Silver linings – the reason I started this blog.
Every challenge provides an opportunity.
In 2003, I started running. Ten years later, in summer 2013, I came to a limping standstill thanks to acute plantar fasciitis. After a summer of turning out PBs in 5k, 10k and half marathon, and running regularly up to 13 miles on recreational solo runs, a dark cloud descended over me. Races were cancelled, club nights were missed. I felt that life would never be the same again.
Dragging myself down to the local pool, wobbling around on a new road bike, often covered in cuts and bruises from falling off whilst learning how to be ‘clipped in’, was a poor replacement to my first love of running.
I used to wake up each morning with a rush of excitement in my belly at the thought of heading out for a session in the elements, and that post-run satisfaction and glow. Those butterflies had been replaced by at first – sheer panic, and later by a glum awareness of exactly how reliant I had becoming on my running passion. But I persevered. After a few months, a funny thing happened. I started to get over the fear of hills on my road bike and of open water swimming. I started to grow muscles in new places. I started to make new friends who are passionate about endurance sport and with interesting and amazing stories to tell.
I entered and completed my first five triathlons in summer 2014. My feet weren’t yet entirely recovered, and I was yet to endure another four months of injury thanks to Achilles tendonitis (Or more accurately thanks to a misused pair of Brooks Puredrift!) before becoming pain-free, but I didn’t allow my pesky feet to stop me. The pain of running seemed like a necessary evil for the greater good of those five triathlons. I trained in swim and cycle and for the most part, left my runners in the cupboard.
A year on, I emerged stronger, able to swim in a cold lake for 90 minutes and cycle 100 miles in one day. I learned a lot about injury, self-respect and the benefits of cross-training. I’d never take running for granted again.
I entered Ironman UK 2015. I saw the amazing four-time world Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington the very day I entered, and she signed my book saying ‘Janine, Good luck, and remember – anything truly is possible!’ I completed the race on July 19th 2015, and it was the best day ever.
Pay it Forward
The summer of those first five triathlons, I went to see Katherine Bertine’s amazing documentary Half the Road at the Bristol Cycle Festival. This was passionately introduced by Chrissie. I couldn’t believe how very little I knew about the inequality in pro cycling whereby, a pro man earns five figures whilst a pro woman wins only enough to buy a teapot. Thanks to the tireless work of Chrissie, Katherine and others; this is slowly changing, as women’s races gain more coverage and women are given races.
Chrissie Wellington had a very clear message that day – Pay it forward. It struck a chord with me, and so I thought, instead of doing all this quietly, why not talk about it?
And thus, Triathlove is a collective of my triathlon experiences and features about women who tri.