Saturday, November 21, 2009
This year has been one of the luckiest years of my life. I had gone through hard times at the end of last year and had decided to make changes in my life and to find a coach and start focusing more on triathlon (something I had always wanted to do). Finding a coach had always been a challenge, many people have helped me very much along the way and I am very thankful but I had to find a committed, personal coach that shared my dream.
Last year,I had a podium in Newfoundland 70.3, followed by a frustrating sixth place in Boise in which I was beat to the finish line by one second. At that race, I promised myself I would come back and do better the next year. Coincidentaly, it was also at that race that I met Bruce Regensburg and Dan Smith from Lifesport almost and started talking about coaching. I contacted them several times. Just after Christmas, I got a call from Paul Regensburg from Lifesport and got invited to a training camp in Victoria.
And here I was, invited to join them in a few days in the canadian triathlon Mecca!
Exciting plan for the new year? They didn't need to insist. I was on the plane on January first. On my way to a first GREAT adventure!!
A homestay was arranged for me. (the people that now feel like family in Victoria) and I headed into training very fast. I was smiling on the plane..and little did I know...I WAS GOING TO BE IN FOR IT!!!! LIFESPORT BOOT CAMP NUMBER 1. HERE I COME!!!! (Poor innocent me!!! hehehe....)
I arrived in an environment every triathlete dreams of. All of a sudden, I was living in a wonderful training climate, feeling the contagious energy of a team of very professional, committed, passionate people. That was my dream coming true, this was the winning team for sure!
Oh and... isn't it funny how quickly pain and effort are forgotten? Come to think of it,it was hard my friends! I had so much fun working the HARDEST I HAD EVER WORKED IN MY LIFE (so far) with my new friends. Each night, I would come home victorious and bragged to my homestay about how I had managed to survive, at night I prayed I would wake up the next morning and still be able to walk! (I am almost not exaggerating!!!). Uncertainty is a wonderful thing...
But, at the end of the week, I had survived. And had discovered what being a pro athlete, committing and working hard was all about.AND I LOVED IT!! I met my coach Lance Watson, during that camp. The man who I owe much of my success this year to. From there, it all started. It was the beginning of all of the great work with Lance, meeting more new team mates, traveling to training camps in wonderful places while benefiting from the best support ever, training hard, so hard! and learning from Lance every day. Becoming a full time pro and racing faster than I ever had before.
Well, i guess I had to tell you all this in order for you to understand how thankful I am that I have come to meet my new team and how proud I am to be a LIFESPORT athlete. Thank you to all of the Lifesport team for having helped me through a wonderful season.
MY TEAM! Fun times at the 2009 Maui training camp!
As a good thing always leads to another, another blessing in 2009, was meeting my new friend and manager, Travis Blanton. Travis has made it possible for me to meet the great people who would sponsor me this year, the people that I trust and those that would make it possible for me to race with the best equipment and also to look to the future and see my dream of making triathlon my job, possible.
Travis (the tall guy)
I met the people from TYR shortly after Boise, and discovered another group of extraordinary people. How many sponsors do you find yelling encouragements at you on the side of the road the first time they come and see you race (Timberman).I discovered the great work ethics they have when I followed them on a week-end photoshoot. They are a young and dynamic group of people with wonderful ideas that I get along with well and am eager to get to know even better.
Fun at week-end photoshoot! With Chrissie, Becky and TJ!
Feedback on products... perfectionists...
I am also very lucky to have just signed with a new major sponsor, Blue Bikes. It is very new. My team mate, Brent McMahon, had been very satisfied of his Blue bike and had a very good season. Blue sent me a bike to try and I found it just AMAZING. So amazing, that I decided to ride it in CLearwater, even though I had only had it for two weeks!! Blue is now part of my sponsor family and I am very proud to represent such a promising, dynamic, serious company. All of my sponsors have great dreams, which I share.
With Chance, from Blue
My new ride!! All set up for race day?
Another sponsor new to me is Trakkers. I have talked to the guys at Trakkers and get along with them very well. They are very fun to work with and have done some very original website designs for many of the top athletes in our sport. Together, we have elaborated some fun ideas for a website and they are working hard on a project for me. Their creativity will make it very fun!!!
Of course, there is also the people that I want to thank for having provided me equipment in the last years and help me make 2009 possible. Pierre Vermette and Natasha Cassivi from F3 distribution have provided me with Pearl Izumi shoes and apparel for several years and my friends at Marinoni have made it easy for me to find bicycle equipment and have greatly encouraged me in the past years. And since I am in Thank You's, I would also say that I owe alot to my friend Sophie Limoges for having prevented me from getting injured all year with her chiropractic skills! She is just amazing..and more of a healer than a chiro, really. Each time I have gone to see her with something wrong, she has solved my issue. She is magic! Merci Sophie et Robert. Last but not least, thank you to my new friends that have provided me with beautiful race pictures all summer and to all of you that have been cheering for me.
With a family like that, it feels great to look to the future!
2010, here we come!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Lifesport swim clinic on the beach.... giving out some of our secrets!
It is now Wednesday.... but I am still on Saturday. Since then, every day has felt like waking up from a wonderful dream. Savouring the memories from saturday has not been very hard as everything going on around me takes me back to the beginning of the week-end. –Congratulations on your run Mags-.....-thanks for bringing it up, want to hear more about it??!!- I don’t want to brag but I will re-live that race whenever I can! Hahaha.
It was Christmas morning on Saturday and I got to unwrap all my presents. How often does Santa give you MORE than you have wished for? I remember Lance a’ Clause asking me for my list at the beginning of the year...-what were my expectations in terms of performance- he asked. We had just started working together and I didn’t want him to think I was crazy.... I blushed and said that I would like to have a podium and some top fives in 70.3s ...and finish in the top 10 at worlds in Clearwater. At the time, that sounded like a VERY ambitious plan to me and just thinking about achieving that is what got me all excited an kept me pushing hard through training.
I knew the result at this race would be a surprise, I just hoped and prayed it would be a good one: I have to admit that I landed in Florida with both my escorts: The angel and the demon. As I sat on the bench at the airport pick-up zone for two hours and a half (hahahah, long story), the angel started reminding me of all the good work I had done in the last three weeks, took me back to moments at the pool where I got MAD at Lance for the first time, hitting my fist into the water at my first stroke as I had just finished a very hard set just to find him asking for more... The fastest had to be the last...at the end of a 1h hard practice? Insane....but correct, I got out of the pool that day with a smile! I wasn’t going to forget that –induced- personal victory.
In other moments of reflection, the Devil brought back the fight with the Flu that Amanda and I had two weeks earlier. That deep coughing between intervals....and all that sleeeep! Kind of scary before the world championships, not so nice of the devil to like to bring it up before the race.
Other times, I smiled, thinking about how it had felt to race in Boise, Vancouver and Calgary, where I had felt good, and tried not to think of tired Muskoka and Georgia. Races where it never got going and I was starting to wonder if I had raced too much for a first big season. Oh...and there was also that bike crash at the beginning of the taper that did not make me all so confident when it got on my mind. Early in the trip, it seemed like it would be an emotional yoyo game all the way to the start line! But when I got into the condo in Florida and found all my old habbits, it all came together.I chose my side. I was going to chase opportunity and felt so happy.
THE BIG DAY
I love how Saturday started in the dark. The night before Christmas, you never get that much sleep... I was up early (4:30) and soon laughing in the car with mom on the way to the adventure. Where were the nerves? I was just excited and focused on the task, just where I wanted to be. Before the start, it was a mix of darkness and bright lights, the set of a party. I made it to the swim start on time for a good warm up...sighted my buddies, got a nice pep talk with Justin, a huge hug from Amanda and her usual big smile, there was also mom running all over the place looking after some of my things. And where was Lance? Found him lined up in the croud, calm and reassuring. There was something magic and extremely comforting about him. He always is. So glad to have had him there.
After a good swim warm up and I felt on task, I had just put on my new TYR Hurricane Cat 5 wetsuit and was trying it on for the first time. It was feeling FANTASTIC! We lined up in the bay on the new swim course they had changed the day before. Adding a bit of mystery to the adventure to come. There we were again, lined up at dusk....ready to make things happen, looking ahead into the rising sun. Oh and...may I ask who got the DJ? My favourite music was playing just before the start. This one had to be special.
So there we were, lined up at the buoys, nervous laughs all around, a delayed start, more nervous laughs... and then the gun!!! Girls pounding on my right side, pounding on my left side. A Big kick in the eye, emptying my goggles, catching the chase pack again. A couple of sightings to the lead pack, head back down to push. A nice, somewhat cruising swim, in a pack, getting kicked once in a while but also enjoying a nice constant rythm and an amazing feeling of efficiency that came from all of the good work done with Lance. Out the ramp to transition. At that point, I was proud of my swim effort and focus but still didn’t know anything about my ranking out of the water...
Aim for the Pirate ship on the way out!
Out of transition and on to MY NEW BLUE TRIAD!!! the war weapon!!!! My sponsor spoiled me with a sub 9 AND a 1080 for that ride...first time racing on those too...just flowing, feeling amazing. I had been nervous about the 1080 in the wind but Lance was right. Good choice!
I felt powerful as I chased Michellie Jones down the road at the start of the bike, I passed her at maybe 5 k into the bike , but she didn’t seem like the kind of girl that would let anyone get away. The bike ride was just about staying steady, at a good effort, but still keeping some for the run. I knew this race would be won on the run as the bike was very flat and not so challenging. Jones was strong on the bike, she was going at a good pace and I loved having her there, pushing hard and definitely challenging me. The big surprise of the race was when a HUGE pack of men went by us about a quarter of the way through...it was crazy, it felt just like a bike race for a couple of minutes and I didn’t know what to do! The train went by and it was over. It was the first time I had ever seen a pack like that in a race!...
Now on to the run...the magical part of my race. The run is the true surprise all the time. I never know what to expect. Again, in Victoria, I had some of my best runs ever and was feeling strong but then again...I had also felt that way before Timberman, where I had a disappointing run. SO there again, I had to have faith and hold on! I hoped off my bike and had a quick transition. I then actually had this thought: -Nice! Lance will be proud!!!- (ha!). The started the run OVERPACE. I was excited and feeling like I was going a bit too fast when....Laura Bennett passed me....going even faster (later told me she had recorded a 3:25 for her first K). People started telling me I was eight. I then thought to myself that is was good but didn’t even think about the podium. I just focused on the task and pushed forward. I hung on for a while before remembering my plan to keep some for the last lap. I was going to let her go but keep her in sight. After maybe 7K, I saw that she had slowed down and moved back up. Onto the bridge, I found myself feeling bouncy and great legs, and from there, things just kept on feeling better and better. The effort started feeling easy and girls kept popping up ahead of me....I was sixth, fifth, and the fourth.....the emotion got to me and made me faster and faster, I ran up that bridge so fast with everyone cheering. I felt bad but couldn’t help pumping my fist and celebrating with 3 kilometers to go. Then I got to the mile before the end....with everyone yelling that third was right there....I couldn’t see her..but coach had yelled that she was within seconds. I put my head down and moved into second gear, just as Lance had said. Little did I know, second gear would get me third place just meters before the end of the race!!!!!!!
JUST LIKE A DREAM. I NEVER WANT TO WAKE UP FROM.
I will shortly be putting up a special blog to tell you all about the amazing people that have helped me get to where I am today and that have made Saturday possible for me.
Talk more very soon!
P.S: Anders, we can't find your phone number!
Monday, November 16, 2009
With coach Lance and team mate Amanda Stevens....
HI EVERYONE!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR CHEERS AND COMMENTS!!!
I just got back to St-Sauveur, where I am spending a week with mom and family, finishing my thesis, relaxing and PLAYING THIS WEEK-END'S RACE OVER AND OVER IN MY HEAD!! It seems like there is a permanent smile on my face since Saturday morning. I am just so glad that I could end the season on such a good note. A podium at worlds is definitely what I had dreamed of for this year! I still feel like I have to pinch myself and keep on re-playing the last stages of the race in my head! I will report all about the race tomorrow, once I get some sleep!
Cheers to all!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I know... WHERE HAVE I BEEN? At this point, it might be shorter for me to start by....where am I now?
Well, as you might have guessed. I am back in the sandy, warm, festive environment of Clearwater, Florida.
This year, it is the feeling of opportunity that is driving me. I am reliving all the good memories from last year and having a second taste of everything I liked from the past: finding our same little beach condo, training in my same little secret spots, enjoying the same special dinners with mom, watching the scene of the BIG RACE get set up and ANTICIPATE a great day. I am quickly drifting back into my lovely pre-Clearwater –Habits-.....
But this time, I am enjoying making all things GREATER! All I can feel this year OPPORTUNITY. And that will give me all the energy I need to race strong!
I know I have a shot at this one and I will do everything I can to give my best effort on Saturday.
The weather has been very different out here lately. It has been rainy, windy and the waves are huge! The practice swim we had this morning with Lance and some of the team was EPIC. The hard work felt like play...specially the cool down, riding the waves back to shore. I have to admit that I hope the conditions stay this way. I think it would be easier for me to stay with the front pack in these conditions. Friends have said it would calm down for Saturday, I like to think that it will stay EPIC.
Another new thing for me this year is some new found CONFIDENCE. It comes from this year's hard work and good fights but also from amazing friends, family, a great coach (who will be on site!) and my great new sponsors. I am surrounded by great people that I owe much of this confidence to, people that believe and are helping me push forward.
So, now that I am in context, I can speak more freely of WHERE I have been!!
The answer is simple: IN VICTORIA, WORKING MY BUTT OFF!
It has been a three week mini Clearwater training camp. An intense set of efforts, pursued with our very devoted coach, Lance Watson from Lifesport and with great training buddies such as fellow team mate Amanda Stevens, Kerry Spearing and...Curtis (THE CYCLIST!).
Those three weeks brought me so much. I got some very hard trainings done that will definitely stay in the back of my mind come race day when I have to fight. I have been happy and loving what I do, training with an amazing partner. Amanda has helped me push and get the best out of myself everyday.
You know.....when a very hard training block followed by a freezing ocean ice bath feels like a party and is full of laughter, it is always because you are on the right track.
There has also been some adversity to spice it up. We had to overcome the flu while in intense training about three weeks ago and I also had a bike crash while getting a bit carried away at the beginning of the taper, but amazingly, none of this has really affected training. I feel so lucky.
Now, all I have to do is stay confident, stay happy, stay inspired and think about my new, golden feeling of OPPORTUNITY.
THE WORK IS DONE!!!! LET THE PARTY BEGIN!!!!!!
To all of you racing on Saturday: Good luck! Make it count! Put on the show!!
THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR SUPPORT! THIS ONE IS FOR ALL OF YOU! HERE I GO!