“My relationship with sport and exercise has been rather mixed throughout my life. I was never particularly sporty as a child. I enjoyed sprinting and doing the long jump. I went to school in the 80’s to mid 90’s and still remember very clearly waiting to be picked for teams. I was generally picked somewhere in the middle or towards the end. Never a good thing for a child’s self-esteem.
As a teenager, I really got into racket sports, badminton initially then squash. I had a few friends who were at a similar level and would enjoy playing weekly. At the age of 18 I went to Loughborough University to study psychology. I was aware this was a very sporty university, but that wasn’t really a consideration when I went there. The level of even the inter-mural hall sports was very high. It did put me off trying much sport there. I chose to do karate as it was something I could start with as a beginner and work up the grades. I enjoyed this and did it for a few years. Twenty odd years on, I wish I had made more of the available facilities.
Following university, I started to dabble in running and did my first race for life. Prior to that, I don’t think I’d ever run 5K before. A few years later, I did my first half marathon in Nottingham where I was living at the time. This was a huge achievement for me. It was great that lots of my friends did the event as well. Throughout my 20’s and 30’s I was always rather inconsistent with exercise, training for an event and then not doing much afterwards. I was definitely a ‘Yo Yo’ exerciser.
In my mid 30’s exercise took on a different and more cathartic role and really helped me with my mental well-being as well as physical well-being whilst going through multiple rounds of IVF. After each failed attempt, I would enter a running event or cycling event. After I had decided to stop treatment and choose to adopt instead, I threw myself into a more consistent pattern of exercise.
Around 4 years ago a friend of mine spent about 6 months trying to persuade me to join the local triathlon club. Initially I thought I wasn’t good enough at any of the disciplines, however, soon realised that this didn’t matter at all. I was getting injured just running. I started PT sessions and soon realised I needed to do loads more strength and conditioning to prevent injury. Joining TRISudbury was a real turning point for me. I had never been part of a club before and had always exercised on my own. I really started to enjoy training with groups and have made some great friends.
I have now done many triathlons and taken on new challenges each year. I also discovered my love of swimming in open water and last summer did a 2 mile swim in the Serpentine. I really love challenging myself. I’m never going to be the fastest, however, I am mentally tough and won’t give up on my goals. My next challenge will be a half ironman distance triathlon. In addition to this, I also became the Welfare Officer for the club for 2 years. I am now one of the club’s Mental Health Champions. At the AGM earlier this year, I was delighted this year to be given the female Grindstone award and became a This Girl Can Ambassador for Suffolk as well.
I am nearly 43 and I totally believe that if you work hard and never give up on your goals you can achieve anything. It’s so important to me to be a good role model for my little girl. I am fitter now than I ever have been and would say to anyone to never let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve something!”
Thank you from the Humans of HIIT community for sharing your story!