Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Interview with Tara Norton

CT: While most of us have been hunkering down for the winter it sounds like you have been putting in a hard off season! What have you been up to over the last few months?

TN: I have definitely started off my season earlier this year than ever before. I know that this is true as I did 4 5hr+ indoor Computrainer rides! In February I traveled to New Zealand and did Epic Camp ( After the camp, I traveled to Melbourne, Australia and raced at the Geelong 70.3 one week later! And I have just returned from competing at my first Ironman of the season in Tempe, Arizona. I placed 6th overall and qualified for Kona in a very competitive women’s field.

CT: You were down in New Zealand for Epic Camp. What was that experience like?

TN: Epic Camp is a camp run by my coach, Scott Molina, as well as Gordo Byrn and John Newsom and my 8 days there consisted of 1100km of hard cycling, 125km of running and 42km of swimming (totalling 62hrs of training). It was the experience of a lifetime! I pushed to limits I didn’t know were possible and this new knowledge (along with the physical strength I gained) will help me in my future Ironman races. There were 21 campers including the coaches, and I ended up placing 4th overall in the points system. I was the only woman there and had to show the boys that a girl could play the game too! The people at the camp were great and the scenery in New Zealand was spectacular.

CT: So, what are your plans for 2008? Any major goals that you would like to achieve?

TN: My plans for 2008 are to do four ironman races: Ironman Arizona, Ironman Lanzarote, Ironman Switzerland and the Hawaii Ironman World Championship. Obviously I would like to improve on my 12th place finish in Hawaii, but I would also like to add “Ironman Champion” to my resume!! I am continuing to work to improve my run leg of the Ironman. I would like to run a 3:15-3:20 marathon in one of my Ironman races. Finally I am coaching some athletes through and I want to be the best coach I can be and get them all to their start lines healthy and happy!

CT: We are heading into summer, what does a typical week look like for you once the snow has left the ground?

TN: A typical week would include:
Monday: 3-4K swim, 1 hr weights. Tuesday: 90min run (tempo or short run reps), up to 3 hr ride, 90 min strength and stretch class. Wednesday: 4K swim with lots of IM, 3-4 hr ride, 45min run. Thursday: 90 min run, 1 hr weights, 5K swim. Friday: 3-4K swim, 1 hr weights, 1 hr run. Saturday: Long 5-6 hr bike/30-60 min run brick workout. Sunday: 5-6K swim, up to 3 hr run. And in there I coach, see massage clients and get all my own appointments in!

CT: Obviously you are a very talented and driven triathlete, what first brought you into the sport?

TN: A friend of mine started the Triathlon Club at Trent University where I was doing my undergraduate degree. He suggested that I try doing a triathlon race. I started with the relay (I did the swim) and then I progressed in the sport as most people do: I did a sprint, then an Olympic triathlon, then a Half Ironman and finally a full Ironman. It’s funny because when I first started triathlon I thought that Ironman was crazy and that I would never do one! Fourteen Ironman races later…there is no stopping me!

CT: You have been a major proponent of visualization. What first got you interested in this subject, and how has it affected your racing?

TN: I have always known that Ironman is 1/3 mental (and 1/3 physical and 1/3 nutrition) and as I progressed in the sport, wanted to train mentally as well as physically. Just as I was starting to inquire about mental training options, I was contacted by Etienne Couture ( and that was the start of my mental coaching. I signed up immediately! This work has been incredible and has been extremely instrumental in my improvement. I continue to do weekly sessions and continue to learn how to use my mental strength to achieve my best in the sport. Through my mental training, I now have better awareness which helps in all aspects of my life. I have learned mental techniques to help me in my races and in training (both mentally and physically) and I am steadily improving my results.

CT: What is your sponsorship situation looking like this year?

TN: I have the most amazing sponsors including Shimano, Zoot, Endurosport, GU, Rudy Project, The Toronto Athletic Club (Dr. Lawrence Micheli), and Toronto Circus School. My success wouldn’t be possible without all this support, for which I am extremely grateful. My Shimano gear and Zoot apparel and Cervelo P3C from Endurosport make me fast AND make me look good!! I just rode my PRO disc wheel in Arizona and it was SWEEET! I love the new Zoot racing flats as they fit like slippers and my Zenith wetsuit makes me look like a superhero!  GU and ART by Lawrence Micheli keep me well fuelled and keep my body healthy.

CT: Do you have a race that sticks out as your favourite? Why?

TN: Ironman Lanzarote is definitely my favourite race. The island is magical and deemed the toughest Ironman in the world with the heat, wind and almost 9,000 feet of climbing on the bike, it plays to my strengths. I love climbing on the bike, so this is a great course for me.

CT: Has your family always been supportive of your triathlon pursuits?

TN: I have 100% support from my family and as a result I feel very lucky. I know this is not the case for everyone so I am extremely appreciative and don’t take it for granted. I have had the support from my husband, Bruce, and the rest of my family from the time I started to contemplate turning pro. My family also travels to almost all of my races and this is very special to me

CT: What is your favourite food?

TN: Oatmeal with fresh fruit and nuts. Post race would have to be ice cream!

CT: If you had one piece of advice to offer an aspiring pro or age grouper what would it be?

TN: Follow your passion – if you do what you love to do, you will do it well and be happy. More specific advice for Ironman would be to ensure that you get in good nutrition (that you have practiced beforehand) during the race in order to fuel your body. Most people do all the hard training in order to get ready for Ironman but it would be a shame to then not have the proper fuel to execute that great race and put all that hard training to work on race day!

CT: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! Best of luck this year and hopefully we will see you on top of the podium!

TN: Thanks! I hope so too

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stressssss and Triathlon.

Do you ever wake up and think that you have too much going on in your life and would love to escape for a while? The last couple of weeks have been feeling like that. Looking for a house, getting our house ready to sell, taking on new challenges at work, coaching the track team and trying to train. Guess what hasn't been making the cut lately.

I haven't been on my bike in a week and a half (excluding Victoria's Du) and previous to that only a few times since the snow left. Cycling has taken the biggest hit becuase of the time required. I think I have screwed up my thinking on the matter. If I don't have time for 90km, I just don't go. Still in the Ironman mode I guess.

It probably isn't the worst thing to take time away from training, unfortunately it is something I want to do, and I feel better having done it. So not training is adding stress. Also stressful are the races I want to do well at early in the season. Muskoka long course is starting to loom large.

I keep saying, next week I will get my long ride in, and then something gets in the way. Running and swimming are doing OK because I can easily fit them into my mornings, or after work.

It is looking as though I won't be able to get any consistent bike training in until the end of June. That is OK for IMFLA, but not for the other races I want to do well at.

I guess it is just a matter of changing my goals. '

Besides time, I am finding myself constantly tired. Not from training, but more just mentally exhausted. The body feels like crap for not doing anything, but the brain is so tired you can't motivate yourself to go.

Hopefully once track is done, I can get back on Track :>

We'll see!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Victoria's Du

Did I mention I hate duathlons?

My opinion of them hasn't changed after yesterday.

It was a cold, windy, rainy day. Really didn't feel like racing. The body was fatigued from the start due to all of the work we have been putting in at the house this weekend. Also, hadn't been training as much as I like.

I believe that I have changed my body into a long course fitness. This short stuff hurts!!!!

Started the run off feeling ok. was shoulder to shoulder with Larry Bradley (an athlete I mentor) and Pat Bielgalski a guy I have been racing with a fair amount over the years. Dropped a few meters back of them by the end of the run.

I didn't have gloves so my fingers were pretty numb in T1. I couldn't get my helmet done up. Lost a few secs there.

The bike was tough. The wind was fierce. The entire way out we had either a head wind or a vicious cross wind. Once again I was neck and neck with Larry throughout the bike. By the turnaround I was pretty spent and started having some GI issues. I am not used to pushing this hard. I let Larry go while I tried to recover. Was feeling OK coming into T2.

The second run was tough. The legs came around after about 500m and I got into a rythym. I tried to push the pace to catch Larry, but at the turnaround I hit the wall. Too much time spent at too high of a heart rate.

I got passed a lot from then on in. Cramped up pretty bad which means my hydration and electrolytes were off coming into the race. Finished a full 8 minutes slower than last year!

Oh well, this was just for fun right?

I know I need to get on the bike a lot more. My swimming is doing really well right now, and I need to switch to a bike focus to try and get it together for Muskoka.

We'll see!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I don't think I could ever be a pro cyclist. The long long hours required to be at the top would kill me. Don't get me wrong, I put in a lot of hours, but I don't think I could spend that much time on the bike without going loopy (and sterile!). I love long rides once a week, but to do 20-30 hours on a bike a week is insane!

First Meet!

Our team had the first meet of the season. The kids did really well. A bunch of PB's, no hardware, but everybody had a good time. This was really the biggest goal of this meet. We are headed off to Dwyer tomorrow to better our times. Looking good for LOSSA this year.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

As Requested, more Tat pics

This is the initial sketch that I made of the tattoo and the final design is pretty much the same (obviously minus the red). The theory was to include the MDOT in some sort of pose, but not in a cheesy way. I am a big fan of tribal stuff (and want some) so I kind of took some design elements from that. So it is the MDOT crossing a finish line with his arms up. I'm quite happy with how it turned out. Something a little different from anything else I have seen.