I plan to compete in half and full Ironman races in 2012 as a professional. It will be a true challenge to balance my professional triathlon career and working as a veterinary ophthalmologist which I also love. I will be honored to compete alongside the best female triathletes in the world! Any profits I make as a professional triathlete will be donated to an account at the University of Missouri called “Jodie’s Eye Fund” which supports vision science research in humans and animals and provides qualified veterinary patients with vision saving medical procedures and care.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Rogue Triathlete!

It has been a while since my last post!  Lets just say life had too many projects for me and I decided to take a rather long hiatus from triathlon.  We all know it is a demanding sport.  Demanding on time, demanding on a relationship, demanding on the body, demanding on the mind.  I was ready for a break.  I watch so many triathletes suffer through training, enjoying the hard part of training is the most important part of triathlon.  When the hard training became a chore, I got out.  Luckily triathlon is my hobby and not my full-time job!

This summer I have been really enjoying having more time for work, we are doing some home remodeling and I spent some quality time with my family as well.  It was so nice to do this and not worry about getting my training in every day.  It was really good for me to focus on other important things in my life and I loved the break!  And I watched the entire season of Orange is the New Black in a one week period and had no guilt, haha!

I've had a ton of fun doing some totally recreational running and cycling endeavors!  We did a bike tour ride to Hermann, MO, which actually ended up being a mini-training camp with some serious pain train action but it was completely innocent and unplanned!

I'm also dabbling in the local trail running and cyclocross racing scene!  I did my first trail race two weeks ago, it was a riot and I didn't wipe out!  Trail running is kind of like swimming with a t-shirt on....you get resistance from the terrain - it's a lot harder than running on the road or track!  The race is part of a Thursday night trail race series in Columbia, MO organized by Tom Straka of Tryathletics.

Also, there is Cyclocross!!!  I mainly do cyclocross for the Four Loko hand-ups and the heckling opportunities, lets be honest.  I don't have the skillz but it is such a fun scene :)  We have a Tuesday night training race series in CoMo for the second year now, it's awesome, go CoMO CX!

I'm loving not stressing too much about eating healthy these days as well, if I want it I eat it.  I'm a pretty healthy person and most of the time I eat good stuff.  However, I enjoy a nasty gas-station pizza and donut from time to time, and now I don't feel guilty about it.  I also loooove dessert!  Life it too short to not eat awesome stuff!!

In September I started to get the training bug back again!  Triathlon is becoming a really corporate endeavor and I wanted to find a race that really embraced the community aspect of the sport and one that wasn't a "big brand" type race.  Our friends Ted, Shanelle, Tiago and Paula have always raved about the Beach 2 Battleship triathlon in October!  I actually bet Ted $100 back in January 2013 that I could beat him in this race because I didn't think he would ever do a full 140.6 distance race.....and he signed up for it!  I'm not going to beat him but it will be FUN to try :)  Paula is also doing the race!

The Beach 2 Battleship triathlon is in an awesome location on the beach in Wilmington, NC, a mini-beach getaway if you will!  I called the organizers and was able to get entered as a professional in the field, but this race is truly "everyman's" ironman where pros and amateurs race side by side.  The women's amateur field has been top-notch over the past few years and I look forward to racing all the talented women who will be in the race, it will not be an easy win or an easy podium!  The race is on October 26, and I've had about 4 weeks of good training.  I'm loving the feeling of being fit again, but I also am enjoying life a bit more compared to my first pro season.  I've established a good balance, and that's hard to find when you're a trigeek!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Mele Kalikimaka and Bike Mania in Maui!

XMAS!!  I love spending time with my family and instead of presents my parents take the whole family somewhere for a vacation (BEST PARENTS EVER!).  Everyone has his or her own fantasy holiday.  Most are happy with relaxing on the beach.....My fantasy consists of at least 4 hours of exercise per day (swim, bike, run!!), good eats and lots of fun with my family!!  Enter Maui, stage left!

After a lovely hiatus from training I was ready to get down to business in paradise!  Steve was keen to hit the bike hard and our friends Tiago, Paula, Shanelle and Ted were also in Maui with bikes so it was the perfect low-key training camp.  Shanelle aptly named the week “Hawaii Bike Mania”.  We rode almost every day and had some amazing experiences!

The East Maui loop consisted of 95 miles and 9000+ feet of climbing.  The ride represented a journey of “Lord of the Rings” proportion according to Ted! We started at 5:30 am in Pukalani, with a cat 3 climb right off the bat followed by a long winding descent (IN THE DARK, waaaaaa).  The sunrise was beautiful as we rode around the shores of Haleakala, and then the 50mph wind started, blowing us to track-stand stops on numerous occasions!

Almost 10 miles of rough roads (reminiscent of soul-shaking cobbles) peppered with cattle guards and categorized climbs followed.  At one point, almost 100 cattle littered the road and we wove a careful path around the terrified creatures and their doodoo all over the road!

Rough roads turned to dirt and many flat tires resulted but we finally reached Hana!  Foodie highlights included free apple-bannanas from the hippie farmers J

We rode the road back from Hana to Paia – serpent like descents, huge hills, waterfalls, jungle…..heaven!!  The ride time was 6:45 (longest ride ever for me)!!  I was cooked, and never happier to eat one of the famous fish tacos from the Paia Fish Market!  Steve, my crazy husband continued on and finished the ENTIRE 170 mile Maui loop, BEAST!

No cyclist should leave Maui without riding the 10,000 foot Haleakala climb.  Like the silly tourists we were our first attempt was random and the day following the East Maui Loop (can you say blasted quads).

We stupidly did not check the weather and at 6000 feet were lashed with 30mph wind, freezing rain and poor visibility so we called it a day.  Sad face.

Much scrutiny of associated Haleakala STRAVA segments revealed a Canadian “KOM imposter” of sorts, by the name of Dean Murdoch.  The Canadian movie FUBAR famously depicts the crazy antics of this hockey haired legend, who loves to “giver”.  See the movie, you will not be disappointed!  We are pretty sure Ryder Hesjedal is a fan, so awesome!!

We chose a better day for the second Haleakala attempt and were successful.  Thanks to my parents for providing SAG support and photographic hero shots all the way up the mountain!

Our friends Paula and Tiago also made it to the summit where it was COLD, as evidenced by Steve wearing his arm warmers on his legs (praying mantis in human form at work here).

The West Maui loop was the final chapter!  Steve and I ran into 4x world champ and fellow Canuck Melanie McQuaid on a training ride the day before and she decided to join us.  It’s not every day you get to ride with triathlon royalty or get dropped going up a hill by a world champ, stoked about the street cred!  Melanie is an incredible cyclist, a great person, a credit to her sponsors and a superb bike-handler, it was great getting to know her!

There was rain and hence some good silt in the corners of the roads and Steve got a nice souvenir!   Of course he was wearing his most expensive shorts….sigh.

Filthy dirty bikes, YES!  We were sad to leave Maui that evening.

We had a lovely holiday and quality family time with Mum, Dad, Trevor (my brother) and Elise (Trevor’s wife).

It was sad to go back to work but it was high time for rest and recovery! 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ironman Arizona - Last Dance of 2012!

I decided to do Ironman Arizona as the finale to my 2012 season.  It was a race that I knew I would not be likely to get into as an amateur (it sold out in 40s this year!) and it also known as a pretty fast course.  A couple Columbia Multisport Club (CMC) members were doing it and I thought, what the heck!  Sounds good!

Training for a November Ironman is not something I will want to do again.  The days get shorter and it is hard to motivate yourself to train in the dark.  I also have more work related deadlines and a big conference in October that I needed (and wanted) to prepare well for.  As much as I love being a professional triathlete, I refuse to loose sight of a career I also love and it becomes a balancing act in the fall, to be sure.  The conference went great, it was in Portland and Steve came along.  It was so much fun exploring such a bike-loving city!  We returned home and I promptly became sick with the flu for a week, booo!!  Basically, this meant that the 2 weeks when I should have been putting in 30 hour weeks training for Ironman were a complete write off.  This was going to be an interesting Ironman adventure but I convinced myself this was a great challenge and most of surviving Ironman is a mental game anyway J

We arrived in Tempe on Thursday, weather was gorgeous (lows in the 50s, highs in the 80s!).  Thanks to Tribike Transport for getting my bike to the race site flawlessly as usual, I love not hauling the huge bike box through the airport!  I shared a hotel with friend Cheryl  who was doing her first Ironman.  It was fun living vicariously through an Ironman virgin, the first time is always special J

I got to meet Tiffany and Rebecca from ABPro Sports at the expo.  This is a great company who provides me with race and training apparel.  They do great custom apparel and released an athletic clothing line in 2012 as well, yes divas, this includes strappy running bras and running skirts!!  A great American company out of California!  Check them out!!

The other cool thing about Tempe is that my bike sponsor, Valdora is located there.  I got to meet the Valdora “family” in person, which was awesome!  Pete and Kendra showed me the new line of PHX2 bikes which now come in TONS of beautiful custom colorways!!  The bikes simply sell themselves (LOVE my PHX2s, all 3 of them!), but what a great grass roots company it is as well.  They had an open house at their fabulous show room in Tempe the night before the Ironman and I got to meet manyValdora athletes and friends.  Lucked out with a ride back to the hotel in a 1968 Corvette, woohoo!! 

My race number was 99!!  It's not every day you get the same number as "The Great One."  Canadians will not need an explanation, but for the Americans, I am referring to Wayne Gretzky. 

The race started in Tempe town lake.  It was wetsuit legal and the water was still and calm.  What a thrill to line up beside Leanda Cave (the 2012 Kona World Champion!!) as the women’s pro field assembled at the start.  We were off and I immediately found three girls to draft as we started the out and back.  I really pushed myself to stay with them and knew this would mean I had a good swim.  At the turnaround I was fatiguing a litte but I concentrated on rotation and high elbows and could tell I would be in good shape for the swim.  I passed the group I was drafting off about ¾ into the race and hoped they would benefit from my draft to the finish (teamwork!!).  I was 18th/28 out of the water and swam 1:06 (second best ever swim time).  I can't bring myself to post a photo of me coming out of the water, I look too much like Jabba the Hut in the race pics, haha.

Got on my bike and was really cold.  My feet were so vasoconstrited, shriveled and prune-like, I almost bailed trying to get them into my bike shoes once I was on the bike.  The bike course is 3 loops of out and back on a hill.  It was hard getting the legs going and I could tell my power wasn’t as high as I wanted it to be.  My cycling training had suffered in the last month, and I knew I would have to dig deep to have the performance I wanted.  I perked up a little for the second lap and third lap was just plain hard.  I got passed by a few girls and I’m used to doing the passing when it comes to the bike so that was hard.  I tried to keep them within my sights so I could be motivated when I got to the run.

We started the 3 loop run course and it was starting to be hot (well it was only about 80 but this seemed hot to me!).  The one drawback to doing 3 Ironmans in a year is you know 100% about what you are getting into on the run.  You know the first 10-13 miles are fine and you know the last 10-13 miles are the devil and you cannot escape the dread.  I had never had what I felt was a good marathon at the end of an Ironman and I had vowed this would be the race to change that.  I made it through 13 miles on pace and things started to get hard, but I had passed 3-4 girls!  I broke the race down mile by mile, running from aid station to aid station.  I dedicated several of the last miles to a special person in my life so I wouldn’t wuss out on my goal pace (thanks to Chrissie Wellington’s biography I read on the plane – this was a great idea!).

When I had 3 miles to go two men were talking about how the race time was 9:26….and this meant my race time was 9:36….I had 24 minutes to run just over 3 miles to break the 10 hour barrier…..and I had to hold 8:00 miles until the end.  I gave it everything….I knew it was going to be close!  As I rounded the turn into the finish chute I saw the clock say 9:49:47, I had 13 seconds to run 100m to break 10h (pros start 10 minutes before the amateurs).  It was sort of hilarious because, back in my college track days, my best time for 100m was 12.3 seconds and lets just say age and and Ironman don’t dignify speed at all.  It was not my day to break 10 hours.  I did 10:00.10.  Yes, 10 seconds off but still a PR.  I also ran the best marathon I have ever run in an Ironman (3:30), it was still a good day!

Cheryl and Jen from CMC completed the race, we had quite the CoMO girl power contingent!  Cheryl did her first Ironman in 12:28, a phenomenal time!  It was fun having people to celebrate with, Jon and Lisa Rosen were also in town from CoMO visiting so they were able to ferry us and our invalid bodies around so we could drink, eat and carouse a little!

Thanks so much to all the people who believed in me this year.  My first pro season has been a great journey!  I am looking forward to next year!  Thank you to Tryathletics for providing great athletic gear and advice, Joe Company at Endurance Company for his guidance and coaching expertise, Valdora bikes for making the most wonderful steed I could ever ask for, XLab USA for their superb hydration equipment, HED cycling for making the best wheels and aerobars in the business, glad I switched to clinchers!!, ABPro Sports for my gorgeous race and training apparel, GU and Electrodelytes for the delish nutrition and TYR for providing me with the INCREDIBLE Hurricane Freak of Nature wetsuit (I swam my two best swims ever in it this year!).  Also a big thank you to TriBike Transport for getting my bike to races flawlessly and Tate Labs for providing me with a super aero option to geek out on my Garmin data (the Bar Fly and Bar Fly TT)!

Happy Holidays to everyone, enjoy the offseasoning J

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Whale of a time in Wales!!

This race was my primary race focus for the summer, I had worked hard and 2 weeks before Joe had me do my usual taper.  Tapering for an Ironman is much longer than the usual taper for short distance races.  What this usually translates to is me having a lot of extra energy because I’m not exercising as much as I’m used to.  Can you say house projects!?!  Steve just rolls his eyes and says “here we go again.”  Well thanks to Ironman Wales, I painted our bike “stable” and completely reorganized it.  Yes, we have a bike “stable” and no garage, it is all about priority J

I flew into Bristol airport, on the descent you could see all the little hedgerows with herds of sheep, England is just so CUTE!  It was a long flight, compared to what I am used to and I was so tired.  Seeing my parents perked me up, we headed to Tenby by van, lots of room for the bike box and all our stuff.  Kudos to my dad for kicking ass driving down the left side of the road through the twisting streets of the British countryside in the huge van while my mum and I ate liquorish and looked at all the beautiful scenery!

We arrived at our base for the next few days, Celtic Haven in Tenby.  Really cute little cabins with a small kitchen and several bedrooms, right on the Ironman bike course and very close to town.  My parents are the best for finding such a great location to stay!!  We headed into town to peruse the grocery store.  Nothing is better entertainment for me than a foreign grocery store.  I can spend hours checking everything out!  We scored some crumpets, lemon curd and clotted cream and some good healthy stuff for race morning and the lead up.  I must say, clotted cream is the best stuff ever and I was so impressed with all the locally produced inventory at the grocery store, North America could really learn something from the UK in this respect!

I got in some practice swim, bike and run sessions.  The swim in particular was good to practice as it was in the ocean and was pretty cold, temps in the high 50s F.  I was glad to get used to the water and realized it really felt better after a good warmup swim.  LOVE my TYR wetsuit too!!!

I don’t always worry about driving the bike course but this one was known to be challenging so we drove it the day prior in the van.  The hills were ridiculous, I realized this was going to be quite an epic ride, with over 7000 feet of climbing.  There were two cat 4 climbs (15-19% grade) within a few miles of each other at the end of the first and second loops (we were to do them 2 times each and at the end of the race when I would be tired).  I knew the crowd support would be great though; the hills were famous and everyone knew they would be great to watch from.  I racked my Valdora and they gave us rain covers for the bikes; only in the UK!

Race morning was dry and cool.  We had to walk a kilometer to the swim start and would have to run back after the swim so we had a second set of shoes they allowed us to place at the swim finish for this purpose.  They started the pros only a few feet in front of the large field of amateurs, I knew this would mean a rough swim but I would have the advantage of a draft of a large group of swimmers instead of only a small field of really fast pros, so it was an advantage for me!  Off we went and I braved the first 5 minutes of cold water and began to warm nicely as I worked through the swim.  I felt comfortable but was still swimming hard, I came out of the water feeling fresher than I thought I should (I had swam 55 minutes – a huge personal best!).  I was thrilled to see several bikes still on the pro women’s rack.  I was still in this race and not dead last after the swim!  I had started working with a local swim coach about 6 weeks ago it was the best decision I made this year.  Contact me if you want his info, he is great!!

I got on my bike and could see several pro women around me, I decided to go for it and take some risks on the bike by driving up my wattage early in the race.  Joe said this was something I needed to be brave about this year!  The course was challenging but just breathtakingly beautiful.  I do admit to chatting with a local pro women about how awesome the scenery was as we rode along!  The crowd support in all the towns we passed through was great, and then came the hills and the crazy twisting descents.  I tried not to let visions of my beloved job, husband and furry children flash through my mind on the hairy descents but I know I was a bit of a sissy, a couple girls passed me.  I hammered up the hills like a mad woman though.  The two crazy hills at the end of the loops were fun, just getting up them without eating shit was heroic.  My parents said 300 people fell of their bikes on one of the hills, sort of hilarious, as long as I wasn’t one of them J  The bike took me just over 6 hours, almost 1 hour longer than any other bike course in an Ironman had taken me, but my wattage was the best I had ever done so I was happy with the effort.  The Hed Jet 5 Express wheels I chose for the trip were perfect, I felt very safe in the strong winds on the course and they climbed flawlessly.  A great wheel set if you are looking for something racy, light and cost-effective!

It started to rain as I finished the bike and started the run.  I could feel how much the hard bike had taken out of me and I tried to hang on for the first half of the run to my goal pace.  I was having GI problems for the first time.  Ok folks, if you can’t handle poop talk you should bail now!!  As a vet this is dinner time conversation for me J  Halfway through the run I definitely had to poop, stopped at the loo and only could manage some cute little princess farts (sorry, told you to bail a few sentences ago).  I was pretty annoyed that I had wasted 30s on the jon for a benign fart issue so the next time I felt a similar urge (about 1 mile to go to finish) I thought here comes a nice little fart again…..aaaaannnd then I sharted.  Luckily it wasn't a huge volume and yes, it is funny now that my shorts are thoroughly sterilized and decontaminated.  My mum was mortified, she figured she was done dealing with this kind of shit about 33 years ago J  I still had a decent time on the run though, despite the poo drama!  I placed 6th in the women's pro field and got my first paycheck as a professional triathlete!

After the race my parents and I stayed in Bristol for a few days.  We had a great time touring the surrounding area and sampling the local pub fare.   The day following the race we went to Bath and enjoyed the hot springs (good recovery).  We also saw Stonehenge which was absolutely incredible.  Thanks to my amazing parents for being the best Ironman sag ever and for making the trip a great holiday to remember together!