I have been fit and participated in sport all my life. As a youngster I was a good all rounder and competed in swimming and athletics. I played tennis and hockey to a high standard. With adulthood came other challenges – mainly my wonderful children. I still managed to retain some fitness through the successive pregnancies. I did 2 seasons of triathlon in 1900 and 1991 after which I had my youngest child. With 4 children triathlon was on hold and I just ran and ran and ran until they were all grown up.
In 1998 I did my marathon pb of 3h 12m in Paris when I was 42.
I was lucky enough to enjoy running long distance events well into my 50’s. However, the running really began to take a toll on my ageing body and my knees were becoming very sore. I had had a brief brush with cycling when I did that couple of years of triathlon in the early 1990’s but although my old 531 Ribble racer was still around, it had gathered a lot of dust and was lucky to make it through the clear out before moving to the beach in 2010. Jason at Auto-Bitz in Bridport sorted out the old Ribble so I was able to tackle the West Dorset hills.
I soon realised that speed was not going to be my focus and I began to enjoy long rides up to 200km. I joined Audax UK in 2011. I ride some Calendar events mainly up to 200km. In addition to this I do the AAARTY challenge which just means I do a hilly ride of over 50km every month. Time flies and I have been doing this for over 5 years now! In 2018 I have also been doing the RRTY challenge which is a 200km ride every month. The Dorset weather in 2018 has been dry and sunny and this has encouraged me to extend the distance of the long rides to over 300km. I surprised myself!
In 2013 I also made a return to triathlon inspired by my 3rd daughter Kathryn who had become a very good athlete. In my late 50’s I had lost a lot of speed but I still had great endurance. I found I could do a half Ironman, or 70.3, quite easily. In 2015 Kathryn did an Ironman so I decided that was a super challenge for my 60th year. I trained really hard throughout 2015 for the September event. I completed the full Ironman successfully but it was the hardest thing I have ever done.
I was 60 at the end of 2015. In April 2016 I did the London Marathon for one last time – achieving the ‘good for age’ time – though now of course over an hour slower than my PB of 18 years earlier.
In 2016 I trained for the very challenging Exmoor 70.3 Ironman at Wimbleball Lake. I really enjoyed this one and achieved times which gave me GB age group status and a place at the World Championships.
At this point I decided enough was enough and I think I have retired from competition.
To date, I still train like a triathlete. I know I will not do another full Ironman but I occasionally think I will do another Ironman 70.3.
I am fortunate to live in a beautiful area that has challenging cycling. The countryside is great for running and the sea is at the end of the road.
My husband supports me in my endeavours and increasingly accompanies me on the bike. I also have a great bunch of friends who I swim, bike and run with.
Ageing brings its challenges. I now run a lot less than I used to as it is very harsh on my body. I am losing speed and strength but possibly gaining endurance on the bike. I love riding my bike and have had some really great rides this year: long rides on the road: exciting rides on the mountain bikes, and a lovely tour in France with my husband.
I try to swim several times a week both in the pool and in the sea. I try to keep up the important stuff that keeps the rest going – yoga, strength training in the gym and also the intention of intervals and circuit training to try to curb the loss of speed and strength.
Next up is Coast to Coast, St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay on Mountain Bikes very soon with my husband.
More adventures ahead – I’m going to be a Grandma!