Most Recent Athlete Blogs
Tuesday 18 Dec 2012 Marybethellis
I have been inspired to write this blog after my incredible time training down in Cozumel this November. Previously I have been to Cancun and Playa del Carmen and wasn’t sure how the training would be in Cozumel. But I was astounded by the magical place that is Cozumel.
The island is a triathlon utopia. There is light traffic through town but outside this small area out around the island there is little traffic. In addition, during most of the 68K loop around the island there is an entirely separate highway dedicated solely for use by bikes. As your riding along this bike highway, you look to your left and see undeveloped natural lands and to your right is an unobstructed view of the beautiful jewel toned Caribbean sea. Not to mention the brand new pavement on this highway is like butter.
In addition, there is a running track and pool in town open for use by the public almost anytime day or night for free. Unlike the US or most other countries, these facilites are open and...
Tuesday 18 Dec 2012 Marybethellis
In the winter, there is one tool that I use more than any other. It is my trusty wind trainer. This is one of the cheapest investments any triathlete can make. I would recommend some wind trainer time even if you live in Arizona, California, or Florida where you can ride outside all year long. The trainer is a great tool and only costs a few hundred dollars; although if you want a fancier model and have more money to invest the trainers with power from Cyclops or Computrainer are amazing tools. However, the basic wind trainer is not to be overlooked for it’s utility and benefits to any athlete from pro to beginner.
Here are some the reasons I think the bike turbo trainer will help you improve:
Simply there is no coasting or freewheeling. If you are on the bike then you are putting out power. This makes it like a flat ride into a headwind, which is also great for training.
There is no risk of traffic. You can put your head down and hammer away without having to worry about...
Friday 14 Sep 2012 Marybethellis
This blog is inspired by my dearest boy, Mr. Fur. Since Eric and I don’t yet have children, we both feel like he is our son. He has cancer and just had to have his front leg amputated. It has been very hard for Eric and me to watch him struggle. Yet, despite the cancer and his amputation, Mr. Fur seems undaunted. He is still smiley and happy albeit with some struggles to maintain his active life. We are hopeful that he will continue to thrive and beat the cancer. For me, watching Mr Fur has inspired me to think about adapting and overcoming challenges. Mr Fur survives because he knows no other way to react.
I stumbled upon this definition of Survival: Survival is the art of surviving beyond any event. To survive means to remain alive; to live. Survival is taking any given circumstance, accepting it, and trying to improve it, while sustaining your life until you can get out of the situation. And most importantly, survival is a state of mind.
Here are the tips for...
Tuesday 21 Aug 2012 Marybethellis
I am a bit superstitious. Okay maybe more that a bit. I did a blog last year talking about my odd behaviors as a swim kid and a runner such as having a lucky bathroom stall. Yes, weird I know.
But I have always believed in the curse of the magazine cover. I may just be paranoid, but after you examine the evidence you can decide for yourself. It is real just look at the list below of all the Sports Illustrated athletes that have faltered post-cover. And on the triathlon side, Chrissie Wellington still won last year but crashing 2 weeks prior was certainly not lucky. (And getting sick in 2010 also not lucky) Only Chrissie’s sheer will and determination kept her from becoming a cover stat. And another notable cover last year, TO had a tough Kona getting sick. Is it any coincidence that he was a cover boy in the late summer? Other triathlete covers on Lava, Inside Tri, or Triathlete Magazine that had some bad luck at the races in 2011 or 2012 were Julie Dibens, Michael...
Monday 20 Aug 2012 Marybethellis
Click here to view the embedded video.Ironman New York City
Monday 20 Aug 2012 Marybethellis
For those who are interested…here is my speech from Ironman NYC.
I want to talk a bit about what it means to be an Ironman…
There was a story in New York Times yesterday about an athlete named Chris Clearly. Chris was hit by a car, fractured his skull and nearly died. His doctors called his wife to tell her he might not make it. And for months after that he withered away in a hospital bed. Doctors again told him, that recovery might be impossible.
Yesterday, Chris became an Ironman.
And there was something that Chris said that stuck with me.
He said: “I think for me when someone tells me I can’t do it, I’m going to try to do it.”
That’s the kind of toughness that makes an Ironman. Because Ironman requires you to routinely do things that your friends and neighbors think are impossible – or at least completely crazy.
While your friends are having barbeques, you’re getting up at 5 a.m. and riding six hours on a perfectly good Saturday morning. When your co-workers are...
Friday 20 Jul 2012 Marybethellis
I do a lot of races…a lot. It is rare that I go to a race and have my expectations not just exceeded but blown out of the water. I am not exaggerating in saying the 70.3 Norway was the best half ironman I have ever done including Rev3 events and 70.3 worlds.
Here is why:
1.) The crowds were amazing. All along the bike and run, there were spectators all along the course. We ran past the finish stadium 5 times during the run and each time the cheering was amazing. No other 70.3 has that vibe not even close!
2.) It was the most well organized half ironman I have ever done. If I don’t know better I would never have thought it was a first year event.
3.) Norway is a beautiful country and the course design was amazing. The swim was in a lake followed by an amazing bike around the hills and lakes. The bike was so scenic that I had to refocus myself instead of looking around at the views. The run was also great and running through the downtown streets by the finish line...
Wednesday 04 Jul 2012 Marybethellis
Don’t try to deny it Triathletes are all hard. But are we too hard on ourselves?
1 solid, firm, and resistant to pressure; not easily broken, bent, or pierced
2 requiring a great deal of endurance or physical or mental effort
3 done with a great deal of force or strength
4 potent, powerful, or intense, in particular
I was pondering triathlon, and the triathletes that I know both professional and age-groupers. I think if one adjective really envelops us all as a collective it would be ‘hard’.
We enjoy suffering.
We sign up for races that last from 2 to 17 hours for fun.
We spend hours a week in the pool, on the bike, running.
We can’t just pick one hard endurance sport with which to punish ourselves like runners or cyclists instead we prefer to pick three equally difficult sports whereupon we must master all three to complete the race.
We sacrifice sleep, our social life, our family time, our work goals all in order to pursue triathlon.
We spend hours a...
Friday 22 Jun 2012 Marybethellis
I know that I am late to the party on all the Lance discussions. I think that WTC has made the appropriate decision in this case. While I understand how much all the professionals athletes, age group athletes, media, spectators, sponsors, WTC, and everyone in the triathlon world would love to watch Lance race and have all enjoyed the buzz around his entrance into our sport. Lance is a superstar with a limelight unlike anyone else in our realm; he has a one word name if that sums it up in a word. Likewise, if he is innocent, then it is also very unfair to force him to sit on the bench. But in light of the facts, I think WTC has made the best possible move for our sport.
Through this process, my respect for WTC has increased immensely. It would be so easy for them to please all the athletes, sponsors, fans, media, by bending their rules and allowing Lance to race. Instead, they have decided to stand by their professional athlete agreement that all the WTC professionals have...
Monday 29 Jul 2013 Jamescunnama
So I owe you a few blogs from the last few weeks – it’s been a busy time! First up, a re-cap of Challenge Roth.
Challenge Roth was again a major focus for my season – as defending champ I very much wanted to have a good performance there against a quality field, and set myself up for a good second half of 2013. After a bike crash early in the year and a poor performance at Ironman South Africa, I felt I was back on track at Ironman Texas, but needed to prove to myself (and others) that 2012 was no fluke.
I travelled up with Stephen Bayliss and was welcomed to my usual homestay – the von Hardenburg’s were, as always gracious hosts and I feel like part of the family as soon as I walk in the door. After the pre-race festivities, including the normal pasta party and less-normal (for me anyway) lederhosen, it was down to business for race day.
I had a good swim – unlike last year the pack was broken up early by some strong swimmers, but I was able to...
Friday 14 Jun 2013 Jamescunnama
“It’s a lot of work for very little meat.”
“Yeah, that’s why its more of a social thing.”
We were eating crabs. Actually its called crab picking. An apt name as you spend all your time picking at the thing for little morsels of crab meat. But it was fun and a good way to end my trip to Maryland thanks to the good people at TriColumbia. I’m pretty sure they get taught that line at school in Maryland though, cos every time I mentioned how little meat I got it was met with the same line, verbatim.
We drove up to Maryland from Redtail Mountain Resort in Tennessee where I had spent two weeks recovering from Ironman Texas and training. Coach Robbie did a sterling job driving the B-Team van (it looks like the A-Team van from the movie – I pity the fool!) through torrential rain for nearly 10hours. It should have been 8hours, but our GPS took us on the scenic route through Washington DC, but we did get to see the Lincoln Memorial, the...
Tuesday 21 May 2013 Jamescunnama
“Ouch. Ouch. …Ouch! Jeez! …Ouch!! Holy S#!+!!”
It was the 35C. It was +70% humidity. The sun was beating down from above, and up from the tar surface I was running along. And after a hard 180km ride I was tired. But that was not the problem – I was running on what felt like hot coals. Barefoot. Carpets in T2 would have been great. But that was only the start of the suffering…
Fifteen miles later, 11 miles still to go and the only consolation was that everyone was suffering at least as much as I was… This made Cozumel training camp seem comfortable! I had very recently dumped as much water as I could grab over me, and yet already felt dry. The ice I had dumped down my top didn’t even feel cold. How is that even possible…
My day started better than I hoped. Not only was I able to stay with the lead pack in the swim, but the lead pack put some serious time into the chasers. All the hard work in the pool with Jodie is paying off. More...
Thursday 17 Jan 2013 Jamescunnama
Last year on the finish line at IM70.3 SA
Today we head up to East London, on South Africa’s east coast for Ironman 70.3 South Africa. After coming 2nd twice there, and being forced to miss this race last year with injury I was hoping to go into the race fit and go for the elusive victory on home soil. It would have been a good start to the year, and chance for Jodie and I to show off our new Tri-Cozumel-teamTBB kit together. Unfortunately, things haven’t all gone as hoped. The best plans of mice and men and all that…
The new teamTBB division - Jodie has now joined me on this team!
After heading home following Ironman Cozumel in November 2012, and getting the dreaded man-flu on the trip, I was back into training and my form was coming nicely for the 20 January race in East London. On Christmas eve, I was indecisive about heading out on the bike – it was about the only wet day we have had in Stellenbosch since our return. I decide to ‘man-up’ and get...
Thursday 20 Sep 2012 Jamescunnama
So I have been absolutely useless in the blogging department in the past weeks, and therefore have much catching up to do. The reasons for not blogging are pretty simple – contrary to popular sayings, no news is not good news. Not that there is any bad news, just that races have got gone particularly well and so a lack of enthusiasm for sharing the experiences prevailed. But now I’ll briefly take you through the past few weeks…
After winning a major event like Roth I was on a serious emotional high – I had been injured for the better part of a year and had come back with a dream race. Not sure what could have been better. But with the emotional high came something of a physical low. A sub-8 Iron-distance race takes a lot out of you and I struggled to get back into a training rhythm. I was fit, but didn’t have months of training in me to give me that depth of strength to bounce back. But we did our best and I felt pretty good going into...
Friday 13 Jul 2012 Jamescunnama
Magic moment. (Thanks Fabian Jäkel for capturing it.)
I planned it all day. Had every second accounted for, every step worked out, even a toilet stop on the run timed to perfection and coordinated with my toughest competitor. Just to get under that magic 8-hour mark. My goal for the day. I love it when a plan comes together… Ok, that is bullsh*t. I didn’t even wear a watch. I was blissfully unaware of the time until I looked up a few metres from the line and saw 7:59:55…7:59:56… So I surged and made the magic numbers. For about 4 seconds of those 7 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds I was totally focused on the time. The rest of the day, I was simply focused on winning…
Two years ago I was forced to withdraw from Ironman Austria the evening before the race with illness. And so, a quick call and two weeks later I took that fitness to Challenge Roth. I was blown away by the race. I already knew all about it and it’s history, but it really is a special...
Monday 02 Jul 2012 Jamescunnama
This weekend is the iconic Challenge Roth. As stated on their website: “Challenge Roth is the “heart of the triathlon”. With around 3,100 individual starters and 600 relay teams from over 50 nations, a top field of starters and far more than 150,000 spectators along the course, the Challenge Roth is the world’s biggest long-distance triathlon event.”
This will be my third time racing this amazing event and it has become one of my favourite races. The atmosphere and energy of the race is incomparable to any other race. Just this one hill (pictured), the Solarerberg makes the entire day worth it! I was 6th two years ago, and was forced to withdraw last year so I have some unfinished business at the event. It was also the last full-distance triathlon I competed in, having spent the year since I raced there last dealing with injury, so it almost feels as if I am picking up where I left off a year ago. But only in a racing sense – in a confidence, preparation and fitness...
Monday 18 Jun 2012 Jamescunnama
So I am back to Leysin. This is my fourth summer here now and every year it gets a little easier to adapt and find my feet.
I remember the first year well. I was staying with Scott and Manny Huerta (who has just made the US team for Olympics – congrats Manny!). We were staying in Alexandra House – quite a walk to the pool and without internet or much TV. Just training really. Manny’s favourite quote for that summer was from Taladega Nights: ‘Oh, Dear baby Jesus!’ He would say that every time he felt he was suffering and thought he might collapse/die …so about 5 times a day then! My accommodation has been upgraded since then, and my idea of what is hard has too – although I still find myself thinking the same thing a few times each week…
Even now my first ride up The Hill was a bit of a shock to the system. I knew what I was in for – in fact I know pretty much every bump and pothole on the entire hill by now – but somehow that...
Wednesday 06 Jun 2012 Jamescunnama
I lost this race in the final few miles. It is a frustrating thing, to be that close and then lose. Of course you immediately look back at what cost you 14 secs. Sometimes it obvious, sometimes not so much. This time it really was – I dropped my chain going up a hill 30miles into the bike. It only cost me about 30secs (maybe less – its hard to judge when your adrenalin is pumping!) but it meant a hard 15-20km to catch the leaders again. Of course, things like that happen in races. And if you win you think nothing of them. But races are never just about going through the motions and getting to the finish line as fast as possible. Mostly they are about overcoming obstacles, and getting to the finish line as fast as possible whilst doing so.
But they say you learn more from your losses and there are plenty of lessons out of this one. Perhaps the biggest was the re-enforcement of the lesson learned at Wildflower a few weeks earlier – numbers in training mean little on...
Monday 26 Apr 2010 Luciezelenkova
Live your life like every day is your last one
I came to IMSA after good prepartion and ready to to defend my title from last year. Woman field was very competitive but i knew i was ready too. Unfortunately life has sometimes different plan. My fiancee family still live in Port Elizabeth and i count this race as my home race. Friday night we got call that my fiancee young brother Keith had accident and died. Whole weekend was emotionally very hard but i still was on the start line and tried to do my best.
I was leading female field out of the water and continue leading on bike untill 50km. At 120km i called it off, i was pulled out by my friends. I didnt have anything left, i was empty. Obviously i am very disappointed but i know that at this situation there was nothing else i could do. I promise, i will be back next year and i will fight to get title back into my hands. Not only for me, but also for all the people who believe in me and for Keith.
thank you for all your...
Sunday 31 Aug 2014 Noreply@blogger.com (Amelia Pearson)
Triathlon is a challenging sport. Combining swimming, cycling, running plus transitions is one of the reasons I love it so much. Then throw in other factors such as nutrition, strength & conditioning, mental toughness and there's a lot to keep track of. I think this is one of the reasons it is so satisfying to make it to the finish line. Every competitor in every event has been on a journey to get to the start line and to cross the finish line. I've been in 2 triathlons this summer and my journey has been different to that of the many triathlons I have been in before. It's the fist time I haven't been part of my swim squad, the first time I haven't had a training program to follow. I've been training with our guests at tri4thealps, sometimes sneaking in a quick session on my own here and there too. The races have both been fun. The sprint individual time trial at Machilly and then the Olympic distance race at Passy. They were both hard but I enjoyed the challenge. Unfortunately...
Monday 03 Oct 2011 Noreply@blogger.com (James Elvery)
Unfortunately I didn’t have the best day in Lausanne. Not sure what it was bit I was just a bit off the pace all day. Maybe the timing since I was at altitude? I had a good swim start and was in the first 5 at 300m, but then I slipped back a bit and wasn’t able to get into the very lead group out of the swim. Onto the bike and there was a small gap across to the lead pack which I would normally jump across without any trouble, but I couldn’t do it and had to settle into the chase pack. I struggled the whole bike and was in even bigger trouble when I started running. 40th. Bugger! Onwards and upwards! From Lausanne I had 3 weeks to prepare for the 2011 Series Grand Final and 2nd Olympic selection race in Beijing. The course in Beijing should have suited me. A one lap non wetsuit swim, and tough hilly bike. After Lausanne I went back to Sigmaringen and spent 2 days in my room with a really bad flu and fever. I recovered quickly and felt in great shape nailing some key sessions and...
Monday 03 Oct 2011 Noreply@blogger.com (James Elvery)
London WCS has been and gone! The biggest race of the season, and what a great race it was. We saw the dress rehearsal for next year’s Olympics with the best field ever seen. To get a start in this race was a feat in itself and many had been scrambling all season just to be able to toe the line. Here’s how my day panned out. Initially training for London I thought I would need to have the best run of my life and absolutely nail every aspect if I was to have a chance of getting a top 10 and qualifying for the games. Madrid, where I had my best result ever after I got into a breakaway early on the bike straight from the swim changed my mentality a bit going in. I started to focus a bit more on making sure I was right at the front out of the swim and ready to push the pace straight away on the bike. I’ve raced with and watched many times how Alistair Brownlee races. He and his brother get out of the swim and just try to absolutely nail the start of the bike, and when there are strong guys...
Monday 03 Oct 2011 Noreply@blogger.com (James Elvery)
Hey guys. I made it into the race in Geneva and have just got back from an in and out weekend to the race. The hand was healing well and in the days leading up to the race I was able to venture out onto the road for rides and swim up to 4k in the pool. I would just need to be very careful not to open the break up again as it would then take a very long time to heal. In the end the race went well. It was a cold day with a wetsuit swim, and the course in geneva is one of the hardest on the circuit with a tough 1km climb on each of the 6 laps. I had the #1 ranking again which is an awesome feeling. I chose the far right side of the pontoon so my right hand would have clear water at least to the first buoy to avoid getting hit. My great swim form from the last races continued and I was out of the water in the top 10. The pace was on right through transition with a group of 8 guys trying to get away in the first km of the bike. I was able to bridge a pretty big gap on my own to the back of...
Monday 03 Oct 2011 Noreply@blogger.com (James Elvery)
Since Cremona I’ve been training hard up at altitude in the French town of Font Romeu in the Pyrenees. I came here last year and made sure I set aside some weeks with no races to come here and do some very hard weeks of training in the perfect environment. It’s 1800m above sea level here, there’s a 50m indoor pool, running track and endless mountains and forests for riding and running. The weather is great and the town is full of athletes. After being here for 4 great weeks, everything had gone perfectly. I completed 3 of the biggest run weeks I’ve ever done, running 10-12 times per week for around 140-155km. My harder speed sessions have also gone well and I have adapted well to the altitude. Times that seemed imposible in the first couple of weeks here are now a piece of cake. When everything is going well, you have to expect your luck to eventually run out... My luck ran out last week as I jogged to the forest warming up for a speed session. Somehow I tripped over and came...
Monday 13 Jun 2011 Noreply@blogger.com (James Elvery)
Hi GuysJust raced the ETU Sprint European Cup in Cremona, Italy and finished 6th.Cremona is an awesome little town in the Lombardy region of Italy about 50k Southeast of Milan. I rolled into town around 11pm on a warm Friday night with the Van Barneveld's (Mr & Mrs) following the GPS through narrow cobbled lanes and pedestrian only areas and to our hotel. We pulled up in our little white Peugeot rental right in the middle of town to find that the ground floor of the building was a restaurant and bar, absolutely packed and raging with people (read HOT chicks) spilling out into a big town square. The whole town seemed to be pumping with a live band and a great vibe. It was pretty tempting to head out for a couple of beers and enjoy the night once we'd checked in. Lucky I always travel with a good set of ear plugs! Next morning we awoke to find a completely different scene out the window with a blanket of white tents filling the streets with Saturday markets. Later that afternoon...
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