Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ironman Texas

I haven’t written a blog in a long time: it’s hard for me to talk about myself. If I say things that I have done well then I feel like I am being cocky, and if I talk about things that didn’t go well, I feel like I am being too negative and complaining. What does that leave to talk about? I feel like Ironman Texas and the weeks leading up to it are a big enough event for me to finally write a blog!  

I had never really paid much attention to Ironman prior to last year. I was always more aware of what was going on in the ITU world and I raced in the Olympic non-draft bubble.  Last October, Barrett and I watched Kona. We cheered our friends on from home and were glued to the computer all day. The hype leading into that race was amazing and I remember us talking about the importance of Kona. If you’re not going to the Olympics, Kona is really the only other thing that people in this sport care about. So we started mapping out a plan to get me to Kona. I was finally healthy and felt ready to go, so we decided that after the Island House Triathlon, I would continue to train, race Pucon 70.3 and Panama 70.3 in January, then Ironman New Zealand in March. Things went pretty well during that training block, but the actual race was a disaster.  I struggled with my nutrition, some illness, and had to pull out after some severe dizzy spells in T2 and medical tent.
I was incredibly disappointed. Now what? We decided it would be best for me to still take my 2 week break and travel as planned to see my Dad in Bend.  So I had a great break, and felt incredibly rejuvenated and ready to go after. After a lot of thought, we decided that I should race Ironman Texas since it is almost a home race (I live 3 hours away) and I was already going to be down there cheering for Barrett. If I wanted to qualify for Kona then I needed a 6th or 7th place at 2 championship races (Texas and Frankfurt). So that became the new plan. I had 8 weeks…

The first 6 weeks of my training block were amazing. We followed a plan of 3 weeks really hard, and then 3 days easy. I biked a ton (15-17 hours each week - yes, all on the trainer), ran as much as I could (4-5 hours each week) and swam when I could (swimming was the first thing to fall of the wagon!). I ended up swimming about 15k per week but using it more as recovery because I was so tired from everything else).

I had never trained so much and so hard in my triathlon career. Just one of those 6 weeks would have been my biggest training week ever and to put together 6 of them was a confidence builder. It was awesome. Training was so consistent and it was exciting. The biggest difference was in the bike and not only how much I was riding, but how hard. My husband, who is also my coach, enacted a KJ  (Kilojoule) ration for almost every bike ride. I had to reach the goal KJ’s before I could stop even if I got my intervals in, etc… this was a HUGE difference for me. I no longer could just ride easy. Every ride was a lot harder, but needed to get done, and the result was feeling really strong during my Ironman.

2 weeks before IM Texas on my last long run (long runs were 2 hours and I think I did 3 of them) things started to fall apart. My patella had shooting pains, my calf was really tight, and my heel started hurting. Oh well, a couple days off and should be good to go. Unfortunately, no… the pain continued and we decided to just not run much the final 2 weeks, get worked on, and hope that with the extra rest and downtime everything would be ok for race day. However, when I got to the Woodlands I was still in pain and asked our friend Kirk Noyes who to see to try and work on my leg. Friday, the day before the race, I was in Dennis Evans’ office (from F3)  hoping that he could work his magic :)  I got some soft tissue treatment, and it definitely helped, but I was unsure if it would hold up for 8+ hours. Before the race, we made the decision that I really needed to finish unless I felt I would do long term damage to my body.  The disappointment of NZ was not something I could easily deal with again.

Race Day!
Thank you Paul Phillips/ CompImagePhoto for the pic

For the swim, I just swim! I am a true distance swimmer, and have only one speed.  It was like this when I swam at Nebraska, but now far removed from my swimming career it is even more so.  So while I have had good swims in Olympics and 70.3, a 2.4 mile swim is always going to suit my strengths and that is what you saw on Saturday.  I ended up with the fastest swim of the day, (out of the men too!), but more importantly, I had good time gaps to the women behind.

Another advantage I have is that when I get out of the water, my heart rate is low, I’m relaxed, and I am ready to ride. This is probably why you see my riding a lot harder than other people at the beginning of races. Before Texas we set a goal of 200 watts AP, and I am happy to say I rode 199!  I got a little excited the first 30 miles, but I also had no information for time gaps, and wanted to make sure no ladies rode up to me at the beginning of the race.

As I mentioned earlier I ride the trainer all of the time. Riding outside stresses me out because I think that I’m going to die! :)  The downfall to this is that I am not the fastest at turns and u-turns.  If anyone watched the Island House race, I am actually quite terrible at bike skills. When the course changed for TX and there were going to be 80 plus turns, I actually went outside to make sure I could still go around turns. I felt great during the ride in Texas and I I was very happy to keep my lead off the bike and onto the run.  I ended up being 40 seconds off the fastest bike split of the day on a course that couldn’t have been worse for me!  I am definitely excited about how far my cycling has come and I am so thankful to Ventum for bringing me on board their amazing team and fast bike :).  With the Ventum water bottle and Torhans Aero 30 BTA bottle and bento, my setup was perfect for me to be able to always be in aero and still drink and eat.
Photo by Donald Miralle

Onto the run, legs felt great, but boy did I feel sick. I had to stop a few times to throw up, and my stomach was cramping pretty badly.   I think drinking a lot of Gatorade during the aid stations might have caused it, but it is something I need to figure out for next time!  After walking through the aid stations, the cramping eventually subsided. I  was moving all right the first lap but on the 2nd lap, my calf started hurting and it just got worse. By that last lap I could barely move. I told myself to walk through all of the aid stations and jog the rest. I didn’t jog fast, but got to the finish.  I got passed by quite a few people the last few km, and ended up 12th.  

On one hand I was disappointed to lead the race for so long and then fall out of the top 10, but am also happy I chose to finish.  I learned a lot from this race, and can continue to build on the training I have done and improve.

A few days removed, my leg is slowly getting better, but we will probably take it slow to get it back to 100%.  While there were a LOT of the positives on the day, Kona 2016 this year isn’t going to happen.  I think I’m ok with that.  Disappointed, but ok.  I am not going to rush into another Ironman and chase points at the expense of my long term development and possibly health.  So the new plan is that I am going to do some 70.3’s, go to 70.3 World Champs, and then do Ironman Arizona at the end of the year to start getting points for Kona 2017.  With where I am in my career I think this is a much better and more sustainable plan.

FInally I would like to say a huge thank you to the Wing family for being such an amazing homestay in the Woodlands! Y’all are the best! Loved our Good Luck cards from the boys race morning : ) Also, a huge thank you to my sponsors Ventum, Blueseventy, CorioVelo, Torhans, Skratch Labs, and Endurance Shield for their support. Thanks to the hubby for dealing with me during this hard training block….two people in one house training for the same Ironman is interesting! Shout out to Meredith Kessler for giving me a lot of advice before the race. I really appreciate it! And to all of our family, friends, and other supporters.. So many cheers during the race and we are so thankful for all of you!

A little pre-race ride with the hubby

Barrett on a little post race ride. Love the Wing family!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016



Miami Beach, Fla., – Ventum LLC today officially announces its roster of sponsored athletes for 2016. These top athletes will compete on the Ventum One, a triathlon racing bike that delivers greater results through radical design and better aerodynamics.
The roster consists of nine elite triathletes from across long distance racing, all of whom have multiple triathlon wins and podium finishes. Athletes joining the roster say the Ventum One’s extreme performance, achieved with a radical, aerodynamic design, no downtube, and an integrated 1.4-liter water tank is what makes the bike so attractive to ride.
“The Ventum One excels first and foremost in aerodynamics. The frame is designed to be more aerodynamic than standard triathlon bikes and the wind tunnel data confirms this,” says Kevin Collington, who raced on the Ventum One in 2015 as well. “Secondly, the built-in hydration is outstanding. With the Ventum, I know I will get to T2 (the transition from biking to running) hydrated, fueled, and ready to run.”
Other athletes using the Ventum One include: Leanda Cave, a four-time triathlon world champion; Cameron Dye, who last season won TriRock Philly for the fourth year in a row, and had podium finishes at IRONMAN Silverman 70.3 and IRONMAN 70.3 Timberman; Cody Beals, a relative newcomer to the professional scene who has become a regular on the podium and took his first win at IRONMAN 70.3 Eagleman in 2015; Eimear Mullen, who last season raced her way to a new Irish record at IRONMAN Barcelona; AJ Baucco, a coach and professional triathlete who won the Cleveland Triathlon in 2015; Lauren Brandon, who has a competitive swim background and took her first podium spot at IRONMAN 70.3 Calgary in 2015; Justin Daerr, a coach with multiple top-10 finishes and a win at IRONMAN Boulder in 2014; and Greg Close, a coach who has represented the U.S. at World Championships three times, earning a silver medal in 2007 and a world title in 2008.
Cameron Dye says he chose the Ventum One simply because it’s the fastest bike out there. “I have very lofty goals for myself, such as winning a world title. I think riding the fastest bike on the market can only enhance my chances of making those goals a reality.”
Triathlon has been gaining immense popularity over the past two decades, especially the long-distance IRONMAN triathlon competitions. The USA Triathlon Annual Membership Report shows 170,000 members in 2014. There are over 6 million worldwide participants, according to Triathlon Canada. Ventum’s response to the market is a race-ready bike for profesional and amateaur triathlon athletes alike.
“I have no excuse to not ride at my best aboard a Ventum,” says athlete Cody Beals. “There’s confidence in knowing that none of my competitors have a technological edge on me.”
About Ventum
Ventum is on a mission to build the world’s fastest racing bicycles, starting with the Ventum One. The Ventum One is a triathlon bicycle designed specifically for maximum performance in non-draft-legal races, including IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 triathlons. The Ventum One, inspired by fighter jets and Formula One race cars, eschews traditional bicycle frame design in favor of improved aerodynamics.
Ventum LLC was founded by Jimmy Seear and Diaa Nour. Seear is a professional triathlete and previously ranked #1 in the world. Together they are shaking up the triathlon bicycle market and changing how athletes think of fast bikes.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Ironman 70.3 Calgary and update...

First off, thank you for the pic Ironman 70.3 Calgary and for a wonderful weekend of racing.
Yesterday was a good day for me as I got my first 70.3 podium with a 3rd place finish. I really had no business racing since I have been injured and have not been able to run much, but it was the last race to get points towards World Championships so I decided to give it a go.
I was first out of the water and had a great bike and felt strong throughout the entire 90k. The last 30k of the bike was a tailwind which was quite fun after some tough hills. I came off of the bike in 2nd and wasn't sure if I would be able to run.
The past 3 months have been a little rough with some lower leg injuries. I finally took the last 2 weeks of June completely off of running, which helped get me healed up. I had a 2 week very small run build ( 20 min , 30 min, and 2 x 40 min runs leading into Vineman). Unfortunately after that race I got another injury which caused me to only be able to do 4 x 20 min runs these past 2 weeks leading into Calgary. Not quite ideal, but my goal was to qualify for Worlds this year and to do that I needed to race Calgary and get some more points since some of my races this year were not so good.
Luckily I was able to finish the run (not fast and not pretty smile emoticon , but I got it done and got enough points to get me on the bubble for World Champs. My qualification will depend on how many girls ahead of me decide to go/ not go. This is definitely not how I pictured my season going and having to wait to qualify with roll downs, but that's just the way it worked out this year.
Now it's time to get this leg healed, continue to get some great bike training in, and wait to see what happens with Worlds.
I plan on being in this sport for a long time, yes I'm just getting started, and I feel so lucky to have started some great relationships with wonderful supporters. Thanks y'all!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Raliegh 70.3

I am back from Raleigh 70.3 and I had a great weekend staying with my friends Steve Sexton and Jen Spieldenner. The race was not quite as fun as the rest of the weekend... 

The swim went well. I wore my Blueseventy PZ4TX for the first time and I swam only 14 seconds slower then the lead pack of men, so I guess the new swimskin works well! 

Got out on my bike, ready for the rolling hills, and planned to be a little bit more conservative the first half of the bike because of the hot/humid conditions and because I didn't want to explode the last part of the bike (like I have in other races). I lead until about half way and then Kessler and Holly Lawerence came by me. I stayed with them for quite a bit, but then really started to struggle. My watts dropped a lot, significantly lower than any other race, and I came off the bike in 3rd and knew it would be a struggle from the get go. 

No need to even go in depth about the run.. it consisted of jogging, walking, porta-potties, etc.
It is hard to mentally get over a race like this one, but you just have to get over it, tell yourself that it was nowhere near what you are capable of, and move on to the next one. 

Next up for both Barrett and I is 70.3 Eagleman (Cambridge, Maryland) in less than 2 weeks!
Cannot thank the following enough for the support

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ironman 70.3 Monterrey

Today's race report at Ironman 70.3 Monterrey, Mexico...
The swim was in this very shallow chlorinated canal with lots of fountains and statues, so it was very different then usual, but fun.
I had a bit of a lead coming out of the water and felt good when I got on the bike. I was able to keep the lead until about 80k (out of 90k). There were a lot of people to navigate through on the 2nd lap of the bike and I think everyone was just hoping not to crash since it was rainy and slick (especially on the cobblestones)! Towards the end of the bike, I got out of my shoes thinking transition was coming up, but then there was a downhill where everyone was going down (the rain on the cobblestones, plus some green algae substance caused quite the slippery slope). I had to get off my bike and walk it downhill, then up the hill, then get back on my bike since I had a few more blocks until transition. Good news is I didn't crash, bad news is a lot of time wasted.
I was 2nd out onto the run and felt better then in Dubai. About 4k or so in I was wondering if I was going the right way. The people at the aid stations wanted me to come to the other side of the caution tape, but I knew that wasn't right since obviously I had skipped some. Nobody spoke English, and my Spanish sucks, so I didn't know what to do. I kept running to where people told me to, but none of it was right. One of the pro men even told me to go the wrong way. Finally I asked someone who was possibly an official and he pointed where to go. So I ran across this field and got back on track (15 or more minutes later). Extremely frustrating to then be in the back of the women's field. I ran to the end of lap one and really wanted to stop. This is my 3rd time running 13 miles and since I ran a couple of extra, I wasn't sure if I could make it. Also with another race coming up, I wanted to be able to recover. But, I decided to suck it up, I need points to qualify for Worlds (especially since I had a mechanical in Pucon), so I finished. Obviously disappointed in myself for somehow missing where to turn, but I have another race coming up soon (Oceanside in 2 weeks). Another race means another opportunity to improve upon this whole longer distance racing smile emoticon
Thank you all for the continued support, especially The Island House, Blueseveny, CorioVelo, PowerBar, and TorHans! Hope to get one of these races right soon!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Challenge Dubai

Back in the states from a quick but successful trip to Dubai. I went into this race hoping to get a top 10 against a stellar field and pulled off 10th. 
It was a very windy race morning so we had quite the choppy swim. At the last minute, the swim course got changed to 2 laps and it was a bit difficult to navigate where you were going. I just looked forward a lot (every 2-4 strokes) so I could attempt to see the buoys : ) I was hoping to have a 20-30 second gap on the field after the swim so that I could get out of transition and settled onto the bike before the front pack of ladies caught me. I ended up with over a minute to the next girl so I had some extra time to get settled in.
I had forgotten my Garmin back in Texas, so I did not have my usual feedback of how many watts/ power I was pushing. I felt good on the bike and just tried to think about driving the pace up front and praying that my cracked seat stay (part of the bike) would hold together the entire ride. I didn't want everyone from home to witness a crash : ) The wind definitely made for a more "fun" ride as we had a huge tailwind, then some side winds with what felt like a sand storm, and then an awesome headwind for the last bit of the bike.
When I later got word that the time gap to the next girl was over a minute I was quite surprised. I thought that if I lead the bike at all, it would only be for the first 10k or so. I think around 70k (so over an hour and a half later), Daniela Ryf absolutely flew past me and I was just thinking , woof, I guess I'm going slow now. Then the next couple of girls flew past me too. I came off the bike in 5th, right behind Helle, and boy were my legs tired. haha...
The run was rough. The first 5k was in a head wind, which made it even more difficult. I had really been looking forward to running the half marathon because my run training has been going well. But, I sure struggled. I was happy to get a top 10 and stay in the $ : )
I think Challenge Dubai was a great race and I am so excited for this 2015 season. That was only my second half that I have finished so I know that there is still a lot to learn and improve upon.
Next up for me is Ironman 70.3 Monterrey, Mexico in two weeks.
I cannot thank The Island House, Blueseventy, Coriovelo, Powerbar, and Endurance Shield for their support and everyone who was cheering me on! I was quite overwhelmed with emotion the past 24 hours with all of the kind messages. Thank you!
And a HUGE thank you to such a wonderful homestay and friends that helped me out while I was in Dubai!