Friday, August 31, 2007


Well the title about sums up the long weekend away.... VERY ENTERTAINING.... LOTS of side splitting laughter... and then there was the odd beer!

Needless to say I didn't get much training in ;o) ... although I am proud to say I did get one 8k-er in up the beach and back so that was good of me!!

Oh and as for the cricket - well we lost one (which was a good game) and won one (which was a low scoring and v.dull game)

Here's some pictures (courtesy of Sarah Smith inc) - can you believe at the age of 37 I can still be this silly....

There were the storm troopers including Dath Vader himself. I've no idea what these guys were doing there as they were just sort of hanging around on the sea front!
In case you're wondering - we are the ones in the pink, from left to right Kirsty-Dawn "The Reeemanator", Alison "Pop-tart", Jenjer le Bogg and myself "Doris", Sarah obviously being behind the camara!

We did also partake in the odd white knuckle ride at "Blackpool Pleasure Beach", I've never seen anyone look to scared on the rides as Kirsty - that was a source of much amusement!!! Literally her knuckles were white after most of them as she gripped the bar so tight!!!

We did of course do the odd "family ride" including the ghost train, Alice in Wonderland and the horse derby... as you can see we are riding in the formal dressage upright position in this shot!

... and we even WON something - ok we did partake in quite a lot of Arabian derby races to win "Woodley" the saber-tooth tiger - but he became the mascot for the rest of the weekend.

...and then there were the pink hats which we purchased especially for the final night out. As you can see this was a quiet, relaxed affair!

I don't think I've fed my body such crap food for a while and it only just feels like it's recovering now... bad Karen! But you've got to let your hair down every now and again!

We finally got back Tuesday pm - thought for about 1 second to go for a run but decided that wouldn't be fair on my body so rested up and had an early night!

Since then though I have been getting back into the swing of things - and even set a new record!!

Got up early Wednesday and hit the pool.... a nice session some swimming, drills, swimming, drills for warm-up then a main set which went something like this;
300, 4*50, 200, 4*50, 100, 2*50 then warm down, the 50s were cruises, the rest pdq. Now I didn't have my HRM so no stop-watch but I did time myself my the clock. Did the 300 in under 6mins and thought I must have made a mistake (but I was having an unspoken race with the lady in the next lane to me!), did the 200m in under 4 mins - so thought I must have still made a mistake and my goggles had fogged up.... so went out for my 100m... yep under 2mins, infact it was 1min 45!!! Still didn't believe this so had a slug of water and decided to do the 2 last 50s PDQ rather then cruise.... whipped then both in 50s! I'm still not convinced that I am this fast so will just have to take my watch next time!... If I have taken 15s off my 50m time in the last year since I've been doing this Tri thing I will be truly impressed with myself!!

Wednesday evening I took to rockie the MTB and hit the forest trials with a friend. Over 2 hours in the saddle has led to sore shoulders - go figure... well actually I know why - I was gripping the handlebars too tight for most of the time! Who needs white knuckle rides in Blackpool when you can go in the woods on your MTB 4 miles from home!

Didn't do anything yesterday - largely due to exhaustion of one form or another. Possible MTB back on for this evening but actually my right wrist is still puffed up from gripping those bars so tight... as I'm racing Sunday I may suggest something else to my mate - don't like letting people down when you've agreed something but think I need to be careful of rightie still.

Weekend plans consist of getting up to hockey tomorrow morning - mainly for watching and a bit of umpiring. Some point drive to the course for Sunday and take a look at the bike route. Sunday morning I start at 9:31am for my little sprint. I have absolutely no goals for this, I am not bothered at all about the time, I just want to enjoy it and have fun as it's probably the last Tri of the season.

My calf muscle is still a bit sore - mainly as a result of the dance game I played at Blackpool North Pier amusement arcadae! But think the 5k of the race will not be a problem. The half-mary is only 2.5 weeks off and obviously I've not done the running I need to for it, however I'm going to do it anyhow and run/walk it. I don't think I'll have a problem doing that. So figure I'll run the first 7miles then run/ walk the final 6.

Right - that's it for now! More next month - oh that's tomorrow!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Moseying on...

So it's nearing the end of the week and there's much excitement afoot as it's a Bank Holiday on Monday and I've got Tuesday off too ... HURRAH.... not that I'm dedicating any of this free time to Tri or half-mary training..NO.. I'm off to Blackpool! An iconic seaside resort in the North of England...if nothing else it will be a laugh!

Reason for the trip (well excuse really) is that the England Women's cricket team are playing New Zealand up there somewhere and a couple of the girls from the local cricket team play for the England (very special!).... so a group of us are heading north for some F-U-N!!!! I will take my trainers and some running shorts and try and get some exercise in - but I may be fighting a losing battle with that. As for sea swim - unlikely as it's blinkin freezing up there!!!!! Maybe I'll take my wetsuit!?!

And for some more good news .... The little calf muscle is healing well - hurrah! No bad reaction to my escapades on Monday... nought in the way of training on Tuesday, then a club swim Wednesday - which was fun. Tonight I've really tested the leg though.. 45min spin class (good fun!) straight onto the treadmill for a 5k.. took it easy the first 2.5k then racked up the speed a little, and finished on 5min/k pace... and the calf is still in one piece! :o)

So tonight was a good session. I'm going to try for a long run tomorrow which may convert into a long run/ walk depending on how my legs are in the morning. I'm still not sure whether I'll be on for the half Mary, only 3 weeks away now - so I've entered another one mid-October which will probably be a better bet!

Oh and I've started looking at doing an ATP for 70.3 - how many hours!?!?!?!? Blimey!

Right I'm watching "The Matrix" for the umpteenth time, although I think the first time this year.... isn't it just a FAB film!!!! Neo's just taken the pill and waking up in that pod thing.. eugh!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Where'd the weekend go?

Blimey! Monday night already - what happened to the weekend? Did I sleep through it? Did it happen......

So happily I got no adverse reaction to my Friday night x-trainer & run/ walk session.. HURRAH!

For some bizarre and unfathomable reason I got up EARLY Saturday to go OPEN WATER swimming in a very (VERY) COLD Lake...Brrrrrrr... Met up with some friends down there and cruised a couple of laps... No HRM, no timing so reckon I did something like 1.8k in 40ish mins. Very cool (literally and metaphorically speaking). Had a nice cuppa then, as rain was threatening, decided to drive over to my parents (original plan involved biking over but I hadn't planned on the swim and the horrid weather!). Spent a good morning with Ma and Pa before finally heading home..... time for a run or bike.. hummm.. no.. time for a BBQ! Yes a great British tradition - BBQ in the rain!

So Saturday night was spent over a friends house where we all huddled mainly inside (note it was that cold the heating was on), whilst BBQ was on and cooking outside! Very good sociable evening where I confess I had a beer (or several).... really enjoyed the evening until I woke up Sunday morning! Ouch! Nothing more then a bit of a hangover!

Eventually managed to drag my arse into gear late morning and ventured out on Biancha.... after 10k I decided my hangover wasn't getting any better so decided it was just best that I cycled to my friends house to pick up my car and not get too carried away with a big bike adventure after all ;o) ... So Sunday a very lazy 14k ride and that's it (POOR SHOW!)

I have managed to get back on the straight and narrow today though - Good 1.6k swim this morning (ouddles of drills). Tonight another 25mins on the x-trainer (YUK!!!) and 35mins run/walk. Calf feels ok so far although max run time was 8mins before it starting aching... so I am still being a bit careful - may try a road run in a couple of days time. If I can get a proper run in by the end of the week then I'll still do the half-mary in Sept, if I can't I'll sack that one and find another!!

Oh - look at the time... right time for some duvet loving...zzzzzzz

Friday, August 17, 2007

Rockin on....

Hello fellow Bloggers... should we be called Blogites or something Bloggers just sounds a but dull ;o)

OK so progress is being made with the strain although I fear not quick enough (pause, inhale and exhale)..... Managed a real easy 25mins spinning on the turbo Weds night which wasn't too bad a bit niggly but ok. Went on to club swim which was really quiet but muchos fun!! After a warm-up we did some 200m reps; 50cruise, 100all-out, 50 cruise.. then some technique stuff followed by some more 200m reps; 50sprint, 100cruise, 50sprint... all really good fun!

Took it kind of easy Thursday. Quite a bit of stretching for the leggy (thanks for the advice by the way), and ended the day with 25mins sports massage just on my leg - I'm sure that has actually helped!... Ended with the obligatory glass of red wine and cheese... as you may recall I found this combination really helped with mending my broken hand earlier in the year so I though I'd try it again.. ah-hum..cough.. yes ok... poor excuse ;o)

More RICE today and this evening I gave jogging a go..... did 20mins on the x-trainer (bleah I hate that machine), 20mins easy bike (I now hate gym bikes compared to my trusty stead!), and then 20mins on the treadmill, not running I hasten to add.... 2mins walk, 2mins v. gentle jog. Weirdly enough I felt the calf more at the beginning then towards the end... So have been v.good and done ouddles of stretching and now going to ice it a bit. So far so good. I think I need to stay off it for the weekend so am going to cycle a bit tomorrow and some more gym work Sunday I think. My jury is still out about the half-Mary.... but never fear as I've spotted an alternative which is mid-Oct so may swap to that one if I'm not confident of getting the training in for the Sept one :o)

All good... and guess what else... IT'S THE WEEKEND!!! WOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO! :O)

...Now where has that bottle of wine gone...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Hum! So I got in from work Monday evening about 7pm and managed to get out before 7.30 to go out for a short (4.2k) tempo (HR 153-160) run.... nice evening, not too hot, not too cold. Felt good and all was going well. Until, about 200m from home it felt like someone had just whacked me in the back of the left calf! Now it was quite painful then it felt like a cramp. My first thought was "phew that wasn't my achilles" (as I have a permanent fear of achilles rupture having witnessed two in my life - talk about nasty and very painful). Then I thought "well if it's cramp and as I've got couple hundred metres to go I'll see if I can run it off".... What a wally (dictionary meaning : a silly and inept person; someone who is regarded as stupid )

Got home, stopped and couldn't move! Damn!

So did the whole R.I.C.E thing and looked up "calf strain" on the internet.... I think the words were "the biggest mistake a runner makes, having felt a sharp pain in the back of the calf feeling like someone has hit them, is to carry on running. This will make the tear worse and lead to longer recovery".... Oh dear! Oh dear! Oh dear!

So I'm hoping for a grade 1 strain (5-7 days recovery) rather then a grade 2 (4-7weeks and bye bye half-mary).... I know it's no worse then that as I can put weight on it and it's not sore (unless I pull my toes up!).... Obviously I'm hoping by the weekend a miracle has been performed and I can do my long run!!

It is feeling better today then yesterday so my fingers are crossed and I'm touching wood!

I went for an early morning swim session yesterday. Mainly concentrated on drills for the best part of 45mins, doing about 1300metres. I then took myself into the hydrotherapy pool and got the sore calf massaged by the water jets in there, followed by a plunge into the cold tank (brrrr).

Sleep was the order of the day this morning - depending on the calf I may get on my bike this evening for a 40min turbo (is wet and windy outside) followed by club swim - I guess fitting both in will be dependent on what time I escape work.

Here's to R.I.C.E for lefty calf and some massage I think!

oh and three cheers for it being the middle of the working week already .. Hip Hip Horray!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Race Report - Part IV - The Aftermath

OK - so that was a joke ;oO How can I possibly write more about the race!!!???

So here's just some general ramblings - back to normal then :o)

First off - a week later and I'm still smiling :o) ... I'm still totally amazed with the time and am wondering if only I had trained as much as I wanted in June and July what the time would have been. Obviously my run is by far the weakest part of the event - I think last Sunday, obviously the heat was a factor, but also a distinct lack of running in the last two months meant the time was sluggish. At the end of May I was probably 2-4mins quicker (based on my 5k race times).

Having done a 2:46 Oly I'm now wondering if I could ever get under 2:30 (I know that's a BIG jump), but reckon I can gain a minute or two on the swim, a min in T1, a couple of mins on the bike and a whooping 10mins on the run... hummm... I've no idea if that's possible or not - but a couple of experienced people reckon it could be so that may be something to keep me going over the winter! Maybe I should aim for sub 2:45 first ;o)

...and now a confession....

Yep a couple of weeks ago, one sleepy Sunday morning (well I had been at the lake for OW already), I got a call from Angel (Lanzarote Tri-camp buddy)...... for some obscure and strange reason - despite me saying I'd wait until I'd done a half Mary before entering - we both got carried away.... and so whilst on the phone we both entered Swiss 70.3

Obviously the Sunday morning madness bug hit us that day! I've heard the support on the course is fantastic. However I have since read that the bike has a 10% grad climb in it (and twice at that as it's two 45k loops), oh dear. Just to put the cherry on the icing I then read that the run (also two laps) contains the "stairways to heaven" - more likely to be hell given it's a run up steps in the middle of the town. Oh dear! Oh dear! Well as they say - in for a penny, in for a pound! I am looking forward to getting my training plan sorted :o)

The good(ish) thing also is that the race is 1 June - which means my work year-end (end of June) won't get in the way of training!! Also gives me 2 months to adapt back down to Oly distance as I intend to enter London again next year (although the entry fee is a whooping £76!)

What else....

Oh yeah - recovery.... So my recovery week (read - big fat grrl blow out, eat as many ice-creams, pies and beer as possible), went really well! Made it to the pool Monday morning, 20mins swim a length (stretching out), and jog back (yes in the water), followed by 30mins in the hydro pool and ending with a plunge into the icey-cold plunge pool. Either this worked or my body is amazing (in the recovery sense ... lol).... as I had virtually no aches and pains. Did a club swim on Wednesday which was good until my foot decided to cramp. Finally rounded my lazy week off with my longest "long slow run" ever with a 11.5k (7miles) slow trot around the local fields.

Yes - half Mary is in 5 weeks so am trying to up the long run by a mile a week and ensure I do at least another 2 run sessions a week. I'm glad I've got another big thing to head for straight after London as I think it's helped keep me on the go. I do plan however for a holiday at the beginning of October and a few weeks of random training prior to "prep" phase training starting in November :o).... Golly - does this all sound a bit sad or what!! ;o) Ahhh well live life whilst you're alive eh :o)

Happy Monday :o)

Oh and I know you like to know what my local weather is... well after a week of lovely Sun (neither too hot or too cold), we have a "Weather warning" for Wednesday ...... Wet and Windy with a spot of thunder... nice!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Race Report - Part III - The Race (at last!)

Alright already - here it is at last ;o)

The Swim

The water was cold despite the midday heat. Water a mucky coffee coloured, saline type solution. Certainly not the fresh water clean lakes that I'm used to! OK so the course was a straight up, left turn then back. So started off towards the right and pretty much up the front, figured what the hell everyone can swim around me ;o) The hooter went and everything was remarkably ok - for about the first 300m or so.

I was just beginning to think that the swim wasn't going to be as bad as I thought when things started colliding - from all angles... hands, fists, arms, legs, heads... FIGHT! Yes the fish frenzy had begun as the pack converged. On reflection I should have kept the foot down a bit at the start, started off fast then as it was so clear I got into cruising mode too soon I think. Talk about being led into a false sense of security! LOL! When the convergence happened I was swimming in stroke with a lady on my right, some people off to the left and was towing someone behind (they kept tickling my toes). Then from nowhere this girl just cut across me and the woman to my right leaving us nowhere to go - we both pretty much stopped in our tracks wondering what had just happened. In a bizarre kind of way that was actually quite funny! After quite a bit of interrupted swimming I decided to head back out to the right and just get out of the mess... must have got a bit carried away as a safety canoeist sort of waved his paddle at me to get back into the pack! Which I duly did for a bit more fighting and searching for feet to follow.

Approaching the turning buoys I felt really panicky all of a sudden.This was to happen again later in the race. VERY WEIRD sensation of claustrophobia and breathing problems. Managed to keep swimming through it my telling myself to relax and breath calmly. I finally rounded the turning buoys after what felt like an age. Decision for the way back was to keep to the right (which is now the side to get out) or keep to the left and stay in the pack (fight)... myself and a couple of others pretty much stayed rightish and away from trouble, problem being though I couldn't get on anyone's toes for some hydro-drafting. Swimming past a big boat parked up to the right seemed to take an age. Remember seeing a couple of people high up on deck waving down - for one strange moment I thought about waving back but figured it'd just put me off my stroke! On wards I ploughed with the end jetty not seeming to get any nearer.

All of sudden more and more people were gathering as the pack converged towards the exit jetty and me. About 50m from exit was when I started getting cramp in my right calf and foot. Now to say this worried me slightly is an understatement - so I pushed on to the end (quite literally through a few people) and was thankful to be finally in the hands of exit helper who was yanking us all upright! Wobbled slightly and was hit my an enormous headache. On reflection I think both the cramp and headache was a result of my body not really knowing how to regulate itself. My hands, feet and face being in the water were really cold - but body in the wetsuit was baking. Go figure that one.

As we ran/ waddled out of the water along the exit we were handed plastic bags to get the wetsuit into. I duly stripped off (with the help of one of the bag giver outters shoulders!) and waddled off... to the stairs. Yep a nice set of stairs to run up back into the excel centre - how rude is that... but then not as rude as the run/waddle all the way down to find my bike
Number on
Epipen in trisuit pocket
Socks on
Shoes on
Glasses on
Hat on
Grab bike
Go! Go! Go!... well not quite as the floor in the excel centre is shiny concrete - especially designed to skid on when wearing cycle shoes! So careful tip-toed out to the bike mount line.... finally.. GO! GO! GO!

What a novel thing to be doing - cycling around London around lunchtime on a Sunday with the roads closed just for you (ok and the other 5,000+competitors!). The bike is described as fairly flat but technicial..... I'm not sure what was flat about the climb up the flyover.. but wheezing down into a three lane tunnel all just for us was a blast! I was really aware and concerned about the temperature and set about being quite disciplined with my drink. I wanted to make sure I had pretty much had all the 600ml I had in my bottle on the ride.

I was just getting into the ride, really enjoying overtaking some people (accepting I'd be overtaken a bit) and having a blast when near disaster happened. ... Wheezing along, all tucked in with a high cadence going a marshal started to shout rather excitedly that we needed to slow down (I was just being overtaken by someone flying along on one of those bike with solid rear wheels that sound like a jet plane), really couldn't figure out why when suddenly it became pretty darn obvious. We were about to hit the turn point - quite literally. My one criticism of the entire event is they had no signs warning of the turn approaching. We had the width of a normal road to turn - the person who'd just overtaken me didn't manage it, got two-thirds of the way round and had to unclip coming to a rest against the curb with said rear solid tire sticking out in the road... I have no idea how I missed them. If I had been a millimeter to the left and hit it it would have been carnage as there were about 5 people tightly behind me coming around the turn too... PHEW! I was so surprised I had got to the turn I reckoned I must have flown it. Decided at that point I'd take my first gel, and a caffeine one at that and the next turn which would have been the 20k (ok 19k) stage before heading out for lap 2.

The second lap went pretty much smoothly - even enjoyed going up the slopes of the flyover and out of the tunnel! Had a couple of yells of encouragement from Paul and Angel which always helps! Got most of my second gel on board with about 5k to go... finally made it back into the Excel centre, climbed the rumble-strip ramp and hit the dismount line (nearly actually hitting someone who had dismounted then decided randomly to stay there and take their shoes off too!).. YEAH! Liked that and now knew I'd finish... no matter what...

Smooth :o)
Racked the bike
Helmet off
Shoes off
Shoes on
Cap on
Grabbed two gels stuff into pocket
Grab 500m bottle of water
Run... no ... ok ,.. shuffle... I'm off

At exit of the run into the outdoors again was my first opportunity to pass the finish line and spy the clock. To my utter amazement it read 14:00.... .my immediate thought was "eh! That can't be right" and took another look.... Yep it was 2 o'clock. So assuming we started on time at 12:10 I had a full hour and ten minutes to do my run and get under, what I thought was my rather ambitious time of 3hours! Wow!

Then I hit the outdoors and the heat. By now it was over 90 and the hottest day in the UK for a year! No time to acclimatise then! Just needed to get on... I thought "as long as I don't stop and walk, no matter how slow I run I can do 10k in under 70mins". My tactical water bottle came into it's own the first 2.5k, not so much for hydration but for cooling. Most of it went on my head with the odd bit going in my mouth. I ran a bit of the first 2.5k with one lady who was a lap ahead (and in a heat earlier then me!).... I think that helped a bit, to be honest I can't remember much of the journey as it was errr quite hard really. Finally made it to the half way mark of the two laps, rounded the giant Gatorade bottle and decided it was time for caffeine gel#2!! Managed not to barf the gel up (which was a bit touch and go for about 1k) and struggled on. I think the worst moment of the run (other then going past the bbq - eugh to the smoke coming off of that), was the run up the ramp back into the centre at the end of lap one. Talk about energy sapping. Hitting the outside for lap 2 I needed more water. By now there were
volunteer water dowsers at extra points on the course, helpers armed with vast amounts of bottles to throw at competitors just to cool you down - well needed! At some point at the start of my second lap some lady shouted out to me "you can do it" - I looked round, didn't have a clue who she was but she said again "yes you - you can do it". Well that felt like it must have been my fairy god mother or something as it gave me a real boost (ok so maybe it was the caffeine hitting). Hitting the Gatorade turnpoint for the second and final time it hit me..... "blimey I've got to do twice the bike and run for that 70.3 I've entered next year" (yes I'll talk about that rash decision in a later blog!).... perhaps the funniest moment on the run then happened. There was a lady in front of me speed walking. That was it I thought "I'll have her"... so set my sights on the speed walker (shows how slow I was going!).....just as I got to her she only started running! NOT FAIR! I think I finally did get past here but that really was a bit cheeky ;o)

Finally rounded the docks into the final section of the run - ran under the water spray for the last time and past the only place on the course that was playing music. I've no idea what was playing the other three times I past it but on the final lap it was Survivor and Eye of the Tiger. So with visions of of Rocky running up those steps I embraced the slope and sprinted up it. Passed Leanne on the way and told her the second lap was easier!!! Rounded the home straight where I got a cheer from the crowd (ok admit it was based on a little promting from me)... raised my arm and crossed the line!!! I had given so much in the last 300-400m I nearly passed out (luckily out of sight of the finish-cam). Some swift water on the head and I was feeling ecstatic! Staggered out where Dan and his friend were waiting along with Angel and Paul. Brilliant. At this stage I knew I'd gone under 3hours, thought it was about 2:50 but couldn't be sure as I didn't look at the clock at the finish!!

I'll be posting some pictures sometime soon - but for now if you really really want to see me finish - take a look at this link!

Oh I suppose you'll want the splits??
Swim: 00:30:25 very happy with that :o)
T1: 00:04:35 about what I expected although think next year I can save a minute
Lap 1; 00:35:24
Lap 2; 00:36:24

Bike Total: 01:11:47 totally amazed with this. This is where the sub-3 came from. No idea how I did this!
T2: 00:01:42 Great time for this, really happy with T2 :o)
Lap 1; 00:28:58 (ouch)
Lap 2; 00:28:39 (negative split, just about! LOL)

Run Total: 00:57:37 amazed by sub-60 in that heat! WOW!

Official Race Time = 02:46:04 37th in my age group from 93!!! Not bad for a first timer :o) Will look at the entire heat and find placing in that too...

Race Report - Part II - The morning!

OK OK I'll try really hard to keep this shorter ;o)

Race Day - The morning
"What is that noise?"
ker-clang, ker-clang
"What is that noise? And what time is it?"
"Oh god it's only 4:45" I'm awake and nervous. "What is that noise?"
Pause... Ker-Clang
"Ahhh oh yes it must be the noise of cars going over that metal plate I drove over yesterday. Oh that'll be people going for the early races. Oh blimey I need more sleep, I can't wake now it's too early. Sleep Karen! Sleep!"

Luckily, despite my nervous head's best efforts I did fall back to sleep and finally woke at 7am - much better. I mouched around for quite a bit, reading and watching TV as I didn't want breakfast too early and then feel hungry before the race. The outline plan was to have breakfast at 8ish, take a little stroll, get a day parking ticket for the car, then come back shower - including shaving the legs for extra aerodynamics ;o) - and get into my tri-suit. Aim to be setting up transition at 10:30 which would give me plenty of time for last minute panics!

Pleased to say all pretty much went to plan. Nervous though I was I did manage to eat breakfast, small bowl of muesli, couple slices of toast and marmalade and a banana. Luckily no after effects from the previous evenings curry ;o). I went for a stroll outside about 8:30, a lovely clear morning although worryingly warm already. Had a great view of one of the mens swims coming to the buoy turn point. What a fight! Despite it being 750m down the track there were arms, legs, splashes of water flying everywhere!.... Having watched for about 5mins I found myself getting increasingly nervous so decided to leave and distract myself my getting the parking ticket, having a bit of an unpack, repack of my bags and a shower. I'll fine - not even a any nicks when I shaved my legs ;o) Leanne and I had exchanged texts during the morning I think to help allay both of our fears - it's always reassuring when you know someone is feeling the same as you! :oD

Headed of to the excel centre and checked that both Leanne's bike and my bike tyres were still inflated. Yep - all good. Phew. Set out my transition stuff (by this stage I had done a list of what had to be out). Was completely paranoid about my timing chip. Didn't want to put it on too early for it to fall off (although quite how it would have done this is beyond me, but nervous non-logical thought was ruling), and I didn't want to forget to put it on. Still all laid out nice and neat on strip of Liverpool towel. At the front; bike shoes, socks in each shoe, race belt (with number) and epipen. At the rear; trainers, bottle of water, couple gels and new white cap. All good. I spent the next hour monging around really. Met up with Angel but was too nervous to engage in any form of conversation really although did manage a big yell for her b/f Paul who was on the run route. Finally went back to transition at 11:30 to pick up my wetsuit and meet up with Leanne. This was finally about to happen. I don't know when it happened but suddenly I became very focused. Just wanted to get on with it. Dan mentioned afterwards he'd never seen Leanne and I looking so focused (although I think he may have said fierce!!!). We made our way to the gathering point for the heats. Squeezed into the wetsuit at the last possible moment before being herded like cattle into a holding pen where we were handed out blue swim hats. Got a final briefing from the race organiser, told that the bike was 2k short because of a road subsidence. We then had the race organiser giving us a rousing "Oggie! Oggie! Oggie!" upon which 250 women over the age of 35 all replied in the traditional fashion... "Oi! Oi! Oi".. and like cattle to the slaughter we were herded out of the holding pen, down the steps and to the outside jetty to get in the water. Bright skies, a massive crowd, heat - lots of heat. Dipped my toes and hands into the water, splashed a bit on my face and in I went. Leanne and I made our way to the pack and decided to start out to the right and towards the front. As everyone got bobbing around, canoes in front of us holding us back, from the command boat we got one final briefing, one final "Oggie! Oggie! Oggie!", "Oi! Oi! Oi" and the last I remember was the bloke saying: "Ladies you have 30secs". One last look at my watch I saw to my horror that it was knackered and I'd be doing the race with no HRM, no timings, no nothing. I'd be going blind to times and HR. Then the horn sounded and we were off!!!!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Race Report - Part I

Well I say Part I but I may get this done in a oner - in which case it's Part I of I... ;o)....ok just finished and it's Part I of a few parts by the looks of it... blimey I can go on when I get into the rhythem can't I - try to pay attention now and not get too bored ;o)

Where to begin... hummm... well generally the week before the race I was feeling ok. Having noted that Science in Sport (my preferred fueling brand) had brought out a caffeine "energy" version of their gel I thought I'd get some and do some training with it... So Thursday morning saw me get up early (6am - very early for me), to have half a gel and go and swim. Felt great in the water - either the gel or just me. Still the gel seemed to digest ok... so I thought I'd check with my last pre-event spin out of a 20k bike/ 4k run... Got up early doors again Friday did the bike, had the gel and ran on it completely fine. So the race nutrition was clear in my mind.... ensure fully hydrated before, have a normal gel just before the swim, take 500ml of carbo/ electrolyte fluid plus two gels on the bike (1 caffeine, 1 normal), then stuff another 2 gels in my pockets at T2 for the run (if needed), again 1 caff and 1 normal. Good, fuel strategy set .. tick.

Next thing to sort was the racking/ staying over dilemma. Us Sunday afternoon racers had to rack bikes and helmets (but nothing else) Saturday. After some discussion with training buddy Leanne we worked out we could take one car Sat (a bit of a squash, 3 adults + 2 bikes) and another car Sunday - which Dan (the superhero mentioned in previous reports) driving Sunday - which would have been ideal then I wouldn't have to drive myself the 2 hours home whilst exhausted.... Anyhow - in the end that didn't work out as I hadn't realised my hotel was on a 5 day cancellation policy (silly me, there's me thinking in the modern era it'd be 24hours). So being a tight wade and not wanting to part with money for nothing in return I turned back to plan A and stayed overnight Saturday. In the end I think this worked out well - and probably a lot less stressful then coming home and having to deal with potential traffic nightmares the next day.... Sat strategy understood - tick.

So all was set. I'd leave some point Saturday. Meet Leanne and Dan, rack bikes, have a little looky around the expo, watch some sprint races go off and generally get my bearings. And that's when I started getting nervous, excited, with the occasional feeling of being generally overwhelmed. And it was still only Friday night - just under 48hours to go!! OMG

The day before the race:
So I woke early - almost giddy with excitement. Pfaffed for England around the house, kept thinking thoughts like "I must remember my camera", "I must remember my race belt", "what if I forget my bike shoes? That'll be ok as I'll wear my trainers. God what if I forget my trainers"... and so on. Obviously the thing to have done at this stage would have been to write a list and get about packing. No not this triathlete. I thought what was needed was a little bit of blackcurrant jam making! Well it turned out to be not only a relaxing distraction, but also a success. I'm pleased to say the jam did set and actually tastes nice too. Things were boding well!! ;o)

I did text Leanne at some point Saturday morning when I started getting the excited/ nervous thing again to see if they'd left yet. No came the reply - evidently she was in the same mental state as I. Although note there was no jam making in her household!! ;o)

I finally packed my transition/kit bag and my overnight bag and set off about midday. As can be the case the roads were a nightmare and it did take me a full two++ hours to get to the east side of London. On the dual carriageway coming into the city I got my first glipse of the buildings at Canary Warf which was near the venue for the race and the adrenalin started to flow.

I had to negotiate some closed roads (due to the sprints that were going on). And finally got to the hotel which was next door to the Excel Centre and Victoria Docks where the whole event was going down.

The hotel was great - well it did have aircon which I was more then thankful for. The temperatures were already above anything we had had over here in the last two months, so on heading to the centre to rack my bike I decided the best thing to do was keep on drinking, either the free water or free gatorade - anything to remain hyrdated. The whole place was just buzzing with an atmosphere you only get a major sporting occasions. Lots of people racing and loads more watching and waiting for loved ones. Oh and the place was HUGE. I mean really REALLY big. Over the two days there were 12,000 triathletes racing in a mix of super-sprint, sprint, team relay and Olympic events. So I guess it was always going to be big - but have you ever seen a transition area like this......OH MY GOD! Was about all I could think! The photo above is taken on a installed bridge taking competitors and supporters over the run entry/ exit lanes. My bike was racked somewhere toward the very end (far, far, away) so the start of the run was a few 100m before you even got out of the door! The picture to the left was taken from my bike rack. You can just about see the gantry of the bridge in the distance where the one above was taken. By the time we were in transition on Sunday the place was heaving full of bikes. It would have been one hell of an insurance claim if there had been a fire overnight or something!

I met up with Leanne in Transition.. our bikes were on the same row (along with about 100+others!), about 50m apart. Lucky for me I was only the third bike stand in so I thought I'd be able to spot her easy enough the next day.

Having got the bikes sorted Leanne, Dan and I went along to look at one of the swim starts going off. Talk about fish feeding frenzy!
The picture first left is some swimmers mid-race. The blue/ black jetty you can see is the entry point into the water, with the start line to the right just out of shot. The jetty further along with a bigh orange buoy is the exit point. As you can see a lovely flat dock to swim in :o)

This photo you can just make out all the fishee's in the water waiting to start. It really was a great venue :o) Although I must say the water ain't all that great .. eugh!

Having watched a bit out in the sun I bide a fond farewell to Leanne and Dan who were driving back home, and went in search of a white mesh cap to run in the next day. No way was I going to be doing myself any favours by running in the dark one (with no air vents) that I had with me. I'm pleased to report however I sourced my cap quite quickly and despite several attempts to shop I evidently wasn't in the mood and that cap was the only thing I puchased! Amazing! Finally, getting a bit feet weary, I headed back for the nice coolness of my room to get some food in and rest up. Not wanting to partake in the buffet I eyed up a nice looking risotto on the restaurant room service menu. Only to be told I couldn't have it as the menu wasn't running due to the buffet! Hummm I had to resort to the out of hours room menu where the only non saturated fat food I could find was ...... chicken cooked in a yellow thai curry sauce.... I did pause for thought before I ordered it... and ordered it anyway - nothing like a hearty meal before a race eh! Obviously I just had to have dessert and as there was a cheese board option I had that too!! Having quenched both my thirst and appetite I was feeling decidely uncomfortable with my feet up on the bed and decided the best thing for me (and my indegestion) was to go for a little stroll as the sun was setting. Lovely..... and that's when I saw this.....

Yes they had moved the buoys back. From the 400m sprint circuit... back out beyond the boat docked up... right out to my hotel!!! This is when I had another OMG moment!

Seeing the length of the swim there in front of me was just amazing.

The sun was setting. The course was set. My bike and helmet were happily in transition. I had all my kit. I had eaten. Things were coming together. A dream of a year ago had one more sleep before it became a reality.

I went to bed thinking ... EK! With a few OMGs thrown in and the occasional "I must be mad! What was I thinking"

Sweet dreams! Part II "RACE DAY" coming soon :o)

Sunday, August 05, 2007


I made it... no longer an Olympic distance virgin!!! :o)

Unbelievable things of the day;
  1. The heat
  2. The amount of people in the swim. OMG!
  3. The heat
  4. The non-drafting - but how could you not draft (because of the sheer weight of numbers) - on the bike
  5. The heat
  6. The run - unbelievably hot.. have I mentioned the heat?
  7. The marshals and support people. We had water cooling thrown at us (if you like at 4 points on the 5k lap)
  1. The energy I found on the last k of the run - The slope (which was a mountain on lap one), back into the centre, and to the finish, was a mere mole hill. I had it. I beat it. I realised a dream today. I did it. Unbelievable
So I set out and achieved my top 4! VERY HAPPY

Oh yeah and have I mentioned the time.... that's unbelievable too.... just had a text message from the race results service... are you ready... are you sitting down;
RaceNr 6563: TOTAL TIME 2:46:06
Splits look a little strange... But I can't believe the time. Although I do have to confess due to a road hole (as in a great big one appearing in the road), the bike route was changed and I think shortened. So I think we did more like 38k rather then 40k..... even with the extra 2k I would have still come in under the 3hours.... WHOOOP WHOOP!

... and bbieberitz..... I read your comment on my mobile last night (or was it this morning??!!)... "TRUST YOUR TRAINING".. .became my motto.. so thank you heaps for that! It really really helped. You must be the jedi master or something!

Full race report to come in a day or two - depends when I get out of my duvet I suspect ;oO

Now it's time for sleep! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Final Countdown

Morning... another gloriously sunny British weekend of sunshine - what do I mean another? We haven't had a sunny weekend since about April/ May I think... anyhow less of the weather already, who cares because... IT'S NEARLY RACE DAY and I'm almost giddy with excitement.

My packing hasn't progressed since last night (ie it's still in piles on the floor), and I've resorted to making some blackcurrant jam this morning to distract me a bit ;o)

Shall be heading off to London Docklands later today to get into my hotel, bike needs to be racked today too. Would you believe there will be over 12,000 people competing over the weekend (here's the article claiming that)... Super-sprints, sprints and relays today then Olympic races tomorrow. WOW! That's a lot of triathletes - I smell an opportunity for retail therapy at the expo ;o)

Here are my race priorities;
  1. To finish
  2. To enjoy it
  3. Stay injury free
  4. Survive the swim
  5. Try and achieve something like this for splits;
    1. Swim <35mins
    2. T1 <4mins (long because you need to get out of the wetsuit dockside then go up steps into the mammoth expo centre and find your bike... apparently it's a nightmare!)
    3. Bike <1hr30mins
    4. T2 <2min30sec
    5. Run <1hr>
If I had been training properly I'd confess to want to be breaking the 3hour barrier, but as I haven't I won't expect that at all - after all I'm going to be getting a PB aren't I!!! Having said that I'll obviously take it if I get it but won't risk priority 1,2 or 3 to get it so I'll just wait to see what happens. I think the heat will play a factor. Having had temps not really hitting 70 the last month, racing in 85 degrees at midday is going to be challenging for this freckly person! I have my factor 40 ready to travel!

OK - it's 10:25 and I really had better start getting my kit together :O) Expect to right an "I survived blog" some point Sunday evening/ Monday morning with full race report later.

Happy racing for all that are this weekend, happy training for those who are not... and if you're not doing either then well just have FUN!

Friday, August 03, 2007

back from MIA!

Morning Campers :o)

OK so I have been missing in action somewhat - apologies for that. I am now sitting here, having already done my 20k bike + 4k run this morning (it's now only 8:46 and I've had breakie too).... so where have I been.

Well if I'm honest I'd have to admit this last month or so I've been somewhat inward looking. As you may recall I had a bit of a lurgy in May followed by a bigger nastier lurgy in June. Since about mid-May I've had a bit of a dodgey sensation on the left side of my face. Didn't bother doing anything about it as I thought it'd go away. Got to the end of June and it was still there so went to my GP.... and that's when he basically frightened the living b-jessers out of me and referred me to a neurologist. Now all along I thought that the problem was either relating to my ear (which I had major surgery on as a kid), or to do with the dreaded recurring lurgy thing. AND after waiting to see the neurologist and having an MRI on my swede (brain for you non-English), I can now happily report there's nothing nasty or sinister lurking ... and breath a huge sigh of relief...... Even though I was pretty confident this was never going to be anything nasty it's always rather reassuring to hear it's all ok .... so I'm sacking my GP and getting a new one - I don't need such a panic quack in my life!!!! Although I guess you have to be safe then sorry. As I'm still getting this numb feeling and as every time I train hard I get a sore throat I'm having some blood tests done to rule out a couple of other things, but essentially it should all clear up and get better at some point. HURRAH!

So on to training and the impending weekend event. OH MY GOD IT'S THIS WEEKEND. As you can see I'm relatively calm about it all ;o)

Obviously training in July, like June, hasn't gone to plan. However last week I got a really good, and much needed, confidence boost by having a great training session with my training partner Leanne. We set of with the intention of a relatively easy 2 hour bike followed by easy 1 hour run... trying to get the fueling right for the big day. We covered about 38k on the bike in about 1:50 and then an hour running (no idea of distance)... it was a great session :O) Very relaxing, great countryside surrounding and most importantly of all ... DRY! Since then I've had an open water and a pool swim, a couple of runs, a bike and this morning a good brick (45mins bike and 24mins run). So although I'm not where I'd want to be I'm confident I will finish come Sunday afternoon. I have two major concerns for the day itself;
  1. The heat - having had the wettest July on record with pretty mild temps we've suddenly started summer and it's looking like it'll be in the 80s for Sunday lunchtime..... hey ho... will just have to make sure I drink plenty!
  2. The numbers - there's over 400 people in my heat!!! 400 starting an open water at the same time from a floating start.. OMG.. it's going to be like a fish feeding frenzy. Survival will be my objective.
I'm beginning to feel very excited about the race. This is something I first dreamt about a year ago and I can't believe I'm here. Regardless of the lack of ideal training I am so excited about participating, after all I will be setting a PB! :O)

I'll write some more later tonight or tomorrow before I go, but after I've packed my bags :O)