It’s just me, my feet and the road.
I started out as a runner, to lose weight at university. I fell in love with running, but had some setbacks with injury, but I loved pushing myself. I’ve run a marathon and an ultra marathon, but got injured a lot in training. I was intrigued by triathlon, so I learned to swim, before having a go. I was by no means fast, but I loved it, and knew I wanted to do more. Training is great fun- there’s so much variety that I never get bored, and it’s kept me injury free!. I’ve taken part in triathlons since summer 2014, and running since 2012.
I find that running is quite simple- with a training plan, it’s easy to train for- it’s just me, my feet and the road, one step at a time. Of course, there have been setbacks, but overall, running is a simple and welcoming sport. Swimming relies on technique rather than effort- when I run, I try harder and go faster- not the case with swimming! And cycling? Well, that’s the scariest of all! I’d never done much cycling before, so I joined a local club (albaRosa CC) to learn more. There have been crashes (I now have a wonderful scar after having to limp to the hospital for stitches!), rides where I’ve run out of energy and had to walk up tough hills, and days where I’ve been left behind and cycled home alone into a cold headwind, with tears freezing on my face. Cycling is also still a very male-dominated sport, and it can feel like I’m the slow, inexperienced poor relation sometimes. It’s still only now, 1200 miles later, that I’m beginning to feel stronger and faster, and more comfortable in a group.
Running and triathlon has taught me resilience and determination, which has been a help through training as a doctor. It’s been a great way to relieve stress and stay healthy- I’d have been an anxious wreck and struggled to cope otherwise. It’s also helped to love my body. Rather than reading magazines full of diets and celebrity bodies, feeling bad about myself, it’s taught me to think more about how it works than how it looks. I’ve lost weight, but I’m more proud of muscles I’ve gained, that take me up hills and through beautiful Yorkshire countryside on adventures!
I’d encourage all girls interested to seek out a club to join. It’s scary, but the friendship and experience of others will help you fall in love with sport. Don’t worry about them being ‘too fast’ or knowledgeable- they have insecurities too!