Kirsten is a natural athlete and enjoys competing in Ironman triathlon. She talks to Sundried about life as a triathlete.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, I have always been fortunate enough to have taken part in sport from a young age, and my parents chauffeured me around to clubs and races. At school, PE was the best part of the week and I loved swimming, running and playing tennis. I also had 2 horses which took up a lot of time.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I had been training for a marathon and I got bored of just running all the time, so I decided to join a local triathlon club. This was slightly daunting given I had never ridden a road bike, but now the bike part is my strongest discipline! I love the idea of three sports and the constant challenge or trying to improve.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race to date was Chicago ITU standard distance in 2015. It was the first time I ever raced abroad and was an incredible experience being able to see the elites race and also support friends racing as age-group athletes. The course was also spectacular, set in the heart of Chicago and on closed roads and tunnels that went under the main city.
And your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement was winning my age-group at Ironman Dubai 70.3. It was my first Ironman branded race and first half Ironman. It was set overlooking the Burj Al Arab, and standing on the stage at night overlooking this was just incredible.
Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?
Yes, I think there are always things that go wrong, even just small things when you reflect on a race, but my biggest fear is a mechanical or a puncture! I raced Cholmondeley Castle triathlon a couple of years ago and came out of the water 2nd female to discover my tyre had punctured coming out of T1. I was in a total panic and the pit stop didn’t work, it came out as fast as it went in. It took ages to get fixed and somehow the chain then got all caught up!
My toughest race to date was Ironman Marbella 70.3. There was a large swell in the sea on race morning which made sighting very hard, and the bike course was brutal. I then fell on the first km of the run which set me back a lot as I had hurt my ankle and grazed my hands and knees. Sheer determination and encouragement from a friend on the side line got me through and to my surprise finished 3rd in my age group.
How do you overcome setbacks?
Where possible it is good to prepare for what could go wrong so if it does, I can manage things better. After a race, I take time to reflect. It is very easy to pick up the things that went wrong but it is important to look at what went well and I discuss all of this with my coach who has a very positive approach. From there, I move forwards and remember that not every race is going to be a good race.
What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?
There is so much advice! I used to sit on YouTube trying to find answers to how to lay items in transition, how to change an inner tube, how to train, swim technique, the list goes on! But the best thing to do is enjoy the race, not stress and learn from others.
What are your goals for 2018?
In 2018, I have chosen courses that are challenging for me. I prefer flat courses as this is where I am powerful. So I chose Marbella 70.3, Mallorca 70.3 and Luxembourg 70.3 and am yet to decide on the back end of the season.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I admire Emma Pallant. She is a true inspiration and works so hard and gets amazing results.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I love the idea behind Sundried, the ethics and charitable work behind the brand and this attracted me to their products. I particularly love the training vests for running as they are so comfortable.