Sunday, July 29, 2012


Last weekend I was able to spend some time in one of the best places on earth –wine country.  Unfortunately there wasn’t much time for wine-tasting as I was racing at the Vineman Half Ironman. 

This season, as you know if you have read my past blogs, has been a roller coaster to say the least.  I have been battling illness and fatigue since March and haven’t been able to put together a good race all season .   I’ll feel great, train hard for a week or two, then crash and get sick, have to take a few days off, and start the cycle all over again.  At first I thought something might be seriously wrong, but after a string of tests that all came back negative for anything serious, my doctor finally concluded I’m just worn out.  It was clear that was an issue after St. George and my coach and I have been really trying to fix the problem since.  Unfortunately after a trip to TX to visit family, I caught a stomach bug and it was another 4 days in bed, not training. Argh! 
The trip was still worth it!  Me playing with my adorable niece Avery
I was planning to race the Portland Rev3 70.3 on 7/8, but cancelled my trip because the week before I barely ate or left my bed.  I assumed Vineman, just one week later, would also be off the schedule until I got an e-mail 10 days before the race from coach, Matt Dixon, saying, “As of today you are officially racing VM.  You might have to eat a little humble pie along the way, but it will be good for you”.  Even though I still didn’t feel that strong and was just getting back into my training, I was strangely excited to race.  I knew I wouldn’t have ANY expectations, or at least not high ones, so I could just go, race, and have fun.  My hubby wasn’t disappointed to hear we were heading to Santa Rosa for the weekend since it has all his favorite breweries!

Some of my favorite Team Sheeper boys helping me get back in shape!

So onto the race.  Holy crap, what a pro field.  First, there were about 17 pro women in the race, a lot for a 70.3 this late in the season.  And it was probably the deepest field of any 70.3 so far this year.  I mean when Leanda Cave ends up 5th, it’s a fast race.   My goal, knowing I didn’t really have that many running miles under my legs, was to have the best swim/bike possible and just bring it home as strong as I could on the run. 
My time on the swim was decent, 26:20, but once again I got dropped from the front pack.  My swimming continues to improve in the pool, but I just don’t seem to have the acceleration to get on the fast feet and stay there past about 200 meters.  Working on that one!  I came out of the water about 2minutes down to the leaders and got out of transition as fast as I possibly could.  My plan was to push the bike more than I ever had and luckily I had some legs for this race!  I was passed by a few girls, including Rachel Chalis (9th OA), Heather Jackson (4th OA), and Jennifer Tetrick (10th OA), but didn’t let any of them go.  For about 30 miles I rode in a LEGAL pack of about 6 girls, and it was FUN!  I felt like I was actually racing.  We changed leaders several times and used each other to keep pushing the pace.  That feeling lasted until I got to the run.  I again tried to have a fast transition, which meant foregoing the socks (HUGE mistake).  Even though I gained a few seconds in T2, I was immediately passed by the entire group from the ride. 
It was a LONG and HEAVY 13.1 - like my legs had forgotten how to run.  I just tried to maintain a positive attitude and bring it home as strong as I could.  In the end I crossed the finish line in 11th place, just over 4:31.  It wasn’t the race of my life, but considering what I have been going through the past few months I’ll take it!  I finally feel like things are turning around and I am so excited about the rest of the season.  I know I’ll continue to get better, and with the help of my coach, my new favorite app Restwise, and a little hard work and determinations, I still might meet my goals for 2012. 

Thanks as always to my family and friends, Saucony, ClifBar, Reynolds Wheels, Xterra Wetsuits, Oakley, Purplepatch Fitness, and Cognition Cyclery for all of your support!

I also have to give a special shoutout to my dear friend, teammate, and mentor, Meredith Kessler.  She was run down by Melissa Rollison (the reigning 70.3 World champ), but kept her head in the game and eventually took back over to lead spot and crossed the finish line in first.  To use one of Mer’s favorite word – that was some major GUMPTION! Congrats Meredith on your 3rd win in 4 races in 6 weeks!  You are amazing and so deserving of all your successes!
My VIP this week is the guy who gave me the inspiration for the title of this blog.  He’s Armenian and pronounces Vineman as “Wineman”.  I always joke that it’s really a perfect name for the race considering the location.
I have had the privilege of training with this guy for a couple years now on Team Sheeper and he’s one of my favorite teammates.  He’s extremely strong, fast, and powerful, but also incredibly humble.  Right before he drops you on the bike, he’ll give you a compliment about how YOU are so strong!  He also keeps an upbeat, positive attitude through even the most challenging sessions and helps me keep a smile on my face even when I feel like I’m about to die.

Vaagn Toukharian
There’s a reason Vaagn won Team Sheeper’s 2011 Male Triathlete of the year award.  He works extremely hard at practice and has become very dedicated to improving at the sport.  At Vineman snagged his first Vegas spot and I couldn’t be more excited for him.  I think there are big things in store for this Armenian and I hope we can keep challenging each other in workouts to meet our goals!  Thanks Vaagn for the laughs, support, and constant reminder that I really should work on my top end power.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on a strong comeback race and best of luck with the rest of your season. Great picture of you and Meredith!