The next big upcoming race for Emma will be on the 20th May: the Ironman70.3 in Barcelona. Last year she won (!!!) this amazing race. How nervous is Emma on a scale from 0 – 10 for the upcoming edition? Is she ready to defend her title? What power-foods will she take to fulfill this heavy task? Vifit Sport had the chance to talk with her!
1. First things first, how nervous are you for the upcoming Ironman70.3 in Barcelona, on a scale of 0 – 10?
"Ooo that’s a tough one, if 10 was super duper nervous then I would say I'm a 6 so more than average this time around because I took a harsh lesson in my race over in South Africa where I had put in two months of my best ever training and felt on a confidence all time high, but anything can happen in a race and my calf blew on the bike so not only could I not finish the race but I had to have a week off running but these are the highs and lows and unpredictability of sport. Two years ago, the year before I joined the BMC-Vifit Sport Pro Triathlon Team, at the race in Barcelona, I borrowed a bike and one of the gears snapped, so I had to ride the whole way in the big chain ring and ended up running the bike up one of the hills, and still came second, so the unexpected doesn’t always ruin things but I think the unpredictability that effects a race result definitely makes you more nervous for the next one!"
2. Do you feel like there is extra pressure on you since you won last year? If yes, how do you cope?
"I think probably not more than the pressure that I put on myself. Every race I go into I have the expectations on my body to push to a new level of pain, a new place that’s deeper and darker than before so that you can see progress is being made and you're always moving forward but I enjoy returning to races that I’ve been before, even if I’ve had a bad race, because I think it’s easier to push hard on a course you know. Barcelona is one of my favourites because it’s a tough, hilly bike course so one that is one of the first on my list when I'm planning out the calendar."
3. If you have to choose:
a) Defending your title and come first in the race, however with a slower ‘finishing-time’; or
b) Achieve a new PR on the IRONMAN70.3 Barcelona, but not become first?
"I would choose the win for sure! Back in track races when I was a runner it was all about the times and chasing PB’s but with Ironman the course will never be 100% the same, you have different race dynamics, the wind plays a much bigger role in terms of the bike and the swim I don’t pay much attention to my overall times but places are what its all about :)"
4. Do you have superstitions when it comes to competitions? If yes.. may we know what these are? ;)
"I’m not superstitious but my coach Michelle Dillon is and has a real thing about numbers and what she feels like as soon as she wakes up on a race day, but I never want to know if I have a good or bad number or if she feels something is going to be a special day, but I am a real person of routine, so I will try and keep a lot the same, wear my hair the same, listen to the same music, eat the same breakfast, the same dinner the night before etc."
5. Are there foods you would definitely NOT eat the days/weeks before a race? If yes, like what?
"So 24hours before the race I try to keep fibre as low as possible because I haven’t got the best race gut in the world! I am also a real big sweater and naturally have a super low blood volume so I have to drink a lot of water and try to up this a little bit the day before the race and balance it out with electrolytes. But I'm pretty flexible with what I eat over 24hours before but then try to keep it as plain and simple in the day leading up to the race."
6. What, do you believe, is your POWER-food, which will help you to fulfil this race?
"I have a super duper sweet tooth so would love to say something like jelly babies or wine gums are my power food but in terms of evidence based performance it would have to be caffeine I think, I love my pre-race espresso!"
7. What do you think is the first thing you will do after you have crossed the finish line?
"Grab a post race sorbet under the hopefully, sunny skies, ice my legs in the sea and then have a shower!!!! Then go back to the finish line in the evening to dance the last competitor through the tape! It’s always a great party and what I think ironman and 70.3 are all about!!"
8. If you could choose one of your competitors to drink a cup of tea/coffee with after your race, who would you pick?
"I havent looked at the startline yet but if I'm allowed one of the boys it would have to be one of my team mate bros Bart or Patrik, you can’t pick a favourite brother ;) if I'm allowed an age grouper then it would have to be the guy who contacted me after the race last year from the Netherlands I think, who had never had a girl beat his run time in a race before so wrote to me hoping for a rematch and the first time we will meet again is here. We kept in contact ever since and he is a pretty funny guy so I'm sure a coffee to compare race notes would be entertaining ;)"
9. Last but not least, and this may be a tricky one: who is your favorite all-time supporter?
"Wow this is a big one! I cant really choose between my brother (the biggest pisstake), my mum (the most loving), my grandpa (the most unconditional positivity), my coach michelle (the most passionate), my coach Stu (the least pressure) or Jaryd, who I met in South Africa for the 70.3 and who has been there ever since and cheered me up after the Ironman race and is flying over to support in Barcelona. So, I think he can take it for this race because he will be the one physically there but every support I get I can’t thank enough, there are so many kind and amazing people out there and I am so fortunate to be part of three amazing teams who back me and help me all the way Team Dillon my coaching, BMC-Vifit Sport my pro team and hoka one one my shoe sponsor. Hopefully I can do everyone proud this race and the beyond because these are all the people i carry in my head when the grind gets real! :)"