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.
Leading up to Santa Rosa I had a good amount of time to recover from Coeur d' Alene 70.3 and put in a few weeks of solid training.
In Coeur d' Alene, I was not feeling great during the race and a few days following the race. I had some stomach issues, most likely a stomach bug which made taking in nutrition during the race hard. I also wasn't very hungry the day before or day of the race and I ended up feeling pretty bad during the entire race. After recovering from that, things started going much better.
I have raced Vineman 70.3 many times and love the Santa Rosa location (who doesn't??). I was unable to race here last year and I was excited to check out the new course.
The day before the race, I went to the lake for a swim, the lake is beautiful and the water is very clean and clear. I think we were all looking forward to this swim! I did notice the fog the day before when I was riding near the lake but I didn't really think about it being foggy on race morning!
At the pro meeting on Friday, they told us they expected the fog to be just as bad on race morning as it had been that morning. In which case, there would be three options; full 1.2 mile swim, if fog wasn't too dense, shortened 1k swim, if it lifts by 7am and if not, then a time trial start on the bikes at 7:15. We all randomly picked our number and start time out of a hat for the TT so we knew in advance when we would be starting and in what order, if we were unable to swim. I was glad it was well organized and we were aware of the situation before race morning but having a shortened or no swim is always a little frustrating. Especially since I have been putting in a lot of time and work into my swim. Not being able to swim was a little disappointing but it happens!
Race morning it looked clear when I woke up but as we started driving towards Lake Sonoma it started getting more foggy. By the time we got up the hill to the lake it was very foggy. I walked down to the lake and standing on shore I could hardly see the swim out arches. There was no way we could swim in that. We wouldn't be able to see the buoys and I'd def get lost! I was pretty sure there wouldn't be a swim.
It was very different having a time trial start. I was set to start in 3rd place. We were all 20 seconds apart. I think we were all pumped to get started after a 45 min delay. Starting out I felt great! The weather was cool and perfect for race day. It was great being near the front of the race during the ride and having others to pace with. I really enjoyed the ride. A lot of the course is the same as the Vineman, hilly with some rough roads! They brought back "Chalk Hill" and we also rode through the old run course in Windsor.
This season I have changed my bike fit a lot. Lowered the front bars, new saddle, new position and it has taken a while for me to adjust. I had to make some more adjustments after Coeur d' Alene and I wouldn't say I am 100% adjusted to it but it is improving and I felt much better during this race on my bike then the passed couple races. It is one of those things that will make you faster in the long run but may slow you down a bit while you are in the process of making those adjustments. I was happy with how much better I felt on the bike ride and my power was closer to where I need to be, not there yet, but it is coming!
Coming off the bike, I tried to make it a quick transition even though someone had tied up my bag of shoes to the rack when we were told we could lay them out the day before. I had them set up for a quick transition. I was a little flustered getting my transition bag open and just grabbed two of my gels, running out of transition I dropped one. I probably should have gone back to get it but I didn't. The run started out good, after the first 3-4 miles I felt like I could use some calories. I took the gel I had but I def could have used another one a few miles down the road. I did fade a little towards the end of the run which costs me a couple finishing spots. I think the ride took a little more out of my legs than I thought!
I do like the new course, I'm not sure if I like it more than Vineman but it has some similarities! It def made it a strange race without the swim but I think we all made the most of it.
I finished this race in 11th place. It was hard to tell where you were with the TT start. You may be in front of someone but they are actually ahead of you with time. It was interesting.
My next race will be Santa Cruz 70.3, Sept 9th. In the meantime, I am going to spend some time training in Boulder.
Thanks to my sponsors, Epixgear, Flying Fish Bikes, First Endurance, ROKA, LaRocca Injury Center for the support and especially to my husband for always being so supportive and encouraging me in this sport. (And for the awesome photos he takes on race day!!)
After Texas 70.3, I had a couple weeks to recover/train and get ready for St. Anthony's Olympic triathlon which is a local race for me. I felt like it took me a little longer than usual to recover and get going again after Texas. When race day came for St. Anthony's, I felt a little off. My power was quite a bit lower on my bike than I had planned and I felt like I was dragging myself through the run. I still did manage to do well enough to come in 7th place. Best I have placed at St. Anthony's and won some $. On a good day I feel like I could have done much better even though it was an improvement from past races on that course.
I took the month of May to build back up with my training, spent some time in Boulder, CO (I loved it there!) and had some great training throughout the month. I was def feeling ready to race at Victoria 70.3.
I've never been to this part of Canada, but I knew I would like it! It is a beautiful area. I read some things about the race, a hilly bike course and a run on a path around the lake. I envisioned the bike course and run a little differently, but it was a very unique race.
Race morning, conditions were pretty good, It could have been a little colder but at least it wasn't hot. There was a chance of rain but it held off.
The lake water was just under the wetsuit cut off for us pros (19.5C). I had a great swim and got out of the water with a few girls behind me and a couple not far in front of me. I quickly transitioned out of my wetsuit and onto the bike.
Starting out on the bike there were some hills, corners and turns. That pretty much sums up the whole bike course. Hill after hill, some decending into a turn or corner. I have some work to do with cornering on the bike and decending. I wouldn't say this is one of my strengths and it is partially because I live in FL and train a lot more in the wind and flats. For how technical and hilly this bike course was, I felt like it went well, even though it was not my favorite terrain. I did ride some of the course the first day I was there and we drove a few of the hills towards the back half of the course just so I would know what to expect. A lot of the course I didn't see, maybe that was better. I could just be surprised! I rode with some girls for the first half of the ride and we started to seperate a bit more towards the end. I came off the bike in 9th place.
I was stoked to be done with the bike ride and onto the run. Starting out on the run, the trail was pretty narrow, curved around a bit, some roots and rocks and mostly dirt. It was all in the woods. A few ups and downs. I felt like I was doing an adventure race! It was a pretty cool run. I moved into 8th place and I could see a girl ahead of me, for about 6 miles I was trying to catch her but I wasn't making much progress. We were practically running the same pace at that time. After about 10 miles my hips started hurting a bit from running on the uneven surface of the trail. Overall I felt like I had a strong run for this being on a trail. I ended up finishing in 8th place. One of my best finishes at the Ironman 70.3 distance. To me, this was one of the most challenging 70.3 races I have done. This was a competitive field of ladies and I feel like 8th place is an improvement for me, especially on this course!
My next race will be Coeur d'Alene 70.3 in a couple weeks. I'll be riding some more hills between now and then... I know more hills will be awaiting me there! :)
I have been a sponsored Epixgear athlete for 4 years and have worn a lot of their clothing, almost on a daily basis while training and racing. Here are a few of my thoughts on the Fit & Durability of a few products and any Improvements I think they could make.
The GoFierce Tri Top & Shorts is one I use often in training, I have even raced in the shorts.
The shorts fit great, they do not come up too high on my waist and they don’t ride up when you are riding and what I like most are the open mesh pockets on each side, where I can fit a couple gels or anything else I need to bring with me, especially in the summer when it is hot and I don’t wear a jersey top I still have some pockets that are easy to access while riding or running.
I have had these shorts and top for over 2 years now. They have faded a little bit that is expected with how much I have used them. They have not ripped at all and are still in great shape.
I have no complaints about the shorts but the tri top can get a little warm in the summer. I live in FL and sweat a lot- the top is a little thick. A thinner more breathable material may help. This top is a couple years old and the material Epix has been using lately is an improvement from this tri top.
The Custom Design Racing Kit is one of my favorites. I don’t prefer sleeves while I am racing and usually get the custom design Sleeveless 1 Piece Airflow Tri Suit.
The racing kit is snug around your legs and torso but is not too tight around your shoulders. It is a slightly stretchy material and is very comfortable while swimming, on the bike and while running. The back and side is a very thin, breathable material. There is also a back zipper pocket + a mesh side pocket on each side. The back zipper can be accessed while racing. The side pockets are great for storing empty gel wrappers during a race so you don’t get a penalty for littering!
I have used my racing kits all season and never had it rip or any problems with the zippers. The material holds up very well and they look the same as when I first got them.
Since the custom design racing kit is custom made for and by you, I really don’t have any improvements I would like to see. I really like the new improved air flow material on the back and sides. Keeps you cool while racing. You can pick your own colors, print and choose front or back zipper etc. Its a great racing kit!
Urbo Women’s Cycling Shorts and Jersey is one I use in training often. The cycling shorts are great for long rides. One rear zipper pocket on the shorts and the cycling top has lots of pockets and one on each side has zippers.
The shorts are very comfortable, stretchy and has plenty of padding that helps keep things comfortable on the long rides! The top is a lighter breathable material and is also a little stretchy for a snug comfortable fit.
I wear the cycling shorts and jersey often, I have had it for about a year and it looks exactly the same as when I got it.
The shorts come up a little high on my waist but from person to person the preference pry changes. The shorts also don’t have the mesh side pockets which are easier to access while riding than the rear zipper that is on shorts. I do love the colors and material on this one!
Since last year, I have started working part-time so I can focus more of my time on training/racing & recovery! I plan on pursing this sport for a few years and I’m excited to see how much I can improve and where I can go from here. Thank’s to my amazing husband for always being so supportive and letting me pursue my dream!
Change is always necessary in order to grow and I made a few changes at the end of last season. In December, I started working with Michael Lovato (Lovato Performance). I wanted to have a few months to adjust to a new coaching program before the season started. One of my goals was to stay healthy and have 4 months of consistent training to build on throughout the season. I have stayed healthy and have been really enjoying the training, it is going well!
In March, I went to Tucson, AZ for a training camp- I had a great time training there! Met a couple of girls on the team and really enjoyed training with them...the only bad part about it - it wasn’t long enough! :)
The week after camp I decided to race at Las Olas International triathlon in Ft. Lauderdale. They have an Elite wave there and seemed like a good race to knock the rust off! I had not raced since Austin 70.3 in October and I wanted to have at least one race done before Texas 70.3. I ended up winning Las Olas triathlon! I had a good ride and followed it up with a decent run.
After seeing the start list for Texas, I knew this would probably be one of the most competitive races I race all year.
Last week, I felt ready to race. I had discussed a race plan with my coach and I wasn’t sure if I could hold the power numbers I had planned on the bike and if I did, how would my run go afterwards? Only one way to find out!
Race morning it was a cool morning, reminded me of Austin but thankfully it wasn’t that cold! (I do prefer the cooler weather) The water temperature was 69 degrees and the air temps were around 50 and may have even dropped a little throughout the race. I really didn’t expect this race to be wetsuit legal for us. I didn’t know it would be this cold. I brought my sleeveless wetsuit just in case (should have brought the full). I was cold waiting in the water at the swim start, I tried to keep swimming to stay warm and was ready to get going! Swim start was a little rough, I had a few kicks to the face, I swam to the outside to get around a few bodies. The water was a little choppy with the windy conditions. I felt good swimming, I couldn’t tell what kind of pace I was swimming. I had a few girls around me. Towards the end of the swim I remember thinking I was still cold. Especially my arms. I got out of the swim and glanced down at my watch - I was surprised to see how slow my swim was and thought “what were you doing out there??” After a couple seconds I forgot about it and arrived at my bike in T1. I had put some gloves on my bike in case I thought I would need them. I decided to take the time and put the gloves over my wet hands or I would regret it during the ride. My hands always go numb when it’s cold out.
Starting out on the bike, I had the wind at my back which is always fun! I began to dial in my pace. I could see one girl ahead of me, I focused on catching her for the next 5-8 miles. Eventually I did, then I couldn’t see anything but a flat, empty road. I rode by myself for miles. Then a girl passed me, I tried to stay with her but I was pushing the power much higher than I planned so I decided to stick to my own plan and let her go. I rode alone the rest of the ride. It was great riding on the way out with the tailwind but I did keep in mind the way back was going to be brutal. Just before the turn around I could see the men on their way back and the beginning of the women’s race, it looked like I was a lot closer to them until I turned around and they all faded into the distance. I had a strong wind in my face for the next 28 miles. Finally I arrived at transition, where I realized how numb my hands and feet were. I could barely hit the lap button on my watch and getting my feet out of my cycling shoes before the dismount line was a struggle. As I ran into transition, I felt nothing because I couldn’t feel my feet. I tried putting my shoes on and had to attempt it several times since I still had gloves on my numb fingers and my feet were numb. I was like “c’mon feet, just go in the shoe!!” After what seemed like minutes, I finally got them on good enough to start the run. Starting the run, I couldn’t tell what pace I was running. I had planned to run off of my heart rate. I glanced down a few times to check my heart rate, I was about where I wanted to be. During the run I took my gloves off and as I ran by my husband and threw them to him. I was starting to get warm and after 3 miles I could feel my feet again! I felt like I was running a good pace and checked the mile times as my watch beeped. I planned to pick the pace up after the first 3-5 miles and really put in a good effort for the last 5k. I felt so good running I stopped looking at my HR or pace and just ran! Grabbing water as I ran by the aid stations. On the last loop I started passing a few pro girls and I was closing in on a couple more. The last half mile I was running as fast as I could, before I knew it, I was at the finish line. I didn’t even think to see what my run time was- I stopped my watch and looked up at the clock- I had a good race and finished strong! One of my friends came up to me and asked what I ran and I thought “oh yea, what did I run?!” 1:27! My fastest run off the bike yet...
I immediately went to the car and changed out of my wet, sweaty clothes before I started to freeze!
I really had a good time racing! I’m looking forward to St. Anthony’s triathlon at the end of this month.
Thanks to First Endurance, keeping me fueled during the race and during training every day, Flying Fish bikes for getting my bike ready for race day, Epixgear, supplying me with awesome kits for race day!
Thanks everyone for the support and hope to see you out on the race course!