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2017 Season Recap - Marni and Karel

It's easy to confuse perfection with success.

For many athletes, there's a constant allure that the more perfect you are with your training and diet - if you do everything "right" - success will come your way.

If you ask any "successful" athlete about his/her road to success, there's a 99% chance that he/she will tell you that true success involves taking risks and it also involves failure. The best part about failing is that it gives you an opportunity to learn from the given situation and not being perfect means that you are always learning and there is room for improvement.

In looking back at our 2017 racing season, Karel and I both feel that it was a very successful season of racing. While there were some less than ideal situations that we faced before and on race day, we have learned all too well that you don't have to have a perfect race for it to be a successful race.

With the 2018 triathlon racing season awaiting us, I thought it would be a great time to reflect on our 2017 season.

Great Clermont Triathlon
Marni - 1st overall female - 2:21.47
Karel - 2nd overall male - 2:08.16


"Good things come when you least expect them."

After 3.5 rewarding and exhausting days of non-stop training, education and supporting our campers at our All-Levels Clermont camp, we concluded the camp with the Great Clermont Olympic distance triathlon. This was a no-stress race for our athletes (and for us) to dust off the rust and to be in the race environment. We had a blast racing with our athletes to conclude our training camp and the results were just an added bonus.

Marni - 1st AG (35-39), 3rd overall female - 4:48.08*
Karel - 3rd AG (40-44) - 4:19.46*
*IM 70.3 World Championship qualified

"No expectations. No disappointments."
For some reason, I was incredibly nervous for this race. A new age group for me and my first time racing on this course. It had been a long time since I had raced in an Ironman branded half ironman event so I knew the competition would be fierce for this early season race. Karel, on the other hand, had no nerves and he felt no pressure to perform. With a few Trimarnis out racing with us, we had a lot of fun out on this course and can't wait to head back in April of 2018. Since I was dedicated my entire season to half Ironman distance racing and hoping to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships at St. George, this was a nice surprise to kick-start my season. Karel ran a speedy 1:24 on the course (run time) and for the first time, he placed top three in an IM branded half IM event and also earned his spot to the 70.3 WC.

Ironman 70.3 St. George
Marni - 1st AG - 5:04.41*
Karel - 3rd AG - 4:32.23*

*IM 70.3 World Championship qualified

"Challenges are not set to destroy you but to challenge you."

St. George had been on our bucket list for a long time. We were so excited to finally experience this challenging course. As a key Trimarni race, we were equally excited to share the experience with eleven of our athletes. The course lived up to its hype and we will be returning back to St. George in 2018 for another chance to tackle the course and to experience all of the beauty that St. George (and the community) has to offer us triathletes. Karel and I were happy to land on the podium again (a repeat of IM 70.3 Florida 4 weeks prior) but the best part was winning the division 5 category for the Tri Club rankings!

Mountains to Mainstreet
Cancelled race due to weather

"You may not end up where you thought you were going, but you will always end up where you are meant to be."

Well that sucked. We selected Mountains to Mainstreet as a key Trimarni event as a way to bring our athletes to Greenville so that they could experience our amazing cycling routes. Sadly, Mother Nature had other plans for us with a nasty storm on race day morning. We couldn't let all that pre-race pizza go to waste so we all headed out to the Swamp Rabbit Trail for a wet and soggy run on part of the M2M run course. In looking back, maybe it was meant to be for me not to race as my legs needed a good 3.5 weeks to fully recover from St. George. We felt bad for all of our athletes who traveled to Greenville for the race but I'd like to think that this only made them hungrier for their next race.

Ironman Lake Placid 
Karel - 3rd AG - 9:41.35*
*Ironman World Championship qualified

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

Karel was ready for his return to Lake Placid after his planned DNF after the bike, in 2015, due to his torn plantar. Lake Placid holds a special place in our heart as it is where we raced our first Ironman together in 2013. The lead-up to Placid was going great until Karel found himself with a very bad sickness that knocked him out for several days during his taper (a week out from the race). With the help of some homemade potato and garlic soup (his mom's recipe for when he was sick as a child), Karel was able to improve his health by the time that we arrived to Placid. There was a lot of uncertainty for the day but Karel didn't overthink the race. It was a gusty performance and somehow, Karel managed to get to the finish line and land on the podium. He also managed to land inside the medical tent (no IV's needed, just lots of rest and broth) as he was completely depleted and exhausted from giving what he could, with what he had, on race day. It was great to share the race experience with our Trimarnis out on the course. Karel declined his IM Kona slot as we are planning to return to Kona in 2018 so the slot rolled down to Karel's friend Roman who traveled to Placid all the way from Czech! 

Lake Logan Half Ironman
Marni - 3rd overall female - 4:53.10

"Some days you just have to create your own sunshine."
As another key Trimarni race, I was super excited to return back to Lake Logan for another opportunity to race on this extremely challenging course. Although a beautiful bike course, there's nothing easy about the course as it beats up your legs before a 2 loop, up and down run. Knowing that there would be some competition out on the course (my good friend Katie Morales), I was excited for the opportunity to race to defend my overall win title (even though I knew that Katie would take that title from me). To summarize the day, I felt very flat on the bike and it was frustrating. Although I was able to put together a very strong run off the bike, I just didn't have it. Oh well. I was pleased to finish 3rd overall female and to have this race behind me as my next focus was my big race of the year - the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

Marni - DNS
Karel - 8th AG

"Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about."

With my entire season devoted to this one race, using the word disappointed would be an understatement. After smashing my face on the floor on race day morning due to blacking out quickly after getting out of bed, I not only felt sad about missing this race but I also was concerned about my health. Luckily, after lots of testing, I was cleared to return back to racing but without another race on my schedule. Karel had no pressure for worlds as his focus was on Ironman Chattanooga just two weeks later. Surprisingly, the course suited him very well and he shocked himself by placing 8th in his AG. It was a fantastic way to finish the weekend despite me not being able to race. Thanks to Karel's good thinking, I registered for Ironman Chattanooga (foundation entry) as my comeback race. While I didn't train specifically for Ironman Chattanooga, it felt so right to be racing an Ironman as my last race of the season.

Ironman Chattanooga
Marni - Female amateur champion, 1st AG - 10:28.50*
Karel - 2nd amateur male, 3rd overall, 1st AG - 9:20.55

   *Ironman World Championship qualified      

"Good vibes, positive energy and amazing souls are all I ever want around me."

Words can't describe how great it felt to start and finish Ironman Chattanooga. We had 14 other Trimarnis racing, including 2 first timers and I had some unfinished business in Chattanooga to take care of. I was super excited for Karel and that I could be on the same course as his first AG win and oh-so-close to finishing 1st overall male. I was shocked beyond belief to have won my first Ironman as an amateur as it's something that I have been dreaming of and was a big goal of mine for 2018. A big thank you to my body for allowing me to do amazing things with it on race day. The IM Chatty run course was so challenging, especially with the heat, but I had a reason to finish what I started despite all the pain and hurt that comes with Ironman racing. Karel accepted his slot to Kona (as that was his plan for the season) whereas I declined my spot so that another deserving female in my age group could experience racing on the big island of Kona. I'll be returning to Kona as a spectathlete!

Hincapie Gran FondoMarni - 3rd overall female
Karel - Finished 

"The mountains are calling and I must go."

Nothing makes me happier than riding my bike in the mountains, especially in and around Greenville. Although a fun event in Greenville, I was excited to "race" the Hincapie Gran Fondo with Karel as my domestique to pull me along. It was so much fun to suffer with Karel and I felt strong throughout the entire 80-mile (8,000 feet of elevation gain) route, all while tackling three of our difficult climbs (and everything else in between). What a great way to end the season!

Along with our races, we put on 4 training camps this summer. It was a lot of work but so rewarding and fun!

Clermont - March (all levels)

Greenville - May (skills camp)

Greenville - June (endurance camp)

Greenville - August (advanced camp)

Onward to 2018........
Karel and I like to set big goals in early season in an effort to keep the motivation high throughout the upcoming year. However, we never want to lose the fun and passion of this hobby so all goals come with no pressure or extreme changes in our lifestyle.

For next year, Karel's "big goals" are to get close to the 9-hour mark at Ironman Austria and to try to place top-10 at IM Kona. He realizes that the Kona goal is a big stretch goal but it's something that means a lot to him and hopes to one day achieve it.

For next year, my "big goals" are to break 10-hours at Ironman Austria and to place overall female amateur at Ironman Wisconsin. Although I can't control who shows up and what will happen on race day, these two goals are getting me super excited for my 12th consecutive season of triathlon training and racing.

Thanks for reading!