With the start of the 2014 triathlon season nearing, TexasRunningPost.com is kicking off a series of interviews with central Texas professionals. In the first installment, we sat down with one of the hottest names on the series right now – Kelly Williamson. Hailing from Illinois, she has called Austin her home since 2006 along with husband/coach Derick Williamson training around the trails and roads.
Quite the accomplished athlete, Williamson holds multiple Ironman 70.3 titles to her name, including a 2012 US Pro 70.3 Championship. Her 2014 season kicked off with a victory at the 3M Half Marathon – which marked the first time a female has gone back-to-back-t0-back.
Q: How was your offseason this year? Any injuries, illness, setbacks
K: This offseason was definitely a true offseason. I had surgery late September, right after 70.3 World Champs, which required me to take about 6 weeks off. I could walk (which I did a lot of) but it was a true chunk of rest that I have not taken in years. That said, the surgery was necessary given the struggles I was having last year and so I think the timing was perfect. Since then starting in early December, I eased back to swim/bike/run and have gradually progressed since then. Though I do dial back over the holidays for about 2 weeks; I say moving but keep structured training (and volume) to a minimum.
Q: Did you focus on any on anything particular – Swim, Bike, Run, Strength?
K: This offseason was focused on truly recovering from surgery. I did some physical therapy in November and December to regain some strength, but really I just tried to stay sane for 6 weeks without real “activity”! Once I was able to get back to training in December, Derick and I realized that the approach had to be conservative and gradual. Intensity was limited especially with the running; swimming seemed to come back pretty quickly though I had lost some core strength; and cycling I just focused on putting the miles in. Any focused intensity on the bike/run did not really come until January.
Q: You made a 3-peat at 3M this year. Were you confident coming back as the returning champion, or where there any nerves from the surgery and training?
K: There were definitely nerves. I wanted to do some harder running in late December knowing I may do 3M and Derick was the voice of reason, reminding me that it was not necessary and that 3M was just to go hard and gain fitness. I knew that I shouldn’t expect too much out of myself but of course I knew what I had run the past two years and a part of me wanted to run that fast again! So, all things said, I was pleased with a 1:16 and only about 15 seconds slower than 2013. I had definitely not trained specifically to run 5:50 pace for 13 miles. It was nice to see that my body was able to do that off of very limited ‘speed’ work.
Q: What are some goals for the 2014 season?
K: This year the goals are in September and October, as I would like to qualify for and compete well at Mont Tremblant 70.3 Worlds and Ironman Hawaii. I know that I have my work cut out given that I have to acquire the points, which I missed out on late 2013 and skipping Panama didn’t help. But, I have a plan in place and I’ll implement to the best of my ability. I’ll race Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas in May which will be nice as I have good memories from that event in 2011.
Q: What race are you most looking forward to, and why?
K: I look forward to every race in it’s own way, but one I am pretty excited for is Ironman Texas. I enjoyed it the first time around and I still feel like I have untapped potential at this distance. I took 2013 away from Ironman racing and I think it has renewed the excitement. Being so close to Austin, it almost feels like a hometown race for me. It will be fun to see what I can do there compared to a few years back, and the crowd support there is awesome. It’s fun to see a lot of familiar faces at that event.
Q: Any races around Texas on the schedule?
K: As of now just Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas 70.3 (Galveston) in April and the full Ironman in May. I could sneak Buffalo Springs 70.3 into things late June but that has yet to be seen as to how the first few races go.
K: We usually head to Salida, Colorado for about 4-5 weeks each summer when the heat kicks up. But this year, Derick’s family will spend a week in Montana so we’ll go there (and I’ll take a bike) and we may try to do some training in Kona late summer if indeed I am heading back to Hawaii. So unfortunately we won’t make it back to Salida which is one of our favorite towns, but we’ll have a few short bouts away from Austin to get in some good training.
K: Not much! Thanks for taking the time with me, and also a huge thank you to my sponsors who make this all possible for me: Zoot, Memorial Hermann, Felt, PowerBar, The Westin Lake Las Vegas, Reynolds, Rudy Project, Road ID, Profile Design, ISM, Recovery Pump, Jack & Adams, Nulo, Durata Training, SRM, Campagnolo, Atomic and Endurance Shield. I feel very fortunate to have such great support system. Best of luck to everyone in their 2014 season!