3 National Records and a Kona qualification - 2021 recap
I can't explain this sudden change in performance to be honest... I was a happy amateur being content with the gains I was making compared to the abilities I have and then in 2020 BOOM! No idea how or why... and it keeps getting better.
It all started with the Hungarian National Long-Course (Ironman distance) Triathlon Championship. I won small local races before but that was certainly a breakout performance and it came out of the blue. It was my second Ironman-distance race ever and I improved almost 3 hours on my time. I won that race in August 2020 and then only a month later I ran my first ever ultramarathon - a 24-hour timed race and again, BOOM! Out of the blue I broke the course record, won the race outright (including men) and ran the 2nd best ever Canadian performance in a 24-hour race also breaking the Canadian soil record.
Another 2 months later I broke the Canadian 48-hour ultrarunning record. That was already planned but again, I have zero idea how or why it all happened and it was so fast I just kept turning my head and thinking 'is this really happening'?
Winning the Hungarian National Championship and running the finish chute with my daughters. Photo: ExtremeMan Nagyatád
In 2021 I picked up where I left off in 2020 and started breaking more records and winning more races. By now, being a year and a half into my surprising streak of outstanding performances, I go out planning for big things. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't, but when I don't, I go back out to try again.
2021 started with breaking the Canadian W45 100-mile record in a training race with 15:24, missing the Canadian open record by 5 mins. Yes, I went out later in the year and gave it another go...
I had two 'A' races for the year: a 6-day ultramarathon, 6 Days In The Dome and the World Triathlon Long-Course Championship. Interestingly enough I didn't hit my 'A' goal for either yet I was very happy with both performances.
In 6 Days In The Dome I was aiming extremely high: to break the 6-day World Record. I didn't put this goal out in the public because I knew enough to realize that there is a very small chance that this would happen on the first try. Having tried it though now I know for sure that I am capable of reaching that goal if things line up. This year (2022), next year, who knows. But I can do it.
I still managed to come away with two National Records, the Canadian 48-hour (346km / 215 mi) and the Canadian 72-hour (440km / 273 mi). I couldn't continue beyond 72 hours because of an ankle injury so now that I'm preparing for my next 6-day race my main goal is to strengthen my ankles to be able to hold up for the full 6 days.
48-hour and 72-hour Canadian Records
After the 6-day race in June I jumped into triathlon training for the September World Championship. I was hoping to finish on the podium which I missed by 6 minutes, ending the race in 5th place in my W45-49 Age Group. It was a really strong field. I came away with a PR in all 3 disciplines, swim, bike and run, and overall (10:28). I was especially proud of running a 3:36 marathon in an Ironman race.
A month later I raced at Ironman Waco and scored that coveted Kona World Championship slot on my first try, winning my age group and coming 4th overall female, even though I performed much worse than a month earlier. It is all about who shows up on the day, and I have zero influence on that.
IM Waco bike: 180km / 112 miles in 5:23. Photo: FinisherPix
Then I decided to not embrace the off season but rather go back out to try again for the 100-mile record. I also really wanted to experience this elite race, Desert Solstice which is invitation only and I knew that some of the top ultrarunners in the world would be there. To top a very successful year I not only managed to break the 15:19 Canadian record but I also became the first Canadian woman to ever run 100 miles under 15 hours: 14:57. That puts me 21st on the all-time world rankings at a distance that is a bit too short for me - I prefer longer races because I don't really have much raw speed.
Desert Solstice . Photo: Howie Stern
To summarize, I learned a lot, achieved a lot and became hungry for even more. Let's see what 2022 brings! I'm really excited!