WELCOME 2020! A NEW RACE YEAR
Welcoming 2020 was bittersweet for me, as I reflected on 2019 and what a long way I’ve come in the sport of triathlon. Looking back, I had an almost naïve optimism going into the year and excitement to experience so many things for the first time: stepping up to the iconic Ironman distances, highs and lows of training, how to balance work, training, and life, true fatigue, the unknown.
I started the year with a new coach and big goals with my sights set on the half iron distance. I finished my first 70.3 in April at Oceanside, coming in 16th female and had the time of my life. I also couldn’t believe how BADLY my legs hurt heading out onto my first half marathon after a very challenging bike leg!! Then learned the hard way the importance of recovery and rest after races. I was so hyped and high off my race wanting to get straight back to training that I didn’t want to rest and got sick, ending up having to miss more training than if I’d just chilled out like I was supposed to! Lesson learned.
Next was Chattanooga 70.3 in May, a hot and hilly course where I experience a near-bonk on the run but also improvements across the board. I very unexpectedly made the huge jump from 16th to finishing 6th place and earned a roll-down spot to the World Championships. I kept pinching myself because I literally could not believe that was even in the realm of possibilities for me in my first year. Now I’d set the bar quite high for myself.
June brought the local Orange County Triathlon on a dreary day in SoCal, but I took the road bike out and got the AG win, earning myself my first bottle of champagne (which reminds me… I still need to drink that!). Cheers to that!
July took us RVing up the coast to Santa Rosa 70.3 – another 6th place finish and learning the importance of staying focused during races. Practicing that focus in training = race day focus…. you don’t practice it, you don’t got it on race day! I also was reminded to never go against the things you KNOW not to do, including wearing race gear that you haven’t tested before. I was given a kit to wear and assumed it was like the other one I’d already worn – wrong. My kit zipper flew all the way open not once, but twice, causing me to have to stop on the bike to re-zip it. I lost 5th place by less than a minute. Big lesson learned. It also chafed the shit out of me.
After Santa Rosa I was dealing with a lot of foot pain so had to seriously lay off the run – minimal running and zero speed work. In August we traveled a short way up the SoCal coast to the Santa Barbara for a sprint triathlon and an overall win! My first real overall win and a good confidence booster and reminder that I could still bang out a run with less than ideal training.
In September we headed to Nice, France for my first Ironman 70.3 World Championships! My derailleur broke during transit and I had a near panic-attack, but a local bike shop got right to work on it and saved the day. The jet-lag was REAL, but the coffee was stronger. I had the experience of a lifetime conquering a course I wasn’t even sure I could handle, met amazing people along the way, and enjoyed a beautiful trip through France and Italy afterwards with my husband and dad. I ended the year after my 3 week break with a bike block that lead me to Indian Wells 70.3 – a solid 5 hr race, PR on the bike and run, and as luck would have it, a Women For Tri roll-down slot for the World Championships in Taupo, New Zealand.
Entering 2020 is bittersweet is because last year was about diving head-on into 70.3 to see what I could do without much expectation, developing the relationship with my coach in order to figure out what works and what doesn’t in my training, testing gear, nutrition and race plans, going to races like Worlds for the experience and not worrying as much about the results.
I don’t have the innocence that I did at this same time last year, the shiny newness of Ironman has faded (just a little bit!) and I now am on the hunt for podiums and PRs instead of finish-line food! I love racing. Up until recently, the training was a means to get to the races and do well, but 2020 is bringing new insights for me and I’m more excited about immersing myself in the actual training process this year. I enjoy training even more now because I have new appreciation for working insanely hard to see the gains at the end of each process along the way. It’s all about the process, the journey, and finding new boundaries to push.
What’s new in 2020: I have developed a deep love for this sport – it has changed me profoundly. I want to give back to the sport that has given me so much and am excited to be partnering with the Rise and Tri/Fund Her Tri programs as a mentor for first-time women triathletes. Triathlon is an expensive sport (understatement!) – this program is not only helping more women become involved in a male-dominated sport, but also trying to alleviate money or means from being a barrier to entry and I couldn’t be more onboard with this mission.
I am incredibly lucky to have a great group of sponsors behind me this year. I take pride in partnering with these companies because I truly believe in the brands, products, and people that I am working with. These companies are at the forefront of the triathlon industry, making quality products that have changed my training and racing for the better:
- Alethia Strategic Business Solutions – over 25 years experience in helping businesses grow and thrive through the use of strategic coaching, consulting, and assessments.
- Elite Cycling – Italian cycling company leading the industry in indoor training with their innovative trainers and everything else you need to set up the complete pain cave! They also have an insane array of water bottles to satisfy any and every hydration need you could possibly ever have. I’m very honored to be on the Elite Cycling Team for 2020!
- Rudy Project – when you think triathlon helmets and glasses, you think Rudy Project! The combination of style, quality, and safety can’t be beat for the price. VERY honored to represent this brand this season and always excited to see what they’re developing to make us all faster!
- Infinit Loop Nutrition – I spent :30-1:00 more than half of my run races this year in the port-o-potty due to GI distress. Never again! Switching to Infinit products has truly changed my race game, with their 100% customizable nutrition blends. I have 3 different blends that I use for training and racing and I’m excited to get dialed in for the year!
- Zoca Gear – I love to support local small business. This is a family-run cycling and tri clothing company based in San Diego that has been overly gracious to me in the short time we’ve been working together. They even personally delivered a new race kit for me the night before Indian Wells! On top of my admiration for the people that make this company, the materials are exceptional, and the quality is superb.
- SBR Sports – skin and hair care, am I right? We spend SO much time in the sun and water and it’s incredibly damaging to our skin and hair! I love the skin and hair care lines developed by this company because they’re with triathletes in mind. Not to mention the Skin Slick and Tri Glide – chafing be gone!
- BiSaddle – literally since I started triathlon in 2017, I have dealt with saddle sores… BAD! It all changed with I switched to the ShapeShifter. It’s insanely adjustable and for the first time, has cured me of my pain. Truly a remarkable saddle!
Along with this badass team, I’m also incredibly grateful to be entering year 2 with my coach, Jarrod Evans of Triathlon Gold. I began working with Jarrod in October of 2018 with only a year under my belt and really no results, but an insane fire to be great at this sport. Luckily, he took a risk on me (I’m still not sure why!) but there is no doubt that my success is due in large part to his training and guidance. Of course, all of this would be useless and not nearly as much fun without my husband by my side keeping me sane (and equally insane when I need it 😊). It takes a village to raise a triathlete!
The true question everyone wants to know: What are your goals for this year? Short answer: faster, stronger, and more tenacious. I want the podium glory. I want to win my age group at a 70.3 race! But at the heart of it all, I want to maintain and share the joy it brings me and hopefully inspire others to get out there and give it a tri.