At first, she was a rival of mine, someone I had the utmost respect for as a competitor. Then she became a friend, as happens in this sport. We had a couple of great races together where I would come off the bike and try to ward her off on the run, with varying degrees of success. She beat me at Ironman Louisville and then I snuck in ahead of her at Kona in 2010. No matter the outcome, she always inspired and motivated people (including me for sure) with her work ethic, her sportsmanship and her ever present smile.
First, the good news. The polar vortex is starting to release its icy grip on the U.S. and spring/aka..the endurance sports season is upon us. Runners, Cyclists, and Triathletes everywhere have started to put away their balaclavas and their gloves as they plan their races, rides and runs for the spring.
Now, the yin to the yang. The down to the up. There’s a good chance that you might have to travel to get to one of your events. Not just drive across town. We’re talking (in the immortal words of Eric "Otter" Stratton & John "Bluto" Blutarsky) Road Trip! Or airplane trip as the case may be. Now, in one sense, travel can be awesome. New cities = new experiences, new memories and fun. In another sense, it can be…how shall we say it? A bit of a drag.
Swim Tip: It’s pretty well known that the lake curves a bit. Some competitors like to start on the left and follow the buoys and many/most others like to stay to the right to try and cut off some of the course. One suggestion is to (sshh…don’t tell) stay in the middle. You might get some surprisingly clear water. No promises though.
Swim Tip: The swim exit is usually up a set of stairs. It always seems like it is one stair short. Plus, the water can be a bit murky, so the stairs can be somewhat hard to see. Maybe this isn't really a tip. More of a warning. Just be careful getting out. There...now it's a tip.
Course Review – Ironman Arizona
Ironman Arizona (“IMAZ”) has a unique place on the Ironman Circuit. It was originally an early season race that was held in April. Despite the flat’ish terrain, it was an absolute terror. Temperatures frequently soared into the high 90’s, winds howled and sand storms of haboob caliber were known to rise up on the Beeline highway.
Mercifully, the organizers moved the date to November and now it is a race of a different flavor. Rather than a sand encrusted death march, it now viewed as a great venue for your first assault on the distance or an opportunity to set a new PR.
But don’t for a minute think it is easy. It is still an Ironman and 140.6 miles is a long ways even in a car!
So with that as a backdrop, let us give you our thoughts on the course. By the way, we have a few semi-secret tips that we can share. Shoot us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and put IMAZ tips in the title. We’ll be glad to send them your way.
Kristin Schwieger & Hailey Manning
This was my second time to the Big Island for World Championships, so I was more calm and relaxed then I can remember. When my alarm went off at 4:30, I ate breakfast and headed to the pier. After getting body marked and my bike set and ready to go, I just sat in a quiet spot on the pier waiting for the word to hit the water.
So, why does that matter? To answer that question, we’ll have to go back a couple of months.
Laura Sophiea & The Duffield Twins
2013 Race Re-cap Ironman Kona #23!!
I have to say that Kona 2013 showed me that I truly love my life's journey through this sport of triathlons and I was truly blessed to be on the starting line in Kona for #23!
We looked over to our left and happened to see one of the Challenged Athlete Foundation ("CAF") competitors in her race chair. She was a petite woman and was at a dead stop about halfway up a hill. For the most part no one was watching and it was apparent that her arms were about to give out. Before I go on to tell the rest of this, I have to just say that I have re-written this next section twice and I just can't find the words to convey how incredible, inspiring, emotional and moving we found this to be.