From suffering a lung disease to a Half-Ironman Hero, it’s easy to see why Bod is our June athlete of the month! Read on to find out more.
Why did you decide to sign up for Staffordshire 70.3?
I was looking for a new challenge. I started running a few years ago to improve my health and fitness as I was diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), a lung disease that restricts airflow. The running helped improve my lung capacity. When I started running I was very happy with my 10k’s and quickly moved to halves; the ultimate challenge then was to do a Marathon – last year I ticked that off the list. As my fitness level improved I looked for a new challenge and because I enjoyed the occasional bike ride and a bit of swimming it seemed a Tri was a good idea. Getting married this year I thought training for this would keep me busy, stop me spending money and help lose my belly to fit into a slim fit shirt. My training partner Bambi signed up for Bolton Ironman but I wasn’t quite ready to take on the full – I wasn’t sure I would have the spare time to train around work so I took on the half.
What was your previous triathlon experience? Were you from a swim/bike/run background?
I had no previous experience other than the running. I hadn’t really ridden any further than 10 miles on a bike, that was generally a leisurely Sunday ride stopping at a pub along the way. Swimming was the same, I could do about 25 lengths but that was a slow breaststroke. I could front crawl for a few lengths but not with my face in the water.
What did you love and hate about the training?
I enjoyed the sense of achievement with the training as I got better and started to see the miles stack up on the bike, breaking 50 miles then 100 miles felt really good. I do enjoy to be out in the countryside, I enjoyed the sunny Sunday rides taking in the scenery and visiting different towns for a coffee & cake stop. The swimming got boring in the pool but I have really started to enjoy the open water; I find I can zone out and forget about the stress of work. Running I have always enjoyed, taking in the scenery zoning out listening to music. The things I didn’t like was trying to fit it all in, I loosely followed Don Fink training plan and this meant I had to train a lot, my general plan was as follows
Monday – Half hour PT
Tuesday Hour run, hour swim
Wednesday, hour run or bike
Thursday Hour bike, hour swim
Saturday 1 to 2 hour run plus I added open water swim
Sunday long bike ride 3 to 5 hours
Fitting this in around work for 16 weeks was hard. I travel an hour to work and generally get in the car at 6am and home 6.30pm with two hours of training that generally left me enough time to eat, shower and back to bed. The same with the weekends, losing the weekend to training meant I didn’t get much time to spend with Katrina or friends and struggled to get jobs done around the house.
How did Tri Energy help with your preparations?
Tri energy helped because I was always worried I was no where near fit enough! Joining and seeing others at all different levels gave me the confidence I could do it. Everyone starts somewhere and the group helping each other answering questions and giving info on events is great. The Strava group is great to, it allows you to see what others are doing and when you have to get up for a run at 4.30am gives you a little push to get out of bed when you know others are out training long hours. Having swimming lessons with Tri Energy was also a great help, it gave me some real direction of where to improve. Being a self taught swimmer meant that having a plan to follow put me in good stead, on the day I knocked 10 mins off my general time.
And what about the big day itself. Did it all go to plan?
The day really went well and the training paid off! I was nervous but soon as I jumped in the water I got in the zone quickly and smashed the swim compared to training. T1 I got a little lost (I had T2 in my mind) and couldn’t find my transition bag for a while. The bike went well and I was happy with my time. I tried to save my legs so I know I could have pushed a little more on the bike – I will know this for next time!! I struggled on the run but I know that was down to the heat on the day. I struggle with hot runs and after being on the bike and getting a good breeze I got hot quickly! But even with a bad run I hit my target of 7 hours! I was happy to finish before the 8.30 hour cut off but had 7 hours in my mind. The support on the day was amazing from all the locals and of course friends and loved ones who came to support me, it was a great feeling crossing the line.
And finally…what’s next? Have you got the bug?
Not sure what’s next yet but yes I will definitely plan more. (He just has the small event of a wedding first! Good luck with your continuing adventure Bod, we think you’re ace!)