We caught up with long course star Catriona Morrison (Cat) ahead of Ironman 70.3 Wiesbaden tomorrow. We were interested to see how Cat’s training and form has progressed on her return from an injury which saw her miss the entire 2012 year of racing. Cat also talks about racing the increasing number of athletes switching from a successful short course career, her thoughts on drugs in sport, the new Kona points ranking system, and share’s some advice to our readers. So take a look and get to know this champion that has stared defeat in the face, and won!
Trizone: We caught up prior to Norway 70.3, which saw you returning to the Ironman 70.3 scene after a sizable break! How has the training been going since we last talked? Do you feel you’ve lifted to another level of fitness since May?
Catriona Morrison: Very well, I am definitely fitter. But no matter how fit you get, you always want more. The good thing is that I think that there is more to come!
TZ: Are you qualified for the 70.3 World Champs in Vegas yet? Or is Wiesbaden your chance to gain valuable points for a 2013 slot; do you have any specific goals for this weekend’s race?
Cat: I have not qualified yet although I think that I may have enough points. However, I am racing this weekend with the intention in cementing my spot for Vegas.
TZ: I had a read of your latest blog post on drugs in sport. It sounds like your 2nd place finish at Norway 70.3 was a very frustrating result given the circumstances, and you may well face those feelings again this weekend. How do you deal with these emotions so that you can focus 100% on racing the best you can come race day?
Cat: Writing a blog was a good way of rationalizing my emotions! I wrote the blog to vent some of my frustrations and to highlight to people that we are all responsible for demanding and promoting drug-free sport. I also wrote the blog as a means of educating people about some of the challenges we have as athletes in our sport. Many people simply do not know the stories behind the race results and I felt that in this case it should be communicated.
What drives me forward is the knowledge that I know that I continue to try and push the boundaries of my own personal performance without the need, desire or want to cheat.
TZ: There are a number of ITU and former ITU stars lining up this weekend. Does this intimidate you racing the shorter course girls, or do you enjoy the diversity in racing? Do you believe this changes the dynamic of the racing?
Cat: I always race knowing that the only person that counts on race day is yourself: if you worry about other people it is counter-productive to your own performance. You go to races to race regardless of the competition. I welcome the growth in all areas of our sport, it’s great to see more and more women challenging themselves over longer distances. I came from an ITU background myself! I do believe that the dynamic does change: usually with the swim becoming more competitive and a greater determining factor in the positioning at the end of the race.
TZ: Your first year returning from a complete season break from the sport, you’ve yet to break back into Ironman racing. Obviously, this presents a challenge for Kona qualification, and also for points to carry forward into next year (editor’s note: there are valuable points on offer at this years Ironman World Championship that are carried forward into each athletes 2014 point score). Would you mind sharing your thoughts on the recent changes announced for the Kona Points System, and how this may affect someone in a situation like yourself (returning from injury) or a first year pro.
Cat: I welcome the change in the overall scoring for Ironman races as I think that this will see a greater distribution of professional athletes over all of the IM races. However, it may also mean that pro athletes have limited ability to race outside the WTC licensed events if they want to qualify for Kona. I have always had questions regarding the carry-over of points from Kona into the next season’s KPR. Namely because it means that those who do well in Kona have a “head start” in qualification in comparison to many others (new pros, those trying to qualify for the first time, those who have a bad Kona experience and people who miss a season due to illness, injury and indeed pregnancy!). These people are fighting an uphill battle which means that in the quest to qualify for Kona that they run the risk of being exhausted by the time that they get there in comparison to those who have been able to carry forward points and be more selective in the races that they enter to qualify. I also can’t think of many world championship events in any sport where your previous year’s performance largely determines your ability to qualify for the present season’s world championship event.
TZ: Any advice for women reading this that may be racing their first 70.3 in Wiesbaden (or somewhere else in the world) this weekend?
Cat: Control the controllable: you can look after yourself, your equipment, your preparation. Spend a good time on this. Don’t fret about the uncontrollable – your competition, the weather, the road surface, the course – think mitigation and solution, not a problem!
Thanks Cat we appreciate this very much and love catching up with you! All the best on the weekend and we hope to see you racing in Vegas next month!