Hi from Arizona! I've been doing my final training block for Kona here in Tucson for some good heat training and I can assure you it has not disappointed!! Here's a 30 second look at my last few weeks here. Thanks Wattie Ink. for the video!
Ironman announced the new Lima 70.3 race last year, and I got super excited at possibly adding this race to my 2017 calendar. Little known fact: right after graduating college and before racing triathlon professionally, I taught 9th Grade World History for two years (Hi past students!). We covered the early South America civilizations, followed by the Incas and Mayans (who actually came much later): their cultures, societies, and traditions. I have always found the stories of these South American cultures some of the most fascinating in ancient history, because I loved the stories of Peruvians living at 8,000 feet and running across mountain tops to deliver messages or escape from intruders. Talk about altitude training! So Peru has always been on my bucket list and I'm so glad we made it down! What with focusing on the race and limited time after, we didn't make it south to Macchu Picchu or to any other cities besides Lima, but this trip gave us a taste of Peru and I know that Wattie and I will be back!
The race itself is on the coast of Lima, featuring an ocean swim, a two-loop "M" shaped bike course (so it really felt like 4 loops), and then an out and back run along the coast/beach. The swim ended up being awesome despite the mental roller coaster of race week: when we first got to Lima, we swam the course and the water was completely flat and pretty chilly. It seemed that the race would FOR SURE be a wetsuit swim (yayyy!) and pretty calm. At the race meeting the day before the race, the swim director notified us that the water temps had risen significantly, making it a non-wetsuit swim, and that a huge storm was rolling in with predicted ten-foot waves and major swell. My heart sank. I get so nervous in those conditions. But fortunately I had a nice little kitten to keep me calm at the pro meeting!!!! hehe.
Race morning, however, the predicted storm didn't hit as bad and we only had a few waves to get through at the start and then some big rolling waves throughout the swim but nothing like, say, Escape from Alcatraz. To be honest, I was a little concerned about this bike course. Looped courses can get crowded and somewhat dangerous (IM Arizona comes to mind), but this one ended up being completely fine! I even ended up liking the out-and-backs because I could time myself on each one and try to beat my time out to the turn around.
I think my favorite part of the whole race course was the run. This was just a 10.5km out along the coast and then back but we ran along the beach path and so it was pretty crowded the entire run out with fans and spectators cheering. There was also a section where they weaved us onto this dirt trail area and we wound up a small hill on before popping back out onto the coast, so it was like a trail run for a bit (which I love!). The finish line chute was a particularly long one and it was absolutely PACKED! It was so incredible. I am trying to think of a finish line in the U.S. that is similar—maybe Oceanside 70.3. There were just tons of people out watching and cheering—a huge thank you to all of them! An especially MASSIVE thank you is owed to Herbalife, who was the title sponsor of this race. They came out in full force with support behind the event and all the Herbalife community came out to cheer. On top of that, Wattie and I are SO, so grateful to Leo Nakayama and his entire team who took such good care of us down there with meals, transportation—EVERYTHING. Thank you so much Leo and Herbalife!
It was an absolute honor to break the tape at this inaugural race, especially given the support I had received down there leading into the race (phew! haha). Reflecting on the race, I’m the most excited about how the swim went. I had a bit of a shocker of a swim at Oceanside with my goggles getting pulled off and almost losing a contact (which would have been disastrous for the bike). I was really disappointed after Oceanside, given my swim training has been getting better and better and I made some really big jumps this winter in the pool. So I really wanted to redeem myself with Peru. I was actually able to stay with Leanda (one of the top female swimmers in our sport!) for part of the first leg before a wave kind of pulled me off her feet. But I fought the entire race to keep her as close as I could and I was able to get out of the water only about 43 seconds behind her. YAYYYYY. Usually, in a 70.3, my time to Leanda's group is over two minutes. The bike and run felt pretty good (definitely better than Oceanside), so this is great progress, especially for April.
If anyone is considering putting this race on your calendar next year, I would recommend it! From the West Coast, travel wasn't that bad, as it’s only a two-hour time change. Also, there is a direct flight from LAX to Lima. An even better plan would be to race and then travel afterward. Lima is a cool city but I think a day or two as a tourist is fine. That would be just enough to try three or four of their incredible restaurants—the food in Peru is ridiculous! So good. Then I would plan for a day down to Cusco and a trip to Macchu Picchu or elsewhere in Peru. Apparently, you can also fly back from Cusco rather than coming back up to Lima. We only had a few days to stay, as I had to get back for training, but Wattie and I will be back for an extended itinerary like that.
Last Thursday, Wattie and I made it back to Tucson to dive into some bigger volume with Ironman Boulder just six weeks away now. I will break up that training block with Chattanooga 70.3, which I can't wait for! That was one of my favorite races last year. I hope everyone's training is going well and look forward to seeing some of you at Chattanooga and/or Boulder. Thanks, as always, for your continued support!
Thought I’d post a quick check-in as race season is fast approaching! Wattie and I recently migrated south to North County San Diego area…and by “we” I mean that Wattie drove our car (packed to the gills with our Cannondales, Wahoo Kickrs, and all our gear for two months on the road) and I caught a flight down to join him, hehe. THANKS WATTIE!!!!
We’ve been here in Carlsbad for almost two weeks now, getting into a rhythm with our old rides and run routes. I hadn’t planned to leave Bend so early but I didn’t want to be away from Wattie, and he has a ton of stuff going on at the Wattie Ink. factory here in Vista, CA. With new products coming out, new designs, lots of custom work coming in from tri teams wanting to rock our gear, it’s been awesome for us to be here and get hands on all the apparel we’re making and testing.
Also, the Bend winter this year has been crazy with the amount of snow we received, which was AWESOME! I love the winter—I love snowboarding, being outside in the snow, cross country and skate skiing, and just being up at Mount Bachelor. We probably got about eight days at the mountain this season: less downhill than last year but way more skate-skiing, which I am seeing the benefits of as I open my tri training. Skating is basically a full-body strength workout coupled with a hard cardio workout, and I can feel the strength and fitness gains from that now as I transition to my swimming, biking, and running.
We’re here in SoCal for one more week in this training block, before we use my recovery week to transition over to Tucson for the final three weeks before Oceanside 70.3. I will have a few easier days to get settled and then we have our five day “Train with HJ (me! hehehe)” camp. I’m excited to meet everyone attending and know that it’s going to be an awesome week with the detail and attention Chris Bagg puts into all his camps…on top of incredible meals cooked by Bagg himself!
After camp I’ll have a final two-week intense block before tapering into Oceanside 70.3!!! It’s coming!!!! I’m finalizing what I can with the rest of my 2017 schedule right now before I put it up on my website, but I have figured out my second race after Oceanside—I’m super pumped to announce that I will be traveling south to Lima 70.3, in Peru on April 23. That trip will give me the opportunity to meet the South American team from Herbalife and spend some time with that entire Herbalife community down there. As I was once a 9th grade World History teacher (yes, you read that correctly, right out of college), we did a unit on the Incas and Macchu Picchu, so I’m pretty excited at the opportunity to check this area out in the few days after the race. If anyone has any suggestions for us while in Peru, please let me know!!!! That would be awesome.
Thanks again to everyone for their continued support and I look forward to seeing everyone at Oceanside, if not sooner!!!!
I'm not sure why I'm describing this workout as one of my "favorites"....maybe my head is STILL foggy from the lactic acid, lack of oxygen, etc. and clouding my judgement :) hehe. This workout is HARD, but will leave you feeling satisfied and knowing you just made a bump in your fitness. Or, at the very least, you will have pushed through your pain barrier six times and you will have the confidence that you can push through that level of uncomfortable pain again on a race day.
The workout itself does not seem that threatening or difficult on paper:
Warm-up around 30minutes with some building 1-2minute efforts to above threshold to get the blood flowing and mentally prepare for the work ahead.
Find a super steep 1-2minute climb that flattens out after the climb to flatter or rolling terrain.
Do 6x 1-2minute all out up the climb- pretend you are attacking a hill in the Tour de France :) Once you've crested the hill, hold threshold power for 3minutes.
Recover 4-6minutes extremely easy spinning back down the hill to your starting point.
So, essentially, this workout is only 6x approximately 4-5minutes of effort but it is much more difficult than it looks. Trying to hold threshold power after about 90seconds (give or take depending on the hill you have) of an all out, lactic-causing effort is NOT easy. The first one burns pretty bad. The second one hurts even worse than the first one, to the point that you question that you can even do four more. By the third one, power has probably dropped a bit on the climb, or at least the enthusiasm to attack the hill like you are a Tour rider. Once you are through number four, it literally becomes a matter of finishing the workout in a respectable fashion. When I did this last week, I literally wasn't sure I could get through the last two. These are the rounds Wattie calls "The Championship Rounds." And, with the recent passing of the great Muhammad Ali... RIP... I find the quote below especially fitting for this workout. “I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count” - Muhammad Ali
Even if your power drops during the six efforts, make sure you push through and complete the six rounds. I think only three or four rounds of this wouldn't be enough. It's getting through those last few that, if anything, will build your mental strength.
A little tip as well- do your first round and make note of where you finished the three minutes at threshold- maybe a driveway, certain tree, or other landmark. Use that landmark for your final five rounds. Do NOT stare at your timer for the three minutes of threshold following your all out climb...try to make it to that landmark from the first one as quickly as you can holding your threshold power. This takes your mind off of checking your clock every two seconds and it has barely gone anywhere. Pretend you are Cancellara going for the TT World Title. Pretend you are in a race putting an attack on. Pretend whatever you need to in order to get to that landmark as quickly as you can.
Enjoy! I promise this one will leave you in a positive mood with a sense of accomplishment after. Be proud that you got through it. And make sure to recover well after.
Thanks for reading & enjoy the workout! - HJ
In my last post, I described how the Masimo MightySat works- the numbers it shows you and what those readings can tell you about how your training and recovery are going. Now, I thought I'd share some specific readings I've had throughout my Ironman World Championships training block to demonstrate an even clearer picture.
Wattie, my husband, and I drove down to Tucson from Bend, OR on Friday, August 26th. We made the trip over three days to break it up and be able to get some training in over the travel days. Going from Bend to Tucson meant a drop in elevation from about 3800 feet to about 2900 feet where we were staying in Tucson. The temperature shift went from approximately mid to high 70s when we left Bend, to over 100 degrees for at least the first week we were in Tucson. It was blazing! I only mention this information because it definitely affects your body's ability to train and recover until you are acclimated, which was the whole point of coming to Tucson prior to Kona.
On the first day we arrived to Tucson (Monday, August 29th), I did a swim and an easy spin to try and flush my legs out from the travel. On the next morning, when I woke up around 6am, I rolled over and checked my Masimo. So this was Tuesday, August 30th at 6:07am:
Since I am just waking up, my heart rate is pretty low at 38 Pulse Rate (PR) and my oxygenation is also pretty low at 94. This shows some definite fatigue and probably being tired from the travel, as well as the continued training I kept up while traveling down. The low Sp02 could also be attributed to the heat in Tucson and me not being acclimated. The upper right number is my breathing rate, or the number of breaths I was taking per minute. Again, as I was just waking up, it was pretty relaxed and low. Later this day, I had a run with some efforts but they were short, an easy recovery swim, and then another easy run in the evening, so nothing too intense that I would have necessarily been affected by this general fatigue.
On the next day, Tuesday, August 31st, I woke up, swam a hard 5k swim set, and then checked my Masimo:
The above picture shows that my Sp02 was starting to go up a bit, meaning I was getting over the travel days after an easier day prior. My body was also adjusting to the lower altitude in Tucson compared to Bend.
About two weeks into my time in Tucson, on September 7th, I checked my Masimo at 7am:
At this point, I was ten days into a hard training block. While many readers may think this pulse rate is low, normally when I wake up my pulse rate is anywhere from 36-40, so this was actually a bit high for me. And my Sp02 was pretty low, considering most mornings in Tucson had been showing 96-98. My breath rate was also a bit high for just waking up, compared to my normally lower RRp. I woke up feeling borderline like I was catching a cold, very tired, and very unmotivated to even get out of bed. If I had woken up feeling that way and my Masimo had shown some different numbers (a higher Sp02 and lower pulse rate), I would have probably made a bit more of an effort to at least try a workout and see if I felt okay to continue. But after waking and feeling like I possibly had a cold (slight scratch of the throat...), and I took this reading, I texted my coach and relayed this information. I then took the entire day off to give my body the rest it needed. I drank a lot of electrolytes, took a few epsom salt baths, and watched a lot of movies all day.
After taking Wednesday completely off and then an easier day getting back into things, on Friday, September 9th at 5:46 am my pulse rate was back down and my Sp02 was starting to go back up to its more 'normal' (for me) numbers:
So far, my examples of my MightySat numbers have always been in the morning. You can use your MightySat throughout the day to also monitor your levels, but it's important to know that you should always compare your numbers to numbers at the same time of day, as your body shifts throughout the day. Or, just know that your readings are going to be affected by the training you have throughout the day, so you can look at your readings after similar style workouts to compare. Here are a few examples.
This reading was on September 13th at 11:30 am:
Here you can see my pulse rate is higher than when I first wake in the morning, as I had already done a swim and a run on this day. My Sp02 is a bit low, probably affected by the swim and run and overall fatigue at this point in my training block. But I could compare this reading to the second picture I shared above as both reading are after just a swim in the morning and around mid-morning after I've eaten breakfast. Fast forward eight hours and the rest of the day off recovering...I took a MightySat reading later that evening at 5:50pm:
Here, you can see my pulse has dropped back down to its normal and my Sp02 went way up! So your levels are definitely affected by your training/time of day, etc.
Here is an example from September 17th at 3:49pm:
This was following one of my hardest V02 sessions on the bike with a very hard run off. This was right after the workout so my Sp02 has dropped significantly and my pulse is pretty high for me.
And finally, a number that I always hope to see...On September 23rd at 12:15pm:
A 100 for my Sp02! haha. This was following a few easier days after such a hard block of training to prepare for Kona. My Masimo was confirming for me that my body was absorbing the training and recovering. I was also used to the heat in Tucson and acclimated. My pulse is a bit high here but I think I had just been up walking around and eating....
I hope that providing a few of these numbers gives a little more insight into how you can use your Masimo MightySat! It's become an integral part of my daily routine and just gives that added confidence to the decisions you make regarding how hard you should push in your sessions or if your body is telling you it needs some rest. Again, let me know if you have any questions and thanks for reading!
Over the past few months, I've had the benefit of using a nifty little device called the MightySat made by Masimo to help track a number of different measurements such as my blood oxygenation level, pulse rate, blood circulation, and overall hydration level. Knowing and tracking these numbers from day to day has added an extra layer of knowledge for me and my coach in regards to how my training is affecting my body. The best part is that it's noninvasive, super easy to use, and is the most accurate pulse oximeter out there, so I know the numbers I'm reading are completely accurate and truly letting me know what's going on inside.
Here is a pic of the MightySat:
It is just a little device that you slide onto your ring finger and let it settle on there for a minute or two in order to get its reading.This pic is just an arbitrary reading I chose from a morning last week but below I will give a brief description of what each number means.
On the top line you can see my blood oxygenation level (Sp02), which is reading at 95%. The highest you can be is 100% oxygenated and a 100 is the most optimal for being able to perform the best you possibly can as an athlete. The more oxygenated your cells, the better your muscles can fire, thus hitting higher paces, power levels, etc. When your Sp02 level is lower, it is more difficult to reach high levels of exertion as your muscles and brain aren't operating as efficiently. But there are a variety of things that will affect your oxygenation rate- training load, stress level, altitude, time of day, etc. and these are things that you can figure out as your track yourself daily with the MightySat.
The bigger number on the bottom left or "PR" stands for Pulse Rate. Your pulse is a good number to track throughout your training and day to day to see how you are recovering. If your heart rate stays elevated long after a hard workout, or if you can't get your heart rate up for a certain workout, these can be indicators of being fatigued, tired, or overtrained.
The upper right smaller number is "Rrp" and stands for your respiratory rate. This number is basically measuring the rate of breaths you are taking within a minute (usually between 12-20 breaths for an adult). This number is giving a rate of oxygenation (Sp02). Basically, it is proven that with slower, deeper, more oxygenated breaths, we can deliver more oxygen to our muscles, organs, and brain. If we are stressed, not breathing as well or effectively, then our Sp02 level (the big number on the top left) will be lower, which then affects our muscles and their ability to fire, as well as our brain and its ability to function, make decisions, etc. You can control the Rrp as you use your MightySat and can practice deep breathing exercises to see how this is affecting your circulation, blood flow, and overall oxygenation.
The middle smaller number is "PVI" and stands for Pleth Variability Index. This number is a marker of fluid responsiveness, and thus has some direct correlation on how hydrated you are. There is still research being done on this tracking number but in tracking personally, it's very easy to see when it's high, I'm usually a bit dehydrated. When it's low, good to go:)
The bottom smallest number reads "Pl" and stands for Perfusion Index, or basically your blood flow levels. A higher number means higher blood flow rate or circulation.
To be perfectly honest, I wasn't really sure of my MightySat's usefulness in the first few weeks of using it day to day and tracking those numbers. What I mean is, I didn't exactly change any training or effort levels given the numbers I would see in the morning, or after a hard workout, etc. I just kind of tracked the numbers and generally saw around the same figures most days. When I was initially given it, my friend, mentor, and huge advocate of it, 2012 London Silver Medalist, Dotsie Bausch, explained how she used it in her lead up to the London Games in track cycling. If her Sp02 was extremely low, then she would completely adjust her training by taking a day off, or just a super easy day until her Sp02 number was back up to 98, 99, or 100% showing that she was recovered. Or, the same would apply if her Pulse was off from its normal levels, indicating overtraining or fatigue. From my initial use of the device, I wasn't seeing any readings above 95 and 96 with my Sp02 reading, even if it was following a recovery day. On top of that, I train 3 different sports and it's quite impossible to just keep taking days off until my levels went up. So, I just kept tracking my numbers, not really adjusting anything with my training but just seeing how the numbers were reading. It wasn't until August 22nd at 9:59am that I had an "Aha!" moment with my MightySat.
Here was my reading:
MY FIRST 100% !!!! hahaha. I hadn't seen a 100% oxygenation level in the six weeks I had been using the device. I had really just been seeing 95-96 every single day and thinking that it would never really change. I remember I saw the 100 and took a picture on my phone so quick to send to Dotsie immediately that it hadn't even registered my PVI yet! Dotsie asked me how I was feeling and if it correlated to feeling recovered, or fresh, etc. To be honest, I didn't feel really that different than most mornings, although I had slept in on that particular day since it was a Monday and all I had that day was a swim and spin later. I had run long early the day before (7-9am on Sunday morning) and did a recovery swim immediately following (9-10am) and had had the rest of Sunday off. So, this meant I was taking a reading after about 12hours off. Again, I didn't think I felt that different. I thought I felt a bit of fatigue from the 2hour run the day prior. It wasn't until I went to the pool for my hard swim after taking this reading where it was LITERALLY the first swim since prior to Ironman Lake Placid, which by that point had been a month ago, that I felt great! I could breathe!
Usually, when I leave Bend for longer than a week or so, it feels hard for me to breathe due to the altitude for anywhere from a week to two weeks. I had been at sea level for Lake Placid for about 3 weeks and so when Wattie and I got back to Bend, I could feel it in my breathing and it's always the roughest in the pool. Anyways, that morning, it was the first day back to breathing like I was at sea level, even though I was at 3,800 feet in Bend, OR. It had also been 4 weeks since Ironman Lake Placid, which had taken quite a bit out of me. I had taken about two weeks easy following it and then eased back in during that third week, and then even into the fourth week after I still couldn't get my paces/watts back up to levels I saw prior to the race. It was only that past weekend that I had started to feel somewhat normal. So waking up that Monday, I think it was a combination of finally feeling recovered, as well as finally used to the altitude back in Bend (yes, I know Bend isn't as high as some places like Boulder, but altitude tends to affect me much greater than other people). It was just this "OMG" moment and from there I started tracking my numbers even more diligently.
As you use the Masimo MightySat to track your numbers daily, it becomes super interesting and addicting to see how they correlate with great workouts you have, or ones when you may feel flatter. It also gives you the confidence as an athlete to tell your coach that you are tired and that you have numbers to prove it. On the opposite end, it also shows you that you took your recovery day properly and are fully oxygenated and refreshed, ready to hit the day's session.
This was meant to be just a brief intro into the Masimo MightySat and how it can be huge in helping you know if you are recovered, or hydrated, or possibly if a workout is going to go well or if you should wait for another day. I'm currently compiling a more specific daily log that corresponds to my workouts over the past 3 weeks here in Tucson to show you first-hand my numbers and how they shift day to day, and from week to week as training piles up.
If this sort of information interests you, MightySats are now available for purchase at all Apple Stores or at Apple.com, which is pretty cool. Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions on it and look for my next post on my training in Tucson data. Thanks!
Three days ago I was able to finally put together an Ironman distance race!!!! YAYYYYY!!!!! It's still somewhat sinking in that it really happened!!!!
I started making the step up to the full Ironman distance early last year with the plan to have raced Ironman Coeur d'Alene LAST year, 2014. Suffering an injury 2 weeks prior to it, my Ironman debut as a pro was pushed to IM Arizona last November and then I attempted IM Texas about 6weeks ago, both with results I wasn't really happy with. I truly believe things happen for a reason and my Ironman journey came full circle with me being able to execute this past Sunday in a way that got me to the line first.
It took me a year to get here of stepping up in training distances, learning new ways to pace myself at the longer distances, nutritional lessons on how to get my body best fueled through IM distance training and racing, and a different mental approach to both IM training/racing that took me awhile to accept :) You can't go all out from the gun! haha. I know I have a long, long way to go in improving at this distance but this weekend was a huge moment for me in just putting a full distance race together across the board and I am so, SO ecstatic....happy....I won an Ironman?!?!?!
Sunday was anything but a solo effort. I tried to thank everyone on Monday at the awards. If you have any interest in watching, I've included the video Dave Erickson recorded- thanks Dave! But I also want to reiterate/repeat some thanks below. Sorry, this might be a boring race "report"...I wish I was funny like Callum!
Thank you to those of you who have followed my journey and sent love and support and encouragement- thank you. I appreciate every message, email, tweet, post, etc. I am so grateful to everyone for taking time out of their day to do that. Thank you to my family, friends, the Wattie Ink. team, everyone who sends me kitty pictures... :) You guys are amazing- thank you for your support and friendships.
Thank you to everyone who cheered for me on race day- both people who were racing themselves or were out there in the heat cheering on friends and family. The support on course was amazing! An especially big Thank You to all the volunteers handing out fuel and hydration and to the Base Salt guys for your support!
Thank you to my sponsors who make chasing my dreams a possibility. I couldn't do it without you and I am so grateful for your support.
Thank you to my coach, Cliff English, for his guidance and support especially in my step up from the 70.3 to full distance races. We've been progressing slowly and patiently to the longer overall training over the past year. I've been healthy and injury-free all of 2015 and my body is getting used to the longer stuff. I'm starting to understand the process :) Thanks Cliff!
Thank you again to Sue, Mike, Peter and Chloe Hutter for hosting Wattie and me in CDA all week! You guys are amazing and we are so grateful for your support (and homestay).
Thank you as always to my true love, Wattie :) Thank you for everything you do for me every single day and being there by my side for this whole journey. I love you.
Also, thank you to Chris Bagg and VT for coming down for the long training weekends and for your unbelievable support and belief in me:) To our swim group here in Bend- to everyone who lets me chase them around each morning in the pool, you know who you are:) Thank you guys! Peter Leavitt, Scott Yount, Rebound Physical Therapy...thanks for keeping me healthy!
On Sunday, I swam a 1:02, biked a 5:08, and ran a 3:08. Given there was live coverage and so many media reports after, I will spare a long recap other than a few thoughts that come to my head:
Swim: I actually found some feet (thank you Amber Ferrira and then Laura Siddall!)! Most races I find myself alone and solo after the first 300 meters but I actually made a pack on Sunday! Yayyyyy! 1:02 is definitely my slowest Ironman swim to date but we were non-wetsuit at this one and absolute all-star, stud swimmer Amanda Stevens came out in 54minutes, so it wasn't that quick of a swim at CDA. I've been looking at a 6-8minute deficit to the lead for my full IMs. Still lots of room for improvement! :)
Bike: I didn't go out as hard as I could from transition when I heard "8 minutes down".... I stayed calm and eased into the bike all day, focusing on my fueling and nutrition pretty much the entire bike. This was an awesome bike course with a little bit of everything! Having two loops was great because it broke it up and the part through town was awesome- thanks to everyone for cheering through there before we headed back out onto the highway.
Run: The run stayed pretty steady for me....I have been slowly increasing my mileage and have way more longer runs in me now than a year ago. The distance is getting less scary!!!! With a couple of 22mile runs leading in, I felt way more confident in getting through the whole run. The goal with the heat on the day was to also ease into the marathon concentrating on keeping the heat off and staying cool... any and every way possible. This meant that instead of going just sports bra, I kept my Wattie Ink. aero jersey on and every aid station I was filling the front with cupfuls of ice. I also filled the back pockets with ice, as well as doused myself with water constantly and found every hose spraying on the course. This really helped keep my overall temperature down.
A HUGE, HUGE congrats to all who finished on such a hot day! Especially to all the pro women: Amanda, Kim, Amber, Katy, and everyone else, amazing racing! Thank you for pushing me. To Dede, coming to the awards and saying "Congrats" was above and beyond. THANK YOU. I am thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery.
If Sunday didn't go as you had hoped...don't stop trying! I promise it will come together for you :) Evaluate what went right and where you can improve and then work on your weaknesses.
Wattie and I are back to Bend and I will figure out my next races. I am not positive yet if Sunday's race was enough to qualify me for Kona. There are 4 full distance Ironmans left to affect the female pro's points, including Frankfurt next weekend, which is a double points race. So if everyone could cross their fingers and toes for me.... that would be awesome:)
Thanks so much for reading!!!! Happy 4th of July and happy training+racing! -hj-
Thank you so much to Nils Nilsen, Rocky Arroyo, Sue Hutter, David Meadows, and James Richman for capturing the photos above!!!!
Hi everyone!!!! Given my New Year's Resolution to "update my website more regularly," I figured I better get on it since it's already June! hehehe.
As I have been getting a lot of questions in the last few weeks... next up for me: Ironman Coeur d'Alene. Ugggg. Who else has to look up how to spell that every time you write it!?!? C-o-e-u-r. :)
So, my plan at the start of this year was to hit my favorites: Oceanside and Wildflower. Then I wanted to follow those races with my second full Ironman as a pro and ideally score a good amount of qualifying points for Kona at Ironman Texas. I thought that if I got a top 5 or so at Texas, then I would be set with points and could race some of my favorite 70.3's and other races throughout the summer. Texas...well... that did not go to plan. haha. Plain and simple, I melted in the heat. I was not prepared in terms of acclimation or an adjusted nutrition plan on that day for the heat and humidity. Major lessons learned though, so all was not lost!
For me, this is a bit of a transition year. I really want to make the step up to the full distance from my past few years' focus on the 70.3's. My ultimate goal in this sport and with my triathlon career is Kona. But Ironman is SUCH a different beast! holy moly. I have so much to learn about racing the fulls but I'm working at it each and every day. Training is getting better and better as I am embracing the longer workouts/intervals/efforts. No more "all out" every single interval when I still have 18miles to run instead of 8 :)
The upside from Texas was that when you basically walk most of the marathon, you don't pull up that sore! haha. I took a couple of weeks to recover, rehydrate the body, get a massage, and reset to evaluate what I should do.
With my ultimate goal this year to give Kona a go, this meant I had to forgo one of my favorite races this past weekend: Escape from Alcatraz. I LOVE that race. But it was more important for me to get recovered after Texas, reset and now through this "Ironman" block in prep for IM CDA. But a HUGE, HUGE congrats to my favorite little kangaroo, Ashleigh Gentle, for taking the win this weekend!!!! Ashie will be coming to Bend in August for a training and banana-bread making block.
So there's my quick update! IM CDA here I come!!!! I've got through this Sunday to finish off a big block. Training has been going great and I've specifically been working on Ironman racing nutrition, which has thus far been the biggest limiter for me at this full distance. I have some great updates on that spectrum of things, which I will leave for another post all of its own. Maybe Friday when I have a swim-only day :)
I hope everyone's training is going great!!!! Thanks for reading and I'm looking forward to seeing friends and fans at IM CDA! -hj-
THANK YOU AS ALWAYS TO MY SPONSORS WHO MAKE THIS POSSIBLE:
Herbalife, Cannondale, Wattie Ink., GoPro, Knight Composites, Ron Johnson, ISM Saddles, BlueSeventy, Fuelbelt, Speedfil, Shimano, Rebound Physical Therapy, Oakley.
Thanks to my coach Cliff for his support and guidance...And of course to my one and only true love who makes each day the best it could be and is with me through every bit of this journey: Wattie. Love you:)
It's 5am Saturday morning and I can't sleep. I'm too excited! Tomorrow morning at 8:00am the gun goes off here in Mont Tremblant to start the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. WORLD CHAMPS baby! And I actually get to toe the line and give it a go. I actually get to race!!!!!
This has been the hardest 3 months of my athletic career. I have never suffered a serious injury before. In my 20 years of ice hockey I think I got a few sets of stitches here and there and a few mild concussions but I never missed a single practice or game. In my four years playing at Princeton, I played every game. Over the last five years of racing triathlon, I've dealt with a mild case of "turf toe" in my left big toe randomly for a run or two each season...that's really been it. I guess in that sense, I've been lucky- I raced five injury-free years in a very tough and wearing sport.
I'm preaching to the choir to probably most people- everyone that has ever dealt with an injury- but to everyone that has been fortunate enough not to have ever dealt with anything: it is absolutely devastating. I have never been told I can't do something. Any time someone has said, "You can't do that." I probably went ahead and did it- either to prove them wrong or just to break a rule, haha. This was different. "No, you CAN'T...you need to let this heal." Just like that, "You CAN'T."
I was told 4-6 weeks off...it turned into 8 weeks. For 3 weeks I was allowed only to swim and that included two pull buoys and my legs strapped together for no kicking. I can't thank Matt Lieto enough for his support all summer but so much for those first 3 weeks, which were the hardest. Beyond just his "D and W" chat with me, he included me on the swim team list :) and for 3 weeks I was at the pool every morning chasing Matt, Jesse, Brett and Rick around- thanks guys!!!! Or I would meet Corbs and chase her around. Thanks Corbs!!! I swam and swam and swam. When it's all you're allowed to do, it takes on a whole new meaning. I've always hated swimming, I would just get through it so I could get to the biking and running part of triathlon. Now, I was so grateful for it.
After 3 weeks, I was allowed to ease into riding again and then finally, at the 8 week mark, I was allowed to do my first run. I think it was 5 times 1minute run, 1 minute walk. 10 whole minutes on the trail. Those were the best 10 minutes of the entire summer! I was back:)
This is an extreme fast-forwarding (is that a word?) of how this summer went but it's been a progression back since that first run. Getting to that point was all done with the help of Jay Dicharry of Rebound Physical Therapy in Bend, OR. I can't thank Jay enough for his help and support in building me back. I'll get to another post at some point on the specifics but THANK YOU JAY.
And a thank you to everyone at Rebound- Mike and Mike, Joe, Jen, Mandon, and everyone else...thank you for your encouragement and kind support everyday this summer. And to fellow Rebound graduates:) Jesse (Thomas) and Corbs (Linsey Corbin) - thank you for sharing your past experiences with me having gone through an injury before...really, really appreciate it. And thank you to the other Doctors, hospitals, etc. that helped or gave advice this summer- Peter Leavitt, thank you! I still owe you beers (or a keg)...Desert Orthopedics... Jeff Shilt, thank you for your advice! Doc Richburg in SD... Tamas- thank you for your help with massage...I know I am definitely leaving people out and I will kick myself when I think of someone, but THANK YOU!
August and my return to running came, as did fellow Cliff English athlete Ashleigh Gentle and a few weeks later, Josh Amberger and then Cliff himself! August brought me a return to a "normal" schedule training for all 3 sports and it was so awesome having these guys in Bend. Thanks Ash and Josh for letting me chase you around :)
And thank you Cliff for all of your support and guidance and help all summer while dealing with this and for coming out to Bend for the final touches of training.
I can't begin to count the number of times I broke into tears this summer. I would see someone run by our house and start crying. "Why meeee?" It was bad and Wattie had to deal with me. Wattie was my steadfast rock this entire summer. He was my shoulder to cry on and talked me off the ledge almost every day. He got me through and I can't thank him enough. Cards, flowers, picnics in Shevlin, distractions, a positive outlook...day in and day out, which is not easy with a crying, depressed, injured athlete:) I love you Wattie. You are my everything. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you to all of my friends (Bagg and VT, MBK for checking in...everyone on the Wattie Ink. team- you guys are awesome...and so many more) and family (my sister Biffster flew up to spend a week with me and get my mind off the fact that I was injured- thank you so much Biffy:) and my parents were out in July- thanks Haha and Chichi!)...to my fans and supporters who have offered support all summer: thank you so, so much! And obviously a massive thank you to all of my sponsors who have stood by me through this- thank you! I couldn't do this without you.
Moving past the injured summer.... It's in the rearview. I am here in Mont Tremblant and the big dance is tomorrow morning! I don't know how the race will unfold but I know that I will leave everything out there. I love Championship races and racing the best in the world. Tomorrow is for the 70.3 World Title and I actually get a chance to race for it! Woooohooooo!
Good luck to everyone tomorrow!!!! Leave it all out there! A quote my hockey coach used to always use: "No one cares about something you didn't do."
In my last post I wrote about my swim from last Saturday's Oceanside 70.3 race... finally got down some words on my bike and run. As I posted in my last one, I grabbed my Cannondale Slice from the rack and sprinted for the transition exit, so excited!!!! haha. Heather Wurtele was about 15seconds up by this point and I could see her down the stretch of road ahead of me. I started riding and pulled my feet into my bike shoes knowing there wasn't much time before that short, steep, kicker of a hill right at the start of this race. I got up it and saw Wattie and Cliff on my right. They were yelling that there was only 15 seconds to Heather and then about 2:30 to Meredith Kessler and "the lead"...also meaning Julie Dibens. What!?!?!! Under 3minutes to them? Not bad! Considering what phenomenal swimmers those girls are...I settled in and took in some Herbalife Hydrate to get the salty water out of my mouth. My legs didn't feel amazing, not light and smooth like my arms did in the water, but I figured they would come around. I still had sight of Heather up the road but was pretty much holding the same distance and didn't seem to be getting any closer. It's okay...just keep riding. You will come around. Be patient, it's a long day. My SRAM-equipped Cannondale Slice was flawless- super fast and smooth on my Reynolds Aero 72s with Continental Tires and, as always, my ISM Breakaway comfortable all 56 miles.
At about mile 10 (I think?) there is a small out and back where you can catch sight of the girls going the other way. I saw Dibs go by first and then Meredith a bit behind...then there was Heather and ahead of me was the turnaround, so not too far! I made the turn and kept riding. Just around then, Rachel McBride pulled by me. Rachel is an extremely strong cyclist! I had just done a ride with her in Tucson a few weeks ago and knew she was going well on the bike. She went by and I picked up my effort to try to keep her in sight as well. Holy c$%p. I glanced down at my SRM and my watts were definitely up there! This would be the story of the rest of the day on the bike for me. Up and down, up and down. This was definitely something I was not used to, as I'm usually by myself riding a steady pace all 56miles. This was the race though- these were some of the top girls in the race and I wasn't about to let them ride away.
Eventually, Rachel and I made our way up to Heather and then the 3 of us caught up to Meredith. The four of us rode legally together the rest of the bike, although there were numerous times I was getting dropped off the back and watched the three of them ride away. I would crawl my way back up to them and try to hold. I was fine if there were any hills to climb but a gap would open on downhills or flatter sections. With just a few miles to go, Mere dropped off a bit and Rachel made a move off the front, gaining about 30seconds. Heather and I rode into T2 together and I knew it was going to be a battle!
I've raced Heather numerous times and have both won and lost. Every time I've won, I've been ahead of her going into the run and so as I sprinted through transition right behind her, my goal was just to get my shoes on as quickly as I could and get out of there. I was able to make it out ahead of her and started going as hard as I could. Again, my legs were just so-so but I thought they would come around. I made it down onto the strand for the first out and back to the pier. The fans and spectators cheering were awesome! Thank you! I heard various time splits- that I was about 45seconds or so down on Dibs. So the gap was closing. I kept running. I made it about 4 miles or so (I think) and I knew Heather was close because there was a bike beside me (the bike spotter for the lead runners). Oh nooooo! This was also right when we were catching up to Dibs. Nils Nilsen caught an amazing shot of this moment.
Heather passed and I tried to pull on behind her. Her feet were moving! I had just done mile repeats in Tucson on the feet of Chris Bagg and Chris Boudreaux and was just trying to pretend it was the same thing. Just hold on... She was just too strong though. She kept pulling away and the gap was slowly opening. It's okay! I was trying to stay positive. There's still a lot to go! You never know what can happen! She could be pushing too hard right now and blow up. Anyways, I just kept pushing- thanks to everyone on course for all the cheers and encouragement! The gap stayed right around 20-30seconds the entire day and I just didn't have that extra gear to reel her in. Heather had an amazing day and another huge congratulations to her! Also to Mere for coming in third, and Dibs- you're back! So great to see Dibs back on course racing. Also to Cait Snow- great job! And thanks for always smiling and cheering even when you're racing:)
I couldn't do this without my amazing sponsors and I can't thank them enough!!!!
HERBALIFE: Thank you guys for the amazing products and being so supportive. Casey- I can't thank you enough for coming down to the race.
CANNONDALE: My Slice is the best bike I've ridden. Period. Thank you Cannondale and Bill- thank you for coming down and being there on course cheering!
WATTIE INK. CLOTHING: Most comfortable, performance-driven tri kit I've raced in! And great casual gear for before and after:)
SPIDERTECH: Love my tape for that little bit of extra support on course. You don't have to be injured to reap the benefits of SpiderTech Tape. Thank you Dots and everyone at ST for your support!
REYNOLDS WHEELS: So fast! Loved my Aero72's. Thanks Rob, Steve and everyone at Reynolds for the free speed!
GOPRO: Thank you guys! Wattie and my sister got some amazing footage and photos- best camera out there!
URBAN DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT: Thank you so much Ron for coming down to watch the race and for all your support!
SRAM COMPONENTS: My Slice shifted flawlessly all day. Thank you SRAM!
BLUE SEVENTY: One more thank you for helping me feel amazing in the water:)
FUELBELT: Great hydration tools for long run days! Thanks Vinu, Colleen and everyone at FB!
SRM: Amazing tool for training and racing feedback and putting actual numbers to your efforts. Thanks Rachel and everyone at SRM!
SPEEDFIL:Tried out the Z4 at Oceanside- loved it!!!! Thanks David, Jeff, and Amy for everything!
ISM SADDLES: I've been on an ISM since I started this sport and will never ride anything else. My Breakaway is amazing. Steve/Laura, DB, MJ and everyone else- thank you!!!!
OAKLEY: Love my sunnies! Thanks Welchie!
And of course a massive thanks to all my supporters: EroFit, Continental Tires, Hypoxico, Rebound Physical Therapy, 454 Tattoo, 10 Barrel Brewing.
I owe a huge thank you to my coach, Cliff English, for all of his guidance and support. Thanks Cliff- so excited for 2014. And for the awesome 3 week training block Cliff hosted out in Tucson leading into Oceanside... To all of the other athletes that were out there for it as well, pushing me each day and supporting each other. Mel- thank you so much for your body work, absolute game changer and I can't thank you enough! Biffy- thank you for all your help on the back end and for sending me cute kitty pictures every night :) Wattie- I love you. Thank you for everything you do day-in-and-day-out. I couldn't do this without you and you've made my dreams a reality.
To everyone who sent messages, emails, or was on the course cheering and supporting- THANK YOU!!!! We hear you even if we don't look up! Thanks for the support and hope to see you at the next race!
This past Saturday I earned 2nd place at one of my favorite half Ironman races- Oceanside 70.3! Having won the event last year, I obviously wanted to defend my title but Heather Wurtele was just too strong on the day. Such a huge congratulations to her for taking the win, and amazing races as well from Mere Kessler for 3rd, Julie Dibens in 4th, and Cait Snow in 5th. Well done to everyone who raced!!!!
So this is incredibly weird for me to write, as I know for a fact that I have NEVER written this after a race, EVER. hahaha. Brace yourselves... the biggest highlight of my race on Saturday was....drum roll... the SWIM!!!!! haha. It feels crazy to write but I felt the best in the race during the swim. And you can see my excitement in this picture below just as I was leaving T1...usually I'm smiling because I'm FINALLY on the bike but this smile is because I was just so excited at how the swim had gone.
So my actual swim time wasn't the fastest I've done in a half but this is the first time I feel like I actually 'raced' the entire 1.2miles. This was a huge breakthrough for me. Progress! Usually I go out as hard as I can at the start and can maybe stay with a group until anywhere from 500meter-1000meters....about the halfway point I crack! My arms fully load up, my stroke starts to fall apart and suddenly I'm alone, wandering aimlessly through the water, totally down on myself and just trying to stay positive for the final half. On Saturday, I went out as hard as I could with my friend and fellow CEC athlete Liz Lyles on my right, and Heather Wurtele to my left a little bit. The goal was to try and stay with Heather, or near her, or get on her feet if possible. After the usual scurry and craziness after the cannon went off, I didn't find myself on Heather's feet but I did find myself in a group and directly on the hip of someone to my right. This was perfect because I always breathe to my right and I could try and keep a good drafting position with this girl (not positive who it was...) who was going about exactly the same pace, maybe a little quicker. I kept my arms turning over and in a good drafting position. I was staying with her! We made it all the way out to the far end where you have to make a left, about 100 meters across and then another left and make your way back in. At the buoy, all I was thinking was: "FIGHT AROUND THE BUOY! HOLD YOUR POSITION!" This is usually where I get dropped and often it's when the pack surges at a corner or turn-around. We make it to the first buoy for our first left-hand turn and I surge a little bit to stay on the inside line. We turn and I still have people around me. We head towards the far buoy for our second left-hand turn to head back towards the swim exit. I fight again around the turn and find myself still around people and in fact feeling great. I sight up ahead and see we are coming closer to a swimmer who is alone. We catch her and keep moving. I can see the lead group or at least girls ahead up in the distance. I sight off their pink caps and the splash of the water around them. I start moving my arms quicker- they are actually moving quicker! What is going on!?!?!?!? I somehow find myself in front with no one around me anymore, although I can feel someone on my feet. I just pick it up even more knowing we are getting closer and closer to the finish. My arms aren't even heavy and I still feel smooth, focusing on every part of my stroke- just like we worked on day after day at camp in Tucson with my coach Cliff. Keep rotating, keep your hands straight on the pull, don't lose anything on the catch... We make it to the final buoy where a kayaker heads you to the right and onto the exit ramp. I stand up and start running up the ramp. As I am, I hear the announcer saying that Heather Wurtele had just entered transition. WHAT?!?!?! I look up and can see her across the transition as I start sprinting to get there myself. I make my way there and there are still tons of bikes on the rack! Usually my poor Cannondale is sitting alone :) I pull off my BlueSeventy Helix, pull on my helmet, grab my Cannondale Slice, and sprint for the exit and to get up to Heather as quickly as I can.
I'll get to the rest of the race recap but have a few HUGE thank you's I'd like to get out. Firstly, to my coach Cliff who spent most days over the past 3 weeks while we were out training in Tucson making some sort of suggestion or tip or tweak to my swim stroke. Wattie filmed my stroke underwater with my GoPro- thank you Wattie for all your filming and help and support! and tried to sort out every little thing going on. I would work on making one small change and then a few days later work on another. It's easier to grab onto one suggestion and then the next one without feeling too overloaded. Cliff was even in the water watching my stroke underwater! haha. Thanks Cliff!!!!
I would also like to thank everyone at Cliff's camp- primarily Liz Lyles who let me chase her during the first week, Jackie Arendt for always being supportive in the lane over:) And Liz and I could see you (Jackie) next to us and chase you! haha. A HUGE thank you to Leanda Cave!!!! After everyone who was around my relative swim speed left after the first week of camp, Leanda let me share a lane with her...more specifically, she put up with my wake, coughing and choking behind her as I chased and chased, gasping for air, coughing up what felt like chunks of my lungs as she ticked off her steady, consistent, well-executed 100s. The swim I'm recalling was a set of 30x100s. Leanda can obviously go on a quicker interval, but she agreed to go on the 1:20. She was ticking off probably 1:10s or under, getting 10seconds or more of rest. I started at about 1:15s...those turned to 1:16s, up to 1:17s...then 1:18s and then a 1:19. I think we were at number 12 or so. I was tasting blood, touching the wall and immediately having to go again. Cliff eventually held me up on one... After one easy, it was back to 6 more essentially an around 1:17, 1:18, back to the 1:19s. This went on and on through 30x100s. It was by far the hardest swim I've done. Anyways, I tell this because the entire swim on Saturday I had one mantra in my head the whole time: "You freaking swam with Leanda! Your next to Leanda- just stay with her!" I was pretending I was on her hip and holding her pace:) haha not possible but I was staying with whoever I was next to. Let's just say that swim at camp made the race feel easy:) Also a thanks to Chris Bagg and Chris Boudreaux who let me chase them the final few days at camp, including a drafting day where Boudreaux let me swim right on his feet to practice. All of these little things were in my head the whole 27:04minutes I was out there, so thank you guys!!!!
And of course, a huge thank you to BlueSeventy for my amazing Helix wetsuit and my Nero Race goggles. I could see clearly the entire swim! And I can't say enough good things about the Helix. The wetsuit literally boosts your legs and butt in the back, allowing for a great body position in the water, especially if your legs tend to sink like mine. The arm sleeves of the wetsuit are extremely thin making it that much easier to keep your arms turning over. There's great flexibility in the shoulders as well, so you never feel like you're fighting your wetsuit. Thank you again BlueSeventy!
I wanted to get this up, as it took me this long to write on just the swim. So stay tuned for the bike and run :) I hope this post, if anything, shows anything is possible! And don't give up! I can't express how long and hard I've been working on my swim...the last 5 years! I've worked with various coaches, athletes, taken in hundreds of different tips or suggestions and worked my butt off in the water. It's tough to express in a single blog post how frustrated I can get not hitting splits on days or doing everything Cliff gives me for training and practice and not seeing faster times or results. Anyways, FINALLY! If you work hard, it WILL pay off! Maybe even when you're not expecting it. I think it's because I've just been fretting and losing sleep over having to swim double that distance in a full Ironman when I know how much I struggle in just a half...but now...well, maybe 3.8k won't be so bad :)
This past Sunday I earned 2nd Place at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships! Woooooohoooooo! I am so ecstatic with this result given the depth of the field this year- definitely the deepest, talented field I've ever raced. With such a mix of short-course specialists, 70.3 focused racers, as well as Ironman/Kona competitors bringing strength and endurance, there appeared to be so many ways the race could possibly play out. In the end it was really 2 words: Mel Hauschildt :) Such a huge congrats to her for earning the rainbow stripes with such a dominating performance!!!! Great job Mel!
Race morning was pretty much the opposite of last year: pouring rain and much cooler temperatures. What-up Vegas? We were ready for a scorcher again :) Kidding, but this definitely factored into race approaches/tactics: maybe go a bit harder on the bike while it's still raining and cooler, as well as push those corners (the few there are) and downhills knowing some people might be a little more hesitant there with slick conditions.
Zoot Swimskin, Aquasphere Kayenne Goggle Swim: After a short jog/stretch warm-up, some stretch cords and a few trips to the bathroom, I pulled on my Zoot Swimskin and Aquasphere Kayenne goggles and got in line near the ramp into the water. The guys went off at 6:30, with us 4 minutes later. A quick warm-up and we were lined up across the two start buoys. Pretty much one game plan here- as hard as I could for the entire swim to try and limit the gap the ITU girls were clearly going to get. I lined up next to Mel at the start and was hoping I could use her to pace off of in the water and hopefully get out with onto the bike. The starting gun went off and I managed to stay on her hip for about 300-400 meters or so before we got swallowed up and mixed in with a big pack. Some elbows and hands to the head, mouthfuls of water, and the huge pack started to sort out. I had lost Mel's hip but was only a couple of people behind her (I could see her bright green swim cap), and everyone, at least around me (there were other groups that broke off up ahead), was staying pretty much together in a group so I tried to settle in. This group of 5-6 or so stayed somewhat together until the 2 buoy-turn-around when I sighted a few times and saw that Mel was up ahead and splitting off on her own. Noooooo! I could see her going but there wasn't much I could do. My arms were so heavy by now and I was doing all I could to stay with the 3-4 girls around me. I just tried to stay positive and focus in on my breathing, form, and getting to that final red buoy you make the left around before exiting the swim. I was finally at the exit ramp and pulling off my cap and goggles, I saw Angela Naeth right ahead of me. Okay! That's good... I know she is a strong cyclist and think that we could help push the pace up to the girls who are already up the road. I sprinted around the edge of the lake and into T1. I grabbed my helmet, my Cannondale Slice, and sprinted up the hill out of transition.
Cannondale, SRAM, Zipp, ISM Saddles, Speedfil, Herbalife24, SRM Bike: I gunned it from the start knowing the gap to the lead was going to be something around 3-4 minutes, I was just hoping it was closer to the 3minute mark. Ummmm nope. I heard someone yell, "A little over 4minutes to the lead." UGH. haha. Lot's of work to be done! The game plan had been to push it pretty hard for the first 10-15miles or so to try and close the gap on one of the tougher parts of the course- the hills right out of the water, both the uphills and the downhills. I made my way out of the park, the right turn down a mile or so to where you have to go underneath the highway before popping back out again and heading north towards the park. It was after this (mile 5 or so) that I saw Wattie and Cliff on the side of the road. They screamed about 3:30 to the leaders but :40seconds up to Mel. I thought, Okay, just put an effort in to try and get up to Mel first.
I started pushing a little above my normal half-Ironman pace and made my way up the first pretty big hill in the park. My Cannondale Slice was flawless as always, with my SRAM components, Zipp disc and 808 front, as well as my ISM Breakaway saddle. A huge thank you to Wattie for always cleaning and taking care of my bike and keeping it running perfectly. Back to that first big hill after entering the park, it was around here that Angela Naeth pulled by me. Okay! Perfect, we could start pushing it. Ang is a really strong rider and was really pushing the pace the entire way out to the turn-around. We started picking off girls who had swam quicker, including a few groups riding together at a couple of points. This can be tricky because you only have 25 seconds to pass, and if you have to pass a line of 6 girls, it can take quite an effort to get up past all legally, especially when you have a draft marshall right next to you watching your every move. The last thing I would want is a penalty- that could be the race right there. So a few times the pace got slowed way down as approaching groups of girls caused some jockeying for position in a legal pace line. I just kept thinking, Okay, you have to get away from this.
So we made it to the turn-around and I thought, You have to go now! I had seen the front group and gotten somewhat of a time idea- I think it was around 3minutes and then Mel was still not with them yet, but only about a minute back (so two minutes up on me). Mel was gaining time, which was not good! I started pushing again, occasionally glancing down at my SRM to get an idea of where I was at. I climbed the first big climb after the turn around and looked back, there was no one there now! I knew it was time to just put my head down and go to work. There was about 25miles left and I knew the front girls were up there together riding hard. I also knew from last year that I hadn't had anything left after the climb out of the park- both a lack of food/energy and from having gone too hard too early. So this year was just repeating in my head, Time to go, keep pushing but patience...patience...be patient. Don't load the legs too, TOO much... I made sure to keep taking in my Herbalife24 Hydrate from my OldSchool Speedfil :) A huge thanks to Speedfil for making me a custom Herbalife24 cooling sleeve to keep my Hydrate in my Speedfil super cold:) Drink, hydrate, stay up on your nutrition....
I climbed out of the park, down the Parkway and made the right onto Warm Springs. Every year this is the worst part because you are almost done and you are going downhill so you think you might have somewhat of a relief, but it is always a headwind...and it's always longer to the left onto Gibson than I remember. Finally, onto Gibson and I tried to push it knowing that everyone was hurting at this point. Don't lose time here! I kept turning my legs, although they were feeling heavier and heavier, and trying to get some final Herbalife24 Hydrate into me. I made the left onto Paseo Verde and the final couple of miles to T2. Just as I was pulling out of my bike shoes, I saw Lisa Norden run out of the penalty tent in front of me and hand off her bike. I handed off mine and ran into T2, grabbing my transition bag. I unbuckled my helmet while running, pulled my Zoot Kiawe's and Fuelbelt race belt out, pulled my Zoots on and sprinted out of the transition tent.
Zoot Kiawe, Fuelbelt, Oakley, Run: Out onto the run I just started as hard as I could. I knew I had work to do and I also wanted to get away from Lisa, as I wasn't sure how she would be running. I made it about half a mile before I saw Wattie and Cliff. They were yelling that 5th place was just up ahead only about 20-30seconds. So, the first goal was to get there. This was pretty much the theme the entire run. Just make my way up spot by spot. I knew Mel had made an insurmountable lead on the bike and was continuing to dominate with her amazing running, but there was still the race for "second best" haha :) I just kept pushing as hard as I could.
I completed the first lap and knew there were about 8miles or so left. Time to go to work. I had done 8x1mile repeats up and down a hill just like the Vegas course about 4 weeks in a row. I just kept saying in my head, You've done this so much harder in training. I was taking in water every aid station and trying to remember to keep the engine cool, as it was starting to warm up.
Through 2 of the laps and I had ran my way into 3rd. This just left Annabel Luxford left. I made it past the hot corner and saw Cliff and Wattie again. "YOU HAVE TO GO NOW!" Cliff was shouting. I had about 3 miles left and Annabel was up by about 36 seconds. I started doing the math- I needed to be running about 15sec/mile faster. I wasn't sure if I was doing that or not. I was really hurting at this point and wasn't sure I had anything left to push any harder. I made my way down the downhill part and made the right to the turn-around. Annabel wasn't that far up! You can do this! You've got this! Don't settle! This is just like the final 2 miles of the 8x1mile workout. I pushed my legs, kept them turning over. I made it past the hot corner, past the library and made the final left for the last 3/4mile uphill. Thank you so much to everyone who was on course cheering and screaming so loudly- it kept me going all day! It was awesome, even if I didn't look up:) Especially the Wattie Inkers- AmaZING. haha. So loud:) The final left and Annabel was just ahead of me! I picked up my cadence. Just one final effort!
I picked up my pace and pulled alongside her. She held out her hand, shaking mine and saying great job. Thanks Bella! Great job to you! I kept pushing all the way to the top of the hill and to the turn-around. I flipped around and saw I had made a bit of a gap. All I needed to do was hold on for the downhill. Only about a half-mile to go! Quarter mile...I made the final right-hand turn and could see the finishing chute. I had pulled off silver! I was sooooo happy! I high-fived down the chute and crossed the line- ECSTATIC!!!! This was my fourth time racing the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and I have placed 5th, 4th, 3rd, and now 2nd. Mt. Tremblant 2014 T-360 days! :)
I want to say a huge thank you to Ironman for putting on a great World Championships event. To Frank Lowery (Race Director), his staff and volunteers, as well as the City of Henderson- thank you for hosting us and for such an unbelievable event. I love this course and am a bit sad to see the venue switch next year- it's been awesome! To all of the volunteers- thank you guys so much for being out there, especially in the pouring rain at the start of the day. These races couldn't happen without you! THANK YOU. To all the fans and supporters on course cheering- amazing! To all of my competitors- thanks for pushing the pace all day and great job! Great job Bella for 3rd and again, a huge congrats to Mel! To EVERYONE who raced- congrats! That is a TOUGH course.
To all of my personal sponsors: THANK YOU, THANK YOU over and over again. Thank you for your support all season. You make pursuing the best I can be in this sport possible. Thank you Zoot, Cannondale, Herbalife, Wattie Ink., ISM Saddles, SRAM, Zipp, Speedfil, Fuelbelt, Aquasphere, SRM, Oakley, SpiderTech, ERO Sports, Recovery Pump, 454 Tattoo, Rebound Physical Therapy, Hypoxico, Biotta, and 10 Barrel Brewery :) To the Wattie Ink. Team- you guys rock. Thank you for all your cheering out there, as well as those tweeting, messaging, and more. That and your support all season has been amazing! A special thanks to Chuck for all the behind-the-scenes help. To my sister Biffster...for being as hilarious as you are and always keeping me laughing and smiling and having fun and for being there on Sunday cheering me on. Thank you to my parents for their support in everything I do and especially for flying out from NH and being there Sunday. A huge congrats to my Mom for racing! To my brother Bobby and Ali up in Bend, as well as the rest of my family back in NH for their support and watching/cheering Sunday. Judy Watkins- for always being the first to congratulate me after every event:) Casey at Herbalife- thank you for coming up to Bend during the lead up, your support all season and being there Sunday! Tamas- for the massage work up in Bend, thanks! For the "good luck" texts from the same people before every race all season- you know who you are. Thank you, those get me so pumped the day before.
I can't thank my coach, Cliff , enough....For such amazing coaching, support, and guidance. For sharing your experience and knowledge in the sport. For coming up to Bend for the final few weeks of prep and nailing those final key sessions. Thank you for everything Cliff!!!! And also Mel- thanks for your support!!!
And Wattie- you are my everything! THANK YOU. I love you so much and couldn't do this without you. For all the support, the talks, the early nights to bed, cooking/eating good meals, drives up to the lake, pulling your Froome attacks for me to chase on all those hill repeats, for handing me water bottles during all my runs, for driving us all the way down here while I had my feet up and slept... :) And so much more. Thank you W. xoxo
And, of course, thank you to all of YOU, whoever might be reading :) haha. My friends, family, and fans... I appreciate all of your support!!!! The messages/emails, etc.- THANK YOU so much. To get a note saying you inspire just one person makes the training and racing all worth it. You guys are amazing! Good luck to everyone with the rest of the season- enjoy it! SMILE :) xoxo hj
After taking a mid-season break and having just 2 weeks of consistent, structured training leading up to race day, I am so happy with a 2nd place finish at Vineman this past weekend! I absolutely love this race and its legendary course. To be honest, I had forgotten JUST how beautiful the area is and what an awesome course it is: a river swim, a non-stop undulating bike course and a really hard, hilly run, all set amongst a beautiful backdrop of vineyards. We had briefly considered not racing to focus in on Vegas prep, but I am so glad we drove down to race! This race is a blast and one that everyone should try to make it to at some point.
With wine country being known for its dry, hot climate, the cool, overcast and almost drizzly morning was very welcomed race morning! It was actually pretty cold when we first got there and I was getting my Cannondale situated- filling my Speedfil with Herbalife24 Prolong and Wattie pumping up my Zipp tires for me:) I got my T1 set up pretty quickly and pulled on my Zoot Prophet wetsuit and Aquaspere Kayenne goggles for a good 15minute warm-up in the river. The guys went off at 6:30am and we lined up next. I found myself near Linsey (Corbin) with Mere (Kessler) and Emma-Kate over to the right a little. I knew they would be the front girls and I knew it was going to be all out right from the gun if I was going to minimize my time loss to them, so I just went for it. I started sprinting as hard as I could and pulled in behind Mere and EK and a couple others (Amy Marsh?). We made it to the first bridge (maybe 300 meters) and I was still with them! Barely. haha. They were pulling away and my arms were slowing down drastically. Suddenly I was alone...pretty standard. haha. I kept swimming and after another 100meters or so, I saw some girls coming up on my right side. I pulled over towards them and started swimming on someone's hip. I was able to stay with this group the rest of the swim, sitting in on someone's feet and breathing somewhat comfortably. I ran out of the water and into T1, ripping off my goggles and wetsuit and grabbing my helmet. I sprinted up the ramp towards the exit and ran all the way up the hill right outside transition before mounting my Cannondale Slice. At this point, I saw Mark Barber, a friend who is extremely accurate with time splits:) and he said it was exactly 2minutes from Mere, who was in the lead.
Having learned a little about this bike course last year, I was mentally prepared to attack right out of T1 and that definitely paid off. There are some pretty significant rolling hills early on so there is no time to just settle in and relax to find a good pace. This is where you make up time or can lose major time. Wattie and I had recon'ed the course on Friday for a few hours, practicing sharp corners, which lines to take, etc. I did everything we practiced and was hoping by mile 20 I would have pulled back some time. I passed 2 or 3 girls in that section, made the left onto Kinley to begin the middle, false-flat, somewhat rolling part of the bike, and saw Wattie on the side of the road. He shouted that I was in third and that Mere was about 90seconds up but Emma-Kate was only a minute or so ahead. I settled in a bit and made sure to drink some of my Herbalife24 Prolong.
I caught Emma-Kate around Chalk Hill and ended up riding with her the last 5 miles or so into T2. I had started to fade and I was concerned I hadn't fueled enough, but I kept telling myself to think positively. You got this! We got to T2 and I started SPRINTING. I mean sprinting. haha. It's a long transition run and a place you can make up time. Sure enough, I rounded the corner to rack my bike and I could see Mere! I pulled on my Zoot Kiawe's as quickly as I could, grabbed my Fuelbelt race belt, and started sprinting after her. I heard someone say about 20 seconds back but I could see her down the straight road. I was in a tough spot thinking, ok should I make a move now but risk running out of steam? I know Meredith can run. Or do I wait and cross my fingers that I can wear her down? I ran with her as best I could with her always about 20-30seconds up but in sight. My legs definitely didn't have any spunk to them as I kept trying to pick it up for little sections to gain some ground on her. Around mile 6 we made it to La Crema and made the turn in to make the loop around the winery (so cool!). Not long after that, I felt my stomach start to go a little sour. I had to go BAD. I wasn't sure what to do...I've seen plenty of people just go but I wasn't sure I could do it. Nor did I think I could keep running as fast as I could with that, if you know what I mean:) So I rounded a corner and started trying to go while still moving...not so much. I finally had to stop behind a tree and probably lost 20-30seconds there, because when I finally made it out of the winery, someone shouted that I was a minute down.
I held on to about the same pace the rest of the way in to the finish line and was able to hang on for 2nd place! Woohoooo! Congrats to Meredith on the win!! She is such an amazing athlete and just coming back herself from a horrible accident- so even more impressive! Congrats to Amy for 3rd, Emma-Kate for 4th and Corbs for 5th! As well as the rest of the girls for pushing it all day. Thank you SO much to Amy and Dave for putting on such an amazing event- the race is so well-run and well-organized and just an overall must-do race that should be on everyone's bucket list. Thank you to all of the volunteers out there and the fans out there cheering all day!!!!
Thanks so much to my sponsors- as always I could never do this without your support! Zoot, Cannondale, Herbalife, Wattie Ink., ISM Saddles, SRAM, Zipp, Speedfil, Fuelbelt, Aquasphere, SRM, Oakley, FinalFit, Recovery Pump, 454 Tattoo. Thank you Cliff for such amazing coaching, support, and guidance. And Wattie- you are everything! My support, my backbone, my sherpa- thank you for all you do!!! xoxo
Post race, it was necessary to get in to recovery mode as fast as possible! :) So we made a quick move to Russian River Brewery for lunch. It is right in the heart of downtown Santa Rosa, super cute location, fun atmosphere and great food & beer! Probably the closest thing to a brewery in Bend that we've found outside of Bend :) We hit Matanzas Creek after that to really get in to the Napa feel before settling in to Sonoma for the night to rest up for a big day on Monday. The big day I speak of was a full day of recovery- Napa style, with my sister Biffy, her boyfriend John and their son Scout!
We kicked off the day by celebrating another successful race weekend with some bubbly at Chandon. A HUGE compound of a winery full of ponds, gardens and a massive tasting room including a full restaurant. It was crazy! After that was a stop at Frog's Leap. This was meant to be a quick tasting to kill some time before the 2pm appointment we had and it ended up being a huge hit! A beautiful estate surrounded by lush gardens. We sat outside for the tasting overlooking the aforementioned gardens and tasted all of their delicious wine. And by that I mean ALL of their wine was delicious! I wish we had more time to spend there because it was such a great spot with such great wine! We will definitely be going back.
The rush to leave was so we could make our 2pm appointment at Conn Creek Winery to do their Barrel Blending Experience. Biffster and John had done this before and insisted we check it out. Little did we know what was in store for us throughout the afternoon. This "experience" consisted of spending an hour (well it was supposed to be an hour but due to our tardiness we were rushed through in about half this time) tasting 30 (YES 30) different wines, taking notes on which ones we liked or didn't like. If you're wondering, the answer is yes, after about 3 tastings they all start to taste the same...After the hour of wine drinking you spend an hour creating your own blend and eventually your own bottle of wine to take home. With 30 tastings in an hour, I was really bursting with creativity to develop my special blend. We will see when we can open them in 6 months. hahaha.
With a solid day of fully enjoying Napa, Wattie and I limped home to start the big push for Vegas. 7 weeks baby!!!
Following Boise 70.3, it was time for a little mid-season break to give the body and mind a rest. I had been training hard since November of last year and just needed some down time.
I had an entire week to do essentially nothing or whatever I felt like, and then another week following that of just light activity- short jogs, 1-2k swims, or a couple of hours on the mountain bike. I’ll just say that the mountain bike won out more days than the swims or jogs:)
Wattie and I explored the hundreds of miles of trails here in Bend, as we hadn’t really had the chance to just explore. In a training block, I’ll use the same specific routes over and over each week but now we’ve found new and even better routes to use!
We would stop during rides so Wattie could play around :)
We went on a few epics (probably longer than Cliff wanted…)…but we would just start riding and enjoy the beautiful day and end up 2 hours up on a great trail.
We’d pack a snack and ride our mountain bikes over to the river to float or soak.
This is Tumalo Falls behind us…about 12 miles up from downtown Bend, Or.
More lounging by the river…
More swimming, playing in the river:)
More beautiful views from the trails.
It ended up being about 12-14days but I started to feel re-motivated to get back into a set schedule. It’s so important to read your own body and not force anything. I definitely wasn’t ready after one week (which I think was the original plan), so the break turned more into 2 weeks but in the long scheme of things, 2 weeks in June for a better September 9th :) I’m so thankful to have Wattie and Cliff to help with guidance and support on this stuff and I feel more ready for the second half of the season than ever before.