How was your Ironman NY race?
The race was surprisingly enjoyable. The Americans know how to put on a show and party. The whole atmosphere was fantastic with thousands of people lining the streets, supporting and partying. The course was tough, being in the ski resort of Lake Placid there were a lot of climbs, with over 2km of elevation on the bike course and 800m on the run. The weather was hot with the temperature being a cool 34 degrees at peak afternoon so the sunburn on my pale English skin was severe the next day. But I would recommend this race to anyone looking at doing an international Ironman event. The celebration beers the next day after taking nearly five months off drinking were even better.
How did you feel crossing the finish line?
The feeling was incredible. In fact the last 2km of the run was really when it hit home that I was going to complete. So many words to describe that feeling, happiness, elation, euphoria, pride…even a little tear crept into the eye. But I was competing in the race with two friends from Sydney, so it was compounded by the excitement of watching them cross the line too.
Why did you choose this goal?
If I am being honest, it was for two reasons:
1) To lose weight and change lifestyle habits,
2) A night in the pub with a few friends after the end of our football season in October 2018.
I have a few friends I play football with that over the years we have set some challenges together – mostly marathons and ultra-marathons. After a few beers and the end of the football season we wanted a new challenge, so someone suggested an Ironman. We researched there and then in the pub the world’s top Ironman races and Lake Placid appeared for July 2019. With eight months to go, we decided it was a good idea to sign up as plenty of time to train and also to have a destination race so we could make a holiday of it.
How did your preparation training go?
Preparation training did not start well. The Christmas party season towards the back end of 2018 took over any training plans and then at the start of January I tore ligaments in my ankle skiing in Japan. That put me out for two months so I decided to sign up for Lake Taupo 70.3 as a test at the start of March without any training and having just returned from an ankle injury to determine how fit I actually was. After completing the race it was a realisation that I needed to put a lot of work in to training so a friend recommended Danny.
It still took me a month due to family visiting in March to eventually turn up to a Moore performance session but after that training became intense until the race. Danny designed an intensive training program over the next four months to get race fit for the Ironman that involved anywhere between 15 to 25 hours per week of training. Over the winter months this was challenging (especially the 5.30am starts) but without the training, I would not have been able to complete the race. I have Danny to thank for setting the plan, motivating me and keeping me in line with my training requirements.
And how were the celebrations and holiday afterwards?
Celebrations were great, the next day after the race we ended up in a brewery from lunch until last orders. I then had a two-week holiday in New York and Miami with friends and my family coming over from the UK.
I have always played lots of sport with football being my main passion but at my age now, I have finally come to terms that I will not turn professional. I enjoy swimming and running having competed in lots of events. Cycling was a sport I never really enjoyed but I decided to get a new bike and start competing in triathlons – for pleasure not racing.
What was your first tri? And how did your performance compare to now?
My first tri was a sprint in Huskisson. My performance was terrible, the 20km cycle took me nearly an hour and everyone was overtaking me, I don’t think I actually passed anyone. My fitness was not strong, and I had never trained for transitions, so my legs felt like jelly after coming off the bike into the run. Now, my performances are significantly stronger and I am looking forward to the summer of triathlons ahead.
What do you put this significant improvement down to? and Lessons Learnt?
Training! Do not underestimate the importance of training and building up a base level of fitness. Consistency is key and missing a few weeks really makes a significant difference.
What’s your favourite meal pre-race?
Spaghetti Bolognese with garlic bread is the standard meal before I do any event.
What are your nutrition tips during a race?
My nutrition planning and understanding is not the best and never has been. I was not prepared for Ironman from a nutrition perspective and due to heavy training and work schedules pre-Ironman, my nutrition involved easy meal solutions rather than a balanced and structured schedule.
During the race I just made sure I had a gel, energy bar, banana or energy chews every hour. I also made sure I had water or a hydration drink at every stop as I usually forget to drink, especially when I am on the bike.
How do you keep motivated to get up at 5am or finish a gruelling set?
It’s challenging, especially in the winter months when it is easier to stay in the warmth of a bed. But once you have finished a session, you feel great and ready to start the day.
There were 2 ways I made myself stay motivated:
1). I am a visual person so on my bedroom wall I have a large chart with all the training I had completed. I wanted to make sure there were limited gaps in this schedule as it would lead to feeling….
2). Guilty! I made myself feel guilty if I missed any sessions or if I had a day where I had not trained at all.
What is your favourite ride/run or swim?
My favourite has to be a run around Sydney harbour. You cannot beat the views of the botanical gardens, Opera House, Barangaroo and round to Pyrmont. This has to be my favourite run in Sydney, if not anywhere. I still feel like a tourist even after living in Sydney for 10 years.
Have you had to overcome any injuries and how did you do it?
Only when I tore my ankle ligaments skiing at the start of the year. Since I was training from March, I was fortunate not to have any injuries or even niggles over the whole period.
Memorable quote/catchphrase to keep you going when you find it tough:
I don’t have a memorable quote that kept me going. But what I did do to keep me going throughout the training schedule was just thinking about the finish line in Lake Placid, the celebration after and holiday. By having a goal and then a reward, it really motivates you.
Why do you like training with Danny / Moore Performance squad?
Danny is a very knowledgeable coach, without his programs I would not have been able to do the race. He is also a top bloke and genuine nice guy. He wants everyone to do well, train hard and most importantly have fun and enjoy it at the same time. There is no pressure and you can go at your own speed. I feel very fortunate to have met Danny.
Moore Performance has been a fun group to be involved with. The members are very friendly, make you feel welcome and it’s great that there are mixed abilities. When I first joined, I was nervous about being at the back and left on my own. But that proved not to be the case! It is a lovely small community to be part of.
Lisa Marangon has been amazing as well. Her swimming coaching has helped significantly improve my technique and I really looked forward to going to all her sessions. She is such a nice person as well and very encouraging which makes a huge difference
What was your favourite MP moment?
I was on a Saturday ride with members of MP that I had not met and had a few instances on the bike. At the cafe after the ride I won an award (chocolate bar) for being the clumsiest on the ride. Let’s just say it took me a while to really master using clip on shoes haha, but it also highlighted the positive and fun environment of the Moore Performance group.
Which athletes inspire you?
For me, any athlete that can dream of a goal and achieves it inspires me. Anyone can achieve but it is having the right mindset, motivation and determination to achieve no matter how large or small.
What’s your ideal weekend?
My ideal weekend would involve a weekend trip to a beach destination camping with some exercise involved i.e swim, run, cycle. I enjoy the outdoors lifestyle!