The day before the race, Daria told me that she was nervous. When I asked her to tell me specifically what she was nervous about, she told me “swimming, biking, and running.”
Daria has a LOT of experience in triathlon and has been racing for many years. However, as race day loomed, like so many of us, she felt a lot of emotions and feelings. She felt nervous, which is very okay. I reminded her of the work she has done in the past, and I encouraged her to take comfort in her experience in the sport and to embrace race day as it came. (When any of us feel nervous before a big race or event, this is a really solid strategy. Look to what you’ve done, and know that that experience will serve you well with what you are about to do. :) )
Unsurprisingly (to her coach…maybe it was surprising to Daria ;) ), Daria rocked it once she got going. She broke 30 minutes in the swim, a feat she’s been chasing in the 70.3 distance of triathlon for many years. She executed a steady and smart bike that set up her run really well. On the run, she stayed present in the moment, and took each mile as it came.
Once that “swimming, biking, and running” stuff that Daria had been nervous about was complete, she came away with a personal best time for the 70.3 distance of triathlon by over ELEVEN minutes!
Christina was the ringleader of this IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina race trip; she can be QUITE convincing when she wants to be, and she talked a bunch of her friends and fellow Full Circle Endurance teammates into making the trip to North Carolina for this race.
Christina is the world’s greatest supporter and cheerleader and is always making sure everyone else is ready to have a great experience in their training and racing, so it was really exciting for her coach to see that she was targeting something so big and important for herself.
Christina faced several challenges in her training, but this didn’t deter her from her goal. She has over a decade of experience in endurance sports, and she leverages that experience really nicely. This combined with her great logistical preparation for each race meant that Christina headed into race day feeling ready to take on the day.
She rocked the swim and had her most solid bike ride yet this year! By the time Christina headed out onto the run, the sun was high and temperatures were rising. She managed her efforts really well to keep going strong through all 13.1 miles to the finish!
This race was extra special for Carolyn because race day was also her birthday! (This meant she had extra special birthday super powers helping her throughout the day. ;) )
Carolyn started with her daughter Emily and they had pretty similar swims (which were FAST for them!). Carolyn then pedaled her way to a strong bike split, which set her up to run well. As the sun rose higher out on the run course, Carolyn modified her efforts appropriately for the conditions, which allowed her to run extremely consistently through to the finish line. This resulted in her second-fastest 70.3 distance triathlon ever; she was less than two minutes off of her best time ever! Birthday magic, indeed!
It’s been a few years since Jen raced a longer race, and boy was this one worth the wait!
Jen put in the work this training cycle, even while managing many, many different life stressors, including moving and changing jobs in the last three months! While this was not easy, Jen made it work. It meant getting up early, doing workouts when she was tired after a long day at work, going out when it was dark, and getting creative with her schedule, but she was committed to the training, as she knew training this way was what it was going to take to be physically and mentally ready for race day. Because she approached things this way, she had the training in the bank to have a great race!
Jen started the swim with Christina, and navigated her first ocean swim in a race really well. She then rocked the bike course (which was a big win for her, as she was nervous about the bike in training!). On the run, she stuck to her strategy of run/walk intervals to help her arrive at the finish line strong and smiling. As she crossed the finish line, the proof was in the pudding: jen showed herself that can do ALL the hard things. This was her second-fastest 70.3 distance triathlon, and she was within three minutes of her fastest time!
Mary Lou Plante
68 days before race day (not that anyone was counting), Mary Lou contacted me and asked me what I thought about her doing IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina and if she could be ready in time.
I’ve coached Mary Lou in the past and have a good idea of what her strengths and limiters are, so I was able to offer a very realistic picture of what it would take to get her ready in time to have a strong race that didn’t make her question all of her life choices, including her decision to sign up for IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina. Mary Lou was committed to this plan, so we moved forward.
Mary Lou had a faster swim than she expected (like the Daria situation, her coach wasn’t surprised ;) ) and really rocked the bike course. Our plan was for her to walk the half marathon (this was due to some physical concerns and was necessary to keep Mary Lou healthy overall). She had plenty of time to do this since her swim and bike were so strong.
Mary Lou crossed the finish line with a smile on her face and her arms in the air. While this may be her final long course triathlon (due to said physical concerns), it was a wonderful one that Mary Lou should be so proud of.
Congratulations, Mary Lou!
When Emily hired me as her coach last year, she came to me with a whole slew of goals for 2022. It was honestly tricky; she had several goals on her schedule that were not necessarily “compatible” with each other. In order to keep her healthy, strong, and progressing through the year, it was going to take a lot of work.
Emily trusted me when I told her that practicing these skills would change her performance in triathlon. As such, she committed to practicing bike skills each and every single time she got on her bicycle. Every. Single. Time. We also identified that getting her some in-person instruction for bike handling skills would be helpful. Since Emily lives in Boston (and I’m all the way over here in Syracuse), I connected her with my colleague and friend Coach Gregg Edelstein who is also from Boston. Coach Gregg worked with Emily to get her more comfortable with a whole slew of handling skills, and together we were able to help Emily reach her best racing performances this year.
On Saturday, Emily achieved her best time in a 70.3 distance triathlon BY OVER AN HOUR. Yep, you read that right! A huge part of this was her improvement on the bike; since Emily improved her handling skills, she was able to execute a fast, solid bike split that set her up to run to her potential (and Emily is a very good runner!). Additionally, Emily ran very responsibly (read: she didn’t run too fast in the early miles in the half marathon), so she got stronger as she moved through the race, and was her strongest when she crossed the finish line.
On Saturday, October 15, 2022 Jamie Levine took to the streets of Baltimore, Maryland to run the Baltimore 10K, part of the Baltimore Running Festival!
Jamie and I have been working together all season, and it’s been so great to see her growth and progress over the last several months. Jamie has pushed herself outside of her comfort zone many, many times, and this has resulted her doing things that she previously may not have thought were possible.
Before the race, I told Jamie to trust the work she had done (see a theme here with all of these athletes, folks? ;) ) and to push herself if she was feeling good on race day.
Well, Jamie did just that. She stuck to a really solid run/walk strategy and pushed herself throughout all 6.2 miles of the race. She was the third passenger on the PR Train this weekend, as she ran her fastest 10K ever!
Like last weekend’s Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathon, Lisa used The Great New York State Half Marathon as a C-Race as part of her training and preparation for her A-Race. She was able to put together a really consistent, smart 13.1 miles that confirmed that the training we’re implementing for Lisa is working for her!
Way to go, Lisa!
Coach Laura Henry
Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.