Antonio is a Portuguese triathlete who was inspired to try triathlon after watching a documentary about Ironman Kona. He talks to Sundried about racing highs and lows.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, I have been into sport from a young age. I started with football at the local club, then as a teenager I played roller hockey, a sport that is quite popular in Latin countries, and in my late teens I did various athletics disciplines, such as 100m, 200m, long jump and triple jump.
When I joined the navy and started to sail often, I developed a passion for running longer distances. It was the best way to get to know the places we were visiting, and this passion has stuck with me until the present day.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I remember sometime around the millennium watching a documentary about Ironman Kona. I'm not a good swimmer, but after the program finished I decided that I would have to try triathlon. After a year of trying to improve my swimming, I finally did my first triathlon – and loved it! I joined the navy triathlon team and did many races in distances ranging from sprint to half Ironman in the following years.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
Definitely the Holsten City Man in Hamburg. Apart from the fact it was my first time racing abroad, I was surprised by the number of participants and the amount of people cheering on the athletes along the route. This was something I wasn't used to and made it feel much easier. It was a great experience combined with great satisfaction.
And your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement was completing a very tough half Ironman back in 2005. I wasn't planning to do the race because I knew the bike course had over 2000m elevation gain and would be seriously tough. I signed up anyway because some of my friends, who were top athletes in the country at the time, challenged me to do it. It was tough but the winner and the runner up cheered me to the finish which was really motivating and inspiring.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
I had a couple of disasters in 2017, but not in triathlon. I suffered from plantar fasciitis for about 4 months until mid-February and I was registered for Richmond half marathon which was taking place in March. I wasn't trying to get a PB and the goal was just to finish it. Around 9km in, I went the wrong way and accidentally finished the 10k race which was taking place at the same time.
My immediate reaction was to search for my next half marathon, which happened to be while I was on holiday. It was a race late in the afternoon, where they promised we would see the sunset while running. All was going well until I started to feel a strong pain in my right calf and after a few kilometres I had to stop.I didn't do any more races that year and instead focused on recovering from my injuries.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I tell myself that life is too short to cry over one bad day. A bad day usually is a sign that better days will come, so it's important not to give up and wait for the better moments. And above all, believe that when they come they will be much more rewarding.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
I wish somebody had warned me about the importance of training the transitions, especially from the swim to the bike.
What are your goals for 2019?
My goals for this year are to complete my first ultra marathon and to complete and half Ironman.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I take inspiration from my triathlon "family" back in Portugal that helped me to start, and that supported me both during the good and bad times. They still keep giving me advice and support, asking nothing in return, and that is truly inspiring.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
When I discovered Sundried what really caught my eye was the fact that Sundried uses 100% recycled materials and cares about the environment. These are values that I too share. What impressed me the most is that those materials are turned into high quality and affordable garments, along with an outstanding design.
My favourite piece of kit is the men's aero skinsuit which is perfect for triathlon training and racing.