Until a few weeks ago Charlotte Paul had raced 13 Ironman events and has finished as high as second place. Now she has won the 2007 Ironman Western Australia and she talked to Slowtwitch.
ST: Charlotte, congrats on winning IM Western Australia. You must be very excited about this victory.
Charlotte: I am very excited. This is my first Ironman win as a Professional. I’m very happy that it happened in Busselton, it’s the one I really wanted. Everything came together; training in the lead up was perfect, nutrition, and I felt great on the day. I feel like my pro career has now just started. I just cracked the code! It was my 14th Ironman, but perhaps the first one that I have really raced from start to finish. I got my pro license after 18 months in triathlon and 2 Ironman races, so I have really learned and improved on the job. I’m really excited about my future in the sport.
ST: Will you take some time off now?
Charlotte: Yes definitely. I’ve been on the go all year, so this is perfect timing with the silly season coming up. However I will be back training before Christmas I expect. This is the first year that I have done 4 Ironman races, so definitely need some down time now.
ST: So what are your plans for 2008?
Charlotte: To keep on winning.☺ My result in IMWA has given me confidence in what I can achieve. It has really changed my goals and the way I am looking at the year ahead. I am going to work hard on my swimming as I think that is my weakest leg now, whilst I will continue to develop my bike and run.
Already having my Kona spot opens up the possibilities. I have always wanted to race Roth, so this year would be a good opportunity. I am hoping that this year I will be able to travel and race more than I have been able to afford in the past. I’d like to do more half Ironman races in 2008. I’d also like to get somewhere warm to train in the lead up to Kona. This year I stayed in Sydney and it was tough since we had a lot of rain.
ST: What is your athletic background?
Charlotte: I have 2 older brothers who I looked up to and followed into every sport that they did. I swam for my local club up to the age of about 12. I then moved on to running up until I was 16. I loved cross country and road racing, but I was never very committed to my training. From 16 to 29 I ran on and off to keep fit. I was a gym junkie for a couple of years until I started triathlon in 2002. I had an ambition of running a marathon one day, so I was searching for a running club. The Google search kept coming back with tri clubs. Kristian convinced me that we should give it a go. It’s bonkers, I actually watched the triathlon at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, as my best friend Nicola Don had her brother Tim racing. I remember thinking 2 hours was a reaaally long time!
ST: What is your favorite race event anywhere and why?
Charlotte: I have 2 favorites. Ironman Western Australia, probably because I always race well there. It’s a beautiful place, 3 hours south of Perth, and a million miles from anywhere and so relaxing. We usually have a holiday in Margaret River afterwards, and visit the wineries and the beaches. I have only good memories of my time in WA.
The Sydney Sprint Triathlon at Kurnell is where I did my first triathlon, and had an absolute shocker. I couldn’t get my wetsuit off, went the wrong way on the run, but absolutely loved it. It’s a local race that has been going for years. It’s great for beginners as its really casual.
The first one of the series is usually a week out from WA, so I get to race there in my taper- great timing and a lot of fun.
ST: How are things going in terms of sponsorship?
Charlotte: As a relative unknown in triathlon it has been a struggle to survive financially. So with this result and the consequent exposure, I am hoping to get some help from sponsors.
I am very grateful to my existing product sponsors for their belief in me.
Hypo2 have been fabulous, and really didn’t know me from a bar of soap, or a thing about the sport when they first started supporting me. They just knew they had a great product that could help me. I go there for hyperbaric therapy as often as I can, and it’s sensational for recovery. ART provider, Daryl Phillips at Performance Health Newport fixed me before my first Ironman, and has been keeping me moving ever since. I’d also like to thank John Hill of High5 for sorting out my nutrition.
Thanks also to Compex, Zipp, Clarence St Cyclery, Nike Running, Nineteen Wetsuits, Rudy Project, Zoot, Continental and Yankz.
My biggest sponsor is my husband. It’s cool because I supported him through his time as a Professional snowboarder and now it’s my turn and he is supporting me.
ST: Do you follow any other sports?
Charlotte: I’m a big tournament watcher. World Cup soccer, Wimbledon, Tour de France, Olympics… I also like to watch surfing and surf Ironman stuff. Growing up in England these are sports that have always seemed really cool and alluring. Post triathlon I’d like to learn to surf and do surf carnival stuff with my kids. I admire their upper body strength and their skill and ease in the ocean.
ST: Tell us about the foods you like and dislike?
Charlotte: At the moment I am going a bit nuts on all the foods I usually don’t eat. My Mum bought me a cookbook, “ Green and Blacks Chocolate recipes” It is amazing. I am seeing how many recipes I can get through in the next couple of weeks. Kristian just made chocolate granola, next is chocolate bread… A simple sourdough with butter and vegemite is gold.
I am very meticulous about what I eat during training periods, which stems from having a sensitive stomach. I have cut out wheat and lactose and eat a ton of fruits and veggies. I dislike fatty, greasy, deep fried foods. I am rarely ever sick and I think my diet is largely responsible for that. What I eat is based around the Paleo and Blood type diets- don’t knock it till you try it! They really work for me, and I’ve seen an increase in my iron levels for the first time in years.
ST: What about music? What do you listen to?
Charlotte: My current favorite is Linkin Park. Otherwise pretty broad and totally out of date.
ST: What was the last movie you saw?
Charlotte: At the movies I saw “As it is in heaven” A Swedish movie with subtitles. It’s a beautiful moving story about a musician who has a life goal “to make music that will open a person’s heart”. Highly recommended. Last DVD was Rocky Balboa a week before Ironman WA. Rocky is great for psyching yourself up before a race. I get a lot of my positive mantras from Rocky movies. ”It’s not how hard you hit, but how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” Gotta love Rocky.
ST: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Charlotte: With a couple of ankle biters, since I am running out of time on that one. I expect I’ll still be racing and more involved in the sport from a business perspective. My husband Kristian Manietta is the Australian distributor of Trigger Point Technology products and I help him with that. I can also imagine getting more involved in his coaching businesses, TriSpecific and The Challenge Corp. We would like to divide our time between 2 locations and live an eternal summer.
ST: Is there anything else we should know about you?
Charlotte: Hmmm…I am a Pomme. I moved to Australia in about 1998. My family are disgusted that I represent Australia in races. I have dual citizenship now. My parents and one brother live in the South West of England, and I have another brother in Ireland. Kristian and I met working in McDonalds in Banff, Canada in 1995. Kristian got the sack after about a week. I worked there for 6 months and ate Maccas every single day. It’s a world away from our triathlon lifestyle.☺ Anyone who knew me then is still in disbelief about my life now.