How my triathlon addiction got real!
For those who don't know me, I am a 29 year old Dutch triathlete. I grew up in Geleen, a small city in the southern part of the Netherlands. Currently I am living in Utrecht and working at an asset management company. From my childhood onwards, I have always been into sports. I started doing Judo at age 4 and got into gymnastics at an age of 12.
I started with triathlon five years ago without any previous experience besides running. I used to be a runner without a coach or a plan. I had found out that the longer the distance, the better my results were. From the first triathlon race onwards, I knew that I love this sport and I want to achieve the highest level possible. My progress since has been a steep upward curve (according to my coach, Lionel Wille from Ferrum Endurance, who has coached me from the very beginning) and that has driven me to put a lot of effort in becoming a faster and better athlete. In 2021 I was the overall winner of Ironman 70.3 Maastricht and I came in second at Ironman 70.3 Duisburg. I also completed my first Ironman in 2021 and I was on track for a 3h8min marathon but at 38 kilometers of the marathon I became very dizzy and had to throw up. A volunteer and spectator got me into an ambulance and my coach (who was very near that spot by chance) had to convince them that I was still able to finish. Eventually they allowed me to continue having lost about 15 minutes in the process. In the end I finished my marathon in 3h 27min. Still a good run for a first Ironman, but I know I can do better. Everything fell into place in St. George during the Ironman World championships 2022 and I was able to run a 3h 25min marathon with 450 meters of elevation in the burning sun. Being able to keep up the pace during these tough conditions was very promising for the rest of this season.
One month after St. George, I finished the Ironman European Championships Hamburg in 9h 43min and 26 seconds. As my body was not fully recovered, I was happy with this new personal best on a full distance triathlon. In the same year, I managed to finish my third full distance of 2022; the Ironman World Championship in Kona. A race that is a dream for many athletes with it's own very challenging conditions. I wanted to defend my world title but unfortunately it wasn't a perfect day for me. I still made it into top 10 and with a 7th place in the Age Group after such a long season I was satisfied.
In 2023, the ultimate goal was another shot at becoming the world champion in Kona. Leading up to that race, I raced Ironman Hamburg with another Age Group win and a personal best in 9h 22min and 35 seconds. In addition, I became the overall female winner during Ironman Thun. This was a very special race for me as it was such an amazing experience to lead the marathon. The crowd was fantastic and everybody was cheering for me. Finally, the big day was there on October 14th. My training lead up to Kona went very well and I tried to work around the issues that occured last year. This time both of my coaches were on the big island as well, which was very helpful. I felt completely ready for it but on race day there were again several challenges thrown at me. This is what makes Ironman racing as fun as it is. No race is the same and every race you have to conquer a new challenge. I was very proud that I dealt with the challenges the best way I could which eventually brought me to a 5th place in the AG 25 - 29. As podium was the goal, the goal was achieved. My time was 9h 46min and 3 sec; 50min faster compared to last year. A big step forward.
After winning my Age Group in St. George in May 2021, I knew for sure that I want to figure out how far I can get in this sport with the ambition to become a competitive pro triathlete. To take that step to the next level, I know that I have to work on a number of things. First and foremost I must continue to develop my swimming. In most races I have lost too much time during the swim, despite good results at the finish line. I try to get better through a lot of swimming hours, both in training groups and individually. Together with my coach we have set up a plan comprising of current training and additional personal coaching from a licensed swim trainer, I could take the next step to work improve my technique. My stamina while swimming is strong, but my pace is not yet there where I want it to be.
My strongest discipline is the run. My full and half marathons are among the best in the age groups. My decline during the run is minimal which ensures that I can win back the lost time from the swimming during my marathon. In Mallorca as well as in St. George, Kona and Thun I owe my final position to the strong run. This is a valuable asset during every race. To bring my performance to a higher level, technique training in swimming is the next steps that could effectively bring me a lot of benefits in the short term. In addition, I am working hard to develop myself in the field of communication and marketing as this is an important aspect to become a professional athlete. This is however a huge step out of my comfort zone. Besides my ambitions and discipline, I strive to be a valuable asset to sponsors as well. I am currently looking for more partnerships and I highly prefer companies that promote vitality and a healthy lifestyle in general. It is very important to me that my sponsors share the same values as I do as I want to achieve and maintain a strong long-term relationship. Building more collaboration is very important to me as triathlon is an expensive and time consuming sport. More collaborations provides me with the opportunity to focus more on increasing my weaknesses, as technique training in swimming is rather expensive, and to invest more in the best equipment.
I am currently 29 years old and I do not want to rush into things as there is still time to be competitive at long distance triathlons. In 2022 I became the Ironman World Champion 2021 AG 25-29, 7th during the Ironman World Championship 2022 and 24th during the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. In 2023 I became 5th AG 25-29 during the Ironman World Championship, 35th during the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and the Overall Female Age Group winner of Ironman Thun, Ironman 70.3 Marbella and Ironman Knokke-Heist 70.3.
For 2024 however, I am aiming at several overall wins in the age group categories and hopefully be ready for the elites the year after. I keep working hard every day to achieve these goals.
Interested in more; follow me on my road to become a professional triathlete.