Ironman First Timers – 3x Ironchicks tackling IMOZ!

Ironman first timers

I love hearing from Ironman first timers.  The stories –>  how they found the sport, how they’ve found the training etc.   For today’s blog I am introducing you to Rachel (Ray), Dani (French Fry) and Nicole (Nic, Polly) – three NSW training buddies tackling Ironman Australia in Port Macquaire next weekend (insert nervous gasp here).

The thing that has struck out for me the most with these women (who I have never actually met so I might be completely wrong) is how belonging to a group, being focused and training for the same goal can have such immense power….

Your buddies believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself.

Your buddies support you when you think it’s too tough.

Your buddies share the joy when you achieve your goals.

Your buddies think waking up at 4:30am to train for 3+ hours is normal too!

Such amazing stuff and something they will remember for their whole lives….. their first Ironman journey.  Awesome.  Goose bump stuff.    These ladies are so open and honest, you will love what they’ve shared (especially if you are toying with doing your first Ironman distance race). Enjoy


 What made you decide to tackle a full Ironman distance race?

Ray:  After watching Port Macquarie Ironman a few years ago, I went to a training camp with my beautiful Coach and some more real Ironman super heroes.  I completed a 6hr ride by tucking my head and sticking 2 inches off my training buddy’s back wheel for the whole time. It was amazing and I found out that Ironman people are first and foremost real people, they are superheroes to me because they have huge hearts and plenty of advice and a dash of iron in their blood.  The good news is that you don’t have to be born with it – it seeps into your veins when you get close them and then it stays with you as long as you keep working and dreaming!  Plus all of the truly AWESOME team at Balmoral who have been inspiring me for years and who believe in me more than I could believe in myself. They are usually right, so here goes full Ironman!

Dani – Being inspired watching my husband Owain race in Kona at the World Ironman Champs in 2013

Nicole – I took my two boys (Jack who is 7 and Harry who is 5) up to Port last year to support all the Balmoral Tri Club Members (BTC) doing Ironman and that was it – i had to do one even if it is just once. I have done a few long course races so thought why not ? There are also a few people from our club doing it for the first time so we thought we would all do our first one together. What I loved most about watching it was the support that was given to all the athletes competing and I thought I would love to be part of that.

Nicole and Dani enjoying a run
Nicole and Dani enjoying a run

What has been the BEST thing about training?

Ray – Training buddies

Dani – The social element of sharing the journey with my Balmoral Triathlon club mates for sure including my fellow Iron virgins Nic (Wondermum) and Ray (Under the Radar)!

Nicole – Getting fitter and eating more


What has been the WORST thing about training?

Ray – Turbo; it is sooo hard, it’s lonely and it’s just a tad boring! Anything else related to the bike is pretty bad.  Carrying a water bottle when you are doing a long run is up there with the things that make me sad, however I recently purchased one of those camel back packs and it has changed my life – happy days!

Dani – The number of dark early mornings with a 4 in them!

Nicole– Mothers guilt; Getting up at 4:45am on a Sunday for my long ride and being away from my boys.

...and the flat tyres ladies?!?!
…and the flat tyres ladies?!?!

What is your favourite training session and why?

Ray – I think the open water swim down at Balmoral Beach on Saturday afternoon is my favourite – love swimming with the fishies! Or the long run early in the morning before the traffic starts.  Or the hot yoga at the end of a busy day. Or the 5:30am Monday morning swim squad with the sun coming up.  Or the Thursday night track session with all the beautiful Balmoral people.  Or the core and stretch when the grass has just been mowed….Or maybe best of all the coffee and chat time AFTER brick on Saturday in the park.

Dani – A Bobbin Head brick hill repeat session, love the burn of the legs grinding up the hill and then the freedom running afterwards, finishing with core and coffee!

Nicole – I love all the group training sessions like swim squad and track. Training with people is more fun and motivating.

Recovery ocean dip after tackling their longest run
Recovery ocean dip after tackling their longest run

What is your nutrition of choice?

Ray – Ice-cream! Ohh, you mean in the race? I’ve been practising in the smaller races and I’m OK with the SIS Gels and with the sports drinks and fluids.  In training I have learnt to open and eat a muesli bar or vegemite sandwich and ride the bike at the same time. Even the real Ironman people like to eat vegemite sandwiches in their races, I’ll be fine!

Dani – Science in Sport (SIS) Especially the rego recovery drink, delicious!

Nicole – SIS gels (when racing) but on long training rides etc nothing beats real food like bananas, muesli slice (my Mum makes the best one) and vegemite sandwiches.

Training buddies
Training buddies

What’s one thing about yourself, training and/or competing in IMOZ that you don’t want people to know about?

Ray – That’s funny, a trick question! Why would I put it in here if I don’t want people to know? 🙂

Dani – My developing addiction to chocolate milkshakes and boost juice protein balls.

Nicole – Nothing really but if I didn’t want people to know about it then they would never know.

The three girls with their Ironchicks hats on
The three girls with their Ironchicks hats


What will you be wearing on race day?

Ray – Wetsuit for the swim, everyone looks the same.  I don’t know what number I’ll be yet, but it’ll be a lucky number on my swim cap!  For the ride I’ll definitely be wearing my Team Ward outfit. For the run I’m not exactly sure yet, maybe Balmoral outfit.  It’s actually the club champs of Ironman this year, so I would like to be able to wear Balmoral gear somewhere on course.  Hopefully will be wearing a happy face at some point – definitely will be smiling in the swim and maybe somewhere on the run (by which time, I’ll be smothered in vegemite and you’ll all be laughing at me, as long as someone is wearing a happy face)!

Dani – My Team Ward Scody one piece tri suit designed by my wonderful coach professional Ironwoman and fellow corporate businesswoman Nicole Ward

Nic – My two piece Ward coaching tri suit.

Nicole, Dani and Rachel
Nicole, Dani and Rachel

What words of advice would you say to any Ironchicks that are toying with doing a full Ironman?

Ray – Not sure if I’m qualified to answer this yet.  It’s one thing signing up, but you have to cross the finish line to be a real Ironman.  I can say ‘so far, so good’ and if you like, I can give you a few lessons learnt so far …..  Make sure you have a lot of training buddies (they do not need to be Ironman people) they will keep you sane; definitely find yourself a beautiful Coach that you can talk to and that gives free hugs – you’ll need them – all of them!  Get lights for your bike, big lights, lots of lights – STAY SAFE! Buy in Bulk Ironchicks!! Whatever it is, sooner or later, you’ll be buying more…. Lycra comes in such pretty colours– YOU’LL BE AWESOME!

Dani – Ensure you take a holistic approach to the journey and still make time for friends and family, recovery ‘me’ time for yourself and live in the present smelling the roses! I am known as the social/corporate athlete embracing the elements of wellbeing!

Nic – It is a very big commitment so you have to really want to do it for yourself. I think it is also very important to have the support of those people closest to you.  I also think having a coach really helps and having the trust in your coach that they will get you to the finish line.

Coach Nicole with Dani
Coach Nicole with Dani


I will be cheering like crazy for these three Ironman virgins and for all the Ironchicks (and blokes) racing at Port Mac next weekend.  Embrace race day girls and enjoy getting a “dash of iron” in your blood (I love that saying now!)



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 thoughts on “Ironman First Timers – 3x Ironchicks tackling IMOZ!”

  1. Go get’em girls…looking forward to seeing the smiles on your faces when you come down that finishing chute. Good luck and have a blast!! 🙂