1. What are you most excited about in competing in Kona?
I started racing Ironman in 2011. I have chased my dream to qualify for Kona for over 10 years and it finally happened. I’m excited to just be there to breathe in the atmosphere, and compete with the best in the world.
2. What is your favorite career IRONMAN memory so far?
My 10th Ironman for sure. I had worked so hard with mental mindfulness that I was going to win my age group. I came out of swim almost last, not sure what I did,
but I was 18 min slower than I normally do an Ironman swim. I was so angry at myself, but I quickly changed my mood and reminded myself that anything can happen in an Ironman.
The race was not over. I biked in my time and got 1st place on the bike. it wasn’t until around mile 9 I was told by friends I was first, but that has happened before on my ironman races.
They all catch up with me and pass me. But this time I kept telling myself, I was number 1, and no one was going to take it from me.
When I was a mile away I could relax, although, I kept looking over my shoulder, I knew I had won and was going to KONA!!
What an incredible feeling, I will never forget!! 🌺
3. Is this your first time competing in Kona and if no how many other times have you done so?
Oh Yes, first time!!!!
4. If someone were watching that is new to the sport, what would you tell them is the coolest thing about being a triathlete and competing in this venue?
I would tell them triathlon becomes a lifestyle. Age doesn’t matter. Triathlon is not only about racing, it’s the journey and the camaraderie you find within the triathlon community. Your confidence will grow and you start to look for more to challenge yourself. The ability to achieve something bigger than you could ever dream to accomplish is powerful. There is no limits.
5. What do you think is the hardest thing about doing an IRONMAN?
Commitment, never give up!! Family support (although, I never had a problem, but I know many that do) Positive Mindset; “Believe in yourself.”
Yesterday, September 25, 2019, IRONMAN released a story (Article HERE) announcing the four year ban of four athletes who tested positive for doping. All age group athletes. Why?
Why does anyone use performance enhancing drugs? To win, do better, go faster of course, or maybe pressured by sponsors or teammates. Who knows. Pros or age groupers it’s against the rules, not moral or ethical and clearly not welcome in sports. At least with pros the ulterior motive of money and keeping sponsor contracts resonates. But age groupers? There is no prize money to age groupers in Kona–maybe some small sums in bike races. So what’s the deal?
Clearly egos, ultra competitive people and narcissists are driven so intensely by winning and maybe those things alone drive people with no money motivation to dope. But is there more?
Age groupers who win, who have social media skills, who are engaging, who know how to review products, who want to proclaim competency to perhaps coach might find some irrational, misplaced justification of doping to win at all cost. But really?
Is social media driving this? Is Strava and KOM’s and QOM’s and kudos’ driving some ego machine it’s worth doping? Or maybe the motivation is what comes with winning; social media followers, subscribers and dialog that captures the attention of advertisers and product managers trying to get free advertising by giving away a lot free products to influencers. Is that the game?
Look what’s happened to sponsorships of pro endurance athletes, particularly triathletes. The pie is getting pretty small. Why would a company pay a mediocre pro who isn’t so great at social media when they can give some free swag to a pop star like age grouper who is on the podium all the time and gladly willing to try to sell product?
More and more age groupers are failing drug tests. The blame of bad CBD quality control or extra poppy seeded bread is ridiculous. They know what they are doing.
Is the rise of drug use in the amateur ranks correlating with the rise of social media impact on the make up of marketing strategies?
It doesn’t excuse the unethical behavior but maybe it explains it? Or is it simply the cultural shifts due to social media, hyper connectivity and ultimately greater loneliness causing amateurs to win at all cost so they feel better about themselves? Who knows. I would love someone to tell us why they did it.
At the IRONMAN World Championships coming up in a couple of weeks, don’t be surprised if you get asked to give a sample at packet pickup.
Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the Harvest Moon Long Course held at the Boulder Reservoir. Aaron Calhoun, Brandon Wallace and Conrad Rodas were the top three male finishers. Kimberly Goodell, Kiki Silver and Susan Brooker stood on the podium for the women. All the results can be found HERE
The race was started by Racing Underground and held at Aurora reservoir for many years and moved to Boulder in 2016. Says Lance Panigutti, owner of Without Limits and race director of Harvest Moon, “If races could tell stories, the memories the Harvest Moon Long Course could share since the year 2000 would fill a book. Yesterday we celebrated our 20th birthday, and what a day it was. So many first timers completing their very first long course triathlon, and so many veterans enjoying what the Harvest Moon has become over the years. In 2009 Racing Underground sold us this event, and while more nervous than you could imagine, our goal was to carry on what they started – a locally focused, affordable, and friendly long course experience. We hope we’ve made them proud, and most importantly the Colorado community proud. We couldn’t have achieved this goal without the help of so many volunteers, the love of the local community, and many passionate staff members on the Without Limits A-Team. To each and everyone of them we we say “Thank you and we can’t wait for the next 20!”
About 450 athletes started the race featuring a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile ride and a 13.1 mile run. Amy Miller, a first time participant at a distance longer than an Olympic said, “It’s a great venue, great race with lots of spectator support, but hard as hell!”
Boulder’s Ryan Smith won the Leadville 100 trail run on Saturday night thanks to consistent second-half pacing that left his rivals unable to respond. It was the biggest win of his ultrarunning career.
“There’s just a lot of running in the race,” Smith said, referring to the long flat sections along much of the course. “It really favors a flat runner rather than a mountain runner, and I typically do a lot of mountain stuff.”
His win — in 16 hours, 33 minutes, 25 seconds — was far from expected. Smith was not among the pre-race favorites to win, and he wasn’t feeling well leading into the Twin Lakes aid station near the 40-mile mark. But at the turnaround at Winfield, he held his pace steady, averaging around 10 minutes per mile for the rest of the race.
“Who wants it more? You or Brad?!” Derick yelled. My brain was foggy, sweat poured off me like I was my own personal rain cloud. I could feel the sweat pooling in my shoes and the shoe inserts beginning to bunch up at my toes. But Derick had said the magic words. I was already running at a sub 6 minute per mile pace but I knew that if I wanted there to be no doubt that I belonged on the Team that USA Triathlon selected for Tokyo next year I needed to push even harder. So with my heart thundering in my ears, my muscles screaming and my lungs burning, I cranked the treadmill speed up again. 5:30/mi, 5:15/mi, 5:00/mi, 4:52/mi…
“The Elite Paratriathlon Selection Committee can not decide who the better athlete is at this time and so they’ve elected to go with the athlete who’s points allow easier access into the top 12 in the world.”
“Bull shit!” I wanted to scream, but couldn’t since I was sitting on a bus riding back from Denver to Colorado Springs after having run a successful BolderBoulder 10K. I’d literally sat down in my seat and opened up my email and had gone from an immediate high to a crushing low.
Currently there are three of us in the American Male Visually Impaired Ranks who are battling it out for the opportunity to represent the United States in Tokyo 2020. Our top Male VI athlete—Aaron Scheidies–is recovering from injury and therefore it’s up to myself and Brad Snyder to pick up as many points as possible and get as highly ranked as possible in the world to ensure multiple slots at the world championship and multiple slots in the top 9 of the Paralympic Rankings. Given my performance at the CAMTRI American Championship where I’d taken 2nd to Aaron Scheidies by just 1 min 37 seconds, and where I finished 2 minutes and 34 seconds ahead of Brad it was decided that I would get the first World Paratriathlon Series start in Milan, Italy. I went to Italy and raced to a 3rd place finish—it turns out much to the surprise of everyone except myself and my coach. The only two guys to finish ahead of me were the guys who’d taken 1st and 3rd at the 2018 World Championship. So the only people to beat me in the 2019 season was the podium from 2018 Worlds—Dave Ellis, Aaron Scheidies, Hector Catala Laparra… I was feeling pretty good.
Brad was given the opportunity to race at the next World Paratriathlon Series Event in Yokohama, Japan. Brad was able to race to a 3rd place finish as well against a field that lacked anyone from the 2018 World Championship Podium. So I felt that I’d raced better against a stronger field so was confident I’d get the call to toe the start line in Montreal for the third installment of the World Paratriathlon Series. Not only that but I was on a very steep trajectory and if everything played out right I could improve on my 3rd place finish and begin collecting points for the Paralympic rankings which would open up on June 28, the same day as Montreal. Those hopes were crushed when USA Triathlon decided to send Brad Snyder to Montreal instead.
I was frustrated and bewildered. How could USA Triathlon say they didn’t know who the better athlete was? I’d decisively beaten Brad in consecutive races and had made the 2018 World Championship Podium finishers work their butts off to catch me thereby making them really earn their places ahead of me. After 48 hours of stewing over the “decision” and meeting with my coach and a USA Triathlon official who explained the decision further, I decided to just put my head down and train even harder. It wasn’t the first time I’d been doubted and it won’t be the last.
The Decision Explained
To the best of my knowledge here’s how to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in the sport of Paratriathlon. Beginning on June 28, 2019, races will begin counting toward a separate Paralympic Ranking. The races that are eligible to be used as points collectors are the World Championship (valued at 700 points for 1st place), the World Paratriathlon Series Events (valued at 550 points for 1st place), the Continental Championships (valued at 500 points for 1st place) and the Paratriathlon World Cups (valued at 450 points for 1st place). How you get into each of these races is based on your World Ranking. The Paralympic Rankings will close on June 28, 2020. In the span of that 12 months we have the chance to race at these various races. Our top three races will be added together to get our Paralympic Ranking. The top 9 in the Paralympic Rankings will qualify slots for their country but no country can receive more than two qualifying slots. So even if the United States had three athletes ranked in the top 9 of the Paralympic Rankings, the US would only be allotted two slots. The USA can then decide to whom those two slots go.
The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has decided to have a 12 man field at the World Championships this year for the Visually Impaired category. Since World Championships are worth the most points in the Paralympic Rankings, USA Triathlon decided to try and get either Brad or myself into the top 12 in the world so we’d be assured two slots at Worlds and therefore have a good chance at finishing the 2019 season with two athletes ranked in the top 9 of the Paralympic Rankings. Then in early 2020 USA Triathlon will ensure that the best Visually Impaired Triathletes face off in a race and at that point it will be mano-e-mano and the top two athletes at that point will get the full support of USAT to ensure we both go to the games.
So how do I make sure I’m one of those two that goes to the games? Train hard, race harder, and rise to the occasion.
Six Months into this journey of being a full time ITU Paratriathlete, living and training at the Olympic/Paralympic Training Center, I’ve experienced some extreme highs (including two podium finishes and some truly unbelievable workouts where I pushed myself to new levels) and crushing lows (being left off the team that traveled to Montreal for the first opportunity to collect points toward Tokyo Qualification as well as some truly horrific workouts that left me broken and questioning why I’m doing this to myself).
It has been a learning experience managing the load and stress of training, knowing when to push hard and when to throttle back. When I need a break and when I need to just suck it up.
It was barely two weeks after USAT had made their decision regarding Montreal that I needed a mental break. I’d been hammering away for five months doing nothing but eat, sleep and train. I’d done little else but think about triathlon, run calculations on what it would take for me to get into the top 12 in the World Ranking; what paces I’d need to hold to ensure I finish ahead of the best triathletes in the world… And that stress was beginning to catch up with me. I struggled and fought through every workout trying to complete them perfectly only to fall short. My swimming in particular seemed to be reverting back to beginner level. Immediately after racing in Milan I was effortlessly gliding through the water at speeds I would’ve considered impossible a year before, now I struggled to hold the paces I’d held when I first moved to the training center in January.
I needed to get away and not think about triathlon for a couple of days, even just 24 hours would be a big relief. Fortunately the opportunity presented itself. A friend invited me for a weekend camping trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Having heard that the dunes were an amazing experience and not having camped in about six years I leaped at the chance. And I got my wish. While triathlon lingered at the back of my mind for about 36 hours I blissfully focused on running barefoot through hot sand, splashing in icy cold river water and enjoying a camp stove cup of coffee early in the morning. Tension that had gathered seemed to slowly melt away as I finally realized that my 2020 hopes weren’t over. I knew in my soul that I’m one of the two best triathletes in the country and when given the opportunity I’ll prove that I’m one of the best in the world.
Granted it’s not just me on this journey. I’ve received nothing but support from my friends and family as I pursue what really amounts to a very selfish pursuit. In particular I have to give my guide, Zack Goodman, some mad props for being so incredibly patient with me as I struggle with the highs and lows of this profession. Zack has been at times motivator, voice of reason, frustration sounding board, and ultimately a friend. Whereas I’ve just primarily been a premadonna pain in the ass ITU triathlete
Between Zack and my coach, Derick Williamson, I’ve reached heights in the triathlon world I’d only fantasized about before now. And as they both continually remind me, the hard work is just getting started. I may be six months into this journey, but we have a long way to go on this road to Tokyo. So stay tuned because if there have been highs and lows in these first six months I can’t wait to see what the next six months bring!
2019 Six Month Statistics
Swim: 369762 yards (338100 meters)
Bike: 2250 miles (3620 kilometers)
Run: 526 miles (846.5 kilometers)
Podiums: 2 (2nd Place at American Continental Championships; 3rd at World Paratriathlon Series Milan)
Next Race: July 13, 2019 Magog Paratriathlon World Cup, Magog, Canada
Here are some of my tips for a fun, successful race at the Boulder Peak Triathlon, especially if you are new to triathlon, new to Olympic distance or maybe just need a few reminders.
BEFORE RACE DAY: After picking up your race packet, read all the last minute race details, gather ALL your equipment, put your race numbers on and study the swim, bike, and run course—and sleep and relax as much as possible.
DAY BEFORE RACE DAY: Pack all your equipment into your car so you don’t forget it race morning, stay off your feet as much as possible, drink lots of water and if it’s hot add electrolytes, eat only foods your body is familiar with, eat dinner early, settle down early, set your alarm, and try to go to sleep early.
RACE MORNING: Wake up with plenty of time for something to take longer than expected, eat a breakfast you have practiced on racing/training mornings or something you eat every day, remember to grab anything not packed in the car (I put these things on a sticky note on the back of my phone), and leave with plenty of time for extra traffic into Boulder and a line into the parking lots at the Res.
WHEN YOU GET TO THE RACE: Rack your bike and lay out all your equipment and go through your race in your mind to make sure you have everything you need for each portion of the race, sip water or electrolytes throughout the morning, check your tire pressure, breathe, make sure you know your wave start time so you have plenty of time to get to the swim start, and do your planned warm up whether it’s in the water, on dryland, or just visualizing your race in your head.
SWIM: Each swim wave will have about 50 swimmers so seed yourself where you think you will finish within your wave. If you are a newbie to swimming/triathlon/open water, or are nervous about the swim at all, start off to the side or toward the back of the pack. And you don’t even HAVE to start with the pack! You can wait for the rest of the group to go and then you can get started so you don’t have to worry about being crowded by other swimmers at all. My best tip for the swim is to know that the first 3-5 minutes you will be out of breath and perhaps a little panicked, so when it happens it will be no big deal because you were expecting it!
T1: During the last few minutes of the swim, go over your list in your head of everything you need to do when you get to transition. Remember that your transition time counts toward your overall time, so if you have a time or age group place goal, make sure you hustle through transition. My best tip for T1 is to start taking your wetsuit off while running to your rack so that when you get there all you need to do is slip your feet out and while your sitting, throw on your bike shoes and helmet, and go!!
BIKE: I made a video about how to ride the bike course on my facebook page www.facebook.com/foodfitnessfinancefunif you are unfamiliar with the bike course. Since the course is a gradual incline leading up to Lee Hill and then a big hill to the top of Olde Stage, I would just relax and spin in a lower gear at a higher cadence for the first few miles of the course. Don’t be afraid to get out of breath or push your legs up the hill as it is short, and once you are at the top, you have essentially 18 miles of downhill. My best tip for the bike is to stay hydrated with electrolytes EVEN IF IT’S COOLER AND YOU DON’T FEEL THIRSTY. This will affect you later in your race when it does get hot. If you have ever heard the term “stay ahead of your nutrition” that is what it means. Drink/eat for how you want to perform an hour later.
T2: Again, a few minutes before your bike finish, go over in your head what you will be doing in T2. I start thinking about it about 2 miles out and repeat it in my head over and over and over until I get there. Rack your bike, switch shoes, put on a hat/sunglasses, grab your race belt/drink, chapstick, anything else you need for the run and GO! Get out of there! My best T2 tip for a good finishing time is to practice these transitions as a race/goal can be achieved by minimizing transition times!
RUN: It is almost a guarantee the run will be HOT! And the course is very exposed meaning NO SHADE! Do not skip aid stations! My best tip for the run: At every aid station drink an electrolyte drink and pour water over your head. Keep yourself wet as much as you can. If there is ice, put it in your top AND bottoms and hold ice in your hands until the next aid station and then repeat! The other thing I do during a hot run is come up with mantras I repeat over and over to myself like “I am solar powered and I run better with the sun”, “the heat makes me stronger and faster”, and “I’m so glad it’s hot out, I run way better in the heat!” You will be surprised how much power your thoughts have over your body!
Overall, the best advice I can give you for any race is to prepare for the worst but expect the best. To do this I go over any scenario during the swim, bike, run, and transitions that can go wrong and what I would do about it. Mechanicals, nutrition fails, cramps, thoughts of quitting, pains, weather, and any other problems that could arise. Figure out what you would do in any situation, and then don’t think or worry about it again. After that, as many times as you can throughout your days leading up to the race, visualize your perfect race. What it will be like and feel like when executed perfectly. This is what you will focus on for the rest of your time before race day!!
The last edition of IRONMAN Boulder featured two athletes in Matt Hanson (7:57) and Lauren Brandon (9:09) setting two course records on their way to victory. The other four podium spots were filled with Tim O’Donnell and first-time pro Kennett Peterson for the men and Lesley Smith and Danielle Mack for the women. All will be competing in Kona at the IRONMAN World Championships this fall. For Kennett and Danielle, this will be their first trip to the big island as professionals. Danielle won IRONMAN Boulder in 2014. Says Danielle, “I’ve been a professional for 7 years, won 3 Ironman’s and have never competed in Kona….thank God!”
The story of the day might be Kennett Peterson who until yesterday hadn’t competed in a full-distance IRONMAN or even ran a marathon! He settled in on the bike early in the race in second place and never relinquished that position. Tim O’Donnell lead through the bike segment with Kennett, Sam Sam Long jostling for second and third and Matt Hanson right behind. The race took shape on the run with Hanson running everyone down with a 2:48 marathon, O’Donnell dropping back with a 3:05 and Peterson held tight with a 2:54. Colorado’s Tripp Hipple crossed in forth place with Boulder native Sam Long rounding out the top five.
The women’s race featured and course breaking swim time of 48:43 and course breaking overall time of 9:09 by Texas’s Lauren Brandon. It was her first IRONMAN 104.6 victory. Says Brandon, “got my Kona spot, and I’m ecstatic!” Off the bike she was 37 minutes ahead of the field, but “with the likes of Lesley Smith running, I knew I had to have a big lead.” Boulder’s Smith indeed had a fast run of 3:11 narrowing the gap by nearly 25 minutes. Smith chased down the field passing seven others on her way to second.
The “Flatiron wars” are complete and was a great battle fought during the last IRONMAN to be held in Boulder. A bittersweet day and much more to come on that!
Former Olympian Kara Goucher nearly collided with a mountain lion during a morning training run last Monday in Boulder, Colorado.
After an injury forced her to drop out of Houston Marathon in January, the 2:24:52 marathoner decided to try her hand at trail running.
Even Kara Goucher, 2:24:52 marathoner and mainstay of U.S. women’s distance running for over a decade, gets spooked sometimes. But when it’s a dangerous wild predator just inches away from you, that’s understandable.
Since the return of an old hamstring injury forced Goucher to drop out of January’s Houston Marathon after 16 miles—her first marathon attempt since her heartbreaking fourth-place finish at the 2016 Olympic Trials—Goucher has taken her running in a new direction: the trails.
After so much success on the road and track, the 2007 IAAF World Championships silver medalist in the 10,000 meters and three time top 10 Olympic finisher, now 40, is training to run the Leadville Trail Marathon on June 15.
Though she wants more time to acclimate to the new discipline, Goucher told Runner’s World, training in her home of Boulder, Colorado has been going well. That is, until she nearly collided with a mountain lion.
Protein is an essential nutrient that is present in every cell of the body and is critical to supporting athletic training. Protein is responsible for building and maintaining muscles, and is what makes up the enzymes that power all reactions in your body that keep you going.2
Proteins are made of amino acids, which are building blocks that help grow and maintain the body’s tissues. Humans are not able to synthesize (or produce internally) certain amino acids, so they need to be consumed through food. The amino acids that need to come from dietary sources are called essential amino acids.1 This inability to produce essential amino acids is why the consumption of an adequate amount of high quality protein is vital for your health, epecially as athletes.
It is recommended that average adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.3 Athletes, on the other hand, should consume higher amounts due to increased needs for muscle repair and training adaptations. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for athletes, depending on training intensity.4 If you’re not consuming enough protein, your body may be giving you different signs that you need to eat more of it. Some signs that you can look for are decreased muscle growth or strength, getting sick more often, hunger, fatigue, unhealthy hair, skin, and nails, neurological disruptions, and swelling.
1. You can’t seem to build muscle
Do you feel like you’re not getting the results that you want? You may not be consuming enough protein for muscle growth. When you don’t get enough protein in your diet, your body will start to take it from other sources. Primarily, it will take protein from your muscles. This will cause muscle wasting and decreased strength.2 In order to provide the optimal amount of protein and amino acids to allow your muscles to recover and build, protein intake should be spaced throughout the day and after workouts.4
2. You’re getting sick more often
Are you getting sick more often than you have in the past? You could have a weakened immune system due to lack of protein in your diet. Protein is needed for the creation of antibodies, which are proteins that fight off diseases caused by pathogens that enter the body. Lack of protein can reduce the number of antibodies in your blood which can leave you defenseless to different pathogens.2