Ironman training running triathlon triathlete

Vanessa is a Portuguese athlete who races at an elite level. She talks to Sundried about training and racing. 

Have you always been into sport?

I have been sporty since I was a child. I did ballet, gymnastics, athletics, swimming, and running. Sport is a part of my life, a way of living, and what makes me happy.

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

My teacher in high school was training for his first Ironman. I didn't know anything about triathlon and fell in love with the idea of something so crazy. I said that one day I will do an Ironman.

I started out doing small triathlon races and then when I graduated I asked my parents for a present: entry into an Ironman. My first Ironman race was Ironman South Africa; I won my age group and got a place at the World Championships in Hawaii.

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

Hawaii is Hawaii, but my top race of all time is for sure Challenge Roth. You have what every athlete dreams about: a crowd of people cheering for you and the best volunteers in the world.

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

Israman was my toughest race so far; it's considered one of the hardest races in the world. This race put me through hell; it's not about the distance but the conditions and the course. It was a unique race and when I finished I collapsed onto the ground. But I still came second!

How do you overcome setbacks?

I'm not ashamed to say I cry and let all the emotion out. Then I breathe, count to 10, and think "is there a solution?" I keep calm and I find a way. There are worse things.

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

Maybe to be more patient; in long distance triathlon it's all about patience and knowing that the results will come with hard work and consistency. 

What are your goals for 2020?

My goals are to smash my country's national long course record and to qualify for Ironman Hawaii as a pro athlete. 

Who do you take your inspiration from?

I think about people who can't walk or can't do what I can. Sometimes we need to think about those who can only dream of doing what we do so I put on my running shoes and run for them. 

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

I love that Sundried has strong ethics and sustainability at its core.