About Tom the Triathlete

My first race....

I did a little swimming when I was young, younger than 12, not that I could be considered "a swimmer" in the usual sense of the word...

.......I don't even have a proper trophy....

At school I played rugby on the wing and wasn't too bad...until everyone got bigger than me, then it was no fun. I also did a bit of track running over 100m and 400m hurdles and I am still pretty hany in a sprint finish. I think I just did my first triathlon for a challenge, at 18, two weeks after my A-levels...

Scarborough Triathlon

So I was at an all time low in physical fitness when I ran into the North Sea at 8am on a July morning for a 1500m swim. I don't know if it was because I hadn't swim 1500m before, the fact the North Sea was a bit choppy, or the fact that it was the North Sea, but shortly after leaving the sea I threw up a few times....nice

First corner on the bike I lost the twix bars that I had taped to my top tube....as if I was going to waste time picking them up. The bike was understandably hard and a very hilly 10km even harder still but I survived, job done.

I think this sets the scene nicely for my style of racing; rarely do I make it easy for myself but I will always get it done.....

My hardest race....

2008 was my first season trying to make it as a pro so the pressure was on. After a disappointing first half of the season getting spanked at French Grand Prix (don't run a half marathon 5 days before taking on the Worlds best duathletes, it will only make you look sh!t) I focused on 70.3 Ironman triathlon in the second half, which I had never done before

UK 70.3 was my first race in mid June, it was a mixed result; I was one place off qualifying for the World Champs but I also suffered a stress fracture in my second metatarsal during the run....damn. 

All races were off while I did 1hr of daily aqua jogging for 3 months. I entered Muskoka 70.3 in mid September expecting to be fully healed, I was far from it. Seeing as I ran for 3 weeks total during that time, both my physio and dr told me to quit and call it a day on my season.....

But I kept telling myself the only certainty is that if you don't finish you can't get a spot. So on race morning I arrived in transition to a space where my bike should have been......not great....after a frantic bike hunt I returned to the racking to find someone had stolen my pump.....thanks

The race was always going to come down to the run and by 8km I thought I had broken my foot again, but I hadn't come 3000 miles to drop out. After 15km you run past the finish line, by this time I was hobbling pretty badly and starting to not see the funny side.

I made it to the finish line, I survivied, miserable and dejected. After the race I went to the Awards Ceremony mainly because I had nowhere else to go. The first time they announced there was a pro slot going unclaimed I heard it but didn't really register it, but 5 minutes later it was mine.

Immediately it vindicated the endless aquajogging and sticking at it when everyone told me to quit, a brilliant couple of days in Toronto afterwards made the trip.....celebrating qualifying for Worlds, atop the CN Tower's revolving restaurant...

My best race....

After Muskoka I had 6 weeks before Worlds and still I had a sore foot, but I really couldn't have cared, I was going to the World Championships....

I had a fantastic run up to the race staying with Lisa of the St Pete Mad Dogs. The truth is the hospitality of the club makes the World Champs possible for most pros, they put up most internationals for a week or so before the race to enable us to acclimatise and get settled, a great group of triathletes.

A morning ride with the Jameson brothers

On race morning I lined up next to a rather frantic Pete Robertson, with helicopters hovering over head and the national anthem playing, it was pretty intense. 

The swim was like an ITU start of old and I got a battering but came out in the main group of athletes. Despite telling myself I would be patient on the bike I couldn't help myself and immediately hit the front of the pace line and was flying along, a really amazing feeling. After 35 miles it started to catch up with me and after 40 miles I was off the back of the line and losing time. Still I rode sub 2hrs 10mins for 90km, averaging just under 26mph which I think wasn't bad.

The run wasn't fast but I ran well considering I hasn't really run since June and I finished 37th Pro in the World Championships (video - taking the sprint finish). Something when I started triathlon in sunny Scarbrough I never even dreamed possible.

Photo is Clearwater, not Scarbrough 

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