Marian Holtz

Born and raised in St Louis, I learned of triathlons back in the fall of 2013 at the age of 50 when I happened to meet and talk with a member of the St Louis Triathlon Club. I was fascinated by the multi-sport race and the logistics of transitioning from one sport to the next. I began looking to see what triathlon opportunities there were around St Louis and was surprised at the number of short distance triathlons available. I signed up with the St Louis Triathlon Club and my quest to complete my first triathlon began.

I was fortunate to complete five triathlons my first year as well as volunteer for 3 Ironman triathlons, the Border Wars half in Alton and two kids triathlons. New Town was my first triathlon and crossing that finish line and beating my projected time was the biggest thrill. I finished out my first year with the Litchfield triathlon which was my first Olympic distance. My second year – 2015 – started out strong with the Try Tri and TriZou triathlons. In May, I made my way to Chattanooga for my first Ironman event, racing as part of a relay team. I was the runner and halfway thru the half marathon, I fell, breaking my foot … but I finished! Then, after I had recovered from that injury, I was in an accident on my bike, fracturing my jaw. But even though I was out of commission for about 5 months, I still met my goal of completing a 70.3 distance triathlon when I raced the Rocketman Tri in Florida in November.

2016 was the year of my first Ironman – Ironman Louisville in October. If you would have asked me back in 2013 about completing an Ironman, I would have laughed out loud. Well, doing one wasn’t crazy enough … I signed up and completed IM Florida in 2017. First race with an ocean swim!! On the run, I was telling myself “no more after this” … but, well, just maybe … I might try a third in 2019 or 2020!!

What is your favorite and least favorite gel flavor?
I love Honey Stinger gels. I use these mainly on the run. Favorite flavors include Fruit Smoothie and Strawberry Kiwi. I don’t really have a least favorite. On the bike, I tend to eat more solid food: Base Performance Bars, Bonk Breakers, and, my new favorite, Clif “nut butter filled” bars … my favorite is caramel chocolate peanut butter!!

What is your favorite race?
The Try Tri in Illinois is one of my favorites … it usually starts the Triathlon season being in mid to late April and it is just a lot of fun. A pool swim, a great bike ride on the roads near the SIUE campus, and a great (flat) run on the Madison County Trail that runs thru the campus. A second (and newer) favorite is the St Louis Triathlon. I did this Tri for the first time in 2016 and loved it!! It is located at Creve Coeur Park which is only about 5 minutes from my house. A lake swim and the bike … well flat and fast!! The run is on the trail around Creve Coeur Lake which is where I train. And a great finish with lots of friendly faces cheering along the way.

There are so many Tris in the St Louis area and all are fun to race or serve as a volunteer. New Town, Kirkwood, Sunset Hills, St Peters Rec Plex, the list goes on and on!!!

What is your favorite place in or around St. Louis to train?
For running and biking, I love to train at Creve Coeur park. It is close to my house and offers running paths and biking trails free of traffic. There are so many options there, with the various paths and I can bike out from Creve Coeur park, over to St Charles and even out to New Town and back to get in a good long ride. I also love to ride across the river in Illinois: the Madison County Trail System has numerous paths that provide lots of options depending on what distance you want to ride; Columbia IL also has some great rural roads with little to no traffic and a mix of flats and hills.
For indoor training, nothing beats the YMCA. I take Yoga and Spinning classes at South City, and I swim at various branches based on lap lane availability and my schedule. In winter, I am not much for running outdoors so the track at the Y (as well as treadmills) offers a warmer alternative.

What is the one piece of tri-geek gear you can’t live without?
My Garmin 920XT watch! I love having data for my workouts and this watch is absolutely great. I can use it for swim, bike and run and it has a multi-sport option that I can use during my races that track all three events as well as the transitions in between. I use the quick release option so I can wear it on my wrist for the swim and the run but transfer it to a mount on my bike for easier viewing while riding. As soon as I finish a training exercise or race, I am always going into my activities to look at the data, see what my pace per interval was or my swim lap time, even before I upload the data to my computer. If I forget my watch, I feel incomplete and am almost tempted to go back home and get it, I love having my data so much.
A close second is my bike hydration system. On both my road bike and my Tri bike, I have a Profile Design FC35 hydration system that sits between my aero bars. I don’t like reaching down for water bottles while I ride – especially trying to put the bottle back in the cage – and these hydration systems are so awesome! A great investment that is invaluable during a race.