2011 Xterra Guam

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to fly over to Guam and participate in the annual Xterra race. After my performance in the Saipan Xterra a gentleman named Joshua Berger sponsored me to race this event. I am honored to have the opportunity to race and represent Saipan.The Xterra Guam combines a 1km swim in the waters of Piti, followed by a 31km mountain bike up Nimitz Hill, then finishing with an amazing 8.2km trail run that navigates through jungle rivers and down slippery waterfalls.

The Port Authority waters were deep and calm unlike my nerves which were not calm. =)The bike section was my favorite, racing up Nimitz hill and into technical BMX like terrain. This red dirt trail was beautiful, overlooking the ocean and island around made it hard to keep my eyes on the trail. The run was probably the most memorable part of the race. It starts off as a pretty easy trail run up the hill then descending slippery waterfalls, splashing down waist-high rocky streams, then climbing through creaky bamboo forests.
Photo courtesy of Takamitsu Usami
I was really happy with my finishing results, I finished 7th overall and 1st in my age group.

Swim - 21:54 Bike - 1:48:06 Run - 56:07


Rachel's Dad in Saipan


I really LOVED having my dad visit Saipan last week. He stayed for a week, and we really packed a lot in to each day. He was tired in the evenings, but had such a great time hiking, visiting the war memorials, snorkeling (his favorite), having bonfires and foil dinners on the beach, meeting our wonderful friends here, and taking the ferry to the little island of Managaha. Brian was able to take off work Monday through Wednesday to be with us, which was even more awesome.


My dad especially loved our Thursday evening Street Market, which is a big event every week in Saipan. A street in Garapan (the tourist district) is filled with stands from local restaurants, and my dad had a great time choosing skewers of BBQ from each of the stands. He also tried Poons, my husband's favorite Chinese restaurant, during Street Market.
Bonfire night at Wing Beach
Visiting the Suicide Cliff Memorial.
Saturday morning, waiting for Brian's race to begin. My dad was really excited to be here to see it, and I can't believe we both stayed at the race site for 6 hours!
Hiking down to the beach of with Forbidden island in the background.

It's a rainy, rainy weekend here on the island of Saipan. Right now I'm sitting at Coffee Care, which is up on the hill above our house and has an excellent view of the hills below and out to the ocean. The rain is coming down in slanty sheets and it's gorgeous.

With our races over, we've had some nice, relaxing time lately. Tonight was supposed to be our camping night for Brian's birthday celebration but it will have to be postponed b/c of the rain, and we are having a date night instead.

The year is starting to come to a close :( as I only have 8 more weeks of school, and Brian's school ends the second week of June. We're looking forward to our weekend trip over to Guam in April for Brian to take his Praxis Test and to do some touring. (They have a Coldstone and a Little Caesars Pizza in Gaum... how I've missed those two!


2011 Xterra Saipan

Last Saturday I was able to compete in Saipan's annual Xterra triathlon. The race consisted of a 1.5 kilometer ocean swim, a 30k mountain bike with almost 3,000ft of climbing, and an epic 12k trail run that took us through heavy jungle and into caves used during World War II and along beautiful white sand beaches.

I was surprised to see a bunch of my friends out to support me at 6 o'clock in the morning. It was really great having a cheering section at all my transition points.

Feeling excited and nervous.

The night before Japan experienced an 8.9 magnitude earthquake which put Saipan under a major tsunami warning. The people of Saipan fled to the hills for evening. Luckily the extremely deep waters of the Marianas Trench outside of the island took all the energy out of the big wave before it hit. There was literally no damage here unlike the devastation in Japan and the damage in Hawaii and the West Coast. The effects of the tsunami were still present the next morning of the race. It was as if the ocean was breathing currents in and out of our lagoon, pushing swimmers in all directions and changing the depth of the water in an instant. It was a strange and surreal moment paddling through that water.

The mountain bike section was my favorite. Beautiful single track in the jungles, heart pounding climbs, with screaming downhill sections. It was rainy and wet and everything was very slippery, I had two memorable crashes where I luckily found myself in a soft bush.

As I came into my transitions I was always greeted by my friend Josh Franklin who came and took all these sweet pictures. Thanks Josh!

My time was better than I expected. I finished 10th overall and I was the 5th man to cross the finish line. I even came in before a few of the pro's. I was stocked!!!

Swim-23:24 Bike-1:56:09 Run-1:13:32

It was really cool to be a part of a race like this. This was my first triathlon and I think I am hooked and I can't wait for my next Xterra race.


First 10k Race


This Saturday morning, me and my friend Jen both completed our first ever 10k!

Up until mid January of this year, when I began training in freezing cold Kansas City, I had not really ran for about a year. When I got back to Saipan, I started running with Jen, who helped whip me into shape really fast. We spent a couple of months consistently running in late afternoons at American Memorial Park and along beach road (running along the beach path with the sun setting is so beautiful, and you get the cool ocean breeze).
Warming up. We arrived at the race just as the half marathon racers were about to start- here they all are waiting at the starting line. Many of the runners had come from Japan for the race. A famous Japanese comedian was putting on a show later in the afternoon, and he also ran the 10k with us (complete with a camera crew following him the whole time... so fancy!)


Brian was so awesome and got up early with me and Jen. He rode his scooter a little ways down the track and got an action shot of us during the race- the sun was just beginning to come up. It felt so good to run in the (very) early morning- when the sun comes up in Saipan it is scorching all year round.



Finishing the race! Jen finished at 1 hour 12 minutes, and I finished at 1 hour 16 minutes. We're planning on doing another 10k soon and I want to cut my time down to one hour.

 Our friend Amber (below on the left) came in first for her age group in the half marathon! Saipan's race prizes are always awesome... she won 2 hundred dollars for coming in first place!

This weekend....XTERRA!!
Brian has been training his butt off and can't wait to compete on Saturday. My dad arrives in Saipan late this Thursday night, and will be there for Brian's race- I could not be more excited for this weekend. We've made a schedule of what we're going to do every day he is here and where we are going to eat- we want to make sure to fit all the best stuff in.


Hiking club to the Old Man

I'm really proud of my husband for the hiking club he started at Hopwood Junior High, here on Saipan. Here's some pictures from the most recent hike they took to the Old Man by the Sea, a rock formation that we've documented on here before.

The whole group. Usually about 30-35 kids come, with about 10 sponsors (teachers at
Hopwood or parents of the students).

Before Brian started the club, Hopwood didn't have any kind of outdoor activity club. Brian loves to hike and wanted to share this interest with the kids at his school, which I think is so cool. The response has been huge, and the club has now taken 3 trips: Obyan Beach, Bird Island, and Old Man by the Sea. The students really enjoy the activities that are planned each time, like scavenger hunts, exploring Saipan's caves, and swimming in the ocean.
The next hiking club activity will be to hike the trail down from Suicide Cliff to the Last Command Post (both are very famous war sites here on Saipan).
I'm really proud of Brian and what he's doing at his school, and wanted to share. More pictures of the next hikes to come.