1. Any advice you can offer to new runners or people new to the sport of triathlon?
Triathlon is a great sport for athletes of any level. Don’t be intimidated, and find a good local race to start with. Training should be fun! Triathlon is a great way to stay fit, meet new people, and achieve new goals.
2. Any training tips you can offer readers?
My number one advice is to avoid overtraining! It’s often hard to take rest and recovery days when trying to achieve a goal and be the best you can be, but I’ve come to discover that recovery is just as important as hard training sessions. Look after your body, stretch, ice, get regular massage therapy treatments, and do all of the little things right. These little things make a huge difference. They help prevent injury and ultimately will make you a better athlete.
3. Best race?
My best and most memorable result so far was winning the 2010 London World Championship Series race. I was a big underdog and had little expectations on myself and from others, so to come out on top against so many World Champions and Olympians was a huge shock.
4. Funny story while racing?
This might not be funny, but it’s a good story! I had a hard knock to the head during the swim leg in Kitzbuhel last year that caused one of my contact lenses to fall out. I finished the rest of the race with half-blurred vision, which made it very difficult to navigate the technical bike course. It was a pretty big distraction but it may have been a good thing as I ended up winning the race!
5. Going back to the start of all this, why triathlon? What drew you to the sport?
I actually started as a dancer when I was younger, and this was my major interest for about 15 years. I joined a competitive swim club at age 11, and decided at age 15 to put all of my focus on swimming and stop dancing. A few years later, I hit a plateau with my swimming and my times weren’t getting any faster. This was very frustrating for me as I was training 11 workouts a week but not making any forward progress. I decided to give triathlon a try, since I had some success with running in high school track meets. I got a road bike for Christmas, and tried my first triathlon in 2006. I was hooked! I really liked the new challenge of training for three sports, and it gave me new goals and motivation.
6. How are you enjoying the celebrity?
I don’t think I’m much of a celebrity, but I do enjoy the media attention following major races. I think it’s great for the sport of triathlon to gain more exposure. I hope that I can motivate others to get active, stay healthy and achieve their own goals, whatever they may be.
7. How does it feel racing against elite and seasoned women? Is it intimidating? How do you manage that pressure?
It is very intimidating to say the least! I feel very inexperienced and inferior to all of the seasoned Olympians and World Champions that I race against, and I have so much respect for all of them. I still get excited when I’m running with them at the end of big races. I get very nervous before races, but I’ve learned to manage the external pressure by not putting too much pressure on myself. I will always give my best effort on the day, and that is the best I can do. I have no control over my competitors so I try to focus on racing to the best of my ability, and to trust in all of the hard work that I have done.
8. Looking forward in your career, do you have your sights set on the London 2012 Olympic Games? How are you preparing for the Games?
The London Olympics are my primary focus and goal for the next few years. First, I must qualify for the Canadian team by placing in the top 8 at the World Championships this year. If I’m fortunate enough to make the team, I will spend next year in Victoria and at various altitude camps preparing to be in top condition for the games.
9. What are some of your food likes and dislikes?
I love all fruit, especially apples. I eat lots of salads with veggies, nuts, seeds, quinoa, eggs, or chicken. I don’t really have any food dislikes, although I tend to avoid red meat.
10. What are some tips and tricks you do to stay healthy year round?
Staying healthy is so important in order to train consistently, so I do everything I can to avoid sickness. I recently started to take IMMUNITY-FX capsules twice daily to give my immune system an extra boost! I also have a very healthy diet, with tons of fruits and veggies, protein and whole grains.
11. What has been your most challenging race so far?
My most challenging race was in Mooloolaba, Austalia this past March. The swim was in choppy ocean surf, which made it very difficult to sight the buoys and swim straight. The bike went up and over a huge hill, out and back 8 times, and the run went up and over the same hill 4 times. To make it even more challenging, a huge storm started in the middle of the race, with torrential rain and gale force winds! It was the first race of the season for me, and it’s truly one of the most difficult courses on the World Cup circuit. Things can only get easier from there!
12. What is your favorite race component? Do you consider it your best race component?
My favorite component is the run, which I would also consider my best component. I feel most confident in this portion of the race.
13. What was the last book you read?
“Visions of Excellence” by Mark Tewksbury. It’s an account of Mark’s athletic journey as a swimmer. He has a great passion for excellence, and anyone who wants to excel in sport would learn lots from reading his book. I really enjoyed it.
14. What’s your guilty pleasure?
15. What’s your training schedule like? What kind of hours do you put into training on a weekly basis?
During the race season, I train about 24 hours a week. This consists of 6 swims, 5 bikes, 5 runs, and a few yoga and strength sessions. There’s a mix of intensity and recovery workouts to keep a good balance and avoid over-training and injury.