Triathlon, Butterflies and Personal Best’s

Jaquie’s story –
If I think back to school, I hated running and PE. I dreaded the athletics season in case our PE lesson was the 800m run. School cross country was awful. I was even picked up in a police car because I was so far behind everyone else! I used to go to the gym… on and off for a few years but secretly I hated it. Swimming was always a pleasure but even that became a chore and any excuse I could think of to convince myself not to go was firmly etched in my head.

Jump to 2018 where I began running. I took part in the Nantwich triathlon as part of a relay team. Fast forward to 2019 where I completed the Nantwich Triathlon individually and then a Manchester Half Marathon 2 weeks later. I then stopped. I stopped running and swimming. (Cycling was never something I enjoyed on a mountain bike anyway). Lockdown then hit and my weight soared and on April 26th, 2020, I knew I had to do something about it. I started eating better and exercising. My weight loss really began, and my mind set changed. My anxiety levels plummeted, and my confidence grew. I then joined the Nantwich Tri Club in August 2020. Meeting a stranger and talking about exercising was something I would never have had the confidence to do, let alone cycle with a group of people who I knew would be faster than me and have more confidence on road bikes then me as I peddled away on my mountain bike.

The members of the club were patient with my newbie cycle skills and I began to enjoy cycling, especially when I mananged to get a proper road bike. I realised how good I felt doing exercise, meeting new people, and eating well. It spurred me on to launch my own business supporting children with their sports and well-being through gaining my qualification in sports coaching and coaching kids for self-belief. It has also inspired my boys further with their sport – taking part in the Nantwich Duathlon. Inspiring and motiving my boys is part of my personal journey as a mummy but helping other children is also important to me. I know the impact of sports on my own mental health and well-being and with my knowledge as a primary school teacher I combined the two and Butterflies was born!

My strength increased, my confidence grew, and my weight continued to drop. In January I started leading the online strength and conditioning classes on a Thursday night. Again, this is something that I would never have had the confidence to do, I have now almost completed my Level 2 and Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification and am beginning to build my own client base. I have participated in various events in the past 12 months.

It was April when I first met Andy and was introduced to the duathlons with MCA. I completed two duathlons with the safety net of my fellow tri club friends. In October I booked onto the Woodford Duathlon and suddenly found myself going alone. No one from the tri club was booked on. 12 months ago, I would have simply not showed up, there was no way I was going to go to an event not knowing anyone. But this was the new me, I knew Andy, so I knew someone. I set off from home in the dark and wet and drove the 30 miles over to Woodford, where I parked up. At this point I considered leaving again but I knew how far I had come. How much more confident I was, so I got out my car and started talking to the other athletes. I chatted with Andy, who was also very reassuring. I knew I would be the slowest runner, but I was not comparing myself to anyone else, I was being my own Butterfly. I started near the pack of 18 runners, (so as not to get in the way) and I ran.

I ran on my own in my own pace. I collected my bike and set off on the bike course. My final run was my pace and I ran it all. I smiled, I enjoyed it and best of all I took 13 minutes of my previous PB from the Dunham Massey Duathlon. No, I didn’t cross the line first, but that isn’t what the events are about, they are about doing something for you. I achieved so much that day – I did the event alone, I spoke to like-minded people, I had a laugh with Andy, I got a medal (well a coaster, I’m still sorting that with Andy!) I smashed my previous PB and all before most people were out of bed on a Saturday morning.

I was chasing a PB whenever I went out but then I began to realise that my well-being and mental health were more important and sometimes a steady 5km was far more beneficial overall than a sprint. It is important to remember 5km is still 5km whether it is done at 26 minutes or 46 minutes.

The journey has been a good one, but it has not all been about the weight loss (which at the start I thought it was). It is about the confidence, the resilience, and the drive to do it. The determination I have found within myself to have a go. I am no Usain Bolt and will never be, but I enjoy it. I learn something new each week about myself and I strive to be my own Butterfly.

I want to be the best version of myself for me and for my family. I have confidence I never had. My hair is healthy, my skin glows and I smile far more than I ever have. I stand tall and proud of my achievements. (The bling does help too)