My Triathlon Training and Racing Blog

Monday, May 11, 2015

Race Report: 2015 ST. GEORGE 70.3


St. George Goodness

St. George 70.3 has come and gone and I am so sad it's over already! What a FUN weekend! If I am anywhere within striking distance next year, I will be back!!!

My favorite race in my favorite place with so many of my favorite people 
= a whole lot of awesomeness

I love going to races where I know that - no matter how race day unfolds - the trip is going to be a blast. A huge thank you to everyone (and there are a lot of you!) who made this weekend unforgettable


How can I NOT love this place? 

Dropped the kids off at the park to play soccer with friends after school and off I went! I know I have been on quite a few trips lately and yet - every time I leave town on my own I have a huge smile on my face, do a fist pump, and yell: Freedom! I then cherish every minute of it and when it's time to go back home, I can't wait to be with my family again! I think I am just still recovering from 6+ wonderful and hard years of entertaining my kids 24/7...

See you in October!

First stop: Vegas

This allowed me to leave late Wednesday afternoon, visit Melinda and her wonderful family, break up the drive, enjoy the Henderson pool, and get some pre-race goodies at Trader Joe's. Happiness all around! Thursday morning, I got to run a bit on the Silverman course, enjoy an outdoor swim (I NEVER take those for granted) and see the finish line area in all its beauty and without a gazillion sweaty bodies all over it. Can't wait for Silverman 70.3 on October 4 (which happens to be my birthday weekend)! I'm in love with that race, too. 


home for the weekend

On to St. George where I got to explore a new part of town thanks to my wonderful home stay. Ellen volunteered at the race all weekend long and still found time to spoil us with funny stories, great recovery shakes, and even an epsom salt bath. We were well taken care of! Thank you, Ellen and Zeke!

Pre-Race 

Highlights



Exploring Santa Clara by bike on a beautiful spring evening



Being reunited and spending the weekend with my good friend, Anne, who I hadn't seen in 6 years. Ellen was very gracious and invited Anne to stay at her house as well. Talk about great hospitality! 



Figuring out tricky parts of the bike course and taking time to be silly


Jumping for joy. LOVE the 2015 Coeur Sports line! 

Finding the perfect dirt road for our last little pre-race run




Getting our bikes and gear prepped and ready to go. This time I decided it would be a smart move NOT to crumble up my bib number (although The Husband taught me years ago that it must be done for good luck) and then think it's garbage and throw it away with the other scraps of paper. This may or may not have happened to me at my last race. And I may or may not have used my warm-up to run back to the condo, dig through the garbage, and fish out my bib number. 



Having my very own plaque in both T1 and T2. St. George sure knows how to spoil us! After representing the US for the past few years, I decided to race for Germany again this year. I was - after all - born and raised in The Fatherland! 



Swimming in the gorgeous waters of Sand Hollow Reservoir. Yes, this is really what it looks like. I had a total blast in there during my short, little swim on Friday and didn't want to ever get out. Love, love, love this lake and thought water temperature was perfect! Especially after taking 3 hours to check in my bike on a hot afternoon. My usual get-in-and-out-as-fast-as-possible turned into a oh-my-gosh-all-my-friends-that-I-haven't-seen-forever-and-love-so-much-and-need-to-talk-to-and-laugh-with-are-all-right-here-and-here-and-here extravaganza. And you know what? I love it both ways! I loved going to Oceanside all on my own and only knowing a handful of people. And I loved coming here and having it feel like a homecoming of sorts. It's getting me all excited to move back to Utah County in a few short weeks! 

And then there was the pro meeting. The room was chock full of super stars! And although I didn't quite fit in, I was quietly loving it! Linsey Corbin and Beth Gerdes next to me, Mirinda Carfrae, Jodie Swallow, and Siri Lindley in front of me. Talk about girl power! And that's only the ones that were right by me. I decided to sit close to the front on purpose so I wouldn't be too distracted and would have a chance to actually listen rather than just stare. And it worked. Until Andreas Raelert walked in and sat down right smack dab in my line of vision. DANG! Talk about a distraction! He happens to be one of my all-time favorite triathletes for obvious reasons:

Nicest hottie I ever met.

So, yes, I have a crush on my German! As in: I-am-happily-married-and-the-guy-doesn't-even-know-who-I-am kind of a crush. Those are ok to have, right? We even talked after the race and walked over to get our bikes together! Ha!!! And that's after he asked a bunch of us in the finish line area: Can I get you guys anything to drink? Like this was a party and he was hosting it! Totally confirmed what I knew all along: He is a true gentleman! 

Ok. Ok. Moving on. 


Race Morning

I love the organized hustle and bustle on race morning! Photo Credit: St. George News


Bummer

So you know how Arizona is in a different time zone than Utah? Even my not-so-smart phone knows that. My watch has been glued one too many times, so I can't change time of day anymore. Or set an alarm. And because I trust neither my watch nor my phone, I bring an extra alarm clock. High maintenance, I know. Not leaving anything to chance. Or so I thought. 

Alarm goes off at 3:30, so I can leave the house by 4:00, find a good parking spot, set up T1, be on the shuttle bus at 4:30, get to the lake at 5:30 with plenty of time to get ready for the 6:55 start. 

Except that, while I am getting ready in the bathroom, I think: Mmmh. Considering that it's only 2:30 in Flagstaff, I am feeling pretty awake. And then it occurs to me: OH CRAP CRAP CRAP! I forgot to change my alarm and it's not 3:30 but already 4:30 in St. George!!! Time to get your hustle on! And so I did. 

In the end I still got to the lake at 5:30 thanks to being prepared and calmly staying on top of things. I might actually sleep in longer next time knowing now how super efficient I can be in - what seems like - the middle of the night! 

We were allowed to get in for a good warm up with the men! Photo credit: St. George News

Highlights

Since this was a Championship event, all professionals were required to carry an extra GPS device with them for better tracking and online coverage. It was about the size of an iPhone, just a little thicker. Which was pretty much a pain in the rear to deal with BUT I really appreciate Ironman's efforts of improvement in this area and there was no complaining. And then on race morning I figured out that it fit snugly and perfectly into the middle pocket of my Coeur Sports shorts! Score! Ironman legend, Heather Fuhr, secured it with a safety pin for me, and - voila - I was all set! My Dad has since told me that he loved being able to see my little spot and knowing exactly where I was on the course and who was around me. So that's pretty cool! 

Turns out the girl right next to me was German! Annett Kamenz lives in Canada and has a similar story and we  became friends right away. Yay for new friends on race morning! 

And yay for old friends, too! Since I didn't feel as lonely in our own little gated pro transition as last year, I never went in search of my friends on the other side of the fence. But some came and found me! And one, who shall remain unnamed, was making quite the scene. She had warned me that she would embarrass me and she sure tried! But I just laughed. I mean: Who else has their own cheerleader while setting up transition?!? Thanks, CT! 


The Swim 
(30:40 - 1:35/100m)


Pro Women Start - I am in there somewhere

Highlights 

I went out hard. And I didn't die. And I didn't even think I was going to die. At least not for very long. And only when I swallowed a crapload of water. Success! 

I found feet. And I thought they were good feet. And I stayed on those feet. The whole time. Success! 

I was having so much fun in our little group, I didn't want to get out of the water!


Bummer 

Maybe, just MAYBE, if you are having so much fun that you want to be swimming all day, you aren't actually going as fast as you think you are! Ha! Honestly though, I was working pretty hard at the end of the group and was CONVINCED that we were swimming well sub-30. Someone said the timing mat wasn't until the top of the boat ramp, which would be nice, but I am still not sure... The fact that I forgot to start my Garmin came in handy. Ignorance is bliss! 


The Bike 
2:36:30 - 21.47 mph


Heading toward Snow Canyon pre-race. 

Bummer 

Well, let's just call it how it was. The bike was a shit show from start to finish. 

I had been having issues with my elbow pads slipping all year. No matter how hard Karl tried to get them to stay in place, they would drop down. Shortly before the race, the plastic under the pad broke. Most likely from me having to pull it back into place frequently while riding. So we got new ones. We actually got new everything. New aero bars, new elbow cups, new elbow pads. Just to get rid of the problem altogether because I was sick of dealing with it. Karl put it together with special Carbon Assembly Paste. Should be good, right? It seemed just fine on the few rides I did prior to the race. 

But, on race day, when I hit the first patch of rough road, both elbow cups slipped all the way down onto my handle bars. SWEET! Just what I had been hoping for! NOT!!! It was actually worse than it ever had been. Neither side would stay in place. 

So, long story short: I spent as much time as possible NOT in aero position. And when I did go aero,  it was very uncomfortable, I was worried about crashing, and I had to pull the cups back in place every 40 seconds. Talk about annoying

Between eating, drinking, taking in salt, riding clean, and dealing with this crap, I felt like I never really settled in or found a good rhythm. That said: It could've been worse. It could (almost) always be worse. And, while I think I could've been a little bit faster - and definitely smoother - without this issue, I am not sure it would've been significant. 


Snow Canyon Beauty

Highlights 

I actually dealt with the above issue rather well! I may have thrown a tiny little fit at the beginning and another one in the middle of the ride but I wasn't indulging in any pity parties and I didn't let it get to me. I just dealt with it the best I could while pedaling on. Problem solving is a big part of any race. And the longer the distance, the more possible problems. It's actually kind of exciting always nerve racking: What is this race going to throw at me? And how am I going to deal with it? 

The bike was no solo mission this time! Unlike Oceanside 70.3, where I didn't see a soul for more than 30  miles, I was with a few other girls the entire time! It actually felt like a race! Especially since we had our very own race official right next to us for 50 miles. Cool! Because - hey - that means I must be somehow sort of 'in the race', right? We were all doing our best to ride clean, so there were no issues as far as I could tell. The constant noise of the motor cycle and the other girls definitely helped me to stay focused and have fun despite my mechanical issues. 

The course! I love this course with all of its hills and beauty. The course was slightly different and, in my opinion, just a tad bit slower with those 3 miles on a winding bike path but just as pretty! Not that I have time to really take in my surroundings but it doesn't go unnoticed! And neither do the volunteers. This place has the BEST volunteers. Not only is the race superbly organized and runs super smooth but the people are full of energy and enthusiasm! And it is so very much appreciated! It makes a huge difference whether volunteers are just sitting there playing on their phones on every corner or whether they are having a party and cheer you on like you're their best friend! Thank you, Washington County! And please don't tell me Mormons don't know how to party. When it comes to race day partying, they are almost up there with my Germans! 


The Run 
(1:35:13 - 7:16/mi)


Bummer 

NOT the run time I was hoping for. I was definitely shooting for sub 1:30 and thought that was entirely possible seeing how I ran 1:29 last year. There was a slight change in the run course as well, it was hotter this year, and apparently most people were disappointed with their run time. Still. There were plenty of girls running very fast but I wasn't one of them. Good thing I had tossed my Garmin in T2 and was running without a watch. Knowing my pace doesn't generally help me to race faster. I just swim as hard as I can, bike as fast as possible, and then try to run my guts out. And if my watch doesn't tell me what I want to see, it just messes with my head. But knowing now I am a little bummed. 

It's lonely out there on a one-loop course. I got passed by 2 age group men and 1 pro girl. That's it. And I didn't catch anyone in front of me until mile 12. That's not a whole lot of entertainment on a half marathon! Just a whole lot of time to play mind games (hoping I am going to win) and try to convince myself to push harder.  Until I am so tired and partly delirious that I just count steps to 30 over and over again. And when that gets too complicated, I start over at 10. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. This is what I call FUN after all. I am just telling you how it went down. 


Highlights

Two things: 
Friends and Finish Line Sprint

At mile 10 it suddenly got a whole lot more exciting. There was a steady stream of age groupers coming the other way and, seeing how this is my 'hometown' race, I saw a ton of familiar faces. (Even if they were all a bit blurry since I wasn't seeing straight anymore.) Although they were going up as we were coming down, there were still plenty of cheers and words of encouragement.  Friends out on the course are the best!!! Thank you! 

I am not sure I have ever worked quite this hard going downhill. But I had my sights set on Svenja Bazlen, fellow German and 2012 Olympian, who I was making up ground on ever so slowly. She was clearly not having a good day at all or she would be miles up the road but that didn't matter. I knew exactly who she was and she was going to go down! Maybe... I mean: She is an Olympian after all... But I was determined to give it a try

The plan was to sneak up on her, then sit back for a minute and gather myself before making a decisive pass and hopefully dropping her right away. But that didn't happen. The closer I got, the louder the cheers from the sidelines and age groupers on the other side of the road. Which was AWESOME but there was going to be no 'sneaking up'. She totally knew I was getting close. And as soon as I passed, she stuck right with me. Like glue. So close that she accidentally stepped on my heel at one point. And that's how we ran all the way down Diagonal. 

It was painful. But when is mile 12-13 ever NOT painful? Still. I considered letting her by. Considered easing off just a tad bit to stop the agony. She was going to win either way, so why fight until the very end? 

In all of my years of racing, I have never been in this situation. Ever. Either I make a pass and it sticks or I let whoever is passing me go. Because this is my worst nightmare. To have been at my limits for hours and now I am supposed to find yet ANOTHER gear and battle it out over the last mile? No thanks. 

But this time I wasn't going to give in. I was going to fight. And fight I did. The best I knew how. Until she pulled away in the finish chute. 




I don't care that she beat me. Not one bit. This is - after all - the HIGHLIGHT of the run, not the bummer. I am glad she stuck with me and forced me to prove to myself that I CAN find another gear. That I don't HAVE to give up when things seem impossible. And that it doesn't hurt THAT much more. 

This time I battled for about 1.3 miles. You bet I am ready to battle for at least 2 maybe even 3 miles next time. And hopefully improve again from there. 

And that's why I am still in love with racing. Because every race teaches me something new about myself that I wasn't aware of before. Or shows me that I can in fact do something I didn't think was possible. Or exposes a weakness that I need to work on. There is still so much room for improvement, which is why I am not going to stop this silliness anytime soon. Sorry, Karl! 





I love that quote. It is so true! And triathlon is chock full of strong women. My favorite kind. Beautiful, strong, awesome women. Everywhere. In the pro ranks just as much as among the age groupers. Yes, we are fierce competitors and aren't going to give each other an inch while racing. But that's only from the time the gun goes off until we cross the finish line. Before and after we are friends who support and encourage each other. And I wouldn't want it any other way! That is what makes this sport so incredibly appealing to me! 


Carlee crushed the race two months after giving birth to 
her fourth boy. Pretty much my hero. 

I have to admit, I was a bit worried last year that I wouldn't be having as much fun racing as a professional as I did as an amateur. I thought that maybe the camaraderie among the pro girls wouldn't be the same. Or that I wouldn't feel welcome or accepted. Boy was I ever wrong! I love these girls and can't wait to meet more of them and see the ones I already know at the next race! These ladies rock! 


Coeur teammates cooling off

It was great fun to hang out at the finish line area for hours and hours after the race visiting with old friends and making new ones. Good food, green grass, shade, and water! All I ever need! Hands down my favorite race venue. 



With training buddy and teammate, Malcolm

Overall
 4:45:48 - 14th WPRO

Not my best race, not my worst. I felt more in the mix of things, especially on the bike, which was nice and a bit of a confidence booster. Love racing with the best in the world even if that means I am going to get a solid butt-kicking. It's still fun! And very inspiring! 


A huge Thank You to my fantastic sponsors:


Coeur Sports - The BEST in women's athletic wear

 T3 Triathlon - My FAVORITE triathlon shop

Fuji Bikes - In LOVE with my Norcom Straight

Zoot Shoes - My shoes of choice since 2008

Cobb Saddles - Most COMFORTABLE saddle ever

Osmo Nutrition - Hydration at its BEST

Tifosi Sunglasses - I wear them every single day! 


And to Dr. AJ Gregg, Shea at New Roots, and Stephanie with Flag Massage
Thank you for your patience and for getting my body to cooperate! 



Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bikini Camp and A Little Race


the road to Bartlett Lake

Since we are moving at the end of May, I am running out of weekends to do all of the fun stuff that I was hoping to squeeze in before leaving! At all times, I have at least 3 different adventures that I am dreaming about and trying to make happen. It's what keeps me going day to day. Don't get me wrong, I like every day life. I enjoy 'the grind'. I am all about routine. But the BEST part is breaking out of it and chasing that which fills my heart and soul to the brim. 

I love being a mom and a wife. It brings me so much happiness. But it's not all that I am. And I am extremely grateful for a husband who understands my need for independence and lets me fly knowing I will come back. 


early morning at Bartlett Lake

Karen and I had been dreaming for a while about Bikini Camp where we camp in her VW van, train all day, and run around in bikinis the rest of the time. This is the kind of stuff we come up with sitting on trainers for hours during snowstorms. I mean, it's only taken me 34 years to feel comfortable even dare to wear a bikini, so I clearly need to make up for lost time! 


Karen testing out the waters

But, alas, it wasn't quite meant to be. Coach didn't let me scratch the Marquee Triathlon, the Westy was having starter issues, and I was so smashed from training (and life) that I couldn't get my butt into gear. Sometimes the 'glorious life' of a triathlete includes standing in the aisle of the grocery store, bent over the car, list in hand, having no idea why I am in this place. So I call The Husband to tell him we aren't leaving until early Saturday morning only to have to cut the conversation short because... "Sorry, honey, I am too tired to hold the phone to my ear any longer." True story. How lame is that?!? Good thing the kids can read on their own now and all I need to do is lie on the floor next to them for some quality family time! 


not a bad morning for a swim

Saturday morning at 6am, Karen and I embarked on 36 hours of fun! That might not seem like a lot but, boy, can we make every minute count! That girl is without a doubt the best thing that happened to me during our time in Flagstaff. Even if she is just as much of a wuss when it comes to open water swimming than I am! 


one big orca and one little orca

As we squeeze ourselves into our wetsuits and put on swim caps, I hear Karen exclaim: 

- Dang it!!! -
- Oh no! Did your cap rip? -
- No. It DIDN'T rip! -

Haha. That girl cracks me up. I am pretty much in a constant fit of laughter on these trips. But - too bad - I wasn't going to let her off the hook because there was NO WAY I was swimming in this lake all by myself. And, of course, once we started it wasn't half bad and we made it an entire hour without freaking out with only a few screams here and there. 



The unspoken rule of Bikini Camp is that you must wear your bikini whenever appropriate possible. And, yes, that includes getting your bike ready in the parking lot. 



While Karen had the pleasure of climbing back up from the lake, I obeyed Coach's orders and drove to a flat spot to meet Karen for a little pre-race ride. But not without stopping every 5 minutes and waiting for Karen to come by so I could cheer and take pictures. About time I practice my spectating and photography skills! 


killing it as usual 

After a little run and the obligatory stop at Trader Joe's, we were off to... swim again! 

My happy place!

There is no public outdoor pool in Flagstaff, so coming down to Phoenix and swimming outside NEVER gets old! Ok, it might have just been an excuse to hang out in bikinis some more but we did get in a few minutes of solid swimming. Half-pool sprints in all shapes and forms are my new favorite thing to do pre-race and they always work! 

 Other activities include: 

Lying on the lounge chair with my head where the feet are supposed to go and my feet straight up in the air. 
Checking out innocent older men who turn out to not be nearly as hot as we had originally thought. 
Figuring out that Justin Bieber is indeed NOT singing about hysterectomies. 

me and my Fuji

We made it to packet pick-up and bike check-in with a couple of minutes to spare! I may not know a lot but, after 17 years of competing in triathlons, I know how to get in and out of these places FAST. I don't think Karen even turned the car off... 


ready to roll

We got super lucky this time! Our good friends, Paul and Tess, own a condo right across the street from Tempe Beach Park and they let us stay with them for the night! It really doesn't get any more convenient or any more fun! I was finally able to check out Z Tejas, Paul's favorite place that I had heard so much about, and we had a great time visiting and telling stories.


little black Coeur Sports kit

The good thing about short-distance triathlons is that they are over with in no-time! Even after I had showered and eaten an early lunch, it was only 9:30 in the morning! Still so much time left to play!!!

The bad thing is that - because they are short - you are supposed to go FAST! It's hard for this diesel engine to find a fast gear but I certainly tried! All 2 hours and 10 minutes long! I kept repeating Coach's words in my head: If you start to feel comfortable, go harder


Life Time Tri Marquee Olympic 2015

What can I say? I had a blast!!! I truly love racing! Even when, once again, my main source of entertainment on the bike is yelling over and over again at a couple of cheaters to STOP DRAFTING! And yes, it's always fun to win! Even when you don't have time to stay for awards because you have a play date at 10am that you don't want to miss! 


a good day to ride

Nothing like a little post-race ride over to South Mountain with your favorite girl, who had completely failed in her spectating 'duties' which shall be blamed on Z Tejas' margaritas the night before, and the double world champ, who finally got his rainbow socks out of the drawer and wears them proudly now! 


just out for a Sunday stroll

And whaddya know? We found our favorite German and Russian there also! Those guys are always up for some fun on and off the bike!

Photo credit: P. Bless

There was only one thing missing from this day still: An opportunity to wear our bikinis! But, don't worry, I will always find a pool to swim in! And if the girls at the front desk tell us: Sorry! It's free today but only if you are with a member. Then we will just make friends with the next guy who walks in and - voila! - another awesome swim opportunity to practice our synchronized swimming and underwater laughing skills. 


love my mermaid bikini

We sang our hearts out to Alanis Morissette (just in case we ever HAVE to sing karaoke - we are ready!) in the car and made it home in time for dinner. I couldn't feel more blessed to have weekends like this and then come home to my family! My life certainly isn't all sunshine and lollipops but it's pretty dang good!





Friday, April 10, 2015

Race Report: 2015 OCEANSIDE 70.3


I just counted. I have TEN drafts saved on here. Ten potential blog posts from the last few months that I have a put a fair amount of work into and then never got around to finishing them. That makes me sad. Because I truly like to write and share more than just race reports! So here is to a new start and keeping this blog more regularly updated. Not because I think more than five of you care but because I care! And because I have a degree in linguistics after all. So scribbling down grocery lists and workout notes doesn't always cut it.

Photo credit: Katie Morse

I did this race in 2012 and wrote ALL about it here. It wasn't one bit what I had been hoping for (except for that slot to 70.3 Worlds) and I had no desire to go back. So I didn't. But with Leadman 125 no longer an option, I had to reconsider Oceanside. And I am so glad I did!!! What made it so miserable in 2012 was mostly the weather. All winter I had been looking forward to warm and sunny California but race week turned out to be wet, grey, and cold. This time it didn't disappoint and all of my (weather-related) dreams came true!

First thing I did to get ready for this trip was to walk downtown with Max to rent a car. First time in my life that I rented a car! Pretty exciting and so much more fun to drive than our old and beat-up Subaru. That way Karl and kids were able to go on their own adventures while I was in California. Huge thanks to D. Bednar Law Office for making this possible! 

Perfect day for a little ride!

First thing I did in California was to go for a bike ride to the ocean with my home-stay, John! THAT was awesome. I called him when I got off the freeway and he said: "I am about to go for a bike ride." And I said: "Wait for me! I wanna come!" Good thing John is a very patient man because what should've taken 15 minutes ended up taking 45 since I like to drive old-school and figure out where I am going by myself. Which sometimes means I get lost. A whole bunch. But then afterwards I know my way around pretty well! 

My beautiful home for the weekend. 

I have to admit I was a little beside myself on the first day. Or two. Or three. I had pretty much just arrived in paradise and I couldn't get over how people actually LIVE here and don't just burst with happiness every single day. Seriously.


Alga Norte Public Pool 

Next up was a dip in the new community pool just 3 minutes down the road. Talk about a fancy pool! I counted more than 20 lap lanes! And ran into Coeur Sports teammate Andrea which was so fun! Swimming after a long day of driving is simply the best! And a good way to calm down...

The next morning brought more fun and awesomeness! I got up, walked out the front door and through this beautiful little park...






...and - voila - I was at the little neighborhood pool which I had all to myself!




See what I mean? I called Karen about every 3 minutes all weekend long because I had to share this goodness with SOMEONE! (And I was afraid that if I called the husband every time, he would send someone to come get me for fear I was never gonna come back.)




 I could've swum in that nice warm pool all day long. But all I got was 15 minutes and that was ok because I then got to ride my Fuji bike in paradise for a bit.




Definitely not a bad place for some transition training.




Packet pick-up and pro meeting aren't my favorite things to do but considering that this was the venue, it wasn't too bad:


Oceanside Pier and Expo

And it's always fun to meet friends and make new ones. I had brought my wet suit (which I hadn't worn since November) hoping to take a quick dip in the ocean to get a feel for things but then I chickened out all by myself and figured race-morning would be soon enough.

The kid at packet pick-up gave me this lucky bag, so I figured nothing could go wrong now!



Pre-Race 

First one in transition. Just the way I like it. Plenty of time to get everything organized, warm up, chat with friends, and wait in line to use walk straight into the port-a-potty that says Female Pros Only. Yep, it's the little things that get me excited! I even had time to make a new friend as we were squeezing ourselves into wetsuits. I really do love all of the girls I get to race with!

Photo Credit: Triathlete Magazine

The Swim - 29:42 (1:32/100m)

Water was 10 (!) degrees warmer this year than in 2012! That made me happy. However, the pro men got 10 minutes to warm up in the water and we only had about 3. I had figured as much and planned accordingly by bringing cords to warm up with on land but what a disappointment when it comes to gender equality in this sport!

I had a hard time figuring out where to position myself since the kayak trying to keep us in line seemed to take up half of the space between the buoys. And so I promptly found myself in the wrong spot when the gun went off. Sort of in no-man's land from the beginning. Which made for a very calm start but not a very happy Coach afterwards. And - WHY didn't you find a group to swim with in a rather large field? - Ahem, well, I sort of messed up the start. I get worried about having an anxiety attack at the beginning of the swim and suffocating in the water. - And you are trying to race as a Pro? Get your act together! Ok. These weren't her EXACT words but... pretty much.

The good news is that there was PLENTY of oxygen in the air! When you are used to swimming at 7,000ft and come down to sea level, everything at least breathing seems much easier! So I found a good rhythm and kept the group ahead of me in sight and half-way to the turn-around I could tell that I was making up time on them! And by the turn buoy I had caught up, took the very shortest line around, and found myself right behind the girls leading the pack! Talk about a fun ride all the way back to the end! I was LOVING it.

Overall, I am happy with how it went. Mostly because I felt like I had burned ZERO mental matches due to the calm start and swimming back with a little pack. The time is decent but improvable. And I had a LOT more fun than last time.

Lesson learned: 

Be smarter and more aggressive at the start! You can actually swim with (some of these) girls, so you'd better be ready to hit it when the gun goes off! And, no, you will NOT die if someone touches you or if you swallow a bit of water. Even if it might seem like it.


T1 - 3:07

I was super happy to see that I came out of the water right behind Sarah P, Liz L, and Laura S! I consider that some pretty good company. And, boy, were they SPRINTING down and back up that long transition. Like - all out! I was already trying to hang on for dear life and we hadn't even gotten on the bike yet!

Luckily I transitioned well except for the snafu with the race belt we needed to wear on the bike already. Only took me - oh - 25 tries to close it with my cold hands.

Considering that I always put my shoes on BEFORE I get on the bike, I was happy to get out of T1 right with the other girls. And here is proof that you can do a decent mount WITH your shoes already on your feet: 


Photo Credit: Tri Club California

The Bike - 2:31:59 (22.11 mi/h)

Same issue as last time: WHAT to do with the sunglasses? It was super foggy again and the glasses were a mess. No matter how hard and often I tried, I couldn't see a thing through them. It could've easily pissed me off because I HATE riding without sunglasses, but I stayed surprisingly focused and eventually gave up. Sunglasses in the bra it was. Another reminder of how much I truly love racing in the DESERT! 

Sarah P disappeared into the distance rather fast but I was feeling quite fine riding behind Liz and Laura. UNTIL the fog started to affect my brain after about 5 miles and I was thinking: Who do I think I am riding with these girls? I am not in their league and I'd better let them go because... well, I am just not as strong as they are. I will try to stay with whoever comes by next. 

Now THAT was a mistake. Because no one ever came by! And by 'ever' I mean not for another 38 miles! At which point we had been climbing some hills and I was seeing a few girls up ahead that I was closing in on. And the first male age grouper had caught up to me. But 38 miles is a HECK of a long time to be riding completely solo in a race! I will give myself some credit for staying pretty focused and not letting it affect me too much. At least I didn't have to worry about any penalties! And seeing how there weren't NEARLY enough hills for me on this course, I am super excited for St. George 70.3. I love me a hilly bike course! 

Lesson learned: 

Do NOT let girls get away simply because you decide you can't ride with them. Try to (legally) hang on and see what happens. SO WHAT if you die on the run? Find out what your limits are and then reassess. 

Photo Credit: Katie Morse 


The Run - 1:34:41 (7:13/mi)

Well, THAT certainly wasn't the run I was hoping for! And, yes, I still dislike the run course just as much as I did back in 2012. And I am not even sure why! I mean, who doesn't like to run along the ocean?!? But lest you think it's flat - it's NOT! Nor is it hilly. I don't know WHAT it is. But I do know that this run course and I don't get along. So there. 

I have a feeling that Coach thinks I had already decided to hate the run (again) before I even started it but I honestly don't think that was the case. I was trying to give it my best shot but my best just wasn't very good that day. And I am ok with that. I know that I didn't give up on myself and (unlike 2012) I have no regrets. I did what I could - mentally and physically - and that's all I can ask of myself. 

One thing that did perform flawlessly was my Coeur kit. Just love it! 
Photo Credit: Katie Morse 



Post-Race 

Post-race went like this: 

Oh, hey, Gregg! Thank you so much for coming down and cheering for me! Did you bring your swim shorts? Let me run to my car and get my bikini and then let's swim in the ocean, shall we? 


I did grab a few bites to eat and chatted with some of the other girls but then it was straight to the beach and into the waves! Best warm-down ever! The waves washed away any traces of disappointment that I may have had regarding the race and I came out of the water happy and grateful. It was so much fun! Thanks, Gregg! 



Not a bad place to hang out and wait for John to come home and tell me all about his first 70.3. Them I was off to find my way over to Encinitas for a Coeur Sports get-together which was, of course, fantastic! So fun to meet such a great group of people! And, by the way, their gear this year is THE BOMB! 


John and his daughter

John did fantastic and it was fun to share race stories. His wife and daughter had come to cheer him on and found me as well. Thanks for the cheers! In case you can't tell, I COMPLETELY lucked out with this amazing home-stay family. I am so grateful to Ironman for hooking us up and to the Rollins Family for hosting me. It was a weekend in paradise! Thank you! 


A huge Thank You to my fantastic sponsors:


Coeur Sports - The BEST in women's athletic wear

 T3 Triathlon - My FAVORITE triathlon shop

Fuji Bikes - In LOVE with my Norcom Straight

Zoot Shoes - My shoes of choice since 2008

Cobb Saddles - Most COMFORTABLE saddle ever

Osmo Nutrition - Hydration at its BEST

Tifosi Sunglasses - I wear them every single day!