One Is Better Than Two

Greetings, friends! Its finally happened: The long anticipated merging of our two mediocre blogs into a Gestalt-like one. Figuring Jesse’s mom needed a break from switching from page to page (hi, Melinda!), and not wanting to lose Amy's three readers in South Korea, we have decided to keep our friends and family updated from the same internet home. Newly armed with an iphone, this blog will be a collection of pictures, recaps, and ramblings from a pro triathlete and elite runner. Jesse has been racing triathlon since 2007, turned pro shortly after, and has posted several top-10 Ironman finishes. All-in for Cozumel, he used last summer to plan his assault on the 2013 Kona Pro Rankings. Amy is a former division one swimmer turned triathlete turned elite runner. Two summers ago, she decided to stop cycling and swimming in pursuit of marathon glory. The result was a 47-minute PR and sub 3-hour finishing time at the 2011 Tucson Marathon. She has four years until Rio 2016, during which she will transform her 5K pace to marathon pace and qualify for the Olympic Trials Marathon.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

One Weekend, Two Races

by Amy

Two weekends ago, I had some serious business to attend to - defending my title at the Sabino Canyon Sunset Run! I won this race last year a couple days prior to the tragedy in Boston. This year's anniversary gave me time to pause, reflect, and be grateful. I am truly lucky to have found my passion in running, to be healthy, and to even to win the occasional race. I tried keep these feelings alive while pushing up the steep inclines throughout the canyon. Admittedly I was suffering a bit too much to enjoy its beauty that evening. The payoff, however, was worth it - I got the women's W, won a pair of shoes (equivalent to money for me!), and bettered last year's time by over a minute.

riding the pain train through the beauty of canyon

post-race awards with Julia

The evening race and celebratory pizza dinner left me wired when I finally got in bed at 10:30PM. Sunday's 4AM wake up call and subsequent drive to Phoenix were rough. After a few too many sips of cookie dough iced coffee, I found myself driving over the speed limit. This is an event that occurs approximately as often as a lunar eclipse, but I had my reasons: Jesse V was about to make his much anticipated return to multisport racing! 

I arrived with several minutes to spare before the Leadman pro swim start. Thirty minutes later, I recognized Jesse's stroke heading into to T2. A solid swim put him second out of the water, and in true Jesse V fashion, first out of T1.

He raced aggressively on the bike and hung on during the run for 2nd overall. If he was suffering, he didn't let anyone know...

As our friend Susan Lacke noted, RACING IS SERIOUS BUSINESS

Top 2 overall. It's always better to lose to a Canadian.

Next up for the Vondracoles are the St. George 70.3, the Tucson 5000, and the Rock n' Roll San Diego Half!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Track 5K

by Amy
after the race, rubbing salt in the wound

A few weeks ago, Jesse and I experienced another first - our first foray into track racing at a local 5k. After we'd committed to the race, I realized our PRs would put us dangerously close to each other as Jesse finished and I had one lap remaining. Thus, my goal was born: I was NOT going to be lapped by Jesse V. His goal followed: He was going to take me down. The week leading up to the race was tense. Jesse called me the devil on twitter. My Sonoran Distance Project teammates rallied behind me. We forced our St. Gregory track all-stars to take sides. Then, Bernard Lagat showed up to spectate the race. This may have been because he has kids who run track (our 5k was an open race during a high school track meet). Or, maybe he caught the buzz and wanted to support the most over-dramatized 5k in Tucson amateur running history. The world will never know. Just as I was going to introduce myself to him (I stalk professional runners all the time), a high school coach blocked me and began talking his ear off. I'm still devastated.

The gun went off and Jesse went out hard. I went through 2 miles in 11:20something, which put me in contention for a 5k PR. Except, my legs felt terrible. I kept pressing and Jesse kept making up valuable track space. I knew it was going to be close. With less than 200 meters of my 2nd to last lap remaining, I glanced back. Jesse was within seconds. I closed my eyes. This was for women everywhere. I kicked as if I were finishing my race. Actually, I was, as this was the only "race" I cared about. My lungs, legs, ears, and eyeballs were burning, and the finish line felt an eternity away. I opened my eyes to cross it and discovered that I had achieved my goal - Jesse V was two seconds behind me. He finished in a 16:37 PR, but I "won" our race. I shamelessly jogged the first 100 meters of my final "victory" lap, finishing about 15 seconds slower than my PR.

Thank god that's over and we can be friends again. Congrats on another PR, Jesse V!