After discovering her husband had incurable stage four cancer, amateur age group triathlete Natarsha Tremayne (AKA IronTarsh) made it her mission to complete 12 Ironman branded events and gain a Legacy entry to Kona. Now, with nine Ironman finishes to her name, she’s well on her way to achieving her Kona Legacy goal.
When she’s not training or racing, Tarsh is busy designing stand-out cycling apparel via her brand Stomp The Pedal (her stylish, colourful designs have been spotted on numerous triathlon pros). Here, I quiz Tarsh about her Ironman beginnings, training and motivation.
Tell me a bit about your background – have you always been sporty?
I have never really been a sporty person. In school I did what was required of me but I was/am very much a singer/dancer.
How did you get into triathlon?
Back in 2007 in Australia, the company I worked for at the time became the head sponsor of a corporate triathlon. The company asked employees who would be interested in participating. They were going to provide training and also the outfit to wear. At this stage I had no idea really how to swim, definitely didn’t know how to bike, and [my] running was non-existent. Back then, I was the chick that went to the gym and lifted weights. Something I still love to do but haven’t done in a long time.
After doing that corporate triathlon in 2007, I didn’t do anything again until 2010. In 2013 I decided after completing all the distances to set myself the task of completing my first Ironman.
Which was your first Ironman event and how did you find the experience?
My first Ironman was in 2014 back in my hometown of Melbourne. I absolutely loved it. It was the most social event of my life. My whole family came to watch, friends from all over came to support me. I knew I had done the training. There was no pressure of time, just to finish and achieve crossing the line.
Before even completing Ironman Melbourne, I had already signed up for the iconic Challenge Roth (an iron distance triathlon).
How many Ironman events have you completed and which has been the most memorable?
I have now completed 10 ironman distance events since March 2014. You could say that I’m hooked. Haha. It’s hard to choose just one, but the most memorable would have to be my first simply because my family were including my adorable grandmother, who at the time was 92.
Out of the three disciplines, is there one you enjoy the most or least? And what’s the split in your training like?
I definitely love the bike. It would be my strongest although my swim has improved tenfold over the years. Running would have to be my least [favourite] but this is because I’m not fast, lol. The split in my training is fairly similar 3–4 swims, 3-4 bikes and 3-4 runs, sometimes more as the training block builds.
What does a typical week of training look like for you?
When I follow the plan to a tee:
Monday – Bike with a run off the bike
Tues – Swim/run
Wed – Bike with a run off the bike
Thursday – Double run day
Friday – Big swim
Saturday – Long bike with run off the bike
Sun – Long run day split as two or three runs.
A lot of age groupers find juggling Ironman training tricky – do you find it difficult?
Sometimes, but I have a great support system. My husband is amazing. Also, I don’t have any children, so outside of working fulltime, managing my brand, I tend to get the training in… That being said, my coach is great. He knows life comes first for me, so if I miss a session, I miss it, don’t worry about it and move on. I never play catch-up. If I’m feeling tired, I don’t train. At the end of the day, it’s a passion not my job.
What kind of mileage and hours do you tend to put in on your swim, bike and run each week?
Hours vary depending on where I am in my program. Anywhere between 10-15 hours a week. More when the block is at its peak.
What’s your secret to getting through hours of training on the turbo?
OMG, I love the trainer and Zwift. I watch a lot of Netflix for longer sessions or I listen to music or podcasts.
You mentioned you work with a coach in your training?
I do work with a coach. He’s a very good friend of my husband’s, he has been trained under Brett Sutton (legendary triathlon coach). We train to perceived exertion and feel.
Ironman is the ultimate mental test. If you have low points during an Ironman, do you have any mental strategies to get you through?
Yes, I think of my husband who can no longer race as he has incurable cancer, I think of my friend Lauren Parker who lost use of [her] legs during a freak training ride, I think about how grateful I am to have a life that allows me to do this sport and see the world.
You’re known for your super-stylish and colourful race kit – and you’ve launched your own cycling range, Stomp the Pedal. Can you tell us about it?
Ah, Stomp The Pedal, is my passion. For several years I was spending loads of money on other brands, and used to think how awesome would it be to bring out my own stuff, but I always thought, who on earth would buy of me? I’m not a pro, I’m not fast, I’m just an age grouper who loves kit.
After three years of buying other people’s kit, and my husband being diagnosed with cancer, he said to me: ‘I want to see you bring your passion to reality. It doesn’t matter if no one buys it. Life is too short to be wondering What if?’ My husband’s diagnosis brought a lot into perspective. I had already had the logo created and patented the name etc so I just went for it. It was initially a brand that would cater for male and female [athletes] but when I launched, the males weren’t that interested, so I decided to focus on what I knew best – women!
Where do your design ideas come from?
My designs come from everywhere; I’m a huge fan of working with local artists, when I’m travelling I’m always looking at the fashion, how colours are put together, patterns etc.
What’s your ultimate dream for Stomp the Pedal?
My goal for Stomp the Pedal is to be the leading choice for women within the UK for cycle, tri and swim apparel.
What’s on the horizon for you with Ironman – do you have an ultimate goal such as Kona?
I do have an ultimate goal and I’m pressed for time too. With my hubby dying, I don’t know really how long he has, but at least another few years, my aim is to get my Legacy spot so he can see me race in Kona. I’m not fast enough to qualify, but I do have the mental and physical determination to complete the requirements for a Legacy spot. To obtain a Legacy spot, I need to complete 12 Ironman branded events.
To date, I have completed 9 Ironman branded Ironman events. So in 2019 I’m entered in 3 more to meet the requirement.
What are your favourite items of kit for racing and training?
My favourite items of kit for training would be my tacx neo, Zwift and my cycle kit. For swimming, my eney buoy – best pullbuoy out there – and for running I do love my On running shoes.
Are you sponsored by anyone right now?
I am not sponsored by anyone, however I am ambassador for BocoGear (headwear) and Ridge Supply (socks).
You can keep up with Tarsh’s Ironman training and racing via her social media: www.instagram.com/irontarsh, www.twitter.com/supergal007 and www.facebook.com/irontarshweekendwarrior. To find out more about her apparel range, visit www.stompthepedal.co.