Skip to main content

Challenge Williamsburg Half Ironman - quick recap

Obstacles are put into your way to see if what you want is really worth fighting for. 

As athletes, we are going to peak only a few times in any given race season. Within every season, we will race on a variety of courses, in a variety of different conditions. Never will two races ever be the same. We will experience highs and lows within every race and between every race, there will be obstacles to overcome to get to the starting line. 

As athletes, sometimes we feel so prepared and we fail with our physical attempt on race day. But with every bad race, we learn how to move on. We continue to fight until we conquer our own personal demons, weaknesses and past setbacks.

Sometimes on race day, it all seems to come together.
Far too often, it's when we feel least prepared, not ready or feel scared to set goals that are within our reach that we do the impossible with our body on race day.

Regardless if we have a great race but it comes with a fight and a struggle, we have a good race and it feels effortless or we feel the race just didn't go as planned, we must never give up on race day.

Within every race season, it is important to set meaningful, challenging and realistic goals that will motivate and excite your spirit to work hard for what was once not possible when you started your training journey. Keeping in mind that race day will not be easy, it's important to never let one race define you or cause you to give up. 

We must  never give up on our goals, especially if that means making mistakes and learning lessons along the way. There is always something to learn on race day and we can always make improvements in our ability to manage efforts, nutrition, pacing and the elements on race day. We must never let what we fear get in the way from what we are capable of achieving.

We all have our own personal battles, weaknesses, setbacks and obstacles to overcome before and on race day. 

But remember that you don't have to stand on the podium, set a PR or qualify for a national or world event to have a great race and to do something incredible with your body. 

Never set a limit as to what you think you are capable of achieving on race day.  Get excited for the possibility to do something that you never thought was possible.
Throw out the excuses, believe in yourself and race smart.

Continue to fight on until it all comes together on race day and you have that race that you have always wanted......but perhaps never once knew it was within you to have. 


I raced Challenge Williamsburg half ironman this past weekend. This was my 11th half ironman distance triathlon. 
Nine years of endurance racing behind me and plenty of lessons to learn along the way.

Eleven 70.3 mile races to discover strengths and weaknesses and to challenge my mind and body. 
Four weeks ago at Challenge Knoxville, I had a season goal of placing top three amateur female. Knoxville was my A-race for placing whereas Williamsburg was a key race but more so just a time-goal race. In Knoxville, I finished 2nd overall amateur female after racing on a hilly bike course (in the rain) and a very hilly run and conquered my goal.
In Knoxville I raced on a course that suited my strengths of hills and rather than having a time goal, I chased my nearest competition. 
But in Williamsburg, I went into this race with only two time goals as I wasn't sure if this course would suit my personal strengths which would then allow me to place on the podium as a top-three overall amateur female. 
I love racing my competition but I never want to finish a race feeling like I didn't accomplish something. I strive off personal battles so if my nearest competition is too strong for me on race day, then I race chasing a time goal (sometimes the time goal is one that I set before a race or one that I create while I am racing). 

At Williamsburg, I wanted to break 5 hours for the first time and go sub 2:40 on the bike for the first time.

Even after 10 half ironman distance races and 9 ironman distance races, I still find myself setting new goals, learning new things and discovering continuous improvement. 

Through many years of racing, I have discovered a few things that suit me well on race day. 
-non-wetsuit legal lake swims
-hilly bike course
-looped run course
-trail run

Although these things may suit me, they certainly do not necessarily bring "fast" race times.
They require skills, focus, exceptional pacing, mental toughness and good nutrition and the ability to race smart knowing that the one who slows down the least will have the "fastest" time.

When it comes to racing and the desire to be the best athlete you can be on race day, you can chase the competition or you can chase times. 
Often on race day, you can only achieve one but with the fight to win, you may be able to accomplish both. 
After what felt like a very slow swim (I didn't have my Garmin on so I never knew my swim time), my legs felt heavy when I started the bike. But somehow, I woke them up and I had my fastest bike split that I have ever rode in any race. 

When I started the run, I made my way to the gravel trail which was 1.5 miles of rolling terrain. When I exited the trail, I had 1.5 miles of blazing heat on my body, sucking the energy away from my running legs.
With my mom and Karel cheering me on on the sidelines, I found myself not fading on the 4-loop run. I felt stronger and stronger and then the unplanned became a mission after 68.5 miles of racing.  
It was a matter of learning from past races, trusting myself, taking risks and staying on top of my nutrition that I did what I thought was never once possible at this race.  

With less than 1.5 miles to go on the run, I took the lead and finished first place overall amateur female.

Thanks to all the incredible ladies out there who pushed me to new limits at Challenge Williamsburg!

Race report coming soon.........
Marni - Half Ironman
1.2 mile Swim: 31:56
T1: 3:07
56 mile Bike: 2:33:02 (21.95 mph average)
T2: 1:12
13.1 mile Run: 1:45.24 (8:03 min/mile) 
Total: 4:54:42.30
1st overall amateur female

Karel (half aquabike)
1.2 mile swim: 33:40
T1: 2:16
56 mile bike: 2:20 (23.78 mph)
Total: 2:55.59
2nd overall male aquabike half