Triathlon Magazine Canada - - TRI TIP - BY JEN­NIFER FARAONE

PAULA ROCHMAN HADN’T given much thought about com­plet­ing a triathlon un­til the day she turned on the TV and caught the tail end of Si­mon Whit­field’s epic run at the 2000 Syd­ney Olympics. Inspired, she turned to her fam­ily and said, “I want to do that.” Months passed and Rochman for­got about her dec­la­ra­tion – un­til her hus­band sur­prised her with an ex­pen­sive road bike for her birth­day. She com­pleted her first triathlon nine months later, hav­ing only rid­den twice. The ex­pe­ri­ence of this first race, how­ever, was enough to in­still the mo­ti­va­tion to pur­sue the sport. She has since com­pleted the Peterborough Half Iron in On­tario 10 times and eight Iron­man races. She raced her first full to celebrate her 50th birth­day. She is also a six­time Bos­ton marathon fin­isher.

Rochman has seen the great­est trans­for­ma­tion in her train­ing on the bike and ad­mits that it took many hours in the sad­dle to build her con­fi­dence. “I be­gan as a very fear­ful rider,” she ex­plains. “I am cer­tain that I was slower go­ing down­hill than up­hill as I was petrified of speed and kept my brakes on the en­tire time.” With this fear be­hind her, she has re­cently tack­led one of the most chal­leng­ing bike cour­ses – Iron­man Lan­zarote, where she placed sec­ond in her age cat­e­gory.

The de­mands of her work, as a crim­i­nal de­fence lawyer, makes it chal­leng­ing to ad­here to a struc­tured train­ing plan. In­stead she fo­cuses on be­ing as con­sis­tent as pos­si­ble, aim­ing for 90 min­utes most weekday morn­ings, plus a brick work­out on the week­end with friends. Her work also takes an emo­tional toll that the sport helps off­set. “I couldn’t do my work if I didn’t do my train­ing,” ex­plains Rochman. “It’s so im­por­tant to find a way to re­lieve the stresses from my job; train­ing al­lows for this as it gives me the op­por­tu­nity to clear my head and to put things aside.”

Rochman sets a fine ex­am­ple with the way she bal­ances her tenac­ity and de­ter­mi­na­tion for train­ing with­out los­ing per­spec­tive. She takes her train­ing se­ri­ously and al­ways gives her best ef­fort, yet isn’t fix­ated on all as­pects of train­ing. Her fo­cus is on get­ting to the start line, rather than try­ing to find and ad­here to the best train­ing plan. This doesn’t mean, how­ever, that there isn’t a com­pet­i­tive streak in her. Her great­est joy in a race is to pass a guy in his 30s rac­ing on a disc wheel.

“Paula keeps ev­ery­thing in per­spec­tive and bal­anced,” ex­plains her train­ing part­ner, El­iz­a­beth Model. “As fo­cused as she is on her train­ing and rac­ing, it doesn’t de­fine who she is. The mother, suc­cess­ful lawyer, tal­ented gar­dener and so­cially con­scious Rochman would, for ex­am­ple, only buy shoes made in Spain when shoe shop­ping there dur­ing her re­cent Iron­man.” Case in point: af­ter plac­ing sec­ond in her age group at Iron­man Lan­zarote, Rochman passed up the op­por­tu­nity to at­tend the awards din­ner and the Kona roll down so that she could tour the is­land with her daugh­ter, who had come on the trip to sup­port her.

Although reach­ing the age group podium has been a more fre­quent oc­cur­rence in the past five years, she is not fix­ated on se­cur­ing an elu­sive Kona spot. “Of course it would be amaz­ing to qual­ify for the race, but I hope that I’m never in that stage where I’m dis­ap­pointed that I didn’t qual­ify for Kona,” ex­plains Rochman. “Triath­letes are so priv­i­leged to be train­ing and to at­tend these races. My mantra is to train and set goals that will keep me want­ing to do this next year.” As such, Rochman is look­ing for­ward to fig­ur­ing out which ex­cit­ing des­ti­na­tion will host her ninth Iron­man.

Jen­nifer Faraone is a com­pet­i­tive run­ner and coach. She is the co-au­thor of the re­cently re­leased The Ath­letic Mom-to-be (p.69).


2014 Iron­man France


Paula Rochman races the 2015 Iron­man 70.3 Muskoka

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