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....

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