Ironman triathlon finish Sundried ambassador

Rebecca discovered triathlon after an injury and it soon became her passion. She talks to Sundried about racing highs and lows.

Have you always been into sport?

Growing up, I wasn’t really the sporty one at school. I did equine eventing and competed my welsh pony as a teenager and mostly my time outside of school was consumed by riding and caring for her.

When I moved away from home to vet school I fell in love with endurance running. Each week I would run along the Glasgow canal and attempt to go further, it became my weekly habit, ending up with me running the Manchester marathon in my final year of uni. 

At university I also took up playing lacrosse, I fell in love with the thrill of the sport and soon became vice captain and then co-captain. Largely because of my loud voice! 

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

After running Manchester marathon without any structured training programme or strength and conditioning I developed some horrible niggles and injuries that just wouldn’t subside. I was keen to get started on a career of ultra running but was unable to run even a kilometre. I saw the physio twice a week and nothing was helping, so I decided if I can’t do one sport, I might as well do three! Slightly mad! This was all going on at the same time as graduating from vet school and moving to Australia. It couldn’t have been more perfect. I joined the local tri club (Bayside Multisport and Next Level Tri Coaching) and fell completely in love.

The rest is history… 

What’s been your favourite race to date and why?

It's tricky, between ITU Long Course World Championships last year and Ironman Copenhagen which was also last year.

ITU Worlds were brilliant because it was a race where everything really fell into place. I had been in a nasty car accident 16 weeks previously and I just felt enormously grateful to get to the startling fit and fresh! My coach Jason Shields from Thrive Endurance had done such a brilliant job of getting me fit fresh from a hospital bed and significant head injury. The whole race was truly epic, I felt so grateful that I could be there and racing and sharing it with some awesome teammates.

The swim got off to a rocky start, and to be honest was a complete shambles. The start gun went when no one was in place, there was no countdown and it was all a bit of a scrum. After being bashed about and swam over multiple times I finally set into a rhythm and the rest of the race couldn’t have been better. I had been working hard on my swim technique and it paid off. I had been working hard on my bike form, and it paid off, and the run felt easy and comfortable, until the coach’s nod to push. I just loved every second. Racing in GB colours and coming 5th was also pretty awesome!

And your proudest achievement?

Finishing my first Ironman in Copenhagen in a time of 10:58 with some nasty plantar fasciitis; I thought the run was never going to end!

Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?

My first triathlon was a warm-up half Ironman in the lead up to Ironman Australia. I crashed my lovely shiny new bike and smashed my collarbone. The bike was okay, but my collarbone wasn’t. I had surgery on it a couple of weeks later and my Ironman dream was out the window for another season.

How do you overcome setbacks?

I play a little game with myself. Sometimes, I tell myself about all the other people in the world who are going through much tougher situations right now. I remind myself that this is my choice. Everything in life is a choice. I can choose to stop if I want, but I don’t want to.

I also think about what would be worse. For example, "this would be worse if I had to run 100km after I finished the Ironman”, it sounds ridiculous, but it works for me. The other thing I like to do is run through all the positive things about the situation right now. For example, my head feels great, my arms feel great etc.

What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?

Enjoy it! And soak up every minute!

What are your goals for 2019?

Maybe a little ambitious, race Ironman UK and qualify for Kona. I will keep trying until I get there!

Who do you take your inspiration from?

Of course the obvious people like Lucy Charles, Daniela Ryf and Michelle Vesterby. Sometimes when I’m really struggling on my bike intervals or with a hard swim set I think “Lucy Charles wouldn’t give up!” 

My coach is also a massive inspiration to me. I crewed for Jason at ultraman Australia last year and his energy was relentless. Ultra man Australia added to my bucket list.

What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

I love that Sundried is environmentally friendly! It is so grounding to be involved with a company that cares about the waste we are producing without compromising on quality. The running leggings look and feel great, and I can’t wait to try the new women's cycling kit this season.