Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wimp or Thin Blood??
October 30th, 2008

Todd and I took a quick trip to Middlebury Connecticut for this past Monday through Wednesday to meet with George and Joanne Frantzis who own Quassy Amusement Park (race venue) and to do a video preview of the course for the website.

WOW – has my blood thinned or have I turned in to a wimp?
I was freezing the entire two and a half days.

We left Florida on Monday a.m. after taking the kids to school and got into Connecticut at 3:00pm. When we arrived it was in the 50s but Tuesday it was 42 degrees and rain and to top it off Wednesday it snowed!!

Besides being frozen cold I must admit riding with snowflakes blowing was quite fun.
We had the chance to ride a few sections of the course for filming purposes. Mark Satran – a local triathlete who has come to our IronEdge Camps ( and Vasso Kelley were gracious to give their time and join in on the fun.

Be sure to visit the site and check it out!! Better yet, come race with us – it will be an AWESOME Event!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Letter from Jimmie
October 20th, 2008

The letter below I received from a young man by the name of Jimmie Guilfoyle who raced Ironman Louisville on behalf of a high school swimmer he coaches Tommy Steiner. Tommy has Down Syndrome. I was fortunate to be at the finish that evening when Jimmie crossed the finish line with Tommy running by his side. Having a child with Cerebral Palsy I know the challenges individuals like Tommy can face on a daily basis. The smile on Tommy’s face as he crossed the line moved me to tears. As the folks from Ironman placed a medal around Jimmie’s neck I reached into my pocket and put my medal around Tommy’s. It’s moments like these and letters like the one below which motivate me on a daily basis. To Jimmie and to Tommy – you are both winners in the most important race of all – The Race of Life!!

Letter from Jimmie Guilfoyle:

Mrs Gollnick,
I am not sure whether or not you will remember me; however, I really wanted to send this message to you thanking you for giving a medal (which I believe was your medal), to my friend Tommy Steiner who has Down syndrome.

I finished later on in the evening and Tommy crossed the finish line with me at Ironman Louisville. I am not sure if you know what impact you had on him, myself, and all of our family and friends that were there. I live right across the Ohio River from Louisville, so it is kind of like a hometown to me. There were a lot of people there supporting Tommy and I, and they all saw what you did. When I looked at his face after that happened, he looked like the world had been given to him, and I just wanted you to know that.

The reason he was with me is because I was racing to raise awareness and support for a foundation his parents started when he was born that helps support families who have been affected by Down syndrome, and I am glad to say it was a great success. It was an unbelievably rough day, as I am sure you know, but it was definitely the greatest day of my life.
I was really disappointed when I heard you had mechanical failures on your bike. I was hoping to see you win again. Congratulations on a great race though.

There is not much more I can really say other than thank you. I can speak for Tommy and his family when I say, what you did changed their life. He wears his medal nearly everyday now and is so proud to have it. So, THANK YOU.

Hope to see you reclaim your title next year.
Jimmie Guilfoyle

Friday, October 10, 2008

September 10th, 2008

It took me a long time to write this race report as every time I sat down the frustration and disappointment I felt was all I could think of. I tried to find the right words – then I found this quote that described how I felt.

“The inner fire to succeed blazes it’s hottest when the windsof adversity blow their strongest”
Man did I want to win! Then I heard this funny I kept complaining about being second when a friend gently reminded me of how many athletes would give anything to be second in an Ironman on a day filled with problems (it helped for a minute – but…) – well, here is the recap:
I love Louisville !! The town is so great and I was so excited to go back and defend my Ironman Title. I had been to Louisville on a quick trip in July to film a video and had an opportunity to talk at Bluegrass Bicycles and go over run drills at a local track for Ken Combs Running Store as well as do an underwater swim clinic with Nancy and our coaching company, IronEdge. But – this time it was about me, and about racing and about laying it all out there!! Well, I did accomplish that although the title eluded me.

I had a great swim. I got on some great feet for the first ½ of the swim until defending Champion Chris McDonald budged his way in front of me and I was stuck on his feet (he doesn’t create nearly the good bubbles of the athlete I was on). I exited the water in great position and things were going as planned. Getting from the swim to the bike was quite painful. The bottom of my foot was still not healed from a bone infection caused by a piece of glass that punctured my foot at a race three weeks prior and the pavement to T1 was not carpeted – OUCH!!

Made it onto the grass portion of transition (thankfully!!) and was quickly off on the bike. My legs felt great! My plan was to pace the first loop and then hammer and negative split the second. Bree Wee and I were going back and forth and the leader Lis Kristensen was 3:30 up. The intensity at this point was moderate and my HR low so I knew I was in good position. We were gaining on the leader who was now less than a minute up! I couldn’t wait to pick it up the second loop.

Then I heard this funny noise, I was asking for help and fortunately they told me it was only my bottle cage which had broken in the back. I continued to ride but then one thing you never want as you are in an Ironman, my front spoke broke. The wheel was rubbing with each revolution and I was screaming for bike tech at every corner and at every media cycle, even volunteers. Fortunately I was able to keep riding (or I may still be out there).

My plan was to hammer until bike tech support got to me as to not lose too much time, but tech never came and never came. I was screaming – I NEED A 650 FRONT WHEEL!! My Heart Rate was sky high but I kept pushing telling myself - keep pushing HG – don’t lose too much time, bike support will be here – 10 more minutes – this happened over and over, fortunately Marc Strickland has taught me how to think positive even in these circumstances. Tech however never came – they got stopped by others with mechanicals and had trouble getting to me on this double loop crowded course. Ultimately the byproduct of all of this was that I was tanking myself for the run. The fact that I did not get tech support for 60+ miles even today is very frustrating. You would never see someone lose the Tour from lack of support.

I got off the bike in 3rd and was tanked. My hands were tingling and I could tell my sodium levels were low. By mile two I was on the ground in the cobra position stretching my cramp out. Hillary Biscay who at the time was 4th behind me was wondering what the heck I was doing up ahead. But, she soon passed me and I was in a disappointing 4th place. I was still hurting so at every aid station I got a cup of chicken broth which helped my body un-cramp and I was feeling better and able to pick it up again.

I passed 3rd place and thought, wow – I can still be in this race after all that. I kept pushing but I was getting side stitches from the soup!! So I quit drinking the soup – side stitch went away and I was able to make a pass for 2nd place but now the dehydration was coming back and the foot injury was killing me!!

I was passed and in third again but passed Lis Kristensen as I pushed myself as hard as I could. It was by far the most painful marathon ever!! Thankfully I ran into Sven, a training friend from home and he encouraged me and ran with me the last three miles.

I crossed the line second, a victory of sorts after the day I experienced – I put it all out there and gave it all I could!! After crossing the finish line I was shortly off to Medical. I am still whipped today and my entire left side of my body is not happy with me for compensating for 26 miles. But, my heart is happy for pushing through a tough day. It may take the competitive part of me awhile to come around as I (without the mechanicals) felt the day was mine. I’ll be back!!!

To my wonderful Sponsors:To my newest Title Sponsor TRAKKERS I cannot thank you enough for your support on a daily basis!! Your product is innovative and meets one of the core needs of our sport. I can’t wait for athletes and spectators alike to see this product in action!! It will truly revolutionize the way people look at our sport – keep your eye’s open everyone for the debut of TRAKKERS!!!!!

QR for my awesome pink camo bike and for their time and attention to my needs, (it was a hit!!!), and Zipp for outfitting me with the fastest wheels in the market today. To my friends at Jaggad, I appreciate your very comfortable and fashionable race gear – great colors, love the shades of Pink. Robert Kunz and First Endurance I believe very strongly in the effectiveness of your wonderful array of products – they are a very specific part of my daily regimen.
To Ed Levins and the Village Bikes family, you know how much I value and respect each and every one of you!! To Chris Miller at Wigwam, and Holly Bennett at GU your personality and passion for Iroman is contagious. Holly thanks for the Roctane Boost on the Run, I was in serious need and once again my Roctane gave me the needed boost! Ironman Helmets thanks for a quality product and your continued support!!

My new Hot Pink Oakley’s were a welcome addition to my Race Day Gear – thanks Greg. And to the folks at Physician’s Pain Relief Cream your product was a welcome addition to my post race cool down. To William at The Center4 thanks for the top-flight massage – thanks to you I can train at a continuous and high level. Dr. B, Norma and Chiro Kinetics you have invested your time and talents into my health and well-being – I am grateful!! Thanks All!!