Ul­tra Dis­tance Triath­lete of the Year

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Feature Triathlete Of The Year Awards -

Pen­tic­ton’sDavid Mathe­son might be a cer­ti­fied gen­eral ac­coun­tant for Rev­enue Canada by day, but the rest of his time is spent train­ing. Mathe­son ran the fi­nal leg of Ul­tra­man Canada, an 84.4 km run, in 7:04:13 to take the 2013 Ul­tra­man Canada ti­tle in a new course record time of 21: 47: 47. Last Novem­ber Mathe­son fin­ished Iron­man Florida in 9:08:56, mak­ing him the fastest Cana­dian age grouper at the race. We caught up with the ul­tra dis­tance phe­nom about his race. TMC: De­scribe your Ul­tra­man Canada vic­tory. Did you go into the race know­ing you had a shot at the over­all win? David Mathe­son: The Ul­tra­man Canada ( umc) win was a dream come true for me. It was the best ath­letic ex­pe­ri­ence of my life, es­pe­cially be­ing able to share it with close friends and my wife, Tina (my crew). I went into the race with an ul­ti­mate goal of win­ning and know­ing I had as good of a shot at win­ning as any of the other top con­tenders. My long dis­tance triathlon ex­pe­ri­ence, ex­pe­ri­enced crew, home-town ad­van­tage and ideal prepa­ra­tion gave me a lot of con­fi­dence that I would do well over­all, but I also re­spected the fact that there were about five other ath­letes who were ca­pa­ble of win­ning. This was one of the more com­pet­i­tive years for umc. As the race weekend pro­gressed, I felt my chance of win­ning in­crease and, by the end of day two, I felt pretty con­fi­dent that I could win. Start­ing the day three dou­ble marathon I was only seven min­utes from the lead and, at that point, know­ing I had a strong run and how good I was feel­ing, I was pretty con­fi­dent about an over­all win.

TMC: Were you tar­get­ing a new course record? DM: I wasn’t tar­get­ing a new course record un­til the late stages of the run, once I re­al­ized it was ac­tu­ally pos­si­ble. I knew that I needed to run about a 7:07 dou­ble marathon to do it, but a de­ci­sion was not made un­til 78 km of the run to go for it. With about 6 km to go, I fig­ured it was time to give the record a shot or I would prob­a­bly re­gret not try­ing. I told my run pacer and crew mem­ber, Myles Gaulin (an 18-time Iron­man fin­isher), to go for it, so he picked up the pace and I gave ev­ery­thing I had to keep up with him. We ran the last six kilo­me­tres of the dou­ble marathon all un­der 4:30 min/ km pace. I was run­ning on pure adrenalin at that point and I just ig­nored the pain. TMC: Why Ul­tra­man? DM: I first watched the race in 2005 and was quite fas­ci­nated by it. I had an old buddy com­pet­ing in the race that year ( Nick Mal­let who had won the race twice be­fore in the past) and he ended up sec­ond over­all that year. I then crewed for the event on three sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions (each ath­lete re­quires a swim crew and land crew for the event). Ev­ery time I crewed, I was more in­spired. Also, af­ter fin­ish­ing 18 Iron­man races, I wanted to try some­thing dif­fer­ent and fur­ther chal­lenge my­self. Ul­tra­man Canada was the log­i­cal choice, given my long-time in­volve­ment in the event. The third time I crewed was for Kevin Cut­jar in 2010. He went on to win that year, set a new course record and ran a 6:37 dou­ble marathon. I got to run and pace him for most of the sec­ond marathon and af­ter be­ing a part of his suc­cess and the ex­cite­ment of his per­for­mance, I knew I had to do the event my­self. TMC: How does one pre­pare for an Ul­tra­man? Were there any dras­tic changes from the way you pre­pare for an Iron­man race? DM: For me, I didn’t change my train­ing much. It was pretty much the same train­ing I had done for most of my Iron­man races. How­ever, I mod­i­fied it slightly by adding some longer open wa­ter swim sets and some ad­di­tional bike mileage. For the most part, my Iron­man train­ing is pretty solid, so there was no need to add too much ad­di­tional train­ing to an al­ready heavy train­ing load. Aside from my reg­u­lar train­ing, a cou­ple other im­por­tant key as­pects would be ex­tra at­ten­tion to diet, rest and re­cov­ery. Th­ese things are part of my reg­u­lar train­ing rou­tine, but for Ul­tra­man I was ex­tra vig­i­lant.

I train con­sis­tently all year. Dur­ing the off- sea­son/win­ter, I’ll train 10 to 15 hours per week, which in­cludes more win­ter type sports like ski­ing and snow­shoe­ing. When pre­par­ing for a goal race, I’ll typ­i­cally do a 12- to 14-week pro­gram av­er­ag­ing about 20 hours per week, but I’ll throw in a cou­ple of big­ger weeks dur­ing that time of about 25 hours, av­er­ag­ing about about 10 km of swim­ming, 600 km of bik­ing and 50 km of run­ning. TMC: Does rac­ing Iron­man feel like breeze com­pared to Ul­tra­man? DM: I did well at Iron­man Florida this year. I placed fifth in my age group and qual­i­fied for the Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship next Oc­to­ber with a time of 9:08. Iron­man def­i­nitely does not feel like a breeze com­pared to Ul­tra­man. They are both hard, es­pe­cially when you race them. The thing about Ul­tra­man is that you don’t have to run im­me­di­ately off the bike so that makes quite a dif­fer­ence. I re­cover quite well, so stage rac­ing like Ul­tra­man seems to suit me quite well. The pace and ef­fort of Iron­man is ob­vi­ously harder than an Ul­tra­man and run­ning a marathon off a 180 km ride never feels like a breeze. TMC: Will you de­fend your Ul­tra­man Canada ti­tle? DM: I won’t be de­fend­ing my Ul­tra­man Canada ti­tle next year, as I will be fo­cus­ing my ef­forts on Hawaii. TMC: What’s next? DM: The Cana­dian win­ter and off-sea­son is next, which is some­thing I re­ally love. Al­though I en­joy the en­tire triathlon sea­son, I al­ways look for­ward to the men­tal break and some good Cana­dian win­ter fun. I love to ski, so I spend a lot of time down­hill and cross- coun­try ski­ing all win­ter.– RH

Be­low and op­po­site David Mathe­son mugs for the cam­era dur­ing Ul­tra­man Canada 2013 in Pen­tic­ton, B.C.

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