January 17

2016 Year End Overview

As I begin to start training again after six weeks off I am so appreciative of all the highs and lows of my 2016 season. With very lofty goals heading into this season I wasn’t sure if all would be accomplished. My goals were to qualify for Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Tennessee in 2017, Ironman Kona 140.6 World Championships in 2017, podium in top 3 of every race that I entered, and finish with a number one Ironman 70.3 World Ranking for my new Age Group 30-34.

2016 would be my first season without my husband/coach and my son at the majority of my races. They are such a support system for me in many areas before, during and after my races. I know this is the next step in my process to be self sufficient while I am traveling, but is still hard to be without them for extended periods of time while abroad. My 2016 schedule had me racing in the USA as far east as Haines City, Florida and as Far west as Coronado, California. I also raced in St. Croix, VI, Philippines 3 different trips with 6 races, and Xiamen, China. My World Championship trip to Australia was cancelled do to injury and hope to pick that country back up at a later date!

First up for 2016 was Ironman Subic Bay 70.3 which I love as has been one of the two races that I am able to toe it up in the same wave as the women pros. This is a very good race with heat and humidity combining for a physical feat to complete. I was happy with my finish although struggled on the bike with a new ride and a poor fit. I was second in the Filipina Elite category to Filipina professional triathlete Monica Torres. A second 70.3 was schedule for this trip but Challenge Subic cancelled at the last minute. Such a disappointment.

The 2nd race of 2016 was the annual trip down to Ironman Oceanside 70.3 and I really felt great about walking away with 1st in my age group. Instead I was slammed by my first DNF as my bike had a mechanical issue half way into the bike leg and I was out. Frustrated, but not discouraged, I registered for Ironman Florida 70.3 the following week. It didn’t make sense to be in race shape and not be at a race. Last minute preparations and amazingly cheap plane tickets on such short notice and I was able to regroup with a 1st in age group and 3rd overall finish at this race. My husband text me AFTER the race that the lake we swam in is known for alligators. NICE!

Next up was Ironman St. Croix 70.3. This destination has been on my husbands bucket list for years, so we also made a family vacation out of this trip. We had a great Airbnb location, walking distance to the beach and got to know the owners very well, as they had a son the same age as ours. It was a fun week and another challenging set of circumstances. The weather was crazy the night before the race with very strong winds and hard rain. Race day the roads were flooded and patches of mud and debris all along the bike leg. I felt great throughout the race and finish 1st overall. I will definitely go back for that race again in the next couple years.

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My preparation for my next race Ironman Vineman 70.3 was cut short with a knee injury, followed by 4 weeks off. I have not been taken out by injury so far in my career and this was a very frustrating time for me. I was also not able to defend my age group win from 2015 so was a double bummer. My injury continued through my next race in the Philippines at Ironman Cobra 70.3 and was very slow, but was till able to finish 2nd in the Filipina Elite category. I did have to cancel the Mount Mayon race, and as mentioned earlier World Championships in Australia.

I took another 4 weeks off in order to try and salvage my season with two more races with huge payoffs in both. Ironman Super Frog 70.3, and Ironman Xiamen, China were my last chances to qualify for 70.3 World Championships, Kona World Championships,and finish 1st overall in Ironman 70.3 world rankings for my age group in 2016. I had to finish at worst 2nd in my age group at Ironman Super Frog and had to place 1st in my age group at Ironman Xiamen, China to accomplish all three goals.

Super Frog was the most difficult swim I have EVER done. 10-12 foot breakers in 3 sets, along with a powerful riptide, made it not only scary but very challenging. This is the first time in my career that I have ever come close to quiting a race. I could not get past the breakers and was swept a good 500 yards off course, and this was only the first loop. After a gigantic wave came crashing down on me, sending me into a underwater tumble I really thought, “Why am I doing this”? My thoughts were to forget it and call it a day, but I decided to give it one more try and made it out. My husband stopped me in the sand after the first loop of the swim and we talked about a different strategy for the second loop and things worked out much better. I played catch up all day after coming out of the water in 33rd place but managed to actually finish 2nd in my age group!

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One race down and one to go in China, but first I went back to the Philippines again to help my new team Omega Pro compete for the Philippine Tri United Championship by competing in the TU3 70.3 distance race two weeks before Xiamen China. I was 1st overall woman and Omega Pro was crowned the number one team in the Philippines!

With a week of recovery I was in Xiamen, China for all the marbles. A 1st in age group finish would qualify me for Ironman Kona World Championships AND guarantee me a number 1 Ironman 70.3 age group world ranking. This trip was completely by myself. I was without my team or my family, and in a country that I have never been to before. The days prior to the race spent scouting the course, and checking out the local area passed quickly. Before I knew it race day was here! I felt good and rested but still had a very poor swim. Even slower than Super Frog and there were no breakers to deal with! I was over 6 minutes behind the Russian athlete out of the water and busted my butt through transition and onto the bike with a chip on my shoulder! This was it, and I had to leave it all on the course or the goals that were within reach would be out of my grasp very shortly. Halfway through the bike leg I caught her, past her and never looked back. I crossed the finish with a 1st in age group and knocked down my final two goals by qualifying for Kona and guaranteed a 1st in world age group ranking!

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2016 was full of many peaks and valleys. Many joys and frustrations. Many challenges and accomplishments, and many defeating thoughts and glory filled victories! I would NOT trade this season for anything as it taught me a lot of things, most of all to just keep trying no matter how bad things appear. JUST KEEP TRYING!!

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I hope that this year-end recap was an enjoyable read, and somehow, brings inspiration to others for 2017 and beyond. I don’t know how things can get any better for me, but I will keep working and stretching my body and my beliefs to work towards getting to the next level of myself.

I want to first, thank God, for without him nothing is possible! He has blessed me with an unbelievable mind, spirit and body in order to do something that I love. I want to secondly thank my family. My husband who is there for me as my coach and support person both at home and abroad. My son, who loans his mommy for parts of the year to a sport that is so demanding. My mother-in-law who helps so much with home schooling and child care while I am training and traveling. I love you all so very much!

To Omega Pro Triathlon Team. Thank for welcoming me back at so late in 2016. So great to be part of such and awesome team and support group. Looking forward to the future with you all, and wish you all tremendous successes!

To Vitargo who fuels me with the best pre/during/post race product on the market today. Those of you who have yet to try Vitargo need to experience the difference from other products out there. The proof is in the science!

To Quintana Roo Philippines and Qunitana Roo USA. Thanks for the best ride available. I am looking forward to many more years of partnership with you.

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To iRT Wheels and you continued support with quality race and training wheels. Looking forward to the 2017 version soon!

To Altra Running Shoes. You are a new addition in 2016 and am so thankful for your shoes for my wide foot. Thanks for believing in me!

To Rocklin Endurance Sports. Thanks for the bike builds, parts, tuneups and overall encouragement. You guys are the best bike shop that I know!

To Dr. Vince Hoffart at Hoffart Chiropractic. As an athlete yourself and Ironman competitor, you know how bad the body can be beat up. Thanks for the support and the fantastic treatments!

To Death Row Velo. Thanks for the quality “One Off” race kits. So happy that you are a part of my success!