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Laurie’s Inspirational Journey to Ironman Triumph

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Laurie wasn’t interested in sports when she was younger. It wasn't until she reached adulthood and began going back and forth to the gym with a friend that her perspective shifted. During one of these gym sessions, whilst excitedly sharing her plans to participate in the Cardiff half marathon, her friend asked Laurie ‘why don’t you?’ Admittedly, at that point, the mere thought of climbing stairs left Laurie breathless.

Despite her reservations, Laurie made a bold decision to sign up for the half marathon. With determination and grit, she embarked on a training regimen. Over time, what started as a daunting challenge transformed into a passion. Since that pivotal moment, Laurie has not only conquered the Cardiff half marathon multiple times but has also tackled several 5ks and 10ks.

When it comes to triathlon, Laurie’s fascination was ignited by her frequent attendance at Ironman Wales. The electrifying atmosphere always left her inspired, slightly harbouring the desire to partake in the challenge herself.

It wasn’t until an unexpected turn of events during a trip to Benidorm for a friend’s hen do that Laurie’s dormant aspirations took flight. Fuelled by a mixture of spontaneity and perhaps a touch of liquid courage, Laurie found herself impulsively signing up for Ironman alongside one of her companions.  

Despite the initial enthusiasm, Laurie's decision raised eyebrows among her partner and close friends, who questioned whether she knew what she was doing and how much training was involved. Undeterred by their scepticism, Laurie plunged headfirst into training.

However, reality hit hard as Laurie confronted the daunting challenges of triathlon preparation. Swimming, once a struggle to complete even a few laps without gasping for air, became a focal point of her training. She also didn’t get out on the bike until March which lent for a steep learning curve as she navigated the intricacies of cycling.

Regardless of the intensity of her training regimen, Laurie remained unwavering in her commitment. She was determined to demonstrate to her partner and friends that she possessed the strength and resilience to conquer the challenge she had undertaken.

Reflecting on her journey, Laurie credits the structured training plan as a game-changer. Having someone devise a plan specifically for her proved invaluable, providing the necessary guidance and accountability. The mere thought of seeing her Training Peaks calendar marked in red was motivation enough to ensure she stayed on course.

On the day itself, Laurie was running on very little sleep.

She said, “The swim didn’t go to what I’d hoped. I was hoping to do it in an hour and 40 but I ended up doing it in an hour and 56 minutes. The first lap went great but I don’t know what happened in the second lap. It just seemed to take forever. So, then when I was getting out I was shaking my head because I knew on the bike I was cutting it fine. But I just thought no, positive head and I just kept going.”

She completed the bike in 8 hours and 7 minutes despite the computer on her bike not working.  And very aware of her lack of time, she rushed out of transition 2 in 4 minutes.

But when I got off the bike, I knew running was my strongest. So, I was happy. I probably could’ve ran it a bit quicker than I did. But I enjoyed it. I met up with a woman that I didn’t know before and we just started chatting. We stayed together and we went over the finish line together. I really enjoyed it.”

Laurie’s club, Ferndale Triathlon Club, was set up just before she did Ironman. She said there were a few people training for Ironman in Ferndale swimming pool where she was training.

I had a lot of support from them. We’d set up a WhatsApp group and everyone was talking on there. And then they just went and set up the triathlon club. It’s really good and there is so much support there. They are really great.”

In terms of future triathlon plans, Laurie explains how she is going to take this year to focus on spending more time with her family after feeling like she missed out a bit with training last year. However, getting rid of the triathlon bug isn’t that easy. Evidently, as she has signed up for Swansea Sprint, Cardiff Olympic distance and also Swansea Ironman 70.3!

What an amazing story from Laurie. We are looking forward to seeing what else she will achieve! 

 

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