Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Training and Stuff...

You know those weeks that look a bit exhausting on paper?  That is how my week was looking Sunday night.  Plenty of training, some teaching, motherhood (insert: taxi, chef, nurse, dog walker, maid, ect), a holiday on the horizon, and somehow try to fit sleep in there.  Taking a step back, it would best be approached a day at a time (unusual for me, I like to know what to expect and how it will all unfold).  Here we are hump day and I can say with full confidence, this week is brilliant!  Today I swam a solo 2.4 and felt like a fish not the damn coral just sitting there on the bottom (that was last week).  THEN... I ran 20 miles and it was perfect.  This day had me a tiny baffled as it's an early release day for the kiddos, to fit an Ironman swim and a 20 miler into 4hrs would mean absolutely no room to stop and sniff any plumerias.  I started the run right out of the ocean and made it back to the school 9 minutes late.  Super mom had a belly flop, I was literally running late.  Thankfully the school holds the kids safe for 30 minutes after the bell, but man I was trying so hard to nail the week and missed it by just over a mile...

I believe....

Back to Monday...

It was a better Monday than almost an entire year of Mondays.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!  Mike graduated recruit training and school to become a fireman this past weekend, that means only 2 more Mondays that he would drive to the other side of the island and spend a week in Hilo.  Nearly a year of only seeing him on the weekends is coming to a beautiful finish line. Thank God!!  I am so excited to have his hugs, his help, his handsomeness Kona side...

Hawaii Fire Department class 42, congratulations!  I have loved getting to know each of these amazing new firemen (and one woman).  They are the going to truly make Big Island an even better, safer place to live.  Mostly to Mike, thank you for letting me be part of your journey, I love what you do and your amazing heart.  PS...anyone that ordered a t-shirt, thank you for your support and if you have yet to get yours in the mail (and ordered one) please send me an email so I can make sure yours gets to you.

 As for the mini-wee, he is still very much loving paddling.  That was one of my sports before triathlon, now I am living through him as many days I find myself missing the canoe.  It'll always be there, of that I'm sure, and that bucket list dream to paddle across the islands will happen, who knows, maybe Kainoa and I will do it together.  The best part is seeing him so happy.  It only makes sense to me that we should actually enjoy the things we spend our timing doing, right?

This also happened this week... my sunflowers grew as tall as my heart.  These babies took so long, but so worth the wait.  Once again life has shown me that most things worthwhile take a little time to bloom.   That's about it around here.  Life, love, and sport.  It truly is a pretty special life and one that I still pinch myself to experience.  Less than 5wks till Ironman Texas so that means there will be some training on the agenda through the holiday weekend.  I'm not one for battling sport time with family time, I just toss the workout out and hang with my family when it looks like a time issue, but I'm finding my family is beyond supportive of my goals going into Texas.  Looks like I will find a way to get the miles in, in the dark, while they sleep, or with them along for the ride...So thankful.

Alright, my pillow is absolutely calling.  AS if the day wasn't long enough, Kainoa made sure we soaked up every last drop of the day under a sunset, running, shell picking, and tide pooling.  Good night,

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Going Green.

For the love of a challenge, I am doing that April Green Challenge that is going around.  April is Earth Month, Earth Day, and all that other "do gooder for the planet and body stuff".  I just wanted the challenge to add to my already full list of challenges that daily arise.  Anyways, the deal is to add a giant jar of green juiced veggies or all green smoothie to your day, everyday, for all of April. It's so easy at the moment because our kale is going off, spinach has sprung, and I'm pretty darn motivated for Ironman Texas that my day could use more green to fuel these miles...

I have a secret confession, it's a dream of mine to one day have a big, big yard to make a really giant garden. My dad & grandpa are farmers, it's in my blood.  Everyday I'm thankful for the little patches of garden that Mike has dug up for me, but one day...just maybe...I'll have a giant garden and some of those fun watering boots. 

Today's smoothie juice weirdness turned a greenish blue vomit color.  A lot of Spirulina will do that I guess.  This concoction had to be amazing because it needed to fuel a full day of life.  4:30 wake up to hit the trainer under the moon & stars, get to 3rd grade on time and teach all day.  Got a love note from a kid, bet it was because my skirt was so awesome.  From there it was homework with Kainoa, get the boys to paddling practice and leave them there, then jump in the pool with kids half my age and hold on for dear life.  It was really hard for me, honestly I wanted to barf green in the pool.  The last set was sort of a break through for me though, 6x200's on 2:30.  It was far from impossible but it was far from floating effort, if that makes sense.  Because it was at the end of such a long day for me and my brain wanted to just stop for sleep on the pool deck I had to dig deep, be serious about having only 6wks to go before Texas.  Man I love working for something...

Came home and saw all the lettuce has popped up too!  Honestly, this is a great example of how possible it is to grow anything, anywhere, no excuse about your yard size (that's what I tell myself anyways).  Sadly I did not eat any of it yet...I wanted pancakes after that day.  Not that I had them, but something similarly yummy.

Back to training...
The weekend held a pretty long day, one where only lava rocks would do for a restroom and the sun gave the most ridiculous tan lines in the world.  The company was perfect, no IPOD, actual humans to ride with and work hard with.  Lately I'm so thankful for the people in my life, just having another person to sweat with and push me, pull me, chase me, humble me.  Slowly run miles are coming back too, that means home to family egg burritos on a Sunday.  Those are forever my favorite moments in the meal time after totally getting the most out of my body.

Girls on two wheels.  Not to mention, my pick for Ironman Hawaii female winner dressed in red and white above.  A bunch of goofballs, man I love this sport.  Speaking of, three races went down over the weekend and I actually followed them.  Motivated by Corbin's great win, encouraged by others hard work paying off, and inspired to keep going on my journey to my race. Chipping away at the point collecting has really kept me focused, but man it's not easy when I need to be in the class every now and then to support my sport.  BUT...some truly amazing people have helped me and my trip to Texas is in full bloom thanks to them.  AND, a massage tomorrow after some mile repeats has been booked thanks again to them.  I pinch myself when this kind of blessing happens, it makes me want to do good to others even more, maybe that's why I really do find pleasure on the days I land in the classroom. 

In other sporty news...
Kainoa has officially told me he does not want to swim anymore on a team.  At first I was totally cool with it, no pressure, he is so young and it will always be there.  But today, when I jumped into practice after his little team was finishing up, it kind of broke my heart not seeing him get out of the pool.  Swimming was something we shared.  I have every belief he will return to it, for now he just wants everything to do with the ocean and I can't blame him.  He has taken up paddling and just loves it.  Seeing him have a passion makes it all worthwhile , I hold that passion still for triathlon, so I get it.  He really is my best gift, he reminds me to live my day to the fullest and not just drudge through it without care. So here we are, another sport added to our mix...

Oh, please try this.  It was horrible.  I mean insane pain last Friday.  Crossfit Kona has these Filthy Friday challenges that I've found help my brain.  As you know, sport is more than physical training, you have to work your brain too.  I've read dozens of sports psychology books looking for advice, secrets, help with the mental side of sport, then I got into a few days here & there with the CF crew to build a little strength and injury prevention stuff and found that my brain hurts almost as much as my body.  These challenges seem impossible, mentally break me, crush me, intimidate me, make me touch the line of failure and success, and somehow make me a better person.  This particular one had me doing a single pull up at a time, it broke my spirit, had me last girl hanging on the bar, defeated me.  But somehow you find a way, it was like the closing mile of a marathon or being alone on the swim behind a chase pack.  You want to cry and whine, but you hold on and find a way...

If you have time this weekend, get to a park with a few crazy friends and do this.  You can take as much time as you need, but get it done, start from top to bottom and chip away.  You can thank me later...
That pretty much sums it up around here.  Training, teaching, motherhood, family, little time with friends, green stuff, and working out my brain.  This spot in life is good, having a goal feel pretty close to reality and good people to share it with is more than I could ask for.  Well, I've got mile repeats tomorrow so my pillow is calling.  Night!

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Racing Happy.

So.... Sunday, I raced Lavaman Triathlon.  I will not lie, it was a long 2 hours and 4 minutes of my life.  But I really, passionately enjoyed all of it and that was the goal.  The only goal.  You see, my main goal is to qualify for Ironman Hawaii in October, in my backyard to be exact, most of you already knew that.  It's very easy to have your sights set on something, much like a race horse with blinders on, allowing your focus to be forward only.   However, when you're a mom, a girlfriend, a sister, a teacher, a daughter, a friend, amongst other things, you don't exactly live with your eyeballs on just one single thing.  That said, it takes help.  My eyeballs are on so many things, because I'm a highly motivated and extremely passionate person...

Loosing my point, forgive me.
Back to my point.  I wanted to race, I mean really race Lavaman.  I'm like a 5x champ on this gorgeous race.  My apologies if that sounds cocky, I just felt like if we "went for it" we could get it.  And that's where my help came in.  No Ironman points.  No payday.  No stop-drop-and roll everything for Lavaman. Lavaman would be just another day on a bike, in a swimsuit, with run shoes....and.... Ironman Texas training continued.

A quick wrap up...
Each of the 3 sports felt strong, yet flat, good, just not faster.  I thought I'd secretly feel like a machine, but the 4th gear was missing.  It wasn't my PR on the course nor my worst. It landed me 2nd, chasing Magali Tisseyre all over lava rocks and through sand.  And all in all, maybe that is expected after an Ironman, a little recovery, then more Ironman focused stuff.  I'm just thankful that I still feel madly in love with racing even if it means the day is more about "another race" than the actual race I'm racing at the moment...

And the best part...
I got to race in a bikini surrounded by friends and family. 

Thanks so much to all the support from Bike Works Kona, Ceepo Bikes, Zoot, Splish, Bioastin Hawaii, Coach Cotter, Rolf Prima, Crossfit Kona, Odin Chiropractic, and Junko.  A girl with big dreams is lucky to have you guys along for the journey.  And....Masuda & Spammers for being out there all day, Kainoa for reminding me to keep my childlike passion ALWAYS, and my family & friends.  Next race, Ironman Texas.  Just shy of 7 weeks to go.  Feeling good, feeling happy, feeling like a nap...

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Raw Cookies... EASY to not bake.

You will like these, forgive the very "uneasy" to follow recipe as I measure never with a measuring cup.  Pretty sure it's the best cookie I've ever randomly mixed together.  Why I love them:   They keep well in the fridge or freezer, I can pack them in Kainoa's lunch, its raw, it has plenty of protein (baking with protein can ruin the enzymes, raw will keep all the nutrients), and guaranteed your kitchen has all the ingredients on hand most days of the week.

In a food processor MIX until it feels like cookie dough:

Nut butter (any kind, peanut, almond, ect)
Coconut oil
Maple syrup
Your favorite protein powder

Put the dough on a dehydrator, I used medium heat over night.  Check ofter, after 10 hours they should be nearly done.  Mine held up beautifully.  Good luck!

Happy Baking,
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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Shedding My Lazy.

Motivational breakfast

Monday was supposed to be my "Back on the tri wagon", return to sport fully after my little recovery break.  I was really excited Sunday night.  I was really lazy Monday morning.  It was way harder than imagined, way more difficult to "just say no" to an over abundance of tasty foods, and the alarm clock felt way earlier than I remembered just a couple weeks ago.

I did a good job resting and recovering.

I did a bad job Monday. 

Tuesday was much better, I swam all the swim practice and added on a 1,000 yards to get my volume back up.  Better does not mean pretty though.  I was 6 seconds off on my 100's and 4 on the 50's.  It hurt to even make those splits. Lazy was all over me.  But motivation was high so I knew it was only a matter of time till the body got back into the swim of things. 

When you are covered in lazy it's a good idea to find anyone, someone, to maybe help you wash that junk off. Tell them what you need accountability with or help and don't get mad when they actually come through.  Did you do sit ups tonight?  Did you roll out your legs?  After taking a break on the "little things" that matter while training for a big race it's kind of hard to automatically do them again.  I've been lucky to have Masuda on my case.  And it's been nice having him on this side of the island this week to help with Kainoa, there go all my excuses for lazy.  And being Spring Break there is no school in session which means I have time to train. 

My friend Loretta gave me the most fun water holder thingy ever!  I'll be honest, having something fun added to your "sport life", whether its new shoes or songs on the IPOD or a new hair tie, can actually make you get up and go a little easier.  She sent this Vega bottle that squeezes your fruits on the bottom, holds your herbs on the top, and makes plain water fruity and full of nutrients.  It kind of made me feel healthy just holding it the other day and has become my "go to" when I am still stuck in my lazy and reaching for cereal. 

Last night was much better in the pool, its coming around.  This morning I beat my alarm clock awake.  And today's ride/run must have been near where I left off because the family dog ran out to tackle me like Kujo when I got home!  He only goes that crazy for me when I stink like gels, drinks, and major sweat. 

Okay, if you're still reading this and wondering about the Fireman t-shirts...GREAT NEWS, they have arrived and been delivered to each of the firemen  Now being sorted for shipping.  Thanks for the patience, island time is slow time and I apologize for the wait.  They sold nearly $10.000 worth of shirts so it was a massive order to wait on and sort...not lazy...lazy has just been me. 

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

5 Hours and 38 Minutes.

Two weeks after the Ironman  I have officially recorded a record setting low amount of time "not training" during the "in season".  5 hours and 38 minutes worth to be exact.  It has been very nice to garden, watch sunsets, take 3 dog walks on 3 different beaches, spend a lot of time at farmers markets, and stay up past bed time.  Tomorrow is back to the grind.  Ready is an understatement.  My clothes and water bottles have been packed for tomorrow since 1pm today.  While I'm crunching numbers, it's also 8wks till the next Ironman...

Today has been one of those good days in life that I think have to happen to set the tone for the rest of your life.  Trust me, I didn't see it coming, in fact I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  But I landed for a swim and that lead to a lot of good people hoovering around the pier, including my friend Veeks.  He told me he was heading to Lone Palm for sunset, of course I said, "Me too then." and invited some girls to tag along with our dogs.  Off to farmers market, bananas in my lap on the drive home, and back to the beach with the Masuda boys for probably one of the best surf sessions of the year.  Still not thinking today was going to be one of those days that would impact me so positively.  As sunset grew closer the girls bailed.  The dog and me met up with Veeks and instantly a wave of every emotion I have held in the past 5 years (just made my 5 yr anniversary) swept over me...

I was at Lone Palm.  It was the beach I loved so very much for so many reason.  It was also the beach where I remember being a wife, having a husband, and being married.  You know how some places in life remind you of a time in your life more than others?  This was my spot. Since I was 13 I dreamed about being a wife, it was all I really remember wanting from life other than a horse.  I have not returned since being divorced, mostly by accident, but probably because life has a perfect timing and today must have been that time without me knowing it...

Veeks is a photographer so he got lost in the views while I played in the shells with my thoughts.  I was glad he was off doing his own thing and my dog and me were digging, too many tears were falling and I wanted to hide them.  They weren't super sad tears, it was more of a "wow, I survived this and am doing really good".  In fact I was on the phone with Kainoa's dad just before getting to the beach, we are friends again, that means the world to me.  Then I found a little shell that matches exactly to my ring, I think I'll save that for someone.


Lone Palm was raging.  It was so powerful and beautiful tonight.  Maybe better than I have ever seen it. By now I could not stop smiling, to feel healed and whole again meant everything to me in that moment.   By now you can almost guess what happened next...

Yeah, a rainbow.  Seriously, I know, it seems they truly always do appear after a storm. 

Do you see it very faintly on the right of the sun?

Without turning this into some massive story about a pro triathlete girls divorce and return from the deep, I'll end it there.  Today was one of those good days that you can be thankful for where you have been, who you have become, and love where you are at.

Back to triathlon.  I've hit up 2 yoga sessions during my "recovery weeks".  Thankfully my sister is the yogi who can continue to persuade me this is actually good for me.  Day 1 was fun, you know laughing and partner stuff. Day 2 was hard, intense, and I was definitely feeling like Jem and the Holigrams! 

It was Buti Yoga in the greatest pants ever made!  Splish has pants now in case you need some fun for your stretch, core, yoga, crossfit, or lunch dates.  My gosh I love them, so much!  And I love Booty yoga (must change the name cause I have no idea what a Buti is but I know we shake our bootys in the class).  Anyways go check out those pants at  Only other thing I've been up to during my 5 hours and 38 minutes of training a week has been not cooking...

Raw food strawberry pie.  AMAZING.

A garden in a jar.  AMAZING.


And I have a new philosophy,  pancakes are totally acceptable anytime of day or night as long as something green accompanies them.  Balance baby.  Balance.

Alright, that's it from me.  Back in the game tomorrow...
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Monday, March 10, 2014

As Simple As...

Don't get me wrong, challenges are good opportunities to grow and become, I eat those opportunities right up...but...I love the sweet moments in a single day too, simple as a papaya.  To all the Scientists or garden geeks, (truly mean that in a kind way), I am sure there is some complicated growing that must be done to produce a papaya, but for my own sake let me think it's as easy as picking from a tree.  Okay, I'm home and back into the action of the life I love. Minus the many miles of swim, bike, run.  But those miles will be here again very soon, as I have signed up for Ironman Texas.  I CAN HARDLY WAIT.

I'm just having a lot of fun with triathlon right now, specifically the long stuff.  Maybe I'm at a weird spot in life where the miles have become my team mates, my thinking time, my growth time, my hours to become a more confident woman, my little escape that I never think I need-but might.  Not entirely sure. Or perhaps the training is just so different from anything I have ever done, making for a little sparkle and shine to what can grow lackluster. Anyways, I'll race Texas, yeeehaw!  When not out training, my goal going into Texas, (since it helps to have a goal leading up to a race, one for both life itself and one for the training), is going to be to keep things as simple as a papaya.  For me, that means not stress the little things are so easy to stress...

 And do things that calm me down...

Like pick beets and garden.  Today the hard part of a green thumb girl was completed, you know, harvest, pull up old plants, and replant new seeds.  Now while the training resumes the "work" has been done and I can just pick and eat! (Gardening reminds me so much of racing!)  My "juice day" has been done too.  For some reason my body craves a juice only day after an Ironman.  Pretty sure it has everything to do with eating gels, sweets, and other stuff all day long.  Survived it, liked it, 'nuff said.

The favorite flavor of the day was:  Beet, pear, kale.


My simplicity, like that of a papaya, will continue to be inspired by a child.  You know what I mean, laugh more, believe in big things, do handstands, trust that love fixes everything, and let messy moments wash away like when mom does the laundry.

...of course take time to enjoy the ocean. Sunsets. Sandy feet.  Messy hair.  And being barefoot.

Family time will continue to matter most going into the next Ironman. Yesterday we took a big hike together, 2 hours, got lost, picked handfuls of lilikoi, and stopped to smell wild flowers.

And here we go...
Into training for Ironman #2 of the season, one step closer to Ironman Hawaii we go. Happy Training,
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Monday, March 3, 2014

10 Easy Days.

So now what after the Ironman?  10 easy days. Today is day 3 and I feel really, really good.  Maybe I could have went harder, maybe I got lucky,  maybe that massive off season holiday truly had me recovered and the race didn't take me to the well (good thing as its only race #1 of the season).  Whatever the case, a really big thank you for the nice notes from yesterdays post, they mean a lot to me and inspired me to attempt somewhat of a response with this post...

My feet didn't break any course record and money is not being thrown at my result, it was just a good day for me, just me alone.  I'm slightly humbled to have woken up to the amount of emails over just being myself, yet feel very girl next door with most of them saying, "I can relate".  Good, cause at the end of the day, having to keep up a blog makes it worth it if somebody is getting something out of it.  Amanda Lovato's blog was the one I read everyday when I got my first bike and was navigating my way through triathlon, it's also how I discovered Splish (Still with them today!). is to you girl behind the computer that can relate...

Ironman Day, the day after, and the next day:  Eat anything I want

That's just fair.  For the most part, 90% of my daily life I eat pretty clean, paying attention to whole foods and recovery meals.  It just makes sense to me, I feel better and actually like green foods from a garden or market.  But of course, kids put ice cream in the freezer and a beer lands in my hand, neither are completely shunned but neither are regular attenders in my belly.  Now... once I cross the finish line, I will eat anything and everything that sounds good.  You really have to listen to your body in these 3 days.  If you are craving salts, sweets, carbs, meat, have it.  The muscles are trying to tell you what is missing and you better answer so they can rebuild.  Also, it is a nice reward for all the days leading up to the race that you resisted junk.  We ate Burger King yesterday for breakfast, honestly can't remember the last time I had that, but it was amazing.  Today is right back to normal.  And you better believe I am ready for normal having shared a box of Timtams with the family I stayed with last night!  Those 3 days were just the right amount of timing to unwind, reward, enjoy, and get me craving good stuff again.

10 days easy.

My coach lets me have 10 easy days after I cross the line.  Mostly unstructured, mostly all up to me, a little guidance because I like guidance, but it is similar to the eating thing, unwind, reward, enjoy, get motivated to come back.  10 days works really well for me, shorter and you might not be recovered (not that on day a 11 you go run a 3hr run), any shorter and you might miss that window of opportunity to "recover your motivation" to do it all over again.  My 10 days will go a little something like this...

Day after Ironman-Easy spin or swim.  We rode 30 easy minutes, it was too cold for me to swim.  That's the beauty of 10 easy days, now is the time to skip a workout or cut it short if you aren't in the mood.
Day 2: Long walk (I would have swam if it were warm water) again, do not force a work out mentally or physically during this 10 day window, it's unwind, reward, enjoy time. I walked all over Taupo, up and down the town, exploring and sight seeing.  If I was home I'd of walked the dog or with a friend that doesn't run.  Use this time to "train" with your non-triathlete buddies or family.
Day 3:  I walked again, it's my last day in NZ so we found a trail, I even jogged for 5 or 6 minutes super easy, feel so good. (but not rushing, do not force coming back).
Day 4:  I'll be home just in time to get Kainoa from school, the "plan" will be a sunset walk with the dog.
Day 5-7:  I want to ocean swim every morning after taking Kainoa to school and will build up the bike, nothing structured, just get blood flowing and enjoy sports that I love.
Day: 8 I plan to ask Masuda to bike with me, we haven't in a very long time and this would be a time he can keep up, hehehe, just kidding, but really, it's a good time for this. 
Day: 9-10.  If coach writes "run" then I will choose a beach path, something easy on the legs that lands somewhere pretty, not the road or anywhere that I can measure miles or time.  Give yourself a break from miles, paces, ect.  Of course if it doesn't say run, now is time to take a hike up a hill, surf, paddle, other sports before those sports are limited again.

That's basically it, with of course the option to skip, shorten, or do something else all together.  The goal is a little break, but not lose fitness, recover with the help of actively moving, but not stressing the body or mind. 

As for other things, I always use my week after an Ironman to catch up on hobbies that I let slip and slide because only Wonder Woman can do it all everyday.  Here are mine...

Fix up the garden.  Make granola.  Juice a whole entire day and not cheat.  Slumber party in the living room or camp on the lanai since I won't have to wake up super early on a Sunday to run long.  Go on a little hike close to home.  Walk my dog on the beach.  Paddle with Masuda.  Play a card game with Kainoa that I am usually too tired to play.  Make something new and wild for dinner, even make a menu and place mats to make it like a restaurant.  Get my Kombucha going again.  Spend plenty of time at a farmers market one morning.  Beach.  Clean out my closet and donate clothes (again).  Make a list of how of lessons learned and how to improve the next Ironman (I have a book I always check into after every race).  Thank you letters.  Watch a movie.  Pancakes for dinner.

That is pretty much it.  My plane leaves here in a few hours, I'll land home just in time to get Kainoa from school and am so looking forward to his hug!  New Zealand, you are awesome, thank you wonderful Kiwi and Maori people for making this trip so very special. 

Love Bree

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Ironman New Zealand, Wrap up...

Wow.  Seriously, wow.  To sum up this trip, (and I have a day to go), just wow.  In my 17 Ironmans, each very unique, this one will go in the books as the most full blown, whirl wind of non-stop excitement, and near the top of being one of the most appreciated Ironman journeys, (cause each Ironman has a journey to the start line).

That little fruit stand on the side of the road was the most chill moment since I landed here, the rest felt like a high speed roller coaster with great views.  Having never been to New Zealand, I only heard great stories of great adventures and great people surrounded by great views.  True story.

Left home on Monday, landed about midnight Tuesday, made it to Taupo Wednesday.  Right into a run, head first into many moments of laughter, full speed into lake swims, more runs, bike rides on the other side of the road dodging cars cause I'm American and kept getting on the wrong side of the road, electrical outlet troubles, and it gets dark here way past my bed time so I had to hang dark sheets to force wonder the Kiwis never stop.  I had two pro roomies who were absolutely terrific and completely different from each other, and from me.  I learned from them both, soaked up the opportunity to have training company and motivation, and learned the fine art of rest and recovery does not always mean sleeping. 

The night before the race I wrote in my journal that this was the most happy I'd ever remember feeling going into an Ironman.  Things are far from easy at the moment, but mostly everything in my life is giving me reasons to smile and keep thankful.  I kind of feel stuck between a rock and a hard place too much lately, trying to make ends meet so I'm working more resting less, missing a lot of training just to keep sport afloat.  I just can't find it within me to throw in the towel and I'm not even sure I would recognize when that time is even if it hit me. Being a professional athlete is by far one of the things in my life I never even imagined would happen to me, but I just keep this dream wide awake feeling in check at all times so I never take it for granted.  Anyways, before the race I knew a couple things...

I missed a lot of swim time to get out of the pool early to get to work on time, 3 of my important long rides were cut way short to get kids from school on time, (you can't fake 112 miles on a bike), and I walked 8 miles of one of my 2 and half hour runs because I was being a girl (no offense girls, but sometimes we are not as strong as we owe it to ourselves to be).  Racing against some of the best women in the world you can't exactly show up and pretend that you put in the work, so I was brutally honest with myself, "Bree, you had a few days leading up to the race that did not go ideal for an athlete trying to get to a finish line fast.  But you would not trade your life for anything in the world, do not let anything be an excuse to not have a good race, let them be reasons you are going to have a good race".  And so, I let motherhood, family, my strength.

The race pretty much went like this...

The swim was pretty surreal, not tropical like I like, but so impressive that a lake could be so clear, clean, and beautiful.  The Maori men came in on canoes, chanting, singing, dressed in so very little.  It felt like home in a pretty islandish kind of way.  The gun went off and the pro men went, a minute later us pro women.  I had a nice little swim with one of the Japanse women, we were right behind the 2 girls chasing Meredith who must have set an Olympic record with her swim!  But then...we caught the chase pack of men and honestly, I did not have any fight in me.  It was rather sad how un-aggressive I was.  Not sure if I was lacking my swim confidence to go around a huge train of them since I missed so much practice or what.  I sat on their feet.  About 800 yards to go I decided that was stupid, if you catch them clearly that means they are swimming slower than you, move your ass Bree.  So the Japanese woman and me made our way to the front of the huge back pack of men and ran up the beach in front of them as the 4th girl out of the water, (only to get ran over into the change tents).

Lesson learned, find a way to swim more  and never just sit there, its a race!

Onto the bike, hugest mistake ever in a cold race.  I felt nice in that wetsuit so I left my arm warmers in my transition bag and got on the bike turning instantly into an ice cube after the first hill.  I'm not one to pity myself for too long if at all, so I just rode hard to warm up.  I dropped every single bottle at the first couple aid stations, my hands were so numb that I ended up dropping all my nutrition out of my pockets too, and there went my calories for the first 36 miles.  Eventually I hit a wall, felt so lousy, and 4 girls passed me on the bike.  After 17 Ironmans the lesson that "every low patch eventually fades if you find a way out" has sunk in.  So I slowed way down, grabbed every single gel, banana, and drink I could get my hands on and ate as many calories as I possibly could.  I forced myself to eat until I felt so full I'd throw up.  And as luck would have it, 20 minutes later I was back in the game, riding like myself, and feeling warm (thank you sun for coming up a little bit).  Oh it got ugly again, boys stop reading...

I seriously felt like I peed my pants but I didn't really need to since I missed all my drinks the first part of the ride, well, you guessed period.  Awesome, middle of a 112 miles on a bike.  I'm not an athlete to trick my periods with birth control and I never let myself get to skinny that I lose it, so you know, sometimes it just happens when riding a bike in New Zealand. Damn it.  I have learned another lesson after 17 Ironmans, always stuff a tampon and extra shorts in your run bag.

Finally off the bike, I wanted nothing more than to run!  I went into the porta-potty for what seemed like an hour to change and clean up, losing way too many minutes, but I felt like a million bucks now.  3 loops here I come!  And the most awesome thing, the pro men leaders were just about to start their second loop when I was going out on my first.  It was so awesome to run with them for a whole 30 seconds with cameras all in my face!  I then looked down and saw a 6:20 mile on the Garmin and thought, "Oh hell no, slow down, this is their pace for 26.2 miles not yours".  First miles make or break your race (another lesson 17 Ironmans have taught me).  I eased into my pace and just had a blast...

New Zealand is not the easiest run course but it is one of my new favorites.  I love loop courses so much and running around the lake was incredible.  The crowd support and little neighborhoods had me so fired up.  And to the awesome guys that kept blasting radios, thank you for playing my jams, it was like home to me.  The run was the only part of the race where I felt very confident.  Most all my training runs went better than good and I never had an excuse to miss any, on days I had no sitter help Kainoa would ride bike next to me.  My coach gave me numbers and I just believed all marathon long that I would hit them.  And I did.  In fact, I got my new best off the bike marathon time by 5 minutes (3:14) running home as 4th woman at Ironman New Zealand.  Many, many more lessons learned, many good moments, and many more reasons that I am so thankful that triathlon is such a big part of my life.

This was Kainoa's email just before the race, he tells me to always run some miles for him, "Kainoa, mommy ran that entire marathon for you, had you right there with me".  My other bit of motivation was on one of the hills during the run there was a "go Mike" chalking.  I pretended it was to me from my Mike.  Cheesy, I know, but anything and everything helps over 140.6 miles...

The race was also awesome because we got to collect arm bands on each loop of the bike and run, by the end of the race we look like 80's girls, especially if your shoes are hot as mine.  But...the best finish line part, thanks to some incredible new Kiwi friends, were volcanic recovery pools!  They were something I'd never experienced and could sit in all day long.

Awards party with the other Big Island athletes, Congrats Sal and Keish!  Loved seeing you on the run.  Hawaii also had 2 Kauai and one other Oahu girl out here, it really made home feel closer.  I'm still highly convinced the best Ironman will be when I have Mike and the boys along with me...

A view from our lanai here in Taupo...

...and then this.  Told you the Kiwis are another breed!  So full of life, never ever a dull moment, and I jumped out of a plane!  No, I did not love it.  I was more terrified than I've ever been in my whole entire life.  I'm still scared and not sure I'll try that again.  It was on the bucket list, so thank you Dan and Kiwi peeps for helping me check that off the list...


That is not a happy face, I was actually barfing...

One more day here in Taupo, I'm ready to go home, I miss it.  Planes only fly Tuesday and Thursday back home for me, so I'll soak up another good adventure without complaint.  Next up will be Lavaman, a nice little local race on the island, and then...another Ironman.  At the moment we are thinking Texas, good timing and more affordable than the others, I'll keep you posted.  Before I sign off, a huge thanks goes to Ceepo Bikes, you are my most favorite 2 wheels ever.  Zoot for the most perfect run shoes a girl can race in and a wetsuit that had me very, very warm and cozy.  Splish for swim suits that make me want to be in a pool and my race top at last minute notice!!  Bike Works for always supporting me and my bike, hands down the greatest bike shop in the universe.  Rolf Prima for race wheels that work wonders on the shell and rock like roads of Taupo.  Crossfit Kona for building me up some strength where I was certainly lacking it.  Bioastin Hawaii for the yummy green stuff I believe in! Odin and Junko for helping keep my body in one piece, your hands really are healing.  Brooke for some yoga that I am starting to actually like.  Kona Aquatics for being the greatest little swim team on Earth, not just the island.  Coach Cotter for day in and day out finding a way to help me balance sport and everything I care about in such a way that I can be healthy on start lines and finish races a step closer to my goals.

Finally, my favorite, thank you to Masuda, Kainoa, my family... you are my reason.

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