Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Time for reflection.... setting new goals.

I was very honoured to be nominated for the West Country Triathlete award recently.  I had to write a summary for this achievements.  I didn't write very much because 1) I had never had to before and 2) I didn't want to come across as big headed.  It did however make me reflect on how far I have actually come.  My first year of tri was all about completing.  My second year of tri was so very different.  Seeing I had set my self the goal of Wimbleball, I kn I had to up the bar and start taking this seriously.  I have pushed myself further this year than I ever thought possible.  I have overcome obstacles such as panic attacks in open water and sea sickness.  I have remained determined and stubborn throughout. 

M achievements started really in April on my second marathon.  I had been plagued by 2 ankle injuries and my marathon training did not go as I had intended.  I'm not good dealing with injury and kept swimming and biking even though I couldn't actually walk very well.  I was so happy to knock 30 mins off my marathon time and finish in 4.13.55.

The rest of this years events have been sprint and Olympic triathlons.
  • Bideford sprint... 4th in age cat
  • Race to the bill Olympic....2nd in age cat
  • Langport sprint....10th in age cat
  • Burnham on sea Olympic ( my first time at this  distance) 1st in age cat.
  • Oxley sprint .. 4th in age cat
  • Trowbridge sprint...2nd in age cat
  • Portishead sprint ..8th in age cat
  • Crewkerne super sprint.. 4th in age cat
  • Taunton sprint ....6h in age cat
  • Taunton Deane/ wellington sprint.. 10th in age cat
  • Exe Valley sprint.. 4th in age cat
  • Ironman 70.3 uk...... 8.01.35
Of course I also completed the toughest race of my entire life...  ironman 70.3.. that was tough and i had problems but I wouldn't give up.  I had never swam more than 200m in the sea without feeling totally sick and totally surprised myself my completing the 1.5 mile sea swim to Stert island.  I might have been nearly last but that was a milestone in itself and gave me confidence to compete in the sea swims in the Olympic distances that I did.  I look back on how far I have come and without the support of the tri club and the some fantastic people I have met along the way I don't think I would have achieved so much.

So the season has ended.... a few 10k and half marathons to come.  My winter training is a combination of running, swimming and biking but also boxing.  I intend to build up my upper body strength and my core and get some good base training in.  Next year will involve 4 major events
  • Taunton marathon ( sub 4 hours)
  • ironman uk 70.3 ( I have a score to settle and taking off at least 30 mins)
  • Bradwell long distance, 1.5 mile swim, 75 mile bike and 18 mile run
  • autumn marathon maybe an ultra ( oh god I said it out loud)
I will mainly be training next year instead of competing and when I do race , I am going to race harder and faster and this time next year I will be looking back on my achievements and saying how proud of myself I am again.  I might enter a few local sprints because I quite like getting on that podium and I want to do it more.
I cant quite believe how far I have actually come after all those knee operations and cock ups I went through and even though I say so myself, I admire my determination and motivation. I realise I am made of pretty strong stuff.  If your going to do something you might as well give it your best short... never did me any harm.

Cardiff Half marathon

I havent run a half marathon for ages....... in fact this year running races were a distance memory as I have been in so many triathlons.  I had spent so much of the year improving my biking skills that I sadly neglecting my running.  I found that every time I ran, I was running on tired legs and I lost my running mojo big style.  However recently my running mojo has returned, although sadly I have seemed to have lost my bike mojo now.  It hard being a triathlete. 

I felt I hadn't done enough training for this half but I did get a few speedy 10 milers in.  I drove down to Newport ..... another tweet up and thanks to Andrew who drove down to Cardiff.

I wont mention here that going to the toilet in a hotel was a good idea, however walking into the men's was not!!!!!!  Cardiff was MANIC, people everywhere.  I did attempt to meet up with other people but that didn't happen either.  I was desperate for the loo again... race nerves and got caught up in a big queue.  This meant that by the time I got to the start line, I was right at the back with the 2.30/3.00 runners.  I tried to make my way forward but I was stuck.  I spent most of the time dodging runners, weaving my way through.   I was overtaking so many people.  I kept checking my garmin and I was well in for beating my pb off 1.53.53.  I felt really strong and the weather was good. 

I think my 10k time was 52 something and I was happy with that and actually thought I could actually get that sub 1.50.  I started to feel the strain a little at 10 miles but I knew I was nearly home and dry.  The route was relatively flat but did go along the longest dual carriageway and that was quite boring. I knew at 12 miles I wasn't going to make the sub 1.50 that I was desperate for so just beating my PB became the goal.  I crossed the line in 1.53.52 and a total mileage of 13.22.  I felt quite cheated, I knew I had ran better than Bristol and expected a much faster time.  My chip time was 1.54.04.  I came in 3572nd out of 11,000 runners so was quite happy with that.

Another race done.... another medal bagged but felt quite disappointed with my time.  This will just make me train harder........ A good day out though and a fast course.  I dont know if I would do it again as the sheer amount of people was unbelievable.

Friday, October 7, 2011

boxing part 2... still loving it!!!

I couldn't wait to get back to boxing tonight... a stressy week meant I had some pent up aggression that needed airing. I met coach no 2 tonight.... and the first thing he said to me was I'm surprised your back I heard you had trained last week and thought you would be a one night wonder...........OMG!!!! I replied " you clearly don't know me"  I had bought some hand wraps and hopefully that would save my knuckles this week.

So the usual warm up sprinting on the spot, press ups, hands up knees up..... warm up? its more like a pour the petrol on and light that flame.........We then concentrated on form and technique for a while, kinda getting used to coach kicking my feet so they in the right place.  We then paired up and took turns punching each other.  I had to laugh the bloke I was paired up was punching so lightly maybe he was afraid I was a girl... coach did tell him off but it wasn't until I started punching back that he decided I was good to take it and started proper punching. ( this was pad work guys I wasn't in a full scale fight)

Then the circuits started, every 2 mins on a different bag or in the ring.  I was actually allowed on the ball thing that hangs from the ceiling that you hit repeatly with the side of your hand...... geez that's so much harder than it looks. Every time the 2 minutes were up we were out in the cark park running sprints. It was then my turn in the ring,  seeing there was 2 coaches you got 2 lots of pad work. Dave the coach I knew took it easy but then with Mark he was so much hardcore.  He would hit you back making sure you had put your arms back up and elbows in and he would swipe you round the head so you had to duck and he had a way of shouting at you that angered you and you wanted to punch his god damn lights out. He shouted out continuous punches and there was no let up.  It was bloody fantastic..... something so raw about matching someone in the ring stepping back when they advance and moving into them so they back off and throwing punches.  Its a very satisfying sound when that glove plants firmly on the pad and you hear that resounding WHACK.  These circuits last about 45 mins and its hard work.  Now I've learnt upper cuts and hooks I can freestyle more on the bags!

Last bit of the session is 30 seconds of pressups, sprinting on spot, burpies, sit up punching, jumping squats all that mad stuff.  Then its 20 seconds of each and then finally 15 seconds.  Feel the burn!!!!!!

I was actually complimented on my determination and they were surprised at how I kept up more than some of the blokes.... they obviously havent met hardcore blackmore!!!!!!!

Another good session... during the warm down stretches I noticed that I was actually steaming......... my arms were a little shaky but nothing like last week.  They have actually asked me to put a running program together for some of the boys too. I would highly recommend boxing training to anyone...... its raw, its hard work but its so much fun!!!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bideford Tri

I think that joining a boxing club and doing a hardcore boxing training session on the Friday before a race probably wasn't the best idea that I've had but hey that's 'hardcore blackmore'.  So seeing Bideford was sooo far away camping seemed the best option especially has quite a few members were going down to.  Saturdays pre race  was spent body boarding at Westward ho and what a fab time had by all in the most glorious sunshine. 

I was awake at 5 in the morning and the  combination of boxing, body boarding and lack of sleep I was a sore tired little bunny!!!! As always I don't allow such obstacles to stop me so I was ready to rock and roll. This was the last tri of the season and I was going out with a bang!

It was great to be with so many other West Country triathletes and before long it was time for the swim waves to begin.  It was a mass mini start, groups of 20 started off and there was a minute between each group.  I was in the same wave as Caroline and Frances.  The water was surprisingly warm but to be honest when you have been stood in the blazing sun for 10 mins in a wetsuit the water could have been in the minus and I wouldn't have noticed.  The swim was good but I did have a slight panic attack swimming under the bridge, everything went so dark and it really unnerved me.  I tried to keep up with Caroline but she is a much stronger swimmer than me. Swimming back under the bridge was a bit strange, as you tilted your head to breathe you could see all the people on the top of the bridge staring down at you.  It was almost like a scene out of Winnie the Pooh and we were all little poo sticks going down the river!!!

As I came out of the water I saw that Caroline was just leaving transition so I knew I had to get a move on. Straight out of transition was a steep little hill which certainly warmed you up. I overtook quite a few people on the bike and got into my groove!!!   The bike course was very undulating and I was enjoying it.  There were a few hairy moments when I got caught in behind cars and at one point when I was in a small pack we ended up having to go round onto the other side of the road to avoid a big pile up.  I am at my best when I get into a pack of men..... I like to play with the boys ( oo errr missy) I like to hold my own and even better when I get stronger and overtake them....  I like the fact they don't like it so they push it more and I thrive on it.... but hey it works for me.  I finally spotted Caroline and knew I had pushed it to catch her ( she was on fire on her sexy new bike). 
The bike route was lush, nice smooth roads and lots of aero time. 

The sun by now was really hot and I could feel it beating down on me as I started the run.  The run followed the tarka trail and was flat for a while.  When I hit the first hill I became very aware that I had pushed it on the bike and I struggled up it so when I hit the second hill I started to feel quite sick.  I decided I needed to walk just to stop the urging...... that's when I heard Carolines voice behind me and she spurred back into running.  The lady who I had overtook on the run had got her own back and was in front of me so I decided that I would sit in behind her until I saw the finish and I would go for it.  There was the finish so I decided to go for it.. I took her by surprise and the roar of the crowd as they realised what I was up to motivated me even more and the bloke in front of me looked back and also decided to take off..... all three of us must have looked like lunatics.... I beat the lady but the guy pipped the post just before me.  I knew I had pushed it as I a spent the next 5 minutes trying to control the urge to puke my guts up!!! ( I'm such a lady)
West country ladies dominated the rankings with Celia taking overall winner.  I took 4th in age cat closely followed by Caroline in 5th with Jo in 7th.  The men did really well to with Martin taking overall 2nd.
There were 17th in my age cat and I  was the 11th woman in out of 70, just missing out in that top 10.  I was 124th out of just under 300 triathletes top half is a bonus.

What a fab weekend to round of the season, great company, great race and a good result. This has been my second season and my results have shown that all the hard work that I have put in is paying off.  So let this be a warning to all those ladies who pipped me at the post... I will be chasing you next year and I will be stronger and fitter than ever before...........