Why on earth would you do an Ironman?

November 15th 2016

I had a lovely friend recently ask me to convince her to do an Ironman.  Yep, straight up, she told me to sell it to her.  I had to pitch the benefits to her.  I had to explain “why on earth anyone would do an Ironman”.

Initially I stumbled, laughed, paused,  swore and then laughed again.

I should have been able to eagerly answer the question with bouts of enthusiasm, but rather the above happened.  It took me a while.   I guess I wanted to pause and give the answer the credit it deserves, because as we all know, you can’t and shouldn’t take competing in an Ironman lightly (click here to read about some honest truths about Ironman).  A lot goes into the decision.

So here’s my pitch.  My view. Why I sign up for Ironmans….

#1   That brief moment after you have finished

Everyone has their moment of “I’ve done it”.  For many it is as they are running down the finish chute.  The euphoria of hearing “you are an Ironman” and getting the medal.  I get that, but for me my “moment” never seems to be in the finish chute.  I tend to have my moment later that night, when I’m sitting alone on my bed.  I usually just smile and think “boom, I just did that”.

That feeling is amazing.  Whether the day has gone to plan or not, I’ve always enjoyed THAT moment.  It also seems to come with a bit of relief.  Relief that the structure of training life has come to an end and that you can have some time to rest and reunite with the things you’ve sacrificed over the training months.

To those of you who have done an Ironman, when do you have your “moment”?  Feel free to share in the comments.

#2  The training moments

There seems to be a theme –  Moments.  I love training moments.  They are many types…..

The “F#@K yeah” moments – after you’ve finished a really hard  session and you’ve nailed it.

The “F#$k no” moments – when you’re alarm goes off and you don’t want to get up, but you do.  Or you session has been terrible, but you’ve got it done.

The “STOP IT” moments – when you’re friends have you laughing so much during a session you think you’ll wet yourself

The “GO ME” moments – when you see improvement and you quietly think to yourself  “go me“.

#3  The challenges, setbacks and successes
As cliche as it sounds, when there are challenges and setbacks, success can feel even sweeter.  And trust me, Ironman will present you with plenty of challenges and setbacks!  In a weird way, that’s part of the appeal.

Ironman Kona The energy lab
Goodness me. Here’s the energy lab giving me a nice bloody challenging “moment”. Funnily, this is a favourite picture!

#4  The friendships

There is something about running or riding with a group of friends when you all have a similar focus.  It  makes you all connect.  I love the friendships I’ve formed thanks to Ironman.  Some of whom I may have never have got to know unless we spent six hours on a bike together.

training buddies Ironman

#5  Being a part of something bigger than everyday life

I like being a part of something bigger than my day to day life.  Bigger than work.  Something that inspires me.  Something that gets me going and stirs a bit of fire in my soul.  Ironman can do that…. be warned, it can also do the opposite if things get out of balance!

#6 For the love – the love swimming, riding and running

I actually love swimming, riding and running – YUP, all three.  I would miss one if I only did the other two.  If you don’t love the actual disciplines, it will make for a long training build up.  You need to find the love in what you do – it makes it so much more enjoyable.  so-much-more-png

After my friend asked for me for the Ironman pitch, I created this above image.  I felt it summed it up.  Sometimes it’s just the “so much mores” that you can’t measure that make it worth it.

How was that pitch?  What did I miss?

Happy training Ironchicks,

long run reality






Featured Image photo credit; R. Johnstone  2015 (who photographed “our” Port Macquarie Ironman rock).

A Kona Ironman report ~ from a first timer

November 8th 2016

Over the past twelve months I’ve been able to watch Kierra as she prepared for her first Ironman at Port Macquarie and then for the big dance, the World Championships in Hawaii.

She had a wonderful race ~ ticking many of the success boxes, including making the podium (WOW).

If I could sum up Kierra’s attitude towards training and racing I would say she is committed, hard working and humble.  Lovely attributes for a such a youngen!

Enjoy her race report.


Where do I start…boarding the plane with my family, best friend and tribe ferro (my training crew) made it all start to feel real.  Everything I had dreamed of was about to begin. As we touched down in Honolulu I remember saying to Kacey (Swiper)  “shit is getting real now”... as excited as I was, I was also so scared! Scared of the unknown, it’s tough enough preparing for an ironman in Oz, let alone overseas!

I arrived in Kona on Monday leaving me enough time to get comfortable with the conditions and familiarize myself with the course. That afternoon I proceeded to head for a swim… with no idea where I was, I walked across the road from Uncle Billy’s Hotel when I noticed my coach BBB running towards me so I yelled out “I am just heading out for a swim, do I just go straight out here?” Bruce chuckled as he responded “No head down past the old church and you will see”… rightio, obviously a rookie.

I headed towards the pier and to my surprise the swim course was partly marked out with buoys and it looked just like what I had seen  on TV! At that moment it really hit me  – this is all real I am going to be racing at Kona in the World Championships.

The rest of the week was awesome and consisted of some early training sessions to stay out of the heat, sight seeing with my best friend, carb/ salt/ electrolyte loading and resting up in the dodgy Uncle Billys Hotel air con.  Hirdy and Jen drove me out on the bike course to give me some idea of what I was in for and I did all the big Hawaii pre-race rituals; parade of nations, undie run (most memorable) and welcoming banquet dinner.

serra hawaiian ironman undie runundie-run

Race morning had arrived. I had a riper of a sleep the night before and woke up had my fruit toast and oats, as I put my race suit on I felt so excited and a little emotional, but so keen to get out there! I headed up with my Dad, Sambo who was carrying my pump and bottles (his my kit bitch).  As I set up my bike I stopped for a minute and looked around to take it all in and the cannon fired for the pro men start it gave me goosebumps. I paused a little longer and prayed for a great race, a safe race and that I would have the ability to finish.

As I headed over to give Sambo my pump he was looking more nervous than me, he helped me sunscreen up and wished me the best. Swiper and Jen turned up to wish me the best.  I think Kace was more emotional than me and gave me the biggest hug.  Jen knows how I roll so she just high fived me and wished me luck.

I went into transition feeling relaxed and excited – without any time expectations. I simply wanted to enjoy the moment, soak up the experience and smile even when it got tough! I knew that it was going to be tough as everyone had told me the wind will be blowing and it will be HOT!

Treading water at the start line was like no other experience.   To turn around and see so many people watching on gave me goosebumps. The cannon fired and we were off. I wanted to just get a clear line so I swam out to the left and tried to not get distracted by the sea life.  Within the first 1km I had settled and I felt good.  I had some complications during the 70.3 Ironman World Championships that saw me in medical after the swim, so I was heading into the Pier sand nervously – then I realised that my legs were fine.    I whispered to myself “I am in Kona beeetches lets do this” and continued through transition.

Onto the bike and I knew that my support crew were going to be loud and excited to see me and I was excited to get to see them.

Loud they were!

Hawaiian ironman bike

Tribe ferro were screaming as soon as they saw me coming. At the turn around I knew I wouldn’t see them for a few hours, so I waved with the biggest smile on my face and set off onto the Queen K.

I knew the Queen K would be hot and I knew it would be blowing hot wind – it was  a straight head wind.   I didn’t let it get to me as I knew we were all fighting the same conditions. I tried to just focus on keeping my cadence up, rather than worrying about my speed.  Slow and steady.

After numerous aid stations grabbing water bottles to poor over myself, heavy winds, lava fields and steady climbs I was heading into Hawi.  Half way.  I turned around and we had a  tail wind. Wow! That was the best feeling as it was getting hotter and hotter.

Heading home on the Queen K the cross winds piped back up but we still had a slight tail wind.   I felt like I flew back into town. I mentally felt great, I had imagined and prepared myself for that dark stage out on the bike, but fortunately I didn’t go there.  Don’t get me wrong, it was next level of hard and hot out there but I had Swiper’s voice in the back of my mind saying ‘enjoy it, when it gets tough smile!‘ And Hirdy’s voice saying “I am in f#*?ing Kona!” I got through the bike leg and made it back into town with a split of 6:01 hours I was so pumped to have done a quicker bike split than Port Ironman.

Onto the run and it was hot, like nothing you can imagine! Again I was pumped to be onto my favorite part of the race .  Seeing spectators around for those few km’s was fantastic. I set out at about 4:20 pace so after about 15km dropped pace back a little where I felt a little more comfortable to hold pace for the rest of my run.

sierra Hawaiian Ironman Alli drive -running

Once again support crew were on point, so loud!

It was an emotional feeling running past them, they made me feel like a rock star. My family on one side cheering and tribe ferro at the bottom of the hill to cheer me up. I got a big slap on the bum from Swiper and high fives from coach Brucey and Cath.  My best friend ran up to me and started me up the hill chanting “you’ve got this chick go finish it off!”

Out onto Queen K again I knew this was going to be tough.  Mentally this was the toughest part for me, the heat was getting to me and my feet were throbbing.  I was starting to trip out a little.  I remember thinking where the f#*^ is this energy lab!

A few more kilometres ticked past and a few more sets of traffic lights – I was struggling more! My feet were getting more and more swollen from the heat. Mentally I had to find something to put that smile back on my face and push through…Finally the energy lab was in sight.

I ran down around to the turn around, but struggled with a stitch.   I wasn’t going to let it make me walk.. I remember telling myself ‘this is Kona no walking is going to be happening here!’ at the turn around and back onto the queen k with about 10km to go. My Garmin died so I was just going by feel.   I went as hard as I could go knowing 10km wasn’t far!

Coming down the hill into town you couldn’t wipe the smile of my face! I had done it! Pete Murray high fived me and said “you have 2kms to go”…. what a feeling that was.

Emotions were running high I kept up the pace, around and onto Alii Drive where I saw Tribe ferro ready to high five me – I remember thinking “OMG move out of my way. I can’t go any other way than straight”

The finish shoot was in sight. I ran down there with the biggest smile on my face and my hands in the air.

An overwhelming feeling of success and the thought of “thank God, I need to get these shoes off!”

My family and best friend were there cheering loudly as I finished with Mike Riley saying ‘Kierra you are an ironman.’  It was the most memorable feeling! I was an ironman on the world stage.   To my amazement I had finished in 10:44hr, faster than my qualifying time at Port and placed me 4th in my age group.

podium hawaii ironman world championships

Splits of 1:07 swim, 6:01 bike and 3:28 run.

I was so proud of myself. I definitely had the time of my life out there, smiled when got tough, loved every minute of it (even when the pain set in) soaked up the amazing place I was in and had such a blast! The experience will definitely be something I never forget…. it was something special and the successful icing on the cake after months of training long hours.

Kona taught me a lot and it was an absolute honor to race on the world stage amongst the very best athletes in the toughest but most honest course in the world.
I would love to be back there next year that’s for sure…

Kierra –  #babyferro out

Measuring racing success; A Reflection

October 25th 2016

“Did you have a successful race?”         “Was it a good day?”

“How was it?” – I’m sure you get these questions all the time.

A month or so  ago I had the privilege of getting to race in my backyard for the 70.3 Ironman World Championship (I know, I’m a bit late).   And when Ironman (WTC) comes to town, geeez they do it well and with style. Mooloolaba turned it on…. Holy smoly, it was a gorgeous weekend.


Since then I have been asked how the race went. Like you’ve no doubt experienced, there are always family members, work colleagues and friends that are invested in our races. I am very grateful that people are even kind enough to ask how it went.

My response to these post race inquiries usually involves the words “great, excellent, wonderful” all while being complimented by an enthusiastic smile. A genuine and enthusiastic smile! BUT something was different for me this time. I’ll have to explain…

I love listening to other athletes debrief about their race, especially when it’s an event I participated in. I love when they say “ohhh I loved the last pinch of the hill on the bike” to which I often gasp and respond “WTF” and we both laugh. I also heard someone say “I loved the bike and run, I just couldn’t wait to get out of the water” and as they were saying that I was thinking “I absolutely loved the swim”.

Everyone is different – obviously.

Ironman 70.3 WC Sunshine Coast
Seeing my 10 year old son wearing a green sumo suit and cheering was definitely a highlight.

Despite the differences, one thing seems consistent. Success. Everyone wants it.  Everyone wants to feel it. Isn’t it why we line up?

Whether you’re “racing” or “just participating” you still want to feel some form of success, surely, otherwise you wouldn’t give the organizers your money.

We all know different athletes that measure success differently and so they should. Some chase a podium, some chase the finish line red carpet, some chase photo opportunities from Delly Carr (c’mon, everyone has at least one of these friends) and others are running from the Official Vehicle packing up the cones.

Some share their successes, others don’t.

Some measure their success compared to others, others don’t.

So what does racing success look like for you? Right now?  I say right now because many success variables are constantly changing.

After the World Championships I found myself pausing after people asked me the “how was it” question.  I would then force out a smile as I convinced myself to say “fantastic, what a great day to be a part of a World Championships in my own back yard!”

This is true.  It was fantastic.

I think I was happy to be out there….

But I felt different. Really different. I was happy to be out there and ecstatic to be a part of such an event, but on race day my mind just wasn’t in it. Surely you’ve all been there.

Ironman 70.3 World championships
Look at that face – GET ME a cider!!!

It’s got me thinking about racing success and what it looks like for me and I’ve realized it constantly changes. It can be one, a few or all of these things;

  1. Achieving personal Goals
  2. Being able to start and race
  3. Racing to feel and feeling good
  4. Placing well in an Age Group
  5. Having a healthy mindset during the event

For this particular race, I was focusing on #1 achieving some of my personal goals and #5  feeling good and having a healthy mindset. But my mind took me to some dark places. I know we should all expect these dark patches, but it was different for this race.

I won’t over think it, but if you do see me and ask how my race went, expect a pause as I breathe in enough to blurb out “it was great, what a great event to be a part of, but if you know me just stop me and ask “Cath, no bullshit, how was it?

I’m actually more proud of saying it was tough and hard. My mind was dark and at times I wanted to be anywhere but racing.

That’s why I love this saying – It is what it is.

Was there success?

Well, um, too bloody right! I got to run past my family who were going NUTS and I got the medal.

Not to mention the awesome people I had around me preparing for this event.  Check this crazy crew out…

Ironman World Championships 70.3

Ironman world championships


I’ve just returned from being a “cheerer” in Kona.  Maybe I should have packed the green sumo suits?

I hope all the Ironchicks that raced Kona felt LOTS of success.

Happy training, Cathx

Catherine Thiele Ironman Ironchick triathlon

Ps; Thanks for the pics Brad and Armando


Our Top 10 cycling kits for women

September 21st 2016

Lately my training buddies and I have been on a mission to find new female specific cycling kits. I can honestly say it hasn’t been easy, but we’ve found some rippers (not literally, hopefully).

Yes, I may have to sell off a few organs to buy some of these kits, but it’s crucial that I’m comfortable and look half decent while riding isn’t it? If not for the riding, definitely for drinking coffee post ride?

To my readers who are cycling purists, while I will endeavour to find and buy kits where everything matches (including socks) you need to understand that as a povvo-triathlete I am OK with just wearing black knicks with every jersey. Things are changing though… I’m almost addicted to the notion of ONLY wearing kits that match (insert gasp – this is a new thing and it may pass after I’ve had to sell one of my children to fund my matching kits).

Before we go into some of my favs, I would like to take a moment to thank the HELL out of Instagram.  Instagram, you are a delightful little shopping haven for time-poor, tired female cyclist.  KUDOs.

TEN of my current favourites.  If I’ve missed yours, add it to the comments below so other readers can get your insights….


#1:  Coeur “Lakota” cycling jersey – available in Australia via Velorose $125

I have this jersey and the material itself made it one of  the nicest jerseys I’ve ever worn.  It is soft and breathable and the fit is extremely flattering and feminine.  Excellent pockets too! Velo Rose showcase many of the Coeur cycling kits so be sure to check them out.

Women cycling jerseys














#2:  Machine For Freedom “The Thrive Print

$175 US “Free shipping, free returns, no minimum, just good vibes

Love, love, love this jersey and the “good vibes”.

Machine for freedom











#3:  MAAP Frame Team Jersey

$180 AUD; MAAP have been creating some really original designs for these well made kits and we just love the Navy!!!

Best womens cycling kits










#4;  Betty Designs Boom Cycle Jersey and Knicks

$119.95 US each – It’s worth checking out all the Betty Designs kits.  YES, they post to Australia.

best female cycling kits












#5: Jaggad Candy Stripe

$179.95 AUD  for The Candy Stripe jersey. In light icy tones to remind us all of childhood treats & sweets.  Yes. It. does.

best women kits












#6; Catfish Designs Watercolour pineapples

$119 AUD  jersey,  $149 AUD knicks- I saw these at a recent expo and they were selling quickly.  If you’re keen, get online quickly.

Best cycling kits










#7; Black Sheep Cycling

I shouldn’t even be teasing you with this image from Black Sheep Cycling’s “season eight” because they have sold out.  I was feeling rather poor when they released this season and I’m now a bit cranky.  Did someone say “sell something Cath, then you’ll be ready for season nine?”.  If you’re not on their mailing list for season nine – get on it  🙂

Best cycling kits women







#8; Tineli Britta Cycling kit  

$119.95 AUD jersey, $119.95 AUD knicks

A good friend has this kit and she loves it.  Again, we are loving the navy! This picture doesn’t do it justice – it is really nice!

Cycling kits women










#9 Velocio ES kit

$412 for the kit.  Time to sell my kidney.  This kit is gorgeous as are the others on their site.  This is my latest obsession! LOVE!

Best cycling kits








#10  Vanderkitten Revelation Pro Jersey

$129 plus international shipping.  Vanderkitten have always created unique designs for women.  This full kit look great!

Best womens cycling kits










There you have it.  Some of my current favourites.  What is your favourite kit at the moment?  Don’t forget to share it in the comments below.

instagram logo Ironchicks IronmanAnd for all of the Instagramers out there, if you didn’t know about Kitwatch Cycling and/or Kitfit Cycling, start following NOW – STAT!  They showcase all the new kits as they are released.

Aloha (because Kona is only 2 weeks away)

best cycling kits




Blog image credit; Machine of Freedom




10 epiphanies you may have before you start an Ironman event

April 5th 2016

If you are about to toe the start line of an Ironman event there is NO doubt you would have had some of these epiphanies during your prep. Sometimes these thoughts are strong. Sometimes they are just gentle little reminders of why we do this crazy but wonderful sport.

#1 Everyone racing has a story to tell, including you

Before the gun goes off at your next race, take a moment to look around at the people around you. There will be Mums, Dads, CEO’s, self employed people, people racing with disabilities, 18 year olds and 75 year olds and EVERYONE of them has a story, as do you. Hopefully while you were preparing for your race you got to strike up a relationship with yourself, sometimes you remember parts of your own story – parts that may have been forgotten. Through the sport you may have started a brand new story about yourself. Be sure to share your story, even if it’s just with your close friends.

#2 You’ve probably had many moments where you talked to yourself – nicely and horribly

Did you notice how powerful your thoughts are while you’re training? Sometimes they’re sweet, positive thoughts but other times you can be really nasty, not to others (hopefully), but to yourself. You’ve probably gee’ed yourself up, negotiated, argued, justified and outright complained and that was just during ONE of your training sessions. There were probably moments when you laid in bed thinking, “WOW, I just did that, go me” and you were truly proud of yourself. Hopefully all of your thoughts were more positive  than negative.

#3 There is no single right way to prepare for an Ironman; your way was right for YOU this time

You may hear that so-and-so rode for four hours and you’ve only ridden three and a half; you’ll have people telling you this and then others telling you that. At the end of the day, whether you do a particular long ride, long run or double swim session is for you to judge and no one else. There is no one-fits-all approach or 100% right way to prepare and this goes hand in hand with #1, your story. Sure you could improve, change and adapt should you do another Ironman, however, by the time you are toeing the start line it is too late to worry about any of that. TRUST

#4 Training brings joy

Hopefully you’ve had plenty of those joyful moments during your preparation – times when you couldn’t wipe the smile off your face.   Who would have thought that running for two hours could actually bring a sense of joy? Or that satisfying joy that comes after a long, hard bike ride.

training buddies Ironman

#5 You’ve realized that the people around you DON’T really care about your race time – they just want to see you happy and succeed.

The best way to test this is to tell your partner about the swim times you were making during your 10x 100metre swim…… they will probably just be glancing at you smiling at your enthusiasm. That’s what people LOVE. They love your commitment and your enthusiasm; hopefully you’ve realized this!

#6 You’ve accepted your body shape and all you see is strength.

You may have discovered that you have gone through a REAL body acceptance process as part of your training. When it comes to your body, all you actually care about is how quickly you can recover so that you can be stronger for your next session. How your body looks and functions is purely based on “surviving” the next session or the race itself.  It can be truly empowering – celebrate your body.

#7 You’ve just spent a shit load of money on preparing for this race

This is one of the epiphanies that you try to hide. Just embrace it. Why? Because you can’t fight it. Bikes, squad passes, running shoes, nutrition, kits, togs, coffees after rides, race kit, new socks….. do you want me to stop?!?

Mooloolaba Triathlon

#8 Triathlon may be an individual sport, but the people around you make it much more “doable” and fun.

There would have been moments when your training buddies saw strength in you when you saw nothing – how delightful is that! We are truly blessed by the people we have around us (so be picky). Your crew can make it fun.

Your tribe.jpg

#9 Sleeping and eating are real priorities and can rapidly dictate your temperament

Remember how you lost your shit when the towels weren’t hung out? Yeah, that was probably just your stomach talking. Remember when you drove 20 minutes because you felt like an Acai berry smoothie and it HAD to be from your favourite shop, that was probably because you were tired. Don’t try to understand, just be aware and have people around you that may just gently remind you that you “may need a rest day”.

#10 You’ve chanted to yourself that this is the ONLY, FIRST or LAST Ironman you will ever do.

I was only ever doing one Ironman. Just saying! I bet you’ve said this to yourself a few times, everyone always does. It’s part of the “talking to yourself” process. The best thing about it, whether it is your only, first or last race, that in itself is worth celebrating. Nice work.

I hope you’ve experienced some of these things.

See you at the start line soon

Catherine Thiele Ironman Ironchick triathlon
Cath xxx


The Ironman Tiff – when you and training don’t see eye to eye

March 1st 2016

I had a mate ask me the other day why haven’t we heard from you on Ironchicks for a bit?” I had to stop and think because I didn’t really know my answer. Then I blubbered out “because we are having a lovers tiff”

That’s it.

Right now, Ironman and I are having a little lovers tiff. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Ironman, I’m just having an altercation with the idea of training for and racing an Ironman.

Like any relationship, I felt we were just on a wheel, doing our thing, round and round, again and again, with no real intent or focus. This happens in many parts of life, but when it’s “training”, it was important for me to stop and rethink because it consumed so much of my time.

The cliché saying “do it for the love” is true and my love was slowly becoming resentment because training was something I was trying to jam in between life. It was feeling like another chore.

I’m sure you’ve all had moments like that. I know I have, but usually the bigger picture and/or personal goals have pulled me through.

Here is why I think taking a “break” or “long service leave” from Ironman has served me well…..

  1. I have a new perspective on what normal life feels like (where I’m not tired and sore all the time). It has made me realize how grateful I am for the training and racing moments I’ve had in the past.
  1. My desire to train is coming back. With this, I’m having clearer focus and purpose in what I want to achieve.
  1. I’ve loved watching and supporting those around me from the outside. I admire ANYone stepping up to an Ironman start line. That in itself is HUGE and admirable. When you are in the rut of it, you don’t even really realize how special it is. Impressive stuff and I love being able to share these moments with my buddies.
  1. I’ve been able to spend more time with my family without being tired. I think I’ll go for Mother of the Year (insert the expressionless emoticon).

I think it’s ok that as Ironchicks we don’t ALWAYS show how tough, resilient and strong we are, especially when we are managing families and/or work.

It’s ok to STOP, rethink and refocus.

That’s the beauty of the sport. We do it WHEN we CAN.

That’s a bit deep and meaningful from me today. Geeeez, must be time for me to go for a long run 🙂

Good luck to my dearest buddies racing Ironman NZ this weekend….. Jennnnne and Loz.

To the Ironchicks preparing for Ironman Australia, brace yourself and be ready, I’ll be there (in costume) to cheer every single one of you!   AND when people say “how do you do it?” and “you really are amazing”, BELIEVE them, because you are!

Happy training & racing

Ironman Australia Caths finish






PS; 24hr Mtn biking racing in a team is sounding FUN 🙂

infinit for bottom of blog



Instagram; who to follow and a mini-debrief

January 7th 2016

When I’m not working, training, napping or hanging with the family, I’m on Instagram. I dig a quick Insta photo fix. I also love how I can tag friends without anyone knowing, especially on the really inappropriate stuff… #guilty

I know I should write that the images motivate and inspire me, but they don’t really. I just like looking at them, especially the pics from my virtual Ironchicks – I am honestly amazed at just how good some photos are!

Today’s blog has two parts.

1.  Firstly, I’ve shared fourteen of my favourite Instagrammers.   I have others that I love, but these 14 are my favourite Ironman/triathlon related Instagrammers.

  1. An instagram debrief because some things are NUTS 

So lets get started with some some of my favourite Instagramers. I’m ready for some new Insta love, so should you know any other favourites, share them in the comments below.


@babesridebikes and/or @lotdeux – Because we are all babes and Adrienne knows how to rock a good kit and take great bike photos.

people of instagram

@Vesterbytri – because smiley Michelle makes training look like so much fun.

People you should follow on instagram

@liz_blatchford – Another female pro sharing her training and positive outlook via Insta.
liz blatchford

@caroline_xena – Because Xena is a racing machine and a dead set champion (with the cutest dog)

Caroline Steffen Xena

@koruptvision – Awesome pictures – training, racing and the ocean. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Korupt vision ironman photo

@dellyphotoninja – Surely you’re already following Delly Carr – the best photographer in the business, but if you’re not, get on it.
delly carr

@ginnylovestri24 – I love following this lady….. mostly so I can  try to work out which filter she uses on her photos, but also because I love that she has fairy lights in her training room. I’m not sure why I love that, I just do 🙂

Ironchicks on Instagram

@whywetri – Well worth the follow although I wish we got a photo daily. These everyday Ironman women share their “why” quotes. Very cool.
Why we try instagram

@beardmcbeardy – For the BEST cycling images. Awesome.

Beardy McBeard Instagram@4shaw_official – Awesome socks and even better images.
4 shaw sock instagram

@danmacpherson – Because he is smoking hot (as is his wife) and he loves a good bike, running, training or racing photo.  Dan McPherson & Zoe

@ronronmtb – Michael has the BEST mtn biking (and any biking) images and he’s a top bloke.

Michael rocking iNstagram

@Conradrodas – This guy has mastered taking great photos in some amazing locations. He definitely makes you feel like getting out there amongst it.
Ironman on Instagram

I’ve also heard the @ironchicks is good, although her images are not overly fancy!  Definitely worth the follow.

Feel free to throw a #ironchicks hashtag when you’re training too.  Let us all see what you’re up to.


Now I need my debrief. These are just a few of my observations….…

  1. HOW THE HELL do people take such good photos while training? There are some very talented people out there.   Some of you must be  crazy arse photographers living on the edge to get your shots.   I admire your commitment.  In some of the training shots I see, you guys look great – I never seem to look that good.  Full credit to those dedicated athletes.
  1. I know over-hashtagging might get you more likes, but the times I’ve done it I’ve ended up with more “women-in-lingerie” profile likes rather than actual athletes. I think I’ll stick to just getting REAL people like my photos for what they are rather than random ‘likers’. Wouldn’t you agree?                                                                         So if you hash-tagging is dictating your training, as Macklemore would say “mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down”. I don’t even really know what that really means, but I think Macklemore is onto something.
  1. Has anyone else noticed that there are a fair few people out there that take other athletes photos to create their instagram account. I don’t quite get that. I love the original photos that show me who you are and what you’re doing. Be original people – you’re worthy! Show us the good, bad and ugly…….. that’s what Ironman training is anyway, right?

4.  Credit where credit is due.  I’ve also noticed that some people take others photos without giving any credit.  Not. cool.

5.   Ohhhh and to the people who go through my Instagram account liking 50 photos but not giving me any follow love – I’m onto you!  You build up my precious ego and for a brief moment I hope that someone actually really liked my pictures.  {Please know that I am joking – although not about the annoying part, it is bloody annoying}.  Does this happen to anyone else?

So enjoy Instagram this training season and make sure you have a good friend nearby that will show you some good Instagrammers to follow OR to tell you when you’re being a dick on social media.

Happy training & racing Ironchicks

Now HASHTAG away xx

Kacey and I.  Photo thanks to Stef @witsup.com
Cathxx                                  Photo;  witsup.com




Ironman 70.3 World Championships Sunshine Coast – Where to stay?

December 16th 2015

My home town, Sunshine Coast (Mooloolaba) is hosting the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in 2016.  You little ripper.  I’ve had a fair few enquiries about where to stay, so I thought I’d share a little local knowledge to help you out with your bookings.

Firstly, note that the race is based in Mooloolaba, so these first few suggestions will be within walking distance of the event  “hub”  (transitions, expos, etc) but I will also suggest other nearby places.

Secondly, get in QUICK as apartments are going quickly and the prices are slowly increasing too!


Where to stay for the World Championships Ironman 70.3Oceans – these apartments are NICE.  They are expensive, but you get quality.  They have everything you’ll need (kitchen, space, great pool) and it is very central.  BOOK HERE (via booking.com) or call +61 7 5444 5777


Mantra Zanzibar – great 3 Where to stay for the World Championships Ironman 70.3bedroom rooms that have fantastic ocean views.  Very nice.  Self contained. Book HERE (via booking.com) or call +61 7 5444 5633



Where to stay for the World Championships Ironman 70.3

Mantra Sirocco – another favourite.  As above but they also have 2 brm options.  Amazing pool.  Book HERE (via booking.com) or call +61  7  5444 1400



Where to stay for the Sunshine Coast Ironman 70.3Mantra Mooloolaba Beach – these apartments are centrally located, fully contained and very close to the local grocery store.  Book HERE (via booking.com) or call +61 7 5665 4450



Mooloolaba 70.3 where to stayOsprey – these apartments are a little older but they still tick all the boxes with a smaller price tag. They are a little away from the main street but you still get lovely ocean views.  If you’re travelling with the family, your kids will love this pool! Book HERE  or call +61 7 5444 6966


You should also check out the apartments on the “RIVER Esplanade, Mooloolaba” if you’re ok with heading away from the beach and looking at the “river / canal” water instead.


Where to stay for the World Championships Ironman 70.3Excellsior Apartments – these apartments are hidden around from the ocean and the rooms have “river/canal” views but they’re suitable if you’re looking for something central but a little cheaper. Book here

Check out other Mooloolaba properties  here

If you have any recommendations, please don’t fear sharing the love!  Comment below and let others know your gems (make sure you have booked your own room first).


Booking.com Australia
Alexandra Headland

If Mooloolaba is looking a little pricey or it’s booked out (which is happening very quickly),  please don’t rule out Alexandra Headlands as a great place to stay.

You will still have access to the iconic patrolled beaches, cafes and the race course but at a much cheaper price.  Alexandra Headlands is merely a  2.5km headland walk (very picturesque) away from Mooloolaba.

Alexandra Headland has stunning beaches.  You are also a bit closer to the local Olympic pool (which is in Cotton Tree, approximately 3km away).

My top three Alexandra Headland recommendations would be……

Meridian Alex Beach Apartments   (Phone +61 7 5451 8044 or book online here)

Aquarius Resort(Phone +61 7 5443 3330  or book online here)

Oak Seaforth Resort (Phone +61 7 5479 3622 or book online here)


If you’re keen to stay away from Mooloolaba or visit other places after the race, here are some other amazing locations worthy of your consideration ……

CoolumNoosa, Caloundra and the hinterlands (Montville, Maleny)



tri travelIf you’re looking for someone to help you with all your travel arrangements, contact the team at TRI TRAVEL.


Phone 1800 225 022

International +61  3  5221 2966


Other suggested websites;






Where to stay for the 70.3 Sunshine Coast




Good luck with your bookings (and training) for the Sunshine Coast 70.3 and don’t hesitate to email me if you have any other questions!

long run reality




Booking.com Australia



The Bold & the Beautiful Ironchick – Katherine Kelly Lang

December 1st 2015

While Katherine Kelly Lang’s Bold & the Beautiful character Brooke lives an opulent and glamorous life, it is in her personal life while racing triathlons and being outdoors that Katherine feels most comfortable.

Her work with Women For Tri and #whywetri has no doubt intrigued many fans and also inspired many triathletes (especially women) to have a go at Ironman and 70.3.


Within one minute of chatting with Katherine about triathlons and her Hawaiian Ironman I felt like I was debriefing with one of my friends. Her love of the sport and insights into setting goals  is admirable, as is her lighthearted take on some of the quirky things that happen while you’re racing.

Katherine Kelly Lang Ironman interview
It was lovely to chat with Katherine Kelly Lang

You’ve come from the Bold and the Beautiful where Brooke’s life is glamorous, to triathlon racing in your personal life.  Was it a difficult transition?

I’m more comfortable in the al ‘natural. I love nature. My Dad and I loved camping when I was little and I was brought up loving the outdoors.   I feel most comfortable with no make up on, wearing jeans and a t-shirt – that’s more my style than being glamorous. Of course I have to do it because it’s part of my job and Brooke is very glamorous in the Bold & the Beautiful.

Do you get recognized when you train and race?

Sometimes. Particularly when I’m racing, the crowd will cheer “Go Brooke”. The fans are really supportive. I love getting cheers from other competitors too – we’re all just out there on the course together experiencing the same things.

What is the least glamorous thing about triathlons?

I would say the least glamorous thing has to be going into one of those porta-potties. Ironman Portaloo


So you don’t have special VIP porta-loos?

No (followed by a giggle).   We have to go to those loos. By the time I’m half way through my run they are disgusting. You just don’t look. You go in quick and get out as soon as you can.

As athletes when we run down the finish chute, we feel like celebrities. You ARE a celebrity; describe how you feel when you finish?

I feel like an athlete, which is great!

Katherine Kelly Lang West Sydney 70.3
Photo credit; Delly Carr

You are part of the Women For Tri Board. Tell us about it.

It all started this year and I am one of the first team of board members. There are 12 of us we’ve come a long way in a year. It’s huge. A lot people follow our Facebook page and there is a lot of information and advice. Women love it.

The Women For Tri members also  raised a lot of money. We’ve proudly  raised around $100, 000 this year to give as grants to Tri clubs, as scholarships and to help get women  involved in the sport.  We’re just getting started and it’s really exciting

How have you seen women involvement evolve since you’ve been racing?

In the last year we have seen women participation grow a lot. I see more younger women getting involved and even older women who decide they want to do their first race. There are women who are 50 deciding to do a triathlon for the first time. I’m 54 and I did my first triathlon when I was 52. It’s never too late.

10 years ago if someone told you that you would finish the Hawaiian Ironman World Championships would you have believed them?

I always saw the Hawaiian Ironman on TV and I was always mesmerised by it because I love endurance sports. I was heavily involved and almost obsessed with horse racing. I did 20-50 mile horse races for almost 25 years. It’s quite similar to triathlon.

Once I started triathlons I thought this is cool, I kind of understand this, I did this with my horse – the training, the nutrition and the same things you have to pay attention to, injuries and different things. There were similarities in the training for the endurance aspect of it all, we had long slow sessions and then sprint ones.

Now I don’t have to worry about the horse, just the bike.

Do you love your bike?

Yes, I love my Cannondale bike.  Domique is a wonderful support. He helps me with a lot of things,  including helping me polish my bike.

Katherine Kelly Lang Hawaii with her bike
Photo credit:  www.bikemag.hu

Let’s talk about the Hawaiian Ironman. What was your favourite bit of the race?

Long pause with a smile on her face…..

I found moments along the way to enjoy everything – I thought that was really important because I wanted to make sure I got through the race.

My biggest fear was not finishing. I would have been devastated if I didn’t finish. I was thinking “I – have – to – finish”.

There were training days leading up to the race where I was a physco!  Dominique would say “Relax today, you can take a day off today” to which I would respond “no I can NOT”.

It was all because I was soooo nervous and I just knew that I HAD to finish. I stressed myself out about that, but once I got there and it was the day before the race I had finally settled in and went “ok”.

I had survived the crazy week leading up to it – the press excitement, the parties, the get togethers and the commitments for the sponsors …. I was kind of exhausted.

Did you do the undie run?

That was one event that I chose NOT to do. No, no, no!  We didn’t do it because we had other commitments.

There was just so much on, it was kind of overwhelming because you want to rest and take it easy.

Talk us through race day.

By the time it came to race morning I was calm and I thought “ok, this is nice, enjoy it”.


I got into the water and then my goggles started leaking and I thought no, no, this isn’t happening and it was salty, salty water.

Then I was treading water trying to fix my goggles. As I was treading water my leg started cramping and I was thinking, “no, how is this happening”

I just had to swim with my eyes burning so I could relax my cramping leg.

It eased off as I relaxed and I thought it would be ok and then the other leg cramped. I guess I was swimming with no eyes or legs.

So the issues started early, but I knew this was bound to happen, maybe not STRAIGHT way (she says laughing).  I just smile and thought I’m just going to just have fun and enjoy it.

I got through that and then headed out on the bike.

West Sydney 70.3 Ironman running KKL
On the run leg of the West Sydney 70.3


The bike felt good. Really good. I was riding fast and I thought maybe I was going too fast but I just went with it. I found myself having to slow down for the last 20 miles because of the head winds. It was hard and people were just dropping. They were just dropping along the way. Completely falling off their bikes. Lying down.

I would think are they ok?   I would always ask if they were ok and I was wondering what I should do, should I stop, do I help? But I always saw vehicles come and get them so I knew I needed to keep going.

But then I started to wonder if that could be me in the next 5 minutes?

So I’d eat more, drink more and have some more of my gus.

I got through the bike and it was all good.


The run felt good, but I had never done a marathon so I didn’t know what to expect. I just wanted to get through it.

I got through the first 10 miles feeling pretty good. I was doing a bit of running and walking but then I got to around the 15 miles– and I started to think “ok, nobody talk to me”.

A friend of mine was racing also so she started talking to me, I didn’t talk back too much, but she was happy to just chat. She really helped me mentally through that part because I was tired and a bit over it. My feet were really hurting.

Then, with 3 miles to go I felt better again so I started running.

Running through the finish chute was amazing!   I had a lot of energy. It was all very exciting.

Dominique was there at the end, which was nice. It was nice to give my sweetie a kiss . It was what I would think about during the race. He has been such a great support and he had been through the thick and thin of it.  It was really nice to see him at the finish

Katherine Kelly Lang Ironman triathlon
It’s a team effort

The Women for Tri girls were all there too and some other friends. It was lovely.

I was definitely keen to get changed, showered and sit down for a bit, but apart from that I felt ok.

I was lucky I wasn’t too tired, because we had to leave the next day to get back on set to shoot.

I don’t know if I was still on a high or it was adrenalin but I was ok. I imagined I would be barely walking for a week, but I was ok. I was lucky to not get a blister!

Katherine Kelly Lang Hawaii Ironman finish
Photo credit; Ironman

What message or advice would you give to women who are thinking about doing their first Ironman, 70.3 or maybe their first triathlon?

Don’t you always want to challenge yourself?  I know I do as a person. You just have to think “I can do this” and commit to it.

I love a challenge and my first sprint races excited me. I thought “Ohh yeah this is good” and I got competitive with myself.  I’m not competing with everyone else but I like to push myself, I like to have a goal. That for me is exciting, that is what gets me up in the morning and gets me going.

Having a great partner helps as does having a good support. You might find girlfriends to run or ride with.   Sometimes I train alone, but sometimes I love heading out on the bike with company

You need to find what YOU like and what works for you and then just GO FOR IT.

Maybe you can find a good coach, or a good triathlon group or some more Ironchicks – anything that can help you out and help you get as much information as you can.

Once you do your first 70.3 it is fantastic because then you know you can do it!

It’s a great feeling. You can think to yourself “I’ve done it”.…. but once you’ve done a 70.3 then you will want to do a full!

Will you go back to Hawaii or do another Ironman?

70.3 distances are a little more doable when you have a busy life but with a full Ironman you have to be very committed.  I’m sure I will, but I don’t know when or where yet.

Katherine Kelly Lang with Ironchicks SINGLET

As a parting gift, Katherine was given an Ironchick singlet and t-shirt, which she thought was “adorable”. Luckily for us, she spotted the “drink coffee” part and declared with a laugh “ohhh yes, that is essential.

It was great to see Katherine wearing our t-shirt proudly on race morning at the Ironman 70.3 West Sydney race.

KKL with Ironchicks shirt
The perfect shirt pre-race at Ironman West Sydney 70.3

What a beautiful, talented and inspiring woman!!!

I hope you have taken something away from this blog that will help push you closer to your goals.

Happy training & racing Ironchicks,

cath 2






S#!@ Where’s my chain? What have you forgotten?

November 17th 2015

Have you ever turned up to a training session, or worse still a race, without something?   Some things are just trivial items that are not really needed but you’d like, and then there are the essentials.

Last week I forgot my chain = essential.

It was quite comical actually.

Sunday ride, 4:35am and I was about to roll out my driveway when I looked down to notice that I had no chain.

Shit, where’s my chain?

Following my realisation the following three things happened….

Firstly, I tried to process how I could still get out for a ride. Where was my chain? How could I get it back on my bike? How could this all happen without waking the kids? All those typical questions that seem like difficult life decisions when it’s 4:35 in the morning and you’re still half asleep.

Secondly, I messaged all my cycling buddies telling them I was bailing. I had to send a photo to prove I was telling the truth.   Where’s the faith? Although my “I have no chain” text would have been a little peculiar.


Lastly, I contently crawled back into bed still wearing my cycling gear (why do we do that – it’s so bloody uncomfortable when you’re in bed) and tried to enjoy a sleep in, secretly still wishing I was riding and still trying to work out where the heck my chain was!

What have you forgotten?

I’ve been known to forget a drink bottle, nutrition and gloves for training sessions, all things that were annoying at the time but not crucial.

Kace forgot her timing chip one year at Port mac Ironman.  Funny now, not at the time.  It caused tears, a mad dash back to the room and she wears her timing chip for 12hrs before a race now!

We also have a training buddy that arrived to ride without his helmet. He had ridden all the way from home without realising!  Whoops!

So where was the chain?

My chain was sitting in our parts washer.  My darling husband (say that through gritted teeth – although I am very appreciative) was giving it periodic clean OF COURSE.  Haha.

This weekend DON’T FORGET your chain….. and your drink bottles, nutrition and other essentials.

Happy training,

Catherine Thiele Ironman Ironchick triathlon
Cath xxx





Singlets NOW available $29 online.


Welcome to IronChicks

Subscribe to my newsletter and keep up to date.