Penticton’s Jen Annett is returning to race at the Ironman World Championship in Kona this year. She arrived a few weeks early and Triathlon Magazine Canada’s Kevin Heinze had a chance to ask her a few questions about her preparation.
Triathlon Magazine Canada: When did you get into Kona and what have you been up to?
Jen Annett: We got in on Saturday September 28 and have been busy. Fellow Penticton athlete, Dave Matheson and I rode the course last Monday. Last Wednesday we went down to the Energy Lab, which is typically the hottest part of the run course. We tested ourselves out there and it was a good day. I tried going to the beach a couple of times, but have been rained out.
What workouts has your coach, Jonathan Caron, had you doing to improve over last year?
Last year’s race wasn’t great as I had a mechanical issue on the bike. That cost me ten or fifteen minutes. I had heat issues on the run and basically walked and barfed my way through the marathon. It was a shame because I think I was in the best shape of my life. This year my training has largely been the same, with a bit more focus on swimming and running. I feel my run has improved. It really showed in Whistler when I posted the fastest run split, but of course, Kona is a different beast and anything can happen here.
Did you do any special workouts before going over to Kona to say to yourself, “I got this?”
No, not really, it’s really just been about nailing those key workouts on a regular basis and getting used to being uncomfortable.
Some Ironman athletes have a tough time with the taper. How have you been coping with it?
I honestly hate tapering, this is usually the hardest part for me. Often I am grumpy and tired, and sometimes not the nicest person to be around. I just take it one day at a time and try to rest and eat properly.
Last year I think I got a bit too wrapped up in the whole Kona vibe. Maybe it got to me more than it should have. Later that year, at Ironman Arizona, I took a really laid back approach, and had one of my best races ever, so this year I am treating this race and taper like any other race. It’s hard not to look at Facebook and Instagram to see what everybody else is doing, but the work has been done and trying to compare what I have done to everybody else isn’t going to help anything.
Getting to the start line of the world championship takes a lot of work on your part and also from the people around you. Who has been instrumental in getting you to Kona this year?
First, of course is my family. Racing as a pro athlete is hard and, with a family, I don’t have the time to train thirty-plus hours a week. My family has been there for me and is super supportive. I was able to come to Hawaii two weeks early to train, and that’s going to make a huge difference for me. As well, having my parents and my in-laws sometimes take care of my son and pick him up from school has been helpful. Also, my coach Jonathan Caron has been a big help. I’ve been working with him for four years. We have a great relationship and we work very well together.