Very much so! I raced my first triathlon in 1991, aged 11. It was actually my junior rugby coach who ran the tri series, and my father raced the adult race and I did the kids race. I came 33 out of 42, so it was an inauspicious start but I kept at it, and really enjoyed the training and the friends that I made. Soon after I began to see my fitness grow, and my body change shape and the fitter I got, the more I realised I was capable of.
Fitness has remained part of my daily lifestyle ever since. Sometimes I will be completely focussed training for an event or a goal, but other times its just for health, fitness and clarity. It is my meditation, and in a career of constant moving and change, its training that remains a constant.
I have no doubt that the self-belief and discipline that I learned as a youngster through health, fitness and sport has had a huge impact on the achievements I ave had in my career.
Since 1991. I joined Cronulla Tri Club in 1992 and was able to train and learn from the very best in the sport like Greg Welch, Michellie Jones and Chris McCormack. I raced as a junior at a semi elite level through until 1998, when I started on Neighbours.
I had a few years away from Tris, but during that time I was very focussed on my career, working on Neighbours, The Bill and touring musical theatre. I still kept fit, running the London Marathon and plenty of other bits and pieces.
I made a serious return to Tri in 2006 with a view to achieving my childhood goal of racing the Hawaiian Ironman. I raced my first Ironman in 2006 at IMWA and finished in 9hrs 42m. I raced alot of the next few years, including representing AUS at the age group world champs in Vancouver 2008, and finally winning my age group at Ironman China in 2009 and Qualifying for Hawaii. I raced hawaii in 2009, and then had another 2 year hiatus, to focus again on work. Always finding a place for fitness, I took up Bikram yoga and ran some marathons for non-competitive fun.
It was running the LA marathon in 2011 with a mate that i decided it was time to race again, so I got back into it and raced hard and won my division at a few races here in LA, and qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Champs in Vegas last September.
Tri has always been a lifestyle choice for me, and a lot my closest friends are athletes rather than actors. I always find it a rewarding exercise to devoting 6-12 months to an event or race. It allows my family and friends to travel- its allowed us to see some amazing places and meet some amazing people. It’s always in a balance, with work and other goals, but even when it’s just trying to get out the door for a 30 minute run, I always try to keep it a constant in my life. There is no doubt i am happier when I’m fit!
I see the fit quite simply - fitness has always been a part of my life. It’s something that I do daily, no matter how busy, to feel better, be better and get more out of life both personally and professionally. I think Fitness First represents a positive, energetic, state of the art environment to do just that -alongside likeminded individuals.
I’d have to add that when I use the clubs, there is definitely a sense of community- a shared group feeling that we are all there doing something positive for ourselves, to go beyond 'normal'. I like that it doesn’t matter if you are an Olympian or someone starting out at a gym for the very first time in their life - they are part of the family. There is definitely a respect. People have always been very welcoming to me at all the clubs I have been fortunate to use, and I love chatting to other members about their training and goals. (In Nov/Dec last year alone, I used St Kilda, QVB, Wanda, Cronulla, Top Ryde haha..always have a bag of training gear in the car!).
I have been involved with the sport for over 20 years. I have raced 6 Ironman’s, and raced World Championships across 3 distances - Olympic, 70.3 and Ironman. I have been fortunate to train with multiple world champions, and be coached by the best coaches in the sport. Why? because I ove racing, I love pushing myself, discovering more of what I am capable of. I'm never going to be a world champion, but I love the challenge of pushing new personal limits.
The goal is to go back to race Hawaii again- it is such an amazing race. This year might be tricky, work is going well and there are some great opportunities coming up, so Ironman might take a back seat. But it means that I can race shorter races, for fitness and fun - with less time commitment but still getting all the benefits of training and hanging with my mates.
To begin with, join a squad, group, or just make sure you do some training with colleagues or team members! Although it’s an individual sport, training is much more fun with others, and it keeps you accountable when that snooze button looks tempting in the mornings ;)
Also, you don’t have to spend lots of money on gear and bikes, but make sure that the gear you are using fits properly! The wrong running shoes, or an ill-fitting bike can quickly lead to pain and injury- which stops everything from being fun! Pop into a bike shop or a run store to get fitted properly!
Do not cram- just be consistent! One of the biggest challenges with triathlons of any distance is simply to get to the start line fit, healthy and without injury. So don’t jam in extra 'panic' sessions in the lead up, just stay consistent, trust in your training and go for it!
Don’t use anything different on race day! Blisters from new shoes or an upset tummy from a new flavoured sports drink can derail your race day in no time. use everything in training first and stick to it :)
Worried about the swim? Swimming is my strength, yet even I get butterflies in the water, and sometimes short of breath. If you are a weaker swimmer or worried about the swim, don’t be shy to start on the side or to the back of the wave to find some clear water. And if you get short of breath, a little bit of backstroke can calm the nerves and the heart rate.
Smile, and have fun. you will be surprised that when you are hurting, and remind yourself to smile- it hurts less! try it!
Be comfortable at the distance and the duration.
Make sure you put in plenty of 'quality' sessions at your intended race pace. you can’t go out and train like a tortoise, then expect to race like a hare on race day! Generally 1-2 sessions per week on the bike and run that include race pace efforts or above. As there’s less physical toll and breakdown on your body in the water, you can do quality in every swim session. The cardio-respiratory fitness benefits gained from your swimming will cross over to the bike and run.
Also, remember to rest! Tapering is different for everyone, but I’d suggest to do your last solid hit outs the weekend before, with one good bike and one good run hit out on wed/thurs prior to race day, everything else in race week should be short and easy! Sleep, rest as best you can, and let the body recover so it’s ready to go on race day!