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.