Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hello 2014!

A new place to call home. New goals. New relationships. New sponsors. I am so excited to start off the New Year! 2013 has been ridiculously awesome, and the way things are setting themselves up, it would seem that 2014 is going to be even better!

I am currently training in Scottsdale, Arizona where I live in a house with four triathletes. In Scottsdale, USAT has provided us with the best resources, equipment and all around opportunities that I could imagine. I’ve only been here since November and although I have already been challenged on different levels, I have also experienced success. Heck, tomorrow we have our first “race” of the season at Lifetime Fitness and tonight will probably be the first time I don’t stay up to bring in the New Year (even staying up for the east coast to bring in the new year may be a stretch).

The goals have changed from “Giving This a Tri” to fully committing myself to excellence. I am no longer trying out triathlon. I am working hard to make myself known on the world level. The goal this year is to become a force to be reckoned with on the WTS level and a name that people respect and fear when they see it on the starting list. I want to be strong all around, never having to rely solely on my run. I want to start acquiring points for the Olympics to begin turning my dreams of Rio2016 into a reality.

And this year I am so excited to represent some new companies: Coeur, Roka, Brooks, Endurance Shield. These are the companies that help me to achieve all the goals I set for myself. They are part of my triathlon family and I am proud to be an ambassador for each of them. Coeur is a new women’s endurance apparel clothing line that was started by Kebby Holden. They have super cute clothes, but what attracted me most to this company is how genuine everyone who is a part of Coeur is. The platform that the company stands on is something I am honored to be a part of. Since first meeting Coeur at the Las Vegas Sprint Triathlon, I have felt like I was part of the Coeur family. I feel truly taken care of and have enjoyed the fun atmosphere and sense of community that they have instilled in their company.

ROKA is an awesome new wetsuit company that I first took notice of when Tommy Zaferes told me he would be representing them in 2014. I didn’t think much of it until I went and raced at Maine Rev3. There were so many professionals that were wearing the ROKA wetsuit. I contacted ROKA asking if I may be able to try out their wetsuit. I loved it from the moment I tried it on. First off, putting on the wetsuit, the material stayed intact. No holes or puncture wounds! Then getting in the water and swimming, I was controlling the wetsuit rather than having the wetsuit control me. I was comfortable and swimming speedily. Can’t wait to be racing in it this season; it’s a front pack wetsuit for sure!

I have always been a fan of Brooks shoes, even winning my first mile state title in high school wearing Brooks running shoes (see below for a very attractive picture). I was really hoping for a shoe sponsor this year and could not be happier that Brooks accepted me as part of their Brooks ID Elite Program. I am happiest when I’m running in the Brooks Ghosts and am so excited to be racing in them as well this year.

The newest company that I get to represent this season is EnduranceShield. After having a mole with melanoma in-situ removed during college, I am a huge advocate for sunscreen. However, as an athlete I have found it difficult to find sunscreen that doesn’t feel too heavy, sting and still does a thorough job of protecting me. Endurance Shield is a sunscreen company started by the very accomplished Alicia Kaye and Jarrod Shoemaker. It is also the only sunscreen that I will wear during a race. It is light enough that I feel like I can still sweat through it. Endurance shield smells awesome and also keeps me from getting burnt. My skin (largest organ of the body) and I are both quite happy we’re going to be on the Endurance Shield team this year!

I find that happiness and enjoying what you do is key to success. Going into 2014, I could not feel more balanced or confident in my situation. I am in an optimal environment to succeed, have the support of some awesome companies as well as all my family, friends and teammates, I’m in a relationship with Tommy Zaferes  that makes me smile everyday and want to be better all around and I have the drive to be a better triathlete.

I wake up everyday knowing that there is nothing else I would rather be doing. Hello 2014! I am super pumped to see what you have to offer! Even if your arrival does mean I will be doing a 5k race bright and early tomorrow morning!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tri-al Phase Complete

January, 2013….My dad and I are finishing up the final leg of our trip to Colorado Springs…and I suddenly start bawling in the car.  I know, optimistic start, right?  I promise it gets better from here!  Deciding to move to Colorado for training was the second biggest decision of my life.  My first major life decision was choosing to go to Syracuse University.  That was one decision I never regretted!  I was hoping I would soon be two for two in life decisions. 
Dad dropping me off in January
For some reason, my decision to move to the Olympic Training Center felt scarier.  So many questions went through my mind as we got closer and closer.  How would I handle a 24 hour drive from my family?  Should I be pursuing a teaching job instead of chasing my dream?  So many unknowns!  What would the training be like?  Could I handle it?  Who would coach us?  Would I meet the expectations they had for me?  Would I like my training partners?  Would they like me?  With so many unanswered questions, I felt out of my element.  I am a planner and I like to know what to expect.  Hmm…what was I getting myself into?
Fast forward 11 months and here we are in December!  Looking back, my emotional breakdown on my way to the OTC now seems ludicrous.  I mean honestly, one of the OTC mottos is “amazing awaits.”  

USAT in Tiszy!
What’s so intimidating about that?  This year I have been living my self-named “fake life.”  How could my life this year be real?  It has been a year filled with more experiences and opportunities than I could have imagined!  I have had countless opportunities, both large and small, to move out of my comfort zone.  I participated in my first (and second and third….) draft legal races.  I raced in two WTS level races.  I traveled to Europe to train and to race.  Now for the biggest steps out of my comfort zone!  I tried brussel sprouts and mastered parallel parking!   These experiences have helped me learn and grow.  I have become more confident and have learned to embrace the unknowns.
Cruising around Santa Cruz
So, what’s next? I finished off a great season with a fantastic two week break in Santa Cruz with Tommy Zaferes. Then in November I packed up all my belongings in Colorado Springs and we drove to Arizona to begin my next adventure….and this time there were no tears.   I am training with a group of triathletes in Phoenix.  The group includes some of my OTC training partners and some new additions. It turns out all those fears about training partners were also ridiculous; these people have become like siblings to me!  Although I have no idea how long we will be here or where I will be next, I am enjoying  another  awesome opportunity that my second biggest life decision has given me.  So far the weather has been superb and the training venue is amazing.  In addition, we work with top notch coaches and have access to incredible resources.  When I think about the ideal situation for success, this is where I want to be and every day I wake up happy to be both living my dreams as well as achieving my goals. Looking forward to keeping you all posted on my new adventures in 2014!

Top 10 Moments of 2013:
  1. Throwing away half my clothes upon arrival to Phoenix under the guidance of mates—Hoarding lifestyle has been left behind
  2. Doing the San Diego Super Sprint and then the sprint relay with Joe Maloy
  3. Discovering the movie Pitch Perfect and the soundtrack
  4. Competing in my first WTS race in San Diego
  5. Racing the Columbia Triathlon with my dad and family there to support
  6. The 1500 time trial and getting my best time (even though Chelsea outkicked me)
  7. Winning my first World Cup in Palamos
  8. Maine Rev3 with Off the Front Multisport and Team Psycho
  9. Watching the Mixed Team Relay in Hamburg
  10. The entire Tiszy experience

Not Top 10:
  1. The bitter cold weather at times
  2. Coming back to altitude after breaks
  3. Spending the night in the Houston Airport before Cozumel (though I did have good company)
  4. Running up Goldcamp with Jacob, Chelsea and Kyla in the snow
  5. The temperature of the hotel room with Chelsea in Tiszy…especially before figuring out the air conditioning
  6. Woodmen long run with Chelsea where the wall was hit hard and I had her go on without me
  7. Dragging my bike box (that was missing 2 out of 4 of its wheels) from the ferry to the bus after Cozumel
  8. Kosmins at the track with Bobby –rain, wind, cold, sprinting, waiting, freezing, sprinting
  9. 4th of July ride out East with Chelsea Burns and Alex Willis –flying out on the workout only to hit the wind and bonk on the way back
  10. Crashing and having the fork of my bike impale me

Click on people's names to find out more about the people I train with and enjoy being around!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fast and Furious

So this blog is long overdue and since my last blog I have completed my last race of the season, taken a 2 week hiatus from training to become a California traveler and I am now taking refuge in Phoenix, Arizona where snow and cold are not in the forecast…ever. 

I’ll start with my race. My last race of the season was the F1 San Diego Super Sprint. I was supposed to have done the Las Vegas Super Sprint in September but due to my crash I was only able to watch. In a way this may have been a blessing in disguise. By watching the race I was able to witness the intensity and speed of the race first hand so that when it was time to compete in my first super sprint I knew what to expect to a point.

It’s a pretty awesome race format in a lot of ways. The race consists of a 300 meter swim, 8k bike and a 2.5k run that you do twice through consecutively..meaning you transition from the first time through the run back into the swim. The entire race takes place in a parking lot and is completed in less than an hour. It’s fast, challenging and spectator friendly. In a super sprint the athletes have nowhere to hide. You must be strong, speedy, skillful and superb all around to be competitive in the event.

Going into the race I knew there were multiple strong swim/cyclists including Sara McLarty who is well known for her dominance in the water and on the bike. My goal was to stay as close as possible to her on the swim and bike so that I had a chance to catch her on the run. I was really happy with my swim and that I was able to come out of the water with McLarty. Onto the bike I really wanted to stay on her wheel, but was unable to. I tried to keep the gap as close as possible and as I got more comfortable with the course through the turns I was able to stay relatively close. Onto the run and I was able to catch back up through the 5 laps and there we went back into the water together to do the entire thing over again.

I had been warned by athletes who had done super sprints before how awful it was to get back into the water after the first round. I guess I must have prepared for it to feel like death because I was pleasantly surprised that the swim wasn't AS bad as I had thought it would. Once again McLarty and I came out of the
water together and back on the bike we went. This time through I was able to hold a bit more speed through the technical course and yep, same strategy stay as close as possible so I could have a chance on the run. It’s funny how similar round 1 and 2 of the race played out. In the end I was able to out run McLarty for the win! 

It was such a fun and challenging race! It tested my speed, strength and skills in a way like no other race I have ever done. I can't wait to do more races of this format and fully believe that by competing in races of this nature it will only make me a bigger threat on the ITU circuit. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Feeling hot! Hot! HOT!

This would seem to be an appropriate theme song for the weekend. Cozumel though beautiful and lovely was also quite warm and humid for the weekend. When we first arrived at the hotel I was a little concerned about the heat, but once we figured out how to keep the room as cool as an igloo, the heat outside was embraced. Leading up to the race I was spoiled by the inclusions of an all inclusive resort as well as the beauty of the island. I was provided plentiful pineapple juice, and meals on command was a significant plus to the stay. I got to swim "under the sea"  with all the beautiful colorful fish for my race preparation swims. I even spied a mini stingray! 

Second out of the water behind Sarah Groff

Come race morning I felt as ready to go as I could coming off my shark bite (clarification: not an actual shark bite, actual bike bite in Colorado Springs). A main goal I had was to have a really good swim since in my previous races I had been right off the back of the front pack. I got out hard and saw Sarah Groff's (fellow American as well as 4th place finisher in the 2012 Olympics) feet ahead of me knowing she would be a good person's feet to stay on. So I committed to that and it worked! She was the first person out of the water and I was the second!

Although we originally started riding with a smaller group, the chase pack caught us and then we had a group of about 15 riders. Getting off the bike and onto the run I made the decision to go with the Olympic champion Nicola Spirig. Well that didn't last long and I began dying pretty handedly throughout the rest of the race. My legs felt heavy and just didn't feel as race ready as I would have liked.

Bike pack, that's me on the far left!
I ended up finishing in eighth place, which although it is not an awful place to finish by any means, I had hoped to place higher. I would have liked to know what I would have been capable of doing had I been in the same run fitness as I was before my bike accident. However, silver lining is having this as my final World Cup of the season certainly leaves me hungry for more next season.

Post race I got to enjoy an extra day in Cozumel consisting of some frozen drinks, clear water swimming, island riding and relaxing. Now I'm back in Colorado Springs to complete my last two weeks of training before my final race: The San Diego Super Sprint on October 26th!

Monday, September 23, 2013


Put a fork in me I'm done. That is the exact description of what I did a couple weeks ago. On a Sunday group ride to Air Force I was pointing out a manhole when I hit it wrong, my wheel flew off and the fork of my bike ended up in my leg. And unfortunately this was not one that I could just get on my bike and continue riding.

11 stitches later and I'm reminded of all the amazing people that surround me in triathlon. Starting with the entire AFA ride stopping to make sure that I was ok, Joe Umphenour providing me his handy (hah pun) arm warmers to use as a tourniquet on my leg, my CRP buddy Brandon waiting with me until a fellow OTC athlete Logan Storie came to pick me up and take me to the emergency room, and finally Kevin McDowell awaiting my release from the emergency room to pick me up and assist me back to the training center. Until recently being at the training center seemed like a temporary home, but it is times like this when I'm reminded that I have my "family" here at the training center too.
The 2 goons who came to my rescue!
More of my OTC family :)
I continued to think about the selflessness of my friends who had dropped everything they were doing to help me and realized how prevalent it is in my sport. A couple weeks ago in Maine (click here for my race report) I spent a weekend with my team Off the Front Multisport. Again being supported by fellow teammates, families and friends. Thanks to Steve Wright and his family we were provided with everything we needed for the weekend, their generosity being ridiculous. It really is quite the privilege when you go to a race that is so far away and don't have to worry about airport transportation, accommodations, food etc. We had a fun weekend with our team and even in the race itself the comradery shined through. When we saw each other words of encouragement were shouted or if that wasn't possible simple thumbs up were exchanged. A couple weeks later I headed to Duxbury to be the number one cheerleader for Team Psycho (I was no longer racing it, womp wahh). Here I finally got to meet and thank the people who have been aiding me in my goals and aspirations! While I also finally got to enjoy some lobster that I had missed out on when I was in Maine :)

Off the Front Multisport/Team Psycho at Maine Rev3
Although I Mainely (so punny) do triathlon for myself. There is no way that I could do triathlon without the help and friendship of my friends, family, teammates, sponsors, coaches and competitors. All these people are the ones that make training fun, push me to be better than ever and are there for me through both times of ups and downs. They are the ones that are there to celebrate with me, but also the ones who pick me up off the concrete most often figuratively, but sometimes literally as well. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Tizzy Experience

It is currently 2am and what better way to deal with jetlag than writing a blog? This past weekend I came home from Europe with two new additions to my suitcase. Besides all the German and Hungarian chocolate I hoarded I also had two World Cup medals to bring home which both happen to be gold. I still am not able to articulate just how that makes me feel, and I am not sure whether to blame lack of brain function on travel or if I will really ever be able to describe how awesome of a feeling it is.

In Tiszaujvaros (the town I have to keep copying and pasting because I spell it wrong every time) triathlon is so big that winning this race was definitely the best way I can think of to end my trip in Europe. It is the World Cup race that everyone talks about being not only a great race, but also a great experience in general. Upon arriving to Tizzy four days early preparations and celebrations had already began. Each night there was a concert in the town center, the bleachers were all set up and as it got closer to race day the excitement just continued to climax.

See told you they like triathlon!

The Tizzy World Cup is different from any race I have done in the past because it is a prelim final race. On Saturday you do a sprint distance race to qualify for the finals on Sunday which is also a sprint race. What made it even more fun for me was that besides swimming in the same little pond the bike and run courses for each of the races were quite different. In prelims we did a bike course that was two laps and finals was an eight lap course; each lap only taking about three minutes!

Going into Saturday I stayed focused on the prelims without putting much thought into finals, I figured there was no reason to think about it until I made it. Prelims went smoothly and I was able to finish second in my heat and run very relaxed to get my spot for finals. In finals, I don’t really know if anyone ever expects to win, but I did have a lot of trust in my training. Leading up to my race we had had plenty of mock races with the Landa World Cup (an open water swim session with the Aussies and the Canadians), the Vitoria USAT Running Championships (a 1500 meter time trial where I ran my best time ever!) and another Vitoria World Cup (a race simulation brick workout)-each of these sessions further increasing my confidence that I was ready for Tizzy.

The race started with an alright swim, I got gobbled up a bit and beat by the masses coming out further behind from the leaders than I would have liked. What I did have going for me was super sweet new TYR goggles where everything was crystal clear! Coming out of the water I had to book it to and out of transition. One of the bonuses to the course was that there was a 180 about half way around the course that I knew the pack would slow on. Theme song out of transition “Work hard, [brake] hard” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dbEhBKGOtY and success I caught them by going hard into the turn while they were slowing! The rest of the eight laps was an attempt of trying to catch Hall and Milne from Great Britain, who are strong swimmers and cyclists, about 35 seconds ahead of us hammering as well as staying away from the 20 person chase pack behind us. My pack of about eight was able to make time on the second group and maintain the distance behind the two from Great Britain.

Coming into T2 and going off on the run I didn’t have much going on in my head. I felt good and knew I wanted to be at the front of the group I came off with. Once I achieved that I just looked ahead to Milne, then to Hall who was ahead of her. It was pretty surreal to me as I moved into first and was increasing the gap between second each lap. I just kept thinking, “don’t screw this up, keep pressing” and I tried to catch the bike who was leading me. As I came down the final stretch I was given an American flag to finish with. I executed the banner lift -which I was tisked for not holding up after Palamos by my teammates. Unfortunately they did not tell me what to do when a flag comes into play as well…

Oh learning experiences…

The rest of the evening was filled with fun festivities! At awards the top 20 were recognized on stage. Each person coming across with a little dance and then getting high fived or kissed by all the other competitors (never have I ever received so many kisses)! It was a great day and a great night and I can’t wait to go back to Tizzy to experience the atmosphere again!

Photo credit: Tommy Zaferes
For now I am back in the states for awhile, concentrating on Maine Rev3 with Team Psycho and Off the Front Multisport next weekend and doing some exciting super sprints!

Monday, July 29, 2013

In Change There Is Power

Photo by Paul Phillips
"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure. But
there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.
There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement
there is life, and in change there is power"
-Alan Cohen
After getting 35th in Hamburg, Germany my coach Melissa Mantak sent me the above quote. For me it was a perfect description not only of racing in Germany at the WTS level but also of my entire European adventure. When I was given the opportunity to train and race in Europe for five weeks there was no way I was going to turn down the invitation. That being said there were also parts of the trip that I found intimidating and definitely placed me out of my comfort zone. Having never traveled off the continent the European way of life was something I would need some getting used to. All of a sudden I was wishing I had kept up with my español, knew more about the Euro currency and had somehow prepared myself for late schedules of Spain (dinners at 7:30, oh boy). 
However, as Cohen suggests I have found that every time I have wandered out of the seemingly secure I have been presented with a multitude of opportunities to better myself as an athlete and human-being. In Hamburg I competed in one of the most competitive draft-legal races of the season. I swam in a ravenous pack of girls where I came closer to drowning than I've ever experienced (that is only a small dramatization). Then biked a hard technical course, though missed the front pack and finally completed the race with the 11th fastest run of the day. What did I learn? That complacency is not an option, besides knowing that I want to work to be stronger and faster in each portion of the race. I learned that there are things I need to change in order to reach my goals of being competitive with the top girls. It is when I make these changes that I will be able to race on the level that I know I am capable of. It means taking the time to work on skills on the bike so that when a race is technical (like Hamburg) I will be able to hang with the girls and put myself into good position throughout the corners to prevent myself from yo-yoing off the back. As Jono (one of the coaches here) puts it, it is building my racing vocabulary so that no matter the course, no matter the weather, no matter the competition I am able to respond to the elements in order to succeed.
In traveling to Europe and racing on the European circuit which offers a higher level of competitive races I am building this vocabulary. My race in Hamburg was one that I finished feeling pretty neutral. I wasn't necessarily disappointed with my result but I wasn't happy with it either. I wanted to be better and I knew there were plenty of places to improve. Had I not accepted the invitation to come to Europe I would not have had the opportunity to win a world cup only to be followed with a performance in Hamburg that left me feeling unfulfilled. By traveling to Europe my eyes have been opened to where I am at, and where I need to be thereby driving a hunger to continue to improve and succeed. It is in making these changes that I will be able to consistently have the results that I desire leaving me with the power that Cohen describes. A perfect equation for success.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Puzzle Success

With each race this season I have known that I had the pieces to have a stand out race, but haven’t had a race where they had all come together. After getting 11th in Edmonton I went into the Palamos World Cup with the goal to correct some of my past errors and do everything I possibly could to set myself up for success. In Edmonton I had missed the front bike pack due to an ok swim and then a transition that lacked the sense of urgency that was necessary. (Although I didn’t blog about this race on my personal blog you can read the blog I wrote here: USAT Blog). In this race I was set on making sure to try my hardest in the swim, bike and run and have aggressive transitions so I would have no regrets regardless of the outcome.

At the start of the swim I found myself in a good position. I was out of the chaos of a large swim pack and right at the tail end of the front swim pack of four. At the end of the two loop swim I came into shore right off the back of the front pack. The distance from the swim to the transition was about 200 meters, and I ran hard to make sure that I didn’t miss the front pack again. If I were to choose a critical moment of my race, I would say this was it. I grabbed my bike and made the pack!

Our group consisted of five athletes including myself and Erin Jones, a fellow American. After doing the bike course preview on Friday I knew this would be my type of course. Like Edmonton there was a relatively long hill and a long downhill that we would be doing seven times throughout the race. We were led by two very strong riders from Great Britain and our group worked relatively well together! Enough to increase a 45 second spread to a 1:15 by the time we got off the bike.

As soon as we got off the bike and started running I realized I was running away from my group. At this point I felt really relaxed and remember thinking is this really happening? Am I actually leading a World Cup race? I knew better than to settle in; knowing even with a 1:15 cushion there were very talented and speedy runners in the pack behind me. I made sure to work the hills during the run and never get too comfortable. Coming down the final stretch to win I couldn’t believe it, and even now it is difficult for me to comprehend that I actually won a World Cup!

It was so exciting to be on the podium and be the reason that our national anthem played in Palamos, Spain on Sunday. It was an incredible feeling to know that I accomplished something that I never fathomed would be possible so early in my career as a triathlete. Originally the plan had been to compete in my first world cup in October/November of this year. However, as you learn in everything in life, goals are ever changing and evolving. Next up is a WTS race in Hamburg, Germany this Saturday. A WTS race is a step up from a World Cup and although it is more competitive my goals will be the same; to race as hard as I can in an effort to further exceed goals that I never thought possible for myself.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Family Affair

Five years ago on Father’s Day I competed in my first triathlon. At the time I didn’t have a tri suit, a bike, bike shoes or a swim or bike training base. I did the triathlon because it was something my dad suggested we do together on Father’s Day. It was the South Carroll Tri to Win Sprint triathlon benefitting the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation and there were awards for the fastest father-daughter duo.

The swim portion of the race took place in a 400 meter pool, followed by a 14 mile bike and concluding with a 5k run. I pinned my number to my shirt before the race basically doing a full wardrobe change in T1 by putting on my shirt, shorts, socks and running shoes before getting on the bike. The time spent in T1 was well worth the benefits coming into T2, where all I had to do was get off my bike and start running. My dad and I ended up winning the father-daughter competition in both of our first triathlons.

My dad has been trying to get me to do Columbia Triathlon for a couple years now, and I never committed until this year. Going into the race we had a lot riding on us. Though there was no specific father-daughter competition according to the race organizers, my dad’s co-workers tended to think differently. The challenge…for us to have a combined time of under 5 hours. The reward…my dad gets a tasty treat (why I did not benefit from this bet I do not know).

For me the race went well not great. The swim was alright, I was separated from the main pack and came out behind them. In the bike I learned a few more triathlon lessons in that when the road is slick and you’re making a turn be sure to come out of the aero position or you will skid across asphalt with your body protecting your bike.

 And, figure out how to do hills on a TT bike before going up hills: once you come out of the aero position there’s no easy way to shift to an easier gear. The run I was really happy with! I had the second fastest run behind the winner Nicky Samuels and I felt really strong. I finished the race in seventh which wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, but I was content. More importantly my time was 2:09.36.

My dad, however had the race of the day! When we did our first triathlon at South Carroll I remember I was actually scared for his life in the pool. Yes the pool was only 5 feet at its deepest and he is at least 6’2’’ but there were times during the race where I just wanted him to put his feet down and stand up. However, like I’ve seen my dad do many times in my life he remained tough, struggled through the swim and finished that triathlon. Whenever presented with a challenge my dad will rise to the occasion to make sure that he accomplishes his goals. This race was no different. He had never completed the Columbia Triathlon in under 3 hours, and this year he crushed it! Finishing time: 2:49:24!

We had reached our goal of under 5 hours!

My dad is the one who first got me into triathlons, though often I don’t let him take the credit for it. He has been there for me every step of the way sharing in both my successes and failures as a triathlete. No matter the outcome he is a constant for me with unwavering support. Cheering me on throughout the entire race, being the first to text or call me to wish me good luck and always ready at the finish line for congratulatory celebrations or a comforting hug. He is the one who drove 24 hours with me to deliver me to Colorado Springs so I wouldn’t have to drive alone. The one who is always helping to make sure I have what I need equipment wise and that I am ready to go. He knows when I need time to myself before a race, but is ready to help in whatever way necessary when asked. For all these reasons and many more, this is why I am happy that I got to be at the Columbia Triathlon to see my dad achieving his goals. For once, I got to be the one supporting him and congratulating him on a great race where he got to see all his hard efforts pay off. I am so proud of my dad and am so proud, thankful and blessed to be his daughter. Happy Father’s Day Dad!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Don't Get Mad, Get Glad!

Triathlon is a sport in which a lot of things can go wrong. The fact that there is the swim, bike, run as well as transitions means there's a lot of opportunities for something less than ideal to happen. I haven't been doing triathlon for too long now, but I can tell you that so far in every single race something has either gone wrong or could have gone better. Although this may seem as a negative to the sport it is actually something that I love about triathlons.  Most of the time I'm not even upset with how I did, because mistakes in one race always show me places to improve and cut time in the next race. In some races I have competed in I have had small mishaps: forgetting my number belt going onto the run (could have been a big mishap but none of the officials saw...phew!), not knowing where my bike was in the transition area and racking my bike the wrong way to name a few. In other triathlons I've had bigger issues such as trying to dismount the bike while I was still clipped in or coming into transition too fast and biting it while also losing my wheel.

 Most recently at St. Anthony's last weekend with about 10 miles left in the bike a cable snapped and so my wheel rubbed for the last half of the race. When this happens it is pretty much like having your brakes on and trying to ride; not effective and not fun. However, it is mishaps like these that you have to try and get past in the moment and look for the good in other parts of the race. Rather than dwell on the outcome of my race in St. Anthony's (I ended up getting 19th) I look forward to how much better I can do in upcoming races. At St. Anthony's my biggest race determinant was my cable breaking but I can also look at my race in its entirity and tell you other things I could have done better. For instance, my transition two could have been quicker. I had another one of those bike racking issues as well as slow foot insertion into the shoe. It is how you handle the events and mishaps that make you better. You see even though there are a lot of things that can go wrong in a triathlon, there are also a lot of things that can go right!

 At one point on my bike after realizing that my brakes were rubbing and everyone passed me I considered stopping and dropping out. Then I decided if I wasnt going to have a good bike I might as well try to have a good run (lately that hasn't been happening). So I struggled my way through the bike and got off minutes behind the main group. However, when I got to the run I ended up having a good run! I caught people and am so happy that I didn't stop or give up when my bike started malfunctioning. Had I gotten frustrated and thrown in the towel I would have had even less to be proud of; being happy with only one of two events rather than two out of three (I was 7th out of the water and had the 6th fastest run split).

Although it is never fun to have mishaps or make mistakes in a race they're awesome learning experiences and are only going to show you how to be even better in the future. So next time you have a "bad" race don't just get mad because things didn't go your way; learn from your mistakes or even series of misfortunate events but also be proud of what went well in your race!

St. Anthony's Race Results: http://edge.raceresults360.com/satriathlon13/#/results:&AthleteSearch=(Enter

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Race Recap San Diego!

Arriving in San Diego my bike was waiting for me upon my arrival (which never happens) and my ride was also waiting to take me to the Bahia Hotel. The trip was off to a good start! In the days leading up to the race I was one spoiled triathlete. USAT had brought a masseuse, chiropractor and bike mechanic. All wonderful people who made what may have been a stressful situation so much more relaxing. Sherpa, our bike mechanic took great care of my bike and even gave me a tutorial on brakes so that when I travel alone I'll be more confident handling my bike. Our masseuse Kim and chiropractor Camille took great care of us; always making themselves available for both our physical and mental health. Honestly without the support of the USAT crew this trip would have been pretty darn overwhelming for me, but having everyone there to take care of us made the experience that much more fun!

Race day:

We started off with very intense music leading up to the swim as we were all introduced and ran out to take a spot. And then the gun went off!

It was a two loop swim so we had to get out of the water run around a cone and head back in for lap 2!
I came out of the water in 7th and then we had to run up the beach and to the transition area.
Each athlete has their own spot at transition to rack their bikes and keep their things. The nice thing about being ranked second to last is that my spot was easy to find because I was on the end!

I got onto the bike and was part of a 25 plus athlete chase pack, trying to chase the front pack of four throughout the 8 loop course. Unfortunately our group never got organized and we never caught the pack ahead. Throughout the race I was up front a lot, which while it got me some air time it is actually pretty stupid because I could be saving a lot of evergy drafting off those 25+ people (oh well live and learn!)
Coming into T2, I took a bit of a tumble. I'm not really sure what happened during my dismount on the bike but I know I was coming in too fast. So my bike and I experienced some blunt force trauma with the blue transition mat. My wheel came off so I had to retrieve that and unfortunately I came out of transition 10 seconds behind the group I entered with.

So then it was off to the run! In my previous blog I talk about how cool it was going to be to represent USA, even though my run was a strugglefest, it was awesome hearing little kids and other spectators cheer for me as "USA".
I finished my race in 30th, and though that probably doesn't sound very impressive I was really excited. It was awesome going against the best triathletes and I can't wait to be more competitive in these races. I ended up the 4th American, with all three Americans ahead of me being Olympians. Next race is going to be St. Anthony's which is another really big triathlon. Pretty much I will be doing a non-drafting WTS race. Oh well, go big or go home :)
And if you would like to see more of what the race actually looks like watch this:
Photo and cheering credits to Martha Shoemaker and Chelsea Burns :)