Kona Just Around the Corner

Well, it really is hard to believe that it is September and Kona is just around the corner, I am not sure where the year has gone. This update is very, very tardy on my part. I have been meaning to do an update for months, and it just has not happened. We′ll better late than never, here is what has been happening this year.

At the end of last year, I had decided that 2008 would be a year of change. One where I would focus more on work and less on doing any structured training or racing. I have been fortunate enough to be the VIP Director and Pro Liaison for NA SPORTS this year. Basically it is the best of both worlds – I still get to go to all of the NA Sports events, but without the pressure of having to perform on the race course. Many people have asked whether or not I miss being out there racing – I can honestly say that I have been keeping so busy that I have not missed it. It is amazing how quickly an Ironman day can go when you are on the other side of things. The gun goes off and before I know it, the athletes are coming in off the bike, and onto the run. This is much different than being out there racing. I really do feel very lucky that I have been given the opportunity to make this transition from full-time racing to full-time working, and for this I have to thank Graham Fraser and the NA Sports crew.

So while work has been the focus for 2008 – I have certainly found many ways to fuel my competitiveness. This has ranged from off road Xterra Running races to Paddleboard races. I have enjoyed getting back to my roots of running, and the numerous off-road running races that are available now make running even more fun. I have tried to do a number of the Xterra running series races – and look forward to doing many more. The great thing about these races is that there are no expectations because each race is so different that you can′t compare one to the other. I am planning to run both the XTERRA running series – National Championships in Bend, OR on Sept 27th and the XTERRA Running Series – World Championships in Oahu, HI on Dec 6th. Another fun thing about this year is that since turning 40 – I am now able to race in the Masters category – so this was the case in both the National XC Championships and the Carlsbad 5000. Masters running is a whole new world – it is amazing how many fast women there are out there 40+!!!

So while the running races fuel my competitiveness, the paddleboard races are a big serving of humble pie. I thoroughly enjoy the paddleboard races and have done quite a few this year ranging from 4-14 miles – but I am far from being “good” or competitive. I guess this is where the allure is for me – I can go and race and give my best effort without any expectations. I have no delusions of grandeur – I will never be a top paddle boarder, but I really like being out there and pushing myself to the limit. As with someone that is new to any sport – there is so much to learn and I feel like a sponge trying to soak up all the information that is out there.

Of course Roch and I have had to fit in some adventures during the year to keep things fun and exciting. This was the first year that I have been in Lake Placid without racing. So in the past I had not had the opportunity to see all that Lake Placid has to offer because I had been focusing on the race ahead, or recovering from the race. This year Roch and I decided that we would paddle across Lake Placid to the trail head for Whiteface Mountain, climb up Whiteface and then paddle back. We had a great time – the paddle was about 1 hour each way, and then about 3 hours to hike up and down Whiteface. It was a lot of fun, and great to see a part of Lake Placid that I had never experienced.

The next adventure would be on our way to Ironman Canada. Early in the year, Roch suggested that we complete the ride that he did last year from Calgary to Penticton – which was 480 miles in 4 days. Last year I was not able to do the ride as I was competing in Ironman Canada, and for Roch it was the jump start to his Ironman Hawaii training. This year, I was not doing IM Canada, and no Hawaii for Roch, so it seemed like a good idea – we both needed to be in Penticton to work at the event anyway.

Because misery loves company, we rallied our good friend Homer to join us on the trip. We knew he would be in for the adventure and it would make for a very fun time. He of course obliged and came from Toronto to meet us in Calgary to start our adventure. When the reality of the 4 days ahead set in, I was a little concerned to say the least. The 500 or so miles that we would cover was more than I had done in the last 6 months combined – it was not going to be pretty.

Of course along the entire ride, I made sure that I took advantage of all the sprint points I could get – sitting on all day, and then sprinting past Roch whenever I saw a city limits sign. Most of the time he had no idea that Homer and I were scheming behind him, until I would go by to nab the points. So all in all, I think that I won the Green Jersey (with Homer′s help), but Roch definitely won the YELLOW and the Polka Dot Jersey.

It was an amazing trip – one which I would suggest to anyone that wants to do a fun bike trip. The great thing was not only the company or the scenery, but the fact that we had no set time or pace that we were trying to ride – when we were tired we went slower, when we were feeling good, the pace picked up a bit.

So as you can see this season has been one of change and one full of excitement. Next up… more of the same

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