From 2-miler state champ as a senior track star at Maryland’s Townson High School in 2006 to her formulative years across the USA as a USCB student- triathlete, Lauren Capone has strategically mapped a successful course to the top of the world of ‘Half Iron Man’ competitions – or 70.3’s as they’re known to those who do them.
That’s a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run, for those who don’t.
She finished first in her 20-24 year-old age group at the ‘World’s’ 70.3 competition held in Henderson, Nevada on September 11. For this significant personal achievement, Capone, 22, earns the Presidio Sports’ Sports Figure of the Month Award for September, 2011.
It’s been an amazing journey fueled by her internal passion for continual improvement to do her very best.
‘LC,’ as Capone is known to fellow triathletes, claims to have enjoyed a ‘fairly successful collegiate career’ that culminated by winning the conference championships at Lake Lopez in her senior year (2010).
But with graduation looming, she wasn’t sure which path afterwards — grad school or focus on triathlons?
So she and her mom, Mary, met with UCSB triathlon coach Mateo Mercur …
“After we spoke of her options, she decided to make a two-year commitment to the sport,” says Mercur. “She has a long term perspective and we developed a plan. LC has yearly goals and is in no rush to do (a Full) Iron Man.”
The 70.3 competitions are best right now as her running and biking skills continue to soar.
Plus, the top female triathletes in Full Iron Man competitions are usually between ages 30-35 so, like the classic Rolling Stones tune, ‘time is on her side’ here.
This past summer she, along with five local tri buddies, banded together for training and it all morphed into what is now known today as the Elite Racing Team with Mercur as coach.
“It’s been great to be a part of this tight-knit training group,” she offers.
LC’s first 70.3 race was actually last December in New Zealand – one of her dream destinations.
Thanks to Coach Mercur, she was able to spend quality time there with Joanna Lawn, one of the top female (Full) Iron Man triathletes. It gave her a sense of perspective.
And in this inaugural race, she learned a thing or two about finishing strong and it gave her ‘momentum to do better.’
After taking a little time off to enjoy life, she worked herself back into shape in early 2011 and by Spring she was competing in Olympic distance triathlons (1,500 meter swim, 24.9-mile bike, 10K run) such as Wildflower, Oxnard and Ventura.
Toss in Elite Team training and weekly local Reef & Run summer beach biathlons (swim, run) and it all helped prepare her for her World’s 70.3 qualifying venue in Kansas – where she did finish strong as the top female amateur!
But September’s World’s competition required extra measures…
A month before the race, she and her coach went to Nevada to do ‘course previews’ and get a realistic sense of the heat, race conditions and terrain she might encounter so there were no surprises when it all counted.
Together, they pushed the training envelope …
On one of her test rides in triple-digit temperatures, Coach would leap-frog in his car and provide cold water every few miles.
The 18 drink bottles she went through allowed her to stay hydrated, keep her electrolytes up and stay cool.
“All I had to do was concentrate and I knew my coach would be there for me in a few miles.”
Both agree it was one of the best bike sessions ever …
“I’m so glad we did this. We had all the details covered,” adds Capone.
And her confidence was soaring!
As for the actual race itself, she had plenty of support – mom and dad had flown out from Maryland and Coach Mercur were all there with her and for her.
“I had no stress,” she says. “I knew what to expect.”
And it all paid off.
Game-day temperatures were (only) in the mid-90’s.
Though, when she finished running the race on the hilly terrain, there was some initial confusion on where she placed due to the ‘lapping’ of the course.
“I thought I was 2nd and was a little disappointed,” LC told Presidio Sports.
It was her dad, George about 20 minutes afterwards who first noticed it when checking race results on his iPhone app — they discovered she might have really won.
They double-checked the official on-site race results and sure enough — she had!
One of the runners LC believed to be ahead of her was actually a lap behind … so the thrill of victory was delayed but it soon tasted just as sweet.
Now with her first championship 70.3 season behind her, she still leads a busy SB life juggling two part-time jobs — plus training, yoga and spending time with friends. She enjoys cooking and crafts, when she can, in her spare time.
As for the 70.3 competitions next year, she’d like to do it all again.
And about competing in the Full Hawaiian Iron Man World Championships in Kona down the road?
“I have time,” she says with a big smile.
Looks like she’s got this one all mapped out, too…