USA Triathlon hosted a massive event called USA Triathlon Nationals August 4-6, 2023 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This event featured the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, Youth & Junior Nationals, and the PTO U.S. Open all in one weekend! Carolyn Classen, Susan Doberneck, and Paul Elm all took part in the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships. This race is a qualification-based race, which means that all three of these athletes earned their spots at USA Triathlon Nationals in races they completed in 2022. Carolyn raced the Olympic-Distance event, while Susan and Paul raced the Sprint-Distance event.
Carolyn was very excited to race at the National Championships in her new age group, which is Female 60-64. Some folks dread getting older; Carolyn embraces it with gusto! This is the third time that Carolyn has raced at Nationals since we’ve been working together, and this was her second-best performance on this course. She had a steady swim, a strong bike, and a solid run that had her crossing the finish line in 17th place in her age group. This is a VERY BIG DEAL because the Top 18 athletes in each age group qualify for Team USA and get to represent the United States of America at the 2024 World Championships in Málaga, Spain. Thus, by finishing 17th, Carolyn qualified for Team USA and punched her ticket to the World Championship for the second time! Way to go and Congratulations, Carolyn!
Susan Doberneck designated USA Triathlon Nationals as her A-Race this year; after several seasons of focusing on long-course racing (70.3 distance or longer), she wanted to see what she could do in short-course racing. Susan has had a lot of life happenings this year, which has meant that we’ve had to adapt her training to what is going on in her life. While she handled this change with grace, it did mean that she wasn’t able to give triathlon training the time and attention that she originally thought she would. As a result, she reset her performance expectations and focused on executing the strongest race she could. A lifelong swimmer, she had a fantastic swim. She stuck to our plan for a Power-Based bike split, and then really nailed her run, sticking to the plan we had come up with for her to negative split it for a strong finish. She had a race that she was proud of, and she had fun along the way! Congratulations, Susan!
Fresh off of his great debut IRONMAN at IRONMAN Lake Placid, Paul Elm also headed to Milwaukee to race this past weekend. We managed his recovery from IRONMAN Lake Placid very diligently in the two weeks between these races so he would be ready to race well at USA Triathlon Nationals. Paul is definitely a “GO!” Racer, which means that we need to be very, very careful about his training volume and intensity when he is racing this close together, especially when the events are so vastly different from each other. (Though IRONMAN Lake Placid and USA Triathlon Nationals are both triathlons, the distances of these races make them more like apples and cucumbers, rather than different types of apples.) Paul put together a solid race in all three disciplines and blasted his previous best time in a Sprint-Distance Triathlon out of the water by over thirty-four minutes! Congratulations, Paul!
On Sunday, August 6, 2023, Alex Lauser raced the Olympic-Distance of the Steelman Triathlon in Quakertown, Pennsylvania! Alex has been following a Custom-Built Training Plan and this was B-Race for him. He was challenged when the water temperatures made it so the swim was not wetsuit legal and by a swim start that included a jump off of a high dock. Both of these experiences broadened his overall racing experience and gave him more tools in his Athlete’s Toolbelt that he can use in future training and racing. He had a fast bike split (this is his strongest discipline) and then was able to put together a really solid 10K run to finish 13th in his age group. He had a strong day and most importantly, he had a lot of fun! Way to go, Alex!
Cayuga Lake Triathlon
MB Domachowske raced the Intermediate Distance of the Cayuga Lake Triathlon on Sunday, August 6, 2023! MB has been following a Custom-Built Training Plan and this race was her final B-Race of the year before she takes on her A-Race in a few weeks. She was challenged when the race was changed at the last-minute; due to an algae bloom in Cayuga Lake, the swim was cancelled and the race was changed to a duathlon. MB is a strong swimmer who has been rebuilding her run after some injuries this year, so this extra running truly challenged her! She rose to the occasion though, implementing the run/walk strategy she has been training with for both of the runs in the race. She had a strong bike, and ultimately finished the race feeling accomplished, albeit very tired! Way to go, MB!
Due to the swim being cancelled, another athlete I’ve been working with via Consultations, Cyndi Signorelli, was unable to complete her goal at the Cayuga Lake Triathlon. Cyndi has been putting in a ton of work to develop her swim technique, aerobic endurance, and overall fitness so she could do the swim leg of the Cayuga Lake Triathlon as part of a relay with her friends. Doing this would have been her first foray into the world of multisport racing, and she was so meticulous and thoughtful about every aspect of her mental and physical preparation for this event. (In all honesty, Cyndi is one of the most meticulous athletes I’ve worked with in my career.) While she didn’t get to race on Sunday, I think it’s really important to acknowledge all of the work she put in to prepare for this race. While races are often the “visible” celebration of a body of hard work in training, the true, long-lasting reward and celebration that Cyndi has is from the process she went through; she became a stronger and smarter athlete because of her efforts. Bravo, Cyndi!
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.