Saturday, October 29, 2011

Austin 70.3

I have been battling with the idea of racing 70.3 all year.  Deep down, I knew I was better suited for the longer distance, but the idea of wrapping my mind around running 13 miles off the bike has always left me with a lack of confidence.   With nothing but a speed background would always take its toll mentally.  I have raced several 70.3's and each time I have come away with the same love/hate relationship.  Love that I have double the time on the bike and run to make up for the time I lose on the swim, compared to the little time I have during an olympic distance.  One can't win a triathlon in the swim, but one certainly can lose it in the swim; I have experienced that a few times this year.  The Hate aspect always comes down to the last 3 miles of the run in a 70.3; They merely HURT!

I finally wrapped my head around racing a 70.3 again after my swim debacle at Hyvee.  Too many times I would come out of the swim sitting mid-front pack or leading second pack and run out of miles to make up for the time lost in the swim.  Changing gears from the olympic distance to half iron was nothing more than focusing on my endurance; the speed was there.  After three weeks of hills, wind, and humidity in Kona, I had all the confidence I needed to have a successful half ironman, as long as I stuck to my power and pacing; that's the hard part.  I always feel good and think I can hold a slightly higher wattage and run pace when it comes race day; not this time at the Austin 70.3.  I finally stuck to the plan and look what happened.

Let me start from the beginning. Taper week wasn't going as planned.  I wasn't recovering the way I would have liked.  Friday rolled around and I still had some heaviness in my legs.  I was getting a bit nervous.  After cutting back even more than what was prescribed, I finally began to have a bounce back in my step on Sat (day before the race).  I thought to myself, just in time.  Race morning, I felt great; my body was ready to go.

Not sure why I even set an alarm and scheduled a wakeup call.  I am always up and ready to get out of bed, since I just lay there with my eyes closed.  I ate breakfast at 4:30am (oatmeal with almond butter), got my things together and headed to the race site.  While setting up transition, I sipped on a water bottle of Right Stuff (strictly electrolytes).  45min before race start I drink another water bottle consisting of First Endurance pre-race and 1 scoop of EFS.  As time gets closer my nerves begin to run wild.  I kept thinking to myself, I have trained so hard, I am ready for this one.  If I can only have a race  like I have been training; many people say, what you do in training you will do in racing.  That was true for me.

The gun goes off at 7:32am.  Before I knew it, I was swimming amongst a group of 15 women.  I figured out very quickly that I had lined myself up perfectly for a nice straight shot along the bouy line. The Sun was just coming up so it was very clear; sighting the bouys wasn't any trouble at all.  By the time I reached the first turn bouy I could tell the group of girls I was swimming near were beginning to fall of the pace.  That was super encouraging, being that I felt good.  After the 2nd turn bouy I managed to swim my way into third position.  I knew there were at least two girls in front of me, but I couldn't see them.  Kristin Peterson and Tanille Hoogland, both Specialized teammates were out of my sight.  I came out of the water sitting 3rd.

T1 transition went well; striping my 2XU wetsuit off and hopping onto my Specialized Transition without any hang-ups.  Still couldn't see Kristin or Tenille.  So the plan was to stick to my watts; steady up the hills and push hard on the down hills.  Everything was going as planned until Jessica Myers comes by me on the bike.  "Holy crap, where did she come from; I have  got to go with her."  So I did. Jessica and I switched positions several times for the first hour to 90min on the bike.  I then made the decision to let her go because my watts were higher than I wanted them to be.  Too much power could be detrimental to my run.  It was tough to watch her go on by and stay out in front.  But as long as I kept her in my sights I was good.  This bike course wasn't easy.  It was one hill after the other.  I really had to stay on top of my average power and nutrition, especially because it was warming up quickly.  throughout the ride I sipped from a water bottle with 2.5scoops EFS, 1scoop Maltidextrin, and 1 scoop Pre-race; a second water bottle with 2.5 scoops EFS and 1scoop maltidextrin; and one more water bottle of just plane water; all of which consisted of 700 calories.  I consumed about 600 of those 700 calories.  The last hour of the bike my lower back began to ache.  I was ready to get off the bike and run when mile 56 rolled around.

T2 was also smooth.  I was just thrilled to be in the upright, vertical position.  As soon as I came off the bike and started the run, I had Kristin Peterson in my sights.   First goal was to catch Kristin and then keep on going.  Throughout the run I was very meticulous about a constant influx of nutrition (I consumed a full EFS Flask: 400 calories) and sticking to my pace; running steady up the hills and rolling it out on the down hills.  This method really worked well for me.  I didn't burn myself out by pushing too hard on the hills.  Not to mention the fact that I have always enjoyed running downhill.  I was really consistent with my pace through the first two loops on the run.  The third loop I could feel myself beginning to fall off pace.  I immediately went through my mental checklist: am I eating, drinking, keeping a good cadence, and cooling my body off?  All of which were in check.  The hills were beginning to set in.  As I was getting to mile 10 I really needed to stay mentally tough; that is when Tenille dropped out of the race, which put me in second place.  That was it, all I needed to push through the pain the last 3-4 miles.  It was nice to follow the cyclist that was out in front of me making sure I was staying on course.  She was a saving grace on many occasions.  She made everyone aware at the aid station I needed water and coke.  She also gave me a focus point.  The last mile of the run was probably the worst part of the entire race.  I was already hurting and I had to make myself hurt more; here's why.  At some point within the last mile to mile and a half I heard the sound of another cyclist.  This made me nervous so I had to look; who was it?  My fear was confirmed, I read "third place female" on the front of the bike following me.  "shit, there is a girl right behind, I can't lose a position this close to the end." So I kicked it in gear, at least what ever gear I had left.  I probably wasn't going any faster but I sure felt like I was; my legs were on fire.  As I crossed the finish line I was expecting to see another athlete coming in right behind me.  She just wasn't there; about 3 min later she crosses the finish line.  Not sure who I heard or what I was seeing a mile out, but it was enough to dig deeper; deeper than I thought I could dig.

On many occasions during that run I probably wouldn't have stuck to my guns and pacing if it were for Shane screaming his head off at me.  I was so well informed on my placement and time from 1st and 2nd place girls.  All of his encouragement allowed me to separate myself from the pain and focus on my rabbit.  Thanks babe you were a huge help!  Also, a huge thanks to all my sponsors you have helped me tremendously; it wouldn't be possible without your support!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

NYC to Hy-Vee Roller Coaster

After NYC Tri I was very unsure about whether I qualified for Hy-Vee or not.  One spot away from an automatic qualification left me with nothing but false hope.  How could someone not accept their spot to such a prestigous race?!  If only I could go...then the email was sent; I WAS IN!  I had nothing but high hopes for myself at this point.  I was finally back on some good training form after being sick for 3 weeks and having to gain my race fitness back.  NYC Tri gave me a little pop in fitness but then the next 3 weeks of "kick my own butt" training got me ready!  I really was psyched about how good I was going; it couldn't have come at a better time, so I thought.

Upon  my arrival in Des Moines Airport, the fun began.  I couldn't get over how nice and helpful everyone was.  Not to mention how important the Hy-Vee team made me feel; I actually felt like a true professional!  All the little extras were much appreciated; care package, loaded credit card to use in the Des Moines area, shuttle services, snacks and a whole case of water (right up an athletes alley), hotel accommodations, escorted practice ride on the course, breakfast, Gin Blossoms concert, I could go on forever...Like I said, I actually felt like a real professional!  Sure hope triathlon follows the lead of Hy-Vee.

Not only were there a ton a perks to make our stay that much more comfortable, the venue was unbelievable. From my experience there isn't a better race than Hy-Vee Elite Cup Championships.  Race day alone, made me extremely proud to be apart of such a great high caliber race.  The field was crazy fast and intimidating; I was amongst the best of the best.  Just before race start we were introduced and escorted to the barge, I was lined up between Sara Groff and Laura Bennett; the nerves really kicked in then.  Unfortunately, the nerves only got worse.The foghorn sounded, diving into was a bit of relief; the race has begun. Swimming to that first turn bouy was rough.  Swimming against the currant was bad enough, having to make it around the first turn bouy without any mishaps was brutal.  Of course it resulted in some bloody noses, groaning grabbing, black eyes, etc.  All unintentional I'm sure.  It was merely impossible to avoid when you have 30 athletes converging into a small turn, trying to cut the corner tight and fighting against the push of the currant.  Then we had free sailing for a little bit; I was flying when swimming with the current.  Just to be rudely awakened by yet another battle against the current after we reached the second turn bouy.  Now this was when my brain decided to take a small vacation; aka brain fart.  Swimming towards swim exit, knowing good and well I needed to get out and dive back in for the second and then the third loop.  Well, that just didn't happen.  I was leading the second pack of woman, no one to follow (I guess I can make that and excuse :)) I do remember thinking why are the other girls swimming way off to the right?  Of course they should have been, that was where swim exit was.  I however, continued my course of action and swam past swim exit rolling right into my second loop.  I was thrilled where I was sitting; mid-pack.  Then the screeching words from one of the officials, "Mandy you have to get out of the water!"  I can still hear the tone of his voice ringing in my ear.  Just like that, from mid-pack to last. I played catch-up the remainder of the race.  I managed to pass two girls on the swim, two girls on the bike, and gave it my all on the run.  By the time it came to the run, I was spent.  The cost of having to play catch-up took its toll.  As soon as I took that first step, I could tell it was going to be a long run; it was!

Racing against the best of the best in the world and not finishing last, even with a huge rookie mistake, is something to be proud of.  I have got to tell you all, that without the support of my sponsor (Specialized, 2XU, Right Stuff, Profile Design, Smith Optics, First Endurance I wouldn't be where I am today.  Without the amazing bikes, gear, nutrition, etc. triathlon wouldn't be possible for me, especially at this level.  My coach, fiance, friends and family also play a huge role in my success; their guidance and support is greatly appreciated.  The tough days are always made easier when surrounded by positive energy.  Thank you ALL!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Melt Down

Well there are definitely highs and lows to everything; it sure seems like I hit my low during the month of June with training and racing. It all began when it came timefor ourannual family sailingtrip. When Iagreed to go sailing, I knew it wasn'tthe best timing.I figured it wouldn't be that big of a deal,I would just try out a reverse taper. What betterway could I spend an active recovery week than sailing with friends and family in the Caribbean; sailing St. Maartens, St. Barts, and Anguilla. When I got back to reality (Boulder) I would ramp training back up for a few days before I would shut it down two days out from the 5150 Philly Tri.

It all seemed to go as planned, until it didn't. We had an absolute blast! Nothing like spending day in and day out surrounded by water, sailing from island to island, snorkeling, and of course the occasional open water swim and island run. Let me tell you, those island runs were no joke. There were times I felt like I was either going to pass out from heat exhaustion or have to walk up one of many hills. The terrain was relentless. When it came to the open water swimming, that was a production in it of itself. There were times when I was swimming back and forth from the boat to the shore and back, several times; I think I got dizzy one time circling the boat; and of course, I can't fail to mention the times when my dad or brother would ride along side me in the dingy, warding off people, boats, and creatures. Not sure who would make it back to the sailboat first though. Every man for them self if a shark were to be seen. My brother might have even left me in the water while he b-lined it to the sailboat in the dingy. But sure was nice to have the support. There is no other trip like this one. Every year we have to go back, or at least find new territory to sail. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

I finally make back to Boulder Sat. June 18th ready to rock out some solid training. Of course, I am still rocking so that was a bit of a challenge when it came to running on Sun. However, I was able to get in a few days of solid training and build the confidence I needed to have a good race at the Philly Triathlon that following Sun, June 26th. I make it to Philly without any hick-ups. As a matter of fact, the entire trip was a no brainer. I had a great home-stay; thanks Jen and Chris for making me feel at home. I couldn't have asked for better people. Friday rolls around, I go through my pre-race training, feeling ok but a little tired. Nothing to worry about, so I thought. By the time it was Friday night I was laid up in bed with a head cold, upper respiratory infection (which turned into bronchitis), and plugged ears. I had a lot running through my mind. I figured I was here in Philly, I might as well race. Well, that didn't happen either. A normal night before a race typically consists of little to no sleep; that is an under statement for the type of sleep I got that night. There was no way I could race; that morning I felt like a truck had run over me. Low and behold, I found out that night that everyone on the sailing trip had gotten sick earlier that week. One pesky bug!!!

Since I wasn't racing, I didn't want to turn the trip in to a complete waste. I somehow managed to have a little luck. Obviously it wasn't in the cards for me to race, but it was clear as day that
it was meant for me to watch Shane qualify for Kona at IM Cor d' alene. Everything fell into my lap. No change fee for flights, transportation to and from the airport was a no brainer, I was going to be able to surprise Shane, and I made it in time to hear the cannon go off. Perfect!!! Granted, I wasn't feeling too hot, but I still had a great time cheering. Now that's a way to turn something negative into positive. I'm hoping to do the same with all the time I had to take off of training to get healthy; there has got to be a positive outcome.

I make it back to Boulder with a Kona qualifier (congrats babe, you worked so hard for it). I was still feeling under the weather so I took a few more days off of training. You would think that 3-4 days of complete recovery would recharge my system; not the case. It took me another full week to begin to feel somewhat normal again. My daily activities were no problem. Training, well I felt like I was trying to breath through a brown bag every time I went for a swim-bike-or-run. With a week left until the Boulder Peak, I knew I had my work cut out for me but I needed to at least try and get points for Hyvee. I didn't want to leave it down to the last race of the series to qualify. That was a mistake! Boulder Peak was by far the worst performance I have ever had, when it came to triathlon. At least, that's the way I felt the entire time I was racing. I just didn't have anything to give. Not to mention the fact that racing at altitude made it even worse. I knew I was in trouble when I built lactatic after the first 500m of the swim. I thought I was coming around a bit after climbing Lee Hill, legs felt slightly alive (Side note: my specialized transition is a versatile bike; made climbing easy with tired, untrained legs). Then I get to the rollers on Nelson and 63rd (the last part of the ride); I had nothing but jello for legs and a racing heart beat. On to the run, or should I say shuffle. I am extremely grateful for Shane as well as all my friends and family that came out to support me;
sorry for such a poor performance. If it weren't for you all, I might have not slugged through it and finished. I have chalked it up to a learning experience. Lesson learned...3+ weeks of illness and little to no training is not the best formula for racing, no matter how bad you want to race.

I'm finally on an upward climb. I have had a few good solid days of training. My energy is back and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. Next up, loveland half marathon tomorrow (Saturday), maybe Nautica NY triathlon (last race of the 5150 series), and Lake Steven's 70.3. It is time to up the ante and test my speed endurance.

I may have been knocked down, but I was never knocked out!!!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

5150 New Orleans

It has been a rough start to the season. Most people would think a 10th place finish at my pro Debut at MIT was awesome. I can't deny the fact that I was pleased with the finish, but unhappy with the race; too many mistakes. Then bonking on the run at Galveston 70.3 just added salt to my wounds. I finally was able to put it all together at 5150 New Orleans; finishing 3rd.

Unfortunately the race turned into a duathlon. It was made very apparent that all the officials and race director did what they could to make the swim happen. After trying for 45+ minutes and delaying the race start by at least 30min, they still couldn't get the bouy's out. Not only did they try to get the bouy's out, they even tried to go with a shorter course and make it three loops; the wind and waves weren't having it...

Duathlon it was. We started off with a 2mile run. It was tough to get a solid warm-up in being that we weren't too sure of an exact start time. But after consuming a water bottle with First endurance pre-race and EFS drink, I was ready to go. My legs had a rude awakening when I asked them to start running at pace. However, with the first half mile they woke-up and I was able to get into a rhythm. It was nice to be the one to set the pace. We all came in and out of T1 as a group. The bike is what spaced us out a bit. The first 45min of the ride I was battling back and forth between leading and second place. That sure made for a fun ride on my Specialized Transition. After we made the U-turn to head back home, I was about 1min off the leader. I could see the lead girl coming into T2; I knew I needed a solid T2 to increase my chances of taking the lead. Well, that didn't exactly happen. Since the race was a duathlon, I was able to run and ride with my 2XU socks. However, going into T2 with socks wasn't the best idea. I collected all kinds of debris on them. I tried putting my running shoes on and realized that wasn't going to fly. Too many things were stuck and I couldn't get them off without taking too much time. So, I had to take my shoes and socks back off, then put my shoes on for the last time. This killed my T2 time, but lite the fire in my belly. After grabbing my EFS flask, vizor, and 2XU race belt I was off to the run; knowing another athlete was on my tail. It was time to run hard.

I felt really good on the run; unfortunately I didn't have it in me to hold onto 2nd position. I was passed at about mile 2. All I could do at that point was keep her in my sights and hope to track down another girl. Well, I ran out of room. If I had another mile I might have had a chance for second place. I couldn't be more excited for a 3rd place finish. First time making it to the podium as a pro; sure feels good! I'm planning to have many more in the near future :).

The course was legitimate. It was a bit windy with a few short climbs (bridges) during both the bike and run. Just enough to keep the race interesting. There were a few areas on the bike course we needed to be aware of the road conditions (pot holes, construction, and gaps) and unexpected wind gusts. However, no matter how bumpy or windy the course seemed to get in spots, my Specialized transition helped me get the job done. Nothing like knowing you have a fast and reliable bike underneath you; the best of the best when it comes to Specialized and profile design.

The temperatures were warm but not as hot as I was anticipating. It was nice to be back in the heat. This was also a great way to test my nutrition. My mixture of the Right Stuff (electrolytes) and First Endurance EFS drink did the trick. They kept me hydrated and provided me with the necessary calories for a successful race; great tasting too. Last but not least, without the comfort and cooling factors of my 2XU one piece tri-suit, things may not have gone so smoothly; especially when racing in the heat of New Orleans.

Thanks again to all my Sponsors for supporting and believing in me:
-Specialized Bicycles
-Profile Design
-Right Stuff
-Smith Optics
-First Endurance

Monday, April 11, 2011


Now who could complain about being in California for two weeks; not I. I have been blessed with the ability to travel all over for training, racing, and sponsorship functions. Well, this time my trip was without racing and filled with glamour...

The first few days I spent in San Diego with the 2XU crew. They brought me through their building where a lot of the magic happens...great people, great minds, always equals greatness. That goes without saying; the 2XU products speak for themselves. The best part of my trip to San Diego was the 2XU photo shoot. Granted, photo shoots always make it for a long day. To be perfectly honest, I think I was more exhausted from being in front of a camera than I am after a long training day. I guess some things come more natural than others. None-the-less, I had a good time. To share a little secret, I have always needed a glass of wine to take the edge off during a photo shoot; not this time around. The team worked very well together. John, the photographer was outstanding, he made ME look like I knew what I was doing in front of a camera; that says a lot...

The following day, I flew out to San Jose to meet up with the rest of the Specialized team in Morgan Hill, where we spent a week training and being educated on all the specialized products. What a great opportunity. Just when you think you have a grasp on what goes into
a bike and all bike products, head down to Specialized in Morgan Hill, they will open your eyes to a whole new world; at least they did mine. I was extremely impressed with the time they took to educate all of us on their products. I am now very confident in talking shop.

Not only did we go through education, we also were put to the test during the lunch ride. Get a bunch of bike junkies out on the road together and they will show you a good time. It was fast and fun! I believe their goal was to see how many of us triathletes they could drop :). Post hammer fest, we extended the ride to take time for some action shots. More fun times to be had.

The Specialized crew also made arrangements for the team to participate in a few pro night functions at various shops, one of which was the Spokesman in Santa Cruz. These functions allow people in the area to congregate, ask questions, and interact with pros and other athletes with common interests and concerns about the triathlon world. As always, a good group of people.

I can't lie, it was nice to be home for a few days beforeI had to fly out again for Galveston 70.3. Those two weeks in California were great but exhausting too. I'm not accustom to stringing my days from end to end. Getting up early and going to bed early is one thing. But getting up early and going to bed late is a totally different world. Sure would be nice if there were more hours in a day; I'm sure we all can relate to some degree with that comment. Now it's time to gear up for Galveston 70.3...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MIT-Pro Debut

Overall the day was definitely a learning experience. My morning routine was good. Everything went smoothly. Up at 4:30 and eating breakfast, which consisted of a brown rice wrap with almond butter and honey and an apple with a water bottle of the Right Stuff for additional electrolytes. Out the door in time to be at transition by 5:45am. While setting up transition, I continuously sip from a water bottle with the right stuff and EFS drink, to make sure I am well hydrated and adding the last bit of fuel just before the race begins. The females pros were in the water at 7:17, just 2min behind the male pros.

I really just kind of followed the leader when getting ready to get in the water before the race started. Once we were in the water we couldn’t get back out, so we waited until about 8min before we started. Then we jumped in to warm-up. Well, not much of a warm-up being that the water temp was 71 degrees and no wetsuits. There was a bit of a current from the tide coming in. We all paid attention to it. Then the fog horn sounded and we were off battling for our places. Immediately a group of ladies were out in front and weren’t letting up. I found myself between two ladies and it wasn’t a pretty swim. Literally hitting arms ever other stroke if not every stroke. The current was pushing us of course a bit so I fell back on Jenny Fletchers feet to get to the other side of her. Once I did that I was able to site the first turn bouy on my own and no more hitting of arms. We made the turn fine and started sighting what we thought was the correct bouy. We (Jenny Fletcher) and I come to find out that it wasn’t the correct bouy and had to swim back about 150m to get back on course; FRUSTRATING. Once back on course, I was able to see where I needed to go so I swam hard. I needed to catch up. I could see another athlete in front of me so I was determined to catch her. Once I realized I was making ground on her I swam even harder. I had too much of time to make up. I finally caught up and passed Angie Axman. However, she came out of the water just behind me and managed to pass me on the run into transition. She had a great swim to bike transition, I on the other hand did not. I actually mounted my bike twice…go figure.

My first bike mount I was told to get back off and walk the bike down the curb by the volunteers. I reluctantly listened, knowing it was going to tack on more time that I really didn’t need. So then I go to mount my bike the second time, my left shoe falls to the ground. I had to pick it up, put it on my foot, then begin my ride. Due to frustration, I yelled aloud, “you have got to be kidding me, what next!” One of the spectators heard me and tried to encourage me with, “you’re doing fine.” Thanks for the vote of confidence whom ever you were. It totally made me smile when I was able to get my head back on straight, attention back to the race, during the ride. So needless to say once again, I was playing catch-up. I had to convince myself I had a chance and to keep pushing hard. In the end, I was able to pass two girls on the bike, got passed by Jenny Fletcher and came into transition with a decent bike split.

Then to the run. My bike to run transition was flawless, finally something went right during this race. I could see Jenny just in front of me. I had my eyes on her, not letting anything get in my way from tracking her down. I passed her at about 1/2mile into the run. I thought to myself, one down only too many more to go. But I didn’t let myself get discouraged. I made sure I stuck to my pace and pushed on. Overall, my run was ok. In hindsight, I feel like I could have probably pushed a little harder if I had a rabbit. But since they were all so far ahead, I couldn’t even begin to make myself go any faster. In the end, I had my fastest run ever in an Olympic distance race. So, proof is in the pudding, training is paying off. I now just need to get rid of all the unnecessary glitches. MIT, my pro debut was a learning experience. I had a lot of fun and couldn’t thank my sponsors enough for all their help. (Specialized, 2XU, Profile Design, Right Stuff, Smith Optics, and First Endurance) Without them I wouldn’t have a fast and aero bike, comfortable race kits and compression gear, and the necessary nutrition to make my races a success. I can promise on thing, when it comes to races glitch free, you all will see me higher up in the ranking. It may take a few races to get the nerves out of my system. But I will be there…

Monday, March 14, 2011

checklists and routines

It would be nice to know that there are other people out there as neurotic as I am. It's Monday and I'm already thinking about packing for my MIT race, which I leave for on Thursday morning. Not only do I think about it, I begin to get nervous...strange, I tell you.

I wouldn't be confident in my packing if I didn't have a checklist; there are just too many things to think about. I have found that by checking it off my list, there is some sort of satisfaction, in it of itself. Not only do I have a checklist, I have that check list divided into categories (training, race day apparel, nutrition, bike, running, and swimming gear). How much more A type personality could one be?!

So yes, of course there is a system to my packing as well. I have to lay everything out in their appropriate categories. As they get put in the bike box or bag they get checked off. Even once they have been checked off, I still double and triple check. You would think I would never forget anything; wrong. There have been several races where I'm looking for my sponsors booth at the expo to grab an item that has been left behind. Thank goodness, my sponsors have come to my rescue on several occasions.

Obviously, I am a creature of habit. I try to make things as routine as possible when it comes to triathlon and racing. Not only do I use check lists, I also stick to a routine. This years season opener at MIT is going to throw me for a loop. My routine has to change; there is just more to do. Stepping into the professional world means more obligations. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds; how many times I change my routine before I am completely happy with it. This is definitely going to be a year of lessons and learning experiences. I am up for the challenge and have nothing but high expectations.

See you all out at the races...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

pro night at Wheat Ridge Cyclery

Wheat Ridge Cyclery in Denver put on an expo style function last night. It went off with a bang. Not only did they doubled the number of people that walked in the door from last year, there were several amazing vendors such as Specialized Bicycles, Zipp wheels, Pearl Zumi and many others. It was a great opportunity to get to know all the local pro's and Specialized representatives.

The evening began with a raffle and panel discussion with Specialized and Trek. The audience had a lot of great questions, many of which pertained to aerodynamic, the easiest and cheapest ways to get free speed. Both Specialized and Trek agreed that the placement of water bottles, the use of more aero shaped water bottles vs. the typical round water bottles, and a good aero helmet were the most cost effective ways to gain speed by reducing drag. Of course, wheels and bike frame are two very important aspects to aerodynamics and free speed; however, they are the most important too. One very interesting note I learned while attending this discussion was, believe it or not, the straw on a front loaded water bottle creates more drag (if the straw is sticking out far) than the aero bottle itself. It is always fun to take a tide bit of information home.

Shortly after the specialist panel, there was a pro panel discussion. Once again the audience had great questions. My favorite was something along the lines of, what is the biggest mistake you have made during a race? Of course we all had something to add. Some of the stories consisted of grabbing the wrong bike, missing a turn bouy on the swim, making a flight a week before race week, grabbing someone elses wet suit, etc. We all have been there and done that, somehow, some way. For those of you who haven't, I'm sure you will. When the time comes, laugh and chalk it up to another day racing; you never know what can go wrong.

Overall, the event was successful and fun.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

juggling it all...

Moving to Colorado 8months ago was a scary and exciting necessary step. It not only was tough to leave the only place I knew as "home". It was also very difficult to leave my speech and language therapy business, Freedom of Speech. Too many "what-if's"could potentially happen to make me feel 100% confident in leaving my clients and their families behind. However, after hiring a few outstanding therapists and support of my clientele, I knew I had made the right decision; to pursue another's time to race professionally.

The first few months in Colorado was quite the adjustment. Having going from not having enough time in a day to having too much time on my hands was hard to swallow. I initially thought having all the time I could possibly need to train, was the answer. Well, despite a great 2010 season, having more time to train was not the answer for me. It wasn't that I needed more time to train, I just needed more down time. Time that allowed for proper recovery. Mental recovery is as important as physical recovery.

It took me about 6months to really find my way. By that I mean, finding the right balance. I am now back to juggling it all...I wouldn't have it any other way. I knew there was something to be said about working with my little ones. Speech and language therapy is therapeutic to me as well. I soon realized that just training wasn't going to cutit. It was making a neurotic even more neurotic...balance is essential!

Another aspect that created some uncertainty was sponsorships. Coming into the 2011 race season I am confident in my drive and motivation to create a successful year. However, I was a little nervous about who and how much support I was going to be able to attain. Triathlon isn't a cheap sport, as you all well know, so sponsorships are key. I am proud to announce I have signed final contracts with several great companies, some of which are Specialized, 2xu, profile design, right stuff, smith optic, and first endurance. Thank you all for your support and belief in me. You are playing a vital role in helping me fulfill a dream.

With Freedom of Speech up and running in Orlando and here in Boulder, training in one of the top places in the country with some of the best of the best, and looking towards my future with the love of my life, I couldn't have asked for my plan to unfold any better. I do have a full plate, juggling running a business, training and racing professionally, and planning a wedding, is more than most people would like to take on. I have managed to find the balance I need to be a success...

I am blessed. Thank you all for supporting and encouraging.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

consistency is the answer

Can you believe it!? I cant. Last weekend was my first REAL half marathon in Melbourne, Fl! Yes, I have ran a half marathon before but never trained for it; just filled in for a friend that was sick on two different occasions. A totally different world when you have some fitness underneath your belt, as well as running without a swim or bike before hand. I

The past two half marathons I ran several years ago, I only had the occasional run fitness; maybe got 6miles in once before I raced. Now, I do all kinds of running, even after a swim and bike, and still didn't know what to expect. For some reason I felt like a rookie as I was walking up to the start line. Like I have never ran this distance before. All kinds of thoughts were running through my mind: What is a good pace? If I feel good, when do I pick up the pace without going too hard too early? Do I need to take in nutrition? How often should I take in nutrition? Do I attack the hills or just get up them and attack the down hills? so on and so on...

It never fails to amazing how much a role a plan plays when racing and training. I felt great out there this past weekend. I stuck to my plan and everything unfolded nicely. I'm telling you, consistency is the answer to any type of training/racing. I have been very consistent with my training and even during this half marathon. I never asked my body to go too hard at any given point in time; now I have walked that line, but never crossed it. I have gradually been progressing my training in stages; same went for my half marathon. I went out at a good solid pace, but still knew I was warming up and needed to get into a groove. Then I gradually dropped my pace as I continued to feel relaxed and strong. Ultimately I wanted a negative split. With a little self discipline, patience, and consistent training, I was able to execute my race plan well. To be honest, I felt like I could have probably pushed a bit harder. Got to love hind sight though.

The Melbourne half marathon was a great way to boost my fitness and determine where I'm at with my run. Now it's time to build on that and add it to several Olympic and Half Ironman races. I'm so excited to see how the 2011 race season will unfold.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


A rude awakening, LITERALLY! Early this morning I get a phone call from my dad and sister telling me to call them back immediately; "It very important". Of course, the worst of the worst crosses my mind at that point in time. I scramble to get my phone and call my sister first, knowing she is a little easier to get a hold of. She informs me that I have been hacked; both my facebook and email accounts. Never thought this could be such a nightmare. I have been spending the last 3+ hours trying to get into my accounts. I CAN'T. The hacker decided it would be a great idea to change my password, so when I go to log into my account or even request a password change, I can't. SOOOOOO frustrating!

I am now waiting on the hotmail and Facebook help centers to review information I have submitted to them to confirm that it is ME, so I can have access to change the password. Why is it that these hackers get such a kick out of making others waste their valuable time getting their accounts up and running again? Do they really think people will fall for the scams and send them money. REALLY?!

If anyone has any suggestions on how to help me prove that I am ME. As well as getting my hotmail and facebook accounts back without losing anything, please let me know. Your safest bet is to respond to this blog post. I am completely IT challenged and in need of help. I am at my whits end trying to get this resolved. Unfortunately my hotmail account is my business account as well. If you have any suggestions I'm open to them.


Monday, January 10, 2011