After a couple of fourth place finishes at 70.3 Florida and Kansas this year, Amy Marsh finally climbed to the very top of the podium at the Buffalo Springs 70.3 event in Lubbock, TX last weekend.
Slowtwitch: Congrats on your win in Lubbock. Has it sunk in already?
Amy: Thank you Herbert! No, it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet. It was my first 70.3 win (or any big win for that matter) and I still can’t believe it. Very excited!
ST: Was it especially nice to win "at home" in Texas?
Amy: It was really nice to win in my ‘adopted’ state as I’m originally from Rochester, NY. I've won some more 'local' races, but to have my first 'big' win happen in Texas was even better.
ST: How long have you been living in Texas and how do you like Austin?
Amy: I moved to Austin in August of 2001 after I graduated from the University of Minnesota. My parents retired to Sun City Texas while I was away at school, and my brother was in Grad school at UT. So, I moved to be closer to my family and to finally live in a warmer climate! After growing up in Rochester, NY and then going to college in Minnesota, I don't need to see snow ever again!
I really like Austin. There so much to do here and the winters are mild, which I love. And the Tex-Mex here is to die for!
ST: You also had solid days at the 70.3 races in Kansas and Florida. Which of those races did you like better and why?
Amy: I really enjoyed both races but if I had to pick I would say Kansas 70.3. I loved the course as the bike was hilly (who would have thought Kansas was hilly) and the run was very spectator friendly running through the campgrounds. The post-race BBQ was great and everyone stayed around afterwards to chat. I liked how the race had a Wizard of Oz theme…the finish line was yellow and the awards were yellow bricks. Clever.
ST: A yellow brick as an award sound unique indeed. Where is that award sitting as we speak?
Amy: The yellow brick is sitting on our bookshelf in the computer room right now. Most of the time we put our awards in a box in the closet but I thought this one deserved to be showcased.
ST: Word has it that you had a chat with Chrissie Wellington after the Kansas race. What did she say to you?
Amy: I did. And she is as nice as everyone says she is and it was great to finally meet her. We congratulated each other on our races. I think our conversation went something like this:
AM: Congratulations Chrissie. Great race!
CW: Thank you. How did you end up?
AM: I was 4th as Jo ran me down the last couple of miles. It was good though.
CW: That's great. You're in the money. And...you biked with me. I kept looking back and you were still there those last 15 miles. You were legal and not up my bum (it's better if you insert a British accent here).
ST: Looking back at all your races and race results, what event or result is most memorable?
Amy: I would definitely have to say my recent win at Buffalo Springs. This was my first 70.3 win (and biggest pay) and to do it in my ‘adopted’ home state is even more special. Another highlight is my Kansas 70.3 race where I came off the bike with Chrissie. Yes, she had a flat but no one knew that when we started the run so everyone thought that I stayed with her on the bike. I think my first mile of the run was 5:00 pace because I was running on pure adrenaline. Overall, I’ve been pleased with my results this year and the consistency. Going back a couple of years, I was 7th at ITU Long Course Worlds in Lorient, France. That was a really good race as well...but unfortunately, I started my battle with plantar fascitis after that and dealt with it up until about February of this year.
ST: Do you and your husband (Brandon Marsh) usually try to race the same races?
Amy: Yes, we try to do most of the same races together. We enjoy each others company and it’s nice to have someone to travel with and ask all my pre-race nervousness questions!
ST: What about training together?
Amy: We swim together at Longhorn Masters during the week and bike together on the weekends. Other than that we train mostly on our own. We have different work schedules during the week so it's hard to train together. Brandon is my favorite training partner though. I draft off him in the swim, draft off of him in the bike and don't even try to run with him, which maybe I should try as it has helped my other two disciplines! And he tries to drop me every time...so it seems to be working well for him too! We also ride on weekends with some of the other triathletes in town.
ST: Tell us what else you have on your calendar for this year.
Amy: Buffalo Springs ended the first half of the season. I will take a couple of easier weeks and then maybe do a local race or one more 70.3 but the focus will be on Ironman Wisconsin. This will be my first Ironman as a ‘pro’. I raced Kona in 05’ as an age-grouper which wasn’t a complete disaster but almost! The funny thing about Kona is that Brandon went in 2002, and I beat his time...so I have bragging rights for Kona in the house. We want to go back for a head to head showdown!
ST: Has Brandon already qualified for Kona?
Amy: Actually neither one of us has qualified for Kona. It's one of our goals for the 2010 though!
ST: Who or what inspired you to race triathlons?
Amy: After my swimming career at the University of Minnesota, I never wanted to see a pool again and just needed a break. I would workout at the gym a few days a week, eat too many pretzels and chocolate but didn't do anything competitive for about a year or so. I felt out of shape (pretzels and chocolate) and started to miss competition. When I moved to Austin, I started coaching an age-group swim team. A lot of the coaches I met were swimming at Longhorn Masters and I decided to start swimming again. Brandon is probably the one who got me started in triathlons. He told me and a friend of mine that we should try Danskin and I thought he was kidding. I didn't own a bike and didn't like to run. Well...a year later I decided to give Danskin a try...after a couple of very painful 5k and 10k "fun runs".
ST: When Brandon suggested you should be doing the Danskin event, where you guys already together or was that his ploy to get to you?
Amy: That was Danskin 02' and we were not together then. We actually would just see each other at the pool but other than that we didn't talk much. In 04' I asked Brandon if he would coach me for the Panana City Beach Half Ironman. Well, he did and I ended up doing well at the race. When I got back to Austin, I called Brandon and asked him if I could take him out to eat as a 'thank you' for coaching me. Now, in the back of my mind I was thinking it was a date but I didn't want to tell him it was a date so I covered myself and said 'thank you' dinner. However, Brandon told all his work buddies that is was NOT a date and just a 'thank you' dinner. Anyway, a couple of weeks later, we went out on our first 'real' date and as they say..the rest is history!
ST: That is a great story. Now talk to us about how are things going for you in terms of sponsorship?
Amy: I have a couple of product sponsorships from TYR, Xterra, and Pure Sport Recovery Drink. We have a great relationship with our local bike shop, Austin Tri-Cyclist, and they have been a big help with all my bike related equipment. ATC helped me get on a Cervelo P3. I really don’t know much about bikes. All I do is get on and ride but I do know that it is one of the best bikes I have ever been on….and no I don’t get anything (yet) for saying that! So, if there's anyone out there, I guess I'm taking applications for sponsors!
ST: How do you typically spend the off-season?
Amy: I usually take two weeks completely off of any structured training or any training at all. I like to spend time with our families, sleep in, and work on some home improvement projects. I don't really take much of an 'off season' though, just a little bit of reduced intensity and unstructured training. Brandon and I haven't really taken a vacation since we got married (3.5 years ago), so we might try to get out of town or maybe the country for a bit this winter.
ST: Do you follow any other sports?
Amy: Well, if you don’t follow the Longhorns football, baseball, and basketball here in Austin people look at you funny for not knowing anything. So, I try to know at least what’s going on around Austin. I’ll occasionally watch a golf tournament but that’s about it.
ST: Can you share with us some of your food likes and dislikes?
Amy: I love venison sausage and chocolate but not chocolate sausage. Dislikes would have to be beets. I'm not a huge fan of 'ethnic' food, which can be interesting b/c Brandon really likes to try different 'ethnic' restaurants!
ST: What music do you like?
Amy: I basically like all types of music. Not much of a country fan though, which is funny because that’s all Brandon listens to. It makes for some interesting car rides!
ST: What was the last book you read?
Amy: All the way through? I tend to start books and then get halfway through them and then start another one. Mostly I thumb through magazines and do crossword puzzles.
ST: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Amy: Wow…that seems like long ways away. I will probably race for a couple more years as I would like to give Kona another 'go' or two, although I will need to qualify. Then settle down and maybe pop out a kid or two. No matter what I will still be active in some way. I may take up golf when I retire from triathlons just so I can have another expensive hobby, and let Brandon be Mr. Mom.
ST: Is there anything else we should know about you?
Amy: I think that’s about it. For more exciting info you can check out my blog at www.amymarsh.blogspot.com. Also, we’re working on getting our www.team-marsh.com website up and running soon.