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Triathlon birthdays are ‘tough love’ and utterly brilliant

February 19, 2015

A birthday in the world of a pro triathlete is very different to most.

Since turning pro in 2009, birthdays each year have meant one thing – a guarantee of a “beasting” as soon as your coach or fellow athletes realise it’s your big day.

This year will be no exception. I turn 35 today and my coach, Matt Dixon of purplepatch, has already promised that “35 is the magic number” for this morning’s swim practice, which makes me think that whatever pain he has in store for me/us, we’ll be repeating it 35 times.

I still love birthdays though – I always have.

As a kid, a birthday treat meant cakes and a party, as a student it was a boozier affair and now my “treat” is being pushed to the absolute limit by grinning coaches.

Whatever they arrange I am sure it will be “eyeballs out” and “bottoms open” (the latter isn’t my phrase – that’s one of Matt’s favourites!).

I vividly remember my first birthday as a professional triathlete. I was in Noosa, Australia, and my coach announced a swimset of 100x100m. It was just over two hours of intense swimming and it took a huge amount of effort.

You might read this and ask why I don’t just keep my birthday quiet, but there you hit the whole point of me being an endurance athlete. I LOVE IT! I love being pushed to the limit to see what I can do and I love the fact that after seven years as a pro I am still even surprising myself.

This year I will be up at 4.45am for swim practice that starts at 5.30am and in the afternoon it’ll be time to hit Golden Gate Park for our group run session.

There are usually five or six of us purplepatch pros joined by coach Matt and I’ve a feeling it could be a fruity workout! Last week I discovered just how good the ice cream is from the soft serve truck in Golden Gate Park, so I may just have to treat my team mates and I to some much needed run refuelling.

In the evening I’ll be out for dinner with some good friends and hopefully we’ll be able to keep our eyes open long enough to have a couple of drinks. Did I mention triathletes are wild party animals?!

Joking aside, now I am three weeks from my first triathlon of the season – 70.3 Monterrey on March 16 – my focus is on that, making sure that my training, my rest and my recovery are all tip top.

Happy Birthday me!

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