Life Goes On

Life Goes On

I have had quite a bit of time to reflect on my injury these past few months. As you know, I have been sidelined by a knee injury, not knowing what the future holds. But I know my present: I can swim and bike as much as I want without pain. Running will have to wait.

This reality was a shock at first. It was a hard pill to swallow for this gal who lives, dreams, and trains for tris. It was my passion, and still is. I couldn’t understand what was going on and why all of the sudden, this was happening. Do you know what was my biggest realization…? Is that life goes on. No matter what. Whether you want it or not. Laundry still needs to be folded, taxes need to be paid, work must be done. This was happening whether I was ready or not. Life just simply doesn’t wait, it just moves forward.

I therefore needed to focus on what life brings me, and what life is. Happiness doesn’t revolve around races PR. I needed to find out what exactly makes me happy…what is it that triathlon brings me that fulfills me. In a few words: fitness, camaraderie, travels, joy of goals setting, and wonderful night of sleep that you only get from a tired body. Do I need to run in order to get the above? Not really…but I guess you loose perspective when you sleep-swim-bike-run-repeat. A fun hike with friends or an early walk with a neighbor will bring me happiness. It was up to me to figure out what I needed to do to in order to fill the void that running left. Because life just doesn’t wait.

Of course, I had this “thing” on my sport bucket list: 100 x 100 yds swim fest. I never really got around to do it, since it was either too much for the season, or I was too tired from a long season! Well, with the help of 6 other friends, we completed this challenge this past Sunday. I had an absolute blast! I pushed my limits, laughed with friends, and reached my goals. That made me happy.

I now have a list of bike rides, swim races, and other trips planned because I do not need to work around a race schedule. Time to make lemonade out of lemons.

Thanks for reading

Stay Healthy 🙂

From The Sideline

This Maggie’s Corner is probably the hardest I had to write. It’s not about another Kona race report, not about the off season or setting up goals. This time, it’s about me being sidelined by a knee injury.

It happened shortly after Ironman Mont Tremblant. The knee pain would not go away and I was initially told that I was dealing with a severe IT band syndrome, only to find out that it was more of a matter of internal knee derangement. In other terms…wait and let it rest.

I always pride myself on never getting injured. After 15 years in the sport, racing competitively in over 15 Ironman, several marathons and multitude of halfs, my body always seemed very resilient and bounced right back. Not this time. We had already made travel arrangements to Kona when I realized that I would not race my 5th world championship. Race morning came, and I watched the swim from the lanai of our condo, sipping my coffee and holding back tears. I was supposed to be out there, racing my heart out.

I went on a long bike ride that day and cleared my mind. I’d actually been secretly enjoying the fact that I was able to drink alcohol on race week, could walk around leisurely at the expo, eat dessert and play in the surf —things I would have never done otherwise. Oh and I even eloped! (It was planned before i knew i couldn’t race, in case you wondered!). I got to see the pros racing and enjoyed cheering them on.

I am on the slow road to recovery and as I write this piece, and I am still not sure about my racing future. But I am certain of three things: 1) you can’t force a body into healing, it will do it on its own terms and you must respect that  2) I will focus on what I can do, instead of what I can’t —I went on a cycling trip to Spain this Fall and had a blast!  3) there are others passions out there that need to be discovered —I discovered triathlon by pure luck; who knows what else is waiting for me around the corner?

I also know that I am an athlete no matter what. And as an athlete, I know how to fight, pick myself up and dust myself off. That’s what we do at every race!!

Stay tuned,
Stay healthy!

Maggie

Ps: i am thinking of singing up for the Worlds Knitting Championships…:)

Sports & Reunions

Sunday, August 30, 2015
Maggie’s Corner: sports & Reunions

Sports & Reunions:

It was a cold, late October morning and I was sitting by myself on the Staten Island ferry, in NYC, being transported to Staten Island, where the marathon would start. The NYC marathon is an iconic race, filled with 50,000 running. I had heard through the grapevine that a high school class mate of mine would be at the race too. I was able to reach him through FB, told him the time I was going to be taking the ferry and what color hat I was going to wear (“bright lime green!!!”). What I didn’t realize, is that there were several hundread of people of that ferry. I hadn’t seen Alexandre for 20 years; since we graduated, Chances were slim. As I walked out, I felt a hand taping my shoulder. I recognized him immediately; he hadn’t change a bit!!! It was such a treat to be able to reconnect with an old friend, thanks to NYC marathon! It was such a joy to catch up with him, reconnect. I even meet his nice friend, a gal that I befriended right away who was also racing. We were able to toe the line together and even managed to run together for the first 6 miles or so. I even saw the two of them again this summer at IM Mont Tremblant.

I always thought that triathlon and running events were such selfish sports. You train alone for countless of hours and you race alone. You spend time away from families and friends, going to bed way too early but also waking up way too early. But this enounter with an old friend made me think otherwise. Because we both had a passion for running, an event brought us together, 20 years after we last saw each other, and 1500 miles away from home.

A couple of weeks ago, I raced IM Mont Tremblant, a mere 3 hours away from my home town. I was fortunate enough to have qualified for Kona. Another high school classmate of mine also qualified for Kona…as far as I know, he is one of half dozen to have qualify in the province of Quebec in the history of Kona. We have gotten in touch and we also plan on meeting on the Big Island. I also haven’t seen him in 20 years…I bet he hasn’t change (and I hope he says the same about me!).

Stay healthy,
Maggie
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Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Maggie’s Corner – Tribute to The Boys
Tribute to The Boys

They have known me for several years. They have seen me during my good
days, bad days, at my fittest, and also during my slowest. They have
witness/endure my crankiness at times, see me when I’m hungry, or
worst, “hangry” (bad combination of angry and hungry). And I hardly
see My Boys with anything on by speedos.

My Boys, as I affectionately call them, are my swimming partners and
the main reason I get out of bed at 4:30am. We have been swimming
together for years, sometimes several times per week. They have pushed
me to get fitter, I have pushed them, but we have also laughed
together and swore a few times. We rarely see each other outside the
formality of the YMCA pool, but knowing they will be there in the
morning, make me want to join in and get in a good workout…but I
also enjoy and look forward to their company and friendship. In turn,
it makes those 5am swim workouts so much easier to go through. We
celebrate our races, successes, but also work stories, family stories,
etc. They see me at my highs and lows and don’t judge…as long as I
make the interval.

Once again, my sport of swim-bike-run has open the door to not only
fitness and races but also to a great web of friends that I cherish
and that are important to me. Their familiar faces, their caring
thoughts, encouraging words and also their tough love at times not
only help me getting fitter but also brighten my day. And even my
partner Kent will ask me: “so…how was the swim with The Boys this
morning…?”

This is my tribute to My Boys, my friends, my swimming partners, my
accomplices. I thank you 🙂

Next time you struggle during a workout, just think of all the
wonderful people you’ve met because of this sport.

Stay Healthy,

Maggie
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Maggie’s Corner – 5 Runs: 4 states and 2 Countries

The joy of running is often about the locations and roads where I run. The weather, the smells, terrain, scenery, company… Here’s a diary of my long training runs back in 2012, as I prepared for Big Sur marathon, a point to point marathon along HWY 1, up the California coast. One of the most scenic race I’ve ever done and it was a fun one to prepare as well, as you’re about to read. I was living in California back then and had multiple trips scheduled during that time, which made for a fun preparation. As they say: ” its not the destination, it’s the journey!”

February: Palo Alto, California. It is bright and early morning… I’ve got to hop on a plane shortly for Germany and I made sure I stayed up late last night to adjust for the jet lag ahead. I am quite tired and a little (a lot?) grumpy. There is something unique about the California sun that makes everything automatically better. And the wonderful smell…I’ll never forget this fresh smell of pine trees that is refreshing. It invigorates me as I run through the redwood trees and beautiful rolling hills. It’s February afterall. I am lucky I’m not in Wisconsin right now fighting the snow!

February: Munich, Germany. It is cold and grey here, but I bundle up and I am ready to run through the English Garden. No better way to visit than by foot. It is so beautiful and again, I enjoy so much discovering a new country, and Munich is now one of my favorite city with it’s history, culture…and world class bakeries! (and beer…of course). As I run by two German, one yells: run Foresst run!” in a thick German accent. I guess it is pretty obvious that I am from America with my bright Nike shirt and bright shoes! I then discover that Apple Strudel and German Beer make for the perfect recovery snack post run (yep, even consumed together!)

March: Las Vegas, Nevada: I have a business meeting but I have my priorities…As soon as I land, I take my rental care straight to Red Rock Canyon, change in my running shoes and up the road I go. I then wonder how many people will skip the casinos for a run today? Well, I soon find out I am not alone. I apparently am running on the same route, amongst participants of a stage running race. Plenty of cheerful spectators, supporters and running mates accompany me during my long run. And it doesn’t hurt that I am running in one of the most scenic part of Las Vegas: along the red rocks formation. I am certainly ok skipping the smokey casinos right now. Did I say it is my favorite place to run…? (ok…most places seem to be my favorite!…)

March: Minneapolis, Minnesota. A quick junt in snowy Midwest to visit my boyfriend. I am somewhat sadden by the fact that I fit perfectly in a pair of tights…His tights! (shouldn’t it be too baggy?…oh well!). I am frozen to the core as soon as I step outside, struggling with my footing as if I had just learned how to walk. But soon I am reminded why I love the Midwest so much in the winter: the stillness of freshly fallen snow…nothing more picturesque than this (again..every run seem to be my favorite…you get the point!).

April: Naples Florida: Hum…I had no idea that people still wore velvet-like old school running suits…while walking their dogs. This should certainly banned! I am running in a retirement community and soon get somewhat lost/stuck in a gated community. Which has me jumping the fence…Oups! Maybe I’m too old for that? (I then had to explain to my boyfriend why have bleeding scratches on my arms and legs!)

There are days when training for an event can seem like a chore. But most times, I just find it to be pure bliss, being able to run, being able to experience everything and what every route has to offer. I am seldomly bored and until I become bored, I’ll keep on going back for more.

Stay healthy!
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Saturday, February 7, 2015
Maggie’s Corner – 15 Years
This year marks my 15th year in the sport. The sport of swim-bike-run has taught me a lot over the years. I keep waiting for the day I’m going to wake up and want to do something else, but the day has yet to come. I was recently reflecting on those past years and wondered what keeps me going back for some more, year after year. And the answer is quite simple in fact. I love the sport for everything it brings to my life, and just not the medals.

I have been living away from my family for almost two decades now, as work brought me to the United States. I grew up in a very simple farm town, and my siblings still live 10min from the house we grew up in. Somehow, sport has brought us together in a way I had never imagined. My family has traveled all over to come and “see me” race, when I actually believe they use this excuse as an occasion to all get together and share adventures. My dad has not missed a single Kona race. My sister still insist on getting my race schedule every year and I still need to call her after each race to let her know how I did. Of course, the result is always followed by a fun, sisters-only type of conversation as I drive back from the race. My brother was motivated to start running by the age of 40, then completed an ironman by age 50. My sister even took on running and races as well. It is then my turn to receive her post race call to hear all the details of her day. My father even participated in a relay, happily racing his hybrid bike after my brother completed the swim portion, to then pass the baton to my niece to complete the run. My older brother has become the official “flag bearer”, responsible to hand me the Quebec flag before I cross the finish line of my Ironman races. The sport of triathlon has created bonds within my family that i would have never imagine would be. This summer, I have signed up for IM Mont Tremblant and cannot wait for the pre race meal with aunts, uncles and cousins, driving down for the event. My sport is just as much about gathering my family together, sharing happy moments and love, as it is to cross the finish line.

To 15 more years in the sport!
Stay healthy,
Maggie
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Maggies Corner: I am Lucky
I am lucky…

Those are truly the words that came to mind when I toed the line for the 4th time in Kona (it was quickly followed by: “Oh $h!t, this is going to hurt”…!!!). And I believe that indeed, I am a lucky gal.

Some of you might disagree with me. You might say that I have worked hard to be able to race in Kona, that I have put in the time, efforts, made sacrifices to be able to race there. It is certainly true, but I never want to take this for granted.

The truth is… I am lucky on so many levels. I would not been able to race if it were not for my “team”. I have understanding friends who know that I have to go to bed at 8:30 on Saturday nights, that I need to skip that glass of wine this time again. I am also lucky to have great training partners who push me every time, to be the best I can be. Friends who will cheer me up, be there for harder workouts, pick me up when I’m down, and even leave me water and treats on my running route, to make sure I am well fueled. I have a great team indeed!

I am lucky to have family that supports me , and even fly to see me race. My 80 y/o dad have not missed one Kona and even wanted to book his hotel right away for 2015…. (I think they secretly enjoy the Mai Tai, macademia nuts and Onu fish!!!) Most importantly, I am lucky to have a life partner who understands the demands of my training, and still enjoys my company when I am half asleep after eating for two, too sore or too tired to do anything but watch tv. He still cleans my bike, maintains it, makes my smoothies and cook dinner for me.

I have the chance to be healthy for the required training, with little to no injury. My body has been resilient in taking the beating, year after year. I am still passionate about my sport and my training/racing mates, and cannot wait for the next season. I am lucky I am still motivated to do it again.

Don’t get me wrong. Many days I want to call it quits. The demands of the sports are sometimes too hard to handle. I do have to put in the time and sweat equity into it, but I do not take for granted to chance I have to represent my country at the World Championships. The day I will stop wanting to push myself, is the day that I will have to quit my sport.

For all those reasons, I stay grounded and continue to believe that I am indeed…lucky 🙂

Thanks everyone for your support!

Next Maggie’s Corner will be all about the off-season Do’s and Don’ts !!! Everything in moderation 🙂

Stay Healthy !
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Thursday, August 21, 2014
My List

by Maggie Fournier

It is a known fact that “Ironmeners” can be a somewhat of high maintenance triathletes when it comes to race day. With the upcoming Ironman Wisconsin, I thought I’d share “my list” of needed items for the race…No worries if you don’t race, or even want to attempt the Ironman distance, you will be well entertained with all that goes into our transitions and special needs bags on race day. What can I say…”Ironmaner” can be kind of a diva!!!

Case in point: 5 bags will be issued on registration day and will need to be filled with different gear/food/whatever-I-want stuff. I warned you we were a bunch of needys!!! So much for the self-supported endurance events out there, as we are certainly well-catered. After racing a dozen of those, I’d like to share what I need -and don’t- on race day.

You will be issued 5 bags for race day. That’s right!!! Let’s go over them all, shall we? (didn’t I say Ironman can be kind of a diva?!!!)

First and foremost: Keep in Simple. I volunteered a couple of times in transtions and remembered a lady who a brought a $10 bill in her transition bag. She insisted on taking it with her during the run! (maybe she was afraid she would need a cab at some point? Or better: a beer and a burger mid run!). Another lady couldn’t decide between 3 different kind of sandwiches to bring, so she put them all in her Bike-to-run bag. Guess what: if you can’t decide on race morning, the chances are you will be even LESS likely to know what you want after several hours into an Ironman!!!

Keep it simple: you won’t think straight on race day, so the less decision you have to make, the better!

Morning Clothes Bag: Itss the bag you bring with you on race morning. It should have all your essentials for the swim (wetsuits, goggles, swim cap), It also should have everything you would need on race morning: nutrition to put on your bike, as well as water bottle, bike computer (if you don’t want to leave it overnight, etc). I also bring an extra tube and tools in case I get to my bike and I have a mechanical. Indeed, it has happened where I got to my bike and realized I had a flat, before the race even started. Bring extra water and food to sip on/eat on race morning. It is your Dry Clothes Bag as well, the one you will get at the end of the day…so I recommend putting the clothes you want to wear after the race in a separate, sealed ziplock bag. Otherwise, it is not guaranteed to stay dry, and the worse thing is to try to put on wet clothes after a race. Don’t forget hotel room key, and a couple of bucks…always useful!

Special Needs bag (x2): you will get access to those bags midway on the bike and on the run. I just don’t use them. Never have. Certain ironman races won’t let you get them afterwards, so don’t put valuables in there. You can put extra fuel, salt tablets, dry socks, etc.

Swim-to-Bike bag: obviously, everything you need for the bike leg: nutrition (if it’s not already on your bike), clothes and helmet. A small towel is also quite useful.

Bike-to-Run bag: Please limit yourself to ONE sandwich! And no $ is necessary either…This is the bag I keep to a bare minimum since I don’t think straight at that point. Pair a shoes, socks, my race number and off we go! I would highly recommend though and small towel. Nothing feels better than being able to wipe off some sweat and salt off your face and arms before the marathon part.

You will have access to all of your bags come race morning. So if you think you forgot something, do not worry. The exception to that rule is Ironman World Championship where you’re not allowed to get to your bags on race morning (or any time), unless you are being escorted. You also get escorted the day before, when you drop off your bike and bags so that no one is tampering with anyone else’s. When $150,000 price money is on the line for the winner, you want to make sure that no one messes around!!!

Happy training and see you all at the picnic 🙂
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Monday, July 14, 2014
Maggies Corner: Olympic Distance Envy

by Maggie Fournier

I’m a Diesel. The type of engine taking a long time to warm up, not very powerful, yet can go forever. Not the speedy, fast sports car like, rolling on high octane. Oh but I’ve tried and tried to change my make up, one speed session at a time. Don’t get me wrong, I still do my speed workouts throughout the season diligently but the outcome always reminds me that indeed, I’m a diesel engine.

I confess: I have ODE, also known as Olympic Distance Envy…I just love watching the girls (and guys) racing at lightning speed with such efficiency, making it look effortless. They way they move and power through a race with such explosion is impressive. I enjoy watching a fast paced race, but of course, I don’t like watching the pack getting away from me because of such speed!

Too much emphasis is placed on longer events. Runners should run marathons. Cyclist should bike “centuries” and the ultimate goal in triathlon is the Ironman. I beg to differ. And I can guarantee you that a well raced Olympic distance event can be just as painful, albeit being much shorter. Why is it that longer events are better? Are we judging our fitness level, or success level solely based on distance? And how about speed?

Again, don’t get me wrong. I’d like to think that I race my Ironman with just as much speed as I can sustain for the duration of the event. I push my body to its speed limit, fighting burning lungs and aching legs. I rarely race short distances but everytime I do, I wonder why I don’t do it more often! They are fun, adrenaline-filled races without much thinking involved. You just go. Nutrition? Just enough please. Salt tablets…what for? And brunch instead of late dinner after the race? Yes please!!!

Embrace the event you’re training for, regardless of the distance. You put time, sacrifices and efforts in. In the meantime, I’ll embrace my inner ODE, wishing I was faster, trying to figure out where my 5th gear is and wishing I could hang with the Speedsters!

Stay Healthy 🙂

Cheers
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014
My First Time: Part II
by Maggie Fournier
You can read Part One here.

After my 1st triathlon, I was officially hooked. There was no turning back. My first triathlon was all I needed to spur this new excitement and challenge in me. I really enjoyed the experience and couldn’t wait for another one. That’s when a good friend of mine suggested we sign up for a half-ironman the following spring in…St-Croix, Virgin Island. A triathlon, with girlfriends, on a tropical island? I’m in! My then boyfriend, the one who I had beaten at the previous tri, cautioned me against it. He plainly said that he didn’t think I could do it, that it would be too difficult of a race. I don’t remember was came first: breaking up with him or signing up for the race? To this day, Ironman 70.3 St-Croix, dubbed the Beauty and the Beast (because of a hill on the bike leg, averaging 25% grade) is still one of my favorite race. It has the best post race party hands down!!! But that’s beside the point.
The race was fabulous and I had an absolute blast, despite finding the course quite challenging. My 3rd place finish in my age-group qualified me for a entry at Ironman Lake Placid, a mere 10 weeks away. It was back then, when races didn’t fill up and slots were distributed at other races. Again: a race close to home in a new venue? Why not? Ignorance is bliss I suppose. For sure, I didn’t quite realized what I was getting myself into. Going from half-IM training to a full in 2 months. But I did it!
Race day weather was absolutely miserable. It rained all day and it was fairly cool as well. Knowing my family and childhood friend were there motivated me although I felt guilty dragging them around for an all day event. Lake Placid is absolutely beautiful. It is a quaint, small town, with a very athletic feel to it. I was happy to be participating in such an event and again, ignorance is bliss! I had self-trained, hoping I was going to be ready. My sister and mother made me some “care packages” for me to open in transitions!!! It was filled with little notes, gummy bears and almonds. I still have those notes to this day. It was a good incentive for me to get my butt back in transition to read them!
The marathon part was quite challenging and I resolved myself to the “Ironman shuffle”. The marathon portion was quite hilly for being my first official full marathon run. Spectators made it easier for us to go through the two loop course. The finishing chute was the best part: you finish the last 200m on the oval track, right in front of the Olympic Center. What a sight! Even through the rain and the loud cheers from the spectators, I could hear my heart pounding. Not from the effort (your heart rate is quite low when you “run” a 12min/mile pace) but from the excitement of crossing the finish line and be called an Ironman. Here I am! Crossing the line, seeing the crowd, getting my medal and…no one! Absolutely nobody’s arm to jump into? Self pat on the back I guess. My family missed my finish by about 15 min.To this day, my sister is still upset about missing my first IM finish. I wasn’t upset myself, just ready for a large slice of pizza and a nap!

That was it. The seed was planted. I was hooked. Ecstatic. My body made it through…But how much faster could it go? I guess that’s what keeps me going back for more. I am still trying to figure that one out. Pushing yourself to the physical and mental limit, breaking down barriers…More please!

Thanks for reading,
Stay healthy,

Maggie
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Thursday, April 17, 2014
Triathlon Rankings
Triathlon Rankings:
How do you compare with other triathletes in the Nation, or World?

by Maggie Fournier
A few ranking programs are available in order to determine how you fair against others in the same age category. They are based on performance, on a yearly basis and final ranking are finalized by the end of each calendar year. If you reach the top level of your ranking, you are awarded the distinction of being an All-American or even an All-World.

It can be somewhat complicated but here’s a summary of the ranking systems and how it works. There are currently 2 ranking systems available for triathletes: the USAT All-American ranking system, and the Ironman All-World ranking system.

USAT National Ranking:
In order to be eligible for ranking, you must first be a USAT member. You then must complete three USAT sanctioned races in order to be ranked (it can be any distance, from Sprint to Long Course). With each race, you get awarded a score, which depends on how you do and the overall level of competition in your age group at that race. Those scores get tallied throughout the year and your national ranking is determined, according to your position amongst other triathletes in your age-group within the USA. In order to get an All-American status, you must be ranked in the top 10% of your age group.

Ironman All-World:
This is a very similar ranking system as above, which was established by Ironman only a couple of years ago. The rules are very similar, as you earn points at Ironman sanctioned races (70.3 and ironman distance). The points get compiled at the end of the calendar year and you get a ranking within your age group across the world. A top 10% gets you All-World status. It is then further divided into Gold, Silver and Bronze status if you reach top 1%, 5% or 10%, respectively.

For further info, please visit:

http://www.usatriathlon.org/rankings/rankings-criteria.aspx

http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/triathlon-rankings/agr-overview.aspx#axzz2yUYIihLH
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Labels: Maggie’s Corner, Races, Triathlon Seminars
My First Time…Part 1
by Maggie Fournier
I precisely remember the day. It was a warm and beautiful Saturday in June. I was quite nervous, but so excited about the new experience ahead. My then boyfriend and I had talked about it and had chosen the perfect location and time. We had both prepared for the upcoming day and were excited to share this together. This was going to be the moment I had been waiting for so anxiously…It was the summer of 2001, in Quebec, Canada.

Of course, I am referring to the day I raced and finished my 1st triathlon! You see, a couple of years before, I was recruited to do the swim portion of a local tri. This gal who swam at the pool had talked me into joining their team, mistakenly taking me for an experience swimmer! Let’s just say it did not go so well; actually not well at all. I panicked so badly I had to be rescued from the water by canoe! I think I barely made it to the first buoy. True story. (Man, so many memories…) This time, I was prepared and excited about it. I raced with my sister’s 2 piece swim suit (again, no joke!) and was so relieved to cross the finish line, albeit in second to last position. At least I had finished the darn thing and finally earn the title of Triathlete! I remember vividly looking franticly for some Gatorade at the finish line; convinced I was about to have a heart attack, pass out, collapse or all of the above. I was very fine, mind you, but still to this day I cannot figure out why Gatorade? But I was hooked.

I drove back home that afternoon, excited to have experienced something new, sharing the adventure with a partner. My family had come along and I know they enjoyed the race, but even more the awesome brunch at the host hotel! There was something for everyone to enjoy. To this day, my dad still loves to come and watch me race whenever possible, even though he still asks me every single time: “what are the distances again”? (And still looks for a good place to eat while I am racing). I had signed up for this very first triathlon, wanting something new to try, wanting a goal to shoot for and reach. I also had some demons to overcome from my previously failed attempt at open water swimming and I knew the beer would be quite tasty afterwards J (some things never change).

All the memories I made (and continue to make) while training and racing are what keep me coming for more. It is not necessarily the podiums, accolades or wins, but truly the experience and process to get me to the starting and finishing line of a race. I continue to enjoy every single experience, good and bad, which has formed me into the triathlete and person that I am today.

Oh and I ended up beating my then boyfriend that day…

I wonder what he is up to today, if he still races…?

Stay tuned for My First Time Part II, the one about my first Ironman…

Stay healthy 🙂

Maggie
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Labels: Maggie’s Corner
Friday, February 7, 2014
Maggie’s Corner: Motivation
by Maggie Fournier
I certainly don’t want to start another Maggie’s corner saying how wonderful California was and how great biking outside year round it. You got my point already! But at this time of the year, my motivation is often at an ultimate low and I look for ways to motivate myself. Instead of writing my usual Maggie’s Corner, I will instead, share with you a blog entry from my coach. I often come back to this specific blog entry, which reminds me why I love to train and race, year after year. How can you not get motivated from this talented athlete/coach, who not only raced at the Sydney Olympic (and took 4th, 15 sec from Bronze mind you) but is an Ironman 70.3 World Champion and multiple Ironman Champion. To this day, she still has the fire burning and still wants to train and race her best, despite already having accomplished so much. Enjoy!

Read the blog here.
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Labels: Maggie’s Corner
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Maggie’s Corner: Off Season, Maggie Style!
by Maggie Fournier

Well, the “off-season” is finally here! I guess this term has several meanings depending on individual race schedules, time of the year, etc. Regardless of when your racing season ended, it is time for some well deserved recovery!!! What I know for sure, the Holidays are finally here and I now have time to enjoy them as my swim-bike-run schedule is down to a bare minimum. Off-season also means a break not only for the body, but most importantly, for the mind. My brain can take a break: I don’t need to memorize my speed workout ladder, the watts I need to hit, and I can even forget to pack my gym bag for the next day. My brain is turned off, triathlon-wise, and it feels good.
This year, my off-season started later than anticipated…After Ironman Mont Tremblant, I had to turn around and train for another race right away, which turned out to be much more difficult than anticipated. I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it. After all I was already looking forward to hiking in the forest, margarita drinking, or late afternoon lattes at the local coffee shop instead of being passed out on my sofa from another one of those never-ending bike session. Compression socks and all.

Despite my need for rest, I always get jittery and antsy the first few weeks of downtime after my season is over. I don’t need to wake up for swim practice anymore? Only 30min easy bike ride to the store and back…now what? The usual endorphin rush is no longer flowing in my veins on a daily basis! But it is important to let the body and mind rest, no matter how unnerving it can be at first. It is the time to do everything that was put on the back burner, such a visit with friends and family, read a book, (or two, or three!), cook and bake, and stay up later than 8:30 on a Saturday night. I know I’ve got this one down when I can stay up to watch the SNL opening monologue.The off season also gives me the chance to not be too stringent with myself. Another glass of wine? Sure! Last minute road trip without having to run my “long run” first? How fun is that! Sleeping in? Absolutely. The off-season is the time to recharge, let loose, recover and let the discipline slip a little.
But how much would you ask…? A period of rest is needed and you should take as long as your body needs. I usually take 4 full weeks of unstructured training, where I will hike, run with friends, mountain bike, or lounge around. After that period of time, I usually get myself back into somewhat of a loose structured training regimen. I usually call this the “Back to Basics” period. This is when I will spend time doing some running drills, working on my swim stroke and work on my cycling efficiency. The only thing that is well structured at this time of the year is my strength routine. I make sure to get to the gym 3-4 times weekly to work on my weaknesses. Triathlon training and racing involve a lot of repetitive motions, over and over again, which can lead to weakness in different area of the body. I also make sure to target specific area such as my core, which I often neglect during the season.
Beware! Off-season is often addicting, especially since it falls usually around the holidays when the eggnog flows and the apple pies are never too far. Go ahead and indulge! Just make sure you have a specific date when you plan to get back into an exercise regimen. Ready or not. Of course, I always cringe when I hit the “set date”, just as much as I was cringing about the fact that I didn’t have enough workouts at the beginning of the off-season. But the season ahead always gets me going!
…In the meantime…could I get more vino please?
Cheers, Stay Healthy

Happy Holidays 🙂
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Labels: Maggie’s Corner
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Maggie’s Corner: My Kona
By Maggie Fournier

I’ve never been the one to write much in terms of race reports. Not sure why. It might have to do with too many race reports I read that are too egotistical for my liking. In addition, I often times I get so engulfed and focused while racing that I forget what happen, besides the fact that it hurt. A lot.

I guess I never expected to toe the line in Kona this year, to begin with. My bike crash on Memorial Day 2012 had a lot to do with it. It just took a long time to heal physically, but even longer to heal mentally. For the longest time, I was just happy to “putts around on my bike” and I didn’t feel like putting any efforts. I didn’t want to feel the necessary pain that goes along with hard efforts. I have had enough of pain. Of course, a necessary discussion with my coach followed. The reason why she is still my coach after nearly 5 years is that she tells it the way it is, and I like that! Back in March, she essentially told me she wasn’t sure what kind of shape I would be for ironman Mont Tremblant. She actually wasn’t even sure if I should toe the line, let alone race well. I was behind. I didn’t think so. After a few tests done on the bike and on the run, I had to come to the realization that she was right. I was seriously behind in my training and had lost significant fitness.

I guess I could have folded and decided to finish Ironman Mont Tremblant. Afterall, most of my family would be there and it would be a big party, no matter what. (Case in point: my family never misses an occasion to get together and celebrate. I even saw cousins that I had not seen in 20 years!). I know my family would have been proud of me regardless of when or if I would have finished. Geez, I am not even sure if my dad knows the actual distances of each ironman legs! To him, at 80 years old, watching me race is almost like a game of Where is Waldo? !!! He just loves to see me all over the race course. But to me it didn’t work this way. I was toeing the line of my 10th ironman, and I was going to finish it strongly. Would I?…Did I remember how to race this distance? Would I make mistakes? Would I falter? Would I disappoint… myself?
And that’s when I realized the only person I could disappoint was me. Nobody cares how well or bad I do, as long as I am happy. I rolled up my sleeves and went to work. I trained hard, harder than I ever did.

I guess it paid off. I got 3rd in my AG that day. The funny story is, that I did not even know if it was good for a Kona slot or not, and I would only find out the next morning. It did not matter. I gave my all on race day, proved to myself and my coach that I was “back”, built some self-confidence along the way, and entertained my dad, since he got to see “Waldo” multiples of times! I was happy. Kent did not even bring it up. We just went to bed that night, after my traditional beer and burger, after a fun evening spent with my family and loved ones.

Fast track to Kona.

Again, not the one for race report/details, I can say that it is always a pleasure to land on that island on race week. There is something unique about the atmosphere in Kona during IM. It is the way the town gets transformed; how the locals and everyone else embrace and participate in this event. The media, the top notch athletes, rubbing elbows with pros, swimming at Dig Me Beach…All of it makes it special and unique. There is a feeling of excitement, yet filled with anxiety. It will hurt and you know it. No way around that one. It will be hot, windy and humid. Getting to the start is hard enough and I knew that with proper pacing, staying on top of nutrition and hydration, being wise, would land me a good race. Dad traveled again to see me race. It was a fun day and made all the efforts, sacrifices worth it. And the Mai Tai taste so much better after that race! (no beer and burger afterwards, but Mai Tai and tuna poke!!!)

Til next time…!

Stay Healthy J

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