Monday, June 29, 2009



San Diego International

Congrats to all Zooters at the San Diego International!

It was a great race for everyone and the Zoot presence was HUGE!

Oustanding performances as follows:

Luke Bell 2nd
Karle Bordine 6th

Mac Brown 10th
Thomas Lopez 11th

Rachel Challis 1st

M 30-34
Kevin J. 3rd

W 25-29
Beth Gerdes 1st

W 40-44
Kristin Mayer 2nd
Darcy Eaton 4th

W 45-49
Diana Noble 1st


Jennifer Johnson qualifies for KONA!

Congrats to Jennifer Johnson for qualifying for Kona at Ironman Coeur' d'Alene!
Awesome race Jennifer!
Look forward to viewing your race report.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hey Folks,

Time for a belated Coeur d'Alene race report. I apologize for posting this so tardily, but I've finally said goodbye to the last of my guests from Ironman weekend, and have returned home to find the bok choi in my garden completely denuded by some as-of-yet unidentified pest. Bummer. The beets aren't doing very well either. I can't complain about having neglected my garden for the past week though, because I had a blast in Coeur d'Alene (a whopping 45 minutes away from home) both on and off the race course.

I'm lucky enough to be able to train in Coeur d'Alene often, so I had a pretty good idea of what sort of times and splits I should be able to do on the course. Based on previous years' times, I knew that those times would put me in the mix, but I also knew that I had no control over my competition, so was pretty relaxed starting the race. I wasn't thrilled about the weather (SUPER windy, majorly choppy white-capped water, and definitely brisk) or the media-driven running start for professionals, but once the cannon started all nerves disappeared and I actually found myself enjoying an Ironman swim for the first time EVER.

As per usual, my Zenith wesuit rocked, and though I didn't have a swim PR, it was definitely a sort of personal best, given the choppy water. The bike leg, my usual forte, actually turned out to be a bit flat on the day. I'm not sure whether it was the cold weather or an over-abundance of caffeinated Roctane (I do love the stuff, but perhaps won't use it exclusively in the future), but my HR was really, really low during the entire bike leg, and I was strangely woozy and dizzy. I actually considered pulling out a few times, worried about my health and afraid that I might pass out. I actually ended up riding 3 minutes faster than last year, so I can't complain too much, but I was definitely expecting to feel a bit better in the process.
The second I hit T2 and stood upright all feelings of illness passed, and I posted one of the fastest transition times of the day. Gotta love the easy entry and socklessness of the Zoot shoes. I think the only reason that Kate Major transitioned a few seconds faster is because her T2 volunteer probably didn't ask her: "are you sure you don't want socks . . . " Tyler Stewart, Kate Major, and Heather Wurtele were a good 10+ minutes ahead of me coming out of T2, but there was a much larger group of women in very close proximity. I was in 6th place at that point, and my goal was to pass 5th so that I could have a bike escort. It's a silly goal, but bike escorts are a major perk that make racing professionally that much more fun. I didn't expect to catch 5th and 4th almost simultaneously and to have a relatively easy time during the rest of the race just holding my position. I ran a pretty conservative marathon, just in case I should have to respond to a late-race charge by another competitor from behind. Such a thing never transpired, and running down Sherman Street to the finish line was positively awesome.
There is nothing like racing a major international competition in one's hometown, and I have to say that I LOVE my local triathon community. I thought that I might feel a bit of pressure this year as the "local pro," having placed 5th in the race last year, but I actually just relished seeing so many friends and loved ones along the course. In the end, I went 17 minutes faster than last year, finished one place higher, and made $1000 less money. That last bit was a cheap shot regarding IM prize purses, but it's true. Ultimately though, I would do it again for no money because I just love to race and can't wait for this recovery thing to be done so I can get back to it!
Thanks so much to Zoot for all of your support before, during, and after the race, and to all of my Ultra team buddies who sent well wishes. You guys rock and I'm so honored to be part of this team. Also, thanks to Larry Rosa for photos.
Haley Cooper

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hi Zooters! Sounds like everyone’s race season is off to a great start. I started my season with Memphis In May, a race I have always wanted to do but just never got around to. I had a great time at the race although I must say my Zoot uniform still smells like the Memphis lake (even after washing it several times!). I had a decent race, finishing 12th pro, but definitely could tell it was my first race of the season and I needed to work the kinks out. Next up was Eagleman which is one of my favorite races and I was very excited for it. Fortunately the weather cooperated this year (last year it was 115degrees on race day!) although all the rain leading up to the race turned the transition area into one big mud pit. The mud was so bad that it sucked my running shoe right off my foot as I tried to run out of T2. The swim went well (only 1 jellyfish sting) and I felt great on the bike (I love flat, fast courses!). I started out the run feeling great and then totally bonked around mile 7. I did everything I could to keep myself moving but it was a futile effort. I did finish but with a pretty pathetic run split. I realized after the race I really flaked on my nutrition during the bike leg. What a rookie mistake! I should definitely know better and was pretty mad at myself. Oh well. Live and learn, right?! At least I feel good about my training. Next up is my hometown race, Philadelphia Triathlon. Can't wait!



Caroline Smith Update

Hi All!

This is my first Post on here....yeah, I know.. I'm a little late on getting everyone up to date :-)

For those of you who don't know me, I'm the Cajun Pro from Louisiana. This is my second year as a memeber of the Zoot Ultra Team and it has been a lot of fun traveling, training, and racing for Zoot!

This year started off with the Inargural Ironman New Orleans 70.3 - the first race in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. It was a Re-Birth of sorts for the sport in this area and it seemed to breathe new life into our community!

The race attracted some of the best triathletes in the world - and served up a day full of hot, windy, and steamy weather - the best of what we have to offer here. It was truly a great day for New Orleans and I really enjoyed having so many great athletes come to my hometown to race!

Year to date:

Ironman New Orleans 70.3 15th
Crawfishman Tri 1st
Gulf Coast Triathlon (1/2 IM) 1st
Memphis in May 8th
Heatwave Tri 2nd

My best race so far this year was the Gulf Coast Triathlon in Panama City, FL. I had a lot to overcome in that race, including a lot of GI problems on the run - but I still pulled off a win. It was Awesome!

After that, I moved into a house here in Mandeville, and that took over my life for a while but as it turned out, it was a much needed break both mentally and physically. I did the Heatwave Tri in Jackson, MS for fun, and ended up second - noticing that I lost my edge. That was exactly what I needed as now I am back on track a d ready to take on te second half of the year.

Right now, I am LOVING my bew bike (ORBEA ROCKS!) and training is back on track. I have had 2 really great weeks and have my eyes set on the 5430 in Boulder in August, then a few morew 70.3's including Cancun and Austin, then the MS Tour for Cure where I will be riding on Team LAUREN ROCKS (Lauren Rolston is a swimmer I coached who was just diagnosed with MS at age 24) and finishing up with an Ironman in November.

So, As you can see, I'm gonna be jam packed till November - and am SO STOKED about it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Eagleman 70.3: Irony and Persistence

Irony and sport. Some days, we can walk away from an event and despite a lackluster outcome, realize an even greater 'victory' than what a win could ever provide. When I reflect on this years Eagleman 70.3 event (that I competed in yesterday), I keep coming back to two concepts: Irony and Persistence.

Why irony? I have been focusing on my cycling for a few months now. I went into this race having logged 6 rides of close to 80 or more miles; for me, this is a huge accomplishment and also a significant increase in my training on the bike (mind you, they have all been at least a week apart from one another). I was feeling strong, confident and ready to test out my 'new' cycling legs. Sure, I was fortunate to have done a PR marathon back in March, but in need of some run-recovery, I had greatly shifted my focus away from running (as in, 3-4 runs/week) and over to the bike, my glaring weakness in triathlon. Looking longer term, I am planning to do an Ironman in late August, and I am bound and determined not to let my race result (or lack thereof) be decided by yet another slow bike split.

Irony? I got out there on Sunday, in Maryland, and from the first 5 miles, I felt flat. It hurt. I literally had nothing in me for the bike. To have 56 miles to go on flat legs and an ensuing negative attitude, it made for a rough 2 hours and 36 minutes (yes... the slowest professional bike split by, oh; about 5 minutes). Multiple times, I wanted to quit. My thoughts: 'What is WRONG? Why NOW? I am rested! This is not supposed to happen!'

Persistence: I could not quit. I did not even have an excuse. As much as I would have welcomed a flat tire, or a mechanical, there was none of it... just me, my non-cycling legs and lots of open road. I cannot be so proud that, simply on an 'off' day, I give in to pain and a sub-par body. My thoughts out there on the long, lonely roads (as I cursed at myself each and every time another woman would pass me), "Quitting gets you nowhere. You know you are better than this; we all have bad days." Unfortunately, countered with, "Kelly, give it UP! Who are you kidding? Throw in the towel. Do you want to have another 'great swim, great run' race? Enough is enough."

Lesson: Days like these are 10x harder than any day that you have a big win in you...
because on the days you are off, or struggling, you have to battle not only a body that
does not want to perform, but a slew of negative thoughts along with it.

Irony? The end of the 56-miles did eventually come, though none too early, and what did I find? My legs! My running legs! I came off the bike and I felt very strong, it was almost as if I could barely keep up with them.

More irony? A PR 1/2 marathon run split off the bike by over 2 minutes. (...what? how?...) I probably passed 6 or 7 women and was lucky to sneak in for a 5th place finish and even felt stellar that last mile (as I even timed myself to see what I could do on mile 13!). While I came into this race having been 3rd in 2008, and with a goal of trying win it this year (as my blog title says, aim high!), I was quite graciously humbled out there, but pleasantly surprised by a strong run at the end. It was a very strong field, and I have to thank all the women out there battling it out and forcing me to find something there at the end I was not sure that I had in me. I even had a 'support team' that I did not want to let down. My parents came out from Indiana to watch, and my husband Derick even surprised me on Saturday to watch (getting a ticket completely last minute). I am so glad I could make this exciting for ya'll! :) Additionally, a big thanks to those who believe in me and support me: Zoot, 3 Cosas massage, Hill Country Running, Jack and Adams, Go with the Flo, and Advanced Rehabilitation.

PERSISTENCE - Motto of the day: Don't give up.

It may sound cliche, but if you are doing what you love in life - if you are attacking your passions with genuine enthusiasm and honest hard work - and if you believe in yourself, giving up when shit happens simply gets you nowhere. (that was my other recurring thought, 'shit happens').

We learn so more about ourselves on the tough days than the days it all just comes together. Remember to try to see some perspective when you find yourself in this situation (as we all will, at some point)... How bad is it, really? A mediocre day of racing (or even training) is still a glorious day because you are out there doing it. And I believe that when we can finish the task on the tough days, even if it it ugly (and you want to cry; not that I wanted to cry...) this is what gives us the strength to have the good days. Had I of quit on the bike, I would not have allowed myself the
chance to redeem myself on the run. And THAT would have been a wasted opportunity. So, keep at it; you never know what may be hiding around the next corner.

~Kelly Handel Williamson

Congrats everyone on great races this weekend!

I went back to Iowa for a sprint race this weekend, it was my first race back since I ended my 2008 season last November. It was great to have the support of my family and the opportunity to get out there.

All of the elites went off together on the swim which was great b/c I had the men to swim with. Due to racing some ITU stuff last year, and in my future I always try to work the transitions really hard, they can make or break a race. So coming out of the swim I sprinted the 200M on sidewalk to the transition area and was out on my bike in no time. I freaked out a bit when I discovered that the race volunteer whom I had asked to fill my water, b/c there was seriously none to found anywhere on site, had put it on the wrong bike. I tried to calm myself by recognizing it was only a sprint, however, it was seriously humid and coming from CO I knew that by the run I'd be feeling it hard core. They ended up radioing someone to have a bottle for me at 1/2 way. Phew, that saved me on the run. I had a strong bike despite the initial panic and again a great T2 and I was off to a fast cadence and solid run. The second woman was a couple of minutes back, so I used the men around me to pace off of and push me. I wanted to run my pace and focus on the little things I have been working on in training, but I always know the race is not over until you have crossed the finish line. All went well, I crossed in about 1:05 and was the first woman. I had my families smiles and hugs to come down the shoot. It was so wonderful to have my cousins Abby and Naf and their new baby Lucy, along with my mother and father, as well as Tony and his nephew! Having them there and being in my home state to welcome me back into the racing world after 8 months of rehab and patience. What an amazing opportunity and experience!

I am so thankful to Jenny and Craig the race directors for their commitment to the sport and support of me as a person and athlete. I'm also very thankful to all of my sponsors for their continued support. Thanks Zoot, GU, Zipp, Orbea, Fuel Belt, Suunto, ALCiS and First Endurance. Thanks to my coach Susan for helping me get back on my feet, literally, and Petr (Colorado Sports Training) for being there for me as a person and athlete. Last but not least, all of my amazing friends and family for their unconditional love and support!

I will have some photos to come!

Be well until next time!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Boise 70.3

After a noon start at my first Xterra in Coeur d'Alene a week ago, I'm getting used to this sleeping in the day of the race. Waking up about 9am, making a big egg, bacon, and avocado breakfast with the Montana crew, haning out with Linsey Cobin's family, finally starting to think about getting ready about noon. It was great watching my friends Brendan Halpin and Jen Luebke getting ready for their first pro race, and getting little Matt Shryock pumped to try to go top 3 in the age group race. The walk up the huge hill to the swim was entertaining, plus after getting to the top, there was no need for a warm up, as I was already sweating. The day seemed like the weather was going to say nice, no wind, kind of sunny, but about half way through the swim, with wind came up and made things a bit choppy, luckily the last leg the wind was at our back. Riding across the dam and down the hill after T1 was quite sketchy with the gusty side winds, but it was great to have a tail wind at the bottom. Then about 5 minutes into the ride, the sky opened up and a wall of water was dropped for about 15 minutes. Even thought it was pelting rain, it felt great and was a blast speeding down the road spraying water everywhere. It’s surprising how quickly you dry off after the rain stops, too bad that didn’t last, it then rained on and off, with burst of downpours, making the road really slick. After finding out several people ate it on the bike, I didn’t feel so bad being such a wimp and taking all the corners nice and slow. The rain finally let up right about T2, and the run was nice and cool. The spectators were great lining the streets of downtown Boise, and the course was flat, fast and scenic by the river. At the turn around on lap one, I saw Halp moving up through the field. At the turn on lap 2, he was bearing down on me. I knew he could close strong and consistently run 1:17’s, so I new I had to push to stay ahead. Thankfully I took the first part of the run out a bit conservative, and had energy at the end to finish 20 sec. up, but we both PR’d and had a great race. Jen was not so lucky on one of the corners of the ride about mile 35, but toughed it out and finished strong. Matty ended up :45 sec. out of 3rd for 4th amateur, but wining is age group by 10 min. Then the eating, massaging, and relaxing began. The nice thing about a Saturday race, is that we don’t have to cram into a car and road trip back right away. The whole weekend was pretty relaxed, and the drive down and back from Missoula was beautiful. Looking forward to the next one. Also glad I got to hang out with Jake at the Zoot both for a bit before the race as well. Attached are some photos of the Xterra. I'll add the Boise ones when I get them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Shout out from San Diego!

Greeting from "sunny" San Diego!! Now it really is "sunny" as the last couple of weeks have been rather gloomy. I wanted to check in with all you as I have been rather entangled in my day-to-day life/training . I've really enjoyed reading up on some of your races and accomplishments and I finally had a result I was happy with and wanted to share that with all of you.

So just a quick run through of my season thus far:
Super Seal Olympic Distance: 3/29/09- This was my first race of the season and was a test of my fitness. The course is very flat and fast. The only thing that can be a factor is you'll get a head wind half of the bike, but it wasn't too bad this year. In addition the first mile of the run has a soft-sand section and will definitely put your legs to the test. I ended up third pro at the end of the day with a time of 1:56.

St. Athony's: 4/26/09-I was really looking forward to this race for lots of reason but most of all the competition that was going to test me. I competed in the Elite Amateur wave and I though I was very well prepared for all aspects of this race, except when the swim was canceled for all Age groupers. I was sooo bummed when they made the announcement, but then thought well certainly they'll make it a duathlon (run/bike/run). Apparently, the logistics were an obstacle and they simply cut the swim and made it a bike/run, not exactly playing to my favor. So I tried to remain positive and gave it a go on the bike and closed with a 33:50 10k. I am still improving on the bike so my final result was not what I had hoped. There were so many talented cyclists out there.

Wildflower Olympic Dist.: 5/3/09-I was really anxious for this race as last year I finished well (2:06/2nd in AG/6th O.A.). So I was hoping to come back and improve my result, but the back-to-back races proved difficult for me and I just didn't have it. I ended up 7th or 8th overall with a 2:10. I struggled throughout the entire race.

Encinitas Sprint Tri: 5/17/09-I don't know about you, but the sprint triathlons are much more difficult for me than any other distance. The speed required to do well is an intensity I can rarely reach in a typical training week, especially when you're training for 70.3s. I was the returning champ and I knew I was going to have to be much better than last year. In these sprints you need to get some points of separation and I knew that with a good swim I might be able to create the cushion I would need on the bike. But unfortunately, the conditions were completely flat with no surf. Once I saw the conditions, I knew there wasn't going to be much of an opportunity to separate from the field. From the gun the competition was tough. I was first to the buoy by a ways, but a guy was catching up and ended up drafting right up to the surf zone. I was looking back for something resembling a wave, but I came up empty and had to swim in the rest of the way coming out of the water 2nd. Once the bike started I was pushing but there were some strong cyclists in the field. Five guys gapped me half way through this short bike and I just kept trying to hold on until the run. The top guys had minutes on me going into the short 5k run. So I closed the best could with a 16:53 5k and ended up 5th overall pro. It was a tough race, but under the circumstances I was happy with my result.

Biose 70.3: 6/13/09 This race was the race I was waiting for. I have been putting in the mileage and I felt ready for this race. The weather was a bit volatile as one minute it was warm and 75degrees and there was wind followed by lots of rain. And so it went the entire race. The race had a unique 2pm start, which was more difficult to manage than I expected. Planning meals was a detail I don't usually deal with when you race first thing in the morning. Anyway, it was warm when we started. But half way through the swim, the wind started and you could feel it pushing so it was difficult staying on the buoys. I was first in my wave out of the water 27:11, a little slow but I swear it was longer. :) The bike course starts with a very fun descent for 2-3 mi and climbs a little hill and flattens out for a good 10 mi. This is when the first downpour happened. Maybe people in other parts of the country are used to this, but in S.D. we don't get weather like this and it was literally pouring out of a faucet on top of us. At first it was fun, but by the end of the bike I was taxed and couldn't wait for the wind/rain/bike to stop. I have been working on my bike and was very happy with how I performed-2:27. A huge improvement for me. The run provided no respite from the rain. At least it wasn't hot, right? I decided not to wear a watch this race and wanted to go with how I felt, go with the "feel." Well the first 3 miles "felt" way too fast and by mile eight I was "feeling" like I was going to crash. I managed to hold on with a 1:20 half-marathon. Next time, I'm wearing my suunto. This being my 2nd 70.3 I was happy with my resullt of 4:17. I ended up the 3rd amateur overall, 2nd in my AG 30-34, 22nd overall.

This update is a little longer than I intended, I'll try to keep you all up to date in a more concise manner next time. I hope your training is progressing and everyone continues to improve. It's good to hear from all of you now and again. Go Zoot!

Dave Valencia

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Product use and input! Life is all good too!

Hi everyone!

Product wise from my personal use. ALCiS has been an amazing addition to my everyday use. Especially when I was battling plantar fasciitas. I used it every day regularly and before and after training. Now as I increase my mileage and intensity it remains an integral part of my maintenance, pain management and injury prevention.

I was excited to receive my GU products. I use the gel all of the time and love the boost of caffeine and low sugar. It definitely seems to do the trick no matter the distance or intensity of my training and the Chocolate flavor is my personal favorite. I like the Chomps on longer ride and brick workouts for a bit more substance and slower break down, though they seem to be a bit gooey. I’m just beginning to use the GU2O more, as I typically have just drank water in the past. But all of the products seem to be doing wonderfully with the true test in my opinion, limited to no GI issues. I’ll keep posted on this.

Zoot is great as always. The clothing I love and shoes especially the racing ones grow on me every time I use them. I will fill everyone in on the racing kit after this weekend, as I have my first race of the season Sunday, Yeah I can’t wait! I hope to receive and test out my wetsuit soon b/c I hear that they are amazingly fit and feel like a part of your body and super fast. Fuelbelt likewise saves me on long runs and races. As I had used them in the past during my ironman training and racing, the products are super comfortable, fuel is easily accessible and I have remained chaffage free, always a major plus.

I love the lean and lightweight feel of my Suunto. Though I’ll be honest, I doubted the comfort of a HR chest strap, as in the past I have always had comfort and constricting issues. The Suunto chest strap is truly comfortable and not constricting, it also picks up the HR well. I must confess however, I am technologically illiterate and hate reading instructions. As I vow to try my best and learn as much as I can to help use it to improve my training and discover my athletic potential with this technology I am fortunate to be sponsored with, if anyone has any major tips or can help me learn more in depth about all of the functions, pretty please send me an email!

I cannot wait to begin training and racing on my Zipp and Orbea. More great experience and news to come!

All else is amazingly well. I am fortunate to be blessed with a wonderful and supportive coach who was there during my healing and continues to push every aspect of me as a person and athlete each day. I have incredible friends who help me grow and give me unconditional love. I have the incredible opportunity to choose this journey that allows me to grow every day and live a life of passion while challenging my limits and the essence of who I am. Life is fantastic!

Cheers and be in touch!


Saturday, June 6, 2009


Hi All! Hope everyone is doing fantastic in life and sport! I'm sorry I have been so craptastic about blogging. I will give you a quick update and in the next few days a longer one and promiss to do my best to be better and more consistent in the future.

I'm running again and thrilled to be doing so. It is funny how we take things for granted until they are taken away from us. To simply put on a pair of Zoot shoes and step out the door for a pain free run is an amazing feeling.

Anyhow, I have no race updates other than I look forward to racing this month! There is nothing like the feeling when that gun goes off. The world could be a crazy blur around me, life could be in shambles, but I know what it means for those couple of hours. I know how to race and be an athlete. What an amazing blessing!

Cheers to all and I look forward to keeping in touch.