Friday, September 30, 2011

My first boxing session..........

I decided to take up boxing training for a few reasons....
1) winter training and I want to increase my core and upper body strength
2) I had a small taster of pad work recently and enjoyed it
3) in so said pad session I was told "you punch like a girl" ( steam comes out of ears!!!!)

I found a club in Glastonbury that were very welcoming and decided to give it a go.

On my arrival there was no formal introductions just get in the ring.........mmmmmmm ok

So the warm up began..... gentle jogging on the spot ( yer this is easy) ok Sprint on the spot...... FASTER come on..... arggggghhhhhhhh.... Hands ups straight knees high....... HIGER COME ON......( shit do you know how hard that is ) and breathe.................. my heart is pumping out my chest.......1 min recovery, deep breaths......... oh shit he we go again... 2 mins full on again, sweat dripping off me and again breathe....... this happened 4 times and I thought I was going to die.  I think I'm pretty fit but geeeez!!!! Then we go outside........ nice gentle jog in the car park up and down 8 times.......SPRINT, what? 8 times....... ok ok..........I kept up, turning was a problem but I got into it and I wasn't last!!! ha ha result. 1 min recovery....... can I die now? This  I was told was the warm up.   It didn't help that it was exceptionally hot as well.  Ok back to it gentle jog 8 times then bunny hop..... ok I really struggled with that one.  Are you warmed up? Hell I'm steaming I'm that hot....

Next we are in the ring working on technique.  I kinda got the impression this was for my benefit but we went through a few punches before we really got into it.  We then all worked a circuit where you spent 2 minutes on different bags, dummies, the balls on stringy things that are really easy to miss with 1 minute recovery in between. Part of this circuit was spending time doing pad work in the ring.  I messed this up abit got a bit confused with a 1, 2 and a jab but got there in the end.  The coach moved around a lot so you were constantly moving back and forth and punching.   I have never ever EVER sweated so god damn much in my life. I was loving it, sometimes I hit the bags wrong and my knuckles hurt and each time we stopped and had a drinking my hands and arms were shaking. In fact my hands are still shaking now!!!!

The next part was just as hard. We all had mats and had to go through a set circuit of press ups, sit ups with punches, burpies, jumping squats before we stretched and warmed down.

I loved it... I loved the intensity of it all, the punching and I couldn't think of a better way to spend a Friday night!!!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Race to the bill olympic triathlon.

This was a well early start... I had to get up at 3.45??? I mean that's like the middle of the night.  I hadn't slept well, strange noises were coming from Jake's room at midnight and I found the cats playing with a mouse!!! I had a crap nights sleep.

So out on the road by 4.15 and arriving at Weymouth at 6 am.  Geez it was dark there that early.  I had to register by floodlight.  The bike racks were mental, so squashed together that everyone was getting a bit narky!!!! I was given number 13.......... but I wasn't going to get worried...... no 13 is a magical number.

There was a sprint and a classic distance going on at the same time so the sprinters started at 7 and we were off at 7.30.  The swim was lush, no panic attacks, lovely clear water so you could see where incoming attacks were coming from. I got straight in there after starting at the back I was overtaking people( yes me OVERTAKING people) and I actually really enjoyed the argy bargy of it all.  The sea was so clear that I could see crabs scuttling underneath me.  Swim time ( not recorded)

I wasn't last out of the water( I was surprised how many were actually behind me) I did however fall arse over tit when I got out though and was all over the place in transition... I fell over twice in there.  I thought oh god how the hell am I going to mount my bike without falling off!!!! I did however mount with ease and I was away.

Out on the bike and up a massive hill up to the Portland island. I overtook a few and once up on the island we had to do 3 loops.  I loved these loops, you went down to the lighthouse then back up.  The road was very undulating so lots short climbs enough to get you blowing out your arse then followed by a short downhill to get your breath back.  After the last loop back down the humdinger of the hill you first came up.  That made me realise how bloody steep that first hill was. My brakes were in overload.  The loops enabled you to see who was in front and I was grinning like a Cheshire cat.  I loved the bike and I loved the hills. Bike time 1.28.27

Straight into transition and away on the run.  The run was flat but  to start it was along a grassy stony track which required a lot of concentration.  I finally stopped blowing out my arse at about 3 miles and was in a strong steady pace.  The run loop doubled back on itself so I was able to see how many women were in front of me.  I counted 7.  I did however overtake lots men and felt brilliant.  The run back along the seafront on that stony uneven ground was a nightmare.  The wind was in your face and it was a struggle.   Run time 54.34

I have to say I loved this race... I think the Olympic distance suits me better that sprints and the atmosphere was great and it was well organised.  The weather was great, the sea was calm.  I was buzzing when I finished.

Results are in.... 2nd in my age cat and 5th women over all but only 10 women of the 15 women finished. 

67th out of 94 finishers.

langport sprint triathlon.

Oh my god what a wet and windy day........ I entered the car park or should I say football field, which within seconds resembled a boggy marsh.  I got completely soaked just walking  to register.  At this point I was having serious doubts.

The swim was in an outside pool and whilst standing there waiting for my wave to start, I was doing a very good impression of a polar bear, well actually I probably wasn't as polar bears don't shiver!!!!
The pool was warm at least with very narrow lanes and I took one hell of a bump on my wrist whacking into another swimmer.  Swim was good 8.31 I believe. 

Into transition and out on bike..... first time I used my arm warmers in a race and found it quite difficult to put them on whilst out on the bike.  I had just shoved them on my wrist and tried to pull them up whilst on route.  The bike was very windy in places and very very wet.  On my descent down a big hill there was a rain storm and when you going down a hill that fast, it bloody hurts, rain hard on your face. Bike time 49.47

The weather finally started to brighten up on the run and I was quite surprised to find myself running through fields of geese.  Now when I say geese, I don't mean a few, I mean a few thousand..they were everywhere.  There was one Marshall kinda doing a strange sideways shuffle keeping the geese from attacking the runners and I actually thought...."if those geese are gonna go they ain't gonna be stopped by your geese stand off"

At last the turning point and back to the finish... run time 27.42 but it wasn't a 5km it was a lot more.  Despite the bad weather conditions, I actually really enjoyed this race.  I thought I would wait around for the prize giving after missing out my prize at Burnham but I was 10 th in my age cat out off 44 so was pleased with that.
 So the stats.......118th out of 302
49th in a mixed vet cat out of 129 and 19th women in out of 86.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Burnham on sea Olympic triathlon.

This was my first attempt at this distance and I wasn't looking forward to it. The weather was supposed to be awful and there was talk of turning it into a duathalon.  It was a very early start and I literally fell out of bed and into the van. 

The sea was calm enough so the race was on.  I taken the sea sickness pills again and after almost puking on the BEET-IT stamina shot( it doesn't get any nicer) I was ready for battle. 
The first part of the swim was horrid, lots waves to get through to the first buoy and I had a small panic attack and actually rested on the canoe for a while just to get my breathing under control.  I saw lots people swim past me and that spurned me on.  It was a mass start and I didn't want to be at the back.  I finally got into my stroke and I got to the second buoy quite quickly and felt ok with the seas motion. So the last buoy was in site but it was tough going back to shore at an angle, I was breathing on the wrong side and the waves kept getting me. 

I knew I wasn't last out of the water but I knew I was very far back and I had some work to do. I like to be able to give chase so I got on the bike and went for it.  I overtook a few and like normal set my sights on the riders in front.  I caught up and overtook quite a few riders and then found myself leading a small pack of men.  We all played cat and mouse for a while which is always fun. But then disaster hit, my chain jammed and even though I got my cleats out quick and sorted it, I lost the pack I was riding with.  I chased them but I had lost them.  There was also a man who was on the side of the road so I ended up stopping briefly and giving him my inner tube.   At this point, I thought I was nearly last out of the water, I had lost the pack and thought theres no way I'm going to get a good result so I decided to enjoy it.  Some of the bike route was really windy ( the road I normally do time trail on) so I just got my head down and started singing " go little bad girl" in my head.

I had no idea of time or pace and was glad to get off the bike.  I started the run, most of the bikes were already racked up so I just went off and thought lets just put this one down to experience. As I was running I recognised one of  the guys up front and as I caught him up we began talking. He was having really bad cramps and he ran with me as I was pacing him.  This worked out well for both of us and as we had to do 3 laps we started conspiring plans about nicking old peoples mobility scooters and trying to fiddle getting the bands for each loop..... it made the run a lot more bearable.  He was so grateful that I had got him focused again he refused to run on ahead and he paced me for the last 2 miles , giving me encouragement when I needed it.  At last the finish line.... we ran towards it ( I was very tempted to sprint finish) but he took my hand and we finished together.  Everyone thought we knew each other at the finish line and his wife did look a bit bewildered as we finished hand in hand but she was good sport.  The run was the best bit of the race.... as you ran along the seafront you saw the other runners on their way back and everyone was high fiving and smiling.  Support on the run was awesome and lots children offering support, running with you and handing out drinks.

After the race, I left, I didn't think I had won anything at all, so went home.   I was then amazed at how news travels fast and before the end of the prize giving I knew at home I had won my age cat!!!!!! Thats a turn up for the books ... I missed it!!!!! What a numpety!!!

So here are the stats.........
swim  1500mt 35.45,T1 2.53
bike 40 k 1.24.10,
run 10 k 52.59
Total time 2.55.47...... I wanted to get under 3 hours so am happy with that.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Stert Island sea swim

 I had entered this race just to confront the FEAR.  Sea swimming and myself don't get on at all.  It makes me feel sick, I get caught out on waves with my breathing and I haven't actually swam further than 200 m in one go.   It was time to sort this out especially with 2 Olympic tris looming both with sea swims. I had read a quote by Christopher Columbus which had said "you will never cross the ocean if you are afraid to lose sight of the coast" and this had stuck in my head.

I had a new tight hat, new earplugs and had been trying to use positive visualisation.  My secret weapon however was sea sickness pills, I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before. I had a last ditch attempt on bank holiday Monday to sea swim which was just disastrous due to a very choppy sea.

So I had 2 lots of silicone earplugs in, I spent ages on the beach making sure they were stuck right in. We all stood on the beach during the safety brief and it was a real surreal moment.  Everything slowed down and I could see peoples mouths moving but I couldn't hear what they were saying. I was totally gripped with fear, every sea swim had not been a good experience at all.I looked out across at the island and I felt more scared than I did before Ironman 70.3.   Friends were hugging me, wishing me luck, patting me on the back and trying to give me advice but I was glued to the spot.

Starters orders and we were off... 65 wetsuit clad people and myself all waded into the sea.  I stayed at the back and walked out until  I couldn't touch the sea bottom any more.  I started to swim head above water and feeling quite frightened I just kept going.  I stopped a couple of times to get my bearings.  Everyone just moved away from me very quickly and it was just me and one other swimmer.  I made it to the first buoy in some strange fashion and then set my target on the next buoy. The waves started to subside and very slowly I got into a rhythm.  I realised that I had actually swam the furthest I ever had in the sea and it gave me confidence.  I don't know what happened or how it clicked but I realised that I was actually WASN'T feeling dizzy and sick and i started to enjoy the the flow and the motion of the waves. My body seemed to be able to react to the ebb and flow of the ocean and I felt at one.  BINGO... this was what I needed.  Apart from slightly drifting with the tide I managed to get to the island in a time of 29 mins well under the 45 mins restriction time.  I was on such a high that I had actually swam 1250 m that I was happy to turn around and make the journey back. 

The return journey wasn't as good, I found it very difficult to sight as each time I looked there was a swell in front of me and I couldn't see anything.  I was redirected quite a few times by the canoe staff and lifeguards.  I made the mistake of getting into the stroke and losing any sense of direction.  As I  was one of the last swimmers, a lady in a canoe accompanied for the last three buoys home.  Each time I looked up to sight she was on a different side.  I did stop and ask her if it was me moving or her, she told me it was me, I was being pushed by the current all over the place.  She kept me in a straight line by keeping the boat next to me and I used her as my sight. I finished in a time of 58.42, twice as long as the winner but you know I was so glad to get out and to have finally confronted and beaten my fear of sea swimming.  All open water swimming has been such a challenge for me but I have never given up.  The sea sickness pills worked well enough for me and I was left with just the fear and not the sickness and dizziness. The sea triathlon god had seen me sacrificing my soul and granted a smoothish sea.  I am now brimming with confidence for next weekends Olympic tri with the sea swim in the same sea. 

"Its the moments that challenge us, that define us"