Some People know me as Tim the Fish but to my friends Timmy or preferably Tim. I am currently on a 3-year journey and have just completed my first Ironman 70.3 race in Nice and would like to share my experiences with you.
My journey started quite a few years ago when I was a member of Rowton Castle country club. My typical evening of training was back to back spin classes followed by circuit training, 3 hours of training twice a week. Oh and squash afterwards and swimming after that which meant I was super fit and did everything at 100% (otherwise known as RPE 10). How wrong can a person be? I wondered why I never lost weight, ate too much and was always tired. Rest days were for wimps. I loved swimming and spinning classes and made some lifelong friends in the process, but something was missing. But little did I know what lay ahead.
Then I met Sam Mountain at the tri club. Well actually I sort of new Sam from spin classes and was introduced to the mad sport of triathlon ‘Swim-Bike’ oh and run. Easy I thought don’t know what all the fuss is about, I thought I would be the next world champ. This is when my Ironman journey began.
Now I’m going to introduce The Timmy Train to you. A word of warning to all budding cyclist out there. Going down a side of a mountain overtaking your fellow cyclists saying here comes the Timmy train “choo choo” at the top of your voice whilst approaching a sharp bend basking in your own glory can only lead to one thing. Lets just say I left a piece of me in Lanzarote that year and the scars a still visible.
Oh well let’s move on a life lesson learnt. Well nearly.
I entered my first Triathlon in the September and I was bitten by the whole experience. I didn’t win it “surprise surprise” but did have a big smile on my face. The next 12 months passed in a haze and slowly learnt that I didn’t know it all, I wasn’t world champ and doing everything at a 100miles an hour wasn’t a smart way to train.
Enter Sam Mountain and Amphibian Triathlon Coaching if I was going to improve and not try and kill myself I needed a coach and quickly.
Now not everyone wants a coach or indeed can afford one, but I was now on a journey heading towards the Ironman 70.3 event in Nice and I wanted to do the best I could and more importantly be fit and enjoy the experience. So the journey began to get rid of the Timmy Train once and for all. So enter words like ‘control, and ‘zone 2’, hours and hours and hours of zone 2 running. I swear I could skip faster than I was running.
Focus Tim you don’t know it all. (Can’t believe I just said that)
So now it’s November and I’m now being coached and I’m like a sponge learning how to train correctly. No more Timmy Train for me.
Enter Tim The fish, I was and still am a model athlete always do as I’m told, listen, take advice and most importantly never play jokes on anyone. Right well let’s just say what goes on Tour stays on Tour.
That brings me to why I do triathlon, well there must be a bloody good reason and you have to be nuts to do it. Life long friendships, laughter and life memories are what it’s all about. I can honestly say I can not imagine life without triathlon and the friends I have made and of course my family.
Right back to my Journey my first Ironman 70.3 is fast approaching and all the training done. I’m excited, nervous but more importantly I’m ready. Now I’m not an emotional person and thought I was prepared for what lay ahead. I’m now making my way to swim start still laughing and joking but slowly but surely the sense of occasion was enveloping me. I’m in start position pen 30-32 min swim time feeling ok .I look around and then I’m hit with the emotions of it all. A tear in my eye and goose bumps, Wow now it’s real let the race begin.
A running start into the sea and we are off. Now I’m not making excuses but who ordered the tide to be coming in and sea temperatures to be more like a Hot tub, but oh well best get on with it. 38 minutes later and land ahoy, I run up the ramp and am met with 100s of smiling cheering faces. What a noise and a rush .
Time for T1 and the bike. It nearly goes to plan, almost forgot to put my race belt on “ops” A guardian angel Annica shouts and reminds me, phew that would have been fun running back to get it. So I’m now on the bike and heading out. I’m feeling strong and have a big smile on my face. Well that didn’t last long I meet with a very very steep climb!
2 hours later and I’m at the top of it, 1400m of climbing and I’m now on the decent. Now enter the word that Sam has imprinted on my brain Control, control and more control.
No Timmy Train on the decent and I’m now on the flat having just experienced the most amazing decent and views, 10k to go of flat roads. Easy yes. ‘Urm’ no enter the coastal breeze and 28c temps and a couple of Americans who were intent on trying to play bumper cars. Now time to focus the dismount line is now insight. A flying dismount performed to perfection, well not quite. Must remember when you a following one of the 2 Americans expect the unexpected he slams his brakes on 10 metres before the line and veers into my line .He will remember me for a while as he has a wheel imprinted on his back side. Well at least I had a cushioned stop.
Now only a short run at the seaside left easy I hear you say. Well no, nothing about Ironman 70.3 is easy and that finishers ‘T’ shirt and medal oh and the £200 I spent in the shop before the race was going to give it up without a fight. I now start the 13.1 mile run and Omg the heat hits you after a few miles and you then realize something has to give.
Now I know Sam will now be on the course, he’s like a ninja. You are never sure where he will pop up but I know he will at some point but I just need to focus on staying alive oops I mean strong. Sure enough just as I hit the wall I hear his voice ”come on Tim time to pick up the pace”. That did it, time to man up and the end of the race was insight. Surprisingly I’m now feeling good and the smile is trying to appear It’s time to look good for the finish line Photo. Sunglasses on, chest out , knees high (stuff that just get me there) As I’m approaching the noise is getting louder the crowds are larger and the smile returns to my face. I DID IT and the rest as they say is history.
Well nearly because it’s not history, it’s amazing and an experience only a small few get to achieve. Now us triathletes all have our own reasons for why we do this mad sport. I’m truly proud and elated to join the list of achievers.
My advice to anyone thinking of doing Triathlon is simple. If you want to make new friends, enjoy an all-inclusive sport. Be fitter and stronger than you ever could imagine and smile and laugh a lot, then SYTri (Shrewsbury Triathlon) is the club to join and triathlon is your sport. If you like me want to go down the road of being coached then take a look at www.amphibiantriathloncoaching.com
So how did I get into Triathlon? Thats what most of my friends and Family ask me.
It all started back in March 2016 when I got on a plane to Majorca to watch Dan take part in Ironman Mallorca 70.3. This is also where I met Sam Mountain and this was going to be an experience that both Sam and I wouldn’t forget.
I have a lot of confidence issues over the last few years for many of personal reasons, so sitting round the dinner table with a bunch of Triathletes was very intimidating. Yes I’ve ran the London Marathon twice but it was all in the aid of charity and took me over 6 1/2 hours. I wasn’t the greatest runner and nor was I ever going to be but the same bunch of Triathletes on this trip made me realise that I could do anything I wanted to with a bit of hard work. It was great listening to stories about how they all got into triathlon.
All of these people I can happily say are now my friends and have made many more along the way…….. but this is what SYTRI is all about, a friendly and social club that you can enjoy, make friends and make memories
So my journey with SYTRI Began!
Shortly after arriving back in the UK I had received my 12 week training plan for the Great North Run from Sam. Now remember me saying I’ve done a marathon? I might have the medal for it but I certainly didn’t run it all. I could just about run 10K and the rest was run/walk.
This was my chance to prove that I’m a somebody, but before I could do that, I needed to prove it to myself.
I worked hard over the 12 weeks and with Dan helping me along the way, before I knew it race day was here.
It was a hot day and with 55,000 people taking part it was going to be a long day……. but once I got going, I found my pace and went for it. I managed to get a 6 minute Personal Best but best of all I managed to run the whole 13.1 miles without stopping.
So Whats next! I know, lets put in for a Triathlon. Dan believed in me and so did SYTRI. so I put in for Salford Sprint Triathlon July 2017.
Hang on! What am I doing? I can barely swim and I haven’t rode a bike since I were 13 (ha ha I bet your trying to work out how long ago that was)
I had all of this training to do as well as a full time job that included shifts and a full time mom to Joshua
So this is when I joined Amphibian Triathlon Coaching and Tina Peck became my coach. Bless her I don’t think she realised what she let herself in for. She soon realised that I liked to spring races on her that I had entered last minute.
We started the training in January which would give us enough time to to gain confidence in all 3 disciplines, well 4 if you want to include transition, I mean that deserves a medal in itself.
So we started off with a GoTri Aquathlon which was a 200m swim and a 2.5K Run, then 4 weeks later the distance was doubled by doing Darwins Challenge (that last hill still hurts. Thanks Jo Pike for recommending that while we were in Majorca). At the same time I was learning to ride a road bike and had entered a 40K sportive in Chester to gain road confidence. Plus i was still running and managed to get a 3 minutes PB on my 10K at Market Drayton.
Sophie at SW Sports massage and rehab and a fellow triathlete was always on standby to give me fresh legs when I needed them.
The last and final challenge I had to face before race day was putting on a wetsuit and do open water swimming but after a couple of sessions I was happily swimming around Walford Lake.
By the time Salford Triathlon neared I knew I was able to complete the swim, bike and run individually but having to put them altogether was going to be a challenge and with a week to go, race day nerves kicked in, it also didn’t help to see that Tina was in the same wave as me……… Yes thats right! my triathlon coach.
However thanks to the support of Dan, Tina, Sam and the everyone from the club I managed to get to the start line raring to go – once the race started the doubts vanished and there was no stopping me!
I remember coming out of the swim to see Stephen Peck with a smile and shouted at me to look right. I had come out of the swim in front of many other from my wave. As I was running to transition, I saw some of the SYTRI team who had raced earlier were cheering me on, even Dan had time to blow kisses at me while he was crossing the finish line. The technical bike course went well, even avoiding a lorry blocking the course at one point! The run was to be the hardest part, with lots of twists and turns making it difficult to get into a good rhythm but I persevered and a few high 5s from other members of the club really did helped. However the best and the most rewarding part was when i turned onto the finishing straight, there was massive cheers from Dan and SYtri club members. They had all waited for me.
OK I don’t have time to cry…….. I still need to cross the finish line. That is very much a moment I will NEVER forget.
Now where is the Champagne!
After achieving all that, I went on to complete Nantwich Sprint Tri 2 weeks later and Shrewsbury Tri (a river swim) not long after that. After a very much needed holiday, I went to run the Birmingham Marathon with Dan in the October and gaining another PB. This was Dans first Marathon. With him by my side and the training plans I got from Tina I managed to run the first 21 miles before I had to run/walk the rest of the way to the finish line.
After having a wonderful and rewarding first year with SYTRI, it was soon to be made even better by being voted the Best Newcomer of 2017 by many of the club members.
When people say SYTRI is a friendly club, It is 100% true. It is now apart of me for the rest of my life…… well it has to be as I have the club logo tattooed on my shoulder.
Bring on 2018!
Activator Award for Young People (14-17 years of age)
Are you interested in gaining skills and confidence to lead and assist in the delivery of your club’s training sessions?
If so, British Triathlon’s Activator Award for Young People could be right for you – a course is planned for Saturday 24th March 2018, venue to be confirmed, and you need to be a member of British Triathlon to take part.
Young Activators will develop the skills to:
- Assist a coach with the set up and running of club activities.
- Lead sessions under the supervision of a coach or PE teacher. This might involve helping to organise an activity within a session i.e a transition skills challenge, leading the warm-up/warm down, splitting athletes into groups in preparation for the session.
- Assist in wider club or school triathlon activities such as volunteering or helping to organise GO TRI events or other competitions.
For further information see the BTF website. If you are interested in attending the course on the 24th March, please email the club at firstname.lastname@example.org with your BTF number to register your interest.
Since last year’s successful BTF Skills School, held in collaberation with SYtri, British Triathlon have organised 2 more skills school in Shropshire this year – those who came to the cycle focused day last year will know how good these sessions can be!
Skills School will be held on the following dates:
Saturday 24 March 2018 at Oswestry Leisure Centre for a swim based Skills School day. £15
Sunday 1 April 2018 at Shrewsbury Sports Village for a cycle focused day. £10
NB: The sessions are for juniors aged 9-16.
For more information go to the BTF website.
Watch this space – entries for the 2018 Shrewsbury Triathlon & Quadrathlon will be opening in the New Year…
As the end of my A levels where looming this meant that the triathlon season was finally getting into full swing. On Thursday the 22nd June I finished my last exam and went straight to the airport which was a little bit of a rush but adds to all the excitement. We arrived in Dusseldorf, Germany late Thursday night giving me Friday and Saturday to familiarise myself with the course and to register. As with larger races we racked our bikes the night before as many keen cyclists may know this can be a daunting time as normally your bike is wrapped up in a blanket in the comfort of your home but for one night I’m sure it was fine. As most nights before a race the major carb load was on and I filled my boots with plenty of pasta and had an early night ready for race day on Sunday.
After managing to get a good night’s sleep I woke up on race day with a mixture of nerves and excitement but as soon as I pulled on the Great Britain kit for the first time I was absolutely buzzing and ready to race. As I walked across to transition there was a brilliant atmosphere, I placed my cycling shoes onto my bike and attached them in place with my elastic bands, placed my helmet on the bars and put my running shoes next to my bike filled with talc so that they can just be slipped on.
As the temperature of the water was hot enough to not wear I wetsuit I chose not to as the run from the swim to transition was about 600m so I thought that not wearing a wetsuit would save time and it was the right decision. When we were given the signal we all jumped off the pontoon into the water and then held on waiting for the claxon for the mass start. I always think that this is the tensest moments of the race, as everyone finally falls silent and everyone is in their ‘race mode’. As the swim started I felt really relaxed and held the pace which I wanted too which resulted in me having a very good swim which put me in a good position for the rest of the race. The exit from the swim was up a flight of stairs which isn’t the easiest straight out of the swim with jelly legs but when I finally reached the top I took off my hat and goggles and started the long run to my bike. Once I was finally in transition I placed my hat and goggles in the box provided, quickly put on my helmet and headed off on the bike.
So far all was going well. I headed out on the bike course feeling good however what was to happen next was not what I planned! I knew that this was a very technical bike course before I set out but what we didn’t realise that when we were in the swim it had rained which made the bike course quite slippery. I took the first few corners carefully but unluckily on one of the corners heading out of the town to go out over the bridge my rear wheel slipped from underneath me and there was only one way I was going and that was down with my bike still attached! It skidded across the floor but I wasn’t going to give up at this point, I’d been waiting and training for a year for this race and this wasn’t going to stop me from carrying on. So I got up knocked my handle bar hoods back into place and carried on. As I looked down I could see a few grazes and blood but at this point I wasn’t in pain as the adrenaline had taken over.
I carried on and was seeing quite a few people in the same state in which I was which ensured me that it wasn’t just my clumsy self that made my come off but that this course was causing a lot of problems for the other competitors as well.
As I got to the end of the 20km bike I dismounted and headed back into transition to rack my bike and get my running shoes on. I headed out on the run feeling quite good and managed to gain a bit of time back which I lost on the bike and managed to finish 9th which I was happy with as I aimed for a top 10 . After I finished the pain then started to set in , I was shown to a first aid tent where I was checked over and thankfully I had no broken ribs just soft tissue damage and a lot of bruises but as this was my first time representing Great Britain it was an amazing experience which could never be replaced. My first European championships where the best racing experience which I ever had and hopefully the Europeans next year in Scotland will go a bit better for me.
Amphibian offers discount to current SYtri members on the following services.
- Bespoke training plans
- 1 to 1 Coaching.
- Freestyle Video Swim Analysis.
- Blood Lactate Testing
- Training & Race Nutrition Advice.
Ever wondered what our Friday night swim sessions are all about, take a look at this short video of one of the sessions taken by head swim coach Neil Potts to get an idea whats involved.[evp_embed_video url=”https://www.sytri.org/wp-content/video/coached_swim.mp4″ ratio=”0.540″]