Lottie Watts - Athlete Ambassador
Have you always been into sport?
Yes I've always been interested in sports since I was a child. At school I played various team sports such as hockey and netball,and I tried lots of different sports to see what I liked - tennis, badminton, climbing, athletics running, cross-country running etc. I got really into the gym during my early 20s too to build strength. I also love to ski and have been doing so since I was about 3! Fitness is a huge part of my life - it is so important for mental and physical health but it is also key to my social life as most of my friends are into fitness related activities and I am inspired and motivated by them every day.
How did you first get into triathlon?
I have not yet taken part in a full triathlon, I have been part of a relay Half Ironman Triathlon with Outlaw at Bowood House this year (2021) where I did the 1.9km swimming segment. I got the 'bug' after this event and booked my first Olympic Triathlon to compete without a team in July 2022, winter training is underway!
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
Running race my favourite has got to be the Sodbury Slog in 2019, it was a 10 mile mud run, with mud baths, and slippery fields, I ran with a group of friends and it was so much fun - my face hurt from laughing so much.
What is your proudest achievement?
Learning to swim properly as an adult post PTSD. I was unfortunately involved in a serious accident in Vietnam in 2018 when I was swimming in a river near a waterfall, the flood gates of the waterfall up stream were opened and a huge rush of water resulted in someone saving my life and tragically someone with me (our tour guide) losing their life in the water. After this, I suffered from PTSD and I spent a lot of time working on my mental recovery, reintroducing exposure to water and also some triggers that were not water related. In 2020 I learnt to swim properly, I got an outdoor swim coach, and never looked back. I knew after Vietnam that I wanted to become a strong swimmer so I worked really hard to learn front crawl properly. I had learnt as a child but from teenage years to early 20s didn't do any proper swimming (splash in the sea and surfing but not front crawl). I started training once a week outdoors and as my PTSD improved in 2020 I started training 2-3 times a week in a pool and outdoors. I loved it! My swim coach inspired me and I booked my first swim event in August 2021 a SwimRun relay where I did the swim segments, 1,000m split into four. It was hard work and such an adrenaline rush but so good for my mental recovery. This was a warm up, in Sept 2021 I took part in Bowood House Half Ironman Relay and swam 1.9km without stopping in an outdoor lake, my team members then did the bike and the run for the triathlon. I am so proud of this event because I was very calm in the water, I did not panic with the splashing of lots of swimmers, I had good breathing and loved every second of it. I am also really proud of my time (42 mins) as I went from not remembering how to do front crawl and having no stamina in swimming as well as PTSD in 2020 to swimming non-stop for 1.9km in 2021. I put the work in and it paid off!
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
In 2019 I took part in a Half Marathon run, at the same time with the same start time there was a 5km, 10km and half marathon race. I am 5ft tall and so in order to listen to the announcement by the event organisers about the race course and which markers to look out for depending on which distance you were competing in, I stood at the front of the crowd so that I could see as I am so short. I did not realise the front of the crowd was also the start line! So when the announcement had finished within seconds the race began and I was at the front with elites! I kept up a good pace with about 5 men for the first 9 miles or so... and then I hit a brick wall. I had to walk for the remaining time as my legs just would not carry me any further. I still managed to do a very good time but it was a bit of a disaster!
How do you overcome setbacks?
I have had quite a few setbacks in my fitness journey with injuries and surgeries. The most recent to date is my ACL injury, I tore my ACL in Dec 2019. I spent 12 months building strength back up while suffering with stability issues with my knee so decided to have reconstruction surgery in December 2020. I am currently 11 months post surgery and the recovery is long and tough both mentally and physically. In Jan 21 I had to learn to walk again, I have had to rebuild muscle in my quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes and the journey of this recovery is still continuing. One of the best ways I have found to overcome setbacks is to write down tangible goals and work towards them and also try new things. I keep a workout & fitness diary to track my progress, write workout ideas and keep on track - my ACL recovery journey is the reason why I started my Lots Fitness Journey Instagram, to keep track of my progress, be accountable and talk to people on similar journeys. The other way that I have overcome set backs is to try new things. Pre-injury I was very focused on long distance running, I ran three half marathons in 2019 and I had my sights set on further runs. I could not run after surgery and even now 11 months on I am slowly building back. As a result of this surgery and my background swimming goals I focused a lot more on swimming and cycling than I ever would have done. I got my first road bike and did a Half Ironman relay swim, those two things opened a door for me to look at competing in triathlon. I do not compare myself to what I used to be able to do pre-injury, I just focus on the now and the future.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
As I have not yet done a full triathlon I do not have any advice yet but for outdoor swimming my biggest advice would be WEAR EAR PLUGS! They are so important to protect your ears and I see so many swimmers without them. Google swimmers/surfers ear and you will be convinced to wear them.
What are your goals?
I have lots of goals from big targets to small. For example: To compete in my first Olympic Triathlon in 2022; to do five pull ups in the gym; to run a sub 2 hour half marathon (at this rate with my ACL to run a half marathon again at all would be huge); to do an Ironman Relay swim 3.9km; to ski again as I tore my ACL skiing; to go on a hike where part of the route is over a lake so I would need to pack my stuff into a dry bag, swim across and carry on hiking (very niche but would love to do it); to swim a sub 30 min 1,500m; to try all types of triathlon - super sprint, sprint, Olympic and maybe one day half Ironman; to cycle 100km ...the list goes on!
Who inspires you?
My outdoor swim coach who taught me to swim and all people who have had ACL reconstruction surgery, put in the hard work and recovered to be even stronger and even more determined than before injury. My friends also inspire me - I have some many close friends who are on all sorts of fitness journeys from losing weight in the gym, running ultra marathons, working towards Ironmans, etc, they inspire me so much!
Why work with Sundried
With current affairs such as COP26, now it's more important than ever for everyone to actively make sustainable choices in their every day lives - fitness is a huge part of my life (the other part is running a business) so the choice to wear activewear that is sustainable is simple and a no brainer to me. I was first introduced to Sundried when I received some leggings as a gift, they are super comfy, great workout clothes but also most importantly sustainable. My reason to work with Sundried is for a few reasons - before I had received leggings as a gift I had not heard of the company so if I can truly and honesty promote the products to expose more people to hearing about the brand and purchase sustainable activewear, the better for our planet. Secondly, since knowing about Sundried, they are an extremely inclusive and supportive company - they do not just promote their products with beautiful models wearing the brand, they promote the products through every day people doing real fitness and I think that is quite rare but also very inspiring so I would love to be a part of that network.
To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.