Professional triathlete, Cathleen Knutson has been on Oiselle Team since 2011. She is ready to fly at Wildflower Triathlon this weekend with her teammate Alyssa Godesky! Before they are off to the races, we got the latest from Cathleen on training and the upcoming season. Read on.
Take us back, when did you begin triathaloning? Triathlete racing?…what do you call it?!
I usually go with “racing triathlon” and I’ve been doing that since about 2006. I did my first “sprints” in 2005, bumped up to the Half Ironman distance in 2006, finished my first Ironman in 2008, but in 2009 is when I started taking it a little more seriously and began getting working with a coach.
How many tri’s have you competed in? Do you have a favorite course?
I’m not sure on that. I’ve done ten full Ironman races, a bunch of half Ironmans, and a handful of sprints. I love Ironman Coeur d’Alene; the is where I did my first full and also where I’ve had the most success.
Where do you train?
In Seattle throughout the winter and early spring, and during the week. A lot of my spring and summer weekends, however, are spent over near Lake Chelan, where it’s sunnier and warmer and there are more open roads.
Do you have a training posse or are you a lone wolf?
It’s a mix. I swim with a group about 3 times a week and then I’ll also do some swim workouts on my own. On the bike, I will sometimes ride with friends or my boyfriend, but I’ve logged a lot of solo miles this year. I do track workouts with my triathlon team every other week, but most of my other runs (long runs and tempo runs) are solo. With my training and work schedule, my long runs are usually at weird times, and it’s hard to find good running friends (friends who have the same workout or are willing to do the same workout) who are up for long runs at 5am before work or 5pm after work.
How many hours per day do you spend training? Do you take rest days?
How many hours per day do you spend training? Do you take rest days? That definitely depends. A lot of weekdays have 2 workouts that are probably around 2 to 2 and a half hours total. But the weekends are when I put in the longest hours. From now until the end of my season, I’m typically over 20 hours of training per week and I usually get a complete rest day once every two weeks.
Walk us through an average day in your peak training season.
An average weekday might be a 4500 yard swim in the morning with a 90 minute bike ride in the evening or weights training in the morning and a long run at night. An average weekend day will be something like 4-5 hours on the bike followed by an hour tempo run or a 90 minute long run. Here’s a little write up of what my week looks like: A Week in the Life.
If you could live and train anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Assuming no other job (other than racing), I’d say Hawaii in the winter, Bend, OR in the summer. Seattle is also a good training base!
Does your bike have a name?
When you’re not running, biking, swimming, weight training (or sleeping)…where would we find you? Probably eating. If not that, working, organizing gear and clothes for the next workout, hanging out with my friends, exploring Seattle – music, sporting events, coffee, restaurants, breweries, cooking classes, yoga.
Best movie you’ve seen this year?
“Inside Llewyn Davis”
Do you have a favorite blogger/person you follow on Twitter?
Do you have a favorite blogger/person you follow on Twitter? Lauren Fleshman and Kara Goucher’s blogs are super touching and inspiring. I also like cooking blogs like Orangette and Smitten Kitchen.
Who inspires you to race your best?
My coach, triathlon teammates, Oiselle, friends, and my family.
The question we all want to know…which leg is your favorite: running, biking, or swimming?
Running! That’s one thing I don’t like about triathlon – although my run times (from the 5k to the marathon) have all gotten a lot faster since 2009, I can’t focus my full potential on running right now. Now that I’m racing as a pro, running races have taken a backseat to triathlons. I’ll be back to running someday.
What is your race day mantra?
Don’t give up and don’t let up.
Most embarrassing race day moment?
I puked all over the finish line at my last half marathon. In addition to that, if you looked at old pictures from when I was new to the sport, it’d all be pretty embarrassing.
Most awesome race day moment?
When I defended my age group title at Ironman Coeur d’Alene in 2011.
In your season where does Wildflower fall? Is this peak A-game?
This is my season opener, so it’s definitely not my “A” race. As my first pro race, it’ll be a chance to see how different things will be compared to my years as an age grouper.
What races are coming up next?
Ironman Coeur d’Alene in June. Challenge Penticton (Ironman distance) in August. The rest of the year will be determined after I figure out how much I like the pro ranks.
Early bird or night owl? Early Bird
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Call or text? Text, unless it's my parents. Then I definitely need to call.
Fiction or non-fiction? Tough one - probably fiction.
Open spaces or concrete jungle? Open spaces
Boots or flip flops? Flippy floppies
Smile or gameface? Smile