What an interesting year 2020 has turned out to be. I’ve tried to look at this year as an opportunity to work on my weaknesses and have some uninterrupted training. Looking back on the year you can think of the ways you have had to change and adapt to what has been thrown at us.
At the beginning of the year I was planning on being ready to race in April and then things started to cancel and shut down. It was clear this year was going to be different. I discussed things with my coach and I wanted to continue to train, even if there weren’t races, focus on strength and conditioning at least 2-3x’s a week and put in some miles with a little speed work but not so much that I would be in the best shape of my life and have no races or that I would get injured or “burn out” before a season, if any, began. I wanted to be in good shape and when there was an opportunity, in little time, I could be ready. If nothing else, build up for next year.
I was ready to race in June, still no races in sight. At the beginning of July I got sick. I had to take some time off training. I was too tired to do much of anything. After a couple weeks I was feeling better and started to build up again. With no races and extreme heat in the summer in FL it was really hard to push myself with hard speed workouts- I did what I could do. I always have a problem in July/August because it gets so hot here. Even the early mornings is already 90 degrees.
By July it was beginning to be draining to go on long rides and runs. Some runs were not going well and I had been doing so good for a while. I also worked at the beach a lot this year and delt with the heat there as well.
I felt like I needed to get away from the heat have a change of scenery. I decided to go to Boulder to train, even if a race didn’t happen, I was going to enjoy every day out there, bike, run, swim, hike, disconnect from the news and enjoy not sitting on the beach at work and sweating! Thanks to my boss for approving some time off, I was able to go to Boulder and get in some training without being soaked in sweat! I exchanged the humidity for the altitude.
Thanks to Dave Gresko for inviting me out and letting me (and Paul for a couple weeks) stay at his place for 4-5 weeks.
I heard Cozumel 70.3 was going to happen at the end of September. This at least gave me a race to train for and as much as I wasn't excited to go back to the heat to race, I was going to try it, if that was my only option.
In August, Paul was changing jobs and had a couple weeks he was free and could come to CO with me. Also, my coach is in Boulder and has a team that gets together once a week for run sessions I could join. (always the hardest running ever- trying to go fast with low oxygen haha) I was also able to swim in some masters swim practices while there too.
When I first got to Boulder there was smoke from all the fires in the area and from CA. After a week or so it cleared out and was beautiful! I enjoyed every day I was there! We even had a snowstorm at the beginning of September and I haven't seen snow in a couple years. I was excited to have a couple days of winter. The mountains looked gorgeous with snow on them.
After the first week, my friend Nick Chase contacted me and asked if I would be interested in racing Bear Lake Brawl 70.3 on the 19th of September. It was the week before Cozumel and it would def be cooler than racing in Mexico. The only problem with this race is it’s at altitude. Fortunately, I was already in Colorado training at altitude even though it wasn’t as high as this race would be but I would be adjusted enough to be able to race. (not sure if I ever truly adjust)
Finally! A pro race in the US ! I was really excited! Professional Triathlon Organization was sponsoring the race. Since the group of people competing was small this race was supposed to happen as planned so PTO added a pro race to give us the opportunity to compete for a purse prize of $20k.
This race was in Idaho (border of Utah and Idaho) I could drive there from Boulder (about a 7 hr
drive). Paul flew in the day before and drove with me to the race. It was so great to see familiar faces and get to race again!!
Bear Lake Brawl 70.3:
Race morning was in the 40’s. It was supposed to be in the 50’s by the time we were riding but rain was in the forecast. I was just happy it wasn’t 105 degrees! The lake was very cold (high 50’s-low 60’s). Right before we were supposed to start the wind picked up and was blowing the buoys away. The water was getting rough with white caps. We stood out in the cold for a while. They thought about cancelling the swim, after a delay, they eventually decided to let us swim and kept it in more shallow water. Back and forth 3 times. Against the current one way and with it the other direction. It was a time trial start and I was starting 11th place. The swim was chaotic and cold. My face and fingers were numb. People were swimming into each other on the out and back, had to really watch where you were swimming. The pro men started about 45 seconds behind me and caught me. They all swam over me, someone even grabbed my ankle and slingshotted me back. Thanks guys!! I was having a hard time breathing (probably bc of the altitude) but I got through it!
On to the bike, I couldn’t get my feet in my shoes because of the toe covers and my feet were so numb I couldn’t feel them. Finally, feet in and flying down the road with a strong tail wind to start out, only to be stopped by a bunch of cattle hanging out in the road. I could see a cyclist ahead weaving thru the cattle. I found a small opening and they let me passed. The view from this side of the lake was gorgeous! Bright blue lake water and mountains in the distance with dark clouds and some trees changing colors. I rode solo for almost this whole bike ride. 35 miles in and rain started coming down. Light rain at first then it started pouring with gusty cross winds. I had to get out of aero a few times to control my bike with the disc wheel. My fingers were too numb to drink or take gels, I did try a few time and I had taken one or two before my hands went numb. The last 6-8 miles I started getting cold and shiver as the rain continued to come down. At that point I was thinking, just a few more miles and I will warm up on the run! I caught up to a couple girls who were also shivering on their bikes, came into transition in 4th place. (2:20 on the bike)
Once in transition I couldn’t get my shoes or race belt on. I couldn’t feel my hands or feet and I was still shivering. By now the temps had dropped into the 40’s and we were all wet. Someone was in transition helping us girls get our shoes on. I just remember repeating that I needed help 🙋🏼♀️ Transition 2 felt like a very long time. I kept falling over trying to get my shoes on, I finally sat down and tried a few more times but nothing was working. I felt like a toddler who really wanted to go outside and play but had to patiently wait until someone helped me get ready to go outside! Finally, shoes and race belt on (thanks so much to the guy who helped me out!) I was off on the run, I couldn't feel my feet but I knew if I kept running I would be warm in no time. I was just so happy to be racing and it wasn’t hot! It was a long, lonely stretch of 6.5 miles out and back. A few miles down the road and the men were starting to come back so I didn't feel like I was completely alone. The rain had stopped and within a few miles I was getting warm! I had to unzip my kit and started thinking this thin air felt refreshing even though I was breathing heavily during this run, could have used some oxygen!
On the way back I could feel a drop of sweat come down my face. The last couple miles felt really long with a strong head wind. Finally, the finish line!! I finished 5th and was so thankful to have this opportunity to race. I really enjoyed this race and had a great weekend.
The following day I drove back to Boulder and the next day flew back to Florida.
Huntington Fall Olympic Triathlon:
I heard about this Olympic triathlon happening in Indiana, another race sponsored by PTO. It was two weeks after Bear Lake, seemed like good timing to race again. It took me about a week to recover from the 70.3 and I’m sure all the travel didn’t help speed up my recovery. By race week my legs were feeling better and ready to go again.
I had no intentions of racing an Olympic and haven’t done a lot of high end speed work, if anything I have done a lot more endurance work but it’s an opportunity to race and I was ready to see what I could do.
Another cool morning in the high 30’s but the start time was 9:30am and by the time we started it was mid 40’s. Water was in the 60’s. I personally like racing in cooler weather and was happy it was a cool morning.
For some reason starting this race I had some issues in the swim. I felt like I couldn't breathe and had to slow down and relax a little. Sometimes this happens in the cold water and for that reason I did do a longer warm up swim so my face wouldn't be shocked by the cold water. After a few hundred yards and missing any opportunity to catch some fast feet, my breathing was back to normal and I started to pick up the pace. My second loop was faster than my first loop but not fast enough! I was out of the water in 9th place.
Onto the bike I knew I had some work to do since my swim was not very good and I only had 25 miles to catch up instead of 56 miles! Around 10 miles, I started to catch up and after the turnaround passed a couple more girls but just couldn't make a gap which I knew I needed with some fast runners behind me. I was off the bike in 6th place.
I haven't raced an Olympic in a while and forgot how fast of a race it is. My legs felt a little heavy starting the run and I couldn't feel my feet again for a couple miles. My watch was not on run mode and I couldn't figure it out while I was running (yes user error!) The run was a 4x out and back with one short, steep hill per lap. I wasn't tired at the end of this race I just couldn't get going much faster than 6:30 pace. I feel like I could have held that pace for a lot longer. I am looking forward to racing another 70.3 at sea level! I do think I prefer the longer distance races but Olympics are fun and fast! I loved this course and the race was very well organized and marked. Besides the swim, I felt like I had a decent race for a short course race (2hr 10min). I enjoyed being out there racing again! I finished in 9th place.
With all the travel and having to adjust to the heat again in Florida (its supposed to be cooling down soon, yay!) I have decided not to race Clermont 1/3 pro race sponsored by PTO. I really want to but I don't want to do too much in a short period of time. I have a tendency to get sick and rundown if I do and felt like I needed a little more time to recover this week. I can't wait to race again and am very thankful Professional Triathlon Organization has brought racing back in 2020! Hopefully Tx 70.3 and/or Fl 70.3 will happen in Nov/Dec.
I am also very thankful to still have the support of my sponsors, Epixgear, ROKA, First Endurance, Outspokin Bicycles, Rudy Project. Also, my coach who has kept me going in the right direction during all these uncertain times!
This sport can have its highs and lows as does any sport or dream you pursue. Sometimes it’s not easy, but it’s worth it!
There were a lot of unknowns going into this race in Japan. I was a little unsure how I would do with such a long flight and a 12 hour time change. I’ve never traveled that far. My coach suggested I go a week prior to the race to try to adjust and get used to the time change. I was very glad I did because the first couple days were rough!
A week before this trip I wasn’t feeling 100%. I felt a little run down and was unable to complete a couple of key workouts. I was really worried about starting this trip off sick so I slept in a few mornings, and took a day off completely and rested as much as I could. A few years ago I would have pushed myself to get all my training done and pry would have ended up sick but I have been trying to listen to my body a little more and know when it’s time to push through or rest.
I flew to CA first and spent a day there. My uncle Frank lives in LA and I was able to join him for a bike ride while I was in town. I also fit in a couple of runs in the amazing CA weather before leaving for Japan.
After a 11 hour flight we arrived in Tokyo at 2pm. I was planning on doing some kind of workout/shake out run or swim when I got there but was so exhausted ended up going to bed at 3:30 pm and slept until 1am! It took me a couple days to stay up until at least 6:30pm and sleep in til 4am.
Tokyo was amazing! Everyone was very nice, even though it was hard to communicate at times. Most restaurants had English and Japanese menus and they have pictures of everything so it’s pretty easy to pick out your food! Lots of interesting things about Japan.
We went to the fish market which was pretty cool, I tried some foods I've never had before. Most of it was good!
We also visited some Buddhist temples, the Zojoji Temple was one of my favorites. The architecture was beautiful! A lot of history
We also went to TeamLab Borderless Art, I found that to be really interesting as well!
We spent 4 days in Tokyo before flying to Tokoname where the race was taking place. I was starting to get on a better schedule by that time but was always tired in the afternoons!
The day before the race there was a lot to get done. This race has two transitions but we were only allowed at T1 because T2 was at a school and we weren’t allowed there until the race. We had to take a shuttle to drop off our bikes and T2 transition bags at T1 on Saturday. They loaded our bikes up in a truck then shuttled us there in a bus. It took about 30-40 min to get the race start/T1. They inspected our bikes & helmets before we racked them. In Japan it seems like they trust everyone. There wasn’t even a fence around transition. I was like, ''ahhhh I’m leaving my bike here overnight with no fence??!'' It was still there in the morning so I guess they know what they are doing! :)
I knew this was a very technical bike course but you get all kinds of courses and I knew this one would be interesting. I heard it was going to rain on race day, I like the rain, cools everything down but it wasn’t the best bike course to tackle in the rain.
Race morning I caught an early shuttle to race start. I was confused about where the bag drops and pick ups were in transition. Nothing was allowed to be in transition but your bike so after the swim you had to get your bag, put on your helmet and race belt, put your goggle and wetsuit in that bag then drop it off on your way to your bike. It was already a 1/2 mile transition but it was all very organized and it all worked out pretty well. There were so many helpful volunteers!
By the start of the race it was raining. By the time we got on our bikes it was raining pretty hard but honestly, I like the rain so I wasn't mad about it. Each loop had 10 turns, you did 4 loops before turning on a tile sidewalk over a bridge, (the turn is easy to miss!) over some wooden boards that were covering some stairs along the seawall, to start the last 16 miles of the ride which had lots of hills and U-turns.
I came out of the water in 4th place, not far behind the 3 girls in front. My first lap on the bike was learning where all the turns were, how far ahead the girls were and where I could go fast. By the 2nd loop I moved into 2nd place, my goal was to catch up to the girl in 1st by the end of the bike. Since this was a loop course, for a while you could see where you were at in the race. On the 4th loop I realized I wasn’t quite sure where the turn was to start the last 16 miles, I slowed down and found the sign pointing us to turn after 4 laps. As I made the turn onto the sidewalk my front tire hit one of the rubber lines they have in their sidewalks and as I turned my front wheel to get it out I slide out on the tile sidewalk and ended up hitting a plastic barrier and went down pretty hard on my head. I just remember the back of my helmet hitting the sidewalk. I heard a couple girls ask if I was ok as they passed. I was a little confused at first. I was slow to get up. Someone had come over to me and picked up my bike. I realized I was ok, just a little blood on my knee and a bit dazed. I started looking over my bike. The chain was off and my brakes were rubbing but other than that it looked fine. I was just really confused and it seemed like it took me a while to even put my chain on. Another girl came around the corner and slide out and hit the ground. It was slick! She got up and rode off and I was still not back on my bike. I kept slipping every time I went to get back on my bike. I almost went down again! Very slowly, I got through the rest of that tile sidewalk. (Out of the 10 years they have had this race, this was the first year it rained!) I was very disappointed with the loss of time. It was going so good and I was feeling great. I thought maybe I could make up some time once I got going on the bike again. I caught up to the other girl who had fallen but still felt dazed. The course had a lot of u-turns and I took them pretty slow because it was still raining and I didn't want to fall again.
The run started off with some long uphills, hill after hill. I was like how many more hills are there?! A few miles in there was a really steep hill, it was a lonely run. I passed one girl within the first 5k and one during the last 5k. There were also stairs along this run, with the rain they were slick as well. Lots of turns along the way but there were so many volunteers directing us where to go you couldn’t get lost. They were all so nice, cheering and standing out in the rain all day! We ran through the school grounds as well and lots of kids at that aid station lining up for high 5’s! The most spirited place on the course! :)
Coming across the finish line I was disappointed. Not because I got 4th place but because I knew I was capable of more and had expected to finish better. I was also hopeful I could qualify for the World Championship at this race but it must not have been meant to be... I am thankful I was able to finish 4th and for the great experience it was racing in Japan! I know the fitness is there so I am looking forward to the rest of the season!
The awards dinner was a good time! Great meeting athletes from around the world. I really had a good time in Japan.
The next day they invited the pros who were able to make it, to visit a local school, meet the kids and participate in some activities and have lunch with them. The kids were so well behaved and respectful ! It was great to meet them and learn a little more about their culture.
Thanks so much to my husband for going to Japan with me and being such a great supporter! I couldn't ask for more, I am very lucky!
Thanks to my sponsors, Epix Gear, Rudy Project, ROKA, First Endurance, Flying Fish Bikes and thanks to my coach Michael Lovato, who continues to push me to be better!
My next race will be Santa Rosa 70.3 at the end of July!
It feels like it has been a long time since I raced a 70.3. I was supposed to race Indian Wells in December but was injured and unable to compete. I was also planning to race Pucon 70.3 in January but had to miss that one as well.
Since my injury it has been a process getting back to running. My calf healed without a problem but I continued to have hip and knee issues. I have spent some time doing Physical Therapy at Tampa Sports Academy and lots of work in the gym to strengthen my hips. I had to slowly work my way back into running starting with 20-30 min runs every other day. Running too far too soon would irritate my hip. I finally got very comfortable with 60 min runs and slowly progressed from there. I only had a few long runs before this race. I was unsure how the run would go. I have been swimming and biking a lot and was very excited to race!
Getting to Peru was pretty easy from FL, there is a direct flight from Orlando so the trip wasn’t bad. We did get delayed and didn’t end up arriving until Thursday around 3am.
The first day we walked around a bit, went to the beach, I went for a swim and a short run.
One thing that was really different for me here was the driving. The way the roads are set up, no stop signs, constant horn honking. We did not have a car but all the Uber rides were an experience! Sweaty hands for me!
Also, the dogs that roamed the streets were interesting. They just casually walked around, going on walks by themselves, not bothering anyone, they would even wander into the grocery store and be sleeping on the street corners. I wanted to take some home with me! :)
The day before the race was busy, as usual. Our pro meeting was at 2:00pm then I had to make sure everything was packed up and ready for race morning. I had dinner and relaxed. I slept pretty good besides all the horns and car alarms going off all night and dogs barking. Very noisy place and it seemed like Saturday night was one of the most lively. People were still out on the streets when we headed to the race.
Race started at 6:30am and transition closed at 6am. It was a 4am alarm, Sunday morning. The main road was closed since the race was taking place there. We had a bit of a walk downhill to get to transition. After setting up transition I went for a short run then headed to swim start.
The water was 65 degrees, we were allowed to wear wetsuits. The swim start was a beach run in for the pro men & women. There were a lot of spectators. It was hard for the race directors to clear an area for us to start.
The swim was straight out 900 meters, across 200 and back in 900. On the way out it felt like it was against the current. Salt water swims are my favorite and I felt right at home. Loved the cool water. There were two girls ahead of me in the swim and one passed me towards the end but I swam alone. Not ideal but I had a good swim, out of the water in 4th place mid 27 min.
The bike course was 4 loops on a 3 lane highway. The entire road closed to cars. It was pretty cool having the whole road to ourselves! There were quite a few rumble strips along the road. Thankfully they covered them in the first lane, it became a little clustered in those areas after the 2nd loop when all the age group athletes were on the bike course, but it worked out well with all three lanes. The road was mostly flat except for two hills each loop. They were short and punchy like Florida’s hills!
My bike ride went well, fastest bike split for me so far (2:19)! This bike course was similar to what I train on at home. Along the course there were beautiful views of the coast, big waves and lots of surfers... but you had to really stay focused on the road, some surprise holes and lots of rumble strips to dodge! I almost hit a few holes. After the first couple laps you know where all the holes are and where to ride. I came off the bike in 6th place.
On to the run it started off on some dirt terrain around transition then onto the boardwalk where there were lots of people cheering, lined up along the run course. It was warm during the run. I lost some of my nutrition including my salt so I had to go without it. First few miles I felt good. I did slow down through some aid stations to make sure I was staying hydrated. The 2nd loop did not come so easy. My legs were getting pretty tired by the last 3-4 miles, I was really pushing myself to keep up a decent pace. Maybe my lack of distance these past couple months. My legs felt pretty destroyed. The finish line was a welcoming sight! I finished in 5th place (4:24). I am so thankful to be able to get back to racing AND my hip didn’t bother me at all during the race or afterwards!
Thanks so much to my coach, Michael Lovato, who has kept me motivated, even through the months I couldn’t run and challenges me to go outside my comfort zone! While my run isn't where it needs to be yet, I know it will get there soon, I just need a little more time to work on it, injury free.
Im very happy with my first race of the season. I am planning on doing FL Gulf Coast 70.3 in Panama City, May 11th.
Thanks to everyone who pushes me to be better... Clearwater Masters swim group and swim coach Matt Hess, who kicks my ass 3 mornings a week. Also, AWOL performance strength sessions, getting me stronger!
Thanks to Flying Fish Bikes for keeping my bike in great shape, First Endurance keeping me fueled, ROKA helping me swimming faster and Epix Gear for the awesome kits I get to wear training and on race day!
As always, I very thankful for my husband who supports me and traveled with me to Peru, I couldn't do it without him!
Before Santa Cruz I spent 3.5 weeks in Boulder. My coach and teammates are in Boulder and it was great having some group workouts each week. The first week being there I was definitely effected by the altitude and everything felt really hard, especially running. I also wasn’t used to riding hills every day on the bike. The first 5-7 days were rough! After that I adjusted and was having a great time training. Hills were getting easier, long rides were feeling shorter and I could breathe much better on my runs. I never felt too bad swimming, just had to adjust to some longer swim practices, which made me a little more tired than usual. I loved all the trails and dirt roads to run on and there are such great places to ride, it’s always an adventure! Thanks so much to the Parcell's for letting me stay with them during this time. They were awesome!
Towards the end of of my training block I was getting pretty tired and a couple workouts didn’t go as well as they should have, I was hoping I would be rested in time for Santa Cruz 70.3. Sometimes you just have to trust the process! Turns out, I was feeling good by race day.
I heard Santa Cruz was a beautiful course and it lived up to its reputation. Of the races I’ve done in CA, I’d have to say this one is my favorite.
I knew last year they had a shortened swim because of fog and they let us know there is always a chance of fog but they weren’t expecting it to be too foggy race morning. I really wanted a full swim since they cancelled the swim at my last race and I’ve been putting a lot of time into swimming and was ready to swim. Race morning fog was clearing and you could see the whole swim course. It was a beach start, not my favorite but it went well. We swam around the Santa Cruz pier, I can’t say the thought of sharks never crossed my mind while I was way out there at the end of the fishing pier! The water was 61 degrees and it actually felt great on race morning. I was warm the entire swim. My feet did get a little cold but that didn’t bother me. I hadn’t swam in the ocean for a while so the taste of salt water made me feel at home. My goal was to swim under 28 minutes and I got that done.
The transition between the swim and the bike was a long one... up the beach, down a bike path. It was over 3 min of running barefoot, in a wetsuit with numb feet. Finally I got to my bike and quickly made it to the mount line. I got on my bike but could not get my feet in my cycling shoes because they were numb from being in the cold water. After what felt like forever, I got them in and was on my way.
I had a few girls around me coming out of transition. My legs felt great on the bike, breathing was easy compared to being in Boulder and the hills didn’t bother me. It was a rolling bike course, lots of ups and downs, a couple of big hills in there. The view towards the turn around was amazing!
They also closed most of Hwy 1. No trucks and very few cars were on the road. I was having a great time on the bike. Highest power I’ve had in a 70.3 - I knew I had been training a lot and even if I tired my legs on the ride, I felt like I would still be able to pull off a decent run. There were a few more hills on the run than I expected.
I had to make a couple more changes to my bike fit while I was in Boulder but it seems like it is coming around and I feel like I finally have my fit right. Also, I’ve been putting in a lot of miles and I’m sure it all set me up for a good ride on race day. I know I can still improve a lot on the bike, came in around 2:27 and for a course with hills I was happy to see improvement. I’ve never been good racing in the hills and I feel like it is starting to get easier.
Coming into T2 I tried to make it a fast transition, having some girls in front and behind me, always want to take advantage of free transition time! Unfortunately, my feet were still numb and I was having some trouble getting on my running shoes. Once they were on I felt like I was running weird because I couldn’t feel my feet. Right out of transition there is a hill and I had some heavy legs! I wanted to keep my HR a little lower on the first 5k. The 2nd and 3rd mile felt better, then I hit some more hills. Around 5.5 miles we started running on a dirt trail around the cliffs next to the ocean. It was beautiful but I was having a hard time picking up the pace in the dirt. We ran on the dirt for a couple miles than a couple more hills. Fortunately, the last mile was mostly flat and then downhill. The finish line was in the sand at the beach. It was a really cool setup. I wanted to be under 1:28 on the run but was 1:32. I know I have to get my run faster. I was a little off on my run. Now that I am feeling better on my bike, I think my run will come around soon. I will be working on it for future races! Finished around 4:33.
Thanks to my sponsors for the support as always and to my husband for coming out to CA to be with me this weekend! It was a great weekend.