On our first anniversary, Danny and I decided to start the tradition of doing a race each year around our wedding date. We thought this would be a great way to celebrate and a perfect excuse to travel somewhere fun to race. So when we were talking about a race for this year, I suggested we do a half ironman (because why not?!). Danny found the Pigman triathlon in Cedar Rapids IA and since neither of us had ever rode bikes or raced in Iowa, it sounded like the best bet! When we registered I didn’t give much thought into what other races I wanted to do this season, and it worked out that this was my first race of the season. 

The morning of the race I felt really good. Of course I was nervous for how the day would go, especially so when I thought about my lack of consistency and mental prep with training, but I put no pressure on myself to do anything too amazing. I knew the purpose of this race for me was to just get back into it, get my feet wet, and remember why I love to do it. I knew I had the experience and fitness to finish and putting the extra pressure on myself to perform at a high level would set me up to fail. My goals were to have fun racing with my husband again and to simply enjoy being out on the course. 
When we got to transition and began setting up I noticed a sign that said “water temp 81 degrees.” Man, that meant no wetsuits and a even slower swim for me. I shrugged it off telling myself it’s no big deal because it’s not like I haven’t done it before! As the sun began to come up I felt sweaty but cold at the same time. For fun I checked the weather and it was 64 degrees with 94% humidity. That explained it! The high for that day was mid 90’s with nearly 100% humidity! 

Swim: Way slow, but surprisingly smooth. I was calm and really enjoyed being in the open water. The layout for the course was strange, but the time trial start was good for spacing us out. I didn’t do much for drafting mostly because I’ve have yet to really hone in that skill. My shoulders started to get achy and tired toward the last 1/4 or so, but I kept a positive mind and was looking forward to the bike! 
Bike: this was a 4 loop out and back style course and the flattest I’ve raced at this distance. Danny kept saying it was a ‘PR’ course because it was so flat. I knew I wanted to bike smart, but I also like going fast and my goal was to have fun, so after I finished my first loop (and my shoulders quit aching from the swim) I told myself ‘go for it. PR the bike because the run will be brutal either way!’ I knew it wasn’t necessarily smart but it was fun and I was right the heat was horrendous in the run. On my second lap right before the turn around, where I knew I was going from a little tailwind to a headwind, I was thinking about Ben and how it would be nice if he could help me to power through that headwind. Well, I made the u-turn and as I was picking up my speed again I passed a volunteer’s car with windows and doors open and his radio on. This was the first song I heard on the course that day and it was “See You Again.” Really Ben?! The part I heard was “let the light guide your way”. Obviously whenever I hear that song it pulls at my heart, but I often hear it in the most meaningful times and I believe he has something to do with it. My eyes instantly filled with tears and I was so happy to feel him with me. So, I put my head down and powered on. I ended up averaging 19.5 over that 56mi course, putting in the 2nd fastest split in my age group, and this definitely was a PR for me! 
Run: Well I started off pretty good, but quickly felt the heat and humidity and lack of training, overdoing the bike, and lack of nutrition all just smack me in the face! Ha this was also a 4 loop course with nearly zero shade. Once I made it to the second aide station I began catastrophysing about the heat and how I didn’t bring any calories with me! Part of my no pressure race mode allowed me to assume there would be food and electrolyte drink at the aide stations without ever actually confirming it. So I ran about 5 miles off he bike without taking in any calories and it was bad. I felt really poor. But then on my second loop there it was a beautiful glass of red something. I grabbed it and downed it then stood at the table eyeing up the bananas and oranges and pretzels! I took two bananas because this is what I would typically eat in a race and thought I shouldn’t eat a ton of crap I wasn’t used to… Especially since I didn’t know what I just drank. I walked a bit after that and then started running again. I felt like a new person after getting those calories! The rest of the run was a run, walk, soak myself with water and ice, hydrate, and repeat. It was super slow. Lots of walking. And super duper hot. But awesome and humbling and empowering to be back doing what I love. 

-my new finish line go to, shooting my heart out to Ben – love you forever and always

Im so happy to have done this race. Training felt somewhat like a chore earlier in the year and with an added whole new level of emotional instability, this year has been very challenging with respect to setting goals and doing things to better me. We had just gone through the dreaded one year anniversary of losing Ben just 10 days prior and it’s so easy for me to say ‘f all of this, I’m done’ but I know he wouldn’t want that for me. He would want me to keep doing the things I love to do and I want to keep doing the things I know made him proud. I’m also so thankful and fortunate to have married the man I did. We are so lucky to share so many of the same interests and we’ll do everything in our power to keep this tradition alive!! 

 Sending all my love to my one and only incredible husband Danny, my super supportive mom who blasted my photos on social media showing off her mad skillz I didn’t know she had, the rest of my beautiful and encouraging family, my inspiring SOAS sistas and teammates, and all of my friends who have helped me along this journey to return to doing what I love to do. Xoxo


It has been quite a long time since my last blog entry and so much has changed in that time. I feel it is nearly impossible for me to continue on with this space and racing in general without addressing the changes that have occurred.

This time last year, Danny, Winston, and I packed up our lives and moved from our first home together as a married couple, in Roseburg OR, over the Cascades to Redmond OR. We were stoked! Since we arrived on the west coast in 2011, we began a love affair with Central Oregon and it really was a dream come true to be living and working there.

We quickly settled into a new routine and and after laying down a massive Ironman personal best at CDA, I felt I was in the best shape of my life!! My Kona dreams were being expressed with more confidence and plans were being made for next racing season to set up the best possibility of getting a Kona qualification spot. We were still training and planing a return to Lake Stevens to race the 70.3 (where I raced my first half IM  in 2012) and another local 70.3 before the season ended. We also had planned to volunteer at a local triathlon, which we had never done before. It was cool to think about seeing the sport from that point of view and it just felt like the right thing to do vs. race that particular race.

So, the morning of August 9, 2014 Danny and I got ourselves together and checked in with the lead volunteers. He was to help on the bike course and I was to help set up the run course. We went our separate ways and went to work. It’s weird how I can remember almost every detail of that morning leading up to my mom’s phone call. I could even probably tell you exactly where I was standing when I answered.

She was calling to tell me ‘your brother Ben died last night.’

The gravity of that statement is still so numbing and heart wrenching and makes me feel like I’m having a terrible nightmare. I personally tend to choose to phrase it that he passed away or that we lost him instead of he died. In a way it makes it less cold for me. The thing is, this was a completely unexpected and such a stupid thing to have happened. There is absolutely no acceptable reason why he shouldn’t be here right now and at times that makes this whole grief thing extra frustrating and maddening and so profoundly sad. Ben had a most special light about him. His light was so contagious and brilliant and unique. I am so incredibly lucky to have been his little sister and that we shared such a strong admiration and pride for one another. It’s cliche, but he really was the absolute best big brother I could’ve ever had. And it’s because of who and what he was that makes moving on without him and with this life that is now so enormously altered from what I envisioned it would be, so fricking hard. People say that when you look for and find meaning to a loss, you can find peace and comfort and all these good things. That is not my truth. I know that I will likely live the rest of my life not having a meaning for losing him and it’s an incredibly difficult thing to accept and move forward with.

That night, we arrived in Minnesota to be with my family. It was also this day that we decided to move back to MN indefinitely. Without a question, we knew it was the right thing for us to do and by the middle of September we made it happen.

I spent 3 months without a job. I found it very difficult to smile and sell myself when what I was really feeling could bring instant and uncontrollable tears.

I use the phrase ‘threw in the towel’ and neglected any serious and structured training over the winter and into the spring.

We have moved twice, and purchased our first home since being back. I have changed employers and now work side by side with Danny again.

Over the last month or two, I have begun to feel a little better about things in general and my training has slowly become more consistent. I’m setting race goals for later this fall and looking forward to next year. I feel that very slowly I am getting control of my life again. For someone who makes sense of everything, takes control, and chooses to be proactive vs reactive, this entire thing has challenged every bit of who I am. And that, in it of itself, is an insanely difficult thing.

I am choosing to keep this blog going and I want to continue to be a competitive triathlete who makes challenging goals and does everything possible to reach them. I know this post is a necessary part of me returning to triathlon and I know it’ll be another emotional day when I do.

I am so thankful for my amazing husband who encourages me to continue to be the best me, my supportive family who are always excited to hear about a long ride or run, and my friends and special SOAS sistas who inspire me to keep my heart in it….one day, one step, and one minute at a time…


I love you Ben and I miss you every single day – XOXO sis

“To accomplish something extraordinary, one must have an extraordinary dream.

A goal so high, a journey so demanding, that it’s achievement to most seems impossible.

Ironman inspires us to re-imagine our limits, to set sights higher, to go farther than we ever have before.

Ironman is a statement of excellence, passion, commitment; it is a test of physical toughness and mental strength.

Ironman is about persevering, enduring, and being a part of something larger than ourselves.

It shows the heights that can be achieved when we push beyond our boundaries and go the distance to earn the title IRONMAN.”

 Above is an excerpt from a motivational video Ironman put out a few months ago. I honestly can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched it and repeated those words to myself in the time leading up to Coeur d’Alene. I love it. It pumps me up and the entire video is made up of clips from the World Championship in Kailua-Kona, HI. Needless to say, my ‘extraordinary dream’ would be qualifying for and competing in Kailua-Kona – let’s just get that out there right away! I knew it wasn’t going to happen for me this year, but that Ironman Coeur d’Alene would be part of my journey. Over the last year, I have become a more skilled swimmer, stronger cyclist and runner, and gained much more mental toughness and overall self-confidence with my ability to set and achieve difficult goals.

The week or so before the race, I was calculating the given amount of uncertainty in performance and execution on race day (a number of things could go wrong: mechanical issue on the bike, nutritional mishaps, GI issues, etc.) and I was moderately concerned with recent missed or incomplete workouts following our move and starting new jobs. Danny and I had many conversations about this and I took comfort knowing my head was in the right place, I was more prepared that last year, and no matter what happened, I was going to enjoy the day. This was my only planned Ironman in 2014, so I had one chance, one day, to show myself what my hard work over the last 10 months was for, to cross that incredible finish line, and to hang out with 2000-ish other triathletes as we conquered 140.6 miles!

Danny and I left for CDA on Thursday morning. As soon as we arrived, we headed over to registration, got checked-in, picked up packets, went to check out the lake, and posed for a pic near the beach. Then we headed for our condo to meet Danny’s mom (Grace) and dad (big Danny). It was awesome to be able to enjoy the weekend with them and big Danny was racing with us for his first full Ironman!! It was very cool to be able to race with multiple family members and to share that first-timer experience as well with my father-in-law. That night we met up with another cycling turned triathlete friend of ours from Roseburg OR, Steve, who was also racing as a first-timer, and his family for dinner on the lake. We talked non-stop about the race, what to expect on the course, ate well, and returned to the condo to get some good sleep.

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Friday morning the three of us headed over to the lake to meet up with the Endurance Nation crew (the team Danny and I are coached through) for a quick meet/greet/pic, then into the water we went for a little swim. The water was a little chilly at first, then you warm up, and it’s awesome. I’m definitely in my happy place in that lake. The water is clear and the landscape around the lake is beautiful. It’s a comforting feeling. After our swim, we returned to the condo, ate some food, waited out the rain, then took off for a little course preview spin on the bikes. Later that night we had dinner downtown, attended the Welcome banquet, and then headed home for a good nights rest.

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Saturday we packed our transition bags, cleaned and double checked bikes, and headed over to transition to drop it all off around noon. The rest of the day included eating, hydrating and laying around watching movies. We went to bed around 8 with alarms set for 3:30am.

Some on the gear

Some on the gear

Race Day

We woke with the first alarm and I started eating my breakfast cookie and drinking my sports drink right away. I also had a banana, part of a bagel with peanut butter, some dried mangos, and water. We got dressed, I slathered on sunscreen, and we headed to transition. We noticed right off the bat that it was windy. The trees were being blown around pretty good and I knew that meant the water must be pretty choppy. It was, but what do you do – it’s supposed to be a challenging day, no need to worry! After filling up tires, water bottles, checking bikes and transition bags, the three of us headed out of transition to hang with Grace and meet Steve. We watched the Pro’s start, used the bathrooms, then said our goodbye’s to Grace and headed to the transition area to get on wetsuits.



Swim: 1:20:29 (1:20 pr from IM Canada 2013)

Big Danny, Danny, and I all got in the water to warm-up together. Water temp was about 62 degrees and it was choppy with the wind. We got acclimated as much as we could, said goodbye to big Danny (he was seeding himself in a different swim time than us), then Danny and I headed over to the 1:00-1:15 corral. Given my swim times in training and racing half’s this year, I was thinking I could swim a 1:15. There was the usual Ironman swim contact – kicking, hitting, grabbing, swimming on top of others – with the waves. I heard one volunteer kayaker say there were two foot swells at times! My time wasn’t quite what I hoped for, but it’s still an improvement from last year. If I hope to qualify for Kona, I’ll need to take 10-15 minutes off this time!!

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T1: T1: 4:47 – nothing special. I struggled trying to get my arm warmers on and gave up, which was a decision I was happy with. I didn’t really need them.

Bike: 6:21:38 (5:34 pr from IMCDA 2013)

The wind wasn’t so bad on the first/shorter out and back on the lake. It was present, but noting to complain about. As soon as we came back through town and headed out on the second/longer out and back the head wind was a major factor. It felt like 30mph winds at times and I read sustained 25mph headwinds. It was no joke for sure. Depending on the day, I will have a different mantra on repeat in my head. On this day it was the words by Johnny Mellencamp “it hurts so good” thanks to Ironman for playing the song as we were lined up on the beach prior to the start! So for the better part of 20 miles we mostly climbed with a killer headwind and I sang a fraction of the chorus from “Hurts so Good” and thought about how sweet my Rolf Prima wheels were as were cutting through the wind (Thanks Rolf Prima!! 🙂 ) Then I hit the turn around, had the wind at my back, and flew back to town, only to do the whole loop one more time. I was a little slower on the second lap, but not terribly slower. It was the same story with the wind on the second lap as well.

I followed my nurtirion plan perfectly. I consumed my two Heed/gel combo bottles with approximately 590cal/bottle, drinking water as needed. I had 3 of the ½ bananas on the course as well.

My bike split was about 5½ minutes faster this year than last. I’m actually pretty happy with this considering some the pro women’s times from 2013 to 2014 were about 15-20 minutes slower! Even Heather Wurtele, who was the winner in 2013 and 2014, biked about 15 min slower this year.

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T2: 4:13 – my feet hurt which is typical, but got over it quickly.

Run: 4:12:21 (28:20IM PR from IMC, 53:31IMCDA PR)

This is where I refused to give into the fatigue and pain as I felt I did at CDA last year! I tried to keep steady at about a 9min/mi pace with a little walking at aide stations – drinking water and cola mostly with a few chips around half way. It always feels fairly decent on the first 10-13 miles, then you go out for lap #2 and it gets tough mentally and physically around 17-21miles. I hung on for what I could, did my best to run and not walk, and am very happy with how my run went. I had an Ironman pr of over 28 minutes and a CDA pr of over 53 minutes! I feel total redemption after last year as I had some regret from not pushing myself hard enough on the run.

Coming down Sherman Ave to the finish!!

Coming down Sherman Ave to the finish!!














Finish: 12:03:28 (65min IMCDA course pr, 42:07min IM pr)

I saved my emotions for the finish. I had the plan to not let myself get choked up when things got difficult or when I saw my husband on the run this year, and I didn’t! We shared a few embraces on the run, but we meant business and we both pushed to amazing pr’s!! My first goal was as usual, finish and have fun doing it. Check. My second was to go under 12:30. Super check! I shattered that and am confident I can do even better!! My third goal was to place in the top 20. Check – 10th place in the female 25-29 age group!

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Danny, me, Grace, Danny

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Brooke, Steve, Danny, me, Danny Tasha, Katrina, Grace


It truly was an amazing day and I cherish every minute of it! I am very fortunate to be able to participate in these events and to do so along side my family and friends is priceless!! Thank you so much Grace for running around all day tracking and cheering for us, we couldn’t have done it without you!! Thanks Katrina, Brooke, and Tasha (Steve’s wife and daughters) for all your cheering and support! Thank you to the rest of our family and friends who supported us and tracked us from afar, your support means the world to me!! And thanks SOAS racing for the sweet kit! It was fun seeing and cheering for all the SOAS girls out there!! xoxo

Lots of love,


Since moving out to the Pacific Northwest, Danny and I have been eager to put Wildflower on our race schedule. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Wildflower, it’s an epic triathlon festival weekend that should be on every triathlete’s bucket list. It’s held, basically, in the middle of nowhere CA at Lake San Antonio where the only option for accommodations is camping. Over Saturday and Sunday they put on a half iron distance/long course tri, a mountain bike triathlon, and an Olympic distance tri. It’s super awesome. There are several thousand athletes and a massive amount of volunteers – most, if not all, of which are energetic Cal Poly students. So, if you can picture it, this was the recipe for an amazing weekend with old and new friends joined together to celebrate their love for triathlon. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the 2014 season!!

We started our 10hr drive south after work on Wednesday and caravanned with our good friends Geoff and Annie. We stopped for the night in Ashland, had an amazing breakfast Thursday AM, then hit the road again for WF. It was at least 95 degrees when we got to the lake. Plenty of people had already arrived and claimed the shady and maybe more desirable spots. We took our time picking out the best campsite we could find, set up camp, ate yummy Yumm bowls for dinner, and called it a night.

Friday AM we drove down to the swim start to scope it out and test out the water. Because CA has had such tough luck with droughts, the swim course was moved 2.2mi down from its normal spot (Lake San Antonio literally is no longer). The course change resulted in a unique twist to the half iron distance – 1.2mi swim, 2.2mi run, 56mi bike, then a 10.9mi run (totals 70.3 miles/half iron distance – normally raced as 1.2 mi swim, 56mi bike, 13.1mi run). We knew the new swim, run, bike, run was going to be interesting and add to the already challenging course.

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We also went for a short ride on Friday, covering a small portion of the bike course. While riding Geoff noticed some mechanical issues with his bike, so we returned to camp and had our Rolf Prima buddy Brian put his magic touch on Geoff’s bike, making it as good as new. The remainder of the day was spent completing athlete check-in and preparing for tomorrow’s event.

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Race Day

We got up around 4:15, were out of camp heading to T1b to complete our transition set up by 5:10, and on the shuttle to take us to the swim start by 6:30. Danny and I have traditionally been some of the first athletes in transition race morning because we like to avoid the mad rush crowd (it’s more an issue of mine, it makes me too anxious to be ‘late’!). Geoff and Annie are used to the opposite, but they were good sports and put up with my need to be early. We found a shady place to sit, did some people watching, and got mentally prepared for the long day ahead.

Swim – 35:11 – 2:15PR from 2013 Oceanside 70.3

Water temp was 66.3 degrees (wetsuit legal). I had a 9:15 start time, in the 16th of 19 waves, which was about an hour after Danny and Geoff started their day. The swim was pretty typical with lots of kicking, hitting, and punching. I haven’t raced since IM Canada last August, so maybe I forgot how much contact there could be, but I kept thinking there was a bit more than normal. The water was pretty murky except for the last 100m where it was like walking into a scary black hole! Super nasty and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. When I got to the boat ramp, I realized my PR and was super stoked to get on with the rest of the race.

Swim/T1a in action

Swim/T1a in action

(Super cool side note…Because Annie and I started so late, we got to cheer on Geoff [missed Danny] and some of the pro men/women as they exited the swim. I was way exited to cheer for Cathy Knutson, who is a phenomenal athlete and first year pro from my little home town of Mora, MN. Cathy you’ve been a huge inspiration to me for a very long time and it was awesome to see and cheer for you on this small fraction of the course!!)

T1a -> 2.2 run -> T1b

Most interesting T1 ever, not just because it was a two-parter with a run in between, but because of the massively long and steep boat ramps (yes plural, x2) we had to run up! I walked briskly up to my bag, swapped the wetsuit for my shoes and started running up the ramp. Once I got on the course, I settled in behind this middle aged guy and passed several girls in my AG. I put in a steady effort until I got to T1b and my bike.

Bike – 3:11:25, 17.5mph avg

Pretty difficult bike indeed! It’s common knowledge that this is a tough bike/run course, which is part of the draw to take the challenge and race it! My Garmin said over 3,700ft of elevation gain, there was a pretty nice head or cross wind for about the first 35 miles, and the heat felt like it was much more intense than anticipated. Given all that, I actually enjoyed be bike! It was my first time racing my new Trek and Rolf wheels (Ares 4 in the front and Ares 6 in the back). I passed lots of people, multiple girls in my AG, and just cruised along. Nasty Grade is the notorious, roughly 3 mile hill beginning at mile 41. It was tough, but not drastically unlike the hills we train on around Roseburg. After Nasty Grade was a sweet downhill then it was an up and down cruise back to the camp/T2.

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bike elevation profile

Run – (10.9mi) 1:43, 9:32min/mi

I had fun and enjoyed the hurt of this run course. Super challenging hills, mostly trail, hot, and over 1000ft of climbing! I thought I was placed pretty well given my decent swim time and because I hadn’t seen any girls in my AG for at least the last 15-20 miles of the bike. I kept the positive mantras going in my head and once I had a girl in sight, she was my target to pass. I struggled on the last few miles as the heat was getting to me, but then I got to the massive downhill (about 0.7mi), felt better and turned on the after burners…being careful not to get so out of control that I somersaulted down. I’m happy to report, I stayed on my feet and it was a fun finish with Danny and Geoff there to cheer me in.


Tired and coming down the finish

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run elevation profile


I finished with a 5:58:34 (24:33min off my PR pace), 6/70 in my AG and 38 overall female out of 350 something with about 20 pro women in the field. Given the conditions I’m ok with this time. I had a secret goal of placing in the top 5 of my AG….I placed 6th and just under 1 min from 5th!! Bummer, big bummer. Uhh My bike was nowhere near a PR and I didn’t think it would be given the challenging course. I did have the 7th fastest bike split in my AG, but I actually thought I was going to put down something faster. As for my run, I was right in the mix of it, and I know I ran down 4-5 girls in my AG, so I’m happy with that. I’m really hoping we add this race to the 2015 calendar and I’ll definitely give that top 5 a go!!

The gang in front of T2

The gang in front of T2 – Danny, Me, Annie, Geoff0695_18815

Thanks Wildflower for the great time and race, thanks to SOAS Racing for keeping me comfortable and looking good and big thanks to Rolf Prima for the speedy wheels!! Until next time, cheers!!

When I confirmed my membership with the 2014 SOAS Racing Brand Ambassador Team I had to submit a quote to go with my profile. When I read that, all I could think was how I’m the worst with remembering inspirational or funny quotes/sayings. If I hear or come across something that catches my attention, it tends to stick with me for a week or two, but then I forget it. So I started to think, ‘what do I tell myself when I need to dig deep?’ Danny likes to tell me to “HTFU” (that’s harden the f* up for those of you who don’t use the phrase), but that wasn’t going to work. I thought and thought and then it hit me, “don’t be a princess!’ I LOVE this quote. It’s my version of HTFU. I started telling it to myself after a bike ride Danny and I went on this fall. It was toward the end of the ride and we had a decently sized hill to climb to finish. Danny was ahead of me, but I noticed I was gaining on him. I decided to pass him, so I gave a max effort and went flying by him (probably while laughing and saying something like ‘suckaaa’). I love passing him, especially while climbing. Well because I put in such an effort to pass him, I totally ran out of steam and before I knew it he passed me back. When he did so he said, “Too soon princess!” Man did that get me. ‘I’m not a princess, jerk!’ 🙂 It was pretty funny and it’s totally what I tell myself when I feel like I have nothing left in the tank.



Hello New Year!!

2013 really was a great year!! It was full of fun trips to the coast, Bend, and plenty of race-cations to beautiful places including Oceanside, Coeur d’Alene, and Whistler BC Canada!! Danny and I, once again, shared the same race schedule, and there’s so much we can take away from all the hard work we put into 2013. I learned a lot about myself, improved on some weaknesses, and became more confident, mentally tough, and hungry to develop into the strongest triathlete I can be!

“Until you spread your wings, you will have no idea how far you can fly” – unknown author

My sister-in-law introduced me to the above quote just a few weeks ago. It’s perfectly fitting looking ahead to the 2014 season….in more ways than one!! Of course with the inspirational part, but also because the wing is the symbol of SOAS and I was selected to be part of the SOAS Racing Brand Ambassador Team in 2014! SOAS is an awesome company out of San Diego, CA that makes fashionable women’s specific endurance wear. I’m super excited to represent them and I can’t wait to see where the 2014 season takes me!! Cheers to an amazing 2014!!

Little late with this post but better late then never! Danny and I had been planning on joining two other friends to compete as a team in the 24 Hours of Whiskeytown in the beginning of October. We were really looking forward to that race! Getting on the mountain bike after the year we’ve had on our tri bikes was really a breath of fresh air. I almost forgot about how much I love mountain biking. There’s just something about being out in the woods and riding a bike…riding single track you get to tap into a completely different skill set. It’s much more dynamic than road riding because your constantly changing direction, looking for the best line, dodging trees/branches/natural obstacles, and (as Danny always reminds me) doing your best to keep the rubber side down! Basically, signing up for this race provided me with a great reminder of how much fun and what a great workout mountain biking is, and hopefully we’ll be able to incorporate more of it into our offseason training!

So did we all hear about the government shutdown?? I personally didn’t think it was going to directly impact me too much, but as we got closer to our race (supposed to be held on Oct 5-6), I realized we were to be racing on federal land. Great. Race week was upon us and it wasn’t looking good. Sure enough the shutdown lasted well beyond our race date so no 24 Hours of Whiskeytown for us! This was a pretty big bummer, but we decided to make the best of the situation. It was going to be a beautiful weekend in Oregon so on Friday morning we registered for the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic (held on Saturday Oct. 5), packed up all our stuff, and we headed to the coast!

We arrived in Yachats, OR in time to pick up our packets and watch the sun set over the ocean. It was a beautiful and we were happy to have found a pretty awesome plan B!



The Oregon Coast Gravel Epic offered two course options – a shorter 37 mile route (Son of Abomination) and a longer 73 mile (Abomination). We figured it’d be the smarter choice to do the shorter (Son of Abomination) course since we weren’t prepared to spend at least 7 hours on the mtb! This was a new type of riding for us too. Gravel riding is getting more and more popular around here. We primarily rode both paved and gravel logging roads that winded through the coastal cascade mountain range. This meant there were steep and long climbs. It was a beautiful and sunny day, actually perfect weather for the coast, and when we got to the top we were provided with several overlooks of the expansive coastal forest. It was awesome!

As for the race. It was challenging for sure. Over the 37 miles there were 2 approximate 4 mile climbs, which seemed to last forever! It was pretty chilly at the start, warmed up on the ups, and got cold again with bombing the downhills. I always had someone around me, but figured I was towards the back because I wasn’t seeing many other girls. I ended up with a time of 3:24:18, 3/8 female and 15/44 overall! It turns out most people opted for the longer course (53 men and 8 women). It was advertised as 5000ft elevation gain, Garmin shows just over 4000ft…definitely a fun course and race, and if I have the chance to do it again next year, I’ll probably train a little more and go for the 73 mi version. We’ll just have to wait and see! 🙂

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