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Penny Comins takes on another IM

Penny Comins takes on another IM

Headsweats Athlete Penny Comins takes on yet another Ironman – Ironman Kalmar in Sweden this past August. Read her full race update – with emotions and all – below. Congrats Penny!

Ironman Kalmar

Written by Penny Comins

The blue carpet, the blur of the crowd, the music and one voice crystal clear – you are an Ironman. It never grows old. All 15 times it has been a spine tingling moment, only seconds before the immediate release of emotion. The past three months of training, sacrifices and the 140.6 miles you have traveled to get to this moment in time come exploding out. Sometimes it has been joy, sometimes bewilderment and often tears. This time it was tears.

  Ironman Kalmar

I finally got a time trail bike and trained harder than ever on the bike. The plan was to ride 5 hours 30 minutes and run 3 hours 30 minutes to get a new Personal Best. Entering Ironman Kalmar presented a relatively flat cycle course, playing to my strengths. The weather gods had other ideas, as on race morning the flags were at full attention around the small UNESCO town centre.

Penny Comins, IM

Winds gusting from the south at 50 kilometres per hour made the 120 kilometre loop on the open marshland on the island Oland a trudge down and low flying back. Unfortunately I didn’t make up the time lost heading down the island on the way back and was 16 minutes down on my time check heading back over the six kilometre bridge to the mainland. The final 60 kilometres were rolling countryside to Rockenby with a stonking headwind coming back in to town, just when energies were low. It was time to start on the Maxifuel Viper gels and get the caffeine rush in. I came in off the bike at 5.51.56. After a longer than planned swim, or more accurately described as a drownfest, 1.22.55, it was time to get the deficit back on the run.

 goofing around

I stared off at a pace that felt fast but able to hold. As the wind showed itself on the course and my body started to wear down my pace slowed and relaxed at just over five minute kilometres. As the world started to spin I took the precautionary step to slow down through a few aid stations, get some water on my body and in my Headsweats visor to keep my core temperature down. I took on salt; more Maxifuel gels and a few Sports Legs to buffer the lactic build up.

I started to feel better, or was it the finish line feeling looming? Regardless I pushed on. My devoted boyfriend kept popping up in the last few kilometres of the run in the historical city giving me splits and pushing me to go sub 11 hours. I just got my head down, engaged any energy left and pushed with all my might.

 Ironman Finish Line

Relieved to see 10.56 above my head I had done it. I wobbled to the catchers having pushed the hardest I have ever done in all 15 Ironman’s I have completed. Yet tears rolled down my face when I saw David, I felt I had let him down by not cycling a faster time. On reflection the whole field was slower this year with the crowded swim and hurricane winds. The elusive 5 hour 30 minute bike and 3 hour 30 minute run has evaded me again. Well, until Ironman South Africa next year.

My 3.34.27 did give me the 12th fastest ladies marathon on the day, including the pro’s. My Sigvaris calf guards kept my legs in tact to have the power to push when they would normally feel fatigued.

50+ CAF-Supported Athletes On the Road to 2012 Paralympics

50+ CAF-Supported Athletes On the Road to 2012 Paralympics

Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) provides opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. CAF believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Headsweats is  a proud sponsor of CAF and encourages everyone to watch and support the 2012 Paralympics!

CAF is proud to congratulate our challenged athletes who were chosen to represent TEAM USA in London at the 2012 Paralympic Games. Tune in August 29 – September 9 to cheer them on.

Meet some of TEAM USA’s Paralympians:

Blake Leeper, Track & Field
Katie Holloway, Women's Sitting Volleyball
Rudy Garcia-Tolson, Swimming and Track & Field

Challenged Athletes National Championship at the New York City Triathlon

Over 40 Elite paratriathletes from around the world battled it out on Sunday, July 8 at the New York City Triathlon for a share of a $4,500 prize purse awarded to the top three overall men and women using an innovative “Power Points” format that enabled all six classifications to compete against each other. First ($1,000), second ($750) and third ($500) place were those with the highest point totals.



First Place: Andre Kajlich, USA (Tri 1), Time – 2:13:38, Power Points – 106.93

Second Place: Mohamed Lahna, MAR (Tri 2), Time, – 2:44:57, Power Points – 105.69

Third Place: Geoffrey Kennedy, USA (Tri 1), Time – 2:21:40, Power Points – 100.87


First Place: Clare Cunningham, GBR (Tri 4), Time – 2:27:14, Power Points – 108.21

Second Place: Minda Dentler, USA (Tri 1), Time – 2:59:11, Power Points – 107.03

Third Place: Liz McTernan, GBR (Tri 1), Time – 3:14:46, Power Points – 98.47

Don’t forget to tune into the 2012 London Paralympic Games starting August 29 through September 9. You can find a full schedule of CAF events here. Meet the CAF-supported Paralympians who have qualified to compete in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London by visiting their website at

CAF is proud to congratulate our challenged athletes who were chosen to represent TEAM USA in London at the 2012 Paralympic Games. Tune in August 29 – September 9 to cheer them on.
Watch this live interview with Paralympic athlete Blake Leeper who set American records in the 100 meter, 200 meter and 400 meter events at the Paralympic Trials, the same races he’ll run in London in just a few weeks.
Ironman Frankfurt – A Test of Getting the Job Done

Ironman Frankfurt – A Test of Getting the Job Done

Headsweats athlete Penny Comins talks about her most recent Ironman — in Frankfurt, Germany! Here’s what she has to say about her experience:

Never had I felt so good in the lead up to an Ironman. I was lean and rested. Maxifuel recovery products and vitamins had meant I was strong and at a very lean race weight. It was to be my race.

When I got in to the water I felt light and strong. The Maxifuel gel topped up my reserves just before I hit the water. I was on for a good time until I took a full fist blow to the eye socket. Pulling out of the slim stream I re-adjusted my goggles and checked the fist hadn’t busted the skin on my face.

Feeling the rain drops on my back while swimming I made the decision to take the time in T1 and put on my arm warmers and rain cape. Three hours later on the side of the road changing a slow flat I was pleased with my decision. It hadn’t stopped pelting down and now I was struggling to get my sodden tire off covered in grit. It wasn’t to be the only slow flat I would get of the day, resulting in riding the last 15 kilometres on my rim hoping that my flat tire wouldn’t roll off taking me with it.

Race goal time was out the window. I needed to route deep to find mini goals within the goals. Headsweats visor on, I attacked the run. Having half a Maxifuel gel every 20 minutes not only broke the marathon into 20 minute treats but kept my nutrition even throughout. I spent the first lap of four running between the third and fourth professional woman. This is the reason why we do this sport, to be in the mix with our heros. This spurred me on to keep racing hard despite the disaster on the bike. I was super pleased with how smooth and loose I felt on the run. Crossing the finish line was a huge accomplishment. It wasn’t just about the distance but the mental games I had to play to trick myself to the finish.

I jumped straight in to the ice bucket baths with a Recovermax in hand. The following day I could walk with ease. I put the lessons of the day down in my diary and started to plan out my pursuit to the Berlin Marathon in September.