This year saw a hat trick for Rebekah Keat, who won for the third time in Shepparton with a new course record. We find out how she marches to the Keat of her own drum.
AT: You’ve said that after Kona you’re usually mentally and physically exhausted, and you ordinarily shut down and rest after the World Championship. Why the change this year?
BK: I decided to do Shepparton earlier on in the season as it’s such a fantastic event. It’s a country race with such a great atmosphere. Having won there twice before, it has great memories. I also love that it’s very close to Albury where I grew up, so I really feel relaxed and at home in Shepp!
I also decided to race Busselton because it gives me a chance to get my points and validate my Hawaii slot early, unlike this year which was a disaster with me having to race Ironman New York so late after chasing my tail all year to gain points to qualify! Doing Busselton means having good points early in the season. Busselton also has good memories for me being my first ever Ironman win! It’s a beautiful coastal town with great wineries and a spectator friendly course.
AT: At Ironman 70.3 Shepparton you claimed to be a little sluggish on the bike, but your run was a different story. You ran 1:22:01, a PB for you on this course [Bek previously ran 1:25:07]. Where did that run come from?
BK: My coach Siri said, “The form is there, the work has been done before Hawaii,” and I guess I went after the run believing that! I felt strong but to be honest I haven’t done any quality running after Kona. I did so much work on my run before Hawaii and was running the best I have ever run so I guess it carried over. Being fitter and stronger on the bike also helps my legs for the run. My coach was right once again!
AT: Why do you love racing Shepparton?
BK: There are so many reasons I love this race.
It’s a country town and the local community really get behind the event (thanks to Campbell’s). The pro athletes are made to feel so welcome and the age groupers certainly get bang for their buck! Every entry received a wheel bag with their start pack. I think that’s fantastic and I’m sure they were stoked! The course is great and so spectator friendly. The looped swim in Kialla Lakes allows perfect viewing around the outside bike path. The bike is two laps and spectators can see you at the turn around. The run is three laps and a great course along the bike path through the shaded bush. It feels like the whole town is at the finish line!
AT: Have you started to plan 2013 in regards to racing and training?
BK: Siri and I have discussed next season. Of course I want to be in Australia as much as I can. I’m planning on doing Auckland 70.3 and then most likely Ironman Melbourne, but that will depend on Busso. Then there’s Geelong in February. It’s so good to see so many races close to home! Then it’s back to the USA for six months in April
to race many 70.3 events there. I will hopefully qualify for 70.3 Worlds and maybe even Hyvee.
AT: Your best performance in Kona is fifth back in 2009, when you had the third fastest run [behind Mirinda Carfrae and Chrissie Wellington], what do you need to work on to get both feet on that podium in 2013?
BK: I think the tools are already there, workwise the swim, bike, run is there! It’s such a difficult race to conquer. To even podium in this race everything has to go to plan and executing that is the hardest thing. 2012 has been a touch year race wise but both myself and Siri believe 2013/14 is my time to shine!
ON THE RUN: Owner of the third fastest run split at Kona in 2009 and a new run PB at Shepp 70.3 this year, Bek has a powerful run leg
AT: What kind of racer are you? Do you race to numbers (heart rate, power, etc) or feel?
BK: I certainly race to feel, but we use wattage with our weekly Conputrainer session to gauge improvements. We use treadmill speed and heart rate twice a week to gauge our running.
Race day for me is by feel as the work is done! The harder you train, the easier racing becomes. Racing by feel is good enough for Pete Jacobs so it’s good enough for me! Way too many guys get wrapped up in all the new school gadgets. Siri’s coaching is old school in the sense that, “when the flag drops, the bull***t stops”. “Go hard, the body is ready, the work is done,” is our mantra! I have 100 per cent belief in her and in that vision.
AT: You’ve had plenty of ups and downs in your career. What has been most challenging for you, and how did you tackle it?
BK: Growing up and wondering why I was different, knowing I was gay and having to try to deny it. It wasn’t until 2000 when I found other girls who also had these feelings in common that I could finally talk about it.
I have had several losses too in my life. Losing my dad a few days before my first Hawaii in 2007 was extremely hard but I used this as motivation to race for him and I believe he was with me the whole day.
Another tragic event was when I was out on a training ride with our squad and saw Luke Harrop get hit and killed in 2002. Then we lost an amazing athlete, and one of my closest friends, Renee Nicholls. She was also a pro triathlete and was killed on a training ride 2010.
AT: What has been the biggest turning point in your career?
BK: For sure it would be this year – changing coaches, changing sponsors and moving to the USA for half the year – but was the best decision I have ever made! I love Santa Monica and I love Team Sirius. It’s such a great group and I love my team mates Michelle Bremmer (Bully), Dede Greisbaur (Good Deeds) and our very own World Champ Leanda Cave, they are such great training buddies! There is also Lukey McKenzie his wife Amanda, Vonny, Katcha, Chris, Hills, Cat, John, Damo, Kevin and Mauro! Such a fantastic bunch who all like to train hard and with Siri’s passion and confidence it’s a winning combination!
AT: What has been the one piece of advice that has stuck with you throughout all your years?
BK: Believe in yourself and if others doubt, ignore them! Know that you are in control of your destiny and only you are responsible for yourself. My coach’s favourite quote is, “Laser Focus”!
AT: Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.
BK: My twin sister and I were born four and half weeks premature and my sister almost died
at birth! Apparently I was hogging the placenta (which we shared) and Mum said we could fit in the palm of her hand. The doctors said we were going to be very weak and not very good at sport! Well, weren’t they wrong? We’re built like brick s***houses and not bad at sport!