Jessica is a runner who has overcome obstacles to get to where she is today and has a true passion for her sport. She talks to Sundried about racing highs and lows.
Have you always been into sport?
In some form, I suppose I have. It's strange as neither of my parents are into sport. However, as a child I was encouraged to take part in different sports. I was part of the primary school netball team, took ballet and tap lessons (I think I was a bit too heavy footed so these stopped when I was still little), I was part of a local swimming club and took part in the local swimming gala where I was always last but that always seemed to get the biggest cheers.
As I reached secondary school, I moved away from school teams thanks to bullies in the year above me, however I was part of a youth club that had various teams that I played for; netball, hockey, and their athletics team. I found that I wasn’t too bad at short distance running so I took up 100m and 200m distance. There must have been something to keep me with sport as I ended up with a degree in Sports Performance and Coaching.
How did you first get into triathlons?
At the moment I haven’t completed a triathlon; it was meant to be a 2020 goal to complete my first triathlon, however with everything that has been going on this year I have moved it to be a 2021 goal so watch this space.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
December 2019 I decided that I wanted one last race in the sun, so I entered Malaga half marathon. I headed to this race with the intention to just enjoy a run in a new country and enjoy the local food and drink. To my surprise, I did better than I thought and managed to get a sub 2-hour half, which has been something I struggled doing and I always come in around the 2:07 mark. Somehow, even after a night of food and wine, I had the best run I have ever had. I have never felt so happy and comfortable during a race.
What is your proudest achievement?
Other than the half marathon in Malaga, I would have to say completing my slowest half marathon in Canada at the start of 2019 in -27 degrees Celsius before windchill being factored in. I was amazed by the number of locals that didn’t finish the race. I have never run with so many layers on and still been cold, I even had icicles on my eyelashes.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
I think the closest I have been to a racing disaster was part way through a half marathon, running along country roads and needing the toilet and thinking I wasn’t going to make it. Luckily, I came across a community gym who allowed me to use the facilities, I felt so ill and couldn’t believe I finished the full race however I am not sure how I would have made it back otherwise.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I think about how far I have already come and that a setback will only make me stronger and more determined. I have realised, especially in the past year, that I can't rush these things and to enjoy every little victory along the way.
What advice do you wish you’d been given when you first started out?
Listen to your body, it will tell you when it needs a rest don’t push on as it causes injuries and puts you out of action for longer. Also, don’t follow the crowd when getting kit, what may be great for one person may not be for you.
What are your goals?
My biggest goal is to complete my second marathon, however this time I would like to follow a training program and really enjoy it. My second goal is to complete an ultra event. Third goal is to complete a triathlon; I plan on a sprint and then who knows what that might start. Overall, I just want to enjoy what I am doing and see where in the world it takes me and who it allows me to meet.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by everyone who achieves their own goals, who push themselves to do something they once thought impossible. From those who never thought they could run non-stop but after putting the work in get there whatever the speed, to those who complete ultras. I love seeing what others achieve alongside their normal daily lives and what they have overcome to be where they are today.
Why work with Sundried?
I set myself a challenge for 2020 to try and not buy new clothing with some exceptions such as the essentials and good eco ethics or second-hand items. I decided that I wanted to reduce the amount that I purchased and to make conscious decisions of what I was spending my money on and the effect that it might have on the planet. I stumbled across Sundried during lockdown, I was happy to see the efforts they where going to, reducing waste and plastic pollution. I am some way off a zero waste lifestyle but I am trying to change things one step at a time.