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Meet the member – Jo Lynch


Well Jo, how’s the form? How’s everything going for you?

Everything is ok…..i think ok is probably the best I can do right now. This is difficult on all of us, but when you’re an outdoorsy person, and you’re limited to where you can go, its especially hard. I miss the sea ☹

But I’ll plough on……better days are coming!

Tell us about how you got interested in Triathlon and how you came to join Pulse?

Oh this is a long story involving an injury, a boyfriend and a neighbour!

I used to run a bit, mainly half marathons and a few marathons. My boyfriend was a Triathlete and was training for the first 70.3 in Dublin at the time. I remember going to the race that morning knowing nothing about Ironman and thinking it would be a gathering of the fittest hottest looking people in Ireland. To my surprise (and mild disappointment), everyone looked normal. Looked just like me. All shapes and sizes where there. I thought what they were doing that day was heroic and I remember looking out at the bay and I just couldn’t wrap my head around the distances!

I thought nothing more of it until I got injured a few months later from running and my physio said I needed to stop running and was I able to swim? At the time I could swim about 2 lengths without stopping but that was the height of it. So I took myself off to my local pool and after a few weeks of swimming I decided to sign up for the ‘Swim for a Mile’ challenge so I had something to work towards. I also met my neighbour in the pool who was a (very good!) Triathlete and he was wondering why I hadn’t tried a triathlon since I biked to work, swam abit and ran….but as I pointed out…I had no interest in doing all 3 at the one time. That was for crazy people!

I completed the Swim for a Mile and that was a huge boost to me. Now I knew I could swim a bit. I had watched a documentary at the time, called Ironmind….where Bressie had taken a group of people and trained them for a 70.3 ( I think it was Lanzarote?). He had organized a triathlon purely for beginners in Mullingar, and with the support (pressure) from the triathletes in my life, I thought that would be a good idea. The plan was to do one, tick the box, and go back to running.

So I got myself a little training plan for the race. Even went and got myself a road bike! Cycled one day half way to viewing point and thought I was the bomb!!

Then I panicked a bit and thought I should do a “practice” triathlon, y’know to see if I could do one. So I signed up for the Try a Tri at Athy.

It was only after that race, I decided to join a club. I had never been in a sports club before (not sure the camogie team counts). When I ran, I always shyed away from joining a club. Run clubs always looked really intimidating to me. I always thought I wasn’t good enough. But I didn’t want to make that mistake again.

So I made enquires with Belpark. I live in Rathfarnham and geographically they were my local club, even training right behind my house so I figured that made sense. I did a trial with them…..it was ok. I had signed up for the Belpark Duathlon in the Phoenix Park and my plan was to join Belpark after that.

That evening at the race, whilst in the queue to register, a man behind me starts randomly talking to me.

Now…..I’m a friendly girl….but even I know you should be wary of strange men in public parks who try to engage you in conversation. But, wanting to be polite, I indulged him. He kept asking was I in a club. I said I was planning to join Belpark, and he just said “No!……meet me after the race, I’ll find you at the finish line”……so, as sure as anything, this man found me after the race. He introduced himself as Fergus Walsh and would I be interested in joining Pulse. He gave me his number and told me to meet him at Killiney Beach the following Monday!

Again…….this was a strange man in a park encouraging a woman to meet him on a public beach!

Anyways, I couldn’t make it, but I did contact the club, and arranged to come along to a brick session in Corkagh Park that Wednesday. Dave Adams and Miriam Staunton were there…..and the rest as they say is history 😊

Tell us about your first race?

My first race was the Try a Tri in Athy in June 2016. I recall it being a very hot day. I had all new gear. New bike, wetsuit, tri suit…..the whole shebang! I went on my own, I wasn’t in the club at this stage and my memory is mainly of seeing all these people having loads of groups of friends to chat with etc. I made friends with my bike neighbours which was nice. Lots of newbies together. Although looking back at the photos…..I see I had two 750ml bottles on my bike for 20km!! Clearly expecting to be out there all day.

The swim was 250m……. and I breaststroked the whole thing. Delighted to get to dry land and onto the 20km bike which just seemed like the longest time ever. The run was 4k and I remember passing out lots of people on the run and realizing then, it helps to be a runner in this sport. Once I was finished, I was impressed with how well I had done. I thought I’d be last but I did quite well and I was delighted and buzzing after it. I was definitely hooked.

What’s your favourite race/distance to race?

So strangely my favourite race and distance are different. My favourite race is Harbourman. I’ve done it a couple of times. Its always sunny on race day, always a big group from the club are at it, which means lots of craic not just after but also during the race. And I really like the course. Although there was that one time I got stuck in my wetsuit and Joanne Butler and Siobhan Quain had to get me out of it, mid transition 😊

My favourite distance tho is 70.3. I’m a diesel engine athlete. I can’t go fast but I can go for a long time so the half is the perfect distance for me. It’s a nice distance to train for but it doesn’t take over your life like Ironman does. I particularly like to do 70.3’s abroad…..nice locations but again, unlike Ironman, you can race and enjoy a bit of a holiday cause you’re still able to walk after 😊

What’s your favourite Pulse memory so far?

I’m not sure anything will ever beat the post Ironman party in Barcelona in 2017. That post race party in the Octoberfest tent is forever in my memory. There was a big number of us doing the race that year and an even bigger number flew out to support! The support during the race, with Dazz Hughes taking over MC duties from the Ironman crew on the bike course, and Pulse corner and the wall of noise was brilliant. The party went on for a few days! You could ask Dazz about it, but he doesn’t remember most of it 😊 

And of course the trips to Mallorca….i’ve been on all three over the last few years. A brilliant week away. If you get the chance to go, I’d highly recommend!

Oh oh….Port Beach! Couldn’t leave that out! The most fun and the most stressful day of any of my triathlon days 😊 Like trying to corral wild cats!

Ah god…..there is so many, now that I think of it. Great times…more to come!

What’s the best thing about being in a Triathlon club?

The people you meet. I have made friends for life from the club. When I first joined in mid 2016, there was a group of us who all joined about the same time, and we are now best friends. Shout out to Dee, Anna, Fi, Mairead, Claire and Aine. I know I would not have achieved all I have without the unending support from those women 😊 And for that, I will always be forever grateful I found Pulse.

From a triathlon point of view, the knowledge you learn from others in a club is exceptional. From gear tips to bikes to how to train, to nutrition, to knowing to NOT wear knickers under your bike shorts. This type of knowledge is gold.

When you’re not swimming or pedalling or running, what keeps you busy?

My dog! He is quite a demanding animal who craves attention and constant companionship. Worse than a child, I swear.  

I also do a bit of SUP’ing so I try and get out on the water during the summer. Its very enjoyable.

Outside of Triathlon, what’s your favourite sporting memory or achievement? (Doesn’t have to be your own!)

My first marathon. 2011. Until that moment I always thought marathons and endurance were for other people, not me. Those people who would be out running in all weathers at all times of the day or night…..i never understood it.

When I was training for it, I didn’t think I’d complete it. Even during the race, I didn’t think I’d finish it. But there is something special about the Dublin City Marathon and at the time the route took you around by Trinity College and the amount of people and noise levels in the last 400m….i was quite emotional.

Now, I’m not even sure I’d get an entry for that race anymore so I’ll always hold dear my DCM medals!

What’s the bucket list, once in a lifetime race you’d love to experience?

Do we all say Kona here? Although I hear its very expensive and very warm….!

There is an xTri in Patagonia that seems to always make its way onto my list.

I had an entry for Escape to Alcatraz for last year but COVID ended that. I may get around to doing that race yet. Mainly for the swim tbh. 

Maybe Alpe D’Huez also……if I’m not too scared from the stories from Richie, Siobhan, Keith, Jason and Denis.

What’s the next Triathlon goal you’d like to tick off?

Right now, I don’t have any triathlon goals. I’ll be honest in saying that I’ve burnt myself out the last few years. 3 Ironmans in 24 months will do that to you. I’m always impressed by those who can keep going at it, year after year, but its not for me. I loved my time doing Ironmans….i had a goal and worked hard to reach it. And I may return to it in the future if the desire is there.

For now, my main goal is getting back to enjoying it, with no pressure. Find the joy in it again. But having done Ironmans there is always pressure. People seem to think that when you do an Ironman, you are super fit or superhuman forever more.

I hate to break the myth but that’s not the case. You cannot maintain that level of fitness. Its not real life. Its not sustainable. It was a moment in time. We’re only human 😊

What’s your favourite book/movie/tv show? What do you like about them?

So I’ll keep this sports related. Sport books I like…..

Rob Cummins Kona book. Rob has a great story as to how he got into triathlon and how he got to where he is in the sport.

IronWar is ok, but Dave Scott is a dick as far as I recall after reading it.

Chrissy Wellingtons book is brilliant. I’d highly recommend that.

Non tri books…Andre Agassi has a great bio.

Favourite movie is a hard one. I always judge this by saying the movie, if its on the telly, I always watch it….and that’s Goodfellas.

TV Show……Schitts Creek…..no question

What are the go-to tunes/podcasts for a training session?

Oh, how long is a piece of string?!

Go-to tunes…..anything from the 80s should get you moving. I was also a dance head back in the day so the classic trance and house tracks from the 90s always work a treat for me.

I like podcasts for long runs and when I had to do long solo bikes, I always had a podcast on.

Some recommendations:

The Brick Session

  • IMTalk
  • Oxygen Addict
  • MarathonTalk
  • Inside Tri

And for the ladies:

  • Ironwomen
  • WITSUP

Who inspires you, be it in sports or in regular life?

I’m not someone who particularly finds inspiration in pro athletes or celebrities etc.

My inspiration comes from the regular people in this sport, but most especially the women. I’m always inspired by the mothers in the club. Those coming back from having a baby to those juggling 3 or 4 kids, training for Ironman, those working on the frontline, those battling health issues. These are the people that inspire me.

They are out there and they’re doing it. The hard graft. And there are no Instagram posts about it…..its just quietly getting done in the background.

Keep on truckin’ ladies 😊

Finally, what one nugget of advice would you give to a new member starting out on their Triathlon journey?

DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS!

Comparison is the thief of joy. Do you…..and don’t worry what others are doing.

We all come to this sport from different physical and sporting backgrounds. It’s a personal journey. Don’t take it too seriously. It’s meant to be fun.

And don’t wear knickers under your tri/bike shorts 😊 You’re welcome

Pulse Triathlon Club: swimming, cycling, running and socialising since 2003

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