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Susannah Sharpe is part of the Wellington crew heading out soon to the Snowy Mountains for the World Cross Tri Championships.  A nifty triathlete in all three disciplines, Susannah fits training in with family life, professional life and study.  Susannah and I live near each other and have been combining training sessions and sharing lifts to training over recent months – this has been a great way to keep each other motivated and have a bit of a laugh at the same time.

RS: What are you looking forward about going to the Snowy Mountains?

SS: The adventure of doing an off road race in a new place, and reaching my goal to complete the event! Also just looking forward to the week away (no work, no kids, no responsibilities other than getting myself there and around the race in one piece).

RS: What’s been motivating you in training through the winter?!

SS: Having a goal to strive for. Sounds cheesy but if I didn’t have a big scary audacious goal I don’t think I would get out there in the pouring rain, wind and dark. Yes all three sometimes.

Also motivating me are some great people to train with, whether it is the upbeat attitude of others in the swim lane at 6 am (how do they remain so perky at 6 am I wonder) or meeting you (Rebecca) at 7 am in the dark on Mt Vic.. it all works to motivate me through. I also just love to ride my mountain bike. Strangely I enjoy the training but mostly when there is the chance to get out on a sunny day and catch up with some folk too while I am at it.

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Winter track training with the Capital Sports Performance crew

RS: What’s been your approach to any challenges you’ve faced along the way?  Any tips or tricks for ‘fitting everything in’?!

SS: My approach this year is to just ride it out (no pun) and hope to get to the start line in one piece. Twice now (previous years) I have had an entry to a world champs (Xterra worlds in Maui) which I have had to forgo due to personal calamities. So if I can just get to this event in one piece and complete it to my own best ability I will be pleased. That seems to help put the every day juggle of family, work and study commitments in perspective. This was brought into perspective a couple of weeks ago as I had a big crash on my MTB. In the rain, mud and slick tracks I managed to shoulder barge a big tree (just before the end  of a MTB race). I saw all my training efforts flashing before my eyes!! Wrecked the handle bar of my bike a bit too. Duh. Then I thought oh well if the worst happens (I cant do the race) that’s OK as it has happened before… I just hope it isn’t too major. By some fluke I didn’t break anything (in my body) and have just had a painful week or so healing.

I don’t really have any tips. One good tip would be to do less but I dont seem to be able to follow it myself. Another good tip is getting more sleep but it is 10 pm and I am not asleep yet. Another tip is just holding in there in the hope it will get better (less stress etc) …. that’s the ‘grin and bear it’ approach. But one tip I really try is to keep straight  is knowing what important to me, and prioritising those things – like having some time with my boys each day.

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With the boys at Karapoti

RS: How do you hope to feel while you’re racing (and afterwards!)

SS: Hard to really say how I feel as it really depends on the day. Sometimes it all comes together. I am not sure that has actually happened though as there is always some challenge! Some races (like the world champs I did in Auckland in 2012) I was at my personal best fitness ever but I still had dramas  (losing goggles and contact lens in the swim). When I did my first half this summer (scorcher half) I felt ecstatic on the run, which was either the coke (drink) I had or the fact it was a surprise  I could actually complete a half (particularly after a summer of wine and chocolate). First time is best maybe? So each time it is a bit different and that can affect the body and mind.

RS: Anything else you’d like to share or mention?

SS: Triathlon is great fun. Mixing it up, having a challenge and learning along the way.

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