Monday, March 24, 2014

IM Melbourne- spectation report....

We all have our days. Days it all comes together and days it just doesn't. Sunday at Ironman Melbourne wasn't one for the record books for Luke, but in true Ironman fashion - he pressed on and made the most of that day. 
The support crew ready for swim start: Luke's parents, Linsey Corbin's parents, sister Jacque & friend Jeanie all in Hi Vis Luke truckers

Long story short....
Luke's day began with a swim that wasn't quite on pace with the front group. He had been swimming well in general, but his shoulder took a bit of time to recover after his bike crash a few weeks ago. Luke didn't practice in his wetsuit prior to this race (note to everyone- even the pros should practice their race day equipment)....So, he didn't know that his shoulder would ache a bit with the added pressure of the wetsuit. He didn't come out of the water with the front group, but was still in position to easily make up the time on the bike.... until.....

In T1, he threw on his helmet (probably a little brusquely if you know bull-in-a-china-shop-Luke) and the helmet buckle popped off his helmet and some straps seemed to unravel a bit. You are not allowed to ride without a fastened helmet and Luke was not looking for a DQ. So, he took his time and rethreaded the helmet buckle- losing another couple minutes in T1.
i've always wanted to do fine motor crafts in T1, haven't you?
He didn't want to have a Macca meltdown (see youtube video below) so he tried to remain calm....

Onto the bike, things went well for the first 5 or 10k, power was good and Luke was ready to do some work to catch up....until....

The helmet buckle came undone again and this time the entire strap lacing system essentially fell out of the helmet. So, he pulled over on the side of the road, found the on course support/mechanics and did some helmet surgery which ended up involving several zip ties to re-attach the lacing system and then attach the whole thing to his head.
hard to tell what's going on here, but you get the idea

By the time he was back on the bike, the top 3 women (who started behind the men) had already passed him by on the road. All told, Garmin says he stopped for about 9 minutes.
Me & the babybump cheering him along (thanks Sonja Wieck for the pic!) 

Luke didn't come to Melbourne to "validate" his Kona spot, he came do race his best and go for a spot on the podium. But, at this point it was looking unlikely. After this point, for the rest of the day, I've never been so proud. Luke continued to race as if he were still racing for the front and turned in his highest average watts ever in and Ironman bike, racing alone. Then he got off the bike and ran from 20th or so up to 13th, never giving up. I followed along the point-to-point run on my mountain bike and even though it wasn't the day he had trained for, it was the day that he got and he made the most of it.
Still kickin and looking pretty good doing it

Although Luke didn't have any big "wins" on Sunday, plenty of others did and it was amazing to watch. My two favorite wins:

My friend Kim Schwabenbauer ran a 3:01 marathon into 3rd place at a huge regional championship event. This is a girl who worked her way through the age group ranks with me and is now seeing the results of years of hard work and a refusal to give up. Can't wait to watch the rest of her year.

Kim's finishing chute moment. (Photo: Jay Prashuhn)

 In other winning news, my rêve endurance athlete Kerensa is an Ironman! Kerensa finished her first Ironman in style with a smile in 12:26. She often works 60 hrs/week as an attorney, but once this girl sets her mind to something, nothing can stop her. She's already talking about adding a marathon to the scheudule in July. So proud of you, K!
Kerensa on the bike

 So enjoy the magical days that happen and learn from the not-so magical ones that didn't... And, as always... on to the next!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ironman Melbourne tomorrow!

This week took us from Noosa (East coast/middle) to Melbourne (bottom/still east)... about a 2.5 hr plane flight.

I picked up some souvenirs along the way at the airport...
always thinking of my friends at home on Snapchat
Since our arrival, I've been exploring the city by foot- running & walking... lots of good shopping & lots of good coffee shops (with AMAZING chai lattes- they mostly brew Chai tea leaves with honey and then steep in milk instead of just dump Chai flavored sugar in your drink). We had home base at Troy & Jen's lovely place in Elwood for a few days (thanks, guys!) & have since moved to the race hotel close to the finish line so I can waddle there easily on race day.


cafe Racer where many local rides begin & end
 Other than that, there's been a lot of following the pre-race media Tour de Luke ....Radio interviews, photo shoots, speaking to kiddos, ribbon cutting-type things... It's becoming more clear to me that as a top-level pro- it's not so easy to just "put your feet up" the week of the race. Lots of obligations, but Luke always does it with a smile and he genuinely enjoys talking to everyone. (Which sometimes often turns me into no-fun-Beth-chit-chat-police dragging him away when he's in a conversation but we're late to the next appointmentt) The best part of Tour de Luke was the Triathlon Australia dinner where Luke won the award for 2013 Performance of the Year.. His parents got to be there so it was extra special for all.
kids at at triathlon performance academy (EPTA)

Announcement that IM Melbourne & the city have extended the race contract 3 yrs. 

Blue steel w/ Luke Bell

Ironman Live in the City Radio show/Interview
Pro press conference w/ Marino Van Hoenacker, Luke, Crowie, Caroline Steffen, Rebecca Keat, Mary Beth Ellis

Triathlon Australia awards dinner
Other than that, my athlete, Kerensa, is ready for her first Ironman here in Melbourne and I get to spectate! I'm always reminded of how much I LOVED my first Ironman in 2010 (snafus aside....and by the way searching for that link I realized I wrote 5 blog posts about that one Ironman. slightly embarrassing.) I wish I could bottle that "first Ironman" feeling, but the closest I get is anticipation for others for their first Ironman. found a card for K that was apt for the occasion.....

The race begins Sunday March 23rd (tomorrow here)... at 7:20am for pro men, 7:23am for pro women and 7:38am for age groupers...In the states, I believe thats 1:20pm for PST, 2:20 for MST and 4:20 (haha she said 4:20) for EST....The conditions should be chilly, choppy, and windy...Luke's stoked as for him, the harder the better. Follow my twitter @IMbethgerdes and for updates! 

bet they'll be glad when they get here on the run...1K to go! 

Friday, March 14, 2014

A week in Noosa, Australia

The main mission of this trip to Australia is for Luke to race Ironman Melbourne on 3/23... IM Melbourne is the Ironman Asia Pacific Championship, so w/ 4000 KPR Points (Kona points for professional athletes trying to make it to the world champs race in October) & a $125,000 total prize purse, it will be a highly contested and surely exciting day.
Pre-Melbourne, we're on a trip to Queensland - spending a day in Brisbane w/ sister Jacque and a week or so training up at Luke's parent's house in Noosa. 
little Jacque & big Beffy... 30 weeks down, 10 to go! 

View of the Brisbane river from Jacque & Glenn's place

Unfortunately, Luke had "a stack" as they call it here and flipped off his bike on one of his first training days in Australia... 
A little banged and battered and some new bike parts required, but it was definitely a "could have been worse" crash. After a couple days out of the pool to avoid infection and a bit of recovery, he was back on track and has knocked out all the final training prep sessions. 

My days here are quite lovely, but they are long! I get up by 6am and usually run/waddle for 45 - 60 min before it gets stinking hot. 
Watching the surf from a jog in Noosa National Park

Noosa morning
Later in the day, we'll usually swim for about an hour. Aside from some strength work, that's about all the "training" I need/want to be doing right now (no Cannondale here in Aus this time for me to ride indooors). So, once I'm finished with a workout and my coaching stuff...wellllllllll. 
There is plenty to do in Noosa, but I don't really have a car. Well, I do have a car, I just can't drive it! The car we drive here (on the left side of the road mind you) is right-hand drive, but also stick shift (my mind is hurting just thinking about the coordination). I've been too nervous to try to drive stick w/ my left hand while trying to remember to stay on the left side of the road, etc... Maybe if it was my car, but a borrowed car- me thinks I'm a slight liability. 
So, while Luke is out training or getting a massage or whatever, once all my things are done, I do a lot of obsessing over where flight MH 370 has disappeared to and snapchatting videos of my whistling/ couch lying to my friends back in Cali à la this: 
just a still shot- spared you the video

But, it's been nice, since I typically am on the go all day long in California. I'm digging my Aussie time- which is like island time as Australia is a REALLY big island. And, Monday it's off to Melbourne, where I'm sure it will be nonstop all week long. Looking forward to catching up w/ old friends and especially seeing my athlete Kerensa who is racing her first Ironman in Melbourne- and I get to be there.  Ciao! Or as they say in Australia.....wait, what do they say? I know "G'day mate" for "Hey", but not sure about their version of adios... hmmmmmm..... 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Oh, the places you'll go!

"Oh, the Places You'll Go!" The quintessential Dr. Seuss gift for graduates and babies.....It also would have been a good gift for me about 2 years ago when my stable, predictable life was breaking down and I wasn't quite sure where I was headed..

Turns out I was headed all around the world.
Starting with a solo "Eat, Pray, Love" type of race-cation in the south of France for Ironman Nice in June 2012, it seems like it's been a world tour since then and though it was scary and uncertain, it's also been a whole lot of fun and adventure that I wouldn't change for anything. For a year, I lived in a tiny box in Cardiff (lovingly nicknamed named "the bat cave" & "the nook"by my friends.) I think my little studio was about 300 sq ft. No stove! No laundry! No oven! Obviously no dishwasher. 4 bikes in the "kitchen" (corner)....but it was all mine. It was adorable, and I loved it. I walked the neighborhood at night, listening to the ocean and knew that it was a temporary place, but a stop I was happy to make on my journey. Living "simply", I banked a little savings of both money and cajones and in June 2013 decided to take a leave of absence from my full-time job to coach and race full time. And I've never looked back or been happier. I do miss my job and my colleagues, but I also love the coaching and freedom that comes along with a flexible job and allows me to take on the world and be Luke's sidekick. 

the team

The places I've gone the past 2 years can't be summed up in my passport stamps because they are also places of inner growth and happiness and finally realizing that following your heart and your dreams will lead you where you need to be.

BUT, as I sit here and write this from an airport lounge in Fiji (i'm on a layover to Australia to meet Luke for his race at Ironman Melbourne), I'm realizing that even since this baby has been joining me on my travels, we've gone some pretty amazing places - and all in the last 8 months!
Our baby will definitely need another kind of baby book- one that documents our family travels around the world. In my belly it seems she's already been to:

Madison, Wisconsin : where she raced her first Ironman (unbeknownst to me)
Kona, Hawaii: to watch her Dad place 2nd at the 2013 Ironman World Championships
best moment 2013! 
Philadelphia, PA: to visit her soon-to-be Grandparents & tell them the big news
Nassau, Bahamas: to race an Olympic Triathlon and hang on the beach
Every town from Noosa, Australia to Sydney Australia in our motor home tour of the Australian coast
Bali - the official "babymoon!"
Naples, FL- more triathloning at the HITS Naples Triathlon
Bend, OR - just a quick trip
Palm Desert, CA- twice in february- our favorite little desert town to stock up on quality training weekends. A couple photos from our last two visits to Palm Desert/La Quinta:
TT Territory in Mecca, CA. No traffic and roads for days. 

box canyon.. my fave...

the Palm Desert 50m pool
Supporting my talented Reve Endurance athlete Kristina at Desert Tri Olympic

Celebrating Courtney's great race at Desert Tri
 After all the travel, though, there truly is no place like home in Encinitas, CA. We've got a little cottage thats just enough, but not too much, for a couple that travels so much, a great  network of friends, and of course the CA sunshine...
Last bike ride outdoors on the Cannondale Evo - 29 weeks pregnant

spin with the girls

At this very moment, I'm en route back to Australia to visit Luke's family and watch his first big Ironman race of the year. Time to board the plane, see you from the next adventure! (p.s. Thank you Katie & Keith for housesitting!)