We’re pretty sure this isn’t the typical path to competing at the world championship level, which makes this triathlete’s story nothing short of amazing. About two years ago, Lauren Olson, a Garmin software engineer based in Arizona, took up the sport of triathlon. This young lady has laid down some impressive performances in distances ranging from Olympic to half and full Ironman triathlons, with every stroke, second and step of her swim, bike and run recorded by the Forerunner 910XT multisport watch.
We caught up with Lauren after she returned from Belfort, France for the ITU Long Course World Championship. That’s Lauren centered behind the American flag — third athlete from the left — in the team photo. Lauren reported that this year, the swim portion was cancelled due to extremely cold conditions. Here’s Lauren’s race recap: This year’s competition went better for me than last year, mostly because it was so cold and wet, the swim was canceled and it was run as a duathlon. My first duathlon was a world championship…no pressure! I love swimming, but I am not great at it so I was pretty happy. Everything about this race was epic. The runs were on a trail system, which basically turned to a giant mud pit. And the bike course was on part of the route for the Tour de France, which included 2,000 ft of climbing in less than 6 miles. On the descent, we were getting sleeted on, and having to navigate these sharp switchbacks…just epic! Unfortunately, on the second run, my back really started hurting, probably from the monster climb on the bike. I was the first American female, and within reach of medaling up until the last 8 km or so, when I really fell apart. I ended up placing 6th in my age group, 39th female overall, and the 2nd American female.
I’m thinking any instance of “epic” in Lauren’s race report would be the equivalent of “grueling,” “hairy,” or “I may not make it out alive” in my vernacular. And if you think this Garmin athlete is slowing down or taking some time off anytime soon, think again. Lauren is gearing up to compete in Ironman Coeur d’Alene on June 23 and she’s racing in honor of her best friend Kristen. “My friend did this race last year, and then less than a week later was diagnosed with MS. I’ll be raising money for the National MS Society.”
Please visit Lauren’s fundraising page and consider a donation to help find a cure for MS so that triathletes like Kristen won’t have to abandon their passion. Best of luck to Lauren and my favorite blogger, Dimity McDowell from Another Mother Runner and all other athletes competing at Ironman Coeur d’Alene next weekend.
Here’s a look at Lauren’s Garmin Connect data from the World Championships.