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Apr. 17, 2006
Ironman Arizona--from the field
These were sent to me just last week—two sides of the Ironman Arizona race experience. TEAM CLIF BAR athlete Heather Gollnick nabbed second at IM Arizona while Terra Castro, member of the LUNA Tri Team and USTA All-American Triathlete had a whole different experience. Here's what they had to say:


Heather--Team CLIF BAR Heather gets second!

I was looking forward to a return to Tempe for IM Arizona 2006. The week leading up to an Ironman is always a very busy time for me and this week was no exception. ...I had the privilege of speaking to the Tribe Multisport Club on Wednesday evening. Many athletes were saying how I motivated them but little did they know their enthusiasm and support really Motivated ME—THANKS EVERYONE!!

Race Day came and I arose with a sense of confidence that I had prepared myself to the best of my abilities—yes, there were still nerves as usual. On Ironman morning the minutes passed by quickly and before I knew it the Pro Field was asked to hit the water.

I know how important it is to get off to a fast start, so strategy dictated positioning myself correctly. The gun sounded and we were off. We swam directly into the rising sun and I felt that I was moving quickly through the water in my new Blue Seventy wetsuit! I felt strong throughout the swim and exited the water in a time of 53:38—a great start to the day.

I made my way through transition, making sure I had all of my nutrition for the day and headed out to the looped bike course. My goal was to try and pick off some of the leaders. Michellie Jones was off to a quick start and the rest of us were attempting to keep up the pace. I found that now being a resident of Florida the heat really didn't affect me; in fact I actually enjoyed it—the hotter the better! My position throughout the 5 hour 17 minute journey did not change and I entered the run in sixth place. 

I knew that I had my work cut out for me but I had been working very hard on my run over the past few months. I could tell from the pace I was keeping through the first loop that this had the potential to be my best marathon in an Ironman to date. I kept myself well hydrated and fortunately began to make my move passing Tereza Macel, Andrea Fischer and Hillary Biscay.

My daughter Jordan who has Cerebral Palsy wrote me a letter before I left telling me that whenever my legs felt tired, to just think of her and press on. Great advice and motivation from a nine year old!  Desiree Ficker passed me but after keeping a steady pace (and thinking of Jordan) I was able to overtake her once again to move back into second place.

In the end I was able to pull away and earn not only my best marathon in an Ironman (3:16), but an overall PR for the day finishing in 9:33. I came across the line feeling like I had won the race. Michellie had a flawless day and I congratulate her on an impressive win.

It was a day I won't soon forget, but no athlete gets there alone. I would like to thank God for blessing me with the ability to do something I love, my family and of course my sponsors whose support is vital to me. In closing, congratulations to all the first-time Ironman Finishers—may this be the first of many.

Terra rides on!Terra--LUNA Tri Team

I wanted to share with each of you a lesson that I learned today. I woke up ready to conquer the world, feeling fit and ready to race. I had a goal of qualifying for Kona—the Ironman World Championships. I knew what it would take and I was ready for it. 

But today, plans were to change and my mission was re-routed in a new direction. Upon getting out of the water, I arrived quickly at my bike to find volunteers frantic—I HAD A FLAT. Somehow the tire went flat while I was swimming. Commotion all around me; I had a panic, get mad, go nuts or to be wise, graceful and patient.

I chose to be patient. I smiled, ate a package of Strawberry CLIF Bloks, told those around me that I was fine, that a little rest will help and it doesn’t help to be angry. What amazed me was that people were shocked about me being calm; it didn't make sense to some—WHY WASN'T SHE FREAKING OUT? 

The mechanics worked so hard during this, having many issues with the disc wheel and the hole for the valve of my tube—THIS TURNED OUT TO BE THE KILLER OF THE DAY! After over 7 mins I was on my way--no problem. The cheers were awesome as I headed out on the bike. It really fueled me!

As I built into the 1st lap of 3 for the 112 miles, I started to make up time. By the middle of the 2nd lap, I had made up almost 5 and a half minutes. I was ready to hammer that last 1.5 laps and come off in position for a killer run. MISSION RE-ROUTED AGAIN!

YEP, another flat. I worked quickly to change it but it flatted again after only a few feet. By that time, race support came and attempted to solve the situation. Another flat issue AGAIN and I knew this race was about to change.  

To be honest, I had a few tears on the side of the desert road. All the training, all the focus and time. I allowed myself only a brief moment and came back to know that it was only a race, there are so many more I can do and of course there's a reason why—God's plan wasn't "MY" plan today.

It became interesting hitching rides on sag wagons. I was able to share my story of how I got into racing, how to turn pro and what LUNA is about to an awesome 20-something volunteer who is planning on doing her first triathlon. It made me realize that this is what being a pro is all about. This is the true spirit of LUNA—EMPOWERING WOMEN! 

With a smile, I ended back up to transition with my bike and had to officially DNF—3 letters an athlete never wants to see. My mom found me and shared how the volunteers came up to her expressing their gratitude for my attitude in transition. 

And with this I realized my lesson today; it was on Grace and Patience—to be thankful for the opportunity to race no matter how brief and that being patient and calm in midst of chaos is a good example to others around you.

Though LUNA didn't get a placing today, I feel like I was able to represent who we are and the spirit of character and strength that our team has!

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE SUPPORT these last few weeks. I am now reevaluating my year and will be able to head to Wildflower nice and rested in a few weeks.

Congratulations to the LUNA MTB TEAM on an awesome weekend at Sea Otter!

Posted by:
Le Sensation American
Team Clif Bar

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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