Maccabiah Games Triathlon

Before I give my race report, I want to tell you a little about my trip and what I did leading up to the race. I arrived in Israel on July 11th exhausted and pumped! After I awkwardly lugged around my gigantic bike box, and was questioned by security, I was finally in Israel!  As soon as I arrived at the hotel a few of my teammates along with some of the cyclist put our bikes together outside of the lobby area. People were walking by very intrigued by what were were doing. Our bikes were everywhere!  After putting the bikes together we went for a ride! I was SO exhausted from all the travel, but really wanted to bike. We explored some of the roads around our hotel and got many dirty looks, and honks from drivers. I soon learned that the drivers in Israel are one of a kind! Of course I had to go on a short run afterwards.  By the late afternoon I met the rest of my teammates! Everyone on my team was awesome!! We had a welcome event with all members of Team USA, by the time I went to bed that night I was probably awake for close to 40 hours!

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Official Team USA Open Triathlon Team

Over the next 5 days we trained every morning and went touring through the Israel Connect program in late morning for the rest of the day. Some of the highlights of my training were swimming at Wingate, which is where the Israeli national swim team practices, and biking with Israeli’s and having a support vehicle. They took us on the highway!!! It was no big deal for them! The touring in the afternoon was incredible, some of the top moments were go to swimming/floating in the Dead Sea, visiting the Western Wall, and eating a traditional meal at the Bedouin Tents.

Dead Sea!!

Chilin’ in the Dead Sea

Training ride

Training ride

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Tri team on top of Mt. Masada

I got to swim in the main competition pool!

I got to swim in the main competition pool!

OPENING CEREMONY

The opening ceremony was by far one of the coolest life experiences. A few hours before it started we got to walk around, mingle and take pictures with athletes from other countries! We then marched into a stadium with 35,000 people screaming and chanting “USA”! I took a zillion pictures and really soaked up the moment. I got the chills! It was so unique to be able to walk out with my fellow Jewish athletes all representing the US. We sat and watched the other countries march in. There was a concert and the President and Prime Minister of Israel spoke. Everyone was trading clothing. I traded my USA hat for a super cool green hat from South Africa!

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USA!!

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Cuban jews!

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I found the jews from India

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THE DAY BEFORE THE RACE

We arrived at Lake Tiberius just in time for the pre-race meeting. It was by far one of the MOST ridiculous meetings ever!!!! SO sketchy! We were told they would not be providing swim caps. HUH? When someone raised their hand and said they didn’t have one, the race director replied in broken English- “I get my cousin to come sell them.” What triathlon doesn’t give out swim caps based on your wave?? Luckily I had a few extra caps to lend out to my teammates. We also found out we had to do our own body marking too. Other questions were asked, and the race director did not have a lot of answers. I left the meeting a bit worried, but knew that everyone would be okay on race day.

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Getting my things ready the night before the race

RACE DAY

The race was on Friday July 26th and my wave went off at 5:55 A.M. When I found out in October that I would be going to Israel to compete I was so excited and knew that I wanted to give it my all with my training! This was by far the biggest and most important race I had ever done! I’d never left the MD/VA area to race, and to have the opportunity to travel to Israel made me step up my training. When I was in the water anxiously waiting for the gun to go off, I told myself that I had done everything possible to prepare and I had to believe in myself and my training and give it my all!

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Ready to race!

Before the race I previewed the swim course with my teammates, and everyone was confused on where the turn-around buoy was located. As the first wave was starting they were putting out the last few buoys! How disorganized!

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Trying to figure out the swim course!

I started off the swim nice and easy, made it to the first buoy, and then the turn around. After the turn around back to shore there were NO buoys to be seen! All I could see was a huge field of different colored swim caps. What was a cap and what was a buoy?? I knew I had to make it back to the shore. I was following people and then realized they were heading back to the start, not the swim exit. I even popped my head up, and said “where do we go??” There were other confused swimmers and someone pointed out the finish to me. I was pretty pissed because I knew I swam extra distance and gained time on the 1500 meter swim.

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Coming out of the water

Coming out of the swim, we had to run the entire length of the transition area on the outside,  it was about 300 meters, and then into the entrance, and I had to run all the way to the end. I grabbed my bike and had a quick transition. The bike course was fairly flat, and was 2 loops. I managed to catch a few girls who had beat me out of the water. It was SUCH a unique race because I knew so many people on the course that I had met during my trip. I had met the most interesting people from all of the world! During the race I reflected on my training, hard work and thought about some of my tougher workouts. It made me go ever faster and give it my all!

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STOLEN PHOTO

I pushed hard on the bike, and before I knew it, I was almost done! I had to run the entire length of the transition area again on the outside, and had a quick transition and was off my run. Our team doctor Brian told me I was the 3rd female! He also yelled out something that really motivated me throughout the 10k, “it all comes down to the run.” I knew that I had to run a smart race, and not let anyone pass me. I was hoping to catch up to the 2nd place female, but most importantly, I didn’t want to burn out. I started the run portion slowly to allow my legs to wake up. The run course was unique, it was 4 loops. There was tons of crowd support, and I passed the water station 8 times! Each time I drank some water, and dumped the rest on me! It was pretty hot out! I thought back to some of the hotter triathlons I had done this season (General Smallwood and Rockhall), where I had  runs that were far from my PR. I didn’t want to screw this one up! There was a girl from Canada that was in 4th place. I knew she was a strong runner, and I saw her throughout the run. My goal was to maintain my distance from her. I had an awesome run and felt strong! I ran through the finish line with a HUGE smile!! All my hard work since October had paid off. Not only did I have a great race, but I have never had SOOOOO much fun in a race! I cheered on the rest of my teammates! Although I was the 3rd female to cross the finish line, you never know if someone from another wave had a better time. The results were posted, in Hebrew, so I had to wait until the awards ceremony at noon to find out how I placed.

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Finish line!

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At the finish line with Ryan, Chad and Ari!

At the finish line with Ryan, Chad and Ari!

USA Triathlon Team

USA Triathlon Team

At the awards ceremony I got called up for 3rd place overall female and was SO excited!!! A few minutes later I got called up again for 1st place in my age group! Only in Israel can you double metal!! I was beyond excited! I had to wait a few hours to be able to call my fiance Marc and my parents, because of the 7 hour time difference!

1st place in my age group! With Adriel Young who also won his AG.

1st place in my age group! With Adriel Young who also won his AG.

My metals

My metals

3rd place female :)

3rd place female 🙂

Being the crazy person that I am, I wanted to train the next day! I went with my friend Ryan, and we both agreed it was going to be an easy chill ride. We are biking along, and saw a HUGE mountain, we looked at each other, and said “lets do it!!” It was a 7 mile climb, the hardest of my life!! I was going about 4-5 mph in all my lowest gears! So much for a recovery day! 🙂 It was really rewarding to make it to the top. Later that day, I took a trip to the hexagon pools in the middle of the forest with some teammates. We all crammed in the team doctor’s tiny rental car, and had an off roading experience!

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“Recovery” ride

At the Hexagon pools

At the Hexagon pools

I spent the rest of my trip enjoying the sites of Tel Avi. I ate amazing food and hung out on the beach. I continued to meet other athletes! I also went skydiving!!!

SKYDIVING!

SKYDIVING!

The BEST hummus of my life!!

The BEST hummus of my life!!

A HUGE shout out to District Hardware- The Bike Shop for your amazing sponsorship! I am so grateful for everything you have done for me! Another big shout out to my fiance Marc, for being SO supportive of my crazy habit and training regimen!  Also, a big thanks to the Super Athletes (Sandra, Alberto, Guillermo and Annette), you guys are the best! I am so lucky to have awesome training buddies! Lastly, thanks to my awesome coach Debi, for helping me improve this year! Your workouts are the best!

I am SO thankful for everyone who donated!  I had the experience of a lifetime, and I am very thankful for all of my friends and family who helped make this dream come true!!!

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Race #5 of the Season: General Smallwood International Triathlon

I am really behind on my race reports, and this one is completely out of order! General Smallwood was my 5th triathlon of the season. I have been racing almost every other weekend since May, and loving every second of it!

This was my last race before the Maccabiah Games, and I thought it would be a good idea to simulate the heat I would experience in Israel.

I woke up at 4:15 this morning and was out in the door in about 10 minutes. I felt really well rested because I went to bed at 8:00! I listened to nice calming music in my car and thought about each part of the race. Before I knew it I had arrived at the race site. Waiting in line to pick up my race packet I met a really nice girl who lives around the corner from me. I love making new friends at races! 

I had plenty of time to set up my transition area and check out the swim course. I heard that the water was 87 degrees, it went up 5 degrees from yesterday. I jumped in for a nice easy warm-up and was feeling good. I was expecting a bath tub, but it was actually pretty refreshing!

Before I knew it the horn went off for my wave. I didn’t want to start out too fast, but I was feeling great! There were no major currents or waves, and the course was very well marked with sighting buoys. I usually just breathe to my right side in races, but every time I took a breath I got blinded by the sun, and it became hard to sight the buoys, so I did more breathing on the left side for the first part of the race. I felt smooth and great, and before I knew it I could see the squiggly yellow man indicating the swim exit. I thought I definitely got a swim PR!! Looking at my watch later on, I did not get a PR, but instead of swimming .93 miles I swam 1.02 miles. Guess I need to work on swimming straight!

Swim Time: 28:42

The transition from the swim to bike was about a quarter of a mile. I ran confidentially up the path while ripping off my cap and goggles, quickly transitioned and set out on my awesome bike!

T1: 2:16

The first 10 miles of the bike course was filled with hills. There was a 29 year old guy that I kept going back and forth with, but I passed him for good at around mile 9. There weren’t many people around, but I managed to catch one female in the first few miles. I kept focus and pushed hard on the bike. I am slowly getting over my fear of picking up speed on the downhills, and my max speed was 35 mphs!  The volunteers were awesome, and I didn’t miss any turns. I got lost last year at the Columbia Tri and did an extra 4 miles, so I always fear doing it again!

Bike Time: 1:13:05 (Averaged 20.3 mph)

I came into the transition area and they announced I was the first female back from the bike from my swim wave. Hooray! 

I have been trying to improve my transition times, but I realized that it just takes race experience. It also depends on the size of the transition area. Today marked my 12th triathlon, and I think I finally got it! I just bought a pair of Newton racing flats, and raced in them for the first time today! I was able to slip them on pretty quickly, throw on my visor and head out for what would be a HOT run!

T2: 58 seconds 🙂

Now onto the run. I started off pretty slow to allow my legs to wake up. Doing brick workouts has really helped, and my legs don’t feel like they used to last year! About a mile in a girl from my age group passed me. I just couldn’t keep up, and thought to myself “who cares, run your own race.” I could have maybe pushed super hard to keep up with her, but then I run the risk of crashing and burning out a few miles later. 

I thought this course was flat, I thought to myself going up a pretty large hill! I kept calm and collected and watched my HR go higher and my average pace drop. I was able to pick up some speed on the downhill portions. I rocked out my signature yellow sunglasses today, and got comments from the volunteers on the run. I was hoping to pick up speed after that first hill, but I just couldn’t go any faster! I was telling my legs to go faster, but it just wasn’t happening!

I tried to dig especially deep the last 1.5 miles and caught a few more men, some who cheered me on. I really could not wait to be done, and all I wanted to do was sit in a huge tub of ice! It was HOT and humid out! I ran through the finish chute with good form and a smile, even though I was out of breath and beat up! I finished my 5th triathlon of the season! 🙂 

Run Time: 47:12 (My worst run of the season)

Overall Time: 2:32.21 (My worst time of the season) 1st in my AG and 5th female overall 

I sat in the shade with some other athletes, chugged my water and talked to them about the race. We all agreed that it was hot as hell on the run. Before I knew it Debi had finished the race, we walked down to the water where it was cooler and caught up about the race. We jumped in the water which was SO refreshing! 

When the results were posted, I saw that I was 5th overall and Debi beat me by .10 seconds. Pretty crazy!!! 

I learned today that every race is really different depending on the weather conditions and course, and that I can’t beat myself up over a bad time. Just two weeks ago I ran a 42 minute 10k at Rev 3 Williamsburg, so I know I can do it again! I also need to loosen the elastic shoe laces on my new racing flats, they felt really tight and I got some new blisters! The joy of being a runner, more blisters! 🙂

I leave for Israel on Wednesday July 10th, and my race is July 26th. Follow me on twitter @trihardblog for updates on my travels!

Thanks to District Hardware – The Bike Shop for the last minute repairs and for being so supportive! I love my Quintana Roo bike!  Also big shout out to the Super Athletes, the hills on this course were nothing compared to what we did at Skyline last weekend! Lastly, thanks to Coach Debi! I’ve improved this season, due to your awesome training! I’m glad we could race together today! 

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1st in my age group and 5th overall female! A good day 🙂