Meet the D3 Athlete of the Month for August 2008, Julia Purrington
D3: Why triathlon?
JP: I was a competitive swimmer from the age of 5. I stopped swimming after my freshman year in college because I had lost my edge and desire to compete. After moving to Colorado, I started mountain biking for fun and loved it. Then the kids came along (I have 5 & 6 year old boys). I decided that I had become someone totally different – no athletic anything in my life. I bought a road bike and needed a goal. I could swim, I could bike and I figured why not try to run! I bought that road bike in August of ’05 and did my first triathlon in November of that year. I was TOTALLY hooked! I love the training, love the racing!
D3: Who is your coach and how long have you been working together?
JP: AJ Johnson has been my coach for the last two seasons. I worked towards my first Ironman this year. He’s a great coach, especially for someone who wants to get through that first Ironman and be competitive about it.
D3: Share a favorite race experience.
JP: I have three. Escape from Alcatraz has been my favorite race and Lake Placid was simply awesome all around, but last year I had the privilege of competing with Team USA at the ’07 short course World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. Being a part of that team was awesome. I have struggled with my run since I started triathlon. That day along the run course a little German girl was just near the turn around. She was about 3 years old and screaming “U S A” (Imagine that in a little German accent!). I’m not sure why she was cheering for me when there was a German woman in front of me and another one behind me, but it made me push harder and set a 10K PR.
D3:What is the single hardest workout you’ve ever done?
JP: I would have to say that my hardest workout was a run workout while training for the Boston Marathon this year. It was a long run with 3 x 30 minutes Z2, 5 minutes Z3, 5 minutes Z4-5. The last 5 minutes in Z4-5 were GRUELING, but I did it and Boston was a BREEZE after that!
D3: What workout do you like the least, but know you’ll get the most out of?
JP: I would have to say my trainer workouts with intervals or hard tempo sections. I really don’t enjoy riding the trainer. To push myself on the trainer takes real mental focus and it also seems much harder and hotter to put out the same wattage. I think 4×10 minutes at threshold watts is probably one of my toughest.
D3: How do you balance your life with training? I know you coach a swim team, organize a local tri team, manage a business, and have a great family.
JP: First and foremost, my husband is a SAINT. He is the cornerstone to my triathlon success. Also, I think incorporating family and training or work together, when I can CERTAINLY helps. My husband and I run our business together and he also trains. We will often take an easy run or spin for “lunch” and plan our week, or talk about kids, school, etc. while we are out there. My kids are also very active so I will sometimes have my older son pace my runs on his bike. I am also pretty organized with my time. I set my weeks into blocks at the end of every week for the next week. Then, on a daily basis, I plan my day to the minute. Sounds a little uptight maybe, but I know where I need to be and when, but don’t be surprised if I am running 5 minutes behind. It’s easy to keep motivated with most of these things when you truly LOVE doing them. I love training with my friends. I love being social , training and coaching my friends. It’s a HUGE reward when someone has a breakthrough. There is nothing that makes me as happy as seeing that smile on someone else’s face when they finish a tough workout or accomplish a huge goal in a race.
D3: What does a typical training week look like for you?
JP: Honestly every week is different, but leading up to Ironman it looked something like this:
Monday – coach Masters then swim my own 4-5K endurance session.
Tuesday – day off or short, hilly power or tempo ride in the mountains at lunch. I work and live in the mountains, so this is my typical terrain.
Wednesday – coach Masters then run at lunch. This is usually an endurance run. Then a short ride and swim at Chatfield in the evening (with the kids at the beach!).
Thursday – track workout with the whole family! Sometimes I’ll ride the bike to the track and catch a ride home with the hubby.
Friday – swim at the pool in the am. This is usually a 3-4K with some power or anaerobic work. I would also ride or run easy with the hubby if I can get it in. Sometimes I’ll take Friday afternoons off and just go for a nice hilly, but not too hard ride.
Saturday – SBR! Usually open water swim, then a two hour ride with some short tempo sections and a one hour run with some short tempo sections.
Sunday – LONG ride day (5-6 hours) followed by a short run (15-20 min).
D3: What music motivates you?
JP: Different things on different days. I love to run to hip hop, and I sometimes like to use more aggressive rock (Linkin Park or something similar) for harder runs, but I am not much of a music person. I rarely use an Ipod to run. I am much more motivated by race simulation. I can get my mojo going pretty easily by imagining that I am on the last mile of my run at a past or upcoming race.
D3: What do you do to reward yourself after a tough workout?
JP: Ice Cream. Preferably something with chocolate. I also find an ice bath strangely rewarding.
D3: Who is the triathlete you’d most like to emulate?
JP: Heather Golnick. I love her tenacity and her family first attitude. It makes me want to be part of “Team Golnick” (her kids and family all wear shirt with Team Golnick on them). She’s also a stud.
D3: The three people you’d most like to meet?
JP: Darra Torres one of my newest idols at 41 on her 5th Olympic Team. Will Smith – because I’ve loved him since he and I were both kids (and he’s cute). And my late brother in law Jay. I didn’t meet my husband until after Jay passed away, but I know that his life and death helped make my husband the person I love and who loves and supports me. I’d love to thank him!