Saturday, August 30, 2014

Walchsee Austria

When I race Internationally I really like setting up a 1/2 two weeks out from a full Ironman - better chance to pay for the trip, see more of the world, and set myself up for a great full distance race. I had never been to Austria before this week, and I've always wanted to race here. Enter Challenge Walchsee...

I think I fell into a storybook picturesque setting. The town is small, quaint and everything is beautiful, peaceful and quiet. I brought my Dad along for the Austria portion of my trip, as he assured me he is an expert at finding the best baked goods, and I just might need someone along to help me in this area. (We have had amazing apple strudel several times already.)

On the bike course.

More of the bike course.

Seriously - this makes you want to ride your bike, right?!?
Someone who is Austrian help me out here - what are the tall poles with ribbons hanging off them found in each town?

Three years ago I flew into Ireland and raced 3 days later. It worked then, so I am hoping for a great race tomorrow. If for some reason it doesn't go well, at least I have a ton of awesome Austrian scenery to look at all day!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Race That Changed It All

Want to win a free entry to this year's Ironman Arizona? Check out Boa's contest here to enter!

Here's my story about the race that changed it all for me, and was probably the beginning of a journey that led to racing 5+ years as a professional triathlete.

My Dad got me into triathlon, and specifically Ironman distance racing. In 2006 we raced my first Ironman together in C'oeur d'Alene. I had a mediocre race and probably would have been happy to have been 1-and-done, but my Dad didn't have a good day and wanted to come back in 2007. Training together had been fun, so we signed up again.

My Dad and I were probably the only two people who had no clue Lake Coeur d'Alene is COLD in the summer and they actually make wetsuits with sleeves on them.

Race day was crazy windy and choppy. I started the swim and made it to the buoy in this picture, where I then held on for a solid 3 minutes and choked up half the lake. I eventually decided there was no future on the buoy and might as well get the stupid swim over with.

I biked for a long time, and spent much of the bike being happy I had actually survived the swim and happy I would not have to swim again for a very long time.

And then I ran a fairly solid marathon for me at that time.

And somehow I earned myself a slot to Kona. I knew enough to realize this was a big deal and I took that slot. And then I was a bit overwhelmed because I realized I had to train for another Ironman in a few months.

Post-race flight home with my parents.

I went to Kona and got hooked, eager to find out just how fast I could get if I worked hard at the sport. I honestly think if I had not earned that Kona slot on a windy June day in 2007 with my Dad, I probably would have moved on from triathlon to another sport and definitely would not have turned pro. It's been an amazing adventure, and very fun sharing it with my Dad.

Share your story about the Race that Changed it All for you and you could win a free entry to Ironman Arizona this fall!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ice Cream!

A friend recently gave me the Paleo by Season cookbook. I liked a couple of the recipes in here and thought I would share the best summer one!

I love ice cream. I rarely get any flavor other than coffee ice cream. Here's a fun recipe if you like to make your own...

Serves 5, cook time 25min. (plus overnight to cool).

  • 2 (13.5oz) cans unsweetened, whole fat coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 1/2 C. Honey
  • 1 T. flavorless grass-fed gelatin
  • 1 C. Dark Roast Coffee Grinds
In medium saucepot over medium-low heat, warm the milk slowly so it doesn't separate. Once warm (about 5 min.), add the honey while whisking.

Continue to heat until the coconut mixture is just below a simmer (180° F), about 10 minutes total. Add gelatin & whisk until dissolved.

Once at a good simmer, pour into a french press with coffee grinds. Stir well and allow to steep 8 minutes. Strain through a sieve over a bowl.

Allow to cool in fridge overnight. If mixture is solidified the next day, allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Pour into an ice cream maker and run for 25 minutes.

Happy Summer!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Prince Edward Island

After racing I spent a few days on Prince Edward Island. It was beautiful. I ate good food, had some fun sight-seeing bike adventures and explored the island with my Mom. These are a few photos I captured...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Challenge St. Andrews Race Report

Challenge St. Andrews went onto my race schedule back in November. It was a race I was super excited about trying to win after last season.

I arrived in St. Andrews to find myself in a beautiful small waterfront town. Friday I swam in the cove in 80°F water.  We were assured at the pro meeting that wetsuits would not be allowed on race day – even with the expected arrival of Hurricane Arthur. I do not think anyone expected Arthur to hit St. Andrews as hard as it did.  The weather predicted lots of rain, but not excessive wind.

Friday night I woke to howling winds. Each of the neighbors’ trees across the street came down. We moved the cars to a location where trees wouldn’t crush them. All day Saturday I stayed inside watching as it rained 6+ inches, the power went out, and trees came down all over town. My homestay had several friends stop by with updates: 8 boats had come loose in the harbor and were either lost out at sea, up on the shore being pounded by waves, or stuck on a nearby island. The wind gusts picked up heavy lawn furniture as if they were toys, throwing them around. Trees were uprooted all over town. By 8pm the wind was still blowing hard. I can almost guarantee you if this race had been taking place in another town, it would have been cancelled.

My hosts’ friends and neighbors, basically a huge part of this small town pulled together, stayed up all night and got trees off the roads, cleaned up debris, and put all the large metal barriers back in place so we could race safely Sunday morning. 

On race morning the water in the cove was 57°F.  Wetsuits were mandatory. My main goal was to race fast and minimize as much time as possible between myself and Rinny. I figured if I could do that, I would be happy with my day.

I pulled Karen Smyers (racing with such a triathlon legend was awesome!) and Annie Gervais around the glassy cove and exited the water in 28:27.  Both girls passed me before T1, as I opted to throw shoes on for the ¼ mile run uphill to transition.

The bike is full of rolling hills. It’s beautiful. A large majority of the ride takes place on an awesome surfaced freeway that was shut down for the race. We had some strong wind to battle at times. It took me about an hour to get my legs firing, but after that the bike was my favorite part of the entire race – I was smiling, felt like I was flying, and just having fun. It’s funny – if someone had ever told me back when I turned pro that I would love the bike segment of triathlon as much as I do today I would have laughed at them.

I came off the bike in 2nd after 2:29.

Starting the run I was 4 minutes down on Rinny (I lost 2 minutes on the swim and 2 on the bike). Even with my run strength, I knew taking 4 minutes back on the run would be a near impossible task. I didn’t know how much time I had put into Annie and most of the run became about making sure I held solidly onto 2nd.  

Running through town people cheered from their lawn as they cleared downed tress. Much of the run has amazing views of the water. I didn’t feel spectactular – to be honest most of the second loop I wanted to puke. Some days running fast feels effortless – other days notsomuch. 

In the end I ran a 1:25 to finish 2nd in 4:28. Over the entire race I lost 10 minutes to the IM World Champ. More than I would have liked, but 2nd is still 2nd and I was happy to finish runner up to a world class athlete.

Peggy & Bob - my amazing homestays.
Post-race  Bob & Peggy had an awesome party at their house to celebrate, the food was fantastic and the company was even better.

We celebrated in style with a bubble machine!!
Elliot – the thought you put into my training & racing is so appreciated. We make a great team, thanks for pushing me, pulling me back and guiding me in sport and at times in life.
Bob & Peggy – thank you so much for opening your home to my Mom and I for the better part of a week. You made us feel so welcome and are absolutely wonderful people! Thank you for sharing your St. Andrews community with us.
Scott & Tressa & the Entire town of St. Andrews – your community is unlike any I have ever seen. What you pulled off by hosting not only an amazing race but also a safe race post-hurricane is something you should be extremely proud of.
Mom – thanks for doing a little dance on the course when I was in the pain cave running in 2nd. Along with taking care of me all week!
Zoot - fast shoes, flexible wetsuits, awesome training and racing apparel.  
Microscope World - my other great job.
Profile Design - fast TwentyFour wheels, aero bars and hydration. I love the Aero HC system!!
Powerbar - gels, hydration and recovery for ultimate performance.
Nytro - my local (but they sell all over the world!) bike shop with all things racing/training.
Extreme Endurance - thanks for helping me race back-to-back weekends and podium for each!
Rudy Project - great helmets and sunglasses, awesome colors!
Bont - best cycling shoes around.
Kenda Tires - great tires for fast racing and less punctures.

Friday, July 4, 2014

St. Andrews

I arrived in St. Andrews, New Brunswick late Tuesday evening, just after Canada Day fireworks ended. On my run the next morning I discovered St. Andrews is a fantastic place to host a race. Or just visit.

Water & beautiful scenery everywhere.
Quaint town and waterfront.
My homestay has an amazing garden.

View from my lunch location yesterday.

A hurricane is arriving tomorrow - and hopefully will clear out for race day on Sunday!

Monday, June 30, 2014

San Diego International Triathlon Race Report

I raced San Diego International Triathlon three years ago and finished a disappointing 4th on that day. I showed up this year prepared to throw down for a hard-fought win. I saw Michellie Jones before the start and realized my battle just got tougher, as I don't have a great track record beating the Olympian. My friend Rachel was also racing. Over the past five years Rachel and I have had more last-minute race passes with each other than anyone I know. Rachel is an awesome athlete and friend and I love racing with her.

The water was fairly warm, so I chose my Zoot sleeveless wetsuit. I lined up near a few fast friends and did my best to hold onto feet as long as possible (which honestly was about to the first buoy). 

I then proceeded to swim solo, pulling some straggler swimmers around the course. And as is common for me - arrived in transition and had no trouble locating my bike on the empty rack. I quickly put on my new Rudy Project aero helmet - and started my chase.

I somehow managed to rip my timing chip off my ankle along with my wetsuit. I was impressed that by the time I got to the mount line a volunteer was standing there with another chip to put on my ankle. 

The bike was a lot of chasing, not feeling like my legs were quite warmed up, and being unsure if I was riding really strong or semi-mediocre. I came off the bike in 5th over 2 minutes down on the lead. Honestly my first thought when I started the run was "Dammit I'm not even going to make it on the podium!" And my next thought was that I should just put my head down and try to PR my 10k since I've felt incredibly fit lately.

I moved into 4th within the first mile and could see 3rd, which was encouraging. At the first out-and-back I noticed Rachel had a good lead and Michellie was close behind. I felt very very far away from them at this point, but within another mile I could see Michellie off in the distance and actually thought I might be able to catch her if I could continue my current pace.

Just past mile three I moved into 3rd and could see Rachel and Michellie running together. This was the first time I thought there might be a very slim possibility I could catch them both and win. I wasn't sure if I would run out of 10k real estate first, but there was a 1% chance I wouldn't, so I put myself on the edge of complete uncomfortable-ness and ran as hard as I could.

The gap came down, and I felt as if I was flying. Right before I caught the girls I was completely in my favorite element of racing. The single thing I love most about racing are the scenarios race day presents. You can not plan them - they just evolve - and they allow you to push your body way beyond what many times you might have thought your limit was. Honestly whether I had won or finished 3rd in a sprint finish with these girls, I would have had a giant smile on my face in the end. Coming from over 2 minutes back to put myself in the mix of a real race for the win was thrilling.

About 1/4 mile from the finish I caught and passed both girls. I wanted to gap both of them and avoid a sprint finish, especially since I had spent the majority of the race chasing. Rachel hung on my heels and as we passed the 6 mile marker I remember thinking Easy Tiger!! 2000m is still a long way! Except I really, really, really wanted to win. So I put in a surge and thought I would rather throw up or blow up than be the steady-paced-smart racer. It worked.

I won by 5 seconds.

Rachel and Michellie are both top-notch, talented girls and I am honored to race with them. It was incredibly fun to win at home, with both my parents present.

Karl beat me once again in the swim (I am 0 for 4 this year!!). And I won my straight-up overall time bet with Lipke (who was behind me at the end of the run and got to watch the pass and close finish unfold.) I am grateful for the friends I have made through this sport. 

I got a giant fake check and borrowed a puppy to complete the experience.
A massive THANK YOU:
Elliot -  we won a race. Yay! Let's do it again!
Zoot - fast shoes, flexible wetsuits, awesome training and racing apparel.
Microscope World - my other great job.
Profile Design - fast wheels, aero bars and hydration. I love the Aero HC system.
Powerbar - gels, hydration and recovery for ultimate performance.
Nytro - my local (but they sell all over the world!) bike shop with all things racing/training.
Extreme Endurance - helping me recover faster and race harder - even come from behind & win!
Rudy Project - great helmets and sunglasses, awesome colors!
Bont - best cycling shoes around.
Kenda Tires - great tires for fast racing and less punctures.
Tomorrow I travel to Canada to race Challenge St. Andrews Sunday.