Introducing Lindsey Jerdonek

At the 2008 Ironman 70.3 Florida Lindsey Jerdonek seemingly came out of nowhere to finish as the top age grouper and in 8th place overall. The 23 year old actually just recently stumbled upon triathlon and it appears that we will see her name in the results more often.

ST: Lindsey, your finish at 70.3 Florida was quite impressive, and many people surely wondered who you were. Were you surprised that you did so well?

Lindsey: Thank you! I was very happy with how my race went. I established time goals beforehand based on my training and I was right where I wanted to be. Out of the three sports, I was the most proud of my swim. I’m in much better swimming shape than I was last year so I’m happy that’s reflected in my results. And as for the OA placing, it was cool to make ST’s top ten list.

ST: Tell us about your background and how you got involved in triathlon.

Lindsey: I grew up as a swimmer which didn’t leave much time for other sports. I was a sprinter at the University of Maryland, so this long distance swimming thing is new to me. While in college, I did a fair amount of weight lifting (I have benched 140 before). I picked up the biking and running when I started with triathlons.

I did a couple youth triathlons when I was young and then got involved in the sport in 2006 with a couple sprint races. A swimming friend of mine convinced me to sign up with her. However, I didn’t get into training last summer until I did my first OLY distance race. I enjoy the nerves and excitement you get before racing.

ST: How did you prepare for Florida 70.3?

Lindsey: Hard work! I attended Paulo Sousa’s triathlon camp in Las Cruces, NM this past March and he started coaching me shortly thereafter. Andrew Hodges—one of Paulo’s athletes who I met last summer at a race AND who introduced me to ST—put me in touch with Paulo. Early this year I got a confidence boost for the triathlon season after running a 10k in under 40 minutes—running has been the most challenging for me. This motivated me to talk to Paulo and get on a structured training plan.

I ran my first half-marathon this spring to give me a feel for that distance. I did it once so I knew I could do it again! Other prep included practicing my nutrition for the race. The weekend before Florida, I rode my trainer for 2 ½ hours, consuming 763 calories & approx 100 fl oz. Other than feeling bloated, it was a good exercise to do before Florida.

ST: Can you share your weekly training load?

Lindsey: On a weekly basis, I swim 5x, bike 4x and run 6x. In the weeks leading up to Florida, I trained between 18 and 20 hours per week. Going forward, I think I’ll crest the 20 hour mark soon since I’m balancing the training load better while working.

On a typical weekday, I wake up at 5:10 AM and head to the pool for a 5k swim. After that I go to work to eat massive amount of cereal, open up Excel and get going (I work in the Economics department of an airline trade group). My workday ends between 5:00 and 5:30 and after commuting home, I start my evening bike or run. I’m usually left with two hours to eat dinner and pack my lunch and clothes for the next day. I find I’m always planning and packing for the next thing that’s going on. I’m wowed with those who balance work, training and a family.

ST: What do you do to stay motivated and focused?

I try to stay positive and make sure I get the work done. It’s certainly hard at times to get out the door after a full day at work or roll out of bed in the morning to head to the pool. At the same time though, I really enjoy competing and seeing improvements in races so that keeps me motivated. I feel like I can make some nice gains in all three sports which is pretty exciting. It helps, also, to have extremely motivated friends to keep me energized and in the right frame of mind. Similarly, my parents and aunts give me pep talks when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

ST: Looks like you just got a new bike. Who helped you with the bike fit?

Lindsey: I did! I got my first TT bike less than 2 months ago. Khai Lee, who I met at training camp, did most of the heavy-lifting to get me in a good position. I lucked out that Khai was in my area on business shortly after getting the bike, so he spent a late evening making sure I was good to go. At first I made minor adjustments myself with the consultation of Paulo and triathlete, Jonathan Caron, by sending them photos and implementing their feedback. That could have been a long and painful process, so big thanks to Khai for helping me out.

ST: Who are your sponsors, or did those offers not yet come in?

Lindsey: I’m not sponsored, but I’m very interested in sponsorship. I don’t think my friends want to lend me their race wheels, aero helmet, etc. for each race I do…

ST: How do you typically spend the off-season?

Lindsey: I haven’t had an off-season yet. My training’s steadily increased since I got the triathlon bug last summer. This winter I’ll dedicate time to swimming so I can try ITU racing next year. The off-season would also be an opportune time to learn how to mountain bike. I’ve been on trails a few times, but I’m not quite at ease on a mountain bike. My hands get a better workout than the legs from clutching the handlebars so tightly.

ST: What is your favorite race and why?

Lindsey: The Annapolis Triathlon was a great race for me last summer—I gave it 100% that day, my dad made the drive from Cleveland to watch and it showcased a beautiful, historic town. The race started in the inner-harbor in Annapolis and finished on the 50-yard line in the Navy stadium. There were two transitions which forced me to be more organized going into it. I think the course is slightly different this year, but I’m sure it’ll be a great race, regardless. Additionally, when riding the bike course with a friend before the event, we refueled at Chick and Ruth’s Deli in downtown Annapolis where I had a delicious crab cake omelet. Good memories usually involve food. ☺

ST: Talking about food, what is your favorite and least favorite food?

Lindsey: Eggs!!! Other favorites: oatmeal, golden raisins, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, breakfast food and of course, ice cream. During the winter holiday season, I like to cook oatmeal with dried cranberries and top with sliced almonds and egg nog. Least favorite: brussel sprouts

I’ll share my favorite, easy-to-prepare dinner:

Broiled Eggplant, Tofu & Red Peppers with Tzatziki
• Slice eggplant & tofu width-wise (1/3 inch slices—thinner on the tofu) and cut a red pepper into 5 or 6 pieces
• Brush veggies with olive oil & season with kosher salt and pepper (both sides)
• Broil 3-4 minutes on each side
• Serve with Tzatziki (available at your neighborhood Costco) and marinara sauce
• I like to serve this with jasmine rice and salad

ST: What about music, what do you like?

Lindsey: Bob Dylan, Madonna, Rufus Wainwright, Regina Spektor, The Dresden Dolls, Trina, Britney Spears (yes, I’m serious), Rihanna, System of a Down, Arcade Fire, Elvis Presley’s gospel, and I stream classical music at work.

ST: What was the last book you read?

Lindsey: When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management by Roger Lowenstein

ST: Where do you think you’ll be in 5 years?

Lindsey: I hope to compete in triathlons at the pro-level. I’d like to qualify for an elite license this year and take it from there.

ST: Is there anything else we should know about you?

Lindsey: Last week I stepped back from my part-time job at the REI in College Park, MD. I’ve worked in that store for the past two years, so I’ll miss hanging out with the great people there each weekend.

It’s worth mentioning that I’m a HUGE Costco fan. My roommates accept my addiction to buying in bulk because my food takes up a considerable amount of space in our dining room—and they haven’t thrown me out yet. I counted 9 boxes of cereal stashed in the hallway closet, but I noticed 2 more in the trunk of my car recently, bringing the grand total to 11.