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Valentina Olivia Athlete Ambassador

triathlon triathlete cyclist

Valentina is from Indonesia and while also training to be a doctor, is now training for her first full Ironman. She talks to Sundried about overcoming setbacks and having to run in just socks!

Have you always been into sport?

Yes, I played basketball at school and then started going to the gym when I was at university. I now train 3-4 times a week doing running, cycling and gym workouts as well as swimming. 

I am currently training to be a doctor so if I have an exam or night shift, it can be difficult to train. If work gets particularly tough, I'll take a short break from training in order to rest and relax. 

How did you first get into triathlon?

It all started as a weight loss journey. In 2016, I ran my first half marathon but it took me 3 hours to finish as I had a knee injury. In 2018 I ran 3 half marathons and got a new PB of 2 hours 45 minutes. I also started training in triathlon and completed a sprint triathlon. I also ran 3 full marathons; my best time was 6 hours 33 minutes.

I am now training for my first full Ironman and my goal is to reach the podium for my age group. I love triathlon because I love all three sports and if I get tired of running, I can go cycling. I love the scenery in my town and it's a great way to see it.

What's been your best race to date?

I loved the atmosphere at the Singapore marathon. I also loved running the Maybank Bali marathon as it was such a beautiful place to run. All the villagers stand along the course to cheer on the runners and it felt very special.

And your proudest achievement?

When I ran the Maybank Bali marathon, I had to leave my friend behind because he got injured. It's really tough to leave your friend behind when you're supposed to be running together, so it was a proud moment for me to finish this race alone. I was also pleased that my friend managed to at least finish before the cut-off time. 

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

My toughest race was the half marathon in which I got injured. I only just managed to finish before the cut-off time and by the end I could barely walk. 

My first full marathon was also very tough as I got such bad blisters that I had to take off my shoes and walk the last 10k in just my socks on the hot tarmac. 

How do you overcome setbacks?

I believe in finishing what I have started so I go into a race with the mindset that I'll finish no matter what. Getting a DNF just isn't an option for me so training myself mentally as well as physically is important, as I never know what might happen during a race.

I find that training when I'm in a bad mood is a good tactic as it can be practice for racing when something has gone wrong.

Having said that, if you do get injured, it's important to set aside your ego and listen to your body.

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

Not to neglect rest, because no matter how hard you train, you have to rest to get better.

Also to make sure you're wearing comfortable clothes and shoes for the race!

What are your goals for 2019?

  • 1 Full Marathon
  • 1 or 2 Half Marathons
  • Ironman 70.3
  • Ironman Malaysia 2019

Who do you take your inspiration from?

My community; they encourage and support me. Also my friend Aiken who inspired me to go from a sprint triathlon directly to full Ironman. Aiken is my training partner as well as the one who has run with me in the marathons I've done.

I'm also hugely inspired by Daniela Ryf.

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

I love the women's trisuit as the design is very comfortable and it's perfect for racing.

I also love the women's gym leggings as they're perfect for training and are so comfortable. 

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