Return to Racing

Return to Racing

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my hip surgeries on here, but so I thought I’d give an update on my return to racing. As a quick recap, at the end of October in 2013 I had surgery to repair a torn labrum in my hip. During my rehab I realized the other hip wasn’t right, and had surgery to repair that one as well. Ironically there was worse damage in the second hip than the first. (I wrote about dealing with a setback and also how to use TrainingPeaks to track your recovery.)

It’s been three months since surgery #2, and my rehab is coming along. Last Monday I got cleared from my orthopedic doctor to ramp up my intensity even more and even start to try to run. (slowly, cautiously, and gradually!) I’m free to swim and ride as much as I can handle.

Sitting still quite challenging for the athlete/competitive type, and now that we are heavy into race season, I looked for an opportunity to get out and race. My bike fitness is not where it needs to be, and I still have work to do to strengthen my core and hips, so swimming it is!

This past weekend I was a part of  a relay at the Loveland Lake to Lake triathlon. This race is one of my favorites, being a very well organized and friendly race. The venue is fantastic and the course is simply gorgeous so I jumped at the chance to return to a competitive environment.

Race morning was cool and calm. The skies were clear and the race day vibe was there. It was a little odd not having to bring a bike to the race, but that certainly made my prep easier. I had my brand new (arrived the day before the race) XTERRA Vendetta sleeveless wetsuit to wear. Normally coaches will tell you nothing new on race day, but as this was not an A race by any means, it was a great opportunity to test out new gear. (You can get great deals on XTERRA wetsuit products anytime with code CO-DRUMM.)

My pre-race breakfast was what it always is, banana and Justin’s Nut Butter (the single serving packets are great for being away from home), and Generation UCAN. I had a scoop of chocolate mixed with a scoop of Vanilla Creme. (UCANTRIND will get you 10% off most UCAN products.)

There were only 4 waves for the Olympic distance and I was in the fourth. I started my warm-up just before the start of wave number one, which gave me about 12 minutes to get in some swimming. I felt pretty good and definitely excited to be back in the mix. Not to mention the water temperature was perfect, around 70 degrees.

I started in the middle of the pack and pushed my pace to stay with the group until the first buoy, and then things spread out a bit. I settled into my pace, trying to remember this was just like some of the continuous training swims I do, but could go harder, as I didn’t have to save anything – once I got out of the water I was going to be done. The  feel and buoyancy of the new wetsuit was great. It was a little challenging to sight on the third buoy due to the sun, but once I found it I cruised to it to make the final turn for the home stretch to the beach. Going through my mind was leave nothing here, which is a skill I am still working on for swimming! I have it figured out for cycling and running, but open water swimming is another beast.

I came out of the water with a swim PR at that race and distance so I was quite happy. Once on the beach I actually jogged the quarter mile or so through the grass to transition, where Bridget (a Team NEO athlete) took the chip and went on to bike and run. Bridget also had a similar hip surgery, though hers was a bit more involved, a couple years ago and is just now returning to triathlon this season.


Team NEO athlete and my relay partner Bridget on the way to the finish.

I had another athlete out on the course as well. I was able to see them both come into T2 and finish. I was also helping get some pics and tweet for Kristina, our Iron Tiara, was out on the course as well.


Team NEO athlete Michele coming into T2


Iron Tiara Kristina heading into T2

Once the “team” was in, I hit up the post-race burrito buffet. Great food as always, but I was a little disappointed that the brownies weren’t there. Those have always been my favorite post-Loveland race treat! 🙂

All in all, it was awesome to get back out and push myself, and I’m taking the opportunity this season to get even more experience swimming in open water events. Just because I can’t compete as a complete triathlete doesn’t mean I can’t compete! Next up is the 1.2 mile Cancer Sucks Freedom Swim this weekend, and a few more open water races in August, as well as the YOLO Triathlon where I will be in a relay doing the swim and bike with fellow 303Triathlon contributor, Jen.

I am definitely glad to be back at the races!


Team In Training tent – big supporters of this race and a big part of my triathlon history.


The spectators start to fill the field for awards.

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Nicole Odell

  • Kera Lewis
    June 30, 2014

    Great job Nicole! Your post made me want to sign up for a sprint to get that old feeling back. Haven’t raced since the Moab relay with Girls Heart Rockets. My longest race dry spell ever. Thanks for your inspiration and keep up the good work!

  • Peggy
    June 30, 2014

    Thanks Nicole for the recap and for supporting L2L Tri! And yes…we miss those brownies as well. Unfortunately they went out of business and we just haven’t found the next best brownie baker out there!