Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Part 1: Personal stuff. Skip to part 2 if you want to read my recommendations for athletes.
I've still woken up in tears every morning since the announcement, but the tears now are different. Tears from reading emails (several hundred in support, one "i can't support or condemn you" just this morning in my inbox, and zero from the negative camp.) It seems email is too direct for the keyboard warriors, even with an invitation. A recurring theme in the emails I received was that people did not want me to quit the sport because of this. So I will explain: My reasons for 'retirement' were twofold- 1) I will be 38 with 2 kids and hopefully a new job by the time my sanction is up. Not impossible, but let's say not ideal for pro competition. and 2) I believed I would not be welcomed back into the sport by the general pro community. I never did this sport to prove anything or spite anyone, so feeling unwelcome on a start line was not a position I planned on putting myself in. However, I can say that with the responses I have received, I would no longer feel uncomfortable. And I thank you for that. For now, though, I am happy to be welcomed to the sidelines and to cheer on Luke and the many I have made connections with.
I did not in any way expect the level of support that I have received both inside and outside the triathlon community. I was sad to see that the news reached my childhood friends and former colleagues, but I knew that was likely going to happen with choosing a blog post over a press release that would only make it into the triathlon media. I've always used this page as a platform, so I thought that was the best way to be me, even if it invited more scrutiny from the cynics (the more you put out there, the more they can use against you). I think a lot of the support I had from within triathlon and my peers was also due to the fact that the WTC released a second anti-doping sanction on the same day as mine. Lauren Barnett, a fellow female pro, was handed a six-month ban for ostarine, the same substance. Through testing, they found ostarine in her salt pills- not only Lauren and her lab, but the WTC tested the brand in a WADA-accredited lab and found the ostarine. I learned about her case along with everyone else and was shocked. Turns out we used different salt pills. Lauren's ostarine was actually found in TWO lots (different batches/#s) of salt pills - which means they were probably not produced at the same time. Which begs the question (to me)- Is this a raw ingredient problem? Is one of the six ingredients (e.g. sodium citrate) used in her salt pills tainted and sourced from a supplier where other salt pill or electrolyte drink manufacturers source their sodium citrate? I don't know enough about the sourcing or raw material process to know...but it has opened up some more thinking on my end. If anyone has insight to this, please email me. A little bit about the start to finish supplement process in this article: "Safe Dietary Supplements?"
Despite all the support I've gotten, I've seen some negativity, as to be expected in my case. The public has been lied to so many times in doping cases, that it would be naive to think that my "story" alone was proof of my innocence in the eyes of those who have been duped before. What I want to say is this: Despite what the critics read between the lines, there is no "woe is me" here. I tried to present the facts and take my emotionality out of it. Did I mention my past drug testing history? YES. The critics see this as explaining away my one positive test, the one that counted. I wrote about my history to let those who may not know, know what the drug testing in general might be like for a pro at my particular level (not top, not bottom). This was not my first test. I am someone who expects to be tested at races and outside of races- that was the 'fact' I was presenting. Let me be straight here: My past testing history doesn't matter in the scheme of if I 'could be' doping. Anyone CAN dope at any time, we know that right? What I was asking for, was for the people who wanted to think for themselves, to think, "IF I were a doper, and I WANTED to dope in the 3 weeks before my "A race" when Beth could have done it.... A) would I? would this be a smart decision for a generally 'intelligent' person? and B) Is ostarine the substance that I would choose instead of something we know would work, like EPO, in this massive massive risk?" I can't answer those questions for you, only for myself. And the ones who do not want to believe me will not take the time to really consider this.
So.. moving on..
I want to start talking about what we can do to make things better for all the athletes out there. First, I am 'talking' to pro athletes & top amateurs who may be tested. I will make later recommendations for all, but these first ones I think are the most time sensitive in that these people could be tested at any time. Basically, what follows is probably not that interesting unless you are interested in the sport and drug testing:
1. Take the process seriously. This is not a 'routine check' or a 'screening'. This is your career and reputation. Anything you take should be saved and lot numbers recorded. In my case, notification of my AAF took almost six weeks (5wks 5days). I noticed in Lauren's it took 2.5 weeks. n things like UFC fighting, it seems they get results in one or two days. I believe we deserve standardization on the notification process and should push for a timely manner, especially considering the nature of our sport, where it would be very difficult to do a full-distance triathlon without some type of supplement (electrolyte, gel) at the very least. I I hope that if someone else finds themselves in my position, that they have read this and chosen to save EVERYTHING until they received test notification.
2. Pay attention during the testing process and exercise any rights you have. Declare every single thing you have taken on your declaration form, including electrolyte drinks, gels, and any on-course supplements. I hadn't considered this in the past. Who cares if you "look silly". Do it.
3. I am not sure where this falls, as it is personal, but I would love to see athletes fight for our rights in access to information throughout the anti-doping process. The anti-doping organizations mostly get it right, but they are fallible. And this is our career. In my case, I requested to see the "A sample" lab packet immediately. The only thing I was given regarding my positive test was a "one-sheet" that said I had a positive for ostarine. NO levels of "how much" were disclosed, and NO further information. Behind the scenes, there was a 47 page documentation packet that included all this information. I requested to read this packet and was not given access to any further information beyond the one-pager that basically says "you tested positive for ostarine". I was told that I would be given the full documentation packets after the B sample was tested (I received A & B packet documentation on August 18th, 2016, more than 2 months later). Imagine my shock when in sifting through the packets, I found that during urine preparation, someone else's urine, had spat into mine. The lab technician wrote, "2300 didn't go through in vacuum first go after hydrolysis so had to push through. spat out during process so may have contaminated 'very little' in 2297 and 2294. "Well, guess my luck, I am sample 2297 (as you can see on the identification page in the link here to these excerpts from the documentation packet). This is not to insinuate that maybe the ostarine was from another sample, as apparently the B sample contained ostarine as well. However, I was not there for the opening of the B sample (you have the right to be there, or a representative). As I was in America, this was not feasible and I trusted the process. I requested a personal expert representative via my attorney, but was he unable to locate one.
I bring this up, because as tested athletes, is this the way you want your urine samples treated? Is this the level of information disclosure you would expect to receive in my situation? Personally, finding out about this "spillage" into my urine was disconcerting as I would have gotten myself on a plane and pushed even harder for an expert representative at my B sample opening. Of course they didn't put a tiny bit of ostarine into my B sample to match the A, right? right? I should have been there. Knowing what I know now, I'm devastated that I wasn't there.
4. People have asked me if you can trust the on-course nutrition. I just can't say. WTC events in North America currently use Gatorade Endurance, which is part of PepsiCo, . As a result, they are classified as food, rather than supplements and must adhere to strict U.S. FDA guidelines. I would trust this product. Unfortunately, this is not the case at WTC events around the world and many regional gels and drinks are used have different standards. I know I had concerns at IM Australia and tried to test the on-course drink but was not permitted. I have also been contacted by all three of the other tested athletes at IM Australia; Two did not drink any of the on-course electrolyte and one said, "yeah, maybe a swig here and there but I can't remember"- this was also a large man who may metabolize a contaminant different than my 50kg body at the time. This is not an accusation, merely a conversation I think is worth having. The only way to protect yourself as an athlete is to research the on-course nutrition ahead of time and come up with your own plan.
Ok, that's all for now! I am working on a new project and after dedicating the better part of the last 3 days to responses and discussion, I need to get back to work!
Friday, February 3, 2017
After 7 months of tireless investigation, I am devastated to report that six weeks following my race at Ironman Australia on May 1, 2016, I was notified of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) resulting from my in-competition drug test at the event for trace amounts of a substance called "ostarine". Ostarine, a WADA-banned substance, is a muscle-builder that is currently under investigation by the FDA after being found as a contaminant in multiple dietary supplements.
I have several ideas to help other athletes avoid the situation I found myself in and will detail those in a coming post. I will also be contacting both USADA and the WTC to discuss what we can both do to protect clean athletes and the integrity of the sport. I am determined to find some greater good from this.
Sincerely and wholeheartedly,
The link below will take you to the summary document the lab sent to us showing the low levels of ostarine (or a molecule that "looks like" ostarine) in 2 samples of salt pills, but not a third (again, I didn't have one large bottle, just various small sample packets to test so each pack or combination of packets could have been different). This was not enough evidence for the WTC to lower my sanction.
The words in this post are my own and should not be used for re-publication without my written consent.
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
|McKenzie Pass 2016|
"I can't believe it's August already" - shit girls say
But really, I can't. I'd love to say it's been a great summer so far, but it's honestly been a tough one. Just as I was hopeful that things were starting to pick up again, I got another doozy. I'll "cut" to the chase (there is a pun there...wait for it.) I have a pretty large cyst that needs to be removed with a minor surgery. As it is in the 'saddle region'- no cycling for 4 to 6 weeks. Just under 10 weeks out from Kona, that's a deal-breaker for me, especially on top of all the other things I have going on right now. So, although I accepted a July qualification spot, I am returning that slot to another deserving woman.
Yes, this is a big disappointment for me, but I am trying to remind myself that I still have an amazing husband, daughter, family and friends and that life will go on.
In the meantime, I'm doing my best to make sure that Luke is ready for his big day on the big island in October (and 70.3 world champs in September). We are currently stationed up in Bend, OR for the month of August for training camp, and although I won't be riding with Luke, I plan to be chief run buddy, strength coach, and swim motivator (once I am allowed back in the water).
I did get to enjoy one lovely (though slightly uncomfortable) week on the bike here in Bend and ticked off all the old favorites including Mt. Bachelor and McKenzie Pass. I guess now there is more time for river floating with coolers of beer, right ;) ?
Friday, July 1, 2016
on the best time of my life. On May 12th, 2016, I married my best friend, Luke. I am so incredibly grateful to have found a partner who is kind, loving, loyal and the most amazing father to our daughter, Wynne. We had a very small wedding on the beach in Noosa, Australia and it was truly the perfect day. We didn't over-plan anything and just took the day as it came. It was relaxing and laid-back with good food & wine.
I originally returned to training, thinking I would race Ironman Switzerland in late July. However, things don't always go according to plan, and I am now taking a mind and body break. Sometimes life gets in the way and you need to adjust your sails. Hoping to get back on course soon and will keep you posted. Please hold.
Some extra time with Wynne and my family. We took a trip to Chicago for Wynne to get some cousin time and good old midwestern USA summer fun. Popsicles, sprinklers, hopscotch, and good times. It has been great to spend some quality time with my sister, brother, and niece and nephew.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Obviously, I am not going to swim with the leaders. But to come out of the water in :56-something solidly under 1 hour set me up less than 5 minutes from Gina Crawford who led the race out of the water (it is quite a fast swim due to salt water, good conditions, & wetsuits, but still a legit one length-wise).
|And we're off|
Gear Note: Swim
I'm quite certain it was no coincidence that I had my fastest-ever Ironman swim in my new ROKA Maverick X. It seriously feels like you are not even wearing a wetsuit but you know you must be as you glide along effortlessly (ok, for me wriggling around there is always some effort, but much less in this suit!) Also, I chose ROKA light amber F2 goggles- they have worked perfectly for all my races so far which start in low light and they have a great field of sight.
|Testing out my new Maverick X the day before the race|
|Saying hi to Luke on Matthew Flinder's hill|
|Werk (photo: Witsup)|
|International symbol for, "GIMME WATER!!!!!!!" Photo: Witsup|
Gear Note: Bike
The setup I went with for this race was exactly what I would choose if I did it again: SCOTT Plasma 5, Enve 7.8 carbon clincher wheel set with 25mm Continental GP 4000 tires, SRAM red eTap components, Quarq powermeter, Endura QDC aero tri suit, ISM PN. 1.1 saddle, Speedplay pedals, SCOTT aero helmet & SCOTT Tri pro shoes & Ceramic Speed Ultrafast Optimised chain.
I would say that this is a course where having SRAM eTap electronic gearing made a significant difference. Due to the nature of the terrain (lots of short, swoopy rollercoaster-type hills), being able to shift seamlessly on the base bar as well as in the aero bars made a significant difference. ETap has been a game-changer for me.
A HUGE Thank you to Trilogy Cycles for taking care of me in Australia. Trilogy, like Nytro back in Cali, is a SCOTT dealer and Keith and his crew are incredibly helpful. I always love it when the owner is a triathlete himself- you know he "gets it!"
|It was wet. My "not amused" face. Photo: Witsup|
|Champagne shower with Bremer, Photo: Witsup|
|Clifton 2s FTW! Photo: Witsup|
|photo: Delly Carr|
|Best cheer squad|
Thank you again to everyone for your support, most particularly, my amazing sponsors.
Friday, April 29, 2016
|Koala crossing in Queensland|
|Candy the elephant in Phuket, Thailand|
|Lava fields in the Oregon high desert|
|getting engaged on the Great Barrier Reef|
|sunrise in Melbourne, Australia|
|Cycling the canyons in Utah|
|exploring the woods in New Hampshire|
|paddling with Dad|
|ticket to ride|
|bubbles at the Tour de France|
|on island time in the Bahamas|
|twinning in Hawaii|
Sunday, April 17, 2016
|course recon- Putrajaya, Malaysia|
|i'm the one in the background... missing the podium by thiiiiiiiiiiissss much|
planning / a wedding! Luke and I have decided to get married this year. We are having a really small beach wedding with family and a couple local friends... Hoping to have a bigger par-tay when we return to the U.S. this summer!
listening / my new jam for a hard run off the bike is "I took a pill in Ibiza"(Mike Posner).. Ok, it's definitely about drugs (which are not my jam), but it keeps me going. 8x 1-mile efforts off a race simulation bike this past weekend- that song got me through!
traveling / last weekend we went to Australia's Gold Coast in Queensland (about a 3 hour drive from our home in Noosa) for a few reasons: We wanted a training getaway where we could put in some big miles in a new locale (freshness is always good for motivation!). This coincided with spectating the World Triathlon Series Gold Coast race, an Olympic qualifier, where many of our favorite Olympic distance athletes were competing, many for coveted Olympic slots. Lastly, Luke was nominated for "Male Performance of the Year" by Triathlon Australia and we had a lovely dinner to attend for that.
We packed so much into those 3 days that we left completely satisfied and completely exhausted.
|Spectating..... Waiting for the leaders to come through on the run|
|super long run on the Gold Coast- Surfer's Paradise in the background|
I loved bringing Wynne to the WTS race. She already is growing up in the triathlon lifestyle and being exposed to fitness and challenge. Here she is giving US 2016 Olympian (and quite possibly favorite for the Gold Medal) Gwen Jorgensen, some feedback on her race.
preparing / for Ironman Australia just 2 weeks away. This weekend I completed my final race simulation brick workout and last long run..... Taper. Is. Here.
recovering / We just got the Normatec Pulse full-body recovery system. I'm sitting in the boots right now and it has become a daily routine. Training 30+ hours per week, my one weekly massage was just not cutting it in the recovery department. It boggles my mind how tight the compression gets- haven't even had the guts to turn it up to 10 yet!