Camilla Pedersen lined up for her first Ironman race in Frankfurt on Sunday with what some would call a pretty lofty goal. Having only discovered triathlon in 2010, Camilla chose the Ironman European Championship for her debut Ironman, and won. Leading into the race her goal was to finish “at least top three”, and with one of her favorite quotes being “I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I’m done”, is it really any surprise that she achieved that very goal?
Growing up in Denmark, the always happy, smiling Camilla is coached by the Danish National coach, Michael Krüger. Her results depict the image of a patient, sensible approach to racing, with steady improvement that is resulting with quite an impressive resume. Camilla finished second to American Heather Wurtele in Ironman 70.3 Panama in February this year, and third to her own countrywoman and 2012 London Olympian Helle Frederiksen in Ironman 70.3 San Juan the following month. May brought her first victory of the year with a win at Challenge Barcelona half iron distance, and again the following month Camilla celebrated yet another win in Challenge Aarhus half iron distance.
Camilla’s pre-race tweet gives a pretty good insight into her character and passion for the sport “And Im ready to dig deep, suffer and work HARD…whatever it takes, I take it as a challenge! 🙂 IRONMAN Frankfurt European Championships #86”.
We caught up with Camilla to find out a little more about her both in and out of racing!
Trizone: Camilla congratulations on your victory in the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt yesterday! Your very first Ironman, and one of the biggest on the circuit, you must have been ecstatic!
Camilla Pedersen: Yes I was so very happy! After chasing Jodie Swallow all day I knew I had to dig deep when I finally caught her. Having taken the lead I wasn’t going to give up until I had finished with the victory.
TZ: To introduce you to our readers, would you mind sharing where you grew up and how you discovered triathlon?
Camilla: I grew up in Esbjerg, Denmark where I still live today. I started doing triathlon after a friend of mine had tried to convince me to do so for a couple of years. I finally gave it a try in 2010.
TZ: Ironman is a long day for anyone, even if you do finish in under 9 hours! Did you have any moments during the race when you may have questioned why you were in fact racing Ironman? If so would you mind sharing a strategy or strategies you may have used to get yourself through these moments?
Camilla: I had a lot of those moments. I came to win or at least finish in the top 3, so I could save myself a spot for Kona. Hawaii was in my head the entire race and then I had the idea of making it to the finish line as no.1 🙂
TZ: You had a pretty tough battle on your hands to chase down Jodie Swallow, and we hear you fought to the end and collapsed across the finish line! Did you spend every single cent out there and what thoughts were going through your head in the final KM’s?
Camilla: I pushed it to the limit, yes. I was successful at keeping myself hydrated in the heat, but I’m still not used to it. The heat was my worst enemy out there! The last 18 km I kept singing to myself “its in your head, in your head…” every time I had a crisis. The last 2 km I was growing happier with every single step closer to the finish line.
TZ: Many of the top pro’s base themselves in training camps for a large proportion of the season, especially leading into Kona. Who do you entrust to coach and guide you and where do you spend most of your time training throughout the season?
Camilla: I spend all my time training in Esbjerg, Denmark when I’m not racing abroad. I love it here, even though the weather can be bad. I see tough training conditions as a force that can be used to toughen you up mentally.
TZ: Which discipline do you consider your weakness, and has this always been the case? Or have you had to place particular emphasis on improving in any one area to lift your performance to the top level?
Camilla: I love all 3 disciplines and don’t really see any of them as a weakness. There is room for improvements in all three. I have only been biking and running for about three years, so the improvements are coming but it takes time 🙂
TZ: Where can we expect to see you racing for the remainder of the 2013 season?
Camilla: I might join a relay team in Ironman Copenhagen, and race some smaller Danish events. You may see me at the 70.3 World Champs in Las Vegas or perhaps another 70.3 race before Kona.
TZ: We see Ice Cream ranks as one of your favourite foods. Is this something that features in your post race recovery? Is there such a thing as too much ice cream following an Ironman?
Camilla: I LOVE ice cream and its in both my pre and post race meal…but I try to save it for post race!
TZ: Finally, would you mind sharing some advice for any first time Ironman participants?
Camilla: Have FUN and enjoy every moment, especially the tough races! They are the races that condition you and prepare you to be strong mentally.
TZ: Any special thank you’s that you would like to add?
Camilla: A big thanks to my awesome family, especially my brother who follows me everywhere he can. 🙂