The following are all Team Freeplay blog posts from all athletes. If you would like to read only the blog of a specific athlete please navigate to the athlete page of your choice.
Bright Spots: hanging out with Freeplay teammie: Mary Tanner; AZ 70.3 Volunteers; Qualifying for 70.3 World’s in Tennessee on September 9 Things I could do without: Yucky water on the swim and a bike course with way too many turns To get into Arizona (AZ) IM you either have to show up the year before you want to race and volunteer, register the day before competing in AZ, or get very lucky and get in through general registration in the first few seconds it opens. In 2015, Ironman offered early registration for IM AZ to those who registered for both AZ 70.3 and AZ IM at the same time. I figured if I had to fly to AZ anyway to volunteer, I’d rather be racing. I flew to Arizona on Saturday, arriving at 12:30, in plenty of time to check myself and my gear into the race venue. Tri Bike Transport (TBT) picked my bike up from Walnut Creek a week before the race and drove it to AZ for a mere $350 (cough cough). TBT no longer picks up in Davis so now I have to schlep my bike to the Bay Area for drop off and pick up (well, not me but my husband, Jeff) …yes, it’s a pain! Note to Santa, I want a Scicon Travel Bike Bag for Christmas, for details see my teammate Mary T! It was fun to connect with Mary and share our stories. Mary is a very experienced and accomplished triathlete! She knows a lot about equipment and who’s who in triathlon, so it was cool learning from her. We also had a chance to talk about our families, including our most favorite furry friends Scout and Murphy our yellow labs. We arrived at the race venue around 5:30 and learned that race officials decided to close transition earlier than they originally planned. After a bit of rushing we made it out of transition in plenty of time to sit around and wait for our swim wave. Mary was in the water 8 minutes before me so I knew we would eventually see each other on the bike and run as there were plenty of turnarounds in the race. The water was really warm but I had decided to wear my new long sleeve wet suit because I planned on wearing it for the full IM and I like to know how I will respond in a race situation with new gear. I felt comfortable but fast on the swim but I did notice pulling to one side a few times. My swim took at least a minute longer than I thought, not sure if that’s the warm water or my less than straight line. The first few miles was pretty slow on the bike, only because the course takes you up and over an overpass. Things picked up until the first of many 180 turns on the course…there were more than a few turns on this course and the roads were bumpy. Around 7 miles into the race my saddle bag Velcro ripped away from the bag and was dragging on my wheel. I had to stop and secure my bag and get back on my bike. It only took a few seconds but afterwards I started holding my bag...read more
Race Highlights High-fiving thousands of people while running down Ali’i Drive My race crew riding beach cruisers during the run Racing with the best athletes from all over the world Living out my dream of competing in the World Championships After two years of consistent hard work, a lot of determination and countless miles logged in training, I accomplished my dream of qualifying for Ironman World Championships in Kona by winning my first Ironman in July 2016 at Ironman Canada (Canada race recap). On October 8, 2016 I got to live out my dream and compete in the Ironman World Championships. Kona truly is a magical place and the race experience is unforgettable. In the weeks and days leading up to the race Ali’i Drive is filled with athletes from all over the world running around town, swimming at the Kona Pier and biking along the Queen K all hours of the day. Race week is almost* more fun than the actual race day, it’s full of activities such as swim competitions, kids races, the famous Underpants Run down Ali’I drive, if you’re lucky enough to be invited there’s a beer mile race and my favorite swimming out to the Cliff Bar coffee boat, getting a refreshing drink and talking to athletes from New Zealand, Australia and Florida. Ironman village is huge and of course full of tons of new products and limited edition Kona gear that is all must have! With so much going on and people from all over the world the energy is crazy. It’s intimidating, exciting, anxious and unreal all at the same time. Thankfully we didn’t stay in Kona, I prefer to stay at least 20 minutes away from the race site. It helps me get away from the “race scene and energy” and not feel so anxious. We lucked out with a sick house big enough for my parents, brothers, grandpa and two friends who are basically family. During my taper week I did many light workouts, stretched, tried to stay off my feet, ate Basik Acai, drank out of coconuts and watched the boys as they jumped off cliffs. I really wanted to jump, just once but everyone told me it wasn’t a good idea. I saw a guy there with the Ironman wristband on who was jumping, I asked him if he was racing- he wasn’t he was a volunteer- the look of disappointment on my face must have said a lot since he told me, “don’t jump it’s not worth it. Think of all you did to get here and how horrible it’d be if it got taken away from a jump that lasts 3 seconds.” Valid point, so I videotaped and lived vicariously through them. Finally, 24 hours to go! We got to rack our bikes and drop off our gear at transition, it was hands down the coolest transition I’ve ever seen and definitely filled with the most expensive and nicest gear there is. As I walked in on the red carpet spectators were wishing me good luck, I received so many compliments on my bike set up and high fives. The volunteers treated us like royalty, carried all our stuff, set up our spots for us and walked each individual athlete through the transition process. The woman who...read more
There’s truly something magical about the island of Kona. Having my family along with me for the trip kept me distracted from thinking about the race too much. I think that was a good thing – seeing all the athletes training along Ali’i drive was very intimidating. After recovering from my IT band issues earlier this season, I was excited and hopeful for what the race would bring for me but I also knew that the hot and humid conditions would make for a challenging race. The swim start was amazing, I made a new friend in the swim line up who told me where to line up for the start and some strategies for swimming the course. I lined up near the middle-left of the swim start and before I knew it, the cannon went off! For the most part, I swam by myself with very little contact – I kept telling myself “don’t look at the beautiful fish, don’t look at the beautiful coral – you are racing!” but the fish and coral below were amazing! About 800 meters into the swim, out of nowhere, someone’s hand hit my goggles but thankfully didn’t knock them off… later I found out that this hit turned into a black eye post-race! During the 2nd half of the swim, the ocean swells seem to increase but it didn’t really bother me – I just kept telling myself to get with the rhythm of the waves and go with it. I exited the water and glanced at my watch and was very happy to see 1:06! A personal best non-wetsuit swim by 4 minutes!! All those early morning swim sessions are paying off. I stopped to rinse the saltwater off and then tried to move quickly through transition and on to the bike. I fully expected the headwinds up to Hawi but what I didn’t expect was the headwind back to the pier. Overall, I felt good on the ride up to Hawi – I made sure I was taking in water and my nutrition. I just kept counting the number of people who passed me like I was standing still on the bike! A very humbling experience. The climb and last few miles into Hawi were rough, mostly because I saw all the people flying back down from Hawi with smiles on their faces. I kept telling myself that SOON that would be me flying down out of Hawi with the same smile. The ride along the coast was beautiful and with the winds I tried to stay in my aerobars the entire time. The last hour of the ride was probably the longest hour of the day, I was ready to be off the bike and on to the run! I was most excited about starting the run because I knew my family was waiting for me around mile 3 and I would get to see them a few times on that part of the course. They staged themselves at a nearby beach and I knew that they would be having fun during the time leading up to my run. My heart rate monitor was working fine on the bike but for some reason as I started the run – my heart rate monitor stopped working. I tried to...read more
I am going to backtrack a bit before I start my Cozumel race story. Not many people know this but at the beginning of the year I didn’t want to do triathlons any more. I lost that inner drive that got me excited to train and race. I still trained, and I still raced, but my heart wasn’t in it. I kept thinking “after Cozumel I’m done.” I can’t say what made me feel this way but it showed a bit in my training and a bit in my racing. At least until Cozumel got closer. The Tahoe Triathlon I did in August I actually looked forward to, and during the race I told myself to look around and soak in the beauty and try to enjoy myself. Something that day changed my heart and my motivation. Then come Cozumel I was surrounded by amazing athletes from all over the world, and maybe because of that, or something unknown, but that passion came back! So much happened before the race: I made new friends from all over the country, walked in parade of nations, met sister Madonna, saw elites race (including gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen), that I could write a few more blogs in addition to this race story. But for now I will stick to race day… 4:30 is when my alarm went off, well I should say when it was set to go off. I was awake every hour that night anxious for race day. So I wouldn’t wake my family I turned it off before it was set to go off and got out of bed. I previously made plans with a couple other athletes to meet at 5:30 to catch a shuttle to the race. I wanted some time before that to double check my race bag and get some food (and coffee!) in my system. Transition was set up according to age group, and within that according to your country. So it was really cool to be with all the other 40-44 Team USA woman that morning. There were 10 of us and many of us joked that at least we’ll come in top 10 Team USA that day! After I felt all was set to go I walked the long T1 (swim to bike transition) portion to go check out the swim, and was lucky to run into my family. It was great seeing my kids and husband before I set off to swim. Before the first wave (group of racers, grouped by sex/age group) started the race announcer told us that there was a very strong current heading north-south and they needed to adjust the swim length from 1500m to roughly 1250-1300m. As I watched the first couple of waves go you could tell, they would start fast heading south for 300m, turn the series of 3 buoys to start heading North, then they looked like they hardly moved. While I was watching someone behind me asked me my plan for my swim, I told him “I plan to find feet and sit (draft) on them the entire long side.” He agreed it sounded like a solid plan and we wished each other “good luck!” and got ready for our wave start. Swim start we all jumped in and were to hold onto the barge/dock with one...read more
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....read more