Monday, December 31, 2012

A look back on 2012

Its that time of year when we all look back at what we have done and what we achieved. At the beginning of the year I was diagnosed with Sports induced Asthma and started using inhalers which really helped with my breathing and this showed on all of my race times.  Its amazing what a difference this made and not running like I was a steam train about to explode!!!!!!
 I don't know about you but I so easily forget what I did yesterday at the best of times so walk with me down memory lane and lets see what we can find.

Hestercombe Humdinger- took a whopping 7 mins off previous years time PB
Butleigh  7 miler - 8th lady in
Lionheart sportive - was supposed to be my first 100 miler but due to bike problems I did the 100 km
Taunton marathon - another PB brining my marathon time down to 4.08.03
Shapwick Bunny Hop - 2nd in age cat and 4th woman overall
Bridgwater 10 k- my FIRST sub 50 10 k..... PB 48.45.... 6th in age cat 3 years I had wanted that
Glastonbury 5k - ran this with my son Ben and was so very proud of him.
Glastonbury 10k - ran a double race on this day..... course PB by 3 mins
Taunton Deane Sprint Triathlon - beat previous year by 2 mins....5th in age cat
Somerset 100- popped my 100 mile cherry....6 hours 22 mins
IRONMAN 70.3 UK - took 61 mins off previous year 6.59.14..... 12th in age cat
Ash town tree trial - my first sub 1 hour 7 miler 58.10 another PB and off road as well
Heart foundation - 50 mile
Bideford Sprint Triathlon....5th in age cat.... huge asthma attack in cold water
Bristol Olympic Tri - A Massive 10 k PB 47.08 (OMG) 4th in age cat. Fastest Olympic  to date
Frome half marathon- cycled 40 hilly miles to get there... slow hilly race... cycled home.
Stert Island Swim- my first DNF
Waterside Long Distance Tri- WINNER!!!!!!! 8.51.13
Bridgwater half marathon - another PB 1.50.40
Malmesbury Sprint triathlon -3rd in age cat... 8th woman in
Burnham on Sea Olympic - 1st in age cat
Bustinskin Middle Distance - didnt finish due to race being called off.
River Parrat Relay Race - ran as part of a team. Fastest women on my stint.
Bath Hilly Half - First race with other Mendip Triathlon Members
The Full Monty Cute - very challenging 10 mile x country but loved it with fellow tri members.
Street 5k - another PB 22.45
Stoke Stampede- course PB 48.13

27 events, 11 PB's, 1 DNF and 1 race cancelled and 2 trophies.
I've ran 1025 miles, biked 3790 and swam 97.

2013 will be the year of the Ironman distance.
5th May - Waterside middle distance
7th April - Taunton half or whole marathon haven't decided yet
2nd June - Swalshbuckler Middle distance
23rd June - Bristol Sprint age group qualifiers -not a chance in hell but will be racing with the best of them
14th July - Challenge Roth
Sept 29th - Bustinskin Middle distance

I'm going to be stronger, fitter and still totally obsessed with a 6 pack to die for.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bath Hilly Half/ Full Monty Cute

Bath Hilly half was the first team event for Mendip Triathlon Club.  We had been training off road for the last couple of months and we were ready to rock and roll.  The first challenge  was getting there through all the floods.

After arriving safely and out the car we realised how damn cold it was.  We registered we got our numbers and then hung around in the male jockey area (we are at a racecourse).  The race started at 11 so we had plenty of time to sit around and warm up.

We headed out to the start which was actually on the race track and everyone was huddling together to get away from the wind.  Its always a slightly worrying start to the race when the starter announces that you are the hardcoreist ( not sure that is a word let alone how to spell it) of the hardcore.

The race started well it all went flat and then downhill, a very steep downhill which we then had to turn around and run back up!!!!! The last bit of that hill was rather challenging I have to say.  That then led onto some very slippery grass hills where a man dressed as a joker was screaming at you to run up the hill. I have never been on a race that was so muddy and full on.... 2 lap course so you knew how much pain was coming the second time around.  The puddles were deep some so deep that you it was a tough decision weather to swim through them or wade.    I really liked the fact they had stella or water when you finished the race.  A great race that started and finished on the race track so a little gangam style was called for.  ( when I read this back in 5 years time I might wonder what the hell is gangam style?)

Full Monty Cute
If I thought that the Bath hilly half was tough then I hadn't done this race.... 10 hills in 10 miles.... not just steep hills but so steep that they had ropes so you could pull yourself up.  These hills were steep and long and half the time you were crawling on your hands and knees to get up them. The descents were just as bad, holding onto your life and hoping that someone was going to catch you at the bottom.  In a positive light the weather was fantastic, nice and muddy and a cider Christmas pudding waiting for you at the finish.  We had started at the back of this race and the paths were so small and the hills were so steep you ended up getting stuck behind people but I managed to creep back up through the pack.

All I can say is that I enjoyed both races ALOT.... I felt pretty strong doing both and what great races to get marathon fit.  I have enjoyed running as a Mendip triathlon member and have had 2 great days out with old and new friends.

Ironman training starts tomorrow and I am ready to ROCK and ROLL!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Catch up, Mendip Triathlon club and the countdown to Challenge Roth begins

Gosh, I haven't blogged for some time, I've not done any races and I've been so busy with the Mendip Triathlon club that I have neglected you all.

Setting up the triathlon club was the best thing I could have done.  We have so many ideas and so much enthusiasm to make the club work.  We have had such a great response from people who either want to join or get involved that I've been blown away by it all.  If being a single mum, working full time and training for an Ironman wasn't enough for me  then enrolling on my level 2 Fitness Instructor Course has probably sealed my fate!!!!! I love pressure....... bring it on.

Anyway I don't want to get side tracked...... Challenge Roth 30 week plan starts on 3rd Dec.  I had planned in running Blackpool marathon on 7th April but was told by quite a few different people that running a marathon in my 30 week plan was scowled upon and that I shouldn't do it, as it would muck up my cycling and the recovery would take so long.  I did take this advice on board and frantically searched the internet to find another marathon outside the 30 week plan....... Your probably wondering why? But hey  I'll freely admit that I'm quite anal about things and every year I run a marathon, it gives me focus and mentally it puts me into a great place at the start of the year.  Bearing all that in mind, I entered Gloucester marathon on 19th Jan ( which now just happens to be the day after our HUGE tri taster day).  Its only 7 weeks into my plan and in my head thats perfectly acceptable.

I did think to myself that I would pay for a coach to get me to the start line but after being told it would be £50 a month, I decided it was too much cost for me at this time, especially as I am now paying for my Fitness instructor course. I then spent 4 days trying to get a plan together through using different resources such as Don Fink's book and my personal experience from 70.3's.  I have managed to tie this plan to suit my needs with the training already set in place especially swimming and with the tri club.  I have to be honest , I love making plans, I like taking my time, I like being in control of my training.  I went out and bought a new notebook and this time I making a lot more notes about my mental state and my diet, seeing I live with Canidia and I've put on the front " how not to do an Ironman" ( tickled my fancy anyhow).  I though it might be interesting to log the whole experience especially as my biggest concern is nutrition.  I have looked for lots advice about nutrition when you live with all my dietary needs and there isn't none.  My writing notes, hopefully I can experiment with different foods on long rides etc.

I have a new friend called Norris, he's a lump that comes and goes on my knee and cycling especially purple ronnie the fixie so no doubt I will be referencing him.

So to sum up, I am so ready for this, I've never been so excited about a race as I am about Challenge Roth. I have also entered Bristol Tri and wanna give myself a shot at qualifying in my age group next year.  I'm hoping I will be at peak fitness with all the Ironman training and the sprint will be the icing on the cake. "013 is going to be such an exciting time and I can't wait!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Flying the Mendip Triathlon colours at Weymouth at Bustinskin Middle distance

This was to be the last triathlon of the season and I had worked myself into a tizzy because I knew it was hilly and I felt I hadn't prepared myself like I did for the hills at Ironman 70.3.  So waking up at 3.15 am and travelling down to Weymouth was an anxious journey.  The weather forecast wasn't good so I packed a  waterproof coat and gloves.  I had been pretty anxious about the swim to but once I realised that it would take place within the protection of the harbor wall, I felt a little better.

Bike all racked up and blowing around like a flag but wet suit on and ready for the off.  There was a slight delay in the start due to the buoys being blown right off their markers......mmmmm that made me feel a little uneasy. The water seemed quite calm when we started but as we got further out the waves appeared, I guess as we left the comfort of the harbor wall nothing was there to protect us.  Then a really strange thing happened... I took a breather to try and sight as the waves were getting larger and I couldn't see anything, imagine my surprise when I realised I was touching the sea bed with my feet. As I looked around there were other swimmers with the same bemused look on their faces.  So what can I say, I was faced with waves crashing into my face and I could have swam through taking on lots sea water and air but instead I walked a little bit.  This gave me some recovery time and the whole situation seemed a little surreal. As I we got closer to the exit point, protection from the harbour wall was restored and it was a lot easier to swim again. My chip kept coming off in the water so I rolled it up and put it up my wetsuit sleeve so as I came out of the water I had to spend time putting it back on my ankle.  I didn't fancy paying the £50 to replace it.

As I got into T1, I had covered my stuff with my high vise waterproof jacket but it had blow away and everything was soaked. I put my gillet on and the coat because the wind and the rain was awful.  i stared out on the bike and that long Portland stretch was dangerous.  The wind was so extreme I was being pushed into the kerb and I had white knuckles from holding onto the handle bars so hard.  In hindsight I would have put my training wheels on and not the deep rim carbon wheels!!! After escaping that windy stretch it was straight up a really sharp hill which when cold on a bike made my lungs catch on fire. The hill had a sharp right hand bend which the wind was blasting down at an incredible speed so as I turned I got off my bike rather than be blown off it.  The route took us down to the lighthouse and again the wind here was lethal.  I heard quite a few riders got blown off here and at this point I was ready to throw in the towel.  Clive kept going past in the trusty support van and on many occasions, I was ready to chuck my bike in the back and give up.  I know I'm pretty hardcore but I had NEVER EVER ridden in such extreme conditions. If Clive hadn't of kept popping up and urging me on it could have been a very different story.

Somehow I kept going the wind and the rain was persistent throughout the whole course.  The course had been compared to Wimbleball but I can safely say that although it is tough, there are a lot more downhills on the Weymouth course giving you some recovery whereas wimbleball is a constant up (or so it seems).
After a particularly long climb with the wind in your face many of us had to stop.  A rider has lost control of his front wheel and then headbutted  a passing car so we were delayed by about 20 minutes whilst they scraped him and his bike off the road. This isn't what you want to see, I had many issues with my safety with the wind as it was.  Standing around meant that we were all freezing to death as well.  Finally we were off again.

It was a long bike ride..... 59 miles in total on a hilly course with extreme weather with a headwind that stripped your skin from your face and the rain felt like it was leaving bruises all over your face.  I don't know why I had any fitness anxiety issues because considering the conditions  I was doing pretty well.  The ride was coming to an end and the last bit was that windy Portland stretch.  The wind was pushing me into the road and the cars passing didn't even seem to register.  I screamed abuse along that stretch, half expecting to find myself on  a car bonnet.  I have never ever been so happy to enter T2.  As I got there I was told the run was cancelled.  I cant say I blame them, half marathon on a coastal path, many of us would have landed up being blown off a cliff. I was ready for the run, I felt that I could have coped with it but was also happy that my fight with mother nature had come to a close. So in total 5.23. 

Although the weather was bad, I thought this race had the potential to be one of the best races that I could do.  The views were stunning and on a better day could be truly appreciated. I can't comment on the run but apparently its a killer, but that's just how I like it. Great organisation, Bustinskin hold some fantastic races and I will be back next year with a score to settle.  Big shout out to Clive I couldn't ask for a better support crew.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mendip Triathlon on tour at Burnham Olympic Triathlon

This was my first triathlon with my new club and I was testing out  the new Mendip kit.  I had won 1st in age cat last year but had no idea and missed my own prize giving so this year I was determined to get it again.

I was quite nervous about the swim as last time I had swam in Burnham sea I had been rescued by the coast guard after having an asthma attack.  The sea looked a lot calmer and I made sure that I went in to acclimatize so there was no shock.  The swim looked really long compared to last year.  So any last minute nerves had to disappear as we were off.  I went really wide on the first buoy and found with the waves I couldn't sight very well so I just followed the other swimmers.  I finally got to the third buoy and we had to turn around and head back.  I found the current at its strongest here and swallowed quite a lot of water.  I was glad to be out of that water and felt quite sick as I entered T1.  Once I got into transition there wasn't that many bikes left so I knew I had some work to do.

I caught up and overtook quite a few riders very quickly and then I was out on my own. I could hear a really noisy rider coming up behind me and then got overtaken by a 65 yr old man on the nicest Trek bike you ever seen...... he casually said as he passed "age before beauty love " and went zooming past.  This guy was amazing and I will gladly admit how he went past me and continued his lead over me.  I kept him in my sights but I couldn't catch him. I caught up some other riders and then Mark ( from time trial) came bombing past me.  Oh boy that man can ride.  The course was really windy and it seemed like a struggle all the way round but I did take 7 minutes off last years time. My legs felt really heavy on the ride and I couldn't decide if I  was in dire need of a massage or a whole years of racing was beginning to take its toll. I entered T2 and struggled with my trainers but I was off on the run although my shoes didn't feel right.  I thought that they would slip on my feet as I started running.

The first 2 miles felt really tough, my stomach was started to expand (saltwater) and I didn't feel quite right.
I slowly started to feel a little better and soon my body had adjusted to running.  The 3 laps went by quite quickly and I was heading down the home straight.  I could see Mark in the distance and I knew I had 1 mile to go.  The finish is straight down the sea front so I had my eye on him the whole way.  I picked up the pace and I was slowly gaining on him.  I saw a crowd of Mendip triathlon hoodies and heard the cries of support and thought ok its now or ever so I went for the sprint finish.  I overtook Mark and as he picked up speed I just pipped him at the post.  Fair play to Mark he wasn't expecting it and he was great at the end. I have a feeling that I will never get away with that again.

 Time 2.52.49 beating last years 2.55.47.  The bike and run were faster but the swim was longer but so was the distance.  My watch registered a lot more than 1 mile.  So this year I hung around for the prize giving and won my age cat.  

A really nice touch was Mendip CC cycling down to Burnham to show their support and forge the affiliation between both groups  

 BIG shout out To Clive who was the best race support,driving me around, taking lots pictures, shouting encouragement and just being there for me.  Thanks Clive couldn't have done it without you x x

Friday, September 7, 2012

Running my first race as a member of Mendip triathlon club

Bridgwater half marathon...conditions were perfect... The course was pretty flat and I wanted to smash my 1.53.51 pb that I had set at Bristol 2 years ago.

I started off really well and ran the first 5 miles with Nick from my old club and we paced each other well. After 5 miles, Clive finally caught up with us as our push bike support. The first 5 miles were quite fast and this started to show on about mile 8 and 9 where I was feeling the strain and started to slow down.
I really wanted to get a sub 1.45 so with a final drive I pushed on and started to pick the pace up. I won't mention here how Clive was trying to be supportive and I was a little grumpy and threatened to push him off his bike.... Sorry Clive I was feeling the strain.
This is where my endurance training kicked in... I picked the pace up, my lungs were hurting, I was grumpy but I wasn't going to slow down. It's funny sometimes how your goals change through a race, I realised that a sub 1.45 wasn't on the cards but I was prepared to settle for a sub 1.50.
The last mile was really hard but I pushed through and even managed a sprint finish. Time on garmin 1.50.30. I didn't quite get the goal I wanted but I still knocked 3 minutes off my PB.
I do however know exactly what I need to do at Burnham half in Oct to get that sub 1.50 that I desire

I have tried checking my official times but I don't seem to appear on the results.... Watch this space!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Malmesbury sprint triathlon

Entry to this race was decided at very short notice and would be mine and Clive's first race together...... Let the competition begin.............2 weeks after completing my first long distance I felt I was ready!!!!  I had taken a very big back step with my diet as I had been having some really strange reactions to sugar again. I was in a 2 week detox after releasing that my dietary problems are caused by the Candida curse.  I wont bore you with what I can and cannot eat but all I can eat at the moment is meat and vegetables....not even potatoes as sugars are formed from the starch.  This does sometimes affect my energy levels and I am soooooooo hungry ALL OF THE TIME. Hopefully after the candida has died off again I can have my Pulsin energy bombs again..... I miss those bad boys. 

We traveled down on the Sat and drove both the bike route and the run route so that there were no nasty surprises.  The bike route was a little undulating but seemed quite fast and the run was flat apart from the 400m hill finish.  After an interesting night with a leaking air bed, we arrived nice and early and racked up.  Our start times were quite late so we chilled and we mingled and I went round taking photographs of bike porn.  It was a chilled relaxed atmosphere.  

Clive's wave was first so I watched him swim before starting my own wave.  I hadn't done a pool swim tri in ages, it felt kinda weird I wanted to be open water swimming.  So yellow hat, lane 1, second position..... lets go......... 400m and a new PB of 8.04 taking 11 seconds off, maybe the swim smooth coaching is working. I automatically swam the first 4 lengths bi-lateral breathing before the speed got to much and I converted back to  one sided breathing.  

Transition was a bit messy... darn those socks...... and the route out to the road was down through a school pavement before you got out on the road.  I overtook a few straight away but apart from that I was out there on my own... no one to chase.... I need to chase.  Clive had worked out a theory that if we passed each other before the 5km sign he was ahead of me and if we passed after the 5km sign I was ahead.  God darn it we passed before the sign..... I didn't even see him I was in the zone but he saw me and shouted.
 I did get over taken by Mr green X2U suit on the way back with his full carbon disc on the back and as he went passed me I tried to hang on but all I could think about was Geeeez does he know how see through green tri suits are...... put me right off my stroke let me tell you. 

The bike seemed quite quick 43.15 and I was back into T2 and my trainers were being a little bit naughty but they were on and I was off.  The first little bit of the run was a downhill slope and I was feeling pretty good and I when the road turned into an small incline I was powering up it.  Oh look there was Mr Green X2U suit.... ok you got me on the bike but this was now my time to shine...... I gave a little wave as I hammered past.  The run route was an out and back and I was eyeing up the competition as I turned around and headed back.  There was a woman who was slowly catching me up on the run and on 2 occasions I heard people coming up behind me and hoped it wasn't her.   The finish like I stated previously was up a 400m hill, as I turned the corner I knew I wasn't very far away.  All of a sudden this woman was on my shoulder... I picked up the pace and she came with me......  so we turned the corner and I accelerated up the hill..... I was losing her but I felt I couldn't waver so just kept going..... and sprinted to the finish line.  New 5km PB 24.18.  Now I like a good sprint finish but up a hill....... as I crossed the line I was gagging.  Clive tried to move me to a more discreet place but I wasn't moving anywhere.  Total time 1.17.59.  

Yet again I buggered up using the Garmin in multi sport mode, pressing the wrong button so I did change the sport just paused it.  I will get it right one day. 

I was 3rd in my age cat out of 26 who completed.  
8th women in overall out of 70
86th overall out of 262.  

I wish I could get the font size down to a really small size but I am unable so I might as well go and say it..... Clive beat me..... by 1 min and 24 seconds!!!!! I had him on the swim and the run but  he only went and beat me on the bike by 3 minutes.  Honestly I didn't think he would beat  me as he's not up to his full fitness yet.  But after I had forgiven him I like the fact that he's going to keep me on my toes.  It was so nice to race with him, chilling out then racing the reflecting on the race.... he wont beat me again!!!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Waterside long distance triathlon.... winner!!!!

I had planned to enter Outlaw this year but seeing as I had already paid for entry for Ironman70.3 UK and the 2 races were too close together I entered Waterside long distance as my A race.  This was a low key race in Essex but a good warm up for the longer distances.  There was only 20 entries for the long distance and 4 of them were women.

I spent the Friday chilling out thanks to the recommendations of my coach and I traveled up to the race in fine form and ready for it.  Aide had also entered the race so we traveled up together.  We arrived 5 hours later and registered and worked out the course. We also met up with fellow tweeter @ Brazilianrunner and we drove the bike course.   We listened to stories in the bar of the pub we were staying at about how they got the tidal times wrong and it wasn't filling me with much confidence.

So the morning arrived, we sneaked out the pub and headed towards registration. There was 3 different races taking place on the same day so you either completed 1 loop for the standard, 2 loops for the middle distance or 3 loops for the long distance. The swim was to take place in an inlet next to a marina.  The tide was coming in and they was a cut off time of 1 hr and 35 minutes. Both myself and Aide were anxious about the swim as we had both bailed out of the Stert Island swim where the conditions had been awful.

All triathletes regardless of what race they were doing started together and on the first loop there was quite a lot of barging.  Its here I learnt a valuable lesson..... do not use sun cream on your face as it makes your goggles slide around on your face and allows salt water in which is really quite annoying.  I constantly had to stop and empty and adjust my goggles. I took the swim gently knowing that I was in for the long haul. Apart from that the swim went quite quickly and I know that my sighting was a little off and I was glad to be out of the water.  The run up to transition was a long one and as I ran up the grass bank I saw Aide in front of me, I don't know which one of us were more surprised but it was a funny moment. Swim time 1.5 miles in 59 minutes (although my Garmin stated a lot more, that's bad sighting for you).  I did check as I got out and there was a few other people still swimming.

I started out on the bike and the first lap seemed sooo slow but there was quite a strong headwind. I had to complete 3 loops of the same course approx 25 mile.  The roads were smooth mostly flat with a few short hills thrown in.  It was a lonely course, most of the middle distance athletes would have been well in front and I didn't see anyone on the first loop and on the second loop I lapped a few middle distance people which gave me a lot of confidence.  On the third loop some of the long distance people caught up with me and I finished the last loop with them.  Its funny the things you notice when you are doing loops and on the third loop I had started to lose my sense of humor. Those short hills, well on the third loop they had grown into mountains.  Garmin says 77 miles in 4 hours and 20 minutes.  Race nutrition had been interesting, I had taken  my usual energy bombs and trek energy bars to eat on the bike but my stomach was feeling unsettled.  I had put this down to having to eat instant porridge pots in the morning with the sugar content.  I did try and eat on the bike put I felt my stomach swelling and decided that I wouldn't eat any more.  I had eaten so much the day before I thought I would be ok.  It was hot and I took on 3 bottles of liquid.

I was glad to be off the bike but at this point I wasn't feeling too bad and I set off on the run.  I had no idea what to expect on the run and the first few miles was on a hot long road.  The route then took us off road down a track along the sea wall.  The first part was a small gravelly track and unfortunately I took a tumble quite early which was a bit of a shock to the system but carried on running with cut knees, elbows and hands.  The track then turned into a high green bank with a narrow path cut through the grass.  I wasn't expecting it and the first lap was quite challenging. I had promised my self that I would run 2 laps 12 miles before I would consider walking.  The first lap was long, the 2nd lap seemed quicker. During the second lap some random guy with no shoes on just started to run behind me, I asked him if he wanted to pass me and he said no and asked if I was happy with him running behind me.  This did start to freak me out a little so in the end I did turn around and ask him why?  I got no answer.  Rod also caught up with me on the end of my second lap as he was just about to finish and was nice just to see someone on the course.   Once I got to the third lap I was starting to feel the strain.  I made myself run the sea walk until I hit the green bank as that was the hardest part to run then I allowed myself to have a short walk then run again. I learnt a lot about myself during this race, it was a lonely race, not many entered into the race so you spent a lot of time on the course alone.  I imagine whilst on an Ironman course you will always be surrounded by people.  The finish line was in sight and I was glad to see it.  The run was 19.79 miles according to my Garmin in 3.31  I was told I was the first lady in.
I had won, I had worked hard, I had finished. I then found out after that the other women hadn't finished.
There was a part of me that thought I had won by default and there are people out there who would like to take that away from me but you know what...... I put myself out there and at the end of the day you have to be in it to win it.  I was 15th overall out of 19.
NameMichelle Blackmore
40 - 44
Cat Pos

So it was a great experience to do this distance so when I compete in Challenge Roth next year I will feel more confident. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Steart Island Swim and my first DNF

Last year at this same race I had overcome many demons to complete and this year I thought it would be better.  I arrived at the beach and the sea was quite choppy. I had my reservations but decided to go for it anyway.  Jenny was doing it for her first time and we agreed we would swim together and we had a plan.  Swim 15 strokes check where each other were and carry on.  So after starting I found it quite difficult to get into it for a while and then I managed to get into my stroke.  I kept Jenny in my sights.  I started to feel quite wheezy and started to take a few more breathers.  I felt like it was a mission to get to each buoy the waves were so big it was hard to sight anything.  We normally get to the island and I thought I could have a breather but as the sea was so rough the boats didn't deploy people on the island so we had to get to the green buoy and turn around immediately.  The sea was becoming rougher and the waves were HUGE.  I signaled to the canoe man and had a quick breather, I could see Jenny saying get around the buoy I'll wait for you.  The waves here were the highest and as I tried to get around the buoy it was moving all over the place and nearly took me out.  I really started to get a little scared and this wasn't helping my breathing, I felt like a rag doll being battered around.  I called the safety boat over and they hung on to me whilst I tried to get my breathing under control.  At this point I did not want to give up... I never give up...... so I left the boat with the words in my ears " we will follow you we are watching out for you"

I was worried about Jenny at this point thinking so I tried again...... I seemed to be miles away from the buoys and I was wheezing again and at this point I decided that I just couldn't cope with it.  I did something that  I thought I  would never do and I gave in.  OOOO you cannot imagine how deflated I felt.... how I had finally in a lifetime let something beat me. (crying as I write this now)  The guy in the canoe told me to wrap my legs around the boat and he tried to get me to the life boat. I didn't like lying backwards in the water and got mouthfuls of water so was happy when they dragged me into the a speed boat.  To add insult to injury I had to transfer boats so they held the boats together and basically threw me into the coast guards boat and I landed rather ungracefully.  I was still wheezing like a goodun at this point.  They took me to the other side of the jetty and dumped me off at the beach.  That was the hardest walk of my life walking up the beach with my head down low fighting back the tears..... my chest was so tight and crying wasn't going to help.  People were calling my name checking I was OK and I just wanted to get to my inhaler in my bag.

I waited at the shore for Jenny to come in and I was so relieved that she made it back safe.  I could see the emotion in her face as she finished  and I think we were both fighting back the tears.  Well done Jenny.  

I went back to the car feeling very emotional and reflective.  This is the first time that I have let an attack stop me.  On reflection I think the waves just got the better of me and it scared me which given the breathing difficulties made it worse.  After the event, I had heard that many didn't even start due to the conditions and few of them got so far then also made the decision to stop. I was told that this was the roughest year that it had been. 

I tried... it beat me .... I learnt a bit about myself and however much I beat myself up about it... I can learn from the experience and I finally put my health and safety first. meschee 1- steart island 1.  Next year I will be returning to lay that ghost to rest.   Lesson learnt... take the inhaler in the water and least then I can carry on and never admit defeat. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

little (ahem) ride to Frome half marathon and back!

So it was like this ride 25 miles to Frome, run half marathon and then cycle home......easy peasy!!!!!! Hell was it.....We decided to let Matt dictate the route to us and I thought it would be around 25 miles so we gave ourselves 2 hours to get to the start of the race and have time to change and eat and prepare.  I think after some serious hill climbing and we had got to 25 miles we kinda knew that we were running out of time. I had given us 2 hours to do 25 miles.  It then started to get a bit hectic..... Aide had decided he wasn't going to run as he had been unwell so the race was on.... we took that as a green light to go and we hammered it.  I was so aware of the time and kept glancing at the Garmin, watching the time tick away and the miles clock up.  We got a little lost and missed the turning to the football club so all in all a 40 mile bike ride with a time trial added on the end.   As we tried to cycle to the club we were told that we couldn't go through and we could see all the runners lined up and ready to go.  We explained we needed to be at the start and we found a way through.  Matt ran in and got the numbers but they couldn't find his.  I locked up the bikes and was trying to get ready.  I heard a massive cheer and thought the race had started so instead of changing into my running shorts I kept my cycling shorts on and added Vaseline much to the surprise of our helpers ( the 2 guys who were frantically trying to help us out).

I headed off without Matt knowing he would catch me really quickly and ran full pelt through a gate where I was expecting all the runners to have left but I ran directly into a sea of runners.  The race had been delayed and as I stood there waiting, I was thinking of how I could have changed my shorts and gone for a pee.  Then all of a sudden we were off. Now I can use a thousand excuses why I ran such a slow half marathon but considering the hilly hot fast ride I endured before hand and the heat bearing down on me on a somewhat hilly course I think I will get away with those.  My legs felt heavy and I was wondering why am I doing this!!!!  After about 6 miles I started to feel a little better but I was hugging every little bit of the shade I could.  I wont lie to you...... it was a hard run and the only thing that kept me going was the thought of me trying to complete my first long distance triathlon in less than 3 weeks.

I crossed the line in 2.03 which is a slow run for me but to be honest it was always going to be a tough run.  There was some hills that I did walk up but I wanted to complete and in the heat I wasn't going to hang myself and it was always going to be a training run.

We decided to stick to the main roads on the way back because then we knew exactly how far we would have to ride.  The incentive was to have a drink in Glastonbury.  It was a HARD slog on the way home and I was hanging OUT MY ARSE!!!!!!

So all in all... 70 miles ride bagged with a half marathon to boot......I needed to do that as that long distance triathlon is getting really close now and I need to be ready!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bristol Olympic triathlon

I had been a tad anxious about this race after the asthma attack at Bideford.  I also had a minor bike problem, where the bike didn't fit properly and I needed it sorted quickly.  Scott from bike science had let me down at the last minute so Bike city stepped in.

Hindsight is a truly magical thing as I needn't had worried.  We were given quite a bit of time to get used to the water and despite the stories of it being horrible it wasn't.  The temperature was 16c and it didn't taste of diesel.  I made sure I had warmed up properly and bobbing around in the water I felt quite confident.  At last we were off, I did however swim straight towards the harbour wall but soon rectified that.  I told myself to take it really slow and get myself into the groove.  The swim was 2 loops and it was lots of turns and twists.  The swim went by quite quickly and as I turned the last buoy into the homeward straight I got cramp in both calves.  Not a problem I kept swimming using my arms and let my legs dangling loosely behind me twiddling my feet until the cramp had gone.  They helped me out the water  and I glanced briefly behind me and saw that there were quite a lot of blue hats in the water.  Now that was a surprise! I had been trying to use the techniques that I have learnt over the last 4 weeks in my swim smooth sessions.

 The transition was quite long but I made it to the bad boy and was ready for the off.  I didn't know how many women were in front of me but me and the bad boy had a plan, we were going to hunt them down and blast them with carbon dust.  The ride was 4 loops of the Portland ( the Bristol half marathon route).  The wind was in your face on the way up and I swear that the wind got stronger on every lap.  Once you turned around the wind wasn't behind you so it didn't get any relief. I didn't see any ladies on the first loop but starting the second I had overtaken quite a few.  The young fit men doing the sprint had started their swim wave after us so there was an onslaught of that carbon whoosh came quite quickly on the bike route and as they went past in their droves, I tried to sneak up behind them and hang on for dear life but it didn't really work for me but I had great fun trying.  The Bad boy felt really good and the fit was a lot better. I'm glad when the 4 laps were up as it started to get a bit boring riding up and down the same bit of road.

Straight into then back out of transition and as I ran out the marshal shouted your the 10th or 11th lady out GO GET THEM GIRLFRIEND!!!!  That sounded like a good plan so I was off.  The run was 2 loops and it was mostly on an off road track that was quite muddy.  There were quite a few puddles that everyone seemed to be trying their hardest to avoid and as it was an up and back course this was starting to cause obstructions so I kinda decided that I would run straight through them.  It was starting to get a little tough out there so I decided to take a leaf out of my friend Harriet's book and see how many people I could get dirty whilst splashing in the puddles.  So there I was running straight through giving myself points for all the people I splashed dirty muddy water over in one go and this took my mind off the running.  I started to see the other women on the course to so started to high five 'those girlfriends' if I thought they were game.  I did have a few refusals. The end was near, playing in the puddles had been a good plan.  Finish line in vision..... SPRINT SPRINT ....... yay game over!!!!

I loved this race in a great time of 2.43.25
So 4th in my age group, very happy with that.  There is a possibility that I was third but if I am then I've missed my presentation again lol!!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bideford Triathlon... races cant always be good.

This race had been doomed from the start. I had travelled down on the Friday with kids and dogs and hoping to have a great weekend away with a little race on the Sunday. The weather had be so horrid and we got flooded AGAIN(it seems to be a habit when I'm out in the bongo) so we returned home on Saturday morning. I was so peeved off that I had given up on the race.  It wasn't until I saw Celia that I regained any motivation to do  the race so I travelled down again and it's not a short trip. I felt really good and wanted to get a faster time than last year and beat the 4th that I got in my age cat last year.  It was also the d├ębut for the "bad boy" (my new speedy bike).

So ready for the off, the swim had been changed and I was in wave 2 with all the really fast swimmers, not quite sure how that happened.  We didn't have time to  get used to the temperature of the water and before I knew it we were off.  I knew pretty early that I was in trouble, even though I had used my inhaler the water was so cold, I couldn't breathe and was forced to stop swimming.  I knew that I could get over the attack as I had many times before when I didn't know I was asthmatic so I took a breather tried to get my breathe back before continuing.  The safety crew were straight there, they asked if I was OK and I held onto the surf board for a few minutes.  I thought I was OK to continue and the guy on the surf board said don't worry I'll follow you up.  This gave me a bit more confidence so I let go and started swimming again.  I didn't get very far before it hit me again.  I just couldn't breathe I was wheezing and I felt my lungs being compressed.  The guy on the board was right there and he advised me to hang over the surf board so that I could get more oxygen into my lungs.  We were right under the bridge and I was very aware of everybody looking down at me and I started to feel very concious having an asthma attack in full view of everyone.  The dude was great keeping me calm talking me through it and I was ready to try again.  At any point I never wanted to give up, I just wanted to get to the slipway and out on the bike.

I'd forgotten how hilly this course was and I still wasn't breathing right and as I tried to get going I was overwhelmed with the urge to puke.  I must have cycled 5 miles before the puking stopped.  Again I never thought of stopping I was just worried about getting sick on the bad boy.  There was a huge flood which we had to go through and that was quite worrying but it was just another obstacle to cross.  I slowly got into the groove and started to pick it up a bit.  I was overtaking lots on the bike and began to feel better.

Once back into transition and out on the run the first kilometre was really fast but I soon started to lose it after that.  I was fighting more sickness urges and just wanted to get through it.  Jo caught me back up on the run after I overtook her on the bike.  I tried to hang on to her tail but couldn't and just slotted in behind her.  After crossing the line I was f**ked, I needed my inhaler and I needed it fast.  Once I stopped I got really emotional and my breathing was all over the place.  It took me a long time to recover and a long time to stop feeling sick. When I finally got into the car, I burst into tears and felt so emotional.

My bike was slightly faster than last year as was the run and the swim was but I think the course had been cut short a lot. I know I am capable of a lot more than today but I was completely blown away by the asthma attack.  That's the first attack I have had since having my inhalers and I wasn't expecting it at all.  Cold water hasn't bothered me recently but it just goes to show that you shouldn't take anything for granted. I should be proud that I did it 3 minutes faster than last year and I still finished 4th or 5th in my age group out of 18.

It has been a massive learning curve for me, which is always a good thing and I now know that before completing in the Bristol Olympic I need to remember to take my brown inhaler  every night and morning as I have been missing a few and I need to warm up properly before getting in that water and I need to get my body ready for that cold temperature.  I will be honest and admit it wasn't the result I wanted but I have learnt a lot from that race and more importantly I have learnt that I will never give up but I guess I knew that already!!!!

One bad race makes us appreciate what we are and what we are about.  If I can achieve that result after suffering a huge asthma attack then I know that I am capable of something quite special.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ash Tree Trial 7 miler

This was a spur of the moment race and we only decided it the day before. I quite like mid-week evening races. It was a 7 miler mixed race in a local village near me. We arrived quite earlier in order to register and there were a lot of extra entries on the day, probably due to the sun being out and the failure of England to qualify.

We started the race going down a hill always a bonus, before running up some fields and then entering a nature reserve. This was the best part of the race, really winding paths lots twists and turns. You know sometimes at the start of a race you look at people and say in your head "I'm going to beat you and you" well during the race there are two older ladies I always see who always seem to start really fast but I also manage to take them half way. I had these so called ladies in my sights and overtook them on the nature reserve. There was one more lady in my sight and as we came off the nature reserve I managed to get in front of her. She stayed behind me for a good mile which I am not surprise as we were running straight into the wind. We came up to 6.5 miles and she suddenly swooped in front of me. I wanted to hang on so gave chase. We ended up running in the tractor ruts in a barley field and the barley was about 2 ft. high so it was very hard to run and very narrow and slippery and no way to overtake. We came out on a narrow path which was still hard to overtake and she hung on for life as I tried to chase her down. Unknown to me the finish was just around the corner and she beat me in by a second.

My time was 58.10 on my Garmin and I was so pleased with that actually doing a 7 miler under the hour and especially on a mixed trail race. It wasn't until the prize giving I realised how far up front I had actually been. The lady who pipped me to the post took the senior female trophy making me 2nd which is still a good result but I realised how close I had come. If I had known the course there’s no way that she would have passed me into that barley field and I would have hung on to that lead. Fair play to her for being crafty and using her knowledge of the course (BITCH) and drafting me to take the lead.
But hey I smashed my PB and was second in my age cat so I musnt grumble.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My first Hash

I had wanted to go hashing for a while but the perfect opportunity never really arose until yesterday. I had heard lots of good things about it so wanted to try it out. After being picked up and driving to the middle of nowhere (sat nav failure, but that’s another story) we arrived at Fyne Court. Everybody was already there ready to go. Harriet had tried to explain the hash rules to me but seeing it in action made me realise what it was all about.

The hare sets the course usually between 5 and 7 miles and leaves a flour circle at a check point. This means that everybody runs off in different directions trying to pick up the trail. The trail is marked by dollops of flour. If you see one you shout "ON ONE" and then continue until you see another one which means you are on the right trail and then you tell your fellow hashers by shouting "ON ON" then everybody follows the right trail. From my experience last night "on one" sounds very similar to "on on" so I blindly followed the group. When you run over a dollop of flour on the trail you also shout "ON ON" so everybody knows they are still going the right way as the group can tend to stretch out. When the trail has been picked up you have to rub out the flour circle in the direction of the trail just in case anyone gets lost or needs to pick the course up.

The course last night was muddy, hilly and followed routes through streams, woods, and fields. I have never had so much fun running blindly around a wood watching everyone run off in different directions like wild animals trying to hunt down its prey. All of a sudden you will hear the "ON ON" and if you can pinpoint where it came from you head off in that direction. I was so amused watching this organised chaos and every time I heard the shout it seemed like they were shouting “I’M ON ONE" and I had visions of cheesy old skool quavers running around free parties. This just made me chuckle even more. The group were of mixed ability and some were a lot keener than others and rummaged through the undergrowth trying to pick up the flour dollops.

At one point we ran through a field which was full of farmers collecting in the hay and I could see their bemused faces watching a string of about 20 oddly dressed maniacs running around shouting..... it must have been a sight!!! The best part by far was stopping by this pond where everyone is given the chance to catch up and we all eat sweets but there was 2 swans protecting their signets and oh boy were they protective.... it was a short sprint session for some hashers!!!! The barrage through the fence and into the wood resembled a January sales queue at Next as everyone wanted to escape the swan who had now left the water and was approaching us with evil intend etched all over his face.

At some points the trail was hard to pick up especially with tractors driving down through the tracks and this where the hare comes in who stays at the back and then gives guidance if needed. So after 5.85 miles of stops and starts and some fun running we ended back at the start. I was covered in mud, scratched bitten and sweaty but I had a big grin on my face. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it others who wanted to try it. The group I was with was mixed ability’s, nice friendly group and quite relaxed about the whole affair. The evening also ends up in the pub!!! Bonus.  A big thank you to Harriet and Nick for taking me along and Harriet for driving!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ironman 70.3 UK 2012

So here we go again Ironman 70.3 UK.  Just like last year the weather was horrid, windy and wet.  We spent most of the weekend hiding in the awning watching the rain come down and wondering how long it would take before the tents all blew away. I had a brief swim in the lake on Friday afternoon but it was so choppy we had limited access and was quite entertaining being one of 60 swimmers swimming around in tiny circles between the jetties.  The water was FREEZING!!!!!!  On Sat, Matt and I ran one loop of the run course and I'm glad I did after a few days of doing nothing I was beginning to feel bit crazy.  
Again just like last year the weather was good on race day.  I checked my bike, put on the wetsuit and I was ready to rock and roll.  

The start was delayed by 15 minutes and I think it was caused by athletes still trying to get on site.  This year was 2 wave starts and being the oldie I am I was in the second wave.  After a long slow walk down to the lake we watched as the first wave went off.  This year I decided to start at the back again but not out on the side. It didn't quite happen like that as I was in the water early and got pushed up towards the front.  Ho hum no backing out now.  I splashed water all over my face as Friday's swim had given me ice cream face and it was quite shocking to the system.  The commentator shouted that the race would start in 5 mins and there was an uproar from the lake so they started the race in 60 seconds.  The swim was good I didn't get punched but I did receive a few knocks to start.  One swimmer did however swim over me so I chased him down grabbed his feet and pulled him right outta my way.  I knew boxing training over the winter would benefit me.  This year I was so much more confident in the water, I found my own space and with no asthma attack I was well on my way. The swim felt really good and it was actually better swimming  clockwise.  When I reached the bank I checked my watch....... 40 minutes... oh boy that felt good 9 minutes off last years time. I had that time in my head before I started and was chuffed.  I felt good and even ran up the hill into transition.  I saw Barry and he came over to help me... geez that man had my wetsuit off before my arse hit the floor!!! Super speedy transition time.  I was in the middle of the pack unlike last year and was good to get out with lots athletes. 

The bike was really good I felt strong.  Normally after the 2 nasty hills it always seems like a real drag and continually climbing but I got to the second lap and wondered where the hills had gone. As I came down the hill to take a sharp right there was people slowing you down.  There was an ambulance just past the corner and the guy they were attending looked in a bad way, blood every where.  I heard chaos behind me and the guy who came behind me obviously didn't take notice of  warning and all I heard was JESUS CHRIST and then heard the biggest whack ever.  The guy cycled  straight into the ambulance and it sounded awful. It was all pretty shocking and I just got my head down and carried on. I knew that the cut off time would be 1pm so with an eye on the time I dug in on those hills.  I felt really strong out on the bike, I remember last year I felt so drained.  

I entered T2 at about 12.30 ish and thought I did the bike in 4 hours but the time was 3.54.34.  so much better that last years 4.20.  Transition was again speedy, those guys really know what they are doing.  I might even marshal myself next year. I still felt pretty good, slight bloated from drinking a sports drink and in hindsight I should have stopped for a wee but I had race mode on and wasn't stopping.  The first lap was slightly uncomfortable and I kept eyeing up gateways and when I ran down the big hill I thought my bladder would explode.  Last year they had toilets on route but there was none this year.  The second lap I walked a few times to take on fluids and walked the big hill on every lap to conserve energy.  Time went quickly and before I knew it I was on the last lap.  I wanted to walk a few times but I refused myself thinking this is the last lap I can do it.  I saw my sister on route that was a nice surprise and Jo and Julian were there to willing us all on. The red carpet was there like red rag to a bull you have to sprint as soon as you see that redness.  I crossed the line with 7.13 reading on the clock and saw my mum screaming my name. I wasn't expecting her at the finish that was lovely to hug her straight after.  Once I got into the tent Dean told me I got a sub 7 as we had to take off the 15 minutes seeing we started in the second wave.  I mean I was pleased with 7.13 but was delighted that I did actually get that sub 7 I wanted. I took 61 minutes off last years time.  What a result. 
What a difference a year makes.  Really enjoyed this race so much more than last year.  I took it on and I smashed it in the style I wanted to.  Over the moon with my result and feel confident for my long distance triathlon in August. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Endurance life stage 34 real relay race

Endurance life were running an event called the real relay which is random people signing up and  following the Olympic torch around.  The routes are all run which is the difference with the torch.  This happened all so fast for me I ended up standing in for someone who was ill.  In fact there's so much more behind it but I wont go into too much detail (mum's the word).

You plan your own route and Endurance life just give you the guidelines and contacts.  You arrange to meet up with the person whose got the baton and then once the change over has happened, you ring ahead to the next person giving them their estimated time of arrival.
I was meeting Graham Bell who was running from Taunton to Illminster.  The stages range from 8 to 12 miles on average.

Thanks to Nick's brilliant idea to leave our bikes at the next change over meant we could actually drive the route we wanted to run, as I had no idea where I was going as I had never actually been to West Chinnock. We left the bikes at the Muddled Man pub after explaining to the landlord what was happening.

We sat in the car at the Shrubbery Hotel waiting for Graham to arrive after receiving a phone call from his wife.   We saw his wife arrive on a push bike and ran over to greet Graham running up a very steep hill ( sorry Graham).
 Yay well done Graham a hot 12.5 miles from Taunton.  After a quick chat we were on our way and left Illminster behind us.

 I had picked a route that was shorter than the estimated mileage but I wanted to stay off the main roads and the route I picked was so scenic. I had no knowledge of this area and it turned out to be a little gem. Little villages with such beautiful old houses, running through shaded lanes where we saw foxes and  even a buzzard swooped down before us catching something in the verge. Nick and I kept up a good pace pausing on occasions to check the route and we were going the right way.

This was a normal run, very low key, no roaring crowds, people looking at your strangely running with a great big stick and very few people asked what was going on but to us it was a great sense of adventure.  We ran with real purpose knowing that 33 other people had carried it this far and we were carrying it that little bit further ( I tried not to think about all those sweaty hands lol).   We were making our own little piece of history.
The run was over far too quickly and we spotted Steve waiting at the Muddled man pub.  The landlord was out waiting for us too, I think maybe he was expecting a huge crowd!!!

        Steve was on his way with skip the dog... stage 35 had started.
We had a quick refreshment break at the pub ( G and T, be rude not too) before grabbing our bikes and cycling back to Illminster.

This was such a fantastic thing to do and I was so happy to be given the opportunity so thank you Jon ( sorry you were ill) and thank you Endurance life for organising such a fantastic idea.   Massive thank you Nick for coming along and supporting me it was a great feeling of achievement and it was all very exciting.  It gave me a chance to run in such a beautiful part of the country very local to me that I had no previous knowledge of and gave me the chance to meet some motivated like minded individuals.   If you get the chance DO IT!!!!!!

This picture sums up the whole day for me... what a team!!!! x

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Somerset 100 my first 100 miler

I have been waiting to pop this cherry for a long time, my first attempt at the lionheart sportive went wrong through bicycle problems so this was my second attempt.  I could not have asked for a better day.... the weather was perfect.  We made sure we were sun creamed up to the hilt, plenty of liquids and off we went.  This was a low key event less than 100 riders and the start line was less than 2 miles from my house!!!

We started off near the front and the pace was quite fast.  We dropped off the first group as I was very anxious to keep a steady pace so I wasn't blowing out my arse at the end, Nick was biting at the bit to cane it but he promised he would stay with me so we maintained a good pace averaging about 18/19 mph.  We were dropped by the first group but soon got caught up with a second group so we stayed with them for a while.
We ended up in a group that happened to have a friend from my tri club in, I didn't recognise  him with cycling gear on as I only ever normally see him in the pool.  Another group caught up with us but after having to have a wee stop we lost them. We tried really hard to catch them and ended up missing a turning.   We caught my friends up where the route split and stayed with them for a while.  We managed to catch another group and made a few new friends before we dropped them.   I have to say something amazing happened today.... I (get this ) overtook people on hills..... not just 1 person but at least 8 people.  I was totally gob smacked... at one point I even overtook Nick on a hill.

My last memories of doing serious mileage was Tour of Wessex and Lionheart sportive, when after 60 miles I had totally had enough.  Today I felt amazing.  I'm putting it down to my new diet......this was my first sugar free endurance event and I used only natural energy bars, no added sugar, no energy drinks.  I had lots energy, no bloating, no wanting to shit myself.

After a stop at 70 miles and Nick fixing his puncture we headed home.  We overtook some more riders, up hills again.  We had done the hilly bit and now it was downhill.  We were flying, 3 miles to the end and up through Fenny castle which was really really windy but the guys in the VW van who were supplying water got in front of us and blocked the wind and we drafted it for at least 2 miles... good touch.  100.6 miles in 6.22 a time that I thought wasn't possible.  A well organised event and the guys with water made added stops at the top of some of the serious hills due to the intense weather.  Low key, great event that I will definitely repeat next year.  It was great to ride with Nick and we saw each other through at a great pace.  It wasn't the most challenging of rides but it was still a hundred miles...... POP goes that cherry.   Great day, great company, made some good friends along the way.
 I have so much confidence for Wimbleball.... BRING THAT BAD BOY ON..... I'm more than ready for you!!!!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Taunton Deane Triathlon

I like Taunton Tri as its always a good club event and lots take part from West Country Tri.  Its always a good atmosphere and today I was on it.  I was feeling pretty good about this race.  My wave started at 11.39 and I was in lane 1 with 2 others that I knew well.  The swim started and within 2 lengths I was overtaken by my fellow club mate which I didn't mind so I tried to sneak in behind him and get some serious drafting in.  That didn't work as he pulled away from me.  The swim was over quickly and I noticed that I didn't get too out of breath, normally I would take a few lengths to sort myself out which was probably down to the asthma that I didn't know I had.  Swim 400 m 8.20, the fastest swim time EVER for me.

T1 was awful, I couldn't put my sock on and was wobbling around like a good un and it took 1.28... that needs working on.  I like this bike course because its my home ground, I know every nook and cranny of the road.  It was good that I left the pool with a lot of others and I had some competition out on the bike.  Some woman overtook me on the first straight and as I watched her go past and her chunky thighs I thought she was a powerhouse but I wasn't having it and set my targets on her and I hunted her down and overtook her quite quickly!!!!  The route is a bit lumpy and I just went strength from strength overtaking loads riders.  My breathing was really erratic  and I was struggling but I kept going.  At one point coming down a short descent and round a tight right hand bend my back wheel slipped out on a big stone and started to flip the bike, I had no idea how I actually managed to remain on the bike and for a brief second I thought I was going down at speed on a bend and I was going to challenge Mark Cavendish for the best graze marks. Scary!!!!  I got to the by pass and turned on the turbo!!!!! My max speed was 35.4 mph but I'm not sure where I did that as even though there are a few descents there is a lot of sharp bends on the course. Some guy ( really how dare he started to overtake me on the straight) and slipped in front of me..... I wasn't having that... head down I passed him and I kept on going... I knew he would catch me on the first hill but he wasn't going to take me on the straight.  Sure enough on the hill just after that he did take me and as he  passed we both laughed as I said you never take me on the straight and he commented I've been chasing you down and now your mine.  I love the banter of a race.  I did however try to keep up.  As I went through the village so flash BASTARD on bike porn decided to cut me off going around a bend.... EXCUSE ME... isn't it bike etiquette to say your overtaking on the right and give people a wide berth he nearly pushed me into the kerb.  I made a mental note of his number and decided I would sort that out later. So off the bike 22km in 45.35 shaving minutes off last years time.

So off for the run, T2 was better and I was off.  Funnily enough I saw Mr Flash Bastard Porn bike on the run and as I stormed past him I felt like pushing him into the hedge but thought that might be a little too obvious.  Least I overtook him (karma).  I felt really strong on the run, the first mile I had very laboured breathing but soon settled down.  The route is 2 laps and there is a hill ( last year I walked up the hill second time around) but I felt really good and just went for it.  I finished true triathlon style with a sprint finish, you know the kind that when you are going so fast you cant stop at the finish line and plough into all the crowds!!! Tee Hee. Run time 24.53 and that's the fastest 5k I have ever done as well.

Total time 1.21.01 compared to last years1.23.31.... PB... whoop de doooooooooo. So first tri of the year complete and feeling pretty darn good. I did manage to catch up with Mr Flash Bastard Bike Porn has his bike was racked very close to mine.  I did point out rather politely that it was a good idea to warn riders that you are overtaking  and that a wide berth should be given.... I'm not sure he liked my comment that if he had of knocked me off my bike I would have  wrapped his bike porn around his head!!! I did do it in a very nice way of course... I really did!

West country tri overall got some excellent results and a lot of firsts in the age cats.   Great race, great day!!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Glastonbury 10 k and 5 k

Today I was attempting my first double race... Glastonbury 10k followed by the 5k.  this wasn't through choice I hadn't planned it that way but Ben was entered and his running buddy had to pull out so I decided that I would take his place.  This meant that I had 1 hour to finish the 10k and get to the start line of the 5k.  I thought that would be easy until I found out that the 5k start was a good half a mile from the 10k finish line. I had the boys ready at the 5k start with a drink and my spare t shirt with the other number on it.

The 10 k started and we were off.  I started off a bit fast but soon settled into a rhythm.  I wasn't going to cane this run I knew it was a bit lumpy. It was a high spirited race people pushing people in trollies and lots fancy dress.  The support was good lots of people all over the course.  It came and went really quickly for some reason and I was soon at the finish line. Garmin says 50.57.  Not the sub 50 I was looking for but a respectable 50.57 which beats last years time by 3 minutes.   No messing about straight through and off running through all the crowds to get to the 5k start line. It was bit manic running through the crowds.  Jake was waiting with my t shirt a quick change and Ben and I were off to the start line.

I have never done the 5k course and it went the opposite direction to the 10 k.  This was really busy race again with loads of Milfield school kids.  Lots of people were walking just having a laugh.  Ben was a little trooper we ran for 1.5 miles before we had a short walk up a steep hill.  We had to keep dodging all the trollies it was a bit manic.  We seemed to overtake lots people and the race was over very quick.  There is a short steep hill just before the finishing straight and I asked Ben if he wanted to walk it, he decided to run most of it.  

We came down the hill and onto the finishing straight loads of people were clapping him.  I was so proud of him he just kept going and didn't complain at all.

We finished the 5 k in 32.56 on the garmin. Was fantastic running with my son he was AWESUME!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Food newest challenge

So if I said to you that you could NEVER eat cake, chocolate how would you feel?  I found out I was allergic to mushrooms and anything fungal based quite a few years ago.  I also have a yeast intolerance and if my memory serves me rightly I remember having to really watch my diet as I became ill.  I'm not really sure  how I  forgot all the black outs, angry outbursts, sickness, diarrhea and bloating that I suffered.  Somehow this was erased from my memory and I slowly started eating all the things I shouldn't again...... until now.  Now it has caught up with me grabbed hold of me and slapped me repeatedly around the head with a vengeance.  I have been really ill recently with symptoms that I wont share as there are some things that people really don't want to know.  I'm sure that its also linked to my asthma developing and worsening. 

So this is what it is... my body is being totally invaded and owned by a yeast monster.  The intense sugar cravings that I get  are only feeding that yeast monster and when I say INTENSE, I mean intense. The cravings could be as strong as wanting a nicotine or a drug!  My mum is also lactose intolerant and it started with a yeast intolerance like I have. The doctors have taken blood tests and I am being tested for quite a few things and I'm not looking forward to an anal inspection. 

So I had to do something so drastic to my diet and make changes because it was affecting my whole life. I quit chocolate and anything with sugar in but ate more fruit, healthy option you think?????  Fruit has its own sugars and still ferments so good bye fruit. Good bye raisins in my porridge to replace the sugar and HELLLLOOOOOO to plain porridge oats and soya milk.  Its not a taste that I am enjoying! Its very easy to take it for granted that you can just eat.  I very foolishly ate some home made fish and chips with breadcrumbs. I hadn't even finished my dinner before the reactions set in.  This brought new symptoms like breathlessness and a pain in my chest. 

Its so difficult when I'm at work and I'm hungry, I cant just go to the canteen.  My snacks at present are nuts but no peanuts, raw vegetables and that's it.  Crisps have yeast in them and I have developed a squint trying to read all the ingredients and sugars that are in EVERYTHING!!!! Even crackers have yeast in them.  

I have to kill of this yeast inside me and its a 4 to 6 week kill off phrase.  During that time sugar is a no no and whilst the yeast dies off it will fill my body with toxins that will make me ill.  So things are going to get worse before they get better. 
So its time for me to say goodbye to :
Sugar, chocolate, cake, coffee, gravy, cheese, milk,spices, fruit, fruit juice,yogurts, dressings, pepper, spices, bacon, sausages, processed food, convenience  food, take aways, eating out, wine , cider, beer, crackers, bread the list is endless.  I am trying to concentrate on the things that I can have.  
The way forward it to prepare all my own food and I'm lucky that I have a great chef as a boyfriend who is willing to go on this new food journey with me.  Once I have got on top of the yeast monster I will be slowly allowed to bring sugar like blueberries back into my diet.  Cakes and chocolate although will never cross my lips again ;-(
This brings a whole new challenge to my endurance races.  I have relied on gels and energy products that give me the energy I need. Will my body adapt to the lack of sugar? Will my asthma improve? Although steroids are a bad thing to have , yeast monsters like steroids.  Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. 

Today I am off for a food intolerance test to confirm the things I know I cant have but to also highlight things that I might not know about.  Then I will hopefully have the tools to get on top of this.  Its just like playing food roulette. So next time you pick up that bar of chocolate spare a thought for me ;-(

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bridgwater 10 k

Bridgwater 10K

This was the first time this race had been held and the conditions were good. It was sunny but not too warm. I had been taking my brown inhaler for 3 days and was hoping I would start to see some results.

I met a few others from West Country Tri club and I so wanted to finally achieve the elusive sub 50 that had evaded me since I started running. The closest that I had ever got was 50.51 at the battle of Sedgemoor in Langport in 2010.

So after starters orders I had found myself near the front of the pack and my first mile was 7.33, I quickly pulled back as I knew I wouldn’t sub stain that pace and quickly settled into my own pace. I found that my breathing was a lot better than normally and instead of sounding like a steam train panting up the tracks, I was in a rocket stealth mode.

The route was flat but on occasions went off road which was full of big dried tractor tracks so you had to watch where you were going. We started to double back on ourselves and at one point the wind was very much in your face. The race went by very quickly and it wasn’t long before I was nearing the 6 mile mark. I could see the school where the finish line was and despite wanted to hurl my guts up I pushed to the line.

48.45……. OH MY GOD!!!! I knew I wanted a sub 50 but that was way beyond what I thought I could achieve. Every mile was just under the 8 min mark and 3 miles in a row at 7.56.

I was over the moon with that result finally that sub 50. The results were very good for me and possibly the best that I had ever achieved.

118th out of 305 runners

6th in my age cat out of 42

18th woman in out of 128

So then …….sub 45??????????????

Monday, April 9, 2012

Marathon recovery? Hell no! Lets race Shapwick Bunny hop

Seeing I ran the second half of marathon with seized quads my legs were sore. Going upstairs, getting off the toilet and climbing gates was proving difficult. I went for a slow recovery run on Tuesday which did help a lot. I found the faster I ran the less it hurt. I also went out for a very easy spin in the MTB which was fun until I tried to get out the saddle, legs seized and I fell off!

I had missed boxing in favour of getting some longer runs in so I foolishly went boxing on Wednesday which I probably shouldn't have.  I found the warm up hard and sadly jogged on the spot whilst the others did star jumps and squat thrusts, my legs were not going to work.  Using the bags were fine, my arms didn't hurt.  There were only 3 of us at boxing so we had longer pad sessions.  Dave the coach likes to wind us up and is always checking we have our guard up and he had also seen me struggling to use my legs.  During the spar sessions we are supposed to drop down low to miss being hit around the head and come back up nice and quick.  Dave knew this and kept hitting me around the head so I had to starting ducking as he wasn't going to let up and then he would circle me laughing like the Tasmanian Devil and jeering me.  The more I struggled the more he laughed. I kept getting hit or my legs seized and I was seriously starting to lose my rag. I thought one more hit and I was gonna slam my right hook right between his eyes.  The bell went and both our lives were saved.  Next week it will be a very different story!!!!!

Thursday I went for a nice flat wet and windy 30 miles on the bike keeping those legs spinning.  I was still having issues getting off the toilet.  This didnt let up until after my massage on Thursday. 

Friday I met up with Caroline and Bev from West Country Tri and we attacked that wimbleball course.  I was fine until we hit those hills but I was just grateful that I had no bike issues and got up all the hills with my chain coming off, my chain snapping or gears mucking up and NO punctures.  What a miracle!! Bev however got a puncture and I was amazed at how quickly I changed her tyre for her and was glad that I had gone to the bike maintenance course. I feel pretty confident if i ever get a puncture now.  When I got home I went out on Whoopie and did a nice flat 12 miles with Nick just to reconnect with Whoopie and get some extra miles in.

Sat was spent in the pool having a stretch and getting some drills in..... I need to get back on track with swimming.  Nick and I then went for a short 3 miler just to get some fresh air.... he really picked up the pace and I have a feeling that I'm going to have to watch my back. 

Sunday was a rest day but spent most of the day fighting off blaggers at Cheddar car boot sale..... that's worse than a days training and a much earlier start.

Shapwick Bunny Hop is a 7.5 multi terrain race ran by my local running club.  It was cold wet and windy and it was a small field as most runners dropped out.  I started off quite fast and then forgot we end up waiting around at styes and there is 10 of these in this race.  It was a fast pace for me.................
1   8:22. 
2   8:04.
3   7:55.
4   8:01.
5   8:05.
6   8:24.
7   9:32.
8  4:50.   I started to struggle at mile 6 as the track became very muddy and I felt like I was running with platform shoes on.  I had to run a mile this way and found it really hard work.  It just wasn't me everyone around me was having the same problems.  Finally the last half mile was on tarmac and Islowly started to lose all the mud attached to my trainers.  By this stage I was feeling pretty tired and was very glad to see the finish line. Garmin said 1.03.16 which beat last years time of 1.06.18.  Another Pb under my belt.

Now I'm off to run the club championship!!! 2.5 mile time trail!!!!! argh!!!!!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Taunton marathon

I was quite concerned about this race, training had gone really well and then after a small run on the Friday my Achilles was swollen. I spent most of sat using hot and cold treatment and making sure I was topped up on painkillers

The race was 2 loops and was quite bumpy. I started off the race really well and kinda got caught up with the 1600 half marathon runners. My times were looking good and was averaging 8.30 minute miles....My mum was there to meet me at 6 miles in and ended up stalking for the next couple of miles which was fab... I did ask the bloke next to me if he knew her lol and made a big joke of her stalking me. I think he thought I was a complete nutter. In fact most people probably thought the same as I was receiving live twitter feed I was giggling away to myself and smiling a lot. I especially laughed out loud at fluff's tweet about my boobs jiggling about.

I crossed the half way point at 1.57 and thought you know what I can crack this sub 4 malarky and good to see Nick there cheering me on ... I was feeling pretty damn good at this's at mile 14 that the wheels started to come off....

As a lot of people had finished the race when we were directed off to our second loop I ended up having to run through a very busy town centre which was really weird as the first time found these roads we're shut to traffic.. This is where I had my fall ... I stumbled coming off the pavement by a roundabout and was heading towards the floor big style but there was a taxi there and I fell onto his front wing and bonnet... I don't know who was the most shocked me or the taxi driver. Luckily this stopped me heading the floor but I felt like I jarred my legs. My quads really hurt from this point and i was starting to struggle. My pace dropped and I started to find it hard work... On hindsight I think the first lap was far to fast.

This is where Judith comes into the story.... I picked her up and asked if I could run with her...I think I become quite a comedian when I hurt (my quads were so tight and on fire)and I was having quite a laugh. We overtook a cyclist in fact we overtook a fair few runners. Judith's wheels feel off at 24 miles and I slowly lost her. My quads were so tight like I was on the verge of getting cramp but never did. The last 3 miles involves 2 big hills and I had to zip up the man suit good and proper... I'm not sure how I managed these last miles totally on auto pilot and the tweets I was getting from Simon and other twitter members kept me going as did the thought of the bottle of bubbles in my fridge.

At last the finish line in sight and although I was disappointed that it wasn't a sub 4 but it was a PB IN 4.08.03. That was a tough hilly course and I have never ran a marathon in so much pain as I did today. I learnt a lot about myself today and realised that despite the pain I kept going. I did swear a lot and was maybe a little vocal on the hills but it got me through.

The funniest moments happened after the race especially after trying to get out the car and into Tesco express doing the funniest walk EVER.

I can't thank my mum, Nick and all you gorgeous lovely people who sent me messages through Facebook and twitter that really made a difference. So thank you soooo much xxxxxx