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Posts Tagged ‘Ironman 70.3’

You’ve Got to Tri(athlon)

June 3, 2014 4 comments

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I run because it’s who I am; I do triathlons to find out who else I can be. In the course of six hours you have time to figure these things out.

You also, I learned, have time for some very random thoughts. Here is a sampling of things that went through my mind during the Oliver Half Ironman on the weekend. (Note: the more I suffer, the more I curse, profanity has a magical band-aid effect. Ella, that means stop reading here.)

  • It’s a nice day for a little swim, a bike ride, and a run. What the hell was I thinking?
  • I should have tried on this wetsuit before today, not breathing could be a liability.
  • Hopefully these swimmers are sighting because I can’t see a thing.
  • Pool swimming prepares you for triathlon like knitting prepares you for the WWF.
  • First, you swim on top of me, and then you kick me in the face? Karma says there’s a flat tire in your future.
  • Mother of God, where is that beach?
  • Why is everyone in such a hurry in transition? People aren’t very chatty. I thought we’d bond after swimming through a dishwasher together.
  • Drafting is illegal – of course I won’t draft. One thing about me is I follow rules to the letter. I don’t  jaywalk, nor spit into the wind.
  • Drink. Eat. Drink. Eat. Someone once told me you can’t over-fuel. Hopefully not the same person who suggested I do this race, because they are clearly trying to kill me.
  • Where is everybody? I desperately need to draft.
  • If I rode off this cliff, would I die or just be maimed for life? And if maimed, how long would I lay there before anyone came looking? I wouldn’t be one of those people who cuts off their arm and crawls to safety; I’d just cry.
  • Wait, wait, wait. I’m totally going to ride your ass as long as I can.
  • Speaking of ass, if mine didn’t feel like I was sitting on an inverted kitchen faucet, I wouldn’t mind biking.
  • I should have biked 93 kilometers before today. Fuck, it’s far.
  • Still, childbirth is harder. All that pain without an inch of forward movement.
  • Was I supposed to practice transitions? Because I didn’t get the memo. And again, I don’t see why we can’t share a few words about that heinous bike ride we just endured.
  • To the 24 year-old girl who passed me on the run: why aren’t you hungover in bed right now? Surely there are better ways to spend your youth.
  • Is motherfucker redundant?
  • Jesus Christ, who am I Princess and the Pea – how is it possible that I felt that pebble through my insulated runner? And that one? Ow. Ow. Ow.
  • A six mile run would be sufficient given the circumstances. Whoever came up with thirteen is a sadist, and I hope they spend an eternity in hell running over hot coals, like we are doing today.
  • What’s that stomach, you’re cramping? I can’t hear you, and by the way my legs are the boss of you.
  • Never. Give. Up.
  • I think I just found my inner ninja.

So, a lot of negative thoughts, subsequently erased by going the distance. That, for me, is the beauty of triathlon, and the reason I’ll be stupid enough to do more in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christine Fletcher: Modesty Is Everything to this Triathlete

May 9, 2011 6 comments

It’s Motivational Monday, and today I want to tell you about a friend of mine who is charming, thoughtful, intelligent and beautiful. She is passionate about life and throws herself hook line and sinker into her family, business, friendships, and her active life. Christine Fletcher also happens to be a professional triathlete, but she doesn’t exactly wear that on her sleeve.

I met her in my book club, a motley mix of incredible women (I look around the room and wonder how I sandbagged my way in), largely of the sporting persuasion. There is often talk of a race experience, training regiment, or an outdoor adventure. But not from Christine, who more often than not has won a race since our last meeting. We need to pry this information out of her, her modesty is legendary.

This is in stark contrast to myself, who wears my finisher medal for days while doing errands.

Her ability to train 3-4 hours a day, and be so accomplished and recognized in her sport, yet rarely mention this tidbit, is a feat unto itself.

Whereas I ponder the incredible act of will required to complete one Ironman triathlon (just to recap, an ironman is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, followed by a full marathon, 26.2 miles), and then roll over for my afternoon nap, Christine has completed this distance nineteen times in races. Imagine the thousands of training miles she has logged to prepare herself.

I try, but frankly find it difficult to imagine.

If pressed, she will reveal an encyclopedic-like knowledge of anatomy, nutrition, sports-related injuries, and optimal training practices. Knowing her is like having a coach, sports medicine doctor and nutritionist at your fingertips. She is much more forthcoming and willing to share her knowledge, less so with her victories. In the past few months, her off-season, she won the Vancouver Diva on the Run 8 km race, and the Sigge’s 30 km Skate Ski race in Callaghan.

In the last couple of years she has focused on the Half Ironman distance, and success has been rolling her way, finishing on the podium frequently at major events. Last week she was named to the team representing Canada at the Elite Long Distance Triathlon World Championships that will be held in Nevada this fall.

“This sport is a stimulus for challenge. I believe the human body has a limitless potential if trained properly, and love to see how well I can hone this,” she says, when I ask her about her continual dedication to her sport.

A little story to illustrate her passion: I remember I was training for a race when my knee started hurting. To me, this meant I was injured, and I needed to halt my training until it passed. When I mentioned this to Christine, she asked me what I was doing about it. Confused, I said, well, nothing, I’m injured. I told her my symptoms, she diagnosed them instantly and sent me to a chiropractor. After a few sessions of active release therapy I was back on the road.

To many people, pain is a reason to stop. But for athletes like Christine, pain is simply a puzzle that needs to be solved. She just works harder until it’s fixed, whether the answer is massage, stretching, a nutritional change, physiotherapy, active release or rest.

Whereas I would take hundreds of training miles a week as license to eat freely and with abandon, Christine looks at nutrition as the cornerstone of a successful training program. She focuses on a balance diet of protein, carbohydrates, and fats by eating fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, with an emphasis on foods rich in antioxidants. She is a big believer in additives like Udo’s Oil for recovery and stamina, and sips on things like Vega shakes between workouts, an optimal combination of carbohydrates and hemp protein.

She is currently being coached by her long time training partner, friend, and hero, Jasper Blake, a Canadian icon in the triathlon world. He has been focusing on speed, intensity and strength, while integrating rest weeks into her program. As a result, she feels energetic and excited about her upcoming season, which kicks off this month and will culminate in the Ironman World Championship 70.3 in September, and now the Long Distance Triathlon World Championships in November. Both events will be held at Lake Las Vegas, Nevada.

On top of everything she does, she somehow makes time to blog about her race experiences. I particularly love this because it is here, in her blog, where I see the dedication and focus she has for her sport, more so than the odd occasion where we meet for lunch or drinks. She writes poetically about this object of her affection, beloved triathlons. It’s hard for readers not to be equally enamored, even from our armchairs.

Here’s to you, Christine, for motivating me to get out for my workout even when it’s raining, and for teaching us all that modesty is a beautiful thing.