Surprise! Guess who showed up at the Dynamo pool today?

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That’s my Georgia Swimming Teammate, Claire Maust McDaniel!! Claire’s in town visiting family before she and her husband take off on a major life adventure and I’m SO excited she stopped by the pool so we could catch up and share a lane, just like old times!

To make things even better, as a dietician, Claire is a HUGE fan of Osmo Nutrition products! I love it when my worlds collide in such a happy way.

Chatting with Claire in the 10 second rest periods between intervals reminded me how thankful I am that I grew up swimming. I know swim parenting is VERY hard work. As a kid, most days my entire household was awake and on the road before 5am and nearly all of our family “vacations” happened at a pool. The sport is not easy for anyone involved, but the payoff has been HUGE. Yes, there’s the obvious benefit of a college education and swimming definitely paved the way for my triathlon success. But the best part is definitely the people. Swimmers are a REALLY special group.

Triathlon has taken me to a lot of cool places over the past couple years, and it seems like everywhere I end up, I run into former teammates. And even though I haven’t necessarily done the best job keeping in touch, every single person has welcomed me as a good friend. I think there’s something about the mix of early mornings, brutal workouts, and multi-day meets that brings some of the greatest people together.

So thank you Mom and Dad for getting me to the pool all those years. And thank you to Claire and all my former and current swimming buddies for reminding me just how lucky I am!! I may swim fewer laps and a whole lot less butterfly, but I’ll always be grateful to be a swimmer.

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Hey look, it’s me! Running out of the Ohio River! LOUswim The pic is from my first time racing in Derby City way back in 2010, and nope, there will be no racing for me this weekend! However I WILL be in Louisville, this time cheering for my athlete Lauren and lots of Dynamo Multisport and Middle Georgia Tri Club buds. I’m pumped to see the race from another angle and look forward to yelling like crazy at all the athletes!! I’ll be the girl wearing green and yellow and I can’t wait to see everyone out there!!!

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Challenge New Albany Race Recap!

by Haley on August 4, 2014

THIRD out of the water and fastest RUN?!?! Crazy things happen in Ohio!!!

New Albany, Ohio might just be the perfect location for a triathlon. The Columbus suburb is FULL of gorgeous country roads, running paths, and active people! Challenge Family did a good job taking advantage of the location and putting on a great inaugural triathlon-filled weekend!

The fun kicked off with the Challenge Kids’ Tri on Saturday morning. I was super lucky to be staying with the amazing Kist family, and got to cheer on Kam and Kaden as they DOMINATED the 10 and under tri!

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I was so inspired by the Kist boys’ focus and super proud of them for taking home 1st and 6th overall!! I also loved how Challenge set up the kids race smack dab in the middle of all the action. The kids got to use the same transition and run through the same finish line as us pros! Pretty cool!

Sunday it was my turn! The 75 degree water at Alum Creek was ruled non-wetsuit for pros (love separate wetsuit temp rules, thank you Challenge!) so I finally had a chance to break out my TYR swimskin! I lined up between Meredith and Jen, and it turns out, that would be the closest I’d get to those superstar ladies all day!

Meredith and Jen are both very strong swimmers (and bikers, and runners) and I spent most of the swim just off the back of their speedy feet. Not exactly a position I’m used to, or plan to make a habit of, but I do LOVE the fact that the first three women out of the water were in the top four across the finish line!! The swim matters!

My 24:27 swim split may not have been the fastest on the day, but I did manage to be a bit quicker than the swimmer on this relay:

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Check out those names! Eric Wunderlich! Dave Wharton! Those guys are legends! Both US Olympic swimmers and Eric Wunderlich is even a Dynamo Swim Club alum! There was some serious swim power at this race!

The 56 mile point-to-point bike course rolled back toward New Albany through some gorgeous countryside. I struggled a bit to get going and found myself slipping back to eighth place by the time I hit T2. Yikes! I had my work cut out for me!

The spectators just outside transition motivated me to start the run fast, especially when I passed Kam, Kaden, and their grandmothers all cheering for me!! The two-loop 13.1 mile run shared the course with the one-loop 6.2 mile Olympic distance race going on at the same time and I LOVED all the cheers I got from the Olympic distance competitors! So many complimented my bright green & yellow Smashfestqueen kit and one guy even said he follows me on twitter!! I thought it was really incredible that these folks took the time to pass on some good energy to me, even while they were racing!!

My fast run pace paid off as I steadily managed to catch up to speedy bikers Natasha, Missy, Jenny and Carly, with several of them offering words of encouragement as I passed. Triathlon is so hard, and yet it attracts such a great group of women who really support one another. The pros in this sport are all worth cheering for!

I crossed the line fourth, proud of myself for never giving up, and for finding some way to post the fastest women’s run split on a surprisingly warm and humid day! It’s not very often I get to “come from behind” and I learned a lot in the process.

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BIG THANK YOU to the Kist family, Kasey, Becca, Kam, & Kaden, for being an AMAZING homestay and not laughing too hard when I rode a cruiser bike with an aero helmet to the race expo! In addition to being amazing athletes, the Kists taught me all about the Columbus tradition of Pelotonia, a huge multi-day bike ride fundraiser happening THIS WEEKEND with 100% of money raised going toward cancer research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center ($70 million+ so far!). Becca even captains the Express Pelotonia team which has raised nearly $200,000!! How awesome is that?!?

Showing support for Pelotonia and doing my best “hair down, bike helmet” Pippa Middleton impression!

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Thanks also to HFP Racing and Challenge Family for putting on a great event, and to New Albany for being an amazing host city. Thanks to all of my sponsors: TYR, Smasfestqueen, Quintana Roo, Osmo Nutrition, Dynamo Multisport, Reynolds Cycling, SRAM, Quarq, Kask, Mizuno, Mavic Footwearall3sports.com, and my buddy Paul who hooked me up with the sweet GREEN Smith Optics sunglasses that really completed my race day look!

challengecna5Hillary and Michele from SMASH really went above and beyond getting me my race ready “HC” tri kit, even overnighting it to my homestay in New Albany! Based on the positive reactions I got on the course, I think it was worth it!!

Thanks to Meredith Kessler for giving me a great pre AND post-race pep talk, and of course, congrats on sandwiching an outstanding hometown race performance in between!

Last, but not least, thanks to my Coach, Matthew Rose, for never thinking of me as “just a swimmer” and to my parents and friends and family for all the unconditional support! Challenge New Albany definitely played out a bit different than I expected, but that gets me pretty excited for things to come!

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I have SO much to celebrate this week!

THANK YOU for all the positive response to Smashfest Queen’s launch of their new HC Tri Kit! I’m so grateful to have not only incredible sponsor support (my own kit!?!? someone pinch me!!), but all of the nice comments on twitter, Facebook, in person, and online, have been equally amazing. I am one lucky girl and I cannot WAIT to see all that green and yellow goodness on the road! It’s not too late to get your own, pre-order links are HERE.

As if that isn’t enough, it’s my birthday!!! And what am I doing? I’m going to OHIO!!!

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I’ve somehow made it 29 whole years without a visit to the Buckeye State, but I’ll be fixing that this weekend when I toe the line at Challenge New Albany. The half Ironman distance race northeast of Columbus is sure to be a GREAT experience AND since pretty much every person I know from Ohio is completely awesome, I have high expectations for the whole trip!

The gun goes off at 6:30am EST Sunday and results should be posted HERE.

And since it’s Wednesday, I have a water pic for you! What’s the PERFECT way to wrap up a hot summer run?

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A quick “swim” in a mountain creek, of course! And maybe some post-workout watermelon to go with that Osmo Recovery shake!

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Happy Wednesday!

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The SMASH HC Tri Kit!!!

by Haley on July 16, 2014

It’s a dream come true! A GREEN and YELLOW Smashfest Queen tri kit!!!

smash_hcSMASH has really outdone themselves with this kit! The colors honor Dynamo Multipsort, the team that got me started in triathlon! It’s a super bright kit, guaranteeed to get you spotted on any road or race course! Wearing green & yellow also often comes with bonus cheers of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie,” “Go Brazil,” and “Go Pack Go,” all of which, I appreciate!!

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In typical SMASH fashion, the kit not only looks great, but it fits AMAZING!! Giant THANK YOU to Hillary and Michele for designing this kit. The attention to detail is incredible; if you look close you can even see tiny “H”s in the pattern!!

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Want one?!? Here are the special pre-order links! All orders come with a guarantee for waves and cheers from ME if I see you wearing it!!! SMASH it in the “HC” kit!!!

Women’s Top: http://smashfestqueen.com/collections/triathlon-apparel/products/hc-women-s-tri-top

Women’s Short: http://smashfestqueen.com/collections/triathlon-apparel/products/hc-women-s-tri-short

Men’s Top: http://smashfestqueen.com/products/hc-men-s-tri-top

Men’s Short: http://smashfestqueen.com/collections/men-s-smash/products/hc-men-s-tri-short

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