Photo Credit: Kortuem Inc.

Earlier this season I would have never dreamed I would be extending my race season into December.  Usually, I end my season mid fall, but December was first for me.  How I ended up racing this far into the year was a matter of chance, some bad luck and weather issues earlier in the fall.  My last race I completed before Sunday was Steelhead 70.3, at the beginning of August.  After that race I had planned to compete in the Escape Series DC (but that race was cancelled due to weather).  My race in October ended in a crash (explained in a previous post) so after that I figured I had to race since I had completed all this training without finishing a race.  I decided to race IM Cozumel, but then I got sick race week and we listened to that gut feeling not to go.  A few days after I made the decision not to travel to Cozumel, I thought my season was over.  However, I saw something about Challenge Daytona and thought to myself that this would be an awesome race to do.  A couple days later I registered, booked travel and switched gears to more short course/speed training.  I have spent the majority of the last couple of months doing longer high end aerobic training and I really enjoyed switching gears in training leading up to this race.  Although it’s never my wish to crash in a race, but looking back, if all of those unforeseen factors wouldn’t have happened in my races last fall, I would have never gotten to experience this awesome race in Daytona.  I also thought my daughter’s show choir performance was the weekend of the 15th (the same as the year before), but a few days after I booked travel I realized it was the same weekend as the race.  If I would have known her performance was the same weekend, I don’t think I would have considered going, but since I already had everything booked, I wasn’t going to back out.  The stars were just aligned that I would be at Daytona and I would get to complete an eighth race before the 2018 season ended.

Challenge Daytona was great about providing the athletes everything they needed for travel (pick up from the airport to hotel/shuttle to race site, etc.)  These little things really make a huge difference in taking out some of the stressors that come along with travel.  Once we arrived on Friday, we headed to the race course for a swim, attended a press conference, pre race meeting, and followed up with a lovely dinner with some of the Daytona Speedway executives.

 

Upon arriving at Daytona, it was incredible just looking at the track and stadium.  I have never seen such an enormous stadium in my life (it holds 250,00 people!).  The swim was going to take place inside the stadium. There was a large lake in the middle of the race track that was created so that the excess dirt would be used to bank the track.  The bike was scheduled to take place mostly on the A1A along the Atlantic Ocean and the half marathon run was going to be run inside the stadium.

Race morning, I woke up at 4AM, catching at 4:40 shuttle to race site.  A storm was predicted to roll in mid-morning, so everyone was on their toes with what was going to happen.  When I arrived at race site, I learned that an announcement was going to be made about the race.  I had a feeling something was going to be changed, I just didn’t know what.  I suspected the race would be changed to an Olympic distance race or shortened in some way to finish before the storm.  As a surprise to all the athletes, the age group athletes were to begin at 7AM on a shortened course and the pros were to begin sometime between 11am-1pm on an altered course (not really shortened with the exception of the swim by 300 meters).  Shortly after the announcement was made, several of the pros convened and made a proposal to keep the entire race inside the stadium.  This way we wouldn’t have to make many, many turns on the wet roads (making the race safer and roads would not have to be shut down at all, plus the fans could watch the entire event).

I was going to stick around until 10:30 until the next announcement was made and I watched the age group athletes for a bit and realized I still had over two hours until the announcement.  I decided to go back to the hotel for a few hours just to give my mind a mental break and give my body a little rest and recharge.  I had a breakfast sandwich around 9:00AM as I figured I would need to eat something substantial before the race.  At 10:30 it was announced we would race the proposed distance and race as the course as suggested by the pros:  1 mile swim (2x 800meter laps), 37.5 mile bike (included 15 laps around the track) and 8.2 mile run.  We were told to rack our bikes at 11:45 and the race would begin at 12:00pm.  I completed a 10 min run warm-up on the treadmills in the Green Room (a room they had for us to eat, warm-up and rest…already set up without knowing about the delay).  At 11:40AM, if was announced that the race would be postponed until 12:45PM and we would rack our bikes at 12:30PM.  This was due to the rain and wind pounding the ground outside still at noon.  At 12:15PM, the weather still looked horrible and it was intimidating.  Most all of the other pro women were worried about cycling on the track and talked about switching to a swim/run or just a run.  However, it was decided that we should keep a triathlon.  Looking at the torrential ran pouring the ground 30 min prior to our scheduled start, the worry about the slick track, and the stress of the morning, I had about a 2 min little cry.  My husband reminded me that track would be just fine.  I quickly regrouped, got my mind and body in check and I was excited to race.  I knew that once I got my body moving I would feel so much better.  One of the reasons I love swim warmups is that it helps calm my body and mind before race start.  Once I got in the water for a five minute swim warm-up I felt so much better and ready to go.  I think the hardest part of the morning was getting the adrenaline rushes up multiple times that morning without a start.  I was so happy to finally get going!

Photo Credit: José Luis Hourcade

 

The swim course was a 2x 800 meter loop with a little run out.  This swim brought me back to my ITU days.  I always remember running out of the water to be so hard.  Running out of the water spikes your heart rate and then when you go back in for your second lap, it takes some time to recover and get back into a groove (maybe 50-100meters or so).  The swim was no joke. The water was choppy, but not completely throwing you out of your rhythm.  After 150 meters or so I was in the lead of the swim and lead the remainder of the way.  Lauren Goss exited right behind me and Alicia Kaye and Meredith Kessler were about 90 seconds back from us. My swim gear for the day I had on my. I had my Blue Seventy Helix to keep me warm. For goggles on the day I used the BlueSeventy Elements in Orange Tint .

I felt pretty strong running into T2, but definitely feeling a heart rate spike I have not felt for a long time.  I have been training this fall for IM and recently switched to 1/2 IM training, but have not been doing much OLY distance training (which is the intensity I went for in this race on the swim and the bike).  I got a little stuck getting out of my wetsuit and ended up getting on the bike just behind Lauren.

Photo Credit Kortuem Inc

Once onto the track, I was a little unsure if I was supposed to be on the bank or on the flatter part (the apron).  After half a lap, I realized I needed to move down.  Racing on the track was awesome. It was not slippery at all (although it was very windy).  We had a strong tailwind one direction and a massive headwind on the other side.  15 laps was just about the perfect distance for the track .  I started out with 40k effort and managed to hold close to that for 1:05-1:10 on the bike.  The last 20 min, I noticed my power dropped and I was not able to push as hard as I could the first hour (Not really a surprise!).  The last 20 min, I just tried to hold onto somewhat near half ironman wattage.  At least this is what it felt like, but looking at my power wattage I held on fairly consistently throughout the race.  With passing athletes and athletes passing me, it kept me on my toes.  Keeping legal draft was not difficult at all as we were worried about prior to the start.  We had plenty of room to ride I felt throughout the race and I loved just being able to put my head down so to speak and ride hard!   The only confusion I had was that we were told in the race meeting there would be a counter for the top male and top female rider.  About 1/3 through the race, I saw a lap counter and was curious if it was for me or Andrew Starkowitz.  Every time I went by from lap 9 on I looked at the counter and gave a thumbs up, meaning (this is me, correct?).  I was a little concerned it may be for Andrew and suddenly when the count went from 3 to1 I knew that it was for Andrew.  Previously in the ride, I was timing a lap, so I knew the ride would take roughly around 1:25-1:27, but couldn’t be sure.  I asked Nate with a couple to go where I was at just to be sure, so he was trying to figure it out when it was down the wire!  When I exited the track, I scrolled through my Power Meter and it read 37.1, so I knew I had completed the 15.  I suppose I was confused because I was told I was going to have a lap counter and then didn’t.   I think if I was told I would not of had a counter from the start, I would have known for sure it was Andrew’s count and would have focused more on my math.  In the end, it all worked out and it was awesome to race on the track! For the race gear I used  Fuji Norcom Straight 1.1 out fitted with SRAM e-Tap wireless shifting, SRAM Red Dzero Quarq Powermeter, ISM PN 3.0 saddle, Zipp Vuka Aero bars, Zipp 454 NSW Carbon Clincher, 30th Anniversary Super-9 Carbon Clincher Disc, both with Tangent Speed Tires’ , Sampson Stratics Carbon Ti Pedals, Rudy Project Wing57 in my favorite color, Rudy Project Tralyx Slim in my Favorite color!  Also a huge shout-out to Performance Bike Shops for getting my rig ready to race!! Here is my Quarq power-file presented by Training Peaks

Photo Credit: Kortuem Inc.

Once I got on the run, I realized how fatigued my shoulder were.  I think this was partly due to gripping my aerobars so tight into the wind on the track.  After a mile or so my shoulders relaxed a bit, but for the next mile or so I had a horrible side stitch.  It had been awhile since I had been outside riding, so may have been tough on the stomach muscles going from that position to running.  I knew I had to just stick out the pain for a short while and then it would ease up.  By mile two I felt much better and glad my legs felt great.  After pushing hard on the bike, the bike muscles enjoyed the break on the run.  The 8.2 miles went by pretty fast.  One of my favorite parts about the run was hearing the audio around the entire run course.  I could hear how the men’s race was unfolding and how the women were doing behind me. My run gear for the day  Mission HydroActice Multi-Cool,  Rudy Project Tralyx Slim in my Favorite color,  Triflare Custom Lace Sarah Haskins line, T1 Pro Race belt, with Altra Escalante’s on my feet, and I was able to race in my Groove Life ring

Photo Credit: Kortuem Inc.

I was thrilled to break the tape and honored to be part of such an iconic event.  I hope to be back again!  It was such an amazing feeling to put together a solid performance after some unforeseen circumstances not only just prior to the race, but also in the months leading up to this race.  The NASCAR helmet that was signed by all the winners of the 2018 Monster Cup was icing on the cake.  I would have never dreamed of such a cool award.

Photo Credit: Kortuem Inc.

Thank to everyone for all the support this 2018 season.  This was my first full season back to racing after my son’s birth and I couldn’t be more thrilled with my six wins this season.  Happy Holiday to all and I wish everyone the very best for 2019 and beyond.

 

Ironman Louisville and Future Season Plans

My race at Ironman Louisville did not go exactly as planned.  I chose this race as it was just over a four hour drive from home and the whole family would be able to attend.  A few days leading into the race, it still felt like summer with temperatures in the low 90s, but that was all about to change with fall crashing upon us a couple of days before the race.  

My main goal race morning was to keep my core temperature up as much as possible.  I biked down to the race in light rain and 45 degree temps.  I had my winter coat on, so I was able to stay warm.  I set up transition and made the mile walk down to swim start. I normally run about 1.5 miles before racing an Olympic distance race, but I wanted to be cautious not to expend too much energy.  The race was scheduled to start at 7:25 AM, but it was announced moments before the scheduled start that the race would be delayed until 8:00AM due to the lack of light.  Shortly after, it was announced that most of the swim would be cut and we were going to swim downstream 1500meters to transition.  The organizers felt that the current was too strong to swim upstream and it would be too challenging to get around the buoys.  

I was slightly disappointed that the swim would be cut short as I feel the swim portion is a strength of mine compared to other competitors, but I quickly refocused and studied the new swim course.  The water was 68 degrees, so it felt amazingly warm (compared to the air temperature).  We were to swim with all the buoys on our left.  After passing the first buoy, I realized that I had to swim horizontal to get around the next buoy.  Upon trying to round the buoy, I was slammed into it due to the fast current.  I then realized why the organizers changed the swim!  I exited the swim in front and it felt pretty short (it ended up being only 12 minutes, so it was quite a strong current).

My grave mistake during this race was made during the first transition.  My mentality in racing is to keep moving forward as quickly as possible and that was not the best mentality to have in this race (and not in Ironman racing).  I was struggling to get on some of my warm weather clothes, which I fully intended to put on prior to the race.  My race mind was saying, “Oh, don’t worry about it.  You are wasting time and you will be fine.”  So I raced out of transition not prepared for the elements.  I got on the bike and my legs felt great (muscles were probably numb!).  I knew about mile 10 that I should have put on my warm jacket.  I was getting cold.  It was raining pretty steadily and my arms and hands were beat red.   Around mile 20 I was wondering what this loud noise was and then I realized that it was my teeth chattering so loudly as I had never experienced that before.  My hands were beginning to turn white and I was trying to sprint up the hills, just to warm up my body.  I was very, very cold and I knew that I was in trouble.  I stopped at an aid station at mile 24 and asked for a coat.  A very kind mad gave me his jacket (it was a man’s XL, but I didn’t even care that it was a sail on me while cycling).   The jacket helped a little, but I was still unable to use my hands.  I could not work my electronic shifting and during one of the steep pitches on a hill, I was riding at 30 rpms, stuck in my biggest gear and almost falling over.  I ended up dismounting my bike and running up the hill.  Right before this moment is when I lost my lead and knew that this day was going to be about fighting to finish.  Right at the halfway mark, I hit the hills again and I was desperately trying to shift my bike.  Before I knew it, my hands slid right off my bike and I went down hard on my hip.  Some kind racers helped me up and volunteers told me medical was straight ahead.  At this point, I knew it would not be safe for me to continue.  I did not want to crash again and I didn’t think I would be able to run a marathon on a sore hip.  I was devastated that this was happening and frustrated in my own mistakes of not taking my time in transition.  

Congrats to all the athletes out there who raced and especially to the women’s winner, Jennifer Speildener who raced her first Ironman and punched her ticket to Kona.   It was awesome to see such amazing support from all the race volunteers and race supporters cheering on the athletes.  

After the race, I knew I did not want to end the season on this note. I learned greatly from this race that it’s important not to get caught up in the moment, stick to your race plan and change my transition mentality during Ironman racing.  All my career I have raced short course, where every second counts.  In long course racing, every second counts as well, but there are times that you need to slow down in order to have a successful race later.  Lessons learned!

The past couple of weeks I have been figuring out what I want to do next.  I wanted to give my hip several days to recover before trying any training.  Last week, I wanted to test out some longer training sessions and see how my hip held up during the training and recovery.  My hip is feeling much better now, so I feel that I am able to make a final decision.  I have decided to end the season with Ironman Cozumel on November 18th and will be ready to tackle another race.  

Thank you to everyone for the continued support.  I had a great weekend with the kids at Halloween parties, Six Flags, soccer games and playing at parks.  Now I am ready to tackle another training week and prepare my mind and body.  

Happy Halloween!

Sarah

As I type this blog now, I am headed to DC to race my fourth Escape Series race for the year (including Escape from Alcatraz).  Hard to believe that it’s already September and my 2018 season is winding down.  Sitting down and having time to reflect and write a blog these days is a rare opportunity.  I am sure those of you with a toddler on the go can relate!   Thinking back to last April when I began my race season, in some ways it seems like ages ago because of how much the kids have changed since then.  Connor has grown up so much since last spring; he’s learned to walk (although now can run!) and learning so many new words every day.  And he is usually sleeping though the night now!  My sweet baby has turned into such a busy, sweet and fun loving toddler.  Caroline has grown up so much as well as she is now a Kindergartner and getting busy with her own activities like soccer, swimming and show choir.

It’s an unknown how the remainder of my season will play out, but I am proud of my racing results thus far.  I have raced in six races this year (second at the first race and won the last five).  Last winter, there were many days I thought should the towel and retire as it was just a hard adjustment training on little sleep and training in cold, wintry days.  Back then I told myself to simply focus on the goals and the tasks for that day and not think too far in the future.  I would simply just focus on how I felt that day, or that workout and adjust as needed.  This year, I have only focused on one race at a time.  My mantra this year has been to try and do as little “work” (training) as possible in order to maximize my fitness for race day.  I try to get in my key workouts each week, but I also try to avoid going to the deep well in training.  I figure that I can save some of the extra reserves for race day.  Cutting back on some training volume has given me more energy for my kids and also overall happier.  After giving birth to Caroline, I felt that I had something to prove, that I had to show that I could return to racing after a baby and still be the same athlete I was before.   This left me with the notion that I had to train harder and train even more intensely.  Although I probably had the best training of my career in the couple of years after she was born, I also had some of my worst injuries.  I had some great races, but had to miss out on some key races and training due to illness and injury.  Looking back, I feel that I was pushing to envelope too hard and too often.

After having Connor, I didn’t feel like I needed to prove anything.  I was much more flexible with my training schedule and not sure how my training would translate in my racing results.  I let that pressure within myself let go a bit.  I still had that competitive fire to compete the very best on race day, but I also was wanting to have more balance in my training.  I didn’t need to compete X amount of hard bike/runs/and swims a week.  Maybe this week I will only hit one hard run and that’s ok.  I’m training hard, but saving energy to have that family balance and I am 100% ok with that.

This year, I have had some of my lowest weekly volumes in my swimming and running.  I may not have quite the top end speed of my ITU days, but most importantly, I am really listening to my body when I am feeling tired and when I feel a tweak coming on in my training that I need to adjust.  I joke that I don’t really need to do an easy third workout of the day since I spend all afternoon and evening chasing my little boy around and playing with my daughter, but it’s really true.  What I do now in-between workouts looks very different now than it did 15, 10 or 6 years ago.  These days though, what I do in between workouts may sometimes feel hard, but it’s so much more fun and very rewarding.

All year I have been thinking back and forth in my mind, “Should I try and Ironman?”  Most of my racing this year has been close to home for several reasons.  Traveling a far distance is tough on the body. I was never very good with jet lag in the past.  Also, I like racing close to home because I can be away for just a couple of days and then be back with the kids.  If a race is within driving distance, than the kids can come along with me!  Emotionally, I feel like I haven’t been able to handle being away from the kids longer than three or four days and a long travel trip would be require being away for at least a week.  With as many Olympic distance non drafting opportunities as there were four years ago, I naturally looked at longer distance racing as an option.  I am now at the later stages of my career and thinking about what do I want to accomplish as I finish out my career. This year there are new qualifying procedures for 70.3 and Ironman racing (winning an Ironman qualifies you for the World Championships).   I qualified for the 2019 70.3 World Championships last month by winning Ironman 70.3 Steelhead and looking at possibly trying to qualify for the Ironman World Champs next month in Louisville.  As I head into this race; I won’t be overcooked. I may lack some experience at this distance and stepping into some uncharted waters for myself.  There are many unknowns about this distance that can only be answered and achieved by toeing the line and stepping up to race.

With the seventh race of the year of my season being cancelled, I am headed to what is likely the final race of the year.  I have a month to go to include some solid training into my schedule before my final 2018 race.  September is one of my favorite times of the year to train.  Typically the humidity drops, but the days are still warm and the leaves haven’t fallen yet.  Best wishes to everyone with their end of season racing and training.  Don’t forget to enjoy the journey.

Blog take two!  Yesterday I wrote this blog headed to DC and now I am continuing with a race update headed home from DC the next day!  Unfortunately, due to weather, the Escape Nations Triathlon was cancelled.  There was some flooding on the course and with more rain to come in the morning, the organizers decided it would be in the best interest of the athletes to cancel the event as per safety concerns.  This morning the swim portion of the race was cancelled, followed by a full race cancellation this afternoon.

Looking at the extended forecast early in the week, Nate and I contemplated cancelling our flights and hotel reservation for fear of a race cancellation.  We have been in this business for quite some time and I just had a feeling in my gut it may be cancelled.  I was looking at the weather that was headed towards DC and I was certain it would be a duathlon, but thought there was a chance we may still race.  We figured that we would be more disappointed if we didn’t go and there was a race, so off we went.

Last night there was heavy rain and thunderstorms for several hours.  Light rain continued today and heavy rain was in the forecast for the morning.  This system is remnants of a tropical storms over the Gulf that affected much of the country.  Unfortunately, the prize money was not split amongst the professional athletes (which is what normally happens in most races when a race is cancelled to help cover the cost of travel).   Being a big city race, this was an expensive travel cost for my family which was a big reason why we were tempted to cancel the trip earlier in the week in case the race were to be cancelled.   Nate and I can joke in the future years how much fun we had on our one day, $2,500.00 date to DC!

Once I heard the race was cancelled, we headed back to the hotel, changed our flights and got on an evening flight back to St. Louis.  It will be nice to spend Sunday home with the family and then it will be back to hard training Monday.  I won’t need a few extra days recovery as I normally do, so back to training it will be.

Steelhead70.3 August 12, 2018

This past Sunday, I raced in Benton Harbor, Michigan.  On Friday, Nate and I drove six and a half hours and arrived around 6pm.  Surprisingly, Benton Harbor is just past the time zone change, so we were in the EST (which made for a 3:15AM wake up CST race morning~).  On Friday we drove straight to race site and did a very short swim.  I wanted to shake out after the drive and check out where the race was located.  The swim was located in a beautiful park in Lake Michigan.  The water was surprisingly warm and it felt great to get in and enjoy the clear, beautiful water. 

After the swim we went to an Italian restaurant and enjoyed a sit down meal (a rare occasion for us these days).  We wanted to bring the kids this trip since it was within driving distance, but Caroline had kindergarten orientation Friday evening and I didn’t want her to miss that.  She begins Kindergarten on Tuesday!   We made the error of booking our hotel reservations too late and thankfully found the last hotel room open in the area at the America’s Value Inn.  Minus the think cloud of cigarette smoke in the halls (despite no smoking signs everywhere) and a leaking ceiling over the vanity, it worked out great.  

  The last 70.3 I raced was in March of 2016, so it has been nearly two and a half years!  I woke up around 4:15AM and started hydrating and getting in breakfest.  I had all my gear packed the night before, minus filling up my bottles.  I noticed my aero bottle had a leak in it that was going to carry my race nutrition (mix of gel and water).  We tried taping it, but that didn’t work.  We tried gum, that didn’t work!  So I decided to fill a gel flask and put it down my suit before I got on the bike.  Fortunately, plan B worked just fine.  I felt a little out of sorts pre-race as I knew that I didn’t want to do too much warm-up before a long day.  I racked my bike and jogged for just a couple minutes and did a few strides.  I headed to swim start and did a short five minute warmup. 

The water was very choppy and had a strong current.  The swim was also a beach start, so I wanted to attempt not to fall on my face again like I did earlier in the year in California!  I took the start a little more chill on the run in and began swimming after 20 meters.  I took the lead by the first buoy and the remainder of the swim. I worked on sighting and breathing at the correct timing of the wave so that I would not swallow water!  I felt good in the water although it was hard to get into any sort of rhythm due to the waves and chop in the water. I used my Blueseventy PZ4TX swim skin with the Blueseventy Element Goggels.  

 

I felt good getting on the bike and it felt strange not to go hard from the get go (like I would do in an Olympic distance race).  The bike had some rollers, but was mainly flat and great road conditions.  It was a one loop course, so I no idea where any of the other ladies were, but just focused on getting in my nutrition and hydration and keeping up with my goal wattage.  I remember my legs getting really fatigued in past 70.3’s around mile 40, but I was surprised to feel pretty good still at this point.  With about ten miles to go, my arms were really starting to hurt and I got out of area position on any slight incline.  My gear for the cycling portion was:  Fuji Norcom Straight 1.1 out fitted with SRAM e-Tap wireless shifting, SRAM Red Dzero Quarq Powermeter, ISM PN 3.0 saddle, Zipp Vuka Aero bars, Zipp 808 Firecrest Carbon Clincher, Zipp Super-9 Carbon Clincher disc, both with Tangent Speed Tires’ , Sampson Stratics Carbon Ti Pedals, Rudy Project Wing57 in my favorite color!! Also a huge shout-out to Performance Bike Shops for getting my rig ready to race!! Here is my Quarq Power meter file presented by Training-Peaks

When I started the run, my legs felt pretty rough the first mile and my low back felt really tight.  Around mile two, the legs came around and the first five miles seemed to fly by.  I was getting some splits that I was a couple minutes ahead of second.  At mile 7.5, I got a split that Jackie Herring was only 55 seconds back.  I knew at that point, I had to pick it up.  This may be the first half distance race I have ever negative split, but I was happy that my legs were able to respond at the end of the race to pick up the pace.   I felt good until about the last mile, when fatigue was really starting to set in.  I was happy to break the tape for the win. My run gear for the day  Mission HydroActice Multi-Cool,  Rudy Project Tralyx Slim in my Favorite color,  Triflare Custom Lace Sarah Haskins line, T1 Pro Race belt, with Altra Escalante’s on my feet, and I was able to race in my Groove Life ring

Behind every win is lots of hard work, training and organizing workouts weeks and months prior.  Special thanks to my family for helping me with all the training and organizing.  One of my favorite parts of this race was hanging out at the beach afterwards.  I met many different athletes from all over the midwest and it was fun to hear their stories of how they got into the sport and share race day experiences.  

New York City Triathlon

The last time I raced in New York City was 2016 and it was just a few weeks before I became pregnant with my son.  It was great to return and I was excited to try and repeat my 2016 victory.  New York City is such a fascinating place with so much energy and vibrancy.  It’s an amazing place to race amongst hundreds of triathletes who come to race in NYC from around the globe.  Travel to NYC was pretty easy with a direct 2 hr 30 min flight from St. Louis, although it did take 90 min to travel six miles from the airport to our hotel when we arrived.  It will be wise to keep in mind not to arrive into New York at rush hour on Friday afternoon in the future, (if it can be avoided).  

The day before the race was busy with a group run into Central park at 9AM, followed by Breakfest with Bob at 11:30, swim at noon, Pro press conference at 2pm and the race briefing at 4pm.  I actually prefer to stay busy the day before the race.  I am used to being on the go all day at home, so it’s nice to keep that routine pre-race.  With a toddler in the house, I don’t really ever sit down during the day at home, so it would feel strange sitting in my hotel room for much of the afternoon! After the race meeting, we had an early dinner and then I packed for the race and began relaxing by 7pm so that I could try for an early bedtime with a very early start time race morning (5:52AM!!).  I went to bed at 9:30, but was woken shortly after at 10pm as Nate was screaming in pain from a leg cramp!  Yikes!  I would get those while pregnant, but this was the first I have heard of Nate screaming in pain!  I managed a few hours of sleep before I woke up to use the bathroom at 2:30AM and then tossed and turned before the alarm went off at 3:30AM.  The night before the race, I feel you can’t worry at all about your sleep.  With such an early wake-up, you just have to get the body going and then to body knows what to do!

 

I road down to the race course with Nate, Austin and Cameron Dye at 4:20AM.  Nate and Cam both had lights on their bikes, so this helped us navigate through the dark, although most of the streets were decently lit and still busy with some light traffic.  Normally this time of day would feel slightly cool, but with the concrete of the city retaining heat during the night, it was 85 degrees!  After racking my bike, I had just over a mile walk to swim start.  I jogged about half of the distance and walked half the distance.  With it being so warm, I wanted to minimize sweating pre-race and I didn’t feel like my body needed as much of a warm-up with the heat.  I did a few run drills and strides and then got ready to swim!  

The Hudson was 72 degrees, so it felt amazing swimming, although it was an extremely short swim.  I think I had my “fastest” 1500 to date with a 12:16!  That current was really going strong when we were swimming.  We had a dive start and began a couple of minutes after the pro men.  I had a middle start number, so I started as close to the left as I could (that’s where the current was fastest).  About 300-400 meters into the swim, I took over the lead and exited just before Lauren Goss. I used my Blueseventy PZ4TX swim skin with the Blueseventy Element Goggels. 

We had about a 1k run into transition, so I decided to put on shoes to be kind to my feet!  I didn’t feel too great running out of the water but once I got on the bike,  I felt ok.  I was second getting on my bike and Lauren was up the road about 10 seconds with four other pro men we had caught in the swim.  By the time I got out on the road, I caught the group and we quickly organized into position.  The drafting rules were changed for this race; no stager and a 12 meter draft zone behind the rider in front of you.  The first 10 miles of the bike, I hung near a pro guy, but got separated from him around mile 10 and then rode the rest of the bike solo.  I started off feeling ok, but towards the end of the bike, I was struggling keeping my cadence and my power up.   With 3 races within 5 weeks, I feel that it’s gets tough to maintain cycling fitness.  I was starting to feel it this race, especially because this course is a pure power course with just a couple turns and rolling hills.  My gear for the cycling portion was:  Fuji Norcom Straight 1.1 out fitted with SRAM e-Tap wireless shifting, SRAM Red Dzero Quarq Powermeter, ISM PN 3.0 saddle, Zipp Vuka Aero bars, Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher, Zipp Super-9 Carbon Clincher disc, both with Tangent Speed Tires’ , Sampson Stratics Carbon Ti Pedals, Rudy Project Wing57 in my favorite color!! Also a huge shout-out to Performance Bike Shops for getting my rig ready to race!! Here is my Quarq Power meter file presented by Training-Peaks

I excited the bike in front and decided to take the run slightly conservative at first due to the heat.  I had a two minute lead over second and focused on getting ice and water at the aid stations and keeping solid form.  This run was one big loop through central park and there were not any out and back sections, so you had no idea where other competitors were during the race.  With a couple of miles to go, I received a split that I had two minute gap, so I was able continue to focus on my pace and enjoy the finish line.   The NYC Triathlon is a tough course with constant hills on the bike and run, but I enjoy the rolling terrain as it makes the race go by so much faster verses a completely flat course. My run gear for the day  Mission HydroActice Multi-Cool,  Rudy Project Tralyx Slim in my Favorite color,  Triflare Custom Lace Sarah Haskins line, T1 Pro Race belt, and I was able to race in my Groove Life ring

This next week I am going to take some downtime and have a mini break before I start training for the remainder of my season.  Thank you to everyone who gives me such positive support. This race was win #50 in my professional career and can not believe I have reached this milestone in my career.  Reflecting on this past month it has been extremely busy and I can’t thank grandma enough for watching my babies while I am working/racing.  When it comes to attaining a goal, the only person who needs to believe in that goal is yourself.  Congrats to the many who finished NYC Triathlon today!

Escape Series Triathlon—Philadelphia

June 24th, I raced for the 3rd time in Philly over the course of my career and ended up with my second win.  A race win is always special, especially just a few weeks after Escape from Alcatraz.  I arrived into Philly on Friday afternoon, which gave me some time to spin on my bike and do a little sightseeing.  We stayed very close to the Art Museum (which is the location of the iconic “Rocky running up the steps” scene).  Nate and I had dinner at Whole Foods in downtown Philly and watched a movie in the hotel room.  Now that I think about it, this is the first movie we have watched together in a couple of years.  Life is pretty busy at home these days!  With such a quick trip in and out of Philly, we decided it was best for the kids to stay home with their Grandparents, especially since the race had such an early start!

Race morning was an extremely early wake up call, just before 4AM (which technically was 2:55AM STL time!).  Although my eyes were burning with that “getting up in the middle of the night feel”, I felt much more awake around 4:30 when I started cycling down to race start.  With having such long days and it being daylight at 5:15AM, race directors can take advantage of the sunlight and have very early race starts.  We started at 6:04AM, four minutes behind the men.  The swim was a point to point, so after getting transition set up, I jogged the mile to swim start.  Saturday was misty and chilly all day.  I wore three layers warming up on the bike on Saturday, but race morning it was much warmer and extremely humid.  The air temp was not too high (around 72 degrees, but had 94% humidity!).  Needless to say, it felt very refreshing diving into the 74 degree river water.  The river current was very calm.  The swim start was unique in that it was an in water start, but we had to swim just under 100 meters to make the first (and only) 90 degree right hand turn.  I hit the buoy in first position and led the swim the remainder of the 1500.  I felt calm and in control in the swim, but was mentally preparing for a tough and challenging bike course. I used my Blueseventy PZ4TX swim skin with the Blueseventy Element Goggels. 

Sophie Chase exited just behind me in the swim and I lost about 15 seconds to her in transition.  Some of this time was due to the fact that I had to remove my swim skin and she did not wear one, but about 10 seconds of the time loss was due to my bike rack position.  Where my bike was located, I had to run about 10 additional seconds over some of the other women in T1 and T2.  This is just how the game works sometimes.  I try not to let it bother me and just carry on with the race.  It is refreshing when flow through transitions are set up for the pros so that all the athletes in transition run equal distances.  Early into the bike is one of the biggest climbs and at the top of the first climb a couple of miles into the race, I was able to regain the lead over Sophie.  Shortly after that, Alicia Kaye rode right behind me the entire race and she kept the pressure on me.  This bike course has a great mix of flat and fast road, but also eight climbs (2 loops, 4 climbs per lap) and technical descents.  I felt good on the bike, but I noticed I was fatiguing at the end, which means I paced the 40k well.  My gear for the cycling portion was:  Fuji Norcom Straight 1.1 out fitted with SRAM e-Tap wireless shifting, SRAM Red Dzero Quarq Powermeter, ISM PN 3.0 saddle, Zipp Vuka Aero bars, Zipp NSW Carbon Clincher 454’s  with Tangent Speed Tires’ , Sampson Stratics Carbon Ti Pedals, Rudy Project Wing57 in my favorite color!! Also a huge shout-out to Performance Bike Shops for getting my rig ready to race!! Here is my Quarq Power meter file presented by Training-Peaks

When I exited the bike, Alicia was right behind me.  We started very close together and when I started running I could noticeably feel my quads from the challenging ride.  It also felt pretty humid on the run, so I felt like it would be best to start off strong, but a little conservative.  The run was two loops, so we could see our competitors several times on course.  I slowly made ground over Alicia over the course of the 10k.  I was surprised that I was craving Gatorade to drink and had the urge to pour water over my head.  I grabbed fluids at most of the aid stations throughout the course. That humidity can sneak up on you!My run gear for the day  Mission HydroActice Multi-Cool,  Rudy Project Noyz in my Favorite color,  Triflare Custom Lace Sarah Haskins line, T1 Pro Race belt, and I was able to race in my Groove Life ring all day and not have to worry about my diamond wedding band.

Awards post race were at 10:30AM, so that left plenty of time to catch our 2:30PM flight.  We will be home by 5:30PM tonight and I am looking forward to hugging my babies.  This week I will focus on recovery and getting ready for a race in New York City next weekend.  I remember wining the equalizer there in 2016 and a just a few weeks later I was very excited to learn I was expecting my second child, Connor!  

Congratulations to all who the finished the Escape Philly race today!  Thanks to everyone for the support, cheers and kind messages of congrats as I continue into the later part of the race season.

 

Escape to Alcatraz Triathlon -June 3, 2018

This past Sunday, I Escaped for the third time in my career.  I was thrilled to come away with a win (my second win of my career here as I also won in 2014).  Of all the times I competed in San Fransisco, this was my favorite trip.  I believe that experience truly helps you on this iconic course and having raced on it a few times in the past really helped me on Sunday.

This was the first trip I have made this year without the kids.  I would have loved having my children with me, but decided it was best to keep the kids home with the grandparents.  I definitely missed them and I am really looking forward to seeing them when I get home!  Nate and I arrived into San Fransisco on the Friday prior to race day.  Travel went exceptionally smooth and when we arrived at the hotel, we loosened up at the hotel pool, had dinner and an early bedtime as we decided to stick with central time zone to make race morning feel not too early.

Saturday was a gorgeous day.  We were up early and biked down to swim exit.  I rode a bit of the bike course and then headed up to a park where locals and triathletes open water swim.  The water felt cold, but not too bad.  This race I was more prepared for cold water as I swam with my thermal BlueSeventy wetsuit (which I love for open water swims with temps under 60 degrees) and also decided to wear a scull cap.  After the swim warm up, it was back to the hotel for a brunch, a 20 min nap (that never usually happens) and then headed out for a shake out run near the pier.   Running around San Fransisco on a beautiful afternoon made for a mix of walking, running, and jogging kind of run with so many people around; however, I really wanted to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful bay verses running on the hotel treadmill.  I figured at this point, all I needed to do was activate my body just a little and ran around two miles.  After the run, we biked back to the race site for the pre race interviews and the race meeting.  

Sunday morning, I woke up before my 4:15 alarm.  Sleep the night before a race is usually a bit restless for me as I have a bit of nerves and anticipation on my mind.  At 5:00AM, I biked down to race site before the sun was up.  The last shuttle was departing transition to the pier at 6:00AM, so it was important to get to transition to set up, place shoes out of swim exit and get on the shuttle in time.  I got on the shuttle around 5:50AM and arrived to Pier 3 at 6:10AM.  I wanted to do a short run just to get a little bit of a warm up in and also keep my core temp up before getting on the ferry.  I jogged about a mile and ended with some drills, activations and strides.  Once on the ferry, the race organizers let the pros up on the third floor up to the VIP area.  This was awesome because we had a bathroom and lots of room to stretch out.  This was the first time doing this race I could see the shore from Alcatraz island.  In the past when I have competed at this race it has been so foggy out, I could never see the shore!  

Five minutes before race start the men and women could find a spot on the other side of the boat railing.  I found on spot on the far left side, climbed over the rail and anticipated the two meter dive into the 55 degree water.  I chose to be on the outside this race, so that I could avoid much of the chaos at the start of the swim.  With the men and women starting together, It’s a lot of bodies going in the water at once.  I had a good dive (goggles stayed put!) and focused on staying on feet.  This swim requires a lot of focus every second because if you lose focus for a couple of strokes, you will be ten meters off course and off any feet you were trying to swim amongst.  During the swim, I couldn’t really tell who was around me, but I focused on trying to keep my arms moving through the waves and not suck in too much water while I was breathing.  The water was like a washing machine and the current was pretty strong, but it was a fast swim this year compared to years past!  I exited the swim with a group of men about 90 seconds in front of the second woman.  I made sure to put my shoes on before heading to the 3/4 mile run to transition.  I was so glad I wore the Blueseventy Reaction Thermal Wetsuit it has a special lining for extreme cold water. I also had the  Blueseventy Thremal Scull Cap with the Blueseventy Element Goggels. 

Once I got on the bike, I focused on riding strong and trying to be smooth on the descents.  I find that when I don’t have anyone in front of me, I struggle descending quickly on my own as I play it pretty safe.  About 11 miles into the bike, the officials came up to me motioning me to stand down.  I was in shock as I didn’t have anyone in front of me, so how could I possibly have a drafting penalty?  The officials told me it was a mount line infraction.  I was even more confused.  What????  The official mentioned that when I mounted my bike, my real wheel was not completely past mount the line (the point of contact of the wheel was, but the outer edge of the wheel was a couple of inches behind the line). To be honest, I didn’t even know this was the rule.  I learned back in the day during my ITU racing, to mount your bike when your feet cross the line, so I have always done that.  More often than not in past races,  I am sure my rear wheel was probably over the line anyway (since we are talking a matter of inches here), but I will ALWAYS be certain to run an extra few steps after I cross the mount line before I get on my bike from now on!!!  After my 1 minute stand down, I was back on my bike; however, I think I was in still in a bit of shock for the next few miles.  Alicia caught me shorty after the stand down and we rode the last five or so miles together.  I realized riding with her how slowly I was riding the downhills on the earlier part of the course as she was crushing me on those sections.  I knew I had to step up my game on those last few descents.  My gear for the cycling portion was:  Fuji Norcom Straight 1.1 out fitted with SRAM e-Tap wireless shifting, SRAM Red Dzero Quarq Powermeter, ISM PN 3.0 saddle, Zipp Vuka Aero bars, Zipp NSW Carbon Clincher 454’s  with Tangent Speed Tires’ , Sampson Stratics Carbon Ti Pedals, Rudy Project Wing57 in my favorite color!! Also a huge shout-out to Performance Bike Shops for getting my rig ready to race!! Here is my Quarq Power meter file presented by Training-Peaks

I exited the bike just before Alicia and started the run with around a ten second gap.  The first two miles of the course, we had a headwind, so I was running strong, but didn’t want to push too hard before the hill section of the course.  Alicia joined back up with me once we got to the first set of stairs and then I pulled back ahead on the uphill section.  About half way though the course, I was unsure where to turn and I waited until Alicia caught up with me and we both decided which way to go (fortunately it was the correct way).  We got down to the beach and the sand was killer.  The sand ladder was brutal, but it’s one of my favorite parts of the course.  This year I felt much more comfortable on my downhill trail running as I have been practicing this skill over the last couple of weeks.  When we got back on the flat gravel path, I had a 30 second lead over Alicia and with about a half mile to go, it was down to only 15 seconds, so I knew I had to kick it in high gear.  I kept my focus and determination to continue pressing through the grass finishing line shoot and was pumped to break the tape in first.  My run gear for the day  Altra Escalante-RacerMission HydroActice Multi-Cool,  Rudy Project Noyz in my Favorite color,  Triflare Custom Lace Sarah Haskins line, T1 Pro Race belt, Bluesevnety Visor,  and I was able to race in my Groove Life ring all day and not have to worry about my diamond wedding band.

I think the key factors for me during the race was to stay calm, no matter what obstacles I had to overcome.  In the swim, it was trying to keep my focus in the turbulent waters.  On the bike I had to keep a sharp focus throughout all the technical descents and not let my penalty take away my race focus.  On the run, I had to stay calm, even when I was not sure exactly where to go and push hard during certain sections of the course.  

I want to thank all the race organizers for doing such an amazing job putting on a fantastic race.  The course is one of the most beautiful in the history of our sport.  Congrats of Alicia Kaye for pushing me on the bike/run and to Lauren Goss for rounding out the podium in third.  Thank you to all my family, friends and sponsors.  Thanks Mom for watching my kiddos while I was gone and thank you to my husband for all you do day in and day out.

Lots and lots of thanks as I have so much to be thankful for.

 

35th St. Anthony’s Triathlon

Once I got back from California, I had a day to pack at home and then it was off to Florida with the family.  I decided that I wanted to travel to Florida early so that I had time to do pre-race training in Florida and have a little down time before the race.  My family and I stayed in Clermont, which basically feels like home for us since we used to live there.  We arrived on Tuesday night and drove into St. Petersburg on Friday for the race.  While in Clermont, we enjoyed swimming at the NTC, playing at the parks and hanging out with friends.  We also celebrated Connor’s first birthday!

St. Anthony’s is one of my favorite races of all time.  I love the city, the race atmosphere and the ease of racing.  Once I park at the hotel, I don’t have to get back into the car.  We went to a tasty British restaurant the first night we were in town. The restaurant had a great kids menu, which is a priority for us now! We loved walking through the parks and Caroline had a blast climbing the Banyan Trees!  Connor also slept much better this trip, so this made me feel so much better heading into this race.

I really was hungry to win this race because I was going for my seventh win and breaking the previous record set by the legendary Michellie Jones.  I didn’t want to visualize the end result, but instead wanted to think about what I was going to do to achieve the win.  Race morning the weather was perfect as it was not too hot, had calm winds and an absolutely gorgeous backdrop!  The swim started in the water and when the gun went off, I took the start very calm.  It was one of the calmest swim starts I have ever experienced.  About 200 meters into the swim, I had the lead and tried to keep the pace fairly smooth.  With the water being like glass, I knew that it would take a very hard effort to get separated from the strong swimmers in the race. I used my Blueseventy PZ4TX swim skin with the Blueseventy Element Goggels. 

I exited in front and felt strong heading onto the bike.  I had a lot of trouble getting my feet into my shoes.  I noticed my cycling shoes are getting older and felt smashed in the back and this made it more difficult to get my feet into (new shoes on the horizon).  Once I got my feet in I pushed hard.  I felt much better than the previous weekend, but I was so rusty with my corners.  I feel like I lost some time with the technical aspect of the ride, but I was pleased with my power output.  Most of my riding has been completed in the basement this year, so now that the weather is nice, I will get out and get that rust off my turns.   I led the bike until the last mile, when Alicia Kaye came by me one of the last turns. My gear for the cycling portion was:  Fuji Norcom Straight 1.1 out fitted with SRAM e-Tap wireless shifting, Quarq Powermeter, ISM PN 3.0 saddle, Zipp Vuka Aero bars, Zipp Firecrest Carbon Clincher 404  with Tangent Speed Tire, Zipp Super 9 Carbon Clincher Disc with Tangent Speed Tire, Sampson Stratics Carbon Ti Pedals, Rudy Project Wing57 in my favorite color!! Also a huge shout-out to Performance Bike Shops for getting my rig ready to race!! Here is my Quarq Power meter file presented by Training-Peaks

Once I exited the bike, it was a bumpy sand run with the bike to the transition rack.  I had tunnel vision to get back up to the front and push the pace as soon as possible.  A minute or so into the run, I got a side stitch and did the best I could to keep pushing and work through it.  I also began to feel a little dizzy and nauseated, but knew I had to just keep pushing.  This run felt like my bike last weekend, it did not come easy and I had to push the entire time, but I did it!  I accomplished my goal and earned win #7.  I told Nate before the race I was going to give it everything it took to accomplish this goal and happy to have earned it.   My running gear used was: Altra Escalante-RacerMission HydroActice Multi-Cool,  Rudy Project Tralyx SXTriflare Blue Poppy custom Sarah Haskins line, T1 Pro Race belt, and I was able to race in my Groove Life ring all day and not have to worry about my diamond wedding band.

There were so many days earlier this year that I struggled with mental and physical battles of training and life business and I wondered how I was going to give myself a chance to be at adequate fitness to toe the line to race.  I just focused on one day at a time and continued to slowly chip away at gaining fitness.  I am enjoying a few down days in Florida before heading back home.  I am really excited to do some race specific training for Escape from Alcatraz, my next race on June 3rd.

Thank you to all my family, friends and sponsors who give me continued support.  A special thanks to my husband and my parents who help me every day.

 

Escape Triathlon Series—-Huntington Beach

I kicked off my first race of the year in Huntington Beach, CA, which is located just south of LA.  Nate, Connor and I made the trip and I did not realize LA was still a four hour direct flight from St. Louis.  Fortunately, Connor slept half of the flight and was a happy guy when he wasn’t sleeping.  We landed around rush hour on Friday afternoon, so we had a bit of traffic to get to our hotel.   Unfortunately the first night we were in CA, Connor had a rough night of sleep and was up at 3:30AM (jet lag didn’t help).   However, we were trying to not change time zones anyway!

This town is named “Surf City” for a reason.  The beach was stunning and was lined with surfers looking to catch six to nine foot surf.  The weather was perfect, sunny and 60 degrees in the morning.  I had a warm-up ride on a portion of the bike course and ran along the beach sidewalk.  The beach was packed with many other triathletes warming up and locals out for their morning stroll.  I felt good on my bike/run warmups and I decided to test out my wetsuit in the hotel pool later in the day.  

I find the first race of the year I am a bit rusty in my packing and race prep.  It’s easy to forget the planning and preparation it takes for race day, but once I get into race mode, it comes back quickly.  Once we were in California, I headed to the store to get little things like rubber bands for my bike shoes for transition, pre-race breakfast and some baby food for Connor.  

Race morning didn’t feel too early since I was on the west coast.  Nate and I woke around 4:00AM and Connor woke about 15 min later.  This made it really easy to have time to get ready to race and nurse Connor.  I had my normal race breakfast, although my stomach was not hungry at all and I only had half of what I normally eat!  I made a note to try and snack since I didn’t complete the breakfast.  

Race start began just after 6:30AM ( two minutes after the men) and it was daunting looking at the huge surf.  I also did not expect the water temperature to be 56 degrees luckily I had my Blue Seventy Helix to keep me warm. For goggles on the day I used the BlueSeventy Elements in Clear  Once the gun went off I ran about 30 meters and then fell flat on my face twice in two inches of water.  I stood up and fell again (and pushed my fingers completely backwards)….fortunately they were completely numb so I didn’t feel the pain anyway!  As it turns out there were all these divots in the sand, so it made it really easy to wipe out (I fell coming out of the water as well!).  Getting out of the surf was a bit of a challenge.  I was third getting out, but soon was swimming in second position.  The girl in first (Sophie Chase) had about 20 seconds up on me and I worked the remainder of the swim to get back on her feet.  The swim was tough as my body was COLD.  It was challenging to keep the tempo up in my arm stroke, but I just focused to keep the arms moving as quickly as I could.  Once we hit the surf to come back in, I lost about 25 seconds to Sophie again!  Running out of the water was tough.  The sand was very soft and I felt a bit disoriented from the waves.  My feet were frozen and it was painful to run on the pavement with my cold feet.

When I got on my Fuji Norcom Straight , I did not feel to great.  My legs were having trouble pushing.  This was one of those rides where I had to push hard from start to finish.  I caught Sophie around mile five.  I didn’t really have a moment where I felt good and I noticed my watts were a bit off from my training, but just focused on trying to open as much of a lead a could from the other women.  It was a two loop bike, so I had an opportunity to see where the other women were at several times during the race. My gear for the cycling portion was:  Fuji Norcom Straight 1.1 out fitted with SRAM e-Tap wireless shifting, Quarq Powermeter, ISM PN 3.0 saddle, Zipp Vuka Aero bars, Zipp Firecrest Carbon Clincher 404  with Tangent Speed Tire, Zipp Super 9 Carbon Clincher Disc with Tangent Speed Tire, Sampson Stratics Carbon Ti PedalsRudy Project Boost Pro with Smoke Visor in my favorite color! Also a huge shout-out to Performance Bike Shops for getting my rig ready to race!! Here is my Quarq Power meter file presented by Training-Peaks

I exited the bike in first position with around a minute lead over second.  I started the run feeling good, although my feet were numb until mile 3.  The run was a one loop course, so I didn’t have a chance to see where the other women were until the turn around.  Once we hit the halfway mark, we had a half mile run in the sand that was extremely soft.  I focused on trying to keep my cadence up and get through this section and I also saw that Sophie Chase was right behind me at the turnaround.  Once I got off the sand, I knew I had to pick up the pace.  Sophie caught me around mile four and I tired to stick with her for a bit, but the pace was a bit too much for me (and I had St. Anthony’s in the back of my mind and really wanted to zone in for that race!). My running gear used was: Altra Escalante-RacerMission HydroActice Multi-Cool,  Rudy Project Tralyx SXTriflare Blue Poppy custom Sarah Haskins lineT1 Pro Race belt, and I was able to race in my Groove Life ring all day and not have to worry about my diamond wedding band.

I crossed the finish in second.  I was very happy for Sophie to have such a great race.  Overall, I was pleased with my performance considering it was the first race of the year and it was the first time to really test my body; however, I was disappointed in my bike performance.  In the future, I am going to be more proactive with keeping my core warmer in cold swims so that I will be able to push hard on the bike and feel better while cycling after swimming in the cold.

After the race, we had about an hour to pack the room (fortunately Connor was napping), head back to race site for awards and then drive to the airport.  It made for one extremely long day, but we were glad to get back home by 10:00PM.  Huntington Beach was beautiful and a race I would definitely repeat in the future.  

 

Escape Triathlon Series—-Lake Geneva

This weekend was the third race for me over the past four weekends in Lake Geneva as part of the Escape Series Triathlon. There was one final race scheduled for next weekend in New Orleans, but this race was cancelled a few weeks ago, so this was the final race for the Escape Series this year. This month has been a whirlwind with the travel, but it has been a great feeling to get back into some racing and test my fitness at four months postpartum.

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A couple of weeks prior to the race, Connor started waking up earlier and earlier and then began to wake up several times a night. Fatigue from the races and from interrupted sleep was beginning to take it’s toll and I was a little worried if my body would hold up over the course of the month! On day in particular that was tough was a few days after the DC race,  I had put in a four hour training day and then only managed a couple hours of sleep the following night. I woke up with my head spinning, unsure how to get through the day and I have not felt that much fatigue in a long, long time. I typically try not to let my kids know how tired I am and always put on my game face for them, but I was especially tired that morning and just started to cry. My daughter was so sweet and said, “Mommy, why are you crying.” I told her, “Honey, Mommy is just really tired, but, I am ok.” She said, “Mommy, I know what will make you feel better. I will get you some coffee.” Ahh, innocent childhood sweetness made me smile!  I don’t drink coffee (have never liked the taste), but I am sure she has overheard her Daddy say many times how much better coffee makes him feel…LOL! The next night was a little better for sleep and a fitting a nap in (if possible) can make a world of difference. With all the races this month, I really didn’t do too much training. Mostly just some sharpening between races and kept the body moving.

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Since Wisconsin was a five and a half hour drive, the whole family came along and we managed the trip in eight hours with stops. We also stayed at an indoor water park, so the kids could really enjoy the race as well. The weather was very warm for late September with temperatures in the 90s, so swimming was something on everyone’s mind.

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The race began at 7:00AM and the women were scheduled to start 2 minutes after the men, but we started just 30 seconds behind. I felt a bit sluggish in the water, but managed to exit in first. I decided to stop to put shoes on for the T1 so I did not have to run barefoot on paver stones and as a result lost about 15-20 seconds to Lauren getting on my bike.

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Once I got on the bike, it took about 7-8 miles for my legs to really get going. Around mile 12-13, I made a pass on Lauren and regained the lead. The course was rolling and a bit rough in spots. I focused on staying clear of the potholes and having smooth turns. Unfortunately around mile 16, I had an unfortunate incident on the bike. As I was making a right hand turn, a wide utility truck was waved by the officials to turn directly in front of me (we were riding on an open course for traffic). I had to slam on my brakes and then decide if I could get around the vehicle. I was biking back on forth deciding if it would be safe to pass and at first I knew that it would be too dangerous since the truck was so wide and there was not a shoulder. I ended up sitting up and spinning and not sure what to do. I looked back at the official at one point, shrugging my shoulders and putting a hand up as to see if they could let me know what to do? Towards the end of the road, I saw a small shoulder open up and I rode up to the vehicle to see if I could pass on the shoulder. I was very frustrated that this vehicle was slowing me down during my race. My race mentality is to always be pushing and to be going hard! I was debating whether or not it would be safe to pass the vehicle and decided I did not want to risk it when the official came by me and told me to stand down. I was a bit in shock but immediately stood down. The official told me that I needed to be farther away from the vehicle (much farther than a bike since it was a vehicle) and I was too close. She said that the vehicle should have never been allowed to pull out in front of me, but since it was there I needed to drop back 20 meters and go slower than my previous pace. She said she would normally ride up next to the vehicle and order it to get off the road, but she could not do that due to the fact there was not any room. This was my first penalty in 13 years of racing and it was a bummer for this to happen and definitely knocked me out of my groove. I don’t think I have ever raced on an open course, so I guess I did not have the rules established. I obviously was not trying to “draft” off the car since it was going slower than my previous pace, I was only thinking how I could get around it. I will be better prepared for this situation if it ever happens again!
Hopefully my first and last penalty.

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I got off the run and told Nate what happened and started with a mindset of “finishing” the 10k and finishing strong. The run was very hilly at the start, with short, steep pitches. At the halfway mark I was maybe just a little over a minute behind Lauren and this gave me a little motivation to run faster; however, the gap was too much and I cruised onto second place.

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Post race, the family enjoyed a pancake and egg breakfast and we spent the afternoon at the hotel waterpark. All and all I can’t complain about my performance the past few weeks. Looking back there were days I didn’t know if it would be possible to compete! These last few races give me confidence about my fitness for next year and seeing what my body can do after I have a proper base training and race  build up. My training and racing would not be possible without all the help from my family, so I can’t thank them enough for the support.
I will update everyone with future racing plans soon! Thank you
Sarah

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