Interview with a paratriathlete Sarah Pearson

Sarah PearsonThis is Sarah Pearson, a chartered occupational psychologist from Devon. Her speciality is vocational rehabilitation: Sarah helps people overcome dramatic life events and return to work.

The photo above may give you a clue that Sarah’s profession is not the only interesting thing about her. She also loves competing in triathlons, a passion, she’s only discovered a couple of years ago. I gather, she is rather good at it.

Sarah also happens to have cerebral palsy, in her case not diagnosed until about 18 months ago. Sarah explains that previously she just thought she had “a dodgy left side”.

“My parents have always been brilliant at making me feel confident to have a go at things, so I grew up without feeling disadvantaged, even though I struggled a bit at school.”

Sarah Pearson competingParalympic triathlon is a novelty to the extent that it is making its debut in 2016 in Paralympic Games in Rio. The British Paralympic Association is still working out the triathlon categories to allow athletes with disabilities make the most of the sport. Sarah told me about the last British Championships with only three women competing in her category. Sarah came second.

The reason I think Sarah’s story is remarkable is because of her positive attitude.

“I am still not exactly sure how best to train with cerebral palsy but I am taking one day at a time. I am really hoping to do some international races this season.”

As a psychologist, Sarah applies her professional expertise to  her own training. Her advice is to focus on the positives:

“Negative thoughts can spiral you down, while positive thoughts can drive you forward. It’s about setting small goals, such as aiming to run for 10 minutes without stopping. Once you smash that target, recognise it as a positive thing. On the other hand, don’t beat yourself up just because you had a bad day.”

Sarah’s positive energy is genuine inspiration. Best of luck with smashing all your goals!

You may wish to follow @SarahPearson70 on Twitter to hear about her racing, training, healthy nutrition and good old banter.

 

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