Posted On:
Wednesday, April 10, 2024
Updated On:

Athlete Race Recap: Smithfield Sprint Triathlon & Run as One 4M

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Smithfield Sprint Triathlon

Jen smiles big as she celebrates so many wonderful things!

On Saturday, April 6, 2024, Jen Hanson raced the Smithfield Sprint Triathlon in Smithfield, Virginia!

This race was very significant and important to Jen; it was the first race she has been healthy enough to train for and complete since she was diagnosed with breast cancer and completed her cancer treatments and surgeries.  Jen raced IRONMAN 70.3 North Carolina in October 2022 one week before her port was put in for her chemotherapy.  She then went through months of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, months of radiation, and then reconstructive surgery.  To say that she has mentally and physically been through a lot in the last 18 months is a massive, massive understatement.  

This race was a wonderful comeback race because it features a pool swim.  This was less intimidating for Jen to train for, especially since she was only allowed to start swimming regularly again relatively recently!  

We gradually built up Jen’s fitness in the swim and the bike.  We planned to have her walk the run leg of the race since her body wasn’t feeling ready to recommence running yet.  When coming back from any illness or injury, it’s so important to train where you are.  Especially after an injury or illness, where you are is rarely - if ever - where you want to be or wish to be.  Jen showed great wisdom and patience by acknowledging her current reality as we trained for this race, and it paid off in her race day results.

While doing and finishing the race was the most important thing to Jen, she also acknowledged that she had time-based goals.  This was really important for her to admit, because having secret goals is a recipe for disappointment at a minimum and potential disaster in a worst-case scenario.  Jen had the following time-based goals for the Smithfield Sprint Triathlon:

  • Swim: 8-10 minutes
  • Bike: 45-60 minutes
  • Run: 45-70 minutes
  • Total Time Goal: 120 minutes (not including Transition times)

Jen hadn’t ever done a triathlon with a pool swim before, and she described it as “chaos in a completely different way.”  She ended up finishing the 300-meter swim in 8:49.  She smiled for the entire bike ride and got emotional as she thought about how she gets to do this triathlon.  (Not has to.  Gets to.)  She finished the 10-mile bike ride in 42:12, well under her goal time!  When she was walking on the run course, she saw a gentleman finish the race carrying a flag with a breast cancer ribbon in honor of his wife.  This was - beyond a shadow of a doubt - a sign from the Universe that Jen was doing the exact right race for her comeback race.

600 days after she first felt the cancer lump in her breast, 563 days after her diagnosis of invasive ductal carcinoma of no specific type (triple negative breast cancer), 368 days after she finished chemotherapy, 332 days after her double mastectomy, 22 days after she finished radiation, and a mere 89 days after her reconstructive surgery, Jen celebrated her battle with and victory over cancer when she crossed the finish line of the Smithfield Sprint Triathlon in 1:47:38!

Like all finish lines, the finish line of the Smithfield Sprint Triathlon was also a starting line.  For Jen, it was a starting line for the next chapter of her life where we can celebrate being healthy and being able to spend time with those she loves most and being able to do the things she loves most.

Congratulations, Jen!  You fought and beat cancer!  And now, you’ve returned to something that means so much to you.  Enjoy the journey of post-cancer life!

Run as One 4M

On Sunday, April 7, 2024, Ricky Ruiz ran the Run as One 4M Presented by JPMorgan Chase in New York City!

The Run as One 4M takes place in Central Park (an iconic, fun, and beautiful place to run if you ever get the chance!), and Ricky used it as a B-Race in preparation for his upcoming A-Race later this month.  We had a plan for him to run strong miles right around his A-Goal pace for his A-Race.  Ricky executed a smart race and ran a negative split to land him at an average pace right at goal pace!  His race result is not luck or coincidence; it is entirely because he ran smart, exercised restraint, and stuck to manageable and realistic effort levels throughout all four miles.  We’re looking forward to A-Race day in a few weeks!

Congratulations, Ricky!

About

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.

She can be reached at laura@fullcircleendurance.com.

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