Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Front Page - BY KERRY HALE

Oak­ley Trig­ger Point Smith

Whether it is a pair of sun­glasses to round out your training and racing gear or a wind­trainer to make your in­door training that much bet­ter, some­times the right ac­ces­sory can make all the dif­fer­ence to your training and racing. Here are a few that are sure to make your training fun and pro­duc­tive this year:

Evzero Pitch Prism Trail

The light­est sun­glasses Oak­ley has ever made, the Evzero Pitch uses Oak­ley’s Unob­ta­nium ear­socks and nosepads to stay firmly in place no mat­ter how in­tense your work­out or race gets. They’re so light you’ll hardly no­tice they’re on and the Prism lenses pro­vide out­stand­ing op­ti­cal clar­ity that will help you make out sub­tle changes in ter­rain in even the flat­test light.

Grid STK

This hand-held roller is wrapped with spe­cial chan­nels to help you roll out all your aches and pains af­ter even the tough­est work­out. The con­ve­nient size makes it easy to bring the STK with you to the gym, of­fice or on-theroad. You’ll never have an ex­cuse to not roll out those stiff mus­cles again.

Pivlock Arena

Th­ese stylish sun­glasses per­form as well as they draw com­ments. The Car­bonic TLT lenses pro­vide ex­cel­lent op­ti­cal clar­ity while the TR90 frame ma­te­rial is ex­tremely light and tough. The Hy­droleo­pho­bic lens coat­ing is a per­fect ad­di­tion for hard-work­ing triath­letes, while the two-po­si­tion nose pad en­sures a com­fort­able and snug fit.

Xlab Tor­pedo Kom­pact 500

Hav­ing a wa­ter bot­tle in be­tween your bars is one of the most aero­dy­namic spots you can put it, all while mak­ing it re­ally easy to ac­cess, too. Xlab has raised the bar with the Kom­pact 500, us­ing car­bon fi­bre to im­prove on the al­loy Kom­pact 100 by mak­ing it lighter, sleeker and able to keep your wa­ter bot­tle snug on even the bump­i­est roads. The car­bon mount­ing plate is uni­di­rec­tional so you can have the bot­tle face ei­ther di­rec­tion and there’s a Garmin com­puter mount, too.

Con­ti­nen­tal Grand Prix TT

Long renowned as a favourite with pro­fes­sional cy­clists and triath­letes, Con­ti­nen­tal tires have a well- de­served rep­u­ta­tion for pro­vid­ing ex­cel­lent dura­bil­ity and per­for­mance. The Grand Prix TT is a clincher tire that of­fers ex­cel­lent punc­ture pro­tec­tion thanks to the Vec­tran punc­ture pro­tec­tion insert. You also get ex­cel­lent grip and ef­fi­cient rolling thanks to Con­ti­nen­tal’s Blackchili Com­pound.

$ 170 $ 53 $210 US$88 $ 93

Pro Mis­sile EVO

This sleek, fully car­bon, aero bar weighs in at just 595 g and of­fers a huge amount of ad­justa­bil­ity of arm­pad and ex­ten­sion op­tions to al­low you to dial in the per­fect aero and com­fort­able po­si­tion. There is in­te­grated brake and shift- ca­ble rout­ing (also for Shi­mano Di2 wire­less sys­tems) to en­sure that you’ll be able to cre­ate the op­ti­mal aero­dy­namic cock­pit.

Stac Zero

Us­ing mag­nets to pro­vide re­sis­tance the Stac Zero al­lows you to get the tough­est of work­outs with­out putting any wear on your tires. That also means there’s no noise, mak­ing this trainer a dream for those who live in apart­ments. There’s no fly­wheel so the Zero folds flat for easy stor­age and be­cause there are no mov­ing parts wear and tear will be at a min­i­mum. We’re es­pe­cially ex­cited about the new Blue­tooth Ant+ Pow­er­me­ter ver­sion.— KM

$1,550 $ 399; $ 499 BLUE­TOOTH POW­ER­ME­TER VER­SION

Sis­ter Madonna Buder is, in no un­cer­tain terms, truly a sport­ing phe­nom. In a world where big­ger, fit­ter and faster dom­i­nates the news cy­cle, Sis­ter Madonna is an anom­aly whose out­look and ground­break­ing ath­letic achieve­ments have in­spired many. Hers is a long story of quiet de­ter­mi­na­tion and of re­lent­less phys­i­cal drive. She is a hum­ble trail­blazer who has man­aged to over­come bound­aries and pre­con­ceived no­tions of the lim­i­ta­tions of ad­vanced age cou­pled with hu­man en­durance. At 86 Sis­ter Madonna Buder has be­come an un­likely en­durance sport­ing icon.

So much so in fact, that when global sports gi­ant Nike was look­ing for a mo­ti­va­tional sportsper­son for a tele­vi­sion ad­ver­tise­ment as part of a Rio Olympic Games mar­ket­ing cam­paign, Sis­ter Madonna was cho­sen ahead of many other ath­letes across a wildly di­verse range of sport­ing pur­suits.

“They made that com­mer­cial in just two days,” ex­plains Buder. “Day one was an 18-hour shoot and day two was 16 hours, all for less than a minute of TV time. I did ev­ery­thing they wanted me to do and I think, to be hon­est, I wore them out.” Af­ter re­ceiv­ing wide­spread ac­claim for her ef­forts, Buder says, “I’m truly not sure what all the fuss is about, ac­tu­ally.”

Such is the per­sona of Sis­ter Madonna, a bea­con of what healthy liv­ing and de­ter­mi­na­tion can do, who to this day re­mains the old­est per­son, male or fe­male, to ever com­plete a full- dis­tance race – she fin­ished Subaru Iron­man Canada on Aug. 26, 2012 at the age of 82.

Born in St. Louis, Mo. on July 24, 1930, Buder en­tered a con­vent at age 23 and then, in 1970, left the con­gre­ga­tion to join a group of sis­ters from dif­fer­ent and vary­ing back­grounds to es­tab­lish a new, non-tra­di­tional com­mu­nity of Re­li­gious Sis­ters. This pro­vided Buder the free­dom to choose her own min­istry and life­style. She be­gan training at age 48 at the be­hest of Fa­ther John, who told her it was a way of tweak­ing, “mind, body and spirit” and for the “re­lax­ation and calm­ness it can bring an in­di­vid­ual.” She com­pleted her first triathlon at age 52 (the same year she ran the Bos­ton Marathon for the first time) and then com­peted in her first Iron­man event at age 55. She has con­tin­ued on ever since, earn­ing her the moniker of the “Iron Nun.”

To date, Buder has amassed close to 400 triathlon fin­ishes in­clud­ing 45 full- dis­tance events and has opened up five new age-group cat­e­gories in the process. She says, with a laugh, “And, sur­pris­ingly I held age group records in all of those cat­e­gories.” In 2014, Buder was in­ducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame.

Canada and, in par­tic­u­lar, the city of Pen­tic­ton, has be­come etched into the heart and soul of Sis­ter Madonna thanks to the fact that she’s com­peted in 22 Iron­man Canada events.

“I have a real affin­ity for Cana­dian peo­ple,” she says. “The peo­ple are so wel­com­ing, they have sound morals, cul­ture, and they’re so open to

But, in­stead of cross­ing the fin­ish line with a huge smile across my face, I lay un­con­scious as I was shut­tled be­tween hos­pi­tals in an air am­bu­lance. My life rested in the hands of ICU nurses and doc­tors in a for­eign coun­try.

Known as the world’s most scenic triathlon, Chal­lenge Wanaka is the race of a life­time. I wrote about it in the May/june 2016 is­sue of this mag­a­zine. Set in New Zealand’s pic­turesque South Is­land ( imag­ine the charm of Muskoka with the grandiose of the Swiss alps), triath­letes travel from around the world to com­pete in this lush won­der­land.

My race started off well. The months of training pro­pelled me dur­ing the swim (44:53), which was es­pe­cially chal­leng­ing given the choppy glacial wa­ters. I was in high spir­its as I went through tran­si­tion and made it on my bike. As I climbed my first hill, I mar­velled at the spec­tac­u­lar route be­fore me.

But my awe grad­u­ally changed to con­cern over the next five hours. A per­sis­tent headache, which I had at­trib­uted to de­hy­dra­tion, seemed to grow in sever­ity de­spite my drink­ing wa­ter and elec­trolytes. At around the 80K mark on the bike, I asked to see medics.

For what seemed like an eter­nity, I sat un­der

“It is in­ter­est­ing to note that be­tween three to 27 per cent of ath­letes seek­ing med­i­cal care are di­ag­nosed with ex­er­cise-as­so­ci­ated hy­pona­tremia,” says Rachel Hannah, an elite run­ner and reg­is­tered di­eti­tian at the Med­can Ex­ec­u­tive Health and Well­ness Clinic. “Most of those cases are gen­er­ally asymp­to­matic. Mild symp­toms such as loss of en­ergy, nau­sea or headache are eas­ily brushed aside as a con­se­quence of en­durance ac­tiv­ity.”

My sodium lev­els dipped to 123 meq/ L (nor­mal lev­els are around 135 to 164 meq/ L). I was later told that hy­pona­tremia is life threat­en­ing if the plasma sodium dips be­low 120 meq/ L.

Hy­pona­tremia is com­mon among marathon run­ners, triath­letes and other types of ath­letes. In 2014, a 17-year- old foot­ball player died from over­hy­dra­tion dur­ing foot­ball prac­tice.

Lon­don marathon­ers may be fa­mil­iar to the 22-year- old man who died of hy­pona­tremia af­ter run­ning in 2002. In 2005, a study showed that 13 per cent of Bos­ton Marathon run­ners stud­ied had hy­pona­tremia, with 0.6 per cent hav­ing a crit­i­cal case.

New Zealand ICU

The headache and grog­gi­ness was a re­sult of my brain swelling. At the small hos­pi­tal where the race team took me, I was un­able morn­ing, I was told though my sodium lev­els were back to nor­mal, there was a risk that the ex­treme fluc­tu­a­tion in my sodium lev­els may have per­ma­nently dam­aged my brain cells.

“The se­ri­ous­ness was in the ra­pid­ity of the change,” ex­plained Dr. James Maska­lyk, a friend and an emer­gency room physi­cian at St. Michael’s Hos­pi­tal, in Toronto. “Be­cause the body has no time to equi­li­brate by us­ing other pos­i­tively charged solutes/cations, it af­fects cel­lu­lar func­tion, in­clud­ing nerve con­duc­tion.”

Phys­i­cal re­cov­ery vs emo­tional im­pact

Back in Canada, three weeks later, I had trou­ble ac­cli­ma­tiz­ing to life af­ter a near- death ex­pe­ri­ence. Over the next few months, I had trou­ble fo­cus­ing at work. Sleep wasn’t easy, I was emo­tional and I con­stantly ref­er­enced my near death ex­pe­ri­ence in ca­sual con­ver­sa­tion. I was scared to run or swim again in case it trig­gered a seizure. While the phys­i­cal symp­toms – headaches, nau­sea and fa­tigue – even­tu­ally sub­sided, my anx­i­ety es­ca­lated. A visit to a neu­rol­o­gist con­firmed that I showed no signs of per­ma­nent brain dam­age. He told me, “The only thing this in­ci­dent did was give you the hee­bie-jee­bies.”

Fear and doubt crip­pled me. The neu­rol­o­gist helped me re­al­ize I re­quired a dif­fer­ent

type of med­i­cal support. Over the next few months, I met with a psy­chol­o­gist, talked to my fam­ily physi­cian, reached out to friends for support and made an in­cre­men­tal re­turn to fit­ness.

Ther­apy comes in many forms

Af­ter the hy­pona­tremia and hos­pi­tal­iza­tion, I felt like I had a se­cond chance at life. Such a pro­found ex­pe­ri­ence was surely go­ing to af­fect my psy­che. I learned that the strug­gle I was hav­ing was a com­mon re­sponse to trauma.

“I think the pa­tients who bounce back the most from trauma are those who can grow tremen­dously from the trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence and learn a valu­able les­son be­neath what hap­pened,” said Markus Be­se­mann, a physi­a­trist and head of the Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Medicine with the Depart­ment of Na­tional Defence. Be­se­mann is a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion doc­tor who treats in­juries or ill­nesses that af­fect how you move. He works mostly with mem­bers of the mil­i­tary.

He in­tro­duced me to the term “postt rau­mat ic growth,” a psy­cho­log­i­cal phe­nom­e­non in which trauma deep­ens life’s mean­ing. Be­se­mann says that jour­ney usu­ally in­volves be­ing vul­ner­a­ble.

“Peo­ple need to feel vul­ner­a­ble in order to heal,” says Be­se­mann. “When you sup­press emo­tions, you are more likely to suf­fer a set­back or get sick.”

Stud­ies show that not ev­ery­one who ex­pe­ri­ences trauma may be open to growth dur­ing re­cov­ery. Around 35 to 75 per cent of trauma sur­vivors ex­pe­ri­ence some form of post-trau­matic growth. Psy­chol­o­gists have found that cer­tain traits like op­ti­mism, agree­able­ness and ex­tro­ver­sion in­crease the like­li­hood of growth. Seek­ing clin­i­cal help can also help.

With­out know­ing it I was prone to growth be­cause of my ex­tro­verted na­ture and open­ness. I asked for help and be­came more self- ex­pres­sive. A psy­chol­o­gist helped me to rec­og­nize that the way I was think­ing was hin­der­ing my re­cov­ery. She used Cog­ni­tive Be­havioural Ther­apy, a type of talk ther­apy where neg­a­tive thought pat­terns about the self and the world are chal­lenged to al­ter un­wanted be­hav­iour or ways of think­ing.

A leadership course re­in­forced what was in my con­trol and helped me let go of past ex­pe­ri­ences, which were no longer serv­ing me. I chose to so­cial­ize with pos­i­tive peo­ple. I avoided the com­plain­ers and gos­sips. I spent more time walk­ing in na­ture.

Un­der­stand­ing hy­dra­tion and racing

I spoke to Hannah, an elite dis­tance run­ner her­self (she won the bronze medal in the marathon at the Pan Am Games), about what I did wrong from a hy­dra­tion point of view. She shared with me how she pre­pares with pre­hy­dra­tion and re­places sodium loss dur­ing her races.

“The goal of pre­hy­drat­ing is to en­sure you start the run well hy­drated and with nor­mal plasma elec­trolyte lev­els,” says Hannah, who drinks about one litre of flu­ids be­fore a morn­ing ses­sion and eats foods con­tain­ing sodium to help re­tain th­ese f lu­ids. Hannah says that, when she is well hy­drated to start, she drinks ac­cord­ing to thirst and aims for 0.6 to 0.8 L/ hour.

A grad­ual re­turn to racing

Soon my sleep improved, and I was able to bal­ance work and re­la­tion­ships with more grace and ease. I re­turned to yoga, specif­i­cally restora­tive prac­tices. The slower pace and deep breath­ing mit­i­gates the stress re­sponse that was en­com­pass­ing my days.

I also re­turned to run­ning. I com­mit­ted to a com­pany team 10K in May and eased into build­ing up my strength and en­durance again. On race day, anx­i­ety symp­toms re- emerged. I was the last of my group to com­plete the run as I ex­pe­ri­enced a se­vere stress re­ac­tion dur­ing the race.

I had se­vere per­spi­ra­tion, dry mouth and cool, pale skin. My body rec­og­nized the race en­vi­ron­ment as a threat, and adren­a­line re­leased into my blood­stream. While the 10K was hardly en­joy­able, it was a nec­es­sary step to re­turn to fit­ness.

“I see that all the time with mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents – when peo­ple who have had an ac­ci­dent don’t want to get back into the car. But the longer you go out, the harder it is to get back into the car. You must con­front your demons. The best thing you can do is ease into a re­turn to that ac­tiv­ity,” says Be­se­mann. “Grad­ual de­sen­si­ti­za­tion to that stim­u­lus with the help of your fam­ily, friends, or, if needed, pro­fes­sional help.”

Bik­ing and run­ning was a tough tran­si­tion

In July, I en­tered a mini triathlon in Graven­hurst, Ont. I wanted triathlon clo­sure, and a try- a-tri seemed like the ap­pro­pri­ate

LEFT Sis­ter Madonna at the 2016 USA Triathlon Age Group Na­tional Cham­pi­onships OP­PO­SITE Sis­ter Madonna in Kona

BE­LOW Ta­nia Haas in the hos­pi­tal re­ceiv­ing treat­ment and rest­ing

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