The tri-life of a working Mum
By Carly NorthFull-time Detective Constable Carly North, a 35-year-old single mum, is an age-group triathlete who’s passionate about sport.
I'm empowered by two very different people. Firstly, British-born Chrissie Wellington, four-time winner of Ironman World Championships and winner of countless other long distance triathlon races. Then there’s the lady competing in her first triathlon wearing red lippy, mascara, pearl earrings with a swim cap popping off her head. These people are both doing amazing things. They’re pushing their own physical boundaries, breaking course records and closing the gap between gender race times.
I'm frequently asked by non-triathletes how I became involved in the sport. Well, I first ‘Gave Tri a Try’ at a Ladies Only event at Dorney Lake, Windsor, in September 2007 after seeing an advert on the bulletin board at work for a sprint distance event, consisting of a 400m swim, 25km bike and 5km run. I was already a keen runner but I didn't own a bike and only swam on holiday. So, along with a colleague and my “Gov” I signed up. I bought a bike on the Ride to Work Scheme and a wetsuit from a surfing shop. I came 12th in my age group and was instantly hooked.
A lot has changed since my first competitive outing. I had moved 250 miles north, divorced, moved house twice and have seen my job become more and more challenging. I've competed in seven sprint distance triathlons, five Olympic distance triathlons (1500m open water swim, 40km cycle & 10km run), one duathlon (10km run, 40km cycle & 5km run) and four middle distance triathlons (1900m open water swim, 56m cycle & 13.1m run) including my first international event at Ironman 70.3 Aix en Provence in May 2015.
My training week varies from steady to hectic and often includes up to 10 workouts over 15 hours of training. Sure I always have a pile of sweaty training kit ready for the wash, but being super organised and having a structured training plan helps with my week and I make it all fit.
I train when my boy is in bed, run during my lunchtime, and workouts often start early or finish late. The running joke is that I'm sponsored by Netflix and iTunes while running on the treadmill in my shed or sat on the turbo trainer pedalling away.
My boy is my biggest fan. It’s good for him to see his mum keeping fit and healthy - and he often helps with my training: “Mummy? Would you like me to wipe your sweat?” Because of what I do he understands about healthy food and exercise. He’ll often ride his bike alongside me while I run making it a family affair.
So, what’s next? Quite a lot, I'm competing at Ironman 70.3 New Orleans in April 2016 followed days later by Big Sur International Marathon in California. Nearer to home, I'm lined up for the Graftman Middle Distance in May and I've submitted a qualifying time to represent Great Britain as an age grouper in Austria next August.
Yes, it’s hard. People say I’m mad and that maybe so but I always do it with a smile. I believe that any lady can do the same, even if it’s just the once. Yes, it’s a challenge and a day-to-day juggling act but, go on, give it a go - you might just surprise yourself.