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:

*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!


  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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Keeping it Real

“Don’t mistake activity with achievement.” Coach John Wooden

There has been a ton of activity in our life the last 4-6 months.  Most of it was very exciting; but, truthfully, most of it stressful.  Jerome and I bought a Lot in 2011 during our taper for IM Arizona.  (You think you have taper issues?).   Our twins were 9.  We drew up plans for our dream house and put our house on the market.  Then, we hit a recession. Our house took 2 1/2 years to sell. 

Fast forward to 2015 and we moved out of our 15 year house (our first, cute little 1880s house).  We lived, with now, 13-14 year old teenagers, in a rental apartment.  We spent our free time designing our house.  We picked out EVERYTHING in our house.  Knobs, toilets, paint colors, floor plank width, heights of ceilings – you name it, we picked it out.   It was invigorating!  I was able to spend my free time obsessing over Pinterest and HOUZZ.  I was able to take a breather from reading about swim/bike and run and instead obsess (if you want to know ALL about grey paint, call me) about everything you need to know about house building.   The good, bad and ugly.

I loved our General Contractor.  We grew up in the same hometown and have a lot of the same circle of friends.  He was a referral from some good friends.  The GC and I spent A LOT of time together.  He runs (not literally) as fast as I do – so there were days we would rip each other apart because when you get two overly intense people together —> BAM.  Jerome would sweep in and save the day, typically.  He is not a morning person and I am.  He always wanted to talk around 9pm at night.  It didn’t take long before we started to understand one another.  I am fiercely organized.  Our GC:  not so much.  

We are now in the new house.   We moved in over Valentine’s Day weekend (it was -5F out and windchill -25F – awesome) and we just closed this past Monday.  We were so relieved, it is like we finally are sleeping and breathing freely now.

Looking back, I am not sure why it was SO stressful, but it was.  Like most new home builders, we were bleeding money. Everything was “another $1,000.”   And, I was in massive decision fatigue.  I was so tired of making decision I couldn’t even pick out a salad at Panera one day.  My phone rang constantly about the trade guys needing this and that, the lights need to be picked out in the next 3 days, the fans don’t fit, the tub pump is not the right one…I realize these are 1st world problems, but for someone (ME) who likes everything to run smoothly -this was a pure test of my patience.  

And, I am all about integrity.  If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing right.   This motto of mine was tested daily with tons of guys in and out of this house…not showing up, not doing a good job.  Finally, I was so fed up with one of the trades (roofer) that when he came to the house and the GC did not handle the situation, I went right up to him and got into his personal space and absolutely fired him off the job.  Told him not to come back and I would not be paying him out.  And, to call my attorney if he wants to talk about any leins.  I was so disgusted.  I am so lucky that I usually only deal with high quality people — I am a Triathlon coach and that affords me the luxury to deal with people that are passionate about being awesome.  So, this was my first rodeo with the trades.  I learned a ton about people during this process.

Further, I was not sleeping.  In fact, I started to lose weight.  First 5 lbs.  Then, 8 lbs…and then, the wheels came off in December. December is a very busy coaching month for me – all the re-starts and new starts for 1/1, the holidays, kids off school, shopping, etc…and we were supposed to be in the house by Christmas and were not.   I almost became completely un-glued.   i had no appetite.   

During all of this, I never stopped training.  However, “training” is all relative, really.  Last year I LOVED my season.  I did all short course racing culminating with ITU Worlds Short Course in September.  It was perfect for me with the house, teenagers and working. I took some time off post Worlds and then started to get back into things.   Honestly, I like being fit.  I have never not been fit, except when I was pregnant with the twins.  Otherwise, I am super consistent and like to have a “base” so that I can leap off that platform and race what interests me when the spring/summer rolls around.

But, in December I was out running – doing a 2nd workout of the day and I just stopped and cried.  It was freezing out and I was cold, too thin (no appetite, not eating AND NOT SLEEPING) and I had enough.  I am like, “Why can’t I just step away from this??”  It is so hard when this is what you do and you do not know how to slow your roll.   This is my 21st year of racing.   I aged up to 45-49.  I wanted to race and had huge goals for an IM this year.  And, while it was only December – things were crashing around me in regards to my training.  I was still doing the workouts and hitting the paces, but I was dreading them.  

It is funny how the body and mind work.  You can trick your body easily to do what the mind wants.  But, you know what you cannot trick?  Your gut.  I woke up on Saturdays and always wanted to do a short run, but was happy to go and run 5-7 miles and then get showered and go to the TILE store and pick out tile with Jerome.   I no longer wanted to spend large chunks of the day training OR recovering from training.  I could not train long or too hard because then I was too tired to do anything major like shop for countertops all afternoon!  

And, because I coach and my job is to inspire and motivate and lead people all day – the last thing people need or want to hear about is me crying on my runs in the ice cold, dark days.  So, I kept my mouth shut, put my head down and kept things pretty private (which is not like me).

45 has been an eye opening year for me.  I never had a mid-life crisis.  But, I think this year has really been a game changer for me.  I realized many things this short year.   My life just got REAL.  My friends are getting cancer.  My friend’s parents are sick and starting to pass away.  My friend’s kids are having real life altering problems & issues.  And, frankly, raising teenagers is not easy.  It is 100x harder than anyone can ever tell you.  Jerome and I looked at one another the other day and said, “THIS is parenting now?”  Sex, middle school, hormones and complacency?  Gah.   I want to turn my parent card back in.  Boys are hard in their own way, but girls…….OH GIRLS.   And, Morgan is a dream, but that does not mean 8th grade is any easier.   Helping the kids navigate through middle school is hard.

I realized I really just want to be around people that are positive, inspiring and truly care.  I want to entertain people at my house.   I want to have lunch with my friends and go brunch with my neighbors.  It is like a turned in my “young” card and upgraded to a “responsible living” card holder.  Not to be mistaken for your AARP card.  I am not there yet.

During that run where I cried – I decided I had to hit the “pause” button.  I realized this winter I wanted to pick out window treatments for 2 hours instead of ride my bike for 2 hours.  I started to look at Training Peaks and be happy when there was only 10-12 hours in it!   In the past, I would be moaning that was my rest week.  And, I realized it was okay.  The house gave me another sense of excitement and fulfillment.  It was that “break” I was looking for to hit the “reset” button.   I did not know I needed it, but when it came into my life, I fought it and then realized –>  I just cannot do it all well.    And, I was tired of trying to do it all well.   I think if this was my 5th or 10th year racing/training, I may feel differently.  But, 21 years?   I mean, really, it is okay, Jenny.

But, the catch is this.  I am still in shape and fit.  I am not sandbagging my fitness (I hate when people do that).  I am here to say, I still train every day.  Today I swam 3700 yards and ran 6 miles.  Now that we are in the house, I can breathe and get some normalcy back.  However, I really have to think about my season and if I really want to spend my days on the bike.  The runs and swims are easy, but hours and hours on the bike is the game changer.  You either want it or you don’t.  There is no in between for the goals I would have.  I would have to alter my expectations or training.  Because, I know what it takes and what sacrifices have to be made to meet those goals for long course.

And, on the flip side, I keep enjoying my coaching and doing more and more of it.  I started to take on new, fun and challenging opportunities.  I spend all my days coaching and working and frankly, I love it.   I workout at 5am every day and then work (yes, like a normal person).  Then, I run or bike at lunch, if I need to.  This passion for coaching has not changed – my love and excitement to coach has almost nearly exceeded my own passion for racing.  And, I knew this would happen and I am excited that it has.  I got into a pattern where I would get up early (before 5am) workout and take a shower, put on make up and start my day. I cannot believe I like that, but I do.   And, I have agreed to stop berating myself about it.  

It is now March.  I am racing a 1/2 Marathon in a few weeks and have my JHC Camp later in March.  I am excited about both.  I have not signed up for any Triathlons yet this summer.  I will race.  I love it, but I am definitely thinking short and local.  Pop in and race for 1-2 hours and be home by 10am to wash my windows.   Sounds dreamy, right?

Don’t answer that! :)


  1. do you now have a new appreciation for the work that us architects do? :)

  2. I have always loved the work architects do, for sure! Ours was great in the beginning, but never really saw /heard from him once the project got rolling. Our GC wanted to use him.

  3. You have always struck me as this insanely energized person – which is awesome and inspiring… but here you are admitting… you’re actually a HUMAN who isn’t as fired up about swimming, biking, and running, as she was 20+ years ago, as life changes and priorities and families shift. I don’t think anyone would think less of you as a coach for simply being human. Congrats on the house and I can’t wait to read about your upcoming half.

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Pay It Forward 2016 Contest!

I am excited to announce I will be doing Pay It Forward for 2016 again! I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the past winners: Dan M, Cathy B, Courtney, Alisa D and Jeff Vanis.

2016 will be my 6th 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: from 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!

4.) You need to have at least one “A” race in 2015. Can be any significant race, but we need to have goals for 2015. All levels of athletes are welcome!

5.) The coaching will start in January, 2016 and last until the end of your “A” race or 12/31/16, 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 between 12/15 and Christmas, 2015.

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

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ITU Worlds Double & Managing the Slide

This past weekend at the ITU Triathlon World Championships in Chicago. Just like at Nationals in August, I raced both the Sprint and Olympic Distances at Worlds too. The only difference was that the Sprint was first on Thursday and the Olympic was ~ 48 hours later on Saturday. I was really interested to see how that would feel and go for me. I had never pulled that combination off before. At Nationals I did the Olympic on Saturday and gutted through the Sprint on Sunday. I was worried doing it the opposite order would be even more challenging.

Ironically, I felt like a million bucks for my Olympic Race and had one of those days were I just felt great all around. It was about 100% different than I felt for the Sprint 2 days prior where I was super tired. My goal was to go Top 10 at both, but I also knew that would be an aggressive goal, with how stacked USAT Nationals was last year with everyone wanting to race in the USA for Worlds.

I ended up 8th in the Sprint and 7th in the Olympic. I had very specific goals for the races and paces I knew I had to hit in order to be in the mix. I knew I had to have a better swim than at Nationals in the Olympic. At Nationals I had a sub par swim for me and came out of the water in 9th. I vowed that would never happen again, so I killed myself in the Sprint and OLY races in the cold, choppy Lake Michigan (loved it) and came out of the water in ~5th in both races – Mission accomplished. I was breathing HARD and took off like a rocket and had full blown clean water for both races.

Coming out of the water in the Top 5 sets you up nicely at Worlds and I knew the movement would be minimal in the Top 10. At Worlds it is not like anyone will really out bike or out run anyone by 2-3+ minutes up in the top 10 – so the swim matters – big time. In my opinion at this short course World level, it is all about the swim – as long as you are a strong rider and runner you can hold your position.

I also knew I had to run a 42 minute 10k or faster to be in the Top 10 or about 6:40s pace. Chicago is flat and that suits me well. Choppy water – cold and windy. Honestly, the conditions were everything I dream about. I knew this and made sure I capitalized on my strengths.

I ended up running a 42 min 10k and not one girl passed me on the run. I held my spot and held tough. The course was long at 6.7-6.9 miles, so our 10k times are long, but I was okay with that as I was running well and enjoying the moment.

2015 ends my 40-44 age group racing. I age up to 45 in January. I am excited to age up and be the youngest again in the age group. Racing at 44 is very different than 40. And, remaining fast after 40 is a major balancing act of many, many things. I thought I would talk about racing fast after 40 – way more interesting than another full blown race report.

Racing “Fast” after 40:


Since I have been racing Triathlon since my early 20s, I don’t PR anymore. I may PR my Ironman (just did that at 41) but I will not getting any bests in my run races or shorter triathlons and honestly, I don’t even think about times anymore. For example, last time I raced at Worlds was 2008 Vancouver. I was 9th there but ran a 39:xx 10k at the age of 37. Now, at the age of 44, I ran a 42 minute 10k on an easier course. A 2003 study by Stephen Baird stated: Ten-kilometer race performance decreased at a rate of about 0.5% per year, or a tad under two seconds per mile per year after the age of 40. I do not go into any race saying, “I need to PR.” I just try to manage the slide. I go to race the competition. I can feel the times decreasing a bit, but I am realistic and focus on other goals when I race. (Of course there are 40+ athletes that still PR, they just are late comers to the sport).

Specificity and Focus:

I don’t pretend I can do all distances well in the same season. Some athletes can, but I don’t enjoy the mix at all. I like the focus and specificity of training for short course OR long course and keeping things focused and specific. One of the major differences in my 40s versus 20s and 30s is my family and work life. When you are in your 40s, you are at the height of your careers and (usually) have kids in middle school and high school. The weekend and night commitments are plentiful and the time shifts from the little kids and toddlers to hanging on to every last few seconds we have the kids at home. So, I do not mess around. My motto for this year in training was, “Just enough.” I was going to do “just enough” to meet my goals. That doesn’t mean the bare minimum, it just means I was going to keep it all in perspective. I did not want to miss much with my kids. I just don’t spread myself too thin. Trust me, I am on the edge many days and weeks – but now I realize when I am and I yank things back. Last week I drove to Cross Country workouts instead of walking over with the kids – I did everything to stay off my legs to ensure I was fresh for Worlds.


As I have been aging through my 40s, I have noticed that my tolerance to speed training has diminished – this is really more applicable to running right now than swimming and cycling, where I don’t feel quite that tolerance waning yet. I work hard to defend my speed but not too hard that I mess something up. This season there were a few workouts where I was on the line and even over that line. I was on the track – forgetting I was 44 and running like I was 30. I have a love affair with the track and I can still get around the track almost as quickly as 10 years ago, but the difference is I will pay for it for days. Another area of major change for me in running is my stride length. In your 40s, your stride rate has nearly decreased by 40%! I spend a ton of time working on my turnover, snap and rebound. One of the first things I noticed was that I did not have the snap as I once did → That recoil and bounce. Now, I do a ton of my longer runs on crushed limestone. I mix up the terrains and keep my body adapting and different terrains, but in my 40s, the softer surfaces really help me recover better. The running is the biggest change in my 40s. My easy runs used to be 7:00 min miles – 10-15 years ago – now that is considered a tempo pace for me and very far from “easy” for me.


This will probably not apply to a ton of 40+ athletes, but for me, it is a game changer. I do not train with a Garmin or pace on my watch. I just cannot. I know what it is like to run X pace, so there is no issues with effort. However, I think it is an athlete’s kiss of death when they age to spend too much time worrying that their warm up pace is now an 8:00-9 min mile and Masters athletes can get into a horrible cycle of over-pushing the effort or pace because they are not content with their paces. I cannot tell you how many days (early mornings especially) where I start out and I bet you I am barely running a 9 minute mile. I cannot warm up quickly and it just takes longer. I hate the watch screaming 9:00 min miles to me – so I just keep it simple. Easy for me these days is definitely 8-9 min miles. Hard is hard and I do not need a watch to tell me how to suffer. I do; however, use power on the bike, because that is a little easier to manage and my watts have decreased over the years, but not as dramatically. But, I do not live and die with it – Ironically, it did not work for my Oly on Saturday at Worlds.

Sleep Quality/Hormones:

One of the major changes now is my sleep quality. As you move through your 40s as a female your hormones are changing and your body is adapting to reduced levels of various hormones. I have found that my PMS is horribly worse. My bad hormone days are worse than ever. I have an APP on my phone called “Period Tracker” and I can manage all my symptoms on it. Physically & mentally it keeps me on target with my bad days, nights I will have a hard time sleeping and when I will have my most horrible fatigue days (and I am prepared for that in my workouts). I am still like clockwork – so I am able to manage these hormone symptoms, but as I creep into my mid 40s and late 40s, I know this will change and it is something that is worth keeping a careful eye on. With the hormone changes comes a reduced sleep quality. I just do not sleep as well as I once did. I really like to sleep and prefer 7-9 hours and I usually get it. But, hormones make some nights really tough and as I get older, I just get more sensitive to noise and I am a huge worrier – so my worry keeps me up some nights (teenagers and building a house will do that).


Seems to be a hot button in our sport, but something I don’t tend to over-think. I have always eaten everything. I eat meat, carbs, you name it, I eat it (except fried food). Back in the day, I would restrict chocolate and M&Ms and things I absolutely love. At the time, it was worth it. But, at 44 – I do not care that much to give up things I love. This is a lifestyle for me and if I gave up my favorite things every year, well, then my entire life is not eating what I love? No, thanks. When I race short course, weight does matter. I know what weight I need to be in order to run well and not get sick or do anything stupid. Every year I am able to get to this weight that I like by just moving a bit more in my daily life – Not training more or eating way less….just summertime things like mowing the grass, walking to places, coaching Cross Country, etc. Also, I eat for fuel. I do not binge or starve myself. I am super consistent year after year and my body knows what is coming and it is the same every year. The key to my consistent weight – even at age 44, when it just does not want to move as easily – is consistency. I have never ever done a cleanse. I have never tried a fad diet. I eat food for fuel and recovery. Plain and simple. Don’t over-think food. Have some chocolate, beer, whatever your vice is and it will prevent major peaks and valleys in your diet, weight and personality.


I cannot write about being racing fast after 40 without talking about Recovery. I think what is so key here is to make sure you are working with someone that understands this. The biggest kiss of death I see with Masters athletes who are doing group programs/workouts with the focus on the fast 30 year old single male. Make sure you are following a training plan that is specific for you as a Masters athlete. The key difference here I find is I need more recovery at the tippy top end of training. I can still do all the hard workouts but I need more recovery time in between the intervals OR days. I rarely do hard days back to back. For Ironman I do, but that is different training than short course prep. If I run the track on Tuesday, I am not doing a bike TT on Wednesday. Could I do that? Oh sure….but then I build a hole that is hard to climb out of. And, my goal is repeatability and consistency day to day.


One of the best things about aging is experience. I have this calm about me now. I can flip the “switch” and be “ON” and race on a dime now. I am still just as hungry as I was 20 years ago to race and meet my goals, but now I have a ton more confidence. I understand what I need to do in every race. There are no more surprises. If they cancel the swim? No biggie, roll with it. 30 mph winds? Bring it on. Starting in the last wave of 2000+ athletes? Okay, whatever. I have this utter calmness about me now. I have raced over 200 triathlons and am able to keep each race in perspective. I know what races need me to be plugged in and 100% rested for. I know what works regarding my nutrition. I do not eat anything ever on my bike or runs that I would not train on (long course sometimes, yes, but not short course). I eat my pre-race breakfast before every workout I do when I can. If I get up at 5am to run, I always eat race food (just small portions) and I never just get up and go. I also tend to not over-think anything. I never go into a Triathlon saying, “I need to go 2:15 to be in the top 10.” Deep down inside, trust me, I know what I need to do, but anything can happen. I just stay as connected to the girls up front as I can and the times will take care of itself. If I swim a 20 min 1.5 k or 22 minutes – does it matter if I come out in the top 1-5? Absolutely not. This saves me and keeps me fresh year after year. If I over-thought all of that and worried that I swam “slow” or whatever, it is really just a matter of perspective. What you need to focus on is where did you finish or swim compared to the girls/guys in the AG? That is the reality of racing and keeping it real. Because, as you get older, these times will slide & you cannot fight that slide, it is too exhausting.

Strength and Flexibility:

It goes without saying that this is critical. Every Monday I go to Pilates. I have been doing that for a couple of years consistently now. I need it. I tend not to do a good job of stretching well myself. This is critical in staying injury free. I also get a massage as much as I can. One of the hot areas of aging athletes are lower legs: Achilles, calves…many Masters athletes have issues with these areas because, as we age, these tendons and ligaments just do not recover and have as much elasticity as before and when we push and push, these areas of our bodies take the most stress. Another area that I noticed is the groin and adductor/Hip area. Same theory here, putting the same stress on these areas year after year but these areas getting weaker as we age. If you don’t do the preventative care as a Masters athlete then you are just inches away from an injury. These areas have grown increasingly tight on me and unless I strengthen and work on these areas they get progressively worse.

Statistical analysis has shown that much of the decrease in race performance with age can be explained by decreases in oxygen uptake, upper and lower body strength, flexibility, and muscular (explosive) power. At 44, almost 45, I am the athlete in front of the freight train running as hard as I can to outrun being hit from behind.

Thank yous:

Time for some R&R now! As I wrap up my 2015 season I want to thank:

Elizabeth – we have worked together in various capacities for ~14 years. Thanks for all you do to help me stay competitive and healthy every year – We make a great team!  I am grateful for our coaching relationship and most importantly our friendship.

Jerome – I love you. You are the best partner for me and thanks for supporting me for all these years.  Even when I know you enjoy beer more than your bike now.

Chris V and Element – I love my Pink TREK and your support this season has been nothing short of amazing.

Dave Walters – I would never be the athlete I am now without you. You are an amazing coach, friend and mentor.

PSIMET – Thanks Rob & Leah for the awesome race wheels and support of the Triathlete in your “real riders” group.  Hopefully I have not embarrassed you too much yet.

Ian and Roka – Best wetsuit I have ever worn. Thanks for all your support.

Nathalie Banfield – BEST Massage therapist ever.

416 Pilates and Meghan – Thank you! 😉

12038609_10153625772894568_2396094807794463488_oMaking sure no one out-sprinted me in the finishing chute at Worlds!


  1. loved the report and master athlete changes. At 53, totally agree.
    You did forget TRX strength/core training equally important! ☺️

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