Carl Goldsmith


Although Sport has always been a part of my life, my journey to the 2015 Ironman has been a whole new learning experience about multi-sport races such as triathlons

In 2010 and 2011, I entered as a team cyclist in the IronMāori Half Ironman event in Napier. After my first attempt, one didn’t need to be a rocket-scientist to work out that my time wasn’t exactly earth shattering. That’s when I approached Central Pulse midfielder come full-time Personal Trainer Ngarama Milner-Olsen to see if she would help me with my fitness, who later went on to become my 2015 Ironman Coach, Mentor, Nutritionist, and everything else that I needed to get me through.

TriPōneke was established around about the same time, which gave me the motivating start I needed to get involved in group training squads and meeting new whānau and friends with similar goals and aspirations. This was to later form the basis of where all my group trainings all started from.      

There have been other motivating forces like the MSP 10 week men’s health clinic that provided really interesting information about common health problems like cancer, heart and diabetes and nutrition and exercise. 

What really kicked started me to lose weight was the TriPōneke Hauora Homies 12 week programme that reintroduced and reminded me about how to make better food choices, portion sizes, cooking with new healthier recipes, and a scalable exercise programme. At the beginning of 2011, I tipped the scales at whopping 107 kg’s. Slowly but surely with a number of lifestyle and nutritional changes and the aid of Coach Ngā I started to see some results. Ngā gave me the drive and determination to give everything 100% which I’m truly thankful for. In the week leading up to Ironman I had at long last reached my goal weight of 82 kg’s.  

In March 2013 some of our TriPōneke whānau went through to Taupō to watch the 2013 Ironman. This was my first experience at watching the “pro elite’s” on display. I thought to myself, this is so unbelievable, how crazy is that, how could anyone do such an endurance event. I didn’t think it was physically possible which really fascinated me. I wondered if I could..... nah! No way!! why would I want to put myself through all of that pain, but actually, it must of played on my mind for the rest of the year.

Later that year I asked Ngā for her thoughts about me having a crack at Ironman 2015 not 2014. I figured 2014 was too close because I needed at least 6 months to mentally prepare myself and at least another 12 months of physical conditioning to meet the demands of an Ironman event.  Ngā was so positive and reassuring that yes anything is possible, gulp!!! it was just the thought of her saying “anything is possible” made me think twice about “is this actually possible for me”.  Just quietly, I think I was about 99% yes I’m in, but I needed Ngā to give me that extra 1% assurance. We went back to have a closer look at the March 2014 Ironman, I guess to bolster my confidence that yes this is something I want to have a crack at.

2014 Ironman was all and more than what I ever expected to see, the next day all of our TriPōneke whānau came along to the Taupō Events Centre to witness Helen Hardwick and I signing up 2015 Ironman. What an up roar it was once we registered, anyone would think we’ve won the race!!!! That was a huge weight off our shoulders, we had put a stake in the ground, and now there’s no turning back. Having called Ngā with my news, the real impact soon hit home when she started telling me what sort of training commitments was required which was about to change my life....forever. A 12 month training strategy, a goal for this, a goal for that, time trials here, time trials there, the swim bike run trainings all sounded like hellish 24/7!!!! Wow what have I got myself in for here.

When all said and done I often look back on all of our training sessions, I can pretty much tell a story about most of them, like the 10 hill repeats, or what I call an Epic 130 km birthday ride (just me and Ngā) into a howling northerly up the motorway to the Aka’s, Epic to say the least, I couldn’t bring myself to run off the bike, but Ngā did, with smiles too. Exhausted and fatigued to the hilt, I had just enough energy to throw my bike in the truck and call it a day. I was so amazed how Ngā could run off the bike like she did, astonishing. Feeling guilty about my inadequacy, I doubled up my run the next day to try and make it up, but it was all too late for excuses the next day. And there are so many other stories to be told maybe best for another time.

Leading up to Race week I felt I was ready both physically and mentally, especially knowing physiologically that I had reached my goal weight, I can tick that off. Race week was really full on with Specialised recalling our Shiv’s worldwide to replace the aero bars and cabling, a costly exercise for them. Everything pretty much went to plan, nutrition was what we planned, hydrated and well rested.

The mood on Race day was very quiet, very solemn and sombre in the transition area. I heard one tyre blow which created some chatter. It’s 6.00am and everyone started making their way down to the water. All of the IronMāori Toa athletes started huddling together in a circle down in the car park area, the whānau began closing ranks behind like an impenetrable force field. This was our queue, our karakia, there was an eerie silence before the first karakia, then the second karakia before the final blessing. The air was filled with excitement, everyone was embracing one another before heading down to the water. BOOOM the elites were off. BOOOM now for us age groups all 1200 of us, that’s me we’re off, the water was like a giant washing machine with the dim morning sun rays starting to appear over the eastern horizon, off down to the first buoy ............. T1 ......... T2 .......... then running down the red carpet in the pouring rain some 13 hours 15 minutes after the starting cannon went off earlier that day at 7am, I could see and hear the crowd cheering and waving out when suddenly I heard my name over the loud speaker “Carl Goldsmith – You’re an Ironman” ....wow what a day, what a journey, finishing this year’s Ironman would undoubtedly rate as one of the most memorable sporting moments in my life!!!!! 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Group trainings
  • Squad trainings
  • 32 km Rarotonga run around the island with TriPōneke
  • Rotorua Marathon
  • Armstrong Half Marathon
  • Tauranga Half Ironman
  • IronMāori camps in Taupō and Masterton
  • Trust that I’ve done enough training
  • Total trust in my Coach

CHALLENGES

  • Managing reoccurring injuries throughout the whole two years leading up to Ironman
  • Mechanical problems
  • Critical look at my different kits for race day
  • Getting my nutrition right
  • Maintaining a healthy eating plan

Most Memorable Moments

Running down the red carpet to the Ironman finish line and just seeing all your friend and whānau there cheering you on, an incredible and most memorable moment 

Where to from here

  • Armstrong Marathon
  • IronMāori Quarter and Half Ironman
  • Tauranga Half Ironman
  • 2016 Ironman

Final Acknowledgement

This journey would not be complete without acknowledging the 110% support from our whānau and especially my wife, Sal. Sal has endured the 2015 Ironman journey with me every step of the way with our early morning gym sessions, occasional rides before we got into the longer sessions, and supported me and others out on the run courses, whether it be in Pōneke, or Kahungunu or even in Rarotonga. What more could I ask for, she’s always there when I need her, she’s passionate about what I do, she’s got time for everyone and not just me, and she’s been the head of the household in my absence, for this I truly am blessed to have you in my life.