Man I reeeeeeally wanted to call this piece “Hogwarts – A History” but that would have been 100% random and in no way would it have made any sense. Damn. Essentially I have spent the last couple of weeks having loads of conversations about Ironman. This isn’t really surprising given THREE people close to me completed 70.3’s and full distance Ironman(s) in Weymouth ten days ago and then it was Wales Ironman on Sunday just past. Man I love that place.
But all these conversations had something in common, or at least they did with people who don’t do triathlon: “Nah I could never do an Ironman”. Yes they could. Yes YOU could and it got me thinking about my history with sport and running and competition. It’s a pretty bleak journey to be honest but I think it will resonate with some people so here goes.
I have always been an outdoorsy sort of girl. Outdoorsy NOT sporty. Growing up we didn’t have tv’s in our bedrooms, we didn’t have playstations – well – my sister had one but I wasn’t really interested for whatever reason. Family holidays were generally in Scotland, either the borders at a caravan park or the Outer Hebrides at a cottage. The borders and the caravan park meant riding our bikes round the park and the Outer Hebrides meant being on the beach and in the sea. So there are two early beginnings of triathlon related sports I guess. But it wasn’t sport. It was just being 7,9,12…whatever age I was.
At school I did not love p.e. Especially the annual cross country run at middle school. That was pretty much the worst day of the year. I used to walk most of it and most likely complain the whole way round. I didn’t give a shit about winning that cross country run. Athletics lessons weren’t bad. I could run 100m pretty fast but I wasn’t anything special and I sure as hell didn’t do anything like that outside of school. I did ride horses though. I was good at that. Totally different kettle of fish though. It doesn’t require particularly amazing fitness unless you are going to the top level. A horse doesn’t care if you can swim 100m in less than two minutes. Trust me.
High school was meh. That was the start of my eating disorder and the gym obsession. I remember having 20 minutes before I had to meet someone and I asked mum to take me to the gym and wait whilst I busted out a quick cross trainer session to burn some calories. Mental that I remember that. I bet she doesn’t! Mind you… better I was burning calories than burning weed I guess.
So after high school it was the usual gap year and a bit of working time and then uni. NONE of these saw me doing any competitive sport. Oh I ran the great north run one year! Yeah I “ran” that in…. 2:36 or something similar. I did not set any records on fire. I also hated it and I hated the training.
So where the hell did Ironman come from? In truth I still can’t pinpoint exactly what led me to do it. I know I gained confidence by dropping some body fat and getting stronger in the gym. I know I started hitting minor goals like being a certain percentage of body composition and a certain weight. I hit goals with lifting stuff. They weren’t major. They had fuck all to do with triathlon but they were goals. My goals. Looking back? Not very healthy goals. Doing an intense cardio session in the gym, nearly throwing up, heading home and being advised to eat nothing so I would be leaner in the morning? Yeah that ain’t right. Don’t do that shit. If someone tells you to do that? Still don’t do that.
I’ve mentioned the process of me signing up to Ironman before so I’m not gonna go into detail about all that again (in a nutshell I was inspired by someones FB post). But to the Bridie’s and the Marc’s out there saying they couldn’t do it…
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK
If you need more convincing look at Chris… Look at Cat (not me)… Look at Laura. Chris used to weigh twice what he does now. He just took THREE hours off his finishing time for full distance Ironman. He couldn’t even run a 5k a few years ago. Don’t believe me?
Cat crossed the finish line in Weymouth after making the bike cut off by FOUR MINUTES. I won’t lie. I didn’t think she would make it through the marathon… Well shit… that girl proved me wrong. Damn wrong.
And then Laura… the girl who read my write up from Wales last year and signed up for 70.3 in Weymouth this year and smashed it right in the teeth. She should have signed up for the bloody full distance because she would have smashed that too. Every triathlon she has done in training she has sailed through. Historically a runner? Cyclist? Swimmer? Nope. Brave though…. because she is stronger than she thinks.
It doesn’t have to be Ironman. I’m biased because I LOVE IT. It is my adopted family now. It has brought me to life. It gave me confidence. Shit it made me believe in myself. I have met my boyfriend through it. I have made life long friends through it. It’s a beast of a sport. It hurts and it makes you cry but shit does it reward you.
Massive love. C xxx
YOU – CAN – DO – IT