Hi Tamsin, first things first, how is your shoulder after your knock last week?
I’m healing well thankfully. MY poor shoulder really couldn’t afford another break after the collar-bone has snapped twice, thankfully it was mild AC joint dislocation and bumps and bruises. Reminded me that you can never be careful enough on the London roads though.
You're planning on racing your FIRST IRONMAN this year - Any thoughts on which one?
As an age-grouper I only ever races Olympic and sprint distance - my first ½ Ironman was as a Pro – UK 2010. I had London Olympic aspirations when I joined Team TBB in 2009 but Brett told me very quickly that my swim would not be good enough on time. (If only I hadn’t given up swimming from age 13-25!)
Ironman has always been on the agenda – Brett wanted me to do one in Year 1 but I hadn’t run more than 13miles – I just thought – no way!
Coming into triathlon with very little in the way of a recent sporting background I think it takes years to build up the strength to do a good Ironman.
I have the endurance – but underlying strength and economy of movement are very important. I have learnt this the hard way from enduring injury. 2012 saw me build on strength after recovering from a stress fracture and it is so far playing big dividends.
Ironman France is very appealing to me as I simply love climbing mountains and can descend not too bad either. A flat TT Ironman course would see me fall asleep, I’m a pretty attention deficit person… a more technical course keeps my brain
focused and this seems to work better for my body!
Unfortunately it falls the week after Ironman 70.3 UK and after having to sit out of that race two years in a row due to c-bone fractures, I have unfinished business!
(Not looking forward to the car parking experience at Wimbleball again though!)
I’ll be discussing with my coach, Tom Bennett of T2 coaching over the next week or so, my race schedule. Ironman Wales is a possibility but clashes with the World 70.3 Champs. I need to have a think. My first race this season will probably be TriStar Mallorca again. (If they pay me my prize money from last year by then!)
I love the biking in Mallorca and this is a tough course. Then sticking on the Mallorca theme, I’ll compete at Ironman 70.3 Mallorca.
What targets do you have from this season?
Still under discussion.
70.3 racing will change this year as more ITU athletes move up to the distance.
As seen by Annabel Luxford’s recent domination of Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Champs (even over Caroline Steffen) and with Lisa Norden stepping up – I think I will make it more and more difficult to earn a living from 70.3 racing. Unless you are in that first swim pack (and these girls swim fast) often just too difficult to pull up the time on the bike, especially on your own. My collar-bone injuries (I do bang on about them don’t i!) mean that my swimming has never quite got back to speed. It seems Cat Morrison is finding the same after breaking hers too.
So the focus will either be – qualification for World 70.3 Champs OR Ironman.
I will also be working part time this year and studying my MSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine. 2012 saw me travel too much and this had an impact on my immune system and health. People ask why I do travel so much. But for me – these years as a Pro are about the experience as much as the performance –(well I tell myself that anyway) – I’ll be back working as a Doc before I know it, dreaming of the Kona sunsets….
Last year was a real mixture for you. The injuries must have been frustrating, but then everytime you raced and pulled out before the run, you were in a great position. Was that frustrating for you to be in otherwise good shape, or did you view it as a good sign of that you were up there competing?
It was frustrating.
As with many injuries – they always seem to happen when you’re going well. I was running better than ever and then – bang – one run to catch a plane in UGG Boots and a fibula stress fracture raised its head.
I wanted to race despite not being able to run as it kept me motivated, but it was depressing having to walk through T2 with the announcers saying – but you’re in position x/y/z come on – run!
Last year too was difficult as a long term relationship broke down and my health suffered somewhat as a consequence. I developed iron deficiency anaemia (I wasn’t absorbing Iron as my gut was inflamed) which had massive impact on my training consistency and race quality. In Ironman 70.3 Phuket (December) I was in good shape again but then got a nasty bout of Giardia (parasite) which meant portions of the run leg were spent in the bushes. Not nice.
You're about to launch a new website as well as racing Ironman. Does this all signal the next stage for you as a professional athlete, and with a big pro win last year, what are your overall ambitions from the sport?
It depends on what day you ask me!
Liz Blatchford’s recent tweet made me smile as I am sure it resonated deeply with many athletes.
“Some days in my mind I am a fast lean machine and the next day I am a fat slow looser. Anyone else get that? Think I'm a bit #psycho ;-) “
I have been around many professional triathletes and some are hell bent driven on training and racing - and its all that matters. I know Eimear Mullan for one wouldn’t mind me saying that she is on that list!
I want to be the best I can be, but I know that to compete at the top level it requires 100% all in – this is what makes Brett and Team TBB so successful – he creates an environment where all you have to do is eat, sleep, train. For me that’s not enough. My brain gets bored, and all the tweeting in the world can’t solve that.
The doctor in me still shines through… I often think the man who nearly died on the side of the Col de Tourmalet was send to remind me…. (full story here..)
I am passionate about helping others – inspiring others to get out there and be the best they can be – and to push aside the fear that comes with stepping outside their comfort zone. Triathlon is such an inclusive sport… but can be intimidating to beginners as we all look like super fit crazy people. I like to get the message across that we are normal (ish) folk who, with consistency, time and drive achieve things that we never thought possible. (This could be finishing your local sprint or qualifying for Kona)
In my early 20’s I was drinking rather too much, sleeping a few hours a night… working as a junior doc (not all at the same time!). I wasn’t overweight, but I wasn’t an athlete either. If you had told me I’d be racing as pro triathlete in a few years – I would have spluttered my cider over you! I have good genes and a bloody minded determination that can act to my advantage and detriment at times. (Here are some pics from my first triathlon...)
So my ambitions are – like those of many others – are to help increase the popularity of this sport and to help others achieve their goals along the way at the same time being a good role model for the sport.
Of course I want to win – and I want to win in a hard fought battle – I want to dig deep and give everything to race and to win.
I want to surprise myself.
I am hoping that in 2013 I do just that.