She's been a big name in sport for more than a decade, but for Kiwi triathlete Andrea Hewitt, there's far more to it than collecting medals.
There's the countless wintry mornings in the pool, pushing the pedals and pounding the pavements, the sheer grit required to stay at the top of her game while being her own coach and motivator, and the profound mental strength she showed the world after the tragic death of her fiancé.
When it comes to staying focused and powering on, it's safe to say Andrea, 35, is the poster girl. She's never one to shy away from a challenge, and next up on her list is this year's Commonwealth Games. It's the sort of event that she knows the world will be watching, but Andrea's more than ready.
"I don't find it too hard to push myself, but the hardest part of training can be getting out the door," she laughs.
"As soon as I'm out there I'll just get on with it. I didn't choose to coach myself, it just worked out that way, but I've had really good advice from coaches along the way and I've learnt over the years about the training load and the sessions I race well off. I do two thirds of my training with other people – if I was always by myself it would be too lonely and mentally difficult."
While the relentless training can be tough, Andrea is more of a 'don't overthink it, just do it' type. "I don't focus on the mental side, training is simply part of doing triathlon – it's just what I do," she says matter-of-factly.
"I used to have those [unmotivated] days, but now I don't as much. I don't get too stressed over not having a good session, I might lose sleep over not having a good race, but training is training. It's just something that happens behind the scenes."
Andrea's up front about the fact that being in her mid-30s makes her one of the more 'mature' competitors on the triathlon scene, but her experience is what gives her the edge. While there are some differences in the way she trains now compared to a decade ago, if anything, she's picked up the pace.
"This is my third Commonwealth Games, so I want to win," she says with her trademark pragmatism. "I've had a third and a fourth, and I won last year in the test event which is on the same course, so that's got to be a good thing."
For the full story, check out the March issue of Good Health Choices.
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