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Chat: Kelli and Gary Pitman

Monday, May 28, 2012
Interviewer: Welcome Kellie and Gary, to our online chat room this evening.

Gary: Welcome to our journey!

Robbie asks: When did the "mid-life crisis" hit guys?

Kellie: I consider 40 to be the new 30, so if you had trouble turning 30 it hits then. It didn't really dawn on me that I was hitting middle age till I turned 40.

Nick asks: what signs would you be looking for when it comes to possible health problems??

Gary: Probably just the aches and pains that you get.
Kellie: We take care of ourselves by visiting our physio regularly keeping our bodies tuned.

Robbie asks: What is the most important thing to do before launching into fitness?

Gary: Identifying and understanding your limitation. Don't go to 0 to 100 over night.

Digger asks: Hey Kellie: Congratulations on finishing the Ironman. You are such an inspiration - are you going to do it again next year?

Kellie: Yes I am! I've already signed up to do Melbourne again.

Jamesinator asks: What made you choose triathlons? Gary: It covered the three disciplines that we enjoyed, swimming, biking and running in a single event. Brad asks: Hi loved the story, how long did it take to train for the ironman event?

Gary: Preparation was approximately 6 months, and we would alternate our training to work around our schedules. So one would come home from work to train, and the other would come home and vice versus.

findjeremy asks: Kellie: What was your fitness like before making the plunge into an Ironman? i.e did you go from 'couch to Ironman' or were you 50% of the way there already etc?

Kellie: 50% on the way there already. I starting running 5 km events about 2 years previous to my training and built to a half marathon. And then ventured into half Ironman. Then after four half Ironmans, eventually into Ironman.

snowy asks: How many hours a week do you train to do the ironman?

Gary: It can be up to 18 hours a week. But our training we would work in different blocks. Some would be 18 hrs for a high intensity weeks and then every 3 weeks we would have a more relaxed week where the training would ease back off.

colinp asks: How did you get started. Did you get checks up from a GP first, then did you start slow with say walking and work up to what you are doing now...did you have help of say a dietician, fitness professional?

Gary: The doctors and service provider appointments came later. But at the start, just ventured from a very small training regime (like running events and sprint distance triathlon) and slowly progressed to a bigger event, and so on.

mumwhoruns asks: Congratulations on the dedication to training, the amazing work/life/training balance, and of course your Ironteam relationship. How did you manage the balance?

Gary: Teamwork and an understanding family.
Kellie: And you have to be totally organised with the three children. We both had a program written by our coach and he developed our program around each other as well. It would be impossible to do without a coach.

larrymask asks: Congratulations to both of you. What were the hardest sacrifices you had to make to find the time to work and train? (Social life? Dieting?)

Kellie: When you have children that really becomes your social life, like taking your children to events so that wasn't a sacrifice. So definitely the dieting and having to eat healthy.

Gary: And your weekends are a sacrifice. For example when we go out to dinner, we'd have to keep watching the clock because we'd have a 4am start the next morning. So yeah, mostly the weekends.

mickkrista asks: really inspiring story, thanks, i was going to do an Olympic distance tri for my 40th but now want to try the ironman distance. any advice?

Gary: Do it!
Kellie: Do it! And get yourself a coach. To safely do it, you need a coach.

chakota asks: How do you find a coach?

Kellie: It was really through a tri-club.
Gary: It was from seeing other competing at smaller events, some would wear a race uniform and then I made some enquiries and spoke to the people who trained under a few different coaches and then selected the coach that suited my needs. And I picked one I could train with others so I wasn't in isolation.

dodger1989 asks: is 43 to old to train at high intensity, if you are intermediate fitness at present

Kellie: No, as long as it's a gradual build of fitness. So you don't go from 0 to 100%. We know 50 year olds that do this. I mean, Gary is 41

Pete asks: If you had to start training for the Iron Man again is there anything different you would do ?

Kellie: No.

leeprosser asks: congratulations to you both, when will you get into training for your next race? what will you do next?

Kellie: My next big race will be Ironman Melbourne in 2013, and my big block of training for that will start in October up until then I will be doing running events over Winter and a lot of riding.

Gary: I'm doing Port Macquarie is May, 2013. But intensity will increase after October, so Kellie will kick it off first and then build up from there.

Kellie: It was the coach's suggestion that we do different events next year, because the juggling act towards the end this year become hard. So that we could reach the full potential of our training and so the race better.

Robbie asks: Do you recommend this type of mid-life crisis?

Gary: If it is something you enjoy and is reward then yes.
Kellie: You've got to enjoy it and reward, so if triathlons are enjoyable for you. Go for it!

60wholemins asks: Do you ever think that the effort you put into training would be better spent helping an elderly neighbour with their garden or doing some other physically demanding community service?

Gary: We participate in charity work and events. The woman's pink and MS.
Kellie: We are quite heavily involved with our children's school which is catholic. We give to charity so our time is very precious and stretched, but we use it wisely. Having three children is a big charity too.

mickkrista asks: Kellie, how did you cope with training and shift work, both myself and my partner are shift workers and 3 kids?

Kellie: I work in operating theatres so I don't do night duty. I have set days, so the days that I worked, my training was in the evenings. If I had a day off, that was for training and other days I train when my children are in school.

Nick_123 asks: What other kind of sports would you consider doing apart from the iron man challenge?

Gary: Marathon running and open water swimming.

robi6727 asks: Well done Kellie, awesome effort at IM. I see you've registered again for next year.. me too. My first in 2012, and was just about finishing.. What are your hopes for 2013?

Kellie: My hopes too were just to finish. And when I finished I asked my coach what about next year? And he said to do it faster. So that is my hope, to do it faster and better.

eastwick3 asks: So Kellie when you decided that the Melb. tri was going to be your birthday how long was your preparation, and when did you believe you were going to finish it...when did the self belief kick in ?

Kellie: It was a gradual build, but the full block of training started in October last year and my belief that I really could do it was not till two weeks out. I do this every weekend on a training day, and if I could do it then, I could do it on race day. And it didn't matter what the time was, it was all about finishing.

John asks: are there signs if you over train too much per week?

Gary: Definitely, fatigue sets in and your body is telling you to push back. Or rather ease back I should say. And even though we had a program to follow, my coach would always tell us to listen to our body and ease back.

John asks: Do you worry about the long term damage you are causing to your bones and ligaments? My father used to be in the army when he was younger and now suffered terribly from ankle problems that he constantly needs to have surgery for.

Gary: Yes, definitely conscious of it. And know we will both likely suffer from those issues together later in life, but the way I look at it I could drop down tomorrow. So while I can do it, do it and worry about it later.
Kellie: While the body is able do it.

mitch2612 asks: How do you 2 manage to juggle the training times between you and keep the house running. I am trying to convince my wife that she could do some events longer than sprint.

Kellie: I really couldn't take long distant events until all my children were in school, but until that time it wasn't possible.
Gary: I would go out training in the morning before my wife go to work. Then I'd come home, she'd go to work and I'd take the kids to school. So we'd share the workload and responsibility with each other.

Robbie asks: Has your health substantially improved along with your fitness?

Gary: Dramatically!
Kellie: Definitely!
Gary: You are a little bit prone to picking up a cold when you are fatigue. Kellie: But definitely, I went to the doctor and have a blood test after Ironman and he said my body was like a Rolls Royce, my Vitamin D was out of this world, my cholesterol was good.
Gary: And we don't each rubbish, we take care of what we eat. With a few treats.

Robbie asks: Have you taken fitness more seriously as in stretching and massage?

Gary: Most definitely.
Kellie: Physio and massages, leading into Ironman would be weekly for the last month. And I think that is what prevents injuries rather than waiting for the injuries to happen.

Robbie asks: Have you had anything happen that has landed you in an ambulance?

Kellie: Not yet!
Gary: Yes I was knocked off my bike in road rage by a truck, so I ended up in an ambulance.

leeprosser asks: are you two competitive with each other?

Kellie: I threaten to beat him, but I never can catch him. And our friends have a lot of friendly banter. The only time it did happen was when he got three punches in a row. But he caught me at the finish line.

Nick asks: what would you say to parents who are looking for a new active lifestyle?

Kellie: Give triathlon a go. It's a good social event for the children, gets them involved. You've got three disciplines.
Gary: Doesn't have to be triathlon, just something that brings your own family together.

eastwick3 asks: Thanks for your time, truly inspirational. Will look forward to the next instalment of your journey knowing you will achieve your goals.

Kellie: Thank you, thank you very much!

Interviewer: Kellie and Gary, thanks for your time tonight. Any comments before we finish up?

Gary: Chase your dreams and achieve your dreams!
Kellie: Thank you everyone and if I can do it, anyone can do it!

Interviewer: This concludes our chat with Kellie and Gary Pitman, Sunday May 27, 2012.
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