Posted in Racing by

The Horsetooth Half Marathon is a local favorite. My first race of the season for many years.

In 2011 I ran the Horsetooth Half Marathon Course with Athletes in Tandem. I have run it every year since with them except 2014 when the snow and wet weather prevented the kids from joining the event.

This year I was grateful to be able to participate with Logan. I help him uphill, he helps with manage a quick pace downhill. Although there is a challenge on the upper body, back, shoulders and chest  pushing the stroller up the first 2 mile of hills, you can see from the course profile, lots of downhill. The tough part is the little rollers on the bike path the final 2 miles.

HT Half Profile

Here is a video clip displaying Monster Hill.

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My new Castelli jacket kept me warm


I earned the rest of the day lounging in my SKINS compression

Thanks Timex!


Ironman South Africa: Beastie Eastie

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For some reason, I tend to sign up for Ironman races that start early in the season, perhaps so I can guarantee that I’ll be spending hours indoors on the trainer. This year was no exception, as my first race was Ironman South Africa on March 29th.

I felt like I had put in solid training leading up to the race. I spent a week at my coach’s house in France getting some quality outdoor sessions, and I even took advantage of a few unseasonably warm days in March to go test out my bike setup. I felt very prepared and ready to race when travel time rolled around.

While getting to South Africa might mean a long flight (about 10 hours), it is almost the same time zone as Europe, so that meant zero jetlag. My flight left in the evening, and I arrived in the morning. This was an excellent setup for a long-distance flight.

After fleeing the German winter and arriving in the South African summer, I made sure to hit the practice swims and do a bit of riding on the course. Port Elizabeth is on the eastern Cape, on the Indian Ocean. It’s nickname is “the Friendly City,” but also “the Windy City.” It would live up to both of those.


On race day, I noticed that pre-race, the wind was not blowing at all. The weather was shaping up to be beautiful, which was a relief after a few days of cloudy drizzle. We were treated to a beautiful sunrise and apparently there were some dolphins spotted near the swim course. The announcer reassured us “so if you see something, its a dolphin, not a shark!” Given that one of the pre-swims was modified due to shark sightings and the start is on “Shark Rock Beach,” it’s probably good he pointed that out.


This race has two age-group waves, and I was in the second, starting at 7am. By then, the sun was already well above the horizon, so it should have been easy to see where to go.  After running from the beach, I settled into a good rhythm even though the water was choppy. The course involves one down and back, so we swam for close to 1500m in one line. What a change from all that swimming in a 25m pool!

The way out was uneventful and there was only a bit of the inevitable dunking and kicking. However, on the way back, I could not see any buoys for the life of me. Instead, I headed towards some hi-rise buildings and then re-adjusted once I could see the turn about 200m from me. It probably was not the shortest line, but it got me back to the course and I made it out of the water with no problems.

Onto the bike course and the wind. I should clarify – it is not as if the winds were overly strong. They were just coming from the wrong direction. The course is a big loop (that we do twice) that heads out west and then returns east. As you are heading out, there are some long climbs and a few shorter, steeper ones. The way back is mostly flat. The local saying about the course is “bestie westie, beastie eastie” since you can pick up some serious speed with a tailwind on the flat section. Unfortunately, we had beastie eastie winds.

I didn’t realize this until I had gotten to the westerly point of the course. I had been looking at my computer and thinking “wow, I’m making good time” for the climbs. I now realize that it was because I had a tail wind. On the second lap, those hills felt even easier. I’m glad that I had my power meter to keep me under control.

But when we finally turned back east for the second half of the loop, I then realized the wind direction as it slammed me in the face – the second half of each loop became quite the slog. I tried to stay in my aero bars, even in some of the slight climbs. Adding to the misery was the fact that the last 20km of each loop was on poor-quality chip seal roads. That just felt like an eternity and I was so happy to get to T2.

I headed out on the run feeling pretty good. A large part of the three loop run course goes up and down the main drag and there were people lining the route for miles. Many of them had set up tents and chairs, so it was like running through a giant tailgate. However, a few miles of each loop headed out towards the less populated university campus. That stretch was pretty lonely, and it seemed like the aid stations were never going to come.

For most of the run I felt decent and really enjoyed the atmosphere. Probably the best part of the race was the water at the run aid stations: instead of cups, they gave us plastic baggies filled with water and sealed, kind of like a water balloon. To drink, you just tore a hole in one corner. Not only were they ice cold, but you could also carry the water much more effectively than with a cup. I would usually take two and I could stretch that water out for almost a mile.

On the last lap or so, my quads were starting to really cramp up. As badly as I wanted to walk, I didn’t allow myself to think about that. Instead, I fell back to my default of simply counting to 20 over and over again. My quads really seized up in the last 400m as I was attempting to pass another woman so I had to slow way down before finally crossing the finish line.

In all, I was pleased with the way that I raced, but not satisfied with my placing. But I felt like I made big improvements in my race strategy as well as my mental performance. The entire trip was a lot of fun and I got a chance to go on a game drive and enjoy the sunshine for a few more days.

I owe lots of thanks to lots of people: my Blueseventy wetsuit, goggles, and transition bag were all top notch; the Trek Speed Concept and Shimano C50 wheels did their job in the headwinds; I relied on my Stages Powermeter to keep me from overbiking; the Skins arm coolers really helped to keep me cool and not get so fatigued from the road vibration; and my Timex bike computer and watch kept me informed. Also, thanks to my coach, Rich Laidlow, and all my Timex teammates for your support.



King and Queen of the Ridge

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On Saturday February 14th, was the annual King and Queen of the Ridge competition at Bridger Bowl ski area here in Bozeman MT. What is King and Queen of the Ridge you ask? Read on….

Bridger Bowl is a local, non-profit ski area, that happens to boast some of the most challenging, technical, lift accessed terrain you’ll ever encounter . The lifts at Bridger Bowl stop about 400 vertical feet short of the summit, which is only accessed via a steep hike, and known by local bros as “The Ridge.” As a fund raiser for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche center, the man and woman that can knock out the most ridge laps in 5 hours are crowned King and Queen of the ridge, win a pair of skis,  some serious sore legs, street cred, etc, etc…

The Ridge

The Ridge

For snow sports enthusiasts in the western US, this has been a pretty lousy year. I’d been hunting snow elsewhere, and had only skied Bridger Bowl a handful of times before this event, with 7 or 8 ridge hikes in my legs for the season (and like 10′ on the stair stepper). Since I’m just starting to get back into Triathlon shape, I was pretty much in over my head before things even started. This seemed like an excellent time to debut the new Timex ONE GPS, just for the sake of curiosity.

The event started at 9:30 am, with the last hike allowed at 2:30 pm. My goal was to be the tortoise, not the hare, see how the first hour went, and then come up with a plan from there. The first 5 laps went down in about 56 minutes, a little faster than I expected , and I found myself right in the mix of the top 4 or 5 guys, and, manhood in tact, ahead of potential Queens. I figured if I could hold pace, that would put me in the range of 25-27 laps for the day. The record is 30, but that seemed pretty out of reach without a full Nascar pit crew.

It was warm, but not oppressive. I stripped down to my base layer and finished up the second hour on pace nearing the end of my 11th lap. Boredom was setting in. Three more hours of hike up, ski down Sluice Box. Why was I doing this again?


Looking down Sluice Box

Looking down Sluice Box


Then the sun came out. Noooooo!

Hours three  and four were very difficult. The top third of the hike was in the direct sun and temperatures hovered around 1000 degrees. The snow became wet and unstable; like walking in mashed potatoes, every step took just a little more energy.  I struggled to maintain my pace, while two guys, in true “suns out guns out” form, stripped down to shorts and t-shirts, and were both able to lap me. I was stuffing snow down my shirt like an Arctic cross dresser, but still getting dizzy and dehydrated,  holding onto 3rd place.

In the last hour, the temperatures started to cool, and my slow and steady plan started to pay off. First and second place were starting to hit the wall. I was able to pass second place, but he was still an entire lap ahead of me and not giving up.

I ended the day with 25 laps, in 5 hours and 3 minutes, in third place. For my efforts, I went home with some sore legs and dark yellow pee . My ONE GPS logged 6.53 miles for the day.

KQ results




A little glimpse of the day in the first 30 seconds of this video. Some serious heroes in attendance, including Captain America. More images here



Baby on Board

Posted in Fun by

As those closest to me in the triathlon world know, the 2014 season was more challenging than any previous year. I struggled with motivation as I never have before. Not necessarily in training; when i’m in training mode i’m like a robot I just do it. (pretty woman reference) Although in races, I struggled. Sure I had a handful of solid performances, some of my best in fact. But I also had some of my worst; Boulder 70.3 I started, knowing I was going in fatigued. My confidence was so low I pulled the plug at the first disruption (less than 1 minute into the swim). Ironman Chattanooga I had literally everything that can go wrong happen and I pushed through strong until I hit the 2nd half of the run. At which point I completely gave up and just ran it in easy. I finished the season with an injury not able to complete IM Cozumel; severe shin splints. My coach, Curt emphasized that many times the body follows the mind. I needed a break and my body made sure I took it. (no running for 11 weeks) The struggle with motivation got me thinking, perhaps there’s more to life than triathlon???? NAH :) But really, maybe it’s time I take a break; mentally and physically.

Owen and I planned to be married for two years prior to having kids to allow time for “Just us”. As we approached our 1 year anniversary we started talking more and more about starting a family. The scale was tipped with my dad and step-mom’s visit in October. We were on a long hike in the mountains discussing the topic. I mentioned my instinct that conceiving would take longer than most for me. My sister-in-law lovingly recommended we start trying as soon as possible (biological clock and all). She and Gavin had my eldest niece at age 25 and loved their transformation to parenthood. After that weekend, Owen and I discussed and decided to start trying. No ovulation tracking, just see what happens. I predicted this would be a one year process at minimum, Owen knew it would happen right away. He was right as usual, we conceived the first month and perhaps the first time trying. As it turns out the way doctors calculate pregnancy (you’re already 2 weeks pregnant once you conceive) that would put us at 1-2 weeks pregnant during the weekend spent with my family, unbenounced to us.

We decided to take our planned trip to Mexico to celebrate our 1 year anniversary even though I was unable to race IM Cozumel. We adjusted our accommodation plans, no longer centered around the race and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly on a relaxing beach vacation. The whole time not realizing we were 4-6 weeks pregnant. There were several signs looking back on the vacation, which I subconsciously ignored. These included mood swings, heightened sense of smell, and a swollen chest. A skipped cycle is common if not expected for my body so that didn’t tip me off. The day we returned home I bought a home pregnancy test, both tests taken were clear as day. This is happening!

ultra sound

What’s interesting is if I could have run at all I would have raced that Ironman, but with each try running my body refused. I feel so lucky not to have pushed my body beyond it’s limits and possibly endangering my unborn child.

This is not the perfect time for us as we’re in the midst of a huge home renovation, plus Owen started a new job in October, but i’m a firm believer there is never a perfect time. We’re trilled we had no trouble conceiving and I couldn’t be happier to give up a year of racing to become a mother. So far I have still been able to train/exercise 20 hours per week (cut down from 30 previously). This includes little intensity and I’m enjoying more time in the yoga studio (yes Curt it counts!). I don’t know how long this higher volume exercise will last but for now it feels right with my body. Us professional triathletes are certainly not immune to the pregnancy symptoms, as much as I fight it I am gaining weight and slowing down swim/bike/run alike. Luckily I didn’t struggle with morning sickness during my first trimester, but I have felt the fatigue and insomnia which are common during pregnancy. I’m optimistic my body will return post-birth stronger than ever and I may even try to jump back in shape for a December Ironman this year. I am blessed with amazing sponsors that are supporting me through pregnancy.  Timex is like family to me, they continue to exceed my expectations as a loyal partner in sport and in life.

I’ve continued swimming most days, therefore my lane mates have noticed the changes in my body. Some of the best comments include;

“I know you’re pregnant because you don’t give a $hit anymore”

  • Jane Scott

“Are you baking?”

  • Billy Edwards

“I just thought you got a boob job”

  • Mike Bader

“But you’re not really a take it easy kind of girl”

* Dave Scott

Bump Progress;

5 weeks- Mexico

IMG_2904 copy IMG_2792 copy IMG_2746 copy

8 weeks- heading to yoga

12.19.14 side 12.19.14 front

11 weeks- post trainer ride

1.3.15 side 1.3.15 front

15 weeks- pre group ride

2.7.15 side 2.7.15 front


We’re now approaching our 16th week, baby is growing and progressing healthily.


2014 in Review: The Year of Focused Intentions

Posted in Fun, Racing by

Intention 1: Get my career ^&*( together
Result: Excellent. Re-entered professional workforce that continues to provide flexibility and adds self-esteem

Intention 2: Get my marriage ^&*( together
Result: Bumpy and almost crash-and-burn…. and then excellent. Really, we want the same outcome which is both a relief and some work. Celebrated 16 years.

Intention 3: Get Autumn ready to leave me (get Autumn’s ^&*( together, to keep the parallel structure)
Result: I have 3 more years, so I’m not manic about it. Progress. She is insanely responsible when it comes to things that she cares about. So, she is human.

Intention 4: Race short and local. Win the Texas Tri Series.
Result: Won — for my gender and age…. I’ll take it. 2nd overall female in the series. Consistently crushed by x-pro Andrea Fisher and occasionally beat by a youngster, but held my own. Podium every time.

Photos for fun, since really, does anyone really want that many details about my races or life in general?
In case you do, I’ll attempt to write something interesting between photos. The formatting is off a bit, and I have no patience to try to fix it.

kerrville 2014

2nd overall female at Kerrville Half.
Ignored all posts and advice from triathletes about being prepared and not wearing new things.
I wore new shoes and raced a 1/2 with long run of only 7 miles in almost 2 years. I kept telling myself “I am well, happy and peaceful” until it was freaking killing me. Then I told myself either, “Each aid station you can have coke with sugar” (I don’t eat sugar, so I was crazy wired and a little sick for days) alternating with “Your legs are so fresh!”

tri series

I know, you all want the Female 45-49 award. It came with a free dinner, which I missed because I was at a horse show with my favorites. Imagine that! Thanks to CT (Chris Thomas) for the best run-off-the-bike I have done in a long time…. maybe ever.


My female BFFs from college, less the bride, Tracy, who was unavailable before the ceremony. One of the most fun weekends of my life.



This is the remaining female BFF (the bride) at the shower, during the daylight portion of the evening.


TBH, this is the photo I look at when I want to feel good about myself. Good lighting and probably flexing. Thanks to Ben Greenfield and Dr. Eleanor Womack for helping me change my diet.


JAM (Juli Autumn Michael) in a photo together!


Favorites!!!!! (Simon, Autumn, Ninja)


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