Swimming (level 2 Triathlon coach)
The head teacher in my primary school was keen on getting a good swimming squad together, so I used to train 3 times a week at school. I was never a natural freestyle swimmer, so I was picked for the breaststroke races, but that all changed at secondary, and I didn’t really swim, except to get picked for the Butterfly races as nobody else could do it (I can’t either!) I started swimming a bit for fitness in Nottingham, and then in Sheffield I joined a swimming group at the gym, which consisted of me and a few men. I started swimming competitively when starting triathlon. I have improved my time over 100m by 20+ seconds through coaching.
Cycling (level 2 British Cycling coach)
I used to ride recreationally with my parents, and then as a form of transport when living in the city. I had a brief introduction to mountain biking from an ex-boyfriend, and joined the University Mountain biking club in Nottingham. I went out a few times with them, but got fed up with being the only woman, I started cycling again in Sheffield out on my hybrid bike in the Peak district, and was a bit of a fair weather cyclist. I started cycling competitively when I started triathlon, and I now take part in time trials, and the odd bit of mountain biking. I won the Welsh 100 mile time trial championship in 2014 with a time of 4:46.
Running (level 2 Triathlon coach)
I have run competitively since I was about 11 years old. I was picked out when doing a cross country run as being good enough to run on the boys team. There were no girls cross country teams in those days! I was often the only girl at races, but kept it up as I enjoyed running. I continued to run in secondary school, where I ran cross country,1500m and 800m. The highlights were running for Somerset county, and winning the AAA championship 1500m in Somerset. When I left school I continued to run for fitness, and dabbled in running competitively again in Sheffield for the Dark Peak fell runners. I then moved to Pembrokeshire, got pregnant and ran up to 8 months with my first child, then started doing triathlon.
I have instructed a range of sports, including rock climbing, abseiling, mountain walking, kayaking, surfing, canoeing, archery, and also doing inductions for the gym. I spent 5 years teaching Design Technology in secondary schools in South Yorkshire before moving to Pembrokeshire. I am a qualified level 2 British Cycle Coach and level 2 Triathlon coach. I am now coaching 3-10 year olds at Pocket Rockets (cycling) in Haverfordwest.
We moved to Pembrokeshire in 2005, and had planned to get married have children, and start up a business! I struggled being pregnant, after being so active, and tried to run for as long as possible (I managed up to 8 months!) Before I got pregnant we had started planning our wedding, and the date was set for 11th August, my due date was 26th July, giving us 2 weeks. We were also buying a house at the time, and moved in a few weeks after the wedding. I had planned to have a home birth, but when I thought I was going in to labour the midwife sent me in to hospital as she thought the baby’s heart rate was too high.
To cut a long story short I ended up having an emergency C section under general anesthetic. I was totally unprepared for the birth, and motherhood, I found it hard to adjust, and felt as if I had failed somehow by having a C section. I didn’t want to hear other women’s’ birthing stories, and kept very quiet about my own. After having surgery I was even less able to be active and having a baby that didn’t sleep didn’t help either.
I did my first triathlon a year after Devon was born, and was quite successful, I entered some more races and enjoyed the challenge.
Anything is possible
Three years later I got pregnant again, but this time I wanted to have a different experience. I did a lot of research on VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian) and decided to have my baby at home. I hired a doula, and enrolled on a hypno-birthing course with my husband. Milo was born at home at 6am on 22nd September, and I can honestly say that it was the most amazing experience I have ever had. There were moments when I thought that I couldn’t do it, but with the support of my husband and doula I overcame my fears and experienced the birth that I had envisioned. My outlook has changed a lot since doing the hypno-birthing course, and I have found many ways to apply the things that we learnt into my life and racing.