Triathlete of the month: Caroline Findlay

Caroline is very pleased with herself after her first triathlon!
Caroline is very pleased with herself after her first triathlon!

Caroline, 35, is a medical physicist and has been a member of GTC for 10 months. Her first triathlon was the GTC Bishopbriggs novice event in May.

For almost a decade, Caroline’s sporting focus has been martial arts and running, although she describes this as “more of a plod than running”.

Caroline jokes that she was duped into trying triathlon by our president Sean Webster. She says: “When Sean asked the GTC spin class members to bring a pal along, my friend Susan Gallagher duly obliged.

“I only realised that everyone was in a triathlon club when Sean told us during a particularly sweaty Calvin Harris uphill track that we had to at least pretend to look like triathletes in front of the Cally Uni students.

“I really enjoyed the spin classes so kept attending and sort of ended up becoming a member of the triathlon club by default.

“I was made to feel very welcome – and apparently it didn’t matter that I couldn’t swim or didn’t own a bike!”

Learning more about triathlon

Caroline says her favourite triathlon discipline is still running because it is the one she is most comfortable with.

She says: “I am able to zone out when I’m running and I also know I can’t either fall off or drown! However, with more and more Sunday evening lessons, swimming is starting to catch up as my favoured discipline.”

Cycling is also starting to grow on Caroline. She says: “I’m terrified every time I go on a bike but I always feel pretty pleased with myself when I make it to the end of a ride in one piece and unharmed.

“I hope that with time I will start to like cycling more. I see so many people in the club enjoying the cycling and I know I just need to persevere and I’ll get there.”

Since joining GTC it’s Caroline’s running that has improved the She says: “Ironically I think it is thanks to my swimming and cycling that my running has improved. I am actually running less because I have less time for it but my PBs have improved.

“I’ve been going to parkrun for years and had been stuck at the same 5k time until I joined GTC. Then, all of a sudden, I was beating my PB almost every other week. I couldn’t believe it!”

As well as the running PBs, Caroline has seen some other milestone achievements, such as being able to swim a full length of the pool “without having to stop to gasp and splutter for air”.

She says: “It took me a good month or so before I got to this point but it was entirely thanks to the GTC Sunday evening swim coaches, including Rose. Now I not only own a wetsuit, but in the summer I found myself open water swimming at 6am before going to work.”

The fun of triathlon

She says she never imagined that triathlon would be so enjoyable. She adds: “I didn’t realise that I’d find myself doing so many triathlon-related activities in my free time and how much fun and laughter I’d get from it.

“It has also been really great to find a group of like-minded people to train and race with.”

What’s next?

Having completed her novice triathlon event in May Caroline has a few racing aspirations for 2016. She says: “My job is not conducive to lots of hours of training, so I’ll stick to shorter distances that are achievable for me.

“I’d also like to enter an open water race and I  want to cut down my T1 time! It takes me so long to get out of the wetsuit that it seems like my T1 is longer than my actual swim!”

Caroline’s tips for triathlon

  1. Don’t be put off triathlons by not being able to swim. You can learn and the GTC coaches are very good.

2) Elastic laces are a godsend in transition.

3) Trisuits are a necessary evil.

* Look out for Caroline’s chosen triathlete of the month for December.