Sunday, October 12, 2014


You gotta want it…

Race morning...all smiles on the way to the start.
Interesting day…a learning day…a day I have no regrets about and one I will always remember.  

One year ago, October 12th, 2013 I was running down the Queen K with a pain in my leg so intense that at one point I just didn’t feel it anymore.  I never once, for not even a second, thought about stopping or even walking.  Every part of my being wanted to run down Ali Drive and cross the finish line.  It was my dream and something I thought about every single day in training.

Now, exactly 365 days later I’m running through the streets of Chicago with a similar pain and some foot pain along with it…nothing like a year ago…but they were both singing to me from the word “go”.  At mile one I knew the finish was probably not in the cards for me today. Not because my body couldn’t handle it, but because I wasn’t willing to go to “that” place.  “That” place is special to me and reserved for only the most important races.  Today, the Chicago Marathon was not going to get that honor.    

It takes passion.  I truly believe we are all capable of so much more than we think is possible.  The interesting part of the puzzle which needs to be there is…. passion.  There is no dream and no goal too big if you have it…the passion.  We all need to do what WE love and then anything is possible.   
What I found out today about myself is my passion and my goals don’t involve the Marathon Olympic Trials.  

This whole year has been a great year.  There are no regrets.  I have thought so many different times about different goals and different paths I want to take with my training, occupations, and just living life.  I’m not someone to settle and I’m not someone to just go through the motions.  Life is way too short to walk around regretting not taking chances, not putting yourself out there, and not dreaming big dreams.  I will always set the bar high and aim for the stars.  It’s just sometimes I need to change what the bar looks like and what star I’m shooting for. 

My heart is in the lava fields of Hawaii and that is where I want to spend every second Saturday in October.

On a side note…the most exciting part of the day was lining up with the American Development Team.  Heated tent and no lines for the porta potties were FABULOUS!  

I have so much fun with this guy!
We took in all the sights and treats of Chicago.
Lee and I at the Blackhawks store.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I'm such a liar...

I’m totally a liar…I told Lee and my boys never to believe anything I say in the weeks after an Ironman.  Some of you may remember my blog post right after Kona where I said I was done with triathlons and putting my bike on eBay.  

What was I thinking...sell Black Beauty on ebay??
This past year I’ve been trying to find my passion and see where my next big thing is calling my name…I believed it was the Olympic Trials in the marathon.  I kept seeking and asking myself….what is that goal that drives me each day.  The thing I think about when I fall asleep at night.  The thought that come to me right after I’ve ran through the boys’ schedules for the next day, what time can we all sit down for dinner, my daily grocery shopping trip, did I get all my work submitted for my graduate courses (yes I have 4 right now), making sure I have my lessons planned and grading done for my real job.  After all of those thoughts leave my head was comes rushing back in?????

 I’ve been working on my run and it’s been slow progress.  Probably because I haven’t been as consistent and been as focused as I was for previous goals.  Why is this?  I have been asking myself this since my PRP injection for hamstring last fall.  

This is my conclusion…I am a triathlete at heart.  I love running, but I just can’t walk away from swimming and biking.  Another thing I learned about myself this year…I love epic stuff.  Running a marathon is a big deal, but I need a little more crazy to go with that run…like swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 first…then I can run a fast marathon.

So, with that being said…I am all in for Honu 70.3 (trying to qualify for 70.3 World Champs in Austria), IM Canada (would love a Kona slot), IM Wisconsin (going to get my CR back), and AG Worlds Oly distance in Chicago (Just want the tri kit that says ANDRES USA).  And don’t think I have forgotten about my marathon Olympic trials qualifying time…this fall sub 2:50 and by spring 2:43.  If I’m planning to be around the 3 hour mark for an IM marathon I need to be able to run around a 2:40 open marathon. Simple as that.

I guess I can’t leave Ironman racing and triathlon.  It’s who am I am.  It’s in me. 

Running stuff…
My mom makes all these donuts from scratch...special family tradition.
Chicago is less than 5 weeks away and I feel I’m so far away from where I wanted to and planned to be.  5 weeks is a long time and I know I have the training under me to get across the line faster than I have ever before.  However, my goal is a sub 2:50 this fall.  This means my average can be no slower than a 6:29 pace per mile.  I’ve done the math for a 2:49:59 and it is 6:29.2 to be exact. I’m right on the edge of knowing it is totally doable.  A huge part is getting on top of my nutrition these next 5 weeks and staying away from the dessert table!  Seriously, carrying just a few extra pounds around for 26 miles makes a big difference.  

I love this guy so darn much!
My struggle…to be honest…is how differently I feel about this goal vs. how I felt with Wisconsin in 2012 and Kona in 2013.  It was a no brainer to make all the sacrifices in terms of training, nutrition, sleep, etc.  But this time, this past year I feel have had no will power in terms of putting certain parts of training in front of other priorities to reach my goals.  Life is all about balance and finding the balance of what truly makes a person happy can be very hard.  There is so much to be learned about ourselves, life, and the people around us through sport.  

Other life news…

Tri for a cause
Race went good…not great in terms of times in the swim, bike, or run, but after a 75 mile run week and adding some biking, swimming, and yoga in there I was a bit on the tired side come Saturday.  Maybe next year I will shoot for my old course record and try to throw down a little speed.  It’s hard training for a marathon and then doing sprint races.  

AG Nationals
I put my write up under race reports.

Fun time for sure...but NOT my favorite distance!

4 weeks of summer
Getting our deer stands ready
There were 4 weeks from when I finished my summer courses until fall classes rolled around and I went back to teaching.  I finally felt like I have a little bit of summer.  Before the school year started we planned camping trip, the State Fair with a Toby Keith concert, a mini vacation at a local resort, drive-in movie theatre, and a 3-D bow shoot. Plus, Grandma is even making her homemade donuts one Sunday!  Fun times for sure!
Mitch and his big bass fishing on our camping trip.The only time the boys are up before me is when we are camping.
Wyatt, Mitch, and I bringing the canoe back across the lake from our campsite.  Lee and Wes are in the boat behind us and I couldn't get Riley and Gavin in the kayaks in the photo.
Annual Labor Day Crab legs...Mitch and I were the last two at the table.  There should be an award for that!

Family dinner campsite style

State Fair...eating and people watching!

3D bow shoot...not bad for my first time.
Bow Hunting
One great thing about the boys getting bigger and getting bigger than me is I’m getting some pretty nice hunting gear hand me downs.  I’ve wanted to start bow hunting and was looking at getting a new bow.  Well, Gavin has outgrown his bow which is perfect for me.  The fall is a busy time in the Andres house.  We all love hunting…duck hunting, bow hunting, pheasant hunting, deer hunting.  Balancing new school schedules with hockey and hunting schedules gets interesting and is always a balancing act.  Throw in a few races of mine and Team Andres loves us some fall. 

Races coming up…
Stillwater 10 mile September 27th
CHICAGO MARATHON October 12th (I’ll be able to relax the day before and follow Kona all day in the hotel on my computer)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Nationals Race Report

Race reports from Nationals,

Nationals in Milwaukee…the dreaded Olympic distance
I wasn’t planning on doing any triathlons this year so I really had to think back to how I got to this point of racing Nationals and earning a spot on Team USA for Worlds in Chicago next year.  It started with an email from USAT about a VIP invite after my Kona finish.  I really didn’t think much of it since the Olympic distance is my least favorite distance in triathlon.  For me, I like long and even love longer.  The shorter the swim and the longer the bike and run the better.  There were other triathlete friends planning to race from the Lakes Area Multisport group (LAMS) and I thought
1. It would be fun
2. It’s something I haven’t done before
3. There will be no pressure since I’m not “training” for the race

I have to say I was regretting the not training part at the starting line and even after the race.  I really do enjoy racing against the best in the nation and it was hard to be out there and not be in the best swim/bike/run shape as I was a year ago.  In the middle of 80-100 mile run weeks I jump into a race where it is all out for a little over two hours.  When I crossed the line I still hadn’t found that next gear.  By mile 5 of the run I finally felt I was starting to hit a good clip on the run and managed a 6:15 pace.  If I only had about 20 more miles to go or even had a two loop option!  Seriously…my marathon pace to run an Olympic qualifying time can be no slower than a 6:13.  That pace will get me a 2:43 marathon split.  When I was out on the bike I had to keep reminding myself to go harder your legs should feel something!  I was enjoying the ride way too much and my average mph shows that (23.1).  As for my swim I was happy with that (average 1:35/100).  It must have been short or otherwise I had a great swim.  When the gun went off I flashed back to Kona, but then it was so much calmer.  Starting a race with a couple hundred is a lot less congested than a couple thousand.  I was barely kicked or hit.  It was really quite peaceful!

When I came off my bike Lee told me I was #22.  I literally thought WHAT!?  Before the race my goal was just to give it my all…whatever that was.   If I had a great day top 10 was possible.

Surprising I was nervous before the race and didn’t know why I was nervous.  After thinking about it I realized I was nervous because the Olympic distance speed and uncomfortable feeling scares the crap out of me.  I was worried about being able to dig deep enough to find that next gear.  Looking back at my race I don’t think I ever found that place.  I need more practice…which I will have before Worlds in Chicago next September.

Race day info..
I like getting up early and having plenty of time so I don’t feel rushed.  I was up before 5 and had coffee and a PR bar for breakfast.  I like to eat 3 hours before race start so I was cutting it closer than I normally do with my 7:37 race start.  We were able to rack our bikes the night before I didn’t have a lot to take to transition.  Lee and I took a taxi from the hotel and were dropped off right at transition…best $6 bucks spent all day!

It felt like a long wait till 7:37…I sat with Lee and literally told him…don’t let me sign up for any more races.  This isn’t fun.  I literally said that!  Obviously, Lee knew something was up and asked why I was so nervous.  I think it was partly the distance and partly because of my training or lack thereof I should say.  I can count on my hand the number of times I rode my bike outside this year.  Before Kona last October I was cool as a cucumber before the race.  I was confident I did everything I could to prepare myself for the day.  On Saturday I didn’t have that luxury and confidence in my training, but I was able to bring myself back to reality by simply telling myself….all you can do is the best you can do one this day.  For some reason that was relaxing to me.  All we can expect of ourselves or others is just try their hardest.  I did try my hardest.  I got what I had trained for.   

The swim was very uneventful and I felt very relaxed and comfortable.  Looking back I don’t think comfortable is a word that goes with Olympic distance racing…its more of an IM distance word.  I thought if I could be around 26 minutes and average 1:35s I would be very happy.  I usually don’t start or race with my watch and go by feel, but I started my watch on Saturday.  I glanced down and saw 26 something when I was running to T1…Yeah!

I really love riding my bike so when I hopped on and took off out of T2 I was in heaven.  My only wish for that bike course would have been more bridges.  The bridge was the only hill and I could have used several more and even some wind!  The tougher conditions the better. 

Before I knew it I was back in T2 and heading out on the run.  Just out on the run I see Lee and he tells me #22….I thought – Are you serious? There were no women even in my sight.  It wasn’t until an out and back turnaround that I started to see women I could catch.  I moved up to 21 after mile 1 and then slowly started moving up the field.  My goal was to average 6:15s…totally doable!  My first mile was 6:20…I thought ok…just warming up.  Then it was a 6:22 and even a 6:33.  I thought to myself you need to run faster and one of these miles will be a 6:15!  I finally managed a 6:15 on my last mile and moved all the way up to 11th place.

11th place was one off the podium.  Makes me think back to IM Wisonsin in 2008 where I missed a Kona slot by being 4th place. Not a fun place to be, but someone needs to be there.  A person gets what they train for.  I’m training for a marathon and have to be thankful for being able to have the opportunity to race Worlds in Chicago next year.  

My nutrition….I had coffee and a PR bar for breakfast.  I had hydroX in my water bottle.  I took a Gu with me but never used it.  I had MAP (master amino pattern) out on the run, but that was all my nutrition was for the race.  

I have really confused my kids and my mom with all of my talk of training for the marathon and qualifying for the Olympic Trials.  When I texted my mom to tell her I made Team USA she thought I had just ran a marathon and ran a qualifying time.  One of my boys asked if I was now going to the Olympics because the Olympic distance and Team USA….it’s all so confusing.

Now, back to focused marathon training for my A race in Chicago…the marathon.  My goal is sub 2:50 and then I’m planning to run a spring marathon and run a qualifying time so I can take my spring and summer to do some duathlons, Olympic distance triathlons and be ready for Worlds in Chicago come September. Since I enjoy the long so much I think I need to think about nationals for the long course next year or the year after when I’m done with my Master’s program. 
Lee really enjoyed his VIP wrist band over the weekend.  He was able to have a beer in the VIP tent and have very nice viewing of the finish line.  The boys were a bit jealous of his perks.  I told him he should appreciate it cause it may never happen again. 

For me, it’s a fine line between feeling selfish for competing in races and then showing my boys to dream and work hard for what they really love.  Mitchel had a tryout for a hockey team on Saturday, the same day as my race, I felt bad I wasn’t there taking him to his tryout.  

The boys are growing up so fast and with them at hockey camp all week the weekends become our family days.  It is hard to be gone on our family days.  I will continue to race, but just not a lot of races so I don’t miss out on their activities and big moments in their lives.  There is no age limit on triathlons and marathons.  I’ll always be active and finding new challenges for myself.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Chasing Dreams

Chasing dreams…

So much has happened since my last blog in June.  Probably the most exciting thing is I can see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of my summer classes.  Two more weeks and I will have all 4 of my summer classes completed!  Yeah!!  

My favorite time of day is sunrise.  Lee and I woke up early 4th of July morning and kayaked around Gull lake.

It is crazy to think Saturday will be my first sprint triathlon in two years and the first time racing in my wetsuit since IMoo 2012.  The other races I completed were only 70.3s and Kona where I wore my speed suit.  I’m so excited to get back to having fun in the sport I love.  I really lost that love for triathlon after Kona and thought I was never coming back.  But time and space can change so many things.

I was writing my tri checklist and was looking back at my lists from previous years.  Yes, I’m one of those sentimental people who keep everything.  On my list from 2006 I have things like…snacks for the boys, have them lay their clothes out, baseball gloves, etc. Eight to ten years ago that was how we would spend most of our weekends - driving to races.  Lee has always been an amazing Dad to the boys and supportive husband to me, but back then he would keep 5 very little boys occupied for several hours and to only see mom zipping by on her bike or the run.  It’s so CRAZY how life changes so quickly.  That is why we all need to enjoy each day we can, look at the positive side of everything, and just go for it!  Anything is possible.

So, with that being said and knowing I’m racing in the morning it is hard knowing where I was physically at this time last year and realizing how much work I need to do to get back there and go beyond that point.  I watch the watts on my trainer and can’t believe how hard it is to hold a certain wattage which was my “easy” recovery wattage last year at this time.  I know I needed to give my body a break physically and mentally…but it’s not easy coming back.  I told Lee I better spend some time on my bike these next few weeks so I don’t embarrass myself at nationals.

Grandma’s half marathon June, 21
What a fun day!  Lee and I drove up on Friday afternoon with no hotel reservations.  We were hoping to find a hotel in Canal Park with a cancellation, but we threw our sleeping bags in the truck just in case we didn’t get a room.  We’ve slept in the truck other years before Grandma’s.  This year we had reservations which I made earlier in year.  However, we cancelled because we wanted to make it back in time for the boys’ hockey games and only needed Friday night.   We got lucky and the Sheraton had a room for just Friday night and it’s a great location.  Right on the course so Lee watched me go by and then walked the Lake walk to the finish and saw me there too.  It was easy out after the race with the parking ramp behind the hotel.  In my opinion, it’s the best location.  The bus pick up to the start is just 2 blocks away in the morning.  Hopefully I get in next year and we would stay there again.

Pre-race info….
I really couldn’t afford the time to taper for this race or even take the time after the race to recover so I thought I would train through the race and use it as a hard training day and a chance to gauge my fitness.  If everything went perfect I knew I had the opportunity to flirt with a new PR…sub 1:22 and I knew I would be disappointed in my training if I was slower than a 1:25.  My playlist was set for 1:24.

My training leading up to the race has really been progressing.  I mixed my running up and took out a lot of volume and added intensity.  In reality, I just don’t have the time this summer for high volume even though this is the type of training I really enjoy.  My favorite types of workouts are long swims, bikes, and runs.  This summer I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone and working on speed.  Basically because I know this is what is missing in my training and what I need to get to the next level with my running.  


Sushi for lunch and Pizza Luce for dinner was my pre-race meals on Friday.  If this was my “A” race I would not have gambled with pizza.  I have burnt myself so many times with poor nutrition choices the day before races.  I know I don’t respond to foods containing a lot of cheese the day before races. 
Race morning was no breakfast…just MAP and coffee.

Insurance…MAP and a GU

It’s a skill taking in water/PowerAde from a person standing still while running just over a 6 min pace.  The elites make it look so easy when they are ticking off 5 minute miles.  

I’m proud of…

I ran as fast as I could on that day under those conditions.  I really couldn’t have run faster.  I can feel and see the improvements in my training and my nutrition.  The human body amazes me and fascinates me.  We are all capable of so much if we make a commitment to ourselves and daily work toward our goals.  Grandma’s wasn’t a PR by any means.  But I know I’m on the right track with my training and chasing down my dreams.

Race for the Cure 5K June 28th
My goal was sub 19 minutes.  I figured even with training through this should be doable.  However, that just didn’t happen.  19:22

I LOVE racing close to home!  I slept in until 7, woke up had coffee, rolled and watched the news.  Ran 5 miles on my mill, changed my clothes and headed to the race start.  I took 5 MAP about 30 minutes before and then had a GU about 20 minutes before.  No breakfast other than that and my coffee.  Race went great in terms of how my legs felt, but it was hard to push to the next level.  There were only two guys out in front of me and I was hoping someone male or female would come up on me the last mile to make me push the pace but nothing.  I settled in and crossed line in 19:22.  The race started at 8:45 and the boys’ hockey game started at 9:30.  After crossing the line I headed right to my car then Starbucks for a coffee to drink during the game.  The rink is so cold!
Westin...chasing down his dreams

What did I learn…racing my way into shape is working out wonderfully!  So glad I’m doing this because it pushed me harder than I would have pushed myself at home on my mill or outside.  I see the 5k run as a workout I would have done at home with a hard push in the middle.  

Nisswa Fire Cracker 10K July, 5th
So far this summer this may have been my favorite workout.  I rode with LAMS crew a hard 30 miles and then ran the 10K after.  My plan was just to jog the 10k as a nice brick run after our hard ride….but…my competitive instinct took over at the 3 mile mark when a guy says to me, “Your girl number 5.  The others are right ahead” At first I said I was just jogging, but then I looked up the road and could see the next three girls. I couldn’t help myself but kick it down and by mile 4.5 I claimed the lead and then just hung on till the finish.  
Bike ride with the Lams crew

Sunday mornings…
Lee and I go for coffee every Sunday morning and read the paper.  Usually I ride my trainer before and now we started kayaking/swimming after my trainer ride before coffee.  Lee kayaks while I swim.  I love it!  I have a 2 hour trainer ride, and open water swim, and a coffee date, all before our boys are out of bed.  
Sunday mornings

I have it figured out where I can take a very large load in the fall, have my spring off, and finish up summer semester.  So, I have two more semesters and I will have my masters in Physical Education completed! Yeah!! 

Fun times with the family…
  Fishing on North Long with Gavin.
The boys are working hard all week at hockey camp getting stronger and faster.  When the weekend rolls around we try to make sure we soak in as much relaxing and family time as possible.  Most of the time you will find us on the lake fishing and tubing, at home having a bonfire, or a movie...maybe even some go carting and mini golf thrown in there.  These 5 boys are amazing and Lee and I are very lucky parents.  Before we know it they will be grown and on their own.  We are making sure we soak it all in while we can.
Tubing with Wyatt and Mitchel

Dreams are being made...watching the NHL draft
Heading to see the movie Tammy

Next up…
Crosby Tri July 19th
Voyager 50 miler – I’m going to pass on the 50 miler.  The more I have been biking and swimming the more I want to have a decent race at Nationals which means running a 50 miler two weeks before isn’t the smartest training decision.  I may jump in the Chase the Police triathlon next weekend.
Nationals – August 10th
Lakes Country sprint tri – August 24th
September – half marathon or a 10 mile race
Chicago marathon – October 12th - goal to be sub 2:50

Wyatt and Wes hanging with me in canal Park...Of course we found the ice cream shop.
I've been eating a few more salads and a few less cookies these days and slowly making my way back to my racing weight.  Come October 12th for the Chicago marathon I will be there.  I really enjoy healthy good food so making good choices isn't all that hard for me.  The issue with me is keeping stress in check and getting enough sleep.  There have been several nights where I have a paper due by midnight and I'm snacking to keep myself awake to finish my paper.  To tell the truth...I'm not much of a salad eater... more of a steak and eggs with some berries type of eater. cream of course!
Malt night at the Diner.

Olympic Trials and the Olympics…
I have been asked lately about the Olympics and the Olympic Trials…I want to clarify…
My dream is to run a fast enough marathon to qualify for the Olympic Trials.  This is different than the actual 2016 Olympics.  My goal is to be fast enough to be able to toe the starting line with the best female marathon runners in the United States.  I want to be able to have the opportunity to run the same race they do where the top 3 women earn a spot on the marathon Olympic team and represent the USA in the 2016 summer Olympics in Brazil.  My goal is to make it to the trials by running a qualifying time which means I need to be faster than a 2:43 marathon (6:13 pace/mile). With these guys' support I know it will happen!

Keep chasing your dreams!