Scott Jones of Athlete on Fire, approached me at the Studio I train at and the next thing I knew; we were doing a podcast. I am very honored and appreciative of the opportunity I have had to share my story and hopefully a little inspiration for someone out there! Podcast
The first time I had a taste of proper triathlon training was when I hooked up with Coaches Tony Benson and Sean Foster from the Melbourne Triathlon Club, back in 2002. I learned so much from that stint and have come back to Australia several times since, to train, to coach, and to race. I have always had a soft spot for Melbourne though, because of my wonderful first trip.
It took some time, but I was finally able to return and race the Ironman there this year. And it sure was worth every minute, as for the first time in my Ironman racing career, I was able to finish in daylight! I guess you could say I am a slow learner, and yes, maybe I should have been able to go faster for Ironman sooner. I don’t mind though, and I do what I can–each and every Ironman I have done is a gem of a learning experience. I am still discovering new things, I still don’t consider my time fast, but this is exactly the reason why Ironman continues to challenge and excite me.
I’d like to enumerate my Ironman Distance races here just for fun, and also because I have never actually kept a list before–I might start forgetting what I did down the road, haha :)
1. Ironman Distance Race, Matabungkay Philippines, Nov 2002. 13:04
2. Ironman Langkawi, Feb 2008. 12:21
3. Ironman World Championships Hawaii, Oct 2008. 12:07
4. Ironman Langkawi, Feb 2009. 11:45
5. Ironman China, Mar 2010. 13:39 bad, bad, race :(
6. Ironman Australia, May 2012. 13:36 first IM race after giving birth, Dashy was 5mos and 5days :)
7. Timex 226 Philippines, Dec 2012. 12:18
8. Challenge Taiwan Full, May 2013. 12:24
9. Ironman Cairns, June 2013. 11:51
10. Ironman Melbourne, Mar 2014. 11:08
Moving forward, I have plans to do other Ironman races this year (given a sibling to Dash doesn’t come along yet ;) and will announce them soon enough. I am so blessed to be surrounded by a great group of family and friends, and this is the main reason why I can continue to do this. Dan’s Family and My Family gave us the gift of time for a week– Dan’s parents took time out of their busy schedules to fly into Melbourne from Sydney to watch us, and my family took care of Dash for a whole week in Manila. Our friends, both in Manila and Australia, sent so many lovely messages of support throughout the week, especially my Girls Run For Breakfast ladies! Our sponsors, Timex and Unilab among others, to whom I will always be grateful.
We had a remarkably sizeable Philippine Contingent in Ironman Melbourne this year, thanks to the efforts of Fred Uytengsu and Princess Galura of the Sunrise Events/ Ironman 70.3 Philippines Team. It was a record number of Filipino participants and I was so proud to be part of it. We are already planning the next Ironman destination as I write this, and I am very happy to travel again with such a fun and energetic group.
It has been over a week already and I am still smiling from all the wonderful memories. I love Ironman and I always will. I Thank God for always blessing an ordinary person like me with so many opportunities, as I may not be that fast, but I am able to endure. Which is why I know I am tailor-made for this. Be it a daylight or night time finish :)
Timex camp had a change of location this year. We headed South for some warm weather in Sarasota, FL to the IMG performance center. I never knew such a place existed, a “boarding school” for gifted young athletes. IMG is enormous complete with countless fields and state of the art equipment preparing young athletes for Division I schools and professional careers in tennis, golf, football, lacrosse, track, soccer and basketball.
I headed out a couple days early to meet up with Jackie in Fort Myers for some warm weather training and bonding. Jackie’s grandma was generous enough to host us for two nights in Fort Myers. We headed from the airport straight to yoga, which was nice to get a good stretch after the long flight from Colorado.
Wednesday morning our plan was to assemble our bikes, head for a swim followed by a long ride. Jackie has her new Trek Speed Concept but hasn’t mastered it’s assembly yet so this took longer than expected. We arrived at the pool only to find it was closed for the next hour for water aerobics aka dancing ladies; Fail! We were back to grandma’s and on our bikes quickly. Unfortunately we forgot to eat breakfast through all the changed plans. We managed to find a decent route and got in a solid 4 hour hungry ride including lots of gossip time.
We headed back to the pool for our swim, which had now been heated by the sun all day, nice and toasty! Jackie and I were somewhat of a spectacle doing a set Curt wrote for me. We were asked several times if we were famous and some lap swimmers told us we were their inspiration. How sweet! We finished our day with dinner and wine with grandma.
Day two we got started at sunrise for our long ride, taking a similar route to the previous day. Jackie was pretty fatigued coming straight from Cliff English’s camp in Tucson so she hung on my wheel while I busted out some 45 minute intervals. We ran on a lovely wooded path around grandma’s gated neighborhood for our tempo run where Jackie dropped me like a bad habit each time. Some day I hope to hang with her on my feet. After showering and a quick bite we loaded up the car in order to make it to the ING performance center by 4pm. Somehow we managed to fit 2 bikes, my bike box and all our gear into grandma’s car.
Upon arrival we were greeted by many team members, some of which we only get to see at camp each year which makes this weekend so special. We got a tour of the ING facility, then enjoyed a cocktail hour meet and greet. We shared stories, laughs and received some fun swag.
Jackie and I shared our condo with Sam Mazar and rookie teammate Kathryn Taylor. The accommodations this year were unique; we were bunked in dorm-like rooms with twin beds. Jackie’s had a plastic cover, once she took it off we were informed it may have been a bed bug shield, Yikes! Either way she left it off for the weekend.
Arriving the week of daylight savings combined with the two hour time difference created Friday’s wake up call to feel quite early. We were awoken by our bus beeping outside the window; no need for alarms :) We enjoyed a refreshing swim in an outdoor fifty meter pool. I got to swim with the boys, our lane was lead by Bama collegiate swimmer Bruce Gennari. It’s always fun to get some training time together.
After breakfast we attended some clinics sharing our experience and opinions on Timex and competitor’s products as well as social media, clinic and ambassador training. We fit in a Florida Tourist themed 5K fun run.
The day was finished off by receiving more swag which included all our new Castelli clothing. This is by far the best clothing sponsor we’ve had in the 6 years i’ve been on the team. Jackie and I headed out for a quick ride, we had to test out our new kits! Unfortunately we didn’t have adequate time for this ride so it made us a little late for the bus to the awards dinner. The whole team ended up waiting on us to run across campus, sorry guys but we had to get some saddle time in the sun. Now you know what we were up to :)
The awards dinner was held at a local country club and included inspirational speeches by team members Bo Parrish and Dave Orlowski. The highlight of the evening was Dave Erickson presenting pro athlete of the year award to Matt Russell by mimicking his American Flag run shorts.
Saturday morning we had a similar bus beep wakeup call outside our window. With a pact of punctuality Jackie and I were some of the first on the bus. We enjoyed another refreshing morning swim.
After breakfast we headed back over to the track for some ambassador meetings to complete our day. We learned the latest about Trek, Shimano, Skins, and Blue Seventy. We are blessed with such amazing sponsors who ensure we’re taken care of. We did get some time for a run in the sunshine during a break and finished our day earlier than planned.
It happened to be Adrianna from Timex’s birthday so we celebrated with some wine by the pool.
Jennifer was kind enough to not only make a reservation for us at a local bar which included Bags set up for us to play while drinking. She also chauffeured us all to a from the bar (cabs had a 2 hour wait due to St. Patrick’s day weekend). Ryan and I ended up in the back heading from the pool
Following the tradition of Timex camp we celebrated our last night and Adrianna’s birthday with too many cocktails and shots which made for a fun but late night.
Sunday we finished off camp with our head shots and team photos, looking fabulous as always after a night of drinking.
Well, it is March 2014. I head to Timex Camp this week in Florida and my race season starts in about 1 month. Last September when I finished up my season in Tempe with a 3rd place finish… I was quite grumpy. I was in 1st place until I hit the run. My awesome Physical Therapist, Bill at Specialized Physical Therapy received a text from me basically venting about how painful my hamstring was on the bike and how it had no juice for the run. This is the same song and dance I have been doing since my injury in 2009. I went into deep thinking mode in the next two weeks trying to figure out what my body needs, what I need, what my hamstring needs and had much discussions about a new plan for treatment and training. Honestly, I felt like I had to give one big hard go at it to see if I could turn this sinking ship around after 4.5 years. One thing I did know, is it had been very difficult to follow a training schedule recently. With the ages of my girls, 18, 16, 13; I need to be able to be there when they need me and sometimes, this really disrupts the training plan. At the end of the two weeks, I had come to some decisions and changes I was going to make. I was not sure if they were the right ones and it was a bit scary moving forward with them. I decided to take time off from structured coaching and training. I wanted to just go with the flow of my life, fit in what I could and go hard when I felt like it. This definitely helped me to begin enjoying my training more and it started to seem like fun again and not work. I have put a huge emphasis on strength, weekly dry needling and workout sessions are back to the gym for more classes with friends.
December rolled around and it was time to start thinking about a little structure again. I began writing my own training plan. This was pretty easy for the first 6 weeks. I decided at that point I was going to continue to move into 2014 with this plan of self coaching.
Here I am about 6 weeks later. Self coaching is not something I recommend to most and the majority of reputable coaches understand the challenges that come from this method as well. I do have a wealth of experience to draw from with 7 years of coaching under my belt but I do lack that outside perspective. Since I have seen such progress in my run, I decided to see if I can manage it and continue to improve.
The first 3 week build was a mess! I really had a hard time dialing in when I could go hard and when I needed to go easy. I am grateful for a few friends that helped me sort through the plan and be a sounding board for me. Like most, I just “want” to be able to do more. I am a different athlete than I was a few years ago. Age 41 knocked my socks off with the hours I can train and the significantly more hours I need to recover. I have excepted it now and it is much easier to do this when I am seeing run paces from 2009 beginning to return. (insert a big wahoo right here!) The last 3 week build was a huge success and I am very pleased with the way things are going. My bike and swim have stagnated but as I tell my athletes, “this is typical when you are seeing significant improvements in another discipline”.
I am really excited about the progress I have made. The hamstring is still painful, but its easier to deal with a painful hammy going fast than a painful hammy going slow! =)
Moving into 2014, I am beyond blessed by Sponsors. Timex Multisport Team, PowerBar Team Elite and Zoot. I have a few more announcements coming shortly so stay tuned! Enjoy your training =) www.tristafrancis.com