America’s Liz Lyes chats about her spectacular win in Brazil

AsiaTRI: Liz, last year you were clearly disappointed at the finish line. What did you learn from last year’s race?

Liz Lyles: Yes, I was definitely disappointed to come in second place by only 1 minute and 20 seconds. I made a few mistakes in the swim and in transition which is easy to look back on in hindsight and think that could have been the difference between 1st and second place. I suppose I was focused on the girls who were in front of me coming out of the swim and bike, and wasn’t prepared for someone to come from behind. I thought I was the one chasing!

AsiaTRI: What was your main motivation to race in Brazil again?

Liz Lyles: My main motivation was to win! I trained many hours focusing on the course and what I needed to do to be the first one across the finish line.

AsiaTRI: You won almost wire by wire. Have you felt concerned about the other girls during the race or you just pushed the pace?

Liz Lyles: I normally am the one chasing, trying to run everyone down with my marathon, however I was surprised to be leading this race so early on. I followed my coach Cliff English’s plan and pushed the pace extra hard on certain portions of the course. I also wanted to have a sizable lead going into t2, knowing there were some strong runners in the field. I used all of the out and backs to time how far back my competitors were, and I was extremely motivated by the gap I was creating, so I kept pushing as strong and smart as I could. Also, I recently won the Wildflower triathlon, where for the first time I gained experience in racing off the front, so I think that race helped me gain confidence and knowledge on how to lead off the from.

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AsiaTRI: Do you consider that your best race ever? Why?

Liz Lyles: I do think it makes the top three of my biggest athletic performances ever. The three races tied for my best races ever would be coming 7th place in Kona and winning Wildflower for the first time in a sprint finish with superstar Heather Jackson.

AsiaTRI: Now you got time to work on your Kona preparation without chasing more points. What does it change for you?

Liz Lyles: It means I can enjoy a couple of week of summer with my husband and kids, and not have to scramble to find another race!! I raced 4 70.3 races and then IM Brazil, so I will take a rest, and then start my build up for Kona similar in the way I prepared for Brazil.

AsiaTRI: Talking about Kona, I guess you target it’s a top 3, right?

Liz Lyles: Of course!!! Kona is a different animal with the hot windy humid conditions. Plus the women’s field is getting stronger every single year. You can’t take anything for granted in Kona, it humbles the best athletes. So I will prepare as hard as I can, using Brazil as motivation, but respecting the course and competition Kona brings to the table.

AsiaTRI: You’re close to an under 3h marathon. What do you need to get there?

Liz Lyles: I am close! I am learning every single race about how hard I can push my bike, while still feeling strong for the marathon. I pushed very hard on the bike in Brazil, and for the first 15 miles I felt fantastic. I think it will be about keeping my pace up and having my nutritional intake go according to plan. This is something my coach and I will work on for Kona.

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AsiaTRI: When you think about the Brazilian fans, what comes to your mind?

Liz Lyles: Loud, crazy, dedicated, enthusiastic. From the hardcore Ironman fans to the locals who work in the restaurants and hotels, I find them to be of the nicest people I have ever met in the world!

AsiaTRI: May we see you there again?

Liz Lyles: We will see! I am trying to take it one race at a time at this point. But I am starting to feel at home in Floripa so I hope so!

AsiaTRI: Any special thanks?

Liz Lyles: I want to thank my amazing hotel, Jurere Beach Village, the whole Ironman staff, the crazy fans and all the locals in Florida for creating such a memorable experience! Thanks to you guys for the support too!

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