Age grouper Danielle Kehoe was the 3rd overall female at the 2012 Ironman St. George and is now looking to step up to the Pro ranks. We had a few words with the Colorado Springs, CO resident.
Slowtwitch: Danielle, congrats on the nice race in Utah.
Danielle: Thank you so much! Lee Gardner and I went to Ironman St. George to make a statement and by placing third overall including the professional women; we both are extremely excited and feel we accomplished our goal! Now our focus is the Ironman World Championship.
ST: How is your body recovering from the effort?
Danielle: I definitely did not leave anything out on the course in Utah. It is a slow process but I feel a thousand times better now than when I finished May 5th. My body is healing a lot faster this year compared to when I did my very first Ironman, which was ironically Ironman St. George last year. I trained intensely since the first of December 2011 and I went into this year’s race substantially more fit. My results this year were a huge improvement and the recovery process is also accelerated from last year.
ST: You actually did the St. George race last year as your first Ironman and your finish times were quite similar.
Danielle: Yes, they were extremely close I was only 1 minute and 11 seconds faster this year.
ST: We have heard that that the conditions were especially tough this year.
Danielle: Yes, the winds on the swim and bike were fierce. Every person who raced this year and last found that their times were impacted by thirty to forty minutes. If you could mentally overcome the rough conditions it was pretty fun to have such a challenging day. That is why I am so bummed out that Ironman St. George changed the running course this year making it much flatter than last year. Ironman is supposed to be hard! Next year the race format has been changed and is only going to be a 70.3. Ironman in my opinion must challenge your very being! It is rare to find a course with both a hilly bike and run course, good thing we still have Lake Placid! Last year I coached myself, and this year I am being coached by Trismarter coach Lee Gardner. Lee has pushed me extremely hard over the past five months to reach a whole new level. All three sports have drastically improved from last year especially my running and cycling. I dropped 19 minutes off my marathon time from last year.
ST: That though means you must have been slower somewhere else.
Danielle: Yes, even though both the swim and bike courses were identical to last year, the strong winds brought a whole new element to both. Last year the waters were “pancake” flat but this year once you cornered the first buoy you were welcomed by 5-6 foot waves for the rest of the swim. I added 7 minutes to my swim from last year and I was more prepared and fit this year. The bike course was also extremely more difficult this year. The winds got out-of-control tallying in at 45 mph. I was just trying to stay on my bike without being blown-off the road. My smaller (body) frame has a hard time keeping a bike from just taking off. At points, I was shrieking on the bike because in my head, I was thinking, “This is it! I am going down for sure.” As always, when I am scared I immediately started to pray. “Come on God, we are in this together, please keep me upright!” He not only answered my prayers but gave me the courage and strength to push even harder. My bike split was 12 minutes slower than last year but I know I was maintaining a significantly higher watt output this year.
ST: So what is next?
Danielle: Up next, I am scheduled to race the Boulder Colorado series, being a sprint in June, an Olympic distance in July, and a 70.3 in August. I may do the Vail Beaver Creek XTERRA in an attempt to qualify for Maui XTERRA Worlds and hopefully at the Boulder 70.3 I will qualify for Las Vegas 70.3 Worlds.
ST: I guess we will see you in Kona again?
Danielle: Absolutely, I can hardly wait. Last year I got extremely sick and was just happy to finish the race. This year I am hoping to have my best Ironman ever and make a statement!
ST: What would you consider to be a statement?
Danielle: I have two goals, one to have FUN and two, to FINISH! When you really think about it, if you are not having fun, what’s the point? If we accomplish these two things I my statement will be, that I am improving and will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
ST: Will you continue to coach at LifeQuest?
Danielle: Working full time and trying to become a professional triathlete is extremely challenging. I will continue helping the soldiers, but I cannot guarantee I will be doing it full time a year from now. Working at LifeQuest is very rewarding to me; I absolutely love seeing the incredible difference we are making for our soldiers every day! They give me the strength and courage to push through days I am struggling with my training. I hope to always give back to LifeQuest and our soldiers who have given so much to me!
ST: Do you think you'll hang on to it?
Danielle: LifeQuest is dear to my heart and as long as it is serving wounded soldiers I want to be involved!
ST: Anything else we should know?
Danielle: Becoming a top triathlete requires a great deal of support! I have been given assistance by so many people especially C.W. Connors head of LifeQuest who has helped me financially and with time off! Dr. Groves who I work with at LifeQuest, he provides me with spiritual and psychological support and healing. My massage therapist Krista Lewis at Transformation Massage Therapy, she spends countless hours working rehabbing my body. SRM without your gold standard power meter, I would have had no idea the performance I was putting together on the bike in St. George and in all my training sessions. Lee Gardner who is a fantastic coach; I am so blessed to be coached by him! Colorado Running Company, Wheat Ridge Cyclery and all my sponsors who believe in me!
ST: Anything about you?
Danielle: I’m loving life and my passion for triathlon is stronger every day!