Jodi Tobias: From Messy Life to Half Ironman

I came to Holistic Endurance and Coach Katee with the idea that I might like to do a triathlon. I had done a few small events as a teenager until I ended up in hospital after a bike crash. Now that my kids were older, it was time to try again. I didn’t have a bike. Couldn’t run. Wasn’t a great swimmer. And I had health issues.

My Why.

I had my whole thyroid removed in 2002 from disease and a set of healthy ovaries removed at the advice from the Genetics department after my sister died from ovarian cancer. I’d also lost my brother to cancer. My mum is incapacitated from Guillean-Barre and dad can barely walk from breathlessness from heart disease. My eldest child is on the autism spectrum. My life was messy and I didn’t want to end up on the burned out from life junk pile. 

I had been doing some club swimming and ended up not enjoying it due to the slog fest. So when I started the Holistic Endurance program, I quit swim club and just did the program and started enjoying my workouts. Fast forward two years, some enticer events, super sprints, sprints, a 21km trail run, a marathon and an Olympic distance, I was fat adapted, MAF adjusted and apparently could run. It was time to try a HIM. 

The Training

I was given quite a small volume of training and honestly didn’t feel like I’d trained “enough”. But I trusted the program and had time and racing goals to achieve. I thought the run was too fast a pace for me and given my adrenals were fatigued from poor thyroid management (but were recovering) and my oestrogen and testosterone levels were abnormal (recovering) I wondered how my body would cope.

I had a family conference and discussed my training load. My husband towed the line and picked up the housework slack (and got man flu in the process) and the kids helped out more so I could train. No ones life was impacted for the worse while I trained. It was just me thinking I wasn’t “mumming” enough. I’ve learned to give my kids more trust and freedom and they’ve thrived as a result. Surprisingly, healing from poor thyroid function has also improved my marriage – I’d all but given up hope that Id even begin to feel the same as I did before the surgery. 

The Race.

So race day came and I was feeling nervous, under prepared and overwhelmed. But I never felt like I didn’t belong. I wanted desperately to finish because I didn’t want to have to come back with unfinished business. I had my race plan/s. And I had my nutrition plan/s. We walked up the beach. I kept to myself and breathed. I warmed up and waited for the start. The swim leg seemed to take an eternity and I didn’t know my pace, I just trusted the feel. I was glad when the swim was done – usually my strongest leg, but I found the long straight line slightly off putting. Maybe I’m better swimming in triangles against currents?

Onto the bike. I loved the first lap. The winds came up in the second lap and I stuck to the race plan in spite of people overtaking me everywhere. The second lap was challenging with cross winds but I felt really good in transition.

Onto the run. Ok. Four run laps. I managed the first lap at pace and it was hard. Could I do three more the same? The conditions were perfect and apart from wet feet from the beach run, my body was good. I looked out and saw the blue sky and felt ridiculously grateful for being there in that moment. I managed the next two laps to pace but the last lap my battery went low (on my watch) and I lost my screen data. I sighted a runner ahead and tried to chase them down for the final lap. I didn’t quite catch them but I got close, and everyone was at the finish line cheering. It was an amazing feeling. I crossed the line just under my predicted race time and broke down in tears! I didn’t expect the tears because they weren’t in the race plan! Having other Holistic Endurance athletes there cheering each other on was simply the best. I had no idea I could accomplish such a big event on such a low volume personalised training plan. I mentioned to Coach Katee, that if I’d started out with a standard coach, I have no doubt that I’d be in hospital by now with adrenal meltdown. Instead,  my thyroid levels are now normal and my adrenals and hormones are normalising. I wanted to complete the 70.3 to close that chapter. But I don’t believe it has… 

My Team

I have some people I want to THANK and APPRECIATE for helping me achieve crossing the finishing line of a 70.3. 
Chris Bellette from Movestrong Gym for being the Functional Movement perfectionist – an undervalued but pivotal requirement for injury prevention all athletes need to be able to do well. I continue to be a stickler for strength and movement and have already recovered well from the race.

Steph Lowe aka “The Natural Nutritionist” for refining my nutrition and teaching me the principles of fueling with real food and why and how to be fat adapted, and investigating the reasons I was so unwell with thyroid and allergies and helping me on the path to recovery. I didn’t have a single gut issue, stitch, cramp or issue with race day fueling. It all went perfectly and I felt, and feel great.

The HE Athletes who have become friends, your support is awesome.

My friends . I cherish all of you and apologise I have been lying low due to the healing and training load. It just had to be that way.

My family . Because you get my WHY.

Coach Katee my mentor, my coach, my friend. There simply aren’t enough words of gratitude to tell you how much you have changed the course of my health and my life. I am indebted to how much knowledge you have, the belief you have in me and how you made a well triathlete out of an unwell person who couldn’t run, didn’t own a bike and had never even heard of a garmin. Thank you

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