Cheers! I’m in NZ!

In case you haven’t noticed from my social media …. I’m in New Zealand (sorry not sorry about the constant pics: this place is gorgeous!!).

I used to race the same course at least a few times in a row because I definitely like the feeling of being a part of the town before a race. I like to know my way around (especially when traveling on the opposite side of the road!). I like to know the course, sure, but it’s also nice to feel like you know where to get a good coffee. Where there’s wifi. Where the burrito truck is. All crucial elements of a successful pre-race week.

So, that’s what we’ve done. I rode the course. I ran the course. I’m swimming the course momentarily (sorry no GPS for this as I don’t have a watch to take GPS in the water!). The best flat white is at Ritual. I actually haven’t been able to get on wifi outside the house yet, but I think that’s because apparently when you turn 30 you have trouble using technology – no fault of the town. The burrito truck is here, next to the pizza truck, which is actually much better than the burrito truck IMO.

So yeah, I guess you could say I am settling in just fine! It was also nice to finish the last of my big workout sessions in town here, with coach by my side to push me.

Also: Next week as the rest begins, Maik and I plan to sit down for a “fireside chat” on Periscope on to tell you about our gear for the race. You can also ask us any questions you may have about what it’s like to race an iron distance event in February! Be sure to follow @Smashfestqueen on twitter and Periscope for more info when that will be.

California Calling: Coast Ride Recap!

Given that I have been focusing on my bike this winter, it seemed like a very obvious choice to make this the year that I would head out west for the infamous California coast ride! In keeping with tradition, Hillary, Leslie and I made plans to do this with the minimal gear and help required. Also in keeping with tradition, our logistical planning was minimal – at best. This trip, we actually took that to a new level by relying on Hillary’s 11-year old memories of the last time she did this ride for our planning. The last time Hillary did the ride, she carried a backpack with all her things. She also didn’t know what chamois cream was yet. If that’s not an indicator for things, I’m not sure what is 🙂

I realized as I was boarding my flight to San Francisco, that I really had no clue what I was getting into. But, I was really excited for the change of scenery and let me tell you, it did not disappoint! Riding out of San Francisco (thanks Jordan for leading the way!!!) was super cool. It’s such an iconic city with the skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge, glimpsing it in the distance as you ride out on day 1 just instills a feeling of adventure. It’s super, super cool. We realized quickly though that our stopping points each night were actually, about 10 miles too far each day. That meant not a lot of faffing around for us! Luckily the terrain rolls smoothly and with new sights and sounds to see each day, there weren’t too many low points. We also got particularly lucky with the weather and didn’t hit any crazy rain until the last day. Of course, that was also the day with 3 flats, but, we survived!!

It was an absolute blast to travel down the coast on 2 wheels and get to cross paths with many friends along the way. I’d also like to give a special shoutout to Kellogg’s Poptarts, 5 hour energy, and that $15 mango ginger smoothie I drank in Santa Monica that helped get me all the way to the end 🙂 Here’s some more pictures that help tell the story of the journey:

New site, new sponsors: Kicking off a big year!

Before my season takes off in full swing, I have been busy with the “other” part of the job in the past few months, as well as training for Challenge Wanaka. Catching up with sponsors and giving my website a refresh was a major priority. I am happy to say that these coincided when I met the team at Adaptive and teamed up with them to design a new website for 2016. Patrick and his team has been super throughout the entire process of designing me new site – even helping me with social media strategy throughout as well. And, as a bonus – they are triathletes too! It makes a huge difference to be working with people who truly “get it” throughout the entire process. If you are looking for some website/marketing/design help of your own, I’d love to put you in touch with Patrick and the team at Adaptive to help you out.

Along with Adaptive, I’ve been really fortunate to bring on board a few more sponsors for 2016: ICE Friction (hello ICE: Pink chains!), Sound Probiotics, and OOFOS. Please take a moment to get familiar with them on my sponsor page, and as always reach out if you have questions on their products. I use them all every day and have come to know them quite well!

And of course, I’m forever grateful to my returning sponsors in 2016: Smashfest Queen, Dimond Bikes, ISM Saddles, Cadence Running Company, The Right Stuff, and DNA Movement.

Here’s to a great 2016 ahead!

Getting lucky in December!

Getting lucky these days obviously refers to….the weather. When you’re doing 15+ hours of biking a week, being able to get outside for as many miles as possible is key to sanity.  The other key to sanity: friends!

(cue the Bette Midler)

(For the record, I do actually know every word to that song. Since I was about 10. Thanks, Mom!)

About a month ago I reached out to Leslie. I knew that to help pull me through my December riding miles I needed an “adventure” to look forward to.

“Hey – we live 110 miles from each other. I have a great idea. Let’s ride from your house to my house on one day, then back the next day.”

Leslie quickly agreed, but when we looked at weekends, the only one that worked was one when she was already slated for a half marathon on Sunday. “We could ride Friday/Saturday and then race on Sunday…..”

SOLD!

“The half marathon is only $5”

DOUBLE SOLD!

So, off we went. Thursday night I drove up to NoVA and over Ginger Mango Sangria we finalized our plans and expectations for the day. This makes it sound much more glamorous than it was, probably since everything outside of DC is so #fancy: in reality we were just trying to consume as many calories as humanly possible before the next 3 days would begin.

It wasn’t until pedaling out from Reston on Friday that we realized how truly lucky we were: only wearing booties, knee/arm warmers, a vest and gloves, we were gone! This is December! We could have easily been subject to any of the following: wind, rain, snow, rain and snow, temps below freezing, temps right above freezing with rain and snow, temps below freezing with rain and snow and wind.  While it would have been interesting to see exactly which conditions would have made us pull the plug on this adventure, I was happy not to have to find out!

So happy in fact, that as we cruised off the busy section onto a nice little back road, we just kept cruising along. For about 20 minutes, until I realized that hmmmm, these road names aren’t really following the cut sheet anymore. And then, we hit a dead end. #fail

Luckily this detour was at least scenic, though it was some bonus miles. Between that and a small meltdown and bonus mile situation in Culpepper (80 miles without a lunch stop is not ideal!!), our day was actually pretty good.

Charlottesville came and we refueled, swam, refueled, got massages (thanks Anne for the late night house call!) and got to bed. Luckily all of this happened before we really had time to process the fact that we were still less than halfway through the project!

Saturday was another glorious December riding day. We even managed to not get lost…..too much, at least. And it was determined that the Smash Sakura Sun kit is THE best for being bright and seen on the roads! Siri tends to be helpful but can be a bit overbearing and bossy as a riding partner, actually. We also found a great little pit stop in Culpepper this time around – Knakal’s Bakery. Probably the same place it was in 1960, and it’s amazing. I only ate one boston crème donut, but it was one of the best I’ve ever had.

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We also found a ride souvenir– it was Free Art Friday in Culpepper and this gem was taped to the wall outside the bakery! Is a great little souvenir for the fridge to commemorate our trip.

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There was also creepy-but-amazing sculptures in lawns that we rode by.

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Saturday night was dejavu – refuel, swim, refuel (Afghani food may have been a questionable choice pre-running race!), and recovery boots.

Sunday came and I have to say – this was the most nerve wracking part of the weekend for me! I just didn’t know how the legs would feel and that made me anxious. It definitely helped having Leslie and Nate with me to be like “eh, it will be what it will be, let’s do this!”

The race started and Leslie and I settled into a little pack with another woman for the first few miles. Things not to do/say if you’re a dude and running in the back of a pack of women, or, well, anyone:

-Say “hey you girls are running really fast!”

-Clip our heels. Multiple times.

-Walk, then when we catch you, insert yourself into the middle of the pack surging like a yo-yo.

Oh, and if you’re a dude and you are running with a female friend’s bib, here’s a genius idea: Don’t WIN the women’s race. Or, if you do, tell someone, dammit! While Leslie did have the pleasure of breaking the tape, it was slightly frustrating to have us called as 2-3 for awards instead of 1-2. Mostly because there’s a woman out there somewhere who ran hard and earned her $5 Starbucks prize!! We overheard the guy in the parking lot after, and while I’m sure he’s embarrassed, no one *really* cares – you just should have done the right thing and made it right afterwards. Sigh.

But anyway – WE MADE IT!!!! (well, kind of, there was still some recovery activities later in the day). It was a super fun weekend and trust me, we never lost sight of how lucky we were to have the conditions we did which allowed us to pull it off.

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And of course, I must give a shoutout to the other players involved in helping me get through 235 miles in 2 days on 2 wheels: my Dimond bike, ISM Saddle, and ICE Friction chain. This combo never lets me down and it’s amazing to be able to rely on such good equipment for weekends like this.

 

2016’s a-coming!

In order to race a lot of full distances a year, I have to get started early! That means my 2016 season training has most definitely ramped up. I get asked a lot how I pick my races now that I race professionally. From where it falls on the calendar, to the type of swim or bike course, to historical competition, all these factors come into play as I concoct my race season. But, if I had to combine all of these smaller factors into one big theme for the year, it would be: I’ll race like it’s my job.

Because, it is.

All about that suntan!

I am pretty sure it appears I only pick races that are great vacation spots. At first glance, it probably seems that way. And yes, getting to go to these amazing places all over the world I’d never travel to otherwise IS a HUGE perk of the job. But, I certainly don’t pick them based on vacation spots. Mostly because, it’s not a vacation! Friends and family have learned many times over the hard way that even for a Sherpa, it’s not a vacation 🙂 Days pre-race are spent with feet up and out of the sun, early bed times and getting work settled so I can leave things to be for a day or two around the race. Days spent post-race are usually traveling home! The budget runs out pretty quick, and often you’re at the mercy of the cheapest plane flight schedule. I do try to make the most of the 1-2 days post-race, especially if Ed is there with me or if friends are racing too. But, that unfortunately happens less often than anyone would like.

“It must be so nice to travel and stay at races for free!”

That’s something I hear quite a bit from people when they find out what I do. Ummm…..so where should I send my travel expense report from last season for reimbursement? 🙂 At some level, yes, the top handful of pros are getting travel and accommodation stipends. Maybe a small appearance fee here and there. But in general, you’re absolutely paying out of pocket, for the whole kit and caboodle. Remember that whole Slowtwitch drama the other week where the Bahrain 70.3 Race Director said no women were going despite being paid travel and accommodation? Well, he meant to say something more like “I would pay for a few select women to come race, and they are not able to come race.” Just to be sure, I asked for it, and sure enough, was told no. Womp womp.

Often though, there are the opportunities for a homestay, and I am still doing those whenever possible. Not only have I met some of my favorite people in the world through homestays, but it really helps financially during some extended trips abroad. Plus, traveling solo can be a bit lonely at times, so it’s great to have a friend and/or family to be a part of for a little bit. I love homestays!

“Well then, how do you decide where to race?

Hillary summed it up best for me recently as I struggled between some race choices. It’s always SO tempting to head to a race that might not be the ideal course for you if it is a bit cheaper or closer. But she said something that will definitely stick in my brain for awhile:

I should be racing courses that we think I can win one day.

This was a good wake up call for me – encouraging that we think there are some races out there I have a shot at winning 🙂 But, also a good reminder that this is my job. I didn’t always want to go on the business trips I had to in the corporate world, but I did, because, well, work. Same thing applies here. So, what’s a course I can win? Lake/River swim. Tough bike. Variable conditions. Basically: a survival of the fittest type of course.

I’m super pleased with how the first month back to training has been going for me. I’ve been on the pool deck at 7am, six days a week, getting the job done. I’m starting to feel that fitness creep in, and more excited than ever for 2016. Which is good, because I’ll be racing before I know it, kicking off the season with Challenge Wanaka!

pic from www.newzealand.com
Pic from www.newzealand.com…..Again, I swear I’m not just picking the best vacation spots…..

 

Choose your own adventure!

When the offseason rolls around, I usually have something up my sleeve. A race, an adventure……..something that doesn’t involve me racing a triathlon! Two years ago it was going for my 5th finish at the JFK 50 mile. Last year it was crewing for Julie at Ultraman, and running an open-marathon PR to once and for all break through that 3:30!

This year, we had in the works a one day Rim2Rim2Rim adventure in the Grand Canyon.

 

These adventures are: amazing, inspiring, renewing, and……exhausting! But I love them because even if you’re at races with friends, you’re still pretty focused on yourself and your own race. You certainly don’t get to spend 15 hours straight with your bffs. And believe me, you don’t know quality time until you’re hiking for hours in the dark up the side of the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I’m pretty sure everyone else out there that night was listening to our convo and very worried about the state of the four women up ahead 🙂

So…..how do I pick my adventures? First, if you’re working with a coach, it’s ALWAYS a good idea to loop them in on the discussion. Often what might sound exciting will also be working against your main goals that you’re working towards. That’s not good. The timing of when to fit these in is quite important. I can do a 50 mile when it’s in November, giving me plenty of time to recover before building for the next season. I can do a hard marathon in January when my focus for the year is going to be a run-focus. But I couldn’t do a 50 mile in March, right before my season starts. Or, going for a marathon PR in May or September wouldn’t work as well either. Hillary helps me figure out where to place these adventures to fit well with training. And sometimes the adventures do fit well within the season – like our epic bike rides.

And of course, the most important rule of off season adventuring….always plan the next one before this one is over! We have plenty more up our sleeves 🙂

Beach to Battleship – Last Call for 2015!

After spending 2 weeks in Kona with activities that centered around being on my feet in the heat for 8 hours/day, and another that involved drinking beer and running, I was nervous coming home that week because I knew it was a quick turnaround to Beach2Battleship 140.6. After winning the event last year, there was no question that I would be competing again to try to defend that win. But there was certainly some anxiety as I questioned my ability to bounce back after that trip to race well. And, Kona trip aside, having 4 iron distance races in 8 weeks was an experiment in itself. This was one of the first times where racing definitely felt like a job. There was a large part of me that didn’t quite feel like getting up on Saturday to work. But, it was an opportunity for a paycheck and for more experience racing the distance – there was no way around that.

One of the reasons I was excited for the race was that it was going to be a reunion with friends! In 2014, I had a great experience with my home stay in Atlantic City and was definitely bummed not to be able to head back this year and see them. But, where there’s a will, there’s a way. My AC friends decided to take matters into their own hands and just pick another race to get together at – B2B it was! So, Ed and I joined Jeff and his wife, along with Tom and Eric (our AC hosts) in Wrightsville Beach. We had a sweet house rented right near T1 and the start, and were luckily given a great few days to spend at the beach weather-wise.

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I was also able to reunite with my B2B homestay last year and join them for their annual B2B pre-race dinner. After it brought me good luck last year, there was no way I’d miss that!!

Race morning came and we were greeted with warmer temperatures than last year, making the pre-race wait much more comfortable. Jeff’s wife was not racing, and having her help shuttle us to T1, then the start, also made my morning much more relaxed. I didn’t have to be up hours ahead of time to get to the shuttle buses, etc. In fact, I think my alarm was set in the 5’s – unheard of and very civilized!

The mass start set us off, which meant that I would be unsure of where the competition is for most of the day. The wind was picking up a little and offered some choppy water in the middle of the swim to work (slightly) against the current. Despite the chop though, swim times were as always quite fast and I came in around 48 minutes. I grabbed my Dimond and set off on the 112 mile ride. I had gotten myself in the mindset before the race that I was 10 hours away: 10 hours away from putting my feet up. From food. From the offseason. I could do anything for 10 hours, right?! However, when 5 of those 10 hours are going to be spent on a bike, it’s a little hard to convince yourself that it’s just a little bike ride. I did notice better road conditions than last year, and I was able to hold my power well when I wasn’t around people to help push me. I actually felt pretty good coming off of the ride, pleased not to have to TT 112 miles again for a few months.

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The run began, and pretty much how every race since Copenhagen has been – I felt…..fine. Not great, but not terrible. Just fine. I wasn’t so far off a target pace, but it also wasn’t coming easy. Luckily, at this point it’s become a strength of mine to run through that, and I began just clicking the miles off. I had a peek at where the other women were on the out-and-back, and with about 10-15 minutes separating us, I knew I just had to continue running hard because I’d never know what happens. 10-15 minutes can be made up if someone hits a wall at mile 20, so I just had to do my thing and see what happens.

With favorable weather and a good run course, no one was hitting the wall, and my 3:26 marathon –  the fastest female run of the day! – secured my 3rd place finish. It was also a really nice surprise to have some family out on the course – I hadn’t seen my Uncle in years and he was a champion cheering section for me during the entire run!! I know it’s hard to believe but despite the hurt, I was actually having some fun out there 🙂

After the race, it was certainly time for celebration. First I celebrated over beers and burgers with Melissa, who interviewed me for TRS Radio (check that out here!).  Our group then continued the celebration back at our beach house, and then again the next morning with some Donuts (these were amazing) and several plates of food at the awards ceremony!

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One thing was for sure: I was ready for a break after this one. I am planning to kick off the 2016 season fairly early, so right after this we shut things down and I took relaxing to the next level. Of course, my off season plans always include some crazy adventure, but with this many races in the last 2 months, my fitness for that was not in question.

Of course, a huge part of the reason I was able to race those 4 Ironmans in 8 weeks: my sponsors. Especially Smashfest Queen and Dimond bikes – you guys helped make this happen. And to Hillary, who believed in me and helped me get through all of this without any pity parties or breakdowns, thank you, thank you! I cannot wait to see what 2016 will bring.

Kona From the Other Side

I admit, I have the best job in the world when spending 10 days in Hawaii is considered a work trip. If I ever say otherwise, you have permission to send me hate mail!! But seriously, work and play was all intermixed here with the activities (okay, the beer mile was more play than work……okay it was all play.) so I will recap some of the highlights below:

Expo

If you needed me from 8-5 during the week, I would have been at the Smashfest Queen booth! While I’ve had some experience with “expo life” at Bad to the Bone events in the past, this would take it to another level as a multi-day experience. Of course there’s no one else I’d rather share in these days with than the Smash women – Hillary, Cameron and I rocked the days. #boom

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Beer Mile

There’s not too much to say here – I would just watch the recap video for yourself here! Clearly this should be a goal race for all non-Kona racing athletes. Seriously though, really fun time, and a root beer division for those who want that. All good fun!

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The “other” race….

Turns out, there was this other event going on that week too – who would have thought? It was actually really great for me to see the World Championships unfold, as I watched from the sidelines. While I have raced there twice as an amateur, I know all too well that the pro race is drastically different from the age group side of racing. After watching the race this year, I think that is especially true in Kona! It was really eye-opening for me to see the race unfold as it happened. To feel how much hotter it is out on the Queen K when the pros are running (compared to when I was out running as an age grouper). To see how much the swim dynamic is changed with a pack of 40 women as opposed to thousands. To see the bike dynamics, again vastly different when the numbers dwindle in the pro packs and there aren’t thousands of age groupers around you. All good stuff to keep in the vault!

Equally Ambitious

The last of the work related business was putting on a TriEqual event: Equally Ambitious. EA was a thought that we had a few months back. After going back and forth with WTC so many times trying to get #50womentokona we distracted ourselves from the temporary insanity with some discussion on how to make more women turn pro. If more women are doing triathlon (something we are trying to help through Equally Inspiring), in theory eventually more women will be eligible for a pro license. And if more women accept that license and race in the pro field, with an equal number of male and female pros (or at least close!) there would be no way to argue that equality in Kona shouldn’t happen.

Of course, that line of thought is extremely optimistic, and quite long term, but hey – channeling energy to something positive was definitely helpful to me through the year while we continue to fight for #50womentokona.

Equally Ambitious is a program that we hope to evolve into a mentorship program, or series, where current professional females are accessible to elite amateur females. They can hear how the women made the decision to race pro, what that life really is like, and ask them, well, anything they want – from sponsorship to struggles of the lifestyle. As someone who recently lived through the “pre-pro–>rookie pro” years, I know that there are A LOT of questions and concerns that go on in this time. I have been fortunate that my coach not only went through the same stuff, but has a huge network of others that she’s introduced me to help me through; others are not that lucky. But there’s no reason that they shouldn’t have access to answers, especially if it will help inspire them to take racing to the next level! And thus, Equally Ambitious was born. As we tested the waters in Kona, there are no doubts we will continue this program.

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All aboard! IM Chattanooga!

I suppose I should probably write a race report for one Ironman before it’s time for the next, huh? About 3 weeks ago I set out to IM Chattanooga. Ed and I were able to head down there on Thursday, making the 7 hour drive bearble and plenty of time to relax and get ready for the race. I had never been to Chattanooga before so it was cool to see the city. Plenty of great spots for good food right along the river, it was great! I also had time to catch up with the DVC (Dimond Van Chris) who installed the new ICE friction chain on my Dimond Bike. Something about “6 free watts” is what goes with this chain……I’ll take that any day!

Pre-race was also fun because I was able to catch up with 3 of my TeamHPB athletes who were racing. Stephanie would be tackling her first full distance, Whiting ready to tackle one at sea level, and Leah would race her second. It’s always fun to me to have my athletes in one spot and get to really take in how amazing each person is – all at very different places in life and sport, but we’re all together cheering one another on and working towards the same goal. Such a unique thing to be a part of and for that I am quite thankful!

Race morning came early – staying about 20 minutes from transition, plus a point to point swim makes the logistics of the day a little longer. Or, at least it did for me because I get nervous never having walked through the process before, I end up being quite early for it all!! But, better early than late for a race day, that is for sure! Especially this time since I had to change a flat in the morning. Thanks to the mechanics on site who made that easy!

The swim was not only point to point, but we’d be swimming down current. The start was a bit hectic with the current at the start, but before I knew it we were off and swimming. For the first time in a swim, I felt totally in control and aware of what was going on. I’ve worked on my swim *a lot* since South Africa, and it’s beginning to pay off immensely. I saw the lead pack break, followed by a chase pack, and I worked my butt off to stay with that chase pack. We slowly broke away from the gaggle of people behind us (with over 35 women racing it was a huge field!) and I was able to settle in with 3 others to make our way down the river. While I say “settled in” let me assure you – I was swimming my butt off. Any time I took my foot off the gas I felt them pull away, and evidenced by my rosie cheeks in this pic here as I exited the water, I was working!!

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We moved through T1 quite quickly as well, and were out on the roads in no time at all. Unfortunately, despite riding well out of my comfort zone I still wasn’t able to hang with the women I swam with. I settled in and ready to just ride on my own for the day. Around mile 30, I was caught by some of the other women and that made for some good help to push through the middle section. However, with 5 women in relatively close proximity, plus 2 age group men slotting in between us, it wasn’t easy riding at all as I was constantly on guard to try to keep the proper distance between bikes. Not surprisingly, with a ref that was riding alongside us for a bit, he eventually hit 4 of us with a drafting penalty. Always frustrating but arguing will get you nowhere, so I stopped at the next penalty tent. After 5 minutes it was off again, and I rode the final 36 miles in to town.

At this point I wasn’t quite sure of my position, but I did know there were quite a few women ahead and that I had work to do! Nothing about this run felt great, and certainly nothing felt smooth! But, mind over matter and luckily I had still fueled well to keep myself rational. This meant that while I felt terrible,  was able to still see my paces on the watch and understand that I was doing just fine. It was just going to feel crappy for 3.5 hours.

The hills on the run course and the humidity certainly had taken a toll and I began picking people off. While I started the run feeling blah and ended feeling blah, it never actually got much worse. So I was able to run my way into 16th place, once again breaking 10 hours. For 3 in 5 weeks….yes, I’ll take it!

And the other ladies had great days as well. Whiting came out with a solid run PR, Stephanie persevered through crazy bike issues to finish strong AND with a run time that bests many of her standalone marathons, and Leah won the 18-24 age group, securing a spot to Kona next year!!

So proud of these women!!

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“Don’t throw yourself a party just yet”

….These were the words Hillary told me as I was chatting with her just prior to my travel back home from France. The underlying reminder to me here was that yes – we just accomplished a HUGE milestone for us as a coach/athlete combo. We nailed it. But, this was a gentle reminder that my season wasn’t quite over yet.

After this trip I spent a week doing one thing: Sleeping. I kid you not. I slept 10-12 hours easy every night. Took 90 minute naps in the middle of the day. And still felt exhausted! About a week after coming home though I started to feel a light at the end of the tunnel and, while I’m still having NO issue sleeping well through the night, I’ve been able to get back to some real workouts and see how the bod would respond.

I’m happy to report so far so good and it looks like all systems are go for IM Chattanooga at the end of the month! I’m super excited for this because I will also get to spend time with 3 of my athletes and share the course with them on the 27th!

I’ve had a lot of questions since the double about how it was done. I touched on one of the biggest points above: sleep! Not only for recovery, but it was SUPER important that I prioritized getting full nights of sleep during the training cycle as well. This was tough sometimes. When things get busy, I absolutely hate letting myself sleep in, which some days could mean that I was starting my training day at 9am. Just thinking about that gives me anxiety now as I LOVE the 6am-10am period for knocking out a training session and some work before the world is really awake. But, learning to shift things back a bit was absolutely necessary, and reminding myself that sleep is an important part of this job (lucky me!!) was necessary.

FOOD! Eating was also key here. I was most certainly lean and fit for these races but I definitely was not the leanest I’ve ever been for a race. In fact, going into Vichy I felt quite puffy as I fought off the post-race water retention from Copenhagen. I didn’t get on the scale much during training unless I was concerned weight was too low. When you train like a maniac you also have to eat like one too, and just one day where I didn’t get enough calories in would set me back in training for the next 2 days. I learned my lesson quick there, and made a constant effort to be fueling up. There was no counting calories, just a constant effort to eat all. The. Time.

Massage. I also stepped up my massage game for this training block. It’s important to realize that just when you go pro suddenly your body isn’t immune to feeling the effects of training! I still wake up and take my first steps like an 80 year old woman. And I still would be grimacing after sessions to do things like bend down to pick up my keys when I dropped them. The body certainly takes a beating during this build. But I am lucky to have found Anne Pike who has worked wonders for my recovery with her massage skillz. A weekly massage, whenever humanly possible, was added into the routine. All of my little tweaks and pulls that seemed to incessantly bug me last season miraculously went away, and despite all the hard work I was still able to head into each day strong and confident that my body was holding up well.

I plan to continue to focus on these 3 as I get ready for Chattanooga!