Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mountains In The Carribean Sea

Lauren and I got to Chicago around 5 and decided to get some food before we headed to the hotel to catch a nap.  We booked a park and fly at a hotel near the airport so we could offset the high cost of parking at O’Hare.  We went to a little Greek restaurant called Squabs.  We got some really good Gyros that hit the spot.  After dinner we checked into the hotel and caught a nap until 11:30 and then headed to the airport.  Our flight out of Chicago was at 2:10.
I was in and out of sleep until we got to San Salvador, El Salvador.  When we arrived there, they had wifi in the airport so I was able to give my mom and Greg an update on our travel.  After a one hour layover, we boarded the plane for Roatan.  Greg had told us that the Roatan airport was one of the most dangerous airports in the world to fly in to.  I did not mention this to my mom before the travel because I did not want her to worry!!  Upon approach and landing I was scoping the area for something that would indicate a dangerous airport.  I did not see anything.  It actually looked like a nice airport for a Caribbean Island.  Once we landed, customs was not very difficult to get through.  All we had to do was present our passports. 
Lauren and I with our waters!
After we got our bikes we got in touch with Leslie, the race director, and sorted out where we were going to be staying.  We were signed up for a home stay so we were excited to see what it entailed.  Once we had that squared away, we found some water!  Leslie’s husband and Jessica, one of Leslie’s helpers, picked us up from the airport and dropped us off at our homestay.  It was in Sandy Bay and had all the amenities of a small cabin in a third world country.  Valerie was a very nice host but very upfront with everything.  She runs a shelter for women and children with AIDS and she has her likes and dislikes of the Roatan/Honduras culture and let us know her thoughts.  She is originally from Canada but has called Roatan home for 9 years.  She plans on staying here when she retires.  She got us a few groceries to start us off and then took us to a grocery store to allow us to buy food we liked.  She also allowed us to use her shower since there was no shower or hot water in our cabin.  It was not what I had in mind leading up to a race, but it got the job done.
The neighbors
Once Lauren and I were settled, Harry, an athlete from Great Britain, arrived at the homestay.  Valerie took us all to the market to get food and then we stopped in to a little Honduran restaurant for some ethnic food.  I enjoyed it, but it was a little on the shady side.  The best restaurants are basically a family’s kitchen that you go into and eat.  There is no menu, only what they have prepared for the day.  After food, we jumped in the car and drove the bike course.  HOLY CRAP!  The “flat” part is not flat at all and “The Wall” made me think twice about the race, and I enjoy climbing!!  I figured while driving the course that it was going to be a tough race so I had to mentally prepare myself for “battle.”   Once back at the cabin we all put our bikes together and headed out for a short spin to loosen our legs from traveling.  Lauren and I rode for about 25 min and then went for a 20 min swim in the ocean.  I am not sure how long Harry rode but he found out firsthand how quickly it gets dark once the sun starts to go down
Lauren and I share a room with bunk beds
After going to bed early the night before we were up and at ‘em early.  I went for a 30 min run while Lauren and Harry went to explore “The Wall.” Lauren was a little nervous about descending so she wanted to check it out.  After my run I did some run drills to help loosen up my legs and then rode with Lauren while she ran for 20 min.  I felt a little weird running solo down these roads so I did not feel right sending Lauren out alone.  Two days before a race Greg and I like to back down my training and let my body fully recover for the race, so my day was full of eating and relaxing.  About midday we went for a swim.  Once again we headed to the ocean out back of our homestay but this time we went a little farther out into the coral reef.  Roatan has the second largest reef in the world.  Second to only the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The water gets very shallow over some spots of the reef so we had to be careful not to touch it, but I did catch my foot on a bit of it.
Jasmine, Nicholas, and I
After the swim, we showered up and went to a little brick oven pizza place.  The food here is surprisingly good, but I think the sausage on the pizza was closer to a hot dog then actual sausage.  For the remainder of the day we chilled outside in the shade since it is cooler outside in the tropical breeze than inside.  We hung out with Valerie’s kids and they kept us quite entertained.  It was fun watching them play sports and just be children.  Valerie made us dinner, which was a delicious mix of chicken, coconut shrimp, rice with black beans, and fried plantains.  I was a bit weary of the fried plantains until Valerie said they were good with ketchup.  I love ketchup so when someone says something is good with ketchup I never miss an opportunity!!  I am starting to get the feeling that green vegetables are not a normal menu item.  After dinner we sat on the deck and chilled until bed time.

Sausage Pizza
Lauren, Harry and I woke up around 6:15 and were riding by 7.  The roads were a bit more crowded than we were expecting for a Saturday morning, but the ride went well.  I did some openers to get the body ready to race including riding up “The Wall.”  The mood after the ride was pretty much what I was expecting after driving it.  I was thinking this race will not be about who is the fastest or best triathlete, it will come down to who is the best cyclist in the mountains.  After the ride we checked our bikes in with Leslie and she locked them in a closet so we could get them on race morning.  When we arrived at the water the ocean was angry!  The description on the website stated very little waves and minimal current.  On Thursday that was true, but not on this particular day.  There were some decent swells and the current would push you if you let it.  We swan for about 30 min total in which I inserted some openers and worked on water entrances and exits.  My body was doing whatever I told it, so I was hoping the same thing would occur on race day!   We taxied back to the homestay and had some lunch.
After lunch we relaxed and napped before our run.  Valerie took us to the race site to go for a run and attend the prerace briefing.  We decided to run one lap of the course, since it is a 2 lap race.  WOW!  The run course does not lack hills, or hill in this case, one bit!  It is an out and back 2 laps and in the middle is a giant hill that you have to run up and down going each way.  Just when I thought I had this race figured out, another mountain is thrown into the mix.  I started thinking that this race really was going to be more about survival than racing.  The only way I could think of to describe this race as I prepared myself the night before would be a heavy weight boxing match.  I knew I was going to have to take some heavy blows and I was going to have to hit hard when I needed to in order to conquer this!  It sounds crazy but it is what I train/live for!!
Valerie’s daughter, Jane, made us pizza as a prerace meal!  It was amazing!  The host family had friends over and it turned into a real pizza party.  I got carbo loaded and had a good mix of protein, so I knew I would be ready to go the next day.  As we were getting ready for bed, music was blaring and we learned it was an all night party!!  Not what I was looking forward to on the night before the race, but oh well, stuff happens and you have to deal with it.  It was like a dorm party next door the night before a race in college. 
Prerace – I woke up 3 hours before the race start to eat as I normally do.  I did not sleep well due to the party but I hardly ever sleep well the night before a race.  Valerie dropped us off at the race site and then drove back home to watch, since her house was on the bike course.  Transition opened at 6 and we got there before it opened but no one said anything to us as we started to get our bikes around.  I wanted to check the air in the tires and get the chain lubed up.  The numbers for our racks were put up around 6:15 so we set up our transitions after that.  I went for a short jog at 6:45 and got ready for a swim warm-up around 7:05.  Introductions were supposed to be done at 7:15, but they did not have the buoys in the water at 7:20.  The race was delayed!  I am not sure what time we ended up starting, but it seemed like we were stuck on the beach forever.  The swim was supposed to be one lap, but problems arose and they decided to make it two laps as the buoys were being put out.  They had a debate on how the swim would work, but finally settled on two straight laps, no beach run in the middle.  They also decided to make it a water start so the guys that got to pick first chose to stand in waist deep water, while the guys at the end, I included, had to tread water for about 3 min before we could start.  Oh well, I was ready to race so let’s just get this thing going!!
Lauren's Bike with Rudy Helmet and Hammer Gel
Swim – The horn sounded and we were off!  I got out well, but for some reason I always find myself on the outside next to someone who also wants to be outside.  The water is cleaner outside so for a strong swimmer, that is where they like to be.  But I am not a strong swimmer yet, so I like to be inside on some feet so I can get pulled along.  So I was stuck outside this guy while we repeatedly smashed our arms together.  Finally it calmed down, and I was able get on feet!  We were all strung out in a line for the first lap.  The ocean was calm, but it still had a lot more waves and current then I am used swimming in.  As we rounded the buoy for the second lap, someone got spit out of the pack.  As he was coming back through the pack to me, I lost contact with the feet ahead of me and was not able to close the gap.  So there I was, pulling myself through the ocean.  I kept trying to go faster to close the gap, but they just slowly pulled away from me.  This was not what I was looking for in the race, but my swim has gotten faster so I just stayed positive and swam hard for the last 750m.
Bike – I came out of the water with Chris Foster.  He was the guy that got spit out of the pack and took me with him and he swam on my feet for the second lap.  I had talked to Greg before the race and that is where I wanted to be.  I knew he was a very strong biker so if I could grab his wheel I would have a shot at getting in a solid bike pack.  I beat him out of T1 and was ready to move with him up the hill.  Then I found out how strong of a biker he really is!  Going up “The Wall” he rode away from me and could do nothing to stay on his wheel.  I was trying to close the gap down but I did not have the legs for it.  I was riding solo!  Not a good place to be in a draft legal race!!  After about 8-10km I caught Lukas Siska.  He is coached by Barb Lindquist, head of the Collegiate Recruitment Program, so I knew his name but had never met him before.  We were going to get to know each other well on for the next 50 min.  I was still trying to ride hard, but I don’t think we were gaining any ground.  The ride was an out and back 2 loop course so I got to see how far down we were three times.  It was great to see Valerie and her kids out on the road while biking.  It is easier to go fast when someone is cheering.  The course was taking its toll on my legs and I was having trouble riding a solid tempo while breaking the wind, and we still had to get up the back side of “The Wall!!” The last time I could see the only large pack on the road riding away from Lukas and I, Chris had bridged the gap to the front pack.  Chacon and Fleischmann had broken away, but Chris had made it into a great position.  If only I could have held his wheel!!  Oh well, it gives me something to work on for next time!  This is a learning experience and sometimes the hard lessons are the best!  At the bottom of the back side of “The Wall” Lukas starting riding hard and put some time into me.  My legs did not have the pop so I rode a steady tempo and made it up as quickly as I could.  I ended up getting into T2 ahead of Lukas and took off running as he was getting in.
Run – I headed out of T2 and wanted to run hard to finish off the day, but it did not feel like my legs wanted to cooperate.  I stayed calm and just tried to keep moving forward.  I could not see anyone ahead of me, so it was all up to me to set a respectable pace.  The first time up the hill on the run it was hard but I did not think about it too much.  Coming down I did not want to get too far ahead of myself and fall because the hill was somewhat steep when running fast.  I finally got a look at someone while they were going back and I was still heading to the turn around.  I had a large gap to make up, but I kept going.  It was hard to stay focused running solo so far behind, but I did not want to give up in this race.  The second time up the hill hurt a lot!!  And going down my legs started going a little too fast and I thought I was going to bite it!  Finally the hills were over and I gave it one last push to the finish.  I could finally see people as I ran down the beach to the finish line but they were too far ahead for me to catch.  I finally hit the finish line and the pain was over!!  At least until the next day when I could hardly walk!
Post race we went to an American restaurant down the road and had burgers and beverages.  I thought it was a good burger!  Then we went back to the homestay and hung out with the family for the rest of the night.
We slept in after a late night and made our way to the airport to drop off Harry.  Jane took us and we had to run some errands along the way.  We stopped by a little cafĂ© in West Bay that had great sandwiches and a nice little market.  We took a little took long and we had to rush Harry to the airport.  Harry thought his flight was at 11:40 but when we got there we found out his flight was at 11:20.  He was lucky to get his bike on the plane, but he did make his flight.  It was a good thing it was a little island airport that only had 2 gates.
After we dropped off Harry we went to the mall!  It was the only mall in Roatan, and it was nice, but it was more like a strip mall in America.  There was a Honduran department store, a store called Malibu which offered American clothing such as Abercrombie and American Eagle and a lot of cell phone stores.  They had an Apple Bees and a Wendy’s, and we went to a Super Jugos, a little smoothie bar.  I went with strawberries and banana in a milk base.  It was delicious!!
Once we got back to the house it was time for Lauren and I to enjoy our one day of vacation.  We suited up, by that I mean put on as little as possible, and went to the beach!  In Honduras they have sand flies so we did not want to lie in the sand.  No one is allowed to own a dock in Honduras, so we just found a dock on the beach to lie out on.  We relaxed on the dock for about 2 hours and we both took a little nap.  It felt great to lay out in the sun and just be warm after coming from a South Bend winter.  After that we did a little recovery swim in the ocean and headed back to the house.  We had dinner and packed and got ready to leave the next day.
We woke up early due to the roosters and dogs in the area and packed the car to head to the airport.  On our way to the airport we stopped for baleadas, they are a local dish that is commonly eaten in the morning.  It is smashed beans on a handmade flour tortilla.  Chicken or pork can be added to it and island cheese adds great flavor as well.  Once we were finished with breakfast it was off to the airport. 
Roatan as we were flying away
We had no problems getting through security and we made out flight with plenty of time.  Our flight was a little late but we did not mind sitting in the airport waiting to leave.  Once we arrived in San Salvador we found out our flight to Chicago was delayed.  We were going to have to spend 5 hours in the airport!  It was a long time to spend in the airport but they had free wifi and we had a few movies to watch so it was bearable.  We passed the time and had an interesting adventure at Subway before we boarded the plane. When we got to Chicago we had little trouble getting through customs at 11:30 pm.  Once through customs I called the hotel to get a shuttle to my car.  It was a frustrating situation that took a little over an hour but it finally showed up and we made our way home.  We finally got home at 3:30 am and fell into bed exhausted.  It was a great trip and I am very happy I attempted the race.  I am excited for future races and ready to get back to a normal training schedule.
 “Take calculated risks.  That is quite different from being rash.” ~George S. Patton

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

VanOrt named 2010 USAT Triathlete of the Year

We have one race down in 2011 and great things are still coming out of 2010. Lauren and Kaleb are currently traveling back from their first race and while I have had a lot of requests for race updates, I will leave that to the athletes. I will say that they gave all they had on a very tough course in Honduras and ended with World rankings of 105 for Lauren and 306 for Kaleb. Meanwhile Kaleb was named Triathlete of the year! I will simply say that great things happen to great people. I think back to our first ever conversation 16 months ago and I can still hear him say " I don't know what I am getting into but I want to make a run at this and see what I can do". The truth be told, the World has not seen what he can do yet. We feel very honored to receive this award and hope that 2011 will be even better. Thanks to all of our sponsors and people that have helped us get to where we are.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Race Time Already!!

It is hard to believe it but the race season is already here for some of us. Lauren and Kaleb are making the trek down to Central America this weekend and I am so incredibly excited for them!!  I know they have been training so incredibly hard and are in serious shape right now.  I cannot wait to hear the reports!  It is truely inspiring the dedication they have shown in developing themselves as athletes in the sport. Lauren is down in south bend training full time and kaleb is pushing her (and himself!) everyday.  A few weeks ago Lauren wrote on her facebook, "If you want something you have never had, you have to do something you have never done."  I think that is a great foreshadowing of how this season is going to develop for our team.

I believe all three of us have taken new steps this year to committ to the sport on a professional level and I am excited for the outcomes of those committments.  With great coaching and great sponsors on board (I know "The Wall" in the race this weekend is no match for Lauren and Kaleb's computrainer training!!)  we have all the resources necessary for breakthrough performances this season.  Make sure to track Lauren and Kaleb as they will be starting us off this weekend!!!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Team IE Heads South

With less than a week until our first race of the season Lauren and I have been backing down a little to get ready.  There is a delicate balance between getting ready to race and keeping the training up since we are still 8 months away from Nationals!  Lauren has traveled far for a race before, but this is my first time flying out of the country for a race.  It is a little crazy to think that I am going to be racing in Honduras in January.  While in high school I did not run much over the winter and certainly did not race.  In college I did indoor track so I am a little familiar about racing during the winter months.  The only difference from that is I had three seasons and two weeks off from January through the end of November.  Greg is a great coach and there is no doubt in my mind that we will be ready to race Sunday as well as Nationals in late September.
The race is in Roatan (Honduras Bay Island), an island north of the Honduras mainland.  It is a relatively new destination for tourism, but that does not matter.  We are not going for a relaxing vacation on the beach, although getting out of the South Bend cold for a few days will be nice, and we will have one day of “vacation” since we are staying there through Tuesday morning.  We are going there to take care of business and see how we match up.  This could be an indicator on what races we focus on this year, ITU draft legal or large non-draft races.  The course consists of a beach start, a one lap ocean swim with minimal waves and light current, a very challenging bike course and a road/off-road/sand run.  The bike course consists of a hill known as “The Wall,” a 16-19% incline hill of about 1km long, 3 more hills, 2 laps of a rolling hill circuit, and then over the back side of "The Wall" into T2. The website states, “This is surely one of America’s most demanding courses, with great views of the island’s shores, and luscious tropical forests along the way.”  I will be sure to check out those great ocean views while suffering up “The Wall!!” J
Profile for the start/finish of the bike course.

I hope everyone is well and staying warm, if you are located in a cold climate.  Check back shortly after the race for recaps and photos.
"Human beings are made up of flesh and blood, and a miracle fiber called courage." ~George Patton

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Radio Show Interview- Sports Talk Radio AM 1400 - Click this link to hear interview

On Tuesday I had a great radio interview with Mac McDonald on am 1400 sports talk radio Charlottesville/Richmong and Central Virginia.  I loved being on the show and it was great to represent the sport of triathlon on a station that primarily is football/basketball focused.  Although I have to say, it is very odd having a conversation with someone in which they can only ask questions about you.  The whole interview, I really wanted to ask the host a question to make the conversation balanced!  I guess that is not how radio works though! 

I am so happy to be a part of the team IE family and although I am not in south bend to train- I love seeing the great pictures on this blog of all the intense hard core workout sessions going on there in every condition imaginable!!! When Mac, the radio host, asked me who I train with, I thought of how tough my teammates are training in south bend! I know my teammates are going to be really really tough come racing season.  Training in a cold place is often a blessing in disguise-  I learned this running in college up in New Hampshire.  Your are never too fit too early- you are sharp at the right time in the season, and it makes you really really tough mentally and strong physically!!  Keep posting those great pics!!

Happy Training- Nicole

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Blizzards & Burritos

Breaking records before the season even begins--32.4in of snow in 24 hours in South Bend!

So in the 10 days I have lived in South Bend it has been the hottest it has ever been this time of year and it has snowed the most it ever has at this time of year. The run this morning was epic! I am in awe of the energy the members of Team IE have even when conditions are far from ideal. This morning we all woke up to 3ft of snow and terrible roads. Two of our guys, Craig and G-How, got stuck in the snow in their cars on the way over and they STILL ran! Man I love this team.
Post run

Today was quite an adventure. The drive to the pool was crazy! Unlike the south, everything does not close when it snows so thankfully the pool was open. Our pool is very unique. Most elite triathletes have the luxury of training in large 50m pools. Team IE trains in a 4 lane 25 yd pool and we love it. It is much more challenging to swim in a shallow small pool as opposed to a large 8 lane pool. We are okay with it though because we know the hard work will pay off on race day!

Before I moved here Greg always raved about the burritos after Saturday morning workouts. Today I finally got to experience the magic! We picked them up before the trainer session because we knew the snow was not stopping. I highly recommend "Tacos and Burritos" if you are a local.
Bob the burrito builder
A car covered in snow in the parking lot of Tacos and Burritos 

The last workout of the day was awesome. Thanks to Computrainer we rode a challenging course to prepare for Honduras. I love riding with the team; we have so much fun jammin out to the ipod and pushing each other at the same time.
Team IE always having a great time!

Blizzards and day in South Bend. Being snowed in is fun after all : )


Base to Race

Over the last couple months I have been building a base for the 2011 season.  With 2 weeks until my first race of the season, my training is getting ramped up so my body is not in shock when it is time for a race effort.  Greg and I are jumping the gun a bit as I am still in the middle of my build phase, but it would be more dangerous for my body to go straight from base to race.  With the help of Hammer Recoverite and Whey Protein I have been able to train at a high level and recover!  With two tests down, a 500 TT swim and a 20 min. watt test on the bike, only one remains.  I have made great strides in the water and on the bike, but with Greg in my corner there is still more to come!!  The final test is tomorrow when we head to Notre Dame’s indoor track for a 4k.  I am most excited for this because running is my first love and it is what got me into triathlons.  Hopefully my legs remember how to run fast!
I am excited and nervous to be heading to Roatan for my first race as a professional.  It is time for me to step up to the plate with the big boys and play their game!!  I am not sure if the nerves are from the thought of racing as a pro or racing in a draft legal race.  The swim is very important and I am hoping my progress in the pool shows in the open water.  The only downer at this time is that I will not be able to wear my new ITU suit from Champion Systems.  I could use a fast suit for the swim, but I have been hard at work designing our suits and they should be ready for the US Sprint National Championship in Clermont in March. 
As you may know from previous entries, Lauren recently moved to South Bend.  It is nice having her to train with, but Nicole is missed from our daily workouts!  Hopefully someday the whole elite team can be together.  Lauren and I are a great match in the water and it is fun having someone pushing me in the pool again.  But don’t get me wrong, Greg can still bring it for 25-50 yards!!  Maybe someday I will beat the coach in a sprint!

This week we received 2 pairs of Vibram Fivefingers!  They are amazing shoes that I am looking forward to wearing around as well as some light jogging eventually.  I have always loved walking around barefoot and these are as close as I can get where shoes are required.  I will give you updates throughout the year as me feet and lower legs get stronger!
I hope you are well and enjoying the new year!  2011 is going to be exciting!
“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” ~Aristotle

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

540 Watts of RAW POWER

Today I was thinking about all of the athletes that are heading south to train. I was wondering, is that where we should be? Is there something wrong with this picture? So that caused me to think more about what I have always said about Indiana. There is something wonderful about the beauty of a season and the beauty of forced rest and change. If we were in Tuscon for instance, it would be more of the same. Sure its beautiful but doesn't it satiate a part of the mind that needs to be hungry? How great does it feel to ride on that first 50 degree day in March ! What you see here is what I will call the 540. That is 540 watts of combined power for our 20 min test. That is a lot of watts! Watts more, we did that right there in that facility. Riding no mountains, only our Computrainers. So what is the cost of being cold and training here? I don't see a cost, what I see is an opportunity to separate our selves in a way that few are willing. The sacrifice is actually an investment. The investment of going to the pool in the snow, running through snow on ice and riding in the basement. For these two the value was three National Championships in 2010 and yet to be determined in 2011 but I have a great feeling. The same feeling I had in 2000 when I was a lone wolf pack of one but have now grown to a lone wolf pack of 70. It was said that if you build they will come and I have been building and they have been coming. Whats coming next will blow every ones mind because the lone wolf pack will finally have a den!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Looking forward to 2011 with some lessons from 2010...

A month and a half ago concluded my rookie season as a pro triathlete.  The Princeton web dictionary defines a “rookie” as- “an awkward and inexperienced youth.”  I get that. I learned a lot of things this year and I hope some of them can help someone else’s transition to triathlon be a little less painful than it is supposed to be……

*"I don't believe in the danger of overtraining, but I do believe in the danger of under-resting”
-Deena Drossin Kastor

The debate about overtraining aside, I think Deena makes a great point here about how the training benefits of rest are often dramatically undervalued.  Building rest days into your program is just as important in preparing you for your race as building in hard workout days.  I would put myself out there to say that appreciating the value of rest is the single biggest factor that helped me make the jump from age grouper to professional.  It is incredibly ironic, but to be faster- you have to learn how to rest more. 

*Don’t give into intimidation

Before my first professional race in Philadelphia this year, I thought my guts were going to explode from nervousness before the gun went off.  I thought I seriously didn’t belong in a field of athletes ripped right off the pages of Triathlete magazine.  I didn’t have a professional looking uniform- I was wearing a sports bra and some tri shorts that didn’t match- I even looked like I didn’t belong.  My goal going into the race was just not to get last by too much.  The gun sounded, I raced within myself and ended up on the podium.  All that worry for nothing; I should have been enjoying the race from the start.

*You can’t be successful if you are not having fun

Self explanatory.  For most of us, triathlon is supposed to be a source of enjoyment, fun and friendship.  When triathlon becomes stressful and a burden- it is really hard to be successful.  Keep it all in perspective and have fun!!

Going into 2011, I am so excited because I feel like I have learned so much in one short year already. I know there is still a lot to learn and improve on; I am so excited to be moving into 2011 with some great coaches and teammates in Team IE and amazing sponsors in Champion systems, Cobb saddles, Finis and Rudy Project.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New year, new home, new sponsor!

Happy New Year! I finally made it to South Bend to train with my coach and teammates for the next few months. I have had to adjust a lot to the weather, but I really think that the icy cold will only make me a tougher athlete. Kaleb and I have had an awesome time training together; not only is the company great but we also are able to push each other in workouts. Unlike most, we are racing in a few weeks in Honduras so   I am more motivated to push myself during workouts with someone who has the same goals as me. I am looking forward to racing this season---only 21 days!

We recently received some new suits, clothing, and equipment from our new sponsor, Finis. Finis makes great suits for training and very warm thermal gear to wear pre and post swim!!

Finally, I want to thank Dave at Metro Run and Walk for giving me the opportunity to work for him!! I never knew selling running shoes could be so fun :)

Hope everyone is keeping their new year's resolutions....