Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ironman Lake Placid

Congrats everyone on a magnificent race at IMLP!
And great job Leslie Sanderson on her 1st place age group and Kona Slot!
Way to go Leslie, see you in Kona!

Sam Mcglone 3rd
Tara Norton 7th
Leslie Anderson 8th

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New York City Triathlon

4 down, 1 to go...(5 races in 5 weeks)
Race 1 - Decatur Triathlon - 1st Place
Race 2 - Lifetime Fitness Triathlon - 10th Place
Race 3 - Evergreen Triathlon - 1st Place

Evergreen Triathlon is just north of Bloomington, IL in a local reservoir. It is the Regional Championship, the Regional Collegiate Club Championship, Best of the US qualifier, and probably more. The race headlined Bryan Rhodes and also contained Daniel Bretcher, X-pro's (Eric Ott, Brian Hague, Joe Company), and up and comers (Gavin Anderson, Aaron Bachman, Greg Kopecky). It also had a huge contingent of local stars... All that did not matter once the gun went off. The swim was quick with Gavin Anderson (local horse) pushing the pace, at about 600m in, my thermostat popped (Water Temp was easily 80). I was overheating, sun beating on the wetsuit and warm water temps. I would watch the leaders draw away as I focused on being miserable and not swimming. By the time I got out of the water I thought I was going to be a month down. Instead I was less than a minute.

On the bike I hunted. I quickly road to 2nd, then realed in Rhodesy around mile 10. Once in the lead...nothing changed. I kept the strong rythem on the chip'n'sealed roads. It was fun and reminded me a lot of the riding I did around Purdue.

Once my feet hit the ground it was business time. The run course was a T with turnarounds at mile 2.7 and 4. I ran strong to the first turnaround and learned my lead was 84 sec. I continued at pace to the second turnaround, my lead had grown to nearly 100 sec. I relaxed and focused on form and brought it home with another dominating performance.

Race 4 - New York City Triathlon - 6th Place
Sunday morning was early. 4:10am EST, 3:10am at home. I could hear rain outside and I thought, GREAT! I love racing in bad weather. As I rode my bike to transition in the pitch black evading multiple collisions with taxis I dropped my stuff in transition and jogged up to race start.

After a long delay, the race was (finally) off. I dove in and had a great start. I swam hard and felt like a torpedo in the SpeedZoot, in brachish water, swimming down the disgusting Hudson River. I would swim well and sacrifice less than a minute to the leaders in the swim. I charged to transition (which I learned now I lost another 15-30 seconds) which was a tick over 800m from swim out to bike mount. Yes, in my barefeet I ran 1/2 a mile, did the swim-bike transition, ran with my bike in 3:16 and lost 15-30 seconds.

I got on the bike in 14th place, that number quickly came down on the rain soaked roads. I immeadiately found high gear. After mile 5 I was 6th place and could see nobody in front of me. Then I ran over glass. It flipped up and actually cut my ankle! I hit more glass seconds later. I would ride paranoid the next 5 miles through the rolling hills of North Manhatten and The Bronx. At the turnaround I saw people!!! I learned I was down, but not out. I would crank hard but focus on efficiency on the way home. The road on the way back was fast and the bike would surf on the downhills of the greasy pavement as I zoomed by tons of athletes with flats headed out. At mile 20 I could see the motorcycle trailing Potts, Reed, and Hayes. It motivated me and I was able to elevate the pace. I would close the gap to seconds as we entered T2.

I quickly headed out on the run. I could see Reed (really tall) and Hayes (wearing Red) for the first mile, they were just 15 seconds leaving transition and 25 seconds at mile 1. Then we entered a winding Central Park and I lost sight and that edge. I ran strong and smart, hoping somebody would pop and that I would be able to slip in my first big top 5. I finished strong in 6th place and for the first time in my pro carreer I did not lose ANY spots on the run. I ran a 35:08 (5:38's) and lose nearly 3 minutes...Now that is rediculous. The day was a success. I beat a lot of athletes that perform at high levels internationally.

Train Hard,
Train Safe,
Andrew Starykowicz
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Six Hour Traning Run

My triathlon schedule has been lean this year, as I have been focusing on the next chapter of my athletic pursuits: ultra running. While cycling and swimming have been a nice form of cross training, I have been spending the bulk of my time running. Early this year I targeted my first real Ultra trail run - Where's Waldo 100k in Central Oregon which takes place mid-August. It also serves as the national 100k trail race which features 11,000 feet of climbing (and 11,000 feet downhill).

It has been a different kind of challenge. As an Ironman guy for the past 5 years, I am used to long weekend workouts. I had thought that a 5 hour run and a 1 hour brick run would be similar to a 5 hour run. Wrong!!! I would say about half the challenge is physical but half (and maybe more) is mental. Generally after 2.5 hours of running (when most Ironman runs tend to wind down), that is really the point that the challenge really begins. The body starts to go numb, but the mind starts to really goes to work. Can I run for another 20 miles?, how much should I be eating and drinking?, the temperature is rising, etc. are some of the questions your mind starts thinking about.

My mileage has been steadily building over the past 60 days - I generally run about 4 times a week and average 80-100 miles per week. The mid week two hour run is considered my short run or tempo run. The one that I try to mentally get my hands around is the long Saturday run which begins at 5 am and has been increasing in length by 30 minutes each week. The runs have been on single track, by myself with no Ipod in sight. I am reaching a point where it is simply hard to feel confident that a six hour run is something that I can get through and the follow it with a 2.5 hour run on Sunday. Generally the pace per mile is much slower than on the roads with the purpose is to just to keep my heartrate down.

So while I have not yet completed the race: I have been trying really hard to enjoy the journey. Here are some of my takeaways that might be helpful to some of you considering a longer run at the end of the season:

1. Patience - even if you feel great at hour 3 there is a good chance you are going to feel like crap in an hour. That said, you need to have the mental strength to know that you WILL come out the other side and feel good again.

2. Nutrition is different than Ironman - I tend to drink a bunch more and rely on GUs, but after about 3 hours you need some protein. By the way I have to throw out a special thanks to Holly at GU who has sent me boxes of product to keep going. Last week - I went through 15 GUs on one run.

3. The Zoot running shorts are awesome, but the recovery socks are outstanding. Putting them on right after the long run for just a few hours, enables me to recover incredibly well for the next morning.

4. It is an awesome way to spend some time just thinking about all the things that occured during the week that you never had enough time to focus on. Even on a group ride, you have a chance to chit chat a bit. When you are running by yourself and see more deer than people, you have plenty of quiet time just to explore.

5. The sense of accomplishment is outstanding. You feel like you can conquer anything. How many people can go for a 35 mile run and then head out for dinner and a movie.

So while I still have more training to get done before the race next month, my confidence is building. For anyone who wants to try something more low key (and less expensive), sign up for a 50k race with the goal of just finishing. You will be glad you did.

David Uri

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mid Season Update!

Hey Zooters! Bryan checking in from a very hot Arizona. It's a dry heat, but when it's 115 and you have an 8 mile run to do, it really BRUTAL! Due to the heat, racing stops until late September locally. Since my last update, I have raced three more times representing the Ultra Team.

On May 17th, I finished 8th overall, 1st in my AG at a very competitive Tempe International Olympic Race. Then on May 30th, my wife and I headed up to the Arizona high country for the Dueces Wild Triathlon Festival in Show Low. At 6300 feet, the air was cool..and a bit thin. I finsihed 7th overall, 2nd in the AG at the Half distance and Jamie fisnished her first Olympic distance race in a respectable 2:46 on a tough course. She credits the ZOOT Zenith for getting her through her first 1500 meter open water swim!

Finally, just this past weekend we headed north to Flagstaff for the Mounatin Man Triathlon at a lung busting 7000 feet! I had a soilid day and was 2nd overall, with a note worthy 2:22 bike split at elevation and with 2500 feet of climbing..the ORDU RULES! Now it's a brief respite before my build towards Ironman Arizona with a few short course races before hand. All my best to the TEAM!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vineman 70.3

Another successful race at Vineman!
Congrats to all Zooters who raced their butts off at Vineman 70.3!

Kelly Couch 5th
Gina Kehr 7th
Rachel Challis 9th
Rebecca Witinok-Huber 14th

W 25-29
Beth Gerdes 9th

M 30-34
David Valencia 2nd
Kevin Jaruszewski 4th

W 30-34
Charisa Wernick 2nd
Rebecca Divita 21st

W 40-44
Kristin Mayer 2nd

W 45-49
Diana Noble 1st

Awesome job team Zoot!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lifetime Fitness Triathlon

Congratulations everyone on a job well done at the Lifetime Fitness Tri last weekend!

And to those racing: Patrick Baldwin, Mark Harms and Andrew Starykowicz, GREAT JOB!

Awesome job ZOOT team!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lifetime Fitness Triathlon

2 down, 3 to go...(Referring to 5 races in 5 weeks)

RACE 1 - Decatur Triathlon - 1st Place
The field had a few local pro's, but going into the race I had trained hard so I was not exactly sure what my body would give on the day. The swim was perfect, a local triathlete lead the swim with a strong pace, and with the help of the WetZoot I stayed right on his feet...Then it was bike time. I was rolling thunder on the bike, wrapping up the bike with a 27+ mph bike split on wet roads and the fastest by over 2 mph. I would run hard to the first turnaround where I would learn the destruction I caused on the bike...From there it was all about running efficiently. The community came out in their numbers to line much of the course and the race was very very well organized. Living in the Chicago area, this one will be on my schedule next year!

Race 2 - Lifetime Fitness Triathlon - 10th Place
The race most dream of winning. As I rode over on the bus to the race start on a cool Minneapolis summer morning small talk was short, faces long. Transition area was all smiles by all of us. This is fun, we love it, that's why we kill ourselves. Then it was swim time! The gun fired. I misfired. I swam hard the first 500 but lacked the razor speed I had at St Anthony's and Capital Texas Triathlon. I would come out of the water in the second pack trailing the leaders by what I felt was a few hours...95sec to the leaders, 60 sec to the lead pack...where I want/should be.

On the bike David Thompson and I shadowed each other, riding hard, but made little progress on the pack and the leaders. Both of us buried ourselves, we could feel when each other were weak and when the other was strong, and with an officials motorcycle behind us for nearly the whole bike it felt a bit like 70.3 Worlds last fall...the difference being I am not leading this time. We hit transition in 6th and 7th place...Okay, not as bad as I thought but I need to get down to business on the run.

As my feet hit the pavement I felt good...that feeling lasted 2 miles. Then the feeling went...I would run the final 3 fearing that I was going to get wiped out of 10th. I was able to keep 10th and finish strong. I felt good about the race and was happy with the result of another top 10 against a loaded field. Yet, when I looked at the results on Sunday I became frustrated with my swim and run...One of these days.

Visit for full training as race coverage (and more pictures)!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ironman Austria

Hello! I have yet to post on this website, but I just got back from IM Austria and thought I’d send over my race report! Here goes:

Im never a big fan of race morning. The anticipation for an Ironman is always quite nerve-racking and I am always anxious to just get going. The morning of Austria was no different, but I must say that it didn't feel quite as "daunting" as races have sometimes felt in the past. My friend Erin and I headed to the race start which was awesome. Crowds of people packed on the 3 docks that jutted out into the lake, a huge balloon on the beach and almost 2400 people waiting to start. I was escorted to the "Profidis Start" which was located 30 meters ahead of the age groupers. We all jumped in, swam around a bit and next thing I knew, the gun went off! The start always scares me, but this one wasn’t too bad. I hung onto the group for as long as I could and then found myself swimming with another Pro, who I thought was a guy, but I’m not positive. Soon the fast age groupers would catch me and I would hang onto their draft for as long as I could. Once that group would drop me, I would wait for the next group to come along! Heading into the canal was AWESOME! People lined the side of the canal and it was the coolest feeling swimming along in such a narrow canal hearing the screams of the crowds!

Finally I was out of the water in 59 minutes! I giggled to myself because I definitely wanted to break an hour, but I knew that many of the other pro women were far ahead of me at this point. If anyone wants to help me with open water swimming, be my guest, because it is definitely a weakness of mine! On a positive note: Eli from Zoot shipped me a new Zenith wetsuit that I received a few hours before I took off for the trip to Austria and it was AWESOME! Super comfortable and the new size (small/tall) fit me PERFECTLY!!

I was so relieved to be through with the swim and onto the bike. My legs felt good right away and the watts came pretty easily, which is a great sign! I've done races where the legs do not feel good and it definitely ends up being a LONG DAY! The bike course is STUNNING! The section that lines the lake is FAST! Once you turn off of that road, the course becomes hillier. There a 3 major climbs and it feels as if you are riding in the Tour de France when you climb them. Crowds of people line the entire climb cheering and running next to you! The roads are covered with people’s names and the music is blaring! It's awesome!! I came in on the first loop in exactly 2:30 and I was PSYCHED!!!! I figured that even if I went 10 min slower on the second loop I would STILL do a 5:10!

My new Orbea was so fast and comfortable and I even made friends out there with another Orbea! The second loop on the bike went by fast! I still felt good, but of course I felt a bit more uncomfortable and the effort felt a bit more difficult. By the end, I was anxious to get off my bike and run! I was expecting a fast run! I got off the bike in 5:04, a personal best...Woo Hoo!

I didn’t feel "great" off the bike, but I am aware that sometimes it takes a few miles to feel "great". The sun was really intense and the first section of the run is hot without a lot of air movement. I felt like I was having trouble breathing, but after some time, I settled in. As I headed back towards the race site I was excited for the anticipation of seeing my friend Erin! There she was standing on the side as I headed out for the next section of the run! I felt uplifted as I ran past her! As I headed back into the race site to start loop 2 I saw Erin again, which was great, and headed back out to Krumpendorf. This is when things started to fall apart. "No!" I thought..."just keep it together"! I started to feel nauseous and the heat was getting to me. I was "running" but it felt more like a shuffle. "Just keep moving forward" I would tell myself. Soon I knew that I was entering a delirious state. "This is not good". I stopped. I poured water over my head and forced a gel down. I also took some endurolytes. "You have to keep running", I said to myself. "You will not stop again. You will run even if you feel nauseous. You can't walk". Off I went. It was a terrible feeling, but I just kept repeating "keep moving forward" over and over again in my head. I took gels every 30 minutes or so and said to myself that I was "taking my medicine". I think I gagged with every gel, but they really did help to keep me moving!

As I reached the only 38 K mark I knew I would finish. Also, I knew I would reach my goal of sub 9:50! I saw a woman who was close behind at the turn around and I hoped that I would run fast enough to make it to the finish without being passed. I still felt sick, but I was able to "run". Finally, I passed the 41 K mark!!! With less than 1 Kilometer to go and with the roar of the crowds at the finish line just ahead, I got passed. "Oh well...she caught me." I said to myself...then, "No! I can’t let her pass me with less than 1 K to go! How can I let that happen?! I have to at least put up a fight!" SO, I sprinted as fast as I could. I passed her and ran for my life towards the finish ! I gave it everything I had. The finish line was a blur of screaming spectators. The finish line was just ahead and the other woman was right behind me. I crossed the line just 5 seconds ahead of her!!! 9:38:51! 6th Female overall! I reached my goal of sub 9:50! After such a grueling run I couldn't believe it was finally all over! I was so excited, relieved, in shock, exhausted...

I HIGHLY recommend this race…it goes down as one of my favorite races ever! Thanks to Zoot for keeping me comfortable and totally prepared in all areas of my training, throughout the race, and in recovery post-race (I have my recovery tights on as I write this). Good Luck to my fellow Zooters on all of their upcoming races! I look forward to reading about them!! Ciao! Danielle

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Race Updates

Hey fellow Zooters! Its been a while since I've posted an update..better late than never!

Ironman Kansas 70.3

I was really excited for this race as it was my first time racing on the Ordu, Zipp wheel set, Zoot gear and Zoot Ultra TT shoes. After a somewhat disappointing swim (poor sighting), I was off on the bike. The Ordu is FAST! I ended up putting down the fastest bike split in my AG (25-29) and it was also a bike split PR for me. The run went very well too and I was able to run myself into 3rd place in my AG and 15th OA with a time of 4:21, which is also a 70.3 PR!

Mighty Wolf Sprint

This is a small sprint distance race that my coach's team, Your Training Zone, all got together for a good showing. Everybody did very well and had good races. Its been quite a while since I last raced a sprint cause, well, they HURT! Nonetheless, it was fun to red-line it out there. The swim was short and in a man-made lake. I decided to try out my Zoot SpeedZoot, which was perfect for this swim! I had a really good bike split (again, the Ordu was smokin'!) and was able to follow that up with a run that Im very pleased with. I ended up taking 2nd place overall. I have more pics and the full race reports for both races on my blog at 3xRob.

It sounds like everyone on the team here is having excellent seasons. Keep it up! I have a pair of 70.3s left for the season and then the big show in Oct. Training is going well and Zoot, Orbea, Zipp, Gu and Fuel Belt are all providing excellent support!

Train hard.

I'm loving the new ride!

Hello all!
Hope training and racing have been going well!

Since being back in Boulder I have had the opportunity to train on my new bike. After a couple of rides I have gotten used to the shifters on the aero bars. In my opinion the Orbea Ordu ride is amazingly light and fast. It is so much fun to ride, and I know that fit is essential to an enjoyable ride as well, but I feel like I fit amazingly well to the Ordu. I will continue to train and do my first race in 2 weekends on it at the Vineman 70.3.

I want to thank all of the sponsors and Orbea and Zipp for the amazing new cycling set up! I will continue to keep everyone updated on my experiences.

Have a wonderful week and all the best in your upcoming competitions!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Two New ULTRA Team Members

Introducing Patrick Baldwin and Chuck Sloan!
Lets give a warm welcome to these two new ULTRA team members and make them feel at home with the Zoot family. Welcome aboard gentlemen! Patrick and Chuck will both be racing KONA and now flying the Zoot colors. Congrats Patrick and Congrats Chuck!

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Season So Far...

Hi Zooters,

First, I would like to congratulate you all on your performances and inspiring reports in your blogs.

Given that I live North of the border, our season starts late and finishes early, unless I find a way to extend it like to going to Florida and California in the Spring and going to more tropical places in the Fall.

This year I started my season off by participating in a charity race weekend called the Bytown 171. It is called that because the mileage for all of the riding and running during the weekend adds up to 171km. Bytown is the former name of Ottawa. This year the charity we raised the money for was the local food bank. The event consists of riding 100km and then running the Noridon 10k on Saturday and riding 40km and running the National Capital half-marathon on Sunday. The 10k was exciting because there was a world record attempt made in the men's race. The lead male was under the 8km world mark and then ran out of gas at the end. He ran 27:23! I ran 38:03 and was the third master for the 10k and 1:26.39 for the half and was 2nd overall and 1st master. By the time I ran the half on Sunday, my legs felt very "ironman-like" ,so it is a great training event. I put on my recovery tights after the race, which made for a quicker recovery.

On June 20th I ran a 5km all women's race known as Emilie's Run. It is named in honour of a former Canadian olympian who had run sub-15 for 5K. Sadly, she died in a car accident several years ago. The race atracts a very competitive field as there are a lot of cash prizes. I got a little excited just before the half way mark and started to push the pace in a large group I was running with. At 4km when it was time to respond to a push in the pace, my legs responded with a "no thanks, i think I'll pass on this one." I was happy with my time of 18:15 and as the third master, I was in the money as well!

On June 27th, I competed in the Tupper Lake Tinman (Half Ironman) in Tupper Lake, NY. Tupper Lake is under 3 hours from Ottawa. It is a good tune-up race for Lake Placid because it experiences similar weather and has similar terrain. Like a lot of tris I have done lately, the weatherman called for some potentially severe weather. During the drive to the race site, the heavens opened up. I wanted to turn around and go back to bed at that point, but once I got to the transition area, the weather had passed.

Tupper Lake is a wave start race so since I am in the 40-44 wave, I start at the back. While I was waiting for my wave start there was a bit of fish incident. A couple of ladies were pushing a dead fish along the start line. They were quite concerned about the presence of the dead fish. I decided to solve the problem for them: I picked up the fish and intended to throw it clear of the other competitors, but the funny thing about fish, and particularly dead fish, is that they are slippery suckers (although this was a perch). Before I intended to release the fish in the air, it slipped from my grasp and ended up hitting another competitor. Everyone, but the person the fish hit, laughed. I apologized, but boy did I want the race to start. Then it did and I was relieved!

The swim was fairly uneventful on the way out of the rectangle-shaped course. I had to do a big of dodging of bodies on the way back in, but I was really pleased with my swim and my new Zoot Zenith wetsuit. My split time was 26:33.

Not too far into the ride, the rain started to come down hard. The ride to the turn around on this out-and-back, hilly course, seemed to be long.I was looking forward to the net-downhill on the way back. The Orbea seems to be dialled in now and I feel very comfortable on it. My ride time was 2:38.19.

The rain cleared for the run, thankfully. This course features some big hills in the first part of the run and some single-track trails in the second part of it. I felt pretty good at the start of the run. I kept waiting for my legs to get going a bit more as the race progressed, but they seemed happy to stay at the pace they were going despite trying to push them to go harder. I finished in 4:40.39 which was a PB by 7 minutes and not bad for a tune-up race for Lake Placid. I was also very happy to finish 2nd overall and 1st in my Age Group.

On July 4th, I raced in the 27th Mike Collingwood Memorial Race in Gatineau Parc, QC. This triathlon is tied with one other as Eastern Ontario as the longest running, without break, trialthon in Canada. The swim is in Meech Lake and the ride and run is along the parkway in Gatineau Park ("the Gats") which is know for its somewhat steep climbs and descents (oh my favourite...).

Race morning was cold, wet and windy. Nice. The water was warmer than the air. This seems to be a bit of trend in the race reports I have read this year. The first 500m of the 1200m swim was like slamming my head into a wall repeatively. I was happy with my Zenith-assisted swim though. I swam the course in 16:08 which included the first transition of removing your wetsuit(the Zenith comes off nicely) and putting on shoes.

The bike portion includes a run up a 300m hill and around a parking lot before getting on your bike. You aren't on your bike long before you start a steep climb up the Fortune Parkway. I was working really hard but getting passed by all sorts of guys. A couple of them went by me and I decided to work harder to keep them in sight. I noticed I was actually making some ground on my friend Ryan who is a very good rider. Near the top I caught him and said, "I just have to do this (pass you) in one race...." This may have hurt me later, but it gave me some bragging rights at the end of the day. I also saw some wild life including a doe and her baby at the top of a climb. I finished the bike course a minute or so faster than last year so I was happy with that result.

As I was leaving the third transition on the run, I noticed another woman coming in. She was a sprint specialist, so I had to run hard. Ultimately, my run was a bit slower than past years, but it was good enough to win the race so I had to be happy with that. I also received a lot of nice compliments on my Zoot Team tri top and I received a lot of questions about the Ordu.

Next up for me is another short training visit to Lake Placid on July 10th and a "training" race (a half ironman) race on July 12th. The descent on the first part of Keen is now paved as is the out-and-back from the first bridge and well towards the turn around. The road around Mirror Lake was also paved in spots. the new pavement will make for a faster course.

The main event for me is Ironman Lake Placid on July 26th. I am getting close to the point where I am looking forward to doing it.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Race Day. Live and learn. Buffalo Springs 70.3

This past weekend I did the Buffalo Springs 70.3. It was my first 1/2 since last July and it didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped, that is for sure.

Though I had confidence in my swim and bike, I knew the run would be a challenge just coming back from injury. I however trusted my coach, myself, and my training. As every morning, I took my First Endurance Multi V and Optygen tablets and had some b-fast, a bit nervous it's always difficult to eat, but so important with a long day of racing ahead. Luckily for all of us racers, well the ones who did not train in humidity and extreme heat prior to the race, a storm had graced us that night and the cool breeze (okay, serious wind) was out in full force. As the line of car lights led to the parking lot early in the morning, I had a few prerace nerves, but I was ecstatic to be preparing for my race, the first big one of the season.

As I prepared my bike with shoes and bento box, containing GU gels and Chomps along with a First Endurance bar and 2 water bottles, then my Zoot shoes and visor and race belt I felt confident about the events ahead. Although I had been so excited, actually overwhelmingly excited to receive my Orbea and Zipp wheels the week prior to my race, my friends and coach had advised me not to ride it just yet. I have never ridden a TT bike and with the shifters on the aero bars I was not comfortable just yet. So taking advice from experienced and successful athletes and friends, I brought my ITU set up Litespeed, which I had just changed the broken seat post on. I also had my Suunto watch rearing and ready to keep tabs on my efforts. As I pulled on my Zoot speedsuit and cap/goggles, smeared on a bit of sunscreen, I headed down to the water.

At 6:30am the women were welcomed to the water after the men's start and within 2 minutes we were off. I felt confident and strong. There was someone right next to me swimming arm for arm, which was a bit annoying at first. After being a swimmer and having an entire lane to yourself, this whole people in your space, and on top of you, stroking underneath of you is a bit of a mental challenge. I remember wanting to to hit them and be like, dammit get out of my space. But then as I settled into my own rhythm all was well. After the first and then second turn buoy, I picked up the pace for a bit and dropped the person in my space anyhow. I was swimming on my own, as I had let the person in front of me make to large of a gap to reconnect. I tried to focus on my technique as I got tired (everyone said this swim seemed long), haha I was feeling that a bit by the end. After swimming around a few men, and then turning around the last triangular yellow buoy I saw the shore in site and wanted to finish strong as well as mentally prepare for the transition and bike. As I came out of the water to the wonderful help of volunteers (amazing at the race, southern hospitality for sure) I reached for my speedsuit zipper and yanked off my goggles and cap. I was tired but had a good T1 and velcroed my shoes as I headed to the first hill right out of T1. Then all of the character building began.

Excitement #1.
As I reached the top of the hill, give or take 800M the main official came next to me on his motorbike and said, "your race # fell of at the bottom of the hill, if you don't want a penalty you have to go back down and get it." Damn that hurt. I looked down, and sure enough. I wasn't sure the time of the penalty or how far down my belt was, but I conceded to go back down for the belt. My heart was angrily racing and it was all the way back down. The strap had come out of the plastic and I couldn't buckle it so I shoved it in my race top and turned around. My HR was sky hi when I reached the top of the hill again, and a few women had passed me who were behind me on the swim. I heard a guy on the sideline say, "you're all good now, get back in it." It was demoralizing however, to have those women pass and be dead from the 2nd hill climb. After a few miles and some positive self talk however, I was not struggling as bad and beginning to calm back down and get into my zone. A few hills came and went and I was on the road again.

Excitement #2.
Sitting back into my saddle from hill 2 I felt something was off. After a bumpy downhill and another slight climb I realized that the bolts in my seat had not been, what I found out later, tightened properly and my seat was loose. Sliding side to side and up/down. Immediate panic and frustration set in. Although I suppose I could have stopped and tried to fix it, I proceeded on. I rode the entire 56miles with a moving saddle. I kept faith that it would not fall of entirely be4 the end. But there were some climbs that I was very unsure. As well, due to preexisting low back issues, this new fit technique, the floating seat, was not working for my back. It was pretty much excruciating. But my seat stayed on and I have the motto, Never Give Up, Never Quit. I knew that I was thankful just to be back out there racing. I also watched someone go by on a bicycle that was pedaled with their hands. That made my thoughts stop in their tracks. Wow, I have so much to be thankful for. This really sucks, my equipment/ my assemblage of my equipment has let me down, but I can do this, I have much to be thankful for. Do the best you can with what you have and finish as well as you can on this particular day with these particular circumstances.

Boy the transition could not have come soon enough. I dismounted my bike, with a seat pointing to the side as opposed to the front, haha, good times. I pulled on my Zoot visor and shoes, grabbed my First Endurance liquid shot and was off. As I pulled my race belt off of my shoulder and tied it in a knot around my waste I ran through the transition area and on to the race course. As I mentioned before, I had just started running 5 weeks prior coming off an injury. I had one 1:30 under my belt in the last 8 months. I knew this was going to be an interesting challenge but I'm always up for a good one of those. After a less than ideal bike I though I was going to nail, I relied on my heart and mind to keep me moving. All was pretty quiet out on the course other than when an age grouper ran past and said in an Aussy accent, how you feeling? I recognized the stars on his back. He has been training in Boulder for the last several weeks. He looked to be feeling about as stellar as I. But as we ran the next few miles together, it was nice to have a partner in the suffering. I shuffled up the last hill, and took in some coke. As I turned into the park for the final 2 miles I had to remember why I was here. I am passionate about triathlon and I have a love for this sport and the challenge more than anything else in my life right now. This is why I made a commitment to push toward my limits and challenge my dreams. For a second as I rounded the corner and saw the finish line a 1/2 mile away I wanted to run off course. I didn't really want anyone to see me finish almost 40minutes off my race time from previous 70.3 I had done. I felt that I would be letting down myself, my sponsors, my coach and all of those who have been there on this journey. Then I put my ego aside, I know the world doesn't revolve around me and most would just cheer for another finisher. I also knew that those who truly love and support me are here for the entire journey, the ups and downs. I ran across the finish line, disappointed, never the less on this day giving my best effort under the circumstances.

I have so much to learn, I have so far to go. My passion is deeply rooted in my soul and I cannot wait to continue to challenge myself and take advantage of the next opportunity I have to race. It will be on a brand new Orbea TT bike, with Zipp 808 wheels and everything I have learned I'll take with me.

I am so thankful to all of my sponsors for their commitment to the sport and to myself. I am also thankful for the race organizers and director and volunteers for their tireless dedication and enthusiasm. Thanks to my family and friends and coach Susan! I'll be back out to race Vineman July 19th and I cannot wait to Get After It!

Thanks for being a part of this journey! Live it up and follow your passion!


Freezing Lakes and Training!

Swimming in 54 degree temperatures is a new development for me. Coming from Hawaii, I have experience in warm open water racing conditions, but I traded the swells for cold water when I decided to race 2 miles in Idaho a few weekends ago.

I wore the 2009 Zenith and I was treated to a very comfortable swim, as comfortable as I could be in 54 degree water. The Zenith is very fast! The 2 miles went by in about 39 minutes and I did not have any problems staying warm. A small crowd competed in the race, I can only imagine why, maybe the temperatures scared them away. I ended up winning the event by about 5 minutes and I look forward to defending next year. I hope more people come to do it because it was a very scenic swim.

I had some very tasty GU Chomps before the race, the Strawberry kind, and the energy from them kept my spirits up during my cold journey through the lake. I am savoring my Strawberry GU Chomps because if I don't control the urge to eat them during my training rides, I'll run out of a box in a week!

On another note, training is going very well. I ran into some shin splints a few weeks ago, but icing and Alcis have made the pain go away! I've enjoyed training with my Suunto t6c, especially since I can keep track of my heart rate, allowing me to dose my efforts during my rides and runs. I get excited when the altitude display reaches over 3000 feet on some of my rides because I've never trained at altitude and a nice 1 hour climb up to Mt. Spokane gets me up higher than I've ever been before.

Focusing on ITU events, I spend a lot of time on my road bike, the Orbea Orca, but I also do some non-draft Olympic events, which I thoroughly enjoy. It's nice to throw on a Zipp wheel set, usually the 999 set, and go screaming fast on the Orbea Ordu. It's very light for a TT bike, but it's also stiff, which I love. I'll be doing my first non-draft race 3 weeks from now in Chelan, Washington and am looking forward to riding fast!

I'm preparing for my next ITU event in San Francisco, the Treasure Island Triathlon, on July 11th. It should be a delightful race. I am almost fully recovered from my crash a month ago and look forward to racing fast.

Thank you to all of the sponsors for the great support! Good luck to everyone in your up and coming races!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Report

Ironman Coeur d'Alene was a bittersweet day. My boyfriend, Chuck (many of you met him at camp in April and he is soon to be a Zooter) and I lost a close friend two weeks before the race. On June 9, 2009, a drunk driver killed two cyclists, Matt Edmonds and Christa Voss, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. One of the cyclists killed, Matt Edmonds, was a close friend of ours and the boyfriend of Chuck's sister. Christa, the other victim, was also a friend. Both were talented athletes and wonderful people. The Oklahoma cycling community and multisport community really came together during this tragic time. As a show of support, the community contributed to purchase Carmody, Chuck's sister, a plane ticket to travel with us to Idaho for the Ironman.

The days before arriving in Coeur d'Alene were emotionally and physically exhausting for us all. The funeral services for Matt and Christa were so incredibly heart breaking. Arriving in Coeur d'Alene on Thursday offered a breath of fresh air-it offered some respite from the immediacy of the tragedy and loss and we were able to get away from the suffocating Oklahoma summer heat and humidity. Friday and Saturday seemed to rush by and suddenly it was race morning. Ironman Coeur d'Alene had become an afterthought and it was not until the gun went off on race morning that I wrapped my mind around the task of doing an Ironman.

An Ironman is never pretty and never easy. Ironman Coeur d'Alene was no different. I struggled on the swim--having one of my slowest Ironman swims ever. The water was choppy and cold. I am not sure if I went off track or just swam slow--either way--I came out of the water with a lot of time to make up.

Prior to Ironman Coeur d'Alene, I had only ridden my bike on a road one time since Matt and Christa were killed. I was thankful for the fact that the Ironman ride was on closed roads with no worry about traffic or drunk drivers. I usually ride with power--holding specific watts on the flats/hills. But, from the get go, my powertap never worked. I was riding without benefit of time, distance, speed or power readouts. I did have my heart rate monitor so I just rode by heart rate and perceived effort. Haley Cooper had suggested that we drive the course but we never found the time to drive the course. Big mistake! It was a tough bike and I was glad to get off my bike and start the run.

The run was the coldest Ironman run I have ever done. I love racing in the heat---the hotter the better for me. The last hour of the run was in the rain which made things even colder. I was heading out for my second loop around the lake when I got to see Chuck heading to the finish! He had the biggest smile I have ever seen on his face! Seeing him finishing re-energized me and the last 10 miles really went by in a blur of rain and emotions. Chuck finished in 9:35 and was 6th in his age group (30-34). It was his first Ironman and he got a Kona slot. I finished an hour and a half later in 10:59--good enough for 4th in my age group (30-34) and a Kona slot.

The success of the day and our Kona qualifications were a bright spot in a time of saddness. We can get so caught up in our day to day lives that we forget to cherish what is truly important. Every day is a gift and an opportunity to give and receive love. In memory of Matt and Christa--RIDE ON. We miss you and love you.

Jennifer Johnson