah, yeah yeah yeah. Ok ok, I did all of the above.

And then my favorite one that I kept procrastinating on (cue ominous music):
“You should probably get a snow shovel and keep it in your car in case you have to dig your car out.”

I thought that was the most hilarious thing ever. Until one day I had been training in my living room all morning and didn’t need to drive anywhere until say, 3pm…my car had been parked outside for over 30 hours at this point…

there's a Honda Fit hibernating in there.

Luckily I live in a great neighborhood equipped with lots of shops and restaurants. I walked across the street to the drug store. They were out of shovels. I walked the other way to the grocery store. They too were out. The print shop was closed but hey, I live right next door to an Irish pub and sports bar. They lent me their snow shovel and I promised not to run off with it. I had been bundled up, but let me tell ya, shoveling snow is hard work. An hour later I had my outer jacket, gloves, and warm hat stripped off. I faithfully returned the shovel and promised to come back for Irish car bombs.

I used to think brushing the snow off your car was kind of fun, like a one-person snowball fight, but I’m over it now. Oh yeah, and there were a lot of snarky remarks from people (who didn’t have to go to work, “snow day” and all) walking by when they caught a glimpse of the California plates.

Then I went to Target and another grocery store and they were out of shovels too. So I got myself to Lowe’s (the hardware store) yesterday and bingo! Every person walking out the store was armed with a spankin’ new shovel. I went in and got my very own. I feel totally empowered now. Nothing can stop me!

Although according to this article, I should just stay in and watch more TV: “Snowstorms send TV viewership soaring.”

And here’s a good tongue twister for you: “Shoveling snow stimulates sniveling snot.” Now say that ten times fast.

Happy Delaware Day!

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Yesterday, December 7th was Delaware Day. All Delawareans know this because December 7, 1787 (it’s printed on the state flag) is the day we became the first state to sign the Constitution.

First State pride!!!

Well, I guess I can’t say “we” just yet. I had this great blog planned about getting sworn in as a Delaware resident but I went to the DMV yesterday with proof of my new residence but not proof of birth. No, I didn’t fail my driving test, I swear. I’ll return tomorrow!

our answer to them cocky Texans ;)

Instead I leave you with a Delaware Christmas song:

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By our very own Todd Chappelle. Not to be confused with Dave Chappelle. And yes, I have done lots of tax-free shopping, eaten the “Bobbie” sandwich at Cappriotti’s, and gone to a Blue Rocks game…though as you recall I didn’t get to see Mr. Celery. :( ah well. There will be many more first adventures in the first state!

first winter in the first state

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Winter has more or less hit the first state and this California-born-and-bred triathlon superstar is trying not to cry and complain too much about her first winter on the East Coast. Yes, now I know why everyone back home laughed at me when I told them I was leaving California for Delaware. Now I also know why everyone in Delaware laughed at me when I told them I left California to move here. Coach would call this “building character.” I try to keep the whining minimal and am looking forward to building my first snowman complete with a carrot nose.

Check out tomorrow morning’s forecast…scattered flurries!

mmmmm McFlurries....

Makes me think of McDonald’s McFlurries, which makes me think of my favorite Australian teammate who shall remain nameless. ;)

The official IMAZ race report is in draft form at the moment as I have more pressing issues at hand, like organizing The Bike Boutique USA’s very first Kona Viewing Party (Facebook invite is here). I’ve also been working hard on the first edition of the official Bike Boutique USA newsletter, with all kinds of fun stuff including the official party announcement. Here’s a preview, click on it to see the full thing. Pretty snazzy if I shall say so myself!

The NBC broadcast is on December 18th and it’s going to be AWESOME!! Door prizes, raffle drawings during commercials, a super duper ridiculous one-day sale… I also foresee bottles of Haamonii Smooth Shochu being shared, and special drinking games like “take a shot whenever you see a TBB race kit!” :D

the choice of triathlon superstars!

Stay warm kids. Or stay indoors and watch 8 episodes of the West Wing, like I did today. :)

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?