THE T:ZERO BLOG
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Perth, Western Australia
‘I’m someone who will sign up for any race, any distance, any weekend. Since working with RT that has changed and now it is much more about planning what makes sense for what we are trying to achieve. I now train and race with a clear, super-specific focus which has given me a lot of confidence.’
This month, our Fast Five feature athlete is Ann Brinkamp, who has been training with Coach Rich for just over a year. Ann somewhat stumbled into triathlon in 2013 and has raced across a variety of short and long-course, half and iron-distance, TT, half and marathon events every year since, including bucket-list favourite Challenge Roth (2019) and Ultraman Australia (2018).
A self-confessed lover of racing, Ann doesn’t really mind the distance or format but feels the longer races suit her best. Challenge Roth in 2019 presented the perfect combination of distance, location, atmosphere, climate and course to suit her strengths, making it a race she remembers particularly fondly. Speaking of strengths, the bike is definitely where she’s in her element and “happy place”, especially when there’s coffee, chats and the occasional cake afterwards!
The mental aspect, and honestly - fourth discipline of triathlon - is Ann’s most favourite thing about endurance sport. As we all know, no matter how physically fit you are, your mind is ultimately what will set you apart. The mid-week WT is her favourite training session that Coach Rich *allegedly* manages to keep interesting and super challenging (we don’t believe you ;-)
Looking to 2021, Ann is hoping to race an iron-distance event which is keeping her firmly focussed for now. In the meantime, she’ll balance the training nicely with a few more recovery sessions on the couch with her supportive (and occasional running companion) dog Whiskey.
Why and how did you get into triathlon/endurance/multisport?
Mainly by accident. I bought a road bike in 2010 which I never used until a friend took me on a ride in 2012 – I remember 30km felt like a massive achievement. Another friend introduced me to his Triathlon Club and I signed up for a novice course and next thing I knew I registered for a 70.3. Initially it was to get fit but quickly became a different kind of lifestyle which I really loved (still do!).
Favourite race? Why?
Every race left some amazing memories, either the race itself or the process to getting to the start line, people I raced/ trained with etc. But if I have to pick a favourite experience start to finish, it has to be Ultraman Australia. It was such an epic year from deciding that this was what I wanted to do to crossing the finish line on Day 3. Many highs and lows in the lead up, the best team ever and 3 perfect days of racing. Still gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.
What is your favourite motivational quote?
Not so much a quote but a concept I love – Ultra runner Courtney Dauwalter was asked how she handles those really tough moments you are bound to have during a long run. She said she pictures her pain cave and goes all the way in rather than being afraid of it and then chips away at the walls, making it bigger for the next time.
Have you ever had an apparent training or race day “failure” that has set you up for later success?
Plenty of training failures, and they continue to happen – frustrating in that moment but I think they keep me on my toes and remind me of all the things to do better/ differently on race day.
One thing I remember is a couple of weeks before Ultraman, I was signed up for one of our local tris. It was a pretty cold April morning, which I had not planned for at all. Someone offered me their jacket but whatever my logic was, I didn’t want to take it. By the time the gun went off, I was frozen and hadn’t been for a warm-up swim. I made it to the first buoy and then got pulled out of the water. I was cold but mainly mortified!!!!
I learnt: pack warm clothes even if you think you don’t need them; ALWAYS warm up, in particular if it’s cold; if someone offers you help (not matter if it’s a jacket or a space blanket), don’t be too proud to accept it.
By the time Ultraman came around, we were super prepared with plenty of spare clothes, so the cold morning didn’t bother any of us.
What motivates or inspires you to train/race/participate?
While I am super competitive and goal driven, the key thing for me is knowing that I fortunately stumbled across a hobby that I love and in a way it opened up a world I never knew existed. I didn’t grow up as a ‘sporty’ kid and came to the sport very late with no talent for any of the disciplines, so I sometimes still wonder how I ended up doing this. It’s easy to get caught up in chasing numbers and PB’s but in the end the 4.45am alarms seem totally acceptable because I’m doing something that makes me happy and feel good.
And one more for good measure (and a big head) …
Why do you love being part of the T:Zero Multisport team?
The amount of experience around and athlete-specific coaching.
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An amazing collection of training and racing advice from the T:Zero Multisport coaches- with the occasional guest blogger! Read this blog to help you live your potential!