Austin’s own Amy Marsh placed first in the women’s division at last month’s Ironman China. Marsh, who moved to Texas from Minnesota in 2001, became a professional triathlete last year and has already won two full Ironmans. She is a member of the professional Team TBB but trains here in Austin when not competing around the world. Marsh talked with us on the phone this week to give us some more insight on her career, her future and the triathlon scene in town.
Actively Austin: You won the second Ironman race of your pro career about three weeks ago in China. Talk about what that was like.
Amy Marsh: My husband and I were in Asia for about six weeks training with an international triathlon team in Thailand. Originally we were planning to do a half-Ironman in Shanghai, but my coach [Swiss-based triathlon coach Brett Sutton] saw what good shape we were in and advised us to try the full Ironman. We had about two weeks notice beforehand, and then we went out there and raced— it was quite a surprise to win. The conditions were brutal. It was extremely hot over there and the wind on the bike was very strong—wow, it was intense. But afterwards I was very excited to win and definitely surprised.
AA: You were born in upstate New York, attended college in Minnesota and then moved to Austin in 2001— that’s quite a trip. What was it like coming to Texas and how’s the triathlon scene here?
AM: At the time, my parents had retired to Texas and my brother was going to grad school at UT. I came down here to start coaching a swim team in 2001 and I haven’t left since. Now that I’ve made it here, I won’t go back to the cold. The triathlon scene is great too. There are a lot of athletes that live in Austin. I usually swim at UT with the Masters group. I also bike and run around Town Lake, but I mostly do that sort training on my own.
AA: Your husband, Brandon Marsh, finished ninth in the men’s division at Ironman China. What’s it like having a spouse who is also a triathlete?
AM: We train together. Our schedules aren’t exactly the same all the time, so we’ll have different workouts. But it’s kind of nice knowing that someone is going through the same kind of pain as you. We understand what the other one is going through. If one of us is having a bad day, the other one understands.
AA: And what is your training usually like?
AM: Before going to Asia, I would average about 18 to 20 hours a week between swimming, biking and running. In Thailand it was 25 to 30 hours a week in. Now that I’m back I’ll probably stick with 25 to 30 hours per week. The triathlon season is year round, but for North America it’s March through October, so I just kicked off my 2010 season and am looking forward to getting faster.
AA: So what are your immediate plans? When’s your next race?
AM: In two and a half weeks I’m going to go to New Orleans for a half Ironman. Then, two weeks after that, I’m doing another half ironman at Lake San Antonio in California— it’s called the Wildflower. After that I’m not sure. The last race of the season is the Ironman in Hawaii. It’s the biggest triathlon and the final race of the season for most triathletes. I hope to be a little bit faster by then. It’s hard to compare times because courses are so different, but the race in China was good preparation.
AA: So thinking about a return trip?
AM: Well, I don’t think so. Thailand was great, we loved it. It was my first time in China and I don’t know if I’ll go back. It was definitely an experience.