Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Follow your passion - Entrepreneur Jaclyn Garris of KickStart Endurance

I used to tell my students, and now I tell my kids, to follow their passion when it comes to careers and work. Find a problem you want to solve or something you want to make better in the world and focus your energy on that. If you do, you'll eventually end up where you want to be, allowing for those painful/instructive work "detours" along the way. (Mine would be working at Wendy's in High School...ugh!) Don't become a ____ because you "think you should" or because people tell you that's what you'd be good at. Follow *your* passion, work hard, and you will be successful because you will be fulfilled.

When you are doing what interests you, and you have the opportunity to use and develop your skills, talents, and creativity, working toward goals you believe in, most of the time work doesn't feel like work. That's where I landed. I could go on and on about how happy I am working in the world of triathlon but this blog post is actually not about me.

Today I bring you a story of an entrepreneur who followed her passion in triathlon too, by opening a store and eCommerce site called KickStart Endurance. Owner Jaclyn Garris contacted me, inviting me to review the site and products here, but I hesitated. I haven't really been big into reviewing or selling. I was all set to say "no thanks" but I grew intrigued by her story. What prompted her to open what she calls the "Endurance Athlete's Candy Store?" What job had she left behind? What background did she have to prepare her for this? Is she able to keep up with training and racing while being an entrepreneur?

The story below resulted from our dialog. In addition to supporting our local sports stores, I think it's also important to support those in the triathlon community who have taken a risk to serve a niche. Jaclyn has clearly done so, as I discovered as I browsed through a large collection of nutrition options on her website (where it says "Oh no, your cart is hungry!" I love that!). I appreciate how easy it is to find high-protein, caffeinated, organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan options among the many out there. While I could review each of the products that arrived in my mailbox, I don't plan to, but I am excited to try Jesse Thomas' and Lauren Fleshman's Picky Bars, products from Skratch Labs, and some of the other products that are new to me.

The point of the KickStart Endurance site is that choosing products is very individual so what works for me may not work for you. Jaclyn's value-added is in aggregating, organizing, directing, and recommending! Check it out for yourself, or just learn a bit about Jaclyn and how KickStart Endurance came to be!

Jaclyn's Story - Life Long Athlete

As a life long athlete of various sports, nutrition has always played a key role in whether training or game day was a success or failure. I remember first getting cramps in my toes and calves during basketball practice in 9th grade and being told that eating a banana would help. Well, lets just say I ate a lot of bananas but still had cramping issues!

During college, I turned my love of sports towards the business and event side of things when I enrolled in the Leisure and Sport Management major at Elon University in Burlington, North Carolina. My junior and senior years, I logged many hours setting up and executing athletic events while learning the ins and outs of marketing, law, sales, and more in the classroom. During these last two years, I re-engaged with working out and living better, as I had gained 40 lbs during my freshman and sophomore years of college from a lack of exercise and high calorie meals in the dining hall.
Jaclyn far right at her first sport business conference
at the end of sophomore year when she was "her heaviest"

Running from Winter

Upon graduating for college, I made my way to Cleveland, OH for a yearlong internship with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), the professional organization for college athletic administrators. Being a Florida girl my entire life, the winter took its toll on me both mentally and physically so when the snow started to melt and the roads were no longer icy, I started to jog, mostly so I could be outside and get fresh air.

My running activities allowed me to enjoy the parks of Cleveland and to see that despite my lifelong belief that I absolutely hated and abhorred running, I actually really enjoyed it. After seeing some gains and a post of a good friend in Boston doing the “Boston Run to Remember” in May of 2009, I emailed her to see if she thought it was crazy if I tried to do the 5 mile run. Of course, whenever you ask a runner if doing an event is crazy, they will say absolutely not, come join in the fun!

I was so nervous during the time leading into the 5 mile race, thinking there was no way I could handle 5 miles, 2 more than I had been doing in training but alas I ran the entire distance and felt as if I could have run even more after crossing the finish line!

Back to Florida

Achieving that goal led me into 10ks, half marathons and eventually triathlons. I returned to Florida following the internship to attend the DeVos Sport Management Program at the University of Central Florida where I would graduate with a MBA degree and a Masters in Sport Administration.

Throughout college and graduate school, I held the idea of being an entrepreneur very close to the vest as I had no idea what kind of business I wanted to start and therefore thought it was silly to even mention my aspirations of one day being my own boss. Since the entrepreneurial route wasn’t an option and really only a fleeting thought I set my sights on working with the best in the business. Having a strong passion for the game of golf, I completed an internship with the ANNIKA Foundation, founded by Hall of Fame golfer Annika Sorenstam, during my graduate studies. The ANNIKA Foundation promotes and teaches healthy living while trying to cut down the obesity rate amongst children. Learning about this issue further stoked my fires for a healthier lifestyle for not only myself but my family and friends as well. Following graduation I immediately took a position with the PGA TOUR in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL in the Tournament Business Affairs department

Tri-ing the Tri Lifestyle in Jacksonville

It was not until I moved to Jacksonville that I really started to think about doing a triathlon. I thought the Ironman in Kona was the only real event in the sport and had no idea the expansion and growth the sport had achieved over the years. Gradually I became bored with “just running” and tried my hand at triathlon and immediately fell in love.

 At a recent local tri, LLS Conquistadores Sprint Tri

During my time as a runner, even back into high school when I would run as part of my weightlifting program, I experienced major stomach issues and often times would get sick after a run, no matter the distance. As I grew into both sports, I took a closer look at my diet to see what issues there were and there were many!

I proceeded to do a lot of research and trial tests to see what worked for me and what didn’t. I also enlisted the help of friends and training partners. Eventually, I found what worked for me and even became a go-to source for others experiencing issues or wanting to try out a new sport.

The “Idea”

During the trial and error periods, I found the lack of assortment with regards to flavors, brands, and servings puzzling. I was in a rather large city yet had trouble finding the nutrition I needed. One morning after a training session, I thought of an idea to open a “healthy convenience store” which would cater to athletes and those seeking healthier options. I wanted “athlete hours” and bike racks to welcome people in. I did a ton of research on C-Stores or convenience stores as you and I know them. The more I researched, the more the idea morphed into other things.

Once I solidified my business plan, funding and location, I resigned from my position with the PGA TOUR in November of 2012 and moved back to my hometown of Vero Beach, FL. In the months leading up to my resignation, I spent many hours working on my e-commerce website and learning the ins and outs of setting up an online business. We officially launched on January 1, 2013.

KickStart Endurance Opens for Business

Since that time, I have opened our physical, brick and mortar retail shop in Vero Beach as well. We opened our doors on April 23, 2013 and have quickly become active in the running, triathlon, cycling and outdoor communities. It is my goal to not only be a retail store but also a resource for other athletes whether it be with diet, training, equipment etc. as well as a community place for people to gather and learn more.

Another important differentiator I am constantly striving to promote and improve upon is our selection of gluten-free, dairy free, and vegan friendly options for those who have a harder time finding such items to train and race with. I have organized our website to make it easier to find such items and often ask customers if they follow a specific diet. I do not offer products that contain questionable or illegal substances, are out of date, full of chemicals and preservatives or make extreme claims of greatness. In the business world and the nutritional word, often times you pay for what you get, so next time you see a certain brand on a website at half off, think to yourself about the integrity or condition of the product being sold to you.

Life of an Entrepreneur and Athlete

Being a 27 year old, female business owner certainly hasn’t been the easiest path but I am certainly enjoying the freedoms that come with owning a business. The work never stops but I get tremendous joy when a customer or a friend tries a new activity and succeeds after coming to me for help. Sport is a powerful tool and I want to use it in the most positive way as possible, as a motivator to improve ones’ self and those around us.

With regards to me personally, I am the mother to a wonderful Schnoodle (Schnauzer/Poodle) named Memphis who is with me just about every day at the store and even puts up with modeling our outdoor dog gear line, Ruff Wear. I am currently training for Ironman Augusta 70.3 and will be volunteering this summer at Ironman Lake Placid to register for the 2014 race!

I train in the early morning and late evening hours and travel to races to promote and sell our products as an expo vendor or sponsor on the weekend. Four great ambassadors who are each very accomplished in their own right support me as well and provide tremendous insight to their different diets, race distances and prior experiences. I am proud to see “KickStart Endurance” across their chest during their races. One such ambassador is Stephen Patterson, who won the HITS Half Iron distance race in Ocala this year and was a 2012 Kona qualifier!

Customer service is very important so if someone needs a question answered, hard to find item or last minute product, I strive to meet these needs and make the life of the athlete just a little easier.

 Jaclyn with her dog Memphis

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Wilderness Road Ride - Year FOUR!

It's pretty weird to be at a point where I am now doing races and rides for the fourth time. I did the Wilderness Road Ride in 2010, 2011, 2012, and again this year. I did the 58-miler that according to my Garmin had 4400' of elevation change so there was plenty to enjoy. There are also 29, 78, and 100 mile options. Despite doing the same course each year, it's always a very different ride in terms of weather and ride companions. This ride is the preview for the following day's BIG featured ride, the Mountains of Misery century/double metric century ride (one that I have no interest in doing).

It's a hilly ride!

This year my local tri-pals were not doing the ride so I reached out to the Roanoke tri/cycling folks and found out that a big group was coming and I was invited to join in. I was told it would be a social ride, which was perfect. A large group of about 20 gathered at the start and as the lone tri-bike and feeling a little intimidated by all the "real" cyclists, I positioned myself at the back of the pack. It was single-file riding on a bike path for a while and after we got to the roads I had some work to do to catch up.

The group quickly segmented and I found myself separated from all but one person that I knew - Lynn. Lynn is a also a master's athlete and I'm well aware of her strengths as a cyclist. I spent the first ten miles wondering if I'd be able to hang with this group for all 58 miles. This was NOT feeling like a social ride, but hey, I was game, and knew it would be good for me.

Among the group was a lanky eleven-year-old and his dad. This kid was amazing. That's all I can say. Focused, hard working, and no complaining. Awesome!

I am a lousy picture taker, and forget pictures WHILE riding so I have little photographic evidence of the ride. Argh! Dressing was challenging given the unexpectedly cold May day. We started off in temps in the low to mid 40's so I was in winter gear - pants, toe covers, and a long sleeve jersey.

riders looking over their food choices

There are no better peanut butter & jelly sandwiches than the ones on the Wilderness Road Ride!! It's so nice to have the luxury of aid stations with real food on a ride.

The 78-milers, including Lynn, split off from us and then after a while it was two girls and me. Then they sent me off to catch up with a rider named Floyd spotted up ahead. Floyd and I rode pretty aggressively together for a while and then toward the end he waved me on.

It struck me how cycling is pretty unique in that you can not know people, but by virtue of being on the same supported ride and having a common interest, you can pretty much join up with them and it's not that weird.

I can't think of too many other things like that.

Thanks to the FCA and Mark Long for hosting this great ride! I look forward to next year!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

After a one year separation, Diet Coke and I are officially divorced

In April of 2012 I separated from Diet Coke. More than a year later, I'd say the divorce is final. I never really looked back, and I don't miss it at all.


Since then, I haven't had any actual sweetened "soda."

More recently I gave up the deliberate use of artificial sweeteners too. I put actual sugar in my two daily cups of coffee.

I now take plain water on regular rides and runs. For longer stuff (rides/runs over two hours) I might go with some BCAAs and/or Perpetuem in my water but I don't just default to it for every workout like I used to.

My stomach and GI system are very happy about these small changes.

I do drink about two cups of coffee every morning, a LaCroix most days (an unsweetened lightly flavored sparkling water), and water. OK and the random beer or wine here or there too, kombucha when I want to "treat myself," and OJ when I get a craving.

I'm really glad I made these changes and it kind of has me thinking about what's the next thing I could change or clean up in my diet?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

One big difference between pros and age-groupers

I think it comes down to one thing...NAPS.

Naps are expected for pros. It's part of the job. Galen Rupp explained this in his March Competitor Radio interview that I listened to this morning on my run.

Naps are indulgent for age groupers.

Naps are an asset for pros. It is expected that they nap as part of their recovery because they can only train as much as their recovery allows.

Naps can be a liability of sorts for an age-grouper, especially one with family/kids. As if it wasn't bad enough that I took X amount of time away from the family to swim/bike/run, now I have the gall to tack a nap onto that? Time spent napping is time spent NOT doing something else.

I don't nap often, but this ended up a rare double-napper weekend. I trained early to leave the day open for the family, but could not fight the pull of the post-workout, post-workout-meal, post-shower nap.

These were not epic, nap-deserving workouts either. Saturday was a 43 mile bike ride (photo above; Solar bike jersey blasts past the coal cars of the non-moving train!), and today was a 10.5 mile run. The resulting naps were the half comatose sleeps where you don't move, you don't exactly sleep, the brain is busy thinking of all the things you should be doing, and you wake up feeling worse than when you laid down. Ugh.

Most weekends I can go and go and go but every once in a while I get one of these. I give into it, figuring I need it. I'm trying to take it easy. Tomorrow is a day off.

Note to self: GET TO BED EARLY!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Intrepid Wanderer

Today this intrepid wanderer set off for parts unknown, an area one town up known to locals as "Carvin's Cove." I was armed only with my wits, uncanny instincts, and a light mid-foot strike.

Also a large paper map from my friends at Just the Right Gear, folded and shoved in my shorts.

Also a Garmin 910XT, foot pod, heart rate monitor, iPod, sunglasses, Injinji toes socks, and Brooks Trail Shoes.

But that was all. Really, it was mainly the wits and uncanny instincts.

With one last glance at the map, I set off for a one hour exploration of approximately 7.5 miles.

My instructions? Keep cadence up around 90 but run easy.

My goal? See this legendary "Carvin's Cove" for myself and carry word of it back to my people.

The wide, rolling gravel path with the occasional rock or root was not for the walker-of-malls or weak-of-ankles. Neither were the muddy ruts for the new-of-shoes. Upon encountering a half fallen tree, I paused (and stopped the Garmin of course) and considered my options. Over? Under? I went with my instincts, and chose Under. It was the right decision.

After a time, I was rewarded with a view of Carvin's Cove...for about 100 yards of my journey.

For this intrepid wanderer, that was reward enough.

(Epilogue: Okay, not really. Truthfully I had envisioned a little more "Cove" on this run but I failed to consider the scale of the map and how far the lot was from the actual water. Doh!)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

When your mom is a triathlete....

Dear Spencer and Grant,

On this Mother's Day I'd just like to say thank you for putting up with me as your mom. I know it isn't easy, and you've had to make compromises and step up for all of our family logistics to work. I couldn't do what I do without your help, encouragement, love, and understanding. I hope the upsides of having a happy triathlete mom outweigh the accompanying craziness. This post is for you, to acknowledge just some of the things you deal with. I love you both so much and am very proud of your hearts, your minds, and all that is uniquely you!


When your mom is a triathlete:
  1.  She may call the school to say she will be late to pick you up because she (1) flatted (2) misjudged the distance of a ride or (3) had her watch in chrono mode and lost track of the actual time in an open water swim practice.

  2. She might walk into your school in a swim suit after pickup time because she didn't pack clothes for the quick open water swim because she thought she would have time to stop at home (see #3 above) but she was late, oh how unusual.
  3. You might mistakenly grab her running tights for swim practice thinking they are your jammers because there is a lot of black lycra/spandex in the house and it all looks the same.
  4. She has no qualms about setting up the bike trainer at your soccer practice or swim practice. and may run laps around your soccer field to finish out a run.
  5. You often wake up to the "soothing sounds" of the bike trainer or Vasa Ergometer down the hall from your bedrooms....from where she will yell, "ARE YOU UP?" at the appropriate time.
  6. Dad is in charge of breakfast (thank you :-)
  7. While other moms wave goodbye in the morning from the front door, she is waving goodbye from the road, on her morning run, as your carpool passes by.
  8. She uses a lot of training and racing analogies in her parenting.
    • This science fair project is like a marathon, you have to start right away, and keep up the pace. You can't wait till the last minute and sprint the 26.2.
    • Mowing the lawn is like running, load up the iPod, get in the zone, and just GO

  9. She doesn't skimp on your athletic shoes and she's fine with the fact that you only wear shirts with buttons and pants with zippers a few times a year.
  10. She expects quick transitions out of the house and has provided an organized "transition area" of shoes (complete with stretchy race laces to eliminate shoe-tying), socks, backpacks, sweatshirts to facilitate speedy exits.
  11. She will pick you up in sweaty workout clothes and when she apologizes for "picking you up dressed like that" you'll say "like what?" She will love that.
  12. Vacations and trips often coincidentally overlap with races. Just pure happenstance ;-) But she will understand it's your trip too and not mind when she finishes a marathon and you are not at the finish because you are in the midst of a tour of the capitol building.
  13. She will understand what it means to be nervous or feel pressure when you are performing or competing.
  14. She will encourage you to try as many things as it takes to find YOUR passions (and they don't have to be swim, bike, or run).


Happy Mother's Day! Thank you for always encouraging me to be an individual and to not be afraid to go against the tide. From an early age you fostered my interests, no matter what they were, so I could see for myself what can result from commitment and effort. I love you!


My sister Kristen, me, and my mom!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Saturday Morning Tri Coffee Reads - May 11

I've been very delinquent putting this out since Boston and they will be a little hit-or-miss during the race season. However, I've streamlined the process, deciding to be less OCD about it and just porting them from my bookmarks without a whole lot of editorializing or organizing. These aggregation posts are an offshoot of my work, as I am always keeping an eye out for stories and content of interest to triathletes. So, in no particular order, I offer the following:

Why Caffeine In Coffee Is A Miracle Drug For The Tired : The Salt : NPR
Historians tell us that caffeine in coffee helped Western civilization "sober up" and get down to business. Now scientific research shows that at low doses, caffeine improves performance on mental tasks, especially in people who are already tired.
Finding the Perfect Hill - Q and A with Hal Higdon - TrainingPeaks Blog
Insurance for your bicycle? -
Does your bicycle really need an insurance policy all its own? Isn't everything already covered either by your medical or homeowners plan? Yes and no. While not for everyone, the policy is attractive for many.
T-Shirt Etiquette Guidelines | Big Daddy Diesel
The ultimate list of race t-shirt do's and don'ts!
One Gear, One Goal: Bike Is 'Good To 100 MPH,' Builder Says : The Two-Way : NPR
What does it take to ride a bicycle at 100 miles per hour? That's the question being explored by Britain's Donhou Bicycles and frame builder Tom Donhou, who has mounted a mammoth chainring onto a custom steel bicycle. He says the machine has already hit 60 miles per hour on the open road.
Healthy Breakfast Ideas: What Fitness Experts Eat In The Morning
There may be no one who understands the concept that food is fuel better than fitness professionals. After all, when it's your job to exercise all day, you're going to need some serious stamina.
Why Do I Gasp When My Face Hits Cold Water? |
If you get short of breath, and feel constricted and panicky when you submerge yourself in cold water, you're not alone.
Student Late To Country Music Marathon Still Finishes -
His roommate had to wake him up.
When Cheeseburger = Walking, Will We Eat Less? : The Salt : NPR
Would you eat a double cheeseburger if you knew it took two hours of walking to burn it off? Participants in a new study said, hmm, maybe not. The researchers say that exercise-based labels could do a better job than calorie counts at steering people to healthful choices.
2013 State of the Sport | Running USA
The 2013 National Runner Survey is a comprehensive study conducted every two years by Running USA. This survey is the fourth one conducted by Running USA. The National Runner Survey assesses the demographics, lifestyle, attitudes, habits and product preferences of the running population nationwide. Results from the National Runner Survey reflect "core runners", that is, active adult participants who tend to enter running events and train year-round.
A look at training bike cadence from Luis Vargas at MarkAllenOnline.
Check out the new "TriCrowd TV" Beta Channel offering a changing weekly lineup of event highlights, interviews, and product reviews for triathletes!

A few other funnies...


Friday, May 10, 2013

How do you see yourself?

I took this photo standing in a rippling stream bed on a trail run this morning. I hadn't hit the trails in ages and with the break in the rain, the sun shining, and things copacetic with work, I couldn't resist bumping my weekend trail run up to today. I thoroughly enjoyed this easy 9-miler with multiple stream crossings and plenty of mud and rocks!

This photo, of a shadow of myself, made me think back to what happened in my swim this morning, and how I envision myself as an athlete.

My main set concluded with a set of 100s made up of an aerobic 75 and a FAST 25 back. I was hitting them in around 1:32/1:33 but each time I hit that FAST section, what flooded into my brain was "I'm a 1:20 100'er"!!  The point is, I've not (yet) done a 100y in 1:20, but I was swimming with the belief that I WAS a faster version of myself. I was swimming AS IF I was faster! I felt amazing -- powerful and strong and able. That 1:20 is coming.

I do the same thing in my running and biking. I seek the next faster, stronger, or smarter version of myself. The fun is in trying to get as much as I can out of myself physically and mentally, and whether or not it amounts to speed doesn't really matter. The fun is in the hunt!


Do you picture yourself, do you imagine yourself, as the YOU that you want to be, or do you only picture yourself as the you that you are right now? Do you pigeon-hole yourself? Do you limit yourself?
  • "I'm a __ minute miler."
  • "I could never run further than __."
  • "I'm __ years old and can't get any faster."
  • "I can only bike at __ mph."
  • "I'm not competitive."
Try imagining the version of you that you want to be. Look at your shadow and fill it up the way you want it filled. Then put in the work to make it happen.

It has to start with that vision and the belief! Act "as if" and see what happens!

Have a great weekend!

 So fortunate to live and train in southwest Virginia and the Jefferson National Forest!

feels a lot better in May than in January

baby ducks....awwwww!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Boring....I'll take some


I really don't have anything to report. Things are relatively "boring", and frankly, I'm perfectly fine with that. I'm ready for a little "boring" -- in other words, routine and structure with no pressure, and no travel for a bit.

Adding to the whole ambiance of "boring" is the cold-rainy-dreary weather that has largely continued since the race. Despite the grey skies, my energy is rebounding. I'm back into full-on tri focus and have gotten two bikes, a run, a swim, an Erg, and the gym in the first three days of this week. I'm feeling much more relaxed and focused than I have in a while and I'm sleeping more/better too.

I've decided to take this month to tighten things up on the nutrition end. I'm getting back to veggies 3x a day, upping my hydration, and avoiding mindless snacking. It's just a few simple changes, but I'm ready to crank up the self-discipline. When I train for a marathon, it always seems like my appetite grows disproportionately compared to the mileage so it's time to get those realigned.

I took a quick peek at my stats January 1 - April 30. It was cool to see 142,776 yards of swimming!! That's 81 miles, which would not be feasible without the Vasa Ergometer that I continue to use twice a week in conjunction with twice a week pool swims. In just a few weeks, the indoor pool will be replaced with the outdoor pool and open water :-) Maybe the temperature will get out of the 50's by then too. Maybe.

graph does not include 2 hrs/week at the gym

My non-training life is humming along. The kids wrap up school on May 31 so it's a busy month with end-of-year activities, science fairs, project days, concerts, last soccer game, 5th grade graduation, Lake Day, pool party, etc. This marks the end of elementary school for us and next year I will have two in middle school - oh BOY! Double the parenting challenges fun!

I don't say much about work or the specifics of who-what-when-where I do with the fortyninegroup. Suffice it to say I feel very privileged to be able to do what I do and to work within the sport of triathlon. I love it! I interact with tremendous individuals who share our passion and I am able to provide support to their goals with my skills - communicating, writing, organizing, creating, and technical problem-solving. Pretty cool!

So that's the status update from here! Nothing terribly exciting but sometimes that's a good thing.

Have a great week!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Race Report: Smith Mountain Lake Sprint Triathlon - 3rd Overall Female

Here is the short version of the race report: Cold. Grumpy morning. Decent race. Glad to meet up with friends. Mojo returning. Ready to train.

Here is the more detailed version:

Swim (400m) - 8:27 (20/128 women; would have been 70/192 men)
T1 - 1:41 (10/128)
Bike (20k)- 38:11 (1/128; would have been 32/192 men)
T2 - 0:56 (14/128)
Run (5k) - 22:02 (6/128; would have been 36/192 men)
Total - 1:11:16 (3/128; would have been 32/192 men)


I really really REALLY do not like cold races. REALLY :-(  Race morning it was "Feels Like 43 degrees" and the swim was shortened from 750m to 400m at the request of local officials. The water temp was just 56 degrees and since the race does attract a fair number of newbies I can understand the decision. It beat cancelling the swim because as much as the temps sucked, triathlon is not about being comfortable and I accept that this is part of the sport.

I was bundled up in all my winter gear until the last minute but was pleased to discover that relative to the air temp, the water actually felt alright! There were, of course, a few brave souls without wetsuits who put the cold into perspective.

Discussions in transition centered around...what else...what to wear on the bike. I set out arm warmers, a jacket, and socks (only because there was no room for a down comforter or heat lamps) figuring it would be a game-time decision made as I came up from the swim.

me with Coach Jim prior to the swim. how excited am I?!
(thanks Mindy King for the photo!)


The swim went alright. My Garmin put me at 1:37 per 100y and 38 strokes per minute (or 76 since I opted to use two arms) which if accurate, is not awful for me. I went out at the front and stayed with the lead swimmers until the first turn buoy then lost them. I felt like I swam more aggressively than last year, and kept my SPM up better, but in hindsight I think I was swimming a bit frantically and flat - not really taking advantage of my new found power and physics of the body rotation. I also stopped on the return leg, briefly, to get my bearings and find the finish. Now that this first race is under my belt, I am committed to a better focus on power at the next race to do my training justice.

 picture by Elizabeth and Casey Mills


My game-time decision was there was NO WAY I was going to take time to put any extra clothes on for the bike. It turned out I was really just fine. I passed a lot of people and never got passed, but I always remind myself not to get complacent because the faster people remain ahead. Another cyclist said something about "two ahead of you, go get them" so I sure tried! There was traffic on the course and I passed one vehicle, but only did so where I could pass without crossing the center dividing line. I had a lot of fun on the bike! I ended up with the fastest female bike split, but it was 2-1/2 minutes slower than last year which is a substantial shortfall and a little disconcerting. I've got some work to do.

Not sure why I look like I'm standing up, but there was a hill coming into the dismount line
 pic by Casey and Elizabeth Mills


While I did not notice my (numb) feet on the bike, I sure did notice them (or lack of them) on the run. My friend Mark described it as "running on stumps" for the first two miles. I'd agree -- my proprioception was clearly affected by the cold. Nearly everyone I spoke to had the same issue. During the run, I was convinced my right shoelace had loosened and that my shoe was falling off but I decided I wouldn't worry about it or even look unless it truly fell off my foot. As I ran, I thought a bit about Boston, and about the dancer who lost her foot. "Boston Strong" echoed in my head. After the race I looked down to discover my shoe was snug, all just imagined, courtesy of frozen feet.

My run was not great at all - over a minute slower than last year. Again, this just serves to motivate me to work to reclaim that top end speed. It's OK, because I *should* have to work specifically for that last 5%!

It didn't help that I managed to lock the buttons on the new Garmin at the start of the run and had no idea how to unlock them so I had no data and no feedback. I shrugged it off and reasoned that maybe it was a good thing to just run by feel on this day. I just focused on passing the next person and the next and I really did enjoy this run (probably enjoyable because I was slacking!!).

  pics by Casey and Elizabeth Mills


My number at this race was 169. My Boston number was 16922. My Boston room number was 169. I saw a government license plate during the bike that said either I69 or 169. 169 is 13 squared. Just one of those things that make you go "hmmmm."


This race was a good season opener. I'm satisfied in that I feel like I did a good job of minimizing losses and making the most of what I had on the day. Transitions were decent, there were no moments of panic or fumbling, and I didn't do anything dumb.

I was down a race wheel, the watch messed up, I had some slipping in my shifting, I thought my shoe was falling off, it was cold...whatever. I think one of the "secrets" of the sport is not letting things mess with you and just keeping your head together!

This race has left me very motivated to dig in, get back to my triathlon focus, and train hard. Tomorrow marks the real return to tri-specific training. After a long winter of solo training, I was so glad to have this race to reconnect with friends and teammates. There is no better way to recharge the "mojo" and to move forward than to plug into that energetic and encouraging (and crazy!) community.

Thank you Coach Jim for putting on your sports psychologist hat and gently guiding me through the last three weeks. You always seem to know just what to say -- helping me figure things out so that I can keep triathlon training and racing as that happy and peaceful part of my world. I'm ready to move forward!

To my readers and friends I would also like to express, once again, my deep appreciation for your support and encouragement over the last few weeks. It feels good to be "back"!

Triathlon in the books!

Love this exchange between Scott Moir and Coach Jim just after the finish.
pic by Elizabeth and Casey Mills

 Scott Moir (in sunglasses) shared this photo that he captioned the "post race analysis" - so true!

with Coach Jim!

 Back in warm clothes.
With Donna Williams and Betsy Henderson, both multi-time Team USA members

With the One-on-One crew including Coach Jim, me,
Trip, Kimberly, Edwin, Tanya, Justin, Michelle.

(Photo by Bill Huckle)

 Receiving my award (thanks Kimberly Arbouw for the pic!)

The morning after the race. So nice to look at the lake and not have to swim in it!
Thank you Hobarts for the use of your fantastic lake house!