What is involved in gaining the title of Ironman?

Ironman is a triathlon that involves a 3.8km swim, followed by a 180km bike ride, and finished off with a 42.2km run (marathon). I chose to do Ironman Australia Port Macquarie, in May 2019.

How often did you need to train and what kind of training did you do in the lead up to the event?

I started training for Ironman six months prior to the race. I have been training and competing in triathlons and trail running events for a few years now, so I was already in race condition, but I have never trained for a race of this distance. Training for Ironman, I had to increase my distances and my weekly training sessions.

I usually train six days a week, with an active rest day. The week usually consists of 3-4 swim sessions, 3-4 run sessions or bricks sessions, which is a ride followed by a run straight off the bike, then on the weekends it’s a long ride and a long run.

I’m a single mum with three daughters, so I would often have to get up at 4am to get my training done early, so it wouldn’t take up too much of my family time. My longest training session prior to the race was a 6hr ride followed by a run after. Training all through summer was also tough.

Never doubt yourself! I am living proof that anyone can achieve anything they set their mind to.

Did you have to make any dietary changes?

I made a lifestyle change about 13 years ago after my first daughter was born. I was very overweight and had a terrible diet. I started exercising and cut out junk food and I lost 30kgs. I have maintained that over the years, so I didn’t have to make too many changes for Ironman. If anything, I would have to actually eat more good foods to maintain my energy for the level of training I was doing.

I am a big believer in a balanced diet. Good wholesome and nutritional foods are best. I still enjoy the good things in life, like chocolate and a glass of wine, but I just eat those things in moderation.

You’re part of a huge group of women called Running Mums Australia. Tell us about RMA and the support you get from them.

I came across Running Mums Australia in a Facebook group five years ago. They had told me about Parkrun on a Saturday morning. I went to Penrith Lakes Parkrun in 2014 and met some of these lovely women who are mums just like me and had a passion for running. I have since made many friendships with these amazing women. We all support, encourage and uplift one another. The support I received from them during my Ironman training and after the race is something I will never forget. I am very grateful to have found RMA.

Never compare yourself to anyone. Do your own thing and you do it for you!

When did you start running and how did you get hooked on it?

I started running in 2006. Initially it was just walking around my home to lose weight, but then one day I decided to jog, it wasn’t very far or for very long but it was a start. That jog turned into a run for 1km, and then it increased to 5km over a few months. Then I found myself doing my first ever running event, which was the 14km City to Surf in Sydney.

Running my first Ultra Marathon is a very memorable moment for me. For someone who couldn’t run at all many years ago, to someone who has now run four Ultra Marathons (50km), numerous marathons (42.2km) and countless half marathons (21.1km).

Have you ever sustained any injuries from your running?

Yes. I tore my Plantar Fascia (arch in your foot) in 2016. It took a few months for it to heal and 18 months of management to get it 100%. Actually getting this injury is how I fell into doing triathlons. I took up swimming to keep my fitness up. Next thing I knew, I bought a bike, and did a triathlon!

What’s on the cards for you now that you’ve got the Ironman title under your belt?

I have just completed Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast, which is half the distance of the full Ironman. I don’t have any more major races until next year. Just a few local events like the Nepean Triathlon and some local Hills Triathlon races at the Sydney International Regatta Centre. I have Ironman 70.3 Geelong in February 2020, taking on Ironman Australia Port Macquarie in May 2020 again, also Ultra-Trail Australia, which is a 50km trail Running event in May 2020, followed by Ironman 70.3 Cairns in June 2020, so another big and busy year ahead!

Where do you love to run in Greater Sydney?

I am a trail runner at heart, so running through our incredible Blue Mountains is definitely my favourite place to run. There is something very peaceful and majestic running through them. I also enjoy running around the Nepean River walk.

What would you say to those who aren’t sure how to get started with running?

I suggest doing a local Parkrun. It’s a free 5km timed event every Saturday. It’s suitable for beginners, kids, elderly and advanced runners.