Ironman Canada Preview
You had a strong race in the heat in CDA…how was the recovery from that?
Recovery has been pretty good. Not too much soreness, but a good bit of general fatigue. Since it is only my second one, I am still unsure about how my body “should” feel after these things, but I came back much quicker than II did after MChoo last year. I erred on the side of caution, but have tried to keep things moving along during these 4 weeks. Pretty simple really with just a couple big rides and runs and a few up-tempo workouts to keep the body awake.
Are you looking to a race with slightly cooler temps?
Hopefully not too cold! Honestly, I don’t really mind either way….everyone has to race the conditions on the day. I seem to do well in heat since (I live in Texas), but don’t mind racing in pleasant temps either.
You DNF at IMTX and then came back strong at CDA, did you fix the problem or was IMTX just an off day?
I had a solid swim/bike there, so the fitness was good. Near the end of the bike, I had some lower back issues, and my back locked up pretty bad in T2. After a career spent in the road bike position for ITU, I am still getting used to TT’ing for 4+ hours. I would say the issue is a work in progress, but no lingering injuries. I ran ok in CDA, so things are on track.
Are you thinking at all about Kona? With a 1-2 finish a kona slot would basically be locked up, and a 3rd putting you right at the 50 mark.
Of course! I am not racing Canada 4 weeks after CDA for the fun of it! The main reason I am there is to try and get a Kona slot. I wont race another IM or 70.3 within the cutoff, so this is my last shot for this year. I picked this race because if I qualify I will have enough time to fully recover and then do a full build leading into Kona.
Does that factoring into your race strategy at all that a 1-2 finish would seal your ticket?
While I know what place I “need” to qualify, I have to focus on having the best race I can, and not worrying about finish place. My strategy doesn’t really change from any of the previous IM’s: I have to race to my strengths. I will push the swim and first part of bike, to try to stay within striking distance of the front of the race for 180k, and then run like I stole something.
I spent about 5 weeks living here to get used to the technical course. Training has been good. I was shooting to break Marino’s record, but sadly, training fell short of that. I am set to have a solid day nonetheless. So you can feel confident picking me!
— Jeff Symonds (@JeffreySymonds) July 23, 2015
Are you ready for your first Ironman? How has the training gone?
I did a bunch of training so I am more ready than when I started but the more I train specifically for Ironman the more I am incredulous that one could ever be ready for an event of that magnitude. So I think “ready” has to be put into context. Ready to finish? Probably? I can thank Brent McMahon and the Wurteles for giving me a few hints on “how much” is about right. You can really go to town and crush yourself doing this training so it was helpful to hear more specifics on WHAT to do. I always know I am
thinking of doing too much when Brent laughs and Kelly politely suggests otherwise. However, after all that I think, if anything, I have come in a bit under-done for this event. I definitely look back at the training and think, meh? Could have done more- for sure. I also really enjoyed the process of trying to figure this out. I am amazed at how completely different Ironman is from half of one.
In 70.3s your weapon is the bike. Do you anticipate the same in an Ironman? Have you had a chance to recon the course and find places where you can push it and put time into your competition and places where you will conserve energy?
I chose Whistler for a reason and it all revolves around the bike. First, the course has very little flat terrain and two solid hills in it, at the beginning and at the end. Although I have improved a lot on flat courses I feel like really hilly courses are where I ride my best. Having a course with such hilly terrain will offer a lot of chance to change position which I think I am probably going to appreciate out there after we pass the 100km mark. The flip side of this is the whole idea of maintaining some kind of steady pace is going to be tough. The variability of pace for this course is likely going to be massive. I don’t know if it is about conserving-rather it is just a more gradual depletion on the bike. There is a nice hill at the end to make sure all is gone before you start running. Generally, I am strong on a bike no matter what course and if anything more time on the bike will be better for me. However, a 20 km run rather than a 42 km run afterward would also be better in my opinion.
The biggest fear I have regarding Ironman is crapping my pants during the run. What do you worry about?
I asked a bunch of my friends in the pro field about training and executing and it is amazing how much poo talk came up in this fact finding mission. So absolutely, having a nuclear meltdown in my pants is of concern. I just visualize it happening as I approach a portaloo and some of the anxiety decreases. Now my second fear is witnessing someone else having a shitstorm in their pants. In cycling, I was hesitant to blow snot rockets because it was so gross…. and would only do it when no one was around. So much grossness with all the snot flying everywhere… now in triathlon it is poo in your pants. The last sliver of decorum…. gone. *sigh
I saw a picture on Instagram where, during training, you had 5 bottles on your bike. This won’t be your race day set up, will it?
Why, is that bad? I think I might also load up with a hydration pack. It is really hot in Whistler right now and I can’t decide how much energy drink to carry. Plus the pack could contain a swimsuit and riding by Green Lake today on the course I really wished I had a swimsuit. Seems the weight might be good on the downhills? I would say six plus a hydration pack and I should be good. I can avoid wasted time and energy putting my arm up in feed zones which will be fantastic when I hit the marathon.
Any plans for racing in the fall or are you going to see how you feel after this extra long one?
I am racing Challenge Penticton, IM70.3 Silverman, IM70.3 Cabo and IM Arizona. This is my practice Ironman… unless I suddenly develop an allergy to marathons. I actually asked MBK, “WTF, How do I do in an Ironman?” so she essentially sent me a step by step how-to manual. It wasfreaking awesome. So, if this race doesn’t work out perfectly, clearly the manual was no good. Haha! 🙂
Are you using MBK’s tried and true “mustard packet” strategy to stave off cramps during the marathon?
NO. I think mustard is the devils condiment and it makes me gag. There is no chance I will be pounding mustard at any point during the race.
A course like Whistler has really similar topography to your training grounds in Lake Tahoe. Does that give you some confidence going into the race, knowing that you have been strong in training on long climbs?
Yes absolutely! That is one of the reasons I chose to do this race. I love the challenging and beautiful bike courses, and it seems to slit up the field and make it a lot more individual. I climb mountains on almost every ride I do, plus every time I come home in my bike at the end of a workout I have to climb an additional 700′! I have been riding anywhere from 5,000′-15’000′ of climbing in my last 5 long rides. O love climbing!
You were so close to a victory in Brazil. Are you ready to put the hammer down and take the win in Whistler?
Yes, I was a little bummed about not snagging the win in Brazil. I definitely want a win in Whistler, but I still need to race my own race and be smart.
Are Chip and the kids coming to Whistler to cheer you on? Perhaps a family vacation while you recover?
No, Chip is saving up some vacation time for Kona. My sister is coming with me. She lives in Silverthorne Colorado and is a huge skier, so I think she will love the chance to see whistler. She flew out to Reno with her 2 kids, who will stay at our parents house in town. That way my kids can play with them all week!! This is what the kids are really looking forward to! The other special aspect of her coming with me is that she was at my first ever pro race at Boulder 70.3 and was so thrilled to see me finish 4th. She had followed my career since then, so I would love to win for her!
What is next after Whistler? Any 70.3 races leading into Kona?
I think just Kona. The kids start school, and my baby Emma starts kindergarten so I don’t want to be traveling too much.
There are bears on the run course in Whistler. Have you been dodging bears in Tahoe to practice this part of the “course?”
Haha. I have seen one bear on a training ride. Sadly it had been hit by a car and was lying in the road being rescued by animal control. But if I do see a bear you bet I will pick up the pace!
Are you training with Brett Sutton now?
Yes, I train under Brett Sutton although it is “remotely”, not in person. I am based full time in Vermont and most of my daily contact is with his assistant Susie Langley.
You will be behind coming out of the swim, does the hilly bike play to your advantage and help you make up time on the top swim group?
Yes, I believe hilly bike courses do play to my advantage. I’m strong, pretty small and I am technically very good on my bike. I’ve done some bike racing in the past and I have a background in ski racing so I’m also pretty good at making up time on the downhills. I also feel that I run well off the bike on hilly courses.
Satisfied… I was happy to get back out there injury free. I was injured all of 2014 so my fitness was lacking coming into St. Croix. Chattanooga was a step in the right direction and I’ve come a long way since then with a strong block of consistent training.
Are you looking to make a late surge for KPR points or focusing on an overall great season?
No, I am not going for Kona, just building into a strong 2nd half of the season. I’m planning on Tremblant in 3 weeks and then IM Chattanooga.
My goals this year include; racing faster then last and not hit any bears in the process. (Almost hit one today in Pemby)
Looking at the KPR, where do you need to finish to hopefully secure a Kona spot?
I have to get third or better to qualify for Kona. But any points will help my cause. I had hoped to be in a better position but I got a penalty at Oceanside and had a bad race in Puerto Rico. So here I am!
As a strong swimmer, you will probably be out of the water in front. Do you plan to attack the first part of the bike to maintain your lead or just ride your race?
I’ll be going hard on the swim from the gun. It’s always a goal to try to catch the guys and distance myself from the rest of the field as much as possible. I have been working hard in the pool and have finally been doing some fast swimming.
Whistler is a hilly course on the bike. This probably suits you since you are such a climber, right?
I’m looking forward to the hilly course. I am a good climber but since I’m routinely crushed by my sister on climbs I tend to think I’m just ok. But, I think my just ok might be better than most people!
If you don’t make the KPR cut in July, will you race another IM in August to try and qualify?
My goal this year is to qualify for Kona. And I will do everything I have to in order to get there. I’m hoping I wont have to race another but I will if I have to.
You have run very well in your last three IMs (Atlantic City, Chattanooga and Brazil). Do you find the Ironman distance works for you and suits your strengths?
I have run faster times in all my ironmans but don’t think I am near my potential yet. It takes sub 3 to be world class at this distance and that is what I am training for. I think IM, especially hot races like Kona, really suits my strengths.
Where do you prefer to train–east coast or west coast? I know you have spent time in NYC and the LA area.
I love to ride in the mountains -east and west coast. The trails and dirt toads in New Paltz NY can’t be beat for running.
— Mary Beth Ellis (@marybethellis) July 24, 2015
@TRIFantasy Ironman Canada is the most beautiful race course I have ever seen. I am so happy to be here and I am ready to race on Sunday!
— Danielle Mack (@IMsoulcrusher) July 22, 2015
Fantasy Analysis: IM Canada
IM 70.3 Calgary
Has moving the 70.3 distance this year provided some extra motivation and challenges? You are racing a lot of athletes you have not raced before.
Yes, absolutely. My coach and I had discussed in 2014 that regardless of what would happen with the Lifetime Series or short course racing in general, that it was time for some new challenges. It’s been a steep learning curve, but it’s been extremely rewarding for me personally to attack new goals and race new people.
You have done some back to back weekends recently (Boulder 70.3, MT70.3 and then Philly!). Does the consistent training you put in with your coach, Joel Filliol, allow you to recover and then put in another big effort relatively quickly?
Exactly. With Joel it’s all about accumulated work. We don’t really do recovery weeks; we learn to race fast tired for most races and we’re very selective about when we choose to do a proper taper. I’m racing a lot this year because I’m inexperienced at the half distance, but I still need to make money, it’s a balancing act.
As a Canadian is it special to race on home soil? Will you have friends or family in Calgary to watch you race?
Definitely, and I’ve never been to Calgary! My father lives up in the Yukon and he just let me know he will come to watch. I’ll be staying with a close friend from high school who I grew up swimming with, who’s also doing a relay. The venue and course look awesome. I’m genuinely looking forward to it!
The front end of 70.3 races are very intense—almost like an Olympic distance race effort that lasts longer and requires more nutrition. Was that surprising in your first couple of 70.3s?
Dubai was a strategic race; Oceanside was my first taste of the psychotic pace that girls are holding these days! To be honest, the whole bloody race is intense, but I love it. It’s risky and gutsy to ride like that before a half marathon. I have so much respect for the way athletes like Holly Lawrence and Meredith Kessler are attacking the bike, especially after leading the swim. I still haven’t nailed the final 20k of the bike, so that’s my big goal for this weekend.
Any more racing before 70.3 Worlds? Or, just one final training block before heading to Austria?
This will be my final race before 70.3 Worlds.
Are you still busy with Endurance Shield? It seems to be gaining popularity which is awesome.
Endurance Shield has been having an awesome year. We have a lot of amazing athletes that are ambassadors for our company and the brand has been growing so well. It’s nice to have a little something outside of triathlon to keep my brain occupied!
You had a great race at Vineman. A very strong bike which is what you were looking for. Did you come away happy with how you performed?
I was very pleased with the bike ride in Vineman. Paulo has been helping me find an ideal bike position and I really liked the two last changes we did after Tremblant. In training, we also did more base rather then intensity workouts between Tremblant and Vineman and it seems to have been the right thing to do.
Calgary is a net downhill bike course and very fast. How do you feel about this? Or, do you not care and just race not worrying about what type of course does (or does not) suit your strengths/weaknesses?
I have yet to see the new course in Calgary, I plan to take a look at it tomorrow. From the course profile I see online it seems that it is mostly uphill for the first 45-50K and then mostly downhill to the finish. I like that. For the uphill section to be at the beginning is good for me, strategically speaking.
Alicia Kaye is racing and is a strong swimmer (in addition to bike and run). Do you plan to stay as close as possible, maybe on her feet, during the swim so you can really race on the bike?
YES! Alicia is super strong on the swim. In St Anthony’s, I was able to stay on her feet for a good part of the swim before I dropped off and I know that on a good day, I could come out close. Still, the swim is the hardest part for me to predict, it’s up and down. One thing is for sure: In this field, a good swim would help a lot. 😉
Is there something special about racing on home soil for you? Do you get extra excited?
Of course, I get very excited racing in Canada! I have raced in Calgary before and have some great memories from this event. I have yet to give this new bike course a shot though….I love racing on new courses. So yes, there are many reasons for me to be excited about this one!
Any races after this or just gearing up for 70.3 Worlds?
After this, it’s just back to training for worlds!
You recently had a great result at the Philadelphia Triathlon (5th). As a first year professional does that give you some confidence leading into Calgary especially since you are a strong swimmer and it was a bike/run in Philly?
Philly went well for me. I really enjoy racing the Olympic distance and just know how to race it. Even though we missed out on the swim, I don’t think the results would have changed much, if at all. The field was full of good swimmers so I just hope I could have maintained my position. Calgary will be a much different race but I’m looking forward to it!
Earlier in the year you did your first half ironman on one of the toughest courses out there, Wildflower. What did you learn from that race and how to approach the half distance?
I learned a ton at Wildflower. Pacing and nutrition are huge in this distance. I thought I was doing OK until my mistakes just hit me hard. But I know that the half distance will take quite a bit of work to figure out. Calgary will be another good race to challenge myself against a good field.
Has it been hard to balance your day job (remind me what that is, I remember it was interesting) with triathlon training, especially now that you have stepped up to professional racing?
I absolutely love my day job, and I absolutely love triathlon. Working as a Kinesiologist in the Motion Analysis Lab at Shriners Hospitals, and racing professionally have kept me balanced. The two are very different, which I think helps keep my passion strong in both. I have a very supportive husband who has also been very helpful through this transition!
What do you have planned after Calgary?
Triathlon at Pacific Grove will be my next big race. I’m looking forward to racing with Tri-California again! Tri-California puts on great races.
Were you able to recover quickly from Vineman and hit up some good training in preparation for Calgary?
Yes, absolutely. I didn’t hit the vineyards too hard post Vineman so that I could maximise recovery opportunities ahead of Calgary 🙂 Feeling good and ready to go!
Vineman was your first race since Texas 70.3. Was it good to blow out the cobwebs and set you up for strong race in Calgary?
I definitely felt a little rusty at Vineman – it was almost like the first race of the season all over again. I’m feeling far more in the groove now and can’t wait to get out there on Sunday and enjoy it.
The bike course in Calgary favors strong, powerful riders like yourself. Will you put extra effort into the bike to distance yourself from the competition?
I’m not going to tell you my tactics! 😉 This bike course does excite me and plays to my strengths, so I’ll certainly look to push it and rev the engine.
What do you have planned race wise after Calgary?
70.3 Worlds and then my debut Ironman in September – Ironman Mallorca – IT IS TIME! 🙂
How are you feeling after CDA? You were in 7th coming off the bike, did not finishing the marathon help in being ready for Calgary?
Haha, I don’t know if I would say that. That race broke my soul. I was feeling great through 10 miles into the run when the heat got me. Long story short I got my moneys worth with a ambulance ride and some heat stroke for my days effort. So, not sure if I’m “better off” but am just glad to get an opportunity to race again.
Are you ready for some cooler temps compared to CDA?
Yes. Looks to be about 40 degrees cooler on the run. So I have that going for me, which is nice.
Was Calgary always on your race schedule?
It wasn’t, but after CDA I just wanted to find some races to hit and Calgary was a good fit. I’m also pumped as I’m road tripping up and staying for the week to race the Chinook Chase race the following Saturday. Looks to be a fun event.
Any particular strategy you are bringing into the race?
Don’t meet any paramedics this go around. Goal number 1. I am switching my focus the back half of the season to the half distance so this will be the first shot back at it. I like to be be aggressive, be, be aggressive when racing this distance. So I will be trying to find my way up front as soon as I can.
What is the race schedule for the rest of the year look like?
Xterra Nationals, Ogden.
@TRIFantasy would love to, but won't be racing Calgary this weekend. Raced Racine last instead.
— Sue Huse (@SueHuse) July 23, 2015
Fantasy Analysis: IM 70.3 Calgary
Play Fantasy Triathlon and Win Money
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