As I was racing at IMFL, I had a lot of time to myself, and whenever I needed it, I had a laundry list of people that I could imagine were biking, running, or walking next to me, encouraging me to keep moving forward. You’d be surprised how quickly 10 hours and 26 minutes can go by when you are surrounded by friends and family. Sidebar: You’d also be surprised to know how long it can take to cover miles 23-26.2 when you can’t even move at 10:00/mi pace (spoiler: more than 30 minutes). So, while Tim Ferguson already published his RR in the form of a series of thank you notes, I’m going to provide a similar RR, because the distance and magnitude of a race like this cannot be undertaken by a single person. It takes a village, as the saying goes.
You’ll notice that the village consists of both companies and individuals. It’s a shame that I feel the need to clarify this, but I don’t receive any financial support from anyone below in exchange for their mention. Performance has always been what is most important to me, so I’ve only ever partnered with products/services that I felt would help me obtain my goals. Like I did on FB, I’ve listed everyone below in alphabetical order.
I’ve thrown some pictures in because 2200 words is a lot to digest (I’m warning you now), so hopefully the pictures help!
TL;DR version (results).
Accelerate3: Brian has, as a friend refers to it, been the “Brain with a plan.” That plan, in year one, consisted of a lot of volume, getting my legs to the point where they’ll be even stronger for next year. IMFL was the end of year race, but it was not the end-all-be-all race – that race is TBD, far away in the future. Just as every day of training builds on the last, ever race builds on the previous race, and each season picks up (close to) where the last one left off. I am very excited about what 2014 will hold (and 2015, and 2016, and so on). I’ve already seen some pretty wonderful things happen on the swim and bike over this year, and IMFL validated a lot of what we did. Consider that:
Swim Lap 1: my 2nd fastest 1.2 mile OWS split ever (28:30)
Swim Lap 2: my 5th fastest 1.2 mile OWS split, and just out in over an hour (01:01:02, 9th AG, 136 OA).
Bike miles 0-56: Fastest 56mi bike race split, ever (2:24).
Bike miles 56-112: Re-set PR for fastest 56mi bike race split (2:22).
My FTP rose 35 watts over the course of the season. My run and swim both got faster, too, although those aren’t as easily quantifiable, and the race Saturday wasn’t necessarily evidence of that. Regardless, it was a really solid day all around, and I can say with conviction that it would not have happened without having Brian by my side (mentally the entire year, and both mentally and physically in PCB).
Thank you Brian for reminding me the value of consistent, day-in, day-out work, and also remembering to see the bigger picture even when I struggled to do so.
Breakaway Bikes: I wouldn’t have raced IMFL if it were not for a series of events that involved Breakaway. Rewind to fall 2012: I made the decision to purchase a new TT bike, and after a lot of math (geometry + accounting), I chose the Trek Speed Concept 9 series. Fortunately, right as I ordered it, they rolled out a new marketing deal: buy a 9 series, get a free entry to IMFL (or IMWI). And just like that, I was going to race a full ironman in 2013. Back to present-day. In an effort to leave no stone un-turned, I visited Joe, one of the owners and bike-fitter, to get a Retul fit done to see if there was some free speed I was leaving in the wind. While it was a little scary to think about making adjustments to my bike fit ~3 weeks from the race, I am glad I did! I biked a 4:46:56 at IMFL, and when I got off the bike, I had biked a very conservative 218AP/225NP, for an IF of .669. This got me off the bike 3rd AG, and 74th OA. While I saw lots of folks pull groups along for the first 56 miles, I was content to just ride legally in the back, knowing I had a long day ahead of me, and ride steady and strong. Around mile 60 I made a push to drop people off my wheel, and that resulted in me coming up on, and passing, the reigning women’s world champion, Miranda Carfee, who was going through the motions of finishing in order to validate her Kona 2014 slot. The group caught back up to me around mile 75, and then another slight effort around mile 85 pushed them back for the majority of the remaining ride. I can say with certainty that the adjustments that Joe made (saddle forward, stem lowered and forward) allowed me to maintain the same comfortable angles I had, while lessening the drag my body created.
Thank you, Joe, for your expertise in fitting and aerodynamics and your attention to detail and quality service.
Greater > Than: After spending the past year partnered with Greater > Than, I really can’t imagine what recovery was like before it. I’d venture to guess that over the course of the year, I consumed north of 4,000 ounces of their product. The other athletes that they’ve partnered with are great; every month they share feats of winning age groups, racing at world championship races, qualifying and racing for Kona, and generally being total baddasses. I’m lucky to have them as interwebs friends, and I’m equally fortunate to have an awesome set of brothers, Mark and Jon Sider leading the company. They have a great vision for both the team and their company, and I hope that I’ll continue to be apart of that future.
Thank you, Jon & Mark and G>T teammates, for helping to hold us all accountable for outstanding performances and continuing to help drive us all to have Greater > Than Moments.
Philly Bikesmith: For a large portion of the summer, I saw the folks at Philly Bikesmith more frequently than I saw the majority of my friends. Any creak, crack, snap, or pop that I couldn’t immediately diagnose myself was immediately brought to their loving, caring hands, and almost always it was quickly fixed and returned to me in working order. What’s been most valuable to me has been their willingness to teach me the ins and outs of my bike – knowing that it may lose them some small service calls here and there, but also knowing it will alleviate huge expenses and headaches to me when I am traveling with it. The value of that education, just from an emotional standpoint, far exceeds the costs saved in working with unknown bike shops in unfamiliar cities and states. And what I think is most impressive about the shop, is that the kindness/friendliness that they show to me is available to everyone – anyone who I’ve seen walk through the store door gets a high five, handshake, hug, or some combo of all three. Their passion for outstanding customer service cannot be overstated. And they’re pretty good with bikes, too.
Thank you, Max, Richie, Lucas, Sam, and Bryson for making me feel that every time I walk in the store, I’m the most beautiful girl in the room.
Wattie Ink: I don’t know the official numbers, but unofficially, I think over 50% of the 2013 Wattie Ink. team qualified for one of the following: 70.3 World Championships, Ironman World Championships, Xterra World Championships, or 2014 Long Course World Championships. The number of AG podiums is staggering. I say all of this not to brag, but to illustrate the standards that I hold myself to every time I toe the start line. As the signs say on the run course – “ER or PR.” Fortunately enough for me, the 26.2 mile run was both my first marathon, and all that was standing between me and the completion of my first ever Ironman. A PR was in the bag, so long as I crossed the finish line. For the first 8 miles, I felt pretty great and 9:30-9:40 was in play. By the time I got to the 13.1mi turn around, I was feeling pretty crampy and crappy. Hearing and seeing my parents cheer for me raised my spirits briefly, but a failed attempt to get my SN bag as I ran past it brought those spirits crashing back down. As I shuffled the next 6 miles back to the turn around point, I realized that 9:30 was gone, but I still had a chance at sub 10 if I could keep the cramping to a minimum and keep moving forward at what I generally consider to be a glacial speed. Alas, that was not meant to be. The cramping got pretty horrible at the turn around point (19.5) and intermittently awful from there until mile 24.5. I was finally able to string together 1.2 miles of uninterrupted running to cross the finish line, finishing my run in a disappointing 4:31:42,. Nonetheless, it was done. And with that, I was an ironman. Or, technically, an Ironman®. I had three teammates racing there: Shawn, Drew, and Joel. All three had monster days, and it was motivating to see all of them on the course throughout the day. Beyond them, I had tons of positive Wattie support coming in via FB and Twitter in the days leading up to the race. A good ego stroking always helps with pre-race nerves!
Thank you Sean for bringing together such an amazing group of ass kicking athletes, and thank you to everyone on the team for your positive messages and support throughout the race and season. Congrats to everyone for an awesome year of rocking the W!
Like I said at the beginning, I use the products that I think will help me get from the start line to the finish line as fast as possible, and the companies above I’m fortunate enough to have a relationship with through Wattie Ink. I will say that while they all provide outstanding products, IMO, the support/service I have received has somehow managed to exceed the quality of the products. Almost every one of these companies has an individual face that I see when I think of them, and it’s awesome to have that kind of relationship with people and companies.
Thank you Sean, for connecting our team with all of these awesome companies, and thank you to Ryan, David (x2), Bryan, and Dotsie for being outstanding representatives of your respective companies and always being quick to provide guidance and support.
Friends: Through Wattie, Accelerate3, and Greater > Than, as well as my awesome social skills, I’ve been able to connect with a lot of fantastic people that have become great training partners and great friends. These connections built on top of the outstanding collection of friends I already had, so all in all, I have a lot of friends – PEOPLE LOVE ME! #humblebrag. I can’t thank everyone enough for the positive messages that led up to the race and continued in the days after the race. I really can’t name individual people here, but if you are still reading at this point, you can just go ahead and assume your name would be on the list if I were to write it out.
I have amazing friends. Thank you.
Family: My parents have always pushed my brother and me to chase our dreams, and really, nothing less than excellence has ever been expected in anything we set our sights on. My parents have represented the United States at 5 olympic games and countless world championships, my brother cut 30lbs to make the U23 World Championship Rowing Team… so yea, high expectations. I
don’t think wouldn’t want it any other way. While my parents don’t know a lot about triathlon, they know a lot about high performance, and I could see in their faces in the days leading up to the race that they desperately wanted to do anything in their power to help me perform at that level. After the race, I don’t think they ever were more than 5 feet away from me — my mom casually broke into the medical tent area to sit with me while the medics ignored my initial request for an IV. Instead they handed me Perform – as if I didn’t have enough of that in my stomach already. Later, some lightheadedness, dizziness, and vomiting happened, and then finally an IV happened, only 90′ after I had first requested it. The entire time, my parents were either by my side or checking on me every 5 minutes. In the days following the race, they probably asked me 5-6 times a day if I was okay. I can’t say enough amazing things about having my parents be there for my first full ironman distance race. I hope that I’ll continue to have them by my side in the future and that I’ll get to bring them to some other spectacular places.
Thank you, Mom, Dad, and Jonny, for your continued love and support in all that we set out to do.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading!