Sleep more, train better, race faster

By Charlene Waldner

“Without rest there is no training”.

This is a quote my swim coach Neil Harvey told me a while back and I’ll never forget it.

What is the key difference between a pro and an age group athlete? It’s not how many hours they train, but more importantly, the quality and time spent recovering, napping, feet up, and hours of deep restful sleep.

There are many studies which support that sports performance will be significantly impaired by poor sleep patterns. The easiest way one can improve physical performance is with high quality, uninterrupted sleep for overnight recovery.
Insufficient or poor quality sleep can lead athletes down a slippery slope. Effects of poor quality sleep can show up as a decline in physical and mental performance, a weakened immune system and possible weight gain.

The quality of your sleep is just as important. Disturbed, poor quality and restless sleep will interrupt the sleep cycle. However, individuals need to reassess their own time management for duration and sufficient number of hours needed.

There is overwhelming evidence demonstrating that poor performance and mental alertness are related to poor sleep habits. We live in a society that drives us to sleep less and work more. We consume copious amounts of caffeine and other stimulants, thereby encouraging our bodies to fight against natural responses.

Everyone can function at different levels of required sleep. Some people can get by on 4 hours a night, most need 7-8 hrs, and athletes may demand 10+ hours. Athletes require more sleep to recover, and repair damaged muscle tissue from the demands and stresses of training. Quality sleep enhances growth hormone production needed for tissue repair and muscle rebuilding.

Physical effects of poor sleep are:
-Reduced endurance
-Reduced cardiovascular endurance
-Impaired motor function
-Increased appetite and weight gain
-Delayed visual reaction times.
-Delayed auditory reaction times
-Hormonal disturbances including stress
-Serious health problems including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

Psychological and mental effects of poor sleep:
-Diminished mental functioning
-Reduced short term memory
-Impaired mood
-Increased perceived rate of exertion-a specific training intensity will seem harder
-Lowered serotonin levels-a brain transmitter that helps regulate sleep, appetite and mood.

Ways to improve Sleep Quality:
• Avoid intense exercise at least 3-4 hours before bed
• Sleep in a darkened room or wear an eye mask to keep out light.
• Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and other stimulants, especially before bed time.
• Don’t eat a large meal before retiring for the night. Similarly, don’t go to bed hungry, especially if you’ve trained that evening as you may awaken later in the night with hunger.
• Increase carbohydrate intake in the evening to help induce sleep
• Limit computer time and watching TV, which can act as stimulants.
• Keep your bedroom for sleep and intimacy only
• Drinking an herbal tea or warm milk can aid sleep
• If you’re suffering from sleep problems, try to increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods (beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, wholegrain breads and cereals, and green leafy vegetables); magnesium supplements may be also useful
• Light stretching or gentle yoga poses may aid relaxation.
• Homeopathic or natural remedies may help to unwind, still and soothe the mind, and ease into a natural sleep.

Sometimes a good night sleep or a recovery day should take priority over a training session. Think about it – if you’re tired from lack of sleep, are you really getting the benefit of the workout?
LifeSport Coach Charlene Waldner is an NCCP certified triathlon coach and champion athlete who has spent several years in the health and wellness industry working as a fitness instructor, personal trainer and coach.
Beginner and experienced triathletes are invited to join the LifeSport Team. Contact LifeSport Coaching ( or visit

Five Tips For A Faster Run Split

Alex Mrosczyck-McDonald

Some people are natural born runners, while others have to encourage their inner runner to emerge.  Here are 5 tips that, if incorporated regularly into your training, will help you to work your way up in the pack.

1) Transition run.  After you return from a long ride, no matter how tired, take at least 10 minutes, and up to 40 minutes, to run right after getting off the bike with as little transition time as possible.  Teaching our muscles to run efficiently and fast after cycling requires physiologic and anatomic adjustment which can be trained and practiced and as we all know, practice makes perfect.

2) Vary your training pace.  Running at the same pace or intensity all the time will teach your body to run that speed.  However, “that” speed is often not our projected “race pace” and in addition your running will stagnate without new stimuli to encourage constant physiologic and anatomic adaptation.  Therefore, make sure you run various paces through a training week or cycle.  For example, long slow distance (LSD), tempo, track workouts and striders are all run at different speeds, which help to keep your run progressing and moving forward.

3) Frequency.  Running 7 days a week is not necessary. However, running 4, 5 or maybe even 6 days a week can have benefits.  Each run does not have to be long, the goal is frequency.  In fact varying the distance throughout a training cycle can help to keep things interesting.  Even a 20 minute run after a hard workout or the next day can have neuromuscular benefits and “teach” your legs to run efficiently while fatigued by recruiting different motor units.  

4) Drills.  Although no one really likes taking the time to do drills, they can help to reinforce proper form, mechanics and increase efficiency.  Once a week is all that is really required, and can be performed before or after a run, however, the effort should be high and you should not be significantly fatigued before starting the drills.  I recommend three drills 3×20 each followed by 3×20 striders.  Some of my favorite drills are high knees, butt kicks, pull-throughs and skips.

5) Head for the hills.  A great way to build physical, as well as mental strength is to incorporate hills into your training.  In addition, proper technique can help increase hill running efficiency.  While ascending, keep your body vertical with respect to gravity, as a result you will be leaning into the hill at the same time, drive your knees forward and up while concentrating on a quick explosive push off.  While descending, maintain your upper body perpendicular to the slope, as a result it will feel as if you are falling down the hill, keep your foot strike beneath your hips and not in front, as this applies a breaking force.  It will initially feel as if you are going to fall, however, with practice it will become more natural.  

As with any endurance sport, changes will not be seen right away, and simply “doing more” will only lead to burn out and injury.  There is no substitute for consistent and progressive training; however, the above approach with a little patience will help you to take your running to the next level.
Alex Mrosczyck-McDonald is currently a 4th year medical student at the University of Vermont with an interest in sports medicine and exercise physiology. Prior to medical school Alex graduated from Connecticut College in 2003 with an emphasis on both the biological and social sciences, where he was involved with numerous athletic as well as community based activities. He currently lives in Burlington, VT where upon completing medical school he will defer his medical career in order to race as a professional long course triathlete..

2007 Camel’s Back Duathlon

YMCA’s Camel Back Duathlon

YMCA’s Camel Back Duathlon

Sponsored by:

Camel Back Duathlon race sponsor

5k run, 30k bike, 5k run

Pre-start to the Camel’s Back DuathlonBoise, Idaho.  This year’s Camels Back Duathlon had 200+ athletes and some top notch competition.  Kelly Williamson and Joe Savola who were 2nd and 3rd at this years Robie Creek (The Toughest Half Marathon in the Northwest) were both pre-race favorites as they are both exceptional bikers.  Kristen Armstrong (2007 World Champion in the Time Trial) also teamed up with Cori Mooney (Women’s Robie Creek winner) to create a smockin’ fast women’s team that would prove to be faster than anyone.

I was squeezing this race in between the Honolulu Triathlon and the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.  After a disappointing run in Honolulu, I hoped that the stiff competition and racing on my day to day training course would sharpen my skills for Alcatraz.  I have always considered this one of the hardest races of the year.  The run is not flat and is intense from the gun.  The bike starts off with a nasty few miles of climbing and the second run leaves no room for catching your breath.  It is an intense course that surely eases the pain for the remaining races on the schedule.

Savola leading the 1st 5kNice day for a 5kTim Severa gave us a few last minute instructions before sending us on our journey.  I remained near the front without being the pace setter the first 2 miles, I’m learning my lesson about going out too hard in runs.  There were 5 or 6 different guys that took turns leading the 1st run.  Then, around mile 2 Joe and I created a gap that stuck.  Joe set the pace most of the way and I did my best to keep up without over-doing-it.  We came into T1 both at 17:29.  Joe donated some time in T1, but this being his first mulit-sport event, you would expect that.  However, with Kristin (former pro triathlete) being his fiancé….maybe she should teach him a thing or two about quick transitions.  🙂 

Kristin ArmstrongClimbing up Bogus Basin RoadI left the transition and was biking scared, fully expecting Joe and/or Kelly to come by at some point.  Kristen did pass me about 2 miles into the race heading up Bogus road.  I was a little winded from the run but she swiftly and powerfully zipped on up the hill.  I stayed with her for all of about 2 seconds.  She went on to split a 44:06, 2:40 faster than the fastest guy’s split!

Finishing the Camel Back Duathlon with Kelly Williamson hot on my healsBiking scared seemed to do the trick for me as I managed to hold the lead throughout the bike leg.  Kelly was one second faster on the bike with a 44:46 so he was hot on my heals and just behind me heading out of T2.  This was almost the exact situation he and I had at last years Spring Sprint heading into the 5k run.  I felt tired and my legs were Jell-O but I did what I could to keep my tempo up.  I finally began to morph from clumsy, tired biker legs to running legs a few minutes into the run.  I could tell Kelly was closing the small gap slowly but surely.  So while bracing myself for a sprint finish, I also picked up the pace to do what I could to discourage one.  I’ve never been in a sprint finish in any multi-sport event but I imagine they hurt.  I was able to hold him off, barely and win by just 8 seconds.

A few grapes and a lot of water later, and I was beginning to feel pretty good.  The icing on the cake was a massage from Mark Dauenhauer, 208-365-3176  (Mark was giving massages after the race) that helped me recover much faster than I would have otherwise.  Thanks Mark!

Thank You volunteers!  I thought the race was organized very well and had a fantastic time.  It was tremendous to see all the people out there enjoying their fitness on a wonderful day.

Camel Back Duathlon Results

Thank You race sponsors!

Camel Back Duathlon race sponsor

KIVI Channel 6 in IdahoBluesky BagelDomino’s pizzaJ105

Primary Health.

ITU Annouces new U.S. TV Deal

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) announces today a new deal with major U.S. broadcaster, Fox Sports Net (FSN), to telecast its World Cup series. Covering four races, the FSN debut features the Mooloolaba BG Triathlon World Cup from Australia airing on Tuesday, July 3 at 3:00 PM local.

Three more races air on consecutive Tuesdays at 3:00 PM local, showcasing the Ishigaki world cup from Japan, the Lisbon world cup from Portugal and the Richards Bay world cup race from South Africa.

“This deal marks an important step forward in our media strategy,” stated ITU Director of Media and Television, Brian Mahony. “Our goal is to distribute the world cup series as widely as possible and the U.S. is an important market for us.”

This latest agreement, which guarantees a minimum clearance of 50 million U.S. homes, comes at a good time for the ITU, which has recently announced deals in several countries including Russia, Greece, Croatia, Sweden, Italy and India.

The ITU television series consists of an hour-long show from each of the BG Triathlon World Cup and World Championship events. The show is currently broadcast in over 117 countries on major networks including ESPN International, BBC and Sky sports.

Airing the show in the U.S. has a personal significance for triathlon – the sport was founded in San Diego in the early 1970’s.

“Giving triathlon visibility in the birthplace of the sport is an important step forward for us. This deal will help the sport and our athletes gain recognition in one of the world’s major sports markets,” said Loreen Barnett, Executive Director of ITU.

“FSN looks forward to working with the ITU to bring the BG Triathlon World Cup to the U.S. audience,” said FSN Acquisitions Manager Josh Oakley. “These tremendous competitions are the perfect showcase for U.S. sports fans to catch an early glimpse of athletes they will see racing in next year’s Summer Olympics in Beijing.” 

To learn more about ITU TV and its international broadcasters please click here..

Potts, Swail Capture Elite National Titles, Pair Also Earn Spots on Pan Am Games and Worlds Teams


HONOLULU, Hawaii (May 20, 2007) – Two Americans have added their names to a prestigious list of triathletes to have won the USA Triathlon Elite National Championship.

Andy Potts (Colorado Springs, Colo. / Princeton, N.J.) and Julie Swail (Irvine, Calif.) claimed the honors by winning the overall titles at the Honolulu Triathlon on Sunday. It marked the first triathlon national titles for both athletes.

The wins also earned the pair the first slots at this summer’s Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro and the ITU World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. Second place Americans Sarah Haskins (Colorado Springs, Colo. / St. Louis, Mo.) and Brian Fleischmann (Colorado Springs, Colo. / Jacksonville, Fla.) also qualified for Worlds.

Potts, one of the top triathlon swimmers in the world, used his specialty to gain an early lead, Potts and Swail US National Champions at Honolulu 2007but had Fleischmann hot on his heels. That worked to the advantage of both athletes, who worked together on the bike to put distance between themselves and the chase group. Fleischmann left T2 with a slight advantage, but Potts’ 32:22 final 10k gave him the win in 1:42:27. Australian Gareth Halverson had the fastest run of the day (31:42) to push him past Fleischmann late in the race and give him a second place finish in 1:43:23. Fleischmann grabbed third overall in 1:43:37. Jarrod Shoemaker (Sudbury, Mass.) was fourth overall and the third American in 1:44:03, while Matt Reed (Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished fifth.

For Potts, it was a satisfying win after finishing as runner-up the last two years. “I always like to race from the front, take advantage of my strengths,” said Potts. “I had a great winter and improved my whole skill-set. I was glad I was able to put it all together today and take it from the front. I had some nice help from Brian Fleischmann out there on the bike. Brian worked really hard and I was glad to see he got on the podium and his efforts were rewarded as well.”

For Fleischmann, it was his third national championship runner-up finish in his career.

On the women’s side, 21 athletes started, but it didn’t take long for the race to narrow to five competitors. Swail, Haskins, Laura Bennett (N. Palm Beach, Fla. / Boulder, Colo.), Sara McLarty (Colorado Springs, Colo. / DeLand, Fla.), and Sarah Groff (Boulder, Colo.) exited the water as a group, worked together on the bike and entered T2 within seconds of one another. But it was the run where Swail, Haskins, and Bennett began to take control. The three raced together throughout the majority of the 10k course, before Bennett fell off the pace and Swail and Haskins approached the final mile neck and neck. It was Swail, however, who was able to use a surge to separate herself from the defending champion Haskins and eased into the win in a time of 1:52:33.

Haskins finished in 1:52:54, with Bennett finishing third in 1:53:12. McLarty and Groff grabbed fourth and fifth, respectively.

“It hasn’t really sunk in. I’m just blown away,” said Swail, when asked what it means to be a national champion. “I always expect to do well, but to me this is a very important race because I qualified for the Pan Am Games and World Championships. That was what my focus was today.”

“I was very pleased with my race strategy today. I had great partners in Sarah Haskins and Laura Bennett. We worked hard on the run and ran together, side by side. It was just a matter of who could kick it in at the end. I have been working on my speed work and it paid off today. I ran very steady, very comfortable the entire run. With 900 meters to go, I decided to pick it up for about 100, going all out, and steadily took a steady pace for the next 800.”

The elites shared a $30,000 prize purse in this international points race that served as an ITU Continental Cup and first event of the five-race USAT Haul to the Great Wall series.

Three Under 23 athletes also secured their spots at this fall’s ITU U23 World Championships. Ethan Brown and John Dahlz will be traveling to Hamburg for the men, with Jennifer Spieldenner earning a spot for the women.

Visit the race website for complete results:

USAT Elite National Championship
Hololulu, Hawaii
May, 20 2007

Elite Women

1        Julie Swail                   19:00  0:43  56:18  0:44  35:50    1 1:52:33        
2        Sarah Haskins            18:57  0:48  56:15  0:44  36:12    2 1:52:54        
3        Laura Bennett             18:56  0:45  56:19  0:41  36:32    3 1:53:12        
4        Sara Mclarty               18:52  0:46  56:19  0:43  37:20    4 1:53:59        
5        Sarah Groff                  18:57  0:45  56:20  0:46  38:14    5 1:55:01        
6        Samantha Warriner    19:19  0:47  58:24  0:41  37:16    6 1:56:26        
7        Rebeccah Wassner      20:22  0:48  57:25  0:41  37:36    7 1:56:50        
8        Margaret Shapiro       20:22  0:46  57:23  0:47  37:40    8 1:56:56        
9        Becky Lavelle             19:20  0:48  58:25  0:46  38:41    9 1:57:58        
10      Amanda Stevens        20:23  0:45  57:24  0:40  38:59   10 1:58:08   

Elite Men

1        Andy Potts                 17:45  0:43   50:57  0:41  32:22    1 1:42:27        
2        Gareth Halverson     18:15  0:43   51:58  0:46  31:42    2 1:43:23        
3        Brian Fleischmann    17:50  0:44   50:50  0:43  33:31    3 1:43:37        
4        Jarrod Shoemaker     18:17  0:42   51:58  0:38  32:30    4 1:44:03        
5        Matthew Reed           18:14  0:41   52:00  0:43  32:49    5 1:44:26        
6        Joe Umphenour         18:18  0:39   52:01  0:43  33:01    6 1:44:39        
7        Mark Fretta                18:41  0:52   52:28  0:44  32:10    7 1:44:54        
8        Matt Chrabot              18:49  0:40   52:32  0:40  32:45    8 1:45:25        
9        Blair Jordan                18:57  0:48   52:16  0:41  33:14    9 1:45:54        
10       Andre Paul Baillarge 18:57  0:45   52:21  0:43  33:27   10 1:46:11 
24       Kevin Everett             18:31  0:48   52:41  0:50  38:47   24 1:51:36

USA Triathlon Elite National Champions Year-by- Year

Year Men Women
2007 Andy Potts, Julie Swail
2006 Hunter Kemper, Sarah Haskins
2005 Hunter Kemper, Becky Lavelle
2004 Matt Reed, Barb Lindquist
2003 Hunter Kemper, Laura Reback
2002 Seth Wealing, Barb Lindquist
2001 Hunter Kemper, Karen Smyers
2000 Marcel Vifian, Joanna Zeiger
1999 Hunter Kemper, Barb Lindquist
1998 Hunter Kemper, Siri Lindley
1997 Cameron Widoff, Sian Welch
1996 Jeff Devlin, Susan Latshaw
1995 Jeff Devlin, Karen Smyers
1994 Scott Molina, Karen Smyers
1993 Bill Braun, Karen Smyers
1992 Mike Pigg, Karen Smyers
1991 Mike Pigg, Karen Smyers
1990 Scott Molina, Karen Smyers
1989 Ken Glah, Jan Ripple
1988 Mike Pigg, Colleen Cannon Kaushansky
1987 Mike Pigg, Kirsten Hanssen
1986 Scott Molina, Kirsten Hanssen
1985 Scott Molina, Linda Buchanan
1984 Scott Molina, Beth Mitchell
1983 Scott Molina, Sylviane Puntous.

Honolulu Triathlon 2007 – Haul to the Great Wall Series

Honolulu triathlon logo

Honolulu Triathlon finishDestination: Honolulu, Hawaii – The Honolulu Triathlon was a very fast course with a protected bay swim (no waves), and a flat bike and run route with minimal wind.  Not surprising then, was my fastest time in an Olympic distance triathlon of 1:51:36.  It was amazing to be out there racing for the US National Championship, as well as Olympic and Pan Am berths.  Albeit, as the 17th American and 24th overall; I have a ways to go for consideration.  I had some real highs and lows and still have much to learn and improve.  I have no room for error and some little things are costing me lots of time.  I am motivated (my wife would say obsessed) to work on some of my glaring weaknesses–> beach starts for the swim, and my mental state on the run.  I have no excuse for my slow 10k and would like to put it out of memory by having a good run in my next race.  I can have redemption in just 11 days at San Francisco’s Escape from Alcatraz.  I’ve had a goal of peaking for this race and think that the last month’s preparations have given me all the tools necessary for a fantastic race.

Smiling to the finish 

Tri runHortense and I both raced in Honolulu enjoying the events and adventure together is all the more fulfilling.  I think both of our races went similar in that we had OK swims, great bikes, and runs we both want to forget.  All and all it was an amazing race and left us excited to do the next one.  Hortense ended up 14th place in the 25 – 29 age group.  With a strong swim and bike combo she was in 8th place as she entered T2 with a smokin’ 1:05:55 bike split!  She was tagged with a 2:00 penalty on the bike, an unfortunate cause from a crowded age grouper course.  By the time Hortense started the run, the sun was out and the day’s heat was beginning to become a major factor.  Although her run was slower than what she is capable of, Hortense finished strong and even managed to smile while nearing the finish line.

View of Ala Moana Park in Hawaii, Swim start for Honolulu Triathlon 2007

Neutral start to the swim?Above I have attached some photos of the swim start.  They lined us up by rank, number 1 on the far right; I was on the far left.  It helps to point out the fact why I was so dismayed…after about 5 seconds of swimming it looked like I was 20 seconds behind!?  My first sighting was like taking a punch to the gut, how in the world was I so far behind all ready?  I am the blurry guy back in 3rd just coming out of the waterI gritted my teeth and did my best to swim through a group of fast swimmers.  Sometimes, you just can’t pass and you have to except your place in line.  It wasn’t until I turned the last buoy, 750 meters into the race, that I finally had open water in front of me.  The lead group was up about 20 seconds on me with the 2 leaders about 15 seconds up on them.  I swam alone the whole way back and closed the gap to just a few seconds.  It was not enough though; as we were all in transition together I was just off the pace. 

I was then alone on the bike for the first mile until Matt Chrabot and I attempted to catch the lead group.  We rode hard for a couple miles but were caught by the second group.  We remained with this group the rest of the race (Mark Fretta, Blair Jordan, Andre Baillarge, Ethan Brown, Bucky Schafer, Jordan Bryden, Kevin Collington, and Tim Marr).  Our group ended up giving up about 30 seconds to the lead group.  We did not have the best paceline set up and a few riders were hanging on for dear life.  Next time I’m in a situation like this I will make an attempt or two to break up the group and continue with the strongest riders.  I was a team player this go-around. 

Out of T1, just off the paceHonolulu Triathlon bikeI lead the group into T2 wanting to get a head start on the run.  However, I had already made a critical mistake in the days leading up to the race by not changing out the shoe laces of my new running flats with the elastic no tie laces I usually race with.  This cost me.  I was the second to last one out of T2 and almost 10 seconds off the lead group.  My shoes did not slip on quickly and it took a few attempts to get it right.  Usually, I feel great starting out the run but in this race I wasn’t feeling that way.  I struggled to keep up a moderate pace.  I caught Cameron Dye who had been in the lead group of the bike leg.  He had to stop with some cramping issues before resuming just in front of me.  We ran together the next several miles, trying to pick up our pace.  Then, finally, with about a mile and a half to go something clicked and I picked up my pace.  I finished with a much stronger tempo, making me realize I was sandbagging it a little in the beginning.  The heat and humidity scare me and I need to learn to deal with it better than I do.

Finishing up the 10kAfter the race, Hortense and I enjoyed all those things we couldn’t indulge in pre-race.  Like desserts, and sun, and lots of walking and hanging out in the surf.  The climate was perfect, when Hortense and I weren’t running, and we soaked it all up.  We saw squid like these at Waimea’s Shark CoveWe had prime conditions while snorkeling (just goggles) in Shark’s Cove in Waimea.  We saw several species of fish, some squid (they looked like miniature elephants watching me curiously with their big eyes and would jet off with amazing speed anytime I tried to approach them), sea turtles, eels and sharks!  No, just kidding, no sharks.              


Olympic Qualifier #1; Honolulu results


8000 triathletes celebrate Wildflower’s 25th anniversary

Lavelle, Anderson shred through harsh winds to win 2007 Wildflower Long Course titles
By T.J. Murphy

May 6, 2007 — This weekend, nearly 8000 triathletes set up camp at Lake San Antonio for the 25th running of the one of triathlon’s most popular events, the Wildflower Triathlon Festival at Lake San Antonio in central California. In Tri California’s feature event held on Saturday, May 5, California’s Becky Lavelle employed an overpowering bike ride to break free from a string of frustrating past finishes on the half-Ironman length long course race and Sweden’s Bjorn Anderson surprised himself and the triathlon world by holding off Australian Chris Legh on the 13.1-mile run leg to win his first Wildflower crown.

The 32-year-old Lavelle finished second in both the 2002 and 2003 long-course competitions and then was sidelined for three straight years by injury and illness. Although 2006 champ Samantha McGlone opted to go to St. Croix rather than defend her title at Lake San Antonio, Lavelle would face the challenge of fending off Australians Kate Major and Mirinda Carfrae and American Alexis Waddel.

Lavelle burned through a choppy 1.2-mile swim in 25:29 to establish a two-minute gap on the women she would later worry about on the run. The 56-mile bike leg was cursed with relentless cross- and headwinds, a factor that Lavelle used to her advantage as she padded her advantage by out-biking her competitors by four minutes and more, splitting 2:37:13 as compared to Waddel’s 2:41 and Major and Carfrae’s 2:42.

“I had no idea what kind of lead I had until halfway through the run,” Lavelle said. The dark memories of 2002 and 2003 — where she lead both races until being overtaken on the draining trails that crawl up and down through the hills between the lake and Long Valley — surely motivated the woman that has been dubbed the queen of Tri California events. But her 1:30:49 run did the job, winning the final Tri California title that has long eluded her with a final time of 4:35:19. Carfrae finished second in 4:38:14, Major third in 4:42:26 and Waddel fourth in 4:42:52.
Also taking thorough advantage of the wind-whipped bike leg was powerhouse Anderson, fresh off a stint of desert training in Southern California. Anderson wasn’t able to shake many competitors during the swim, as he exited with the likes of Colorado’s Brian Fleischmann, California’s Brian Lavelle (Becky’s husband) and New Zealand’s Bryan Rhodes, all in the 24-minute range. On the bike, however, Anderson locked himself deeply into the aero position on his Cervelo and ripped free of the field on the undulating bike ride, where drafting not only didn’t take place during the pro race, it was largely impossible. The 28-year-old Swede biked 2:15:05, miraculously fast considering the tough conditions (the bike-course record was set by one-time pro cyclist Steve Larsen in 2001 with a time of 2:14:06). His chief competitor, Aussie Chris Legh, managed a 2:19:46 and was five minutes behind Anderson at T2.

“Based on historical events, I would have been confident if Bjorn had 10 minutes on me,” Leigh quipped after the race, a comment reflecting the facts about Anderson’s past run splits and DNFs. “But he was tough out there today,” Legh said. “I took the lead at mile nine and figured I had it. But he attacked twice, and I was completely empty. I couldn’t match him.”

“I thought for sure Chris had the win,” Anderson said. “I can’t say I really attacked — I just ran as hard as I could.”


Anderson finished off the victory with a 1:26:04 run and 4:07:53 win. Legh was second, in 4:08:21, and Benjamin Hoffman, from Durango, Colo., took third in 4:13:32.

Race notes
American Greg Remaly, 27, was in the top three of the men’s competition through the bike ride but dropped from the race due to severe back spasms, according the event’s medical director, and was flown from the race course directly to an area hospital.

The elite competition within the Long Course event chased a $40,000 prize purse, with the winners cashing in checks for $5000.

The bike course-leading splits that helped earn Lavelle and Anderson victories also earned the champions extra cash, as Kuota served up $418.23 to each, a monetary amount symbolizing Normann Stadler’s 4:18:23 bike Hawaii Ironman bike-course record.
Wildflower Long Course Triathlon
Lake San Antonio, Calif.
May 5, 2007
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run

1. Bjorn Anderson (SWE) 4:07:53
2. Chris Legh (AUS) 4:08:21
3. Benjamin Hoffman (USA) 4:13:32

1. Becky Lavelle (USA) 4:35:19
2. Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 4:38:14
3. Kate Major (AUS) 4:42:26

For complete results, visit

Andersson, Lavelle Claim Wildflower Titles

Lars Finanger – Associate Publisher

LAKE SAN ANTONIO RESORT, California –   Under sunny and cooler than usual skies, two new champions were crowned at the Wildflower half-Ironman on Saturday.   Both winners, Bjorn Andersson and Becky Lavelle, used killer bike splits en route to their first victories at the North American classic.  

Noticeably absent from this year’s campground classic were last year’s winners and course-record setters, Terrenzo Bozzone and back-to-back women’s champion Samantha McGlone.   Bozzone, who is chasing a Beijing Olympic berth for New Zealand, was denied the chance to race in half-Ironman races by his national selection committee in the lead-up to their national selection races. McGlone, who will tackle Ford Ironman Hawaii this year, opted for the more tropical St. Croix Ironman 70.3 on Sunday.

Andersson took full advantage of the absence of Bozzone and other perennial favorites including Simon Lessing, Chris McCormack, and Craig Walton, to ride away from 2006 runner-up Chris Legh.   The Swede, whose name means “Bear” in his native Swedish tongue, broke the 56-mile bike course record set in 2003 by former professional cyclist and Ironman Lake Placid winner Steve Larsen, riding a blistering 2:15:05 split to better the old mark by 33-seconds.  

American Olympic hopeful, Brian Fleischmann led out of the water followed by a small pack of men including New Zealand’s Bryan Rhodes and Brian Lavelle (husband of Wildflower regular Becky Lavelle) in just over 24-minutes for the 1.2-mile swim in Lake San Antonio.   Andersson trailed the lead group by one half-minute with Legh over one-minute behind.  

Andersson wasted little time in playing his ace-in-the-hole when he took the lead in the opening miles of the arduous bike course.   After a disappointing DNF at Ironman South Africa the Swede perfectly adapted to the challenging Wildflower conditions while spending the last three weeks training in Valyermo, California at the home of long-time friend, and triathlon innovator, Dan Empfield.   Legh, a threat on the bike himself posted an impressive sub-2:20 bike but was left in Andersson’s wake.  

It is not unusual to see Andersson arrive into T2 with an advantage on his competition, but it always remains to be seen which of his bipolar run-styles will surface over the final leg.   According to Jason Goldberg, Andersson’s coach and owner of FIT Multisports, Andersson spent the early spring months cycling in preparation for the Tour of Belize, in which he won two stages and wore the race leader’s yellow jersey, and more recently training with long, hilly runs in order to minimize his time losses.  

“He scorched the bike at South Africa, but he had no run fitness,” said Goldberg.   “With his long and hilly runs he can maintain consistency and hold off a great runner like Chris (Legh) and lose only four minutes and not five, which should usually be enough for him to win,” explained his coach.  

His training time spent at the founder’s house paid off and Andersson held off a fast-charging Legh to capture his first Wildflower crown in a slower than usual winning time of 4:07:53.   Legh ran out of room and hit the chute in 4:08:21 and recent University of Montana grad and Durango, Colorado resident, Ben Hoffman rounded out the podium just over five-minutes behind Legh.  

With the absence of McGlone, the women’s race would also crown a new champion, with California resident Lavelle erasing her earlier loss at the Ford Ironman 70.3 Oceanside   to claim her first Wildflower win.

The speedy Lavelle led from wire-to-wire, exiting the water nearly two-minutes ahead of former University of Minnesota swimmer Amy Marsh.   Another half-minute behind Marsh included Monterey’s Alexis Waddel and Australian Mirinda Carfrae, who opted not to defend her 2006 St. Croix 70.3 victory.  

Lavelle scorched through the country canyons and recorded a bike split nearly four minutes faster than her female competitors.   By the time the Minnesota native reached T2, her insurmountable lead made it a race for second place.   Lavelle coasted through the famed campgrounds, made up of 60% trail and 40% paved roads, and hit the tape in 4:35:19, nearly three minutes ahead of the long-course convert Carfrae.   Carfrae used the fastest women’s run of the day to finish runner-up in 4:38:14, and Kate Major outpaced Waddel by a mere 26-seconds to take third.  

The age-group race on Saturday saw more than 2,000 finishers over the half-Ironman distance and another 750-plus in the mountain-bike sprint. Sunday’s Olympic-distance race, which included the popular collegiate race, saw 2,600 finishers.   The overall male age-group honor went to Ordinda, California’s Nicholas Thompson, who bested Colorado’s Tim Hola in 4:15:57, good for 7th overall.   The female age-group victory went to Haley Cooper from Spokane, Washington in 5:02:20.

For more on the triathlon’s Woodstock weekend, go to:


1. Bjorn Andersson (SWE) 4:07:53
2. Chris Legh (AUS) 4:08:21
3. Ben Hoffman (USA) 4:13:32
4. Joe Gambles (AUS) 4:14:45
5. Timothy Marr (USA) 4:15:02
1.   Becky Lavelle (USA) 4:35:19
2.   Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 4:38:14
3.   Kate Major (AUS) 4:42:26
4.   Alexis Waddel (USA) 4:42:52
5.   Erin Ford (USA) 4:46:47.

I finished my first 70.3 Ironman!


Thanks to ‘DownTown’ Wes Brown for the photos


Lake San Antonio, Monterey County, CA.  Coast to coast in 6 days for 2 of the biggest triathlons in the sport has been an invigorating experience.  First, it was off to St. Petersburg, Florida for the big East coast kick off to the 2007 triathlon season.  4,000 plus athletes enjoyed a wonderful day in the Florida sun.  For me, the mild 80’s with high humidity felt hot but luckily I was done competing by 9am to avoid most of the days heat.
Because I was racing 6 days later in my first Half Ironman, Hortense and I left that same day to get back quickly and prepare for the next race.  I felt really good after the race, I think the travel took more out of me than the race almost.  After taking Monday off, I thought I would sharpen my biking skills with a 48 mile group ride with about 15 miles in a hard charging paceline.  I felt tremendous, but I was getting some leg burn the last couple miles of the paceline.  Just 4 days later I would be racing with 8,000 other athletes at Wildflower’s Triathlon.
Using Thursday as a travel day, I flew down to San Jose and then drove down 101 another 2.5 hours to arrive at our hotel in time to watch the Golden State Warriors upset the Dallas Mavericks.  I love rooting for the underdog.  Friday was a prep day that turned into a lot of driving for me.  After heading out on a ride with the Boise Aeros it was time to make the 45 minute drive up to Lake San Antonio to pick up the race packets.  We got there a little before 1:00 and my packet wasn’t available until 2.  Then, I found out that I had a mandatory pro meeting at 5:00.  Ugggh.  I really wanted to get back to the hotel room for some R n’ R.  So, we drove back to the hotel and I enjoyed an hour of down time with my feet up, before turning around and driving myself all the way back for the meeting.
For all the work I put forth to get to the meeting, I should have just bagged it….shhhh, don’t tell Terry Davis.  The most eventful thing at the pro meeting was a raffle where they gave away about 30 – 40 items to the 70 or so pros.  I won nothing, and after the 15 minute meeting with about 10 minutes of raffling, I drove back to have dinner and make final preparations, but most importantly…to put my feet up.

I love West coast races because here, I gain an hour, so getting up early for a race is no big deal.  After some oatmeal and yogurt and the usual bathroom trips, I was ready to race.  The morning was beautiful; I never really took notice of the windy conditions, but did notice the clear blue skies and the mild weather.  At 8:30 I had my F2R wetsuit on and was the first athlete in the water.  I swam for the next 25 minutes doing some pseudo 50 and 25’s to get warmed up well.  The water temp was awesome, nice and cool.

F2R’s wetsuit came off fast

The pro swim start was smooth and I stayed in the lead group the whole way.  Coming down the final stretch, it seemed the leaders were just a few seconds up and I contemplated going hard to try and get the swim prime.  However, I never picked up my pace and finished steady in 6th place, not knowing what to expect in my first 70.3 race I wanted to stay conservative.  My transition went well and I was the third man to start biking.  I was a bit lost the first few miles of the bike as it was not up the same way as the Olympic distance course which I had done in 2004 and assumed was the same.  Nope, it was a beat up rode and a steady climb.  I could tell that my legs were not as fresh as they were 6 days ago at St Anthony’s; I thought to myself, “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that Tuesday night group ride”.  Ah well, it didn’t pay off at Wildflower, but it will down the road for other races….

By the time we made it up the hill and out onto the highway (about mile 6) I was biking with the lead group; and the 10 of us were all within 40 to 50 seconds.  That’s when Bjorn Anderson biked powerfully to the front and steadily pulled away from everyone.  That’s also when we all began cursing the wind.  We were riding right into it and it took a measured effort to stay straight and keep a good speed.  Miles 15 thru 20 were exasperating for me.  I was thinking these Half’s are not my thing.  I was suffering already and all I could think about was the miles and miles of biking I had left with hills and wind, not too mention my first half marathon after all that.  I couldn’t fathom finishing with an even moderately good pace.  DNF’ing crept into my mind. 

I tried to keep positive and focus on the task at hand, making small achievements and small goals along my journey.  I lost significant time cresting one of the hills when my small chain ring did not quickly jump to the big chain ring.  That’s when I started to lose sight of the lead group and the gearing problem was to be an unfortunate theme the rest of the race.

Then the bomb dropped, one of the motorcycles pulled up next to me, around mile 25 and pointed to the side of the road, wanting me to pull over.  He announced that I was not staggering and that I would have to serve a 2 minute stand down penalty that would start as soon as both of my feet were on the ground.  I quickly, got my feet out of the pedals and onto the ground so that my count down could begin.  I protested, nicely, that the guy in front of me was at least 70 meters in front of me.  He said, “It doesn’t matter, as long as you can see him you must stagger.”  Ah well, OK…seemed pretty lame to me, a warning would have been nice as I clearly wasn’t gaining an advantage in the strong winds of the day.  He was on the right side of the road; I was closer to the right side of the road, partly because it was scary hugging the center line in those windy conditions with trucks hauling boats whipping by on the other side.  I felt like I was standing there with my pants down as 6 or 7 riders zipped by me.

After 2 minutes of subdued eternity, I was off on my way.  With one guy again about 70 meters up on me.  It was nice 10 or 15 minutes later when he had ridden out of sight to be able to ride in the prime real estate of the pavement of my choice.  My race had changed since the penalty.  The urgency and race mentality gave way to finishing a strong race.  After struggling up Nasty Grade and turning back into the wind my mentality changed to survival mode.  The last 10 miles were tough and the aches and pains in my lower back and legs were being amplified.  I was still having problem switching gears cresting hills and that’s when I dropped my chain.  I tried to fix it while riding but it just wouldn’t catch.  I stopped for a second time, while 2 more riders whipped by me and out of sight before getting my momentum up again. 

Finally, it was time to test my mettle with my first half marathon.  I was all alone for the first 6 miles of the run.  I had ran at a comfortable pace earring on the side of caution wanting to first and foremost finish the race in a healthy state…i.e. no med tent.  I pillaged every aid station, usually grabbing 2 waters and a Gatorade while also having one of the Cal Poly volunteers splash me.  Thank You volunteers for all your help and encouragement, you guys are awesome!  I was first passed just past the 6 mile marker and then 3 more guys passed me by the finish.  With so many steep hills and the wind still howling, it was not surprising that the last hill almost broke me.  It was from mile 10 to 12, a long steady climb into the wind and on the pavement.  I was slowing considerably and fantasizing about getting to the 12 mile marker.  Upon finally reaching it, I had an ear to ear smile because I knew, for sure, that I was going to finish in one piece.  After mile 12 it was all down hill to the finish and a very satisfactory 1st Half Ironman.


1.2 mile swim down, 69.1 to go at Wildflowers 70.3Wildflower 70.3 in 3rd position at start of bikeStyaing out of the wind at Wildflower’s 70.3A conservative groove in first half marathonWildflower triathlon run finsih


Another record year at St. Anthony’s

May 1, 2007 — Press Release: The 24th annual St. Anthony’s Triathlon kicked off another milestone year with a record number of more than 4,000 amateur and professional athletes from 46 states and 15 countries. The first wave of the Olympic-distance race began when the professional male competitors entered the calm 77-degree waters of the Tampa Bay at 7 a.m.

Once completing the 1.5K (0.9-mile) swim, athletes transitioned into the 40K (24.8-mile) bike portion throughout downtown St. Petersburg and final 10K (6.2-mile) run. Spectators lined both sides of the finish line to cheer on athletes at the end of their almost 32-mile competition.

After a third place finish in the 2006 St. Anthony’s Triathlon, Matt Reed of Boulder, Colo., maintained his lead in this year’s race to become the professional male champion with a finish time of 1:46:10—breaking the previous record set by Rasmus Henning of Denmark (1:46:14) in 2006.

“This is a nice way to come back,” said Reed, 32, a native of New Zealand. “I planned to ride hard, have a big lead and hold it. The course was fast all the way around. Once in front, it was out-of-sight, out-of-mind.”

The record breaking triathlon continued when the top two female professional athletes— Michelle Dillon and Sarah Haskins—broke a 14-year record set by Donna Peters (1:59:00) with a 1:57:45 and 1:57:49 finish, respectively.

Surprised by her record win, Dillon, 34, said it was a difficult race. “I was 40 seconds down on my run. It was a matter of pushing myself.” Dillon is an Olympian from Great Britain. Haskins, 26, also finished second in last year’s St. Anthony’s Triathlon. “I had a big lead, but I’m happy with second place and my bike and swim.”

Australians Greg Bennett, 35, and Craig Alexander, 34, rounded out the top three professional male. Bennett had a finish time of 1:46:30 and Alexander had a finish time of 1:48:07. Bennett was the 2005 St. Anthony’s pro male winner. Julie Diebens completed the race in under two hours to place third with a time of 1:59:06.

As one of the nation’s premier multi-sport events, St. Anthony’s Triathlon, sponsored and produced by St. Anthony’s Health Care, is known for attracting high-caliber, world-class athletes to its scenic course along the waterfront of downtown St. Petersburg..