IM CDA CONTEST!

Many of you know that Leslie Miller and I are teammates, training partners, and friends. We have been racing against each other for many years now, and will be racing in our first iron distance event as pros together on Sunday, June 28, 2015. Throughout the years the race between us has always been close — so close we even crossed the line together in our marathon in January. We thought it would be fun to have a contest where you guess our time differential for Sunday. The winner will get the cool bluetooth speakers I got last week from Challenge Williamsburg (note: ALL athletes got these in the swag bag! They are sweet, but I have some already and do not need multiples….Just another reason to add a Challenge event to your calendar!).

You have to play to win! Enter your guess here.

Learn more about us in this fun video:

 

These could be yours!

Challenge Williamsburg 70.3: The Heat is On!

As I am already packing and prepping for another race I realized I should probably write this report before I get too behind!

If you live on the East Coast these days you’ve been accustomed to seeing temps in the 90’s and super high humidity. It feels a bit unlike normal June weather, but, to be honest: I’ve been loving it. Also, I made a pact with myself after being so cold all this winter to never complain about heat, so, there’s that.

The weekend for the race was going to see no relief in temperatures. I drove into Williamsburg (quick trip from Cville!) Saturday morning and went through the routine: a little shake out ride, quick swim in the James River, and then heading to check-in. As always, it was really nice to get to see so many friends at a Challenge event (formerly Rev3). I also had the honor of being on the pro panel for this race! This was super fun and it was great that so many came out to hear what we had to say despite the scorching temps that day! Stu really makes these fun and engaging and if you listen closely, there’s always some good tips to be had here.

IMG_20150613_133410

After that it was time to relax! I was staying with one of my athletes, Megan, at a BnB in Colonial Williamsburg: it was awesome! There was a cat, meet Hemmingway:

0613151859

 

BUT the best part was that when I walked in I had an awesome surprise from my athletes. They all had been conspiring behind my back, and Megan put together this amazing birthday board where they sent little notes about funny things I say, and good memories of working with me, etc. This was SO MEANINGFUL. I love it.

0613151438 (1)

We met up with Leslie’s husband Nate and some of his friends for dinner (Chipotle – duh!) and then Megan and I came back to get things together for the race. It was her first 70.3 and I was so impressed with all her planning and thoughtfulness as she approached the race. Spoiler alert: all her efforts into making a plan and being prepared paid of in heaps as she nailed it!!!

Race morning came early. With a point to point race, you need extra time in the AM to get to T2 first, before shuttling to T1. I did run into Kristin in T2 though – always LOVE to meet fellow smashfestqueens at the races!! (and then get to see them when they have huge PR’s like Kristin did there!!)

IMG_20150615_071547

All was good though and before I knew it we were wading out in the James to the start line. The race started, and I saw most of the pack pull away, and the others drop back. With only 9 women racing, it makes for a difficult time finding a pack as there just aren’t numbers for it. I have been doing Long Course masters swimming though and I focused on some of the OWS techniques we’ve been using there, and was content enough with a 31/32 out of the water.

  Photo: Challenge Family Americas

Photo: Challenge Family Americas

I exited on my bike and started up the roads and got ready for what I knew was going to be a lonely ride. Again – with only 9 girls, there’s just not much opportunity for anything else to push you: it’s just you and the bike! I was able to catch one woman about 5 miles in, and I caught sight of the spotter car for the media – so, I knew I was close to the top 5 at least. I kept hammering away, and by the end of the bike I was ready to be done. BUT – I caught sight of Nate at the out and back. He was doing the aqua-bike and so I had a 22 minute head start on him, but he was catching up fast! At dinner the night before we had joked that the real race was between us to T2: I was not going to let him win that!! Luckily I ended up with about 30 seconds on him 🙂

Photo: Challenge Family Americas
Photo: Challenge Family Americas

In T2, I was in 7th place — about 15 minutes behind first place, but only 7 minutes behind 3rd. I took my time and did the things I needed to do to make sure I was starting the run COOL — it was already quite warm! Luckily, the run is 4 loops and a little over half the loop is a shaded trail. While it’s not flat, being out of the sun was way more important. I ignored my Garmin – given the trail portion, plus the heat, there was no way pushing myself for certain paces was going to be necessary – I just needed to work as hard as I could in that heat. Water, salt, ice, water salt ice, watersaltice. I tried to think about nothing other than just staying cool and one foot in front of the other, and I began to see it paying off: I caught one woman who was walking, and then reeled in another on the 3rd loop! Happy to run that final stretch, I hit the finish line with a smile because I knew I was in the money and had put down a strong effort on a tough, tough day. Knoxville redemption: check! I checked the weather and sure enough my suspicions were right: It was HOT for that run:

Screenshot_2015-06-14-13-55-30

 

Then I got to see Megan cross the line — with a smile!! No doubt about it – if she can execute on a tough hot day like that, she’s ready for Placid!!

A little recovery this last week and some final efforts are underway as I get ready to take on IM Coeur D’Alene next weekend – looks like another hot one so needless to say, bring it on! Thank you to my amazing sponsors who help make these races successful, no matter the conditions 🙂 Smashfest Queen, Dimond Bikes, PowerbarThe Right Stuff, Cadence Running Company, and ISM Saddles!

IMG_20150614_140829

Someone Else Is

One of the most standout moments of my (albeit short) Navy Lacrosse career was when we begged our coach for a break at practice. I think we wanted to get out early to go to dinner, or maybe go watch one of the guys’ games, or maybe we just wanted to go to our rooms. But, of course, she said no (she always said no). But this time we were getting ready for Club nationals and, after she said no, she gave us the quote:

“Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win.”
Tom Fleming

For some reason, this has always stuck with me. I’ve thought of it often – the early mornings and the late nights when I trained while working full time especially. And I always kind of chuckled to myself when I saw its truth play out in life. I’d convince myself I was the most unlucky person in the world having to get up at 4:30 am to get to the gym by 5. But, when I got to the gym…..there were always people already running on the treadmill. Or in the pool. They were training while I was not.

Today was one of those days. The workout on tap wasn’t the issue — I was pretty confident I could crush the bike hill repeats. But for whatever reason, all I could think was woe is me for having to ride my little self out to Mosby Mountain where there’s typically no company (usually I live for the quiet of Mosby as a respite from the real world!) and have to go up and down all by my little lonesome.

And then, this other guy appeared out of nowhere. In my secret little training garden, there was in fact, another person getting the work done and doing his own repeats. And then, about 20 minutes later, another guy appeared – RUNNING up the hill I was doing repeats on.

If I hadn’t shown up today, someone else would have. It’s easy to forget that when I get into my “training bubble” – and a good reminder on days like today.

After all, the magic in Coeur d’Alene isn’t going to make itself 🙂

These Are the Days…..Boone to Cville on Bikes!

If you’ve been following along for a couple of years now, you may remember one fun bit of trivia is that Hillary and I share the same birthday (June 13th!). You also would certainly know by now Hillary’s love of birthday smashfests, most notably, the 100×100 swim that occurs!

Since she had the birthday swim smashfest covered, we’ve expanded our horizons in the past few years with birthday bike smashfests as well. Involving more than just 3 hours and a pool, and often tricky to coordinate around racing and training schedules, we skipped last year. But with Leslie and me turning 30 this year, we knew that we would have to make an effort to put this one on the books again!

Two years ago, our birthday bike trip included a two-day jaunt across Skyline Drive. Easily the most iconic ride in Virginia….or, much of the East Coast, really, we got to introduce Hillary to the beauty of east coast riding! Of course, to turn 30, the most logical thing to do was to plan a 3 day trip.

The plan was hatched back in February I think, and by the time mid-april rolled around Leslie reminded me that we should probably start to plan for it. Step 1 to this was going to be to get Hillary to the East coast. Turns out, she already had a trip to Knoxville planned for May, so boom, we had our weekend! Step 2 was the route. Enter a few hours of time on google maps, googling “cycling trips east coast”, “cycling trips blue ridge parkway” and “multi day bicycle rides.” Eventually we circled back to our original plan of 3 days on the Blue Ridge Parkway. After playing with a few distances as potential starting points, a route became clear: it was exactly 300 miles from Boone to Afton Mountain, the exit of the Blue Ridge Parkway down to Charlottesville. And with that knowledge, one-way rental cars were booked, hotel rooms along the way secured, and boxes of items we would want overnight at our stops mailed!

Leslie and I arrived in Boone within minutes of Hillary’s arrival. Of course before anything else we had a hill repeat session to smash. Don’t worry – an appropriate hill in Boone was not hard to find! Then we headed for the sendoff dinner at Hob Nob Farm Cafe. We checked our bikes over and then got to bed. After learning a couple years ago that noon is not the best time to start a 120 mile hilly ride, we planned to get up and at ’em early the next day!

But the best laid plans were put on hold when we woke up to a chilly 40ish degrees. We postponed ourselves one more hour before it warmed up to a comfortable riding temperature (keep in mind we had minimal clothing with us!!)….one last check of the bikes and…..a bolt breaks! Woops, we got a little crazy tightening Hillary’s seat post. Thank goodness for the age of the internet, as we were able to quickly locate a Lowes and head over to get that snafu fixed up!

The guy taking the picture made sure we were all riding on John Deere's....
The guy taking the picture made sure we were all riding on John Deere’s….

We hit the road by 10:45 (still over an hour ahead of the other year! ha!) and rode off in search of the Meadows of Dan, about 110 miles away.

The best ham biscuit ever. This general store came much too early in the trip!
The best ham biscuit ever. This general store came much too early in the trip!

The Blue Ridge Parkway truly is great riding. Nice road surface, minimal traffic, and gorgeous views help to take your mind off of all the climbing that you are putting in to get these rewards! The beauty of the parkway was in full effect during the 3 days of riding, and both of our stops at Woodberry Inn in Meadows of Dan and Peaks of Otter Resort could not have been more perfect for the trip. Each had a restaurant and bar attached (the last thing you want to do each night is have to pedal to a restaurant!!) and had some welcoming staff and company to chat with and hear stories from.

Many of these gorgeous flowers along the way!

During the ride there were a lot of pedal strokes. A lot of powerbars consumed (and poptarts, and PayDays!). Some ups and downs as we faced unexpected 10 mile climbs, had to go 10 miles longer than we anticipated without water, and one unanticipated detour for repairs on the parkway. But those parts become just a blur and what I remember, similar to the last trip, is the laughter. From our “oh shit” giggles when the first bolt broke, to the times I was laughing so hard at stories we were telling that I could barely keep my bike upright, no amount of climbing or miles would ever want me to miss those moments. I would encourage anyone who has thought about this kind of a trip to DO IT! Pick a route. Send boxes with food and throw away clothes to a hotel mid point. Dupe a friend into coming along. And just enjoy the unknown of the roads ahead, relishing in the hours where you have nothing else to do than ride a bike.

Our view from the room at Peaks of Otter.
Our view from the room at Peaks of Otter.

And of course, you could also do it the Hillary way which involves forgetting to send overnight clothes in your boxes and thus riding with your Michele dress and flip flops all 3 days. As if I didn’t love that dress enough I am SERIOUSLY impressed by it now that I watched it hold up to 3 days in a jersey pocket coming out wrinkle free each evening!

Yep, carried the flip flops too!
Yep, carried the flip flops too!

After the trip I got to show Hillary around my Charlottesville stomping grounds for a day or so. It’s always super helpful to have her see in person what I have access to for training.

Our new friend at the Wooderry Inn
Our new friend at the Wooderry Inn

And, if you’re wondering, yes we did get back on our bikes Tuesday as well. As Hillary put it “It’s like the Tour….you just have to keep riding now.”  HA! Always an adventure 🙂 Until the next birthday!!

How #SMASHknox turned into #CrashKnox

Sigh. I pretty much already gave away the exciting part of the story here, but I’ll start from the beginning anyway!

I was super excited to head down to Knoxville with Leslie, Nate and Max. It’s always better with a crew! The drive down to Knoxville is easy but borrrrrring. There’s not much to see on I-81 other than huge 18 wheelers. The guys acknowledged Leslie and my superiority and allowed us to comfortably lounge in the back seat while they drove 🙂 Even better!!

Pre-race was easy, it’s always good when I’ve been to the race before and know the in’s and out’s of the town and the shuffle. I also got to catch up with SO many people – the Rev3-turned-Challenge Family racing team members I have missed, the one and only Holly Bennett!!, and I was able to share the pre-race dinner with one of my athletes, Deanna and her friends. I’ve become pretty accustomed to the “remote” coaching atmosphere, but whenever I have time to see things in person I am reminded how valuable it can be. Deanna was definitely fit and ready to go after a very LONG and cold winter in the mid west!

Race morning came and Leslie and I headed down to transition. As soon as we arrived, the sprinkles started. Little did I know that this was not just a passing shower! We headed down to the swim start where and met up with Maggie. They both were like “oh let’s put on our swim caps” (I did) and then were like ohhh PSYCH let’s have our picture taken to be tweeted all over social media. Ha! Joke’s on me 🙂 pre-race

Anyway, the swim started and I tried my darndest to stay on feet but it just seemed from the gun like a really weird race. It was as if every swimmer went off on their own direction. There was very little organization, and even though people were pulling away it wasn’t like normal where one pack got away. It was just like confetti out of a cannon in all different directions away from me. Still, I couldn’t find feet and ended up pulling in the back group on my own. The bright side is that this is still much better than last year’s swim where I was really solo, AND, for a non-wetsuit swim not bad. It also meant getting onto the bike with a pack!

We had a group of 4 for the first 10 miles or so. Taking a look at my power I knew I was biking hard. Too hard? Maybe, but it was going to be close so I was determined to hang on as long as I can. I was a little stressed out about the stagger rule we were following for drafting. By this time, the heavy rain had begun. Rain, plus a course that is open to traffic, plus some technical windy roads that aren’t in perfect condition, PLUS the stagger rule?….well, it was just a lot to keep in mind. Our pack of 4 had decreased to 3 with me hanging on by a thread at the back. I looked up to see where the girls were and make sure I was staggered appropriately (at this time I was riding close to the right white line). I took a look down and all I remember seeing is: puddle, pothole…..no road.

What, no road? Shit! I had gone right to avoid the hole — in my head I needed to stay right to be staggered. But in doing so, I basically staggered myself off the road because the white line disappeared — the road was caving in on the one side into a ditch. At this point, I just remember my front wheel going over, and nothing else until I came-to sitting upright, facing away from the road, in the mud. UGH.

First thoughts: Check body, no bones sticking out. Stuff boob back inside tri top (awkward, and weird.) Assess damages: blood, but I’m okay, it hurts, but nothing too bad. Tri shorts have a hole in them. UGH my new tri suit, Unbreakable! UGH of course I’m wearing a tri suit called Unbreakable.

That prompted me into the decision making phase: what do I do? I was around mile 12, so I could ride myself back (no one was around at the time). But that would take awhile, and nothing was so broken I was really down for the count. Then I’d have to call Hillary and tell her I’m okay but crashed, and if she didn’t make me do a run workout today, I’d probably have to do one tomorrow since I need a hard hit-out in this time frame. Hmmmm. Okay, I’ll get back on the bike and see how I feel. If I’m even close to what I was riding before, I’ll just keep going.

Photo_2015-05-20_04-24-22_PM

So, I got back on my bike. By this time another female had passed, checking if I was okay (thank you!). I said yes, and then another one (or two?) passed as I was collected my bottle and other things that had flown off and putting it all back together. I hopped on and used the last woman to try to keep me riding hard. Numbers were never near what they were pre-crash, but honestly they weren’t the worst I’ve ever raced with either. So: onwards!

It became clear that I was not going to be the only crash of the day. Hoping that all I saw out there ended up as okay as I am now!

Coming back from the ride I was greeted with soggy socks and running shoes: sweeeeet. I put them on and started to run. All I could feel was the road rash on my quad, which was cool because the actual pain of running fast wasn’t there, but also not cool because it was just not comfortable. I’ve trained to learn to run through the leg-pain from running hard, it’s a bit of a mind-trap when it’s a different pain to deal with! So, I just did the best I could, pushing as much as I could for the run. I was catching a few women so that was reassuring, though, it definitely wasn’t my finest run day.

Coming through the finish line I was greeted by my friends…..who all came looking to blot my chin/face. Uhhh….what? It’s my leg that’s all messed up. Ha! Apparently I had a nice little chin bruise/scrape that I hadn’t even noticed. They assured my my face otherwise was in tact, though. Medical was awesome and cleaned me up, and then it was a fun afternoon of meeting SMASH teammates, old friends, and watching Leslie pick up her first pro paycheck!

Photo_2015-05-20_04-44-25_PM

Then for the LONG drive home…….once again, always better with friends 🙂 I’ll get my redemption at the 70.3 in a couple weeks, at Challenge Williamsburg!

SubstandardFullSizeRender

Recalculating

If you’ve been watching the triathlon headlines in the past week, there are quite a few things changing in the industry these days. Unfortunately, it feels a bit like dejavu as once I’ve been at the mercy of an in-season announcement from Challenge Family (formerly Rev3) that they are removing/reducing/reallocating prize purses in not one….not two…..not three….but FOUR of my events for the season!

Womp, womp.

This left me in a bit of a tight spot. Luckily I didn’t lose money due to lost accommodations or plane tickets; however, I am now facing a much more expensive racing season seeing as many of these were driveable-homestay friendly races for me. And, in case you were wondering, flying across the country and staying in a tiny resort town is quite a bit more expensive than driving to Atlantic City and a homestay. Expenses aside, these were also races that family was going to be able to make AND I had many of my athletes joining me at these races. Missing a race opportunity for myself is one thing; missing a chance to see my athletes crush it in person? HUGE bummer!

But, if racing iron distance has taught me anything, it’s how to handle the low moments. I can only control the controllables – and this, was most definitely an uncontrollable.

I want to take a second to point out how I have some of the most amazing friends and teammates. People were coming out of the woodwork to help me make new travel plans happen on short notice. Thanks to Leslie for taking time and effort to arrange introductions for me (hopefully not a secret sabotage as now I get to race her – HA! :)). And, a huge thank you to Mary and Dan (see also: Cadence Running Company) for helping ensure my travel to the race happens. I am beyond words with how flattered and how appreciative I am that you all believe in me enough to do what you have done, I promise to race hard for ya!

So, where can you find me for the next few months? I’ll still be heading to Knoxville this weekend for what looks like it will be quite the show! Then Challenge Williamsburg will be a birthday weekend hit-out before heading west to Coeur d’Alene. And in between, one massive 30th birthday bike trip (more on that next post!).

After that of course when July hits, it’s CVILLE CAMP TIME! And then, I will be making a valiant return to the OD (olympic distance) racing with the NYC Triathlon. I’ve been promising my sister I’d come race in NYC for awhile, so when a huge hole in my plans opened up that was my top pick. Because, why not?

But before July there is obviously plenty on my plate to focus on. Onwards!

South African Adventure Quiz!

When I successfully wait 2 weeks before posting a race report, I inevitably no longer feel like hashing out all the gory details from the race. In short, it was an amazing experience and I loved every second of being in South Africa! While it was a short(ish) trip for such long travel out there, I’m so happy to have had the opportunity at all to be doing this, and will continue to seize the chances I get to make these trips, no matter how quickly they go by! Going on a safari was an experience that everyone should at least try and have, you can go on a tanzania safari or a Zanzibar safari, the choice is yours!

Since I’m not going to give you a race play-by-play (it was hot, sunny, hilly, windy, and TOUGH but a super fair and fun course) I will say that I am pleased with the day. Sure, place wise I would have liked to have been higher, but it was a decent enough start for the season and I will keep chiseling away at those weaknesses. Onward!

Here’s a fun little quiz I put together based on my trip! Enjoy 🙂

1. True/False: Aardwolfs are real animals.
2. In my first hours in Port Elizabeth I experienced: A. A city-wide blackout with no traffic lights working B. Figuring out how to ride on the left side of the road C. 25 mph wind gusts on my ride D. All of the above
3. True/False: My Dimond bike is the fastest.
4. My pre-race dessert with TJ Tollakson was: A. Ice Cream B. Carrot Cake C. Kale and apples.
5. My post-race meal was: A. Food after an Ironman? No thanks. B. Shark from a local restaurant C. Kentucky Fried Chicken
6. The SMASH kit I wore was: A. Fast N Loud B. Queen K C. Unbreakable
7. True/False: On our safari an elephant stuck its trunk in the car window and ate a peanut from my hand.
8. Which movie did Ed and I not watch on the 35 hours of plane travel (there and back):
-Boyhood
-Imitation Game
-Let’s be Cops
-Love, Rosie
-Unbroken
-Lucy
-Contact
-The Fault in Our Stars
9. On the side of the bike course I saw: A. A monkey B. A giraffe C. A great white shark jumping out of the water
10. True/False: Both dolphins and sharks have fins that stick out of the water and are very scary when you see them and you’re about to go swimming.

ANSWERS:Answers

 

Safari video one!

Safari video two!

My last 6 weeks!

Well I can honestly say that I did not expect for about 6 weeks to go by before I would write another update here. And to be honest I’m not sure that without a 14 hour-internetless flight, I would have ever made the time to write one before this weekend! Spring always tends to be a bit of a busier season for me. Trying to get back into the swing of things with training, escaping the winter when I can to get to Tucson, getting to know my new athletes on board for the 2015 season, AND it’s the time of year for the Charlottesville Marathon which I am very involved with.

Getting back into the swing of things with training. This year was a bit unique for me as I was coming off of a really strong road marathon – something I had never done. Hillary and I both knew that recovery from road marathons is nothing to be taken lightly, and that there was simply no way to predict how I’d end up on the other side. Truthfully? I had run myself into a hole. A  BIG hole. A big hole I happily shoveled myself into with ever 7:04 mile I ran that day, but a hole nonetheless.

I spent about 4 weeks post-marathon recovering and attempting to get some bike legs back under me. This was anything but pretty – I’m pretty sure my logs from that time had more curse words than Hillary has ever seen as I seriously thought she was trying to kill me some days on the bike. The most frustrating part of it all was that I was trying so hard, and doing the right things, but I just wasn’t feeling fit.

I have a great support crew and they said all the right things, but it’s tough. It’s tough to know that you’re heading out to stacked field in a few weeks and you might not be at the top of your game. It’s tough to have to reconcile with yourself that your body may not be as strong as you want it to be and no matter how much you will it, you can’t force recovery.

You can’t force it – you just have to let it happen. Day by day. Hour by hour. Sweeping all the crappy workouts aside and getting up the next day with the hope that maybe that will be the day you turn the corner.

And you know what – one day that happens. For me this was about mid-way through my Arizona trip. Everything just began to click again, I turned off of Struggle Street, and I was able to spend the next few weeks confidently putting more hay in the barn for this season opener. Cue the HUGE sigh of relief.

The Arizona trip – I can’t just skim over that though right? Nope! But, you’ll still get the short version unfortunately. I was able to participate in a few days of Hillary’s first week of camp this year before heading out to Phoenix. I once again had a great host with Ed’s family and that made the sour pill of a tough duathlon a little easier to swallow. Getting to race with some fast ladies was also super fun, as well as getting to meet some of the AZ tri contingent I had only connected with online to that point!

Week 2 in AZ was all about camp! So many familiar faces as well as newbies each year make this one of my favorite times for sure. It’s also a great opportunity for me to coach some of my athletes in person which is a special treat and a great way to help us focus and regroup with our goals as we head into the season. And, I would like to put on the record that my run group actually made it back to the designated meeting spot within the allotted amount of time for the activity this year 🙂

After Arizona it was two weeks back in Cville, getting ready for the marathon and some final prep for South Africa…..and now, here I am on another continent.  If you happen to be racing here as well, please let me know! I’ll be around Port Elizabeth in the newest Smashfest Queen kit – Unbreakable!! I had the pleasure of a sneak peek at this one during my visit to Tucson, and I absolutely love it. Let’s see if it makes it into the “lucky kit” collection! Bib number 64 on Sunday, my race begins at 12:33am EDT. So if my east coast friends want to pull an all-nighter, I will try to make it worth it!

 

Checking out the bike course!
Checking out the bike course!

Where I’m off to in 2015!

In case you missed it a couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of doing a super fun Q&A session on the Smashfest Queen Facebook page (join us this Wednesday for a Q&A with Smash co-founder Michele Landry!):

One of the questions that came up a couple times was where you will be able to find me in 2015. I LOVE getting to meet new friends at races so please let me know if you’ll be joining me for any of these events.

I plan to race a lot this year, but first up will be the Desert Classic Duathlon in Phoenix, March 1st! A good solid hit-out with some competition surely at this early season race will hopefully get me tuned up for (drum roll please)…..Ironman South Africa, March 29th! If you’ve been following me for awhile now, you know I just love a good early season iron distance event 🙂 With Cabo out of the picture this year (boo!) it seemed like the perfect time to head to a continent I’ve never been to before and knock another event off the bucket list while hopefully taking home some dollars.

More schedule updates hopefully to come soon after Challenge confirms their pro series info and logistics!

Looking Back on my Rookie Pro Year

It is so hard believe that I am now entering my second pro year. Where does the time go? As I have been mentally regrouping for official ironman training blocks to start again, I have been taking a look at what went well, and what didn’t go so well, last year. In an effort to try to help others, as well as remain transparent about the industry, I came up with a few lessons I learned last year. As I hope to avoid the “sophmore slump” of racing, this served as just as good a reminder for myself than anyone else!

  1. Just say “No” to bangs. They are absolutely impossible to wear well when you train a billion hours and shower 3 times a day. It’s simply not an efficient haircut. One day in 15 years you can have all the bangs you want: that day is not today.
  2. Don’t be afraid to say no to potential sponsors! Don’t take this too overboard, of course. But, if you’re lucky, you’ll have the opportunity to work with a few sponsors this year. Make sure you read what you’re signing, you understand it, and, most importantly, that you find value in it. If you can’t read it and figure out quickly the immediate benefit for you as an athlete, maybe it’s time to take a second look. Yes, you have to “start at the bottom” with sponsor relationships– but make sure what you’re getting into is ground level – not underground. If you aren’t really getting anything out of the contract – ASK FOR IT! Why not? After all, nothing minus nothing, is actually just still nothing.
  3. Be a sponge. I used to tell new hires this tidbit at every job I had when I was asked to mentor someone. There was only one person I can remember who didn’t take this to heart, and people wanted him out of the company before his first day was over. Nobody likes a know-it-all. Sit back, relax, and listen. I promise you all the other “seasoned” pros will ask all the silly questions you can even dream of in the pro meeting. Just by sitting back and listening you will appear confident and knowledgeable. By being all up in everyone’s business and/or a know-it-all, people will want you out of the company before your first day is up. And they probably won’t be shy about blogging or tweeting about it, either. Get ready, because everything you do is now fair game for the internet.
  4. Get ready to enter a pretty intimidating “Girls Club.” Without fail you’ll feel left out at some point. You’ll finally work up the courage to crack a joke to someone only to find out the reason she’s not included in the other discussions either is because she doesn’t speak English. It doesn’t mean you don’t belong, it just means people don’t know you yet. Give it time, they will eventually. I’ll always remember when Beth Shutt made the effort to give me a hug the morning of my first pro race, making me feel like I belonged – I hope I have an opportunity to do the same for someone one day!
  5. You’re probably going to lose. A bunch. Finish every race you start no matter how embarrassing you think it will be. Because actually, it’s not that embarrassing since just about every other girl out there has been in your running shoes. Do what you need to do to finish the race – you won’t regret it.
  6. Get hungry. Put something on the line for your your triathlon career. You can tell in a race who is racing because they’re hungry for it – be that athlete. Treat it like more than your hobby.
  7. Have fun. You are doing this because you’re young and YOLO! Obviously 🙂 But seriously, there are a ton of women out there who want to be in your shoes. We are competing in a time when women still are fighting for equality (#50womentokona) in the sport. Be proud to be a female athlete, and do what you can to inspire young girls to participate in triathlon. We have come a long way but we still have a long way to go.
  8. But seriously, don’t get bangs.

 

Checking in before my first pro race!
Checking in before my first pro race!