The weekend of October 19th-21st, I had the opportunity to help seven women prepare for and compete in the SheRox San Diego Triathlon. The preparation for this race did not start this weekend, but back in July when I first met the women in New York City to help them on their triathlon journey. Each of these women are editors for various magazines and are always giving us helpful tips on how to live a more active, fit and healthy lifestyle. I may not know much about fashion, but triathlon is one area I can help these magazine editors with a few tips.
Nate and I arrived on Thursday to beautiful, typical southern California weather, but that was all to change for the weekend! On Friday the editors, Toyota PR (Sona and Jaymie) and I all went out to dinner in downtown San Diego. Sona and Jaymie treated us all like queens and we had an amazing meal family style. First, second and third course meals were filling the table bowl after bowl. The food was fantastic, but it was a great opportunity to connect with everyone and catch up since our first meeting in July.
The Saturday before the race, was a day filled with training sessions, course talks, and more great meals. Nate and I went over the transition set up for race morning and then headed to the beach for a swim warm-up. For many of the women, they had only practiced getting into their TYR wetsuits once prior to the warm-up! Needless to say, we had lots of laughs, trash bag ”rippage” and worked up a sweat getting the women situated and zipped.
Once we got into the water, the women were so glad to test out the wetsuit and swimming in the waters of Mission Bay. Open water conditions can be so different race to race and that’s why I feel it’s so key to be comfortable, especially if one has limited open water swimming experience. The women practiced swimming around buoys, staring in deep water and also conquering their fears of open water swimming; whether it be anxiety about the depth, crowded swimming space or the “creature’s” below!
After the swim session, the women got to practice on their bikes, eat lunch, and listen to course talks. Before we knew it, it was already 3pm! Amazing how fast those pre-race days fly by. We met for dinner that night and kept it very low-key and relaxed as everyone wanted to get to bed early for the 4AM wake up on race day. We woke up to cool, dark and constant drizzle. Not enough to get you soaking, but just enough to chill you. I reminded the women that once they were out on the race course, they would not even feel the weather. In fact, the temperature was near perfect race temperature! I could sense nervous energy amongst the group, but I reminded everyone that nerves are a good thing! Nerves mean you are ready to race hard and are excited for what is to come…
About ten minutes before race start, they sky began clearing and I saw a ray of sunshine. It was going to be a great day! One really cool aspect about the race is that it was a women’s only race, so it was so awesome to see 1200 women of all ages competing in the sprint or supersprint tri. For more than half of the women, it was their first triathlon.
As each wave of women crossed the timing mat to head down to the water, I was able send along some positive energy by giving the women high fives! It is rare that I get to cheer and watch a race, since most of the time I am always racing! I throughly enjoyed the shift of focus and spent the next couple of hours cheering on the seven women I had been mentoring the past few months, along with all the other women participating.
After the race, the women were all smiles as each had accomplished their goal. Most women mentioned to me that they were excited to compete in another triathlon in the future! Amanda from Self magazine had won the Editor’s Cup Challenge, posting the fastest time amongst the seven women. She had quite the trophy to take home, definitely one with character. Hopefully this tradition will continue and more trophies can be earned in years to come!
All and all this was a great experience. I learned from the women a little about life as a magazine editor and hopefully they learned a thing or two about life as a professional triathlete. Most importantly, I realized whether you are a seasoned age grouper, pro or first timer; everyone goes through those same emotions before, during and after a race. We may have different race specific goals leading into the race and on race day, but those raw emotions are the same for all of us! So, that saying may be true in this case….we are not really all the different after all!
Written by: Greg Kopecky
Added: Thu Aug 02 2012
While Sarah is a very dedicated athlete, she’s the first to tell you that it wouldn’t be possible without her husband, Nathan Kortuem. He acts as her coach, mechanic, manager, travel Sherpa, power-file-analyzer, and much more. Known by his friends as simply “Nate”, he is a former professional triathlete, student of the sport, and all-around nice guy.
This specific workout session took place on Tuesday, July 31st, 2012, at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. Sarah and Nate spend their winters in Clermont, FL for the warm weather, and the summers in Colorado for the altitude training. They’ve come to find over time, however, that Sarah still benefits from some sea-level training throughout the year. That’s not possible in Colorado Springs, so they use supplemental oxygen for these key sessions.
While other Colorado Springs-based athletes use supplemental oxygen, they are often at the mercy of their ITU points standing (which determines their eligibility for O2, massage, monthly stipends, and other various forms of support). Sarah and Nate are no longer residents at the OTC, so they’ve essentially gone fully independent. In order to have consistent access to O2, they purchase their own tanks, which get stored at the OTC.
Sarah’s session this day was about an hour, with a main set of five minute intervals and two-and-a-half minutes rest. The ride was followed by a ten mile trail run, with Nate on his mountain bike. This is all part of her late-season peaking phase, for big races such as the Chicago triathlon and Hy-Vee. She rode her Fuji D6 bike equipped with Shimano Di2, a Rotor-Quarq crankset (172.5mm), Zipp 303 clincher wheels, Oval Concepts bars, ISM saddle, and Sampson pedals. Resistance was provided by a Computrainer, but they use the Quarq system for power measurement. Output was measured on three devices:
1. Garmin headunit on Sarah’s stem for basic power metrics (power, lap power, cadence, lap time)
2. An iPhone with Wahoo Fitness ANT+ receiver, placed on a table in front of Sarah (for heart rate metrics)
3. A second Garmin for Nate to track the data and record output on a clip board
You can follow Sarah at her website www.sarahhaskins.com and on twitter @sarahhaskinstri.
DISC Sports and Spine Center in Marina Del Rey, CA has given me the ability to continue my triathlon career. It all started in 2009. If you have an injury and need help check them out. Read my Story here.