Tuesday, November 27, 2012

An Inspirational Race Report from 1st time IM finisher, Mel Woolsey!

This past year I had the privilege of working a little bit with an athlete (Mel Woolsey), who, one year ago could not complete two laps in the swimming pool without stopping. He recently completed IM Cozumel this past Sunday in 13 hours. I would like to share with you his race report (which came to me in an email), because it is a great example of how hard work, dedication and a smart race plan can really pay off. Happy Reading :)

Hi Miranda,

Well it was one heck of a day that I will remember forever and I guess I was part of a new record with 300 plus people not finishing the swim and over 1000 DNF. I stuck to the plan you gave me and it really paid off.

SWIM- Although I got in the water just as they blew the horn which started me out about 5 minutes behind was somewhat a good thing because I could not think about things to much I just had to swim. It was a battle for ¾ of the swim trying to get a spot to swim but I did what everyone else did and just battled. The current on our last turn was ridiculously strong as we went against it but when I hit that I just went back to what I was tought doing the zipper, reach far as I could, flick at the end and remembered you telling me to hug the barrel. My buddy who did Arizona last year got out of the water there in 1hr 15 min and he was 2 hrs here so between the 300 not finishing and my friends time I was very happy with my swim.

Both transitions I as you could see took my time and just made sure I had everything in order and that I was not forgetting anything including sun screen, nutrition etc. The bike course aid stations were disappointing as I tried to get food after the second lap and they were all out but I made sure I carried extra with me so I was ok.

The bike first lap was not too bad as I did it in about 2 hours and I felt good and strong. I kept telling myself to just stick with the plan and keep my cadence above 80 and no higher than 100 no matter what the speed was it did not matter I had to concentrate on my cadence. The second lap for about 30 miles was very windy as we hit the open coast and the heat jumped way up and you could see people starting to conk out sitting on the side of the road with their bikes. I just kept telling myself to stick with the plan no matter how I felt as I did not want to get dehydrated and continued this plan through the third lap which was just as windy and hot. Going through about 10 miles of town was so amazing with all the locals sitting there cheering us on for the entire race and with my family there watching me on every lap was very inspiring regenerating me for each lap out of town. I stopped twice on the bike to dump some water over my head, go to the bathroom and stretch my foot out that was cramping up on the bottom.

When I got off the bike I felt good and took my time again getting changed as I changed everything and the volunteers were so helpful as they were putting stuff back in my bag as I took it off but I did not realize they put my shorts and visor in until I ran out in front of everyone in my underwear when realizing oh damn my shorts so I ran back in and got them LOL and away I went. As you know I have had knee problems from the IT band but all the work on this paid off as it did not bother me a much better. I met up with a guy who had a good pace doing about 9:30 miles and I ran with him for about 3 miles when my buddy who was trying to catch me caught me as he busted his but in the run to catch me and when he did he told me his story for the day as I walked with him and I let the other guy who was running with me go on his own. My friend ran so hard to catch me that he now was getting dehydrated when he told me he could not run everything was getting blury so I said lets walk to each aid station and get you hydrated and I gave him a couple of salt capsules I had and our last lap and a half we started doing a 3 minute run 1 minute walk and we both crossed the line together which was great. I feel my time would have been about 12:25 otherwise but for the fact I helped him finish and we crossed together made that extra hour I sacrificed well worth it.

Thank you for all your coaching from training to nutrition. This was one heck of a race that definitely had its challenges but truth be known I did not know any different so I stuck to my plan which helped me cross the line.

Now time to pick number 2!

Thank you again!



PS - We booked our travel through EnduranceSports Travel Services (www.endurancesportstravel.com) which is run by Ken Glah who has done over 80 Ironman. They looked after us as soon as we got off the plane to leaving and their attitude was you relax and let us do everything for you. They had practise swims, biles and runs set up, they had a mechanic on site who put my bike together and packed itn had a great ART therapist which really helped my leg and all this included.. They were always one step ahead of us. When going to a place you are not familiar with it is worth a little extra money to have these guys look after you. I highly recommend these guys as they not only make the experience fantastic but make it relaxing not having to worry about anything. I will use these guys forsure in the future.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Miami Race Report and a BIG Thank-you

Who would have thought that the end of the season would come so quickly? I have completed 8 races in my first season as a Pro and I learned things about myself from each one of them. It has been a fabulous season of racing. I ended it off with a new personal best time, here at Ironman 70.3 Miami :)

The adventure to Florida began on Thursday morning as my parents, Rikki and I boarded our West Jet flight to Miami. The trip down went very smoothly, and before we knew it we were checking into the Mayfair Hotel in Coconut Grove, about a 20 minute drive south of where the race would be. I much prefer staying a little bit farther away from the race hotel as I find I get super nervous when I am surrounded by fellow triathletes. Staying a little further away meant I could be a little more relaxed before the race. This hotel also happens to be just gorgeous. I won't even try to describe it - just take a look at the pictures below.

Friday morning I got in a swim in the balcony pool and a quick bike in the gusty winds and rain. I desperately tried to stay upright on my bike amidst the crazy Miami traffic and bad weather - very challenging. Of course the weather improved very quickly after my ride. With the arrival of the sun we decided to take a trip to South Beach. We went to lunch at Joe's Crab Shack and had the best stone crabs! And, of course, I followed coach's instructions and drank heavily...water, that is :) Afterwards we wandered along the beach and through some souvenir shops and I got a pedicure and foot massage! The drive back to the hotel was an adventure as the combination of high winds and high tide had caused some serious flooding on the roads that led in and out of South Beach. We were all glad we had rented an Expedition, because the streets had become seriously river-like, and the smaller cars were at an increased risk of stalling. Luckily we made it home OK.

Saturday morning I got up early to get in a brick workout before traffic. However, the traffic in Miami is already heavy at sunrise! I biked about 25km including the first/last 6 miles of the bike course (the most technical part) which took me over an hour! I was cursing the stop lights that were constantly turning red on me :( It was also very windy, and the gusts were strong enough to almost knock me off the bike several times. Conclusion: the city of Miami is not a great place to ride a bike. The rest of Saturday I relaxed on the balcony by the pool, stayed hydrated and loaded up on carbs. I felt ready to race!

Sunday (Race day!) I was up at 4:45am. I didn't have a great sleep though and, in fact, I'm not even sure whether I did sleep between 2am and 4:45am ... it felt more like a daydream type sleep...if that makes sense. Very light sleep with lots of weird dreams and I remember looking at the clock at 2:30, 3:15 and 3:45am. Oh well. So I showered, had my pre-race meal of a bagel with peanut butter and banana and then we headed to the race site. I set up my transition area, went for a short jog through transition, did some arm and leg swings and my usual swim tubing exercises. They made the call that morning that the swim would be wetsuit legal (water temp was 75.5 degrees), which was a little disappointing for me, since I prefer non-wetsuit swims. However, if I have to wear a wetsuit I couldn't ask for a better one than my Blue Seventy Helix! We were allowed to jump in the water for a short swim warm-up about 5 minutes before the race start. I managed to get in a bit of a swimming before we were lined up and waiting for the start.

At 7:27 the professional women were off! There were about 17 of us, which is the largest field I have raced against so far. This made the start a bit like a washing machine. We raced as a group toward the first buoy (~250m) before we had to make a sharp right turn around the first buoy. I was with the lead group as we neared this buoy, but somehow, as the leaders in the group made their turn, the buoy got knocked into me and I ended up in a sort of punching war with this HUGE buoy. I kept trying to get around it and it would somehow end up right in my path. By the time I managed to get passed it I was no longer with the lead group. I had to swim the rest of the race about 15m behind a small group of girls who I used to keep me on course. I felt really good in the water though and, unlike in previous races, where I feel a bit dead by the end...I felt strong through the whole swim segment (thank you 20x100@1'20!). I exited the water in 25:56, which is a new swim PB (if you don't count the Pocono swim, which was a couple 100m short).

I had a smooth first transition, which quickly got me onto the bike course. It was windy, but definitely not as windy as the few days prior. The first 10km were through the city and took you along some winding roads, but nothing too technical. My legs felt pretty good, but I was careful not to let my power climb too high during the first part of the course. I was passed by two people, but also passed two people! I love passing people on the bike, it helps build a little bit of confidence, since it doesn't happen too often :) (At least not this season...but the combination of my cervelo + what coach has planned for me when training resumes and I will be quite the force next year!) As I turned onto the highway 27 I was faced with a BRUTAL head wind. This reminded me of one of the reasons I train with power. No matter what the conditions, be it a headwind, tailwind, uphill, downhill - your power output should remain relatively constant. So even though my speed was slow (hah - when did 31kph become slow for me!?! Thanks, Cervelo!), my power was right where it should be so my confidence wasn't shaken. As the highway turned north I got a bit of relief from the north west wind. I reached the turnaround in about 1hr20min and I knew it would be a fast return, with the wind at my back for the next 45km. Sure enough, heading south I was averaging about 40kph at the same power output. That speed turned to 50kph as the road turned to the south east and I just flew. I was in my hardest gear and my cadence hovering around 95rpm (high for me). Jessie Donavan passed me during this stretch on the bike and I moved into 8th. It was just after this that I started to feel the tightness in my hip flexors. Two hours in aero position will do that to you when you aren't used to it! So at this point I started cursing the terrain in Ontario for not being flat enough to allow for proper training (usually I am cursing the fact that it's not hilly enough!). The last 10km of the bike I was in agony as I tried to will myself to forget the pain. I was definitely up out of aero for a lot of the final stretch and I think I could have been a couple minutes faster had my hip flexors cooperated with me. The bike dismount didn't come fast enough, but when it did come it was a welcoming sight! I finished the bike in 2:26:32 (a whole 12 minutes faster than the previous year!)

I had a smooth transition and was off on the run! My hip flexors were still pretty tight, but seemed to loosen up with every stride. I crossed the first mile marker in 6:00. That's 3:45 per km pace! I didn't even feel like I was pushing that hard. The run course was pretty tough. It is 2 loops of an out and back course, which involves running up and over the causeway a total of 4 times. The wind was at your back on the way out and you had a headwind on the return. I was feeling pretty good until around the 11km mark. At 11km I had been averaging about 4:05/km but it was at just about that point my legs started to feel heavy. I always have a hard time taking in nutrition on the run and I hadn't taken in anything but water up to that point (rookie mistake!). So I started to play catch up with my nutrition and took in a gel, some gatorade and coke at the next aid station. I think that the damage had been done though, because it kept getting harder and harder to pick up my legs. As I headed up over the causeway for the last time, right into the wind, it took all my strength to keep moving forward. The last 2 miles were a blur, but I got passed by two more female pros and fell back into 10th. I kept pushing, hoping for a top ten finish. I did get my tenth place, after running a 1:31. The run was a lot slower than the 1:26 I was hoping for, but my overall time of 4:27 made me happy enough to make up for that.

The past couple of days I have been enjoying the off-season. I have had lots of yummy seafood, good wine, great desserts and I will continue to enjoy the next few weeks break before I resume training. My first race of 2013 will be Texas Ironman 70.3 in Galveston, Texas on April 7th!

I would also like to take this opportunity to the very special people who have helped to make my season so successful:

Turner-Tomenson Family Wealth Management - There is no question that a professional athlete needs some financial support when they start out in their "career". I wouldn't have been able to compete in so many races and get in the best training without the support of Turner-Tomenson. And I am so proud to call such a great Wealth Management Team my top supporter! Read some of the words of praise from their clients here.

WattsUp Cycling - In Toronto it is very hard to get in good quality bike training - the traffic is similar to what I described in Miami, and it takes at least 30 minutes to drive to an area conducive to cycling outdoors. WattsUp is a very short drive away and has provided me with 1000s of hours worth of quality bike training. There is no doubt that I would not be the athlete I am without having access to their great facility.

Bill Wells at Urban Athlete - This was the first season I had where I was completely injury free. Yes, I did get a few "niggles" here and there, but because of Bill nothing progressed to full blown injury. Not only that, but he provided above and beyond help that included a strength program to help with injury prevention and even biomechanical analysis of my running stride. I am so so lucky to have such an amazing Chiropractor.

Chris Basti, Dan Rishworth and all the staff at Enduro Sport - They helped me with almost everything. They got me set up with my Cervelos, tuned up my bike before every race, ensured I had all the best triathlon gear and answered all my questions quickly. I am so lucky to have such a great all-around triathlon shop behind me.

Lesley Loughlin at Cervelo - There are a few reasons that my bike improved more than any other leg of my triathlon this season...and one of them is the fact that I am now riding a P3 Cervelo. Lesley was a huge help with this and, not only did she get me my bikes, but offered many words of encouragement and congratulations to keep me motivated throughout the season.

Blue Seventy - A last minute e-mail to Blue Seventy and I got a brand new Helix and sleeveless wetsuit within a couple of weeks! My next race in my new Helix and I had a new swim personal best! The material is light in the shoulders and thick in the legs, which allows for great shoulder movement while keeping my buoyant.

My RMTs Brad Wilson, Craig Dow and Diego Ricetto - In addition to seeing Bill, I also was able to get regular massages throughout the season. There is no doubt that I was able to recover much quicker after hard training sessions and was better prepared for races because of my RMTs!

My fellow athletes, family and friends, especially Rikki, Mamma, Papa, Sara, Kevin, Bianca, Thatcher, Jewen, Surinder, Alka, Jason, Ronni, Bronwen, the Fellas, the Canellas, Faye, Pete K, Scott Judges, Ed Veal, my co-workers at the Granite Club, and all the athletes and staff at WattsUp, - They have all been amazing! Many people know that a job can get tough and even lonely, but you have to keep pushing through if you want to succeed at it. It's the same thing with triathlon training and, lucky for me, I always knew that I could count on all of my friends and family to motivate me and help get me though the tough times.

My coach, mentor and friend. He spent hours and hours, both early in the morning and late at night, perfecting my training program. When he didn't know the answer to something, he would confide in others like Scott Judges, Pete Oyler, Bill Wells, Ed Veal, Tereza Macel, to make sure that I got the best coaching possible. I am so excited that I get to work with such an amazing coach. I am also very excited that he will continue to put up with me and coach me through the 2013 season and hopefully much longer!

A few more pictures:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Some last minute adjustments!

As most people know, an athlete does not become successful on their own. Rather, they have a huge support team that works with them to help them achieve success. In my case, this support team includes my husband, Rikki (first and foremost), my parents, sisters, brothers, friends, my chiropractor, RMTs, sponsors and coaching team. It's amazing how everyone is always trying to help me :)

My coaching team (my coach and bike fitter, Scott Judges) are a perfect example of this. Recently, they both took time out of their busy schedules to sit down and discuss how to improve my cycling. While not many changes can be made at this point in the season, they did think of one. They made a little adjustment on my bike position to get me lower on the front end (...and raised my seat post back up to where it was at the start of the season - apparently seatposts tend to slip during the season, just like mine did!).

Anyway, the result..



1. A position that is more aerodynamic (I'm no physicist, but being lower on the front end decreases my frontal surface area and this results in way less air resistance and I go faster).

2. A more powerful position (My back is less "hunched over" which allows me to engage the glutes, hamstrings and quads much better! ...think of the difference between doing a squat with a rounded back versus a straight back...you get way more power with a straight back)

3. More comfort (not sure how, but for some reason I am way more comfortable in this position!!!)

Thank-you to Scott and Adam!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pocono Mountains 70.3: Getting stronger on the bike!

WOW! Race number seven of eight is complete! Even though I didn't place as well as I would have hoped, the race was a huge success. I am also much more settled into the "Pro lifestyle" now: I have found out that home-stays are a great way to cut down on the cost of travel and an awesome way to meet new people, I have gotten used to the not-so-intimidating-anymore Pro pre-race meeting, I can now position myself toward to front at the swim start, it is somewhat difficult for others to pass me on the bike, I'm even getting used to people wanting me to give them high fives (that's awesome!). It's been a great first year of professional racing so far.

I initially chose to race Pocono Mountains 70.3 so that I didn't go "stale" between Muskoka and Miami 70.3, which are 7 weeks apart. September is usually a difficult month to train, because most athletes are finishing up their racing season and are taking it easy during this time. This race was a great way to keep myself focused on training. We drove down to the race on Friday morning at 5am! Only this time, instead of staying at a hotel with free chocolate chip cookies, we heading to the Nicholls' home in a beautiful town near Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. They had generously offered to host Rikki and I over the race weekend. I had only just heard of a home stay through volunteers at Muskoka 70.3 and thought that I would try it out for this race. Rhonda, her husband Jeff, their dog (Madison), and their cats (Penelope, Mittens, Socks, Lizzy, Amber, Midnight, ?), were terrific hosts! They made sure we had everything we needed, and more. Rikki even got to eat a nice chicken dinner instead of my gluten free pasta on Saturday night! Rhonda is a terrific runner and we got to hear many tales of her own running adventures in the Boston Marathon and other races! Rhonda and Madison were even there to welcome me at the finish line!

The race started almost as soon as the sun rose, which was just after 7am. All the Pro women and men started together. We had 4 minutes after entering the water to get to the start line. No one really knew exactly which buoy we were supposed to swim too (the closer buoy was way left and the far buoy was straight ahead), one of the men called out for all the fast swimmers to "lead the way". I positioned myself at the front, thinking to myself "ya, that's me!" (even though I didn't know which buoy to head to, either). Soon enough, we were off. It was a pretty clean start for me and I wasn't toppled over at all. After rounding the first buoy (which every one decided was the far buoy). I saw another Pro, Amber, close by, and we took turns swimming on top of each other as we tried to get a draft of the pack of male swimmers in front of us. Eventually I must have made it in front of her, because soon it was just me and 4 or 5 male swimmers in a group. I couldn't pull ahead of them so I knew I was swimming at the appropriate pace. I was liking this situation, because it meant I didn't have to kick as hard and I could save a bit of energy for the bike. I would need it - there were some super strong cyclists in the Pro field!

After exiting the swim (24:00!) I was in 2nd. I headed up a hill to T1, put on knee warmers and my warm cycling top over my trisuit, then my helmet, and I was off (considering having all that gear to put on, a 2:22 transition was not bad!). Amber and Christine Fletcher were just behind me though. Next was the 7km descent down the mountain - this was so much fun, especially on my speedy Cervelo! I was in aero the whole time and I am sure I reached a new max speed! Ed Veal, who has helped me with my bike technical skills (www.realdealracing.com), would have been proud! The next 31km was a section of flat and very sightly rolling hills. This was my favourite part of the bike course. I was alternating between being 2nd, 3rd and 4th female, but we were all staying pretty close. To avoid drafting we would pass one another, drop back, get passed, etc. I knew both Amber and Christine have posted much faster bike times than me in the past so the fact that we were all biking at around the same speed made me happy. I was hoping this would last through the last 52km - but as soon as we hit the hilly section of the course they took off. I cursed my small and weak glutes, which I maintain is the reason for my lack of climbing ability, and just did the best that I could. I definitely was up out of the saddle a lot more during this race than in the past and I stayed aero more often on the steep, winding descents. After cursing the last few hills I ended up finishing the bike 6th, in a time of 2:37:36. My best bike split compared to the other Pro females so far. Woohoo!

Once in T2 I racked my bike, stripped off my warm top, put on my Mizunos and was off! Like Muskoka, I couldn't feel my feet, so I was super paranoid about tripping and falling. I was also aware that right behind me was Jessie Donavan (winner of 2 IMs!) and Jennie Hansen. It would be really tough to stay ahead of them on the run. I just tried to focus on what I could control: my own run, my own pace. For starters, this meant regaining the feeling in my feet. So, while running, I curled my toes up and down desperately willing the blood to flow to my toes. Co-incidentally I noticed the feeling back in my feet just as Jessie passed me. I was able to stay close for about half a mile, but my heart rate was soaring and I knew that I wouldn't be able to complete the full 21km at that pace. So again, I tried to refocus on my own pace, until I saw another female Pro up ahead who I was gaining on! Sweet. New goal: catch-her. So I went for it and caught her at mile 4. There was another female up ahead of her, 1:00 ahead, and that became my next target. At the turnaround I was about 30s away, but she must have seen me gaining and picked up her pace, because I would remain about 45s-1:00 behind her the rest of the race. This run course was particularly difficult, it was gradual uphill until the turnaround, which included some steep ascents and small descents the whole way up. There were no flat sections. However, that meant that the last half of the run was downhill, but those short ascents on the way back were what killed me. With 3 miles to go I was barely hanging on, my legs were heavy, I was getting chilled, and it took a lot of willpower to get my feet to lift off the ground. Sure enough, Jennie Hansen passed me at Mile 11. I looked back and didn't see anyone else coming, which was a relief. I managed to put one foot in front of the other for the next couple miles and ran my way to the finish with a run time of 1:30:07 and a new PB of the season (4:35:03)!

I also wanted to say that this race had some of the most friendly volunteers I have ever come across. Not only that, but they cheered for you, and they cheered LOUD!, and wanted to give you high-fives! At each aid station they made sure that you got the fluid that you needed. There was one water station, where the volunteers were dressed all in pink and wearing tutus! I didn't catch the name on their shirt, but I thought that was pretty awesome.

Anyway, up next, this "seasoned pro" will be conquering nice and flat, Miami 70.3. No hills to worry about there!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Muskoka 70.3 Race Report: Learning my Weaknesses

At the start of this season, my one goal was to gain experience racing as a professional. If I could learn what to work on in the next off-season, then I would consider this goal accomplished. This meant tackling a variety of different races with all different types of terrain, in different types of weather, so I could see how I would do relative to the competition in varying conditions. So far I have learned that my swim doesn't change much, regardless of the conditions. I am better in non-wetsuit, rough water conditions compared to my competitors, but I can swim in anything and still be one of the top out of the water. The bike is a bit different: Mooseman 70.3 I experienced a hilly, rainy and cold bike ride, Muskoka was hilly and cold, Timberman was rolling hills and cold, Rhode Island and Mont Tremblant were rolling hills and hot! I can only conclude that, since my best cycling was done in Mont Tremblant and Rhode Island, I am a hot weather cyclist who prefers rolling hills to steep climbs (for now, anyway!). The run: hands down I prefer a hilly run, hot or cold doesn't seem to matter. My top run splits relative to the field have been at Rhode Island 70.3 (3rd fastest run split) and Muskoka 70.3 (5th fastest run split). So I can say that even though my season isn't over yet I have learned what to work on during the off-season! Goal accomplished. However, it isn't always fun racing in conditions that you don't prefer (even if you are learning something), which brings me to my race report on the Muskoka 70.3.

The morning started off a little later than usual, we got to sleep in until 5:30am for an 8am race start. This was nice. I got to transition, set up my bike - although in this race I had way less room than usual. My bike was on the end of the rack and literally squeezed in between the poles that support the rack and the bike beside me. This would pose a problem in transition. The other problem of the day: it was COLD! 8 degrees Celcius cold! An extra few seconds of time in transition was not worrying me, but spending close to 3hrs on the bike in this temperature did. Nonetheless I continued on with my pre-race routine: swim tubing to activate the arms, swim warmup, some pick-ups in the water, then I lined up with the other Pros at the start line. This race we would start with the male Pros as well.

Before I knew it the race had begun. Immediately from the start the group split into two - one group headed for the second buoy and the other headed for the first buoy, which seemed the longer route. I stuck with the group headed for the second buoy and before I knew it I had passed them all and was leading the pack. Damn - no feet for me to draft off of, but 10 people to draft off me. I was feeling pretty good though and ended up putting some distance between myself and the group behind me. When I got to the buoy before I knew we had to make a sharp right into the channel I stopped dead - I couldn't see any buoys in any direction (this might be a point in favour of my learning to wear contacts). So I stopped for about 10s - waited for the group behind me to catch up and followed them until I could see the next buoy. Then I passed them all again and exited the water a few seconds in front, instead of the 20s I would have had. I guess I learned that swim races that have buoys every 100m are preferable for my near-sightedness :)

The first transition involved a long run up a paved hill BAREFOOT. This was not too much fun, especially while wearing a wetsuit, but I quite like running up hills so I can't complain too much about this part. My bare feet did hurt a bit though. I got to my bike, put on a long sleeved shirt over my trisuit (thinking it might keep me warm), fiddled with my bike a bit to get it out of it's stuck position and then I was off. 4th woman out of the water and on her bike.

At the start of the bike race I was passed by Chantell Widney and Jennie Fletcher. Jennie beat me out of the water in Tremblant, so I guess my swim has improved somewhat since then. I'll take it! I stayed with them for the first part of the bike, but each steep climb they gained a little bit of time on me. Thanks to my speedy Cervelo I would make up some of that time on the descents, but that wasn't enough. Also, the body heat I generated from the swim and the uphill run were fading fast and I was getting cold. The shirt I was wearing protected me very little from the wind and without being able to keep my core temperature up, there was no hope for my legs getting warmed up either. Think about trying to make a fist when your hands and fingers are freezing cold...that's how my legs felt and they did not want to push on the pedals. Once I got on the Highway 35 and was riding in the sun I felt a little bit better and saw my power numbers climb, not nearly as high as in my training ride the week before though. That is frustrating! By the last 30km my legs were fried, I was still cold and could no longer feel my feet. I was just barely hanging on. Annie Gervais passed me in the last 4km on the bike and I moved into 8th female. I finished the bike about 5 minutes slower than when I did this course in 2010, even though I know my bike fitness is much better than it was back then. I think I will be doing some winter riding outdoors this year for cold acclimatization...or maybe they can build a cold chamber at WattsUp...they can really do anything and everything there.

I have never been so happy to arrive in T2 as I was during this race! I couldn't feel my feet and the thought of a hilly 21km run was not very welcoming, but the run was an opportunity to catch some of the girls ahead so I was going for it. The first km of the run was weird, because my feet were still completely numb, and I couldn't feel them at all! What an odd sensation. I had to be extremely careful not to trip and I did nearly fall a few times. The awesome part of this run was that Coach had his bike and he would ride up ahead of me, stop, and cheer me on as I passed. The run actually didn't feel as hilly as I remembered it from the practice runs I had done on the course the week before. I was holding about 4'00 - 4'20 per km so was roughly on pace for my goal time of 1'28. The last final stretch of uphill before the turnaround was challenging, but I saw 3 girls up ahead and within 2' of me so that definitely kept me going. Plus, I knew that super fast runner, Jennie Hansen, was right behind me and probably on pace for a 1'24 half-marathon. I really needed to push to stay ahead of her. After the turnaround at 10.5km it was downhill for a good 2km and Jennie Fletcher was in my sights. She was not easy to catch, but I passed her around the 15km mark and moved into 7th. Annie was about 1.5 mins further ahead of me and I was pushing hard. At 18km I started to give everything I had - but by the 20th km I had nothing. The last km was uphill and Jennie H. passed me with about 200m to go and beat my by about 20s (better than the 15 minutes she beat me by in Vegas last year, though!). I ended up 8th, with a 1:29 run split...not too far off my goal.

You may think I would have been disappointed with this after my podium finishes in Rhode Island and Tremblant, but I accomplished so much from this race that I can't even be disappointed for a second. The accomplishments from the race may not have included a podium finish, but the accomplishments did include learning my weaknesses and strengths, which will help me make the podium in the future. Most of my competitors are in their mid-30s and they didn't get where they are overnight or in one season. Most of them went through the process that I am going through right now. Hopefully I have the patience to stick with it, learn from every race, and someday get to be as fast as them.

There are a few people I want to specifically thank for being there for this race, in particular: Faye for her many words of encouragement (Faye completed her first Ironman yesterday only a year after her first ever triathlon!), Marty, Faye's family for letting me stay at their beautiful cottage while I trained on the Muskoka race course (and for teaching me how to shoot a potato gun), my parents for making the trip to Muskoka to cheer me on, my coach for his unwavering support (even when I'm yelling at him during the race), other spectators and athletes cheering for me during the race and through email, facebook, etc. (Dr. Kath, Mike, Tara Norton, Lesley from Cervelo) and of course, Rikki :)

Up next, Pocono Mountains 70.3! Another chance at a hilly and cold bike ride!

Monday, August 20, 2012

TImberman 70.3 - Overcoming obstacles

Every once in awhile, for reasons you can't control, you find yourself in a situation in less than ideal conditions. Whether the situation is a crucial business meeting, a huge presentation, a daily chore, or a race, sometimes things come up that pose a significant risk to your well planned intentions for that event. Maybe you can't find a crucial document in time, have deleted part of your powerpoint presentation, bought the wrong mutual fund for the wrong client, gotten a flat tire or the stomach flu. We've all been there. What do you do in these circumstances? Of course your first reaction is to panic, then you try to get yourself out of the situation (postpone it?), then your brain kicks in (hopefully) and you find a way to deal with the problem and carry on so to make the best out of the bad situation. Of course, the outcome may not be what you wanted or hoped for, but no matter what, you learn something and are better prepared for the next time you are faced with such circumstances. I was faced with an "unfortunate circumstance" during my race this Sunday.

On Friday we drove down to New Hampshire. I wasn't feeling too great, but I thought that was just the effects of the long drive. It was 10 hours to get there, plus more driving once we got there: running errands, picking up the race kit, driving the wrong bike course (there are two Laconia Roads!). It was almost 12 hrs after starting our journey that we had finally settled into the very nice hotel (Hampton Inn and Suites, Tilton, NH - they had free coffee and cookies all day long!). I must thank my title sponsor, Turner-Tomenson and Asssociates, for helping to offset the cost of such comfy accommodations. After unpacking, I went for a run on the treadmill (it was thunder and lightning outside) and then lounged a bit in the hot tub. I had a small dinner (still wasn't feeling great) and then we were asleep by 8pm!

I woke up Saturday feeling refreshed after an 11 hour sleep! Yes, that was exactly what I thought I needed. However, after only being awake for 5 minutes I realized that I did not feel better, much worse actually. I will spare you the details, but basically I felt the effects of some type of stomach illness. Later in the morning, I was able to get on my bike to ride the last 25km of the bike course (thanks Enduro Sport, my bike was perfectly tuned up!) and did a short run and then a swim (I actually felt OK, but it was just zone 2 stuff). Then more "stomach issues" hit during the pre-race Pro meeting :( After that I did start to feel better, maybe I still had a bit of a weak stomach, but I didn't know if that was nerves or not. I ate regularly and tried to eat a lot for the rest of the day. Although my stomach felt completely fine by the evening I felt an odd sort of feeling, that I really did not want to do this race. That is usually not the case. I am usually eager to race and tackle an event. Nonetheless, I had a good sleep - except had a dream that my bike seat was not tightened properly and kept falling down on me! haha.

Race morning started at 4:45am (a bit of a sleep in compared to Rhode Island!) and I woke up feeling really hungry. I literally scarfed down my usual pre-race breakfast of bagel with peanut butter and banana, coffee in record time. Unfortunately, my breakfast made it's way back up later that morning :( Usually the morning of a race I feel slightly full, and I find comfort in that. I know I will have plenty of fuel for the swim and bike and will feel good by the run. I definitely didn't feel that way today. I felt empty.

I did manage to get in a good swim warm-up and take in an energy gel, and to my surprise, at the start of the race I felt super ready to go. The pace seemed to start off slow compared to other races and I was actually in the lead off the start, before Cait Snow and Heather Wurtele pulled ahead. The three of us swam together for a bit, and then we dropped Heather at some point and I stayed right behind Cait for the next 1500m of the race. This was great! Even better, was that I had no hip flexor issues like in my previous 3 races this year. I must thank my Chiropractor, Bill Wells, at Urban Athlete for that (he treated me for this issue a few days before the race. Unfortunately, with about 300-500m to go I just felt all of my energy go. It was a struggle to pull myself through the water and my legs felt super heavy - especially my quads. By the time I exited the water (I still managed to come out of the water seconds behind Cait and in 2nd) all I wanted was to sit down for a steak dinner. Not a good sign for the rest of the race (not to mention the fact that is was only 7:30am)!

I had a super quick transition (the 2012 full-sleeve blue seventy helix is a breeze to take off!) and was off on my bike, still in second place. I knew on the first climb that I did not have the amount of energy in me that I would have liked. My quads were still burning from the swim and it was taking all my strength just to pedal, let alone pedal with any sort of power. I was overtaken by 1,2,3,4...7 girls in the first 5 miles and another at mile 10. I was in an "unfortunate situation" that I really didn't have any control over - under-fueled, heavy legs, low self-confidence. My first thoughts were to just pull over and pull out of the race, but then I thought back to the pre-race article I had read about Timberman. In that article, Joe Gambles (who actually won the men's race) had mentioned something about the best sort of training coming from racing, because it pushes you to a level that you can't get to on your own. This is actually what kept me going. It didn't matter anymore whether I was going to have a good race or not - I didn't want to lose out on a potential training session. So I sucked it up, fought through the pain, biked to the best of my ability on the day and not one person passed me from mile 10 to mile 56.

I had no idea what to expect from the run part of the race. I knew the course was hilly and if my legs were burning during the bike, there was no saying how they would do on the hills on the run. The first 2 miles of the run I think I did way too easy - my heart rate was in Zone 2 territory (and it was uphill). I didn't feel too bad so I pushed a little harder after that. I don't really remember much of my thoughts during the run. I know that I was hungry, but not for gels - for steak! I remember the volunteers being incredibly friendly, I remember Ming cheering me on from his bike, I remember being inspired by seeing Cait Snow's incredibly fast run pace and I remember moving into 7th. All the rest is a blur.

I finished the run in 1:28:55 (the 5th fastest female run split) and completed the race in a personal best time for the year - 2:38:56. I was happy. It wasn't the podium finish that I would have liked, but I had pushed through an "unfortunate situation" and I think I came out a stronger triathlete. I did the best I could, which is sometimes all you can do in such a situation. If you misplace an important document before a crucial meeting or delete part of a presentation, maybe have co-workers help find the missing document while you continue the meeting, improv the missing part of the presentation, etc. It may not be the ideal way to do it, but it gets the job done and you learn from it.

I am not sure whether my poor bike split was due to low energy (it certainly didn't effect my run too bad) or too many hours in the car on the Friday, but I hope to get to the bottom of it and be at top form for my next race in Muskoka on September 9th!

Thanks again to all my family, friends and sponsors for your words of encouragement. You guys are what keep me going in the best of it and in the worst of it!

Monday, August 6, 2012

August Long Weekend: K-town Tri & Mississauga Wedding

After 4 weeks off racing, I took part in the K-town triathlon weekend. This was a last minute decision to get me prepped for Timberman 70.3 coming up in New Hampshire on August 19th. This local race began in 1984 and has been going strong every year since then. I was very happy to be a part of it!

This was going to be a particularly hectic weekend. A wedding to go to on Saturday morning, the drive to Kingston, race Sunday morning, drive home to Toronto and then the wedding reception on Sunday night. I also knew that I wouldn't be at my freshest as I had just finished a HUGE block of training (more than I had ever done before). Consequently, my only goal for the race was to have fun and just get some racing in.

Luckily my sisters decided to join me for this particular trip and we began our road trip to Kingston at 2pm on Saturday. Highlights of the drive were the playlist that included songs that went all the way back to high school, seeing some pretty trucks (an F-350 that would look very nice in Bee and Thatcher's garage ;) ), making fun of/trying to avoid the MANY bad drivers, my outfit of a sari and baseball cap to match!

The hotel was very nice (we had a suite) and once we checked in both me and my sisters were on a mission. I needed to check-in, get my race kit and find bagels and they had to find an LCBO! We headed out in the CRAZY heat and humidity to get our errands done. I was also able to pick up my new Tri suit for the race from Olivier at Kiwami.

We then got to relax at the hotel. We were joined by Annalisa who decided at the last minute to come to Kingston to watch the race. My coach also decided to make the trek to Kingston to watch the race! He had almost his whole team of athletes racing...me, Faye, Tim Lychy...so it was great that they were able to come.

Bianca made an amazing pasta for my pre-race dinner and we all ate dinner watching a re-run of the Women's Olympic triathlon...not much better motivation for a race than that!

Race morning I woke up at 6am for my usual pre-race routine...shower, coffee, breakfast, coffee. As soon as I stepped out of the hotel with my bike (and almost got blown over!) I knew there was going to be race day trouble. I rode my bike cautiously over to the transition area, careful to not get blown over in the process. As soon as I reached the race site I saw the HUGE white caps in Lake Ontario, where the swim was supposed to be. Oh no! I remember seeing this in New Orleans last year when they cancelled the swim. My heart sank...out of all three sports I felt I was most prepared for the swim portion of this race. I have been swimming all summer with Bob Hayes at Summerville Pool and had noticed huge improvements since I started. Sure enough, the call was made that the swim would be cancelled and we would run a 7.2km run instead of a 2km swim. I was not mentally prepared for a 22km run and had no idea how a run before the bike would effect me. Obviously I was upset, but nothing could be done, so I just tried to reset my brain and get it ready for a duathlon. It helped that Bill and the team at Urban Athlete was keeping me injury-free, so I knew my body would be able to handle the extra mileage.

Before the start of the run I lined up next to Canadian super-star triathlete, Beth Primrose, who was a Canadian champion about 20 years ago and is still a super strong triathlete. She had beat me the two times I had raced her last year so I knew that I could use her to pace myself for the first run. Before I knew it we were off, running into a heavy cross-wind/head wind. At first there were 3 of us running together, but by the 2km mark there was just Beth and I. She led for the first half of the run, but I was right on her feet. I had no idea how to pace this run so I decided I would let her, the more experienced triathlete, do it :) I ended up beating her back into transition by a hair and was out of transition and off on my bike 10s ahead. A sub-4:00/km run to start off was a good sign.

A few kms into the bike we had to dismount our bikes to cross the Causeway because the cross wind was so strong it was deemed to dangerous to ride our bikes across. We had to cross single file with our bikes across the bridge. I was caught behind an amputee, which is so awesome that he was racing, but meant I had to cross the bridge at a very slow pace and about 10 people caught up with me (including Beth) as a result. After the bridge I hopped on my bike and tried to make up for lost time. The only problem...my bike legs seemed to have decided that they were not going to wake up. Not only this, but the cross-wind was incredibly intense and it was taking a lot of energy just to stay upright and in a straight line as the wind pushed me all over the road. These conditions definitely made me happy I had got by biked tuned recently (thanks Enduro Sport). Beth passed me at the 10km mark, but I made it my goal to not let her out of my sight. My legs were burning and my heart rate soared if I pushed any higher than zone 2...but I did manage to pass Beth at the turnaround and I think that this was also the point when my legs decided to wake up. I pushed hard for the next 10km and then it started to rain. HARD. Cross-wind + downpour + trucks passing you made me so mad! I think I was swearing out loud. I wanted to get back to transition as fast as possible just to tell my coach how much I hated this race and how mad I was. I'm not sure if that's why I was able to find a harder gear to go hard back into transition, but the last 15km was definitely my strongest leg of the race!

I came into transition a little shaky from my windy and stormy ride, but I was greeted by the smiling faces of my sisters, Annalisa and Coach. Soon I was out on the run, running back into the strong cross/head-wind! Coach was on his bike as I ran, telling me I was doing great and at least 2 minutes ahead of second place. I relaxed at this news, until I heard my coach say that I still had to push it...damn...no relaxing for me. At 7.5km I reached the turnaround and I couldn't believe I would have to run another 7.5km. It really did make it easier that I had the wind at my back on the way back. I would see guys running in front of me and made it my goal to catch and pass them. I ended up crossing the line with the second fastest 15km time overall - including the men! And first female by about 15 minutes. I guess the race didn't turn out too bad after all - despite the crazy weather and a cancelled swim :)

All WattsUp athletes had excellent results. Faye was 2nd in her age group, Tim was 3rd in his age group, Claire came 1st in her AG, Claudia was 2nd in her AG, Irene was 1st in her AG! Awesome job to all the athletes!

Thanks again to Sara, Bee, Annalisa and my coach.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Staying Injury Free and Training over 20hrs a week

How do professional triathletes train over 20hrs a week and stay free from injury? This is a question I often asked myself when I was an age-group level triathlete, training less than 10 hours a week and still getting injured! Part of this is due to the fact that most pro athletes are able to recover properly, because we don't have to run off to the office after a workout. We can sit on the couch or take ice-baths to allow our bodies to heal after a hard training session. However, the other reason we are able to get through our training without getting injured is the fact that we have the best possible team of health care practitioners making sure that the smallest little "niggle" doesn't progress to a full blown injury. My team of health care practitioners includes my amazing Chiropractor, Bill Wells at Urban Athlete.

The guy who referred me to Bill said that he knew a Chiropractor who could tell your injury just by looking at you and cure you just as fast. I had a race in 3 weeks and was not able to run at all due to a knee injury, so I booked an appointment with this Chiropractor ASAP. Sure enough, on my first visit I was in awe at what Bill could tell by just looking at me! Among many things, he knew that I had been a swimmer and that I must have specialized in breast stroke without me even mentioning this fact. Not only this, but I was back to running within a week, which allowed me to compete in the race that qualified me for the World Championships. Since then I have struggled with MANY injuries: strained muscles, IT band syndrome, a bruised tailbone, a stuck fibula...you name it! All of these injuries might have kept me from training and even racing, but Bill didn't only keep my on my feet, but he kept me in the pool, on the bike and in my running shoes throughout all of these injuries!

The team at Urban Athlete also includes physiotherapists, massage therapists, naturopaths, personal trainers (check out: www.urbanathlete.ca for a complete list or their services). When Bill is away I see Greg Lehman (chiropractor/physiotherapist), who helped me fight an adductor magnus strain right before I raced Ironman 70.3 Mont Tremblant!

Thanks, Urban Athlete, for all your support!

Monday, July 9, 2012

3rd Pro race and 3rd place!

Well, my third Pro race has come and gone. I really can't believe that the first few races of my season are over, but what is more unbelievable is that I exceeded my expectations for all 3 races! I started this season with one goal in mind: Not to come last of the Professionals. This would justify my decision to turn Pro. Once I had a few Pro races under my belt I would work on making the podium in my last few races of the season. Now, I guess the pressure is off!!! Sort of ;) The following is a little report of my Rhode Island adventure.

This trip started off as usual, with a long car ride. I am becoming an expert at packing the car: wheel bag for my ZIPP404s (thanks Sara, Bee, Kevy and Thatcher!), everything in compartmentalized bags (no loose stuff!), cooler filled with avocado, bagels, strawberries, bananas, cheese , various cold meats...all healthy (and boring) for the few days pre-race. We left Toronto Thursday afternoon and drove to NY's capital, Albany where we decided to spend the night. Friday morning we were back on the road for the final stretch of driving. We got to drive on the MASS. PIKE (clearly the best name for an Interstate....don't ask why I think so).

Once in Rhode Island we drove/I road part of the race's bike course that takes you through rural and beautiful rural R.I. This proved to be a very good pre-race idea, considering its a point-to-point bike route that has many tricky turns. It was pre-race routine as usual from that point...race registration, swim, bike, run warm-ups, intimidating Pro pre-race meeting. This race had some big names, former World Championship competitors: Cait Snow, Nina Kraft, Dede Griesbauer. I was a bit excited to see how I stacked up against the World's best.

Since the location of the race is right in downtown Providence, beside a shopping mall, we did get to do some shopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond...we picked up some sweet shoe organizers that you can store under the bed! And they seal so as to keep in the smell of smelly bike or running shoes. Very exciting. Also, got some Chip Clips for Mamma and some other knick-knacks. For our pre-race dinner, Rikki and I decided to head to Bristol, RI (which is right on the water and beautiful). Although the service was horrible at Leo's Restaurante (our food took over an hour!), the food was good so at least I knew I would be well fueled for the race :)

Race morning began at 3:55am on the Sunday. Rikki and I were both showered, the car was packed up and we were driving to the race site by 4:30am. Despite a little confusion about where Rikki was supposed to drop me off (which resulted in him almost not making it to the start of my race) all went smoothly. I had my transition all set-up, swim warm-up in just in time for the start of the race. It was a non-wetsuit swim which would be an advantage for me as it is for most strong swimmers. Plus, I would get to wear my Blue Seventy PZ3TX Swim Skin, which I love because it makes me feel so streamlined in the water. It's fabric is specially made of hydrophobic (water-retarding) materials to reduce drag. I wouldn't wear anything else. Since, Dede, Nina and Cait are well known super-star swimmers, my goal for the swim was to stay with the lead pack!

At 6:02 the race was underway. Nina, Cait and Dede were off like lighting (fellow Pro from Toronto, Suzanne Zelazo, had warned me they go out fast!). I lack speed, but make up for it with endurance so I wasn't too concerned when I was still a bit behind them as we approached the first buoy. I put in a few surges at around the 200-300m mark that put me about 5m behind Nina and Cait (Dede was way up ahead). I thought once I was near their feet I could cruise, but this was not the case! If I let up just a bit they would take off on me. After rounding the last buoy my left hip flexor really started to aggravate me. I couldn't really kick hard with my left leg and not wanting to aggravate it further I didn't try. This put me about 10s behind Nina and Cait exiting the water, but still 2:00 faster than last year's swim time (27:36 vs 29:19). Luckily my hip flexor stopped bothering me as soon as I was out of the water and was not an issue for the rest of the race. T1 went rather smoothly, unfortunately my sunglasses broke and I would have to ride the whole bike course with only one stem. Lol!

The first 10 miles of the bike my legs felt super heavy from the tough swim. I was worried I had worked to hard to keep up with the lead girls and that now I would pay for it on the bike. However, this fear became a distant memory as I started to find my momentum on the bike. Gradually my legs started to feel better and better, maybe that's the magic of riding a Cervelo. I just felt super comfortable on the bike and that made it easier to go fast. It seemed just as I found my groove I approached an intersection with a police officer directing traffic. He was pointing to the right and I assumed he wanted me to turn right! I made the right hand turn only to hear him behind me yelling "Come back! Come back!". Oops. I had to wait until traffic was clear and then made my way back into the course. Oh well...if this was the worst that was going to happen on the bike then no big deal. A few minutes later Suzanne passed me, cheering me on as she went. I was happy she was having a good day on the bike. I didn't want to let her out of my sight, though. I really started to push hard on the bike, probably a little beyond my comfort zone, but surprisingly I still felt good. I passed Suzanne again at around Mile 40 and we stayed pretty close to one another until the final 5 mile stretch of the bike course that led us into downtown. I was worried about all the turns in this last section so I kept a safe distance back from Suzanne and proceeded cautiously, probably a little too cautiously. I did manage to catch up to Nina with a few miles to go. I couldn't believe I had actually caught someone on the bike. This was a first for me and it was exciting!

Coming into T2 I still felt pretty good and I was ready for the run. Perhaps I wasn't thinking enough about my bike dismount, because one moment I was upright and the next I was toppling over my bike. Not my proudest moment! Luckily enough I managed to avoid getting any scrapes or bruises and was back on my feet in no time. Still a bit shaken from my tumble I ran into T2 right past my bike rack spot. Then I made the mistake of racking my bike in the wrong spot so had to unrack and then put it in the right place. Usually my T2 is my best transition, but this goes to show you that you can't get too complacent about the things you think you do well. Practice is important and I should have practiced my transitions pre-race. Had I have not made this errors I could have earned some extra seconds and every second counts!

Heading out on the run I actually felt really really good! Starting the run in Mont Tremblant I thought I might puke, but this race was different. I felt light on my feet almost immediately and this made me happy. I was about 1 minute behind Suzanne at this point with Nina hot on my heels. At the start of the first 1.5 mile climb (1 mile into the race) Nina and I were neck and neck. I managed get ahead of her on the hill (thank you to my coach for those treadmill hill repeats you had me do in practice) and at the top I caught Suzanne. For the first time in the race I was in 3rd place. However, this scenario was very reminiscent of last year when I ran my way into 1st in my age group at this very same point on the run...and then died later in the race. I was very aware that the good feeling I had at this point in the race may not last. On the downhill I definitely felt the heat. I made sure to grab 2 sponges at every aid station, stuffed ice into my bra, poured water on my head. I couldn't take in much fuel, except for 1 Peanut Butter GU pack during the whole run, because it was so hot. Mile 3 - 5 on the run was pretty flat and Nina had caught back up to me at this point. We ran together until the big hill started again (it was a 2 loop run course) and at this point I dropped her for good. At the top of the climb I still felt really good and I knew that I could push the pace for the last 4 miles. I saw Annie Gervais (super fast runner from Quebec) only 30s behind me and I knew that I would have to work hard to stay ahead of her. I pushed my limits on the run for the next 3 miles, but couldn't hold off Annie. Once she caught me we ran together for a bit, but then she surged on ahead. Close to the finish line I saw Dede up ahead and I knew that I could catch her if I tried. I found one more gear and was able to run her down just before the finish shoot. I crossed the line with a new personal best 1:27:28 run split and a 3rd place finish. I was ecstatic. I even got shuttled over to the media booth for an interview with the winner, Cait and second place female, Annie. So cool!

After my race I also learned that my sister, Sara, in her second year of doing triathlons, came 7/24 in her new age group (25-29) and made a personal best time in the sprint distance triathlon by 4 minutes! What a day for us Tomensons!!! woohoo. Look for my other sister, Bianca, dominating in the Scotia Half Marathon in the fall!

So now, 3 races are done, 4 more to go! I would again like to thank everyone who has helped make the first part of the season such a success:

- My title sponsor, Turner-Tomenson and Associates, for helping to cover some of the costs associated with training and racing.
- WattsUp Cycling, for providing the best training facility for cyclists trying to live and bike in Toronto.
- My coach, for tolerating my crazyness and for his amazing training program.
- Cervelo, for such a strong and fast bike! (As I was leaving transition with my bike yesterday a volunteer said "that's the smallest bike i've ever seen". I replied "it may be small, but it's powerful and speedy!")
- Enduro Sport, for always making sure I get the equipment I need and for always being so friendly every time I am in the store.
- Steve, for his amazing eBars and making sure I am well fueled!
- My parents, sisters, family and friends for showing such support all of the time. You have no idea how your emails, comments on facebook/twitter/etc. have helped to motivate me. I am forever in your debt!
- Rikki, for driving over 60 hours total for my three races and for his patience, love and support.

I will be racing at Timberman 70.3 in New Hampshire in about 6 weeks. I am taking this week nice and easy and then it is right back into the heavy training with 3 a day workouts!

A few more photos: