A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing the talented Katey Gibb. What an incredible human she is..as humble as they come, thrives on being busy, understands her body and is extremely goal orientated. Talking with her about her life as a triathlete, fiance and working full time made me feel it’s even more relevant to consider the role of eating well in day to day life. Katey has learnt from her mistakes, gradually changed her diet to mould the athlete she is today and into the future we will surely see more amazing things from this girl…..
Just some of her accolades include :
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 WA Elite Triathlete of the Year
▪ Tweed Endura – 1st pro
• Hell of the West – 3rd Pro
• Australian Long Course National Title – 2nd Pro
• Ironman 70.3 Geelong – 6th Pro
• Bribie Island Triathlon – 1st Open
• Gatoraid Robina Sprint – 1st Female
• Mooloolaba Triathlon/Australian Olympic Distance Champs – 2nd Pro
• Luke Harrop Memorial Sprint Triathlon – 4th Pro
• Ironman 70.3 Busselton – 1st Pro
• Runner up WA Triathlete of the Year
• Sunshine Coast 70.3 – 1st Pro
• Challenge Shepparton – 3rd Pro
• Race Around Rottnest Long Course – 1st Open
• Australian Duathlon Female Champion Elite
• Busselton 70.3 – 3rd Pro
• Geraldton Endura Batavia Olympic Distance – 1st Pro
• Karri Valley Triathlon – 1st Open
• National Duathlon Championships – 1st Pro
• Western Australian Sprint Distance State Championships – 1st Open
• Western Australian Olympic Distance State Championships – 1st Open
• Trievents Series Female Open Champion
• Triathlon de Nyon Switzerland – 1st Pro
• Ironman 70.3 World Championships – 21st Pro
• Coral Coast 5150 – 1st pro
• Ironman Cairns 70.3 – 4th pro
• Busselton 70.3 – 3rd pro
• Bintan 70.3 – 3rd pro
• Mandurah 70.3 – 4th pro
• Albany Olympic Distance Triathlon – 1st Open
• Karri Valley Triathlon – 2nd Open
• Western Australia Duathlon State Championships – 1st Open
• Western Australia Olympic Distance State Championships – 1st Open
• Western Australian Sprint Distance State Championships – 2nd Open
• Trievent Series Female Open Champion
Enjoy our little interview….I am sure you will be as impressed as I am and learn a little more about this girl from Western Australia. Make sure you take a few tips for yourself..
SO Katey, what got you into Triathlon?
Ive always had a sporty and active lifestyle, pretty similar to most Australian kids in the 90’s. I grew up in a semi-rural area where I rode horses as part of the local Pony Club, as well as did summer swimming club at the local pool. I never competed at a high level, but loved the friendships, pushing myself and hanging out with mates.
When I left school I very much focused on Uni, I did a little jogging and swimming but this was mainly to keep fit and balance out my heavy social life (eg. lots of parties and drinking). When I was about 21 and working full time I started to look for new challenges and hobbies, I’d heard of the Womens Triathlon that is held annually in Perth. So I signed up to do the 8 week course, where you trained together 3 times a week, learning about triathlon and then doing the women’s race at the end. During this time I went and bought a $800 entry level road bike and a tri suit, I had no idea what I was doing and none of my friends did the sport.
During the 8 weeks of training I realised that I was actually pretty good at the running and swimming side of things, and I just needed to work on the bike. When it came around to the race, I had no idea of the whole wave start system worked, so didn’t know where I was placed. To my surprise I won my first sprint race! From then I was hooked.
In the following weeks I searched around for a triathlon club to join that was close to home. I soon found Exceed Triathlon club, and through the club I found a good running group. From 2008 to now I am still part of the club and made life long friends and met my fiance. My first coach was Ross Pedlow (Exceed Founder), he took me from not knowing anything about triathlon to being a strong local age grouper, and to the 2010 ITU World Champs where I came 13th in my first major race in the 20-24 age group.
From there I quickly improved, winning state titles from sprint distance to long course. I changed coaches to Andrew Ivey in 2014 when I had the aim of winning my first 70.3 age group podium, he was able to fine tune my training now that I knew what I was doing and had a good base. In 2014, I won the IM 70.3 Busselton in the 25-29 age group and subsequently qualified for my pro license.
I never had the goal of taking my pro license, I always saw the sport as a hobby. I took the license in 2014 because I wanted the opportunity to race in the open field at Busselton as it was the end of season race everyone in WA did. I had already automatically qualified twice before, after finishing in the top 10 in previous years. My first year as a pro was marred by personal tragedy, which made racing difficult, my first pro race saw me finish last. But I soon pulled it together and finished a great year with multiple podiums.
I see triathlon as a lifestyle that I happen to be good at, and that I enjoy. That is why I seldom travel far for or do international races. That is why you don’t see me do the international circuit, there are plenty of international and grass roots races in Australia to do, with heaps of talented athletes to compete with… I’d prefer to make international travel for holidays 😊
2016 saw me undertake more interstate racing and building my skills to become more competitive, mid year I made the decision to resign from my job of 6 years to train and race full time for a year. It was during the time I made a trip to Switzerland to train under Brett Sutton and met my Coach Cameron Watt. Having qualified the previous year I did my first world championships as a pro at the IM 70.3 Championships on the Sunshine Coast. From there 2016/2017 season saw me have my biggest year yet, with multiple Pro wins and podiums. This was a great time to experience the full ‘pro life’ and see how the best in the world do it.
I’m now happy back at full time work and competing professionally. I find the work and racing balance works better for me mentally and physically. After having achieved my main goal of gaining a 70.3 win, I’m now turning my focus to running and in particular marathon running, but still maintaining a swim and bike base… just so I can be competitive in local triathlons.
Most athletes are looking to improve their performance trough training and diet. Would you be able to describe your relationship with food?
Like most women, I have always been mindful of what I eat. I feel like if I stop training then I would gain weight. With running, I notice that I actually have to keep the calories up or I will lose too much weight and get sick or worse, injured. But I am no different to others, I definitely feel like I deserve a treat after a long ride say…
Has it always been easy for you to look this lean and fit?
No it has been a learning curve for me. I have changed to a whole food diet over time. Previously I was on the “triathletes marketing diet” of bars and gels etc. Even though these have their place, I felt there wasn’t something quite right.
In 2010 I was ‘chunky’. Fit though but when I look back I see chunky, at the World Champs. I began working with a coach who encouraged me to keep a daily diet diary. We worked on every individual session and day, with results and how I felt in my body. We worked out what was causing my stomach upset and bloat for example. Hence giving up extensive fruit and gluten. Also packaged food disappeared and this gave me remarkable results. I now trust my diet totally for energy, recovery and nutrients.
Katey, do you ever have desert?
Haha, yes of course. I do try to limit this to weekends though but am currently ADDICTED to peanut butter on a spoon!!!
What’s a prerace must have for you?
Well firstly …don’t change what you normally do race week…do what works and practice first…
I guess its just like training….don’t do it different on the day.
Yes exactly…for me I have ‘Ensure’ for breakfast as I know it will sit well.
The night before I always have 2 satay chicken sticks and rice with veggies. It’s simple and I know I can get it anywhere.
I also drink a whole bottle of electrolytes so I know I am hydrated.
What is a day in the life of Katey’s lunchbox…….
Well ..it starts with oats, chia, desiccated coconut with yoghurt and cinnamon made the night before. In the morning I grate an apple on top. So good.
For lunch I have spinach, sweet potato, tomato, grilled chicken, chick peas and walnuts….almost everyday.
I do love coffee and I’ll have one mid afternoon, but make sure it’s an hour and a half before training.
For dinner we make meat and veggies, or rice and stir-fry, homemade pizza..pretty normal food.
I never snack between meals as I don’t really get hungry if I eat properly….
Well except for the peanut butter right Katey?
We wish Katey the very best 2018. She has so much to plan for and so much to be excited about. I am grateful for Katey’s time and hope you got something out of reading this…….I did……off to the satay chicken sticks I go…