My first triathlon was in 1992, I was a swimmer, my two friends were teh cyclists and running. I watched the event and knew immediately I wanted to train and complete the entire, ½ mile swim, 12-mile bike, and 4.5 miles run the following hear. Read more about it here.
I didn’t even know what an Ironman was until I qualified in 1995, age 22. I turned down the slot and set a goal to qualify when I was 24 years old and not completing as a college swimmer. I qualified at the Desert Sun Half Ironman and my first Ironman triathlon was in 1997 at the Hawaii Ironman World Championships in Kona, age 24. I finished 10th in my age group and set a goal to return to Kona and podium, top 5.
A month following that life changing experience, a series of illness and injuries sidelined my Ironman training and racing, as well as finishing grad school and starting the progress of becoming a coach. I started reading Joe Friel’s Cycling training bible to figure out how to train, nutrition and recovery.
In 2000, I was making a comeback since my WHY, my reason to continue on the Ironman journey was to race in Kona again. I was still not sure how to train properly, continuing to educate myself with the Cycling Training Bible, racing and reading magazines. I entered Ironman Canada in 2000 cause my friend Guy was competing for a slot. I fell short of qualifying and really was not focused, I was more or less just racing cause I trained so much.
In 2001, I raced 5430 Sports Iron-Distance in Boulder and finished 3rd overall, having a breakthrough performance both mental and physical. This was not a Kona Qualifying event, one that just left me hungry for more.
In 2002, I entered IM Lake Placid, running injured, I had to walk the marathon, still finishing in 12:40 with a smile on my face and a strong drive to figure this sport out, why was I getting injured so frequently.
In 2003, I finally qualified for my 2nd World Championship in Kona, winning my age group at Buffalo Springs Lake Half Ironman. This was the first time I was tapered, I mean forced rest because I got sick two weeks before the event. That was a breakthrough learning process to figure howthat resting before an important race was a KEY ingredient for success.
In 2003, I had a great experience at the World Championships, knocked an hour off my time from 1997. I still had a desire to make it on the podium, I needed to get faster.
In 2004-2006 I took a break from Ironman Training and focused on Sprint and Olympic Distance with the goal to finish with an Overall, not just an age group win. I did that in every race I entered in 2004 and my winning streak continued, I was getting faster!!
In 2007, a friend convinced me to enter Ironman Arizona. Training indoors that year was rough, Colorado had 3 feet of snow for 3 months. It worked out ok, I had a breakthrough marathon time and and qualified for my 3rd trip to Kona. I knocked about 35 minutes off my time for 2003 and finished top 20 in my age group. While watching the Overall Age Group Winner Bree Wee get her award, I said “I have what it takes to be her. I want to do that, be on the podium!!!
IM Coeur d’Alene was my qualifying event in 2008. Despite losing 25 minutes on the bike because my chain broke, I finished 4th in my age group for my 4th Kona slot and my 4th World Championship I not only podiumed, I was the Overall Age Group Winner like Bree Wee was the year before, with a marathon PR of 3:17. Now my desire, my WHY, was to continue to qualify for Kona and repeat that perfect performance!
Because I won my age group in 2008, I qualified for 2009 World Championship and had the opposite experience, walking the entire marathon. I did not want to end my season with that experience so entered Ironman Arizona 6 weeks later and secured my slot for the 2010 Ironman World Championship, again, chasing the perfect race I had in 2008. Unfortunately, I struggled that year and was mentally beat up.
In 2011 I raced Ironman Lake Placid, with the intention, my WHY, to just race with my friend Kirsten, not for a Kona spot. I finished 5th, struggled in the marathon, I was ready for a break.
My WHY in 2012-2013 was to improve my running and I choose trail running. I finished a 100 mile trail run in Steamboat.
Missing the bike and the addition of Ironman Boulder in 2014, I was motivated again to train for a Kona spot. I won my age group at Ironman Boulder, having not ridden on a tri bike for 2 years, until 2 weeks before the event. I placed 8th at the World Championships that year, missing top 5, still motivated to get on that podium.
In 2015, I feel short at Ironman Boulder, was very anemic that year and struggled pretty good on the run.
Ready for another break from IM training, my motivation was restored when I realized 2017 was my 20th anniversary since my first Kona experience and I wanted to strongly to be racing in 2017 so I entered the 2016 Ironman Cozumel with 10 weeks noticed, missed qualifying by 1 place and so back at it 2017 with Ironman Texas then y 20th anniversary in Kona. I was happy with my performance in Kona and now ready for a break again.
My goal each year was always to qualify for Kona. I did not have a coach to tell me how to pick a race, or train for one, for that matter. My basis for choosing an event was to travel with my friends because they were also going there to race. Ironman Canada and Lake Placid are two courses that favor my weakest discipline, biking. The 5430 Sports event was held in Boulder, and I could not pass up a local full-distance race. Arizona is an “easy” flat run and bike course, not a destination. IM Coeur d’Alene is one my favorites, a destination, and great course, but preparing for an IM in late June requires me to train hard at a time of year when that is not easy to do, based on my schedule.
What do you do in your training or workout plan that is KEY to YOUR success?
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