I added the XTERRA West Championship to my schedule not only because I really miss and enjoy that style of racing but also because I have been finding that the best taper for a race is to race the weekend before. I have almost without exception found that resting into race #1 leaves me good but not 100% and the following weekend I feel amazing. Since I am really hoping to have a good go in St George I thought I would employ this strategy, literally clean the cobwebs off my Superfly, and use the race in Lake Las Vegas as my pre-race tuneup. Since I had a good race, stayed upright and am quickly recovered and back on track I can say that so far things are going as expected.
Preriding with my roomies Brittany, Katharine and Buttons.
I am excited to see the top girls in XTERRA are doing a phenomenal job of raising the bar and pushing each other to continue raising the level in the sport. Lesley is in her characteristic all year round top shape early season-on a course that favored her Southern California training environment-so it was not surprising that she was the fastest this weekend. I was impressed to see Emma Garrard come out of her Park City hibernation in ripping form to make the race a close and exciting one right from the first transition. Not to be overlooked is the always improving Suzie Snyder who performed well in her busy racing schedule to take third place in her third weekend of racing in a row. The deciding factor that day was both Emma and Lesley’s lightning fast run splits that set them apart from the rest of the field and I am only sorry we couldn't see what super Flora could do as well. XTERRA is definitely taking on an ITU flavor which is not surprising since XTERRA is one of the only Olympic distance races with prize money other than ITU but it looks like Emma and Suzie are adapting to the new racing environment.
I am absolutely astonished at the ladies that take a year off to go and push out a baby and somehow make it look like it might be some sort of advantage. I am absolutely certain that doing that to your body should not be considered performance enhancing and yet I see Emma come back a rockstar, Sara Schuler outrun me and my friend Hilary Stellingwerff back home in Victoria is already back to Olympian shape for 1500m after giving birth to baby Theo mere months ago. Amazing runners like Paula Radcliffe and Shalene Flanagan, my friend Danelle Kabush, who races with not one but TWO babies, and Beth Gerdes impress me so much. The discipline, commitment and hard work it takes to get your body back to professional athlete status is huge - I don't know how you guys do it!
I was fourth in the race and honestly that was about what I expected given I don’t focus on this distance and these girls are fast! Although I was smart and started beside super swimmer Sara McClarty I am not sure I swam what I was hoping but didn’t lose any time to the top three girls-but 3 minutes to super Sara. It was a great hit out on the new Blueseventy Helix which is AMAZING! I appreciated my mirrored goggles but they really ended up unnecessary as it turned cloudy. The dark lenses didn't matter because you couldn't see one centimeter underwater which made it challenging to follow feet.
When we got on the bike I actually expected to lose more time on the climbs but I was happy to say that on most of the extended climbs I held my ground. However, I was bleeding time profusely in the downhills and transitions. I think I lost 15-20 seconds in the first sandy swoopy corner of the day and lost contact- which pretty much continued all day. My purse strings were too tight on the brakes J
I tested out the Apex triathlon suit from Champion System. Much more mountain bike style, no? A bit awkward for the body numbers :)
It is funny to think how I used to complain so much that these courses are not technical. Although I was able to ride all the lines in the race smoothly, the top girls clearly exposed this as a glacial pace. Turns out my skills are quite rusty after three mountain bike rides, two here and one in sketchy wet technical conditions at home. I am definitely not used to cornering on marbles in dirt at 50 km/h. I rode with one of the top age group men on his first lap while I was on my second and I could see that I was also forgetting to do all of the punchy little attacks you need to push your momentum mountain biking. Ironman and XTERRA are not all that similar J
The run was exactly the speed I have been training for but not fast enough to run anybody down so my position did not change. I know I am in super shape right now and this race just adds a good dose of punchy speed to the recipe. I remember doing my first XTERRA races in past seasons and blowing up before I even got to the run which is such a contrast to how I feel now. I am definitely a different athlete now compared to when I was an XTERRA girl.
It was great to see Kate Button from Victoria coming into T2 as the next pro woman behind me so she continues to improve, taking 8th place on the day. Overall age group winner and Canadian cross country skiing Olympian Brittany Webster ran her way up to fifth place overall so Canada has two more super athletes in development within the sport of XTERRA, which is so fun for me to see. The third member of the COG racing team Katharine Wilson was fifth age group and 15th overall so it looks like she is ready to take on the pro ranks as well to add another strong Canadian chick to the long list of future stars. Great job girls! It was a fun weekend hanging out with the XTERRA crowd. Not many Ironman girls I have hung out with are as eager to crack a beer as often as these girls, so it was a different vibe in offroad racing. It was nice to be back even for one weekend.
After the race we went for a social ride and joined pros Craig Evans and Canadian Karston Madson for a little spin around the desert. https://instagram.com/p/18_Umdj2_B/ XTERRA is a fun little family. Although I love the Ironman stuff and don't regret for one second changing my focus it does feel really great to be welcomed back by my fellow pros even for a short visit.
Now I just have a short drive up to St George to visit my awesome homestay Sue Lipsman. I am looking forward to a fun weekend with her, Mark from Trek and my bf Mike… not to mention the awesome challenge of racing a world class field of Ironman girls at the North American Championships.
Thanks to Trek, Shimano, Bontrager, Powertap, Rudy Project North America, Champion System, Asics, Frontrunners, Synergy Wellness, Blueseventy, USANA and my amazing coach/advisor Kelly Guest of Livefit coaching for helping me to get ready, fit and prepared to tackle the huge race in St George next weekend. I am so happy to be here and so happy to have the versatility to choose to race all of these amazing athletes in such fun places. Good times!
I am so impressed with how fast the ladies field was this year and how deep the talent ran. Wow to both Heather Jackson and Heather Wurtele for continuing to hold this race by the throat by trading off wins, this was HJ’s year. Welcome to super-fast Holly Lawrence who came in under the radar and almost rode away with the race and held off fourth place Alicia Kaye. The Canadians definitely came out guns blazing with Angela Duncan in fifth and solid Rachel McBride in 6th. Magali would have been in the mix without a mechanical. Go Canada! Speaking of Canada, how about 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th in the men’s with Lionel, Brent, Taylor and Trevor kicking ass in top 10. Never has the Canadian long course talent been deeper. Add to that my friend Marilyn Arsenault's win in the master's division at the Carlsbad 5000 - yay Mar! Good times.
Most of team Canada... missing the Wurteles, Angela Naeth and Alicia Kaye and including coaches Cliff English and Barry Shepley. What do you think of the new Rudy Project WARP glasses on me?
I was back in 11th. Race reports when you aren’t going that fast are difficult to make interesting. There are only attempted excuses or explanations for why you weren’t keeping up. These facts aren’t about how to be faster which are much juicier. However, my attempt to unravel things might be comforting if you did your best and weren’t good as well… because that is all there is. I have been training well, I thought I was going to be pretty good and I didn't race any leg of the race close to the vicinity I expected.
I didn’t get off to a good start as the worst part of my race was the swim. It was my worst swim ever – even worse than the time I tripped running into the water in Clearwater at 70.3 Worlds and fell flat on my face. Wow, that is a bit of a downer/reality check/surprise because I thought my swimming might be really good. So that needs to be rectified ASAP. The bike started with a bunch of wasted time in the first 7 miles with a minor mechanical I handled poorly and finished after I just pedaled. The run started and finished the same… which was actually maybe can be spun positive as I was consistent. All of this created my deficit at the finish line I wasn’t overly stoked about. But it was the race I put together so – moving on.
Rockin the Champion System running with Liz Lyles
I’ve done this race in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and now 2015. That is a lot of Oceansides! My bag of results includes chronologically: off the bike first and 6th/winner/13th/7th/11th. For a course that I would think is actually pretty good for me my results here are definitely mixed. Other than the year I won here, when it was cold, without a training camp in February in warm California or Tucson weather I have been very average to start the year. So maybe I should expect less.
I would prefer to be flying all of the time, of course. If I look at the last many seasons the fact is training at home delays my best fitness, I need spring training down south if I want to get in shape sooner. This year I took an extra-long break this winter due to illness, changed my training/coaching and approached things differently so I guess I can expect different responses to that training. Going away wasn’t an option because I wanted to work on some technical aspects of my racing with Kelly in Victoria. So this means I need to check my ego, get my butt kicked so that I can get an appropriate dose of hard racing stimulus, and then forget the result and focus on the process on how to improve the next one. I pocket that fitness and go back to work knowing what needs the work.
11th on the day I had isn’t that bad considering the load of talent in the event and the fact I know I wasn’t near my best. Lots of girls came locked and loaded and I know I wasn't the only one who has some unfinished business after this event.
Thanks very much to Mark Andrews for coming from Trek in Wisconsin to help me dial in some last minute details on my new Trek bike and for side line cheers. Thanks Bontrager, Shimano, Rudy Project, Blueseventy, Champion System, Powertap and Cycleops, USANA, Frontrunners Victoria and Asics, SciCon bags, Synergy Wellness, and Procity Racing for support and I look forward to another season with all of you! Thanks to Kelly Guest and all his juniors for pushing me… looks like there is more work to do.
Some goodies from Champion System and Blueseventy. Seems like the first trip to the USA is athlete Christmastime :)
The non-racing fun stuff from the weekend was the amazing time I had with my friend Monica (my chemistry buddy from Uvic) and her adorable family. Five days with those kids was not enough J
This is a message Amaya left on my bed for me to find when I got home the night before the race
This is my fan club on race day
I also am very thankful to have my friend and fit guru Nestor take a look at my bike after the race and confirm it needed some tweaks to be like my bike from last year. I changed to ski bend bars for 2015 and didn’t quite get it right. Studeo DNA has been very helpful in me finding where to sit on my bike.
Thanks so much Nes!
I am on my way back to YYJ to regroup and get ready to try again in St George. I couldn’t pick tougher fields this year but that was the goal, to try to perform when everyone fast is around. Second go in five weeks J
In the end... it is all good in California :) In the short term I definitely need to sort out a haircut. Yikes.
Training with younger athletes reminds me of my own struggle to find my way in sport early in my career (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth). I remember balancing a zero budget, university studies, international travel and worried parents with my intense desire to progress in the sport. Looking back, I never expected my career to follow the path it has. I love being around young athletes and I am constantly encouraging them to have the courage to follow their dreams, no matter how intimidating that seems.
The few athletes that make it to the top rise out of the ranks of beginners just as everyone else. There are a handful of athletes with outstanding success in the sport and many more with moderate to limited success. Challenging yourself to pursue the highest level in triathlon requires a considerable conviction, determination and resilience. It also requires sacrifice including financial hardship, postponing education, postponing other career choices, missing major events in life (birthdays, weddings, parties, etc.), physical challenges (injuries, illness, etc.) and strain on your personal relationships. These are all real costs associated with following your dreams.
This advice is not limited to youngsters though--the same applies to amateur athletes going after their goals later in life. Whether you’re a young athlete pursuing the Olympics, or a middle-aged athlete who just learned to swim and wants to qualify for Kona, your goals matter.
While you’re working on achieving your goals, you’ll experience a journey unlike any you can have outside of sport. When you explore the world on your bike, it looks a lot different than it does from the seat of a plane, car or a bus. Being an athlete allows you to meet a wide spectrum of people with whom you may not have anything else in common, but through sport you find a connection. Racing lets you experience the scents, sights and elements with an intensity that makes them hard to forget, regardless of your results.
The athletes I speak to who are in their early 20s often worry about delaying their non-sport careers. I tell them that exercise is a lifestyle they’ll carry with them into the boardroom. Cycling and triathlon are the new golf of CEOs. Companies are sure to see the value of an athlete’s commitment and ability to work hard. Who wouldn’t want an employee who understands the importance of goal setting? Athletes are the leaders of the future who are learning important life skills in sport.
Discussing the sacrifices a family needs to make for mom or dad to train for triathlon is more complicated than encouraging a teenager. Generally, I ask an age group athlete with a family, partner, or significant work obligations, what the people around them would think of their goals. If they have kids, I ask them what kind of role model they would choose for their kids. Parents pursuing their dreams and passion in life, certainly sends an important message to kids. Considering the needs of a family is necessary, but if training for sport can be managed it benefits and inspires everyone.
Not following your dreams also has a cost and many people don’t consider that as it’s much more insidious and subtle. Over time, not following your dreams can erode your happiness. Many people choose to quit because it’s safer and more predictable to choose a more secure path in life. I believe doing so will leave you with unanswered potential and regret. The question of “what if” will always be in the back of your mind. This regret is potentially more difficult to live with than kick starting a traditional career later in life. There’s no guarantee you’ll be successful in sport, but you definitely won’t be if you don’t try.
Removing the limitation of other people’s expectations will give you freedom to explore new challenges in life. You can have your athletic goals and still be a great parent, become a doctor or get an engineering degree. Anything you choose to do can be facilitated with a plan, some organization and support from the people around you. Even if you never reach the level in the sport you sought, you will be happy that you tried. The effort, the failure and the lessons you learn will change your life.
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Your body will not be ready to do another workout if it hasn’t adequately recovered from the last one. In between hard workouts, pro athletes will take some steps to facilitate recovery and complete active recovery workouts to make sure their body is loose and adequately rested to handle the stress of another hard session. Training is a process of stringing together sessions that challenge the body. In between the challenging sessions the athlete needs to do everything possible to get ready for another one. Here are some common practices to improve the process of recovery.Add a comment