There is a popular phrase in sport that says “Success is 10% Physical and 90% Mental.” This is a core value of the club at Davey Black Triathlon and today we’ll sit down with an athlete who embodies this value so you can see what it takes to train for an Ultra Distance event.
Erica Riley was accepted into the Ultraman 2021 event which consists of a 10km Swim, 421.1km Bike and 84.4 km run over three days. This is a gruelling event, so it is imperative that she prepares both her body and mind to get through each stage over such a long timeframe.
Erica has shown that she is determined to succeed at this event, and she is prepared to tick all the boxes to get to the start line in the best condition that she can. Below is an interview that Coach Nestor held with Erica to delve inside the psyche of an athlete training for such a gruelling event.
NESTOR: A typical question that comes up when anyone encounters someone so dedicated to the sport is how do they manage to cope with the demands of Triathlon training and how do they fit it all into their normal life?
ERICA: I’m not motivated, motivation comes and goes. I’m driven, once that drive kicks in and that fire in your belly is ignited it’s a feeling you can’t explain. To do this sport (Triathlon) long term, you have to be driven. I was a kid that always got told if you are going to do something, do it properly. Whenever I set a goal for my life whether it’s my career, sport, holidays, I will not stop or rest until that goal is achieved. That’s drive.
NESTOR: You have been attached to an active lifestyle for a long time, probably because of your work as a nurse saving lives, you want to stay fit and healthy. You don’t let any obstacle stop you from her dreams, and you seem to meet every big challenge with enthusiasm. Is this what brings you to the Ultraman Challenge?
ERICA: Those first few months when covid hit, and I was doing my part on the frontline. I worked a few shifts in quarantine hotels etc. I actually had a moment when I took off the PPE. Covered in my own sweat, and said to myself… This is harder than Ironman. But, covid 19, one day, I’ll show you who’s boss, and I will do something that is harder that dealing with you… I’m going to do Ultraman, and for every KM I tick over it’s for the other frontline workers… Because nothing is harder that dealing with this virus head on. So, that’s why I’ll run the last 5km in PPE. For all of us, to show the sweat and tears of every healthcare worker. Covid won’t be the end of my journey, it’s just increased my drive.
NESTOR: You have expressed your interest for documenting your journey as a vegan athlete and reduce the stigma that Triathlon requires animal based protein for a body to properly sustain training. How is it for you training at such a high level and being Vegan?
ERICA: It’s absolutely fabulous and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I was actually a vegan before I became an athlete. So, my journey was interesting. I was in no way a “healthy vegan” and I believe that the idea of assuming all vegans are healthy is a massive misconception. Going to go full Rich Roll on this one but there is certainly a difference being a plant based whole foods athlete. I have never felt so fit, healthy and full! It does take time and practice. And not every dish has to be tofu haha! But if you stick to the simple rule of having one serve of carbs one serve of protein and one serve of fats on every plate. You can’t really go wrong. With this type of eating, you eat.. You eat a lot! Sometimes I will eat 5-6 meals a day depending on training load. But it is a skill that has taken me years to feel confident and comfortable with.
Any Triathlon Club Melbourne based will see Erica out on the road or out in the bay as she prepares for her Ultraman event. It is a tough event, and Erica will be training long hours, so make sure to say hi, give her a wave and show your support. Her journey is not only hers, but she is also using it as a way to honour every frontline worker who risks his or her lives on a daily basis through this covid pandemic. Her drive comes from the love and the inspiration every worker brings her. We