Multisport Mastery is pleased to announce the September 2010 featured athlete:
Colleen Sullivan from Seattle, Washington
How did you get started in the sport?
I started in triathlon early (1986), when events were few and far between at a local race in my hometown. I was a high school track and cross country runner and had been training through the summer months for the upcoming Cross Country season. A friend and I decided that we would enter the race as part of our "training," neither of us owned bikes and while we were both able to swim, neither of us had done more than 1 open water swim. This particular race was had unconventional distances: swim 1 mile, run ~ 5 miles, then ride to the finish ~ 14 miles. Needless to say I had some long transitions- with complete clothing changes and the riding a borrowed bike (that I hadn't ridden prior tot he race.) I had a blast and although triathlon hit the back burner for a few years while I was going to college, I always knew I would resume the sport once I had a little more time to commit. Knowing what I know now, I wish I had stayed in touch with the sport during those years while I was in College and Grad school, instead of resuming some 8 years later.
What has been the highlight of your 2010 season?
When reflecting back over the 2010 season, I can't come up with one specific "highlight" this year but rather the achievement of consistently placing in the top 10 in my AG in every event I participated in with the exception of one (mechanical). The ability to consistently perform well and achieve my goals has been extremely rewarding and motivating. This was a bit of a "step back" year in that I took a year away from the full Ironman distance to improve my shorter course success, focus on going faster and having fun. I attribute my "consistent" success to Liz's ability to constantly challenge me, while not over train as well as encouragement to put myself just out of my comfort zone to see what I can achieve.
How do you balance being a coach with pursuing your own athlete goals?
Deciding to hire a coach of my own nearly 3 years ago was a big step as I too am a USAT coach. I realize now that hiring Liz has very likely helped me to become a better coach and helped me to stay "true" to my own training plan as well as pursue my own goals. Prior to having a coach, it was easy to put my workouts off or do what a client needed. With Liz's help, I have been able to more readily separate client time from my personal training time and when necessary ensure the workouts I do need to do with clients are beneficial to my overall training plan. Liz has been readily available for consultation on how to best juggle both.
What is your favorite race and why?
This is a tough one- my two favorites are Ironman Canada and Ironman 70.3 Hawaii (Honu 70.3). I love both of these races for different reasons. IMC is a fabulous course, has amazing support of the community and the excitement for the sport of triathlon and electricity of race week in Penticton is contagious. Honu 70.3 is held in Kona and while not on the exact course as the Ironman World Championship course, the bike route is the northern most part of the course with the storied climb to Hawi. There is the typical winds and heat of Kona and gives just a taste of what one would experience during the full Ironman, with a more relaxed and celebratory atmosphere. I'm pretty sure you'll see me at both of these races again this year as I'm still striving to put together my perfect day on these two courses.
How has a coach helped you to grow these past few years?
While I'm not an athlete that requires a huge amount of motivation to get out and do my workouts, having a coach to be accountable to has been a huge asset. Liz has helped to push me to each subsequent level by constantly giving me challenging workouts that are efficient, and creative. She has helped me to reach within myself to dig just a bit deeper to hit an interval or goal pace. She has also helped me to grow my own confidence that with the right combination of training stress and recovery I can continue to get faster and achieve my goals. I'm looking forward to another successful season of consistency and striving to reach the next goal with Liz's help.
Colleen has seen a breakthrough season in 2010. Her season has included a 2nd overall finish, 3rd overal, two 2nd in age group placings and two other top 10 finishes. She also qualified for the Ironman 70.3 Wolrd Championship and the opporutnity to represent the state of Washington at the Best of the US amateur triathlon competition. Together, we have struck a balance of how to challenge her and recover her for peak performance. I'm looking forward to watch Colleen revisit the Ironman disatnce in 2011 and work for another year of breakthroughs!