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Catriona Morrison took the title at Ironman Texas 70.3 this past weekend. Inside Triathlon senior editor Jennifer Purdie chatted with her about her win, upcoming 70.3 in St. Croix and life as a Scottish triathlete.
Triathlete.com: Congrats on winning the Texas 70.3. You were able to pull ahead on the run and maintain the lead. How did you prepare yourself going into this race?
Morrison: Nothing specific really. I raced in Abu Dhabi in the middle of March and then went back home to Scotland where it’s been hit or miss with the spring weather. My training has been a mix of CompuTrainer and outdoor riding, cold and windy running, and the usual trips to the pool. The most important thing was to try and recover from Abu Dhabi and train consistently before traveling to Galveston for the race.
Triathlete.com: How did you feel about that long bike ride in Abu Dhabi?
Morrison: It was a grueling day. The first two laps were great but the third lap was a real killer both mentally and physically. I think that we were all glad to get back to transition.
Triathlete.com: Coming up for you is St. Croix 70.3, which you won last year. That’s a popular race among the pros. What makes it so special?
Morrison: The venue is appealing, but the true draw of the race is the way that the local community pulls together to make you so incredibly welcome. I have a super homestay family (chez Todd Newman) who do everything to make my stay perfect and I can’t thank them enough. The race is really well organized and the locals come out to support in droves. Everyone is made to feel special and that’s why you see the pros returning again and again. This year I’ll be doing a Q&A with the local junior triathletes to hopefully motivate and inspire the next generation of athletes out there.
Triathlete.com: What else is in store for you this year in terms of racing and what goals have you set for yourself in 2011?
Morrison: I’ll be doing Ironman Texas and then heading home to Scotland. I’ll then return to the TriGrandPrix race in the Basque country in Spain, which is an absolutely beautiful race in a stunning part of the country. Then I’ll be off to Challenge Roth, which again is a wonderful race crammed with amazing crowd support. I then hope to take some time out with my husband by taking a trip in Europe in our camper before assessing what races I need to do to qualify for Kona. My main aim is to get to Kona healthy after having been ill in the previous two years.
Triathlete.com: You are from Scotland, so where do you spend the majority of your time racing?
Morrison: I race all over—from Scotland to Hawaii. I generally train by myself in Scotland and in the winter spend time in southern Spain. I’m quite the home bunny as my husband has a career based in Scotland and we have a wonderful home there. I know that I am biased, although the weather may leave a lot to be desired. I can truly say that there are not many parts of the world that I have visited where the bike riding is relatively hassle free, quiet and often stunningly beautiful.
Triathlete.com: Can you tell us a bit about your athletic background? How you got started in triathlon?
Morrison: I swam as a kid and in my early teenage years I swapped to running. I ran for Scotland as a junior on the track and cross country team and then ran at a university in Scotland and Canada. I had knee surgery in 2000 that prompted me to buy a bike for recovery purposes, and it also got me back swimming. I entered my first triathlon as a motivational tool to recover from the surgery. In 2002, I represented Scotland in the Commonwealth Games and again in 2006. I was moderately successful at Olympic distance triathlon, finishing in the top ten in a few ITU world cups. I moved to longer distance triathlons in 2007 and did my first Ironman in 2009, setting the world’s fastest debut time of 8:48:11 at Roth. I also continue to compete in duathlon where I have won four ITU world titles and two European titles.