TALK-TIME THURSDAY WITH IRON WOMAN CANDICE HAMMOND
May 08 , 2014 by: admin Inspiration, Review
Sophie got the chance to sit down over a cuppa of hot chai tea and a decadent slice of Candice’s version of our Raw caramel pie with a delicious peanut butter flavour! Firstly we are excited to introduce this weeks time talk Thursday Ironman athlete Candice Hammond. To quickly describe her she is one tough cookie. I mean she swims 3.8km then bikes 180km and to top it of runs a marathon! Not to mention she does this in LESS than 10 hours with a 9.24 PB to be exact. One word comes to mind just thinking about it– Incredible or maybe crazy, no joking, but seriously she really is one determined and driven woman.
How young are you?
29 years old
Tell us a bit about your self?
Grew up in Whanganui moved up to Cambridge in 2004 for Under 21’s (rowing). Then went back and forth between Cambridge (where Rowing NZ is based) and Blenheim (where Rowing Regional Performance Centre is based for our summer season) for 4 years as well as a stint in Canada for 6 months pursuing rowing and working around this pursuit. When I decided to finish rowing I tried to be a normal person for a while. I went to university and continued working, but then took up training for a ironman on the side to keep fit, which ultimately lead to pursing it professionally.
How did you get into Ironmans?
I always enjoyed endurance sport which is why I think I stuck with rowing for so long as the training was always consisted of miles which I loved and thrived on. I decided to race a ironman in 2010 simply to keep fit. I hated my first race, nothing had challenged me so much before both physically and mentally, the whole thing seemed ridiculous. But I also knew I would be back to do another one. I started working with a coach and he suggested I could pursue it professionally, which I ended up doing.
How many ironmans do you compete in a year? And where?
I compete in 3-4 a year. I have no desire to do more than 4 over 12 months.
I like to prioritise the NZ races but pursuing ironman has also taken me to UK, USA, Indonesia Thailand and Australia.
How has your previous rowing training and competition help develop you into the athlete you are today?
It’s helped me hugely. I didn’t get as far as I wanted in rowing, but I don’t regret a single year I spent competing. The value of being able to train alongside World and Olympic champions on a daily basis on Lake Karapiro, you can’t put a price on that. Seeing those top athletes have bad days was probably one of the most valuable aspects I learnt because it really brings home the importance of perseverance and attitude to keep going and keep pursing. There is a lot of science in sport, but sometimes the hardest yet most important thing is just maintaining the basics. Rowing in particular I think is very good at that. I try to apply this to my ironman training as well.
What is has been the highlight of your athletic career so far?
Finally being able to earn a living from pursing what I love after struggling for so many years to achieve that and find that balance.
What and when is your next competition?
Cairns 70.3 (Half Ironman) in June.
How do you fuel/what do you eat when competing in an ironman? like that’s a whole day of intense workout nonstop!
Yeah it is a long day, but when I’m in that zone it goes very quickly. My fueling for an ironman really starts several days out. I monitor more what I’m eating and make sure that they are the correct foods that will allow me to stay fueled and not get a stomach upset. On race day I use GU Energy Gels during the bike and flat coke during the marathon with a couple more GU gels.
What activities do you do and/or places you go when not in training or competition to revive and recover your body and I’m guessing mentally as well?
After each ironman I usually have 7 to 10 days off any scheduled training from my coach. I don’t believe it is good for your body to just completely stop training after an intensive build up to a race, so I usually do some low intensity training during that time. On my last break I took up kayaking and cycled with some friends around the East Cape over 3 days, or I’ll head to a local sheep farm here in Cambridge where I keep a few hours or help dad out on a farm in Wanganui. I find this to be one of the most beneficial ways of recovery for me both mentally and physically.
What is your go to snack for when your super busy?
Ice-cream, milk, chai seeds. Blend. ☺
What is your typical day or days cause I’m guessing they are quiet different having to train for three completely different fields?
Yeah, I let my coach deal with the logistics. Currently I have 4 swims a week, 4-5 bike sessions and 4 runs a week. Basically, one long session on each discipline then a few shorter but more intensive sessions over the rest.
Would you like to do Ironman Hawaii, world champs? And how do you get to even enter for that?
Yes I would like to compete at the world champs, I want to see all of this training pay off at a championship race. Ironman is not at the Olympics and in NZ does not receive any funding, unless you can gain it through independent sponsors, so these last few years have been about being able to develop as an athlete as well as ensuring I can stay in the sport by racing at events with good prize money. All of my sponsors have collectively been absolutely essential and I am always grateful for their generosity in helping me pursue this.
When I target the world champs I have to qualify by collecting points at Ironman branded events depending on where I place, this makes the racing more selective. Only the top 35 women from the ranking system will qualify, so it is pretty tough and the year has to be planned well in advance.
What do you eat to help recover from a training session? Plus any extra tips…
Basically I always make sure we have potatoes, milk, eggs, olive oil, creamed rice, a variety of nuts and seeds, salmon and steak in the house. We grow all our salad greens, herbs and a few veges. When I come home from training I usually make something with these ingredients….but never very specific.
I currently see Paul Taitoko at Soar Physio in Te Awamutu and Kristina Campbell and Advanced Massage Therapy on a weekly basis. I also do a couple CX classes at The Cambridge Fitness Centre which is 30min focused on core, back and glutes. Besides that heat packs are awesome, golf balls are good to get knots out of shoulders and foam rollers are great …although Paul is always telling me I don’t use this enough….
Favourite meal of the day?
I love been able to come home after swim training and have a cooked breakfast…but dinner at the end of the day is also pretty good…
Nothing really beats a fresh salad from the garden with feta, tomato, avocado and roasted seeds, mashed potato drizzled in olive oil and a good cut of steak cooked by Elliot on the BBQ.
Favourite café in Cambridge?
Kate Shick’s meals at Boatshed Café are the greatest meals ever put together. Paddock is also a bit of a favourite. Both cafes are so fresh, full of flavour and manage to bring together some great combinations that keep me going back.
Favourite place to compete or train?
Anywhere where there isn’t traffic exhausting all over the roads and a constant run of code browns in the swimming pools.
I’m really happy training here in Cambridge, not just because of the environment, but there are some pretty motivated and fit people around here. NZ is the best place to compete to me.
What is your favourite quote or mantra you live by?
I love listening to music for inspiration. But I like this short simple quote from Sir Peter Blake’s America’s Cup Campaign 1995 “Deeds not words”.
What are your top three tips for leading a healthy, active and happy Lifestyle?
1. If you have that fire in your belly keep it ignited no matter how hard things get. It will pay off in one form or another.
2. In my mind you can eat alot of chocolate as long as you drink heaps of water afterwards! ....Definitely not scientifically proven, but I roll with it.
3. We all come from different backgrounds and many people have their own ideas of what is considered healthy and happy. Follow your own instincts, maintain your personal vision, keep learning, keep it real, embrace a bit of suffering or hardship when pursing goals and hopefully it will lead you somewhere...if not just enjoy the rough ride!
Would you like to share a recipe with us…
Recently I have just been using your recipes. They are the best ones to follow I reckon!
You can check Candice’s updates, results, photos, whats next and general information on her website www.candicehammond.com
Thanks heaps Candice you are a true inspiration to us and love seeing your drive for training and seeing how hard you can push yourself!! I follow your progress with excitement and would love to actually come watch you one day if you go to Hawaii I think it’s definitely worth a trip to support you And one day I actually hope to complete an Ironman, might seek a bit of advice from you again
Megs and Soph x