|| Canadian Olympian Triathlete Sharon Donnelly ||
|Sharon's FrontPage Archive 2003|
|December 3, 2003 - Touring the globe on Olympic trail|
By SHARON DONNELLY, Special to the Sun
(Sharon Donnelly, a former Orleans resident who now calls Kingston home, represented Canada at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in women's triathlon. As she counts down toward the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, she shares her thoughts with Sun readers in a series of columns)
Winter is no doubt bearing down upon you, so I am trying to send you warm vibes from my recent competition destinations!
The last time I wrote, I briefly outlined my race schedule -- and that has now been completed. What follows is a little glimpse of what it is like to compete in four races in six weeks around the globe.
We have a saying on the World Cup circuit: "One of the great things about our sport is the travel to different countries. The worst part about our sport is all of the travelling to different countries."
Travel started with what felt like two days on an airplane after making an emergency purchase of a rolling on-board valise at Dallas Airport to ease my aching shoulders from my backpack. It would become a god-send in my numerous treks through Tokyo subways and trains, and the remainder of my travels!
Of course, this was in addition to the huge bike box and bag that I have to bring along as well. I often step on the bathroom scale with my bags to make sure I haven't gone over the allowed limit of 32 kg per bag. I have to endure endless stares at airport and other locations whenever I travel with my luggage -- everybody wants to know what's in the box that I have such a hard time lifting off luggage belts and dragging around.
Arriving in Tokyo -- and after a near two-hour wait in immigration lines -- I was welcomed by a local triathlon coach, who helped me with my stay. He hosted me with one of his athletes last year and it's a great feeling to come to a foreign country and already be familiar with the local areas.
They are based in a suburb called Chiba and the club welcomes all of the international athletes to train at their pool and club. They are incredible hosts and it leaves all of the athletes with wonderful memories and impressions of their stay in Japan -- no matter how they perform in the race!
I was happy with my race, finishing fifth and winning enough money to cover about one-third of my airplane ticket. The race was tough considering they had to change the venue of the swim in the morning to the local canal, due to the high waves smashing and breaking our dive pontoon.
The swell and waves in the canal were so huge that safety personnel on paddle boards were surfing prior to our race start!
Also, we all tried to avoid thinking about the issue of water quality -- hoping that the extreme change in water temperature halfway through our swim at the sewer outlet would not cause our skin to bubble later in the day. Just one of the issues we must deal with as triathletes!
TINY LIVING SPACE
After the race, I had more than a week before I had to leave for my next competition. My wonderful hosts offered to continue to put me up, but I must say the extremely small living area was starting to wear on me. Not to mention my desire to sit in a normal chair! (In this apartment, they were sitting on the floor all of the time.)
I was very fortunate to have a friend (a classmate from Royal Military College) who lived and worked at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. I was amazed to learn that it had an indoor pool of about 22 metres in length -- so I could continue my training.
The embassy is located across from the Imperial Summer Palace, which is not open to the public, but the sidewalk around the exterior is a popular running loop with local runners of all calibres. When I ran there, it felt amazing to be running in the centre of Tokyo, at the same time as three other top Japanese runners!
I left Tokyo and continued west via Bangkok to Athens, Greece -- site of the 2004 Summer Olympics. After more than 17 hours in planes plus more hanging out in airport waiting lounges, I arrived to a surprisingly short immigration line.
I was met by our team manager with a van he had rented -- this is very unusual for most of my World Cups, because we do not get country support as it is too expensive (the little money that is available is given directly to the athletes to help defray some of the travel costs). So, we arrange for our own travel, accommodation, and every other detail to all of our World Cups.
But because this World Cup was the test event for the Olympic Games, it was opportune for our sport's coaches and managers to come and view the course and investigate training and accommodation areas for 2004. This support was immediately appreciated as soon as we headed out of the airport: The driving is insane in Greece!
It was culture shock after having been in Japan with its small but pristine, well-signed roads and courteous drivers. Thankfully, our race venue, Vouliagmeni, is south of Athens, making it much quieter and easier to get around. But later we found out that it is the most expensive place in the Athens area -- it is a common theme in our sport to put us in the most expensive areas and cities in the world. But by so doing, it makes triathlon look great on television, and that is what brings money into our sport and allows us to continue competing!
The Olympic course is extremely demanding with a 800-metre climb on the six-lap bike course, of which 300 metres is "beyond category" -- meaning that it is steeper than anything I have seen in the Ottawa area! All the athletes were here to get a close look at the course and in order to really feel it, you have to race it.
In the race, that hill was 10 times harder than doing it the day before, and was a definite boon to spectators, as they could almost run faster than us riders! I did not have a good race and could not finish due to breathing problems, for which I couldn't come up with a cause. Whether it was due to my asthma, or all the second-hand cigarette smoke I had been subjected to over the course of the past two weeks in Japan and Greece, I wasn't sure.
One thing for sure: I want to be back racing that course next year in the Olympics!
The following day, I visited Athens with my husband, who took a four-day relief from his tour in Bosnia to meet me (it was the first time I had seen him since he left in July). We saw all of the tourist sites, remarking on the large amount of restoration work being done, but also noting the effects of graffiti and the recent garbage strike. We were amazed to see a few Olympic sites that our cab driver pointed out to us -- they were either just piles of rubble in an open area, or old buildings that still had to be dismantled. The roads were in horrible disrepair as they were slowly building a railway.
It was hard to believe, having seen it with our own eyes, that they will be ready for the Games in less than nine months! Added to that, I couldn't imagine the strain on the transit system, since I am sure it would be difficult to change the habits of the Greeks who drive as if there are no painted lines on the roads and park anywhere there is space -- sidewalks included!
Dave and I parted ways the following day. Dave to Bosnia, and I to Cancun, Mexico (yes they are on totally different spectrums!). I am not a huge fan of Cancun: Yes, there is a sun and beach, but aside from that, it seems like a whole strip of big-name stores and big-name hotels. Add to that the concern over food and water contamination, and you can understand my sentiment.
OFF TO MEXICO
Come race day (only one week after my Athens race), though, I was feeling fine. My race was going all to plan; I had already been racing for close to two hours and had been in first place up to halfway in the run. My pace slowed a bit and I was running in fifth place with less than 1 km to go in the run when suddenly I started to weave across the road.
Suddenly I collapsed, throwing up. Each time I tried to get up and walk, I would throw up again. My mind was trying to get my legs to move -- but they kept buckling. I had no choice but to give in to the medical people who had by this time caught up to me. I was given two IVs and then sent on my way. It was extremely tough, as I was on route for a good result, but my body said "no more."
The doctor said I should recover quickly and be able to compete at the next race, which I had signed up for. I wasn't 100% sure, since I had pushed my body to its limits, but since I had already booked and paid for my trip, I decided to go on to my next race in Rio de Janeiro anyway.
It was an especially tough trip, considering my condition from my race in Cancun and the fact it was a long trip! I had to fly Los Angeles to pick up my old passport that contained my Brazilian visa, then I flew the 14 hours to Rio.
I was able to set up a family to stay with and it turned out to be the best part of my trip! The son was a triathlete and had recently returned from grad school in Britain, so it was a relief to be able to converse with him, as my Portuguese is limited to three words: Thank you, please and pineapple (I don't know why that word! Maybe because it sounds really cool in Portuguese).
I felt immediately at home, which was good since I had come down with a very bad virus and he and his parents doted on me! Whenever I can arrange a home stay, I do so as it saves a lot of money.
Considering how sick I was going into my race, my 17th-place finish was respectable. Also, it was an incredible opportunity to be able to say I raced right on Copacabana beach, and I only wish I could have stayed a bit longer!
I flew out the same night as my race, and it was on this flight home that I wrote this article. I had not been home to Canada since mid-August and the stay in Toronto with my mom and family would be very short as I was scheduled to leave for Australia only three days after arriving.
More on my training "down under" in my next article, including a report on this weekend's world championship in New Zealand.
Thank you for reading this. It was a long one -- but so was the flight from Brazil!
|November 9, 2003 - RIO ITU World Cup|
Sharon placed 17th in this mornings World Cup in Rio, Brazil in a time of 2:02:45.
Complete results from Triathlon.org.
|November 6, 2003 - Report from Rio|
Email from Sharon:
My impression of Rio has changed 100% - all because of my home stay and where he lives. I cycled and ran today in beautiful areas and the condo of his parents is in a nice quiet suburb not far from Rio. The local bike shop is so nice and I got a full bike cleanup for $6. It hasn't been this clean since I got it from the shop! But they are so nice and taking excellent care of me - which is good because I have come down with a cold and I am hoping with this great care - I will be over it by Sunday.
|November 2, 2003 - Cancun ITU World Cup|
Sharon's Report from Cancun:
"If you were following the coverage of the World Cup on the internet - then you were no doubt wondering what happened to me. It is very unlike me to DNF in two races - much less two consecutive ones! That is not me. Some might have thought it was my asthma again - I wish it was, I would have been able to get through and finish - but my body shut down at about 1km left in the run (actually about 500m before that I was weaving around!) I figure it was diet related, maybe not eating enough of the right foods while in Mexico (I avoid salads and veggies in case they have been washed in water) and with the travel combined with the heat to which I had not acclimatized as I did last year.
My race plan was to swim as hard as I could to get a gap and I did just that. There were 4 of us and we exited the water with over 45 second lead. We quickly got together and I began shouting instructions and encouraging the others to work together. we extended our lead to 1min 15. In my group there was myself, Vanessa Fernandez (Por), Tara Ross (Can) and Carla Moreno(Bra). Carla did no work in our group and often hampered our paceline. I tried to get the other girls to get together and drop her out of the corners, but the girls just weren't experienced enough to know how to do it, even with telling them. But at least we tried. The chase group got within 50sec of us and I was yelling at everyone to not give in and keep pushing - we were able to bring the time gap back up to 1:15 by the end of the bike. Onto the run, I felt good and ran shoulder to should with Vanessa and Carla. I knew they were faster than me and I was surprised to see them looking at each other and slowing down as neither wanted to break the strong head wind. I said stuff that since I knew the chase group was coming, so I took the lead. At the turnaround, they surged and got away from me with the tailwind. But at the turnaround to head back into the wind, then started playing again and I caught them and took the lead again! Then at the turn back they surged again and the distance was greater. At about this time, I felt my hamstrings cramping, I had to slow for about 15 secs and then I resumed my running pace and it got better. After 5km though, my tempo starting dropping - I kept playing mind games to get me to keep my leg pace going. At about 7km, Natasha passed me followed by Carol, but I was determined to run my race and keep going as hard as I could - which was a little slower by now. Then at about 8.5km it started! I started to weave and I hit the curb and went up on the grass and then back onto the road - I remember telling myself to just keep it straight and keep on the road. After turning at the far end for the last time I was in 5th place with just 1km to go. I went about another 100m and my legs gave out. Then I starting throwing up! I would stand up and then my legs would buckle and I would throw up again. I kept throwing up and then I would try to get up and start even walking but it would send me into stomach convulsions again. I wanted to finish so bad - but I eventually gave in and let the medical people bring me back to the medical tent. I took 2 IV's and anti-nauseant.
It was very hard to take, because I know I am fit enough to be running with them, but bad nutrition or water combined with the heat! Frustrating because I was setting myself up for a crucial podium finish. But if I am to take positives from this, I know I can push the swim and bike, and I know I can run. Doing this with the regularly more competitive fields - I know we can get away and stay away.
So it was an extremely tough day at the office, but I followed my race plan - I came up a little short! I know it will come.
Thank you to all who emailed and called to give me support for the past few races - it meant so much to me. "
Complete results are available from Triathlon.org.
Sharon's next race is in Rio on November 9th.
|October 25, 2003 - Athens ITU World Cup|
Sharon did not complete the Athens ITU World Cup Triathlon run this morning. She was third out of the water and 8th after the bike.
Sharon, who suffers from asthma, had a major breathing problem on the run and was not able to run at a competitive level.
She races again this weekend in Cancun, Mexico where she placed 8th in the world championships last year.
|October 20, 2003 - Sharon Arrives in Greece|
I have arrived in Greece! I was picked up by Paul Regensburg that was great. Driving here is crazy! The flight over was great. I did an early swim at the embassy - had breakfast with Steve and Alyssa and headed out at 1030am for Chiba. I did my treadmill run at noon at the triathlon center (felt good) and then went and packed up my stuff. Yamani san picked me up at 4pm (actually a little later) and made the plane with about 10min to spare (most due to the lines at immigration!)
The first flight was more crowded and was about 6 hours. I had just over 1hr in Bangkok - wow it was a huge airport with tons of shops and tons of people (it was midnight). The second leg was over 10hrs and I had three seats to myself! As soon as I got on - I took two Tylenol PM pills and I slept for over 5hours! It helped me so much. Watched the Charlie's Angels movie Full Throttle - movie sucked but the music was awesome - it would be a good soundtrack!
I arrived at 7am and was at the hotel by 820am. We (Paul and Neil Harvey - the swim coach at the Pacific Sport Center) drove into town and we are at an internet cafe - then we will do lunch and I will do a very short swim at 2pm followed by an easy 1hr spin on the wind trainer.
Did you see the results of Portugal? Sprint finish for podium for Jill! Wow. And what about Ironman? That is pretty incredible to have both Peter and Lori winning then Heather and Lisa pulling through!
|October 14, 2003 - More from Sharon on Makuhari|
Sharon provided these comments on the Makuhari Triathlon via email today.
The race was incredible - you had to be there to see the weather and the havoc it was creating! We woke to incredible high winds - I went over with Tereza and we almost got blown off our bikes! Then we saw all of the age groupers heading out - and they were not wet! I was hoping it would not be another duathlon! Then we went to the swim start - we heard it before we saw it...the diving pontoon was split in half and the waves were crashing over it. The waves had smashed the ramp up to the pontoon and while we were standing there - one of the three Zodiacs on the pontoon was lifted up by the wind and smashed aver the pontoon! It sounded like thunder! The sea was incredible! And frightening! The officials were of course panicking - the athletes were all wanting to race - but not another duathlon. Les McDonald was there and he didn't want another duathlon either! The officials called an emergency meeting and determined that we would swim in the canal. We went over there and it was like a surf zone! There was no access to get in and out - but they were bent on making us swim in there! Les McDonald had an argument in front of the athletes with the JTU president about their choice of three loops - Les asked the athletes what we wanted and we said one loop - so that is what happened. Then there was the question of wetsuits - the water temp was legal (over 20 degrees) but they were mentioning safety issues - Les again asked the athletes to vote and the numbers against wetsuits outnumbered the for. So then we were given 10 minutes to get our stuff together and get to the race start - we walked over and waited for about another 20 minutes (Many of us had to sit on the ground and pee we had been waiting so long!) while they figured out how we would get in and out of the water - they ended up strapping one metal ladder to the side and we had to jump into the canal for a deep water start! the swells were carrying us down the canal before the gun started - some started before the gun even went - but I was getting pushed under at the same time - so I didn`t see that it was Loretta who I had hoped to swim with!
The swim was a bludgeon fest - with us crashing on top of each other as the waves pushed us into one another - then the current from the sewer outlet nearly pushed us all into the far wall! It was disgusting - it was so warm! I got swum over around the turn too. But the worst was the latter - When I got there I had to wait for about 4 others to go - then someone tried to bud in front and i yelled at them and pushed them away. Behind me Sam Warriner was climbing up and got pulled down and she got banged into the cement wall - it was bloody brutal!! ...
I am running out of internet time - I head to downtown Tokyo to stay with an old RMC buddy who works at the Canadian Embassy - I will continue my race report from there. I will stay there until Saturday - but travel back to Inage to do some swim and bike training (too difficult to get all of my luggage to Tokyo)
|October 13, 2003 - Makuhari ITU World Cup, Japan|
|Sharon finished 5th in the Makuhari ITU World Cup Triathlon in a time of 2:00:34, achieving her third of 3 required top 10 finishes towards Olympic qualification. More...|
|October 12 - A One-Year Olympic Countdown - Sharon's Diary #2 - Training Camp In Boulder - The Technical And Behind The Scenes|
Reprinted with permission
The Ottawa Sun - Copyright (c) 2003, Sun Media Corporation
Welcome to the second installment in my Road to Olympics diary. In my first, I had promised to tell you of my next World Cup in Madrid - well, I must confess that I changed my plans and chose not to compete. I, like many of my fellow athletes, enter races many months in advance, but sometimes, these must be changed due to any number of reasons, injury, travel, other planned races etc. In my case, when I started to investigate the travel required for the Madrid race, combined with my desire to do a series of races only a few weeks later, I decided it was best to save my body from the long travel, and get some more solid training that would get me through the rest of the season.
My new race plan, although it looks extensive, actually cuts down on my travel by at least 20 hours! My plan is to race Makuhari World Cup on Oct 13 (located near Tokyo) and stay there with the local triathlon club for 5 days and then I continue west to Athens Greece for another World Cup on Oct 25th. From there, I go even further west to Cancun Mexico for another World Cup on Nov 2nd.
I have taken into consideration a few factors, one being that I find it easier traveling west and can get acclimatized much quicker, the other and an important one, is the altitude factor - which I must explain a bit further:
For the past 6 weeks, I have been training in Boulder Colorado which is located at the optimal zone for altitude training, at just over a mile high. The benefits, (in layman terms) are that the body becomes more efficient due to having to endure less oxygen. The body produces more red blood cells in order to get maximal oxygen to the muscles (red blood cells carry the oxygen to the muscles). You can not replicate this red cell production at sea level, i.e. Ottawa! The more oxygen you can carry to your muscles - the better you can perform. Training at altitude takes adjustment, and that is why if there is a competition scheduled for a high altitude area, it is crucial that an athlete becomes adjusted to the altitude. Even though I am well adjusted to the altitude, I still feel its affects when I am training at my highest intensity. But I know that when I go down to sea level to race, that feeling will occur at a much higher speed than I am performing at here. This brings me back to why I have chosen the races at these times:
The science behind altitude training is still out on the exact protocols, but the optimal times to race after training at altitude are up to 72hr and at the 20day periods. Why these exact timings and what about the time in between these periods you ask? Good question: up to 72hrs, the body is still accustomed to altitude and the change in environment is negligible. After this, there is a sluggish period as the body adjusts and it tries to get the speed up, (since at altitude, top speed is negatively affected), it picks up in the second week and you get maximal speed and oxygen benefits nearing three weeks after altitude. After this amount of time, the benefits begin to decline as the body only produces enough red blood cells to maintain at the current altitude.
So, to conclude that basic explanation, I have scheduled my first races back to hit these two crucial times to benefit most from my altitude training!
Of course, training in Boulder for the altitude is not the only reason why I chose to come here. In my previous article I told you about the amazing coach and group with whom I am training, and gave you a brief insight into what our training entailed. But I don't want to get into the details of our training, I want to let you know what it is like living in a house (with barely any furniture, no cable - but thankfully a TV) with 4 female athletes. OK you are getting a vivid picture already! But I have to touch on this subject since we all have been asked similar questions: what is it like to be training AND living in the same house with the people that you race against? It is a valid question. But the answer is that it really is not any different than if we were not athletes. Thus, you can see, it is still tough, but fun too!!
We all watch the show The Bachelor (since it is on two of the three stations) and we have begun to see a bit of a resemblance! When we all get a bit a tired (which is most of the time) we tend to get a little short with each other - of course this may happen on varying days! Little remarks that shouldn't mean anything get taken in the wrong way and affect others. We all have different personalities, and we also want to perform well in our training. The key is to not let comments or our differing personalities affect our training. We, like the women on Bachelor, are competing for our goals, and even though we may do little things to affect one another, we still have to get out there and perform our very best. Well…okay… the show is a little hokey, but we have to have some comedy and entertainment!
But it really is a good set-up here in Boulder. We all have our ups and downs both in practice and personally at home. At first, I would berate myself for not having a good workout in comparison to one of my training partners, but then a few days later the situation would reverse itself. Our coach has been great at telling us to focus only on what we are doing ourselves, by training together we push each other to greater heights, but we can't all be feeling great at the same time. Comparing with others will burn us out and is meaningless. Imagine living in the same house as some of your close work colleagues - can you do it?
I have learned that living with those you compete against is like any relationship: respect, compromise, forgiveness and friendship (of course some relationships this would mean love - but we won't go that far here!!). Another added benefit is that if you sleep through your three alarms - there will be someone who will wake you up in time for the next workout!!
On that, note, I am going to head to bed and sign off - my next diary entry will come after Athens Greece World Cup - the test event for the 2004 Olympic Triathlon event.
Until then, don't let the diminishing daylight hours deter you from your activities - keep active, don't let that hibernation set in!!
Copyright 2003, The Ottawa Sun Unauthorized reproduction or Web posting prohibited.
|September 1 - A One-Year Olympic Countdown - Triathlete Sharon Donnelly Begins Detailing Her Athens Quest|
Reprinted with permission
The Ottawa Sun - Copyright (c) 2003, Sun Media Corporation
Memo: Sharon Donnelly, a former Orleans resident who now calls Kingston home, represented Canada at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in women's triathlon. As she counts down toward the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, she'll share her thoughts with Sun readers in a series of monthly columns. Sharon's first column was penned exactly one year out from the Athens race
Column: Road To Athens
By Sharon Donnelly, Ottawa Sun
One year, 52 weeks or 365 days: Whatever way you look at it, that is the countdown to the women's Olympic triathlon race in Athens, Greece.
At exactly 7 a.m. on Aug. 25, 2004 (European time), the women will start the most gruelling race we have ever faced. I will be sharing my experiences with Ottawa Sun readers for this year leading up to that day in a series of monthly articles.
I will talk about my daily regimen, races, travel woes, injuries, friendships and even wacky stories based on true events! I want to describe to you, the reader, what it is like to be a full-time athlete in the last year of preparation for the biggest event on the planet.
From the stressful qualification process to the joyful success in training and at races, you can be a part of this process by following my articles. I hope you enjoy reading these diary submissions as much as I enjoy writing them.
My first story, of course, must touch on the fact that I am only one year out from the Olympic triathlon event. That is not long, and if you consider that I must qualify first, the timeline shortens further!
Some critical information you should know:
- The Olympic triathlon consists of a 1,500-metre open water swim, 40 km bike ride and a 10 km run. (There are many other versions of the sport of triathlon, from sprint to the long Ironman distance, but the format I described is the one which we contest on the World Cup circuit and at the Olympic Games).
- The 2000 Sydney Olympics were the first Games to include the sport of triathlon. The field is limited to 50 competitors in each of the men and women's events. The same limit will be applied in 2004 in Athens.
- Qualification is based on a World Cup circuit where athletes accrue points according to their finishes (to a maximum of seven events) toward a world ranking for themselves and their county. Currently, Canada can send three women (the maximum allowed) and one man to Athens.
- Equality is promoted on the World Cup circuit. Men and women compete at the same distances, on the same course (but separately) and for equal prize money.
- Normally, the time to complete an Olympic triathlon is approx one hour, 50 minutes for the men and two hours for the women. Projected finishing times for the Athens Olympic course will be 20 minutes slower, and indication of the course's difficulty.
- For Canadians to qualify, we must first achieve three top 10 World Cups finishes prior to July 2004 (the period started in April 2003). Selection criteria is currently being drafted to determine how to choose among those athletes who achieve their Canadian Olympic standards. This criterion will be posted on the National Federation website (www.triathloncanada.com) for all to see. I foresee a fight for the three spots to be among 4-5 women: Jill Savege, Carol Montgomery, Natasha Filliol and Samantha McGlone, all of B.C., and myself. Kingston's Simon Whitfield, the 2000 Sydney gold medallist, will be the lone male competitor once again, unless up and coming Brent McMahon (B.C.) has a stellar season.
You Can Join, Too
Now you are up to 'speed' on this amazing sport! Maybe you will catch the bug and want to participate in one yourself - and that is another amazing thing about this sport -- it can be done by anyone! There are numerous races in the local area and they have categories by five-year age groups for men and women as well as the physically challenged.
Head to your local running or bike shop to find out more about participating in a triathlon. That is exactly how I got introduced to this sport and 10 years later, I am travelling around the world and on my way to a second Olympic Games! I get goosebumps just thinking about how fortunate I have been and the great experiences I have had.
This first Ottawa Sun article finds me writing from my new training base in Boulder, Colo. I arrived here only one week ago after seeing off my husband, Maj. Dave Rudnicki, to his one-year UN tour in Bosnia as contracts officer.
It will be tough being apart, but we will see each other a couple of times in that period of time, and it is a fact of life for both of us: At my level of competition, I am away from home for more than five months in a year; in the military, families must regularly deal with deployments.
I think it is perfect for us to be both away at the same time focusing on the most important years in both of our careers. He will be finished his tour just in time to travel to Greece to watch the Olympic Triathlon!
But in the meantime, I have a lot of hard work to do and I am doing that in beautiful Boulder with my new coach Siri Lindley (she is my former competitor and was world champion in 2001). Jill Savege, who recently won the gold at the Pan Am Games, is part of this new training group and we work well together in training and racing.
I wasn't able to defend my gold medal from the 1999 Pan Ams because I could not compete in the qualifying race due to injury. But I was happy my friend and teammate Jill came through for Canada! She will join me in a few days for a daily grind of 2-3 sessions per day, ice baths in the local stream, and lung-searing bike climbs in the mountains at altitude. With my next race less than one month away in Madrid, Spain, this training will be crucial.
Next month's article will cover some more of this daily routine, as well as my Madrid World Cup race.
Until then, you can follow my progress on my website, www.sharondonnelly.com, which is maintained by Ottawa's Sirius Consulting Group Inc.
Until next time, play safe, and play hard!
Copyright 2003, The Ottawa Sun Unauthorized reproduction or Web posting prohibited.
|August 18, 2003 - From Boulder, CO|
Just very quick as I am borrowing a friend's computer and I must head off to set up my bike. I got here okay yesterday - even arrived early! Also I learned that I even missed the massive power outage! I am at an apartment right now - needless to say I had to clean the fridge before I dared to put my groceries in! I may move places in a few days to where Jill Savege is - I had been hesitant before because there were cats there - but they have cleaned very well, and I would have the garage where the cats have not gone. i will check it out this weekend and decided whether to stay where I am or move. either way - I am very happy and Siri Lindley has been great. I swam this morning and I was practically sinking at the end of the workout - the altitude is taking effect!
Anyways, I must get going - i will give you the phone number of the house where I may change to and it will be hooked up Sunday. If I stay at the other place - there is no phone and I would plan to go get a rental cell phone and give you that number later. but if you call this number - I will get the message and get back to you the next day at the latest.
I will write more later - and with email - I must try to figure out how to get (internet) service too.
All the best talk to you later.
|August 10, 2003 - New York Duathlon|
Today's New York City triathlon became a duathlon when several days of rain caused the water conditions in the Hudson River to become unacceptable for swimming.
Sharon, coming back from a major injury, had concerns over jumping into a hard run without the swim and bike to warm-up. She found she did not feel comfortable with how her body felt during the run and she decided to be conservative and save her body for a proper triathlon so she dropped out and did not finish the race.
She will head down to Boulder, Colorado this week to train with her new coach, Siri Lindley.
|August 9, 2003 - Sharon in the Big Apple!|
Got here no problems! Of course, that only happens when CBC is here to film - showing everyone that this is normal! My friend's place (it is
owned by a friend of hers) is incredible! Very large apartment one block from Central Park. I had coached her (Kristen Lasasso) about 2
years ago and we both felt she might try bike racing. She is now riding for the RONA team - which includes Canadian Genevieve Jeanson.
Once I arrived, I put on some Team RONA bike clothing and went out to ride part of the course - we also went to the swim start and saw the water!
I was told by CBC today that they may cancel the swim!!! There has been a lot of rain and more forecasted. Currently the fecal counts are 40x the allowable limit. I guess Barrie Shepley told them that they have discussed it this morning and will talk about it at the athlete meeting tomorrow. It will probably turn into a 5k run/40k cycle/ 10k run. I will definitely have a problem with this format (running first off). But I will still start - but will be cautious. I will definitely speak up at the meeting to fight against putting points towards the race if the swim ends up being cancelled.
|August 6, 2003 - Sharon Featured on CBC's Women Warriors August 9th|
Sharon will be the featured guest on the CBC's Women Warriors show this Saturday, August 9th at 12:00 Noon EDT.
This television series which reveals the ferocious spirit and life-long sacrifice it takes to be a champion.
Unlike conventional sports profiles, Women Warriors seeks to uncover the woman behind the athletic powerhouse. Through interviews with team-mates, friends, family and in-depth interviews with the athletes, each half hour episode embraces the accomplishments, struggles and choices which make up the world of today’s elite Olympian.
|August 5, 2003 - Olympians inspire young triathletes at Kids of Steel|
Doug Graham, Kingston WhigStandard:
Ashley Trenhaile aspires one day to contest the triathlon for Canada in the Olympics.
|July 31, 2003 - Kingston Swim Clinic|
Swim Clinic with Sharon Donnelly:
Sharon is holding a pre-race swim info/clinic session on Saturday Aug 2 at 1030am at the PUC Docks (just west of KGH). She is asking for a $5.00 donation to the Suzanne's Arm fund (there will be a bucket on site).
Total session will be no more than 1hr and will cover the following items:
She foresees about 20 - 30min on land, and 20-30 min in water, or however long you would like to swim. A lifeguard will be present as well as a person in a kayak to look over swimmers and watch for other watercraft. The timing of this session allows you to then go directly to KTown registration which starts at 12 noon.
Thank you, and if I don't see you on Sat, I will be at the race on Sunday and can answer any questions you may have - right up until the gun goes (because I will be doing the swim portion for Team Andy #1)
|July 27, 2003 - "Missing Pan Am gold has a silver lining"|
By ROB BRODIE, Ottawa Sun
Sharon Donnelly is simply one of those people.
The kind who can take even the most dire of circumstances and somehow spin it into a positive.
Take the injury -- a partial tear of a calf muscle -- she suffered at a World Cup triathlon event last month in Japan. One that effectively ended her chances of defending her gold medal at the Pan American Games, which begin Friday in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Disappointment? Of course.
But there is no excess of moping going on for the former Orleans resident, who couldn't be more enthused about her prospects a little more than a year out from the 2004 Athens Olympics.
For one thing, she convinced Triathlon Canada not to make the Pan Ams part of the qualifying process for Athens -- a key victory, even if she was turned down in her request for a medical waiver that would have allowed her to compete in Santo Domingo.
Besides, there's a World Cup event in New York the same day as the Pan Am race (Aug. 10), and a top 10 finish there can help her on the road to Athens. And, she says with a laugh, CBC has plans to do a feature on her in New York.
"One of the producers told me they're doing a whole show on (the New York event)," she said. "The Pan Am race might only get five minutes (of coverage)."
Silver linings, you see.
There's more. Donnelly's injury allowed her to spend more time at home in Kingston with her husband, Maj. Dave Rudnicki. No small thing when you consider Rudnicki left two weeks ago for a one-year UN posting in Bosnia.
Oh, but here's the best part. She leaves Aug. 14 for Boulder, Colo., to begin training with other Athens-bound triathletes -- including fellow Canadian and good friend Jill Savege -- under the tutelage of Siri Lindley.
The American is a former elite triathlete and friend of Donnelly's, and provides her with the coach she's gone without for the past year.
A little bit of irony: Lindley has dubbed her team 'Sirius Athletes,' which happens to match the name of one of Donnelly's prime sponsors, Ottawa's Sirius Consulting Group.
"This is a great opportunity, with Dave going away, to go back to having a one-on-one coach," she said.
From Boulder, she'll head off to World Cup events in the fall in Nice, France and Athens -- the latter a test event on the Olympic course that Donnelly figures will play a key role in determining Canada's 2004 Games team.
"Siri is coming with us to Athens, and she's taking care of everything for us," said Donnelly. "She's looking after things like accommodations ... I've never had that before.
"What Siri says is 'I want you to be able to focus on racing.' "
It's almost like Aug. 14 represents a new beginning. Her husband is overseas enjoying a dream opportunity, with two three-week leaves planned to spend with Donnelly (and yes, he'll be in Athens).
Her injury is close to healed and she'll be racing again Aug. 10. With an ideal training setup awaiting her days later.
Pan Am gold?
Donnelly knows it can get better.
"One of my friends asked me 'Sharon, how can you be so positive right now?' " she said. "But I was able to spend time with Dave that I wouldn't have normally been able to spend. And I'm starting off new with Siri.
"I know I'm leaving Aug. 14 with everything clear. The slate is clean and I'm fit."
|July 24, 2003 - "Donnelly wins despite losing Pan Am spot"|
Donnelly wins despite losing Pan Am spot
Canada announces team for Santo Domingo
Martin Cleary - The Ottawa Citizen
Sharon Donnelly recently lost her appeal for a spot on Canada's team to the Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Aug. 1-17, but her appeal to the common sense of Triathlon Canada produced a major victory.
The Canadian Olympic Committee announced yesterday its team of 422 athletes, which will compete in 37 of 40 sports, and 202 support staff.
While Ottawa and area will be represented by 28 athletes at the Games, Donnelly will not be in the lineup because she didn't meet all the selection criteria and couldn't get a medical waiver.
The former Gloucester resident, who lives and trains in Kingston, only needed to finish in the top eight at the Canadian triathlon championships to qualify for the Games and a chance to defend her women's title. But when she injured her right knee in June at a World Cup meet in Japan, she was forced to withdraw from the nationals, a competition in which she had won a medal at every year since 1996.
When she asked Triathlon Canada for reconsideration for medical reasons, she was rejected. The selection criteria had no injury clause.
The selection criteria required the athlete to be a proven contender and submit the results from two of the first four World Cups in 2003 and the nationals.
Donnelly, who was eighth at the 2002 world championships, was ready to appeal to the new Alternative Dispute Resolution board until she sent a proposal to Triathlon Canada.
"I said, 'I will pull back my appeal if I get in writing from Triathlon Canada that the Pan Am Games will not be considered as selection criteria for the Olympic Games (as it was for 2000) and an injury clause will be part of the Olympic selection criteria in every successive Games.'"
Triathlon Canada agreed to her proposal. Instead of racing for Pan Am gold Aug. 10, she'll be in New York City for a high-profile World Cup meet.
"I was disappointed because I wanted to be part of the team, but there's that other race," she said.
|July 21, 2003 - Sharon's Update|
Well, I would have liked to be reporting race results and race stories - but if you read my last report - my race calendar had to change due to my injury I sustained in Japan. Since that time, I pulled out of my three scheduled Canadian races, but I have not been idle!
The results of my MRI (which I was able to get only one week after the injury happened) came back showing that my knee was in good condition but that I had partially torn the medial gastroc - this is located at top of calf and in the location where the popliteus tendon and hamstring tendons insert. Thus that is why it felt like my whole knee!
Aggressive physiotherapy and massage has been the key to rehab and I am on a strengthening routine. I was able to swim and cycle immediately, but I had to refrain from running for about 2-2.5 weeks. I am now back running mainly on treadmill or gravel trails with no pain. I have not yet tried higher speeds - I am being cautious about my recovery. However, I feel that I will be healed and ready to compete again for Aug 10th. I had hoped that I would be racing at Pan Am Games as defending Gold Medalist, but since I could not race at Nationals due to my injury, I could not qualify due to the importance that selection criteria placed on National Championships. I did appeal the decision, but since there was no injury clause in the selection criteria I had no case.
I will race regardless on Aug 10th because there is a World Cup the same day in New York City! It should be very exciting and CBC will be there filming the event as well! (they will be dedicating a whole show to that race whereas the Pan Am triathlon may get a total of 5 min coverage!)
I have been quite positive in light of my injury mainly for the fact that it gave me more time to spend with my husband Dave Rudnicki before he left for a 1 year UN tour in Bosnia. He also just received his promotion to Major and will be the Contracts Officer - responsible for maintaining the services of the contracts that run the base (everything from road repairs, food services, disposal, cleaning etc) There is a large cell of people that run this contracts cell and there are over 200 Canadian civilians and 300 locals fulfilling the services. He is really excited about this new challenge and both see this coming year as the ultimate challenges in our respective careers!
I drove Dave to the airport just two days ago to see him off and it was tough! But I think we were very lucky to have so much more time this past month - the injury has turned into a positive! I will be able to focus more intently on my triathlon knowing that we spent some great quality time before he left. It started with the Canadian Cycling Championships at the end of June. We had both planned to go to my Triathlon Champs in Victoria, but then decided to stay at home to get more rehab and watch the Cycling races. They were very exciting and it was fun to cheer on my friends (it also kept my motivation up to watch these great athletes). I rode in one of the vehicles for some of the men's race which had Curt Harnett and Uri (Canadian Cycling coach) - so I got a great 'play by play' of the race. It was especially exciting to watch the races since the World Cycling Championships will be held on the same course in Oct of this year! (Dave is really bummed since he will be in Bosnia!)
Then the first two weeks of July consisted of a number of 'going away' functions and many, many errands and appointments to get us both organized for the upcoming 14months. Because Dave is not the only one going away for a large amount of time - so am I!! This is the best opportunity for me to go and focus on training and ever since I heard about my friend and ex-competitor Siri Lindley turning to coaching, I was intrigued. When my fellow Canadian triathlete, Jill Savege signed on with Siri - I became more interested! I enjoy training and spending time with Jill and most of all we work awesome together - in racing as well! I spoke at length with Jill and decided to hook up with Siri and talk about our plans in person at Edmonton. I had purchased my ticket months ago and decided to go even though I was not racing to support the organizers and to meet up with Siri. Dave also came and we also managed to get a great evening with an old RMC classmate and his family. I attended the Women's brunch, and watched the age group races as well as the elite races. I volunteered to be the radio person at the far end of the swim course to radio in the names and places of the elite competitors so that the announcers could inform the crowds. I did not find it too hard of a task - the tough part was when I watched the women being led out to the swim start - that was when I really wanted to be a part of it. I knew I was being smart by not racing - but I certainly wanted to be walking out there with the rest of them! It was a very busy weekend, Dave and I did a lot together and we returned home to get ready for his departure. It has been two days and I am spending a ton of time catching up on paperwork, training and organizing my flights. Also, we have a close friend, Jane Howe, from RMC that has moved in to house sit while we are gone for the year. She has made some changes in her life and really wants to make a new start in Kingston - so this set-up really helps her also! The next few weeks, I will continue to increase my training and visit my family before I head off to begin training with Siri's group in Boulder. My tentative schedule is below:
24 Jul - Kingston cruise fundraiser for Suzanne Dostaler
Of course this is a rough schedule and I will continue to send updates with results, stories and future plans. I am really excited about the next phase in my training and racing. I am excited to be training with Jill and having Siri to work with.
All the best for your summer - whether it be at the cottage, home or on the race course!
Thank you for all of your support once again!
|July 6, 2003 - Triathlon: Canada's Donnelly Battling Calf Injury - Kingston Whig Standard|
Triathlete Sharon Donnelly is working to rehabilitate a calf injury in hopes of competing at the Pan American Games.
By Doug Graham, The Kingston Whig-Standard
Sidelined by the most serious injury of her triathlon career, Olympian Sharon Donnelly isn't giving up on her chance to compete for Canada at the Pan American Games next month. More...
|July 3, 2003 - Sharon's Update|
Sharon's rehab from her injury is progressing well and she ran yesterday for the first time since the injury. Her bike and swim training is going very well.
She planes to bypass the Edmonton and Corner Brook races and focus on returning to competition in August.
She has joined the Siri Lindley training group which includes Canada's Jill Savege, 2003 Canadian Champion. As a result she will be training in Boulder, Colorado this fall.
For some background on Siri visit www.siri-lindley.com.
|June 19, 2003 - Smog Summit - Toronto, ON|
|Sharon will be addressing the Smog Summit in Toronto tomorrow at which the opening remarks & announcements will be made by the Honourable David Anderson, Minister of Environment.|
|June 19, 2003 - Smog Summit - Toronto, ON|
|Sharon will be addressing the Smog Summit in Toronto tomorrow at which the opening remarks & announcements will be made by the Honourable David Anderson, Minister of Environment.|
|June 17, 2003 - Update from Asia|
I am currently writing this on the plane trying to find a comfortable position due to my leg being in a splint and cramped into an economy class seat for a 9hr flight. Needless to say - it sucks!
Of course - you ask how the hell did I end up in a leg splint? It didn't happen in the bike portion of the race, but rather the run! I had been dealing with a tight knee for about two weeks, but I didn't think it would turn traumatic! I seriously felt really good before my race and when warmed up, my running felt good. But, my leg was not strong enough for turning! At about 6km into the run, there was a 180 degree turn and when I went around I heard or felt a "pop" in my knee. I came to an immediate stop and could not take another step! I have never had such a sudden injury and I was afraid to even try to push myself (I couldn't even if I tried!) I was so disappointed because I was running in 8th position and would have attained my final COC selection if I could only have maintained my pace. But it wasn't to be. I know there are plenty of more races to achieve this standard and it won't be a problem - but I really wanted to get it done with as soon as possible.
It took me forever to limp back to the finish area and they put me in an ambulance to get x-rays and splinted up so that I could travel with minimal movement to my knee.
The women's race was opportune for a COC standard as there was very little depth in the field . Sam McGlone, came through for her first standard by placing 8th. I was really happy for her as this gives her a big boost in her racing confidence. Natasha Filliol also achieved a COC standard as well.
The men didn't achieve any standards at this race, with Simon Whitfield getting a flat tire and Brent McMahon not in the best position starting the run (there was a successful break away group that filled up most of the top ten positions).
The trip home was made so much easier with the help of Sam, Simon, Brent and Gillian Moody . They made sure that my bags and bike got moved everywhere, checked in for my flights, waited around for me due to the extra time it took and wheeled me around in the airport wheelchairs. I must admit that I have seen first hand how much different and difficult it can be in wheelchair!
I hope to get a proper diagnosis as soon as I arrive in Kingston. This type of injury has never happened before - so I need to get it diagnosed properly. I will make sure to give updates on my diagnosis and treatment as I get through this and get back to training and racing. I will not compete at the Canadian Championships as I know that I will not be recovered in time for this event. But I am positive that I will be back to training soon and will get great treatment from so many awesome people in Kingston.
On an much more positive note, Dave my husband, placed 1st in his 24hr solo Mountain Bike race this past weekend. He had put a lot of preparation and training towards this, so it is wonderful to see that it all paid off. He is heading off for a 1 year UN deployment to Bosnia in July, so it was great for him to have such a great race to remember!
I must put away my report as my breakfast meal is coming down the aisle! Lovely airline omelette - yummy!
For a complete race report visit the ITU website.
|June 7, 2003 - Hello everyone from Tongyeong South Korea|
Another COC Standard achieved.
The race was not perfect by any means and looking back, if I had a better swim, which I am capable of, I would have been on the podium! But that is a bunch of "what ifs!"
The day started early as I awoke at 4am ( still haven't gotten the clock dialed in yet!) But considering that we went to bed at about 830pm, It was a pretty good sleep. The race start was 1030am and the call was for no wetsuits as the water temperature was 21 degrees. (pretty cold!)
During the swim, I was on (USA) Laura Reback's feet for the first loop and she was on (CAN) Jill Savege's feet. We had to exit the water and run about 50m and dive back into the water. (Aus) Maxine Sear dove in beside me. For some reason, I just couldn't hang onto their pace! I was trying - but they kept pulling away. I just didn't have the stamina to match it! So I exited the water in "no man's land" about 20 secs behind them and about 15 secs infront of the next person. I was so mad, I am capable of swimming with them, but maybe I have let my swimming slip since returning home to Kingston. I will have to ramp it back up again.
On the bike, I waited for the pack and we had about 10. I realized it was not organized at all and so I took charge and was yelling out how to do the pace line. It started to work better about 3 laps into the 8lap race and the front group of three were not making any more time. By lap 5 they sat up and we caught them. The group was very large and there were some obvious new comers who had not done draft racing before, so it was difficult to keep it organized. There was still another chase pack to worry about.
Going onto the run, I was concerned a bit, because of the large number of girls starting and from the work on the bike, as there were others that didn't do much at all. On lap one of four, I felt like packing it in, I was in 15 spot and my goal of a top 10 to give me COC standard seemed far away. However, some girls started to fade and I moved into 7th position. The last lap was tough, but I knew I had my standard, Natasha Filliol passed me near the finish, to get her first COC standard. Laura Reback was first, Emma Snowsill (AUS) 2nd and Liz Blatchford (AUS) 3rd. Jill Savege came 5th.
The men's race was very exciting with a breakaway group that came off the bike with 2:25 lead over the chase group! Chris Hill (AUS) was first, Kris Gemmell (NZL) and an American that I don't know the name of came third!
Overall I was dissappointed that I didn't make that front group because the second group would never have caught a group of 4. But my main goal was to get COC standard and that is done. I have one more to get. Of course, I expect other Canadians to achieve these standards and we are all hoping that a selection policy will be forthcoming as soon as possible so that we can prepare ourselves.
I also want to say that I raced this race in memory of my friend and sponsor Marco Nurchi from GURU Bikes who passed away just over a week ago. I learned of his passing as soon as I arrived in South Korea and I printed a picture that I took when I visited the shop only a few weeks ago, and taped it on the wall of my room here in Tongyeong.
I stay in South Korea, along with many of the other athletes, until Thurs when we will all travel to Gamagori Japan for another World Cup next weekend. I hope that I can be as quick with my post race article there too.
For complete results, photos and more visit the ITU.
|June 5, 2003 - Sharon in Korea|
I am finally here after a long trip - almost 24hrs of flying. airports and buses! I was very tired when I arrived, but two days later and I am feeling a little better. It is pretty here but still very industrialized. The organization looks first rate - we shall see on race day! There is a large contingent of Canadians here - the most I have seen at a World Cup.
It is restful here as I have been very busy back at home in Kingston over the past month and so it is good to sit back and relax and focus soley on triathlon again. However, yesterday my reveree was broken by a phone call from my husband Dave that a close friend/sponsor suddenly died on the weekend.
Marco Nurchi of GURU bikes had a sudden fatal heart attack on the weekend after returning from a bike ride. I was shocked! I talked with Marco almost monthly about my bikes and racing in general and I visited him only last week in Montreal to pick up my new Canada edition GURU. When I visited him, it was great - he was doing so well, and was excited about the upcoming year! We even took some photos with Marco and a few of the workers with my new bike. I look back and even though I am very sad., I realize how lucky I am that I was able to visit him one last time and take a photo of him to remember him by. I am doing so much travelling this year that it might not have worked out that I could visit until later in the year - I am so fortunate that I saw him last week.
Because of Marco and his respect and understanding for athletes of all calibers, it is the best equipment sponsor relationship I have ever had. Marco was a very passionate person and I always looked forward to visiting him because of his generosity, passion for my sport and his positive energy. I know that I will call GURU in the future, expecting to talk to Marco - and realize that he is gone. It will be hard, I really don't know how I will deal with it as the year goes on. I know that I will not be alone - Marco will be missed by many.
I will be putting Marco's name on my new bike that he gave me - so that he can ride with me in spirit.
Sharon competes this Saturday in the Tongyeong ITU World Cup in South Korea.
|May 5, 2003 - Sharon's Homestay in Tasmania|
Each year Sharon has stayed with the van der Velde family in Tasmania. Gema van der Velde, the 18 year-old daughter of the family recently
became the first Tasmanian triathlete to be awarded a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport.
From the Advocate:
NW triathlete joins AIS
DEVONPORT'S Gema van der Velde will this week become the first Tasmanian triathlete to be awarded a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport.
AIS coach and former world triathlon champion Jackie Gallagher yesterday confirmed the Tasmanian Junior Triathlete of the Year would be among the new intake for the AIS elite under23 triathlon program, which will officially start on May1.
At 18, van der Velde will be one of the youngest members of the AIS squad and Gallagher said the camp-based program would take her to train with the AIS squad on a number of occasions throughout the year, including a month-long camp in France in June.
Gallagher confirmed van der Velde had travelled to Canberra recently with coach Craig Redman for some secret testing, but said the scholarship was the result of more than her test results and performances in the under 19 elite national races this year.
``She is one tough, determined athlete,'' Gallagher said.
``Watching her race I was impressed with how she wanted to do the right things and leave no stone unturned to get the best result,'' Gallagher said.
``In the past in triathlon, as it's such a young sport, we have focused on the elite athletes, but in this program we are not interested in overnight successes. ``We want to help develop athletes who can have success over eight or nine years.
``This AIS program is camp- based, so it helps give the athlete and their coach opportunities to develop in their home environments. ``Hopefully this can inspire some more young triathletes from Tassie they're pretty hardy competitors down there having to deal with the cold.''
Van der Velde's rapid improvement this year, which has seen her become a genuine rival for the State's leading female triathlete and fellow Red Hot Olives training partner Amelia Cox, can be attributed to an intense winter of training.
However, the first-year pharmacy student said having Canadian international triathlete Sharon Donnelly stay at her family's Devonport home for the Devonport Triathlon had been a major inspiration.
``Sharon was awesome because she taught me if you are prepared to train hard and travel, which is one of the great things about the sport, you can make it,'' van der Velde said.
``The scholarship is based on potential because I really don't think I've achieved any great feats yet, but I suppose I was shocked about how well I went in some of the (Accenture) races.''
Van der Velde will also travel to a camp in Queensland in September where she hopes to qualify for the World Triathlon Championships in New Zealand in December.
|April 26, 2003 - St. Anthonys World Cup Triathlon - St Petersburg, FL|
Sharon placed 10th in today's race in a time of 1:56:48. As a result of this placing she has now moved up in the world ITU rankings to 11th place.
ITU Women's Rankings - PDF File
Complete Race Results
More...from the ITU
|April 14, 2003 - Sharon's Ishigaki, Japan Report|
Sharon placed 12th in today's race in a time of 2:04:24
This is Sharon's report:
This is a short update as I have only a short break here at LA airport before my return flight home.
I was not very pleased with my World Cup race in Ishigaki. I had hoped for a top 10 result and only managed to come away with 12th.
I had arrived early in Ishigaki because all of my flights had been changed by Singapore airlines and thus I came in earlier than I had wanted to. The area is excellent for training, but I was beginning to get homesick by this point - I was on my way home so I tried not to think about it; I had a race to do!
I felt pretty good in the days leading up to the race, but my allergies were acting up a bit. I made a mistake in taking my Claritin antihistamine the night before my race - they are "Non-drowsy" tablets! Needless to say, I hardly slept and maybe got about 2hrs sleep the night before my race. I tried to not let this affect me, as I have had good races off little sleep before.
The heat and humidity started climbing as our race start time approached. It would be a scorcher. The swim start was rough. Mistake #2 is that I chose next to the all of the swimmers. Usually this is a good strategy, but I was sandwiched in, when I could have chosen the inside line which ended up being the best way! The swim was among the roughest I have done. Even with the small field! The currents pushed the packs into the lane lines and we were on top of each other. I swallowed so much salt water that I probably did not need any electrolyte drink for the rest of the race! I managed to stay with the front pack into the second loop and got hammered on the last 200m into the swim finish. I had to pull on the lane line to get air. I was so relieved to exit the swim and get onto my bike!
The bike was weird. It is all I can say. It was a fairly large front pack which is not good for working together. It was fast paced for the first two loops, but then the pace dropped off. Mistake #3. I saw others around me that were not pulling and I decided to make the same decision. I should have gone to the front, my fitness had improved on the bike, but I was too focused on what others were doing or not doing. I am not sure if I would have made much difference, but by 1.5laps to go, the chase pack caught us. It should not have happened if we had got organized. I think we were waiting in our pack for someone to take control of the group and get it organized, but it never happened. Usually that role is done by Loretta or Barb, but they were silent. Looking back at how the bike transpired I can see where many things went wrong and how I can do better in the next races. But unfortunately, it cost me a top 10 finish, since I knew I didn't have the leg speed yet at this time of the year for the tough course. I should have been the one to take control of the pack, since I was more worried about the run than the other women. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say! 22 women set off on the run together. Barb had another incredible run to take the win. I suffered in the first half and started to come around in the last half of the run, but still it was in a time which is much slower than I am capable of.
It is frustrating to have this result and these splits. I trained so hard in Australia, but I have to continue to believe that my plan will come about and the training will pay off as I go into this new phase in training/racing. I return home for a week and then I am off to St Anthony's where I plan to work on these mistakes from Ishigaki. The depth at St Anthony's World Cup will be big, but it will give me some more experiences to deal with.
Thank you for your continued support.
|April 2, 2003 - Sharon's Aussie Report|
I am very, very overdue sending you my report from Down Under - though I am sure that for those of you suffering in Eastern Canada, any descriptions of the weather over here - would mean certain death to me when I return home!! Yes I realize that I picked a good winter to head down south to train! If it is any consolation - it rained for about half my time here in Australia (but that was much better for our training, since last year the heat was so bad the athletes could not get adequate training! So it was perfect this year - the rain just means that I have to clean my GURU bike more often!)
My computer also was a constant pain - and it finally died a few weeks ago. I would use another athlete's computer occasionally - and now I head into town to the internet cafe to get info. It is amazing how dependent one gets on technology!
I arrived in late January (the trip was very long - lost luggage, had to purchase survival clothing like underwear and shirts etc) but I got organized quickly and settled down in Noosa, Queensland (it is the tourist spot of Australia), with a group of British triathletes. I was not very fit at the beginning, but with over 25hours of training per week including rides over 4hrs long, my body began to adjust to the demands. I kept to basic aerobic training and I also maintained my strengthening program at the local gym. It was a lot of fun hanging out with the British athletes (many of which came from Wales) and it was a challenge at first to understand their accents! Leanda Cave and her coach, with whom I had trained prior to the 2002 World Championships, had invited me in November of 2002, to join them on this 6 week camp and since I had already planned to come to Australia to train, I immediately agreed and I am really happy it has all worked out.
Dave, my husband, came out to visit me for two weeks and it was great. He brought out his bike in my new TRIALL3 bike case (which he left with me and he took mine when he returned). Dave loved the riding and meeting my new training partners. We had planned to take surfing lessons - but it was raining the day that we wanted and it kind of spoiled the thrill of it! In fact, it rained half the time he was here, but yet he still went home with a better tan than me! Shortly after he left, I travelled to Devonport, Tasmania for my first race. I knew that it would be a tough race, since there would be many top Australian athletes competing as part of the Aussie series and I, along with the other Brits, had only been doing Base work (no race preparation stuff). I wrote a race report on this race, which is posted on my website that describes it - so it will keep this email to a reasonable length (yeah right!). The best par about that trip was my stay with the same homestay as last year. I stayed with the Van der Velde family whose two children race in triathlons. Gema, the daughter who is in first year of Hobart University (they say "Uni" in Australia) returned home - but was too sick to race (the all too common, frosh week virus!!), their son Ben did the relay bike portion and was awesome in it. I stayed an extra week after the race, and really loved it. They were so great in that they also hosted my mom who came to visit before she was taking a trip to Vietnam. My mom had a great time, and took in a few tours, one of which I joined too. She left for Vietnam the day before the SARS virus advisories were put out - so you can imagine how concerned I was! I got reports from my brother that she was fine and when my mom returned to Sydney 16 days later, I called immediately to see if she was okay. She was okay with just a little bout of Montezuma`s! But now it is my turn to be concerned! I have spent this afternoon searching for face masks and gloves! I searched all of the pharmacies here in Noosa and they are all out of masks and have them on order, but the supplier have run out also! I was panicking! So I went to a hardware store and ended up buying workman face masks. I hope that they will do the trick. I am very concerned about my travel next week to Japan for the World Cup there. My concern is because I travel Singapore Airlines with a stopover in Singapore - which is one of the places that is a hotbed for this SARS virus! I have never been this scared to travel before and I have traveled around the world many, many times! It will be really bizarre to walk around with face mask and gloves! But I don't want to take any chances! I also will make sure that I keep my training easy in the day before my travel to ensure that my immune system is not weak. I also plan to bring all of my own food with me to eat. I figure that I cannot be too unprepared!
Then there is the issue of the War. We get four TV channels at the units here and 3 of them are continuously giving updates on it. Since the Australians are directly involved with the war, it is especially prevalent in the news. But I also feel kind of removed from it in this town of Noosa since it is a holiday destination. I am sure that the atmosphere would be different in the other cities like Sydney and Canberra. Before my race last weekend, I thought of the current events and chided myself for being so nervous for my race - the world events certainly make it easy for me to put what I do in perspective and realize how fortunate I am! Though, I certainly don't feel as safe as I used to, having to travel to all of my races!
Maybe with all of these travel concerns at the airport, the airline will overlook how much stuff I have!! It is hard to travel light with all of my training/racing gear for such a long period of time. Of course, buying presents, and receiving clothing from ORCA all adds to the weight scale too!
Aside from the travel to Japan, I am looking forward to the race. I had a good race this past weekend in Mooloolaba at the Australia Championships. I placed 9th, but I was more pleased with the fact that I was out of the water with the main front group and remained with the front bike group through to the end of that leg. It was a hot day, so I kept the run portion under control to minimize my recovery period. I know that my first World Cup in Japan will go well - I just have to try to relax on the flight over there. This trip also means that I am heading home!!! It has been a long time away and I really miss Dave, my family and friends. I find myself often thinking of my favorite places to go in Kingston; restaurants, friends' homes, running trails etc. Not too long now! I return home April 16 and fly out one week later to Florida for another World Cup and then return home immediately after that race.
I apologize for the disjointed feeling to this email, but I must get going to catch the bus to return home for my run! I hope this email finds everyone healthy and maybe getting some spring weather!
Talk to you soon - Sharon
|March 9, 2003 - Devonport Triathlon Race Report|
Sharon finished 9th in the Devonport Triathlon in Tasmania. Training partner and current world champion, Leanda Cave of Wales, finished 5th. American Barb Lindquist won the race.
Here are Sharon's comments on the race:
The race was very painful. I have only been doing aerobic and strength conditioning - it was the first time I have done any intensity on the bike since Cancun. I knew going into the race that it would be painful - but man I had forgotten how painful it could be! I came out of the water with Leanda - but kept slipping on the moss on the boat ramp - I lost valuable time and got on the bike about 30m behind here. I was trying to catch, but my legs and lungs were maxed! Liz Blatchford caught me and I couldn't not help her out. Then Pip Taylor came up and the pace picked up, but I was blowing! I was not able to do that intensity! Melissa Ashton came up on me but again I could not hang on ! I was so stuffed! I wanted to quit so bad, but I just had to tell myself that it was a training race and that I was bound to be feeling that way. The others girls are peaked for their upcoming World Selection races in 3 and 5 weeks time. I am just on the base part of my season! So I came into transition 2 pretty far behind and just worked the run to complete the training day. The run felt better and I worked it well. I know that this is the start of an 18month plan. I took a good long break after Cancun and I am focusing on a proper plan. I feel positive about it.
I now start into a more specific phase of training as I lead up to the World Cup in Ishigaki on April 13.
For a complete race report and top ten results visit the Runner's Web.
|March 5, 2003 - Update from Sharon in Australia|
Sharon is racing this weekend in Devonport. These are her comments are her training to date:
"It has been a very tough 5 weeks. Not intensive, just a LOT of aerobic base work - so a lot of hours in the pool, on the saddle and in the trails running. I have also maintained my strength work too - so it has all added up to one tough training period! I will start to put in some tempo and longer interval work in two weeks time. The race this weekend in Devonport will be tough as I have not done any race prep and just aerobic stuff (twisting my ankle on a tree root 6 days ago doesn't help either - I ran for the first time today and it is okay, not great but getting better)."
|January 20, 2003 - Update from Sharon in Australia|
Just a short one as I am hungry and have to go for some lunch! I am finally in Australia! It was a trip from Hell last week - starting with my departure from Brazil at midnight on Monday after our race.
I arrived in Toronto around 10am on the Tues and met with my mom & brother and was able to get a 30min run in before I headed back out to the airport for my next flight to Australia. The computers at US Customs had gone down so even though I had arrived at the airport over 2hrs before my flight - it was no where near enough! So our flight was rushed through after standing in the line for over two hours. Of course we left late, and arrived in Los Angeles with only 30min to make the connection - you can do the math for our checked luggage! Then I flew to Singapore via Taipei! (I had to do this in order to go back home in April via Japan). I had a 1.5hr stop over in Taipei and a 9 hour stop in Singapore! While in Singapore I took a free city tour and got a treadmill and ab workout and a much needed shower at the airport gym. Then back on the plane for Melbourne. I arrived in Melbourne Friday at 9am! Almost 5 days of travelling! Just a 1.5hr bus ride to my final destination of Geelong and a walk around the town to find some relatively affordable accommodation and I would be able to finally relax!
But of course, it doesn't stop there - my checked luggage did not arrive! It was still in LA. I was tired - no clean clothes and supposed to race on the Sunday! The baggage people at Melbourne gave me an "overnight bag" (it even had a big T-shirt - which I needed and wore!) and also gave me $100 to buy other necessities. Of course, for the second time in about one week - I had to go buy emergency underwear and socks!
Saturday arrives and the race briefing was at 4:30pm - my bags had still not arrived. I decided at the meeting to not compete even if my bags arrived later that evening (which they did). I was extremely tired and not in the mood to put my bike together late at night and then ride it for the first time in such a short competitive race. So I ended up watching the race. It is tough - sometimes I second guess my decision, but I had gone for a run in the morning and I was absolutely dead tired! It will be a few days before I get "dialed in."
I was exciting to watch the races and I was able to meet up with some of my racing friends again. I fly to Noosa, Queensland on Tues and then start my training camp by the end of the week. Presently the weather is nice, but the skies here in Geelong and Melbourne area are grey and smokey due to the severe forest fires in Canberra, Australia's Capital. Over 400 hundred homes have been destroyed, a conservatory, 4 lives and there is no end in sight to the heat and high winds! My small concerns over baggage and flight delays - are nothing! Perspective is always a good thing!
All the best,
|January 16, 2003 - Sharon named OAT's International Olympic Distance Elite Triathlete of the Year|
Triathlon: Sharon Donnelly named Ontario's International Olympic Distance Elite Triathlete of the Year
Sharon Donnelly has been named Elite Female Triathlete of the Year by the Ontario Association of Triathletes (OAT), the Ontario provincial governing body for triathlon. This honour reflects the excellent results that Sharon achieved last year including, her 3rd National Championship, qualification for the Commonwealth Games team, 5th place at Commonwealth Games, a first in Japan and the best Canadian finish (8th) at the recent World Championships in Cancun, Mexico. The award also recognizes Sharon’s decision to remain in Kingston (Ontario) as her home base and her contributions to the sport, her community and her country.
Sharon currently is enroute to Australia to her winter training camp. Her next major competition will be the St. Anthony's Triathlon in St. Petersburg , Florida on April 27th.
Following is the complete list of the OAT award winners:
Elite Olympic (M) Len Gushe (F) Sharon Donnelly
The Awards will be presented at the Annual Awards Banquet on February 1st, 2003 in Toronto.
|January 12, 2003 - Team Canada wins Brazil FAST Triathlon|
A Special Report from Sharon Donnelly in Brazil
I am sure you are wondering about the subject line and probably did not know that I was in Brazil! Sorry, I was so busy that I didn`t have time to get an email out to everyone about my upcoming season (or at least the first couple of months of it!)
So I am starting the 2003 report season off quickly with our race we did today! This is a race that is organized by a great guy, Helio Takai and is very done! It is a "made for TV" race of three short races (250m swim, 4km bike (7 loops), 1.3km run (3 loops)). Six teams of three women each compete for respective countries. Each race is awarded points for individual finishes and is followed by approximately 15min before the next short race starts. At the end of three races, points are added up of all three team members to come up with a Team Overall prize. Prizes are also awarded for Individual Overall also.
This year, Team Canada consisted of Jill Savege, Tereza Macel and myself. I was the only one with previous race experience (that being last year where we placed 2nd as team). Our goal was to have fun, be safe and to work as a team. The night before we discussed various tactics and reviewed my experiences from the previous year. Well...it worked! We placed 1st overall as a team by only one point over the favorites, Brazil. The Republic of South Africa came third.
The day started the previous night actually with a late night courtesy of the huge bandstand on the beach right outside our hotel. Actually,the music was awesome and I didn`t mind it all. Besides, even though I am a light sleeper, the music was so loud, I knew that no other athletes were getting any more sleep than me! I felt my bed shaking with the bass beat!
We all awoke to rain! Ugh! On one hand it was better in that the previous day had been 41 degrees Celsius and it was now 26degrees. But I was very concerned about safety on the bike. The course is extremely technical and none of us could afford to crash.
The first race went to plan! I had a small lead off the swim and with a really fast transition, I found myself alone out front on the bike. I looked back a few times and then decided to go it alone as much as I could, I figured the pack would be cautious on that first race around the corners. I also knew that Jill would not be at the front of that pack, should would be slowing it down as much as possible. So I made time on the pack and I got into the transition with a good lead. I could not hold off the speedy Brazilian Carla Moreno, but Jill Savege (CAN) was very smart in not pushing Sandra Solden early in the run - leaving it to a sprint finish which Jill won. She told me that she held back, if she pushed earlier, Sandra would have pushed also and caught me, thus losing my second place. Excellent teamwork! Most importantly was the effort by Tereza, who came in top ten to score valuable points and also to beat the third Brazilian team member.
Race#2 - The swim was a little more tight and we got onto the bike with the two Brazilians, Carla and Sandra. Jill and I worked well together in staggering the timing of when we put our feet in our shoes. So that we had one of us in front while the other was behind, drafting and putting the shoes on. When I was behind Carla, Sandra tried to break away. I chased it down and in so doing, Carla was dropped from our pack. This was great as it gave Jill a gap over Carla for the run. Sandra held off Jill for the win, but Jill scored second and I came in fourth behind Carla. Tereza again displaced the other Brazilian and we maintained our hold on top team.
Race #3 - Lactic acid welcomed us to the third race! I felt like I was swimming through molasses! I got pummelled by another swimmer and all I could think of was that I could not leave Jill alone - I had to keep fighting in the swim to be there on the bike with her. We both needed to be in the front group to get the points. Running out of the water was tough and then onto the bikes. The rain was continuing to pour, but we hardly noticed it except for having to continuously blink our eyes to get the water out. We stayed as a group and came into the final transition as five athletes - a Portuguese athlete had managed to have a great swim and hook on. (I was at the front of the bike with Sandra, so I didn`t see much of the rest of the pack!) The last race was taken by Carla, Sandra and then Jill. I had no legs left and was passed by the Portuguese athlete and I finished fifth. Jill and I cheered Tereza on to 8th place for her.
I don`t have the official results at this point but the Overall Individual results are: Carla Moreno(BRA) 1st, Sandra Solden (BRA) 2nd and Jill Savege (CAN) 3rd. (I was fourth)
Team Results: Canada 1st (by only one point!), Brazil 2nd, Republic of South Africa 3rd.
It was truly a team race and it felt great to work as a team. It would be great to do more of these, as I am sure that it could even work at the Olympic Distance level. Prize money is given out to individual race podium finishes, Overall individual podiums, and Team Overall podium. Team Canada had agreed before the race to pool all our prize money and split it evenly between the three of us. Now we can go and shop for equal amounts of clothing and other stuff!!
It was a fun race and definitely gave us a good intro to the year. Helio did an excellent job putting on this exciting race that is televised live to over 10million Brazilians and will also be shown in over 51 countries as well! It is also great to be part of an All Women race and it is wonderful to see such excellent promotion and coverage of a women`s event. (There will be a men`s race on Feb 6th in the identical format and distance and prize money)
I wish you all the best and I will continue to update you on my training and races. I return home on Tues and then I fly out immediately to Australia for three months of training and a few races throughout. I will be based for most of it in Noosa (North of Brisbane) and will train with Leanda Cave among others - she was my training partner leading into the World Championships this year and we train well together. I will fill you in on my progress while I am there.
|Top of Sharon's Frontpage Archive 2003|