Some Ramblings about First Semester…

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Some Ramblings..
I haven’t posted as much the last half of the year. My focus was getting Daphnie off to college about the time I went to AG Nationals. Nationals, by the way was a train wreck. The “all systems go” was that the body was recovering but I had one of my worst performances. Two weeks later I showed up to HyVee US Championships and performance improved enough to squeak in the top 10 and in the money, but still could tell my body wasn’t 100 percent yet. I am glad 2014 season is behind me and I have made much needed changes and direction.

Academic Awards Assembly at Highlands Ranch High School

Academic Awards Assembly

I came across something on Facebook that said ” I don’t have to prove myself to anybody, I’m 44″  It resonates with me because I have those exact thoughts. This statement was from Bob Kennedy, an ex-distance star that is taking it slower these days. What does that mean? He has kids, work and other things that are important as well. Running is not his world anymore. He has many things he likes to partake in and really doesn’t care what others think about his slower times.

Flight to NXN in Arizona

Flight to NXN in Arizona

At 41, I accepted the fact that I can not train like I could in my 30’s. My body demanded more recovery than ever before. I reflect at how having my first child at age 25 was PERFECT. I was 39 when she entered High School and that is when I moved my training and racing a notch down on the priority list and guess what, I had to physiologically anyway.  I wanted to be present for everything and support her endeavors and emotional growth into young adulthood. At 43 now, I have a freshman, a senior, and a freshman. I’m the Mamma. I have the support of my husband but these girls want and need their Mamma for EVERYTHING. I happen to love this. I have become an even more efficient texter and snapchatter as my Daphnie and I have ongoing dialog all day long sprinkled with phone calls and face-times or cyber meetings at Walgreens to help her select foundation color. We end our days with “Good Night, I love You’s” and we text upon awaking. I send packages and write her letters. It sounds as though she is the only one in her friend group that checks her mailbox regularly. I wonder why? The time commitment to her has not changed because she in Utah. I’m not sure I anticipated this but it’s all good. Amidst this, I am in my final months at home with Darbie. Senior year is crazy and I get two of them back to back! I am cramming in all of life’s lessons I haven’t gotten to yet with her, as we share a lot of emotion together preparing her to leave the nest. We sprinkle in the young Demi as she is just starting her HS journey and will soon be sister-less at home.

A weekend with Daphnie

A weekend with Daphnie

As I reflect back over the last months, I’ve made it through the first semester of college, first semester of senior year and first semester of freshman year. I’ve also recovered physically from last season and am on a good training plan into 2015. I am in the water more consistently, getting a good strength foundation and have had a 5.5% increase in FTP on the bike in 5 weeks. I want to be the best athlete I can be with the hours I give to the sport, but I am not willing to give more hours to the sport to be better. The balance is working for me. I’m doing what makes me the happiest right now. With age comes priceless wisdom. Getting older does have some benefits.

Another Trainer Ride in the Bat Cave

Another Trainer Ride in the Bat Cave

I am looking forward to getting all my babies under my wings for the holiday. T-5 days! Stay tuned for announcements of sponsors and race schedule coming in the New Year! Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah; to what ever you celebrate! Enjoy your training. =)

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!


The Rut filled with 70.3 Worldy Bobcats

Posted in Racing by

What the hell is this going to be about ? I know that’s what you’re thinking. Well, I got a little lazy, so here’s a little late season racing recap.



My racing binge began in early September with 70.3 worlds where I was gunning for a top-5 age group finish. I kept myself in the game with a 28′ minute swim, that was possibly my best in a few years. Onto the bike is where things got interesting. It was pretty clean for the first 10k, after which, it was total chaos. I was overtaken by Dudes Riding A Fine Timetrial Echelon Rather Swiftly, or for short, D.R.A.F.T.E.R.S. , who powered on ahead and grew their troop with every passing kilometer. By 20k the road ahead was so congested, at times the peleton was at least 1/2 mile long. With no options to pass, I sat a ways behind and impatiently waited for an opportunity. And waited. And waited….

At 50k the large group came to a slow crawl at the base of a long steep climb. With all rules on the bike seemingly being disregarded by those around me, I snuck down the right shoulder and launched a full on attack. A few D.R.A.F.T.E.R.S. attempted to latch on to my stealthy mountain acceleration, but must have been slowed  by the heavy load of all that cheating weighing their conscience. For the rest of the ride, I put my head down and hammered. Not the best pacing strategy, but I was desperate to make up for lost time. Bike time was 2:14. Could have been worse.

Starting the run, my legs were so full of lactate, I couldn’t even feel them. They were numb. Goal pace was under 4′ per km, and even after tearing myself to bits on the bike, it wasnt turning out to be a problem. I steadily ticked off the miles and was feeling pretty damn good. With about 3km to go, an epic Iron-War esque battle ensued between myself and a fellow age group competitor, who informed me we were 4th and 5th on the road. With a potential podium in the works, I kicked things up a notch, dropped my opponent on the final climb into town, and crossed the line in 4:10, with a 1:21 run. BOOM! Hell yeah! I did it!

…and then it turns out I got 12th. Whuu Whaa, but I had a great race and did the best I could give the situation on course.


After a week of recovery, I was still totally destroyed from the race in Mt. Tremblant, but it was time for my next race on the schedule, The Rut 12k in Big Sky, Montana. The Rut is only in its second year, but already draws a world-class field of the best mountain runners out there.  The main spectacle of the weekend is the 50k run (maybe next year), but I am a baby, so chose to do the 12k instead.



On my 30′ warm up before the race, I felt so stiff and sluggish, that I almost didn’t start. The highlight of the warm up jog was being charged by an angry Momma Moose, that was standing with her young about 25′ off the side of the road. I’m pretty sure a passing car was the only thing that saved my a$$. This event also took care of my pre race bowel movement.

The race itself was approximately 5 miles and 2000 feet of up (seems to be my thang, lately), followed by about 2.5 miles of steep downhill (not my thing. Ever.) I shot out to an early lead and then held on for dear life. Over my heavy breathing, I could hear unseen creatures running through the woods (hopefully in the opposite direction) as they caught wind of me approaching.

I crested the top of the mountain first, but unfortunately high-viz dude (on the left of the picture) was right on my heels and soon dropped me like a dirty shirt. The downhill ducked in and out of heavy timber, and with only a half mile to go, as far as I could see, my second place was looking pretty safe. I managed to limit the carnage to one butt slide, but unfortunately, it came with photographic documentation.

As I entered the final stretch on cruise control, the announcer shouted out “looks like we have quite a race for second and third here…”….What?  A quick glance over my shoulder revealed Dan Campbell (former Olympian, who seems to generate his own gravity) about 10ft behind me. Thankfully the last 100m was fairly flat, and I was able to hold onto second place by 3 seconds.


Onto the next adventure, the first annual Bozeman Bobcat Sprint Tri. A nice little 1000 yrd/20k/5k sprint race held at Montana State University, presumably to rival the famous “Griz” Tri at University of Montana in Missoula. The day before the race, I did some real manly stuff, like mowing the lawn, moving rocks, picking up stuff with a pitchfork. Race morning, my arms have never been sorererer. I wasnt exactly sure how I was going to finish the swim in a timely manner, but what did I have to lose?

My heat started at 11am, in the Montana State pool. Things started out well, but the first issue of the day soon arose – I was bored out of my mind. I hate long swim intervals in the pool. Even the adrenaline of racing couldn’t take the edge off. Plus, my arms where sore as all hell (from doing manly stuff). So I did what anyone would do in the situation, stopped for a chat with my girlfriend on the side of the pool, threw in some backstroke, took my time, etc. I got out onto the bike about 90″ behind the lead, hoping the others where riding Huffys with flat pedals, and I could make up some ground.

The 20k out and back is mostly flat with a few sneaky hills, and on race day, quite a bit of wind. I passed a bunch of people early on, but at the turn around, I was still over a minute behind the two leaders. Hopes of pulling off the win were fading, but my bike legs felt great so I was enjoying the hammer.



In T2 I got a glimpse of the competition heading out onto the run, but I still had about 40 seconds to make up. I felt like garbage for the first mile and was just hoping no one was going to catch me. With no one insight ahead, things were looking grim. Then my morale was boosted as second place came into view, and the lead was not much further ahead.  With about 1/2 of a mile to go, all three of us where running together and it was on. I made my move on a final hill and was able to take the win by 20 seconds. Finished the day with the fastest bike, fastest run, and took home about 500 bucks in gift certificates and merch! Glad I showed up!


And finally, the bonus feature – the Portland Marathon. I hadn’t run an open marathon since my epic blow up at NYC 2009. After 5 years, I had forgotten why, so it was time for another go. The first half felt great, although I went out a little fast. I chose not to race with a Timex GPS, which was a mistake, because the mile markers were all over the place, if not just missing. I’d run a 6 minute mile, then a 5 minute mile, then an 8 minute mile, all on relatively flat terrain without really changing my actual pace.

The half went by in 1:19 which was a little aggressive for my 2:44 goal time. Things held together until 17 miles, at which point the course went vertical for a whole mile, up a steep bluff and over a bridge. I shortened my stride and shuffled up the hill, but over the top, I just couldn’t get going again. I my legs were locked into a short, stiff march of death. I didn’t totally unravel, and still managed a 2:53, which was good enough to not get chicked, and represents my new “blow-up PR”.  Probably did a little too much racing leading up to this marathon, as this blog has chronicled.




Why it’s key to have a Tempo Run in your Training Program

Posted in Racing by
GPS RUN TRAINER 2.0 shows your HR/Avg PACE/DISTANCE to calculate the perfect Tempo Pace

GPS RUN TRAINER 2.0 shows your HR/Avg PACE/DISTANCE to calculate the perfect Tempo Pace

Racing a 10K can help you establish the perfect Tempo Pace when training so your HR lowers as well as your pace per mile each month!

Racing a 10K can help you establish the perfect Tempo Pace when training so your HR lowers as well as your pace per mile each month!















As a coach one of the most beneficial ingredients to teach an athlete and incorporate weekly in their program is a tempo run.  Whether you love to compete in 5K’s which may be around a 20 minute race effort or an Ironman which you are pushing your body for over half the day, a consistent tempo run will help you run faster!  Who doesn’t want to be faster?  I was just at my peak level of performance going into the National and World Championships.  My Heart Rate was at the lowest average with the fastest average mile repeats.  Now that I’ve taken 6 weeks off to recover and focus on non triathlete goals it’s time to re-access where my fitness level has dropped and train the body back into race shape so in the spring time I can hit another great performance.

The goal of tempo running is to increase your endurance and hold a faster pace for a longer duration of time as you approach a race.  Tempo running teaches your body to clear lactate—more commonly known as lactic acid—from your muscles. The technical term for a tempo is really a lactate threshold run, where you run right on the threshold of aerobic and anaerobic running.

How do I find the perfect pace for a tempo run in my program?

For my clients I conduct a threshold test with every athlete the first week when we start working together on hill repeats, but another great test set is a local 10k or 15k race that has a consistent flat terrain.  I chart the athletes heart rate and pace on each hill or over each mile?  This data indicates averages, maximums and recovery shifts with your heart rate and pace based on your current fitness level.  As you run faster, your body produces more lactic acid.  It’s that feeling of heavy legs, uncomfortable burning or that sensation of your legs slowing down even though you’re trying to maintain a speed or pace.  A perfect tempo run is when you are at 85 to 90% of your maximum heart rate.  It’s feeling that point when you are right on the edge of running at a hard aerobic effort just before going to fast and the run becoming anaerobic.  If you go too fast and become anaerobic “without oxygen” your workout is not a tempo run and you won’t be able to maintain the pace.  It just became another speed session and hard on you mentally because you failed to hold the tempo for 10 minutes and blew up at 7 minutes.  It’s ok.  Learn from this, ask yourself what was really my perceived effort at a 6:30 mile pace when I blew up at 7 minutes into the tempo?  Either slow down your pace for 5 minutes and try running 10 seconds slower per mile & finish the set or finish your mileage easy & try again next week.

Remember if it’s very humid, hot, cold, windy, your dehydrated or tired from stress at work or other training that your perceived effort and heart rate will be better indicators than speed for some of your tempo runs.  So always focus on your form and the fact that this workout is going to make you faster in the long run!


Hot, Hot, Hot!

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In case you’re wondering, it was HOTTER THAN HOT on Sunday in Austin, TX! With temperatures in the low 90s (in late October….what the heck?!) and my swim wave starting last, I managed my best race of the year! It was extra sweet to finish the 2014 season with a podium finish and a 70.3 World Championship slot for Austria!



Ok, so here’s the long and short of my race in Austin….

I often tell myself (and others) that I would rather be lucky than good. Unfortunately my mantra didn’t work out so well this time around. I arrived at athlete check-in on Saturday afternoon to discover that my wave would start last. Yep, wave #19 starting at 8:55am, nearly 90 minutes after the pro start! I simply reminded myself that “what is, IS” and there was nothing I could do to change it. The fact that THE weather forecast called for temperatures in the low 90s didn’t make it any easier on my nerves, BUT OH WELL…




I made it through check-in relatively quickly and then left to pick Marietta up at the airport. She had a prior commitment on Friday which required us taking separate flights. I was thrilled to have her with me for the weekend! I scooped her up and then headed for the hotel to get off my feet. I love late season races for many reasons but at the top of my list is SEC college football Saturday! There were 3 fantastic games on which made relaxing that much easier. Dinner time rolled around and Marietta and I found a good place nearby. Pasta with chicken and mixed veggies hit the spot and we were back to the hotel in less than 2 hours. Now it was time to sleep, which I have never been good at the night before a race!





The alarm went off at 5:00 and I was up into my race morning routine! We were out the door and on the way to transition by 5:30. Austin 70.3 is a 2 transition race so parking was set up to facilitate a shuttle ride to the lake. My wave went last so I took my time setting up both transition areas. After why seemed like a century, my wave was called to the water. The swim was packed already with over 2500 athletes already having begun. I took my place at the front left and started with an all out sprint to for the first 3 buoys. My swim has been much better this year and so my confidence as allowed me to start in such a manner. I settled into my pace and felt great. As I finished, I looked down at my TIMEX Race Trainer Pro to see “29:15!” The run up to transition was long but I maintained my composure.





T1 was huge and spread out and my bike was NOT ALL CLOSE to the bike out. I carried my bike out of transition at the advice of the volunteers. There were burrs everywhere and I had no interest in strutting with a blown tube! By now, the sun was high in the sky and it was hot! The pavement was rough, which made for an extremely uneven ride. I am so glad that I decided to put less air in my tires as there were athletes everywhere on the side of the road changing flats. Even after 9 years of racing, I still learn new things with each race day experience! At mile 25, I looked down at my Timex Cycle Trainer to see “1:07!” I was super-excited as my Trek Speed Concept was smokin’! I was doing everything I could to stay hydrated as I was pouring sweat by now. I felt strong despite the heat and began preparing for what would be the most grueling leg of the day. I cruised into T2 with a bike split of 2:34. The last 10 miles were tough with a head wind and a couple large climbs.




After a quick turnaround in T2 I was out on the run and completely exposed to the elements. As you can probably imagine, there weren’t too many trees in the parking lot of the expo center (which is where a large portion of the 3 loop course took place!) Fortunately each aid station had ice and I did everything I could to keep a handful positioned beneath my hat in direct contact with my forehead. I had dropped my salt tabs on the bike after having taken only 2. I knew I was WAY behind on my electrolytes so keeping my body temperature low was my number one focus on the run. Lap 1 was the most difficult part of the day. It was so hot, and the surface was a mixture of uneven pavement, gravel and dirt. Lap 2 was more manageable and by the time I hit mile 7, I started having fun again! I love triathlon in so many ways, but the run takes top measure! I found my stride and kept my pacing even. Lap 3 was a bit of a grind but by the time I passed mile 12, I was ready for the indoor expo finish line…


Austin finish line


The best part of the entire race was the minute I ran into the Rena and out of the sun. I crossed the finish line with a run split of 1:27 and an overall time of 4:38. I had no idea what my place might have been. There were 2 waves of my age group and 300 athletes. The run course we jammed packed and with 3 loops I just couldn’t keep track. My swim felt great as did the bike and I always feel strong on the run. My thinking was that since we started so late the results would come down to suffer management! 4:38 is not a stellar time by any stretch of the imagination but co spidering the conditions, I surely hoped that it would be good enough. After searching for Marietta in the massive crowd for over 30 minutes I finally found her and she showed me her phone. It was in that moment that I saw my results!!!




The first thought I had was, “dang it…I missed 1st place by less than 2 minutes!” But then I came to my senses and rediscovered my gratitude. It was a tough day and I managed to hold on for a 3rd place finish. I was also fortunate enough to qualify for the 2015 70.3 World Championships in Austria. I went ahead and took my slot to keep my options alive for next season! Marietta and I smiled together as she took a few photos of the awards ceremony. We went back to transition to collect my things and headed back to the hotel. After a quick bike packing and shower we found another great local restaurant and ate as we counted our blessings!




2014 is officially in the books. I am beyond grateful to represent such a world class organization in Timex. I am honored to have been given another season as a member of the Timex Multisport Team. 10 races stretching from New Orleans to North Carolina to Coeur d’ Alene to Racine to Florida to Canada to South Carolina to Texas. 5 podium finishes and a little prize money to go along with the hardware!




An incredible sentiment of thanks to all my rockstar teammates…you guys inspire me to go as hard as I possibly can! To Tristan Brown, Tom Schuler, Brian Daniels, Sam Martin, Brett Jacobson and the rest of the Timex family, my heart goes out to you. And to Trek Bikes, Shimano, Blueseventy, Newton Running, Powerbar, Castelli,…..you are the BEST in the business and I am honored by your sponsorship.



15 Hawaii Ironmans in a row (almost)

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Running along Alii drive at mile 5 or so.

Running along Alii drive at mile 5 or so.  Thanks for the pic Larry Rosa!

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.

Eric and I sharing a few Kona memories.

Eric and I sharing a few Kona memories on the expo stage.

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.

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.

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.

Excited for the swim!

Excited for the swim!

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.

Heading out to Hawi..the wind was not the kindest to me.

Heading out to Hawi..the wind was not the kindest to me.

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.

Keeping my focus in the opening miles of the marathon.

Keeping my focus in the opening miles of the marathon.

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.

Happy to be done!

Happy to be done!

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.


Thanks Timex and PowerBar!

Thanks Timex and PowerBar!

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.


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