You had a cracking build towards your first Ironman in 2017. You felt strong, you were consistent, you did the work and you were READY. But Busselton Ironman had other plans.  (Read that story here) 

You finished with grit and determination under a set of very unforgiving circumstances.

We know it was a hard mental process to accept post race. Tell us what that was like for you?

The whole Ironman Busselton journey is something that I am so grateful of experiencing. There honestly isn’t a day where I don’t think about it. It showed me so much about myself and what I am truly capable of doing. I often pull strength from that day and use it in other day to day things. When I feel like I can’t do something or if something is hard, I reflect on that day. I also go back and look at my collection of photos from the journey, read comments that people left me. It was truly something unique. I had so many people believe in me, I believed in me! Even though the end day wasn’t what I had hoped for, I am now ok with that. It took awhile to not feel disappointed or frustrated with triathlon. For thinking ‘whats the point’ My body was tired, my mind was tired, but I had this feeling that I couldn’t settle with only a ride and run Ironman, I want to experience the whole package. Yet the thought of ironman training made me slightly cringe. I didn’t take my bike out of the bag until months after getting back from Busselton, I could barely look at my bike. I had no idea how much body would need to rest to know when I felt ready to get on with it. It was definitely longer than I had anticipated. I guess thats what is so unique about us all.

Originally you decided to have another crack at Ironman at Cairns. But a number of week’s back into training your heart wasn’t in it, and you made the decision to switch to Cairn’s 70.3.

What was that decision making process like? And how do you feel about that decision?

The decision process was one gigantic mind game! I think I said to Scott (my partner) about 10 different times I was doing it, then I wasn’t.

2 days post Busselton I was sure I was going to Ironman Cairns, I had told Coach Katee and she was on deck. The plan was when I got back, enjoy some down time over Christmas and New Years, then pick it all back up start of Feb. Oh how wrong was I!. It reached Feb and I still hadn’t unpacked my bike from its bike bag, I think the longest run I did was 5km and it felt hard AF. February flew by, as did my chronic training load score (fitness), it felt like it was slipping away by the day. This was hard to watch. So much effort last year yet I didn’t have the drive to pick back up my swim, ride run training. I thought I had to do Cairns to make it right for myself. I wasn’t ready, however the months and weeks counting down to Cairns Ironman were getting closer. But something inside me knew it wasn’t the right timing. I wasn’t  prepared, mentally more than anything. I think it was about 14 weeks out from race day I had come to terms with my decision, that I would do Cairns 70.3 instead. Boy did that feel like a weight had shifted from my shoulders. I was now excited about training, rather than dreading what I was about to do. Its crazy what kind of pressure we can put on ourselves.

Looking back now it was the best decision I could have made. I love the human body, it knows what it needs and doesn’t need, being able to listen to it the hard part. At this point in my life, there was no space for an Ironman.

You’ve experienced something quite new for you during this build. Your relationship and results from running has changed dramatically. What’s changed with your running and what do you think contributed to this?

Yes thats true. I’ve always loved running, I have just never been that quick. (and Im totally ok with that) At the beginning of the year when I was setting some personal goals, something I noticed was I didn’t do much training for ‘fun’ last year. I did a whole heap of training on my own. Which at the time and with my work schedule that was what suited to my goals. This year I really wanted to be out training with others and taking part in fun runs or cycling events to help give me that extra little push as I was struggling to do it on my own. After a few fun runs I noticed my run improve very quickly. The thing that was blowing my mind was how little I was training. I felt like I was cheating, could I be improving this much on such little training?! My times are basically back to where they were before I started triathlon, nearly 4 years ago. After Busselton I spent a good couple of months in the gym getting my body as strong as I could. Training for strength and power, mixing it up and my body thrived off that. In the past I’ve fallen apart when it comes to the run, and Im truly looking forward to a new strength I’ve found with my running.

In the lead up to Ironman, yourself and Coach Katee incorporated Strength & Conditioning training to your program, including heavy lifts. How do you think this contributed to your IM build and training for Cairns 70.3 this year?

Of course. Strength and conditioning is my passion, its what I do for a living and I cannot imagine my training program without it. As my interest in swim, bike and run was pretty minimal over summer I spent more time in the gym, instead of 1-2 sessions I was  now doing 3-4 plus including pilates and yoga. I know my body thrives off lifting heavy. I know its what keeps me in the game uninjured.

Its so funny the journey triathlon can take you on and the people you meet along the way. Thank you to HE for the continual love and support in this crazy Ironman world. Im excited to see what I can do in the future. From the day i finished Ironman Busselton, I was done with the sport to now doing Cairns 70.3 with a another possible 70.3 at the end of the year. And more recently this new exciting desire to tackle that unfinished business I have with Ironman.

Who knows Ironman New Zealand is looking pretty damn fine! Who’s with me?!

Thanks for reading,

JLB (Jamie-Lee Brown)

Check out our other Cairns Athlete journeys;