I’ve always loved sport, from those obligatory first ballet lessons through to the sprint triathlon and open water swimming I do now.
Working with a Physio and trainer on my own sport and rehab goals has led me to completing a year long level 3 certificate in Sports Massage Therapy, which in turn has led onto a Sports Therapy Foundation Degree
Over the years lots of sports have come and gone with their various challenges and varying degrees of injuries, but for me swimming has always been my one true love. I don’t really remember a time when I didn’t swim, from lessons to swimming club, from school galas to area swim training and competition with sea cadets, to triathlon
To swim well I need to be moving well, something you often take for granted when you’re younger, it’s something I take more seriously now.
As I progressed through different sports, dancing in my teens, horse riding in my twenties, and taking up skiing and triathlon in my thirties, it’s fair to say I picked up a few injuries along the way; cracked ribs, torn muscles, trapped nerves, broken bones.... You name it, I've probably had it!
I’d had a few deep tissue treatments before but it wasn't until I was in my thirties, half way up a mountain, with a non functioning shoulder, that I discovered Physios don’t just hand out photocopies! Thanks to her (not least for attempting to understand my appalling Italian!) I learnt the value and the benefits of sports massage and how regular treatment could make such a difference to the way I could move.
To continue doing what I love at the level I wanted to, I knew it was time to treat my “rusty barn door” of a shoulder to some TLC. I began to take my training more seriously and along with regular treatment, I did the rehab required to improve my posture, deal with muscle imbalances and develop the sport specific strength I need to cope with being in the middle of an English lake. Not because I was anywhere near the top finishers but because I want to enjoy what I do.
A wise man and much loved friend once told me that “Any idiot can be uncomfortable” and while pushing yourself to do well involves a certain level of discomfort, it shouldn't be that nagging pain in your neck or that kink in your lower back every time you turn your head to breath. When you’re taking something like 900 strokes in an open water race, imagine what it’s like to feel that “pinch” 900 times. It becomes your focus when what you should be doing is pushing to overtake the guy in front of you, or taking in the scenery or optimising your stroke. Imagine someone poking you in the ribs 900 times when you’re trying to do something and see how far you get!
In 2012 I completed my first open water swim in the sea off the south coast and since then have been working my way round the Lake District. In 2013 I completed the Lake Annecy crossing in France and the inaugural Brownlee Triathlon at Fountains Abbey.
I don’t claim to be a professional athlete but I know what it’s like to train hard for an event, how important that goal becomes to you and the pressure if there’s sponsorship and publicity or even just your own high expectations. I know too that what people see on the day is the result of the weeks and months of consistent, progressive training you put in. A race isn’t won by crossing the finish line, it’s won in the sessions you did when it was raining, when it was too hot or you were tired, that extra session you put in before work or after work, when it was dark and cold and anybody with any sense was still in bed, and I know how important it is to have the right support around you when you’re focused on a goal.
It doesn’t matter to me if that goal is the next Olympics, Paralympics, the Great North Swim or to be pain free when you're walking the dog. It’s your goal, your target and I consider it a privilege to be part of the process to get you there.