How did you first get interested in multisport?
As a long-time runner, I was sad my 2012 race season was not going well. Rather than get frustrated with slow races and mediocre training runs, I decided to change my goal altogether. I found a very friendly, supportive entry-level triathlon training program in Sydney, Australia, where I was living at the time. CanToo’s amazing coaches taught me the basics of triathlon, the other athletes became my closest friends, and after 16 weeks of learning to open water swim and road bike, I found my groove again. On a high from a successful first sprint tri, my new-found friends and I decided to go long and joined the intermediate training group, Plus Performance. By the time I moved back to the United States in mid-2014 I had completed a half marathon in all eight Australian states, a few Olympic distance races, a long course race in Huskisson, and my first 70.3 in Puerto Rico.
Which sport do you enjoy the most?
I’ve been running since about 1997, and racing since 2005. I spend the first two legs of any triathlon counting down until I can finally run. My nutrition plan on the bike is sometimes, “how can I make sure I have enough energy at the end of this slog to rock the run.”
Any embarrassing stories you'd like to share?
My 2015 racing season also wasn’t so great. Of the 8 races I entered, I only got 4 race results—the Kinetic sprint and some fun runs. The Philly Tri Rock Oly had the swim portion canceled. I got disqualified from the NJ State Tri because they gave me the wrong color swim cap and I (apparently) started in the wrong wave. The St. Patrick’s Day 10K and the Cherry Blossom 10 miler course got rerouted and were an unusual distance. By the end of the year, I was happy to have a few 5k and 10k fun runs go according to plan. My 2016 season was successful simply because I got valid results in standard-distance races.
Although my favorite quirky race story is about having a nice chat during the swim course. Before the swim started, some horrible competitor planted stories about eels, jelly fish, and bull sharks lurking in the murky, brackish water we were about to jump into. Between nerves, total lack of visibility, and an intense fear of being hunted, stung, or drowned, I had a panic attack in the middle of the course. When I flipped over to breath, I nearly ran into a nice lady doing breast stroke next to me. We had a nice little chat, she reassured me I was doing just fine and that we could take our time together. After a minute or so, I felt better, flipped over, and finished the swim. When in a subsequent race an athlete voiced her intense fear of seeing a manatee in the water, I had to laugh it off. Gentle, grass-eating manatees have nothing on the critters I’d gone swimming with.
What is your most triumphant moment during a multisport event?
My favorite moment was crossing the finish line at my first long-course triathlon in Huskisson, Australia (almost a 70.3, but the distances are slightly different). I trained hard for this one but was nervous about what would happen to me after so many hours of racing on an unfamiliar course. Thankfully, the swim was in beautifully clear water, the bike course was through picturesque Australian Outback, and the run route was lined with enthusiastic supporters. About half way through the run I realized not only was I going to finish, but I was going to finish much faster than I’d anticipated. I was on the most amazing endorphin high by the time I crossed the finish because just a year before a long-course race was completely unimaginable!
Tell us something that most people don't know about you.
If you can’t already tell, my training and racing philosophy is not centered on winning races or setting new PRs; it’s about proving to myself I can overcome obstacles and complete a goal despite whatever I have going on in the rest of my life.
In 2017, I’ve been pregnant all race season.
My goals couldn’t include enviable destination races, faster times, or longer distances. My goal had to be staying active and strong in any way possible, even as every-day activities got harder and harder.
This is not to say my training plan would work for everyone—every woman’s pregnancy is unique. But I’m proud of what I can do. I haven’t been able to run since April because running caused too much abdominal pain, but I still walk or hike 3-6 miles (or more if I’m feeling it) a few times a week. I am really accident prone on the bicycle, so I didn’t do much outdoor cycling, but I could go to indoor spin classes at OffRoad (shout-out to this awesome studio and the inspiring instructors!) through July until spinning really got too uncomfortable. I’ve been swimming all year, which feels great even if I sometimes lack the motivation to get myself to the pool. I can still lift light weights for some cross training. I continue my yoga practice, gently. But as this baby gets bigger there are more and more days I just have to rest and I try not to get upset with myself for skipping the workout I had planned.
Triathlon has to fit into the rest of my life. Just like at various times I’ve had to overcome injury or illness, focus on family commitments, dedicate myself to work, or improve overall health, training has taken a backseat to pregnancy. But I try to keep in mind this is just one phase.
The next phase is moving to Brazil in early 2018 for my job. I can’t wait to start training for races there, bearing in mind that I’ll have to build up my strength and endurance slowly. Still, I have my eye on a few races in South America, if anyone wants to join me for a tropical destination race!