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!
10:01
:14

When an Ironman turns into a HOT MESS, Ironman Chattanooga

Posted in Racing by

Following my trend for 2014 of only doing races I've never done; Ironman Chattanooga was an easy choice. It was expected to be a non-wetsuit swim and a hot, humid race with a rolling bike course (no major climbs). The course looked to fall in line with my strengths but I was greatly mistaken.

When driving the bike course pre-race I realized this course was far from flat. There were no long climbs but there were also no flat sections. It included many short punchy climbs, I knew a hilly course would be challenging for me as I'm a terrible climber. The bike course was also 4 miles long which would make for my first 144.6 mile race. When pre-riding the run course I found miles 8-12 and 21-25 included some steep climbs. Our homestay lives right in the middle of these hills so we were perfectly situated to test them out.

photo-6a little pre-race fun in the Chocolate Milk tent

After miscalculating my nutrition and hydration leading up to Ironman Boulder I was determined to properly load for this race. I worked with my coach to calculate exactly what I needed to consume the days leading into the race.

After a restless night's sleep I rose ready to take in the day and put my best foot forward. Unfortunately my body was not as Aunt Flo came to town race morning, caused by taper leading into the race. I thought this would be a minor issue which may require 1-2 bathroom stops but nothing to fret over.

We headed down to the race venue and upon arrival at my bike I found my back tubular tire was completely flat. As usual I had glued a new tubular on prior to shipping through TriBike Transport and the tire was fine during my pre-ride so I must have ridden over something causing a slow leak. Luckily my husband, Owen, packed a spare tubie and glue so he quickly glued another tire. Stressful; YES but better before than during the race. Now it just had to dry before I took my first corner. We quickly hopped on the bus transporting us to the swim start. I ran into a friend and training partner, Lucas, who was spetating. Told him about my tire issue, he generously took it upon himself to check the tire when he returned to transition while we were swimming.

The swim was called non-wetsuit due to the 77° water temperature, YAY! Although the damn was open, therefore we would be swimming with a strong current, BOO! Our swim start was delayed a few minutes while we waited for the sun to rise. Our start gun eventually shot at 7:25am. The women took off in a pack, staying together longer than usual due to the strong current. Anna was able to break away, as I tried to stay on her feet we rounded the 1st turn buoy and somehow my ankle chip got stuck on the buoy rope. I was able to break it free quickly but lost a few important seconds and now Anna was ahead in the distance. I settled back into the chase pack and found myself right in the middle. We were moving at a quick pace but I was getting a nice draft off Malaika. I trusted her endurance and sighting skills so was content with my draft. I had to fight some others off as those around us changed positions, veering off course, etc. I was able to cruise through the swim while exerting little to no energy. As we neared the last turn buoy Kaitlin next to me tried to push and take over the lead, Malaika reacted and they were sprinting for the exit. Had they not noticed Anna was already ahead and would be first out of the water? I'm still unsure, but I sat behind them both and ended up passing them both as we ran up the stairs since I hadn't burned a match sprinting towards the line.

swim exit

I kept my heart rate low running through transition, I ran past my bike by a few steps having to go back losing a few seconds but ended up exiting transition with a few of the ladies I swam with. Mailaka was within sight and Laurel Wassner was between us. We began riding together, legal distance apart as we began our 116 mile ride. At mile 2-3 I rode over the 1st set of railroad tracks and my front bottle ejected from it's cage. I made a quick decision not to retrieve it, wanting to stay with the girls. Riding this long solo can get very lonely as I found in Boulder. Losing this bottle usually wouldn't be that big a deal but I was trying a new nutrition plan; to avoid special needs I start with 2 x 500 calorie bottles which I need to take with water and 1 x 250 calorie bottle to take during the 1st hour. I lost my 250 calorie bottle so now I had nothing to drink until I hit the first aid station. I figured this was only 10 miles and shouldn't be detrimental to my race. I rode along just concentrating on form, the miles ticked by and soon we were past mile 10, no aid station.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.39.01 PM

UHOH, Now I was getting really thirsty, I tried a taste of my heavily concentrated bottle twice but knew it would screw with my stomach if I took it without water so I waited. I asked the camera guys if they knew where the next aid station was, they didn't. At mile 15 I approached the 1st aid station and grabbed the 1st bottled put in front of me. I was so happy to quench my thirst and more importantly start getting down calories. Now I was way behind in my hourly nutrition plan so I made some mental adjustments and began taking gels and my heavy mixture down with the new found water. I was back on track.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.38.20 PM

We were popping up and down short, punchy climbs which was actually nice because it gave me a chance to get out of the saddle for a few seconds saving my lower back from exhaustion. My legs felt surprisingly good, I was 3 watts over my 1st hour target average which felt easy and I was not struggling to keep up over the climbs which is usually the case for me. Angela caught and passed us around mile 25-30, she was pushing much higher watts than us but Laurel tried to stay with her. As I was contemplating what to do I shifted too quickly to my small ring up a hill and my chain dropped, I was left hopping off my bike readjusting it while my small group rode away. I hopped back on but they were gone and I was left riding alone. I continued on, sticking to my updated nutrition plan and target watts. I knew I was still in the race because every 10 miles or so the race spotters would be waiting on the side of the road for me and would take off after I passed letting me know I was in 6th place. My legs were feeling strong and my tire seemed to be holding but I still took the sharp corners slow just to be sure.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.36.53 PM

A few amateur men caught and passed me as well as many pro men who we'd passed in the swim. At mile 75 Jennie passed, she was riding strong and at this point I couldn't stay with her. I began to fall into the Ironman lull, my lower back began to ache, my watts were dropping and my motivation was lacking. At mile 85, I heard, “Hey Gorgeous” it was none other than Timex teammate Bruce Gennari coming by. Bruce I can ride with, so I decided to latch on riding the legal distance behind him. This pulled me out of my funk. I was careful to stay my distance behind him as I know how this could look to officials, us riding together in the same kit. I boomeranged with him back and forth whenever he would eat I'd take the lead, but majority of the time I was steadily riding behind him. Each time we entered zones with dashed center lines I realized I was riding too far from Bruce. I closed the gap to get the maximum legal draft I could. We had a motorcycle riding with us, keeping us honest. We were now lapping first loopers and there were also cars sprinkled in on the roads. Many of the cars were sitting behind the slower riders so we had to pass cars on the left causing Bruce and I to bunch up some climbs. As we finished the 2nd loop and back in on the final stick we had a tail wind and were flying. I was being extra cautious not to get too close to Bruce so I left a larger gap then needed, just in case he slowed down. Somehow Ruth came flying by even faster because she passed me and dropped between Bruce and I. I sat up and slowed down to allow a gap open when I was handed a red card by the official. I immediately made the decision not to run. I would be done when I returned to transition, but now I had 5 miles to think about it. Here's what went through my head;

On one hand I don't want to destroy my legs for nothing. I'm already in 8th place, it's cold, these girls will run fast.

On the other I would gain fitness by running the marathon, even if I don't run fast.

I'd regret it if I quit now

I'm already here, I may as well finish

There's a chance I could break 3:15 after a 4 minute rest

Teammate Kelly Fillnow couldn't race due to injury, I'm healthy. I owe it to her

I would disappoint my homestay if I quit, they have bets with their neighbors of who's pro will win

It would be really cold spectating

AHHHH, fine I'll do it.

I rode up to the penalty tent and served my time, noting my bike split was 5:20 for the 116 prior to the penalty. Not so bad on this hilly course for me. Afterwards I ran through transition with a new goal in mind. I would attempt to catch Bruce during the 1st run loop.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.35.01 PM

The run out of transition was up a slight incline which is a dirty trick to play on us after that long of a bike, but it soon flattened out and I came into my stride feeling good. I was still completely alone, to the point where I wondered numerous times if I was still on course. I received a split from a spectator which I immediately knew was wrong because he said I was only 3 minutes from 3rd place. This was the only split I received all day, there were also no out and backs so I was literally running against the clock in the hopes that I'd catch up to someone. I ran past my team manager, Tristan, and laughed telling him this was just not my day.

Tristan run smile

I passed back each amateur man who had passed me on the bike which showed some progress.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.34.10 PM

As I entered the hilly section I concentrated on short quick steps and not letting my heart rate spike too much. I made it through keeping my mile splits in check. As I rounded the 1st loop I realized I had passed Bruce back in transition. Somehow my penalty+transition was still quicker than his transition alone. During my 2nd loop my pace decreased as it usually does in an Ironman, but the difference here was I didn't have the motivation to push past a reasonable comfort zone. I didn't make this conscious decision but looking back, I wasn't willing to put myself into a dark place to hold onto 8th place. I regret this. I would like to work on pushing to my limit no matter where I stand. Around mile 18 Kaitlin passed me running at a much faster clip. At this point I just wanted to finish, I thought there was no way I could keep up with her.

Tristan run

I entered the hilly section again and kept to my short steps, my legs were now fatigued as they always are during the last 10K in an Ironman, but they felt much better than in Boulder. I had taken all my planned calories down which made all the difference. At mile 22 Kathryn passed me and again I didn't care. I stuck to my slower pace just waiting for this race to be over. A few miles later I caught her back, she was walking up a hill. As I passed she began running again, she really wanted to stay ahead of me. I had no problem with that and stuck with my own pace. This happened several more times until she settled into running just slightly ahead. As we crossed the final bridge the crowd started cheering us on for the finish. I really didn't want a sprint finish for what I thought was for 9th place (later I found out someone dropped so it was actually for 8th place) but either way. I did have some punch left in my legs so on the final turn I picked up the pace and passed Kathryn, bumping into her, I apologized but she wouldn't have it. She looked forward and started sprinting as I ran into the finish shoot behind her.

back finishScreen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.33.25 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.32.30 PM

Owen finished only 2 minutes after me (starting way later) and as soon as I saw him I started crying. I held it together all day but it finally caught up to me. I never thought so much could go wrong in one day. Admittedly, most was self inflicted, but I've never experienced anything like this race. I am proud of myself for finishing when many pro's would have pulled the plug. This course was not well suited for me but I'd like to think if all went well, I could have still been in the mix. I learned a lot about myself during Ironman Chattanooga and I look forward to applying my fitness and knowledge towards Ironman Cozumel after another training block.

Thank you to our generous homestay Jamie and Beryl. Congratulations to Jamie on his finish!

Thanks to my sponsors; Timex, Trek, Shimano, Blue Seventy, Castelli, Powerbar, Lululemon, and Rudy Project

To my Coach Curt Chesney, my fitness was there, I just need to get my head in the game.

And to my husband for always being my number #1 fan

photo-6 copy


09:18
:14

70.3 World Champs

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When I took my 70.3 Worlds spot in at Galveston 70.3 this past spring, I knew the summer was going to be less than ideal. At the end of July I took the Washington State Bar Exam…soooooo needless to say there was about 75 days in there were I was one sleep deprived hot mess. BUT…even though that was the case, back in April I wanted something to look forward to AFTER the Bar (since I wasn’t signing up for a full ironman this year BECAUSE of the Bar) so I took the spot and approached it with a “no expectations” mindset. I actually race better that way anyways. BONUS. SO…back to June and July. I got Coach P cut me back to one workout a day but I’m not going to lie…in July I had to sometimes choose a nap over going to the pool. It is what it is…but come July 31 (a.k.a. academic freedom) game was ON! …And that was right about when I got in a fight with some pavement outside Boulder on Ironman weekend. The pavement won. IMG_4893 I had a really good clean streak going on there. My last spill was in 2011 (my infamous ironsplat in Cozumel). It didn’t seem all that bad at first. The people that stopped and gave me a ride back into Boulder told me I “flew gracefully” actually, but I ripped the skin off my elbow and hip (more like the top of the pelvis bone) REALLY deep. I was told I didn’t need stitches but come a week later we realized that was probably not the case and I should’ve gotten stitches but what can ya do at that point. I actually had to go to a walk in clinic the week after because we thought my elbow was infected and needed to be debrided (gotta love a Dad diagnosis via text message pictures). BIGGEST waste of time. The guy looked at me for LITERALLY 10 seconds, gave me a DPT shot (???) and a bandaid. Thanks dude. Sometimes you just gotta get pissed off, take a shot of tequila, hop in the shower and get that debriding done yourself ;) Anyways…overall it was not an ideal situation when your window for training for a World Champs was already cut down to 5 weeks and you’re feeling out of shape and HAVE to be in a pool. I ended up looking like scrambled eggs for about 5 weeks, got creative with my snap chats, and just sucked it up. After a while, feeling like fire almost feels like normal! [quicktime]http://teamtimex.timexblogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/IMG_4903.mov[/quicktime] Video (that I didn't realize was being taken) from when the boys in Boulder helped clean me up with hydrogen peroxide when I couldn't do it myself. IMG_5058     IMG_5039 IMG_5786 The rest of post Bar Exam limbo was GRAND! In addition to Boulder there was a week in Whistler and a week in Victoria before the week in Mont Tremblant. Checking out on life was VERY much needed and very much a success because after all was said and done, I couldn’t wait to get back to my own bed and back to being a responsible adult in the real world. As for the road rash, I managed to not have scrambled eggs wounds anymore within days of Mont Tremblant after working my butt off in my small window of training so getting into a wetsuit was no longer a problem and I didn’t have to water proof bandages with hot pink duct tape anymore come race day! The best part of Mont Tremblant??? September 7th (race day) is my BIRTHDAY! It’s also my Mom’s birthday (yes, same day) and she was going to be there too! Not that anything special happens on your 29th birthday but it was my birthday gosh darnit. I took the redeye in from Seattle the Wednesday prior and my mom flew over from Winnipeg the next day. I had a few issues with being on 650 wheels now on an 11 speed bike and needing a different stem but I made do with having to throw my training wheel on the back last minute and rocked “a mullet.” Business in the front, party in the back…a.k.a. tubular race wheel in the front (business) and clincher training wheel in the back (party). Hahahaha. 10603750_10101353356404776_8036844501799985705_n Race week was filled with lots of laughing thanks to Rob (who’s ability to consume crepes is absolutely impressive) and overall was probably the most relaxed I’ve ever felt on race week.

IMG_5281Rob on my baby bike with its "mullet" because riding a size 47cm bike is sooooooooo funny.

 So onto the good stuff. My 70.3 race report in the usual bullet point format based upon what I was thinking or saying out loud. It’s not as exciting as usual. My inner voice is SO much better when you double the distance...and the inner voice is WAY better than watts and mile splits: Swim:
  • While corralled up like a bunch of cows I searched for Caitlin. Eventually we found each other, hugged, caught up on life, and she wished me happy birthday.
  • The wave before us went off and everyone started running to the beach edge and Caitlin starts going, “Why are we running? Why are we running? Why is everyone running?!?!?!?!” <---- I can’t stop laughing.
  • That feeling of being packed like a bunch of sardines starts happening and I look at Caitlin and said to EVERYONE, “I DON’T WANT TO DIE ON MY BIRTHDAY!”
  • Everyone looked at me and I told them all I was turning 21-ish. (key word there is ISH).
  • The cannon went off and I thought I was going to get beat up and die…but I actually had the best swim start I’ve ever had in a major race. Perfect run and dive in and swam hard enough for the first couple 100 meters to stay out of the washing machine but still was able to jump on feet when everyone began to settle. PHEW.
  • I knew the last 50m or so was SUPER shallow (because I accidentally stood up Rob earlier in the week when we were supposed to meet at the SWIM START for a workout but apparently I was at the SWIM EXIT. I suck at life sometimes) so while everyone around me tried to stand up and run WAY too early, I dolphin dove a good 8-10 times and passed them ALL! Such a cool feeling!
  • Wetsuit strippers – I’m always terrified they’re going to rip my bottoms off...and well...if anyone out there wears underwear under your race shorts, then you're just WEIRD. Nobody got mooned. All was good.
Bike:
  • Overall feeling about the bike portion? – It’s a whole lot tougher to ride a HILLY and WINDY course when you do it by yourself like we're supposed to. It's really frustrating watching that stuff deliberately happen when some of us are out there being honest.
  • Bike mount – Shimano Ryan yelled, “Go SAM!” and took a picture before making fun of my baby speed concept before I ran off to get my butt kicked by that course.
  • First 30k – I felt flat. Super flat. I also dropped a chain. Wamp wamp
  • Second 30k – Some guy passed me pinned to another girl’s wheel so I took it upon myself to ask, “Hey! How does it feel to have a girl do all your work for you?!?!” <--- He didn’t like that too much :) I thought it was rather funny though.
  • Second to last 15k – Caitlin caught back up to me after already having passed me but having a mechanical as well and we yo-yo-ed back and forth LEGALLY the rest of the way into town. It’s WAY more fun having a friend to suffer with. It makes racing soooooo much more fun!
  • Last 15k – HOLY SMOKES. I mean, I had heard that it was tough and I had driven it a few days before when Rob gave me directions to their place but really he dropped a pin on the map randomly up in the mountains 13 miles away (probably to get me back for the whole wrong swim area incident...just kidding) so I got lost and saw the bike course…but doing it on a bike was something else. There was a lot of grunting from everyone around me and I’m still really angry at that camera man that was telling everyone that all the climbing was done when IT WASN’T EVEN CLOSE TO BEING DONE! At that point I knew I was out of the hunt but I LOVE TO RUN so regardless it was game on when I got off the bike.
Run:
  • The whole run course…OUCH.
  • First few miles – settled into a rhythm.
  • Mile 3 – belched my heart out while passing a girl in front of me. She asked, “you must feel so much better now!...wait…Sam Mazer????” <---- bahahaha. I hadn’t seen Sherianne Nelson since the finish in Kona last year. What a good way to run into long lost race friends!
  • First turn around – Saw Katie. Tried to high five her. Tried to high five Sherianne too. I missed both.
  • Run back towards the village lap #1 – told a lot of people it was my birthday but that I wasn’t very happy at the moment. Of course I made sure to tell them I was 21-ish too.
  • Up the village hill – DEAR GOD. I saw black spots at the top and running back down wasn’t much fun either.
  • Lap #2 – Had a few side stitches but fixed that with some salt I had stuffed in my bra. There was also a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my bra too. Made my infamous Beaker race face. I swear I don’t know I’m doing it! I don't have a pic from Mont Tremblant but here is a pic from Kona last year.

10006915_10101139481791216_7234441044127629151_nPoint made

 
  • The village hill sucked again and I was on my hands and knees after the finish.
Overall it was a standard day for me. Good swim and Good run. Basically my M.O. I did the best that I could given all the lemons that life threw at my face this summer and the few weeks leading up to the race. Instead of stressing, I just constantly adapted and stayed positive and that’s sometimes all that you can do. My inner race voice has seen more entertaining race days that make for a more entertaining blog post but the fact that I wasn’t concentrating on clinching sphincters and wanting to throw up is definitely a positive thing when it comes to long distance racing. Post race…we lost Rob for like an hour and a half but I found him when the Sherpas sent me to go get poutine. I never did bring back the poutine but they forgave me because I brought back a Rob. Up next is marathon training!!! The last time I ran an open marathon, I blew up in epic proportions when I was on about 2:55 pace through mile 23. I’m out for revenge and still dying to crack that barrier (Side note: that was also the weekend of hurricane Sandy in 2012 so I like to think it wasn’t ONLY my fault that I blew up that badly. It was a tad windy). SUPER pumped for this!!! IMG_5319 IMG_5324 As usual, it’s always a privilege representing Team Timex. I’m incredibly grateful for this “family” and how much my teammates motivate me to be a better person and a better athlete. Big thanks to Tristan for always being there when we need something and for not even hesitating to leave the IM Boulder expo to get supplies to clean me up with after I ate gravel on my training ride that day last month (side note…while Tristan was getting hydrogen peroxide and bandages, I was the only one left in the expo tent answering questions about watches while bleeding and standing there in bib shorts (straps down) and a sports bra. Haha) <--- typical Sam getting off track rant. And lastly, HUGE thanks to all our sponsors: Timex, Trek, Blueseventy, Shimano, Powerbar, and Nathan Performance.
09:16
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World Championships, What a Rush!

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IMG_2692   Who: C.T., Mike Lavery, Ellen Hart, Sam Mazer, Tim Hola, Pierre Marc, Dave Harju, me What: 70.3 World Championships When: Sunday September 7th Where: Mt. Tremblant, Canada WOW!!! Ok, I'm out of "w's" so I'll get on with my report! Needless to say this was a fantastic event! First of all the location could not have been more picturesque. Plus, I got to spend some quality time with my rockstar teammates of whom I am a raving fan! In all sincerity, just being around the likes of Chris Thomas and Tim Hola makes me feel faster! 0796_013005 I was super excited to be back in action after suffering a concussion in a training ride 4 weeks prior. I had my bride as well as my in-laws along for the trip. The town of Mt. Tremblant was amazing and I felt as if I was in Europe. The people were incredibly friendly despite the initial language barrier. I carry a particularly thick Southern drawl so I'm sure you can imagine the field day the locals had with me!  We arrived on Thursday ahead of race day and had a little time to explore the area. We found some great places along the way and Marietta and I decided we would definitely be back. My pre-race workouts went well and everything was coming together nicely. I also managed to sleep surprisingly well the night before the race which is always a plus. Race morning came early and came COLD. The temperature was 39 degrees and we had frost on the front windshield of the rental car. Brrhh!! 0796_031743 Cold weather always makes race morning preparations a bit more difficult. The thought of getting in the water when my entire body is frozen was not at all appealing. We arrived at race site to see steam rising from Lake Mt. Tremblant. The water was cold enough without the air temperature being so cold! My wave went early so I got through transition as quickly as possible. The walk from T1 to the water was at least a half mile. We arrived at the beach only to wait for another hour. I ran into Hola before the start and he gave me a sneak peak at the most beautiful piece of technology to ever be seen on a wrist! Before I knew it my wave was called to the line and there were over 300 of us. The gun blasted and I was running trying to find my stroke. I very quickly got into a cadence that delivered me to the other side in 29 minutes, a personal best on the season! 0796_069522 As soon as I started to peel my wetsuit off I could feel the cold air. The run from the water back to transition was crazy long but it was good to get "warmed up!" I had a slower than desired transition but finally made it out on the bike. By this time the sun was high in the sky but I took my gloves just in case. The bike course was pretty much an out and back on a major highway. The wind was blowing all over the place and in gusts so there was really no headwind to speak of. I rode steady but again not as fast as I had planned. I returned to T2 with a bike split of 2:35 but was really looking forward to the run. 0796_004726 The run course was crazy hilly resembling somewhat of a roller coaster like trajectory, but I knew it would allow me to make up the time I had lost in transition and out on the bike. I kept looking at the mile markers thinking "already, no way..." Then I remembered the course was marked in kilometers, which kept me amused as I paced along. I ran up and down but felt like my pace was consistent. It was awesome to Chris and Tim and Sam and Dave and PM and Ellen and Mike Lavery burning up the course. Loop 1 was right at 45 minutes as I continued to monitor my pace via my Timex touch. I turned the corner after running through the middle of the village feeling like a champion (this really is one of the most spectator friendly venues I have ever raced) and headed out on loop 2. Surprisingly the second loop felt better than the first and I kept pacing. When I made the same journey through the village I was feeling extra strong and crossed the finish line feeling very good. My run split was 1:30:45 which has been consistent all season. 0796_021463 The finish chute was mayhem. It felt like there were over 20 languages being yelled back and forth and over my head. I slowed to a walk and then my legs started to scream! I saw Hola again and we got a picture as I made my way through the food line. Finally, I was able to spot Marietta and she gave me a big wet sloppy kiss! What a day, I had a good race but a 10:44 transition number 1. I never want to pass up a chance to thank Tristan Brown for making me a part of this team. I am a fan of my teammates and today was another opportunity to pursue my passion. Thank you Timex! 0796_060113  

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