Health & fitness · My life · Uncategorized

On ridiculous goals


I’ve talked loads on here about the fact that I’m running a marathon next April, but what I haven’t really mentioned (on here yet anyway, you’ll already be bored to tears of me talking about it if you follow me on Twitter) is that I’m also planning to do a duathlon in January and a triathlon in July, with the aim of continuing to focus on multi-sport events thereafter.

On paper it seems stupid, right? I mean I only bought a bike 2 months ago, and I’ve been swimming less than a handful of times in the past 15 years. Not to mention, training for a marathon and two multi-distance sprint events effectively AT THE SAME BLOODY TIME probably isn’t even possible, and I’m sure isn’t advisable.

And I’m scared – not just of doing the actual things- although christ knows there are a lot of fears there (what exactly happens in transition? How do I rack my bike? What happens if I get a puncture? I really do need to learn how to fix one of those) – but scared that people are laughing at the idea of me doing this stuff. ‘Who does she think she is? Getting a crush on a Brownlee brother (Jonny, obvs) and thinking she can become a triathlete?’; ‘that skinny, knock-kneed thing swimming in open water? Ha’; ‘I bet she’s just doing it for the attention’. And so on.

But, and here’s the thing: I’m not sure whether I’m scared that other people are thinking these things, or if they’re actually my own feelings. See, I’m still not sure how I feel about myself.ย I’ve heard people who used to be overweight and subsequently lost loads of weight say that they still feel like the overweight person and struggle to recognise the body they see in the mirror as theirs; and I guess that’s kinda where I’m at. I still feel like the old me. ย The scrawny ugly duckling; the girl who wouldn’t dream of stepping out of her tiny comfort zone; the one who was too scared to even try to ride her then-boyfriend’s mountain bike (not a euphemism); the one who wasn’t strong – physically or mentally; the one who disliked herself intensely; the self-harmer; the girl that accepted that it was her fault her partner was violent. And that girl would never have even dreamed of doing any of these things. She’d tried to run once, got as far as the end of her road and that was more than enough thank you very much. Marathons and triathlons were something that super-fit athletes did, and she certainly wasn’t one of those.

But I don’t feel like that all the time. Sometimes I recognise how much I’ve changed, and I feel full of ambition, drive and confidence. Case in point – last weekend’s 10k race, where I finally managed to pace the distance correctly, finish strongly, get a time I was really proud of and finish in the top 5% of females.


I spent the next 48 hours high on race-endorphins and utterly confident about the challenges ahead. It didn’t take long for the nagging doubts to creep back in though, and they’re definitely the most dominant right now.

At times like this I would usually turn to a trusty wanky quote to inspire me, and “if people don’t laugh at your dreams they aren’t big enough” seems to fit the bill nicely but I’m not sure I have enough courage in my convictions to live up to that, and ignore the (perhaps self-imagined) laughter just yet. What’s stupid is that I know I will do it. I WILL complete the marathon, and I WILL have done at least one triathlon by this time next year. And what’s more; I’ll do them well. So why can’t I get over the fear that people will think I’m a dick for even contemplating it? That I’m a dick for writing this post about worrying about people think?


This post didn’t really end up going in the direction I thought it would, and as such I’m not really sure how to end it, so I’ll stick with the classic.

The End.


10 thoughts on “On ridiculous goals

  1. Keep it up! Its nice to step out of your comfort zone and I bet you’ll feel amazing once you’re over that finish line after your marathon. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Certainly don’t worry about what others think I’m sure you’ll find in the tri world people are very encouraging and supporting and the best thing is that someone who completed a triathlon in 2 hours is no more important than someone who completed one in 4 hours.


  3. Nah you WILL be fine – it’s good cross training, I did my first tri last year in May off the back of a solid marathon training block and it isn’t as bad as you think! It actually stops you hammering your legs to pieces just from running because you have to swim and bike, not just that you *should*. Triathlons are great for being a total mixed bunch – from breaststroke to mountain bikes to thousands of pounds of bike porn to anything in the middle, and everyone loves helping people out with their questions! PS anyone who you think is judging probably isn’t doing anything themselves


  4. Thank you for writing another honest and open blog. You are not the only one to feel scared, but possibly the only one brave enough to write about feeling that way. The blog you wrote a couple of months ago about being worried about going into Nando’s on your own, and sitting at a table on your own resonated completely with me. It was searingly honest, and I’m glad you wrote it as it kind of helps to know that other people feel the way I would feel.
    The nagging doubts are probably there for everyone. They are for me. Before I did my first parkrun I was convinced I’d finish last and be laughed at by everyone. It didn’t happen, but contrast that to me introducing one of my work colleague’s to parkrun, he was so full of self confidence that he asked: ‘what happens if I win, do I get a trophy?’ He eventually finished it in about 32 minutes and doesn’t do parkrun anymore.
    I just think that if you are not blessed with confidence (for whatever reason), or are one of those (annoying) people who just sail through life, then the nagging doubts are only normal and natural. I read your blog and know you will succeed in what you want to do, but even if you don’t, by writing about it you will have helped others (me at least) by showing the courage to write about the doubts, write about being worried about what other people think. and write a ‘real’ blog that reflects ‘real’ life.
    That is a success in itself. Your other goals will surely follow.


      1. Hi Jo

        Thanks for another great piece. You certainly are not alone in your thoughts of ‘should I be doing this?’ or my favourite (?) ‘you don’t belong in this event’ I’ve had these thoughts in more than a few races and on some long dark nights out training on the roads.

        The doubts always creep in around the edges. I think its almost a British thing to do? we struggle to stop and think objectively on what we have achieved, of where our personal journeys started. Its precisely these thoughts that we must hold onto though, not in a yahoo USA! self congratulatory style but in a quiet nod to our inner selves ‘Yes, I do belong in this race, Yes I should be doing this because I CAN DO THIS, I AM DOING THIS!’

        Also take a little comfort from this? I came dead last in my only Olympic distance triathlon so far (ask @outridinghills) nobody judged me, nobody pointed or stared. I did get a big cheer from all the marshals which was really nice. the tri crowd are a very supportive bunch especially as it isn’t a team sport.

        keep setting goals and make them big ones


  5. Sounds like an awesome challenge! The way to think about it is only training for the marathon and the swim/cycle training make up good cross training so you don’t need to be excessive with your running mileage. A friend of mine, Ella ( did a Triathlon and Marathon on consecutive weeks and I’m sure she’ll be able to pass on some sage advice/question your sanity if you need it.

    It does sound like your body is fine with the idea of doing all these events but some little voice in your head is not yet convinced or is keen to trip you up. The good thing is, you don’t have to listen to that voice (my turn for a wanky motivational quote). Instead of worrying about what other people say, why not be the one who inspires lots of people? Somebody has to these crazy things so why not you? You can do it! Just don’t turn up for the swim wearing your water wings ๐Ÿ˜‰


  6. Great blog and great goals (and totally doable).

    I finished my first ever 10k and decided to do an ironman within 2 years. Totally did it.

    But doubts are natural. Before my second ironman i would wake up in the middle of the night thinking about missing cut-offs. Even though I’d already done one.

    And mixing events is brilliant. Builds the engine but gives the joints some relief. This year i sandwiched two marathon swims between an ultra and a marathon. Tbe cross over benefits were well worth it!

    Good luck with 2017!


  7. What an honest post. You have set yourself a big goal, but that’s kind of the point – to try and do something a bit scary – otherwise it wouldn’t be a challenge. It’s ok to have doubts and fears, we all do, but never let that stand in your way. When you complete your challenge – and you will! – everyone will be so in awe of what you’ve done. Frankly they’re probably impressed that you’re having a go and if anyone makes a negative comment then it more than likely stems from their own insecurities rather than being a judgement on you. Ignore them and keep on going!


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