HOKA trail runner Caitlin Fielder (1st Tarawera 50km Ultramarathon) and her boyfriend George Bennett (Tour de France rider), are showing Europe what Kiwis are made of.
We chatted to Caitlin about how they make their relationship work around their heavy training loads and transient race schedules.
We're pretty used to spending time apart. It comes with the territory of being a professional cyclist, so it's something I have gotten used to over time! I always get asked if I go with George when he's doing a Grand Tour, but he's at work when he's racing. Grand Tours are huge processions and I still have to plan how to get to places around all the road blocks etc, which gets pretty stressful sometimes. I usually try to get to some of the rest days, or see the mountain top finishes where I know I'll at least have a chance of spotting George! I plan it all around my trainings and work schedule as well.
Good communication helps a lot with the distance. I know he will call me when he can, but I also don't put too many expectations on him. He's got a lot to focus on when he's racing and I understand that. He's really good when I am racing too. Because of his schedule he hasn't been able to make it to some of my bigger races, but he always calls me and talks me through my plan and any pre-race nerves I have.
Having an injury or taking time off running (e.g. end of season) definitely makes me revise this balance. It's sometimes hard to separate myself from something I am very dedicated to, with a lot of my life focused on training and races. I think its very important to make sure that my identity and self esteem aren't attached to running and the results I achieve. If not, it's pretty easy to make the sport become more important than it realistically should be.
Having my own business (Caitlin Fielder Fine Art), George, my family and supportive friends, has meant I have to achieve balance with these things alongside sport. I've needed to find time for friends, family and opportunities outside of running in order to maintain life balance.
Caitlin Fielder Fine Arts - Caitlin hand paints bike shoes.