URBAN ATHLETE DEBBIE HIBBERT
My body needed work; needed strengthening; so it was back to basics.
An important phrase “Consistency over a period of time, bears results!”
Being 6 months away from my 50th birthday; I can without a shadow of doubt proclaim I’m in the best physical and emotional condition ever. It’s amazing how a person’s life can change in 5 years. As a self employed IT Professional; governed by sometimes unreasonable work deadlines, budgets and constant pressure; I allowed myself to be consumed by the rat race 24/7.
Living and working in a mining community in the Free State there was nothing else to do but sport. Throughout my school career I enjoyed Netball, Athletics and Hockey and continued after school to excel at Provincial level in Hockey, Indoor Cricket and obtained my Black Belt in Karate. To keep fit I participated in road running and completed a number of half marathons. I was young…I could do all this!
Moving to Cape Town, naturally my career took over and so did the lifestyle change to city slicker. Thank God I did not have to go through a life-shattering experience which forced me to make a lifestyle change. Now this might make you laugh; but one day at 45-years of age I was battling to stand up from being seated on my lounge floor. I love challenges; so with decision made that habits need to change I started running again. Weighing in at 109kg I hit the tar religiously and it was not easy. In my mind’s eye I still had the vision of the young athletic body of yester year and wanted to give up daily. So I joined a small running group of ladies at a local gym. Unfortunately this mortal body was definitely not strong enough to handle what I thought I could push it through.
I was so unconditioned my body started to resist with initial niggles and due to ignorance developed into some serious injuries. I could hardly run; so it was suggested I’d rather swop running for swimming and cycling until my body strengthened. Slowly and meticulously I was committed; beginning to enjoy the physical activity and this is fair to say where my interest for Triathlon began.
I figured I was on the right track to regaining control of my body; but due to 15 years of bad habits; I was not getting the results I was hoping for. In 2012 feeling desperate, needing help; I started the year booking into a Stellenbosch Spa to detox and try fix this broken body before getting back to hopefully a successful training programme. This is where I first met Biokineticist Russell Looms; a professional who would change my life.
Russell literally pulled me off the road and put me through rehabilitation for two months. My body needed work; needed strengthening; so it was back to basics. An important phrase “Consistency over a period of time, bears results!” something he first mentioned I have never forgotten; Looking back now; I do recall times while suffering through sessions, be it run, swim or bike and not in the mood; this quote kept me going.
In October 2012 I was excited and ready to take part in my first sprint triathlon; 400m Open Water Swim; 20km Bike and 5km Run. I successfully completed it but needed another challenge. So my goal to Ironman 70.3 for January 2013 was born.
Today, almost 5 years on; I have so much to be thankful for. I am managing a more balanced lifestyle and it’s been quite the journey. Meeting like-minded individuals and learning so much more than I bargained for like nutrition, recovery, structure and particularly time management; by applying my endurance principles to an everyday lifestyle. Apart from shedding 30kg, I’m healthy and well-conditioned. This has given me the privilege to participate at UCI World Amateur Cycling Championships in Denmark last year; and to qualify for World Cycling in France for 2017. Ironman’s motto; ‘Anything is Possible’ has manifested its dream.
Currently I’m ranked Silver All World Athlete globally (top 5% in my age group). In January 2017 I will be participating in my 10th Ironman event (consisting of 2 Ironman and 8 Ironman 70.3) and for my fabulous 50th in April 2017 I will be completing my 3rd Ironman on the shores of Port Elizabeth for another 3.8km Swim, 180km Bike and 42.2km Run. I love my lifestyle; it works!