Catalina Maass Triathlete

Catalina Maass Triathlete

Bracebridge 2016

Bracebridge 2016

Pre-Race

This summer I have been working at an overnight canoe tripping camp on an island in Algonquin Park as a swim dock lifeguard so my parents picked me up from the island Friday night and the three of us spent the night in a hotel close to the race site.

Saturday morning was race day. I woke up early to make it to the race site about an hour before race start in order have enough time to wait in the lines for package pickup, set up my transition, warm up, and put on my wetsuit on (which takes a solid 10 min). Somehow, time flew by and we ended up arriving 30 min before my race start. Leaving me running around getting things ready in time (this ended up being my warm up haha).

In transition, I chatted with my friend and fellow Multisport Canada Recharge with Milk Ambassador Team member, pro triathlete Angela Quick, who was volunteering at this race. She told me that the swim was wetsuit optional therefore I was not going to swim with a wet suit giving me more time to finish up getting ready.

My parents walk up and interrupt me mid-sentence to say hi… I was like uh hello again fam. They pause and stare at me waiting for something.. Im puzzled until I look further to their right. My jaw just drops. My boyfriend is standing there grinning his face off because of my reaction to his surprise appearance.

Swim 750m

The swim began as a time trail start (athletes line up by bib number and start one by one 5 sec after each other). I was happy to get a break from the crazy mass start swims where I have been getting trampled over all summer. The swim felt much calmer from the start allowing me to settle in to a comfortably fast swim pace.

 

In transition I had the great idea of putting on my ambassador jersey with my bib over my tri suit.... I was soaking wet so the jersey rolled up at my shoulders and took me forever to get on. Eventually, I managed to get it on and I was on my way to the bike!

Bike 20km

The bike course was great and challenging with rolling hills and steep hills! It was different than my last race at the draft legal race for Nationals in Ottawa (See My First Draft Blog Post). The difference I found was that in this non-draft legal race the bike ride felt lonely and felt super slow compared to the draft legal. On the other hand, non-raft legal racing is great because you do not have to worry about what the people inches away from you are doing and you can focus on yourself and know that the race was all you.

(Back from the bike! *notice outfit change)

Run 5km

The run was my favorite part in this race. Coming off the bike my legs felt great and I was excited to complete yet another great Multisport Canada Recharge with Milk Series Race, cross the finish line, and reunite with my awesome cheer team! In the end, I finished 4th in the 20-24 age category!

 

Thank you to Multisport Canada Recharge with Milk Series for a fun event and your support. Also, thanks to the volunteers who were super encouraging and helpful handing out water throughout the race. Last but not least, thank you to my wonderful cheer team I couldn’t have done it without you.

 

 

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My First Draft

My First Draft

The National Triathlon race in Ottawa was super fun! The race around Canada’s Capital was spectator friendly and was the first to introduce draft legal racing to age group athletes, making it an anticipated day for the triathlon community.  

Swim 750m

The weather was beautiful and the water temperature called for a non-wet suit swim! My wave, that was supposed to go at 6:40am, was delayed. Although it gave me time to look around and talk to some tri girls, we were grouped together with the second wave of women. We were tightly squeezed for the mass wave start.

Bike 20km

This race was my first draft legal race EVER. Drafting is when cyclistsrotate through a line or group, taking turns riding at the front (called pulling). When drafting close behind another rider, cyclist expend less energy because of the reduced wind resistance. By taking turns pulling and taking a break drafting a group of cyclists can go way faster than a tried out lone cyclist.

Since I got out of the swim with a few women 4 of us grouped up at the start of the bike ride and started doing somewhat of a drafting circle. Me and another girl pulled away and caught up to a solo girl ways up ahead. On the way back, our efforts from pulling away from the girls were shut down as a huge group of around 12 women, including the ladies we had pulled away from earlier, had caught up with our 3 person group, swarmed us, and consumed us into their drafting group. From there it was a fun time as the huge group worked together to complete a super-duper fast bike split!

I was very nervous for the age group draft legal race because many athletes, including myself, had never done a draft legal race before and/or did not have a draft legal card. But my worries were quickly erased as the riders biked with caution making a fun and speedy bike ride. It was a lot of fun to race the bike in a group and kept me engaged in the action the whole time.

Run 5km

The run was two 2.5km laps which kept spectators engaged and cheering every time we looped around in front of them. The cheering in turn encouraged us to go faster.

My first experience in a draft legal race was so great. It was supper fun and I am happy that it was held in the wonderful city of Ottawa. Additionally, I qualified for the 2017 ITU World Championships! See you next summer Rotterdam, Netherlands!

 

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Woodstock 2016

Woodstock 2016

Pre-Race

We arrived at the race 40min before my wave start so I ran to transition, squished my bike in on the rack and joined John, my fellow Recharge with Milk Ambassadors, and Lionel Sanders at the center of transition where we were introduced to the crowd. I ran back to my bike and quickly set up my transition. After getting my bib, Alicia and my older sister, Constanza, teamed up to quickly get my hair race ready!

(^Family)

Swim 750m

After a short swim warm up I took a spot at the start line in the lake. After the horn went off and I got a few fast strokes in attempt to get away from the pack. Gradually, I feel swimmers coming closer, squishing me in. About 10m someone’s hand goes above my head and strokes back pulling my goggles right off. I swam the rest of the 740m blindly without them keeping my head up as much as possible to see where I was going. Unfortunately, I knew then that I wasn’t going to have the swim time I was hoping for.

(^Swim Out)

Bike 20km

During the bike I set out to recover the time I lost during my swim. The course was really nice but strong cross winds made it difficult to ride comfortably as I was getting pushed to the edge of the road frequently. I came off the bike feeling tight and sore from fighting the wind. 

Run 5km

The start of the run was rough! My legs had a mind of their own and were not feeling a 5km run. I decided to take it one kilometer at a time which helped me mentally to get through it easier. Before I knew it I was at the finish line and it felt good to be done! 

 

  (^We did it!!!)

Post-race

One of my favorite parts about the race was the environment. The spectators, the volunteers, and the guest star Lionel Sanders made it a very memorable day. I was so happy to be reunited with the MultiSport Recharge with Milk family and meet new athletes including some of the Give-It-A-Tri athletes. It was a delight to give some of the first timers advice and encouragement as they set up their transition area before their race!

(^Posing with the Pro: Lionel Sanders)

Personally, it was a rusty start to the season but I feel accomplished in finishing the race and on top of that I was pleasantly surprised with a 3rd place finish in my age category!

( ^20-24 Age Group Winners)

A Huge thank you the MultiSport Canada Recharge with Milk Triathlon Series for your support and for organizing such a fun event! Thank you to Christine for lending me her bike for this race and for my family friends for taking care of me this weekend while my parents were away.

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The Flip Side

The Flip Side

With race season just around the corner the excitement for many triathletes sky rockets as they are prepared to enjoy the many perks of racing (accomplishing a goal,  enjoying the fun racing environment, or even showing of some new gear!) . Many feel confident in the training they have done over this year and the training they are continuing to do.

I would like to write about how perfectly my training has been going lately but honestly, lately it has been anything but perfect. I have hit some bumps on the road to say the least and for me, race season feels like it’s coming at a million miles an hour aiming straight for me, causing me to fall – in slow motion, limbs flying all over the place - face first into the dirt.

The truth is I’m scared. I am scared of racing in a new age group, scared of letting people down - or worse letting myself down, and I am scared of going out and doing what I have to because… what if I fail?

The more I think about the competition and what could happen, the more nervous I get. Recently, this fright has lead me to feel lost and unmotivated. In efforts to remind myself of who I am I have taken some odd lengths. For example, I am currently writing this blog post in my dining room table wearing last year’s racing suit because this suit reminds me of a good memory. Also, I am grateful to have friends whom I can work out with, as they give me that extra boost to train and focus on the fun of it.

Many people in this world are going to tell you no. But don’t be the one to tell yourself no. Do the best you can and that is what I plan on doing.

My first race is the Multisport Canada Recharge with Milk series race in Woodstock 2 weeks from tomorrow. I hope to meet many new triathletes and connect with fellow Recharge with Milk Ambassadors. Come and say hi after the race!

“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game” ― Babe Ruth

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson

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Lets Talk About Sweat

Hey guys!

Throughout the month of March, I participated in a research study at the University of Ottawa that looked at how gender, age, and diabetes affect the body’s ability to dissipate heat. It assessed how individuals respond to increasing levels of heat stress at rest and during physical activity. Here is an update on how it went! 

Before the start of each lab, Sheila, the lead researcher, drew out three tubes of blood from my arm and measured my weight. Next, I was taped up to multiple devices that measure my sweat rate, heart rate, surface skin temperature, and inner body temperature. To measure my inner body temperature, Sheila and Martin (another researcher) had to stick a foot long temperature probe up my nose and down my throat!!! It took a few attempts because the probe tickled my nose and made me laugh. Once the probs was in, it was very uncomfortable and every time I swallowed it would slide up and down my throat and nose.

Then, we moved inside the whole body calorimeter where Sheila attached all the devices on my body to tubes and machines in the calorimeter. After placing the mask on my face, we were ready to go!

The exercise I had to do in the 40oC calorimeter was explained to me in the beginning as follows: 15 min base period, followed by a 30 min cycle on a recumbent bike + 15min rest. I would have to do this three times with increased intensity each time. During the total time of 2.5 hours in the calorie meter, I was not allowed to drink water, so Sheila would attentively be checking my body measurements on her computer through the devices I was hooked up to and often checked up on me through an intercom to make sure I was feeling okay.

By the end of the first round I was sweaty and hot, so you can probably imagine how thirsty I was by the second round. That was nothing compared to the third and most intense round. By the start of the third round all I wanted was to finish, chug a gallon of water, and get the temperature probe out of my nose and throat!! The last 15min base period was mentally the hardest because all I could do was sit there in the heat dehydrated, counting down the seconds…

Soon enough, it was over (phew!) and Sheila came to get me. She and her peers burst open the door, the cool air rushed in, and was greeted with big smiles and excited researchers. For a split second, my uncomfortableness was replaced with confusion since I don’t know why they are so happy about…I was tired and dehydrated. Apparently, as Sheila explained, it is difficult for women to reach 500 watts of body heat and plateau before that. Once I passed the 500 watt mark, she told me the researchers started placing bets to see when I would plateau. By the time I reached 550 watts they were all very impressed with the fact that I never actually reached a plateau and also because of how much I sweat! From taking part in this research, I learned that my body gets very hot and I sweat a lot (yes, I sweat.  You do too! It’s what hard work looks like), therefore, in order to stay hydrated, I have to drink more water and electrolytes to replenish everything that I lose during the day.

After all the tape was off, Sheila weighed me again and sure enough I lost 4 pounds of water weight from sweat. This meant lot of fluids for me for the next few days!! Sheila took two more tubes of blood before handing me the cool, refreshing bottle of water. The whole process took about 4 hours and I did it three times during the month.

A week after all the tests were done, I received my full fitness report that included interesting and valuable information such as my body fat percentage, blood pressure, body composition, oxygen consumption, and most importantly my VO2max, aerobic threshold and anaerobic threshold.

My training this year has been different than last year. I get my workouts done but my mindset has been different. I hope to connect with more triathlon people around this city for next year. Training alone is not as much fun and has made me more distracted and inclined to hang out with friends.

The information I received from this study will help me re-focus because they added a training zone chart tailored specifically to me. This is very valuable because I am used to training with the watt meters provided by my high school. And when I didn’t have access to these watt meters I was left estimating and mostly training by effort. As I get ready for my first Multisport Series Race in Woodstock, I can rely on this chart to help me calculate my target heart rate goal specific to my fitness level for each workout and its intensity.

In addition, this study reminded me constantly about the importance of hydration and keeping my body hydrated with plenty of water AND electrolytes throughout the day as well as before, during, and post workouts! A great recovery drink is chocolate milk. Apart from its delicious chocolate taste, it contains all the essentials: fluids and electrolytes for hydration, protein for muscle repair, and carbohydrates to replenish energy stores that get you ready for your next workout!

I am really happy that I was able to participate in this study. I shared many laughs with the Masters and PhD students, I was able to give back to the academic community, and I gained a lot of information about my fitness that will help me with my training. 

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Balancing Life As A Student Athlete

Balancing Life As A Student Athlete

Hello there!

It has been a crazy few months as I recently finished my first semester of my undergraduate studies at the University of Ottawa in the human Kinetics program.

Over the past few months of adjusting myself to a new city and university lifestyle, I realize that I have so much freedom. I have the freedom to do whatever I want!!! We all know the phrase, “with great freedom comes great responsibility”. And Spider-man you are so right. As a university student athlete, I understand that balancing school, training, eating healthy, and on top of that having a social life can get very busy. But it can be done. I have settled myself into a schedule and will share some tips on what works for me in this post.

 

First, here are the things I have been up to since my last blog post:

In December, I went to Toronto to attend the MultiSport Canada Series Awards Banquet where I was awarded a plaque for being the 19&U Series Champion! The Banquet was very nice, I got to see many familiar faces from racing in the summer as well as meet new athletes, such as pro triathlete Cody Beals.

With regards to my training, I have been swimming with the University of Ottawa swim team under the coaching of Dave Heinbuch and Liz Osterer. I am able to get in to swim with them three times a week for 2 hour session. It has been very beneficial to be able swim with such fast swimmers because they really pushed me to improve. I already feel faster in the water! During the Christmas break we went to Hawaii for a two week training camp to get strong for upcoming peak competitions such as their OUA meet that is this week! (Wishing them the best of luck at OUA’s this Thursday! GO GEE-GEES!!!)

Coincidentally, I also got to meet up with my best friend from high school, Sam, and her family as they were also in Hawaii on vacation! I could write so much about our adventures there, instead, since a picture is worth a thousand words, I have attached some pictures at the bottom of the blog.

In addition, I currently do three runs and three indoor spin workouts a week -one of each with University of Ottawa Triathlon team. I always look forward to the group spin workouts because Nick, the spin coach, has the best pump up music and is very motivating.

 

Also, if you remember my ITU World Championship Race in Chicago (if not, read Blog Post #1!), you will recall that I had an unfortunate experience with the heat and my hydration. In order to better prepare for this summer’s ITU World Championships in the hotter climate of Cozumel Mexico, I have decided to take part in a research study at the university that focuses on how gender, age, and diabetes affect the body’s ability to dissipate heat. Basically, the university owns one of the two whole-body calorimeters in Canada (a device that makes very accurate measurements on the amount of heat emitted by the human body) and I will be required to bike in it for 2.5 hours. This will assess how females might respond differently to increasing levels of heat stress at rest and during physical activity. Intern, it will determine guidelines for females to follow in order to avoid health effects associated with heat exposure. This will help me in Mexico because since I live in a city where everything around me is snow and ice, I will have a place to acclimatize my body by training in a hot environment. Also, I will learn about what my body can stand, temperature wise, as well as what hydration steps to take to be successful in hot climates. All of this while helping a great research cause!

 

Furthermore, I have started to think about what races I will sign up for this summer. I am excited sign up for the Recharge with Milk MultiSport Canada races again this year. Training will continue to get harder and I look forward to continue my improvement so that I can be a good competitor for the 20-24 age category and give a good performance at Nationals in Ottawa as well as at the ITU World Championships in Cozumel, Mexico.

 

Tips for Student-Athletes

Like I promised, here are a few things that have been working for me so far in university.

Make Friends
School and life can get stressful at times, this is why it is important to have a good group of friends to help you get through it. You can meet a lot of people by joining teams, intermurals, and obviously class mates! I have met my closest friends in my labs and through networks of people. Also, get to know your roommates. Living with my older sister Constanza, Taylor, and Sarah has helped me because they have already gone through first year. I have learned a lot from all of them :)

Get a workout buddy
Having a workout buddy is so great! Pick a workout buddy that will push you to go to the gym on the days that you just don’t feel like it.

Live in the moment
Simply stated: If you are studying, study (no distractions). If you are socializing, socialize. If you are training, train. And if you need time of to relax, do it! Take some time off from the world and use that time to do what you want. By living in the moment you are more productive with your time.

Get Enough Sleep.
Include at least 8 hours of sleep into your nightly routine. Getting enough sleep in so important to maintain a heathy mind and body.
 Boosts your mood (Thomsen, et al., 2003).
 Better performance in school and athletics. Sleep improves memory and sharpens attention, skills useful for getting good grades. In addition, sleep can improve athletic performance because attention is important in order focus on technique for speed and for injury prevention (Dinges, et al., 1997).
 Influences appetite. Hormones that make you sleepy are also hunger inducing hormones (Spiegel, et al., 2004).
 Keeps immune system strong (Bryan, et al., 2004).

Get Organized
Many of us want it all - good grades, a job, time to go out, and time for the gym- and who can blame you? In order to fit in everything into your week it is a good idea to make a schedule. I find scheduling very useful because it allows me to optimize my time. Also, I can plan ahead and avoid over scheduling myself.

 

References

Bryant, P. A., Trinder, J., & Curtis, N. (2004, June). Sick and Tired: Does Sleep Have A Vital Role In The Immune System? Nature Reviews Immunology(4), 457-467. Retrieved from Nature Reviews Immunology:             http://www.nature.com/nri/journal/v4/n6/abs/nri1369.html

Dinges, D. F., Pack, F., Williams, K., Gillen, K. A., Powell, J. W., Ott, G. E., . . . Pack, A. I. (1997, April). Cumulative sleepiness, mood disturbance and psychomotor vigilance performance decrements during aweek of sleep restricted to 4-5 hours per night. Journal of Sleep Research & Sleep Medicine, 20(4), 267-277. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1997-06077-003

Spiegel, PhD, K., Tasali, MD, E., Penev, MD, P., & Cauter, PhD, E. V. (2004, December 7). Sleep Curtailment in Healthy Young Men Is Associated with Decreased Leptin Levels, Elevated Ghrelin Levels, and Increased Hunger and Appetite. Analysis of Internal Medicine, 141(11), 846. Retrieved from http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=717987

Thomsen, D. K., Mehlsen, M. Y., Christensen, S., & Zachariae, R. (2003). Rumination—relationship with negative mood and sleep quality (Vol. 34). Denmark: Elsevier B.V. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886902001204

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2015 ITU World Championships in Chicago

Team Canada 2015

 

 

The ITU world championship races have allowed me to race against the top age group athletes from around the world. Having last year’s international experience I had a better idea of what to expect. My overall goal was to stay calm and give it my all.

 

Pre-Race 

Race Hair

  

I made my way down to the race site with my gear and my cheer team: my mom, dad, Andrew, and Jorge (Jorge is my little brother for a year. Now that my older sister, Constanza, and I are in university and Carolina, my younger sister, is in Belgium on an exchange for a year my parents are hosting Jorge from Mexico!).

I set up my transition area, my mom did my race day hair, as always, and soon it was time to start my warm up. I put on my wetsuit (seal costume as my mom calls it), ate my peanut butter gel, and joined the rest of my competitors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swim-750m

 

The swim began as a mass start in the water. I knew the beginning was going to be hectic and expecting the chaos to die down. In reality it didn’t.  I found myself in the middle of the first group which was packed like sardines. Bodies were knocking into me and arms were pulling my legs back and flying into my face. My goggles got knocked half way off and water seeped in. All I wanted to do was get out of there but there was nowhere to go. I was surprised to find myself in one piece when I reached the blue carpet steps which lead me to a 400m run to transition.

 

 

Bike-20km

The bike was three loops. The first turn around came soon where I saw a girl crash. Help rushed to her and as I got closer and kept reminding myself that it is better to slow down and take turns with caution than to risk a crash. I felt very strong during the bike and as I entered transition 2 I was looking forward to continue this confidence throughout the run.

 

Run-5km

I felt very strong going in to the first of the two lap run and knew I was prepared for a good finish. Suddenly the midday heat hit me hard and I found myself looking for the water stations to quench my   thirst. I got a painful cramp that slowed me down a lot and eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and had to walk. I had never walked in a race before and I felt disappointed. At the water station I drank a cup and poured one on my head. I tried jogging a bit but soon after the pain grew. By the time I reached the fountain I couldn’t even jog and people were passing me left and right. Joyce, the team manager, encouraged me to keep going and emotions rushed through me. My eyes started to water and my throat closed. This was what i was training for all year and a bad cramp was trying to ruin it for me. I didn’t want to feel like this anymore. I had two options, stop or finish no mater my time. I quickly remembered my overall goal: To give everything I have. With this I stopped, re-grouped, and stretched my cramp. I decided to accomplish my goal and by finishing the race with a jog I did everything I could, enjoyed the atmosphere and felt proud to have raced for Canada in this race. To me, at this point in my triathlon career having fun is more important to me that my time and for this I crossed the finish line truly content with myself and with a smile on my face.

 

Pic6

 

Through this experience I gained the knowledge of knowing I can overcome obstacles and practiced my positive thinking. I know that this is a learning experience that will have a positive effect on my future in triathlon.

Pic9

Pic8

Post race tan lines   

Pic2

Opening ceremonies with Bridget Bethell and Angela Quick.

 

Pic10

Cheer Team:Jorge, Andrew, Momma Maass, Papa Maass

 

 

 

“Wins and losses come a dime a dozen. But effort? Nobody can judge that. Because effort is between you and you.” 

- Ray Lewis

                                                                                

 

 

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Guest — Abuelo Raúl
Querida hija de mi hija Yuriko, me ha emocinado mucho el haber leido la narracion de tus cortas pero exitantes experiencias que ha... Read More
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Guest — Rafael Minassian
Felicidades Cata, esta muy padre tu blog. Deberías agregar a tu post del balance de vida que ademas de ser estudiante, entrenar, c... Read More
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