Wednesday, April 2, 2014! Oceanside and more...

I stole the title from my dear friend Beth Gerdes who, along with her boyfriend, Luke, were fantastic hosts to Rich and I during our SoCal visit last weekend to race Oceanside. It really is pretty awesome to have a *homestay* when racing a triathlon away from home, especially when the hosts have ample supply of all things triathlon! I forgot my Garmin 910XT and Rich forgot water bottles... Luke and Beth to the rescue on both counts... not to mention cooking a delicious, healthy pre-race dinner on Friday evening. Aussies know how to barbie! Many, many thanks...

As for the changes, the last year has been tumultuous in a whole host of ways, incurring stress and challenges that at the time seemed insurmountable but that I knew would eventually be a distant memory thanks to the passage of time and my stubborn (tenacious) attitude that there is a way through/around anything... as long as you have a plan and the right attitude... and some great friends!

The "unwanted" stress was my company's decision to move the product and trading team that I managed to New York City... sorry but, I've been there and done that. NYC was a blast in my 20s, straight out of college and working on Wall Street. NYC would not be a blast with a husband and stepson in California and my athletic, outdoors lifestyle. Thankfully, a long and generous separation package allowed me the luxury of time to figure out what was next on my agenda. More about what came "next" at the bottom!

The "brought it on ourselves" stress was the decision to renovate a house that we bought in San Francisco... I've interrupted the triathlon tales enough on this blog with our housing story but all you need to know now is that we finally live in the house of our dreams and are always happy to host friends and family. Come visit!

The "as if I didn't have enough" stress was the disruption I most welcomed and was excited about. Perhaps when everything else in your life seems to be changing, it opens you up to making even more adjustments? After Ironman Hawaii in October 2013, I parted ways with my triathlon coach of the last 8 years. Chris Hauth has played a huge role in my athletic career hobby, helping me qualify for Ironman Hawaii 4 times... I never thought I would qualify once!

I decided to join Matt Dixon's PurplePatch Virtual Training Squad. I've known Matt almost as long as I've known Chris and he's based in San Francisco so it wasn't a radical shift but Matt definitely gave me confidence that he can evolve me as a 70.3 athlete. I've been frustrated at this distance for a long time... my PR was set in 2003... but it's the distance I will focus on in 2014. If you spend any time talking with Matt, the words "evolution" and "progression" will crop up frequently. In the first three months of the year, Matt has asked me to change quite a few things about how I train, including how I ride a bike... my sanctuary!  Thankfully, I've been swimming in Matt's SF-based triathlon swim program for the past two years so that would not change but my approach to riding has already changed and now we have Oceanside under the belt, we will start to evolve the run. There's also been zero race preparation work to date...

For last Saturday's race, the only thing I had any confidence in was my ability to complete the swim without significant energy loss. Once I was on the bike, I had zero confidence that I could complete the ride. Matt and his bike guru, Paul Buick, have been helping me *evolve* my TT position but a combination of sickness and out of town travel (without a bike) in March meant that I had only ridden the bike outside once before shipping the bike to SoCal. I had ridden it on the Computrainer a couple of times but those efforts were a disaster and left me uncomfortable, frustrated and close to tears.

Bike position before... all scrunched up!
Bike position pre-race in O'side... flat back, more stretched out!
I'm not normally one to freak out prior to a race but Matt sensed that I was not happy about the bike and even about my fitness, given the week+ of training I had missed in early March due to sickness and a hamstring niggle (another story!). His advice was "not to have any expectations for the race but also not to hold back".

With that plan, I raced Oceanside 70.3 for the 5th year in a row (and for the 7th or 8th time in total). Results-wise, it was my slowest time of the 5 years but not by much... all of the races are in the 5:08-5:12 range... but it was my fastest swim (except last year's freakishly short/fast edition) and my fastest ever bike split (2:41). Of course, it's a triathlon, so I should add it was personal worst run, but I have high hopes and confidence that that the run will *evolve* as I start to actually focus on it.

The other good news is that I placed 3rd in my AG at Oceanside... albeit a little off the pace of #1 and #2. Speedy and cool chicas, Janine Wills and Amy Larson! It also scored me a slot for Ironman 70.3 World Champs in Mont-Tremblant in September. Yay... and Blanco did too with a 2nd  place in his AG. Oh Canada :)

Fast hubby scored 2nd in his AG - M45-49.
Thanks for making it this far, especially when the triathlon portion was less detailed than usual :) At the beginning of this year, I also accepted a new kind of challenge, working with a start-up. While I had several "finance" career options, none of them were truly appealing when I thought about the lifestyle and culture that were important to me. Last summer, when reaching out to my Stanford Business School network I came across a friend's new venture, The company is focused on reviews and recommendations from trusted friends, a concept which resonated with me as a new homeowner that had relied on feedback from friends and personal connections to help us through the renovation process... I wasn't going to rely on Yelp! or Angie's List for our contractor! The site is currently Bay Area focused but if you want to check it out, please go to and share some of your favorite recommendations.