The Austin-based pro got her start in triathlon more than 10 years ago as an ITU racer, but never completely took to the draft-legal format. While recovering from a bike crash in 2005, she decided to make the leap to non-drafting long-course racing. It was a smart move: In her Ironman debut (2010 in Coeur d’Alene) she finished third, and was runner-up at last year’s Ironman Texas. She’s racked up multiple half-iron titles, most recently winning Ironman 70.3 Texas and Ironman 70.3 San Juan. Known for her swim speed (she was a college swimmer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and as one of the sport’s best runners (she clocked a 1:14:42 to win the 3M Austin Half Marathon in January), Williamson, 33, has been hard at work bringing her cycling up to speed. She’ll be one to watch this fall in Vegas and Kona.
Workout song: Tie between “Glory & Consequence” by Ben Harper and “Sing for the Moment” by Eminem
Swim workout: The longer the distance the better. I liked this recent one: 1000 (get time), 200 pull cruise, 500 (get time), 200 pull cruise, 250 (get time), 200 pull cruise, 100 (fast), descending the swim segments.
Purchase in the past week: A lot of good food (and drink!) in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Vacation spot: Anywhere with mountains, snow and skiing
Candy: Peanut Butter M&M’s
Non-triathlete or sports team: Indianapolis Colts, but I may have to switch over to Denver Broncos (I’m originally from Indiana and have become a Peyton Manning fan); more so, I just love football!
Guilty pleasure: Lame TV shows like “The Bachelor” and “The Real Housewives” series—they’re drama-filled and my life is very low on drama, so it’s entertaining!
Race: Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3
Pre-race meal: Breakfast: bagel, peanut butter, jam, banana, coffee. Dinner: I’m pretty easy—pizza, pasta, salad, salmon, some or all. I just like a good hearty meal, but I like to eat early, like Early Bird Special (5 p.m.-ish).
Post-race meal: Pizza and beer but I have to wait a few hours to actually be able to eat.
Race experience: Ironman Texas 2011 was pretty amazing for me; it felt like a hometown race and it just all came together on the day. Finishing second with a 9:07 felt incredible at the time, as it was a huge PR.
Words of encouragement: In a race I tell myself, “Everyone is hurting, you know you can hurt more. Compared to all of the hours spent training, this is nothing.” I’ve got a ton of mantras I call upon depending on the situation!
Spot to train: Salida, Colo., in the summer
Gear: Zoot Ultra Kalani—it’s like a slipper and a high-performance, good-looking shoe wrapped into one!
Coffee: Ruta Maya espresso roast or anything strong
Cocktail: Any good microbrew. Lately I’ve been into Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA.
Junk food: I don’t really believe in “junk food”—all food is good in its own way.
Book: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Charity: National MS Society and Active MS’ers
Type of music: Singer-songwriter or classic stuff; Ray LaMontagne, Ben Harper, Brandi Carlile, Rolling Stones, Robert Earl Keen, Hayes Carll
Race fuel: Powerbar gels (green apple, raspberry, strawberry banana, berry)
Training partner: I love to train by myself (cycling and running), mostly because it allows me to do the paces/intensities that I know I need to do without feeling compelled to go too hard or too easy. But if I do have a regular training partner, it’s my husband, Derick, especially for running. He’s a great runner and therefore in any “hard” run workout I need to do, he is able to dial in those efforts with a bit more ease than I am, so it works out to be a great combination.