Sometimes things just happen and they can change you forever. Three years ago in 2016, my husband was approaching 50 and his goal was to complete an Ironman 70.3 during his 50thyear in 2017. A perfectly suitable goal for someone who had competed in triathlon for a few years and was a keen cyclist. A far from suitable goal for a non-competitive runner who kept getting injured; a far from suitable goal for essentially, a non-swimmer who didn’t have a road bike. A far from perfect goal for me. But despite all of this I agreed to have a go at a 70.3 and it was the best thing I ever did.
I had about 10 months preparation for IM 70.3 Staffs in 2017 and during that time my life changed. Fitness and training became more than just an interest or a hobby; it became embedded in my life. As a primary school teacher where I felt very passionate about encouraging children to be the best they could be, I now also wanted to move towards imparting health and fitness advice and motivating others towards their fitness goals. The move from teaching to the fitness industry was not a conscious leap for me but more evolutionary and I retrained as a Level 3 Personal Trainer and a Leader in Running Fitness.
The training for the 70.3 was like nothing I had undertaken before. The biggest event I had ever done was a local half marathon. It was hugely daunting and being a mum of two boys meant, like lots of us, I was juggling the pressures of children, family, work and home. It wasn’t easy but I learned a lot!
Aside from the juggling, I learned and focussed on strength training and the importance of recovery and despite having had years on and off with injury, I managed training that was consistent and injury free. I had a sudden realisation that with the right training and the right support systems in place, anything really was possible.
I have since completed two 70.3s and ran two marathons; my first earning me a Good For Age place in the London Marathon and then at London this year I managed a PB of 11 minutes.
Ironically, the day of Staffs 70.3 back in 2017 was one of the hottest of the year and by the run we were flagging. We didn’t get the race we felt our training deserved, which meant only one thing – we signed up for a repeat in 2018 which went much better!
Triathlon has saved my running, allowing me to see first hand where structured and sensible training can take you. All of the events I have done have a story behind them and these stories, along with many others make me who I am today; an athlete with goals and limitations who has to work very hard – just like everyone else!