What inspired you to try a triathlon?My friend Elizabeth who I worked with challenged me. At that point I couldn't run for a minute, but painstakingly trained and managed 5K in 39 minutes. (Photo: Frances and Liz supporting at Mid-Sussex)
Member profile - Frances Greenall
Where and when was your first triathlon? What was the distance?My first triathlon was in 1999 at Excel, the second London triathlon to take place. It was a sprint distance. My last season in triathlon, 2009, I also just raced at sprint distance, and achieved my best results ever. This does make the blow of having to stop doing triathlon easier to bear. (Photo: Frances winning her age-group at Mid-Sussex in 2009)
Do you have a favourite race? My favourite sprint race was Mid-Sussex in Burgess Hill, and my favourite Olympic distance was the London triathlon. I was also a member of the Great Britain age group triathlon team on three occasions, and there's nothing much to beat racing in Hawaii. (Photo: Frances winning her age-group at Mid-Sussex in 2007)
Describe your first ever bike My first ever bike was a ladies Raleigh shopper. I was laughed at so much when riding it by Greg of Tri and Run bikes that I immediately purchased a proper bike.
Where does your bike live? My beautiful tri and run bike now lives in a purpose-built bike shed on my patio.
One piece of advice you would give a triathlon newbieYou are doing triathlon for enjoyment, relax and enjoy the experience. Racing is fun.
Where's your favourite place to ride?I think my favourite route is the Pilgrims Way circuit we often did on Sunday mornings. Once you get away from the traffic, the scenery is wonderful and the road is exhilarating. I also really enjoyed the Club training holidays to Italy, Greece and France. (Photo: Frances (2nd left) enjoying some open water swimming in France)
Do you have any pre-race rituals and meals? What are they?Pre race rituals involved lots of trips to the loo, and a large bowl of porridge, enriched with peanut butter raisins and yoghurt. The evening before a race I would get out my original triathlon race checklist, given to be by Louise Alan-Smith many years ago, and meticulously go through it collecting every item, packing it carefully in my kit bag. If I knew the course I would also try to visualise my way through the race while trying to get to sleep, though usually too excited to do much sleeping.
Favourite post-race drink/snack?Post race there's nothing to beat a good bacon sandwich and a large mug of tea.
Do you prefer to train alone or with a group?Depending on whether it was swim, bike or run my preference to train alone or with a group varied. Swimming is usually good done in a group, running I uisually did on my own because I never got up any speed or much endurance, biking I loved the group rides, even though at times they were very tough. The exhilaration of drafting behind a good cyclist can't be beaten. (Photo: Frances swimming at a Club aquathlon at The Bridge)
What do you carry with you when you train?On a run I found it very helpful if I was running more than 30 minutes, a sports drink.. On the bike and assortment of gels and energy bars, bananas, and the odd bar of chocolate went down a treat when I was about to hit the wall.
Do you run to music? If so, what's your favourite?I never ran to music.
Legs shaved, waxed or hairy?Waxed in season, no comment out of season!
Ironman - Yes/No/Again?Ironman was never on my horizon, but I watched a couple and am truly amazed that so many people succeed.
Ironman tattoo - Yes/No/Where?N/A.
What do you do in the real world, outside triathlon?I was a nurse, and my last role was as a nurse lecturer. I loved it but unfortunately I now have arthritis in my spine, and am unable to work, and also unable to participate in triathlon any longer.
Three people you'd like to have dinner with?Mark Cavendish, Denise Lewis and Jane Austen!
What are you currently reading?I am a member of a biography book group, and we are currently reading Stuart, A life backwards, by Alexander Masters.
What was the last film you saw?I couldn't resist going to see the adventures of Tintin, and had a great laugh watching it.
What’s next for you?Because I was a member of the British Triathlon Association, I have successfully applied it to be a volunteer at the triathlon and road cycling events in the London 2012 Olympics. I am also involved in interviewing people who want to be Olympic volunteers, and am hoping to go on to be training these volunteers as well. As well as this I'm enjoying reading, and many other hobbies. I have to still swim to keep my stiff bones as flexible as possible and although no longer going to be a member of CPT, will keep in touch. My 10 years of triathlon might have come to an end, but I've loved being a member of Crystal Palace Triathletes, made many friends, and had some great experiences. I will keep in touch, that's a promise.