2017 Grand Rapids Triathlon Recap

June 19th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Elizabeth Kayfish

 The Grand Rapids Triathlon was this past Sunday (June 11th) in Ada, Michigan. For those who raced it, they would probably agree with me and say it was quite a challenging race day. The temperatures were in the 90’s , the wind was brutal, and the sun was beaming down. Even with these conditions, many of our teammates had a successful race.

Even with a tough race day, I have to say that I have always had a positive experience racing at Grand Rapids Triathlon; I am sure others can agree with that statement. This year was my second year racing the half iron distance and I can’t wait to go again next year. This race was very well directed and there were numerous volunteers and supporters. There is no way I could have made it through the half without all the volunteers at the aide stations, the generous families with hoses for us to run through, or the on course cheering of teammates and friends. I’d recommend this race to anyone who hasn’t raced in it next year.

As for me? I was able to PR by 30 minutes this year and place 2nd in my age group, even with these brutal conditions. I was really excited about this and I have to give a huge thanks to our coaches at Athletic Mentors for that one! They really inspired me to try my hardest and gave me the guidance to break the six hour mark.
We had quite a few other teammates place and race well on Sunday. Congratulations to everyone who raced and successfully made it through the heat! Below are some highlights on top finishers.
Sprint Highlights
Jeff Nordquist, 2nd male overall
Todd Anthes, 3rd masters male
Danielle Nye, 1st female and 2nd overall sprint aquabike
Gr tri anthes
Olympic Highlights
Kathy Braginton, 2nd AG
braginton GR
Half Highlights
Tammy Shuler 1st AG
Elizabeth Kayfish 2nd AG
Lindsey Lilley and Dave Stebbins: 2nd relay
GR tri2GR tri 3


A Key to the Marathon- Always have a Plan B

June 12th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Danielle Nye

After wrapping up the tri season last fall I decided I would try a marathon this year. Many of my experienced running friends and teammates recommended the Bayshore Marathon. I signed up as soon as the registration opened and set out to start building my running endurance for the long race ahead. This would be my longest run to date and I wouldn’t be able to control all the factors on race day. In order to help keep my mental game strong during the race I decided to try something different. Instead of just setting one goal, I would set three goals for my race. My A goal would be 3:30-3:35, my B goal would 3:35-3:40, and the C goal was to finish no matter what and be proud of my accomplishment.

nye bayshoreI lined up at Bayshore feeling prepared and ready to conquer the marathon. I took off following closely to my pacing plan. Everything was going really well and at the halfway mark I was convinced I was going to have a great race. At the 21.2 checkpoint my husband shouted that I had only five miles left and if I kept the pace I would have my Boston Qualifier! And then it hit. My quads buckled and I struggled to start running again. I walked through the next aid station and felt like five miles might as well have been a hundred. After a minute or two, I decided to keep going no matter what it took. If I could keep going I would still be able to make my B goal. As the sun beat down and other runners started to walk around me, I kept running. It was a slow run and my mind was screaming to stop. But I kept it going until I saw the track and made it to the finish line with my B goal still intact.

When things get hard during a race it seems your mind starts to think about quitting. I found that by setting three attainable goals during longer races it helps to keep your mental strength going even when the race starts to hurt you physically. It is important to set these goals with your current fitness in my mind and to be realistic about your ability. Having a range of goals kept me going during the hardest race I have tackled so far. Even though I did not get the BQ I was after I was able to finish my race and feel the satisfaction of completing my first marathon.

Fueling for Performance

June 1st, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

By Elaine Sheikh

People enter the world of endurance sports for a lot of different reasons.  Some common ones include: weight loss, the desire to maintain an active lifestyle, and the desire to have a competitive outlet.  It is important to be cognizant of your goals in the sport – if you aren’t you may fall into the trap of living your life in conflict to those goals.

elaine roadNot that many years ago, I was training for performance.  However, I refused to fuel properly to meet my goals.  Having those two key ingredients to racing success at odds with each other wreaked havoc on my body.  Overuse injuries, undoubtedly the result of overtraining and underfueling, plagued me.  Even now, years later, my body is much more fragile than that of my peers and it doesn’t take a lot for me to suffer one injury after another.  Additionally, I started to notice issues with distance training.  I would become incredibly weak during workouts because I refused to fuel during them.  Not an issue if you’re doing a 30 minute easy run, but definitely an issue if you are hammering out a 20-miler.  It’s taken years for me to come to terms with fueling my body for performance.  Here’s what I learned.

In the book “The Well-Built Triathlete,” Matt Dixon spells out the lessons it’s taken me years to put into action.  Nutrition and fueling are two wholly different, yet synergistic, things.  Your nutrition comprises your day-to-day food choices.  Fueling is eating specific things during specific time windows to maximize performance and recovery.  Clearly, you cannot achieve your full potential as an athlete if your nutrition is terrible, but fueling is something that many athletes do not focus enough on.  For me, separating my fueling from nutrition allowed me to begin to eat enough to reach my performance goals.  I picture fueling as putting high octane fuel in a sports car.  You can’t make it around the track with your tank on empty, and you can’t get away with just putting junk in the tank either.  Viewing my body as a high-performance engine and treating it as such was the single most effective mindset that allowed me to break through my mental barriers surrounding food.

Fueling: Unless you are attempting to become a fat-adapted athlete, it is recommended to fuel before workouts to maximize your efficiency.  The pre-training window for fuel is variable.  Experts recommend eating 1.5-3 hours before beginning your workout.  However, if you read my last post about being a time-crunched athlete, you can bet I don’t eat breakfast at 1 am.  A quick snack that is approximately half carb and ¼ each of protein and fat and balances out to 200-400 calories is a great way to pre-fuel for your workout.  Depending on the intensity of the workout, this can be consumed 15-30 minutes before you begin.  During training, recommendations range from 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour.  It’s important to keep yourself fueled throughout workouts!  I struggle to eat gels and solid foods so I recommend using a liquid calorie source such as Infinit to reach your calorie goals without gastrointestinal upset. Post-workout it is essential to eat within 60 minutes (preferably 30) of the end of the workout.  A ratio of 3:1 carbs to protein is ideal.  This will help jumpstart your recovery.

Nutrition is its own incredibly complex topic.  I won’t talk about it now or this post could become a book!  However, don’t forget to pay attention to your daily diet to be the healthiest, most wholesome athlete you can be.




Feeding Off the Crowd at Boston

May 4th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Tammy Shuler    

Boston marathon, marathon Monday. The day that has been looked forward to since the qualifying race you ran the year before. So many months of training, so much money spent on shoes, travel, hotels and hours spent training.  This year’s Boston marathon was no different. Thousands of runners meet in a small New England town, Hopkinton, arriving by bus, train or car. Many standing out in the elements for hours waiting for the late morning start. The weather can play a big role in your marathon result. This year’s weather was great for spectators, but not so good for a northern person. It was in the high 60′s, humidity 85% with a tailwind predicted (sounded great).

I was excited to be there, smiling ear to ear. Cheering on  the people in the wave before me as they started their race. My wave started and all was well, but soon the heat began to take its toll. My feet were tammy boston2hot, I started cramping about mile 12, even though I was following my hydration plan. The tail wind offered no cooling effect. I was not alone in this cramping issue as the med tents were packed even at mile 8 and people were walking. One person I came upon was attempting the race on crutches. Another had a walking boot on. I myself had just gotten over pneumonia weeks before and my friend had a  hamstring injury, but we showed up for that start and made it to the finish. 

The crowds were amazing, packed, screaming, cheering us on. The more you smiled the more they cheered. So that’s what I did. And it made a very hard race bearable. We would not be denied our finish and that coveted Boston marathon medal.

tammy bostonI came upon Karen Smires a pro triathlete and  I met Molly Huddle an Olympian. So my advise is if you are having a hard time, look to the crowd and…


Tips for Early Morning Workouts

April 18th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Elaine Sheikh, Triathlete

Most of us endurance athletes are beyond time-crunched – balancing work, family, social obligations and often training 10+ hours a week. Most of us don’t look forward to the alarm clock going off at 4:00am for that morning workout. Here’s some of my tips for making those workouts as pleasant as possible:

1) Prep your breakfast in advance! I avoid doing more than a few fasted workouts every week. Usually a banana or toast with nut butter or a larabar are enough to get me going for the workout. I’m a dedicated user of one of our team sponsors, Infinit. Often I can go fasted into a workout and still have plenty of energy with a bottle or two of one of my customized blends during the workout. However, when the workout is done and you have to fly through the shower and get to work, it’s important to have breakfast pre-made so you have time to eat something wholesome and don’t find yourself craving a donut on the way to work.

- I will often scramble a couple of eggs with nutritional yeast (those of you who tolerate dairy could use cheese instead) and sautéed veggies. That plus a cup of cooked rice and some coconut oil will elaine runningstill be surprisingly palatable after being refrigerated overnight.

- Another go-to is overnight oats. Use quick cooking oats and a milk or milk substitute of your choice in a 1-1 ratio. I add a scoop of green powder, nuts, fruits, cinnamon, and honey in whatever proportions I’m feeling. Put in the refrigerator overnight and it’ll be perfect to eat cold the next morning.

- One of my morning-of breakfasts is a simple protein shake. Milk or milk substitute, frozen fruit, nut butter, greens, and protein powder will keep you full until lunch and takes 2 minutes to throw together in the morning.

- A leftover baked sweet potato with a generous serving of nut butter or coconut oil, is another great breakfast. Depending on your caloric needs you may want to supplement with a shake or an egg or two.

2) Prep your workout gear the night before
-If I’m going to bike, the trainer is already set up with my kit and heart rate monitor next to it and my laptop and speakers set up the night before. If I’m running or swimming my gear is gathered and sitting next to the door. Nothing is more frustrating than getting to the pool at 5 am and realizing you don’t have your goggles!

3) Prioritize your sleep
- Nothing sets you up for failure like staying up until midnight and still expecting to wake up at 4 am refreshed and ready to train. As simple as it sounds, make sure you are streamlining your evenings so that you are able to sleep and be fresh in the morning. The night before is just as important as the morning of in determining your training success.

I hope this was helpful. Happy training!

Life Lessons from Running and Triathlons

April 10th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

-By Brian Reynolds, Team Athletic Mentors triathlete

Over the past 16 years of being a runner and triathlete I have learned many life lessons.  I would like to share the 5 key life lessons I’ve learned.

  • Overcoming adversity – Throughout our life we will always have to deal with challenges whether they’re big or small.  When training for a marathon or Ironman event there were always winter run brianchallenges to overcome.  There were days when I had to run in snowy 5 deg F weather even though it was freezing and uncomfortable.  I had days when I didn’t feel like training due to fatigue or just not being in the mood but I still did the workout anyways. There were very challenging workouts that made anxious before even doing it.  I had injuries that forced me to limit my training.  However, I made the necessary adjustments to my training to help me stay on track for the racing season.  My determination and passion to achieve my goals help motivate me to overcome this adversity.


  • Patience – Sometimes we have to wait a long time before accomplishing our biggest dreams.  For example, my dream was to win a marathon.  In 2011, I entered the Kalamazoo marathon which was my first and I won it!  Some people will say beginners luck; however, I was a runner for 10 years prior to the marathon which made me no beginner.  During those 10 years I’ve accumulated over 15,000 miles and raced distances from the 5k to the half marathon.  I wouldn’t have won the Kalamazoo marathon if I just started running the year before.  I needed those 10 years to improve as a runner to help prepare me for that moment in Kalamazoo.  The tiny improvements I made day to day added up to accomplishing my dream because I gave myself the time to develop. Patience will always payoff in the end.


  • Setting SMART goals – Setting goals for the season are very important.  I always try to set challenging BUT attainable goals.  Goals can be a great motivation tool and gives an athlete accountability.  However, setting an unrealistic short term goal will not help you have a better season.  Instead, an unrealistic goal can sabotage a season by causing an athlete to overtrain and/or be disappointed because their goal was not met.  These unrealistic goals are best saved for long term goals because given time and persistence they may be attainable.

When I was training for the 2014 Kalamazoo Marathon my goal was to run a 2:30 which would be a 4 minute PR.  As the season progressed, I was having good workouts so I thought a 2:28 goal was doable.  Later in the season I started to overreach a bit by pushing myself a little too hard in workouts.  I went into the race in a more fatigued state and paced it too fast.  As a result I didn’t have my best race.  Looking back I wish I had a coach to help me set a realistic goal and monitor my progress to make sure I was on track for achieving my goal.

  • Brian en route to his Kalamazoo Marathon victory

    Brian en route to his Kalamazoo Marathon victory

    Work ethic – This is the #1 attribute that I learned while being a runner and triathlete.  All of my achievements were due to the hard work and dedication I put into my training. The more work I put in training the faster I got.  To help myself stay dedicated during High School Cross Country and Track I started a consecutive running streak which meant I ran at least 1 mile everyday.  My running streak is still strong going to this day.  If it’s one thing that I’ve learned when it comes to running or triathlons an athlete cannot get lucky and have a great race without putting in the work.  The work you put in is a direct result of how well you perform in the races!

  • Talent does not determine success – My favorite Steve Prefontaine quote is “Success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.”  Steve is known as one of the greatest US distance runners in history.  Even though Steve was a very talented runner his quote suggests that success should be based on a athlete’s growth and improvement.  For instance, an athlete’s success should not be based on their 5k time but rather the improvements they’ve made from where they started.  We shouldn’t try to compare ourselves with others because it really doesn’t matter.  What really matters is how far you’ve come as an athlete and person. Don’t get me wrong I’m guilty of sometimes comparing myself to other ‘fast’ athletes.  These ‘fast’ athletes do give me inspiration and motivation to become better.  However, my measuring stick for success is the progress I’ve made over the past 16 years.

Dubai IRONMAN 70.3 2017

February 12th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Raquel Torres, Triathlete

Making the decision to race

Since I did not participate in many events in 2016, I  was hungry to keep finding race to challenge me. After my last event in Africa in December, I spent some time thinking about my 2017 goals. There is the commitment to make decisions about what races to sign up for, to work for me and for my sponsors.  But this is difficult living in Michigan, where the winter is very cold and long and there are not many events. I did a few half marathons with very good results achieving my goals. This and the other reasons motivated me to look for a new objective early in 2017.

PRO or Age Group category?

I decided to try this whole year as a Pro in the Ironman races, to challenge and to try the Professional category. My coach Mark Olson always says to me “In the Age Group category you would be first.” Although I was scared, the opportunity to register as age group had passed so I signed up as a Pro for the 70.3 in Dubai as it was economically feasible. Even considering the obstacles of the distance, the long trip and going alone, but I felt that it would be worth it as I felt the need to compete.


Training Now for 70.3

raquel poolIn terms of the training, comparing the sprint distance (750 meters swim, 20k draft legal bike and 5k run to a 70.3 Half Ironman (1900 meters swim, 90k bike and 21k run) it’s a big step. I did not have a lot of time, but the desire was larger than that. The first step was to connect with my coach Mark, about the goal and to start to work. We started to work, designed the plan, with the objective to race on 27 January so we had 4 weeks. I was very motivated and focused to work harder than ever with lots of emphasis in the details. My attitude was more positive than ever every day. The hard winter in Michigan was spent with days like Christmas and New Year’s Day training like any other day…

I was running outside most of the time with very low temperatures and during a strong snowstorm I made the mistake to run a very long session on the treadmill. The change of surface brought on a minor injury. I was careful and stopped running until I was able to get an appointment with the doctor about 10 days later, after 10 therapy sessions and about 22 days without running, the doctors ordered x-rays and other tests and told me that with rehab and all things normal I could complete the event. I already had the plane ticket and the hotel was reserved, the event registration was done and the hard work and emotion for the long training was done.

One of the advantages of triathlon is that you have options; there are no excuses not to work. I decided to be more positive than ever even with many obstacles. I was psyched up, focused and at the same time a bit scared for the long flights and to try this new distance with these obstacles, I have to admit that some days I thought I was nuts.

The event was getting closer and I was training harder on the bike, swimming and rehab, weight training and nutrition, the things I could control. Aside from the more than 1001 things as a mother and coach. The day was approaching, my foot still hurt, but with my faith first I concentrated on the details and put aside what was not in my control.

Pack, prepare the trip logistics, leave everything in order at home for my daughter, everything methodically and with great attitude enjoying the process and the adventure. Giving 100% with a good attitude.

Race Lead-Up

I have learned that its good during trips to take with me as much food as possible for at least two days. For this trip, I brought my protein, spinach, basic supplements for my shakes, my bread. Some snacks, dehydrated fruits etc. I found a very good deal on a apartment style hotel where I could cook, as it was more affordable, comfortable and I could maintain my nutrition as close to the same as at home.

Arrival day: Set up the bike; go to the supermarket, attention to nutrition. Some mechanical problems, I was able to find a bike shop, where could I ride, where to swim, where to run? Details…raquel dubai

I had to figure out where to ride legally (its not permitted to ride in certain roads), sometimes I felt bad as I was not resting enough and I started to have invasive thoughts but I kept positive and able to focus on what was under my control.

3 Days before race:  I was to run 15 at race pace and my foot was really hurting so I thought My God would I be able to complete the race? I felt horrible, tired, lethargic and with lots of pain. But I focused in God and to keep a positive attitude and my nutrition.

 Race day!

Swim: I started slow, a small group formed, I had an easy pace and it was a really easy swim, some waves. I was able to keep the same pace throughout the swim race.

Bike: On the bike was my plan to keep up with hydration and nutrition, which I was able to do well. I had worked on the watts with coach mark to keep them at ab average of 210 watts and I was able to hold that pace without problems. I was breaking the race in micro-moments, thinking about the now and here.

Run: The initial plan was to keep a pace of 4:20 min/km keeping up with hydration I was concerned to have pain in my foot and it bothered me for the first 5 km only, someone ran in front of me and I fell down but quickly got up and kept running. I cut myself a bit and the first aid people came right away to assist me and I told them I was ok. I had my pace and at 10 km I remembered that I had forgotten to wear my socks! Right then, I had some blisters but I just said “Raquel, excuses are thousands do the best you can!”

raquel dubai bike


I admit that I cried with happiness when I crossed that finish line. Just because I was able to complete it, as only God and I know how many obstacles we had to endure. The satisfaction to know that I did my best is priceless. I was able to complete in 4:32 finishing 16th overall in the Pro category. It is an honor for me to represent my flag at the highest level of international triathlons in the long distance. I believe that we all should challenge ourselves in any area we want to grow, and if we have the passion it’s a lot more fun to challenge ourselves, always having fun and with a positive mind.


Free Athletic Mentors Triathlon Clinics!

January 18th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson
Whether you’re brand new to triathlons, just have a few under your belt, or are are a seasoned racer looking for a breakthrough season, one of these clinics will be perfect for you.
Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for the clinics below!  These clinics are free to everyone, presented by the coaches from Athletic Mentors, and held at the David D. Hunting Downtown YMCA (475 Lake MI Drive, Grand Rapids).
Braginton GR Tri run
TRIATHLON 101 PART A - Great for beginner triathletes!
January 21, 2017  at 9 am
For athletes new to the sport or considering getting into triathlon. We will discuss equipment, training and racing tips, nutrition, transitions and USA Triathlon rules.
January 21, 2017 at 10:30 am
Open to all levels, but geared toward athletes looking to step beyond beginner. We will cover swim stroke technique discussions and training recommendations.
February 11, 2017 at 9 am
Open to all levels, but geared toward athletes who would like to learn how to train more efficiently and productively.  Topics include how to train with heart rate zones, proper taper for your event, improving your metabolic efficiency, strength training and much more.  This is a must attend for any triathlete with a goal to improve their performance this year.
February 11, 2017 at 10:30 am
Learn a nutrition strategy that will reduce your risk of bonking or GI distress during your event.  Appropriate for all levels but key to success for longer distance triathletes. This strategy will not only improve performance but also general health.

Making the Leap from Olympic to Half-Ironman

December 20th, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Raquel Torres, Team Athletic Mentors Triathlete

In September I made my second attempt at the 70.3 distance in Georgia at the Augusta 70.3.  In my first half at Racine, the swim was canceled due to weather and they made it into a duathlon. Despite the different race format, I learned from this and spent a few days after the event to focus on several aspects to improve.

Months of many changes in my personal life, I started paying attention to my thoughts, making self-assessments that focused me on cultivating new mental habits in order to achieve a more positive attitude. I focused on what I have control over- working on the details, focusing on the present and most of all enjoying life in general since being happy should be a basic ingredient for any goal.

Triathlon, triathlon training, triathlon racing is a sport with both physical and mental requirements, so it is vital to have a balanced life to see satisfactory results regardless of your competition level.

For this second attempt at the IM 70.3 I didn’t think my head was in the right place, but some angels advised me to do it! I eventually figured let’s try it, I can go with my daughter as we can drive Augusta Trip 16 Chantalthere, I would be with company and it could be an adventure and not be so expensive.

We drove from Michigan to Georgia about 10 hours, we arrived at about 3:45 am to the hotel.  After some rest the next day was the briefing and I swam a little. I remember thinking “Raquel do not place high expectations,” but I honestly I made a mental plan for the race, knowing I had some details to adjust such as using my powermeter, which my Coach Mark Olson had been wanting me to use for months and months. Power is widely used to better manage energy during the bike is a great important part of this distance and it makes the difference in race pacing.

I got my period the night before, I have such good aim!, but I thought “Rachel you have done well and others do succeed” Excuses can be in the thousands, FOCUS! It did not have good nutrition the day before which has been happening to me and I’m working with new ways, as I have heard and read that the fourth discipline of long distance triathlon is the nutrition.

Dinner and lunch the day before the race did not taste good, but I thought it would be ok since I have enough glycogen. But this turned out to be another one of my mistakes.

A bed at about 10:00 PM I slept really well and at 4:00 am the alarm sounded. I took my protein as usual, and a slice of bread. Its my eternal struggle to be able to eat something so early in the morning.

Augusta 16, WaterAt the transition, I remember to take me some gummies minutes before departure and my stomach began to hurt. I thought it was nerves, but really I was not nervous.
I said to myself,  “Raquel warm up, and forget about the whining.”
I did not get in the water to warm up as I was afraid to get cold and the start was a water start.
Soon enough it was, “on your mark…” “beeeeeee”

• Swim
My strategy was not to go too fast, because I tend to sprint in the water, so I checked myself and stayed at a very comfortable pace. I found two other fast swimmers and I just stayed on their feet even though I could tell that I was going slower than my capacity, but I chose to stay there. It was a very comfortable pace for me and we quickly reached the last buoy and I removed my goggles to see the end. I asked the guard where was the exit was because ​​I did not want to be disqualified even if I lost a few seconds there, I came out 6th out of the water, very fresh.  So far so good ….

• BikeAugusta 16-bike
As soon as I got on the bike  my strategy was to stay focused on nutrition, hydration and have a good mental state.  Therefore, I had no plan for watts or speed. I had stomach problems right away since taking the first gel. I said, “Raquel these are the things you have to overcome.” I kept going, but did not want to eat or drink. At first we were 8 riders together one passing the other, again and again, it was for me uncomfortable because they even gave me a yellow card without justification,  as she passed me and then slowed down.
Although I definitely could not feed well the last 20 kms I did recover and my body warmed up a bit.

• Run
When I started I felt super good, light legs, fresh mind and a lot of motivation, the course was beautiful through the city of Augusta. A lot of encouragement, lots of spectators and it was warm, but not stifling. I drank plenty of water at the beginning, of course I did not hydrate well on the bike. So I started getting upset and I felt very weak, I started to slow the rate at 5 kilometers, and by 8 km my legs were heavy, I had no energy and my stomach hurt. I sat one minute, people told me to go, I ran, and stood and said “Raquel finish it, even you have to jog” … and continued … 3 km more, then again walked and then I stopped. “Sniff sniff.” I thought that this was nonsense. I did not come to end an event- I came to do the best I can! Then I saw a water station that was what I wanted and poured myself a Coke and fell to the floor.

In retrospect, I think I can draw many positives of this learning experience, I’m doing a very challenging sport in the physical, spiritual, mental, family, economic aspects and more. Training and racing. I know what are the challenging areas in my life to this sport, and what are the areas where I can make adjustments and changes for better results.
Th distance change to 70.3 shows much room for improvement. Sometimes mistakes can be called excuses, but these “excuses” or negative part of the experiences are potentials for improvement. I think there’s always a new day to start, improve, become a better person, human being and in my case also an athlete.

Always whatever the result: turn the pages to the left, reflect, seek learning, correct and move forward!

“The best way out is always through.”
Robert Frost

3 Big Lessons I Learned this Season

December 7th, 2016 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Jeff Nordquist, Team Athletic Mentors Multi-Sport Athlete


Seems like every year we learn lessons from our season of racing, this year was no exception. I had few highlights and plenty of mistakes. Yet, there is always a lesson to be told from every experience, here are some of mine.

1. Under-training for long races. This year’s event was real long, The 2016 Bayshore Marathon, which happened to be my first 26.2 race.  I had a slow start to spring training and decided to train my way through the race, no biggie, I’ve raced like this before. The only issue is covering such a large distance with a body that hasn’t been tested. I finished 10 minutes off my goal and crossed the line in 2:40. The real disappointment was the months to follow, developing a stress reaction in my foot, which brought my triathlon season to a halt.

My advice: Don’t train your way through a marathon.

2. Racing with one brake on a mountain bike.  I had a less than eventful crash this past summer. I lost momentum on a steep hill and fell over, pathetic, I know. The majority of my back brake lever snapped off. After finishing my ride, I quickly believed a rear brake was expendable. Bad choice.  Racing cyclecross a few weeks later, I found myself a bit too fast on a sweeping downhill with no back brake, you can paint the picture from here.

My advice: Don’t undermine your back brake’s significance.

3. Road tires are not meant for grass. I had a great experience with my first crit race. Plenty of prep, I had game plan, and most importantly I felt confident.  The only issue was being on the wrong side of the last turn. Sitting a few lengths behind the leader, the odds were in my favor, until that back tire ahead of me decided to force me closer to the outside edge of the road, before I realize, my 23mm wide tires hit soft grass, and that was quite the maneuver to watch at 28mph. More than likely I had room to stay on pavement, but my reaction was too much costing me a chance at the win.

My advice: Go for the gold, not the grass.

I always reflect on the season and make adjustments based of past experiences, I’m excited to see what 2017 has for me, and hopefully next time around I have fewer mistakes to talk about.



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