Pablo has had his heart set on competing in the Ironman World Championships since he was a child. (A dream which has now come true.) He talks to Sundried about how his hard work and determination and making his dream come true.
Have you always been into sport?
As far as I know yes! I remember my grandad bought me a football even before I was born and ever since my life has been linked to sport in one way or another. Football, basketball, tennis, surfing, snowboarding, rugby, ice hockey, triathlon… My parents are still mad at me for having so much equipment at theirs! I just love it too much and I don’t understand life without practising some sort of sport every single day of my life. Whether it is just 20 minutes or 12 hours, it’s a must in my daily life.
What made you decide to enter triathlon?
I remember I watched a video about the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii when I was probably about 10 or 11 years old and thought one day I’d be there. For many years I just forgot it but when I was finishing university in the UK at 21 and had to go back to sunny Spain it came back to my mind. One day, I saw an article about Ironman races in the UK and thought, why not giving it a go? I won’t be able to play ice hockey back at home so I may try a triathlon and see how it is and whether I enjoy it. From the very first day, I fell in love with the sport and going to the Ironman World Championships went from being just a childhood dream to a real objective.
What’s been your best race to date?
I think I’ve had many good races over the last few years. I remember my first and so far only Ironman race I finished feeling super strong and felt I had a lot left in the tank. Also, the ETU European Duathlon Championships where I went from getting very bad results the year before to achieving a super solid performance and a 6th place in my age group.
However, if I have to choose only one, it has to be the Marlow Classic Half Ironman this year. I had a really bad chest infection that put me in bed for 2 weeks just a month before race day. I had been training super consistently until that time of the season and that illness was a tough setback. To make it worse, I suffered a back injury the week before the race so I wasn’t sure I'd even be able to start the race until the day before. My goal of going for a PB, targeting similar split times to what I want to achieve in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September, and maybe a podium place had to disappear from my mind. I was quite gutted, but then I remembered that at the end of the day, I am (we all are) super lucky for being on that start line. So I just changed my mindset for the race from competing to enjoying it and seeing what happens. I’m very competitive so I still tried to stick to my initial racing plan, but no stress if it didn’t go well.
Long story short, I ended up coming 3rd in my age-group and 4th overall, only 12 seconds behind third place.
And your proudest achievement?
It has to be finishing an Ironman race. Not for the sake of finishing it, which is of itself a massive achievement, but the fact of doing it whilst I had a part-time job and was doing my Masters in Oceanography which I completed with distinction. I decided to sign up for the race just a few days before starting my Masters in September and took on the challenge of training seriously 2-3 hours a day as well as doing everything else. It was a really tough year but I did enjoy it all the way to crossing the finish line and proved to myself what I was capable of.
Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?
Absolutely! Doing things right is cool and we all love it, but focusing on the bad points of a race is what makes you a better athlete. I always analyse my races, especially the tough ones.
Last year I qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Weymouth. Everything was going to plan until I started running. I started too fast and I was racing for a podium place so we were all running way too fast. I think the 4 of us knew that pace was more appropriate to a 10k but we were all in at that time and we were enjoying it. In my case, I lasted 7k and then I had to run and walk the rest of the half marathon. I really considered giving up and call it a DNF race but my mind switched off and I kept running. I finished in 14th place in the end.
What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?
Don’t take anything too serious and make sure that you love what you are doing. Being super competitive and being hungry is a good thing to a certain level. I am very ambitious indeed but luckily I keep in mind the reason why I do what I do and why I love it so much. Make sure that the reason why you are doing something is the right one and that if nobody was to see you, you would still do it the same way.
What are your goals for 2017?
My season is about to finish on September 10th at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and I’m going all-out to push myself and see where I am at this point of my short triathlon career.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
My favourite athlete has always been Michael Phelps. He went through the greatest up and downs and always had the determination to get back on track and do the right thing. In triathlon, Craig Alexander and Chrissie Wellington are definitely my favourite athletes for their journeys. Everyone who likes triathlon and Ironman distance should read and watch their books and documentaries. And obviously, I also look at Jan Frodeno as the alien who is destroying everything we thought was a limit in the long distance sport. I also think that all of them are amazing role models out of the sport.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
The first thing I liked about Sundried when I heard about the brand was its recycled fabrics. Coming from a biology and oceanography background, I know quite a lot about the CO2 footprint and impacts of this compound in the ocean and the atmosphere. I always like looking at small details, and the ethos of this brand caught my attention from the very first moment. Nowadays you can find endless brands in the market with the latest technology so what makes them different are little details such as the ethical ethos or donations to charity from every purchase. Also, they have all the information perfectly explained on their website, which to me as a customer, shows that they know exactly what they are doing as a brand.
My favourite bit of kit is by far the Sundried Grande Casse Hoodie! It does not only look amazing with a great fit but also is super comfortable to use when practicing sport or after. I love having it in my bag regardless the weather and put it on as soon as I finish training. Warm and cosy despite not being like a proper jacket. I have also used it at the gym and training outdoors a couple of times and felt great, not too warm, not too cold, just perfect.