What It Takes To Be An Ironman

I did my first half Ironman when I was 42 years old and then my first Ironman when I was 43 years old. I had always thought that Ironman was cartoon character. To say that Ironman completely changed my life would be an understatement!


Prior to this I had been a pack a day smoker for over 20 years. I wasn’t unfit but let’s be honest, there is no way you can do anything effectively in the field of fitness and health while you smoke. So I quit. I look back and cannot believe I ever put that poison into my body. I was also a little overweight a few years ago despite doing Ironman, so I went onto Lite n Easy and lost 11kgs. I was even on their ads and am still on their website! Such a wonderful, surreal experience. They do say everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame, don’t they?


A couple of things I’ve learnt about myself over the years. I am very stubborn, and very determined. When I say I’m going to do something, I do it. I quit smoking cold turkey, lost 11 kgs, did 7 full Ironman, 10 half Ironman races, become an Ultra Trail Marathoner, started my second degree and got my dream job as a Clinical Nurse in Paediatric Intensive Care.


That’s not to say that there haven’t been setbacks. The past two years have been incredibly challenging (for us all!) Not only was there a worldwide pandemic but I broke up with my boyfriend of 11 years and faced some mental health challenges. I also trained for Ironman Australia 2020 and 2021, but thanks to this virus it kept getting cancelled. I also work in an incredibly stressful environment and am also studying my Bachelor of Criminology. 


Once again, I am training for Ironman Australia 2022.  Anyone who has done an Ironman can appreciate the amount of training and focus that goes into it. Thirty weeks of training six days a week, rain, hail, or shine. Missing out on dinners, parties etc because I need to get up and train the next day. Concentrating on diet and sleep. It’s quite a selfish life really.


I often get asked how I stay motivated and focused and that’s a difficult question to answer because it’s just who I am and what I do. It’s in my DNA. I’ve always said if you want to do something hard like an Ironman or ultra-marathon, tell everyone about it and then get to it. Once everyone knows your goals, you kind of have to chase them down then, don’t you?


I love the structure of Ironman life. I love feeling fit and pushing my body. It’s such an incredible feeling crossing that finish line knowing you’ve earnt that medal, trained hard over the year, sacrificed so much and laid everything out on the course. I set my sights on what I want, and I keep going until I get there. An ex told me once I was the most persistent, stubborn, bloody-minded person he had ever met. I don’t think he meant it as a compliment, but I took it that way


I have a tattoo on my arm which is a something my father has always said to me.  It says “FIDO”, which means “F##K IT DRIVE ON”.  This is my motto in life. Life isn’t easy, there will always been excuses and reasons, sun and seasons, trials, and tribulations. Not one person gets through this thing without facing multiple challenges, but you must  keep getting up and moving forward.


I see every day at work how short and precious life is, so I want to make the absolute best of what I have and be the best person I can be. I focus on love, sharing any fortunes I have with others, being a positive role model and most importantly, being a kind person. I came in this world alone and I’m going out the same way, but while I’m here I want to enjoy everything life has to offer and be the best version of myself that I can.


On a more practical note, I’m so grateful to represent SWIM SKIN & BODY. I have super thick hair and very, very dry skin. The pool is brutal on my hair and dries my skin out to the point that I honestly look like a crocodile. Since trying SWIM Hair and SWIM Skin my hair is so much softer and my skin is moisturised. I also used to suffer from a condition called Tinea Versicolour. This is a common non-contagious fungal infection of the skin which leads to lighter coloured patches of skin and itching, particularly on the torso, underarms, and creases. It gets worse with exposure to sun, sweat and chlorine. I’ve had it for about eight years, and I absolutely hated it. I was so self-conscious and tried everything to get rid of it, but nothing worked. Since I’ve been using SWIM Body it improved to the point of almost being invisible. I think it may have finally gone! Getting the chlorine off my skin and moisturising it immediately after swimming seems to be the key to keeping it at bay and for this, I am so incredibly grateful. You can see it all over my upper and lower back in the first photo from last year. The next photo was taken this week and it is all but gone.




Written by Kate Allan

Follow Kate on Instagram @iron_chickadee

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