Fall Update

Relaxation, joy, and love have filled the past few weeks and months. I am still trying to keep in shape for the UWC Triathlon Bahamas on November 9th with one of my sponsors, Mark Holowesko, but my form is not anywhere near peak. I train once or twice a day, when convenient, and I am usually joining others in their workouts. I’ve been able to ride with Patrick almost daily, run with Olympian Carrie Tollefson and other local Minnesota runners, and swim at the University of St Thomas. In order to push myself, I’ve been entering some local running and cyclocross races. The most enjoyable race I did was a 50 mile gravel road race (the Filthy 50).

Patrick and I had a very big day on October 4th: our wedding. It was absolutely perfect! We went for a ride the day before with friends and family who were in town. It was a beautiful fall day, until the snow started to fall 15km into the ride. It was actually quite pretty with the fall leaves and big white snowflakes.

Patrick and I were so blessed. The community and our family and friends pitched in. We said we didn’t need any decorations; however, friends turned Rivers Eatery (the wood-fired pizza place we got married at) into absolute perfection. A local farmer saw our party tent in the back of the restaurant and asked what was going on. When he heard it was a wedding, he hopped in his car, drove to his farm and picked up hay barrels and pumpkins to decorate (it’s an amazing group of people in Cable, WI, and that’s a big reason why it’s our favorite place to vacation). Other friends (Trudi Rebsamen, Dennis Kruse, Tom Schuler, and Deb Wood) even went so far as to press beautiful fall leaves for table decor!

I wish I could describe the atmosphere when we walked up to the altar. The room literally roared with love and support. It was the most exhilarating and happiest moment of my life. No WTS win, Olympics, or other event could ever or will ever compare. I couldn’t have been happier with the night. Molly and the Danger Band played live music throughout the night and we left a little after 1am. It was perfection.  

Before the wedding, I just wanted time to hurry up so Patrick would have no time to change his mind. If you have ever met me, you have likely met Patrick as well and know how amazing he is. He’s been completely selfless the past two years and has done everything to help me live my dream. Thinking of everything he has done for me and invested in my (and our) future brings me to tears. Words can’t describe how incredible of a man he truly is and I’m so excited for our life together.

The morning after the wedding Dennis, Trudi, Steve Tilford, and Billy Stolte cooked breakfast for us and our families. It was a great way end to an unforgettable weekend.

For those of you who like short summaries, here’s a recap of my thoughts after these 2014 events:

  • First day at training camp in Falls Creek, Australia: I am so unfit and I really hope I don’t get dropped again on our 20 minute runs.
  • Auckland WTS: Maybe I’m not cut out for triathlon. Mentally, I just don’t know if I have what it takes.
  • Cape Town WTS: Physically I’m not strong enough. I thought I was ready, but these girls are on a different level than me.
  • Yokohama WTS: That was amazing! I want to do that again.
  • London WTS: I don’t feel well.
  • Chicago WTS: I can’t believe I just did that!
  • Hamburg WTS: That was hard.
  • Edmonton WTS: Where is Jamie? Where is Patrick?
  • Wedding in Cable, WI: Thank you, Patrick, for choosing me. I’m so happy we are family.
This was my first ever roll out and I loved it! There were close to 400 people racing the Filthy 50.

This was my first ever roll out and I loved it! There were close to 400 people racing the Filthy 50.

This is the pack I ended up riding with for most of the ride. The Filthy 50 was super fun!  

This is the pack I ended up riding with for most of the ride. The Filthy 50 was super fun!  

This is at Green Acres Cyclocross race. Photo from Green Acres Facebook Page.

This is at Green Acres Cyclocross race. Photo from Green Acres Facebook Page.

Green Acres Cyclocross course. Last year I was nervous to go over this ramp. This year I loved it! Photo from Green Acres Facebook Page.

Green Acres Cyclocross course. Last year I was nervous to go over this ramp. This year I loved it! Photo from Green Acres Facebook Page.

Green Acres Podium.

Green Acres Podium.

Lots of people raced at Green Acres. It was a beautiful weekend. Photo from Green Acres Facebook Page.

Lots of people raced at Green Acres. It was a beautiful weekend. Photo from Green Acres Facebook Page.

The wedding guests who didn't care how cold it was and decided to join us on a mountain bike ride.

The wedding guests who didn't care how cold it was and decided to join us on a mountain bike ride.

Our group bike ride before it started snowing ....

Our group bike ride before it started snowing ....

The Lemieux and Jorgensen families. Thank you so much for all of your hard work! Especially Jane, Nancy, Elizabeth and Paige!

The Lemieux and Jorgensen families. Thank you so much for all of your hard work! Especially Jane, Nancy, Elizabeth and Paige!

Jonathan Pavlica did a great job taking pictures of our wedding. If you would like to view public wedding photos, you can view some here: http://jubilation.pavlicaphotography.com/the-wedding-weekend-in-cable-wi

 

World Champion

World Champion. It all just doesn’t seem real. I feel like I am living in my own fantasy world and it’s awesome! I don’t know where to start to explain my journey and thoughts on winning the 2014 ITU Championship.   

Leading up to the Edmonton WTS Grand Final, I wasn’t my normal, driven self. I was still getting up every day and getting the work done, but since the Chicago WTS, my motivation wasn’t the same. I wanted to finish the season with a bang, but my bed was looking better and better every day. I had no excuse, as the weather was nice and my training was going well (besides a few really bad swimming sessions). But it had been a season full of long haul travel, emotions, work, and sweat and it was all catching up with me.

When we arrived in Edmonton, I was impressed with the atmosphere and promotion of the race. Everywhere I looked I saw signs for the triathlon: “This is going to be EPIC.” I loved it! However, the more signs I saw, the more nervous I got. I put unneeded pressure and stress on myself. I wanted to not only become World Champion, but I also wanted to win the race. (The ITU World Champion is decided based on points earned throughout the season. I had an 800+ point lead going into the Final; however, the winner of the Final received 1200 points. In order for me to secure the World Championship title, I needed to finish in 16th place or better).

Race morning was very typical: a wake up jog, breakfast, a little rest and recovery, a swim in the pool, and ride to the race venue. And then, before I knew it, the gun sounded and the race started. The swim was rough for me. I was giving it everything I had, but I felt off. I was just off the back of the front group. I knew the rest of the day would be a lot easier if I could exit the water in the top five; however, physically I couldn’t do it. I exited the water in 17th. I felt heavy and slow. I was struggling to take deep breaths. I was nervous as I mounted my bike, but I could see the leaders in front of me.

I put my head down and tried to catch the front girls. I was riding solo until a small chase pack with Sarah Haskins caught me. I’m not sure if I was still tired from the swim, or if I put in too big of an effort trying to catch the front pack solo, but as I started going up the first hill, my legs were burning with lactate and I could see the women get further and further ahead. I didn’t panic. My day wasn’t over, but I knew it was going to get a lot harder.

On the second lap of the bike, I started to ride better. I was more aware and alert. Haskins did a lot of work. As we started the hill on the second lap, Jodie Stimpson attacked Haskins. Thankfully, I was able to respond; however, Haskins got dropped momentarily. As our group formed again, Haskins, Stimpson, Flora Duffy and a few others worked hard to try to close the gap to the women up the road. We ended up coming into transition a little over a minute down on the leaders.

I started running and my legs felt like they were made of bricks. I thought my muscles were going to give out and I was going to collapse to the ground. Thankfully, my muscles held strong as I focused on remaining calm. After lap one of the run (out of four), I felt like I hadn’t gained time on the leaders. I had no idea how many women were in the first pack, but it looked like more than 16. I stopped thinking about what place I was in; instead, I ran as hard as I could remembering my original game plan: to cross the finish line in first. I started to pass some women, and soon I saw the three leaders: Sarah Groff, Andrea Hewitt, and Nicky Samuels. I had no time to think, instead, I focused on trying to catch them. I was battling when I caught Samuels and Hewitt; I wasn’t quite sure what to do next. I was hot, tired, my legs were still heavy and I knew I had another full lap to go. I tried to make a move, but I felt like I didn’t increase my pace enough. Thankfully, I was able to form a very slight gap I was able to build upon.

As I was running down the blue carpet towards the finish tape, I didn’t relish the moment. I didn’t think about what I was accomplishing. I was just running. It felt like any other race. I never thought “This is it! You are the World Champion!” It’s a strange thing, racing.

I crossed the finish line and wanted to give Patrick and Jamie a hug. I wanted them to know this was for them. There are only a few people who know how hard Patrick and Jamie work for me. I didn’t want to celebrate. I wanted them to celebrate.  

Winning didn’t fully sink in until a day later on the flight home with Patrick. I was relieved, happy, and gratified. I have woken up every day since feeling amazing. I had no idea how much pressure and stress I was putting on myself (and for how long I had been putting stress on myself – which is likely why I was unmotivated). It was silly.

Thank you to my sponsors and partners: USA Triathlon, Mark Holowesko, Do Naturals, Red Bull, David Hobbs Honda, Specialized, ASICS, HED, Oakley, ROKA, Project Clothing Compression Wear, Ceramic Speed, Motorex, Sport Crafters, Shimano, Mobile Warming, and the New York Athletic Club. I couldn’t have become World Champion without your support, help, and belief in me. Thank you as well to Haskins for her help at the Edmonton Grand Final.

Thank you to the Gong Wizards, who push me, motivate me and put a smile on my face every single day. I’m so fortunate to have such a supportive training group of friends who are happy for others’ successes.

There are so many others to thank: my family, my friends, my agent Heather Novickis, the Lemieuxs, Patrick, Jamie, and my fans. Thank you. When I lack motivation, you are the ones who keep me going and get me out of bed in the morning.

It was a great day for USA Triathlon. Sarah Groff and I went one-two in the Series overall. For the first time ever, Americans earned gold and silver. In the U23 race, American Erin Jones brought home the bronze medal, and Jarrod Shoemaker came 7th in the men’s Elite race.

Although the season is over, I will continue to do a bit of training so I can take a break during our wedding and honeymoon. :) A season review update will come soon. Thanks for reading!  

Photo thanks to Paul Phillips. What an incredible feeling!

Photo thanks to Paul Phillips. What an incredible feeling!

Photo thanks to Paul Phillips

Photo thanks to Paul Phillips

Photo thanks to Paul Phillips

Photo thanks to Paul Phillips

Hammering on the bike. Photo thanks to Paul Phillips

Hammering on the bike. Photo thanks to Paul Phillips

Photo thanks to Paul Phillips

Photo thanks to Paul Phillips

Jamie Turner, the man behind my success. Photo thanks to Paul Phillips

Jamie Turner, the man behind my success. Photo thanks to Paul Phillips

Pre race I received an Oilers jersey - how cool!?

Pre race I received an Oilers jersey - how cool!?

Bubble Tea with Patrick. Yum

Bubble Tea with Patrick. Yum

What an incredible day for USA! #1 and #2 in the WORLD

What an incredible day for USA! #1 and #2 in the WORLD

Jodie bought ME a drink....love how nice all of the triathletes are! Thanks, Jodie. Congrats on an amazing year

Jodie bought ME a drink....love how nice all of the triathletes are! Thanks, Jodie. Congrats on an amazing year

Having a drink with Jamie

Having a drink with Jamie

A rare hug from coach Jamie

A rare hug from coach Jamie

The other man in my life who makes this all possible: My love, Patrick Lemieux

The other man in my life who makes this all possible: My love, Patrick Lemieux

Still doesn't quite seem real

Still doesn't quite seem real

The Gwen Jorgensen Scholarship

Patrick and I are launching the "Gwen Jorgensen Scholarship" to help support junior draft-legal and Paralympic triathletes who value and strive for excellence. The triathlon community has supported me and instilled values of excellence since I was introduced to the sport. Through this scholarship I hope to give back to the next generation of triathletes.


In 2014, we planned to award $5,000, however we are grateful for the overwhelming support from others and are happy to be awarding $15,000 total in 2014 thanks to matching donations from ROKA and the USAT Foundation. Additional value in kind (VIK/product) will be awarded from Ceramic Speed, Oakley, and Project Clothing compression gear and wear.


The pdf scholarship application can be found at: http://www.usatriathlon.org/news/articles/2014/8/081814-gwen-jorgensen-scholarship.aspx . Please distribute and encourage triathletes under the age of 19 who want to pursue excellence to apply!

Let me know if you have any questions about the scholarship. All applications and scholarship questions can be emailed to: GwenJorgensenScholarship@gmail.com