Hi and welcome, here you’ll be able to keep up to date with what I am up to both in and out of Triathlon.
31st March 2013
Feeling hot, hot, hot – Ironman Los Cabos
Sitting here in the cold weather of the UK the warmth of Mexico seems a long while ago. Well, it has been a couple of weeks and again I am very late with my update. It was an enjoyable trip and Steve came along too which made it fun although I was disappointed not to have had a better result.
Training up for Los Cabos had been going pretty well although at times a struggle to get outside for all of my long rides with the snow, etc. I had raced Chichester 10k in February and was pleased with my time and entered Eastbourne Half Marathon as a run-out two weeks before Mexico. Unfortunately a niggle below my knee caused me to miss the half as I couldn't run for over two weeks and even swimming and cycling was sore at times. Not ideal just over 2 weeks out from an Ironman but what can you do!
I headed to Mexico and we were lucky enough to have found a fabulous apartment not far from the swim start. There were some really friendly neighbours also, many who go from Canada there every year for some sun and who wouldn't blame them. We met a lovely guy called Frank who cycled for Canada in the 1972 Olympics who was really interesting and it was great to have so many of them genuinely interested in having the Ironman on in the area.
Me and 1972 Olympian Frank
A Glorious Sunrise for race morning meant a hot one in store
The first few days were used finding our way around and cycling the course. It was a lot busier than I thought in the area and it was like cycling along a busy dual carriageway. I also learnt that Mexican drivers don't even need licenses hence there was some bad driving! We couldn't actually race some of the course until race day anyway as it was on a toll road. It was lovely to swim in the sea again and spot whales from the balcony of the apartment and all in all a relaxing few days of sun before the race.
Racing the Blue
Newtons keeping me lively despite the heat
Race day came with a glorious sunrise which just made you want to get out there and race. The male pros went off 3 mins ahead of us and the age group mass start 17 mins behind us which was good as there was loads of space for the run in and swim. I got a good start and was pleased to swim in the front pack the whole way. I felt fairly strong and exited with the front group in 8th place. The bike was 2 laps with 2 main out and back sections. The terrain was what I'd class undulating and not hilly as it had been advertised. I found myself holding my own to those around me on the uphill and running out of gears on the downhill, especially with the tailwind on sections. I therefore didn't have the best gear setup for the course but had planned on there being steeper uphills. I had also planned on it being a lot cooler, in the mid 20's was the average I had seen. It definitely felt hotter than that (later finding out had been 34oC) and I tried to take on fluid when I could. The bike was ok, I managed to catch back with some of those who had gone past towards the later stages but it didn't feel that great a ride. I was hoping to run better though. Off the bike and straight away I realised it was going to be a hot one. Legs felt sluggish from the start. Steve said I was actually running pretty well at the start but it didn't feel it although later looking at the splits I was running 4th quickest for the first half of the race. I knew the heat was getting to me so I tried to constantly chuck water over myself. The volunteers were great and handing stuff out at the aid stations and I was really impressed with them, especially for the first race there. I caught a couple of girls but I wasn't making progress on the others as I thought I should be. I got a bit deflated at feeling so rubbish as I had been running well over winter and thought I should be doing better. The last few miles slowed as the heat took its toll and I was happy to finish. The massage afterwards was amazing too –it took about half an hour and they even massaged my face, ears & hair!
Disappointed to finish in 12th though but I have to be realistic. I had been training in minus temperatures in the UK and to go in to the heat with little heat acclimatisation was never going to be ideal – I am hoping the next race will give more of a reflection of the progress I feel I am making. It is early in the season and there are plenty more races to come.
As always thanks to my sponsors for all my support which enable me to race with the best equipment and to Glenn my coach and Gary Brickley who is a lecturer at the University of Brighton for his expertise with my cycling.
12th January - New Season
The end of the 2012 season came and I took some time out to eat lots of cake and drink a few beverages. It was enjoyable to take some time away and catch up with friends and family and I did lots of baking of naughty goodies. After some time out though I was keen to get back at it and have spent the last few weeks building up the training and getting some level of fitness back.
A few weeks before Christmas I became an Aunty again as my sister had another cute little buddle of joy called Reuben. It was great to visit them all although it has made me aware I am not quite ready for the lack of sleep babies bring! For Christmas we had Steve parents and brother and fiancée down for Christmas day. It was the first time I have been in Eastbourne for Christmas and although it felt a little odd I did really enjoy it. There was a lot of cooking involved though but it was all worth it. The turkey we had was massive, really tasty and kept us fed for well over a week!
Having fun at the Cross Country and taking someones dog for a jog too!!!
So New Year came and went and here we are in 2013. I am back into the full swing of early morning swims and generally enjoying the lovely UK weather! After 7 years away from cross country I have done a couple of races this winter and had forgotten just how much fun it is. Although obviously the distance is mega short for me they are a good workout and the mud has made for an enjoyable slog.
I have been planning my season and have decided to go for an early Ironman. I will be racing Ironman Los Cabos in March which is a new Ironman in Mexico. It's the earliest start to the season I have done and doesn't give me very long now but it is good to have something early to aim for through this winter period.
3rd November 2012 - Ironman Florida
I decided to race Florida after Henley as I felt I wanted one more Ironman race to finish off the season and Florida looked a good option in terms of the cost and ease to get there and it usually has a relatively small field. Unfortunately the prize money on offer at Florida is very poor though. The build up to the race could have been a lot better – I have suffered with some issues with my back & tightness in my left leg which has hampered me over the last month. Massive thanks to Sarah my wonderful massage therapist who even got me to the start line.
The weekend before Florida we were in Edinburgh for my friends Sarah's wedding which was lovely and an enjoyable weekend away, the Scottish dancing was also highly amusing! Despite the fun, it wasn't the best preparation for the race what with travelling up to Edinburgh and back and then flying straight out to Florida the next day. Needless to say I was mightily bored of Gatwick airport & flying!
We were lucky to even get to Florida as Hurricane Sandy was causing havoc and we were just grateful to avoid it. Watching the devastation on the news here really hits home how fragile our planet is at times and my heart goes out to all those affected. The weather was a lot cooler when we arrived and a bit windy due to this and it really only heated up the day before the race. I was kind of hoping it would stay cooler to help me as coming from England the heat would always be an issue. We were staying a lovely hotel about 5 miles out but right on the beach front. It was an amazing location and we had a great view of the sunsets.
View from our balcony
Great training out in the sun
Race day came and my aim was just to have a solid race. It ended up being a massive field with late top end athletes entering. Annoying as it was going to be hard to get any money but I guess it would give me a chance to race the best & there was nothing I could do about everyone wanting to race here this year. The swim was pretty enjoyable. It was fairly choppy so getting in and out of the water was amusing – especially with a run out after the first lap. I exited in 6th place and felt I had done a fairly decent swim. The transition was long with lots of running back & forth with your bag and I was pleased to get out on the bike. I rode quite a lot of the bike on my own until about the 70 mile mark when a large group went by and I managed to stay with them for about 20 miles. There was lots of drafting going on although I definitely wasn't as there was a referee's bike sat with us for most of it as there were 3 other pro women caught up in it so they were watching us. I'm not sure they were watching the guys as much as they were definitely sitting too close. I guess it's an issue with such a flat course. I found my hamstrings & hip flexors were getting tight from the limited change of terrain and any slight incline was very welcome. Even when I train at home on a flat loop there is nothing anywhere near as flat as the bike was here. Unfortunately I lost the end of the group with about 20 miles to go as I got delayed collected water from an aid station so rode the last section on my own again. I came in off the bike in about 17th I think. On to the run and I felt ok, I ran at a decent pace for the first half and then hit a bit of bad patch on the start of the second lap. I had been trying to cool myself down & take on fuel but I think the heat was getting to me. I managed to overtake some girls though and although I would have liked to have held onto the pace a bit better I did ok and finished in 9th overall. Positives to take from the run is that my back/left leg held up pretty well in the end and for the first time in ages my stomach wasn't an issue.
Running in the sun and relaxing after the race
All in all I have to be fairly pleased with the result. The race was solid and I haven't had the best of seasons so I can take some confidence from this into winter training. I have been lacking a lot of belief in myself this year so to have a solid end to the season will help for a better season next year.
I want to say a massive thank you to my coach Glenn, my mentor/friend Stuart, my massage therapist Sarah, my wonderful mum, dad, sister and family and my amazing husband Steven. You have all helped me immensely this season, especially when I have been struggling.
Lastly thank you to my wonderful sponsors Blue Bikes, Newton running, Blueseventy, For Goodness Shakes, Greeper laces, CompuTrainer, Fusion, Ekoi, Hed Wheels, Neovite and the Tri Store - your support is much appreciated.
Now time for a couple of weeks easy, a few beers and a lot of cake will be consumed!
16th September 2012 - Challenge Henley
I guess sometimes things don't go to plan and you just have an off day – it's just unfortunate when this happens on a day when you really want to have a good day! I had been building up to Challenge Henley for the last few weeks and have had one of my best build-ups in terms of my training logged and had actually been feeling pretty fit and raring to go. In the days leading up the race I had felt nervous and knew I was up against stiff competition but I was just keen to have a solid race for myself. Steve and I were extremely grateful to have our wonderful home stay from last year, Jamie, Di and Max offer up their house for us again, even though they were away for the weekend which made us feel very at home and relaxed leading up to the race. Max also does a mean chocolate cake (even though I had to resist eating too much until after the race!) Huge thanks to them for having us to stay again.
Race day came and I was relieved to find it was a lot warmer than the previous year. The swim went pretty well although I did end up swimming the majority on my own as I missed the pack in front and led around a pack. Into T1 and one of the worst I have had! I stupidly picked up Bella's bag instead of mine (apologies Bella) and ended up running back and forth wasting time to get mine!
Onto the bike and I felt pretty bloated right from the off. I struggled to get fluid in and generally felt pretty lacklustre. I was hoping things would improve but unfortunately I never really felt myself and just lost a lot of time on Gina & Bella. I even almost fell off my bike going around one of the dead turns and almost took another poor rider down. Over the Iron distance, I usually go for a wee about once the entire race but ended up going for a wee 4 times on the bike alone which was really unusual. It was also a bit messy too so apologies if anyone who was behind me!
Onto the run and I knew I was about 15 mins down on 2nd place so a lot to claw back and not what was planned but I tried to think positively – sometimes you get off and feel alright running even if you have felt awful on the bike – nope, not this time, I still felt pretty dam flat and not myself. Oh dear, this was going to be a long day. Basically it was a struggle and I ran nowhere near what I am capable of. Two loo stops for a dodgy stomach and just generally an unpleasant slog. I finished 3rd but off my winning time of last year and nowhere near what I was after.
I want to say a massive thanks for all the cheers and support from fellow athletes and spectators. I really struggled to even muster a smile and generally was very grumpy the whole race so sorry for not responding too many of the cheers but I am immensely grateful for all the kind words. It was a fantastic race again this year at Challenge Henley and Alan, The Just Racing Team and Challenge Family put on a superb race. Gina had an amazing race out there and Bella also was really strong so congratulations to them along with everyone who raced. A special mention to Team True Spirit, it was great to catch up with you and have a chat. You are a truly inspirational team and I hope to see you at a race again soon.
Lastly thanks for my family who came and supported me. The hug I got from my nephew Ethan when I finished was just what I needed and really cheered me up! Thanks also for my wonderful sponsors who allow me to race with the best equipment out there. I am determined to move onwards and not dwell on this bad race. I am planning another Iron distance race before the end of the season so onwards & upwards!
26th August 2012
After Roth I spent a couple of easy weeks where I attended Philippa's, one of my best friend's from Schools wedding, which was great fun. It was good just to relax for the evening and have a drink & a dance and not worry about being up early for morning training! However the weekend was also tinged with sadness as my Gran passed away the following day. It was upsetting of course as I had grown up with her always being around and she had always encouraged me, even showing me the way sometimes by trying out my Turbo just a couple of Christmas' ago. She had dementia and made it to a fantastic age, but I will miss her greatly.
Philippa & Nick’s Wedding
My Gran enjoying herself at my wedding
As the weeks have gone by I have got in to some hard training and feel I have some more consistent training under my belt for my next ironman distance race Challenge Henley. I was very keen to get straight back into racing after Roth but Glenn my coach told me to recover well first and spend time addressing issues I had from Roth which I knew was the best thing. I have raced a few events over the last few weeks where I have managed to string 3 victories together at the Bedford Triathlon, Worthing Triathlon and yesterday at the Bexhill Triathlon. Although I am obviously not so good at these shorter distances they have been used as good training sessions and for confidence. It has also been highly enjoyable racing at events I have raced in the past in my home town of Bedford and where there have been a number of my team mates from Bodyworks racing and doing really well.
I absolutely loved watching The Olympics and it was fantastic seeing athletes achieving their goals. I really do hope this spurs on the younger generation to get into sports and maybe dream of racing in the Olympics themselves one day. I managed to go to see some indoor volleyball with my sister which was great fun and I will be going to see some athletics in the Paralympics. I am really looking forward to visiting the stadium and getting involved in the atmosphere.
Team Bodyworks XTC athletes at the Bexhill Triathlon
16th July – Challenge Roth
Challenge Roth Cycle
I have just raced my first ironman distance race of the season at Challenge Roth and wow what an amazing race Roth is! I thoroughly enjoyed my first Roth experience and even though I am a little frustrated with my performance it was a top race in terms of crowd support and overall atmosphere.
After a couple of disappointing results I was aiming to just have a solid race and set aims of making it in the top 10 and under 9hr 30. Unfortunately I missed both of these aims and finished 11th (9th ETU European Long Distance Championships) and in 9hrs 31 but I had an enjoyable time in the process and it has spurred me on.
Steve and I drove to Roth on the Wednesday and arrived at our wonderful home stay in the evening after a long drive. We then had a lovely meal cooked for us by our hosts Ursula & Werner and met their lovely old dog Jojo. Thursday was spent cycling the course and just looking around the area which I was very impressed with. The lead up to the race was enjoyable and it was great to catch up with fellow GB athletes Anne Fallows, Jo Carritt and Rachel Joyce who I must congratulate on such an amazing win. The pasta party was on the Friday evening and everyone in the town was so welcoming and I couldn't wait to get racing.
Celebrating at the Challenge Family post race party with Rachel and Brett
So Sunday morning dawned and after an early breakfast we headed to the start early as there are so many athletes competing that we knew it would busy. I was off in the first wave which was pretty big as there was a large pro field due it being the ETU Long distance championships and we also started with age groupers aiming for under 9 hrs. The bridge over the Canal and the banks were packed with spectators, which were reported to reach up to 200,000 throughout the day! The start was pretty dam crazy, the cannon went and there was just a sea of bodies in front of me and the goggles got bashed half of my head again. I did manage to find some room as it went on and had an ok swim to come out the water in 7th. On to the bike and I was surprised to find it was actually quite windy out on the course. During the first lap I was overtaken by a few girls and dropped down through the field. I felt ok but it just took me a while to get going again and I managed to feel stronger during the second lap of the bike. It was pretty breezy in places though and got fairly busy on the second lap. I have to say it was a really enjoyable cycle though with crowds in every village and then the renowned Solar hill where there are so many crowds it's single file and you can't help but get lifted up there with a big smile on your face! My new Blue bike and HED wheels felt great and I actually ended up going faster around the 2nd lap and re-taking a number of positions.
Enjoying the amazing Solar Hill | Two of our fantastic hosts Werner and Jojo
So onto the run and after a quick loo stop I got running and felt pretty comfortable. However after about 8km the tummy started making worrying signals that it wasn't happy. Another loo stop annoyingly and I had to pass the girl I had just overtaken again and lost time on those I could see just ahead. So that is how the run passed really with another loo stop and just a generally unhappy tummy which meant I couldn't take on as much nutrition as I had planned. It was frustrating as Steve had told me I was gaining on 9th & 10th place near the end and I felt ok between the stops but in the last few km's the energy went as I just hadn't been able to get enough nutrition into me. The crowds were amazing the whole way along and I really enjoyed the experience. Challenge really do know how to put on a fantastic race and I would love to go back again. The fireworks at the finish line party were amazing as well. Special mention to fellow Bodyworks athletes Matt Garman & Rob Impey who were competing in their first Ironman. They both did themselves proud by finishing in 13hrs.
Couldn't be missed Running through Roth Old Town in my very comfy bright orange Newtons
So I think I am back on track. I know I can do better as long as I sort my nutrition out. I found it fairly hot on the run coming from dismal England and that is usually when I suffer with my stomach so there are adjustments to be made. The most important thing though is that I really enjoyed racing again and although it would have been great to have finished in the top 10 in a better time, I am just pleased to be back enjoying racing.
Special thanks to my wonderful sponsors as always, and to my wonderful home stay Ursula & Werner who treated us so well during our stay.
25th June 2012 - Challenge Kraichgau
It has now been a couple of weeks since I returned from racing Challenge Kraichgau and maybe it is just as well that I left a bit of time before my latest update. Unfortunately I didn't have my finest race again at Challenge Kraichgau and was mighty disappointed with myself for a while afterwards. That said looking back my race wasn't maybe initially as bad as it seemed although I finished 11th Pro and therefore just outside the prize money which was annoying.
My swim was a lot better, I had my new Blueseventy Helix wetsuit on which felt great and other than getting a bit bashed around at the start I came out the water close to other girls. Unfortunately my bike wasn't great and I think technically I lost a lot of time going through some of the twisty villages & descents on the course. My run was pretty average and I just didn't seem to have that zip in my legs. Looking back however it was probably not surprising as I had raced Challenge Barcelona only a couple of weeks before and hadn't eased off the training much in-between the races as I needed to get some training in for Roth.
I have to say that Challenge Kraichgau is a cracking race to do though. It is a fantastic course and this year hosted the ETU Championships so there was a strong field. Challenge looked after us so well and everything was really well organised so that although I didn't have a great race I still had an enjoyable trip. The German beer is top notch too and I made sure I had a couple afterwards to make me feel better!
Next up is Challenge Roth which I am really looking forward to now. We have another road trip to Germany and I am going to make sure that I savour the experience of racing in such an iconic race and hopefully will be celebrating with some beer this time!
31st May 2012
I have just returned from my first race of the season which was Challenge Barcelona over a half ironman distance. I got 5th overall but am pretty disappointed with my performance. I was lucky enough to be put up in a hotel not far from the race start and the Challenge Family looked after us very well as always. The days before the race were spent having a cycle of the course and a few sea swims (I was pleased to find the water was a lot warmer than in Eastbourne where I had been in earlier in the week and it was 11 degrees!).
Race day came and although I was feeling a bit nervous what with it being the first race of the season I wanted to get racing. It was a beach run in start and I didn't have a great run in, got boxed in by swimmers either side and got a big bash in the side of the head. It seems crazy but I got beaten up more with only 15 of us in the wave than I do with a mass start wave! I ended up having to go right around the swimmers to get anywhere and had lost 3 swimmers ahead. The rest of the swim didn't go much better, I caught up with 2 of the swimmers ahead but just felt a bit flat really which was disappointing as my swimming has been going well in training. I came out of the water 4th and Lucy Gossage flew by me in transition which did deflate me a bit as I was hoping to gain some time on the swim. Maybe I let the swim get to my head a bit as the cycle didn't go that much better. The new bike felt really fast but I did feel a little flat again and could see I was losing time on those ahead. The second lap got pretty congested and I even got warned for drafting for the first time in my life (I will however point out I wasn't but there was a really annoying so called pro male who kept going by then slowing and causing me problems!)
I knew coming in the bike I was way down but Steve was watching and assured me there were a couple upfront that I could catch even though I didn't believe him as I didn't see them for ages. The run went ok but again I wasn't feeling as strong as I wanted and it did get pretty hot. I managed to catch 2 girls in front but also lost a place with a fast runner coming by from behind which was a bit annoying. I finished in 5th place and was just pretty disappointed with myself really. I know I should have done a lot better. Having said that it was first race in 6 months and maybe some of it was down to getting in the race mode again.
Lucy had a great race yet again to finish second so I was really pleased for her and Challenge put on yet another great race. The atmosphere was fantastic and I would love to go back again. Thank you to my parents who came to watch and support me and to Steve for his encouragement. As always thanks to my wonderful sponsors who enable me to race with top notch equipment.
Next up is Challenge Kraichgau on 10th June so after a bit of recovery I will get some training in before I'm off again. Hopefully next time I will be more pleased with my performance.
Meet Bernie, My fantastic new Blue Triad SL and HED wheels.
17th May 2012
As I said in my last update I have been extremely lucky to have been given the opportunity to work with the same wonderful sponsors for the 2012 season. I will be riding a Blue Bike again and a couple of weeks ago received my new Triad SL from Jamie at Multisport Distribution (www.multisportdistribution.co.uk). I have named him Bernie Blue and have been on a few rides on him now and he feels super comfortable & smooth. I have also just received my HED wheels. They are super light and am sure they will feel fast. HED wheels have a Hed Wheel Hire program which is a great idea I think. You can hire a great set of wheels for an important race at a very reasonable price. For more info check out www.hedhire.com.
Last week I was lucky enough to meet Coach Sentayehu Eshetu from the Ethiopian highland Town of Bekoji which has produced some of the greatest distance runners such as Kenenisa Bekele and Derartu Tulu. The coach was over visiting Brighton University Sports Campus in Eastbourne where I train and I got to meet him along with a visiting young and very fast Ethiopian runner who has come out of the town. There was a showing of 'Town of Runners' (www.townofrunners.com) which is a documentary that follows young runners from the town. It is a really inspiring film and amazing to see the talent of the runners but also the hard work they put in to try to achieve their dreams of a life as a professional middle distance runner. It makes you appreciate how lucky we are to have the facilities we do and the food and lifestyle we do. There is plenty to learn from them though regarding making the most of what you have, community spirit in terms of the training that the coach has setup and pure determination. The film is a real must see.
Meeting Coach Sentayehu Eshetu
1st May 2012
Milton Keynes Marathon
I knew the weather forecast wasn't brilliant for the Milton Keynes marathon but didn't know how bad. I heard the wind howling during the night and knew when I awoke it was going to be mighty tough to do a decent time in gales & heavy rain.
I had decided to enter the marathon as I was up that way visiting family and am starting my triathlon quite late this season which gave me an opening to do my first straight marathon. It was the first running of the MK Marathon and I felt somewhat sorry for the organisers as the weather couldn't have been any worse. When the gun went off I found myself pretty soon slotting into second place female and just concentrated on finding my pace. It was quite different to the usual marathons I run in triathlons as they come after a 3.8km swim and a 180km bike so your pretty tired already heading out. I felt fairly fresh and enjoyed ticking off the miles. It was however very windy & extremely wet on the course which slowed down progress.
There were endless puddles, some of which could be avoided, others where you just had to wade through with your legs disappearing and coming out the other side with heavy shoes! I hadn't realised I would have been swimming after all! My husband, mum, dad and sister braved it and came to watch and it was great seeing them pop up along the course to spur me on. I was getting reports from spectators that I was only 20/30s behind the women's leader which I knew as I could see her ahead although she was looking strong and I didn't seem to be gaining. Then in the last 2 miles I suddenly closed the gap and was delighted to be able to overtake her and take the lead. I kept working hard as I thought she might come back but luckily she didn't. I was trying as much as I could to get under 3 hrs but the wind on the last stretch didn't help and I crossed the line in 3.00.23.
I was pleased to have won but looking back so annoyed not to have gone under 3 hrs as I know I could have had the weather been better. It is just annoying as I don't get much of a chance to run straight marathons. Having said that I really enjoyed the event and am pleased to have had a good outing before my first triathlon which is Challenge Barcelona on 27th May and over a half ironman distance. I hope the weather will be better for that!
A wet and windy Milton Keynes Marathon!
13th April 2012
Training has been going well over the last few weeks and the days have ticked along which must mean I have been keeping myself busy. I have decided that my first triathlon will be Challenge Barcelona on May 27th which is quite a late start. I have therefore put in a marathon at the end of this month in Milton Keynes just to have something to aim for along the way. I have never done a road marathon on its own before so I am hoping I go faster than at the end of an ironman but we will see! I competed in the Eastbourne half marathon at the end of March which was enjoyable although pretty dam wet & windy and was really pleased to come away with a victory (see photo by Neil Davidson below). It was fantastic to see so many people running their first race and so many for good causes; it is really inspiring to see people enjoying getting fit running. A special mention must go to all those who ran so well and raised money for the 'You raise me Up Charity', great job for a fantastic local charity. I also ran the Hastings Half marathon a few weeks ago and was pleased to finish 4th in a tough field. Hastings half marathon has been going for years and is a great but tough course with plenty of uphill and downhill. There was a total change in the weather from Eastbourne half though and it was a lovely day which meant there were loads of spectators out on the course to keep us going.
We have also finally had our bathroom redone and wow what a difference! I am extremely lucky to have a very useful and hardworking Dad who came and stayed with us and did most of it for us with a little help from my Mum. I can now have a relaxing bath after a hard days training! Another thank you to our friend Matt Pysden for all his help with it as well.
Some great news is that I have been lucky enough to keep my wonderful sponsors again this year and will be racing on a Blue Bike, with a Blueseventy wetsuit & swim gear along with Newton shoes. I am also racing with HED Wheels, Fusion kit, Ekoi Helmets and Greeper Laces. For Goodness Shakes are helping me recover from all the training and Neovite is aiding my immune and digestive system. I have also been lucky to gain the use of a CompuTrainer again this year to aid my cycle training and help continue the improvements from last year. Please take a look at my sponsors page to learn a bit more about them.
19th February 2012
Feeling a bit under par!
It has been far too long since my last blog so here is a bit of catch up on what I've been up to! I had a fabulous Christmas with lots of downtime to visit family & friends and plenty of food. I was then all raring to go for the New Year and particularly pleased as 12 is my lucky number so have good feelings about 2012! However I managed to catch a heavy cold just after Christmas which basically seemed to take an age to clear. I then caught a flu thing which luckily only lasted for a few days but I did feel pretty low on energy when training for a good few weeks. Luckily the last few weeks have been much improved and although the weather has been pretty dam cold I have been able to make use of my CompuTrainer.
I have been lucky enough to get out here to Portugal for a week's training and am currently enjoying some sunshine and building up some miles on my bike. I am staying with my parents again who are also out here for a bit so it's been good to spend some time with them again. A couple of days ago we caught one of the stages of the Tour of the Algarve and saw some of the Team Sky guys who are taking part in it. Amazing to see the speed at which they go and we didn't get a chance to see much of them as they went so damn quick!
13th December 2011
Ironman - Western Australia
Sitting here on a wet, windy and cold day in Eastbourne it seems like I was never away! Australia was an awesome trip and Steve and I loved the place. The people were so friendly, the beaches were fabulous and of course the weather lovely and warm.
I do come away however somewhat disappointed with my race. I was 7th overall but really thought I was capable to making the top 5 even against such a tough field. Race morning came and with a 5.30am start that meant eating breakfast at 2.30am – crazy! It was however delightful to have a beautiful sunrise and a lot different to my previous two Ironman's where I have been dreading getting into the cold murky water and desperately trying to keep warm. The swim goes out and back along the famous jetty in Busselton, which I really enjoyed. The pros had started ahead of the age groups so although there was plenty of room I did end up swimming on my own dragging around a couple of other girls. I actually didn't even worry about the sharks which had been sighted recently not far away – it had been somewhat unnerving when there was mention of an evacuation procedure of basically getting your arse to some steps along the pier if there was a shark!
Busselton Jetty (you can just see the end! 1.9km long)
Out on the run
I exited the water in 3rd and in 56 mins which wasn't too bad as it had been a bit choppy. Onto the bike and I just felt that I had nothing in my legs. It didn't take long for a few girls to pass me and although I tried to stay with them I felt that I couldn't keep up. Looking back I am annoyed with myself for yet again letting the chimp in my head (as Glenn puts it) take over again. In the last two races I have managed to believe in my cycling ability but this time I did at times have negative thoughts in my head that I wasn't good enough to keep up. As the cycle went on my legs began to feel better and Steve said it was really the first lap of the cycle where I lost all my time. However I did managed to lose a lot of time! The course is 3 laps and mega flat although there was a bit of a wind that got stronger each lap and it did feel pretty hot. I came in off the bike in 9th and set out running where I was relieved to find I felt pretty good. I managed to catch a couple of girls and was gaining some time on the others but they were a long way ahead. The first couple of laps were pretty enjoyable with lots of crowd support and messages on the path keeping my attention. However I felt myself slowing over the third lap and then on the last lap I felt that the heat was getting to me a bit. It had reached 40 degrees during the day in the forest and coming from England with little acclimatisation it was always going to be hard. My stomach went a bit and although I felt a lot better after a quick stop I couldn't finish at the sort of pace I am capable of. That said it was a wonderful race and the organisation was fabulous. Most of the tents, marquees, etc were up over a week before the event and athletes were well catered for during the race and afterwards. The awards party was on a massive scale with great food and music.
Steve and I were lucky enough to have a few days after the event to unwind and explore. We went to some lovely beaches the day after where I had a good sleep on the beach (although I managed to crick my neck in the process and couldn't move it one way for the next 2 days!). It was a little scary when they evacuated everyone from a beach we had just stopped at due to sharks! We also managed to get down to Margaret River where we went chocolate tasting (lovely chocolate although I had way too much!) and we also stopped at a few of the many wineries. All in all it was a lovely couple of days even though it did rain at times! Whilst we were in the region, Margaret River suffered some awful Bushfires and my thoughts go out to all those affected. We only saw a small part of the devastation and can only imagine how terrifying it must have been.
Steve and I are really grateful to have stayed in some lovely places. The first week at a wonderful B&B called Swallow Valley with Joanna and Christopher who looked after us so well and in such an amazing and beautiful area and then in the second week a fabulous cabin at Geographe Bay Holiday Park with an outstanding beach at the end of the road. I am really pleased I decided to do the race. Yes we did spend a fortune as the food and drink is mega expensive and I just missed out on any prize money but what an experience.
The beautiful Swallow Valley B&B
One of the amazing beaches
The next few weeks will be spent having a bit of downtime and planning ahead for 2012. Overall I am pleased with the season and feel that I have so much more room for improvement both physically and mentally especially on the cycle front. I am looking forward to getting home to my parents also for Christmas as I haven't been home since the start of the year. I do however ponder how on earth it can be the end of the year already!
Thank you to everyone for all your support throughout the year. My wonderful sponsors who I would not be able to race without, Glenn and all my teammates at Team Bodyworks XTC, who keep pushing me on and to everyone that has sent me messages throughout the year on here, Facebook or Twitter, I really appreciate it.
Merry Christmas to everyone and may 2012 bring all we wish for.
26th November 2011
Another shrimp on the barbie Sheila!
So here I am in sunny Western Australia and in just a week's time will be racing my last Ironman of the season at Ironman Busselton. Since my last post where I reported on my fall whilst running I have also fallen off my bike! I was cycling back from swim training, the roads were a little wet and although I was going steady I managed to fall off turning into a road. I went down before I knew it but this was due to oil all over the road so was just bad luck. I was however very annoyed but luckily just had a good bruise on my hip and a few grazes. The last couple of weeks I have managed to get in some good training so that despite my lack of staying upright I feel fairly fit and raring to race again.
We have been out in Australia staying in a wonderful B & B called Swallow Valley about 60km or so from Busselton. The B & B is a haven for birds & wildlife, you go to sleep to the sound of frogs and wake up to bird's songs – very relaxing and the hosts, Joanna and Christopher along with their dogs are so friendly! I have had a chance to cycle the bike course in Busselton. The first day out here was very hot – 36 degrees or so and the first day of training was pretty dam hot coming from home. It has however cooled a little so I guess we will have to see what happens with the heat on the day. Yesterday we went to a nearby wildlife park and got to hand feed Kangaroos which were so cute and also got attacked by parrots, which was really funny. I have been really impressed with it out here as I have never been to Australia, the people are friendly, the landscape is really scenic and the only real issue is how expensive things are to us. I am also having some issues finding some decent mayonnaise for my much loved tuna & pasta; it appears that Heinz 'real mayonnaise' is in fact salad cream so tuna & salad cream it is then!
Getting up close with the local wildlife
Next week we head down to Busselton and will be staying closer to the race start as the Ironman build-up begins. So far it's felt like a bit of a training holiday but next week the nerves will come into play I'm sure. I am just hoping for a good race amongst a strong field to finish off the season.
26th October 2011
A bit of a bad week!
Well I guess we all have bad weeks from time to time and last week was definitely one for me. I had been ticking along training up for Challenge Cape Town and all was going pretty well. I had been making sure my rides were incorporating some hills in preparation for the terrain in Cape Town and both Steve and I were really looking forward to the trip. We were due to be there just under a week before so that we could have a couple of day's holiday after the event as it was going to be my rest week.
It all started last Monday when after a hard morning swim set I headed out for my last long run. I ran the first half with training buddy Todd and then continued on my own and although feeling a little tired from some hard training was really enjoying myself when after 2hr 15 I managed to misjudge how much a tree root was sticking up and before I knew it was face first on the concrete. My initial thought was that it bloody hurt and I had that awful nauseating feeling you get when you fall so fast. However my right hand and left knee had taken most of the fall and were a bit sore. I picked myself up after a bit and hoped no one had seen me! The ironic thing was I had just come off a path that was full of tree roots and onto what I thought was a good surface! I decided the best thing would be to get myself to the University which was about a 15min jog to get some ice. I managed to run there and get some ice and then decided my knee wasn't too bad and that I should try and finish my run to make at least 3 hrs. I did manage this but in hindsight maybe it wasn't the best option with a sore knee but adrenaline kind of takes over. Once I got home my hand had bruised and swollen considerably and I even had to ask Steve to help me cook dinner and wash-up much to his dislike I'm sure.
So last week the training was pretty limited. Swimming was out initially and I didn't manage to swim until Friday and my knee was also pretty bruised meaning I could only do a tiny bit of light cycling. All in all I was pretty peeved off and then it just got worse when I found out on the Wednesday that Challenge Cape Town had been cancelled – gutted! I realise how hard it is to organise races and know they did all they could to get it on this year but it's a real shame.
So since last Wednesday I have spent numerous hours researching other races and trying to make a decision which isn't my speciality. Luckily I have a great coach Glenn Cook who has tried to guide me. At first I was all for Florida and got a last minute entry and everything until I came to the conclusion that as I wasn't even running by the end of the week it was too soon for my injuries. I was somewhat relieved when I had at least decided against Florida and think it was the right choice as I am only just getting running again and into some longer riding. Unfortunately it seems I may have broken my little finger which although doesn't seem very major is a bit of a hassle. Swimming is still a little off and on and it is still quite sore. I am also having some issues riding outside as the bumps make it quite sore and my grip isn't quite normal yet meaning I have been doing some CompuTrainer workouts also and trying to build up time allowing for my knee.
This week I am feeling a lot less miserable, I realise there are a lot worse thing to happen and that these things happen for a reason. I have been deliberating over races and logistics endlessly and am getting pretty fed up now. Do I really need to be doing another race this season? Can I just train from now until April/May until my next race? How much do I want to race again this year? How much money do I have to pay for any trips? It has even got the point when I am dreaming of booking flights! So I have finally made a decision in that I will be doing another race – Ironman Busselton on 4th December. Yes I have picked the furthest and most expensive trip! However as Glenn said I have to look at it as an investment for my career in Ironman. Yes, it is a long way and I will have to take time off work to try to get out there 2 weeks before or so but it will be a great experience I'm sure. Steve is basically taking all his holiday and more to come with me. The only other option was for me to go on my own but I am slightly nervous in the fact I am not a fan of flying, have never been there and don't really know anyone out there! I just have the slight issue of trying to find accommodation, etc as it is pretty late. I am however really excited to have another race to aim for after feeling somewhat lost last week. I am confident the injuries will heal soon and that I can get fully into training next week. I realise it will be hard training for an ironman in the UK as the weather turns but it's always easier with a goal and the prospect of going somewhere really good. I just hope there are no more issues in the next few weeks as I have lost enough money on the Cape Town flights and I know how much Steve is in need of a good holiday!
18th September 2011
Win at Challenge Henley
What a great weekend trip to Henley! I am obviously so pleased to have won the inaugural Challenge Henley race but alongside that I am very grateful to have met some lovely people over the weekend and Steve and I had a highly enjoyable trip to Henley.
We arrived Thursday evening at our homestay which was on the cycle course in Nettlebed and were greeted by our hosts Jamie, Di & Max. Immediately we felt very welcome and were treated to a lovely dinner with homemade cake from Max. I cannot thank them enough for making us feel so at home and it certainly helped in the build up to the race being so relaxed.
On the Friday I had to attend the media interview which I have never done before. A bit nerve racking but on the whole it was fine, and as a bonus I got to meet Graham Bell (ex GB skier and Ski Sunday Presenter) who was really nice. Friday evening was the pasta party, which was a highly enjoyable night with a friendly atmosphere. I got to meet other triathletes and have a good meal. One of the highlights of the evening was meeting Rosie Swale Pope who is a remarkable woman as she has ran around the world unaided after the death of her husband and has raised valuable funds for Prostate Cancer. She is one of these people that is just so passionate about life and it is so infectious talking and listening to her. I left the evening very inspired and with her book which I have no doubt will be an interesting read.
The amazing Rosie Swale Pope...
...and the misty morning over temple island that greeted us
So Saturday morning came and after some light training I racked Bertie my Blue bike up and relaxed for the afternoon. Sunday morning came quickly and I rose early to get some breakfast down me before we headed out to the start. I was somewhat concerned on the drive down when the temperature read so low in the car and then ice alert came on at 3 degrees! Oh joy I thought! On arrival it was bitterly cold down by the river. I don't think I have ever wanted less to get into cold water although on saying that it actually felt warmer in than standing on the river bank. There was a fog over the river and it really looked quite eerie. After a bit of a false start caused by the blowing of a whistle the hooter went and because of the mess up I found I was swum over by the chaos and there was a bit of bashing first thing. It was still foggy and although I could see the buoys I found it hard to judge where I was swimming in terms of the river bank. After a while I saw Steve waving at me from a field along the river and although I tried to get going I was so cold I found it hard to pick up the pace. I came out of the water second and attempted to put on some arm warmers in T1 and a gilet. This is however very hard when your fingers won't work and I gave up with the gloves as I couldn't get them on. I think I had the slowest transition ever and was passed pretty much as soon as I got on the bike by Lou Collins who had obviously been a lot more efficient in transition!
Exiting the nice warm water...
...and wrapping up warm for the bike ride!
Exiting the nice warm water.... ...and wrapping up warm for the cycle!
The first lap of the bike was bitterly cold, the sun hadn't come out and the wind chill factor meant I was wishing I had put on gloves so I could at least change gear and grip my bottle! I found myself in third place after lap 1 and knew I had to get going. Luckily the weather warmed up and so did I as my legs finally began to work and get warmer. I could see from the out and backs that I wasn't losing any more time on the front two and when Candice went by I managed to keep her just ahead for the beginning of lap 2. Candice then put on a kick and I just kept to my own pace, making sure I was fuelling. Each lap it was great to have so much support from the homestay family and my mum and dad who had come to watch as well as Steve the spilt man!
I got into my rhythm and felt better on lap three when I managed to pass Lou and Charisa and then come into T2 with Candice. My family got such a shock when I came in joint 1st as they are used to waiting patiently for me to emerge further down the field. Cycling has always been my achilles heel and I am very pleased that finally the hard training and sessions on the Computrainer seem to be paying off. Candice led out of T2 and I just ran behind her and then with her for the first bit until I found my pace. Halfway through the first lap I ran into first. It was actually really hard running for so long in first and something I am not used to doing as I usually have to work through after losing time on the bike. Steve was giving me some splits and at one point I was up to 3 minutes ahead of Charisa who was now in second but it was very nerve racking as I saw her at times and she looked very strong. I could also see Lou was running well in third. I have to say the crowd were amazing and I had such support on the run. I'm not sure if it showed as I was pretty focused but I really appreciated the shouts! My sister, brother in law and nephew also came to watch which spurred me on, although I did feel sorry for them getting so wet as there were a couple of downpours! The well done comment from fellow athletes was also very kind and much appreciated. I felt fairly strong throughout although the last half of lap 4 the legs got fairly heavy and I think I tightened up a bit worrying I would get caught but luckily I had enough time and was very grateful to run into the finish chute as winner! The crowd reception was brilliant and I was so pleased to have won. I have got a bit of stick for not celebrating enough in the finish but I knew Charisa wasn't far back and am always a bit shy even on winning a race. I was however very happy and was made even better when Alan Rose, the race organiser gave me my medal.
Running next to the Thames was a great setting and a fantastic feeling taking the tape
I was glad to go back down to the finish for the last couple of hours to cheer in finishers and it is very inspiring to see athletes achieving their goals and finishing so proud of themselves. I did meet some lovely people down there and a massive well done to all of you.
Alan and the Just Racing team put on a fantastic event and I feel very honoured to have won the inaugural event. I realise the hard work which has gone into Challenge Henley and think they all did a brilliant job.
Lastly I just want to thank my coach Glenn Cook at Team Bodyworks, my mum & dad, sister and family and of course my ever supporting husband Steve. I also couldn't have done it without my vital sponsors who are; Blue Bikes, Blue Seventy, Fusion, Ekoi, Newton, CompuTrainer, Neovite, Hed wheels, Sports Beans, For Goodness Shakes, Greeper Laces, Multisport Distribution, and The Tri Store, thank you for all your continued support.
7th September 2011
Training and Races
Since my last update I had a few weeks easy which was good as I got to catch up with friends and relax a little with a few evenings out which is always a rare treat. Since then it's been all go with the training though with a few races thrown in as well. My first hard week of training finished off with The Monster Racing Middle distance race in Ely. Glenn had decided to make it a good weekend of training so I did a 5 hr ride on the Saturday and decided to drive up to the race (well actually Steve generously offered to drive me) at 3am on the Sunday morning. Always highly amusing when you see everyone else staggering home after a good night out and you are heading to a triathlon! The race itself was enjoyable and I had a fairly decent swim and run although my cycle was a little slower than I would have liked.
Cambridgeshire is mega flat and I have to say I wasn't used to riding on this kind of terrain. Lucy Gossage went by on the bike and held me off on the run and I just didn't have to legs to gain on her. All in all it was a solid training weekend though only a few weeks after IMUK. The event was well organised by Monster Racing especially seeing as though it was their first one and I would definitely go back again.
The following weekend I went to Bexhill to race in the Bexhill Sprint Triathlon. The cycle there and back added to the training day and I managed to come away with the win. My swim was however shocking as I managed to swim around the wrong buoy and waste time swimming back into the current to get around the right one. It was a good day out though with the Bodyworks team as there was a whole group of us racing. It's always funny to race a sprint though for me as it is so short and I was only just finding my rhythm on the run at the end! It was another well organised event and very enjoyable.
This brings me to last week where I had a heavy old training week. My long run on Tuesday was followed by a swim, 7 hr cycle and little run on the Wednesday so needless to say come the Thursday hard run session I was dead on my feet! I really enjoyed the Friday rest day though! On Saturday I went up to Henley again with Bodyworks athlete Emma Richards and another local athlete Steve who kindly drove us. Emma wanted to see the course as she will also be racing and I wanted to have another couple of laps around it. We managed to get two laps in with one at race type effort and then I did a lap of the run so a good training day. On Sunday I had another sprint race but this one was even shorter. I raced the Southwater Relays with Bodyworks team members Emma and Toni and we came 8th overall and first women's team which was great. Again it was another good day out with 3 other Bodyworks teams competing. It was so funny to be finished racing under the hour though and in time for breakfast! Sunday was finished off with a visit from Steve's Uncle who lives in New Zealand and it was great to catch-up.
So, less than two weeks until Henley and one more week of hard training until I ease off. I am actually looking forward to having a weekend with no racing after having had to get up early for the last few weekends and I could do with catching up on some sleep!
31st July 2011
Last weekend was my second ironman of the year in Bolton and I am fairly pleased to come away with a third position. It would have obviously been great to have won again in front of a home crowd but a couple of girls entered very last minute and therefore the competition was pretty strong and I knew I would be up against it.
Steve and I arrived in Bolton on Friday, registered and found our bed and breakfast which although a lot closer to Bolton town centre was a great find with very friendly people. We went out to drive around a loop of the cycle course which took forever and I forgot how many turns there were. I came back thinking I could have probably cycled around quicker than we drove around and that’s saying something! I don’t usually go to pasta parties, mainly as I like to get away from all the buzz and forget I am racing so soon, however I had agreed to do a Q & A session with some other pros. I was pleasantly surprised with the evening where there was some good entertainment and a lively atmosphere, although I can’t say I enjoyed getting on stage in front of everyone much, think it was more nerve racking than the race!
We awoke Saturday morning to glorious sunshine which I am sure is a rarity in Bolton. I went to rack my run bag and have a quick cycle to check out the bike. I had a bit of an issue with the valve on the back tyre so had to change that. I racked my bike before the race briefing and was then informed my front tyre was flat in transition! Thankfully some kind sole had heard it go and alerted someone to it hence saving me stressing at the crack of dawn. Another trek to change that one and then I could finally head back to the B&B for a little downtime and to catchup with all the messages of support I had got which was lovely.
Not sure what's crazier! Competing in Ironman or getting up at 3am for the pleasure?
I hadn't done a 6am race start for a while so breakfast at 3am was a little early although I was raring to go. I was relieved to find my tyres were all ok and headed down to the swim start where the water was actually pretty warm. The swim itself was pretty uneventful, I managed to miss the front pack again and led a huge group around for the first lap but that always seems to happen. I felt pretty controlled and was pleased to find out I was the first female out in 50 mins. The only issue with this is that there is a camera following you out and I managed to hit one of the speed bumps a bit too violently dislodging my front water bottle. I decided to stop and collect it which although wasted time and made me look an idiot I thought was best as I wanted my own sports drink mix to rely on (I learnt in Hawaii last year that taking on a different sports mix than you are used can lead to lots of tummy problems!)
I was glad to get cycling and my legs felt pretty good. Diana went by me on the first loop and I couldn’t keep her in sight for long but I know she is a fantastic cyclist. I just concentrated to my own race and actually enjoyed the course. There is so much variety with the climbs, descents, turns, pot holes, etc that you have to be fully focused throughout and therefore the ride goes so much quicker. I had lots of support from the crowds and other athletes which was great. Steve also drove out and I saw him twice each lap so that was good. Desirée went by on the second lap but I managed to keep her in my sight and overtook her again. There have been times when it is a rarity I overtake other cyclists so I took some confidence that I was going ok especially against someone of Desirée’s class. I was getting splits from Steve so knew Diana was miles ahead but I managed to keep the gap pretty constant on the last lap, the camera bike was also very helpful with splits even though I didn’t ask!
The last bit of the cycle was fairly noisy as there was something rattling which I didn't know what it was and still don't know although I was hoping it was nothing major as I descended. I came into transition in second place although had to dash for a pee (I really must learn to pee whilst racing to save time!). Out onto the run and my lower back was a little tight but soon loosened off. I didn't feel great at first but soon found my rhythm. Unfortunately on the run down to the canal I got overtaken by the eventual winner who literally flew by making me feel very pedestrian. There was no way I could go at that pace and was just hoping she might begin to flag.
The support on the run was fantastic – so many people shouting my name. I knew I was safe in third if I could keep going as I saw Jo was in fourth and although running very well, I had managed to get a gap. However I couldn't gain much time on the others and just had to keep going for third. All was going ok until I missed a vital coke stop on the last lap and found myself flagging until the next stop so am slightly annoyed as I lost some time here and could have got under 3 hrs. Once I had got something down I felt a lot better and was almost home. There was a fantastic crowd at the finish egged on by the ever energetic Whit Raymond and Emma Jenkinson. How they can keep talking and energising the crowd for coming on 20 hours I have no idea, but brilliant. I was pretty pleased to lower my P.B to 9hr 37 going 24 mins quicker than last year, but I know I can improve further.
Although I felt pretty wacked I was glad I went down for the last few hours of the finish as the atmosphere was brilliant. You really do get uplifted by the finishers who have made their challenge and in my eyes have often had a much harder day when it has taken onwards to 17hours.
The Awesome Joe Townsend...
...and meeting the Amazing Team True Spirit
A special mention though has to go to Team True Spirit. Team True Spirit is made up of injured Armed Forces servicemen and women who have suffered injury serving their country and who are currently recovering at Headley Court in Surrey along with staff from Hedley Court. Every one of them is an absolute hero for what they have already sacrificed but to see such determination, courage and ability is truly inspiring. I do have to mention Joe Townsend in particular who is also from Eastbourne. Joe was injured 3 years ago by an IED, resulting in him losing both of his legs. Not only did Joe complete the full Ironman on one of the toughest courses on the circuit, he totally smashed it completing the race in 12hours 56mins! I am in total awe of Joe and all of Team True Spirit and I feel privileged to have raced and met some of them at the race. I would ask that everyone that reads this please visit Team rue Spirit's Website www.truespirit.org.uk and help them with their fund raising efforts.
So I go away with a bit more confidence having put together a solid bike and run and am now looking forward to Challenge Henley in 6 weeks or so. I thoroughly enjoyed the day at IMUK and can honestly say I haven't had such an enjoyable race for a while. I met some wonderful people at the event and want to thank everyone who supported me including Steve who was a master with the stopwatch again!
26th July 2011
The last few weeks have flown by and here we are with only a few days until my next Ironman. I can’t say I have done anything too exciting although I did manage to fit in a trip to see my sister and I cycled to another wedding. At the beginning of the month I caught up with my nephew Ethan who is growing all the time and managing to say a few words now as well which is pretty amusing. I also had a chance to pop in and see my old Uni friend Emma who lives near my sister and finally see her lovely little daughter.
The following weekend I cycled up to London for a friend’s wedding which was highly enjoyable and great to see some friends who I haven’t seen in ages. Since then, it’s pretty much been lots of training and getting in some long rides and important sessions although all has gone pretty smoothly albeit I have been a little tired and grumpy at times – however Steve says that’s usual!
So I head back to Bolton for the UK Ironman in a couple of days. I am excited about racing an ironman again as it has been a little while although I am really pretty nervous already which is unusual for me. I will try my best to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the race and see what happens. Best of luck to everyone out there competing.
22nd June 2011
On Sunday I went to Wimbleball in Exmoor for the UK70.3. We loaded up the car with camping gear and Bertie Blue bike and headed down there Friday morning. My plan was to do a lap of the bike course on arrival but as predicted as soon as I set off cycling the heavens opened and I was so cold and wet that I rang Steve halfway around to come and collect me. We then set off to the campsite to pitch the tent which was somewhat amusing. We had borrowed a massive tent from my massage therapist Sarah as our 3 man tent doesn't allow much room and we knew it would be a wet weekend. The only real issue was that we had never put up the tent before so weren't sure as to how it looked when up or where the poles went! Steve did work it out in the end and I admit I wasn't much help, although it did take well over an hour in the wind & rain. It was a joy to head off down to a local pub for a meal and a bit of warmth from the miserable rain. That night it rained nonstop all night and although the campsite was lovely it was on an exposed hillside which was a little windy to say the least. Saturday morning I awoke somewhat tired and cold and we then sat in the car for most of the morning getting warmth before heading down to register and rack the bike. I managed to have a quick spin on the bike between showers. After the briefing it was back to the tent to cook some tuna and pasta and another quick pop in a pub to get a warm drink, another triathlete Karl Alexander had also escaped there from the campsite.
I admit I didn't get much sleep at all that night; I was convinced all night the tent was being blown away much to Steve's annoyance! Although it was still fresh in the morning I was relieved to see it wasn't raining. We headed off to the race and after a quick jog we were led down to the water's edge. I had planned a swim warm-up but I soon realised how cold the water was so only just got in with about 5 minutes to go and even then I was freezing. The swim wasn't great for me, I was struggling to get my stroke going and my hands were so cold I was swimming with all my fingers open. I came out 3rd and then proceeded to have the slowest transition in history as I attempted to get on arm warmers and a borrowed gilet with cold hands! I then couldn't mount my bike and it was basically a shambles. So onto the bike and I soon realised putting on the gilet was a mistake as it was far too big and was flapping around in the wind. My legs felt pretty dam cold, I couldn't feel my feet and my quads just wouldn't work meaning the first lap of the bike was abysmal. There were times when I felt so bad I wanted to stop and when people rode by I just had nothing to give mentally or physically to keep with them. The second lap of the bike got slightly better, although the hills felt a lot harder than last year when I raced and my bike was slower. Coming into transition I knew I was a long way back but had to try and salvage something from the race. The first lap of the run was hard and my feet were still numb but then I started to warm-up and on the last two laps felt stronger. It was great to have so much support from spectators as well as athletes and I am extremely grateful for the support even though I may not have shown it at the time! Steve, my husband was as always great at keeping me going also, so thank you. I crossed the line in 6th place and a bit frustrated. Well done to Emma Kate Lidbury on another great win and to the other GB girls who also raced well. Well done also to fellow Bodyworks team mates Rob Impey & Matt Garman who finished well in only their second 70.3 – not as sunny as Majorca hey!
Another poor bike put me way back after coming out 3rd from the swim however I need to take into account the fact that I had camped for 2 days which wasn't ideal and the fact that I know how bad I am with racing in the cold. On the plus side my running is going well and I came away with the fastest run.
So the lessons learnt are to never camp again, even if at the time you think you are saving money, it is really not worth it in England! I now have had a stinking cold since the race because of this! Next up will be Ironman UK at the end of July so between now and then I hope to get over the cold quickly and get back into some solid training miles.
12th June 2011
Road trip to Germany
Last weekend I took a road trip to Challenge Kraichgau which was a great experience. My first time to Germany and my first Challenge race and I were mighty impressed with both. Steve and I drove there arriving the Thursday evening before the race and were put up in a lovely hotel near to the race finish. Rachel Joyce and I rode some of the cycle course on the Friday and it was obvious it was going to be a lumpy but also scenic route. The race started at 9am which was pretty late compared to usual but at least breakfast wasn't so early. The swim itself didn't go quite as well as I would have liked, I can't say I enjoy swimming amongst German men much! After getting dunked on numerous occasions near the first buoy I lost a lot of time and was pretty glad to get on dry land. The bike was hard and I lost a few places although it was also really enjoyable as there was variation on the course and lots of spectators out cheering and loving the athletes cycling through their villages. It is always great to see such as enthusiasm as this but unfortunately it is usually when racing abroad and I wish sometimes that here in England there would be such support.
I went onto the run in 10th place I think and knew I should be able to run a few down if I ran as I am capable. A three lap out and back run through the town meant a lot of support and a few little inclines but it was also enjoyable and I felt pretty strong running. I was glad to move up through the field and managed to run into 5th just near the end. All in all pretty pleased with my 5th place in a quality field and it has given me a bit more confidence going forward.
I was also impressed with the after party celebrations where there were beer tents and sausages on offer. It was enjoyable to relax afterwards with a beer and chat with Alan Rose and Philppa Morgan from Just Racing who are organising Challenge Henley. It was also good to catch up with fellow Brit Anne Fallows who was also racing and Rachel Joyce.
A massive thank you to Timo and the rest of the Challenge Kraichgau team who made us feel so welcome and who organised such a fantastic and friendly race. I will no doubt be back to race in Germany again and am looking forward to racing Challenge Henley in September, where there are still places so get in quick to be involved in what I am sure will be a great race.
Next up for me is a weekend of camping at UK70.3 in Exmoor where I am hoping for some sun!
Rachel Joyce and I checking out the bike course at Challenge Kraichgau once we found the correct route!
30th May 2011
Visit to Wales
Steve and I went to visit my nanny who lives Bridgend in Wales along with my parents, sister, her husband and Ethan my nephew. It was lovely to see my Nan who will be the grand old age of 90 years old in a couple of weeks and it was her first chance to see my nephew in the flesh. Although it rained as per usual in Wales it didn't stop us having a good catch-up along with my Uncle and Aunt who also live in Wales.
Four generations of Grice!
28th May 2011
Not a good day at the office
I have finally got around to a race report on Majorca 70.3 which was 3 weeks ago now but better late than never!
The whole trip was actually really good although the race itself was below par shall we say! It was great to have some company on the trip as fellow Bodyworks athletes Stu, Matt & Rob were also racing. We arrived on the Thursday and were on the crack of dawn flight so were out riding the course at lunchtime. We did the main climb on the course and the decent and then took a short cut home so at least we had seen the main section. I absolutely love riding in this area of Majorca and I couldn't believe it but it had been a good 4 yrs since I had been. The views on the climb were amazing and I felt strong riding and raring to go. The next day was spent registering, trying to find the race briefing and racking and then having a good meal and relaxing. We were staying in Club Pollencia a few kms away which I would highly recommend to anyone as the accommodation, service and food are top notch for the price you are paying.
So the day of the racing arrived and after an early breakfast put on at the hotel I got the bus down and got ready to race. The swim went pretty well, apart from having a bit of a tussle with another swimmer and I was fairly pleased to come out third. However as soon as I started the long run to and through transition I felt heavy legged. Once on the bike I tried to knuckle down and get going but there was just nothing in my legs and I was overtaken by a lot of girls even before I hit the climb. Once on the climb things only got worse and I actually think I went up slower than I did riding easy up a couple of days before. There was just nothing in my legs and I felt tired. It's funny as the bit I had been slightly worried over – the decent, was actually the most enjoyable bit of the ride! Things didn't improve on the flatter section of the cycle and I was just mighty glad to get off the bike! I kept telling myself that maybe I would feel better running but although it wasn't quite so bad I certainly lacked energy and just didn't find my usual rhythm. So there we have it, I crossed the line, after the last nasty uphill bridge I wasn't expecting, in 13th position. Oh dear – one to forget then. I have to say congrats to Emma-Kate Lidbury who had a great win and was certainly flying the flag for GB better than I did.
The day did improve in that I went back out on the course and it was great to see Stu, Matt and Rob finish, especially for Matt & Rob as it was their first half. Although I was obviously somewhat peeved off with my performance it was great to celebrate that evening with them and was great to see them achieve their own goals. The pint of beer and ice cream also helped!
I was back home the next day and felt pretty flat and really tired for a few days but then towards the end of the week I felt a lot more like myself. I honestly can't explain the poor performance as training had been going well. Onwards and upwards as they say though!
The last few weeks have been spent training and working as usual but last weekend it was my Nephews Christening in Dorset which was lovely and a welcome break away. I am a Godmother now to Ethan so very important!
Next race up for me is Challenge Kraichgau where I am hoping to race how I know I am capable. We are heading there on the Thursday and having a road trip in our new car Zippy (I say new, it isn’t really but it is to us!).
Starting to get Ethan trained up early!
18th April 2011
First Race Report of 2011
The first ironman of 2011 is done and dusted and I have returned from South Africa. The trip was brilliant and we were lucky enough to stay in a fabulous self catering place a little bit away from the main town.
Bertie my Blue bike with shiny new Hed Wheels raring to go.
The Farmhouse B&B behind me.
Yet again, I am somewhat frustrated with myself as I had a few stomach issues again on the run which led to my run being below par and far from what I know I am capable of. As always I finished the race frustrated and looking at a list of negatives but after a few days I am beginning to see some positives. The first positive being I finally got under 10hrs! Albeit very tight with a mustering sprint to cross the line in 9.59!
We arrived on the Monday before the race and settled in quickly. The week before was spent cycling the course and getting some open water swimming in as I haven't been in open water since Kona! One thing I noticed was that every time I cycled on the course the wind direction was never the same and on some days the water was really choppy and other days pretty calm!
Therefore no one knew what the wind would throw up the day.
So race day dawned and the wind direction looked like it would be very favourable. We were greeted to a pod of dolphins swimming over the swim course – fantastic sight!
The swim was pretty uneventful, I can't say I felt great and could do with a lot more open water swimming but I came out in 7th place. Onto the bike and again I wasn't feeling great but the support on the course was brilliant and I just hoped I would begin to feel a bit stronger. It was at the beginning of the cycle though that I realised I had been a complete idiot and had forgotten to apply sun cream! Stupidly I had been going to apply some before I left the bed and breakfast and then I hadn't as I thought they might be body numbering which they didn't in the end. I then got so caught up in the getting ready for the race I completed forgot – I know absolute idiot and my stupidity would come back to haunt me later. I can only say in my defence I am not used to applying sun cream in England.
Some of the course scenery was gorgeous.
Luckily I began to feel stronger on the second lap of the bike and actually overtook some athletes which is a rarity sometimes for me on the bike! It was lucky that there was actually more of a tailwind than headwind for the laps. I saw Steve every lap and he was saying I was doing ok so I just hung in there.
The first lap of the run was fine, and then the second lap of the run wasn't so fine! I started to get some stomach issues and had to have a few toilet stops along the way which was slowing me down considerably! I was getting somewhat frustrated and was overtaken for 8th place. All I can put this down to is dehydration and my body not liking the heat. Very annoying but coming from training in England over winter hardly surprising. Towards the later part of the third lap of the run the stomach did start to improve and running felt more comfortable but by then the time was ticking down and I knew I was going to have to push hard to get under 10hrs. Steve was urging me on as I approached the finish and I managed to increase my pace to finish in 9.59.28!
Initially I was disappointed especially as I had missed out on any prize money by a position but all in all the race was a great experience. I would highly recommend it as the people are so friendly, it is well organised and has a great atmosphere.
Chrissie was obviously fantastic as always setting another record and Rachel had a great race for second so I am really pleased for them both.
We managed to see some of the surrounding area to Port Elizabeth and were lucky enough to visit Addo Elephant Park and a Cheetah breeding ground. The Cheetah place was amazing as we got the opportunity to stroke a full grown Cheetah and two baby lion cubs. It was a truly amazing experience and great to see up close how athletic and beautiful these animals are. We were also treated to an authentic South Africa meal of Venison cooked by our fabulous hosts Bill & Melanie. Thanks so much to Bill & Melanie for helping us to have such an amazing time and giving us a home from home. If you’re ever in Port Elizabeth, I would highly recommend the Farmhouse B&B (http://www.cityfarmhouse.co.za/), and if we are lucky enough to return to South Africa, we will definitely be looking to stay again.
So here we are back home after having yet more baggage issues coming home. After waiting for 45 minutes watching the baggage belt at Heathrow we finally came to the conclusion our luggage wasn't turning up! We then had to wait a day and a half for our bags and Bertie my Blue bike and fantastic new Hed Wheels to turn up. Needless to say I was pretty peeved off especially as we checked 5 times at Cape Town that our luggage was coming straight through. I guess I should be grateful it's always when I come back that my bags go missing!
This week has been spent doing a tiny bit of training and catching up with some friends at the weekend whilst I have more time on my hands. I have had an infected big toe from the race which has been a little sore but is now improving so I can start getting back into some proper training. The next race for me is Mallorca 70.3.
17th March 2011
Where is the year going?
Well, I have been meaning to write a blog for quite a while now and before I know it the weeks fly by! I now only have just 3 weeks until my first Ironman race in South Africa. All in all training has been going well. I went out to Portugal in February for a week's training which was good as I could rack up some bike miles although I did manage to pick a bit of a duff week for weather. It rained for half the week and I can honestly say my first long ride was just plain miserable and I got soaked! Luckily the sun came out later in the week and I really enjoyed my last long ride – just goes to show what a bit of sun can do for morale! Unfortunately I had to come home back to the colder climate of Eastbourne. I managed to get along to the TCR show at the beginning of February also to catch up with some sponsors and other athletes which was enjoyable. It's always great to see so many enthusiastic triathletes and seems to get busier every year. So not much else to report, I have just been ticking away at training and although my back/glut issue has raised its ugly head a few times I have put in some decent training. At the beginning of this month I raced Eastbourne Half Marathon as a training run and although there was a strong old headwind for most of it I enjoyed the run out and managed to win.
I am now beginning to look forward to getting out to Port Elizabeth in a couple of weeks time and Steve is definitely looking forward to a holiday – just hoping there is no ash cloud to hamper things this year!
I have been saddened and shocked as have many to see the devastation in New Zealand and Japan. The sheer power of nature shown on the news looks like that of a horrific movie and I for one have really appreciated all I have in my life and my prayers go out to all affected.
31st January 2011
The last few weeks have been spent building up my training and getting used to cold weather although there have been some frustrations along the way. I have had a few issues with a tight hamstring again which has needed plenty of massage, physio and stretching. Nevertheless there have been periods when I have been able to get myself going again and I am beginning to stay on top of it a bit more. A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to the Challenge Henley launch by Alan Rose and the Just Racing Team who are organising the event. We got a lovely trip on a boat and were able to have a good view of the swim and run course. It looks like a great venue and I have no doubt it will be organised to a high standard. I am really looking forward to racing there in September and am just hoping the weather plays ball as it will be a fantastic spectator course as well. I have also been lucky enough to have been sponsored by CompuTrainer and am really looking forward to seeing where it takes my cycling. Judging by the fantastic triathletes that use it, I can only improve. Great news as well with Newton, Blueseventy, Blue, Fusion, Sport Beans, For Goodness Shakes and Greeper laces all agreeing to continue their sponsorship and association this year. I'm really glad to be staying with such great and supportive teams, thankyou.
I also celebrated my birthday a couple of weeks ago and some friends came down to stay with us on the sunshine coast. It was great to have a bit of time to catch up with them and not have to travel anywhere. I was also treated to a lovely chocolate cake (as requested as it's my weakness!) courtesy of my lovely husband Steve. It was yummy although I ate far too much of it and was sure I tasted it during the swim set the following morning!
So lots of training hopefully to come in the next few weeks with hopefully a bit of much needed sunshine as I go to Portugal for a training week soon.
I'll be at TCR on Saturday 12th with a bit of a mixture on the Blueseventy stand, at the Computrainer stand and at the Natural Running Seminar with Ian Adamson. Look forward to seeing everyone
1st January 2011
The end of a good year
So another year gone and here we are in 2011. Looking back at 2010 it has been a really good year with lots of high points like gaining my first Ironman win, moving house and becoming an Aunty. I had a lovely Christmas at Steve's parent's house with a great turkey dinner after my Christmas morning run and then for Boxing Day I saw my sister, brother-in-law and little trouble maker nephew. It was lovely to catch up with the family.
Steve, John (Steve's brother) and Carol entertaining themselves
For New Year we went to France with my parents and then Steve's brother and fiancé came over. In terms of training I used the week to build up my running again. In the weeks before Christmas I have had a few problems with a tight hamstring which has been limiting my running and then Steve came back from work with the flu which I then caught. It's been a bit of a struggle with training and I was just hoping to get away after Christmas for a bit of slightly warmer weather to get myself going yet again! I'm glad to say my hamstring has improved and I have been able to build up my running and get some mountain biking going also. All being well I can now increase the training load again.
John and myself with a new hairdo!
As for New Year itself we went out for a 7 course meal in a French restaurant which was great fun. As you can see in the pictures, everyone was all very sensible and there was not a drop of alcohol in sight! The food was amazing although I did limit myself as to what I ate as 7 courses was a little much. All in all it was a great night out and we all had fun bringing in the New Year in French and English time with the old Lang syne.
My sensible parents
Happy New Year to everyone and let's hope 2011 brings enjoyment and success for us all!
2nd November 2010
Bit of downtime
The last few weeks have been spent having a bit of downtime. I have spent a bit of time reflecting on the disappointment of Kona but on the whole I have to look at the bigger picture of this season. I know that I have the potential to do better and should take confidence from the IMUK win along with my other good results this season. I feel I have actually progressed a lot more than previous seasons so have to take this onboard heading into winter training.
I have been swimming quite a bit but other than that have only been commuting around on the bike and for the last 2 weeks haven’t been able to run much. I have had the dreaded IT band trouble again. I had tightness around my knee the day we returned from Kona and have been struggling ever since. I really should have stretched more on the flight back instead of sleeping the whole way back!
Needless to say I have been a little on the grumpy side without being able to run. It’s only when you can’t run that you realise how much you miss it and enjoy the mental and physical lift it brings. It has however been lovely to catch up with some people. My sister, her husband and my nephew (Ethan) came down to our house and we could finally put them up in a bed for the night! It was lovely to spend time with them and we visited Middle Farm nearby to show Ethan the animals or that was our excuse. I really wanted to see the donkey there again and Steve and Chris wanted to taste every barrel of cider on offer there!
My very cute 7 month old nephew Ethan...
...and already looking embarrassed by his Mum and Auntie
Last weekend I even had time to go and watch Eastbourne rugby club have a great game to win and saw Steve score a try. I was then whisked off for a romantic anniversary weekend with Steve which was fab. We visited Longleat Safari Park (bit of a theme here with me and animals!) which was great but alas I didn’t get to see the monkeys as that section was closed again – booo, I have a tatty old car so it didn’t matter if it got ruined. There was lots of cake and some alcohol to be had over the weekend along with a bit of gentle exercise in the pool and gym. I came away feeling somewhat refreshed and ready to get back into training albeit a lot heavier than when I left! Thanks Steve, it was great to spend some time with you.
All in all, I’ve had a really good season, winning my first Ironman title at Ironman UK and qualifying and competing at the World Ironman Championships again. There is still a lot of work to do to get to where I want to be and this is spurring me on for getting into winter training.
I would however, not have achieved all this on my own and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me through the season, including my coach, team, sponsors, friends and family. You have all been brilliant and I am really grateful especially to all the people that have sent messages throughout the year wishing me luck and sending congratulations via my website, facebook and twitter or the hardy supporters out on the course. These always mean a lot to me so thank you.
Thank you to all my sponsors. Not only have I been fortunate to have been provided with the best kit and products, you have all been so supporting and encouraging, so thank you again. Please take time to have a look at my sponsor’s page and visit their websites to see the fantastic people that support me.
I would especially like to thank a number of people;
Bodyworks XTC – A fantastic club with a so many good athletes. Unfortunately the majority are a lot younger than me as the nickname of ‘Granny Grice’ shows. It’s a real pleasure training and watching the younger ones come through and training with such good athletes as Olly Freeman, Todd Leckie, James Adams and Sarah Lovelock is inspiring and helps motivate and push me on.
Glenn Cook – My coach. Glenn has a wealth of experience, both from competing at the top level in Triathlon and coaching. He has been my coach since I moved back to Eastbourne to train for triathlon in 2005 and was the reason I even attempted an Ironman. I trusted that he knew what he was talking about even when I thought there was no way I would finish! I am now very glad he talked me into that first Ironman as I have loved the event ever since and with his coaching I am progressing every year. I am grateful for his expertise and am lucky to be working with such an experienced coach to keep me on track.
Stuart Wilkinson – Stuart is a good friend and a coach who has helped me out a lot since I started triathlon. He is a coach at Bodyworks XTC as well a qualified life coach. I have worked with him dealing with the mental issues I have faced racing and training and his support with this and my triathlon has been greatly appreciated.
Sarah Poll – Not just an excellent Sports Massage Therapist, but also a good friend. Thanks for all your time, keeping me in one piece and sorting out all my niggles and injuries, and keeping me entertained! If you are in the area and have an injury that needs a treatment, I can recommend Sarah highly, you can contact her on 07889 990583.
Tom Buttle – for giving up so much time to help set up and run my website, looks excellent thanks. www.scsmarketing.co.uk
Clare Pope – A superb ACPSM Gold Accredited Sports physiotherapist who has also helped so much to keep me in one piece.
The Tri Store – for all your support and help, especially for all the help over the year keeping my bike in one piece, when I’m not sure what I’m doing with it, which is a lot of the time!
John at Velomotion – for transforming my riding position, feels so much better. Also for starting my new nickname, which has swept the Bodyworks team of ‘Stumpy’! Thanks!
Time for the Ironman World Championships race report then! I have had to leave this a couple of days as when I first went to write it unfortunately it was nothing but negative but now I have had time to reflect a little I am beginning to see it wasn’t so bad and that I need to move on and just appreciate the fact that I was lucky enough to be racing here again. I didn’t have the best race on Saturday. I had an awful swim where I ended up missing a pack of swimmers in front, and then led around a whole group of girls. I exited way down on where I wanted to be and then in the first 1km of the bike I managed to hit a pothole and lose all my water bottles with my nutrition in so not ideal. I was forced to take on Ironman Perform drinks which they were handing out but I had never used this drink before so wasn’t sure how it would go down. I use a mixture of weak carbohydrate drink with Nuun in and therefore was slightly worried to be relying on what they were handing out. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the bottles and tops they were handing out were awkward to turn and meant that I had to keep them open and therefore couldn’t use my stem mounted holder I had.
The beginning of the bike was enjoyable though and it was great to have so many people cheering on the first section of the bike. Once on the Queen K I just tried to keep anyone who overtook me in sight although I did struggle a little with a tight glute and hamstring that has been niggling in training. The fun really started on the climb up to Hawi where the crosswinds were a blowing. I struggled to drink a lot on this section as was holding on to the bike too much with the blustery winds. It was good to see Steve and my parents at the top in Hawi although at the time I was too busy cursing the wind and getting wound up by my dad who was telling me to ‘pull my finger out’ and wasn’t impressed obviously. I lost a lot of time coming down from Hawi as was petrified I would fall off! I was praying for a headwind and was glad to get rid of the crosswinds on the way back in to Hawi. At the aid stations I was picking up water and their energy drink although I was beginning to struggle with the sickly flavour of it. I came off the bike and although I almost toppled off catching a bottle on the back whilst dismounting, I didn’t feel too bad at the start of run. I just tried as best I could to keep cool with ice and water and was pleased to catch a few girls in front. I was in awe of Macca racing down to the finish and then Mirinda looking so easy running and heading for her win, they were outstanding and I have a long way to go! For myself the main problem came when I had 7 miles to go and my stomach began to disagree to the drink I had consumed earlier. All I can say is that I needed some pampers at that point and it was very unpleasant running back from the lab as I struggled to take fluid with the cramps and therefore slowed greatly with the lack of energy. In the last few miles I felt myself go backwards as people I had previously passed ran by again. I just had nothing left and as my hands began to go all pins and needles I knew I was running on empty. It was a relief to finish as I could feel my body shutting down lacking the normal nutrition I use. Again as three years ago I didn’t enjoy that last run in to the line and didn’t even have the energy to lift my hands for my usual ‘jazz hands’ finish as Steve calls it. From there it was time for a little lye down and plenty of time in the porta loos – such fun!
So there we have it, my time was 10 hrs 14 and I placed 28th Pro. Although not as good as I would have liked at least I have improved by almost 25mins on my 2007 time. I do have to give a massive ‘good job’ to my friend Sarah Lovelock who raced in the 25-29yr age group and had a brilliant race out there, so pleased for you and very well deserved. Also well done to everyone out there who raced, good or bad, finishers or those who couldn’t finish, you are all stars. Thanks also for all the support from Steve, my parents, friends and people who didn’t know me at all.
Now I am feeling a lot better, it’s time to have a few days chilling now and exploring the Big Island before getting back home and back into the winter training. It will give me a chance to reflect upon the season and gear myself up ready to knuckle down to training again, I am now as keen as ever to improve.
Me and Sarah with our finishers medals.
Thursday 7th October
Had a good laugh this morning as I went to watch Steve, Simon and Sarah compete in the Underpants run. A whole array of outfits on show with some leaving little to the imagination so I was happy just watching. We then headed out to Captain Cooks Monument to get away from Kona for a bit. Had a paddle in the clear water and just chilled reading a book. I then headed to a pro briefing at lunchtime and was mighty relieved to find out that European standard helmets have now been allowed as was thinking I wouldn’t be able to wear my Ekoi helmet and would have to buy another one.
Sarah, Simon and Steve ready and raring for the underpants run!
There were quite a few sights some good, some not so! If you look closely, Steve, Sarah and Simon seem to be enjoying it anyway!
And here we are with only 1 day to go until the race and it is getting a bit close now. I am looking forward to racing of course but am getting slightly nervous now. I am trying to not put too much pressure on myself and just enjoy the day and hope to do better than 2007. I know I have a lot more experience at racing Ironman events since 2007 and am hopeful I will deal with the heat a lot better so hopefully the result will be an improvement.
I just want to take this opportunity to thank all my sponsors and everyone back home, Glenn Cook my coach and Bodyworks for helping me get to the start line here in Kona. I will of course be trying my best and hope that I am just happy with the result!
If you want to keep up to date on what’s happening in the race, follow it live on www.ironman.com . Race starts at 5.30pm on Saturday UK time.
Wednesday 6th October
Early run this morning before breakfast and I then headed down to register which was very efficient and well organised. Now I have my Kona wristband on I know it’s getting near to the race. I then headed out for a 90 min spin along the Queen K. Later in the afternoon Steve and I headed down to town to meet the team from Blue Bikes and had Bertie checked over. Chance and Allen were very welcoming and it was good to meet them. I then popped in the sea again for a 30 min easy swim which was actually a bit choppy as the wind had picked up and still didn’t see any turtles!
Tuesday 5th October
Had a lovely swim of the course this morning, how I enjoy the sea swims with no wetsuit and warm and clear water and every time it is just a real treat. Later on I had an easy 45 min run along Ali’i Drive again. It was pretty hot in the heat of the day but felt ok. Later on in the afternoon we headed down to the Parade of Nations where I had been invited to sit in the Ironman UK car. I was very relieved to see a good British contingent had turned out as it was good to get some support so thanks to everyone who came along and joined in. I was highly embarrassed sitting in the car waving to people but luckily it wasn’t too far to go and I had a really lovely car to sit in. We then had a quick look around the expo where Simon was in his element looking at bikes and then I had a lovely bit of fish for dinner at Bongo Ben’s.
Sitting in the cool car for the parade of nations.
Monday 4th October
Spotted some dolphins from our balcony first thing this morning but alas I couldn’t find them on my swim. After breakfast Sarah and I had a quick photo shoot with our new bikes and kit, only had a couple of lousy photographers with us though in the form of Steve and Simon! That said Bertie does look pretty good with his new HED wheels on and he is raring to go. The rest of the day was spent going on a little trip up to Waimea where there wasn’t a lot apart from food outlets everywhere. We then headed up to Waipo where there is a fabulous lookout point where we had a little picnic. On the journey back we had a little stop at my favourite beach Hapuna Beach – it is bliss and I am looking forward to my post race sleep and swim there! We then had another trip to Safeway to stock up and are beginning to realise that cooking at home is actually more expensive than eating out as the food is so expensive in the shops here.
My new bright white Fusion Kit ^^
My lovely new Blue bike ‘Bertie’ and HED wheels
Sunday 3rd October
Awoke early as usual here, mind you we are going to bed around 9pm as always seem to be really tired then. Steve drove me out to near where I finished yesterday so that I could do the rest of the cycle course. I decided to start halfway up Hawi to get used to some decending and it wasn’t too windy. However once I got down and headed back I encountered nasty crosswinds where at times I was hanging on for dear life and getting blown right to the side of the road, scary. However as I slightly changed direction there was a major tailwind where I hardly had to pedal and then this turned into a headwind. I guess this was just as well I needed to do some intervals on the way back in. I then had an hour run-off the bike and although I felt a bit heavy legged to begin with, I soon felt fine and although pretty dam hot managed to keep a steady pace going. On Saturday I just have to keep that going for another couple of hours!
Me and Sarah can’t work out why we’re not getting aero?
Saturday 2nd October
Sarah and I headed down to swim the course early and the sea was lovely and calm. I really enjoyed the swim although reaching that last buoy seemed to take a while and looking at the time on returning maybe I took the swim a little too easy and was enjoying watching the fish far too much! After stocking up on some cereal Sarah and I headed out for a 4 hr cycle of some of the course. I seemed to be drinking loads and we had to replenish water a couple of times. I enjoyed the cycle though but I will have to be a little braver coming down from Hawi and just try to relax when the cross winds strike. We were glad to see that Steve and Simon had come to pick us up as I wasn’t prepared to cycle the whole way back.
Friday 1st October
Had an easy 45 min run before breakfast and the legs felt surprisingly good. Alii Drive is a very comical though, everyone is out running and cycling and eyeing each other up. There is always the odd person putting on a sprint at watching points such as Lava Java. After breakfast I then headed out for a little cycle on the start of the course, I was feeling pretty tired before heading out but this seemed to wake me up. In the afternoon I then walked down to the pool for a little session, although times were a little out what with the pool being 25 yards! Saw a few pro’s down there which Steve had a chat with to try and make Simon jealous he missed them to add to his tally.
Modelling the Blueseventy PZ3TX >>
Thursday 30th September
Woke up feeling like a zombie and we all headed down for some breakfast at Lava Java as we were somewhat peckish having not eaten for a while and all out with eating times. Lovely as breakfast was I had forgotten how much cinnamon is added to everything in America and I’d rather it wasn’t! After stocking up on some food we headed in for a quick swim. It was lovely to be able to swim non wetsuit in warm and clear water and was great to be able to stretch out after the flight. I unpacked Bertie who was still in one piece and then Sarah and I headed out for a quick spin on the Queen K. Again I really enjoyed this, the roads are so smooth and the sun is out.
Wednesday 29th September
Arrived in Kona after a long 27hr trip. It was however a relief to see that all our baggage including Bertie had got here even though I was less than impressed at having to pay £126 one way with United to take the bike. Airlines are rip off merchants! There were lots of fit people on the flight and I knew I would be seeing a lot more in Kona. Arrived safely at the apartment which is lovely and backs right onto the sea. Went to bed pretty dam tired!
30th September 2010
Thankful to be here!
Well here I am in sunny Hawaii after a 27hr journey and boy am I glad to get away. This last week has been a little on the stressful side with not enough sleep leaving me even more grumpy than usual. It was the usual thing of trying to get everything done before going away which wasn’t helped by our car getting broken into the day before leaving. I was not amused to say the least as all they took was £1 which was in there and bent the driver’s door back so now we need a new door. Wasting time waiting for the police to say that they couldn’t find any prints was even more annoying. We then also found that they had tried to get into our garage and have broken the lock so that we cannot even get in there now! All in all a bit stressful and I am just glad to be away and to relax a little.
The journey was obviously long and boring but it has all been worth it to swim in the clear and warm waters today and have an easy spin along the Queen K. It was a delight to be on a smooth road surface with a wide cycle lane and not have to worry about looking out for pot holes. The apartment we are in is lovely and right on the sea front so there are crashing waves just outside the door. It has actually been a lot wavier than last time we were here and there was quite a bit of surfing going on. We are staying with Sarah and Simon and are enjoying relaxing and taking in the atmosphere – Simon is filling us in with who is who along Ali’i Drive and it is very useful to have a bike mechanic around.
Just over a week to the race and I am looking forward to cycling the course over the weekend and then easing down to the race – bring it on!
21st September 2010
Hooray – a few more sponsors!
I have been lucky enough to have gained some sports recovery drinks from For Goodness Shakes. I am getting on well with these and the sachets will also come in handy for when I go away – I particularly like the berry and chocolate ones!
I have also had some great news regarding racing wheels for Kona as I have just heard that HED have agreed to sponsor me with a little help from Simon in the Tri Store. This is very exciting news and means that at long last I can give back my friend Dave’s racing wheels which he has generously let me borrow all season!
Can’t wait to get racing on them on my new Blue Bike!
16th September 2010
Training week with a few hiccups!
I have just returned from a week of training in South West France with a little middle distance race thrown in. All did not go quite to plan though, all packed up I headed to Gatwick only to come across an almighty queue for check in with Easyjet. So queue I did with the usual people gorping as to what was in my big box (even though it says bike box!) only to hear someone vaguely shout out there were no flights to France – oh dear! So I fought my way to get out of that queue only to have to join yet another queue for 5 hrs to try to get on another flight- extremely boring and I was mighty peeved off with the French idiots striking due to retirement age.
Anyhow eventually I managed to get on a flight leaving early the next morning but to Toulouse which is a good 2hrs extra driving than from Bordeaux (thanks mum and dad for all that extra driving). I had the luxury of being put up a hotel by Easyjet for my mighty 5 hrs sleep.
So I eventually made it to my destination all be it a day late, only problem was that I now had a stinking cold! Not ideal for my proposed 7 hr cycle and I felt so rubbish I had to take a rest day. Next day on the Thursday I managed to cycle some of the bike course I was due to race over although did get a bit confused with the course map and it rained! I am glad to say things did steadily improve and by Saturday I decided I was well enough to race the St Jean De Luz middle distance triathlon. The race began at 12.30pm so it was actually fairly hot which is what I wanted in preparation for Kona. The swim was 2500m so longer than usual but I felt ok and came out first. I tried to push a bit harder on the bike although it was a little chaotic at times as I was surrounded by male cyclists who had started 10 min ahead but I had caught. The cycle at times was on narrow roads so I had to have my wits about me as the French seem to overtake on either side and generally not be able to cycle in a straight line so I was just glad to come into transition and still be first female. Onto the run which was up and down the river, I didn’t feel my best but just took it steady and was pleased to come away with the win. Usual thing though, where I finished and then they tried to interview me in French, resorting to find a translator. So although not feeling my best I managed to get a decent training race done and receive the best triathlon prize ever – a massive beret which I had positioned on my head so that I couldn’t actually see out – highly embarrassing and thanks for taking that photo mum, I’m glad I caused you so much amusement.
The week ended with an 8hr cycle which I was pleased to get done and surprised to find I wasn’t even uncomfortable on my new Blue bike-Bertie and I are getting on well. Many thanks to my parents who put me up for a week and ferried me around, you were great as always.
So here I am back in Eastbourne and am glad to see the sun has come back out. This week I have been lucky enough to have had some time in the heat chamber thanks to Gary at the University of Brighton. Essential sessions before I go away as I sweated like a pig just cycling easy in there. Next week I will be able to get a run done and another cycle which all aids to the acclimatisation process.
This time in 3 weeks I will be racing in Kona – ahhhh, that’s come quick! Don’t panic, don’t panic!
Sporting my Winners Beret in St.Jean de Luz. It’s so big I couldn’t see out!
31st August 2010
Back to the training!
This week the training has begun to step up again with the Wednesday bike session gradually getting longer. I have been lucky enough to have had some company though with the arrival of Hila from Israel. She will be training over here for a month or so and will be joining in with some rides with me. I am sure she is struggling with the weather a little though as on our 5hr ride on Wednesday it was pretty wet and windy. I have to say I have got mighty peeved off with getting wet constantly this week. On Saturday Hila and I did some faster paced efforts around a local 15mile loop which was all going swimmingly until I came upon some horses a little faster than I realised, went to go around but there was a car coming the other way so braked a little more without letting Hila know behind! I then heard a horrible crash sound behind and the horse I was going to overtake almost ran off down the road with its rider. Do you ever wish you had done something a little differently? I have been feeling mighty guilty that poor old Hila has horrible road rash but am grateful I didn’t cause any more injury. One of my problems is that I am so used to riding on my own I forget someone is following behind and I should be letting them know what’s going on. I hope she will still come out riding with me!
25th August 2010
I did Bexhill Sprint last year and decided although not my preferred distance at all that I would race again as last year it was a great race. This year the race was again fantastically organised by Team Lifestyle although the weather was not quite so sunny. I cycled to and from the event to get a bit more of a training session in and used the race to try and find any speed and to give Bertie an outing. The sea was a little more choppy than everyone had hoped and many of us starting in the female wave had not realised how strong the current was getting to the first buoy. Needless to say the next wave who had watched and laughed at us started a lot further down the beach. Anyway after being washed up on the beach I was glad to find myself first even though I knew I had wasted a lot of time off course. I got on the bike and just tried as best I could to work hard, I didn’t feel too bad and the bike felt great and I was glad to see at the turnaround that it looked like no one had caught me. I was pleased to come in transition in 1st and even more pleased that the heavy rain had held off until the run. The run felt a little hard to find a rhythm initially but I had been struggling a little over the days prior to the event with a tight right glute and it was feeling a little tight still on the run. It was nice to finish the race first and event better to find out the other Bodyworks athletes competing had all done really well too, although a lot of them had totally thrashed me with their times. We waited around in the rain for prize giving but it really wasn’t so bad with a hot chocolate and piece of cake (I know not healthy really but I thought I deserved it after my long race!) I was pleasantly surprised to find £250 prize money also which is the best prize I have ever had for a sprint race and will come in very handy whilst booking everything for Hawaii – getting a bit pricey!
17th August 2010
New Blue bike
I have had an exciting addition to my bike collection this week with the arrival of Bertie Blue! I have been lucky enough to have been given a Blue Triad with the help of Jamie at Multisport and have had some assistance setting it all up from John at Velomotion, apparently I have stumpy legs and therefore needed shorter cranks. I have to add I have had nothing but Hobbit banter this week from Steve, Glenn, Todd, James – infact come to think of it everyone I know! Anyway back to the bike which feels really smooth and comfortable to ride. The Mistral bars are a far cry from my rodeo bars which I was used to but I have to say I have adjusted quickly to them and I feel a lot more aero. It’s just a shame that Bert has just got covered in rain and dirt what the rubbish English summer weather! Bert will have his first race outing on Sunday at Bexhill Sprint Triathlon so we will see how he fares.
5th August 2010
1st Ironman UK
Wow! I still can’t believe that I won the Ironman UK on Sunday as I really wasn’t expecting to. I am of course really happy to have won and to be heading back to Kona, Hawaii for the World Ironman Championships especially as my fellow Bodyworks friend Sarah Lovelock also won her age group (by miles!) and will also be going – it’s going to be exciting!
Ok, for the race report. I arrived in Bolton on Friday with Steve and Sarah and was met by rain as we registered. The rest of the day was spent finding the bed and breakfast which was outside of Bolton and then relaxing at the lovely bed and breakfast watching the European Athletics Champs on TV. On the Saturday I had a little jog first thing and then a little spin on the bike in yet more rain! We then drove to the second transition to rack the run bag and then to the start to rack the bike. We had never been to Bolton before and seemed to get lost every time we set off, maybe that was just down to map reading skills though! I realised I hadn’t packed my arm warmers and so spent the afternoon tracking down some as I had a feeling it would be a little more chilly up North than in Eastbourne. The race briefing followed and then we resided to the bed and breakfast to eat my pre race meal of tuna and pasta and watch yet more athletics. I went to bed pretty relaxed and had a good sleep.
So Sunday came and I was very lucky that Patricia the lovely lady at the bed and breakfast actually got up at 2.30am to do some toast for us which was the best treatment I have ever had. We arrived just after 4.30am at the race start and I went straight into transition where I was mighty relieved to find that my tyres were inflated still. I have been very lucky to have been able to borrow some wheels from my friend Dave although it does seem to take me forever to get the tyres off when I puncture so I was just praying I wouldn’t. I said my goodbyes to Steve and left him being the bag man again. At 5.30am we were walked down to the swim start in the lake. I waited for a good 10 mins before I got in as I have learnt it is not the best thing for me to be waiting for a swim start for 20 mins when racing in the UK as the water is always cold. I actually felt very calm at the beginning of the race and was just looking forward to racing.
So the gun went and I just got into a good rhythm on the swim which was 2 laps. Nothing much to report on the swim and I seemed to be going ok although I did end up at the front of a group and was unable to close down the gap to the front group. I exited the water 1st female and before I knew it I had the camera running alongside me so I just made sure I didn’t go arse over tit on the wet grass. I struggled a bit getting the arm warmers on and then was off for a few hours on Quincy my bike. It wasn’t long before Bella passed me on the bike and although I tried to keep her in my sights it was clear she was pushing on well this first section so I just got into my own rhythm. The bike course consisted of a stretch getting out of the town followed by 3 laps including one main climb and a series of turns and undulations. I was glad I had my arm warmers on as there was a bit of rain in the air and it wasn’t all that warm as expected. I actually quite enjoyed the bike and felt that I was going ok, it did however seem like it was quite a long bike and I knew I would just be a little over 6 hrs. I just made sure I was feeding regularly and keeping the drinks flowing although it wasn’t that warm. At the end of the first lap of the bike I was overtaken by Donna and again tried to keep her in my sights although she was climbing well. The rest of the ride was fine, I saw Steve a few times who was assuring me I wasn’t that far back although I suspected he may be trying to keep me positive. I was also lucky to have two other friends Sarah and Ollie who had popped along to support. It always helps to see a friendly face and I was also surprised by the amount of cheering crowds. Only things I wasn’t pleased to see were the sheep in the road on the descent from the climb and idiot Sunday drivers who were adamant they would get out onto the course to go the garden centre or something!
I was pleased and somewhat confused to find myself coming into transition in 2nd place but after a quick pee stop found I was just behind Donna in third. The first part of the run was like cross country with mud and puddles everywhere, quite good fun but not so much when you almost twist your ankle racing and know there is a long way to go still. I overtook Donna and saw Bella heading out the other way with a good lead on us and looking strong so I didn’t expect to catch. As I ran round I saw where Jo Carritt was and was pleased I had managed to maintain a gap on the bike as she is a good athlete but also saw she was running well. I don’t run with any times per mile, etc and just by how I am feeling and was pleased that I felt pretty relaxed and strong. Down the stretch into town I just seemed to find a good pace and there was another guy called Alvin who I had seen ahead and could tell was running well. We ended up running side by side for a bit which seemed to pass the time a bit and throughout the run I had him in my sights which helped. As I ran round near to the finish to go all the way back down the road and back I had seen Bella and she seemed to be going well although I could tell I had closed the gap. The whole section back down out of Bolton again I was getting a variety of split times not only from spectators but also athletes running which was great support. Thank you everyone if you cheered me on. I saw Steve a few times and the gap was closing – 6 mins, 4mins, 2.45 was the last split from him. Maybe I could catch her I thought, I was still feeling strong. At the end of the final turnaround I saw the distinctive pink top of Bella and was amazed to run by just after the turn. I can honestly say though that even then it still didn’t feel like I was in the lead and I was sure someone would catch me. I just made sure I kept the coke going over the last feed stations and although could feel myself tiring I was feeling pretty strong still. The final run in was amazing and it felt like it wasn’t actually me finishing – a very strange feeling. I really didn’t know what I was doing with the finish banner or anything and Steve has since wound me up about how pathetic my finish was. As soon as I crossed I had interviews to do and then my first drugs test which took a while and a few gallons of water! It was only then I could properly get a hug from Steve and see Sarah who had done a great job. I did manage to get back to the finish later before the cut-off time to cheer on the last athletes who all made it which was great. I still haven’t forgiven Sarah though for making a fool of me dragging me up to dance at the finish – highly embarrassing and plenty of work needed on the dance moves!
I am relieved to actually be getting somewhere at last and hopefully this race will give me some needed confidence to keep progressing. There are so many people I want to thank for just getting to this point. My parents and family have been so supportive along with everyone at Bodyworks XTC and they have had faith in my ability when perhaps I have not myself. I have been working with Glenn Cook my coach for a number of years and he has done a great job to get me in top shape and Stuart has also helped me greatly as a friend to talk to regarding the mental side so at last things seem to be coming together. Thanks for all the Bodyworks athletes who were so interested in my race and are great to train with. I am grateful to my sponsors Newton, Sport Beans, Blue Seventy, Fusion, Multisport and The Tri Store. Lastly a big thank you to Steve my husband who has given up a lot over the years for me and who has constantly believed in me.
Thank you everyone who has sent congratulation messages to me, I have been genuinely shocked at how lovely people have been. So onwards to Kona where the competition will be top notch and I am aware I have a way to go and need to get some good training done in the heat to be up there but am thrilled to be racing and will do my very best.
22nd July 2010
Well it’s all been a bit hectic lately what with getting my last long sessions done for UK Ironman and also moving house. We managed to enlist a lot of help from parents and family to cram car loads full of our junk and also were lucky to have Sarah helping us driving Simon’s van to carry all the big stuff. After a long day all was moved and we realised just how much stuff we had managed to cram into a 1 bed flat, I’ve no idea where it all came from! Anyhow it’s lovely to finally have some more room and we are enjoying the 3 bed house and especially the garden which will be great for cleaning bikes. No more having to store 3 bikes in the lounge either. The house is a bit further out of Eastbourne though so I am cycling to training on my other racing bike which isn’t too bad – I just have to get up a bit earlier! There is a still lot of unpacking to do but I am aware of the fact I now have a race in just over a week’s time so I need to be careful not to overdo it and get some rest. I went up to view the cycle course for UK a few weekends back with Sarah Lovelock who is now also racing and am glad to have gone around it although it was a long old trip from down here. There is nothing too major and although it will be challenging it is more rolling terrain than anything else, I will obviously be praying for some good weather though.
I’ve done my last long run and bike sessions so now it will just be a case of easing the training back and I hope that once I rest up a bit I will be raring to go
6th July 2010
On Sunday I competed in the Cowman Middle Distance Event near Milton Keynes. I had entered the race more as a solid training race than anything in preparation for UK Ironman so was pleased to come away with a win. That said all didn’t go to plan as well as I’d hoped. I was pleased with the swim and particularly the cycle as no girls overtook me which was a positive, only issue was with the run which I can usually rely on. This consisted of 4 laps and on lap one I had a few stomach issues and ended up behind various bushes 3 times (I know I could have done with some Pampers from my nephew)! After the first lap things did improve luckily but I was annoyed to have lost some time and hence my run time could have been a lot better. I can only put the stomach issues down to the fact I had eaten a lot later than usual as I was a bit tied up getting my nephew to bed and therefore things hadn’t digested as well as usual! I’m sure a lot of people will have been pretty pleased to have got around the middle distance race and so they should as it’s a fair old way – having said that we were all put in places by a man who swam, cycled and ran with a fridge and a man who swam with his daughter and then cycled and ran with his son for charity – now that is really impressive and well done to them it was very impressive to watch!
Next for me is a trip to Bolton at the weekend to go around the UK Ironman cycle course and I am lucky to be accompanied with my friend Sarah Lovelock who will also now be competing at the Ironman so it will be good to have some company.
25th June 2010
On Sunday I competed in the UK70.3 race in Exmoor and came 4th which I was fairly pleased with. It was a chilly start but once the sun came out it was really warm and Steve got very burnt watching!
I was 3rd out of the swim but then lost some time on the hilly bike section, mainly on the descents and holding back too much being a chicken! I must be more confident with the descending as on the uphill I overtake people only for them to go by again. I managed to sneak by another UK girl Jo Carritt at the end of the bike who I had been tussling with over the course and then we started the run together. I know Jo’s a good runner and I can’t say I felt great at the beginning of the run but was glad that after a bit my legs seemed to get going and I managed to run past Jo. The run is very up and down as well but I like this kind of course as I train on terrain very similar around the Sussex Downs. I tried my best to catch the girls in front and came away with the fastest run split of 1.26 but I’d lost too much time on the bike. All in all it was a good workout and bodes well for the Ironman in a few weeks time as I felt stronger as the run went on and haven’t had sore muscles or been particularly tired following the race.
It was good to come away with a bit of much needed money as well as we are moving house in a few weeks. It’s back to some training now for me and then I have another half IM distance race, The Cowman, on 4th July near Milton Keynes. I’m looking forward to staying with my sister who lives nearby and not having to camp and am excited about seeing my lovely cheeky nephew Ethan again!
23rd May 2010
Well it is the day after Ironman Lanzarote and as usual I have been unable to sleep at all after the race. My head is always running through the race and I got pretty burnt yesterday so have been burning up all night. I am pretty pleased with coming 6th Pro though, especially as Lanzarote was a last minute race after not being able to go to South Africa. I felt the usual nerves on race morning which is always the case, especially with the first Ironman of the season. The swim went ok but I did get slightly adrift of the main pack in front so it could have gone better. My goggles were a bit tight also so the last bit of the swim was slightly uncomfortable. I had no idea how many were in front of me but Steve shouted out that I was 4th female. I was slightly disappointed not to be further up but got out on the road and tried to find a rhythm. I can’t say I felt particularly great on the first section of the bike, my legs felt heavy and it wasn’t long before I got overtaken by a couple of other women. I was however grateful that there was hardly any wind after the previous days and it started off cloudy. Steve had driven out before the first major climb and shouted some encouragement at me although at this point I was slightly peeved off at having got overtaken by a few more women. That said I began to feel stronger on the climb and the descents were a lot better than in training as there were no scary crosswinds. The rest of the bike went pretty quickly and I just tried my best to hang on to anyone who overtook. I felt stronger as it progressed and was slightly encouraged when I saw Steve for the last time who informed me that I wasn’t as far back as I’d been thinking. I was glad to get off the bike and onto the run. I felt pretty strong throughout the run and made sure I stuck to my nutrition plans of a gel and water for the first half of the run and then mainly flat coke to get me through the rest of it. It did get pretty hot though and there was no shade at all on the run. I was encouraged when I overtook some of the women who had gone by on the bike and felt a lot stronger than my races last year.
I finished in 10hr 22min which I was pretty pleased with as it isn’t an easy course. I didn’t actually realise how close I was to 3rd position and I had done my usual thing of thinking I was miles back! Race done I went for a massage and had a bit of a lie down on the beach! I felt pretty tired but managed to get back out on the course later on to cheer on as many people as I could who were still racing into the night. All credit to them, they have real determination to keep going and it’s great to see them achieving their goals, so well done to everyone that raced.
So all in all I am pretty pleased with the race and have even treated myself to an ice cream and a beer today! I have been very lucky to have had some great support from everyone back home at Bodyworks XTC who have wished me well and sent well done messages, especially my coach Glenn who has got me ready to race in better shape than last year. I am feeling more confident for the next race as I believe I can improve more as the season goes on. Steve as always has been brilliant in keeping me calm before the race and putting up with my race analysis constantly today! Time to go home later which won’t be a pleasant trip as we won’t be back in Eastbourne until 4am tomorrow morning at the earliest, I have a feeling I may be a bit tired!
One more thanks to all the competitors and spectators who were cheering me on throughout the race. Although I may not acknowledge everyone, I do really appreciate it and it is great motivation. I hope your races all went well
21st May 2010
I have just been down to the transition to rack all my kit for the race tomorrow. We have to put out stuff we will need for the bike and run in bags and hang these on our number for tomorrow. I have also racked Quincy (my bike!) in his place and he is looking super smart with wheels I have managed to borrow from Dave a friend back in Eastbourne which is very kind of him. It’s pretty hot this afternoon so I am making sure I stay out of the sun for the rest of the day. Tonight I will have my usual pre-race meal of tuna and pasta and try to get to bed early ahead of tomorrow. We have brought some Blackadder episodes to watch though so I may well try and watch one before bed to give myself a good chuckle and to relax a bit!
17th May 2010
Hooray, we have finally arrived at a race destination! We were very lucky to get here last night though as we were one of the last flights out before Gatwick closed again due to the ash (got a bit of luck at last). So here we are in sunny Lanzarote and the apartment we are staying in is lovely and quiet as it’s outside Puerto Del Carmen (the race start). I have just cycled the beginning of the course which was pretty windy as expected in Lanzarote. I have only been here once before training and that was 5 years ago so I am glad to see the road surfaces have improved significantly. I am used to training with wind in Eastbourne but it’s a whole different story with the exposed landscape making the cross winds a bit scary. I have been swimming in the sea too which is so much warmer than the 10 degrees in Eastbourne and it is lovely to actually see fish beneath you. All in all glad to be here and ready to race.
20th April 2010
Unfortunately I will not be going to South Africa! As we thought the flights weren’t sorted in time for me to be able to get out there and I am absolutely gutted. It’s been such a long time coming and all the preparation and training that has gone into it seems wasted although I know it will hold me in good stead for when I do get to race. Now I have to knuckle down, get training and find a new race to target, where I will be more motivated than ever.
19th April 2010
Well as I write this I should be settling in to my accommodation in Port Elizabeth, South Africa in preparation for the Ironman on Sunday. However along with the many other thousands of people, I am stuck here at home due to the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano in Iceland, unable to fly out. Unfortunately it does not look like I’ll be able to get out and race, which is really disappointing as although there is a strong field my training has been going really well and I am ready to compete. I am keeping everything crossed!
Since the end of last season, the past 6 months have been very eventful with a number of ups and downs. Normally I don’t look forward to my end of season break, but this year was different as I got married to Steven at the end of October and used my 2 weeks off for our honeymoon so didn’t mind relaxing for a change (although I did go for a few runs and swims). Getting back into winter training I was fully refreshed and raring to go. Following a good block of training, I got the first of a couple of chest infections, which I am lucky, did not last too long but are more a frustration. More of a concern and bigger frustration was the dreaded snow! After the first couple of days of the novelty even on the beach in Eastbourne, it became very tiresome and monotonous, not being able to get on the roads and there is only so much to look at sitting in my kitchen turboing!
The good news came in March with the snow going and my sister giving birth to her first child and my first nephew! Ethan’s very cute and I’ll be getting him out on the bike soon!!!