2012 Year in Review – by Janee

This year was packed with job transitions, new hobbies, travel, and plenty of races!  Josh launched his endurance coaching career, quit his not-so-awesome job of 5 years, and picked up some extra work (along with a season pass) at Snowbowl.  I had an opportunity to teach a course at the university in addition to my job as a community health educator.  We both achieved significant athletic goals: Josh competed in the Ironman World Championship and the Half Ironman World Championship (and qualified for the Duathlon World Championship, too!) while I ran my first marathon and accomplished a new personal best in Olympic-distance triathlon.  We lived on a tight budget and managed to reduce our debt by $10,500.  In our precious free time, we took up gardening, played a lot of disc golf, and added to our collection of house plants.  It was a great year for weddings and camping, as well.  Altogether, we spent time in Texas, Ohio, Washington, DC, Hawai’i, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and California.  Whew!

Here are some highlights, in sorta-kinda chronological order:

The first few months of 2012 were overwhelming.  Both of us were working full-time, then I was spending hours preparing lectures and grading papers, and Josh was coaching NAU’s triathlon team and teaching the triathlon class.  On top of all of that, I was training for my marathon and Josh was training for spring races.  We also traveled out of town nearly every weekend of the spring semester for various reasons; I think we were gone for something like 12 out of 15 weekends.  The end of the semester was a glorious relief!  (In case it wasn’t clear, I am no longer teaching the class so I have time to breathe.)

Trijacks on a training ride on Lake Mary Road

Trijacks on a training ride on Lake Mary Road

We stored up the extra income from those hectic months and saved through the summer so Josh could pursue his goal of coaching endurance athletes full-time.  In July, he attended a USA Triathlon certification clinic in Salt Lake City, and by September he left his job refurbishing vending machines, which was a huge triumph!  He continues to coach Trijacks and teach the class, and he is very passionate about coaching individual athletes through Racelab.  We are also excited because this allows him more time and flexibility for his own training.  Recently, he began working a few days per week operating ski lifts at Snowbowl, since the winter months are an off-season for training and racing.  He enjoys working there, especially because of the free season pass!

Pepsi Cake

Tri class

I was thrilled to finish the Lost Dutchman Marathon in three hours and forty-nine minutes (Garmin time, the course was long).  The race itself was amazing, and I loved the training leading up to it.  I highly recommend doing a marathon (after proper preparation, of course!).  If you’re looking for suggestions, I am very fond of the scenery and atmosphere of Lost Dutchman.  Now I finally have my awesome long-sleeved t-shirt!

Post Marathon

Post marathon joy

In the summer, we planted our first vegetable garden.  I loved caring for the plants, watching them grow, and especially eating them!  The zucchini, onions, and pumpkins thrived.  We had a bit of luck with lettuce and carrots, but weren’t so fortunate with the spinach, beets, or kale, which grew alright but were eaten by mystery critters before we had a chance.  I foresee many gardens in years to come!

Garden

 

We had a ton of fun riding our new tandem around town throughout the year…

Riding across the London Bridge to cheer for the Trijacks at the Havasu Triathlon

Riding across the London Bridge to cheer for the Trijacks at the Havasu Triathlon

Getting married seemed to be a popular activity this year: we were invited to several weddings.  We couldn’t make it to all of them, but we had a fantastic time celebrating with friends and family members.  In April, we flew to Ohio for Josh’s sister, Kaylee’s wedding.  The ceremony and reception were wonderful, and it was great to spend time with his relatives.  I was introduced to the groom, Jared, for the first time, and realized it’s the closest I’ve ever come to having a brother.  (Is that a brother in-law, in-law?  Or…?)  In July, we celebrated with my high school friends and college roommate, Kristen and Matt, who had a gorgeous ceremony in Flagstaff.  I really enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with the high school crew.  Later that month, I attended our good friend Rachel’s wedding, which was a blast.  Those guys really know how to dance…Trijacks weddings for the win!  Congratulations, everyone!

Kaylee & Jared

Kaylee & Jared

The Terwoord fam

The Terwoord fam

Kristen's wedding

Kristen and Matt’s wedding

Rachel and Josh

Rachel and Josh

Rachel's wedding dancing

Dancing at Rachel’s wedding

In June, we drove to Texas for the Buffalo Springs 70.3 half iron race.  Kaylee and Jared were able to meet up with us as they were stationed in Texas.  Josh’s race went well and he earned a slot to the half iron championships.

Josh & Kaylee after the Buffalo Springs 70.3

Josh & Kaylee after the Buffalo Springs 70.3

We camped like nobody’s business this year: I can think of ten camping trips off the top of my head.  A lot of the trips were associated with traveling to races.  We also camped with my family in the White Mountains and with Trijacks for training camps.  Locations included Bartlett Lake, Usery Mountain, Lake Havasu, Lost Dutchman State Park, Lake Powell, Oasis State Park, and south of Sedona.

Oasis State Park

Oasis State Park in New Mexico

Hiking with my lil' sis, Melodee

Hiking with my lil’ sis, Melodee

I joined Racelab this year and experienced the difference that comes with a great coach!  After three years of consistently finishing triathlons in 2:45, I finally broke through the barrier at the Mountain Man Triathlon with a 2:38!  Yusssss!  Thanks, Racelab!

2012 Mountain Man

September was another crazy month for us.  Josh raced the 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas, we spent the evening roaming around the Strip, then I flew straight from Vegas to Washington, DC for a week-long conference.  I really enjoyed DC – what a beautiful city!  I love museums, and the Smithsonian was outstanding.  I also visited as many monuments as I could.  Since the trip coincided with our second anniversary(!), Josh and I celebrated with a pleasant picnic and a nice view of the sunset from Snowbowl.

Finishing the 70.3 World Championship

Finishing the 70.3 World Championship

Wright brothers' plane at the Smithsonian

Wright brothers’ plane at the Smithsonian

Picnic at Snowbowl

Picnic at Snowbowl

The big highlight of our year was the Ironman World Championship in Kona in October.  Josh qualified to race in November 2011 and trained intensively from May through October this year.  We spent much of 2012 planning and anticipating the trip, and the experience was incredible.  Josh’s parents joined us from Ohio for the race and festivities.  It was a tough race that included a bit of bad luck, but Josh did a great job and learned a lot.  If things go well, we hope to return for another race.  Hawai’i was lovely; I loved the sea turtles, flowers, and fresh bananas.  We did quite a bit of snorkeling in the clear waters, drove up to the Mauna Kea visitor center, and ate at some very cool restaurants.  Check out Josh’s posts for more details about the trip.

Kona finish 579291_10152148941325184_403299042_n 565051_10152171185410184_1393422337_n Turtle

I spent a lot of the summer preparing for the GRE and a lot of the fall working on graduate school applications.  I’ve applied for a few PhD and MS programs in physiology, and am anxiously awaiting responses.  I feel that my applications are strong, and I am hoping that funding and space within research laboratories align so I can begin my studies in the fall.  Send positive thoughts my way!

During Josh’s down time after Kona, we played a lot of disc golf.  Flagstaff has several courses, and we like it because it is outdoors and it’s free!  Josh even got an Ace – a hole-in-one – although nobody was around to witness it…

Disc golf

 

Whoops...

Whoops…

In November, I chopped my hair off, which turned out great.  Then Kaylee and Jared joined us at my parents’ house in Gilbert for a delightful Thanksgiving.  From there, we drove back to Flagstaff and did some hiking in the Grand Canyon.  We’re glad we got to spend time with them again before they are transferred to Japan.

Hair

I added knitting and crocheting to my hobbies list shortly before Christmas, which worked out conveniently for gifts.  Christmas was excellent, of course.  We loaded the truck up to take snow to my parents’ house and made a sweet sledding hill on the grass.  It’s always great to hang out with my little sisters (and the not-as-little ones!) for Christmas.

23Dec2012snowtruck Sledding in Gilbert

I seriously cannot believe how quickly time has been passing since we graduated.  It’s been a crazy, eventful year with plenty of good memories.  We’re excited to find out how my graduate school applications turn out and watch Josh’s triathlon career in the upcoming year.  Now, off to the Flagstaff Pine Cone Drop to bring in 2013!

Pine Cone Drop

The Next Chapter

Shortly after I moved to Flagstaff in October of 2006, I began refurbishing vending machines for a local beverage company. Customers would request a machine for a given location and I would select an old, beat up vendor from our warehouse of used machines. Then I’d practically disassemble it and sand, paint, reassemble, troubleshoot, repair it, and turn out something that some would describe as a work of art ;). While it was somewhat depressing going from working on F-16s in the Air Force to fixing vending machines…the job was very flexible with my class schedule at NAU, where I started in January of 2007. I typically worked 20-25hrs a week there and usually took 12-14 credit hours. The atmosphere at the job was very laid back, happy, and enjoyable. We were located near downtown, away from the east Flagstaff location of the main company operations, so we kind of flew under the radar, so to speak. It was that coupled with our manager at the time that contributed to the laid back attitude.

When I graduated in May of 2011, our department had moved in next door to the main company, and we didn’t even have a manager at the time. It was several months before an official new manager was found, so that period was even more unorganized than usual. This particular job, well, all the jobs in the department, offered no planned/structured chance for advancement (AKA dead-end job), so I always thought of it as my college job.

During the summer after graduation, I decided to see the job as just something to pay the bills while I focused on training for Ironman Arizona. I wasn’t actively looking for anything new. One new thing at a time, I suppose. The old manager who was willing to work with my class schedule was also willing to work with my training schedule. I could take a two hour lunch for a workout and that would be okay; I would just come in a little bit early and/or leave a little late. The new manager, on the other hand, was not willing to do that. He did have every right to make the schedule as rigid as he wanted to, of course, but I just didn’t see the reasoning when it worked so well before. I worked in the warehouse and basically did my job unsupervised, it literally didn’t matter when I was there. This was one small factor in a long list of reasons of why it became unbearable to work there. Different employees were treated very differently (some serious favoritism). I saw the same costly mistakes made year after year, sometimes month after month, with no attempts to correct them. Employee evaluations gradually went away and I hadn’t had a raise in four years, seven months, despite being very reliable and hard-working. I’m not going to list off everything because I want this to be more about turning the page, rather than a really long whine fest…

An idea that I had early in my undergrad, which I had discussed with my coach, Bettina Warnholtz, was to potentially start coaching athletes with Racelab. To be able to help endurance athletes attain their goals in something that I’m passionate about would be a dream come true. That dream quickly became a goal, and I attained my BS in Exercise Science as the completion of my first step. During that time, I also got involved with NAU TriJacks, the university club triathlon team. I watched the team grow from five members – and even met Janee for the first time at one of the workouts – to a club of 45 members under Janee’s leadership. We got experience recruiting athletes, organizing events and workouts, and we made a ton of friends. TriJacks were in my wedding, and many of my training partners are TriJacks.

The winter after graduation, Janee inquired whether Trijacks were looking for a coach. They certainly were, and I started coaching them during the spring 2012 semester, learning a lot along the way, all the while being completely stoked to have a side job doing something that I wanted to be doing.  Also, my buddy (a TriJack!), Frank Smith, put in a good word for me when the PES department was looking for a new triathlon class instructor, and I started with that the same semester. 1) Isn’t it rad that NAU has a triathlon class!? 2) This meant I moved two more steps in the direction I wanted to go!

The next step came in July when I traveled to Salt Lake City for a USA Triathlon Level I coaching certification clinic. We got to listen to clinics from four Level III certified coaches (Bobby McGee, Bob Seebohar, Shelly O’Brien, and Ian Murray) of which there are only 19 in existence. Among other things, we learned about sport psychology, training and nutrition periodization, and metabolic efficiency.

Back on the vending job: This summer, instead of the old, “I’m just hanging onto this job while I focus on Ironman,” it became more like, “Get me the heck out of this depressing place.” It had really become bad in every aspect, and I used my lunch breaks to search for jobs because that was basically the only time I could, since training took up the vast majority of my other spare time. I quickly learned that it’s pretty hard to even get an interview around here, despite getting less and less picky about what I was applying for. I developed a huge sense of entrapment and started becoming legitimately depressed. My mood was affected inside and out of work, I became less motivated, I was always tired, and it all negatively affected my training. We then started thinking of ways to make coaching full-time a reality. It was a challenge to find time outside of the full time job to focus on planning and promoting, so we started a “quitting fund.” We’d save enough money for me to be able to go part-time and eventually quit.

A few weeks ago, I approached my boss about starting to work only Monday through Thursday, 32 hours a week. The triathlon class was about to start up on Fridays, and I figured I’d use Friday afternoons to focus on coaching duties (I worked half days last semester). My boss rejected my request, saying that he couldn’t justify me missing those extra four hours per week. I really didn’t think it would be a problem, and this meant that our original plan to gradually phase out the job wasn’t going to happen. So Janee crunched our financial numbers and we determined that I could put in my two week notice the following week. Seriously!?!? It was an incredibly exciting realization. She determined that, even if I were to make zero money over the next few months, we could make it through November. Of course, not making any money at all won’t be the case, as TriJacks are starting back up and so is the triathlon class.

I’ll be done with this job that sucks the life out of me on Wednesday, September 5th, four days before the 70.3 World Championships and five and a half weeks before the Ironman World Championships.  I fully intend to take on more individual athletes (I currently coach four) as a coach for Racelab, focus on making TriJacks an even better team, and continue learning as much as possible to become the best coach that I can be.

An added perk to this situation is that I can focus on training to the best of my ability, which brings me to a side goal: to take racing triathlons to the highest level that I can. After my result at IMAZ, there were a lot of people that asked if I’m going to race professionally. There are a wide range of opinions on when one should move up to the pro ranks. Some believe that you should as soon as you meet the qualification criteria to do so. Others think it should be when you’re basically good enough to make a living from it, and there is a huge difference in those two examples. I personally think, at the very least, that I need to address my lackluster swim before making that leap. Professional racing is a different ballgame and tactics come into play. It’s important to come out of the water with the competition rather than several minutes back. The top guys work together on the bike – they don’t draft (well, most don’t), mind you, but they can get a small draft at the legal distance and they have the mental advantage of having someone there to pull them along. If you come out of the swim way back, you’re just chasing all day by yourself. I expressed this to Leanda Cave several weeks ago and her reply was, “Well you can be chasing all day as an amateur, or you can be doing the same thing as a pro.” Haha! Point taken. It was good to hear her perspective and she firmly believed that I should race professionally. Bettina and I discussed it as well and we believe I need more experience, plus I suppose we’ll see how Kona goes!

Either way, I’m ecstatic to be taking the steps to make this sport that I’m incredibly passionate about an even bigger part of my life!

If you have any questions or comments, reply on here or email josh@racelab.com!

Year in Review: 2011

With 2011 behind us, it’s important to look back and reflect, especially when it was such an action packed year! This truly was a great one and we look forward to what 2012 brings!

Our Honeymoon! In early January, we went on a Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas to celebrate our marriage. We got married in September of 2010 but because we were in classes, we waited until winter break to go on our honeymoon. It was our first cruise and we thought it was awesome! So many things to do and you really feel pampered. Our favorite stop was at Half Moon Cay, an island that’s actually owned by Carnival, so the only people there are from the cruise ship. It was crystal clear water, white sand, and warm temperatures. Snorkeling near Nassau was also awesome and we had a blast doing that. Nassau also happens to be where my parents went on their honeymoon 31 years ago.

Kahtoola Agassiz Uphill Race – this is a rather unique race experience. It takes place at Snowbowl Ski Resort and you actually run up the ski slope to something like 10,500ft elevation, across, and down another slope. Kahtoola manufactures snowshoes and crampons and they have different categories for each. Janee and I wore their microspikes, small crampons that stretch over any shoe. The distance is approximately 5k and it is absolutely brutal; I was hiking within a few minutes and dripping sweat just as quickly. But, the race was a lot of fun…in a twisted kind of way.


Collegiate Triathlon National Championships – We loaded up the Racelab trailer with 15 bikes and pulled it over 1500 miles to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for this race. It was an awesome experience, although the women’s race, which started after the men’s, saw extremely high temperatures and humidity so it was a rough day for some. This year it will be switched, so the men can suffer this time!

Kaylee’s Graduation and Commissioning – My sister, Kaylee, graduated from Indiana State University and was also commissioned into the U.S. Air Force as an officer. I couldn’t be more proud of her and I’m positive she will make a fantastic leader. I’m glad I got to be there for her ceremonies.

Graduation – I finally gone done got me a degree. Janee and I graduated from Northern Arizona University in May, both with a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. School stressed me out big-time, so I’m glad to have it done. Janee is one of the most intelligent people I know, and I’m extremely proud of her for graduating summa cum laude.

Ohio Reception – Our Arizona wedding reception was relatively short notice for my extended family in Ohio, so we planned one for 4th of July weekend this summer. Janee got to meet more of my family and we got to spend some time hanging out where I’m from. It was awesome catching up with a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a long time. Another highlight of that trip was Cedar Point. We both love roller coasters and Janee had never been there, so we took a day and rode -every-single-coaster there. All of ’em!

Swim, bike, run cakes!

Mountain Man Triathlon – Mountain Man will always be a special race for me because it was my first triathlon back in 2007. After that first one, I never felt like I had a great race there until this year. The thing about it was that I ran the Big Brothers Big Sisters half marathon the day before so I really didn’t know what to expect. The thinking behind doing these races back to back was that it would be good training for Ironman. In the half marathon, I took it relatively easy in the first half and brought it home hard to finish in 5th overall. Going into Mountain Man the following day, I would have been pretty happy with a course PR, which would have meant 2:14. I shocked myself by finishing 3rd overall in 2:04! The highlight was that I also had the fastest overall run despite the previous day’s effort. Janee also had a great day and set a PR. It was so awesome to see her get it because there have been several times in the last two years where she’s been in shape to PR, but course conditions have shot down any chance of it.

With Lewis Elliot (lewiselliot.com), 1st overall, and Bryan Dunn, 2nd

Moving into our own place – We set a goal that we’d be living on our own (read: without roommates!) within a year of getting married. With one month to spare, we found a cool place closer to the east side of Flagstaff where we work and we’ve really been enjoying it!

One year anniversary – We celebrated our one year anniversary in September by booking a cabin in Prescott for the weekend. I fit that Saturday’s training in by riding my bike there, a ride I had wanted to do for quite some time. Janee drove with the dogs and periodically stopped to check on me. It was an epic ride down the switchbacks, through Sedona, through Jerome and over Mingus Mountain, and down into Prescott for a total of 109 miles. We then spent the weekend at the cabin, checking out Prescott, and eating good food – including our year-old top to our wedding cake which was still good!

Nathan Tempe Triathlon – Another big highlight of my summer was placing 2nd overall at this tri in a new PR of 2:02:55. I had a race best run (35:14, 5:40/mi) which followed the second fastest bike split, 58:18, 25.5mph. Who says you lose short course speed while training for an Ironman?

Soma Triathlon – Soma Half Ironman was a perfectly timed dress rehearsal for Ironman Arizona. It was four weeks before the big day and I was glad to have the opportunity to practice my IM race nutrition as well as heart rates/pacing. For the third time in three months, I had the fastest run – 1:20:21, 6:08/mi following the 4th fastest bike split to finish 4th amateur in 4:16:30. This was a new personal best by 31 seconds and given that this was on a slower course than my previous PR (Clearwater) and a lot of the bike was at full IM pace, I was extremely pleased with this race. It certainly hinted that IMAZ could be a good one.

Ironman Arizona – This was a dream race for me and it will stand as one of the best days of my life. Not only that, the training and the race itself redefined what I think is possible for myself. The report starts here: https://joshuwoord.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/imaz/

Couldn't be more excited!

The Holidays – We spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas at Janee’s family’s house near Phoenix and we’re always fed well there! Janee has four sisters, two of which are ages 3 and 5, so despite it not really “feeling” like Christmas when it’s 65 degrees and sunny, those two young ones remind you how special Christmas can be.
To close out the year, we went to Flagstaff’s famed Pinecone Drop. Instead of dropping a huge lit-up ball like in Times Square, Flagstaff (which happens to be in the largest stand of Ponderosa pine trees in the world) lowers a metallic, LED-lit, 6ft tall pinecone from the Weatherford Hotel downtown. The location is fitting for New Year celebrations because the Weatherford opened its doors on New Years Day, 1900.

On to 2012, where we already have Kaylee’s wedding, Janee’s first marathon, and the Ironman World Championships to look forward to!