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For Wurtele, the Ironman 70.3 North American Pro Championships in St. George are part of a master plan to dominate 2015.
Heather Wurtele has a case of the terrible twos: in her first two races of the 2015 season (Challenge Dubai and Ironman 70.3 California), the Canadian has occupied the second-place step on the podium. Fueled by a strong desire to break her second-place streak, Wurtele will be aiming for the top spot at the 70.3 North American Pro Championships in St. George, Utah this weekend.
Triathlete.com: After finishing second in Oceanside, you said you were “a bit pissed about it.” What, specifically, were you pissed about?
Wurtele: We have a saying in The Triathlon Squad about being “pissed off for greatness” [based on a pep talk by Ray Lewis]. I wanted to defend my title in Oceanside and win the race, and when I didn’t I was unhappy—which is really all part of the high performance work ethic that I embrace. I have big goals and I really commit to them and getting pissed because you want to be better is all part of it!
Triathlete.com: Some athletes channel that anger into their next performance, while others let it go and view the next race as a fresh start. What approach do you take, and why?
Wurtele: A little bit of both, actually. I am a pretty happy person in general, and I definitely race better when I feel positive so I try to let go of disappointments pretty quickly and move on the next day, next session, next positive thought. That said, I think using the things that make you angry to motivate you to be better is a useful strategy, as long as you don’t dwell on things you can’t control.
Triathlete.com: You were sick before Oceanside. How are you feeling going into this race?
Wurtele: I rarely get sick, and that was a pretty nasty cold that came out of the blue race week, so I hope it’s one and done for the year. I’m feeling super fit and pumped to race some great competition in St. George!
Triathlete.com: How does Ironman 70.3 St. George fit into your master plan for the season? What are some of your goals you’ve set for yourself for St. George? For 2015?
Wurtele: I love the course and the community here in St. George, and I always try to step up to the challenge of racing the best fields so the fact that it’s the North American Pro Championships makes it a must do! I’m also doing Ironman Texas on May 16, so hopefully my strategy of racing a half two weeks out from a full, which I’ve done the past two years with Eagleman/Coeur d’Alene and Quassy/Coueur d’Alene will continue to work well.
My coach wanted me to have more of a mid-season break this year, to be better prepared for big late season races like 70.3 Worlds, Kona, The Island House Bahamas Invitational and Challenge Bahrain. Part of the 2015 plan is to get an Ironman done earlier than late June as I have done in the past. That way I can have a good break before a solid summer block of training. I’m also doing Texas to have more practice racing a highly competitive full IM in hot/humid conditions more similar to Kona. As far as goals go—I want to win races! But I’m also trying to learn when to take my foot off the gas so I can really perform when it matters most—like at world championships.
Triathlete.com: You’ve spent significant time living and training in St. George, Utah. What makes this area—and this course—so special for you?
Wurtele: I like hard race courses, with challenging terrain, and St. George has that for sure! When we came down here for the first full IM in 2010—wow, was it that long ago?—we just sort of fell in love with it. The landscape captivates me, it is inexpensive/easy to stay here in our RV, there are lots of amazing state and national parks around, good pools, the lake, great trails for running, some pretty epic terrain for riding, friendly people…
It was easy to decide to come back here to train (in the spring and fall when it is too cold/wet back home in BC, anyway), and though I was bummed when the race changed from a full to a half in 2013, I was really happy that it attracted more athletes that way. It is definitely a course worthy of a championship event!