If there was one thing I didn’t think I’d be doing this year it was a triathlon

By Frances Ford

It’s not something I have ever considered doing or had the opportunity to do, but when Gemma (Her Spirit Physio) mentioned it to me back in April, it was a relatively quick decision for me, thinking ‘you only live once’, despite being at physio for hip and back pain!!  

Although I’ve almost always cycled, I’ve always been a poor swimmer and runner.  Joining Her Spirit earlier in the year has given me the opportunity to develop those skills, and I’ve felt part of a sporting community, which I never have, having never played team sports.  Thank you all for being so welcoming!  

Saturdays mornings from May onwards became a regular visit to Spring Lakes, for either the coached sessions or a swim in Lake 2 with moral support from Gemma & Debbie Mason.  I also took on the Summer Solstice sunrise swim and did 1k, in a much better time than I expected, something I never thought I’d be capable of.  More than learning to swim it has also been an escape for me and something I’ve looked forward to every week – as the mum of a 3-year-old and running a business I get very little time to myself, especially time out of the house!  I also enjoyed a couple of pool sessions at Victoria with coaching from Holly & Mel, I’ve booked these throughout September to carry on improving my swimming.  I’m also now enjoying swimming (properly) at the gym, which is something I’ve not done before.  

Picking up a sore knee the week before the London Triathlon wasn’t ideal (I’m sure trying to knock out a quick 3km run having not run for years, and then cycle the Yorkshire Lass Sportive two days later in a bid to get some training in was nothing to do with it) but I managed to get through it, and actually really enjoyed it!  

There was a great atmosphere at the ExCel, that helped ease the nerves I had around swimming in the docklands.  Watching Debbie’s wave swim before mine was a good way to see the route and get an idea of the setup – we had scoped out the swim in/bike out/etc on the Saturday and this helped a lot on the Sunday.  The swim went ok, a bit slower than expected and the water was a little rougher than expected (can’t say it tasted particularly nice either) but I felt great having done it, and made quite a quick transition to the bike.  I really enjoyed the cycle, pre-triathlon and Yorkshire Lass I had never ridden a road bike, and I was rather enjoying going quite a bit faster than you do on a mountain bike!  I got a great view of the O2 before my low point of the whole day which was being overtaken by a guy on a Brompton.  

Despite the run being very short, I found this the most challenging part.  It was about 26c and beautiful sunshine and my asthma started to play me up.  I got through this part by mixing up walking and running with plenty of water and Ventolin in between!!  It felt great to cross the finish line and receive that medal, particularly as it’s not something I thought I’d ever do, but it’s also given me so much more than that, in meeting new people, getting more active, and intending to stay more active.  

I’ll definitely be doing another next year, if not before, and intend to do a longer distance or aim for a quicker time.  Perhaps I’ll even try open water swimming in the winter?

Thank you Her Spirit for the opportunity to ‘Try a Tri’, Gemma and Debbie for roping me in, the great coaches, and to all of you I’ve met along the way xx

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