Find out the secrets to how Denise conquored the Port Ironman distance and how she handled a high training load and an extraordinarily busy job while still being a nice person to live with.
What was the Port Macquarie Ironman like?
Fun – loved the atmosphere, the weather and the supporters on the course. Having been up to Port Mac a lot, I knew where to get coffee so not a lot else mattered!
How do you feel after completing the massive achievement?
Pretty good. All distances have their challenge and getting to the start line is the achievement given those pesky other details of family, friends and work.
What compelled you to want to take on the Ironman distance?
I love endurance distance – and the fact that the time it takes me to take off my wetsuit diminishes in importance the longer the race event.
What was your first triathlon? And how did your performance compare to now?
Tri pink – I recall being in the last wave, waiting for several hours to start, doing the swim and getting out of the pool last and somehow slipping back into the pool… so elegant.
Both races were outside my comfort zone when I entered them, so in some ways they were similar. I’m a lot more relaxed when I race now and I enjoy training in all three disciplines.
Up until this season, I hadn’t focussed on triathlon only (usually I will have a long running or cycling event as my focus and triathlon has been my off season sport), so this was the first six months of focus on a triathlon event (rather necessary given I have learnt to swim in the last few years).
What’s your next goal race?
My next goal is to nail my social life and to stay awake after 8.30 pm at night.
My next sports goal is to nail my nutrition over winter with my next A race Port IM in 2019 and then Ultraman Oz in 2020 (I am glad my family is not reading this…)
What was your best race/races?
The Great Nosh 10 km trail run in 2012 – laughing with friends about how muddy we got.. and realising we had lost the car key somewhere on the course .. (that stopped the laughter as it was a 15 km run home to get the spare key).
Sydney Marathon 2007 – my first long race and I fell in love with distance and realised that maybe I could do some more of this (having started running in my 40s). And where else as an adult do you get cheered by random strangers?
And Port Mac IM as it was the first race that I enjoyed all of it and was relaxed coming into it.
What do you put this significant improvement down to?
I am more relaxed as I accept there are elements you can control and then ones you can’t. My training (from Dave Daffey) was 100 per cent right for this event.. as I was racing I knew why the various sets were in TP over the past nine months (and which ones I will pay more attention too next time …)
I have also changed my nutrition and this made a huge difference to my ability to handle a high training load and (as life happens) extraordinarily busy work load while still being a nice (well as nice as usual) person to live with (once again glad the family isn’t reading this and can’t add their comments).
Need to liaise with others about the nail colour and nail art for MP races – I am still sporting orange nails.
I really do need to learn to change a tyre in less than 20 mins.
A lesson I have learnt from lots of endurance events is that it is about the training and also about your mindset.
What’s your favourite meal pre-race?
Nothing too exciting .. chicken, avocado, some sweet potato and salad. I have learnt it is as much about what I eat in the lead up to the race, as the race itself.
What are your nutrition tips during a race?
I am a real food person now – I didn’t use any gels / bars / or electrolyte in this IM which was a first for me. And coffee in the special needs bag is critical …
How do you keep motivated to get up at 5am or finish a gruelling set?
My dad thought if we weren’t out of bed by 6am we must have been sick so I come from a family of early risers.. and being home for family dinners are really important to me so it is 5 am or not at all.
Got to say I do like to see a green Training Peaks box too. Finishing a lot of the long long sets comes back to (in reality) it is only for a few weeks, and also I do enjoy what I do so it is a choice.
What is your favourite ride and run?
My favourite ride and run is anything in the Snowy Mountains. Closer to home I swim at Balmoral and North Sydney pools (great views and coffee), and love to ride the Four Gorges.
Have you had to deal with any injuries and how did you do it?:
In 2016 I had (unrelated to sport) a knee operation and was told my chances of running again were limited. With rehab for 12 months and then 12 months of rebuilding my fitness, I am running better than before (with much less run kilometres)– this was a great lesson in patience and about what really matters (the ability to walk my dog rather than do an IM). Cycling really improved my run too.
Why do you like training with Danny / Moore Performance squad?
It has to be the pink and black gear (despite the clash with my orange nails).
There is always something you can join in no matter where your fitness or goals lie.
What did you do before triathlon?
Lots and lots of running – trail, road and ultras. Still no more housework than I do now, so I can’t blame triathlon on my housekeeping standards.
And my kids (now teenagers) were younger so either Ian or I needed to be at home.
Which athletes inspire you?
Anyone who moves out of their comfort zone and anyone willing to give it a go. I’d apply this to life not just athletes.
What you like to do post-race celebrations?
Affogato [an Italian coffee-based dessert] and then bed (assuming it is an all day event). Then going out on a week night .. and eating after 7.30 pm – heady stuff I know!
What’s your ideal weekend?
Training with friends, swim at Balmoral, walking Poppy (the dog) with Ian, and going out on our boat to Cockatoo Island for a drink.
If you could be anywhere right now in the world where would that be?
What’s something about you we didn’t know before?
I love motorcycle riding.