Meet the member – Nicola McLaughlin
Well Nicola how’s the form? How’s everything going for you?
Good thanks good to be back at the training sessions and doing some consistent training.
Tell us about how you got interested in Triathlon and how you came to join Pulse?
I became interested in Triathlon when I came back to Ireland in 2017 after working in Newcastle in the UK for a number of years. I was playing rugby and Australian Rules Football and wanted to take on a new challenge. I’ve always swam since I was younger my Dad used to bring us to swim training sessions at 5am and we swam in the sea. Joining a triathlon club was a natural progression and I wanted to widen my social circle. I was walking in Donadea when there was a duathlon on in 2018 and I decide to try it out and do the sprint myself and I loved it. I joined the club later than year after doing one of the bike TT session in Blessington where I met Deb Carr and we have been friends and training partners ever since. Looking back at that bike TT, I have to laugh I didn’t have proper cycling shorts, cycling shoes or any idea about bike handling and I was also wearing a hiking jacket on that day!
Tell us about your first race?
It was Tri Athy sprint distance, really enjoyable experience with lots of pulsers there. I loved the swim, I think my tri suit was from LIDL .I had one bottle of water with me , no idea about electrolytes and only 1 nutrigrain bar as fuel. Needless to say I crashed and burned that day but loved the buzz and the challenge
What’s your favourite race/distance to race?
I love long distance swimming ‘Escape from Ireland’s Eye’ was one of my favourite swim distance and 5k swim in Athy. I like Olympic or half distance .
I signed up to a full distance in Portugal this year but I withdrew after my Dad passed away suddenly earlier this year .
What’s your favourite Pulse memory so far?
I think it has to be the double Olympic in Athy I did. I remember the laugh I had with Hugh Byrne when I came into transition after the swim. Ciat had re-iterated the im-portance of nutrition. I came out of the swim, and I had ‘ little picnic’ as Hugh com-mented as I was sitting down having a drink of lucozade and about 20 energy bars on the ground. I was chewing away on a bar and taking my time putting my gear on. I wasn’t in any hurry to get on the bike! I laugh at that memory as I was inexperienced and brought enough food to transition to feed an army! I was also not bothered about getting a PB. For me showing up at the start line being healthy and fit to do a race and finishing it is a blessing. Getting a PB is just the icing on the cake.
What’s the best thing about being in a Triathlon club?
Friendship and the social side of training. My dad would always say ‘every day is a school day’ and I’ve learned a lot from other club members. I always surround myself around positive people and there is lots of positive energy in the club whether it be a chat on a long cycle or a run. Confidence to push myself out of my comfort zone is another reason as lots of club members inspire to do that.
When you’re not swimming or pedalling or running, what keeps you busy?
I am a Physiotherapy Manager so that keeps me busy. Spending time with family and friends keeps me busy and I cherish those precious times. I am currently moving house in next few months so that will keep me busy.
Outside of Triathlon, what’s your favourite sporting memory or achievement?
It has to be watching the All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup one of the games was in Newcastle in UK and I was fortunate to get a ticket as I was working as Sports Phys-iotherapist at Newcastle United Football Club where the game was being played. The atmosphere was electric and one of my favourite memories and met the All Blacks after the game.
Obviously Kona is the dream for a lot of members, but are there any other bucket list, once-in-a-lifetime type races you’d love to experience?
I would love to do the Alcatraz Swim in San Francisco I spent time there when I was travelling and I’ve always wanted to go back and do that swim
What’s the next Triathlon goal you would like to tick off?
I would like to do a long distance open water 10k swim. I would like to revisit full dis-tance in next 2 years
What’s your favourite book/movie/tv show? What do you like about them?
My favourite film is ‘ Silver Linings Playbook’. It’s about navigating through life’s up’s and downs and to always always look for a silver lining. I love reading about psychol-ogy and positive psychology. Some of the books I recommend would be Mindset ( Carol Dweak), Robin Sharma ‘ The 5am Club’ and ‘Grit’ by Angela Duckworth.
What are the go-to tunes/podcasts for a training session?
Podcasts- Run Pod, Where is my mind- Bressie, How to Fail- Elizabeth Day , Ready to be Real- Sile Seoige. I love podcasts that are real stories and people sharing per-sonal stories and experience. For training session, I love house music and rap and hip hop regularly feature on my playlists.
Who inspires you, be it in sports or in regular life?
My family and friends inspire me. As a Physiotherapist, I work with people who are often at their most vulnerable and sharing their goals and dreams. My job inspires me to always be grateful for your health and your body and never take it for granted In sport there are so many who inspire me, the three people I most admire would be Katie Taylor, Rachel Blackmore are both outstanding female athletes in their chosen sports and Roy Keane for his passionate, outspoken manner and that inspires me. There are many people in the club who inspire me, ‘Deb Carr being one of them. I’ll never forget Deb encouraging me to do Wicklow 200 and I cursed her at the time but she inspired me to finish it and I did it.
What one nugget of advice would you give to a new member starting out on their Triathlon journey?
‘Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff’ as my dad would always say that. Don’t sweat the small stuff like comparing yourself to others or trying to get all the gear in the first few months of training. Start small and build up your training gear over time, it costs money and triathlon is an expensive sport. Focus on your own goals and aspirations. Always ask questions, if you don’t know something just ask. We are all learning and learning from each other. Finally, I would say be thankful that you are healthy and able to race to be grateful you can and enjoy the experience.
The majority of us are doing this as a hobby and not paid professionals.
Finally, can you tell us an interesting fact or story we don’t know about you?
I really like playing rugby and play 2nd row and I tackle hard so if anyone tries to take my bike they better watch out as they will be on the deck in seconds!