Freeplay Closes Out the Season in Style

Posted by on Sep 25, 2016 in News |

The season may be winding down, but Freeplay athletes aren’t done yet. To kick off the fall, Mary Tanner came back from a nasty (really nasty) bout of poison oak to finish both Coeur d’Alene 70.3 and Ironman CDA. We’re expecting her to be fully recovered for her last big race, Ironman Arizona in November! Pam Goodley wrapped up her season — thankfully before she broke her arm — with a 4th place finish in her age group at Santa Cruz 70.3. She toughed out the popular, competitive and cold race with her signature smile. Go get ’em! While we have four athletes headed to Kona for the Ironman World Championships, those aren’t the only world championships on the Freeplay schedule. First up, Elise went down to Cozumel (with the whole family in tow) for the ITU World Championships. She marched in the parade of nations, proudly showed off her American colors — and, of course, the Freeplay spade — and then took 9th her age group on a hot day. That makes her one of the ten best Olympic distance athletes in her age group in the world. We think she deserves that beach-side vacation she’s taking now. Now, all eyes are turning to Hawaii. Kimberly is prepping for the Xterra World Championships in Maui at the end of October. As our resident dirt girl and expert mountain biker, she should be dominant at that other big race in our 50th state. Before Xterra, though, the triathlon world will first turn its eyes to the Big Island, where Kelly, Sara, Jaimee and Freeplay ambassador Christine will all be racing in the Ironman World Championships. Both Christine and Jaimee qualified with a late race at Ironman Canada, where Pam also took fourth in her age group. Jaimee, our youngin’, won her young age group in her first Ironman ever. When she started doing triathlon just two years ago, completing an Ironman and qualifying for Kona was a long-term goal. Well, she’s already knocked that off the list. And Christine followed up a performance at Ironman Wisconsin in the fall, where she missed qualifying for Kona by 55 seconds (!!), with a second place in the age group and fourth overall woman. After resting up, Jaimee and Christine will join Kelly and Sara in Hawaii. They’ve all been busy training this summer and are ready to wrap up the season with the best in the world. After third place in her age group at Vineman 70.3 this summer, Sara’s actually finishing up her season with the double-header — racing in both the 70.3 and Ironman world championships. Kelly didn’t race the 70.3 championships in Australia, but she did cheer on her teammates. And, after a second overall at Whistler 70.3 and finishing as the third amateur at Vineman 70.3, she mostly has just been training, training, training. Now it’s time to finish this season in true Freeplay...

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It’s Almost Time for Kona

It’s Almost Time for Kona

Posted by on Sep 25, 2016 in Kelly's Blog |

It’s hard to believe it was over a year ago I qualified and registered for Kona. And now here we are. Two weeks away from my first Ironman World Championships. It’s been a long year of training and I’m so stressed out and ready to be done that if you want to just do an Ironman tomorrow and call it the world championships, I’m down. Since the double race Pacific Grove-Dipsea weekend back in June, things have been busy. The whole summer passed in a blur of training and racing and trips. In July, I raced the mid-season North American World Championships — also known as Vineman 70.3. Even though I think of it as my local race, Vineman has gotten insanely competitive and intense. I had to be happy with third amateur on the day (and third in my age group, speaking of insanely competitive) — though I wasn’t super happy with getting run down in the last half mile. Better then than now, I guess. Then I headed up to Whistler to stay with Freeplay teammate Christine. She qualified for Kona in the full Ironman! And I got second overall in the 70.3, and then had quite a few beers while cheering her on. It was full in to Kona training then, with a detour to race TriCal’s Alcatraz. My husband had never done the swim from the Alcatraz and TriCal’s event was a lot more tempting than the $750 version. While I got lost somewhere out in the Bay, the husband managed beat me out of the swim — which was not encouraging (for me) and which has prompted him to offer me many “swim tips” — but I came around to cross the line second behind Freeplay ambassador pro triathlete Emily Cocks. Somehow I ended up third overall, but what are you going to do.   The husband and I then headed to Australia for a race-cation, even though I hate that word. He did the 70.3 World Championships and I rode my bike and rode my bike and rode my bike. Also, I got to hold a koala — in important non-triathlon goals. Since then, I’ve been in Hawaii. House-sitting in the middle of a rainforest and putting the final touches on this Kona craziness. You can read a day-by-day rundown of me going insane, which (hopefully) will all come to an end, whatever happens, on Oct....

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A Double Race Weekend: The Pacific Grove + the Dipsea

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016 in Kelly's Blog |

It’s been a year since I started with Hillary. A year of training hard and getting faster, almost like that’s how it’s supposed to work. Naturally, it was fitting that I marked the anniversary with a double race weekend — not this past weekend but the one before that: Pacific Grove Triathlon on Saturday, Dipsea on Sunday. Why am I writing about two weekends ago? Because it turns out when you do two races in 24 hours, the odds of you getting super sick are pretty high. Here is the only tip I have about doing two races back to back: don’t think about it; also do the one you really care about first. There were a total of three times I thought about it the whole weekend: when I needed to spin on my bike after PacGrove instead of laying on the ground when I tried to warm-up the morning of the Dipsea and was like: oooooooooh, ouch during the last 15 minutes of the Dipsea, when my brain was just way too tired to navigate the stairs and singletrack at any kind of speed; the expression on my face pretty much sums up my feelings at that point: There are no pictures from Pacific Grove, which sort of sucks, so here is a story instead. My secret goal was to break the course record. 2:14:36. It’s five minutes faster than I’ve ever gone here, and Pacific Grove is very dependent on conditions, but I still thought I could possibly do it. I ended up missing by 10 seconds, but, well, it’s a long story. I won it in the swim. FYI. I buried myself in that swim. First time ever actually drafting off the front woman’s feet worked. And then suddenly I was in first and there was a kayak leading me. And when I hit the water for a second lap, everything hurt. Holy shit. But I managed to hang in and came out only 5 seconds back from first — who was a collegiate swimmer! This is basically insane. The bike wasn’t awesome. Neither was the run. But both were good enough. I actually got very down on myself after the first bike lap because I wasn’t going as fast as I wanted. Or, rather, because I was “sucking.” But then I decided I was still opening up a slight gap on the women behind me, so I couldn’t be sucking too much. I ended up biking a tiny bit faster than the fastest I’ve ever gone here (which I’ve never even been close to since that one time) and I got the Strava QOM, so that’s how you know it really counts. I glanced at my watch as I hit the run. All I needed to do was run a 42 to get the record. Easy. No problem. And I was pretty sure I was in first. But as I started, there was a girl running...

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Race Report: Wildflower Triathlon

Race Report: Wildflower Triathlon

Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Kelly's Blog |

Multiple people the week after Wildflower (which was last week) kept telling me how tough I am. Which I thought was funny. I told my husband, Steve, this and he also thought it was funny, so that’s either encouraging or not. I don’t feel tough. I feel like I had four-and-a-half hours of feeling good at Wildflower and then 40 minutes of feeling like I was going to pass out, wondering if my shuffle would get me to the finish line before I passed out, and being 100% certain no one was moving as slowly as I was. There was a long period where I was not gaining on the larger older man in front of me, and all I could think was: That’s not great. The arguments in my head for continuing to run were: You’re winning the amateur race, you should not start walking. Just don’t screw it all up now. You don’t even have to run fast, you just have to run. And even if you get passed, you’ve still had a great race, so there’s that. (Yes, I talk to myself in the third person during races. Let it go.) In retrospect, though, I guess I’ve gotten tougher maybe. A year ago, I’m fairly certain the long-course at Wildflower would have left me walking most of the time. A year ago, post-bachelorette party, I got 7th in the Olympic race. It must have been the RV this year that made all the difference. After a disappointing race at Galveston 70.3 last month, Leslie, who is also coached by my coach Hillary, gave me a pep talk about how triathlon is supposed to be fun. So I invited myself to join her and Alyssa’s super classy RV to Wildflower. I slept on top of the kitchen table. We hung out at the campgrounds on Friday, got our pre-race stuff done, and “relaxed.” The two of them kept making me take “relaxing time,” which is a new thing for me. That meant on race morning I ended up with hours and hours to talk to The USC Kids and hang out with my Freeplay teammate Christine. See, triathlon is fun! My goal for the swim was to stick with Christine, which lasted for all of 30 seconds. The problem with my swimming right now is I’m not sure yet if I’m fast or not. I’m almost fast? I ended up coming out of the water with one girl, and with two others (including Christine) less than 45 seconds ahead of us. Apparently the swim was long, but I don’t wear a watch anymore, so don’t know, don’t care. I transitioned like a champ, because that’s basically what I’m best at in life. And I caught Christine by the top of the boat ramp. I either did something brilliant or stupid at this point. I decided if I was in first, and I was pretty sure I was, then I should make it stick. To...

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Team Freeplay Gets the Year Started

Posted by on Apr 17, 2016 in News |

After a winter of hard training, Team Freeplay was more than ready to get the race season started. There have been all kinds of, what we like to call, “tune-up” races over the last few months: running races, mountain bike races, Spartan Races. But now the days are getting longer and warmer (much warmer), which means one thing. It’s time for the super-serious, putting-it-out-there, real races. Sara Randolph, our resident #IronMomGoingtoKona, got things kicked off at the Bayshore 70.4 in Long Beach, where she didn’t let things like an open course (!) and crowds of people on the bike route stop her from taking the overall female win. And she broke five hours in a half-Ironman for the first time ever — even with the extra .1 miles. Guess she’ll have to get a new goal for the rest of the season! Sara’s now in Boston spectating the Boston Marathon as she rests a sore IT band and prepares for Ironman Texas next month. For most California triathletes, race season starts in So Cal at Oceanside 70.3, where Freeplay was represented by our youngest athlete, Jaimee Davis. Don’t be fooled, though. Jaimee is so relaxed you’d think she had decades of experience. After a mini-vacation and some hanging out at the beach, she dominated the tough and competitive course with a 5th-place finish in her age group (the youngsters 18-24). It wasn’t that long ago that Jaimee had never even seen a triathlon, much less finished one — much less finished a half-Ironman! Watch out for her in the years to come. Since she couldn’t get into the sold-out Oceanside (*sad face*), Kelly O’Mara headed to Galveston — as in, Texas — for her first triathlon of the year. It didn’t go quite as well as her half-marathon PR in February, but it still went well enough. Galveston was windy, hot, and very competitive. But Kelly toughed it out, and did not lay down in the shade like she was seriously considering at one point, finishing in 4:43, 2nd in her age group (30-34) and 4th amateur woman. And then she re-packed her bike in the race parking lot and headed home to get recovered in time for Wildflower, a California classic. The team’s enthusiastic running ambassador, Erin Wachter, wasn’t focused on triathlon through the long winter months, but on something a little crazier: The Gorges 50K up in Oregon. Even though she started the year off recovering from wrist surgery and was still struggling with a knee injury going into the race, Erin was not going to let go of a top 10 finish once it was in her grasp. She sprinted for the 6th-place woman overall spot and only threw up after she crossed the line. We’ve also had women taking podiums at the Sactown 10-Mile, the Super Sunday 5K, and Xterra Real Granite Bay. And our fearless leader has been doing her best to try not to podium on the trails, but...

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