Thursday, March 26, 2015

A broken butt, torn hamstring and machine gun fire… AKA my Puerto Rico 70.3 Race Report

There are so many things to say about such an eventful race! I will try my best to keep it short and sweet.

Last year the Tribike Transport Team decided it would be fun if we picked a team race for the year. We decided on sunny Puerto Rico in March (mostly for our East Coast friends who were suffering through a brutal winter). After tearing my hamstring in Kona in Oct. I knew this race would be more social for me than anything else but what better place for a fun race? One of my goals for this year is to have more fun at races so I was excited to be meeting up with 20 of my teammates at the fabulous Caribe Hilton.

View from our room

I arrived in Puerto Rico feeling relatively healthy (just lingering hamstring pain that I thought was due to tendonitis). The week leading up to the race I had undergone an ultrasound and an MRI. I was still waiting for the results so in my mind that meant I was healthy because no one had told me otherwise!! I hadn’t been on my bike much since October but I still had grand expectations of possibly pulling off an early-season win (yes, I know that’s silly considering my first run off the bike was the week previous).

The days leading up to the race were jammed packed with team events and race prep and we were all having a blast getting to know each other. I lucked out in having an awesome roommate, Jennifer Hienton, who was up for exploring the city, drinking wine, and indulging in local Puerto Rican food. I mean we were on vacation, right??

Local cuisine, mofongo

Race morning we navigated the logistics of a split transition that was over a mile apart and pretty soon Jennifer and I were in the corrals waiting for the gun to go off (I should mention she was eating a snickers bar like 4 mins before we got in the water). Knowing this was a warm, non-wetsuit swim I had NO expectations of a having a good swim. I have learned I will come out far behind and I am ok with that, for now. The water was clear and pretty and I had a rather uneventful swim. I exited in 10th place, which is nothing to brag about but also right in line with my previous swim performances.

Can we talk about the fact T1 is over a quarter of a mile away and you have to run on asphalt through the streets? Like most of the athletes, I didn’t realize this when packing for the trip so I didn’t have an extra pair of shoes for the run. I did my best to try to avoid stepping on debris or slipping when I got to the slick sidewalk.

I came out of T1 and figured I had a hand full of girls to chase down. However, within the first mile I had a flurry of volunteers come running towards me waving their arms and yelling, “Stop! Get off your bike.” This was definitely unnerving, and I was a little unsure what to do. I assumed there was a bike crash ahead but the panic in the volunteers seemed overboard for just a typical bike crash. As I came to a stop at the base of an overpass, I could see lots of bikes and bodies down to my right. Little did I know that one of my teammates, Tomasz was on the ground (sorry Tomasz, I swear I didn’t see you!)
I quickly looked away, not wanting to freak myself out. There were no cops or medics on the scene yet- just lots of chaos. I sat there for a minute or so and then just slowly started to pedal again. Nobody tried to stop me so I took off. A few minutes up the road I saw 2 more little crashes so I started to get nervous. The roads were full of potholes and I really didn’t want to end up in a pile up. I tried to shake off the nerves and just focus on the road. While the route for the bike course is somewhat scenic, the crappy road surface really took away from any of the beauty. Plus there was a ridiculous amount of road kill (and blood). Ugh. I was feeling pretty good until about mile 30 when my hamstring and back started to really hurt. It was the same feeling I had in Kona and I knew that wasn’t a good sign. By this point in the race, the course was crowded and drafting was in full force. I saw a ton of marshals but they were just giving out “warnings”, while the penalty tents sat empty. It was really frustrating being in that much pain and seeing girls cruise by in a group of 5-6 guys. I still don’t understand how adults cheat in a sport that they are doing purely for fun.
By mile 40 the pain was so bad that I could only pedal for a minute or two in an easy gear and then I would stand up out of the saddle and coast. I was having the same mental battle I did in Kona- trying to figure out if I finish or just get off my bike and call it a day. Needless to say, it took me an eternity to finish those last 16 miles. With less than a mile to go I heard someone on my left yell, “Dude, what the f*ck are you doing here?” It was Jennifer!!! Her joke all week was that I was fast and she claimed not to be (which is a lie) so she didn’t expect to see me until the end of the race. I told her that I was in a ton of pain but that she was having a great race! She politely let me stay in front of her and dismount first (that gesture was not lost on me)!

Jennifer and I came into transition together and racked our bikes right across from each other. She asked me if I was going to try to run and I said yes and with that we were on our way to a hot and hilly run course.

The run course in PR is no joke. When looking up the results from last year, only 2 girls broke 2 hours! TWO HOURS for a half marathon! I was excited though when I saw the profile because a hilly run is totally my jam.  Of course, that’s provided I am healthy. I had no idea if I would be able to run or if I would be stuck shuffling along in 95-degree weather hating every second of the run. Thankfully the pain was a lot less once I got upright and I found my running legs pretty easily. The pain was primarily just in my hamstring and I had gotten used to the feeling so I was able to put it out of my mind for the most part.  The run course is 2 loops with a ton of hills out and back. It’s incredibly scenic as we run past historic forts on old cobblestone roads. 

I would say my only complaint about the run was regarding the lack of aid stations and the difficulty in getting aid from those stations. There is a part of the course nicknamed the “microwave” because it’s down at sea level with a huge fort wall trapping in the heat. Temps get up to 115 degrees down there. It was a little over a mile out and back and there were no aid stations. It’s a two- loop course and by the second loop I felt like I was getting cooked in the microwave. There was also an issue of local Tri Clubs setting up their own aid stations and refusing to give aid to athletes who weren’t on their team. Apparently officials were supposed to be cracking down on this but it was blatantly happening and it was frustrating!

"The Microwave" looks pretty but it's hot!

On a positive note, it was AMAZING to see all of the TBT athletes on the course. It felt like every few minutes there was a familiar face cheering me on. It really made a huge difference. I also felt like I was getting into a groove on the 2nd loop. I knew I was out of the race, but I thought maybe I could at least have a decent run. My goal was to break 2 hours and I realized I was going to easily meet that goal.  I ended up running from 14th to 6th place with a time of 1:46:02.

After the race, I met up with a bunch of the team and learned the reason I was stopped on the bike was due to a shooting that affected 2 athletes and in turn caused a bike crash that took out my teammate Tomasz. Luckily Tomasz’s injuries were minor and we were all thankful that everyone was ok! I have to admit, I am a little surprised the race was not stopped until police were able to secure the venue and make sure the race itself was not a target. I am not sure if there is a protocol in place for such a thing, but it seems risky to keep a race going amidst gunfire!

Post race fun:
One of the best parts of racing as a team is celebrating after the race as a team! The owners of TBT, Marc and Angela, were kind enough to put on a post race happy hour for us at the hotel so that we could all exchange race stories over cocktails and food. We also got a chance to congratulate Angela who raced PR 70.3 as her first triathlon ever! I can’t imagine picking such a tough race as the first one, but I think they will all be easier from here on out! The festivities continued that night in Old San Juan over tapas and wine!

More wine, please!

Now about that broken butt and torn hamstring…
Monday night while on a layover in Miami I had 3 urgent messages regarding my MRI results. The last message said that they would be setting me up with a surgeon and to please call them immediately. I knew that couldn’t be good, and my flight was about to take off so I did what anyone would do… bought a pizza and a bottle of wine and tried not to think about the horrible news that was coming my way when I landed in LA! 
After a few opinions and doctor appointments, it’s been determined that I still have a torn hamstring but I also have a huge edema to my ischia tuberosity that is a pre-cursor to a stress fracture. Basically I broke my butt. No wonder it hurt so much to sit on the bike! Duh! Right now I am looking at 4-6 weeks of no activity (other than swimming with a buoy) and I have to use my nifty donut (or ass cushion as we affectionately call it at the office). Apparently the edema is more concerning than the hamstring. Wonderful! I am on day 7 of no activity and I am going stir crazy. I have so much free time I don’t know what to do. I am also struggling to cut down on my food intake to match my decreased activity level. Acting like a “normal” person is hard!! L

In the end, had I not been in Puerto Rico with my team I think I would have sulked about my bad race and injuries; but I had so much fun and got to make so many new friends that I can’t be disappointed! I am still hoping to salvage the year and be able to race in a few months (IM Japan with Keish and Jason sounds too good to pass up) but I also know I can’t rush the rehab process so I am trying not to get ahead of myself.

In the meantime, I will be at Oceanside 70.3 this weekend cheering on friends and teammates. If you are out there look for me- I will be the girl sitting on the butt cushion!

Lastly, I have to give a shout out to the sponsors who make all of this fun possible...

Friday, February 13, 2015

And I'm Back!!

It’s been a while since my last blog (Kona in October to be exact) and there’s a reason for that hiatus. I took a serious break from all things triathlon. After suffering through Kona with an injury I really thought that was going to be my last triathlon. I had no desire to race let alone train. So I took a break. A long break.  I slept in, stayed out late and drank lots of wine until finally that itch to race and train started to come back. 

In the course of that hiatus I agreed to run a marathon with my dad in his attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon (because in my mind that was somehow still taking a break from racing). It seemed like a reasonable task even though I was nursing a partially torn hamstring and not doing anything physical at all! But agreeing to do that race was probably the best thing, because it got me motivated to fix my hamstring and get off the couch. 

I hired a new coach, Nate Helming (, who I had been watching on YouTube for a while. I thought his approach to training was the change I needed. We started working together in December and slowly started rebuilding this broken machine! He also convinced me to start working out at Deuce Gym ( One of the owners, Logan, is how I found Nate in the first place. This would allow me to have trained eyes on me while I did my strength work; and Nate could still program it around my training schedule.

I know I am going to hear so much backlash from all of my triathlon friends (Dusty Nabor) about incorporating strength training into my routine but it’s been the best thing I have done in years. Not only is it super fun, but also I am making huge gains in the swim, bike and run already and my body has never felt better. It’s only been 2.5 months and the difference is pretty remarkable. It’s also nice to have a change in training and be around athletes who are not triathletes!

I am now excited about the idea of racing in 2015 and I am starting to plan out my season (which still might include some mountain bike and trail races). It will definitely be a slow build with my bigger races taking place later in the year, but I am looking forward to having fun in the sport again!

Speaking of “fun”, the marathon with my dad is THIS weekend, and although I am far from being in top running shape it’s a chance to do something just for fun with no real pressure to perform (all of the pressure is on my dad to break 4 hours!!) Go Dad!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kona 2014

“Far better it is to dare the mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with the poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

This is a hard race report to write. I don’t enjoy writing about the great races, so the bad ones are really tough.  This is my first year racing where nothing has gone right. Every race has been a struggle and results have been far less than stellar. The fact I even squeaked out a 2nd place finish at IM Texas to qualify for Kona was a small miracle.

The week leading up to the race was a little strange as I was in Kona alone. Although I had lots of friends there racing and spectating, I was trying to rest and stay off my feet which meant a lot of time alone in my condo. I couldn’t wait for Elisa to arrive Thursday night to cure me of my boredom and get me excited for the big day! Her support was invaluable and I got to the race start Saturday morning feel great and ready to roll.

I somehow tweaked my back (my SI joint) during the swim, admittedly probably due to the swell and my inability to sight without severely arching my back. I always swim between a 1:08-1:10 no matter the conditions- I never get faster or slower so I just assume I will always be in that window. When I hit the swim turn around in 34 minutes I figured I was right on track. Soon after things went downhill. The current was strong going against us and I pretty much swam the last 1.2 miles alone (this was a notable difference from 2012 when it was a mass start and I was surrounded by bodies the whole way). I prepared myself for a slow swim time, thinking worst case scenario would be 1:12-1:13. You can imagine my surprise/shock/horror when I exited and saw 1:20 on my watch. I honestly thought my watch had stopped at 1 minute and 20 seconds into the race. Even my first Ironman swim (before I knew what a swim interval was) was faster than this!!

I told myself it wouldn’t matter as long as I had a solid bike (5:30 ish was the goal) and could execute my plan of a sub 3:30 run.  Somehow Taylor Swift’s cheesy song, “Shake It Off” popped in my head and I spent the next half hour singing, “shake it off.” I was determined not to let negative thoughts ruin my race and if Taylor Swift was somehow a catalyst for this, so be it.

It wasn’t until 25-30 miles into the bike that I knew something was seriously wrong with my back. It had been super tight and achy up until that point but I thought it was just going to be an annoyance. Soon with every pedal stroke my back would tighten and seize. It was around this point the wind became unbearable and I had to put more power into the pedals just to stay upright. This was the wind I remembered from 2012 (when they said it was the worst wind in 10 years) and I was hoping we weren’t going to see it again in 2014. By mile 40 I knew my race was done. I was struggling to push 100 watts and tears were in my eyes (I don’t cry, like ever). The next 20 miles to Hawi were incredibly brutal. I had already turned off the time on my bike computer because I knew it would just upset me more. When I finally got to the turnaround in Hawi I thought I could at least get some fast miles in without having to put much power into the pedals. Thanks to my huge 54 big ring I was able to start hauling at about 35 miles per hour with no pain. However, within about 2 minutes I saw FOUR girls go down due to the wind. That is some scary shit. A guy who was riding in the opposite direction yelled to me, “slow down, everyone is crashing.”  I slowed down, not wanting to crash but also upset that I couldn’t take more advantage of the tailwind. By mile 75 I was in excruciating pain and trying to figure out whether I should stop on the side of the road and try to stretch or just call it a day. I honestly didn’t know what to do; I was in my small ring, spinning at about 9 mph. That’s brutal when you still have over 35 miles to go in a serious head wind. I also have to admit due to the staggered start and the slow pace I was keeping, I was at the back of the race for the first time in my life. Between miles 80- 95 I maybe saw 4 people. I was hurting and crying and totally alone in the hot lava fields. It felt like hell. I just wanted people around to at least make me feel I was still in a race damn it. Just then I heard a voice, “Cortney, is that you?” A new friend I had made that week, Sherry, rode up next to me. She is a coach and super strong athlete who was gunning for a podium spot in the 50-55 AG. I told her I was in pain and I didn’t know what to do. She yelled, “ When you’re going through hell, just keep going.” Those words seemed like magic (along with the Advil and soda I got at the next aid station) and suddenly I felt a tad better (and this means instead of 80 watts I could push 120).
Those last 15 miles were definitely the hardest I have ever ridden. I was trying to figure out what to do when I got to T2 to help my back so that I wouldn’t have to walk the entire marathon. I staggered into T2 and as soon as I sat down the tears started and those tears triggered an asthma attack! I LITERALLY couldn’t cry! My lovely volunteer wanted to send me to medical but I refused. I told her I wanted to try and promised I would come back if I couldn’t make it. I downed a few more Advil, used my inhaler and got up to run a marathon, only I got stuck and couldn’t stand up. F$@%&!!! Another quick pity party and I was on my feet. I figured the pain would be there whether I was running or sitting in medical so why not try to run.

I left T2 and tried to hide the fact I was crying because there were so many amazing spectators cheering and I am certainly not used to crying in public (or ever). I did my best job of faking it and turned to run up the hill at Palani. Just then I heard the announcer say, “Number 1696 coming up Palani has text book perfect running form. Everyone should take a look at that.” WHAT?? He’s talking about ME? This sounds stupid, but I swear that gave me a huge kick to try harder and suddenly I thought maybe I could actually get through the run. Within that first mile I saw friends, Adrienne Smith and Cherryl Rose, who cheered me on and gave me a boost. My first mile clicked off at 7:28 and thought, “holy shit, let’s turn this day around and at least have a respectable run.” The pain in my back was intense, it felt like someone hitting me in my SI joint with a bat with each step, BUT I was still able to move and getting good turn over. The pain was much more manageable than on the bike and I figured if I could move than I could put the pain out of my head. I started pretending the throbbing pain was like a metronome that I was running to (this is better than a Taylor Swift song, right?).

The energy on Ali’i Drive is always amazing and it was so nice to finally see people after being alone and in a dark place for so long during the bike. I got several more shout outs about my running form (I guess when you don’t use energy on the bike it’s easy to have good running form). The cheers kept me going and soon I saw my amazingly wonderful sherpa Elisa, which was a huge boost. And at the turn around I saw my Tribike Transport peeps and they gave me a lot of motivation as well. I thought maybe my day was looking up. When I made the U-turn to head back up Ali’i  my back seized hard and reminded me that I was not well. I realized that the climb up Palani and the Queen K was going to be difficult. I tried to keep my pace (7:40ish) knowing that it was going to slow once I got to an incline. Sure enough as soon as I went up Palani things got bad. Everything was tight and seizing again and I couldn’t find more Advil. I managed to hit 13. 1 miles at 1:45 so I just kept hoping I could squeeze out a 3:30ish run. Soon both feet went numb and my left high hammy locked up badly. I had no choice but to slow down and change my goal to just being able to finish without walking. It was pretty difficult because my running has been so solid and I knew I was capable of a great run that day. It just sucks when things are out of your control (especially when you are a control freak like me). Those last 11 miles I did a lot of soul searching and tried to focus on the things I was gaining from this horrible day. I have never been on a course that late and seen people walking, suffering, laying on the ground getting medical attention, etc. It’s a whole different experience and one I had never known before. As I ran out of the energy lab and down the Queen K for the last 6 miles, the sun was setting over the ocean. I got a little emotional, as I have always prided myself on finishing before it got dark. I was chasing that sun but it was obvious I wasn’t going to win that battle either.  I finally conceded and just took it all in. At that moment I saw Elisa (she had run about 10 miles just to find me because the tracking had stopped and she thought I was in trouble) she’s the best! She told me everyone was worried about me and that I needed to get to that finish line! I promised I would see here there in less than 15 minutes and with that I was off onto the last 1.5 miles. Coming down that final turn to Ali’i Drive was so much more special than it was in 2012. I had really struggled and although my time was over 90 minutes slower than I had hoped, it was the most rewarding finish of my racing career.

Ironman is always a tough day, and the conditions at Kona this year were some of the worst. There were a lot of top athletes (pro and amateur) who didn’t make it across the finish line Saturday. I am thankful I was able finish another World Championship and on a year that saw the highest amount of female athletes ever (up over 50% from 2013). Watch out guys, the girls are coming for ya!

 In the end, it’s always tough to put so much on the line for one single day and when things don’t go as planned it can you leave feeling very empty. I know I learned a lot about myself in those dark hours and that’s something I will carry with me forever. In the meantime, I am going to REST and get my body healthy. It’s been a rough year and I think this was the final sign telling me to take a break. I plan to take some time off, play in the dirt with some of my trail buddies, drink good wine and eat cookies (some folks will get that joke).

I also have to give a shout to those who helped me get to the start line. As always, my coach Joanna Zeiger at Race Ready Coaching (, Tribike Transport (,Triathlon Lab (, Ero Sports(, Athlete Octane ( and Original Nutritionals ( And the one and only sherpa extraordinaire, Elisa Hein, who said in 2008 when we raced IM AZ together that she would come to Kona with me one day and she kept her promise!

Cheers to living to fight another day and avoiding that grey twilight!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ironman Texas

Ironman Texas

The 2014 season had gotten off to a rocky start with 2 bad races in a row. I managed to figure out my asthma issues and changed my diet in hopes of making it to the start line healthy for once, but the bigger challenge was working on my mental game.  After Oceanside 70.3 I had a few weeks to prep physically and mentally for Ironman Texas. I felt like I was in the best shape I had ever been in but my head hadn’t been in the game and that’s the difference between a great race and a bad one. So Joanna and I spent more time working on my mental toughness than my watts and I hoped I could finally pull my head out of my ass in time for IM Texas!

The days leading up to the race were great as the venue was beautiful and the locals were really friendly. Thankfully I had fellow LA’er Jeff Ku with me who was such a big help in prepping for the race and making sure I didn’t have to eat dinner alone every night!

Race morning went as planned and Cheryll Ku was an amazing Sherpa, helping to make everything easier. We found out that morning that the swim was going to be wetsuit legal and I did a little happy dance. YAY!

SWIM: 1:09:25
Just like any Ironman, the swim start is a pretty amazing event. As I sat there bobbing in the water with 2800 of my new friends I couldn’t help but get excited. This is why I race-it’s freaking fun!
Photo courtesy of Cheryll Ku

The swim was rather uneventful-just the typical kicking and punching. I got hit in the face so hard once that my goggles came off so that wasn’t fun. It’s been almost 2 years since I have raced an IM and I forgot how long that swim is. I felt like it would never end! I came out of the water about a minute slower than my usual time but I was just happy to be done! I have been swimming slower and slower lately so definitely need to make some changes.

T1: The volunteers were amazing and before I knew it I was on my new bike

BIKE: 5:32:34
I recently became the proud owner of a new Cervelo P3 (thanks to and I was so excited to race on this bike. I had an amazing fit dialed in by Jim Manton ( and I knew I was in for a fast and comfortable ride, or so I thought. About 20 minutes into the bike course I hit a lip in the road and my seat slipped. WTF? (I had this problem twice already in the weeks leading up to the race). I tried not to panic (mental focus is the name of the game, right?).  I figured I would stop at the first aid station and fix it and not lose much time.  Around that time I came up on a girl in my AG (bib # 520) and we jockeyed back and forth until the aid station at which point I had to pull over. IT WAS SO HARD to do this and watch her ride away but I knew I had to be smart. Unfortunately when I looked at my seat it hadn’t slipped down like I thought. Nobody had an allen wrench (seriously) so I thought as long as the height of the seat hadn’t changed I would be fine. I jumped back on my bike and tried not to kill myself to catch up. Within a few minutes I realized the seat had tipped back (with the nose pointing up higher) and I was REALLY uncomfortable. I got pissed realizing I was going to have to stop again. I rolled into aid station #2 yelling for an allen wrench and again nobody had one.  Typically at this point I would have pulled a Norman Stadler and thrown my bike across the road feeling like I was losing too much time and my day was ruined. Instead I used my new mantra that I had been practicing for the race… KEEP YOUR SHIT TOGETHER (found this gem in an interview with Shalane Flanagan after Boston).  I got back on my bike and tried to just control what I could and not stress about the rest.

I had found a sweet spot on the seat that made the position tolerable and I thought I was going to be fine, until the nausea set in around mile 30. Not to worry, I had packed some Tums so I thought things would be fine. However, I couldn’t shake the nausea and soon I couldn’t take in any calories and just being in the aero position made my stomach worse. This wasn’t good. Around mile 45 I threw up a little but then I felt better. I thought that the worst was over and I was ready to get in some calories and pick up the pace. That lasted about 10 miles and then things started feeling bad again. Around mile 60 I was totally caught off guard by a massive projectile vomit! Thankfully nobody was around me to experience it, although I do wish the race photographers had captured this! I felt much better though so I started to slowly add some calories. By mile 80 I caught up to #520 and I literally said out loud “I’m back in this!” But of course that feeling didn’t last long and soon I was feeling sick again. This lasted the rest of the ride. I started to panic knowing I was going into the run in a massive calorie deficit, so at mile 90 I grabbed 3 gels from the aid station. Before I could take any of them they all blew out of my bento box. Did I mention how freaking windy it was? Needless to say the last 30 miles were just a suffer fest and a few more girls started gaining on me, including #520. I rolled into T2 much later than I had hoped but I was happy to be off the bike and upright!

T2: Again the volunteers were great. I think this is the worst shape I have ever been in coming off the bike. I was a sweaty, salty, puke stained mess. The volunteers basically washed me down with water as another helped me with my gear.  Soon I was on my way to start a marathon with nothing in the tank!

Run: 3:42:34
My run training the last 6 months has been amazing and I had lofty goals for this race. I have never run well off the bike in an IM and I really thought Texas was going to be my breakthrough race. As I started the run I had to readjust my goals from trying to break 3:30 to just getting in calories so that I could finish. The first few miles weren’t so bad as the nausea had subsided and I was taking coke and water at every aid station.  Around mile 4 I heard someone coming up behind me and sure enough it was #520! UGH. I was pissed but I told myself that we still had over 20 miles to go and anything could happen, I just needed to keep my shit together! And that’s pretty much what I did over the course of the next 20 miles. By mile 8, I realized I needed electrolytes and I couldn’t get a gel down so I started adding PowerAde to my aid station stops. I definitely spent more time in the aid stations than any other race but I knew I needed the nutrition.  Aside from the coke, the other thing that got me through the race was the amazing support on the course. I have never experienced such energy on a run course. It was truly amazing and really helped me push through. By the third loop of the run it seemed like I was never going to catch #520 and I didn’t see anyone close to me at the out and backs so I figured if I could just hold on I could keep my position. I should mention that I assumed #520 was in the lead and that I was in 2nd (not so much).

At mile 24 as I was coming out of the wooded part of the run into the electrifying downtown area I saw her… #520 was in my sight! Holy shit I could pull this off (remember I am thinking she’s in first).  Anyone who knows me knows I am notorious for being a bad “closer” and losing within the last few minutes of a race. I have a tendency to get negative if I am losing and just think about quitting. This time my mental game was on and I took off! The crowd support was awesome and I passed her at a 6:45 pace. I tried to make it look effortless but it hurt more than anything I have ever done in a race. The next 2 miles my lungs and legs were on fire but I was determined not to let her pass me. I was using my mantra and talking out loud to myself (yes I was THAT crazy girl). But it worked, and at the turn around at mile 25.5 I saw that I had a big enough gap that I could enjoy the last half- mile. I ended up putting 5 minutes between us in those last 2 miles! Now if I can just learn how to push myself that hard for an entire race.

The finish line in TX is a long stretch right through the center of town. It is so pretty and I was the only finisher around so I took it all in as I crossed that line.
Enjoying the finish line all by myself!
Even though this wasn’t the race I was hoping for I had won my own personal victory. I had finally conquered my negative thoughts and on a day that I wasn’t physically racing the way I had planned.

I should mention that I still thought I had won my AG for about 30 mins until I finally made it to the results area and saw I was 2nd.
Fist pump thinking I had won! Oops
My heart sank a little but I felt like I couldn’t complain. Despite my slower splits, I had finally had the mental breakthrough that I had been needing for almost a year.

There weren’t very many people hanging around the finish so I grabbed my stuff, chatted with some teammates from TBT and headed to my car. It seemed a little uneventful to be driving myself back to the hotel and sitting in traffic just a few minutes after a hard fought race. That night was pretty rough as my stomach was in bad shape. I couldn’t enjoy my typical post-race margaritas or any fun food (why even race if you can’t be glutinous right after?)

The awards ceremony the next day was incredibly nerve-wracking, as I didn’t know how many Kona slot were in my AG. There tend to be fewer slots now, and especially for the women. I was also nervous for Jeff who was hoping for a roll down slot after a really impressive race. The 2 of us sat there like nervous little kids, praying we would both get the outcome we were hoping for. When I went on stage to get my award I was told there were 2 slots in my AG! Those last 2 miles made all of the difference! Phew! I should also mention that I met the infamous #520 and she was really nice! Always great to race with cool chicks!
#520 and the rest of the girls!

Jeff had to wait about another hour for the slot allocation process and he ended up getting his slot in dramatic fashion! It was awesome that we both came away with Kona slots and could celebrate together!

Shout Outs:
I have so many people to thank who helped get me to the start line. Of course my coach, Joanna Zeiger, who always figures out my problems and calms me down when I am a big ball of stress. Check out her new coaching company (

My amazing sponsors: TriBike Transport, Triathlon Lab and Athlete Octane.

To my friends who support me in so many ways, but especially Keevin Blue who did emergency surgery on my bike shoes the day before I left for TX, Jeff and Cheryll who let me be a third wheel during our trip, and to high school friends Randy McCall and Joe Feaga who saw I was racing in their area and came out to cheer me on. It was awesome having some familiar faces out on the course!

Up next is Vineman 70.3 where I will try to defend my AG win and Keep My Shit Together!