We are extremely happy to introduce our second Sponsored Athlete.
Sophie is a great inspiration for the women’s sport community and we are extremely proud to have her on board! If you want to know more about Sophie, read on.
‘A year ago I would have never considered myself a sportsperson, let alone a La Holista athlete, so this is all very exciting! To represent such a fantastic brand is a real privilege, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
I don’t think triathlon is a sport most people jump into (or they shouldn’t, anyway!), usually people reach triathlon after journeying through lots of other sports.
I was, and still am I suppose, a bit of a tom boy when I was younger. It was still drummed into me that boys were better than girls at everything, so I was always trying to prove a point by being the best at everything. Particularly in sports. I never was the best, though, I was always just close. That didn’t stop me from trying to top people: it’s a Clarke trait to be super competitive, and I think a lot of people in high school despised me for it to be honest!
So from being super sporty and complete geek in high school, I went onto being the opposite in college. I was more interested in discovering alcohol and everything that goes along with it. I stopped doing sports completely, and it was only when I came home for Christmas after my first semester at university that I realised how unhealthy my lifestyle had been, not just over the first 3 months of university, but over the past two years. I’d gotten myself some muffin-tops, and I wasn’t particularly fond of them!
Now, I’m not saying I went under a complete transformation, because that’s definitely not what happened! But I joined the gym and stopped eating as many chips, so that was a start. Eventually I discovered the joy of running, left the gym and signed up for my first marathon. As I’d started running to lose weight, I made the very silly mistake of never fuelling any of my runs. I didn’t even drink water. So, during my first marathon and the 3 proceeding it, I didn’t fuel at all during them. No gels, no bars, no chocolate, no bananas. I drank water and electrolytes, that’s it. I assumed that the less I ate during the run, the more fat would be burnt. Therefore, whilst I developed a good base fitness, I wasn’t really getting much faster. Oh, and I was still drinking like a true uni-goer at the time, so that wasn’t much help.
Moving to Korea was really the start of a new chapter of my life. My favourite quote, one which I do my best to live by, is Aristotle’s ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit’. I had developed some pretty bad habits in Edinburgh, running being one of the few good ones, and I was determined that moving to this new place was my chance to wipe the slate clean and start some better habits. Stopping drinking was one of them, starting cycling was the other. Beginning to cycle was a complete fluke, one I’m eternally grateful for! Whilst I enjoyed running, but wasn’t particularly talented at it, I was good at cycling. I woke up early every morning to train before work, I went to races almost every weekend, and I managed to win a few, too.
It was only when I moved to Vietnam when triathlon finally came onto my radar. If you asked me to think about a comment for 2016, it would have to be ‘well that escalated quickly!’. At the beginning of the year I was toying with the idea of entering IRONMAN Vietnam 70.3, thinking it an incredible feat of endurance, and now I’ve completed two half IM distances and two full IM, finishing 1st place in two and 2nd place in another. Disbelief is an understatement to say the least!
In my last race, IRONMAN Langkawi, I really struggled with both my bike fit and fuelling, and it ended up costing me 1st place. After a while, all I could taste in those gels and bars were the chemicals inside of them, and by the time it came to the run, my stomach had shut down. It wasn’t a nice feeling! In the new year I am very much looking forward to having an organic, healthy source of energy to fuel my racing and training, and I feel so lucky that La Holista have chosen me to represent their brand. I hope I can make them proud!’