It’s 6am on a freezing cold morning in Edinburgh, but just thirty minutes ago I was in my wetsuit swimming in the North Sea. In fact, my fingers are still so cold I can hardly move them. And, after I’ve finished work today I’ll be out again, rain or shine, for a 40-60k cycle on my bike ‘Justin’ or for a 10k run. As I have done every day for the past year – 6 days a week. To say I’m exhausted is probably an understatement so you’re probably asking why I put myself through it.
Luckily, I know the answer as in a few days’ time I will be competing as part of Team GB at the European Triathlon Championships in the Netherlands. It’s been a fantastic journey to get here and I want to make my family, friends and workmates proud when the event takes place next week. And if I’m totally honest, it’s not about winning. I simply want to put in my best possible performance and avoid any humiliation!
But I’ve not always had a fitness regime quite like this. Eight years ago, I decided that I needed to get fit and it has snowballed from there. In 2010 I completed my first marathon. I then stepped it up a gear and did a marathon in the Arctic Circle, swam the English Channel in a relay team and completed an Ironman in Austria in 2014. I like a challenge so when I was approaching my 50th birthday, I thought, what next? And I wanted to buck the trend of ‘slowing down as I get older — and actually go faster! Something I had to put into practice in order to qualify for the GB team in the Summer of last year.
Additionally, pushing myself to the limit, learning and achieving the objectives I set myself has always been, and continues to be, an important part of my life. I have successfully run my own business and currently, I work for Pulsant as a Talent Acquisition Manager which gives me the variety and challenge that I need in a job. It’s a fantastic role as I get to recruit staff from entry level roles to senior executive posts. It is very satisfying to play such an important role in enhancing Pulsant’s knowledge and capabilities by bringing on staff with the right skill sets as we continue to grow and develop.
Having such a demanding role means I have to be incredibly organised to fit in my 10-15 hours of training each week, but, despite the lacking social life, early mornings and missing out on the pizza at work, I am loving it! Some of my colleagues think I am a little strange when I bring my bag of kettle bells and hand weights to work for a lunchtime training session, but it works for me.
I regularly get asked questions about how I can do what I do at my age, how I fit everything in and how I keep going. For me, it’s about aiming high, removing barriers and going for it. For instance, I entered my first triathlon before I even purchased a bike as it’s important to make that first step. Goals keep me going and I try to do something every day which takes me closer to them.
I already have my eyes on the target for next year. So, after I swim 1500m, cycle 40km and run 10km on 1 June, I will be training in earnest to qualify for the triathlon long distance world championships in 2020.
Wish me luck!