Sunday, May 27, 2012


I got to see another part of the island of Tobago today, but not exactly by choice. On my fourth of eight loops on the bike a car swerved in front of me. There was a concrete ditch to my left, leaving no bailout option. Rather than slam into the car, I grabbed a handful of brakes, launching myself straight over the bars. I somehow did a sprawling, semi-face plant, although my hands and elbow must have taken the brunt of the fall seeing as how much skin is missing from them. My bike landed in the ditch behind me.

My first thought as I started to remove gravel and rocks from my mouth was "ohhhhhh I'm going to look like a hockey player many teeth are missing?!" Amazingly none. Next thought was "Collarbones?!" Again - no issues! Did I seriously just launch over my bars, slide across the ground for what felt like 50 feet and end up with nothing broken?

There was a police man standing next to me and seeing as I knew he might be able to see better than I how much damage I had done I said "How bad?" (Of course I was still thinking I could hop back on my bike and be in the race at this point.) He looked at me and said "I can't tell - there is mud and blood all over you." Hmmm, where was the blood coming from? I looked down at my arms - large chunks of skin missing from both hands, elbow, etc. Oh well, that must be it. Oh, and right hip - my jersey was torn to shreds and I could see a deep gash. He got me some water to wash some of the mud off. Then I climbed back on the bike and started riding toward transition.

At this point I was having a massive mental battle as to whether to pull out and get medical attention, or stay in the race, finish and then go to medical. I actually did another loop riding with one arm while I contemplated all this. I think I get this stubbornness from my 98 yr old grandmother. Someday it may help me, but today it was stupid. Finally Ian came by on his last loop and yelled at me to get myself into medical. It was not what I wanted to hear, and I kept going for a bit. He told me later that a spectator yelled at him "Hey mon, she is not listening to you!" I knew he was right though, I finished that loop and went to medical.

Removing rocks from my hip at the race site.

My Tobago ambulance ride. Might be hard to tell but my lip is massively swollen.

Once at the hospital they took my wet kit off. That was the point I discovered the road rash across the entire front of me. Ouch. It took about an hour to clean all the wounds up and remove 7 rocks from my hands and elbows. I thought the hip would be the most painful - it had NOTHING on the hand. They were digging around with a needle in the raw flesh on my hand for what felt like an eternity. At one point the nurse finally took a break and worked on my leg for a bit because I needed a break from the pain. I'm not going to post pictures of the wounds because honestly, they make me a bit queasy.

Since they took my wet kit off (and it is destroyed anyway) I was delivered back to the race site in only a hospital gown - completely bandaged. I wandered around in my gown looking for my Zoot bag with some clean clothes in it. I really wish I had a photo of this, as I'm sure I looked hilarious.

I am sad that I can't spend my last few days on the island floating around in the ocean or exploring on my bike. But I realize I am incredibly lucky. What could have ended a million times worse really will just see me walking around looking like a mummy for a few weeks. Both hands are bandaged, my right arm, my hip, etc. I know they will heal and stop hurting eventually.

As always when I race, I have made some wonderful new friends from different parts of the world and I love this about the sport of triathlon.

Thank you to my sponsors - thankfully I did not destroy too much of myself or my gear today!

Friday, May 25, 2012


After spending much time in multiple planes and airports, the Slice and I made it to Tobago.

This is the bay I swam this afternoon.

The water is clear and warm.

Random cow tied up beside road.

And goats.

Legs seem to still work post-IMTX.

Riding through town (on the other side of road again...)

View from my run.

Roadside shop.

My olympic distance race is tomorrow.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ironman Texas Race Report

Huge thanks to my great homestay - their kids made this for me.

The Swim: Zoot Ultra SpeedZoot & Sable Goggles
I really like non-wetsuit swims. Might seem odd coming from someone whose strength does not lie in the swim, but I like the freedom of movement. I actually had a lot of fun in this swim. It used to be that I survived the swim and could not wait for it to end. Now that I have gotten stronger, it is actually fun to chase the pack and get on feet. Several times my feet fell off the main pack and I was able to swim around them, push hard for ten minutes and get back onto the main pack. By the time I reached the canal at the end of the swim I was second position in the second pack. I came out of the water 7th female in 59:11.

The swim start looking out on the course.
Thanks Cook-Train-Eat-Race for the photo.

Run to bike. Put on helmet. Not much happens in here. 2:09.

It took about ten miles before I stopped feeling like my legs were made of lead. Then I started having fun - the scenery was beautiful, the roads nice, and it was toasty. I drank. And ate. And drank more. I caught and passed Caitlin Snow around mile 52 and at this point knew that if I wanted to finish ahead of her, I needed to put time in since she runs fast. I picked up the pace. I decided I would rather take a risk that could end me in a higher position overall at the end of the day, than be safe and not try. Somewhere in the low 80s mileage-wise I completely imploded. Looking back I think it was more of an early-season lack of miles in my legs rather than a calorie issue, but whatever the case - my implosion combined with the headwind all the way home made me feel like I was crawling at a snail's pace. Cait re-passed me around mile 95. Doh! So much for that great plan. I came off the bike in 5th place after 5:07.

Throw bike at wonderful volunteers. Ouch ouch ouch, run into tent where more wonderful volunteers stuff green apple PowerBar gels into my pockets while I throw on my Zoot Ultra Kiawe shoes. 2:22.

In hot races I always feel the run is the coolest since there is ice and water every mile. It was hot. But not unbearable. I had a bicycle escort, which I really love. My legs felt ok. Not amazing and not terrible. In the first of three loops I had two sections where I felt absolutely horrible and was sure I might crap my shorts. Thankfully I did not and located an outhouse. My bicycle escort patiently waited. I was getting splits that I was gaining on 4th. Toward the end of the second loop I moved into fourth and got a new bicycle escort. Sweet! Except about 30 seconds later the girl behind me came blowing past and I moved back into 5th. Darn. I willed my legs to go faster. Chase her!! This is what you do best - running! Except on this particular day the legs were having none of this "faster" type of running. As competitive as I am, I had nothing to go after her. I gave all I had on the day and really that is all I can ask of myself. I ended up running 3:16 to finish 5th in 9:27.

My Thoughts:
I am happy. I wanted to ride under 5 hours, but I also took a risk on the bike and it didn't quite pan out how I hoped. I have no regrets about this. I wanted to run faster. (I am fairly certain I will always want to run faster!!) But again - it was what I had on the day and at this point in the season, I gave it everything possible.

Chrissie greeted me at the finish. She was still there at 11:30pm, handing out medals. I love going back to see the last finishers. I can not imagine racing for that many hours and it is inspiring to see how this sport changes peoples lives and gives them confidence that they can do anything they set their mind to.

  • Coach Elliot - we make a good team, thank you for pushing me, pulling me back and making me laugh.
  • Zoot - the Kiawe shoes are awesome. Hands down best race flat yet!
  • Profile - fast wheels, great aero bars and hydration!
  • Cannondale - my Slice is NICE!!
  • Extreme Endurance - since I am crazy enough to race 7 days after my Ironman, I am putting your products to the test this week!
  • Tribe Multisport - It is great to have a supportive bike shop on my team!
  • Powerbar - scientifically tested fueling that tastes great - green apple gels are my favorite!
  • Rudy Project - Love my helmet & sunglasses. Especially the green ones!
  • SableWater Optics - It's awesome being able to see when I swim.
  • - I love both my jobs.
I am actually racing an Olympic distance race next weekend in Tobago - yes, that little island off Trinidad. Not sure if I am crazy or smart - since I will in fact be on an island surrounded by blue water when I am done!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ironman Texas

Ironman Texas will be my 12th Ironman. I built up the Slice and believe I actually put everything back together properly. It always semi-freaks me out the first time I have to box up a new bike.

I opted for my disc and Profile 80 for this course.

I set off to check out the course. Self-portraits of training rides in aero helmets are awesome.

Hey! Hay bales!

Farm roads.

THIS. This was my favorite part of the bike course.

More forest.

The Woodlands has a huge network of paved trails.

I found this guy on one of them. He was crawling along and I scared him. No luck trying to get him to pose for a photo...

On race day the run takes place along these waterways. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Zoot Winners & St. George Update

For those of you who participated in the Zoot compression contest, we have a winner! Kevin had spotted me 15 minutes, and Ian 30.

Kevin placed 4th in his age group. I have been told he will no longer be spotting me any time. Ever. I ended up beating Kevin by 1 minute. Ian had me by 16 minutes.

Hong was the closest by betting 9 for Kevin and 21 for Ian. Hong was busy running the Pittsburgh marathon last weekend. Email me to get your socks Hong!

 My view post-race while lounging on the grass. 
I love Wildflower.

The deer I saw on the way to do a pre-race swim.

And finally, an update on my Dad, who raced Ironman St. George...

As most of you probably read, conditions were slightly crazy. He survived the 4 ft. lake swell and came out of the water in 1:58 - his slowest swim to date (but still in 12th place in his AG!) He set off to tackle the hills/wind of the bike and made it two loops before much of the lake water he swallowed during the swim wasn't happy in his stomach and would not allow any more calories in. He called it a day and opted for a nice Thai dinner with my aunt instead of passing out somewhere on the course. I would say he's a smart guy and will live to fight another day.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Wildflower Race Report

Ten years ago I raced my very first 1/2 Ironman at Wildflower. My parents flew in to camp/support my race and I showed up ready to race what I considered to be the hardest half around. I survived the bike on my Dad's old Softride (no it did not fit me), and remember loving every minute of the hard trail run. I finished in 6:01.

Several years ago I decided one of my big goals was to podium (top 3) at Wildflower. Maybe a large goal coming from a pro girl with best previous finishes here of 16th (2010) and 13th (2011), but I have honestly always believed this is possible. I knew it would take time and a HUGE amount of hard work, but I still believed. On to the race...

The swim start was aggressive (I know, they always are...) and before I reached the first turn I had completely imploded. I couldn't breathe and I couldn't pull water, I felt I was going backwards. I made the turn and finally caught my breath while the pack had swum away. (DOH!!!!!) I worked hard to catch some lone feet and stuck on them. The rest of the swim was uneventful - my Zoot Prophet wetsuit was comfortable, my Sable goggles let me see, the rest was just trying to swim as fast as possible.

© Timothy Carlson (Slowtwitch)

I came out of the swim in 27:09, about :30 back of a large pack. I managed to make it up the evil steep boat ramp to transition without tripping and falling on my face (success!)

 © Kevin Koresky (Tri Lounge)

Onto the bike my only goal was to NOT ride like a 12-year-old girl. Wildflower is always a tough course and I feel I have never had a good ride there. I have only been on my new Cannondale a few weeks, but I will tell you I absolutely love it. It climbs well, I'm comfortable, and it is fast.

© Kurt Hoy (Triathlete)

In the early section of the bike I felt I lost the most time to other girls. There was a slight headwind and I had a bit of trouble holding my watts up. I chose to ride my Profile Altair 80s (tubular) and I was happy with this decision.

© Kevin Koresky (Tri Lounge)

By the time I reached the top of nasty grade I had passed seven girls and I knew if I didn't implode I had a chance to finish well. Not imploding is usually key - especially for a girl who does not come out of the water at the front - and on the Wildflower run course racing right on the edge would be necessary if I wanted to feel I had raced what I knew I was capable of.

 © Kevin Koresky (Tri Lounge)

I spent the first seven miles of the run trying to run hard, but feeling like I was in no-man's land, as I wasn't catching any girls and had nobody around me. I tried not to let my mind wander to la-la land and reminded myself that my races always tend to come down to the final miles and I often run out of real estate. Just because I couldn't see anyone early on, I still might be gaining on other girls.

At mile seven I finally got a split that I was in 9th and could probably move up to 6th (thanks Kevin!) Finally - some solid data to work with and I was off on a mission to chase some girls. And once I caught one, I could see another, then another. This is my favorite part - chasing, racing on the edge, trying to catch one more, trying not to combust while killing myself running up the final steep hill. I absolutely love the scenarios and conditions that racing create.

© Kevin Koresky (Tri Lounge)

I had moved into 6th by the top of the long descent back to transition. But there was one more girl I could see in front of me and I knew if I wanted 5th it was going to be an all out race down the hill to transition. There's nothing like running down a steep hill nearly out of control trying to turn your feet over faster without face planting. I somehow managed to stay upright. All that chasing earned me the 2nd fastest run split of 1:25. I finished 5th in 4:38 - 16 minutes faster than last year.

I am extremely proud of this race result. I may have surprised a lot of people with my finish, but I have believed for a long time that I have the ability to race with the best girls in the sport. To finally do so and finish "in the mix" makes me smile.

I have one of the best jobs in the world - it is hard and trust me - there would be many WAY easier ways to make a living, but finishing a race and being completely satisfied with hard work, in a beautiful setting with my friends - it really doesn't get much better than that. And I'm getting closer to that podium goal!

  • Coach Elliot - from day 1 when we started working together you never once doubted some of my lofty goals. It's been fun working toward them. Thanks for killing me in workouts and telling me when to rest.
  • Zoot - thanks for making shoes that I love, everything tri I could ever need and keeping me color coordinated and looking good.
  • Profile - From my bars, to wheels to aero hydration - you make great products.
  • Cannondale - I love my bike. It is fast and comfortable. Looking forward to many more great rides on it!
  • Extreme Endurance - thanks for keeping lactic acid at bay so I can train, race, recover, repeat!
  • Tribe Multisport - It is great to have a supportive bike shop on my team!
  • Powerbar - no bonking or stomach distress - thank you!
  • Rudy Project - Love my helmet & sunglasses. Especially the green ones!
  • SableWater Optics - It's awesome being able to see when I swim.
  • - thank you for being flexible with my work schedule so I can chase dreams.
  • I have some friends & family that have done more than pick me up and make me smile in a rough past six months. I am grateful. So. VERY. Much.
I will post the Zoot contest results later this week. Next up is Ironman Texas!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Place Your Bets!

It is race season and that means it is time once again to place some bets with my friends as to who can beat whom on race day! Since I think everyone should enjoy placing bets on my racing as much as I do, I created a little contest in case you want to participate.

For those of you who don't know my betting history - you can read up on my TWO losses by 2-seconds at Wildflower last year here.

This is the prize - Zoot compression socks!

My friends Kevin and Ian are both racing Wildflower on Saturday. Kevin has agreed to give me 13 minutes, and Ian 30. If I close the gap under those times, I win. If not, I buy some carnivore sandwich for Ian and amazing bakery items for Kevin. 

YOU can win the socks by listing the time gap between us and coming closest for both. So for example - if you think I will barely win (yet still win!) you would write Kevin: 12 minutes, Ian: 29 minutes.

While I am racing my butt off at Wildflower - my Dad will be doing the same at Ironman St. George, in search of a Kona trip. If you are at IMSG this weekend give a shout out to Ken Bauer for me!