2016 Gwen Jorgensen Scholarship Recipients

It is with much excitement that Patrick and I announce the 2016 Gwen Jorgensen Scholarship recipients. The Gwen Jorgensen Scholarship was founded in 2014. It was created to assist junior draft-legal triathletes and paratriathletes in pursuit of excellence in the sport.

This year there were 223 applicants. Patrick and I loved reading through the applications as it allows us to feel more connected to the current junior racers. Deciding on the recipients is the hardest part. Thank you to all who applied, and to those who were not awarded, Patrick and I encourage you to apply in the future.

Special thanks to USA Triathlon Foundation, ROKA, the New York Athletic Club, Sleep Number, Jennie-O Turkey and the other private donors for their financial contributions. Patrick and I contributed over $10,000; however, thanks to the other donors, we are awarding over $35,000.

The following juniors are awarded $5,000 this year:

·       Owen Cravens (13-year-old paratriathlete from Algonquin, Illinois)

·       Lauren Steinke (17-year-old triathlete from St. Cloud, Minnesota)

·       Austin Hindman (18-year-old triathlete from Wildwood, Missouri)

·       Jocelyn Bonney (18-year-old triathlete from Long Beach, California)

·       Drew Kroeker (15-year-old triathlete from Colorado Springs, Colorado)

 

·       Christy Lausch (coach of MC Elite, a junior triathlon team from Mount Airy, Maryland) is awarded $5,000.

·       Deanna Gellineau and Allysa Seely are awarded $5,000 for a paratriathlon camp in Arizona

 

The following two individuals will receive a new Specialized bike:

·       Veronika Davis (16-year-old triathlete from San Diego, California)

·       Nick Johnson (17-year-old triathlete from Des Moines, Iowa)

 

The Gwen Jorgensen Scholarship will continue in 2017. More information about the application process will be available in 2017.

Thank you,

Gwen Jorgensen and Patrick Lemieux

Island House Tri and NYC Marathon

So much has happened since my last post that I've fielded questions to organize my thoughts:

What have I been up to since Cozumel?

Patrick and I went on a mountain bike vacation in the North Woods of Wisconsin. It was a perfect recharge. I traveled for sponsor and media engagements. For Patrick’s birthday, we flew to Austin, Texas, for the Formula 1 race. Red Bull sponsors two F1 teams so Patrick and I were able to enjoy the race from Red Bull’s suite. I loved how accessible the drivers were. Every driver, even the ones who were not the favorites, were interviewed by the announcers. We walked in the pits and talked to the drivers. Taylor Swift performed at the F1 after party. Taylor was visibly sick, blowing her nose throughout the show, but she was a professional and had an amazing performance. My favorite part was hearing Shake It Off.

What was my training like after my WTS race in Cozumel and before the Island House Tri and NYC Marathon?

I had about four weeks to prepare for both the Island House Triathlon and the NYC Marathon. I started riding my Time Trial (TT) bike twice a week. I did some longer TT efforts (3x10 minutes) and hated them. I complained, but got the work done. I also started to increase my runs. Before Cozumel, my longest run was about 19km. After, I increased to 25km. With the help of Jamie, I started doing one marathon workout a week. I did 3x6km, the TC 10 Mile, and twice I did 3x7km. Every week was new and my pace varied from 3:45 to 3:30 per km. The TC 10 Mile was so much fun and I exceeded my expectations when I ran 53:13.

How was the 2016 Island House Triathlon?

The 2016 Island House Triathlon had a new format: it was a three-day stage race. Every day was non drafting and athletes competed on TT bikes. I would have much preferred to use my road bike, but using TT bikes made the race more fair between the short course and long course athletes. Eighteen females started the race and after two days, the bottom eight were eliminated. Day one started with a 750m swim. An hour later, we did a 20km TT on the bike. Two hours later, we completed a 5km run. After day one, I was in third place, about a minute behind first. This was what I expected.

Day two was a 750m swim, 5km run, 40km bike, 750m swim and a 5km run straight through with no breaks. Patrick recommended I run conservatively on the first run. I didn’t allow myself to run faster than 10km pace for the first 5km run. This strategy worked and I ended up biking well and was able to end the day in first place, making up more than a minute deficit.

Day three was a non-draft sprint triathlon. I had about a 45-second lead going into the final day and was able to come away with the win. I was surprised and happy with my performance, especially with my bike on day two. Thank you to everyone who made The Island House Triathlon a success. It is not easy to put on a race, especially after Hurricane Matthew hit the Island a few weeks prior. The Bahamians have done an incredible job cleaning up the island and getting it back to where it was pre-hurricane. I can’t wait to go back to the Bahamas!

Why did I decide to run the NYC Marathon?

I’ve been asked if running the marathon was a publicity stunt. This surprised me, but because of all the press I received, I can see why people may have thought this. I actually don’t like the limelight (as I am an introvert), but I learned I cannot do anything anonymously or quietly after winning a gold medal at the Olympics.

Out of the three triathlon disciplines, running is my favorite and I’ve always wanted to try a marathon. The NYC Marathon is an iconic event and a distance everyone, even non runners, know. I couldn’t run a marathon before the Rio Olympics—I asked Jamie if I could and he said no. But after accomplishing my goal in Rio, I thought, What better timing than now to run a marathon?! I signed up with no expectations, no goals, and no agenda. I wanted to run the marathon because I love running and I wanted to see what I could do.

Thank you, ASICS, for working with New York Road Runners (NYRR) to enter me into the NYC Marathon without a qualifying time. I’m proud to work with both ASICS and NYRR to give back. Last year, NYC Marathon runners raised $33.9 million for charities.  While in NYC, I participated in the #ExtraMile. ASICS donated a pair of shoes to Girls on the Run for each person who completed the ASICS Extra Mile Challenge. I ran the #ExtraMile and met some of the girls from Girls on the Run who received the shoes. Seeing the girls excitement, enthusiasm, and joy was well worth the extra mile I ran/walked post marathon.

What was the NYC Marathon like?

I had a prior engagement in Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday, November 4th, so I flew to NYC the next day and woke up Sunday morning excited and nervous to race.

The race was professional. It felt like a World Championship with the hospitality and support—smooth airport pickups, onsite massage and chiro, hospitality suite, meals covered by the race directors, etc. Thank you, NYRR, for the wonderful welcome!

My race started at 9:20am in Staten Island. Since we were staying near Central Park, athletes were bused to Staten Island at 6:15am. We arrived at an indoor track around 7:45am. During the bus ride, we drove through some of the five boroughs. I thought, This is taking a long time. How in the world am I going to cover this distance by foot?! At the indoor track, some of the athletes started warming up and I remember thinking, I can’t waste one step. I’m going to need every ounce of energy to get me to that finish line.

At 8:30am, we reloaded the bus and drove five minutes to the starting line. I did a three-minute jog and a few run throughs. The race started and the first 5km was super slow. When the next 5km started, I thought, Sheesh! This feels kind of quick. And before I knew it, we had run two kms around 3:20 pace. This was way too quick for me and I ended up averaging 3:29 pace for the second 5km.

Going into the race, I had no goals or expectations, but I told myself I couldn’t run any kilometers faster than 3:30, so running 5km under this pace was not ideal.

After the change in pace, I decided to slow down and drop from the group. I ran solo for a long time into a headwind. I did have Neely Gracey to run behind for a bit, but she ended up dropping me. I’ve been asked, “At which mile did you start to feel the wall?” And I really can’t remember one moment or time when this happened. I remember a lot of pain. Every step hurt. It hurt to run downhill, it hurt to run uphill, and it hurt to just move. The hardest part was the last 5km. I remember thinking, Please, finish line, are you here yet? I knew I could make it to the finish line, but I was exhausted, tired, and my competitive nature was drained out of me. Two or three people passed me in the last few kilometers. Usually when someone passes, I latch on for as long as possible. But this time, I let them go without attempting to go with them. I just hoped to reach that finish line alive.

When I finished, I was disappointed. I’m not sure what I would have been happy with, but I’m not happy with 2:41.

Do I wish I had trained differently?

Yes, and no...I didn’t have the proper amount of time to train. I think I should have done more training on hard surfaces. Because I was increasing my run mileage, I tried to train on soft surfaces but on race day, my legs were sore before mile 10 (because my legs weren't used to the pavement).  

Should I have tapered more?

I decided to not taper as I wasn’t running enough for a taper to be effective. Prior to the NYC Marathon, I peaked around 70-80km a week, and I ended up with my highest weekly mileage on race week at 90km.

What was my favorite part of the race?

The fans! I cannot tell you how many people cheered “GO GWEN!” Thank you, thank you, thank you! I wish I had enough energy to smile and say thank you as I passed, but I was using every ounce of my energy to move me forward. I think my favorite sign I saw said:

SWIM
BIKE
JUST RUN GWEN!

I will never forget the fans, the pain, and the NYC Marathon. It was such cool experience. 

*My splits from my watch in the NYC Marathon via my GPS watch per km:

4:19

3:34

3:33

3:41

3:29

3:31

3:20

3:26

3:24

3:34

3:29

3:35

3:33

3:35

3:33

3:29

3:35

3:30

3:25

3:47

3:45

3:52

3:42

3:58

4:24

3:58

3:42

3:53

3:42

3:57

4:01

4:14

3:50

3:56

3:57

3:51

4:05

4:11

3:58

4:19

4:22

4:10

What’s next?

In an ideal world, I want to get pregnant and have a baby and then train for Tokyo in 2020, but you can’t plan pregnancies. Patrick and I were unsuccessful in month one, and we are now on month two. I will take a little break before slowing getting back into some swimming, biking and running.

Mountain bike vacation

Mountain bike vacation

TC 10 mile race

TC 10 mile race

TC 10 mile

TC 10 mile

Sleep Number event with Patrick

Sleep Number event with Patrick

Loving the F1 race

Loving the F1 race

Island House Triathlon TT bike on day 1

Island House Triathlon TT bike on day 1

Exiting the water at the Island House Triathlon 

Exiting the water at the Island House Triathlon 

Island House Triathlon

Island House Triathlon

Fundraiser for the WI Bike Federation 

Fundraiser for the WI Bike Federation 

One of many signs I saw at the NYC Marathon - thanks for all the cheers!

One of many signs I saw at the NYC Marathon - thanks for all the cheers!

The struggle of those last few steps at the NYC Marathon ...

The struggle of those last few steps at the NYC Marathon ...

2016 Cozumel WTS

What an incredible year! Since Rio, the most common questions I’m asked are, “Can you believe it?” and “What’s next? Will you go to Tokyo?” To answer the first, yes. Yes, I can believe it. There is power in what you tell yourself and for four years, I’ve said I aspire to win gold in Rio. I believe I had that great performance this year because I conditioned myself mentally to achieve it. I focused fully on August 20 and it paid off.

After the Olympics, I spent a week in New York for media engagements. I then joined the Wizards in Clermont, FL, and I was honestly having so much fun training. Everyone was happy, including me. The sun was shining some days, but all the days, the group was happy. Training was relaxed and we enjoyed our workouts.

At the beginning of the year I said, “If I come in last at every race this year but the Olympics, I will be happy.”

Patrick said, “But don’t you think it would be nice to be World Champion too?”

 I shrugged and said, “That’s not the goal.”

It wasn’t my goal to be World Champion this year, but when I was in the running for the title, my competitive nature kicked in. After Rio, I wanted to be World Champion again.

The WTS World Champion is decided by adding an athlete’s top five WTS races plus the Grand Final. I raced in four WTS events (plus a World Cup). In order to win the World Title, I needed to win in Cozumel and Flora Duffy needed to place outside of the top two places.

At the Grand Final in Cozumel, I put myself in position for a great race after my swim and bike, but I failed to execute on the run. I was mentally fatigued and struggling. I knew even if I passed Flora, I still wouldn’t win the World Title. I allowed myself to think negative thoughts about factors outside my control. 

I gave it my all, but Flora outperformed me in the swim, the bike, and the run. Flora had an amazing race and earned her World Title. I’m so happy for her! She has truly challenged me and forced me to become a better and different athlete. I’m also super happy for my training partner Charlotte McShane. I vividly remember a talk we had about three months back. Charlotte was convincing me I could win gold in Rio and I was convincing her she could podium at the Grand Final. I’m not sure if either of us believed each other, but her words motivated me in Rio and I hope mine helped her in Cozumel. We also talked about future plans – I told Char what I wanted to do post Rio. It’s something I haven’t shared with many others. 

Up next for me is the Island House Triathlon and the New York City Marathon. But the big question is what’s after that? Charlotte knows, Patrick knows, but not many others know. I’ve been afraid to say it aloud because I’m scared of failing; but if I’ve learned anything these past four years, it’s that I can condition myself for greatness. So, I’m going to start conditioning myself now for my next life goals: Patrick and I want to have a baby and I want to go to Tokyo 2020. There, I said it. It’s in the universe and there’s no taking it back.

Thank you all for your support these past four years. It’s been a great journey and I can’t wait for the next four years.

 

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My parents came to visit in Florida :) 

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Pre riding the course with Patrick in Cozumel. Photo thanks to Specialized. 

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Photo thanks to Specialized. 

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Photo thanks to Specialized. 

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Photo thanks to Specialized. 

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Photo thanks to Specialized. 

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Photo thanks to Specialized. 

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Love this photo. So happy for this girl!