Christine Lutsch GB Age-Group Triathlete
Christine is a Team GB age-group triathlete who has been sporty since she was a child. She talks to Sundried about racing highs and lows.
Have you always been into sport?
Pretty much. I learned to swim at a very young age and was always involved in school sport in whatever shape or form it took, be it track and field, cross country, swimming, netball, hockey or tennis.
What made you decide to enter triathlon?
As a teenager, I competed in biathlon (slightly outdated now, it was a short distance run and swim event). This was where I heard of triathlon for the first time and decided that was something I had to do! It wasn’t until a few years later when a friend had entered a race and asked if I wanted to join her. At the time I didn’t have a bike, so I borrowed a mountain bike off her brother. I remember the bicycle leg was 3 laps of 7km and having no speedometer I thought I was done after the first lap, only to be told I had 2 more laps to go, it felt like an eternity!
What’s been your best race to date?
It has to be ITU age group world championship London 2013. It was a challenging year for me because I had to drop out of Europeans due to illness, but I continued training as hard as circumstances allowed. In terms of position, I wasn’t placed as highly as I would have liked, however, I truly felt I gave everything and could not have raced better that day.
And your proudest achievement?
Running my 10km PB with my coach there supporting the race!
Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?
Many! The lost bike at Dambuster! I literally ran up and down through transition a couple of times before I eventually located my bike. On the bike course I remember being stuck behind a big lorry at some point, and it also started raining halfway through the bike course. I was so cold at this point that when I returned to transition I was scared of sticking my feet in my shoes for fear of breaking a toe since they were completely numb. It took most of the run course to finally warm up.
I’ve done several silly things like actually mounting my bike whilst still in transition and forgetting to put my number belt on.
In terms of toughest races - the only time I collapsed at the finish line was at the Dragon Slayer duathlon. I had terrible cramps in my quads and had to stop and stretch a couple of times during the race. I think that’s when I decided duathlon wasn’t really for me! I ran my first marathon this year and it was hands-down the toughest sporting event I have ever done. Lots of respect to those who regularly run marathons, and run them well at that!
How do you overcome setbacks?
Maybe for me, the hardest part about setbacks is to accept them. More often than not they’re out of my control and usually they happen for a reason. So I try not to beat myself up and learn from the experience. I also allow myself time out when I need it.
What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?
The better you get, the tougher the competition becomes. My advice is to be very honest about what your goals are and find the best way for you to reach your goals, never mind what everyone else thinks you should be doing. If your goals are to finish a particular race perhaps as part of a social group, then find that group where you will be supported in a friendly environment. If you would like to take it more seriously, find that club or group that is aligned with your goals, or work with a coach individually.
What are your goals for 2017?
My main aims this year were to qualify for GB age group ITU Rotterdam and for Europeans in 2018 (for which the qualifying races took place this year). I am pleased to be competing in Rotterdam. It has been a tough season after a few years off the circuit, hence I will give it my best shot, then take a post-season break and start building up towards next year.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
It would be impossible to single out a particular person. Inspiration comes in so many different forms - encouragement or advice from my coach or a fellow athlete, seeing others overcome adversity, maintain their integrity and coming out the other side stronger than before, supportive friends and family. There are so many athletes the world over that do absolutely remarkable things all the time, the list is endless.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
What Sundried does really resonates with me. In this day and age, we just cannot turn a blind eye to the way our lifestyle has been wreaking havoc on the planet anymore, and it pleases me that there are people and companies out there who are genuinely trying to do the right thing. What’s not to like about ethical sportswear that looks great, has a low carbon footprint, uses recycled materials and works with charities on top?