Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Q&A with Amy Marsh

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.

Austin triathlete Amy Marsh. Photo credit goes to Team TBB.

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.

Fun in the sun

If you’re looking for a new outdoor activity to try, go kayaking or canoeing on Lady Bird Lake for the day. Recreational kayaks and canoes are simple to navigate and safe for all ages.

Texas Rowing Center

The Texas Rowing Center has Austin’s largest fleet of kayaks and they offer singles, doubles and triples kayaks and canoes for rent by the hour or by the day. No reservations are necessary and their rental rates vary on the type of equipment you choose:

Single Kayaks

Hourly: $10
Unlimited: $25

Double Kayaks

Hourly: $15
Unlimited: $35

Triple Kayaks

Hourly: $20
Unlimited: $45

Canoes

Hourly: $15
Unlimited: $35

The Texas Rowing Center is located on the north shore of Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail and directly across from Austin High School. For more information, call 512-467-7799.

Keeping healthy on the road

Hello to our throngs of loyal fans. I’m on the road again, playing a trio of games with the Texas lacrosse team in Southern California. Santa Barbara is beautiful right now, the weather is perfect, but roadtrips mean lots of fast food and cramped conditions in multiple hotel rooms– not the most ideal conditions for anyone, let alone when trying to play a sport.

Aside from the nightly Aspirin, there are some other techniques that will keep you limber and healthy while on the road.

Introducing the muscle toothbrush:

Similar to foam rolling, muscle rolling compresses soft tissue and muscle fibers against the bones underneath and is categorized as a petrissage movement. You grasp the roller on both ends and move it laterally across your sore and cramped muscles, and the “muscle toothbrush” releases the built up lactic acid. The IT bands and calves get especially tight after a lacrosse game, and the toothbrush is a great way to speed up your recovery.

Kinesio tape is another tool used by professional atheletes, weekend runners and everyone in between.

It alleviates stress on the muscles by lifting and supporting the skin over which it is taped (you can see it in use two pictures above). I had never heard of kinesio tape before playing lacrosse at Texas, but this little-known tool can go a long way in supporting weak joints and helping rehabilitate injuries.

Going on the road can be an impediment to any training regime, but with a little resourcefulness and ingenuity you can go a long way in helping yourself out.

A fun-filled weekend

Well, it’s March, which pretty much means spring is here in Central Texas to stay. If you’d like to get out this weekend, I’ve put together a short list of some events that you might enjoy (although the weather forecast is iffy).

  • First there’s the Terra Firma Eco-Lonestar adventure race on in Johnson City this Saturday. It’s a 2-4 hour race that involves running, biking and “mystery events.” Yes, mystery events. It has a start time of 7 a.m. and reminds me of the Tough Guy Race in the U.K with its ultra-utilitarian vibes. There’s an ‘Extreme’ version as well that requires participants to bring their own mountain bikes and watercraft, but it’s too late to register for that portion.
  • There’s another “alternative” race on Saturday. Head over here to register for the 2010 Urban Dare Austin race. Teams of two compete for a chance to win $500. It starts at noon at Mother Egen’s Pub (big plus) and spans 5 miles downtown with physical and mental challenges that must be completed in order to continue. Registration begins at 11 a.m.
  • For the cyclist in your family, there’s a ton of rides this weekend. Mellow Johnny’s has a pair on Saturday, one for mountain bikers and one for road cyclists, but my favorite ride this weekend is Sunday’s Fixie Ride because of its proximity to the UT campus and leisurely pace. Oh yeah, like the Urban Dare race, the fixie ride also starts at a bar (just a coincidence, I promise).

Austin is an active city and the aforementioned events don’t come close to spanning all of the wonderful activities offered this weekend. Try out one of the above or just make your own fun– Town Lake has looked awfully lonely without you recently.

Too busy to be active? NO EXCUSE!

This time of the semester, students get busy. Midterms are in full swing, organizations finish their fun recruitment activities and get down to business, and professors insist upon crowding our brain cells with as much information as possible before we exterminate them over spring break. Our brain cells, not professors. Those who work become so adept at jugging their schooling, activities, and job they should join a circus.

At this point in the year, my life becomes microscheduled and  being active sinks to the bottom of my to-do list, right between doing laundry and visiting the career center.

Ironically, when you don’t have time to work out is when you need to the most. This is why walking is ideal for those who are busy this time of year. Two of the most important things to do when stressed are having regular exercise and taking a break, and walking does both.

Walking throughout the day lets you stay active. Take my average day for example:

I start my day walking from my apartment on Speedway to the PCL- 1.1 Miles

Then I walk from the PCL to the CMA-.7 miles

After I am done with all of my classes in the CMA, I will walk to work- .5 miles

After work I will walk home- 1.1 miles.

So when I get home from work, I have walked 3.4 more miles than I would if I drove.

In addition to the physical benefits, walking has emotional ones too. Each trip takes about 15 minutes. That means I have 15 minutes between studying and class, and class and work, where I cannot work. Not rushing from place to place gives me time to transition and just take a mental break in between endeavors.

Finally, Austin passively- aggressively supports walkers by being such an atrocious place to drive. I don’t need to inform anybody about the congestion and glacial pace of Austin traffic, and multiply regular Austin traffic by about a million to get campus traffic.

Then, once you endure driving in Austin, you need to park in Austin. Driving in Austin is like a poem by Homer, you spend time and energy completing a task, you think you’re done and home free, only to realize you need to park and have a whole new set of problems.

Walking is an active way to relieve stress, all in exchange for not wasting gas and patience in Austin traffic.