Pro Triathlete Sarah Alexander to join Asheville Triathlon

Pro Triathlete Sarah Alexander to join Asheville Triathlon

Professional Triathlete Sarah Alexander to join Asheville Tri

About Sarah: Sarah Alexander is an elite triathlete racing professionally since 2016. In 2019 she completed a 70.3 Ironman in Gult Coast and placed 5th. The same year she placed 6th in the 70.3 Ironman in Geelong. Her Peak ITU World Ranking is 62, and in 2018 she placed 4th in the Elite National Championships.

If you’re attending the Asheville Triathlon this month, you may see Sarah Alexander, pro triathlete and member of USA Triathlon. Sarah, 32, moved to Asheville in the spring and is training to do five half Ironmans this year. She will be participating in the Asheville Tri on Sunday, July 21st. 

Ok you might not see her. Because she’ll be kicking your a$$….

All joking aside, that’s exactly what makes the Asheville Triathlon such an all-encompassing event. The sprint distances allow for all levels of participants, from first-timers to pros, and many in-between. It’s the perfect race for someone who wants to “try the tri” for the first time, but it’s also a great event for an elite triathlete, like Sarah, because she can go fast and hard.

“My first triathlons were all local tris, and I think there’s something special about those races,” Sarah said. “I feel like it brings me back to my roots. Also the distance is great because it challenges you in terms of speed.”

Favorite Role Models

  • Daniela Ryf. She has dominated the sport. She Inspires me because she is relentless. 
  • Mirinda Carfrae. She has a young daughter but still commits to the sport. She sets a great example for moms continuing to pursue their dreams while raising their families.
  • My mom. She introduced me to tri. I was 15 and I remember her driving down to the track at 4 a.m. I’d sit in the car and cheer her on when she ran by. I have so much respect how she balanced training with her work and still priorited my brothers and my activities. I would have no idea what triathlon was if it wasn’t for her. 

An athlete in the making

Sarah’s background was full of athletics: She grew up playing lacrosse, tennis, and was a competitive figure skater for 15 years.  In fact, skating helped shape the type of athlete she is today. 

“I loved skating but I would cry every day because I wanted to quit,” Sarah recalls. “When you’re working on a jump, you try it and fall, try it and fall. You come off the ice soaking wet and sore…It really molded my work ethic. I’d say there’s a big mental component of performance for all sports, but especially for figure skating.”

When Sarah went to college, she had planned to join the cross country team but was recruited by the rowing team instead. She became a rower for Dartmouth College’s Varsity team for four years. She was 110 pounds when she started school, and left weighing 165. Talk about the freshman 15!

“I gained the rowing 40,” she said, laughing. “I was always trying to bulk up.”

Her strong legs, sense of rhythm, attention to technique and aerobic strength translated well into her first triathlon, which she completed in her early 20s. After graduating, she went on to business school, but decided to forego the corporate salary and become a professional triathlete. The window to train pro is small, she said. She wanted to seize the opportunity and see where it takes her. 

Joining up with the Asheville community

Sarah now trains with Triathlon Gold based in Asheville, a USA Triathlon program headed up by elite triathlon coach Jarrod Evans. 

“It’s been a journey,” she says. “I’m competing with women who have been doing tris a lot longer than I have, and it’s been a lot of dedication and hard work.”

Sarah heard about the Asheville Triathlon as she was researching local races to help prepare her for international half Ironmans. The timing was perfect, and she is looking forward to meeting members of the local sports community.

What is her favorite part of a triathlon?

“Running. But it’s a love/hate relationship,” she says, smiling. 

Next steps

Sarah’s next event is the Santa Rosa 70.3 in Sonoma County , California. Her current race goals include the 2020 Ironman 70.3 World Championships, and to win a Half Ironman. We wish her all the best and look forward to seeing her succeed in her journey. 

Come cheer on Sarah at the Asheville Triathlon Sunday, July 21st! You can still register here. Spaces are limited and we are filling up quickly!

Sarah’s Top Three Tips for Beginner Triathletes:

  • “Performance favors the prepared. Gear, nutrition, what you’ll need in transition.. All those things can become overwhelming.  Taking the time to seek out help, to prepare ahead of time. You only have your first tri race once, so having all those pieces in place as you can…it then allows you to not have stressful negative experience and really enjoy the race.
  • “Don’t be too hard on yourself. I think tris attract high performers and competitive people, and along with that comes a lot of self criticism and comparing yourself to others.I can definitely relate to that feeling of intimidation. Others have done more races, have more accomplishments..but Hey, I’m here for me, I’m going to do my best, I’m going to enjoy it. And that’s all you can really do at the end of the day. 
  • “Be courageous. This is a mantra of mine. In Triathlon, it feels like everything is happening very fast. It teaches you to be brave. Everyone has their own demons they have to overcome on race day, so tri not only teaches you to be brave, but I find that courage goes  a long way. I’ve beaten a lot of people who, on paper, I would not have if it weren’t for courage. Because I go for it, I’ve beaten them.”

Past iDaph Blogs

2021 Trick or Trail 5k | Event Guide

2021 Trick or Trail 5k | Event Guide

We are so excited for another thrilling, halloween-themed, Trick or Trail 5K presented by Hunter Subaru. The race is such a unique and fun night-time running experience! It is a fundraiser for the Friends of Dupont, so give their volunteers lots of air high-fives out...

Training for the Asheville Triathlon: Running

Training for the Asheville Triathlon: Running

Meet Asheville’s Zach Tacy, an elite triathlete who recently completed the  Ironman Virginia 70.3 with a total time of 4:21:23. He PR’d by 10 minutes and was first in his age group, 8th overall, and qualified for the World Championships In Nice, France.

He also competed in the 70.3 World Championship in South Africa with a total time of 4:34:01 and placed 407th overall. He was 28th in his age group out of over 4,500 world athletes.

His most recent accomplishment was the Ironman 70.3 Eagleman, where he placed first out of 44 in his age group and 34th overall out of 2,174 participants. As a former iDream Athlete, our iDaph team couldn’t be prouder of Zach’s accomplishments. 

Running Tips for Sprint Tri

So many of us have a love/hate relationship with running. There are days when you can happily run for miles, and other days where you’d like to give up running altogether.

Even Zach Tacy,  an elite triathlete (who has run a mile or two), says the more you exercise, the more hard days you will have.

“Everyone has hard days. Sometimes just showing up is the best you can do and that’s okay, because you showed up, because you found the mental power to be there, even when you’re not feeling it, even when you know it’s going to hurt.”

Intervals are key

With running, it’s important to change up your work-outs, Zach says. Try a couple of easy runs, then push yourself by doing intervals at a tempo-run. What is tempo? A pace about 25 to 30 seconds per mile slower than your current 5K race pace. Zach suggests running a mile at this pace, then running a 200 to 400 at a slower pace, depending on your skill level. For a sprint tri, he suggests running 800s and 1,000s at a slower pace.

Active.com suggests the following sprint-specific workouts for the run and bike portion of a sprint triathlon:

Tempo Brick: 45- to 6-minute bike: Warm Up and then include 4 x 5K intervals at race-pace effort (2-minute recoversies).

15- to 20-minute run: Following the bike effort, quickly transition to the run at your 5K race pace. Walk/easy jog for a few minutes for your cooldown.

Shaving down transition time

Practicing the transition from bike to run is important, Zach points out - especially for beginners.

“When you get off your bike, your legs feel funny. It’s a really weird feeling that you have to get used to,” he adds. “That’s something I didn’t expect at all the first time I did a tri, so it’s definitely good to get experience with that.”

Track Brick workouts are great for this. Active.com suggests the following workout:

Complete a 4- to 5-mile ride with the last mile at race-pace effort. Then quickly transition to a 1-mile run on the track. Build speed each quarter, so that the last quarter is at 5K race-pace effort. Complete this pattern two more times for a total of 12 to 15 miles of cycling and 3 miles of running. Following the last mile run, do a walk/easy jog for a few minutes for your cooldown.

Practice good form

With running, form is especially important.

“Most runners don’t use their arms enough,” Zach points out. “You don’t want to be actively pumping your arms, but don’t keep them slack. Have motion in them - this opens up your stride and is very beneficial. You’ll get more power doing less work.”

There’s a lot of technical form where minor adjustments can make a big difference. Another important tip with running is to keep your body relaxed.

“If you start tensing up and trying to push harder, generally your form will fall apart,” Zach says. “When I notice myself doing this, I take a quick mental refresher, shake it out, open my stride and try to relax my shoulders.”

Lean forward, Zach adds.

“Lean into the rush, THEN start pushing. Use the right muscle groups to finish strong.”

Don’t skimp on running shoes

Visiting a local running store and getting properly fitted can save you miles of pain and suffering. For training purposes, Zach recommends getting a shoe that’s comfortable and has decent cushion. Runners often opt for a lighter shoe to make them feel faster, but more minimalist shoes can also put more stress on your joints.

“A lot of people want the lightest shoe, but for training purposes - especially when road running –  get something that has more support.”

Join a local running group

Asheville has plenty of local running groups to choose from to keep you motivated. Jus’ Running, for example, has weekly track and running workouts. Fleet Feet also has weekly running groups for all abilities, along with Vertical Runner in Black Mountain.

Give kudos to others

Another tip that Zach feels helps him stay motivated is to give others encouragement during races.

“It reminds me that I have enough energy to keep pushing myself. I try to encourage other racers while I’m racing because everyone is out there trying their best,” he says. “Not everyone has a support crew to cheer them on…they’re just doing their race.”

Our iDaph Team will definitely be cheering you on during the Asheville Triathlon next month. Click here for more information about the Asheville Triathlon, and to register for this event, which takes place Sunday, July 21st.

Sources: https://www.active.com/triathlon/articles/8-tough-workouts-for-your-fastest-sprint-triathlon-yet

Think you're too cool to Tri?

Well. You might be. But here’s some tips for running whether this is your first triathlon or 1,000th. Remember - a sprint tri is a 5K run. You totally got this!


  • Tip 1: Stay “Relaxed”. Try to prevent tensing up the shoulders.
  • Tip 2: Dig deep. Running is as much mental strength as it is physical, so when a race or workout gets hard, you’ve got to dig deep to find the strength to finish strong.
  • Tip 3: Finish Strong! You will never regret the pain it takes.

(Photo Credit: Wright Creative, Inc.)

Training Schedule for Asheville Triathlon

Two swims per week

Two bikes per week

Two runs per week

Zach Tacy talks about why the Asheville Triathlon is the event to sign up for this year.

Past iDaph Blogs

2021 Trick or Trail 5k | Event Guide

2021 Trick or Trail 5k | Event Guide

We are so excited for another thrilling, halloween-themed, Trick or Trail 5K presented by Hunter Subaru. The race is such a unique and fun night-time running experience! It is a fundraiser for the Friends of Dupont, so give their volunteers lots of air high-fives out...

Chamber Challenge 2019

Chamber Challenge 2019

Asheville’s Annual 5k Celebrating Workplace Wellness
The team-based Chamber Challenge is designed to promote community wellness through friendly competition between businesses in the Asheville area. Gather your co-workers, family and friends to compete as a team. Whether you walk every step or sprint to the finish, we know you’re up to the challenge!

Get ready for the Challenge! A 5K run or walk through historic Montford may or may not be a walk in the park, but it is a great way to raise awareness and challenge your co-workers and employees to a healthier lifestyle. Register your teams today! The Chamber Challenge is capped at 1,600 participants, we expect to sell out prior to event day.

New Year’s Resolution Run

The 4th Annual Resolution Run 5k Run/Walk and 10 Mile Run races through the streets of Downtown Asheville, NC on New Year’s Day, at a reasonable 10:00 am. Start 2019 off with a bang! This race welcomes families and participants of all ages to come run or crawl their way to completing their first resolution! Bring warm layers of clothes, tie up your running shoes, and get ready to ‘run into’ 2019! 

We are excited to partner again with the YMCA of Western North CarolinaiDream Athletes Foundation and the Western Carolina Rescue Ministries for the 2019 Resolution Run! As one of our 2019 Resolution Run Charity Partners, the Downtown Asheville YMCA will host our Pre-Event Packet-Pickup as well as be out and along the racecourse to keep you hydrated and energized! The WCRM will host a shoe drive at packet pickup and on race day. So BRING SHOES, BRING SHOES, BRING SHOES! Especially gently used or new tennis shoes! Tennis shoes seem to be the best, as the homeless population likes them because they hold up for such a long period of time. The shoes that the WCRM receive during the Resolution Run event will go towards their annual “Foot Care Clinic”.

We’re Seeking iAm Outdoor Enthusiasts!


LPCretroTri-Participants-2The iAM program invites all levels, all abilities, all ages, all passions and all facets of exercise to apply for a spot in our 2016 iAmbassador program, which will bring together many people from across the area who love the outdoors and want to connect with other enthusiasts!

Some of the perks include, but there’s more!:

  • iAm swag!
  • iAm Bucks to be used towards race entries for yourself and others!
  • Bragging rights and your photo/profile on our iDaph.net website!
  • More!



To learn more about our iAmbassador program and to complete the application, please visit the website HERE.  Applications are due by December 27, 2015.