2007 Blog Archive

Friday, November 16, 2007 9:45:37 AM

Treasure Island ITU Triathlon

Well, here’s my last race report of the season!

Pete and I took off for San Francisco on Thursday but bad weather in Seattle delayed us for four hours in Spokane. We still made it to San Francisco that night, just later than expected. We planned to stay at Pete’s relatives loft in downtown San Francisco. It’s in the back of a music school and the teachers were going to be there until 6:30 that night and we would pick up the key from them. Our flight was scheduled to arrive at 2:30, instead we landed at 5:00 and made it to the school at 6:28, just as the teacher was locking up. We weren’t sure what we were going to do if we missed him.

Thursday night we heard about the oil spill in the bay but it looked like the race start was out of reach of the oil. Unfortunately, with a couple more days to spread, the oil reached the race beach and it was closed. We found out at the race briefing that we would be running about 4 miles then doing the planned bike and run. This was disappointing since I’d been swimming well recently.

Thursday and Friday were nice and sunny but when I got up to run on race morning it was cool and overcast. It started raining mid race and didn’t stop the rest of the day. It was probably good I didn’t have to swim in the 53-degree water before riding in the rain. I would have had to keep the wetsuit on to stay warm.

It was hard to run fast right away, I’m used to a swim and bike warm-up. The race started out fast, I tried to stay with the pack but knew I needed to run my own race; I wouldn’t be able to keep that pace the whole way. Backing off, I felt pretty strong. By the end I passed a few people that went out too fast, entering transition in 7th.

Leaving transition, I could see two women ahead. Another rider and I worked together, catching them. We rode as a pack but were never able to keep a decent pace. We did 6 laps with over 20 turns per lap plus potholes, manhole covers, bumps, glass, gravel and crashes to avoid, all in the rain. A pack of four women caught us on the 4th lap. The interruption was good for me, I needed something to focus on. I started to get cold and just wanted to get going on the run, but they were riding faster than we had been so I had to work harder to stay with them. It was good motivation.

The run was 3 laps, all flat. My feet were numb to start so I couldn’t tell what they were doing. It felt like I was taking tiny little steps. Once I established my stride and felt my body position fall into place, I felt pretty good. I ate my raspberry Hammer Gel and was ready to see whom I could chase down. There were two women in sight. I had almost caught one on the first run and I thought with an extra lap I could catch her this time. The cool weather was great for me for running. I slowly closed in on the women ahead of me. As I watched the women ahead of me the closest one took off and passed the next girl. I couldn’t keep up with her but could tell I was gaining on the other. I passed her just before the final turn around. From there I knew I only had about a mile to go. I felt strong and built each lap throughout the run, finishing in 8th. This was higher than my ranking going into the race, something I always shoot for.

Although it wasn’t the race I was expecting and looking forward to, it was a fun race. I never get the chance to see how I can run without riding first so it was a chance to see what I could do. After the race Pete and I had a few days to sight see in San Francisco. It was a nice way to end the season.

I’ve improved a lot this season- swimming, running, mental toughness. I found positive aspects in each race. There was always something to practice and improve on too and that’s what really keeps me coming back. Hopefully, next season everything will fall into place for some podium finishes.

Now I have a chance to take a break but I’m already thinking about what I can do to improve next season! I’ll be starting my second season with my current coach. I think she still has a lot of tricks up her sleeve to cause torture in workouts and speed in races.

Thanks for reading and thanks to all my sponsors. You’ve helped make it a great season. Your support and belief in me has made it all possible. I couldn’t have done it without you.


Markham Homes, Inc.-Flights

Fitness Fanatics-Bike support and products

Runner’s Soul-Shoes


Hammer Nutrition-Nutritional Products

Axley USA-Glasses



Sunday, September 30, 2007 8:26:43 PM

Tinley's Tri

I got to San Luis Obispo on Friday afternoon and had to hurry and put my bike together and get to the race start for packet pickup. I checked out the course a little then headed back to San Luis Obispo for dinner. It was a busy day but I felt ready for the race.

Saturday morning it was really cold before the race. I attempted my bike warmup when I got to transition but it was too cold. Luckily I’d run earlier so I felt warmed up. I got in the water a little before the start, which might have been a mistake because I couldn’t stop shaking. Once we started I felt a little weak and tight but after the first buoy I started to feel better. I was mid pack and was able to get ahead of a few people on the second lap. I think I was 4th out of the water, which is one of my better results.

The run to transition was up a steep boat launch. I was able to get my wetsuit off easier this time. A little practice and a lot of baby oil can be thanked for that. I actually had the second fastest T1 split and the fastest T2 split. Five women passed me on the bike course. This frustrated me and I kept saying to myself, “I guess I’m just not that strong on the bike.” After about 20 minutes of this negative talk I realized that it wasn’t helping me and I might as well just try to ride as well as I could. I could still have a good race for me, even if it wasn’t as fast as others. At mile 11 I realized that my rear break was rubbing because the back wheel wobbles a little. Every time I put weight on my right side it rubbed. I opened the breaks and my ride got a lot better.

When I started the run I couldn’t see anyone and figured that they had a couple minutes on me but I wanted to try to catch a couple of them. I felt strong; maybe sea level was on my side. At the first turn a couple women where just about a minute ahead of me. There is a big climb as you finish each lap and I passed one women on each of the two laps and finished 7th. I felt great on the run and especially strong on the hills. It was nice to feel good after feeling flat at Pacific Grove.

I’m back in San Luis Obispo for the night. I’m looking forward to exploring on a bike ride tomorrow morning. Then I’ll get a ride up to Monterey and pet sit for Kim, my homestay from Pacific Grove. I finally fly home on Monday, unless the flight is full and I can rack up another free ticket…

Sunday, September 30, 2007 5:44:37 PM

Gasping for air in Flagstaff

Training in Flagstaff was great. Getting acclimated added a challenge to training. About 9 days into the trip I thought I was feeling pretty good and was lucky that I didn’t notice the altitude too much. Then day 10 came and it hit! I felt like I could barely get out of bed, let alone workout. I had to back off for a couple days but then felt pretty good. On day 13 I ran the Flagstaff Half Marathon as a long training run. The setting was beautiful. It started at 8000ft at the Nordic center and ran through the aspens on the ski trails. The course was all up- and downhill, so it was pretty tough. I felt better the few days after the run than I had since I arrived. Maybe all I needed was a good half marathon.

Whether altitude helps or not, I really enjoyed the change in training scenery. I think I might have been a little burned out if I’d been training at home when most people are finished for the season. It was fun to go back to riding out to Lake Mary and running on the Urban Trail. It brought back lots of memories. I swam AM practices with the NAU Swim Team. Things have changed some; I’m now in the slowest lane but I don’t get in trouble if I’m late or if I miss count. So I guess there are some advantages to having graduated.

I had a chance to catch up with some college friends, coaches and teachers. A few past swimmers happened to be in town too so I got to see them and meet their kids too. I left feeling rejuvenated and excited for the upcoming race. It was hard to say goodbye to Flagstaff and friends but I’m looking forward to getting home too.

I’ve had some luck in my travels this month, which isn’t always the case. It seems like it’s either really good or really bad for me. One of my flights was overbooked so I waited until the next flight and got a free ticket. I've been busy dreaming up my next trip before this one is even over. The same thing happened on my flight from Flagstaff to San Luis Obispo so I got another free ticket. But the best part has been that I’ve only been charged once for my bike in 7 flights, and they charged me less than they were supposed to. One more flight to go, I’m hoping my luck holds.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 2:03:59 PM

Hello From Flagstaff, AZ

I arrived in Flagstaff last night on a very bumpy flight up from Phoenix. We flew through some storms that had all of us flying out of our seats and a few people screaming. I was glad to be back on the ground. I was on a later flight than expected because my flight from San Luis Obispo was overbooked. I stayed there and got a free voucher. So now I'm busy planning my next adventure before this one has even began.

I'll be in Flagstaff until the 27th of September. I ran this morning on some great trails and reminisced about Flagstaff and college. I'm looking forward to the training at altitude and catching up with old friends. Off to the pool now to swim...

Sunday, September 09, 2007 6:27:29 AM

Triathlon at Pacific Grove

Pacific GroveAfter a couple weekends off, Thursday brought another day of travel. The time off was welcomed, but I was looking forward to another race.


Kim, my homestay picked me up on Thursday afternoon and we went back to her house to get settled in. She took me running on a beautiful trail overlooking the ocean that evening. There were seals along the coast and the water glowed a bright turquoise. I admit I was a little distracted by the scenery.

It was cloudy and felt cooler than 70 with the wind off of the ocean when we started at noon on Saturday. The water was pretty cold, the website said 58. The ice cream headache I had while swimming on Friday seemed like proof of that measurement. There was kelp everywhere and I was a little apprehensive about swimming in it. It was so thick that you couldn't really swim; you just had to try to pull yourself over the top of it without it tying your arms behind your back.

When the gun sounded I dove in anyway. I wore a wetsuit hood under my cap to keep my head warm. I made the mistake of putting my goggles on top of the hood, under my cap. I thought this would be good so that if my goggles got bumped, the strap would stay in place. They didn't get bumped, but the hood slid around on my head, putting my goggles at the wrong angle so that they were constantly filling with water.

I had a fast start and was out with a few other swimmers, but I couldn't see. My goggles kept getting more water in them until all I saw was a wall of water by the time I hit the first patch of kelp, so I blindly pulled my way through it. But by then I had lost the main pack and I had to keep stopping to drain the water from my goggles. I just kept swimming and telling myself that it would be over soon and the bike would be better.

As I dove back in on the second lap of the swim the strap on my hood came up over my eyes. I had to stand up and put it back under my chin and then fix my goggles. I could finally see a little and stopped getting as much water in my goggles. My second lap went much better and I was able to catch the pack again.

I came out with the pack and passed a couple women going into transition. Unfortunately, I struggled with getting my wetsuit off. My day seemed to be starting off with a lot of equipment failures, or maybe it was just operator error.

Once on the bike I started chasing a couple women ahead of me. I caught one, dropped another and then was caught by one. We worked together the rest of the race to make up as much time as we could. We caught a couple more women and one stayed with us until the end. The three of us made up some time on the last lap but couldn't catch the 3rd place women ahead of us.

I had a fast second transition and headed out ahead of the others I was riding with. I felt flat on the run though. In Kelowna I came off the bike feeling great, this time I just didn't feel like I could keep the pace I was setting. The two from my bike pack caught up with me within a few minutes. We ran together for a while but I couldn't stay with them. I started focusing on my run and running the pace I needed too. It was only three laps so I was able to mentally break it down into segments and that helped but I still didn't feel like I could get in a good groove. On the second lap I could see that I was gaining on a runner ahead of me. That gave me something to focus on as I tried to catch her. I finished three seconds behind her, I just couldn't quite get to her. But I made up quite a bit of time on her and was happy with my effort. I finished 6th overall.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 8:10:16 PM

Kelowna ITU Apple Triathlon

We headed to Kelowna on Friday for the ITU Apple Triathlon. Pete was flying in from Colorado after staying there to climb all week. I picked him up at the airport in the morning. Then he dropped me off halfway home so I could get my ride in before we left. We hurried and packed then went back to the airport to pick up some friends from Colorado that were doing the race too. Finally we were ready to go.

My parent's came to the race so I had a good support crew and heard lots of cheering throughout the race. My dad took lots of pictures so hopefully I can get some up on here.

It was rainy and 60 degrees, a big switch from Colorado's 100 degrees. I didn’t warm up for the swim, I didn’t want to get too cold waiting to start. The water was 20 Degrees Celsius, right on the wetsuit cutoff, but they ruled against them. I used stretch cords to warm up my arms while I waited to start.

I reacted fast to the gun and when I took my first breath I was one of a few in the lead. Usually I’m further back. I stayed with the lead pack for the first half of the first lap, longer than usual. Then I got cold and tightened up. I couldn’t stay with the pack but I came out of the water about the same distance back as I usually do. It’s encouraging that I now have more speed at the beginning.

The bike course had a pretty good climb that I was able to use to my advantage. I caught two girls on it the first time and dropped one of them the second time around. It was cold on the descents and by the end I couldn’t really use my fingers, which was a problem when I reached transition.

I racked my bike and reached for my shoes and they were gone! I didn’t know who would be wearing my shoes but then I saw them further down the rack. Someone must have run over them with their bike and dragged them away. I grabbed them but when I tried to put them on, my fingers wouldn’t work. It wasn’t the smoothest transition and I had some people from my pack to catch.

Having runners ahead of me and within reach was motivating. I’d outrun them in the last few races and set out to do it again. I passed the three from my pack in the first mile. Then I could see another girl and started to chase. I was feeling really good and pick up my pace each lap. I passed her at the end of the second lap. There wasn’t anyone else out ahead that I could see and chase. I kept pushing the pace to challenge myself. I finished 5th and ran a 37:35, one of my fastest splits.

After the race we sat around in the rain watching the awards then packed up and started driving home. We went home through Pentictin, a very pretty drive. We stopped at the only restaurant we could find in Oroville, where we were ignored for over a half hour before they finally seated us. Had they known they had 3 starving triathletes on their hands they might have been more attentive. Dinner was good though when it finally came.

We camped on some deserted road near Tonasket then drove the rest of the way home Monday morning and went directly to the Y to do our recovery swims. Kevin and Justine stayed with us and Pete took them to the airport this morning. It was fun to have friends to travel with and to be able to drive to a race instead of flying.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 12:55:15 PM

Longmont ITU Race

I just got home from a fun weekend in Colorado. Pete went with me so it made travelling a lot easier, it was nice to have his company and support. This was the first race he's seen this year so he was excited and nervous I think.

We had a homestay in Arvada. It was about 40 minutes from the race but had better areas for training before the race so it was pretty nice.

The race was supposed to be at 12:30 but didn't start until 1:15. While we waited it just got hotter and hotter. It was supposed to hit 100 degrees that day and it felt like it did.

I had a good swim. I was ranked 6th so I had a good place on the starting line. The 5 ahtletes to my left and the 1 on my right were faster swimmers who I would take it out faster than I could. This left me with open water so I didn't get beat up in the start. The swim seemed to spread out pretty quickly and I got on the feet ahead of me. After the first bouy the lead pack got ahead and I was in the second pack. I exited the water with the pack. My goal was to pass one person into transition and I passed 3. I mounted first and took off.

We had a pack of 5 that worked pretty well together on the bike. We caught the group of 3 riders ahead of us on the 5th of 6 laps.

When we started the run there were only 3 athletes ahead of us. Unfortunetly, that's when I really started to feel the heat. I knew I was already dehydrated, I'd stopped sweating half way through the bike. My legs started cramping right away but I still tried to stay with the faster runners from our group. It was a difficult run on a washboard dirt road without any shade. I had trouble swallowing any water but it helped to dump it over my head. I held my own for the first lap of the run but 3 runners passed me in the last couple miles. It took a lot of concentration and self talk just to make it to the finish, so I was happy with the 9th place finish.

Most of us where carried directly into kiddie pools with ice water. I couldn't breath it was so cold, but it helped cool me off. Even spectators where being hauled off in ambulances because they were passing out in the heat. The next race should be easier in the heat now that I know I can make it in those conditions.

I didn't fly out until Monday night so Pete and I drove to Rocky Mountain National Park and did some sightseeing. With the elevation and the race before, I didn't have a lot of energy for hiking but it was fun to see.

Thursday, August 09, 2007 3:36:40 PM

Drummondville ITU Race

My race in Drummondville went well, I placed 10th. It didn’t start until 11:40. I took a race bus there from the race hotel and then had some time to sit around and stretch before we could register. For once I didn’t run out of time to fit everything in before the race started. I felt like I got a pretty good bike and swim warm up and was ready to go.

The swim was rough ahead of me. I could see a lot of people on top of each other. I stayed just behind the first crowd and didn’t get too beat up. I was in the second pack on the swim and felt pretty good. It was a two loop swim. We exited the water after the first lap and ran around a cone on the beach then dove back in for the second lap. The sand was deeper than I expected and hard to run in. I hurried to stay with my pack and had to sprint after diving in to stay with them.

My goal was to practice staying on the feet ahead of me, not loosing sight of them or leading my pack the whole time. I was able to do this but it put me at the back of the pack when we exited the water. I had trouble getting past a couple of slower runners going into transition and getting on our bikes. This set me back because I missed the chase pack on the bike. Next time I’ll remember that if I’m going to come out at the back I need to really sprint in transition.

I felt pretty good on the bike but rode most of the race alone, trying desperately to catch the pack. Unfortunately, they were working well together and going faster than I could go on my own or working with one other person. I slowly lost more time on the pack and by the end was about a minute and a half back.

When I started the run I was feeling a little frustrated since it seemed like the race was pretty much already decided. I tried to increase my pace for the first half of the first lap and told myself that I would try to catch one person. As I got going I felt pretty good and was able to surge a few times in each lap. I passed one girl from the pack ahead of me and was gaining on a couple others. As I turned on the last lap I saw two girls gaining on me. I pushed myself the last lap and stayed ahead of them, but it was closer than I would have liked. I beat one by 7 seconds and the other by 17 seconds.

I had a great homestay for the race. Claude was helping with the race and he and his girlfriend Isabelle cheered me on the whole time. He also rode with me and showed me the course before the race. Beatrice, Claude’s daughter humored me and watched a movie with me in English instead of French. She was learning English in school and was fluent, where my French is limited to Merci.

After the race I went home with a friend from the race that lived in Montreal. We had dinner with her family and walked around the Old Port in Montreal. It’s like being in France. There were lots of street performers and crowds everywhere. We went to a Crepe restaurant with live jazz music. It was a fun way to end the trip.

Thursday, July 26, 2007 8:42:03 AM

New York City Triathlon

I was up at 3 on race morning to get my run in and eat before riding over to the transition area. If you're going to try to run on the streets of New York, 3am is the time to do it, it's a lot less crowded.

The swim start is a mile upstream on the Hudson so you have to walk up there from transition before the start. Just when I was going to start walking there the officials came around to check helmets. Mine didn't have the sticker they wanted to see so they said it wasn't legal, even though it's been fine in every other race. I had to run over to the other transition area and buy one from the bike shop that was set up there. Not really something I wanted to have to do right before the race.

The walk up to the start took for ever because there were about 4000 participants and spectators trying to take one dirt path to get there. I got to the start and got my chip with 3 minutes to spare. A little hectic, but I was ready to go.

We started on a barge and as soon as we dove in I could feel the pull of the current and knew it would be a pretty fast swim. We were all together for a few minutes and my goggles got knocked loose but settled back into place. A group of 4 swimmers got ahead and I was a little farther back with a few others. I exited the water with one other athlete and passed her in the half mile run to transition. That was the last time I really raced with anyone the rest of the race.

I rode the bike alone and could only see where the other riders where at the turn around. On the run I was able to pass guys that had passed me on the bike but I never saw any of the other women I was racing. The run went from the Hudson over to Central Park and around the park. It was a pretty hilly course, but I felt really strong. There where lots of spectators and the cheering helped get me to the finish.

After finishing and getting a massage we took a Pedicab back to the transtition area to get our bikes. I felt like I was getting the full NYC experience riding in one of those. The race was the Championship for Physically Challanged Athletes. As we waited to cross into transition I watched several of these athletes start on their runs. It was so inspiring to see them challanging themselves. I started to feel like I really hadn't accomplished anything in my race, compared to what they go through to finish.

Friday, July 20, 2007 11:00:44 AM

Pre NYC Tri

I drove from Geneva on Monday morning with another triathlete, Becky. We are both doing the NYC Tri on Sunday. We took our time getting to New Jersey. The drive was really pretty we stopped and swam in a river along the way and saw where Woodstock was. I was planning on travelling alone, it was great to find someone to travel with.

We have been staying in Tenefly, NJ with a family of triathletes. They have been so accommodating, setting up places for us to train and feeding us great food. Tonight we are going to a Yankees game.

Sunday morning we will be up at 3 to get across the river and get ready for the race which starts before 6. It will be nice to start early before it gets too warm. The swim should be fast, it's downstream in the Hudson. I'm really looking forward to the bike since it is non-drafting so I will have a chance to see how I compare to other athletes. Last time I did this race the run was several loops, this time we get to run around Central Park.

I'm off for now, I'll let you know how it goes...

Friday, July 20, 2007 10:48:09 AM

Musselman Triathlon

I've been meaning to put an update on here for a long time and am finally getting to it. I didn't race too much until this month. I raced the Hololulu Tri in May and the Blue Lake Tri in Troutdale, OR in June. Now things are getting busy.

I did the Musselman Triathlon in Geneva, NY on Saturday. It was a great race, well organized and a nice course. It was a 3pm race, which is a little unusual but I ended up liking it. It was nice sleep in a little.

The swim was a deep water start in pretty choppy water. My stroke felt pretty good and I stayed with a better pack this time than in Hawaii. I came out with a group of 6 ot 7 and we had a prety good pack with a few people helping pull. We picked up some other riders but couldn't catch the lead pack.

I was happy with my run. I was able to stay with two other runners that are usually faster than me for the first 3 miles. My run is improving with each race and I'm enjoying the run leg more than in the past. I passed a couple people on the run and got passed by a couple with a half mile left but I couldn't stay with them. I finished 10th.

I met a really nice couple in Geneva who are friends of my relatives. They took us to Watkins Glen State Park where we hiked through a beautiful canyon with waterfalls. Afterwards we had a cookout at their house with fresh corn and apple pie. It was a great way to see more of Geneva and really nice to have a home cooked meal.

Monday, April 02, 2007 4:44:35 PM

Back at it

I was in Chula Vista at the Olympic Training Center for a training camp in March and got sick the last week. When I got home a week ago I had lighter week, building back to normal as I tried to recover. I think I'm back on track now and I'm excited to be training again. I'm seeing benefits in the pool and running from the hard work put in at the camp. After laying on the couch for a week I appreciate the workouts I get to do even more. It's nice to have a new perspective to help motivate.