Saturday, October 15, 2011


For 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!

I 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!

Thanks 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!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Season Wrap Up

I was in full on catch-up mode after the London race. I felt motivated and confident that I could be back to my old self by Beijing, but I knew it would be hard work. I jammed in as much training as possible, ignoring that I was feeling tired and slow at every workout, and thinking that it was just part of getting fit again. I had a very disappointing race at nationals in Kelowna where my running just didn’t feel normal. My injury was under control, although I knew that it wasn’t completely healed. Still, I put my head down for 2 more weeks before our departure for Beijing, hoping that somehow everything would come together in time.

Our set up in Beijing was absolutely perfect, and we had an awesome group of staff helping us with everything we needed. Still, I was stressing all week about not being ready, and I really wasn’t excited to race. Our group had a big crash while riding the bike course a few days before the race, leaving me with a giant bruise on my hip and a sore shoulder. I tried to be optimistic and positive all week as that was all I could do at that point, but in the back of my mind I was terrified. Not the nervous-excited that I usually feel, but actually scared of racing.

The race itself was a disaster from the start. No energy, sore shoulder, and tired. Just like in training for the past 4 weeks. I was about a minute back out of the water, but I reminded myself how many times packs come together on the bike, so I started chasing hard. I got to the giant hill and had ZERO energy. I was getting dropped by the girls around me and I couldn’t do anything about it. Frustrating! As I came in around the first lap I couldn’t even fathom getting up the hill again. I actually would have tipped over. So I made the awful and embarrassing decision to pull over. Rode back to the hotel, called my mom, and cried for about 10 hours. I changed my flight from Yokohama to Edmonton, and came home to decide if I had the energy or desire to train for 5 more weeks for the Pan Am games. This situation looked very familiar to my panic catch-up after London, which clearly did not work out well for me. I decided that it was not worth the risk of failing again, I couldn’t mentally deal with another bad race, and my body was telling me that it needed a break.

I did have some great races this season and next year is much more important, but I’m still really sad about such a disappointing finish to my season. At one point I had a realistic chance of finishing on the podium at the World Championships, and I slowly slid down the rankings after every race. I received a really nice message from Malindi Elmore, an Olympic track athlete in Canada who I’ve always looked up to. You have proven you can be the best in the world and you need to believe that every day now. Every champion has setbacks, raising from them is what makes your successes even more meaningful.” I haven’t won anything for a while, but I’ll appreciate it so much more now, if I ever win anything again! Despite the disappointments, I’ve learned so much in these past few months and I think that it has left me even better prepared for 2012. Plus, it has taken some of the media pressure and attention away. No one wants to interview a DNF ;)

Not to make it sound like I just won an Oscar, but there are some very important people that I’d like to thank. My wonderful therapists who I’ve worked with this year, Kim, Sam, Joelle and Marilyn, thank you for working hard to keep me moving! Michelle, I couldn’t have gone through this year without you. Linda, my strength coach, Bill, my swim coach at U of A, and of course Patrick, my patient and understanding coach who deals with my grumpiness every day. My sponsors, family and friends, you are all awesome. Triathlon Canada, thanks for supporting me and believing in my potential. There is a big team behind me and I know don’t always give them the credit they deserve.

I’m off to Kona in a few weeks to hang out with the Specialized crew at the Ironman World Championships, which I’m excited about! After that, I’m back in Victoria to start getting ready for next year.

Through the ups and the downs, thanks to everyone who has been a part of my rollercoaster year. Actually, it was more like a water slide. Started off high and ended low. But anyways, I appreciate the support through it all.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

London Report

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.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tough Decision

Well this is a lot less fun to write then a post-race victory report!
I 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.

I 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.

Thanks 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!

See you on the start line in London, healthy and ready to go.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kitzbuhel Race Report

Kitzbuhel was my very first WCS race back in 2009. I went into it feeling way 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!

I 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.

I 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.

The 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.

I 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!

After 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.


Monday, June 6, 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 3 rd 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 reeled her 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
th. I’m looking forward to the change of scenery and this is certainly a beautiful place to be.

Thanks for cheering for me!


Monday, May 23, 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 partners Kyla, Jeff and Matt. 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.

Nothing 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!

Two new fun things that I got before I left: NormaTec and Bonk Breaker Bars. 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.

I 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,


Friday, May 13, 2011

Believe It

Thanks so much to IMPACT magazine for writing such a nice article and putting me on their cover this month!


The stunning arrival of triathlete wunderkind Paula Findlay

By Chris Welner

One of these days, Paula Findlay is going to have to stop being awestruck about her status as one of the world’s great triathletes.

A red-headed pixie who you could mistake for being a member of a high school glee club, Findlay has won three of the last four ITU World Championship Series triathlons, including this season’s opening race. Every time, she looks and sounds surprised crossing the finish line:

“The whole season was a big surprise.”

“I was in total shock.”

“I can’t believe it.”

Believe it Paula. Believe it big time, because you are the one being chased. You have London’s Olympic Rings figuratively tattooed on your backside in full view of all the competition that you have been running into the ground from Austria to Australia.

In less than a year, the Edmonton native has risen to the top of a sport that taxes the body and mind in so many ways as athletes swim, bike and run to superhuman limits. Findlay, who turns 22 on May 25, has soared from a world ranking of 53 to No. 3 in less than a year. She’s ranked No. 1 for the 2012 Olympic Games. And while you won’t find her on the statistical leaderboard for the swim or cycle, Findlay is proving herself to be triathlon’s best runner.

“The whole season was a big surprise. I wasn’t expecting to be able to compete with those girls after racing under-23 in 2009,” says Findlay. “I was just building up Olympic distance experience and hoping for top-20 finishes. I don’t know how it happened; just a lot of hard work, I guess.”

I guess.

“I’ve never actually met an athlete as determined, focused and organized as Paula,” says her coach, Patrick Kelly. “With Paula, we don’t have the best swimmer or biker, but she runs very well, very fluid and she has very big aerobic capacity. It’s something physiological — like Lance Armstrong.

“Some people just want to be competitive, but Paula loves to race and loves to win.”

Findlay made headlines last July, when, in a 68-racer field competing on the Olympic course in London, the woman with No. 53 taped onto her limbs won in her first elite World Championship Series race.

“I was in total shock. I don’t think I understood the significance of the race,” she says.

Three weeks later, Findlay was back in Europe, a little under the weather and jet-lagged from another transatlantic crossing. This time she was racing in the ski resort town of Kitzbuhel, Austria. Again she won the $18,000 first prize, despite being struck in the head in the crush of the swim and losing a contact lens.

“Kitzbuhel was a lot more difficult and I wasn’t feeling well — London was almost effortless — but I was just as excited and just as surprised,” Findlay says.

The latest trophy she hauled home came from Sydney, Australia in April when she edged out Barbara Riveros Diaz of Chile by two seconds in the season opening World Championship Series race. That race featured another swim crash, another lost contact lens.

“Going into Sydney I was kind of nervous with new sponsors, more people knew my name. And I had no idea where I’d be. I just wanted to run with the leaders. It turned out well,” she says. “There was a little less shock factor this time. I was more happy to know I hadn’t lost it over the winter, that I was still at the top of my game.”

In four career WCS races, Findlay has won three and placed fifth in the other, last year’s Grand Final in Budapest. Austalian Emma Snowsill scorched the field when she ran a 33 minute, 8 second 10K — Findlay had the second best run at 35:02 — to win that race by one minute, 43 seconds.

“I envy Paula, at 22 just starting her career. I think, ‘Oh that’d be fun. I could do that again,’” says Simon Whitfield, Canada’s most decorated triathlete, with more than 25 international wins, including Olympic gold and silver medals. At 36, a father of two, Whitfield’s triathlon career is waning, but he intends to be wearing Canadian colours at the Olympics in London.

As he watches the nation’s rising star take care of business on the race courses and at their training home in Victoria, B.C., Whitfield marvels at her results.

“We knew Paula was going to be good, that she was going to win races; but I don’t know if anyone knew it would happen that quickly. She got to races in really good shape — but with no expectations. Fifth would have been great, 10th would have great. And she goes off and wins those races! With no pressure, that was a perfect scenario to perform,” say Whitfield. “It’s been really fun to watch as she does her thing and I get to sit in the peanut gallery. She’s very impressive — the epitome of quietly getting the work done. It’s very impressive and it’s working.”

But expectations are rising, particularly returning to London for the 2012 Games. This year’s WCS race in London in August will follow the Olympic course, a tweaked route that crosses through the grounds of Buckingham Palace. And Findlay is racing this year with the benefit, and added weight, of new corporate sponsors. Whitfield cautions about taking on too much sponsorship, noting that corporate obligations can distract from training.

“Now the pressure begins,” says Whitfield. “It’s one thing to make it to the top; it’s another thing to stay there. I’m confident she has the ability to rise to the challenge. She’s very intelligent. The fear
I have is that people smother her. You have to let her make mistakes and learn from them.”

Findlay certainly has the pedigree for success. Her father Max Findlay is one of the country’s premier neurosurgeons and a sub-three hour marathon runner with a bulldog personality that Paula inherited.

Her mom Sheila, a respiratory therapist, ran track at the University of Toronto and rowed single skulls for Canada at the world championships, while brother Colin, 18, is an Alberta indoor rowing champion. Paula is part way through a sciences degree at the University of Alberta and hopes to follow her parents into the health care field one day.

“If I sense she’s overburdened, I tell her coach. My role is just to be her mom and listen to the things that bug her,” says Sheila Findlay.

“She can’t tell other people if her coach is bugging her, if her roommate’s bugging her. You don’t get to where she is by being easy to get along with — she’s tough, she’s smart. She knows what she wants.”
Findlay’s coach is well aware the temperature around her is creeping into global warming territory and he’s taking steps to cool things down.

“It’s not easy to repeat. Paula understands there’s more pressure, more distractions and greater expectations from everyone,” says Kelly. “We have to help her reduce that external noise.”

A competitive swimmer since age 11, Paula took up track at St. Francis Xavier High School in Edmonton and competed in triathlon. She swam on the varsity team at the U of A. She stepped onto the world triathlon stage at the 2006 World Junior Championships in 2006 and finished 13th in a race won by her Canadian teammate Kirsten Sweetland. Findlay has had a series of victories over several age-group classes and categories before last season’s leap onto the big stage, including a victory at home in Edmonton at the 2007 Pan American junior championships.

She’ll be back racing in her hometown on July 10 in the Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup, looking to step back on that podium. That means training 25-plus hours a week: six days in the pool, six days on the bike and five runs along the way. She’s in bed early every night and rarely steps out to socialize. She keeps her gaze firmly affixed on training and triathlon, albeit with stakes raised because of her breakthrough world-class performances.

“I’ve learned to keep things in perspective, stay grounded and not let those results get to my head,” says Findlay. “After every race I won, I still felt inferior to those girls. I wasn’t thinking, ‘I’m better and faster than everyone else and I’m going to win every race.’ It’s still amazing and I can’t believe what’s happening.”

A year ago, Findlay had no idea she was even in this league.

“The expectations are making me very nervous,” she admits. “Even after winning in Kitzbuhel, I was new to the whole thing. Now I’m going into these races expecting to be a podium contender every time.

“I’m really confident in my running and if I get out of the swim in the lead pack and stay with leaders in the bike, I know I’m having a good day.

“I’m excited, but I’m scared. I was a huge underdog. No one knew my name.”

They know the name now. Believe it.

May/June 2011 Issue

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

To the BEST mom in the whole wide world.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Vancouver Sun Run and HOME!

I 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!

After 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.

On 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 break.

Happy Easter everyone!


Tuesday, April 12, 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 right 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.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mooloolaba World Cup

As 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!

I 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!

My 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!

So 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!

Thanks to everyone for the nice messages. It makes a big difference to have so much support from back home!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Victoria Life & Bazan Bay 5k

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!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Maui Camp

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,