If anybody needs a weekend in Vegas, it’s Heidi Hubler.
She’s a teacher, the mother of a kindergartner, a personal trainer and an indoor cycling instructor.
“I don’t get a lot of sleep,” Hubler said with a chuckle. “There’s a lot to do.”
So today, she’s in Las Vegas, but she won’t be taking it easy.
This morning, she will be competing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Henderson, Nev., just 13 miles from the Vegas Strip.
The Ironman 70.3 is the half-Ironman triathlon race. Participants swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and finish with a 13.1-mile run. The event’s name comes from the total mileage, 70.3 miles.
This is the first time Hubler, 36, is competing in the world championships and she got there not just because she’s fast, but because she’s been able to deftly handle a chaotic schedule.
The Bonney Lake resident wakes up each morning at 4 to train and then works with a client at 6 a.m. She’s at work teaching first and second grades at Lake Tapps Elementary by 8 a.m. After school she takes another client before leading an indoor cycling class at 5:15 p.m. at the Tahoma Athletic Club. In between she squeezes in time to eat and spend time with her daughter. Her daughter goes along with her as often as possible.
Hubler started running triathlons in 1999 when she was working on her master’s degree at Western Washington University. She and her study partners were spending more time cramming for tests than exercising. Hubler decided running and a trying triathlon would be inspiration to be more active.
That year she entered the Danskin Triathlon in Seattle and was surprised at how well she performed.
“It was not very difficult for me,” Hubler said. “My instincts told me I could do well at this.”
Her instincts were right. Hubler has been finding success as a triathlete for more than a decade now.
She has run everything from sprint distances (0.47-mile swim, 12.4-mile bike and 3.1-mile run) to Ironman races (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run).
“I like to challenge myself,” Hubler said.
Hubler qualified for these championships by finishing third in her age group at the Lake Stevens Ironman 70.3 in July – completing the course in 5 hours, 5 minutes, 47 seconds. She was eighth when she came out of the lake, but a strong performance on the bike and in the run pushed her into third and earned her the final trip to championships.
Hubler has always considered the run her strongest stage and not by accident. She has trained herself so that she would be strong at the end when almost everybody on the course is suffering.
“The running part is where I get them,” Hubler said. “I see a lot of people fall apart during the run.”
She says the key to her strong running performances are mental games that she plays with herself. “So much of it is mental,” Hubler said.
Hubler, who has more than a dozen running and triathlon age-group wins since 2009, won’t feel any pressure to win today. A
side from staying in shape and motivating others to do the same, what she hopes to reap from her competitions is much more humble.
Her competitions have taken her to places such as Florida, British Columbia, Utah and California.
“What I really like,” Hubler said, “is traveling and getting to see as many places I can. It’s a lot of fun.”
The World Age Group Triathlon Championships are this weekend in China and once again Doug and Alycia Hill of Tacoma will be there. Last year Doug, 56, and Alycia, 22, both finished in the fop four at worlds in Budapest. Doug won bronze and Alycia finished fourth.
The races will be at the Ming Tombs, site of the 2008 Olympic triathlon. Doug recently finished fourth at the U.S. National Championships in Vermont and qualified for the 2012 world championships in New Zealand.
Go to blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure for results on Hubler and the Hill’s races.
Craig Hill’s fitness column runs Sundays. Submit questions and comments via craig.hill@ thenewstribune.com, facebook.com/adventureguys or twitter.com/adventureguys. Get more fitness coverage at blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure or thenewstribune.com/fitness.