What is a triathlon team?

Posted by on Jan 20, 2016 in Elise's Blog |

Last year I was privileged to be on the first Team Freeplay team. So many amazing athletes I was really honored!! Friends and family would ask me questions about what a triathlon team actually is. “Do you all race all the same races?” me “Uh, no.” “Do you all race ironman distances?” “Uh, no.”  “Do you always train together?” “Uh, no…” “So what the heck is a triathlon team?” “Uh…” So after a year on the team I can finally answer some of those questions, at least answer what the team is to me. The team is to me: Fellowship. At the Wildflower triathlon three of us on the team (me, Robin, & Christine with our spouses) shared a campsite, along with our awesome sponsor FLUID founder Richard & his lovely wife Adrienne. And besides my teammates racing Saturday and me not until Sunday (with very little sleep, ahem Culligan water people next to us) it was maybe the most fun trip of the year. We cheered for each other while racing, took a bunch of photos, sat around a campfire at night singing and telling stories, had my two young kids climb into a small window of an RV because a guy locked his keys inside (long story). With a good friend and previous two-time Olympian Victor Plata as one of the announcers (thanks for the Freeplay shout-outs Victor!) it was an amazing time of fellowship. The team to me is: Support. At the Auburn Triathlon two of us (Kelsey doing the half, me the international) were racing. While two local teammates (Robin & Stephanie) came to cheer us on. Sean got some lovely photos of us while cycling, and not so lovely photos of us while suffering up a hill at the end of a tough run. (just kidding Sean, your photos are beautiful. Our pain faces? not so much). Kelsey and I got plenty of cheers and support throughout the race. The team to me is: Encouragement. I got to know most of my teammates well and we followed each other’s training and races either via social media, online race updates, or in person. At my big race of the year, Nationals in Milwaukee, I received texts and social media encouragements from teammates. After the race a couple teammates told me how they followed me via the live race updates and were very encouraging despite me feeling like it wasn’t my best performance. It really meant a lot to know they did that. You guys are amazing. The team to me is: Fun! Along with Wildflower, Nationals in Milwaukee was a blast (after the race of course). Hitting the town with teammate Kelsey and my hubby Greg, after I raced that morning and after she raced the pro super-sprint that afternoon, was such a good time. We had so much fun going out and seeing many other athletes about town including the amazing...

Read More

USAT Nationals in Milwaukee WI

Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 in Elise's Blog |

This was, by far, the biggest race I’ve ever done in terms of attendance and talent. It was an honor to be there amongst some of the nation’s best triathletes.  Unfortunately in early June I started dealing with hamstring and glute pain. Bad enough to stop me from running. Turns out it stems from my lower back. Long story short it’s sciatica and rest and rehab is needed. I didn’t want to injure it any further, but I also wasn’t going to skip Nationals (read “already paid for race & reserved hotel”), so my goal became to keep up with my training while also seeing my massage therapist, my chiropractor, and my physical therapist as much as possible to keep me from getting any worse. The joke was that I’m like Humpty Dumpty and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men tried to put (keep) me together again. I had to scale back on running more than I wanted. It became a frustrating couple of months needing to modify or cut some run workouts. Some days were good and some not good. I tried to keep a positive attitude (also called denial) about the whole situation and hoped for the best come race day. Speaking of race day here’s my report… My wave (women 40-44) didn’t start until 9:18 (CST). We were wave 12 of 17 waves. So racers were already out on the run before I even got my wetsuit on. It is hard to sit around and just wait. One triathlete in wave 16 told me that he was beyond nervous at that point, just bored. I wasn’t so lucky. I was nervous. I hate being nervous. Swim start was intimidating with everyone required to hang onto the barge until they blew the start horn. I like a little wiggle room and there was none! Women were squeezed in on both sides of me. Earlier that morning I wrote STRONG on the back of my hand and a woman hanging onto the barge next to me commented on how she liked it. I told her I needed it for the run and she nodded, understanding. Another woman said “we did all the hard work getting here, now it’s just time to have fun!” There was high fiving and “good luck!”s going around. They played some Jaws tunes (thanks) as we waited for the horn to start. It blew and we were off… it was a very crowded swim and I was thankful that despite being kicked in the face, water splashing into my mouth while breathing, and people all around me on every side, my goggles stayed on and the crowd eventually spread out (a little).   The transition from swim to bike was about .3 miles and I tried to do it quickly. The bike had just a couple hills but nothing like home so...

Read More

Train, Race, Recover… repeat

Train, Race, Recover… repeat

Posted by on Jun 8, 2015 in Elise's Blog |

It doesn’t get easier, you just get faster. – Greg LeMond This quote is true and a kind of a bummer. I was kind of hoping I’d get faster AND it would get easier. Nope. Still hard and still hurts. But faster? I hope so. May was a busy month. Starting April 19 I did a race every-other-weekend up to May 31st. Icebreaker (April 19), Wildflower (May 3), Auburn Triathlon (May 17), Tri 4 Real (May 31). I was really hoping to see if I was faster compared to last year, and while I did do Icebreaker last year, they changed the run course so it isn’t quite apples to apples. Since Tri 4 Real was the only race I’ve done in the past that was the same course, that one was my barometer. Unfortunately it was the last race of the bunch and as expected, I was a little tired. Starting in the swim, I drafted off of someone until we caught some people in the wave before us. She zig-zagged through them and that’s where I lost her. My arms were spent and I felt sorry for myself for being tired (cue the little violin). I finished the swim with an okay time – not my best but not bad. Once on the bike my hips and glutes felt tight but I pushed on. Checking my speed on the first half of the ride I was thrilled to be riding faster than usual for this race! Then I hit the turnaround and rode back with a headwind (now cue many little violins). Thus my faster than usual time for the first half – tailwind. When I finished the bike and got into transition to rack my bike I knocked the entire rack over! My bike was still hooked on so I stood there and held on so the other two racked bikes didn’t fall to the ground. Now feeling like a doofus, I just stood there and couldn’t move. I looked around, probably said a cuss word or two (earmuffs kids), then another athlete and the TBF (Total Body Fitness) crew came over and fixed it. I was so glad I didn’t cause any bikes to fall down! And I was a little embarrassed. Maybe. Just a little. After the TBF crew got it all fixed I threw on my running shoes, grabbed my race number and visor and ran off. My hips and glutes were still tight but nothing too painful so I tried to just keep a good, consistent pace throughout the run. And eventually I made it to the finish! I did take a minute off my best time from the previous year so even though (or maybe because) it wasn’t easy, I was faster!! I do have to share my highlight of the day, which I stumbled upon by chance. After all awards were handed...

Read More

Courage

Courage

Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Elise's Blog |

Auburn International triathlon race report There is an expression in triathlon: You can’t win a triathlon with your swim, but you certainly can lose it. Meaning you can be the fastest swimmer out there but that doesn’t mean you’ll win the triathlon. But if you are one of the slowest swimmers that can certainly hurt your chances of winning. The swim went great at the start and I felt strong. After rounding the 2nd orange buoy I saw the leader’s feet and drafted behind her for a while (I’ve never had the chance to draft in a race. I was so excited!). The sun was in our eyes coming back up river so it was almost impossible to see that 3rd distant orange buoy. I trusted her to be going in the correct direction and stayed on her feet following her bubbles. But after a while (since I apparently have trust issues) I thought she was going off course when I spotted the (wrong) orange buoy. I quickly jumped out of her draft and headed towards it. Then approximately where you see the point of the red line hit the N in “North” in the image below, I saw a paddle boarder frantically going across the river just ahead of me. He stopped me and said “your buoy is that way” pointing WAY back towards the other shore to the correct orange buoy (when you are in the water everything seems so far away). That’s when the quote You can’t win a triathlon with your swim, but you certainly can lose it came into my head. I figured I just lost the race because of my swim mistake. I was so disappointed. I was really pushing hard AND drafting off the leader! Dang-it! I figured I had just lost any chance for an age group podium finish let alone a good overall placing. I almost felt like giving up. Which actually made me question why I was racing in the first place. Just to win? While that is always nice of course, I should be racing because I enjoy it and love the sport. So I decided right then, despite thinking I lost any chance at placing well, to keep pushing hard and finish the swim strong then go on to bike & run hard. Racing and triathlons need to be about more than the win. But when exiting the water the time on my watch wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting, so I thought I might still be in the race! On the bike Maria Hodges passed me at about mile 5. I have ridden with her and know her to be a very strong cyclist. I decided to keep her in my sights, knowing she would probably drop me, but I would just try to keep up. We leap-frogged a bit and passed Rachel Main at...

Read More

Wildflower Race Report

Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Elise's Blog |

Here are some of my highlights from the Wildflower Triathlon weekend. Camping Fun: Hanging with teamies, their hubbies, new & old friends and my family. Friday night Diamondback golf cart driving by campsite with free Choco-tacos! Not so fun: No sleep. Loud neighbors. Snoring, coughing daughter. Saturday morning 4am siren (what the ?). Saturday Fun: Watching pros and teamies kill it out there on a tough half ironman course! Not so fun: Knowing I had a race the next day. Sleeping in the car to get better sleep (didn’t work). 5am siren (what the what?). Blerg. Sunday Race Day The Swim (1.5K, .93 mile): Temp was great! Thought I was in lead pack so I kept with them to save energy for the rest of the tough race. Transition 1a + first run (2.1 miles): Out of swim and up steep boat ramp. Change out of wetsuit into running gear. Run up rest of steep ramp onto dirty, dusty trail. End dirty, dusty trail with a run up 2nd steep boat ramp. Didn’t see any women so I thought I was in the lead. Hard to go from run to bike! I was tired. Highlight: giving my daughter a high five while running into T1b. Transition 1b + Bike (40K, 24.8 miles): Change out of running gear into bike gear. Pushed the wrong buttons on my Garmin by mistake (blerg!). Messed with it up entire Lynch Hill climb (double blerg!). Got to a bike function but didn’t know exactly what mile I was on. At least I could see my speed. Bike was an out and back, and uphill both ways. In the snow. Hot. (some of that is true). Transition 2: Left shoes clipped in pedals and didn’t fall off bike (bonus). Messed with Garmin again to get a run function. Ran out of T2 and Greg yelled to me “she’s right in front of you!” and I thought “who?” Then I saw her. Apparently I wasn’t in the first swim pack. One swimmer was way ahead of us (is she part dolphin?)   Run (4.1 miles): Passed dolphin-girl before mile 1. Thought I might be a stronger runner. Got a good lead, then Beach Hill hit (1 mile straight up. Beach Wall a better name). I walked/ran until dolphin-girl passed me. She kept running (part mountain goat too?) so I kept “running” up too. Toughest hill I’ve ever done in a race. Or in training. Or on a hike. Or ever. (All of that is true. Well, except I’ve hiked Half Dome. So this was a close second) Finish: One minute behind first place, 9th woman overall. Felt like crap after so I did give it a good go. Learned dolphin/mountain goat girl (now it just sounds mean) is a veteran, top finishing age grouper and she knows how to race. Hindsight (is 20/20) I should have stayed out...

Read More

If you don’t feel like [crap] at the end of your race, you didn’t push hard enough

If you don’t feel like [crap] at the end of your race, you didn’t push hard enough

Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 in Elise's Blog |

  Being fairly new to triathlon, this is a concept I’m trying to embrace at each race, but not always with success. I usually feel like I did “fine” in the swim, I pushed hard on the bike (maybe I could have gone harder?), and by the time the run comes around my mind tells me “slow down and it won’t hurt so much”  or “why didn’t you do the aquabike?” (only swim and bike). I’ve sometimes come across the finish line feeling like I could have given it just a bit more. A sign of a how hard you pushed yourself can be how horrible you feel once you’re done. Sounds fun doesn’t it? But really the pain is temporary and the feeling of pushing those limits and accomplishing more than you thought you could is indescribable. At my most recent race, TBF Ice Breaker Triathlon, I saw a gal (who I now know is Susannah) ahead of me the last couple of miles of the run. As I was slowly closing that gap I heard someone tell her that she was the first female. I had no idea what wave she started in since the age on her leg had rubbed off (at this race the women had two wave starts: 34 and under, then 35 and up. And even though I told the race directors I was 32 they wrote 43 on my leg and put me in the 2nd wave. So rude. But I digress…) Either way I made a decision to try and pass her. So with about half a mile left I dug deep, tapped into the feeling of painful speed from my track workouts, passed her and got to cross the finish line as the first female! While I might not have pushed as hard as I could have during the entire run (or race), I know that I at least pushed hard as I could on that last half mile. I love the photo below because it shows how hard we fought to finish strong (we hugged soon before this pic was taken. Triathletes are the coolest). So while I might always question if I could have gone harder in a race, I know at least at this race I gave it my all in the last half mile. So here’s to pushing the limit even more and feeling like [crap] at the next race!...

Read More