With six runner up finishes in Ironman 70.3 races in 2010, it is safe to say that Canada’s Angela Naeth has arrived as one of the fresh new talents on the 70.3 scene.
A self-professed newbie, she is by no means a rookie. Naeth attended the University of Missouri on a full track and field scholarship, raced triathlon as an age grouper in 2007, and after attending a training camp run by Chuckie Veylupek (1999 Ironman Canada Champion), he soon became her coach and she turned into a full-time professional athlete in 2008.
After capping off the 2008 season with an eighth place finish at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, her sophomore season looked promising especially after signing with Team TBB. However, her season was over before it began. She suffered a severe tibia stress fracture, and did not race once in 2009.
“It was very intense for me. At that time didn’t I really know my own body, and you really have to be able to do that,” admitted Naeth. “You need to learn your body cues on what is too much or too little. I was quite naive back then I guess you could say. I definitely learned a lot from him (Brett Sutton), but it was too much intensity for my type of body.”
Naeth returned to Veylupek’s tutelage for 2010 and with obvious success.
“Chuck is very progressive in his training. He sees more of a long-term approach whereas Doc (Sutton) doesn’t really necessarily believe in tapering or leading up to one big event,” said the Prince George, British Columbia native. “Not that we do that either but Chuck sees a long term approach with 5 to 10 years in the sport is where I will see my most gains. Whatever we do this year builds on and effects what we do next year.”
However, despite her successful comeback season, she is still looking for that first trip to the top of the Ironman 70.3 podium and will be working hard on making the necessary improvements to get that first win under her belt.
“The biggest thing is my swim. If you were to look at my bike and run splits I am up there. It’s the swim where I lose 3 to 5 minutes,” said Naeth. “That is big gap to make up. So there will be a lot of swimming this year. I don’t come from a swim background so to make that time up is tough.”
To help facilitate that improvement, and learning from her TBB experience, she has set up a new home base in Tucson, Arizona where she can train with other professional triathletes like Hilary Biscay, Leanda Cave, Chris McDonald, and Samantha McGlone.
“Coming from that year (at Team TBB), there is a huge benefit in working with others. They push you, they make you stick to your plan, and it just a huge motivational factor,” said Naeth. “In the winter of 2010, it was just Chuck and I in Solvang, California and it was really hard in terms of trying to stay motivated and there was no one to vent to. So we tried to find an environment that was conducive to that.”
“We are all friends, and everyone has their own coaches and their own program, but if we can work together and work hard then we are going to make the gains.”
Naeth will focus on Ironman 70.3 races this season, and with her strong cycling and running, she is excited to race the tougher Ironman 70.3 World Championship course at Lake Las Vegas, Nevada on September 11. But Ironman racing is definitely in the near future, and she did a reconnaissance mission to Kona this past year to prepare herself for an eventual date at the big dance.
“Ironman is down the road, possibly in 2012,” confessed Naeth. “I wanted to see what it was all about. It was good to scope out the swim, bike, and run course to see where I would need to make improvements or what to expect so it is not a huge surprise when and if I qualify for it.”