21.5.14

Yokohama!


ferris wheels are big in Japan. 
Racing often has its perks. Gaining experience is one of them. Airmiles and airline points another. There’s also those drawstring bags we get every race, I’m gathering quite the collection at the moment.  I’m also racking up the Points, those precious WTS points. Having more Points means I there are higher chances of having a camera shoved in my face as I attempt to avoid looking like a fool while I fumble to organize my transition properly before the race starts. Tattoos are also easier to put on (and take off!). What I wasn’t expecting was how long the wait would be for everyone else to be called down to the pontoon, while I gaze ahead at the empty race course trying to settle the nerves and convince myself I made a great choice with my starting position. This time around, I did make a good choice.

I don’t usually get to many instruction before racing. Saturday, I was told to keep that swim “on the rivet”. And “on the rivet” it was. I sure was glad to round out that last buoy and see that I was in relatively good company for the time being. In excellent company I should say! In fact, maybe our party was a little too popular, as everybody and their mother decided to join our peloton. We didn’t keep the pace high enough for it to remain exclusive, which means most of the field was present at the start of the run. And in my yo-yoing from the kinda front to the dead back to almost the back, I got to visit with most everybody in that pack, even those best to be avoided.

Gwen decided she had enough of the party scene and went off on her own once we stepped onto the pavement. I limited myself to a few close friends, some of which stayed for longer than others, and some of which decided they had enough of me and ran ahead. In the end, I didn’t catch the former steepleling Duck from Belgium on the blue carpet, but did manage to get by one of the Japanese girls (many of which showed up big on home turf, which is always nice to see!)

All in all, I was super-duper pleased with a great swim (by my former and current standards), and a solid run which I was more confident would come this time around. 7th in the final results, which lets me climb back up to 4th in the overall series rankings. More awkward waiting-staring time and camera-in-the-face time coming up in London in two weeks…

Shoutout time! Yorke for a best ever 15th place with an impressive run. Gwen of course for winning. Dave, Sharleen and Marilyn for not only being world class at their jobs, but also awesome people. The wizards (Char, Aaron Ryan) for a good weekend. Thanks Yokohama for putting on a great show, making us feel unorganized, too tall and not respectful enough. You set the standard high Japan!


Until next time, 

-sarah

party of five. 

12.5.14

What I'm Going to Miss


  • The beach. Most specifically North Beach. Days like these.

  • Leisure Coast Groceries. They found the best way to get lazy people to buy too many vegetables (just grab a bucket!). Which is only a problem when you have to stuff them I a backpack in order to get them all home.

  • Massive multi-family tubs of sunscreen at the pool for all to use. Greatest investment in public health in a country where the UV rays are too strong for redheads. 
  • Surfers. Surfers in the water, surfers at the beach, surfers running to the beach to surf, surfers biking to the beach to surf. Surfers everywhere. 
  • Flat Whites. Diggies on a sunny morning. Or after a group session. 

  • Spearman’s and Northside Runners. They all understand “I’m with Jamie” means no compromise. They also play street cricket on Australia day with the triathletes. Great people, great stores.
  • Cheap grapes and peaches. And passion fruit and mango. And pumpkin. Not the canned stuff. 
  • The pie shop at the top of Jamberoo pass. Familiar sights are comforting on long rides. Especially when they mean a bit of a break for the legs. And the end of the climb. 

  • Friday morning Open Water Swim Session. Body-bash session. Sometimes, the two were quite similar. Taste of it here...
  • Sunday roast dinner with the eclectic group of people living under one roof at the top of Kembla street.
Most of us are leaving the Gong for the warmer, greener pastures of Vitoria by way of Yokohama. I’m lucky, I’m bringing most of the people I like with me (or rather, I’ m following them). I hate goodbyes, but I plan on coming back someday. In the meantime, life won’t change so much; the environment will be different, but the work and the goals remain the same.


See you on the flip side!

But don't forget to tune in for some fast racing on Saturday, 10AM Japan time! 

Cheers

8.4.14

WTS RACE #1. AUCKLAND.

Unless you've been living in a twitterless, information vortex, you might be aware by now that I finished fourth at the first WTS race of the season in Auckland. To say I am pleasantly surprised would be a bit of an understatement.

Training has been going well, nothing extraordinary, but every week had been getting better slowly but surely. I gained some confidence from winning the Mooloolaba CC and yes, got back to work after that. I also got some new socks. Some nice tall black cycling socks, Aussie style. Sometimes, it's the little things. I landed in Auckland Tuesday night feeling pretty good and looking forward to a few easy days in my favourite country.

So how was it to race the best in the world?

Well, I tried to pretend it was just the same as I had always done, and that it was just another race. And it really was ‘just another race’.

I dove off the pontoon between Routier and Pennock, which gave me a clearish path to the first can. The rest of the swim, I was a little gridlock and bumped around, but not overly concerned by it. 

Once I mounted my trusty stead, I jumped on Jenkins wheel and didn’t let go until I was safely tucked in the pack. The hills were tough, but I was more than ready for the demands of competition. I don’t have much confidence in my run yet, so I was a little worried when Barbara’s pack came back on us, a few laps before the end of the forty kilometres ride.

I ran out of transition like I’d never stopped racing, like I knew exactly what I was doing. I stuck my nose out there, more because I was worried that if I didn’t stay actively involved I would get left behind than for intimidation purposes. The hardest thing about that run was to ignore the names on the suits around me. Well, running was hard too. I could smell the podium with a few kilometres to go, but those ladies were too good for me on the day. Haug (GER) and Jenkins (GB) ran away from me on the last lap, and that was all I had that day. Since we had caught the two kiwis from the breakaway, that left Stimpson at the front, and me in fourth.


I owe the Wollongong Wizards, my beloved teammates, for showing up ‘errday  and pushing me to be the best ‘me’ I can be, by being the best they can be.

I owe Jamie Turner a lot. Mostly, a new stroke and an attitude.

I owe Libby and Triathlon Canada for the opportunity.

pics by Delly Carr....pretty cool running buddies!

I hope you enjoyed the show on the weekend, here’s to some more good days out there in 2014!

results and 3 minute video recap fort those interested...

19.3.14

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Quick takes from Mooloolaba CC:
  • Sometimes, we travel to races and everything seems to come together. The accommodations are great, the people are funny and interesting and thoughtful, the logistics flow and things go according to plan. Last weekend was one of those trips. TriCan has something to do with that. Thanks.
  • Mooloolaba is a stunning location for a race. Or a vacation. I encourage you to go if you ever get the chance. Or just make that chance happen.
  •  Triathlons are exciting. I got to watch the big girl’s race on Saturday and there are some speedsters out there! Pretty excited to have a go at it myself sometime soon, but we’re taking it one step at a time.
  • I’ve "updated" my swim stroke, cycled heaps, just gotten back into a constant running schedule. THAT is why I didn’t race the WC, for all those asking. One step at a time.
  • Golly, it feels good to put my arms up in the air. Again.
  •  I am fully aware I’ll have some bigger fish to fry soon. But I showed up on Sunday (too early, but what can you do) ready to get the job done. I found a few things that may need tweaking, so I’ll be working on that.
  • Ellen and I can pack my bike in 10 minutes. Biggest accomplishment of the weekend. Also, my fastest drug test ever, even though the volunteers refused to give me water cups on the run course because we were only allowed water bottles at the one water station which stocked them. They train them well.
  • Coming back to Wollongong felt like coming “home”. That’s a good sign.
  • To finish up, huge shout out to my teammates/training partners/friends. Gwen for winning, Ellen for a huge run to nab 4th place,  Kirsten for a stellar swim and a 7th overall, Brian Keane for best dressed, and New Jake for winning the men’s side of things on Sunday morning.


-         

                                          - Did you get New Jake
                                                    - Me: I don't know, someone got champagne in my eyes
                                                     - New Jake: Yeah, someone got champagne in my eyes too. 

Results Here: Mooloolaba Triathlon Oceania Cup 2014

27.1.14


Who 

Ellen-Matt-Andrew-Sarah
Canucks at North Beach
– me. (sarah-anne) I’m part of a group of young Canadian triathletes, the new generation they might say. There’s also a slew of Aussies who know what’s up, a couple fast Americans, a go-proing Hungarian, a South African,  and a slight Chilean who likes to make fun of me.  We form a “group of individuals” working together towards a goal. This group is also known as the Wollongong Wizards (although I have yet to be officially inducted or get tatted up)



What  

-Training. Training. Training. Learning about myself, and life, and triathlon. If you've seen me over the past few months, you probably thought my training was quite relaxed, that being a triathlete seemed like a sweet pastime. I got to see friends, family, a little bit of British Columbia, meet some cool  people, and then see more family. But that time is over now. Not that it wasn't enjoyable, but time off implies that there needs to be some `time on`, and this is it. Time to get to work, to go after the process that will deliver performance. So don’t get married in the winter or the summer, I’m not coming (unless you get married in Spain, then we could maybe work something out…). Fall weddings FTW.
hanging out at coopers with the mommies over break.
No more free afternoons now.
except for Sundays, 



Where

 –Australia. Mostly Wollongong (google it), a little bit of Falls creek, although that part is now over, before we launch for Europe, and ultimately Edmonton for the World Championships (upon qualification, of course) But for now, we’ll be rooted in Wollongong, which is a university beach town south of Sydney. Yeah, life could be worst.


When 

– I missed the countdown on the East Coast by a few hours. I caught the 12 bangs of midnight in Vancouver, sitting on the runway waiting for the interminable international flight to take off. That’s when it started. But realistically, I've been prepping for a while. Ever since I got back from my last adventure. Shout out to the parents for helping with the last prep before take off.

Why

 – The relentless pursuit of excellence. Racing the best in the world on the ITU circuit. Winning. 




I feel like I ran away a little bit, when I talk to people and they aren’t sure where in the world is Sarah-Anne Brault. I guess it's hard to keep up at times. I hope this little guide helps. I’m also hoping I can get some more updates up, about life, triathlon, maybe some racing stories. But we'll take life one days at a time, one session at a time. It makes it all that much sweeter if I can share it with y'all. 

Thanks for reading,

Until next time.

5.7.13

Summer Time. Highs and Lows.

Hello dedicated readers, and thank you for tuning in,

It’s been a while, but let’s not dwell on the past shall we!  Although, before we forget it all, I’ll do a quick summary of what I've done with my time over the past few months.
  •  I graduated from West Virginia University with a BS in Finance for the College of Business and Economics. My parents, brothers and favorite aunt drove down for the occasion and I got to show them around town. (Big Up, I still enjoy telling people I graduated, so don’t hesitate to ask me when you see me).
    Steph A and I at the B&E Convocation
  •  I failed to qualify for Nationals Track by racing foolishly at Regionals, and just not being fast enough on the day. (big low, don’t mention that)
  • I left all my friends and family in Morgantown. forever. (big low)
    Part of The Team. Miss them already
  •  I saw all my Winnipeg friends and got to see coach Pallett who is on track to lose a whole Tyler pretty soon, is a proud grandpa, and is doing a great job with the juniors up in frozenland. (big up)
  •   I got to fly to Victoria to train for a while and meet the awesome IST (integrated support team) team which will be with us until Rio. Very excited to be working with all those passionate and professional people! (big up)
  • Had the chance to race the world cup in Edmonton with all my friends. (so-so results, great experience) Welcome back to ITU racing Sarah.
  •   Travelled to Brazil without my trusty companion who happened to crash in Edmonton (Big low - heal quick tyler)
  •    Raced PATCO championships on Sunday. Got 2nd in the race (results here), which was won in impressive fashion by Pamela Oliveria soloing from the front. I tried to limit the damage to the best of my abilities but I, let’s say, ran out of road to run her down. All in all, very pleased about with that result. I’ll be facing much stronger field in the near future but it’s a good start and it’s always a good feeling when I can execute the plan.(Big Up!)

As you can tell, this is a very much abbreviated summary, and if have any questions/comments regarding any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me. Maybe one day I’ll write more about my races, or my travels, or all the interesting junior kids, or rather young adults, I got to spend the last week with in Brazil.And I have no doubt the next few months will bring their fair share of adventures that I can share with all my readers…

Until next time,

-sarah

1.9.12

Triathlon as an NCAA sport. maybe.



USA Triathlon has an interest in training the next generation for the Olympics. The NCAA has an interest in student-athlete well-being and education. This sport is a perfect blend  Marymount Athletics Director Debbie Warren


I couldn’t decide what to think when I say the article on adding triathlon to the NCAA list of championship sports in the near future. So I organized my thoughts, then wrote a blog about it. There are still a lot of questions, and no doubt it will take a few years, at the very least, to get programs rolling and attract talent to foster high level competition. My question is, can we train the next generation of Olympians through the NCAA system?

I’ve lived the NCAA reality for 4 years now, and I had my first taste of what triathlon racing at the highest level is all about over the last few months. (it’s ridiculously challenging but utterly addicting). I’ve experienced the sheer amount of rules rules imposed on athletes in order to be eligible in the NCAA. Totally ridiculous. No rides from the coach, wear team gear at all times, can’t tweet about anything, minimum credit hours every semester, progress towards your degree, etc.The one that might be a problem in this case is the 20 hour rule. 20 hour training week. 8 hours in the off season. That’s not very much. Half of what Frodeno does, maybe?. Also, even if there were no 20-hour rule, how many hours can you fit in around 12 or 15 credits worth of classes a semester? I tried to be a full time student and a triathlete for about 3 weeks last December (yes, that is during exam time, good timing sarah). I ended up in tears in the middle of the living room one day. Not good.

Looks like they are aiming at a sprint distance, draft-legal format. That would accommodate a lighter training load, and allow the sport to be accessible to more athletes, as all the junior racers would stay at the same distance for an extra 3 years. Let’s look at who’s winning the Olympics. Spirig, Norden, Snowsill, even Brownlee2 and Gomez. Mostly endurance beasts. Endurance is built with miles. Miles take time. It’s not going to be an easy balance. To stay eligible, you can’t just take a semester off, go train at altitude for a while and travel all around the world for races. Oh, but you won’t need to because you’ll have quality races around the country to race for your school! For a few years, the level just might not be quite high enough. Let’s say we reach about the level of a solid North American continental cup. Decent swimmers, a few fast runners, and a fairly unexciting bike leg. That’s all good, but it’s nothing compared to what you’re up against you reach the big leagues; a mid-level world cup or the WTS circuit. Is 4 years of mediocre competition a good way to built future Olympic champions? Then lets have the NCAA season be sometime in the spring, which would allow all the north American athletes to have their regular ITU season during the summer, even race worlds in the early fall, and go back to school to do base training, maybe complemented by racing cross country for their school. The only hitch will be finding a way around the 8 hour rule, which is done regularly, but will require a lot of smart planning from everybody involved. Easier said than done.

On the positive side, college campuses are where all the best runners and swimmers can be found in America, racing a lot but also training hard. If triathletes can take advantage of that, maybe coaches working together with an emphasis on a long term plan, those alliances can turn into gold (medals). College Campuses also tend to be in small towns, pretty areas with some trails for running and some country roads. It might not be Wanaka, but most colleges would be conducive to logging lots of quality miles.

The one thing I got me the most excited about the idea of NCAA triathlon is the team aspect of it. Even track and swimming manage to add a strong team component to their championships, and with the push for the team relay in Rio, what better stage to not only practice the short relay races but also include team tactics in the standard distance race. Every Olympics, there is talk about how team tactics are going to help win medals, and then we don’t hear about them again for 4 years. Practice makes perfect, tactics are going to work if we practice implementing them early. I owe one medal at least partially to team tactics; it adds another dimension to the race and is a whole lot of fun. (maybe less so if you’re on the wrong team...).

I think it would be good for the sport as a whole if this goes through, if they get enough schools to sign and get the support staff in place. Extra exposure for the sport, opportunity for juniors to keep triathlon as a part of their lives and development opportunities. bigger base tends to lead to better results at the top. But there are still a lot of kinks to work out, and the NCAA route might never be the best road for those aiming for those ITU mdeals. My two words on the issue, that’s it, nothing to take too seriously. Now I can go back to calculating cash flows and cheering for our mountaineer football  team...

Until later,

whats a blog without pictures? Go WVU and the yellow house crew. 
Sarah-Anne