This week the Turia Pitt story takes another inspirational turn.
After conceding the Port Macquarie Ironman on 1 May, 2016 was the “hardest thing I’ve ever done”, Turia is now gearing up for the coveted Ironman World Championships in October.
After stepping off the plane from trekking Kokoda with 30 others to help raise money for Interplast, Turia’s manager delivered the news.
“It made me very nervous. Like any big goal – it really scares you at the start, but once you’ve done it, it’s so empowering.”
The 28-year-old, of Ulladulla in NSW, says it’s the training – rather than race day – that is the most challenging for her mentally and physically.
“You know that saying: ‘train hard, race easy’? It’s the training that gets you. It can be repetitive and monotonous. But we honestly can do anything if we set our minds to it, and never, ever give up.”
In fact, her training for Port Macquarie began five years ago in hospital while recovering from burns to 65 per cent of her body.
On 2 September 2011, the then 23-year-old was caught in a fire storm while competing in a 100 kilometre ultramarathon in the Kimberleys.
She’s previously said it was when doctors told her she would never run again that Turia turned her recovering into a mission to not only prove them wrong, but to one day complete an ironman.
Now, after her latest bout of laser surgery earlier this month, Turia is ready to take on her second ironman feat.
The expected high temperatures at Kona will be her greatest challenge. Because of her burns, she explains, her body cannot regulate its temperature. “When you’re cold your body gives you goose bumps, which makes you warmer, and then if you’re hot you sweat. I can’t do either of those things.” It means training in warmer conditions will be critical during the coming weeks, as well as prudent management of her body temperature on race day.
“If I feel myself getting really hot I will have to pull over, pour water on my head and cool myself back down. I want to be able to enjoy the day, not pass out.”
With an ironman time of 13 hours and 24 minutes set at Port Macquarie – 40 minutes faster than anticipated – Turia is not hung up on race times. But she is hopeful of improving her run leg.
“Running was one of the most important priorities for me after my accident. I think to improve my run at Kona, I need to do more work on the bike [After a 3.8km swim, Turia will ride 180km before the marathon run to finish].
“I’m just going to break down my goals and try to block out all the internal noise,” she says.
Good luck Turia!
P.S Watch out for our upcoming interview with Turia Pitt in the magazine.