Triathlon training all in the family

West Shore residents Kelsey and Ian Phillips dive into sport

Kelsey Phillips and her dad

Kelsey Phillips has found a way to work up a good sweat without going anywhere.

The budding triathlete has been seated on her road bike clamped into stationary wind trainers at the Royal Roads University gym.

Colwood resident Phillips, 30, is training for her first Olympic distance triathlon, the 2014 Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence race this August. It’s a follow-up to her debut in the sport, which came in the sprint category in that race last year.

The high-intensity cardio training of her indoor sessions, with the rookie flanked by triathletes prepping for Ironman events, have mimicked a competition road ride pretty well, she says.

“They were doing four hours (at a time) when I came in,” Phillips says. “Now I’m up to three hours. I never would have thought I’d get to that point. And the adrenaline rush makes me want to keep doing it.”

Getting to this stage has been a fairly quick process for Phillips. She began running with co-workers several years back, did the TC 10K and ran events on the Frontrunners’ Island Race Series. She also began road cycling, then set a loftier objective: completing a triathlon by the time she was 30.

She got in just under the wire last summer.

Choosing the Sri for her first event was a natural. Her dad, Ian, has been a mainstay of the organization running the race, not to mention a frequent competitor, for years.

At 66, Ian still competes. The Langford resident completed the legendary Ironman event in Penticton last year, but says his focus this year is more on helping organize the Sri Chinmoy.

Kelsey admits getting over her fears of the unknown deep of the lake is one of her biggest challenges. Her dad recalls having the same trepidation.

“I remember doing the Thetis Lake swim,” Ian says. “It’s a mental thing, but the more you do it, you get used to it.”

Kelsey is otherwise not fazed by the fact jumping to the Olympic race means doubling the distances – a 1.5-kilometre lake swim followed by a 40K ride and a 10K run.

Maintaining a consistent training regime through the dull fall and winter months proved tricky for Phillips, an international admissions advisor at Royal Roads. “You work all day then try to find the energy to (hit the gym). But I’ve never come out of a workout regretting it. The zone I’ve found myself in, I can’t wait for the next workout.”

The environment surrounding the Sri Chinmoy event, which also features duathlon categories, team relays and youth divisions, is very supportive for competitors, especially first-timers, she says. “I found it was not as big with the highly competitive athletes, it was more about completing the race and doing your best … it’s a good place to start (in triathlon).”

While she is one of many developing triathletes looking to physically challenge herself to a greater degree, Phillips hopes telling her story will encourage others to engage in physical activities.

“If I can inspire one person to get out and be active, whether that’s setting a goal of doing a 5K run or trying a new sport, then it’s worthwhile.”

The 35th annual Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence Triathlon and Duathlon happens Sunday, Aug. 3 and starts and finishes at the Hamsterly Road beach at Elk Lake in Saanich. For more information, visit victoriatriathlon.com

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

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