10:20
:14

15 Hawaii Ironmans in a row (almost)

Posted in Racing by
[caption id="attachment_13560" align="alignnone" width="199"]Running along Alii drive at mile 5 or so. Running along Alii drive at mile 5 or so.  Thanks for the pic Larry Rosa![/caption] Completing 15 Hawaii Ironmans, 25 total Ironmans , and turning 40 all happened in a few days of each other earlier this month.  How does it feel?  I don’t know.  It still hasn’t sunk in yet.  Just like that, Ironman Hawaii came and went quicker than anyone would have thought, and so did a birthday ending in zero.  It’s is hard to believe that I have qualified and completed 15 Hawaii Ironman’s.  I know there are only a handful of people that have done that many Kona’s, let alone full Ironman distance races.  I feel so privileged to be able to race in the Big Island and truly see what I am made of. Racing 15 times in Kona does not come without a price.  It’s no secret that I am racing with a different engine than when I first raced here when I was 25.  I describe it as an onion where the layers are being peeled away.  I just don’t ever want to get down to the core.  However, the fire is still there to put myself to the test in some of the toughest conditions that an Ironman can dish up. [caption id="attachment_13561" align="alignnone" width="300"]Eric and I sharing a few Kona memories. Eric and I sharing a few Kona memories on the expo stage.[/caption] I did several interviews during race week: One with our own Dave Erickson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2_65ZajVrU&list=UUCbJaS79efzaDJGgiOI1obQ Breakfast with Bob Babbitt:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_DuZcAFzcY#t=9228 And one on Bob's radio show:  http://www.babbittville.com/babbittville-radio/tim-hola/ I got asked the following question several times, “What makes Kona so special?”  It’s hard to exactly put my finger on it, but there is a draw to that island that gives me a sense of self improvement unlike anything else I’ve experienced.  It makes you realize how fragile we are.  Like many of us out there, we want to become better people, learn more and make good choices.  The entire Hawaii Ironman process helps me do this. After several media commitments during the week, I settled into my room on Friday mentally prepping for the race the next day.  My mom and dad came out again to watch me race – they’ve never missed a year—and I could tell they were excited for yet another year of watching the race. [caption id="attachment_13562" align="alignnone" width="300"]One of the reasons why I love this race so much...moments like this. One of the reasons why I love this race so much...moments like this.[/caption] Saturday morning came and I headed down to the King Kam Hotel at 4:45AM when transition opened.  I got everything set up, said hey to a few of my pro friends and chilled out in my hotel room at The Kona Seaside, the same hotel we’ve stayed at for the last 10 years.  I eased into the water right after the pros went off and swam over to the Timex crew to say thanks for all they do for me.  Now that I work for Timex full time, the brand certainly has an even more special meaning to me. [caption id="attachment_13569" align="alignnone" width="300"]Excited for the swim! Excited for the swim![/caption] I then swam over to see my parents sitting on the sea wall, the same spot they have watched the race for the last 15 years.  I said my goodbyes and swam on my back for a minute or two looking at the clouds to soak it all in.  The gun soon went off and I was on my way. It is always hard to find space in the swim, so I did my best to swim hard at the start to get away, then settle in to my rhythm.  After the turnaround, I was at the front of the lead pack, with just a few solo age group men swimming ahead of us.  I am very confident in my swimming and knew that on a good day with the right conditions, I could swim 53 min.  Today was 56 min, but still felt good heading into T1.  I enjoyed every minutes of the swim like I always do.  Mom, thanks for putting me into swim lessons at the Fort Dodge, IA YMCA in 1980. [caption id="attachment_13563" align="alignnone" width="300"]Heading out to Hawi..the wind was not the kindest to me. Heading out to Hawi..the wind was not the kindest to me.[/caption] Everything went smoothly coming out of T1 and felt solid on my Trek Speed Concept – the fastest bike I have ever ridden.  The first 5-10 miles always get a little sketchy since we do some very fast technical riding through town.  I know the race really starts once we are past the airport.  I got a lot of cheers through town and was happy to begin the trek to Hawi.  All systems were go for most of the ride, body felt strong, nutrition was going well.  I really don’t know where to begin about the wind.  I always go into this race expecting the wind to be horrible.  This year was the one year where I’d be cruising along at 27/28 MPH, then like a flip of a switch, I was going 16.  The good news was that it was temporary, but man, it hit all of us hard.  There is never a good time for headwind in this race.  With 34 miles to go at Kawaihae, we got a nice tail wind, then the head wind started at 26  miles to Kona.  I just cleared my head and remember all of the times I’ve done this before.  I cruised into T2 with in 5:07, a ride I was happy with. After a quick porta-pottie visit, multiple water dousings over my head, and a quick look at my legs telling them to “shut up”, I began the marathon.  I always start running with short strides to get the muscles ready.  I tried to reflect on the countless brick runs I’ve done all year where I’ve felt good, although you can’t really expect your legs to feel that great after 6 + hours of hard racing in Hawaii.  I had a goal of running close to 3:00 on the marathon as I’ve done before.  According to my new Timex Run x50 watch, my pace started at 7:00 min miles and I was feeling OK, but knew it would not last. [caption id="attachment_13564" align="alignnone" width="199"]Keeping my focus in the opening miles of the marathon. Keeping my focus in the opening miles of the marathon.[/caption] I hit the mile 5 turnaround at St. Peters Church where I got engaged almost 13 years ago to the day, grabbed a little energy from the man upstairs and headed back to Kona.  There are so many people yelling at you, but I put my head down and try to ignore it and focus on my pace & energy.  I saw numerous Timex teammates on the out & back, Chris, Roger, Matt, Dave Erickson shooting video of us, just to name a few.  Lots of good Timex Mojo on the course this year. As I headed out of town, I saw Mom and Dad on Hualalai Rd. cheering me on which lifted my spirits.  I like running out on the Queen K.  I feel like it’s my time since there are not that many people out there to cheer.  It was at mile 13 or so where a feeling came over me where I simply wanted to be done.  I was not slowing down too much, but knew that the sooner I completed this, the happier I’d be.  The feeling to be done and out of that type of pain was just so strong, none like I remember in my prior 14 races out here.  Persevering, not stopping, sticking to my plan, finishing what I started, and pushing on allows me to become a better person.  That’s exactly what I did.  I ran for a bit with several of my friends on the way back to town:  Adam Zucco, BJ Christensen, Ryan Guliano, all incredibly talented athletes that I have raced against for years. [caption id="attachment_13565" align="alignnone" width="201"]Happy to be done! Happy to be done![/caption] I took the famous right turn on Alii drive and could not be happier.  I finished in 9:28, a respectable time for the day, but was hoping to get my run dialed in better.   [caption id="attachment_13566" align="alignnone" width="300"]Thanks Timex and PowerBar! Thanks Timex and PowerBar![/caption] A HUGE thanks to Tristan Brown, Timex, Trek, Shimano, PowerBar, Blue Seventy, Nathan, Tri-Swim, for making this another memorable trip.    Congrats to all of my teammates who completed this special race.  It will be with us forever.
10:16
:14

Ya Never Know….

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Sunday was a day that I will never forget! I love Rev3 Anderson, one of my favorite races in the world. This time around was anything but predictable albeit exciting nonetheless! First and foremost I want to recognize all race directors that are brave enough to organize world class events each and every weekend throughout the season. I would not trade places with these guys for anything in the world...(ok, on to my report!)   FullSizeRender 2 The alarm went off at 4:15 and I was out the door in less than 20 minutes. It could not have been more than 15 minutes before the skies opened and the rain began to fall. Shortly thereafter the sky illuminated with thunderous lighting bolts as if were broad daylight. I don't even think T1 was open and already the weather was horrific. I arrived on site and made my way to transition. As the rain continued to fall my spirits weren't exactly up. The sun finally began to rise but that only made the tumultuous weather visible! I managed to set up my transition area, pull on my wetsuit and walk to the swim start to begin a warm up. When I arrived at the edge of the lake, I was informed by the race director that we were officially on a weather delay. FRUSTRATING BEYOND WORDS...but what do you do? After 40 minutes of rain, more thunder, a little bit of lighting and sun the race was on. My wave went first and I positioned myself on the front. I have been swimming very well recently and so my confidence was high. The start was a running mass and I hit the water quickly rather than trying to run. I gave it everything I had for the first 500 and much to my delight I was in the first group to make it to the turn buoy. I worked into my pace quickly and had a fantastic swim. 22 minutes...I was fired up. I knew there were 5 guys ahead of me. I began the run back to transition as I peeled off my BlueSeventy Helix wetsuit (which performed like a charm, ONCE AGAIN.) After a quick transition in the pouring rain I was on my bike and on to the next leg. The bike made its way through rural Anderson County and there was no shortage of hills, wet leaves, downed branches and gravel along the way. Around mile 30, the skies began dumping water. I was absolutely soaked once again within 30 seconds. By mile 50 I was shivering so badly that I struggled to keep my steering straight. My Trek Speed Concept 9.9 delivered me safely through a wet and cold bike course. I was miserable and could barely feel my hand and feet. My bike split was not good, but I made it back to T2. 2:45. I had lost some ground getting passed by 3 guys so I had work to do.   FullSizeRender   I had gotten so cold on the bike that my motor skills had been impaired. My hands simply would not work! I struggled to pull my running shoes on my feet but after 2 minutes of struggle I managed the task. I was so cold and disoriented that I couldn't wait to get out on the run to warm up. I cannot remember the first 2 miles literally...I guess my brain was frozen! Finally around mile 4, I regained my faculties and hit my stride. I was beginning to generate body heat and was pleased with my turnover. I was pacing with Timex Run Trainer 2.0 and knew that I was running right at a 6:40 pace. I had passed 2 guys on the first loop and knew there were at least 2 more that I needed to track down. I hit loop 2 more determined than ever. I was focused and it paid off. My stride felt even better during the second loop and I passed the first guy around mile 10. I continued to run despite the weather and other distractions all around me. My Newton Distance Elite's felt great even though they were soaked! I ran back onto the Anderson County Civic Center property and could see the finish line in the distance. I picked up the pace, looked at my watch and settled in for the final stretch. I crossed the finish line feeling like I had just gone to war. I was cold, beat down but satisfied. My run leg was 1:28 for an overall time of 4:41. I learned that I had finished in 3rd place overall which was my best finish on the year. I actually got a check at the awards ceremony which was icing on the cake! Thank you Timex for another amazing journey and the chance to represent such an outstanding organization! rev3 swim Rev3 bikerev3 swim   rev3 swim
10:16
:14

IM World Championship-The definition of Insanity

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The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well, the mantra this year was to switch things up and see if the outcome would change. I had three main things that I changed up in 2014. First, I went back to a focused strength and plyometrics routine at the beginning of the year. Then I worked the entire season on dialing in my race nutrition. I did not want any nutritional excuses this year. Finally, I increased the frequency and length of my long rides. The result of my changes left me very confident about my foundation strength and my race nutrition. I was not worried about completing the 140.6 miles. I was ready to race. Kona-swim-624x407 Swim: 1:01:00 I was curious to see how the new swim start would change things this year. I swam out to the starting line and quickly realized that the split start was not going to change how dense the front line gets before the cannon goes off. The usual feeling of being a sardine packed in was still very real. Once the cannon went off, I just tried to keep my head down and stay relaxed. There were arms and feet everywhere, but my best option was to move forward as quickly as I could. After the initial 200 meter smash fest, I was able to get some decent open water. I quickly got into my own rhythm and looked for some feet to follow. I felt really relaxed the remainder of the swim even though the conditions seemed a bit more rolling this year. I came out of the water with the 256th swim time. It wasn't my best, but I was happy with it on the day. Bike: 5:06:00 The long day that is an ironman will always throw unforeseen challenges your way. Each race will have different challenges. So I always try to prepare myself the best I can and hope to adapt to the particular challenge I am presented with on that day. This year I felt really good heading out onto the bike and I was really excited to see how my nutrition plan would play out. What I did not expect was to be flagged for a blocking (just a stand down) and a drafting (four minute timed stand down) penalty within the first ten miles. I was so surprised and very disappointed. My thought process had this progression: anger at the referees for making two very bad calls at the beginning of the race, then the feeling that my race was over, finalized by realizing that it is a very long day and anything can happen. The bike segment was the usual roller coaster of emotions. However, this year the conditions were quite unique. I would say that 2014's bike conditions were the second (behind 2004) hardest that I've experienced in eight times racing here. There was an extreme headwind from miles 25-45. Then we caught some major side winds from 45-55 that literally blew some athletes off the road. We got the usual brutal headwinds heading into the Hawi turnaround from miles 55-60, which did turn into a nice tailwind to start the descent back down to mile 70. Once we turned onto the Queen K at about mile 80, we had a massive tailwind. It was bizarre. I was pedaling as fast as I could while riding along at 40mph and thinking how nice this would be to have the remainder of the ride. However, that all changed at mile 90, when we got another blast of significant headwind to fight the remainder of the ride into T2. It was one of the strangest days I've ever experienced. I came off the bike in 206th place overall and 24th in my age group. While it was not one of my best rides, I was very happy with how my nutrition held up. Run: 3:07:59 One of my main goals this year was to feel good (relatively speaking) coming off the bike. I have only felt decent one time exiting T2 in Kona and I really wanted to change that this year. I was really happy that once I hit the ground running, my legs felt good. It can be very daunting to think of the distance still left to cover and I am guilty of having those thoughts from time to time. So I made a deal with myself that I was only going to think about running to the next aid station. 2014_Kona_run2 This was the first year that I was able to run the entire marathon without walking any aid stations. I felt pretty good for the first 13 miles then I went through a tough patch until mile 19. My energy levels really dipped during this stretch and I only focused on my cadence in an attempt to keep moving forward at a decent pace. Once I exited the Energy lab, I tried to get my hands moving at a decent clip. I knew my feet would follow if I could stay in the moment and not drift off with my thoughts. The strategy worked and I was able to bring my pace back down to 7 min/mile pace into the finish. I crossed the line with my best marathon time to date and a total time of 9:21:59, which put me in 85th Overall and 6th M40-44. I left it all on the run course. 2014_Kona_finish1
10:14
:14

Warrior with a Smile – Ironman World Championships 2014

Posted in Fun, Racing, Training by
[caption id="attachment_13532" align="alignleft" width="199"]When a day is hard.. you learn what real digging deep is all about..and find out more about yourself.. When a day is hard.. you learn what real digging deep is all about..and find out more about yourself..[/caption]
This was my 5th Ironman World Championships in Kona and a race that taught me what the word "Ironman" means to me.
Last year I was the 40-44 AG and Master's Ironman World Champion.  I set a record for the fastest American Amateur over 40 in the 35 year history of this race in Kona.  I came into this years race with the goal to match or be around the same time.  My training sessions and race wins earlier this season showed I was a little better at recovering from hard or long training efforts.  Ironman and Triathlon have been a big part of life.  It's what connected me to the most important person in my life, my husband Scott of 13 years.  He is my biggest and greatest support system a girl could ask for.  Maybe taking 13th this year in my age group was meant to happen because it touched my heart in a different way than any of my other Kona experiences.  This was my slowest Ironman World Championship by over an hour compared to the last three times racing here.  All of my other race finishes were with in minutes of eachother.
I took this picture for my two children (Matthew 10 and Brooke 6) the day before my race.  Ironically in the race my husband caught a moment on video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUfup_CyZ8U&feature=youtu.be.  It was my kids who I carried with me in a fight to persevere.  Ironman is about testing one's mind and body.  Think of sitting in a room with one piece of furniture for 10 hours.  How many things would come into your mind? [caption id="attachment_13530" align="aligncenter" width="300"]To: Matthew & Brooke. Love Mom To: Matthew & Brooke. "Never quit"
Love Mom[/caption]
After 25 miles into the bike of 112 miles I had to race, my legs and body just slowly started to shut down.  Yes, it was windy, but my quads couldn't hold a leg turnover on the bike in any gear, the down hills didn't even feel easy and my feet were on fire for 3 hours.  It hurt to stand or push the pedal down.  I was getting passed by men and women for 4 hours.  I still had faith that my body might come back, because I break the race up into 20 mile sections in the bike portion.  I dismounted the bike and the guy in front of me was my first angel who grabbed my heart and woke my discouraged spirit.  "I can't run, my groin, legs and feet are not working".  "Don't run, walk", he said.  I've never not run or hobbled run through transition I was thinking.  "What is your name",  he asked. Then he told me to clear all thoughts from my head and "we" would walk this marathon.  He said, "It might not be your fastest Ironman, but it could be your most memorable".  I needed to hear that.  I went in the changing tent and laid on the ground cracking my back, stretching my hamstrings and unloading the disbelief and confusion of why my body was not firing today with the volunteer.  They draped a cold wet towel over my shoulders, said I could rest a little, dumped my running shoes on the ground, gave me Powerbar Perform with electrolytes to drink and tried to console me. 
 
I put on my Timex GPS Run Trainer, running visor and left the tent.  My feet started to stop aching but my legs were tight.  I turned on my GPS and heart monitor, but I knew it was a blessing to just be running and not walking. I passed a few friends cheering and said I felt miserable but would dig deep.  As I rounded the corner I ran past the guy from the changing tent and he cheered, "your legs are moving now!"  I gave a smile and thumbs up to every person who gave me any positive energy of a cheer, scream or smile.   If I was going to do this I had to draw from the bigger picture and stay positive.  Those first 8 miles presented many good people and helpful angels I needed to keep me going.  I saw a guy all bloody with ripped shorts.  I said, "wow, way to keep going because I can see you crashed on the bike."  His reply was, "I just want that Ironman Finisher's Medal".  This was a new perspective that touched my heart.  The last 4 times I stood on Stage at Awards I brought home the coveted Kona bowl, but now that finishers medal seemed just as tough to achieve.
Smiles are contagious and God gave me one I wore on my face as much as I could for 26.2 miles in the marathon.  "Smiling brings light into moments when your body feels like it's in a dark pit."  My kids and many of my friends assume I was going to come in first.  I came in first place in the last 12 races I've done including 2 National Championships and a World Championships.  In the video I said to Matthew and Brooke.  "Mom's not going to win today, but remember to never quit." [caption id="attachment_13536" align="alignright" width="224"]Sharing positive Energy to Teammates Mike W & Scott B in town on the run. Sharing positive Energy to Teammates Mike W & Scott B in town on the run.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13535" align="alignnone" width="300"]Smiling after 3 hours of pain & no power during the ride to Teammate Dave E. just before T2.   Smiling after 3 hours of pain & no power during the ride to Teammate Dave E. just before T2.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13533" align="alignleft" width="264"]Queen K headed home the last 10k! Queen K headed home the last 10k![/caption]        
On the run I had other competitors ask if I was ok.  I was appreciative of their concern and words of encouragement.  I knew my husband would be worried, but I told him today is a day to finish.  "I will build into the run and do what I can but my body is not on today."  Two men I passed as I said this, pumped up my broken ego and said, "well you just passed us and are dropping us quickly."  I said, "thank you and keep it up."  All day I've been passed so it felt good to be the athlete passing after 7 hours into the race.  Then I saw an athlete with one arm running the opposite way and he gave me a stunning smile back.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  I met up and pushed with people throughout the 26 miles then down Ali'i.  The last up hill right before Palani the best cheering group and song "Titanium" came on.  The crowd danced and screamed as I pumped my fist in the air.  Their energy and love touched my heart and helped my legs run to a 6:30 pace as I turned toward the down hill at Palani.  My emotions broke and tears flew because I knew I could finish.  I thought I'd be walking half the marathon, but only had to walk 2 short times through an aid station to swallow salt pills and a Power Gel.  Tim Yount (USAT Executive director) yelled, "Susanne you have another gear"; as I turned onto Alli' toward the finish I kicked like I was about to win a tie breaking race.  My husband caught me with my hands slicing through the air like Carl Lewis running the 200 meter dash!  I blew kisses and shed tears to the crowd and blasted my biggest smile because I made it to the finish line!  The crowd was screaming like the Super Bowl and I heard my name announced and the words that never lose their magic, "You are an Ironman!"
[caption id="attachment_13529" align="alignnone" width="300"]The Kona Ironman Finish Line feels just as exciting in 13th as it did in 1st.  Inner Warrior of success. The Kona Ironman Finish Line feels just as exciting in 13th as it did in 1st. Inner Warrior of success.[/caption]
Thank you to Timex Sports and the amazing team of athletes who also inspired me to take a licking and keep on ticking, Trek, Shimano, Challenge Tires, Castelli, Blue Seventy, Power Bar, Nathan and Feetures.
The words & love  from my friends and family are better than any medal.  I'm so happy I was an inspiration to many of you.  Your heart, filled mine back to 100% after what I thought was a disappointing day.  Thank you for sharing your heart.
 
10:08
:14

Rocked a Win at Tri Rock International Triathlon!

Posted in Fun, Racing, Training by
[caption id="attachment_13520" align="alignnone" width="168"]Euphoric grabbing the Finish Line Tape as the Female Winner! Euphoric grabbing the Finish Line Tape as the Female Winner![/caption] When training for Ironman I love to incorporate an Olympic Distance Triathlon as a test race to see how the body has adapted to the build up in mileage, tempo efforts and lack of recovery.  It's also a great way to practice fast transitions and feel a different pain level of going anaerobic that can be helpful when racing in Ironman. [caption id="attachment_13524" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Feeling the pain of going anaerobic! Feeling the pain of going anaerobic![/caption] The alarm goes off at 4am and my client Sean picked me up at 4:30am.  It's only a 40 minute drive to the race, but having a client/friend or better yet a guy who will accept a BET that his coach can beat him and loser "buys burgers" after made this race a little more fun.  In the car I gave Sean a little more smack talk and said, "I averaged 23.5mph on the bike last year, so you better be ready to feel the hurt."  I giggle inside, little does he know, I only averaged 22.5mph last year, but come on he's a guy and I'm a chic.  I needed to make him sweat a little bit and set the goal.  Sometimes I wonder if this Ironman training and coaching actually brings out the testosterone in me. [caption id="attachment_13517" align="aligncenter" width="225"]5am The Sun is not up yet but we are setting our transition! Race bet set! 5am The Sun is not up yet but we are setting our transition! Race bet set![/caption] We line up for the swim and I'm talking with a friend who swims in Master's with me at the YMCA.  I mention that I heard it's a 3 person staggered start this year and he replied confidently, "no that's only for the Sprint Race".  He said,  "It's a deep water start from the first buoy like last year".  My wave is up next.  We walk down the stairs to jump off the seawall and warm up to the first buoy for the swim start.  I swim relaxed and easy then stop at the first buoy.  No one else is stopping and there is a trail of scattered swimmers everywhere.  I'm confused and thinking, where is the group of 80 people who were just standing on the deck with me?  Panic, OMG is this the staggered start and I should be racing?  YEP!! I take a few more strokes fast now but, stop again and am still in disbelief.  I literally ask the volunteer on the surfboard if I'm suppose to just keep swimming and he yelled YES!  Oh man.  Well I had a nice 300 meter warm up in my 1600 meter race.  I cleared my goggles, put my head down and swam fast.  I was passing tons of people because I was in the 2nd to last swim wave.  I started to sing the Taylor Swift song, "Shake it Off".  I thought if Sean beats me by 1 or 2 minutes because of my mistake in the swim I am going to be so mad and argue the fact- did he really beat me?  I don't know where this competitiveness comes from, but am going to blame it on me being the youngest of six kids and my sister's always beating me at cards, yahtzee, catching bigger fish or spraying a bigger rooster tail slalom skiing when growing up! I jumped on my Trek with my bike shoes attached to the pedals and passed 3 more people just knowing how to mount  my bike like a moving horse!  I passed another couple hundred people and was feeling strong.  I didn't see Sean on the bike, but made sure I saw my Timex was reading 23 to 24 mph for most of the 40k race course.  We biked through the Naval Base in San Diego and the sailors were dressed in uniform cheering for us as we weaved right and left with many turns through their living and working grounds.  I know how to fit my tires between reflectors glued to the pavement very well now!  This bike course sharpens anyone's bike handling skills!
[caption id="attachment_13522" align="aligncenter" width="256"]San Diego Harbor! San Diego Harbor![/caption]
The run is my favorite part and is flat and fast along the beautiful San Diego Harbor.  I hear local friends cheering my name and see my family just before the first mile!  I smile and yell out that I'm running 6:12 pace to my husband.  It's funny, but after running 23 miles in a training run the week before, racing 6 miles seems so mentally easy.  This is where the anaerobic pain level kicks in and takes over those fleeting thoughts of this run being easy.  It's a two lap course and I don't see any females ahead of me, but I see Sean.  He started four minutes ahead of me so it's too hard to calculate who is ahead of who.  We share a high five to each other and keep pushing hard.  With a mile to go a guy on a bike pedals next to me and calls on his walkie talkie that the female winner is headed toward the finish line!  "ME?!!"  I feel a little more fire hit my belly and it ignites my stride as I fly down the finishing shoot!  I got to bust through and grab the finishing tape!  Here is the picture that captures my victory and endorphin rush.  I am really blessed by God to have this engine, be supported by my family, amazing sponsors Timex, Blue Seventy, Trek, Shimano, Challenge Tires, Castelli, Skins, Nytro and Power Bar in addition to being a coach.  I love that I can teach and share a common passion, lifestyle and together help others set and reach goals.  My client Sean beat me and I owe him a burger!  But what amazed me the most was his bike split.  He biked 23.6mph which is .1 mph faster than the goal pace I told him he had to beat!  It was a victory for everyone! [caption id="attachment_13519" align="alignnone" width="300"]Clients Sean and Lisa on my sides also both were on the Podium! Clients Sean and Leesa on my sides also were on the Podium![/caption] [caption id="attachment_13518" align="alignright" width="300"]Fuel that helped me win! Fuel that helped me win![/caption] [caption id="attachment_13523" align="alignnone" width="300"]Family support My husband and 6 yr old daughter is awesome to see when digging deep.[/caption]                                             The alarm goes off at 4am and my client Sean picked me up at 4:30am.  It's only a 40 minute drive to the race, but having a client/friend or better yet a guy who will accept a BET that his coach can beat him and loser "buys burgers" after made this race a little more fun.  In the car I gave Sean a little more smack talk and said, "I averaged 23.5mph on the bike last year, so you better be ready to feel the hurt."  I giggle inside, little does he know, I only averaged 22.5mph last year, but come on he's a guy and I'm a chic.  I needed to make him sweat a little bit and set the goal.  Sometimes I wonder if this Ironman training and coaching actually brings out the testosterone in me.   We line up for the swim and I'm talking with a friend who swims in Master's with me at the YMCA.  I mention that I heard it's a 3 person staggered start this year and he replied confidently, "no that's only for the Sprint Race".  He said,  "It's a deep water start from the first buoy like last year".  My wave is up next.  We walk down the stairs to jump off the seawall and warm up to the first buoy for the swim start.  I swim relaxed and easy then stop at the first buoy.  No one else is stopping and there is a trail of scattered swimmers everywhere.  I'm confused and thinking, where is the group of 80 people who were just standing on the deck with me?  Panic, OMG is this the staggered start and I should be racing?  YEP!! I take a few more strokes fast now but, stop again and am still in disbelief.  I literally ask the volunteer on the surfboard if I'm suppose to just keep swimming and he yelled YES!  Oh man.  Well I had a nice 300 meter warm up in my 1600 meter race.  I cleared my goggles, put my head down and swam fast.  I was passing tons of people because I was in the 2nd to last swim wave.  I started to sing the Taylor Swift song, "Shake it Off".  I thought if Sean beats me by 1 or 2 minutes because of my mistake in the swim I am going to be so mad and argue the fact- did he really beat me?  I don't know where this competitiveness comes from, but am going to blame it on me being the youngest of six kids and my sister's always beating me at cards, yahtzee, catching bigger fish or spraying a bigger rooster tail slalom skiing when growing up!   I jumped on my Trek with my bike shoes attached to the pedals and passed 3 more people just knowing how to mount  my bike like a moving horse!  I passed another couple hundred people and was feeling strong.  I didn't see Sean on the bike, but made sure I saw my Timex was reading 23 to 24 mph for most of the 40k race course.  We biked through the Naval Base in San Diego and the sailors were dressed in uniform cheering for us as we weaved right and left with many turns through their living and working grounds.  I know how to fit my tires between reflectors glued to the pavement very well now!  This bike course sharpens anyone's bike handling skills!   The run is my favorite part and is flat and fast along the beautiful San Diego Harbor.  I hear local friends cheering my name and see my family just before the first mile!  I smile and yell out that I'm running 6:12 pace to my husband.  It's funny, but after running 23 miles in a training run the week before, racing 6 miles seems so mentally easy.  This is where the anaerobic pain level kicks in and takes over those fleeting thoughts of this run being easy.  It's a two lap course and I don't see any females ahead of me, but I see Sean.  He started four minutes ahead of me so it's too hard to calculate who is ahead of who.  We share a high five to each other and keep pushing hard.  With a mile to go a guy on a bike pedals next to me and calls on his walkie talkie that the female winner is headed toward the finish line!  "ME?!!"  I feel a little more fire hit my belly and it ignites my stride as I fly down the finishing shoot!  I got to bust through and grab the finishing tape!  Here is the picture that captures my victory and endorphin rush.  I am really blessed by God to have this engine, be supported by my family, amazing sponsors Timex, Blue Seventy, Trek, Shimano, Challenge Tires, Castelli, Skins and Power Bar in addition to being a coach.  I love that I can teach and share a common passion, lifestyle and together help others set and reach goals.  My client Sean beat me and I owe him a burger!  But what amazed me the most was his bike split.  He biked 23.6mph which is .1 mph faster than the goal pace I told him he had to beat!  It was a victory for everyone!

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