Friday, October 21, 2016

Kona Diaries – Day #17 (1 day)

I woke up feeling slightly off for 2nd day in a row. You know when you have that feeling like something is trying to get you! Not now, not today. There is no way I was getting sick now! I have felt so good the last few weeks that I just didn’t even allow myself to think that I could be getting sick. Power of the mind! And of course, let’s race already! And so I kept inhaling airborne and zicam to hopefully keep whatever it was trying to get me at bay. I focused on plenty of rest, and honestly didn’t even let my mind go there.

As soon as I woke up, I went to the pool and did a short 10 min swim with Jan Frodeno and Terenzo Bozone. (They also did a 10 min swim although they probably swam double the distance that I did!)

Then I then did a quick 30 min ride.

Ready to roll! 

 My legs for the first time on this island felt blah! Noooooooo!  Mantra of the day - positive thoughts, positive thoughts! I had plenty of power and umph, it just felt harder to sustain than usual. I ran into or rode into Mr. Cal  himself on the Queen K, but he again didn’t have any cupcakes with him! We rode into town together, wished each other luck, and I stopped by the BlueSeventy booth to pick up my race day goggles (I love my Neros and do like to race with new goggles every race) Thank you BlueSeventy – as always you guys rock and take care of your athletes!

Then it was time to pig out on breakfast – my favorite breakfast of the year! I actually try to stay in and make all the food at home rather then going out, waiting to be seated, and risk eating something that may not sit well with me. I had the usual pancakes, eggs, ham, toast and of course side of beet juice I mean apple juice with beet boost powder. (I inhaled it before I took a picture but I think you all saw enough food already) 

The rest of the day was spent relaxing, napping, visualizing AND positive thoughts!

I essentially lived in these bad boys the last few weeks & I have a discount code to share! If interested, shoot me a message. 

I checked and re-checked my transitions bags, and went to drop those along with my bike right around 3pm. 

All the powerbar nutrition fits into my "bento" box on my top tube, and into my extra storage (boobs) See the tube of salt? That will prove to be important tomorrow! Drink mix AND rice/potato cakes are missing from the photo as I brought those with me on race morning and added them into the T1 bag. 

Love me Dr.Cool cooling scarf and headband (must for all my hot races), Kinvara 7s, swiftwick socks, all the PowerBar gels & saltstick chews (super sweat machine over here), and new addition - Nathan handheld that I added into my T2 bag race morning and was still frozen  when I got to it! Score! 

Before the bike/bag drop off I squeezed in lunch (turkey/ham sandwich with some chips and side of papaya), and I also added a bottle of levelen for extra sodium. I already mentioned in my previous blogs that I do sweat quite a bit and I do lose a ton of sodium which is impossible to replenish all during the race and hence I have to preload and Levelen is great for that! Here is a link to my actual fueling plan if you are interested that my coach Jorge has done. If you struggle with fueling/nutrition don’t hesitate to reach out to me, and we at E3 can help!

The bike/bag drop off itself is a show! 

About to enter the red carpet

From bike companies lined up right next to each other along the narrow path  supporting their athletes to a ton of industry people just checking out your bike (not you) for all the different components so that all of you can then read who was the #1 bike brand, helmet brand, powermeter brand and the list goes on. For the first time this year (Trek doesn’t show up to Kona as probably one of the only big brands) I also received lots of love from the folks at QuintanaRoo. It sure does make you feel special, and I really am proud to represent such a great company!

On the red carpet with the QR team (I mean black carpet with red Mdots) 

Few more steps, and then you get your picture taken – I mean your bike gets your picture taken – and then you get to enter the pier that has now been transformed into an amazing T1 & T2 sight.

Each athlete gets their own volunteer (Thank you volunteers) that walk with you to your bike spot, and then to hang your T2 and T1 bags, and just like that the “Bike Check In” show is over.

"Flash" is ready for his 1st overnight on THE pier! 

See of T2 bags but they are actually very easy to find this way. I always like to take a picture of the set up so that I really remember where my bag is. 

Same exact set up in T1 as in T2

And that's it. "Park" your bike, drop of your T1 & T2 bags and say goodbye to your volunteer! 

As I was exiting the pier I took this shot of the finish line area being set up. They really do wait until the last absolute possible minute to build it up and boy oh boy is it special! Just seeing it somewhat completed gives me chills every single time and I know it will NEVER get old! 

At this point it was mid to late afternoon and time to do nothing but rest, he race from the very beginning to the very end including transitions (especially now that I know where exactly my T1  & T2 bags along with my bike were) and eat - I can always do that! 

My go to is spaghetti (angel hair) with grilled chicken and tomato sauce, white bread and of course more beet juice every single time. 

Nothing fancy here. Just topping off the engine! 

Post dinner, I made sure I had all my bottles ready for the morning, and I think I was in bed by 9 with my alarm set for 3:45 so that I can eat my breakfast by 4 (I eat my breakfast 3 hours before race start so that I have enough time to fully digest it). 

I finally fell asleep around 10pm but not for long. I am usually a good sleeper even the night before a race, but I was hot and sweating and just generally worried I’ll wake up feeling off! Thankfully, even though I was up every hour, I woke up ready to go!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Kona Diaries – Day #16 (2 days till the big day)

Today I started the day with running around in my underwear with hundreds of my closest friends. Well first I walked into a shut screen door trying to check out someone else walking around in theirs! Oops! Good thing it wasn’t glass – that’s all I have to say!

The UPR – Underpants run or rather jog/walk or "parade" takes place every Thursday morning before the race, and it’s a blast. It definitely lightens the mood a bit and anyone whether you are racing or not can participate.

Kids & adults 

The entry fee does go to a local charities, so it’s for a good cause! Fun AND for good cause = winning! 

The only shark I ever want to see here! 

Underwear run was followed by breakfast put on by one of our sponsors Castelli. The food was delicious and so was the company. With 48 hours to go, I usually start upping the carb intake a bit, so nice big(er) breakfast was just what I needed.

I cleaned up the eggs and first round of bacon too fast. With 2 days out, can't forget the beet juice! ;) 

The view didn’t suck either. 

Post breakfast it was back to the condo for bit of a down time, before heading back to the expo.
This time to get my 2nd edition “Cupcakes with Cal” hat!

Got one! Cal said next time he will bring me a cupcake too 

Post expo, I squeezed in a nap followed by a short run in the late afternoon to avoid the hottest part of the day. There is no need to stress the body anymore, and now it’s just about staying sharp, and as rested as possible. I was also able to test out my new handheld waterbottle (Thank you Max and Nathan for sending me one) that I will be using on race day.

Time flies when you are having fun, and before I knew it was time to get ready for the opening banquet. I don’t usually go to these, but the one here in Kona is awesome, and although the food isn’t exactly the best, and it can get quite long, I highly recommend everyone to go at least once! It’s a great showcase of local culture, the Aloha spirit, and the 140.6 mile journey we are about to embark on. If you are in need of extra inspiration for race day, you will find it here.

The awesome stage I hope to stand on again in a couple days! 

The banquet was followed up by athletes briefing in which race director for each leg of the race gets up on stage and takes athletes through all the rules. This is the long part, and I actually didn’t stay the entire time as I already know the drill. No pass zone on the bike going down Palani, absolutely NO drafting (ya, right!), and chicken soup on the run course by certain time. I usually try to get mine from the med tent instead ;).

Post banquet, nothing left to do but rest, rest, and rest! Just 2 more sleeps! 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Kona Diaries – Day #15 (3 days till the big day)

This morning I slept in a little bit, had light breakfast and then headed out to my TV gig! Just like last year, the folks from Czech wanted a quick pre-race interview at the Ironman Championship wall, and this time they also wanted to film me doing my thing on the bike. I had a short 40ish min spin so they tagged a long for a little bit, and then we went our separate ways.  

I don’t get to speak Czech that often, so speaking on camera is a bit nerve wracking to me but it’s fun! In the end, they’ll pick what to use and what not to use as part of 1 hour or 90 min Ironman World Championships coverage on Czech TV (Think the NBC coverage here in the U.S. but just in my home country). I’ll probably get like 30 seconds of fame, but something is better than nothing, right? 

This photo is from last year, but we essentially did the same thing except I wore my E3 cycling kit as I was heading out for a ride afterwards with the camera guy in tow, and I probably had  helmet hair because I had to ride my bike to this spot. I am not quite THE celebrity that would warrant a whole make up team ;) (yet) 

The place was also quite a bit crowded as this was going on so I had quite the audience as I was blocking the wall for those who wanted to take a pic by their name. The whole interview was about my goals for the race, and what if anything have I done differently since last year. 

The rest of the day was spent chilling, and eating, and relaxing and of course another trip to Lava Java for a treat or two and the expo. I always think I can get everything done in one day, but it never works out like that.

Lava Java front lawn. You know it is packed when this is what it looks like in front of the café. Perhaps we all need to add a kickstand to our tri bikes?

Now meet just a couple of members of the awesome QR team that made the trip to Kona to take care of their athletes! Thank you guys for making me feel so special,and I do apologize for sweating right through my shirt (it is hot here in Kona!) 

 One of the QR mechanics who made sure my bike was race ready! 

Bryanna who keeps the show running all year long! Thank you for all you do! (Just keep sweating, just keep sweating) 

I had also spent some time visualizing my race day! I always do that from the very beginning to the end including my race strategy, fueling/nutrition and even transitions. It’s getting close now, and the excitement as well as the nerves are really starting to kick in.Setting a bit of time aside each day to visualize my race day routine helps me feel confident and ready to go! 

Quiet spot to visualize, reflect and focus! 

Without workout #2 on my schedule for the first time in a very long time (Yeah taper),we headed to the TrainingPeaks/Best Bike Split party which was a ton of fun! I got to meet a lot of people, and eat poke! Party catered by “Da Poke Shack”? Hell yes! It was a great time, followed by early bed time.

The excietement is building day by day and so is the craziness! Can we just race already?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Kona Diaries – Day #14 (4 days till the big day)

Let the madness begin! Today was first day of athletes registration as well as the official first day of the expo.

I got up bright and early and headed over for a quick open water swim to the coffee boat and back!

Hello Coffee Boat

At this point, the pier is so crowded and people are coming and going in and out of the water that in order to stay safe you almost have to sight every stroke, but the water is still beautiful and so are the fishes! I don’t know about you, but every time I focus in on the beauty down below me, I start to get motion sickness so I am sadly mostly about business and focusing on my stroke and where I am going rather than looking at the beauty that’s below me.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming 

 I did however stop a few times and messed around with the GoPro – you just have to! As I said at this point the work is done, and staying lose and relaxed is key. (This part is really beginning to get hard as race day is quickly approaching!)

The visibility sucks, right? ;) 

I have no idea what's happening here but my tan lines are on point and my stomach couldn't be more white! 

Post swim, I headed back to the house and had my usual breakfast, before heading right back out to register.

Officially Official

Actually a very cool backpack - too bad I didn't find sunglasses inside that case that is part of the bag. 

The swag inside the bag - nothing atypical at all! I refused the Red Bull so just missing a can of that. 

After that, I walked the expo, met up with cool kids at BlueSeventy who always take care of me, as well as Quintana Roo and met some new friends, potential sponsors. Before I knew it, I have been on my feet for way too long and was getting tired. The sun was out in full force and I needed to get of my feet, but I wanted to get all the expo stuff out of the way so the next 3 days could be spent mostly chilling with my feet up.

We had lunch at our favorite dinner spot – Umeke’s Bar and Grill! Their menu doesn’t change whether you come at lunch or dinner time and so I essentially had repeat of dinner from the other night for lunch. It’s THAT good!

I could (and almost have been) eating Poke every single day! Soooo fresh and so good!

After lunch, I headed back to the expo this time with “Flash”. Flash just needed one last look over by the Quintana Roo folks, and I am happy to report that all checked out with flying colors!

Most likely my final race day set up! I know I may be losing some aerodynamic advantage with 2 frame bottles but I am going with the ideal nutrition/fueling set up vs. aero frame as I feel that will pay of big later in the race

I had also dropped of my race shoes (Saucony Kinvara 7s) with BOA folks, who retrofitted them with this badass closure that I absolutely love as it is super adjustable on the fly and much more comfortable than any other speed lace out there.

I LOOOOOVE love my Kinvara 7s! 

Before I knew it was somehow almost 5pm and I still needed to run (I didn’t want to run in the middle of the day anymore and continue to stress the body that much more), and then I had one last massage with the only and only Mr. Byron Thomas! Run was short (30 min) and great and massage was glorious! Not exactly spa like relaxing but just exactly what my body needed. It was the perfect pre-race tune up, and I can’t believe I’ll probably have to wait another year before I get to see this guy again (Unless I get him to move to Boston from CO – I have now been trying for a year and still no luck). He is the shizzle! 

Post massage dinner was bison burgers with a side of rice and veggies. YUM! 

It was the perfect ending to a super busy day, and I am looking forward to staying off my feet tomorrow as much as I can! It’s almost GO time!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Kona Diaries – Day #13 (5 days till the big day)

A friend of mine asked me how I run in this and I honestly don’t know, I just do.  When I first stepped off the plane 4 years ago, I asked myself the same exact question, and here I am back for more. Today, the weather was actually relatively cool (for Kona that is), as the clouds rolled in and didn’t give the sun a chance to shine almost all day. It was definitely a bit refreshing.

Cloudy but still beautiful! 

I started the day with another ocean swim, and boy oh boy was the pier packed! The banners of champions are up, and the pier is THE place to be every morning between 7-9am.

 Just a few of many along the finish line that is to be built literally overnight from Friday to Saturday

Why between 7-9am? Because that’s when the Blueseventy coffee house is out there, and that’s enough of a reason. Plus the Blueseventy guys are awesome, and you should make sure to visit their booth if you are in Kona! They are right by Uncle Billies (not in the maine expo area), but it's worth the few extra steps! They have some yet to be seen stuff like the new sleeved swim skin on display! Did anyone say extra free speed? 

If you wish, you may also wiggle your way in front of a camera lens or two as the place is buzzing with photographers & reporters searching for just that right shot. You can then spend weeks searching for your photo on the interwebs ;) (I haven’t been bringing my phone to the pier to capture the madness but I’ll try tomorrow to give you a visual idea of what I am talking about.

So swimming - it was fun and it was short. No panic training for this girl. 

GoPro silliness 

As you can see, I even had company for a little while as coach Jorge joined me.

I told you I even swam a little ;) 

After swim, Jorge got some ART treatment – this coaching thing really isn’t as easy as it may seem. 

These folks come here from all over the world to work on us athletes - I say that is pretty darn cool and of course unbelievably awesome! 

The show is about to get started as all companies are just finishing setting up their booths while some are already open even though the expo doesn’t officially start until tomorrow (Tuesday). Alii drive has now been completely overtaken by triathletes and you can feel it! This once super quiet beachy laid back town, is now full of thousands and thousands of "ready to go", "tapering" triathletes! You fill in the blank ;) 

After breakfast and little R&R I headed out for a quick 45 min ride. The big training is done, and now it’s just about staying sharp and resting. I took it relatively easy with a few pick ups, and legs were stilll feeling pretty darn good.

Let's do this! 

Post ride, I spent some time here.

Picture perfect chill spot

And then Jorge and I headed out to the Lava fields for my annual talk with Madame Pele. Yes – she is real, and yes – you want her on your side come race day – believe me!

E3 Tri Coaching in da house! :) 

Sometimes they call me "mega legs" instead of czech chick 

For dinner, I had some awesome fish tacos that I ate before I took a photo courtesy of chef Jorge and the rest of the night was spent relaxing. We actually don’t even have a TV, but I have to say it’s kind of nice.

Tomorrow is  shaping up to be a busy day, and I am definitely starting to feel the butterflies. Only 5 more sleeps! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Kona Diaries – Day #12 (6 days till the big day)

Time sure is flying when you are having fun. Today I watched a local 5K and 10K running race from our patio right on Alii drive and I got to cheer on some of our friends that were racing! 

 It was awesome to see the great turnout! It was already hot and sunny at 7:30am

Even dogs get race Tshirts here! 

I then headed down to Dig Me Beach for a 30 min swim. 

 Finding a quiet spot to get ready

The water actually felt a bit cooler than it has been in the past, which is a good sign. This is probably the first time anyone has ever heard me say “colder” or “cooler” is better since I am usually always the one complaining about being cold.

The pier is now full of tapering or almost tapering triathletes, and swimming open water feels almost like strolling through Times Square. You better be sighting every other stroke or else you will be swimming into someone! There are plenty of buoys set up, and this morning every single buoy actually had a kayaker right next to it in case anyone ran into trouble! I know these folks volunteer so THANK YOU and thank you for making me very comfortable! I saw tons of fish, but no luck with the dolphins. I wasn't breaking any time records but I know better than that to let that worry me. The currents here will positively or negatively impact your time. I felt good and that's what matters to me!

Once I was done with my swim, I rinsed of at the outdoor showers right at the pier, and made a pit stop at Lava Java.

Outdoor showers in the left corner of the photo, and a little house with lockerooms right by the pier

 No – not for coffee although apparently their coffee is really good, but for this time mango/coconut scone! YUM! (Side note: I am not a coffee lover, but if I was you bet I would be drinking coffee race or no race).

I ate my usual breakfast at home, chilled for a bit, and then I headed over to check out the merchandise tent back at the pier since it was already open. 

Smartly already opened for business even couple of days before the registration or the expo open

I was really just trying to beat the crowds, and as a result also limit the time I’ll spend on my feet in the next week. I am not going to lie, I wasn’t very impressed with the selection, but for now, I found my new favorite hat (Right after my Cupcakes with Cal hat of course)


The World Championship Wall is also up, and so I took the opportunity to snap a photo or two before it will be near impossible. Seeing my name on THIS wall is always VERY special!


On the walk back from the pier to the car, we visited this little gem.

The name is fitting! 

If you like donuts – you want to visit this place right in the heart of Alii Drive just a few steps away from the actual road. 

How do you just pick one? 

Bacon/banana layered donut topped with peanut butter ... WHAT? 

I very sadly skipped on the donuts (I will be back post race), and got myself an Acai bowl instead. The sun was out in full force so that was a nice little refreshment. I also had to run, but because I have already been here for 12 days, I feel pretty acclimated, and hence there was no reason to continue to stress the body with training in middle of the day. I took a nap that turned from 30 to 90 min instead - oops!

I really wasn’t feeling it, but I got myself out the door for 6 mile sunset run, and I am so glad I did. It felt awesome to not run and feel like you are running on the surface of the sun! I was still sweating bullets, but I wasn’t getting warm and my HR was staying super low. I was on cruise control and felt great! I even got cheers from random by passers - this is race week Kona for ya!  (Of course now I am getting a bit worried that maybe I am feeling too good too soon but I guess during taper week you just never win). I did feel like I was floating at times and it felt glorious! I had also just barely beat the darkness – Alii’ drive barely has any street lights, so when I say darkness, I really do mean pitch black streets. When I first came to Kona 4 years ago, I was actually terrified because it was so dark everywhere that I felt like I was going to walk or drive into the ocean any second. Now the sound of waves crashing against the shore is just super peaceful, and I almost feel like a real local here. 

I refueled immediately after with real food (chicken spinach sausage x 2.5 – protein please with rice and broccoli, followed by papaya with yogurt and chocolate protein as a post dinner snack.(I am slacking on the food posts, because I am forgetting to take photo's before I devour it) 

As you can see, today was definitely a bit more eventful day, and it’s only going to get crazier from now on, but I plan to finding a good balance between enjoying the various activities that go on during race week and trying to limit the time on my feet.

Let the busiest and craziest, and most fun taper week begin!