Thank you for your support!

May 7, 2009
Tony and Donella at the finish line of our firt Olympic distance triathlon with Team IN Training!

Tony and Donella at the finish line of our firt Olympic distance triathlon with Team IN Training!

We would like to thank you so so very much for your support encouragement. It has really meant a lot to us. You have helped us reach our fundraising goal and have donated more than $11,000 to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as part of our triathlon fundraising. We are so appreciative of everything that you have done. Every donation has helped to find a cure for cancers. The funds you have contributed are helping to save lives!

My arms are still sun tanned with my race numbers.

My arms are still sun tanned with my race numbers.

It’s been a few weeks since our triathlon event and surprisingly, I still have the race numbers suntanned into my shoulders. During these past few weeks we’ve had time to reflect on our journey. What once seemed like an unthinkable task a few months ago, has actually become a reality. We completed an Olympic Distance Lavaman Triathlon. I faced my fear of the open water and swam one mile, I learned to ride twenty- five miles on a road bike with clipless pedals and I recovered from an ankle injury and trekked thru six miles of lavarocks and sand.

As much as this has been an accomplishment physically, this race was more about the journey we experienced to get there. It was about helping others and impacting lives other than our own. We trained with many inspiring cancer survivors who shared their personal stories with us. We met motivated and optimistic teammates, coaches, mentors and forged lifelong friendships. Together we were challenged both physically and mentally by injuries, aches, personal struggles and moments of doubt. But overcoming these obstacles together was a bonding experience not only as team, but between Tony and I. This adventure has been a life changing experience that has given us a little more perspective on life and what we as individuals can do to continue helping others.

After this amazing adventure, we’ve felt it in our hearts to continue trying to help others. This season,I was chosen as part of the supporting mentor staff for the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training summer triathlon season. In the next few months, I along with several other people with be mentoring incoming summer participants. We will help prepare the new participants for their Olympic Distance Triathlon in Pacific Grove. Thru September, we will be there during training practices, help with team events, cheer them on and provide overall encouragement and support. Just as everyone has helped me complete my first triathlon, this season, I will help them get to the finish line!

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Lavaman Triathlon, race day has arrived!

April 21, 2009

On Sunday morning, Tony was already up at 3:30am, eating breakfast and stretching. I slept for another hour and woke up with an unrestful sleep. All night I kept thinking about my the hole in my tire.  I was also thinking I should have replaced my tire tube last night. But that would mean, that I wouldn’t have spare tube in case I got another flat tire during the race. But for piece of mind, we decided to change it. We rushed to change the tire, gathered our equipment,  get out of the hotel room. As we were leaving out room we noticed some fun posters that were left on our door.

Poster made for Donella

Poster made for Donella

Poster made for Tony, he even got a fun drawing.

Poster made for Tony, he even got a fun drawing.

For safety purposes and wake up calls, we all checked in with our  TNT team manager, Katie and Coach Meggen  at 5:45am. Afterwadrs, we were off to the race.

All Silicon Valley TNT members had to check in with Katie before going to the race.

All Silicon Valley TNT members had to check in with TNT Team Manager, Katie, before going to the race.

Due to my flat tire (and not having a floor pump) we had to speedwalk a 3/4 of a mile.  It was a beautiful sunrise.

The sun was rising as we speed walked to the race transition area.

There was a beautiful sunrise as we speed walked to the race transition area.

Transition area.

Transition area.

I squeezed my bike into this tiny area.

I squeezed my bike into this tiny area.

We got to the transition are kinda of late. Stressing out I wasn’t able to relax, take pictures, warm up or enjoy the pre race socializing. I rushed to find a floor tire pump, set up my transition area, and met up with Tony in a long line for body marking and timing chip pick up.

Getting body marked. This left a number  tan on my shoulder for over 2 weeks.

Getting body marked. This left a number tan on my shoulder for over 2 weeks.

Tony showing his digits. #249

Tony at body marking, showing his digits. #249

As we were in line we heard the announcer say  that participants were now allowed to get into the water for a 15 minute warm up.  I was thinking to myself, ” Shoot! I really need this warm up in the water.”  It takes me awhile to get used to the initial cold. Oh well, no time for that, still  had to get  body marked. On the way to the beach start, we met up with the team and took a group Silicon Valley TNT picture.

Team photo of TNT Silcon Valley Monterey Bay Chapter

Team photo of TNT Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Chapter. ( I'm the bottom left corner)

With 2 minutes left to warm up in the water, I jump in a shallow part of water.  And darn it,  I step on corral! It was what our coaches had been warning us about all week. I look at my foot and it’s red a little bleeding and stinging. Oh well, no time to pout about this my wave was coming up. I didn’t really feel much of it due to all the adrenaline and excitement at the race start. Btw haven’t had a chance to purchase the photos from the event photog, but in the meantime here are a few “proof” photos.

Pre-race everyone waiting for their "wave".

Pre-race everyone waiting for their "wave".


Swim Start

There were 5 waves with 3 minutes between each wave.  The waves are as follows:

– Wave 1 – Male & Female Pros and Relays
– Wave 2 – Age Group Men – 15-39  ( Tony’s wave)
– Wave 3 – Age Group Men – 40 & Up
– Wave 4 – Age Group Women – 15-39 ( Donella’s Wave)
– Wave 5 – Age Group Women – 40 & up

Tony’s wave was 6 minutes ahead of mine, so I got the chance to watch the him and the rest of the red swim capped boys take off.

The swim start of Tony's race.

The swim start of Tony's race.

Tony's in there somewhere.

Tony's in there somewhere.

Tony finishing his swim.

Tony finishing his swim.

A few nerve racking minutes, it was my turn. I along with the rest of the pink swim capped ladies made our way into the water. I was nervous, but surprisingly I didn’t feel like puking! Yippie! I was quite happy about that. This was the moment I was anticipating for the past several months. Can I really swim in the ocean without a wetsuit or life vest?  Can I really be out there with a crowd of people clubbing my head, pulling my ankles, pushing, and shoving me all over the place. All those hours learning to swim, learning to bi-lateral breath, snake swimming, gaining stamina and  training in the pool. This was the part I most dreaded and was most excited to accomplish. Getting thru the swim would already be a reason for me to celebrate.

Pink Swim Caps: Ladies swim start.

Pink Swim Caps: Ladies swim start.

Can you see me?

Can you see me?

I swim at slower place, so I decided to hang back. Since this was my first Olympic distance,  I’d rather swim from behind, than get trampled on. I decided that I would swim along the the outer side of the pack and along the line of rescue  kayaks and surfers. That would mean I would be swimming farther distance and much more than necessary, but it gave me peace knowing that if I got tired or panicked I could grab on a surfboard. I was actually expecting to grab on to an emergency surfboard a few times.

I was hoping to not grab on any rescue kayak or surfboard, and I didn't! Yippie!

I was hoping to not grab on any rescue kayak or surfboard, and I didn't! Yippie!

It was time, the gun went off and just like at the Stanford Treeathlon, I was expecting to be left in the dust. But surprisingly, I was actually  swimming next to  people and more surprisingly I was actually passing people. I was shocked. After a few uncomfortable elbows  in the head and pulling at the ankles I started to feel comfortable. I had to remind myself that I am swimming “my race”  and not to over exert myself early on. Because, the water was so clear, I didn’t have to worry so much about “sighting”.  I still zig zagged a little, but not anything off course. The corral was kinda of a pain to dodge, sometimes it came out of nowhere and was so close to the surface. At some points it felt like you were swimming in between valleys. The water started to warm up and it was so clear..almost like swimming in a pool.  As I started to get more comfortable, I passed more people ( and many others passed me as well) and didn’t need to be so close to rescue surfboards or kayaks. In the beginning, my goal was to grab on to the least amount of  surfboards…..now I actually I didn’t need to!

All waves were now in the water.

All waves were now in the water.

I was half way done with the swim and I wasn’t even tired yet, I was so happy that I started to smile underneath the water. I even enjoying the water life and turtles underneath.  But as the last 500m was drawing near, yesterday’s wind started to pick up. My goggles were getting loose. I had to slow down and fix them. The last thing I wanted was the salt to get in my eyes. The ocean salt was so strong and it starting to sting. The water started becoming choppy, and the glare was getting stronger. I had been out there for over 30 minutes and the salt was starting to take toll on my throat and nose. It started to really burn. I was so close and just needed to finish this last stretch I could see the shore getting closer. I took my last stroke and I could feel the sand…I HAD FINISHED THE SWIM! I got up and saw a flash and saw that a photographer took a photo of me. ( I would later see how unflattering and tore up  I was! ha!)  As I ran out of the water,  I heard Coach Meggen and Katie say, ” Good job! Go Donella!”  I couldn’t believe it! I was so excited like I had already finished the race! It  didn’t even think that I had 31 more miles left to go! I was just enjoying the moment.

Swim to Bike Transition

From the ocean we had a 500m run from the sand to the asphalt transition area. In order to get the sand off of our feet, we had the options to run our feet into to 2 kiddie pools.  As i was heading toward the porto potty….uh huh. I stopped. I know people were going to give me grief for stopping. But I HAD to relieve myself.  The average transition time is 3-4 minutes….with my lil’ tinkle I was over a  whopping six  minutes. It may not sound long, but when you compare it to everyone else’s  it’s loong. Here I am having a delish pack of orange Gu for lunch…

Slurping some Gu...tases like a packet full of syrup.

Slurping some Gu...tastes like a packet full of syrup.

Biking on the Queen K
Biking usually gives me some time to rest after the swim. It was actually kinda cool to bike on the Queen K for our first Olympic distance tri. As I mentioned before Queen K is actually part of the same road course used during The Hawaii Ironman which consists of a 2.4 miles swim 112 miles in the Hawaiian lava desert 26.2 miles marathon run. The conditions of the bike event was the one thing many of us were unprepared for. We were biking against the headwinds that were going 35-45mph.  Since you were being hit by the wind from the front and the side, you also had to kinda bike diagnally so as not to pushed off sideways from your bike.

Queen K

Queen K

During the bike ride I hear a familiar voice yell ” Go babe!” I looked up and it was Tony on the back from his ride. Since, we start the race during different waves, we rarely get a chance to see one another. I was glad to see him in action.

Tony biking on the Queen K.

Photo proof: Tony biking on the Queen K.

Initially the biking was going ok, I was actually thinking that despite the conditions  I might make an ok time. I only have 10 miles to go, then suddenly the headwind became stronger.

Donella biking in the tough headwinds.

Photo proof: Biking in the tough headwinds.

There I was along with other participants going on a downhill on the lowest gear. It felt as if we were uphill, when we were actually going downhill.  it was nice to have fellow TNT members from across the country encourage one another. Throughout the course I said “Go Team!” to many people….and vice versa. I would especially say it when I passed someone who looked like they were struggling. They would always respond with a smile, as if gave them that little extra boost. When training in the bay area, you can easily hit 40mph going down hill on the highest gear.It was so hard going against the wind. The last 10 miles took me forever, to enjoy the ride (eventho the conditions were uncomfortable)  I began to singing Journey’s song “Don’t stop believin”” to the top of my lungs. It was so windy that  I doubt anyone could hear me.  But if they did, I hope they enjoyed it.  My tummy was starting to hurt. I think  the Gu and Gatorade was not mixing well. As I was getting closer to the transition area,  I knew that I was behind in the time I was hoping for. I was kinda feelin’ tired and little bummed. This must have been the part that Coach Chris warned us about during his talk about  the “Highs and Lows” that we will be feeling during the race.  He mentioned that at some point during the race you’re gonna be thinking ” this sucks! It’s hot! I’m tired”.   At that moment I was kinda feelin, “Man this sucks, I’m slow!” as I was thinking this the cars on the road were cheering me on and encouraging me, “Go Team!”  This is where the postive mental stuff kicks in. It felt  nice and I appreciated it.

A few minutes after I stopped singing at the top of my lungs.

Photo proof: a few minutes after I stopped singing at the top of my lungs.

Bike to Swim Transition
My transition this time was better. No need to potty, but I was wishing I could do #2…..uh huh….that’s right…#2. But there was no way I was gonna go that in a porto potty.  When I returned to the transition area, I saw Coach Mike purple mohawk and all ..cheering on his wife Vanessa. As I was heading out to the run out he said ” Go Donella!” …and off I was to the lava fields.

For reference: Here's a pic of Coach Mike, he placed in his division. Last year, he won the event.

For reference: Here's a pic of Coach Mike, he placed in his division. Last year, he won the event.

Running
After a 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike ride all I needed to do was run6 more miles.  My legs felt heavy….I couldn’t even go 5 minutes without stopping. I had a new black hat….and I will never wear it to a race again. I never knew that it was going to attract so much heat. It was like an oven in my head.

  • 1st  water stop
    I poured a little water on my hands and daintily flicked it on my face.
  • 2nd water stop
    I poured some water on my hands and patted my face and
  • 4th water stop
    I took my hat off and poured it on my head.
  • 5th water stop
    I took 2 cups of  water in both hands and barbarically flung it at my face.

Water was dripping down my face and shoulders and I didn’t care. I was hot, tired and I had a tummy ache.  There were times I was thinking “Lord, help me!” There was still head wind, with every mile the terrain got harder.

Instead of head wind, I was hoping more for a breeze.

Instead of head wind, I was hoping more for a breeze.

The terrain started with lava fields, then it was some nice   cobblestone, then it became trail running.

Donella  running on the rocky trails.

Photo proof: The rocky trails. I ended up tripping towards the end, so I had to slow down even more.

Running in the course.

Running in the course.

Gotta be sure not to trip and fall.

Gotta be sure not to trip and fall.

Keep on going...

Keep on going...

All along the course there was message created from rocks.

All along the course there was message created from rocks.

My ankles were not liking the large rocks.

My ankles were not liking the large rocks.

Tony on the las leg of the race.

Photo proof: Tony on the last leg of the race.

My "hands in the air" kinda look more like "stick 'em up".

Photo proof: My "hands in the air" kinda look more like "stick 'em up".

Just as you turn the corner, you  heard the music and the cheers. The beach still looks so far away. And the people at the finish line look like ants…but you think. oh it’s still within reach…just a mile more. Then, suddenly, just as you think the terrain will get easier……it runs to sand.  Sand??! You gotta be kidding me. After all this we still need to go thru sand. And if any of you have ran on sand….it is no fun.

Sand??!!

Sand??!!

Tony: "Don't let that guy behind you, pass you!"

Tony: "Don't let that guy behind you, pass you!"

Especially on the last mile. Finally, reaching the beginning of the beach…I see Tony. I heard him say, “Go, babe” All clean and fresh in a new t-shirt.  He ran along with me, taking pictures, just as he was taking the above  picture he says, “Don’t let that guy behind you pass you!” and my response…..after 32 miles…..was “Don’t say that! Not now!”. Hahah I didn’t have that extra kick of energy I was hoping for,  but I did have the energy to raise my “hands in the air” at the finish line.

On the end of this picture, was my coaches, mentors and teamates cheering me at the finish line.

At the finish line was my coaches, mentors and teammates cheering me on.

Finish my first olympic distance triathlon! Yippie!

Photo proof: My first Olympic distance triathlon! Overall Place: 703 ; Swim: 44:02; T1: 6:19 ; Bike: 1:53:11; T2: 3:19; Run: 1:23:59 ; Time: 4:10:50

Tony finishing his first Olympic Distance Triathlon.

Photo proof: Tony finishing his first Olympic Distance Triathlon - Lavaman Tri Overall Place: 266 ; Swim: 31:18; T1: 3:21 ; Bike: 1:22:58 ; T2: 1:32 ; Run: 54:20 ; Time: 2:53:29

As I crossed the finish line,  waiting for me were my coaches, mentors and teammates cheering me on. Everything crossing the line happened so fast, I crossed, the photographers snapped pictures, a staffer took of my timing chip, a volunteer handed me a bottle of Gatorade and water. My coaches and teammates surrounded me with high fives, hugs and smiles.

Surprisingly,Dave Scott, remembered us from the night before and come up to us congratulated us at the finish line.

Surprisingly, Dave Scott, remembered us from the night before and come up and congratulated us at the finish line.

Surprisingly,  Dave Scott ( six time Ironman Champ) was there.  It’s like having Magic Johnson of the Triathlon world,  come and  chop it up after a race. He remembered Tony and I  from the night before, we talked for a bit and he congratulated us on our race.  He asked me how I did, I said ” I’m really hot and  tired” but realizing that he had competed and won several Ironman Championships..I kinda of felt silly for saying that. He was really nice and friendly, I really surprised that he actually made and effort to come and talk to Tony and I after the race.  So it was kinda cool to have a world renown champion congratulate me after completing my first Olympic Triathlon, but  the one person that I was really happy to see at the finish line with a big smile and warm hug….was my love, Tony. =)

We did it together.

It was an amazing journey and I'm glad we had the opportunity to experience it together.

Saturday March 28th: Day Before the Race

April 10, 2009

Saturday Morning Team Practice

Team on our way to the beach for our open water practice.

Team on our way to the beach for our open water practice.

Some of us decided to run to the open water swim.

Some of us decided to run to the open water swim.

Other people bikes.

Other people biked.

From the past few months, triathlon mornings always seems to start so early. Saturday morning Tony was already up at 5am  jumping around, watching TV, watching the sun rise nd eating breakfast. I on the other hand  slept in until 6am, ate and got ready for our 1st open water swim in the waters of Hawaii. Our team met up in the lobby at 7am.  We had the choice of riding our bikes or running to the beach. Tony, myself and a few others opted to run a little less than 1 mile to the beach. This was the first time running in the  warm Hawaii heat… this was surly not like like jogging in the brisk chill of the bay area. That morning, I had the opportunity to run with Vanessa and get the juice on how she and coach Mike got together.

1st Open Water Swim in the Ocean

Seethe white cirlce in the back of the pix? That's me and Tony.

Seethe white cirlce in the back of the pix? That's me and Tony.

Our coaches, Chris, Meggen and Mike were there to cheer us on.

Our coaches, Chris, Meggen and Mike were there to cheer us on.

From our team open water swimming in the bay, I learned that wearing a wetsuit is almost like wearing a life vest….as long as you stay calm, you can float with little effort.  Today was going to the be the first time I was going to swim in the open ocean with no life vest and the security of no wet suit. Our coaches warned us of the sharp coral and that many people often get cut the day before the race.  As soon as we got the in water….i was watchful of the coral and to my surprise the water was coooold! I was like what the???!! After a few moments of splashing around i got used to the chill. As soon as I went to stroke….i freaked out…..again! The water was so choppy and whenever I took a breath a wave splashed into my face and ended up with me taking in a mouth full of salt water. The current was pushing me away from the group, the glare from the sun was blinding me and reflecting from the ocean,  the salt was burning my eyes, nose and throat, the salt was causing me to build up saliva in my mouth,  swimming thru the waves were making me seasick, I was miserable.  Tony had to talk me thru the water…..”take a deep breath”…”don’t panic”…”relax”…I was thinking omigosh, after all of this training….it’s  the day before the race and I can’t even swim in this water???  In less than 24 hours I will be swimming one mile in these conditions…..is it possible? Does this story ever get old?  There was so many thoughts going on my head…..how deep is the water? can i really swim out into the middle of the ocean?  is there animals that will get me?  will i get cut by corral? Will i sink without my wetsuit? …. I later found out that I was not alone.  Surprisingly, many of the experienced swimmers on our team,  freaked out in the water as well. Finally, I got into my rhythm, i adjusted my breathing to inhale  away from the splashes and control the building up of saliva and the burning in my nose, i tightened my goggles to avoid salty water burning my eyes and i dealt with the glare. After getting over  the discomfort….I was beginning to better  handle the conditions and enjoy the swim. After swimming got about 30 minutes, I felt comfortable in the water and knew that tomorrow…I could do it. Thankfully the water was clear and I didn’t have to worry too much about sighting bouys. Everything was coming back, I was starting to swim with the same confidence as if I were swimming in a pool.

By the end of the swim, I was feeling great!

By the end of the swim, I was feeling great!

After Practice Packet Pick Up and Event Expo

Rce Packet Pick up and Expo

Rce Packet Pick up and Expo

Tony getting his race packet.

Tony getting his race packet.

Color coded swim caps and race numbers

Color coded swim caps and race numbers

After the open water swim,  we showered off, cleaned up and headed over to the convention center to pick up our race packet. Inside the packet included the typical mini energy bars and advertisements. It also included our colored coded age group swim caps and  race numbers for our bib, bike and helmet.

Lavaman biking jerseys

Lavaman biking jerseys

We hung out at the packet pick up for awhile and checked out the expo. Since, this was our 1st Olympic Distance Triathlon together it seemed fitting to get a fun souvenir, so we ended up getting these ever so bright Lavaman biking jerseys. Afterward we hung out with the team and had lunch at Queens’ s Marketplace.

5pm: Mandatory Race Meeting for All Triathlon Participants

Mandatory Lavaman meeting for all participants.

Mandatory Lavaman meeting for all participants.

All Lavaman participants were required to attend a mandatory race meeting. It basically went over all the event rules and race course. We also found that of the 800 + participants, 300 of them were Team In Training participants from all over the U.S.


Inspiration Dinner
Straight from the race meeting we went to the Team In Training Inspiration Dinner. Entering  the dinner all participants were welcome to a line of TNT coaches, mentors and staff, banging spirit sticks, waving pom poms, bangin cow bells and cheering. It was really fun way to enter dinner.

Wehn entered dinner with all of our coaches and mentors cheering us in.

Wehn entered dinner with all of our coaches and mentors cheering us in.

Inspiration Dinner: carbs galore

Inspiration Dinner: carbs galore

Our view during dinner

Our view during dinner

After the race meeting, all Team In Training participants had an outdoor pasta dinner.  Dinner was over looking the ocean with a backdrop to a beautiful sunset. As we dined on carbs galore.

Coach Chrish giving everyone a motivating talk about the various "moods" we will  experieince during tomorrow's race.

Coach Chrish giving everyone a motivating talk about the various "moods" we will experieince during tomorrow's race.

We met six time IronMan champion Dave Scott.

We met six time IronMan champion Dave Scott.

We listen to inspirational talks from honorees, our coaches  and six time Ironman Champion Dave Scott. After the dinner, Tony and I went up to Dave Scott to say “hello”. Ok, actually I just wanted to thank him for inspirational talk and ask to take a picture with him. Surprisingly, with many people around crowing to talk to him, he took the time to actually engage in about a 5 minute talk with Tony and I. He could have easily brushed us off after the photo, but he stayed and gave us tips on triathlons. We really appreciated his kindness.


Notes of Motivation

During the dinner our Mentors handed us letters that Coach Meggen’s 2nd grade students wrote to each member of our team. They were do funny and very sweet.  I looked at it the night before the race it made me smile. It was so funny b/k the messaging for each letter fit both tony and myself individually so well.

"Dear Donella Berno, It not matter if you are 1st or last what matter is that you have raissed $1 or  10,000 $ your  a winner"

"Dear Donella Berno, It not matter if you are 1st or last what matter is that you have raissed $1 or 10,000 $ your a winner..."

Tony's letter from a 2nd grader.

"Tony Dimaano, Thank you for raising money for cancer and are friend Jensen. I hope you have fun in your race and I hope you win. You can do it ..."

  • Basically the gist of Donella’s letter: “thanks for doing the race and raising money, and it’s ok if you come in last“.
  • Basically the gist of Donella’s letter: ” thanks for doing the race and raising money for cancer, and I hope you win“.

We had a good laugh at this. Yep, it pretty much summed up our race strategies. I think all of the misspellings (including my last name)  and grammar mistakes was so real and so cute. It think it was one of my favorite souvenirs of the event.


Team Huddle Night Before the Race

Team huddle the night before the race.

Team huddle the night before the race.

After the Inspiration Dinner, our chapter had a team meeting go over race day logistics, what we should prepare for, what to bring etc. And in a rare moment of openness each coach emotionally thanked everyone for joining the team and shared why they volunteer to coach TNT and why it’s important to them. It was a nice way to close off the evening.

Preparing the Night Before the Race

Laying out my pretend transiton area.

Laying out my pretend transiton area.

Packing up my gear the night before.

Packing up my gear the night before.

The night before the race, we discovered hole in my tire.

The night before the race, we discovered hole in my tire.

As we preparing our gear the night before the race i noticed that my front tire was kinda of flat. As I spun the tire and inspected the tread, i noticed that there was a hole in the tread of my tire.  Uh oh, of all times to get a hole, in the tread….the night before the race. There was no way I could get a new rubber tire. And not knowing what to do, we called Martin and he nicely came over to our room and helped us out. Since I couldn’t get a new tread, he placed the  metal wrapper from the Gu packet in between the inner part of the tire tread and the inner tube. That way if something puncture thru the hole at least there would be another barrier before it hit the inner tube. We put my current inner tube in a basin of water to see if the rubber spewed bubbles. That way we could determine if there was a hole. It didn’t bubble, so decided to keep the current inner tube in. I worried about my tire all night…

Friday March 27th: Traveling to Kona Hawaii

April 7, 2009

6am Rise in Shine

Meeting up with the peeps on the team flight.

Meeting up with the peeps on the team flight.

Donella on 2 hours of sleep.

Donella on 2 hours of sleep.

Friday morning we woke up at the break of dawn and headed of to our friends, Jenn and Eric’s place, they kindly took us to San Jose airport and sent us off on our journey. Thanks guys! When we  arrived at the terminal we met up with about thirty members of the team including our coach. In case any of our baggage  got lost, it was encouraged that we carry all of our tri gear as our carry on. I never knew that carrying all of the tri gear could be so heavy. I think I may have gotten armpit burn from the heaviness of my back pack.

“Stand By” for a Connecting Flight

We waited "standy by" trying to catch an earlier flight.

We waited "standy by" trying to catch an earlier flight.

As a team, we all flew together from San Jose to Honolulu, but in Honolulu some of us were on different connecting flights from Honolulu to Kona. Me and Tony’s connecting flight arrived waaaaaaaaay later and  was not scheduled to land until after 4pm.  Our team bike pick up was at 4:30pm at the Hilton Waikoloa Hotel (20 miles from the airport) and we were concerned that we wouldn’t make it from Kona airport (after getting our luggage from baggage claim, lag time, pick up our rental car etc)  in time to meet the pick up and test out our bikes. We had not been on the saddle  since drop off 2 weeks ago, so it was important to put on the pedals and test out the bikes.

We tried to get the same flight as most of the team.

We tried to get the same flight as most of the team.

Hawaiian Airlines had three earlier flights that we were hoping to get on, Tony and I waited on stand by for each flight watching fellow members take off one by one and waving good bye to us. After chumming up with the airline rep, she got us on an earlier flight with our teammates. Yay!

Rushing To Hilton Waikiloa

Amidst the lava desert was the lush resort.

Amidst the lava desert was the lush resort.

As soon as we arrived at Kona Airport we were informed that since our checked in baggage was originally scheduled to arrive on a later flight, we would most likely not have our luggage. Thankfully, we had out triathlon gear in our carry on.  After a few minutes of waiting at the airline counter….we discovered that our baggage did make it! Hip hip hooray! We rushed to Hertz, picked up the rental and off we were driving thru the windy lava fields of Hawaii. Amidst the dark lava desert sit the beautifully manicured Waikoloa resort.

Rushing to Pick Up our Bikes

We made it just in time for bike pick up.

We made it just in time for bike pick up.

By the time we arrived our team was already in the lobby all geared up to pick up and ride their bikes. Without having a chance to check in an go to our room, we hurryingly, left our luggage with baggage check, grabbed our short shorts (yes tighty biker shorts) bike shoes, helmet, pedals, gloves and ran to the lobby restroom to get dressed.  Then we rushed to bike pick up where our coaches and the rest of our team were already setting up their bikes. Our coaches helped us reattach our pedals (we had to removed them for cargo shipping) and re pump our tires and  just get our bikes in working order.

Road Rash

Shortly before my road rash.

Shortly before my road rash.

Once our bikes were set we headed towards the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway (Queen K). The Queen K is actually part of the same road course used during The Hawaii Ironman which consists of a 2.4 miles swim 112 miles in the Hawaiian lava desert 26.2 miles marathon run. But before we headed to the Queen K,  I was obviously preoccupied with to waving at people instead of the road b/k  as I was about to stop and socialize, I forgot I was still clipped…..and gave everyone a nice little show of me squirming to get unclipped and  falling off my bike.  Martin, one of our friends and mentors is this really tall and big guy, kindly pulled me up just like rag doll…up from the hot asphalt. Thankfully, nothing broken, just dirty scraped bloody knees…not cute, but not life threatening either. I jumped back on the saddle and on continued with everyone onto the Queen K Hwy .  As we were riding in the hot wind, I was imagining how all of the lava dirt blowing into my wound and infecting my bloody scraped knee…thank goodness I had bacterial wipes in my bike bag hanging behind my seat post.

Hot Windy Lava Desert

Queen K highway

Queen K highway

En route to the Queen K Hwy  Martin gave us a little tour of where the swim start and transition area would be. It gave us and idea of how far everything was from each other. On the Queen K, we biked thru gusts of 40mph winds. This was something that none of us had trained for. I had to bike diagonally so that he wind wouldn’t push me sideways on my bike. What was short 10 bike ride felt like a hot 30 minute spin class. Afterward the test ride, we headed back to the comfy air conditioned hotel. After a long day of traveling and rushing from one place to another we finally go to check into our room.

Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate

water and gatorade

water and gatorade

Once we settled into our room, we took the shuttle to the local resort grocery at Queen’s Marketplace and  shopped for bottles  of water…and of course a lil Hawaiian li hin sour gummy candy. The magical word for the past week has been hydrate hydrate hydrate. Coach Chris mentioned that we should be hydrating throughout the  entire week. He informed us that you cannot drink alot in one day in order to make up for not hydrating throught the week.  Since it was the only grocery store in the area, we ran into many teammates stocking up on the precious bottles of water.

We’re off to the Lavaman Triathlon!

March 27, 2009
A picture from last year's Olympic Disctance Lavaman Triathlon.

A picture from last year's Olympic Disctance Lavaman Triathlon.

It’s 4am and I just finished packing and getting ready to go to bed. In 2 hours we’ll be waking up to get ready and head out to the airport. We’re flying out  with  The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training Team to  Kona Hawaii to compete in the Olympic Distance  Lavaman Triathlon! Exciting! Scary! It may take me a few weeks, but once I get all the photos downloaded, I’ll update and  share our experience with all of you! Thank you to everyone who has supported us, with your donations, words of encouragement, well wishes and prayers!  We’ll be thinking of all of your during our race. And we’ll be keeping all of the honorees and loved ones in our hearts! Take care, God Bless and Go Team!

Packing for the Race

March 27, 2009
All swim, biking and run gear all need to fit in my carry on.

All swim, biking and run gear all need to fit in my carry on.

The other night I started packing.  I used to think that packing gear for a flight for snow trip was a lot (snowboard, boots, clothing, helmet etc) , but who knew that there was so much to bring for a triathlon gear? And the fact that  we are recommended to bring all of our swim, bike and run gear as carry on… uh oh…where in the world are my us weekly magazines and SLR  camera gonna go?

So far on our carry on we have the following:

Transition bag, wetsuit, bathing suit, tri shorts, sportsbra, bike shorts, TNT team singlet, goggles, swim caps, flipflops, biking gear, helmet, bikeing gloves, sunglasses, bike tools, spare tube, bike pump, biking shoes, clipless pedals ( they made us remove them from out bikes), socks, run gear, running shoes, hat, gu gels, luna moons, cliff blocks, sunscreen and that doesn’t even include my sweatshirt, SLR or purse.  This shall be tricky.

Last Swim at Burgess

March 27, 2009

Tonight was our last swim until we leave for Hawaii. Tony and I met at burgess pool to swim a nice relaxing 1 mile. Afterwards, he challenged me to a 100m sprint (total of 2 laps back and forth). For the first time I won! Granted he gave me a 25m lead. Even with the head start he usually beats me, so I was surprised…and I think he was too. Next time we swim we’ll be in the waters of  Hawaii!

Last Run at Foothill

March 27, 2009
Foothill College: Last 3 mile run before we leave for Hawaii.

Foothill College: Last 3 mile run before we leave for Hawaii.

On Wednesday night, Tony and I went for our last run at Foothill until race weekend.  He had actually went on a run earlier in the day, so this was his chill run.  If anything, he was nicely keeping me company as I trudged around the track. I was feeling under the weather and feeling a bit achy, but needed to get the legs moving.  At  the start of my 3rd mile my hamstring was oddly starting to hurt….since we’re tapering Tony recommended that I just take it easy and not injure anything before the race.  So  for the rest of the 3rd mile Tony and I walk/ jogged.  During our walk, we  saw a female runner  just wearing a sports bra and shorts, tho it wasn’t as cold as usually,  I was dressed quite opposite of her…thermals, tee, fleece sweater, warm up pants and beanie. I was starting to think that I was coming down the “chills” and hopefully not a fever…..that night, i pounded down a nice large bottle of  water with  vitamins,  airborne and  Tylenol cold and flu pills.

Send Off

March 26, 2009
Send Off: Getting last minute instructions from the coaches.

Send Off: Getting team singlet and last minute race weekend instructions from the coaches.

After the Honoree Run, we had “Send Off”.  Team Manager and our coaches handed out all the information and packets that we will be needing for our race. It went over travel arrangements, roommate assignments ( Tony’s my roomie….he lucked out 😉 )team event dinners, itineraries , bike pick ups, picked up our  purple team singlet and last minute stuff. It was out last team meeting until we fly our on Friday morning. Woohoo!  It’s getting close!

Honoree Run

March 25, 2009
Honoree Run: We ran to Louie Bonpua's gravesite

Honoree Run: We ran to Louie Bonpua's gravesite

This past weekend was out last coached event and was Honoree Run, we were scheduled to meet at Montclaire elementary at 8:30am. I initially thought an Honoree run would have a bunch of us and several of the honorees running around on a track and socializing. When we arrived, we were told that we would be doing a short 1 mile to the Gates of Heaven Cemetery in Los Altos. There we would visiting the grave site of Louie Bonpua. Louie was hardcore Team in Training triathlete/Ironman that was active in the TNT community. You can read more about Louie’s  inspiring story here. Or watch a short video tribute here.

When we arrived at the cemetery, we all sat around on the grass near Louie’s grave. Our coaches wanted to remind us that above all of the training, fund raising and fun activities that we had experienced, this was to remind us why we are doing this. Although there will be hundreds of other people participating in the triathlon, we are all doing this for all those who are been affected by cancer. I always appreciate how they reign back everything to the cause. It was during this time that we had the opportunity to reflect and share why we decided to join Team In Training.  Many people  shared their personal struggles that they or their family members had endured b/k of cancer.  It was a very emotional experience, that rang true for many of us there.   Coach Chris also shared a touching story about his mom. As  part of his healing process , he bike 1600 mile journey from Colorado Springs to San Francisco  in honor of his mother who died on October 24th. Coach Chris is a pretty entertaining speaker, amist his emotion he was able to weave in humor and inspiration. He said something that stuck with me.  In short, he described how he kinda looks at our bodies as “rental cars” some engines are better than others.  But it’s up to us to choose how we utilize our “rental cars” and what we want to do with our lives. And I kinda relate to it for some time I’ve wanted to do something more with my life (outside of work ) and impact others in a positive way.  Wether it be  supporting events for good causes, donating,  volunterring or may be something else that I’m not aware of yet…I’m not sure.   I’ll just see how it goes, but hopefully this is just the beginning to life long journey in trying to do good things and hopefully inspire others along the way.

Fight thru the cold or flu

March 25, 2009

Last night, I went swimming yesterday, my college friend Julie nicely came along.  We met up at Burgess and did a few laps, I hope she had a good workout. Afterwards I headed hom feelig under the weather. Eveyone has been getting sick lately.  At work, at home, the lady at the boba shop. I feel like I’m fighting something. I was going to run tonight at Foothill, but it may be better to rest and not risk it.  Tony has been sick the past week, hacking cough, stuffy head, congestion galore.  Hopefully, he gets better soon and hopefully I don’t catch any cold or flu. Othersie I’ll be full blown sick on race day… that would suck.  Get well dude!

Quick weekday recap

March 21, 2009
  • Monday: swam a mile at burgess pool in menlo
  • Tuesday: Late 10pm run around the track  with Tony at foothill, I ran 3 miles he ran 4.
  • Wednesday: Last coached team swim at burgess, so sad. I’m gonna miss these swim practices.  We had fun doing relays, the more advanced members of the team were in the middle of the pool while we swam and pretended to be water animals. Pulling and tuggin at us. Or attacking us as we swam. It was fun, hopefully real animals don’t attack us in Hawaii. At the end of the practice we threw all three coaches in the pool. That was fun.
  • Thursday: 3 mile run at Foothill. I saw the TNT Spring Wildflower team practicing as well.  They just started their  last month, so exciting for them.I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s last coached weekend workout before the race and also the honoree run. Good night!

Race Day Checklist

March 20, 2009

This is kinda cool. Race Day Checklist It’s allows you create a customized checklist for race day. Of couse you can type it yourself, but that would just take too long.

Bye Bye Bikies! See you in Hawaii!

March 20, 2009
Tagging the bikes.

Shipping our bikes to Hawaii.

Sunday morning we were going to attend out last Captain’s bike ride to Half Moon Bay. We were really looking forward to this ride because:

1. I’ve heard it was a scenic route and
2.  It was canceled last month, due to rain
3. It was our last ride of the season.

But sadly, it was once again it was canceled.  Darn rain.  Shucks! It was a bummer, but it allowed us to sleep in for the first time a long time. Later, we were scheduled for our “bike drop off” to be shipped to Hawaii. We headed over to at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s office in san jose and saw all of teammates and their bikes.  Before we could place our bikes on the truck, we had to take our pedals and any CO2 cartridges. If there are any CO2 cartridges found there is a $250,000 fine. Crazy! I was surprised at how early that we had to drop off our bikes,  I didn’t know it took two weeks to delivery to Hawaii.  But then later we found out that the shipping truck will be starting from the bay area and work it’s way down to southern california. Along the way picking up bikes from other Team In Training Teams that will also be competing in the Lavaman Triathlon in Kona  Hawaii.  It will eventually end up at the port in LA and be placed on a cargo ship and delivered to Hawaii. Exciting!!! Only 9 more days!

Coached Practice Tri

March 19, 2009

For last weekend’s coached workout, was we were  scheduled to do open water sprint distance practice tri at UVAS reservoir, but due to some rules and regulations our team was unable to attain the necessary permits. So we instead had a much easier practice tri in menlo park.  Since, I could have really used extra practice in open water, I was kinda bummed we didn’t get to UVAS.  In any case, it was good fun practice. We had 600m swim in the pool, 18 mile bike ride around portola loop and a 3 mile run. Our captains and coaches wanted us to weave all three events together and get used to riding wet, running wet and adjusting to transitions. Just like how it will be on race day, we got race numbers and body marked.

Just like on race day, we practiced getting body marked.

Getting body marked.

We started the first wave of the race. 1/2 of us were in the outdoor pool, while the other 1/2 stayed in heated bubble. Tony and I opted for the cold unheated, outdoor pool. Burrrrrr….

Group picture of our wave before the practice start.

Group picture of our wave before the practice start.

During the rush of the start, I hung in the back to avoid getting clubbed in the head.

During the rush of the start, I hung in the back to avoid getting clubbed in the head.

Tony during the swim.

Tony during the swim.

Afterward, we practiced transitioning from swim to bike. Dry off, change from swim clothes to biking clothes, eat, drink etc.

Tony in transition.

Tony in transition.

We then did an 18 mile bike ride around Portola Loop.

The faster bikers.

The faster bikers.

Tony on his 18 mile ride.

Tony on his 18 mile ride.

Donella returning from her ride.

Donella returning from her ride.

Tony coming in from his bike ride to run.

Tony coming in from his bike ride to run.

After our 18 mile bike ride, we transition from our bike gear into an immediate 3 mile run.

High fives on my way to my run.

High fives on my way to my run.

Tony on his run.

Tony on his run.

Where is the finish line?!!

Where is the finish line?!!

We ran to the finish line where our coaches, captains, mentors and honorees cheered us on, we crossed the finish line and got a paper medal. It was made out of construction paper and markers, but it added to the fun of the  race and made it enjoyable. It was a treat. Thank you to everyone handcrafted the awards! I’m sure it too a lot of work.

Tony came in 1st place and recived his medal.

Tony came in 1st place and received his medal.

Yay!

Yay!

Teamamtes crossing the finish! Go Team!

Teamamtes crossing the finish! Go Team!

With our construction paper medals!

Sporting our construction paper medals!

After the practice tri we hung out and had a BBQ with the rest of the team. It was a nice way to have some fun, food and share our experience about the practice.

The finish line led us to a BBQ.

The finish line led us to a BBQ.

For more pictures, check out more picture on our flickr site.

Date Night

March 18, 2009

On Thursday, Tony and I met up for some romantic 400m, 800m, 1200m pyramid swimming at Burgess Pool in Menlo. Afterwards, boba ..yummm.

Daylight (yay!) three mile time trials

March 18, 2009

This was the 1st time, there was still daylight during our weekday, track workout.

This was the 1st time, there was still daylight during our weekday, track workout.

On Tuesday we had out weekday track work out at Foothill. We had just adjusted our clocks on Sunday so it was the first time that there was daylight during a track practice. It was so nice to see the sun on a weekday workout. Fun for today, 3 mile time trials. I’m still like one mile or 1/2 mile behind everyone else. Oddly, my left foot get’s numb starting at the beginning of the third mile. This also happened at the Stanford Treeathlon, hopefully it will go away by race day.  (Tony: 3 miles in 23 minutes; Donella 3 miles in 34 minutes.)

Purple Wristband

March 18, 2009

I’m about a week behind in posts, but I’ll do my best to recap. After my lovely turtle like pace at the Stanford Treeathlon, I decided to continue practicing my swimming. I headed over to Burgess pool on Monday evening. As the days get warmer I’ve been noticing that the pool has been getting more crowded and I’m often sharing lanes with strangers. I’ve gotten used to sharing and often enjoy the company. On Monday I was sitting at the edge of a lane waiting for a woman to return from and swim back from the opposite end of the lane. I was about to ask her if I could share the lane with her. As I waited I noticed that around the top of her sport basement water bottle was a rubber purple team in training wristband that said T.E.A.M. TRAIN ENDURE ACHIEVE MATTER. When she came back, I asked her if she was in TNT. She said that her name was Sherry, she had just joined the spring team for Avia Wildflower Triathlon. She asked me if I was in TNT and I said that I was doing the Lavaman a part of the Winter Tri team. Suddenly, there a simple friendly connection, we discussed our experience in with TNT and  learning how to swim and fund raise. She said that she was a cyclist and that part is easy for her, but the rest it was tough. She also mentioned that she was fifty years old and that this was a goal for her. She asked me what was I before joining the tri team, A runner? Swimmer? Cyclist? and I responded….”Well, actually I like to snowboard..I’m not really a runner, but I’ll join a race just to complete it.  And I’m not a cyclist,  just got a roadbike and learned to use clips…and for swimming, well, It just learned to swim deeper than 3ft since TN” . She seemed to enjoy my answer and encouragingly said, “good for you!” After a bit more chit chat she finished up her workout and started mine, we wished each other well and good luck! Nice to meet you Sherry.

I’m not gonna lie….I’m slow.

March 13, 2009

Omigosh,  the results from my first tri came in. I always knew that I was slow in endurance events. But I didn’t know I was that slow. I came in 2nd to last my division.I guess all that chit chat with the lifeguards on the swim, and the policemen on the bike and volunteers on the run course did slow down my time a bit. But not much. I’m not gonna lie….I’m slow. It can only get better from here, right?

Donella’s Time:
Division: Open Female 34 and under | Place 83 ( out of 84)
Swim:  20:54.4 (Rank 86)     T1: 5:47.4
Bike: 45:59.6 (Rank 79)         T2: 3:39.6
Run: 35:40.1 (Rank 79)
Total: 1:52:01.1

Tony’s Time
Division: Open Male 34 and under | Place: 118 ( out of 181)
Swim: 12:43.2 (Rank 87)       T1: 4:12.3
Bike:   37:39.4 (Rank 111)       T2: 2:06.8
Run:   25:35.0 (Rank 118)
Total: 1:22:16.7

Our First Sprint Triathlon Together

March 12, 2009
The was rising when we arrived.

The was rising when we arrived.

In preparation for Lavaman, we entered the Stanford Treeathlon. We woke up at 430am, ate, loaded the gear and arrived at Redwood Port around 6am.It was still dark when we arrived, but the sun was starting to rise. There were so many people already setting up there transition area. Thankfully we ran into Martin and few other team mates.

Team mates, Karin, Erin & Tony getting into their wetsuits.

30 minutes before the 1st wave start, team mates, Karin, Erin & Tony getting into their wetsuits.

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Group shot. I missed the group pix I having fun at the porta potty.

Martin was there helping us setting our transition areas from the swim to the bike, and from the bike to the run. It was nice to have familiar faces at our first race. I think all of our TNT members appreciated having one another there to calm the nerves and just for the overall support.  We hooked up the bikes to rack, set up the transition area, applied the body glide, got body marked, strapped on the timing chips etc. We started putting on our wetsuits around 7am, we had 15 minutes until the transition area closed and we would  no longer had access to our gear until the race. Afterwards, we headed to the starting line for the beginning collegiate 1st wave. From there they moved onto the open age groups, Tony’s wave started 1/2 hour prior to mine, at 7:50am, so I had the opportunity to see him start his race. once he got the water, we all started cheering for him “Go Tony!”

Tony getting ready for his wave.

Tony getting ready for his wave.

3rd Wave, Tony's Wave started at 7:50am

3rd Wave, Tony's Wave started at 7:50am

My wave didn’t start until 8:20am, so I had joy of being nervous for another 30 minutes. During that time, me and some of the  other TNT girls go to hang out in our wetsuits in the cold. I was so jumpy, I wanted to get into the water and let the shock of the cold happen. I knew it was gonna happen, I just needed time to adjust to the freezing water. 8:10am arrived, we had the opportunity to acclimate in the water before our heat. As I imagined it was cold. I let myself get used to it and I was fine. *Whew* . The lady with the blow horn gives us  a 30 second warning before the it goes off. I look around at my other teammates and we all wish one another a safe race and good luck. Kristine and I are both nervous, we look at each other and say, “We can do this!” and give each other a high five. The blow horn goes off and I begin my first sprint triathlon.

Donella waiting for her wave. 5th wave started at 8:20am.

Donella waiting for her wave. 5th wave, women's 35 and under, started at 8:20am.

The Swim: The dreaded swim, distance was short, I’ve swam in pool for several miles. So 500m shouldn’t be a problem right? Wrong!  I start off ok, suddenly i realize that I’m at the end of the pack. I had to remind myself, time to relax and go at my pace. Otherwise, if I start out too fast I’ll wear out too quickly, and i still had the bike and swim to do. The pack is moving farther and farther away from me.  Suddenly, a life guard on a surfboard tells me that I’m going the wrong way and to follow the buoy. The small choppy waves are crashing against my face and throws off my rhythm, the bright sun is hitting my eyes and are blinding me, and my head is so cold that I start becoming dizzy and disoriented. My vision starts to get blurry and I start to begin to see stars. I haven’t experience this before and I start to get scared. Inside I’m thinking “oh no, I’m going to have to stop, I’m too disoriented to handle this”. Another lifeguard on a surfboard comes up to me and I ask him if I’m going the correct direction, “he says yes, but the current is started to pull me the wrong way again”. I’m freezing and out of breath, I ask him if I can I hold on to the board to rest for a few seconds (it legal to do so).  Then, I ask him, “Are you going to pluck me out of the water b/k I’m too slow?”. He smiled and said, “No, just as long as you keep moving in a forward progression and make it to the buoy, I’ll guide you to make sure you don’t go off course”. So nice of him. The short rest allowed me to compose myself and continue moving on. I then run into another kayak and surfboard  catches me, the current is pushing off course again! I told the guy (a different guy) on the surfboard that this was my 1st triathlon and if there were any other surfers that we be on the rest of the swim course. He smiles, gives me some encouraging words and guides me towards dock. He tells me that if i get any more tired I can grab on to the dock.  I progressed on,  thankfully, I finally warmed up, my confidence  returned and it was smooth sailing from here. A group of course volunteers pulled us up from the water like beached whales, and soon as I got up, I was so dizzy that I had to grab onto the ramp rails . Then, I ran to the transition area and  got ready for the bike ride. It wasn’t the best swim, but I did it! I completed my first open water swim! Martin L. our team photographer was there to take my pix, thanks Martin!

Race Start, I'm the 2nd red cap from the left.

Race Start, I'm the 2nd red cap from the left.

Transition #1:  Swim to Bike
When I arrived at my transition area, Kristine was dressing up just about to get on to her bike (our transition areas were next to each other)  We both looked so dizzy and tore up all the while talking, giving each other encouraging words and trying to dress up. We were kinda out of it…like drunk or tipsy from the swim, it was so funny I was laughing inside. By the time, I got out of my wetsuit, changed into my biking clothes and headed off into the bike portion, Tony was arriving from his bike ride and getting ready for his run. We  gave each other a short lil encouraging peck on the lips before we headed onto the next leg of our respective races.

Bike Ride: It was a fairly smooth ride, early on the ride, I saw a water bottle rolling around on the road. I was thinking to myself. Oh I hope that doesn’t happen to me. Hello! Jinx, no more than two minutes later, after I got a sip of my Gatorade, I missed the cage and the bottle went right thru my frame and dropped my water bottle on the road. Shoot! I probably should have left it there, but that would have meant I wouldn’t have any hydration for 14 miles, plus, I didn’t think it was safe for the other riders. So i stopped, unclipped, got out of the lane, and walked back to grab my water, by that time 20 people on bikes had passed me by. Shoot! ext time I’ll just leave the bottle. Through out the ride, i could feel a stitch ache on my side. It was kinda odd, I usually get stitches running, but never on a bike. I figured I had another 10 miles for the stitch to go away.  Other than that little mishap everything on the bike ride went well. I even thanked the police officer for holding traffic to let me go thru!

14 mile, bike ride

Short 14 mile, bike ride

Tony on his bike ride.

Tony on his bike ride.

Donella on her bike.

Donella on her bike.


Transition #2: Bike to run
When I arrived back at my transition area Tony had already finished his race. He was kind enough to follow me with a camera and take pics of me while I did my transition. Thankfully, he was there b/k in the midst of the race. I forgot where my rack was. Oh no! He guided me to wear it was, i got all my biking gear off, except my helmet, I started to run and  had to go back and take my helmet off. By then I had thrown all of my stuff all over the place.  I was off to last leg of the race.

Transition: Bike to run (couldn't find my rack)

Transition: Bike to run (couldn't find my rack)

Run: The run was slow, but fine. I kept chatting with all of the volunteers and thanked them for their encouraging words of “good job!” “you can do it!”. They prolly could have cared less and they say it to ever person running by, but when you’re tired and worn any piece of encouragement helps to get you thru to the next leg. 1/2 way thru the run, I was feeling sick and upchucked! Gross, so sour, but it helped to get rid of my stitch. Only 1.5 miles to go, i was feeling better, but on the last 700meters my left front of my foot, started to go numb. It was so weird, it’s never happened before. But I didn’t want to stop b/k I could  see the rest of my TNT teammates cheering me on and I could hear the band playing. I ran thru the numbness and enjoyed crossing the line, giving high fives and receiving a loving hug from Tony at the finish line.

Short 3.1 mile run

3.1 mile run

Tony on his run.

Tony on his run.

Tony was there to give me hug when I crossed the finish line.

Tony was there to give me hug when I crossed the finish line.

Afterwards, we waited for the rest of our teammates to finish and a few of us celebrated completing our first sprint tri and went out for lunch. Overall, I was probably a bit too chattiy talking to the lifeguards, police people and volunteers, but it helped to ease my nerves, especially in the water. It wasn’t the fastest or smoothest race. But we were just happy finishing it! I was just mostly just happy getting thru the swim portion! It was me and Tony’s first tri together! We did it! Now on to Lavaman!

The night before my first sprint triathlon

March 10, 2009

Picking our Race Packets and bibs the night before.

Picking our Race Packets and bibs the night before.

Friday evening, the night before the Stanford Treeathlon. We just picked up our race packets at Stanford and we saw some fellow Team in Training Teammates picking up there packets as well. It’s three weeks until our main race, the Olympic distance, Lavaman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii. But tomorrow will be my first ever triathlon experience whatsoever. It’s much shorter, much smaller and much more local. I should be more relaxed.

We’re packing our bags for stuff for tomorrow event:
Directions to event, watches, road bikes, emergency bike repair stuff ( i don’t really know how to use it tho), pumps, helmets, sunglasses, biking gloves,transition bags, body glide, wetsuits, trash bags for wetsuits, tri shorts, goggles, race bib numbers, safety pins,running hat, beanie, black permanent marker, swim caps, sunscreen, chapstick, hair ties,warm post race clothes, running shoes, flip flops, transition towels, cliff blocks, Luna moons, goo, cliff shots, Gatorade, water etc.

Our event race bibs and swim caps.

Our event race bibs and swim caps.

It’s supposed to be a short, flat easy race, a nice beginner race. I still have concerns about the open water. Tony is jumpy and excited, bouncing all over the place.  I on the other hand, am nervous. Ever since I was kid, I feel nausea when I get nervous…..I think I’m gonna throw up.

Our First Open Water Swim: Take #2

March 4, 2009
Same day, back at lagoon to try again.

Same day, back at lagoon to try again.

After our workout and brunch with the team, Tony and I headed back to Redwood Shores. I was still frustrated, but I was determined to make it back and forth across to the other side of the lagoon on my own.  Tony did well in the open water swim earlier in the day and the extra swim was unecessary for him.  For safety purposes, he was kind enough to swim with me and follow along. We put on our wetsuits and once again the endured the freezing temperatures. I again proceeded to go thru my anxiety of struggling to breathe and adjust to the cold…….I tell you this winter cold water is a shock to the system. Everytime my face hit the water, instead of exhaling, I’d hold my breath and  messing up my rythm. I had to go thru the whole 5 strokes, then 10 stokes bit again…..Finally, I started to warm up, my breathing started to normalized and i started to bilateral breathe.  I began to get into my usual pool rythm. I made it back and forth 4 times.  It wasn’t fast, but I did it. Things are  getting better….I’m sure I’ll  go thru the anxiety time after time…. In time, hopefully I’ll get better and it will lessen.

Our first Open Water Swim = horrifying

March 3, 2009
Our first open water swim at Redwood Shores Lagoon.

Our first open water swim at Redwood Shores Lagoon.


Saturday was our first open water swim. And one word to describe it – horrifying. Yep, that’s right. I was hoping that today I’d be able to tell you I conquered my fear of swimming by conquering the open water ….alas I was wrong. I had been anticipating the open water swim ever since joining Team In Training. As I mentioned in my earlier posts, the “swim” part of the triathlon is what I most fear. The thought of drowning is oh so scary. But at the same time, it’s also the part that I am most eager and excited to accomplish. For the past couple of months we’ve been practicing at the pool, drill after drill,l lap after lap, and mile after mile. I’ve conquered my fear of swimming in any depth of the pool….I didn’t think I was ready for the ocean. But open water, lakes, lagoons bays…I figured…ok may be. Friday night, we packed up all our swim gear needed for tomorrow’s swim, body glide, wetsuits, jugs of water to rinse off in etc. We were originally scheduled to be at UVAS reservoir or Steven’s canyon reservoir, but due to permits we were moved to Redwood Lagoon. We headed over to redwood shores and arrived a little before 8:30am. Everyone was already getting into their wetsuits when we parked, so we quickly slapped on the body glide and put our wetsuits on. All the beginners (like myself) were paired with an experienced open water swimmer and mentor. The more experienced swimmers and previous triathletes went on their own. Compared to what I’ve seen in the past, the water was fairly calm. Todd was my mentor for today, he’s been nice for the past season. Back when we had a bike ride in almaden, my chain fell off and he stopped to help me fix it. Anyhoo, most people were already in the water and to set expectation, I informed him that this was my first time. We sat on the dock and he told me not to worry and that the minute I jump in, to sit in the lazy boy position. Apparently wetsuits are somewhat buoyant. It gave me comfort knowing that my wetsuit would help me float. Not as buoyant as a life vest, but buoyant. I took a deep breath …1,2, 3 and I hoped off the dock……..burrrrrrrr the water was freezing. Surprisingly, I was ok. I was soo cold… i was already breathing unevenly. So I waded for awhile and Todd was like ok, “you gotta put your face in the water” . Now, it as time to swim….all these months of swimming in the pool, bi lateral breathing, drills and strokes were gonna be put to use. I was actaully really excited. The minute, I stuck my face into the water I freaked out…..it was so dark, so green and so cold. I felt restricted by the wetsuit, and couldn’t breath in the cold, I started flailing my arms, I started hyperventilating, and swallowing the disgusting duck poo filled water….i was panicking. As I lifted my head to breath the precious air, in between my flailing splashes I could hear Todd’s voice in calm yet stern manner…..”you need to relax, calm down….you’re panicking” .. Oh gosh, i thought I was about to cry. After I stopped panicking, I took a few deep breaths….and I tried again….and again I went to the gasping motions of drowning…again…i needed to relax. Finally, i calmed down and Todd said, “ok, just do 5 strokes and you can take a break”. I was thinking, I’ve been doing hundreds of strokes these past few months, and I can’t even get thru five??!!….After, I did five strokes……he upped it to ten strokes….then twenty….and finally until we made it to the other side. During this entire time the team went thru the triangular of bouys 2x. I was only able to make it across once.  Ugh, I was so frustrated. This must be what coach chris calls a “low points” in training and racing.

Our post swim, 2 mile run.

Our post swim, 2 mile run.

After the swim, we transitioned into a short 2 mile run. During this time, Tony surprisingly ran with me. He’s much faster than me and usually runs with the speedy grop, so I was surprised he stayed back. Later he said that my face  had the unusual expression of  “defeat” on it. So he wanted to see if I was ok and give me a few encouraging words. I called it a “pity run” but in the end his company seemed to cheer me up. After  about 1 mile, he noticed that I was ok and he took off to catch up with the rest.  Oh,  this first open water experienced sucked big ones, but it just means I have to work harder…I’m still nervous about going back in, but I wanna do it!

btw, your prayers and words of encouragement would be good right about now! Think good thoughts for me! =)

Happy (belated) Valentines Weekend!

February 17, 2009

Happy belated valentines everyone! This past Friday we celebrated Tony’s bday with sushi, sake bombs and good friends. Our dear friend, Baker/Chef Jennifer created some delectable red velvet cupcakes with the character of Diego (from Dora the explorer) Oh it was so cute! I was raving to my mother how I thought the cupcakes were so cute entertaining. We didn’t have a coached workout this weekend so we headed to southern california for the long weekend. The following morning, Tony and I headed for a wet drive down to Oxnard, where we spend the weekend visiting family, attending baby showers and celebrating birthdays (my mom’s and tonys) and anniversaries (my bro and sis-in-law, Junbee and Bell’s 4th year wedding anni) . We haven’t been to Oxnard since Christmas, so it was a nice time catching up. I will admit it was such a party filled weekend that I didn’t get a chance to exercise. Instead, we indulged in lots of junk food and ice cream. But Tony did manage to wake up one early morning and go for a six mile run. Good job Tony! Shame on me <=)