Category Archives: Triathlon

Flying Leap

Back on the roadie

Back on the roadie

Back on the roadie

Charlie dragged me into the garden to teach me, again, how to change the tubes on my road bike. I had the best of intentions of getting back on the roadie at some point. I lugged it from Arizona on the back of my car, after all. And yes, I knew it was sitting in the garage with flats, like it had sat in my storage closet with flats for years prior to the move. But I have got the best commuter bike on the market and it is brilliant when I bike to work and back and so I’ve gotten used to it being the only bike that I use. I tried explaining, “I am simply much more comfortable on my commuter bike. Wider tires, basket, much less risk of falling off because I’m not clipped into pedals.”

His response? “Tough. Let’s fix the tires. We are going for a ride.”


Back on the roadie

I had a crash that shook me up four years ago. Four years and I’m still not over it. Even though I’ve competed in triathlons and I’ve put hundreds of miles on my commuter bike since — I can still hear the noise of hitting the ground, flailing as I’m attached to my bike. My finger is still crooked.

Back on the roadie

Back on the roadie

Of course changing the tires took all of 15 minutes — a chore I’d put off for far too long. It was a good reminder of the process and doing it myself felt good. (I’d gotten into the habit of taking it to the local bike shop for $12 fixes in lieu of just getting my own hands dirty.)

Helmet fastened, I’ll be going out for an afternoon ride with the gang. Nothing like taking those fears by the horns — and by horns, I mean the foothills of the Rockies.

Tally ho,


The Weekend in a Dozen

I’m cheating a bit for this month’s 12-of-12 challenge by posting my photos today, on the 12th, rather than tomorrow. I had such a great and busy weekend, I figured I could sum it up in a dozen shots instead of bouncing around with my camera today.


Ruby's computer

The SheRox tri was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the race and it was definitely worth the $85. Tempe Town Lake is warm (74) and the course was well marked. I was impressed with the organization and will do this sprint tri again. Alma completed it and it was her first tri. I was beaming, I was so proud of her.

this week's fruit -- not local, i know

Groceries. I love apples. I cringe at the fact that these aren’t local, but they are organic and they are from the US. The Chilean apples looked prettier, but my fruit shouldn’t need a passport.

purcahsed for $3 at the Tempe Library

The Tempe Library is so fabulous. Not only do they sell books on the cheap — this stack cost $3 — but they also have a great cafe and selection of audio books and DVDs.

buying these always makes me feel wt

Supplies for another loaf of no knead bread. There is something about buying one giant can of beer that makes me feel a bit like I should be calling my third cousin for a date this Friday. But then I have some of this warm bread and the whiskey tango feeling disappears around slice three.

apron loop

Africankelli Apron #4 completed; #5 is on my kitchen table ready to be completed this afternoon.


gramma j, 74th birthday

Mama’s day and my British Grannie’s 74th birthday. There was the mandatory visit, along with some beer bread (see above) and brownies. She was tickled.

reversible pintucked table runner with matching cloth napkins, jackie

More sewing — a pintucked, reversible table runner for my psuedo Arizona mom Jackie. Jackie is Rebecca’s mom and their family have me over for dinner every Sunday. They are pretty incredible folk.

table runner for jackie, wrapped and ready

Wrapped and ready to be delivered. I stole Finny’s idea for photo cards a while back. I print my favorite photos at Costco and glue them down to some cardstock. They come in handy for just about any occasion.

squash, garlic roasted

Shelley, Bec’s eldest sister, wanted this butternut squash spicy dip I make. It isn’t my favorite, but the squash looks so pretty all roasted and rested on the cookie sheet.

pretty pita shot

Pita for the dip. I make my own pita chips because they are less expensive and healthier. I buy a package of pitas and cut them up and toast them in the oven. Voila — chips without the frying.

Irish soda bread muffins, bon appetit, june 2008

Irish soda bread muffins for her other sister, Christy. This recipe is from the June issue of Bon Appetit and is excellent.

Cody and Four Peaks

And the random drink with my brother, who happened to be in Phoenix for 24-hours to see some friends. It is always nice to spend time with him. I miss him like it is my job.

There was some bowling, napping, church-going, and a fair amount of NPR listening in there too. A great weekend indeed!

The Slim of It

stack of suns fabric


I haven’t posted much lately about my “training” because with 7 weeks on the travel docket this summer, there isn’t much planned for Fall races. I’ve got three Splash and Dash left and a sprint triathlon next weekend for the Spring tri season, and then a long hiatus until the Tour de Scottsdale come October.
And you know what? I couldn’t be happier. I’m going to pick up Ultimate again this Fall (and possibly tennis) and swing by this new running shop in Tempe that is getting rave reviews to be fit for a great new pair of sneaks. Then, the Tucson 1/2 come December with a goal of 2 hours. My current personal best is 2:14, so this would be a rocking improvement.

Suns fan project glimpse

My day-to-day routine when I’m without a specific training race for goes something like this: Monday, Wednesday, Friday — lots of running and cycling. I’ve recently taken up spin classes because if I fall off that bike there is no risk of being hit by a car. And if I fall of the spin bike, I am officially too dumb to be on a bike and should never return to riding the open roads with the Rudy the Tempest. It is just getting light enough to make my annual transition from the treadmill to the canal and head back outside for morning runs. (We once had a serial killer here who was randomly picking people off with a sniper gun. I stopped running outside by myself in the dark during this time and have yet to return with any confidence. Too many crazies, even though they caught this nut.)
I try to run 15-20 miles per week, typically at at 10 minute mile pace. There is are a few weights sprinkled in there too; more so on the weeks when I receive my copy of Shape and feel particularly motivated. I am actually considering buying this bikini and hanging it up in my bedroom as a daily reminder of my annual Mexico trip this fall. It is wowza cute, very much my style and I will certainly need to curb my late night cereal snack habit to rock that baby with any sort of sober confidence.

trying to pretend we didn't already lose to the spurs

Tuesdays and Thursdays I am coaching the master swim program and put in 1.5-2 miles pre-work. I try to walk or take yoga in the afternoons, but it all depends on my dance card. Social events take precedence because frankly, I can have a flat tummy and be home alone or be jolly out with friends. Jolly wins.
Weekends are a mix of errands on the bike, running when so moved and hiking with friends. I try daily to be moving at least 30 minutes a day, ideally 90. I know that I’m a cardio freak, but I am my happiest with those exercise endorphins flowing. Anytime I can be outside and not melt, I’m on the patio.

what could these be for?

A few great resources new to me for those fellow wannabe athletes:
1. Fantastically free calorie web site. Food journaling is my friend.
2. Bike I am currently coveting.
3. Did you know they made watches that monitor caloric output? And you can find them for a smoking deal on eBay.
4. Love this magazine. Just read my first copy this week and it is really different from the other health stuff out there. Entertaining, stylish and informative in useful portions. Hmm… useful portions…


pile of rope

* A super secret project for a certain friend’s 11th birthday party. Let’s just say she is a huge Phoenix Suns fan and we are going rock climbing.

Tried and True

Tri for the Cure: Checkity check. The “Tempe Y Tri Babes” did well and had fun in the process. Positives: my relay partners were prepared, raced hard, and had great attitudes. Negatives: poor race organization. Not only were there swarms of people without the foggiest idea of the course map, transition area rules, etc… but wowie — we started a good 1.5 hours late. This screws everyone up as far as energy (eat breakfast? Don’t eat?) and bathrooms. There were 900 women racing and few facilities. Now imagine 850 of them who are hungry and doing a very cranky pre-race dance standing in bathroom lines.

My eyes: much better. Thank you. And thank goodness for leftover drops because I’ve got another Tempe Town Lake splash and dash in a couple weeks. You can lead this horse to water, and chances are I’m going to jump in and swim, even if the water is gross.

Being in this environment is such a kick. First, there is the people watching. You wouldn’t believe the variety of age, size and physical shape of triathletes, especially in these sprint events. Without a doubt I know I’ll get my ass handed to me by someone 15 and under and someone 65 and older. Competing is good for humility if nothing else. Also, the tattoos! I think triathletes are probably second only to Harley Davidson folk for the number and variety of tattoos clearly labeling their favorite hobby: swim! bike! run! I once wanted an Ironman tat, but I’m reconsidering after the variety I’ve seen. While no doubt they are special, they aren’t unique.

There is nothing else in my routine that motivates me like being around other athletes. I stand up straight and throw my broad shoulders back with pride from the countless swim workouts that created them. I watch with body-confidence envy at the women who sport tri bikinis, for those rocking six packs and those who enjoy a good six pack. I cheer for the newbies and watch the elite athletes in awe. From start to finish, I am overwhelmed with the desire to simply be better. I want to eat smarter, train harder, stretch more and be stronger. I want to compete at the top of the field instead of hanging around the flabby midsection. (Correlation noted.)


Run Right By, Won’t You?

I cannot sprint like a Kenyan, but I can swim with the best of Arizona brats who grew up in fancy swim clubs. Last night’s race was a fun reminder of why I wish the swimming came last.

Let me paint the scene:
Me and 100 other folk waiting for the start of a two-lap swim around a Tempe Town Lake course. The other 99 (most with wet suits) are in the water. Me at the starting dock with my toes in waiting for the horn to start the race. I dive, I find my place in the pack, I emerge 20 minutes later or so in the first 20 or so folk. The advantage of not wearing a wet suit is apparent as I throw on my tennis shoes and sunglasses and take off. Soon enough I’m cruising through the out-and-back 1.8 mile course when I hear a set of feet behind me. A dude cruises by. Then another. Then another. Then it is a torrent of slower swimmers who’ve caught the hare and are flying past me in their fancy, sprinty, Kenyan ways.
I finished mid-pack and was pleased as punch; I swam and ran as hard as I could. I was so tired at the end I nearly puked, and considering these races provide some of the best male eye-candy in town, I’m really glad I didn’t. Instead, I pulled myself together and went out with a group for post-race happy hour.
Yet when I woke up this morning with two swollen pink eyes, I had to wonder if the dip in the city lake was worth the infection. It was a lot of fun but I am not going to be a happy camper if this morphs into another $50 spent on antibiotic drops for these wimpy peepers of mine.

Next up: Tri for the Cure on Sunday. It’s a sprint tri I’m doing as a relay with a couple girlfriends. And guess what? I’m doing the run. Thankfully I can hide behind a pair of sunglasses if necessary.

Happy weekend!


Chevroleg, 2.0

once filled with junk in my trunk (ha! no really, a tire iron and the such)

Take one $.99 Ikea bag, a bit of canvas for the lining, a square of cotton for the front key pocket, some yellow thread and voila: le Chevroleg, 2.0.

My new signature pose, apparently
inside pocket and velcro goodness
inside pocket
Wrapped up with leftover handle

For Salty. Next sewing project: girl’s dresses made from pillowcases. Have you heard of this?


P.S. I’m doing my first Splash and Dash tonight. I’m a bit nervous. You’d think by now I’d be comfortable swimming in Tempe Town Lake, but it still panics me a little. I did a 2.4 mile open water a couple weeks ago and once again I was one of two idiots without a wetsuit. I was so cold, I couldn’t get my breath under control for 1000 meters. Thankfully, tonight the race is just 1000 meters and then some running (hence the dash). And no, this idiot still doesn’t have a wetsuit. Oy. Full algae and hyperventilation report tomorrow.

Swimming, Without Political Drama

Don't you bring your knitting to a swim meet?

I swam in the state masters meet this weekend — the mile last night and four events this morning. I am blogging on nothing more than anxiety and exhaustion. I’m home, a wee bit sunburned and very happy to have competed. And yes, I took knitting to the meet. I’m just that strange.

Arizona State Masters meet

I notice that in true Kelli fashion I underestimated myself. My entry times were stupid slow — as in I swam in heats with an 81-year-old dude.

50 fly
200 IM
100 fly
1650 = mile

Yep, I beat that old man silly. Okay, really I waited in the water for him each time to finish and then shook his hand. I mean, how cool is it that he is still competing at 81? Lou and I were fast friends by this afternoon. He didn’t seem to mind I completed the mile 22 minutes faster than him and tread water the entire time waiting for his finish.

For the swimmers out there — did you learn to stay in the water until everyone is finished and shake hands with your competitors? I thought this was common courtesy. Safe to say this is not a level of competition that should be void of manners. Also safe to say I’ve got to find a new team to train with because next year I’ll be greeting Lou from the fast heat.


Sewing and Swimming

mini cheesecake

My roommate is moving next week to Canada and taking the five kitties with her. I’ll miss her company, although I am still not a “cat person.” Give me a Saint Bernard any day. I just don’t know what to do with cats, other than vacuum behind them regularly. I’ve thought about getting another roommate because the additional rent money is quite nice, but I need some time to sew. And knit. And do things outside of the kitchen. Next week the guest room will be transformed into my art studio once more and I’ll have to rely on the kindness of friends to feed me. I’ll be too busy with my Singer to mess with my skillet.

mini strawberry cheese cake

This week I’m busy making mini cheesecake for my neighbor, reading, hiking and preparing for Spring sports. Yesterday I signed up for $320 worth of events in March, April and May. (See? roommate money put to good use.) I’ll be competing in the Masters swimming state meet in Tucson in a couple weeks, a 2.4 mile open-water swim in Tempe, a few Splash and Dash events and a couple triathlons. With all of these events lined up, my workouts have become more disciplined and focused. I’m not just exercising because I love it but because I have dreams of winning the Splash and Dash series. And maybe the mile event at the state swim meet. Oh, that would be fun! Having swam in my brother’s shadow for nearly my entire life (you know, until he quit swimming and I just had coaches remind me ever so often that I was “Cody’s sister!! Is he still swimming?”) I am the one competing these days. The fact that even though he hasn’t swam in years and could more than likely still beat me in the pool in a sprint doesn’t bother me at all. Really. That said, I’d probably have to rescue him during the 2.4 mile race. I’ve always been more of a distance athlete. If nothing else, maybe that chip will fall off my shoulder during that mile swim. Ha!


Madison: Supergirl, Irongirl

pre race smiles

My friend Madison recently decided she wanted to compete in a triathlon. Within a few hours, she’d decided to compete in the Ironkids tri, which was just three weeks away. Maddy is naturally talented in about 1,000 ways, one of which is swimming. The girl is a fish. She is also pretty awesome at running and basketball.

Go Madison

We talked transition details, what to expect, what to eat. I called her the night before and gave her my best Vince Lombardi speech, although I’m pretty sure it came out more like Donna Martin’s version. Regardless, the girl competed and it so fun to watch.

Into the water
she's off

Some 200 kids filled Kiwanis Park in Tempe last weekend to compete. It gave me goosebumps to see so many kids dedicated to the sport and out there having a blast. The youngest kids were tea-cup tiny and I am pretty sure I spotted a few bikes with streamers. (Note to self: get Ruby streamers. And a bell.)

swim to bike transitition
athlete in charge

There were also a ridiculous number of children who are in tri clubs and competed with thousand dollar bikes and specialized gear. Maddy and I are old school. Her pink two-piece bathing suit? So much better than any fancy tri shorts. Her multicolored helmet? She not only rocked the biking, but she did so with style. The run? The girl had the cutest braids and the biggest smile.

open wide
ripping through the finish line

Watch out world. Maddy is an Irongirl and I have a feeling she’s going to be conquering many more races soon!

Rock the Race

still trying to get the hang of fusing plastic

Ann of Tasterspoon fame was so incredibly sweet to me during my race training. She would send me these thoughtful emails about her experience training and right before the race sent me a giant box of race foods to try out before competing. She is an amazing athlete and really just a cool girl.

A peek inside the plastic-lined tri bag

To show my appreciation for the dozens of emails she sent, answering my every question about training, the race, the food, the clothes (oh my GOD — some people pee in their shorts during the race?!), etc… I made her a bag I thought was appropriate to her northern California athletic sensibilities.
Using this plastic fusing tutorial and a bit of canvas, twill and some alphabet stamps, I created my first tri tote:

top of tri bag

Swim. Bike. Run. Rock the race.

simple tri-bag

Now she can load up her wet swimming suit, dirty cycling cleats or sweaty running clothing and wipe out the interior of the bag afterward. Woo hoo! I finally figured out what to do with those stupid plastic bags in my junk drawer. Sewing, recycling and triathlons. I swear I think I just went to hobby Nirvana.
Thanks again Ann!