Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ITU LD World Championships Down Under!

Hi all! Above is the website link for the race results from Sunday's ITU Long Distance World Championships here in Perth.

I just wanted to give a brief synopses of the race. It was a pretty brutal day, for everyone. Very choppy 3km swim, we were all pretty spread out. Thanks goodness for all the years I have put in in the water. I got tossed around a bit but fought the entire way and survived coming out of the water 5th. With all of the jelly fish and slim in the river I came out actually not in bad shape. Transitions were good. The bike felt very solid. It was the best bike I have had in a long time, and it finally felt like everything came together. I felt like I was ridding my bike as opposed to it ridding me. My Orbea felt very solid and as always I feel very fortunate to be on it and not just smoking fast, but looking smoking hot out there as well! All of the 4, 20km loops were very consistent. Again, the bike was very windy. It was an X shape of 4 laps. About the first 4km was great wind at the back, then a 4km directly in your face, then a pretty good cross wind. So glad I went with my trust Zipp 404 wheels as opposed to using my new Zipp 808's that I'm not yet that comfortable with, I believe it would have been nerve racing out there had I. Though it was hot and dry, my nutrition went well. I had 3 water bottles and about 1/2 of my electrolyte drink, along with 4 GU's (2 Chocolate and 2 Latte). Coming onto the run I knew that my legs and body were tired and it was very, very hot. But my stomach felt well and I gave it my all and laid it all out there. It was again consistent in terms of the 4 laps. Running is my weakest link and it has a ways to go, this is exciting, but also frustrating as 2 or 3 girls passed me. But I am remaining consistent and patient, I know over the next year or so it will come along. As my friend, and the male champion on the day shared with me, it is all about the patience. "Decide what you want, then make the sacrifices to make it happen." Thanks TO and congrats!

All and all I'm really happy with the day. 10th overall, at my first World Championships race, and the first female American! Yeah!

Thank you so much to all of my family and friends and coach for your incredible support and making this possible! Thanks as well to my sponsors for their continued support and incredible products and equipment. First Endurance, Zoot/Zoot Ultra Team, Fuel Belt, GU, Suunto, Orbea, Zipp, ALCiS, Somerset Farms and USAT.

A proud day to be an American!

Many hugs! I'm off to enjoy this country! I'll explore Perth, going to Rottness Island today and then over to Brisbane. I may actually do a triathlon in Noosa next Sunday! Or just enjon the town and have a few days off b4 hitting the winter training!

Chat soon and all of the best with the rest of your seasons!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Augusta 70.3: Sprint Finish?!

Augusta was a bit of a 'last minute' race. I knew when I did not finish Canada that I would want to do something else. Ironman Wisconsin was just too soon, and the timing for this seemed pretty perfect. The bonus was that Derick's parents live in Greenwood, SC, only 1 hour from Augusta, so I could wrap a visit in with them along with doing a 70.3 race. Always a plus! I flew in on Friday, and had a very smooth day of travel. I arrived to Augusta early afternoon, got my little Kia Rio rental car (note: bike boxes DO fit into the back seat of tiny cars!) and headed to my hotel. The rest of the day really consisted of nothing more than building my bike and laying around my hotel room. It was awesome. I had dinner with some friends at Nacho Mama, a great little mexican place in downtown, enjoying a tasty margarita to wash it down with.

Saturday I awoke to some gloomy, rainy weather, so I opted to do a short run then eat breakfast. It cleared up by about 10, so I headed out on my bike for 20-30 minutes just to loosen up the legs and make sure the bike was in working order. All felt great. I then found myself with about 6 hours to spare! Lovely! I again proceeded to lounge in the room for awhile. Watched TV, computed, snacked for lunch. I went to the pro meeting at 4:00, but opted to not rack my bike; we had an 'option' to do this. There were thunderstorms predicted overnight, which hit us VERY hard, so I am very glad I kept the Orbea safe in my room until race morning. I had dinner with Fred and Donna (Derick's parents) at Macaroni Grill (salmon, orzo, and a Peroni... same meal I had before Redman in 2007! superstitious? maybe...) and was back in the room by 7:00 or so. Feeling very relaxed and excited to race!

Sunday morning I woke pretty easily and headed to transition area VERY early
. Transporting myself, I wanted to be safe with my time. I frequently have a 'transporter', that being my parents, Derick, or a friend not racing. I had to be responsible for ME! Oh so stressful. But, I made it there by 5:30 or so and got everything set up. We had a 1-mile walk or shuttle to the swim start. I waited for the shuttle at about 6:30 but it was not coming, so I opted to walk the 1-mile. BAREFOOT! I had my swim gear with me and nothing else (goggles, cap, and Zoot speedsuit) so away I went walking, in the dark, towards the start, some on dirt, some on rocks. I used to like to walk barefoot as a child; I believed it made me 'tough'. I guess I have not changed much since then.

The start was quite a scene! There was some jazz music playing, and it was very lit up and had a 'festive' feeling. They had a large dock jutting out into the Savannah River for us to start on, and the pros had a 'dive start' for the swim. How unique! When we wandered down, I tried to position myself right next to Pip Taylor and Laura Bennett, as I knew they would be the 2 fastest swimmers. We were off promptly 4 min after the men. We had a favorable current, so all you had to do was keep up with it! I was able to stay with them for a few minutes, then they gapped me a bit. I exited the swim in a comfortable 3rd place, just 20 seconds behind Laura, which pleased me considering she is an ITU specialist. Onto the bike...

I have been on a new Orbea Ordu for only 2 weeks, and I was excited to try this out in a race. I felt very strong from the start, but I did make a mistake which I knew going into it; I did not take enough gels with me. I had a Gu flask filled with 4 gels, and I had one stashed in a pocket. This is only 500 calories, and I can often take up to 700 on the bike. Stupid mistake. But, thankfully the aid stations had PowerGels, so I grabbed 2 of them about halfway through and was good to go. I held my position for awhile, but got passed by 2 women on the bike. I tried to keep them in sight, but for the majority of this 56 miles, we were all quite spread out. The course was deceivingly a bit tough, as it was not 'hilly' but not 'flat' and the wind picked up as we progressed. I really enjoyed it. There were quite a few false flats, which entailed a lot of gradual uphill work. On the fast sections, I got as low and little as possible and tried to conserve. By the time we headed back towards transition, I was (as usual) READY to get off the bike! But, the Orbea (and my legs) served me well, as I was right in the mix (5th place) coming off the bike.

I flew through T2 and was off on the run. They had a great transition area, with blue carpeting over much of it for us to run on. I came out feeling very strong, and I could see women in sight right off the bat. Yay! I had my 4 gels in hand and was ready to try to run some people down. My legs felt quite strong, but I try not to get too wrapped up in this the first mile or so...I just try to find a steady rhythm. One key thing in races is to keep your composure. (this lesson I'll learn fully in a few more miles). I plugged along the streets of downtown Augusta, which were lined with spectators; it was awesome! Great job to the crew at Premier Events Management on this run course. We did 2 loops whereby the fans could see us multiple times. By mile 6, I had moved into 3rd place. I saw Derick's father Fred at this point, which was nice to hear his encouragement. By about mile 8 or 9, I finally closed the gap on Laura Bennett. It seemed I was able to pass her feeling strong, but she is one tough girl and as I looked back, she was sticking right to me! I joked to her about 'loving sprint finishes' (but in my mind was like 'shit, she does those all the time!'). She is an awesome person and great competitor. We ran shoulder to shoulder for a few miles, which started to become rather painful. At mile 12, a small group cheered loudly for me. I have to admit, I got excited and surged. I believed that I had a 1-mile 'sprint' in me, and this was a not-so-smart move. At about mile 12.5, Laura passed me back and I thought 'damn...I went too early'. I did not give up, but by the time we turned the last corner, about 100 yds from the finish, she had a good gap on me and I was pretty waxed. I ran into the wonderful finish area, greeted by so many spectators, and despite being 6 seconds too slow today, I have to say I was one happy camper.

Final thoughts? I noticed that the week of the event, a few 'big names' popped onto the list. I will not say this makes me more nervous, but it makes me realize that I will have to up my game to really be a top contender. In all honesty, I love it. I love knowing that there are some bad-ass women stepping up to the start line, and it will take a great performance to be at the top that day. I fully believe that on any day, anyone is beatable. I went into this event with my game face on, and I think the bad luck in Canada contributed to some added fire in my belly. And while the finish is awesome, and the PR is a huge accomplishment, there is nothing better than walking away knowing that I am finally seeing results from the years of work I have put in. Today, finally, I found myself in CONTENTION off of the bike. A strong run split put me in the mix for first... not the frequent 4th or 5th, due to a weak bike. I have to give a huge thanks to the other women out there racing, notably to Laura, for being a damn tough competitor who never gave up; and also good friend Desiree, as I am always trying hard to keep her behind me on the bike! We have to appreciate our competition, because if not for them, we would not have the motivation to constantly be upping our own game.

Take home lesson... TAKE WHAT THE DAY GIVES YOU and enjoy every minute. Those spectacular days of racing are sometimes few and far between, so take them, run with them and let them propel you forward. Oh, and, learn some strategy for a sprint finish; just in case you are in my position. Sit on their heels and wait for them to make a move! Don't get too anxious, like I did!

-Kelly Williamson-

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Catching up

Hi everyone! I’ve been meaning to write a season update ever since July now. I’m terrible at sitting down at the computer... Anyway, now that my season is over I have much more free time. This season flew by, as it always does…My last race of the year was Augusta 70.3 which was a new 70.3 this year. I was a little hesitant to do a first year race but it fit nicely into my schedule so I decided just to go for it. While I was pretty disappointed with the town of Augusta, I was pleasantly surprised with the race itself. Everything seemed pretty organized and I loved the race course. The swim in the Savannah River was fast due to a strong current and I actually managed to stay with the main pack (a huge accomplishment for me!) despite getting constantly tangled in weeds. At least I didn’t see any alligators (there were rumors of alligators in the river)! The bike course had rolling hills and was pretty windy but I felt great and pulled off a new PR (thanks Orbea!). The wheels came off after that thanks to some awful quad cramps and my run turned into a survival just to finish. The run would have been awesome. It was a 2 loop run course up and down the main street of Augusta and was lined with spectators. Had I been feeling good, I would have had plenty of encouragement and would have loved the motivation and cheers along the way. However, I felt too awful to care at that point and just wanted the race to end. I did finish, pretty frustrated with my run, especially since I had such a good swim and bike. I am encouraged by the progress I made this year even though I left most of my races pretty disappointed. Lots of improvements happened all around and hopefully next year I will be able to pull it all together. I can’t believe I am mostly done racing for the year except for maybe a few small local tri’s and road races. For the first time ever I can actually say I wish I was still racing. I’m sure once the weather gets colder though I’ll be happy to be done :) Good luck to everyone still racing this year and a big congrats to Kelly on her 2nd place at Augusta!!! -Heather

Friday, October 2, 2009

Season Update #2...

Hey Zooter! First of all a huge congrats to my fellow team mates and their awesome performance's this year. A special shout out to Kim and Megumi for their conquest at Worlds. Way to go representing the "older" members of the team, like me. :) Summer is a short off season from racing here in Arizona due to the heat but training continued. Last weekend I had a solid Olympic effort at the Nathans Triathlon in Tempe, AZ., and placed 5th overall with my first 59min bike split thanks to Orbea. :) Next up is IMAZ in Novemeber and a ticket back to the Big Island for 2010.

Good luck to all ZOOT team mates in Kona next weekend!