Maggie Rusch

Professional Triathlete

Boulder: Things I've Learned So Far.

  • Packing up your entire house within 2 weeks notice to get it up for rent is far worse than anything triathlon-related. I would likely opt to race 3 back-to-back-back Ironmans before I go through that experience again.
  • 22-hours of solo driving across two days is not so bad when your company includes: Rich Roll, Tim Ferriss, The YogiTriathletes, Michael Gervais, Jess Lively, Sophia Amoruso, the TRS guys, Tawnee and many, many TED talk speakers... to sample a few.
  • Frequent gas and bathroom stops are recommended in Kansas with long stretches of nothingness along your route. Otherwise, if you're not careful, you might find yourself like me, squatting on an off-ramp off of I-70 next to your dog and a bunch of hypodermic needles. 
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  • Waking up at 3:45am is a great way to make progress through Kansas
  • It is also a good way to get yourself pulled over for making a little "too good" of progress through Kansas
  • Lots of "yes sirs" or "yes m'ams" and acting very nervous can potentially get you out of a speeding ticket. A cute dog in the front helps too ;) 

 

  • Kansas takes FOR. EV. ER. to drive through. Good riddance, Kansas... that is, unless I come back for Dirty Kanza 2018. Oh, okay, probably going to be back at some point.
  • The first few days or weeks at altitude can be humbling. It can also mean having to pause out of breath while halfway up a flight of stairs, despite the fact that you could hold 7-min miles at sea level just a few days before.
  • Your sea level FTP? Oh, just go ahead and drop it by 20-30 watts. 
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  • While you're at it, just forget looking at power for a month or two if you really want to protect your ego.
  • Awesome internet friends usually end up being awesome in-person friends as well. 
  • For best results, be sure to ask your internet-turned-real-friends for plenty of settling-in advice, whether it's which coffee shops to frequent or where to take your dog to the vet (thank you, Katie!!) 
  • Apparently dogs only need two days of antibiotics to clear up an infection after a bad dog bite. Either that or my vet is just a miracle worker for helping drain Lucy's wound from baseball-sized to smaller than golf-ball sized within 48-hours. My poor baby!

 

  • There are more triathletes during a 5:45am masters swim at a single pool in Boulder than all of Western North Carolina. 
  • If you're renting a room in Leanda Cave's house, be sure to check the oven before you pre-heat it. Otherwise you may run around opening windows as the fire alarm goes off, praying that some security system isn't waking up a former world champ two hours later on the East Coast because some blonde set it off trying to make roasted cauliflower.
  • No one seems to have jobs here—people riding mid-week during the day, noon masters swims packed to the gills... seriously how do people afford to live here? 
  • Hot tubs. They are amazing, whether before or after your swim. Great incentive to get to the pool for swims, no matter how long or short. Just don't try to think about what could be breeding in those warm waters...

 

  • It can get windy here with little notice. Like, seriously windy. I have learned to avoid doing any sort of pace-based runs at the Reservoir after noon, when the winds tend to pick up.
  • Apparently everyone owns a pair of neoprene shorts (a la Xterra Lava Shorts or "cheater" shorts). Sometimes I look around underwater and feel like I'm the only person not rocking them in the pool.
  • Speaking of the wind and pools, your toys will fly away. Learn how to tuck your paddles into the drain and keep a water bottle on top of your pull-buoy at all times, when not in use.
  • The neighborhood dispensary can be a good measuring guide as to how far you are away from home coming back from a long bike ride—especially when you can smell it before you see it. I'm usually about 1.5 miles from home when I get the first whiff.
  • On a more serious note, it took me about 3-weeks for the altitude to stop being noticeable during my workouts, though my power is definitely still on the low side and my run pace very much on the high side.
  • Even worse, and less talked about, is the dry air. I now am constantly drinking and constantly have to pee—and yet still feel dehydrated 24/7.
  • Oh, yeah, moisturizer is suddenly a hot commodity. That's a new thing for me. 
  • There are so many outdoor distractions tempting you away from triathlon. Though I definitely got in a good quad workout the last ski day I took—I forgot how tiring it can be to use different muscle groups!
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  • "Pros: they're just like us!" I've bumped into a few famous pros at the pool, at the grocery store, out at coffee shops, riding, etc. etc. And not just like faux pros like myself but honest-to-god-these-people-are-legit pros out in the real world. I'm actually very much liking the new small fish/big pond thing here—it's very motivating.
  • There's a weird bit of joy in not having a lot of stuff. After all, I moved out here with only a car-load of belongings, mostly work clothes and triathlon gear. Hooray for minimalism and simple living.
  • In general, folks are just more versed in endurance sports. Going on 4-5 times now I've spelled out my name to a cashier and they've been like: "so... Rusch...any relation to Rebecca?" And I'm like, "No, but I wish!"
  • At the end of the day, Colorado is amazing and I'm going to be a better athlete because of it but boy do I miss Asheville and all of my good NC friends and my cute little house sometimes. Just keeping it real. 
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