Mary Doherty, 62, Vancouver, IMC 2008 finisher and W60-64 age group winner, 2008 Ironman World Championship W60-64 age group 2nd place finisher
I met Carolyn 3 years ago through a mutual friend. At the time I was checking out coaches to help guide me along a journey, my first Ironman. Winging it just wasn't going to do it this time! The coaches I talked to seemed nice but it was hard to really know their coaching style. I knew I wanted someone more hands-on, so I was reluctant at first to hire a coach who lived in another city, even though I had liked Carolyn when I first met her when signing up for IMC.
We stayed in touch a bit via e-mail though I remained non-committal, and I gradually got to experience Carolyn's friendly, approachable style up close. By Christmas I had made no progress on getting a bike, so I mentioned this to her in an e-mail. She responded immediately, as she always did---there was an easy solution if I were willing to go to Victoria where she would help me find one on a weekend. She knew what was available, knew all the bike stores and personnel in them and could set it up to accomplish that end. So I agreed to the plan. By the end of the weekend I had done all we had set out to do and way more than I could ever have dreamed possible....and I was sold on Carolyn as my coach. Anyone can crank out a training schedule for you to follow, but few can do all that Carolyn did for me. This coach truly goes the extra mile! Your agenda is her agenda and she will do what is humanly possible to help you accomplish your goals. I knew she had what it would take to get me to the starting line of IMC, if anyone could, and now I could focus on the training. Without her support I don't think I would have been able to do my first IM, to say nothing of getting to Kona 2 months later.
In addition to doing the usual things coaches do like giving you workouts and guidelines, Carolyn does a number of things that make her an exceptional coach. She really listens, takes what you say seriously and answers all questions, she is a highly organized person and keeps on top of what's coming up, and she is a great problem solver. And if you start falling apart just before race day--been there done that!--she's there too. She can hold the ground, listen, and then refocus you on what's important. I feel so lucky to have had the privilege of working with Carolyn.
Andrea Berkes, 36, Victoria, Executive Administrative Assistant, Ironman Canada 2010 participant
After spectating at the Ironman Canada race in August 2008, I instantly knew that an Ironman race was in my future. In September 2008 I initially started my swim training. Then in January of 2009 I was introduced to Carolyn and she would become my coach for my first year as an athlete with smaller races on my schedule. I continued to work with Carolyn through my Ironman training year in 2009/10. As a beginner athlete it was a priviledge to work with Carolyn, a 9 time Ironman Finisher, including Kona. As an athlete going into an Ironman training season and race, it was very important that I work with someone who's actually experienced an Ironman distance race.
The following is what made my training experience so positive:
- Carolyn is very approachable and no question is ever too small. She will always have numerous solutions to any question or problem.
- She is conscientious of each athletes abilities and workouts are planned accordingly. She will prepare you physically and mentally for long distance racing.
- She will make your workout schedule fit your life commitments, whether it be work, family, school, kids etc.
- She took the time to run through transition practices before races, she even spent a couple of hours showing me how to properly change a flat tire. While this may seem like a simple task to some, for others it can be huge anxiety during a race when you've never had to do it before.
- Carolyn is patient and has a very "motherly" approach to coaching. When she shows up at a race to cheer you on, she comes with a fully stocked Tri box, just in case you forgot anything!
- Her organization skills are exceptional. She will always have a schedule prepared ahead of time. Whether it's your weekly training plan or the summer open water swim schedule, you always know where you need to be.
If you are reading this, I'm assuming you are considering working with a coach. Give Carolyn a call, set up an appointment and determine if she is the right coach for you.
Fairbairn Powers, 71, New Jersey, NY, Episcopalian Priest
Six triathlons starting at seventy? No kidding, with Carolyn as a coach, it's just happened! Carolyn has carefully and thoughtfully laid out training for me, week by week, to make this possible - and done so with immense encouragement and responsiveness - and just enough challenge to surprise me with what I can do. I wondered about some of the hills she had me biking - even moved the week schedule around while I put them off -- but she was right on, and now the bike leg is my strongest. I would recommend her to anyone.
[Note: Fairbairn has had 6 age group podium finishes since starting in triathlon in 2009!]
Tanya Howes, Victoria, long-distance runner
It can sometimes be difficult to encourage someone who has been doing the same kind of work out for years to set their sights on new challenges and build their confidence so that they feel like they can take on the world. Carolyn did that for me. She took me from a slow 10km runner and turned me into a woman who feels no marathon would be too hard - she did it with compassion, laughter, solid advice and extreme patience. Carolyn gave me total support and helped me celebrate the milestones, realize that I could come back after a bike accident and most of all, get out of the cycle of over and under training. I stand a little taller because of her. I see the possibilities and for that I can't thank Carolyn enough.
Jacquelyn Iffla, 28, Calgary AB, IMC 2007 and 2009 finisher
I met Carolyn when she was a guest speaker at a Victoria running clinic I was involved in. I was immediated impressed with her very organized and educated information and began working with her for my first half ironman in 2006. My experience was so positive that I continued to work with Carolyn when I trained for Ironman Canada in 2007 and 2009. Carolyn's role as my triathlon coach followed me as I moved from Victoria to Calgary in 2007 as well as when I transistioned from a beginner triathlete to a more experienced triathlete. Carolyn's training schedule and technique suited my life perfectly, her availablity to answer any and all of my questions was nearly unlimited and her support was crucial to my success. Carolyn is organized and prepared for any situation that her clients may face. Her love for the sport as well as pride in her athletes shows in everything she does. My triathlon accomplishments mean a great deal to me and Carolyn has played a huge role in that. I can't imagine doing it without her!
Mary-Jo Dionne, North Vancouver
As an endurance event aficionado (someone who loves to both take part and spectate equally!), I have come to realize there are two types of
athletes: Racers and participants. I know, beyond a doubt, I am a participant. The challenge, as someone who is a participant, is finding a coach who understands this. I don't want to break world records, I just want to have fun. Carolyn gets this! And it is SUCH a relief to be working with her!
Sara Ross, 23, Calgary, Nursing Student, Ironman Canada 2009 Finisher
Ever since I was twelve and watched my dad complete, I wanted to do an Ironman. When I was 22 the opportunity presented itself and I signed up for Ironman Canada, completely naive about the triathlon world and with no idea what I was getting myself into. I met Carolyn halfway through the year and she coached me for the Ironman race. She built up my workouts, took me swimming and taught me all sorts of triathlon tricks and tips. That August I fulfilled my goal and finished the Ironman. It was a hard day and a year of hard work, and I honestly don't think I could have done it without Carolyn's coaching. She provided realistic workouts and constant encouragement. Although I was terrified before the race, I knew I could do it because of all the hard work I had put into training. Carolyn is terrifically dedicated to the sport of triathlon and passionate about coaching. She's excited for your accomplishments and pushes you to do more. I would recommend Carolyn for anyone involved in triathlon training.
Robyn Standring, 27, Victoria, Licensed practical nurse, Ironman participant 2010
I was lucky enough to meet Carolyn in March 2010, 6 months before I was attempting to do my first ironman. As soon as I met her, I felt really comfortable with her and was inspired by her passion for triathlons. Carolyn made a great, flexible workout plan that fit into my busy schedule. She is extremely supportive and very knowledgeable about triathlons. Carolyn was always available to answer all of my questions, no matter how big or small. I felt confident going into any race knowing that Carolyn had covered all the details including training, nutrition and what to expect for race day. I am very thankful I met her and would recommend her coaching to anyone.
Troy Lanigan, Victoria, IMC Finisher 2005, 2007
In 2005 Carolyn and I were both first timers; her as a tri coach and me as an Ironman. I will forever treasure that amazing summer. Carolyn was with me and four others every step of the way. Her work ethic, attention to detail, and dedication to our success was beyond any expectation. Two years later, with Carolyn as my coach again, I shaved an hour off my Ironman finishing time. I have no hesitation recommending Carolyn. She is a tremendous value in every sense of the meaning ... a value that no doubt continues to grow alongside her experience.
Jacquelyn Neary, 23, Calgary, Student, 3rd Place Finisher F20-24 - New Balance 1/2 Ironman 2006
I met Carolyn when she was a guest speaker at a running clinic that I attended; her passion for healthy living and specifically triathlons were a huge inspiration and motivation. Carolyn coached me through my first half Ironman this past year.
As a beginner to triathlons, Carolyn's training program and expertise were so knowledgeable and helpful. I was able to continue with running commitments and races that have been a big part of my training schedule while still training on the bike and swimming. Carolyn made a training schedule that worked wonderfully with my busy schedule and I never felt over trained or run down. The recovery aspect of Carolyn's training program and steady increases in training work wonderfully for a beginner, but the experience and organization that Carolyn has also works well for a competitive athlete.
Carolyn was available and quickly answered any question that I had through all of my training as well as provided specific training sessions including transition training, open water swimming, and race day preparation.
Because I'm moving in the fall, I'm looking forward to continuing to work with Carolyn over the next year via online coaching as I prepare for my goal to do a full Ironman triathlon in 2007.
Alison Keighan, 46, Victoria, Coast Guard Search & Rescue Coordinator, Ironman Canada 2005 Finisher
I've long admired Carolyn Gebbie, even before she was my coach. She brings to her clients the same energy and level of dedication that she applies to her own training.
Under Carolyn's care I reached my 20-year dream of completing an Ironman triathlon. For anyone, finding the time to train for an Ironman race is a huge challenge. With two young daughters, a husband who is out of town a great deal of the time and a full-time shift work job, I needed a plan that would maximize the benefits, but still allow me to maintain some form of balance in my life. Carolyn worked closely with me, adjusting my training schedule to meet my strange demands. She even customized a strength training program I could do at work during those long, slow night shifts. The range of knowledge she shared with me was vast; it included proper technique, mental preparation, nutrition, race strategies and all those small but incredibly important race details. I arrived at the starting line at Ironman Canada this year healthy and well prepared, both mentally and physically. Carolyn invests a lot of herself in each of her clients. When I crossed the finish line at Ironman, I truly believe she was as thrilled for me as I was for myself.
I highly recommend Carolyn as a coach and I look forward to working with her again next season.
Jan Frith, 40, Victoria, Ironman Canada 2005 Finisher
Carolyn brought me to the Ironman Canada start line fit, strong and motivated. Signing up for IMC becomes a very long training season and it's easy to lose motivation or to over train. Not once this season did I encounter this and I attribute a big part of that to Carolyn's focus on balancing training with the rest of life's components. Her training schedules are flexible with a strong focus on injury prevention. I highly recommend Carolyn as a Triathlon Coach.
John Fyfe, 47, Victoria, Research Scientist
After completing an assortment of short and middle distance triathlons I began training for my first Ironman with Carolyn as my coach. Carolyn prepared and guided me through a no-nonsense injury-resistant program which got me to the beach at the 2005 Ironman Coeur d'Alene totally prepared, both physically and mentally. I especially appreciated the flexibility that the program provided, allowing me to train while maintaining a busy work and travel schedule. Right to the finishers tape I raced strong and smiling. Without reservation I highly recommend Carolyn as a triathlon coach.
Jim Kerr, 49, Victoria, Architect
Carolyn served as both a great trainer and a wonderful mentor. The six month training program for my goal race of the 1/2 Ironman this year gave me needed direction and confidence in all aspects of triathlon including daily workout schedules, nutrition planning, gear advice, transition techniques and race day preparations. Carolyn's ability to share her knowledge and experience coupled with her obvious enthusiasm for the sport made working with her a great all round experience.
Debi W., Victoria, Administrator
Being fairly new to the sport of triathlon I asked Carolyn to help me out in preparing a training schedule as I embarked on my journey towards completing my first Half Ironman race. Carolyn laid out a 3 month plan that was very detailed in what I should be doing daily in all three disciplines. She carefully considered my starting fitness level and increased the training distances in a steady progression. Carolyn was always available in terms of answering the many concerns and questions I had in regards to nutrition, equipment, and race details. She was always supportive and encouraging and I felt like my success was important to her. Carolyn got me to the start line prepared and uninjured. I had a wonderful experience and she was right there with me every step of the way.
Bob G., 51, Victoria, computer security specialist
First place finisher in age group - New Balance 1/2 Ironman - Jun/04
First place finisher in age group - Panorama Classic Triathlon - Jun/04
Second place finisher in age group - Garden City 10km - Apr/04 (PB 38:08)
First place finisher in age group - 2003 TriBC Races Series
Carolyn's triathlon programs enabled me to achieve a fitness level which met and surpassed my personal goals. Last year I won the Triathlon British Columbia Race Series for my age group and qualified for the Provincial Triathlon Team. This year I have already placed first in two local races and second in another and am on track for Ironman Canada in August.
Carolyn's programs are comprehensive, yet simple to use. After considering lifestyle as well as family and work commitments, she designed a calendar of training activities to gradually build my fitness and skill levels. In the off-season I followed a detailed weight program and maintained good fitness and nutrition. For the triathlon race season, my training calendar was periodized. Each training block consisting of two heavy weeks of training followed by 1 week of recovery activities. Each day specified the duration in hours for each specific activity (ie weights, swimming, cycling, running, cross training, pool running, hiking, etc).
The CompuTrainer proved to be invaluable for cycling technique and performance measurement. Periodically my performance was measured in watts and heart rate to track my fitness improvements over time. However, the CompuTrainer's true value lay in its bio feedback feature. When adjusting my cycling technique, the Spinscan readout told me whether I was utilizing the correct muscle groups in my legs for optimum power output. Additionally, Spinscan was also great for bike fitting to ensure I was correctly positioned on my bike for maximum power.
With Carolyn's comprehensive triathlon program I can keep my training on track. Instead of expending my scarce free time on planning for each successive week, I can enjoy other pleasures and concentrate my energy on the actual training.