37 years old
freelance photographer
running coach
Sunny Southern Cali, US of A


by Danny Dreyer

by Joe Friel
& Gordon Byrn

by Loren Cordain and Joe Friel


by Chuck Klosterman

by Haruki Murakami




2/1/09 Surf City Run HALF MARATHON
2/8/09 Chinatown Firecracker Run 5k and 10k
2/14/09 Tour de Palm Springs 55 MILE RIDE
3/14/09 Pasadena Triathlon REVERSE POOL SPRINT
4/4/09 Oceanside 70.3 HALF IRONMAN
5/3/09 Cinco de Mayo Run for the Cure HALF MARATHON
8/1/09 Vineman Full FULL IRONMAN
11/1/09 New York Marathon MARATHON
2/3/08 Surf City Run HALF MARATHON
2/9/08 Tour de Palm Springs CENTURY RIDE
2/10/08 Chinatown Firecracker Run 5k and 10k
3/08/08 Pasadena Triathlon REVERSE POOL SPRINT
4/19/08 Rage in the Sage HALF IRONMAN
5/25/08 IM Brasil FULL IRONMAN
140.6 BABY!!!
7/20/08 Strawberry Fields Triathlon OLYMPIC
2/4/07 Pacific Shoreline HALF MARATHON
3/31/07 Oceanside 70.3 HALF IRONMAN
6/3/07 Danskin All Ladies Tri SPRINT
6/24/07 Breath of Life Tri OLYMPIC
7/12/07 Playa Del Run #2 AQUATHLON
7/22/07 Vineman 70.3 HALF IRONMAN
8/9/07 Playa Del Run #3 AQUATHLON
8/19/07 Hansen Dam Tri SPRINT
10/7/07 People Powered Ride METRIC CENTURY FUN RIDE
11/4/07 New York Marathon MARATHON

Lance NotStrong
Steve in a Speedo?! Gross!!
This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called danskin all ladies triathlon '07. Make your own badge here.



Thursday, June 5, 2008


the view from my hotel room balcony

my first full day in Brasil, i let my body dictate when to get up which ended up being about 8am which was 4am back at home. i'd slept so much on the previous day's flights and then went to bed as soon as i got into the hotel that i honestly had no idea what time zone i was on. as i hadn't arrived to the hotel until well after dark, i was pleasantly surprised to wake up to our partial ocean view!!! just off the coast sat an island that Oli and i promised we'd swim to before the trip was over. went down and had my first Hotel Lexus breakfast that wasn't half bad. there was enough fresh fruit and protein in the form of scrambled eggs and sausage for me to stick to Paleo style eating while also ramping up the carbs for the race with the pasta options at dinner time. afterwards, Oli was off for a run and i headed up to put THE FUCKER together for our first ride around town.

after him being "not really lost", you'd think i would have inspected him as soon as i got the case at the airport, but i was exhausted. i should have suspected something when the outer green strap was just loose next to the case when he came off the last plane. upon opening the case the next morning, i quickly discovered that somewhere along the way, and from the damage i suspect somewhere early along the way, some disgruntled TSA employee undid ALL BUT TWO of the velcro and readjusting zip ties holding THE FUCKER and all three wheels tightly in place where they would not bounce around or scratch each other. so basically everything just tousled around in there all loose for over how many thousands of miles?? i don't even wanna think about it. i had also folded in and wrapped the rear derailleur with a t-shirt and taped it to the chainstay to keep it from knocking around or hitting the back of the case. um, yeah, the t-shirt was on the bottom of the case too. then i noticed the scratches, NO GAUGES, to THE FUCKER'S frame. this is heart breaking, people. all the good riding he's given me, and he gets all scratched up, like DOWN TO THE METAL IN PLACES, before we even get to race day. good thing he's silver, but i'm considering sending him to Cervelo for a touch up, and if they can't help me, i'm taking him apart and taking his frame to my buddy's body shop, getting him stripped and getting him a new stupid-cool paint job. oh, and my rear race wheel?? the all carbon one?? yeah, it's chipped. flakes of carbon where the 3 spokes meet. i figured it would be fine for the race, but now i'll have to look into whether they can do some sort of resurfacing to it. once i recovered from that devastation, i got out my tools to put everything together. first, cassette on wheel, wheels on frame, pedals, bottle cage. then i noticed that the pulleys were slightly askew and the gears were slipping a bit. and this, my friends. is just the first example of why it rocks to travel with Ken Glah and his company, Endurace Sports Travel. in addition to our awesome view, shuttles to everywhere we needed to go, breakfast and dinner buffets AND massage therapists all included in the price we paid, there were also on-site mechanics available to us in our hotel. first i wanted to ride and survey the damage and then check in at the mechanics room...

Oli's clownin'

now i've written about Oli, aka "the legs" here before. basically, the guy is a machine, but come to find out he's a machine who likes to keep it light, doesn't take himself or any of the Ironman hoopla too seriously. when we first started talking about the possibility of rooming together in Brasil back in November, i envisioned that we'd room together but that would be about it. the guy was giving it a shot at qualifying for Kona, HIS SECOND TRIP TO KONA. i was giving it a shot at just doing my first one and finishing under 17 hours. i assumed he'd be pretty intense, that i'd have to tread lightly, be pretty quiet, keep to myself, and that we'd have totally separate agendas. that's kinda how i roll anyway. in general, i don't travel very well with others, but i know him well enough from the tri club and also from working together on shoots (he's a set designer) that we'd, as Oli would put it, "get on fine." and take your minds outta the gutter, ladies, he didn't say GET IT ON, and we actually had a two bedroom apartment.

there were plenty of other fast guys that were heading out for a ride that morning from our hotel. you know the ones with all the latest all carbon gear, the aero everything, and the team kits?? i suggested to Oli that he join them. i didn't want him to get bored or feel anxious riding with the slowpoke that i am, but he said no way. he didn't wanna get caught up in a "macho ride", didn't wanna risk doing something stupid. he'd rather ride with me and keep it mellow while we dialed in our bikes. i just had to ride 30 miles, so we'd be out there for about 2 hours finding our way around town. didn't bring my camera for this ride, but it was gorgeous. slightly warm and humid, but race day called for a cooling trend. we passed huge Miami Scarface looking mansions along the final stretch of the run, went into smaller sleepy beach town neighborhoods and even past some more rural highway sections with thick jungle flora and cows tied to trees along the shoulder to graze. as we headed back to the hotel taking the run course route, we hit the MOTHER SHITTER HILLS. Hillary Biscay had warned me about them in the lobby the night before. they're short, but treacherously steep, like i dunno what grade, allegedly 25%, but stupid steep nonetheless, and of course Oli flew up them. this is where the travel damage became most apparent, and THE FUCKER'S gears just started slipping and grinding. for fear i'd break my chain, i unclipped FOR THE FIRST TIME EVAH and walked a few yards until the grade mellowed out again, then clipped back in to get to the top. back at the hotel, my savior, bike mechanic Fernando, surveyed the damage and was able to realign the derailleur and the check all the gears. he showed me with the crazy 5th grade compass looking tool just how bent it was. everybody in the hotel swore by these guys. one woman said she's had a problem for MONTHS that her LBS couldn't figure out and she took it to these guys, and in sign language (they only spoke Portuguese), was able to get them to fix the problem. they were top notch, and i definitely owed them some beers. oh, and the fast guys who took off from the hotel before us??? turns out, one of the "macho" riders ate shit on a street reflector and broke his wrist. this was supposed to be his first Ironman, and now he'd be volunteering as a body marker on race day....

from then on, we pretty much stuck together until the gun went off. I think Oli liked having an interpreter, and in turn, he kept me laughing for days which had everything to do with me keeping calm before that gun went off. the expo wouldn't open for packet pick up until the next day, but there were plenty of activities put on by Endurance Sports including a bus tour of the entire course which was INVALUABLE...

Ken Glah gives us the lowdown on the swim course.

Jurere Beach, the swim start

and a play by play of the bike and run course

Ken himself has raced IM Brasil as well as ton of foreign races, been to Kona a billion times. he's also part owner of the race, so he was able to give us a ton of insight into the course and all its little nuances. for instance, the swim, while free from surf or much chop, can have a helluva current which he would go out and survey himself on race morning and let us know which way it was pulling, and the two legs of the m-shaped course are not the same distance. the second one is shorter, so pace yourselves on the first one. he pointed out the two hills on the bike course and where the surfaces were the worst and where they were pristine. most importantly, the roads were open to traffic in one lane while another lane would be marked off for us, the inside lane of the highway. they used several thousand road cones to do this, but the cones aren't a soft rubber as we have in the states. rather, they're a hard plastic, and they shatter upon impact, so we should watch out for the shards as people have flatted from them in past years. then there was a tunnel section to the bike course. if i didn't know about this part, i'da been totally lost even though it was ultimately marked so well that you couldn't have gone wrong, but to have it explained ahead of time was priceless. there were two tunnels. we would go in the left tunnel from the inside lane then turn around to the right and come back the inside lane of the tunnel on the right, then turn around again and come back through the same tunnel on the outside land, and then turn around AGAIN and come back through the first tunnel on the outside lane. and since it was a two loop course, we would follow that crazy ass maze TWICE. here's a little diagram...

if you're not cross-eyed by now, well then you're sharper than me. i know i know. it all looks very simple here, but in a foreign country where you barely speak the language and you're looking at potentially 17 hours of continuous movement of some kind or another, it's shit like this that messes with your head.

local fisherman bring in their last net

back at our hotel that night we just chilled and took in the local vibe, watching these fisherman cast out and then bring in their nets, eating dinner and getting to know the other Hotel Lexus guests. there were several pros staying amongst us, and the hotel was small, so it really felt like a family. i spoke with Hillary Biscay quite a bit in the lobby and at meals as she coaches a friend of mine. Olaf Sabatschus was also staying there. he's won IM Brasil twice, recovered from testicular cancer AND had just won IM China just two weeks prior. also amongst us was Czech phenom, Petr Vabrousek. remember that island up top i said Oli and i wanted to swim to at one point? ONE POINT. yeah, Petr and Hillary swam to it EVERY MORNING. and it's like a 6k roundtrip. it was surreal to be amongst these great athletes, and i was shocked at how nice and accessible they were to us measly age groupers!! i mean, for the most part, triathletes are mad cool peeps, but the same as i expected with Oli going for Kona, the pros should be more intense, more insulated, less chatty and social. but again, lesson learned: if the pros can stay mellow and calm, so should i.

the next day was packet pick up. i got up early and went for a 5 mile run before breakfast. it was so pleasant to just have one measly little workout to do every day in between our other activities. the stress of life, work and figuring out how to squeeze in training was now gone. i felt an overwhelming sense of calm, and i needed to keep it going until the gun went off. when i woke up that morning, i was definitely feeling the tickle in the throat from my body reacting to new and foreign bacteria in the foods, but i had been keeping up with a regimen of acidophilus (the good bacteria) before i left and was ramping it up now that i was here in combo with echinacea. it was gonna take another day or two for the acidophilus to kick in and overcome the new bacteria. wasn't really worried about it.

Oli and i headed out together but split up by the time we hit the end of the main road in Canasvieiras. it was great to be sticking together so much, but come on dude, you know you don't wanna run 10 minute miles with me!!! he headed back towards the hotel and the hills on the run course, and i headed out away from the main drag of hotels on what looked enough like a main road that had a decent shoulder. it was a weekday, a work day, but it's low season for this sleepy beach town as May is their fall going into winter. the car traffic was light, and i passed a few road workers, a few bike commuters and a few people waiting for the early morning buses, but for the most part, it was just the sound of my footsteps and the cricket like sounds coming from the jungle flora. there's nothing better than seeing a new place on foot!!! no sense of distance, so i just went 25 minutes out and then tried to pick it up a bit for a negative split back to the hotel.

back at the room, Oli was starting to build up what we referred to as "command central", taping up maps, race week schedules, shopping lists and other race reminders to the wall just above where THE FUCKER stood.

a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, a pound of butter....

THEN IT WAS OFF TO THE EXPO!!!! it was about a 10 minute shuttle ride to the expo, and Oli warned me that we should just go down there to pick up our packets, get the schwag shopping out of the way and then never go back there until bike drop off and race day cuz it just gets crazy and frenzied, and it would only make me more anxious. i definitely agreed with this plan...

all this for me??

...and he was SO RIGHT. there were so many things to get distracted by. i kept stopping every 10 yards to take a pic of me in front of some crazy attraction. this one in particular goes out to my girls, Kim and Kona Shelley...

i'm in Brasil Beyotches!!!

really, i had to stop EVERYWHERE!!!

Oli's turn!!!

ok, NOW MY TURN!!!

i think i was trying to put off the inevitable. i didn't wanna go into the packet pick up tent. i knew that's where i'd start to freak, but once we were done there, we could head to the beach for a swim and then just relax until the athletes meeting. a'ight, let's get this over with...

are you really who you say you are? i.d. please...

mine's the WHITE bag, yeah, uh huh, that one...

i guess THIS makes it OFFICIAL

there were SO MANY BRACELETS to wear. the first came from Iron Maiden Cindy that her students made for me before i left. next was the bracelet from Endurance Sports Travel that identified us for meals, shuttles, etc. and the honkin' bright red one was THE ATHLETE'S bracelet to be worn for access into transition, the athlete's meeting, pre-race dinner, post-race awards lunch and the AFTER PARTY. later i would learn that there were MORE BRACELETS... DOH!!!

sizin' up the swim...

we had a few hours to kill before the athlete's meeting so we went for a swim at the race start. i'd heard about the jelly fish and one blogger out there who got stung by one just before her race here a few years ago. so far, i had seen little bits of them on the beach, but no whole ones at any of my short swims in front of the hotel. one guy at our hotel said he'd seen big ones and swiped 'em with his hand but that he didn't see any tentacles on them and that they probably wouldn't sting. funny, in all my years of growing up at the beach, surfing and swimming for tri, i've never encountered jelly fish that i can think of. friends of mine have encountered swarms of them back home in SoCal and even been stung, but me, nope never. i really didn't wanna have my first encounter here...

i had forgotten my swim cap, goggles AND earplugs, so Oli and i had to take turns going in while the other one watched our crap. unlike NAS races, the sponsored swim with kayaks here did not provide for a bag check or any designated area to leave our crap. the buoys weren't the official race ones. they were randomly spaced and way further than race distance, so i just sighted off of one and went for it. just about there and i started to feel weird masses tapping at my hands and feet, but with my goggles in the water, i didn't actually see a jellyfish and certainly not a swarm of them. come on, monica, you freak out less when you see a tiny shark back at home. time to HTFU and just swim. heading back though, i ran head into another swimmer!!! DOH!!! but he was HAWT and with 3 other hawties. we both apoligized and laughed. i got to speak some Portuguese. he wished me well and said he'd look out for me on race day. mmmmmm hmmmmmmmm....

while Oli went out for his swim i actually changed into A BIKINI!!! i cannot recall when i last wore this thing. definitely not much during training months if ever. i did my best to bury my race bags and look like a local taking in the sun. of course my bikini bottoms were a dead give away that i in fact was nothing but a poser tourist. everyone, EVERY LADY OF EVERY SIZE wore far less fabric on the derrieres. it wasn't so much the butt floss i'd expected to see, but a sort of in between. you gotta love a country where the ass, any ass including my wide load, is celebrated and flaunted (more on that later). but every 5 minutes someone else from the hotel would walk past and say something. they were all just passing through to survey the swim start and looked at me like i was crazy for wasting my time laying on the beach. was i really wasting my time?? was i not respecting the distance?? i'd gotten in all my workouts that COACH had planned for me this race week. i was following my race week diet, getting to bed early, waking earlier and earlier every morning. what was wrong with a little r&r??? whatever, dude. that's how i roll. i'm gonna relax as best i can and try not to obsess about this thang. i'm sure you're freaking out enough for all of us. plus, next up was the athlete's meeting. i'd have plenty to freak out about then...


Blogger Tea said...

Oli sounds like an absolute BLAST! I love the guy!

Ample Ass being celebrated....I've finally found "home".

btw---You are amazing in being able to write up such an awesome report after over a week!

June 6, 2008 at 3:49 PM

Blogger CVSURF said...

It gets better and better. The story is building and I can't wait for the next installment.

June 6, 2008 at 7:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh god you are agonisingly good at writing a race repot - We haven't even got to the RACE yet.

Loving it......

Love the pics.....

Ken Glah had a huge crew over here at IM NZ and he was amazing! One day I would love to tour with his group, and you are definitely selling the idea really well!

June 6, 2008 at 8:52 PM

Blogger Fe-lady said...

We know you did very well in spite of your bike troubles and lounging around in your bikini! :-)
I am enjoying your report! Thanks!

June 7, 2008 at 3:55 PM

Blogger Warrior said...

okay give us the nitty gritty, for crying out loud. Yeah the photo of you in a bikini......ooops sorry I meant the race report.

June 8, 2008 at 5:36 AM

Blogger Steve Stenzel said...

That's a TOTAL "Kim" pic. I would have loved to see all the nearly bare pics???.....

June 8, 2008 at 10:51 AM

Blogger Rainmaker said...

Awesome report thus far, really cool to read. Sounds like you were in with the 'cool kids'. And I'm with Steve...where's the pics?

June 8, 2008 at 6:49 PM

Blogger Spokane Al said...

I am really enjoying your detailed report. Keep 'em coming and don't leave anything out!

June 9, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Blogger CoachLiz said...

Wow, keep it coming! I have to start on my Switzerland race report so you have something to read.

June 9, 2008 at 3:27 PM

Blogger Kona Shelley said...

Da'am girl is that a monkey on your back or what?? hee hee...great freaking report, even excellent them!!! AND YOU look so fit and trim...way to go!!!!!

June 10, 2008 at 10:37 AM

Blogger Pacer Sharon said...

Please Monica, I'd like some more...

June 10, 2008 at 6:55 PM


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