Kitzbuhel was my very first WCS race back in 2009. I went into it
Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta
Date of Birth: May 26, 1989
• 2010 World Championship Series Gold Medalist – London, Kitzbuhel
• 2010 World Championships – Fifth Place
• Debut Win at 2012 London Olympic Course
• 2010 Overall ITU Ranking – Fifth Place
• 2008 World Championship (Under-23) – Bronze Medal
Paula’s introduction to the sport of triathlon began first as a swimmer which she has been doing since she was 10-years-old. She added running to her skill-set during high school and tried her first triathlon a couple years later and was hooked.
Since then, her development in the sport has been as brisk as a breakaway run.
In her first competitive season in 2006, she competed at the World Junior Championships and made Canada’s Junior squad in both the 2007 and 2008 seasons where her best international performance was a sixth-place finish.
Paula won the junior and senior national championships in 2008 and followed with a third place finish at the 2009 Under-23 World Championships.
In 2010, at just 21, she won back-to-back World Cups in London and Kitzbuhel and finished fifth at the World Championships.
When she’s not training for triathlon she can be found skiing, running track, or studying at the University of Alberta where she aims to get into medicine and become a doctor.
Photo Courtesy: Ewan Nicholson Photography
A Series of Unfortunate EventsSeptember 12, 2012
This was the name of my favorite book series when I was younger. It’s the story of the three Baudelaire children whose parents are killed in a fire and are placed in the custody of their evil cousin who plots terrible schemes to steal their inheritance. Seemingly everything that could possibly go wrong, goes wrong. Sounds dark and horrible but is somehow charming and entertaining.
With every negative situation that I’ve faced this year, I feel more and more like the Baudelaire children, having a continuous string of unfortunate events block my path. Slightly less dramatic since my parents did not die in a fire and I don’t have a cousin trying to kill me, but similar nonetheless.
I came home from the Olympics feeling upset and directionless after my disappointing experience. A few days later I had a generous offer from Craig Taylor at the RTC in Guelph to train with his group and get ready for the World Championships in October. It was the perfect opportunity to try something new with a refreshing change of scenery. Craig and the group here have been fantastic, and Guelph really is a lovely place to train. What an awesome bunch of happy, positive people.
I had some blood work done about a week after I arrived just to make sure that everything was normal. I was feeling tired but assumed this was just an effect from training hard again. Unfortunately the numbers came back with some of the lowest iron levels that the doctors had ever seen. It is a simple but quite serious problem that likely had a huge impact on my race in London, and got overlooked because of the focus on healing my injury. The fact is that it is not really possible to continue to train at the level I need to in order to have the result I am looking for in 6 weeks. I’m devastated and frustrated that I can’t have a shot at another race this season. I was hoping to restore some confidence in myself after the Olympic disaster. I guess this will have to wait until next year.
I realize this is fairly private medical information that I’m sharing, but a lot of people are asking what my plans are for the rest of the season. Iron deficiency anemia is something that a lot of athletes struggle with and it is a fixable, treatable problem. For now I need to focus on what I CAN do. Some good lower intensity base training while I work on getting my iron and energy levels back up. This might actually be a good thing, establishing a good foundation for next year so that I can come back strong and healthy. Liver for dinner, yes please!
At the end of 13 horrible wonderful books, the Baudelaire children eventually overcome their misfortune and the author Lemony Snicket leaves off with this:
“At times the world may seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe that there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. And what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may in fact be the first steps of a journey.”
Keep a good outlook, and a series of unfortunate events may not be so unfortunate after all. I knew these kid books were good for something! Thanks Lemony Snicket.
Onwards and upwards…
On the UpJune 18, 2012
I just got home from a 2-week trip to Hamilton with Simon, his coach Jon and physio Marilyn. Not a common destination for triathlon training but it was the perfect opportunity for me to get consistent treatment from Marilyn and continue a good run progression with Jon. I’ve seen more forward progress in the past 3 weeks than I have since February and I’m slowly regaining hope that maybe everything will come together in time for August. Hamilton was a surprisingly wonderful place to train. The McMaster swim team was very welcoming, the roads were perfect and the trails were endless. Who knew, Ontario?! I’m impressed.
Before this trip I was on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I was upset and frustrated as the Olympic countdown clock was ticking fast and my body was not cooperating. I spent time in Vancouver getting intense treatment and “rebuilding” myself so that I could stay injury-free, but this left me with some gaps in my training. Thankfully everything is finally coming together with a smarter build back to running and constant treatment from my super physios.
I’m really excited to have Lauren as my training partner for the next few months. She has graciously offered to be by my side for every workout and training camp leading up to the Olympics. I couldn’t ask for a more positive, hard-working, happy, experienced friend to support me. She’s always been one of my favorite people to train with and I’m so glad to have her help.
I’ve come to accept that things aren't quite ideal for me leading into an Olympic Games. But then again, maybe they actually are. I haven’t had to rush into any races or anything so I’m feeling really fresh! (That’s a positive spin on “kinda unfit and ready to start working hard because I’m losing my mind”). I’m a bit more relaxed heading into London because I can only do what I can do with the time I have left. No one will really know where I’m at, not even me! So maybe I can be the underdog again. My favourite.
Feelin' happy, healthy and … fresh!
What's UpApril 12, 2012
After a solid 6-week training camp in Maui to kick off 2012, I came home feeling fit and excited to get the New Year under way. This was rather short lived when I started having some recurring hip pain a few weeks later. I didn’t panic, as I was able to manage it through the fall and it was feeling completely better. I left for Australia in early March thinking that some warm weather and daily treatment would clear things up and I could start my season as planned.
Well, things didn’t go exactly as planned. Frustrated and fed up and after a few too many tears, I went to Brisbane to see an orthopedic hip specialist and have another MRI (after having 2 un-notable ones last fall). The doctor found a small labral tear on my right hip. I sat in his office shocked, scared, and somewhat relieved to finally have a diagnosis. I'm frustrated that this was not discovered 8 months ago, but the abnormality is so subtle that it is difficult to pick up on an MRI. I had 2 options, neither desirable, and both with the ultimate goal of being fit on the start line in August. Labral tears do not heal on their own so the obvious solution is to have surgery and hope to be back to somewhat normal running in 2 months. The other option is to manage the pain and inflammation with cortisone in my hip joint, anti-inflammatory meds, icing and treatment. Surgery is so risky at this point and it would be a rush to get fit in time for the Olympics, so I decided to go down the “management” road. It feels a lot better when the inflammation is controlled, and I did have a good block of training in the fall/January, so I’m optimistic that this will work.
Right now Sydney is out of the plan, and I’m taking things day by day. I had a cortisone shot last week and it seems to really be working, I can run pain free. Now I don’t know how long it will last, or if it will even be a solution, but I’ve decided that part of this battle is mental. I need to believe it will work and be really smart about my training and decision making over the next 15 weeks.
I’ve been debating whether or not to share these details. When I’m injured, I usually want to keep it a secret and hide away from the world. But injuries are one of the realities of being an athlete and I’d rather be honest than pretend like everything is a-okay. I also understand that cortisone injections are controversial, and believe me, I don’t want to be in a wheel chair in 5 years just so that I can go to the Olympic Games when I’m 22. But I can’t worry too much about what other people are thinking, and I need to trust the team of people who are helping me through this. It’s just a little (ok.. giant, enormous, annoying) curveball that’s been thrown at me. IDEAL timing, right?
Someone sent me a reassuring email a few days ago.
“Get some relief and comfort in having a diagnosis, knowing that it is treatable and NOT a crippling, life-long problem, and that it is absolutely nothing that can prevent you from competing in London.
Life is often ridiculously hard. Rest, breathe, and remember you can’t control much, but you can control your attitude.”
So I might as well have a good one.
Please don’t write me off just yet.
Maui Video: Take 2February 6, 2012
Maui Training Camp 1February 6, 2012
New Year UpdateJanuary 16, 2012
Rough life I have, 2 trips to Hawaii in the past 3 months! Lots has happened between my last update in Kona and our current training camp in Maui. Here’s a quick recap and some pictures from the past few months.
After Kona I took a trip to the Nike World Headquarters in Portland, Oregon. This was an incredible place and it was cool to see what goes on behind the scenes in the Nike world. We went to the employee store for a big shopping trip, which was super fun and I came home 3 bags heavier. I met some awesome athletes there too, like really really fast runner Shalane Flanagan who won the US Olympic Marathon trials today!
Next I went home to Edmonton to have Lasik MD eye surgery. I’ve had bad luck with my contact lenses falling out in races, either from getting whacked in the goggles during the swim, or having them pop out on the bike when my eyes get dry. I’ve had a lens fall out in 5 of the 8 WCS races I’ve done in the past few years, so this was important to get done and was honestly a huge life changer for me. 10 minutes in and out of the “operating room” and I can see 100% perfectly. Just had to wear these rockin' sun glasses around for a few days and not swim for a week. Easy.
A few weeks later I flew to Toronto for the Olympic Excellence Series and Media Summit. This was a great opportunity to meet other Canadian athletes from other sports and get a good idea of what the Olympic Games will be like. It was followed by 2 full days of media and interviews, which was a bit exhausting but important to do. I also went with Simon to the opening of the new Nike store in downtown Toronto where they put us on the wall! It was super cool.
I was back in Victoria after that for a good block of training before going home for Christmas break. I spent the holidays in Canmore and Edmonton, doing lots of relaxing and visiting friends and xcountry skiing. Nike generously gave me tickets to a few of the World Junior Hockey games over the holidays, which were fun to watch. The atmosphere in there was crazy exciting. If only Canada loved triathlon as much as they love hockey!
Now I’m in Maui for our January training camp and it’s been awesome so far. Training is so much easier when it’s warm and sunny, and there’s a great group of 7 girls working well together. I didn’t do very much outdoor riding this fall so it’s been good to get back on the bike for some longer rides. My body is sore and achy and tired, but it definitely feels good! We also got to swim with the U of A team at the end of their Maui camp and it was nice to see some old friends.
Hoping this kicks off a good year ahead. My number one priority is to stay consistent and injury free, which I've discovered it much easier said than done!
Thanks for reading,
IronmanOctober 25, 2011
the first time in my life I packed my bags and got on an airplane to go
somewhere hot NOT for a race or a training camp. It was weird to travel
somewhere just to relax and have fun but it was definitely needed!
Specialized invited the team to the Ironman World Champs in Kona to help
promote the release of the new Shiv. It was cool to have most of the
Specialized athletes together, I got to know each of them a lot better
and it was a really cool event. They also gave us each our own Shiv, so I
got to try out a TT bike for the first time ever. I was nervous since
it feels quite different than a road bike, but as soon as we got onto
the highway I got much more comfortable. These bikes can fly!
felt so spoiled and lucky all week long and a few years ago I never
would have dreamed having such a unique opportunity. I was swimming the
Ironman course with Emma Snowsill and Jan Frodeno, hanging out at the
Oakley house getting a bunch of new goodies, riding the fastest
triathlon bike ever made, having breakfast at Lava Java with some of the
best triathletes on the planet and meeting lots of cool people!
to the Specialized crew for the amazing trip- I’m so lucky to be
supported by such an enthusiastic and talented group of people. I
definitely want to go back to Kona again, I can see why people get so
hooked on Ironman. I just might have to do it myself someday!
London ReportAugust 10, 2011
A little late but here it goes…
The hip injury that forced me out of the Edmonton world cup ended up sticking around for our entire pre-London training camp in France. Pulling out of Edmonton was a good decision, but it didn’t miraculously cure my hip. I still had a frustrating injury to deal with, and I foolishly thought that a few days rest would have me back up and running again. My body had other plans, and I went through a difficult 3 weeks of highs and lows, seeing very little progress forward. I like going to training camps and working so hard that I go to bed exhausted every day, but this camp was very different. Almost every ride I did was “easy”, and my longest run was just 2 days before we left for London. 5 x (2min run, 1 min walk). Fantastic.
Things started to turn around on the last few days of the camp. I
could walk and bike pain-free for the first time in a long while, and my mini-runs didn’t aggravate anything. I’m not sure what made me think that I could possibly race a full triathlon on Saturday, but my competitiveness and love for racing made me determined to at least start the race. Of course my expectations were much lower than usual, and I promised to pull out of the race the second that I felt that I was making the injury worse. For some reason I thought that just maybe I could squeeze out a top 8 to secure a spot on the Olympic team. The truth is, coming into the most competitive race of the year severely underprepared is a bad idea. Also, going into a race uncertain if you’ll be able to finish makes it very hard to mentally prepare for success. Still, I wanted to be familiar with the course incase I’m back for the Olympics next year and take as many positives out of the experience as I could.
So I started. And I finished. My hip was pain-free on the run so I was determined to finish the race, because dropping out at this point would have only been because I was doing badly, and this is not a good reason to pull out of a race. I heard someone say as I ran by “I’ve never seen her run that slow before!”… Yes, that’s how slow I was running. I could hear people’s full conversations as I passed by. I absolutely hated being passed by the other girls and watch them pull away from me while my legs wouldn’t respond. This is not something that I’ve experienced before in a triathlon, and it’s very mentally defeating! I knew that I
wouldn’t be able to stay with the leaders, but in all honestly I didn’t think that I’d do THAT badly, and naturally I was upset and frustrated after the race. Only 8 points separate Barbara, Andrea and I, and a few places higher would have put me back in the lead. So close!!
I decided before the race that regardless of the outcome, I needed to walk away from the experience happy with my decision and with a positive outlook on everything. I certainly didn’t want to leave London with a bad taste in my mouth, as I hope to be back here next year and I want to be excited and as best prepared as possible for this event. I’m now familiar with the course, the transition area, the layout of the venue, our accommodation and our logistics coming into the race. I also learned how to deal with media attention surrounding an upsetting and unfortunate circumstance, so this was good practice too. Another major positive is that my sister was in London for my race, so it was lots of fun to hang out with her and explore London after the race.
I’m back in Victoria now with 5 weeks to get my running legs back. Thankfully the race on Saturday did no further damage and I’m cautiously building up my running again. I always thought that having good results was the best motivation for me to keep training hard, but I was wrong. Having bad races is the best fuel for the fire, and I’m extremely determined to be back at my best again in Beijing
Thanks for the support, as always.
Tough DecisionJuly 11, 2011
started feeling some pain in my right hip on a run last Thursday, but
didn't think much of it. I did the usual ice, roller, massage to keep it
under control. I trained for the rest of the week with the pain not
going away, but not getting any worse. I arrived in Edmonton and took a
few days off running with the hopes that it would settle down. My dad
arranged a precautionary MRI, just to confirm that it wasn't a stress
fracture. The MRI was completely unnotable. No fracture, not even any
inflammation or irritation visible in the muscles or tendons. I was
relieved that it was nothing serious, but confused as to why "nothing"
could be so painful! Certain that I'd be okay to race, I spent the next
few days getting treatment and resting. I had an ultrasound the day
before the race to see if there was any tear in the muscle that was not
visible in the MRI, and they found a tiny 0.5 cm strain. Again, nothing
major, but enough to cause some pain. I decided that I would wait until
race morning to see how it felt, but I think I knew in the back of my
mind all along that running would not be a smart idea.
had a whole city excited about my recent success and looking forward to
watching me race at home, and I let them down. My friends came down
with T-shirts and signs, and I let them down too. I've been so touched
by how understanding everyone has been. It really is about the big
picture at this point, and I need to be healthy for London in August.
This feels like a big deal today and I'm so sad, but hopefully I can
look back in a few weeks and be happy with my decision. It's a small
bump in what has been a pretty awesome road so far.
for understanding everyone, and thank you to everyone who worked so
hard to try to get me ready in time. I'm in very good hands!
Kitzbuhel Race ReportJune 21, 2011
over my head and more nervous than ever. It was a great learning
experience and I finished in 16th
place, relieved and satisfied. I was back in 2010 just 3 weeks after my
breakthrough win in London, wanting to prove to myself that London
wasn’t a fluke, but with no expectations to win again. Having some
success in this race 2 years in a row, I was excited to compete again on
the very familiar course. I recovered quickly after Madrid and was
feeling back to normal within a few days, so we had a pretty hard week
of training between the two races. This worried me a bit when Wednesday
rolled around and I was feeling extremely tired and sore, but I took a
few light days and was feeling okay by Saturday. Just in time!
chose to start on the very far right, which looked like the shortest
line to the first buoy. Unfortunately some of the faster swimmers
decided to start about 20 spots away from me. The gun went off and I had
clear water, but no fast feet to latch onto. I could see the girls on
my left pulling away and I desperately wished that I had been closer to
them. I tried to make the best of it and sprint the first 400 meters to
the buoy, but I arrived there with about 40 friends, and the familiar
washing machine began. I was pulled and dunked, but kept calm and slowly
made my way around. I was working really hard for the whole 1500
meters, feeling very uncomfortable and having a hard to time finding
feet to draft on. I swam most of the time on the outside by myself,
which is definitely slower, but a little less chaotic. I came out much
further back than I would have liked, but knew that I had a good bunch
of girls around me to help bridge any gap to the leaders.
got on the bike and immediately the pace was ON. The packs came
together within a few minutes after some pretty hard chasing. At that
time I had no idea that there was a 30 second break away with Sarah
Haskins and Helen Jenkins. I could hear the coaches yelling “Jenkins 30
seconds!” but I thought that she was 30 seconds behind, not ahead! It
wasn’t until the 3rd lap that I realized that they were up the road, and I felt very guilty for not being more aggressive in helping with the chase.They were reeled in on the 4th
lap, which was a relief as I know those girls can run fast. I
admittedly was pretty useless on the bike, I wasn’t feeling 100 percent
and I was uncomfortable on the very technical course, so I spent most of
the time at the back of the pack. I wish I could be a super-human
Alistair Brownlee, dominant in all 3 sports, but my swim and bike were
feeling off so I was being conservative with the hopes saving some
energy for the run.
skies opened up in the middle of the ride and it started hailing on us!
The forecast predicted rain and cold so everyone was prepared for a wet
day, but this was more than we had been expecting. It really hurt, and
it was really cold! I was starting to shiver and my hands were going
numb, so I tried to work a little more of the last few laps to keep my
body temperature up. Although the hailstorm was short lived, it left big
puddles and wet roads, so water was spraying up on us for the rest of
the ride. I was SO happy to get off the bike.
struggled a bit in transition with cold hands, but was running at the
front within the first few minutes. The run was very similar to Madrid,
fast paced but I felt in control. That is until the last lap, when Helen
put in a surge that I could hardly respond to. It hurt a lot and I was
running near my maximum for the whole final lap, knowing that I would
get dropped if she had another gear. I wanted so badly to settle for 2nd,
but I talked myself out of it and reminded myself that she was hurting
too. I tried to put a few stride lengths on her on the last turn around
to see if she could respond, and saw that I made a small gap. The last
800 meters was all out, and I was hurting, but made it to the line just
ahead of her. Kudos to Helen, she worked her butt off in a breakaway on
the bike, and she made me work my butt off on the run. She’s dangerous!
doping control and a very good dinner with the Specialized team, I
packed up my stuff and tried to get a few hours sleep. I'm finally back
in Victoria, stiff and tired and sore, but I really couldn’t be happier
with the past 5 weeks. Thanks
to the amazing support from Bobby and all the Specialized guys,
Patrick, John, Kim, Kyla, Jeff and Matt- I couldn’t have had a better
group of people helping me during this Europe trip. Also thanks to my
mom for flying out to Kitzbuhel at the last minute to keep me company
and watch my race... and make my dinners and do my laundry and clean up
after me. The usual.
Next up is Edmonton World Cup on July 10th, my hometown race. Come down to Hawrelak Park and watch the action if you’re around!
Thanks again for the enormous support everyone. It's what keeps me going.
MadridJune 7, 2011
I tried not to worry about going into the race with the number 1 tattooed on my arms and legs. It came with some added pressure, a few more stares, and some annoying cameras in my face during warm-up, but I approached the race like I do every other. I still sat in the pre-race meeting thinking, “Cool, there’s Gomez! And Emma Snowsill! And the Brownlees!” I did have a minor panic attack when I opened my envelope and saw my “1” stickers and realized I had a bit of a target on my back, but in general I stayed pretty relaxed and was confident in the training that I had done since Sydney. This is me trying really hard not to freak out before the start... ha.
I remember back in junior racing when I had no trouble getting out into clear water to have a clean swim instead of fighting for my life to stay above water. I’ve since discovered out that WCS races are at a whole other level and I often get caught somewhere in the middle by the first turn, forcing me to fight may way back up to the leaders. This was my first elite race where I was able to get on some good feet right away and I was in 3rd position going around the first turn. Triathlons are actually fun when you don’t get stuck in washing machine chaos! I came out of the first transition in 2nd place, right behind Laura Bennett. That never happens!
The bike course was 8 loops around a beautiful park, with a challenging hill on each lap. There was a Specialized prime line at the top of the hill, with $500 up for grabs on each lap. I had no intention of going for any of them, but I was feeling great leading up the first hill and thought I may as well try. I stood up and went for it with another girl in a Tour-de-France style sprint to the line, slightly dramatic, and I actually got it! That never happens! I was in the same situation on the 2nd lap so I went for it with Lisa Norden, and just barely got it again. A solid swim and 2 bike primes to start the race, I was actually having fun! I knew that some strong runners including Emma Moffatt were in a chase pack about 30 seconds behind us, so I worked hard with the other girls to maintain our lead. The hardest part for me was the technical and steep descent, where I got super nervous and put on my breaks every time, leaving a gap to the girls in front of me. I felt bad for everyone who got stuck behind me! I’m a major wimp on down hills.
I had a decent 2nd transition compared to my usual dead last exit, but Andrea Hewitt took off like a rocket. I slowly her reeled back in and we were soon caught by Helen Jenkins. I was working hard but I felt in control and I knew that I had another gear in me if one of the girls decided to surge ahead. I was happy to run with them and try to make a gap on the last 180-degree turn towards the finish. This didn’t go exactly as planned, as Helen stayed with me right until the blue carpet. I managed to keep a small lead on her, looking over both shoulders all the way to the finish.
I’m more excited about how well things went DURING the race than I am about the actual result. It’s a big confidence booster to know that I am able to come out of the swim with the leaders and be strong on the bike. This course didn’t leave room for any mistakes on the swim, bike or run, so I’m thrilled that I was able to put together a smooth and successful race.
I’m so appreciative of all the support that I had this weekend, from Bobby and the Specialized crew (who replaced my cracked
bike frame within 4 hours after I arrived!!), Patrick, Kyla, Kim, John, and the whole ITU and organizing committee who put on such a fantastic race. I could not be in this position right now without the help of these people and so many others!
I’ve just arrived in Kitzbuhel, where we’ll train for 2 weeks before the next race on June 20. I’m looking forward to the change of scenery and this is certainly a beautiful place to be.
Thanks for cheering for me!
EuropeMay 24, 2011
I made the big trip across the world a few days ago for the next two WCS races in Madrid and Kitzbuhel. I’m here with a great little group: coach
Patrick, massage therapist Kim, physiologist John, and training
We are staying in Les Angles, France for a few weeks, which is the same
place I trained last year before London. It’s nice to come back to a
familiar place where we know the good cycling and running routes, and we
have an awesome place to stay with hosts/ temporary parents Mike and
Jenny. I’m already finding the altitude a lot easier to adapt to than
last year, and although I’m still feeling tired from the jet lag, the
first few days have gone really well.
very interesting to report, the training camp lifestyle is not very
exciting, especially in a little ski town where everything is closed for
the season. It’s absolutely beautiful here, but there’s nothing else to
do except train hard, nap, eat and recover properly, which is exactly
what we’re here to do. Boring places are probably the best places to
train as there are very few distractions. My recovery days at home often
become the busiest and most stressful ones, filled with appointments
and grocery shopping and laundry and all the things that I don’t have
time to do throughout the week. So I’m trying to appreciate how lucky I
am to be here, even though I do really miss home!
I am so grateful to have received the new NormaTec pro, which is a
smaller and more travel-friendly version of their original machine.
Personalized and everything! Normatec is a “muscle pump” compression
machine used to help with post-workout recovery, and I find it helps me
feel so much better after hard training days.
was also sent some boxes of Bonk Breaker Energy bars, which are
delicious and healthy, and a great snack in between workouts. You have
to be pretty good to put “The Worlds Best Energy Bar” right on your
package! Go get some.
Ok, that’s all the updates. And I’ve refreshed twitter about 5 million times. Now what do I do… I’m bored.
Thanks for reading,
Vancouver Sun Run and HOME!April 26, 2011
made the short trip to Vancouver last weekend to race in the famous Sun
Run 10k road race. My mom came with me so it made for a fun weekend
hanging out in a fancy hotel and shopping downtown. The race was only a
week after Sydney so I was still feeling a bit jet-lagged and sluggish,
but I love the energy and atmosphere of the race so I was very keen to
do it! My only goal was to run faster than last year, which would be a
PB for me. There were 2 African girls competing, one from Kenya (Lucy)
and one from Ethiopia (Emebet), and I found them sitting on my shoulder
for the first 4 km. It was a quick pace, but I was fairly comfortable. I
felt silly running ahead of them since I was expecting them to be
significantly faster than me. At about halfway, Lucy surged ahead and
Emebet dropped back quite a bit. From that point, I maintained the gap
of about 6 seconds for the rest of the race. I really regret not trying
to close the gap and run with her, and looking back I feel like I could
have. I was satisfied with being so close to a Kenyan that I just
settled in and accepted that she SHOULD be ahead of me. I settled for
second place instead of racing to win. Bad decision. I still managed a
PB, 33:47, which was faster than last year despite a less-than-ideal
lead up to the race. I was the first Canadian and second overall- but
man I hate losing!
the race I travelled home to Edmonton to visit with my family and
friends that I haven’t seen for a few months. I also had to sort out
lots of grown-up stuff that I shouldn’t have to worry about for at least
another 5 years! I don’t want to deal with taxes and banks and
corporate accounts and lawyers and accountants. I don’t want to have a
ledger books and keep track of all of my receipts. I don’t understand
any of it... but my mom says I have to pay taxes or I’ll get thrown in
jail. So I sat at the accountants office and wrote a cheque for a
ridiculously large amount of money to the Government of Canada. Major
down-side of winning prize money. I’m lucky that my mom is helping me so
much with this, I basically just have to sign on the line and write
cheques, but it’s definitely not fun! Welcome to the real world.
a more fun note, a got a new Macbook Air yesterday and I love it! I’ve
been thinking about getting one for a while and I finally decided to do
it. It’ll be nice and light for traveling and it’s so much faster than
my old one.
I’m heading back to Victoria tomorrow morning, with a
little less money but a lot more happy! Definitely needed that little
Happy Easter everyone!
SydneyApril 13, 2011
Wow, really wasn't expecting that!! Here's how it went down...
The swim took place in the Sydney Harbour right in front of the opera house. It was a spectacular venue but the water was really choppy which made for another difficult swim. I chose to start on the far left and I took a bad line towards the first buoy, so I was in the middle of chaos going around the first turn. I was much further back than I would have liked after the first lap. For the whole swim I was thinking about how bad of a swim I was having, really not the best mind set to be in, but I put my head down and managed to make up quite a bit of ground on the second lap. I came out in a much better position than I thought I was in, and quickly rode up to the leaders. Relief!
The bike course was very technical with three 180 degree turns on each of the 9 laps. Specialized gave out a $500 prime on every lap at the top of a hill, which made for lots of surging and chasing and bridging gaps. It was a deceivingly difficult bike course because of the hills and sprinting out of each turn. Specialized gave me my brand new S-works Amira with Zipp wheels the day before the race, so thankfully I had a speedy machine to get me through it! I had a good knock to the head
during the swim which made one of my contacts slide out of place, and it eventually fell out on the second lap of the bike. The same thing happened to me in Kitzbuhel last year so I had some experience riding with blurry and distorted vision! It was difficult to see the pot holes and I spent more time focusing on seeing properly than I did on staying in good position, so unfortunately I was in the middle or back of the pack for most of the ride. Again, I was so relieved to start the run, definitely the safest of the three sports, not much can go wrong there! Except maybe getting hit in the head with a water bottle?..
I had a bad transition, same old story, so had to make up about 20 seconds to the leaders right off the bat. I settled in with them by the first turnaround. Everyone is telling me how comfortable and in-contol I looked on the run, but it certainly did not feel like it at all! My legs felt good, but there were tons of surges on the up and downhills and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to respond to every single one. I felt like I was on the verge of getting dropped the whole time. Everyone was relentless and it was a very fast pace. On the last lap it came down to Barbara, Andrea and I, and I was really expecting them to run away from me. Barb made a gap on the uphill, which I somehow managed to close, and I went by her on the last corner. I didn't look over my shoulder, just ran as fast as I possibly could, but I did't think it would be fast enough to hold off those charging girls. I definitely doubted myself too many times in this race! Man, sprint finishes are stressful. I was so shocked when I crossed the finish line.
So although this race wasn't completely smooth sailing, I couldn't have started off the year any better. I'm not letting the result get to my head as it's a very long season and I have lots of racing in front of me, but it's a great confidence booster to know that I'm on the right9 track. Everyone is going to get fitter and faster from here, so I have to try and do the same!
I couldn't have had this success without the help of so many people, too many to name, but I have to give a special mention Patrick, Sam, and John. They were with us for our month-long adventure in Australia and they did so much work to make sure that our group was healthy, happy, and training hard. I'm not always the cheeriest person to be around, so thanks for putting up with me :).
I'm back in Victoria now and racing the Vancouver Sun Run 10km next weekend. This is a really fun race and it's where I got my 10k PB last year, so I'm excited to see if I can improve on my time a little. My mom is coming with me to do the race, and then I'll go back to Edmonton for a few days to visit my family and friends. After lots of discussion and debating I've decided not to race in Yokohama this year, so my next triathlon won't be until June 4th in Madrid. Lots of time to get in a good bunch of training!
Thanks so much for the massive support everyone. I know I haven't responded to every single message but please know that I appreciate it so much and couldn't do it without you all.
Mooloolaba World CupMarch 28, 2011
I dove in for warm up in the choppy surf yesterday, my goal for this
race completely changed: just survive the swim. Come out alive, and I'll
be happy. This may sound dramatic to some of the Aussies who are ocean
swimming experts, but this was my first beach start swim and I was
really scared! It was the choppiest, waviest swim I've ever done and the
girls were really rough, as usual. It was one big 1500 meter loop, out
300 meters through the surf, along the beach, and back. I don't think I
saw one buoy the whole time, I was just frantically following feet in
front of me, and lucky I had lots to follow! I was so relieved when I
came out of the water and saw that I wasn't actually too far behind the
leaders. There was a 200 meter run through deep sand to get back to
transition so I tried my best to make up as much time as possible, but
running all out in sinking sand after that swim was not easy!
jumped on my bike and could see a lead pack of 6 about 10 seconds up
the road, so I got to work with a few other girls and we caught them by
the end of the first lap. The bike course went up and over a big hill,
out and back, 7 times and there was a huge headwind on the way home.
Daniela Ryf and Nicky Samuels made a break uphill on the second lap and
we made the mistake of letting them go. We worked pretty well together
as a group, but were still loosing time to these 2 super-cyclists. To
make the day even better, a torrential downpour started on the 5th lap,
which made the turnarounds very slippery and my breaks were not working
AT ALL. New goal: survive the bike. Just make it onto the run without
crashing. The winds also picked up and our group slowed down quite a bit
in these last few laps. I think this is where we lost the most time to
the 2 leaders. Again, I was very relieved to get off my bike and start
chasing those girls down!
legs felt very heavy and flat on the run, but I imagine everyone was
feeling quite similar after the challenging bike. The run was equally as
difficult, up and over the same hill 8 times. I tried to use the
downhills to get my leg speed up and bridge the gap to Emma and Barbara
but my legs just weren't working! I was running solo for most of the way
and could see Vendula Frintova making up time on each lap, she was
flying! On the 3rd lap, Patrick told me that I had a penalty, so I
checked the board as I ran by and stopped to take my 15 seconds. They
looked at me funny and didn't start counting, so I started counting for
them. After about 8 seconds, they told me that I actually didn't have a
penalty and they didn't know why I was there... it said "4 1" on the
board with a huge gap between the 4 and the 1, so it looked like number 4
had a penalty when it was actually 41. They really need a better
system!! So I charged out, slightly frustrated, with one lap to go. I
guess the bonus of my fake penalty was that I got a 10 second rest.
Frintova caught me on the last turn around and we ran side-by-side for
last km. I out-sprinted her in a nearly-photo-finish, and crossed the
line in 4th place. Most importantly: I survived!
needless to say, this was definitely the hardest course I've ever raced
on. I'm happy with where I finished for this time of year, although
never completely satisfied with 4th place! It was my first race since
Budapest last September, so it was good to go through the motions and
put in a good effort before the WCS starter in Sydney in a few weeks. We
are staying in Caloundra, where we have been training for the past 2
weeks. It's a great place to be and we have an awesome little group
here: Patrick, Sam (massage therapist), John (physiologist), Jeff, Kyla
and Alex, who it leaving today to go back to school. We'll miss her!
Victoria Life & Bazan Bay 5March 8, 2011
I’ve been in Victoria for about a month now and enjoying it for the most part, but there are lots of things that I’m missing about home! One major plus side are my awesome roommates, Julia and Danika, and our cute little house. Julia (Wilkinson) is a swimmer on the national team who has a busy training schedule like me, so I’m not the only one in the house going to bed at 8pm every night. Poor Danika. Really, these girls are a lot of fun and it’s great to live with other athletes who aren’t triathletes. We understand each other’s weird habits but there’s no competition or anything. Love it.
Another major plus side of Victoria is being able to ride outside, however we had a freak snowstorm last week that put that on hold! It was back to the trainer and treadmills for a few days but lucky for me I’m very used to it. The snow disappeared within a week so although it’s a bit chilly we’re back to training outside.
We’ve had the great opportunity to swim with Randy Bennett’s group these past few weeks (Julia, Ryan Cochrane and lots of other speedsters!). These guys are seriously FAST and we get about 2 seconds rest after each interval, but it’s fun to change up our workouts a bit and learn from these world-class swimmers.
Not to be a downer, but there are some things I miss about home too. For one, commonwealth pool is REALLY cold and I spend almost every workout shivering, and then I’m cold for the rest of the morning. I miss the short-course normal temperature pool at U of A! And my friends. And my family. And my dogs. And my house. But maybe this is just a phase and I’ll get over it soon.
On another note, I raced for the first time since Budapest yesterday morning. It’s hard to go through 7 months of training with no competing at all, so I was very excited to race again. It was a 5km road race in Sidney on a flat course with lots of fast runners in attendance. I got dragged along by the guys for the first km and heard “3:04, 3:05, 3:06” as I was running by… may have been a bit too fast but I was feeling good. The last few km were pretty tough into a head wind and there were a few guys tucking in behind ME to be blocked from the wind. No fair! I finished in 16:33 and surprisingly a course record. I haven’t done many 5k races so I’m not sure if this is a good time but I’m happy with the effort! I almost forgot how much racing hurts so it was good to get this under my belt before Mooloolaba.
7 more days ‘till we head down under! YAY, Let’s get this triathlon season started!
Maui CampJanuary 31, 2011
I’ve been in Maui for exactly month now and it’s nearly time to go back home to the land of snow and cold! The training has been going great for me, it’s nice to have no outside distractions and to be able to rest properly between workouts. I was training in Lahaina with the U of A swim team for my first two weeks here, doing lots of double swim days and some really good work. It took me a while to start feeling normal in the pool again after Christmas break, but the second week was much better and I definitely improved my swim a lot in those 10 days. Here’s the good lookin’ group of kids that I was training with- I love these guys! So much fun.
Sadly they all had to get back to school (ha!), so I packed up and moved over to Paia where I’ve been training with Sam McGlone and super-twins Kyla and Alex. All three of these girls are great training partners. They are always happy and get the workouts done without complaining. Patrick has also been awesome, following us around in the van for hours and hours with cold water and food and spare wheels.
My running is coming along surprisingly well since I’ve been here. I was having some knee pain before I left, but the warm weather combined with lots of treatment has loosened me up lots and I’ve been getting some good workouts in, so I’m very happy! The riding is amazing here, tons of hills and lots of technical roads that I am very nervous on, but I’m slowly getting better. I love my new specialized bike, it fits me perfectly and it’s so comfortable to ride. Our swims are at the Kihei pool beside the national team swimmers who are also in Maui for a camp. This morning their coach told them to move over a few lanes to make room for the national team triathletes “lean-to-swim” workout. Hahaha, ok we’re not as fast as them but we’re not THAT bad. They can join us on our run workout and 3-hour ride this afternoon and then they're welcome to make fun of us :)
3 more days of sunshine and then it’s back home to pack up and move to Victoria. I’ll miss Maui but Victoria is my favorite place to train so I’m excited to get back there for another season. Also I can't wait to meet Carolyn and Dean's new baby girl Cadence!
Thanks for reading,
Merry Christmas!January 4, 2011
After 2 weeks of sitting in a stinky, sweaty library, Christmas is finally here! This semester really went by quickly and I enjoyed most of my classes, but exam time is by far my least favorite time of year. I hate sitting all day long and having almost no time to do any training. I basically did a lot of hot yoga, some hard swims, and set my trainer up in front of my desk to multitask. I don’t think I learn very much while I’m reading textbooks on my bike but it makes me feel productive at least. I’m so happy to be finished and to be in Canmore for Christmas! My dogs are in paradise here.
I drove down on Tuesday with my mom and sister and we had a pretty serious crash into the ditch about a mile away from our Canmore house. The roads were good for most of the drive, but the last stretch of highway was covered in black ice and we lost control going around a curve. It was very terrifying and we almost rolled over, but smashed hard into the mountainside and came to a halt. I don’t remember much except my sister screaming at the top of her lungs like it was the end of the world. Drama queen. We were all pretty shaken up for a while, but lucky my dad was close by and came to the rescue! I think the car is totaled, but at least we are all uninjured, and, most importantly, the Christmas presents are safe. Phew!
I stopped in Calgary on the way to Canmore to do a bike test and a run gait analysis at the Canadian Sports Centre. It was very beneficial and I learned a lot, so thanks a lot to Dr Smith, Dr Furber, Patrick, Linda and everyone else who was there to help me.
There’s just 5 more days to go until I leave for Maui for a good 5 weeks of training. My new Specialized bike is being shipped straight to Maui and I’m so excited to try it out! Thanks so much to Garth for putting this all together for me in time for the camp. After Maui I’ll be moving back to Victoria. I’ll be living with swimmer Julia Wilkinson and my friend Danika who’s also moving to Vic for the summer. Julia found a place for us about 800 meters from the pool, it sounds perfect! I’m really looking forward to the year ahead.
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!
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