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  • Writer's pictureLeanne Fullwood

Don't drown, don't fall, don't walk- just Tri

Updated: Mar 8, 2019

Ultimate Tri Half Ironman - June 2018
Ultimate Tri Half Ironman - June 2018

So here lies the start of my triathlon journey.

As a teenager, I was profoundly unfit and quite overweight and DEFINITELY not a fan of sports. I went to college in Suffolk and studies a BTEC National Diploma in Public Services and became quite interested in joining the Royal Navy. One of the few things I did as a child was go to Sea Cadets, which gave me a little spark of interest in the service. I had an interview at the local careers office and the lovely careers advisor politely Suggested I might need to lose some weight and start going to the gym.... I lost three stone (following a well known diet programme) and took up an aerobics class a Wednesday. The fact that I used to use it as an a excuse to visit the local "Golden Arches" on my way home was neither here nor there....

I got a bit of a shock when I went to practice my first attempt at the fitness test. A timed mile and half run and I had 14 mins 35 seconds to do it in. I started the treadmill up, got to a jog, then a Run and managed to sustain the required running pace for all of 0.3 miles before I came off the back of the treadmill and had a sharp wake up call.

Thankfully, I passed (by the absolute skin of my teeth) and I knew I had some serious work to do. I still didn't do it. A year later, I had to re take the test and it was just as hard. Now something really did need to give. I followed an training plan and set out to be the fittest I possibly could be for my Phase 1 training.

And it worked.

I trained with my dad, sets all goals and gradually started to see everything improving. I was happy, healthy, fitter than ever before and couldn't wait to take on the next challenge. I was one of the fittest girls in my training entry and continued going from strength to strength.

I left training and commenced my Nursing degree at Birmingham City University and here I found my love for running. Thanks to my good friend Erin, who used to drag me out (and literally ran circles around me) I eventually plucked up the courage to run the Birmingham Half Marathon. I wasn't particularly well prepared. I wasn't particularly fast. But I was hooked.

I was running 25 miles a week, completed so many running races I lost count and ran the London Marathon twice for charity, setting my PB the second time round of 3 hrs 52 mins. I took part in numerous endurance and charity events with my university and military friends through those years- it just kept getting better.

Fast forward several years and I met Mark in 2013 (he's now my husband) who had been competing in triathlons for several years having been a brilliant swimmer and footballer in his younger years. I figured if he was training, I may as well train with him and I bought my first road bike. My Giant TCR- it is still my trusty steed to this day and has seen me ride 100's (maybe even a few 1000 miles). As expected, learning to ride in cleats wasn‘t always straightforward. I had three pretty epic falls- one straight into a bush outside my flat (clipped in but forgot to push off forward- rookie mistake). One at a major set of traffic lights (naturally I fell into the road with oncoming traffic and plenty of cars around). Then coming pretty rapid down a hill in Birmingham, Mark signalled quite late to turn right so I stopped sharpish and turned but in completely the wrong gear and so down I went. If you never fall, you'll never learn. Thankfully I've been just fine ever since!

My battle with swimming was the biggest (that's for another blog post) but eventually I conquered it (to en extent) and entered my first triathlon. The Royal Air Force hosted some "Try a Tri" novice triathlons to encourage people into the sport and it did exactly that. I was in a tri suit I'd borrowed from my mother in law, didn't have a clue about transitions and I'd done 1 'brick' session (of sorts) before the day. I had to Swim 3 lengths front crawl and 1 breast stroke as I still couldn't do a continuous 400m Swim. Managed to get on the bike and complete the 20km without any major mishaps and the Run was.... uncomfortable! But I finished.

And that was just the beginning....

Triathlon has challenged me, tested my abilities and belief in myself and filled my life with friends and family who share the same love and passion for the sport. The main point is that it’s FUN. I wouldn’t freely pay put the sort of money involved in triathlon if it made

me miserable! I genuinely love it!

I‘ve done a fair whack of stuff since then and I’ll use my blog to share my story and hopefully resonate with many people on their triathlon journeys or maybe even inspire someone to begin their own.... who knows?

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