Tri Alliance Victoria’s Female Ambassador for the 2013/2014 Season, Anne-Marie Cooke shares with us her story on what it means to her to be our female ambassador, why she moved to Australia, her triathlon journey and gives advice to those just starting out.
(Read about our male Ambassador here)
I’ve lived in Australia now for over 4 years. I qualified as an architect in Dublin about a year before the big recession hit. 18 months later I lost my job but had always wanted to travel so saw it as an opportunity to start an adventure. I went to South America for 3 months before arriving in Brisbane and eventually, Melbourne. I had planned to stay 12 months but I’m still here four years later and am now a permanent resident! I have one brother, and all of my family are still in Ireland but I have a lot of very close friends in Melbourne who have helped to make it feel more like home.
Q. Share with us your training/racing plans this year.
This year I am focusing on Olympic Distance races because having raced in Sandringham Olympic last year I found that I really enjoyed the distance. Noosa was my first A race and my second will be Victor Harbour at the start of March. I felt that Noosa was a little early in the season to really pull off the times I wanted to achieve so am hoping that by March I will be at peak fitness. I’m also going to do a few of the Gatorade sprints for race experience and possibly Geelong 5150. 🙂
Looking forward, I want to keep chipping away at my OD time which is coming down slowly but surely. I would like to compete at the world championships some day (to represent Ireland of course, sorry Aussies!) but feel that this year might not be my year as I want to do myself justice and I think there’s still a lot of potential to shave more time off. An Ironman 70.3 race is also on the ‘to do’ list but haven’t yet decided where to fit that in.
Q. What does it mean to you to be Tri Alliance Victoria’s female Ambassador this year?
It means the world to me to be the Ambassador this year. I am really honoured to have been chosen and I want to do as much as I can to fulfill the role. I have gotten so much from the sport and Tri Alliance since I started to train 2 years ago so I think it’s a great opportunity to give something back!
Q. When did you start with Tri Alliance and how has your experience/journey with us shaped you?
I started with Tri Alliance the first week of the winter season in 2012. I felt a bit lost at first because I started with very very little fitness but the coaches and especially Bernadette soon put me at ease, teaming me up with other beginners so that I didn’t feel out of my depth.
For the first year I was the slowest person at most run and bike sessions! I got dropped by the time we got to Elwood on my first few rides, but I soon learned that the more rides you did, the farther you got!! This was a theme across all three sports and I found that the more squad sessions I did, the stronger I got. I’ve now gone from finishing in the bottom 5 of my age group last year to becoming more competitive, and I am now just outside the top 20 in the gatorades which I aim to crack this year (and continue to rise after that hopefully!)
The club made me realise that you don’t have to put a limit on your goals. Anytime I’ve suggested to a coach that I would like to achieve something, their response has always been to tell me that of course it can be done – and we would then set about making a plan to achieve it. At the first goal setting workshop I listened to people say how they would like to do an olympic distance race one day, I thought they were amazing and that I would never get there. I ended up completing one in my first full season.
My other teammates have also made a massive contribution to my training. It’s great to train next to people of your level and encourage and push each other on (and a little competitive streak is always good too!)
Q. What are 3 pieces of advice you can give to anyone starting out their own journey with Tri Alliance?
1. Consistency….it’s a bit of a cliche, but it really does work. If you’ve got a weakness (and everybody is weaker at one of the sports) then work harder at it and you will start to see results, then once you get there the results are enough motivation to keep going!
2. Embrace the early mornings! Before I joined Tri Alliance I thought that 5.15am was the middle of the night! Now I regularly set my alarm for that time. It’s hard to get out of bed but once you’re there it’s always worth it!! And you’re set up for the day 🙂
3. Practice the flying bike mount – it makes you look cool and this won’t happen! 😉
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