I’m Tracey Sample. I’ll be racing in the F40-44 sprint on Friday.
My road to London has been a tough one.
Before 2013, the last triathlon I completed was at the world champs in Budapest, Hungary in Sept 2010. Within a month of this race, I noticed I was getting slower at running uphill but didn’t think much of it. By Jan 2011 I could no longer cycle as I had developed an intense pain in my hip. I was given a choice by the surgeon, either have surgery which only had a 50% chance of working and a 33% chance of causing me more pain or never get back on a bike again. Not much of a choice for me as I am never happier than being out on the bike with my friends.
i ended up going for hip surgery in summer of 2011, was on crutches for 2 months and struggled to walk properly for nearly a year. Despite being extremely unfit and not even knowing if I could get round the 5k run of a sprint race, I entered big cow sprint triathlon in 2012. I had no expectations, I just wanted to get round as I love racing. I swam well, biked very slowly and then disaster struck on the dismount line. I fell off rather than stepping off my bike. I found that I am getting old and no longer bounce when I fall off and broke my collar bone which put me out for the rest of the season.
I also messed up my foot pretty badly in that fall which left me not able to walk properly for three weeks (again) but at least it was all down the other side and my bad hip did not get hurt. Since then I’ve done anything to try to get myself fit again: One armed swimming without a wetsuit in the cold lake, turbo training when I hate the turbo, running and walking where and when I could and endless rehab work and physio treatment to get my hip and shoulder recovered.
The thing that kept me going was the aim of racing in front of a home crowd in London.
At the start of 2013 season, I had no idea if my lack of fitness, my dodgy hip which gives me a bad shuffle instead of a proper run and my less powerful left arm which means I swim diagonally instead of a straight line would allow me to race again or if I’d just be someone who takes part for fun.
My first race was somewhere in between a plodder and a racer, not good enough to get the podiums I had previously expected but still in the top third and I wasn’t too bad on the bike.
Since then I’ve been steadily improving and I was lucky enough to qualify for the world Duathlon champs in Ottawa this year where I was over-excited to represent my country again and was relieved on the day with a mid-table obscurity result as there was always a fear of coming last.
London for me will be a whole new game. There are 92 women in my age group. I’ve been to three world sprint triathlon champs and never had more than about 40 in my wave and I have never had a placing of lower than 16th.
You will know me when you see me, I’ll be the one in the Union Jack shoes to match my GB kit. I’ll probably even be wearing my Union Jack underwear and I’ll be racing with the biggest grin on my face you have ever seen. I’ll be happy with a top 50 finish and I fully intend to take in the atmosphere and I am really grateful for the opportunity to represent my country again. I did the hard work to get on the start line and I won’t take the race for granted. If you see me racing, cheer me on. That is what I’ve been dreaming about for the last 2 years or so.