True Love: A Girl & Her Saddle

Posted by on 7:29 pm in Ramblings, Rants | 0 comments

True Love: A Girl & Her Saddle

There is one tiny but all-important piece of equipment that holds the majority of my weight for the majority of an Ironman.  That is my saddle.  Saddles are a very personal. In fact, it may be the most personal decision you make in the sport. For me there is only one. It is the Cobb Fifty Five JOF.

I have been racing triathlon since 2006 and when I started I didn’t realize how vital this one small piece of equipment is to being comfortable and fast on the bike.  So, tried many of them – and I struggled. I recall having to tilt my saddles downward or swapping them every few weeks just to recover my sore spots.

In 2011, someone introduced me to John Cobb, and I rode my first Cobb Saddle. The revelation was immediate. It was different. My “delicates” were happy. In the past three years, I have always used the Cobb PLUS saddle and I loved it.  But, I kept testing.  Jon recommended that, because of body and the way I am positioned on the bike, I should test the new Fifty Five JOF model. I immediately felt that is was the best fit for the way I am positioned on the bike now.

It’s amazing how much a simple decision like this one can affect results. So, while I know the decision is personal, I encourage you to test as many saddles as you can and never overlook this vital piece of equipment.  It is really the one thing between you and the road for all those hours of training and racing.  You should love it the way I love the Fifty Five JOF.

Me & My SKINS!

Posted by on 7:26 pm in Training Updates, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Me & My SKINS!

I am so excited to be working with SKINS in 2014 & beyond.  I bought my first pair of SKINS on a trip to race my first ITU world cup in 2006.  The race didn’t go that well but I did come away with an amazing pair of compression tights that I still use today! The way I train for Ironman makes recovery crucial without my SKINS I wouldn’t be able to back up the consistent training day in day out!

Read my SKINS partnership announcement:

Learn more about SKINS:

Visit my fan page to enter to win a pair of SKINS so you can recover like a pro!



Posted by on 7:29 pm in Race Reports | 0 comments


The race in St. George left me empty and not sure how to feel.  While I wasn’t terribly upset, I also wasn’t incredibly happy with my performance.  I like to take some time to reflect before writing a blog.

I was so impressed with the ladies with whom I had the opportunity to share the racecourse last weekend that I would rather start with their performances.  In brief, Meredith Kessler was a class above – and showed it all day.  From the gun, she took charge and controlled the race pace, leaving the rest of us to try to keep up.  Jodie Swallow is always an aggressive competitor and as I expected she was out front and fighting as usual.  But, she also showed something I haven’t seen before. She showed patience and tactical acumen that will serve her well in her Ironman races: Frankfurt and Kona. Heather Wurtele showed that her stellar form at the start of 2014 was no fluke as she battled on her own all day and didn’t give an inch.  I venture to guess if we backed off a hair that she would have flown in to taken the title.  Julie Dibens always impresses me, and she’s one of the toughest, hardest working ladies I have ever had the privilege to train alongside.  I have no doubt that she will continue her rise back from injury, and I expect to see her atop many podiums in the next few years.  And, then there’s Bek Keat who showed that she is one of the toughest ladies mentally and physically.  After a bad day on the bike, she battled back with the fastest run of the day, showing her resilience.  The rest of the top ten — and event top 15 — includes a who’s who of current and future triathlon stars.  It was on the best women’s race mid-season that I have ever seen.


As for my race, the swim was solid.  I was happy to exit the water in the lead pack with some of the top swimmers in the sport.  I know full well that in the swim, anything can happen, and I know that even if training is going well it doesn’t always translate in open water.  On the bike, my legs felt mediocre and I struggled all day to find my rhythm.  Whether I am not as good as the other ladies or if I just had an off-day, I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to dictate the pace, especially on the climbs where I like to be aggressive.  Onto the run, my best wasn’t good enough whether my legs were sluggish or my mind wasn’t focused, it wasn’t enough. My best netted only a 4th place finish on the day.

In reflection, the race gave me plenty to absorb.  While it is only May, this race was a perfect benchmark.   My current performance is not good enough to win.  It showed that there is work to be done before September and October. For me, races hold up a mirror and show exactly where I am and where I need to go.  Let the journey begin.


Injury-Prone My Story

Posted by on 6:46 pm in Ramblings, Rants | 0 comments

Injury-Prone My Story

This post was written for and appeared there in March. 

Note from Stef at Witsup that appeared at the start of my piece: “No one has said “whoopsidaisies” for fifty years and even then it was only little girls with blonde ringlets,” (Notting Hill – 1999), UNTIL, a multiple Ironman champion admitted to having a propensity for being a klutz. 

Said multiple Ironman champion, Mary Beth Ellis, is one of the, if not THE toughest cookies on the triathlon circuit. She started the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii last year with a broken collarbone! They don’t get much more Tonka-Tuff than Ellis! However, while she is tough, she is also accident prone. Here she shares a few injuries and incidents that are a little left field, but we’re sure a few of you have encountered as well…

I have a dirty secret. Here goes. I am a klutz. I have had more than my fair share of injuries from the legit breaks and strains (which I won’t discuss in this article as I’ll leave that to the true medical professionals) to the bizarre triathlon battle scars. In this article, I’ll touch on the minor, trivial, and often absurd so that you can hopefully learn something or at worst just laugh at my travails.


Swimming injuries

  • When lane lines attack – My run-ins with the vicious lane line span from a minor dust-up to a near death collision that left me beached like a whale on its rotund body. I tried retaliating by takin down the lane line with my paddles, but I still lost. I ended up doggie paddling away a torn up mess. Next time I’ll show up to the pool with a knife and threaten to cut it – surely that is enough to intimidate any recalcitrant lane line and keep it in its place.
  • When fellow H20 users attack – I’ve been on the receiving end of a severe bashing from a fellow swimmer in a shared lane and in the open water.  To avoid this, pick the lane without the crazy tall windmill swimmer whose arms span seven feet if possible. If not, then practice your open water swim skills in the lane and pull your arms in tight every time you pass your lane mate/foe. In open water training or in a race, there is an easy fix. Just swim away from the aggressive bashing swimmers. In a long race, it pays off to even stop and swim to the other side of the course just to get away and not spend four kilometres getting hit every stroke.
  • When UFOs attack (unidentified floating object) – The “funniest” swimming incident for me was being hit in the open water by a sailboat. Yes, a rogue sailboat! It cut through our swim pack and made a beeline for me. The centerboard left a nasty hematoma on my leg, but I was otherwise unharmed. Although now, I am wary of all the menacing wind powered boats in the sea. How to avoid this? Swim open water at your own risk and not where the lifeguards are underpaid bored teenagers!


Biking injuries

  • When potholes attack – Damn those pavement and road irregularities. I have been left with an irrational fear of all road damage especially potholes and cracks. A pothole inadvertently broke my own collarbone, and a deep crack in pavement did the same for a take.
  • When saddle sores attack – Nothing worse than an ill-timed and ill-placed wound to make running unbearable. The cause most often is that you are either riding way too much or you’re on the wrong saddle. The easy fix is to find a saddle that works for your anatomy. There are as many butts as there are people and finding the right saddle is like getting that pair of jeans that fit like the perfect glove – damn you denim! Don’t settle on just any bike seat, make sure you find one that fits you. Once you have a saddle sore, lancing or changing bike position or staying off the bike entirely is the only way to relieve pressure from that spot.
  • When randoms attack – Collisions or attacks from a car, dog, other biker or pedestrian are always a concern. The craziest bike injury occurred for me when a rabid dog (unvaccinated) attacked me while I was biking down a back road. I was riding in the country smelling the flowers and enjoying a very easy recovery ride when a pit-bull charged directly at me from the front and latched onto my leg. There isn’t much you can do to avoid a run-in with a third party except to ride in a group in bright clothing. As for the dog risk, make sure there is always someone slower than you.



Running injuries

  • When blisters attack – A common minor affliction is the dreaded blister. Blisters are a bane to any runner but just as easy to fix. The right shoes and socks will fix this but if you already have a blister, lance it if you can. Then if you’re going to run on it use lots of lube (Vaseline or body glide or whatever you prefer) then take a plastic bag and wrap it up and put on your sock. The downside is that your foot will sweat like a pig but on the plus side you won’t irritate your blister any more.
  • When chafing attacks – Summer means time for chafing – chub rub – as running shorts get sweaty and salty causing this common malady. The only way I have found to fix that is with good pair of longer compression shorts and again, lubing up with you preferred body glide ensures that whatever shorts you wear, you’ll be chafe-free.
  • When terrain attacks – Terrain can trip you up anytime on the run. The silliest running injury I have had is falling on my face on a flat obstacle-free sidewalk while running. I just happened to fall in such a way as to dislocate my finger.  Unfortunately, this led to hand surgery as my tendon and nerve moved into the joint space making it impossible to push the finger back into place. So forget rocks and ruts, I only need a flat sidewalk to fall on my face.  This is just confirmation that I am a complete and total klutz.

Hopefully, you are training safely and with no injuries whether serious and common or minor and farcical. Witsup and I would love to hear about your funniest injury or run in with a rouge lane line, pavement crack, or UFO.

Happy injury-free training and see you at the races!

Ironman Melbourne: G,B,U!

Posted by on 1:49 am in Race Reports | 1 comment

Ironman Melbourne: G,B,U!

Another Ironman means it is time for a race report.  Instead of dulling you into a stupor with the play-by-play of race day, I will dazzle you with a quick recap of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good:

The first “good” was the amazing on course support race day.  It was so incredible to have so many friendly faces out there on race day, including my husband Eric, my coach Siri, my Cervelo support super stars, Lesley and Jason, Chris from Rudy Project and everyone else who was out there cheering all day.  I know that I, for one, enjoy suffering so much more when there is such an amazing atmosphere, and Melbourne really delivered.

The second good was the venue, which was an amazing urban race with a bit of everything.  I loved the ocean swim and the run course was the most scenic and unique I have ever had the chance to do.  While the bike course wasn’t my favorite, the women’s race was clean and the road was clear which made for a very safe and fair race.

The third good was the volunteers and Ironman Asia Pacific support staff who made the trip and race go smoothly. Thanks so much to the volunteers for taking the time to help out and make the event a success.  And to the organizers who took care of everything we needed before , during, and after the race.

Final good was the coffee…. Seriously. No, really, it’s good.  The coffee in Australia is amazing! I am in withdrawal now.  I am blaming that as one of the contributors to my delayed blog.


The Bad:

The first bad would have to be my mid-run chub-rub.  This was a bit annoying but nothing that some aid station Vaseline couldn’t fix.  You have to check out my Witsup interview here for more on that one.

The second bad would also be missing one of the most exciting men’s Ironman races ever.  I didn’t get to see any of the action as the point-to-point run course left us out of the loop. (And my husbands updates were, well, spotty at best.)

The Ugly:

The first ugly was losing my “ghetto bento” (plastic baggie attached to bike stem with electrical tape, which Cervelo has been begging to replace for several years now) with all my race calories in the first 2km of the bike ride.  This led me to have to rely on only my two bottles and whatever I could grab from the aid stations.  While I couldn’t get quite as much fuel as I needed on the bike, I managed to get in as much as I could at the start of the run to curb the calorie deficit to make it to the finish.

The second ugly was doing an Ironman in March.  I would prefer to wait and race later in the year as kicking off the season with a big event this early is tricky.  But thanks to my crash at the end of 2013, I was behind the Kona Qualifying Points eight ball and had to earn my way into the big dance.  Luckily, I had a good enough finish to give me some breathing room for the rest of the year. There’s still work to do, but I feel relieved to be back in the game.

The final ugly was how spoiled and lazy I have become.  I was so spoiled race week as Cervelo took care of my bike’s every need even unpacking and packing it for me.  Coach Siri and Eric equally spoiled me as they shuttled me from place to place as we got ready for the race.  With all this spoiling, it took me 5 days to unpack and over a week to write a race report!


Thanks for reading the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

Perfect Fit

Posted by on 12:32 am in Ramblings, Rants | 1 comment

Perfect Fit

When you find your partner in life you stop looking… Why? Well, because you have found the person you want to be by your side for the rest of your life. I feel the same way about my sponsors.

When I find what I think are the best products, I will do whatever it takes to keep these partnerships. Yet, I know plenty of other professional athletes who choose to swap shoes and bike and wetsuits and nutrition, year-after-year, chasing money. I don’t claim my way is the right way, but I tried the alternative early in my career and sacrificed performance as a result.

Simply, my philosophy is to choose the products that work best for me first.  It makes me happy because all the money in the world won’t help on race day if you have an under-performing product. And, while most of the high-end triathlon products are good, that doesn’t mean they are the perfect fit for me.

So, how do I define “best for me?” It hasn’t been easy. But, here’s a tour of my training and racing essentials:


Cervelo P3 or P5, for example, have been my bike of choice the past three years. After riding Cervelo, I could not go back to any other brand.  It is no surprise that Cervelo has the best cyclists in the sport riding their bikes.  When athletes have to invest in their own bikes, they choose Cervelo, and I think that’s because Cervelo constantly reinvests in research and engineering to ensure that they have the most aerodynamic, responsive, and lightest frames on the market.  In an Ironman event, you spend most the day on the bike. I want to know that the bike I am riding is the best out there, and I want to know that the people behind it will help me optimize my performance on the bike and use my experience to shape the future of their triathlon bikes.



As a swimmer, I am picky about swim gear. So, I have used TYR goggles and swimsuits for years.  I always preferred their goggles to any other brand and would buy a new pair for every race. And, their speed suits fit around the chest and shoulders better than anything else I’ve tried.  In fact, after several frustrating speed suit issues, including ripping one hours before Ironman World Champs, I actually switched to TYR’s Torque Elite swim skin at my own expense before making them an official partner. Now, I’ve been lucky enough to have them on my team for the past two years, and I wouldn’t recommend anything else.


ON Running

I first tried ON running shoes at the end of 2012 and wasn’t sure I liked them. They were so different from anything else I had run in. Now, after racing and training in the shoes for the past year, I firmly believe they are a competitive advantage.  On pavement, the ON shoes have a responsive spring that I haven’t found in any other shoes.  Since I do almost all my racing and a large portion of my training on hard surfaces, I think the ON shoes are perfectly designed for what matters most to me… running my best Ironman marathon.


First Endurance

Of course, First Endurance has been my nutrition partner since 2010.  I think the Optygen and Multi-Vitamin are imperative to keeping me healthy and recovered on a daily basis.  The race and training fuel is the best on the market.  Like Cervelo, their team also supports me in creating the right nutrition plan, which is maybe the most personal of all triathlon needs.



Last year, I discovered Rotor cranks. Now, I would not go back to a regular crank.  I am a masher and these cranks help me make the most of my pedal stroke in the TT position helping to recruit other muscles besides my quads.  I can’t wait to try the new Rotor power meter this season and think it will help elevate my cycling performances.


Cobb Saddles

I have ridden on Cobb Saddles since 2011 and love their saddles.  I have used all the other brands but find the Cobb to be the most comfortable.  I have just switched to the JOF -Just off the Front – saddle and it fits me perfectly.  Like nutrition, saddles are a very personal choice (servicing a very personal area!) but I can’t imagine liking any other saddle as much as I like the Cobb saddles.


HED Wheels

I was lucky enough to race on HED Wheels at the end of last year and will continue with these wheels.  While most race wheels feel fast, these wheels also feel durable and stable in crosswinds and on a technical course.  I put a lot of trust into my wheels and knowing that I am on safe, fast, durable ones puts my mind at ease.


Rudy Project

Last year at Kona, I needed an aero helmet and I hadn’t been satisfied with many. Sure, it’s important that the helmet be aero. But, for me, I needed something with ventilation to keep me from over-heating since, including Kona, I prefer hot races. So, my husband did some research, and he came back with one name… Rudy Project. The helmet was perfect. And, to my surprise, the sunglasses were even better than I had imagined. They’re light, the lenses are beautifully clear and they’re easily adjustable for a perfect fit on race day. While I had a good relationship with Oakley and loved their glasses, I found that Rudy was perfectly matched to my needs and my sport.



I travel… a lot. It’s the life of a triathlete, flying from continent to continent chasing warm weather and key races. So, while many of my sponsors make great transition bag, I wanted to partner with a company that made great bags for everything I do. Fitmark has given me strong, travel-ready bags that also look great. Hey, I’m a girl. Bags are more than a utility after all!


This doesn’t mean I won’t test new things, but I do think when you have found the best why mess with it.  Like the speed skating federation in its recent roll out of largely untested speed suits, I think too many triathletes are searching for a secret when there is none.  The real secret is finding what works and doing everything in your power to keep it working optimally. So, choose wisely my friends.  Your race depends on it.



How much? oo

Posted by on 4:00 am in Race Reports | 1 comment

How much? oo

As an athlete failure is something we all face at one time or another.  For many reasons my race in Panama was what I would consider a failure.  From every misstep though is an opportunity to learn and grow as an athlete.  Luckily the more spectacular the failure the more you can learn so I have many insights I can share with you!

1.)  Heat affects everyone differently – this race taught me that I am one that requires a bit of acclimation before I can race well in the heat.  The knowledge from this race will definitely help Siri and I plan our preparation for Kona.  We will definitely not be flying in 2 days before the race.

2.)  Mental trauma from a crash has lasting impacts – I had a collision with an age grouper early in the 2nd lap of the bike and that combined with my recent memory of September’s crash left me very tentative on the bike course.  Unfortunately, a very congested 4-lap bike course requires the professionals to be aggressive and rewards that behavior. Any professional doing this race needs to ensure they are physically and mentally ready to ride aggressively in order to have their best bike performance.

3.)  Fitness in February is tricky – I thought I was too fit for February but based on my race it doesn’t appear so.  As a professional hoping to peak in the early fall, it is hard to get the fitness you need to race well in the early spring and be able to steadily build to a crescendo in the fall.  It is very hard for athletes to maintain this top end all year long.  Athletes winning in February and March always find it difficult to win in October.  If I don’t have to chase points, I much prefer to wait and start my race season at the end of the spring.

4.)  Nutrition is always something to be refined – I have had trouble in the heat with my breakfast routine.  In Kona, I always assumed that it was swallowing of seawater that led me to have trouble with puking and an inability to eat for the first 60K of the bike.  But I had the same issue in this race and the 17-minute swim was not long enough to drink that much seawater.  I think it may be time to revisit my food choices race morning.  Luckily, I was able to get down only one bottle of First Endurance EFS during the race but that one bottle plus lots of ice and water on the run got me to the finish in a four-hour plus race.  It is a tribute to First Endurance that though my race time wasn’t fast it is incredible that what little I could get in of the EFS drink allowed me to race for that long in very hot humid conditions.  It is time to have a look at what I am eating in the days leading up to and morning of a race and see if there is something causing my stomach to stop processing and puke up everything early in the race.

5.)  Flat tire quandary – This is the 2nd time I have had a flat 5K from the finish of a bike course.  For the 2nd time I just rode in the rim.  I don’t know if would have been faster to stop and change the tire or ride in on the rim.  With only 5K left in the bike, I always assume it would be faster to just ride the rim, but instead I could put some work into making my tire changes lighting fast and then avoid losing time by having to ride slowly on the rim.

6.)  Ego is a three-letter word – Actually a good whooping is great for the start of the season as long as you don’t let it hurt the ego too badly.  If I had the race that I was expecting to then I would have simply moved on from the race satisfied with the result.  As it happens, having a bad day forces you to look objectively at what you did well and poorly.  It is much harder to evaluate the race when you win.

7.)  Undefeated in 2013 and what did it do for me- I won every race I entered in 2013 and no one except me cared. In the end, it all comes down to world titles and that is the goal.  So one misstep in the beginning of the year doesn’t an entire season doom nor does a win early in the year make the year a success.  Treat every race as just what it is a test along the way to your final exam.  Obviously I’d prefer to ace every test but the final is where grades are really made.

8.)  Evaluate, learn, and forget – While I have droned on about learning from a failure, one of the keys is to also forget it quickly and move onwards.  In addition, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  If you and your coach are happy with the program and training thus far, there may not need to be any major changes just minor adjustments.  A bad race may be just that a bad race.  Move on and move up it is a long year and before you know it you and everyone else will have forgotten about it.

9.)  Finally learn from the legend that is Natasha Badmann and enjoy it – I am always amazed to see Natasha beaming from ear to ear as she runs.  Whether she is having her best day or her worst, she has the same mega-watt smile.  I sometimes dwell on the pain and the hurt instead of enjoying the race as an expression of all the hard work Siri and I have put into the training.  I can’t promise I will be smiling out there at 30K into an Ironman marathon, but I can say that I will make an effort to appreciate every day knowing I have the best job in the world.  Siri often has us “how much?” meaning how much do we love it.  My answer whether I am flying or failing is infinity (oo) as I do love it more than words can do justice.


Hope you all have amazing successful seasons! But if you do fail, it is not the end of the world.  Learn something from it and move on!

I Love It!

Posted by on 9:59 pm in Race Reports | 0 comments

I Love It!

Can’t believe it is Valentines Day and I am in Panama getting ready to race my first event of 2014 this weekend!

It seems so early to be racing and as expected the field is stacked.  So I am a bit nervous and excited as I anticipate the pain and excitement of getting back out there on the race course for the first time healthy since August. (I was in Kona trying to race in October but in retrospect I was not really healthy and was unable to really go after the race in my condition.)


Besides being a bit rusty in racing, I just discovered I am also a bit unpracticed at traveling and packing! I got halfway to the race and realized I forgot to pack my Rudy Project helmets.  I didn’t pack any helmet not my road or TT helmet.  I guess that is what so many hours on the Turbo without a helmet does – besides turning your brain to mush, it also makes you forgot one tiny bit of equipment.  When packing I hadn’t worn a helmet in weeks so forgot about that important little item.  Maybe I should start wearing my helmet on the trainer!

Training has been going great with Siri and the crew back in Boulder.  I am really enjoying living at home with Keiki and Eric instead of being on the road all year.  But going from running in snow last week to running in Panama is going to be quite a shock to the system. I am sure to be in for a hot and nasty race this weekend.  Bring on the suffering that is what we love right!

Keep an eye here for my race report after the race!!!   photo(18)

Moving on from Kona

Posted by on 1:45 am in Race Reports | 0 comments

Moving on from Kona

Moving on from failure

I was crushed by my inability to finish in Kona but also devastated when my accident happened in September a month before the world championships.  I tired but failed to recover from my accident and surgery in time for the world championships.  I knew going into the race that this was a risk but I had hoped and prepared thinking I had a chance to succeed.  All of us fail, but the key is to learn from that failure.

First, there is no one to blame for my failure except myself.  While the accident in September was simply bad luck, the decision to take a risk and still try to make it to the start line was my own.  Despite my failure in Kona, I am glad I tried to race.  If I had simply sat on the sidelines, then I know I would have been haunted by that choice.

The accident was a random external event that neither my coach, Brett Sutton, nor I could have prevented.  In hindsight, next year, I can focus on taking less risks. For example, I can do my easy recovery rides on the trainer and avoid riding outside in wet or icy conditions.  Accidents happen and will continue to happen especially to a klutz like me. However, I will focus on minimizing my danger and try to avoid unnecessary risks in the future.

Trying but failing to finish Kona has also taught me many important lessons for 2014. It is okay to take a risk, but I must be willing to accept the consequences.  By being so public about trying to recover from surgery in time to race, I put myself on the line knowing that not starting and not finishing were strong possibilities given my injuries.

I learned that to truly win in Kona you need to be fresh and fit mentally and physically.  I underestimated the toll that recovery would have on me both mentally and physically. It was such a difficult fight to simply make it to the start line that I arrived there exhausted.  I think arriving fresh is even more important than being fit, and I will not make the same mistake again.

In addition, I also learned that the women’s race is changing rapidly.  It was amazing to see group of women riding down the Queen K.  The race looked much more like the men’s race.  It is exciting to see the women’s field becoming stronger every year.

The women who did make it to start line fit and fresh had amazing races.  I was so impressed by Mirinda Carfrae’s record-breaking performance as well as Rachel Joyce’s sub-9 hour 2nd place finish.  Along with these two, we have seen the entire women’s field lifted and performing better than ever.  Chrissie Wellington may have started the trend, but it is great to see all the athletes stepping up and performing better every year. I hope and will work hard in 2014 to be there battling with another stellar women’s field. 1455991_10202554053557182_292359736_n992897_10202404996110839_1163789851_n

Kona Update #3: Adapt and Conquer

Posted by on 1:38 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

thb-MBEFL13Link to article on Triathlete.comAmerican professional triathlete Mary Beth Ellis was injured in a bike accident on Sept. 9 in Cozumel. Despite severe injuries and the resulting surgery, Ellis is working toward a goal of making it to the start line at the 2013 Ironman World Championship start line. She will be providing updates on her progress exclusively to See update No. 3, along with a video, below.

Today, I walked into the Oakley house here in Kona, and after telling me a story about recovering from a car accident to win the Ironman World Championship, Greg Welch handed me a T-shirt that read simply “Adapt and Conquer.”

RELATED – Mary Beth Ellis Kona Update #1: Hurry Slowly

I’m not sure if he knew the significance of that, but nothing could have better summed up the last 30 days for me—or, for that matter, the Ironman journey for so many people.

Adapting for me meant coming to terms with the fact that I won’t be the same athlete I would have been without the crash—and to realizing that my “training” now includes surgery and twice-a-day physical therapy.

Adapting meant I had to do one thing I’ve never been good at… take things slowly.

Living at 9200 feet in the mountains of Colorado, I had no choice but to take things slowly. One day at a time I was able to adapt to my injured and now recovering shoulder.  Then slowly, inch-by-inch, I have been able to add in some training. First I got on the bike. Then, I began slowly running in the pool and on land. Finally, I added the last piece of swimming with both arms. Things I took for granted, were suddenly obstacles. But, I built confidence each day, and now I believe, beyond tall odds, that I can race. The only question that remains is how my body will adapt, overcome and conquer all the challenges it will face on race day.

RELATED: Mary Beth Ellis Kona Update #2: Fall Down. Get Back Up.

So, yes, I will be at the starting line at Dig Me Beach in Kona. Yes, I have endured some challenges to get there. But every athlete who will stands on the starting line with me has had to adapt and conquer his or her own unique challenges. We may battle alone to get here, but we will all conquer this beast together on race day.

I will be on the starting line in Kona and look forward to racing along side every athlete who made I this far as we adapt, overcome and conquer everything the Ironman throws our way.

Please help more athletes stay in the game by supporting the nation’s biggest and oldest non-profit for sports injury research, a cause I’ve become very passionate about over the past couple of weeks, the the Steadman Philippon Research Institute. Anything helps, please check out my page here.