Maz has been part of the YNM journey since practically the beginning. Having earned her 100 club and 200 club T-shirt and Hoody, she is part of the family. We have watched Maz quietly and humbly setting herself progressive targets that always involve taking part in events which have challenged her and involved dedication and application towards achieving them. The ones that stick out for us are the Winter 10k in London, going sub 25 mins for 5k, running the London Marathon and most recently, taking part in her first Aquathlon. I wonder what her next challenge will be? You make us proud Maz.

Emma & Martin

When the going gets TUFF (FITTY)…

I started YNM sessions 3 years ago. I had no idea where it would take me!

Since then I’ve received the member of the month t.shirt, Club 100 t.shirt and Club 200 jumper (which, rather embarrassingly, brought me to tears – but that’s just how much it meant to me!). I’ve participated in 5k Park Runs, Brutal events, a few 10k’s and the 2017 London Marathon.

I really enjoyed training for the marathon and towards the end of last year I realised that I was missing the challenge of training for something I’ve not done before.  I thought I might try something a bit different but, at the start of the this year I let negative thoughts get the better of me and I emailed Emma to say I’d changed my mind and used a few excuses.  However, when Emma suggested the Tuff Fitty Aquathlon (400m swim and 5k run) I thought ok, I’ll give that a go and I am so pleased I did!

My alarm went off at 6am even though I’d been lying in bed wide awake for at least an hour! I made my way down to the kitchen to make a much needed coffee.  It’s amazing how difficult it is to try and be quiet because the rest of the house is sleeping!  At this stage I felt ok. I have a usual routine/ritual on mornings such as these and I always pack my bag and leave my clothes out the night before.  I’d felt nervous in the weeks leading up to this morning because I was unsure what to wear, what would happen on the day etc…but Emma and Mark W had talked me through it plus there’s a fountain of knowledge and other people’s experiences courtesy of Google!

I started to feel a little nervous when I got in the car to head to the swimming centre.  The nerves really kicked when I arrived and someone handed my number to me with details of when I would be starting.  Looking around everyone seemed very relaxed, experienced & super fit, like this is what they do every weekend.  This made me feel worse.  My hands were shaking so much I had a bit of trouble putting the number onto the top I was going to put on for the run element.  In these moments I often feel like I don’t belong in these arenas and start to worry that I shouldn’t be there, that I’m way out of my comfort zone and that I was kidding myself thinking I should take part.  I question why on earth I put myself through it and vow never to enter anything like it again!

It soon came round to 7.30am. I took myself into the changing room and gave myself a little talking to in the mirror as I put my swimming cap on.  Before I knew it I was poolside and they were calling my wave over.  I wasn’t sure if I was pleased to be going first, ahead of Martin and Mark or whether I felt more nervous at the the thought of them and Emma watching me swim!

I found my number by the side of the pool and put my trainers & towel down, lay my run top out and followed the others to my lane.  The countdown began, it was time to race and we were off.  At this point I felt physically sick and a little light headed! I was panicking which in turn meant my swimming stroke wasn’t as smooth and rhythmical as I knew it should be.  However, as I was swimming in the lane right by where Emma, Martin and Mark were sat, I could hear them cheering me on every time I passed them.  There’s something special hearing the 3 of them shout “come on Maz” it makes me think I can do it and always makes me want to try harder!  It took a good few lengths before I felt slightly more in control but I’d lost count of how many lengths I’d done! I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the float go into the water to tell my fellow lane member that we only had 2 lengths left.

I hadn’t given any consideration as to how I’d be getting out of pool!  These days I usually take the steps as it’s slightly more dignified! It’s been a while since I’ve had to haul myself out of a pool and, in the moment, I could feel myself falling backwards! I wasn’t really concentrating on what I was doing because my thoughts had turned to how see-through my tri suit was and the sudden realisation that everyone could probably see some crack and my flabby, saggy stomach! Luckily I didn’t fall back in (Oh god can you imagine!!) I was soon on my feet and on auto pilot to the transition area.  I put my long sleeved top on and quickly realised there’s a reason you don’t see many people wearing them at these events! I finally found my hands through the sleeves and was a little quicker at getting my trainers on and I was off on the run. I’ve done so many 5k’s, I wasn’t too worried about the run element however, it took me ages to control my breathing – I think the adrenaline had really kicked in along with the usual thoughts of “why do I do this to myself!!” I slowed myself down, managed to get it under control and eased into the long stretch along the seafront.

Only a couple of people had overtaken me and as I made the last turn.  I could see there was a fairly decent gap between me and the person behind.  At this moment Emma’s voice popped into my head “DON’T let anyone else overtake you!”. I think I ran the fastest I’ve ever run from that point back to the swimming centre.  I could see Emma on the lookout and I saw her do a double take when she realised it was me that was running towards her. 

I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face and felt pretty chuffed with myself. It’s a great feeling when I realise I’ve conquered my fears of doing something like this and in that split second of finishing and Emma giving me a massive hug I didn’t worry one bit about how I looked!

Every event needs people like me, middle to back of the pack – that’s my zone and there’s nothing wrong with being there.  I’m sure I’ll experience the same nerves and fears of not belonging at future events but maybe that’s not such a bad thing, maybe that’s what makes crossing the finish line feel so fantastic.

Everyone knows how much I love YNM, it’s been a constant in my life for the past 3 years and I will be eternally grateful to Emma and Martin for continuing to encourage me to challenge myself.  I don’t think I’ve ever met two people who are so motivated, dedicated, encouraging and supportive.  I’m not sure they realise just how much they have helped me over these past 3 years, it goes a lot deeper than just competing in these events and smashing out a run PB but that’s a whole different story which I’ll leave for another blog!

To my fellow YNM members, you are just as important!! – a little joke or a shared grimace during a workout, knowing we are all in it together is what motivates me to get myself to sessions.

So….I encourage anyone thinking about giving something a go but feeling a bit nervous, just sign yourself up and get out there and do it!  I promise you everyone there will be friendly and supportive even if they look like they could compete at the Olympics! Plus, there will always be someone like me, stood there worrying just as much as you.

Maz x

– now where’s my celebratory glass of Rioja!


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