Monday, November 15, 2010

Clearwater Ironman 70.3 World Championships

The pressure was on for this race; most of which was my own. After last years nutrition and GI debacle, I really needed to have a good race. Confidence is a huge part of racing. If your mental game isn't up to par, the outcome doesn't look promising.

I knew after pre-race training, that good thing were to come. I finally felt the bounce back in my step. Not only did I feel fresh, I also felt a confidence that I haven't had when it came to racing the 70.3 distance.

Even though I had a confidence about me, I still had the nerves of a little kid that was trying something for the first time. Every night before bed, at least a week before the race, I visualize the "perfect race". I go as far as visualizing paces, times, transitions, and winning. The mind is a powerful thing; "what one can conceive and believe, they will achieve." With those thoughts in mind, I attempt to call it a night. Rather than sleeping, the night turns into laying there with my eyes closed. I can't remember the last time I struggled that much with sleeping; I was actually glad when 4:00am rolled around.

Race morning couldn't have gone any smoother. I was able to get through my entire routine without feeling the pressure of time. Before I knew it, all the athletes were lining up at the waters edge. My favorite kind of start; beach start. I was the first one in the water, I held onto that lead through the first turn bouy. Then I found myself hanging onto the feet of one of my competitors. As we had to maneuver our way through previous waves, I gradually lost ground, coming second out of the water.

Transition 1 went very smoothly; definitely an improvement from last year. The bike was fast, as expected. Knowing that it was all going to come down to the run, I made sure I stayed on top of my nutrition. Every 10-15min I sipping on my EFS drink and right stuff mixture. I also ate a bite of a lara bar every 30-40min. Coming off the bike, I felt great! I was happy with how smooth T2 went, and how good my legs felt. I thought to myself, just 13 miles to go...

The first 9 miles of the run, I stayed on pace without too much difficulty. Along the way, I kept thinking just a few more miles to go; if I can just hold on a little longer. Unsure of my position, throughout most of the race, I was thankful every time I saw my boyfriend Shane, he was able to update me on where I was at within the field. As I roll through mile 9 and got to mile 10, I was beginning to fade. My body was screaming, no more!!! However, the words of keep pushing, you have just a little more to go, you can't give up now, you have been so strong thus far, out weighted the pain, and helped me get through the last 3 miles. If it weren't for Shane, those last 3 miles could have been a whole lot worse; he was my strength from within.

After crossing the finish line, I still was unsure of where I finished. The next 15min was the longest 15min ever. I was confident I had won, but I needed to wait for everyone to come through before it was confirmed. Low and behold, I had done it...I am a WORLD CHAMPION!!!

Shortly after my race, a friend of mine sent me this quote; loved it!

It's not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worth cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. Theodore Roosevelt

Thanks to all my sponsors and coach (Joanna Zeiger):
First Endurance
Right Stuff
Profile Design

You all have helped make my 2010 turn out to be a GREAT year! I am looking forward to racing 2011 as a pro. It is time to up the ante. 2011 here we come!!!


The days leading up to Nationals were nerve racking; so many expectations. After having mechanical problems last year, I was really ready to put it all out there. My pre-race training didn't go as well as I had hoped, my legs still felt slightly heavy. However, I was familiar with the course and had one more day to recover. I looked forward to racing at sea level against the top athletes in the country.

This was the first time I was actually concerned about the heat. Being that I've always trained in the heat and humidity, I never thought about it. But now, living in Boulder, the humidity has become a concern. No matter the temperature or any other external factor, I knew I had put in the work, so now it was time to give it my all. Race morning rolled around, I was ready!!! We all toed the line, anxiously awaited the sound of the fog horn...and we were off. The swim was warm, so no wetsuits. However, I did race in my TYR swimskin.

T1 went smoothly, off to the bike. Now this was where I really noticed the benefits of training in altitude. I felt as though I was flying. Sure wish I would have raced with my CycleOps powertap; it would have been nice to know what kind of power I was holding. Towards the end of the ride, another female and I battled back and forth. She was in my age group, so all the more reason to push the pace. We came into T2 simultaneously; the battle continued on the run.

Leaving T2 just in front of my competition, I was feeling good. The first 3 miles of the run I was on pace; still battling back and forth. With each hill, I was passed on the downhill. I tried to take advantage of the downhill and relax a bit. My competitor saw it as an opportunity to pick up the pace. I can distinctly remember hearing her footsteps and breathing as she made downhill running look so easy. To my advantage, I was familiar with the course. I knew where the last hill on the course was. As a result, I was able to picked up the pace in hopes that I was going to be able to put a gap between us and hold on. With the finish line in sight, I knew the end was near.

After crossing the finish line, I was still unsure where I was at in the field; that's one disadvantage of racing as an amateur. I really didn't find out the final results for a couple hours post race. Reason being is, I was pulled immediately after the race for drug testing. It took a full 2 hrs to get the testing completed. By the time I got back to the race sight, the final results were posted; I was nervous to check. I knew I had finished well, but didn't know the truth. What a feeling to run your finger down the results ,to find out you were the NATIONAL CHAMPION! What a rush!

Thanks to all those that support and sponsor me through this adventure.

Joanna Zeiger (coach)
Profile Design
Smith Optics
First Endurance
Right Stuff

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rattlesnake Olympic Aug 2010

So it has been a while since I have raced; over a month. Not like me, I typically race 1-2 times a month. This gap was created by my move to Boulder, Co. I originally planned to be out there for 2 months, training in altitude and taking advantage of the climbing. Well, I fell in love with Boulder and made it a permanent move. What a scary but exciting change.

So the month of July I spent getting myself acclimated to the altitude and my new surroundings. But I was beginning to get a little antsy; I needed to have a race to look forward to. What is training if you don't have an event to train for?! So I registered for the rattlesnake olympic distance race in Aurora, Co. I was under the impression that this was going to be a nice flat race. I was all excited and ready to see how it feels to race in Altitude; not to mention to see where I was at with all my training. Well, to my surprise the course was everything but flat. The bike course was the hilliest course I have raced; the run was not only hilly it was also whindy. I had to switch gears immediately and get my head on straight. Once again my coach came to the rescue and had nothing but encouraging words to say. She was right, I have been training hard and doing lots of climbing, I am ready...

Race morning rolls around. I'm up at 4:30am to make sure I have breakfast 3hrs before the race. Back to bed I know that extra 30min of sleep is key. Race morning was beautiful! watching the sunrise on my way to transition was a bonus. However, the winds were a little concerning.

Transition set up went very smoothly. I was in and out of there in 30min, all the while making sure I stayed hydrated with my EFS drink, pre-race, and right stuff water bottle. I went for a short warm-up jog and then down to the beach for a brief swim. Before I knew it we were getting lined up for a time trial start. That starting method is always interesting to me. Why not always do waves starts, I thought to myself. I soon realized the purpose of the time trial start when it came time for me to swim the second loop of the swim course. This swim course required the athletes to get out of the water, take about 20 steps on the beach around a bouy and the back into the water. It could have been a disaster if too many people attempted to get in and out of the water all at the same time.

I felt good during the swim. However, I couldn't figure out why I felt so out of breath the majority of the swim. It was almost as if I was pushing hard no matter how much I let up to get into a rhythm. Then is dawned on me that it must be the altitude. Well, I might have felt out of sync but my overall swim was better than expected; I was first out of the water!

T1 went smoothly, for some reason everything just slide on like butter. Off on my Kestrel Airfoil I go. Within the first 10min of the ride I begin drinking my EFS drink, pre-race, and right stuff mixture. I needed to make sure I didn't get behind on hydration, especially since this course was so hilly and the wind was not letting up. As a matter of fact, the wind was a tail cross on the way out and a head cross on the way back. There were a few instances where a gust of wind about blew me off the shoulder. The wind wasn't the only challenge during the ride. I remember thinking, when are the hills going to stop?! I was excited to see the turn that lead me to transition.

T2 was hassle free. Once again, everything slide on like butter. It was nice to only attempt once when putting on my shoes and buckling my race belt. After grabbing my EFS flask and tyr visor, I was off to the run course. Something about that run course was tough; maybe it had something to do with the wind, trail turns, and hills. It seemed like I was coming up on the turn-around point several time; nope, just another turn and hill. Finally, reached mile 3 and the turn-around; I took a sip or two of my EFS shot and thought, half way done with the run. At that point I new what to expect and was able to get my head on straight. The thing was, I was all alone. It is nice to be out in front but it sure makes it tough to race hard. I battled with wanting to slow down several times. If it weren't for my Garmin I would have fallen off pace several times. Well, to be brutally honest, I was off pace for a large part of the race. I chalked it up to all the external factors (altitude, wind, hills, etc.). Come on now, everyone knows it is easier to blame it on things that are out of your own control, right?!

Overall this race went well. I learned that I can race at altitude and in the hills; the confidence is there again. Now it is time to race a Half Ironman in those conditions. Thanks for all the support from my sponsors: Hed, Tyr, Kestrel, Right Stuff, Profile Design, CycleOps, and First Endurance. You all make training and racing fun!

Rev 3 knoxville

Rev3 Knoxville was a successful race in so many ways. Not only did the event go over very well, everyone was welcoming and supportive. My support started off with a dear friend of mine, Don Bosch. Him and his wife took me in as one of their own. I flew in a couple days early to spend some quality time. Don made sure everything was just perfect for my stay; from my arrival to departure there wasn't one minor detail that was overlooked. What more could a girl ask for, great friends, beautiful home, and all the support one could ever need. Thanks to the Bosch's my race and weekend in Knoxville was a blast.

Race morning was a bit chilly but the forecast called for sunny and warm. They were right, for once. I remember getting set up on transition thinking today is going to be a great day. Still a bit nervous about the climbs that are to come but very excited about racing. There is something to be said about new adventures; this was one for me. This was the first race I have had that included good climbs; at least any of real length...

It's now getting close to start time for the Elite Amateur's. The Pro's are in the water, anxiously awaiting the sound of the fog horn; and they are off. At that point my heart began to really pound. It is time for our race to begin, just 5 more min. Those 5 min felt like they took FOREVER! It was just enough time to allow my mind to run wild about the race; going through how each step of the race would ideally unfold.

And were off! the first few minutes was a battle. I thought woman were rough in the water; the men were relentless. All I could think about was find some of those guys feet and hang on; sure enough I did, at least until we got to the turn-around bouy. I then found myself falling off the pace slightly; but was able to keep them in sight. We climbed out of the water onto a dock, ran up a ramp, crossed the road and into transition. I was thinking, ok this is the beginning of a tough but fun course. T1 went smoothly, now on the bike...

I found myself riding alone throughout most of the race. This made it tough to really push myself. However, I had a plan and stuck to it. I need to conserve a little during the climbs and attack the downhills. This was going to allow for fresher legs off the bike. My last two races at MIT and St. A's I road hard and struggled the last 3 miles on the run. I was determined to not let that happen this time. Hope to have a PR on the run. Well, it wasn't until that last bit of the bike where I did not keep to my plan. There was another female that passed me with just a few miles to go. At the time I wasn't aware that it was a pro, so I pushed to stay right with her and keep her in my sight. The two of us came out of T2 one right after the other.

I thought to myself, I now have a rabbit. The plan was to hold back just slightly in the beginning, get my legs underneath me and then go. At about mile 3 I found myself alone, again. I mentally had to kick myself in gear and hope to find someone to chase down. Sure enough, another rabbit appeared about mile 4. This time it wasn't until about mile 5 when I passed her.
The overall plan worked, I had a PR on the run and felt strong throughout the entire race. The Temps were great for racing and my nutrition couldn't have gone any better. I used a mixture of EFS drink and pre-race in my water bottle during the bike. I also took a few sips of a mashed up banana and EFS drink mixture on the run. The perfect electrolyte and calorie combination thus far.

Upon crossing the finish line, I couldn't help but think how well this race unfolded. Transitions, nutrition, equipment, and the race venue was perfect. What a great race! My race wouldn't have gone so smoothly if it weren't for the great products of kestrel, profile design, right stuff (sodium), cyclops, tyr, and first endurance (nutrition).

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Quassy disaster to Eagleman success

Yes, I know it has been way too long...just when you think things might slow down a little they get even more hectic. The only excuse I have is I moved to Boulder, Co. fell in love with it and have neglected my blogging. Well, I plan to get you all caught up...let's start with Rev 3 Knoxville and Quassy

Ok, so we all have worried about our bikes and/or training and racing gear making it to their final destination; especially when it comes to a race. I never really worried about it too much, aside from the fact that it would totally suck. Well, after having first hand experience I wouldn't wish it on anyone...

The one race I was really nervous about and unsure of my performance was the Rev3 Quassy 70.3. I not only was intimidated by the distance but also the terrane. It took a lot of mental motivation to convince myself I was ready to race a 70.3, especially a challenging one like Quassy (first one since World Championships 70.3 in Clearwater last Nov). Us Flatlander's in Florida have a hard time wrapping our heads around hills on the bike and run. After finally getting the confidence I needed to have a successful race, it sure seemed as if it wasnt in the cards to race.

Really... one disaster after another occured, all beginning the day I was to fly from Orlando to Miami and Miami to Harford, Ct. To be brutally honest, I had to sit down and think about all the stops and obsticals I had to overcome to make it to Middlebury before I could put it on paper. so here is how it all unfolded; no exaggeration...After my flight from Orlando to Miami was cancelled I managed to catch a flight out of Orlando a couple hours later to Chicago, where I had to stay the night to catch a flight to Hartford in the morning. I guess it wasnt too much of a surprise when I found out that all the flights to Hartford were oversold or completely full that next morning, when it was already comfimed that I wasnt going to have a problem getting out...Just the way my luck was rolling for this trip. So I declided to be a bit resourceful and managed to get on a flight to White Planes, NY where I was going to change my original rental and drive the hour to Hartford to get my luggage; which I knew deep down wasnt going to make it anyway, but I had to think positively and try to make it there just in case.

After I got to White Planes, NY and hassled with my rental, which turned out to be another nightmare; but in the end I managed to get a car. On the road finally, on the wat to Hartford I got stuck in about an hour of traffic...once again, just the way my luck was going. I eventually made it to the airport, bet you can guess, that's right, my luggage and bike were no where to be found. However, I was told they knew where it was at and it should be on the next plane; only 2 hrs from now. Great, I thought to myself, I will hang around, grab a bite to eat and it'll be on the next flight. Still plenty of time to do what I need to do to get things ready for my race at Rev3 Quassy on Sun; So I though. Well, not to surprised to find out that the last plane came in for the night and still not luggage or bike to be found.

Luckily, I was staying with a friend in Ct. so at least the entire trip wasnt a waste. To make along story short, I never received my luggage or bike until Sun night around 5pm. For whatever reason the airlines managed to miss place a small piece of luggage like my bike box; hmmmm. Neither here nor there, not being able to race in Quassy was a blessing in disguise.

I was able to spend quality time with a very dear friend of mine. As well as take advantage of the recovery time, so i could get myself ready to race the following weekend in Cambridge, Maryland at Eagleman.

Everything at Eagleman couldnt have gone smoother. All travels were simple and without a hitch. Not to mention the fact that I had the best homestay family every! They took me in as if I was there own daughter; Thank you sooooo very much Darrell and Jan Butcher for your support and hospitality. At the very least, I hope to see you all again next year at Eagleman.

There was a lot of talk the day before the race about temperatures and wind. coming from Florida, I wasnt too intimidated by the heat; I actually welcomed it, thinking I might have a slight advantage. Well, they were right, race morning it was quite windy and very warm, only to get in the upper 90's throughout the day. I tried not to let any of those outside factors influence my thoughts; I knew deep down I was ready to race and race hard. It was a confirmation that the day was going to be warm when they announced the water temp was 80 degrees; no you could see concern cross peoples minds and read it all over their faces. I still was prepared for anything after the chaotic travel disaster for Quassy...I was itching to race.

Just before the race started, I made sure I stayed hydrated by drinking 24oz of EFS drink and pre-race. Before I knew it the the fog horn sounded and we were in the water swimming; it seemed as if we were going no where due to the current. It was a battle initially, arms and feet flailing. But within about 5min the group spread out and I was able to get into my groove and stick to my stroke. I was thinking, just get around this first turn bouy and the current will let up. to my surprise it only got worse. I had to take into consideration the direction of which the current was flowing so I could account for how much it was pushing me off course. Sure enough the current was consist throughout the entire swim. I remember looking and sighting much further to my left than the swim exit so i could stay on course and not swim longer than I needed to. I was just few seconds off the first and second girl out of the water. As I was going into transition I managed to pass one of the girls that was out of the water before me.

The bike was harder than I anticipated it to be. Yes, the course is very flat but the wind was very brutal. I felt great up until the last hour of the ride. About 1.5hrs into the ride my lower back and adductors felt like they were on fire and eventually going to fall off. I was racking my brain trying to figure out why I was having such pain. No matter what position I was in, I only got a few minutes of relief before it came back. The only conclusion I could come to was, since there was so much wind, I was having to fire so many small muscles to stablize on my Kestrel Airfoil, that I was just out right fatiguing muscles I typically don't have to recruit during a ride. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get to the run. Just to get upright again, was all I was thinking about. Well, I take that back, I also kept telling myself, this race was for my Golden Retriever, who just passed a few days before the race. She kept me going.

To my surprise, I didnt have any hydration issues. I almost expected a little something due to the heat and humidity. But my 48oz camelbak filled with the rightstuff (sodium), EFS drink (electrolytes), and my 30oz water battle filled with EFS drink (electorlytes), rightstuff (sodium), and pre-race got me through the bike portion without any hitches as far as hydration was concerned. I also ate a lara bar that was chopped up in bite size blocks for calories.

Then it came to the run. I transitioned well; grabbed my EFS flask, Tyr Visor, slipped my nike luna racers on, and off I went. I never felt so good going into a run. Being upright again was a blessing. I told myself to hold back a bit; this is a long run and it is very hot out here. good thing I did...there were a couple of times I took a glance at my Garmin and realized I was off my pace. I didnt panic though because I had a good idea where I was in the race and knew it was hot. Sure enough the heat took it's toll and slowed everyone's paces down, both on the bike and run. About every two miles (every other aid station) I took a sip of my banana, rightstuff, and EFS mixture from my EFS flask. All other aid stations I took a few sips of water, but mostly poured it over my head and stuffed ice down my sports bra...anything to cool me off. It wasnt until the last 3 miles did I really begin to feel the heat and fatigue setting in. Those last three aid stations I did everything I could to keep myself moving and not stop. I moved just enough to keep a shuffle going while I grabbed water, soda, and ice those last 3 miles. At that point, a little caffine pick-up would do the trick; sure enough it did. I had enough in me to finish the race hard and cross the finish line first in my age group and second overall.

What really made the race for me was the mere fact that I didnt have any nutrition issues; ultimately no GI issues. that in it of itself is a feat. This was my first 70.3 where I didnt have any nutrition or GI issues. I strongly believe it all comes down to my supplements during the race as well as keeping on top of my paces and not pushing too hard for too long.

In the end, a travel nightmare ended in a successful race.

Thanks to Joanna Zeiger for all your help, without your coaching expertise I wouldnt have done as well as I did. Thanks to Kestrel, First Endurance, CycleOps, Tyr, RightStuff, Profile Design, without you all, I wouldnt be able to do all the racing and be as successful as I have been this year. I hope to continue to race hard and finish at the top throughout my season.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

St. Anthony's

So many things running through my mind as time got closer to race day at St. Anthony's. There were many unknowns and high expectations projected onto me and created by me, that brought about nerves. This was the first time I raced and finished St. Anthony's. Last year (My inaugural year) I started but never crossed that finish line due to a lack of attention and focus for a brief moment, causing me to crash on the bike. That experience alone added a tremendous amount of pressure; I wanted to redeem myself by coming out on top this year, proving that with a little motivation, lots of hard work, passion, and perseverance ones dreams can be accomplished.

Right now, I am living my dream. When I got into Triathlon in 2009 and discovered a raw talent and passion for the sport, I set my goals high. I am still working towards my dream and can see the gap between my dream and reality decreasing with each race...especially with a prestigious race like St. Anthony's; it draws the best of the best from all over!

Deep down in my gut, I knew it was going to take all I had to be the Elite Amateur Champion at St. Anthony's. I kept thinking and visualizing the perfect race, in hopes that it would translate over into race day; well, it didn't but is there ever the perfect race...

The alarm sounded at 4:30am, to my surprise I had a pretty good night sleep...I did more than just lay there with my eyes closed. I got up ate my typical gluten-free breakfast, had a 1/2 cup of coffee, took my FE mulitV and Optygen and out the door I went. On my way to transition, I realized I forgot one minor detail to my race prep., so I stopped at a gas station in hopes to fine super glue. I needed to glue the inserts of my Nike Lunar Racers (thanks Footworks, Miami) down so they don't get bunched up while I'm frantically trying to put them on in T2. After my pit stop, my transition set up and warm up went very smoothly. I sipped on a 24oz water bottle of FE pre-race, rightstuff (sodium), and EFS drink as I was going through my transition set up and warm-up drills; then I got in the water with my Tyr Hurricane wetsuit to finish my warm-up routine.

Waiting for the fog horn to sound, is always the most nerve racking part of the day for me. Before I knew it, the horn sounded and we were dashing into the water. Beach starts are my favorite, I was first in the water and was able to hold that lead up to the second buoy, then the impact of the waves set in and I was slowly getting swallowed up. As soon as I saw my competitors pass I got on their feet and stayed there as long as I could. The swim was rough, but I knew if I could keep them in my sight I could have a chance to chase them down on the bike and/or run; so thats what I did. I was happy when I got to the stairs and the volunteers were there to help me climb out of the water. I was feeling slightly dizzy from all the waves when I started climbing the steps to exit the water. Still a little clouded from the swim, I entered T1 and ended up on the wrong side of my Kestrel Airfoil; there was no room to squeeze between bikes so I had no choice but to reach over my bike to get my LG Helmet, Smith Optic glasses, and Garmin. My first transition wasn't textbook by any means! Once on my Kestrel I new I needed to power through the first part of the bike course to catch some girls. The wind was strong, which made the first half of the bike tough. About 10min into the ride I started drinking a mixture of EFS drink, FE Pre-race, and the rightstuff (sodium) and consumed about 24oz throughout the ride. With the warmer temperatures and humidity I knew I needed to consume a high amount of sodium, electrolytes, and water; however, 24oz wasn't enough. Especially since I knew my body wasn't feeling 100% at the start line. T2 went much more smoothly than T1, aside from the mild cramp in my left hamstring as I was racking my bike. I decided to run though it in hopes it would work itself out; it did very early on in the run and never came back. The run was tough, my body was already feeling depleted but I knew I had to keep pushing. I was aware of at least one girl in front of me coming out of T2 so I had to give all I had to chase her down. I kept her in my sights throughout the run. Mentally she was my focus that kept me going. At about mile 2.5 I was really beginning to feel my body, I knew I was needing something but wasn't sure what the symptoms were resulting from. So I consumed about 1/2 of a banana and rightstuff (sodium) I had mixed in a flask. Within 2-3min I was feeling much better. I obviously was low on sodium and potentially calories. The Potassium in the banana probably helped prevent cramping as well. Again at mile 4.5-5 I was having the same symptoms so I finished the banana, righstuff (sodium) mixture and sure enough I bounced back a little bit more. It was now coming down to the last mile and I could still see a girl in front of me. I picked up my pace a bit more and did everything I could to decrease the gap. With the last 200m of the run, the beginning of the shoot to the finish line, I knew I had to lay it all out there in order to pass the girl that has been my rabbit the entire run. I sprinted as hard as I could, it felt like I was moving in slow motion, with about 100m to the finish line I managed to pass her and maintain my lead to the finish line. What a challenging run (I was feeling fatigued as soon as I got off the bike); there were several times when I wanted to slow down and if it weren't for me knowing that there were other competitors just in front of me, I might have.

After reflecting back on my race and race preparation, I probably could have used a little more of a taper coming off of a long and hard block like I did. I definitely could have consumed more fluids before and during the race. Overall, the race was a good one. Yes, I didn't feel completely fresh for this race but it goes to show that I don't always have to feel great to have great results!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

season opener...lessons learned

I am sure I can speak for most of us in saying, the season opener race is always the most nerve racking...going in to my race this past Sunday at MIT, I was excited and very nervous all at the same time. I couldn't help but think about all the unknowns; knowing good and well I had put in the time and effort (the steps that matter) for a successful and fun race. It never fails, the night before the race and the morning of, the thought of "why am I doing this?" or "how can I get out of racing?" crosses my mind; a split second later, I quickly remind myself I love everything about racing; there is so much to learn, and there's aways room for improvement. With each race I can check off a lesson learned; I'm just one step closer to one of many dreams.

Sundays race consisted of many lessons learned; guess that means I am several steps ahead of the game then I was on Sat. My first lesson occured on Friday night when I was driving down to Miami from Orlando; I was expecting my dad to come to Miami on Sat and be my support team on Sun. To my surprise, he couldn't make it due to things out of his control. So I had to get my head on straight and figure out how I was going to do everything on my own; it's amazing how quickly one can get spoiled without even knowing it. My dad even made the comment "what are you going to do without your bag boy?" That problem was solved very quickly when I found out how great my homestay family "the Lopez" was. They took all the worry away. Upon meeting them on Friday night, I felt like I was apart of their family; they treated me as one of their own. Raul and Joanne, thank you soooo much for the hospitality, all your help, and support...

As I was getting everything organized and situated on Sat I could begin to feel the nerves kick in; I don't remember getting this nervous in the past. I continued to take deep breaths and tell myself, "you're ready for this race; just put it all out there on the line; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain". For some reason I couldn't convince myself enough to relax. However, since everything went very smoothly during my pre-race training, I gained the confidence I needed to relax a bit. I headed back to the Lopez's house, organized everything so it was ready to go race morning. Then we had an early dinner filled with nothing but laughter; for instance, there was a point in the conversation where we were discussing the wind and how it could affect the swim and ride during the race. One idea that came about was using the wind to my advantage; Triathletes are always trying to hide from the wind and be as aero as possible. Now, why don't triathletes try and take advantage of a tail wind and sit up as tall as they can and essentially use their body as a sail; the more there is for the wind to push against, in theory the faster one would go; the opposite goes for a head wind, hide and tuck in as much as possible so one could cut through the wind. I really wanted to test that theory. I thought to myself, that would be a good test during training (lesson #2). Shortly after dinner we put our feet up with our 2XU compression tights and watched a movie.

I wasn't ready for the early wake-up call at 3:30...I don't think I will ever get used to that hour; especially when the night of sleep before the race really consisted of laying there with my eyes closed. I began my day with breakfast consisting of brown rice wrap with peanut butter and honey (a great gluten-free race day breakfast) and 20oz water battle with EFS drink; I also had a half a cup of coffee. I drank another 20oz water bottle with EFS drink while in transition getting my gear set up. About 30-40min before race start, I drank 16oz of water with EFS drink and pre race. Standing on the start line anticipating the horn, I was visualizing the perfect race and sizing up my competition to determine the best place to line up. The horn sounded and it was a battle from the beginning. It's not very often that the Elite Amateur Male and Females get to race together; this time we did. lesson #3, the swim was a battle from the start; be prepared to get hit, dunked, and swam over. I learned quickly that it was either going to be me or them. Usually the chaos spreads out after the first turn bouy; not this race. we were battling it through the last turn bouy, then it finally spread out enough to where we weren't hitting one another. No one wanted to give a little; the nature of was fun but tough. I was third female out of the water; which is pretty typical for me; just means I need to catch them on the bike.

about 2-3min into the bike I caught up with the two girls in front of me. I knew I had a good chance of passing them when climbing the bridge; I just needed to stick to my race and race plan. After passing both girls there was a bit of time where I was riding alone, no females in the EA division to ride with. I found it hard to have that extra push and concentration; sure enough last nights dinner conversation popped in my head. Since I had a good tail wind I sat up for a few seconds to briefly test the "sail" theory. I felt guilty for playing when racing, but it's supposed to be fun too...I got back in race mode after I saw what looked like another female; I was thinking where did she come from; at that point, the game was on...I thought to myself, I have to do what I can to catch her. I eventually did, and I soon realized it was one of the female pro's. That alone was enough incentive to push even harder. The only real downfall during the bike portion of the race was how congested it got during the second loop of the bike; there were too many people in such tight quarters. Throughout the entire ride I drank EFS Shot in a 24oz water botter; I sipped from it about every 10-15min. I would have liked to have had one more water bottle; especially if the temps were any warmer.

My transition from bike to run didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked it to. When I was putting my nike lunar racer's on, the sole insert got bunched up and I had to take my shoe off and put it back on. The second attempt it wasn't perfect but I hoped it would flatten out as I ran; it did after the first mile. For my future races I will have the insert glued down (lesson #4)...the little things you don't think about until they happen to you. The only nutrition I took on the run was water from 2 water stations and a sip of EFS shot at about 2.5 miles into the run. During the run I did had a rabbit. I was just behind one of the pros but couldn't seems to mustar up enough without risking blowing my legs up too early to catch her. But it was nice to have someone to run after and keep me going. Just when I thought I had enough left to pick up the pace during the second loop, I had to worry about how to strategically pace other athletes without throwing my rhythm and stride off; the course got very congested on that second loop.

Overall, I felt good throughout the entire race. As I mentioned earlier, the swim was a battle and the water temps were cold; I stayed warm with my TYR Hurrican what a great wetsuit. This was my ignaugral race on my Kestrel Airfoil; that bike makes riding and racing fun; speed is the end result with that machine. As for the run, it was nice to be in a shaded area but the idea of having to avoid the roots, stumps, and athletes made it a little more challenging. Despite the challenge though, it kept me alert.

Thanks to TYR, KESTREL, FIRST ENDURANCE, PROFILE DESIGN, CYCLOPS, and 2XU COMPRESSION for making this race a successful one...What a great way to start off a successful 2010 race season!!