The F’s and P’s learnt becoming an ironwoman

On Sunday 6 May 2014 I conquered Ironman Australia in Port Macquarie. The 226km distance covered involved a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and a 42.2km run.

Dani bike

I had a fantastic experience and finished in a time of 11hrs32mins, coming 4th in my age group which was a bonus. I have been reflecting on the ironman journey consisting of six months preparation, the epic race day and post race learning. Here are my key learnings, complete with a corporate athlete insight. I really believe the skills learnt and mindset acquired during this experience has transferred into the corporate arena enhancing my resilience, mindfulness and focus in particular. During the race I had the letter F on my left hand and P on right hand to remind me of these (passed forward from my wonderful coach Nic):

Focus – one of the best pieces of advice I had from coaching was to stay focused and mindful in each moment of the race.
Corporate Athlete Insight: I really believe focus is the hidden driver of excellence that Daniel Goleman has written about

Feel – you have a race pacing plan but on the day you have to be smart and use intuition and instinct to respond to conditions like the 40km/h winds we had.
Corporate Athlete Insight: I compare this to business decisions needing a feel component as well as the facts, what does your gut tell you is right?

Form – a big part of my ironman training was practicing good form that would help me through the race as efficiently as possible.
Corporate Athlete Insight: As a leader you need to have good form and show up to your people no matter how bad your day is going.

Family – out there on the course there were at least a dozen of my close Balmoral Triathlon training buddies who have become like family throughout the journey, coupled by our amazing supporters who have been there every step of the way.
Corporate Athlete Insight: I believe leaders need to create a sense of belonging and membership in organisations so employees become family.

Power – A big part of my success on the bike has been learning to ride to power principles, trying not to spike on the hills and keeping a consistent wattage. Corporate Athlete Insight: Consistency in the business world is key for sustainability, I believe employee well being is key to this.

Patience – This was perhaps one of my biggest learnings with ‘slow down to speed up’ being one of my race mantras. Ironman is a long day and you have to respect the distance and be patient.
Corporate Athlete Insight: In his book ‘Awaken the Giant’ Anthony Robbins says we are often impatient and overestimate what we can achieve in 1 year but underestimate what we can achieve in 10.

Purpose – One of our key pieces of mental prep was to be 100% clear on why we were doing the race. For me it was an ultimate test of endurance and mental capacity as well as experiencing what my husband goes through.
Corporate Athlete Insight: In the corporate world organisation’s need to have a purpose so people can understand why they get up to work.

Passion – Passion is in my DNA and I believe to enjoy an ironman experience you need a passion for the sport of triathlon and people.
Corporate Athlete Insight: In the workplace finding your passionate intent and connecting it to your organisation is the biggest motivation for meaning at work.

Persistence – During ironman preparation and on race day persistence and perseverance is key. You must never give up, not for a second.
Corporate Athlete Insight: A pre race quote my coach shared with me was ..’Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success’ Napoleon Hill – I think this is transferable to the workplace (minus perspiration!)

Ironman Australia has been an amazing personal and collective journey. I would like to thank my super coach Nic Ward who invested so much in me and Team Ward with their holistic coaching approach, my husband Owain who smashed his PB coming in at 9.12 and all my training partners and supporters.

I will now enjoy some rest and relaxation and then search for my next goal/s!

Anything is possible! 

Dani and Owain swim Dani Nic FinishDani Nic 2


10 Comments on “The F’s and P’s learnt becoming an ironwoman”

  1. G’day Dani,
    An insightful and inspiring read that rings so true. I love how you reflect your experience and integrate it into the corporate word. I am fortunate to benefit from the ADF’s application of these valuable lessons as we use sport, in particular triathlon and ironman to build resilience, teamwork, mateship, respect, initiative and personal courage; values that are essential on the battlefield. I agree that the resilience and endurance we build through ironman helps to strengthen our capability and capacity in the workplace, and for the ADF this translates to our operations and training. I am forever grateful for the opportunity the ADF gives me to grow through the sport I love. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on a lifetime achievement, you are inspirational.

    • Thanks for your comment and congratulations Del! Love your linkages to Defence including teamwork, respect and personal courage. It sounds like you have a real sense of membership there. It was inspiring to watch you have a fantastic race! Huge congrats and hope you’re enjoying some rest and relaxation before the next challenge.

  2. Frenchy, frenchfry, dan, dani, mrs Matthews, team WOW
    So many names for one inspirational young lady !
    You are a delight to be around and train/race with !
    Congratulations on one fantastic debut ironman
    So Glad you enjoyed and can use the skills involved to relate back to your career as your goals in the work place and triathlon are not only high but achievable for someone like you…
    You go girl!
    So proud to have met you and have you as a friend!
    Willo xx

    • Thank you for your kind words dear Willo. You have been an inspiration to me in this sport of triathlon and I love your passion in the corporate world always learning and wanting to challenge yourself. Well done on a fantastic PB and look forward to catching up in Canberra soon!

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