Hi I’m Zoe – Lover of life, friends, family & fun. I enjoy triathlon, travel, my dogs, snowboarding/surfing, shooting and the great outdoors.
This blog started as a focus on the journey to my first ironman, but will include other parts of life as they pop up or interfere with my ironman training!
I can SWIM, I always SWEAT buckets and I have lots of GEAR to help me train and of course gears on my bike to haul my mass up those hills.
I am not a natural athlete and really not a lover of running as I find it the hardest of the three triathlon sports. However I have managed to get my chunky legs and curly locks through sprint to middle distance/70.3 triathlons. I have gradually moved up the age group rankings to a heady heights of a 3rd place at Bristol Tri.
Having completed 3 marathons – London ’11 / Loch Ness ’12 / London ’13 and Challenge Henley Half triathlon ’13 I decided to go for the Big One in Bolton – ironmanUK in 2014
I was a swimmer in my teens and always owned a bike but didn’t start running until my 4th decade. Putting all three sports together I seem to be better suited to longer distances, endurance over speed for me, diesel rather than rocket fuel in this old engine.
I love a challenge ! but not all goes as smoothly as I’d like. Below is my ‘Your Story’ that was printed in Women’s Running Magazine, October 2011: UPDATED 2016
With a family of heart disease and my 40th approaching I decided I needed to be fitter. A serious lifestyle makeover was required as I’d spent the last 10 years sitting around in offices, airplanes and cars.
Running seemed the simplest and most accessible activity I could do at home or away with work. I started off puffing my way through 2 minutes then gradually ticked off key landmarks – first 20 minutes nonstop on treadmill, the others in that Chicago hotel gym must have though mad limey lady as I celebrated !, Race for Life 5k, a lonely 10k when I came last, adventure races then Cardiff half marathon.
After a few years running I realised that longer distances or endurance events suited me best, I was getting fitter, lost a couple of stone and enjoying the fitness running had given me.
Having been a school swimmer and owned a bike a friend suggested triathlon as they would be great cross training for running.
However my luck seemed to run out and I soon earned the nickname Little Miss Calamity.
The first of my ‘calamities’ occurred one a chilly autumn morning doing a rural route along briddle paths three large dogs emerged from a farm and charged me. Pinned up against the fence I turned to climb over then felt a piercing pain as fangs sunk into me. Required a tetanus and wound clean at doctors. I still have three puncture marks in my bum today.
Took me a month before being brave enough to get off the treadmill and back outside. However I realised I couldn’t do all my marathon training indoors.
I ran the wrong way from transition in an aquathon so 5k turned into 8k, ran in a triathlon still wearing my bike helmet and at Blenheim triathlon I tripped on the carpet taking 6 bikes off the rack as I crashed in to them. A village clean-up took my carefully placed water bottles set out for a 20 miler.
This years London marathon I lost a tooth and shoe at mile 15 when tripped. The mad woman appeared again shouting “I’ve lost my shoe”. Seven minutes later it was found soaked in amongst the discarded bottles. I set off to complete the marathon with a pain in my thigh and tasting blood. My tooth broke cleanly above the gum and my tongue was being cut as I ran. Running between water stations as I didn’t want to have lightening strike twice, I got to mile 20 then the crowds drowned out the ipod and lifted me to run nonstop to the finish. Still smiling!
I have now completed two ironman distance races 140.6miles of swimming, cycling & running a marathon.
Of course these didn’t go to plan ! I trained hard for both events and was the fittest an fastest I had been for years. I was ready for these events.
What I didn’t expect was two bizarre incidents that affected me on race day, neither could have been predicted, planned against or made up !
ironman Bolton 2014 – I sustained two cracked ribs in the swim from a karate kick from a back marker I was passing. I carried on and finished.
Outlaw 2016 – I had my first ever asthma attack and ended up walking the last 12 miles unable to breath properly. I carried on and finished. Seems my only ability is not to quit.
2017 was third time lucky at 140.6miles
ironman Hamburg – I got a PB by 30 minutes ! Happy days.
Asthma did try to ruin my day, I got cold during a couple of heavy rain showers on the bike then over stepped the mark on my inhalers, 12 hour inhalers need to be taken every 12 hours at least !
Even with my various mishaps I am still running whether it be for training, an event, running with my dog or friends. Running fitness has changed my life for the good and I hope I can keep my genetic bad hand at bay for a good few more decades, although I hope to have less mishaps (famous last words!).