Meet the Advocate: Claire Tynan Last week, we announced the women who are this year's 'Beyond the Finish Line' Advocates. Over the coming days we will be introducing you to each advocate, in their own words.Today we are introducing Claire Tynan, who is at the start of her triathlon journey having recently joined Belpark Triathlon Club.NAME: Claire TynanTRIATHLON CLUB: Belpark Triathlon ClubAGE GROUP: 30 - 34Swim, Bike or Run? SwimSwim in Open Water or Pool? Open water, even though I find it more challenging, it’s such a great feeling knowing you’ve swam in the open waterFavourite post-training snack? Natural yoghurt and granolaTrail Run or Road Run? Road runSprint, Standard, Middle or Long Distance Triathlon? Sprint: I have my first standard distance triathlon this summer, so this answer might change soon (or it might not!) Coffee or Cake? Cake, I've never liked coffeeFavourite motivational song? Shakira, "Waka Waka"One piece of advice for women starting their triathlon journey? Don’t be afraid, don’t over think it, just go for it! We all have to start somewhere, and why not start now?! Pick a race, sign up for it, and then start planning your training. The benefits to training for a triathlon are endless, and that feeling you get when you cross the finish line having completed a race makes all the training worthwhile. Sign up, get training, and I promise you won't regret it!My name is Claire and I'm from Dublin. I am working as a Doctor and I also volunteer with the Irish Coast Guard. I completed the Dublin City Triathlon in 2019. It was at the start line of that race that I promised myself that I would come back to do the same race in 2020, but as a fitter, healthier and stronger version of myself. I was nervous at the start of the race, and even in the weeks leading up to the race I was doubting myself. I was carrying extra weight, and one part of me thought there is no way I will physically be able to do this. But I told myself to just take the race bit by bit, one step at a time, and see how far that would get me. I was standing in the line for the swim start and before I knew it the klaxon sounded. The race had started and I just went for it. I started swimming, and before I knew it I was at the pontoon to exit the water. I got out of the water, onto the bike and kept cycling. I got off the bike (couldn't feel my feet!) and started to run. I kept running. The next thing I found myself running on the red carpet up to the finish line. When I crossed the line, I wanted to do it all over again - I was hooked! Since that day, I've been training when I can, as much as I can. My fitness levels have improved, I'm 3 stone down in weight (with more to go), and I'm geared up and ready to train for the 2020 Triathlon season! I am at the start of my triathlon journey, and as a new member to Belpark Triathlon Club, I am learning so much about the sport of triathlon already! With lots more room for improvement, I am excited about this coming year and to do the races that I have signed up for.HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE SPORT OF TRIATHLON?I suppose I got interested in Triathlon because I wanted to make a change to my lifestyle. I wanted to get involved in a sport that was challenging, but also one that was enjoyable. It's no secret that the benefits of exercising are endless - I wanted to get involved in a sport that would allow me to set small, achievable goals, help me lose weight, and improve my physical health and mental wellbeing. Triathlon ticked all those boxes, and I decided to jump in straight away and give it a go. I've not looked back since!IN WHAT WAY DOES BEING A PART OF A CLUB HELP YOUR TRAINING?There are so many benefits to being part of a club! Working as a Doctor in Ireland, you are always moved around the country to different hospitals. This can be hard, as often times you're far away from family and friends. So when you've had a bad day at work, it can be hard to find an outlet to destress. I was recently working in Waterford, and after completing the Dublin City Triathlon, I joined Waterford Triathlon Club. The people in the club were fantastic, so welcoming and so encouraging! There was always something going on - an evening swim session, a night time run session, or a weekend spin. There was something available to do every evening, and they catered for all abilities. Even though I was by no means the fastest in the training sessions, I was never left behind. Being involved in the club meant that I would push myself to make the training sessions, because I knew other people would be there. I didn't have to do it on my own. They would encourage me, give advice and push me, especially on days when I just wanted to sit in and do nothing. No matter where in Ireland you are, there is always at least one triathlon club nearby. Now I am back in Dublin, I've joined Belpark Triathlon Club. Even though I have just joined, I already feel so welcomed. The training sessions that I've been to so far are brilliant! I can already see improvements in my fitness, and I'm excited to meet more people in the club, and get more involved in the training.WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT TRIATHLON?I don’t think I could pick one favourite thing about triathlon, I love all three disciplines for different reasons:Swim - gets you outside and swimming in the sea in the summer. Starting the day off with a swim at sunrise is incredible, and I can't recommend this enough.Bike - I love this because it’s the discipline that you travel the furthest in, and its so fun and social. It’s a great feeling cycling different routes and seeing lots of different parts of Ireland. Run - I love how accessible this one is. All you need is a good pair of runners, and you can go running anytime, any where! So, what do I love about triathlon? It's variety! Between the 3 disciplines, you never feel like you're repeating your training. It's hard to get bored. PLANS FOR THE 2020 SEASON?This season will be the year of the 3's for me - I want to do 3 triathlons in 3 months: Hook or by Crook (June), The King Of Greystones (July) and then the Dublin City Triathlon Standard distance (August). My plan is to keep improving my fitness, continue on my weight loss journey, and to hopefully get closer to my goal of doing a Half Ironman. And who knows, all going well, hopefully one day a full Ironman might be on the cards and I can call myself an Iron(wo)man!WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST ABOUT BEING A 'Beyond the finish line' TRIATHLON ADVOCATE?From someone who is new to the sport, I’m looking forward to sharing my story from the start, and hopefully encouraging other women to get involved in triathlon. I'm hoping they will see that there isn't anything to fear about the sport. I want women to see that it's very accessible - it's not just a sport for the super fit to take part in. It's about swimming/cycling/running your own race. Challenging yourself, and testing your own limits. I’d love other women to see the benefits (physically and mentally) of getting involved in their local club, setting goals in training, seeing how good it feels when you run for that extra minute or the extra mile. I want to encourage women to believe in themselves and sign up for a race. I want them to experience that feeling I had of running along the red carpet and crossing the finish line - because I've no doubt they will be hooked too. Keep an eye on our website as we introduce you to our final 'Beyond the Finish Line' Advocates next week.If you would like to take the challenge and become a triathlete, read our beginner's guide to triathlon!