As we approach St Patrick's Day we took the opportunity to catch up with Orla to see how competition, training and life in general was going for her in New Zealand. She is a restaurant manager, which means working mostly evenings and weekends. Although she loves her job there are other things that occupy her time.
"I love my job, but it is definitely not my number one priority in life. It's nice to have a job that I enjoy, I'm good at, and doesn't stress me out. I also have no qualms about taking the odd weekend off here and there to go do an event in another part of the country."
She certainly is planning a few weekends off over the coming months saying;
"The next two months are pretty hectic for me!! I've got two sprint tri's and a trail half marathon in March. April is the Triathlon World Champs, I'm doing the sprint distance again, then a half marathon, then my first Olympic distance."
That is a lot of competition on the horizon and Orla says she has upped the training considerably. Her training at the moment goes something like this:
Monday: Swim Squad and Weights
Tuesday: Boxfit, 5k run
Wednesday: Swim Squad and Weights
Thursday: Spin, running intervals
Saturday: Long cycle and weights
Sunday: Sea swim and long run
Speaking about the training programme, Orla admits she is not a fan of those hours training alone.
"I don't enjoy solitary exercise, so I try to do as many group activities as possible. I very rarely go running alone, the only thing I enjoy doing solo is my weights in the gym. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up that training for the next few months and smash out some good times."
When it comes to competition she does whatever it takes to be on the start line.
"Most of my events are on Sundays, and I'm not immune to sleeping about 4-5 hours on a Saturday night, then getting up and going to an event. Pretty sure it's not the best course of action, but it's the only option for me!"
Regarding goals for the coming year Orla has clear plans.
"This year is about getting a sub 2 hour half marathon, doing my first trail half marathon and doing my first Olympic distance tri. I'm doing the 70.3 Auckland half ironman solo next January so that will be huge!"
Indeed after competing in the Auckland half ironman as part of a team and coming second this year, this will be one of the major objectives of the next 12 months.
Orla is planning an taking a trip home to Tipperary next July/August for a couple of weeks before returning to New Zealand for five months of intense training. She is looking to compete in a triathlon when on home soil over the August bank holiday weekend. With events scheduled for Athlone, Loughrea and Sligo there is sure to be something to suit, and hopefully she can compete side-by-side with some of our club triathletes. We continue to wish Orla the very best and will keep a close eye on her progress as her training and competition develops over the coming year.