I love the mastery aspect of sport. I love the process. I love deeply involving myself to a point where I am solely focused on what I’m doing, not necessarily on the outcome of what I do. And I think that makes it quite easy actually to be a breaststroker and perhaps be the last person out of the water, and not be worried by that. Because that doesn’t stop the mastery.
The power of “having a crack” is one of the themes that runs through this week’s episode of Sparta Chicks Radio with my guest, Madhu Tamilarasan.
Madhu is a GP (general practitioner doctor) now living in a regional country town in New South Wales who discovered triathlons in her mid-30s and has since fallen in love with cross (or off-road) triathlons and mountain biking.
She’s competed in (amongst many other races) both the Australian Cross Triathlon Championships as well as the ITU World Cross Tri Championships.
As an aside, I have been acutely aware - for an embarrassingly long time - that podcast has been (to put it bluntly) very white, straight, cis-gendered and able-bodied.
And I have been on a mission to change that, so you’ll hear more diverse stories coming to Sparta Chicks Radio in the months ahead.
So Madhu was high on the list of people I wanted to speak with.
A proudly gay woman with an amazing wife, she was born in England to Indian parents so she shares the experience of not one but two minority groups that are underrepresented in our sport, bringing a unique perspective to the podcast.
And I am incredibly grateful to her for her vulnerability and openness in this very broad-ranging conversation.
* growing up with parents who has describes as “adventurous” and the “least conservative and traditional Indian parents” she knows,
* what appealed to her about studying medicine and why her parents did not actively encourage her to become a doctor,
* how she went from University in the UK to living in a regional country town in New South Wales,
* how Madhu’s UK citizenship meant she and her wife Lesley were able to formalise their relationship in Sydney via a civil partnership under UK law, years before the laws were finally changed here to recognise same-sex marriage,
* why she describes coming out to her parents as the “hardest time of her life”,
* how she discovered triathlons and then mountain biking and off-road triathlons (and I challenge you to listen to the story without smiling!),
* why she’s never said “I just did an enticer”,
* how she swam breaststroke in triathlons for several years and why she never let that stop her from competing,
* why it’s important to focus on mastering the skills of your sport, as opposed to focusing on the outcomes,
* her advice for anyone interested in exploring cross/off-road triathlon,
* her experience as a woman of colour in a “strikingly” white sport,
* her thoughts on how to encourage more women in minority groups to participate in endurance sports,
* her experience with the Imposter Complex, how she navigates periods of self-doubt and the role of her support network,
* why she decided to study Sports Medicine and establish the Lithgow Sports Medicine Clinic,
* why it’s important to “have a crack and see what happens”, and
* the (surprising) reason she writes BADASS on her arm before a key race.
Notes and resources:
To find out more about Madhu or to say hello, you can find her on Instagram.
You can also find Madhu at the Lithgow Sports Medicine clinic on Facebook.