Aloha!

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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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Some miles.



The day has arrived, I am a soccer mom. It was only a joke when he was in my belly, that one day I'd be a soccer mom...now it's real. And I like it better than swim meets, it's an hour of action, not all day long requiring me to learn patience. I don't know the rules so I don't scream and shout from the sidelines.  I just watch and think it looks fun to run after a ball...

The best part, Kainoa chose the sport himself and loves it. He wears the biggest smile I've yet to see him wear in any of his sweaty activities, so far.


Okay, back to me. (Insert sarcasm, it's my attempt to not blab too much about family stuff since my fam does not give me permission to blab about them publicly on blog). But really, Ironman is in the 5wk window which happens to be my favorite window!  It's the one where girls like me finally narrow their gaze.  I admit to the struggle of wanting to do absolutely everything in life, live it up! That suggests a problem when the race draws near and laser focus is needed for a great 140.6 miles, so week 5 is when I can actually start seeing the race and begin to feel eager about just one thing at a time. 

My brother n law sent me the above picture of my first Ironman, what beautiful memories came flooding, along with the perfect motivation to strive for a repeat of a day I'm proud of.  Hello Ironman number 20!


Oh before I forget, mix those things listed on the glass jar in our fridge, it's my flavor of the week.  Dear God it's so good!! It all began by cleaning out our garden...it needs a make over after Ironman!


Back to Ironman, this hill was my mental workout. You know how sometimes you just need to go kick your own ass? I had that day and ran up the path to the jello mold hill, then to the top of the hill.  Ill be honest, it was pretty brutal, but it's hardly torture when you are surrounded by views that make you beyond thankful...that said, it made me appreciate even more the 140.6 miles soon to come.





Today was the money in the bank day.  Stacking some hay in the barn day. Planting seeds day. Whatever you prefer, it counted.  I loved it.  And even more incredible was feeling truly blessed by good friends, like Staci's future hubby pulling over on his way to work and surprising us with drinks! 


It has been a few good days in a row of miles and miles on the way to another Ironman. And tomorrow, wake up and do more miles... 

Happy training! 
Bree

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Training


Yesterday's 93 mile ride may have taught me 93 lessons! It was one of those rides that you hop off your bike and know it counted. Okay, they all count, but you know the ones that make you feel like a badass or at least more like a you deserve to ride without training wheels. Oh the little things learned on a long ride...

Hills and climbs eventually end. We are so much stronger than we believe. Wind only causes you to lose your balance if you let it. Water is the cure for most anything. Going faster does feel better. Going easier does feel better. You can make u-turns. Sometimes we just have to go with the downhills. I like it hot. A flat tire isn't the end of the world. Beeps and honks are gestures of love. I am thankful for food. 93 miles really isn't that far... 

My list could go on and on. I just know yesterday counted.


I have officially managed lots of beach time this week too!! As in, 2 trips to the Ironman buoy and runs along the coast. If you are wondering, the heat is on. I'm still too scared to take an ice bath even though I'm sure my body would thank me. Lessons from the heat...

Cool down the pace if you are about to fall over, it's faster than laying on the side of the road. Hats help. Less clothes and more sunscreen. Drink. Drink. Drink. Ice. Salty drinks. 


Um...
One more thing. I'm going to paddle a channel. This year is sort of amazing me. Last night I was reading my bucket list book from 2002, it said:

Go to Molokai
Paddle a channel
Sky dive
Be somebody's awesome wife
Sleep on top of a mountain
Pay off my credit cards

And a bunch of other things that by now have been crossed off. Turns out I jumped out of a plane in New Zealand earlier this year (that was a nightmare that will not return to my bucket list). I've been narrowing down the cc's and feeling confident my extra teaching will make it happen sooner than later. So my friends, the top two will happen very soon, with coaches approval of course! 

Love Bree






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Sunday, August 31, 2014



This little quote landed in my lap and has been tip toeing through my perspective a lot, almost every night actually. I am really learning to manage 24 hours better, more productively, as if on a mission to cross all the little and big things off my bucket list. Not because they have an expiration date, they don't. It's because they matter to me...

Life, love, and sport is all I've been up to lately. Every morning it still puts a smile on my face that I'll be racing Ironman Hawaii. It motivates me to get going, get training, and keep believing. I'm still so thankful to have qualified and have not been tempted in the least to take it for granted. Motherhood is still keeping me very grounded and at peace with reality when being any sort of a professional athlete begins to entertain me...humbled at its finest. Love still finds it's way to remind me just how strong yet fragile it is, I can thank Masuda for holding my had through those lessons. And paddling is still so darn fun! My life needed fun on this level. An attempt at explaining that would take forever, for better sake of words, I am crossing off many, many bucket list goals all because of it...and that is so very satisfying.


Miles and miles have been swam, biked, and ran lately. Motivation is still high and it gets even higher when people ask me how in the world can I wake up and do it again and again, mostly alone, everyday. How can you not wake up with a purpose? Hawi has never looked so gorgeous lately and I can hardly wait to arrive on race day!

I've been fortunate to rally a couple days worth of training partners. Even went a few days ipodless! Had my fair share of flat tires, mixed a few bottles with sport drink that had caffeine in it leaving me in a lesson I hope to not repeat. Ever. Again. And I even scored myself a new Zoot race kit for the big day...it's being made as we speak! 


Hmm...what else? Been inhaling a lot of food. Wanting to sleep a little more. But feeling good other than that. Must admit, it's nice to know the body is stronger and more capable than we give it credit for. 


Running has been the best part for me in all of this journey to Ironman. Quiet special how lacing shoes can save a day, make pancakes feel rewarding, and land you amongst such pretty places while mentally overcoming ugly places. 


And the paddle. I am loving it for many reasons. I think without knowing it I was suffering from some sadness with missing Kainoa a lot when he's at his dads. Thankfully Kainoa has a great father who wants to spend time with him and we have been able to share him very well, but I always miss him to an extent that makes it all to easy to cry, especially on weekends. Landing on the water keeps me focused on my bucket list, better make good use of my time and not cry over spilt milk kind of feeling. And so, this weekend I got to paddle my first ever Lilio. It's 18 miles long, for 12 years I've wanted to do it and yesterday I crossed it off my list. Think of it as the Ironman of paddling, lots of people from all over the world and we start in Kailua Bay! I was in the Koa with 5 amazing women, we took 1st Koa across the line! I was beyond emotional with pride and joy. This morning after my bike ride I lined up again for a 5 mile race in the OC1, took 3rd girl and had more fun than the position I finished. It's really nice not worrying about finish position like in triathlon, truly just fun times.


No post would be complete without food, so let me just tell you, I am consuming enough green smoothies for everyone with this load of life, love, and sport! Have a nice Sunday! Bree



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Monday, August 18, 2014

Cha-ching!





A couple days ago I landed in the big city, on Oahu.  It was a little moment away from life over here, maybe vacation with a splash of Ironman miles tossed in.  It was a mood changer, an attitude adjustment, a tiny bit of sponsor obligation (team Bioastin flew us over to learn more about the green stuff that I LOVE).  Mostly it was one of those times in life when you step back, take a look with hopes of gaining a different perspective, then come back to your regular life feeling like you learned a lesson that will be good for you…

I ran along new beaches, rode cruiser bike,  swam with Oahu friends, and surfed a few different beaches on my friend Tiffany's board that I secretly wish was mine.  I loved all my big city moments…

But today the best part of all happened.  My Ironman Canada payday came.  We live on a pretty tight budget over here, unless I teach more, but then I train less…so you know, my balance isn't always beautiful to the bank account.  Most always Kainoa and me walk into the grocery and walk out with only what was on the list.  Thankfully he is such a good kid, rarely if ever asking for treats or snacks, or those tempting aisle candies at the checkout.  Today was all different.  I told him to grab a snack, take an after school drink, get something special to pack in his lunch tomorrow, to have anything in the grocery he wanted.  And so, thank you Ironman Canada for giving us my most enjoyable grocery shopping experience yet!

Bree xo
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Monday, August 11, 2014

Back to it...


You have no idea (okay, maybe you do) how excited I am each morning I wake up and lace shoes,  put  air in my bike tires, or squeeze into a swim suit.  Don't get me wrong, training for a race usually has it's glamorous, nearly as exciting moments, but this one is just so much more fun for me than all the rest.  So happy to feel this feeling again.  In fact, I drive to swim practice in just a swim suit, I am that excited, forget waisting time to put clothes on top these days.   That (above) was the last Ironman Hawaii (2010) moment I remember. It's that magical part, the one right before you cross the finish line, where you are having to navigate your way through the final mile of spectators flooding Ali'i Drive.  Oooooh I am so excited, butterflies are already starting.  I never went to my Senior Prom, but I am imagining how I feel must be similar to that special night...
This weekend I tried very hard to lay down, take my final super rested weekend, and just chill out.  It was enjoyable, even fell out of my lawn chair having such little experience chilling out these days.  Come today, it was back at it. And tomorrow I get to run twice in a single day, it has been FOREVER since I remember doing that.  I just rolled out my legs like a woman on a mission in anticipation of the miles awaiting me…


My final week away from a pool has come to an end too.  Tomorrow it is back to black line following and chlorine.  I'm actually okay with that, I really want to gain a little more confidence in the distance.  It's easy to spend a day in the ocean but I want to be able to move through it faster. For me, the only way is with the Kona Aquatics crew and that accountability Coach Steve brings, I just don't find my speed frolicking with dolphins.  Let me tell you, I will be eagerly awaiting those recovery swims though, when the ocean calls me home…


As with all Ironmans, I have a good habit of looking back at what worked in the training, what built up my confidence, and of course what I could do better.  After double and triple checking out the last race build up into Ironman Canada, I can tell I completely fell off the yoga, stretch, strength wagon.  Okay, not entirely, but I could tell I was missing it.  Sunday I began it all again, nice being reminded how good it makes me feel to give a little extra attention to the small things that matter big.  And maybe that's what Ironman Hawaii is all about, paying more attention to the little things…


One thing I was super impressed with was my eating habits.  Oh, I fell off the wagon during my recovery, but leading into the last few Ironmans I was pretty good about having at least one thing "raw food" a day.  It was usually a treat.   That said, I better share this one for my chocolate pie.

Crust, grind up mac nuts, dates, and a spoonful of coconut oil.  The middle, blend up 5 frozen bananas, as much cacao powder as you want, and maple syrup to sweeten (you decide how sweet you want it).  That's literally it!  Keep frozen.  It's my favorite breakfast treat on the way to the ocean swims!

Have a nice week,
Bree
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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thursday Showers...


Gentle, gentle, gentle.  I am having to grip so gently, having punched my ticket to Ironman Hawaii.  You know when a child gets a puppy for Christmas and just squeezes it's guts right out holding him so tight, that happiness is how I feel.  But I'm grown up enough to know that squeezing anything too tight, hurts.  And so, I am being gentle with holding this ticket to race Ironman Hawaii. My little lessons are...

Not rush back into training, recover
Keep my family closer than the run shoes
Enjoy eating, drinking, & a lack of gel consumption for the moment
Be happy taking a break


Last weekend I got to pack my bags again for a race of another kind, paddling.  What started as just taking Kainoa to the pier for practice, cheering for Mike and his boys at regattas, soon turned into something I felt like our little family could share if I went back to paddling too, and I did.  Over the season our boat did pretty good, winning the last 6 (I think it was 6) races here on the Big Island. We qualified to race States over on Oahu, with the big dogs island wide.  Let me tell you packing a paddle is so much easier than a bike!  We showed up and took 3rd. 


Our boat is #50, so close!  I just love anything and everything in, on, and under the water.  Paddling has been a really nice addition (I don't want to say break or escape from triathlon, because I don't need one), but it has been something special I can share with Mike and the boys.  I mean, they all get it, do it, and understand it.  In some small way it made the Summer just a little more special to me having a "family sport". Not to mention is brought out a lot of competition and I admit, I could use a bit more competativeness since I find myself on triathlon start lines wishing I could pratice being more fierce. 


...And the team.  You have all heard the quote, "Women build each other up, girls break each other down". There honestly has never been a time in my life when I could use a handful of great women around then these days. Let me tell you, triathlon is 99% of the time a solo sport when you live on an island, having training partners, a team, some competition has been valuable beyond just the boat.  Anyways, regatta season is now over, focus is full time shifting to Ironman.  As for the boat, I am sure to land there when I can, because sometimes life allows a couple dreams to collide at the same time...


What else?  Oh yes, those of you ladies that read my blogs over morning coffee, you will like this.  Those of you tri-geeks only reading for the pool temperature, run splits, and how far I rode my bike, you will be bored.  Mike and me made 3 years!  I am double fist pumping over here, high fiving, counting blessings, and happy.  I pretty much celebrate everyday I get to share with him, I am a girl in love with her best friend.  It has taken plenty of tough love lessons to understand that love is more than flowers, pretty words, and other story book moments.  I've humbled through patience, forgiveness, and French kissing. While he has been through the thickest of my storms, I have been more appreciative than I knew I could be to have someone in my life.  I'll wrap up the mushball in me, but it has been pretty amazing and while I try to keep his life less posted on my blog, I would like to shout about him often.  I mean, it's not everyday you hear about professional athletes having someone by their side, so I don't take that for granted, just hope and pray for another day, every day...


Sadly, this is not my heatlhy diet at the moment.  I sort of gave up on eating super squeeky clean during my recovery.  I don't know about you, but when I get up early and get my groove on, it is so easy to eat heathy and suck down green smoothies and funky stuff from Earth.  Well, guavas have been my attempt lately.  Today I chucked the last of them over my sisters brick wall, then grabbed chips and salsa for the hurricane party...I do believe Saturday I get to get back on the wagon. Oh, one more effort was made, rainbow beets!  I roasted them and literally ate almost every single one of them...
Alright, that is all I have.  The rain has just begun over here.  Buckets and buckets falling from the sky with the hurricanes on the way.  It was a beautiful morning to begin and I am standing in hopes with the rest of the island that after these storms pass it will be another beautiful day on the way...

Bree xo
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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ironman Canada...Race Wrap Up.


I would not have been the girl holding the microphone and the bigger trophy if it weren't for the massive amount of help, love, & support that has been given to me. So while some headline may read that I won Ironman Canada, WE WON IRONMAN CANADA!  It has truly been the experience of a lifetime racing around the world.  Memories have been made that will last a lifetime and friends have been made that I will never forget.  However, taking three years to qualify has been one of the most emotional roller coasters of my life.  Yes, I enjoy triathlon very much, but I have not enjoyed being broke off my ass trying to make a flight to a start line and wondering if I should toss in the towel and return to full time teaching.  Was it all worth it?  Yes.  It is always worth it to give a dream your best effort, because life has taught me dreams do come true (eventually) and most times just when we think our efforts are exhausted and it feels like we are the only one left fighting in our corner, it all works out.  I am beyond happy to qualify for Ironman Hawaii and finally, finally, three years later, be racing in my back yard!!!

At the moment, I am enjoying some easy days of junk food and not riding my bike, at all.  It has been fun licking the bowl, staying up late, and sleeping past 6.  But let me tell you, the moment coach puts me back to work, I am ready.  I have longed for the day I am training for Ironman Hawaii, to be one of the 35 women out of 300 pro women that get to race for their country, their town, their sponsors, their family, holy cow I am so excited!


This Ironman was extra special because Kainoa and my mom came along for the ride!  Ever since getting my pro card in triathlon I've tried really hard to bring Kainoa to a race a year. This would be his second Ironman out of the country (he tagged along to Ironman Japan when he was 2) and has been to 3 other Ironmans outside of Hawaii.  He said, "This was the best yet, Canada is paradise!".


We touched down in the big city of Vancouver and instantly got lost.  Once over a bridge or 4, we landed amongst some of the most incredible views in the world...Whistler is so gorgeous, it took my breath away and instantly had me feeling as if this was going to be a race experience I would never forget.  I have never been some place so peaceful in all my life. And let me tell you, I was craving some silence from the world and even my own head.  I had very little cell reception and that made it even easier to get lost only in my race without hearing the opinions from tri websites on how the race would unfold and the pressure of a win to solidify Kona qualification.





Leading up to Sunday was the usual race week obligations and "sit on your butt" stuff. There was of course my favorite,  practice swim in a wetsuit, I was of course numb in the face and hands.  Seriously, trying to stuff a bikini wearing girl into a wetsuit is nearly as hilarious as watching  a dog chase his tail...painfully teasing. Pro panel was the usual reminder that people are watching.  I am getting really good at either embracing it, some folks look up to us and it's cool if you can inspire even one person.  Or I kind of sit silent and tune out so I don't get intimidated.  Then, pro meeting, where a couple of us pro girls snuggled in a couch and listened to the rules and girl talked (way more exciting).  And finally, an interview where I have to brush my hair and tell my secrets.  Only problem is, I don't have any secrets. It was actually very fun hanging out with the men with cameras and pretending I am a movie star without any make up...


Masuda sent me to Canada with lucky socks, ZAP! POW! Were the theme and I pretty much used these for gloves and ear warmers all race morning while setting up my bike...why is there so much snow on the mountain tops in July!?!


 
Saturday morning was a final test spin on the Ceepo, I am so thankful for my beautiful bike and the sponsors that trust me to ride it.  The swim and run you can pretty much control by yourself alone, but the bike you have to put some trust in the equipment who is pretty much your best friend for 112 miles.  After that little spin I knew Sunday would be just fine.  From there it was Ironkids.  A couple of us pros had the honor of leading the kiddos in warm ups, talking to them, and then be the ones to put medals on them across the finish line.  I had a favorite 8yr old in the race...but I cheered for all the kids!


From there it was Subway.  It's weird, but Subway became my "night before the race meal" at Ironman Mexico this season. In Cozumel I was tempted to eat tacos from a man on the side of the road but there was a Subway behind him and my gut instinct said to pass up the tacos.  Food from trucks and stands on the side of the road is usually my adventurous favorite, but Ironman Mexico was my first of 5 races to qualify for Kona & I decided not to gamble.  Anyways, I ended up running a 3:19, it was my first time breaking a 3:20 off the bike so I decided Subway was the reason and I have had it every single night before a race since then...My mom did not and would not join Kainoa and me...mom, it works! It also gave me my 3:14, 3:11, and I know it will help me bust a 3:10 soon!


Race morning finally arrived.  I am skipping over the "what I ate and how many calories" part that the tri-geeks seem to love.  I will tell you, my pink water bottle was green tea, not sports drink.  The morning was so cold.  I mean freezing.  Thankfully my friend Mark was there and gave me his bike mittens, I would have been racing with socks on my hands if it weren't for him. The swim start was finally here, I was ready, keeping entirely focused only on me, knowing the day would be a good one if I did.  So, I began with my usual smart-ass remarks.   I asked the pro women if they happen to be winning to please stop at the finish line and let me cross first so I can have the Kona points, I would give them the pay day.  I am not sure anyone liked my plan, but I am sure it felt really calming to be on a start line with a handful of women that I respect and consider friends, and that I am able to goof around with despite a very big day about to begin for us...

Earlier this season Anna beat me out of the swim at Ironman New Zealand by nearly 8 minutes and Karen always out swims me, so I was figuring I'd be in the chase group alone, again, but was ready for my day in patience.  The first loop I was next to Karen all the way around, any attempt to pass her resulted only in elbows from me and I didn't want to waist energy or piss her off, so I tried to just use her as company.  Lap 2 she put a little gap in me but I could see feet and that was like eating doughnuts for breakfast, SWEET! Out of the water they announced Anna was only 3 minutes up and Karen only 15 seconds!  That was by far my best swim with those women.  I simply must give some credit to having a Zoot wetsuit that fits like a bikini but not as pretty.


Out of the swim and on the bike took FOREVER thanks to winter clothes taking place.  I put on Marks mittens and arm warmers.  It wasn't till mile 60 that I finally warmed up enough to take them off.  My entire ride was patience.  All I wanted to do was get to the front and I was so tempted to just go for it, feeling good always gives you some added confidence.  But I have learned, that sometimes having patience pays off bigger.  So I waited. And waited. And just rode my own race up and down the hills of Whistler.  It was frustrating getting within a minute of Karen & McKenzie but not being able to really zoom to the front. The hills were much bigger than I expected and now consider Ironman Canada the most challenging Ironman of the 19 I have done. Throughout the bike I kept wondering if I should race to the front and completely chase after the possibility of getting that Kona slot, all or none kind of thinking.  Or if I should just remain patient and trust my coach.  I went with the patience thing even though it was really hard sitting in 3rd place knowing a Kona slot does not happen for girls in 3rd place...
 

Off the bike, through transition, into the marathon.  I felt horrible, the legs were not liking the ride up the mountain into Whistler, but I have learned it usually takes me 20 minutes to feel like a normal person again.  So patience, patience, patience.  I was over 2 minutes back from the girls about 6 miles in. It's really weird, but my mind never even thought about the finish line or the miles during the run.  It only thought about running.  I just kept running.  Even when I tried to do the Math, "how many seconds faster a mile do I need to be to catch and pass them", my mind would silence itself.  I couldn't even count calories at the aid station!  I'd just take drinks and gels and run.  Around mile 15 I could see the girls at an "out and back" section.  But again it was hard to even look in their direction and check my watch to see how far back I am.  All I can remember is passing them at mile 16 and then counting...

It was a hill (whoever said the run was flat was wrong).  I just counted 1,2,3...1,2,3...over and over.  I tried to sing, to smile, to wave, to high five kids, and I could only run.  It was like my head and heart were finally on the same page, despite always running so happy my head would not let my body use any effort or energy other than to run.  Once I got to mile 25 the tears came.  I was hurting so badly, mentally exhausted, and just really, really wanted to get to the finish line and see if it was for real that I did pass the girls at mile 16 and they were still behind me...


I ran down the finish chute like a little girl on the playground.  Triathlon was my playground and I just beat all the kids at tag, or kickball, or whatever game it is that you always wanted to win.  I could not stop smiling, laughing, dancing, crying.  It was all pretty unreal to me. After 3 years of trying to qualify for Ironman Hawaii, I did, on a beautiful day in Whistler.


They let Kainoa in to put the medal around my neck, talk about surprise finish line...


 It still never sunk in that I was actually the winner or that I qualified for Kona, and made money in all the same moment.  To want something for so long and finally have it happen is something I am finding difficult to put into words.  I know people all over the world are doing exceptional things and saying that dreams do come true if we keep believing, but nobody ever tells us how to keep going through the days you don't believe.  Maybe it's when it finally happens that we believe without holding our breath.


A really big congratulations to the women of Ironman Canada and to those women in the front of the race all day, thank you for pushing me so hard that I had no choice but to run.  It was a special day in the fact that it could have been anyone of us crossing the finish line first, I hope you take that with you as confidence into your next race, that you are faster and stronger than you think you are.  Anyways, I am going to be thinking of you girls on the start line of Kona and will dig a little deeper for you.  Good luck at your next races and your wedding, Jackie!!  I am sure you will look even more lovely in a white dress than spandex and run shoes! And to the beautiful town of Whistler, amazing.  Thank you for welcoming nearly 3,000 athletes all running around in spandex while peeing their pants in your community.  To the race directors, by far this was the most challenging bike course I have done, you have made it truly a test of character and I am so glad to have been part of the event!  Amazing volunteers and people!  Finally, well done to all the finishers...we did it!

Last but not least, my many mahalos to those that have made my Ironman Hawaii qualification possible.  It began with Ironman Mexico, Ironman New Zealand, Ironman Texas, Hawaii 70.3, then Ironman Canada.  What a beautiful trip around the world!  Next stop...Ironman Hawaii!

Bike Works & Nick, My first ever sponsor, thank you for keeping my bike in tip top shape and being my favorite hangout thanks to great people in the shop! Ceepo Bikes, without a doubt, one hell of a sexy bike that loves hills and flats.  You care about your rides like family and I am so blessed to be with you.  Zoot Sports, my favorite run shoes & finally a wetsuit that can keep a girl from an island warm! Beyond proud to be with a company that was born in Kona and continues to deliver quality ONLY. Splish, you make swimming fun (even in a pool). Bioastin Hawaii, it's like drinking up the ocean and knowing your body will recover from all the miles, Thank you for having me on the team. Rolf Prima Wheels, pretty and fast, a winning combination for sure. Coach Cotter, WE DID IT!  The very first triathlon I ever saw, you won!  It's very easy to follow a training program from someone you believe in and I am so thankful you have found a way to keep me passionate about sport while still being able to live a full life. This win is as much yours as mine. Coach Steve, damn, you actually taught me to swim without looking like I'm drowning, it has been so much fun being part of the greatest masters swim team in the world!  My son, Kainoa.  You are first awake with me every morning and willing to play at the pool so I can make 6am swim practice. You crossed the finish line with me on my first Ironman and have always been proud that your mom rides a bike for work, thank you. Masuders, for three years you have been the one wiping my tears and holding my hand, not letting me give up on this dream even when I was worried I would have to let it go. I love, love, love how you believe in me and with me and never let our fridge run out of food or run out of laundry soap (even though I am sure that is because you really don't want to smell my run clothes). Brooke, for watching Kainoa SO MUCH and feeding me even more, then teaching me to breathe, love you! Wendy & Kawika, for the time you give up to be part of my training miles and make sure I don't forget to appreciate sunsets and dolphins. So thankful for you! My beautiful parents, mom for being in Whistler and giving Kainoa such a great vacation and pops for sending mom to be there with me! Tammy, Marianne, and Katy, you three ladies have made it possible for me and my bike to fly, landing on a start line was so much less stressful with your help! Thank you! JUNKO & Odin, the absolute best massage and chiro I have ever endure or trusted my body too! Thanks for keeping me in one piece! The Gray family and Liz who helped host me this year while I scored many of the points that got me closer to Kona. What a bunch of great people and memories to have on this journey to Ironman. Mark S, Kerry S., and Loretta M, for being my Canadian angels.  Unbelievable how much you have taken care of me in what seems like a simple thing to you...thank you. The A-team of Kai'Opua. I adore having team mates!  In a sport that is very independent, like triathlon, you have taught me to trust and look out for others by sharing a boat with me.  I always look forward to paddling with you guys at the end of a long day in sports bras! And without a doubt, so many of the great friends and people in little Kona town that have a way of making home the most special place on Earth, THANK YOU.

Bree. xo
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