Kimberley Smith is certainly not your average age group athlete, or average athlete by any means. After losing her sister to cancer several years ago, she began the sport as a way of dealing with her grief and she found it transformed her life. She is as humble as ever, but brave too, doing her first triathlon on a friend’s bike with only one swim, one bike and a couple of runs under her belt! An impressive feat to say the least. Now Kimberley is fully into the swing of things and has 8 Half Ironmans under her belt, a marathon and is now training for her first ironman.
Hi, my name is Kimberley, and I am just your average age-group athlete from Western Australia! I have always been quite athletic, growing up doing little athletics and then turning to fun runs and parkruns, before giving triathlon a go in 2014. After watching friends race the season before combined with a little peer pressure, I decided to give my first triathlon a go in a club race. I loved it! I am not the fastest athlete, but I do strive to train and be better than my last race and always aim to achieve the goals I set for myself.
I work full time as a consultant, with quite a large commute so it is sometimes hard to fit everything in. However, I have an incredibly supportive partner and family, and have managed to get my brother into triathlon now too. My partner cycles and lately started running too so that has definitely helped me with training, and my parents come to every race to support us.
I lost my sister to cancer in 2016 and as a way to deal with my grief and sense of loss, I began training for my first Half Ironman. I have an incredible group of athletes around me that I train with and race with, and my triathlon club athletes are all an amazing support.
HOW DO YOU FIT IN A 90 MINUTE COMMUTE TO TRAINING PLUS IRONMAn tRAINING?
Trying to fit in 2 hours training per day, plus 3 hours in the car and 9 hours of work is very challenging. It is hard to find that balance in life between work, life, training and sleep, I find. I just have to be very organised and am one of those people who has an old school diary which I write everything into.
My partner and I have been together for 6 years and lives an hour away. So at the start of the week, I have to pack clothes and training gear for half my sessions, half my week and half my work. I look at my programme at the weekend and make sure I have everything organised in advance. It’s normally a case of me sitting down at the start of the week and working out where I am on which day, whether I am working from home or from the office, or whether I am swimming in the pool or the ocean, riding on the trainer or from home, or having to take a break and simply put my head down for the week and work.
HOW HAVE YOUR LIFE EXPERIENCES SHAPED YOUR EXPERIENCE OF SPORT?
My sister, my friend, and my friend’s sister were all diagnosed with cancer in 2013, and my friend’s sister sadly passed away and lost her battle. So I got into sport in 2014, as it helped me deal with the harder aspects of life that I was struggling with. In 2013 I didn’t even know what a triathlon was, but then I met a group of friends who did the sport and went and watched them race. When I started the training, it really gave me the time and the clarity to deal with all the external aspects of my life and my sister’s treatment, operations and chemotherapy. It gave me some time for myself and it helped me so much, as I had an outlet for all the hurt and pain I was experiencing at the time.
I have always been a huge sports supporter and fan, as well as enjoyed playing different sports myself. But as triathlon was entirely new, I had to focus on it from scratch and this really helped me change and divert my focus from what I couldn’t do to what I could do.
Sometimes I have to take breaks from sport as my work is very stressful and the hours are long, but every time I restart, my body and mind feel so much better and so much fresher for it.
WHAT DOES BEING AN ATHLETE MEAN TO YOU?
I find for me, if I wasn’t an athlete, I don’t know how I would cope with the stresses of life and work. It helps give me clarity in life, helps me get through the day and I love being able to go for a ride, run or swim, or even gym session at the end of the day.
I am a very goal driven person and sport allows me to set goals and work towards them. I feel that without a goal, I can struggle with direction, so having a goal and also having a group of people to work towards that goal with me, is a massive part of the experience for me. The social side is huge.
WHY DO YOU CHOOSE BINDI?
In my first Half Ironman, I got my nutrition very wrong, and the run was a disaster. So, I went to get some new shoes and was talking to the guy at the running centre, and he suggested I try the Bindi Sports Hydration. I tried it leading up to my next Half Ironman and felt so much better. I love the flavours and the Bindi Juicy Berry and Lemon & Lime Sports Hydration are my go tos, plus it’s great to be able to support a company in WA!