When Queenslander Elena Goodall crossed the finish line at Ironman 70.3 Cairns in 2017 she was greeted by her two very happy and very relieved parents Paul and Julie. Happy that they had just seen their daughter accomplish one of her amazing personal goals but more so relieved that they still had their daughter in their lives.
For Elle the race was another part of an incredible journey that had seen her rediscover herself and turn her life around, incredibly losing more than 120kg in in the process.
“Two years earlier my parents thought they were going to lose me, so to have them there to watch me was a huge deal for me. The finish line was incredibly emotional and both mum and dad were crying. Dad looked at me and I have never seen him look at me like he did. All he said to me was ‘You are alive and you have just done a half ironman. Your mum and I were preparing for the worst and look what you have just done. I am just so proud of you’. And he had never said that to me before so for him to express that it meant so much to me.”
Fast forward to 2018 and Elle’s journey of rediscovery and physical transformation continues with people from all walks of life being inspired and finding something in common with her simple message “to find something that you are passionate about and something that you are going to love. For Elle that passion was triathlon and she attributes discovering the world of swim/ride and run with turning her life around.
All along the journey Elle fostered a dream to one day compete at the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawai`i. A dream that as an IRONMAN Ambassador Athlete for 2018 is now a reality.
“When I got home from the IRONMAN announcement I sat there at the table with the framed Kona bib in front of me just staring at it. That is all my hopes and dreams right there. Kona is where everyone who is anyone goes. It is where the people who have made it get to go, this to me is like closure. It symbolises that I have completely turned my life around and regained what I was once losing grip of. Life. This is me grabbing life and saying I will live well into my older years, thanks to this sport that saved me,” Elle said.
“I think the fact that I am now going to Kona has just sunk in. I keep having random ‘attacks’ when I am out on runs and people recognize and yell out ‘Kona’. I just get emotional and have to walk for a bit because I can’t breathe properly,” she laughed. “Watching the announcement video back it is really funny because I remember how I was feeling at the time. When they brought the framed bib out you could see the look on my face. It was the weirdest look, ‘What is that for? OMG, what is going on?’”
With her spot finally secured, and the IRONMAN World Championship less than two months away, the hard work has now commenced and IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast is the first step.
“As soon as I told my coach Emma (Quinn) she said I needed to do 70.3 Sunshine Coast. She had been sitting there wracking her brain about how she was going to get me ready for Kona in such a short amount of time. She was ‘This is what we are going to do’. She believes that 70.3 Sunny Coast will be really good training. Emma has been my coach for a while, since my first 70.3 and we get along really well and I think it is good to have a strong relationship with your coach.”
“This will be my first 70.3 Sunshine Coast because last year it was on that same day as I moved to Brisbane. I was disappointed to miss it because I really want to go and watch it but I was travelling and stuff. So this will be my first time there.”
“Training has been really good but it hasn’t amped up fully. After Sunny Coast I won’t get recovery or anything really because it will technically be just a hard training day. There will be one or two easy days next week and that will be it, straight back into it. I know I have a tough few weeks ahead.”
“I work in the child care industry, before and after school care which is really good and it works really well because it means that I get up early and go to work and I finish at 9am and I have the day to do whatever training I need to do. I am really lucky that my work has been really accommodating with everything That is so important because you really need that support.”
Elle is expecting a tough race day in Hawaii but said the final run down Ali’i Drive will be worth all the pain and sacrifice.
“I have been watching a lot of the previous videos of Kona and the Kona motivation things and at night I find myself going through things in my head and how I am expecting it to play out. I think that the ride is going to be a real tough as well as the run. The swim should be good because I am pretty strong in the water. It is just the ride and the run, but I know I will get through them. I am so excited,” she said.