Saturday, December 12, 2015

Fall Recap

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Ferris Bueller
post-race pool time in Thailand

Lately, I find myself wishing I could pump the brakes a little bit on life. So many cool things are happening, but it all seems to be a bit of a whirlwind. By the time one thing is wrapped up, we're already on a plane and off to the next. If you've ever had a toddler, you know that no matter how long your flight is, getting a chance to sit down and reflect and write is pretty much a pipe dream.

Finally, I'm sitting here in an airport, en route the final adventure of the year, and our flight is delayed. I'm even childless (!) as we're on a quick weekend trip to Ballarat 70.3 and Wynne is staying with the grandparents. So, I have an entire hour to do nothing other than recap the past few months. One day I'll look back on these blogs and I know that even a sentence or two and a picture will bring me back to this time and place. (#whyiwrite)

Post-Kona, I took a solid 4-week break from any real training to rest and rejuvenate after a looooooong season. We caught up with friends in California and prepared for the Island House Invitational Triathlon, our first foray into race directing. The Island House Invitational was a 3-day stage race on a private island in the Bahamas. 20 of the worlds' best triathletes (10 men & 10 women) were to compete for $500,000 in various triathlon formats over the three days. The invitees mixed up both short course and long course stars (i.e. Gwen Jorgensen vs. Mirinda Carfrae) and we were determined to produce an event that was new, fresh, and exciting. After three days of battle, Gwen Jorgensen and Javier Gomez were crowned the champions of the inaugural event.
Nils Nilsen took a million amazing shots of the whole event, but of course right now my computer is not cooperating so you get a couple crappy iphone shots that don't do the races or location any justice:
Gwen Jorgensen ripping it up on the run
Women's start Day 2
The Island House events ended up being amazing thanks to the entire team that worked to make it happen, but I have a newfound respect for any type of event producers & directors. Jordan Blanco helped us make it happen and we both proclaimed to have completed more manual labor over a 1-week period than ever before in our lives. I have never been so exhausted from zero hours of training in my life!

Being behind-the-scenes can seem like a thankless job, but for us, it was anything but. The athletes were outstanding and supportive and appreciate and flexible. The race sponsors (The Island House/ Mark Holowesko) and the supporting teams on the islands at The Island House and Highbourne Cay gave us every opportunity we needed to create a premier event and all the helping hands we could ask for. Now, the only task is to make it bigger and better in 2016! The race will be broadcast across the USA from Jan-March 2016 and I'll keep you posted on the TV schedule.

the usual kit-n-caboodle. airlines love us. 

After The Island House Invitational in the Bahamas, we flew straight to Australia to fit in a couple of weeks of solid training before the end of the year. Insert poke-your-eyes-out emoji here for flying over 24 hours with an 18-month old who doesn't sleep anywhere but her crib anymore. Back in Noosa, Australia, we settled in quickly and went full court press on the training front. After a DNF in Kona, Luke was prepping for Ironman Western Australia, with Challenge Phuket in Thailand along the way. I had also decided to race Challenge Phuket earlier this year (failing to factor in the break I would need after Kona) and I added in Ballarat 70.3 on December 13th to end the year. Sounds funny, but I knew that if i put in a short block for Phuket, that would boost my fitness and I could train just two more weeks and hopefully have a good result at Ballarat. Challenge Phuket had been a bucket list race for me after watching from the sidelines last year, so I wanted to muster up enough fitness to give it a go.

On Thanksgiving week, we headed to Thailand. Green curry and mangoes replaced the turkey and cranberries this year. I had only done about 2 weeks of training, but I knew that a year's worth of fitness would still be there deep down. We raced tough fields and I ended up 4th in the professional women's race (behind Simone Brandli, Jodie Swallow, and Radka Vodickova) which I was pleased with on the day. It was HOT. It was HILLY. It was, actually, FUN! Without high expectations, I was able to race for the joy of it and just go as hard as I could.

scouting the bike course in Phuket
always take time to enjoy the view
rehashing a hot battle with Katy Duffield

Post-race pool time with my peeps
Proof that Luke McKenzie had mojitos the week before he went 7:55 in an Ironman #livealittle
We flew straight from Phuket, Thailand to Perth, Australia for Luke's final preparations for Ironman Western Australia in Busselton. I knew Luke was in good shape. Really good shape. I thought he had a good chance at the win, and supported him in quiet confidence. He had that quietly confident air about him too.
quiet time during race week

We woke up race morning and I exploded the aeropress coffee all over the kitchen, including the ceiling. Then I went to make the standard gluten-free pancakes and for some reason the mix ended up being the consistency of water, not holding together in the least. I poured it in the pan and it created a thin film on the bottom on which I used a spatula on to scrape up some pancake scraps. It was horrendous, but Luke didn't complain and he ate his pancake scraps and drank his coffee that had grounds all through it and I think we both thought, "Well, maybe (or let's hope) this is the worst that happens today." And then we headed down to the race. Ok, he did say one thing.. As I handed him his plate of scraps, he joked, "you had one job". Touché.

Turns out, that was definitely the worst thing to happen that day for Luke (Okay, except for the rainy morning in transition which nobody ever likes). Luke went for it from the gun on a tough, chilly, windy day and he just. never. stopped. He ended up winning the race in 7:55 on a course where the previous record is 8:03 and the race has been around for 12 years. That 7:55 is now the fastest ever Ironman on Australian soil. Luke rode 4:08 (27 miles per hour wtf) and followed it up with a 2:52 run. The day was exciting, nailbiting, and I felt like an anxious little rabbit all day long bouncing from one place to another tracking him and taking splits. It was one of those days where my happiness for him exceeded any happiness I could imagine for myself.
on his way out of T1 to destroy the bike. (hopefully one day someone will write the words "destroy the bike" attached to my name and it won't be because I drove into a low-ceilinged parking garage)
Heading out of T2... 17 minute lead
Sub 8! Photo by Korupt Vision
family hug. 
Luke enjoying a job well done at Eagle Bay Brewery

That was last Sunday... Now I'm here finishing this blog on Saturday night in Ballarat, Australia as I get ready to race the final race of the year, Ballarat 70.3... I'll let you know how it goes. 
Good night! 

Oh, and in case I don't get a Christmas card done.... Wishing you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and excellent adventures in 2016.
 from, Beth, Luke, & Wynne