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Big Weekend of Races & Training

It’s a huge weekend for many of my friends this weekend. It was too much to post in a simple Facebook status update, so I’ll explain it all here:

America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride – Tahoe, CA
The TNT Spring Cycle Team of Greater LA is heading to Tahoe this weekend for America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, a century ride. My friend, Rommel Calderon, will be racing and is a mentor there and it seems like he’s found his endurance sports love! He was sidelined to run these past few years because of a knee issue, but I’m proud that it didn’t stop him there! He’s inspired many, and he plans to return to the cycle team as an assistant coach next season!

Comrades 54 Mile Ultramarathon – South Africa
My friend Kim Tull, who I met on the IronTEAM and continued to be co-assistant coach with her on the UltraTEAM is racing the world-reknowned ultramarathon, Comrades Marathon. It’s a 54 mile race with 18,000 or so runners from all over the world. Her bib # is 50778 and the race will start at 5:30AM South Africa time on Sunday. That’s 9:30PM our time on Saturday night. The cutoff is 12 hours or 8:30AM our time on Sunday with expected triple digit temperatures. Sounds crazy, but I’m so very excited for her! This reminds me, it was my friend Elsa, who tried to convince me to do this race and planted the very first seed of ever doing an “ultra.”

Ironman Hawaii 70.3 Triathlon – Kona, HI
Can’t believe a year already passed since Hawaii 70.3. As tough as the course was, I had A LOT of fun as a racecation. I went with the IronTEAM, as it was an official race for some. Rocky (but amazingly clear) swim, humid and crazy windy bike & run, but very very beautiful! This time some of my non-IronTEAM friends are racing. Christine Rivera, who I’ve known since high school, called me crazy for doing these 70.3 or 140.6 races, and look at her now, addicted, and doing this race too! Brothers Jon and Christian Yance are triathlon beasts and I recently met them through mutual friends. Jon raced this last year, and he’s back for more. So jealous I can’t be there!

Rock N Roll San Diego Marathon
My friend Emily Osterstock, who I met at a tech-meetup in Santa Monica years ago when I was first running in TNT, is about to run her first marathon with her Santa Cruz local TNT chapter. I remember when she first messaged me asking about the organization with many questions about fundraising, the training, etc and look at her now! She initially was going to do the half marathon, but I kept quiet, not really pushing her and decide on her own. I secretly knew she was going to switch, and she did! Also very proud of her, as she seems to be having the time of her life training! Go Emily! Also, this race was my very first marathon back in 2007. It’s a huge TNT-supported event with purple jerseys everywhere. It’s going to be one super fun event for her and the rest of TNT. Go TEAM!

Vineman Training Weekend
This weekend is also the annual VMTW (Vineman Training Weekend) for TNT’s IronTEAM and Triathlon teams. The IronTEAM is in the middle of training for Vineman Full and Ironman Coeur d’Alene, so they will be pulling some huge numbers (Sat: 2mi swim, 100mi bike, 3mi run; Sun: 20 mi run). Triathlon team will also rock some relatively huge numbers for their team as well training for Vineman 70.3. It will be weird not being there since I was there these past two years, but I know it’s always a good time plus it helps teammates become confident and comfortable coming into their race.

TNT Marathon Team – Fall Season Start
Sunday is the first practice of the Westside Marathon Team (I believe all other greater LA teams as well). This one in particular is special to me because it was my very first TNT team I trained with, plus the head coach Chris Wilno, returns after a “break”. I dunno if you call a “break”, doing an ultramarathon and an Ironman, but I guess I did the same thing! Oops! There’s a lot of TNT alumni returning as assistant coaches like my friend Lori and my old mentee Aubrey. Also other friends, Becky, Maura, Petty (Iron & Ultra alumni too), and many others are returning. I used the most of my willpower not to come back to this team, as it was very very tempting, I really do need to take a TNT break, as I have some big plans for next year. Very excited for them though, and I wish them all the best!

What else?
Sounds like I’m missing out on a super fun weekend! I’m just here hanging out in my house, personal day off, with not much to do! I’m loving it though! I’m already caught up with the new season of Arrested Development and I’m doing some chores here and there. Looking forward to tomorrow though! The Coyotes have a weekend off, but I’m back with the UltraTEAM doing a run in Cheseboro Canyon in the Thousand Oaks area in the morning then our official reunion BBQ and kicking off a teammates training to a 100 mile ultra! I’ll be enjoying a nice, cold beer and delicious food! Yum!!

Oh yeah, and did you know today’s the last day to vote for my friends Kelly & Amy into Ironman Kona? Voting ends 8:59PM PST!!
Kelly — http://bit.ly/konakelly
Amy — http://bit.ly/konaamy

Kona Inspired: Amy Richard


I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Amy Richard through TNT’s IronTEAM program, where we trained for 2 consecutive years for Vineman Full and Ironman Canada. She’s a good friend of mine and she entered into Ironman’s Kona Inspired contest, where participants have an opportunity to tell the world how they live the Ironman mantra, “Anything is Possible,” for a chance to race the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI. You can check her story by watching her video, plus I asked her a few more questions:


How did you get started with triathlons?
It was 3 years ago. I was unemployed at the time. I wanted to do a Team in Training event in memory of a dear friend who lost her battle to Leukemia when she and I were 15. Since I had time, I thought, why not do an Ironman? I joined the Greater LA Ironteam and fell in love with the team and triathlon instantly. I cannot imagine life without it now. It’s hard. I was a ballet dancer. But I love the challenge and doing it for a cause that I care deeply about.

Do you have a name for your bike? Is there a meaning behind it?
My bike’s name is Gandalf. I love lord of the rings. My bike is Grey like Gandalf and I like to think he helps me go “fast.”

Have you ever gone through a mental slump in training? If so, how did you overcome it?
Yes. This year has been quite difficult. I am thankful for friends and family who help me refocus when I lose sight of what really matters – the cause. I also think of my students and remember that I encourage them to never give up. If I tell them to do it then I must do it myself. There have been more runs this year that I’ve wanted to skip but I think of my kids and I lace up my shoes and it always feel amazing. I just think of those who cannot and that always helps me go on.

What’s your favorite thing to do in transition before a big race?
Talk to my friends, go for a short run, and a hug from coaches!

You’ve had more than a year of experience training for triathlons, especially for an Ironman. I also know you have busy lives outside of training. How do you balance all of that?
I am a teacher and so I am good at planning my day and scheduling. I always look at the training schedule ahead of time and plan my days. I am lucky to have a schedule that allows me to train as well as a supportive husband who lets me train on the weekends.

What advice would you give a newbie who is interested in starting to train for a triathlon for the first time?
Join a team! Team in Training is amazing. Seriously, if you have any inkling of wanting to do an Ironman, join an organization like TNT.

What is your ultimate favorite food (non race-related)?
That’s a tough one. Vegetables! Especially broccoli, brussel sprouts, and zucchini.

Now please watch her video & vote! — http://bit.ly/konaamy


It’s really great to hear that one of my good friends, Vanae, has recently joined Team In Training up north to train for the Hawaii Full Marathon in December. She told me that my friends and I were her inspiration to give TNT a shot. Are we really that inspiring? Maybe because they know we didn’t like to run or work out, let alone run a marathon? Whatever the reason is, TNT has that viral marketing effect because so many great experiences come out of it.

She writes:

Hey guys, it’s Vanae.

You know me. I don’t run. Heck, I don’t even remember the last time I excercised! But I was really inspired by close friends who recently completed the Team in Training.

Vanae is also the founder for Rock Your Awareness, and I met her a couple years ago at her “Date a Rockstar” fundraiser, so she’s no stranger to philanthropy. Since then we’ve gone to NY with friends, and we try to make the LA / SF connection time to time. I’m really excited for her since this is her first ever marathon, so check out her fundraising page here:


Sponsor A Mile

Here’s a good idea from a friend from New York, Michelle DeForest. Her season is coming to a close for the October 19th Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. Another push to get some donations is to donate $50 to sponsor a mile. Genuis! Your name is listed on any mile you choose, along with a URL. That’s $50 well spent on donations, plus additional marketing of whatever site. She has a pretty good list of people she promotes to via e-mail, Facebook, multiple blogs, so It would be a good idea to promote your own TNT donation page, your blog, etc.

From her donation page, she writes:

The Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco is ****28 days away!!!****

More importantly, my fundraising deadline is in (OMG) ****10 days**** away.

So, here’s my last fundraiser: I’m raising money for each mile. It’s going to work like a sponsorship. Each mile is worth $50 (because if I “sell” all 26 miles, then I will reach my fundraising goal of $5,000.00!!

Rules: Donate $50 here: http://tinyurl.com/runwithme AND tell me WHAT MILE and LINK to whatever you want (your blog, startup, your cause). I’ll publish it anywhere and everywhere I can (my blogs, fundraising pages, thank you emails, twitter).

This is such a great idea, that I wanted to document this (for future use), and to spread the word. It’s a great cause, so check it out – http://tinyurl.com/runwithme

What’s a Dollar To You?

Gas prices are up, rent is up, food is expensive, and clothes don’t come cheap. You sit there and think, where is my dollar going? We consume all types of products day to day, and even buying small little things here and there add up to big bills and a dent in your wallet. We even lose loose change in our cars, our couches so easily. We tip our waiters, our bartenders, our restroom attendants, our hosts just like that. Do you know where your money is going?

One of my good friends, Erin, is a mentor in this season’s Westside TNT Chapter, and she’s taking the “power by numbers” approach. She calls it The $1 Project. She only asks each person to donate $1, but at the same time to tell your friends, family, and the rest of your network. This will only work if everyone participates. I’ve sent her link around yesterday, and I know a few people already donated, and some interested in helping her out. You never know who wants to help unless you try.

Dear family, friends and friends of friends….Hi!

I am doing a little experiment here on the concept of social activism mixed with “The Tipping Point” and I need to run it by you. Here is the gist:

Last year I joined Team In Training/TNT (a marathon group who raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society/LLS) to run in memory of my grandmother and in honor of Donna and Ricky. I crossed the San Diego Rock ‘N Roll Marathon finish line and decided to do it again in Honolulu and Arizona.

Normally in these programs people will send out letters or emails to EVERYONE they know asking for as generous a donation as they can spare in order to help them reach a specific goal. That was me last season, and it worked, but it’s not quite my style.

See, I joined TNT to make a point. I want to spread the word. Educate. Kick major ass. I’ve realized though, that you are only as big as the sum of all your parts. If my parts include myself and 20 other donors then kudos to us for raising it all, but it’s not big enough. Not enough people will be touched. We need major coverage here people, so I’ve come up with another idea.

Check it out – The $1 Project

Promoting My Friends

Since I’m not a current Team In Training participant this season, I’ll try my best to support the cause as much as I can, whether it be the Westside Team or a NY Team. I’ll attend most of the fundraisers you tell me about, and promote my friends’ blogs, experiences, and more… so stay tuned!

Oh, and if you’re in the LA area, the Westside TNT chapter is now recruiting. They practice along the beach through Santa Monica and Venice, and sometimes up Brentwood, Palos Verdes.

Check it out – TNT Westside LA Chapter