It was announced last week that one of triathlon's premium races, HyVee Triathlon, would be discontinued this year. Known for its incredibly rich and deep prize purse ($100K a piece for top male and female) and an amazing field of professional triathletes, the race will unfortunately go away this year as HyVee plans to change their focus to more "family-focused" events (whatever). For those who liked the course, Premier Event Management (race management company that also managed HyVee) will be offering a triathlon on the same course during the same weekend. Facebook and Twitter were a-buzz with the news, particularly for those of us in the Midwest who really like racing that event. But for me, however, the death of HyVee is particularly sad news. One thing you may not know about me is that my race schedule is HIGHLY influenced by swag. Yeah, that's right: what kind of free stuff am I going to get if I do your race? I'm not kidding...I registered for Legend Tri this year over Omaha Women's Tri primarily because they were giving away a cool sweatshirt to people who registered on Christmas Day. Yes, it was that easy for me shift. I did want to race an Olympic distance that day anyway and Omaha Women's Triathlon only offers a sprint distance, but that was a somewhat of a secondary concern. It's all about the swag, man.
HyVee was, by far, the best race for swag of any race I've ever done. I mean, better than any marathon, chick run like Zooma or other triathlon I've raced. As part of your $99 race fee (which is pretty reasonable for an Oly distance), you get a bike jersey, triathlon transition bag, race visor or cap and lots of free food, drink, snacks, etc. It's incredible. In addition to the rich prize purse for pros, the amateurs who competed in the 5150 Championship race could also win even more stuff. Last year, I cam in 3rd in the Athena Category for Kansas 5150 which was a qualifying race for the HyVee Championships. Anyone who came in the top 5 of their category in a qualifying race got a FREE entry to HyVee! Are you kidding me? And the top 10 folks in each category of the HyVee Championships got gift cards to use a triathlon store. I came in 6th at HyVee and got a $300 gift card!!!! Are you KIDDING me?! It was truly the most awesome deal in triathlon...and the race was actually a nice course and well-managed.
One of the conditions of racing Athena is that you have to weigh 165 lbs or more to qualify for that category. Now let me just say that 165 lbs + for females is not very big for normal people, but it's on the bigger side for triathlon. No judgement...just is, in the sport of triathlon. Mind you, there are a lot of fierce athletes in the Athena category who are really fit, but carrying more weight is not an advantage in triathlon (or any endurance sport for that matter). The male equivalent category in the sport is called Clydesdale...I think they weigh in 220 lbs+. Last year, I came upon a really great book called Racing Weight, which gives a lot of practical advice about nutrition for fuel and performance. It also helps individuals calculate what their ideal racing weight should be for peak performance in different types of sports. As a 5'8 female triathlete with a slightly larger frame, the book's extensive mathematical formulas placed my ideal racing weight somewhere between 140-155 lbs. My weight last tri season? 184lbs. Yeah...um...not exactly racing weight.
So I used this whole "Athena" thing as an excuse to not drop any weight and honestly, it's been holding me back. I know that being lighter will help on the bike and definitely on the run. And my most fit weight of my life was around 155lbs so that would be an ideal place. Back in November, I started on a slow but steady process to start dropping lbs without feeling like I'm going to starve to death. My initial goal was 10lbs. Right now I'm hovering close to 175 lbs which is not so bad considering the holidays and light training schedule. With the death of HyVee, I'm really on a mission to get to "racing weight" by the time of my A race of Steelhead Ironman 70.3 in August. I'm putting it out there to all of you ...so help keep me honest.
In other news, I started working with a swim coach again to get myself on track with the swim. Jim Kueffner is helping me every week and I'm really enjoying it. With my reignited enthusiasm for swimming, I've decided to add an open water swim race to the schedule. It will be my third annual Tempe Town Lake swim, but just the 2000m this year. My revised race schedule posted below:
Sunday, March 22 - Hot Chocolate Run 15K - San Diego, CA
Saturday, April 4 - AZ Open Water Swim( 2000 meter) - Tempe Town Lake, AZ
Sunday, April 26 - Omaha Duathlon - Memphis, NE
Sunday, May 3 - Lincoln National Guard Half Marathon - Lincoln, NE
Sunday, June 7 - Legend Triathlon (Olympic) - Lawrence, KS
Sunday, July 11 - Lifetime Triathlon Minneapolis (Olympic) - Minneapolis, MN
Sunday, August 9 - Ironman 70.3 Steelhead - Benton Harbor, MI