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Episode 13

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Published on:

14th Feb 2020

The power of self belief: Ben Hoffman

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Like what you heard?

Connect with Ben and follow him on instagram 

If you liked this episode please share it with a friend, get involved on social media, by following Inside Tri Show on Twitter and Instagram , subscribe and leave a review in Apple.

Show Sponsors

Thanks to Sports Tours International and Oryon Connect for sponsoring the show

Sports Tours International (Sports Travel International if you’re in Ireland) are offering listeners an exclusive 10% discount on their Ironman Lanzarote package with the discount code: INSIDE1 if you book by 29th Feb 2020. Please note Terms and conditions apply: Offer – 10% off the package price (excludes entries) booked by 29/2/20. Not combinable with any other offer, applies to new bookings only. In terms of the entry price – Sports Tours' entry fee is already £150 cheaper than booking direct with IRONMAN and they do not charge the 8% booking fee. 

Oryon Connect

Oryon Connect is a free introductions service, so if you’re injured or struggling with pain, they’ll connect you with top healthcare practitioners in London. The Oryon Connect team will listen to your concern before giving you options of trusted Partners - practitioners you could see. It’s affordable and efficient, so it’s a great option if you need to get diagnosed and treated quickly to recover as soon as possible. Visit their website to find out more. Follow Oryon Connect on Twitter, Facebook and @YouTube @ OryonConnect.

BUY HELEN A COFFEE

To help me to continue to bring you the best interviews in triathlon every week, I’d love you to become a patreon and buy me a coffee every so often.

POWERED BY 33 FUEL

This week's show is powered by 33 Fuel . Their Ultimate Daily Greens have been been awarded Best Health Product of 2019 by Runner's World magazine.  Use the code INSIDETRI33 for a discount at checkout at www.33fuel.com

Komfuel

Komfuel - like a pic' n mix of sports nutrition through your letterbox! Listeners can get 20% off all orders or advance sweat tests using the code: INSIDETRI at www.komfuel.co.uk

INTERVIEW TIME LINE* (not the whole episode)

0.00 Is triathlon as fun as it used to be at the start? 

Ben explains how he got into triathlon and how the things that are fun have changed but that he feels fortunate and grateful to able to be a professional triathlete.

2.00 What doesn’t excite him anymore? Ben admits the travel isn’t as fun as it used to be. “Now I have a family and now I’m 36 years old, I appreciate having my home environment which keeps me comfortable and dialled in when it comes to my training and as much as I love the culture and racing in different places, I love being home now. Something that didn’t excite me as much early on was probably the pursuit of sponsors and now it’s really cool and I look forward to having these conversations and how we can grow their brand as well as mine.

4.00 How he doesn’t want to put a number on when he will retire. “I think you have an idea in your mind and you see a lot of people fizzle out in their late 30s but a lot of it comes from a motivational stand point. Can you still get excited about getting out of the door for training and taking care of the little details off the bike for example. Five more years would be great, that would take me to 42 and if I could continue to get support and I still have the passion, I would love that. But seeing that end makes me more appreciative of all of the components.

5.45 Talks about Richie Cunningham and Chris Lee and how he trained a lot with them when he was in his early 30s and they were on the brink of retiring ‘overall the one message that I get from most people when they reach that stage is do this for as long as you can because we don’t always understand how great of a job it really is. That said, it can be a grind and it sometimes can be like any other job’

7.45 Do a lot of pro triathletes glorify it all on Instagram?

“I do think it would be nice if we were a little bit more open about the parts of it that weren’t so awesome all of the time but it’s about that line and how much you decide to let people into your life.”

We go on to talk about who does the posting on Instagram.  

11.15 What does ‘an attitude of gratitude’ mean to him?

Ben reflects on his big injury in 2018 ‘maybe the passion about why I do this had shifted and I felt quite blind-sided by this injury. And having it taken away from me really drove it home how much I want to be doing this. So entering the 2019 season, I looked at everything a bit differently and I could not be able to get on my bike, but I really want to do it and see good I can be and the window for a peak performance is closing and I really want to see what I can do” The attitude of gratitude extended to all aspects of my life and I felt like I was taking things for granted a little bit. But it is something I try to carry with me every day.

14.15 Self belief is the cornerstone of athletic performance. It’s one of the biggest limitations of athletes who don’t reach their potential. It’s a process.. You don’t just wake up one day and think ‘ok, I can win Kona now’ but your performance is a constant process of upping that self belief. I didn’t believe I could win Kona until I was 2nd there. It’s a delicate balance. If you have a really bad season, there is a lot of questioning that goes on and a lot of self doubt too. But it’s about having that mindset and self belief to overcome that, to push that down and that is critical for performance, it’s the number one thing, more than the training itself.

16.00 How do you turn around a lack of self-belief?

Putting the injury behind me, having my wife around me reminding me I’ve had to grind previously but as long as I put the work in, the results will come. But you have to concentrate on it a lot to raise that level of self-belief. I remember at that time being super worried ‘will I ever be back, will my sponsors leave me?’ Worry is your minds way into tricking you into believing you have control.

18.00 Was Ben a worrier? We talk about a fear of failure. “That’s always been a cornerstone for me. I want to win and there is a pressure/fear of failure that motivates me.”

19.30 Talks about becoming a dad in September 2019, a month before the 2019 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii and how they juggled the first month after their daughter was born. “we had a lot of support from our family who took care of so much stuff and I was able to sleep in a separate area and continue to train really hard. There was a different level of investment in that way and I really wanted to deliver in a different way and I wanted to make it all count.” 

22.30 Talks about putting out another big performance at Ironman Florida , just a few weeks after the Ironman World Championships, which saw him secure his start place in Kona in 2020 so he doesn’t have to focus on trying to qualify for Kona in the early part of 2020.

24.00 Talks about the appeal of Challenge Roth in 2020 and why it hasn’t worked for him previously and how he hopes to be racing in the Collins Cup

25.30 Talks about the Collins Cup and the PTO and why he wanted to be a part of it from the beginning “I was actually one of the people that signed up for and contributed money to the original Professional Triathletes Union. This is finally the moment where the pieces came together and we finally have a pretty cohesive group.   I want to see our sport improve. I’m not saying our vision is the best and right one, but we are an important voice in the sport. In my core, I want to have a legacy beyond just what my race results were. I would like to see the up and coming pros have more opportunities too. It’s something that will take time, but I do think that it has really good potential and Mike Moritz has our back and I think he looks at this as something that will take time and he is willing to support us.

29.00 What is Ben’s message to the athletes who have voiced their discontent who will not be involved this year?

“I think the initial effort was for people who were top ranked and I don’t think it’s perfect that not everyone was contact, but to me there is a component of sour grapes going on. They can still sign up to be part of the organisation and it undermines the bigger picture. The Collins Cup is not the only event we are doing. There is a lot more to this and we need people to be on board and committed to the longer term vision.

31.15 Bahrain 13 - Ben was on the team at the start, but wasn’t on it from 2019 “It was a mutual decision. They had put a lot of emphasis on the Olympics and Paralympics and I was basically like “I understand” and we just felt like we had 4 successful years with the team. But no bad blood.

32.15 Did the values of the team and the links with Bahrain ever bother you?

I did spend time doing my own investigations and there were things that were concerning to me at times, but overall I adopted the mindset that these people were willing to support us in our sporting goals. I understand peoples arguments that we were potentially aligning ourselves with people that had questionable behaviours, but I also asked myself if that was something you could uncover anywhere you and as an American, I know my country’s history and there is a lot of stuff that goes on that I am not proud of. There are problems everywhere in the world and you can focus on problems or you can focus on solutions and I felt like the team was focussed on creating solutions and bettering the lives of people in that country and I was proud of that effort.

34.15 We move on to doping and why he recently published his drug testing results

“There are a lot of misconceptions about what goes on the drug testing front.  I think as a PTO we have to prioritise a unique component of our sport, which is that unlike cycling, we are not tarnished by doping. I believe there are still people who still cheat in our sport, but overall, we have a pretty clean sport and I feel safe saying that. Talks about the exchange with Jan Frodeno and Uli Fluhme on social media.

37.15 – Would you like to see all athletes publish their results?

More than that, I would like to know about TUEs (Therapeutic Use Exemptions).  That’s one thing I am not comfortable with. I have never had one, but if I had to guess, there are probably several athletes out there with them. If you want to be a fighter pilot in the US Army or Airforce, you have to have certain vision requirements and if you don’t have them, you can’t be a pilot, it’s that simple. So if your body has some sort of illness that can’t be overcome without some sort of heavy medication, that might have a side effect of being performance enhancing, then maybe you can’t be a professional triathlete. I know that sounds harsh, but we have seen in the past, especially in cycling that people abuse those TUEs and it would hold people a lot more accountable and less likely to abuse them if they had to publish that information. 

39.30 We talk about the Nike Next % and technology in running shoes.

“Do I believe it’s performing enhancing? Yes I do. I think it does increase my performance, I think it’s the foam which has really good energy return and when I do a marathon in them, I pull up better the next day. If the rules change and the shoes were to go away, I would adapt. It’s interesting with sponsors - I’ve heard a lot of people trying to modify shoes to look like other ones because they want to use this shoe too. Innovation is part of our sport and it moves everyone forward. The running industry was pretty stagnant for a while.”

44.00 What lessons has he learned twice? 

Don’t jump into a race and run as hard as you can at the very beginning of your training cycle.

Don’t make changes really close to a race.

46.45 What did he learn the most about himself after the Cape Epic race he did with Sebi Kienle?

I was a shell of a human after that. The level of suffering that I thought was my maximum was not at all and when things are really hard, I go back to that a lot. It’s pretty eye opening and it was a big step forward that way.

48.25 Patience “this time of year, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed and think “I am out of shape, I will never get back to that level again” and you question yourself and you have self doubt and you question how you will ever get back to that level and the answer is patience and consistency.   The lesson is this is in your body and your mind already and if you are patient about your body it will come out again.

50.00 What 3 things? Ben is really into welding, so I ask him what he would most like to weld! 

Episode 12

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Published on:

7th Feb 2020

Embrace the nerves: Imogen Simmonds

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When Imogen Simmonds went off to study geology at University, she thought she’d end up working in a high-flying office job, bringing in a regular salary and doing her bit for the environment. But spending a few weeks on a triathlon training camp in Thailand gave her other ideas and she soon swapped the idea of office attire for Lycra and set out to become a professional triathlete. In 2019 she had a real breakthrough year, not only did she come second on her Ironman debut at the European Championships in Frankfurt to qualify for Kona, she surprised many by finishing 3rd at the Ironman 70.3 World champs in Nice.

You'll hear:

*Why she thinks it's important to let her hair down every so often

*Why she likes to get nervous before a race and doesn't pack out her race season

*About her love for training in Thailand

*Her plans to qualify for Kona in 2020

Like what you heard?

Connect with Imogen and follow her on instagram 

If you liked this episode please share it with a friend, get involved on social media, by following Inside Tri Show on Twitter and Instagram and leave a review in Apple.

10% OFF IRONMAN LANZAROTE PACKAGE

Show sponsors Sports Tours International (Sports Travel International if you’re in Ireland) are offering listeners an exclusive 10% discount on their Ironman Lanzarote package with the discount code: INSIDE1 if you book by 29th Feb 2020. Please note Terms and conditions apply: Offer – 10% off the package price (excludes entries) booked by 29/2/20. Not combinable with any other offer, applies to new bookings only. In terms of the entry price – Sports Tours' entry fee is already £150 cheaper than booking direct with IRONMAN and they do not charge the 8% booking fee. 

SPONSOR LUKE ON HIS TANDEM RIDE

There’s been so much incredible feedback from episode 11 with Luke Grenfell-Shaw who is cycling a tandem from Bristol to Beijing. You can still Sponsor Luke via his fundraising page. Luke is fundraising for 5K Your Way and Trekstock, charities which help empower CanLivers through exercise, alongside the Teenage Cancer Trust and ClicSargent, which both did so much to support him throughout treatment.

THINGS HELEN'S LIKED THIS WEEK

Sarah Outen's film Home

I am 35 and running faster than I ever thought possible - New York Times article

SUPPORT THE SHOW BY LEAVING A REVIEW AND SHARING IT

Please support the show by leaving a review and sharing it with a friend.

BUY HELEN A COFFEE

To help me to continue to bring you the best interviews in triathlon every week, I’d love you to become a patreon and buy me a coffee every so often.

POWERED BY 33 FUEL

This week's show is powered by 33 Fuel  . Their Ultimate Daily Greens have been been awarded Best Health Product of 2019 by Runner's World magazine.  Use the code INSIDETRI33 for a discount at checkout at www.33fuel.com

Komfuel

Komfuel - like a pic' n mix of sports nutrition through your letterbox! Listeners can get 20% off all orders or advance sweat tests using the code: INSIDETRI at www.komfuel.co.uk

INTERVIEW TIME LINE* (not the whole episode)

03.10 – always loved sport, it’s always been part of her life. Swam until she was 12, then did athletics and cross country until she was 14 and then moved to team sports. Was also very academically driven. Started triathlon when she was 21 but admits it took a while to want to do it again.

Until I was 22 years old, I had never thought of professional triathlon as a career. I had always been studying and always thought a desk job was awaiting for me.

5.00 talks about doing a Masters in environmental technology and business 'I struggled between going down the environmental route and being an athlete.'

6.15 I underestimated doing a training camp for a couple of weeks and living that life all of the time. It is very different when every single day when come rain or shine, whether you feel sick, you just have to go out. It takes a mental toll doing nothing during the day sometimes but its not a bad job.

7.15 I got my pro licence through the swiss federation, so I represent Switzerland. I got it after the Molloolooba 70.3 World Champs “I wasn’t fast enough for British Triathlon.” Talks about the funding she receives.

10.30 Imogen admits she doesn’t really like doing a lot of indoor training, and explains how the pool she does a lot of training in in Thailand is covered. Trains in Thailand for around 4 months of the year and talks about why she enjoys training her work out there.

15.00 Talks about her move to Ironman. Jurgen has always been big on the Ironman side of things, but never pushed me until I started to mention it. They are very different distances and I didn’t respect that enough. But I enjoy both.

16.45 What was her goal for 2019? “Going into 70.3 Worlds, when I looked at the start list, I thought ‘I’m going to have a hard time coming top 10, let along more than that. So I still pinch myself about that because I basically executed a good race on the day and living and training in the Alps paid off.” “I didn’t expect that result. I had been training a lot with guys, I hadn’t really been training with girls over the summer, so I didn’t know where my cycling was. So I was probably comparing myself to them and wasn’t as confident as I should have been.”

20.00 On standing on the start line of her first Ironman “I had no idea what to expect” I learnt a number of lessons that day including don’t power off on the bike! It was 39 degrees and you suddenly learn to experience Aid Stations a lot more.  Talks about the difference between Kona and her debut at Frankfurt.

22.41 She’s going to try to qualify for Kona at the inaugural Ironman Thun, which is a female pro only race.

24.00 On meditating to go to sleep and calm down.

24.45 I do get nervous and anxious and I find my worse events are when I don’t get nervous or anxious. I always think a bit of nerves is a good thing, because that’s just your body’s natural response of going into a race. I do some meditation, some breathing practice and I try to surround myself my people or I distract myself from the hype. If my heart isn’t in it, for whatever reason. That’s why I don’t race too much because I want to keep that excitement clean and if I start to race a lot, then they will all merge into one. Last year I ended up doing a lot of Championship races, like the 70.3 World Champs, the Ironman World Championships etc… And they take not just a physical, but a mental toll on me. 

27.45 My training for Ironman Thun, the long rides have already started and it’s almost like a big exam and then finish the exam and you want to go wild and forget about it all for a few days. There is a big hype towards it and you put everything into it. When you are a professional athlete. I have to let my hair down once in a while.

31.00 We talk about the environment and the ‘disgusting’ amount of plastic waste in Thailand and how Imogen would like to put her background and her studies to use at some point down the line.  

Episode 11

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Published on:

31st Jan 2020

Control how you live today: Luke Grenfell-Shaw

Read Show Notes

This is a remarkable interview with a remarkable young man, Luke Grenfell-Shaw.

Luke is a talented triathlete, cyclist and runner. He's currently cycling a tandem from Bristol to Beijing.

But Luke is also living with Stage IV cancer.

In this uplifting interview, Luke talks about his diagnosis, the words of advice his Dad gave him and what he hopes to achieve through the 23,000km ride.

You'll hear:

*How he found out he had cancer after he had recently come 2nd in his first ultra marathon

*Why his parents took his turbo trainer into hospital for him

*How he kept fit throughout his cancer treatment "because the alternative was far worse"

*How he hopes to inspire people, whether living with cancer or not, to live rich and fulfilling lives

*Why it's all about a song from Hamilton the musical!

Like what you heard?

Find out more about Luke's Bristol to Beijing cycle and You can also follow his ride on twitter and instagram  

Hamilton the Musical - this is the song Luke mentioned!

If you liked this episode please share it with a friend and get involved on social media, by following Inside Tri Show on Twitter and Instagram and commenting on/sharing posts.

Sponsor Luke!

Sponsor Luke via his fundraising page! Luke is fundraising for 5K Your Way and Trekstock, charities which help empower CanLivers through exercise, alongside the Teenage Cancer Trust and ClicSargent, which both did so much to support him throughout treatment.

Who is Helen Murray?

It's a good question! Head over to her website and you'll find all you need to know.

HELEN GETS INTERVIEWED!

Listen to the recent interview Helen did with Tri Oraklet here: https://soundcloud.com/tri-oraklet/helen-murray-inside-tri-show

SUPPORT THE SHOW BY LEAVING A REVIEW AND SHARING IT

Please support the show by leaving a review and sharing it with a friend.

BUY HELEN A COFFEE

To help me to continue to bring you the best interviews in triathlon every week, I’d love you to become a patreon and buy me a coffee every so often.

POWERED BY 33 FUEL

This week's show is powered by 33 Fuel whose Ultimate Daily Greens has just been awarded Best Health Product of 2019 by Runner's World magazine.  Use the code INSIDETRI33 for a discount at checkout at www.33fuel.com.

.Komfuel - like a pic' n mix of sports nutrition through your letterbox! Pick n Mix from your favourite sports nutrition brands, buy in bulk or in the quantities you want to create your own fuel pack delivered straight to your door from Komfuel. Listeners can get 20% off all orders or advance sweat tests using the code: INSIDETRI at www.komfuel.co.uk

INTERVIEW TIME LINE* (not the whole episode)

1.00 – How Bristol to Beijing ride came about – 23,000km across 24 countries on a tandem. “The reason I wanted it to be on a tandem is because an experience shared is an experience made real and I wanted this to be the richest experience possible and doing it on a tandem seemed the best way possible. And there is another part to it because on the back of the tandem are other people with a cancer diagnosis, I call these people CanLivers –someone living with cancer. That term encapsulates both the challenges and uncertainties that someone living with cancer will face on a daily basis but also the positive message that you can survive with cancer and this ride is all about showing people what is possible with a cancer diagnosis.

3.30 Talks about being diagnosed with cancer in June 2018, while he was teaching English in Siberia. Prior to his diagnosis, he was in the peak of his health, at peak fitness. He was 24 and he had just done his first ultra marathon, in the Ural mountains. Within 48 hours he was back in the UK for tests and a few weeks later, the doctors told him he had cancer.

5.15 ‘What really blew me away was that it was stage 4 cancer.  The primary tumour had spread to my lungs and every certainty and every aspect of this conventional, comfortable life that I had lived just crumbled. And that was an incredibly difficult day. It’s sort of like the bottom of your stomach just sort of flopped out.  It’s amazing how words can have such a physiological reaction.

08.20 how he was due to be going to Oxford to do a Masters “But this put all of that into a great deal of uncertainty” and I thought “were I to start Oxford, it would be while I was having chemotherapy and it didn’t seem like a plausible option” but the doctors weren’t sure how I would react.

09.40 Describes what his treatment schedule has been like. “So I had 6 rounds of chemotherapy, which involved being in hospital for 3-4 days at a time. You feel pretty washed out and sick, but I wanted to do everything I could to give myself the best chance of getting through chemo in the best state possible. You are never going to thrive going through chemo, but I wanted to live as much as I could while this was happening.

10.30 Talks about how he trained through his chemo and used the time to travel.  How did you do that? “The alternative was worse” I had 4 hours a day when I didn’t have a drip in my arm, but I made sure I went for a walk and that was pretty much all I could do.

12.00 Every time I went into hospital, I cycled my bike in. And I also set my turbo up. It wasn’t about the exercise, but it was about the attitude I was bringing to the situation.

15.00 Luke talks about winning a duathlon the day after finishing his radiotherapy. “It’s an attitude thing. I had my weeks of radiotherapy when I was in Oxford and I made the most of the opportunity to run 7km in and out. When you are in the system and you are termed as a patient, it saps your identity, your autonomy, your ability to be a person and doing exercise was a way to be my own person, taking control of my own life. It was an important way to accept the situation and accept the situation. 

16.35 On running the Bristol half marathon 2/3 of the way through chemo… in 80 minutes! Since then, last Autumn, he’s done a 70 minute 10km. 

18.30 I’m a reluctant triathlete, because I prefer cycling and running. I did a lot of races at University. 

20.00 The difficulty with all of this is that I feel great and I am having a fantastic adventure, and I am in remission, but it doesn’t really mean all that much. With the type of cancer I have, there are no guarantees but so far, I have done a lot better than the doctors thought I would.  

20.51 The day I was diagnosed, I went for a run with my Dad and I remember chatting to him and he gave me some advice that meant a lot to me then and I have tried to take it to heart as much as possible. “We can’t control when we die, but we can control how we live today and hopefully how we live tomorrow and that’s what I try to aim to do on each and  every day and that’s the most important thing. My personal ethos is not simply  wait for opportunities to come along, but proactively go and create the opportunities you want to make your life as rich and fulfilling as possible. So go and create those unique opportunities for yourself, take a risk and do it.

23.00 All I’ve tried to do for myself is live my best life and why wouldn’t you wouldn’t to do that? What wouldn’t you want to have the best, enriching and most fulfilling life you could have? The pressures of society, the expectations of a certain job or salary or position and the fear of stepping away from those comforts or other uncertainties can be a big influencer.

24.30 Talks about the tragic death of his older brother John, who sadly died in an accident in 2018 and Luke explains about a phone call he got at 4am on the final day of his first cycle of

chemotherapy and he found out that his brother had fallen to his death in the Lake District.

Explains that his brother was planning to join him for much of the ride. I’m not doing the ride to remember John or for John, but I know he is with me on the ride.

28.30 Talks about the money he is raising through the ride. “The most important thing is to change the way people live.  Of course, I have no control over that, but this is what has worked for me and by having other young people and other Can Livers on the back, that is the clearest way I can think of sending a message saying “If time is short, live your life to the full, these people are doing it and you can too.”  Living your life to the full doesn’t mean cycling on a tandem from Bristol to Beijing, it’s unique to each individual. So hopefully it has a positive impact on other people’s lives. But the other thing I am really excited about is to raise money for 4 charities supporting people living with cancer.

We are supporting 4 charities: Clic Sargent, Teenage Cancer Trust, Trek stock and MOVE/5k Your Way.

Exercise is just amazing and it has such a powerful impact on your physical and emotional wellbeing.   The resilience you get from exercise helps you withstand the effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy but you know the power of endorphin and it’s an incredible mental boost

31.00 Luke talks about the initial fundraising target being £23,000 , “but we smashed that 15 days in and we are super excited to see where this can go and I say we because it’s a whole team effort” 

Episode 10

full
Published on:

24th Jan 2020

Balance and perspective: Helen Jenkins

Read Show Notes

This is the inspirational story of a British triathlon legend, Helen Jenkins.

Helen is a 2x ITU World Champion and 3x Olympian and is preparing to make her middle distance debut at Ironman 70.3 Dubai in February. 

But Helen hasn't raced since 2016.   

Over the last four years, Helen has had 2 children, but she also feared her triathlon career would be over for ever when she had intensive back surgery in 2018.   

I think you'll love the interview, as Helen is really relaxed, funny and brings a refreshing perspective to life as a professional triathlete.

You'll hear:

*Why she is excited and nervous in equal measure ahead of her first race since 2016 after such a long break

*Her fears that she would never stand on a start line again

*How she has come to terms with the disappointment of finishing 5th at the London Olympics, when she was one of the favourites to take the win

*Why listening to your OWN body is the best piece of advice for new mums and mums-to-be.

* If she'll be signing up for Ironman Wales any time soon

Like what you heard?

If you liked this episode please share it with a friend and get involved on social media, by following Inside Tri Show on Twitter and Instagram and commenting on/sharing posts.

Connect with Helen Jenkins via her website, on twitter and instagram  

Who is Helen Murray?

It's a good question! Head over to her website and you'll find all you need to know.

HELEN GETS INTERVIEWED!

Listen to the recent interview Helen did with Tri Oraklet here: https://soundcloud.com/tri-oraklet/helen-murray-inside-tri-show

SUPPORT THE SHOW BY LEAVING A REVIEW AND SHARING IT

Please support the show by leaving a review and sharing it with a friend.

BUY HELEN A COFFEE

To help me to continue to bring you the best interviews in triathlon every week, I’d love you to become a patreon and buy me a coffee every so often.

POWERED BY 33 FUEL

This week's show is powered by 33 Fuel whose Ultimate Daily Greens has just been awarded Best Health Product of 2019 by Runner's World magazine.  Use the code INSIDETRI33 for a discount at checkout at www.33fuel.com.

FRIEND OF THE SHOW

Komfuel - like a pic' n mix of sports nutrition through your letterbox! Pick n Mix from your favourite sports nutrition brands, buy in bulk or in the quantities you want to create your own fuel pack delivered straight to your door from Komfuel. Listeners can get 20% off all orders or advance sweat tests using the code: INSIDETRI at www.komfuel.co.uk

INTERVIEW TIME LINE* (not the whole episode)

Mixture of nerves and excitement about racing for the first time since September 2016.

"I know I’m nowhere near the levels of where I was when I was qualifying for the Olympics or winning a World Triathlon series, I’ve just not had enough time, but I’ve been training since Max was a month old , so in 7 months, and I am happy with where I have got to."

01.15 I had to commit to a goal, I had to commit to something. I was just training and doing bits and and pieces. Without a goal, say the kids had had a rough night and I was tired, I’d be like ‘ah, I won’t go swimming this morning’ but with that goal, I have to go and do it.

01.50 I’m nervous about the distance and where my fitness is. I stopped training with Max at 16 weeks and I literally did half an hour a day and it wasn’t every day and I just don’t know where I am in terms of fitness.

03.00 If you went to a World Series and you were really fit and you came 30th, you’d be really disappointed. If you went to a World Series and you were aiming to win and you came third but had a really good performance, you’d still be relatively happy. But with this race and the new distance, if I just finish it, I think I will be relatively happy. To come back from where I have been would be an achievement just to finish it. 

03.30 Did you think you would ever get on the start line again?

No, not really.  After the Rio Olympics, I had Mali and then the intention was to get back after I had her. But I got back into training and I was really struggling with my back. I went for an hour run one day and then I could’t walk for a week. So I had the back surgery, and I was probably never going to race again. After the surgery, I thought I’d try to get back and see what happened, but it wasn’t great. It was the swimming actually, I couldn’t tumble turn. So we decided to have Max. Throughout the pregnancy in my head I was thinking my back isn’t going to be good enough again and I wasn’t really intending to do anything, so I just started to ride on Zwift and got fit really quickly and once you start feeling that fitness coming back, the motivation comes and I thought if I don’t try now, it won’t happen, so just do it and see what happens.

07.15 London was hard for me because I was one of the favourites going in and I was one of the favourites and I’m actually really proud of what I did to put out such an amazing performance, on not much injury.

08.00 I message Nicola (Spirig) occasionally and she had to train pretty hard through her third pregnancy and it’s an inspiration to other mothers. But at the same time, there is no way I could have done a high level of exercise throughout my second pregnancy. The stories are inspiring, but use it as inspiration not comparison.  Listen to your body is the biggest piece of advice and after pregnancy I saw a physio who specialises in how to re-engage the core and it’s doing what you can. Sometimes I don’t feel like going training and after a busy day with the kids, I think ‘oh, I don’t even want to go out of the house again’ but you will feel better for doing it.

12.15 I’ve never been a high volume athlete. Mostly I would do 23-25hrs a week. With my body I just haven’t been able to take that volume. I’ve been about 20 hours and consistently doing 18-20 hours a week, which has got me back to a decent level of fitness. I know I need to push that on slightly. It is different, I breastfed Max until he was 5 months old and we had to be pretty mindful of that because you can’t do as much if you aren’t getting the quality sleep and recovery in.

14.30 if I am looking to race for the rest of the season and I can keep at a consistent 20 hours a week, that would be great.

15.00 The athlete/coach relationship has always worked well for us. Marc (Marc Jenkins, her husband) will set the programme which is always less than I want to do! But that works well, because if I was left to my own devices, I would do too much! Things changed after London, because we were so invested in it, and so we brought Ben Bright in to help. He was head coach of British Triathlon at the time. But I trust Marc and  I have the motivation. The biggest thing that has changed is that we don’t train as much together any more. We just don’t have the time and if we do, it’s a bit of a novelty. I’ve always mainly run on my own, but at home I swim with the club. Cycling’s probably the biggest difference as I do a lot indoors and on Zwift.

19.00 Cycling’s never been my favourite discipline. I love doing hard sessions, but the long easy miles when its cold and wet, I’d rather be at home! You don’t get many people saying that. But I have really bad circulation!

20.20 what appealed about stepping up to 70.3? It’s more relaxed than the ITU and the Olympics/commonwealth cycle can become very pressured and I think I needed some time away from that and if I need to pull out of a race, it doesn’t really matter.  The change is good, I was excited about something different.

22.15 British Triathlon have been brilliant to me and funded me throughout pregnancy and my injury. But it wasn’t just about the funding, it was more about the change. I would love to combine both Olympic distance and 70.3

23.00 How has the ITU changed? It goes through cycles. When I first started, it was all about the swim. If you couldn’t make that front pack, you were out. Then we went through a phase of the faster runner and we are back to that strong swim-bike.. You just have to get it right for that cycle and I have always tried to train equally across all three disciplines, so I could be ready for any scenario, but I’d always prefer it to be a hard swim-bike-run. 

24.55 I’ll be excited to watch Tokyo 2020 and see what’s going to happen, more with the conditions. A sensible athlete will win, not someone who will go hard in the first 10km of the bike. I won’t feel sad as I’ve not been involved in this cycle, but I think if I had been involved and missed out then I would be sad.

26.30 On her role as an athlete representative on the British Triathlon board and trying to get a domestic race series set up in the UK, to support junior and development athletes coming through.

29.30 Bucket list race: I’d like to do Escape from Alcatraz, I like the idea of everyone jumping off the boat at the start.

30.10 Would Kona appeal? When you watch it every year, I really get into it. But I’m really not sure my body would cope with running that distance, but being from Wales and having Tenby not that far away, I’d be more inclined to get that way. I just have to get through a half first. I don’t know if I could fit in the training at the moment with the kids being young, But one day, maybe. It’s a BIG maybe!’

33. 00 On getting a first taste of triathlon on an Industrial Estate. It was only when I came into it at 15 or 16 that I started to enjoy it. I think I enjoyed swimming and triathlon just didn’t appeal. I remember I counted the lengths wrong on one event, that put me off. 

34.30 Guilty pleasure on the turbo?

35.20 If you could only relive 3 races, which would they be? The last World Series I won, Gold Coast 2016. That was amazing for me because until I stood on the podium at the end, I never thought I would be there again. It was after a long time away from the top of the podium, so it meant a lot to me. London Olympics are hard to relive because I never achieved what I wanted to achieve and the third one would be my first World Series win, here I also qualified for the Olympics, so London in 2011. My family were there at the finish.

37.15 – How did she get over not achieving what she had hoped to achieve in London:

“I am not the kind of person to focus on the negatives. Expectation comes into it and I was expected to win gold, but I just don’t focus on it. I focus on what I did do, which was getting a 5th when I hadn’t done that running . And then focussing on the positives and then looking forward as well. It did change me. Leading into Rio , the Olympics is massive for an athlete, but I also knew that if I got there and didn’t perform or if I didn’t qualify then it wouldn’t break me mentally. You need to have that perspective and balance and that’s what I learnt after London. You can’t put everything into triathlon, or if you do and if things do go wrong, then you have to deal with the consequences. I had a lot more balance after London and it’s easier with kids, and it’s easier to switch off, but even before kids I was better about having that balance. you have to do things that make you happy that aren’t just triathlon or things that aren’t just swim, bike, run. That is what I learnt after it and I have spent a lot more time working on that over the last few years. 

Episode 9

full
Published on:

17th Jan 2020

Stick or twist: Renee Kiley

Read Show Notes

This is the remarkable story of how triathlon has completely transformed Renee Kiley's life.

In 2014, the Australian came 252nd in her first ever sprint distance triathlon. “I pretty much walked the 5km”  she says.

In 5.5 years, Renee has gone from weighing 104kg, with alarming blood pressure readings to racing in the pro ranks.

Long gone are the long, boozy Friday lunches, the 7 day working weeks in the office and the daily packet of cigarettes!

We go pretty deep in the interview, but Renee is ridiculously open and honest and she reveals she still struggles with her body image.

You'll hear:

*The 'lightbulb moment' that made her start to change her life around

*How she ran on the treadmill and avoided the pool at busy times when she first started exercising, for fear of what others would say

*The lessons she's taken from the business world into the triathlon domain and vice versa

*Her struggles with body image and disordered eating

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Connect with Renee via her website, on twitter and instagram  

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INTERVIEW TIME LINE* (not the whole episode)

00:00 A typical Friday 6 years ago? “My ultimate was a long lunch at a fancy restaurant, which means leaving the office by 11.30am, and pretty much drinking at the table until they would come up and say ‘we need to get ready for dinner service' which was around 3.30 in the afternoon, then we would head for drinks in bar, with cigarettes, cocktails and wines and I’d be home by 7.30 or 8 and sleep the hangover off. That was the ideal Friday about 6 years ago.

01.25 Today (Friday) was I woke up at 0540am because that’s the body clock now, then did the house work, came home and had a coffee and then got ready for this interview.

02.00 There are still moments where I have memories and I think ‘wow, my life has changed a lot’.

02.40 2012/2013 I was at the height of my unhealthiness, I was running a successful business which I had been growing since 2007 and I was obsessed with work. But now in hindsight I realise I was unhappy and unhealthy. So 2012, I was in the office 7 days a week, I would sleep in a bit on a Saturday and Sunday but I would still go to the office. And my business partner came up to me at some point in 2012 and he said ‘I don’t care what you do next week, but you are not coming in to the office, you need a break.’ So I booked myself into a health retreat and it was just to de-stress.

05.35 I remember when you got there, they did a series of health checks on you and my heart rate got to 155 beats on a bike just turning the pedals for a few minutes, they weighed me and I was 104kg (16 stone) and my blood pressure was something crazy 151/110. I was wearing probably a size 18. 

07.00 In 2012, I went to stay with friends in Queensland and they were going to watch a friend competing in the Noosa triathlon.

07.45 I was always a sporty kid and I had grown up around sport my whole life, so I loved watching it. This was November 2013 and I went and watched the bike course and I was wondering how I would sneak away for a cigarette surrounded by health freaks.  I had never seen a triathlon before, but I remember having this moment thinking wow, there are all sorts of shapes and sizes and ages and they all look so happy. And I thought maybe I could do this Noosa triathlon in 12 months time.  I didn’t stand there and think ‘I need to lose weight, I need to go healthy, it was more about 'I want to do this triathlon’

11.30 I didn’t tell anyone because I was afraid of failing, but I did enter the race. But I didn’t make any changes. I probably thought in my head I’ll start in the New Year. So on January 2nd, I googled bikes and went and brought a bike, with normal pedals and I remember coming home and getting on the bike.

14.00 Oh my god did I feel self-conscious? Yes. I was super self-conscious and in those early days, I would run on a treadmill and I would swim during the day when I knew there weren’t that many people at the pool, because I was too self-conscious.

17.00 I played basketball as a teenager to a really good level, so I knew about fitness and I knew that too much running wouldn’t be good, so I did a lot of swimming to start off with. I also starting eating more healthily.

20.29 I remember crossing the finish line at Noosa and I just remember being really p*ssed off because I was so bad. I had always been really good at things and one of the best. And being 252nd was not something I was proud of. It wasn’t in a bad way, but it was fuel for the fire and it made me think ‘I want to be better than that.’

22.00 I was always really competitive and I just wanted to get better. As soon as I found triathlon, I found perspective and I’m sure as soon as I got that first bike, I stopped going to work at the weekends.

23.20 Going back to noosa, I set myself a goal “I wanted to finish in the top 30% in my age group.  I came 25th and did 2h 30 in my second Olympic distance triathlon, but I didn’t care about timings or placings. We just had the best time.

25.30 After Noosa, I did my first 70.3 at Geelong in 2015. I did another 70.3 in Cairns in the June and I came 3rd in my age group and that was when I started thinking ‘wow, maybe I could be a good age grouper’ but a lot of people in my tri club were doing Ironman Japan in the August and someone said ‘you should do it’ so then I did my first Ironman in Japan and won my age group. Kona was 6 or 7 weeks after that, so I ended up racing Kona in 2015 too.

28.00 After kona that year, I decided I wanted to go back and I thought I might be able to go back to Kona and get a top 5. So I did Ironman Australia and came 3rd in my age group. And it was in the May that I thought perhaps I could have a go at racing PRO. Training mates in the tri club at the time would mention it and I was cycling really well at the time. But I thought no, I’d be too old. But then I ended up having a really bad race at Kona. That was a really big disappointment. But I pulled myself together and I just had huge self-belief that I could do it. And the following June, I won the age group race.

31.30 I did worry about what other people would think, I thought people would look at my results and think ‘oh, she should be racing pro.’ My results were solid, but there wasn’t anything special about them.’ But my perspective was I’ve been on a TT bike for 2 years and if I can do this now, already, then who knows what I can achieve over the next few years.

33.00 I haven’t struggled with imposter syndrome in triathlon because I am pretty sure of myself and I know I work really, really hard and when you know you work really hard, you don’t get that, I don’t think.

34.00 The lessons taken from the corporate world into the triathlon world: Mental resilience. It’s crazy the amount of businesses that fail and when I was first pro I got absolutely smashed in my first two races and that’s really tough to deal with, coming from winning as an age grouper. And as an athlete, you have to have it in you to keep getting back up and keep trying and keep putting yourself on a start line. 

36.30 Would you take anything from the professional world into the corporate world? I often had no life outside of work and I often look back now at how that might be different and there is no way in hell that I would be working 7 days a week!

37.30 How has your relationship with your body changed? “I still struggle with disordered eating to an extent. I have gone from corporate world to elite sport and because I am now in elite sport, 90% of the people I am surrounded by are life time athletes and I lost 42kg and I have about 3kg of excess tissue. I know where it is and I am surrounded by athletes who have looked after their bodies their entire life and have toned figures and I find myself with lower body image when I am surrounded by people who look like that.  As lean and as light as I can get, I will never look super lean or super light, simply because of excess tissue. So has my body image improved? Of course, I know I look better, but I don’t think I look amazing and I think it’s because of the space I am in at the moment.”  

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About the Podcast

Inside Tri Show
Bringing you the best interviews from the triathlon world and beyond
The Inside Tri Show with Helen Murray takes you deeper into triathlon, with in-depth interviews and special episodes to keep you entertained, inspired and motivated while you train.

The Inside Tri Show triathlon podcast will get you thinking...And laughing too. Plus you'll get closer to the action when we take you to races around the world.

Find out more at https://www.insidetrishow.com and https://www.helenmurray.net/
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About your host

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Helen Murray

I've been working in triathlon for almost a decade as an athlete, coach and broadcaster.

I host the Inside Tri Show podcast, taking you deeper into the sport by bringing you the best interviews and guests each week.