Reigning Ironman world champion Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae will be heading to the U.S. Virgin Islands this weekend to race Ironman 70.3 St. Croix. She won the race in 2006 and keeps coming back for the grass-roots atmosphere and the Kona-like conditions. She’ll be racing against the likes of Catriona Morrison (the 2009 and 2010 St. Croix winner) and Angela Naeth, one of the fastest cyclists at the distance. Check back to Triathlete.com Sunday to read a full race report and hear from the pros.
What’d you do for your big 30 celebration this year?
We were originally planning on organizing a big party in Australia but I ended up having to be back in the U.S. for a sponsor commitment in mid-March. So instead [boyfriend] Timothy [O’Donnell] booked us into a resort in Tucson for the night. It was just what I needed—24 hours of relaxation, wining and dining. Perfect.
After your win at 70.3 California, you’ve been training out in the desert with your coach Siri Lindley. How’s it been going?
The training has been going really well. After a very busy off-season, I definitely needed some time away from it all where I can focus on getting myself back on track for the season. This was the perfect environment, although it’s not my favorite place in the world—I think I was bored out of my mind by day two—it definitely has me feeling like I am right where I need to be at this stage of the year.
What is it about St. Croix that keeps you coming back to race?
St. Croix was really my first big win in the U.S. back in 2006, so I guess I have very fond memories of the race for that reason. I also love the laidback island atmosphere and the fact that the conditions in St. Croix are so very similar to Kona—it’s like my early season reminder of what’s in store for later in the year. Another reason I love this race is because of the wonderful people who live on the island, especially my homestay family, the Holts. They truly make me feel like a part of the family, which is so nice when my family is so far away back in Australia.
How do you deal with the heat? Any hydration tips?
The best way to deal with it is to train in it and give yourself time to acclimatize, although I realize this may not be practical for most people. The next best thing is to try to simulate the conditions at home: Turn up the heater, hop on the trainer or treadmill and sweat it out! Once you are on the island, it’s all about hydration, keep the fluids up—water and electrolytes—and try and stay out of the sun as much as possible pre-race.
How has your body dealt with recovering from racing a full Ironman and a half-Ironman this year?
The Ironman definitely knocked me around a little—I really hadn’t done the training to lay down that run at Ironman New Zealand. The main goal of that race was just to just finish and get that Kona slot secured, but once I started that run I couldn’t help myself, and I paid for it for a good few weeks afterward. But I now feel totally recovered and ready to tackle this race and then the rest of the season’s build-up to Kona.
What do you think will be the key to winning in St. Croix this weekend?
It’s never easy to win St. Croix and as per usual there is some good competition lining up! Not sure if there is a key; I am just planning on trying to put together my best effort across swim/bike/run, and if I do that, then I will be happy. Will it be enough for the win? We will have to wait and see!