Earlier this year, Paula Findlay won her first half Ironman in St. George, Utah, at the 70.3 North American Championships. After that, she came fourth at Escape from Alcatraz. The result wasn’t what she wanted, but even more disappointing was the pain she began to feel in her hip. An MRI revealed a stress fracture at the neck of her femur. Last weekend, she returned to racing with another fourth at IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder. Now on her way to Triathlon Nationals in Kelowna, BC, next weekend, we caught up with Findlay while she drove through Wyoming.
TMC: So, after your big win in St. George, I noticed your racing schedule went quiet. It wasn’t till last weekend, after your race, on social media that you shared you had a stress fracture. Do you mind giving us some details on your injury?
PF: The win in St. George was great, it was great to see my training pay off with a big result like that. After the win, I did Escape from Alcatraz in June and had a fourth place there. It was here I got injured or began to notice some pain in my hip when running. The pain didn’t go away. So, a week or two after I got an MRI and it revealed a stress fracture.
Initially, the doctors and I thought my season was over. But because of the nature of the injury and where it was, I could still swim and bike with no pain. I took over a month off from running and just swam and biked.
TMC: What gave you the “okay” to do IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder?
PF: I was training in Boulder, Colorado, and had started running a few weeks out from the race with no pain. My coach and I decided it would be a good test for me and the run course has some soft terrain so it wouldn’t be just pounding the pavement.
TMC: How was your fitness?
PF: I was really piggybacking off my fitness from earlier in the year, but had been able to do good swim and bike training. For the run, my longest run was 20 minutes. So, I wasn’t at my best, but to run for 90 minutes with no pain during or after, I was pretty happy about that.
TMC: Overall, how was the race?
PF: I’m disappointed about the result. Even on the swim and bike, I didn’t have it on that day. I wanted to make a move on the bike, but I couldn’t. There is a lot I will take away from the race, and I’m happy to be back.
TMC: What’s next for you?
PF: I’m heading up to Alberta for some time at home before going off to Kelowna for the Canadian National Championships.
TMC: So, you haven’t fully made the switch to 70.3 racing?
PF: Nope, I still love ITU racing, and I’m not ready to leave it. I have Tokyo 2020 on my radar and next year I’ll make another push to make the team.
Last year, Findlay came second at Nationals to Joanna Brown. Come August 19th, Findlay will try to repeat year success from 2017 and give her Canadian competition a surprise. “It’s nice coming into an ITU race, I’m under the radar and can give them a surprise,” says Findlay.