MORE THAN TOYS TRIATHLON ACCESSORIES
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.
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.
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.
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