When did you start competing in triathlons and what was your first race experience like?
Wow, I feel like that is so long ago now! It was my early 20's and at the time Netball was my number one goal and focus. I was determined to make it as an elite netball player and refused to believe those who told me I was too short. I remember being told how important fitness was especially as a centre court player and was discussing it with my cousin. He suggested I should give triathlon's a go during the off season. Cousin Wez said they would be great for my fitness plus swimming, biking and running in one event sounded like fun!
My first race experience was so much fun! I didn't win, podium or anything like that. I had borrowed a bike and running 3km straight seemed like a terrible idea...the swim was definitely the best part about it. But everyone was so encouraging, the support along the course was exciting and crossing the finish line I felt like I HAD won the event. I didn't realise it was just the beginning!
Why do you Tri?
For SO many reasons! Let's be honest it is addictive! The adrenalin, the excitement, the atmosphere. There is so much about it that keeps you coming back for more and more. I Tri to see how good I can be. What is the best I have? What can I achieve? How far can I go? I Tri because I get to see some incredible places around the world I would otherwise not even have considered going to. I Tri because I made some life long friends across all ages and abilities. Although I might start 30mins before them in the Professional field, at the end of the day over a glass of wine we share the same stories about the high's and low's. The wind, rain or extreme heat, but both with a sense of accomplishment. I Tri to hopefully encourage and motivate those that watch from the outside but don't realise they have what it takes on the inside. Triathlon is for everyone, one of the many great things about the sport!
What has been your most memorable achievement to date?
It is tough to pick one because there are events and circumstances leading up to a race that also make it memorable. My first Ironman victory, which was at Ironman Western Australia in 2010, was definitely a day I will never forget. Every early morning or sacrifice is about that one moment where you cross that finish line in first place and can call yourself an Ironman Champion. You wonder if you will ever do it and somehow everyday continue to believe it is possible. To have achieved it at my home race still brings a big smile to my face now, although I can't remember that much about the finish line!
Then fast forward to 2015 and my decision to take on Ultra520 Canada (formerly Ultraman Canada) was unknown territory. The training and the event itself. Who know's what might happen over three days of racing. It was an emotional roller coaster, from a strong and record breaking day one to a number of low's, with moments spent on the side of the road and mechanic issues on day two. The night before the 84.4km run on day three I was questioning my decision to do the event and if I had what it takes. In the end I realised I knew I would be able to do it, it was just the expectations I had placed on myself and what I wanted to achieve in addition to "finishing". I had to shut that all out and focus on the process. What would be would be as long as I gave it my best of the day.
In the end it was WAY beyond my expectations and to now be part of history as the first female ever to win an Ultra Distance Triathlon event over all, is something that can never be taken away.
Will you be entering another Ultraman again? Perhaps Ultraman Australia?
Yes, I would like to but it is a big commitment physically and mentally. Not just on me but for my fiancé Guy who races professionally as well. The time involved and how it affects our triathlon season and commitment to races is something that we need to consider. I would love to do Ultraman Australia one year it is just about fitting it into the schedule.
Growing up, who was your idol and why? Even now is there anyone you admire and / or respect as a pro?
Obviously when I played Netball I admired a number of those playing in the Australian team at the time. Once my participation in triathlon increased and I began to learn a lot more about the sport that changed. I have always and will always admire and respect Natasha Badmann. She is not only an incredible athlete who has been at the top of her sport for so long but is also so professional. She always has time for everyone, is forever smiling on good or bad days and shows respect for all her fellow athletes. I raced her at the end of last year and she has always been known for her killer bike split. As she went past me at kilometer 150 whilst going up a hill in the scorching heat and humidity of Malaysia she still had the energy to smile, tell me how great I was doing and that I was nearly there. Then she was gone in the distance.
You are known for always wearing a smile during the race, has there ever been a race where you wanted to give up? If so, what got you over the line?
Absolutely! And unfortunately there have been days where I have DNF'd. These have been due to injury or illness. In every Half Ironman, Ironman or Ultra Distance there is always a moment or multiple moments where the thought of quitting or giving up is on my mind. When that happens I think about the work, the training, the commitment and the sacrifice that have lead to where I am. I smile and remind myself I am so grateful and lucky to do what I do, where I am doing it. I go through my goals, why I am there and what I want to achieve. I pull myself together and focus again on the task at hand. Plus, just thinking about that finish line can get you a long way!
What would you be if you weren’t a professional triathlete?
I would still be teaching. Before becoming a Professional Triathlete I was a physical education teacher at a prestigious private boys school in Perth and I loved it. Luckily, physical education is the one subject that most students love and look forward to. I worked there for nearly eight years and could have seen myself there for a very long time. However, you need to follow your dreams and your goals and the opportunity to race as a Professional Triathlete around the world was one that I knew would not last for ever.
Where will we be seeing you race over the 2016/2017 Season?
In the past I would sit down at the beginning of the year, write out a schedule for the year and follow it. Now I find with the points system for Professional Triathletes my next race can be determined by my result in a previous race. How many points do I need to get to 70.3 World Champs? How many points do I need to get to Kona? In the next few weeks I have 70.3 Japan and 70.3 Busan before heading to the USA which is where I spend six months of every year in Boise, Idaho. I plan on racing an Ironman July/August, possibly the new Ironman Vineman. I would love to race 70.3 World Champs on the Sunshine Coast if I qualify. There will be another Ironman 70.3 later in the year as I can start the Kona points chasing process as early as September this year for October 2017. Maybe even an Ultraman somewhere in there? I can always be found at my sentimental favourite races that I return to every year; Ironman New Zealand, Taiwan 70.3, Busselton 70.3.
Do you have any pre race rituals or superstitions in the days / hours before a big race?
Superstitions? No. Pre race rituals? They would be more related to training by getting a swim/bike/run in the day before. Also, getting everything organised and checked in early so I am not stressed out the night before the race. I must admit when Guy and I are racing together there is always the quick kiss and good luck before the Pro Men start which reminds me no matter what happens out there he will always love me and life goes on. If there is anything I have learnt from racing around the world I have had to learn to be flexible. Every race is different, I can't always have pasta for dinner the night before. It may have to be rice or pizza. Split transitions, bus transfers, I need to take a deep breath and go with the flow. Just like racing focus on what I can control not what I can't.
What do you like to do when your are not training? Hobbies etc.
Sleep! LOL. When I am not training there is plenty going on in my life. Guy and I have our own coaching business GKEndurance which keeps us very busy. We are very lucky to have such a great group of athletes. I love going out for dinner with friends and family, and enjoying a nice glass of red wine at the end of the day. Spending time with our Cat Ozzy is also one of my favourite ways to spend any free time I may have!