A race that wasn't on my radar and approached as a good training opportunity, I never once felt nervous, stressed or out of my comfort zone; thereby, it was one of the most enjoyable races I've experienced in my career as I grabbed a 3rd place podium spot and an 8:57 time. Major takeaway lesson of this race: stop trying to control and organize everything and just race with what you've got!!
I'm kicking myself for not having put this race on my schedule before! I was quite a late entry and very grateful for Challenge in accepting and allowing me to race. (Being an uber-planner, I rarely like to ask others for things on short notice, but I did, assuming they'd say no.) But, I got in. And got a race number larger than I've raced with in a long time! (#3457)
If you've followed my endless stream of Instagram pics of mountains and lakes recently, you'll see I'm not roasting in the Arizona desert right now. I've been training in St Moritz, made the 5 hour drive to Roth and stayed with the best of homestays who offered to show me everything I needed to know. So did Thorsten Radde of Trirating.com. Their knowledge certainly helped me get my bearings, since I didn't have the time to study the course or surroundings. Being off my usual pre-race prep, the late entry, helpful friends and the overall relaxed, celebratory mood at Challenge Roth kept me from ever feeling nervous or pressured. If I were to guess, this is exactly why I was told to come and race here. To prove the point that the preparation doesn't need to be perfect to have a good day.
You can get a variety of race recaps here and here and here to see how it all went down, most of it talks about Daniela going for a world record, but notable (and necessary) for me was a quick run split of 2:56. This was an absolute to get me under the important sub 9 hour mark that day, a career goal. I knew it was possible on this course but never made it an expectation. And judging by the messages I was sending to my coaches and some close friends, you'd have known my legs were non-existent in the days leading up.
It's discussed a lot with this race, the frenzied and massive crowds, but I'll need to restate it: this race takes the cake for crowd enthusiasm. Solar Hill? Absolutely bonkers with people. You approach the base of the hill to see a mass of people covering the entire road ahead. Still gives me chills to talk about it. The multiple run loops through town? A party atmosphere like none other. They played "Born in The USA" as I can through for the last time. The finish line and expo? Like a non-stop party, carnival and celebration.
It's probably more dramatic to say that I "really had to dig deep" or "go to the well" or "bang on the hurt locker" to perform that day, but I honestly didn't. I was thoroughly relaxed and calm and present every minute and simply executed on race day what I've been practicing day after day in training. The extra boost of having fellow competitors like Ruth Brennan Morrey (who had to DNS due to hamstring issues) makes me grateful that I'm healthy enough to be there, especially after a winter/spring of healing a stress fracture of my own and having a longest run of 25k going into the race. It was no small feat to have to run down a significant time deficit to superstars like Yvonne Van Vlerken, Laura Siddall and Daniela Ryf. In the end I only managed to get by Yvonne, a course favorite having won this race several times.
I advise you to get this race on your calendar at some point. And if I can leave you with some nuggets of experience: stop trying so hard, planning everything to the nth degree and setting expectations of a particular outcome. Just do your thing, trust your training, 'race with the legs you've got' and for goodness sake, don't be so serious!
Many thanks to Challenge Family, Stef at Witsup.com, Thorsten at Trirating.com, Ruth Brennan-Morrey, my homestay, my coaches (Doc & MBE) and training partners at Trisutto.com, and of course Timex Multisport Team, Castelli, Compressport, Trek, Shimano, blueseventy, PowerBar, Kask, TriSports.com, Klean Athlete, On Running, Cobb saddles, my husband, friends and family who support me and this sport!
Test your Triathlon IQ with this quiz AND in the process you'll be donating to one of my favorite charities...the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to advancing quality of life and discovering cures for spinal cord injury. This is personally close to me because in 1989 my father became quadriplegic after a swim diving injury. Even though my dad is no longer with us, he is still the inspiration in all of my endeavors and drives me to do the best I can each day, no matter what the circumstance. He very much related to Christopher Reeve after his accident as well.
For each quiz submitted, Health IQ will donate $1 to this charity on my behalf. (up to $200).
Thanks and enjoy taking the quiz!
Anyone who knows me knows I care deeply about community, sport, women's participation, enjoying and being safe while participating. So, April 13 I held a Ladies Night talk about Bicycle Safety at my local Trek Store. We discussed our local laws of cycling, statistics of bicycle crashes and what we can do to avoid them and then talked about specific areas of town or questionable circumstances we've been in that we'd like to handle better. I think everyone went away with some new knowledge and a greater sense of community.
We broadcast the event on Facebook Live and we had 50 women attend! There were swag bags for everyone and we gave participants an opportunity to give back to the Tucson community and “Wheels for Kids” through raffle prize drawings. Our local Trek Bicycle Stores are drop sites for Wheels for Kids, an organization that provide bikes at no cost to partner organizations, who then distribute the bike to local kids and families in need. Misty at the Trek Store decided this organization would be beneficiary of our Trek Women's Bike Night and it was a perfect fit. We raised $175 for Wheels for Kids in under 2 hours! In addition, several of the ladies decided to donate their children's outgrown bikes. Raffle items for donations included helmets, Saris PINK Bike Rack and bicycle lights.
The event was such a success and I answered so many questions about bicycle safety, laws, skills and training that we are already planning future events. In addition to a weekend social ride to a local coffee shop, we'll have a clinic to teach bicycle handling skills.
I love doing events like these and I hope, as a professional, I can be a role model for these ladies, young and old alike.
Even if it's just a short workout session and the weather is great, there are times when we just can’t get ourselves to do it. Next thing you know, you sit down, feel lazy, defeated, overwhelmed and then even more unmotivated.
The pressure of the unfinished workout(s) start to weigh on the mind.
How to break that cycle? Here's 5 Tips:
1. Schedule your workouts in your calendar. Make it an expectation, much like having to be at work at a certain time. This changes the workout from being a decision to a real task.
2. Start. When dragging to do a swim workout, I've simply started by putting my swimsuit on. Pretty soon I feel silly just sitting around in my suit and my brain equates that suit (and the smell of chlorine, etc on it) as pool time. I've done the same by putting on my helmet or cycling shoes or running shorts.
If that gets you out the door, just start moving. Doesn't matter how slow, just move. Before you know it, you'll start to get warmed up and on your way.
3. Reward yourself at the end. Be it a smoothie or watching an episode of your favorite show afterward, put it out there and don't allow yourself the treat unless the workout is completed.
4. Write it down and track it. This goes for your goals and your stumbling blocks. Your goal may be a big circle on the calendar of your upcoming race or a goal weight, time, reps, etc,. On days you are unmotivated, identify why you are unmotivated (I'm tired, I'm hungry, I'm busy, I'm angry, etc) and write that down too. You may start to see patterns developing and be able to remind yourself that you found a way around it before, you can do it again.
5. Phone a Friend. Just as useful as it is in 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire". Call, text, message, whatever...your friends are there to bring you out of your mood and back on track. It helps if they also know your goals and can remind you of them as well!
I'm sure there are many other tricks to getting you motivated and back on track, but these are a few I go to quite often. Just remember if you stumble one minute, you can right yourself the very next minute. It's up to you to continue the pattern - one step at a time.
Have more tips for this topic? Please share!!
Now I must move on to my swim workout...which I've successfully procrastinated by writing this post. :)
Here's a short, fun video about how easy it is to keep your bike
and chain happy using Squirt Lube products.
Any questions, just ask!
Or you can go to www.squirtlube.com
I had the pleasure of being invited to speak to a nutrition class at the University of Arizona, giving them some insight as to what I need on a daily basis to train, race and recover. Here's the highlights:
I view food as fuel, but definitely enjoy fun indulgences too!
Overall nutrition views:
Pre-race or long workout: (Ironman).
Supplements: I get all of these from Klean Athlete
Fluids: I am a big fan of Skratch Labs hydration!
Off season/weight changes:
With a couple of weeks to reflect on my Ironman North American Pro Championship race in Texas, if I had one quote to summarize the experience, it would be from “The American President” movie. The President’s Cabinet are figuring out what to do when hordes of press are camped outside the residence and one of them says, “I think the important thing is not to make it look like we're panicking.” And the response from Michael Douglas’s character is, “See, and I think the important thing is actually not to BE panicking.”
There are a million times during an Ironman where it’s so easy to panic. The days leading up to the race, social media stalking the competition, pre-race predictions, sizing up competitors at pre-race meetings…not to mention during the race, with the swim start, navigating the bike course and trying to track down competitors on the run. Every time I get this panicked feeling I think of that scene.
This race had a lot of challenges; last minute course changes, weather…you name it. And it’s easy to get freaked out and allow it to change you. But that’s the beauty of long course racing. It does not reward those who panic, but those who stick to their guns and roll with what comes to them on race day.
I did not feel great, stellar or sharp the whole race. My swim was even more sub-par than normal, I never hit my numbers on the bike, and during the run my nutrition wasn’t going down well. All those things were good cause to freak out, change my strategy or push too hard. But I thought of that movie scene - I decided not to panic – largely because I felt the weather conditions were far too great a factor to allow anyone to over-extend themselves and actually get away with it. So I stayed put, focusing on say, keeping good cadence instead of my dismal watts for the bike and deciding to hold steady on the run instead of pushing the pace faster.
There was a lot of “carnage” on the course that day and given I wasn’t feeling 100% myself, I decided to hang tight and not become part of it. I was so unaware of the carnage up ahead that starting the last lap of the run I didn’t realize I passed two more women (who were either in the portajohn or collapsed on the side of the path) to take over 3rd place. When a man on a bicycle (little did I know he was actually the official race escort) came alongside and said “Great job, you’re in 3rd!” All I could think was, “no I’m not…who IS this dude? So I yelled at him saying “you’re going to get me disqualified if you don’t leave me alone!” (apologies to you, race escort dude, for my rudeness…)
I didn’t win this race as I was hoping, but I can be content with my 3rd place and clinching my spot at the Ironman World Championships in Kona. That race is my ultimate goal and I felt it best to “actually not be panicking”, when faced with less-than-perfect racing.
Up next is some rest, continued swim focused training, and a great lead-up to Kona in October!
ILLINOIS: I travelled to my rural hometown of Benld, Illinois as well as Litchfield, Gillespie and Carlinville for a week to do a variety of events. First was a SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) event at Litchfield High School where I talked with about 100 students and faculty. I told them how I got into triathlon (describing what triathlon is then giving a minute for them to process just HOW FAR a full Ironman race is!) and stressed to the kids that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I also told them just because they are from a rural, small town doesn't mean they can't get out there and see the world.
Afterward, I heard from some parents that their daughters said they now want to be triathletes!
Next up was a talk at Blackburn College, a local college not far from my hometown. Members of the track & field, soccer and basketball teams were there, as well as old friends, the Athletic Director and other members of the community. I spoke to them about my training, racing, nutrition and did some show & tell with my Trek Speed Concept bike and Kask Bambino helmet.
I wasn't finished there! Next up I went to my alma mater and spoke to the Gillespie High School track & field team and thanks to Timex Sports, Skratch Labs and Zipfizz I was able to provide some water bottles and hydration mixes to the group. Knowing the team is carrying around Timex bottles like mine makes me feel like I am still part of the team.
Lastly, I spoke at registration for the Litchfield Spring Duathlon and then participated in the race the next morning. 2 mile run/12 mile bike/ 2 mile run - short, hard and fast! I BARELY, and I mean barely, finished first, passing the leader with only 100m to go. Then I almost celebrated too early at the finish line. Close call. :)
Once again, Timex came through and provided a watch for the top male and female (not including me, darn it!) overall. I got to meet many MMM Multisport members and help with one of their best attended races to date - all proceeds went to Litchfield Cross Country team.
One of the highlights of this Illinois trip was meeting 3-year old Grace, who has a rare genetic disorder called INAD (infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy). They considered meeting me as one of their daily highlights. I am so incredibly humbled by that. Here's what they had to say about it on her blog.
Spending time with family, watching my nephew's track meet and being there for Easter were great bonuses of the week. Takeaway message: being from a small town shouldn't hold you back; you can do anything if you commit, work consistently and ask for help when you need it.
MIAMI: Onward to Miami for a week to acclimate to the humidity, hang with one of my best friends AND luckily fill in as a cyclist for the SOBE triathlon celebrity relay team to benefit St. Jude's Hospital - with none other than Scott Eastwood (yes, Clint Eastwood's son!). Thanks to Jenny and Leanda for making me part of that event - what a wild day and fun times in Miami Beach! We got some ocean swimming in with a friend Diego, who found and swam with a bunch of balloons the whole way. Lead balloon swimmer - I like this idea. Luckily, no jellyfish stings while I was there, but they were definitely looking for me. Seriously.
Check out the CNN headline of "Thousands of Jellyfish invade South Florida beach"
BRAZIL: Whew, finally onto the race in Brazil. There was a lot of travel involved and of course speaking Portuguese is hard - wait, impossible - for me. But the people in Palmas are genuine and helpful. Well-organized and punctual too. And without Jon with me on this trip, thankfully Linsey and Chris let me tag along with them all week.
Rain showers were off and on most days, so we kept an eye to the sky and dodged them to get the last bit of prep in for the race.
I've watched enough episodes of River Monsters to know that there is some big, weird, wild stuff swimming around Brazilian waters, but lucky for me I didn't get to meet any of them first-hand. The roads in Palmas are wide and in good condition and race day was looking to be hot and humid. With an early race start of 6:05am, we were looking to avoid the worst of the midday heat, but the sun came out enough to blind many of us toward the end of the swim, veering us off course and costing me quite a bit of time. I needed Diego and his balloons! Note that the water here is warm. Very warm. Wetsuits not allowed at all.
Onto the bike in 10th place (i.e. last) and managed to catch/pass 3 women before the start of the run. The bike course is two laps, fairly flat and fast, technical parts are navigating roundabouts. I considered my bike split as "ho hum" and am certainly looking forward to a faster time, showcasing my new Trek Speed Concept at Ironman Texas in a few weeks.
The run is two laps, flat and fast and 100% exposed to the sun - no shade. I would suggest to the race organizers to put one more aid station on the bridge portion of the run course. I ended up carrying water with me so I could have another drink between aid stations. The sun came out for part of the run, but by my standards didn't get overly hot. Passing 3 more women landed me 4th place and clocking the 4th fastest run split of everyone (males included)! I'll take it!
Overall, I'm chalking this race up to another big step to Kona Qualification.
I'll do a separate post about my time in Brazil with More Than Sport and Projecto Reviver - this report is long enough.
Thanks for reading and as always, I love to hear your feedback and ask if you have questions!
Do you think you have the worst-looking feet around? How about the best-looking feet?
I'll be the judge of that.
From April 1 - April 30, 2016 (midnight PST) post a picture of your feet...hideous or beautiful.
Follow and tag me (lisarobertstri) & Balega (balega_international) and hashtag #hidemyuglyfeet or #lovemybeautifulfeet with your picture, depending on which category you want to enter.
You can post multiple pictures.
On May 1, 2016 I will announce one winner from each category.
Each winner will receive 3 pair of socks from Balega.
Clever captions are welcome, but not required. I'll start with a picture of my ugly dogs...thank you Balega for helping me to cover them and stay comfortable! :)
What are Balega socks? Click here.
Arguably the most comfortable, best-fitting, technologically advanced, high quality socks around, Balega socks are manufactured in Cape Town, South Africa, utilizing the best performance yarns made in the United States. They have a variety of performance levels, fabrics, fit and styles to provide the best sock for what you need. Each pair is personally inspected before it leaves their facility.
They have an incredibly deep belief in community, which is central to the Zulu culture. They contribute to programs for the homeless, veterans and cancer research through sock purchases. You can find their socks at your local retailers or online.
I can't wait to see your pictures!