An Interview with Triathlete Courtney Pollman
Courtney Pollman began triathlon in 2011 after a running injury forced her to abandon her training for qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Never shy from taking on challenge, Courtney and her coach came up with a new goal, and with a borrowed bike she began training for a 70.3 distance race last fall. Courtney qualified for Ironman 70.3 World Championships at 70.3 Raleigh, and will be heading to Vegas this week to test herself against the best age groupers in the world. Our discussion with Courtney follows.
PowerTap: So, you were an injured runner…why triathlon?
Courtney: I've been a runner for years and I enjoyed swimming as a recovery activity but I refused to bike because it seemed too complicated with all of the parts and the maintenance. In 2011, I struggled with a calf injury off and on throughout the year, and then I had a stress fracture in my heel, which meant NO RUNNING for three months! We tried pool running, swimming and the elliptical to keep up my fitness but I was going nuts working out indoors all of the time so my coach loaned me a bike and off I went. I was riding ALL the time. After a month or so of riding, I told my coach that I wanted to train for a half-ironman distance race. He was onboard with the plan so the first triathlon for which I ever registered was the Beach to Battleship 70.3 in Wilmington, NC. The race hurt like heck but I was in love with the sport.
PowerTap: What has your season looked like so far this year?
Courtney: So far, this season has not really gone as I had wanted or expected, but I think that I've gained the experience I needed. There is a lot more to triathlon than just being fit and since I raced my first tri only a year ago, I've had a lot to learn. I started this season with a local duathlon and placed second overall, so that was promising. Since then, I've raced a handful of times but something seemed to go wrong in each of these races. I finished all of them, and more importantly, I'm learning and growing and grateful for the opportunity to compete!
PowerTap: What's been your favorite bike workout getting you ready for Vegas?
Courtney: A 3 - 4 hours long ride with race-effort intervals. I live near the beach and we have a lot of wind, and although this affects my pace I can still control my power! Focusing on power rather than pace really helps me stay focused and maintain the appropriate effort level.
PowerTap: What are your goals for Vegas this year?
Courtney: My primary goal is to enjoy the experience and to manage the race well. My last 70.3 was a difficult with some bike issues, stomach cramps, and heat for which I wasn't prepared. I want to savor Vegas (I'll be competing with the world's top age group triathletes!) and to put out a performance that is truly reflective of my training and fitness level.
PowerTap: What's on the schedule for the rest of the year?
Courtney: I'm going back to Beach to Battleship at the end of October for one more 70.3 distance race. I'm excited to see how I do on the same course a year later and I think it will be a fun way to wrap up my 2013 triathlon season.
PowerTap: What's your plan for the off-season? When do you begin planning for 2014?
Courtney: We'll start talking about winter training in November, but, as my coach would say, "There IS no off-season, there is only an IMPROVEMENT season."
PowerTap: What type of bike are you riding these days?
Courtney: After a couple loaner bikes, I purchased my first serious bike a few months ago! It's a Scott Plasma 10. An avid Sci-Fi fan, I named her the TARDIS… and I love her!
PowerTap: If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Courtney: I spent too much of my life refusing to try new things for fear of failure. If I could talk to Past Courtney, I would tell her "Go! Do! Fail! Go and do, again!" She probably wouldn't listen to me though!
PowerTap: Who is your sports idol and why?
Courtney: Chrissie Wellington! She's fun, friendly and still viciously competitive. She came out of nowhere in triathlon and half of her gear was borrowed when she was starting out. She was also super nice and posed for a picture with me at Nationals even though I was acting likely a total weirdo because I was so excited to meet her!