Hi everyone, my name is Shai and I have been fortunate enough to be selected as a Team CSSM athlete for 2022!


I have been competing in Triathlon for over 10 years and raced everything from sprint distance races, duathlons, cross triathlons, reverse triathlons to my favourite, and main pursuit the Ironman 70.3 races. However, I have not yet tackled the full distance Ironman – a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run!


In 2020 I set this as my goal – to complete an Ironman. I had just recovered from a broken heel bone and was full of motivation, and then of course the COVID-19 pandemic hit and my plans were set aside.


Throughout the pandemic I used training as a relief. Relief from working in a busy maternity hospital and from the chaos of the world we lived in. I enjoyed the quiet lockdown roads and the freezing June swims in Port Phillip Bay. The continued training only fuelled the urge to complete an Ironman in 2021.


When 2021 rolled around it was set, I had entered Ironman Cairns and I was prepared to tackle the gruelling 20-week Ironman build, a program developed by my coach Sean Foster at Fluid movements. Unfortunately, 2021 wasn’t the year for me. I suffered an ongoing ITB tendon issue that put me out of the race. I went to Cairns that year and watched my partner complete the Ironman- again only further fuelling my desire to get to Cairns in 2022.


Now here I am, just under 3 weeks out from Ironman Cairns, I am the most tired I have ever been, yet probably the most motivated I have ever been to get to race day. About six weeks ago, I contracted COVID-19, I definitely felt knocked around by the virus and I took a full two weeks off training, followed by a cautious two weeks return to exercise. I am happy to be feeling fit and healthy again, and similarly to 2021, the set-back has only increased my motivation leading into Cairns.


I am currently training approximately 15-20 hours a week of swim, bike, run and strength and conditioning are on top of this. My weeks consist of 5am wake ups, roughly two sessions each day and a LOT of washing. But it is the weekends that are the most exciting! Saturdays I am generally out from 5:30am for a long ride and run off the bike, getting home around 2pm. Sundays are around 4 hours long, we ride easily, have a long run and swim in the afternoon. I enjoy these sessions as there is no pressure to get to work straight after, I practice my race day nutrition and ticking these sessions off only builds confidence for the race.


I am not going to lie, I don’t wake up motivated to get out of bed every morning. But I always find once you start the session the body just clicks into gear. I think my motivation comes from a fear of the distance involved for an Ironman, my partner training alongside me and the satisfaction I get after training.


I can’t wait to get up to Cairns in 3.5 weeks, to race and to enjoy a few days by the pool after! I look forward to sharing my result with you all post race!




Ironman Cairns is on 12 June 2022. Good luck Shai!


About the author

Shai O’Brien is a CSSM sponsored athlete in 2022.

Camberwell Sports and Spinal Medicine’s Athlete Sponsorship Program supports local athletes to be the best they can be.

Every year, Camberwell Sports and Spinal Medicine sponsors local athletes from a variety of sports to support them to meet the challenge in their chosen endeavour.  These athletes aren’t generally elite, but they have a passion for their sport and a desire to achieve something special. We love being part of their journey.

Shai has been competing in triathlons since she was 15. We can’t wait to cheer her on on 12 June!