Sonja Tajsich turned a few heads when she pulled the fastest female marathon at the Ironman World Championships in October to run herself into fourth place. In 2009 the German proved she was good at this swim, bike and run game when she finished second at both Ironman South Africa and Austria – where she broke nine hours to cross the line in 8:59:45. In 2010 she continued to improve winning Ironman South Africa and Ironman Regensburg. The following year her good results continued with a third place finish at the Ironman European Championships in Frankfurt and a second at Ironman Cozumel. The 37-year-old mother came into 2012 looking strong once again finishing second at Challenge Roth and then making the top five in Hawaii.
The ever-smiling Tajsich will return to Cozumel where she hopes to place one better this time around.
1. Describe your first ever bike?
I have forgotten the brand of my first ever road bike. It was old and the gear changer was on the frame.
2. How did you do in your first race?
It was a sprint distance triathlon. The swim was 500m and I didn’t know how to manage this distance. After the 500m swim, which I completed in 10 minutes or so, I was so exhausted that I almost couldn’t ride the bike. My chest was hurting so much. I finished third in my age group and was so proud.
3. What’s your essential brekkie?
My essential breakfast on race day is pasta without sauce, maple syrup and white bread.
4. Legs shaved, waxed or hairy?
Shaved three days a week and hairy four days a week. I am lucky because my hair is blond.
5. Train alone or with a group?
Both. I have a good training partner for both biking and running, and a group for the swimming. Sometimes I do the sessions on my own, though.
6. Energy drink, tea or coffee?
Water, Erdinger alcohol-free beer (I am serious, I’ve always loved it and not just because they are my sponsor) and coffee with lactose free milk.
7. Where does your bike live?
At the moment in the bike bag because I am travelling. At home it lives in my training room and in the bike cellar when I spend time in Lanzarote.
8. Snickers or energy bar?
During training sessions go for a bread role with cheese or energy bars. In competition I use gels.
9. Biggest waste of your time?
10. Craziest place you have slept since becoming triathlete?
A hotel in Malaysia where we had bugs living in our blankets. We called the room service and they came with a chemical insect spray, sprayed the whole bed, said: “goodnight” and left the room. It was the night before race day where I was trying to defend my first title.
11. Pee on the bike, stop or hold it until the run?
12. Three people to have dinner with (alive or deceased)?
Barack Obama, Bruce Willis and Julia Roberts. But I am happy with my husband and our daughter Lisa. If friends want to join us they are always welcome.
13. What do you carry with you when you train?
My house key.
14. Worst chafing/sunburn?
My back was really burnt after Ironman Lanzarote 2004. I needed to see a doctor afterwards.
15. Favourite place to ride?
My hometown of Eilsbrunn. Here I can cycle 200K without ever seeing a traffic light.
16. What theme music would play to a film of your life and why?
Rock music. This is because I like to listen to it while I am training.
17. Pre-race rituals and meal?
The evening before a race I eat pasta with tomato sauce and go to bed at 8pm. I never fall asleep that early, but I try time and time again.
18. Funniest person you know?
My husband after he drinks some beers.
19. What are you reading?
I like everything. At the moment I’m reading Chris McCormack’s I’m Here to Win.
20. What you’ll be doing this month?
I recently finished third at Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote, now I’m off to Ironman Cozumel. In December I will start my winter break.