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To Kona or Not to Kona…

Written by Jessie on . Posted in General

The short story, I am not racing in Kona this year. If you’re interested in the “long” story read on.


My first two years on the pro circuit, which were also my first two years racing the IM distance, went pretty smoothly to say the least. In 2 years I’d racked up 3 wins, 2 2nds and a 3rd along with 13th overall in my first IM World Championships. I finished 2013 feeli124ng optimistic about the coming years and more determined than ever to finally figure out that swim!!

Well, 2014 hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing. but definitely not for lack of trying. I start125ed out doing everything right. I hired some personal chefs who were in charge of making me some crazy juices, the more ingredients the better!

I loaded up on Powerbar, didn’t let the cold stop me and headed off to the pool in the dark each morning with a whole new determination. First bump in the road was the flu, ouch, that one hurt but no worries, we were off to training camp in FL!!!










For the 2nd year in a row I brought the family with me down to the QT2276 Pro camp in FL. This year didn’t go quite as smoothly… The condo I found for the family was 40+mins from the pool which meant a lot of time spent driving around in circles. At that point my leg started acting up a bit but I didn’t think to much of it, it was time to fly to Africa!248
As always I brought my Normatecs with me spent some quality time with my feet up leading into the race. I love IM S. Africa, challenging course, great crowd support, an amazing place to stay at Endless Summer Guest House along with the adventure of being in Africa!

From a few steps into the marathon I knew something was wrong. Pain was radiating down my leg and I started a 26.2mile process of convincing myself that nothing was really wrong and I just needed to block out the pain. I have experienced plenty of digging deep throughout my racing but this was different. I pulled out every mental trick in the book to get through the race and finished in tears thinking I must have a stress fracture the full length of my leg, what else could hurt this much? After a few hours the pain started to dissipate and I could walk. What?? Was I just being a wimp, had I only imagined it? I had no idea what was going on.

Well, I did what any sane person would do, headed home and convinced my coach to let me do Ironman Brazil. We were moving at the beginning of June and I knew I would need to take some time off. I would just race Brazil and then take a nice mid-season break before building into Kona. The weeks between S. Africa and Brazil were filled with a delicate balance of trying to ge064t some training in without my leg flaring up again. At this point my leg was waking me up at night, hurting when sitting and trying to build in any speed to my run training was out of the question. No worries, it was time to race in Brazil!057 I cut out running completely for the week leading into the race and went into the race feeling super confident in my bike and swim. IM Brazil was… hard. I’ll just leave it at that.

I arrived home in pain and feeling pretty down on all that was triathlon. I didn’t have much time to wallow in my self pity, it was time to move! I had finally received my “diagnosis”, sciatic nerve inflammation and my Dr. had told me not to bend over. Hah!! I’d like to see anyone try to be a mom for 24 hours and not bend over let alone pack up a house and move but I did my best. I was instructed to take 6 weeks off from running. At first I tried to beat the system, if I can’t run well at least I can do this…169 The stairclimber! I wasn’t ready to let go just yet, I had boxes to tick, a training plan to follow and who cares if my leg was waking me up each night. Well, thankfully for my sanity I realized a summer on the stairclimber was not what I needed and I traded that in for lots of hiking, camping with the kids and time on my bike. I had an amazing summer but I was also itching to start into my Kona build, confident that I’d given myself the rest that I needed and I was ready to go full steam ahead. 222053239


I jumped back into training and even found a few races. I still wasn’t really able to run at any speed on the flats but one thing I could do was run uphill so I found an uphill running race. I chugged my Biotta Beet Juice, pinned on my number and of course found myself with a big smile on my face, I love to race! 255

The next race was a 4 day stage race through the Green Mountains, so much fun crit2 crit







Unfortunately the last day ended in a crash crash swimwhich made even dipping my toe into the pool the next day quite painful but I was finally on a roll, I wasn’t going to stop! I decided that I was going to race IM Tahoe. There was just something about the race that really excited me. After a summer spent in the mountains and on my bike I knew that the challenging bike course would suit me. My strength on the bike was at a whole new level plus I had just received the brand new QR PR6 and that bike is AMAZING!!! Seriously, the bike just loves to climb as much as it loves to go fast on the flats. I just had to bring it to the mountains and show it off!



 I headed out to Ironman Tahoe really excited to race and feeling confident. It had been a bumpy season to say the least and even though it didn’t make any logical sense to race 3 weeks before Kona I felt like it would be the best thing for me. As I said before I headed out, something in my gut just told me that I needed to do this race. Yes, last time I’ll listen to my gut :-) 10698673_10101998833054400_2595223414082861114_n

As I’m sure everyone knows race week in Tahoe was pretty smoky. I still managed to get in a few solid rides on the course which I loved, hilly, technical and my PR6 was so happy to be in the mountains. Swimming in Lake Tahoe was just as they say, crystal clear water and the perfect cold temperature. My leg was definitely tightened up from the travel, running was feeling uncomfortable and I knew I would probably experience some pain in the marathon but I didn’t care, I was just happy to be preparing to race. I realized how much I’d missed it. As race day approached I had some nerves around a shortened race, which way the wind would blow but honestly I never imagined the race would be completely cancelled. Here I am race morning, so excited to race!!

As everyone knows IM Lake Tahoe was cancelled, what a blow. On top of that it was so smoky that I couldn’t even train and my flight home was cancelled. After 3 days I made it home exhausted, stressed and experiencing quite a bit of leg pain. I entered into the barter period, “I’ll just try this next bike ride and if I can ride with no pain for at least 3 hours I’ll go to Kona…”, 2 hours in my leg started really hurting. Of course I tried again the next day. “If I can just make it through this 90min run with only a little bit of pain then I’m going to Kona!”, 30mins in my leg was hurting, that night it was waking me up with pain and I couldn’t sleep. I knew logically after a long flight to Kona things would just be worse but how could I not go to Kona?? I was torn, shouldn’t I at least try?kids

Well, after many conversations with my coach and my Dr. I decided to stay home. My leg is finally moving in the right direction and I knew that a long flight and an Ironman would set me right back in the hole and I’m tired of being in the hole. T018hankfully it’s beautiful in VT right now and there’s plenty to keep m10489692_10102013260990700_3746702832235089464_ne busy at home. I had a great long ride a few days ago and the most pain free longish run I’ve had since February today so I’m excited to finish out the season with some races. Wishing everyone all the best in Kona from Vermont!!! Go QT2, you got this!

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