It has been 17 months since I have competed in a triathlon race. Since January 2nd, and was able to get in a consistent hard training block that I feel is preparing me for the race season, which is key for me this time of year. Later in the year, travel starts to add up with all the racing, so the winter is the perfect time to stay put and accumulate the miles from training rather than accumulate the miles from traveling!
Nate, Caroline and I have all gotten into a rhythm of training, eating, sleeping and balancing play time and training time. Caroline is now seven months and starting to scoot around the living room. Her personality is really starting to show and she loves to smile and play with her toys. She loves bath time and I took that as a sign she would love swimming. I have taken her a few times to the heated National Training Center pool and she absolutely loves the water! She splashes, watches the other kids and doesn’t seem to be bothered when she goes under water for a few seconds. Future fish on our hands?!
My first four races of the year will be close to home, all in the state of Florida. Not getting on an airplane the first couple on months into race season is a huge bonus! Especially this year with little Caroline traveling with me to the races, it will be much easier for all of us! I will be competing in my first race this Saturday. It’s just ten minutes from home in Clermont, Florida. No matter what the outcome, I will be happy to give it my all and experience the thrill of pushing hard out on the race course.
I am equally excited to partner with some great companies this year.
Fuji Bicycles: I am proud to be partnering with Fuji for the 2014 season. I love the comfort and speed of the bikes and working with a great team. I am excited to ride the new Norcom Straight, which launched last season. http://www.fujibikes.com/
ISM Adamo Saddles: I first road an ISM saddle back in 2006. Nate found a prototype in the USA Triathlon office and thought that I would really enjoy the saddle due to the design. I have loved the saddle since I began riding it. The pain I experienced in my early years of riding is no longer a problem and I have never looked back. The company is comprised of great people who are passionate about the sport and it’s athletes. My favorite saddle is the Time Trial. http://www.ismseat.com/
MissionAthleteCare: I have joined as a partner in this company since 2007. What is unique about Mission is that all the athletes have a say in the product. We get the opportunity to test the product before they are out on the market and have a voice in changing the product to make it better for athletes. Check out all the gear at www.missionathletecare.com My favorite product is the Facestick. One application and my face is protected for a six hour training day!
Polar: This is my first year working with Polar and I am very excited to work with a high quality product to elevate my racing and training. I am able to track my heart rate and pacing during training and can use this information as a valuable tool to help with my fitness progression. http://www.polar.com/us-en
PowerBar: I am excited to partner with PowerBar for my training and racing fueling needs. PowerBar understands the demands placed on endurance athletes and what it takes to get to the finish line. My favorite product is the Kona Punch gel! http://www.powerbar.com/
Rudy Project: I have been racing and training with Rudy Project since I started the sport and completed my first triathlon in 2003. I know my head and eyes are well protected! The casual glasses are comfortable and stylish and a must for me year round while living in Florida! https://www.rudyprojectusa.com/ I love to race in the Abilities!
Skechers: I am very excited to be joining the Skechers Performance Line for the 2014 season. I will be racing in the Go-Meb Speed2’s this season. I absolutely love the feel of these responsive, fast shoes. I can race in these shoes in a 5k or a half marathon! I love the variety of all the shoes Skechers has to offer. http://www.skechers.com/
Toyota: I have been part of the Team Toyota since 2008. Toyota is a revolutionary car company and always creating what the customer wants and needs. I am excited to be driving the Rav4 this year to races and to my training sessions. Team Toyota will be exhibiting during the race expos at the Lifetime Fitness/Toyota Triple Crown race series. It’s truly a great experience for me as fans get to check out the vehicles and enter for a chance to win prizes. In addition, I get to connect with race community. http://www.toyota.com/
TYR: I am joining with TYR for the 2014 season! I look forward to returning to racing in the fast carbon line of triathlon suits. I will be racing in TYR wetsuits as well! Check out all the gear at http://www.tyr.com/
Quarq: I am excited to be using Quarq power meters this year for training and racing. The feed back and data I get from these power meters help elevate my racing to new levels that I could not reach with out them. http://www.quarq.com
Zipp: I will proudly be training and racing on Zipp wheels in 2014. Zipp wheels are the fastest wheels on the market and Zipp puts more into R&D than any other wheel manufacture on the market. They have years of proven wins at the biggest races! http://www.zipp.com/
This past December, Nate and I were asked to host a clinic with members from the St. Louis Tri Club. We spent the snowy winter morning helping 25 members work on their stroke technique, learn open water skills and answer any questions they had about racing and training. We had a great time working with the athletes and look forward to hearing updates about the athletes races in coming 2014 season.
The club generously donated $200.00 towards a charity that I support, Jenny’s Light. You can learn more about Jenny’s Light from their website:
Thank you so much to the Tri Club for their generous donation towards a great cause. Best wishes for a successful 2014 and beyond.
Nate, Caroline and I have been back to Florida for a couple of weeks now and loving the training Clermont has to offer. I am getting back into a training groove and pleased with my fitness progression. My first race is the Clermont Draft-Legal Challenge on March 1st, just ten minutes from my home! It’s great to start off my first race so close to home.
Happy New Year!
My New Toyota Rav4!!! “I am so excited to be driving this in 2014″!!!
The Holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year. Racing season has come to a close, training winds down and this equates to more time with family and friends and accomplishing Christmas shopping! I also use this time of the year to reflect, look back at all the highs and lows and what I have learned to carry over into the next year. I re-evaluate my goals, focus on any season injuries or issues that need to be addressed, and recharge myself mentally. I find the most difficult time of the year is January-March; when training is really ramped up and racing season has not yet begun.
This year I did not have any races to reflect upon, but it has been plenty busy! I had lots of changes this past year; going through pregnancy, giving birth and now entering parenthood. The past few months I have focused on juggling training with caring for my newborn. The needs of my baby girl will always be first on my list of priorities, but I am also navigating how I can best prepare myself to get to the start line of my first race healthy, happy and ready to rock!
Getting back into the swing of training has been much easier with the help of my husband/coach, Nate. He helps me out as much as he can with Caroline and helps me to get the most out of me every day as an athlete. When we push our bodies hard in training, it’s tough to stay mentally positive. Nate always reminds me to smile and just do the best that I can. It really helps to have those reminders, especially when you are several weeks into a hard training block.
The hardest part about balancing being a professional athlete and parenthood; is having to leave Caroline for my training. I know that she is in great hands with those caring for her, but as a mother I do have a bit of guilt leaving her. I do feel blessed that my job is intermittent throughout the day and I can schedule my training around her naps. I love returning from a morning swim workout and getting to spend some quality time with her before my next workout. She also gives me the strength to dig deep when I am hurting in the middle of a session. When I am pushing my body on the Computrainer or hitting a pace on the treadmill, I picture her smiling face and this gives me that extra ounce of motivation. I feel time away from her should be utilized to the max.
My recovery from workouts is not quite the same as before. I no longer can go to sleep when I am tired or auto tune my brain out to a movie or television show thoughout the day. However, the joy I have from watching Caroline learn and play is well worth missing a Sunday morning sleep in. I have learned to rest when my baby is resting (when I don’t have a planned training session to fit in) and those naps with her lying on my stomach are so relaxing. Some mornings I wake up not having the best night of sleep, but I stay positive and know that I will get to rest again soon! All the years of being a professional athlete I have learned to tune into my body. I know when to keep pushing and when I need to back down. As a new mother, this is a very important key to my training.
It’s so important to not put too much pressure on myself to expect my pool times to return to pre-pregnancy in X amount of time or my 10k run pace to be where it was pre-pregnancy six months after giving birth. I have to take my progression day to day and be happy with the improvements I make. My passion is staying active and fit and pushing my body to it’s limits. I look forward to challenging myself next season and getting back onto the racing scene.. Racing is really where you test your body and push to the limit; not in training!
Next year, I will have an extra cheerleader out on the racecourse! I look forward to experiencing another race season, but look even more forward to watching little Caroline take her first steps and say her first words!
Enjoy this holiday season and I wish everyone a very blessed 2014! See you at the races!
It’s hard to believe our little Caroline just had her three month birthday. Time sure has flown by since she entered our lives last July. It has truly been a blessing and a joy becoming parents. Nathan and I have loved seeing her grow and change over the past three months. We look forward to much more growing and changing over the course of her first year and further into the future. We have been blessed with a great sleeper! Ever since Caroline was a month old, she would routinely sleep at least a five or six hour stretch each night. When Caroline was two and a half months, she had a period of sleeping a full eight hours a night! I joke with Nathan that she knows Mommy has to sleep to be able to do her job, so she is already helping Mommy out! Our little girl continues to be very social. She loves to smile, chat and when she giggles; our heart melts.
Caroline has also become quite the traveler. So far, she has done very well on all the trips across the country. Currently, we traveled to Oceanside, CA for the Toyota Triple Crown Finale. I will not be back to racing yet, but I will be hanging out at the Toyota expo and cheering on all the athletes race morning. Flying without race gear is much, much easier; however, the real travel challenge will begin next year while traveling with race and baby gear!!
After the Oceanside race we drove up to Torrence, CA for a reveal of a triathlon vehicle that will be showcased during SEMA next month in Vegas. Our biggest challenge as of yet was flying from LAX to Newark and then flying from Newark to St. Louis the following day. Little Caroline has already gotten in some epic frequent flier miles.
In New York City on Tuesday, October 21st, I was a spokesperson for the reveal of the Marathon Sports Bra created by Champion. New York City is such an awesome city to visit and although we were there for a short 20 hours Nathan and Caroline where able to go around and tour at Rockefeller center.
The past month, I have also been back to a routine of training. I have slowly been building up a little speed in my running and building up volume on the swim and bike. My cycling has been coming along very well and I feel this discipline is the closet to my “race” fitness. My swimming and running are coming along a little more slowly, but I am really enjoying the process of getting back some speed. I am able to push the volume and speed in the pool as much as I wish. In my run training, I have to slowly build back with the speed and volume in order to keep my ligaments and tendons feeling happy with the six month break from running during pregnancy and post partum. I have also included 2x a week of an intense Pilates class, which has really helped my flexibility as well as my strength. The class is taught at Lifetime Fitness and is packed with many women who are aged a young 50 and older….and are much better at Pilates than me and Nathan. Needless to say, we are impressed and improving each week ourselves.
We have been training in St. Louis this fall and have enjoyed the very warm September. With a long break from riding outside, I have loved getting out with Nathan on the roads and climbing all the steep climbs in the St. Louis countryside (fortunately Grandma can watch Caroline). We were also invited to participate in Pedal for the Cause on October 6th. This was a fundraising event to help with cancer research and all the donations remain in St. Louis. Nathan and I chose to ride the 25 mile route and ended up doing a few extra loops on the ride since it was such a beautiful route and inspiring to see so many cancer survivors and supporters out on the road riding for a great cause.
I had the opportunity to travel to Colorado Springs and speak at the International Altitude Symposium. This is organized by Randy Wilber, Sports Scientists at the Olympic Training Center. It was an honor to speak alongside Susan Williams, as she talked about her altitude training preparation for the 2004 Athens Games and I spoke about my altitude training preparation experience before the 2008 Beijing Games. We also got a chance to see many of our Colorado Springs friends and visit the Olympic Training Center, where it is like a family for us. Hard to believe it was nine years ago, Nate and I met…! It was wonderful to have everyone meet little Caroline! We will be back in Colorado Springs November 8-11th, as I will be helping out with a Junior Triathlon Camp.
October was a month filled with travel for us, but we are headed back to Florida in November for a training block to get ready to race next season before the Christmas holidays. It feels great to get back into some quality training and I know the real work is yet to come. I have much more motivation in my training these days….all I have to do is picture the smiling face of my little girl.
As the end of the triathlon season wraps up, I wish everyone a fantastic finish to their season. Enjoy the off-season and heal up any injuries, mentally refresh and recharge for an even better 2014.