race report Archives - Britt Fit

Update and Reflections

By | Race Reports, Triathlon | 4 Comments

Hey there!

Here are some updates from the last couple of months– race reflections and general observations.

So, Brice and I took a trip to Ottawa, Canada in June. The people we met there made our trip one of our favorites yet (and we have taken quite a few in our 3 years as a married couple). We were picked up from the airport by Jamie (the best volunteer ever), stayed with the most kind and generous host family, and even got invited into our host’s in-laws home for snacks and coffees (and a post-race shower…fyew). Our new friend Jamie loaned Brice a bike a to use for our stay, so we were able to use cycling as our main mode of transportation for exploring the city. The roads and paths were very bike-friendly!

During our 4 days in Ottawa, I got to compete in two draft-legal triathlons. It is always a plus when I get multiple race experiences in one trip, because all this travelling and time off can be costly. The first race was a “super sprint” semifinal, which took about 20 minutes to complete–three sports and two transitions in 20 minutes! This meant that the intensity was about as high as it gets in triathlon. It was painful. I got off to a great start, finishing the swim just at the leader’s feet, hung on to the back of the front bike pack (dreadfully fast ladies in my heat), and then ran as fast as my legs would go to cross the line 7th and qualify for the A Final the following day. It was a great opportunity for me to be in the A Final so that I could test myself in a strong field

Day 1 Swim Start

Day 1 Swim Exit

Day 1 Bike Finish

 Exploring Ottawa Post-Race

Checking out the locks


When we arrived at the race site for the final the following afternoon, it was warm and very humid. My pre-race anxiety began to get the better of me and I suddenly thought something that I sometimes think–even though I don’t want to think it–before races: “I don’t want to do this.” I had no motivation. But, I chose to do what I do often in training: kick in the autopilot and just “get on with it”. There are so many people on my team to whom I owe my best effort.

When the race starts, many of the jitters float away and I am left with the sound of my own breath, of water through my swim cap, and the sight of arms flailing, feet kicking, bodies splashing all around. The swim started out great, and I was near the front for a while. Shortly before the first turn buoy, I had a familiar feeling of doubt. Instead of being proactive and confidently swimming ahead, I started worrying about people catching me. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy. I quickly found myself near the back of the large pack, where I stayed for the remainder of the swim. Once you are toward the back, it is so much harder (it feels impossible) to overtake other swimmers and gain position again. It’s much easier to find a place at the front and stay there (as I had the day before). Exiting the water at the back of my swim pack, I struggled to catch the group ahead of me on the bike. I eventually joined a group with some riders behind me and stayed with them for the rest of the 20km. I was glad to be in a group, especially because it was blustery in some areas. I felt like I actually contributed to our group on the bike, which was a victory for me. On the run, I was able to find my pace and stick with it. I passed a few girls who seemed to have outdone themselves in the heat, and finished “in the mix”–another big victory.

 Day 2 (Final) Swim Start. Thanks to swim coaches Coach Mary and Steve for making me an “aggressive starter”

Day 2 Bike Course Turnaround- U-Turn into a big uphill. Ouch.

 Day 2 Run- Photo Credit: Stephen Maunder

After the race,
Brice and I got to have Father’s Day dinner and gelato with our host family before heading home early the next morning. We made lots of good memories in Ottawa, and we hope to visit again sometime.

Next up was Des Moines, Iowa. The first and most important thing that happened was that we located a Trader Joe’s and R.E.I. very close to our hotel. Double Win! We ended up making several trips to the R.E.I. for some supplies and mechanical help with my bike :\

Once again, it was warm and humid out. The water was also warmer than it had been in Ottawa. One of my pet peeves is swimming in warm water. I am one of those people who ask the pool maintenance folks to please turn off the heaters! But, sometimes I have to suck it up. As the noon start time approached, I could feel the adrenaline building and calming myself down became my main objective. I got in the water for a “warm up” swim but found myself doing a lot of recovery stroke on my back because I needed to calm down and breathe. I trusted that my body would know what to do when the gun went off. I envisioned a happy dog running into the water and embraced the SwimRun rule of “dogging in”.

Thanks to USA Triathlon for the photo!

To my surprise, the heartbeat sound which is used in World Triathlon Series events was played prior to our start. Just in case I wasn’t anxious enough. At the sound of the gun, my body knew what to do. Thanks, body! I ran like an excited dog into the water and found myself at the front of the group going stroke to stroke with the eventual leader out of the water.

It was going great…until it wasn’t. Halfway through the swim, my fight or flight instinct ran out. I was now entering survival mode. I turned over onto my back a couple of times to catch my breath and as the majority of the field passed me I began to wonder whether I would be able to continue the race. I attempted to stand on the beach and wobbled my way up the sand, feeling like I had never stood on two feet before. I slowly regained composure as I made my way up the path to transition.

I was still a bit out-of-sorts in T-1, and threw my goggles on the ground. A  referee had to tell me twice to put my goggles in the bin (you get a penalty for leaving equipment outside your bin). I noticed that there were still a few others behind me and decided to take it easy until they caught me on the bike and then try to stay with them. I mounted my bike and pretty soon the girls behind me caught up. Around that time, I noticed that there were an awful lot of barriers and people wandering through the middle of the course, so I yelled at them to move! Then, I realized that we were no longer actually on the course. Thankfully, we found our way back after losing a couple of minutes to our detour. It wasn’t until later that night that I realized it was me who made the wrong turn and unfortunately for the ladies behind me, they followed me–so sorry!

The rest of the bike was okay. I began to feel strong again and was thankful to still be moving forward. Off the bike I locked into a comfortably hard pace and made it to the finish line in one piece, happy to be done but disappointed in my haphazard swim execution which had an unfortunate impact on the rest of my day.

That evening, Brice and I went out celebrate his birthday. He chose a zombie-themed burger and shake joint where we had a good time consuming large amounts of saturated fats and empty carbs.

The next few days were spent extracting some lessons from my less-than-ideal performance. I made a new friend on our flight who happened to be a psychotherapist. He helped me sort out my feelings about the race and even gave me some insight based on his own observations. He suggested that I might have placed a little too much weight on my performance, and on the triathlon part of my life in general. He mentioned a sort of “importance range” where our passions should be. A little too far to either side of that range, and we get off balance. We lose sight of who we really are and what our ultimate focus is. For me, that is being a child of God and following after Him wholeheartedly. My new friend and I shared this goal, and we talked at length about life– about how our passions, relationships, stuff, talents, etc can be such blessings* to ourselves and to others, but those same good things can become idols which distract and harm us. This conversation has stuck with me, and I have been asking myself more frequently what is really the greatest desire of my heart. Is it to be great at doing something (i.e. Triathlon)? To be liked by people? To be perceived as “good” or “nice” or “pretty” or “fit” or “strong” or “religious” or “successful” or “____”? If the answer is yes to one or more of these–which it often is–I need to redirect my gaze and put the “idol” in its rightful place: important, but not too important.

*About that word: blessing, I have been thinking about what it really means. It gets thrown around a lot lately, which is fine. But, I think we tend to look at a blessing as something like winning, or getting presents, or accomplishing a goal, or having things go our way, or not getting hurt, sick, etc…When I hear the word “blessing” it is a reminder to me that God can make everything work for our good, no matter how bad it seems (Rom. 8:28). He can make a blessing out of a curse (Deut. 23:5). So, whether I win or lose, it can be considered a “blessing” depending on how I look at it.

In other news: Brice and I gambled for the first time during our layover in Vegas. There goes $5 and all my race winnings (oh, wait…).

Up next for me: IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Cruz & Austin!

Food for thought: There will always be a reason why you can’t. There will probably be lots of them: You aren’t genetically gifted or talented. You don’t have money for fancy equipment. You have asthma. You have an abnormality that limits you. You started later in life. You aren’t strong enough. You have poor flexibility. You keep getting injured. You are busy. You are tired. Your friends don’t think you can…Instead of focusing on why you can’t, Find the reason(s) why you can. 

Oceanside 70.3

By | Race Reports, Triathlon | 2 Comments

First off, thanks God for a safe race with no med tent, no crashes, and no penalties! This was the first real positive long course race experience for me since my first 70.3 in 2010, and gave me the motivation to try it again sometime. Prior to this past weekend, my long course racing experience consisted of the following:

  • 2010 Lake Stevens 70.3: 5 hours even. Pretty solid race. Felt strong and “in the zone” the whole way. I felt I raced beyond where I “should have been” according to my preparation.
  • 2011 Wildflower Long Course: 5 hours, 40 minutes. Something went horribly wrong here. I raced okay on the swim and bike, and survived the brutal run course, but didn’t realize how deep of a hole I had dug myself into until I still couldn’t eat or drink (or move) an hour after the race. I was carried to the med tent and given 3L of IV fluid. I finally got up (with my mom’s help) and squeezed a few drops (they wouldn’t let me leave the medical tent until I could pee!). My mom helped me catch the shuttle back to our campsite, where I laid miserably nauseous and half-awake until the next day.
  • 2011 Long Course World Champs: DNF. I was determined to get it right this time. The swim was cancelled due to cool temps, so we started single file onto the cold bike course. I thought I had kept my pace conservative, but somewhere around mile 50 of the 74.5 mile course, I realized that something was off again. I think it must have had to do with my pacing. I was bonking. I stopped at an aid station to refuel and rest a bit, then rolled through the rest of the course while hundreds of athletes zipped by me. I took my time in transition, and decided to start the run course and see what happened. I was running very slowly just hoping that things were going to turn around. It was an 18-mile course with two loops of a double out-and-back, so I got to see my parents on the course a couple of times. Once I realized that things were not turning around, and that I would probably need to walk the majority of the course, I found my parents and told them that I did not want to finish. I didn’t want to end up sick and in the med tent again. I was very sad. This was my first DNF ever.
  • 2012 Wildflower Long Course: 6 hours, 11 minutes. I was SO determined to race smart and nail my  pacing/nutrition/hydration. I somehow did not do that. I finished the race but had to walk/shuffle a good deal of the run course to avoid the same health outcome as the year before.

…After 2012, I stepped away from long course racing to focus on gaining some lost speed and figuring out my body. I completed a graduate degree in nutrition, and soaked up as much knowledge and experience as I could with regard to training and sports nutrition. I sought help from my collegiate triathlon coach, Coach Gareth, and we embarked on a long journey of discovering my triathlon potential. We are still on this journey today, more than 4 years later.

I was a touch nervous going into Oceanside 70.3 knowing it had been 7 years since I had executed a solid race at this distance. I told myself that this was a brand new beginning. I tried to forget about all of the negative experiences and give myself a fresh start, a do-over. Here’s the lowdown on my race at 70.3 Oceanside, 2017:

Pre race: I felt strong and fresh leading into the race–thanks Coach G! I did a better job of keeping my mind calm and not getting too amped in the days leading up. I learned from my N’awlins experience that getting my adrenaline rushing for a few days straight up to the race is actually exhausting and leaves my nervous system drained for the race itself.

Brice and I traveled to O-side on Friday and got caught in some bad L.A. traffic…who’d have thought? I made it to the pro athlete briefing just in time. It was neat sitting next to Heather Jackson, Holly Lawrence, and the other really, really, ridiculously speedy people.

After the meeting, Brice and I ate at a cool brewery in San Marcos. They even had a “Triathelete” Pizza, so I obliged.

After dinner, we stopped at a Target *because Brice forgot his toothbrush*. This meant that I was *forced to pick up some Talenti cookie dough gelato for dessert*! Geez, Brice. Our final destination for the evening was at our Homestay in San Marcos. We were very fortunate to land an AMAZING homestay host family with beautiful, cozy, accommodations. They also had the best little wire fox terrier named “Chesty”. He was just as ferocious as a cute fluffy puppy can be, and equally sweet.

Race Morning:

I woke up and went down stairs, where Chesty greeted me with a fierce growl (until he realized who I was and again became adorably playful). I also had the fortune of hearing the family’s chinchilla chirping. I thought it was an alarm at first! Ha!

I went about my usual morning routine, made coffee with my handy Aeropress and ate a TJ’s Force Primeval Bar toasted with peanut butter and jam. Nom. I grabbed my bottles for the race, and we hit the road. We arrived to find that our parking spot was in a primo location. Score! Making my way into transition was a bit hectic. I wasn’t prepared for the hugeness of this race-3k+ athletes, plus volunteers and spectators– so many people!

After preparing my transition area, I headed to the “professional porta potties”. Holly Lawrence and Meredith Kessler were standing behind me for about 10 minutes during the wait, and I got to hear them talking about random stuff. It was comforting because they sounded like normal people. Even the best athletes in the world have to poop.

The Swim:

After the gun went off, my first thought was “I forgot to start my watch!” so I opted to wait and get my times starting with the bike leg.

Pretty soon into the swim I found myself swimming with Heather Jackson. I was happy to have someone to pace with. About 500 or so yards in, I didn’t see Heather anymore, but as I rounded the first left-turn buoy at the far end of the harbor I saw a line of girls at my feet. I kept my pace to the next turn, a sharp left back toward the swim start/exit ramp. This is where things got foggy (literally). I couldn’t see a thing because the sunrise was blinding me and I had cleverly decided on my clear, untinted, goggles. I had been warned about the sun coming up but shrugged it off, thinking it would be no big deal–wrong! I stopped abruptly (sorry, ladies behind me) to try and find out where I was. I sat in behind a couple of women (including Heather) and we arrived at the swim finish in just under 29 minutes. I felt like the swim had passed by pretty quickly, which is not my usual feeling–so that was good. I was ready to test my fitness on land.

Starting my watch. Thanks for the pics, June!

The Bike:

After a tour of the very long transition area, we cruised onto a bike path and eventually into the hills of Camp Pendleton. The course was one big loop. I like that because it doesn’t feel as monotonous as some of the multi-loop short course races. I was expecting some hills because I had heard about them from friends who’d race Oceanside in the past, but I was not expecting such a steep gradient on the first climb. Okay friends, I believe you now. This hill was not joking around. My focus on the course was to fuel and hydrate well and to keep my power output under control. I think I did a pretty good job with those things. I consumed a fig bar within the first mile, a nut butter-filled Clif bar around the halfway point, 2 bottles of Skratch, and a large Gatorade Endurance (course support). I think that my fueling/hydration plan worked out pretty well–it left me feeling focused and without stomach sloshing on the run.

Acknowledging Brice, who was chanting his usual “THAT’S MY WIFE!!!!”.

I don’t have much else to say about the bike course, except that I heard my friend Savannah cheering for me at least 3 times. She was also racing, and feeling really good apparently 😉 She ended up having an awesome debut 70.3 race and qualifying for 70.3 Worlds!! Woot!

In T2, I decided to spray on some sunscreen and put on socks (I don’t usually race in socks). I am glad I did those things, because I ended up with neither a sunburn nor the gnarly blisters I have had in past races. I did end up with one blister on the bottom of my foot, but it didn’t really start talking to me until the last 3 miles of the run– not too shabby.

The Run:

I felt really good at the start of the run. I came through the first mile in 6:18, but did not feel like I was running that fast. My plan had been to start out closer to 7:30 pace (assuming my legs would be feeling like Jell-O) and gradually cut that to sub-7:00 pace. My gut said “You should slow down. You feel good now, but you will pay for this later. You can’t maintain this for 13 miles.” But, the pace felt smooth–almost effortless– in the moment, and I wanted to see how long I could keep it up. I thought “but, what if I can maintain it? What if I am having a breakthrough run right now? I want to see what I can do!”

So, I held about 6:20-6:30 pace for around 3 miles. Then, I noticed that my legs were not moving quite so fast. I stopped looking at my watch. I didn’t want to let my slowing splits discourage me. I decided to focus on trying to run steady.

Around mile 6 or 7 is where I started to really need the coping mechanisms that I often rely on when things get tough: sipping Coke and splashing cold water in my face; singing up-beat songs in my head; meditating on my current favorite word: “Fearless”; focusing on keeping my shoulders relaxed, elbows pumping, and legs turning over; remembering all of the hard training sessions I’ve completed.

At mile 10-or-so is where I was questioning why I had run so fast at the beginning. Would I have felt so sore and awful if I had just paced it more evenly? My focus became increasingly narrow: Just get to the finish line!

Post-race Reflections:

  • It took a while for me to feel as strong and healthy as I had in 2010, but I chose to believe that it would happen…and it did!
  • Triathlon is one sport, not three. It is a game where you have so many pennies in your pocket at the starting line, and you have to figure out where to spend those pennies to put together your best possible race. Don’t spend them all too soon, or you else will end up overcooked too early in the game. Don’t arrive at the finish with leftover pennies or else you will have not raced your best race on the day. You want to spend your last penny right before/at the finish line, feeling like you gave everything you had and played a smart hand.
  • The challenge of long course racing is in finding your “sweet spot” where you can push just hard enough on the bike to have a fast bike split but not hard enough that you mess up your run too much. That’s where I see room for me to improve for future long course races. I would like to get a little closer to finding my limits while still erring on the side of going “too easy” on the bike.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you:

  • To all of the friends and family who have encouraged me (at home and on the course): Brice, Mom & Dad, Tiff, the Olivers, Buenaventura Tri Squad, Lisa, John, June, Greg, Rebecca, Keith, Danny, Betsy, Steve, the list goes on.
  • To my brilliant coach, Gareth Thomas. As I’ve demonstrated in my prior attempts to coach myself through long course race preparations, even coaches need coaches. While I enjoy coaching other athletes, it’s nice to have someone else that I trust to look after my own training.
  • To my favorite chiropractor, Dr. Romeo. Thanks for helping me through all of the aches and damage that comes with training and racing. You’ve helped me to recovery quicker, train consistently, and show up ready to race.
  • To the best local bike shop, Metal Mountain Cycling, for taking care of my bike and keeping it looking tops.
  • To my VC Swim training buddies and coaches, Coach Josh and my M26 Tribe buddies, Skratch Labs, and Verve Cycling.
  • To the Ironman peeps who provided an awesome experience in Oceanside, and to the awesomest homestay hosts we could have asked for–the Hatalas.

Bonus Content:

Before this race, I considered buying another bulky bag to fit my spare tube and tire levers under my seat. But, rather than spend extra money for something to add weight and size to my bike, I decided to wrap some electrical tape around the items under my seat and call it good. Brice used his engineering skills to rig this up for me and keep the stuff from falling off my bike. It worked out great! I highly recommend it for anyone who is riding a road bike with limited storage space and/or wearing a kit that lacks pockets to stash stuff in. I think I’ll even keep this setup for my training rides so I can finally use my bento box (on the top tube of the frame) for snacks!

Brice’s super aero spare tube rig



By | Race Reports, Triathlon | No Comments

NOLA Elite Nationals Race Report

Last weekend, Brice and I took a trip to NOLA for a triathlon and some exploration of the city on the side. This was pretty much the end of my race season, and it was fun to end it with a mini vacation–a prequel to our not-so-mini vacation coming up next month (we are going Down Unda!). I didn’t have the race of my dreams, but I did meet some of my goals and gain some good experience.

Strange Voo Doo

The days leading up to this race were weird. I tried to practice my usual visualization and mental preparation stuff, but just thinking of the race made my heart race and adrenaline skyrocket. I felt unusually amped up and anxious/nervous/excited. While I normally can handle 2-3 cups of coffee without any jitters, suddenly one cup of coffee would give me the shakes. I was also super sensitive to alcohol– a sip or two of wine felt like poison. I thought I might be getting sick, so I pounded Emergen-C and drank lots of fluids. The jitters, high heart rate, and adrenal response did not disappear until I dove into South Shore Harbor on race morning. Only then could I turn my nervous energy into focus and work.

Swim in Lake Pontchartrain

The swim was warm (about 80 degrees!) and non-wetsuit (my favorite!). We got to dive from 5-feet above the water, which added some extra excitement. I felt much stronger and controlled in this swim than in my previous swims of draft-legal races (Clermont/Sarasota). Maybe that’s because I have actually been swimming more than 3,000 yards per week now! Even though I don’t feel like I have been going significantly faster in my swim training, adding in some good volume has given me a solid foundation to work with. Back in March, I started my races feeling strong but about 200m into the swim would feel like I was drowning–I had no swim base to rely on whatsoever. So, I’ve learned that even if I can maintain relatively good speed in the water with extremely minimal swim training, I need to exponentially increase my volume and frequency in order to maintain that speed in a race. The added training also helps my bike/run legs as I don’t go into the rest of the race so fatigued from the swim. Noted.

T1 + Bike + T2

After the swim, we climbed a cement staircase and ran to T1. Abby Levene, the eventual race winner, bolted past me and gained a good distance heading into the transition area. Another thing to work on: sprinting out of the water. Thankfully, I had a pretty smooth transition and got onto my bike quickly, while Abby seemed to have some trouble mounting her bike not far behind. The two girls who exited the water right in front of me had gotten away, so I was by myself until Abby and another woman (Alissa Doehla) caught me. We worked together to catch the two ladies up ahead. Then our group of five chased after the two leaders, who were about 30 seconds up from us. I didn’t feel awesome on the bike, but I was happy just to stick with it mentally and not get dropped. Once we caught the leaders, at a little over halfway, the pace seemed to mellow out, but there were a couple of surges mixed in. We all came off the bikes into T2 together.


At the start of the run, I felt a giant cramp take over my abdomen. It wasn’t the usual side stitch that occasionally visits me during hard training sessions and races. It was my entire stomach–maybe it was upset from the nervousness and acidic “voo doo” building up the past few days? I focused on staying calm, breathing, and finding my own pace. I saw everyone else in the field cruising up the road, but there was one other athlete who I kept my eyes on. The gap between us got smaller and smaller until we went through a water station around mile 1. Then, just as I accidentally knocked over my water cup and apologized to the volunteer who may have gotten splashed (I didn’t look back to check), she picked up her pace–or maybe I slowed down– and the gap began to grow once more. I felt powerless to increase my pace, but stayed positive, telling myself “there is nobody behind you; you’ve got nothing to lose.” The weather was mild for New Orleans, around 80 degrees, but felt increasingly warm to my tired body. I ran in the shady parts of the course as much as possible. I finally rounded the curve for the finish and crossed the line in 7th place, about 30 seconds behind my closest competitor.

Post Race Reflections

After the race, I was curious about what my splits had been–especially my run split. I have been seeing huge improvements in the run training over the past few months– comfortably hitting paces that not long ago had felt much more laborious, and maintaining increasingly higher weekly run volumes than ever before, all while maintaining higher bike and swim loads. Just over one week ago, I had run a relatively comfortable 19:40 5k split in training, and followed that up with a 19:16 during the Carpinteria Triathlon. I went into this race feeling very confident that a sub 19:00 5k split was in reach. During races, I typically do not wear a watch or worry about pace. I rely on my body’s signals and go by feel. So, I had no idea what pace I ran in NOLA. I only knew that it felt pretty slow. Still, I hoped that my split was at least a little bit faster than it felt, which is sometimes the case for me. I was sad to find out that my split was 21:01, almost 2 minutes slower than my split just one week prior in a race that I had felt much less rested for.

While I can think of some possible explanations for the slower-than-expected run, I think that sometimes you just have a bad day. Sometimes there is no perfect explanation as to why things go the way they do. There are factors that affect our physical performance and mental capacity during a race, but just as you can’t always pinpoint the exact formula that creates one of those rare “perfect” races, you can’t control or predict those performances that are sub-par. They just happen. I am trying to be okay with that and move on. That said, I want to learn from the obvious mistakes of my race preparation and execution. For future races, I want to avoid excess feelings of pressure and anxiety by keeping my mind off of the race approching and not making such a big deal out of “key races”. I want to treat them just like any other race and take the pressure off of myself. I want to practice race day mental strategies (i.e. visualization, positive self talk, mantras, etc) in training so that there is no need to “cram” in the mental prep during the week leading up to the race. I think this will help keep nerves at bay. Finally, I want to continue to focus on quality training to give me the confidence to go into a race knowing that I have done all that I can to have a good race rather than simply wishing for a “good” day!

Mini Vacation in NOLA

After the race, we explored Bourbon St. and Frenchman St. hoping to find some good jazz music to listen to. We didn’t find much, but we did see some street performers and found a good place to eat seafood. I do not recommend Bourbon St. (and neither did any of the locals!). I do recommend going to downtown NOLA, which we did the following morning. We stopped by some coffee shops and a cute little place called the New Orleans School of Cooking, where we picked up some freshly made pecan pralines–yum! Then, we walked along the Mississippi and found the famous Cafe Du Monde. The lines were loooong! I recommend leaving plenty of time to enjoy this cute little place. We got to peek into a window and see the bakers throwing freshly rolled & cut beignet dough into the deep fryer. Mmm. The cafe is also known for its cafe au lait, which we tried both hot and frozen (think Wendy’s frosty with coffee instead of chocolate) versions of. We enjoyed our treats in the park across the street, right next to a line of horse-drawn carriages. Our last stop in NOLA was at Jean Lafitte Swamp Tours. We booked the large airboat tour, but got to ride in the smaller (more intimate, more expensive) boat because it was a slow day. We loved it and highly recommend going during the spring/summer! Our airboat captain was extremely friendly and knowledgeable about the area, history, local flora and fauna, airboat mechanics, etc. He was good friends with lots of the local alligators and even brought one up onto our boat. Brice got to hold a baby gator, too!

Thank you to those who’ve generously supported and helped me along this season-Brice, my parents, the Olivers, the amazing Coach Gareth, Trevor and Khrystle at Metal Mountain Cycling (they fixed my broken spoke in record time during the week leading up to my last two races!), George Galbraith and the folks at Verve Cycling for setting me up with a top-of-the-line InfoCrank power meter, and my favorite local tri/run shop Mile 26.

Diving off of a 5-ft high wall into the harbor

Diving off of a 5-ft high wall into the harbor



Almost there



Voo doo on Bourbon St.






’bout to eat beignets at Cafe Du Monde



Park panorama



Beignets and cafe au lait



Our tour guide with She Devil



Brice got to hold a baby alligator


Triathlon at Pacific Grove

By | Race Reports, Triathlon | No Comments

Triathlon at the Pacific Grove Race Report, by Britt


  • First Olympic Distance Draft-Legal race.
  • First time swimming through lots of kelp during a race. It was a lot harder than I expected! My muscles almost cramped everytime I yanked on the kelp.
  • First time I was able to draft on the bike right out of T-1 (at least until I got dropped halfway through lap 2 of 4).
  • First time winning prize monies.
  • First time being granted a homestay. Thanks again to Tri California for finding us a homestay, and huge thanks to Steve for hosting us!
  • First time getting to watch my sister compete in a 10k run at the same venue the day after my race.


  • Best swim/T1/bike in an all-elite field, so far. I have a long ways to go before I can feel confident about getting into a lead pack. I got out with the leaders, but fell behind after turning the first buoy. I got very stuck in some kelp and I let that turn into “stinking thinking”. I slowed my pace and dropped back into 6th/8 on lap one, with #5 (Amanda Felder) within sight. I started to feel negative thoughts creep in like “just slow down and let the others catch you. You can ride with them on the bike.” But then found my rhythm on lap two, and–with the help of a speedier transition–was able to exit T-1 with Amanda. We (Amanda doing most of the work, admittedly) caught #4, Marissa, midway through lap 1 and the three of us worked together for a bit, until Amanda’s strength got the better of me halfway through lap 2. Marissa pulled ahead of me, trying to bridge the gap, and put up quite the fight, but Amanda was just too far ahead. Marissa then pulled ahead of me, and the three of us rode solo for the remaining 2.5 laps on the windy course. The rest of the bike course was spent convincing myself not to quit. “Just finish the race and you’ll get a check!” I told myself. More importantly, it wouldn’t be fair to my uber-supportive husband, family and friends, if I had just thrown in the towel because “it was hard.” Things got a bit better on my own, though. I found my own rhythm again (it is hard to find a rhythm in a small pack, when you are constantly rotating and accelerating/decelerating/trying to find a few seconds to drink your water).
  • Best 10k split (42:21) since my best days at UCLA. This was far off of where I wanted to be (under 40 minutes) and farther still from where I’d like to be in the coming season/s, BUT it is 2-3 minutes faster than my splits in O-D races last season!
  • Best post-race dinner with Brice, my parents, and Tiff. We had amazing seafood at Scales on Fisherman’s Wharf and then stopped for chocolate/ice cream at Ghirardelli.
  • Best post-race drive home along Highway 1. Brice and I enjoyed the beautiful coastline, stopped at Big Sur Bakery (YUM! We had eggs with brisket and a cast iron griddle cake with berry compote). Brice got in a surf session in Morro Bay, too.
  • Best race elite treatment. Prize money and a homestay and free food–can’t beat that.
  • Best during race mantras. I had a good amount of time race morning to sit and contemplate what to write on my hands. I chose two phrases: 1. “I will be full of courage” and 2. “I will sustain you.” These both came in handy on the run, when I needed to dig deep and choose to continue with courage, and I needed the reminder that God is stronger than me. He sustained me to the finish.


  • Get back to work. If you want to have the confidence that you will be in a lead pack and have a strong run, you have to earn it by putting in the time and work. Otherwise, worry and wishing are all that you have.
  • If you regularly run (and sweat) in shoes without socks, please wash them out with some Dr. Bronner’s soap and then air dry them completely. Your nose and your spouse will thank you.
  • There is a T-3: Finish line to Food line. If you dilly dally, you will get the least appealing fare (e.g. cheese sandwiches vs. meat subs, regular milk vs. chocolate milk, etc).
  • Don’t open your chocolate gel packet before the race thinking that you will save time during the race, and then pick it up in your mad rush out of T-2 and promptly squeeze its contents all over your hands. Having chocolate gel all over your hands is inconvenient because you then have to grab all of the water cups at aid stations as you scramble to get the gunk off your hands, and it’s just gross.
  • Swim in your wetsuit at least a week before your competition so that any ridiculous chaffing has a chance to heal before your race.
  • When swimming through kelp, be prepared for a strength workout.
  • Don’t quit unless you are risking serious injury or illness. It will always be hard, so learn to anticipate the hurt and practice resilience.
  • Becoming a mom does not have to slow you down. The winner of the elite race, former Olympian Julie Ertel, is a mother, and so was another elite competitor.

Going in for lap 2


Thankful for stronger ladies who push me! I got dropped 0.5 laps after this.


I survived the bike leg!


Sweet Relief



Brice made a friend