Heidi signed up for this race with her family and had a blast having such great quality time with her mom and two sisters. The weather was perfect and Portland was at its best on this June day. Heidi started to feel a bit worn around the 6-mile mark, but she adjusted her plan based on how she was feeling, which enabled her to reach the finish line with a smile.
Well done, Heidi!
YMCA Green Lakes Triathlon
Mary Beth (MB) Domachowske, Rebecca Dottolo, Colleen Krug, and Maureen Novak all raced at the YMCA Green Lakes Triathlon, which is part of YMCA Race Weekend, in Fayetteville, New York on Saturday, June 10, 2023!
This was a multisport season opener for all of these athletes. Maureen raced as part of a relay team (she rode the bike portion of the race) and everyone else raced the individual triathlon. MB, Rebecca, and Colleen all used this as a supported training day to gauge where they are at at this point in the season and to see what they might need to work on in training before their A-Races come in July.
I told MB to use this race as an opportunity to “dust the cobwebs off,” and boy did she find some cobwebs! But much better to learn this now, versus in an A-Race that matters more to her! This was Colleen’s first time racing a triathlon as a supported training day and she reported that feeling so strong and good throughout the entire race was exactly the confidence booster she needed before she begins her Peak Phase of training for her A-Race. Maureen had a blast racing as part of a team in one of her favorite parks on Earth.
All four athletes raced strong, smart races. Bravo to MB, Rebecca, Colleen, and Maureen!
TRI for Fun Triathlon #1
Susan Doberneck kicked off her triathlon season with the TRI for FUN Triathlon #1 in Herald, California on Sunday, June 11, 2023!
Very much like her East Coast Full Circle Endurance counterparts, this was a C-Race for Susan and she used this multisport season opener to race for the first time on her new bike, see how “putting the pieces together” in a triathlon feels right now, and see what we might want to work on in training as we get closer to her A-Race. Susan is a lifelong swimmer, so reigning it in on the swim is a challenge for her. I’m so pleased to report that she successfully did this, leading her to have a solid bike and a very strong run (with negative splits, no less)!
The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon is a legendary race in the triathlon world. (If you want to read a deep dive on this race, check out Jacquie Craggett’s race report from 2021!) Athletes are challenged to swim from Alcatraz prison across San Francisco Bay. On a good day, this body of water is challenging to swim. On a tough day, it can feel nearly impossible to swim here.
Jamie put in a tremendous amount of time, resources, mental effort, and physical energy into preparing for this swim and for this race. I honestly cannot understate how hard she worked to prepare for this race and how far outside her comfort zone she was willing to go in training to set herself up for the highest probability of success. She left no stone unturned and arrived in San Francisco having done all that she could have at this stage of her athletic journey/career.
On race day, the water conditions were the roughest they’ve ever been in the 42-year history of the race and there was a 30% DNF rate on the swim alone. (For comparison, the average DNF rate on the swim in a triathlon is less than 5%.) Escape from Alcatraz is unique in that it will pick up swimmers who are unable to complete the course within the time limits, drop them off near the shore, and let them swim the final stretch into shore so they can continue onto the bike and the run. (Most races will end an athlete’s race if they DNF at any point on the course.)
Unfortunately, Jamie was part of this 30%. She swam as long as she could, but the current was strong enough that it prevented her from making enough forward progress on the course to finish within the cutoffs. She was dropped off near shore and went on to rock the hardest bike ride she’s ever ridden in her life. She followed that up with a steady, strong run. At the end of the race, she didn’t feel physically wrecked, which indicates that she managed her effort levels appropriately throughout the race.
While Jamie did not complete the swim (which was a massive disappointment for her), she did compete in one of the hardest triathlons in the world (not an exaggeration) and never gave up. The race chose to pull her from the swim; she did not make that choice. And even when they did, she did not despair and quit; she kept going, controlling what she could and executing a strong race overall.
As Yvonne Brown said back in 2017 at IRONMAN 70.3 Lake Placid: DNF stands for Did Not Fail in so many instances. This is one of those. Jamie has much to be proud of, and I am proud of her, too.
Mary Beth (MB) Domachowske and Maureen Novak both raced in the second event of YMCA Race Weekend - the YMCA 8K - on Sunday, June 11, 2023 in Fayetteville, New York!
Yes, you read that right, folks! MB and Maureen decided that racing on Saturday wasn’t enough for them and that they would race for the second day in a row on Sunday! This is a tough prospect; there is accumulated fatigue in play from the race the day before. MB reported feeling tired, but she finished! She felt that this weekend was a solid start to her racing season. Maureen said that the 8K was great and that it is impossible for her to have a bad time when she’s running in Green Lakes State Park.
Alex has been following a Custom-Built Training Plan as he prepared for this A-Race. He had a strong swim (several minutes faster than his last IRONMAN 70.3) and reported feeling great the whole time. He said that he felt good on the bike, despite encountering some adversity in the form of a headwind. Coming off the bike he felt strong, but had to adapt his race strategy when he started experiencing some quadricep cramping around Mile 2. He modified his nutrition plan and recalibrated his effort, which enabled him to keep running for the rest of the 13.1 miles.
Alex’s race is a textbook example of how everything can go great…until it doesn’t. Rather than despair, Alex relied on the tools in this Athlete’s Toolbelt to adjust as-needed throughout the day, which is what enabled him to keep making forward progress and to have a strong finish.
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.