Slateman: Choose Courage over Fear

"Are you racing Slateman this year?"

"Ummm I am not sure, I don't feel great. I tried to run yesterday, I ran for 3 minutes, then walked for 25 minutes. I felt shattered."

This was part of a conversation I had with a friend 5 days before The Always Aim High Slateman Triathlon.

From 2015, the run route, at Slateman, is like nothing else.

A catalogue of small errors since Marbella 70.3 had added up and had left me feeling pretty tired.

A flight cancellation meant arriving home a day late, I raced a 25mile cycle time trial on the Saturday, a week after Marbella, I thought I would be fine, it was hot, I did a run off the bike. The following day, Sunday, I did a tempo run. Including warm up and warm down it came to 20km, A steady run, rather than a tempo effort, would have been better in hindsight. It was a bank holiday, so we travelled south to family, Monday is usually an easy day, as it was bank holiday, we moved Tuesday's bike session to Monday. We could ride during the day, rather than in the evening. It saw Adam and myself, doing 5 minute efforts together, it bought out our competitive side, Me on a TT bike, Adam on his road bike, we were quite well matched. 3 hard back to back days, in warm weather, after racing a 70.3 race in Marbella a week previous. Left me toast. Lessons learnt.

Just take a few days off, you will be fine

I had raced Slateman 3 times. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 (click on the date to read the race report from that year) 3 times I had finished first. So the only way was down? right? I felt an expectation to win, I was scared of not winning. No, way, that is totally the wrong attitude Suze!

Breaking the tape 1st in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

In my notebook I wrote

Why do I compete in Triathlon races?

- As a personal challenge

- As a tool to become a better person

- To prove to myself that I can set a goal, commit to working towards that goal, every day.

- To learn commitment and understanding that being out of my comfort zone, helps me grow stronger.

- To face my fears of failure and to learn that out of fear, comes bravery and courage.

- To learn that challenges are great, embracing them, will make me a better athlete and person.

I looked at the list.

If I don't go and race Slateman, I would be going against the very reasons I am involved in Triathlon.

By giving in, I wouldn't be taking on a challenge, I wouldn't be taking myself out of my comfort zone, I wouldn't be committing to my goals but making excuses instead. I would be quitting instead of committing when things got hard, I would be hiding from my fears. I wouldn't become a better person

It made me realise, the race outcome is irrelevant, I maybe 5th, 15th or 1st but as long as I face the current challenges, as long as I bravely step up, show up and have the courage to fail. I will become a better person and that is more important than any results.

Decision made, I was all in.

Saturday evening saw 14 of us, sit down at a pub in Llanberis for dinner, a mix of Leeds Bradford Triathlon friends, Team Oxygen Addict members, and those i have met at races such as Ruth Purbrook (who would go on to finish 2nd). This reinforced what triathlon is about, meeting other athletes, sharing stories and realising it is more than just swim, bike, run.

Adam, did a great job, putting videos on Instagram stories throughout the day. I have rolled them all together here. It pretty much shows what happened. View here

Last minute chit chat at the swim start with Louise Minchin.

Getting aero on the downhills. Thanks to Harry's help at Revolver Wheels for the advice and TT arm rests

In summary. The sun came out, the lake was a balmy temperature compared to normal, I came out the water 2nd, jumped on my bike, caught 1st place on the Llanberis climb. Knowing this course super well, I knew, each rise and turn and went for it. Off the bike and onto the run, I had run a few minutes and still couldn't hear the loud speaker announce the next female. I knew i had a few minutes to second place, so relaxed on the run and enjoyed the incredible scenery, in between huffing and puffing up the quarry zig zags.

4th time breaking the tape first at this epic race. I am glad I choose courage over fear.

Well done to everyone who raced Slateman, it truly is an epic race.

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