Taking the plunge Part III – Olga Kulyna

Olga has been one of our star newbie triathletes this year. After telling us about her preparations for her first tri, including overcoming her swimming phobia, she must have enjoyed her experience in Nieporet so much that soon after she decided to sign up for the 1/2 Ironman distance in Mragowo at the end of August. Hers is an amazing story of overcoming the odds and how where there’s a will, there’s a way … or as they might say in this part of the world – Ukrainka potrafi 😉

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Taking the plunge Part III – By Olga Kulyna
or not doing things by halves!

Okay, this is the last one I promise :)

It was only +4 degrees yesterday morning…the season is definitely over :( It’s time to rest and contemplate…

What I was thinking about when I signed up for a half-ironman. I mean quite a few people from the club had done it, some were about to do the distance, Alan amongst others – so I decided to keep him company in Mragowo.

All calm and relaxed before the start

Forget this triathlon business, anyone for pool?

Something gives me the impression Olga's happy to have finished the swim ;)

Something gives me the impression Olga’s happy to have finished the swim ;)

This time the swim went smoothly – to be on the safe side I stayed away from people to avoid being touched and kicked. I can proudly say I’ve mastered floating after this one. The bike was tough with all that 800m elevation but manageable. I wasn’t very fast though – I guess those stupid sandwiches attached to the frame (Tristan’s advice) slowed me down :) Guess what? We made it to the finish line together [Ed. they were eaten by Alan after the race and were delicious :)]. And then came the run… I’d never expected I could hate running that much. Can’t even point a finger at what was the worst – I guess struggling with my mind to keep going every single minute of those 2 hours. And what a relief it was to see Cristina and Jay waiting to do the last meters with me! And all the club mates waiting at the finish line, cheering, giving me water and oranges…

Group hug!

Group hug!

So I crossed the finish line 2nd in my age category (out of 2), got a trophy, felt really awkward standing there on the podium… I should probably mention that the first girl beat me by almost 2 hours… :) A quarter was tough, but a half is a completely different level of suffering. I wonder what full feels like…

Anyway I would have never done it without the CLUB. Thank you Ken – for the concept and making it all work; Cristina – for forcing me into your wetsuit and into the lake (if it wasn’t for you I’d probably still be swimming in the pool close to the wall); Alan – for advice and support before and during the race, and exchanging understanding glances :); Ewa – for lending your brand-new bike; Pierre – for the lesson on how to replace a tube (what a surprise it was to me when I discovered that a tyre has an inner tube!); Philippe – for instilling confidence in me by saying I am crazy enough to go for half; Renata, Asia and Iwo, Jay and Iza, Kathi and Maciek for cheering me at the finish line, for the water and oranges! You are amazing and will always stay in my memories part of this incredible, unforgettable experience. I am so lucky to have met you all!

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And we’re lucky to have you Olga! Great story, thanks for sharing & once again congratulations! :)

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