“I don’t want to look back and think I could have worked harder”
I’m a massive believer that “belief” is one of the biggest parts to being a professional athlete. I look at the Ironman’s I’ve raced before and I’ve seen some of the best physical athletes in the world pull out straight away because they lost that belief.
Photo credit: Korupt Vision
Personally, I’ve never started racing and thought, I need to teach myself a better mind set to push myself harder, it’s just always been there.
Thinking back to when I was 12 or 13, my biggest drive was to go and milk cows from 3:30 in the morning to 6:30 at night. Working 16-hour days at 13 years old was what I loved and what I looked forward to in the holidays.
I wouldn’t choose to go to the pool and swim 6-7km, four to five times per week. I wouldn’t ride my bike for 5.5 hrs. That’s not the driver for me, that’s just the vehicle. The vehicle to find ways to challenge myself mentally and to race people and push myself. The love of the sport comes from that mental challenge. As young as I can remember I’ve enjoyed making the sacrifices that are associated with hard work. That’s the part of the process I get the most satisfaction from.
I can never say that Ironman is mostly a mental game because you’re racing for 8 hours non-stop at 85% – 95% of your physical capacity. There’s obviously a huge element that is physical but when you’re on the start line and there’s sixty guys who are all probably just as physically fit as you are, there is a huge element that becomes mental. I believe, there’s probably only a handful of Ironman athletes in the world right now that have the confidence and belief to put themselves at the front of the race and back themselves to the very end.
This year I feel more established as an athlete and have more confidence in knowing that on the days when it counts, I can pull it out of the bag. I also feel now, that between sponsors, family and kids, I can balance life a lot better than what I ever have before.
I’ve always believed that this is a really hard sport because it’s not about the aggression, it’s not about feeling good in a way where I’m going to get out there and fight and ‘be the man’. A lot of it is about having patience and being in the right head space at the right time and being able to focus that energy exactly where it needs to go.
At the end of the day, I’m just a Kiwi who loves adventure, being out-side and challenging myself. I’m also just a Dad really, and I love being a Dad. I don’t look at myself for being one of the best in the world, if I wasn’t a professional athlete, I’d probably be a digger driver.
In some ways over the past few years, I’ve matured a lot. I believe I’m in a place where I can race the worlds best and be at the top of the podium. I know I can do the work, I just have to have my day in the sun.
ALL PHOTOS WHERE CREDIT IS NOT MENTIONED ARE PHOTOGRAPHED BY SEAN BEALE