American triathlete Linsey Corbin chats with Inside Triathlon editor-in-chief Courtney Baird about the successes of her 2010 season, her first win of 2011 and what lies ahead for this season.
Last year Inside Triathlon magazine gave readers access to the story behind Linsey Corbin’s first Ironman win. It has been several months since we broke the story, and we wanted to catch up with Corbin to see what she’s been up to. After winning Ironman Coeur d’Alene in 2010, Corbin went on to a solid performance in Kona, set an Ironman PR of 9:05 at Ironman Arizona and won the first race of her 2011 season: Ironman 70.3 Pucon.
Triathlete.com: So what have you been up to since you were an Inside Triathlon magazine cover girl?
Linsey Corbin: Some things have changed. Some things have stayed the same. Mainly I have been enjoying living the dream in Missoula, Mont.! I am a professional triathlete, and rarely does it seem like a “job.” Highlights have included winning my first Ironman, meeting and working with my new coach, Matt Dixon, some epic training days, and spending time with my friends, family and awesome training partners. Recently, I wrapped up 2010 with a couple of solid performances before taking some down time to enjoy friends, family, great beer and good food. It’s good for the soul. Now I’m back at it. I am training in Tucson, Ariz., this winter and laying the groundwork for my 2011 season.
Triathlete.com: Congratulations on Ironman 70.3 Pucón. How does it feel to win your first race of the season?
LC: Thank you! It’s a great start. I was a little worried in the weeks before the race—not exactly the ideal training environment with the holidays, a trip to New Orleans, and snowy preparations in Montana. But once again it shows that there is more to this distance than just physical fitness. This is a big change from how I prepared and raced this time last year.
Triathlete.com: The weather down in Chile was really bad this year, with lots of rain. How are you able to stay mentally focused when things get unpredictable like that?
LC: Ironically, I told Chris [my husband] two days before the race that I hope the weather gets worse before it gets better. Since most of my training in based in Montana, I embrace tough conditions. It helps break up the course. The Montana temperature was 5 [degrees Fahrenheit] when we boarded the plane. I thought raining and 45 [degrees Fahrenheit] felt pretty good. I wish we could have swum, but you have to remain focused no matter what changes the race brings.
Triathlete.com: Getting down to Chile requires a lot of travel. Do you have any tips for athletes in terms of avoiding or getting over jet lag?
LC: Sleep. It’s a family joke that when we see someone sleeping on a plane, we say, “Oh look, it’s Linsey.” I’m fortunate that I sleep well on moving vehicles. Don’t focus on time zones, focus on the number of hours of sleep. Listen to your body. I like to travel a good few days before the race to let your body naturally adjust. Don’t try to be a square peg fitting in a round hole.
Triathlete.com: Can you let us know how things went in Kona for you? What did you learn from the experience and what will you take from it for this year?
LC: As far as my performance went, my total time was 15 minutes faster than in ’09 and my finish was 1 place lower. I always focus on time because I can’t control how fast the competition will go. Am I happy with the outcome? Not particularly. Did I give it my best effort? Yes, indeed.
My coach, Matt Dixon, and I are still learning what makes me tick. At that point (Kona 2010) we had been working together less than a year, and finding the right recipe takes time. That’s the beauty of this sport. Small changes make a big difference. We made some changes for Arizona and it worked. I nearly broke the 9-hour mark and had my best Ironman performance to date.
Kona is a special place. It’s these humbling experiences that make you come back for more.
Triathlete.com: Now that the WTC has instituted its Kona points system, has your race schedule changed much? Or is it pretty much business as usual?
LC: It’s business as usual. To some extent, my schedule mirrors last year’s. I am looking forward to racing the US Ironman Championships—Ironman Texas. I am also excited about the opportunity to give my best effort to defend my title at Ironman Coeur D’Alene.
Triathlete.com: Is there anything else you’d like to add or let us know?
LC: Enjoy the journey. Never give up. Always move forward. Picture yourself where you want to be—and give your best effort to get there.