For example. As a teen in low rise jeans, 90’s tie-dye vest tops and bleached bits in my hair, I decided that being bar staff at the local club wasn’t quite enough, I also needed to be the only female member of our pool team, and practice until I beat my opponents in tournaments. These were always boys. Boys who wanted the ground to swallow them up when they were beaten by a girl. Tee hee.
I flippin’ hated sport as an adolescent. I would do anything to avoid wearing scratchy hocky socks on icy fields for hours on end or running cross country,panting my way along. I once got locked in the games room by the sports teacher for an entire period just for being slack. He also put me in a headlock! Ah, the pre-police state days. As a child I won sports day sprints though, perhaps there was some latent talent waiting to get some airtime again?
what’s all this running malarkey
After graduation, I moved to London and into my first house share. I lived with two boys and a girl, and one of these boys was a keeno marathoner. And Kevin Pringle was his nam-o. I was a devout gym bunny, I loved going to the gym and listening to music for hours on end. But the idea of going ‘out’ running was entirely new to me. Kevin persuaded me to join him on a snowy training run, and we ran from Angel Islington to Embankment through Farringdon, and loop back past the London eye to home. Me with a stitch the entire way. I have memories of stitches pretty much every single time, huffing and puffing, running through snow as he trained for the London Marathon, and above all – a great sense of satisfaction and I stretched out my legs with a cup of ‘brew’ (he’s from Manchester) on our crabby sharehouse sofa, in front of Celebrity Love Island featuring z-lister du jour, Calum Best. Ah the memories.
Anyway, seemingly after that I was hooked. After dabbling in a few races here n there (the first race I ever entered into was the High Wycombe Half Marathon) I got a place in the London Marathon 2008 with Asthma UK. So, I set about fundraising, and bought a pair of Nike Shox complete with the words ‘Janine’ and ‘London Marathon’ stitched into the backs. Not a gimmick at all… I wasn’t in a good place that year for it to happen. But I had raised £700, and so went back in 2009 to complete it in 4 hrs 20 secs. And that was my first taste of real challenge and tears at the finish line. (And most of the way through)
Oh that’s the other thing. I bloody love a good challenge but I can look like a bit of a wimp. I often cry when things get tough. But they are rarely ‘give up’ tears. They’re angry ‘dig deeper’ tears. Oh and I complain aswell. All of this is highly annoying. I have been told to ‘man the fuck up’ by running friends (male) on several occasions. Don’t mistake the tears for actual wimpiness though. I find a way to dig deep. It’s there. I just need to work on it…
I’ve always wanted to try it. In 2010 when I broke up with my then fiance, I left behind a home and a car. Wheel-less, I went straight to the bike shop and asked for ‘something I could do a triathlon on’. He sold me a hybrid for £200. It didn’t make it to a race which was probably just as well. Moving to Stoke Croft in 2013 did me a majestic favour, the wheels got royally nicked when i did a shit job of locking up my bike (both quick release wheels were there for the speedy taking). so i got myself a second hand mountain bike from Roll for the Soul and loved it. Cycle to work scheme allowed me to get a proper racer. And so, Chrissie the Cannondale arrived. Yes, I’m a right loser but I’ve name my bike after my inspiration. And she rode a Cannondale first too, and it’s good alliteration. Running mad, acute plantar fascitis in autumn last year came with a bang and finally pushed me into triathlon. By the time my feet were on the road to recovery, I had bigger shoulders and quads. I completed my first sprint triathlon in May 2014, and placed second lady! (Here’s me with my first ever sporting prize)
I actually performed well in all three, and to boot loved all three, or at least ‘loved’ it – at the time it was filled with all sorts of pain, except the bike part, which I found the most pleasurable, followed by the swim which would have been lovely had my goggles not kept on filling up.
ELEVEN YEARS on from that Kevin Pringle houseshare, I’ve done one marathon, seven half marathons, countless 10ks, 5ks, 10milers, one duathlon and one sprint triathlon. I feel ready to take on a challange which is going to put me through it all. Iron Woman. (Man, whatever). Honestly? Right now I don’t know deep down if I can do it. But it feels like something I need to try. And this blog is where I am going to record all my training, ups and downs, towards that goal.
So here’s goes.