Coming off of her first Kona appearance in 2018, Canadian Pro Rachel McBride was preparing for the road to Kona 2019. This strategy included ticking some bucket list races off the list as well as a thorough plan for as many Ironman races as possible to get back to the Big Island. As luck or fate would have it, a few crashes caused some change in plans and Rachel is now rallying for an early season 2020 qualification instead. While the highs of sport and the podium performances are highly rewarded and decorated experiences, sometimes we learn the most from coming out the other side of the dark days. We recently caught up with Rachel to learn about how she is managing this set back on the road back to the podium!

 We heard that a couple of crashes took you out early in the season. While you’ve been known to have broken bones over your career, we haven’t heard of you being the one crashing out. Was this a new experience for you? 

Wow, yeah this was so new for me. I’ve had some success in bike racing on the road, gravel and cyclocross that require pretty solid bike handling skills. I’m usually pretty good at staying upright on my bike! Healing flesh wounds is very different than healing bones as well - I’m an expert at bone healing. The process of swelling and infection in surface wounds can be pretty traumatic if you don’t know what to expect. I was thankful to have my health care professional parents on speed dial to help me through the daily healing. I also learned just how quickly the body can heal itself and literally watch it happen. It’s pretty incredible! 

As you’ve matured in sport, do you find you handle these physical setbacks differently now than you did when you were younger?

Gosh I guess being in the sport for almost 14 years, you can say “when I was younger”! Ha ha. It really never gets easier! I have learned how to handle the disappointment and rollercoaster of healing an injury a bit better, but it always really sucks to go through physical setbacks like these. Although I do have other interests and activities I spend my time on regularly, really the only way I want to spend my days is swim-bike-run. I get pretty down in the dumps when I’m not able to train like I want to. 

What tools/ tips/ techniques can you share with us during the times when you can’t do it all. (Spoiler: we’ve all been there be it fatigue, broken bones or otherwise. Not being able to train like we love to really sucks.)

  • I do what I CAN every day. And try not to focus on the “can’t.”
  • I practice mindful meditation.
  • I distract myself. (Coffee anyone?!)
  • I make daily goals/plans accordingly based on how my body is responding.
  • It won’t be forever. I remember that this too shall pass, just like it has before!

We will miss you in Kona this year, yet understand that you will be back home with your nose to the grindstone. What advice do you have for athletes and spectators headed to the big island? 

  • Hydrate! It’s a no-brainer performance and recovery enhancer. Drink nuun. Every. Day.
  • Eat all the poke! I’m a hard core poke fan. Fav places: Umeke’s and Da Poke Shack
  • If you arrive the weekend before, do the Ho’ala Training Swim! It’s an awesome preview of the race course and the crazy mass swim start. Last year’s training swim gave me big confidence going into race day.
  • Athletes: don’t get caught up in all the parties or pay for it on race day. Spectators: get caught up in all the parties and events! I’ve especially heard those Nuun folks are a rad bunch to let loose with.

We at Nuun can neither confirm nor deny that we are a rad bunch to let loose with, but if you’re going to be at Kona this year stop by and see for yourself. Aloha!

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