3 half distance races, 11 Olympic distance races, 1 sprint race, and 1 team super sprint—2 DQs—3 drafting penalties—2 missed flights—6 pairs of Newtons—1 magazine cover—a ton of new friends—and A LOT of knowledge
This was my rookie year doing non draft racing. After I FINALLY got the stagger rule down, I started to enjoy the freedom of controlling my own race. It took the whole year to understand how to pace myself; and I still have far too much to learn in the half distance. However, I really enjoyed every minute and learned so much from the other athletes who have been in the game for a while.
This was the first year I have had stability. I trained in the same place, surrounded myself with positive and talented training partners, and lived a professional lifestyle. Ten things I did different this year:
- Swim with a group– swimming with a group keeps you from getting bored and from letting the mind wander. It is good to have a group of positive people to push you during swim workouts so that you can reach your maximum potential.
- Make sure every run has a purpose– I used to just “run”. I had no goal paces or HRs and I just ran for time. Now, I have been doing all of my runs on the treadmill at very specific paces that simulate racing. Now, going into races I am confident that I can run 10km at my goal time because I have already done it in training.
- Train with a power meter– Another way to feel prepared for a race is by training with a power meter. Training by “feel” is not accurate and cannot be carried over into racing. Now, going into a race, I know that I can hit a certain number of watts for 40km because I have done it already in training.
- Sleep-This season I have forced myself to get 8-9hr of sleep every night no matter what. I have not let myself go to sleep and wake up during the same day. (after midnight )
- Dial in nutrition– It is important to train with the exact same gels/drink mix/gummies/bars that you plan on using on race day. There is no reason that anyone should ever say they had stomach problems from nutrition. You must be prepared and know that what you are using works for you individually.
- Cut the alcohol- I cut out alcohol completely this season and I feel SO much better in training, racing, and just in life in general. It is amazing how much you don’t miss that evening glass of wine or beer after a long day of working out. I have substituted these things by rewarding myself with a chai latte or a smoothie.
- Think about everything that could go wrong on race day and have a back up plan-You can never be over-prepared. Always have spare tubes/tires, back up race suit, back up goggles, back up nutrition, flat kit, salt tabs for cramping, etc. Nerves often come from not feeling prepared. If you show up on race day with a back up plan then those nerves will go away.
- Study the course map and drive the bike/run course– As athletes, it is our responsibility to know the course. It is a good idea to drive the bike course the day before the race so that you can note any potholes, train tracks, sketchy turns, or elevation changes. Once again, it is better to know what is coming instead of seeing it for the first time while racing. I also like to ride the run course to make sure I know the turns so I do not skip or take a wrong turn.
- Take airborne and stay hydrated while traveling– The immune system is so depleted after a hard race and you are very susceptible to getting sick. I have started taking airborne and vitamin C on every flight to boost the immune system so that my chances of getting sick are decreased. I also pay attention to staying hydrated so that I do not feel fatigued.
- Massage/foam rolling– the body is only going to get older and more worn down. Maintenance is key in injury prevention. I see a massage therapist once a week and I foam roll/ use my Norma Tech every night to keep my legs loose and ready to perform the next day.
This season was a year in growth. I feel like I made the jump from a college 20 something to an adult who lives professionally. I learned from watching the girls I train with…tried to really understand how they were successful and what they did differently.
I ended up 3rd in the Rev3 series and 4th in the Lifetime Fitness Series. I rolled the dice when I decided to do both series instead of focusing on one. I am happy with the choice I made because I got to compete with a diverse group of athletes and race in both half and olympic races. It was a great journey and a very long year. I could not have done it without the support of my family (esp Mom and Dad), sponsors, friends, training partners (Sara McLarty,Taylor Cooke, Gwen Jorgensen especially), my understanding roomie (Misty Becerra), and all of the people I have met along the way. There is so much more to come—thanks for believing in me!
Never settle—keep going until you get what makes you happy.