My Lucky Break

Posted by on Mar 19, 2017 in News, Pam's Blog |

No one wants to get injured. Yet it’s something we all experience at some point, whether it be something minor or some significant and serious injury. Last September, thankfully after my race season had ended, I had the unfortunate experience of breaking my elbow. It was an otherwise minor fall on the bike – going almost zero (no, I wasn’t trying to unclip). I landed squarely on what we know as the “funny” bone, and heard a crack. Off to Emergency, where an x-ray confirmed what was one piece was now two. Surgery would be required to wire it back together. As I sat in the Emergency room waiting for the bandaging and plaster splint, I faced my new state of immobility with a perspective of how things could be worse. My thoughts immediately went to that of my friend, whose husband – a competitive triathlete and cyclist less than four years earlier – was in the final, merciless stages of ALS. (Sadly, his strong battle ended in December.) I drove home (safely, with one arm), and once I was finally in bed, exhausted and uncomfortable, I wanted to cry. I shed about six tears, and that was it. I told myself that I could have that one cry, that one little pity party, and then it was done. I knew my injury was recoverable. It was a temporary situation with a fix done by many orthopedic surgeons these days. I WOULD RECOVER. As I’ve mentioned before, my Road I.D. bracelet includes the phrase, “Be Positive, Be Grateful.” It was definitely the time for that mantra. Being positive isn’t always the easiest thing to do (yes, I’m talking to you, last 20 miles of the bike Ironman Canada!), but at least for me is an ongoing goal – sometimes achievable, sometimes not. The weeks that followed would include a previously planned trip to Kona a few days later to watch the Ironman World Championships. If I had a dollar for every person that asked me if I’d injured my arm just before the race, my plane ticket would have been covered! Despite not being able to run, bike, swim or hike aggressively while there, I still relished the time on the island. Within hours of my return, I was in the operating room getting the hardware. I was extremely sedentary in the days following the surgery, but just over a week later got some sunshine with an easy walk on the bike trail. From there, it would be weeks of recovery, ultimately beginning physical therapy to bring flexibility and strength to the injured and atrophied arm. In December I was able to resume easy running, some spinning on the bike trainer, and easy, short swims. I was thrilled. On New Year’s Day, I did my first (very short!) outside ride. I was nervous with handling, but it felt great...

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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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Lake Tahoe Half Ironman 8.28.2016 Race Report

Posted by on Sep 13, 2016 in Gina's Blog, News |

The drive from Grandma’s cabin in Myers to Sugar Pine is about 40 minutes. Although my girlfriend and I had done the ride around Lake Tahoe several times, it had been years since the last time riding it and the Emerald Bay section is likely the most challenging section of the ride.  As we drove the bike course I felt a pit in my stomach realizing exactly what I was in for the following day. Not only was the course super hilly, there wasn’t a lot of room for bikes on the course with all the construction. As the race director mentioned during the pre-race discussion, “there are two seasons in Tahoe, winter and construction”, he wasn’t kidding! Emerald Bay Within a few minutes hanging out on the beach my daughter Natalie was stung by a yellow jacket. I’m not sure if it’s the time of year or this side of Lake Tahoe, but the bees were bad at Sugar Pine.  In fact, both Debra and I got stung during the bike while racing on Sunday. Nonetheless, the beach was beautiful and the rest of the race venue was spectacular.  After race check in we went to South Lake Tahoe for dinner.  We ate at Riva Grill, where the view was better than the food.  We enjoyed a glass of red wine and fish tacos. After the sun went down it got pretty chilly and I started to get nervous about what the next day would bring as far as weather and other race challenges. We woke up at 4:45 and were out the door by 5:15.  On the drive there I was really quiet, as usual, I get super nervous before a race. This time though I wasn’t just nervous, I was angry!  Why the hell did I sign up for such a challenging race?  I was kicking myself as we made the drive one last time over the hills near Emerald Bay, still asking myself, “Why am I doing this?” Surely the run course would be easy since the bike course was pretty brutal, right?  Wrong! We parked at the Sugar Pine Campground and rode our bikes to the start. By the time we got into transition we only had a few minutes to get to the start. The little rocks on the beach were rough on the old feet but we made it to the race start.  The temperature was about 43 degrees when we woke up that morning but it was a balmy 53 when the swim started.  The water was warmer than the air so getting in wasn’t that bad.  I told myself to take it easy at the start because I wasn’t able to get to Tahoe to train in elevation at all and I didn’t want to go breathless and freak out in the swim.  I went off course in the swim...

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Fall Racing is Almost Here

Posted by on Aug 28, 2016 in News |

We can’t believe it is almost September! While summer racing is winding down Team Freeplay is not. Transitioning from summer to fall means the big races are right around the corner. We could not be more excited for our athletes who have been training all summer to give the upcoming championships races their best shot. Elise Winter will kick off fall racing for Team Freeplay at the ITU AG World Championships in Cozumel September 18. Winter qualified for Team USA at USA Triathlon AG Nationals with a top 15 finish in her age group in 2015. She is fresh off finishing second overall at the Big Blue Adventure’s Lake Tahoe Triathlon and looks strong and ready to go. Just a few short weeks after Elise returns from Cozumel Kelly O’Mara, Jaimee Davis and Sara Randolph will be packing their bags and heading to the Big Island for the Ironman World Championships. O’Mara and Randolph qualified at IM Wisconsin in 2015 and Davis recently qualified by winning her age group at Ironman Canada this summer. Also competing in Hawaii (but not on the Big Island) is Kimberly Larson. Larson is set to race at the Xterra World Championships for the second year in a row. She has finished on the podium in every Xterra she raced this season and is looking to carry this momentum with her to Maui. While the rest of Team Freeplay will definitely be cheering on these athletes as they take on the best in the world they are not ready to hang up their shoes for the season either. We have athletes busy preparing for Ironman Santa Cruz 70.3, Ironman Arizona, Spartan Sacramento, Run the Parkway, and the California International Marathon. We hope all of you have a great fall season. We love to see your fall racing and training pictures. Share your pictures with us by tag @freeplay_mag on Instagram and Twitter! #freeplay2016 Interested in joining Team Freeplay’s race team or NEW endurance sports club team in 2017? Check back September 1 for details and the application! Female athletes (Running, mountain biking, triathlon, paddle boarding…) of all ages and abilities are encourage to...

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Do’s and Don’ts of Training While on Vacation

Do’s and Don’ts of Training While on Vacation

Posted by on Jun 21, 2016 in Marsha's Blog, News |

Recently my husband John and I went on a glorious, kid-free vacation to Costa Rica with our friends, Paul and Christy to celebrate all of us turning 40. It was the best couples retreat ever.  Between our catamaran adventure, snorkeling, ceviche tasting, crocodile watching, paddle boarding, reading,  relaxing, and massages, I managed to get a couple of noteworthy training sessions in.  Here are some do’s and don’ts for vacation work-outs that I learned along the way. Do Plan to work-out if that is what your body is used to. You will be in a ‘funk’ if you don’t do at least something. Run on the beach. I did my runs on the beach in front of our condo.  No need to worry about getting lost on local roads. Make a strategy for the heat (see the next 3 do’s) Look for things in the sand (seashells, fish that have been washed up, anything) that will give you an excuse to stop. You’ll need them.  I have a nice collection of seashells from my runs now. Wear your bathing suit under your running clothes. If you don’t, you will be so desperate to cool off that you will run into the ocean fully clothed.  Which is totally fine too. Adjust the length of your run in the middle of your run. This is a big no no at home but on vacay, it’s cool. Look at the massage tables on the beach knowing that it will soon be your turn. And then make sure you take that turn that you promised yourself. Bring plastic bags to put icky workout clothes in for the trip home (TMI?) Sleep in. At the risk of running in the hottest part of the day, for me, it was worth it. Have fun with your runs. Remember that you are on vacation. Put other things that you can’t do at home first. Stand up paddle boarding for an hour in the warm ocean water with Christy is not something I can do at home.  Going on a jungle cruise and seeing crocs everywhere, not something I can do at home either. Remember why you love to run. Use the time to recharge your batteries and focus on what really matters to you. Don’t Choose the hottest part of the day to run. I have a knack for that.  90 degrees and 90% humidity is no bueno. Expect your Garmin watch to work. Especially if it’s four years old. Give the people getting massages on the beach dirty looks. Definitely don’t give your friend who is watching you run back and forth on the beach while in the nice, cool pool dirty looks either. Drink too many Sangrias and then expect an awesome training run the next day. Expect the same results as a paved run at home. Especially if you run in the heat of the...

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Swim, Bike, Run, Hula

Posted by on Jun 10, 2016 in News, Pam's Blog |

My Road ID bracelet, in addition to having all of the pertinent contact and medical info, says, “Be Positive, Be Grateful.” That sums up how I approached Ironman Hawaii 70.3 (“Honu”). Roll back the reel to the beginning of April, when I badly strained my Achilles tendon. I’d end up not running a step until five weeks later.  I’d signed up for Honu months earlier, and I faced the prospect of possibly having to walk some or all of the run portion due to my injury. In my prior blog post I wrote about the value of pool running. That “aqua” running, along with a great PT who was a triathlete himself, got me to Hawaii with a few pain-free miles on my feet. My longest run in May was just seven miles! In the past I’ve typically started triathlons with a somewhat anxiety-focused vision on the end result. That mentality added to the incumbent stresses of race day. Although I’d had some gratifying results, the stress sucks up energy needlessly. In the week prior to Honu, a friend (and fellow Honu competitor) shared a Mark Allen article about “The Connection Between Mind and Body.” It talks about how to let go of negative thoughts during a race, focusing on the present without self-judgment. I also read about race-day mentality in Matt Dixon’s great book, “The Well-Built Triathlete.” The strategy is to focus on the race-day journey, task by task (e.g., T1 prep, swim start, swim and finish, T1 tasks, bike miles, T2 tasks, run mile by mile), not on the desired outcome. The Honu swim is at beautiful Hapuna Bay, with the typical clear, warm Hawaiian ocean water. I’d arrived a week before the race to prepare, and I learned that I loved swimming in that ocean! While it was some of the typical race congestion, it was a relatively stress-free swim, followed with a run up the sandy beach to the showers (rinse off the saltwater!), sunscreen (lots!), then onto the bike! The bike miles are on the legendary Queen K highway; part of the same course the athletes ride in the October Kona IM World Championship each year. On this day, the infamous crosswinds were virtually non-existent. We rode up toward the turnaround near the little town of Hawi, passing through the pleasant petrichor of a recent rainfall. We were either ascending or descending; no flat sections here! We often had views of the beautiful Pacific, and I was constantly reminded of the spectacular place I was experiencing at this race. The last miles brought us to the grounds of the Fairmont Orchid (this is a split transition race), where the half-marathon in the heat and humidity would take us onto the golf course grounds. Thirteen miles is a long way to run at any time, and with the heat, humidity, and limited miles on my...

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