Bassetlaw Sprint Triathlon race report by Sarah Lakeland

Bassetlaw Sprint Triathlon race report 06/08/17

Last year I achieved something I never thought I would, I really did not believe I could after many failed attempts. Little did I know that 2017 would be better than 2016.

I was a long standing supporter at marathons and triathlons and I’d become quite skilled at picking out my Husband, Andy’s running style or cycle kit as he raced and I watched, cheered and photographed him. Around 2010 I had a go at a couple of sprints but I dreaded going out on my bike, I complained bitterly to Andy who was like a spaniel on a lead desperate to go faster but cycling and running just seemed so hard. I wasn’t very fit or in good shape and I gave up. I didn’t enjoy it, it wasn’t for me.

Fast forward to September 2015 I was still there supporting at Epworth end of season Triathlon, Andy and my mum were racing. I had a 2 year old and a 9 week old baby in tow by then and as they were both finishing, I was so proud of my mum, almost 60 and doing her first triathlon just because it went past her house and she could! I thought “I’m doing that next time.” I meant it too so I made a plan to loose weight as at a clothes size 18-20 I wasn’t going to find it easy. I told Andy my plans but I didn’t expect him to believe me as I’ve had many failed attempts at “sorting myself out.” I’m not really sure I believed I’d manage it myself but I was going to try.

In April 2016 I was on that start line, 3.5 stone lighter and I’d done enough training to know I would finish. I felt on top of the world as I finished that race, cheered on by my own little self made support crew, Sam, my baby, was only 10 months old and I had achieved so much in his life at that point. I was back at work, full time, 2 kids and feeling amazing. I had really transformed my life. I went on to do 2 more sprints that year and lost another stone.

For Christmas, Andy bought me a swim in Steve’s Endless Pool, I hadn’t asked for this present and I strongly suspect it was a present to himself in disguise as he came and swam too! I was looking forward to it though as swimming is my thing. My mum is a swimming teacher and spent a lot of my life up to 15 at the pool as a result.

After that swim, I looked at OTCF’s instagram page and saw a post about one of his clients who was achieving her goals and she wasn’t a superhuman, just a regular looking woman. I needed a bit of motivation to exercise so I emailed him about personal training and booked in.

I have been having weekly sessions with Steve and run, biking and swimming between. I can honestly say I love it! If I can training regularly then anyone can. I have 2 preschool children, Andy and I both work full time, we have a dog and a life outside of triathlon. The dog doesn’t have walks now, he has runs and my training is usually squeezed into a 1 to 1.5 hour opportunity when I am child free. We tag team it some nights, I go out on my bike first, Andy puts one child to bed, I get back, he goes out and I put the other child to bed and sort tea out. For us to both race the same race we need childcare and when your mum also races too, Grandma isn’t an option! We call in favours, pay for babysitters etc. Most people get babysitters for a night out but I get one to swim when Andy’s on an afters shift! Your kids make the best supporters and there is nothing like hearing “that’s my mummy” being shouted as you come into transition.

So to finally get to Bassetlaw Triathlon, this was a good test of how the training was working, I did the same race last year but this year I had 3 months of personal training under my belt. I felt a bit of pressure to perform, which I had never felt before when my only aim was to finish. Having made a significant effort to improve, I wanted to see an improvement. This made me a bit nervous. There isn’t much time to procrastinate though when you have to load two bikes on the roof bars, two kids into the car, a pushchair in the boot and all your kit. Before you know it we were there, we deposited the kids with Andy’s Mum at transition and were pool side.

I was in lane 3 and Andy was in lane 2 in the same wave which was very distracting, swimming next to not only someone you but are married to is quite strange. The swim went well and before I knew it I was in transition, and heading off on the bike. Andy overtook me at the mount line so off I popped chasing him out on the bike. The conditions were pretty good, it was a bit windy but nothing much. There were road works and I had to stop at temporary traffic lights which frustrated the hell out of the bloke in front of me but I saw it as a good chance to have a drink as the time would be deducted later anyway.

I felt great on the bike, I overtook people, which is a new experience for me and that feels so good (sorry if I overtook you and that made you feel slow, I know how it feels, I’ve been there). The undulations felt good as I was so much stronger on the bike that I had previously. Out on the run I worked hard but in a good way and I was still over taking people! I was amazed at myself, I remember thinking “I’m racing, not just completing this race” I pushed myself and I that was something I couldn’t physically do before, I didn’t have the capacity. Getting around was all I could do in the past.
As I finished I was excitedly greeted by Andy and the kids. He was surprised I finished so soon after him as he was accustomed to a longer wait!

And the results… 11th woman overall, 4th in my age group, 8 mins 17 seconds faster than last year!!!

When I first met Steve I told him stats don’t interest or motivate me, well the right kind of stats and results definitely do motivate me! I’m excited to see what’s to come. I’ve learnt a lot about myself and continually surprise myself. I have cancelled a facial because the sun was shining and I would rather ride my bike, I rush home from work to maximise my time to train before collecting the kids from nursery, I ride when the weather is good and I run when it’s not. I have been known to get the turbo trainer on the patio when Andy’s working the weekend and I have no chance to get out on my bike. Am I even the same person? Yes, a much happier version of myself who is making plans for bigger things next year!

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