Sunday, September 29, 2013
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Strengths Beyond Measure: IRONMAN 2012 St. George, Utah (My mother and St. George Volunteer)
Within each of us is a predisposition to find our inner strength and happiness. It is a choice we make every day whether to acknowledge this ability or ignore it. This choice can ultimately bring us the greatest peace and self discovery. Having said this, I would like to pay tribute to the Athletes, Crew, Volunteers and Spectators of Ironman 2012, held this past May 5th, in St. George, Utah. For me it was the elite show of sportsmanship, comradery and abundance of positive promoting energy.
The day started out with beautiful skies and overflowing race day optimism. It soon became a day of ugly challenges. As my youngest son, a 2011 and 2012 participant commented after miraculously surviving the swim, “I just swam with the Devil and I can’t believe that I’ve lived to tell the tale”. Over 1800 entered the race, 1500+ started the swim, but only 1029 actually finished the entire course. As the sun came up, moments after the starting shot was fired, the wind entered the race and positioned itself with fast and furious competitiveness. Whipping the water, creating four foot swells and turbulent whitecaps, it became the competitor to beat for the unaware swimmers. Over 300 of those swimmers became rescue victims. Most of those who started out in the usual swarm of anxious competitors, kicking and stroking in a mad frenzy, soon found themselves isolated with one or two swimmers or alone altogether. Many swimmers were heard to comment that the waves made it impossible to get into a rhythm and with each breath they took on water like an old sea vessel that needed to retire. Lost and alone in angry waters, the saying “sink or swim” took on applicable meaning. While many took refuge in the rescue boats, those who remained simply beckoned their inner strength and determination. With perseverance those individuals said to themselves, I am committed to being an Ironman.
Those of us on the shore, whether Volunteer, Spectator or Crew, had our own challenges. Plagued by the emotions of worry for those in the lake and challenged by Mother Nature’s tantrum. She was making a mess of the tents and signage, whipping everything in her path. We soon realized that this would be an Ironman that would certainly go down in history as one of the most difficult. Volunteers kicked it in to gear as the swimmers started to emerge. One of my most rewarding memories will certainly be helping many of those who were up against the clock to get out on the bike course. With a cut off time of 2 ½ hours to complete the 2.4 mile swim, one woman, shaking so badly from the frigid cold of the water, had only moments to get across the line to continue in the race. Four volunteers, myself included, each took a limb, dried , applied sunscreen, dressed her in socks and shoes, donned her helmet and escorted her with bike in hand to her next nemesis, the 112 mile bike ride. We watched helplessly as she set off into the curtain of dusty red sand to face an uphill battle against 20 mile an hour winds. One biker commented, “At times I felt like I was peddling as fast as I could, never moving an inch, as though on a stationary bike”. Once again, those that were destined to finish this part of the course did so by drawing on their will to survive against the odds.
Our oldest son, a St. George Ironman 2009, has for the past two years been a captain for one of the many aid stations. The responsibility for Captains is to recruit a sufficient number of volunteers to man the station, accommodate the athlete’s needs and make it a great experience. This is a huge challenge, recruiting volunteers often times encompasses the whole state, not just the community itself. This year he took on the bike dismount area of the bike to run transition. I liked to refer to it as the grab and rack marathon, an event within the event. The grabber must safely take the bike from the rider without
dropping it. Many of these bikes are worth thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. Once the grabber secures the bike he races it to the racker who then runs it to the specific numbered spot on the rack. This has to be done accurately to ensure that after the race the athletes can find their bikes. In the beginning of the transition, when Pro’s and the most elite amateurs are coming in, it’s an easy task as they slowly trickle in. As the majority of the bikers race to the transition it becomes a crazy affair, with grabbers and rackers running madly to accomplish the task at hand. Skill, precision and physical endurance is now not only the goal of the athlete but the necessity of the volunteer who takes on this challenge. I am so proud of my son, his young family and all the volunteers who manned his station who embraced the volunteering spirit with enthusiasm. Please keep in mind that most bikers are reluctant to stop once they are out on the course. Riding between 3-5 hours on a bike with no pit stops for 112 miles poses interesting situations. You can imagine the surprise of the grabbers and rackers at the conditions that some bikes were in. Thank you Ironman Crew for providing the gloves! I was also impressed with the sensitivity that those volunteers showed, not only with handling the bikes, but with support to the athletes and some special needs that arose. One biker ran back to get his Garmen, a special watch that monitors everything from miles to heart rate. Recognizing panic, several volunteers raced to the bike to retrieve the piece of equipment that gave this competitor his personal edge of comfort and confidence to tackle the final grueling event, the 26.2 mile run.
Of course the run doesn’t need to be hard. If you have already survived a hurricane like water swim of 2.6 miles and endured biking in a wind tunnel with gritty visual impairment for 112 miles, then you have experienced hard. Let’s go for the ultimate mind and body hallucination, asking yourself is this real or my worst nightmare. You can reason with yourself that you only have 1/3rd of the race left, but with your body screaming enough already, it truly becomes a mind over matter experience. How do I a volunteer, a spectator know this you asked? Simple, you see it in their faces, in their body language, in their grimaces. Sweating profusely, some injured, it’s unspoken the physical and mental torture that many are experiencing at this point, but not unseen. This is where the word courage surfaces. Courage to stay the course, courage to overcome and complete, courage for ultimate closure for their greatest undertaking. So they continue for 26.2 more miles. There are 3 loops of the run, the course forms an M throughout the city of St. George. Changed from the past two years because the course had gained the reputation that it exceeded human limits, it still haled this year as the ultimate Marathon challenge. I witnessed my own son, on the second loop, hit some kind of a wall. He appeared dazed, glassy eyed, the usual two thumbs up not expressed as he passed us. His pain became my pain, please let him finish was the prayer inside my heart and head. This is where the Spectators show what they are made of. It’s harder to support the swim and bike course. The running route lends itself well to the crowds of supporters or for those who want to be a part of a truly amazing event. While training the night before at the bike transition, couples and individuals from as far away as British Columbia, Canada and California had stopped by to ask where the best observation spots would be. Whether St. George residents, out of state or out of the country visitors, the run allows for shouting, cheering and lots of heartfelt support for the athletes. St. George residents who live along the run venue most often set up chairs, barbeque, it becomes a real family event. Life for the St. George city dweller is disrupted as they give up their streets and their community to support an event that not only gives recognition to a handful of their athletes, many Utah Athletes, but also to scores of the world’s elite athletes that embrace this small Southern Utah town for one weekend in May. These Spectators are the best!! They cheer and cheer and then they cheer some more. It is easy to come and find a spot to watch the first 100, 200….600 finishers. There is nothing like it for a Spectator, a wife, a husband, a Mom, a Dad, or any family member or friend who watches as someone they love finishes an Ironman. The truly religious
Spectators are those that are in attendance for the last 100 finishers. Many of these finishers stagger across the finish line, all energy gone, within moments or even seconds of the 17 hour time limit. The crowds of onlookers are most exhilarated when that final athlete crosses the finish and for the 1029th time of the day the crowd hears, one lone finisher hears, “You are an Ironman”.
Once again, thanks to all the Athletes for an amazing show of fortitude and athleticism, you are my heroes. Thank you Crew of Ironman, Officials, Volunteers, Spectators and Residents of St. George and surrounding communities for holding once again the most wonderful day. I am truly grateful for the memories.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
I love this new toy!!! The major differences between the 910xt and the 310xt is the swim features. Check it out for yourself. http://sites.garmin.com/forerunner910xt/#. The coolest part is that it calculates your SWOLF score and gives you a swim efficiency score. Check out my swim from the other day http://connect.garmin.com/activity/145705909. Its also very accurate. I have yet to test it in open water but I had I have heard that it is way accurate something the 310xt didn't have. It also doesn't feel like a brick on your wrist!
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Its that time of year when you start to dusting off the old trainer getting ready for the winter season. The negative and positive with St. George Ironman is that its one of the first Ironman races of the year. So most of your training is done in the winter months. Well if you live were its to cold or wet to ride outside you live on a trainer through the winter. This last year I had a okay set up with my Xbox and Netflix but here is my new toy and Winter training buddy. This is going to get my bike split down in the St. George Ironman.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
So the best time to buy a bike is at the end of the year. Courtney had a nice road bike but she was excited to join the TT club. We both ended up selling our road bikes and getting new TT bikes and we love them! Here's to setting new PR's!
|2011 Scott Plasma 10 and 2011 Felt B14|
Sunday, October 2, 2011
The Scofield Tri is one of my Fav's! This year my father and I decided to rent a Motor home. We went and picked the Motor home up on Thursday, got it packed first thing Friday and headed down to Scofield State Park . We ended up getting a great spot on the North side of park which is about 2-3 miles away from T1. Once our site was set, we enjoyed a great fireside dinner with yummy SMORES!!! The first night was freezing and I didn't sleep the best. After a cold night I woke very early to get a good spot in T1. As I was heading over there, I realized I forgot to grab my triathlon bag so I had to go all the way back to our campsite, which was very frustrating. The whole morning I just couldn't get warm because of the cold night. It was one of those times when you really wanted the sun to rise. Once my T1 was set I headed down early to the water to get warmed up. For some reason everyone thinks that if the air temperature is cold outside that the water temperature must be cooler? This is not true! The water actual felt better and it really warmed my hands up. Once every one was in the water and they started the Scofield Escape participants on the Island our group was to go next. I did the sprint this year wanting to improve from my last year's results. The gun went off and I had a great position. I was first alongside another person but shortly after the first buoy the guy took off. I could hold that fast of a pace. Once we cornered the last buoy I noticed David Warden was next to me. It was hard to sight because the sun was in our eyes. Knowing David was a fast and smart swimmer I decided to make sure I just stayed along with him (risky) but it turned out great. I ended up beating him out of the water by a few sec's and headed into transition. T1 is a hard one because you have a very steep but short hill that is hard to mount your bike. I decided to just run my bike up the hill and get on it there because every year you see people falling. The plan backfired on me and I got passed by three people and I was very out of breath (not doing that next year). Once on the bike, I was able to past one of the riders but just couldn't catch up to the others. They were just way too fast. I got back to T2 and headed out for the run. The run is nothing hard just a short hill at the start and pretty much flat the rest of the way. Some people have a hard time with elevation but I felt okay. I just can't run! I got pasted about 1 mile into it by the same person I pasted on the bike. This put me in 5th place. On the turnaround, I noticed that I had a few more people trailing me so I picked the pace up and ended up finishing in 5th place!!! 1st in my age group!!! Last year I got 6th overall and 2nd in my age group so I was very happy with the results. Once the race was done, my family decided to hang out and enjoy the lake. My parents brought their Kayaks and we all got in and swam. It was a blast. We had another great camp side dinner, played card games, told ghost stories and went to bed. The second night wasn't that cold and you could see every star in the sky! The next day my sister's boyfriend brought his boat and we enjoyed the lake with the boat. This is a great triathlon if you enjoy the camping. You must bring the family and BBSC does a great job!
See you at Scofield next year!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Had for breakfast the morning of race: Chocolate-Banana Protein Shake
Ate for dinner the night before: Marc Anthony's Mexitalian (Salad, Breadsticks, Pasta)
Why did you choose this race: Flat course and good date
Race Strategy: To get through it!!
Type of shoe worn: Mizuno
Wrist watch used: Garmin 310XT
Stansbury TRI Race Report (Race Video to coming soon)
by Courtney Duckworth
Saturday, September 10th, 2011: Stansbury TRI-Sprint distance. The race was held in Stansbury Park, out in Tooele, UT. This race is known for its flat course and overall great venue. I was looking forward to this for quite some time! I'm not going lie, I was also really nervous, especially the week of the race. I have done a few Triathlons now but the butterflies are still there each time! Training had been pretty poor for the weeks preceding Stansbury. I just started a new job and have been really busy. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH...you know, all the excuses, right! The truth really is that I have just been lazy! Anyway, in preparation for each event, I usually like to sych myself up with watching motivating you-tube videos the day before the race, including those on Ironman, Triathlon training, etc. I went to packet pickup down at PowerTRI in Orem, UT the night before the race. Race bib number?...check....timing chip?....check....free T-shirt?....check! (gotta love those!). I was feeling pretty good. Got my bike and transition bag all ready for the race and went to bed. It was a sleepless night (again the nerves). Our good friends, Justin and Michelle Anderson were also doing Stansbury so we all carpooled in the morning. We got there in good time and found some great spots in transition, close to bike out/in. One thing I haven't mentioned yet is that I had just gotten a new TT Felt bike. The two times I had rode it during training before the race, I got flats BOTH times! We ended up finding a small thorn in my tire, creating a slow leak. I was praying that we had fixed the problem because I was not wanting a flat on race day!
Before the race, I prepared my transition area, did some light stretching, checked my tires a bazillion times, and walked around the venue. Down at the water, the swim course looked a lot longer than it did last year when my husband raced the Olympic distance. This only added to my pre-race angst. Well, by that time, there was no turning back!
The swim went okay. I was nervous about the start, but it actually wasn't the worst I've had to deal with. It was a good feeling to get to that first buoy. By that point, by nerves are gone and I am in total race mode fueled on adrenaline. The crowd eased after the first few minutes which was great. Unfortunately, halfway to the second buoy, either this other swimmer or myself zigzagged right into each other! It might have been my fault...who knows? I thought I was going straight!! Either way, she ended up kicking me right in my face, I panicked, then swallowed a huge amount of water. I had to completely stop for a second and regroup. Bummer... After that, it was all about finding the rhythm and getting through it! After passing the third buoy, I knew I had made it! Once I got to the shoreline, a little bit of me celebrated! Not that I hate the swim part of TRIs (it is actually one of my favorite parts), I just was relieved and excited to start the bike. My swim time sucked, but it was good for me, which made me happy.
One thing that I am super proud of myself from this race are my transition times. In the past, I have always struggled with slow transitions, so I really made an effort to be faster this race. I think this came in part due to experience and practice. Running up to T1, I quickly pulled off my wetsuit sleeves and took off my cap, goggles, and earplugs. In transition, I finished pulling off my wetsuit, put on my bike shoes, helmet, and I was off! I had some trouble getting clipped in at first. Weird....I think I was just tired from the swim.
One thing I was looking forward to was the bike course! It was really fun and fast! Well, fast for other people, I was more like a slow-fast! There are a few turns for which you have to slow down, but especially after the turn around, riding back to the venue, you can really push your speed! I ended up passing some people and playing "leap-frog" with others. I met this woman out on the course who we kept passing each other back-and-forth! We started laughing about it after the third or fourth time. It was really fun to push each other! We would yell to each other from behind things like "don't let me catch you!" or "here I come!". It was really funny. She ended up beating me off the bike, but we met after T2 and ran a little together before she took off (because I am a crappy runner!).
By the run portion of the race, my legs were hurting! I got major cramps in both calves but I pushed through it. The run course itself was also pretty flat and shaded in most areas. My goal was to not stop unless at the aid station at the halfway point. I did okay by my standards. I would have liked to have gone faster, like always, but I finished! Sprinting toward the finish line is best feeling in the world! You know that you accomplished something and you didn't quit when things were tough. Hey, you may be the last one to cross the line, but you CROSSED THAT LINE!
Thank you UStrisports for a great event and to my husband, Rory, who cheered me on from the sidelines and is always so supportive!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
So after Boise Half Ironman, my wife and I needed to get away and just relax and not worry about training or eating right. We ended up booking a trip to sunny Florida and did we have a blast! As you all know when you're addicted to triathlons, the thought of stopping doesn't leave your mind. So, we were able to throw in some great run workouts and spent a day at a YMCA that had a indoor/outdoor 100 meter pool. It was AWESOME!!!
The first day we went to Downtown Disney. There is a big lake that boarders all the shops and restaurants. The whole time I couldn't stop thinking about how cool it would be if Disney world had an Ironman event or even just a sprint triathlon. The next day we went to EPCOT and they also have a big lake in the center of the park and again I couldn't stop thinking about swimming in it or doing a triathlon. I love a challenge and when I see something that looks hard or fun I always think can I Swim, Bike, or Run that!
Anyways here are some pictures from our trip:
Sunday, September 4, 2011
What excuse should I give you that I haven't posted for a long time?.... Well the real reason is that we have been way busy with the triathlons.
Things are about to change as the season is winding down and I find myself having a little more time now that the big races and heavy training is done. For the next few months, I will post something I wasn't able to get to and then I will try on a regular basis to post more.
Here is an outline of post to come:
1. Orlando Trip
2. Women Rock
3. Scofield Tri
4. Herriman Tri
5. Mountain Tropic Tri
7. Tetons National Park
8. Utah Half Ironman
8. Utah Half Ironman
9. New Bikes
10. Taxc Trainer
Stay tuned and I hope you enjoy! Keep TRIing...
Sunday, June 19, 2011
So we had some friends talk us into doing the 2011 Boise 70.3 and it was a blast. Going down as one of the best events. We drove up Early Friday with the Tri and Run Couple to check in and get ready for the event. The city of Boise is very nice and very clean I was impressed with the set up of the race. The race started @ 12 and each age group had its own wave start mine happened to be last 12:45 pm :(. The water was 53 degrees but in some areas of the lake it had to be colder. I didn't have the best swim and my T1 was horrible. My bike was super fast (Compared to IMSG) and I passed a ton of people being that my wave went last. I had one of my best bike races. Nothing special about T2 just in and out. The run course was very nice and cool it runs along the river in town and is surrounded by trees. I felt slow because my legs killed which is pretty normal. Overall I was very happy with my performance I didn't get any training in because of how close it was to St. George Ironman. I wanted to race a 5:30 and I ended up doing it in 5:06 so I was very happy. Next year I am shooting for under 5 hrs. Thanks to the Anderson family they made the trip so much fun and thanks to my wife for being the best cheerleader.