About 2 years ago I watched a YouTube clip of Ironman New Zealand which immediately made me think, I want to do that. From the special Maori welcome to the brilliant volunteers and pumped-up athletes, it looked so exciting, it gave me shivers just watching but I was 54 at the time, and whilst I had been running for years with my mate Katherine Power, I could barely swim and had never really ridden a bike more than 20 km at a very slow pace. I started to do a couple of small local triathlons, always coming last but enjoying every minute of it.
This is when Readytotri Triathlon Coaching popped up on my FB. I called and had a long conversation with coach Stuart Payne. He was based on the Northside of Brisbane whereas I’m on the Southside (those who are from Brisbane know you don’t cross over to the other side of the river 😂). Stuart spoke quietly and didn’t burst out laughing when I told him my dream was to be an Ironman in New Zealand. Stuart set up a program that worked around my family and work commitments. If something wasn’t working we quickly found an alternative. I could message Stuart 24/7 with questions and he would respond very quickly. Stuart taught me about the importance of zone 2 training and we started working on 3 swims, 3 bikes, and 3 runs a week. I bought myself a cheap bike and met up with Stuart to learn how to “clip in” those horrible shoes. I got to meet other members of the crew and have to say, it has to be one of the best groups of people. No big egos, no competition between members just all so supportive and encouraging to help you reach your goal.
After each half, I always thought I’m not doing that again 😂
However, my mind kept coming back to that full Ironman. I had a serious conversation with Stu, who assured me that I was capable of completing the Ironman but I had to be 100% committed to training, which sometimes meant long hours on the weekends. Stuart said to speak to Martin about it as he will need to be 100% on board also. I signed up the next day and suddenly panic set in 😳. I mean a 3.8 km swim, 180 km on a bike, and a full marathon.
So the serious training began Swimming 3 times a week.I joined a master’s swim squad, my swim speed didn’t really improve but I could go the distance.
Riding – I would ride back and fore to work twice a week (20 km each way) and do a much longer ride on weekend. Run 3 times a week.
About 8 weeks out from the event, training got really tough, it was up to 17 hours a week plus some gym work. I was training every day. I felt so tired, I couldn’t think straight. It felt like I was either sleeping or training 😬. I did message Stuart and say “I don’t want to be an Ironman anymore” 😂. We talked it through, and I had a day or two of training and went back to it.
The time came to fly to NZ I will do a separate post for the race, for those that are interested 😃 This is part of my Brisbane-based crew, but also have been lucky to meet the crew based in North Queensland and Sydney 😃
Stuart has competed in triathlons from Sprint to Ironman distance. As a qualified Triathlon Australia, Australian Athletics Run Coach, and a certified Ironman coach, he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complementing other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments, etc.).
Contact Stuart at firstname.lastname@example.org
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