Deb Thorley is one of those people that simply sparkles when she smiles. Her Instagram handle @debbs_adventures describes her perfectly. This easy-going runner and triathlete from regional Queensland simply won’t let anything stop her from finding adventure and taking on new challenges. Deb entered Ironman Cairns (her first ever Ironman) only one week before race day, and you guessed it… she smashed it! We managed to catch Deb when she wasn’t hiking or cycling for a moment to hear her story, and we hope you are just as inspired as we are…
How did you discover triathlon?
My very first triathlon was back in 2012. A few ladies from my bootcamp decided to do triathlon pink. I couldn’t swim 50m without rolling onto my back and my old mountain bike was my steed. More recently, triathlon has been a great substitute while I take a break from marathon running.
Why do you love triathlon, and what motivates you?
At this very moment, my motivation is pure enjoyment. My success in an event is measured by how good it makes me feel. I hope that one day soon my competitiveness will return. But for now, I am enjoying the ride.
What are some of YOUR challenges?
My biggest challenge is remoteness. With the nearest club two hours away and very few people in Chinchilla interested in triathlon it is sometimes hard to stay motivated. Finding a coach has made me accountable for my training and performance.
You recently completed your first Ironman in Cairns. What was the Ironman experience like for you?
Well, there is nothing quite like signing up for your first Ironman a week out from race day! After a disappointing Sunshine Coast 70.3, I mentioned to my coach that that is probably the pace I could maintain in an IM. This planted a seed. So, with my coach’s approval, I frantically started to place the pieces together to make this logistically possible. A couple of days later, hubby and I were in the car taking the two-day drive to Cairns. This was such a great experience. No pressure, no expectations and one of my biggest achievements to date. I was under-trained with my longest ride at 110 km on the bike…and was a still a developing swimmer! But that didn’t seem to matter, I just took each leg as it came at me and enjoyed every moment. A couple if definite highlights were sharing this with my hubby, which doesn’t happen too often. And having my coach give me that big ironman hug in recovery when I finished my first Ironman!
What are some of your results and racing highlights so far?
Completing IM Cairns. Running a 3:30 marathon and finishing 2nd in that race. Placing top 5 and age group winner at Noosa ¾ marathon. Qualifying and running the Boston marathon.
What race destination would you love to go to?
Top of my list is Snoqualmie, Washington to run the Jack and Jill downhill marathon and the Busselton Ironman.
What’s your big goal?
My current big goal is to complete an endurance swim – I’m aiming for a 5 km ocean swim in Noosa. There is something a little satisfying about learning to swim as an adult then being able to complete a distance swim. I would also love to run a 5 km PB which I haven’t done since I turned 40.
How do you find training solo?
90% of my training is done solo. My tri group is Brisbane (Next Level tri and Bayside Multisport) so opportunities to train with them are limited. My sessions are delivered online. Locally, my bestie Andrea and I try to team up for what sessions we can.
race nutrition advice?
Be organised, trial your nutrition and fuel early! I find for everyday nutrition that I do best when I fuel well with good quality foods and avoid the crap. Coffee is its own essential food group.
favourite nutrition tips?
Meal planning is key. If you can meal prep it is great if time permits. For training nutrition, I find this is the time to experiment and see what works best. I like to document what works and what doesn’t.
favourite workout music when training?
I occasionally listen to music running or on the trainer. Anything from Spice girls to the Pointer Sisters as long as it has a nice fast beat, and I can pump it up to distract from the suffering.
Who inspires you?
Chrissy Wellington. Her whole life journey is inspirational. I am inspired more by people’s attitude rather than performance.
What is your favourite training session?
10km build run
What do you do with your time when not training?
I love to find adventure. I live hikes (bigger the better) I also love lazy days on the couch with Netflix and time with my family.