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

Journey to Geelong : The Ambassador Series : Race Report

Race morning my alarm went off at 0445 I immediately turned it off and said to my friend who had come with me that I was not ready for this and was going back to sleep. After been told to get up and get moving I rolled out of bed and went straight for the coffee.

My standard morning coffee these days is my own variation of the Fat Black. My stomach wasn’t keen on eating anything and the plan was to eat my banana and almond butter so I just had the coffee and forgot about the food and moved on to complete my stretching, mobility and muscle activation exercises. All my race gear was ready to go so all I had to do was put my new HE race kit on, grab my bag to take to transition and walk down to the race start.

It was a perfect morning; not too cold at all – I actually ditched my track pants soon as I stepped outside of the hotel because it was so warm (15 degrees + 90% humidity if I remember correctly).  A nice 15min walk from the hotel to race start was just enough to get the body moving and shake out (some of) the nerves.

Entered transition, filled up my hydration systems on my bike; 1  x with electrolytes and 1 x with water, pumped my tyres up and lay down the rest of my bits and pieces i.e. runners, bike shoes, helmet, hat, socks, nutrition, sunnies. I had a look around at everyone else’s transitions set ups to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything (felt like I was doing this for the first time not the 6th) and all looked ok so I made note of where I was so I wouldn’t get lost coming in from the swim and then headed off down to the swim start.

The Swim

The first waves started at 0700 and mine wasn’t until 0736 so I had a good 45mins to spare before my race started. Worried I should have forced some food down earlier I chose now to have a couple of mouthfuls of banana and spoonful of almond butter, hoping I hadn’t left it too late and that I wouldn’t bring it back up in the swim. And then it was time to see if my wetsuit that I hadn’t worn since the beginning of 2016 fit. Took me a solid 25mins to get the thing on but eventually got her on and was ready to go.Courtney Swim

Water was flat, not a single wave and was it was the perfect temperature so made for a really lovely swim. Because it had been so long since I had swum in a wetsuit I forgot how different it made you feel in the water. My arms fatigued early on and my legs were been really lazy and needed lots of reminding to kick and help my poor arms out. I have never been a strong swimmer I am usually in the slower half of the pack but I felt incredible slow during this swim. Knowing I was in the 2nd last wave and that there were not many people that would be behind me had me freaking out about been the last one out of the water. I became so panicked by the thought of it and was just picturing myself alone swimming in the ocean all by myself. I knew these negative thoughts were not helping so I instead just pretended I was actually winning, this is what I told myself and what I pictured in my head – me out the front of the pack swimming faster than anybody else. Bit strange but hey it worked it stopped the negative thoughts and got me through the swim. I was probably half way through the swim when I told myself that my goal time for the swim didn’t matter anymore because I was finding the swim a lot harder than expected so just said to myself not to worry about getting the time I wanted and to just keep swimming.  My goal for the swim had been 38mins, I finished it in 38:59.

The Bike

I decided before the race that I wouldn’t go hard in transitions so I took my time getting to my bike actually walking most of the way. Eventually got the wetty off,  had a quick swig of Freedom Fuel (wasn’t in the plan but felt like some) put my socks and bike shoes on, helmet and sunnies on, 2 x bottles on Freedom Fuel in the back pockets of my race suit and I was read to ride.

While making my way out of transition and to the mounting line Elly (my nutritionist who came to watch me) called out so I gave her a wave – did almost drop my bike in the process, and then jumped in the saddle and set off. First part of the bike was little bit hilly so once I got past all the hills and was out on the main road I settled into a rhythm. Focusing only on HR and keeping it low was all I had to do, that and sipping electrolytes and Freedom Fuel every alternate 10mins (i.e at 10min Electrolytes, 20mins FF, 30mins electrolytes, 40mins FF etc for the full duration of the ride). Finished the first lap feeling super fresh as though I could keep riding all day! I thought maybe I was going too easy and that I should be pushing a bit more but remembered I had a 21km run to yet so best stick to the plan or I might regret emptying the tank too early. Was happy to finish my 90km ride in a time of 3:07, which was only 2mins slower than my goal time.

The Run

Another walk through transition to rack the bike and my legs are still feeling fantastic and I am both excited and nervous to see how the run is going to go. In transition I loaded up the back pockets of my trisuit with 2 more bottles of FF and I grabbed a V Fuel gel just in case I needed something extra on top of my FF. My plan was to wash the FF down with some water at every aid station. Didn’t have much of pacing plan or run/walk plan in place as I really had no idea how my leg was going to go so it was all to be played by ear. The one thing that was set in concrete was HR plan.

I started running and legs didn’t feel heavy from the bike at all. I have always liked running off the bike I actually prefer it to running on fresh legs because riding gets all the muscles firing and working particularly the glutes and since my glutes have the tendency to be lazy and not switch on, I run much better off the bike. I was feeling good after a few minutes and thought if I can keep this up I can aim to run to the first aid station. I reached the first aid station feeling good, had a swig of FF and washed down with some water as planned and then started running/shuffling again. HR was steady and body was feeling good, I was comfortable.

So I kept to this pattern of running between aid stations as well as was walking up any hills. The run course was 2 laps and towards the end of my first lap everyone around me was on their 2nd lap so were all heading to the finish. At this point the thought of doing another lap was rather uninviting and I had wished I was heading to the finish. The first lap was quite warm and humid but during the 2nd lap a breeze picked up and made a world of difference. I had my Vfuel gel in the hope of an extra kick from the caffeine that I knew was in it. I then decided to veer away from my nutrition plan and have some coke at the 14km aid station. Jackie had said if I wanted to hit the coke try wait until the last third of the run. Elly had said no coke end of story. Although I was hoping to not need to go for the coke at all, I didn’t beat myself up for wanting/needing it. Next time I race I will aim for a coke-free race, once I build some more strength and fitness up and spend a few more months working on my every day nutrition and fat adaption.

The Finish Line

Before I knew it I was heading for the final part of lap 2 which meant 3 more hills and then the finish line. Knowing the end was in sight and I was feeling no pain/niggles in my injured leg I decided to pick up the pace up for the final couple of k’s and I finished with a run rather than my usual shuffle. Finishing my run leg in a time of 2:22, which was 7mins short of my goal time.

There as no disappointment with not hitting my exact goal times for each of the legs of my race because honestly, I didn’t even want to set goal times for this race. The only reason I did was for a nutrition plan point of view. This race wasn’t ever about trying to do it as fast as I could; it was just about doing it. Proving to myself I could do. It was about getting back into the triathlon game, back into fueling my body with nourishing food and back to living a healthy and happy life. All of which I can say I did achieve. I wanted to see how my body handled a half Ironman after recovering from injury and from being on an extended break. I am so happy with how my body held up and how it felt post-race. The only soreness I had after the race was a saddle sore that appeared the week before the race and was stirred up again by the race. The rest of my body felt absolutely amazing, in fact I think I even felt better the day after the race than I did the day before it! Which I believe was a credit to sticking to Coach Jackie’s training and racing plans.

The Takeaway

So in a nutshell I definitely could not be happier with my race, I feel as though I achieved everything and more that I set out to. I am beyond proud of myself for overcoming all my physical and mental barriers to get not only the start line of Geelong 70.3 but to where I am now in my life in general. It has not been as easy road and I know I am not at the end of it yet, but I do know that I am well and truly on my way to better and brighter days and I have Holistic Endurance to thank for all of it!

From here I will be taking my focus to my nutrition, gut health and body composition goals (working with Elly from TNN), whilst building a solid base before my next training block (with a focus on strength and conditioning with the help of Coach Katee) before returning back to Coach Jackie for guidance into my next 70.3 which will be later this year.

What’s Next

In the immediate future I have a friend from work doing the Oxfam 100 and had a member of her team drop out at the last minute so she asked if I could fill in! I have never done anything like it and only have a couple of weeks to train for it so bit of #yolo moment. I’m super keen for it as I have wanted to start doing some hiking and trail running so guess it’s a perfect way to push myself into actually doing it!

Read more about Courtney’s journey here

Journey to Geelong : The Ambassador Series : Race Week

As Geelong 70.3 gets closer and the nerves really start to kick in I have taken some time to reflect on the last 3 months and how much I have achieved since starting my return to triathlon journey with Holistic Endurance

Having goals/dreams is great but if you want to make them a reality then you

  1. need to have a plan on how to achieve those goals/dreams
  2. need to be actively working towards those goals/dreams.

I have always been an excellent dreamer and in the past I have been able to effectively achieve my goals but in more recent times I have sort of fell of the aspiration wagon and have found myself not only struggling to come up with goals but then struggling to find the motivation to work for them.

Motivation in the past seemed to have come effortlessly to me but these days I have to work really hard at it, every day. I am the worst culprit for comparison, not that I compare myself to others but I have been robbing myself of my own happiness by comparing myself from where I am at now to where I was 2+ years ago. For a lot of people comparing your present self to your past self wouldn’t be a terrible thing. But in my case and I am sure many others out there, you feel like you have gone somewhat backwards.

So for me now what I am working on is not so much forgetting who I was (as an athlete) in the past, but just accepting that THAT IS IN THE PAST and right now it is irrelevant to where I am now. If I am going to compare then I should only be comparing where I am now to where I was 3 months ago, not 3 years. Because just 3 months ago I was lost and miserable and the most unhappiest and unhealthiest I have been in my life but now, I have not only found some direction in my life but I am healthier and happier and on the well on the road to better things.

I have triathlon and Holistic Endurance to thank for helping me find my happiness.

A week ago I competed in a local sprint distance triathlon, my first triathlon in 12 months. I was the heaviest and most unfit I have ever been so there were no surprises that it was my slowest race to date. I NEVER would have imagined that it would the THE MOST wonderful, amazing and greatest day I could have asked for.

I went into that race with 2 intentions

  1. To see where I am so as to give me an idea of what goals to set for Geelong 70.3
  2. To how how my dodgy left leg handled a triathlon (read about that here and here)

But I ended up getting so much more out of that race. I came away with more determination to succeed than ever before; not only in sport but in life.

I have fallen completely in love with triathlon AND life all over again, I just feel so freaking happy to be where I am. I may not be as fast as I used to be and that has been something that has really been getting me down lately, but after today I can honestly say that I’m absolutely ok with where I am at right now because I am my own work in progress and who I was doesn’t have anything on who I am or who I will become.
I now know exactly where I am at and what kind of realistic physical and mental goals to set for Geelong. I am absolutely over the moon to have had ZERO pain whatsoever in my dodgy leg the entire race. I really couldn’t have asked for a better day!

Special thanks go to Coach Jackie and Coach Katee for getting me back up on my feet again both emotionally and physically.

So as you can imagine, going into Geelong 70.3 next weekend is ridiculously scary for me and I would be lying if I didn’t say I had considered chickening out. But then I try to remember that this is just the beginning. This is only the first big race in my new journey. And I will try to keep telling myself that no one actually cares about how fast or how slow I go more than I do. I am scared but I am excited and I can’t wait to share with you all how it next weekend goes!

Read Courtney’s Journey to Geelong from the beginning here.

Journey to Geelong : The Ambassador Series : Run Technique

Running Technique Assessment

The plan following up from my initial Functional Movement Assessment (FMA) (read about that here) with Coach Katee was to have a Running Technique Assessment before moving forwards with run load/volume. After 4 weeks of focusing on my given mobility and stretching exercises including breath control, I noticed a huge improvement in not only my leg that had been giving me pain but in all areas of my body. My hips were more mobile and my core and glutes were switching on relieving the pain I was getting in my back. I was practising my belly breathing every day; not just in training but when driving to work and even before going to bed! I was very eager to start progressing with my running so knew that putting in 110% effort in all aspects of training and recovery was essential.

There were 3 main issues with my running technique that Coach Katee quickly identified;

  1. I was too upright/not leaning forwards,
  2. I wasn’t lifting my knees and
  3. I had no control of my arms.

One by one we worked through correcting each of these issues. Coach Katee got me leaning forwards from my hips as I ran (think about the direction you want to go she asked me, you don’t want to go up you want to go forwards). At the beginning (even still now) this felt a bit strange but I could definitely notice a positive change in my run by simply leaning forward from the hips.

Next was to start making a conscious effort to lift my knees up (to the point of having to exaggerate the knee lift/drive). By focusing on driving my knees up I simultaneously stopped heel striking and started landing nicely on my forefoot. Here Coach Katee then added another note; to think about pushing off the ground with a little more force. The combination of the leaning forwards, knee lift and strong forefoot push off completely changed my run; giving it more strength and momentum and most importantly I felt all the right muscles working/activating i.e. calves, glutes, core.

The last thing was to address my out of control arms. I had elbows going sideways and arms crossing the midline causing my upper body to twist and turn all over the place. To get me to understand how ineffectively I was using my arms, Coach Katee hand cuffed my hands and made me run; I very quickly realised I had to do something about my wonky wings.

So first thing we did was come up with come cues to prompt the positioning of my arms which for me were “butterflies, buttons and boobs.” Pretending there are “butterflies” in each of my hands (and to not squish them) was my first cue; to remind me not to clench my fists.

Next it was to pretend that there were 2 “buttons” directly behind me that I needed to press with my elbows. This was to make me drive my elbows directly backwards and not out to the sides. And lastly “boobs”, was to remind me to not have my arms/hands cross the centre/midline of my body. So the idea is to keep the right hand adjacent to the right boob and not have it crossing over to the left side, and vice versa.

Trying to think about leaning forwards from the hips, lifting the knees, how the feet are landing and taking off and control of the upper body/arms all at once was quite over whelming and I found it too difficult to think about and do all of this at once. So to begin with we broke it down and decided to focus on either arms or legs and at one time and then swap the focus around. For example spending 5 minutes running with a focus on “butterflies, buttons and boobs” and then the next 5 minutes the focus would be on leaning forwards from the hips, lifting/driving the knees with a forefoot landing and strong push off the ground.

4 weeks on and although I can now focus on everything at once, none of it is coming naturally just yet, my HR still increases and I am still having to make a really conscious effort with my technique. But I have to remember that I did have 12 months off running and am now not only trying to regain my fitness but am essentially learning how to run all over again – while healing an injury. Although at times (well most of the time) I get frustrated with my body and where I am at, I know deep down I would much rather take my time, stick to plan, listen to the boss ladies (Coach Jackie and Coach Katee) and do it all properly to ensure my injury heals and more importantly I don’t get injured in the future.

I also have to remind myself that while yes I am running (very) slowly; at least I am running (and pain free!). Although it is nice to keep your eyes on the prize I believe it is even more important to keep your focus on the process.

Journey to Geelong : The Ambassador Series : Functional Movement

The Functional Movement Assessment with Coach Katee

To think that just 3 months ago when I started as the Holistic Endurance Ambassador I couldn’t even walk without experiencing pain in my leg, my back, my hips – everywhere, which made any form of exercise extremely uninviting because it was just too painful and I feared doing anything would only make things worse. All I longed for was to be able run (pain free) again but my body was not cooperating with me and this left me unfit, sad and feeling hopeless.

Given my ongoing issues, primarily the pain in my left leg but also the many niggles I had; Coach Jackie requested I have a Functional Movement Assessment (FMA) with Coach Katee. The FMA consisted of Coach Katee getting me to do particular exercises, stretches, movements and then she would go on to analyse my range of movement, rate my mobility and work out whether or not I was activating the correct muscles at the correct time.

When initially doing the exercises I was not activating my core and my range of movement for everything was overall quite poor. But with some simple cues and exercises from Coach Katee we were able to switch my core on, increase my range of movement and get my body functioning efficiently and most importantly – pain free.

One of the key concepts that Coach Katee introduced me to was belly breathing. She wanted me to focus on belly breathing during mobility and stretching exercises as well as when I was running. For the time being I was to only jog or walk at intensity I could effectively nose/belly breathe – to allow for effective diaphragm control and core connection. With a focus on this as well as gait development for the next 4 weeks I would then go back and see Coach Katee for a Run Technique Assessment prior to progressing any further with run speed/volume.

After my FMA with Coach Katee I learnt never to ignore the niggles or tight spots and that by addressing the minor issues early you can very easily prevent (further) injury and speed up your recovery process. I used to say things like “Oh that’s just the way I am”, “that’s just how my hips are” “I am used to that spot been tight and hurting all the time”, but I have now learnt that not only can all of those problems be corrected; but the importance of correcting them.

I now understand the important role breath plays and how you can utilise it to maximise your performance. I have since never skipped my mobility exercises and now my stretching, mobility and functional movement exercises really have become my number one non-negotiable.

A lot has gone on to get me to where I am now and one of the key parts to my progress was Coach Jackie recommending the FMA with Coach Katee early on in the journey.


Read more about Courtney’s Journey to Geelong here.

From Trail Running to Triathlon: Race Week

For the past few months our Trailer Runner turn (temporary) Triathlete, Lee McNulty has been consistently swim, ride and running towards his first triathlon and half ironman event this weekend at Tweed Enduro. Here Coach Jackie finds out how Lee feels having arrived at Race Week.

If you missed our first interview with Lee, you can read it here


Lee, its finally Race Week, how are you feeling?

I am feeling really good this week a little tight due to lack of mobility I have been doing, don’t tell the coach. Starting to get a little nervous mainly about the swim. Oh and the fact I am in the last wave of for the day “Don’t want to be last out of the water”.


How has the training been since we last spoke to you?

The training has been really enjoyable over the Christmas break. I was camping at the northern rivers of N.S.W, so all my swimming was in the Brunswick River which was a nice change to looking at the black line all the time. It has not all been smooth sailing, I also moved from Townsville to Brisbane during the break which made it hard to train. I found myself running out of time to train. But I have purchased a Wind Trainer which helped a lot even on wet days.



Any highs or lows that you’ve experienced in the past few months in terms of training?

A high lately has been riding, I came into this not really liking the idea of riding a bike on the road it sounded so boring to me coming from a trail running background. But lately I have found some really good roads through some very nice country side. I guess a low would be swimming for me.


In your last interview you said swimming was your greatest challenge, has this changed or how is your swimming coming along?

Swimming is my weakest and most disliked aspect of triathlon. I have come a long way since I start swimming 5 months ago but the last 2 months I have not been improving much which is to be expected having only started swimming 5 months ago, but it has still been annoying me a little.


What are you most looking forward to about race day?

I am big on the once race day come’s you have done all the work and it’s just time to enjoy all the hard work. I will be most happy at the end of the swim


Have you enjoyed the journey to your first Half Ironman? And have you found your spark for training again?

I have really enjoy the journey, this is the first time I have had a coach to program my training, it has been so nice to just wake up open up Training Peaks and get it done. The change to Triathlon has been a breath of fresh air to my training just to mix it up from my ultra-running programs. In May 2018 I am racing in the Rinjani 100 Ultra trail race and I am very hungry to start training.


How does training for a half ironman compare to a 100km trail run?

Training for an Ultra is quite easy you just need a pair of shoes a pack and some running clothes and off you go. Where I have found the half Ironman to be quite tricky to have everything you need to get the training done. What I mean by this is for swimming it is helpful if you have Fins, Paddles, Pool Boy, Kick board and an easy accessible pool. For riding a TT bike set up for Half Ironman, riding shoes, helmet and a Wind Trainer. But in saying all that I have found it easier not to get bored with the training, as you are always switching up what discipline you are training that day. It has been also nice to have someone to track my fatigue levels, as in the past now that I look back I was over training at times which I did not pick up until the damage was done.


And do you think you’ll keep on with triathlon? Or should I be asking you this post race?

At this point I really like the sport and I am very keen to still knock out a full Ironman in the future no matter how I go on the weekend. After this race I will be back to Trail running for a few months while I work out what full Ironman I want to do that fits in with work and my family.


Thanks Lee, with some solid training under your belt we look forward to hearing about tales of race day from a trailer runner turn triathlete!



To learn how we can help you towards your endurance goals:

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contact us HERE

or to read more about Coach Jackie click HERE



Journey to Geelong: Ambassador Series Part 1

Many of you would have watched or entered our search for the first Holistic Endurance Ambassador over September and October. Courtney Potts, our Ambassador began her journey with Holistic Endurance under Coach Jackie at the beginning of November. Here we have a look into what her first couple of weeks with Team HE have entailed and how she is feeling starting her comeback.

You have just finished your first couple of weeks with HE, what was focus?

First few weeks were about getting to know coach, coach getting to know me. Seeing how the body was going to respond to the training and getting back into a training routine. And there’s been quite a big focus on mobility exercises; pre training, post training and even when I’m not training!

What was the reason why Coach Jackie had for the focus on mobility and what differences do you feel the focus on mobility has been making thus far?
Jackie has put a focus on mobility because at present my body is not functioning as well as it should. I have lingering injuries that are causing all sorts of issues throughout my body. What was eventually diagnosed as ‘posterior tibial dysfunction’ (pain and weakness in my left lower leg) has been causing me grief for the last 12 months. So that with the combination of my wonky hips and knees (deformed since birth) and numerous past injuries to numerous limbs has basically just left my entire body out of whack and in much need of some TLC (mobility exercises!)
The difference this has made so far has been quite remarkabHolistic Endurance Ambassadorle; 4 weeks ago I couldn’t run more than 4 minutes without experiencing pain in my leg (I would actually be in pain just from been on my feet at work). As well as experiencing pain, I felt really awkward running like my body just wasn’t in sync and just nothing felt right when I ran. Coming from someone who used to love running and who even used to be half decent at it, the fact I couldn’t run properly anymore was extremely heart breaking. Since starting my program with Jackie which includes mobility, stretching and activation exercises pre and post training – I have been not only able to run pain free, but run properly without the awkwardness and out of sync feelings I was experiencing prior. (And no longer get pain in my leg during or after work)

How has this differed from previous program beginnings?

Hard to compare really, in the sense that my current training load and intensity is quite minimal having just about had this year off training completely. So I have started this program as the most unfit and weak/injured I have ever been. Compared to previous programs I started when I was fit, strong and healthy. In the past i have been able to jump straight into the full swing of things from the get go but this time round that is impossible. It took many months to lose my fitness and its going to take many months to get it back.

By not jumping into training load straight away, what impact do you feel this had?
Jackie is easing me back into training knowing I have just come back from an extended break, as well as dealing with injuries and having to re-learn how to juggle training, shift work and life. Had we jumped straight into a full training load straight away I probably would have burnt out early on and my injuries would not have healed (and I would have probably gained a few new ones)
During your testing you’ve set down some benchmarks, how are you feeling about the results? 

There weren’t any surprises with the test results, like I’ve said I have just had most of the year off training … if you don’t use it you will lose it! So I am super keen to repeat the tests in the future and see the improvements. The results I got although they were a slap in the face, have only provided me with more motivation and determination

Are there particular mental cues that have helped you turn this around mentally?
I think I have just changed the way I look at training and racing now, compared to how I have looked at it all in the past. I have always been in a hurry to get to where I want to be. I am like that in most aspects of my life, feel like I have to quickly do everything before I run out of time or something I don’t know…. I guess sometimes its not such a bad trait to have to in the sense that wanting to do everything you can in the time you have in order to get the most out of your life isn’t entirely a bad thing, but at what cost….. that is what I have come to realize of late is that you can charge on full steam ahead hammering yourself in training, work, life whatever it may be…. but at some point you will crash. And when you do it hurts a lot. So I have decided that I do not like crashing so in order to prevent that from happening again I am more than happy to slow down and get my body healthy and strong (injury free) and gradually work my way to my Ironman dreams. Listening to my body (and coach) along the way to ensure I don’t fall to pieces ever again.
For those who haven’t done ‘testing’ before, tell us what was involved.
The tests we did consisted of a 3km MAF run test, 500m swim time trial, 20min running threshold test, 15km bike MAF test, and a 20min bike lactate threshold test. The purpose for the testing was to validate my MAF heart rate calculation and to set my training zones.

What have you enjoyed the most in terms of training in the past two weeks?

I have just loved being back training in general, being active and out enjoying the sunshine that has decided to finally arrive in Melbourne these past few weeks. I’m loving that every session I do makes me realise or remember how much I love this sport. I have been the happiest I have been all year since starting my training program and I can’t wait to see how I feel in 3 months time

What challenges have you come across and how have you overcome them?

The first week and a half I find a bit stressful because I had an exam in the middle of the 2nd week back training…. i knew trying to balance full time shift work, studying and training wasn’t going to be easy…. so i definitely struggled for a few days there. It didn’t affect my training so much as my diet…. the training I think actually helped give me that outlet in between studying and working. But my sleeping habits and food choices definitely went out the window leading up to that exam….

Last week coach informed me we were lowering my MAF HR…. which at first I didn’t really take too well after finally thinking I was just starting to progress with my running. i do still feel like I have had to take a massive step back…. but unfortunately I have some ongoing issues with my legs that need to improve before it’s safe to proceed with the running. After thinking about it I did soon agree with the decision and have been reminded to remember to trust the process (and the coach)

Can you explain why Coach Jackie lowered your MAF HR? i.e. why do issues with your legs require a lower MAF HR?
Jackie lowered my MAF because Katee told her too LOL but seriously it was actually because of my injury status and previous burnout, meant really just having to urge on the side of caution. This will allow me to be back fitter and stronger than ever before. And this is not for forever, we will reassess the situation in a few weeks. But like I said earlier with my injuries at the moment my whole body is a bit out of whack so I am only going to do more harm than good by going too hard to soon. So if that means dialing it back a few notches to get things right from the beginning, then that is what I will do.

Have you learnt anything new – whether it be about training or even yourself, if so, what? 

Most concepts I have been somewhat familiar with but i guess now have just been made aware of their importance, like prioritising sleep and self care; to not only get the most out of training but out of your life in general.

I am learning to create some balance in my life, something I haven’t really ever been able to master.

Such great insight into coming back into training and race preparation whilst injury rehabing and adopting the Holistic Endurance foundations As Courtney progresses through her training we will provide you with updates and insights so you can follow her road back to racing in February 2018.
Find out what was next for Courtney – the Functional Movement Assessment.

Marion Drew – From Burnt Out to Awesome

Marion Drew lined up for her first Half Ironman at Challenge Shepparton in November. And she could not have been more READY. Immensely consistent training and diligence to holistic factors of mobility, nutrition, mindfulness and recovery had her prepped for an amazing day! Here Marion shares her what lead her to Holistic Endurance, her training in the lead up to the race and most importantly how she found her free spirit. This is one inspiring story.

Over to Marion…

I started training with Holistic Endurance about 15 month’s ago. Basically I was burnt out, stressed and over worked. I had to have everything done perfectly. Training myself was not working, I contacted Coach Katee on the recommendation of Steph Lowe – The Natural Nutritionist – who I had met at The Triathlon Expo in Sydney. This was my new beginning, a chance to become healthy again.

I have always wanted to do a Half Ironman but was not strong or fit enough and had a few injury issues as well. Having a coach was the best thing for me to be able to achieve this goal, especially the way Coach Katee trains me.

Coach Katee’s program has the right balance, it is stress free, the focus is on having a good diet and less is best in training, but the quality of that training is very high. There is no “junk training”, every session has a purpose and there is enough recovery for me to “go” again the next day. The training sessions are challenging but I never reached the stage where I was completely exhausted and had to miss sessions because I was too tired. When I was training myself this used to happen all the time. Coach Katee’s training program certainly has worked well for me.

I had never been involved in sports till the age of 37, so could not run ,swim or ride very well and had never played team sport. My whole life has changed now; you’re never too old to learn new tricks. My biggest fear was swimming, I suffered badly from anxiety in the open water , so to overcome this was huge for me . I could not swim a stroke when I started triathlon, but practice and determination will get you there.

I really enjoyed training for this race , I had never had a structured training program before. It was all new to me. My body and the mind had to adjust, but it was so much better.

Coach Katee knows how to train a burnt out body and get it functioning again. Holistic Endurance know their stuff!! I thought I would never get back to my old self but I trusted my coach and I could feel myself getting stronger with each passing week, without being too exhausted to do all the other things that have to be done, that’s why it worked.

When I was training myself I was always training in the grey zone, I did not know any better, but have learnt a lot since then. I love the Holistic Endurance way of training especially now I’m 46 I am happier, stronger , fitter and recover a whole lot better than I used to .

What were the top 3 things you learnt in the lead up to Shepparton?

The three main things I have learnt through the lead up to this race were:

1 Trust your coach
2 Your body can do extraordinary things
3 The mind will get you through anything if it’s in the right place (this goes for every day life as well!!! )


What did you enjoy the most in terms of training?

The parts I most enjoyed in terms of training were: The structure of my program, it was never boring and allowed me to recover from the harder sessions and seeing great results because I was consistent. Most importantly, work and family never suffered because of my training. The right balance – love it !! 🙂


What challenges did you come across and how have you overcome them?

Some of the challenges I came across was dealing with bad weather all the time on the bike, TT ‘s I thought I  could never ride three time trials of 30 minutes each in a 4 hour ride and just being out on the course for 6 to 6.5 hours on race day was scary.
I overcame these challenges by believing in myself, believing in the training I had done and working on building my mental strength to cope with all the things I couldn’t change. (I also have a wonderful husband who would make me go for a ride even though I would say things like “it’s too cold/hot, there are too many cars, the magpies will attack me, It’s too windy etc)

My biggest motivator was being told, “you’ll never do it you’re too slow’. That was a big red flag to me.


What parts of your program have given you the most confidence?

The program itself gave me the confidence that I could do all three disciplines well and finish. The difference with this program is that its designed for me, using MAF heart rate, good recovery and less training but more bang for your buck through quality training.
Mentally in the lead up to this race I just visualised the race going well and believed that I could do this and nothing was going to stop me.


What are the notable differences in your training leading into this race compared with others?

My nutrition has changed heaps, thanks to Steph and Coach Katee, I am fat adapted now and have a lot less sugar in the diet. Plain and simple, eat real fresh whole foods not packaged. Steph’s book “The Real Food Athlete “and her guidance has helped me a lot.


What holistic principle have you found has made the biggest difference in your training/recovery?

The biggest Holistic principle that has helped me back is MAF heart rate when training and recovery. I feel I can do the training without burn out and recovery time is so much better. Especially after this race I have never felt so good.


Who is on your “team” that you would like to acknowledge?
The people that have helped me through this journey my amazing husband Pat, Coach Katee my wonderful coach, Christine, Tom my kids, friends Vanessa, Mel , LLoyd,
Mum , Dad and Steph. I could not do it without their support .

The amazing race result!
The race itself was fantastic I enjoyed every minute off it, you learn a lot  about yourself in races like that, I don’t feelworthless anymore. Long distance is my favourite now. The funny thing is I qualified for the Challenge Championship 2018 Somorin Slovakia, (these things never happen to me), it felt absolutely awesome !!!

Most importantly how did you celebrate post event?

To celebrate I had my family and friends around me, and a really nice cocktail.


My advice to anyone reading this is: follow your dreams have the right people guiding and supporting you and most important have fun. I found ME again and that free spirit I used to be.
Happy Training everyone.

“The Come Back Train” has arrived at the station!

On Sunday, I completed Busselton 70.3, possibly the most eventful Triathlon I’ve ever come across as a coach and athlete. From shark sightings, to cancelled swims, kangaroos knocking an athlete of their bike, to bush fires shortening the IM course and mega heats of ~34 degrees.

The mixed feelings and emotions in the air were palatable. While many athletes had some heart breaking and challenging days – I am feeling very fortunate to have come away with my finishers medal and to finally say my come back “tour” of the past 3 years has come to a close!

I crossed the line at Busso 70.3 yesterday – and it was a culmination of 3 years hard work and diligence of building myself back up from burn out, hormone imbalance, poor gut health, poor recovery and injury.
Most of the hard work lies in pulling my ego in check. Allowing weight gain, loss of performance and stepping away from racing. I’m a competitive spirit, and at times I lost a sense of identity without competition in my life. But it was 100% what I needed to put a mega fire in my belly that will continue to burn for years, even now with 12 years of Triathlon under my belt.

So here is how my day went down…

One of the greatest benefits of working on fat adaptation as an athlete is not having to worry about pre race breakfast! I never stomached it well anyway. So I started my day off with a Bulletproof coffee, that was all I needed 🙂
As a coach, racing on the same day as athletes, or on an IM day is certainly challenging, and had me a little torn mentally. I have chosen in the past to purposely not race when my athlete key races are, but I made an exception for this race. I’m certainly glad I did, but I won’t make the decision lightly if I complete a 70.3 on the day of an IM again if I have athletes racing.


The morning prep went well, we set up transition with my new bike in tow – more about that last min decision later – we did some mobility, and put wetsuits on.
I jumped in for a warm up swim and made my first error for the day (bound to happen). I had put coconut oil on as anti chafe. Which was on my fingers – which then transferred to my goggles lenses. As I was in my wetsuit and we were about to start, I didn’t have anything to wipe them with. I just had to be okay with swimming slightly blind and fogged! I was the lucky winner of an Xterra wetsuit at the Women For Tri Breakfast – one of the many “cardinal rules” I broke during this race in regards to “nothing new on race day”. I think because I had relinquished so many elements of control for this race (unlike me) I was able to roll with the punches like a champ. Racing in a wetsuit I had worn once, for 20min was something I would NEVER do, nor recommend to my athletes! (I had however ripped a big hole in my wetsuit the day prior so this was the best option). I went in with some swim time goal expectations, I haven’t done lots of swim training, however it is my strength of the 3 disciplines, and felt I could achieve a time of 36-38min. In peak condition I would aim for 31-33min. As you will learn through this blog, putting my ego aside for this race was my greatest challenge.


The Swim

We started the swim, self seeded according to pace, a rolling start. This was my first rolling start experience – oh my! So cruisey and relaxed. What a dream. So here I am, relaxed, very happy drafting off one of my athletes, when I hear about 50 whistles start to blow. Life savers were ushering all of us out of the water – telling us to swim towards the jetty.

Shark sighting.

The chopper circled above and it was very evident this shark was close by. Somehow, I didn’t get flustered or worried. There were bunches of people treading water waiting to get up the ladder – but everyone seemed quite calm (on the outside anyway). Once we on the jetty everyone was very confused about what next. Some people started running for transition. And others were saying race organisers were going to have us start the swim again. I stayed on the jetty to find my husband (with no luck) – who went off in the first pace group so had covered a lot more ground. While waiting – I saw what all the fuss was about. “Yep – that’s a shark fin – about 300m off shore.”

Good call Ironman.

I was hopeful they would track the shark and he would make his way back out to sea and the Ironman athletes would be clear for their start an hour later. Unfortunately that was not the case, and the IM swim was cancelled too.

What followed was a ~40min wait on the beach as each of the 70.3 athletes were let through to T1, 2 athletes at a time. To say the vibe was weird, is an understatement.
As a strong swimmer, I was certainly devastated not to swim. But I didn’t get flustered or worried about it. I kept my watch on so I knew how far behind my race nutrition plan would be and what I needed to bring forward.
Then as I ran through to T1, it was the most relaxed and cruisey vibe I had ever experienced. Which I LOVED!


The Bike Leg.

What came next was my next blunder for the day. My bike mount skills are usually on point, no matter how long it has been between races, it’s not something I need to practise. Well, when you buy a new bike on a Thursday before a race. It’s something you should practise! I got the slight wobbles with a flying bike mount, mainly because I was trying to make way through the mount line traffic jam. I gave spectators something to “oooooooo” about – and managed to right myself. Phew, close call.

My bike plan was to ride to wattage of ~120, and heart rate of ~165 bpm – resulting in a bike time of 3:05 -3:08 in an ideal scenario. But I was also realistic and had my plan B of under 3:15.

How did I establish this plan?

In training I’ve conducted FTP test (Functional Threshold Power) and from that I work out a suitable intensity to race at. For a half Ironman, recommended intensity depends on experience and running ability. My intensity factor (IF) was planned for a 82-85% (.82 – .85).
Further to that, I completed an MET (Metabolic Efficiency Test) to determine my bodies ability to access fat for fuel at intensity, and how many grams of carbohydrates I burn at a given heart rate. This helped formulate my race nutrition and heart rate strategy.
I discussed this in further detail in this blog.

Here comes the next example of why I recommend “nothing new on race day”. With my new bike being somewhat exceptional, I put my power metre peddles on Friday for my first ride. (I can’t believe it either!) I noticed almost straight away that my power output was very different. It was higher, and my heart rate was lower. Obviously a good thing, meaning I was able to express more efficiency on this bike. But it meant that my power / wattage race pace plan went out the window. That data was now obsolete. But I remained confident in my plan utilising cadence, speed and heart rate as other metrics to ensure I ticked the “process” goals along the way.

I enjoyed the ride from the first km through to the 90th km. I was AMAZED, I was able to ride this new bike, in only a tri kit on a saddle I had ridden once, without issues or pain. (Again – seriously – who am I?). I have a bit of chafe, but I only felt it post race and could also be from the run. My pacing was spot on, here is the data excerpt: 

Now, I should point out. This didn’t “just happen”. I fought for this result. I stayed immensely focused the entire 3hours and 6mins. I focused on my deep belly breaths, my peddle stroke and my posture. I could have easily relaxed a little or eased off a little – my brain and legs certainly wanted me to. I was comfortably uncomfortable in my effort. and when it got tough, my trusty mantra from back in the day slipped back to the forefront of my find “I am Strong, Fit, Powerful”.

My power output was sitting 20 watts higher than the plan, particularly into the wind. So that certainly confirmed the old numbers were obsolete.
From there, I just took note of average power each 10km “lap” and used that as my metric to stay focused on. I noticed my heart rate was 5beats higher than I had planned (or wanted it to be).

Because the race excitement / nerves had not been released out in the swim, I noticed riders were really going for it initially, I had to calm myself down and talk myself into letting people pass by, knowing that if I stuck to my plan, it would come back to me later on.
At this point I made a mental note that my fuelling plan would need to be adjusted slightly. I knew that the amount of carbohydrates I burn per hour at 165 bpm vs ~170 bpm was quite different.

This meant I would need to eat my words. I am constantly telling athletes during their pre race planning chats “I don’t care how much you don’t feel like your fuel, because it’s hot or ‘xyz’ – you will need to force it in and suck it up”. I disliked my own advice.

This CHO plan was much higher than I would normally plan for. This was based on my lack of current fitness, comparative to my previous athletic ability, knowing my heart rate would be higher. But also being early in the summer season, I wouldn’t be well heat adapted – which puts the heart rate up higher. Forecast was 34 deg. It definitely hit 34 degrees.

I don’t quite remember when it started, but out of nowhere I started regurgitating my fuel. It wasn’t pretty, but the chicks drafting off the back weren’t there for much longer!
It’s a common story I’ve heard from athelte’s at Busselton. Some speculation to the country water perhaps? Whatever the case, fuel was constantly sitting at the back of my throat threatening to make it’s way back out.

I thought back to a friends first IM at Melbourne. Where she vomitted, violently, the ENTIRE 180km and still ran an exceptional marathon. It was that memory that kept me going, I didn’t worry about the vomitting, and kept force fuelling, which I hated but knew it’s what I had to do.
Because after all, If I didn’t do it, how on earth would me athletes ever listen to me? 😛

It didn’t get worse, and it wasn’t a huge amount so I knew I’d be okay.
In the end the result was;

*I spent 61min above my cross over point of 173 bpm increasing CHO needs by 15-20g.

The main difference being additional sodium, electrolytes and a sprinkle of additional CHO for the higher heart rate & delayed start. I also knew that if my heart rate was higher on the bike than planned, the same would be true for the run. So it was important to “back fill” in prep for the run.

I fought hard in the last 20km to bring my average pace bang onto my goal of 29 kph, and a 3:06. A tail wind made it a fun ride home. I think I was doing a little dance in my saddle at this point. There was some out loud talking to myself of “you are actually doing this” – “you are nailing it.” “See, you DID surprise yourself.”

My dismount was much more eloquent than my mount, thank goodness.

The Run. The Great Unknown (for me).

Here was the plan;
A: Be able to run 10km, non stop, niggle free, under a 173 bpm.**
B: Be able to run 7km, non stop, niggle free, under a 173 bpm.**
Thereafter the plan was to switch to a jog/walk strategy of 9min jog, 1min walk. I’ve used this effectively many times before, for myself and with athletes.

**173 is my “Cross Over Point” – where I burn more carbohydrates than fats for fuel.

Even though the plan was in place, the likelihood of having to power walk the 21.1km or DNF was a reality. The story behind why, is a long one, and actually relates to the new bike story. So that’s for another day.

With the minimal run training behind me, (this is a strategy to avoid previous injury issues) my success on the run was going to come down to how bad I wanted it mentally. And to trust my cross training in the gym, bike and hiking to transfer across.

To say I impressed myself is an understatement. My form felt good, I was feeling better than any of my training ROB’s. Unlike on the bike, I avoid looking at my pace out of ‘fear’ that I will see some uber slower figures than I would like. That just didn’t happen.
I consistently sat around 6:30 -6:40 for the first 10km and refused to walk even though I REALLY wanted too. I had 2 x brisk walks of about 15 seconds through aid stations to make sure I got enough water and ICE.

At 10.5 km I gave myself a walk break of about 30seconds. Then I was off again. I was going along quite well, so pushed through to 12km before needing to take extended walk breaks.
Now, when I opt for this strategy, I am still powering through, my posture is tall and it’s a BRISK walk. It makes the transition back to running much easier.

I stuck to nutrition plan even though I still felt ill and there were mini vomits and big burps.
I noticed I was dumping a lot more salt than I am used too (white patches on my suit and legs). So I increased my planned intake of Salt Stix Chewables as a precaution.

At about 12km the knee pain started. It didn’t take hold and I was able to keep my form, focus on toe off, glut activation and hip clearance. At 15km a blister shot an EPIC sharp pain up my foot.
(oh, did I mentioned I also wore brand new socks?!) Again, needed to make sure my gait wasn’t affected which would then make my knee feel worse. Ironically, the knee giving me grief was my “good” knee.

Spectators and volunteers were giving me a lot of energy and cheers as I seemed to be “flying” in comparison to the number of walkers /shufflers around me. It was 34 degree’s and it was a tough day for all involved. There was one move I made that I feel saved my run. After I had finished the Vfuel in a small flask that planned for lap 1, I had planned on disposing at our club tent. But I hung on to it.

At each aid station, I grabbed a cup of ice – put the ice in my flask which gave me cold water through to each aid station and made the world of difference. My cooling strategy also involves pouring water on my head and down my back. Then I also chew on ice. I also store some ice for later down my crop top to chew between aid stations. But mostly, I don’t get caught up in my head about the heat. I don’t give it my attention or worry. This makes the greatest difference.

But by 18km I was in a fair amount of pain and my form was impacted (check out finishing video here – Katee finishing) By then, my mental toughness was in top gear and I wasn’t going to give in.
I kept fighting, I recalled all my reasons “WHY’. At times I had to stop myself from thinking about some of them to hold back the tears. It’s been a tough 2017 for me. And this race was a celebration of putting that all behind me, showing myself that my strength and courage still exist.

Because the run was so unknown I couldn’t really set a time goal. It was hard, but I had to be okay with the following mental conundrum:
I would run 21km for the first time in 3.5 years which is a massive and fabulous achievement regardless of the time.
I would run my slowest 21km of all time.

I put my lofty A goal out there to run 6:50 pace, which would be a 2:24.
To put some context in place, my previous half marathon times are around 1:47 and HIM run times have been between 1:57 – 2:10 for the majority. Including some damn hilly and hot courses. So as you can see, I had some serious brain re-wiring to do.

My B goal was sub 2:30.

I ended up completing the 21.1km (WIN) in a time of 2:29:24.
Side note: Heart rate goal NOT achieved! 180 bpm average! Ouch.

Run Nutrition Plan vs Actual:
*Not including 3 sips of Coke from 15km onwards.

When I calculate total race ingestion and total time (not including my short swim away from the shark and subsequent wait time) this works out to 42g of CHO per hour.
My average heart rate across both Bike & run was 170 bpm, at this heart rate my actual needs (based on lab testing) are about 28g CHO per hour. In summary, I had enough fuel and this plan worked well for me. I should mention I didn’t have any gastrointestinal upset – thank you Vfuel!

To Wrap Up

I deserved this achievement on a mental level, I earned it. On a physiological level, I didn’t do the training required for an exceptional performance, but my expectations of the race where built abound this and I am still very proud. Proud because I had plenty of reasons to give up this year, but I pushed through and I made it to the start line, which was my main goal.

What’s Next You Ask?
I’m not a fan of this question so soon after a race but what I can tell you is, this is just the beginning. To have finally achieved a HIM without major niggles/ injuries and execute a well thought out plan, lays a very good foundation for the season. Knowing what I achieved on Sunday, with a VERY interrupted year, and minimal training – I look forward to seeing what I can do with a substantial training base behind me.
I will continue my strength training and do what works for me, which is low run volume.


Thank you to everyone who has been part of this come back journey. I have an incredible team of people behind me. And wouldn’t have made it to the start or finish line without the help of;

Mick Gray: My husband, best friend, occasional coach and #1 support. You picked me up off the floor in moments of despair too many times this year. But your love and dedication never faulted.

Coach Jackie & Kirsty: Without the support of these ladies behind the scenes of Holistic Endurance – I would not have made it to the start line. There simply isn’t enough gratitude for their support.

Greg Dea, Sports Physiotherapist: From the professional development, to the injury management and to then being “the one” to FINALLY find the fault in my old bike that had been leading to majority of my issues – you are exceptional. A big thanks also goes to Greg for the support and improvements he has provided many HE athletes.

The Virtus team: Lachie, Mitch & Cam. For getting me under the bar, lifting heavy stuff so I could feel strong, fit and powerful again. Despite not being able to run for a long period of time.

Ash Law: Myotherapist. Thank you for putting up with my random niggles and being persistent in helping to put the puzzle pieces together.

Brad Atkinson: Sports Chiropractor. For being so invested in me (since 2007!) Being accepting of all the random patterns and niggles my body throws up on a weekly basis and helping me roll with the punches.

My coaching mentors and other health practitioners: Renae Campbell, Bevan Mckinnon, Kate Troup, Steph Lowe and Jennifer Koch.

Vfuel & Tegyn Angel: I am incredibly stoked to have Vfuel as a Holistic Endurance sponsorship partner. To race without gut issues or energy lags is just phenomenal for me. But also for our athletes.

My family. It’s been an incredibly powerful year for our family, with major highs and devastating blows. We are closer and stronger than ever before. When it got tough, I ran for my Mum, who constantly inspires strength in me. I ran for my baby niece Sequoia, all the way over in California. She is shaping up to be a courageous and adventurous tiny human and I want her to look up to her strong “Aunty Katee”.

My athletes, friends & the HE family. For years I’ve coached you guys to exceptional performances and through challenging times. Your achievements have fuelled me along the way while I wasn’t able to race. You gave me that sense of pride and accomplishment while I was unable to compete myself. Thank you for your support pre, during and post race. I also raced for you guys on Sunday. As your leader and inspiration, I was motivated to do you all proud.


Road to Busso: Introducing Laura Anderson

ROAD TO BUSSO: Interview Series.
Over the next 6 days we will be celebrating “Team HE” with our Road to Busso interview series. We will be taking you inside the training and mindset of our athletes as they prepare to tackle the Ironman and Half Ironman events at Ironman Western Australia in Busselton – aka “Busso”
Meet Laura!
Laura came to Holistic Endurance seeking guidance as she set sail for her first half Ironman at Challenge Melbourne earlier this year. Now see is prepped to toe the line again, lets she how she feels second time around……


Busselton will be your 2nd Half Ironman. How have you been feeling leading in race day this time?

The second one has been more of a challenge! I think this is because I had to train through Melbourne’s cold miserable winter! And there is also the added pressure I put on myself to perform better than my first 70.3!


What have you enjoyed the most in terms of training?

I’ve enjoyed the feeling of being ‘fit’ – that feeling of being comfortable during my longer sessions.


What challenges have you come across and how have you overcome them?

I’ve taken on board post-grad studies on top of work this year, so it’s been a challenge to fit it all in with my training! I’ve had to refine my time management skills and prioritise what’s more important, which at times has meant that I’ve had to forego some training sessions. To overcome this my training has had to be ‘smarter’ (thanks coach)!


Top 3 learnings throughout your lead up?

  1. Training in Melbourne winter is not my idea of fun
  2. Training smart rather than training more is much nicer on my body
  3. Training is more fun in matching kits/socks!


What parts of your program have given you the most confidence?

Brick sessions make me feel good about my performance! I enjoy the feeling of running off the bike (probably because I’m dying to get off the bike after 90km)!!




What are the notable differences in your training leading into this race compared with others?

The difference leading into my second 70.3 has just been more time to build a base. Last time I only had 3 months to prepare, so I’m hoping the extra preparation allows me to push my body a bit more come race day.


Mentally have you done anything different in the lead up to this race?

I’ve had the chance to compete in hot weather at the Noosa Tri, which has helped me to mentally prepare for how I might feel at Busso. I found it’s very much a mental challenge to keep on pushing when the heat makes you feel slow.


Nutrition wise has there been any changes? What are the differences?

I was happy with my nutrition plan in my first 70.3 so I am sticking to what works! I have however decided to change my gels to VFuel – delicious flavours!


What holistic principle have you found has made the biggest difference in your training/recovery?

Legs up the wall is a great tool to recover and de-stress!


What is your ‘why?

I enjoy the challenge! And why do 1 sport when you can do all three?!


What is planned for the post race celebrations?

Relaxing by the pool/beach, and a winery tour!


Thanks Laura – wishing you all the best for your second half Ironman!



Keen for more inspiring stories from our athletes on their Road to Busso – this is the place to go – Road to Busso: Interview Series