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Preview: Cathy Ennis Yndestad

Cathy Ennis Yndestad

my journey... to live fully and passionately, to explore and appreciate the World, all while enjoying a daily dose of athletic enduced endorphins!

Updated: 2018-03-07T08:51:52.601-06:00


Kickstart to euro racing - Ironman 70.3 Pays D'Aix


With the off-season prioritized by moving my life across the Atlantic, I knew it would be a stretch to be race ready in May.  Regardless, I’ve never been afraid to race myself into shape, so we kicked started the 2015 tri season with the Ironman 70.3 Pays D’Aix. With such a beautiful backdrop for a race, there’s no surprise the race filled to capacity with 2500 athletes on the start. It had the typical Ironman brand hoopla and it felt like a championship event with racers from all over Europe. Pay’s D’Aix is roughly a 7 hr drive from our new city, and this was our first euro road trip. After 42 euros of road tolls, we finally made it to our hotel in the heart of Aix en Provence.  We celebrated the majestic city and enjoyed walking through town and having dinner at one of the many outdoor restaurants. I just love that vibe and could sit and enjoy it all night. It was music to my ears to hear french again and finally be able to understand and communicate with locals. With a point to point bike, there’s a lot of organization involved with this event, so Saturday was a day filled with pre race logistics. We checked out the swim venue then drove the 90km  bike course back to town. The course is  highlighted by five significant climbs with the Col de Cengle coming at 70km. I loved the the climbs, but compared to those around me, I lost WAY TOO MUCH time on the descents. In the US I considered myself to be a good bike handler from all my years of racing road and mtb, but here, I feel like a rookie navigating the steep switch backs, roundabouts and tight hairpin turns. Swim Start - ALL women and PROS went off together. Seemed strange that they would start all the women with the pros (pros had a water start, women had a beach start), and it was unreal how fierce that start was. I lined up in front on the beach, but I'm sure 50+ people got ahead of me by the first buoy. Based off the results, after the 1.9km swim I think I came out of the water as the 6-7th amateur (3rd AG) in  ~28min. but I had no idea where I was in the race. T2 was over half mile/barefoot run (on concrete, so I'm still paying for that with super tight calves 3 days later)!Bike - Still had no idea where I was in the race, but I settled into a decent groove. Once a gal from my AG passed me about 15miles in it helped spark a bit of race day mojo. I worked harder to keep her in my sights as best I could, but I would always loose her on the descents. Here's my strava file.  I knew the race was finishing with a long sketchy decent, which didn’t bode well for me, but regardless it was extremely helpful to know there was someone ahead to keep me focused. Clearly that makes a difference and I must find a way to focus and work hard without that! T2 - Drop bikes at racks in the order you arrive, then run another half mile barefoot in the street to retrieve the T2 bags. Maybe running barefoot would be smart and specific training for TRIs after all! RUN 4 loops. I wasn't expecting as many hills, but they were certainly there and they kicked my butt. I ended up passing two amateur gals on the run, and at that time, I thought I was near the front of the AG race - I didn’t see anyone else in front, but it was basically impossible to differentiate the pros from the top AGers. It was so fun to hear cheers in french and my name in a sweet french accent. The locals also seemed to love my Coeur race kit as much as I did. I was motivated all day with cheers of "COURAGE." I focused on the joy of those simple pleasures while trying to say strong.  I was really hoping to be able to run sub 1:35 and break the 5hr mark on this tough course. Although I missed that target, I was able to pick up the pace to stay in front on a fast charging french the line.  I still had no idea where I finished in my AG or overall, but I headed out to the run course to watch and cheer for KY (he started in a wave about an hour behind me). Despite minimal run training, he gutted it out an[...]

Magnificent Mallorca, Spain


I'd heard of Mallorca as a top cycling destination, so for a Christmas gift to KY, I purchased a trip (for two) to the Mallorca Trek’s Travel Camp. Thankfully I was his +1 and off we went the last weekend of Feb. We knew a few other people signed up that weekend, so it was the perfect reason to make it happen.DAY 1 - Remembering how to ride! We flew out from Zurich Thursday morning and arrived in Mallorca midday. After an easy taxi to Read’s Hotel in Santa Maria we were quickly set up with our camp issued Trek bikes and off we rode. I LOVE the simplicity of camp issued bikes!!  It was just KY and I for this initial ride since we arrived later than the others. Weather was less than ideal, but it sure felt amazing to move the legs outside. I’m embarrassed to admit, but I think this 37km ride was the longest ride since Ironman AZ last November! We arrived back at the hotel and met the rest of the group, then enjoyed our first delicious "family" meal.  The ~15 campers were the only guests at the hotel and we had a set 3 course menu each night .  Dinner would routinely start at 7:30 and we'd typically still be sitting in the dining room 2+ hours later. It was fun to get to know the other campers. There was a large group from Canada, and another fun group from Whales.  TREK Travel does not mess around with their details - Best cue cards + Garmins pre programmed w/ maps of each ride .Day 2 - BRUTAL!!The forecast wasn’t looking good for our planned 140km ride, but I think everyone was in denial. We rolled out that morning with eager anticipation for the epic route and although I had my warmest clothes with me, the rain and wind rendered that useless.  I was completely soaking/freezing after the first descent. We continued riding along the recommended route hoping our support van would be around the next corner.  There was nowhere on this road to take shelter, but we pressed on in hopes of finding something. After 2+hrs of riding with icicle fingers and toes, we approached the lighthouse at the end of the turnaround point,The lead group has turned back and they informed us the coffee shop was closed and our van was not there. Heartbreak!!!  I immediately turned the bike around, and although we were in a pretty rearklble scenic area, it wasn’t about miles, views, or epic climbs but instead it was thoughts of frost bite and hypothermia….. the wind was so strong and my bike was barely moving…. But then, a ray of hope!! I saw the support van up ahead. It was the most welcomed sight! I immedialty jumped inside, removed the shoes and wrapped myself in blankets. I shed a few tears of gratitude for that van and the ability to escape the brutal cold. Our awesome guide Lisa working hard to convince the hardy Canadian to call it a day. After the door blew off the van he finally got inside!The van was busy pulling people off the route and shuttling them back to shelter.  YES - It was THAT bad!Finally back at the hotel I’m pretty sure I took the longest hot shower before feeling functional again. Then it was time to plan our route for the next day. The weather forecast looked much better, and despite the previous hellish day on the bike, we wanted to make the most out of our Saturday ride.  As a result, we decided on the famous SaColobra route mixed with a few other meaningful climbs.DAY 3 - AMAZING!Those brutal conditions on Friday certainly created a deeper appreciation for dry weather. What a difference a day makes! The worst day on a bike was followed up with quite possibility the most enjoyable day on a bike. This is the ride you see in the Mallorca cycling media - Pretty unreal switchbacks and views. We enjoyed a delicious spanish lunch at a cafe on the sea, then we quickly saddled up for the monster climb in our attempt to make it home before dark. Classic endorphin filled positive energy and joy swept through the group as we finally rolled into the hotel around 6pm - I think we started the ride around 9:45am! Yes, the[...]

Musings from Switzerland


Unfortunately I don’t have much content for creative story telling or inspiring words, but I wanted to share a few random updates from our first few weeks. I promised to post often so here’s the latest rundown:It’s hard to believe it’s been almost four weeks since we moved to Switzerland. The days and weeks are flying by as we’ve been busy figuring out how to live thrive in our new world.  We love our new apartment - We’re in a modern high rise nestled in the heart of the city and I’m loving the proximity to the daily essentials.  Walking to the market, gym, train station etc. is such a refreshing novelty since I was deep in suburbia the last few years. When the sky is clear, I have mountain views from my apt/office windows which always brings me joy. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m so grateful for the power and beauty of the mountains. As you can imagine, the food has been pretty delectable. There’s been no shortage of cheese and chocolate consumed, and of course, the breads… ummm, delicious! Let’s just say this is not the place to be gluten, dairy and/or sugar free.To help offset all the delicious foods and to continue with my movement filled lifestyle, I’ve discovered great outdoor running and hiking trails. I’ve become a member of a great gym and also found a couple of decent swimming pools. I’m still waiting for my bikes to arrive but once they do I know I’ll be spending plenty of time exploring on two wheels.KY’s office is about 3K from our apartment, so I typically join him for the walk in the morning which has been a nice way to kick start the day. Its extremely satisfying to be outside first thing and when the sky is clear as I get to salute the Queen of the Mtn (Mt Rigi) on my walk home. The CY Coaching business has been operating in full swing - I now have a full athlete roster for 2015 and after leaving my job with Lifetime Fitness it’s been great having more time to devote to my athletes. Those athlete relationships have been a wonderful way to stay connected with the tri community and with other humans in general. I find myself mute most of the day since it seems everyone around me is speaking german. Although most people can speak english, its tough to strike up conversation or join a conversation when all you hear is german. I’m working hard to learn the basics, but with swiss german and regular german being quite a bit different, the learning process is significantly more challenging.We had our first visitors last week - What a wonderful treat to explore and catch up with Julie (and Brian)!We travelled to a few nearby cities, and also enjoyed a couple of amazing days skiing in Zermatt.  We had perfect bluebird conditions, and lift passes for both the swiss and italian sides of the Matterhorn. We knew Italy would be the place for lunchtime fuel and it certainly lived up to the expectations - It was hands down the best pizza I’ve ever had. SO fresh and real. In addition to items above, I’ve been doing more reading and getting much more involved with mindfulness training and creating time to dig deeper into that aspect of my personal development and health. It would be easy to just go through the motions every day since life is pretty great, but I want to ensure I’m working on my authentic purpose and really identifying what it is that drives true satisfaction. I feel like I’ve done a decent job so far, but it’s a work in progress to stay authentic and true to what makes me feel alive and not to be afraid to be a different. I’m also working on adding meditation to the daily routine. If you’re interested, here’s a handy “how to” guide I used to get started:, I just can’t get enough of  Brene Brown’s insight and wisdom lately. I’m currently finishing up her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. In this book, among other things, she talks of self - acceptance[...]

Bring on 2015 - New Focus, New Team, New Country!!


I hope everyone is enjoying a fun filled holiday season. It’s been an action packed few weeks for me, but it's finally slowing down enough to share some exciting news for the upcoming year. New Focus: KY and I will be moving to Switzerland next year, and to simplify the transition and to grow with this new opportunity, I decided to leave my Program Manager job with Life Time Fitness. For the past few years, alongside Troy Jacobson, we built a strong and successful endurance coaching division as part of the Life Time TRI TEAM brand. Although it’s tough to leave Life Time in the midst of exciting initiatives, especially the Commit to TRI partnership with Ironman, I’m extremely jazzed to move forward and grow my own coaching practice. I’ll remain committed to growing the sport and inspiring people to live health inspired lifestyles, all while expanding my existing athlete-coach relationships and services. Thankfully, my online based business makes it possible to continue working with people from anywhere in the world. As for racing, I will undoubtably continue training/racing with a focus on building a strong and healthy body. There’s nothing like the joy of breakthrough performances, but building a resilient body capable of an endurance filled lifestyle for the long term is what reinforces my commitment to a balanced training plan.  With that in mind, I have these 2015 events on my radar so far:Feb 26: Mallorca, Spain (cycle camp)May 17: 70.3  St. Polten, Austria June 7: 70.3 SwitzerlandJune 26: ITU Long Course World Championships - Sweden (pending qualification)July 19-25: Trans Alps mountain bike stage raceAug 29: 70.3 World Championship - Austria (pending qualification)New TEAM -  I’m fired up to share that I was selected to be part of the Coeur Sports Elite Tri Team. Coeur which is French for heart (& courage) is a company I instantly admired for their positive and authentic brand message and the incredible sisterhood they’ve created to empower and encourage women via endurance sports. I’m super pumped to be part of this TEAM! Check out this roster and their recent blog post outlining their Best of 2014.  It’s easy to be drawn to their endless positivity and relentless pursuit of quality - Certainly vibes worth sharing! Oh and of course, the added bonus is that the Coeur Sports clothing line is full of super cute functional style. When I ordered my first product from them several months ago, I knew they had something special happening at their Santa Monica office. This is how it looked when it arrived: It was all the clever details and unexpected flare that immediately drew me in - 100% American made and 100% Heart (Coeur) into their clothing = Perfecto! Check out their stuff here, and the 2015 line is shaping up to be even more awesome.  They were recently featured in Lava Magazine's Best Gear for 2015 preview: New Country: Yes, Switzerland! We move at the end of January!KY and I are fired up for this new adventure. It comes at a perfect time for us and we’ll be leveraging our time in Europe to explore and grow in numerous ways. I’m embracing the cultural differences and I’m eager to surround myself in the region’s rich history and beautiful landscapes.  Who knows what the Swiss life will bring, but I’ll be committed to working hard and growing with each and every opportunity. Although I listed my race schedule above, I will remain open to new challenges and adventures as they arise. I’ve decided to self coach this year in order to be completely flexible with potentially shifting race goals and priorities. There’s certainly a place for precise and focused goal setting, but my primary goal for 2015 is to fully appreciate the european world of endurance (and culinary) inspired possibilities!Of course, I have various mini goals - One of which I’ve been working on recently.  More pull u[...]

Race Report: Ironman Arizona 2014


I'll begin with my CliffsNotes version and reuse a FaceBook update.  This sums it up pretty well!  All in all - A pretty special experience. My heart is FULL.  Swim: 56:24, Bike 5:21:29, Run 3:42:39 - FINISH: 10:05:52And for those looking for the nitty gritty, here’s the unabridged version:I had such a great build and prep for this race. In hindsight, likely too perfect and I just didn’t develop that nervousness that usually gets all my systems revved up and ready for race day (including my gut)!! I was simply so happy and at peace with the blessings around me, but in reality, this is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. The days leading up to the race felt relatively smooth, everything was on plan and I remained confident that I was well prepared for the race. No anxiety or nervousness, just eager to finally get out there and see what the day had in store. I typically don’t share race goals so publicly before an event, but this time I felt ready and was simply too excited to hold it in. Maybe Mother Nature didn’t appreciate those athletes confidently announcing their target times, and as a result she greeted us with her mighty blow on race day.  As I announced in my previous post, I was targeting a sub10hr finish and I felt like I had a solid buffer built into that time to include several inevitable ironman unknowns.  Unfortunately in the end, I spent 5 minutes too long on the course and although I should feel very proud of a 10:05 (Ironman PR), and a Kona qualification, i unfortunately I just didn’t feel the typical rush of emotion and joy when I crossed the finish line. Total bummer since that’s typically the best part! Anyhow, it’s tough to explain the why’s for that, but regardless, I’ll do my best to describe my race experience.Saturday - Ironman Eve: What can I say, Julie is sherpa extrodinaire. It was so comforting to be surround by such loving and caring friends and having Kerry, Julie and Erik at the condo was just that. Everything was pretty seamless as I completed the typical pre race stuff - Chatted with friends, family, my coach etc and again, I just felt super even keeled. Body felt good, no last minute concerns or issues.  I had made my lists and checked them twice! "LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED ALREADY"Race Day Play by PlayPre race Bfest: Beet Elite shot, Protein shake, Sweet Potato, Cliff Bar - Peanut Toffee Buzz, Bottle of Osmo preload/Osmo Active Hydration. Yerba Mate Shot (about 30min prior to start)SWIM (56:24):  (I'm the pink hat to the right of the front yellow kayak) I jumped in the water early to ensure I had no issues making my way to the front - I received a new ROKA wetsuit which I’d worn once a few days before the race. Thankfully that’s all I needed to determine it was the prefect suit to kick off a PR day in Tempe. It was a not only fast, but also super comfortable and flexible around my shoulders. The race start was delayed 5min, but I had no issues positioning myself in the front - No crowds, no contact. I swam on the right side to tangent the big curve in the lake. I saw Julie cheering for me off to the side about 1000m into the swim, which was pretty neat. I basically swam the entire 2.4 miles on my own. No drafting, but more importantly, no wresting or abuse, which was very nice.  I saw my mom along the fence as I ran into T2. She was her typical enthusiastic self and it was wonderful to have a pretty empty transition tent as the 2nd female amateur out of the water.Swim Gear: Roka Maverick Pro Wetsuit  - Size Medium. Speedo Vanquisher goggles. Tinted mirror.T1 (3:52): Hustled thru - Putting on the T1 Stealth top was a bit of a challenge, but otherwise it was quick and streamlined. I grabbed my bike and off I went. I had watched this race enough to know it was a huge luxury to have that bike chute to myself as I made [...]

Finally Race Week - Ironman Arizona 2014


I'm SO excited!It’s been four years since my last Ironman, and as a result, I’m bursting with excitement and pure enthusiasm for this coming Sunday. I haven’t been this excited for a race in a very long time and it certainly helps that I’m feeling healthy, strong and content.  Now it’s simply getting out there, executing my plan and smiling along the way. Pretty simple right? Ha, I’ve been coaching and around Ironman long enough to know full well that unexpected and random things can leave even well prepared athletes searching for Plan B and Plan C. The ups and downs of IM day are always part of the challenge,  so I’m doing my best to prepare mentally for that balance as well. I’ll have several friends and a few of my athletes in Tempe to cheer which just warms my heart beyond description. My friends mean so much to me, and having their support is extremely special. My mom who travelled from Newfoundland will also be there to spectate and experience her very first Ironman. After racing for 12+ years, I’m constantly seeking new and exciting challenges to keep the fire burning. I registered for this race last year with the primarily goal of breaking the 10hr mark. My current Ironman PR is from IMFL (10:12) and I’m confident that if conditions are “normal” in Tempe on Sunday, I have a solid shot at hitting that target. It’s historically a fast course, but I know that conditions can certainly make IMAZ ‘interesting”.  Forecast right now looks optimal, but we’ll just have to wait and see what Mother Nature has in store for us.  Although my goal for the race is primarily time based, I (of course) took a quick glance at the start list last week and quickly recognized a few very talented and speedy women in my AG (W35-39), including the reigning 70.3 AG World Champ and another gal who’s pretty much won every 70.3 she’s done this year. Once I saw those names I stopped looking at the rest of this list, knowing full well that in order to podium in this field it will require my absolute best -  AS it should be!!Thankfully I have countless sources of inspiration and a healthy doses of perspective to keep the emotions in check.  And yes, perspective is a beautiful things. As much as i’m fired up to have a great day out there, it’s important to reflect on the big picture. My body has held up SO well during this, and for that I’m most grateful. The power of all the details - I had a fantastic training plan and I combined that with very smart nutrition, consistent rest, routine body work and inspiring yoga. I feel healthy and strong right now and that alone makes me very happy and thankful. No Ironman exhaustion on this end. Sharp and ready!. I registered for this race almost a year ago, and I’ve likely thought about it every day since. There’s been so shortage of miles but thankfully I’ve really enjoyed this journey. It’s been extremely rewarding so far, and truthfully the race feels like the celebration dance.  And if something takes me way off plan on Sunday, I’ll still be heading to Switzerland with KY the day after - WIN!  (Yes, I'll be seeking full body compression and a baby aspirin).  And regardless, I’ll be indulging in a little Swiss chocolate to celebrate living a healthy and happy life!Cheers AND best of luck to all the racers!!Here's glimpse into my Ironman toolkit: In the swim - Awesome new ROKA wetsuitBike: Specialized Shiv, Zipp Disk/808 front, Specialize Evade helmet, Stealth T1 shirt, and LOTS of OsmoRUN: NEW Voler Life Time TRI TEAM kits, Hoka shoes, and my Target brand jelly beans.[...]

Trowback Thursday Ironman Edition


With the big Ironman dance in Kona around the corner, there’s no shortage of Ironman buzz and excitement amongst the triathlon community.  So I’m going to add to mix with my own personal walk down Ironman memory lane. I’m also deep in IM Arizona prep, so needless to say, I have Ironman brain.  Spending what feels like countless hours on the roads lately, it’s fun to reflect on my IM experiences and recall the circumstances and results surrounding each one. What a journey it has been, and although I’ve only done four 140.6 events to date, it’s fun to dig into the memory bank as move into my final prep for #5. #1: Ironman Arizona 2006 SWIM: 59:12 (1:31/100m), BIKE 5:59 (18.72mph), RUN 4:14 (9:42min/mile): 11:21:25This was so long ago, and I’m struggling to recall the details, but I do know that this was a spring Ironman (back when IMAZ was in April vs Nov). I was VERY nervous about simply completing the distance since the bulk of my endurance racing consisted of sprint/oly distance events. I did however complete my first half the year before (Pigman), but otherwise, this was uncharted waters.  KY and I did a lot of our training indoors and we both really struggled with the brutal wind and heat (two key reasons they moved the race to Nov) and the messed up the hydration demands of such conditions. We learned the hard way, but both made it to the finish line in one piece.  And yes (now slightly embarrassed to admit), we did get matching M-dot tattoos to commemorate the journey. The M-dot brand was very different back than!#2: Ironman Florida 2007SWIM: 56:40 (1:28/100m), BIKE 5:17 (21.18mph), RUN 3:53 (8:54min/mile): 10:12:583rd AG (W25-29) Once again, Kerry and I did this Ironman together along with serval other MN friends. Regardless, I ended up focusing on short course racing that year since my A race was the Best of the US Championship in Florida the weekend prior to Ironman. Nutrition and pacing on the bike was not in line with my preparation, and ultimately that really hurt my marathon.  I think I was the 1st or 2nd amateur off the bike, but for the first 13miles my GUT was pissed. NO glory is a great bike split if you can run! I struggled to consume anything and finally nursed myself back near the halfway point just in time for my foot to stop functioning properly.  I hobbled my way through the second half, but for better or worse, I managed a 3rd place AG finish. When I crossed the line I had sworn off doing another Ironman (anyone else have that reaction at the finish line?). Even with a Kona slot in hand, I was done. I recall the guy at TriBikeTransport say when I handed off my bike - “You’ve got to go to KONA. It’s like going to an Ivy League school - Nobody cares what your GPA was.”  With that mantra, I accepted the WC slot, but all while failing to learn from the recent race experience - I still didn’t choose to specifically train for the next one!! #3 Ironman World Championships Kona 2008 SWIM: 1:01:13 (1:35/100m), BIKE 5:47 (19.37mph), RUN 3:49 (8:46min/mile): 10:46:48  My primary race focus in 2008 was strong finish at AG Nationals (OLY distance) in Portland. At the beginning of the year I made the decision to focus on short course in hopes of winning a National Championship and then to simply enjoy Kona. Nationals were three weeks before Kona, so my only Ironman specific distance training included one 85mile ride and a 15mile run 2 weeks before the race!  Knowing that I wasn’t perfectly prepared, I simply kept a open mind and focused on the variables I could control, like nutrition and heat management. Thankfully I ended up feeling ok and actually really enjoyed that day. I have some blog history on that race.#4 Ironman Wisconsin 2010 SWIM: 55:31 (1:26/100m), BIKE 5:44 (19.48mph), RUN 3:47 (8:39min/mile): 10:36:25After a 2 y[...]

Leadman Love


I’ve been a huge fan of the Leadman race concept and brand since its infancy in 2011. I missed the very first race (I was still in a shoulder sling), but I’ve raced in every Leadman event since-Vegas 125, Bend 250, Bend 125, Tempe 125. Each deserving their own background story, but I’ll spare you all that history. Basically the Leadman concept is long swim, longer bike and shorter run with the intention of preserving the body yet still providing athletes with an epic long distance challenge. And you get a fancy belt buckle for meeting specific time standards!This past weekend I raced my 5th Leadman event. The Leadman Marquee 125 in Tempe AZ. This was a perfect training race and a fun opportunity to test the body after only six weeks back into structured training.After 10+ years of racing, the satisfaction I derive from events is primarily a factor of the fabulous people I share them with. Each of my Leadman races have been group adventures and this time around we had Julie & Erik joining us in the Valley of the Sun. It was another fantastic addition to our memory books. Kerry was still in semi recovery mode after a MTB crash at our camp in Vegas a few weeks ago so he opted for a swim and bike version of Leadman this time. Julie and Erik both had significant PRs so a fine day for our MN crew.My race was pretty straight forward. Not too much to report really: First OW/wetsuit swim in 6 months felt surprisingly fluid and easy, time was a couple minutes faster than last year, but I’m pretty sure the course was a tad shorter. Time of 35ish (1:26/100m pace). 2nd female out of the water. I was ready for the 4 loop criterium style bike course and my primary concern was safety and avoiding too may surges out of the corners. I was extra conservative and ended up riding at only 75% FTP which is well below where I’d like to be for this distance. BUT, I was really enjoying my new race fuel. Osmo + SALTY Balls!! Made fresh the night before, I was experimenting with a new race day fueling/ hydration strategy, which called for more real food. I generally pay no attention to old adage “don’t try something new on race day”. I’m frequently playing with new strategies as a way to learn and share my experiences for when it really matters. Thankfully Dr Stacy Sims, Exercise Physiologist and nutrition wizard shared a few tips with me, and I basically followed her standard Osmo race protocol for hot weather.Here’s the summary:1 bottle of Osmo Preload the night before.Standard AM Bfest Smoothie concoction and 1 bottle mixed with half Osmo preload and half Osmo active hydration. (really important for HOT races)I started the bike with two bottles of Active Hydration. I filled my aero bottle with water every loop, and added a single serving back of osmo active hydration in the last hr. SO, in just over 3 hrs on the bike: Consumed ~24oz water/hr - 1 bottle per loop. 3 of the bottles included Osmo Active Hydration. At least every 45min I consumed one Salty Ball which I had stuffed in my Bento box. I had a pre mixed bottle of Osmo preload and active hydration waiting in T2 (frozen overnight and still slushy). In the 80+ degree temps, grabbing a slushy salty drink for the run was a win. Here’s the recipe. Salty Balls: Makes ~10 balls at about 140kcal/ball 1/2 cup cashew butter (peanut or almond would work as well) 1/3 cup brown rice syrup** 1/2 cup whey protein isolate ( I used OSMO Active recovery) 2/3 cup chocolate koala crisps (could go with 1/2 oatmeal) 1/4 cup shredded coconut (Stacy uses raisins here)Microwave the nutbutter and brown rice syrup for about a minute, then stir in everything else. Form into balls, then add a sprinkle of salt on top. **As an FYI - Brown Rice Syrup is not found in the standard grocery store. I found it at Sprouts in AZ, but I assume Whole Foods and the Natur[...]

Less than ideal, but…


"Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out" ~Art LinkletterAfter three decades of athletics and adventure filled antics, I guess my first broken bone at 32 is not all bad. Unfortunately however, I must add a Grade 4 AC joint separation and a muscle stuck in between the fracture to this first broken bone. My distal clavicle fracture looked pretty aligned in the initial x-ray, but the follow-up CT scan and MRI confirmed an unfortunate scenario for my right shoulder. It’s a “unique and unusual” situation, but thankfully I have a couple of great surgeons ready to piece it back together today.The Crash: I was out riding, doing what I love. I was finishing up a great 70+ mile ride in Scottsdale and as I attempted to make the final turn into LifetimeFitness, I looked over my left shoulder to check for traffic, and before I looked forward again I was on the ground wincing in pain. My front tire caught a rut (small gap between the concrete road and shoulder), and I was thrown over the handlebars. My front tire was still stuck in the rut as my back wheel and I where over the top. The front wheel was jammed, and it was quite the challenge just to get it out (that rim is now toast). After 3 hrs waiting to get into the ER, they took an x-ray to confirm the clavicle break and I received my first morphine shot.Diagnosis: I got into an Orthopedic shoulder specialist as soon as I got back to Mpls on Monday. A special thanks to Dr. Margarita Sevilla (was part of the LTF cycle camp) for coordinating such great care. Dr. Klepach reviewed the x-ray, and although the break looked pretty well aligned she thought we should do a CT scan to get a better idea what’s going on. I heard back on Wednesday that a few different shoulder surgeons were looking at the results, and they were concerned with the amount of separation between the fracture. They wanted to know more so I was in for an MRI on Friday. Meanwhile, thankfully my manager allowed me to work from home all week, so I didn’t miss too much on the workfront. On Monday, March 7th I had an appt with the orthos and they showed me all the pretty images of my messed up shoulder. As she classified my shoulder as Grade 4 and pointed to a handy chart with the explanations, I knew surgery would be necessary (only pics and description for grade1-3 as 4-5 are extremly rare). Two days later, here I am, getting ready for my first hospital stay, not to mention my first surgery.Recovery: Considering the unique nature of my injury, the surgical course of action remains somewhat unknown. My surgeons have a few plans in mind, but will make the final call once they get in and see what they have to work with. I did hear 16 weeks before I can swim again, maybe back to 'normal' in 9-10 months, but should know more after the surgery. One thing I do know is that I will be diligent with the recovery protocol and won’t be rushing back to activity early. I want to have a healthy shoulder for a long time and if my initial activity is limited to physical therapy rehab, then so be it. Being healthy and active for a lifetime is much more important than rushing into anything to defy odds and race this season.Blessed: In the big picture, this little accident and surgery is nothing. Just this morning I heard the awful news about professional runner and triathlete Sally Meyerhoff. Just yesterday, she was stuck by a truck in the Phoenix area while riding her bike. She was just getting into triathlon, but showed HUGE promise as a 2:35 marathoner. It just makes me sick to think about how sad her family and friends are right now as they’re forced into such a tragic and early goodbye. I’ve been putting my little accident in perspective all week as I consider myself blessed and lucky for everything I still have around me, but Sally’s tragedy brings this perspective[...]

Ironman Wisconsin


I will keep this relatively brief.Going into this race I knew one thing with 100% confidence- I was NOT overtrained. I desperately wanted to believe this was a good thing, but deep down I knew the harsh reality. I tried my best to recall my Hawaii Ironman in 2008 when my longest ride was 85 miles and longest run was a 15mile two weeks before (I was focused on OLY distance racing that year), and it turned out much better than expected. I knew I could do an Ironman without the mega miles… BUT, as I learned in Madison, DOING an Ironman and trying to RACE an Ironman is very different. WOWZERS, and it hurt…A LOT! So for the Highlights: - My sister Pam came from Toronto to watch- Unbelievable support from my friends all day- Did a pre race swim and attended first pro meeting with Charisa W- 10 minute head start on the 2500 amateurs.- The PRO women received PINK swim caps- Running up the HELIX was amazing – I must have heard my name 100x! THANKS!- Started the bike in 4th place (made the ironmanlive updates)- Had the Motorcycle cameras guys following me- Coming up OLD SAUK Pass and seeing my crew going crazy … with KY at the top!- Watching Charisa zoom by at about mile 85 and go on to have a 5th place finish- Despite starting the run with blisters, I didn’t lose any toes- Seeing so many fellow racers on the run course with all the out and back sections.- State Street was fun even while in the hurt locker (Thanks again amazing cheerleaders).- Worked as hard as I could, and didn’t quit, despite hurting SO BAD- Didn’t end up in the Med tent- Watched my good friend Patti finish her first Ironman (we both did the endurance double (leadville+Ironman).- Hung out with the greatest peeps post race at the Great Dane- Watched the final finishers cross the line at Midnight – AMAZING SIGHT.And the Lowlights: - Didn’t see another rider on the bike until mile 8 (a guy passed) and mile 13 (Desiree) passed- Pretty lonely out there.- Wanting to stop and go to sleep during the 2nd lap of the bike- Unable to stay in aero position due to extreme soreness in my upper body (my TT bike does not ride like my full suspension MTB bike)- Did I mention how tired I felt?- Muscles stopped working at half way point of the marathon- Was passed with 2 miles to go for the final money spotSo the Highlights list is much longer than the Lowlights list - SWEET! I look back on the race and smile. I ended up finishing 9th Pro in 10:37ish (55 – 5:45 – 3:47). My wishful goal time was 10:20 (55 - 5:30- 3:40). It was my bike performance that let me down - Although I logged a lot of miles to prepare for Leadville, they were never hard miles. I relied on my scattered races to count as bike workouts, and that just wasn’t enough. Not to mention the fact that I didn't spend enough time on my TT bike (in aero position), which became painfully obvious throughout the 2nd loop of the bike.Lessons learned:- A 100 Mile MTB 4 weeks before Ironman is probably not the best training (but it sure is fun)!- Running 20-30 miles/week (on good weeks) is not enough running for me.- Must take advantage of knowing the BEST bike fitters in the business (Gear West) and revisit my bike fit.- No more racing this year – Time to rebuild, get strong and work on my weaknesses.Well... just one little race (the famous Chequamegon FAT TIRE 40) but that doesn’t really count if you ride super slow and at the back of the pack , RIGHT? It's all about the post race PARTY…… Unless you crash over some dude who goes down right in front of you – Doh! More to come on that adventure from last weekend...[...]

Leadville 100 MTB Race Report: Part two


It’s been almost four weeks since the Leadville 100MTB race, which means I should really just skip the race report, but considering this race was one of the greatest endurance events I’ve ever done (and I’ve had more than one request for a report), I’ll do my best to recount this highly memorable day.On race morning we arrived in Leadville about 60min prior to the 630 start time. The crowds had already formed, and we were forced to line up pretty far back from the start line. People lay their bikes in the street to hold their place, and we squeezed into the mayhem on the far side of the Main street intersection. This would be my first MASS MTB start like, and with 1600+ riders anxious to start their journey, I knew it would be tricky. I kept thinking how much I’d prefer an Open water mass swim start…With Temps in the mid 30s, I was doing my best to stay warm. I had thick gloves and hand warmer packets to keep the blood circulating in my fingers. With just shorts, knee warmers, jersey, arm warmers and vest, I knew I’d be chilly on the 4-5 mile downhill asphalt descent out of town, but I was careful not to overdress as the first climb up St Kevin’s was bound to get the fire burning. I’d been warned that the start can be tricky as people jockey for position before hitting the double track dirt trail. I didn't want to risk anything during that section of the race, but looking back, I believe I took it out too conservatively and paid a price for it during the chaotic climb up Kevin’s. I felt strong on the climb yet was forced off my bike several times as people lost traction in front of me. I patiently navigated the masses, and was excited to start seeing more open trail towards the top of the first major climb.After about 10-15miles into the ride, I was having a blast and loved the fact that I could finally ride without worrying too much about the mobs of people around me. I LOVED the 3+ mile asphalt decent on Sugarloaf. I had a flash back to my alpine ski racing days as I navigated the curvy roads in a deep tuck. It was so much fun to take advantage of the fat tires by taking the descent more aggressively. The Hagerman’s Pass climb got super crowded in a hurry, but at least this time I was able to maneuver and get in a decent position before the BIG descent. I found my buddy AL towards the top of Hagerman’s and with him nearby I knew I was in good company. We finally arrived at the top of Powerline - The most dreaded downhill of the race, and although I survived without any issues during camp, I knew it would be a different story this time around with the extra riders. As we were flying down near the top, we could hear screams of ‘Rider down, SLOW down.’ This is the most dreadful sound, and I was a scary sight to see a pile of riders and people hovering around to help. They were telling everyone to keep moving. Of course people fall all the time in mountain biking, and even though I couldn’t see the rider, you could tell it was serious based on the emotions of the helpers around him. I think that slowed the pace of the entire descent as people instantly became more cautions. I was able to make it down without any issues, but seeing an ambulance rushing in the road made me queasy for a while. I knew the rider was getting the help they needed, and with that I tried my best to get positive thoughts flowing through my mind again.Luckily I was just a few miles from the first aid station called Pipeline. With hundreds of spectators and energy from the support crew the race day energy was back at max. This would be my first time check … and I was about 10min ahead of schedule. I didn’t have any plans to stop at this aid station as I was well stocked to make it all the way to Twin Lakes From there, I caught up with a few LTF guy[...]

Leadville Adventure Report – Part One: Pre-Race


For those of you who’ve been reading my blog, it should come as no surprise that Kerry and I were super excited to have the opportunity to race in the Leadville 100 mile Mountain Bike race. It’s a lottery style entry, so getting a race number is almost as challenging as the race itself. With that in mind, we did everything we could to make it count.Although I’ve never attempted an endurance MTB race like this, Kerry and I have been racing Mountain bikes off and on for the last five or six years. We’ve done our share of Xterra’s ,Buck Hill, and MORS cup races, but these events typically range in the 10-25 mile range. The Leadville 100MTB was about stepping very far from of our comfort zone… and of course meeting and training with new friends, and bringing home a flashy new belt buckle!We decided to drive to Colorado, and left town a week early in an attempt to learn how to breathe at 10,000ft. After stopping in Boulder to catch up with a few friends and watch the Boulder 70.3 on Sunday (and sneak in an 18miler), we finally made our way up the Mountains Sunday afternoon.To properly kick off the Leadville party, we enjoyed a Cowboy grill out at ‘Camp LTF’ Sunday night: Here's the view from the backyard – BA grilled our mega steaks on the open camp fire, and asking for it medium WELL was not a wise move! Many LTF folks had been in town for a few weeks (as they had exciting business to complete), so it was fun to catch up and hear all the stories from the trails, which included several Lance rendezvous and the most up to date course conditions. After a little birthday surprise cake, we headed to our log cabin in Buena Vista to set up camp for the week. Special thanks to Merilee for giving us the keys to such a beautiful home – WOW – it was perfect!I must admit that it was challenging staying in such a beautiful place and being forced to rest. I just wanted to ride and hike and play Colorado style. Instead, I actually worked three days from the cabin: Here's our home office – In the end, this was probably a smart move on my part as tapering properly would have been impossible with the appeal of the adventure filled outdoors. I did in fact take the day off Monday to visit Colorado Springs and catch up with an old teammate from ISU. She hooked us up at her Country Club (CC of C) where we had the luxury of swimming in a 50m outdoor pool. What a treat - I think this was my first swim in a long course pool all year, and then add that to the glorious Mountain Views, and no pool traffic and we were in heaven. From the pool we made our way to the Iconic Broadmoor GC where Cathy works - That place is spectacular, and will host the Women’s US Open next year. We played a little golf, and enjoyed a dinner filled with all kinds of ‘blast from the past’ moments before heading back to BV. Thank again Cathy for completely spoiling is in COS. We owe ya!We stayed away from the Leadville hustle all week, but Friday came quickly and it was time to get ready for the big day. We drove into Leadville for the mandatory check-in and meeting. Race director Ken Clouber delivered a motivational speech to a packed house of 1600+ riders and crews. He told stories of toughness and fortitude, with the theme of “DON”T YOU QUIT”. As I looked around the gymnasium, I don’t think I saw a dry eye. Clearly the emotions of what we were about to experience, and what we’ve experienced to get there were at an all time high. My words certainly can’t do it justice, but it was a very special moment we all shared from the event.As depicted in this photo, a race like this takes a lot of prep, and I’m not talking about training. Getting our stuff (nutrition and extra clothes, supplies) organized for our crew was an operation. [...]

Leadville 100 MTB- Truly Something Special


What an amazing experience. I will get a real race report together soon, but in the meantime this photo serves as a summary of what this event was all about for me.

Sharing this truly EPIC event with Kerry was so unbelievable. Here I am jumping up and down as I see Kerry coming up to the finish line a full hour ahead of the 12hr cut-off, and 40minutes ahead of his projected finish time. I’m SO SO proud - That moment alone will be keep a smile on my face for a VERY long time.

Chisago Lakes Half Iron RR


After the fat tire bonanza in Colorado, it was time to get back into Triathlon mode. Considering we enjoyed 14 hrs of High Country training in three days, we tried our best to recover quickly and get ready for the Chisago Half. Although considered a ‘local race’ it felt far from that on race morning with so many new faces in transition.Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling very confident come race morning, nonetheless I was excited to race my first half of the year. This would be career half #6 for me, yet I still feel like such a rookie out there. As a prolific short course racer, I typically don’t have to think much about strategy and plan- I go all out from the start and drink a bottle of something on the bike- Simple!! Well, considering that’s not recommended for longer races, this would be an opportunity to learn more about how it’s done.Swim: Straight out and back. After last year’s super short swim course, I was hoping it would be closer to the 1.2 miles this time around. It certainly didn’t look like it from shore, but I was happy when I saw 27:xx on my watch when I excited the water- Seemed reasonable to me. Although the simplicity of having an out and back course is nice for the event staff, it can be a problem for the racers. What quickly became two-way swim traffic on the course, as swimmers started drifting to the opposite side of the buoys, led to one painful collision for me. I was close to someone’s feet for about 100m when all of a sudden WHAM-I went head to head with someone from a later wave who had found themselves in the wrong ‘lane”. All I could think about was Mary’s concussion from IMLP a few years ago, and started to question if I was ok. It hurt, but thankfully the race adrenaline kicked back in and I was back on my way. I decided to veer further to the right of the buoy line and swim by myself., and amazingly I felt stronger from there and led a pack of swimmers into T1 including Jackie Arendt from Madison.Bike: I knew this was make or break time for me. Knowing Jackie is a much faster runner, I figured I would need 5+ minutes off the bike just to have a shot. I also had no idea how the other girls compared, and at the time I assumed Heather and Marnie were racing (both strong bikers and better runners). I started off and I felt pretty good (although I had a ton of blood all over my hands from my swim crash). I read that there would be an Aid station at mile 29, and I planned my hydration accordingly. Well that was a mistake. I wized through the Aid station at mile 20 (still ok there) thinking It would be best to hold off putting a “heavy” bottle on my bike early…. Well, with no aid station until about mile 35, I had let myself go too long without fluids. With just two bottle holders on my bike (and one is my 450cal Carbo Pro), I kept holding off on taking in more calories as I knew I needed water to wash it down. Finally I saw an aid station at about mile 35, and I slowed down to nurse myself back. I really didn’t feel bad, but I knew I still had a LOT of racing left and letting yourself get depleted early is recipe for disaster. I finally got myself together and started peddling hard again.I’m not sure where it was on the course, but eventually Jackie passed me (maybe Mile 45). I knew I was in trouble at that point, but I got my head together and moved back ahead. I tried to peddle strong, but we went back and forth one more time before I took the lead for the final 5-6 miles. We ended up coming into t2 together and it didn’t take her long to zoom by and get off in front on the run course. She took off with her long strides, but I knew I had to stay within myself this early in the race. I haven’t been doing much[...]

LTF Leadville Training Camp


I love Colorado - What a beautiful place! This past weekend, Lifetime Fitness hosted a High Country training camp in preparation for the Leadville 100 MTB race. As many of you know, I’ve been very excited about the opportunity to race in Leadville, however without having done anything like it, I’ve also been very nervous. Needless to say, having the opportunity to attend camp would be HUGE for us.Kerry and I flew out Thursday afternoon, and arrived in Leadville around 8pm. Thankfully a fellow camper (Bill in the photo below) from MN provided bike transport services, so the travel was a breeze.Thursday night included a quick camp kick-off meeting, but the real fun started early Friday morning when we rolled through town just after 8am. Our two day ride plan included covering the entire 100 mile course: Day 1 was 25miles out (down Powerline to Fish Hatchery) and back. Day two started near the Fish Hatchery (also known as the Pipeline) and lead us up to the famous Columbine mine (at 12,600ft) and back.Although clearly some riders were all business, I was on total casual mode heading out of town. The race starts with a ~3 mile downhill (pavement) section, and from there we turn onto a dirt trail which leads to the first real climb (St. Kevin’s). This is where the group separated in a hurry. With over 35 riders of various riding abilities we simply had to split into small groups. I felt pretty good on the climb and was able to ride St Kevin’s without much trouble. I expect this section of the course will be VERY different on race day as 1500 riders jockey for position early in the race.The next fun section included 3+ miles of fast downhill known as Sugarloaf. We were flying down that thing. Although I loved the speed, that little voice upstairs was reminding me that I would be climbing all the way back up later (which is about mile 90 in the race)!I was expecting the impact of the altitude to knock me down in a hurry, but thankfully I was feeling OK. Of course I was breathing like a chain smoker, but I wasn’t feeling nauseous- Huge plus! As we climbed up Hagerman’s Pass I was smiling ear to ear while admiring the beautiful views- It was unreal. Although I loved the climb up, knowing the infamous Powerline descent was just around the corner, was a little nerve wreaking. I had no idea what to expect, but as the stories go, this is the most technical and steepest section of the course. There were a few sketchy sections making my hair stand on end, but I managed to keep the wheels rolling. Not sure how that will be with hundreds of other riders around me- It was tricky enough when I had the liberty of choosing MY own line. Once down Powerline it was a simple road section to the day's turnaround point (and aid station).Then it was back up Powerline….I took off behind Cole, and tried my best to keep him in sight as we started upward. The bottom section is the worst, and although many people had already started walking, I tried to stay close and follow Cole's line. I was quickly out of gears and out of lungs, but our videocrew was mid way up the steep section and I didn’t want to dismount in front of them. I pushed myself harder than I think I ever have, and thankfully I saw Cole stop not too far ahead. That was my destination...Well I made it up to Cole, but to this day, I’m pretty sure I left half my lung in that area. [my breathing has been impaired ever since] My breathing was louder than I think I’ve ever heard it, and I can guarantee that I’ve never pushed myself like that before. From there, it was hike-a-bike for about 10 minutes to the first of 3 (maybe 4) false summits. Once I hopped back on the bike I was thankfully able to[...]

Lifetime Fitness Race Report


Earlier this year, when I had plans to cut back my racing, The Lifetime Fitness triathlon was NOT on the chopping block. As I mentioned before, this year would be the 9th edition of the race, and my 9th time racing. It the only race I’ve done every year, and I wanted to keep the string in tact. Originally my coach was reluctant to let me do it… He knows how much pressure can be placed on my for that race and with my focus on the long races, he thought it would freak me out…. In the past, I would get bent out of shape with all the pressure and expectations, but thankfully for many reasons it really does not faze me anymore.With that said, I was not willing to do a real taper for this race, as this is prime Ironman training time. When a holiday long weekend rolls around, I need to maximize my training time. Sprint Race Sat morning -A tough 15 mile run on Sunday - 5 hours of climbing/30 min T run in Prescott WI on Monday. I was pretty smoked after those big days, so the remaining four days leading up to the race were all about maximizing recovery…. No shortage of ice baths, massage, High quality fuel , and rest. I did a few short workouts to keep the blood flowing, but that’s about it. I had NO idea what kind of legs would show up on race day, but regardless, I was SUPER excited. I just love that race.It was a non-wetsuit swim for amateurs (hasn’t been that way in several years). Water was 81, so I’m so glad they did not find a ‘magic’ place in the lake to get a 78 reading- I would have roasted in my wetsuit. Instead I had my trusty blueseventy swimskin and I was ready to go. I love this swim start shot. I’m usually not this aggressive, but I guess I was excited! The elite Amateur women started with the elite masters (both men and women), so I was lined up next to the famous Spinervals founder Troy Jacobson. I had a good start, but it didn’t take long for several people to swim on by. I knew Tami would have a super fast swim, but I really had no idea what kind of swimmers the “out-of-towners” were. I knew I had to work hard, and just kept moving along. I didn’t find much of a draft out there, but ended up swimming next to Susan Willams and a girl from Ontario, Leanna Lee. We all excited the water together, but I was able to get out of T1 in front. I didn’t hear any updates on what was happening in front of me, but I assumed at minimum Tami was making her way around the bike course already. I think last year I passed her before hitting the Parkway, but I knew she was a much faster racer this year. My bike legs felt pretty good, but this race is all about being smart and being heads-up. These are urban city streets and with that comes nasty potholes (these roads are NOT bike roads- there are miles of bike trails along the side). If you’re not familiar with this course, it can bite you at any time. It’s pretty technical with a lot of corners and little climbs. It’s also just a tad long. This of course, has worked to my advantage over the years.I passed Tami on the St Paul side of the Parkway shortly before crossing the Ford bridge, and I hammered hard to move ahead. Once I crossed over Cedar Ave (about 13 miles into the ride), KY told me that I was in second place. I had no clue who was up there, but I was in full pursuit mode. I ended up catching Abby on that short climb before crossing Lyndale. I was not feeling overly confident in my run legs, and having no clue what kind of runner she was, I just kept hammering knowing full well that I’d much rather work extra hard on the bike than endure a shoulder to shoulder 10K run. There’s no doubt my experience on this race course made ALL t[...]

Minnman Race Report


.3mile swim – 13mile bike – 3 mile runI’m a little late with this report, but what can I say… There’s been a lot of stuff going on lately. I missed this race last year, so I was pretty excited to test my high end speed on this super fast sprint course. In an attempt to come up with specific goals for the race, I looked back at my results from 2008 when I set the course record, and was trying to figure out where I could make up time to break that mark. That year the swim seemed a tad long, my transitions were fast, I had a good bike, my run was marginal. I really couldn’t find much wiggle room to break that 1:02:30 record, but I was going to do my best. I knew that much of the outcome would rest on how the swim was measured. For such a sort race, it can make a huge difference….And that it did. As it turns out, I’m pretty sure the swim was at least 150m short. Although that does not sound like much, as a percentage, it was probably 35% shorter than last year. To make it even ‘better’ you could pretty much dolphin dive the entire course. How the heck else would I be able to come out of the water with a BIG TEN champion/ All-American swimmer. When I came up from my 50th dolphin dive to exit Lake George, it felt like entire elite field was there with me. Many guys who typically pass me in the middle of the bike were coming out of the water with me… and then I looked at my watch and saw 5:10. OK, well that will help my quest to break the record, but this triathlon has basically become a Bike-Run Sprint with a little splash at the beginning. Again, I love numbers, so here’s a good stat for you…my combined transition time was 48% of my total swim time… and THAT’s why I practice my transitions!Bike was good- I used a PowerTap wheel, which I’m learning is extremely valuable on flat bike courses. I tend to drift off into ‘comfort zone’ pretty easily when I’m flying down the road at 25mph, but then I look at my wattage, see 150 Watts and realize that the tail wind is doing most of the work. I picked it up and managed to post a faster bike split than I did back in 2008… Progress. Now off to my ‘favorite’ part… the out and back 3mile run that seems to drag on forever. Thankfully after making the turn at the halfway point I didn’t see any women in threatening position, but I was still working as hard as I could. My adjusted goal was to break the hour mark, but as I felt my feet dragging along the ground, I didn’t think it was possible. When I rounded the final corner, I could see the race clock at 59:54…. I tried to pick it up, but ended up crossing at 1:00:02.It was a beautiful day, and it was so refreshing to have the whole weekend left to play… I love Saturday races!And the man behind all the awesome photos...[...]

The PRO card application has been submitted...


Well I pulled the trigger…Why the heck not. My PRO card application is in the hands of USAT. I have to admit, this is something I’ve considered for the last two years, but for many reasons I never really believed it was the right move for me.Originally I was planning to do it after my first Ironman World Championship back in 2008. I had to check that KONA box, but after the race, I realized how much fun I had just being out there…not racing anyone, no pressure or expectations. I wanted more of that, so early in 2009 I had plans to step back from all the racing (I think I raced 16 times in 2008), to seek out new adventures and challenges.Well my Love for the sport shined through, and I found myself on the start line weekend after weekend as soon as the season started. It was still one race at a time- I had no real goals aside from doing the best I could each week. I don’t think I even registered for AG Nationals until about 3 weeks before, and I ended up wrapping up the year as the 2009 USAT Amateur Triathlete of the year (although there were plenty of other amateurs whom I believe were more deserving).So again, in 2010, I longed for something new. I barely swam all winter, and when I got my ticket into Leadville (100 Mile MTB), it was all about the bike. It was just the change I needed. Then I decided to enter a few early races just for the speed workouts. Everyone kept saying that although Leadville is a 12 hr race, you need to do LOTS of threshold work as the altitude (10,000+ft) induces threshold like feelings all day long! So the season rolled around - It was late May, and I decided to sign up for my first race of the season- The Gear West Duathlon. My goal was Top 5, but I ended up surprising myself and defended my win from the prior year. So one by one (and typically just days before each) I would register for another race. With my 2010 racing goals being “survive Leadville”, all self imposed pressure to perform at a high level was removed. I raced to give myself the best training day possible. I was much better off-Both physically and mentally. It was a completely different mindset from previous years and a very welcomed change.Over the last few years, most of my hesitation with getting the Pro card was simply that I love my current lifestyle. Having a full time job enables me to do more of the things I love; such a travelling with friends, eating high quality organic food, frequent massage, buying new gear, supporting others etc. I love my current training buddies and my ‘whatever goes’ approach to group training/outings. I felt the only way I could do the Pro thing was to give all that up. Had to FOCUS AND BE DISCIPLINED! I’m very realistic (I’m no Olympian or World Champion athlete), and I just wasn’t ready to make that kind of sacrifice just to call myself a Pro triathlete.So since early May, I’ve been focused on surviving Leadville, and all thoughts of getting my PRO card had disappeared- Well, that was until this past Saturday.I was racing in my 9th Lifetime Fitness triathlon, and after finishing the race, I hear my biggest fan (he’s every triathletes biggest fan), Jerry MacNeil announce that I had won my 5th straight LTF race. Although I was running VERY scared (I’ll try to do a race report soon), and I never took it for granted, I felt sort of embarrassed by the announcement, and thought to myself-TIME TO MOVE ON.When I think about why I race, it’s truly about the experience and doing the best that “I” can do. I’ve been very fortunate in my 9 year amateur career to have picked up a few wins and special awards, but [...]

My Tribute to Lifetime Fitness


In honor of the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon this weekend, I decided it was fitting to do a proper shout out to the great people behind the scenes of a company that’s had such a wonderful impact on my life. I know that sounds hokey, but just the other day I was thinking about all the opportunities that have come my way as a result of Lifetime Fitness, and I even surprised myself as to how significant it’s been. First off, Lifetime Fitness was my first employer after I graduated from Iowa State in 2001. The sister of one of my teammates was a Personal Trainer at the Plymouth Lifetime Fitness club, and she loved it. I visited her during my spring semester and I fell in love with the club, the people and the location. I moved from Ames to Minneapolis for my first real job, and I thank Lifetime Fitness for that. It goes without saying that the next part is the most important to me - I met my wonderful husband at Lifetime Fitness. It’s hard to believe that almost 9 years ago while swimming at the Plymouth LTF club, I found myself in a lane next to my soul mate. I vividly remember swimming a 400m set, and at each flip turn I would see this guy flipping at the same time. Sort of annoying really - I would speed up, he would speed up- Eventually I stopped and sure enough he stopped as well. I think the conversation stared when Kerry said something like “you’re a good swimmer, are you training for anything?” I think we’ve all heard that one before… but it was probably my response that piqued Kerry’s interest. “I’ve never done a Triathlon before, but I’m thinking about doing one someday…I’m a golfer! “ Sure enough a few weeks later, I get a voice mail from him asking if I wanted to join him and a few friends for 18 holes. Well as the cliché goes, the rest is history. Although, I enjoyed my 2.5 year employment with Lifetime, I was at a point in my life that I desperately wanted standard work hours. There’s nothing I wanted more than to spend as much time as possible with Kerry, and it killed me to be working random/unpredictable hours. I would be training people VERY early in the morning, throughout the day and late in the evenings. I loved the work, but I needed more structure to my days. So from there I left the fitness industry and moved into the finance world…Big change I know. It was actually one of my loyal clients (now a great friend) who got me my next job, which is where I’ve been (same company-different positions) for the past 7 years. This weekend’s event will be the 9th year for the Lifetime Fitness triathlon. It will also be the 9th time that I will be racing alongside the world’s best pros in the heart of Minneapolis. There’s something special about urban races, and Lifetime Fitness does it better than anyone. I think the first year, I managed a 3rd place AG finish (the girl who originally finished 3rd got a penalty) so I landed a little hardware. In 2004 I moved up into the Elite Age Group wave, and in 2006 I picked up my first triathlon pay check and my first Elite amateur win. Lifetime fitness was one of the very first triathlons to offer prize money to amateurs! I love how that’s caught on with many other local races. In 2006, Lifetime Fitness continued its tradition of supporting Triathlon and producing BIG events, by creating the Lifetime Fitness Series (now known as the Race to the Toyota Cup). This new series links the NYC, Chicago and LA Triathlons (Philly was added this year) with an end of year series Championship at the US OPEN in Dallas. Lifetime’s support for amateur racing cont[...]

No BarnBurner = Play day in Sedona


The Barn Burner 104mile MTB race that was originally scheduled for June 19th was postponed due to forest fires in the Flagstaff area. Thankfully race directors gave us plenty of warning, but Kerry and I still wanted to get out of town, so we took off to Arizona anyhow. It was unfortunate we didn’t get our pre-Leadville reality check, but we made the best of a weekend away. We started the weekend early with an 80 mile road ride in the East Mesa area- Even though it was 90+ degrees during our ride, we had plenty of fluids and the simple reality that we weren’t in the office on a Friday, was enough to survive the heat.The next morning we loaded up our gear and took off for Sedona. If you’ve never been to Sedona, I highly recommend adding it to the bucket list. The new age vibe combined with endless hiking/riding trails and amazing red rock views makes it a wonderful getaway. We found a few new trails and set off on an adventure.Here are a few photos from the day:Just a dirt road climb- A great way to get the legs moving without trying to find trails etc. Took us about an hour to reach the top… On the way down we stopped on a fun single track section and played on the “cow pies”. I took my first digger of the day coming out of there, but thankfully it was nothing too debilitating - Just have a few funky bruises to show for it.We made our way to the Jim Thompson trail which eventually lead us to this bridge. From the top, we could see people hanging out by the edge of Oak Creek below and decided we had to find a way down there. After some steep gnarly single track and a few river crossings, we found ourselves at waters edge. We found our own little swimming hole, and set up camp for a while. After the refreshing dip in Oak Creek, we took the Oak Creek trail South back to town. This trail was pretty rocky and downright unrideable in many sections, and as a result there was no shortage of 'hike -a- bike' opportunities. Prep for the death march up Columbine at 12,500ft … Well no, nothing can really prepare us for that…We stopped a lot, jumped in the river, had snacks etc. It was not a 'big' day as far as workout intensity goes, but we had a blast. Just two big kids playing on bikes… Refreshing.After 6+ hours of 'riding', we had enough sun and it was time for REAL food. Powerbars can only go so far. We found a great Korean restaurant (Mago Cafe) in the heart of downtown Sedona. They had the most amazing FRESH spring rolls and my huge plate of veggies, chicken and rice was delicious!The date for the Barn Burner ‘take 2” is still undecided. Although it was primarily on my schedule to prepare for Leadville, I still hope to participate if it gets rescheduled sometime this fall. Here’s the updated buckle photo… Who wouldn’t ride 10 hours for one of those…[...]

Optum Health Performance Manitou RR


It was another jam packed weekend: With Liberty Half being contesting on Saturday morning, a VERY SPECIAL wedding Saturday night and the Manitou Sprint on Sunday morning, I knew it would be a great, but very busy weekend. I didn’t opt for ridiculous back to back racing, but I did make the drive to Baker Park on Saturday to watch and cheer for a few friends. It was a cold, wet and chilly morning, and watching those athletes make it happen on the race course was very inspiring. My friend Jen L. had a great race, and more importantly she was thrilled with her performance-Such a great breakthrough for her, and only a small preview of what’s to come this year (yeah, Ironman Kentucky)! It was also fun to watch my teammate Suzie in her Half Iron Debut. I’m just getting to know Suzie, but her positive attitude, big smile, and ‘say it as it is’ approach refreshing. You just can’t help but smile whenever you’re around her. Her motivation and passion for the sport will undoubtedly lead to GREAT things down the road for her. She’s also a ‘juicer’ (the legal kind-ie. lots of veggies and fruits), so I’ve been using many of her tasty recipes and ideas lately. Check out her blog here…I got home from the race around 2pm, and had to quickly 'transition' to wedding mode for the 3pm ceremony. Despite the rainy afternoon, the outdoor wedding was PERFECT and beautiful. When you see warm, giving and loving hearts blend together, a little rain has no impact, and maybe it helped hide the tears of happiness I shed for such a special couple. Good times had by all.Thankfully my Sunday morning race wasn’t too far away, and with a later start time of 8:30, it wasn’t too bad in the morning. I still had my race wheels and transition bag packed from last week’s race, so truthfully there wasn’t too much prep required. I guess that’s a benefit to racing so frequently.I arrived at the race venue to see a much different look to the Manitou Tri. This year, it was branded with Optum Health Performance (formerly known as SCS Multisport) colors, and the transition area was set up for the Youth F1 Race and Junior Elite race. These kids are so fun to watch; in fact I was so consumed with these guys, that I was pretty far from race mode myself. I didn’t really have any specific performance goals (besides go fast), which I’m learning is not the best thing for me. I do much better with specific performance objectives.It was time to get my head in the game. The water was a little chilly, but the colder ambient temp of 57 degrees made the 66 degree water feel OK. This is a two loop course 2x400m, which is unique and fun. The Elite wave finally took off- I’m not sure what I was thinking, but I lined up in the thick of the pack, and paid a big price for it once we hit the water. Man…the first leg to the turnaround felt like BEAT ON CY time. Finally on the way back in, I went way wide to avoid the mayhem and finally found some open water. I came out of the water at the half way point just behind John Shelp, and a lot of folks right on my heels. Unfortunately the next few waves had already started, so when we hit the water the next time, we had to swim around all those additional swimmers. That was a headache, but I was able to make up some ground on the 2nd loop and come out of the water right behind Kevin O’Connor (pretty typical at this race). The run to T1 was much more painful than I remember it, and again, I struggled to have a smooth transition. I finally took off, and started the 13.[...]

Buffalo Olympic Triathlon Race Report


The one problem with racing every weekend is that keeping up with race reports becomes increasingly difficult. These past few weeks have been a blur. We enjoyed a special graduation ceremony at Eastview Saturday night, raced in Buffalo (about 60 mile Northwest of home) early Sunday morning, and hosted a Graduation party at our house Sunday evening. No time to spare…We were organized and on a mission..Here’s the fun cake for the Special Graduate! The Party was great fun, but I was certainly ready to crash come nightfall…of course, it was all well worth it After two duathlons in two weeks, I was very eager to get back in the water and start a race where I belong!! Unfortunately I ripped the arm of my BlueSeventy Helix wetsuit just a few days earlier, so I was a little worried what I’d end up with for raceday. That wetsuit has been my saving grace, and although I knew I could still race with the fist size hole in the arm, it wasn’t going to help me reach my goal for the day. I needed a great swim to get it done, and thankfully I was able to pick up a new suit at Gear West on Saturday morning. I’ve been a huge Blueseventy fan for the past four years, so there was no question on brand, but this year, b70 introduced a new line of suits designed specifically to help “triathletes” (added buoyancy in the leg area-Think built-in pull buoy). I talked to the Rep, and a few pros who’ve tried it, and it’s been very well received. Knowing full well, I do not classify as a real swimmer, I opted to give the ‘triathlete’ suit- the BlueSeventy Axis a go.So much for that age old advice”Don’t try anything new on race day”. I took the tags off the wetsuit in transition on race morning, to go with my brand new shoes and race kit for the day. I couldn’t believe how warm the water was (June in MN is typically freezing). I headed to the lake pretty early to get a feel for the new suit. It was very buoyant, but it felt a little looser in the upper body than my old suit. I could feel a little water coming through the arms, and I’m not really sure if that’s by design or if the suit is too big. Anyways, it was finally time to take off, and the Elite men and women started together. It was a rough, fast, and congested start, but after about 200m, I had open water. I could see a pack of two swimmers about 25m ahead, and was able to bridge up to them fairly easily. I stayed on their feet for a while, but I just couldn’t find any rhythm there. After the final turn back to shore (maybe about 500m left) I decided to work on my own and go around them. I was happy to see a sub 20min swim when I exited the water, but at that point, I still had a lot of work to do to reach my goal. It’s a long (uphill) run to T1… I was very surprised to hear someone say I was the first female out of the water, as I would have expected Heidi or Susan to be in front of me. I guess the suit worked its magic-It’s a keeper.T1 was nothing exciting-I usually pride myself on fast transitions, but I struggled to get my suit off as efficiently as usual. I guess I’ll be cutting the bottoms after all. I jumped on my bike and tried to settle into a groove. Well that didn’t happen, but in the end I’m fairly pleased with my bike split. I rarely have any mechanical issues, as I’m pretty diligent about checking things over, but my self made areo drink system (between my areobars) came loose and was forced to hold it up throughout the early part of the ride (sure wish I had [...]

Apple Duathlon


Two Duathlons in six days! After a fun day at the Gear West Duathlon, I decided to register for the Apple Du. For me, there’s no replicating the intensity and focus required on race day, and that’s exactly what I need right now to whip myself into shape. It was hard to believe that after a day of recovery, a few key workouts and then a ‘little’ rest, I was back on the start line for what turned into a great dual with my good friend Julie. We were greeted by above normal temps and a light breeze-Ideal conditions in my opinion. There were a few unknown athletes on the start line, who all looked fit and fast. It’s amazing how intimidating those tiny girls can be! We started with the Elite men, and I knew full well that meant it would be a blistering pace. I’ve been around the block a few times, and knowing full well what happens when I try to climb a hill at sub 6min/mile pace, I cautiously settled into a more conservative pace. This worked to my advantage as I gradually picked up the pace throughout the first run arrived in T1 in 3rd. I was pretty happy with that run (averaged 6:20pace), and I didn’t waste any time in transition. I was able to catch Marlo climbing the first hill, and overtake the leader within the first mile (or two). Again, I was off on my own, which is not the best place for me if I’m looking for a great bike split. With a trailwind for the first half, I felt like I was flying (I didn’t have a computer or power tap to tell me otherwise), which made it easy to settle into MY groove… Well, that grove was short lived as Julie woke me up in a hurry as she went ZOOMING by just before the turnaround. She was flying, and I could do nothing to stay close to her. Thankfully, I was able to keep her within sight (~400m), which helped me keep the intensity dial on MAX. That 10 mile home stretch seems to drag on forever, and the headwind certainly didn’t make it feel any shorter. Needless to say, I was eager to hit T2 and see what I could do on the second run.By the time I racked my bike, I could hear Jerry announce how wonderful Julie looked climbing the hill-I looked up and she was most of the way up. I HAD my work cut out for me to catch her, and I had no idea what was happening behind me. I figured even if I didn’t catch Julie, the process of trying would only help me stay ahead of those in the chase group. My legs felt like LEAD WEIGHTS as I climbed the first hill, and it’s a good thing I didn’t have any gadget telling me how slow I was running and how high my heart rate was at that point. It would have been easy to give up there, but instead, I just kept plugging along. Thankfully, there’s a nice downhill to help get the cadence back up, and it was at the bottom of that hill where I took my first split on Julie. I saw 40 seconds, and I figured we had about 2.4 miles to go… Oh man…. I tried my best to focus on quick feet, good posture and breathing. I could see Julie up ahead, and I hadn’t yet turned around to see who was in pursuit. I took another split, and noticed that I was now about 30seconds down. Although 30sec does not sound like a lot, she looked SO far away.… Eventually, with about 1mile to go, I took my final split. I saw 12 seconds…. I looked behind (nobody there), and dug deep. It’s sort of a bittersweet to make the move to pass your good friend in the final stages of a race, but I guess that’s what we train for. I knew we’d both be getting nice checks[...]

Gear West Duathlon


(Thanks Christine for the photo-Love your style behind the lense)Despite my best intentions to wean myself off the constant racing this season, I couldn’t resist any longer and registered for the Gear West Duathlon. I’ve been enjoying the steady stream of race updates from friends, and I wanted IN on the action. I guess I love this sport even more than I thought! After feeling pretty good after a group 112 mile ride in River Falls last Saturday and a 4 mile run race the next day, I figured what the heck…A least it will be a good speed workout for me. Thankfully, as a result of winning the MidwestMultipost race series, you earn free entry into all ten series races for the following year… This makes the decision to race an easy one, especially when you need a good butt kicking.I knew the competition would be fierce, and as much as dislike duathlons in comparison to triathlons, I had my strategy in place, and was ready to go. This was also the first race on my new Felt DA. Thanks to Gear West and Felt, I sold my 2006 Cervelo P3 and I’m now riding a missile. It was fun to get it dressed up with race wheels for the first time-That certainly contributed to the excitement factor.Race morning was pretty typical except for one small detail- the WEATHER. It was already getting close to 80 degrees with close to 85% humidity. Certainly makes you wonder what July will bring… My race plan was to start out very controlled on the first run, and not get too caught up in the intense energy. For the first time, the Elite Men and Women started in different waves, which certainly helped keep the pace in check. I was actually very pleasantly surprised at the relatively controlled start. Jenny Wilcox quickly realized that we were moving much too slowly for her, so she went off the front, but there was a pack of about 4 or 5 of us that stayed pretty close together throughout most of the first run. I came into T1 just behind Marlo, but out transitioned her and was able to get on my bike in second place. With Jenny still in sight, I was able to put the hammer down early and take the lead within the first mile. My bike felt great, and I just loved the feel of my new ride. I only saw a few other guys on the course, and I had no way to tell what was happening with the women behind me. I tried to push as hard as possible; knowing full well, several bikers behind could easily outrun me. I’d rather hurt on the bike than suffer through a shoulder to shoulder type run, so I just kept peddling as hard as possible. I came into T2 to see Kerry running his bike up the street- he started in the wave in front of me, but was forced to run about .25 miles in his socks up the street after his chain dropped and was stuck between the small cog and fame (total drag as he just missed an AG podium by 30sec). (Stole this photo from Terry Lee...That's me coming up on the bike behind KY)I figured he had a flat, but regardless I was looking forward to running the 2nd run together. As I was leaving T2, I’d yet to hear the announcer make any mention of who was behind me, so I was pretty excited to get going, and felt good about my position. This run is XC style (up/down, twist /turn, grass, mud, gravel) and there’s plenty of opportunity to see what happening behind. Once around the softball field I could see the string of ladies in pursuit. I tried my best to pick it up, but I certainly wasn’t feeling overly zippy. Regardless, wi[...]

Whiskey 50 Race Report


Do One Thing A Day That Scares You-CHECK!When I registered for the Whiskey 50 several weeks ago, I significantly underestimated the challenge ahead. As someone who spends 90% of their riding time on pavement and skinny tires, 50 miles didn’t faze me. After more research I discovered the course includes over 7700ft of climbing, but again I remained oblivious as I lOVE to climb. I heard there was a good mix of single track, rocky jeep roads etc, but it never really donned on me that what goes up, must come down, and single track/rocky steep descents is not my strong suit.With no opportunity for a course preview, I had to rely on stories from others and those comforting words from the race director during our pre-race meeting..."BE careful, don't ride outside your abilities etc..." At 7:30am, the start gun blasted and we were off. Morning temps registered in the 30's, but it quickly warmed up. I didn't have any way to drop clothes at the start, and midway through the 10 mile climb out of town, it was obvious I had significantly overdressed (long sleeve thick jersey, vest and knickers). The hard top climb out of town was great. It provided plenty of opportunity to get a decent position in the crowd before dropping into single track. The course was a lot of fun with plenty of stream crossings (there was snow in the mtns the day before) and fun technical stuff. I was in great position at the top of the first big climb, and there was a fun section of 2.5 foot drops as we started down the mountain. That stuff is great, but once we hit the rocky jeep roads, it was a different story. That just scares the crap out of me. You’re flying down so darn fast, but the terrain is completely loose and rutty. You hit the brakes and you're out of control, but if you don’t you’ll be even more out of control…yup-GREAT choices there. After working my way up through the pack on the climb, I could feel the fast guys just barreling down on me on the descent. Eventually, I just pulled over and let people go by, but once you stop, there’s a long string of folks bombing the decent, and it’s impossible to get back in. I saw 3 women pass me at that point, but I didn’t care-This was about surviving and it was still very early in the race.After that monster decent we climbed again…this was about the 11-13 mile mark, and the low point of the day for me. I felt so defeated from watching 30+ people pass me on the descent, or maybe it was the uncertainty of what kind of terrain I would face in the miles ahead. The first aid station was at mile 14. I was overheating in my long sleeve jersey, but knowing we had a 12 mile fast (therefore chilly) descent ahead, I opted to keep the jersey on until I hit the turnaround at the bottom. This descent was much more enjoyable-These were actual dirt roads. Not in great shape, but at least I could ride without fearing for my life. I used this time to catch up with my calories and hydration. I had my bento box filled with Power gels, and my camelback loaded with 100oz of water (with Nuun). This was the first out and back section, so it was fun to check in on the leaders. Those guys/and gals can ride. It’s amazing that this little race in AZ attracted such great riders. At the turnaround in Skull Valley, I decided to shed the long sleeve jersey. Although the 'Vest only' look is not my style, at this point I didn't have much choice. I checked on my fluid levels[...]