Considering that in January 2015 I didn’t know what a sportive was, and I was sceptical that I would ever complete a triathlon, 2015 has been one big year!
The first event I did was The Black Legend Sportive. I nearly didn’t turn up thanks to driving the course before hand and seeing the huge hills that I would have to climb. For some reason – possibly insanity – I turned up anyway. I was so nervous at the start. This 47 mile sportive took me one minute less than 8 hours to complete, which is just ridiculously slow but is accounted for by my doing my best on the ascents and walking down the descents thanks to a fear of downhills on my road bike. Finishing was all that mattered though, and this is the first medal I ever got in my life so it takes pride of place.
Whilst most of my events are individual I’ve enjoyed a couple of events with friends. The two Bike Events – Classic Oxfordshire (30 miles) and Oxford 50 (50 miles) – I rode with my mates and it was great fun. Classic Oxfordshire was my second sportive but my friends’ first, and I felt like the expert! It was nice to be out doing something sporty without it being a competition, even with myself, and just enjoyed the riding on the country lanes chatting with my pals. In every year I’d like a couple of these events because sport is great, but if you can’t enjoy it with mates (especially when they might not have got out without the encouragement) then what is the point?
The BIG event of 2015 was the Blenheim Palace Triathlon. Completing this event meant way more than being able to swim/bike/run the distances. When you’re a size 24, totally unfit and feeling terrified of asking a PT to work with you in case he laughs – you don’t imagine that you could ever complete a triathlon. There are fitness worries, of course, but harder to overcome is the lack of self-belief, lack of feeling a sense of belonging, wondering if I could be seen in public in a wetsuit. I did it all, with the help of The Trainer, and this medal will possibly always be one of my proudest possessions. I did a smaller triathlon before this one too – I will never forget The Trainers face when I said I couldn’t do PT that Saturday because I was otherwise engaged in a triathlon. Part of me is sad that I don’t get to be an excited newbie where just turning up to a triathlon is an #amazing in itself, but I’m more happy and proud to be a triathlete that can turn up to pretty much any event with confidence that I’ll have fun.
Another big event for 2015 was the 4k Lock to Lock river swim. This was quite amusing because the way I accepted The Trainers’ suggestion that I have a go. With Blenheim, for at least the first 6 months of training I didn’t really believe I could do it, and kept flip-flopping between “I’m going to try my hardest” to “I’m not turning up”. With this event, The Trainer mentioned it and I just said “Sounds fun, where do I sign up?” I had never swum 4k before but I had done long distances and I knew that I could do this one, albeit slowly. As it turns out I did most of it using breaststroke and chatting to a lovely lady. Really not a very sporting approach at all, but definitely fun and leisurely.
So in total, 2015 saw me complete:
- Two sprint triathlons in a gym setting, on my own for training purposes
- A Go-Tri event (400m swim, 11k bike, 3k walk)
- 47 mile Black Legend Sportive (hilly!)
- 30 mile Oxfordshire Classic bike ride
- Blenheim Palace sprint triathlon
- Eton Dorney Team Triathlon – Marjorie swim, me bike, Laura run
- 50 mile Oxford 50 bike ride
- 20 mile Bike Oxford bike ride – time trial, didn’t finish last!
- Lock to Lock 4k river swim
- Glow in the Park 5k run/jog/walk with TVT’ers
I signed up for a few more events but for a few reasons didn’t attend them. In 2016 I’m being much more careful about what I register for but intend to attend and complete all of them!
The Trainer once said to me “One day you’ll look back and see how much you’ve achieved even with PMDD” and I didn’t believe him. But – look at that list. I made this list happen even with a monthly interruption of hellish PMDD.
The other thing that blows my mind a bit is that I sometimes still think of myself as “the fat girl who is trying hard”. This list, though, isn’t a list that is-good-considering-the-size-you-are. This list is just a list that anybody with an interest in activity and fitness would be proud of. It’s good in its own right, not ‘considering-the-size-you-are’. My head needs to catch up with my body!
What the list above doesn’t capture is the huge increases in self-belief, in self-esteem, in fitness, in confidence, in the comfort that I feel in my own skin. The medals are cool but that stuff is way cooler.