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Introducing Featured Fohette Georgie Sertori

My name is Georgie Sertori.

I am a wife, a mother, an accountant type (CA & CPA), an Adelaide Crows supporter, a lover of good music, and most recently… a Half Ironman finisher.

If you had have met me 5.5 years ago, you would not think that a Half Ironman would be in my future. Or a triathlon. Or even running.

This is my story of how I got off the couch and changed my life.

Georgie before

I had never been someone that enjoyed exercise. I played team sports, but enjoyed the socializing more than the movement. I was not a natural athlete. I played Hockey through high school and at one point my father (a very skilled Hockey Player) mentioned to an old friend of this that he was glad I had inherited his love of the game, but a pity I didn’t inherit any of his skills.

As I got older, I moved less and ate more. Not a great recipe. It would be easy to blame genetics, or the fact that I was working full time and studying full time. But at the end of the day, it was simple. I ate too much bad food, and didn’t exercise.

After being married in 2006 we had our first child in 2010. I put on quite a lot of weight during that pregnancy, and half-heartedly tried to lose it, but the combination of a newborn and having to go back to work very quickly meant that I was even lazier. We had a lot of take away as it was quick and easy, and I never had any energy to exercise. In 2011 I entered a local 10k race and it took me over 1hr45 to complete it, and over a week to recover.

In 2012 we became pregnant again, and I felt very uncomfortable about the size I was. Drs made comment about the risks, colleagues made comments about how big I was. I was not happy. I decided that once I received the 6 week clearance, I would lose the weight.

I am unsure what made it stick this time. I think it helped that my husband did it with me so we were a team. We went to a personal trainer together and learnt the basics about calories in v calories out. In November 2012, I got a Garmin, a pair of purple sneakers, and a new found motivation. I decided that my goal would be to run the same 10k as 2011, but this time I would run it all with no walking.

I tipped the scales at over 130kg at my start and I am forever grateful for my personal trainer. He was super supportive, never laughed at my massive goals, and gave me all the tools I needed to be able to continue alone.

On New Year’s Day 2013 I ran my first ever full 5km. It took me over 45min, but I ran every step. In April 2013 I ran my first even full 10km in 1hr25. By June 2013 I had lost 56kg and seemed to be that was my body’s happy resting place. Hubby lost 52kg, and we were both loving our new active life, and getting our girls involved too.

Georgie and her girls 

In September 2013 I ran my first half marathon in 2hr30, and by October 2013 I was back at my goal race… not only did I run every step of the 10k, but I broke 60min.

I continued to keep running, and started to get injured as all I did was run. Once I had completed a few more half marathons, I decided to train for a full marathon. In October 2014, strapped from head to toe in Rocktape, I completed the Melbourne Marathon.

Georgie finishing the Melbourne Marathon 

Unfortunately, I did not train smart or well, and my body did not cope. I never really fully recovered, but continued to try and run. I was frustrated that I could not get any pace back after the marathon. I was seeing a physio nearly every week and started to put weight back on. I kept persevering, entering events, but was getting more and more frustrated. The injuries were become more frequent, and culminated in needing knee surgery in April 2016. A body scan prior to this showed arthritis in both knees, both ankles and both feet, as well as some in my hips and back too. Too many years with too much weight had taken its toll.

After surgery, the surgeon told me that I wouldn’t be able to run anymore as it would cause too much pain, and deteriorate my knees too quickly. My GP knew what running meant to me, and suggested that if I could cope with the pain, I could continue to run, BUT why didn’t I swim and cycle to supplement in. To me that sounded like triathlon!! What an amazing opportunity to set some new goals J

In Dec 2016, I did my first super sprint/enticer triathlon. 300m swim, 10km ride, 2.5km run. This was a women’s only triathlon and I LOVED it.

Georgie's first sprint triathlon

After the triathlon I signed up for a sprint distance triathlon which would be held in March 2017. I was speaking to some people about how I didn’t really know how to train for all three disciplines and was encouraged to seek out a local coach.

I started training with my coach Boxing Day 2016 and was very grateful for his guidance and patience. I ended up doing the rest of the local tri season with a combination of Super Sprints and Sprint distance tris, and then it was time to do my goal triathlon at Coles Bay in March 2017. I was so excited, but the day did not go well. I struggled, and was not happy with my performance.

A week later I sat down with my coach and talked about the event and what I wanted to focus on over winter. I needed to run better. Over winter I worked hard, I continued to cross train, and I increased my run pace by almost 2min per km. I gained more confidence on the bike, and ran some more half marathons. Over winter I broke both my 10km and my half marathon PB.

The local tri season started again and I broke my 5km PB off the bike! I had taken almost 15min off my sprint distance triathlon time and was loving it. Somewhere along the way I decided that an Olympic Distance and Half Ironman would be a good idea, and Coach agreed.

January 2018 saw me complete my first Olympic Distance triathlon and I loved it. I was now signed up for 2 Half Ironman distances, and started training hard in between the local club sprint triathlons.

Finally Feb 24th was here. I had my brand new Fohette kit ready, and I was back at Coles Bay. The place of the disastrous sprint that stirred something inside me that made me want to train harder than ever before. It was the day that I lined up to compete in my first Half Ironman.

When I crossed the finish line, I burst into tears. Sobs. I often get emotional crossing the finish line at races, but this was something else. I had struggled during the day due to poor fueling, and I was worried I wouldn’t make it.

Georgie finishing her first Half Ironman 

Even though my time is not wonderful, the fact that I still crossed the finish line made me feel very proud. Being a back of the pack competitor also meant that there were lots of people at the finish line. A lot of it is a blur, but there were lots of hugs. My coach gave me my medal (I bloody love medals), and my husband was there to give me the biggest hug of all (after completing the ride and run as part of a team).

The first step is always the hardest, but taking that first step was the best thing I have ever done. The friendships I have made, the experiences I have had, and best of all the impact I am trying to have on my girls, even though it is hard work, it is so worth it. If you had have told me 6 years ago that I would be a Half Ironman finisher, I guess I would probably have been confused as to what a Half Ironman even is… lol. 1.9km of swimming. 90km of riding. 21.1km of running. Even now, I am still a little surprised I actually did it.

Now, I get a do-over and the chance to improve at the end of April. I am not stopping.

 Georgie before and now

Follow Georgie's journey on instagram @georgie_trytotri and prepare to be inspired!

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