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Archive for the ‘travel adventures’ Category

I bled for teamTBB

Monday, July 11th, 2011

I thought about not washing the blood off, but Larry told me that was morbid.

My four years on the team definitely had its share of “blood, sweat, and tears” as they say. Tons and tons of sweat from the training and racing, tears of both frustration (especially at the first couple camps) and also of joy, and the occasional spill of blood on the bike.

In the metaphorical sense I bled for teamTBB for four years, pouring my heart and soul into the endeavor of becoming the best triathlete I could be by training at a full-time capacity. I suppose it was fitting that I ended my four-year education at the “Sutto Triathlon Academy” by actually shedding blood on my teamTBB race kit.

last race in the TBB kit!

I didn’t get to cap off my TBB career with the best race of my life as planned, as I was removed from the race course in an ambulance, but I do take solace in having the absolutely best swim of my life. A 1:02! It’s unbelievable!!! …and that was training primarily on my own!!

So on my own, I shall continue. I’ve recently updated my official website to have it integrated with a new blog, where I’ll be writing more about anything and all things Wongstar. I’ve never been that pro triathlete who only ever blogs about triathlon cuz hey, it’s my blog and I’m gonna write what I want!

the first post-crash pic, after most of the blood was wiped off from my head.

This new one utilizes the Blogger platform and has comments enabled as well. It’s called “The Wongstar’s Shenanigans: Uncut and Uncensored” and you can stay updated on my life as I transition back into my prosthetics work, figure out the true love stuff, continue being a very big deal in a very small state, and a lot of random other sh*t.

Thanks for all following me here on the team website…now the adventure continues at theWongstar.com;)

Texas Shenanigans

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

silly photos with Oscar AKA "Big O"

A month’s gone by since IMTX and I’ve moved on. The race report disappeared along with the black cloud that was over my head post-race, and both have been replaced with clarity and new developments in my life that I’m bursting to tell the whole world. Alas, you’ll have to wait. Because suspense makes things extra exciting!

Ironman Texas--"we're gonna CRUSH IT!" ...with a mortar and pestle! ahahahahahaha :D

But I couldn’t just ignore all the fun pictures I took with my Texas family and friends…My Austin friends had known me long before I was a famous superstar. We were all blogging friends on Livejournal since I started my first blog in 2003. I was a dorky senior in college who had just done my first Ironman (Wisconsin 2002) which holy crap, was a long time ago. It wasn’t quite as trendy and popular to be an Ironman triathlete back then as a 20-year-old so I found friends online with similar interests.

(This is probably why I don’t think online dating is weird.)

I'm being a mysterious triathlon superstar and throwing out my "Wongstar" gang sign.

They knew me before I could break 13 hours in an Ironman (when just finishing one a year was quite a feat, and never mind trying to race one!), before I ever set foot outside U.S. soil, before I even contemplated the phrase “triathlon superstar.” They knew me before I was even close to hitting the podium…in my age group. They knew me when I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.

the Weathershenkers...Julia was race day sherpa! <3

Before there was Facebook and Twitter, they were the first to “follow” me. How I struggled to finish my senior thesis so I could graduate from college. Applying to grad schools. Falling in and out of love. Moving across the country to…Georgia. Then Texas. Choosing a career path. Stumbling through more Ironmans, and brief flirtations with rowing and track cycling. Getting my first email back from teamTBB in 2007 (!!!) and how unfathomable it seemed that I should be chosen to become a pro triathlete.

...and Mark the travel sponsor! Believed in me from the beginning :)

2007 was when I left Dallas, TX, and the last time I saw most of my Austin friends. It’s just incredible what an adventure the last four years have been and seeing everyone again reminded me how far I’ve come. To have finished an Ironman in 10hrs 50mins, taking 17th in the pro division, and to have THAT be a “bad day” for me–now that was something my 25yo self and the rest of us wouldn’t ever have predicted in our wildest dreams.

That and the fact that it was my 20th Ironman finish! It’s been so easy to lose perspective in all of this…so…just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way…with many more adventures to come. :)

Trouble in Vegas 2011

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I slipped away from the East Coast for a nice little break from the winter weather and even took an internet break when I was in Vegas. I was not about to pay $7/hour (or $50/week! WTF!) and it turns out my smartphone is on the short bus in certain locations (like inside a giant casino).

less debauchery during daylight. ;)

When I got back yesterday, the snow and ice had disappeared and it’s almost like San Francisco weather here in Delaware. The gas prices are ridiculously similar too, I was shocked at the 40-cent jump!

ROAD TRIP!

Anyway just like my last trip after IM St. George, what happens in Vegas is best not overly-described in a public blog and hey, maybe it was good I wasn’t able to blog from my so-called “smart”phone while I was…um…less inhibited. SO…if we were to do a word-vomit exercise, the 3.5 days spent in Sin City would go something like the following…please keep in mind we were traveling in a large group (over 10 of us) so not all of the following pertains to your favorite superstar. ;) Oh and I’ll intersperse some random photos taken mostly in the daylight when less debauchery was to be had:

you don't have to tip him if you take a photo of his back.

…Ultimate frisbee, skanky outfits, 99-cent frozen Bailey’s, blue suede shoes, Imperial Palace, blacked out,

O'Sheas has the best tasting slushee drinks and cheapest too! 99-cent frozen Bailey's: like a Frappuccino for grown-ups.

Haamonii Smooth Shochu, ROAD TRIP!!, 24-hour buffet bracelets,

buy the cup and get discounted refills!

bouncers, dancing, SmartEnergy, $16 Red Bull/vodkas, strippers,

proof I did something other than party for 3 days

grown-up slurpees, Chinese New Year, giant bunnies, Monty Python, Dr. Evil, Chipotle, Starbucks, tiaras,

giant bunny at the Bellagio Chinese New Year exhibit--very Monty-Python-esque

dessert at every meal, freakin’ awesome, complimentary bracelets, penny slots, trashed, 4am French fries, excess, floozy,

when in doubt, try one of each: the buffet @ Caesars'

chicken pot pie, Red Rock Canyon, bacon, wedding chapel, spankings, Elvis, tiny bladders, elephant bladders, bathroom attendants, rock stars, Hash House a go go,

quite possibly my new favorite restaurant: Hash House a go go, as seen on Man V. Food

QUADZILLA!!!, the Strip, downhills, Man V. Food, Girl vs. Food?, uphills, escalators,

longer than a foot-long and under $2!

slow elevators, super hilly marathon, CRAP!, dollar bills, girly drinks for boys, random travel sponsor run-in, Coyote Ugly, Minefield Dancers,

the money shot

shopping, hungover, chocolate, lions, first time, debauchery, stinky cleats, hot tub room, chafage,

I wore my tiara on the entire flight home.

tattoos, deep fried Reese’s, $25 lollipops, $1.99 footlong hotdogs…BEST VEGAS TRIP EVER!

There was actually swimming and biking and running involved, but no one really wants to hear about that.

the lower-calorie, hangover-free choice of triathlon superstars

I would like to thank Haamonii Smooth Shochu for sending us a case and ensuring that I was hangover-free the entire trip, though I can’t say the same for my fellow shenanigan partners. ;)

Tiggers + White Tiger = no bike fees

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

the most wonderful thing about Tiggers? no bike fees.

Well here I am at the Philly airport, first flight of the year with my new smartphone and my new bike box. Meaning I got to test out if I get charged for my bike and then blog and tweet and facebook about it! Instantly!

I decided to tell them the box contained “paintings for an art show”. Because that’s kind of what it looks like, plus I recently cut my hair short again and put in purple streaks so I could certainly pass for the artsy punk chick type. It’s important to have a look to go with your clever little lie. The check-in ladies loved the bike box and I don’t think it even crossed their minds to measure the box or charge me.

Win win!

MacGyver’ing Bike Box 3.0, part 1

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

It’s that time of year again! Time to break out the MacGyver skills and make another new bike box. Now, some people are freaked out that I travel with a cardboard bike box but hey, this is what they come shipped in from the factory, and I haven’t ever had my bike damaged in my travels (knock on wood). For the amount I fly with my bike, it’s all about skirting airline fees and not having to lug around an uber-heavy ginormous hard plastic case.

The bike box does get a bit beat up by the end of a year and I’m always trying to improve upon the previous year’s design, so this is the third year I’m making my own bike box. Here are the previous designs:

Version 1, the 2009 edition:

very basic and went with me to the Philippines, Singapore, China, Korea, Turkey, Switzerland, and Mexico

Bike Box 2.0 (2010 Hello Kitty edition):

much prettier and a better shape, complete with website advertising for theWongstar.com...but still too big

What you’ll need to make your own:

  • 1 cardboard Cervelo bike box
  • 1 hot glue gun
  • 1 staple gun
  • duct tape in various pretty colors
  • butcher paper…or grocery store advertisements
  • a sharp razor blade knife thing

Bang! Bang! I love my new staple gun

While shopping for a staple gun at Sears, I got a bit distracted by their huge winter coat clearance sale. I found two I absolutely loved and couldn’t decide which I loved more, so I decided on: BOTH. (When in doubt, the answer is always both!) After all, they were both about 85% off…you can’t argue with getting two coats for under $20 each that are originally over $120. Plus the sales guy in the tools & hardware department told me I didn’t need a fancy electric staple gun for cardboard, so I got two coats AND a manual light-duty staple gun for less than the price of a heavy-duty electric staple gun.

Like a good Asian, I love a good deal.

But I digress.

multi-tasking = shopping for the best meat and produce prices while making a bike box.

I didn’t have butcher paper, so first I traced an outline of my Cervelo P3, White Tiger, on grocery store advertisements. Then I made a pattern so I could make the smallest conceivable box and have it fit within the 62-linear-inches parameter.

See, because airlines aren’t supposed to charge you for bikes if they come in a box whose total dimensions add up to 62 inches. I’m not a short girl with a peewee size bike–I ride a 54cm frame–so this proves to be a challenge. This is the first time I’m taking the fork off in the bike-packing process but it’s necessary.

original bike box from Cervelo, becoming MacGyverized and Wongstarized

The plan is to make a mock-up version out of this cardboard (which is like a quarter-inch thick and is essentially doubled when made into a clamshell-like box) and then do a final version out of corrugated plastic.

Stay tuned for more!

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!

what to do (eat?) when stranded overnight at an airport

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

When booking a flight home for Christmas from the east coast to the west coast, do not fly through Chicago. You will end up getting stranded there. Then you get a chance to write up something like “The Top 10 Things to Do When Stranded in Chicago Midway Airport.”

There was a bit of a snowstorm. Not as crazy as in Europe, but enough (3 inches of snow) that the second leg of my flight home got cancelled. They don’t pay for your hotel because it’s not their fault, it’s the weather. My 2-hour layover became a 16-hour layover and I got to practice the all-nighter skills I learned back in college.

So other than blowing up everyone’s Twitter page with mindless tweets to pass the time, I decided to add another rule to Xena’s blog on counting calories during Christmas: when stranded in an airport, calories consumed to combat anger, stress, and despair do not count.

You can say I made the most of my visit. While many would become unbearable grouchy in such a situation, I thought of it as another fantastic travel adventure. Positive outcomes only! So if you ever get stranded in Chicago Midway airport for 16 hours, here is what you should do:

1. Sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what you want for Christmas. Yup there was a Santa in the terminal.

he kept me on his lap for over 10 minutes.

2. Eat an ice cream sundae at McDonald’s.

3. Finish writing your Christmas cards.

coffee to stay awake and a croissant in the brown bag

4. Eat a chocolate croissant.

last time I had one was at Swiss camp 1.5yrs ago.

5. Write a whole week’s worth of blogs.

6. Eat a Chicago-style hot dog.

when in Chicago, eat a hot dog like Chicago-ans do.

7. Watch a few episodes of West Wing on your laptop.

I like hot guys named Rob.

8. Eat an apple turnover.

9. Catch up on your emails.

10. BAZINGA! You thought #10 was going to be about eating something else, didn’t you? No, it’s: catch up with all the important men in your life on the phone, like your travel sponsor and your Chicago friends Ben (my Lake Placid roommie) and Mark from Runners’ High N Tri (aka “bobsled sponsor”). Who would’ve bailed me out if there wasn’t a snowstorm outside and it didn’t take 3 hours to drive to Midway and rescue me. It’s the thought that counts though!

Oh, but dawn arrived and so it was breakfast time. One last bonus meal at the frozen yogurt place that opened at 5:30am “Red Mango.” (Like “Pinkberry” and reminded me of how Sarah from Chuck worked at “Orange Orange.”) Now, I’ve had yogurt parfaits and frozen yogurt before… but never a FROZEN YOGURT PARFAIT!

Extra credit #11. Eat a pomegranate frozen yogurt parfait!

with fresh blueberries & strawberries, granola, and sliced almonds. MMM MMM MMM

Then I was lucky enough to start boarding an airplane and barely ate anything for the next 9 hours. Instead, I hibernated on the next two flights to finally get home. The first thing I wanted to do after 32 hours in airports and airplanes was…no, not eat…take a shower!

YAY I’M FINALLY HOME!!!

good-bye San Francisco, good-bye fog!

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Ocean Beach & Cliff House

We interrupt this regularly scheduled race report to pack up for the next adventure. I’ll miss you San Francisco, but I’m not sure I’ll miss all the fog…

play Hide-and-Seek while doing track marathons!

I’ll have time to finish up the race report while on the airplane. You’d be surprised how long it takes me to write one. (Well, no, you probably know if you’ve been following me for a while. ;) ) It wouldn’t take so long if I wasn’t such a writing perfectionist, grammar snob, and well, I used to think I was more of a math nerd but actually scored higher on my SAT’s in verbal (780 vs. 750).

when we were little, Mom always said the fog was from "Grandma cooking."

I’m kind of sad that I’ll miss the season premiere of Glee while up in the air. I’ll have to catch it on Hulu when I hit my destination. In the meantime I get to watch a brand-new Chuck while packing up White Tiger right now. I like them hot nerdy boys. ;)

Stay tuned!

Moo’ing at the cows

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

MooooOOOOoooooOOOOOOoooo

Obviously I am still stalling on writing my race report. Been busy here at home with a couple sponsor obligations–today worked on building a new shoe lift for the travel sponsor, and getting ready for tomorrow’s all day autographing extravaganza with the Haamonii team. I’ve also been writing some stories here and there for MSN TV, my kickass “employment sponsor.” ;)

To distract you and build up suspense to the surely super awesome race report, here is the Wongstar with random painted cows, kind of like the random painted horses in Louisville.

I think this one is supposed to be Frank Lloyd Wright-ish

let's go fishing!

armed...er, hoofed?...with waterproof rubber boots

let's race! I'm more aerodynamic...than a cow...I should hope so!

is that a banana in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

“Walmart for Farmers”

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

When you tour around your very own country, you meet different people in different places with different jobs who shop at different places from you. Much like I had asked “what the heck is a Wawa?” when in Delaware, I found myself in Wisconsin, AKA “America’s Dairyland,” asking “what the heck is Blair’s Farm and Fleet?”

Blair's? Blain's?

Well, it turns out it’s not “Blair” despite how the logo looks like a cursive “R” but “Blain.” And so I was told that “Farm & Fleet” (for short) is kind of like a Walmart for farmers.

"where the hardest working people in America find value"

So although I say I’m “from San Francisco,” that’s not technically true, as I’ve always grown up in the suburbs in the San Francisco Bay Area. So I am not quite a city girl but most definitely not a farm girl either. I am sure it would be entertaining to throw me into the role of farm girl for the day, like Paris Hilton on The Simple Life, but until I get that phone call, I had to settle for a trip to the Farm & Fleet.

"Farm Girl Lively Stock" LOVE IT!! :D

Let’s start with the clothing here. You see a ton of plaids and flannels, and in the juniors’ department there is a hip line of clothing called…”Farm Girl.” Yes, you do want to click on that link and make sure your sound is on; it’s priceless!

no city boys! too clean and wimpy for a farm girl!

Ingenious and cute slogans on these shirts, but at $17.99 I didn’t think the prices were very Walmart-like.

Milk it, baby!

There was what I would call the “Mom’s section” because I could see Momma Wongstar shopping here. Me and the WongSiSTAR often throw an Ugly Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl over the holidays and have been known to raid Mom’s closet. teehee

not ugly, just different. ;)

Rick saw a shirt in the men’s section he really liked:

a great place for Halloween costumes too.

I was pretty excited they had a whole selection of cowboy boots to go with your outfit too!

wow almost as cool as the ones I got in Cozumel!

And what I thought were rainboots, but Rick told me they were for stepping through cow poop and mud.

poop boots!

Oh yeah! And John Deere socks!

they also come in pink

There was also a ginormous selection of “bibs” and these weren’t the kind you go cycling in.

which color should I get?

Next there is a giant hunting department.

camo jackets for your little boy or girl

This was a very educational field trip. I learned that the fluorescent orange color is called “blaze orange” and that deer are actually color blind.

the blaze orange is so you don't get shot!

Air rifles now come in pink for hunting chicks.

yeehaw for feminism!

You can also buy decoys and lawn decorations…

Canadian geese. Don't be fooled, they're not real.

I think these were lawn decorations too, but I wasn’t sure:

they're like lemmings!

And if you want to bring your dog hunting with you but don’t want his bed to startle the prey, you get a camo bed for Spot.

camo camo camo everything

That provides a lovely segue into the next section of the Farm & Fleet. The part that is like Petco or PetSmart, for big farm animals!

this is like baby formula for baby cows

And if you have more than one kind of farm animal, you can save money on “baby formula” for the baby farm animals by buying the MULTI-SPECIES version. Which isn’t so weird if you consider we humans drink cow and goat milk…right?

sharing is caring! across species!

You can buy hot pink harnesses for your horsies. This aisle was definitely like being at PetSmart, like buying a leash for your dog.

so many choices!

And to make sure you don’t spread germs while milking cows, make sure you get some Teat Dip and Udderwash.

dip those teats!

I wouldn’t know how to use them.

keep them udders clean!

This section which made me think of Jurassic Park. Apparently you need to have zapping fences to keep the cows from escaping and terrorizing the neighbors, just like the dinosaurs in the movie.

bzzzzzzzzt!!!

If you need all the muck from the animals contained, you should get…a muck cart. Obviously.

muck muck muck! what a great word!

There’s also a pretty extensive tool section, but I’ll just post photos of these. A “snow thrower” which I’d never seen, as I don’t live anywhere that snows or actually own a property large enough in a place that snows to need snow to be thrown.

throwing snow, I thought that was called a snowball fight.

And what did I say about this being an educational trip? I learned that this brand is the “gold standard” in chainsaws. And there sure were many to choose from!

I'm no chainsaw connoisseur, but this is the gold standard here!

There were cute little mini versions of tractors and other farm equipment. Like Micro Machines for farmer kids.

cuuuuute

And lest you think I am not blogging about anything triathlon-related here, let me tell ya…even farmers can become triathletes and still shop here for their training and racing goods!

wheelbarrow tubes for swim training

There’s a whole bicycle section. It’s no Bike Boutique and no Cervelos, but hey, bikes!

bicycles; it's not about the bike right?

And the third discipline, the run! I was impressed seeing these very familiar orange and grey shoeboxes…well if it isn’t our very own running shoe sponsor, AVIA!!

Avia's for farmers too!

Ok I hope you enjoyed the tour. I found it very fascinating and educational. Oh, you can also find all the things you need to rob a bank. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

stick 'em up!