Not really close at all to qualifying for a race that is not Kona

Email received from USAT – full text below. Basically, I was kind of not really close to qualifying for some AG championship race. They wants to let me know that I could try to qualify for the Olympic 2013 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships by qualifying before July 11 (top 10% AG, I assume), or I get in the top 33% (why is it different at this race?) of my AG at one of these regional championship races. OR I could just drop $155 on the Sprint-Distance National Championships, which has open registration.

USAT. Ninja, please. I’m a little occupied. Training for Ironman Lake Tahoe (Don’t you talk to WTC? You know, your evil best friend? I gave them a lot of money. OVER A YEAR AGO). Ain’t nobody got time for this.

But… thanks?!? I think?

Edited due to my own stupidity. Thanks to Lara for pointing out that USAT and WTC are, in fact, two different entities.


Congratulations! You’re receiving this email because you’re one of a select group of triathletes in the U.S. who has finished in the 11-20 percentile of your age group in at least one USA Triathlon-sanctioned local race over the past year. But, as you may know, those who finish in the top-10 percent automatically qualify for the Olympic-distance race on Aug. 10 at the 2013 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee.

In other words, you’re sooo close.

USA Triathlon would love to see you in Milwaukee, so we wanted to let you know there’s still time to qualify. If you improve your performance slightly and finish in the top-10 percent of your age group at any race distance during just one sanctioned event by July 11, you’re in. So visit our online race calendar today to find a sanctioned event near you.

Or, simply lock-in a race slot for Milwaukee now! Yes, you can grab a spot on the start line by registering today for the USA Triathlon Sprint-Distance National Championships on Aug. 11. Unlike the Olympic-distance division, the sprint features open registration (no qualification necessary) and, based on your finish, you can even earn the right to represent the United States at the 2014 ITU Age Group World Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Click here to register now.

If you have any questions about the 2013 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships or the qualification process, please (do not reply to this email) or visit the Age Group National Championships page.

Whether it’s the Sprint-Distance or the Olympic-Distance National Championships (some people even do both!), we hope you’re up to the challenge and we look forward to announcing your name at the finish line in Milwaukee!


Wildflower Long Course 2013 Race Report

It was about time I had a really crappy race. Big picture, this wasn’t even that bad. I just have certain expectations for myself – and those expectations were not met out there on May 4.

So. expectations. I had expected that my swim would be about the same as it always is, my bike might be a touch slower (since some of my early weekends this year were definitely spent on my snowboard instead of my bike!), and that my run would be a little better than the past, since I’ve been doing 10+ miles for a while now with a lot of hills/trail. Which, overall would mean a time similar to 2010 and 2011, about 6h15min, or thereabouts.


Tough to say if it was lack of training or other things (um, heat) that I couldn’t control. Likely a bit of both.


Good –
  • The fast swimmers in the wave behind me didn’t catch me until I was halfway through!
  • Very little freak-out, breathing was much improved over my Olympic in April
  • Since it was fast approaching 90-100deg F and had been all week, the water was not cold at all
Bad –
  • Rumor is that the swim was a wee bit long
  • Poor sighting/judgement on the second half – seemed like the crowd was swimming closer to the shore, I was trying to follow them, but also stay along the buoy line. Should have just picked one and stuck to it.
  • Crowded finish with the mountain bike sprint fast swimmers coming in around the same time
Time: 42:25
Pace: 2:11/100
About normal for me, but I’d be stoked if distance was actually a little longer than 1.2 miles


T1: Wish I had just stopped for sunscreen. My time looks like I stopped for sunscreen. No idea what happened there.


Good –
  • Felt great up to about mile 30. Average speed was good, enough to carry me through Nasty Grade and still maintain a pretty decent overall average. That’s until mile 30.
  • Nasty Grade, Heart Rate hill. Not bad at all. I had done Mt Diablo x2 the weekend before, also in the heat. Definitely made these shorter climbs seem like nothing.
  • They repaved the descent off Nasty Grade. So. Much. Better. (Even though I didn’t know this until I was already on it and taking it way easy.)
Bad –
  • The mountain bike sprint started 15 minutes after my wave. So in addition to finishing up the swim with these guys, I had to start the bike with them. The first couple miles are all together, which was seriously not fun. Men doing a mountain bike sprint + 35+ y/o women on road bikes + bike relay folks = a major cluster fuck on some roads that are pretty twisty.
  • First bottle exchange (mile 25?) I did sucked. Got a bottle of Gatorade. Put it in my bottle cage. Leg is getting wet. Huh? Oh yeah, the cap was off and Gatorade was sloshing all over. Tossed the bottle. Sticky leg, lost hydration + electrolytes. Le suck.
  • Later, when I tried to get a bottle of water, I ended up with a Gatorade squirty bottle that was too small for my bottle cage. Had to take a gulp and toss it. Also not ideal.
  • Crushing headwind that started at mile 30, and sucked away my hard-earned mph
  • HOT. Headwind was like a furnace

I found out later that they ran out of water at the top of Nasty Grade. Total BS. I really feel bad for those riders, mostly women, who were there after me. Shame on Tri California. They’ve put on this event for over 30 years. They should be able to handle this heat better. Other stories of half-filled bottles (because some riders “just squirt it over their heads anyway” – um, as a way to cool down…) also made my blood boil. Made my unscrewed lid bottle seem like nothing.

Time: 3:30:06
Speed: 15.9mph


Oh crap. Hot.
Time 3:39


Good – 
  • I seemed to be faring better than a lot of the other people out there… tough to say if was a good thing.
  • Love for the crowd support, help from aid stations, all of the people who did their best to try to cool us down by spraying water on us. I did manage to run through the tri club cheer area, which is always a blast. Props to Steve for chasing me down and spraying me with more water.
  • The “Jiffy Lube” aid station at mile 8. COKE. OMG. COKEILOVEYOUCOKE. And Vaseline for my hella chapped and dry lips.
Bad –
  • Furnace temp winds were still in effect through some sections, almost lost my visor a few times.
  • Usually I run everything but the super steep section of the hill at mile 4. There was a LOT of walking.
  • I wish I had brought salt tabs. My hamstrings were on the verge of cramping for about 75% of the run. I have never had this problem before in training or racing. Yowza!
  • They ran out of cups at mile 6. Weren’t sure if there were cups at future aid stations, so I ran with a used cup in my pocket for the next couple of miles. Gross.
  • Never wanted to DNF so badly in any other race. Miserable. Absolutely not fun.
Time: 2:10:32
Pace: 9:57 min/mile


Here are stats from 2010 and 2011. Also,  my 2011 WF LC RR. Basically, I have been getting slower over time. Awesome. So much for the mid-30s endurance performance peak. F*ck.
2010 – 40:33, 2:05/100, 1017 overall
2011 – 41:28, 2:08/100, 1126 overall
2013 – 42:25, 2:11/100, 1301 overall
2010 – 4:55
2011 – 4:35
2012 – 5:06
2010 – 3:21:53, 16.6mph, 847 overall
2011 – 3:26:20, 16.2mph, 843 overall
2013 – 3:30:06, 15.9mph, 1082 overall
2010 – 3:05
2011 – 2:15
2013 – 3:39
2010 – 2:02:14, 9:19 min/mile, 475 overall
2011 – 2:07:07, 9:23 min/mile, 582 overall
2013 – 2:10:32, 9:57 min/mile, 558 overall <- interesting that this is just 3 minutes off from 2011 when it felt like it took an hour longer. Huh.
2010 – 6:12:29, 19/122 in W30-34, 82 woman overall, 634/1860 overall
2011 – 6:16:45, 27/115 in W30-34, 112 woman overall, 680/1813 overall
2013 – 6:31:48, 22/98 in W35-39, 105 woman overall, 789/2089 overall

HITS Napa Olympic Race Report

What?!? Yes, that’s right. I raced. Let’s discuss.

Sunday, April 14. Lake Berryessa. Link to HITS Napa Valley event
Aside from the normal training, I did take a visit up to the area to check out the bike course. The route we did that day included a missed turn, so we didn’t preview that much of the course, but enough for me to see that road conditions were mixed and that I needed to be able to deal with constant rollers and an exposed run course.
  • Water temperature pretty cool (I’ve read water temps were either 53 or 63, going with 63 – cold, but not miserable). Lake was fairly calm, some breeze.
  • Some wind on the bike – was hoping for more of a tailwind on the way back. Of course, that never happens!
  • Air temp was probably in the low to mid 80s. Warm, sweaty, but manageable for a shorter race.
Taper = minimal. I rode an easy 20 miles on Saturday, but otherwise left my training week the same. The race was definitely not supposed to be a major event in my tri season.
Wave 1 – men 39 and under, wave 2 – men 40 and older, wave 3 – all women. Big group, but not terrible. I started out to the side to avoid the fast swimmers, but not in the way back with the newbies. Two loops, double the sprint course that went off right before the Olympic. New to me – getting out of the water after the first loop. Yeah. That was rough. Kind of a traffic jam at the exit, and then the re-entry to the water required a bit of a mental kick. I found myself really kind of battling my wetsuit (since I haven’t worn it in a while) and sucking in a lot of air and water, rather than breathing calmly. Got popped in the jaw by some dude’s elbow towards the end. Pleasant.
Time: 33:02. Pretty normal.
OUCH. The gravel was really sharp and seemingly endless. Very few really good T1 times. Transition area was ordered alphabetically, so no idea of where I was with my AG. No socks, no gloves, just wetsuit off, helmet, glasses, gels in pockets, squirt of a half a Gu and water in my mouth. One bottle on my bike.
Time: 2:41
Fairly constant rollers. Couple aero opportunities. Out and back course. Warm. I choked down a half a gel at some point, but barely had any of my drink (Perform, in prep for IM LT) during the ride. Stomach wasn’t feeling great. Had a group of a few grumpy men and nice lady that I passed on the ascents and then got passed on the flat/down. Pretty standard issue for me. (Even though I really did not brake much at all on the descents!) Was hoping to see an average in the 18-20mph range. Barely made it.
Time: 1h22m, 18.1 mph
Since my tender little toes were covered by bike shoes, T1 was much easier.
Time: 1:25
Now much stomach was REALLY pissed off and felt like a big weight in my gut… but my legs? They felt GREAT. Over the out and back, gradual up and down and up and down course, my legs, thankfully won the battle over my stomach. The long, slight downhill to the turnaround was mentally fatiguing, as I was dreading the uphill return – but the return part was all about just finishing so I could calm down enough to loosen my twisted stomach. (Thank you to Super Dave for the TUMS in the transition area after it was all over.)
Time: 47:57, 7:43 min/mile
2:47:15. 3rd place award in my AG. Very surprised and very happy. A nice welcome back to triathlon after taking last year off.
Props out to…
Steve, for leaving at dark o’clock… 3:30am… to go to the race with me.
Heather, Mary, Rachel, and Don for going to Lake Berryessa the week before for a little preview – and not yelling at me when I made a wrong turn immediately out of the transition area.
HITS for altering their policy to allow for same-day packet pick up
Wildflower Long Course on May 4.

Kindness in the transition area

Race report and training updates and schedule – on the to do list. But for now, a race morning story to say happy Friday. 

Transition area. Dark o’clock. HITS Napa on Day 2, which means there’s an Olympic and a Sprint race. The Olympic area seemed pretty evenly split between newbies and people with a fair amount of experience. 
My bike was racked in the back and I’m getting all set up. Kind of wish I had brought the bike pump to the transition area, kind think my tires are probably okay. I look across the area to see if anyone had a floor pump handy. No… but there’s a group of people huddled around someone who’s pumping up their tire with a hand pump. Um… not going to work.
I ask my darling boyfriend (gold star for being there with me at the aforementioned dark o’clock) to get the floor pump and ask the hand pumper if she wants to borrow a floor pump. At first, she’s reluctant. No… it’s okay, they got it. Finally, she decides yes, she would like to borrow the floor pump, but wants me to come with her to help her do it. Ah, newbie. Okay. So I go over with her and walk her through putting the trusty yellow Joe Blow pump on her tire, etc. She says that her tire goes up to 120 psi. I looked at her and said, “Oh, smaller people don’t need to go all the way up to that, that’s just the max. I use between 90-100 psi. Maybe try that? It’ll be a little smoother ride.” This woman – this triathlete – looked at me like she was about to cry, but also with a HUGE smile. “Did you just call me a smaller person? I just lost 70 pounds.” And then she called for a friend of hers, “Donna, this lady just called me a small person. Can you believe that?” 
I was so thrilled to have made this woman’s morning that I was sure the happiness would get me through the swim. A fabulous, unexpected delight and a reminder that our words are very important!