I didn’t lose 92kgs to sit on the sidelines of life anymore. I feel like I’ve been given the gift of a second chance and I want to see what I can make of it. So I picked the mother of all triathlons (daddy is another beast entirely). I’m scared … giddy with excitement. So…. here goes it!
My name is Elyse, and at this moment, I’m staring down the barrel at the scariest thing I’ve ever tried. But the thing is, it isn’t really. Not in comparison. Certainly not against what the last 2 years have been for me. And so here I go, pulling out all the stops in an attempt to achieve what seems utterly impossible to me. I’m going to give Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast a red hot crack. For those not familiar with what an Ironman triathlon is, we’re looking at a race consisting of a 1.9km swim (for this race it’ll be in the surf), followed by a 90km bike ride, and finished with a half marathon 21.1km run. Two years ago I would’ve asked if that was done over a week! But no, there’s an 8 hour cut-off time to fit in all that fun.
And a lot of people would say why on earth put yourself through that. Great question. And others would probably say there’s a lot of other things you can do for kicks, do you really have to do that? Well this is the thing about triathlon for me. I find it to be a perfect metaphor for my experience. To me, it is the ultimate test of what you are capable of: a test of mind and body and being pushed to your limits.
2 years ago I weighed in at 163.5kg. In December 2019 I had weightloss surgery and now I’ve lost 92kgs and my whole life has changed. I feel like I’ve had the longest endurance race of my life losing and now learning to maintain that weightloss. I started out slow, taking over 18 months to get in the right mindset for surgery and beyond. This was my swim leg! I started at the back of the pack, no elite sprint into the ocean for me, just a slow dainty entry into the water and a dawdle around the buoys with a nice warm up for the rest of the race run. Coming out of the water, and onto the bike, well that’s the surgery and first 6 months after. You finally feel like you’ve got some speed behind you, the weight is flying off, you’re seeing heaps of changes and you feel GREAT! End of the bike though, getting a little weary and dear god there’s a run to come yet. Off the bike, on to the run and those legs are on wobble street! That’s ticking over to a year post surgery and now the hard work really begins. I keep hearing that in triathlon this is where the real race starts, well it’s true in life also post-surgery. The legs are tired, and you’ve got to find some gee-up from somewhere. Suddenly the speed of the bike feels like forever ago and every small gain feels like a massive effort. Finding a rhythm now is more important than ever. It’s all about the habits and mindset, and while you’re tired as hell it’s putting one foot in front of the other and just keeping on going. This is life post-surgery and the long haul after. But for me, there is no real finish line. I’m in the race of my life – to keep the weight off and live the life I always dreamed of.
The thing with being obese and having been for most of my life, is that it’s so much EASIER to go back to those old habits. I needed to not only change my habits and relationship with food but find something active that made my soul happy. I thought that was running. Then I got a road bike for Christmas supposedly to help my running recovery. Then I started doing laps at the local pool to recover from that. Then whoops, I entered an Enticer. I was the kid at school who got mum to write letters to get me out of PE. I started this triathlon bizo not being very fit, doing a Parkrun here and there and certainly nothing superstar-ish or athletic about it. So I didn’t really go into triathlon with a lot of athletic ability or fitness, it has been a journey filled with learning, a lot of hard work and some great bike stacks. I also have the added excitement of learning how to fuel for this kind of endeavour, which is a unique experience post-surgery. With 80% of my stomach removed, I can either eat or drink, not both, and about a cup at any one time. So not only am I building my fitness to do this thing, but I’m learning how to give my body what it needs so it’s actually capable of making it through. Which leads me to some key elements of my crew. Numero Uno – Coach Stuart Payne from Ready to Tri Coaching and the wonderful team of triathletes and Ironmen, and Sports Dietician Peter Herzig from Centred Nutrition. I couldn’t begin to undertake this journey without the expertise and support from this crew.
So to the point of this whole thing. This blog is about seeing what you’re capable of doing when you work your guts out. An attempt to juggle life / work / relationships / study / training / living / paying the bills / and going all in on those big goals. This is not a blog about how great I am, trying for podiums or beating anybody else. I want everyone to win. I just want to be on the course with you to watch you do it. I hope you enjoy sharing my shenanigans on the way to IM70.3 SC and join me for the ride. Not literally but hey if you want to do my bike leg, feel free!
Elyse is coached by Stuart Payne
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 email@example.com
Find Peter Herzig: firstname.lastname@example.org
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If you’re ready to take your training to the next level with dedicated triathlon coaches who want to see you succeed in your chosen event, get in touch with ReadyToTri. With over 12 years experience as athletes ourselves, and 5 years helping athletes prepare for their triathlon, we’re the support system you need to reach the next level.
To get started with a top-class triathlon coach in Brisbane or beyond, contact ReadyToTri today.
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