Successful people Hang on when others give upDec 02, 2021
Today I wanted to let you know of an athlete who has been in the Mojo Academy for a year now, and how she gave me a few sleepless nights back in the summer! 🤦♀️
Unable to stay in the water for more than 20 minutes without crippling cramps, Lisa was about to embark on her first 70.3 in August. With a few short months (& a Mojo tri camp) to rectify this situation, she proved that successful people hang on when others give up.
This season's successes is all down to her perseverance, laughing (literally) in the face of failure and emerging a winner in her age group.
Read on to hear more about Lisa's first year in tri:
Pic: Lisa, far right, completing Cowman with 3 other Mojo's
How long have you been training/competing in triathlon?
I cannot say I competed in the beginning I just dabbled. I completed my first sprint pool tri in 2018. I was so nervous I got into the water with my flip-flops on! I splashed around part breaststroke, crawl and doggy paddle and it took me longer to swim 400 metres then than it does to swim 800 now.
What inspired you to start triathlon?
I have always watched the Tour De France, since being little. I watched Nicole Cooke win the cycling at the Olympics in 2008 and I was reading about Chrissy Wellington. I watched Kona world champs with a feeling of excitement. I popped along to watch the London Olympics both the track cycling and the Triathlon and I just cried all the time. I still do watching sport!!!
I really feel the effort, the tension the excitement and I started to think why not me. I dreamed of being an Olympian but I am too old and not talented enough. However, I did not want to just watch sport I wanted the feeling of achievement. Triathlon, is so accessible to amateurs. There was just one problem, I could not swim crawl and open water swimming was terrifying.
What’s your favourite, and least favourite, disciplines?
I love running especially off road and I love running in the rain. I love the feeling of freedom.
Arghhhh. Swimming has been the most difficult and continuously frustrating discipline. As Lou says, it is a continuum. You do not just practice and then wake up a swimmer, there is always something
to work on.
I have made huge improvements in my swim but I have had all sorts of setbacks. I have Raynaud’s, which means I have compromised circulation. I feel the cold and the cold takes over my body. So after 20 mins I was getting blue hands and feet that I couldn’t feel and shivering uncontrollably in my wetsuit. I then started to get severe cramps.
Obviously, this was dangerous in open water, scary and painful, so if I was going to continue to swim outdoors I needed to find a solution. Lou and I went through many things to assist. I decided to buy a thermal suit, a big expenditure but I was not going to give up.
Lou suggested eating something just before I got in the water as well as doing land exercises to move the blood around and in addition, some cold water acclimatisation techniques. This helped and in a month, I was able to stay in the water for an hour instead of 20 mins.
This has all been a huge learning curve and has required adaptations to control the things that I can control, in order to ease the issues.
Pic: Lisa on a Mojo Tri Camp, feeling comfortable in her running shoes!
What was your goal this year for tri and do you feel you have achieved it?
My A race was my first Half Ironman or 70.3. It looked like I wasn’t even going to start because I couldn’t ever dream of swimming 1.9k in less than 20 min!!. With Lou’s coaching, including a couple of fun training camps I was able to get up to swimming the distance, it’s not fast or pretty but I did it.
I was so elated when I completed the swim at the event I came out of the water dancing and whooping. Everyone thought I had finished but to me that was the greatest achievement, the rest was fun!!!!! It was hard mentally and physically but the sense of accomplishment at the end was like my own mini Olympics. A World Champion, in my own head. I also won my age category at Blenheim sprint this year, which was fantastic, but that didn’t match the feelings I got from finishing Cowman 70.3. I had to work really hard for that.
Pic: Lisa feeling much more at home with swimming now
What things have helped you most in triathlon so far?
A coach, a community of friends, supportive partner and a thick thermal wetsuit. I had tried generic tri programmes and had drafted my own, but it wasn’t for me.
I needed something real, something to give me feedback to keep me motivated and if I’m honest I needed a pat on the head every now and then and someone to say well done.
So I ditched the internet, left the gym and invested in a good coach. I needed the right coach and Lou ticked all the boxes for me. I needed to respect their achievements and have confidence that they had been there and knew how it felt.
Lou has not let me down. She starts on the line with me. It’s been brilliant and I could not have got here without her. It’s not just training in three disciplines, it’s about the rest days, the nutrition during and between events, the sport psychology that gaining mental strength, its having someone to enable you to reflect on the good and not dwelling on the not so good.
I have also found some great tri buddies and we support each other but have a great laugh along the way. I have gained huge confidence, and learnt a lot from attending a Triathlon training camp. I recommend the Mojo camps, great food, great company and a brilliant space to learn from Lou and new friends.
Pic: Mojo's supporting each other at Croyde Tri this year
Do you have any advice or recommendations for ladies starting out in tri now?
You can’t do this on your own, so get a coach or a group of supportive friends and commit.
Smile, laugh and have fun training as you spend more time training than doing the event. Failure is not having ago. Visualise wearing that finishers medal or that T-shirt and proudly proclaim “I’m a triathlete” and it is the best feeling. Not many individuals can say that; but you can, if you are brave enough to tri a tri! Bragging rights can be yours too.
So you heard it from Lisa, Try a Tri and don't give up. No matter what your hurdles.
If you need any help with your tri mission in 2022, here are a few ways to stay in touch:
- Sign up for tri updates in our newsletter HERE
- Become part of the Mojo Community Facebook group HERE
- Join the Members Club and discover training plans, coaching & a great community of likeminded ladies HERE
- Join the Mojo Academy like Lisa did and receive one to one bespoke coaching HERE
Have a great day, stay active and see you all soon!