First race of the 2015 season: Icebreaker from RaceTri

The morning started off rough. I had gotten sick a few days before. I was so congested the night before, I couldn’t breathe and slept lousy.  I laid there at 2:45 am frustrated.  I had trained so hard this off-season and now I was sick. Ugh – I was so congested and phlegmy… yuck! I laid there wondering, “Can I even race or am I just going to bomb?” This is my last year in my age group before I move up. I really look forward to the Icebreaker triathlon each year and really want to do it. That morning, I did everything I could think of to try and wrangle this flu so I could race. I showered with steam to try and breathe. I took a variety of cold medicine to get it in my system to be in full swing by 10 am. I swallowed honey to coat my sore throat.

I got there as transition was opening and I was instantly glad I came to race. It was so much fun to see my all my triathlon friends. It was a blast talking with everyone about their off-season training, their goals and their upcoming races.


It was time to get ready for the swim. I used the potty one last time and begged my body to just give me an hour and 20 minutes, that’s all I needed.

We lined up in our swim start times. I lined up with my master swim buddies because I knew I could pace with them.  It was time to go! Just a few strokes in, I felt okay. I got into a rhythm, and felt surprisingly strong. The first 100 meters I knew I had this. Breathing was a little more challenging than normal, but it didn’t stop me.

Ran into T1 and grabbed my bike gear and got out on the bike. It was my fastest T1 yet, 54.4 seconds. I got on the bike and remembered two pieces of advice I had been given – Nichole reminded me to pull up on the hills and Sara had told me to down shift even when I don’t think I need too. Both of these pieces of advice came into play and as I found my groove on the bike.

I felt strong on the bike. My legs were ready. My lungs were the problem, darn flu. I immediately ignored the burn in my lungs and kept drinking water because my throat was really dry. I came along the first loop and was feeling good, I knew I could do the next loop faster as I was all warmed up. The drive was deep, my inner voice kept screaming, “You can do this, you got this, just keep going!”

Meagen Johnson Bike

As I came in to T2, I debated doing a flying dismount. I hadn’t practiced it as much as I would of liked and wasn’t overly confident I wouldn’t crash. So I decided not to. It worked out okay because there were bike volunteers. These awesome volunteers took our bike and ran it in for us. I had already gotten out of my shoes in anticipation of a flying dismount so I was able to run along side my bike volunteer who racked my bike for me. SWEET!

For a quick second, I had trouble getting my left shoe on so I stumbled out of T2. I am such a dork (The night before I had tightened my lock laces, this may have been the issue or maybe I just can’t put on shoes. Haha!) I got right out on the run and my legs felt good. Those bricks are paying off! BUT my lungs were screaming.  I started to cough hard and wondered if I had another 30 minutes in me. I couldn’t get any air. I got to the last part of the hill about 9 minutes in and a guy ran by me and said “Slow your breathing down, you got this”. Apparently, I must have been breathing loud.  He probably thought I was dying. So I decided to walk for 30 seconds to catch my breath. It was just what I needed and I took off again.

Side note: The run is the hardest of the three for me. Despite being a cross-country runner in my younger years, running has been a challenge in my adult life. My feet don’t cooperate with me. They start to blister within 2 miles of any run. I have tried so many shoes. I bought some Asics 2000 last year and they were perfect, but a year later, they are worn and causing blisters. So now, I have two brand new shoes ready to be tried this week and see how they fair, Asics Kayano 21 and Mizuno Wave Inspire 11.  I know it’s probably my form and a few other things that continue to plague my run. I am working on changing bad habits. But this off-season, I have felt stronger in my shorter distances and have done better with increasing my pace, which has been good.

That 30 seconds I gave myself was just what I needed. I found a run pace that felt comfortable and just kept running. The last mile I gave it all I got – my pace was 8:14. I am super pleased with that!

I crossed the finish line, knowing I left it all on the course. I gave it all I had. My anticipation on seeing the final finish time was growing because I knew my time was faster than previous years. I couldn’t wait to see the final results.

As they posted the times, I was apparent my age group was HUGE!  31 women, the largest age group of both men and women that day. The previous year, there were 12 women in this same age group and only 10 in 2013. Where did all these women come from? WOW!!


Meagen Johnson - Icebreaker 2015

When I saw my finish time was 1:13:04, I was THRILLED!! That was a PR for me by 3 minutes on this course and WHILE I WAS SUPER SICK! Are you kidding me?  SWEET!! Super excited! My body did it. I am not sure even if I wasn’t sick I could have done any better. I left it ALL out there. My off-season training paid off big time and I couldn’t believe I was that mentally strong to push through despite the flu. AWESOME!! Insert happy dance here.

To put this finish time into perspective, same race in both 2013 & 2014, that finish time would of put me in second place. This year in my age group, the competition was INCREDIBLE!!! It was an honor to bring it to this type of competition this year. My finish time put me in 9th place in my age group and 24th for all women. Making Top Ten with how competitive this age group was and with the largest group, I’ll take it! Look how crazy close the finish times were. WOW!!

My Age Group

My Age Group

I really do LOVE this sport! I feel like it’s finally ALL coming together. I firmly believe this quote. I tested my limits today and WON BIG!


I was reminded of many valuable lessons that race day:

  • It’s anyone’s race. You never know now many people are going to show up in your category.
  • Your best time may not always be a podium winner, despite previous years results.
  • Always push to PR any course and BRING IT!
  • It’s amazing what the human body can do. I can’t believe my body did that race so well with such a raging flu inside of me.
  • Training pays off. You have to put in the work.

Tri Living It Group

The medals were HUGE! Great job RaceTri on those. Race directors that understand that bling is king when it comes to racing make for happier finishers.

Well my body did give it all it had and now I am sick with bronchitis,  laid up in bed along with a nasty recovering blister.  Oh well, I’ll live to race another day. Time to recover, nurse myself back to health and get back out there!

my foot