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2018

Michelle:Trying times are best faced with a smile

11.7.2018: "Trying times are best faced with a smile."

This was something one of my athlete friends told me shortly after I discovered that I’d be out of action with another stress fracture some two months ago. And it has been ringing in my ears ever since. During this latest and current injury I realised what an important role the mind plays in your injury recovery. With more stress fractures than you can count on one hand, I’ve had quite some opportunities to try and test the DO’s and DONT’s of injury recovery and while I am no doctor or otherwise medically qualified to give you advice, I thought I’d write down some tips on how to mentally deal with an injury... This list will in no way be exhaustive nor am I saying that I’m an expert on the subject; often I need to consciously remind myself of all the things I’m about to write down.

 Just keep swimming

Before getting into it, i just want to state one fact: an injury always sucks. No matter how you turn it or how many keep-smiling-insta-filters you add, at the core every injury sucks and is heartbreaking. But fact is also that an injury cannot just be „returned to sender“ and the best strategy is to accept it and put your best foot forward (okay sorry, that’s probably a bad metaphor when it comes to injuries). Because while a positive mindset cannot make your injury go away, it can at least make the comeback process more bearable. Anyways, let’s get into it...

 

  • Hand over the reigns: Have a coach or someone else you trust to make the decisions on when you are ready to take another step in your recovery. As an athlete you’ll never be unbiased enough to assess rationably when you are ready to start back swimming, riding or running. So be honest about any pain, niggle or soreness so that your coach can make the best decision and then follow the instructions given.


    Coach's orders at Ironman Zurich 2017
  • Don’t rush yourself: If you need it, have a rough outline of when you want to be back racing or in full training but don’t be too rigid about it. Every injury is different and so the duration of every comeback process will vary. I had several pretty similar stress injuries and whereas sometimes I would be back running quite quickly, it once took over 6 months before I ran a step on terra firma again. A strict timeline and a date when you „will be back“ only stress you out and does not make your injury heal quicker, so give yourself the time needed to fully heal.
  • Set a time frame: When getting the news of an injury, you’ll probably not be able to bounce back immediately. And that’s okay, it’s okay to feel angry, sad, numb, hurt, treated unfairly and so on. But what I realised, is that the longer you let yourself feel this way, the harder it gets to turn it around and focus on moving forward. So set yourself a time frame to feel sad etc. and use that time to cry, be angry, hit a couple of things or whatever you’d like to do to vent your frustration. Then when your time is up, consciously tell yourself that from now on you will try your best to be positive and move forward.
  • Establish a support system: It’s very important to have some people who can lift you up when you feel dispirited. To have people who are sympathetic but are also not afraid to talk sense into you when you become unreasonably negative or despondent.
  • Find coping strategies: Inevitably, you will feel down at times and the above mentioned people might not always be at your disposal, so finding other ways to get yourself out of your slump is important. One of my sisters bakes in these times, my other sister reads inspiring stories of great athletes and what they do overcome to get there. I often google motivation quotes or read through old ones. Yes, I can hear you chuckle and I was teased about this already but you’ll be surprised how even some very chliché quotes can ring true. Listening to music always helps as well. Some of my favourite songs are:
    • Superheroes – The Script
    • Flames – David Guetta, Sia
    • Whatever It Takes – Imagine Dragons
    • Try Again – Campsite Dreams
      (Disclaimer, I am not exactly renowed for my great taste in music, but to me all of these songs have a message..)

The three of us, we also all like to go to a café shop to brighten the mood (Well actually we always like to go and have coffee, whether we are feeling down or not ;) )

Favorite coffee place aka Babus Bakery

  • Don’t feel sorry for yourself: Yes, you might be injured and other people are not but feeling sorry for yourself, doesnt speed up your healing process. And if you think rationably, you got injured by doing something you (hopefully) love and it will probably affect your life less than you think. Coach often says: your family still loves you, you still got food on the table and your injury is not life-altering.


    Alternative training with my gym-buddy Céline
  • Focus on yourself: Most likely you’ll have an idea of what your training partners or other people train while you are on the comeback trail and you will probably not like it or even feel like you are falling behind. In these situations, try to accept that they might train more than you at the moment and then devote all your energy to getting healthy as quick as possible. Getting too hung up on what they can and you cannot do, is definitely a waste of time and energy..


    Me-time on a long hike in the Swiss Alps

Okay, I reckon by now I have rambled on long enough and will conclude this post. On that note, I hope you all are not injured and only reading this blog out of curiosity. If you are injured, hang in there, it wont be like this forever!

 

Happy training and think positive,

Michelle



Julie: Mid Year Update

15.6.18: Finally it was time again to head up the mountains to start our summer camp in St. Moritz. I’ve been up here a few days now and thought I would take the time to give a little update about what’s been going on. I’ll try to keep it short :)

St. Moritz

After my early season racing in March it was back to uni and consistent training for my biggest race yet: World Triathlon Series Yokohama (Japan). We spent a week in Japan prior to the race testing a trainings center that could be a possible pre-olympic games camp location. However, we found it was not the ideal location. Also regarding the race in Yokohama.

I was excited to race at the highest level for the first time in my career. So I was beyond disappointed when I did not race to my expectation and abilities. A 35th rank might look okay on paper but the performance was far from satisfying. I went back to training with a fire in my belly to work and do better next time. However I told Brett to only allow me to race a WTS again when I am more ready, so it might be a while before I line up with the worlds best again.

Yokohama

After returing from Japan I had three weeks of uni left and one exam to write, therefore it was back to real life pretty quickly.

Three weeks ago I got the news that I would be part of the Swiss team lining up at the first round of the World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series race in Nottingham on the 8. Of June. I was super excited and very much looking forward to the race.

First up however, was the Swiss National League race in Sion. My first race in Switzerland for a while so it was really nice to see so many familiar faces and hear a lot of cheers along the course. Taking the win was great too. I’d used that race five days out of Nottingham to get a hard hit out and I felt ready to go in the Relays.

 National League Sion

Nottingham was a great experience. I hadn’t done a Mixed Relay race in nearly two years so I’d almost forgotten how fast and furious those races are. 

Our line up consisted of me, Sylvain Fridelance, Nicola Spirig (the Champ), and Simon Westermann (as a substitute for Adrien Briffod, who crashed at the National League race).

Relay Nottingham

I was pretty nervous to be heading out for our team and it was a tough race, with lots of battling on the swim, nervous riding on the bike and putting out elbows on the run but I fought hard and handed over to Sylvain in the mix of the teams chasing the leading two. He managed to keep the position and with a stellar run by Nicola and a great swim by Simon we were with the four teams fighting it out for 3rd. We ended up in 6th position and were all really pleased by this team effort. This set us up for a good start into the Olympic Qualification Period where the first 7 teams of the Mixed Team Relay Series will qualify for the team event in the Olympic games and save two spots for men and women in the individual race. So I’d say Switzerland is on course!

Team Nottingham

 

Now I’m really excited to be back at my second home and get stuck into training and studying (exams are coming up in August!). 

 

Happy summer to all!

 

(Pictures: Robbie Haywood, ITU Media, Swiss Triathlon)


Julie: Season start

1.4.2018: In February Brett told me to do some early season racing. So I looked up races and when I asked him if I should race the European Cup in Gran Canaria on 18th of March or the one in Quarteira the week after, he answered easily: ‘’do both’’. Well, I was taken aback a little to say the least and I wasn’t sure how I’d go.

Obviously I did go well and the Doc was right again. Read on to see how the races unfolded.

 

Two weeks ago I travelled to the Canary Islands to race my first triathlon of the year. Having been to two training camps on the island, it felt very familiar arriving there and I felt comfortable.

 

I’d gained some confidence in my swimming over the past couple of months of training with some great swimmers and knew I could produce a good swim. However when I saw the waves on race day I wasn’t so sure anymore. It was going to be a tough swim. I’m happy that I  exited the water with the first group. A quick transition saw me at the front of the group and onto the four lap bike course we went. There was a nice hill on each lap and coupled with the wind it would make for a demanding bike ride. I stayed to the front but tried not to do too much work so I wouldn’t blow my run legs. We worked together nicely and soon our front pack of 8 had established a decent gap.

I was second onto the run and expected the quicker runners to fly past me. But as they moved up I was able to stick with them and felt surprisingly comfortable. I tucked in behind the others in the headwind and let my legs roll when we had a tailwind. After 2.5km it was three of us running for the podium. I still felt good but when one of the british girls started kicking about 800m before the finish I couldn’t get my legs to move quicker and dropped of.

 

Nevertheless, I am delighted to have won my first medal and to be at the front from the start of the race was great! It was so much fun to be back racing and to be able to keep up for most of the run is a promising sign.

 

On Monday I flew back home and the next Friday it was already onto the next race: the Quarteira olympic distance european cup.

 

Coming into the Quarteira race one week later, I'd set myself large goals. After the race in Gran Canaria I knew what I was capable of and I was keen to back up my performance.
I knew I had to have a good swim to be right in the mix. And I was so focused on producing that front pack swim that I did anything but. 
After a decent start iIwas soon hit by the first wave and was caught in the washing machine that was the ocean. I lost all focus and got distracted by all the things around me. I lost my swim and was not able to recover on the remaining swim distance. I exited the water a fair way back, rushed through transition and onto the bike.

I saw a big group up the road, so I put my head down and started to chase. After one lap of six I had caught up to the main group and there were only three girls up the road. Despite being a large group we caught the leaders after half of the bike ride. Once we did the pace dropped and no one was willing to ride at the front. It could have been a fun bunch ride were it not for the fact that a 10k foot race was looming.

Coming into transition I made the big mistake of not getting to the front of the group. I was caught in the middle of the transition chaos, nearly stumbling over my own bike and then taking what felt like an eternity to put on my shoes. I was probably last out of transition and was on the chase again.

Ahead of me I could see a string of runners with the leaders up the road. I think I didn’t think anything for the rest of the race. I just ran. I ran as quick as I could and would not slow down one bit. I was able to move through the field and was soon running with the chase group. Two girls were up the road. But I still would not stop and with 2.5k to go I joined the leaders. I was back in the mix. We were running together and I knew it would come down to a sprint finish. The question was just who would kick first. The finish came closer and still we were together. We could already see the finish line and I just thought if I want to win I have to go NOW. So I went. I was scared that they would pass me on the last meters but they didn’t. And I won. It was pretty overwhelming and as it was not easy I am really proud that I never gave in and just kept fighting until the finish.

 

I am happy to start the season with some of my best results and performances. However I know that there is still a lot of work to do. This is why Michelle and I have come back to Gran Canaria over our Easter Uni break to get some more  focused training in.

There are bigger things to come.

 

But for now happy Easter and happy training.

 

(Pictures: Viviane Sloniewicz and Antonio Alfageme)


Australia and Nina

The first time I flew to Australia was back in 2009. I was only 16 and was about to spend one year in Hervey Bay (Queensland) as an exchange student during High School. I was a typical teenage girl, who I thought I’d have to “re-invent” myself. So, I said to myself: maybe I am not going to do triathlon during my exchange year, maybe I should do something completely different, like volleyball (that would have turned out very bad…). However, my host mum knew that I was doing triathlon in Switzerland, so she already signed me up for the local tri club. Before I really knew, I was competing in my first Hervey Bay Club race only two weeks after I had arrived (barely speaking English at the time and on a bike that must have weighed 15kg). Soon I realized that I really enjoyed training for triathlon over in Australia and I was stoked to be able to represent Queensland at the National School Championships, even though I got completely smashed in the individual race.

When I was back home reality hit me hard when I saw my two younger sisters being very successful in their junior years. I wanted that for myself, so I started training very hard and a year later I got into the Junior National Team. Though it was not a smooth road from there on…

In early 2013 I travelled to Australia a second time. Before that I had been dealing with a back injury for over 9 months and I so desperately wanted to get back into shape and into racing. I decided to join a high performance triathlon squad in Brisbane. Unfortunately, I was still in a lot of pain and when the coach said to me: “we gotta break you before we make you” I knew this was not the right time or place for me to come back. This period of injury was probably the most difficult time of my life and I am very grateful for the people helping me get through it. Not being able to train properly, I travelled to New Zealand instead, which was amazingly beautiful. However, somewhere deep down I was still holding onto that triathlon dream of mine. So back home after about 2 years of this back injury I was able to start training again and decided to do my first 70.3 race in Rapperswil “just for fun”. ;)

Then in 2016 I had a two month break from university and decided to join my babysister Julie, who always wanted to go to Australia herself. Being partly self-coached at the time, I was ready to jump into a new adventure and started working with Susie Langley from Trisutto. Julie had just started training under the guidance of Brett (Sutton) at the time. This change of coaching was still the best decision I have made. Julie and I stayed at the Sunshine Coast with Susie and Robbie, training hard. Due to another “gut-based” decision I entered the “Hell Of The West” middle distance race in a place called Goondawindi. Surprising myself I was the fastest girl on the day. Basically because of this race I, together with my coach, thought I could start my journey as a PRO triathlete.

A ton of swim, bike and run later, and just about 6 weeks ago I flew to Australia for a fourth time and…then I came home with my first 70.3 victory. When I was injured for so long nearly 5 years ago, I never ever thought this would be possible. Now I am even happier I did not give up and that I found a way to believe in myself again.

Going full circle, here is a little article the local newspaper in Hervey Bay wrote about my race at the 70.3 Ironman Geelong. *Little misunderstanding/sidenote: My big dream is a podium at the World Championships in Hawaii, however at 25 I will give myself a couple more years to work towards this goal. ;)

https://www.frasercoastchronicle.com.au/news/swiss-superwoman-and-former-bay-rep-dorren-wins-ir/3342001/

Thank you all for following the triathlon journey of the Derron Sisters!

 

 


February: Gran Canaria Camp

2.3.2018: Already one week ago Julie and I flew home from a great 3 week camp in Gran Canaria, and so I thought it is time to write a little bit about Camp Life.

After the first short 10day Camp in January and a couple of weeks at home it was time to board the plane again at the end of January to find some warmer weather. In the beginning we were a bit displeased by the weather that welcomed us as it was around 15 degrees celcius and cloudy with some rain. I know that sounds rather ironic as at the moment we are experiencing a freezing -10 degrees celcius in Zurich.

Gran Canaria

Being my 6th time (7th if you count a family holiday at the age of 17) on the island, we were settled with pool passes and groceries in no time and were ready to get training.

The first week was rather quiet with only 4 of us there just working along. 

But then Coach arrived and the next day Camp really started with a bang. It was time for the famous or rather infamous 100x100 Birthday swim to celebrate both Nicola’s (Spirig) and Céline’s (Schärer) birthday. A quick hello and off we went, after 10x100 easing in, we were down to 1‘20s and blasting away. Still a bit proud of how we did it and really glad for Florin (Salvisberg) stepping it up to lead 60 of them. It’s a great session to look back on and give us a pat on the back. We’re not getting complacent though, the goal is to lead them ourselves, but I can still remember a time when I didn’t even make 40x100 on 1’40 (with all the gear), so I think we did come a fair bit already…



Another favourite session at Camp were the Saturday morning bricks on a 3klm bike loop and 1klm run loop. The number of laps and reps would differ every week and so would the groups zipping round. The last time we did the bricks Julie and I teamed up and were making each other suffer quite a bit. It was a great session and that day we must have made quite an impression as a whole as there were an additional 15 Age Group Campers tackling the bricks.

Most of our runs we would be doing in a park in Maspalomas. The park has all you need for a good workout: a 1.2klm gravel loop, a hill, a 300m loop and stairs. In the 3 weeks I was there I only did 3 runs outside the park and never got bored, that’s how great it is.

When it comes to the riding, there is nothing to complain about either. There is a loop for intervals, a steep hill for hillreps and a time trial valley right in town and when you get out for a longer ride, there’s a stunning coastal road and great climbs into the hinterland.





So what did our daily Camp routine look like? If you are familiar with the Trisutto ways you’ll know that every day is different and you don’t know the program several days in advance. So one day it would be big swim and a long ride, another might be two runs and a little splash, still another would be swim and double bike. However, a daily routine of Julie and I were several hours of uni work in between sessions and cooking dinner together, everything else would depend on the schedule on the day. Another thing that couldn’t be missed were the frequent coffee dates after hard swims and longer rides.

  

When returning home, I was hit hard by the cold, the price for a coffee and, most importantly, uni work. 5 days after arriving home I had to hand in a 10 page essay, so it was time to bury my head in the books and focus. A lot of work and the occasional meltdown later, I was done and quite pleased, as I’d finally managed to even do the table of contents all by myself, as normally I am rather hopeless when it comes to the most basic things of modern technology.

For now we are back into uni and training but already planning our next Camp when we get a uni break over Easter…

We will keep you posted, 

Michelle

 

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