After taking up the sport in 2004, Michelle enjoyed a speedy rise up the amateur ranks which culminated in her winning the World Age Group Championships in Vancouver, Canada in 2008. Michelle turned professional in 2009 and has been raking in the results since then including multiple long course &/or 70.3 titles in Australia and Asia.
This year, under the guidance of coach Siri Lindley, Michelle has turned her sights to America & has been racing with considerable success in America this season including, most recently, a top 10 finish (and 5th fastest female run split) at the World 70.3 Championships held earlier this morning in Las Vegas.
Outside of the sport, when not racing, training or spending time with her dog Pluto, Michelle works as a part time Patent examiner with IP Australia.
Welcome to SPARTA Michelle!
1/. What is the biggest challenge to your motivation & how do you overcome that?
I guess I’m fortunate as I don’t really have a problem with motivation! In fact, my coach needs to pull me back more than give me a shove! haha! I love to train and test myself day in day out!
If I had to pick something though it would definitely be the weather in Canberra. It’s challenging for sure! I hate the cold and motivation to go outside is really tested. I train solo when back in Canberra, so that makes it even harder. However, I was lucky this year to escape most of it by being in the USA for 4 months! There’s nothing wrong with training indoors. You can get fantastic workouts on the wind trainer or on a treadmill!
2/. Who is the person (or people) who have had the most influence on your sporting success?
My parents! Mum and dad are my number 1 supporters! I wouldn’t be doing the sport at this level if it weren’t for them.
3/. Aside from training for the 3 disciplines, what other training do you do (eg, strength, stretching, core etc) and how important is it to your performance?
You just named them all! haha!
Yes, I do strength work, plenty of stretching and core work with Yoga and Pilates. I don’t actually attend classes or anything though. I just do it at home, usually at the end of the day. It just helps with relaxing and I almost feel like new again afterwards! I also use the complete set of TP Therapy massage tools. I love them! They really do work and I’ve kept injury free since beginning to use them.
4/. What one event in your past has shaped your present?
Winning the World Age Group Championships in 2008 in Vancouver, Canada. That was really the ticket for me to start racing Pro/Elite. It proved to me that I could make the step up and probably do quite well in the sport.
5/. You are now coached by Siri Lindley. What is the most important lesson that she has taught you?
Oh geez! too many to name! One springs to mind though.
I was doing some run intervals and was having a bit of shocker. Legs felt awful, I wasn’t hitting the times I would have liked, and I was just generally frustrated, unhappy, tired, and close to tears. It was hot and windy and I really just wanted to quit half way through, thinking well today it’s just not happening!
But Siri wouldn’t let me. She knew I wasn’t running my usual pace, but she wouldn’t let me stop half way through. So I persisted on with a few “stern” words from coach. I won’t say them here! I ended up running the last few reps faster than ever! Lesson learnt – even when you think you’ve hit rock bottom in a session, there’s always a way to dig yourself out. Find it deep inside you. Look for it. Search for it. Do whatever you have to to get it. Because once you find that way, you will never it forget again.
6/. If you could go back in time & give one piece of advice to yourself when you were 18, what advice would that be?
I was finishing school and starting University when I was 18. I wasn’t even doing triathlon back then! I started the sport when I was 21!
A lot of decisions are made though when you finish school and start uni. My advice would be to make these decisions knowing that things can, and will most probably, change. If you had told me I would be racing triathlon at the professional level back then, I would have looked at you like you were mental!
You can follow Michelle & her racing adventures on her blog at http://www.shellwu.blogspot.com/.
Thanks for your time Michelle.