Ironman Women: Kirsty Bishop
I am lucky enough to know Mark Kleanthous personally and have benefited enormously from all his years of triathlon and Ironman experience.
Having enjoyed sprint and Olympic distance triathlons for 6 years I decided that I was ready to attempt Ironman Austria on the 13th July 2008.
Entering the water in Klagenfurt my sole aim was to complete the distance as comfortably as I could and was secretly hoping for a time under 14 hours. I had a fantastic race and still can’t believe that I actually finished in 11hours 43 minutes and 5 seconds and what’s more I felt OK and had enjoyed 99.9% of it!
I know that I would never have achieved this without Mark’s help and encouragement. Mark has been there and done it and is still doing it and enjoying it and his enthusiasm for the sport is infectious and impossible not to feed off. He really made me believe that I could do it and when finishing I knew he would be excited for me and keen to hear about my race.
Mark’s nutritional advice was to prove invaluable to me. He gave me a clear plan of what to eat and when and without this I would have suffered. In fact I did become a statistic about 11k into the run when I had failed to eat and drink as I should have done because I was feeling too good and enjoying myself too much. I started to suffer and slow down but I managed to remember Mark’s words to keep eating and drinking and after taking on food at the next feed station I picked up and didn’t look back.
Mark also provided me with key brick sessions for the final 3 weeks before the race which managed to keep me calm and focused. On top of this he gave me a training plan for the final week which included my travel to Austria. This again proved invaluable as it stopped me from panicking and overtraining and I was able to lie back and enjoy the rest and relaxation safe in the knowledge that Mark would approve!
I could fill a book with all the advice Mark has given me and I would never have achieved what I have without him. I can guarantee that every time I talk triathlon with Mark I will be given a piece of valuable information and I would encourage everyone else to do the same.