In early 2010, Ottawa-based up and coming triathlete Tenille Hoogland sold all her furniture, quit her permanent job with the federal government, moved to Austin, Texas, got her elite card, overcame a longterm injury and dutifully proceeded to kick butt all season!
2010 was a break through year for Tenille, finishing on the highest step of the podium in very competitive drafting short course events by scoring a win at the ITU Pan-American Cup San Francisco and at the San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz. She also scored a second place at the Oceanside, CA Super Sprint Grand Prix, a fourth place at Calgary 70.3 before closing off the season with a 14th place finish at the ITU Pan-American Championships in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Pretty solid for a first year on the international stage!
One quote from a recent blog post stands out :
(…) I learnt that this job, being an elite athlete, is incredibly challenging, sometimes lonely and leaves no room for excuses. It is complete dedication to a lifestyle – eat, sleep, breathe, train – that rarely allows for compromise. It is also incredibly rewarding.
Tenille, let’s order a couple of orange mocha frappacinos and talk shop:
Trimes : À quoi ressemble to profil athlétique et comment as-tu fait tes premiers pas en triathlon?
What is your athletic background and how were you introduced to triathlon?
Tenille Hoogland: I was an elite synchronized swimmer for 11 years (September 1985 – May 1996). After I left the sport, I did not put my toe into the water until I moved to Ottawa in 2004 and joined the Masters Swim Club Technosport. There I was surrounded by triathletes. With some awesome support I did the Sprint Triathlon in Smith Falls in 2005. I won my age group, became addicted to the sport and have not looked back since.
Trimes : Tes objectifs pour la saison à venir?
What are your goals for the upcoming season?
TH: My goals this season are to stay injured free, be faster and race smart. If I do this I believe that I can represent Canada in Olympic distance ITU races and be on the podium at a few 70.3 races.
Trimes : Tu as des astuces mentales pour t’aider à surmonter des moments difficiles lors en entraînement/compétition?
Do you use any mental tricks to keep you motivated and positive during hard training sessions/races?
TH: When I am in a hard training session I tell myself that I only have today once, to make the most of it and to have no regrets. For motivation during winter training I think of how each day is building toward me being stronger, faster, and more competitive at my races. If that does not work, I think of Chrissy Wellington and her calves and tell myself to suck it up. At races I just do what I have trained my body to do. Mentally I just tell myself to just keep going, pain is temporary.
Trimes: Des trois disciplines, quel est ton point fort ou ton étape préférée?
Of the three disciplines, which one is your strength/favourite leg?
TH: This is a hard toss up between the swim and the bike. Coming from a swim background I am confident in the water. I really love the swim when there is a huge chop, brutal current or some other factor that makes it really hard. I love the bike when I get into a solid groove and have legs that respond to hills, wind or the surges that make ITU racing fun.
Trimes : Tu te vois où dans cinq ans ?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
TH: I am not sure I can answer this as I am really living 1 year at a time now and loving that.
What is your opinion about Canada compared to other nations? Is there any difference between us, the USA, Europe, Australia or New-Zealand? Donne-nous ton opinion sur la position du Canada sur le plan international? Une différence de mentalité dans le sport entre les Européens, Nord Américains et l’Australie et la Nouvelle Zélande?
TH: Canadians are a really hardy bunch of athletes both at the recreational and elite level. First, Canadians have to get through winters of indoor riding, treadmills or indoor tracks and of just being cold. Second, because financial support is limited from government and the business community, to be competitive at an elite level in Canada you have to do it because you absolutely love the sport, have the personal means and support to do it and have community based businesses that provide support in anyway they can. I believe that in the US there is a stronger professional sport culture that supports athletes in this lifestyle. This brings me to my first point again – athletes representing Canada have overcome incredible financial and other challenges to be there. The passion, humbleness and hardiness can be seen from triathlon legends such as Peter Reid, to local athletes such as Joanna Brown through to the amazing age-grouper who achieved a PR at great expense to their family. Perhaps at the heart of the sport, there is not much difference between countries – triathlon is absolutely a privilege. Few are able to do it, even fewer are able to achieve an elite level. We are strong because of our challenges but I believe we can be stronger!
Trimes : Triathlon longue distance dans ton future?
Long distance triathlon in your future?
TH: I can’t wait to excel at long distance triathlon in my future. This being said I love the “short” distance stuff now and would not change a thing about how I am developing as a triathlete. There is nothing that can compare to ITU racing or doing Olympic distance to better your speed, skills and racing strategy.
Trimes : Quelle est ta semaine type en saison?
What does a typical training week look like during the season?
TH: Typically I train two sports everyday with a few days doing all three. Then there is all the ancillary training such as core, stretching, skill development and drills. Apart from training I cook a lot and sleep as much as I can.
Trimes : Un athlete que tu admires?
An athlete you admire?
TH: I admire Karolina Wisniewska, Canadian Paralympian. She is a model of athleticism, overcoming challenges, and determination. At the end of the day she skis because she loves her sport and her country. She is also a beautiful person. What better athlete is there?
Trimes: Equipment wise, what are you riding on? You are aware that Trimes has a mild running shoe fetish. What are your shoe preferences for training/racing? Big and comfy or light and feathery?
TH: I ride an S-works Amira for draft legal racing and a Specialized Transition Pro for non-drafting races.
I prefer Brooks sneakers. They have everything from the lightweight racing flat, to the everyday training shoe to what you need in the snow and ice. I love my running shoes comfy, hardly big, definitely light but lacking the feathers!
Trimes : Ta citation!
TH: “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. » Anatole France
Thank you Tenille. Trimes wishes you all the best for 2011.