Our Health & Nutrition Coach takes to Triathlon

After spending months working along the Holistic Endurance (HE) crew and being surrounded by triathletes and talk of triathlon, our Health & Nutrition Coach Kirsty was keen to see what all the fuss was about, and in doing so, signed up for her first ever Sprint Triathlon at Batemans Bay this weekend.

Kirsty is our resident Health and Nutrition Coach and Admin Superstar!! You can learn more about Kirsty here.

Kirsty has spent the last 7 weeks training for her big event with some guidance from Coach Jackie.

We thought we would take this opportunity to do a little Q+A about her journey to this point – She has some great take away messages, particularly for those just starting out or wanting to do a triathlon…

Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself as an athlete – given that this will be your first triathlon, what have you been doing before now?

Ah that word ‘athlete’…. Its one I have definitely struggled with and still do. Heading to the gym, swimming a few laps and going out for runs, it never entered my head that I was an athlete. Competing in a few fun runs, felt just that, a little bit of fun that I did whilst the ‘athletes’ were doing the real stuff. That was until I came to work at HE. Here everyone is considered an athlete, its one of the foundations that make this company great! Its made me really appreciate what I have done up to now. You certainly train and make the commitment to training differently when you do actually consider that you are an athlete.

I was a sporty kid when I was younger playing team sports and swimming. Then puberty hit and hanging out with friends was so much more appealing. I would dabble in the gym doing classes and the like through my early 20’s. Then in my late 20’s I thought I would like to be able to run. Even as a child I never enjoyed running. I would dread athletics carnivals. I never even really saw the point of just going for a walk unless it was for the purpose of getting somewhere. So to say my family and friends were shocked is an understatement. I found myself one of those 8 weeks to 5km running plans and off I went. I loved it! I loved the sense of achievement. I loved the way I could talk myself through the hard parts. I loved the way it made me feel energised. With my new found love of running I signed myself up for my first 5km fun run.

That was 5.5years ago. I had my eyes set on running longer distances – 10km, 13km. I was really enjoying the longer runs of between 1-2hours but I started to get really bad hip pain. The running was put on the back burner. After lots of great rehab and removing other inflammation from my body through diet and stress reduction I was able to start running again. As part of getting me back running and reducing the stress I trained using the MAF principles (the ones we use here at HE). I was slower but I could run again. I had no pain and I could run more than once a week.

Being around all the incredibly inspiring athletes at HE competing in some amazing events. I definitely started to feel the bug to get back to entering a few races. I wanted something to train for. In November I competed in my first half marathon. It was a great learning experience. I didn’t quite get the time I wanted but I did it! It re-ignited my fire.

 

 

So.. the decision to try a Triathlon! How, what, when, when ??

Tell us all the details of how this came to be?!

Just after I competed my half marathon Coach Katee and yourself (Coach Jackie) competed in Busso HIM. Seeing how much they loved doing this, how much of a high it gave them, certainly made me feel inspired. They both would randomly drop little comments about getting me on a bike (I had not ridden a bike in years) and competing in a triathlon. I always scoffed. There was no way I could do one of those. Those were for those fit people, not for the average Joe like me.

I started looking for swim and run events as I felt confident I could do those. I found a great one but then the timing didn’t work out. I had just ordered myself one of the new Spanky HE Speed Suits so I could do the race and now couldn’t do it, I was bummed. I was hunting around for another similar event when I came across the Batemans Bay Sprint. Well actually it was the Enticer I looked at first. I was talking to my boyfriend about it and as one of my biggest cheerleader’s he was like “you can do anything you set your mind to, you totally should do it”. Then there was a quick message to my fellow workmates at Team HE asking if it was possible to do with 7 weeks of training. They was resounding Hell Yes. And with the encouragement and belief that they showed had me I signed myself up. I wanted a challenge so picked the Sprint distance in the end over the Enticer.

What has your training looked like since deciding to enter Batemans Bay Sprint tri?

It has been a great mix of swim, bike, run. Getting back on the bike was definitely the most daunting part. Coach Jackie gave me some great little rides to build up my confidence.

The feeling of doing my first run off the bike (ROTB) was exhilarating. I felt amazing. And no Bambi moments. I’ve been sticking to MAF HR on the bike which has left me feeling great when I come to running.

At no point have I felt exhausted from the training. The opposite in fact. I have felt more energised.

Did you go out and buy a flashy new bike for race day ? 

Nope. I have borrowed a mountain bike. Yep I’m going to park that thing in transition next to all the other flashy bikes proudly. No one I know (who lives close to me) has a road bike so that wasn’t even an option. For me it’s not about having the best gear, it’s about proving to myself that I can do this. I remember the message I sent to Coach Katee and Jackie when I was questioning if I could do this and the response was – Do I have googles and do I have a bike? It was a yes for the googles and I knew I’d be able to find a bike to borrow somewhere. Their response back to me was “Then you can do a triathlon”! And its so true. Coach Katee did a great podcast on this very topic recently (New Bikes + Tax Returns), exploring balancing your love of triathlon with your money values. I wanted to get out and experience this, I wasn’t going to let not having all the gear stop me.

The only things I have purchased for this race was the speed suit (and technically I had that before the race), a helmet (again a very stock standard basic one) and lights for the bike. And with that it just goes to show you can do a triathlon with the basics.

 

What are you most excited about race day?

Race day! And getting to show off my fancy HE Speed/ Triathlon Suit. That thing makes me feel like I know what I’m doing. For someone who has never considered themselves sporty or an athlete, just competing and finishing this is going to be the biggest buzz!

 

What are you most nervous about race day?

Still the bike. I always rode heaps as a kid and was super confident on the bike. Then one day on my way to a friends house I fell off and fractured my wrist. For some reason more than 20years later I still have a fear of falling. I have a few friends that ride and they have all had accidents so this is something I definitely need to work through.

Also the transitions. Having not done one before I just hope I don’t do anything wrong…

 

So you did a race simulation as part of your training prior to race day? Did you find this beneficial to your confidence leading into race day? Did you learn anything new that you would change come race day?

Yep it was great! It has made me feel so much more confident both in my ability to actually do this and with my nutrition and hydration.

When I did my half marathon I did not fuel properly – I know I definitely ‘should know better’. Having had that experience I didn’t want to go into this weekend under-prepared. The Sprint distance is starting just after lunch so I will have had food in the morning leading up to the race. I wanted to test how that felt before swimming and how that then translated onto the bike and then the run. I found I felt a little heavy during the first part of the swim so a little more time between my last meal and race start will help that. I also felt like a was losing power quicker than usual on my run so I’m going to bump up the fuel a little more on the bike to combat this. It was also good to practice eating and riding. Given my lack of  on the bike this was good. I know I can still peddle at a decent pace and have my freedom fuel without nearly crashing – hehe! Multitasking at its best!

 

What’s the one thing, or few things you have learnt about triathlon – that you didn’t know before now?

– That I could swim in a speed (triathlon) suit.

– You don’t need to be ‘one of those super-fit people’ to do a triathlon. There is no type. If you want to give it a go you totally can.

– Running off the bike is actually not as hard as I thought it would be. I actually find I have to make myself go slower, my legs are just ready to get going.

I have a feeling I’m going to add a few things to that list post race – I feel I will learn a little bit more once I set up my bike and gear in transition and then actually have to transition. I have so much more to learn and that it what makes it so exciting.

 

Dare we ask, or should we just assume that this is the beginning of your triathlon career? 

I haven’t even raced yet and I’m hooked!!  I may have even started looking for the next event… I think another Sprint distance then I’ll increase to the Standard distance. Team HE is so inspiring. With my role at HE I get to see all these great inspiring stories come through and help people during their build-ups, seeing all that passion and love for a sport – it’s totally infectious!

 

 

          Yay! And we could be more excited or proud of you Kirsty!

               We just know you will enjoy every minute out there 🙂

 

 

 

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