Cowbells and Speedos

It’s hard for me to believe that a mere 365 days ago, I crossed the finish line at Lakesman and unlocked that achievement. So much has happened in the last year both good and bad. Some lofty plans are in motion and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve changed my perception of myself as a person and as an athlete.

The biggest, most wonderful and exciting thing to happen (in my life ever. Not just since Lakesman) is that I am an Auntie. Rosie Jess Kennedy Robertson was born on May 27th at 1914 weighing 10lbs 10. I have never been more proud of another human than I am of my beautiful sister who is the most wonderful mummy. I am completely in love with my niece.

Full of excitement and happiness, when Jayden asked if I’d be up for a weekend in the Lakes to cheer her on at Lakesman, I jumped at the chance to get involved. Jayden roared into my life through the world of Facebook athlete groups. She was in a few of the ones I’m in and we struck up a friendship based on creative uses of swears and a mutual appreciation of doing stupid shit for fun.

A member of not just the 100 club, but the 250+ Marathons club (plus she ran from London to Paris and cycled back. And shes finished the GUCR…. And she’s done many MANY iron distance races.) Jayden is one hell of an athlete. But also an entirely normal human (ish. But we’ll get to that) with a proper job that has ridiculous hours (she’s in finance…).

The week before heading down, I was drafted in to marshal the half bike course, an opportunity I jumped on as an excuse to cowbell myself to death while supporting. It was set to be a bloody great weekend!

The last few weeks have been crazy busy with work and with training ramping up for 70.3, so the prospect of 2 more very early starts had me a little shook. Still. I braced myself for a 5am start on a Saturday and haul-assed down the M74 and M6 to Penrith. I had some Parkrun Tourism to do.

I always say that in life, you should be mates with people who *get* you. And Jayden GETS me. We don’t stop laughing or talking even to breathe when we’re together. It’s magic. We were going to do parkrun in swimming cossies. Because why the fuck not?

Yes. Those are cats with pizza slices. And yes. I’m wearing shorts. And yes. There were a lot of wedgies.

We jogged it out with a heap of Lakesman past and future and apparently provided some excellent entertainment to the runners around us. A good effort.

The rest of the day was spent cutting about Keswick, prepping Jayden’s kit and stopping for snacks. (My support also extends to carb loading)

We caught up with friends and lapped up the pre race atmosphere. She was ready to rock and I was ready to cowbell the living shit out of some triathletes.

There was also the Budgie Run. Brain-baby of tri-pal Lee Kennedy. A mostly scarring experience but one I can recommend if you want to just say “fuck it” at your own negative body image and go for a jog in some speedos. 10/10 would defo recommend.

It was soon time to head off to my bed for the night(thank you Suze and Dennis for letting me crash!), not before my satnav took me on quite the jolly around the Cumbrian sticks…. eventually I made it and we ate, put PJs on and….. Jayden started STUDYING FOR AN EXAM.

That woman never ceases to amaze me.

We half watched love island and then fell asleep for a mere 4 hours before the stupidly early alarm woke us.

Triathlon is stupid if you think about it: getting up at 4am to go swim in a fucking freezing lake and then go for a very long bike ride and then run a bastard marathon.

See? Stupid.

Being at the start brought back all the feels from last year. The nerves, the abject horror at what I was about to do. The pain. The relentless forward progress. The disappointment that my bike split was so poor. The realisation that I hadn’t trained enough. The slowest marathon I’ve ever done…. such a happy time.

My wistful reverie was remarkably improved by watching Jayden down half a litre of yoghurt.

Once she was safely in the water, my day of trying to find a fucking signal and trying to find out where the fuck my mate was began.

This was after I’d somehow found my way to the arse-end of nowhere to Marshal. I took a detour to get out from amongst the cyclists already out on course and ended up going over Whinlatter pass. A beautiful detour which cemented my aversion to ever EVER doing Fred Whitton or Tri X.

Once I reached my destination, the cowbelling began.

For two hours I stood cheering, cowbelling and selfying in the sunshine, rain and wind. I LOVED IT. I was able to recognise some pals and they got extra big cheers.

Some time later, when I was thawed and safely back in Keswick, the anxious wait began for Jayden.

After several nervous hours, she breezed down the hill into T2 and I caught her on the start of her run where, in true Jayden fashion, she pointed to her crotch and in her best Russian accent groaned “my vagiiiiiiiiiiine”.  There is nothing fun about bike saddles, ladies. Amiright?

I pretty much failed at being able to tell her her position and splits because the signal was shit, the tracker was crap and I was so tired I had no idea who was who. Eventually I had to call Beardy and ask for his expertise (and WiFi connection).

Despite my inability to act as Live Data Cheer Squad, Jayden finished in 11hrs49 which put her at 7th female overall in a much more competitive field than last year. She’s 5 weeks away from Deca which I cannot even imagine. (google Deca Ironman. I dare you) I was so thrilled to see her finish and to spend some time in one of my fave places, with some amazing people, watching others realise ambitions. A magic day.

Another brilliant bonus, was finally meeting my Twitter Chum Sarah and we have already started planning next years Lakesman weekend….

8 weeks to go until my 70.3. I definitely don’t feel ready yet!


Thank you, Lakesman 2019! See you next year……