Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Amber Finishes 21st at Kona!

This blog will start where the last one ended: with cliff jumping. This time Amber was convincing her father that it was a good idea to jump into the ocean from a cliff. After only a fair amount of cajoling, she did convince him.
Amber's father and Amber getting ready to jump
Kona: The finish First
                                                   21st at the World Championships!!!! Such a wonderfully painful sufferfest. Loved every moment!
This time, Amber had already completed Kona finishing in a time of 9:45 which was good enough for 21st female. While not terribly excited about her finishing rank, the race did give her confidence that she could contend with the best triathletes in the world. And the fact that she was able to do a  4+ mile hike with 1,500 foot elevation gain the very next day tells me it was the conditions more than her fitness that prevented a higher finish.

A hike? The day after Kona? Yep. That's Amber for you. We hiked to the Captain Cook Monument which you can only access by boat or hiking. Last time we were there we kayaked across the bay but this time, joined by her parents, we hiked down to it. We spent the afternoon snorkeling around and then had to hike the 1,500 feet back up to our car. I definitely prefer hiking in the opposite direction where you get the hard stuff out of the way first. The next day Amber and I went stand-up paddle boarding.

Look at all the nice pictures of Amber and I stand-up paddle boarding:

Oh don't see any? Well that could be because I lost my underwater camera after my 32nd time falling off my paddleboard. Meanwhile, Amber two days out from an Ironman, was paddling around without issue. I would like to say that there was something wrong with the board but I think it was the operator that was the issue. Anyway, here are a few pictures from our hike instead.
View from Captain Cook Monument

The hike down

The cliff we hiked down is in the background
 Luckily before we hiked, Amber stopped, for the 13th time, at Lava Java where she restocked her depleted carbohydrate stores with a little cinnamon bun.
That's the size of my head. Or half the size of yours Danny.
 Oh yeah, why were her carb stores depleted? The Ironman!
So it ended with the marathon which she did in 3:21 which was a bit off her race pace but considering the heat and humidity was still pretty amazing. Every time I saw her she looked strong.
 Miki Moto's photo.
Amber on Ali'i Drive
 The first time I saw her on the run, she actually turned to me and started talking to me. I had to yell at her to just keeping running. After the race I found out she was telling me how windy the bike course was and how she almost got knocked over on several occasions.
Still Smiling
 Before she got on the run, she had a little 112 mile bike ride to do which I was lucky enough to see her at one point, the hot corner, several times. Each time she looked strong and riding confidently.
After we were able to catch Amber a few times in the first few miles of her bike, we sent her off on the Queen K.
Amber coming up Palani

 What we missed from the times we saw her were the miles in Hawi where the wind was the worst it had been in the last 20 years. Being on the slighter side, Amber had a considerably harder time keeping the rubber side down than her bigger, yet still fair, competitors. Due to the wind and the oppressive heat she finished a few minutes off her goal race pace but still came onto the run in 22nd place.
Amber getting out of the swim on the bike.
 The real question is what would have happened if Amber was able to get in with the pack of women just ahead of her in the swim. Despite a strong swim, she didn't come out of the water where she should have which made riding more challenging. I think, had she come out a minute or two earlier, her whole day would have turned out definitely.
Amber putting on her TYR Torque speedsuit

View of the swim start
 That's the beauty of racing, there are always areas in which you can improve and make yourself more competitive. For Amber, she had a solid day but not a spectacular one and I know that if the elements all come together, she could get a better result next year for sure.
Amber at Lava Java before the race
Again, thanks again to all of Amber's supporters out there who helped get her to Kona early to acclimate. Having only been out there for a few days, I was dying in the heat but she seemed to handle it fairly well. The plan is to get her back out there again next year and this time as a contender. Stay tuned.

Up Next: Amber will be taking a much needed week or two off before getting ready for the winter race season which includes a winter triathlon and the World Snowshoe Championships. Who knows? She was talking about entering a Spartan Race the other day.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Amber is ready to rock!

This blog post is going to be pretty brief because we are trying to maximize our time left in Kona. Amber took me for a short 20 minute run today trying her best to capitalize on my life insurance policy apparently. Seriously though. I nearly drowned in my own sweat while she was giggling and having a grand old time on what(in her words, was a shake-out run), Yikes! Not that I'm in the best shape but I think a big part of it was her time spent out here acclimating. So thank you everyone who supported her and allowed her to get out here early. 
She is looking super fit and probably has gotten her fill of sea turtles(we saw five yesterday while snorkling) as well as cliff jumping(the video below doesn't do the 20 foot cliff justice) so should be ready to rock. 
The race starts at 6:30am HI time which is 12:30pm EST so feel free to go for a nice long run, bike or swim before getting back to send her your vibes from noon until 9:45 ish:) 
Anyone have a better prediction?
View from our condo

Amber cliff jumping

do it again? 

Amber jamming out to Taylor Swift

The cliff

Amber reconnoitering the cliff jump

Monday, September 29, 2014

Update on Amber-Training in Kona

Amber Ferreira-Pro Triathlete's photo.
How did they know Amber was coming?

Awww. Vacation in Kona. A tropical paradise. Amber is probably just lounging on the beach sipping adult beverages with fancy straws. OR she is training her butt off!

Since she's been there she already has ridden over 100 miles, run nearly a half marathon and swam several miles. Granted she's in a tropical paradise but she probably feels more like a hot tamale(and probably resembles one) than a tourist.

Here are some pictures that she has been able to take while training:
The reward after a sticky sweaty humid 12 mile run through the natural energy lab. Holy hot tamale (and now I resemble a tamale) :)

Amber Ferreira-Pro Triathlete's photo.
Amber Ferreira-Pro Triathlete's photo.

I know it's still a couple weeks away, but I don't think it hurts sends your positive vibes to her early:)


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kona-Then and Now

In 2010, Amber competed at Kona as an age-grouper, having qualified at Ironman Lake Placid. She will be racing again at Kona in a couple weeks as a professional having had to race four Ironman races in a ten month time span(with the last two in a 3 WEEK time span!). So Kona will be her fifth Ironman in 11 months! Pretty crazy. What's more crazy is just how far Amber has come since the last time she raced Kona.

In 2010:
  • Amber was still getting off of her bike at railroad crossings. Yes DURING races.
  • Amber doesn't slow down for anything! She inadvertently ran over a opossum the other day and almost got clotheslined by a moose while descending Mount Kearsarge.
In 2010:
  • Amber ran a 3:03:51 open marathon at the super fast Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans. Her second fastest time that year was a 3:14:27 at Marine Corps marathon. That's an average of a 3:09 average.
  • Amber ran a 3:09 at IM Florida and a 3:08 at IM Lake Placid! That's a 3:08:xx average OFF THE BIKE!
In 2010:
  • Amber's best Ironman was Lake Placid with a time of 10:11

  • Amber's best 2014 Ironman was Texas with a time of 9:11
In 2010:
  • Amber won the US Snowshoe Championships.

  • Amber won the US Snowshoe Championships.
In 2010:
  • Amber flew out the same week as the race and did not have much time to acclimate to the heat and humidity of Kona.

  • Thanks to her friends and supporters, Amber is going to be able to get out there a couple weeks early so she can train in the heat and let her body adjust to the 40-50 degree temperature difference from the cool weather we have in NH. Hopefully she can teach her central governor a new norm.

In 2010:
  • Amber always smiled during the entire race.

  • Amber still smiles during the entire race.
In 2010:
  • Amber had, how you say, baby fat.
  • Amber does not have fat of any variety-no less baby. In fact, the only baby around here will be me when she sees I posted that 2010 picture;)

The amazing thing is that she did not do any miraculous workout or take any performance enhancing drug to improve as she got older. Instead what she did was work. Day in and day out she put in hard efforts with consistency and drive. She just keeps getting better and better. And so can you! That's the beauty of endurance sports. Consistency and effort will allow you to get stronger, faster and fitter. It just takes time. As I mentioned, it wasn't one workout or even one mesocycle of workouts that got her here. It took her four years, but she's healthier and stronger because of it. And only getting better.

Watch her compete in the Ironman World Championships on October 11th.