Whoa, summer!

We’ve lived in Colorado for a whopping 6 weeks, and in that time, I am pretty sure we’ve seen every season. It snowed the first week we were here; it was beautiful but rained in the afternoons; and now the days are easily in the 90s by noon. My body is all sorts of confused, as is my training.

As I’m still figuring out my work schedule, the heat has been super surprising in the afternoons! Been working through my heat acclimation – slow, short runs and heavily-hydrated rides. But it’s such a shock to the system!!

Looking forward to any additional recommendations on handling the heat at elevation – leave me a comment or send me a message!! Best of luck on your training this summer!

Ironman 70.3 St. George 2021

Where do you really start when something you planned to conquer 18 months prior got pushed out and pushed out…and then finally happened?

If you allow me to rewind a few years, I pulled out my first triathlon “goal” sheet from 2016. This was my first experience with setting goals for something I wasn’t good at – I’d set goals loads of times for swimming where I knew what was reasonable.

First “finish line feels” in more than a year and a half!
Continue reading “Ironman 70.3 St. George 2021”

Seriously, let’s get silly.

A good coach knows when to be serious and when to lend a smile.

The balance is unique to each athlete, and a coaching skill honed only by on the job experience. And I am incredibly excited to announce that I’m officially ready to be the sometimes serious/sometimes silly coach for you! Coaching was my first calling all those years ago, and to have the formal USAT stamp of approval as a Level 1 coach is the icing on a long-time-in-the-making cake. Consider this the official ** KJ IS AVAILABLE TO BE YOUR TRIATHLON COACH ** announcement!

So what’s available? Races are looming on the horizon and your plan is leaving a lot to be desired, and maybe your pools still aren’t open, and maybe you’re just looking for a little guidance on structure. I would LOVE to be your resource to get you on track to plan out your season, or back into swim shape, or build a fully custom plan to help you achieve your 2021 goals!

Photo: Lou Falciani

Feel free to contact me here or you can reach me by email at swimcyclesprint@gmail.com if you have any questions or are interested in learning more! I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity and ability to pursue my passion as a coach. I’m thrilled to have a chance to work with everyone interested in taking your training to the next level – regardless of your current experience or fitness.

Happiest while cheering on athletes while wearing a shark!

Returning to my roots

Picture this: eight-year-old KJ, hanging on the pool deck at the end of a lane, staring up at my swim coach and trying desperately to figure out how to do the drill she was explaining.

I adored my swim coaches growing up. I just wanted to be like them. They knew so much, cared so much, and were just the coolest. Our head coach instituted a “Junior Coach” program, which meant that when swimmers turned 13, we were able to prepare, interview, and learn to be a coach – obviously I jumped at that opportunity after dreaming of joining summer after summer.

After coaching swimming every summer for nine years, I entered the “real world” and gone was that creative outlet. When I found triathlon, I jumped at the opportunity to coach swimming with the Oakland Triathlon Club, but then the “real world” caught up with me again and I had to stop due to conflicting schedules.

Two and a half years ago, I almost lost my involvement in endurance sport due to “real world” commitments – I learned that lesson quickly, and jumped back in. While you can’t truly “coach” yourself, you sure can train yourself. And in the process, make a whole bunch of mistakes and find a whole bunch of good strategy.

In 2019, I decided I would pursue the USA Triathlon Level 1 Coaching Certification – and then in 2020, the world decided to flip upside down. Despite that, USAT offered virtual training, and I was able to push up my session by almost a month and a half. And as of this week, I’m considered officially ‘certified’ by USAT as a Level 1 triathlon coach!

Far beyond the paperwork, I find coaching to be the most rewarding and exciting way to work with people. At the end of the day, we’re all still the same kids wanting to learn and grow and develop, and I’d love to be a part of your endurance sport team. You can always reach me at swimcyclesprint@gmail.com or via Instagram @swimcyclesprint.

Pier to Pier – OWS Success

The Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Swim is a longstanding staple of the Southern California open water swimming scene. My best friend Lizz (who got me in to triathlon to begin with) has competed very successfully for the past few years and she suggested I fly down to race with her this year. Great idea!

The race is from Hermosa Beach to Manhattan Beach – two miles open water. 1300 people were registered for this! Three waves of grand prix start (line up, run into the water to start). 72 degree, clear water. A 9am start time. Freaking sweet.

Amazing start line

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A little soggy: Sandman 2019

A soggy but successful race.

Fundamentally, I don’t believe in PRs (personal records) in triathlon. I mean, sure, you can declare your PR for a sprint / olympic / half / full, but so what? The course is different year to year, distances aren’t standard, and especially in the Ironman world, it’s not a time trial.

Pre-race views – Thanks, SCSLA!

That said, I had a very good race on this course this year. Good indicators (and some would say a PR but… not) across all disciplines. I wasn’t sure how this race would go, as I technically ‘trained through it’ – though it happened to align with a recovery week.

Continue reading “A little soggy: Sandman 2019”

Same-same but different – Monte Rio Sprint Tri 2019

I love the Monte Rio Triathlon. It will always hold a special place in my heart as my first-ever tri, and I hope to return to race every year.

Modified swim course – the red buoy visible up-river (top left) is the sprint turnaround.

The Russian River region was hit especially hard with storm and water damage this year, and unfortunately this impacted the race – but I’m hopeful that the economic return to the area through this race and other endurance events has helped at least a little. The Race Directors are very communicative and organized, and despite the many challenges they faced in the weeks leading to the race and even on race day, put on another really fun event.

I stayed at the tranquil Schoolhouse Canyon Campground again this year. It’s a beautiful, privately owned camp nestled in one of the canyons along the river – and it’s next to Korbel, which makes for great pre-race bubbly tasting. I’d highly recommend getting a site here! It’s a little more expensive than a state-run campground but well worth it.

Schoolhouse Canyon Campground is a gem.

Saturday before the race, I spent some time floating around the race site, getting my bearings for the next day since some of the logistics had changed. There was a slight mix-up with racks, and some re-shuffling was done after I had racked my bike, but a quick move to the next rack over solved that issue (even though I was told I didn’t need to move, I just didn’t want any reason for officials to be upset the next day). Unfortunately, due to the current in the river, the RDs decided to shorten the swim. As a swimmer, this was a huge bummer – especially since I GET this swim. I know the currents and I know how to execute. Oh well, everyone races the same conditions on race day. Was this my new mantra?

Come race morning, my friend and I made the trek from our campsite down to the parking area to catch a shuttle. Fortunately our bus-mates thought our antics were funny enough for 5:30am and didn’t kick us off the schoolbus despite our noise. After a brief moment of panic – I had forgotten where I had moved my bike to and though it was GONE – setting up transition was simple. I did have a friend who had some guys try to slip in between her bike and the end of the rack, but I know she informed them of their mistake. Pro tip: Don’t do that.

Exiting the swim. Buddy on the left couldn’t figure out the exit chute. (Photo by Darcy)

As we staged in the river for the swim, the current was very noticeable. Our wave started hanging on to the trees that overhang the water and that’s when I realized it was probably the right call for the RDs to shorten the swim. I could tell some folks were going to have a tough time. At the gun, I started on my normal path upriver and found myself on top of the previous wave’s swimmers almost immediately. I had seen another swimmer with my cap color making a move in mid-river (rather than on the bank), so I followed suit and made my way upstream. I hit the turn buoy really quick despite the current – probably because the swim was maybe 200 m up – and zoomed down river. I breathe to my left, so I could see folks fighting their way up to the turn and it did look really hard for them.

Focused on this transition. Buddies cheered at me and it made my morning!

I thought the exit was pretty straightforward (lifeguard buoys pointed you to the flagged finish chute), but the cap I had seen making a beeline up the middle of the river on the way out was CLEARLY confused. As I was passing the lifeguard buoys, the faster guy was swimming TOWARD me (the wrong way). I yelled at him with my head out on a water polo style stroke to go “this way” – he figured it out and followed me to the exit. We got out together, but I snagged the FOW.

Here’s my neat mat. Minus the bottle and wetsuit/cap/goggles, this is how my bike looked as I ran into T1.

I actually had a very fast T1 – my fastest yet here. Nothing was different from prior years, so I’m guessing the addition of hills (not by choice) into my local runs paid off.

Out we go!

After I got on the bike, I felt really solid. Like I was zooming along toward a PR on the course. But about halfway out to the turnaround, I was overtaken by an ambulance – uh oh. I had never seen a crash on this course before, but just 10 seconds later on a small (straight) descent, there it was. I slowed way down, which I think upset the riders behind me, but EMTs were crossing the road so I wasn’t about to run them over… oh well. The accident was not cleared by the time I returned, or at least the emergency vehicles were still there and there were people slowing riders down on the descent, so it seemed like the accident was somewhat serious. I really think this is a remarkably safe bike course, so this was a surprise. My only complaint was the sprint turnaround volunteer didn’t seem to know how to run his turnaround (which was moved before intersection with Highway 1, instead of around the intersection), so I actually overshot by about 50 yards. Oh well. Otherwise uneventful ride, and had my best flying dismount yet to run in to T2.

Side note: I really love this new kit. Very comfortable. Felt very fast.

By the way, I had the fastest women’s T2 on the day in the sprint, and the third fastest T2 for all women (sprint and oly). If only there were prizes for that.


Headed out to the bridge. Darcy ran from T2 exit (red arch) down to the path below this and back up the hill to take a whole series of photos here.

One of my favorite parts of the old course here was the brutal, vomit-inducing hill to finish. This year, we ran DOWN that hill to loop around transition and head out onto the run (the finish moved about ¼ mile away). The rest of the run was the same. I headed out just trying to keep a fair speed. Once on to Moscow Road (the majority of the run), I just went. I had raced the weekend prior with a covered watch – also known as train with data, race with heart – and found it really successful. I just pushed the best I could knowing I was the first woman anyone would see (despite not necessarily being in first). There were actually a decent number of spectators (ok, 10 instead of the usual 5) on course and they provided a nice boost. I hit the turnaround and saw my friend very close behind me, and she indicated she had just been passed by the woman in front of her. I tried to descend my last 1.5 miles but she passed me with about 1k to go – it felt like how I imagined Jocelyn McCauley felt getting passed by Daniela Ryf at IM Texas this year – and I just tried to keep going. My leg turnover was atrocious. I could feel myself plodding along and just not able to move any quicker! It was a very vivid feeling of lead feet.


Finally running to that finish arch.

As I approached the end of the run, I kept trying to get my turnover up – and I couldn’t. The fatigue in my legs was revealed in the data after the fact. My slowest pace and cadence was just before the finish line! Despite that, I still managed to finish second across the line. There was a bit of misunderstanding of results by the folks at the finish line, and they announced me as third overall… but I actually wasn’t. I traded in the award they handed me for the correct 1st AG 25-29.

I’m thinking this hat maybe isn’t my best look. Thoughts? Suggestions on something new? Does anyone care?

This was a different race than previous years, but I still really enjoyed the day. And that’s what it’s all about, right? Thanks to all the volunteers, race directors, and spectators for making our day fun, safe, and adventurous!

This is where I ate my post-race burrito. Got to stay an extra night and just chill.

Race day stats:

Screen Shot 2019-07-05 at 8.19.57 PM

Let’s go.

I’ve said it before and I meant it – I’m still racing.

But this time I’m not ‘still’ – I’m moving. And training. And ready to be back to racing.

Life is as busy as ever. Work is crazy and the commute is longer. But we don’t improve without rising to meet challenges. So here I am, putting it out there: I’m ready to race.

2018 brought highs and lows for me in triathlon. I missed key sessions, I failed to prioritize and manage my time, and I let myself fall backwards many steps. I also captured a 3rd OA at one of my favorite races, got to experience the resurgence of Wildflower, and watched several of my friends and teammates achieve major goals.

The break was exactly what I needed. It provided perspective of what not doing triathlon and training means. I learned a ton from Mitchell and Raeleigh with ETPA, and while I know I’m no expert and certainly have nowhere near the experience as them, I’m taking those lessons and applying them to run my own training. I guess we’ll all see how it goes!