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Pay it Forward 2018!

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2018 will be my 8th year Paying it Forward with a new athlete.

The Pay it Forward Athlete will receive a free year of coaching.

If you are interested, I encourage you to apply. Here are the details:

1.) Applicants can apply via email to: jhtriathlon@sbcglobal.netfrom Thanksgiving Day, November 23rd – December 5th at 11:59pm CST. Feel free to be as creative as you want in the email application.  I do take bribes #M&Ms.

2.) For the Pay it Forward Athlete, I am looking for athletes that have overcome any type of hardship – This can include , but not limited to: illnesses, financial or personal issues. This is also open to athletes who may not have any hardships but just have not been able to put together a solid year (s) of training due to inconsistency, lack of motivation, lack of focus/structure and need something new and challenging.

3.) You CAN re-apply if you applied before!  I encourage it!  Jeff applied three times and was finally picked in 2015.

4.) You need to have at least one “A” race in 2017. Can be any significant race, but we need to have goals for 2018. All levels of athletes are welcome!

5.) The coaching will start in January 1, 2018 and last until the end of your “A” race or 12/31/18, whichever one is first.

6.) You will have to blog about your experience and be an active member of social media (FB ,Twitter and Instagram if you have it).

I encourage you all to apply.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reply to this blog or send me an email. I will announce the winner by 12/15/17!

Looking forward to another great year of paying it forward to our great sport!

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Use It or Lose It

“There is no celebration of any victory in the past.  Work for the next victory, the one yet to come.  You cannot allow complacency.”  BB

I am not sure what came over me, but I decided to do 4 races in 4 weeks.  I really like to race. And, as I get older, it is the “use it or lose it” mentality.  I enjoy training, but if I can just race every weekend and do limited training in and out of these races, that makes me happy.  In the early summer with the kids home, working, and well, just wanting to go canoeing, out at night, drinking wine and frankly sleeping a bit, I thought it would be a good idea.  I really want it all (who doesn’t), but something always has to give…Damnit!  😊

Three of the four races were local – and started at 6:30am, so I was home by 10am or so – way before my teenagers knew what was going on.   The fourth race was Madison 70.3 and required a road trip, but that was a good mini- get away for me!

June 4th:  Sprint Triathlon

June 11th:  Madison 70.3

June 18th:  Sprint Triathlon

June 25th:  Sprint Triathlon

As to be expected, the June 4th race I felt AMAZING.  Racing again, fresh, bam!  I ended up crossing the finish line in first but was beaten by a girl from the back.  The race was super hilly (for our standards) and it was a 3 x 1 mile loop on the run and I hammered the downhill on that run only thinking about:  1.) winning and/or 2.) how this is going to impact my race in Madison the following weekend.  GAH!  I have never raced the weekend before a Half Ironman.  But, you need to mix things up sometimes and try it or you never know.

I recovered well and rolled right into Madison 70.3.  The good thing about racing so much is that you do become a robot.  Train, sleep, eat and race.  Pretty much all week.  So, as I recovered from the 1st Sprint, I was getting mentally ready for a hilly and hot Half Ironman.

Elizabeth and I were traveling together to Madison.  We both had a big group of athletes up there racing and were both eager to race long again.  Honestly, the Half Ironman is my favorite distance and one I wish I raced more, but the “longer” bikes always persuade me to stick to short course racing sometimes.

The Madison 70.3 was a new course this year.  Hilly.  And, the temperatures were in the mid 90s.  We knew that this course would reward the patient and the strongest for sure.  We drove the bike course (thankfully we did that!)  and stopped about half way through because some CHICKEN STORE seemed to be more interesting than the 56 mile bike route we were driving.  It was 95F degrees, we were in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin but came to an oasis of quaint little stores that Elizabeth and I needed to stop and shop – so we did!  Chicken store was a disappointment, but the town was worth the stop.

Also, for the 70.3, we just ate so much food on Saturday.  That is probably one of my least favorite parts of racing.   Sure, I get to eat a lot of food, but it is not what I would eat in one day:   CARBS and more CARBS.  Pancakes, Sub sandwiches, pasta, pretzels.  Nothing I don’t normally eat, but all in 12 hours of the day?   Yuck.   But, we were ready.   And, that really helps when we are racing for 5 hours.

Madison did not disappoint.  I really love that town.  And, the course was hard.  The swim was easy – but HOT- I found the 71F water temps hot – I am always hot in the water (ugh).  But, I came out in 30 minutes – so not a bad swim for me, but nothing spectacular either.  It was a rolling start and frankly, I hated it.  I want to go head to head with the girls I am racing.  I want contact! I want aggressive water, chop and tons of swimmers.  I am not a fan of the Ironman wave starts.  I call it the “pussification” of our sport.  Now, I realize some of you like it, but, what happens when we do bigger races like Naitonals and Kona and we must fight for our position and fight to be up front in those mass starts?  I am just not a fan of the “soft entry” and everyone having their own water given to them.   But, that is just me.  So, I found the swim easy and boring because of this.

The bike at Madison was hard.  I was a little under-prepared for it.  But, that was my own fault.  I had the miles in my legs and the training, but I lacked the bike handling skills at descending at 40 mph and stopping quickly and turning.  Plus, I had a bike mechanical on the course.  Because the roads were in such poor shape, as the pounding intensified out there, my aero bars came loose and were soon (at mile 30 ish) wiggling all over the place.   And, it was windy that day, so I was trying to over-steer to correct, could not ride aero at all after mile 30.   Thankfully, I could manage the mechanical, but it was not fun.  I had to ride a bit more conservatively than I would like and it landed me a slow (er) bike time than I wanted at 2:5x.

The ironic part of this is that no one in my AG passed me.  Sure, I had some other girls pass me on the bike (Erin K, Angela Kidd) but NEVER saw another 45-49 AG girl ALL DAY LONG.  Either I was in last or still up front.   And, I knew, Megan James, who I coach, was up in 1st because she would swim 27-28 minutes (she did).

During the bike, the patience paid off.   While I was slow and under-rode the course, I was able to get in all my nutrition.  I drank SIX bottles in 2:5x.  I took in salt, a Powerbar, 4-5 gels.  I was feeling great and managing the heat well.  I even wore my white cooling jersey I wear in Kona and it was great!

I had no idea where I was when I got off the bike.  There was only 1 bike in transition for the AG (Megan) and I did not see another bike.  But, with the TT start, I was racing the clock not the girls!  (Reason 450388383 I do not like the TT starts- let me race head to head not some stupid clock!).   Anyway, I sat down in T2 and peed while I put my shoes on and off I went.

The first mile is never awesome, but I settled in to a good pace and went off.  The run is a huge loop around the lake with only one small place to see the competition, but that is at mile 1, so that is not super helpful.  But, as the run went on, I was noticing no one was passing me and no one was moving fast.  At this point of the day, it was hot and windy.  I did not find the run as hard as everyone described.  Sure, it was rolling and HOT but it was not as challenging as the bike, frankly.

Anyway, I was in no man’s land.  I NEVER SAW another female really out there.  One 28 year old ran by me and she was moving – but otherwise, no one.  I ran as hard as I could.  Took ice (and put in my sports bra) at every aide station, water at every aide station.  Carried salt and my sports drink in my hand held.  I took gels every 30-40 minutes – I was a robot and if I could keep cool, I was moving swiftly comparatively.

But, it was hard (duh).  And, while I could feel the fatigue and heat as the miles clicked on, I was determined to not give up one second or give one inch.  I was hoping to get top 5 in my AG, but, I knew they were breathing down my neck and chasing me from behind.  It was purely mind over matter.  Nothing else prepares  you for the last 5k of a hot and hilly half ironman – except to dig deeper and push harder and turn yourself inside out to get to that line.  Go fast where others go slow.

I was thrilled to see the finish line!  I finally crossed in my slowest HIM time but for some reason, I had a feeling it was going to be good enough for the day.  And, that was all that mattered.  Times, watts – > none of that matters if you are 1st, does it?  I did not even use data out there – I had my power on, but could not really read it and I ran and swam naked.   I ended up 2nd in the Age Group behind my athlete, Megan James who had a great day.   And, I was absolutely content with 2nd place.  Even if I did not have the bike mechanical, I am not sure I could have caught Megan, so all in all, I was happy.  I could walk away knowing I did my best and move on.

It was just a fun weekend.  Elizabeth and I had fun, stopping for chicken stores and beer and DQ (priorities) and we both raced well (Elizabeth was 3rd AG) and we both had athletes that did great up there and socialize a bit.  A nice get away for both of us.

After Madison I could barely walk.  I was so tired and just absolutely spent – more mentally than physically after a race like that, but I had to figure out how to recover and do a SPRINT triathlon 6 days later.

Race #3 was my hometown race.  A race that is near and dear to me and one that I have done 9 times out of 10 (I was at Eagleman 70.3 one year) and won all the years but one.  This year; however, since it was the 10th anniversary, they added a prize purse for the elite girls – so that meant all my fast friends decided to come out for it.   But, that is OK – the more competition the better!    Thankfully the elite wave all started together so we could race head to head!

I ended up 3rd OA after Jenny Garrison and Jacqui Guiliano, so I was in good company.  I felt ok out there.  I felt GREAT in the swim – but I can do this swim with my eyes closed and that helped me on race morning as some of the MMTT (Elite Kids triathlon team) went too wide, I kept it short and beat them to the buoy.  I felt tired on the bike and so-so on the run.   All in all, not a bad race considering this was my 3rd weekend of racing.

But, I had to will myself to run hard – the run felt HARD and I was under a ton of fatigue.  I just kept telling myself, “Just get it done, do the work, suffer, suffer, dig, dig.”  That was all.  Usually this race is not as competitive and I can relax a bit – NOT this year (of course)…so I had to push from start to finish.

Then, just yesterday I raced my 4th race in as many weeks.  I did Twin Lakes – a local, fun race I have done a number of times.  First time I did this race was in 1997.  I was 3rd OA then and was racing under Jenny Parker (as I got married later in 1997).  The last ~6 years or so I have won this race and consider it another local/hometown race.  I love the atmosphere of this race:  old and new friends, many of my athletes- just so laid back and fun.  And, that is why I do it every year.  I love the social scene of racing.

Weather was perfect.  In fact, it was cold for many (the colder the better for me), as it was 52F at the start!   OH YES!   That means one thing:  FAST.   People said it was windy, I really did not notice that, but the bike was only 14 miles.  The run here is 4.5 miles, so it is really a runner’s race.

Again, it was a TT start (gah) but I did go off in the first group of 3, so I was able to know where I was all day.  I LOVE racing off the front.  I remember, back in the day, working so hard to catch anyone in front of me, now, with my swim, I work on holding anyone off.  It was a hard thing to learn -HOW to race like that and not over-bike, etc., but now I love it – even if it is lonely sometimes.  And, I remember that switch from coming from behind to the front over the years – it was something I had to figure out and learn how to race a little differently and change up some of my tactics.

I was 2nd onto my bike behind my good friend, Dean Hewson.  He is a great athlete, so my goal was to keep him and the cop car in my sights for as long as I could.  This year I was able to stay closer to him and I actually felt AWESOME on the bike.  I never looked at my computer as I was just RACING to hold off the girls and trying to keep Dean in sight (that lasted only about 8miles or so).  As long as I am in front, watts don’t really matter at a race that short.

I came into T2 as the 1st girl, but due to the wave start that does not mean that much and I knew there were fast girls behind me.  I was a little surprised Aneta did not catch me on the bike – she is a great cyclist, frankly.  But, I headed out and the run felt pretty horrible.  FINALLY the races caught up to me – I was tired and could feel the fatigue in my body. The weather saved my A$$ because I felt like I was running fast, but I was thinking it may not be enough to hold the girls off.

Never ever look back, right?   At mile 3.75 or so, I could see the 2nd place girl gaining on me.  She was flying!   Damnit!  I went as hard as I could and knew EVERY.SECOND.MATTERED.  I crossed the finish line in 1st.  But, then it is a waiting game (did I mention I hate TT starts?).

At the end of the day, I did win OA, but only by THREE SECONDS.  I just had to laugh.  I have always thought to myself, “WHEN will you feel this shift, Jen?”  Well, it is almost there at 46.  While I am not running that much slower – overall I am a little bit slower, YES.  And, the girls are getting faster.

The girl that ended up 2nd ran 6:27 pace for 4.5 miles.  I ran 6:5x pace.  She is ~35 years old.  But, what was the icing on the cake?  This was HER FIRST TRIATHLON ever.  She is a runner, clearly, but OMG.  Just so impressive.   I thought that was just awesome.  I was telling her to get out and race more now!

Yesterday post race I was EXHAUSTED.

I was so tired I forget to even get DQ!  I did get some Entenman’s donuts (another vice of mine), but I have had enough DQ, it is time to get a grip!

Four races in Four weeks was fun!  In fact, it was perfect for me.  I love to race & I worked hard this winter and early spring, so I could get away with this.  But, unfortunately when you race that much, you also lose a little bit of fitness & you are tired.  Back to the grind after I recover from this race and go to NYC this weekend with my Mom and Morgan for some R&R!

Next up:  A local OLY in July and then USAT Nationals in August.  I will finally get my mass start at Nationals!


Comments

  1. Fun reading your blog again! You go girl!


  2. Jenny – I was thinking of you recently and wondered how you are doing; and it appears you are doing excellent! Glad to hear of all the racing and fun you are having. Keep kicking ass and taking names sister :) – Kim K.


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Pay it Forward 2017!

I am excited to announce I will be doing Pay It Forward for 2017 again! I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the past winners: Dan M, Cathy B, Courtney, Alisa D, Jeff Vanis & Nicole H.

2017 will be my 7th year Paying it Forward with a new athlete.

If you are interested, I encourage you to apply. Here are the details:

1.) Applicants can apply via email to: jhtriathlon@sbcglobal.netfrom December 1st – December 15th at 11:59pm CST. Feel free to be as creative as you want in the email application.

2.) For the Pay it Forward Athlete, I am looking for athletes that have overcome any type of hardship – This can include , but not limited to: illnesses, financial or personal issues. This is also open to athletes who may not have any hardships but just have not been able to put together a solid year (s) of training due to inconsistency, lack of motivation, lack of focus/structure and need something new and challenging.

3.) You CAN re-apply if you applied before!  I encourage it!  Jeff applied three times and was finally picked last year.

4.) You need to have at least one “A” race in 2017. Can be any significant race, but we need to have goals for 2017. All levels of athletes are welcome!

5.) The coaching will start in January, 2017 and last until the end of your “A” race or 12/31/17, whichever one is first.

6.) You will have to blog about your experience and be an active member of social media (FB ,Twitter and Instagram if you have it).

I encourage you all to apply.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reply to this blog or send me an email. I will announce the winner by Christmas, 12/25/16!

Looking forward to another great year of paying it forward to our great sport!

IM WI Party 2011

IM WI Party 2011


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Journey to the Finish Line

Hey athletes! Are you a beginner? Did you catch Ironman fever or get talked into signing up for your first half or full Ironman?

WE have the program for YOU!

“Journey to the Finish Line” with experienced coaches Jenny Parker Harrison& Elizabeth Waterstraat!

Designed with the beginner in mind, this easy-to-follow program will help you to finish your first half or full Ironman in 2017. No prior triathlon experience is necessary!

Program details:

· 24-week half iron or 36 week full iron distance training plan with daily swim, bike, run, strength workouts
· Easy-to-use online program delivery via Training Peaks
· Exclusive Facebook group where you can interact with & learn from participants & coaches
· Monthly webinar with tips & tricks to prepare you for your best race day possible
· Monthly “ask me anything” on Facebook with a variety of sports-related experts

Program dates:

· Registration opens October 15, 2016
· Program start date is based upon the date of your half or full iron distance race
· Participants must commit to the program in full

Program registration & more information:

· Contact Jennifer Harrison: jhtriathlon@sbcglobal.net

*Inquire within about fees*

Elizabeth and I are excited to offer another great program to each of our coaching businesses.

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The In Between

“In Between.”  That is what I am calling this year.  I am in between making any major decisions in racing and training.  I loved last season.  I raced short, hard, local and culminated my season with the USAT National Championships in MLK and ITU AG Worlds in Chicago.  I had fun.  I raced well and at the end of the season I was satisfied.

My days, nights and weekends are filled with Triathlon.  Aside from my family and friends, Triathlon is my life’s work.  When most people sit in meetings and think about ways to design websites, or teach our youth or serve our country, I decided to help people reach their Triathlon goals.  Most non-Triathletes kind of look at me funny when I tell them what I do for a living.  “You do WHAT??”  They are trying – really hard – to understand HOW this job allows me to pay the bills and more shockingly, how I can do it all the time – All day looking at data numbers, answering the thousands of emails and managing athlete’s on-going expectations, fears, disappoints and successes in a very timely manner.

It is not a glamourous lifestyle I have chosen.  In fact, most nights you will find me reading trashy magazines or unwinding in front of some really bad TV (all while answering the constant incoming emails and Training Peaks updates).  I need that – just like everyone needs to unplug from their job – I have a small window in which I can do that since I am an athlete too.  I have worked over the years to be able to “switch” on and off.  I can go from coaching athletes, answering questions pre-race to jumping into the race and racing myself.  I am able to leave the worry, stress and busy-ness aside, compartmentalize my race and pivot on a dime and be in the moment and race for myself.

When I finished my 2015 season, I was starting to think about 2016.  What did I really want to do and the age old question, “what excites me?”  The catch was we were in the midst of living in a small, apartment (with 2 teenagers, let me tell you – THAT is a blog for another time) all while we were building our dream house with our Builder.  It was like after all these years of swim/bike/run, a spark went off and I was loving the new adventures.  I was spending my free time picking out door knobs, doors, paint colors and even flowers.  My free time was obsessing over Pinterest and HOUZZ pictures.

The last few months of the build was like a wedding – all the stress, money flying out the bank, excitement and anticipation.  I realize it was “only” a house.  But, to us, it was the culmination of a dream and hard work (and saving!).   Once we closed on our house in mid-February I was much more interested in picking out lights than I was riding my bike for 4 hours.  I was already spending all my working hours coaching Triathletes, I wanted my “free” time to be a Mom and “workout” and then do house stuff.

When you have teenagers, it is an icy road.  Sometimes you are needed and sometimes they look at you like you are a complete alien.  It is a rollercoaster to say the least.  The good news is that while this is a challenging age of our kids (middle school – YUCK) this too shall pass and they will eventually not think we suck so bad.  You go from the kids really needing you to “Mom, can you just drop me and 100 of my friends off and pick us up at 10:30pm?”  That is just how it is now.  Drive, drop off, pick up.  Repeat.  And, if I am lucky a kiss in between.  And, 10:30pm?  Way past my bedtime.

The point is – my role of Mom has changed too in the last year.  I went from having babies, toddlers and then kids to teenagers and young adults.  The real world is right in front of their faces and I did not want to miss anything.  I wanted to be there (and I was) the minute Morgan’s BFF called and said she may be moving.  No matter how much teenagers roll their eyes and grunt, they still (deep, deep down) need that hug and unconditional love.

So, while I was thinking of my 2016 I decided I did not want to travel. No planes.  I wanted to race local so I could drive to the race, race and be home by 10am or lunchtime.   I also decided no long course racing.  While I could spend my mornings riding my bike, I was not willing to give up my weekends and all the soccer games, sleepovers and kid things that I may miss if I was on my bike riding 100 miles.  I wanted to do summer stuff w the kids in my free time.  I am already at my desk most of the day – so I wanted my precious “non working” time to be available to them.

I still have the urge to do another Ironman, but the good news is that Ironman is not going anywhere.  And, my kids are.

This season I have raced 6x so far – all Sprints and run races and 1 Olympic.  I was cracking myself up though because the Olympic felt long!  I have not ridden my bike longer than 2 hours all year (aside from my times in Tucson).  I do not feel the pressure to nail this time or that time.  I really just train.  Instead of my normal training load, I am “only” training 10-12 hours/week.  That is just so dreamy!  I get up, train early and then have my day to work all day and my nights free to be Mom and do house stuff.

I have loved it.  I go to all the local races, see my athletes, see my friends and socialize.  Oh, and race too.  Don’t think I have lost my competitive fire – oh, not at all.  I am working less but still working hard and taking care of all the details that are necessary to succeed.  I am still racing at 45 and am able to continue to perform well and have fun.

This year I went back to my first ever Triathlon in my hometown.  It is a 400m swim, 12.8 mile bike and 5k.  I warmed up by my childhood house – the course took me all around going past all the places I went as a kid and all my friend’s houses.  I was on that line of working hard I wanted to vomit AND getting all nostalgic.  I was interviewed after the race (because I won) and they were in awe that I had raced there 20+ years ago and decided to just come back in 2016.

And, if you think my competitive fire is gone – don’t be silly.  I secretly went to break the Course Record.  I thought that would be so cool.   Not only go back to my first triathlon, but at age 45 break the course record.  I did.  There was no hoopla over it, no neon lights – just an internal satisfaction all to myself

As I look at the rest of the season, I have another local, competitive Sprint this weekend and then I have not decided what I will do apart from a couple of ½ marathons.  I am taking the weeks as they come and continue to stay in shape so I can “jump” into anything I would like on the fly.

I still cannot find my aero helmet from the move.  I have no power on my bike outside.  I have not raced with a watch all year and I do not have a bike computer on my bike.  I just race and race 100% – when you race short course, it is just about going as hard as you can to get up to the front or stay up front the entire time.  It is refreshing and fun and frankly, the way I like to race.  Back to the basics and rawness of competing, which is how I started 20 years ago before all the hoopla of data and comparisons.  And, I do NOT miss being tired all the time!


Comments

  1. Love it love it!!!! I know exactly what you mean!!!


  2. Glad things are going good. When you flew to AZ when your kids went to camp, I thought that was kinda nutty. You have a new house. Stay home, and enjoy it.

    Nutty girl.

    Take care. :)


  3. Awesome as usual!! Rock on!!


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