Tri for the Cure, Lake Havasu Sprint and Olympic, AZ Distance Classic Half Marathon

A great start to the tri season this past weekend! Congratulations to everyone who raced at Lake Havasu and at the Tri for the Cure! Special acknowledgement goes out to Gabi Wasserman who finished first overall in the Lake Havasu Sprint and to Jona Davis who took 2nd overall at the Tri for the Cure!

Lake Havasu Sprint Tri

Gabi Wasserman – 1:05 – 1st overall!!

Bret Scott – 1:24 – 3rd in AG

Dina Scott – 1:45 – 2nd in AG – 1st ever podium finish!!

Mark Livingston – 1:18 – 1st in AG – Mark is racing IMAZ later this fall.

Lake Havasu Olympic Tri

Mike Haenel – 3:05 – 3rd in AG

Adela Riehle – 3:11 – 2nd in AG – Adela is racing IM Texas this Spring.

Tri for the Cure

Jona Davis – 48:38 – 2nd overall!!

Susy Signa – 1:03 – 9th in AG – Susy is racing IMAZ for the second time this year.

Barb Wang – 1:01 – 4th in AG

Kathy Stanley – 51:55 – 1st in AG – Kathy is a long time sprint athlete that is giving IMAZ a go this year!

Dana Kennedy – 58:52 – 5th in AG.

Kyrsten Sinema – 1:02 – 6th in AG – Kyrsten and Dan will be taking on IM Hawaii in Oct.

AZ Distance Classic Half Marathon, Oro Valley

Heather Wilson – 1:51:56

Eero Allison – 1:51:05

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NYC Half Marathon, Mesquite Canyon 50K/50miler, Solvang Century, AZ Tough Mudder

Results from the weekend!

Andy Cashetta ran the NYC Half Marathon and PR’d with a time of 1:36!

Tali Klip and Toby Baum ran the Mesquite Canyon 50K/50Miler in hot conditions. Tali finished the 50K while Toby ran the 50 miles. This race covered extremely rugged terrain with huge doses of climbing and hiking. The DNF rate was close to 50%. Toby earned a point towards UTMB qualification by completing the 50 miler. UTMB is the world’s most famous ultra-race and takes place in Chamonix, France.

Andrea Aker raced her first bike event at the Solvang Century in CA. She finished the hilly 50 mile race in 3.5 hours.

Gabi Wasserman ran the AZ Tough Mudder 11mile obstacle run. Gabi was the first finisher although they do not keep official finishing results.

Good luck to everyone racing Tri for the Cure and the Lake Havasu Triathlon this coming weekend. The Havasu weekend has traditionally marked the beginning of the AZ Tri season. Here’s to a great one!

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Mountain to Fountain, Hope for the Cause 5K, Peoria Sprint, Run Hard Marathon

Mountain to Fountain

Mountain to Fountain

We had a mix of races this past weekend with runs and triathlons. Kyrsten Sinema took first overall in the local Hope for the Cause 5K! Kyrsten will be racing IM Hawaii in Oct.

Special congratulations goes out to Frank Smith who raced another marathon is his monthly marathon streak. Frank finished the Run Hard Marathon in Columbia, S.C. in 4:19 and took 8th in his AG!

Closer to home, our athletes raced at Mountain to Fountain 15K and the Peoria Sprint Triathlon.

In the Peoria Sprint, Kevin La Ra took an impressive 1st in his AG and 7th overall male! Paul Daniels achieved a PR and took 2nd in his AG!

Mountain to Fountain 15K

Russell VanBeber – 1:15 – 15th in AG

Susy Signa – 1:18 – 6th in AG

Caroline Sekaquaptewa – 1:03 – 3rd in AG (see picture, note one-legged pirate stance)

Peoria Sprint Tri

Kevin La Ra – 1:04 1st in AG

Paul Daniels – 1:26 PR! 2nd in AG

Run Hard Marathon, SC

Frank Smith – 4:19 – 8th in AG

Hope for the Cause 5K

Kyrsten Sinema – 1st overall!

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Phoenix 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon and Desert Duathlon

Kevin La Ra Phoenix 10K age group winner

Kevin La Ra, Phoenix 10K age group winner

What a weekend for racing! The weather cooperated and our athletes put in some fine performances at the Phoenix 10K, Half-marathon and Marathon. And at the Desert Duathlon, all of our athletes stood on the podium! The race season is fully underway!

Phoenix 10K
Kevin La Ra – 42:39 – 1st in AG!
Ken Mantay – 1:06 – Ken will be racing at Challenge Roth later this summer.

Phoenix ½ Marathon
Barb Wang – 2:01 – 30th in AG
G Parekh – 1:37 – 13th in AG
Kathy Stanley – 1:48 – 8th in AG
Russell VanBeber – 1:49 – 65th in AG
Andy Wall – 2:22 – 125th in AG – Andy will be racing IMAZ this fall.

Phoenix Marathon
Dave Sprague – 5:02 – 1st ever marathon!!
Patrick Lynch – 3:15 – tied PR!!

Desert Duathlon
Adela Riehle – 2:34 – 2nd in AG – Adela will be racing IM Texas this Spring.
Joan McGue – 3:17 – 1st in AG – Joan raced the Off Road race.
CJ Ketterer – 2:22 – 2nd in AG

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Elephant Trail 12K and 22K, Brighton Half Marathon (UK), Nick’s Run 5K, Powerman Du Off Road, Mercedes Marathon (AL), RAGNAR Relay, Kiss MS Goodbye 10K

Kara Gibson JCC Tri

Kara Gibson JCC Tri

Spring is almost here and the race season is really picking up! Our athletes raced trail runs, marathons, half marathons, duathlons, triathlons and relay runs this past weekend. Congratulations to everyone!

Elephant Trail 12K

Jona Davis – 1:12 2nd in AG

Elephant Trail 22K

Adela Riehle – 2:44 – 26th female overall

Brighton Half Marathon (UK)

Ivory Green-Lott – 2:25

Nick’s Run 5K

Gabi Wasserman – 18:23 – PR!!

Powerman Du Off Road

Joan McGue – 3:43 – 1st in AG

Mercedes Marathon (AL)

Frank Smith – 4:22 – 15th in AG (70th marathon and counting!!)

JCC Sprint Tri

Kara Gibson – 1:26 – 8th overall, 3rd in AG

Clay Clark – 1:32 – 3rd in AG – Clay will be racing his first IMAZ this year.

Paul Daniels – 1:41 – 3rd in AG

Steve Sharp – 1:48 – 4th in AG


Toby Baum – finished as part of a 3-man team!

Dana Kennedy – Dana is racing IM Hawaii this year.

Andrea Aker – Andrea will be racing her first triathlon later this spring

Kiss MS Goodbye 10K

Kathy Stanley – 52:30 – Virtual race in support of the fight against MS. She ran the  in 52:30 as part of her long weekend run. Proceeds went to MS.

Great job everyone!

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Swim training with City of Peoria Fire Department

2015-02-23 10.21.05-1 Peoria Fire croppedCompleted another round of swim training today for the City of Peoria Fire Department. These rescue swimmers will be stationed at Lake Pleasant!

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A Kicking Quandary

Ironman athletes dutifully executing strong kicks.

Ironman athletes dutifully executing strong kicks.

Many triathletes believe they need a strong kick in swimming—that very fast, always-on kick. You know, that thing you do when coaches yell at you to “kick hard!”

“Kick hard!” they say. “Kick hard!”

So you do.

You grab your kickboard, you push off, and you kick like a maniac.

Some of you kick in place. Some of you inch forward. For the luckier ones, you make decent forward progress, but watch in despair, as your brethren with a swimming background move ahead of you with apparent ease, leaving you flailing in an attempt to keep up. Which you don’t.

“I can’t keep up with the group in kicking.”

“I don’t go anywhere when I kick.”

“I go backwards.”

“I’m just a slow kicker.”

Common laments.

I’m sure many of you have uttered these words or something similar at some point in your triathlon careers.

But then, think about this. You’re going to add arm movements to this very same kick, the one that is getting you nowhere and exhausts you. Arm movements that in terms of net propulsion allow you to move forward—hey! I’m moving forward—so it’s all good.

Why, oh why, would you do this?

How do you forget so quickly that you go nowhere with your kick alone, and yet, you add your arms and everything’s all right now?

Here’s a blinding flash of the obvious: Triathletes who do not come from a swimming background often have inefficient kicking mechanics.

And, based on my last eleven years of coaching, most do not have efficient kicking mechanics. The reason you stay in place or barely move forward when kicking is that you’re creating just as much drag as propulsion.

The solution? You obviously need more kicking sets. Just kick harder. Longer. It will work itself out.


But for many, it does not work out. I talk about how to learn an efficient kick below, but in the meantime, for reasons of drag reduction, kicking less might not be such a bad thing.

“But if I’m kicking less, I’m not creating as much propulsion!”

True. But you’re also not creating as much drag.

Both of these things, kicking less and reducing drag, mean you don’t have to work as hard. Am I a proponent of two-beat kicking for long course triathletes for this reason? You betcha. Kick once per stroke—one leg kicking, while the other remains in streamline, nice and straight—a tight, hydrodynamic position that doesn’t create excess drag. Even a four-beat kick or a controlled and well-timed six-beat kick would be better than random splashing and flailing.

An integrated kick movement is an extremely powerful thing if harnessed correctly, and that’s the subject of the next blog article. But in this article, we’re talking  drag reduction only.

And drag reduction is not cool. It is not what real coaches promote. The macho coaches. The ones who will overlook poor body position and breathing mechanics and horrible alignment and zero in on the catch as the problem. “You’re catch is slipping!” “Where’s that early vertical forearm?” “You’re dropping your elbow!” “Yep, fix that catch, kick hard, and you’re good!”

Sort of like polishing the seat on a chair with only three legs . . .

Am I ranting? Oops, didn’t mean to. Quiet, nerdy coaches don’t rant.

[But they do slip up sometimes.]

Is a good catch important? Heck, yeah! And I love working with athletes on their catch. It’s that fun stuff you get to do once the foundation is in order. But for 99% of the athletes I see for the first time, the foundation is not in order.

Things like . . . a streamlined, hip-initiated kick.

But before I go further, I want to say this. Is there value in the propulsion created by kicking hard in a 200-meter swim race? Yes. This is a short event and my assumption here is that the competitive swimmer who races this distance does so with an efficient kick.

You see this even in long distance swim races, like the 1500-meter freestyle, when the kick really “kicks” in for the last 50 meters or the last 100 meters, because the swimmer can move faster this way for that short burst of speed to the finish.

Which brings up another important point. Do competitive swimmers adjust how hard they’re kicking depending on the distance they’re racing? I think even the layperson could answer that.  Swimmers racing a 50-meter race or a 100-meter race look different than the swimmer racing a 1500-meter event, do they not?

So even in a sport so dominated by this need for powerful, strong kicking, even here, adjustments are made to accommodate for distance.

So, if you’re a triathlete . . . who swims 3800 meters . . . who is in the water for an hour or ninety minutes or more . . . who must mount a bike after swimming and begin a further eight to fifteen hours of fat-burning-yet-glycogen-dependent athletic endeavor . . . are you going to kick like you would for 200 meters?

Please tell me, no.

“Well, that’s all well and good, Coach Anne, but how do I fix my inefficient kick and reduce drag, so I can get on to the business of working on cool things like the catch?”

Heighten your awareness of how much kicking you’re actually doing.

First, it’s important for you to tune into what you’re feeling in the water. What does it feel like to be streamlined and hydrodynamic?

I often tell my swimmers to envision a shark. They swim with lethal ease don’t they? Millions of years of evolution behind a shark’s movement to help it swim efficiently. A single flick of the tail and they change direction, right? They move purposefully, stealthily.

If a shark is spastically flicking its tail, creating bubbles and whitewash, it’s probably dying.

So the next time you’re in the pool, pay attention. Push off in a nice tight streamline, legs straight, feet together, toes pointed, and enjoy that sensation of slicing through the water, nothing impeding your forward progress.

And then—dare I suggest it—try stopping your kick between strokes. Just stop kicking and see what happens. It might just be for a micro-moment, a tiny beat in the many beats of a stroke cycle, but one that won’t create drag if your legs are straight and together and toes pointed. And this is for feel, mind you. Are you ever going to stop dead in the water when you’re swimming normally? No, of course not. But we get in this panicked habit of always kicking, always thrashing around on the back end, and we don’ t even realize we’re doing it.

If you find my streamlining experiment difficult—many other balance issues might be at work here—try it in your wet suit. It’s amazing how many triathletes’ breathing problems have been miraculously solved by allowing their legs to float in a wet suit. I say “float,” because this is what I tell swimmers to do sometimes—stop all movement and just use the arms—which means they usually don’t stop kicking, but they do kick less, which is the point.

Learn a hip-initiated kick.

After heightening your awareness as to the amount of kicking you’re doing, the second piece is to learn to kick from the hip, so that the motions you are making, regardless of the frequency and intensity, are at least close to a proper freestyle flutter kick.

The vertical kicking drill is a great drill to address a hip-initiated kick movement. Begin in deep water, body vertically oriented (like you’re standing), hands across your chest, and kick in place. You should strive to draw your leg back in a straight manner (no bend in the knee) behind your hip to initiate the kick, then bend your knee, then sweep the thigh forward and snap the leg straight, finishing with a pointed toe.

  • The legs should move in an equidistant manner fore and aft of your longitudinal centerline.
  • Sweep the leg forward as if scraping your toes along the bottom of the pool.
  • Don’t lift the thigh, like you’d do in a running stride, but sweep it forward.
  • If you’re doing the drill correctly, you should be able to keep your head above water and remain in place.
  • If you move backwards, you’re kicking too much in front of you—not pulling your legs behind your hips to initiate the movement.
  • If you sink—and many of you will the first time you try this—you are probably kicking at the knees only. Try big sweeps of the legs, like doing the splits, just to bring your awareness to the pivot point of the kicking action, which should be the hips. Once the pivot point is assured at the hips, you can reduce the amplitude of the kick.

I think the old adage, “work smarter, not harder,” is applicable here. So before you resign yourself to swimming into that proverbial brick wall with heart-pumping, glycogen-wasting kicking, remember what you’re training for, and then seek to do it more efficiently.

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Runner’s Den 5K and 10K and Orcas Island 50K Trail Run

This last weekend was awesome for racing! We had runners compete in the Runner’s Den 5K and 10K as well as an the Orcas Island 50K trail run in WA.

Congratulations to Barb Wang who ran the Runner’s Den 10K in 56:09. She took 9th place in her division.

Gabi Wasserman ran the 10K in 39:00 and took 3rd place in his division. Most importantly, he put on a clinic for intelligent pacing. Look at these splits!

Mile 1 – 6:37

Mile 2 – 6:28

Mile 3 – 6:18

Mile 4 – 6:12

Mile 5 – 6:10

Mile 6 – 6:04

CJ Ketterer did the 5K and the 10K. He finished the 5K in 23:03 taking 10th in his division, and then followed this up 45 minutes later with a time of 48:31 in the 10K. This was good enough for 7th in his division.

Up in Orcas Island, Washington, Todd Silva ran the difficult Orcas Island 50K trail run and finished in 6:52. He placed 90th overall out of 241 racers. Todd will be racing the Boston Marathon in April.

Congratulations, everyone!

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Melbourne, FL Marathon, Sedona Half Marathon, McDowell Mountain 15-Mile Trail Run and 7K

Lots of running race results to report from this past weekend!

Congratulations to Frank Smith, who kept his monthly marathon streak alive as he finished the Melbourne, FL Marathon in 4:27.

Closer to home, Andy Cashetta and Angie Stoller finished the Sedona Half Marathon in 1:52 and 1:53, respectively.

Kyrsten Sinema and Dana Kennedy ran the McDowell Mountain 15-Mile Trail Run in 3:10. Kyrsten and Dana will be racing IM Hawaii in October.

And last, but never least, Lindsey Buckman ran the 7K at the McDowell Mountain race. She finished in 58:57. Lindsey will be racing IMAZ this fall!

Nice job, guys!

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Women For Tri Board of Advisors

Congratulations to our athlete, Kyrsten Sinema, on being named to the Ironman/Lifetime Women for Tri board of advisors. Kyrsten is one of twelve members selected from a field of 650 applicants! The goal of Women for Tri is to continue to empower new female athletes to be part of the sport’s continued exponential growth. Kyrsten is the only sitting member of Congress to have completed an Ironman.
Congratulations Kyrsten!

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