I’m originally from Scotland, but now live in Vancouver, Canada. As a child I was a competitive swimmer, and loved the thrill of competition, but the monotonous training took its toll on me. Combined with the other ‘attractions’ that Uni life offered, I stopped swimming aged 19.
Since then I have kept myself reasonably fit through various outdoor activities, mainly running, mountain biking and hill-walking. Many times I tried to get back into swimming, but my pride stopped me joining a club until I felt I had reached a suitable standard again. Needless to say I went many years without achieving much.
Moving to Vancouver in 2010 offered me the chance to start fresh. I wanted to get back to my swimming roots, so started Lifeguarding and teaching kids to swim. Summer 2011 I got a job with a swim coaching company called Seahiker. We teach swim efficiency, and our courses are mostly filled up by triathletes. Check out www.seahiker.com if your interested. Working with triathletes increased my curiosity with the sport, so I decided to enter the Stanley Park Sprint Triathlon in September 2011. The end result was better than I expected, and that was it, I was hooked.
I realised I had missed the thrill of competition, the determination to push on past your physical and mental limits, and the sense of achievement after training hard and then attaining your goals. This year I am entering 5 or 6 Sprint triathlons and hope to compete at the Nationals in August. I also plan to do my first Olympic distance triathlon this year. I will probably enter some 10k runs, a few open water swims and I’d like to do a 100km bike ride as well. The long term plan is work my way up to half-Ironman then full Ironman distance over the next 4/5 years.
Of the 3 triathlon sports, it would be easy to view the swim as my ‘easiest’ section. My background as a competitive swimmer and now as a coach should see me through the water safely, but my professional pride and technical knowledge will put my swim performance under higher scrutiny than the bike and run. I will not be beaten by anyone that I teach! With the swim being my best event, it is my goal to be among the first group of athletes emerging from the water and into transition 1.
I expect the bike to be my most enjoyable portion of the triathlon. It is the newest discipline to me – I only bought my road bike a few months ago. With proper equipment and dedicated training I hope to really improve my bike performance this year.
I have ordered myself some equipment upgrades – SPD pedals, proper cycling shoes, and a computer to tell me distance, speed, time and cadence. At this stage, I think this is all the information I can handle. Maybe next season will see me upgrade to a full triathlon watch with heart rate monitor. I feel that the ride position is a little higher than optimal, so I am gonig to get a bike fit organised, with a view to lowering and shortening the stem, and adding a set of aero-bars to maximise aerodynamics.
The run is my least favourite of the 3 events, but not my worst (that award goes to the bike section). I surprised myself during my first triathlon as the 5k run was the faster than any 5k run I had done previously. It took me 23 minutes. I would like to get my run time down to around 20 minutes for the 5k. If you have any advice on running training, specifically improving speed over 5k, please leave me a comment – it will be greatly appreciated!
–> Finishing my first triathlon, running proudly in my Scotland cycle top!