Jessica didn't realise her potential until she qualified for the GB Age Group team. She now has her sights set on competing. She talks to Sundried about training and racing.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, ever since I can remember. Triathlon is relatively new to me; I got into it at university. At school, I was known as the ‘jock’ as I threw myself into every sport that was offered to me. Hockey was my main focus at school, playing at regional level in Scotland until I was 18. I then switched that for triathlon three years ago and haven’t looked back since.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I like a challenge and the combination of three sports intrigued me as I knew it would work my entire body at different points. I got introduced to triathletes at university and I loved their ethics and attitude towards their bodies and the sport they did. Triathlon not only works your body, it also challenges your mental strength as well and I believe that it has definitely made me stronger all round.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race was the Scottish Sprint Championship at Monikie Park near Dundee. The swim was in one of the park’s ponds and the bike course was undulating and challenging, but took us through the beautiful countryside of Angus. The weather was beautiful and the crowd support was absolutely epic. Getting a bag piper to pipe us into the water was awesome, and I felt physically fit and good throughout the whole race. It’s definitely a fond memory of mine.
And your proudest achievement?
In the triathlon world, it was placing in the top three for my age category (20-24) in the first big race I ever did. That was the Scottish Sprint Championships in 2019. It was such a surprise and meant that I would’ve qualified for British Age Group! Unfortunately, I didn’t expect it at all so didn’t register for Age Group, as I hadn’t done as much training as I would’ve liked and didn’t believe in my abilities. Now I do!
I’m also proud to have placed 1st in the Scottish Sprint Race Series in 2019 for my age group 20-24. Was so unexpected!
Outside of triathlon, it was definitely completing the Edinburgh Marathon in 2019. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’m so proud to have completed it.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
My racing disasters always involve me getting lost. The worst was during the Exe Valley Sprint Triathlon in 2019, where I was concentrating so hard on the bike I completely missed the turn around point for a there and back course, despite all the marshals shouting at me, and went an extra 15km before realising no one was around me and that I’d gone very wrong. I laughed it off and went back, completing the run and coming second last, despite doing the equivalent of a standard distance on the bike!
How do you overcome setbacks?
Learning that everyone has setbacks and it’s not going to be perfect the whole time. Setbacks for me have involved injuries where I’ve had to be off for weeks, but despite my worries I’ve managed to recover and build my fitness back up to where it was. Every setback has taught me to be kinder to myself and look after my body correctly.
When I do something wrong at a race, there’s no point in getting angry and annoyed. You learn, and you shrug it off and know not to do it again! Everything is an experience.
What advice do you wish you’d been given before you started competing?
Train properly and focus on your diet (not too much but an appropriate amount). I found I was more susceptible to injuries because I went straight into big races without preparing my body appropriately with the right strengthening and the right nutrients. I know that now! But I learnt the hard way.
What are your goals for 2020?
Now that I know I would’ve qualified for British Age Group if I’d registered, it’s definitely in my sights this year. That is my main aim for this year.
As I’m still relatively new to the sport having only done it for 3 years, my goals are to improve my PBs for my disciplines, especially swimming. I’m particularly focusing on refining my technique.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I listened to Chrissy Wellington’s audio book 'A Life Without Limits' and it inspired me into believing that I am capable of doing triathlon and doing triathlon well!
Her story of how she got into competing is incredible and she now holds Ironman World titles! She has overcome injury as well as all the challenges life can throw. I will always hold her in awe.
I follow many British Triathletes on social media, such as Jess Learmonth and Vicky Holland, and their balancing of training always inspires me as they work so hard and having watched the WTS I can see how hard work pays off.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I love the fact Sundried use recycled or renewable material for their kit. I think it places them above other sports brands into making an effort to be sustainable and I really respect that.
I love their tops, especially the sports vests as they fit my body well and are so comfortable to wear, especially during strenuous training sessions such as track on a hot summer’s day.
The jackets I also think are so stylish and can be worn outside the world of sport.