I am 44. I am married to Paul (he’s just turned 43 and very pleased about how much younger than me he is) and we have two children – Jamie who is 14 and Holly, nearly 12. Oh and Lola our cute but intellectually challenged labradoodle. Paul and I are both doctors – I’m a consultant Medical Oncologist at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre (I specialise in urological malignancies and the majority of my patients have incurable prostate cancer) and Paul is an Upper GI surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Glasgow. I mention this only as it may come up from time to time in relation to certain constraints we have for example with regards to training (time wise) and also I think what we do and see every day can very much influence how we approach our lives in general.
Having completed my ‘year of running’ for charity in May 2015, which culminated in the Edinburgh Marathon (in a fantastically slow time of just over 5 hours where I finished with most of the runners in fancy dress), I then took part in a charity cycle from the Beatson in Glasgow to the Isle of Skye. I was on a borrowed road bike, which I’d been on only a handful of times prior to the event which took place in September 2015, but having got these two feats under my belt, the natural progression seemed to be to attempt a triathlon. By this time (winter 2015/16) Jamie and Holly were already members of Glasgow Triathlon Club youth section which had been recommended to us by my sister Catriona. We took the plunge (literally) and joined too, and so started our journey which seems to be leading us now far further than we ever imagined.
I did my first ever triathlon on the Island of Bute in May 2016. It was a novice distance event (see Triathlons Explained) with a pool swim, on a beautiful sunny day in glorious surroundings and seemed to go very well. Indeed I came second female veteran. I should point out there were only 4 female vets in the race. And I have never been on the podium since. But that was me hooked. Since then we have taken part in many races, all over Scotland and the great things is, as we all do it, it has given us something to continue to do together as a family. We’ve even got a caravan now to avoid the early starts on race days, and often make a weekend of it.
I would say that out of all of us, I remain the least accomplished. I am resolutely slow at each of the three disciplines (most people have at least one strength in triathlon where they can make up time for their slower discipline but I get progressively worse as the race progresses). When we look at race results, I start at the bottom and work backwards to find myself and regard it a small victory if I am not last. (I have a friend at work who once told me that in her (tremendously successful) triathlon family, if you’re not first, you’re last. Well in our house, if you’re not last, you’re first).
That all said, I think I’ve probably never been fitter, although I couple that with the fact that as I hurtle towards middle age I’ve also probably never been sorer or more aware of the increasing likelihood of injury. And having never before really paid much attention to proper training plans or conditioning, I think it might be about to get serious……