Liberty Triathlon “70.3” Race Report: Adversity Adventure

Hmmm…I have so many thoughts about this race, but I should probably start at the beginning. Be prepared for a LONG report about the sh*t show…errrr…adversity adventure that was the Liberty Triathlon “70.3” race! Grab your favorite beverage and dessert to enjoy while you get a feel for my experience.

When the Iron Hippie and I decided to sign up for the Liberty Triathlon 70.3 race, we were waffling back and forth between the Liberty Triathlon 70.3 and Ironman Wisconsin 70.3. We raced Ironman Wisconsin 70.3 last year (when it was non-branded) and knew it was a GREAT race, but had heard good things about Liberty Triathlon as well. We opted for the cheaper race…Liberty Triathlon 70.3 (remember this for later…you get what you pay for).

Pre-Race:

We finally received an email from the race director Thursday (our race was Saturday). This was rather late correspondence in my opinion, but at least I knew I was actually registered!

Liberty Triathlon – It’s getting hot in here!
Race day is coming up and it’s looking to be a hot one! Due to the expected temp on Saturday, we are allowing participants to transfer from the Long course to the Olympic course free of charge. Please email us at info@finalstretch to transfer your distance.

We will also have ice water and towels at the waters stops for participants to cool off.”

I had no intentions of transferring to the Olympic distance event, so I ignored it, packed my bags and was ready to leave Friday morning. I checked my email Friday morning before packing up All. The. Gear. for two athletes into the vehicle. We had an updated message from the race director:

Liberty Triathlon – Note from the Race Director
Changes due to Weather for Liberty Triathlon

Do to the 103 plus extreme heat index for Saturday there is going to be changes to the timetable for the Long Course participants. This change is not only for the athletes but all the volunteers that will be out on the course helping direct runners and manning the water stops.

Olympic will stay the same.

Long Course

1. Swim will be the same
2. Bike will be the same
3. You must be in from the bike no later than 12:30 pm to continue on the run
4. If you get in from the bike from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, you will be required to run the 6.2 mile (10K) run course. This is so that all runners are in from the run by no later than 2:00 pm when the heat index gets very high.

Thank you everyone for your understanding with this difficult weather situation.

Questions: email info@finalstretch.com

What?! NOOOO!! With wave starts, this did not offer an equal opportunity for ALL athletes! Since my swim wave was not scheduled to go off until 7:45 am, I would have to finish the 1.2 mile swim + 56 mile bike in 3:45…doable, but with the extreme heat we should be conserving energy to avoid dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. I immediately emailed the race director and asked them to consider starting the race earlier (even 7 am would give us an additional 30 minutes) to allow more time for all athletes to have a fair shake at meeting this 11:30 am cut off. Here was their response:

“We’ve considered it. Due to other factors including permits, set up, police, volunteers, medical staff, and out of town athletes, we are not able to start the race any earlier.”

In actuality, they could have applied for an emergency change in the permits, but they didn’t want to mess with it. I get it (not really)…so I emailed them again and asked them if they would consider combining swim waves since they were encouraging people to switch from the long course to the Olympic course. Nope…not happening:

“We will not be combining swim waves. If enough people switch to the Olympic course, we will shorten the time between waves from 3 minutes to 2 or 2.5 minutes between waves to get people in the water sooner.”

Ok, so they are not willing to make accommodations for athletes to make this a fair experience for ALL athletes. Now the question is do I stick to my race plan knowing I will likely miss this time cut-off, or do I put the hammer down and try to make the time cut-off?! I decided to wait to talk to Coach Kelly about this until after I had checked in at packet pick-up to make sure there weren’t any more changes being made (good thing I waited…more changes to come).

The 3+ hour commute to the race site was uneventful. After checking out the lake and checking into our hotel, it was time to go to packet pick-up (which was at our hotel). While waiting in line, the first lady said there was another change to the 11:30 time cut-off. We now had to finish the 1.2 mile swim, the 56 mile bike, and get to 3.1 miles on the run by 11:30 in order to be able to continue for the full 13.1 miles. I IMMEDIATELY spoke up! “This is not what the email said and they have NOT communicated this with the athletes in any email. This is not acceptable!” The lady at the 2nd table knew many of the athletes in the line were frustrated. She called the race director for clarification and relayed his new decision to us:

We actually had until 3.1 miles on the run to catch the sag bike that would leave transition with the last cyclist to arrive into T2 at 11:30. If you are a strong runner, this will give you an opportunity to continue even if you get into T2 after the 11:30 time. This also meant if you were not a strong runner, you may get passed by the sag bike even if you made the 11:30 time cut into T2…HELLO SH*T SHOW!!!

Grrr…now it is time to call Coach Kelly! After eating Mexican food at El Azteca in Plymouth, MN, I relayed all of this information to Coach Kelly and said, “What do I do? Do I put the hammer down and try to make the time cut-off, or do I stick to my race plan?” Coach was LIVID with the decisions the race director had made. This was not only unfair to all athletes, it encouraged athletes to push harder and risk dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke on a day when we should be conserving a bit more than normal. Since this was not my “A” race for 2017, I was told to stick to the race plan and if I didn’t make the 11:30 time cut-off or catch the bike, it would still be a good training day…hello 97F heat index and 20-25 mph sustained winds with gusts up to 35 mph from the SSW.

Ok…I have a plan and know what I need to do.

I received the BEST email from my Coeur Sports tribe:

“WISHING YOU ALL KINDS OF GOODNESS ON RACE DAY!!
Rumor has it you have a race coming up.
Well, the Coeur Cowbell Team is ringing their bell (virtually, because otherwise the neighbors get annoyed) for you!
We hope your race is all that you wished for and more.
Heart and Courage my friend!
Let us know how it went!”

I told you this would be a long post, but I’m finally to race day! ūüôā

Race Day:

The alarm went off at 3:45 am. After eating my typical pre-race breakfast (muesli + peanut butter + Pure Clean Beet Powder and Karma Kombucha), donning my beautiful Coeur Sports race kit, and loading the car with all the gear, it was time to travel the 30 minutes to Lake Rebecca.

The sh*t show continued when we got to the race site…we could set up our transition area where ever we wanted, no one was making announcements, (What was the water temperature? Was the water wetsuit legal?), and no one seemed to know where body marking was. There was no one working the entrances to the transition area, so anyone could enter (including spectators). I’ve experienced this at smaller local races, but NEVER at a 70.3 event!

Mojo is ready for a fun day on a new playground!

After setting up our transition area and relaxing at the car for a bit, it was time to put on the wetsuit (I had found the one and only USAT referee earlier who said the water was wetsuit legal) and head to the lake for a short pre-race swim and the pre-race informational meeting on the shore at 7:15 am. Thankfully I saw my Coeur sister, Megan, before the race and she gave me a quick hug. This is just what I needed to calm the climbing nerves. We were reminded of the changes to the time cut-offs, told there would be ice, wet rags, water, and heed at every aid station on the run. We were also informed that there would be 2 minutes between wave starts instead of the original 3 minutes. After the National Anthem, it was time to line up on the beach for the race start. One more quick hug on the beach from Megan and we were ready for the swim!

These waters look much calmer than they actually were when we got into them!

Swim: 51:10 for 1.2 miles at 2:26/100 yard pace

The first wave (Elites/Athenas/Clydesdales) was supposed to start at 7:30 am, but it was delayed because of other athletes swimming back to shore from their warm-up. So…my swim wave (women 40+) started at 7:42 am (3 minutes before the originally scheduled time). With the winds already at 20 mph, the lake was very choppy, and we were swimming straight into the chop on the way to the turn around buoys. It was rough! Hello first open water swim of the year…yep…on race day! I started out trying to swim with bilateral breathing, but that was short lived. I couldn’t get in a rhythm that allowed me to breathe and not consume 1/2 of the lake water because of the waves crashing back into my face. Like all of the other swimmers, I fought my way to the turn around buoys,¬†and then got a free ride on the waves back to transition. Throughout the entire swim, I just kept telling myself to enjoy the adversity adventure that was just beginning! Learn from it, grow from it, and keep moving forward! This was officially my slowest swim time on a 1.2 mile distance EVER!

T1: 2:27

After quickly making my way to my bike, getting a random stranger out of the way of my bike (he was just hanging out in the transition right in front of my transition area…not sure what he was doing in there), stripping out of my wetsuit, throwing on my helmet, socks, and bike shoes, I was out of the transition area and on the bike!

Bike: 3:16:09 for 56 miles at 17.1 mph average speed

The first 10-12 miles were straight SSW into the headwind that had picked up since the swim start. The winds were now closer to 22-25 mph sustained winds, with gusts up to 35 mph and boy could we feel it! Let the adversity adventure continue! Mojo and I just buckled down, found our groove, and sang our way to the turn. Once we turned, the cross wind was SO strong that I got blown off the road twice! I screamed out loud that I wish I weighed about 100 pounds more so I would stay on the road (but later found out from the Iron Hippie that the extra weight didn’t help him either…). Only a few short miles to the turn and a tailwind! Hello 25+ mph speeds climbing up a hill in my most challenging gear…you are a VERY welcome sight! Unfortunately we had to do the loop again, so back into the headwind we went! Let the singing commence…

  • “I feel good”
  • “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
  • “Full throttle, wide open, you get tired and you don’t show it, dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more, that’s the only way I know”
  • “Vanilla ice ice baby”…I was dreaming of ice and cold temperatures at this point as the outdoor temps were really climbing
  • “I saw the sign”…HELLO HWY 10 sign + tailwind all the way back to transition! What a welcome sign!

I also may have startled other athletes by screaming “Wahoo! St. Bonifacius you are a welcome sight! No more headwind!” Hee!! Hee!! Let the adversity adventure continue!

T2: 1:41

After cruising into transition and learning that I was between 1 and 2 miles behind the sag bike (it was after 11:50 am), I decided to leave my hydration bottle in transition and run hard for the 10K that I was going to be forced to run.

Run: 1:01:17 for a 10K at an average pace of 9:53/mile

As I exited transition, I ran into my Coeur sister Megan! She stopped at the loo, and I continued on my way! I was pushing a bit harder than I should have been. My heart rate was high…too high! I periodically walked to get my HR back to a respectable beat. I took in Base Salt and water at every aid station, but there was NO ice or rags at any of the aid stations on the run like the race director said there would be. Let the adversity adventure continue! Then at mile 2, I caught the sag bike. What?! How did I catch him? I decided to walk for a minute and ask the athlete how I had caught up with him. In briefly chatting with him, I learned that he had decided to walk the entire first 5K to give as many of the women an opportunity to make the decision to run the 1/2 marathon if they wanted to since our swim waves started so late. I thanked him for allowing me to make this decision and ran on. Shortly after this, I saw the Iron Hippie heading back and quickly learned he was only doing the 10K by choice. As I ran to the 5K mark, I did some thinking and data analysis…could I run the full 1/2 marathon? Yes, but I had no hydration with me (I left it in transition remember?!), there was no ice or rags at the aid stations, it was HOT and only getting hotter, and this was not my “A” race. Coach Kelly told me to not end up dehydrated, with heat stroke, with heat exhaustion, or hyponatremic…it would prolong my recovery. Based on all of the data I had in my arsenal, I opted to turn around and only do the 10K run. As I crossed the finish line, I was happy with my decision to turn around, but was immediately disappointed because there was no water at the finish line for the athletes. SERIOUSLY?! What an adversity adventure…or is it a sh*t show?!

Since it doesn’t say “70.3” on it, I guess I can keep it.

Overall: 5:12:43 for 63.4 miles

I set a PR on a new distance (since I didn’t do the official 70.3)…63.4 miles. I got to meet some amazing new athletes and ladies decked out in Coeur tri kits. I overcame a lot of adversity that was mostly out of my control. I learned that you get what you pay for! I’m disappointed that the race director did not make the time cut-offs equal for all participants and I’m very disappointed in the lack of care for the athletes at this race. Many athletes were in the med tent at the end of the race…likely because they pushed too hard in the heat and wind to make time cut-offs, but not having ice and rags/sponges at the aid stations on the run definitely didn’t help. I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed. The timing company was separate from the racing company. They were very angry with how things were handled as well. All athletes who ran the 10K were disqualified…whether they were forced to only run the 10K (because of the rule the race director implemented) or because they chose to. I ended up spending about 30 minutes helping the timing company figure out who had actually run the full 1/2 marathon in all of the age groups before the award ceremony, because the man in charge of the timing was VERY frustrated! If someone were to pay for my entry into this race in the future, I would turn it down. I want to support smaller, local races, but not at the expense of the athletes and their safety!

The heat index was 97F with sustained winds of 22-25 mph and gusts up to 35 mph. It was a rough day! Not what we’ve trained for, but we each set a new PR since we did a new distance…

Well, that’s a wrap! My adversity adventure or sh*t show…

22 weeks ’til #IMMT: Spring Break

This week I was on spring break! That means only 11 more weeks until summer break…but who’s counting?! I had a lot of training + life balance + no stress this week. And. It. Was. SUPER FANTABULOUS!

Swim: 6200 yards

Monday I had a long swim and I was intimidated by it. Not only was it a long workout, but there was a lot of intensity built into it. I had self-doubt before the swim, but I stood at the edge of the pool and washed the self-doubt away. I changed the negative thoughts into positive ones. I went faster than expected, and CRUSHED this workout!

Erasing self-doubt before + during my swim!

Wednesday I had a tough swim. 3 x (8 x 50) with a goal speed of 46 seconds/50 and 23 seconds rest between. I hit my target for¬†the first 2 x (8 x 50), but started to fall off during the last set. The 1st 50 of the 3rd set was slower than 46 seconds, but I nailed the 2nd one. 3 & 4 were slower than 46 seconds, so I swam the last 4 at a comfortable pace. After my power test on Tuesday, I was super happy to be¬†able to hold onto the 46 second pace for as long as I could. Coach Kelly was happy too! “Wow! Oh, you’re going to crush that swim CSS test coming up. Wow!”

Pesky little tempo trainer!

Bike: 75.5 miles

WOW! I don’t even know how to describe how happy I am about the progress I have made on the bike and this week proved it! #TimeTrialTuesday proved to be a day of HUGE gains for me on the bike! I had an FTP challenge and I CRUSHED it! Going into the first 5 minute all out session, I was hoping to hold my power at or above 215 watts (this is the top end of my z5). I surpassed my expectations by holding 222 watts during that first 5 minutes. After a 10 minute easy spin, I then had a 20 minute FTP, where I was hoping to maintain 195 watts. I ended up pushing 197 watts for the duration and was so excited! This was the first time that I can truly say I left everything I had on the bike…so much so that when I was done, my legs were trashed! I worked so hard! I overcame self-doubt, the “pain” in my legs, and the negative thoughts that would creep into my mind. And. It. Feels. SUPER FANTABULOUS!

#TimeTrialTuesday resulted in a 10 watt improvement in my FTP!

I had an easy ride on Wednesday and followed this up with a high intensity ride on Thursday. Since I was working off of my new power numbers, this was a tough ride, but I successfully achieved each of my interval goals and that is something to smile about!

When your power numbers improve, it means you have to lower your head and work harder than you’re used to!

Saturday I had a 2 hour ride with a variety of pace changes throughout. And. It. Was. Tough! With an increase in my FTP earlier this week, it meant I had to work even harder. My mind was all in, but my legs just wouldn’t turn over and it didn’t matter how much I tried to convince them otherwise. I am INCREDIBLY¬†grateful to Coach Kelly for understanding me, challenging me, supporting me, believing in me, and reminding me of the following: “You WILL inevitably “fail” some sessions. ¬†You must. ¬†If you don’t, you won’t know your limits. ¬†What you can handle…and then go to them to expand them out further. I take your long term goals seriously, so expect to be pushed. ¬†You’re going to need a series of mini breakthroughs to progress to high levels. Part of that will be days like this. If I give you an easier program you’ll feel good all the time for sure “crushing” every session…but as I once said to a coach… “I want to BE better, not feel better!” ¬†:-)” I agree with Coach Kelly! I don’t want the¬†easy road! I WANT to be challenged! I WANT to be pushed out of my comfort zone! I WANT to push my limits to find new ones! I expect to fail…that is part of the learning + growing process! I want to BE better, not just feel better!

Sometimes you ride the struggle bus, but you always grow, learn, and get stronger in the process!

Run: 18.8 miles

I am have been working on increasing my run volume this week, by running 5 days this week. Nothing super long, but running more to increase my run volume. The week started with some really cold temperatures, but thankfully warmed up a bit by the weekend! From snow on Monday to shorts and a tank top on Sunday??? Yep! Welcome to Iowa! ūüėČ

Found the worlds smallest snowman while running Tuesday!
Running with the sunrise on Wednesday morning…so cold my eyelashes froze!
This was one of my longest run in a while!
New Newton Kismets! YES! Like butter on my feet!
Trying to get some color on this pasty white body + soak up some vitamin D!

Strength Training: 2 hours & 45 minutes + 10 minutes of core strength daily

I had some good variety in strength training this week. Tuesday was mostly core work after my FTP challenge, Thursday was full body strength and core while I taught TRX and Sunday I reconnected with my mat at yoga…MUCH NEEDED!

Reconnecting with my mat was MUCH NEEDED!

Weekly Totals: 13 hours & 36 minutes

Weekly Positives:

It was spring break week, so I got to load up on the training, get some appointments taken care of, take the occasional afternoon nap, and enjoy some downtime.

Thanks to Coach Kelly’s guidance, I have made some HUGE mental gains this week in overcoming self-doubt, changing the negative channel in my head¬†to a positive one, and that has translated quite well to my training…HELLO 10 watt increase in my FTP + swim gains!!

This is my vision for Ironman Mont Tremblant!

Sushi with friends = perfection!

I had some amazing deliveries this week! Thanks to Breakthrough Nutrition, Karma Kombucha, and Sound Probiotics for keeping us happy + healthy!

Breakthrough Nutrition FTW!
Sound Probiotics = FTW DOUBLE WIN!

I had a massage! Thanks Nick at Vitality Massage for keeping my muscles happy + healthy!

When your massage therapist says, “You have dense muscles, which is awesome! That means you’re strong!” Thanks Nick for making a girl feel good!

Mom and Dad came to visit for the weekend. The four of us enjoyed Jersey Boys…such an AMAZING¬†show!

Quote of the Week:

“You WILL inevitably “fail” some sessions. ¬†You must. ¬†If you don’t, you won’t know your limits.” ~Coach Kelly Hadiaris

Week 2 with Coach Kelly: Testing + Testing

I wrapped up last week with a run test, but that wasn’t the end of my testing…hello FTP test on the bike and swim time trial.

Monday:

I had planned to get up early to complete my run and strength training before work so that I could have a free evening, but sleep took precedence. When I woke up at 4 am and knew that I could complete both workouts after work in plenty of time, I decided to go back to sleep for 2 more hours. After a full day of work, I went home, ran and completed my strength training.

DCIM100GOPROG0017413.
Sunset #runlove
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Strength training with the Iron Hippie post running

Tuesday:

I had a FTP test on the bike to start my Tuesday! I was very excited, yet nervous to see how much bike fitness I’d lost since Ironman Wisconsin. The bad news…I lost more bike fitness than I’d hoped. The good news…I didn’t lose as much bike fitness as I thought I had. The even better news…Coach Kelly says that my power results for my 5 minute and 20 minute tests indicate that I am “well balanced in your abilities.¬†This balance you already have is good news in my opinion! : )”

FTP test...not where I want to be, but better than where I thought I was.
FTP test…I am not where I once was, but I’m recovered and ready to work hard to surpass where I once was!! Lots of #courageovercomfort and #nevergiveup needed on this ride!!

After a full day of work, I met with a friend who is signing up for her first Ironman in 2017. She picked my brain about all things Ironman from a first timer’s perspective and it was so much fun! I’m super excited for her and her 2017 journey! It is so fun to share my passion with others!

Wearing my CEP Compression tights with my dress clothes all day long.
Wearing my CEP Compression tights with my dress clothes all day long.
This! Everyone should train + race + live clean!
This! Everyone should train + race + live clean! #cleansportco

Wednesday:

I started my day with some #swimlove. I love chlorine therapy in the morning! It is the perfect way to wake up ūüôā

#chlorinetherapy
#chlorinetherapy

After a full day of work and running a few errands on my way home, I hopped on the bike for an easy recovery ride!

Easy spin!
Easy spin!

Thursday:

Good morning run on our first frigid morning of the season…hello -8F windchill! I think this means treadmill time!

"You aren't going to find anybody that's going to be successful without making a sacrifice and without perseverance." ~Lou Holtz
“You aren’t going to find anybody that’s going to be successful without making a sacrifice and without perseverance.” ~Lou Holtz

After a full day of work, I worked with two personal training clients and then taught TRX before eating dinner and crawling into bed for the last day of my work week.

TRX FTW!!
TRX FTW!!

Friday:

Good morning #chlorinetherapy on this cold morning (-3F windchill)! I really wanted to pull the covers up over my head when the alarm went off and stay in bed with my dreams, but I decided to get up and work hard during my swim time trial to turn my dreams into a reality instead!

Working hard to turn my dreams into a reality with some #chlorinetherapy
Working hard to turn my dreams into a reality with some #chlorinetherapy

After a run test last Saturday + bike test Tuesday + swim test this morning, I had a much needed massage after work! OUCH!

After a run test + bike test + swim test in a week's time, a massage was definitely needed! Thanks to Nick at Vitality Massage for keeping me injury free! #recoveryisimportant
After a run test + bike test + swim test in a week’s time, a massage was definitely needed! Thanks to Nick at Vitality Massage for keeping me injury free! #recoveryisimportant

Saturday:

I woke up to an endurance ride and strength session in my Coeur Sports Kona kit…after all, #IMKona is going to air on NBC this afternoon.¬†#dreambelieveachieve

Dreaming of #IMKona on this snowy morning!
Dreaming of #IMKona on this snowy morning!
Dreaming of #IMKona on this snowy morning!
Dreaming of #IMKona on this snowy morning!

After getting a Karma Kombucha delivery (12 cases) to our house, I went for a 25 minute run in my new Hoka One One Claytons in the snow. I think I’ll be a Clifton girl as I felt some rubbing in the arches of both feet during such a short time. I’ve heard this is a common problem with this model.

Running in the snow on the golf course is the best!
Running in the snow on the golf course is the best!

I spent the afternoon watching #IMKona on NBC and then traveling to Kyle’s Bikes to pick up the Iron Hippie’s bike that was getting some TLC! We spent the evening relaxing and enjoying quality family time.

Sunday:

I woke up so grateful for a¬†good night’s sleep and warm enough temps that I could run outside again today. After running to the grocery store before all the post church goers, I went to the pool and had a much better swim than I expected! It was fun to play in the pool afterwards also…this is what I do to keep my swims fun!

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Dive down and coast along the bottom!

After swimming, I came home with swim brain…yep, I tried to fill my water bottle with the lid still on it. It didn’t work very well! I ate a granola bar, changed clothes, and went out for my run. With the snow we’ve gotten in the last couple of days, I decided to take my run to the golf course to prevent slipping and to have fun running with my girl and our friends’ dog (the Golden).

Running the golf course with my girl + bonus #puppylove
Running the golf course with my girl + bonus #puppylove
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Some solo running along the rive path! #runlove

After running, it was time to Eat. All. The. Food. I was so hungry!! I enjoyed some quiet, relaxing time most of the afternoon as the Iron Hippie went to an ISU basketball game with a friend. At 4 pm, I joined my Coeur Sports Ambassadors for a conference call. These amazing women are so inspirational and enCOEURaging!! I’m so pumped for 2017!! After my conference call, we prepped food for the coming week and relaxed before bed.

Week 2 with Coach Kelly is in the books and a success!!

Weekly Totals: 10 hours & 16 minutes

Swim: 6700 yards
Bike: 42.9 miles
Run: 14.6 miles
Strength Training: 1 hour & 55 minutes + 10 minutes of core work daily

Quote of the Week:

“Small daily ‚Äď seemingly insignificant ‚Äď improvements and innovations lead to staggering achievements over time.‚ÄĚ ~ Robin Sharma

Ironman Wisconsin: Gratitude for My Tribe

I have so much to be grateful for!! I am beyond grateful that my body is healthy and allows me to push it to limits I would have never thought possible 5 years ago, but I can’t do it alone!! People often think of Ironman racing as an individual sport, but there are SO many people who have helped me on my journey and I couldn’t do it without their support!!

Family and Friends…

I am so blessed to have the most amazing and supportive family!¬†Dad made the trip to Madison to cheer us on since he was in the area for work earlier in the week. He has kayaked beside me while I swim (both in training and swim racing), keeping me safe and on track. My sister and twin nieces cheered me on at the finish line of the Okoboji Triathlon earlier this year as well. Mom has had many tasty meals ready for us to consume after workouts and has cheered me on to 2 Ironman finish lines over the years. My sole sister has joined me on bike rides and runs throughout my training and has encouraged and motivated me to do and be my best! Our girlfriends Sue and Michele are amazing! I’m so grateful for their¬†support and encouragement of us and our crazy lifestyle! My Coeur Sports Teammies have been inspiring and motivating me virtually for 2 years now. I was super lucky to have a few of them out on the course cheering me on (and many others on) in person…so much fun to see them all over the course! My family and friends are always inquiring¬†about how my training is going and what race I am doing next. I am a lucky girl to have their support!!

Thanks to Dad and Tom for being our kayak support for the 3.5 mile Okoboji open water swim event!
Thanks to Dad and Tom for being our kayak support for the 3.5 mile Okoboji open water swim event!
#solesister + #bikelove = #perfectworld
#solesister + #bikelove = #perfectworld

My Sponsors…

Coeur Sports is hands down the best women’s SBR (swim/bike/run)¬†brand¬†on the market!! They have created #stylishspeed¬†that keeps my girly bits happy…even while covering 140.6 miles. #noangrykitty here!! As a Coeur Sports ambassador, I get the privilege of being a part of an AMAZING¬†team of women who are supportive, inspirational and genuinely full of #heartandcourage! I am so lucky to get the opportunity to enCOEURage¬†more women in endurance sport,¬†experience the ups and downs¬†they encounter while on their journey and witness their joy when they reach new¬†finish lines!! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!

I am forever grateful for¬†Kyle and the Kyle’s Bikes crew, who have kept Mojo happy throughout training and on race day! You are always there for me when I frantically call or text, so thank you for talking me off a ledge and immediately getting Mojo fixed up when she has a mechanical issue!! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!

So glad two of my favorite worlds have collided! :)
So glad two of my favorite worlds have collided…Kyle’s Bikes and Coeur Sports! ūüôā

Sound Probiotics¬†has been keeping me healthy and on track for almost 2 years. Before taking Sound Probiotics, I would end up¬†sick during the taper and often times once or twice during training…especially since I teach middle schoolers and am always surrounded by germs. Thanks to Sound Probiotics for my #happygut, enhanced immunity¬†and better recovery¬†throughout my training and racing experience!! After all, #winningtakesguts!

Karma Kombucha¬†has been a daily staple in my diet since it’s birth…5 years now! They help keep my gut happy and healthy everyday! Drinking my booch before starting the marathon during Ironman Wisconsin definitely helped set me up for a great run!

So grateful to Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics for keeping me healthy while I train hard and start a new school year!
So grateful to Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics for keeping me healthy while I train hard and race harder!

One of the many perks of being a Coeur Sports ambassador is getting support from other amazing companies as well. Roka Sports,¬†Smith Optics¬†and Base Performance¬†are three of the companies that have helped make my training and race experience so awesome!! Ironman Wisconsin¬†was a wetsuit legal swim, so I donned my Maverick Elite wetsuit and my X1 goggles!! The Roka wetsuit works with my body instead of against it, making each swim stroke feel easy!! I absolutely LOVE the Roka goggles!! If you haven’t tried them, you definitely should…they are the BEST!! This year I tried the Smith Optics PivLock Arena sunnies and ABSOLUTELY love them!! What a game changer on the bike and run!! Speaking of game changer…Base Salt has definitely helped me better prevent hyponatremia (which I’ve experienced during 2 of my 5 Ironman races). Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU to you all!!

My Triathlon Peeps…

I am one of the luckiest ladies around! I have a slew of support, inspiration, and motivation from my triathlon people…both in person and virtually! Thank you to all of the people who called, texted, emailed, Facebook messaged me, tweeted me, commented on my blog posts, commented on my Instagram pictures and tracked my progress both while training and on race day! You all ROCK!!

Nick has been keeping my body well recovered through massage for almost 3 years. He knows all of my problem areas and knows just what to do to keep my body (and ultimately my mind) happy and healthy! Thank you Nick for restoring the damage I do as I swim/bike/run my way to countless finish lines! Vitality Massage is definitely where recovery is at!!

The Iron Hippie…

My fave has been by my side for millions of swim strokes and the countless views as we’ve covered¬†thousands and thousands of miles on two wheels and pounding the pavement.¬†You are my #1 cheerleader and have supported me on this crazy journey of life and the even crazier journey of triathlon. I love you and am forever grateful for your love and support. What crazy journey should we take on next?!?!?!?

Countless laps next to my fave!
Countless laps next to my fave!
Many miles on two wheels with my fave!
Thousands of miles on two wheels with my fave!
Pounding the pavement for hundreds of miles with my fave!
Pounding the pavement for hundreds of miles with my fave!

Ironman Wisconsin 2016 Race Report

Wow! Just Wow! This pretty much sums up my race! It was exactly 5 years after my first Ironman race, which also happened to be 9/11 and at Wisconsin. The tribute to those first responders and military personnel who have sacrificed their lives and continue to risk their lives is always special at Ironman Wisconsin on 9/11. This year was no different, but the weather surely was…it was PR weather and that is just what I had on this course, by over 40 minutes! Here’s how my day unfolded…

Swim // 1:23:10

I made my way into the water with plenty of time to float in my wetsuit, listen to the sounds of race morning, and enjoy the sunrise over Lake Monona. While the National Anthem was being sung, a fire boat was spraying water in salute to the 9/11 victims + ¬†first responders and military personnel…both past and present.

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Let’s go swim! Photo Credit: Doree Harding
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Swimmers lined up to swim, the fire boat sprayed water, and the sun rose over Lake Monona…It must be Ironman Wisconsin race morning! Photo Credit: Sue Fink
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Those aren’t seagulls in the water…This is the Ironman Wisconsin swim start! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

When the canon went off, the most brutal swim I’ve ever participated in ensued. There was a lot of contact, there was some very unsportsmanlike conduct from participants, and many athletes who struggled to hold a straight line on the swim course. I got kicked so hard in the goggles at one point, that I was convinced I would have a black eye…I didn’t even know I was on anyone’s feet when I got hit. I saw many familiar sites while swimming that warm my heart…Monona Terrace, the condo we stay in 2 blocks from the Terrace, The Capitol Building, John Nolan Drive…so much love. As I rounded the first turn buoy, I could clearly hear lots of athletes “moo” as they rounded the corner. For those new to IMWI, this is a tradition. I was hoping the contact would subside after the first turn buoy, but it didn’t. It was present throughout the entire swim. As I eventually came into the swim finish, I was super happy to be leaving the rugby game behind me!

Swim Gear: Roka Sports Maverick Elite Wetsuit, Roka Sports X1 goggles in light vermilion, Coeur Sports triathlon shorts and top

Swim Nutrition: Motts fruit chews and water 40 minutes before the race start

T1 // 10:32

I quickly had my wetsuit down to my butt and two AMAZING volunteers pulled it off the rest of the way. Having done this race twice before, I knew to keep my heart rate low as I ran up the helix and into transition. It was SO AWESOME to see my tribe cheering for me as I ran up the helix and into transition…Doree at wetsuit stripping, Dad, our girlfriends Sue and Michele,¬†fellow Coeur Sports Ambassadors Erin, Kendra, and Megan, and Nick (Erin’s man)…so much love!! After quickly putting on my triathlon aero top, socks, bike shoes, helmet, and sunnies, and kissing our girlfriend Kari on the cheek, I was out the door and through transition to spend the next few hours with Mojo!

I'm SO happy to be out of that rugby game! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
I’m SO happy to be out of that rugby game! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
My Coeur Sports Tribe! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
My Coeur Sports Tribe! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

Bike // 7:28:31

The first few miles of the bike course at Ironman Wisconsin are always crowded…lots of turning, some rolling hills, and tons of spectators. I felt great as I left Madison and headed out on the stem toward Verona. I felt strong for the first loop of the bike course, but also knew I should conserve a bit as the IMWI is challenging and it can bite you on the run if you push too hard early on during the bike. I decided to ride slightly under my goal watts into Mt. Horeb and pick it up from there. I was very grateful for all of the spectators on the long climb¬†into Mt. Horeb!! They were cheering and partying as we climbed into town!! Leaving town meant riding on¬†Ribbon Road (Witte Road)…weeeeee!! I love this road!! So much fun!! After descending Garfoot, the course¬†changed a bit from the well known Ironman Wisconsin loop because of¬†road construction. This meant we missed a REALLY rough stretch of road, but we encountered a new challenge…Barlow hill. Thankfully we had climbed this in training and I knew what I was getting into. With the top of the hill tapping out at ~21% grade, I wasn’t sure if I would walk the hill because of the potential for falling off my bike due to other athletes walking/going slowly up the hill, or ride nice and STEADY up the hill to the top while trying not to let my power output get too high. With my Coeur Sports tribe hanging out on the hill and cheering us on, as well as lots of other spectators, I knew I would make it to the top sitting in my saddle and riding nice and SLOW to the top!

Kendra cheering on athletes on Barlow Hill! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
Kendra cheering on athletes on Barlow Hill! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
Riding up Barlow Hill with the cheers of Thing 1, Thing 2, and my Coeur Sports Tribe. Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
Riding up Barlow Hill with the cheers of Thing 1, Thing 2, and my Coeur Sports Tribe. Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

Shortly after Barlow, I dropped my chain on Mineral Point Road. I quickly fixed it and continued my ride through Pine Bluff and back into Verona.¬†I was lucky to high five Dad before stopping for my bike special needs at about mile 60 and making my way back into Mt. Horeb with some headwinds fighting me a bit. This was when I stopped to regroup and refill my bike nutrition bottles for the rest of the bike ride. Next up…Ribbon Road (Witte Road)…weeee…down, up, down, up, down, up!! The second loop was different from the first…thankfully we didn’t have to relive Barlow Hill on this loop. Aside from lots of athletes screaming too quickly down hills and crashing (many getting hauled off into ambulances), the second bike loop was uneventful…well, except for getting passed by the Iron Hippie at mile 87. This is a HUGE feat for me…two years ago he passed me at mile 35 and in 2011 he passed me at mile 58. I was super pumped to have held him off this long!! He is a much stronger climber than I and with over 6000 feet of climbing, this course is ideal for hims strengths!! Returning to Verona for the second time felt so good…it was time to return to Madison with a tailwind. WAHOO!! Climbing the helix back into transition is one of the best feelings…it is time to run!! Oh wait a minute…hello bike PR on this course…you are a welcome sight!

Bike Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, top, and aero top, Specialized Transition Bike (Mojo), Specialized S-Works Evade Helmet, Smith Optics PivLock Arena Sunnies, Specialized bike shoes

Bike Nutrition: Osmo Hydration (3 bottles with 210 calories per bottle), Chex only from Chex mix, Motts fruit Chews, water

T2 // 6:06

The volunteers in Madison are AMAZING!! Have I mentioned this already?! After hearing Dad cheer me on and handing Mojo over to a volunteer, I ran into transition to grab my run bag and then was blessed to get to hug our girlfriend Michele (she was directing men and women to different changing rooms) as I ran into T2. My blessings didn’t end here, our girlfriend Sue helped me quickly strip off my aero top, switch my socks and shoes, drink my Karma Kombucha Ginger Orange, and sent me out the door to run.

Run // 5:25:52

My run started off great! I felt good, strong, relaxed, and ready to rock this course! I love this run course and was so pumped to get to cheer my¬†Coeur Sports teammie on to 3rd place pro female as I was approaching mile 2. Way to go Katie…so proud of you!! As I entered Camp Randall shortly before mile 3, the Iron Hippie was leaving, so I knew I was only about 0.25 miles behind him. Could I catch him?! I have before! He also noticed I wasn’t far behind him and we both stepped on the gas…apparently his gas was a bit more than mine, because I didn’t catch him. Other than walking through the aid stations, I kept cruising to Observatory Hill, where I had intentionally planned to walk. I chatted with a few other athletes as we climbed to the top and then I started running again down the other side. I ran up State Street receiving lots of love from people I didn’t even know, and headed back out toward Lake Mendota. The Base Performance tent that was along the lake shore trail was loud and amazing!! So full of energy and kept me going strong!! At about mile 10, I was headed back toward the finish area (only to have to go back out for loop 2). This is when my stomach decided to start cramping up. I wished I had more¬†Karma Kombucha Ginger Orange to help settle my stomach, but I had to settle for Coca-Cola and orange slices to break up the mess. I gave Dad a quick hug on State Street, saw Erin and Nick by the Capitol, headed into the finish shoot, only to turn around a cone and head back out for loop #2.

Running strong! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
Running strong! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

I stopped briefly at my run special needs bag long enough to wipe my face off with a wet rag and then keep moving. Ahhh…it feels so good to wipe the salt and sweat from my face at the halfway point of the marathon!! It wasn’t nearly as fast as the first few miles, but I was still moving forward…running when I could and walking when I had to. Finally by about mile 17 my stomach started to come around and I finally felt like I could run a bit more than I had been the last 7 miles. That is the good part about Ironman…when things go bad, they will eventually turn around and become good again at some point….even if it happens when you cross the finish line. As I came back toward the Capitol for the last time, I knew my goal of breaking 14 hours was not going to happen, but I also knew I would PR this course and not just by a little bit!

Run Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, top, visor, and race belt, Brooks Pure Flow shoes

Run Nutrition: grapes, orange slices, Coca-Cola, chicken broth, water, Base Salt

Overall Finish // 14:34:11

Seeing Dad, our girlfriends Sue and Michele, and my college friend Chris at the finish line was priceless! I blew them all kisses and was in tears as I crossed the finish line of Ironman #4. Hello Ironman Wisconsin PR by 41:45 ūüôā Being caught by a good friend (thank you Doug) at the finish line, who escorted me through the finish area and made sure I found my family and friends made my day complete!

Blowing kisses to my tribe at the finish line! Photo Credit: Michele Dziaba
Blowing kisses to my tribe at the finish line! Photo Credit: Michele Dziaba

 

2 weeks ’til #IMWI: back to reality

This week’s theme…back to reality! Since it was my first full week back at school (3 days of which was with kids), it was definitely back to reality.

Monday:

We slept in since we had been up later than planned on Sunday. After a full day of work (including meetings and work in my classroom), we had our last women’s only ride for 2016. Sadly our numbers were very low for this ride, but with the higher numbers we had earlier this year, I’m confident next year we will have even more women join us! After our ride, we went to my sole sister’s house for dinner before heading home, getting ready for Tuesday, and crawling in bed.

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The shadows are getting longer in the evenings ūüė¶

Tuesday:

We got up at 5 am to start pounding the pavement. After 75 minutes of running hills, we got ready for the day. Thankfully I had a full day to work in my classroom so I could prepare for a full day of students tomorrow. I drove our bikes to Kyle’s Bikes over my lunch to drop them off so Kyle could give them his pre race blessing. After work I picked up our CSA and spent the evening cleaning produce, vacuum the house, and prepare for Wednesday before bed.

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Morning miles with the Iron Hippie and Basil! She is such a goofball!
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I love our CSA!

Wednesday:

Today was my first day of school with kids for the 2016-2017 school year. It was a fantastic first day! I am very excited to have a great group of students this year!! After school, I was exhausted! Instead of going swimming, I came home and spent over an hour on the phone with my twin 8 year old nieces learning ALL about their first day of school. They are two amazing little girls ūüôā I relaxed for just a bit before getting ready for Thursday and calling it a day.

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First day of school photo

Thursday:

We woke up at 5 am for a short run before my second day of school with kids. After another great day with students, I had a dentist appointment, came home to eat dinner and change clothes before teaching TRX. After class, I got ready for my last working day of the week and crawled into bed completely exhausted. Getting back into a routine of being mentally on all day is so much more exhausting than physically working out for hour after hour after hour…I will adjust with time ūüėČ

Morning miles with Basil!
Morning miles with Basil!
So grateful to Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics for keeping me healthy while I train hard and start a new school year!
So grateful to Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics for keeping me healthy while I train hard and start a new school year!

Friday:

We slept in until 5:30 am, put together beef stew in the crock pot for after work, and then got ready for the day. After another long, but good day of teaching, I had a much needed massage! OUCH!! After my massage, I we ate some of that amazing homemade beef stew before going to a local brewer to play cribbage while enjoying a beer.

You may not notice that a wall hanging is missing from this picture, but I did right away. Nick is moving...he is starting his own massage clinic instead of working for someone else. I am super excited for him and can't wait to see his new digs in a couple of weeks!!
You may not notice that a wall hanging is missing from this picture, but I did right away. Nick is moving…he is starting his own massage clinic instead of working for someone else. I am super excited for him and can’t wait to see his new digs in a couple of weeks!!
Date night!
Date night!

Saturday:

We got up to go swimming, but I was INCREDIBLY sore after my massage last night, so I opted for a complete rest day. We took the dogs for a walk, did a few house chores, ran a few errands, and then went to Kyle’s Bikes to pick up our rides. We were supposed to pick them up on Thursday, but the Iron Hippie’s derailleur was cracked, so a new one had to be ordered and installed. So grateful for Kyle! He does amazing work!! With Kyle’s blessing, they are race ready (minus us cleaning them and changing the tires)! After lunch, I took a nap and did some blogging before vacuuming the house and having our neighbors over for dinner. It was a great day!

Sunday:

We woke up, had some breakfast, took the dogs for a walk, and started to pack for Ironman before going to the pool at 11 am for a swim. We followed this up with lunch, and then a nap. After our nap, we did yard work and house chores to prepare for the coming week. I spent some time coloring before going to get froyo. After eating dinner and cleaning up the kitchen, I watched some NCIS reruns before heading to bed.

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Let the packing begin!
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Finding peace in the water!
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Mmmm…Froyo…I think I had more chocolate that froyo in this bowl though…

Weekly Totals: 4 hours & 18 minutes…Not what I was hoping for, but next week will definitely be better

Swim: 2090 yards
Bike: 17.7 miles
Run: 10.5 miles
Strength Training: 45 minutes

Quote of the Week: 

“Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” ~Mia Hamm

Sole Sisters Rock the Du

Sunday morning I was blessed and lucky to get to race our first ever duathlon along side my sole sister! She inspires me, believes in me, and encourages me to be the best version of myself everyday! I am forever grateful that our paths crossed and can’t imagine my life without her in it!

A 4 am wake up allowed me plenty of time to make the breakfast of champions (cream of rice with raspberries and Pure Clean Beet Powder and a Karma Kombucha), pack up the last of my race day essentials, load up the car, and be ready to leave by 5 am. The Iron Hippie was volunteering, so he rode with us to the race venue.

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Breakfast of Champions!

Once we arrived to the race, I could tell Tonja’s nerves were really starting to kick in. While she has participated in every running distance from 5K to Marathon, she has never participated in¬†a duathlon or triathlon and had no idea what to expect. Heck, she has only been on her bike once this year, and it was last Wednesday morning before our race. I kept reminding her that there was nothing to be nervous about…we were there to have fun! We unloaded the car, got her race packet, set up transition and then relaxed in the car to warm our toes until race start.

Matching tats and socks...T must be my #solesista
Matching tats and socks…Tonja must be my #solesista
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Bikes are racked and we are ready to race!

At about 7:30, we decided to check our transition one more time, hit the kybos, and ventured to the start for the pre-race announcements. Tonja was REALLY nervous by this point, but I knew once we got going the nerves would subside. We decided we were going to run the first 0.9 miles together and exit transition together. My role was to prevent her from going out too fast on the first run. She was going to try to keep me in view on the bike, but we both decided to race our own race once out on the bike. As we lined up at the start, we gave each other a hug, a few encouraging words, and we were off.

Lined up and ready to start! Thanks to the Iron Hippie for all of the photos throughout the day!
Lined up and ready to start! Thanks to the Iron Hippie for all of the photos throughout the day!

The first 0.9 miles were on cinder trail, grass, and dirt. Not ideal footing, but we ran side by side and I occasionally reminded T to hold back on this run to set ourselves up for a solid bike and another run. We ran out about 0.45 miles, ran around a cone, and then ran back to transition. Run time = 7:47 (8:39/mile average pace)

T1 time = 1:42

The bike course is 15.5 miles that consists of 3 loops of just over 5 miles each. Once we passed the mount line, we took off! Tonja and I separated pretty quickly, but that is only because I have a LOT more experience on the bike. During the first loop, I went hard, but my main focus was to figure out the bike loop. I learned where the hills were, where the Iron Hippie was cheering/volunteering, where the out and back was (cheering Tonja on as we passed each other…she was doing great!), where we go onto the 2nd/3rd loops or return to transition, where I could drink, where I had to be careful on a turn, etc. On lap 1 at the out and back section, I counted the ladies doing the duathlon that were in front of me (there was also a triathlon and aqua/bike race going on at the same time)…there were only 2 ladies in front of me! #courageovercomfort The 2nd and 3rd loops were so much more fun and I pushed myself even harder on these loops. Now that I knew what to expect, it was time to put the hammer down. #courageovercomfort #courageovercomfort #courageovercomfort was repeated over and over and over in my head while I raced. By lap 2, I could see the 2nd place lady in front of me. #courageovercomfort As we started the 3rd lap, I passed the 2nd place lady and made my way comfortably into 2nd place. Thankfully there wasn’t much wind on the ride, but I knew that wouldn’t be good on the run since the sun was out and the day was heating up rather nicely. Bike time = 50:19 (18.5 mph average speed)

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Thanks to the Iron Hippie for taking pics while I was riding!!

T2 time = 54 seconds

As I exited T2, the 3rd¬†place lady (the one that I had just passed) had just come into transition. I told that she had a nice bike leg and thanked her for pushing me to work really hard on the bike. The last run was a 5K run (3.1 miles) and I was right…it had heated up quite nicely. The first mile was mostly on cinder trail, grass and dirt and went the same direction as the first¬†run that we started the duathlon with. There was an aid station at mile 1, which is where we exited the grassy area and started running on the roads…straight up hill. It was at this point that I was passed by another lady participating in the duathlon. I told her she was doing awesome and to keep working hard as she passed. I knew I was now in 3rd place, but this only made me work harder. #courageovercomfort I could see the first place duathlon lady and knew that I could catch her. My goal was to catch her by mile 2, which is where the Iron Hippie was volunteering. I ended up catching her at about mile 1.5. I told her she was doing great and that it was super hard to catch her! I encouraged her to keep going hard and finish strong! When I saw the Iron Hippie just past the 2 mile mark, he told me I was 40 seconds behind the 1st place female and to give it all I had. Little did he know I was already pushing as hard as I could. At this point, we were back in a grassy area with some cinder trails all the way to the finish line. There was VERY LITTLE¬†shade, it was hot, and I was giving it EVERYTHING I had. #courageovercomfort I was so happy to finally see the finish line!! Run time = 26:48 (8:39/mile average pace)…I guess you can say that I was consistent ūüėČ

Overall Finish: 1:27:29
1st Place Age Group
2nd Place Female Overall
11th Place Overall

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These lovely ladies made me work for this AG win!!
#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon
Tonja got 2nd place in her age group at her first ever duathlon!! So proud of her!!

This race challenged me in many ways, but was also very fun!! I consider anytime I get to run and bike while racing and encouraging others a win!!