Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Drogo 10

So I was sat here thinking I haven't raced for a while and its x country I used the whizz of social media to broadcast the fact that I needed to race and lo and behold Lisa comes up trumps with The Drogo 10. So instead of being in the gym and getting hench it was time to dig out the trail shoes and go and get dirty!!!!

The scenery and the hills that we saw driving there was beautiful but also scary...... there was some big hills.
We arrived nice and early  and the autumn colours of the trees were gorgeous.  The start was at Drogo castle and the weather was good, slightly chilly but very bearable.

We started going up a hill and then almost came to a standstill as the path suddenly went downwards and became very steep and narrow.  We then had to queue to get over the bridge.  We ran on stony wooded paths that went up and down..... and when they went up... oh boy did they go up and when you went down, they were just as steep.  There were flat sections that were very muddy and very stony and with a thick covering of leaves its always a worry.  At times we followed the river and it was probably one of the best scenic runs I have ever done.  There was 3 very big hills in this race and I will be honest and say that on parts of those hills, I walked, especially the last one.

The run seemed to go very quickly but it was great, mud, good organisation and views that made the hills seem a distance memory.  The last hill was a narrow steep hill but oh boy when you got to the top and you saw all those autumn colours it made me feel so glad that I was alive.  I wanted to puke the minute I crossed the line but it was short fleeting moment.

Great race....... would highly recommend it to anyone!!!!

Thanks to Lisa for driving and the cream tea and scones after were lush even though my gluten free one was very very crumbly!!!!

Results are not out yet but garmin said 1.36

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bournemouth marathon and poppyfielders

After not getting a ballot place in London for the 5th year running , I was determined to try for a good for age at Bournemouth.  Luckily for me the Bustinskin 70.3 I had entered for the weekend before had been cancelled.

This would be my first marathon as a team raising money for Birmingham's children's hospital. 
Lee, Jarvis and myself all started together and I had an average in my head that I needed to keep to if I could.  I wasn't going to rush the first few miles and get carried away with the crowds.  Leeky went on and me and Jarvis held back a little. Well I say we held back for the first mile but  that kinda went out the window and we did the next 4 miles in under 8.20 average.  We did however pull it back and slowed down to 8.40's , we didn't want to over cook.

Now I've never ran a full marathon with someone we have always ended up drifting apart at some point.  Running with Jarvis was quite entertaining, our pace was good and we were running at the speed of chat so I knew we weren't going to blow up too early on the course.  We seemed to be overtaking more than we were being overtaken.  Jarvis had his name called out ALL the time, I have no idea why people didn't want to call out the name written on my Tshirt.....
We decided to have a little tally of how many people called his name to how many high fives I could get.  The most successful high five technique of the day was shouting "all the good looking men high five and lo and behold men would hold their hands up to high five"  It was all about tactics.  High fiving the Marshall's worked too, I mean its their job isn't it ;-)  I was getting so confident I even started high fiving random good looking blokes in the crowds. If I saw people with pain on their face, I would try and get eye contact and shout their name.  High Fives give you a boost..... well they do me.  This was to be our little game throughout the marathon and it worked for me. 

The route was good in the way that you doubled back a lot so you could see when people were in front and by how much but also we got to see the rest of the poppyfielders.  We saw everyone at least once and a few two or three times.  Now I like to shout OGGY a lot in races and on more than one occasion no one has ever responded which all results in a little awkward moment but having Jarvis with me meant at least one person would respond.  So we tried it out a few times in some crowded places and it worked a treat, especially going up that first little hill.

Even though we were having lots fun I still had my eye on the average pace and gave Jarvis a running documentary on our mileage and times. We were slowing gaining on Lee and I could see each time we passed that he was grimacing more.  AT mile 18 someone thought that it would be funny to chuck a longish hill in, now I run hills, I like hills but at this particular time IT HURT!!!! It seemed to take a few miles to recover from that hill.  It began to hurt at mile 14 which passed at mile 17 but after that hill at 18 then running down a hill my legs started to groan. 

Now when I'm tired I start to get silly and lets face it its great to talk to random people.  So I started to demand that people who were overtaking me had to low five me and most people are up for it.  If anyone has random memories of the marathon it might be some strange tattooed lady high fiving anything that moved. My next line was to say "hi, did you know that today is NATIONAL make a friend whilst running a marathon day.  Everyone shook my hand and we had a little chat apart from one guy who was so so grumpy but hey we had a laugh at him too.

Now for the last few marathons I've done I've found renewed energy at mile 20 and this was no exception.  Somehow somewhere something kicked in.  Its here I lost Jarvis and even though my average pace had dropped to 9.15 min miles I felt good.  There is always a lot of people walking from mile 20 and running past them always gives me strength.  The last miles were a bit lonely so I put some tunes on and got into the beat.  I knew I wouldn't make the good for age but I knew I would PB.  I caught up with Mr Knight who we had been playing vat and mouse with during the whole race, what a legend he was. Its always good running with someone in fancy dress as they get the biggest cheers!!!!!

So there was the finish line and I even half attempted a sprint finish.  3.53.59 a 4 minute Pb and 4 mins over the good for age.  It was good to see that I beat Mr Grumpy in and I made a point of going over and giving him the biggest smile and saying well done.

Now a big thank you to Jarvis because he kept me dying of boredom on some of those long stretches down the sea front, he helped me keep my pace and told me some very interesting information about Bournemouth.  I know we didn't finish together but he helped me through 75 % of the race.

I had such a great time and met some old friends but also some great new ones all united through one common cause.   Taank you to all the supporters for being there and helping us through.
I was 253rd out of 3001 runners and 15th in my age cat which I was quite chuffed about.  That makes me in the top 17 %.  Next year I'm doing all 4 races over the 2 days.   BRING IT ON

Love poppyfielders team...... thanks guys YOU ROCK!!!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cotswold middle distance.

This middle distance was 4 weeks after completing Challenge Roth. I didn't know how I would feel, if I would have recovered.  My legs have been so heavy but I have also been doing some serious weight training and that weight/cardio balance is a tough balancing act.

We travelled up on the Friday but again what goes on tour stays on tour!!!!!!

Lets concentrate on the race itself.
So the day started really early and a HUGE schoolboy error. Just before I entered the water I went to use my inhaler which I need for open water swimming and it was EMPTY.  I thought that seeing the water was warm I would get away with it BUT I didn't.  Within 30 seconds of starting I was having an asthma attack.  Knowing I didn't have my inhaler made me panic even more. There was a horrid smell in the water and I'm not sure what caused the attack.... some strange gases ( and no that wasn't Lisa) or a placebo because I knew I hadn't got an inhaler...... who knows.... frankly who cares?  I couldn't breathe and was watching all the swimmers go past me.  At this point and I know this will surprise many of you..... I contemplated pulling out..... yes me pulling out!!!!!! I soon banished that thought and decided it was time to shape up or shit out..... I know I have got through attacks before and I just needed to apply mind over matter.  I used breast stroke for a while and then I started to glide with one arm extended and just kicking because every time I put my head under the water it made everything worse.  This was just like a swim smooth drill and it worked. Now it was catch up time. I managed to catch up with the back pack of my wave as we exited the water.
Swim time 42.52.  I think that if I hadn't had had an attack one of my fastest swims could have been on the cards but then again if I hadn't have needed to play catch up!!!

The transition was sooooooooooooo long but I was there and out on my bike.  Coming out the water later gave me the catch up advantage.  I was in  LOCK and LOAD.  The bike route was flat and you could get down on those aero bars and pedal your little heart out.  Bike route was lush .... there was a hill which took me surprise on the first lap but I enjoyed it on the second.  The wind was either behind you or in front of you and it had picked up significantly on the second lap.  Marshall's were amazing so encouraging and waving their yellow flags around which was much better  than arms.  My legs didn't feel too heavy but I had began to tire on the second.  Bike split 2.50.40

The run was great...... took you around some of the different lakes there.... each loop was just over 4 miles and a mixture between woody trail paths and pavements.  Again all the marshals were brilliant so encouraging.  My run was steady..... caught a lot of people up.  There was an encounter with a very protective swan who was on the path guarding his young but the triathletes ganged up on it and it reluctantly backed off into the water. Another great sprint finish love those fast twitch muscles.  Run time 2.03.40

In short.... a great weekend with some great people... thanks to Lisa my camping buddy and massive well done to Lisa, Nick and Matt for completing their first middle distance.  Big thank you to Mel for coming up and supporting us
I highly recommend this race to anyone wanting an introduction to a fast flat middle distance

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Challenge Roth 2013 - my first ironman distance

So here I am sat on the plane to Germany. I just had the, most surreal moment and then a huge reality check. I will BE doing an ironman. I thought it best to start putting some words down.
The journey started with a long train journey receiving texts and messages that made me over emotional to a degree that the old lady sat next to me gave me a tissue. I was quietly excited and decided that First Great Western passengers weren't ready for my excitement so I kept a lid on it and didn't speak one word of my destination to anyone.

The tubes again stressed me out luckily I realized I was on the wrong one and that I had missed my stop but was easily rectified. I had my train angel on call thanks Leeky lee. Once at the airport I could relax. I met a few people from the challenge Roth Uk Facebook page.

As we were waiting in the holding area before we boarded the plane no one was talking so I asked who wanted to play spot the triathlete.  That was it; ice broken and everyone started chatting. Met some really interesting people on the plane, which I have to say was pretty empty.  I’ve been dreading the journey not being a seasoned traveler but once I put my big girl pants on I was on a roll.
Now there are a lot of things that happened in the “German BIG brother house” which justifies its own blog but what goes on tour stays on tour!!!! My lips are sealed.

Even though the idea was to taper and rest there was a lot of driving around (or being a passenger should I say) to attend briefings and racking the bikes.   The days before seemed so busy and I felt I was constantly on my feet.

I had a very weird sense of calm that seemed a little uncanny and even when I saw T1 I was still incredibly calm. I had though spent the last few weeks being totally manic and now I was in the zone. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the race……..

checking out the finish line 

All the women went off together and I can tell you there were a lot of nervous faces mine included. We got into the water and had to swim to the start line which was about 20 meters away.  The water was really warm 21 degrees.
There was no count down one minute you were heading for the start line and the next you were on your way which did seem a little unfair.
The start was below a bridge and the canal was wider than a motorway. The bridge was completely full of people and as you set off you could hear the roar of the people. It didn’t stop there I could hear the crowd cheering for about 20 minutes and let’s face it hearing things when you are swimming, it’s got to be pretty loud.
There was plenty of room and I soon settled into a pace in my head I was saying oh my god I’m doing an ironman……. oh my god OOOOHHHHHH MY GOOOOOOD!!!!
The first turn around point seemed so very far away and by the time I had reached it the second wave behind us had started to catch up.
The swim start

This was quite brutal where the water had been calm suddenly it became really choppy and the men in green hats were upon us. They didn't seem to care and just swam over the women. I learnt quickly that these guys were not going to go around me like the women had done so I went into battle mode.  Every time I felt threatened I would start kicking so hard as a warning that I was not to be messed with and it seemed to work.  I decided that every time I was overtaken by a green hat I would get on their feet and draft as long as I could. Coming back up to the bridge again you could hear the roar of the crowd again. The last turnaround point was really busy and swimmers everywhere were heading for the narrow swim exit. I made it, swim was complete. You have no idea how happy that made me feel. Quick time check, I was dead on my prediction and I was happy bunny.
T1 volunteers were brilliant they emptied your bag, gave you what you wanted and   applied sun cream. I felt good and ready to tackle the bike.
Meeting Macca
Racked up
The support was awesome, the roads smooth, I was on my way what more could you possibly want?
I had frozen my home made energy bars and placed them in small clear bags. I had also bought a bum bag which had emergency energy bars in.
People say that Roth is fast but the course is rolling and there were some long climbs. We went through many villages and the atmosphere was amazing. Locals were out with tables and picnics and it was like we were royalty coming through.
I had heard all the stories of Solarer hill but nothing, absolutely NOTHING   can prepare you for it.  You hear the roar of the crowd, the shouts, cowbells, rattles well before you see it. I looked up and there were just people everywhere!  It looked like there was no way through and you saw the riders in front of you getting swallowed by the crowd and then as if by magic an opening would appear. Mexican waves, people in your face willing you on. My whole body tingled with excitement and I couldn't stop grinning it was just like the Tour de France
That gave you such a rush that the turning for the second lap was upon you before you could say Solarer  hill
I checked my split I was well on target. Your name and your flag was on your race number so every time I saw a British flag I would say hi and I did meet lots people from the Facebook page but I think I have already mentioned that… dam that sparkling wine.
The second loop was a bit slower and as I passed all those poor women having to shit in the woods. It reminded me how I got my nutrition right and I wasn't overloading my body with sugar. Another one of my memories was a rather large German overtaking me and his tri suit had split on his bum and he was winking at me.... funny things you remember. Great scenery, great villages and great people.
The whole 112 miles seemed so daunting so I broke it into 10 mile blocks which seemed to help. My time 6.30 again on target….. I'm pretty good at predicting my times.

I couldn't believe when I entered T2 everything was going to plan I had to sit down for a moment and take it all in and prepare for the marathon.
I headed out on the run and after a mile the sheer exhaustion and heat hit me.... I decided to walk and have a prep talk with myself. I thought that it was a rather long way and if I was going to walk it was going to take rather  a long time so I dug deep broke it up into sections and decided that walking was only an option after 13 miles.  The canal path was hot dusty and never ending and after a few miles I had shaken of my bike legs and was getting into the zone. Never at any point did I think I would not finish, only how painful it might be. I had grit in my trainers and as I stopped to get it out I  was rewarded with the most painful inner thigh cramp so I thought grit in my shoe was a better option.
The run was really tough and I thought I was running slowly but in fact I was maintaining my normal long distance run pace. I ran to every feed station then walked through each station drenching myself with sponges and sticking them down my top. I took on lots of water, melon, nuts and bananas. The fact I could keep running and I was overtaking so many people just helped me keep going. It wasn't pretty they was people puking, they had medical boats that were picking up people along the way. I did have my music on me but it annoyed me so I turned it off. There were a few hills so I did walk them.
Have I mentioned how I now hate canal paths.... I'm not quite sure how I kept going. By this time I had resulted to using GU gels I had one then needed a loo stop I decided I wasn't having any more
I did see the others but it was when I saw Fred who was trying to hunt me down and catch me that I felt a second wind arrive. I really don’t know how I got from 13 to 20 miles but I had. The route then took you off those god dam hot paths and back into the town which meant I was on the final stretch home.  I did start to walk a bit more I was really starting to flag. Runner’s started to cheer you on telling you to run and I ran with a German guy for a while who kept me motivated. The end was so close I decided to walk for a bit and save myself for the red carpet.  The support got more intense and I prepared myself for the end. As soon as I hit that red carpet and it’s a very long red carpet I knew I had made it....... there it was the finish line...... I had rehearsed my finish line crossing but when I got there I just crossed it. I couldn't believe I had done it.  A volunteer was hugging me shaking my hand but I couldn't cry I just couldn't..... Crying now as I relive my finish sat on train crying.... knobhead

The first place I needed to go was the toilet and as I sat there with my stomach doing somersaults and feeling sick I checked my Garmin.... 12.46   now I didn't believe that for a second band thought I had done my usual trick and buggered it up. Whilst I was sat there and my world was falling down a smelly portaloo I received about 10 text congratulating me and confirming the time…… OH MY GOD WHAT A SHOCKER!!!!!!!

Now being a Maths teacher n all you think that I would work it out but in my head I had done over 13 hours but under the 13.30 I wanted, so this was all a bit of a shock. Getting a sub 13 was mind blowing.
I remember a English woman catching me on the bike and asking me which was my best discipline   and I replied  saying if anything the transition from bike to run was where I was strong and that I was a stubborn bitch and would keep going.

So ironman done.... My body coped remarking well a cracking time.
A big thank you to the Roth crew for helping me, driving me around, and getting through that race. I had a great time and met some great people although I won’t miss farts.

Will I do it again? You bet your life I will...... Loved it

I nailed it all…. The training, the nutrition, the taper and the race!!! I want to do it a lot faster!!!!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pre Ironman and sprint championships qualifiers

WOW...... 3 years ago There's a few things I wouldn't have said..........
1) The British Championships qualifiers  is not my A race
2) I'm doing IRONMAN well, challenge Roth, to be exact I don't want to be gunned down by the ironman police.............

So here I was thinking about how I'm going to rock up to the British championships qualifiers in the BEST shape I have ever been.  I haven't trained for this race because I have been too busy training getting in the distance so my explosive sprint power might be somewhat lost and I seem to struggle short distance with my asthma....... but hey I'll give it a go. I want to qualify for the long distance championships if truth be known.

So Bristol race day started with my van breaking down the day before... luckily I had a lift from Andy.

My wave started at 11.14 and it was BRUTAL....... I started in the middle of the pack and the first 5 minutes was a scrap....... I normally hate this but today it was good..... I was one of those horrid people who swam all over you, grabbing your legs.... Im coming through!!!!! The scrap continuing nearer the first buoy..... GRRRRRR lets have it!!!!  The swim was over all too quick and for once I left the water in the middle of the pack..... the Vaseline did its trick and that wetsuit was off quicker than you can say .... "wetsuit off".  I enjoyed the swim...15.39
The bike was good, I enjoyed it, lots of people on the road who were all fair game.  It was great racing with the best of them..... everyone was hungry for that London place and it showed. My competitive side LOVED this and I was on it when I overtook a GB athlete on a hill as well ( get me) and there was no way I was giving her back the edge..... it was a little windy in places but so glad I kept the aero wheels on.  I have to add here, there was a lot of women wearing aero helmets this year, I'm still not one of them.
 T2 was awkward.... couldn't get my shoes soon as I started running I knew I was in trouble.  I didn't realise that somewhere between pre swim and pre run I was  a victim of divine intervention and I had been blessed with child.    My stomach was bloated and rock solid in a way that I had never seen so severe.  I found it very difficult to run and the more I ran the worse it got.  My 5 k time was dreadful.... 26.25... that's quite possibly, no in fact that's the WORST run I have ever done. Total time 1.25.04.  I enjoyed the race and although I wanted to be placed further up the field, I wasn't too disappointed.... Roth is my A race.  Had lots support today and it was great , thank you to Lisa and the kids for my banner and Andy for chauffeur duties and Heath as well,  makes a huge difference.

So on to Roth.....

I can't believe how far I have come this year........ the training has been tough and very time consuming but I have taken this seriously and there is one thing I firmly believe  that if you" fail to prepare you prepare to fail".  I have got out there and  cycled several  100 solo miles after running 15 the day before and still feel there is more in the tank.  I'm not saying that the Ironman distance will be a breeze but I have never felt more prepared for anything in my life.  I have spent the last 7 months getting up 20 mins early to work on my core...... spent all of my free time running, biking and swimming. ( why am I crying????) 

There was a time that a 50 mile bike ride would wipe me out for a few days and now as my fitness grows and my goals move forward,I often forget how far that I have come and how much I take my fitness for granted.  There are times that I feel I haven't done enough and I doubt myself but you know what, that's because I respect the distance.  
I have been trying to work out what ironman distance means to me and have come up with this :

I -  inspiring or inspired. I have been lucky to meet some amazing people who have inspired me and I hope      that I have in turn inspired others to take on the sport
R - realistic. Taking on a challenge like this takes some serious dedication and fore thought... a quality that I don't possess so it becomes easy for me.  
O -opportunity to live that dream and challenge myself in ways I never dreamt possible.
N - nutrition is very important especially for me with such stupid food intolerances. Times of trial and error. 
M - mental strength or just being mental helps!!!  Or mantra......... believing in yourself and positive affirmations. getting your ironman mantra tattooed on your arm!!!!! 
A- Attitude, Bad Arse Blackmore attitude.... the attitude that gets me there at the start line and helps me cross the finish line
N -Not giving up, never give up, pushing yourself over that edge to the point of no return and enjoying the victory.

Am I ready for Roth?....... YES I AM.   I've done a long distance race,  I've trained hard, I am so stubborn that I will keep going regardless.  once I have set my mind on something I will do it..... failure is never an option.  No Guts No Glory!!!!!
I have booked my tattoo..... I have a race plan..... I have visualised myself crossing that line so many times that it will happen.  I am a firm believer that once you mind has done it the body follows through.  On training runs I have visualised each lam post to be the mile of the marathon  and when I have hit 26, I have been known to burst into tears.

In fairness the road to ironman is a long one and at times a hard one but one that takes you on a journey of self discovery and on a roller coaster of emotions.  I know that I will encounter some dark times........but I also know that I will overcome them.  So the next blog will be my race report!!!!! see you on the other side people.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Swalshbucker middle distance

I have never raced a flat middle distance and I entered this race as a warm up for Roth. It uy was a long drive down and the pre race prep wasn't the best sleeping in the bongo and having to get up at 3.50am. It was so cold I turned up at race HQ wearing my onesie.  To be honest I was pretty anxious about the swim especially with the coldness but we were allowed few minutes to acclimatise and the water was 15 c.  That is just tropical and I am soooooo glad that I have been training in much colder conditions.

I started off at the back with my new wetsuit and new goggles( please don't try this at home) and we were away.  The sun was so bright it was really difficult to sight and on the first lap it didn't matter so much as you could follow the people but on the second lap had to keep stopping and squinting to see where that pink buoy was. The swim although slow it was good.  Up the long grassy hill to transition where I could see most of the bikes had gone.  That's not a problem I like the thrill of the chase and I'm used to being one of the slower swimmers.

We were warned about wandering cattle, donkeys and horses and within the first three miles on a great descent I had a narrow escape with a cow!!! That put a hold on my speed.  My legs felt really heavy today and I was left wondering if I had left them home on the kitchen table, they felt heavy right from the word go but that didn't stop me.  I clawed my way back through the pack.  There was one guy who had the posh bike and the aero helmet who decided to turn and spit without checking and seing as I was beside him I took the brunt of it.  That annoyed me a tad. I decided that he would then be the main bait of the day.  He took off and I followed..... he didn't get very far and was probably a little pissed when I stayed with him. As I overtook him and left him in my trail of carbon dust I exclaimed "having a bad day there chuck?" Meschee 1 - spit boy 0.  The bike route was very rolling and the roads were great.  No real potholes and nice smooth surfaces.  There was at times a good side wind that my deep rims wheels took objection to but overall not a bad ride.

In T2   took a little time as I couldn't seem to put my knee straps on and I was off.  The run route was a loop of 7 miles you had to do twice.  The first loop was hard and sooooo hot.  I couldn't feel my feet for the first 4 miles and I felt clumsy and awkward and I was averaging 9.30 / 10 min miles.  As you come round for the second lap up a gravel horrible hill many of the guys were finishing, that was a little annoying and I got caught up in a sprint finish before I headed for my second lap.  Im not quite sure what happened here, I didn't have any gels just my home made energy bars on the bike but I found a new set of legs.  Whether the endurance training  kicked in or  the home made energy bars I was on it.  I picked up the pace and was running 8.30/9 min miles which was a huge improvement and I overtook lots runners.  Every time I passed a female runner I was checking her out to see if she was in my age cat!!! I had predicted to a friend that I would get 5.49.37 and I got 5.49.22.  My predictions are uncanny.... mystic meschee.

I ended up 7th in my age cat out of 17 and I was happy with that.  At the end of the day this was a training race for |Roth and if I can feel stronger at the end of the race on the run then that in my Ironman book is a good place to be.
The Bling 

ONESIE in transition 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Taunton Deane Triathlon

I've been a bit slack lately I neglected to blog about our 85 mile bike ride when we completed the Grand Fondo and then the following week Vicky and I cycled another 80 miles to Milverton to cycle the tri course. This, I think, resulted in the nasty cold that we both picked up.  Regardless of this fact we both took part in Taunton Deane triathlon.   This was going to be my Team Tri UK debut and I wanted to do well.
I was very clever...... I packed an empty packet of power max cold tablets, so by the time I was ready for my swim wave I was representing team SNOT UK.   Now I know most of you are thinking at this point why the hell did I even contemplate racing and you can insert your "I told you so here comment here"...........................................................................................................................................................

There are a few of you who would have done exactly the same as me and you can insert your justified reasons here...............................................................................................................................................

Anyway despite whether or not I should race I did and those of you who think I shouldn't can now suck their breath in and tut but the swim was SHIT.   The slowest, hardest swim that I have EVER done.  I resulted in breathing every stroke because I could not breathe. A very disappointing 8.46 when I  aiming for 8 mins.
I think I was last out of the pool and entered T1.  I had decided this race I was going to try the no sock approach to cut down transition times. I left on the bike still struggling to breathe and thought I would soon catch up with all the others in my wave. The first hill I thought I was going to die..... my lungs felt so tight and I was struggling to take any kind of breathe at all.  I had left inhaler in T1 but I had already had some so it probably wasn't going to help anyway.  It took the first 5 miles for me to breath in any way than resembled normality and by the time I hit the by-pass I was pretty much up to full speed.  Then it kicked in.... I overtook most of the people in my wave and was flying.... me and the bad boy united once more.  I did struggle a bit on the hills trying to catch my breath but my bike time was the fastest that I had ever done on this course.  I was racing without my Garmin as well so I was unsure of what I was doing.

So into T2, straight into trainers  no socks, no knee brace run.  I felt like I was running quite fast and the hill you did twice didn't seem that bad at all.  Again the fastest time that I have done that race.  My transition were fast too so I did PB on the course and finally got a sub 1.20 with a finish time of 1.19.56. I guess with the bad start I should be pleased. Personally not the team Tri Uk debut result I wanted.  Sprint races are the worst distance for me just on the basis that I need to warm up in the race and short explosive burst don't suit my asthma.  My challenge therefore must lie in qualifying for the long distance championships, so watch this space.

This resulted in 7th in age cat out of 26 and overall gender position of 19th out of 78.  I wasn't happy with that result although I should have been.  This race attracts the better triathletes because of the prize money and it was a good race for me to judge the Gb qualifiers in June. I can now safely say I don't think that I stand any chance of qualifying at all but I will still give it my best shot.  Hopefully on that day, a tight chest and asthmatic breathing might not hinder my performance but sadly it is something that I do have to deal with and its something that will never get any better.

It was great to race with Mendip triathlon members and they all did really well especially Vicky who I  foresee winning everything in the near future.  Great race for Hollie in her first triathlon as well.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

London marathon

So my journey to London started at 4 am Sat morning when I left the house to catch a train to London it was a rather emotional train ride the events of the last week starting to take its toll. I held it together.... Just.
 I arrived in Farningham home of Leeky lee by 10.30 and had a nice brunch and a few games with me ole mucker Fletch.  
We arrived at the expo to pick up our numbers and had a wander around. I  bought some new compression calf guards and blagged a cheap visor and free water body.  The guy we dealt with was Chrissie Wellingtons cousin so I asked him to marry me... He declined(the cheek). The expo was huge and I was starting to understand the full scale of London marathon.  We met Cath (so good to catch up) and a few others for pasta party then we headed back to lord Leek's pad for wine. ( wine I hear you say... Yes I blame that Mrs Bedders such a bad influence) Not wanting to let down the poppyfield challenge down Lee and I did 30 mins yoga. ( no comment on tight pants here either) I was so tired it was such a long day and about 12.30 I managed to get some sleep. (Its here I wont mention the air bed incident....) What happens on tour stays on tour!!!!!
I didn't sleep very well and even though alarm was set for 7 I woke up at 4. It's funny when you sleep at other peoples houses and you try and be really quiet. By the time 7 am arrived I shouted for Lee to get up.
The usual, eating, bumbling around making sure everything is ready, lots toilet visits but we left  at 8.15 ish.

I cried the whole journey couldn't stop myself never normally cry before a race.  We parked up and started the mile walk to the start. Lee left for the red start and I dumped my case and got in the ladies urinal queue.  Now nothing can prepare you for a ladies urinal. You picked up your cardboard wee she and inside there was lots mini urinals. As I turned the corner I was met with lots of ladies bums sticking out. It was a bizarre sight and a source of amusement and laughter for all. But the queues went down really quick and it worked. I decided to jump pens, I didn't want to start at the back so I ended up in pen 5 instead of 8 and had my sights on the 3.45 pacer.

We had 30 seconds silence... Not going to even voice my opinion on that!!! The race started and I was surprised  I  crossed the start line quite quickly. 
The first 3 miles was a nightmare, so many people , very congested and as normal I took at fall at about 3 miles. We turned a corner and I was unaware of the humps and went down after losing my footing and managed to take down a few runners with me luckily no one was hurt and the magical thing was that these arms just came out of nowhere and scooped us up and almost lifted me off the ground until I found my feet.  Such a strange feeling. About a mile previous to that I had rolled my ankle but I managed to get through that as well. We ran through a tunnel quite early where they were playing drums, the acoustics were AMAZING and my whole body tingled with excitement.  

So many people had said they would be in certain places but I knew Mell would be near mile 12. I managed to text her and find out what side she would be on.  I saw her as I went past so did went back for a quick hug.... That hug must have lasted a good 10 mins as I'm sure I could have got 3.45(joking)
That hug gave me a lift and carried on.  At  16 miles I started to feel that my wheels were going to get a little wonky so I risked taking a GU gel.... Small little sips and no reaction.  In my head I needed to get to 20 miles and the miles 16 to 20 were probably the hardest and I often found myself welling up. I kept saying in my head that this was for Ian and it kept me going.  Once I got to 20 miles I  got a second wind .The crowds increased and so did the support there was just a constant roar. 
Lots people have started to walk by then and you had to keep running around them. I risked another GU gel at mile 22 but I didn't really need it so I ended up throwing most of it away I knew that MJ was at mile 24 with Union Jack and as I came out the tunnel I scanned the crowd but couldn't see... I did hear lots/shouting and turned back to see them all... Gutted I was on wrong side. It seemed like I was constantly running past people and when I checked the stats I ran a very constant pace. 

The crowd just got louder and louder... Nothing can prepare you for it and the last 3 miles seemed to fly by.

I saw the 800 m to go sign and knew I was near the end.... That was the long 800 m.... I knew could make a sub 4 and pushed it to the line.  I had done it sub 4... I didn't feel to bad... Legs coped, no burning, it was all good. It was at this time I wanted to burst into tears but I couldn't until I found someone I knew. When Lee turned up at the meeting point it was time for hugs and  tears.

We couldn't find the others so we went for a pint. We got searched before we could enter bar which kinda felt bit insulting she went right through my suitcase.... I told her that she might find some sweaty clothes.  I never tasted a glass of wine that seemed like heaven's nectar itself. 

Time to board the train and make the journey home. Late trains meant missing connecting trains and ended up spending a lot of time sitting around when all I wanted to do was be at home in my bed.

A great weekend meeting old friends and finally meeting with Lee who was the perfect host and gentleman.  He is such a good friend and he helped make my first London marathon experience something I will never forget.
So 4 hours sleep and a bottle of wine didn't deter me from my Pb. Successful nutrition test without any problems and I discovered coconut  and chia seeds gel is quite possibly the best pre race nutrition you can get. What a buzz!!!!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Taunton half marathon

Another half you say...... you bet ya bottom dollar......entering a race that you cycle to before running is, in my book, a great ironman training incentive.  We missed out on cycling to Yeovil previously because of this rubbish weather.  I had organised to cycle in with Cookie, just like old times, but he was late and after 10 minutes of waiting I decided to go on.  There goes my free air!!!!! I've never actually cycled to Taunton and I saw it as a little adventure.  The ride in was actually quite undulating!!!!

I arrived in Taunton,25 miles later, feeling quite good and ready to race.  I had thought the race was starting at 10 and that's why I made the decision to leave without waiting for Cookie BUT it started at 10.30.... DOH!!!!! I went to put my bag away and for some strange reason decided I needed to know where my keys were.  I couldn't find them and frantically throwing the contents of my bag all over the place.  I knew I wouldn't be able to race unless I found them so back tracked and luckily I had left them at the information desk.   Phew now I could relax.

When you race regularly you recognise the same old faces and it was good to see so many people so I spent  a while catching up until the race started.  Now people always ask if you have a time in mind, I did, I wanted to get a sub 1.50.  If I had driven I would have said a sub 1.45.

So we were off, the wind was not our friend today and I feel most of the race was ran running into that cold wind. As usual I didn't really warm up until mile 7 .  I started near the front and slowly I was overtaken constantly whereas at Yeovil we started at the back and we worked our way through the rabble.  Mentally I think starting at the back is a better option. When I got to mile 12 I started to regret that I had cycled in.  I was getting tired, I tried a GU gel at mile 8 but one mouth full I felt my stomach cramping. I have learnt to take little amounts of something and wait 10 mins to see if I would react. I did start to react so binned the idea of a gel which is much better than shitting yourself or getting heart palpitations half way through a race.  This does of course bring worries of nutrition for ironman that I need to address.

The wind on the last mile was horrid...... I was so glad I was doing the half as I had flashback memories from last year where you pass the finish line and know you have to go around the second time for the marathon. Soul destroying!!!!

So across the line in 1.49.26.  I got the time I wanted and was happy with that.  I just checked the stats and I was 17th in my age group out of 71 and 84th women in out of 389.  I am well chuffed with that, there was 1000 runners and the fact I cycled there to!!!!! KAPOW!!!!!!!

After refuelling with coffee, chips and a burger I made the decision to head back.  Cookie did give me the opportunity to get a lift home but I was going to see it through.  The ride home was so emotional the head wind was a nightmare.  I knew I had ran a half marathon when I hit the hills.  Half way home and every time I passed a pub I was so tempted to throw a paddy, dump the bike in the nearest ditch and head to the bar.  In fact by the time I got home I was shattered.  On reflection if they had been no headwind I probably would have enjoyed the ride home.  Bad arse Blackmore  was on the edge to quite possibly being broken but not quite!!!!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bunny hop and Team Tri UK

Easter Monday I ran the Shapwick Bunny Hop for the 3rd year running and was probably the last race this year ran as a Shapwick runner ( I'll be joining Wells City Harriers) and also my last race as as just a Mendip Triathlete because now I will be competing as part of Team Tri UK.  I will still of course be a very big part of Mendip Triathlon Club and I will be the club's representative in Tri UK team.   This happened unexpectedly and I was quite shocked and surprised that I received an invitation to join the team after sending them by sports CV.

I like the thought of being in part of a team put together by one of the biggest triathlon stores in the UK.  I like the idea of support, sponsorship and being in a national recognised team.  I have been trying to get myself sponsored by companies for a while  and this is a great step up for me.  When I got my chervello it increased my bike speed for 3 reasons
1) The bad boy is built for speed and is really light
2) I had a bike fit ensuring that my position on the bike was perfect for maximising power
3) But most importantly, you can't just rock up to a race on a bike like the bad boy with deep rim carbon wheels and be an average rider...... You need to be good. The bad boy demands a certain type of rider and it isn't slow. People expect me to be good and it gives me some much motivation you wouldn't believe.  This is how I feel about being part of Team Tri UK.  I now have a reputation to live up too and where I lack talent I make up for it in sheer determination, motivation and hard work.

Anyway back to the Bunny Hop....... it was good to see a show of Mendip triathletes in the field. It was a cold race this year, last year we were all wearing tshirts and showing off tan lines. 57 runners started off across the fields, Vicky, Tom and Paul were way ahead of the game. I just settled into my pace and watched them trail off into the distance. As we got closer to the nature reserve I was making ground on Vicky and Tom which was an unexpected bonus. Something must be wrong!  I was really making the distance up and I couldn't work out why as they are both very strong runners. So I passed them, the wind was behind me and I was feeling comfortable. I didn't think for one minute that I would stay in front of them so I thought I would enjoy it whilst it lasted.  When we hit the wood and the ground became uneven I heard a jangling behind me and knew it was Tom with my keys.  Tom and Vicky went shooting past me and I just couldn't keep up.  I tried believe me but I was starting to lose it.  That last mile was so long, hilly and on hard uneven tractor ruts and I watched Vicky fade into the distance.

Finally the end was in sight, no sprint finish for me I just didn't have it in me.  I did however improve on my course time.  Every year I've got quicker and one day I might break the hour.
It was great to race with friends and I liked the way Vicky and I played top trumps with our mile splits at the end.  Its always good to race with friends faster than you helps you pick up your game.

Great cheap little race that is famous for its cakes and afternoon tea.  I'll be back next year ;-)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Yeovil half marathon 2013

The plan was to cycle to Yeovil, about 21 miles and then run and then cycle back.  That would have been brilliant ironman training but the weather conditions have been SOOOOOO bad that we cancelled cycling there. I am so glad we did because today was BALTIC!!!!!!!!

Duncan, Nick and myself were shivering as we registered and picked up our numbers.  We were given a gel each and a new energy drink called "pussy".  I can think of a thousand jokes here but I will behave.  I really couldn't decide what to wear and settled for 2 layers, gloves, hat and a buff.  I took full advantage of the big green mascot that was walking around and squeezed him so tightly and he squeezed me back.

Nick had told us that the first 6 miles were downhill and we foolishly believed him!!!! So the race was on and off we went.  The first mile was spent overtaking lots runners as I think we started a little far to back for my liking. The next few miles was spent trying to raise my core temperature.  It wasn't downhill but rather undulating which was fine it kept me warm.  We did know that the "king of the hill" was at 6 miles and that they had a timing mat at the bottom and the top of the hill.  Needless to say I didn't push the hill.

Now there's one thing that I like to do when running through tunnels is to shout OGGY OGGY OGGY and hopefully most people reply OI OI OI, so when running through a sub way I decided to give it a go.
OGGY OGGY..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ok i'll try it one more time
OGGY......mmmmmmmm this is AWKWARD.  What a bunch of boring runners!!!!

So anyway..... back to the race. I was feeling pretty strong, I couldn't feel my hands or my toes but it was all good. I checked my watch and I knew I was on course for a pb.  The last mile was pretty tough, cold biting wind and I was glad off my buff keeping that nasty cold air out of my lungs.

I could hear the finish line before I saw it and was glad when I saw it.  You turned a corner and then there was a 80m straight to the finish.  That was it.... sprint finish... in these last few metres I overtook about 6 people.. I could hear the commentator and the crowd cheering me on and I crossed the line in 1.44.15.  I then hung on to the barrier waiting for the nausea to pass.  My garmin said 1.44.17 but the clock on the finish line said 1.44.42 but I later found out that was the clock time not the chip time.  My 10k split was 48.35.  I was 9th in my age cat out of 49 women and 247th out of 813 runners and I am very happy about that.

I had no idea that I would pull a sub 1.45 out of the bag today. My last half marathon was 1.50.40 and was completely flat. Its a great result and I beginning to think I deserve my place in  Team Tri UK

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Hestercombe Humdinger 2013

Hestercombe Humdinger is a challenging race and  it was touch and go weather I would run it as I forgot to enter but due to a very understanding race director I got in!!!!

To be honest I wasn't feeling the humdinger love, normally I rest before a race of this torture but this time I hadn't.   I had done a 36 mile bike ride the day before and had a late night!!! I rocked up the race alone, that's another first and wandered around like a little lost soul.   

I like this race because it determines my fitness levels. I normally do loads of hill training for this race but had done nothing compared to previous years.  After frightening all the newbies in the toilets by showing them the race profile, I made my way to the start line. 

I made my way to the back of the pack because I know how dam easy it is to get carried away with those super fast club runners and its not the kind of race where you can blat the first few miles and hope for the best. 

So the race is on....... I watch them all go whizzing past and I pull myself back. Over the years I have learnt a lot about my body and my asthmatic lungs and I know that first 3 miles is the same as stoking up a steam train.  I need to pace myself, let those embers ignite and then hold on baby I am coming through!!! I  know I am built for the longer distances and I have the stamina and the mind set to dig in when all else fails.  At 4 miles the switch had flicked and I was running at my optimum and all those runners who foolishly set off like the clappers were starting to fade.  The course seemed so much shorter this year but obviously it wasn't.  

The down hills are worse than the ups...... the ups are lung busting hard but the downs are knee jarring horrid.  I hit the last hill and tried to grin at the aptly positioned camera man but hey who was I fooling!!!! I checked the time and the distance, did a mental sum in my head and decided yes a PB was on the cards!!!!
That mile down hill towards the finish was painful but I wanted that PB.  Every year I had done the course faster and failure is not an option in my book!!! I set my limits and  I will go for it.  

The clock said 1.21.44 thats a PB for sure.  I am so chuffed because I wasn't ready for this race, I hadn't prepared myself properly but I still brought it home!!  Every year I am getting fitter and fitter and I keep expecting to hit the plateau but I haven't.  I wish I had discovered triathlon and racing years ago.  I always kept fit but I was a gym freak.  I often regret what could have been but at the end of the day there is no turning back and I will give everything 110%.  I am happy with my result.  I feel Ironman is well within my grasp and this year I will achieve everything that I have dreamt about for the past 3 years.I am well on course, this race proved to me that my fitness is exactly where I need and want it to be. 

Roll on 2013........... I am so ready for you...... I've been waiting for this challenge all my life!!!!!!