Less of a Race Report, more of a journey !

Kathy Neylon.

When I had twins in 2014, I thought my sporting life was over. I was proud and grateful for what I had achieved – 2 big healthy babies carried to full term, but it took its toll on my body. I was devastated at the thought of not ever being able to play sports again. Besides the fact that I didn’t have time to pee, never mind anything else!

3 years later, there was a glimmer of hope…..as I emerged from the haze of nappies and bottles, I started doing yoga while my 3 kids were at school/preschool. It helped my back pain, leg pain, and brain pain (if you have kids you’ll understand !) I started to “jog”. Badly. I also started to dream. It had always been a “bucket list” item of mine to do a triathlon. Maybe I could still do it ???

In 2020 I joined Tritanium. Bad timing I know !! But despite covid lockdowns and canceled races, I knew I had found my new sport. I learned so much from the other club members, and everyone was so supportive and encouraging. I finally got to do my first sprint triathlon in 2022 – and I loved it! And to my surprise, I found myself signing up for the Olympic distance the following year. I felt sick every time I thought about doing it, but I told myself to trust in the training and I knew I had the best support group ever in the club.

In June this year, I arrived in Athy to do the Olympic distance triathlon. I think I lost half a stone in nervous sweat on the way there in the car. The 1500m swim was looming over me as I wished I had gone to more club swimming sessions. 

We lined up at the start, and I was ever so grateful that there were so many of us from the club doing it. The support is invaluable in those moments. But once you’re in the water, you’re on your own. I hung towards the back so as not to get too bashed, which worked well. I began to get into a rhythm, but the sighting was never my strong point, so I zigzagged my way up the river. I thought the buoy would never come, and had to endure a few hits as we rounded it, but as I made my way downstream I remember thinking – I’m doing it! I’m doing it! 

I clambered out of the water ungracefully and ran wobbly-legged to my bike. It was a beautiful sunny day, so I had suncream at transition (it’s the mammy in me). I didn’t have any cycling experience prior to joining the club, so had a lot to learn. I thought about the tips Emma and others had given me when out cycling and between that and my gel, I made it home in a very respectable time (in my book anyway).

I ran wobbly-legged to the run start (yes, wobbly legs are a theme). 10km ahead of me. Dear Lord. But I paced myself as I had done in training, and the km’s passed. The heat was intense,  which made it more difficult, but before I knew it the end was near. I crossed the line with such great feelings of achievement and cheers from my clubmates. It was amazing.

I signed up for next year’s Olympic distance the following day. And I’m already nervous. 

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