2014 Year Recap


What a year it has been! Filled with the highest of highs and by far the two greatest days of my life to date! However, with any year we know there will be some setbacks and hurdles to overcome and disappointments…well I had my share of those too. =)

Here is quick recap of my year. I spent the first four months of my year training and prepping for my first race in New Orleans, a 70.3. I was in fantastic shape and ready to have an outstanding race. I toed the line with a lot of anticipation to finally race again after a long hard training block. I learned so much from this race! This was my first experience leading overall as a professional. I led from mile one on the run to mile 11. I was overwhelmed by the emotion of being out front and was not taking the appropriate time to fuel and hydrate at each aid station which would ultimately lead me to my own demise. At mile 11, I was blindsided by heatstroke and at mile 11.5 I became absolutely delirious. I was escorted off the course, DNF-ing my first race of 2014. This was beyond heart-wrenching on several levels.  Hindsight being 20/20, I should have realized my lead was substantial enough to take the extra time I needed to fuel and hydrate to finish the race. I just had one mission on my mind, which was to win, and by the most amount of time as possible! Instead, I went home empty handed and with a demoralized ego.

The next week was terrible. I could not exercise without feeling dizzy and as if I were going to faint every 5 minutes. I had to cut all my run workouts short. To be honest, it was a pretty scary experience. This was another educational experience. Heat Stroke is nothing to mess around with. I wanted so badly to redeem myself at my next race, which was scheduled three weeks later out in St. Croix, another 70.3. I did not fully recover from this traumatic experience let alone have time to ramp my training back up for proper preparation for St. Croix.

I do believe we have a sixth sense about certain things and the week leading up to St. Croix I had nightmares every night prior to the race. This was a really bad race across the board. I got completely discombobulated on the swim (I think this was residual from still having a lack of equilibrium from my Heat Stroke in New Orleans). Once on the bike, I was starting to make up a lot of ground but at approximately mile 40 on the bike I hit a huge pothole, (notorious in St. Croix) and blew out my bike tire. I fixed it but when I pumped it up with my CO2, my new tire was bulging at the side and caused it to explode again. I had to wait for assistance. Once I was up and rolling again I had lost over 20 minutes. At this point my race was completely over. However, the last thing I wanted to do was to DNF 2 races in a row. I rode to transition as hard as I could and ran OK. Again, I felt completely defeated and uncertain of why I had such bad luck at the beginning of the year.

Triathlon is a hard sport to make a living at when you are placing (standing on the podium) at races, but when you are off the podium it becomes nearly impossible. With anything worth perusing there will be hard times and tribulation but no one’s ego is ever fully ready for the hard times. I had to reflect hard to see some light in both situations and to move forward with determination and tenacity!

I did not race again for 3 solid months. In this time, I was able to fully recover from both races, and put in a solid training block before my next race. But even more importantly, I was able to re-light my fire to race and gain my confidence back that I could indeed WIN!

Ironman Boulder was by far my career highlight to date. I had a decent swim for myself but was still last out of T1. I was able to bike my way into third place and by mile 16 of the run I took the lead, winning by over 24 minutes. This was a major accomplishment in several ways. It was my first professional win! It required me to take several of the lessons I have learned from my past races and make adjustments so I could put together a great performance for myself. This race was extra dear to my heart being my home course and having all my family and friends there to support me.

The next week I was on such a high. I love to win and have had a lot of experience with this as an age-grouper, but it was a completely different feeling of satisfaction! I have worked incredibly hard to get to this point in my career. I have wanted to win Ironman Kona since I was 7 years old and winning my first Ironman as a professional was a big stepping-stone to my ultimate goal.

I got back into training and was feeling great. Another advantage to winning is you are mentally in a great place and I know it allowed me to recover the fastest I ever have after an Ironman.  A few short weeks after the race Jeff and I got to travel out Somerset, PA to visit Guy and Jodi Berkebile and get a tour of Guy Chemical  (My Title Sponsor) and meet all the incredible employees. I also got to meet the local triathlon team Hurdle the Dead. It was such a blast!

I had a great training block for about 6 weeks, and then I got sick. So sick that I had to drop from my next race again; very upsetting! I spent several weeks recovering and prepping for Ironman Arizona.

In the meantime, I was also getting ready for Jeff and I’s wedding. We were getting married on November 8th. Jeff and I had agreed upon this date over a year in advance and unfortunately the easiest Ironman for me to get to late in the season was Arizona. Ironman Arizona was just 8 (short) days after our wedding. I knew this was anything but ideal for proper build up for an Ironman but tried to think positive saying to myself that I would be able to take the high from the wedding into my last race of the season.

Anyone, who has planned a wedding, knows it is anything but easy and requires a lot of thought, planning and preparation. This is especially true when you do everything ‘by-hand’. My Mother, who was my matron of honor and wedding planner, made sure to make it a fairy tale wedding. The week prior to the wedding it became all encompassing. We all had so many tasks that needed to be accomplished in order to make the day go flawlessly. We hand-made all the table centerpieces, decorated the church and hall. My Mom, Sister and I were awake extremely late for several nights making all the boutonnieres, corsages, and bouquets leading up to the wedding.

At the same time, my beloved Grandmother Bunky who is 80 years old was in-and-out of the hospital with heart failure.  Many of the doctors said that she would most likely not make it through our wedding. Several months’ prior, Jeff and I had asked her to be our Flower Girl in our wedding. We wanted her to be there more than anything, but unfortunately she was not strong enough to attend!

November 8th, 2014 was the best day of my life so far! I married my soul mate and love of my life, Jeff Mack. We had a perfect day, a Catholic ceremony and Mass and a reception with our family and friends. The love you could feel in the church was magical and super powerful!


Jeff and I spent two days at a little bed and breakfast in Golden, CO following the wedding. Every room has its own hot tub, which made for the ultimate romantic getaway.

Then it was back to putting all my focus on Ironman Arizona. I flew out to the race and did all the normal preparation recon-ing the course and felt ready to rock and roll. I had my best swim to date and thought, “Wow, I might be able to pull this off!” But I got on my bike and that was when the wheels came off, figuratively speaking. I was beyond exhausted. I was pushing as hard as I could go and yet I had no power in my legs. I thought, “This is OK, it will only take a few minutes and I will start to feel better.” But that never happened. As the time ticked by I just got slower and slower and weaker and weaker. By the time I ran into T2 I was told I was as ‘white as a ghost’. I thought, “Well, I have had bad bike splits in the past and was able to go home with a decent marathon time.” So I headed out on the run and it was pretty clear that there was no good marathon times in the cards for me that day. I ran 4 miles before dropping from race and again being escorted to the medical tent.

It is never fun to follow up the best weekend of your life with a devastating DNF.  I know that I was not racing on a full tank in Arizona. Between the wedding, Ironman training, and my Grandmother in hospice, I was feeling pretty worn down.

Jeff and I arrived back in Colorado and we spent 1.5 weeks helping my mom care full-time (home hospice) for my Grandma. This will always be cherished time I will never forget. I also turned my attention to studying 100% for my Master Trainer exam with Z-Health.

I was introduced to Z-Health when I was working in Colorado Springs at LifeQuest which was a non-profit that helped wounded, ill and injured soldiers recover and move on to the next phase of their lives. We used Z-Health as our means to illicit injury rehabilitation, performance enhancement, body composition changes, etc. As a trainer for LifeQuest it was required that you take the beginner Z-Health courses but I fell in love with the material and wanted to expand my knowledge and tools as a trainer and in my own athletics.

The last two years, I have been studying and preparing for my Master Trainer Live Training. This at the moment is the highest level of certification for Z-Health. It is not recognized by Universities, yet, but it is similar to receiving a Master’s Degree. Z-Health Live Training involves presenting all the Z-Health information verbally and the ability to physically train individuals in Z-Health concepts in front of the CEO and Co-CEO of Z-Health and several other highly trained Z-Health Master Trainers. To say it is intense is an understatement! On December 19th at the Headquarters of Z-Health in Arizona, I completed and passed my Master Trainer Live Training! Yet, another major accomplishment I have been work on for the last two years.

Now it is back to full time training for a fantastic 2015 season. Please keep my Grandma in your prayers who has exceeded all expectations and is living off sheer will power and from all the love that surrounds her everyday. Her heart is working at 20% and she has not eaten anything solid in 61 days-and-counting. She is such an inspiration to me and has shown me that if you truly set your heart and mind to something…Anything Is Possible!!!

Let us set our Minds and Hearts to achieve greatness in 2015! May it be a year filled with lots of love, health, strength and PR’s!

Thank you so much to all my incredible sponsors who made this year possible. I want to especially thank my Title Sponsor Guy Chemical for their unwavering support! I want to thank all my fans that have provided me with so much encouragement and inspiration. Thank you to my family and Husband for being my rock and for their unconditional love. Lastly, I want to thank God for making this incredible journey possible!

Danielle Mack is professional Triathlete residing in Boulder, Colorado. She found her passion for triathlons at a young age. However, it wasn’t until she turned sixteen did she really start training strictly for triathlons. Through various paths God has lead her through the years including Xterra’s and Adventure Racing she discovered her ultimate love, long course triathlons, especially Ironman’s!