Monday, April 21, 2014

Boston 2014

Boston Marathon Recap:

In short: Went for sub-3 or bust, but 6:45 - 6:50 felt like a sprint today. At mile 9, I dropped off to 7:00, which felt pretty manageable. KN held the 6:50s and took off. On the back half, I was able to give it a little more effort through the hills, and after Heartbreak, I looked down the hill and spotted KN off in the distance. I caught her at the 22 mile mark and we ran to the finish together. We finished in 3:04.

Honestly, I think I need flat and cold to run sub-3. All the stars need to align perfectly. Good thing we all just signed up for Chicago.

The start was emotional - I doubt there were many dry eyes during the Star Spangled Banner. It was different than years past: police lined the course the entire way, National Guard were everywhere, and four blackhawks flew over the start line as we began. The spectators were amazing - ten deep in places.

It's crowded the whole way in Boston, and it's hilly the whole way. Every year I forget how hard the crowd and hills are. You constantly have to dodge people and find a path to try to hold your pace. 6:50s were miserable today, but 7:00s were fine. I felt light and quick at 7:00. Miles 8 - 12 were the hardest, because I was already tired and the end was so far off. Once I get over the half and can start counting miles down, I get moving.

At one of the lonely points, around mile 11, TriGirlPink came out of nowhere and surprised me with a big glittery R and lots of cheers:

I felt good in the big hills (16-17 is way tougher than heartbreak, in my opinion) and started thinking about working hard to find Katherine. At the crest of heartbreak I looked out at the sea of bodies and spotted her pony tail way off in the distance. And I started racing to get to her. I caught her at the aid station after mile 22. We hit mile 23 at 2:40, and I knew we weren't running an 18-something 5k+, so sub-3 was out the window. So we just ran it in as fast as we could. KN was struggling with some leg pain, so I gave her my advil stash, and that must've done the trick, because she nearly dropped me on Boylston in the last 0.2 miles. There's nothing like that last stretch - I told KN to look up, stop dropping me, and smile because we are so lucky to be here.

(home stretch)

KN's place is just off Boston Common, so it was less than a mile walk home. David had protein smoothies and burgers from the Ritz waiting. I was on the floor pretty quickly.

We should be out on the town tonight, but David brought wine and Veuve and we can't move, so it's been a quiet recovery night. Maybe tomorrow!

Sunday, April 20, 2014


I'm in Boston! Proof:

KN had matching shirts and new shoes waiting for me, and has a place right on Boston Common, so we're staying within walking distance of the finish line. It is so good to see her again! I don't really care how tomorrow goes - friends, this city, the excitement around this race - this is what it's all about. I am so grateful just for the opportunity to be right here, right now.

I flew all night Friday and arrived at noon. KN and I immediately had difficulties. She had never picked anyone up at Logan Airport before. I texted that I was at baggage claim at Terminal B. She texted that she was curbside at Terminal B in the batmobile. I know the batmobile, and it isn't the red audi that was the only car at Terminal B. We talked on the phone and both confirmed we were right at the Terminal B sign. I went in and asked if there was another level of Terminal B, and the luggage guys laughed at me. We were highly confused for a good five minutes, then KN realized that maybe it was a loop - and sure enough, she pulled up and I was on the other side of the loop. So it began - if two blondes navigating an airport is that bad, you can imagine what we're like downtown.

I walked in to the expo and found myself in line with Marty and Kir. Marty qualified in his very first marathon, and this will be his third (and last, he says). The expo was horribly over-crowded and difficult to walk through, so we were in and out quickly. 

Go Marty!

It's different this year - the excitement and spirit feels bigger and better than ever, just like the police force. I feel like every third person is a cop. I'm not concerned. But my mother sure is.

I decided to come on short notice and didn't have time to get new shoes, so KN grabbed me a pair of Kinvaras from the expo when she went, on the first day. And now I have the Boston edition. I broke them in on a 20 minute run around Boston Common and down to the finish line this morning. Boylston is closed, and it's fun to run on the big open road towards the finish line. We ordered our burgers from the Ritz Carlton next door to be ready for us at 1:30 pm tomorrow. The game plan is sub-3 or bust: run 6:45-6:50 pace one mile at a time until we can't run it for another step. It worked in Chicago. We looked up those splits. Every 5k was 20:57 - 21:30 in Chicago, and that's the plan for tomorrow, too. The first half, we can go a little quick, since it's a battle not to given the downhill and since we need the cushion for Heartbreak and it's four sisters no one ever tells you about in the back half.

You can track us here: Athlete Tracking
Nichols: 5878
Ross: 3885

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Boston Bound

On Wednesday, an itinerary popped up in my inbox. Sometimes you need a little nudge. I wasn't going to go to Boston and I'd convinced myself that I was ok with that, but as soon as I saw my name on a flight, I was thrilled. I leave Friday. I can't wait to see KN, to participate in all things Boston Marathon, and to run my ass off. This year, I'll leave it all on the course - none of this stopping to chat with HK at the half for a while, then running 3:03 crap. There will be no HK, just me and KN. It'll be a quick visit this time - I won't make it to NYC, but I intend to see a lot of my running/tri world friends while in Boston. It's bound to be emotional - I still cry every single time I read a story about the bombing, even though I have no reason to be so dramatic. We were the lucky ones.

Since I last posted, I have run a ton, worked even more, and have connected with my friends near and far. I took three days off of work and traveled to the mainland to spend time with a friend, and it was ridiculously beautiful and relaxing. I ate and drank and rested. It was exactly what my mind and body needed. I've spent a lot of time just hanging at home with the kids. And suddenly I'm tapering. I can't wait to line up on that starting line. KN ran a 3:03 in MA a few months ago, so we're both coming off that time, looking, as always, for 2:59. I'm in full-blown every-pound-counts and carb depletion mode. It's going to be an ugly week, followed by another great trip. I keep escaping Hawaii each weekend that I don't have the kids. It's a relief to get away when times are tough. Next post will be a race report: sub-three in Boston or bust!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Every other day is better than nothing

Today was one of those days that didn't used to happen back in scientist land: I just couldn't find time to run. I did, however, manage to buy bike cleats! The final item in the journey back to the bike.

I also fell off the whole30 wagon. I've had a few nice meals lately, thanks to visiting families and friends, and who am I to say no to gorgeous sushi and wine? So, back on track tomorrow. Even in my off days, I was 90% on the program...

It's day one of being 100% that's the problem.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Whole30 Long Run

Today was a long one, and these are harder during the Whole30. I don't have the carbs all stored up like I usually do from the non-stop peanut butter m&ms. I was able to run the first 40 minutes with my friends Candes and Brigitte, which made them fly by, then headed out to Hawaii Kai solo, thinking that a 220 calorie Larabar for 20 miles likely meant a hard run back. My legs got tired, but I never ran out of gas. In the end I ran 22.5 miles in 2:45 -- 7:20/mile pace. I don't run with anything but a watch, so I have to map my run after, and it almost always tells me I ran 7:45s for long runs. A free 25 seconds per mile is such a gift! I'm attributing it to the Whole30. I don't weigh myself, but I've visibly lost weight. HK was gone for a while, and came home and said hey, no more paddling arms! My clothes fit better. Running is easier. I'm getting used to the clean eating, the three meals a day, and adding breakfast. And at least one entire cow has been consumed in the process. I love the Whole30.

I took Saturday off because I was tired and in between two late nights of fundraisers and went out fishing in the Kaiwi Channel at sunrise instead.

This is why I love fishing - I slept for the first two hours on this beanbag and occasionally opened my eyes to see whales breaching behind us: 

Ignore tired eyes, please and focus on the lack of paddling-arm.

 The boat-selfie tradition:

Pulling in to Kailua - it was this kind of day out there Saturday morning:

While out there we stopped to check out this guy - I think it's an oceanic whitetip, maybe 7-8 feet. He hung around for a while, checking out our bait (and keeping the mahimahi away) and was beautiful to watch:


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Almost Two Weeks

My man came home after what feels like forever - the last time we spent any time together was California. His niece Karma is almost as happy as I am. They had matching bedhead this morning.

In other news... the Whole30 is keeping on keeping on, and I was able to comfortably run 75+ miles last week, so it looks like Boston is on. If tickets ever drop down some - right now, I can get to Paris (I have a permanent fare alert just in case) for cheaper than I can get to Boston! And I've run lots of marathons, so...

 Random favorite during figure skating season, because really, that's what the Olympics are:

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Seven ate eight

It's 3:45 am and it looks like I'm up for good. The house is on a hillside overlooking a valley, which means I watch whales breach while I work, but it also means that in high winds, it rocks. The master bedroom is a third-floor loft, and the bed keep shaking me awake as the wind howls. I guess there's no time like the present to head out for a long run. I'd like to hop back up to 18 and add in Tantalus or one of the ridges for some good climbing practice. 

My parents are here. I think I outgrew Lucy around 7th grade, but it's funny to see my kids bigger than my mom. One of my brothers arrived from Africa last night, too, so we've got two weeks of family. Pete officially does development work in Mali, but half-lives in Senegal, too.

Day eight of the whole30 and we'll see how a long run goes. I've survived a week of consistent running with no problems, so it's a start. My clothes are loosening up, so the whole30 is doing it's thing. I'm remembering to eat, even though I still tend to skip breakfast most of the time. That's what coffee is for. I can't break all my bad habits at once, so I'm just focusing on getting sugar out of my life (and off of my thighs).

Friday, February 14, 2014

Day Seven

Whoops - so much for blogging everyday of the whole30. I would have, but I didn't have the energy. Something about lack of carbs, I think. I fell off the blog-wagon, but not the whole30-wagon - still going strong (weak). Day seven and I'm running on empty. There was a 24-hour accidental fast. I was hungry, but healthy food looked difficult and gross. I ended it with OCC snackbar breakfast, and it wasn't bad. Maybe by day 30, I will like healthy food? 

fast-ending food
Sky after waking up, doing her best grumpy cat impersonation

My brain without carbs. Luckily, I noticed about a block from the car.
It's a hard week to test Boston by running every day, but I'm surviving it. Off for the sunrise run now...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Day Three

I've always considered running my quiet time. I listed to music, but often I don't even hear the songs. As I try to determine whether the Boston Marathon is a viable option for me or not, I have committed to running 1 - 1.5 hours per day this week to test my durability. It's not a huge volume, but right now, it feels substantial. If I can't find the time to get it in, or if my back continues to cause problems, then this is not the time. I don't want to fly across the country to run 3 hours plus again. I want to fly across the country to PR on that course, which means 2:58:30 or better has to be possible.

Today, while running, I came up with a strategy to quietly push public perception of a controversial topic in a direction that would best suit one of my clients, an idea for my brother's fledgling company's branding, and a strategy to best manage a difficult client's attitude. That run was practically billable.

I also noticed a trend. As both my real and Facebook friends may have noticed, a couple of not-so-nice women have shown up in my life lately. As I thought about how to best manage this - and basically determined that all I can do right now is let it go, I noticed this:

**I know a lot of really nice 40-somethings. However, I've also noticed that no one was catty, nasty, or sabotaging between the ages of 15 and 40 - that's all. Nothing like an infographic to show my new theory. Let's blame it all on hormones, shall we? I would make one of these for the annual Great Aloha Run versus the Size of My Ass graph, however, I'm not running it this year, for many reasons (I don't feel like it, mostly).

Day three of the whole30 is on, and is working: I woke up hungry for breakfast. When I'm not doing the whole30, I eat breakfast when people make me (business meetings). I don't like to run with food in me. And breakfast makes me hungry all day, and I don't have time for all that eating. But I am following the rules, because my body needs a break from all the inflamation, sugar, and stress of my bad eating habits. I miss wine. That is all.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Day one of change is pretty easy, so long as I don't think about the 29 or so that follow. It helps when I get HK on board - our Saturday night date during the Whole30 is Whole Foods, followed by a Modern Family marathon.

It's almost 6 am and I'm off to meet Brigitte for a run. I don't think I had any carbs yesterday (fruit = gross) so it'll be interesting. It's also my first attempt at running two days in a row in a month. I should be running long by now for Boston, but if I can string together some hour-long back-to-back runs without too much back pain, I'll call it success!

Last week, I took Monday and Thursday almost completely off, and that allowed me to get my hours into the 40s for the first time in a while. It felt so luxurious. So that's an added goal: work 40-something hours a week, not 50- or 60-something.

It's Punahou Carnival weekend - this is just a shot of how you spend $100 in 45 minutes:

Wyatt went on the swings with me! And Sky's not wearing a weird yellow bow - that's my Cal bear shirt.

On to day two.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Day One

The blog has gone by the wayside as a result of the busy-ness of business. The running, the training, the coaching, and even the family have, as well. I'm writing from the overflow room of the State Capital, listening to testimony on behalf of a client on a Saturday morning. It's extremely interesting, as well as life-consuming. My health has fallen off with my training - I'm beginning to doubt that Boston will happen if I don't turn things around. I need to get moving more and stop eating poorly. So today is day one of the whole30. As part of the challenge, I'm going to also try to blog daily, even if it's just fluff, as it guarantees 10 minutes a day of thinking about my goals, my life, and my health.

Work sent me to San Francisco last week, so I took advantage of the opportunity to visit my littlest brother Tommy and his wife Hayley. We drove to Kirkwood and caught the first good snow of the season, we visited one of my oldest friends and her family in Jackson, and then I enjoyed San Francisco with HK and some of my favorite people.

Brother time

Untimely shot of my men. 14 and 43, no big difference.

Post-run sunrise view.

Superswimmer Kim, me, and Jordan having the best burgers ever at Spruce.

Tom, Hayley, and wine.

 The Patakys are awesome.

So, it's on. Today is day one of the whole30 (two poached eggs and black coffee - check!) and day one of daily posts.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


I've found a new relationship. Not a new man, mind you (never!), but the other kind of relationship. This time, it's this: the amount my brain works is inversely proportionate to my fitness. This relationship could also be called the size of my brain vs. the size of my ass.

I haven't used my brain this much since high school. I purposefully didn't use my brain in college - I knew it was the last stop, education-wise, so I went with what I remembered from high school and didn't go to much class and lucky for me, my high school was pretty good at college-prep, because I rolled out of there with a B average. I used my brain some in my scientist years, but usually, I only really had to dig deep for chemistry, and my chemistry attention span is 4 seconds long and when they get to weathering of polychlorinated biphenyls I nod a lot while really trying to determine what exactly I need at Walgreens.

This is a whole new level. I've learned more in the first 4.5 months of my new career than I did in the past 10 years combined. I have learned how the state government works; who's running for what office and why; who runs all the businesses, unions, and campaigns in this town; that some of my training friends are actually pretty badass out of the pool too; how to take on someone else's style and write their newsletters, emails, bylined stories and more; how to win over the most difficult executives; and how to convince people that they need PR. I am learning communications, strategy, and all the little quirks of this world more and more each day. I'm making mistakes left and right, but most of them are easily fixed with a follow-up question that makes up for the moronic question prior, or an idea that someone loves.

This brings me to the SOMA (size of my ass, for those that haven't been reading my annual GAR vs SOMA report each February). I'm not sure what happened, but things have rearranged themselves. I threw my back out a couple of days before the marathon, and I haven't had the time to get to the chiro to have it put back together, so HK or the kids have to put my shoes on for me. I run, but the miles aren't what they used to be. I try to get on track with clean eating, and usually last all the way up till my 3 pm meeting. I have lunch meetings 3-4 days a week. I quit drinking completely on Sunday - Friday, because this job doesn't allow time for being hazy. Yet the SOMA increases. I caved and bought new pants. I borrowed a bike and bought bike shoes, but haven't yet found time to put cleats on them. I went to swimming twice, but it was cold and I was just so tired.

There has to be balance, but I certainly haven't found it yet.

The kids came home. One turned 14 and made Blue Steel faces, another turned 12 and had an ice skating party, and the littlest just wants to sleep next to me at night, and they published my age really largely in a triathlon magazine. I can't complain about a thing, though - do you see that little one all snuggled in next to me?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Quiet Holiday

Sky watching the sun rise one morning last week.

Ah, December. The worst month. I liked Christmas when I was a kid, but as an adult, it's mostly been just added expense, stress, and a month that I count the days through. This year, it was solo -  the kids are in California. Unfortunately, they lost their paternal grandmother the week prior to Christmas, so they went with their dad to be with the family that needed them more.I gave the m my gifts on the car ride to the airport - phone, phone, phone, done. I just uploaded this photo and realized that Henry's not wearing a seat belt. Busted.

And then off they went.

I thought I'd run a ton while they were away, but my body hasn't wanted to run more than 30 minutes at a time in weeks. I think the anxiety and stress of life uses up all the energy I used to have for running, because even my first steps are tired. My first Christmas gift was a comfortable and happy 18 mile run around Kailua Christmas morning - it was lovely enough to make up for the three weeks of crap running.

I'm not a total grinch just because my kids aren't here - I do realize all I have to be thankful for, and am focused on that this holiday season. Last year's big goal was career - and I managed to change my path. I'm so grateful for an engaging career that challenges me every single day. I'm also extremely grateful for the 2.5 days of rest from that busy career that are currently underway for the holiday! Much of it has been spent enjoying the ocean and sunsets like this:

I'm grateful for an opportunity to return to triathlon next year after a break - and so grateful to have been invited onto the Betty team for 2014. This showed up just in time to motivate me to buy bike shoes. I threw the old ones away the day after Honu 2012.

I'm grateful for my bonus family, who invited me spend the entire holiday with them.

And for the friends, like Kim, who delivered wonderfully thoughtful gifts:

I found this hidden in my bag - he's not much of a gifter, unless I give him a specific idea, so this was a lovely surprise. The kids totally made him buy the card. 

In the evening, we had some solo time, so we hit the annual Outrigger Open House disaster, then sushi at Sansei. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Honolulu Marathon 2013

So, that didn't go according to plan. But marathons rarely do - I feel like the longer the event, the more you must be prepared to adapt. I dragged HK out of bed at 3 for the 5 am start. He had a huge project this weekend, and worked 15 hours laying tile Saturday, then got 4 hours of sleep - he was not too excited and flashed his typical pre-marathon or track workout face at me:

As we waited at the start, I tried to come up with a goal. I didn't have one. Goal-less races never go well for me - in Boston I had no goal and ran 3:03 on a day when I really could have done better, had I gone after it. I tried to jump on board with sub-3:10, but I couldn't make myself care. And then the gun went off. I ran with the Dooder, fresh off of pacing Hillary to her Ultraman World Championships, and Stacky and Mariane for the first mile or so. Easa was going to run with me, but I could tell from step one it wasn't a PR day - my quads always warn me. I told him to go race for the Kamaaina win instead of wasting his time with me, and off he went. I decided to set up a good day anyway, running 6:50 - 7 for the first 10k, because you never know how things might turn around. It was doable, but not great. Then the hills hit (8-9) and suddenly, I felt great. I booked it on the flat till mile 11, thinking I might just be able to escape all the things I had going against me, like: 
  • the fact that I have work-dream/nightmares all night every night that wake me up every hour worrying I forgot something, so I'm more sleep-deprived than usual
  • the unshakeable feeling that I can't do anything right lately - eat, work, parent, budget, and so on 
  • the feeling I had when I woke up, same as every day: please just let me survive today
  • the eight extra pounds I never dropped after paddling season
  • the two speed workouts in three months
  • the limited mileage/skipped runs due to utter exhaustion
It turns out that no, I couldn't escape it. And as usual, I could fake it for 10-11 miles. Around mile 11, I stopped being optimistic and fell into the negative pit of my mind. I suck at everything. Nothing I do is ever good enough. I can't possibly run fast when I had to go buy new shorts, a size bigger, yesterday. Look at all the skinny little people, gliding along effortlessly because they weigh 100 lbs. I can't do it all. You name it, I thought it. I ran a 7:50 for mile 13, in case anyone needs proof that you can only be as good as you think you are at any given moment.

HK wanted to break 4 hours. We had a contingency plan: if I was hurting or staring down a 3:15+, I would stop and wait for him, and pace him to his goal instead. So I ran to the half (1:34) and stopped to wait for him. It never occurred to me that by waiting for him, I would risk not finishing. I talked to friends and cheered until the 2:00 mark came. And went. And then suddenly it was 2:20, and I realized he wasn't coming. Something must have gone wrong. At that point, I was worried. And I'd been standing still for 45 minutes and didn't want to bother with the additional 7 miles of the Hawaii Kai loop without a hat in the sun and the crowds, so I just started to walk back along the sidewalk.

Then along came my friend Candes on her way back from Hawaii Kai,. We've been friends since high school.  She's a great athlete who helped introduce me to triathlon. She came up as I was walking somewhere between mile 20-21 (I skipped the out-and-back to Hawaii Kai, so I'd been waiting at the 13/20 mile mark) and asked me to run her in. I wasn't sure I could start up fast again after being still for nearly an hour, but she said Please - I just need to run 7:30s! so I jumped in. I'm so glad I did. The rest had done wonders for me, and I felt like I was starting fresh. We ran a couple of miles together and she was working really hard. At the 22 mile-mark, I did the math and realized she was headed for 3:15 - 3:16, and I knew her PR was in the low 3:20s. It was game on. I ran a step ahead, chattered, and told her all the mental tricks that I've learned to carry me through the really hard last miles. We caught some great runners. She was maxed out - because that's what a PR takes - but still managed to smile for the camera: 

In the end, she ran 3:16, taking the Kamaaina win and setting a 5 minute PR. I ducked out just before the finish line, since I hadn't run the whole course, and found HK in the grass. He had pulled or torn his calf at mile 9 and hobbled back. He can't walk, so I'm worried it's badly hurt. It's not even the one that bothered him last year.  So there you have it - just call us Team DNF. It sucked not to finish, but it was so great to watch Candes kick ass and set a new PR that it completely made up for it. 

It's amazing the difference between 26 miles fast and 19-20 miles fast: I'm a little achy today, but nothing like after running an entire marathon. I woke up wanting to run (I didn't, though) and I also woke up motivated to make some changes - I don't want to just survive each day. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Taper time

 A sure sign you've under-trained for your race: after the last long run of your marathon training, you finish and think: finally, a good one! instead of crap, thank god I'm done with those. Last weekend, I ran 22 in 3h, and HK ran 18. And then we sat around like this:

The marathon is a week away, so I have no choice but to taper. I signed up yesterday, so it's on. HK was offered a gig he can't say no to for that weekend, and if it pans out, he will get to skip it. He's not disappointed, or so he says. I think once you've got an 18-miler in the bank, you secretly want to race.

This week, HK only had to run 8 miles. No secret selfies. In fact, he felt so normal afterwards, he climbed Longs at Kahala Mall, unfortunately.

I don't have high expectations for next weekend, but I'm in. I got two 20-milers in. I didn't lose the weight. All signs point to disaster, but I'll probably run it anyway.

Sky's got the selfie bug, and the result is a phone full of these. I love it.

A snapshot of our holiday weekend: