05 Apr Success Story: Sam
It’s easy to look at successful athletes in our sport and to think how lucky they are to be faster, more talented or just have more time on their hands to train. Sam Colvin is an athlete who is achieving great things, such as recently qualifying for Kona in the Busselton Ironman after less than two years in the sport. But Sam’s success hasn’t come easily, rather it has emerged from very tough times which help to form his winning mindset now. We learnt a lot from Sam and his attitude, and hope you can be inspired too.
When did you start in triathlon, and what was your first race? I took up triathlon in January 2016 and jumped straight into the deep end to race my first triathlon at Busselton 70.3 in May 2016.
What has been your biggest success or achievement in triathlon? Recently qualifying for the pinnacle of long course triathlon – Kona, 2018
What have you had to overcome to get where you are today? Undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma during my late teens gave me a complete new outlook on life and made me realise how lucky I am to be doing what I do today. This was a very tough time for both myself and family, especially being so young. Physically, I was very ill and weak from the treatment and my appearance without a hair on my body didn’t help the situation either. Sure, at times I’d hit rock bottom and plenty of tears were shed, however I quickly came to the conclusion that what happened has happened, and my goal was to beat it. Knowing I was in the best hands possible, I was determined to beat the illness – and that I did.
“Going through a traumatic time like this completely changed my mindset in life”
I suppose being a uneducated teenager, I wouldn’t monitor what I ate or drank – all sorts of preservatives, additives and chemicals in my food was the norm and the result was a few excess kilos. Nowadays, I’m a firm believer in treating the body like a temple. Sure, we all like to treat ourselves from time to time, but I’m much more strict on my diet and what I consume these days, as I’ve basically been given a second lease on life.
“When times get tough deep into a race or training session, I’ll always know there’s someone else out there that’s worse off than me, that would love to be doing what I’m doing, but physically can’t”
What do you love about the sport? Meeting and being surrounded by a community of like-minded people who share their experiences, values and passion for the sport – I’m learning and growing every single day!
Is there anything about triathlon in particular that you think sets it apart from other sports? To swim, ride or run separately in a race scenario is a challenge in itself. However, as a solo sport and to consecutively incorporate all 3 disciplines into a race is taking that challenge up a level. To mentally and physically juggle all the variables involved in triathlon by yourself is very self-rewarding – hence why it appeals to me so much.
And is there anyone that motivates you or that you look up to? My true inspiration and motivator was my Aunty Michelle who tragically suffered a stroke in her late teens which left her as a paraplegic in a wheelchair. As time went on Michelle accepted her situation, and through pure determination she soldiered through a further 40 years of her life living this way. Unfortunately, in recent times she passed away, but left me and my whole family with her values of strength and determination. When times get tough, she’s on my shoulder!
What is the one thing you wish you’d known as a beginner? That triathlon is a drug – addictive & expensive.
Can you explain how using Bindi has improved your performance in some way? As a very ‘green’ athlete I’ve been through trial and error with many different nutrition brands over the past 24 months. My major issue was cramping coming out of T2 due to the electrolyte and sodium loss through my sweat. Naturally having a high sweat rate it’s crucial for me to make sure these nutrients are replaced quickly and effectively to minimise the risk of cramp. Since being introduced to Bindi it has solved my problem right from the very first long ride/run session whilst training for IMWA last year – needless to say it was incorporated into my racing quick smart too.
“Whether I’m training, racing or recovering, it’s very comforting to know that a healthy, natural, Australian product is one of the major contributors to my performance”
You mentioned that you use Bindi for recovery too, can you explain the difference this makes? Putting my body through an enormous amount of stress day in day out means the body needs to repair as quick as possible to do it all again effectively the next day. The very same weekend I had nil cramping issues consuming Bindi sports drink on my long ride, I consumed a Bindi pea protein shake post session. Without doing anything out of the norm that afternoon I prepped myself for my long run the next day. Normally my Sunday runs are the toughest, mentally and physically as it’s the end of the week and the body is tired after a big Saturday session. However, this day was nothing I’d experienced before. My normal heavy legs on a Sunday weren’t prevalent and I managed to set into a sustainable rhythm much sooner than I had always had done. I was very sceptical if this just a mental thing, or is protein consumption post training really this effective for muscle repair?! Needless to say, I’ve been on the pea protein ever since and haven’t looked back.
When we asked Sam what his goals were in the sport of triathlon, interestingly they are very process driven, rather than performance driven, which may well be the key to his success. With such a strong mindset, it’s clear to see why he is doing so well:
“My goal is to remain consistent, motivated and most of all stick to my process and watch the rest fall into place”