Aloha!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Raw Pumpkin Pie.



I have finally landed a lot of time on my hands, while I'm not going stir crazy, I am still the girl that likes to indulge in my moments.  Perhaps I should nap, sleep, do much of nothing.  But it's too hard.  I have yet to run or bike since Ironman, that's good-I think.  I did hike, twice.  Walk my dog. And have fallen in love with baking, er, not baking, all over again...

My first pumpkin pie of the season is all done. It was marvelous darling, according to my sisters.  It's easy, according to my son.  You should try it, if you want a raw food pumpkin pie, says me...

You need:
Dates, pecans, cinnamon, maple syrup, coconut oil (optional), 1can unsweetened pumpkin, 1 banana, oats. 

You do: 
In the food processor, mix pecans, cinnamon, & dates. I measured by look, about equal parts of each and plenty of cinnamon for flavor. Make enough to cover your pie dish according to your desired thickness.  I put coconut oil in mine to soften the nuts.  Next, combine banana, more cinnamon-to taste, the pumpkin, and oats.  Add oats slowly, too much and your pie will taste dry.  Too little you'll have a very soft pie that won't hold when you cut it.  For sweetness, add maple syrup.  As much or little as you like.  Keep in fridge or freezer.  


The pie is roughly a 1/4 of the calories of a regular pumpkin pie.  It is of course the holidays, so top with whipped cream, Kainoa used yogurt.  Cheers!!

Bree 
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Return to Ironman Hawaii...


The last three years have delicately shown me that taking a chance is winning the battle against your fears. The truth is, no matter the outcome, it is always worth the risk.  

In the case of triathlon...
It took 3 years and nearly a dozen Ironmans to return to The World Championships. All together it has been nothing short of an amazing journey that I will remember forever.  Triathlon has definitely shaped me, changed me, and provided for me in ways never expected.  It has taken me to sunsets in New Zealand, burritoes in Mexico, snow in Canada, beautiful dancing in the Philippines, and has gifted me with many new friendships that will forever be special to me...


The last season especially, has given me wings & courage in sport where I once felt sidelined.  I've always felt like the rookie despite having had the pro-card for a few years.  It was difficult to be known for anything other than, "That one time I raced the World Championships as an amateur and set the record." Not qualifying for Hawaii over and over and over again never helped with the situation, the sponsorship, or my confidence.  But it did develope my courage and ability to work hard despite the circumstances.  It also helped beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had Masuda backing my every move and Coach Cotter quiding my every move.  Most days, they gave me strength. Most races, they gave me motivation. Always, it was what I believed worked for me.  And so, this season has become the best season of my career.

Ironman Mexico, 5th.  Ironman New Zealand, 4th.  Ironman Texas, 4th.  Hawaii 70.3, 2nd. Ironman Whistler, 1st.  We silenced the voices that kept saying I could not. That I would not.  And I learned to believe.  And with every race we kept getting stronger, faster, and more confident.  Add that up and we finally landed back into the World Championships.  To be on the start line with 35 of the fastest women in the world was an honor and a gift.  And the most beautiful part of it all, I believe the best is still yet to come...


Friday finally arrived, the day before is always my favorite day.  Once we check in our bags and bike it feels as if the moment we have been commiting to has finally allowed us to catch our breath and begin what we set out to do.  All the work has been done, details have been checked off, and breathing it all in is the easy part.  This Friday had just one difference that the last 3 years of Ironman racing held.  No prerace pep talks with Masuda.  No secrets just for me. And of course my run shoes that I checked in without his name.  Ugh.  But I was doing so much better, feeling as if my broken heart was beating again, and I felt as if making it through the Ironman without him would somehow be a gentle reminder that I would make it on my own in the other places of my life that he took up. 

Every Friday before the race I eat the biggest subway I can stomach.  So I went there, grabbed the goods, and followed the routine I've done every Ironman before.  This time it was better though, Masuda just happened to have been on my plan and beat me to Subway to buy my Subway.  He was always so good at prerace support in the way of little things that made me feel like a princess. I had no clue I'd see him, we really haven't seen or spoken to each other much (or at all) since.  It ended up being nothing but laughter, happiness, and perhaps the closure I needed heading into the race.  To know I'd have a friend out there that once knew my race plans and goals more than me felt almost like an accountability partner for the 140.6 miles.  Keeping me in check, because he had to read the numbers I wrote on the bathroom mirror every single day.  And there I had it...Masuda was my friend.  I maybe cried for a moment, it's that risk thing I'm talking about.  When you take it, no matter the outcome, you are always glad you did.  Back to the Ironman...

Race morning finally arrived and it felt exactly like every other morning of my life.  Off to the pier with Wendy, for a swim.  I warmed up, swam to the seawall to see Coach Steve, swam to the canoes to see my paddling friends who were helping guide the race, swam to all the volunteers on boards, most of them my friends, and I just let myself feel as if it was a regular day in my life despite being surrounded by the fastest women in the entire world.  When you are on the stage or in the arena of the biggest day in your sport you can't help but feel some sense of pride and a bit of being humbled.  I needed to keep busy focusing on all the things that are familiar to me.  


The cannon finally went off and I felt amazing from the get-go.  It was my favorite swim conditions, warm, salty, fishy, wavey.  Hearing the crowd roars as we came to the swim finish had my heart pounding, there is something special about racing in the World Championships that you just don't find in any other race.   When I got out of the water I heard them calling names of women I have never swam with, I knew my swim must have been a keeper.  


Once to the bikes I discovered only a few were gone and surprisingly a few women's bikes who I've never out swam were still racked.  It was perhaps the swim of my career or maybe having everything to do with knowing the swim conditions so well.  Either way, I was in a good position to start the race.  My goal, as you maybe knew, was top 10.  Onto the bike and instantly I was alone.  The few women who beat me out of the water were already gone.  I rode the first 47 miles of the race alone.  Usually I'm not a big fan of that, but being a big deal of a race where it seems the unexpected always happens amongst the field, I knew it would help me stick to my goals and focus on my riding.  The chase pack finally caught me, it was pretty beautiful actually.  Like a fine line of speed and determination.  They had the draft buster with them so it was also a very honest line, I hooked to the end of it but felt nothing but fear.  I've never been good at riding with others out of fear of a penalty.  My first ever penalty was for passing on the right.  My second one was for staggering.  And i've been too scared ever since to ride near other girls.  Eventually being at the back and way at the back so you are far, far, far from the 12 meter rule, you get left. 

I learned a really good lesson in all of it.  If you ride alone you lose valuable momentum and motivation. That said, the race is somewhat of a game and you have to play it.  I know I need to learn how to ride near other girls, for the mile or two that I kept near them it felt like I was part of the race, not chasing the race.  That may be one of the two biggest take-aways I will keep from the race for future racing.  


The rest of the ride was more of the same, me alone back to town.  It did feel pretty awesome to know I can finally ride 112 miles strong, by myself, nail nutrition, and nail pacing.  The rest coach and me have some work to do.  

Onto the run, the part of the day I was most eager for.  I waited 3ys to race on Ali'i Drive, to run along the Queen K with the best people in the world and to finally put together a solid marathon at home.  I went on pretty smooth, held pretty smooth, and felt good for the first 10 miles.  Once up Palani I was settling into my rhythm and finding my focus.  The one where you block out the crowds and just get the job done.  By mile 14 I had run my way from 18th to 12th.  I was feeling pretty good and soaking up each and every minute of my return to this race.  About this time I found out another woman was roughly 38 seconds up and 2 minutes up was 10th place.  You'd think I would have just kept my pace and patience, but i didn't.  

I put my head down and ran as hard as I could.  It works really well for some girls.  Not for me.  I landed in a ditch.  Literally curled over in my gut like the wind was knocked out of me.  There was no way I would end my day like that, if sport has taught me anything it was that 99.9% of the time it is our heads being lazy, weak, or just plain wrong.  The other percent was an actual physical problem.  It felt like an actual problem because even taking a step forward hurt, but if by chance it was my head I had to find out.  So I put ice on the muscle just below my rib on the right side and started to run easy.  It never went away but it got manageable. 


A few women passed me during my moment of misery. About mile 24 I was about to pass back a couple.  One of them I got at the bottom of Palani.  I'm thinking the hill helped me, being heavier than Leanda I had a little advantage rolling down the hill.  Heather W. was just up the road and I wanted her too.  I put my head down one more time knowing that it would be worth it to catch up one more girl. My mile 26 was a 5:28 mile trying to get her.  She put up such a good fight to stay ahead.  I didn't make top 10, but I landed a great race.  9:34, 16th fastest girl in the world, and a reminder that it's okay to take a chance.  I played the "what if" game, like would I have landed top 10 if I would have stayed my pace and not ran myself into a ditch? Part of me thinks it would have been more likely than my other approach that gave me 3:16 marathon, not exactly competitive for a top 10. But having found a second gear near the end of the race helps me to believe that the speed is there, I just have to figure out when to use it...and mile 14 maybe wasn't the best time.  


That was that.  A day I will remember for many, many years to come.  It is always refreshing to finish an Ironman.  But also a little sad.  I truly loved this journey, the friends I got to train and share it with, learning to breathe again, and just being part of something that I find so much joy in.  As for now, I am on holiday.  Of course I wanted to return to Ironman Mexico in November, but 5 Ironmans in a season is good for me.  My body could use a break, I've got my life heading in a new direction, and I was able to pick up some points for next season by landing 16th.  So...rest.  


My first biggest thanks goes to my family and friends.  It never felt like I was alone in any of this, what a wonderful thing to share life, love, and sport with such amazing people.  Wendy, Veeks, and Staci for being the call I can make anytime day or night.  Brooke and Nick for always helping with Kainoa so I could train and letting me stay with you the last couple weeks.  Masuda, it would take up 3 pages to thank you for everything, maybe more.  But I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being brave enough to be my best friend for the last few years, perhaps I raced the Ironman but "we did it", thank you for believing in me. My training partners for never being soft with me and reminding me how lucky we are to have the ability to do this and the health, too!  I will never forget a single mile we shared or joke we laughed at over the season, xo.


My sponsors:  Bike Works & Splish, you were my very first support in 2007 when it all began for me and you are still here!  You are my family!  My bike caretakers and my sexy swim suit makers!  Ceepo Bikes, you took a chance on me & have believed with me every single race.  Thank you giving me wheels to make it all happen.  Zoot Sports, you were the first run shoe I ever ran in, so long ago.  It is no surprise I found my way back to the best.  Thank you for giving me everything I need to run and race in, train and play in all season long!  Bioastin Hawaii, you are my little green energy ball!  To train, be a mom, teach, and live life all to the fullest would be so much more challenging without you helping my body recover and stay healthy, THANK YOU!  Odin, hands down the best chiro/ART ever.  I feel like Humpty Dumpty when I visit, you always put me back together.  Junko, thank you for all the massages this season, you are my favorite healer with those precious hands of yours!  Denice, you have been there from the start with your little herbs, needles, and words of wisdom, thank you for looking after me like only a mom can do.  Rolf Prima Wheels, thank you for keeping me rolling, they are amazing in the winds of Kona!! Coach Steve & Kona Aquactics, seriously the pool and you remind me of the bar on Cheers!  It is nothing but fun and everybody does know you name, what a great family.  And last but not least, Coach Cotter, you have been the feather that has helped me believe I can fly, like Dumbo.  I was about to hand in my pro-card before you came along and taught me to keep believing in my goals and myself.  Thank you for guiding me along in this sport and helping make dreams a reality.  I am so excited for 2015!


As for now, back to reality.  It really has been surreal racing at home again and I'd be lying if I said I'm not already thinking about qualifying for next season.  Hmmm... I'll just work on ridding my horrible tan lines and robbing the neighbors trees for fruits till January.  Thank you to those that read this blog for the cheers as well, it has been pretty fun reading the notes and having the encouragement from countries I could only dream of visiting and also those right next door.  

Bree xo 



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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Journey to 140.6

Before I get this show on the road, let me begin with directing traffic.  If you are looking for some "prerace, game face, how's it going for a pro triathlete 2 sleeps away, tips for race day" turn to the next blog you read. Oh the show must go on, I am madly in love with the fact it will still go on, but dear friends (who I assume have read this far) my journey into race day has been nothing short of a surprise for me.  And while not all pleasant, it has still been special, and thats whats so great about it. The journey is so unique to each of us and how we handle it is what life is all about...I think.


Here we go...
2 sleeps away and I am excited.  I am here (take that back, we are here) as I have had so much support in the way of kind words, notes, gifts, and shoes to get here.  Being a pro in the race I've tried to be more "pro" about the big day.  In fact, I skipped running down Ali'i Drive in my underwear this morning, I'm not usually one to skip the Underpants Run prerace, but I did. It has taken 3ys to qualify, that tells me it will take all my efforts, focus, and energy to make it a strong day till the finish line.  Well worth post-phoning my panty party.  I also made sure to attend the launch for Ceepo's 2015 bike with my hair brushed and a clean Zoot shirt.  Until the picture was taken I had no idea I drank water like a 3yr old and had a wet shirt all evening...but the attempt to be more pro was there.  After all, in some capacity it is my job and a part of the journey life has me on.

The more difficult part has been my heart.  For the most part, after the initial sting and getting the breath knocked out of me, I have found a lot of peace in the new paths Masuda & me are taking.  I'm sleeping fine and eating just fine and training fine.  Some things are terribly hard, like fixing this Garmin for the bike.  He was always amazing at all my gigets and gadets & explaining them to me.  My sister and I are like two blondes (literally) trying to get it programmed how I want it for race day.  Its the little things, (I'm a little things matter most kind of girl), that make me really wish he was still part of my journey.  Undoubtably he had so much to do, perhaps the most, with me even being on the start line.  Oh but Dear Bree, life goes on and journeys take us through surprising moments.

My mom, bless her heart, called to remind me, (I think she was actually reminding herself I am fine), of the beginning of my life in Hawaii.  Ahh, 2wks out of college, the coin flip (heads Hawaii, tails Costa Rica), and that was that.  The journey to Hawaii with $900 & my surf board.  Truly, sincerly, that was it. Oh, and my journal. "And look at you now, Bree!", she said.  That's kind of how the journey goes, unknown, maybe afraid, but you go anyways.  And you live and learn.  Maybe in some wonderful way, my broken heart prerace will be the strength and courage this Ironman requires me to race with.  That said, embracing it...

As for all the fun stuff, there is no shortage.  Crowie at the swim pool, UK friends on bike rides, Japanese training partners at sunrise, Coach Steve, the prerace movie date with the girls (compression socks of course), meeting up with sponsors (Mr. Tanaka of Ceepo has me convinced I need to race Thailand and Japan next year), Zoot and the amazing new race kit they gave me, Wendy taking terrific care of my nails, Staci's millions of texts of Bible verses for me to read, Kainoa's singing, and my sister doing my laundry. Beyond thankful that at this moment in life, all the good people, and moments are happening on the way to the start line...


...And of course this.  My most favorite Ironman Hawaii moment, ever.  Kainoa was 1, I was certain of just one thing, stick to my plan.  And the day unfolded better than ever imagined.  So much like a race day plan, this fragile position my journey has taken me through, I know the outcome will be better than I imagined.  I want to have as much fun as I had in my first Ironman, it was a blast.  I want to love it all, leave it all out on the course, appreciate every mile, keep humble, keep calm, keep focused, keep moving, and of course trust the journey I have been on, that it has equipped me for all I need on race day.  


A massive thank you for the lovely notes, texts, emails, and such that I've been reading this week.  I'll let you know how Saturday goes.  And one more thing, when my surf board and I landed here I thought I'd end up like this guy, Sunny.  He's one of the most amazing big wave surfers in the world.  Never did a girl with pro surfing dreams think she would end up riding her bike 112 miles rather than riding waves.  But I did, and thats what life is showing me.  Dream away, work for them, and trust that giving up is never an option, because sometimes the journey we are on will take us away from what we wanted but deliver us something far beyond what we ever dreamed possible.

2 more sleeps.
Bree xo









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Sunday, October 5, 2014

These Moments.


I am a sucker for day dreaming, for remembering, AND...for being in the moment.  Perhaps the day dreams happen because I am so goal oriented, driven, and optiistic.  It just comes with the territory, to plan & focus.  I like it.  And the memories, I love being able to hear a song or see a picture and let it take me back to some laughter & probably equally important-lessons.

As for the moment...

This week I am especially living in it.  I have to.  It has taken nearly 3 years to realize this dream and there is no place I'd rather be than right here, right now, exactly as is, sharing it with those around me.  It has been an absolute blast.  Everyone kept saying time would heal me, but it just feels like God has yelled at me so loud and so clear, "Quit crying over spilt milk!  That glass still has plenty left to dip your cookies in!"  So after my pep talk from the Big Guy I am feeling rather well equiped for the days to come.  Including 140.6 miles...


Today was the highlight for Big Island athletes, our mini moment of pride.  The day we all put on our over sized, pajama style, mens t-shirts, that say, "Team Kona".  Ahhhh, ooooooh, yahhhhh!!  It is such an honor to have that shirt (even better I got kid-size this year!)  Every year the qualified Big Island athletes share this moment, a reminder of sorts, that together we got here.  Reminiscing in the races & training we shared, its such a perfect moment.  Honestly, the last 3 years of watching them all gather was a little painful for me, I wanted that shirt!  Those are my training partners!  I wanted to race with them!  Now I got the shirt...yes! And I get to be out there with them Saturday...yes!  How can I not live in this moment?!  How dare I ever let this moment be taken?  


Here we are, the Kona locals...
Happy and proud of my friends, neighbors, sisters, brothers, team...


This past week has also brought in a bunch of my friends from all over the world...that means many, many, many of them in Speedos.  Perhaps the only time in Hawaii when the men wear less clothing than us girls in tiny bikinis.  It has been a huge blessing to have them here, talking about memories in other states and countries we raced, talking about our goals for the race to come, and just making some new moments.  Like my friend Fiona, letting me borrow her man to pull me though a final swim test set, in his speedo of course.  I love it, I love this sport and how it brings people from all over the world together.  




Not to mention, suffering feels so much better together.  Last week I managed to scramble a few buddies together to push, pull, and pace me on my final longish-goal pace run.  It was so perfect, hot and gross out.  Some hard work and impossible to resist jokes are now sprinkled all over Ali'i Drive for those moments during the race we need a little inspiration.  Clearly, it was also brilliant timing to ditch the Ipod and run without my jams pacing me (I do wish we could race with an Ipod though). 


Oh, speaking of being in the moment, you know, "Right place at the right time", Kainoa and I happened to be in Bike Works, our second home, and landed a ride in our friends little plane!  An actual cruise over the Ironman course.  It was such perfect timing for Kainoa, it made his day and truly taught him that good stuff is always surprising us when we least expect it.  Anyways, check out the bike course to Hawi.  It just looks hot, long, lonely, and windy.  I'm trying to keep it humble and remind myself that it really is a long day, patience required, and respect the distance.  One of my best lessons this season has been to respect the distance, just because you have survived it before doesn't mean it's easy.  And I think being my home course it makes it easier to forget because I do it all the time, every day.  So it was special seeing the above view and being reminded to still respect the heat, wind, and lonely  sections of the course no matter how familiar it is.


In other sporty news, Kainoa might just be getting the hang of soccer.  Last weeks game he had me in sheer laughter, just sort of being on the field.  Yesterdays game he was on a mission, as if he understood just what needs to be done and the satisfaction of perhaps doing it well.  I am loving being a soccer mom, well I have yet to take my turn on snack duty, but I'm sure I can handle.  It's just really nice seeing my son have some motivation and enjoy something that makes him feel good.  Today he declared he does not want to do triathlon, that's find son...

6 more sleeps till the big dance.  But I am in no rush, these days are some of my favorite and it feels nice being in the moment...

Bree xo
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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Smile.



Last Wednesday I took that picture, after swim practice.  I came home to that green ocean seaweed salad I love & decided to make tea to go with it. Masuders was making dinner, and the boys talking about football practice.  It was a good day.  One of my best runs of the season, I was overly tired after it so landed a nap.  Perfect.  Woke up to a poke bowl in the fridge, it was the best pre-swim fuel.  Swam...home to the seaweed salad, like I said.  Somewhere between rolling coconut balls for the next days workout and telling my dog to get off my feet, it all unraveled.  It has been a week and I still can't really understand it all, probably because your head & heart have a way of blocking things out that hurt more than you want to feel.  I just know after rolling the coconut balls but sometime before the dinner we never ate together, we decided that perhaps our love was meant to be better as friends. The only reason I'm even writing is because a sports psycologist told me it would get easier to handle if I let myself let it out.  That might even mean sitting on the side of the road during a bike ride if it makes me feel better.  I haven't done that and don't plan on it.  I worked so hard to be here, in this race.  It has been my dream for a long, long time.  But my bigger dream was and will always be, family.  So this is crushing me at the moment.  

Those close have said it's such bad timing near the race.  There really is no good timing to face a moment you never imagined, if you ask me.  Why did that tea bag quote have to say, "smile"?  I am trying to believe it has some silver lining, that just maybe like a storm, I can anticipate a rainbow.  Anyways, never been one to fake a moment, I cried today.  Us pros got the email needing us to put our spouse or family member to be our invite back into the pro VIP finish line area for all the after race fun, tears just poured.  My response was going to be Masuders.  For our 3 years together I always imagined the moment he was at the finish line with me and heading back as my special guest behind the finish line and into VIP.  He was my VIP in this life.  Who does a girl put now?  More tears.  And my shoes?  They arrived for the race. Like all races, Kainoas name on one and Masuders on the other...now I have one shoe with no name.  The list goes on...and that's reality.  

I'm wiping snot as I write this. Tears are blurring my vision so my Spelling might be bad.  I know, I know, be brave Bree.  So I am.  After the race I'll pick up my pieces and thank my sister & her family for taking care of me these days leading into the race.  I miss home.  I miss him.  But it's okay, we are still and will always be, friends.  Deep breath.


Training is easing up, speed work is picking up, and it really is a beautiful time to be in Kona.  That said, still so much to smile about. To appreciate. To feel wildly thankful for. And to be passionate about.  Yeah, I do still love my life, very much.  Perhaps a post is not entirely the best way to go about this part of my life, but we have to start somewhere and slamming some drinks at the bar is not my way, nor being mad and throwing something.  And hiding under covers is not an option for a girl that has to face an Ironman next weekend.  So with all hopes of holding myself together, I took the sport psycologists advice and decided to be me, use my words and get it out, let it out...

For now, he is still my favorite pair of brown eyes in the world and I am okay with that. Also, Ironman had nothing to do with this, so for all those that still feel miles & miles break families apart, no.  Not really.  I had support like never before & miles were never more important than making his coffee before I head to morning practice (you get the point). Dear God, I just hope it feels better soon.


One more thing...
Thank you Junko Sheilds, best sports massage in the state of Hawaii, for taking all my little wiggles, ouches, and sore parts and making them feel so much better this week.  If you are in town for Ironman and need a good rub down, see Junko at The Club in Kona, on Palani...you know, the only giant hill in the marathon :)


I feel better already, maybe there is truth in putting words down, they let the heart find a little healing or something.  And yeah, I could have just put them in my journal, oh I did.  But I also knew this was a good way to avoid hiding behind my smile during Ironman race week and expo when I am missing Masuders by my side during the hoopla & other moments.  I know he will still be cheering from somewhere and you better believe I will always be one of his biggest fans in this life, because you always adore a person who could save your smile on any given day. Okay, almost race week, I am nearly ready. Touch of healing happening as I write. xo

Night!
Bree




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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Molokai.



We did it, to me a huge feat, a great big deal, and something that I'll remember forever and a day, "The day we paddled across the Kaiwi Channel".  By the time we reached mile 41, above, I was in tears, a long time dream was about to become reality and it was so much better than I ever dreamed it to be.  For being a girl who likes to dream it up then go do it, I often fumble with my patience and lack of "being in the right place at the right time".  Well, this was the perfect time, the exact moment in my life when I needed to be on Molokai, team up with Kai 'Opua women, paddle Na Wahine O Ke kai (From Molokai to Oahu), not back in 2003...

Dear Life, thank you for teaching me (again) to hold my horses.

The race is the Ironman of paddling.  It's a huge deal that paddlers all over the world spend the entire year gearing up for.  I got to witness my Big Island sisters working so hard for it this season and was part of their special journey, it became my journey too.  Sunday our crew landed 7th in the world, just breaking the 6hr mark. It feels unbelievably special knowing I get to be part of two Championship races this season.  Paddling has been such a beautiful part of my world, enhanced everything about triathlon, and softened the blows on some difficult days.  The women I got to paddle with have won the race in previous years, they are all so experienced in the ways of the water, it was so beautiful working with them & an honor.  


The morning of the race.
The event reminded me so much of being in the transition area of an Ironman, except we set up our seats in the canoe instead of our bikes.  We checked our paddles, not tires.  We got our nutrition all set (I used the exact same stuff I fuel with in an Ironman), it was a really good day to test out my nutrition for October 11th!!  The start of the race was the same too, full on emotion for a big day that holds so much unknown and so many opportunities.  My key words were the same as Ironman race day, "Stay humble, stay confident".  You just don't know what Mother Nature can do out there in the middle of the ocean!  

At the end of the race the emotions of crossing the finish line were identical to that of Ironman.  Raw joy that is difficult to put into words or understand unless you experienced it yourself.  You are tested physicall, mentally, and emotionally all day.  You sacrificed to be there, you worked hard to be there, you want to be there.  That's the beauty in all of this, it really is a choice, our gift.  Physically the Ironman is more of a challenge to me, but mentally, I was so much more exhausted in the channel.  You have to work as a team, hitting the water at the same time or you mess the entire boat up.  In triathlon, when our minds wander we notice, bring them back, but rarely does it completely throw us all the way off track.  We still move forward.  In the canoe, it is 100% focus all the time, the entire time, or you mess it all up, you mess up every one by not following entirely what's going on in front of you. I truly believe paddling has helped me focus in triathlon more this season than anything else I've tried.  More than my quotes, my books of advice, my self talk, none of it.  I can now ride bike and not even notice I forgot my ipod!  I suppose paddling has played a bigger part in my Ironman journey than ever expected.





Molokai was so beautiful for so many reasons.  I wish we had more time there to collect shells and run the beaches.  To explore and get lost then found.  The people were as gorgeous as the little island.  It was so tiny, not even a movie theater!  Molokai taught me to do a better job of being in the moment.  My mind always seems to be on overdrive, it took a big breath of fresh air over there.  For the first time in a long time I didn't think about anything at all...I just lived.  



Being home now is prettier than ever.  I was welcomed to all things Ironman.  My paddle is hung up for a while and my lessons are sitting close.  Splish sent me some fun practice suits to keep the swim motivation going strong these final weeks.  That Wonder Woman suit is the absolute best!  And a box of fruits were left for me at swim practice along with Red Bull from Natascha Badmann herself, you know, to keep me going. I love home and having left it for a place I once thought I'd like better made me love it even more...



Training is still in full force for me this week, loving it, embracing it, and still remembering how this time last year I was not part of it.  Unbelievably thankful, for all of it, the journey and moments leading right up to that start line and all we worked for to get us to the finish line.  


One more paddle picture, because I am still just so happy to have lived through yet another dream come true.  And I miss those girls already.  Night, night, Ironman miles await me bright & early.

Bree
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

French Polynesia, New York, Molokai...


To travel is to be blessed, richly, more so than any dollar amount, blessed.  I consider time the most you can spend on someone and travel the most you can share with someone.  In 8th grade my aunt gave me an Australia travel book, I carried it everywhere, everyday, till I left it on the bus.  Heart broken to lose the little book I'd often get carried away in, I promised myself, "One day I'll just go there myself".  That began my lust for travel and collecting travel books.  34 years old, I am richer than the 8th grade me ever imagined I'd become.  15 years old was my first trip out of country and I've been to 14 others since that day.  Dear mom, thank you for letting me go...

I learned to give & share.  To appreciate differences in others.  To work hard, really hard.  To love.  To value.  To set goals & go after them till they become real.  To not depend on anyone out of laziness, to lean on others in times of need.  Many nights I still fall asleep with memories of stars above head in places I can't even speak the language.  I left my toothbrush to a little boy in Honduras who's only wish was to have a toothbrush of his own.  I helped build a school and painted a home for a town who had nothing they could offer me, yet gave me everything I needed at that time in my life.  I won an Ironman in another country with my mom & son at the finish line.  I broke my foot in Australia yet picked myself up and kept going on it, because the rest of me still worked.  In Nicaragua, the poorest town I've ever been in, I saw a man love a woman in a way that still brings me to tears, far beyond what movies can offer us in the way of romance.  I cut a chickens head off and went to bed hungry in Belize.  I danced.  I made friends. I made family.  I borrowed clothes from a boy in South Africa who only had one extra outfit but gave it to me since my luggage never showed up.  I learned so much...

And sometimes travel can even mean a road trip, an island hop, a trip to the country or city.  

Of all the places all over the world, without even knowing entirely why, just knowing it's safe to make dreams, I have always wanted to see NY, Molokai, and any of the islands in the French Polynesia.  In 11th grade my friend Claude from Tahitti told me all about his island life, boats, and culture.  I'm pretty sure I could have tagged along on a trip back home with him since my parents were so supportive of my travel passions, but I tucked it aside as a place I wanted to French kiss, surf pretty waves with my best friend, and hold hands on perhaps...a honey moon.  

NY was a place I put on my list later in life, in college days after the bombings.  I realized how amazing America really truly is and I've yet to really indulge in it.  I wanted to go there and get educated on history, run through the park, take a cab and eat pizza.  I wanted to share it of course, but not with just anyone, it would have to be with someone who doesn't know it either, because I want to explore and get lost and then find our way.  

And then there is Molokai.  In December of 2002 my college sent out my application to the little island for a teaching position.  I of course, dove into a travel book and fell in love.  Molokai had other plans for me, Big Island needs her more, Kona teacher I became.  But I still looked out over the ocean and dreamed of Molokai.  In 12 years I have never really had a "reason" to go.  Not that life must have a reason to live it, I always just thought perhaps no rush, let it be special when it finally happens for me...



Well, my friends, tomorrow I am going to Molokai.  To paddle.  With some of the strongest and most wonderful people I have met, we will paddle from Molokai to Oahu.  I can hardly believe this day is almost happening and depsite how I imagined a trip to Molokai would look, I am happy it is happening this way.  Yes, I know, 3wks before Ironman, that's okay.  Because life has taught me, we don't always have a say so when we get to live out a dream, they surprise us when they decide to happen for us.  Mine is going to happen, I get to paddle a channel...

Terrified?  Not at all, Ironman has given me all the courage I need to take on a big, big challenge.  But the waves?  I nearly lost my life surfing in Costa Rica in 12th grade, I know the strength of the ocean and give it the utmost respect.  And paddling?  That's okay too, the women's crew that I get to be part of are incredibly experienced, they would not have taken me as part of the crew if they didn't think I was capable.  Emotional?  Yes, very.  I have watched Youtube videos of the race over and over, to be part of something so amazing is sometimes a girls "once in a lifetime", but maybe not, however I am not going to live life letting opportunities pass me by with hopes they come around again.  So here we go...

Beautiful life, thank you that two dreams are colliding so gracefully in a single year.  Ironman, thank you for a nice week of hot miles, I'll be back to you Monday...

Bree xo


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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Eating Pineapples



At the moment I really can't come up with a more clever title than that, so sitting here eating pineapples it just makes sense to me.  I should add a bowl of cocoa crispys too, those are also being eaten at the moment, with pineapple.  That's how I know this is the chunky, beefy, feeling it, week before an Ironman.  When you just roll with it, wake up and follow the plan, minimal thinking because you're nearly too tired to make sense of it...just trust...and do.

But it has also been pretty special.  We have had a rainbow every single day this week.  Tonight was a double rainbow over the ocean where one end landed on the Ironman buoy.  I was so happy, like a kid that believes there really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!  It was also the last paddle practice of the season.  Oh, how I'll miss it, miss the girls, the ocean at sunset, and just escaping out to sea a couple nights a week.  But it's not entirely over, we race Sunday, one more long distance race to go...

After that it really is only Ironman on my mind.  My healthy distraction has served me so well, completely balanced me, mentally kept me from burn out, and has given me so much happiness seeing two dreams collide at once.


It's been looking more and more like Ironman around town lately.  Little things, like signs slowly being posted, "Ironman athletes shop here".  Pros riding through town in fancy matching bike kits, some really big legends showing up to swim practice (see above),  and the woman I usually see for massage is booked up, now I know why she had me schedule a month out!  And today, I put two meetings on my calendar for sponsorship obligations race week...it really is coming!  I also took my last teaching assignment before Ironman, one day next week, then only triathlon...yikes.  I'm ready to tone it all down and let some butterflies slowly find the way to shift my gears.


Monday I committed to a fruit and veggie "juiced" only day with my friend Tiffany.  She sort of has to do it, I sort of feel like I should support her.  I tried to get on the wagon today and have only fruits and veggies for snack, but cocoa cripsys happened.  I always try to do a one day fruit & veggie day pre race anyways.  It makes me feel so much better after weeks of gels, sports drinks, and bars from wrappers.  Monday I'll let you know how it goes...


Today was another swim to the Ironman buoy.  Guess what?  It's actually 2.7 miles on regular days when the race course isn't lined up.  Somehow all the locals that swim knew that and like the late bloomer I am, finding out years later.  I always thought the slight time difference was because race days I don't stop to check out the sea life.  I think one of the things I'm most looking forward to it the setting of the buoys.  They are so beautiful to me, perhaps only because I can appreciate the ocean without them.  But seeing them is a sure sign the race is coming!


Ahhhhhh, deep breath, just over three weeks to go...
Good night, 
Bree
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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Four Weeks, Baby!!




I am totally on celebration mode (and flying kites on Kua Bay Hill mode) that we are a month from Ironman! The prom, the Super Bowl, the wedding, the Wimbledon, the NBA, maybe not those things, but it does take a special place in my heart and get the special attention that a 140.6 mile race deserves...

Humbling. Respected. A privelage. The Championships of my sport is almost here.





This week my focus was on all three sports, of course, but I really tried to feel like a swimmer.  The Ocean is my second home, thankfully I'm comfortable there and have found peace in the water like no place on Earth. But I really need to learn to go fast, move, and focus on swimming like a swimmer, not a girl solely floating in her heaven on earth. I swam out to the Ironman buoy 3x, that's more than usual for me and I took part in the Peaman swim race this morning. It helped having a little prerace jitters lining up with fast high school kids and going breathless for nearly a mile.  Week 5 goal, the swim, has been successful. Now to hold onto that faster feeling and ditch my floating feeling throughout the Ironman.


And....
My sister got me hooked on this Drake poet, he is kind of intense about life and love. Sometimes it feels like I'm reading something from a drunk man at a bar, but other times it just says what I feel without having to find my own words.  Like this one.  It's really helped to keep me more at ease through this Ironman journey. Appreciating all life has to give me, while holding firmly to my opportunities with sport at the same time. A collision of dreams and obligations, I guess. Or maybe just not needing to be reminded that life is short and we have to just go for it in the moment.  


I did go surfing too.  Today, I just had too.  Absolutely, without a doubt, in no way, could I avoid it.  My church is right on Ali'i Drive near a good surf break, the waves kept calling, I kept fighting to focus on the message, but something in me took over...follow your heart.  It was swim practice #2 of the day, a dose of Vitamin D, recovery from my run, breakfast, one of those days that you simply appreciate every single drop of all the good things you are capable of. I'll let it tide me over now till after October 11...







As for the food pic that is somewhat standard on an Ironman blog post, pancakes.  Seriously I don't even like pancakes unless we make them at home.  I'm fussy.  They have to be flat, like a crepe, not fluffy, and require mostly eggs.  And I like them cooked in coconut oil till the edges get crispy.  As for the fun stuff, I always go wild.  Sometimes spinach and other garden things.  But this week, after a long ride, it was bacon and strawberries!  If you have yet to try that, do it.  What a beautiful combination of sweet and salty.


4wks to go, that means the swim pool first thing in the morning.  Plenty of athletes are starting to roll into town, so hopefully this week I land some company.  Or at least some motivation to keep myself feeling more like a trigeek for the next few weeks. Butterflies, not yet.  Excitement, continuously. But above all...thankful.

Good night from Kona.
Bree











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