'And this lad, can you believe it, does Ironman' was my introduction to a stranger from a very good friend. The surprise is that I'm not your average out the front lean, mean, triathlon machine. This is me running the finish shoot at the 70.3 Wimbleball Ironman event in 2016.
I'm the archetypal 'fat lad at the back' and as well as carrying some weight I, like many others, carry some hang ups about race day apparel. When I first started three years ago, I'd feel like I didn't belong in this elite mass of muscle bound athletes!!
But the IMTC community is great. I remember plucking up the courage (accurate description) to express my true feelings about wearing a triathlon suit to Ian, my coach. If you don't know, a tri-suit is a millimetre thick step up from your birthday suit.
'I'd look ridiculous' I say to Ian and his response was so helpful. 'Unless, Graham, you're in the top pro athletes we all do'. And that's the spirit of triathlon right there; all shapes and sizes encouraging each other.
So it took me three years to finish a race in my Huub outfit. I'm sure a few shallow people had a snigger, including the finish line photographer, but that's forgotten in an instant. Incidentally, I have memorised his face for another day when I'm not so tired.
Seconds after the picture above and 7 hours 59 minutes in I'm uttering the words 'I can't believe I did it!!'. Medal round my neck. No better feeling. Target beaten by 1 minute thanks to IMTC.
So don't let anything hold you back and distract you. Get the kit on, get racing and go make the impossible possible!!