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123 Jasper St, Hinton, AB T7V 2A8
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Questions and Answers from our interview with the Hinton Voice Newspaper

Tell me a bit about your athletic history - I understand you both competed in the Canadian Birkebeiner this year. What other events have you competed in? How many? How long have you been competing? What draws you to these events?

As health care professionals, we believe in a balanced life which includes daily exercise and fitness.  By staying fit mentally and physically we are better able to concentrate on the demands of our profession.

Being healthy give us the energy and stamina to perform our daily treatment and surgeries and be able to interact and form long lasting professional relationships with our patients.

 We have been competing in Triathlons for over a decade and are attracted to the challenge of doing three events (swimming, cycling and running), the euphoria feeling of crossing the finish line, and the health benefits.  We are drawn to these events because it allows us to meet many like-minded people who embrace a healthy lifestyle.  Historically, we have competed in various distances from the Tri, sprint, Olympic and 70.3 miles Ironman.    To date we have competed in 34 Triathlons each of us.

On June 21 we are competing in the Ironman 70.3 Triathlon at Mont-Tremblant.  An Ironman 70.3, is one of a series of long distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). The "70.3" refers to the total distance in miles (113.0 km) covered in the race, consisting of a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, a 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and a 13.1-mile (21.1 km) run.

The 1.2-mile swim takes place in Tremblant Lake, followed by a 1-loop, 56-mile bike through Mont-Tremblant’s mountains.  This bike course is rolling from start to finish, with solid hills thrown in for good measure. The total elevation gain is over 2,500 feet.

Athletes will then embark on the 13.1-mile run course, finishing in the city's pedestrian village.  The final miles of this race will be on hard, uphill terrain.

The course profiles can be seen at:


These are intense events. What is your lifestyle like? How do you train for them? How do you fit training around other things in life that are important to you? Do you increase the amount of training you do before the event?

When training for the 70.3 Ironman Triathlon we start by training in the pool in the early Spring once cross country skiing is over.  Usually, we are unable to swim in open water until July when the lakes often do not warms up.  During the winter months we typically run outdoors 2-3 times a week.   With the warmer weather, we prefer to do trail running and gradually increase our distance to 21 km.  Hintonites are very blessed to be close to the mountains and have numerous Highways with spectacular sceneries to enjoy while cycling. 

In triathlons, the routines and strategies to effectively and efficiently change gears and attires between events in the transition zone is important and needs to be mentally reviewed.  Moreover, brick training is needed to train the body to transition from one discipline event to another.  Brick training is when we train for multiple disciplines in one training session. 

Why the Ironman 70.3?

The Ironman 70.3 challenges people both mentally and physically.  The endurance race requires competitors to be proficient in three sport discipline.  The transition zone adds an additional challenge as it requires participants to be organized and efficient in changing athletic wear and gear for the next leg of the race. 

The race brings together people from all walks of life with a common interest.  We enjoy meeting other people at these events and sharing life stories.   

What event in the triathlon do you think you will find most difficult? Why? 

The most difficult event will be the 21km run at the end.  Once you have cycled for 90km your legs are edematous and stiff.  When running the first 1-2km our legs feel stiff and it truly is mind over matter.  Triathlon sometimes mirrors life and you have to dig deep and work hard to overcome obstacles and get through the difficult times.  The sport is truly both a mental and physical test of your endurance and ability to push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of.  The feeling of satisfaction we get from crossing the finish line is priceless!  It is a testimony that hard work through training and perseverance when the “going gets tough” is well worth it.

How do you mentally prepare for the event?

There are a lot of things we can do to prepare mentally for the challenge.  We study the swim, bike and run course and look at the elevation profiles so that we mentally know what to expect.  There is also a mental advantage knowing that we have trained hard and are prepared for the race.  Have a good night sleep is key to being alert during the race and be able to stay on course and keep our eyes on the buoys during the swim, take the challenging turns on the bike and push ourselves mentally during the run.

What are some of the challenges you have faced, either during training or during other events, and how have you overcome them?

These ironman events are huge and attract a lot of participants.  There are challenges we have faced during other triathlon events and have come to expect for this event.  During the swim it is not usual to be hit or kicked in the head by other swimmers.  Often goggles can go flying!  We learned that by placing our swim caps over the goggle straps, this helps to prevent the goggle from floating away when we are hit in the face.

The biggest challenge is finding the time to train.  We have to be very disciplined and push ourselves when we just want to sit back and relax after a day at work.

When you get to an event, what do you aim to do? Do you train right up to the start date, or do you try to take it easy before?

When we get to the event we are required to pick up our race package the day before the race.  Each participant is given numbered stickers for their bike and helmet which correspond to the bib.  Each competitor is required to set up their transition zone site. 

We often will train past the respective distances for all three disciplines and then taper off the week before the race.

Where does your inspiration come from?

 As health care professional we strive to live a healthy lifestyle and practice what we preach to our patients.  Regular exercise is a great way to defuse the daily stress of our demanding profession. 

123 Jasper St., Hinton, AB T7V 2A8 CAN
Dr. William Vu Dr. Andrew Madej Hinton, Alberta Canada dentist (780) 865-7673 (780) 865-4866 cherylfra@shawbiz.ca