Sherpa for Everesting


Stuart decided months ago that he wanted to do a particularly difficult cycling challenge called Everesting. The idea of the challenge is to ride up and down a segment of road until you accumulate 29,029 feet of elevation gain. He was training and preparing to do the challenge in October but when I broke my collarbone in early October, we immediately realized I would not be able to help  on the original date. We pushed it back one month to try and use a night with decent moonlight.

When Stuart writes up his report I will link back to it but I wanted to get my thoughts out on support such a massive undertaking. When we first stated planing for this we thought it would take somewhere between 17-20 hours. We were WAY off on our estimate. Total elapsed time was close to 29 hours. Link for ride on Strava can be found here and his report on the event can be found here.

The day was harder than I ever could have imagined and I wasn’t the one riding over 200 miles! Here is the whole challenge played out:


  • Cooked and prepped all day Saturday so that everything was packed up before we went to bed.
  • 8:00 PM bed time
  • 11:30 PM alarm to get up and go. The segment, Mulholland Highway, was a good 45 min drive from our house.


  • 1:50 AM wheels down starting first loop

This was my view for most of  the night

  • 5:00 AM wonderful friends showed up and followed Stuart in the dark while I went home to feed the dogs and take a 30 min nap. We always had someone following whenever he was descending to give him extra light on the road.
  • 9:00 AM I got back with hot chocolate and a morning bun


  • 10:00 AM we realized this was going to take much longer than we had originally anticipated. Stuart sent me home to nap and rest so that I could help again once it got dark. We had left a van parked in the middle full of food and supplies so Stuart could be self supported during the daylight hours
  • 3:30 PM I came back with soup and more snack. Nick had joined him for a couple laps which was awesome. It took his mind off the task.


  • 5:00 PM the sun went down


  • 7:30 PM in the middle of his 9th lap we started to do some math. We still had 6 1/2 laps to go and we were barely making it in less than 2 hours per lap. We had 12 hours to go (my math won’t be perfect through this section, my brain was fried)!
  • 9:00 PM after lots of waffling and being very close to quitting we both (it took me longer) finally committed to finishing the challenge. I reached out to Pam and Mark (who had come out at 5:00AM already) to come back and bring coffee and help. We seriously would not have finished safely with out them. They drove up and down for 4 more loops!


  • 6:45 AM FINISHED!!!


Advice for supporting such a challenge – Know your limits

  1. Ask for help! I could not have safely supported Stuart on my own. I don’t do well with sleep deprivation so I really needed the help.
  2. Organize your gear wisely in the car/support vehicle. Things started getting mixed up as the day went on and it got pretty frustrating for Stuart. Make sure you as the support person know where everything is before the event starts.
  3. Reduce your stress by covering all NON-RELATED items ahead of time. I had to worry about feeding our dogs during the day. I ended up driving back and forth 3 times! Don’t make that mistake.
  4. Bring lots of food and just make decisions for your athlete. They get to a point where they can’t make their own decisions. Once we got in a groove I had the food and beverages planned out well before he would see me.
  5. Savory before sweet. Feed in that order!
  6. Don’t be the reason the challenge fails. This almost was the case for us. If you commit to supporting this type of challenge, stick with it. You don’t want to be the reason they quit. This goes back to #1, ASK FOR HELP.

We were very lucky to have a lot of people, as well as sponsors, supporting us. We couldn’t have done this with out them!



2016 Plans – Full of #HeartandCourage

After Ironman Boulder in August, I immediately made some plans for the rest of this year and a rough sketch of next year. Breaking my collarbone has forced me to drop a race or two and re-prioritize my races. I don’t think I can start a full training load until January. So here is the plan for next year:

  • February,  The Tour of SufferlandriaThis is a week of indoor bike riding with close to 2,500 other all over the world. Lot so of fun to collectively suffer! This will be a great way to get my bike legs started again.
  • April,  Oceanside 70.3 – This was going to be an “A” race for me but I really don’t think I will be ready to put it all out there by then. I am committed to fully recovering so that I can have a good year. This will just be a solid race where I want to have a good time.
  • July, Vineman 70.3 – I expect to be 100% by this race so it would be great to go sub 6 hours and hopefully closer to my PR there of 5:32.
  • October, Arizona 70.3 – I signed up for both races in Arizona so this will be a good lead up to my only full this year which is….
  • November, Ironman Arizona – I had such a great race here in 2014! I can’t wait to take another crack at it!

Not on the list anymore is Ironman Boulder. I just don’t think I will be ready to have a great race by August. That, coupled with the fact that it costs mush more money and time to go to Boulder, means it will be out for 2016. I fully plan to go back another year. It is an AWESOME race. I know I can go faster on that course!

The best news is that I am a Coeur Sports Ambassador for 2016 again!

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I feel so lucky and honored to be a part of this group. Besides the fact that Coeur is an amazing sponsor, they make me feel so awesome, and make the BEST endurance clothing around, the ladies on this team are incredible! They inspire me that my goal of getting to Kona one day truly is possible.

2015 Halloween Candy for the Troops!

Purge your Halloween candy!

Operation Gratitude Blog

Happy Halloween PicWe are really excited aboutHalloween! Are you getting ready for another great year of collecting and donating sweet treats to the troops?

If you represent a company or group that would like to host a candy collection drive, sign up here!

Please read these important and helpful “Do’s and Don’ts”!


  • DO ship your candy NO LATER THAN November 15 to:
    Operation Gratitude
    17330 Victory Boulevard
    Van Nuys, CA 91406-5438
    ATTN: Halloween Candy/Angel Cuevas
  • DO separate chocolate and non-chocolate candy.
  • DO line your boxes with big bags to safely ship loose candy, or place the candy into zip-close bags.Say THANKS to our Troops
  • DO include donations of individually-packaged toothbrushes, dental floss and toothpaste — we need to keep smiles on the troops’ faces all shiny, bright and healthy!
  • DO fill out the Donation Form and include the number of pounds of candy, number of toothbrushes, etc., you are shipping. This donation form…

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Healing… but slower than I would like


I saw the doctor yesterday for a 4 week follow up for my broken collarbone. Good news and bad news.

Good news is I am healing. There is evidence in the x-ray that the bone is repairing itself. (look hard at the little halo around the top picture at the break area) As I said last week I am feeling better for sure!

Bad news is they said at least 4 more weeks until I can start running again. That wasn’t what I wanted to hear.

I just need to treat resting and healing like it is on my training plan! Maybe my coach can put it in my Training Peaks!

Collarbone Recovery Time

It has been just over 3 weeks since I broke my collarbone and I have to say I finally feel like I am getting better. I asked around when I broke it to see what other people’s experiences were with recovery. Many people said they broke it when they were young so they don’t remember and one person could give me input due to a recent break. I thought it would be helpful to keep track of my experience if anyone asks me in the future. To remind you here was the result of my inability to stop a kids Razor Scooter…

IMG_7912I actually heard  the bone crack but luckily I didn’t realize I at the time! Here is how my recovery has gone so far.

  • Day 1 – Total shock and couldn’t move arm at all. I was prescribed Norco for the pain and I gladly took it.
  • Day 2-3 – Laid in bed or sat on couch. Used Norco with Advil. Still had very limited movement but I was able to take a shower and get dressed (with some help, thank you Stuart). Wore a sling to immobilize as much as possible.
  • Day 4-5 – Feeling antsy and wanting to get out so I tried to walk around my neighborhood. Only made it half a block. The bones were still popping and shifting.
  • Day 6-8 – Finally able to get out and walk a bit further. Popping and shift bones was getting better. Trying to manage with just Advil during the day and Norco at night, but some days I had to take the Norco in the evening.
  • Week 2 – Finally driving very little. Worked from home all week and still had to take one more sick day. Managing with Norco at night and Advil during the day. Walked on teh treadmill a couple times. Pain migrated to the top of my shoulder and the shoulder blade.
  • Week 3 – Made it into the office two days (my commute is 2.5-3 hours round trip). Weened self off Norco at night by end of third week and felt instantly much better! Walking on the treadmill for 45-min to 1 hour. Sat on my road bike (on a trainer) for the first time and could reach the shifters and shift the bike.

If you break your collarbone, just plan on doing NOTHING for the first two weeks. The more you can rest and stay still, the better you feel. I will update as time goes on…

** I am not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV. This is just my experience so far.

The Whole 30 Effect

It has been about 4 weeks since I ended my Whole 30 challenge. I have managed to continue to eat fairly true to the guidelines of the program. I do allow myself to stray from the program on the weekends but for the most part I am sticking with it. The graph below will show you why.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 10.29.17 AMI never thought I could easily maintain a weight under 130 lbs! What is even more amazing is I am hardly exercising right now. I broke my collarbone 3 weeks ago and have only managed a couple of walks on the treadmill since my injury. There are a few effects from doing Whole 30 that I think are helping me maintain this style of eating.

  • I read EVERY label on my food. I am very conscious of what I am eating.
  • I found many good Whole 30 meals that I love (eggs with avocado for breakfast, tuna salad and veggies for lunch, and meat and roasted potatoes for dinner).
  • Skinny feels better than cereal tastes!
  • Coffee with full fat coconut cream is awesome! I don’t miss the sweetness.
  • I found some Whole 30 treats that keep me from feeling deprived (milkshake made from coconut milk, cream and frozen bananas, apples or bananas with almond butter, dried apricots, good prosciutto, and coconut date bars).
  • Massive support at home. This way of eating is working for Stuart as well so he understands when I am picky about what we eat.
  • I have a highly decreased interest in drinking beer.

There are a few things I miss that are not easily substituted, but I allow myself these items in small quantities on the weekend.

  • Cheese
  • Yogurt and granola
  • Chips
  • Ice cream
  • Pizza

Once this collarbone is healed I will begin training for Oceanside 70.3 in April. That will increase my need for food while training so it will be interesting to see what works best for me at that time. But for now, if I can keep this style up, I think I can keep my weight down which should be really helpful while racing.

The Price We Pay For Triathlon

moneyI got a spot in the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon for 2016! It is a bucket list kind of race for me. I knew it would be an expensive race but when I saw the price at $750 I almost spat out my coffee. Really? $750 for a race roughly the same distance as an Olympic Triathlon?!?!

I have not decided 100% if I am doing the race yet. If I do, I will not sign up for Vineman 70.3 and I can use the money I was planing on spend in room and board for that race on the entry fee for Alcatraz. But I am finding the  race fee almost insulting and I feel a bit stupid for being willing to pay that much for a race!

If I don’t do it there are many others that will happily take my spot. At what price will this sport just become too expensive? I guess it never will for some people.

*****Update******* 10/26/2015

I have decided that the cost was way to steep for the race and I will not be taking my spot. I just felt like it was too much money for a race that distance. I am not willing to pay for it.

And then this happened…

IMG_7912Last Saturday turned out to be a very eventful day. Stuart was riding a local century so I was home with the kids. I planned some cookie making and a trip to the park to keep us all busy for the day. I didn’t feel like unlocking my bike to ride to the park so I took one of the kids scooters. I had never ridden a scooter for more than a couple of meters before this but it was just a means to get to the park instead of walking. While at the park I decided to do one loop around on the scooter. The top of the loop is at the top of a small hill. As I was coming back down I was gathering a lot of speed and I wasn’t sure the best way to stop so I decided to roll into the grass to slow down. Bad idea! The front wheel stopped immediately and I was thrown over right into the ground on my right shoulder. I heard a crack. I thought it was my helmet. In hindsight, I know it wasn’t.

The break didn’t require surgery so I just wave to wait for it to heal. It could take 3-4 weeks before the bones stop shifting. It is turning out to be a much rougher recovery than I expected. My marathon in November is totally out. The next big race I am signed up for is Oceanside 70.3 in early April. I should have enough time to train for that. Worst thing is Stuart will be postponing his Everesting ride. I will not be able to SAG him October 25.

I have to admit, I am not handling this setback very well. I am going stir crazy being stuck in the house so much and being so helpless. I don’t feel like me right now. I am really hoping that after one more week I will feel a bit better and be a bit more independent.

I am trying to keep up my Whole 30 clean eating as best as possible. I would hate to gain the weight back that I lost and also it gives me something to focus on. I admit I haven’t been perfect (I have had a cookie or two over the week) but I have done pretty good otherwise.

I will keep you posted on my progress and recovery but right now I am just trying to end my pity party :-)

Whole 30 Success… and Failure

I did the Whole 30 challenge and it was both a success and a failure. It was a failure because I didn’t make it all 30 days. It wasn’t because I couldn’t have made it all 30 days. Stuart and I ended up going on an impromptu vacation and I really wanted to enjoy it. So all in all I made it 28 days. Except for one mistake where I took a sip of the wrong cup of coffee, I was 100% true to the program.

My goal of the program did not have to do with identifying any food allergies, but instead I wanted to reduce and cut out the unnecessary  sugar in my diet. For that, it was a total success! After abut 2 weeks on the program I no longer wanted sugary processed carbs anymore. And continuing on I don’t plan on bringing them back into my diet.

Weight-wise I dropped around 6 pounds over the 4 weeks. My husband Stuart managed to lose a bit of weight as well. We both got ourselves down to numbers we never thought we could maintain easily. That wasn’t one of the reasons we did Whole 30 but being able to maintain those lower weights was really nice. For doing the long distance events that Stuart and I do, it is really helpful not to carry around 5 extra pounds over the miles.

So now what you may ask. I plan on eating Whole 30 around 90% of the time. I plan to keep excluding bread, pasta, rice, and added sugar as much as possible. I do plan on drinking beer again. That was the one thing I really missed. I picked up the habit of drinking my coffee with coconut cream so I don’t think I will allow much dairy back in my diet. The exception to this will be the occasional cheese and sausage dinner with Stuart.

The challenge takes a lot of planing ahead and you will spend a lot of time in the kitchen. But it is totally worth it! Getting off the sugar and processed carbs is going to serve me well in the long term. Skinny has felt so much better than cereal tasted!

If you are going to do Whole 30 I highly recommend buying the book. It has a lot of good recipes. I found myself cooking from it 4-8 times per week. I also recommend doing Whole 30 just because it forces you to look at what you are eating and what you are most likely feeding your family. You will be SHOCKED to see how much crap is in our food.

Saucony Ride 8 Shoe Review

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The Saucony Ride 8 falls into the category of a neutral running shoe. I ran for a very long time in a stability shoe but as my running got stronger I felt more comfortable in a neutral shoe. I am not kidding when I tell you I think I ran in 4-6 pairs of the Ride 7s prior to the 8’s. They were a really great shoe for me.

So when the Ride 8s came out I was very excited to try them. I was hoping for a bit more cushion for a smoother run but not at the sake of becoming a big bulky spongy shoe. They nailed it!


Early run in the Ride 8s…these will work nicely!

The Ride 8s provided me with all the support but flexibility my running required. The upper is made of a consistent material, which for me is good. I find that if there are differences in the material of the upper (top of the shoe) it ends up rubbing on my foot differently. I had that experience with the ISO Triumphs. LOVED the shoes and support but the upper just hit me wrong and gave me blisters.

I found the Ride 8s to be a more cushioned run than the Ride 7s but they still allow for more natural foot motion than a stability shoe.

Another thing I love about Saucony in general is their shoes are consistently produced. I know I can start a new pair a week before a big race like and Ironman, and not be concerned that there will be a problem.


Ride 8s serving me well at Ironman Boulder

If you are looking for a solid reliable neutral shoe, give the Ride 8s a ride! They have a great amount of cushion while still allowing your feet to do their job.

Here are some of the details from Saucony’s website:

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*My first pair of Ride 8s was provided by Saucony but I have purchased more since. I needed the pink pair to match my kit!