2012 Ironman World Champion

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Race Report; IM Port Macquarie (Australia)

IMGP3528The month leading into this race I just focused on putting what energy I had into riding my bike. I knew that if I felt ok on the bike the race would not take as much out of me as if I spread myself thin over swim bike run in training and then felt terrible before I even completed the 180km on race day.

I didn’t have the energy to do too much in training, and after recognizing I wanted to fix my issues and not keep digging myself into holes, I approached it with the mindset of doing enough to get through the race ok, but not so much I would set back my health. And why do the race at all you ask? Why not look after myself completely? Well I am in a fortunate position that I only needed to finish to qualify for Hawaii. It was far to simple for me to line up in Port Macquarie and tick that box so if I can get myself back on track this year I am able to start and go for the win in Kona, Hawaii, in October.

Race day could not have been better weather, and it could not have been a better result for me. I swam on feet in the swim, and thanks to Graham O’Grady leading the way with Luke Bell then myself on his feet we were able to open up a nice gap on the rest of the field. Onto the bike and I felt really good. Graham lead the way for a while and I told myself just relax and follow him nice and easy. But when we hit the flat section my momentum of my legs carried me past him and I lead the three of us for a while, before getting away at 45km. I felt really good then, got a little carried away and rode solid until I started to fade around 120km. I’d had visions of leading into T2, but very suddenly Paul Ambrose and Luke came past me and I felt like I was standing still. I hadn’t blown to pieces however and just took it easy back to T2, thinking about how I need to take this day as easy as I can, for my health.

I’d had a lot of fun leading the race, and feeling good on the bike reminded me of how I can race when things are going well, of what it feels like to be in that ‘zone’ mentally and physically, with everything just working in sync and to be feeling fast in a race with no one around you. It was great while it lasted and helped my day go so much quicker.

I started the run feeling ok, but quickly made a plan to walk part of every lap so I will still be able to run the crowded section through town right up until the finish, and of course to give my body a break from the stress of running 42km straight. It still hurt so much. I was lucky to have Graham join me early in the run and we ran/walked to the finish together. We both were suffering, and walking wasn’t that much of a release from the pain and fatigue through our bodies. We crossed the line in 9hrs 38mins, and I was so happy it was over. I was in pain with an ITB issue I’ve never had before (lack of running & a hard ride will do that) and my body ached, not as much as I’ve felt before, but considering the time it was a great outcome for me.

I had the usual troubled sleep with aching legs for a couple of nights, but now they are not too bad, the ITB issue has disappeared, and now I have no obligations to train and push my body for a while, well not until I get my health right. I’m resting, waiting on test results, rehabbing, and going through a long list of things I want to do for fun, and things I want to get done around the house (I actually find them fun too).

I do love that bike course in Port Macquarie, I enjoy the rolling hills and flat sections between, and the scenery is great. Once they fix up the bumpy sections of road it will be a dream course. The 4 lap run works well for spectators, I think it gets a little crowded, but again, it’s scenic and goes by pretty quick. Nothing beats a small town race, and Port Macquarie has that great vibe of being taken over by triathletes for a week, your always bumping into old friends on the streets, and everything is within walking distance for athletes and spectators.

Thanks again for all the support I got on the course, especially while I was out in front on the bike ;)

Congratulations to everyone who I competed with on Sunday, it was a great experience sharing the course with you all, and those who qualified or got a lottery, I’ll see you in Kona. J



Why I Struggle


It’s not easy to do anything when you are tired like I get, and I feel like I’ve been tired for most of the last 2 years, and for a significant part of my life since I was 15. And I’m tired of being tired.


Lots and lots of tests never found anything and I learnt a lot about life and what makes me happy over those early years as a professional triathlete struggling to string more than a few weeks of training together without hitting a wall of fatigue. Simple pleasures, days where I felt good and not fatigued, became the measure of my life. Sometimes the fatigue lasted a couple of days, other times it lasted months. But I’ve never cursed my journey, I’ve never wished I’d had it easier, and I’ve never despaired and wondered why me (except when I was 16, young, and couldn’t comprehend being less able than others). I’m usually an optimistic and patient person, traits that were reinforced as I had to cope with many setbacks with my fatigue. I am generally a laid back type of character, and this is where my health makes it hard for others to distinguish between me, and the fatigue affected version of me.


I don’t want to tell you who I am, but just to tell you my side of events and leave it up to you to judge. I think I’m pretty good with staying cool over constructive feedback, while uninformed trolls on the other hand are the biggest waste of space in the digital world, so keep it to yourself if your goal is just to put people down to make yourself feel bigger. Rant over.


After a big break from training I start back feeling good. Hence why my first race of the season is usually my best. Even this year leading up to Challenge Dubai my training had got me fitter than I had been in 2 years (my focus this year was to get fitter and less mileage), from early January until mid February things were great and I was keen to get out the door most days. And then I faded, and I realized I had over-done my training and was now fatigued again. [I knew heading to Dubai the outcome was likely grim, although I held high hopes of coming good in those few weeks before the race, to no avail.]. I hadn’t done a ton of training but I can see where a session here and there that left me a little cooked had added up over a few weeks. The fact that I let this happen again was frustrating, and I can only blame myself, but the following month was one of the worst I’ve ever experienced and has made me question the path ahead of me.


I’m not my whole self when I’m tired. When I get fatigued it is impossible to do anything that requires concentration and physical effort. Things lose their joy and appeal. I don’t want to train, but I also don’t want to go for surf, or walk the dogs. I’m just tired! My brain is foggy, my body is tired, and real bad days getting out of bed is something I do because I know I should, not because I want to for any purpose. Meeting people at the coffee shop sounds like an effort, preparing good food is a hassle and eating chocolate should give me energy, right?! Wrong. But I’m tired, and my self control is weak and I seek a simple pleasure with the hope of energy in return.


All of this and more is something I’ve learnt to cope with over the years and can say to myself happily, “ok I’m tired today so let’s try and focus on other things like recovery, massage, pruning the garden etc.” In my second year as a full time triathlete I was  22 years old and had fatigue that lasted months. On my worst day I got 5 minutes down the road on my bike and was almost in tears I was so exhausted. I just wanted to throw my bike in the bushes, but I turned around, went home and played a lot of Xbox. I now know when I am tired and training is going to dig me deeper into a hole, and I know when I feel good enough to train. The problem is that it’s not so obvious to others and through their genuine care for me put their worry’s about me onto me, and it’s hard taking that when you are too tired to think, talk, and act on peoples worry’s. That’s why March has been a life changing month of fatigue. I’ve realized that whether people understand my fatigue and what I’m going through or not, what they see is what they see, and I don’t like what they see.


For those 4 years that I managed my fatigue leading into October and had solid results in Hawaii, and maybe 1 or 2 other good races per year at the most, made it seem like not such an issue. And I guess my ability to do well there made it harder for people to understand I have a fatigue problem. People have got used to my performances, that when I’m on I’m red hot, and if I’m not it’s just a mess. Like walking on a knife-edge. I do love the thrill of getting in shape and racing at full gas, and training is a joy when I feel good and I love how fast and talented I am despite the percieved lack of “hard work”. But many people assume I’m not motivated, and am lazy when I am actually fatigued and am training very little because I can’t, not because I don’t enjoy it. And although I’m ok with whatever people think of me and don’t care about peoples impression, I’ve realized that I’m no longer ok with being tired and pushing my health over the edge so often and easily (it has gotten easier to fatigue and recovery is now longer), and not feeling like myself.


In March it was incredibly tough to hear Jaimie and others question my motivation, my lack of training plan, or desire to win as possible cause of my problems, which was made even harder to hear while I was down (fatigued emotionally and physically, hence why I was hearing it then). I couldn’t understand why some people didn’t believe me, or hear what I was saying. I felt like I was speaking but no words were coming out, and I became very frustrated. But it made me see how people are effected by me when I am fatigued, and although I’ve always been ok with how I feel I started to see that it’s not normal to be like this, and I don’t want to continue battling like this. Whether I am understood or not, it’s not enjoyable either way, just more frustrating when it’s the latter.


After so many years seeing physicians and getting tested to no avail and still managing a World Championship at one of the toughest on day races on the planet (biased much?), I became good at sticking my head in the sand and accepting I knew how to cope with my fatigue and I knew my body better than anyone else and also knew what’s best for me. It’s also the reason I don’t seek or accept help from others in my training plan, because getting in shape is not hard for me, it’s staying healthy that is the issue and it’s such a grey area when seen from the outside, that if I became fatigued and had to answer to someone else I would not be able to cope with it without more stress. Ignoring things, when fatigued, is my reaction to lots of things, because anything that requires me to concentrate and muster energy for is difficult, let’s say impossible. Ever since I was an early teenager I was good (podium in my year) at english and maths, until year 10 at high school (which is when my fatigue hit) and school required actual extra study to be done at home to keep up, which was like herding cats in my head to try and focus. I could sit there and stare at the page and get no work done. Two years later and I think (don’t remember exactly) I failed my final exams.


Anyway back to my story. I’d become so disillusioned with Doctors and tests to say the least, and currently being partially fatigued and trying to train a bit too, it was only because of Jaimie booking an appointment and coming with me that I have recently seen another doctor, looking at things at a slightly different angle, and some tests that weren’t around many years ago when I was last seeking answers.


My fogginess makes it hard to make decisions, to cope with other emotional stresses, to enjoy things that I would otherwise enjoy even when I have time between training. And as I get older and start thinking about what else I want out of this life I can see that being the greatest triathlete of all time may not be my path. It was once my dream that I could win six times in Hawaii, and win several other races a year – I have strong belief in myself of course as winning Hawaii was a dream for 10 years – but now I begin to think about the cost on my life for those other triathlon dreams. I don’t want to spend the next several years tired and foggy. If there is no positive answer in these recent tests then I will need to approach the rest of my career very differently. Yes, I could train less/smarter and give myself more time between races, and luckily I am in a position to do so and still focus on Hawaii for a couple more years (without having to earn points to qualify because of being a previous champion for 5 years since). I do need to have bigger breaks of rest throughout the year and allow my body to catch up on the 30+ full distance tri’s over the last 12 years. I do need time to focus on working out my health issues without the pressures of an upcoming race. I do need to think about how else I can maximize my career in the tri industry besides racing frequently, and I need this to keep from racing and training too frequently. I do want to think about other income revenues for the near and distant future. I do want to be more active and involved, and grow in other aspects of my life, along with community, friends, family, and of course Jaimie.


I need to change things, not because of how others perceive me, but because I don’t always feel like myself, and I want to be a better me for myself and those around me, whatever that me may be.

So I keep struggling with Hawaii as my goal because I still believe I can win again, and I want to prove it to myself that I am wise and skilled enough to do whatever I want, and triathlon is still (even more so now than ever) one of the biggest challenges with the biggest rewards for me. And the struggle that it has been has made me who I am, taught me much of what I know, and I’m even though it won’t be easy I want to continue with that struggle to get back to the top, to keep learning, to keep passing on what I learn, and to get more out of my life with my good friends and family around me.

Thanks to everyone for their patience and support over the many years. I’m sorry it’s not been easy to watch and comprehend from the outside as you wished me well at every race I failed at. I find it an incredible boost to my soul that so many people I’ve never met wish me well. I will always appreciate your genuine support, and I will always find it hard to face you when I am not my whole self. The same goes to my sponsors, to all of them over the years, every contribution to my self belief that you have given through your support will always remain. A special thanks to those who are with me now in what seem like my darkest years. But after the dark there will always be light. Thank you Boardman Bikes, Amart Sports, Asics, blueseventy, Yurbuds, Alaska Milk, Training Mask Oceania, Sram, Zipp, Flight Centre Active Travel, Quarq, ISM, XLAB, Scion, Northwave, and as always I’m very proud to be involved with the John Maclean Foundation.

Onwards and upwards, to infinity and beyond :)

All the best to everyone





Pre Challenge Bahrain & other stuff

It’s the day before Challenge Bahrain, one of the richest triathlon races in the world, and I’m looking forward to the break afterward. Not exactly how I would chose to be feeling before a big race but the last month has gone similar to my year. It started with a rest after Hawaii, then a couple of weeks feeling pretty good, then the last couple of weeks feeling tired. I don’t like this feeling. All I want is to race against the best in the world and beat them. And for me, who believes I can beat them when I’m in my best health and fitness, this is incredibly frustrating and life changing.

The last two years have been dismal for results. It has made me question everything, and made me realize I need to make some changes in more ways than one. It’s made me question the direction I am headed, what I value in life, what I want to get out of my career and what I want to achieve outside of racing too. Sorry but I don’t have the answers to share with you. However, I want nothing more than to be back kicking butt for all those that have stuck by supporting me as I get further and further from being reigning Ironman World Champion. I hope that as of today it is closer in my future than my past to being that title again.

So don’t ask me how, what, or who, but be assured that I will not stuff up again in 2015. You have supported me so strongly that I want to do it for you as much as for me. Or maybe I do really want to do it for me and it’s just my ego that wants to do it so you applaud me again. ;) Either way, I am driven by my supporters, by you the age groupers who make up this great sport and love to see the professionals go into battle and lay it down with courage, sacrifice and guts like no other sport does, or at least like no other sport you all relate to and have the passion for.

I look forward to being part of the race tomorrow. I hope to have a good swim, stay with the main pack on the bike, and possibly run a good run on legs that have not done too much in training. I’ll be very happy if I made top 10. The field here is scary. So deep and talented. Not to mention experienced and tactful.

The experience here at Challenge Bahrain has been incredible. Not just the amazing hotel and free buffets all day, but the opportunity for so many of the most successful professional triathletes in the world to get together, meet, talk, joke, scheme, compare, learn from and compete against. These opportunities are so rare these days with so many races around the world there has been no need or money to support everyone racing each other. But Challenge Bahrain is the start of something new. And the rumor is that on Saturday night there will be an announcement that may allow this sort of contest to happen more often. A few races that allow the best in the world to race each other and all earn enough prize money to making a decent living from. This would be something special.

So I am part of something special this weekend. It’s like being on Kona but everyone is more relaxed, its only a half distance, there’s no hype and heaps of appearances or sponsors commitments. It really is about the athletes. And I just wish I were in better shape to do this, and every other race I enter, justice. Next year I promise.

An open letter to Ironman CEO.


Andrew Messick


World Triathlon Corporation

I wish I wasn’t wasting my time writing this. But I’ve already wasted far too much energy dwelling on this since it was said and I don’t want it to be an issue between us any longer as it is Kona race week next week and we will surely cross paths. Well I know we will cross paths since I am invited to the pre race press conference as your 2012 Ironman World Champion.

It’s been 7 weeks since you alluded that I was unprofessional in that infamous slowtwitch.com article referenced below. http://www.slowtwitch.com/Interview/Messick_explains_the_changes_4511.html

I waited, and a tiny part of me thought perhaps you would make contact to clear the air, and perhaps even apologize for suggesting my painful 11:42 Ironman validation unprofessional, and for comparing me, and indirectly all professional triathletes, to a professional cyclist. For you to suggest the two sports are even remotely similar and requiring similar effort to compete in was disappointing. The questionable morality of the cyclist you chose to compare me to as well was disheartening to say the least. Not to mention the difference between what he got paid to put in a “professional effort” as opposed to what “validating” an Ironman pays.

So what you failed to know, as you or any of your staff never asked, was why it took me 11:42 to complete my validation, and why I chose Zurich. So here is my side of the story. I had planned a great year. It included racing early season ironman 70.3 events plus validating at Ironman Texas in great shape in May, followed by targeting a competitive Challenge Roth in July. However, the reality of being a professional athlete is that we are slaves to our body and we are limited to what we can do physically. I succumbed to very bad fatigue (an issue I’ve been dealing with since I was 15) in March and unfortunately had no choice but to cancel my trip to Texas. This cost me a great deal financially in lost airfares and income. I had to then refocus on gaining my health and fitness to be competitive at Challenge Roth, but as it turned out on race day, it wasn’t enough time. I hurt myself to finish that race as slow as I did. I ran as much as I could but had to run/walk the second half of the marathon as my legs hurt so badly. It was my choice to do this race, as it was my choice to do this sport as a professional and earn an income.

As per the WTC Ironman rules, I had to validate for Kona by completing an Ironman. The only time I could now fit this in, after the depressing bout of fatigue and the troubling inability to race or train at an elite level for many months, was to complete Ironman Zurich one week after Challenge Roth. This was the event that was after my bout of fatigue had cleared, had the minimal amount of travel involved, and the minimal time away from preparing for your marquee race, and my main goal, of the Ironman World Championship.

But whatever race it is, you have no idea how I feel about not being able to race for the win. This year has been full of hard times, disappointments, and days I could barely think straight. In Zurich I did irreversible damage to my body to push to a point of stressful pain and still have 12km’s left to walk. It was no fun at all. It was a very long, very stressful, hard and tiring day.

Not once have I ever spoken up against your validation rule. Even in Zurich I accepted it for what I had to do and did not complain, but respected it was the rule that I had to abide by. I have never said a bad word against this rule.

In 2012, when I was your reigning World Champion I said in my speech on awards night in Kona “Andrew Messick is doing a great job” and so on, for you.

In 2013 I wore your logo with my reigning World Champion gold star on my training and race apparel as you had asked me to do, for the benefit of WTC. In my preparation for Kona 2013 I allowed NBC to film me in my home for two days, for you/WTC. In Kona during race week I took part in a reenactment of an “old school” tri photo, again for you/WTC (the result of which I never saw or heard about, perhaps it was never used). Also in race week I took part in the pre-race NBC interviews, the VIP evening and flag ceremony, and all requests that came to me from WTC. I did everything that was asked of me as reigning World Champion, for WTC and yet in 2014 it seems you don’t like me and allude that I am unprofessional?

So, with Kona race week so close, I needed to write this to you now, so I can say what I want to say, so I can explain myself to my fans, my supporters, and to WTC before it gets brought up raw in race week. Thus I can focus on the race in Kona, and so that we can settle our differences on the same public platform that you elected to mention this topic.

However, whatever happens, the main reason for me writing this was to explain how tough this year has been for me, my side of the story. I am happy to have done that and can now move on. I’ve turned the other cheek. I wish you all the best for your future, and for the future of WTC. And I wish everyone good luck in this historical and grueling event in Kona, Hawaii, on October 11. I’ll be giving it everything I’ve got.

Kind regards

Pete Jacobs

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Jaimie’s Blog – No Longer a Virgin of Full Distance Triathlon!

Jaimie’s Blog: No Longer a Virgin of Full Distance Triathlon! 

Well to say Challenge Roth was uneventful would be an absolute lie.

Apparently it was one of the toughest years in its 30 year history with the wind and the heat at its cruelest with the highest amount of athletes in the medical tent (20% of starters did not finish). Yet strangely the wind and the heat I did not notice until I heard people talking about it – I was doing my first ‘full distance triathlon’, living the dream. My dream.

You know its going to be a memorable day when it starts with Cindy Lauper blaring through the speakers “Girls just want to have fun” – this is awesome at any time and or place of the day let alone in Germany whilst treading water on the start line of Challenge Roth!

What is Challenge Roth? Picture Tour De France moments where one is enveloped in a kilometre of avid supporters 10 people deep whilst pedaling up what is called Solar Hill. Cyclists must ride single file. The ride course snakes through the German landscape of cobbled towns, sculpted horses amongst endless fields and historical landmarks complete with churches and more. All concluded by a 42.2km run beside the RothSea which intermittently winds gaily through endless lively streets where local kids eyes light up with the prospect of you simply high fiving them.

After having a swim which felt slow and uncomfortable yet smiling underwater still on a high from listening to Cindy Lauper I found myself amongst volunteers – ripping off my wetsuit like neoprene geniuses with angel qualities sent from the Challenge Family haha. After thanking them profusely before realizing I was in fact in a race I ran to get on the bike.

After hearing about how fast the bike course here in Roth is I had been over the moon as this race was going to be my longest ride yet, my first 180km. Ever.

Yet straight away the big chain ring wouldn’t work, yelling in English to anyone that would listen I asked where the bike mechanics were, yet to no avail. After stopping and trying to explain it to the bike mechanic for 5 minutes what was wrong I realized there was no hope. So back on the bike thinking like a mad woman ‘this run has got to be fast.’

If you want an image of what the bike course is like here at Challenge Roth – Think of your racing track you had as a kid with the remote control cars married with the above Roth landscape – and voila you have the 180km bike course!

I secretly had a time of 10.15 I wanted to achieve, maybe without a training program and riding 2-3 times a week this was unrealistic. Lol

Severe cramping reared its ugly head at the 20km mark. I thought of Pete and what he would do, so I initially altered my running style to stand taller with feet underneath me and chest out, failing this I then took some deep breaths, walked A LOT, and did some dynamic stretching. I also imagined a gold healing wave sweeping down my legs, and over my adductors. It relented a bit.

Luckily (note the word ‘luckily’ is lightly said) the ‘angry’ jaimie had reason to come out and play, forgetting about the cramps intermittently. Having a 6ft+ man built like the Statue of David plow full force into you (it seems he wanted a drink from the aid station on my side) on the running course will do that. I flew through the air with my right leg cramping like a bug on its back legs flailing with panic.

With no apologies the Statue of David look alike kept running, unfazed.

The volunteers picked me up, through tears I thought ‘there is no way I’m not finishing because of this, Pete’s at the finish line (I had no idea how he was or how his race was) plus I had seen pictures of the finish line – this girl was going to have finish line action if it killed her. A girl rarely gets a chance to run down a red carpet (albeit in sweaty lycra smelling like something stuck to the tractors tyres I just passed, hey I’ll take what I can get)– in Europe of all places!

Crossing the finish line was a mixture of emotions, angry that I didn’t have the race I had imagined (admittedly only imagined a time I wanted to aim for before the race when asked what splits I wanted to do, and frustrated that cramps came on so early. Blessed I crossed the line with the love of my life arms outstretched, the most supportive husband in the world, my best friend, my partner in crime.

Everyone who signs up for a full distance triathlon who commits to swimming 3.8km, riding 180km and running 42.2km all in one session has to have the support from their family. This is something I battled with, is it right for me to race the races when this is Pete’s job. Should I be there 100% of the time for him?

As I sat on the portaloo before the race start race morning I was reminded of this. I heard a man ask Pete in the portaloo line if it was hard having your wife racing too. I held my breath. Pete replied, “its easier she just does what I do.” If he was referring to eating tuna, kidney beans, rice cakes with peanut butter and banana as opposed to the European food one ought to indulge in whilst in Europes culinary fair then he was 100% correct! Grrrrr haha.

Thankyou for everyones beautiful messages of support, I will do more triathlons if it means I get to feel so warm and fuzzy when reading each and every one.

Triathlon is not just a sport, it is a lifestyle, a mechanism to keep one sane lol and Challenge uniquely makes everyone feel like family.

The plus side of walking a lot of the run is you can wear high heels to the after party and dance like nobody is watching!