Marquee, Leadman, Rage, European Triathlon Union Long Course Duathlon World Championships, Alcatraz swim

MarqueeWe have results to report from the European Triathlon Union Long Course Duathlon World Championships in The Netherlands, the Rage Triathlon in Las Vegas, the F.A.S.T. Alcatraz Swim, and yes, Marquee and Leadman.

A huge congratulations to Matt Green,  who represented Great Britain in the ETU Long Course Duathlon World Championships! He finished 15th in his age group!

Between the Marquee, Leadman and Rage Triathlons, we counted 15 podium finishers, including 2 age group winners! By all counts, it was an amazing weekend for everyone.

And remember, no matter how you did, there’s always something—and for most of us, many things—you can take away from the race experience that will help you in the future!

ETU Long Course Duathlon World Championships 15km Run, 60Km Bike, 7.5km run

Matt Green                              15th in AG       3:57

Rage Triathlon – Half Ironman

Colton Van Wagoner 1st 5:43 -  1st in AG

Riley Wardrop 2nd 6:31-  2nd in AG

Colton and Riley are both 18 years old and will be racing IM Texas next month.

Rage Triathlon – Olympic Distance

Cortney Ellish 2nd in AG –  2:54


Dwight Lundell 1st in AG –  6:19

Sharon Johnston 2nd in AG –  5:59

Peter Ney 6th in AG –  4:48 -  13th overall!

Patrick Lynch 23rd in AG –  5:55

Marquee Olympic

Justin Roylance 1st in AG –  2:21 -  10th overall!

Kirk Lacko 2nd in AG –  2:28

Sally Borg 3rd in AG –  3:09

Bruce Baldwin 6th in AG –  3:01

Beth Lofquist 10th in AG –  3:14

Susy Signa 11th in AG –  3:23

Dana Price 14th in AG –  3:15

Kevin La Ra 15th in AG –  2:41

Daniel Efune 19th in AG - 2:56

Eric Courtney 25th in AG –  3:06

Tom Thompson 28th in AG –  3:28

Jeremiah Herrman 55th in AG 4:06

Marquee Sprint Para Triathlon

Jacob Pruett 2nd in Category –  1:43 3rd overall! Jake is a 17 year old above the knee amputee who is aiming at racing the National Championships and World Championships in Paratriathlon later this summer!

Marquee Sprint

Gabi Wasserman 2nd in AG - 1:09 5th overall!

Jona Davis 2nd in AG –  1:19 9th overall!

Kathy Stanley 2nd in AG - 1:28

Laura Miles 2nd in AG - 1:28

Preston Miller 2nd in AG –  1:46

Joan McGue 3rd in AG –  1:52

Galina Kelly 4th in AG –  1:27

Dana Kennedy 5th in AG –  1:29

Russell Vanbeber 7th in AG –  1:23

Kyrsten Sinema 13th in AG –  1:50

Michelle Alore 15th in AG –  2:02

Eric Montgomery 16th in AG –  1:30

Steve Sharp 17th in AG –  2:00

Bo Micek 25th in AG –  1:45

F.A.S.T. Alcatraz Swim

John Levy – first time swimming the Alcatraz swim. One of endurance sports great events!

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Triathlete Psychology 101: Managing Inflated Race Expectations

finish lineFirst, a few “technical” definitions:

    • The clunker race - a dramatic under-performance based on capabilities predicted from training
    • The mean racea performance at or near, just above or below, a level that training indicates
    • The breakthrough race - a performance at a peak level, above and beyond what training indicates

The math doesn’t lie. Think about your races over the last few years. In fact, go grab your logbooks or open whatever you need to find your race results. Please, go do this now. I’ll wait. . . .

Ok, now that you’re back, let’s look at your data. You will see that a small percentage of your races were clunkers. A small percentage were breakthroughs. But the vast majority were means.

Admit that you’re seeing this. Internalize it.

Now my question is this: Why do we view breakthrough races as the expectation, the norm, yet dismiss the clunkers as exceptions or one-offs?

We all do it, right? We have that stellar race, that breakthrough performance, and yet, we expect the next one to be off the charts, too. And the one after that. And the one after that. Giant leap after giant leap. Phenomenal PR after phenomenal PR.

But is this realistic?

The answer, of course, is no.

Most of our races are mean races, or dare I say, average. Oh! That word! Average. We spit it out like cod liver oil.

“How was your race this weekend?”

“It was average. Thanks for asking.”

“Dude, I’m so sorry. That’s rough. Really.”

The average race, which I’ll heretofore refer as the mean race to protect the sensitive psyches reading this article, is a race where the athlete performs reasonably well based on the results they see in training.

Reasonably well often includes measurable improvements, but unless it’s a drastic improvement, we tend to be disappointed.

To be fair, we’re set up to view the mean race as a disappointment partly because we expect the rapid improvement we enjoyed early in our careers. When we first jump into the sport, every race is a breakthrough. We might have started in a relatively healthy, yet untrained state. Or perhaps we came from a single-sport specialty with little experience in the other two disciplines. With the addition of consistent training, we drop huge chunks of time race to race.

But as we become more fit and we tuck more race experiences under our belts, the improvements become more and more marginal. Ouch. This is another hard word to stomach. Worse than average, even.

A marginal improvement is still an improvement. You ran a 3:15 at the P. F. Chang’s Marathon last year. You ran a 3:14 this year. Outstanding. Congratulations. Based on your consistent, structured training, you enjoyed an improvement that fell right in line with where your metrics said you should have fallen.

“But Coach, my best time the year prior to the 3:15 was a 3:45. So logically, I should have run a 2:45 this year, right?”

“Uh, well, no. The 3:45 was your first attempt ever at the distance and that was completed with spotty training at best.”

The 2:45 would be a ridiculous expectation, right? Unless you possess world class DNA, it’s not going to happen. And yet, we still expect it.

In reality, a high-performing athlete who is well-trained, highly motivated and races in reasonable environmental conditions, is doing quite well to find most results falling in the mean category.

The truth is, we become numb to the fact that we’re super fit. We enjoy improvements of a minute here and a minute there and we’re dejected. I mean, we could do this with our eyes closed, right?

But you’re ignoring the years of training you’ve put in and how fit you actually are.

It’s not until we go through a period of being untrained due to injury, or have to deal with a stress-inducing personal situation, or just get old, fat and lazy that we realize at just how high a level we were performing in these “disappointing” mean races.

So going forward, how do we address the clunkers and the breakthroughs? First, let’s remind ourselves why these races happen.

      • Clunkers are generally a result of severe environmental conditions, a lack of motivation, a poorly executed race or nutrition strategy, or some other external factor—personal stress, etc.
      • Breakthrough races are typically a result of favorable environmental conditions, extreme motivation, and a lack of personal stress.

It is important to understand that the same training routine can result in both of these races. In other words, the training did not change to produce the results, only the factors on race day did.

The common reaction to a clunker is that I need to train harder or differently. The common reaction to a breakthrough race is that I should expect that performance every time. Both of these reactions are misguided.

As you evaluate your races, be realistic. Some races are going to be clunkers. Some are going to be breakthroughs and most are going to be means. Your training is the same for all three.

So instead of reacting to the race result and adjusting training, the successful athlete sticks with the routine and knows that the breakthrough race they so crave will eventually come, even if they are few and far between. The key is to recognize when a breakthrough race is in progress and take advantage of it and enjoy it.

Having a healthy mental outlook when considering your race results will grant you the freedom to take your clunkers and breakthroughs in stride, and ultimately, allow you to more fully appreciate and enjoy your mean races. The next time someone asks how your race went, smile when you tell them that you enjoyed an average race.

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USAT Collegiate Nationals, Senior Olympics, Tour de Mesa, Tri Family Sprint, Prague Half Marathon, Phoenix 10K

A wide range of events to report on from this weekend!

Congratulations to Gabi Wasserman who placed 129th out of 650 racers in the USAT Collegiate Nationals with a time of 2:01. A great performance in such a competitive field. Gabi is racing IMAZ later this year.

Jim Rassi and LouAnn Brennnan qualified for Nationals in the Senior Olympics with Jim taking first in his age group and Lou Ann taking second in hers. Jim also raced in the Tour de Mesa and finished in 4:35.  Also at TDM, Sue Frome finished in a great time of 3:43.

We had an overall winner in Mike Wallace at the Tri Family Sprint Race. He won in a time of 57:07. Mike averaged 24.9 mph on the bike and capped his day with a 19 minute 5k. Mike will be racing the Wildflower Olympic in May the day after riding the Long Course bike leg as part of a relay.

In Prague, Czechoslovakia, Kim Essendrup PR’d by 8 minutes in the Prague Half Marathon with a time of 1:55. This was Kim’s firs time breaking 2 hours in the ½ marathon. Way to go, Kim!

And finally, Kyrsten Sinema and Dana Kennedy ran the Phoenix Pride 10k. Dana took 3rd in her age group while Kyrsten took 5th. Kyrsten ran a 58:38 and Dana ran a 59:58. Boston is on the horizon J! Super job, guys!

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Oceanside 70.3, IM Los Cabos, Badger Mountain 100-miler

SheriAnne Nelson Oceanside 70.3 Mar 2014We had some amazing race performances over the weekend. Congratulations to SheriAnne Nelson who took 2nd in the 35-39 age group at Oceanside 70.3 and earned a spot for the 70.3 World Championships in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada in September. She turned in a stellar time of 4:56! Congratulations, SheriAnne!

Also, Todd Silva completed his first 100-mile endurance run, the Badger Mountain Challenge 100. In an impressive first performance, he turned in a time of 23:53, placing 3rd in his age group and 5th overall. Just completing a 100-mile run is flat amazing, but to do so in under 24 hours is truly remarkable. Todd obviously has a talent for ultra-running. He did this race just two months after running his first 50 miler in January. And Todd finished in style, too. He held 7-minute miles over the last 3 miles!

Congratulations to all of our racers!!

Oceanside 70.3

SheriAnne Nelson                   2nd      4:56

Scott Cooper                           237th   6:48

Daniel Efune                           80th     6:19

Matt Green                              33rd     5:50

Pat Haenel                               7th       5:26 - First Half IM!

Preston Miller                          7th       7:05

John Misner                             56th     6:33

Russell Vanbeber                  158th     5:57

IM Los Cabos

Will Rossiter                           17th     10:35

G. Parekh                                51st     15:43 - First IM!

Badger Mountain 100

Todd Silva                              3rd                   23:53 - 1st 100-miler, 5th overall!

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2-count vs 3-count breathing

breath closeup“Do I need to swim with 3-count, or bilateral, breathing?”


I’m surprised how many swimmers believe they MUST take three strokes between breaths. It’s just not true.

A 2-count breathing pattern is perfectly acceptable.

2-count breathing means taking two strokes between breaths, thus taking your breath on the same side each time. This does not mean two stroke cycles between breaths. A cycle consists of two individual strokes.

But before I start on the pros and cons of 2-count and 3-count breathing patterns, you will notice that there is no mention below of 4-count, 5-count, or some other higher numbered breathing pattern.

Usually, anything higher than a 3-count breathing pattern is not sustainable for the longer distances found in triathlon swimming events.

And while I’m on the subject, always start with the breathing pattern you intend on keeping. Do not start a race with seven or ten strokes between breaths. You’ll fall behind quickly on the oxygen uptake and this usually doesn’t end well.

So back to 2-count versus 3-count breathing . . .

Technically speaking, 3-count breathing is the more efficient of the two breathing patterns because the head remains in a streamlined position longer. Reducing drag is good, so 3-count breathing must be good, right? Well, if you can sustain it, then yes, 3-count breathing is fine. Go for it. But what happens if you can’t sustain it?

Then 2-count breathing is a sound alternative.

“But everyone says I need to do 3-count breathing!”

Ok, so let’s look at how the fastest swimmers in the world do it.

Cases in point:

  • Men’s 1500-meter freestyle final, 2012 London Olympics. Only one swimmer of the final eight used 3-count breathing. Seven swimmers used 2-count breathing. Occasionally, you even see a quick swing breath where there is only one stroke between breaths.
  • Women’s 800-meter freestyle final, same Olympics. All eight women used 2-count breathing. Sometimes, you see a quick 2-3 transition, where the swimmer used 2-count breathing, but switched sides mid-pool using 3 strokes between breaths to begin breathing on the other side.

These are just two examples of many where the fastest swimmers in the world use 2-count breathing.

And you know what? It’s ok. If you need the oxygen, you should take it. Period.


  • You come to oxygen sooner. This is the biggie. Fulfilling oxygen needs trumps everything!
    • Scores of swimmers attempt 3-count breathing, only to fall behind on their oxygen intake, the stroke devolving into a panicked 2-count frenzy with lifting and lurching and who knows what else to get a breath now that they’re behind on their oxygen requirements. Far better to begin with 2-count breathing from the get-go and establish a relaxed, easy breathing pattern that is sustainable.
  • A more relaxed stroke
    • Given a common stroke rate of one stroke per second, you are only two seconds away from your next breath at any given moment.


  • Can lead to an uneven stroke if you only practice breathing to one side
    • However, if you always practice right-side breathing traveling in one direction down the length of the pool and return with left-side breathing, you will have practiced each side equally and your stroke will remain even.
  • “Limits” field of view in an open water environment
    • If you employ proper open water sighting techniques, this is a non-issue.


  • Body remains in streamline longer, producing less drag
    • The better the swimmer, the less the breathing pattern will factor. Better swimmers create less drag during the process of breathing, rolling more evenly on their longitudinal axes to attain the breath. So breathing more often is of little consequence with respect to creating drag.
    • For swimmers with poor breathing mechanics, who lift the head to breathe allowing the hips to drop, or who pull laterally to breathe, pulling their bodies off a straight alignment, having the head down in streamline for a longer period of time is of great benefit.
  • Promotes even body roll to both sides
    • You can still practice breathing to both sides with 2-count breathing, as explained above, but with 3-count breathing, this even roll to both sides is guaranteed.
  • Aids in awareness of positioning in the open water
    • Depending on venue, sighting to the sides may be the only thing you need, like if swimming in a narrow channel or river. In this case, 3-count breathing is a great help. Of course, if you’re able to breathe on both sides, even with 2-count breathing, you can switch sides at your leisure for sighting purposes.
    • Generally speaking, however, you will still need to sight looking forward to swim the straightest line, regardless of breathing pattern.


  • Could be too long between breaths to keep up with oxygen requirements
    • Your stroke rate might not be fast enough to accommodate waiting three full strokes until you see air again. If you are determined to swim with a 3-count breathing pattern, try increasing stroke rate, thereby reducing the amount of time between breaths, and this might allow you to do so.
    • Intensity level also greatly affects the ability to hold a 3-count breathing pattern. And to be clear, I’m talking about intensity over longer distances, like 200 meters and up, not a 50-meter sprint. At higher intensity efforts, oxygen requirements go up, so the need for a breath sooner often requires a switch to 2-count breathing. If you lower your intensity level, 3-count breathing might be sustainable.


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Tri for the Cure, Havasu Tri, Zion Half Marathon, Vistancia Tri, Tucson Tri, Xterra Trail Half Marathon and 9K

Race season has begun in earnest! We had two age group winners at Tri for the Cure this weekend. Sharon Johnston took the 50-54 age group, and then we had a nice one-two finish with Galina Kelly and Dana Kennedy taking the top two spots in the 45-49 age group. Galina was also 12th overall female with Laura Miles coming in just a few seconds behind in the 14th overall position. Laura was 3rd in the 35-39 age group.

And in Lake HavasuKirk McCarville took 1st in his age group in the Olympic distance race while Gabi Wasserman ran an impressive 2:07 and placed 23rdoverall in the collegiate division. Our young 18year olds, Riley Wardrop and Colton Van Wagoner came home in 2:22 and 2:28 respectively and took 2nd and 3rd in their AG. Colton and Riley are racing IM Texas in a few months.

Also, Frank Smith is running his fourth marathon in four days today. He is racing the Dust Bowl Series which includes five marathon in five states over five days. His first three marathons were all under 5:10. Go Frank!

Congratulations to ALL of our athletes. Here’s the list . . . .

Tri for the Cure

Sharon Johnston 1st AG 51:45

Galina Kelly 1st AG 49:24

Dana Kennedy 2nd AG 51:54

Laura Miles 3rd AG 49:31

Silvana Jaffe 5th AG 1:00

Kyrsten Sinema 13th AG 59:38

Lindsey Buckman 26th AG  1:10

Tri for the Cure 5K

Barb Wang 3rd AG 27:16

Havasu Triathlon – Mountain States Collegiate Triathlon Conference Championships (Olympic distance)

Gabi Wasserman 23rd OA - 2:07 - Gabi competes for the ASU Tri Team and will be racing IMAZ this fall.

Havasu Olypmic

Kirk McCarville 1st AG 2:37

Riley Wardrop 2nd AG 2:22

Colton Van Wagoner 3rd AG 2:28

Havasu Sprint

Dina Scott 5th AG 1:59

Bret Scott 5th AG 1:30

Zion Half Marathon

Dan Logsdon 2:35 (ran with his mom in her first half!). Dan is one of our four Boulder, CO athletes and is training for the Rev 3 Ohio ½ IM later this summer.

Vistancia Tri

Kim Essendrup 5th AG 1:21

Tucson Tri – sprint

Jill Cartwright 3rd AG – PR by 4:50!

Xterra Trail ½ Marathon

Peter Ney 5th overall 1:47

XXterra Trail 9K

Bella Panchmatia 6th AG 1:02

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USAT All-Americans 2013

Congratulations to our 2013 USAT All-Americans: Toby Baum, Jona Davis, Kirk Lacko, Dwight Lundell, and SheriAnne Nelson. Another feather in the cap for these five accomplished athletes. Congratulations, guys!

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Bartlett Lake Tri

Congratulations to Peter NeyChelly Alore and Steve Sharp who took on the Bartlett Lake Tri this past weekend. Peter took 5th overall with a time of 2:30 in the Olympic Distance. Chelly Alore took 3rd in her AG and finished the spring in 2:12. Steve Sharp finished the spring in 2:17 and took 4th in his AG. Steve will be racing IMAZ later this year. Nice job!

Good luck to everyone racing in Havasu this weekend!

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Mountain to Fountain 15K, Fallen Officer 5K, Columbia Marathon

Spring is in the air and the races keep coming. This past weekend included the Mountain to Fountain 15K, the Fallen Officer 5K and the Columbia Marathon in S.C.

Special congratulations go to Frank Smith who completed his 50th marathon/ultra at the Columbia Marathon in South Carolina. Frank has quite the streak going and will add to it when he completes the Dust Bowl Series event later this month. This event is not for the faint of heart as it is an event that consists of doing 5 marathons in 5 days in 5 states! Frank has done it once before!

At the Fallen Office 5K, Cortney Ellish finished in an impressive 18:49 and set a PR! Her time was fast enough for 1st in her AG and 4th overall female.

At the Mountain to Fountain 15K we had Beth Lofquist finish in 1:25 and take 8th in her AG. Susy Signa also finished in 1:25 and took 8th in her AG. Joan McGuefinished in 1:31 and Lisa Keller came home in 1:39.

Good luck to everyone racing Bartlett Lake this weekend!

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Phoenix Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, Run for Ryan House Half Marathon, Tel Aviv Marathon, Survivor Mud Run

CC RunnerWhat an amazing running weekend! The Phoenix Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K took center stage and we had some awesome performances. This is Elaine Rayski pictured here after her first ever marathon finish!

Four Camelback Coaching athletes earned Boston Marathon qualifying times. Congratulations to G. Parekh, Toby Baum, Henry Wright, and SheriAnne Nelson on their outstanding races!

We also want to recognize Will Rossiter who had a stellar run at 3:10:30, but missed the Boston qualifying time by a mere 30 seconds.

Special mentions go to Galina Kelly who won her age division in the 10K, Laura Miles who was 2nd in her AG and the 8th overall female at the Run for Ryan House Half Marathon, and SheriAnne Nelson who was 3rd in her age group and the 10th overall woman in the Phoenix Marathon.

Lots more results to brag about, so here you go:

Phoenix Marathon

Will Rossiter               3:10     17th AG

SheriAnne Nelson       3:14     3rd AG             10th overall female       Boston Qualifier!

Toby Baum                 3:14     18th AG           PR!                              BQ!

Henry Wright              3:27     11th AG           PR!                              BQ!

G. Parekh                    3:28     12th AG           PR!                              BQ!

Darren West                3:40     24th AG

Mike Wallace              3:58     85th AG           1st Marathon!

Elaine Rayski              4:58     85th AG           1st Marathon!

Ken Mantay                6:03     139th AG

Phoenix Half Marathon

Colton Van Wagoner  1:34     5th AG

Cortney Ellish             1:36     7th AG

Russell Vanbeber        1:42     27th AG           Ran RAGNAR last week!

Bella Panchmatia        1:52     10th AG

Beth Lofquist              2:06     22nd AG

Barb Wang                  2:13     41st AG           Ran RAGNAR last week!

Jeremiah Herrman       2:24     135th AG

Phoenix 10K

Galina Kelly                48:01   1st  AG

Run for Ryan House Half Marathon

Laura Miles                 1:44     2nd AG             8th overall female         PR!

Tel Aviv Marathon

Nir Joels                      3:15     Nir will be racing IM Austria later this summer.

Survivor Mud Run – 5k

Rebecca Felmly           1:15

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