Edmonton’s Spectacular Champ
Edmonton’sSue Lambert is one of those age group athletes that makes you wonder how do they do it. Remarkably, the 2011 Xterra World Champion in the 45– 49 age group, finds a way to balance the demands of being a mother of four, a lawyer and training to be a world- class triathlete and soccer player.
“I am my own boss and work from home for now, so I’ll sometimes be up at 11:00 at night doing affidavits. Most of my bike training is done by commuting all year round, and soccer fills in my run training so it’s really only swimming that I have to find time for,” confessed Lambert. “Thank goodness for cell phones. It helps that I work from home so I still see my kids a lot.”
It also helps to have a strong sports background. The 49-year old played water polo for Alberta from age 15 to 25 – a big help for rough water conditions, sighting and mass start swims. She was also a provincial age group champion in mountain biking and cross- country running in the early 2000s.
Lambert will be unable to defend her 2012 Xterra Canada National Championship due to her success at another one of her interests. Lambert is going to Turin for the World Masters Games to play soccer when the 2013 Xterra Canada National Championship takes place. In 2011 Lambert raced and won her age group at the Xterra World Championship with a torn acl, and last year at the National Championship in Canmore, Alta. she toughed it out again.
“As I wiped out on the last lap of the mountain bike, a fellow rider who stopped to help me told me it was just a race and that I should get a ride out and an ambulance was called. I was not going to quit, though, as I dearly wanted to be Canadian champ so I hopped back on my bike,” said Lambert. “At transition I tested out my legs and decided I was OK enough to run so finished the race and maintained my lead and came first. I was very relieved, happy and in a lot of pain. The head guy of Xterra was there and also took a picture and told me he had heard Canadians were tough and I had just proved it.”
Lambert got her start in triathlon as a swimmer on a triathlon relay team. After the runner on her relay team moved away, she decided that since she biked everywhere, all she had to do was do some run training and she could finish the entire race herself, which she eventually did. She gravitated to Xterra racing because it suited her own particular skill set.
“I love swimming in the ocean and I really love the extra challenges thrown into the Xterra whereby more skill is involved than just all out speed in normal triathlons. My strength in biking is climbing hills, and there’s always lots of that in Xterra races,” revealed Lambert, who also rode a 900 km charity ride from Fernie, B.C. to Edmonton for Kids With Cancer. “I prefer mountain to road biking and trail as opposed to road running. I tore my acl three years ago and didn’t get it repaired and found that road running hurts my knee, so I was forced to find races with trail running and Xterra fits that shoe.”
Lambert plans on returning to Xterra next year where she will turn 50 and be the young one in a new age group. She realizes that her biggest challenge will be finding time to train and to not overdoing it. She offers this bit of advice to budding Xterra athletes or even those who have been in it for a while.
“You have to learn how to relax and have fun. I have found the more I put into one race, in terms of training and emotion, the less well I do. If I approach it relaxed with no expectations, I tend to do really well,” shared Lambert. “Oh, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! And if someone doesn’t quite have the technical skills, my advice on the bike is to walk any section that scares you (or run it). Better to lose a few seconds than be out of the race because of crashing. If you can pre-ride the course, do. If a section gives you problems during the pre-ride, get off your bike and walk your bike over the best route, over and over again. Then get on your bike and do the same thing. Repetition is your friend.”