Alice’s Season in Pro Triathlon: Get the Most Out of Yourself!

Gould Publication Papers is proud to sponsor Pro-Triathlete Alice Hector. Staying up to date with her amazing feats around the world is an inspiration to us all and has certainly been eye-opening for many of us here at Gould.

We are always impressed in terms of the hard work and dedication that these grueling events require and the demands made on both the body and the mind.

So at the start of the year we invited Alice to reflect on last year's training and also provide us all with some inspiration for 2015. So here's what she has to share with us all:

"Hi all,

Within this blog for Gould Publication Papers I would like to do two things: summarise my season in pro triathlon, of which Gould was a key supporter, before discussing the interesting bit: how we can all get the most out of ourselves.

Alice's Season in Pro Triathlon

2013 was a dream comeback year for me. Starting from scratch, I built myself up through the year to win the Amateur Sprint World Champs overall. Amateur unfortunately means there was no paycheque for the hard work put in.

So the next step was to go pro and make triathlon my full time job. So at the start of 2014, I jetted off to Israel to do a half ironman (1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21km run). I won! Mazeballs.

My first pro race and I leaped straight in. This was followed with wins at the Scottish Duathlon Champs, Lisbon International, The Bastion Ironman and a 3rd place at Luxembourg Half Ironman, with a stronger field.

Then, come August 2014, I was completely drained. I didn't have a coach as I was coaching myself; my reasoning being, whilst I kept improving, there was no need.

But eventually, I failed to read the signs of overtraining, kept going, and dug myself a bit of a hole. I tried to keep racing but there was nothing in the tank.

A few weeks off eventually got me back on track, but it took the edge off a dream year and showed me that no one can simply sail through the ranks in such a tough sport!

2014 - The Year of Promise

2014 certainly showed promise. There are bigger fish out there: some amazing athletes that I have yet to face, and 2015, equipped now with a world class coach, will see me toe the line with the absolute best. It all starts on Feb 27th, when I take part in the biggest race of my life, Challenge Dubai.

From there it's all about 70.3/half ironman racing, to qualify for the World 70.3 championships, which will include 70.3 Stafford and Wimbleball in June and then to try and finish off the season well at Ironman Wales in September. From there, it'll be full steam to the Holy Grail: the World Ironman Championships in Kona, 2016.

Age is No Barrier to Success

This leads me on to the fact that long distance triathlon is not necessarily a young person's sport. I am 32 and relatively young in the game. We have 40-year-old professionals competing at the highest level, as endurance continues to increase with age.

Yet all around me, I have despairing friends who are petrified of turning 30. There is a belief by many that once you hit 30, 40 or 50, your body will start to pack up dramatically and you can start to blame your age on your inactivity.

I have heard 25 year olds say 'I'm too old for this' in a 10km run race, as a 65-year-old woman smashes the same course.

A bit of age, like anything, is a good thing. Once I hit 30, I got the chance to return to the sport I loved, and that's when life took off in terms of performance and self-confidence. I am stronger than before; both mentally and physically, and that's empowering.

Experience has taught me many valuable lessons about how to become a success on and off the racecourse, and in order to have these life experiences; you tend to be of a certain age!

Your Attitude Determines your Altitude

It is purely your attitude that determines your altitude. Your age is irrelevant. Yoko Ono sums it up nicely: "Some people are old at 18 and some are young at 90. Time is a concept that humans created".

Not convinced? Here are some examples of people who are achieving incredible things in sport. You'll notice one recurring theme.

  • Known as the 'Iron Nun', Sister Madonna is the oldest person in the World to compete in Ironman triathlons. She started competing in triathlons at 52 and raced her first Ironman at 55. At 84, she is still going strong today and holds the 80+ World Record (for both men and women), a time of 16 hours 32.

  • Mimi Anderson/'Marvellous Mimi': A 52 year old grandmother, and multiple Guinness World record holder, which includes running the length of Britain (840 miles in 12 days, 15 hours) and crossing Ireland (345 miles in 3 days, 15 hours). She took up running for the first time at 36.

  • Ernestine Shepherd: a bodybuilder and personal trainer. She's 78, and says she feels better than she did at 40. "Being out of shape as we age is an option, not a mandate".

  • John Whittmore has been credited as being the 'world's oldest athlete'. His last competition was on October 5, 2004, just six weeks before his 105th birthday. He threw the javelin and discus on that occasion.

As we get older, responsibilities take over and our priorities may not be ourselves. But age itself is no excuse. Changes for the better can be made at any time. Our bodies are amazing machines and stronger than we think. Don't let society's boundaries dictate otherwise.

Keep on moving! Alice"