June 29, 2010

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Posted in Cycling, Exercise, Running, Swimming, Triathlons, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:16 pm by Stonewear Designs

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If you have been following my triathlon experience you will be pleased to know that I survived the SheRox triathlon in Aurora, Colorado (½ mile swim, 10 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run) this past weekend. Not only did I finish my first triathlon, but also I did better than I ever thought I would. My training regiment and positive mentality the past two months have definitely paid off! After waking up at 5:00 AM, hopping in the shower, and force feeding myself a breakfast sandwich; my sister, my roommate and her boyfriend all loaded ourselves into the car and made our way to the race course. The greatest piece of advice I can give anyone who cannot wake up in the morning is to get in the shower. It will wake every sense in your body up and get you feeling fresh for the day. Once we arrived at the racecourse, I had about an hour before the start time to set up my bike and everything I needed for the race in the transition area. It was the perfect amount of time to get physically and mentally ready. I knew the swimming portion would be my greatest advantage; nonetheless I started to get concerned when I saw everyone around me get into their wetsuits – which I did not have. The water was about 67 degrees, and the decision to have a wet suit or not could go either way at this temperature. All the athletes got ready and headed down to the water, the announcer counted down until the first wave took off. That wave was the elite wave; the following three waves were divided up based on age. Each wave left 5 minutes apart from each other. When it was time for the second wave, I got in the cold water and started bouncing up and down until it was time to begin. I always jumped up and down before my college swim races to get pumped up. I caught myself naturally doing the same thing here. Once I pushed off I automatically had an adrenaline rush from the chilly water and from my surroundings. After about three minutes of swimming, I realized I was not near anybody! My first thought was that I was heading to the wrong buoy. So I pulled my head up and took my goggles off only to see that the buoy I was heading to was correct and my wave of red caps were behind me. I gained confidence and headed for the following three buoys. At the end of the swim I knew I was in the front of the pack, not only did I catch up to the first wave but I was in the front of them all. My college swim coach told me that swimmers naturally make great triathletes because for us it is the easiest leg. Most people are exhausted by the time the get out of the water. I didn’t realize I had that much of an advantage until I actually experienced it here. I knew from here that I set myself up in a great place. Transition 1 was approaching, I ran to my bike, put my helmet, sunglasses, and sneakers on. The first leg went well and I still had a lot of energy left so I kept my pace and stayed around 95% effort level. The most difficult thing I faced while biking were the hills. Not only that but I have flat pedals so I had to push down which was not very efficient. Making a mental note in my head that clips will make a huge difference on my next triathlon, I kept going. At the end of the bike portion I was out of breath. A few people had passed me but I knew I was still top 30 overall. I got off my bike and advanced to transition 2 into the run. My legs felt like Jell-O and I was huffing and puffing in order to catch my breath. Leaving the transition area was a ramp followed by a sharp right turn into the running course. Going down the ramp I had no control over my speed or legs and leaned right through the turn hoping that my body would follow. After regaining composure with a straightaway, I had to focus on my breath and get air to my lungs- for me; this was the hardest part of the whole event. However, I did not once think that I could not complete the race.  I passed a 1-mile marker, which frustrated me since it felt like I had been running forever. Finally I made it to the half way mark and told myself to keep running no matter what. It felt as if people where passing me like crazy. I thought at that point that I was still top half overall but there was no way I was any higher than 40th place. With the end in sight, I saw “team Wong” at the end screaming at me to run faster. I gave it whatever I had left. WOW!!!!! Pain, relief, and happiness overcame my body. The clock read 1:27:17 but I had forgotten that I left 5 minutes after the first wave. When I checked out the results. I was shocked to find out that I had gotten first in my age group, 20th overall, and ended with a time of 1:22:17. I couldn’t believe it. Here I was just trying to complete one and instead I came out with a win. Yea me! With the high of it all, I know exactly what I can improve on for my next one and I have more confidence that I can go faster. Stay tuned for my next challenge on August 1st with the Tri for the Cure Triathlon.

-Dara Wong


June 1, 2010

My Nemesis

Posted in Cycling, Exercise, Running, Swimming, Triathlons tagged , , , , , , , , at 1:19 pm by Stonewear Designs

Dara Wong

Dara Wong

On my normal 5.37-mile run last Thursday, Tonya and I had to run at high noon in 87-degree weather. Some of you may be reading this and thinking that’s nothing and others may feel for me. Keep in mind that I am from Colorado and am not exposed to brutal temperatures on a regular basis, I have thick dark brown hair, and I am a swimmer so I am used to being in cool water. You could say I am prone to over heating. Tonya claims that she finally found my nemesis, HEAT! While on the run I started getting super hot, the sun was fierce and I had not eaten or had much water that morning. With about two miles left to go and a steep hill, I knew I was at my breaking point. I figured I had to get back to the office some how and I would rather do it in a timely manner, so I kept running. About a mile left to go and all I wanted to do was collapse and lay in the shady grassy patches to my left. Tonya was long gone by now. Two ladies that walked by me told me that Tonya said to hurry up. I knew I had nothing left but I finally made it. Sweating profusely and still breathing heavily after hanging around in the office for 10 minutes made me realize I probably had some kind of heat exhaustion. I jumped in the shower and after a while I began to cool down. I knew at that point that I would never run under those circumstances again! I know I cannot control the weather but I can make some improvements in order to prepare for it.  Wearing a hat and carrying a small water bottle are a few things I can do. With Tonya out of town for the next week, I dreaded the next days run that I had to do by myself. However, it pushed me even more to get up in the morning and run. I was determined to finish my workweek off with a good run. Success!

Let hard workouts fuel you for the next training session!

27 days left till the SheRox Triathlon

Dara Wong

May 24, 2010

Stonewear’s Next Top Model

Posted in Climbing, Cycling, Exercise, Modeling, Office, Photo Shoot, Running, Uncategorized, Yoga tagged , , , , , , , , , at 1:04 pm by Stonewear Designs

When I was asked a few weeks ago if I wanted to model in the upcoming catalog for Stonewear Designs, I automatically answered yes without even thinking about what I was getting myself into. After getting the chance to let the agreement sink in, I started thinking about how I have never modeled before, how I don’t think I am very photogenic, and how my body is not at the ideal weight I want it to be…Then panic started to overcome me. However, the greatest part about being a Stonewear model is that we want “regular” people. Our catalog’s purpose is to show that we fit every body. Although I did feel pressure to eat well and not get tan lines, I thought it would be a cool  experience.

At first, it was a little weird getting used to the crew watching you pose and comment about what they like or don’t like. As a model, I had to keep in mind that the clothes were what we were trying to highlight and I was just the object in them. However, it was extremely nice getting pampered with hair and makeup as I found myself not having to make any decisions. I was put in the outfits the designer chose, I was told what positions to pose in, and I even had someone run over to me and fix my hair or pull a thread off of me. I think I could get used to this being queen for a day thing!

Because I am an employee for Stonewear, I got a behind the scenes look at what it was like to model and the logistics that went into the shoot. Being the bubbly happy person that I am, I knew that smiling for long amounts of time was not going to be too difficult but I was not expecting to test my multi-tasking abilities. A specific shot sticks out in my mind that seemed simple enough but to achieve the right shot was actually quite difficult. I had to hold a hose that they wanted me to spray so that we could get the glistening water in the photo. When I think about how the lighting, props, and poses all effect the shot, it made me aware of how much goes into each photo. Once we were satisfied with the composition, I had to put enough pressure on the hose so that it sprayed the perfect amount of water out while pointing it towards the photographer without spraying the equipment and starting a fire. Two hundred photos later and we were satisfied with some of the shots. If you don’t think this sounds hard, then think about holding that pose for 200 photos worth!

With this great opportunity, I wanted to see what the models did in their normal lives. Often I catch myself looking at a magazine or catalog and not realizing that the models are just like everyday people and that we sometimes put them on a pedestal because they are beautiful. In this catalog, we used four female models total, including me. Shannon, a model from earlier Stonewear catalog seasons, also runs a business called Camelflage. It is a women’s panty company designed to smooth out “Camel Toe” under clothes. Brilliant!! Erin styles hair at a salon in Greeley, CO when she is off camera, and Brooke works in the Nordstrom corporate office in Park Meadows. It was a pleasure to spend time and get to know these women since all were beautiful on the inside as well as the outside.

All in all, it was hard work, long hours, and great fun.

Ever thought about modeling?

-Dara Wong

April 30, 2010

Tri Sprinting

Posted in Cycling, Exercise, Running, Swimming, Triathlons, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 2:41 pm by Stonewear Designs

From all of your support and encouragement, I have officially gotten myself to sign up for not only one triathlon but two. When I began searching online for the perfect beginner sprint triathlon, I suddenly zoned out. 10 minutes later I regained consciousness sitting in front of my computer with my wallet out and a confirmation receipt on my screen stating that I am now registered for the SheRox Triathlon, June 27th and the Tri For the Cure Triathlon, August 1st. Wow! Realizing what I had just done I started to panic since I am in no shape to not only race two, but that I have about 9 weeks to get ready for the first race. I urge any readers to race with me!

You better believe that if I am going to spend the time, money, and effort into participating in these death races, that I am going to try my hardest. I already know it’s going to hurt, so now that I am over that mentality, I can get to business. With my new mindset I decide its time to start training with a goal in mind. I am going to finish the first race and kick butt in the second.

This week my training looked something like this:

On Sunday, I hopped on my bike thinking I’ll take a nice fun ride outside. About 2 hours and 30 miles later I am sitting at home unable to walk to the kitchen for a glass of water.

Monday, I swam with the DU masters team that I usually practice with twice a week. Of course this practice was not the short sprint work it had been recently. No, this practice was distance and endurance focused. Although I knew this would be good for my swimming leg of the triathlon, it hurt nonetheless.

Tuesday, I agreed to run with coworker, Tonya Clement, who ran for the CU track team, on average runs about 30-40 miles a week, and is an avid climber who has even concurred the summit of Everest. So you can see how nervous I was to agree to this. She claims she goes at a slow pace and that I can stop and walk when I need to. However I knew going into it that I am way too competitive and won’t allow myself to walk. Surprisingly, the 5.4-mile run turned out to be doable. Normally I stop myself at 3 miles on the treadmill because I get bored and can’t get myself past that mental barrier, however the landscape, conversation and the company kept me going.

Wednesday, was my day off since I know it is important to rest and recover when training for these sorts of things.

Thursday, I ran again and with the confidence I had from Tuesday I ran about 4.5 miles on the treadmill since Colorado decided it was a good idea to snow. The run felt easier than normal and I even got a little weight training in too. With my training sessions going better than expected, I am more determined and excited to race again.

With all the excitement and improvements in my training, I have even taken the next step in purchasing a Zoot Tri Racesuit. My next piece of gear will be a wet suit, which will give me great advantage in the cold open water. The trick is to find a reasonably priced wet suit. Suggestions?

Stay Tuned for my progress

-Dara Wong

April 8, 2010

Are Tri’s Worth Trying?

Posted in Cycling, Exercise, Running, Swimming, Triathlons, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 10:09 am by Stonewear Designs

Recently I bought a new road bike in order to start triathlons. My only problem is that I can’t actually get myself to register for one. I have researched them and know all about them but signing up will mean that I actually have to do one! I am not totally sure why I can’t just go online and click a few buttons to sign up. So why am I so scared? Maybe because a triathlon is 3 different sports compacted into one race. I am fairly confident in each individual sport but doing them back to back is a different story. I swam D1 for the University of Denver and know that the longer the swimming portion the better chance I have of getting out ahead. Because of my recent purchase, biking is less of a factor, at the same time my brother says that my “tree trunk” legs will advance me in this leg of the race. Then there is the dreadful running, not only is this my weakest sport but it takes place after the combination of the other 2.  Why cant the running portion be first? Maybe this is why I have yet to register?

Or maybe it’s that tri’s can get expensive, you have the entry fees, the bike, the attire, the shoes, the suits… so why do people do these things. I guess it is the same reason I am so interested, we want to see how far we can push ourselves and when we can’t push anymore we want to see how long we can hold on for. It brings me back to my swimming career at DU. I always surprised myself, even when I thought I was going to die because the set was so hard, I kept pushing. Now I am happier and more surprised than ever with how far I got.

So readers, are triathlons worth it?

-Dara Wong