2014 Ironman 70.3 Ballarat, Australia

I flew from 11 hours from Maui to Honolulu to Auckland, laid over 7 hours, then flew 8 hours to Perth on November the 1st -hoping to start my Australian campaign at the Aussie Championship in Mandurah.  Unfortunately, that much time in the germ tube and airports meant that by my second day in Australia I went down for the count.  Five full days of illness and inactivity followed, which meant I missed the event altogether.  I was devastated.  I think I was the worst homestay athlete ever given all I did was either sit on the couch or in bed all day.  My hosts Jamie, Nicky and Robin were gracious and did all they could for someone wracked with fever and crawly skin – they loaned me four seasons of Game of Thrones.  Now I am all up to date – bring on Season 5!  J

Needless to say, I was extraordinarily hungry to race in Ballarat the following weekend but honestly, my mental game needed a tuneup.  The leadup was not ideal – as my body was still a bit sick and I was feeling quite flat- so I didn’t have the workouts I normally use to fuel some confidence.  I really didn’t know what to expect.  However, I got the mental kick in the pants on race morning when I was faced with the possibility of NOT RACING AT ALL.  I can honestly say that if an opportunity is taken away from you, you will suddenly discover just how bad you wanted that opportunity and what you would do if you had it back again.  This was an excellent prerace gift, to lose and then regain the opportunity, and I am sure it was why I was as strong as I was on the day.  I think the old adage is racing is 90% mental and the other half physical? 

Winning!  All race photos are by Delly Carr.

The swim was held in Lake Wendouree, an Olympic rowing venue from days gone by that has become home to numerous beautiful black swans.  Ironically, I described the race as a “black swan event” the day before.  A black swan event is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.

Swans!  Black ones!

Day before – ready to rock

There was a terrible storm rolling through Ballarat the night before, complete with frightening thunder and lightning. I don’t know if it was the fact my bike endured a lightning storm the night before or not but when I got to the bike in the morning I discovered the bike did not work.  Black swan event –it was an absolute freak occurrence.

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Rifle shot start to the race.  Thanks to the soldiers for the race support.

So as I stood fretting about the possibility of flying all the way to Australia to have no opportunity to race, the brilliant Matt of Cyclescape Trek Store Ballarat worked his way through the problem. Having the opportunity presented back to me was invaluable.  Suddenly I was going to make the most of every single minute.  When the soldier shot the gun to start the race I was completely immersed in the process of racing.  I got a bit confused on the swim course (it was not complicated but some wind chop made the teeny buoys hard to see) but I still managed to lead Maddie out of the water for my third Blueseventy swim victory of the season.  In transition, I took my sweet time putting a lot of clothes on, while Maddie roared out onto the bike course.  It was freezing.  It was also wet, which meant I took the first lap very slow as my crash the week before 70.3 worlds has turned me into a fraidy-cat in wet conditions.  I decided that lying on the ground is slower than taking a corner slowly.

The bike course went out along the Avenue of Honor, a stretch of road lined with trees planted for fallen WW1 and WW2 soldiers from the town of Ballarat.  The course also went through beautiful Victoria Park and Ballarat Botanical gardens, areas full of beautiful war memorials and art.  The run was on a tan track that circumnavigated the lake, dedicated to Olympic hero Steve Monghetti.  The town of Ballarat really appreciates heroes from all walks of life.  Having this race in November, shortly after Remembrance Day, was an excellent sobering reminder of the history of sacrifices that allow us to live our lives the way we choose today.

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That isn’t me but you can see that some of the roads were skinny, slippery, one lane avenues to navigate on the bike.

It took me until about 15kms to find the front of the race on the bike.  It was very cold in the wind, both on the bike and on the run.  Despite putting socks on, for the first 6km of the run my feet were frozen and my legs were threatening to seize up and cramp.  Cold weather makes running fast difficult.  I was running at a good clip until I hit the freezing headwinds.  At that point I stopped looking at splits, ate another Powergel, and pumped my arms harder.  It wasn’t going to be my best ever splits on that day.  

I won the champagne celebration – managed to empty nearly the whole bottle on my fellow podium girls J

Running across the finish line was the best feeling in the whole world and the crowds were amazing. Congratulations to Madeleine Oldfield and Mareen Hufe for second and third on the day and to Jessica Mitchell and Kirsty Hallet for rounding out the top five  A pleasure to race with you all.

Ironman events are absolutely fantastic.  The races are always hard, competition and course inclusive, but the satisfaction of doing your best on the day is immeasurable.  I am so stoked to have the fastest swim, fastest bike and second fastest run on the day to a flying Jessica Mitchell.

Lean in! My run splits are improving thanks to Asics and Marilyn of Mindful Strides!

So that makes three half Ironman wins in one season.  I am looking forward to one more in two weeks before I come home to plan for 2015.  One thing is for sure, I just have to remember the feeling I had when I considered not being allowed to race on the day to know I would definitely rather give it everything I have, with what I have on the day, than not have the chance to try at all.

Thank you to Kelly Guest and his elite juniors for inviting me to train with you for the last push of my 2014 season.  I really think I have a lot of great form thanks to chasing these super fast kids around… and after chasing coach Kelly for a number of workouts as well.  Thank you so much for your help!

Thanks to the Trek Store Cyclescape in Ballarat for saving my race for me.  Thanks to Chris at Monza Imports for loaning me Powertap wheels and a Cycleops trainer to use while I am here.  Thanks Trek Bikes and Trek Bikes Australia for making me part of the family.  Thanks Shimano, Bontrager, Champion System, Rudy Project North America, Powerbar, Powertap, Asics, Cobb Saddles, Frontrunners Westshore, Synergy Wellness, and USANA.  See you all in Sydney for IM 70.3 West Sydney!

2014 Lake Stevens 70.3 – An Evolution

I have written a blow by blow account of the race for Triathlon Magazine Canada and you can read it HERE. This race report is more about what has been different behind the scenes to create this race.  If you don’t feel like reading my other report and just want to know what happened the guts of it is that I put myself in a strong position to win the race with the fastest swim and bike, but finished it off with a strong run as well.  Liz Lyles, a very strong pro and a fabulous runner, was only able gain just over two minutes on me in the run which is easily my strongest run of the year.  It was a good day.

The background is that the race fell after a really successful block of three weeks where I really pushed my limits in training.  I had a solid week to recover to the race but I am excited to see what happens when that block really starts to settle in.  I have a lot of people to thank (well besides MC for putting up with like 95 hours of training in three weeks- I was a barrel of monkeys worth of fun I bet- love you baby! xx) and I would like to talk about some of them below.

First is in the swim.  I have had a banner year of swim development which is only right now starting to really show in my races.  I love the Blueseventy Helix which is why I asked to be a part of Blueseventy’s program, but I have also really benefitted from medium-small sizing.  Changing to a smaller wetsuit has been very, very good for my wetsuit swims.  I did have one swim where I wasn’t allowed in a swimskin and I believe my Champion System elite trisuit rocked it.  These suits are a great choice if you are planning ITU rules events or Canadian races that may not allow any swimskins.  

I have had a group of athletes in Victoria to swim with who are very dedicated.  The most frequent training group I swim with is Clint Lien’s- my training partners are Steven Kilshaw, James Cook, Sara Gross, Kate Button, sometimes Karen Thibodeau and in open water- Brent McMahon and Danelle Kabush.  In and outside of the swims I do with them, I have periodized the swim training I am doing overall in order to swim more, and then swim more quality.  Sometimes it just isn’t enough to mindlessly follow what the masters or even a triathlon swim squad is doing.  You have to be sure it fits in with what you are doing around the swimming – it doesn’t occur in a vacuum.  Each session, even a swim session, matters.  I think I have been much better at recognizing that and I am sure I am swimming better because of it.  So that is why my swims in races are getting better and I managed to be first out of the water twice.  Not all of them are great, but some of my bad swims were followed by an average race as well, so it can be a canary in a coal mine.

Second, my riding is improving because of a commitment to programming philosophy from the Pacific Cycling Center.  Houshang Amiri is a brilliant coach who has taught me a lot of things but the one thing you really can’t teach is patience.  Sometimes I would push too much intensity, too soon, when I wasn’t seeing the immediate benefit of aerobic endurance training.  Houshang is the master of creating aerobic monsters.  Svein Tuft is probably Houshang’s most famous athlete but I can honestly say that working with Houshang has made me better as an athlete and a coach.  I am self coached for triathlon but really, self coached athletes need to be smart about who they learn from in order to be good self-coachers.  You may want to consult www.pacificcyclingcenter.ca to see if any of his camps or programs work for you.  A winter of training with Houshang’s group followed by a block of incorporating his work into my program late season has been very effective for me.

Riding as part of the Trek Factory team is an inspiring and motivating experience.  I am lucky to ride the fastest machine outfitted with amazing Bontrager wheels with Powertap hubs, full Shimano Di2 components, the most aero helmet from Rudy Project and the latest and greatest saddles from Cobb Cycling.  I am very privileged in this regard and it makes me very proud to be a fast cyclist who has the equipment to be even faster. I am lucky to have a Trek Concept Store in Victoria. The Trek Procity Store is full of amazing and dynamic personalities and I love those guys/gals to bits. Thanks very much for being a part of my support team for many many years. I have five races with the fastest bike split so far this year.. and I am not finished yet.  I love being a fast rider but you can’t rely on your bike split to win the race.

Third and most important aspect of my racing to improve was my running.  In order to run faster I first had to start practicing my nutrition with my Powerbar products on the run.  This has made a difference.  Then I asked my friend Marilyn to show me HOW to run as a participant in her www.mindfulstrides.com course.  Huge benefit!  With a bit of technical ability, I just put my head down and ran a lot, lot more.  That is where Frontrunners Westshore comes in, helping me choose footwear that will keep me healthy and injury free.  With more running, I was leaning on Synergy Wellness where I meet Jamie Grimes for weekly chiropractic tuneups and I visit Markus Blumensaat at Leftcoast Health for regular massage and stretching sessions.  Without these two guys and Marilyn my hip would still be that of a 90 year old.  Thank you to all of you!  My last shoutout goes to Geoff McLaughlan, who has sadly (for me) moved to McGill to pursue his doctorate in math.  He was my solid as a rock run training partner all summer and he will be missed by me and the swim squad for sure while he is gone!

So I am hoping at this point I have learned some things that are going to help further my development because I am planning to race first at a world class level in the ranks of 70.3 for the remainder of this season and then hopefully make the leap to full Ironman in early 2015.  It is time but it certainly is not too late.  Jo Pavey is very inspirational to me – she didn’t win any major championship event in running despite a long, long career which started when she was a junior.  Recently, at 41 years of age, she won the Commonwealth Games 5km and then the Euro Champs in the 10km.  Ladies, it ain’t over until you say it’s over.Plus I have USANA products to keep my skin and body young as a 20 year old! 

 

So on that note of delayed retirement for an as yet undetermined period of time, I am a happy auntie and leader of Ironkids events.  I had a lot of fun with all of YOUR children while in Lake Stevens so take a peek at this if you want to have a little giggle about how adorable your children are.

 

 

2014 Vineman 70.3

The Vineman event had a big highlight on it for me.  I really enjoy the course, I really enjoy wine and I really enjoy tough race fields.  Thus, the 2014 edition of this event was ticking all the boxes for me to get fired up.

This last block I focused a bit more effort on high intensity and as a result, packed in a few races to test the ‘fastness’.  It started with a strong win in Saskatoon, another very strong day at the XTERRA in Victoria and now for my third week, meant to be the coup de grace, I had 3/5ths of a very strong day.  I don’t have any regrets on how I raced in Vineman, I just know I did not have the run I felt I have built in the last few months. However like Tiger Woods said: “Winning is not always the barometer of getting better.” I have consistently been at the front in races this year so it is clearly motivating. 

I would like to thank Marc Kelley for being a super amazing homestay and race sherpa.  I had the greatest support going into the race including an excellent tour of the course with Silvio, who works with the Cannondale pro men’s team.  I like motorpacing on a strong wheel in the days before the race so all of this was lining up perfectly.  Thanks so much you guys.  Also thank you to Dave and Amy Latourette who make Vineman the pro spectacle it is.  Without their amazing support the pro field would not be as amazing as it is year after year so thanks so much guys.

The pro women’s race is really changing. We have more and more strong women and thus the race is becoming more tactical. What is exciting for Canada is we have a lot of very strong cyclists and many of us are getting faster and faster on the run. Leading the charge is Heather Wurtele. For Worlds I think it will be very important for us to work hard to get up to the front. The draft rules are difficult- all the dropping back to stay within the rules slow everyone down and the legal distance is frankly, still drafting. So the front swimmers are legally working together and it will take some smart riding to get them. I felt that while I was in the group and unable to get away I was going slower. Racing has a lot more dynamics than you can see from an armchair. I think there needs to be some thought on what we are doing while we can’t get away from each other to make sure that we at least continue to move forward as fast as possible!

I made a few errors on the day.  First is I did not look at how the swim buoys were laid out and did not know that they snaked along the river back and forth.  This made for lots of jostling and bumping.  Rachel was beside me at the start and I saw her head for the far right to go straight.  I should have followed.  Instead I got pushed, shoved and at one point, dropped!  OMG.  Anyways, I managed to catch back up by the turnaround and the pace was very comfortable so I just resigned myself to a fast bike as pulling the swim pack is always dumb. Plus I saw Mel Hauschildt in that group so I knew I would have strong company once we got out.

Onto the bike… the women’s field at Vineman was full of “uberbikers”.  A bunch of us are “fastest split” type of girls so it was not surprising that those of us out of the swim had a hard time getting away from each other.  I think I was a stronger climber than the other girls but I was riding a smaller cog.  This meant I was a pain in the ass on the flats because I was missing the one cog I needed and then would blast past uphill.  Or, I am just getting back to the old Mel who used to climb very fast.  I am hoping it was the latter but there is a consequence of the fabulously large 28 Shimano 11 speed cassette- you get some awesome gears to stay in big ring all day but you might miss the 11 one the downhills and one of the middle ones on the flats.  I found I was stuck between a cadence of 95 and 85 all day and all I wanted was 90 ish.  Still, I caught Rachel at the bigger Chalk Hill and we rode together to T2 with a small gap to Melissa.  Trek bikes in for 2nd and 3rd!

Meredith outswam us by 2:30 then rode 15 seconds faster so she was clear out in front all day.  Domination wire to wire.  Nice work Meredith!  I only know about the race for second place.

So out onto the run I felt so awesome.  That bike was the least taxing I have had all year, my legs were fresh and I was thinking this is the day I am going to run the 1:22 I have been training for.  I was so excited.  I went out, looked at my watch: 3:45/km.  Okay too fast.  Slow down.  Next mile 3:50/km  okay comfortable just settle in.  I settled in, eased past Rachel and Melissa ran by.  Faster than me but not so fast that I felt the breeze of her wake ripping my shirt off.   I decided to attach a visual bungee and keep to my pace.  But at about 4 miles I went from all good to legs turned off.  Not tired, not heart rate blowing to bits but guts exploding (more lady guts than stomach) and hips stuck.  Could not run.  6 long miles of not being able to run, pace dropped by more than 50 seconds per mile and I shuffled along.  Then at about 10 miles, legs unlocked a little, I pounded a bunch of Powergels and I brought the pace down 30 seconds per mile again to run it in at about 4 min/kms. 

vineman run

So other than the middle 6 miles of the run it was a fantastic race.  The best I could have hoped for would have been to duke it out with Rachel a bit closer so it almost met all my expectations and I am satisfied with that.  I don’t know if it was 3 races in a row making it a bit too much racing (my weakness is I would rather race than train) or whether it was just really bad timing of the month.  I haven’t ever nailed the exact wrong day before so this was a first with that.  Honestly, I think a lot of it was the latter because I had a big, fat, bloaty belly all day and I waddled a bit in the photos.  It wasn’t that pretty.  

So here we go for the last push of the season.  I am going to take some time to really build the engine for worlds, test it at Lake Stevens, then giver to represent all of my awesome sponsors and Canada in Mont Tremblant.  Somebody smack me if I try to add any more races please!  Thanks for reading and thanks for the awesome feedback on my Vineman soccer video.  The pro field is a great bunch of people and I appreciate them making my trip a lot of fun.  I like to win the fun-having contest at every event if I can J 

Thanks to Trek Bikes for the support, to Shimano Triathlon, Powerbar, Rudy Project, Bontrager, Champion System, Blueseventy, Powertap, USANA, Frontrunners Westshore and Trek Procity Racing Victoria.  

I may not have the supermagnum from Vineman, but La Crema was not the only winery I got to visit.  I spent an evening with my favorite winemaker, Chris Howell at Cain Vineyards.  It is always so interesting to talk with him and the view above the vines is spectacular.

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The view!

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Cain Five is a wonderful consolation prize to a double magnum of La Crema 🙂

Oh and have you seen it?

 

 

 

2014 IM 70.3 Boise – I Won A Race!

It is the best feeling in the world running down the finish chute high fiving a massive group of people cheering for you.  It has been since March of 2012 that I got that feeling in a 70.3 event and it gets better every single time.  Thank you so much Boise! Taking the lead out of the water and never relinquishing it is a first ever for me and is a testament to the hard work we are doing down at our little pro swim club at Crystal.  Thanks so much to Clint Lien and lane four: James, Sara, Stevo, and Geoff.  You guys are the best!

2014 boise win

 

Photo from ironman.com

Wrestling the win away from the pro ladies in Boise took it out of me.  Liz Lyles is a phenomenal runner  so until the final stretch I was never sure I had it.  Sue Buse came from behind to run into third place with the best run of the day and my Blueseventy teammate Kate Bevilaqua set the pace for most of the swim to set up a Blueseventy 1-2 out of the water and she still held on for fourth on the day.  A very strong group of professional women rolled out at high noon to do battle on the day.

I was a bit more tactical this week on the swim.  After the start, I was trying to take the lead with Kate strongly keeping pace on my hip.  I made a few quick peeks behind us and saw we were towing the group, not unlike last week where I towed two girls, one on each hip.  Since Kate wasn’t interested in my feet, I chose to hop on hers.  Why make it easier for everyone behind us?  So I swam on her feet until someone kept surging up my side. I had no interest in a non Blueseventy athlete coming out of the water first, so in the final stretch I made sure it was a Blueseventy Helix across the line first.  This is when I took the lead.

Onto the bike, I was excited for a nice windy race.  I am riding with the new Rudy Project Wing57 helmet which is super aero but light and cool… no overheating brains in it.  I was riding the Bontrager Aeolus 9 that I had been riding in Hawaii which was perfect on the day in the never ending crosswind or blasting headwind.  I also raised the angle of my extensions on my Trek Speed Concept which improved my handling in cross winds and made me feel much stronger than last week.  Getting these little details ironed out takes a lot of riding, I have discovered.  I think you not only gain fitness from racing but you also get ‘race feel’ from racing.  That is why I am improving.  I definitely felt better on the bike than last week, so that is encouraging.  Even my Powertap files are improving week over week so it isn’t just me thinking I am better – I have objective data to prove it.

I came into T2 alone but had no idea where the field was and I honestly never believe any splits out on course.  Thinking the run was pancake flat, I started out at 3:55/km pace because I am capable of 1:24 or less and wanted to run sub-1:24.  However, instantly I knew my split was not going to be in that range given how hard that pace was for legs that were relatively ‘good’.  Sure enough, the MEN ran 1:18 so not looking and panicking about what my splits were was the right decision.

The first lap I only lost 25 seconds to Liz, a much stronger runner than I, so that was encouraging.  The second lap was very hard.  I don’t know if it was running second half marathon in 7 days fatigue or just hard bike-to-run garden variety fatigue, but the miles went by very slowly on the second lap.  I actually ate a world record’s worth of Powerbar Powergel for me, still falling short of what Brent can pound back, but three full gels on the run after six on the bike is amazing intake for me.  I held my losses to Liz to about a minute so that was a very good run for me- even if I grossly miscalculated the splits.  What I would say is using perceived effort when you are racing is a very important skill – don’t be a slave to your gadgets in training!

Running into the finish line and getting a high five from Brent who had also won was also pretty awesome.  We had a fun two weeks hanging out being training buddies.  I think his awesome work ethic rubbed off on me a little and thanks to him I had an excellent motorpacing session the day before the race that sparked my bike legs up nicely.  I need to match my schedule to his as riding together seems to work out well for me the day before the event.  I also have to thank Michael and Jenny Tobin, my XTERRA buddies, for not only being part of the organizing committee but also providing housing in the super athlete pied a terre at their place.  There was lots of inspiration for excellence there.

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Celebrating a job well done! Idaho Statesman photo.

Thanks to my sponsors Trek, Bontrager, Shimano, Powerbar, Powertap, Champion System, Rudy Project, Blueseventy wetsuits, Sci Con Travel Cases, Frontrunners Westshore, Synergy Wellness, Trek Procity Victoria, Wiink2, USANA, and Saltstick.   Congratulations to my Trek Factory Racing Jenny Fletcher in taking 6th a week after Alcatraz-solid effort!

 

I am so proud to fly the flag for all of you from the top of the box.  Thanks for the cheers!

2014 Honu 70.3, Kona, HI

2014 marked my second trip to Kona, Hawaii for the Honu 70.3.  I fared much better in the race this time around, earning 3rd place after the fastest bike split following Angela Naeth and Bree Wee to the line.  The race was a Canadian trifest with Brent McMahon also taking the men’s win and numerous Canadians stepping onto the podium.  Way to go, eh?

Glamorous pro racing attempting to fit a Trek Speed Concept into a rental Chevy Spark – an astonishingly tiny vehicle.

 

Warm water in Hapuna Bay greeted me in my Blueseventy swimskin-and with present swim form I was expecting a fast split.  However, I missed the train of the pro men (we started together and stupidly I chose the Brent McMahon side which was too fast) and ended up towing a barge of girls around the swim course. Despite aiming directly for buoys to try to convince them to move to my feet instead of my hip but I couldn’t get free -so coming out of the water I gave up and swam on some feet to conserve energy.  I need some ITU swim strategies in my arsenal maybe?  That meant a deficit of about 50 seconds to the lead girls.. including Magali.

Then we moved onto the bike where I took a good while to get going. I was instantly dropped by Angela while Magali rode away with her.  I was feeling tight, sore, and too hot.  I encouraged myself by reminders of how fast Angela and Mags are on the bike, how each race I am getting stronger and I also made a deal with myself that if I toughed it out as hard as I could I didn’t have to go to Boise next week.  Haha!  Then I drank a bunch of Perform, ate some gels and waited for my legs to get better.  Which they did.

After the turnaround to Hawi I could see that I was no longer being dropped and instead was pulling back the leaders.  I caught Mags and felt like maybe I was getting closer to Angela up the road.  Sure enough, I closed all the gap to Angela on the hill back up to the Queen K so I was definitely climbing fast but Angela was faster than I on the downhills and flats.  That girl can push a lot of watts!  I was happy to be climbing very well on the new Trek Speed Concept and that brought me back to the front of the race.  Although I feel I didn’t have a good first half of the race, the average watts according to my Joule for this event were higher than both my other races this season despite the long downhill so I believe my bike form continues to improve.

I rode tubular Bontrager Aeolus wheels for the first time and I have to say that tubulars are very nice to ride.  There were a lot of pre-race jokes about changing a tubular flat and breaking a nail but the road was swept perfectly for the race.  Thank you to all the Honu organizing committee for maintaining such a nice race course.

I have been slowly building back my running but every step forward I have been slowed down by a bit of an injury so I really didn’t know what I could do.  So when I led out of T2 I just said to myself to stick like glue for a minimum of 4 miles.  I trailed Angela as close as I could but by mile 3 she was gaining about 5 seconds per mile.   When we got to the hot, terrible hill at about 5- 6 miles my elastic band to her back broke and I went through a rough mile.  I pulled it together again but at the terrible hot, down/up out and back 10-11 miles I was dizzy wondering if I was going to have another Hawaiian DNF.  No amount of Powerbar Powergel or coke was bringing me back.  Then started my 12-13 mile death march where Bree went sailing past.  I appreciate that she kept looking back to see if I was going to respond but I had all kinds of emergency warning systems going off in my body so there was no response.  I also appreciate the kind age group man running by me who said “less than five km to go” because I really did need this reminder.  I ran in for third which was absolutely all I had on the day.  Magali stayed strong to finish in fourth and fellow Canuck Karen Thibodeau took sixth.  

The Hawaiian leis for this race are so beautiful and smell delicious and the prize is an ‘umeke which is going to be a wonderful keepsake for all the podium finishers.  The warrior escort to the podium is quite unique and fun as well.  I think everyone should experience a Hawaiian race in their triathlon career-XTERRA or Ironman.

 

 

The awesome Hawaiian leis and bowl.

The good news is that this is the first race where I finished without my leg and foot thing flaring up so I think the injury is behind me and I can start to run a bit more consistently.  I really appreciate the help from Jamie Grimes at Synergy Wellness in Victoria helping me through this.  I also appreciate the help from Marilyn Arsenault at Mindful Strides in Victoria because if I hadn’t changed my run form I was never going to be able to run injury free.  I am encouraged that I am coming back.  I may have lost time to Angela and Bree on Sunday but both are formidable competitors who had very strong races and for most of the race, so did I. 

Thanks very much to Marcy and Bo Fleming for hosting Brent McMahon and I at the spectacular Ke Kailani housing development… what a treat!  It was fantastic to hang out with them and the whole tri crew from Oahu at the post race party they hosted. 

I enjoyed a few extra Hawaiian days at my own favorite happy place on Maui with my friend Dr Aaron and his nephew Marc, who was my training buddy during the week.  We had a great time hanging around Paia style.  Mahalo Aaron and Marc for the awesome stay and I look forward to seeing you guys again in the fall.

Maui selfie.

So until next time, thanks to Trek, Bontrager, Powerbar, Champion System, Shimano, Rudy Project, Powertap, Blueseventy, USANA, saltstick, Trek Procity, Synergy Wellness and Wiink2 for the continued support.  This year is really a lot of fun and is getting more successful as we roll along.

I am optimistic about how my body has been coming around since the race so I am really looking forward to Boise 70.3.  I guess I am going to renege on the deal with myself that I made in a weak moment in Hawaii.  I am excited about the super strong field that is waiting for me there and I am planning to be relentlessly positive throughout my race no matter how it is going.   I am hoping to challenge super MBK and defending champ Liz Lyles.  I am cautiously optimistic that I can perform better on the run this coming Saturday.

My post Kona digs.  Not bad, eh?  Thanks Marcy and Bo!!

 

 

 

 

2014 IM 70.3 North American Championship

The 2014 North American champions are Meredith Kessler and Jan Frodeno.  Meredith and second place Jody Swallow really raced at a level above, with third place Heather Wurtele chasing hard from behind with a phenomenal finishing kick into third.  Honorable mention to Brent McMahon who led the race until the final chute where Frodeno sprinted to the win.  I was 11th after a charging Linsey Corbin nipped me at the line for 10th.  There were a lot of triathlon stars battling for every inch. 

My finish time was 6% slower than first place and less than 2% off of fifth place in a truly world class field.  I raced much of the day in 6th to 7th place so being passed in the last 2 miles by four people with some awful downhill running was frustrating, but racing in the top ten May 3, 2014 in that quality field was good practice for the World Championship in September.  I am racing all non-cherry picker events this year which is an excellent way to get a true picture of where your fitness really is and what to work on.  It is so incredibly motivating to see where the level in long distance triathlon is.  I love the challenge, excitement and struggle that is represented in racing 70.3.

The challenging thing about 70.3 racing is it is all guts spewing from start to finish.  I remember leaning on technical skills on less than 100% days to still find the top step in XTERRA racing but in 70.3 there is nowhere to hide.  Weakness is quickly exploited by the competition – especially with a field so strong.  One would be hard pressed to find any moment of weakness in the top girls with their classy, dominant and impressive racing.  Chapeau ladies!  

I really appreciated the excellence in the organization of this event.  St George is a beautiful city in a spectacular area of Utah.  The race course was killer, from the crystal clear water of the swim, to the challenging and scenic bike course, the super tough run on giant hills which finished with us dropping down into the quaint downtown square.   I am sorry I haven’t raced here sooner and I really hope to have the chance to come back.   I am very grateful to have met my super amazing homestay Sue Lipsman and her friends including Canadians Gary and Linda who hosted Brent McMahon.  My time in St George was spent enjoying good health with great people the entire time.  Thank you so much to St George organizing committee and Paul Jewkes of @atozion in particular for making the pros so welcome. I managed to squeak some time in hiking Zion with my bf and in the process managed to scare the crap out of myself on Angel’s Landing. That place is incredible!

My early season results are not what I might have expected.  Having my blackjack winnings exceed my prize earnings for the year is not ideal.  Although, that is positive – I am winning, even if it is only $200!  It isn’t that I am not strong and fit… it is that the girls I am racing are incredible.  I want to be at that level.  The devil is in the details and some of my details need some attention.  So until my next opportunity to have a great race I will be back to work. 

Thank you to Mark Andrews from Trek Factory Racing for the race support in St George.  Shout out to Shimano, Champion System, Powertap, Powerbar, Rudy Project, Bontrager, Cobb Saddles, Blue Seventy Wetsuits, USANA, Synergy Wellness Management, Mindful Strides and Procity Racing Victoria for the continued support.