June 24, 2013 on 10:20 am | In Uncategorized | 7 Comments
This blog post was written for us by TriSports Team member Karin Bivins.
I got into triathlons when I was nearly 57 years of age. The good thing was that our kids were grown and, although at that time I was still working, I would be retiring in the near future, so would have even more time to train (a real advantage). If you are considering triathlons, it helps if you already do one or more of the activities. I had been running and racing for a little over 10 years when I got into triathlons. I had been swimming since I was a kid, but never really competed in swimming; I was just a leisure swimmer. I was not fast, and still am not fast, but I can swim for a long time (which helps since I tend to focus on longer distance triathlons). As far as biking went, I had an old Schwinn Suburban that still had the baby-seat on the back (and the kid who rode in it was now 17 yrs. old, but that baby-seat could hold a bag of groceries or library books and was my errand bike). My friends told me, “Okay, it’s great that you are interested in getting into triathlons, but if you are going to use that bike, please take off the baby-seat!” I got a new bike, but just a road bike as I wasn’t ready for a fancy tri bike.
If you are considering triathlons, it helps to join a triathlon club, or sign up with a triathlon group (I signed up with Team-in-Training raising funds/awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which provided mentors, coaches, and team-mates) or at least find some other triathletes that you can tap for advice and hopefully train with. A club can be especially helpful and supportive if you find the right club. Look for one that has people of varying abilities/varying ages, is welcoming to beginners, and offers training possibilities and education/information. Some clubs are highly competitive and could be intimidating and discouraging, especially for an older adult. Consider volunteering at races to see how things work. If you haven’t mastered all three components, consider doing just one segment as a relay.
Another possibility is to hire a coach; however, as an older adult, you really have to check around to find a coach who works well with older adults. Although most coaches will tell you they can work with older adults, some are much better and more experienced at it than others. Some just give the same workout as to a younger person and then say to, “Do what you can of it,” or they make slight modifications. Sometimes the best coach may be an older adult themselves, especially one who is still racing, for they may be dealing with some of the same issues that you are or can better relate.
As an older athlete, I have found that although I can do a certain volume of training, I need to spread it out for a longer amount of time to allow for adjustment to increased workouts and for rest and recovery time. Younger athletes seem to be little “Gumbys” and can bounce right back. I don’t “bounce” back so quickly and need adequate time to recover, or I increase my risk of becoming over-tired, ill or injured.
If you want to get faster, you need to train fast! While that makes perfect sense, as an older adult, you have to be more cautious doing speedwork. Some of the muscles and connective tissues aren’t quite as flexible as those of a fit, younger person, so you need to tune into your body and how it is feeling, that way you don’t pull something in the process. Consider doing flexibility training, such as stretching and yoga, to increase flexibility and minimize risk of high-intensity training and again, exert caution, gradually building up to increased workloads/intensities.
For me, personally, I have found that I can do a lot of swimming and push the bike, but I cannot push the run as much as I used to. The run pushes back too hard sometimes and I’ve had strained muscles, tendonitis and even a stress fracture. Then the time off from running is a set back, but luckily with triathlons, there are two other components, so even when injured, I can usually do one or both of the other activities and consider it an “opportunity” to improve on the ones I can do.
Triathlon is a great sport for all ages, but you have to train wisely, especially when you are older. Just figure that you will need more time to build up gradually and enjoy that fact that you can be out there participating!
June 17, 2013 on 9:43 am | In Uncategorized | 5 Comments
This blog post was written for us by Meredith Yox – TriSports.com Champion.
I was the girl in high school who was on a PE Medical for most of the three years of required Physical Education classes. When I wasn’t “injured,” I was one of the girls who walked the track rather than running. I had weak ankles – at least that was always my excuse. I never participated in any school sports, it just wasn’t my thing.
I started running after the births of my daughters to lose the baby weight. I had no idea how good it would make me feel. I felt strong and empowered, so I kept at it and even entered some 5k races. Who ever thought I could run a 5k? Those weak ankles only became stronger the more I ran. It was such an amazing feeling to know that in my thirties I had found something in me that I never knew was there.
As I gave up my career to raise my children, I struggled trying to readjust my identity. So much of own value had been based on my career and achievements at work. Once that was gone, I struggled. Who was I? Where was my value? That’s when I decided to take on my first half marathon. Training for a half marathon filled that void that I felt. I had a training plan to follow and goals to meet along the wa,y just as I had in my career. All of a sudden I felt like a legitimate runner, and I actually gave myself permission to call myself a “runner.” When I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon I cried. Never in my life had I ever felt such satisfaction from achieving a goal that I had worked so hard for.
2010 Las Vegas Rock n Roll Half Marathon
As it turns out, racing is quite addictive. Once you experience those endorphins, you want more of them. They don’t come easy; it takes a lot of work and lot of planning to earn them.
As a stay at home Mom, finding the balance between your family life and your training life is always a work in progress. It means riding my bike on the trainer in my family room, and planning my running days around my daughter’s pre-school schedule. It’s constantly changing for me; I’ve gone weeks trying to make it work when it just wasn’t. I would have to identify the problem and make adjustments to my schedule, and all of a sudden it was fun again. It requires a lot of planning and calendaring to get it all in. As my children’s school schedules change, I find myself having to adjust my training schedule to accommodate everyone’s needs. This means my girls are very tuned in to Mommy’s workouts and the benefits that come from those workouts.
At ages eight and five, both of my girls are runners. When my oldest was six, it was obvious that she also loved the benefits of running. I searched high and low for a program for her, but found nothing for her age. Then one day a program fell into my lap, but it would mean I would have to coach the program and recruit the other girls. I’m in my third year of coaching a team of elementary school girls in the Mini-Mermaid Running Club. At the end of the 6 week program, the girls run a 5k. Not only have I found my inner athlete, but I’ve helped my girls and their friends find their inner athlete. I can’t think of a better way to teach my children the benefits of exercise. In two weeks my five year old will be running her first 5k race.
As I looked for ways to continue to challenge myself, I decided to explore triathlon. I started swimming about a year ago and got myself a road bike. I stepped out of my comfort zone in a huge way to learn how to swim and how to ride a road bike. Failure is a scary thing, and I truly believe that most of us don’t push ourselves for fear of failure. It’s a daily struggle, but I have also learned the only way to accomplish your goals is to overcome your fears. If I want my children to overcome their own fears, I must show them that I can overcome mine.
In April, I finished my second triathlon and took the time to stop and kiss both of my girls in transition. If it weren’t for them, I would never even have gone down this crazy road.
Today, I have given myself permission to call myself an athlete. What I have realized along the way is that if I want it bad enough, I can achieve it. There have been sacrifices along the way, but those are small things like not reading as much, not watching as much television, or letting the laundry wait until rest day. The payoff is my health, happiness, and the example I set for my children.
June 11, 2013 on 1:12 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments
This refreshing hydration blog was written for us by TriSports Team member Nicole Truxes.
It’s heating up here in the desert, as I’m sure it is for much of the country. Summer time BBQs filled with burgers, watermelons, and margaritas are just around the corner! Everyone loves summer, with more hours of sunlight, less clothing, great tan lines – especially us triathletes – and (for most) no school! Even with all we have to look forward to in the summer, all the sweating during those hard miles does take a toll on your body, one that you may not be used to coming out of your winter training.
Staying hydrated is one of the most important parts of our training, and it’s one of the easiest ones to forget. First thing in the morning, aside from the hunger I’m sure many of you experience, you should be thinking about a glass of water. You don’t have to over do it, especially if you have a workout shortly after you rise (gotta beat the heat!), one 4-8 oz glass is fine depending on what you can handle and the duration of your workout.
If you think about it, the adult body is made up of about 60% water; wouldn’t it make sense to make it a key ingredient in our daily nutrition regimen? Many of the metabolic processes necessary for training and recovery require the proper amount of water to happen, so why wouldn’t you supply your body with this integral piece of training equipment?
Another important thing to consider is the amount of electrolytes you’re getting. This word is thrown around a lot, but do you know what all of the electrolytes are and how to figure out if you’re low on any of them?
- Sodium- the most common, most demonized, but very necessary electrolyte. Sodium gets a bad rap because of all the high blood pressure and heart disease we have in this country; however, as an endurance athlete you need to be very aware of how much sodium you get because you may not be getting enough! If you often get confused, or dazed when doing a hard workout (particularly one where you sweat a lot), you’re covered in white, and your skin tastes like salt—you might be in need of some sodium, pronto! This confusion you’re experiencing is one of the first signs of hyponatremia, which can be very serious if you do not take care of it. When your sodium levels drop in your blood and you do nothing to bring them back up it can cause you to go from confusion to vomiting to more serious things such as cardiac arrest, pulmonary edema, or even death. This has happened in many of the major marathon events and can even be caused by having too much plain water and not enough electrolyte supplementation.
- Potassium- just eat some bananas, right?! For the most part, yes. Potassium is much different than sodium in that when your blood levels first drop, it is difficult to tell that they are low. It is not until real problems begin and your muscles are already cramping that you know you are very low in potassium. This can also cause GI distress (mainly constipation) along with the muscle cramps, so be sure to eat your ‘nanners.
- Calcium- Stress fracture fighter no. 1! It may come as a surprise that some of the most avid runners have some of the lowest calcium and therefore weakest bones. But running is weight bearing? Yes, running is a weight bearing exercise, but sometimes runners (particularly female) have such low hormone levels that it causes their calcium to go down and therefore their bones become weak and brittle, allowing for stress fractures to happen much more easily. Calcium can be taken in a supplement daily to help raise these levels and prevent against stress fractures; however, vitamin D is very important to take along with it to help boost absorption into your blood!
- Magnesium- Seldom talked about, but very important! Magnesium is a mineral we don’t generally hear a ton about. However, it is very important to carbohydrate metabolism and muscle strength (two very important things for an endurance athlete). Magnesium deficiency can decrease endurance by fatiguing muscles and decreasing the efficiency of carbohydrate metabolism. The symptoms of low magnesium are difficult to distinguish from those of potassium or sodium, so it is important to supplement magnesium along with the other electrolytes!
- Phosphate- Generally phosphate is not a problem for athletes. It is very common in our diet and usually not lost in mass quantities when exercising. The only time this electrolyte is a problem is when an athlete has an eating disorder or other severe disease of some kind, in which case they should seek medical attention anyway.
So that is a quick and dirty breakdown of the electrolytes. Check yourself every once in a while, monitor your electrolyte intake and determine if you have any of the beginning stages of any of these electrolyte deficiencies. Not only will this increase your performance, but it could save your life! Stay hydrated everyone!!
June 4, 2013 on 3:03 pm | In Uncategorized | 4 Comments
This blog of sun safety tips was written by one of our wonderful TriSports Champions, Elizabeth McCourt.
When I did the Florida 70.3 last year I knew it was going to be hot…really hot. I knew I had the possibility of getting cooked like an egg on the run, so I tried to prepare. I bought white arm coolers that would not only protect my arms from the sun, but add water and “voila!” my own personal air conditioning. I threw water on them and used what I like to call the Torbjørn Sindballe method of cooling (putting ice in your hands and in the sleeves). In addition to the coverage, I lathered myself up with some waterproof sunscreen early in the morning so that it would dry and my numbers wouldn’t smudge (If you try to put it on after body marking it can be a smeared mess!). At the end of the race I ended up buying a white long sleeve top to get the sun off me as I waited for my friend to finish the run.
As triathletes, we spend a lot of time out in the sun, training and racing. When World Champion Leanda Cave gets a diagnosis of skin cancer, it’s a wake-up call for all of us. A triathlete friend of mine also got diagnosed with skin cancer last year and I was shocked to learn that she didn’t wear sunscreen. She felt there were too many chemicals in them but she hadn’t researched any alternatives. Since you absorb what’s put on your skin, you do have to consider the ingredients and if you can, a mineral based sunscreen is a better option, especially on your face where your skin is particularly tender. I also use something mild on my face so it doesn’t sting my eyes when I sweat, in addition to a visor. It’s a year round ritual, rain or shine.
I’m always going to love being out in the sun in the summertime and in my travels, but the reality is that the sun is strong and damaging. Since we’re not going to avoid being in the sun here are some things to do/remember:
- Wear sunscreen and reapply when you can.
- Wear a hat or visor. If you have hair, you’ll protect it. If you’re bald, protect your scalp!
- Go to the dermatologist once a year and monitor any moles or freckles that change or darken.
- Wear arm coolers for protecting against the sun as well as cooling your body.
- Bring a long sleeve top for after racing to get the sun off your skin.
- Know that you can get very burned in the swim, depending on the distance, and prepare accordingly (the 10k swim in Bermuda can leave you crispy, as can Kona!)
- Remember, white deflects the sun and black absorbs it, so choose your race kit with that in mind.
- You can still get a tan even wearing SPF 30!
May 21, 2013 on 2:14 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments
This is a post by coach Scott Beesley, USAT, RYT that is brought to you by our friends at CoachFitter.com
Let’s be honest – there exists more training and recovery modalities and philosophies than there is time to try them all. One that is tried and true with my athletes is yoga. One triathlete credits yoga with her ability to stay in aero for hours on end while a 60-something marathoner I coach has gone so for as to call yoga his “personal fountain of youth.” There are many reasons to add yoga to your triathlon training plan. Here are seven:
- Pelvic and Shoulder Stability - Yoga builds strength throughout each practice, without the need to dedicate specific time to abdominals, low back and shoulders. Continued practice brings a greater bodily awareness that helps keep the body in check during other disciplines.
- Bike Fit – As a yoga instructor, my biggest referral sources are professional bike fitters who cannot properly fit an athlete because of tight hips and low back.
- Aerodynamics – Forget the $2,000 wheel set and fancy bike helmet. A year of yoga and you’ll add centimeters of drop, reducing drag and making life in the saddle more comfortable.
- Run Stride – The faster you get, the important it is to have open hips to allow for a steeper forward lean and longer stride length.
- Recovery - Muscles are laid down in our body like row after row of perfectly aligned railroad tracks at a microscopic level. That soreness you feel the day after a hard workout is tiny tears in the muscle. We get “knots” in the muscles when they grow back in random order. By taking a Yin/Restorative, Gentle or Slow Flow class after your hard workout days your muscles stand a better chance to grow back in those nice perfect rows (although perhaps not as effective as that massage you’ve been putting off).
- Recovery, Part II - By moving through a gentle yoga progression the evening of or the morning after a hard work out you can help prevent blood from pooling in over-worked muscles.
- Dang, it feels good. Period.
Scott Beesley is a triathlon coach and yoga instructor. In 2012 his clients landed 18 podium spots and 4 USAT National Championship qualifying spots. He holds certifications/registrations from USA Triathlon, The Yoga Alliance, and Slowtwitch’s F.I.S.T bike fit school. More free advice at www.solesinspired.com, www.facebook.com/solesinspired, www.youtube.com/solesinspired, and www.coachfitter.com.
December 18, 2012 on 4:32 pm | In Nutrition Tips, Training, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
By: (guest blogger) Joanna Chodorowska via our friends at CoachFitter.com
No extra pounds around my middle, hips and thighs, or guilt from stuffing myself more than the turkey! Here are some tips on how to get your holiday treats while keeping it all in perspective And keeping you closer to race weight:
Eat your greens and vegetables. The phyto-nutrients in green veggies combat stress and free radicals caused by stress. The antioxidants in vegetables and fruits help counteract those free radicals. Dark green vegetables help with stress relief naturally because of the high calcium and magnesium content. Calcium and magnesium help muscles relax, so get your greens every day! They will also help keep the calories down.
Get your sleep during the holiday season. Every additional hour of sleep you lose each night will make you crave more sweets, treats and simple carbohydrates during the course of the following day. The blood sugar spikes cause more stress! Studies show you gain 4% more weight just with 1 less hour of sleep per night, so get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. You’ll feel lighter and less bloated and you won’t feel like those bike shorts or Speedo shrunk.
Make time for exercise! You may not be able to get your 3 hour ride in, or a 2 hour swim or run, but getting 30-60 minutes of high intensity interval training will help keep your stress levels down and your fitness intact. It will also help burn some of those calories you did or will consume. You can also consider hiring a coach who can help you manage fitting a training routine into your busy schedule. For more information on the right coach for you, check out CoachFitter.com.
Double-fist it for the holidays!! Drink one alcoholic beverage, then one glass of water (mineral or seltzer with lime works great!). You will keep yourself hydrated and you can wake up refreshed rather than tired, nauseous and irritable from that hangover. Have several parties? Choose to drink at only one of them. Training sucks when you are hung-over!
Do not skip meals to save up for the big feast! Skipping meals will just make you overeat at that next meal. Eat smaller and lighter meals throughout the day by limiting the starches and increase the vegetables. Don’t forget to save room for dessert! Do you try them all? Um, yes! Take only a bite size portion of each dessert onto your plate so you can try each one. Don’t worry, they won’t all go to your waist and hang over the bike shorts – promise!
You can’t avoid the Holidays, but you can learn to keep the weight gain to a minimum while still enjoying your family, treats and parties. For this and more sports nutrition tips you can live with, go to www.n-im.net or everydaynutritioninmotion.wordpress.com as well as CoachFitter.com
About the author: Joanna Chodorowska, Nutrition in Motion, LLC is triathlete and sports nutrition coach working with elite and endurance athletes improving their performance using real food principles and meal plans you can live with and do everyday.
You can also find Joanna Chodorowska listed in CoachFitter.com
December 7, 2012 on 2:01 pm | In Nutrition Tips, Uncategorized | No Comments
It’s time to start thinking about resolutions for next year. If yours have anything to do with nutrition or losing weight, you’ll appreciate this blog from Rick Cohen, M.D. of Core 4 Nutrition. Our friends at Coachfitter sent it our way. If your resolutions include finding a coach and improving your performance, you should definitely check them out!
One of the most powerful things you can do to maximize your long-term health and athletic performance gains is to become a metabolic fat burner.
When fat-adapted, your body’s metabolic engine begins to work more like a fire burning logs instead of twigs or paper. Fueled by fat, your energy system will run longer, stronger and cleaner; every system in your body will benefit from having a more consistent, reliable source of energy that is generated with a minimal amount of metabolic waste (similar to the ash created by burning paper). Less metabolic waste means lower levels of internal inflammation (the underlying cause of almost every modern, chronic disease), less recovery time, and an improved capacity for both physical and mental fitness.
How you can you tell if you’re a fat-burner?
Based on the metabolic analysis of hundreds of competitive athletes—the majority of whom were physically but not necessarily physiologically fit—we have created a brief questionnaire that should provide some insight into your body’s ability to burn fat for fuel.
1. Can I go four to five hours without eating, or does skipping a meal cause me to suffer from ravenous hunger, anxiety, headaches, brain fog or other common symptoms of low blood sugar?
2. Do I enjoy steady, even energy throughout the day, or do I experience peaks and valleys that leave me longing for a nap?
3. Can I exercise in a fasted state (in the morning prior to eating), or exercise for an hour or more without relying on the use of carbohydrate-based foods or drinks?
4. Am I relatively unconcerned about my body fat content, or do I need to maintain high and constant levels of exercise in order to stay lean?
5. Are my blood sugar, blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels within an optimal range, without the use of any medication?
If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, congratulations, your body is being fueled by fat! If you answered “no” to most of them, don’t despair. Your inner engine can become optimally fuel efficient by implementing some simple, dietary changes and taking a more strategic approach to nutritional supplementation. Having a solid training program is also essential for optimal metabolic health, if you have thought about looking for a coach and don’t know where to begin, check out Coachfitter.com.
Want to dig deeper?
Consider doing an at-home, metabolic assessment profile that will allow you to quantify your body’s metabolic proficiency. It can be repeated at regular intervals to scientifically monitor how your dietary and supplemental routines are contributing to your metabolic efficiency. All that’s required is a painless finger stick and a few drops of blood. From this small, serum sample, the four physiological factors contributing most significantly to your fat burning status can be accurately evaluated. These four factors include:
This marker is typically used to evaluate your risk of heart disease. It compares the levels of HDL (a protective lipoprotein) to those of triglycerides (a transitional fat made from excess sugars ear-marked for long-term storage) found in your blood.
The goal is to establish and maintain an HDL level higher than that of your triglycerides. Most fat burners have at least a 1:1 ratio of HDL to Triclycerides. Some fat burners have achieved an impressive 2:1 ratio, while that of the typical American is an unhealthy 1:3.
Insulin is an important hormone that regulates how efficiently your cells utilize glucose (sugar) for energy. A fat burner with healthy cells rich in vitamin D3 and omega 3 fatty acids will be very sensitive to insulin and, therefore, require very little of it. Higher levels of insulin are, of course, toxic to the body. They also promote the production and storage of excess body fat.
As a fat burner, your insulin level marker should be no greater than 3.0. Those with excellent fat burning engines often measure in at less than 2.0. The typical American, on the other hand, is frequently more than 5.0.
This is a marker of your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. As a fat burner, your goal is to score no higher than 5.3. Those who are completely fat adapted will be under 5.0 while the typical American is often over 5.7. Those with an average glycohemoglobin level of 6.0 are considered diabetic.
This is a marker of inflammation that is high for those who eat a carbohydrate-based diet and are low in vitamin D3 and omega3 fatty acids. Most fat burners have a C-reactive protein level of no more than 1.0. Those who have become completely fat adapted will be under 0.5. The typical American, over 5.0.
What are YOUR numbers?
Get this metabolic profile and find out! Order before December 31st and you’ll receive a $25.00 holiday discount. Just enter FatBurner25 during checkout.
Use your results to establish a metabolic baseline, then make a game-changing plan. With some dietary guidance and targeted, nutritional support from Core 4 Nutrition, you can become a lean, mean, fat-burning machine! You’ll enjoy more consistent energy, fewer swings in both mood and motivation, and a heightened sense of overall health and well-being. In the long run, you’ll become leaner (without dieting or counting calories), stronger, and look years younger than your age!
Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
October 16, 2012 on 1:29 pm | In Athlete Profile, Community, From the shop, Races, Sponsorship, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
No longer an underdog after her 3rd place finish in Hawaii last year, Leanda Cave is one of those athletes you root for because of her work ethic, and because she’s just plain nice. If you live in Tucson you can see her out on the roads and trails, putting in the hard work day after day, like Rocky Balboa. It’s not always the best man or woman who wins; sometimes it’s the ones who are willing to play dirty or sometimes it’s that annoying team with all the money. Leanda, however is not only one of the hardest working professional triathletes, but also one of the nicest professional triathletes I’ve had the honor of meeting.
I’ll never forget the first time I was introduced to her in the TriSports retail store, shortly after I moved to Tucson and started working here. It was my first time meeting a pro outside of a race setting. When I was introduced to her, the person introducing us mentioned that I was training for a marathon. I noticed that she seemed to be friends with everyone in the building, but figured that it was just because they had been there for so long. However, the very next time she came in, not only did she greet me by name, but she asked how my marathon training was going. Getting to know her on a few training rides and on a few social outings solidified my belief that she is a kind, down-to-earth woman.
Because of the wonderful person she is, the entire TriSports triathlon community was behind her on race day. I was, quite literally, on the edge of my seat as I watched the final miles of the marathon unfold. To be honest, I was a little worried at one point; I had never seen Mirinda Carfrae catch another athlete and not pass her. When Leanda held strong and then began pulling away, everyone in the room went wild. She made us believe, as she must have all along, that she could catch Caroline Steffen and win the race.
Sitting in the TriSports Tempe retail store is Leanda’s trophy from Ironman Arizona. At the beginning of the year our staff, along with some of our best customers and sponsored athletes, wrote resolutions for the New Year. Below is a picture of that trophy and Leanda’s resolution; that’s how the mind of a champion works, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the title Ironman World Champion. It was such a thrill watching our friend and sponsored athlete win the most important and exciting race of the year, becoming the first woman to win both the Ironman 70.3 and Ironman World Championship races in the same year. Leanda, you continue to amaze and inspire us, and we thank you for another great year. Congratulations, champ! Your win was hard earned and well deserved.
May 28, 2012 on 4:00 am | In Uncategorized | No Comments
Today is the last day to take advantage of the great saving at our Memorial Day Sale!
November 21, 2011 on 3:45 pm | In Employee Adventures, Random Musings, Sponsorship, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
Do you remember the first time you watched an Ironman? Did you get goose bumps at the swim start, shed a tear as you watched athletes cross the line, and get up early the next day to sign yourself up for next year’s race? That is how most people end up doing an Ironman. I, on the other hand, signed up for my first Ironman on a whim one day at work, without ever witnessing one. With a long list of sponsored athletes, coworkers, and friends racing Ironman Arizona, I figured I should go see what this Ironman thing is really all about.
I arrived about 45 minutes prior to the swim start giving me enough time to park, swing by Starbucks, soak in the energy, and head to the bridge. The energy throughout Tempe was like Christmas morning, with everyone bubbling with the anticipation of the long day to come. Watching 2,500 people tread water below the bridge was incredible, and as the cannon went off and the athletes started their day, I tried to picture myself on the beach in Idaho.
After a quick breakfast and more caffeine, I found myself on a curb about ¼ of a mile from the bike course turn around. The day was perfect for racing, with temperatures in the mid 70’s, mild wind, and 0% chance of perception. Here I was able to get a good picture of how our athletes were doing. Torsten Abel looked calm and confident in the chase group (12th place), which was quit a few minutes (about 8-10) down from the lead pack. I knew the day was still young and Torsten has a killer run, so I wasn’t worried. Leanda Cave came out of the water in 4th but experienced a crash and some mechanical problems and looked pretty frazzled as she exited T1 in 8th. I was worried, but by the time she finished lap 1 of the bike she looked focused and back on her game. Woohoo! Seton was cruising right along, enjoying the cheers, and hamming it up as he rode in 3rd place in the men’s 35-39 age group.
As the pro’s took to the run course, I made my way to the best aid station at Ironman Arizona – Aid station #7 under the Mill Ave. bridge, which is staffed by the employees and customers of TriSports.com and headed up by our Vice President, Debbie. My goal on the run was to make people smile and with the help of my trusty hot pink sign, I think I accomplished just that.
The run consists of 4 loops; with each lap I watched Leanda’s lead increase and Torsten run his way up through the ranks. As they passed through the TriSports.com aid station for the last time I made my way over to the finish line just in time to see this happen…
Then came Thomas Gerlach. Thomas received his pro card about a month ago and this was his professional Ironman debut. 8:57, not too shabby!
Not too long after Thomas crossed the line, Leanda passed under the Ford arch with the biggest smile I have ever seen from the mild mannered and reserved Brit. A few month ago Leanda was in the shop and said, “I want to win one of those,” referring to an Ironman. With numerous 70.3, ITU and coveted race wins (Alcatraz, Wildflower), it was only a matter of time until she won one. It was incredible to watch one of the most decorated athletes in our sport finally cross the line first at this distance.
Just 18 minutes after Leanda, TriSports.com CEO, Seton Claggett, came running down the shoot to win the men’s 35-39 age group, finishing 50th overall and 8th amateur. Imagine what he could do if he didn’t have 2 small kids and a company to run?!
Charisa Wernick hung tough and rounded out the top 10 for the pro women after a Tour de Porta-Potty during the second half of the marathon.
For Billy Oliver, the day didn’t go quit as planned. After a 2 minute swim PR, Billy crashed on the 2nd loop of the bike. He only suffered some minor road rash, so he dusted himself off and got back into the race, willing himself to the finish only 3 minutes slower then his IMAZ PR. Bad ass.
Could I have asked for a better first Ironman to watch? I don’t think so. Multiple podium finishes from friends, watching Team TriSports athletes dig deep and push through the pain, all while spending a lovely day in Tempe, Arizona. Congratulations to all those who competed yesterday; you are an Ironman!