Belinda Granger is a beloved figure in the sport, especially throughout the Asia-Pacific region where she’s focused the majority of her career. The ever-outspoken Aussie has been racing triathlons for half her life; by the end of this year she’ll close in on 50 iron-distance finishes, 15 of them victorious. And with early-season 2013 wins at both Challenge Taiwan and Ironman 70.3 Hawaii, Granger shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
“I feel like I’ve gone full-circle and now I need as much sleep as I did when I was an infant. When I was between 18 and 30 I could survive on six hours of sleep. Now I feel like a newborn child that needs not only eight or nine hours a night, but also little naps during the day. [Husband] Justin and I are like hibernating bears. We have a saying. We’ll come home from a hard session, have something to eat and give each other the look. He’ll say, ‘Is it time to shut up shop?’ Then we go up to our bedroom, close the blinds, put the air-con on and shut up shop for a couple hours.”
“I keep thinking that one morning I’ll wake up and not want to do it anymore. I’m not just talking about the racing and the traveling, I’m talking about the training day in and day out. But I’m absolutely being honest—I have not lost one iota of the passion. The only thing that has changed is that I’m not as desperate to win races. When I was young it would be win or nothing. I was like a bull at a gate. Of course I still set goals, but it’s not just about the win or the money anymore. I come to races for everything that race has to experience—before, during and after.”
“When I’m training for iron-distance races, the sex drive is gone. I mean zero! And when we do have breaks, it’s like: OK, you better go for it. We have a month of taking it easy in training, but once that’s over it’s back to bread and water! But we laugh about it.”
“I remember as a 5- or 6-year-old doing an 8K fun run with my dad. We were on the start line and I couldn’t wait—it was just the best thing I’d ever done. I remember Dad saying, ‘Now Belinda, there will be people that take off really quickly. But this is not a sprint race. You need to pace yourself. Promise me you will not go out like a crazy girl.’ ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah. Of course, Dad,’ I said. Well, I went off like a maniac doing a 100-meter sprint. I made it to the 2K mark running and then Dad had to basically drag my sorry butt around the remaining 6K. He did not let me pull the pin. I must have said a hundred times, ‘I can’t do it, Daddy!’ But he said, ‘I told you about this and you didn’t listen. You are finishing.’ Maybe that’s when the seed was set—I was always destined to do long-course and to learn to be patient and pace myself. I still have the picture of me holding up my finisher’s certificate.”
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