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Meet the Outlaws: Emma Rand
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Wednesday 29th May 2013


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It was third time lucky for Emma Rand when she won the Outlaw Triathlon in 2012 having also raced in 2010 and 2011. She finished 3rd in 2010. The University of York lecturer had a major accident over the Christmas period this year, so she’s back in 2013 with some slightly different goals, and some excellent race tips that are definitely worth taking note of!

The 42 year old got into triathlon by reading a copy of Ultrafit Magazine in the early 1990s and an article about Ultraman Erik Seedhouse. This is where she got the idea of doing an Ironman and turned the dream into reality at Ironman Frankfurt in 2006. She’d entered another one before the DOMS had faded and now races regularly at the distance.


Meet the Outlaws – Emma Rand

Talk us through Outlaw 2012

“I think I came off the bike in fourth or fifth but as a woman with plenty of men ahead you aren't very aware of that. I was having a good run, really enjoying the shouts of my team mates and friends and concentrating on where the next mouthful of coke was coming from. It wasn't until the cyclist accompanying the lead woman asked me what lap I was on that I realised I was taking the lead. Then I had about 10 miles to enjoy it. The Pirate massive made such a noisy fuss of me when we came past that they nearly made me blub!”

What was it like to cross the finish line in first place?

“Fun! Although my main thought at the time was that the wind down that side of the lake made forward progress hard work. I would have been happy with my race in any case, winning was a lucky bonus and an experience I'm not likely to have again.”

Emma Rand, Outlaw Triathlon 2012What is your main strength in triathlon?

“I guess biking is my best discipline, or eating - I do a bit better at longer races when pacing and nutrition make a big difference.” 

You career highlight so far?

“I'm not sure I really have a triathlon career but I've had a lot of fun racing. The Outlaw was pretty good last year because it was our annual Pirate Championship and there were such a large number of friends supporting and racing that it felt like one long party. Riding up the Solarer Berg at Challenge Roth has got to be up there too.”

Your ultimate goal in tri?

“Just to keep enjoying it.”

We hear you had a bad accident over the winter?

“Yes, I got knocked off my bike by a car in Lanzarote just after Christmas. I spent a couple of weeks in hospital with a pneumothorax (collapsed lung), broken ribs, clavicle and transverse processes (of the vertebrae). I also spent another four weeks in Lanzarote recovering because I wasn't allowed to fly. It was uncomfortable but probably less so in 25 degrees, shorts and a t-shirt than it would have been here in January! I had surgery to plate my collarbone a few weeks after I got back.”

How is your recovery going?

“Well thanks. After being in a sling for 15 weeks I am so enjoying having two arms again. Running and biking are coming along and I am beginning to be able to string some solid sessions together without needing a week to recover! Swimming is more of an unknown but I am hoping to be cleared to swim again in the next couple of days.”

So you’re returning to the Outlaw this year, what are your goals?

“I'd like to get through the whole day without needing stitches! Last year I managed to rip my ear open just collecting my bike after the race. I was looked after really well and was cleaned and stitched quickly on site. I was offered a clean finishers shirt but I wanted to keep my bloodied one. The year before I fell over and broke my jaw about 2km from the finish line at Embrunman.”

Emma Rand, Outlaw Triathlon 2012What's your nutrition plan for the Outlaw?

“I stick mainly to liquid food. I'll have about 12 gels watered down in a 750ml bottle for the bike and add a couple of caffeine Cliff Shot espresso gels and some tablet (yum, tablet). Then run out of T2 with some watered down redbull, a bottle of coke and some more tablet. I'll drink the redbull quickly and run with the coke bottle down the back of my shorts. I'll take coke from the aid stations and supplement with my coke and tablet. Depending on the weather I drink at least 500ml plain water an hour on the bike. The other important part of the nutrition plan is pacing, especially in the early part of the bike - half ironman pacing with ironman fuelling is not going to make a happy gut.”

You’ve been to the Outlaw all three years so far, what are the top three things you’ve learned?

“There are some things that apply to all races like pacing and nutrition, but specifically for the Outlaw I would say it is good to take it easy out of the lake. The first bit of the bike is around the Lake side so it is fairly busy when you are a bit adrenaline charged out of T1. There is no need to rush. Don't plan to have to do anything like eating or drinking or fiddling with your Garmin for the first couple of kilometres as this is when it is easy to have an accident.

“Let people hoon past you, you will likely see them again. Also take care on the private road at the end of the race - it is a little rough, shaded and has speed bumps. Use the time to settle and prepare mentally for T2 and the run, don't worry about slowing down. Finally, don't swim near the weedy edges of the Lake.”

What are you looking forward to most about the Outlaw?

“The whole thing! I think it will be my first race after my accident. The location is really good for spectators, which makes for a really good race day atmosphere. It will be good to be racing with friends again and I also enjoy seeing those people you don't really know but keep bumping into at races.”

Are you camping or staying in a hotel?

“Hotel, definitely!”

Emma Rand, Outlaw Triathlon 2012What’s an average training week for you?

“In terms of hours it is quite variable as I tend not to plan by hours but by sessions. I concentrate on getting key sessions done then add easy filler. The key sessions at the moment are a long bike, a hard bike, a long run and a hard run. The long bike and run are not just easy noodling about but include longish efforts at IM and above level. My general approach is that I would rather do a really solid four hour bike than dawdle over six hours. I've got a tendency to coast in the pool - for some reason I find it difficult to push myself in the water the way I actually enjoy on land.”

What are your tips for balancing work and training?

“I think it probably easy for me several reasons. I have a sporty supportive partner, we don't have any children and we work well as a team. This means as well as one of us has food ready for the other after a longer or later session, we're also not using energy up trying to fit in with a family with other (perfectly reasonable) ideas about spare time. I live a 20-25min cycle commute from my work which I can also use as a run. I think it helps to go to bed and get up at more or less the same time everyday which is obviously tricky for people doing shift work. Routine is useful.”

Your tips for the 51 novices doing the Outlaw this year?

Do at least a sprint to practice! It just gives you an idea how to organise yourself on the day. Otherwise, try not to think about times during the day, focus on the process and have process related goals like checking your effort level every half an hour, making sure you follow your eating and drinking plan and are able to assess and make changes as you go. For example, if you don't need a wee at some point during the bike there is a high probability you aren't drinking enough. If you feel tearful or emotional you may well need some more fuel.

“Be polite to other racers, volunteers and the general public. Thanking the marshals and people manning the aid stations when you have a chance will often bring its own reward of encouragement. If you smile and wave at spectators they will often throw loads of positivity back your way and this can be such a boost. I feel excited just thinking about that race day atmosphere. Do remember that for some local people our racing is a little inconvenient so be considerate to motorists and walkers sharing the course. And don't drop gel wrappers.”


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