Walkin' on Sunshine

I am happy to announce that my 2014 racing is officially underway! For my first race of the season, I competed in the Surf City Half Marathon in Huntington Beach, CA. This was the first half marathon that I’d raced in over two years and I was definitely nervous to see where my running fitness was at after having a dismal year of running last year coming off a late 2012 foot injury. After I started the race, the nerves quickly faded away and I had an absolute blast! Running races (especially marathons and half marathons) are known for having awesome signs, and with the race being on Super Bowl Sunday and Groundhog Day, this race was no exception. Some of my favorites included:
1) Puxatony Phil predicts you will finish before Spring!
2) What’s super about today? YOU ARE and the Broncos!
And I can’t forget to mention the guy running in the pick tutu with a life-size Justin Bieber doll attached to his belly. Whether or not this aforementioned dude beat me or not, well…you’ll just have to decide that for yourself ☺
Anyways, back to the actual race. My goal was to break 1:30 and I was about 3 minutes under. I ended up running only 20 seconds off my lifetime PR that I’d set coming off of college running at FSU. Therefore, I was ecstatic with the way it turned out. Race #1 – in the books!

For the 2nd race of the season and my first triathlon of the year, I headed to the other sunshine state (Florida) for the ITU Clermont Continental Cup. This is a race I’ve done multiple years now and admittedly is unlike any race I’ve ever done. In years past, the water level has been so low that it’s turned into a run/swim/run to transition/bike/run (lots of running=HR fun times!). However, this year the event used a deep water start so that there was less running (initially) which I liked better. After a good swim in the midst of the main pack, I had one of the worst transitions ever and had trouble getting my wetsuit off. I lost loads of time and a few bike packs. I time trialed the first 2 laps of the bike solo before a pack caught me for the last 2 laps of the bike. My run wasn’t particularly spectacular either but I was just glad to get the cobwebs out and have that first tri out of the way. I now knew what I had to work on for the following race.

Another great thing about this race besides the awesome race organizers, volunteers, location, etc. was that the race was specifically set up so that athletes could stay in the Clermont area and compete in the Sarasota ITU Pan American Championships the following weekend. I had a great week of training in Clermont training with an awesome group of Canadians (Leanna Lee, Colin Campbell, other Canadian Colin) as well as local tri coach Boki Maric. Huge thanks to Boki for leading many of the rides – otherwise, I still might be biking somewhere around Clermont …. ☺

Anyways, onto my 2nd race of the Florida March sprint tri madness and 3rd race overall – Sarasota ITU Pan American Championships! I felt like this race was much more solid overall than the one the previous weekend in Clermont. Although I didn’t have quite the swim I’d hoped for, I was able to turn in a solid bike and run and improve from my Clermont mistakes. I was also amazed at how seamlessly my gears shifted during the race as I was using the full range of gearing. To that, I can’t say thank you enough to Serious Cycling in Agoura Hills for getting my bike tuned perfectly to race. Speaking of bikes, I’d like to thank Sklar Exploration for lending me a bike to race on for the year after my road bike frame cracked late last year.

Most of all, I would like to thank my friend, Darcie, who came to cheer for me for both races and also was my homestay for the week – I miss you already… as well as the Publix sweet tea you kept stocked for me! Also, a big thank you to my friends, Laura and Dustin, who came out to cheer for the Clermont race. I am always so blessed to have such an awesome cheering squad at the race, which I totally attribute to my Florida roots ☺ To my husband Tony, thanks for being my sherpa and psychologist during this trip, and for the support always! For helping me get to the race, I’d like to thank Premium Remodeling, Inc!

To those of you who take the time to follow/support/pray for me, I can’t thank you enough! That’s all for now… may the madness surrounding March inspire you to reach for your goals!


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