ABC’s of Challenge AC

Atlantic City! As the sun was rising behind the casinos, I had to admit, it’s a great venue for the sport. Easily accessible to both athletes and spectators alike, with plenty of activities and things to do, another great East Coast 140.6 option.

Boardwalk. Who would have thought the boardwalk would be a great place for a marathon? But, tons of spectators and excitement allows for 26.2 miles to fly by when you’re hurting. Excellent choice, Challenge.

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Challenge. The first North American race by the brand, they certainly came in with a splash. Everything I saw over the weekend was on par, if not done better, than any of their competitors. I wish them nothing but success and I most certainly will be fitting more Challenge races into my schedule!

Do AC. The motto of the race, this is definitely a race where there is plenty to do outside of the race itself! Atlantic City has plenty of family friendly activities (you should probably find someone with kids and a blog who did the race though to discuss that), but I can say that with my parents there I was never worried about them just standing around bored. They were able to stay at a hotel right on the course and had plenty of fun on their own at the slots while waiting for me! And I think they may have even won a few dollars. It was a big day for the Godesky’s to get paid! Some of them have even expressed an interest in playing online slot games, once they’d had the casino bonuses explained to them, as the welcome offers were very appealing.

Eagleman! Definitely good prep for this race, for those who are eyeing it for their calendars next year!

Five. The number of pro women who started the race.

(Editor’s note: I forgot G at first! This was updated later 🙂 ) Gambling! I am pretty sure that while a lot of people were out on the boardwalk in AC and were excited about watching the race and cheering us on…..about 90% of the city still didn’t really care. Which was kind of awesome. I walked into Bally’s on my way up to my parent’s room after the race and it was really surreal to just wander a midst the noise and the lights and the sounds of the slots. I’ve never felt more out of place in spandex and sweat marks!

Home-stay. I had the most absolutely wonderful and positive home-stay experience here. Huge thank you to Eric and his family, as well as Tom and his. You both helped me feel right at home throughout the entire weekend. Thank you for your support of a race that supports professionals, and thank you for going beyond that and welcoming Jeff and I into your homes. It was a great experience even before I got to the starting line, and that speaks volumes!

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In case you missed it, I scheduled tweets to go off during the race. They were pretty funny. Check out my twitter @alyssagodesky to go back and read through!

Just keep pedaling. This was my motto as I faced the headwinds on the AC Expressway! It was a long tough stretch!

Keeping everyone else in my thoughts was key!! There were several other races going on around the globe, but most importantly over in CDA, TeamHPB was having a huge day! Thinking of everyone out there racing strong helped keep me motivated as well.

Lucy the Elephant. One of the fun landmarks you got to run around on the marathon!

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Mom & Dad. Thank you for waking up at 1:15am and driving up to see the race start. And for the celebratory dinner at Revel afterwards. And for not making me walk the 1.5 miles to dinner 🙂

Nutrition from Powerbar. Always on point and always keeping me fueled strong!

Onwards and upwards….literally. I’ll be heading to the Rocky Mountains this month and tackling Ironman Boulder next!

Penalty. Yep, I got one of these on the bike. Failure to stagger was a bit questionable, but when you have a referee riding behind you for 40 miles, it was almost easier when they found something wrong, I served my time, and they disappeared.

Quick. This course can be fast, really fast. Heat and wind will always play a part, but it’s definitely a course where you can get moving!

Rev3 Support! I swear that my time on this team is some of my most valuable time in triathlon! This family always seems to pop up when I need them, and the AC Boardwalk was no exception! Thank you Eric for the cheers and hug!

SMASH. Thank you for making a product that makes people yell “Your outfit is pretty” at me when I compete! I love these cheers! And thank you for helping me have a presence in the sport, so people know who I am. To the woman who ran up beside me in the middle of the marathon to congratulate me on my first pro year, thank you!

Ten. The number deep that they pay the pro field at Challenge AC. See also “F”….and then do the math.

U-Haul — what I drove to the race. Psych, I didn’t really drive a UHaul. However, as a proud FJ Cruiser owner now I can say that this really might be the ultimate triathlon car. The amount of things I was easily able to fit, plus just sliding my bike in and out…..sooo awesome! If you are in need of a new vehicle and you do things with bikes and gear, consider an FJ!

Volunteers. Major thanks to this crew, as keeping the run course under control in the craziness that is the boardwalk did NOT look easy. They were amazing!!

Winds! This will definitely be a factor on the course in future years. On pace for what was going to be an unreal bike split, all dreams of that 5-0h-something were dashed after I hit the brutal headwinds with 30 miles to go on the AC Expressway. But, we wouldn’t want it to be easy…..

Xtreme pre-race. They had Navy SEALS jump out of a plane and hold the flag while the national anthem played. And then they landed right next to us. It was awesome.

Y- shaped swim course. This one did present me with a few problems. With warm water and no wetsuits, I was really pleased to be with the pack of 4 that I found myself in around mid way through the swim. However, some shallow water, running into the men’s pack ahead of us, and a current found me swimming alone shortly after that. Unfortunately I need to work on my navigational skills as I needed a jetski to redirect me at one point. All in all, it could have been worse, and I was okay exiting the water in 4th.

Zoom zoom! This is how the swim starts always feel and this one was no different, although perhaps my own fault. The pro women were in the water waiting for the start. We had heard the 30 second countdown get called, and then the crowd got quiet. Out of nowhere I heard my homestay dad yell GO ALYSSA and start waving. So, naturally, I got all excited that someone out in the crowd not only knew me but was excited enough for me to let everyone know it, and I started waving back! Mid wave, BOOM, they started the race! WOOPS. Luckily I was able to get my act together and hop onto the last pair of feet before they got too far away.

What should I wear?

The packing for Challenge AC starts today and the biggest question I have is, naturally, what to wear?! So, I’ll let you all decide for me 🙂

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Taper Distractions

It has been awhile since I’ve had a true taper before a big race and I was a little nervous about if all the extra time on my hands would make me fall victim to the typical taper craziness! Luckily, I’ve had plenty of distractions to keep my mind off the fact that I’m not exercising quite as much.

1. Camp prep! When I return from AC I’ll basically head right into the Charlottesville Tri Camp which I am SO excited for. Nate and Leslie were here this weekend testing out the routes and getting familiar with the area. It’s going to be great! They especially enjoyed me following them in the car for the latter part of their ride and cheering as they rode by!

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2. Proud Coach! I’ve had so many great coaching moments this month, from Easa rocking the San Diego 100, to Ben crushing his 70.3 with a PR, to just today when Stephanie and Tamsin rocked it at Syracuse 70.3! It is always so rewarding to watch my athletes execute a plan perfectly, hang on when the day gets tough, and come out on top! It is also the best inspiration for me to do the same in a week!

3. Cribbage! Ed taught me how to play. It is a game of counting and math and numbers, so obviously I love it.

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4. Taxes. Definitely the least exciting of my distractions (note the lack of ! for that one) — but, I did teach myself to file my quarterly taxes (yes, I realized I missed a quarter. Well, actually I missed 2 since apparently Juny 16th is the end of Q2!). #lifeofapro #notallfunandgames

#MilesForJamie

There isn’t much to say in these situations where words never quite seem adequate. Most of you know that I spent a good bit of time with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults crew in Baltimore. I have continued to stay close with them and am keeping my fingers crossed that one day their work expands to C-ville so I can continue to be actively involved. Their work is necessary and meaningful and the people who are part of their group are amazing individuals.

I was so deeply saddened to hear about the death of Jamie Roberts, one of the 4k for Cancer riders, in a tragic accident last Friday. The hows, what ifs, and maybes are all frustrating to say the least. But the most frustrating of all is that the world lost another great person who had already done so much good with her life. I didn’t know Jamie at all, but I have been lucky enough to have a few glimpses into what the bond is that makes the rides and runs across America so valuable. My heart goes out to all those who have been on the journey with her.

I have been following the crew and I’m so proud of them as they continued their journey yesterday, not only with the inspiration of those whose lives are changed by the 4k for Cancer mission, but also now with Jamie’s memory in tow. I want to thank them for continuing to be active on social media during this tough time, allowing all of us to witness the healing and do what we can to offer our support to them.

I encourage everyone if you have the means to donate in her honor to the mission. Also please consider donating miles you complete towards her cause to help her finish the journey that she started. You can log your miles here as well. Let’s get those #MilesForJamie.

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All Systems are Go!

I am quite happy to have the time to write this blog post. One, because it means that my HUGE training block is over, but more importantly it was completed in a way that couldn’t have me happier!

As someone who focuses on the full-iron distance, it can be tough to use the shorter races as training. Especially right now as I’m still learning the ropes as a pro, it’s more than a bit daunting to have to race the “short” stuff against girls who specialize in those distances. Even on my most successful day right now I’m not quite within arms length of the leaders…. except maybe at the swim start if I line up near them. Or, if my bike is racked next to theirs and we’re laying our stuff out at the same time in the morning.

Which was why I was almost questioning my own sanity during race week last week. After the prize money was pulled from Quassy, I opted to go race Eagleman instead to get in a good effort. Plus, EM was going to be more of proper course training before AC anyway (flat and hot!) so the choice seemed suitable. However, it was a week later in the schedule, and when you’re within the month of an “A” race, you don’t have much time to train/taper/race….twice. So Hillary and I discussed it – and, I am not sure what made me think it was no biggie – but I agreed that I’d like to switch to EM and “train through it.”

So, what does training through it mean? Well, athletes who focus on 140.6 must certainly use 70.3’s as tune ups in training. However, resting for and racing a half well by no means is a total indication of how fit you are for a full distance race….unfortunately. And, it always baffles me how there are no race distances between the 70.3 and the 140.6. Remember when Tri Star tried to have their 111? (or was it 101?) That would have been sweet if it caught on. Instead, those of us lucky full iron distance lovers often come to terms with the fact that using a 70.3 for training means showing up to the start line with tired legs!

Fast forward to Saturday night, when I finally got through what “training through it meant” for my training block. I’ll spare you all the details, but I can say it included a hot and hilly 115 mile ride + brick run on Friday, plus swimming and biking the entire Eagleman course on Saturday. And, I couldn’t have remembered when my last completely off day was in well, awhile.

I didn’t feel overtrained or overtired – and that part is important. In fact, I tend to feel stronger as weeks of training get piled on. Hillary and I both know that I’m a “rhythm athlete” — my body thrives on that consistency and that constant build. My best workouts come when I’m at the peak end of high volume training.

Which is why mentally I knew I’d be okay. But physically, I also knew I needed some tricks to get through it! My biggest trick is to EAT ALL THE FOOD. Seriously. Your body NEEDS to recover, and recover fast. In every workout I did I paid attention to make sure I was never leaving the workout in extreme calorie deficit. This no doubt allowed me to have faster recovery between workouts, and to get to the start feeling stronger rather than weaker.

There isn’t too much to describe Eagleman other than it was a typical day in Cambridge! Highlights from the race include, but weren’t limited to:

-SWIMMING WITH A PACK! Seriously, this was awesome. After experiencing how much more fun the race is when you get onto the bike with other girls, I am hereby initiating a “No Alyssa Left Behind” act in the pro swim waves going forward.

-Learning to bike with a group! Getting onto the bike with others is useless if you can’t use the pack to your advantage. It can be a tricky thing because the USAT rules are different from WTC rules and 5 bike lengths or 12 bike lengths always just feels so questionable and sneaky. But, for the first time I was able to (legally) use the girls around me for pacing and to help push me through the whole ride. The result? A super steady ride where I hit a pace I would have been happy with on a fresh day.

-Consistency! I don’t mean to brag, but if there was some kind of “Even pacing” award, I would have won by a landslide. Aside from the fact that I nailed both my transition times in 1:21 (seriously, exact same time), my 13.1 mile run was 48:01 on the way out and 48:00 on the way in. BOOM.

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-The support! On course, you guys are great! It is a LONELY day out there in the farmlands of the eastern shore, one that I’m not used to as my age group typically started in the back. Take a look at this picture — with no one around was pretty much how I ran every step of the race! (except when the 2 girls flew by me……company for less than 10 seconds doesn’t count!)

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That said, I had several people cheering for me as they were on the way out on the bike and I was coming in. And, on the run, it seemed like the whole world was heading out, and I got a bunch of cheers and encouragement as I tried to stay steady on my way in. Every little bit helps and I appreciate it so much, even if I don’t have the energy out there to thank you when it happens!

Support from friends from home was huge, as well as Ed and the best 4 legged support a girl could ask for all made the day very special! 

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As always thanks to SMASH and PowerBar for keeping me looking good and fueled well! Loved that Sunrise kit yet again. And this smile is what it is all about this year:
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With that behind me, All systems are go for Challenge AC in 2.5 weeks!

#SMASHKnox

I am happy to report that I am back in Knoxville after a 2 year hiatus from this particular Rev3 destination. One of my favorite towns, however I would like to make an official request that the sun come out to play at some point tomorrow morning!! It was quite chilly at the practice swim today and with no wetsuits for pros if the water temp is above 68, it may make for a chilly start if the air temps are in the 50s like today!

After the bunkbed fiesta from Wildflower, I decided I needed some true R&R at this race and have treated myself to an actual hotel room with a view here in lovely Knoxville. This race is a wildcard for me. The shortest of the races I’m doing as a pro this year, it will definitely be a gamble, but one that I am ready for. The course suits my strengths and I have made some good strides in the speed department lately. And, hey everyone, THERE’S A LOT OF MONEY HERE! In fact, I don’t agree with anything “starky”-related too often, but I do think he’s right about this.

Heading into this race as my second in 3 weeks, and 3rd in 7 weeks, plenty of people were asking me why I’d race so much. After stopping to think “So much?! It feels like forever!!” I check the calendar and realize what they are saying. But, for me, I’ve found that racing improves my fitness just as much as any training weekend will. There has to be a balance, but I also have found that the more I race, the more things start to come together. Triathlon is a fickle sport, and when you’re balancing three disciplines it’s a rare moment when all three things come together perfectly. This sport is like being at a carnival and trying to win the goldfish by throwing the ping pong ball into the bowl: No matter how much you practice, you’re still going to take your 3 shots for a dollar and not put all the pressure on just one.

Racing more helps me experience so much more. No two races are ever the same — from the pre-race problems that inevitably arise, to the thoughts I deal with during the race, to the actual physical sense of racing — it’s just never identical. For me, getting out here as much as I can, and especially, jumping into these races that require I pretty much hang on for dear life with the fast girls, gets me to experience so much more of the sport than I would if I were to just hunker down and train most weeks.

Because I am choosing to race quite a bit this year I’m also beginning to realize I will have to develop some pretty thick skin if I plan on sticking around. Boy, it’s funny how you race a triathlete as an amateur with a day job and people think you’re insanely awesome — no questions about winning or place or time, just questions like “so you can kick my ass?” and “do you wear those funny helmets?” But as soon as you begin to race as a professional, suddenly even the most stranger-of-strangers become coaches, offering their advice or judging your performance. Let’s remember people, that oftentimes the back of the pro field is often still minutes ahead of the rest of the race! Just because we’re pulling up the rear doesn’t necessarily mean we’re having a “tough day.” So, the next time you’re talking to a rookie pro (and I know you encounter them all the time, haha….) keep that in mind! Encourage them! Let them know you get it, and whether they are ahead or behind or somewhere in the middle, give them a pat on the back. Because chances on, they kinda need it. It’s a tough year for most of us who tend to take the long way in sports, and just because we aren’t taking home a payday yet, it doesn’t mean the improvements aren’t there!

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May Updates!

Woops! Hard to believe I have let about a month go by without any updates! I would never have quite guessed that life without a typical day job is almost keeping me busier. But I guess the good news is that I haven’t noticed it yet, which must mean I’m enjoying what I’m doing 🙂

After Cabo, I recovered well but never quite got the “oomph” back in my step. Workouts continued to be flat, and mentally that was tough to handle. After all, just one race into a long season where I have high hopes, I certainly didn’t want to peak in the winter! And I have to say, it’s funny how when things are going poorly it is SO much easier to let that get to you. When things are good, you’re always looking for a reason to keep things in check. But when things are bad, you never really look for the silver linings until you’re reminded to — why is that?! So Hillary and I worked hard to keep finding those silver linings within the bad workouts, sick days and low points. There is no easy way to do this so I was so happy to have surrounded myself with a coach, family, and sponsor families that are all ready to help me keep my chin up even when I’m not so sure. It was a long 4 weeks!

All of this meant that I was heading to Wildflower with some doubts in the back of my mind. It was a LONG trip to be making when I wasn’t feeling quick ready to rock’n’roll. But, there was more to my trip than just the race. This was the first time I was going to meet my Oiselle teammie, blog twin, and fellow rookie pro, Cathleen Knutson! Cathleen and I connected over the internets years ago, but had managed to never meet in person…..Until Wildflower! She and her boyfriend picked me up from SFO and we began our journey together to Lake San Antonio.

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Wildflower is one of those iconic races that everyone raves about and is surely on people’s bucket lists — I know why! Not only is the event put on well, but the Tri California people are great. They certainly take to heart keeping their event top-notch and care about each and every athlete out there. This really shows with how they treat the professionals, and it does not go unappreciated! From the raffle at our pre-race meeting, to the housing accommodations (I joke about the bunks, but really, if I didn’t have a bunk I’d be in a tent so the bed is much appreciated!!), to the catered meals, they helped everything go smoothly despite this race being held in essentially the middle of nowhere.

Bunkmates with Laurel!
Bunkmates with Laurel!

The new format of swim-run-bike-run turned out to be a ton of fun. I was enjoying that first run so much in fact, I pondered the possibility of being a professional splash and dasher! Coming into T1.5 I was well in the mix of the pro women, and headed out on the bike. As far as race courses go, this bike is definitely challenging, but having been riding here in Charlottesville for 4 months I was more than prepared and really enjoyed myself. I came into T2 with a few others in my sights and headed onto the second run. Similarly to my workouts from the past month, I was running strong but just didn’t have that extra gear. When you put that onto a tough run course like Wildflower, it makes for a mentally trying run! But, it was a great experience, from the naked aid station to the roads through the camp sites with plenty of cheers, it was well worth the struggle to compete in the event.

And, I even got to witness one more iconic Wildflower event: the naked run!

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After the race I headed out with Emily Cocks who was going to be my new triathlon friend  for the days after that! We had a few days of R&R ahead of us in Napa, and I will definitely be planning another training “retreat” out there in the future. The time was well spent even if we ended up with more time at a bike shop than a vineyard. Some solid updates were made to my ride and I’m excited to get racing on it.

Sad to be giving up pieces of my bike, but happy for the upgrades!
Sad to be giving up pieces of my bike, but happy for the upgrades!

Coming back from the race I have to say, I think I’ve finally shaken whatever was in my system and things are back to normal. Maybe I just needed one long day to get the “gunk” out — definitely gives purpose to racing even when I feel flat. And, this is helpful since I’m racing again in about 10 days at Rev3 Knoxville! I raced there as an age grouper a few years ago and loved the course and the city. Can’t wait!

As always, thanks to SMASH, Powerbar and Oiselle for all of the support this season! Best clothes and nutrition a girl could ask for.

#SMASHCabo Report

Where does the time go?!?! I’m FINALLY clearing out of the post-IM haze and realized I never wrote a proper post-race report! At this point, I know others have written the nitty gritty about the course details, so I won’t get into that. But I still want to remember some of my favorite moments from this trip, so I’ll recap a few of those for you!

Before I begin, who would have known that AMY POEHLER was in Cabo during the IM. Since my dad strictly forbade the sending of texts while international she probably couldn’t get a hold of me. Sigh.

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Moving on…..

There were a lot of special moments leading up to the race. My whole family was there for this one, which was very special since my sister had not seen me race before! I’m pretty sure that if I continue racing in destinations like Cabo, I’ll be able to twist their arm to come to a few more 🙂 They were an awesome, awesome support crew and it felt so cool to have a group out there cheering for me!

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Some of my other favorites times included those with the SMASH girls, Haley and Anabel. From the pre-race dinner at Cynthia’s (because yes, I went there again this year many times!)…..

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To the moments leading up to the race with smiles and laughs (Huge thanks to Wade for snapping some of these pics!)…..

AGG & Haley

 

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These girls were awesome! One moment in particular stands out with Haley: as I was standing in the corral adjusting my goggles in the minutes before the race started, the clasp that holds the goggles strap on broke and was lost forever in the sand. Haley and Katy both helped me look but to no avail. In fact, Katy even offered to go to try to find her mom in the sea of spectators who had her extra goggles. The last thing I wanted to do was hold up anyone else’s race, so I just opted for the quick fix – a knot.

I tied the knot, and looked at Haley. “Think this will hold?” The next words from Haley’s mouth were so, so important for the day: “YES! We did that all the time in swimming.”

Whether or not that was true, her confidence made me confident and I decided to go with it. Sure enough, they held 🙂

The short story on the swim is that…..it happened 🙂 True to what everyone says, these starts are FAST. Between that, an unfavorable sun position, and I think my own nerves, I lost the pack very, very quickly. However, the incessant ‘tap tap tap’ on my own feet let me know that at least I wasn’t all alone, and last. So, I just kept swimming and managed to get to the beach in a respectable 1:01(ish).

Photo Courtesy of TriJuice!
Photo Courtesy of TriJuice!

Onto the bike! The “new, faster” course was still quite hard, and quite hot. I got onto the bike alone and realized pretty quickly that despite riding very hard, I wasn’t making up too much time on people. About halfway I pulled things back to the race plan for the ride and decided I just had to run the race my way and see what happened during the marathon. I will say, it was SO NICE to be out on the bike and not worrying about the “Kona slot” pressure. I had this moment of “that doesn’t matter anymore! I just get to RACE!” and it was really, really fun for me.

Heading onto the run, I certainly felt my legs had worked a little harder in that first half of the bike. But, I was still running, and I was still running a respectable pace. And with that in my head, I just held on. Marathons are hard. Marathons in the heat of Cabo are really, really hard. Add to it the extra challenge of drinking water from full solo-cups, and I wasn’t able to put together my best run. But, it certainly wasn’t my worst, and I never gave up trying to run some girls down. It was also super helpful to have fellow TeamHPBer, Leslie, out there at the front of the amateur race. The ~10 minutes between us provided a perfect buffer with our nearly identical splits to allow us to see each other and offer motivation throughout the entire run.

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Recovery 1

 

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All in all, the trip was so fun, and it really was an amazing experience for my debut as a professional! I truly felt the support from EVERYWHERE leading up to the race, and I am so grateful for that. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that one of my favorite parts of the whole experience was interacting with some of the other pro women. From Sara hanging out with me as we waited for the pre-race meeting, to an early race-morning hug and good luck from Beth, to Linsey Corbin herself cheering me on WHILE EN ROUTE TO HER WIN. Seriously guys, these women are awesome. And, as always a huge thanks to my main sponsors this year: SMASH and PowerBar! Without either of these I’ d be competing naked and hungry, which would be a terrible thing 😉

After the race, I flew home to Charlottesville to begin the craziness of marathon week! No, I wasn’t running one 🙂 But, the Charlottesville Marathon which I help put on was April 5th, so that meant no rest for the weary as I powered through the weekend. Once the event was complete (and, wildly successful if I do say so myself!) I think I slept 12 hours a night for a few nights, which never happens!

I’m starting to come around again and ready to get myself in the game again for Wildflower. Given that it looks like a swim-run-bike-run format I’m even more excited to race — should be fun!!

Pre-race chat with Julie!

The tables turned this time around and now Ultraman Champion Julie is asking me the questions! (sorry about the echo…..not sure why that happened on the recording)

I Choose You: A Few Thoughts on Sponsorships

I’ll start this post with a story. I think I was about 10 or 11 years old, at a summer swim team meet. (You all may have always wondered where my incredible swim prowess comes from — Evergreen Dolphins! haha) The meet was against our biggest rivals — as far as rivals for summer swimming go, at least. The score was really tight, and only a few events were left. One of them was the 50 free, and I was swimming. Despite being at an outdoor meet with hundreds of people around, you could literally hear a pin drop as people were lining up. Every race mattered at this point, and everyone wanted to win.

My coach at the time was astute enough to notice the situation and also notice the silliness of it all. After all, summer swim team was supposed to be FUN. This was where the “recreational” swimmers swam. He pulled me aside just before I was to go off, and said “hey, lighten the mood if you can. Do something silly. Just have fun.” I said — okay, but what if I get DQ-ed? He said, “It’s fine. These people need to smile!”

I got to the blocks. They called “Swimmers take your marks!”

And then, I cannonballed into the water.

I surfaced to cheers from my teammates, and my coaching smiling and pumping his fists. The cannonball did the trick as everyone loosened up a little, and even the ref let it slide as he permitted me to get back out and swim the event despite my tomfoolery. I don’t remember what happened but I can pretty much promise you I probably didn’t win that heat.

So what does this have to do with sponsorship?

Well, I’m still not afraid to be the girl who cannonballs. I got myself to this point with a lot of hard work and creative thinking — the next steps aren’t going to be any different. I threw out a cannonball yesterday with this post:

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and it definitely made some waves. Stay tuned, because I think some great things will come of it.

In a time when we can watch Kara Goucher give up running for the man, to run with some amazing women and follow her heart, I struggle to understand the athletes who are afraid to make a splash. I always go back to asking myself what the worse case scenario is. And, in the words of Bob Dylan, “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.”

At the end of the day, training and racing is made so much easier when you have the support of family, friends, and companies that believe in you. Whether for me that means 3 companies this year, or 10, I can say that I want to make sure that the choice of sponsorship is a mutual one. Asking a company for resources is a big commitment, and I value that wholeheartedly. If I choose to accept it, I am choosing to work my butt of for them.

Thank you everyone for the cheers as I head to the start line this weekend! And most of all, thank you to SMASH, PowerBar, and Oiselle for their continued support and inspiration. There’s a long road ahead but I’m looking forward to the first step on Sunday!!