Augusta 70.3: Peachy Keen!

It’s October!  School has started and the season is winding down.  I was lucky enough to compete in Ironman Augusta 70.3 on September 28th and in an homage to my day job as a Health and Physical Education teacher I have included my race recap below in a back-to-school newsletter format… Enjoy!

Augusta RR

I had a blast in Augusta!  Thank you  Maverick Multisport, Argon 18, ENVE Composites, VO2 Multisport, Rotor Bike Components, Occupational Kinetics, Swiftwick Socks, Cobb Cycling, TYR, Champion Systems, 110% Play Harder, Infinit Nutrition, Primal Sport Mud, Smith Optics, and Vittoria!

Reinventing the Wheel

I read a lot of Jane Austen. (Confession… I mean an exorbitant amount.)  I love the feeling of being transported to a time when people celebrate one’s coming of age with a ball and tea is a time of day not to be messed with; traveling to the next town over is a big event and dowries mean everything.  A close second to my love of reading Austen novels is watching the film adaptations of her stories.  In one of my favorite movie versions of “Mansfield Park” the director did an amazing job of showing the two worlds the protagonist, Fanny Price, straddles – the rundown lower class world of her biological parents and the high-brow sophisticated world of her maternal aunts who married much wealthier gentleman.  On her first journey between the two, we see Ms. Price traveling in a carriage for what seems like days from her drab childhood home to the beautiful estate at Mansfield Park.  You know what struck me as I watched this sequence of events?  The wheels.  The wheels on the carriage were wooden and frail and vulnerable to rocks and potholes and the like.  What must it have been like to ride in a carriage with wooden wheels?!

Jane Austen Wheels

Wooden discs served as some of the earliest wheels in 3500BCE.  Fifteen hundred years later spoked-wooden wheels were used on war chariots to make them lighter and more efficient and  many, many centuries later in the 1700s, metal wheels were introduced because wooden wheels could not handle the strain of carrying heavy artillery. The locomotive wheel was invented in the early 1800s and in 1802 wire spokes were patented.  Pneumatic tires, that we are probably most familiar with today with their air filled compartments, were improved upon and finally patented in the mid-1800s.  With each new incarnation of the wheel, transportation became more efficient, more productive, and more resilient.  Thinking about ancient wheels and the wooden contraptions that were ubiquitous in Austen’s time, makes me appreciate just how far we’ve come.

ENVE Wheels

On Sunday, August 24th I competed in Ironman Louisville.  I exited the water as the 9th female pro and by mile 22 of the 112 mile bike leg I was up to 4th place.  Everything clicked.  My Argon 18 E-118 was humming and my ENVE Composite 8.9 clinchers were absolute perfection. Since starting out in this sport in late 2008, I have ridden more wheels than I can remember; I couldn’t even name them if I tried.  I don’t know the science behind what goes into making the perfect wheel but I know what an amazing ride feels like and I’m ecstatic to say ENVE Composites has made that attainable. I had the fastest female bike split among finishers at Ironman Louisville; I attribute much of that to endless hours of training, power intervals, and a long history in aerobic sports.  But I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the role my ENVE wheels had on my bike split.  Simply put the wheels are aero, durable, attractive, and, most importantly, FAST.  I have never felt more confident on a set of wheels.  I am truly honored to ride these wheels and to call ENVE a sponsor.

Ride IMLOU

Every once in a while as I’m riding along on my 8.9 clinchers, I wonder what those wooden wheels of “Mansfield Park” would have felt like.  I’m not sure, but I do know that Jane Austen would be jealous. Ride on.

Thank you to ENVE Composites and all of my incredible bike sponsors including Argon 18, VO2 Multisport, Cobb Cycling, and Maverick Multisport.

IMLOU: I love you!

On Sunday, August 24th I competed in Ironman Louisville.  Below is my recap of the race and a few photos from the epic day!

photo


photo 3


photo 2

photo 1photo

Ironman Louisville and the days leading up to it were truly amazing.  Maverick Multisport, Argon 18, ENVE Composites, VO2 Multisport, Rotor Bike Components, Occupational Kinetics, Swiftwick Socks, Cobb Cycling, TYR, Champion Systems, 110% Play Harder, Infinit Nutrition, Primal Sport Mud, Smith Optics, and Vittoria you are ALL incredible.  Thank you for everything.  A girl couldn’t get any luckier!

Ironman France: Mapped Out

On June 29th I competed in Ironman France.  Rain, lots of climbing, and scary descents made for an interesting day.  I finished in 10:17 as the 10th pro female, besting my previous time on this course by over an hour.  Here is my race recap…

IM France Swim

IM France Bike

IM France Run

Thank you Maverick Multisport, Argon 18, ENVE Composites, VO2 Multisport, Rotor Bike Components, Occupational Kinetics, Swiftwick Socks, Cobb Cycling, TYR, Champion Systems, 110% Play Harder, Infinit Nutrition, Primal Sport Mud, Smith Optics, TriBike Transport, and Vittoria.

 

 

 

 

Raleigh 70.3 Recap: By the Numbers

On Sunday June 1st, I completed Ironman Raleigh 70.3.  Here is a brief recap of the race, by the numbers…

Raleigh Pics

 

 

 

 

 

3:00: Wake up time

7:04: Pro Female Start

51: My bib #

75: Water temperature in degrees Fahrenheit – wetsuit legal (TYR Hurricane, baby!)

30:43: Swim time… Getting better!

1:51: T1

90: Pivlock v90 by Smith Optics (GREAT sunglasses!)

118Argon 18 E118 that is – the foxiest bike around

8.9ENVE Composites wheel set I rocked on the course

200: Average watts over the 56 mile bike course (Thanks Rotor Bike Components!)

148: Average heart rate on the bike

6: Bottles consumed on the bike

2:36:07: Bike split

21.5: Average MPH on the bike (Holy wind, Batman!)

1:32: T2

6:39: Average pace on the run

159: Average heart rate on the run

80: Grams of carbs consumed per hour during the race (Thanks Infinit Nutrition!)

1000: mg of sodium consumed per hour

1:27:19: Run split

4:37:32: Final chip time

10: Tenth pro female overall

63: Overall place

110: 110% Play Harder Compression gear that saved my legs post race.

3: Female Ironman champions I counted in the pro meeting

2: Second time I’ve done this course… LOVE it!

1: One other Maverick Multisport Pro, Mike Hermanson, raced Raleigh 70.3. (He rocked it!)

 

All in all, Raleigh 70.3 was an incredible race complete with an amazing venue, special friends, and tough competition.  Thank you Maverick Multisport, Argon 18, ENVE Composites, VO2 Multisport, Rotor Bike Components, Occupational Kinetics, Swiftwick Socks, Cobb Cycling, TYR, Champion Systems, 110% Play Harder, Infinit Nutrition, Primal Sport Mud, Smith Optics, and Vittoria for your continued support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memphis in May: A Race Report in Pictures

On May 18th I completed the Memphis in May Olympic distance triathlon.  Here is my race report in pictures…

Transition on Saturday… There would be more rain and another race before my race on Sunday.  Nice wetsuit though, right?!

Swim

Just keep swimming… Just keep swimming…

Bike Memphis

T1: Swim to Bike or “Swim AND Bike”

 

Run Memphis

What?!? No mud for most of the run…

Finish Chute

It’s hard to sprint in a chute that looks like this…

The king

Rockin’ it out with the King!

Awards

Award Ceremony (2:06 and change – good enough for 5th overall.)

Thank you Maverick Multisport, Argon 18, ENVE Composites, VO2 Multisport, Rotor Bike Components, Occupational Kinetics, Swiftwick Socks, Cobb Cycling, TYR, Champion Systems, 110% Play Harder, Infinit Nutrition, Primal Sport Mud, Smith Optics, and Vittoria.

 

Getting back up…

Sometimes when you go to a race expo in a foreign country things look a little bit different.  The vendors are unfamiliar, the language is incomprehensible, and the general scale is smaller than what you might see in the United States.  This was certainly the case in Los Cabos, but the expo for the Ironman did have something I hadn’t yet seen from WTC – inspirational posters.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much I enjoy reading motivational quotes, so to say I liked walking around the expo would be an understatement.  One of the posters featured the Vince Lombardi quote, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”  Considering the race I had a few days later, this inspirational poster seemed particularly prescient.

#MotivationalMonday?  Try #MotivationalSunday!

#MotivationalMonday? Try #MotivationalSunday!

Sunday 3/30 – Race Day
My swim was great, there was just far too much of it.  When I went for a guide buoy that had drifted out of line on the long outbound leg, I lost the pack I was swimming with.  (You read that correctly, I was swimming with a pack.  I was swimming well; I was in the thick of things and I was loving it!)  Then… I had to be a hero and go for the buoy that had gone rogue and I lost them.  Crushing.  Adding insult to injury, the last leg of the “rectangular” course wasn’t exactly geometrically accurate.  The yellow buoys were all over the place and it was very difficult to reconcile the actual course with the athlete guide picture I had in my head.  It was not my best sighting day and I swam way more than 2.4 miles. When I looked down at my watch as I entered T1 I was disappointed with my time but looking forward to gaining some ground back on the ride.  Little did I know the Baja Pensisula wasn’t done messing with me yet…

I had no idea what Cabo had in store for me...

I had no idea what Cabo had in store for me…

Once we got on the bike in Los Cabos we had to climb a hill out of T1 and then get on the Transpeninsular Highway.  The problem with that?  The asphalt on the highway and the asphalt on the entrance ramp were laid at different times and there was a large bump demarcating the two. When I made the jump up to the next level of asphalt, my aero bottle went flying as did my bike computer which was attached to it.  I thought about leaving my now empty aero bottle behind, but my $500 bike computer had to be rescued.  Stop. Unclip. Go. Backwards. On. The. Course. And retrieve my lonely bike computer.  When my bottle went flying so too did the contraption that holds the computer in place.  So I had a computer with very helpful heart rate, cadence, power, and distance metrics and I had no way of putting them on display. The computer sat in my pocket… for 112 miles.  As I completed the first of three laps I focused on settling in and making up for the fact that I had lost a valuable nutrition bottle so early in the race.  All went well until about mile 40 when I felt a change in the way my bike was handling as I sped down a hill at 30 miles per hour.  When I looked down… catastrophe.  I had a flat.  Luckily I was approaching an aid station with some lovely gentlemen who came running when I called for mechanical.  All told, the stop probably took 6 or 7 minutes.  When I got back on the bike I was eager to make up lost ground, but I was also nervous about more road hazards that could sideline me again – especially now that my spare tube was gone.
.
At this point I just started to laugh.  Could anything else go wrong?  The whole race up until this point had been a comedy of errors and I started to consider DNFing.  Was it too late to sign up for Ironman Texas?  Could I get myself out of this ridiculous hole I was in or should I just throw in the towel and try again another day?  Cue inspirational poster and James Earl Jones (who has a voice I imagine is something quite close to God’s) speaking Vince Lombardi’s words.  So what if  I get knocked down?  (Over and over again…) It’s the getting back up that matters.  IT’S THE GETTING BACK UP THAT MATTERS!  So… I rode on – despite being way behind the eight ball, despite the scary road conditions, despite it all.  I had 100 miles left and I was going to make them count.  Not only did I get back the people who flew by me during the flat tire ordeal, I was even able to pick off a few pros before T2.

Working my way back up on my sweet Argon 18 and ENVE Composites.

Working my way back up on my sweet Argon 18 and ENVE Composites.

Coming off the bike in an Ironman is always difficult but the blazing sun made T2 in Los Cabos especially hard.  I didn’t want to leave the changing tent.  After applying a new layer of sunscreen and some serious coddling by the awesome volunteers I tore myself away.  The run was a three loop course featuring a few short hills, one dirt/sand trail, five different dog legs and lots of sunshine.  In other words… It was hard.  It was fairly uneventful; almost comically so.  Leading up to race day my teammates and I joked about the goofy things we would do as we passed each other on the run course, but when the hour was upon us, pirouettes and herkies were nowhere to be found.  We barely had the energy to give a slight nod of the head.  “Heeeey,” she said as if she were an angsty teenager who couldn’t be bothered with niceties like salutations.  “Heeeeey,” he responded, sounding equally unenthused.  So inspiring.  In the end I picked off more girls as I ticked off 26.2 miles and came across the line as the 10th Pro woman – extremely happy to be done, but secretly wanting another chance.

Sun, sun all around and not an inch of shade.

Monday 3/31
The day after an Ironman I am always the best kind of sore.   I am so spent that waddling hurts and the thought of stairs makes me want to cry.  As I sat there looking at the Pacific replaying the race in my mind, one thought kept forcing its way in.  I want a do-over.  It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.

Posing on the stairs?  Not quite.  More like taking a break...

Posing on the stairs? Not quite. More like taking a break…

Thanks to Jeff and Matt for inspiring me on race day.  Thanks to Niki for being the ultimate travel companion, race day photographer, and “sista from another mista”.  Thanks to Debi for her wisdom, advice, and words of encouragement.  Thank you to Cyrus, Mary, and my whole family for their support and love.  And of course none of this would be possible without my incredible sponsors.  Thank you Maverick Multisport, Argon 18, ENVE Composites, VO2 Multisport, Rotor Bike Components, Occupational Kinetics, Swiftwick Socks, Cobb Cycling, TYR, Champion Systems, 110% Play Harder, Infinit Nutrition, Primal Sport Mud, Smith Optics, TriBike Transport, and Vittoria.

Lessons from Sochi*

I spent the first eighteen years of my life in Miami, Florida.  The result? I was pretty adept at running in scorching temperatures with 100% humidity.  That and… Winter sports were lost on me.  I did learn to be a fairly proficient downhill skier thanks to a very well off best friend whose father owned the biggest travel agency in South Florida, but I had no access to most winter sports.  The funny thing? For a person with a very limited history with cold weather, I have a huge affinity for the Winter Olympics.  This year I found myself watching a lot of the coverage just to see the competition play out.  Our DVR had very little available space thanks to this obsession, but I gained a few insights from all of that avid TV viewing.  Athletes regardless of their native land and regardless of their preferred sport display some amazing similarities.  The cold weather athletes in Sochi taught this fair weather triathlete a few things…

Sochi

The Importance of Control:
Marathoners, cyclists, curlers (Curlers?!), and alpine skiers all exhibit amazing amounts of control.  One of my favorite examples of control and self-awareness in sport is biathlon, an event that combines cross-country skiing and shooting.  I can’t imagine racing toward a shooting range, red-lining it on cross country skis, then stopping briefly and controlling my breathing and heart rate enough to hit a target the size of a golf ball.  The ability to race at just the right speed to quickly cover the course and still be able to shoot accurately is incredible.  Like biathletes, in triathlon we’re lucky enough to call on different skills during the same race, but a biathlete’s breathtaking sense of control inspires me to think about pacing and transitions in a whole new way.  In a race it is so easy to forget restraint, let loose, and let go, all the while risking the latter portion of the competition.  The mental focus and forethought biathletes exhibit would serve us all well.

The Importance of Resolve:
In triathlon we’re fortunate to have wave or mass starts; you and 500 of your closest friends all toe the line together.  While this might make for some scary swim conditions, it makes for great racing.  You know exactly where you stack up and where your competition is.  Many athletes at the Winter Olympics don’t have it so easy.  Long distance speed skaters race head-to-head two at a time but the real competition is most likely not the one other athlete he or she is on the track with.  The real competition could be in a heat far removed from their own.  Bobsledders have to compete ONE team at a time. They are constantly striving to have their best run because even a head-to-head match up isn’t a luxury their sport affords.  The resolve these winter athletes exhibit, always racing against the clock, is admirable and could teach us a thing or two about pushing ourselves to the limit without an audience, without competition, when no one is looking, and when no one is beside us.

The Importance of Support:
One of the best moments this year was American Noelle Pikus-Pace’s medal winning skeleton run.  When she crossed the finish and saw her blazing-fast time she literally jumped off the track and into the stands, all the while letting out yelps of joy and “We did it!  We did it!  We did it!”  Her elation was palpable.  It’s impossible to refrain from smiling when you see her reaction.  As you watch Noelle kiss her family members and soak up their love you get a sense of how important support is for every athlete.  Four years ago, Noelle placed a heart-breaking fourth place at the Olympic Games in Vancouver.  With the support of her family and friends she persevered and trained and worked tirelessly to return to this world stage.  As a triathlete it’s so hard for our family members to continuously and consistently support our hobby.  Our sacrifice usually means their sacrifice.  Having the support of those around you can change EVERYTHING.  (Just ask the three Russian men who rallied in the final meters of the men’s 50k cross country race with the help of the home crowd to sweep the podium in Sochi.) It’s important to nurture the relationships we have with our loved ones to keep that support structure strong and resilient.

The twenty-second Winter Olympiad was full of harrowing stories and important lessons.  I suspect wherever two or more athletes are gathered comradereie, competition, and learning experiences are created.  If you’re in the market for more life lessons and a healthy dose of inspiration, the Paralympics start March 7th.

It’s Alive!

2014 is upon us and training is well underway!  I am so happy to be a part of the Maverick Multisport team again and I cannot wait to see what this year brings.  First up?  A new fast bike with some very sweet accessories.  Thank you VO2 Mulisport, Argon 18, Cobb Cycling, ENVE Wheels, Rotor, and Vittoria.  Check out the bike build below courtesy of Cyrus and one very neat GoPro camera!

Bike Fit at Maverick Multisport Elite Camp

Bike Fit at Maverick Multisport Elite Camp

People Who Need People

One of my favorite things to do besides training and racing is watching others train and race.  I can spend hours in front of the TV watching Jonathan Brownlee dominate a race.  (Okay less than two hours in that particular case.)  Or spend the better part of a Sunday refreshing Ironmanlive.com for the latest updates and blog posts about that weekend’s races.  Last weekend was no different.  Between my own bike and run workouts of the day I snuck in a fair amount of time on the internet stalking the competitors of Timberman 70.3 and Ironman Mont-Tremblant.  It was on the website featuring the latter, that a little less than ten hours after the start, a picture was posted on the live blog.  The picture was taken in the finishline area and as such there are a lot of people milling around, but the main subjects are clearly Jesse Kropelnicki, the head coach of QT2, and Jennie Hansen, a QT2 athlete who had just come in sixth, with the second fastest marathon split of the day (only three short weeks after her win in Lake Placid).  The picture itself is breathtaking.  Aside from pure joy, you can feel Jennie’s exhaustion and Jesse’s utter elation.  I’ve never seen anything like it and I think it captures something truly amazing about our sport.
.
Every pre-race athlete meeting you go to features a head official reviewing the rules regarding clothing requirements, warning people about the consequences of littering, and going into great detail about what constitutes drafting and the penalties for doing so.  “Triathlon is an individual sport,” they always say.  Only on race day…  Only on race day.  Behind every triathlete is a significant other, a coach, a training partner, family, friends, and teammates who make triathlon possible for that athlete.  Without these people devotion wouldn’t be feasible, excellence wouldn’t be achievable, and training wouldn’t be enjoyable.  The picture of Jesse and Jennie inspired me to think about all of the people without whom I couldn’t do this wonderful thing that I love to do.
.
At the end of last season, when I decided to get my elite card I came up with a crazy goal of making it back to the Ironman 70.3 World Championship as a pro.  Qualifying as an age-grouper is hard.  What I didn’t fully comprehend was how difficult it would be to get back to Vegas as a professional.  But, here I am months and months later and I have qualified for the World Championship as a first year pro.  I am over the moon, but more importantly thankful.  I wouldn’t be going to Vegas without the amazing people in my life.  Thank you for everything…
.
Thanks for supporting me when I took a leave of absence from teaching.
Thanks for flying to my races in San Juan and Vegas even though you HATE to fly.
Thanks for tracking me from afar and analyzing my results.
Thanks for wiping away my tears.
Thanks for always picking the best triathlon houses.
Thanks for coming to the hospital.
Thanks for listening to me complain.
Thanks for making me smile.
Thanks for helping me make tough decisions.
Thanks for letting me stay at your mom’s house for my first homestay.
Thanks for eating what I want to eat the night before the race.
Thanks for driving the course with me.
Thanks for extending your workout even though you didn’t have to.
Thanks for making amazing playlists.
Thanks for getting up really really early.
Thanks for pretending my pre-race OCD is normal.
Thanks for getting really bad bad songs stuck in my head.
Thanks for racing me to see who can get the lowest heart rate.
Thanks for looking over my transition area.
Thanks for taking really bad pictures.  (The subject is flawed not the cameraman.)
Thanks for drafting my nutrition plan.
Thanks for listening to my really bad jokes and super long stories.
Thanks for telling me to go to bed early.
Thanks for reminding me about life outside of triathlon.
Thanks for giving me a FB shout out.
Thanks for writing letters on my behalf.
Thanks for being my sounding board.
.
Thanks for the hugs, the kisses, the well-wishes, the high-fives, the spanks, the advice, the workouts, the sympathy, the empathy, the songs, the texts, the calls, the pancakes, the bike, the company, the drills, the critiques, the encouragement, the time, the prayers, the support, and the love.

image