Hello Bozeman!


Michelle Blessing, who won the New York Road Runners, 102-story, Empire State Building Run-Up in 1995, was 14th this year!  Michelle was the Team USA Triathlon Head Coach for both the Men & Women at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia and is a Special Guest Coach for the Bozeman Tritons.

Hello to all of you Bozeman triathletes!  Art has asked me to contribute to your blog – I am sure that I can find some interesting things to write about. Some of it will be training oriented, some of it will be racing oriented, and some of it will simply be my crazy personal racing and training experiences.

First of all, I really enjoyed my time in Montana coaching at your camp last spring – and I look forward to coming back again some day.  I will also write a bit about some of the training information I presented and I will post some of the material that I did not hand out.  But for today:

I actually raced a little bit more seriously this year and it was a lot of fun.  I learned a lot – or remembered a lot – along the way and I look forward to sharing some of my stories with you.   One of my biggest revelations this year is that I need to do a variety of races in order to not get stale -which has the undesirable outcome where I take two or three years off and gain thirty pounds. 

Doing a variety of races, of course, is not ideal for serious training or racing  (it is pretty hard to train for a 15 minute stair climb and then do the Pikes Peak marathon!), but for me it is the only way that I can seem to keep motivated to train and not get burned out.  For instance, in 2009, I wanted to run some stair climbs in NY, LA, and Chicago.  I also wanted to run the Pikes Peak Ascent (3-4 hour race), two other long trail races at altitude, and three sprint triathlons.  At first I figured that I should not even try to do all of this – it would not be possible, right?  But then I figured “what the heck, why not just see what happens?”

So, how did I manage to work this “variety” out and still race relatively well? I kind of grouped my races together at the beginning of the year, based on what they are and how long they would take.  I scheduled two stair climbs for the first part of the year – February and April.  I focused my training on losing weight :), base training, some strength training, and adding some VO2 max work. Then I shifted my focus to the sprint triathlons for a few months – June and July.  I added in some swimming, a bit more volume overall, and a longer bike every week.  After that little stint, I moved to the trail running and Pikes Peak Ascent – July and August.  I focused on longer runs at altitude and cut out most of the fast stuff – well for me it was fast!

After a few weeks off,  I will go back to stair running for the rest of the year.  Short and fast and fun!  Best of all, no burn out and pretty good results for an old lady! If you are really racing seriously (for example, trying to win USAT nationals for your age group) this would probably not be the best way to go, but for my purpose (having fun and winning local age group races) it worked. 

More about some of the specific training/racing in the next post. 

Stay Healthy!

Michelle Blessing

Bozeman Tritons Special Guest Coach

Team USA Triathlon Head Coach for both the Men & Women at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia

First Look at Fall Training/Racing Calendar


Good morning/afternoon!  Here is a first look at what we have in store this fall.  For those who weren’t able to make the last club meeting, we have decided to add a marathon to the race calendar this winter (Rock N’ Roll Las Vegas).  In September, we will start meeting once a week for a group run.  All are welcome, but we will be gearing up for either the half or full marathon on December 6th.  Also, we will continue to meet once a week for either a road ride, or mountain bike ride (depending on the weather and trail conditions).  Look for indoor cycling to commence after the first of the year.

Autumn 2009 – Triton Training & Race Calendar

rocknroll las vegas marathon

Hope everyone’s season has been going well.  From the calendar, there still is a few races that you can still jump into before the snow flies.

Happy Training,

Coach Aubrey

2009 MTCC Garden City Triathlon


The Garden City Tri is coming up in a couple of weeks!

MTCC Garden City Triathlon

Frenchtown, Montana

1.5K Swim, 40K Bike, 10k Run

Saturday, September 5, 2009

9:00 AM START at Frenchtown Pond State Park

Great open water swim! Flat and fast bike course! Record-setting run, with plenty of aid!

This race will feature the male and female winners of all 2009 Montana triathlons—a final showdown of Montana’s best!

REGISTRATION OPEN for Individuals and Teams at www.mtcompact.org

Labor Day weekend racing, Montana-style! Food, awards and kids triathlon. No dogs are allowed in the park.

Race benefits the Montana Campus Compact.

Compression Socks at Fleet Feet!


For those who travel long distances by plane or car to race, you should look into purchasing some compression socks for recovery during periods where you are sitting in one place (i.e. car seat or in an airplane).  Research has shown that they reduce lactic acid build up immediately following a hard effort, which leads to a faster recovery.  The day after Lake Stevens 70.3, I wore them the entire way home – more than 9 hours in the car, which helped tremendously.

Tony down at Fleet Feet has seen the benefits from compression clothing, and has decided to carry CEP compression socks within his store.  I have a pair of CEP socks, and I love them!  You might just want to run down there and check em out.

Till next time…Cheers.

Coach Aubrey

Lake Stevens Recap…and Lessons Learned


Greetings and salutations!  Another 70.3 on the books, and Montana had a strong contingent representing in Washington on Sunday (not too mention three Bozeman Tritons). 

I got into Monroe, Washington (20 minutes from race site) on Thursday morning and stayed with some family I have who reside there – it always good to pick races where you have a FREE homestay.  It was also good to have a large group of relatives to keep me company the days prior and cheer me on during the race (who says this isn’t a “team” sport).  One downside was the sleeping arrangements, which I can’t complain too much about since they were free of charge.  However, after a night on a hide-a-bed, my back was begging me to find a bed.  Unfortunately there were no other beds, and I had to resort to the floor (better, but not by much).  The day before the race, my left hamstring and glute were very very tight.  I went for a light run, but ended it short since my left side wasn’t responding correctly.  I also felt very heavy in the legs, even though I did a proper taper for this race.  Ugh, I guess we’ll see how she goes??

You couldn’t have asked for better race conditions Sunday morning, other than maybe the morning fog (more on this in a moment).  Transition opened at 4:30 AM, and most had already showed by the time I rolled in around 5 AM.  Amazingly, it is relatively easy to find parking in Lake Stevens, even though it is a small community locked in by a lake and surrounding mountains.  Walking down to transition, I happen to run into Art Thompson (or “The Godfather” as we like to call him), getting body marked.  We both exchanged looks like we really weren’t awake and ready to do a Half Ironman.  Me with my heavy legs and tight hamstring, and Art with a Yankees/Mariners game and a night out in Seattle under his belt.  I could be wrong, but I think there were a few beers drank before, during, and after that Yankees game…right Art?  Nonetheless, we both showed up to the race on time, and it appeared we were going to make a go of it.  One Triton who I hadn’t run into was Bill Claridge…but from the little I know about Bill, I do know he would show and be race-ready.

Now about that fog…it did make things interesting during the swim.  For those who have never done Lake Stevens, the swim could be one of the easiest swims in the 70.3 series.  There literally is a underwater cable that you follow during the entire swim…and there was definitely a need for it on the way back in from the turnaround.  You couldn’t hardly see anything past 15 yards in front of you due to the fog.  And for some reason, I didn’t use the cable on the second half of the swim (after the turnaround), which I should have – LESSON #1.  Okay, running out of the swim into transition, over to the bike, and out of transition.  Oh, don’t forget your race number for the bike, which was dangling from my aerobars out of transition (side note…the sound of a race number rubbing on a tire sounds very close to a brake rubbing on a tire).  Don’t forget to put on your race number before leaving on the bike – LESSON #2.

The bike at Lake Stevens is a two-lap course, and the first 2/3 of the lap is rollers (with a few “short and steeps”).  The last 1/3 of the lap is mostly downhill with some flats.  You can make up some time on the flat sections of the bike…which I desperately needed to – LESSON #3.  Also, nothing kills your average like the last 6 miles of the bike (after you complete your second lap and make the left turn to transition).  Both times I’ve raced this course, I mentally prepare to get off my bike after making that turn…then shortly realize I still have a ways to go – LESSON #4.

Okay, the bike didn’t quite go as hoped…but what I was really afraid of was how I would feel on the run.  I did feel my tight left glute on the bike, and was not ready to see how it would feel running.  Out of transition, I kept a really conservative pace…I mean, we do have 13.1 miles to go.  Also, I experimented with something I’ve rarely ever done…not looking at my watch.  I ran all on percieved exertion (no HR monitor either).  Considering how I felt the days leading up to the race, I would be happy just to not have to walk at all during the run.  So there I was, just keeping a moderate clip, and not letting my emotions get the better of me (which usually happens).  Whoever said “patience is a virtue, especially in Ironman”, was a very smart individual – LESSON #5.  To the best of my recollection (since I wasn’t really looking at my watch), I even-splited the half marathon, and still felt good enough to sprint to the line to finish 3rd in my age group (4th was less than 5 seconds behind me).  Still have some more work to do, but I think in hindsight I ran a smart race…which is sometimes hard for me to do 😉

Post race was great!  I got to spend some time with old friends from Hawaii on Lake Washington, drinking some adult beverages and sharing triathlon stories.  There were a handful of pros who also were there, including Ben Hoffman (who made a wrong turn, rode 66 miles on the bike, and still managed to finish 16th overall) and Justin Park (3rd overall).  We got to enjoy an amazing view from the back deck of Ben Collins’ place, who races the ITU World Cup circuit and is hoping to make the 2012 Olympic team – keep an eye out for him.  Many thanks to Ben and Rory Seiter (great friend and fellow triathlete), for their hospitality and good cheer!

I would definitely recommend this race to anyone within the club who is looking for a 70.3 race in the area.  Easy drive from Montana, and a GREAT race venue.  I would also recommend doing some hill training on the bike and run as well for this race – LESSON #6.  That shouldn’t be too hard to do here in Bozeman.

Can’t wait to hear the stories from Art and Bill.  Great job, fellas…way to represent the 4-0-6!


Coach Aubrey

Training Resource

Here is a good web site for training information.  Michelle Blessing recommended it!

Laurie Thatcher, Bozeman Tritons coach


Catapalooza 2009!


The Tritons would like to be seen at Catapalooza held on the MSU campus.  This is a great marketing and outreach event for the community to tell people about our club and share YOUR experiences.  If you would like to sign up to represent and tell others about our exciting club, please let me know. 

Catapalooza will be held Wednesday August 26th-Friday August 28th from 10AM to 3 PM on the MSU mall.  If you would like an hourly slot (or a few) let me know by Friday, August 14th.   Drop me an email at sw1078@hotmail.com .

Thanks for your support of the club.


Bike Ride and Fundraiser to Support Diabetes Research



If you are interested in a fall bike ride with free food (who doesn’t want that), lots of support and some fun, the American Diabetes Association is putting on the Tour de Cure on September 19th.  This event supports diabetes research and will be held in Three Forks.  You can bike as an individual or in a team with distances ranging from 100 miles to 26 miles.  If you would like more information, click on the link below : http://tour.diabetes.org/site/TR/TourdeCure/TDC475018030?pg=entry&fr_id=5940

If you don’t want to ride, consider volunteering. 

If there are Tritons that would like to do the team option for great camaradie, let me know and we can try and connect people.

2009 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon


Vodpod videos no longer available.


Nothing better than ferry boat cliff jumping for a mass swim start!

June 14, 2009. San Francisco.

It was a beautiful day for an ESCAPE! Andy Potts grabbed his 3rd consecutive win and Mary Beth Ellis landed her first victory at Alcatraz.

For one weekend each summer, 2,000 of the world’s best triathletes assemble in San Francisco for one of the most infamous and extreme sporting events…the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. In its 29 years as a maximum-security prison, no one ever escaped alive from the menacing shores of Alcatraz. Every year, this popular event draws over 20,000 spectators to see who can accomplish that daunting task.

The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon features heart-pounding action, including a 1.5 mile swim through frigid waters from Alcatraz Island to shore, a grueling 18-mile bike race, and a demanding 8-mile run through the rugged trails of Golden Gate Recreation Area. Set against the natural beauty of San Francisco, this thrilling triathlon is a virtual postcard of the City by the Bay.

For interested Tritons, the 2010 Event will take place May 30, 2010. The lottery will open December 1, 2009.  Start planning today!

Event details and updates are available at www.escapefromalcatraztriathlon.com.

The Need for “Training” Races

Troika Triathlon Logo

Hey all!  Just returning from a weekend in Spokane, WA (along with one of my favorite places in the country – Coeur d’Alene, ID).  I added the Troika Triathlon to the calendar this year as a last long workout before my priority race at Lake Stevens two weeks later.  All in all, the day went as expected.  I planned on going out on the swim, testing the legs on the bike, and seeing how I felt on the run.  The day before, temperatures reached 100 degrees in the area, and I was continually drinking water and taking in sodium (pretzels).  I kept having flashbacks of Ironman Cd’A the first year they had it (2003).  That was my first IM race, and it was one of the hottest contests at that distance to date.  So many athletes dropped out that day due to heat stress and exhaustion.  Needless to say, it was a long day for me as well.  And now, nearly 6 years later, I was afraid the same would be the case at Troika.  Luckily, I only had to go half the distance.

Race morning was fine, other than the fact I signed up for the bus shuttle out to the swim start (2 transition race).  Word of advice, don’t do the shuttle…as we say in the military, big “Charlie Foxtrot”.  Fortunately, I ran into Chad Elkin, and accomplished triathlete from Great Falls that I trained with quite a bit during my year there at Malmstrom AFB.  Both he and I realized that they did not have enough busses for everyone, so we decided to drive to the race start.  He would be able to drive me back out there afterwards to pick up my vehicle.  So, we got there on time, and it was a very relaxed transition area.  This race is smaller than a regular 70.3, and most athletes there were locals who had done the race before. 

The swim was one loop, and went well.  I had on my Orca sleeveless wetsuit, which was appropriate for the water temp – very warm!  The fish went out fast, as always…and I setttled in to a steady rhythm.  I had open water mostly the whole way, which was nice for a change.  The water was calm as well, which made for good conditions (other than maybe the temp of the water).  After I came out, I realized I had a solid time of 30 minutes in the swim – 9th out of the water.

Onto the bike, I had a slower transition than usual, but I wanted to ensure I had everything I would need on the bike (mostly nutrition).  Treating this as a training race, I wanted to try some new techniques with my nutrition on the bike.  The bike course was mostly rolling, with more “stingers” towards the end of the bike.  Overall, a fun and relatively fast course.  However, due to a week of training beforehand, I started feeling a cramp in my left quad.  Didn’t really hinder me much on the bike, but I was scared of what it might do on the run.  I finished the bike in 2:29 – 7th place after the bike.

Now, the run.  I have a history of fading the last half of the run in Half Ironman races, and this race was no exception.  I had a quick turnover getting off the bike, and was able to hold a 6:45 pace for a few miles – ideal for what I wanted to hold going out.  The course is a slight uphill going out, downhill coming back.  I figured I may be able to negative split this run, which would be ideal.  However, come the turnaround…I had fallen off the pace quite a bit.  That cramp in my left quad was now an issue, and fatigue slowly crept into the rest of my legs.  I fell to an 8 minute pace, and started walking through the aid stations on the way back.  Ugh!  Ideally, I would like to have done a sub 1:30 run on that course, but came in at 1:41 for the half marathon.  Total time was 4:42, 12th overall. 

Not quite what I was hoping for, but the moral of this story is…there is no such thing as a perfect race, especially if it isn’t a key event for you.  I feel every triathlete who wishes to improve in the sport should schedule a few “training” races in their calendar every year.  What better training is there?  Where else can you practice the swim, bike, run, and transitions on a measured course with volunteers?  I came away with some definite changes I will make with my nutrition on the bike, along with some pacing aspects I will practice during my key event at Lake Stevens, WA.  Now with some needed rest, I should be able to put all of it together and have a great race in two weeks.  For those Bozeman Tritons traveling to the race as well, you too should be tapering and getting ready to kill it out there.

Hope all is well and everyone’s training is going great!  Just as a reminder…you can still register for Lake Stevens 70.3, or even the Longhorn 70.3 Austin in October.  Two great events, which I plan on participating in this year!

Happy Training!

Coach Aubrey

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