Monday, December 29, 2008

Going Out With a Bang in 2008!

Much thanks to my friend Wess for agreeing to do a 1/2 marathon with me only 2 days after Christmas!

A couple of weeks ago, I got the crazy idea to compete in a ½ marathon to end 2008 after only 3 weeks of training coming off a season-ending break. To my surprise, my coach ok’ed the idea to see where my fitness was at at this point and it was “game on” for the Florida Half Marathon in Clermont, Florida.

I had no idea what to expect for the turnout with the race being only 2 days after Christmas and was pleasantly surprised that there were enough entrants that I was able to run with someone throughout the race. I’d planned on starting out conservatively at 6:30’s and building as the race went on, but was unable to stick to that plan because of the way the course was designed. The entire course was rolling hills (which Clermont has become famous for) and the majority of the downhill section came at the front end of the race. I hit halfway at a little over 40 minutes, but knew what I’d be up against coming back on the out and back course. I hit the 10 mile mark at 1:05:20 and then started the major uphill section of the course. Needless to say, it took me almost 23 minutes to run/jog/power walk the last 5k of the race and I finished in 1:28:10. I finished as the first overall female and it was about a 15 minute drop from the last time I ran a ½ my senior year of high school!

Although this was a tough course, I enjoyed every minute of it. The only running I’d done outside the past couple of weeks had been the sprinting from my car to the inside of the gym or wherever else I was going in Michigan/Illinois while I was up north visiting family for the holidays… I will take 80 degrees and humidity over -9 + wind any day!!! Hope everyone is having a great holiday season!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In Loving Memory of Harris Armstrong

I know most posts on my blog usually pertain to triathlon or some other aspect of my life but this is a special case. This is one story I feel I had to share with the rest of the world. To give some background information, I never actually met Harris Armstrong. However, I feel connected to him just the same.

His grandmother, a former student of my grandfather and friend of my family, contacted me my sophomore year of college at Florida State University after learning that I lived in Tallahassee. The first time I arranged to meet her, she baked me homemade chocolate chip cookies, a lasagna dish (my favorite), and brought me a gift bag of stationery and other assorted goodies. She recounted to me stories of how much my grandfather was loved as a professor and how much she adored my entire family. Also, when she found out that I was a student-athlete, she shared with me how much her grandson (Harris) loved athletics and what a great golfer he was becoming at such a young age. She gave me her contact information in case I was ever in a bind or just needed someone to talk to and became like a second mother to me in Tallahassee, always dropping by to bring me baked goods and check and see that I was doing ok with school and life in general.

Her grandson, Harris Armstrong, passed away last week after more than a year-long battle with cancer in his spinal cord. But by no means was his life wasted. It can be argued that he accomplished just as much in his 12 short years on this earth as some do in an entire lifetime. When he was only in 5th grade, he qualified to be on the high school golf team. Further, he was twice a runner-up in the Golf Channel's Drive, Chip and Putt National Championship.

But his athletic accomplishments or the fact that he met some of golf’s all-time greats along his journey (Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus) is not what needs to be highlighted here. Rather, the way he represented himself both as a person and an athlete. Harris exuded qualities that represent the essence of any sport: respect, character, sportsmanship, camaraderie with competitors, and most importantly, a genuine love for the game. And, he had an unwavering faith. When he first discovered that he had cancer, he did not stress- instead he prayed. Harris had a strong faith in God and took a particular liking to Romans 12:12. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. It was Harris' faith that kept him strong until the end.

I can only hope that I am able to impact as many people in my lifetime as this little ray of light did in only 12 years. I send my deepest condolences to the Armstrong family in this time of grieving. The memory of Harris will always be in our hearts.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Let it SNOW!

I created a new sport today. Yes, you read that right. You may have heard of walking, power-walking, even snowshoeing, but I bet you’ve never heard of power-sloshing. You might be wondering what exactly power-sloshing is? Power-sloshing is what I was doing today when I was supposed to be running. However, because of the 2 feet of snow on the ground, I ended up running for about 15 seconds or so, hurdling a pile of snow that hadn’t been shoveled (and was in my way), and occasionally sloshing my way through some ice/snow bits on the road/sidewalk. I repeated this process for about an hour and decided when I got back that the effort put forth was more equivalent to a marathon than that of an hour training run. So, if you’re looking for a holiday weight-loss plan, forget Jenny Craig, South Beach Diet, and all of the other dieting plans. Just go power-sloshing!

After a couple of weeks off to recharge my batteries, I’m starting to get back into the swing of things with regards to training. I will be building up my volume for the next couple of weeks so that I will have a good aerobic base built when the “killer” workouts start back up. I can’t wait! :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Am the Luckiest

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I pray that wherever you are that you are able to spend some quality time with friends or family. This year, I have a lot to be thankful for (too much to tell you in this blog). A few things I am thankful for include:

-Supportive family and friends- Both in Colorado and on the other side of the country... you guys mean the world to me!

-Being injury free (besides a few minor incidents) this past year.

-2000 Olympics- The first year that triathlon was contested as an Olympic sport. Yea!

-Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked Ice Cream- For helping me graduate college this past Spring!

And most importantly, you, the readers of my blog! Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season!

Gobble gobble,


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

San Francisco ITU Race

The race this past weekend signaled the end of the season for most and the last time I will race for almost half a year. It's hard for me to explain to you how weird it will be for me to spend that much time away from racing after constantly switching from cross country to track and back again for the past 4 years. It’s only been 3 days since the race in California and I am already getting antsy to compete again!

The race did not go as planned and definitely was not the way I wanted to end my season. In a year where I’ve seen so much progression in my training, I was never able to put all 3 disciplines together to have an amazing race. I guess Rome wasn’t built in a day…

I pretty much dug my own grave in this race early on after a disastrous 1st transition. As I approached my bike and proceeded to rip my wetsuit off my body (the water was 56 degrees), the suit got caught on my timing chip and I struggled to get it off. When I eventually did, I had lost almost a minute to my competitors who had since exited transition with their bikes and were nowhere to be seen. I ended up riding the bike portion of the race by myself and came onto the run with quite a sizeable gap to make up. I was able to make up a couple minutes on some competitors, but at that point, the gap was so wide it didn’t matter. I ended up in 13th place.

This is a disappointing end to a season in which I only raced 4 pro races, but I know that it will only add fuel to the fire for next year. Now, it’s time for a much needed break. I haven’t had more than one day completely off in over a year because of indoor/outdoor track and triathlon season so I am ready for some serious rest and relaxation. Once again, thanks to all my supporters! I wouldn’t be where I am today without you all! I sincerely hope that you all will join me next year when I “put it on the line in 2009.”

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Seminole XC ladies, back to back ACC Champs! Go Noles!

I can’t believe that this is the penultimate week of my triathlon season! Where does the time go?! After next Saturday’s race at Treasure Island (San Francisco), triathlon season 2008 will be completely finished.

Last year, the race was turned into a duathlon after an oil ship had trouble navigating in the fog and crashed into the San Francisco Bay Bridge, pouring over 50,000 gallons of oil into the same water the triathletes were supposed to swim in the following day. However, I did not participate in this race last year as I was still back at college running cross country…

Since this is the end of the year, I have been concentrating on getting the little things right for my last race and the races to come next year. A big part of triathlon is technique, especially in the swimming and running portions of the race. Quite honestly, technique is something that I’ve always struggled with…but this year I want to make the effort get it right. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks working with running coach Bobby McGee on my form. The guy is pretty much a walking book of knowledge and has taught me so many helpful new drills (surprising that I didn’t know these being a college runner) to correct my running form. Thank you Bobby! Also, I have been running around town inside a tire (trust me, although I look like a nerd, there is a reason for this!) As for swimming, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks getting some yardage in with a snorkel. This helps because I am able to concentrate on my arm position in the water without worrying about the breathing aspect of the stroke.

In addition to the technical aspects of the sport, I decided that it was time to take my bike in for a tune up. I regularly clean my bike so I don’t feel the need to take it into the shop that often. But, the other day when I noticed the chain clicking and screeching in almost every gear in the big ring and realized you could probably hear me coming from a mile away, I decided it was due time to take it into the bike shop. And it was a good thing I did. Although my frame was nice and clean, the mechanic said that I’d stretched out my chain so much that it was certain to snap sometime in the near future. Scary! So, 80 bucks and a new chain later, I am ready to go for the race next weekend.

On a side note, I’d like to congratulate the Seminole ladies on their 2008 ACC Championship!! This is the 2nd year in a row the Seminoles have won and I am one proud cross country alum! At Florida State, it is a tradition that the flame on the Unconquered Statue on campus is lit for an entire night (sunset to sunrise) to commemorate any kind of championship (conference, regional, national). So, if you are in the Tallahassee area sometime next week, look for the flame!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!
Q: What do birds give out on Halloween night?
A: Tweets!
Hope everyone has a spook-tacular day! :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Training Adventures

As far back as I can remember, it's been ingrained in my head that if I am driving and I see deer, DO NOT swerve...always hit the deer. So, when I was biking down a hill the other day at around 40mph and saw a handful of deer in my way once I rounded the corner, my first instinct was to hit the deer. Luckily, at the last split second I was able to override my logic and somehow swerve in between about 4 deer to about some serious bike handling skills practice! This actually might come in handy as my last race of the season will be very technical on the bike.

This has not been my only encounter with the wildlife of Boulder. Last Sunday, on the eve of Colorado's first snowfall of the season, the temperature was hovering around 35 degrees and was accompanied by a light drizzle. Because it had rained the day before, everyone (for the most part) was indoors. But not me. I am ok with biking inside on a trainer but treadmills are a different story. I cannot stand them and avoid them at any cost. Even on days when school was canceled because a hurricane was coming, you would most likely still find me on outside in the rain sloshing around before you would find me at the gym on a treadmill. So, I headed out on my 1.5 hour run from my house and ran to the dirt loop that is just across the street. It didn't take long to figure out that I was the only one out there. I didn't hear dogs barking, footsteps, anything. After I'd already done the 6 mile loop once and was on lap #2, something moving caught my attention in the distance, about 200 meters away. A deer perhaps? Nope. A mountain lion. I freaked out and I sprinted as fast as I could the other direction until I came out to the sidewalk near my house. I checked behind me and luckily it was nowhere to be seen. After telling my story to a bunch of my friends and family, I'm told that running away is the worst thing you can possibly do when in the presence of a mountain lion because the lion may mistake you for a deer. I guess I'm lucky this one was smart enough to know that deer aren't pink. :)

The other big news is that in addition to training, I am working 3 part-time jobs right now...but I'll save details on that for another post. Until then, train hard and stay warm!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fotografias for Fall

I went on an "easy" hike up through the town of Jamestown with my roommate and her dog, Leon

It was also a good excuse to break in my Mizuno running kicks

A bubbling brook we spotted along the way!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Homeless No More!

Ok, so maybe I am exaggerating a little but yeah, as the title says, I finally have a place of my own. The best part is that I will be helping the worldwide effort to go green! How so you may ask? Well, there are running trails, the NCAR hill(to bike up), a gym and a grocery store all within walking distance which means I will be able to save on gas and walk instead. It's so pretty here right now, the leaves are already starting to change colors! I guess you could say that fall has fallen :)
P.S. Since this is my blog and I can plug whomever I please... if you're looking to read some interesting articles on the college cross country scene, copy and paste this address:
That's all for now!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nationals Recap

I contemplated not writing this post at all. But then I decided that you can't make something go away by pretending it never happened. Further, I've always believed that any athlete who has a blog should not just skip over their failures and only write about their successes. So here goes probably the shortest race recap I will ever write...

This past weekend, the elite and age group nationals took place in Portland, Oregon with the age groupers taking the morning shift and the elite women and men starting in the afternoon. With a noon start time, I was able to sleep in until 8 (which as I've mentioned before is really sleeping in in the triathlon world) and take my time before rolling out of my hotel at 9:30.

The women's race had a noon start time, and since this was an ITU race, we were able to pick our spots to start on the pontoon. Since I haven't competed in an ITU race in over a year (Kelowna 07 was my last one), I had one of the higher numbers and was one of the last to pick my spot. I ended up choosing the slot between Julie Ertel(2008 Olympian) and Sarah Groff. I knew I'd have to get off to a quick/clean start in order to not get beat up and was pleasantly surprised when I was able to jump on Julie Ertel's feet after the start and hang on them for a couple hundred meters before she kicked it into another gear. For the rest of the swim, I really had no idea where I was in the pack of 15 girls. So, I hammered the rest of the swim, fearing that I might be at the back of the pack. When I exited the water, I glanced back for a quick second and was super excited to see about half of the pack still coming around the last buoy.

So, I sprinted into transition and had a good T1 before I headed out on the bike, knowing that I would most likely have a pack to work with after a lap or so on the bike. And that is exactly what happened. After about a lap, a group of six girls caught me on the technical part of the loop heading down into transition. The bike consisted of 8 loops of 5k each, and each time we had to pass through transition and over timing mats. As the group passed me, I looked for a place to settle in and eventually had to take the last wheel as there were no gaps in the group. As I latched onto the last girl's wheel she started to overturn the corner and had to end up braking to make the turn. This lost us the pack. We both sprinted out of the saddle for about 15 seconds trying to catch up. She was able to catch them after about 10 seconds. As hard as I tried, I didn't have enough power to catch them. So, for about half a lap I rode with the pack about 5 seconds ahead of me. No matter how many surges I threw in, I wasn't able to catch them. Over the next couple of laps, the pack was gaining about 20 seconds per lap on me. Then, after 4 laps, I realized the lead pack of girls were gaining quickly on me. I held them off for six laps, until they lapped me. It is a rule in ITU competitions that if you get lapped, you're out. So, my day was done. I was very disappointed as this is only the 2nd race I've ever DNF'ed (besides a race my junior year of high school where I crashed my bike and injured my arm and carbon frame), so I'm not used to the feeling of just quitting. I know I am in better shape than I was last year at this time, but that breakthrough race can't come soon enough. One more race to go for the year so stay tuned..

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Countdown to Nationals!

4 days and counting until Pro Nationals! This is like the US Open in golf, the Kentucky Derby in horse racing, the Daytona 500 in NASCAR ( you get the picture). This is probably my biggest race of the year since I'm not partaking in any WC (World Cup) events this year and also my first draft legal race of the year.

I leave on Thursday for Portland so that I have enough time to scope out the course and swim/bike/run on it a couple of times before race day rolls around. Friday is the pro pre-race meeting where I will be able to see just how many women will be in the field. From the website, it looks to be a pretty sizable field but you never know until the day before who will actually show up since some register for races months in advance. For this race, I am competing in the under 23 age group which starts at the same time as the rest of the pro women.

This week has been a rest week in which I've significantly dropped my volume. So, for example, I usually bike 2 hours on a Tuesday but on a recovery week Tuesday I bike for only an hour and fifteen minutes. Hopefully it will provide me with that extra spark I need come Saturday at noon. Check back for a race update early next week.


Thursday, September 11, 2008


During the short time I've been in Colorado, I've come to a couple of realizations.

A) My car will never be clean. No matter how many times I wash it, the dust and rocks will always find their way to my car, giving it that rugged outdoorsy look.
B) On my easy spin days on my bike, I may get passed by mountain bikers. Enough said.
C)There are people 2-3 times my age (males and females) in Boulder who are just as fit/fast as me. See description for B.
D) High school football games are played on Saturday mornings. I found this one out the hard way last Saturday when I was searching for a high school track to do my track workout on. This was a shock to me because in Florida (where football is so huge), high school games are played Friday night so that the HS players can attend the college games on Saturdays.
E)Do NOT trust The weather can change at the drop of a hat. A nice sunny with a high of 75 day can quickly turn into a 45 degree windstorm so I must always be prepared.
And last but certainly not least...
F) The "Cheese" Effect. You know how someone says "cheese" right before they take a picture and the parties being photographed have that goofy smile? That's the kind of smile I've unconsciously had on my face many days while training here. I just can't help it! :)

There's not too much else to write about for now. Right now I'm starting to wind down towards my taper week next week for nationals.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy...

Fat tire division for me? Maybe someday....

If you look really close, you can see the elk

After running the gorgeous trail in Nederland

As I mentioned in the previous post, my amazing parents drove my car all the way across the country for me. After they finished the journey, they stayed with me in Colorado for a couple of days before they flew back to Florida. So, while they were here, I had to get all of my training in and entertain them at the same time. It worked out perfectly because they wanted to see the mountains and I needed mountains to bike/run up. On Thursday, in between house and job hunting, I took them up to a trail called Caribou Ranch in the town of Nederland (not too far from Boulder). I've only been to this trail twice but it is already becoming one of my favorites because of the changes in scenery (from forest to wide open space with flowers) along the way.

On Friday, I had a little bit of a lighter day training-wise and we were able to go to Estes Park, about an hour drive from where I'm staying right now. Estes Park is the name of the town and within it is the Rocky Mountain National Park. If you are at all interested in nature/wildlife I highly recommend going (2 thumbs up). Because the park is a vast expanse, there are maps and signs within the park to guide you where to stop and take pictures or where to look for certain animals. My favorite spot was one where you had to look straight up a cliff to see elk blending themselves into the pine trees. :) After a great dinner at Grub Steak in downtown Estes Park and some homemade ice cream (there was 7 shops within a block so clearly it was a sign to stop), we called it a night. That's basically all the excitement from last week. Since then, I've guessed! Nationals is approaching fast, but more on that later!


Friday, August 29, 2008

Chicago Tri Update

Deep water. Run-in. Dive. There are three different types of starts to a triathlon and this is just one of the aspects of the sport that keeps it interesting. This past Sunday in the Accenture Chicago Triathlon I got to experience a deep water start for the first time in quite a while. It's actually sort of a rush- you float in the water while sculling for a couple of seconds and then the starting horn sounds. After a minor injury kept me out of the pool for a week prior to the race, I was pretty pleased with my swim time in the race. I was able to swim with a pack of about 5 girls and was able to draft almost the entire way (which helps out a bunch).

After about a 600 meter run from the swim exit to transition, I hopped on my bike and headed out to start the 40 kilometer bike loop on Lakeshore Drive. It was a picturesque setting with the buildings of the big city in the background, however, I paid them no attention as I had to concentrate on maintaining the highest speed possible while still avoiding the many potholes out on the course. I came off the bike in 15th place and knew that I would have to chase on the run (which is usually the case) to reach my goal of top 10. I was able to pick off one girl in the first mile and would only pass one other competitor in the race, right at the 5 mile marker. I ended up 13th place in a field stacked with former Olympians, 2008 Beijing Olympic alternates, Ironman World Champions, etc. I was pleased with my performance, but realize that I still have lots and lots of work to do before I can do only triathlons for a living... until then, back to the drawing board!

I'd like to send a huge THANK YOU out to:
A) My parents, for driving my car all the way across the country to Colorado so that I don't have to bum rides off my friends
B) My Aunt Deb and Uncle Bob for being my homestay for the Chicago race
C) My roomie in college and her parents for housing me while I finalize a place to live in Boulder
I truly am blessed by the support crew of family(parents, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) and friends I have around me. I love you all so much!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Windy City Bound!

The Olympic rings, a popular camera spot for tourists at the OTC I know I haven't updated this thing in awhile... but there's a method to my madness. To tell you the truth, since the Olympics have been on I have been trying to avoid technology(especially the internet) as much as possible. Why you may ask? The answer: every website wants to tell you the results of the Olympic events which I don't get to watch until I see the "live" (aka it was live for someone in the world watching it just not Colorado)broadcast at 8pm. Since I didn't want to spoil the results, I have spent a lot of my time between training by catching up on some good books I snagged from the OTC (Olympic Training Center) library and working on some stories of my own. :)

Monday was the last day of training camp at the OTC and honestly, I was sad to see it come to an end. Although all weekend Colorado Springs was bombarded with rain showers and frigid temperatures (there was SNOW on the mountains), I was able to make it out for a solo bike ride early Sunday morning and take in all the natural beauty of Colorado Springs one more time before I headed out. I really enjoyed the experience as a whole and the group of people I trained with and firmly believe that you will see some of the people I trained with in 2012 in London.

Tomorrow I head out to race in my favorite big city in America: Chicago! This is my 2nd pro race of the year and also the 2nd race I've done in the Lifetime Fitness Series. I am excited to see what the training at altitude will do for me. Hopefully I'll feel like I'm running with an oxygen mask on the last leg. The race is Sunday morning, 11:04 am. Check back soon for a full race report!
*** Congrats to all my Seminole teammates competing in the Beijing Olympics!***

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Photos from CO Springs

The gorgeous view I see every morning walking across the street from the OTC dorms to the cafeteria :)

L to R: Jessica Broderick, Me, and Lauren Goldstein-Kral exploring the "garden"

Garden of the Gods in the background

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Olympics= Now!

A view from outside the OTC Athlete Center

I've been at the Olympic Training Center for a little over a week now and am finally acclimating to the altitude in Colorado Springs. This past week has definitely been a productive one, as I've had a schedule jam packed with training, lectures, meetings with coaches, and recovery(stretching, ice baths,etc). Overall, it's been an amazing experience. The group has been educated on everything from swim technique to proper nutrition to how to read our lactate threshold tests (which help determine which heart rate zones we should be training in).

Another high point of the week was the amazing routes we biked and the views once we biked up certain hills and mountains. My favorite ride of the week was through the Garden of the Gods, a park filled with breathtaking rock formations, just one of nature's masterpieces in Colorado Springs. Hopefully I'll get to take some pictures there before I leave Colorado Springs...

On another note, I can't believe the Olympics start today! It seems like just yesterday I was in Athens, Greece, participating in the Olympic Youth Camp in 2004. And although the Olympics are the big event, I want to encourage everyone to also watch the Paralympic Games(also taking place in Beijing). It didn't take me long to train beside the paralympians to realize something: they are AMAZING! I feel that the amount of time and dedication they must put into their individual sport is the same if not more than Olympic athletes and I respect the amount of skill and coordination they must have to maneuver their bodies around.

Well, it's time to do a short stretch cords workout (for swim strength) to end the day. More to come soon!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Every New Beginning...

...comes from some other beginning's end. Tuesday I left behind the heat and humidity of Florida that I have come to know so well for 22 years for the heat and altitude in Colorado. A change of locale is always good to mix up the training and keep the mind focused.
I am heading out to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs today to get in a couple weeks of quality training out there before I permanently move out to Boulder. It should be a great couple of weeks because the way the center is setup, all the athlete has to worry about is training. Meals and lodging are provided to each athlete and the sports medicine staff is great in dealing with injury prevention/recovery so that each athlete is able to train up to their individual potential.
In other news, I am old! Someone please tell me the perks of being 22?...

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Sister's Keeper!

I am so excited...I just found out that one of my favorite books of all-time, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, is being made into a movie! If the movie is anything like the novel, it will be a must-see. You can be assured I will be there opening night whenever it is released in 2009. :) To learn more about the movie, go to:
That's all the news for now... more to come soon!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A mixed bag of apples...

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I raced the Nautica New York City Triathlon this past weekend. Before I tell you about my race, I must say that triathlon has come a long way since I first started competing back when I was 8 and has even made strides since the early 2000's. Back then, I would travel to a race and everyone would look at me standing in airport with my bike box as if I was carrying some explosive that just happened to have a Lance Armstrong Foundation and USA Triathlon sticker on it. However, this weekend, it seemed that many had an idea of why I would be carrying a bike on a plane and had either heard of or competed in a triathlon. That just made me smile!

When I arrived to the race expo Saturday at the Hilton in Midtown Manhattan, the place was swarming with carbon fiber bikes. Not only is New York City a melting pot, so is the New York City Triathlon. The over 4500 participants in this race came from 49 different states and 23 different countries to compete in the triathlon! Again, triathlon is making progress! After picking up my packet and attending the pre-race meeting, I went with my family to a locally owned Italian restaurant(very good) and called it a night around 8:30.

The next morning, I woke up at 3am to begin my pre-race routine. I jogged around the block of my hotel for 15 minutes and then went back to my room to eat a quick bagel and banana breakfast and grab my racing backpack. Since there was no way my bike was fitting in a cab and I needed the bike warmup anyways, I biked from my hotel to Broadway St., took a right turn and headed towards the transition area at Riverside Park. While biking there, I saw David Letterman leaving his studio (4:30 am now) and a bunch of people waiting in line outside the Apple store (I'm guessing for the new Iphone?).

I got into transition and realized that they had placed the numbers on the bike racks extremely close together, and just in the time I was in there, my shoes and helmet were knocked around. So, being on the cautious side I waited a little and watched my equipment in transition to make sure my helmet and sunglasses weren't knocked off my handlebars and that I wouldn't have to go searching for them after the swim. Bad move #1. Then, I headed to the bathroom line at 5:10, 43 minutes before my wave started. I waited there for 25 minutes, checking my watch every minute or so and getting anxious. Bad move #2.Then, I sprinted down to the swim start which was a mile away from transition. What I hadn't planned was that the only way to get there was on a narrow path crammed with the other 4500 participants walking down the path because their waves didn't start for awhile. After a bunch of weaving and "pardon me"s, I was about 100 meters from the diving platform for the start when I heard the horn go off for the pro women, my wave. Flipping out, I ran to the tent where we had to drop off clothing to be taken to the finish line and then headed down to the dock, asking what I should do. The race director said the best thing to do would be to start with the Elite Age Group wave which followed the pro women.

So, that is exactly what I did...because of the almost 100 elite age groupers I was forced to start in the 3rd row back and jump in off the platform instead of dive. The first 5 minutes or so of the swim was a wrestling match with the Elite Age Group men as I tried to muscle my way through and around them. I was at a little bit of a disadvantage though, because while the elites were allowed to wear wetsuits, pros abide by different rules and therefore, the water was not cold enough for us to use them in this particular race. After about 5 minutes I was able to break free and find a little bit of open water to swim in. Then, a couple minutes later as I was swimming along, I felt something clinging to my arm. When I tried to fling it off, I felt like I got whipped in the face. It turns out, jellyfish season started earlier than normal this year in New York and in the Hudson River... the rest of the swim was kind of painful with the jellyfish sting but I was trying to remain focused on keeping at the front of the pack of my wave. I exited the water with the leaders and used a long run to transition to pass a couple of people.

When I hopped on my bike, I used the first couple of miles to get my breathing under control and settle into a steady pace. Then, after about 3 miles, I decided to start hammering a bit. I knew that coming back would be more downhill than going out and I wanted to have a good pace going out. There were a couple of Elite Age Group men that passed me and since my drafting rules state that I have to stagger from the biker in front of me and theirs state that they have to stay to the right, pass on the left, there was some problems, mostly me just being extra sure I was outside the drafting zone so I didn't get stopped for a penalty. With about 5 miles to go in the bike, my legs felt fatigued and I had to fight to keep my cadence.

But soon enough, I was onto the run. For the start of the run, we exited Riverside Park onto 79th street and ran over into West Central Park. As I crossed over 79th street, the street was packed with people sitting outside of cafes cheering on the racers, a greatly needed boost. It took about a mile and a half to get my legs under me and then I was able to pick up the pace a little. I came through the 5k in around 18:25 and tried to keep that cadence for the remainder of the run through Central Park. Running has always been the portion of the race where I try to chase down as many people as possible and since there were no pro women in sight, I decided to just try to pick off as many people as possible and to not let anyone pass me (which I was able to do). I crossed the finish line in 2:14:22 , just 2 seconds behind Andy Baldwin (The Bachelor Season 10 ) with a 9th place finish and mixed emotions. I was very embarrassed and a little disheartened that I missed the start of my race, but I was very pleased overall with the effort I gave. I guess I'll put this one down as a learning experience. I don't race again for another month so, until then, I'll just have to keep my chin up and wheels spinning.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Throughout the week, I have been researching logistics for my race in New York City on Sunday morning. But one aspect of the race caught my attention right away- the start time. The pro women go off in the 2nd wave...3 minutes after the pro 5:53 AM (this is not a typo)! This is by far the earliest I've ever started a race. Because of the start time, I will set a 3AM alarm clock so that I have enough time to eat breakfast, digest it, do my pre-race warm ups, and make sure I have enough time to get from my hotel to transition and the swim start without rushing around.

This race is an olympic distance race, however, is unlike most of the other races I compete in. It is not an ITU (International Triathlon Union) race and therefore, is not draft legal. That being said, the race is more like a time trial of all three disciplines. Normally, in draft legal races I am able to work with a pack on the bike to conserve energy for the run, but on Sunday, I will be giving it my all on every discipline. I have two more days of training in Florida before I head out to NYC Friday morning. Positive thoughts and prayers are always appreciated!

Monday, July 14, 2008

From Workouts to Weddings

Every once in a blue moon comes a day when I get to trade in my bike shoes for high heels and the smell of chlorine for the smell of perfume. This past weekend was one of those times as I headed down to Atlanta to be a bridesmaid in one of my best friend's (Tina) wedding. Tina is one of the strongest people I have met (both mentally and physically) and I am so excited that she is now hitched to the man of her dreams! The entire event was absolutely perfect. It was held outside of an antique house (Houston Mill House) in a garden setting and, although it had rained every other day last week, there was not a dark cloud in the sky on July 12th. After the reception, we moved inside the Mill House for dinner and dancing for the remainder of the night. Since both the bride and groom are runners, most of the guests were members of the Florida State (my alma mater) Cross Country/Track team. It was exciting to see everyone and catch up one last time before I move out of Florida in a couple of weeks. Now, back to training!

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return" ~Eden Ahbez

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Racing Update

Last weekend (July 5th) I wrapped up the sprint triathlon portion of my racing season at the Crystal River Sprint Triathlon in Crystal River, Florida. As I have come to learn with any race, I cannot expect everything to go as perfectly as I would like. While I was making my usual race day preparations on July 4th (getting my racing gear together and testing out my Zipp wheels on my bike),the brake cables on the bike snapped, leaving me panicked and wondering what to do for my race in less than 12 hours. Brakes are kind of a necessity! Since it was July 4th and all of the bike shops were closed for the holiday, I decided to race on the bike that had been sitting in my garage for about 2 years and hadn't been raced on since the beginning of 2006. Because this bike had a different cassette on it, I was unable to switch my Zipp racing wheels onto it, so I raced with my training wheels. Not really knowing what to expect from the race, I went in with the mindset that I would take this as a challenge to have a fast bike split with average equipment.

The result: my fastest bike split of the year! I averaged almost 22 miles per hour on the 15 mile out and back bike course and was able to pair that with decent swim and run splits to win the women's overall title and set a new course record! This was definitely a confidence booster for the racing season ahead of me. As my former cross country coach would say, "You have put in the work, now it's time to go get the paycheck."

Now that my sprint season is over, I am moving up to olympic distance triathlons, starting with the Nautica NYC triathlon next weekend in New York. More to come on that race soon!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Greetings! Whether you are a family member, friend, or just happened to stumble upon my blog, I'd like to welcome you! Lao Tzu, a well known philosopher in ancient China said that "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." For me, this post is the the first of what I hope will be many posts, providing some insight into the life of a second year professional triathlete racing on the ITU circuit. I invite you to come along for the journey...more to come soon!