After I finished the 2011 Ironman World Championships, I was instructed by Karel that I would be taking a year off from Ironman racing in 2012. In addition to IM Kona being my only triathlon in 2011, I didn't have the race I wanted on the run in Kona due to some tummy troubles from swallowing a bit too much sea water (11:02 finishing time).
With Karel guiding me (I was not quite ready to call him my "coach") in 2011, he felt as if I needed a year to rest my body from long distance racing and work on my speed. It was really hard to not want a do-over Ironman performance in 2012 and truly test my fitness (plus I love the IM journey!!) but according to Karel, it was just not possible (and too risky) for me to get faster while training for Ironman distance triathlons.
"Alright Karel, I trust you."
It wasn't worth a deep discussion as I knew I would still be racing half IM distances (which certainly counts as a long distance race) so I trusted Karel and finally realized that every coach needs a coach.
Although my mind was still struggling to accept this new process of training (more speed work, more rest, more strength training), it was quite amazing how great my body felt in 2012 but also how I performed at my races. After a chilly start to the season with the Donna half marathon in Feb, I won my very first race...and it was a running race! I was the overall winner of the 2012 Iron Girl Clearwater half marathon. (I could not have asked for a better first race to win than an all-women's race, particularly Iron Girl. My dad also watched me finish which was super special.)
A month later, I ran my first sub 20 minute 5K (19:52) and placed overall female.
I found myself really loving 2012 because I was able to race much more frequently and recover very quickly from races. This was a big change than just training for an IM.
Who would have guessed that Karel's master plan was actually working!?!
A few weeks later Karel and I headed to Macon, GA for one of my favorite challenging races, the Colesium Rock n' RollMan half Ironman. Now it was time to see if Karel's plan would really pay off. Could I take all that speed work to a long distance race and feel strong and have the stamina to perform well?
I raced super strong (and surprised myself) and finished 5th place overall female (which got me money!) and ran my fastest ever off the bike in 1:42 (a 6 minute PR on this course) on a very hard, hot course.
Another great highlight of 2012 was that Karel switched from Cat 1 bike racing to triathlons!! In August at the Jax Olympic distance Tri Series #3, Karel and I did our very first triathlon together (Karel's 2nd triathlon and first Olympic distance tri).
Not only was this super special to race on the same course together for the very first time, but I had another PR of 2:15 in an Olympic distance race!
I trained really hard all summer for my key long distance race of 2012 Branson 70.3 with Karel (his first half and 3rd triathlon). This was my first time racing two half IM races in one season (4 months apart). We did a lot of track workouts and a lot of high intensity work in the pool and on the bike and lots of bricks and strength training/plyo's. The training paid off, again!
For the first time, I crossed the finish line as overall female amateur on an incredibly challenging course. I had the fastest female run of the day which was also a huge PR for me of 1:36.
Karel placed 5th in his AG which was awesome!
Even though I had great knowledge in exercise physiology, my approach was very wrong for my body and goals (and according to new approaches to long distance racing that I wasn't ready to believe). I guess I wanted to keep doing the same thing (and more) over and over and just hoped for different results. Well, actually, I ended up doing way more volume that I should have in my early years of IM racing and I didn't understand how to train or even race for that matter. I guess you could say I was barely getting by and really burning myself out as an IM athlete. For the past few years, I have felt healthy, strong and balanced. No burn out and always hungry to race.
I am incredibly thankful that Karel changed so much about how I/we trained for endurance sports and the results (and good health) show for it.
I'm not sure exactly what summarizes a successful season, as we all define it differently, but 2012 was a season of PR's and top performances for me so I would have to say it was a very successful season (with no injuries too). Never would I have thought my body would be able to perform like it did all season long and I can't thank Karel enough for knowing what was best for me and my long term goals of being a faster long distance athlete.
Patience and hard work are so important in discovering your true potential as an athlete.
Oh and speaking of those long term goals.....
2013 Ironman Lake Placid (first IM in 21 months): 10:43 (10 min PR), Kona qualified
2013 Ironman World Championship (10 weeks after IM placid): 10:37 (new PR)
2014 HITS Ocala Half Ironman: Overall female winner
2014 HITS Ocala Half Ironman: Overall female winner
2014 Ironman Austria: 10:17 (new PR)
2014 Ironman Wisconsin (9 weeks after IM Austria): 10:44 (13 min improvement from 2010 IMWI), Kona qualified
4 Ironman's in 14 months.
Thank you body!
Thank you Karel!
As an athlete who is self-coached (with Karel over-seeing my training plan and instructing me on race execution), I have learned a lot over the past 8 years. I have learned a lot of lessons and have had to overcome a lot of obstacles as an age group endurance triathlete.
Everything that didn't go well or could be termed as a mistake over the past few years, I have taken note to make sure I don't set myself up to make the same mistake twice (and this goes in training and racing). I always learn something new on race day, no matter the race and I also learn a lot about myself as an athlete, no matter the training journey.
Year after year there is so much to learn. I spend a great amount of time learning about the sport of triathlons, specifically endurance sports. I learn from other great coaches, successful, consistent athletes and I also like to take note of what doesn't work for athletes.
There's so much that I love about coaching. It is rewarding, inspiring and educational. But it requires a lot of work, it is extremely time consuming and often exhausting. Coaches have a lot of responsibility as a human body is within the hands of the coach and it is the coaches job to guide the athlete's body to success but also to keep it healthy and well.
When I think about my past successes and many learning lessons (and now more learning with Karel as a new triathlete), I can count a lot of changes that have been made. And this has actually been a very beneficial thing. I really enjoy growing into my full potential and I know that it happens overtime, not just in one season. And many times, it takes new approaches.
I feel this is true for all athletes and that is why I feel my job as a coach is so special. Regardless if I work with an athlete for a season or for several years, I have the great opportunity to guide an athlete, teach an athlete and motivate an athlete to learn how to train smarter to train harder and to develop a strong body foundation, good mental skills, exceptional physical capabilities and a great ability to understand how to fuel for endurance training/racing.
Just like with my own personal athletic journey, Karel and I have made some exciting new changes to our coaching services and we feel that with our improved knowledge and experience with coaching (and learning what didn't work), 2015 is going to be a great year for us but more so, for all of our amazing Trimarni coaching athletes.
If you are interested in being coached by Karel and me, be sure to complete the application by November 15th.
For more info on our 2015 coaching services, click below....