Posted On:
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Updated On:
Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Athlete Race Recap: Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships & IRONMAN Alaska

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This weekend was a weekend of destination races for Full Circle Endurance athletes!

Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

The whole crew gathered for a meet-up and photo! From left to right: Jennifer Pearce, Neil Beck, Paul Elm, Carolyn Classen, and Emily Resciniti.

Five athletes who hail from five different states traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the 2022 Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships: Neil Beck, Carolyn Classen, Paul Elm, Jennifer Pearce, and Emily Resciniti.

The Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships consist of two separate races: an Olympic Distance race that takes place on Saturday and a Sprint Distance race that takes place on Sunday.

Olympic Distance Race

Neil, Carolyn, and Emily all raced in the Olympic Distance race on Saturday.  This was an A-Race for both Neil and Carolyn; for Emily, it was a C-Race and more about the experience of participating in the National Championships.

Conditions for this race were extreme.  The water temperature was cold - a chilly 62ºF.  Despite that, the ambient air conditions were hot and humid.  Temperatures soared to near 90ºF with humidity at 90% and a dew point of 73ºF.  (For those who don’t know, dew points above 70ºF make humans want to roll over and never get up.)

I’m proud to say that Neil, Carolyn, and Emily all properly prepared for these conditions. They were adequately hydrated at the start of the race, and therefore, their performance only decreased by the expected amount (approximately 7%). All three of them were able to execute their race plans with minimal adaptations and they were able to keep going strong even in these tough conditions. They each crossed the finish line with strong form and looking great!

Sprint Distance Race

Both Jennifer and Paul were signed up for the Sprint Distance race on Sunday.  However, it was changed at the last minute to be a Super Sprint format due to severe weather that was forecast to move into the Milwaukee area by mid-morning on Sunday.  This also changed the format of the start to rolling start (versus the planned wave start).

Despite these last-minute changes, Paul and Jennifer were ready to rock and roll.  They each executed a smart, strong race that resulted in some of the best times and paces they’ve seen in triathlon.  Due to the very short format, they were able to push themselves and leave it all out on the course.

Perhaps most excitingly for me, all five of these athletes coordinated to get together and take a group photo.  In all of my years of coaching, this is the only time a group like this has done this on their own without me present at the race to coordinate a meeting.  To say I was excited and proud is an understatement. :D

Congratulations to Neil, Carolyn, Paul, Jennifer, and Emily on SUCH great races in adverse and tough conditions!


IRONMAN Alaska

For the first time ever, an IRONMAN was held in the state of Alaska, and Kat Kinsner and Geena Silvia were there to celebrate this! Both of them raced in IRONMAN Alaska in Juneau, Alaska on Sunday, August 7, 2022.

Kat Kinsner
Bling bling! Kat smiles BIG and shows off her finisher medal after finishing the inaugural IRONMAN Alaska!

Kat has several years of experience in triathlon, but hadn’t ever done an IRONMAN until this past Sunday.

Kat hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and this past winter was one of the longest and most ridiculous winter seasons that Winnipeg has ever seen.  It was snowing and Kat was wearing a toque (for the Americans reading, that’s a hat :) ) in JUNE!

Little did Kat know that this ridiculous winter was going to serve her very well at this year’s IRONMAN Alaska.  The race day water temperature was 56ºF, which made the swim wetsuit mandatory and also necessitated shortening the swim course from 2.4 to 1.2 miles.  Kat seeded herself well, swam a great swim, and came out of the water without shivering and in good spirits.  (The same could not be said of all athletes in this race.)

Kat loved the bike course. Even though she is a flatlander (meaning that she doesn’t have great access to hills for training), we had prepared her well for the rolling terrain of the course at IRONMAN Alaska. Her tune-up race at IRONMAN 70.3 Victoria helped her build her confidence for IRONMAN since it allowed her to test her gear and execution strategy.

Kat really enjoyed the beautiful mountain scenery and dozens of bald eagle sightings.  She was very delighted that she did NOT see any bears. ;)  She had tested her gear and knew what would work well for her; it was raining for 92 miles of the bike course and she stayed comfortable the entire ride.

Due to the shortened swim, the overall time limit for the course was shortened from 17 hours to 15 hours and 50 minutes. Kat headed out onto the marathon course with enough time to finish, but not a whole lot of time to spare. She dug VERY deep and pushed herself to keep moving using a run/walk strategy the entire 26.2 miles. She crossed the finish line (with Mike Reilly calling her an IRONMAN!) with just over four minutes to spare!

Congratulations to Kat on such a well-executed and strong race!


Geena Silvia

Geena set the goal to complete an IRONMAN for several reasons.  For one, she works for The IRONMAN Group (the parent company of IRONMAN) and wanted to see what all of the fuss was about with this 140.6 stuff.  She also loves experiences while racing, and I think we can all agree that racing a triathlon in the state of Alaska qualifies as an incredible experience.  Finally, Geena thrives on a challenge and wanted to break out of her comfort zone to tackle this long distance of triathlon.

Geena started her journey in triathlon just a few short years ago when she started working for The IRONMAN Group.  She comes from a running background (and boy does she LOVE running :) ) and swimming and biking were new challenges for her.  She completed IRONMAN 70.3 Oregon in 2021 and when she heard that IRONMAN Alaska was going to be a thing in 2022, she signed up.

Geena worked really hard in training to prepare for this race.  She arrived in Alaska ready to embrace the experience and whatever came her way.

Unfortunately for this Tampa, Florida resident, the conditions were extreme.  Specifically, the swim was extreme with its water temperature of 56ºF (making it wetsuit mandatory).  Air temperatures were in the mid-50s and it was raining as athletes were exiting the swim, which made it feel even colder.  Tampa doesn’t even see conditions like this in the winter (and if they do, all the Floridians run and hide ;) ), so this was a massive obstacle for Geena.

Unfortunately due the challenging conditions on the swim, Geena took a lot longer than anticipated (though she still made the cutoff!).  This snowballed into the bike being harder than planned, and ultimately, she was pulled from the course at Mile 82 by race officials, receiving a DNF for the race.

Despite the DNF, Geena is incredibly positive about her experience, which I’m both in awe and proud of.  As she was making her final climb, the sun (finally!) came out and she was able to soak in some incredible mountain views that were hidden by the clouds for most cyclists throughout the day.  In short, she got the views she came for.

I’m so proud of Geena for tackling such adversity and not giving up.  Because truly, she didn’t; she was forced to stop by race officials.

Congratulations to Geena on such an incredible journey and day that tested her limits and led her to beautiful places!

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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