• Nikki Bartlett

Enjoy the journey :-)

Simple but so true...

I thought I would write a post on A. My journey B. To hopefully inspire at least one person to follow their dreams, whether that be in sport or in any part of life. If the latter happens, then this will be a successful blog post.

2009. A year which became my journey. Or should I say, really reveal my passion and dreams in life. To become a professional athlete. 2009 saw me fast tracked onto the GB rowing World Class start programme, from results of 2008 girls for gold testing. It was a no brainier when the phone rang and I was asked to literally drop everything, relocate to Tees rowing club which was one of the world class start centres. I dropped my PGCE which I had started at the University of Birmingham. And moved. My journey began.

So I thought. I progressed well, but kept getting recurring rib stress fractures. 2010 came and when they developed further, I took a step back and took a full time PE teaching role. I then discovered triathlon.

2010, Cath and I discovered a challenge together, to take on a half ironman in 2010, full ironman before we turned 30. The little woody 2010 was one I didn't train for specifically as I was still rowing / rehabbing. I won somehow. 2011 we naturally signed up for ironman UK Bolton, as you 'naturally' decide to do. I was through my rib stress fractures here and still rowing and developing but decided to do ironman UK for charity and that year I won a place in London marathon buying shoes for the ironman! It was my discovery year. I was rowing full time with a part time job in 2011. London marathon; I came in 3.03.52. Ironman UK; 1st in age group 18-24. November 2011 Gloucestershire Media Personality of the year. Jan 2012, chat with rowing coach. Sport change to long distance triathlon. Had rowing been part of the triathlon journey? Was it meant to be, to challenge myself and end up falling in love with the sport through enjoyment? Shouldn't that be how every journey goes? Through happiness, sharing emotion with family and friends?

A journey:

I am on my journey to fulfil and reach my dreams. I have had a lot of 'do you know how hard it is to be an elite in long distance triathlon?' Why would this stop me? Isn't working part time hours, struggling with money, getting to races, entering races all part of the struggle, the journey? I'm 26 years old, I have a dream, and I'm going for it. I understand hard work, grit determination and passion for sport. And I wish to emphasise here that a journey should be shared, enjoyed and be part of the learning process.

I absolutely love getting up every day knowing I have a huge challenge and goals within that day in each training session. A focus, an aim, short term every day, week, monthly aims which work towards the dream. Why would I rush this process which I'm enjoying so much? Why would I risk progressing quickly to potentially burn out, get ill or injured a lot, when my career hasn't even truly began? I started this journey beginning of 2012, right from the very beginning, yes you would laugh if you saw me swim, if you could call it that!! Along this journey so far I have travelled around, met my life long partner, met some amazing people who all have inspiring stories and journeys of their own, my family and friends couldn't be more supportive! I love how sport brings together people you would never had met otherwise.

You dream. You goal set. Smartly. Realistically. You make lifestyle changes, you have ample of self belief, drive and determination. And you have so much persistence that when and you will, hit rock bottom, smack barriers in the face so hard that your in a deep hole, but your persistence, mental toughness and drive will get you through these times. You learn so much from hitting low, you have to learn how to get through it, and become stronger from it. Physically, mentally.

I absolutely love getting up everyday knowing that I'm taking a baby step towards my dreams. I am truly loving the journey, I'm in this for the long hard grind. We always here that you 'peak' in your 30's in long distance triathlon. So why would I at 26 rush the process; learning to race, progression in training, how to even transition properly, to tumble turn, to racing more than 10 triathlons, to experience defeat and winning. I've had only ONE year of a full race season. I look forward to many more.


This must come from the inner self, but my motivation also comes from other athletes on the same path, in any sport, or someone setting out onto their dreams outside of sport. I admire those with drive to fulfil their lives. I absolutely get my motivation from my family and friends support through my journey and coming to races. To my current sponsors, for believing in me. I truly believe we are both on a journey together and look forward to going through this with you.

I hope that maybe one person reading this will realise their dream and go for it, you may already know it but afraid to take the first step? The first step is always the hardest; whether that's taking on a dream, to your first step outside into cold wind and rain on a run. It's always the hardest part, but then the happiness is flowing once started. Enjoy your journey, embrace the hard grind and share this with loved ones.

Thanks for reading. Sorry I know I talk a lot ;-).

To my new sponsor; Shutt Velo Rapid. Love your cycling gear, stylish, comfy, quality. I can't wait to race in your new tri suit.

Thanks to my current sponsors; Aqua Sphere, A1 multisport, 9bar, meridian foods, natural hero, bike box online, Yakult, Osprey packs, stowaway foods, Matrix., compressport.

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