Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A race reflection worth reading!!

Kari Strutt dug deep for her 3rd place age group finish this weekend at the Shawnigan Lake Half Ironman. Here's an honest reflection on her challenging day:

"OK...so that was the hardest thing I've ever done by choice. Seriously...

It sounded so lovely on the internet...

Rolling terrain...that sounds so pastoral, doesn't it? I love to roll...I love rolling. See how I roll? I roll. I am sooo good at rolling.

So...THIS is what rolling terrain REALLY means:

a) at any given moment, you are going either up, or down. There is no flatness. None. NONE. EVERRRRRRR.
b) as my clever husband points out (as if to illustrate the simplicity and ease of this rollingness), "If you start and finish at the same place, you've gone down just as much as you've gone up, so it's all even." This is some mystical man equation that actually says "stop whining and pedal".
c) husband forgets that it takes at least twice as long to climb up as it does to roll down, so a rolling course means you are riding "up" a shift-load of time...MOST of the time, in fact (in granny gears), which basically feels like ALL of the time - and the hills are often steep, so it kind of hurts
d) item c) does not favour you when it comes to running

Rolling? Who named it that? Should have named "relentless climbing punctuated by a moment to wipe the snot off the end of your nose". Thus ends my missive on "rolling".

Can I start now with total head freeze? First off, I got so panicked in the swim warm-up I actually decided to pack it in before I started. Really. I left the water. Thank God for the National Anthem - gave me the minute I needed to get the heeje up (heeje - it rhymes with the first syllable of "legion")... I know it's not a real word, but if I get my way, it will be. I did the breaststroke for so long I had my own guide kayak...seriously, everyone swam away. It was just me "fair-haired lady in kayak". I was sooo dead last. I started making little bargains with myself (just 3 crawl strokes before a couple of head-ups...then 6...then 9...then 12...then I was doing 50 at a time, and finally I got it going and just swam, but it took a long time). I was golden for the last 25%.

The run was really lovely - but that same numb foot thing that happened in the 70.3. I haven't had a chance to check my run time, but I've never started a run with legs so beat up, so I'm guessing it was a bit dull. For all that, the late finishers are a pleasant bunch and I made a few new friends.

I got an age group medal. Ha ha hah. If you wait long enough, the field gets small! It was a big thrill for Veronika...and oddly, for Ken. Vern stole my age-group medal (purple ribbon) and the hat I won. Wore them home on the plane. (I'm currently in an Abbotsford Hotel, driving home on Monday).

There were a number of moments when I was ready to quit this race . Near the end of Lap 1 of the bike a woman passed me half way up a hill, then a man shortly after...30 seconds later he's standing at the side of the road, and she's motionless on the ground, between two parked cars. It was very sobering. Reminds of some old add slogan..."first you get good THEN you get fast". I also felt like quitting after Lap 2 of the bike. And after Lap 3 of the bike. By Lap 4...I was cool with saying "last f***ing time I see you ash-hill".

My finish time was not anywhere near a personal best...in fact it might be a personal worst, but at this moment I'm feeling ok with it. I'm not dancing on a table or anything, but it seemed like challenging course, and I certainly had to fight myself (yay, I won...but wait, I also lost). Either way, I'll take what I got, but I soooo need to work on my roll."

Congratulations, Kari! We are very proud to have you as part of our team and are looking forward to hearing many more of your race day musings.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Supermom starts the season strong

Last weekend in Calgary, long time Mercury Rising athlete and 12h Ironman finisher Kendall Pritchard took on the Try this Tri Triathlon (say that 10 times fast!) to work out the cobwebs before her big races this year. And blast those cobwebs she did, finishing second in her age group! Congrats Kendall. Roll on Supermom!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Wet Weekend of Racing (in some places)

So this past weekend a number of MRT athletes saw action.
The Oak Bay Kool 1/2 marathon was on the calendar and the Mercury team was well represented.
Jeremy Hopwood, Rachel Kiers and my lovely wife, Sara Gross were all signed up. Alison Dickson and Steffen Hagen also toed the line - and a wet line it was! The rains were coming down hard but everyone had an outstanding race. Rachel was first in her age group with a 1:28:36 - a strong run! Jeremy - coming off a new addition to the family less than three months ago, managed to come in 7th overall with a time of 1:18:26. Great run Jeremy - and trust me when I say, he's not as lean as I've seen him in the past. When he loses the last few pounds of baby fat, he's gonna be ripping up the road! Ali Dickson just keeps PBing 1:45:41 - 6th in her age group. Steffen Hagen ran 1:36:24 - 6th in his age group. Not bad. Both Ali and Steffen spent about half a day on their bikes the day before the race!!
Sara just gets stronger every day. She pulled off a 1:23:17. Good for 2nd over all! She's ready for IM Brazil!! Rosalee was very proud of her.
In the interior there was an Olympic tri going on - the Oliver Oly, and MRT's Jennifer Mansell was there. She ended up 4th in her age group. The exciting thing about this result was her run time. She did the run in about the same time as last year - this is exciting because we've been doing less volume and no speed work - yet maintaining the same speed - and with NO Achilles pain that was the bane of her training existence! It's very encouraging and bodes well for her Ironman this year.
Over in Edmonton MRT's Elissa Papp was laying it down at the Spring Thaw Sprint Triathlon! She had a great all around race and finished 4th over all and 2nd in her age group. I'm very proud of Elissa. She had many challenges this year and has kept her nose to the ground!
Last and certainly not least is our favorite son - Luke Gillmer. He was racing in his club championships in Australia. He was the 2nd Age grouper in the club - he trains with a STRONG group! Well done Luke! We're all looking forward to seeing him tear it up in the Cairns 70.3 on June 5th!
Another great weekend for Mercury Rising!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Springing Back

As triathletes we are always learning, how to get the best out of ourselves, how to manage our weak spots and injuries and how to balance our time, our priorities and our cheque books.

Top age grouper Megan Jones is emerging from a difficult winter and proving that she can and will be stronger than before. She kicked off the season last Sunday with a hilly 10k which she ran in just under 46mins. Big congrats to Megan for her hard work and perseverance and we look forward to what the season will bring!

Welcome aboard.

Meet Cheryl Jones, one of the newest additions to Mercury Rising Triathlon's team. With a background in martial arts, she decided just a few months ago to enter the world of triathlon, and officially became a triathlete on Sunday after crossing the finish line at the Tri-Diva Tri in Airdrie. Here she is, all decked out in this year's race kit, with her 2 coaches. Congratulations, Cheryl!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Grahams and The Podium

A third place age group medal for Todd Graham last weekend at the Ice Breaker Sprint Triathlon in Regina is followed up here by a nice post race snack! And not to be out-done by her husband, Shana Graham took the second place slot in her age group at the same race. Shana was defending her first place overall title from last year, and while she managed to race faster this year, a few gals (mostly pesky teenagers!!) upped the stakes. Well done, guys!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fast Feet!

Huge Congratulations to Mercury Rising coach Michelle Milot, who once again was consistent and strong on a tough day, on a tough course at Ironman St. George! Michelle used her speedy run to move herself into second in her age group and grabbed a Kona spot to boot.

Meanwhile, in balmy Calgary, Tessa P. ran a PB at the Mother's Day 5k to finish 4th in her again group out of 100 women. Tessa has been patient through a number of run injuries over the years and her persistence and consistency in training are just starting to pay off. Congrats Tessa!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Catching Up!!

I'm behind on my admin these days! In the past several weeks there have been several notable Mercury Rising Performances and they need to be acknowledged!!

And one of the most exciting results to brag about came from Jennifer Mansell who, on April 10th was the FIRST FEMALE OVER ALL - out of a 116 women at Port Royal Sprint in a time of 1:05:10! So exciting!

This past May 1st weekend Luke Gillmer made his pro debut at the Port Macquarie 70.3. He posted a PB of 4:29:18 and ended up cracking the top ten. It was a great introduction to the big show for this young man who is a genuine triple threat in the sport. Watch out for this one - more to come!!

Jeremy Hopwood who is a new dad has obviously been sneaking in a few runs. He ran 17:13 in the Dave Reed 5K on March 26th and was 19th over all in the race. A month later and he went 17:04 in at Eugene 5K. It's always tough with a new kid in the crib but Jeremy is finding his rhythm. He'll have some great races this year!

Rachel Kiers ran the Gibson 1/2 marathon on April 3rd. She ran 1:26:49 and came 2nd in her age group. This result is especially note worthy because athletes are sometimes fitter than they think they are!! Yay Rachel!

Island Triathlon athletes Steffen Hagen and Alison Dickson, who I'm working with, went to Kona last month for a fun I Tri camp that culminated in everyone doing the Lavaman Triathlon. They both had great races. Steffen PBd at the distance by FIFTEEN minutes going 2:33 and Alison went 2:38:06 coming 6th in her age group!

I also have to mention that sneaky Cathy Noel - slipped into the Vancouver marathon and ran a 4:04. We're both pretty happy with that!

Sara also made her return to racing recently. On April 16 ran a 39:12 for her first official toeing of the start line at the hilly Sooke River 10K where she ran a 39:12 good enough to come 2nd over all.
For her first foray back in the pro triathlon world we chose a tough one - the St. Croix 70.3. Neither of us put high expectations on a result there. It was a test for sure. It's just too bad we didn't test the race wheels out - specifically the extended stem. It wouldn't seal and when Sara had to fix a puncture about 37 miles into the ride she was unable to get air into the repair. It was almost an hour before a mechanic got to her and was able to get her back on the road. Of course after that long on the side of the road the impetus to red line to the finish line is gone but Sara finished out the ride and got a nice run in. It was a good thing she did. The money went 10 deep and there were only a 11 pros. Unfortunately one of the women went down on the bike and was unable to finish. This meant Sara picked up a pay cheque just for finishing. Sure was glad to see that ridiculous 8% rule removed!

It's going to be a great race season!!