Strava reckons this was the result of 372 hours, 13 minutes and 2 seconds of training. I am so proud of my body and of my mind for allowing me to endure this, for allowing me to enjoy and to celebrate my first long course triathlon.
When I thought about writing a race report I thought I would have so much to describe and too much to say but I actually don’t. I think my preparation meant I had a day to remember. So this will be a report of two halves, sharing preparation and my mini medals.
Preparation: work out a plan, write it down, talk about it, commit to it, don’t quit on it.
Do the homework.
A recce meant I could visualise the bike course. There is a village on the course that you pass through four times. For those who know the course and wanted to support it would be the best place to watch the bike so I knew it would be a boost each time I cycled through.
The lake for Outlaw is notoriously long. You swim one big loop and I knew the run had several laps of it. Earlier in the year I had run two interval sessions around the lake, in the wind and the rain. I remember at the time worrying that should the conditions be less than favourable on the day the run would be brutal, but I also knew that I had run intervals around it in the wind, I knew it was long, I knew it would hurt, but I knew I had finished hard sets there before.
Sleep and taper.
I actually embraced the taper, enjoyed the extra sleep, saved up the energy and twitchy muscles for race day. I think because I had done the training I knew I could not let myself down here. I knew I had to trust what I had done, trust Allie and actually taper. I had planned a crochet project and had a stash of books to get through.
Nutrition and hydration.
Carbs. Plain white carbs for three days. I have never eaten so much rice. Ever. Race day nutrition has always been a source of anxiety for me. I raced for years without nutrition so had a really good feel for my body running on empty and felt I could control it. Racing with fuel however I did not trust or know or understand. So it all came down to practise. Better to practise in training than on the day. I practised at the different HR zones too so I was learning to read my body, it’s requirements and my tolerance for it before race day was here. Then once I had my plan (varies hugely for everyone so seems pointless to share it here) I stuck to it, regardless of what my mind and my body was trying to tell me.
Use it. Understand it. Learn about it. Wear it. Pack it. Trust it. From bike mechanic lessons to choosing the socks and my sports bra. I knew and used my kit. I know some people prefer to save their ‘race bike’ or only use certain wheels on race day. I would use everything in training – I wanted to learn what
happened when things went wrong. I needed to know what it felt like to feel good. I needed to understand and learn what not to do on race day.
Talk about it.
I needed to ‘own it’ I needed people to know about it, I now realised I needed my friends and my family behind me on the day to keep me committed to it. I shared with those closest to me my goals for the day. I wanted to bring home 5 mini achievements.
Goal 1. Get to the start line.
I got to the start line fit and healthy.
Achievement #1 in the bag.
Goal 2. Complete the swim.
On the stretch to the finish (one side of the lake) I realised that I needed to be assertive and strong. I needed to swim and I needed to own it and with that I earned myself the second medal of the day.
Achievement #2 unlocked.
Goal 3. Complete the bike.
Absolutely nothing remarkable here. Just controlled the pace. The only thing I should have done here was actually come out of the TT position. Instead I literally stayed in one position for many many hours which meant my back had forgotten how to straighten….
Achievement #3 completed.
Goal 4. Keep moving forwards.
Whatever you do, Sam, just keep moving forwards. No matter how slow. Don’t stop moving forwards. The run ironically was my favourite part of the day. It was slow, it was long and it was difficult but I met some truly incredible people on route.
Achievement #4 done.
Goal 5. I am an Outlaw.
Achievement #5 completed it mate, and got the tshirt.
I don’t have the words to describe the day. I absolutely loved it. Everything about it. I loved the discipline. I loved the organisation. I loved the support. I loved the atmosphere. I loved the camaraderie of the other athletes. I just loved it. I keep thinking it’s like Parkrun but on a bigger scale. I think because they share a sense of mutual respect, celebration, and genuine, honest support which can be felt in every corner of the event. Everyone who I’ve tested my theory out with has laughed… I might just need to test this theory again.