Thoughts whilst doing the triathlon I said I’d never do

From Stephanie…

I wanted to write you a serious race report, all emotions, toil and details. The last two weeks of triathlons, other life highs and lows, incredible weather and travelling are taking a while to sink in. I’m also not very good at writing seriously! So here are some thoughts I had on the day of Challenge Prague Try-athlon. My second open water (OW) triathlon in two weeks. I’d like to refer you back to this post after my first pool based triathlon and the email I wrote to Julia, who features in the photos below.

As I struggle into my wetsuit

‘How is Amy always such a calming influence? Why can’t the water be warmer? I need a wee’

As the horn goes to start the swim

‘OH MY DAYS I’M SWIMMING IN A RIVER IN PRAGUE, why are all these people doing breaststroke?’

As I try to find enough room to switch to front crawl

‘My club are watching, I can’t let them catch me breast-stroking, I’ll never live it down. Find a gap and sight often’

As a man helps me scramble out of the water

‘watch off, roll the sleeves, get it to your waist, watch on’ – a 500-700m ish run while taking off a wetsuit turns out to be my forte and I overtook loads of people.

T1

‘where is my kit bag, why do they all look the same? Shoes on, helmet on, belt on, running in cleats always reminds me of running in heels on the cobbles at university’

On the bike

‘I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M IN PRAGUE RIDING A BIKE, doing a triathlon, with amazing people, and I am doing it’

‘Wahhhh, a scary U-turn and there are people on TT bikes trying to overtake me. Don’t kill them, don’t kill them, don’t kill them, ah breathe, made it.’ (x6)

‘Please don’t let anyone from club be there when I have to clip out, I don’t want to fall off in front of everyone’

On seeing Amy and Louise just before transition

‘yay the girls! What amazing supporters, can’t believe they are putting up with me doing this!’ ‘don’t fall off in front of them’ Pretty sure I shouted something at them, no idea what.

T2

‘remind myself of what Sophie told me at my duathlon – ‘running is the easy bit’

On the run

As I turned the corner onto the bridge, my whole club (and Sophie) were there SCREAMING at me, I hadn’t expected to see them, they should have been prepping for their race.

‘Ahhhhh teamies, I’m on the run, in a triathlon, I can’t believe it, don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry…. [lots of high fives] ooh look the guy that overtook me on the bike, TAKKKEEE HIMMM DOWNNNNNNNNN’

I have had to pause writing this as my eyes have welled up. I feel stupidly emotional about the support from my friends and club for this teeny, tiny race when they were all doing the big race (1900m, 90k, 20k) in 32C heat. I honestly wouldn’t have been there running down the cobbles along side the river, full of smiles, passing person after person, without the ongoing support, motivation and encouragement of Berkshire Tri Squad. A club full of inspiring, dedicated, giving and generous people. They’ve been by my side through so many firsts this year. I’ve found so many things I love and a new sense of freedom in the joy of outdoors and sports I never thought I’d try, let alone love.

The finish

‘Ah my teamies again, ah the red carpet, one last corner. IN PRAGUE, ON A TRIATHLON. They’ve put a speed bump in the finish, panic, ah Amy! Hi!!! Jump so you don’t fall.’

I crossed the finish and everyone was stopped in front of me (in hindsight it was because it was full of volunteers/officials/press as they were awarding the winners) and felt a bit dazed and confused, only 1 hour 14 minutes racing, but my head started to feel full, just as I contemplated sitting down, Paul shouted “Steph, keep walking!” and I came out of the finish to sweaty hugs from him and his other half Kate. The dream team who later on came 3rd and 5th in their age groups.

I carried on my dazed walk to get my finishers t-shirt and then the real race begun…

Swim through the crowds to get my bike

T1: get my bike over the bridge to the airbnb

Spin through the flat, shower and change

T2: get back over the bridge to the island

Run around Prague supporting our middle-distance triathletes

The Awards Acceptance Speech….

I can’t wait to see where the next year with Berkshire Tri Squad, triathlon, cheer crew like Sophie and Amy, virtual cheer crew like Sarah and Vicki and my running and cycling pals in Windsor like Sarah and Zena take me (and them)

Whatever happens it will be an adventure #girlssupportgirls

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