Bree is a professional triathlete based in Hawaii. She moved from Florida as a surfer girl and school teacher.
In 2003 she grabbed some running shoes with a goal of finishing the Kona half marathon, the following year she went for all 3 sports, triathlon.
Bree completed her first Ironman in her third full season of the sport and in the process set a new record for the 25 -29 age group (9:47) at the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
In 2008 she earned her pro card and has been racing all over the world since, however, she claims her best reward is her son Kainoa.
You can follow her progress on her blog: http://breeweehawaii.blogspot.com/
You say on your blog that Ironman was your dream but after hurting so much after a ½ you wondered how you would finish a full. What changed your mind, and what would you say to someone contemplating stepping up to Ironman?
Without a doubt I knew I would do an Ironman, the half just taught me a great deal of respect for the distance that was unknown to me. Anyone considering stepping up the distance I applaud you and say GO FOR IT. There is nothing to lose and you end up learning so much about yourself on the journey.
You mentioned on your blog that you were listening in on a talk by Coach Steve of Kona Aquatics, he helped you realise that we need to be childlike – ie stay passionate and excited about what we do. What do you do to ‘keep things fresh’ in training?
When possible I jump in with different training partners, good company can pull out the best in you. Mixing up routes always helps too, there are so many unbelievable views in this world, as athletes we are fortunate to discover them by feet. And if all else fails load up a new mix on the IPOD.
Can you tell us what it was like turning pro? What changed, or what became easier and did anything become harder?
The short version, everything changed for me. Something that I did for the sheer passion, (including competition, goal chasing, hard work), became the way I pay and sometimes lack paying bills.
The easier parts like less lines, front row bike seating, often a smaller swim start I appreciate but those things never bothered me as an amateur.
The struggle for me is finding a way to make sport my career, you really do have to become “professional” in more ways than getting a pro card and that is a learning process.
I also miss the satisfaction I had as a school teacher. When a child's eyes lit up learning something for the first time it made a huge difference in my life, I felt like I was making an impact in the world. Often that satisfaction is a far reach in sport for me because I’ve yet to really achieve the goals I chase. Hopefully once I do I can make a difference to someone, maybe my son or family.
What training/race prep do you do other than swim, bike and run?
Surf. When the things you love become something that you have to do it is super important to do things “just because” and surfing is that escape for me. No pressure to perform out surfing allows me to keep my passion for swimbikerun and that motivates me to race hard.
On your blog you said recently that your goal was to learn how to ‘race’. Have you worked out a technique for doing this that you could share with others in the same boat?
You know, if I had that answer there is a possibility I could be faster. One thing that is certain, your body might have all the training and recovery it needs but if your head is on a different page it means nothing.
Right now I have my hands on every autobiography of any athlete in any sport that I have admired. Reading them has taught me I’m not alone. So many of them have had to overcome the battlefield within themselves, knowing that has been refreshing. Each of these athletes has also inspired me to keep trying, again and again, because it will eventually click.
Perhaps right now that is the technique I am working on, getting back up again and again...
You’ve got a young son, what tips do you have for people trying to juggle training with family life?
Keep your priorities your priorities. Do not waver in what you hold most dear to your heart, that will time and time again keep the harmony in your life and keep you from regrets. Chasing a goal can be a family shared journey and their support is priceless.
You live in Hawaii and have lots of fantastic photos of the island on your blog. What tips do you have for anyone coming to race in Kona, both in terms of the race itself but also the things they should see and do whilst there?
Coming for the race I highly suggest taking some course notes. Know the where the winds are greater, familiarize yourself in the ocean if you have fears of deep water, and take a few practice runs on the course to feel the heat. Above all respect the island and the beauty it holds.
For after the race be sure to slow down and soak up the sights you missed racing too fast, go get lost in one of the great hikes between the valleys. There are so many wonderful things tucked away that you books and guided tours leave out.
You’ve travelled to lots of places for races, where is your favourite and why?
Philippines, South Africa, and Japan would be my 3 favorites. Each of them are so unbelievable mostly due to the amazing people that befriended me. The locals of those places were so warm and welcoming, the culture, the sights, and I truly loved the courses too.
What are your favourite training sessions; what does an average week consist of?
Wednesday run with Sal’s Squad is a favourite as it's a speedy run and I thrive with the company it brings. Swimming with Kona Aquatics has always been a big deal to me, it is like a family workout. And I love a good long ride down South or a run into one of the valleys.
An average week is not in this mom's vocabulary. It is forever changing, weekly I find myself holding onto the plan as best as I can just to see it fly out the window and a new plan jump into place.
20th June 2012