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Better late than never..

By Lori Westcott – Wednesday, 19 October 2016

They say you should never have any regrets in life because at that moment in time it was exactly what you wanted.. however, it plays on my mind that I should have done my first triathlon years ago. I guess better now than later or never at all! Maybe I am more focused than I would have been 10 years ago, starting this journey relatively late makes me even more determined.
This background picture (see original post here) really sums up where my real triathlon training began, and when I really thought ‘I want to be good at this sport’. This was taken at Worthing Olympic at the end of August. I had previously a few weeks earlier joined Team Dillon but due to a slight ankle injury and being on holiday, the real training hadn’t really started. My legs died at the end of the run & I hated the feeling of finishing a race thinking; I could have done more. Also, I couldn’t stand the fact that after coming out of the water near the front, every few minutes someone would overtake me on the bike. It became a bit of a running joke that my parents and friends would ask me after each race, ‘did you pass anyone this time?!’ Nope! I never passed anyone. This has become my driving force to train hard and give it all I’ve got in the hard and key training sessions, to ensure in the next race, no-one would pass me.
I stumbled across Team Dillon at Windsor Triathlon in June this year.  I have always been envious of the pros and what they do to become so good. How do they train? What do they eat? What makes them an elite athlete? So I hung around at the end to see them finish the run. I noticed Emma and Stuart of Team Dillon on the podium. Not thinking much about it… they then happened to be on the same flight as me to Budapest. It felt a bit like fate! At the start of the year I needed a new challenge, so signed up to Budapest 70.3.. with little knowledge of anything to do with triathlons (I had only done a handful of races previously). I did a bit of training, blasted the heat and finished it in what I thought was a reasonable time. I had the bug. After discovering Emma had finished 2nd in the race, I contacted Michelle as soon as I was home. I needed to be part of this team. I knew I had the drive and commitment to give triathlons a good shot, I just needed a lot of help and a supportive coaching team to help me! (Thank you Michelle for having me!)

As a PE teacher in a top private school, my year has always been broken down into thirds, one for each of the three school terms. Term one starting in September. So after Worthing Triathlon, in my head my first block of training was going to be in two parts from September to December, with a two week half term in the middle. I knew if I could get to October with no injuries or illnesses and my body could adapt to working 8-12 hour days, Monday to Saturday and training up to 15 hours a week, I knew I would have a good chance of giving this sport a good crack (once I discovered what a turbo was lol!). My first tri during this block of training was Thorpe Park Sprint, mid September. I had done this course in June in 1.32, so knew the route and having grown up in Chertsey, I knew the roads inside out. I was determined to not let anyone pass me on the bike!! 3rd out the swim, 3rd on the bike in to 2nd transition (yes no woman had overtaken!), my legs felt good considering we had only done a couple of brick sessions, I overtook second place on the start of the run (after wasting 45 seconds putting socks on!), but she had a stronger finish and pipped me at the end. My first podium, 3rd overall and 1st in my age category and a 1.15 finish, a 17 minute pb from 3 months earlier and a 21 minute 5k! This result was all down to Emma! I followed the training programme she gave me to the T, didn’t miss a session and it had paid off.  I am not one to get to excited by a good result (even if it was a confidence booster), so was back training the next day. In sport you’re only as good as your last result… so I am even more determined to become fitter, stronger and quicker, in all three disciplines and continue to try and become the best athlete I can be.

So I have made it through to October half term (excited to have two weeks off to train like a pro and take mid day naps!! What else would I want to do with my time off?!)… apart from a slight knee niggle and a small cold, I have loved every minute of my first proper two months of training. I also discovered I don’t do very well with freezing non-wetsuit open water swims! (We won’t be doing that one again ha!). Emma and I have made a couple of goals (dream big!) and set some races for 2017.. I’m excited already (these are on my wall, in front of my turbo, along with the picture below!). She has helped me so much in such a short period of time, from pushing me to go on long cycles, to making me rest when I’ve had a hard week, to answering the million questions I always have!! Mentally, it makes the hard training weeks so much easier knowing she is there if I need her! I hope next year I can make her proud and hit those goals 🙂

My life has significantly changed in the last couple of months, I eat better, sleep better or more even, yes have probably made a few small sacrifices, however, I love it and can’t wait to get stuck in to the next 2 months of training! Bring on 2017!!!!! x x