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How to win a free ipod: bodypaint.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

I’d be lying if I said the top model lurking inside of me isn’t sad to have missed the TBB family photo shoot in Thailand. So instead of modeling the new 2XU race kits and bike jerseys, I present to you a prize-winning photo I submitted for my alma mater’s “Most Amazing T-Shirt” contest.

As you might know, I went to this super nerdy tiny little college in southern California (a bit over 700 undergrads total). More than a third of the student body were kids that were either valedictorians or salutatorians in high school and everyone was an incredible overachiever. Since it’s basically a science & engineering school, we used to joke that the ratio of men to women was about “pi to one” (which would be almost 76% guys) but these days it’s about 65% guys.

The school? Harvey Mudd College. “Mudders,” as we’re called, go on to become geniusly successful overachievers. (Yes “geniusly” is a real word, says me.) In fact, CNBC recently had a list of the top 15 “Colleges That Bring The Highest Paycheck 2011″ and Harvey Mudd topped the list at #1 with graduates making a mid-career median salary of $126,000 and starting median salary of $68,900.

HOLY CRAP, I say. Knowing my own salary, and the fact that a good handful of my college friends are still in grad school or med school (those overachievers are getting their PhD’s and/or MD’s, and I’m serious about the “and/or”) we concluded that these salary numbers would actually be much higher without outliers such as ourselves.

Anyway, on that list, we beat out all the heavy-hitters like Stanford, MIT, Duke, CalTech, Harvard, and Princeton.

“But Harvey Mudd College?” you say. “I’ve even never heard of that school.”

And so HMC presented students and alumni with shirts that said “The Most Amazing College You’ve Never Heard Of.” We were then bribed with free ipod nanos as prizes for a photo contest where we could wear our shirts and compete in various categories: best school spirit, most unusual location, best science-related, best fashion statement, best group/family/community portrait, and best photo with someone famous.

Actually, alumni were bribed with free ipod nanos, students were bribed with restaurant gift cards. (They totally got the short end of the stick.) I currently have an ipod shuffle (my first one got stolen in the Philippines) but my ipod nano had gotten stolen in Thailand, and the generic cheapie ones I’ve bought seem to die quick deaths when bathed in sweat.

So I really wanted to win an ipod nano! I figured my best shot was to go with “best fashion statement” since we Mudders have a reputation for being well… dorky. (Explains a lot about me, doesn’t it?) My first idea was to just wear the shirt and bodypaint and nothing else, but after taking the first round of photos I had a feeling my mother wouldn’t approve. So short shorts and high heels it was. Which is still more than what I wear when racing. You can see all the photo entries on HMC’s Facebook page.

So guess what! I won! I won I won I won! :D

Wait, you already knew that because I said at the beginning of the post that it was a prize-winning photo.

I should really stop spoiling my own stories. :(

Anyway, let it be known to all current and potential sponsors that I will totally bodypaint your logos all over myself. I am also happy to dye my hair to your company colors. I got bored with purple, so the new flavor of the week is hot pink! I haven’t had hot pink in my hair since I raced the Singapore 70.3 a whole two years ago…whew time goes by when you’re having the best time of your life!

new colors only last 1.5 to 2 weeks with all this swimming :(

All right…that was just me saying the teamTBB photo shoot is not the same without this hot-pink-haired camera whore.

Your hair should always match your race kit :D

And just doing my part to promote the most amazing college you’ve never heard of. So now you’ve heard of it!

a look back at 2010 with Haamonii…in photos.

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Happy New Year!

I have a longer, deeper blog in the works about my 2010 reflections but it takes a little more time to gather those thoughts into words and I figured it’s good to keep posting things up even if I have long strayed from the daily blogging streak.

I threw together some photos on Facebook of my year of “Sharing Haamonii” while racing the Ironman circuit for my liquor sponsor, Haamonii Smooth Shochu. You can check it out by clicking the photo below from New Year’s Eve. Privacy settings for that album should be open to everyone, even if you don’t have a FB account.

Sharing Haamonii in 2010!

Haamonii Smooth Shochu became my very first individual sponsor as a pro triathlete in early 2010 and sent me bottles of their distilled spirit to “share harmony” wherever I went in the world. As my official “post-race rehydration beverage” there were many opportunities to celebrate with new and old friends! Smoother than vodka, less calories, and no hangover. The choice of triathlon superstars! Learn more at their website, http://www.shareharmony.com/. Cheers!

IMAZ photo race report.

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

It’s been over 3 weeks since my last race at Ironman Arizona. As Coach would say “that was an entire career ago.” I’ve been super busy ever since with other work obligations and getting back into full off-season training (not an oxymoron) in the McFlurry-esque Delaware winter, so I’ve also been tired and uninspired.

So I began writing a simple photo version with some captions since I have soooo many racing pictures from IMAZ. Then it got longer and I found some writing inspiration again. So here is the “short” photo version. Of course I realize a “short” version for me is probably still longer than most other people’s. ;) And there’s always the video mini race report recap that Felix shot…

morning swim start by the bridge

So I swam really hard. I was very excited to stay with a small pack and pretended I was chasing my swim buddy, Zeke, just like in training. He wears a hot pink swim cap every now and then. I just kept saying “stay with Zeke, stay with Zeke!” When the sun came up a little more, I realized it was my friend Miranda. In the beginning of the year I was able to swim with her at IM Malaysia and IM China, but only for maybe 75% of the way before I dropped off. So I was super stoked to get out with her and of course 10mins faster than what I’ve been averaging all year!

These photos are from my old Harvey Mudd College classmate Tom, who lives in Phoenix now and signed up for next year’s race. You can tell how happy I am about my swim, can’t you? ;)

chasing down Miranda who bolted through transition

At this point, I didn’t even realize I had come out of the water in front of 5 other pro women and 2 pro men. I was just really happy I went 1:06!

those guys are totally checking me out

Apparently I was giving the thumbs up to the official photographer:

superstars always smile for the camera :D

Then I got on the bike, and even though it got to be pretty rainy and super windy with a little bit of hail, I am a gun biker and can stay in the aero position through all of nature’s elements. Here is photographic proof…

Leaving T1. Aero position assumed!

still in aero...still leaving T1...

There were cacti. Which is plural for cactus.

flying by cacti while showing them the aero position.

Ok, I admit, I got slightly out of aero position only when reaching for more Hello Panda cookies in my back pocket.

more Pandas, please.

I felt strong, and magical, and high on caffeine.

3rd lap got a little congested passing age groupers.

I think I passed like 5 or 6 pro women on the bike? I felt pretty darn good even though the bike training has been thrown on the back burner to make room for swimming. 5:16 is my fastest bike split this year!

finishing up the bike, now allowed to get out of aero position.

Then I got to start running. I was feeling good and very happy. Are you ready for a montage of happy running pictures? Here you go…most of them courtesy of the Ritenours, one from “Burrito Fanatic” on Twitter:

gosh I am sure feeling good!

I was telling myself "relax and stay focused."

Ironman is fun and easy!

it is a common misconception that Ironman is a miserable experience.

maybe I'm not going hard enough?

Ok, enough. but I had to put this one because my legs actually look sort of skinny and not like big tree trunks.

I was super extra pumped because I had my very own cheer squad that included my MOM…who hadn’t ever seen me race in the pro division…and the Ritenours, who hadn’t seen me compete since I was a scrawny prepubescent high school runner.

Mr. R, Mom and little Serena on the lookout

Mom and Serena

Mom takes the best photos!

These don’t even include all the photos that my personal camera crew Felix was taking…I’m sure you’ll get a load of those soon too! Here’s a cool shot of me from overhead:

powered by Camelbak. maybe they will sponsor me next year.

Around mile 5, a guy on a bike passed me.

I didn't see the sign on the front of his bike.

Then if you thought I was looking good and smiley, I heard a voice with a British accent say “good job Jocelyn…we haven’t actually met yet…” and a flash of red went by:

the triple Ironman world champion laps the Wongstar.

I was so surprised that all I said was “oh!” and then as an afterthought “good job, Chrissie!”

Let it be known that no other women lapped me. ;)

And I was still feeling good on the second lap (there were three laps):

lots of people yelling "Go Wongstar!" and "Go Jocelyn!" I'm famous!

the fans love me.

demonstrating a proper heelstrike for Coach.

Then I hit a rough spot that third lap and wasn’t so smiley any more.

not so smiley Wongstar.

At which point I focused on digging in, breathing properly and channeling my inner Chinese warrior. I had just watched the movie “Hero” with Jet Li during my last week of training going into the race, so I thought of myself as “Flying Snow.” (My Chinese name means “snow.”) Here is the awesome fight scene between the two women warriors, Flying Snow and Moon. I even found the version with the English dubbing:

YouTube Preview Image

It’s kind of bizarre the things you think about when you are hurting in the middle of an Ironman, and what gets you to the finish line. Some say this is when you find out what you are really made of. So what got me through? I kept repeating “Chinese warriors never give up. They fight to the death.” And that lit something inside of me, and motivated me to keep fighting. Who would’ve thought? BTW, Flying Snow is the one who wins the fight. Though if you notice, Moon doesn’t give up even when stabbed with a ginormous sword through her chest. Epic!

I took off my mostly full second Camelbak during the third and final lap because I was sick of drinking Frappuccinos at that point and it was cold anyway, so hydration wasn’t exactly an issue. There was a bit of grunting and some “on your left!” since the course was getting a bit busier by then. I was pretty happy to hit the finish chute and the smile came out again:


And then I got to be done! I was so happy!

finishing an Ironman = the best feeling in the world!

My 3:34 marathon wasn’t my best, and I missed breaking 10 hours by 5 minutes, but it was my fastest race all year and I am still very happy with it. Like the bike training, the run training’s also been on the back burner and I had told Coach in September that if I had a great swim but a crappy bike and run in Arizona, I would still be over the moon. I didn’t realize until later that there were at least 6 Ironman champions that beat me, world champions and all that, so 12th pro in this field I am quite happy with too. And finally, no age groupers beat me. So there!

I ended the 2010 season feeling somewhat more justified racing in the pro ranks. ;)

I’ll do a season recap in the next few weeks; in the meantime, big ginormous thanks to all my supporters and sponsors!

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!

random L’ville pics

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

While I work on the official race report, please enjoy these non-racing photos! :D

Race morning:

by now I am used to being followed by paparazzi

with the TBB ninjas before the swim start

who's a VIP? I am!!

support crew: Dee & Brian


coolest finish line ever! 4th Street Live.

Awards banquet:

only the top 5 pros get called up. Getting closer.

the champ with her big trophy and some Haamonii Smooth Shochu

The Derby dinner & party!

sweet hats! this is Dee's daughter Ellie

Brian makes Haamonii-mojitos

Kellie and I with fancy hats and fancy drinks!

it's not a derby party without derby pie

Laura, owner of the derby hats, stopped by too!

There were also bourbon balls. What are those?!

I think I like bourbon balls.

another one of those days

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

smashed from training, emailing Coach a training update, and trying to blog about how fascinating and glamorous my life is.

pooh. Gotta pull out the One-Picture Contingency Plan again.

the key to the Bike Haus

I forgot this one for the Bike Haus blog.  Time to pass out.

post-Placid pics in New York

Friday, August 6th, 2010
the Asian superstar one-girl bobsled team

the Asian superstar one-girl bobsled team

I had a request for Wongstar bobsled photos from my friend Jay in Austin.  Mark of Runners High N Tri offered to be bobsled sponsor so that Ben and I could ride the bobsleds, but unfortunately we ran out of time post-race. (That’s right, a true superstar gets a BOBSLED SPONSOR.) Instead I got a silly photo op in front of this cafe that sells crepes.

the grin on Amys face is like this emoticon -- :D

the grin on Amy's face is like this emoticon --> :D

I had to help Amy ship her trophies home (yes, she got TWO). They weighed in at Fedex at 28 pounds!

solid gold brick right there.

solid gold brick right there.

I hung out a bunch with my buddy Travis at Placid Planet Bicycles. They were awesome and open for 24 hours in the days leading up to the race to help with last-minute mechanical fixes. Turns out that White Tiger needed new threads into his frame for the rear caliper, and that was why I had issues in Coeur d’Alene! The bike mechanics were paid in beer, scones, and chocolate chip cookies, and I passed on two bottles of Haamonii Smooth Shochu to the owner, Julie, to share.

Thanks Placid Planet!!!

Thanks Placid Planet!!!

…and one more bobsled photo before I took the train to NYC:

if my triathlon career doesnt work out, I can be a bobsled superstar.

if my triathlon career doesn't work out, I can be a bobsled superstar.

I took the 7-hour Amtrak train to the Big Apple and met with my friend Carolina.  We had a Twinkie and Brownie reunion.  (Today is her birthday, HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAROLINA!!!)

Twinkie on the left, Brownie on the right.

Twinkie on the left, Brownie on the right.

I’m yellow on the outside and white on the inside. She is Peruvian/Venezuelan.

Central Park!

Central Park!

I only got to see NYC for the first time a year ago in May but didn’t get a chance to see Central Park because…I got the swine flu, remember? So that’s what we did this time.

this part is called The Mall but you dont get to go shopping.

this part is called "The Mall" but you don't get to go shopping.

The trippiest part of this whole experience is that someone later TweetedCelebrity sighting spotted @theWongstar walking w/ her friend in Central Park this afternoon around 5:45pm“.  WHOA NOW.  I told you I’m famous.

row row row your boat

row row row your boat

We took the rowboats out for some post-race active recovery.  I haven’t rowed a boat since I was on the Georgia Tech crew team in grad school and that was only with one oar.

in the middle of the city.  see!

in the middle of the city. see!

I had on my trusty Avia Avi-Rhythms while the Brownie was in her work shoes:

actually, were both in our work shoes.

actually, we're both in our "work shoes."

The soundtrack for this little excursion was none other than the bleepin’ hilarious “I’m On a Boat.”

YouTube Preview Image

There was this sweet fountain somewhere in the park:

make a wish!

make a wish!

I was touched by an angel.  *snork!*

I know, Im such a dork.

I know, I'm such a dork.

There was a cool ceiling of something here:

This was shipped from some other country, I think.

This was shipped from some other country, I think.

Lots of people, tall buildings, and taxi cabs:

New York, New York!

New York, New York!

When all was said and done, autographs were requested…because I’m famous…before I headed to the next adventure on the choo-choo train to Delaware:

I do take requests.

I do take requests.

My Super Sweet 16: Ironman Lake Placid 2010

Friday, August 6th, 2010

My Super Sweet 16” is an MTV reality show where super spoiled teenagers have their rich parents throw them very lavish parties for their 16th birthdays. The climax of the show occurs during the fabulous party with the big “reveal” of the birthday gift of their dreams…a fancy schmancy car.  What always happens (SPOILER ALERT!!!): the brat starts to cry, not tears of joy, because the birthday car isn’t the brand new sparkly crazy expensive one they wanted–but haha! it’s always just a joke! The real gift is not that ugly POS station wagon!

somberly heading to the swim start

somberly heading to the swim start

Sweet 16 parties are very special occasions and require lots of birthday pictures. Photos courtesy of the Snare family, ASI Photos, and various Facebook and Twitter followers. Thanks!

me and the eventual champion hanging out before the swim start

me and the eventual champion hanging out before the swim start

Well, I don’t remember my 16th birthday party at all, and I never got a car until after I finished college. It was a POS but I loved it because it worked, it was red (so I could find it easily in a parking lot), and it could easily fit my bike and training gear! Fond early birthday memories always involved Mom baking her special cupcakes. The strawberry ones made from Betty Crocker cake mix…I used to think that baking simply involved picking a box at the grocery store.

So no birthdays really stand out to me, but here in Lake Placid I knew that this would be my Super Sweet 16, or as MTV describes it, “a wild ride behind the scenes for all the drama, surprises and over-the-top fun as teens prepare for their most important coming-of-age celebrations… ”

hesitation?  nahhh

hesitation? nahhh

Yes, this would be the race where I would “come of age” as a pro triathlete. My first pro race was about a year ago in Korea, at the Jeju iron-distance race formerly known as Ironman Korea. Of course I learned in Spokane that baseball players in Major League Baseball are considered rookies for the first 5 years of their career, which is a concept I rather like.

Over-the-top fun and drama included the swim being non-wetsuit for the pros, I think for the first time in a while (if ever?), as it was officially 74*F with the cut-off being 72*F for us. This was actually a very comfortable temperature without a wetsuit and I was happy to just have my one hot pink cap and my blueseventy pointzero3+. After going over 1:20 at the swim in CDA, I was back on the old regime of swimming until you can’t lift your arms up for several solid weeks, and mentally I was ready to be much more aggressive.

the water is nice and warm!  armed with blueseventy speedsuit, goggles, and race kit.

the water is nice and warm! armed with blueseventy speedsuit, goggles, and race kit.

When the gun went off, I swam like hell and stayed in a group that actually included 2 orange caps–yeah, pro GUYS. I swam-swam-swam, staying on feet, until I looked up and realized that these feet were not staying with the feet in front of her. I actually surged and made a valiant attempt to bridge the gap, but couldn’t do so. Eventually me and the other pink swam together that first lap and exited in 35 minutes, pretty good for no wetsuit, and then as we jumped in, an orange cap cruised by and I jumped on his feet. Of course I was confused as how I could be swimming faster than a pro guy (in a race not in Asia–HAHA!), but stranger things have happened (not many). MTV mentioned surprises for a Super Sweet 16, right?? :)

The meager 10-minute headstart we got on the age groupers soon reared its ugly head in the form of hundreds and hundreds of wetsuit-clad swimmers thrashing and clobbering their way through the water. I am a positive thinker, and try to think of this as getting a giant draft benefit on the second lap, but honestly it gets difficult to not get beat up, swallow water, and panic. I did my best Belinda Granger impression and every now and then tried to grab people’s legs to pull me along; nobody said that was against the rules. It’s just stationary objects you can’t propel yourself with.

not such a bad swim!  for non-wetsuit!

not such a bad swim! for non-wetsuit!

So much for the “draft benefit;” I came out in 1:13 and the clock ticked over to 1:14 as I scrambled over the timing mat. Let’s subtract 5 minutes for the non-wetsuit swim and I’m pretty pleased with that swim time. Plus I totally kicked the @$$ of the pro guy that swam a 1:17. I did the long hustle from the lake to the oval and change tents (you actually have to cross a couple streets–that is why T1 splits are so slow) and the tent was packed when I got in. But that was ok. Sometimes if you have too many volunteers, they will do things like put the entire Hello Pandas in your back pockets with the cardboard boxes, and as much as they want to try and help put on your super tight compression socks, they really can’t. (That said I love the volunteers and always try to thank them for helping!)

After having mechanical issues at Ironman CDA, riding much slower than I feel I can, and subsequently getting yelled at by Coach for training like a soft-cock age grouper, I was hell-bent on proving my mettle as a GUN BIKER. I think that’s an Aussie phrase I picked up from meeting “Pantani” at St. George. Nobody really says it here but I like how it sounds. Like I am using my bike to shoot bullets at the skinny b*tches that can swim faster than me. The fat ones too.

heading out to crush the skinny swimmer girls

heading out to crush the skinny swimmer girls

I was in a great mood heading out on the bike and heeded the 2009 champion’s warnings to play my conservative cards on the first lap. It is always awesome to be teammates with someone who has won the race before and to get the inside scoop–thank you T-Mac for the advice! I had pre-ridden the course earlier in the week and became a bit of a cocky snot. It was really not as hilly as everyone said. It seemed that the first 80% of the course was either downhill or flat, and the “three bears” hills at the end of the loop were not very big.

Of course the perception of hills is a different matter when you are biking as hard as you can for 112 miles. It is definitely a challenging course to be respected, but it is still no EmbrunMan or St. George. I smashed the downhills like a woman posessed, and figured I would use my hefty size to catch the scrawny skinny girls who outswam me. More weight = faster downhill. There was no coasting on the pedals (unless of course, I was trying to do Superstar Step #12); coasting is for lazy pansies. And yes I really did think “Take that, you skinny bizotches!” while barreling down the hills. “I am a GUN BIKER!”

I saw what times the pro girls biked in previous years and decided that going under 5:30 was a very feasible goal. T-Mac had told me practically everybody slows down by 10mins or more during the second loop, when the hills come and bite you in the arse, so my plan was to even-split the ride as best as I could. Because as a nerdy smarty-pants girl, it is good to use the brain as much as you can to beat people that should otherwise be faster than you. So I was patient when the age groupers flocked by, at the guys who refused to get passed by a girl, and just kept a steady grinding clip, holding back and playing the patient game. I was pleasantly surprised to approach the 3 Bears (Mama Bear, Baby Bear, and Papa Bear) so soon, signally that we were just a few miles from transition.

***random fact: In Kindergarten our class put on a play/musical, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Our Goldilocks was actually a black girl, they did not make her wear a blonde wig, and Papa Bear was black, but I believe that Mama and Baby Bear were both white girls. I was a Flower, but I really wanted to be a Bunny. There were also Frogs and Bumblebees. My parents have a copy of this on VHS somewhere and even though it was 23 years ago, I can still sing all the songs. I may have even sang some of these songs in my head during the race. end random fact***

I crossed the first lap in about 2:41:30 and was thrilled. It was onto the second lap and I hammered down the big hills again. At this point, I also filled my aero drink bottle with a Starbucks VIA (the iced coffee powder you can mix with water) to get a caffeine-boosting adrenaline sandwich. Mom never let us drink coffee in our youth (the days before tweens had access to Starbucks on every corner) because she said it would stunt our growth, so I have her to thank for my magnificent height and caffeine sensitivity. Unfortunately on one of these big descents, my sneaky #3 bag of Hello Pandas crept out of my back pocket and decided to go kamikaze into the pavement. My mouth bleeped out something my mother would disapprove of, though it did begin with “mother,” but I was going too fast to stop and pick up those 320 calories of chocolate-filled goodness.

I am one aerodynamic machine.

I am one aerodynamic machine.

Instead I focused on going steady and not slowing down. I actually caught four pro women and was in a spectacular mood. “I am a GUN BIKER!!!” Yes, Coach’s Plan B was working excellently. See, Plan A was to get me under an hour in the swim, and we see how well that is going. Plan B is “Bike and run so fast that nobody will care how slow you swim.”

When I hit the 100-mile mark, I realized I was actually going even a little faster than I did on the first lap (I had done a watch check here on lap 1 and both were under 2 hours). “Haha!” I thought. “I’m going to prove T-Mac wrong! I will be the exception to the rule. I will not slow down the second lap!”

Then a few miles further along, my legs turned into bricks, I started hoping that every mild incline was “Mama Bear,” and grinded my way through the final miles. I managed to only slow down by 5 minutes on that second lap, so pretty happy I didn’t slow down as much as most people. :)

My bike split was a 5:28 and as my dad pointed out to me, back under 5:30 for the first time this season since IM Malaysia, and on a tougher course to boot! I’m very happy with that, especially after seeing it was the 5th fastest pro bike split and just a couple minutes slower than the other top bikers outside of Amy, who obliterated all of us on the bike.

whats Ironman without a happy face?

what's Ironman without a happy face?

My legs felt shot as I hopped off the bike at the dismount line, but that’s normal. “Running legs are different than the biking legs…running legs are different than the biking legs…” I kept repeating to myself. Whether or not that is true, you should always think positively! Sure enough I clipped off at about 7:30/mile pace. Of course the first few miles are downhill. I started to run down my old friend April from Atlanta (we both competed in the same age group when we were in college/grad school there) and at the same time Charisa, another newbie pro from San Diego, was running me down.

chug chug chug

chug chug chug

Yeah, so I passed April to get into 8th position, then Charisa passed me so I was back into 9th. This actually hasn’t ever happened to me before. Prior to CDA, Mike in Spokane had asked me if I ever got caught on the marathon in an Ironman (as a pro). Upon reflection, I realized I hadn’t. Of course, this is because I am usually soooo far behind that there is nobody to catch me, and the ones that can run faster than me also swim and bike faster too! Even though I was still further back in the pro field, this is probably the first time I’ve raced in the USA where I feel somewhat “in the mix.” (Don’t laugh; I said somewhat.)

trotting downhill

smashing downhill. this is why they call me "Quadzilla"!!

By the ski jumps, I passed by Ben’s family, who yelled out “Go Starbucks Frappuccino!!” They were tickled when they learned what’s really inside my Camelbak. Ben was doing great in his first Ironman and I would see him a mile or two behind me at every turnaround.

orange mocha frappuccino!!

the view as I pass you

Going up the hill back into town hurt, but the huge wall of spectators packed around the sidelines in town were amazing. I couldn’t help but flash my superstar smile through the crowds (I know, I’m such a cheese) which prompting even more cheering and thus more superstar-smiling. Those miles definitely went by the quickest!

Somewhere during the second lap I felt like I was bonking, but in retrospect I think it was mentally self-imposed. I had finally officially met Scott’s old coach and very good friend, Brian Shea of Personal Best Nutrition, on race morning and he was out on the course cheering for his athletes. He yelled at me something about being PacMan. Gobble gobble gobble, chase chase chase. I know this game well. I started closing in on my fellow pro chicks but it wasn’t something I’m used to. Later Coach would say that for the first time I felt the pressure of actual competition. I kept thinking about the 300+ calories of Hello Pandas I had dropped on the bike and practically convinced myself I was bonking. I started stopping at aid stations to throw down Coke and bananas.

When I looked at my mile splits later, I really wasn’t doing so bad. But I was hurting and felt like I was just trudging along, wanted it to be over, STAT! I got some inspiration in the form of my friend Jeff Glasbrenner, who I had seen during the run at St. George and met in Coeur d’Alene on race morning. It turns out that I am not the only crazy one who is racing every Ironman on the USA circuit this year.

sweet running leg.  Go Jeff go!

sweet running leg. Go Jeff go!

Yeah, Jeff is doing all 7 of them too…PLUS Cozumel. On one leg. Well, one real leg and one prosthetic leg. He lost his right leg below the knee when he was 8 years old, but went on to the Paralympics for wheelchair basketball (AKA Murderball!) and now does Ironmans. Since this year will be the 30th anniversary of losing his leg, he is doing 8 Ironmans in 8 months!

So when I saw him running on my second lap, we exchanged smiles and cheers and I picked up the pace for the out-and-back along River Road so I could chat with him again soon. Honestly, it is hard to complain about feeling like crap on the run when you don’t have to worry about sweat and blisters in the prosthetic leg you don’t have to run with. Unfortunately I later learned that Jeff’s liner (the part that goes around his residual limb to attach to the prosthesis) ripped with 6 miles to go…tough luck…but he still made it to the finish line. Congrats again Jeff and see you in Louisville!

chug chug chug back up the hill

chug chug chug back up the hill

Back up the hill and one more little out-and-back along Mirror Lake before I hit the oval. By now it was very packed with other athletes running their first lap on one side of the road, and some still finishing up the bike portion on the other side. All I could think was “I just want to be done!” And at last, finally I was one of the few athletes that got to turn into the oval with the brilliant “FINISH THIS WAY” sign, instead of the “SECOND LAP THIS WAY” sign.

Since it was my first time racing in Lake Placid, I really appreciated soaking up the finish chute going along the outdoor speedskating oval. Smiles and high-fives for everybody!

I cant help smiling when they yell for like Im a superstar or something.

I can't help smiling when they yell for me like I'm a superstar or something.

In the end, I was 9th pro woman at Lake Placid. Great to be in the top 10 again and probably my best race on home soil so far. So I am happy that my upward trend of improvement continues, with more room to get faster and more to learn and grow from.

As always, a ginormously huge thanks to all my sponsors and supporters for allowing me to keep chasing the dream: to become the best athlete I can be, achieve fame and triathlon superstardom, make a difference in the world, and write a book telling you how it’s done. ;)

The Bike Boutique, teamTBB, Alex and Brett for picking me up as a mediocre nobody age grouper and transforming me to the work-in-progress rookie pro I am today.

Cervelo for my P3, White Tiger. Avia Running for the Avi-Rhythm running shoes. Blueseventy for the sweet swim gear. 3T, Token, Louis Garneau, and ISM saddles for the bike components.

Mark Cathcart for being my travel sponsor and advisor of all things related to travel (with bonus relationship advice thrown in now and again).

Haamonii Smooth Shochu for all the bottles of post-race rehydration and fulfilling my dream of having my very own liquor sponsor as a pro triathlete.

The Snare family for very generously hosting me in the cabin at Lake Placid worthy of an MTV Cribs TV show.

Mom and Dad for the love and support, the Costco credit card, the occasional emergency funds deposits, watching Guinness the dog, and of course the genes that will someday get credit for my currently untapped speed/endurance/whatnot.

yippeee I am almost done!

yippeee I am almost done! and my arm looks kind of ripped!!

Last but not least…YOU!!! The fans! Thanks to all of you who have ever cheered for me, sent me fanmail or sent me hatemail (a true superstar receives and embraces hatemail), Googled me, read my blog, Tweeted me, “became a fan” on Facebook, disparaged me and/or defended me on various internet forums (I have been known to turn haters into fans), tracked me online and the like. There are always the days where you wonder if this is all worth it, but I continue to be encouraged from your support (and even more encouraged by the anti-support) and want to give you my heartfelt thanks. It really makes a difference to me!

Anyway thanks all for helping me have a Super Sweet 16! Next up is 17 in Louisville (when you are old enough to read Seventeen magazine) and quickly followed by 18 in Wisconsin–when you can vote, buy cigarettes and porn, and alcohol in non-American countries. I don’t know how many more of these Ironman birthdays it will take to hit the big time, but I am definitely enjoying the journey every step of the way! ;)

New York: State #3 on the Superstar Summer Tour

Sunday, July 25th, 2010
back in the olden days, before I was born or even conceived.

site of the Olympics, before I was born or even conceived.

The Wongstar’s summer tour continues rolling with the longest flight segment taking me from Washington to New York. I flew into Albany, where one of my best friends, superstar-in-training Amy, is from. She was in California racing Vineman 70.3 but I got to pretend I was “Amy for the weekend” and stayed with her parents for two nights. Like all great Chinese parents, they spoiled me with authentic Chinese food (which I haven’t had for over 6 weeks) and other treats, and drove me up to Lake Placid on Sunday.  Thank you, Chow family!! I didn’t snap a photo with them, but here I am with Amy who sherpa’d me at IM Florida last year:

Amy just qualified for Kona, for the 2nd year in a row.  Stud!

Amy just qualified for Kona, for the 2nd year in a row. Stud!

It was confusing driving up there as all the Christmas trees made me think I was still in the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene region.

I am not allergic to the Christmas trees here though.  YAY!

I am not allergic to the Christmas trees here though. YAY!

At the same time, it reminded me of…Switzerland.

pointy rooftops and ski-lodgesque architecture

pointy rooftops and ski-lodgesque architecture

Seriously, right? There are even those funny snow sports signs like all over Switzerland.

ski jumps and bobsleds!

ski jumps and bobsleds!

But as we approached Lake Placid, it was clear…

definitely heading to Lake Placid, or the Olympics.

definitely heading to Lake Placid, or the Olympics.

There indeed was an Olympics here!  (OMG that totally rhymed.)

I dont know whats inside, but its right by transition.

I don't know what's inside, but it's right by transition.

I kept wondering why I didn’t remember the Olympics being in Lake Placid. Then I realized it was back in 1980 and I was not even conceived yet, as I was born at the end of 1981. ;)

the outdoor sign for the outdoor speed skating oval.

the outdoor sign for the outdoor speed skating oval.

Yup, back in the olden days, speed skating was held OUTDOORS! What a concept!

To go with the Swiss theme, I stayed my first two nights at a place called “Swiss Acres Inn” and my room actually had this poster on the wall:

I think I actually LOLed when I saw this.

I think I actually LOL'ed when I saw this.

Yeah, I miss my teammates in Leysin and the poster made me laugh, because I actually biked through Chamonix-Mont Blanc with my teammates on our “TBB Tour de France” last year, and sounds like they are about to leave for that trip again this weekend.

But Tuesday I got a wonderful new housemate named Ben:

Ben is an ironvirgin and will be popping his cherry on Sunday.

Ben is an ironvirgin and will be popping his cherry on Sunday.

And got adopted into the Snare family for the weekend. My friend Mark Rouse, who is owner of Runners High N Tri in Chicago, hooked me up with Ben’s family. They are generously sharing this awesome cabin with me:

Dont be hatin on me, this is how a superstar rolls.

Don't be hatin' on me, this is how a superstar rolls.

It’s not too bad looking on the inside either.

I could get used to this.

I could get used to this.

The kitchen is pretty sweet and I’m able to cook my own meals, which I much prefer going into a race.

superstar special stir-fry on my menu

superstar special stir-fry on my menu

Yesterday, I got to meet up with teammate Amy for the first time since Ironman China! She is such a big shot now, in all the press conferences and stuff:

Amy is front and center, next to the 2009 mens champion

Amy is front and center, between the 2008 women's and 2009 men's champions

She also brought me a variety of the new blueseventy team kits–very exciting!

hooray I have a 2-piece...*just in case*

hooray I have a 2-piece...*just in case*

Truthfully my favorite part of my team kit package from Leysin was the little note attached to it from a certain Boss:

havent seen this handwriting in a while.

haven't seen this handwriting in a while.

Yes, all it says is “WongStar” but it made me smile, seeing that familiar handwriting with the nickname he gave me. :)

Since I missed the team photo shoot (and oh how a triathlon superstar HATES missing photo shoots!), here I am modeling my new race top with my best “Blue Steel” Zoolander look:

this might be more Le Tigre or maybe Le Tigre Blanc hahaha

this might be more "Le Tigre" or maybe "Le Tigre Blanc" hahaha

Speaking of Le Tigre Blanc, today I checked in White Tiger and made sure to Saran Wrap his drivetrain, just in case it rains overnight. Or in case I get really hungry and don’t want any splattering in the microwave, I have been known to not cover things I microwave and aptly reprimanded.

yum yum microwavable Cervelo!

yum yum microwavable Cervelo!

Anyway it’s nearly GO time! You can track me online tomorrow at www.ironman.com. My bib number is 48. The number 48 is a semi-perfect number, according to Wikipedia, which suits me, because I am semi-perfect as well. It is a double factorial of 6, one-third of a gross, four dozen, and the smallest number with exactly ten divisors. 48 is also the atomic number of Cadmium. Cadmium makes me think of Cadbury Easter eggs…which I don’t really like, that weird filling in the center…

Shoot, I got distracted. :(

We start at 6:50am Eastern time here in New York, which is 3:50am Pacific time back on home turf. But don’t wake up early for me, Mom and Dad, just get up your normal time and I’ll be on the bike by then. ;) Thanks for all your support!

Huge thanks to the Snare family for hosting me this weekend, and if you are ever in the Chicago area, please definitely hit up Mark’s running & triathlon store. I’m seeing if I can squeeze a visit into the summer tour as well! :)

the true #1 Wongstar fans…

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
introducing the WongSiSTAR

introducing the WongSiSTAR

Ironman St. George was a very special experience for me as it was my 14th Ironman and my second one as a pro racing on home soil, but most importantly of all, the first time my older sister Natalie had ever come to watch me race.

She is the one that encouraged me to start an official fan club.

She is the one that encouraged me to start an official fan club.

She had seen me do a couple half ironmans before (or I guess they call them “70.3″‘s now) but we all know that Ironman is completely different. It’s a long day out there for both racers and spectators! :)

the cowboys head to Utah

the cowboys head to Utah

She drove from L.A. to Las Vegas, where she picked up her good friend Dave. They would drive to St. George on race morning and both of them would be volunteering at Jenifer’s run aid station at mile 4.

remember these guys at mile 4?

remember these guys at mile 4?

Now a number of guys have thrown themselves at me proclaiming to be my #1 fan, but until any of them show up at one of my Ironman races just to cheer me on and do as well of a job as Nat and Dave, it’s my sister who is holding on to the #1 spot!

all you need is love!

all you need is love!

Aid station #4 had a country western theme and my sister loves a good theme party. Apparently a lot of the Ironman racers appreciated her outfit too.

We later find out that our very own Scottie had been hitting on my sister DURING the race and commenting on how much he liked her cowboy boots…without realizing that she was none other than the “WongSiSTAR”!!

Brigham Young?  also a fan.

Brigham Young? also a fan.

Anyone that followed my Twitter account during the race probably enjoyed her hilarious tweets. One of my followers dubbed her the “WongSiSTAR”.

with my favorite fans post-race

with my favorite fans post-race

Well the good news is that she is indeed hot and single, and also writes a great blog. Looking good, being funny, and writing well runs in the family. You can find her blog at Stuff Single Girls Like, which is kind of a spin-off on the blog Stuff White People Like.

posing with signs in between swallows of post-race pizza

posing with signs in between swallows of post-race pizza

I love myself, too!

I love myself, too!

Right now I’m hanging out in Vegas with Scottie and his sister Heather to enjoy life for a few days post-race. My race report is in process…I am pretty happy with how I did, 8th pro is my best finish on U.S. soil and it was a very tough, slow course. After the bike, I didn’t even think I could crack top 10 and don’t remember passing anyone, but apparently I did.

on the phone with Mom to check my results.  had no idea I got top 10!

on the phone with Mom to check my results. had no idea I got top 10!

Seeing Nat and Dave at about the mid-way point on each run loop (four times) really boosted my spirits, so special thanks and much love to the both of you! :D

HTFU Wongstar!!  its like Coach on a sign!

"HTFU Wongstar!!" it's like Coach on a sign!