When it comes to triathlon, you can be riding high one minute and deep in a hole the next. Australian sensation Ellie Salthouse’s 2017 season didn’t go completely as planned, but she gutted it out. After being plagued with mid-season injuries, the summer Boulder-trainee stormed back to end her season on a high note, taking the win at IRONMAN 70.3 Miami and finishing in the top 10 at the intensely-competitive Island House Triathlon. Now, less than a month into the new year, Salthouse showcased her 70.3 speed and captured second place at IRONMAN 70.3 Pucon. It might be safe to say that Salthouse is back better than ever and looking to mix it up as she looks to go head-to-head with the best at some of the toughest races of the year.
What kind of injuries were you dealing with in early 2017 that kept you from racing?
In April, I came down with a sore hamstring, which we didn’t think too much of initially. After racing and training a few more months with little improvement, despite constant treatment, I found out I had hamstring tendinopathy and a stress reaction on my ischium. I took nearly four months off riding and running, and returned home to Australia for additional treatment in order to get back racing.
What was it like not being able to race and train like usual due to your injuries?
It was some of the toughest months yet. It’s so difficult to have everything going so well and exactly on track and suddenly have it taken away. The most difficult part was that nobody knew how long it would take to heal. I just had to be patient and wait, which is not my strong suit.
When you won IRONMAN 70.3 Miami, your first race back, what went through your head as you crossed the finish line?
It was a feeling of sheer relief! I couldn’t stop crying. To me, that was the endpoint of the injury, something that had felt so far off five months prior. Finally, it was behind me and I could stop worrying and just move forward.
Heading into the Island House race shortly after Miami, what was your confidence like and what were your goals at Island House?
The last few races of 2017 were solely focused on getting to the finish line injury-free. After the win in Miami, my confidence was high, but I was still worried about how my hamstring would handle two days of intense racing at Island House. I hadn’t done too much speed work on the run leading into the race, so my only expectation was to finish top 10 and, most importantly, pain-free!
After reflecting on 2017, what did you take away from your up and down year?
I was extremely pleased with my result at Island House, considering my limited prep and roller coaster of a year. The race and the overall Island House Tri experience is second to none, of which I’m very lucky to be a part of. As for my year, it started off at an all-time high, and finished on another high. Everything in between, though, I’ll just use as a learning experience and motivation to stay healthy, strong, and injury-free for the rest of my career. I’m very glad it’s behind me.
What are your racing plans for 2018?
I’m in full training right now. After taking such an extended break from training and racing last year, I don’t need another break just yet. I just raced IRONMAN 70.3 Pucon on the weekend and am now training in Santiago for a few weeks ahead of IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai. I also have IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside, IRONMAN 70.3 St. George, and The Challenge Championship on the cards—all before turning my focus to IRONMAN 70.3 World Champs!