I have always been very sporty and tried to keep fit but have always loved competition. I got into triathlon after buying my first road bike to ‘try it out’, turns out I loved it and found myself out every weekend for a few hours finding my way around Essex. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and decided to buy myself a full team GB cycling kit (apparently this wasn’t as cool as I thought and it did not make me an instant Olympian) from there I saw a flyer for a charity triathlon in grays - the event was 8 weeks away and I hadn’t swam more than a full length in the pool since I was earning my badges and racing in school galas so I got myself in and swam the race distance 3x a week for the next 8 weeks - tapering what was that. Nutrition?? I turned up to what I thought was the last race in 2014 and after getting in the pool to the start of my very first race and I haven’t looked back since!!
Well with transition and of course food I see triathlons as a 5 stage event, swimming has always been my weakest link in a race, I have always struggled with speed and consistent efficiency, however two pool training sessions a week under the guidance of Richard and Janice has helped no end and somehow I’ve now found myself in Lane one and nearly holding onto the toes of the fast guys in the pool. I have always enjoyed running and have found this the ‘easier’ of the three but it comes at the end of the race when I’m already blowing so I have had to train the way I run to be able to finish the race. I have seen so much progression and I never would have ever thought I’d say that I’m getting faster as I get older. When I started at the club I was fighting to break the 20min/5km mark - I managed to set a new pb in April of 17:29, so I’m still progressing there too.
Well my goals for 2020 were to race a half distance in Belgium with the club and then my aim for 2021 was to take the leap to a full ironman distance however due to the C word it’s all been put back a year and I will have to wait another year to try and hit the top step at the clubs very own race after coming second by 6 seconds in 2019.
I’m very lucky, I have a flexible job and I don’t have any family commitments (just me and my mad puppy) so I find it quite easy to complete my training. I have always been useless at planning sessions and would always end up just going for a run or getting on the bike and riding aimlessly for however long I fancied, so in 2018 I asked for some help from the clubs very own Dave Butler who coaches through Next Level Endurance Coaching and wow, it has been a revelation - basically I don’t have to think - I just do. My life has now turned around where I fit everything else around my training.
In my first full year I competed in 12 races from pool sprints to open water Olympic distance races and now I like to concentrate on the longer distance 70.3 races whilst still adding in the odd sprint when possible. I just love to race and to be competitive. I think my favourite race will always be a sprint purely based on the pure exhaustion at the end. It’s just over an hour of all out racing where you can leave nothing on the table, whereas the 70.3 races have a lot more room for tactics - I could go on, I just like to race....
I like to be organised before an event but I always seem to forget something no matter how prepared I am. Before I pack my bags for the race, I have to do a full kit layout including bike, shoes, food the lot, it just helps me mentally prepare for the set up in transition. And after a double puncture at ironman Weymouth last year I will always carry that spare tube from now on!
The guys at the club really have become a second family to me, and I have Inherited a huge number of dog sitters for cooper so win win! To find a group of people with the same enthusiasm and obsession for a hobby that you have doesn’t happen very often and then to know they like cake as much as I do...WIN!!
I am also the Club Captain and am on the committee which I love as I get to be involved with the running of the club and club events and I get to help newcomers to the sport and the club With tips and advice which is so rewarding too.
Just do it, get stuck in and most importantly ask questions - there’s nothing that you’re thinking that we haven’t all thought or asked when we started our own triathlon journey - race nerves won’t go away after the first race and they just add to the buzz so embrace them and enjoy them. You don’t have to spend a million quid to enjoy the sport, but trust me you will always want a better bike so go and research the N 1 rule and make sure your significant other is aware of this rule too.