09 Oct Wassner Takes on the Big Island using XRCEL
When it comes to sponsored athletes, we at XRCEL, look for someone who not only has success in the athletic arena, but who also has a genuine heart and passion for what they do in life. Laurel Wassner not only inspires others through her triathlon success, but also as a person who battled and beat cancer, encourages others to eat healthy, and puts her family and friends as her first priority. We caught up with our professional triathlete, as she prepares to race the Ironman World Championships this Saturday in Kona, Hawaii, to find out what motivates her and how XRCEL has played a role in her training and racing as she prepares to take on the world’s best!
XRCEL: Was qualifying for the Ironman World Championships in Kona a racing goal for 2015 and what makes this race so unique?
Laurel: After experimenting with the iron distance last season, and winning my first IM race, I decided to make 2015 about qualifying for Kona. The qualification system favors athletes who have already competed at Kona, so I knew qualifying was not going to be easy. I ended up crisscrossing the globe to collect the necessary points to be ranked in the qualifying top 35. My goal this year was always Kona because it’s the most competitive and challenging race in the sport.
XRCEL: Do you change your training specifically for Kona?
Laurel: Yes, my training has changed since this is the first year that I’ve focused on Ironman training. I primarily race Olympic distance, non-drafting races. This year I had to do more 5 hour bike rides and I even did my first 18 mile training run to prep for Kona.
XRCEL: On race day, will you focus on racing your pace or try to keep up with other competitors around you?
Laurel: Everyone in the race has different strengths and weaknesses so it is hard to race solely on what others are doing. It is important to know the competition and how they might race so that I can gauge off of that and keep things in check. It’s such a long and unpredictable event that even the best made race plans don’t work out.
XRCEL: What is your favorite training session when preparing for Kona?
Laurel: I do a 90-mile,hilly bike ride in the Catskills and follow it with a track session of 4×1 mile-repeats up at the SUNY New Paltz track.
XRCEL: How did your very popular blog, Athlete Food, which shares personal recipes of real food with other active triathletes, come to life?
Laurel: Bec, my twin sister, and I started Athlete Food, with our good friend, and food writer, Melissa, to share our experiences with fueling an active lifestyle. Our friends and family wanted to know what we ate before a workout, how we refueled, and how we fit in cooking with our busy schedules and that’s what triggered the blog. The short answer to those questions is REAL food, not just boiled chicken breasts and packaged energy bars! Take a look at our recipes and you’ll see that we indulge in sweets, we experiment with the latest superfoods, and we pack as many nutrients as we can into our healthy dinners.
Athlete Food is a collection of recipes for active people, created by athletes and designed for the inner athlete in all of us. We all wish we could eat whatever we want, whenever we want, but eating a breakfast burrito before a morning spin class or skipping lunch before a mom and me swim class, never make us feel our best. Believe me, we’ve been there. With over 10 years of competing behind us, we’ve had plenty of time to figure out what foods work and which leave us wondering, “Why did I eat that?”
We have a lot of exciting ventures coming up including an Athlete Food cookbook that is in the works, training and eating retreats at some of our favorite training destinations, cooking classes, and, next year, we plan to have a pop-up kitchen in Kona to feed hungry athletes.
XRCEL: What is your pre-race breakfast and how will you manage your nutrition throughout the race?
Laurel: My breakfast usually consists of a bagel with peanut butter, a banana and a coffee.
During the race, I will have to make sure to eat and drink enough calories and to do that, I will make sure to drink XRCEL.
XRCEL: How will you utilize XRCEL throughout the long and tough race day in Kona?
Laurel: I will take XRCEL before the swim, and as a fuel source on the bike and run. I have found that XRCEL makes me stronger and stronger as the day goes on. The best part of using XRCEL is that it gives me the physical energy and mental focus to keep pushing when things get hard.
XRCEL: You and Rebeccah have recently joined our XRCEL team as a sponsored athlete. Tell us the benefits of using XRCEL as you have trained and raced throughout the year.
Laurel: XRCEL differs because I don’t get an energy crash and feel that I have more sustained energy which is key in racing a triathlon, but especially an Ironman.I feel more alert and focused when I have that energy so I’m able to hit my target paces.
XRCEL: Getting to Kona is no easy task and requires serious dedication, focus and determination. What drives you to train for Kona and compete against the world’s best triathletes?
Laurel: I am motivated to race and train for Kona because I like to compete against the best in the world. It is my job and I want to be at the top level of the sport. I also am motivated to give back to all of the people who support me, my family, sponsors and fans who encourage me daily. It’s as much for them as for me!
XRCEL: Who inspires you the most and why?
Laurel: I’m inspired by successful people who are real and genuine, work hard, and are nice along the way. My sisters!
XRCEL: You are an inspiration to others. What kind of advice would you give to a fellow triathlete competing in an Ironman?
Laurel: Make it fun and smile!
XRCEL: What is your favorite quote to think about when training and racing?
Laurel: Never give up, never ever give up. -Jim Valvano
XRCEL: What are your plans after you race Kona?
Laurel: I will take a break from training and do more photography work on our Athlete Food project. Also, I will be doing some reality t.v. and working on sponsorship and a race schedule for next year.
We appreciate Laurel taking the time to talk with us as she prepares to race the best triathletes on the sport’s biggest stage. Make sure to stay updated on Laurel’s Kona race day by following XRCEL on Twitter this Saturday. Think you know everything about Laurel? Check out these 5 fun facts about XRCEL’s Kona competitor!
Fun facts about Laurel:
1. Favorite food- pickles
2. Favorite thing to do to relax before a race – listen to music
3. Favorite book/ Movie – Urban Cowboy
4. Favorite hobbies outside of triathlon – photography , cooking, dog walking!
5. If I wasn’t a pro triathlete, I would work as a…magazine Photo editor or photographer.