Abbie comes from a swimming background and found a natural progression to triathlon via duathlon. She talks to Sundried about racing highs and lows.
Have you always been into sport?
I grew up spending the majority of my childhood in water which started with my dad teaching me to swim from an early age. I went on to compete at county level and up until a couple of years ago I had never really taken part in any 'land based' sport. In 2016, I was on a placement year and lots of team members were cycling to work, I got jealous and decided to give it ago on my childhood mountain bike. From then I gradually got fitter and my interest in cycling grew.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
After I started commuting, I began cycling on weekends and then entered a local super sprint triathlon without really thinking about the running part. I started training and found it really tough, but I persevered until the event. After that, I thought 'that wasn't so bad after all' and I was hooked from then
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
Other than the Outlaw Half, there are two others I have really enjoyed. The first being Portishead Sprint, which starts off in a lido and has a very hilly bike course. The run takes you along a trail next to the river and by this point there always seems to be a spectacular sunrise over the water. Even last year where there was torrential rain on the bike, the sun came out for the run. My second is the Wolf Run, a 10k obstacle event. There was so much mud and I didn't anticipate that much swimming. It took about three hours for our team to get round, but I enjoyed there being no time pressure. And it also had a huge water slide in the middle!
And your proudest achievement?
So far, completing my first middle distance at the Nottingham Outlaw Half last year. The swim and bike went really well, but I found the run tough (mostly due to dehydration). But running down that final straight to the finish line with everyone cheering felt amazing and I crossed the line knowing that my granddad would have been proud of me.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
I think I learned the lesson early on about remembering where you left your bike in transition. I made the mistake of noting that I was next to a bright pink bike. Safe to say it was not there when I came to T1 and I ended up running around transition 3 times! It was a duathlon, so then I couldn't remember where I left my running shoes and had a similar problem in T2.
How do you overcome setbacks?
Know that injury or illness will happen at some point, but it is important to determine if these could have been preventable. If you have a niggle that you ignore and it gets worse then this is a hard lesson learnt, but you are less likely to do it again. If I am out of action for whatever reason, I like to use this time productively to do some reading on nutrition, planning my race calendar, or working on my mental strength.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
It won't be easy and be prepared for a lot of early mornings, but your biggest obstacle is your mind! I have since discovered that if you get your mind in the right place, your body can achieve things you didn't know it could. And as for the early mornings, they aren't so bad, you just need to be strict about going to bed earlier.
What are your goals for 2020?
I have the European Aquabike Championships in Austria at the end of June, which I am really focused on. I also have a trip to the Alps at the beginning of June, which I am going to use as a last minute training camp. Currently, the only other race I have planned is The Sandman in North Wales, which I have heard is tough, but am hoping to use this to qualify for the European Middle Distance Championships next year.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I follow a lot of athletes on social media and love a good motivational post. But I also think that if you surround yourself with motivational people it naturally rubs off on you. One of my biggest influences is my dad. I remember being stood cheering him on as he finished his first 70.3, but seeing some people collapse over the finish line I couldn't understand why anyone would do this to themselves. I never dreamed that that would be me in 12 years time.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
I love the sustainability focus as this is something that is really important to me, but I also value quality. The kit doesn't feel compromised by this and the design is very sleek. I really like the cycling jerseys and sports bra. I do also have my eye on the aero skinsuit, but am yet to try that one out.