RUTH PEETER’S INTERVIEW
Is it true that having a baby makes you stronger?
Absolutely. However, for me it’s more to do with mental resilience rather than physical improvement (except for arms – I find carrying small people around and pram pushing are great workouts for upper body strength 😉). Pregnancy, birth and parenthood haven’t changed the core of who I am, but I’ve grown from those experiences. They’ve shifted my perspective on life, and I’ve learned another level of resilience I never had to tap into in the past. And when I think about what kept me strong at times during labour? It was in fact a lot of my visualisations around training and endurance events that helped me cope with the waves of pain and the stress my body was under for those few hours. When times got tough, I imagined I was in the middle of an Ironman, or a Three Peaks. And reassurance that there’s always a finish line 😊
What was your first tri? And how did your performance compare to now?
My first official triathlon was Husky Sprint in 2011. My time was 1:26:11. And my one and only comeback race after giving birth to my first child was Husky Sprint in 2018. I finished at 1:22:04, over 4 minutes quicker 7 years on. And that was only about 40 seconds off my PB that I set for the same event back in 2013, which was 1:21:25. I’m hoping to do Husky Sprint 2020, my first tri since having my second child. I won’t have as much preparation under my belt for this one given I’m back full time working, so we’ll see how I fare!
What was your best race? (post babies)
I have a soft spot for City 2 Surf (partly because I got engaged halfway through the event in 2015). I haven’t had the chance to run it since. But I brought my daughter along part of the route in 2018 and I walked the full event with my son last year (his first event at 4 months 😊). This is and always will be one of my favourite events.
What’s your favourite meal pre-race?
Ensure! Or Oats & bananas.
What are your nutrition tips during a race?
If it’s a short distance, I might have 1 gel on the bike, I stick to water on the run. Maybe one electrolyte. I used to like Clif bars (for long cycles). And I’m a big fan of salt tablets for endurance events. I’ve also tried beetroot juice in the past!
How do you keep motivated to get up at 5am or finish a gruelling set?
I have two choices at 5am. I either stay in bed and get involuntarily woken up by my children, or I get up before they have a chance to do that 😉 When I really don’t want to get up, I try to remember how good I felt after my last morning session. The pain of hearing that alarm and dragging myself out of bed is always worth it.
Before having children, I took my freedom to exercise for granted. Now I embrace any opportunity I get to jump on the bike, put on my running shoes, head for a swim, or simply go for a walk. Being time poor, I’ll try and get the best out of any session I do.
What is your favourite ride/run or swim?
Nothing beats the feeling once you finish a cycle session, or the early morning glimpses you catch of this beautiful city we live in before it comes alive for the day. I equally love escaping into Centennial Park for a run.
Have you had to overcome any injuries and how did you do it?:
Once you have a baby, you are itching to get back to the level of fitness you had pre-pregnancy. And I don’t think I fully appreciated the impact pregnancy had on my body first time around. On reflection I returned to running too early. And the muscles around my hips and pelvic floor were not strong enough to absorb the impact of running. After Husky I had to rest up for a couple of weeks. Thankfully, I got fixed by our very own Body Fixer! (Thank you Paula). This time around, I’ve been much more focussed on rebuilding my strength slowly. My main exercise was postpartum strengthening classes and walking. I returned cycling 5 months after labour and reintroduced running/walking 6 months after labour. I did my first full 5km run almost 8 months since giving birth. I think the key message is listen to your body. Stretch. And respect and maintain your pelvic floor.
Memorable quote/catchphrase to keep you going when you find it tough:
Unfortunately, it comes from Lance Armstrong. A friend jokingly said it to me years ago and it still sticks in my head when I feel the pressure building up in a training session/race: “Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever”.
Why do you like training with Danny / Moore Performance squad?
I love training with Danny/Moore Performance! I’ve been with Moore Performance since 2013, having trained with Danny in Brats before that. MP is a community that I thoroughly enjoy being a part of. There’s a wonderful sense of camaraderie, everyone has a mutual enjoyment of cycling/running/swimming and training alongside one other. The large number of members year after year is a testament to Danny’s coaching approach, the inclusive culture he’s built up and genuine encouragement for everyone to reach their personal goals.
What was your favourite MP moment?
All the Jindy camps I went to. They are the best fun, the best challenge and some of the best views in Australia.
What did you do before triathlon?
I ran a few marathons in my late 20s (Dublin, Connemara, Berlin, Sydney). But as a junior, my main sport was racquetball. (Mix between handball and squash). I won most national titles in my age category between the ages of 12-18, as well as a European and World title during that time. Then I went to university and sport went to the wayside for a few years. Until I discovered running.
Which athletes inspire you?
Any athlete who is a mum. Professional cyclists.
What’s your ideal weekend?
Hanging out with Patrick, Florence & Arlo. Being outside. Squeezing in a small bit of exercise. Catching up with friends.
What’s something we didn’t know about you?
I sing for a hobby. I sang mezzo soprano with the Sydney Symphony Choir for several years before having children and got to fulfil my dream of singing on the Sydney Opera House stage with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra a number of times. I pince myself when I think of those concerts.
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