2011 Race Highlights
3/27/11 Women Running Wild 5k 2nd overall 19:26
4/16/11 Big Rock Olympic Dist. Triathlon 1st overall 2:19:37
4/30/11 Avia Wildflower ½ IM 6th 30-34/12th amateur 5:24:56
5/15/11 Encinitas Sprint Triathlon 3rd elite 1:14:26
7/10/11 Rev3 Portand ½ IM 2nd amateur 4:44:50
9/11/11 Pacific Coast SW Regional Sprint Championship 2nd elite 1:12:30
10/08/11 Ironman World Championship 14th 30-34 10:22:56
Here is an interview I conducted with triathlete Rebecca Travis on Sept 10, 2011. Ben and Rebecca Travis are two of the first people I met when I moved to California. They are two of the nicest and most giving people I have met. I am thankful for our friendship and I will be cheering for Bec come October. She is currently preparing for her fourth Ironman World Championship, which will be held just weeks from now. Come Oct 8th in KONA Bec goes to work. See this artificial about her and some of the other women age group hopefuls from the Arizona Ironman last November.Ironman Event Link
Where were you born and did you play sports or athletics as a child? I am from a small town in Ct. called Woodbury. I never played anything other than school sports but I did do field hockey, gymnastics, and track (hurdles, and field events). I walked on the track team for UCONN which is D1. I was relatively well accomplished in discus which is funny b\c it is NOTHING like what I do now!
When and how did you get into triathlons?I got into distance running while I was studying abroad in Paris my sophomore year to keep healthy with all the pastries I was eating. I had always watched Ironman on TV and been amazed. A local event came up and a few co-workers and myself decided to try a short one! Needless to say I almost drowned at the first buoy and rode a borrowed beater MTB! Finished nonetheless!
Where is your favorite place to train? What about favorite race? No favorite place to train...just like peace and quiet...maybe Bend Or. after my trip there this summer! Favorite race...gotta be Kona...b\c you are so proud to be there and just finishing with your personal goals still feels good there!How many full and half triathlons have you competed in? No idea...lots...I started when I was 18...about 10 fulls (this is my 4th Kona).
What is a typical weeks training like for you leading up to such a race as the Kona Ironman? Minimum of 22hrs...up to 30 some weeks...constantly tired and beat up!
Do you have a training partner? Nope...who would want to do this...honestly! Well...team Jessup helps me out on the bike from time to time...we have a great cycling community in the desert...no shortage of talented cyclists!
Oh wait! CASH...my 100lbs. black labrador! My BESTEST running partner in the whole world...wakes my butt up every moring at 5:15 to run : ) Although we have had to cut back since he started puking after the long runs! But he does inspire me...never complains and always gives his all!
What does your daily food intake/diet consist of leading up to Kona? Lots of it! First of all...I love to cook and grew up cooking in a hometown gourmet deli. I stear clear of most processed foods and never eat fast food...b\c I just don't like it! I generally eat a pretty balanced healthy diet full of lean protein, fruits and veggies...but I also eat lots of carbs, desserts, and drink a fair share of beer and wine! Training for Ironman is so emotionally and mentally stressful that I don't like to deprive myself of the things that make me happy when I'm not suffering. After hard or long days I try to have a protein shake right away b\c I know I don't eat nearly enough protein. When Im training I dont like to carry a lot so I use Infinit drink mix and if I need to stop at a store its Snickers and Coke! On the road it doesn't seem to matter what I eat and simple sugars do the trick!
Do you watch your body weight for such an event? Yes...never want to get too carried away but my weight is pretty steady these days anyways. I weigh myself a few times a day...not b\c I’m obsessed with my weight but b\c I want to know how much fluid I am loosing during workouts so I can replace them. Living in the desert during the summer...you can get in trouble really quick if you don't take in enough fluids!
Do you take any dietary supplements? If so, what? No...I invest a lot of $$$ and time into preparing whole foods for myself and my family and sure I should probably take at least a multivitamin but I don't!
How important are rest days and rest weeks within your training? VERY...took me a long time to realize this like most people! I never train more than 3 week blocks before I take a rest week. Sometimes during a training block I take a rest day if I am stressed with life stuff...or feeling a sore throat coming on (a sure sign for me that I am run down and on the verge of getting sick). People don't realize that you can't get FASTER if you don't REST! Working out breaks you down...rest is when your body gets stronger. Another mistake people make is that you have to have key (hard) days...maybe 1 in each discipline a week...and truly EASY days...again 1 in each discipline per week. If you try to go hard all the time you end up not really giving it your all when you are suppose to (you cant physically or mentally).
How important is a coach? I don't have a coach right now (simply b\c its not in my current budget)...but I have in the past and I have been in the sport a long time so I think I have a good understanding of what I need to do. I do like to have one b\c it takes the guess work out of what you are doing if you are working with someone you respect and believe in. Coaching myself I am constantly questioning if I am maximizing my performance with my choices. Having someone who sees the big picture and have a view/objective perspective from the outside is SO important. You know when you are in the cow poo...you usually can't smell it!?! I think especially for new and less experienced triathletes a coach is the best $$$ investment, especially since there are lot's of good affordable programs out there these days. $$$= commitment to the task for most people who are not internally motivated.
Which leg of the race is your strongest, swim, bike, run? All around pretty solid...no one leg is stronger than the other. Always working on my run...b\c it's ALL ABOUT THE RUN!
What is the usual pre-race ritual starting from the night before up until you get into transition on race day? No rituals for me...just keep off the feet as much as possible once I'm done with pre-race workouts, gear check, etc. Relax and ignore all the neurotic other people with "rituals"! I do stear clear of veggies and mostly just some lean protein and carbs...but nothing too heavy. Sometimes I just drink Ensure which is also what I fuel with in the morning...goes down easy and doesn't upset the stomach, has everything you need!
What has been the most challenging part of you Kona 2011 preparation? Training in the desert heat...most morning its 85+ by 5:30 and by 1:00 pm 105+! Also missing out on fun summer stuff with my family : ( We have our fair share of fun my most standards but I hate the pressure of having to worry about getting workouts in and recovering from them. Also, I have a bit of a physical challenge as I have an unusual blocked iliac artery condition for which I have undergone 2 surgeries and still it persists. Symptoms are intermittent and sometimes really affect me and other times not at all.
At this point do you have any idea what to expect from the competition come October in Kona? What is your goal for this race? Competition in Kona is NO JOKE...they really are the best long course athletes in the WORLD! In the past "it has always just been an honor to be there"...you have to be realistic about your fitness and goals and what you can expect to accomplish. My first year I went to Kona...was fulfilling a "bucket list" goal of making it there. I did ok. MY 2nd year I was hit by a car 4 weeks before the race and was told NO WAY I could do it with a grade 3 separated shoulder. Ironman wouldn't defer my entry so I decided to go anyways since it was all paid for and my whole family was going. Again, I finished...and that was enough for me considering! My 3rd trip was a bit of a disappointment (11:13)...I honestly felt I had prepared to race faster than that. There are good days, and bad days in racing...sometimes you just have a bad day! This is the first time that I feel I can be competitive in the field. I have stepped away from a full-time job to train better and work part time teaching now. I don't expect to see the full results of this past years training for another couple years. *That is also another big mistake athletes make with coaching. People want INSTANT results...but it doesn't work that way...often after just a couple months or 1 year people expect to see drastic results. Triathlon...Ironman especially takes patience. Most coaches will tell you it is a 3 year process.
Most people don't like to talk numbers but I feel I am more than capable of 10:30 or better this year (barring any crazy conditions).
Tell us about you support crew... family, friends, and fans? My husband is a former pro and I can't tell you how lucky I am to be an Ironman athlete and have him. Doing an Ironman is a HUGE stress not just on yourself but your WHOLE family. You must take that into consideration when thinking about attempting one and if its the right time not just for you...but for them. He is incredibly understanding, patient, and compassionate with the roller coaster of emotions I go thru while doing this. Same goes for my step-daughter Faith who is an incredibly accomplished swimmer. It's nice to have a family of athletes b\c we all really understand what one another go through and I think support one another really well the best way we can! Ironman Arizona (where I qualified) was the 1st Ironman my parents have seen me do...and that meant as much for me to share with them as any race in Kona I have ever done.
What's on the agenda for you after Kona 2011? Rest...shorter stuff like 70.3 distance...want to do some traveling this year and not be bound to an Ironman training schedule.
What words of advice would you give someone who is about to do their first triathlon and someday would like to be doing the Kona Ironman? Don’t be in a rush...take your time building the experience and fitness necessary to complete an Ironman distance race well. It shouldn't be taken lightly and seems like a craze these days that people want to spring off the couch and do an Ironman in less than a year! It takes YEARS to let your body adapt for the most part. I see a lot of people suffer multiple injuries as a result of jumping into the deep end too quickly. Stay balanced!
I hear you are married to one of the freshest and hottest up and coming bicycle racers of Southern California, does he aid in your motivation? What’s up next for him? Ben is unpredictable at best. I hate the bastard b\c he has been racing for so many years that he can go from rocking out in his band and drinking beers to racing a local crit the next day and winning it on virtually no training. He had a really successful first year of bike racing and if I were a Master's racer I would be concerned and jealous! He is officially racing for Jessup Auto Plaza cycling team out here in the desert so I suppose that means we can expect to see him on the SO Cal cycling scene next season???
The Ironman World Championships will be held Oct 8th in Kona. Good luck Rebbeca Travis! Get it!