Writing this thinking about a theme for my up and coming conference appearances next month. I was thinking back to where it all started- where the whole PoolMate thing began and what qualities are needed to make things happen in your life.
It was actually ten years ago on a Sunday morning in April. I was watching the London Marathon on TV and saw the amazing Jane Tomlinson taking part. Jane had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer but had decided to run the marathon and raise money for charity. She was absolutely incredible, so emotional and determined and left a big impression on me. She was the same age as me, with children like me but had been hit by this terrible disease which was going to take her life.
“If she can do it then I must be able to!” so that afternoon I found some old trainers and went out running (for the first time), well run/walking! I have determination, if no athletic talent and that next year Jim and I were on that start line (I roped him into it too!) and crossed the line after the 26.2 miles together holding hands after a painful 5 hours.
After a couple of years running and although I did get better marathon times I realised I was never going to challenge Paula Radcliffe so looked round for something else. Triathlon looked fun and Jane Tomlinson had done one! So entered one and joined a club. Also dragged poor Jim into it too- he had to learn frontcrawl as well.
We really enjoyed the training and social aspects and gradually progressed from Sprint to Ironman over a couple of years. I remember doing our first 1/2 IM and saying I’m never going to do a full one, it’s too hard. Trouble is it’s like childbirth- you forget the bad bits too quickly and the next week I had signed up to IM Austria. Thinking back to my speech, I didn’t know at that point if I could do it- who would. But I had the confidence to know if I trained correctly I should be able to and the determination to know I wouldn’t give up. After all if Jane could do it then I must be able to!
There are no words to describe the feeling as you cross that finish line after an IM, to actually be able to stop moving! But how can you be running so well over the line but as soon as you stop you can’t move a muscle without it screaming at you?
Of course the story goes on- we spotted the gap in the market for swim training aids and had the confidence to know that we could develop a product that would fill this space. We had determination to follow it through and make it a reality. It took a couple of years but we got there and things are going from strength to strength.
Unfortunately Jane died in September 2009 after so many challenges including Riding across America, cycling from London to Rome and many marathons and Triathlons but her spirit lives on in http://www.janetomlinsonappeal.com/ .Amazing…….