I am beyond excited to be sponsored by This Mum Runs to compete in the Duathlon World Championships this month. Their ethos is everything I believe in – overcoming adversities and barriers to be the best you can be, and using sport and fitness to improve your mental and physical health with the help and support of friends and family.
After qualifying for the Duathlon Worlds in March this year I dismissed the idea of going…I had all of the excuses – “I can’t afford it”, “I don’t have the time to train”, “I’m not good enough”, “I can’t leave [my three year old son] Edward”. But hearing friends tell me I had no choice, that it could be a once in a lifetime experience and that I should think of how proud Edward will be when he’s older, I started to dream. That it could be a possibility. That I could actually do this.
And so the exciting and daunting journey of getting to Canada began.
The one question people always ask me is “How do you find the time and motivation to train?”. The truth is that, like most people, my life is a juggling act. I work three days a week and am a single mum to my little boy Edward, who goes to nursery when I’m at work. I’m lucky to have an amazing coach who works my training around my lifestyle.
For example, I like to train early in the mornings before Edward is awake. So two morning’s a week, on work days, I train on a turbo trainer (a piece of kit that essentially turns my road bike into a spinning bike in my front room!). My alarm is set for 4:30 and by the time Edward is up my training’s finished, I’ve put the washing on and I’m enjoying coffee in peace! It doesn’t always work out and he’s often up telling me to go “faster, faster mummy!” but you just have to go with it – some days it works and some days it doesn’t. I try as much as I can to work my training to around Edward but ‘Mum-guilt’ is something that I battle with a lot. Finding a good balance has taken time.
Whilst my battle with ‘mum-guilt’ is ongoing, self doubt is my nemesis and something I have to work on daily. In the past I was told I wasn’t good enough by someone I loved and it took it’s toll. I lack confidence (like everyone!) and in moments of weakness the pull to give up is virtually crippling. I often think I’m not good enough and have, on several occasions, pushed myself to the point of tears because I want to be better, quicker, stronger. My coach and physio work hard to help me see the positives of my abilities and remind me how far I’ve come. I’m getting better at this, but it’s a work in progress!
That said, over the past couple of years I’ve become a very positive person in all aspects of life. I didn’t expect my life to take the path it has done but it’s been a pretty amazing journey so far. It was the hardest and most devastating thing to go through at the time when my husband left, but in all honesty I wouldn’t swap back to the life I had. I’m happier, healthier, stronger and super independent! Sometimes you just have to have a little faith in the journey you’re on.
Believe in yourself and you really can achieve anything you set your heart and soul on.
Nicola competes this Saturday (the 19th of August) in the Duathlon World Championships in Penticton, Canada. Look out for her wearing her official tri-suit with our TMR logo on it.
Team TMR is fully behind you, Nicola!