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Archive for the ‘training’ Category

Excessive Heat Warning for New Castle, DE

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

*Local Weather Alert*

Excessive Heat Warning for New Castle, DE

Issued by The National Weather Service
Philadelphia, PA

Wed, Jun 8, 2011, 3:20 PM EDT

… EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM EDT THURSDAY…

* LOCATIONS… MUCH OF SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA… NORTHERN DELAWARE AND WEST CENTRAL NEW JERSEY INCLUDING TRENTON… PHILADELPHIA… CAMDEN AND WILMINGTON.

* HAZARDS… AN EARLY SEASON HEATWAVE IS UNDERWAY… WITH THE MOST DANGEROUS CONDITIONS IN THE AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING HOURS. A VERY HOT AND HUMID AIR MASS WILL CAUSE TEMPERATURES TO RISE INTO THE MID AND UPPER 90S AND CREATE DANGEROUS CONDITIONS… ESPECIALLY IN HIGHLY URBANIZED AREAS.

* HEAT INDEX VALUES… AROUND 100 DURING THE HIGHEST TEMPERATURES.

IMPACTS… THE ELDERLY… THE INFIRM… CHILDREN AND PETS ARE AT GREATEST RISK… ESPECIALLY WHERE THERE IS NO AIR CONDITIONING. THIS AFFECTS OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES… ESPECIALLY DURING THE AFTERNOON HOURS. SLEEPING CAN BE DISRUPTED WHERE AIR CONDITIONING IS NOT AVAILABLE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS… STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM… STAY OUT OF THE SUN… AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS.

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE… RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITY TO EARLY MORNING OR LATE EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.

…oops! I totally missed this memo. I was out there for over 4 hrs…heat training for Ironman Korea! :D

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. :)

how to swim faster in 5 easy steps!

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Swim Faster in 5 Easy Steps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to be a Gun Biker in 5 Easy Steps

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

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

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

How to be a Gun Biker in 5 Easy Steps!

Powering the "Pumpkin Trap" with bike monster legs

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

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

it’s fun to swim at the _ _ _ _

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

I found a great swimming pool to go to just a couple miles away. The complex only opened last September so it’s sparkly brand new, has fantastic hours, and I almost always get my own lane.

The only problem is that I get this really annoying song in my head every time I go swimming. Can you guess which one? Here is some lawn decor in front of the building to give you a clue:

its fun to swim at the YMCA!

it's fun to swim at the YMCA!

Yup, I have never been a member of the YMCA before. I just learned they have this program called “Membership for All” which means if you don’t make very much money, they won’t charge you very much to be a member. For example, if you make less than $10,000 per year (not to name any names ;) ) it only costs $29 per month.

What a screaming deal! At home I was paying $4 to $7 each time I went swimming…and when you swim practically every day that adds up big time. Now I really understand when the Village People were singing “Young man, there’s a place you can go…I said, young man, when you’re short on your dough…”

YouTube Preview Image

There’s a ton of daylight here too. This is probably the most northern part of the globe I’ve ever lived so I’m not used to being woken up before 5am by the bright sunlight. Good thing I brought my eyeshades because it’s race week and I am loading up on HGH the all natural way. :)

courtesy of AccuWeather.com

courtesy of AccuWeather.com for Spokane, WA

Snow Baby Hits the California Snow

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

True facts about The Wongstar:

  1. The Wongstar’s Chinese name means “Snow Baby.”
  2. If you say it really fast in Mandarin, “Wong Xue Er”, it almost sounds like “WongSTAR”!
  3. The number of times the Wongstar has actually been in the snow can be counted on one of her hands.
  4. The Wongstar rather enjoys referring to herself in the third person.
the sisters show the Wongstar how its done

the Chow sisters show the Wongstar how it's done

This weekend I headed east with Amy and her sister Tammy, in search of the mythical California snow.  The two of them grew up in upstate New York and are used to much colder below-freezing temps; it would be my first cross country skiing expedition.  I have only downhill skiied once and snowboarded once back in college.

the limited edition Avia Nordic skiing jacket

the limited edition Avia Nordic skiing jacket

So if you go east toward the Nevada border in the winter, you start to see snow!  It is only about a 3-hour drive from my house but I haven’t ever done one of these Tahoe trips that everyone talks about.  We ended up at Royal Gorge in Soda Springs, which is the biggest xc ski resort in all of North America.

Tammy attacks the hill

Tammy attacks the hill

I ate the snow quite a bit.  Ok more than a few times.  Several times?  Make that “a few” x “several”.  I didn’t think it was possible to fall over so many times while cross country skiing…I was under the impression that this would be easier!  Amy encouraged me to try gliding more.  ”Just like in swimming.”  Oh, right.  I need to work on that in my swimming too.  Good thing there was lots of fresh powder to cushion my tumbles.

Brrrr!  who knew California could get so cold?

Brrrr! who knew California could get so cold?

It started snowing more and more while we were out there, and I kept declaring “It’s like Christmas!”  Or at least, how one imagines Christmas would be like according to Christmas cards.  I can’t say I’ve ever had a white Christmas…

the car was covered when we finished playing!

the car was covered when we finished playing!

And yes even though Christmas was 3 weeks ago, I suddenly had all these Christmas carols in my head.  ”Winter Wonderland” and “Let It Snow” and “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”  BUT I was a good friend and successfully restrained myself from singing them out loud.  AHAHA!

proof that it indeed snows in California

proof that it indeed snows in California

In conclusion, I think I was named “Snow Baby” not because I was born in winter, but because I am inept at these snow sports.  I have a whole new appreciation for the upcoming Winter Olympians.  I think I will stick with triathlon!  I might not be so talented at tris either, but at least I can train hard and race in warmer climates…

the drive back home, singing Winter Wonderland in my head...

the drive back home, "Look at all those Christmas trees!!"

I bought a pool for my birthday!

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Coach will be proud.

Today I turned 28 years old and it has been about 6 months since I turned pro back in May.  I decided it was time to take the next step if I want to be serious about becoming a successful professional triathlete.  Some of the hard-core folks buy treadmills for their winters at home.  I got something even better.

For my birthday, I bought myself a swimming pool.

Wongstars birthday gift to herself

Wongstar's birthday gift to herself

It is a 2-lane 50m outdoor pool, with a pace clock on each end and the water temperature is rather cold (about 75F or 24C), just the way I like it.  Cold enough that it makes me swim extra hard and not want to take any rest!

There wasn’t enough room in our backyard for such a long swimming pool, so the Prime Time Athletic Club in Burlingame (a 15-min drive away) offered to keep it for me.  Kind of like how you can board a horse at a horse stable.

fancy fancy fancy!

fancy fancy fancy!

I had been bouncing around every single public pool within a 25-mile radius.  South San Francisco, Brisbane, St. Ignatius, Joinville-San Mateo, Menlo Park, Burlingame… and was mostly unhappy with the very limited hours.  Some were too warm, some were too crowded, some were just too far away.  Cleanliness of the locker rooms varied but I could deal with a questionable one if I was able to swim whenever I wanted…however, on the weekends, most were only open for 2 hours, if there wasn’t a swim meet going on! I realized if I kept paying $5 to $7 every time I needed to swim, I might as well buy my own private swimming pool.  It’s a very good investment in myself.

Since my swimming pool is now at this very swanky fitness club, I get to enjoy everything else the club has to offer:

Carpeted locker rooms and towel service…

so fancy for someone used to slumming it

suuuper posh for someone used to slumming it

…a billion treadmills with no time limit and no waiting time…

sweatfest!  good thing they provide the towels!

sweatfest! good thing they provide the towels!

I could take spinning classes too but I’d only get on these if I can switch out the saddle to an ISM Adamo.  There’s just no comparison.  No anatomical cut-out = very unhappy girl parts.

just looking at these saddles makes me cringe.

just looking at these saddles makes me cringe.

Free wifi so I can do some blogging, wreak a little havoc in Slowtwitch-land, and email the Boss…

OMG there is even a Starbucks in here!

OMG there is even a Starbucks in here!

And a private jacuzzi in one of the women’s locker rooms!

I can enjoy the spa without having a gross hairy guy try to hit on me!

I can enjoy the spa without having a gross hairy guy try to hit on me!

This means I could even pretend I’m in a Korean spa and just hang out in the jacuzzi in my birthday suit.

The best part is that they are open 5:30am-11pm on the weekdays and 8am-8pm on the weekends.  And I can use my pool whenever they are open!

All the other swimmers have to use this pool.

All the other swimmers have to use this pool.

There is actually another swimming pool too, 6 lanes and 25 yards.  Maybe it’s a little warmer too, because nobody else really uses my swimming pool.  It’s all mine!

I’m very happy now; I finally feel like I have a home swimming pool when I am at home.  And it’s soooo nice.  It makes me want to swim every day!  Maybe even twice a day!

Look out world, I am going to become a swim monster over winter break.  There is no off season.

Christmas comes early in Jeju too!

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Just another day in the office: this morning I charged up the ipod, strapped on the Camelbak, put some money in the running sticks, pulled on the SLS3 compression socks, stepped into my Avia Avi-Rhythms and headed out the door for another 4-hour jaunt.  It’s amazing how easy a 4-hour run becomes when you do one practically every other day.  “Well gosh,” you might be thinking, “Don’t you get bored?  What the heck do you think about during a 4-hour run?”

No actually, I can’t say I ever get bored.  I really love my long monster runs as running was my first love since my geeky teenage years.  But since you asked, there are many many things to think about actually…

  • You think about this week’s training, and your upcoming races.
  • You think about all your teammates who are racing in Kona this weekend and how you witnessed how hard they trained every day and know they will do fantastic.
  • You think about how hard you’ve been training yourself and how much progress you’ve made just this past year.
  • In fact, you think about how you have already almost accomplished everything you ever wanted to do in triathlon–according to that list of goals you wrote up for Coach when you first started talking to him 2 years (and 20 pounds) ago.
  • You start thinking about a new list of goals.
  • You think about how Coach always said he believed that anyone with two arms and two legs could break 5 hours on the bike and 3 hours on the run without taking drugs.
  • You chuckle and think about some of the “challenged” athletes who don’t have two arms and two legs and how one of these days they’ll go that fast too…if they haven’t already.
  • You think about Rudy Garcia-Tolson and how you met him years ago when he was barely a teenager at one of your first sprint triathlons in Southern California, how he inspired you to go to prosthetics school, how he went on to become a multiple gold medalist at the Paralympics, and how he is now 21 years old and attempting his first Ironman in Kona this weekend.

  • You think about the social project proposal you’ve been working on this week and make some editorial changes in your head.
  • You think about your family and how lucky you are to have them be so supportive, and how you promised your cousin’s daughter that you would be home for Halloween and would go trick-or-treating with her.
  • You think about what you want to be for Halloween, and are leaning towards your favorite G.I. Joe chick, Lady Jaye, and how it’s bullshit that she didn’t make the new live-action G.I. Joe movie but Scarlett (your sister’s favorite) did.

  • Despite that bullshit, you still hope you’ll get to watch the G.I. Joe movie on the flight home because they sure aren’t showing it here!
  • You think about the cookies and iced coffee you will get at a convenience store somewhere at the halfway point in your run.  (You think about all the peanut butter you used to eat every day but don’t any more, and don’t regret it.  You end up getting peanut butter cookies.)
  • You think about how this time last year you were at your first rookie camp with Coach and the rookie team, how you couldn’t run 15mins without your shins hurting, how Coach turned you into a heel-striking shuffler and how happy you were to leave that camp being able to run 2 hrs pain-free on the track.
  • Sometimes an old song comes onto the ipod and you think back to where you were back when you first heard that song.
  • You realize you are now running on the Jeju ironman run course and are surprised at how you thought it was so hilly 3 months (and 10 pounds) ago and now you barely even notice any hills.
  • You wonder how much of your improvement is due to the amount of weight you’ve lost and how much it’s due to Doc’s coaching.  The two are correlated of course.
  • You laugh because your coach and teammates thought you were pretty huge when they first met you (10-20 pounds ago) but what they don’t know is that you actually used to be MUCH BIGGER.  In fact, over 35 pounds bigger back in 2004 between your second and third ironmans.  And how that would make a great blog post, you even have the embarassing pictures to prove it.
  • You toss around some blog ideas in your head.
  • You seethe with jealousy over James’ latest blog showing all the free schwag the Kona teammates are getting, and how it’s like Christmas in Kona!  ***jealous jealous jealous!!!***

Well 4+ hours and all those random thoughts later I arrive back home and discover it is like Christmas in Jeju too!  I have two big boxes greeting me and even with the runners’ high, my spirits are lifted exponentially higher:

yippee I love mail!!!

yippee I love mail!!!

Mom has sent me back the triathlon gear I thought I didn’t need!  When GreatMan was originally postponed, I had thrown my BlueSeventy wetsuit and other race necessities in with the dead warrior horse and shipped them home from Switzerland.  Anything to help avoid the evil excess baggage fees.  Then upon learning the race was still on but postponed, well hmm “Mom I need my stuff back!”

taking photos of yourself can be hard.

taking photos of yourself can be hard.

She even threw in what every triathlon superstar dreams of…a brand new Camelbak!!  Oh, best day ever!!  I am super excited to try this out in a couple days during my next monster run…it is a new model called the Annadel (the men’s/unisex model is called the Fairfax) and comes with it’s own sternum strap:

dont laugh, you would look tired too if you just ran 4 hours.

don't laugh, you would look tired too if you just ran 4 hours.

The two models I’ve had before (the Charm and the Hydrobak) didn’t have a chest strap so I had to rig my own, MacGyver-style, to minimize the bouncing on my back.  They managed to build in some bigger compartments for storing stuff like your keys and snacks (e.g. emergency cookies for a monster run), without adding very much bulk to it.

isnt it great how the one I just used is so salty??

isn't it great how the one I just used is so salty??

It’s so pretty!  I love the periwinkle color, although when I do make it big and Camelbak fights amongst other hydration pack companies to sponsor me, it will come in a pink teamTBB color scheme.  ;)

Anyway, thank you to Mom, Cousin Vicki who arranged the shipping to Ariel, and Ariel for sending it down here to me!

The other box came from my newest (and very own!) sponsor:  Yogavive, which makes all-natural organic apple chips.  They are called Yogachips and each one-bag serving is only 35 calories with no added sugar or preservatives.  They sent me a big box of 100 bags of apple chips (yeah the whole box is still only 3500 calories!!) in all five flavors: original, cinnamon, caramel, peach, and strawberry.

I wonder how long it would take for me to eat all this

I wonder how long it would take for me to eat all this

My favorite flavors are the original and strawberry.  These apple chips are actually a perfect match for me as Coach has been calling me a “born-again” with regards to the changes I’ve made to my diet this past year, especially the last couple months.  Other than the massive amounts of Gatorade I drink when biking and running, and the monster run cookies, for the most part I’ve eliminated processed foods out of my regular diet.  I would go as far as to say over 90% of what I eat these days are whole unprocessed foods.  If I do eat anything processed, I’ve gotten particular about checking the list of ingredients and try to keep it to five ingredients or less, with names I recognize.  Obviously this is difficult in Korea when I can’t read the ingredients at all, so much easier to stick to things that don’t come with a nutrition label!  E.g. I’ve been eating sweet potatoes during my bike rides…boiled and sliced:

theyre just like French Fries without all the fat ;)

they're just like French Fries without all the fat ;)

I know some of you are concerned I’m not eating enough with all this weight I’ve lost recently (that’s what happens when you get famous, first they say you’re too fat, then you’re too skinny, it never ends) but it’s funny…I think I may actually be eating more carbs than I ever have–they just come in the form of bananas, sweet potatoes, oats, and much more rice than I’ve eaten in the last few years. 

these like the Yogachips have the Superstar Snack Seal of Approval

these like the Yogachips have the "Superstar Snack Seal of Approval"

I have to go to the store every other day to get more nanners and taters.  And yeah, I am being a really good Chinese girl now, using the rice cooker every day and making boatloads of rice!  Ok, that is enough preaching from this “born-again” but I have had some inquiries on how I’ve gotten so lean.  Not that I’m qualified to give out any nutrition advice as I have yet to prove that I can keep the weight off, but that’s my plan!  Let’s just say I have finally found what works for me and I’m sticking to it.  Clearly the chocolate croissant diet in France didn’t work.  ;)

Well, too bad my teammates all left already, I guess I don’t have to share my apple chips!  :D

Thank you Yogavive!!

I love that Jeju loves having us here!

Sunday, September 27th, 2009
the feeling is mutual!

the feeling is mutual!

Well Jeju loves having us here, and I’m loving being here.

You see signs all over the island proclaiming their love for us!

they say it in Japanese and Chinese too

they say it in Japanese and Chinese too

It started with Ariel from the Jeju tourism office greeting me at the airport with flowers…for the second time actually!  The first time was in July when I raced the ironman here.

I look like @ss from the travel but isnt Ariel cute?

I look like @ss from the travel but isn't Ariel cute?

We have welcome banners by the Blue Hill House and one in the swimming pool.

ok we can forgive them for putting Lance on our banner.

ok we can forgive them for putting Lance on our banner.

The pool is a really sweet 50-meter pool.  And by sweet I mean really painful.

big sports complex housing our pool

big sports complex housing our pool

The roads have the best surfaces for riding on, not much traffic, and there’s always gorgeous scenery to keep your spirits high.

its a pretty bike-friendly island

it's a pretty bike-friendly island

gorgeous roads with gorgeous scenery

gorgeous roads with gorgeous scenery

lovely sights to see

lovely sights to see

Some of my favorite sessions are at the Marathon Center track.  I couldn’t believe they have both a big stadium with a main track, and another warm-up track right outside of it!  This was why I got confused on my first day–I knew there were two tracks, but didn’t see my teammates go inside the stadium.  I saw the warm-up track and thought “oh no…they are not here…they must be at the other track.  Wherever that is!”

the South Korean flag flies next to the Jeju Self-Governing Province flag

the South Korean national flag flies next to the Jeju Self-Governing Province flag

We had a film crew follow us around for a mini documentary.  Because we are V.I.P. triathlon superstars here!

1-2-3, yell Team TBB!

1-2-3, yell "Team TBB!"

They took us on a little shopping trip to the traditional market, where we got all kinds of special deals on fresh veggies.

hamming it up with the veggie ladies

hamming it up with the veggie ladies

The filming capped off with a team BBQ…Korean hospitality is pretty sweet!  And by sweet I mean delicious :)

not quite camera-ready

not quite camera-ready

with Seulgi, the director/producers interpreter, and Ariel

with Seulgi, the director/producer's interpreter, and Ariel

Needless to say I am enjoying being back on Jeju Island where I left with some very good memories back in July.  Every time I run by Jungmun beach, the water is beautiful but almost annoyingly flat.  No vomit-inducing waves like during race morning, so I’m sure my teammates think I am just a crap swimmer making stuff up.  Then again until I go under an hour I am just a crap swimmer, so no difference.

A lot of the roads we ride on are part of the ironman course, so that always makes me smile when I see the mile markers.  And we go by the World Cup stadium on the way to track workouts–where the finish line of my first triathlon win was!

Sometimes when people stare and whisper at me, surely they are saying “hey isn’t that the girl that won the ironman here??”  Well either that or “that girl has really cool hair.  and she’s super tall.”  OK maybe I am getting a big head, but at the track a week ago I was actually greeted as “Hello, Jeju ironman champion!”  Turns out it was local pro triathlete Cho, who had been also raced in July and won it the previous year.

Then we went to a team dinner last weekend at a restaurant and the owner exclaimed to me “oh welcome back!  Long time no see!”  He remembered me from the race too!

I also found out I have a picture in one of the national sports magazines here–it’s the Korean Sports Promotion Foundation’s monthly publication and there’s a nice write-up on the Jeju ironman, the “toughest day in sports” as they call it.

not just a tri magazine but a national sports publication!

not just a tri magazine but a national sports publication!

there I am!

there I am!

To add to my fame and superstardom here, we raced at the Beautiful Jeju International Marathon today.  I got put in the marathon of course…and actually won it!  With a new huge PR of 3:15!  I’ll save the details for my next blog but a bunch of local athletes also recognized me from the ironman race and they wanted photos with me AND autographs.  Of course being such a ham I thoroughly enjoyed it!  :D

In fact I am loving Jeju so much, I decided to stay here for another 3 weeks.  The GreatMan ironman race that was originally cancelled has now been postponed to October 25th.  I am training very well here and really love it here, so why not cap off a great training camp in Jeju with another great result at GreatMan?  That’s the plan and as I am in the best shape of my life, I can’t wait to smash my PR from Ironman China–that 11:08 is going down!  I am even starting to get a real six-pack and am not leaving Korea without one.  :D

THANK YOU JEJU FOR HAVING US HERE!  :)