Meet the member – Máire Diggin

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

Hi. The form is good thanks. Training is going very well at the moment. I’m looking forward to more outdoor training now that the weather is improving and the days are getting longer. Like everyone else, I’m hoping there will be some sort of a race season this year.

Also, I’m a teacher and I’m looking forward to going back to school on Monday 15th. I didn’t become a teacher to sit at a laptop all day so glad that’s coming to an end.

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

I have always been involved in sport to a fairly high level. I played Hockey with Leinster in my younger days. Following that I was on the Irish Canoe Polo Team for many years. When I finished canoeing competitively in 2008 I  joined Celbridge AC. I love running but I got injured in 2012. I attended Laura Ward, physiotherapist and Pulse member, to fix me! Laura was passionate about Pulse and triathlon and suggested I give it a go. During many physio sessions with Laura, I heard some amazing stories about Pulse TC. I became curious about triathlon so I talked a group of the girls I had paddled with over the years to have a sort of reunion, and thus my journey in triathlon began.

Tell us about your first race?

My first race was Athy Sprint in 2015. I entered for fun with a few of my former teammates. I felt so out of my depth! The wait to get into the water felt like an eternity and I was so nervous. I wasn’t a swimmer then but having spent years paddling rivers I understood the water. Eventually when the swim did start I swam upriver in the eddy and then down the centre of the river. I passed out a lot of swimmers by reading the water so I felt great! Then to the struggle to get out of my wetsuit! I’d never heard of using baby oil then (I have shares in Johnsons Baby Oil now!) and I had tied my race chip on the outside of the leg of my wetsuit, so I really struggled and had to sit on the ground to sort that out. Off I went on the bike leg and I thought I was flying. Back into transition with a skid, much to the amusement of the officials and I wobbled into transition. I couldn’t feel my feet for the first 2 km of the run but I like running so I settled into a nice pace and was over the moon when I finished. I was hooked!

What’s your favourite race/distance to race?

So many…

I love the west of Ireland so I really enjoy Westport triathlon. Sure if you’re going west you might as well make a weekend of it!

Hell of the West was my first Olympic race and the sea was massive. I was certain the swim would be called off, but no. I was seriously impressed with myself for taking to the water that day. The scenery is unreal on that run too.

Jailbreak was an amazing experience swimming from Spike Island back to Cobh.

There is something special about DCT. It’s one hell of a race, and I love laps of the Phoenix Park-the laps keep me focused, and the cheers and support from Pulse and the public on the day is phenomenal.

My favourite distance is Sprint – I love the speedy races and my body likes them too as they are easy to recover from.

But I get a big kick out of the 4th discipline of triathlon…Transition– I have been known to practice a lot outside my house, much to the amusement of my elderly neighbours:) I have frequently stood in a bucket of water, and then raced up the road to my bike propped up by a lamp post and away I go with my daughter timing me. Many You Tube videos have been watched to perfect this skill!

What’s your favourite Pulse memory so far?

That’s a difficult question because there are so many. Pulse members are the most positive encouraging group of people I know.

But to answer the question…The camaraderie of the Pulse Women in chasing the National Series Title in 2019 where we were competing as a team even though triathlon is an individual sport… The Pulse Aquathon at the Bull Wall when during the swim Dazz steered me back on course from the rescue boat–I blame foggy goggles!… Cobh Jailbreak with Siobhán Quain, and Miriam Staunton–one true hero!

But one memory from all of the events is the “Go Pulse” shout from everyone you meet during a race – it’s the lift you get from that one comment.

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

For me, as I don’t get to train with the club as often as I’d like to due to family committments, it’s the advice, the expertise, the help with all things triathlon, the banter on Facebook, the craic at races, the friends, the friendly competition…and the deadly looking gear!

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

I’m a teacher in Kilcock and I teach 6th class girls. I love my job and really enjoy seeing the kids develop both academically and in sport.

My two daughters keep me busy. Éabha is 16yrs and is a serious kayaker with big ambitions. Caoimhe is 13yrs and is an elite gymnast, so yes it’s a busy house but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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

I captained the Irish Women’s Canoe Polo Team for many years but in 2003 we beat Great Britain in the European Championships – the only Irish team to do so. It was the culmination of years of training, commitment and dedication as a team, and I was honoured to be the captain of such an amazing talented bunch of women.

I wasn’t a swimmer until I started in triathlon but was coached, persuaded, dragged along to the sea by a great friend and have swam in amazing places all around Ireland. I was seriously chuffed when I swam Warrior of the Sea 6 km from Rosses Point to Strandhill, Sligo, two years running.

Sonia O’Sullivan, Catherina McKiernan and Roy Keane are my era – Fantastic Irish sports stars.

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

I have three…

I want to do a Middle distance triathlon. I’m signed up to Tyrone this year.

I want to run the Dublin Marathon, just once.

I want to swim a 10km this summer. Somewhere warm and sunny would be nice but if it has to be the Irish Sea or the Atlantic that’s ok too.

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

Tri Tyrone – if my body holds up!

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

Book: I’m reading “Something in the Water” at the moment about Skibbereen Rowing Club – it’s a great read.

Movie: Katie Taylor – I just think she’s an amazing role model.

TV Show: Anything to do with Irish athletics or the Irish rugby teams, or Room To Improve with Dermot Bannon – I dream of owning a house with big windows overlooking the sea in the West of Ireland …someday!

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

When I run or cycle I don’t like to listen to anything actually. I talk (and listen) all day for a living so I really enjoy the quietness when I train.

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

People who have a positive, give it a go attitude who look on the bright side of life.

People who don’t give up on their dreams.

People who think outside the box.

People who make things happen, even in tough times.

And…my two girls!

But to give you a name…Rachel Lee…an ordinary person who has achieved extraordinary things. Rachel has a way of making you feel amazing about yourself no matter what your ability or who you are.

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

Just start. 

Don’t worry about what you look like, what your gear looks like, or where you finish in a race. You’ll never regret a race -the buzz, the nerves, that feeling when you finish. The triathlon community is so encouraging. You won’t regret it.

Oh, and learn to corner on your bike…

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

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