Monday, August 22, 2011

Strathmore Women's Triathlon

A quick but big shout-out to MRT athletes Cheryl Jones and Tanya Kingwell who raced the Strathmore Women's Triathon over the weekend. As a new-comer to the sport, Cheryl Jones has had a season full of firsts, this one being her first sprint distance race. Congratulations, Cheryl!

Next up, hard-working Tanya earned herself a spot on the podium! Tanya sped her way to 3rd place overall, and 2nd place in her age group....ironically by 6 seconds...hopefully we haven't started a trend, "the 6 second curse"!! Congratulations on your solid day, Tanya!!

And now for the all our athletes racing Ironman next weekend: your big day is almost here!! You are awesome!! Have a kick-ass day and we will see you on the course!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

3-out-of-the-10 Fastest Women at Calgary 70.3 Wear MRT Kit

Coach Carrie's Calgary 70.3 Report

For starters, there was Sara Gross’s amazing race. Though I’m not her coach, as her official BFF, I feel qualified to elaborate.

At T2, she was in third place, nine minutes down from the leader. It was clear right away that she was running strong….but even the announcers were skeptical about anyone being able to make up a gap of 9 minutes. Unphased by the gap, Sara charged on. By the 17km mark, she’d taken over second place, and made up 5 minutes on the leader…and she was still going strong. I wish I had a recording of the announcers as the leader made her way around the corner to the finish line. They’d been congratulating her on victory, long before they’d even seen her, only to be stunned by the sight of Sara turning the corner seconds later. It was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever seen! If the race had been 10m longer, there’s no doubt in my mind who would have crossed that line first. Congratulations Sara!! What an inspiring effort!! A worthwhile read, her race report, can be found here:

Next up, rising superstar Lorraine Churchill, demonstrated HER champion spirit in a very similar fashion. After putting together a solid swim, and bike, she was on track to have a really good race. Things changed around the 17km. She decided a good race wasn’t enough. After learning she was 3 min behind the next couple girls, she contemplated if digging deep would be worth it…already having a race that she’d be happy with….could she catch them? Should she try? Would it be worth the effort? Finally landing on, “If I don’t try, I will never know…”, she went for it. In the last 4km of the race, she passed 2 women, one of whom was in her age group. Her late-race charge, earned her 4th place overall, 1st place in her age group, 10th place including the pro-women, and bragging rights by smashing the previous course record for her age-group by over 13 minutes. Her day went from good, to great, in an instant. Congratulations, Lorraine!! Here she is with her very proud, and supportive cheering section!

Leanne Sherman was out to get revenge at this race, after some bad luck at the Chinook Half. Like Lorraine, she was well on her way to a good race, and her day also changed in an instant. Unfortunately, not in the way we’d have liked. She had accomplished a big goal by staying in the moment and focusing on the present leg of the race she was in. So focused, that near the end of her solid ride, she had a crash, which did this:

We are confident that all the “character-building” races are out of her system now, and that her next race will be the big one!! Its been a painful recovery process, but Leanne is ready to go!!!!

Tanya Kingwell entered the Calgary 70.3 as one of her 2 big races this year. In her first season back from a training/racing hiatus, she has come a long way, and accomplished a lot, including a personal best at her first half ironman of the year…. all while living very full life at home, with 2 young kids and a full-time job! The day didn’t go exactly as she’d hoped….some nutrition issues got to her, but they didn’t get the best of her. She spent much of the day battling with the demons, but was determined to get the job done. Here she is getting by with a little help from her friends & teammates, Tessa and Lisa, who prove triathlon IS a team sport. Congratulations, Tanya!! I know there are many more great things to come for you!

A finally, a big congratulations to coach Michelle Barnes (previously known as Milot) who was the 2nd overall age grouper, and 7th overall including the pro women!! Way to go, Michelle!!

A very proud day to be part of such an amazing group of athletes!! As always, thanks to Kaz Matsumoto for all the awesome pictures....and a photo credit/cheerleader shout-out to Heather Myers, too!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Three Weekends of Awesome- by Coach Sara

The season is in full swing and the last 3 weekends have brought many good results. First up, Kendall Pritchard finished her season off with a solid race at Sylvan Lake taking 3rd in her age group. Kendall was even the first woman in her category to enter T1! 3 years ago we never would have dreamed that possible ;) Way to go Kendall!

Olympic distance age group star Megan Jones once again crushed the competition with a devastating bike split at the Invermere triathlon for 1st in her age group and 4th overall!

At the Calgary 70.3, Tessa P. put together a very strong race thanks to her new-found run prowess and Lisa Isley pulled out a killer bike split of 2.47 which put her in the "top 10 Calgary athletes"!!

Meanwhile, Julie Anderson took on the Bozeman half, a tough, hilly, hot race in Montana that challenged her physically and mentally. Testing a new nutrition plan backfired badly and Julie ended up bent over in pain at an early aid station on the run. Commitment and determination saved the day for Julie, who not only ran a solid half marathon (after spending a chunk of time at the side of the road) but she also won her age group!! Yay Julie!

And just yesterday, Carlos Vilchez finished 2nd in his age group and 8th overall at the Barrie Sprint. Carlos just keeps getting better. His son Jordi also finished 4th in his age group in the kids race.
Lisa Isley making it happen!

A runner's smile!

Ex- Mercury Rising athlete John Mykytchuk running strong!

Mercury Rising Coach Michelle Barnes had a tough day but still managed 7th overall and 2nd amateur on the day.

Carlos and son Jordi post-race!

Thanks to all for being so great! You make me one happy coach.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Some updates from Coach Carrie

Wow! It has been an action packed summer for Mercury Rising!! Preparing for and recovering from this year’s PHAT CAMP was a challenge, but worth every second of it! We had a very talented, hard-working group of athletes again this year. There were many break-throughs, a few break-downs, and many inspirational moments along the way. A huge thanks to all who attended, and made this year’s camp such a big success!!!

The very challenging week ended with some of our crew participating in Penticton’s Peach Classic Olympic Triathlon. For starters, Kari Strutt celebrated her 50th birthday that day, by crossing the finish line with a personal best time, a huge smile, and her equally proud and delightful daughter in tow. "THIS is what 50 looks like!", she exclaimed while making her way to the finisher's chute. Most of us can only hope, Kari!!

Unfortunately, the day didn’t bring smiles for all our athletes.....Lorraine Churchill and Patty Infusino were each battling some medical issues which forced them to stop mid-race. Both showed their champion spirits by making their way back to the finish line, to support, encourage and celebrate the successes of their team-mates. The biggest smile of the day, however....and probably even of the week, had to go to Marija Susnjar.

After the epic week of training, she put together a solid race, had a personal best time, and overcame some big demons on the cycling leg of the race. What a difference 2 years can make!! We were all proud and inspired by you, Marija! Both Kari and Marija were awarded the first annual “Blue Hoody Awards” at our wrap-up dinner, each for overcoming demons, and for the tremendous improvements they demonstrated. Congratulations, ladies!

While their teammates were out in Penticton, other Mercury athletes were racing across the globe. In the midst of a total-home-makeover, seasoned Ironman athletes Todd and Shana Graham traveled to Switzerland for their “A” race this year. These two cram more living into a year than most do in 10 years! After a year of traveling, work, and many family commitments, they approached their training with less emphasis than in previous years, and spent the weeks before the race vacationing HARD. In spite of this, Todd crossed the finish line at 11:24, 4 minutes faster than his previous personal best time! Congratulations, Todd! Shana’s race was a bit more of a character-builder. She was plagued with some nutrition problems, and credits Nick Doulias, who was volunteering that day, for getting her to the finish line. Both highly recommend the race, and are already planning out their races for next year!

A huge congratulations to one of our newest team members, Cheryl Jones who successfully completed her first ever 10km run, AND her first open-water-swim triathlon at the Coral Springs/Chestermere Lake Super Sprint. Next up for Cheryl is the Strathmore Women’s triathlon. Goooo Cheryl!

After a year of supporting his wife Kari’s Ironman training, Ken Bagan decided he’d like to take on the challenge of the Gran Fondo Rockies. Having been active all his life, and having spent many hours on a touring bike, it wasn’t a surprise at how easily he transformed himself into a cyclist. In a matter of months, he went from a regular gym-goer, to a solid finisher of the full Gran Fondo distance, with Kari along for the ride. Ken now is re-shifting his focus to support her in the weeks leading into Ironman Canada. Here he is pictured below, after cheering Kari to the finish line at the Peach Classic. Congratulations, Ken!!

Fellow Mercury Rising athlete, Patty Infusino, also participated in the Gran Fondo….which apparently was not the cushy training ride she had anticipated, “Uphill both ways….how is that possible!??!”. She credits the ride for being more challenging than the IMC bike course, and now has the benefit of THAT fitness under her belt. Richter who?!?

Many more updates to follow....