Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Secrets to Success

Everyone wants to know what the secret to another athlete’s success is. It seems to be a common question, “what are they doing different than me that makes them better?” Many times we are looking for that perfect practice, set, or drill that will help us qualify for nationals, a world championship, or just give us a personal record.  I learned something about this back in 2001. I discovered what champion’s do that makes them great.         
                I was a counselor at the Longhorn swim camp for kids 18 and under. If you are not familiar with the University of Texas swimming, well simply put, they are the best. They routinely have one of the top teams at the NCAA’s and on the men’s side it seems as if half the Olympic swimming team is made of Texas swimmers.  Being a swimmer this was a thrill for me to be at the camp as a counselor and learning from Eddie Reese (the head coach of the Men’s team). I was not alone. All of the counselors wanted to know what drills they are doing that make them so good. What practices they are doing that make them so much faster than everyone else?  After the first week of helping and coaching at the camp we, the counselors, were disappointed. I remember all of us sitting around and talking about how these are the same drills we do or give to our swimmers when we swim or coach. Many of us thought we were not getting the secrets to their success. But in reality, we were. It was right in front of us.
                I learned the secret when I was able to observe several practices of the Texas swim team. It was a thrill to see what Olympic and World Record Holders were doing. After attending several practices I came to a realization. These Olympic swimmers were doing the same drills that the coaches were giving out to the 10 and 12 year olds. The drills consistently reinforced good habits and proper technique so that when the swimmers did go fast they did it right. What they did better than everyone else was the basics, the fundamentals. There was not some top secret formula that no one knew about. The Men’s Texas swim team just reinforced what skills the swimmers needed to do to be fast.
                I feel this is the same for all athletes in all sports. If you are constantly looking for a short cut, some secret, then you will never realize your top potential. The secret to success is right in front of us. Do the right things right and be willing to put in the time. If you do that, then you will find success and you can obtain your goals. 


Tuesday, March 20, 2012


This race was one of the toughest, hottest, most fun races I have done yet.  It was about 12 minutes long for an Olympic, 97 degrees for the day, 10+ extreme UV index, high humidity, super steep hilliacious climbing for the first 2 miles in and out of transition and fairly hilly run- a quarter or which was on sand!
Race morning I was a little nervous about my gearing on my bike- this course definitely requires a 28 cassette and I only brought a 23.  This was my major learning point of the trip. Always always make sure you know the course in case your gearing is off.  With the grade of hills out of transition, I was imagining myself walking my bike up the road ( “please let there not be a Slowtwitch gallery picture of me WALKING my bike on the course, God!”).  Blaaahhh!...
This was one of the first swims that I was actually able to draft the whole time- wow, what a difference! The effort felt quite a bit easier than usual but I didn’t feel I had the power to get around and make it on my own so I sat in and let my super speedy Profile Design Macho speed suit do its thing.  I knew it was going to be a long, hot, death-march type day so I was happy to be a little conservative in the swim.  I came out with 2 other girls and we were about 1:20 down from the leader (kind of a lot of time but I felt great out of T1 so I think this was the right choice- I am rarely under a minute down anyways…)
What is a speedsuit you say?:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGgdxXnlto0
Straight out of T1 we rode on a gravel dirt road for about 200 meters.  Pretty awesome- just have to cross your fingers with your tires and hold on tight…..but made it out the other side ok…

Then we started climbing…grades were really high in some places- like probably 15+%... I said earlier that I had a 23 cassette (EVERYONE else has a 27/28) and it was a total standing, grind-fest for the first 2 miles up and down these crazy climbs.  I got caught at the top of the last hill, which didn’t surprise me at all but then really pushed hard on the downhill and got away again.  One of the things that is really awesome about my Quintana Roo CD0.1 bike is that it is soooo super aero. Riding downhill I am able to stay with people much heavier than me- which rocks going downhill in races. Thank sooo much to Skip at Nytro for helping me with my bike..Nytro does so much for the triathlon world- they rock!!  http://www.nytro.com/

 I had the new Altair profile design wheels on and they rode super fast too- very happy with them and an AMAZING value if anyone is in the market. Also had the new Profile Design Volna Aero bars for the first time- which literally have taken 1.5 pounds off my bike- amazing how much aerobars matter!! I had no idea!!

….Anyways, I got to the front of the bike race by the middle of the first loop, but it took me quite a while to catch Bree Wee- who was in first most of the bike. Super strong cyclist and super fun person…and awesome picture of her racing a cow on the rev3tri.com site:  http://rev3tri.com/live-posts/pro-bike-action-photos/ganadores-2/  With about 8 miles to go, I started to get really really hot. This is when I learned my second lesson of the day.  Remove the vent block in my Rudy Project Wingspan aero helmet when it is 97 degrees out…you think I would have figured this out by now.  The Wingspan has this great design where you can interchange the vent space pieces depending on the weather:

    Check out all the massive vent area if you freaking remove the cover!!
But obviously there is user error if you don’t actually use this great function =)  So my head was getting very hot –  I decided to start singing to myself. I figured this might take my mind off the fire burning under my helmet…so what better song to sing than “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers:
I came into T1 first off the bike with about 30 seconds- so figured I had some time to put on some socks...and Yes, I am the only pro I know who wears socks in an Olympic distance race….
I was fairly confident that I was one of the faster runners in the field but you never want to be too confident of anything so I definitely tried to get into a comfortable cruise rhythm pretty quickly- not too fast, not too slow.  The one issue I was having was the heat but three things saved me:
1-      Lots of salt the night before. This is a trick that a lot of pro use…I literally drowned my food in salt the night before a hot race and have not had a cramp since doing this..(but no guarantees!)
2-      Hammer Endurolytes and Hammer Heed- such great products and such a great product company!!  Being a biochemistry major and a med student, I have researched nutrition products a lot and I am absolutely convinced that Hammer has the best stuff- which is why Team IE only uses Hammer.    There are several specific reasons for the superiority of these products…I am doing a full write up on hammer products this week so check out the TEAM IE blog this week for more details on this if you are interested:  http://teamieelite.blogspot.com/
3-      CARRY  YOUR WATER WHEN IT IS HOT!!  Big deal.  Mark Lorenzoni and Dana Thiele of Ragged mountain racing have repeatedly pointed out to me how Ryan hall carries his water bottle with him away from the bottle station for miles after pickup- while all of his competitors take a few sips and drop the bottle.  This is a big deal when it is hot and water can be a major unrecognized resource on the run.  Water on your head – also very important to keep core temps down in hot weather- use water however you can on the run to stay cool. Once core temps rise, trouble ensues so you have to prevent against this.
The run was super hot, hilly and a significant portion was in the sand so it was epic.  After the first loop of the two loop course I could tell I was pulling away pretty comfortably so I tried as much as I could to back it down. No need to burn any more matches than you have to in March.  However, I was getting super hot and just wanted to stop running so I think my mind and body were battling with what pace they wanted to run…
Mind:  “Slow down, chill out, don’t be stupid, do what you do best- chiiiilllll”
Body: “Just hurry up and finish, this kind of sucks, hot, painful, don’t slow down – I just want to lay down- get there so we can lay down and eat”
Funny- because usually the mind and body have the opposite conversation; I think they met in the middle this time.
Crossing the finish line for my first pro win was huge- I was so happy that it was at a Rev3 event too.  The race director and event directors are such warm, nice, caring people. I had a blast with them.  Thanks so incredibly much to my genius genius coach Greg Mueller (sooo thankful for him!!) and my husband, Wes Radetsky. 

Thanks to Champion Systems for making the best suits in the world! Cant wait for the new pink one I just got!
Lastly, here are some cool interviews and videos  on me at the race:
Thanks for all your cheers!! Go Team IE!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Team IE in 2012

It is my pleasure to introduce to the World, the Team IE Professional Triathlon team for 2012. This year we have decided to expand the blog to pull in the whole elite team. This will give the World some great insight into our team and the wonderful people that compose the team. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by such hard working wonderful people, and we have some dam good athletes too. The race season is already under way and the camps and testing suggest that we will have a World impact! Over the next year team members will be blogging about life, training and racing. I hope that this is a nice balance of entertainment ,motivation and education for athletes and coaches. The next 3 weeks have our athletes racing in Costa Rica, Australia and Brazil. These athletes have deeply committed themselves to the process and are all ready to race. With seven athletes blogging this year, we will cover a wide variety of topics but if you have a request, please send us your questions. Good luck in racing and be safe in training.

Team Roster

Kaleb Vanort
Nicole Kelleher
William Huffman
Kyle Lee
Lisa Mueller
Jason Smith
Nick Early

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Season Opener

This past weekend was my first race of the season, an ITU race in Clermont, FL.  I did this race last season and had great success at it, it was my first podium finish as a professional.  I had high expectations this year and I was feeling great pre-race.  The weather forecasts leading up to the race were telling me it was going to be sunny and hot.  Although the winter has been mild in South Bend this year, I knew it was going to be a tough challenge racing in 90 degree heat.  I did my usual sauna "workouts" leading up to the race to try and get ready for the heat.  Despite the heat, I was ready to get the season under way!!

Swim - The swim at Clermont is one of the reasons I like this race.  The water is shallow and requires a lot of dolphin diving and running in the water.  Last year had about 300m of actual swimming, but this year the course was changed slightly.  This year we started in the water, about knee deep on me, and had about 550m of actual swimming.  My swim has been getting better but I was a little nervous about the longer swim this year, I really wanted to make the front bike pack.  When the horn sounded we were off and dolphin diving.  As we were dolphin diving I noticed someone about 10 ft ahead of everyone at the front.  I am not sure how this guy got such a fast start, but I figured it was now going to be a fast swim.  I felt great in the water and got in a good rhythm to hang with the swimmers around me.  The buoys were a normal battle, but I expect it now so I just stay calm and get around them as fast as possible.  Once we got to shallow water again everyone started dolphin diving and eventually running in the water.  Once I hit the beach Greg let me know I was in good position, but a break away was forming at the front.  I raced up the beach and in to and out of transition.

Bike - The chase was on. I was in a group of 10-15 trying to catch a group of 8.  We were riding stronger, so it was just a matter of time before we caught them.  We caught them before the first turn around and the attacks started shortly after that.  I am a lot stronger on the bike this year, but I need to learn to stay calm now.  When 1 or 2 people would attack and no one from the group would respond, I would.  I really wanted to win the race, so I was not going to let any good runners get away.  Looking back on this, it was not my best idea.  Closing a gap is one thing, but closing it quickly at the cost of high watts, is not the best route.  I may be one of the middle aged athletes but this is still a relatively new sport for me.  I never stop learning, I just wish the lessons were a little more forgiving.  I felt great on the bike the entire time though and I thought the run was going to go well. I was excited to get off the bike.

Run - I got in my running shoes and tried to start running fast; Jarrod took off and set a fast pace early.  My legs were not responding!  The last time I can remember my legs feeling this flat in a race, I got lapped in a 10k on Oregon's track. I took water at the first water stop but I realized nothing was going to help this.  I was going to have to get tough and just keep pushing.  Jarrod was out in front, but I was still in the hunt for 2nd. On the second lap I tried to get my legs going, but they were having none of it. With 1k to go 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th moved and I had no response. It was a lonely, hot last 1000m.  It was the first time in a triathlon that my run had let me down.  

It is weird how disappointing a 6th place finish feels this year, but I learned a lot and there were some bright spots from the race...I had a great swim and bike!  And if I can feel that bad on the run and still get 6th place, I cannot wait until I have a good run-off.  I had a great cheering section at the race and I think that helped me get through the run.  Also it is great having teammates in the race.  It is nice to have Will and Kyle in the bike pack with me, knowing I am not alone on the road.

I would like to thank my mom and sister, Greg and Lisa, my grandparents, and my girlfriend and her two friends for coming down to the race.  Also it was great to have Will's family and Robbie and his dad out on the course as well.  Thank you everyone for your good words!!  Sorry, I may have been a little grouchy post race! :) 

Always desire to learn something useful. ~Sophacles


PS - Happy Birthday Dad!!