Sunday 17 October 2010

Kona Bike Fest -Saturday 16th October

Well as the previous posts suggests, I'm a total novice on a MTB but I entered this with the intention of going as long as poss and having fun.

I'd ridden round the course twice previously - both times having several offs. The first time was embarrassing, Phil took me round and i was getting off to go over rocks - "surely you can't ride over that??" sweet Jesus!

The roots were lethal, (and there were so many of them!!) what was I doing?

The next time (last week) was much better, it was after Afan where id gained a lot more confidence and although i was still slow over the obstacles compared to the guys I was going over most things, so was happy to do the event (so long as it didn't rain and make it all slippery scary)

This is by no means an excuse but I went out "For one..." on Friday night, i was looking at the clock at 10 thinking... 2 glasses of wine, that;ll do, go home now and you can have a good night sleep....

i did this again at 11.. then 12..... then finally after about 2 bottles of wine, several rum and cokes, then shots I rolled in about 2.30 steaming drunk! i fell into bed only to be woken by my alarm clock half an hour after it had first started going off.

With some "Shit, fuck, bugger, ouch my heads" i got up still pissed, threw everything i though i might need into a hold all and got on my way to Bristol. When i turned up the others had all got up ( they'd camped) and i made my way in a haze to the registration tent. got back sorted myself out.

I'd bought some tassels, a big pink horn and some spokey dokes for affect unfortunately the spokey dokes didn't fit :( but the tassels looked cool!

 I had everything I'd need for the day as I'd not wanted to stop - the idea was to do as many laps as possible in 8 hours. I knew i was slow so had to rely on my fitness to keep me going.

The start was at the bottom of this steep hill (on foot) you had to run to your bike then go. I jogged up the hill to where Chris was holding my bike for me and tootled off. There were a few hundred people to get through a small space at the start of the trail so i hung back as i didn't want to slow people up with my slow snail speed down over the first section.

Once on the trail the course is really bumpy, big old rocks then into a nice sweeping gravel single track section, over more rocks/roots, off up the side of a road, up a steep hill down back into a trail over more rocks, down a big steep ditch drop off and back out the other side (the first 2 times i chickened out and walked)!) out across a field, back into the trail, more rocks, roots, up a maaaasssive steep rocky climb, down a steep descent, through a really twisty technical section, through more woods, into a field briefly, up another even rockier steeper climb then straight down a wall which i hated the first time but by the end was loving. Then out across a field, up a gravel track back to the start again.

I was having a great time, pottering about, tooting my horn at everyone who went passed. At least 75% of people who went passed commented on my tassels, and by the end of the day i was know has "Tassels" or "solo tassels" i was tooting away and people seemed to enjoy it. I took about 40 mins per lap and I had hoped to do 12, but I had a little stop for 2 or 3 mins after the 3rd lap, to eat something then did this after every lap, half a jam or ham sarnie after each lap, then 10 mins after 4 hours, to go for a wee, refill my camel bak, have a little chat with the other MB Swindon team. I kept this up for the next few hours. I got to 9 laps and realised I wasn't going to manage 12 - you had to be back from your lap before the 8 hours was up. I got 11 in with 15 minutes spare.

My shoulders were killing and I had wankers wrist my legs felt fine and i had more in the tank. Phil handed me an MB Swindon sweatshirt and told me I'd need it to wear on the podium for the photos and prize giving... i dint' understand...  I'd come 3rd!! :)

i had no idea, I'd not gone with the intention of getting placed cos I'm new to this and really shit, if I'd know I'd have pushed a bit harder... especially now that i found out i was only 6 mins behind the 2nd lady! I knew I shouldn't have stopped for a slash!

All in all it was a successful day, as a club we did well, no injuries or mechanicals. and a great laugh!

The boozing I realise has no bearing of my performance, if anything the wine was a good carbo loading tip.. spesh as I didn't have any dinner the night before!

Afan Monster Enduro - 25th September

I've been having a great time the last couple of month, playing on my mountain bike, riding for fun, running for fun, not stepped foot in the swimming pool though! Ironically I feel fitter now than I did when I did switzerland.

I feel so free not staring at my HRM, worrying about eating enough/eating right, sleeping enough, doing too much, training enough. Now I', just doing what I fancy, when i want to and bloody loving it.

So this mountain biking milarky then....

I'd booked into this mountain bike beginners training day the week after the IM as I thought it would be something to do to keep moving, but nothing tough. So I rocked up with a few other mates on my old "black pony" and did this course, learnt a few minor skills (wheel lift and sort of bunny hop) and after went with some of the guys who were running the course round "the croft trail" which i never knew existed but was great!  A man made single track trail right near where i live.

After this i got the bug a bit, bought a gorgeous new bike which i'm so in love with it's obscene, joined the MB club who'd run the course and before I knew it had signed up for 2 events - bike fest and this event.

I'd never done much off roading, i thought off road meant like those old disused railway track type things, man was I wrong!

The purpose of this event was to get myself a bit used to long time on a mtb as the bike fest thing was an 8 hour race.

So the Afan Monster was a choice of 75km and 100km route, when i told people I was doing it, I got laughed at, and told I was going to die. Great. Of  course some of you know what I'm like - tell me I cant do something and I'm going to damn well prove you wrong! The website described it as the toughest ride there is and although I knew physically and mentally I was up to the challenge my skills weren't!

Some of the guys from club also signed up for it and agreed to babysit me round, I'd never done any proper trail rides before and had no idea what to expect, what i did know is that I hate rocks, roots and going downhilll.... good call Anna!

I was picked up by chris and Simon at stupid oclock and we had a good laugh all the way down. Phil had taken our bikes down in the van so we all got there and put our bikes together, went and got our numbers and set off.

The first mile went straight up a fire road, I don't mind hills too much, but not everyone was keen! But I knew that going up, meant coming down at some point. For mtb'ers this is the whole point, not so much for me - Miss Brakey Joe! The first descent was mostly back down fire road which was a bit skiddy - esp when you're strangling the brakes like i was!

It took 3 miles for the first mechanical - chris showing off to someone taking a pic, doing a big old bunny hop, landed funny and "bang" there went his back wheel, buckled as you like, the boys faffed for a while trying to straighten it, before deciding to get down the hill which passed by the start and get chris a new wheel. He had to get a lift off to find a shop and  decided to meet us further down the ride.

It took a further mile before my first crash of the day, it wasnt very spectacular, I just sort of splatted into a bush going down a rocky bit of single track. The boys are always saying "go faster and you won't fall off" which i want to believe but it's bloody scary when ou're flying over rocks and hit a wet root and face plant a tree! the first section of the ride went along the trail known as "The Wall" which was really rocky and rooty and you'd have sheer drops down to the side of you, one mistake and game over!

The day was hard, the weather was beautiful the views and scenery were amazing!. The hills were tough and long, some bits unpassable on bike and had to be pushed, the descents for me were much tougher. As the day went on, i was becoming mroe confident rolling over anyhting and even getting a bit of speed at times!

After 2.5 hours of riding, we'd just got to the top of an mammoth climb - around 6km! I looked at my computer and we'd only done 16 miles! I could have run that far in this time. It was crazy, on the road i'd have covered that in less than an hour, but this was a totally different kettle of fish and I liked it!

We regrouped at the top and met up with another group, the guy at the back was really struggling, I hung out with him for a bit and literlly pushed him up the rest of the hill - and nearly fell in a ditch!

I had several more crashes  throughout the day, and there were more mechanicals for the group - punctures and the like, we then lost Simon for half an hour somehow!

My favourite bit of the ride was the trail known as "Skyline" it was a really nice single track, which ended up weaving down through the woods to the road, the guys had gone off ahead and I was merrily picking my way down and i got hooked on a rock (i was going too slowly) and I sort of got suspended in mid air and to my left vertically was the bushed/rocks (soft landing) to my right, a sheer drop, I needed o fall left, but unfortunatly i fell right, I felt my heart stop as I tumbled, I shit my pants like never before. My bike miraculously didnt come with me, but I grabbed at handfuls of grass and managed to pull mysefl back up, properly shaking.

I tentatively got back on and started picking back down the hill, Simon had waited for me just ahead and i told him i'd just shit myself.

When I got to the bottom onto the road the guys were waiting and said they had bad news...

We'd not made the cut off due to all the mechanicals we'd had, and the last 20km could take us 2 hours without mechanical probs so we had to wait and get a lift back :(

I'd never DNF'd before and was disgusted... we joked about this for the rest of the day/eve (still are in fact)

This report no way nears sums up how great a time I had and how much it boosted my confidence and I can't wait to go back.

Monday 13 September 2010

Bala Standard Distance Triathlon - 12th September 2010

Yesterday was the last triathlon of the season for me, I'd entered it knowing that post Ironman I'd need something to keep me focussed and prevent me 1) going off the boil on a wild drinking frenzy and 2) stop me sinking into a state of depression having nothing to aim for.

It didn't really stop either of these things fully because the 2 weeks post Ironman, I pissed up the wall like an 18 year old fresher having left home for the first time. Chain smoked, binge drank and ate shit. Then drew a line in the sand and got back to business. Well I tried. My body didn't want to know, it was still fried from the Ironman, compounded then with 2 weeks of not being very kind to it.

A further two weeks, saw me feeling much more like AnnaB, back to my bouncy self which looking back I've not seen since the beginning of the year. Gone was tired, unmotivated, snappy troll girl that appeared about 4 weeks before the big dog. Which tells me I was quite possibly overtrained, overtired and in need of a break.

I had made a plan to try to achieve at Bala, this plan was get to as close to 2:30 as possible - it was always going to be a tall order, and withmy running having taken a big knock I decided there would be a good place to start making improvements, so I called in the brains of a couple of friends and set about working on speed work, nothing but speed work. 6 weeks of speed work. Trouble was 3 of these weeks were when my body was telling me to fuck off. So I only managed about one session a week and the rest of my "training time" fucking about on (and falling off) my new fricking beautiful and oh so fun mountain bike. The speed work I didwasnt too shabby, I was managing 6:30 miles the odd sub 3 min 800 (most of them 3 - 3:15s though) and was begining to show some consistency.

Then last week my speed session was a 5k run leg of a relay which I pulled a really shit time out of my ass and there and then said "hmmf, next weeks not gonna happen" I then had a terrible run at running club on wednesday (worse than i've ever remembered and even the guys at club commented)

Against my better judgement and advice from others, I took total rest friday and saturday and just commuted to work on thursday as i felt totally battered.

Anyhow, my target times i'd  given myself some weeks ago to achieve this time of 2:30 were

Swim - 32 (my PB time on an olympic - though it wa smeasured short I'm sure)
T1 - 3 mins
Bike - 1hr 10
T2 - 2 mins
Run - 43

But this wasn;t going to happen - I'd swam twice in 2 months, not been in the lake since that awful time in switzerland, wasnt running well.

So back to Bala.

I'd left it too late to book anywhere to camp as planned as it was out inthe sticks of beautiful north wales so my dad insisted on driving me, or at least sharing the drive.
This meant leaving at 3:45 am. ouch.

So me and dad bickering about me driving too fast, revving too much, wasting his fuel, we stopped about 60 miles away and got coffee and i ate a couple of bagels and he finished the drive whilst i have dozed/dreamt.

We arrived just before 8am, after me having to get dad to stop so I could take a call of nature in some farmers field. The temperature had dropped considerably from recent days and the grass was heavy with dew when we got to the car park.
I went to register in a long queue to pick up my freebies, get my number marked on, chip etc and looked out at the lake, it was vast! and there were waves!! big waves! i've never swam in water with current before unless you count rapids at the swimming pool or the wave machine at the oasis!?

I headed back to the car and started getting my stuff ready.

I took my bike out and put the front wheel back in, I had borrowed Big Jan's (aka Gary from Paris trip) wheels as mine aren't very good and I'm saving up for some go fast wheels of my very own, but when I'd used them before the screw from the skewer was missing so for this I'd brought one of mine to use instead. I had trouble getting the wheel to go in, I eventually got it in and it seemed a bit tight. I tried to spin the wheel but it would just grind to a halt. I figured it was the brake, so loosed it off and it seemed better.

I got the rest of my things ready to take to transition and me and dad went on down and joined another queue to get into transition where they were checking everyones helmets and numbers, the queue took ages because people hadnt got their helmets tight enough.

I found where I was to rack my bike and chatted with the girls there for a while whilst getting ready, the girl next to me, in my age group was from Salisbury and hadnt booked anywhere either so ended up sleeping in her car in a layby over night, she'd recently done Roth ironman distance so wasnt sure what to expect either.

I set out my things, and squeezed my lardy ass into my wetsuit - not a nice look on someone carrying way too much fat right now! Happy that everything was in order I went to the lakeside where the first wave was getting started (the young men and old men). Off they went and in the ladies got to warm up.

The lake was stony and very cold. The cold didn't last as the wetsuit warmed up the water, it was certainly more comfortable than the warm water in lake Zurich. There had been health warnings about Blue Algae in the lake but we'd been reassured that the recent wind and rain had dispersed it.

We swam to the first buoy and waited to be started. I got close to the buoy so as to avoid swimming too much further than required as i've a nasty habit of going way off course.

I started my watch as the klaxon went and we were off, I started off hard, harder than I ever had in the lake, I'd already decided to make an effort similar to that I make in the pool on sprints. There were feet and hands everywhere, I polo swam the first 20meters or so to avoid getting foot in mouth or a broken nose and was feeling really strong and like I might be doing ok. I started to swim "properly" as in with my head under the water and was making progress, until I started to get big waves washing over me, it suddenly became really choppy, and I didnt know what to do, so breaststroked a little, got mself some space and tried to get back into a rhythm and stop panicking.

I eventually got into a rhythm and looking down I could see bits in the water, whooshing past underneath me, and I felt as if i was going so fast, it was a weird site, and i felt a bit surreal but I liked it, it was a bit trippy and difficult to describe. I looked up thinking I must be half way along now, but i was still miles fromthe first buoy! I didnt understand. There were still ots of people around me, and i kept overtaking one girl and then she'd overtake me, and thewater bitswere still whooshing past beneath me. I was sticking nice and close to the buoys as they passed. The waves were still knocking me about but i was enjoying the world underneath flying past. I rounded the firs buoy at the top end nice and close, not having to break my stroke, the second of the turn around I had to take breast stroke for a bit, I took the opportunity to check my watch - only to find I'd not started it!

The time said 10:16 and I know i'd started it at 9:59 meaning i'd taken 17 mins to do over halfway! Brilliant!

I begun making my way back trying to keep the rhythm I had, I'd lost the attack I'd started off with in the panic stricken section of choppy water.

Once more, the water was flying past under neath me, like sparkly cosmic rays. I got carried away in this psychadelic place and when I came up to spot, i found myself in the middle of the swim course - fuck! I started going back out to the right side of the buoys and could see a few yellow hats still (not many mind)

I was getting bored now, I wasnt' making any progress, I just kept losing my course, the sparkly water was distracting me and I kept forgetting to spot and kept zig zagging. Before long I was overtaken by fast men from the wave behind.

I then hit the choppy section of water once more, again knocking me about, slowing my progress. I really needed a wee, i'd already been for one during the swim but I knew if I ddint go now i'd need to go on the bike or run and that would be a total pain in the arse. But I couldnt go, no matter how i tried.

My right hand hit stones and I realise i was near the jetty. i got up and tried to walk, but couldn;t, the stones were sharp and making me unstable so i got back down and sort of tried to crawl the last 15 meters to the jetty, i once more tried to stand again fell, i felt like a cock, but the girl next to me had the same problems. I finally got to the jettty and was helped out by a marshall, trotted upt he jetty undoing my wetsuit, puling off my hat and goggles and shaking down my plaits like repunzle! (yet ever so slighlty less glamorous.)

I had no idea of time now, and didn't care, I was just glad that was over with.

I ran into transition and looked for where my bike was, the numbering wasnt very clear, and i ran around aimlessly for a bit, i'd lost my bearings and i'd lost my bike. I finally found it. I still needed a wee, i had two choices, go now, before i take my wetsuit off fully or risk having to go later somehow (and its' fucking hard wearing a one piece tri suit) so I did what any other scumbag would do, and just did it in my wetsuit whilst I got my hat and gloves on, can't say I can't multitask!

So wetsuit now off and full of piss, socks and shoes on, downed a Jiz gel, glasses on, and bike off the rack and restarted my computer.

Pushed it out of transition and it felt weird. I assumed it was the surface I was pushing it on. I got past hte mounting line and threw my leg over I clipped my right foot in and went to push off, but nothing. the front wheel turned round half a revolution and stopped. I jumped back off and could see my dad filming me ahead, i spunthe back wheel - fine. spun the front wheel. "pfft" it wouldnt turn.

I gave the brakes a poke, the left hand side was rubbing and stopping the wheel from turning. I tried to loosen it by hand, got back on, got round the corner, still rubbing. I got off again, and tried to pry the brake ioff the wheel, nope. I pushed the wheel to the side. I was cursing now and on the brink of tears, and pulling out of the race. I manged to get the bike moving by keeping my weight to the right and the brake off the wheel some of the time. I went for 8 miles pushing my lovely bike through treacle. Swearing at it every revolution, a man came passed me, asking if i was ok, i was clearly struggling. I hated my bike. But i felt guilty because I love it dearly.

I passed a man who'd sprayed across the floor being picked up by a pedestrian (later on i saw him covered from head to toe in road rash)

A man came passed me with a number the mark of the devil 666 - "Cunt" I wanted to shout. At him, at me, at my fucking brake!

About 8 miles in, and I was starting to descend, but still having to pedal, my legs were burning, and my rage was burning equally. I spotted a group of people watching, one of them a guy on a bike, i spotted he had a bike bag no doubt with tools in (yes, its something i normaylly carry but for some unknown reason i didnt bother today) I stoped and asked if I could borrow an allen key and he quickly got his tool out for me ;) oo er!

I took the brake right off, gave him back his tool, said thank you about 10 times, and got back on, immediately i accelerated! yay! however, i'd taken 30 minutes to cover 8 fucking miles!

I raced on, taking some risks going down the hill, particularly only with  a rear brake. I could see people lots of people coming back the other way (the course was out and back)

I was now overtaking people, not hard as there were so many people in front of me! I reached he turn around at 40 mins by my computer, took it dead steady round cos it was wet and it was tight and i only had one brake.

I set back off up the hill, fighting off girls coming from bheind me, making a big effort to get past the oes in front.

I totaly flew the way back, not really thinking or feeling anything, just that I had a lot of ground to make up and having to take lots of risks on corners and any descents.

I reached the final 3 miles which was the run route and could see loads of [eople out there, how gutting. the leaders will have finished before i even get on the run!

I checked my computer as i got back into transtion and it siad 1hr 13, (it stops when i stop so wont have recored my exact time, but my last 12 miles was 33 minutes! that's the fastest i've done that distance. I'm sure it was sheer rage and adrenaline.

I ran back into transition and once more had no idea where my bike was racked. I was in the wrong row and had to run round, i still couldnt find it, and just dumped it where i could see a space and ran to find my stuff.

 i whipped off my hat, and shoes, guzzled anohter jizz gel, trainers on, gloves off, grabbed a chewing gum, and my mates garmin i'd borrowed, also the bottle of coke i'd decanted into a little bottle downed that on my way out of transition and ran on.

I actually felt pretty good, i was thankful i'd taken total rest the days before, a lady yelled that i looked strong which gave me added motivation.

6.5 miles seemed a long way to go, i contemplated sacking it off, i'd not ran longer than 4 miles at a decent pace lately, in fact i'dnot run that fast for that long in months. But i felt surprisinly good. I checked the garmin but it didnt have a signal yet. I got on with overtaking everyone I came up to.

After about half a mile the garmin kicked in and i was doing between 7:15 and 7:45 min miles, it was quite a hilly route, but obvioulsy the payback for going up hill means you get to go down, so where i slowed to 8:30'si got it back doing 6 - 6:30s  i liked this garmin thing! My gyppy S was shit and rarely worked for more more than a mile at a time, and i'd never raced with one.

A girl overtook me, running really well, so I told her "great running" she stuck a thumb up and ran on.

I hit the turn around still feeling strng but slowing slightly, i dug in, and had to climb the long drag i'd previously flown down. bottoming out at a 9min mile pace i started striding out. I could see women ahead and tried to catch them, half a mile to go, I wasn't going to do a 43 or eeven a 45 minrun, but I pushed on and dug deep, I rounded the corner and pushed past the lady in front, then got into where i thoughg the finish was and found it took you a furher 150 m round transition through a big muddy puddle, but i could see two more girls in front so i made it my ission to catch them too. My eyes went all funny like i might pasts out, and i thought i was going to piss my pants in my effort. I got passed and through the finihs line. A marshall asked if i was ok "yes fine" "are you sure"? i must hve looked like i felt.

Well despite the shit first half, i ended up feeling really good in the end, and with better preparation and some swimming lessons (or100) i might do better if i return next year.

My official times in the end were

1500m swim - 36
24 mile Bike - 1hr 17
6.5 mile run - 47

after the race taking my wheel back off i realised the problem, the fork was jammed round the spring of the skewer restricting movement. In addition, when i got home and did my washing, i found that my tool was in my back pocket all along - id put it there in case i needed it! :D
Time now for a diet, shift a stone before next season and enjoy a winter of running and mountain biking :)

Monday 30 August 2010

21st August - Aquathlon Summer Series Race 5/5

I missed race 4/5 because it was the week before the Ironman and didnt really want to take too much out of the bank so close.

Prior to this, I'd been really trying to get some speed sessions in but i've been totally shagged (not in a good way) from the ironman, so have been taking more rest days and skipping some of the sessions I'd planned.

I'm doing an Olympic distance tri in a few weeks and have a time in mind that I'd realy love to do the run in, which means my training has been largely run focussed to work on negative and even splits and bike intervals, I also finally got back in the water after 3 weeks but surprisingly hadn't lost much form. But with all good intentions have come temptations of nights out, summer evenings in the pub, lazy lie ins, bad food... you know how it is.

Well the aquathlon was much the same as every other one i've done. It had been raining, was really muggy and was pretty windy particularly on the way back on the run, the swim was uneventful, I was sharing my lane with a guy who is always out the water just a few seconds ahead of me, and I can never quite catch on the run, he's pretty hot (for a 50 year old)if you can imagine a slightly smaller linford christie in a tri suit...?! Another guy also joked that it was his missinon to beat him one month. So it's now also my mission :)

(Needless to say he came in 90 seconds ahead of me overall)

My swim was quite pleasant really, after the terrible time in Switzerland I'd been a bit put off by getting back in the water but i pushed hard, tried to focus on technique and got out in 8:06 which is about right for me, rather undignified haul out of the water onto the side like a beached whale, then ran ou of transition and onto the run.

I overtook all the women who had got out ahead (including some bag who had been boasting and banging on about London Tri) went past the faster but slower swimmers, and tried to get a good time. But my legs felt like lead still, i was stomping the ground like a heffalump, but as much as i wanted to stop, I've not DNF'd yet in a race i'm not about to start getting into bad habits now.

I could see a bit ahead near the turn around a guy who's normally way ahead of me, (the one who wanted to beat linfordalike) and worked on catvhing him up. i turned round to run back and ran straight into a wall of wind, chevked my watch and was 10:30, if I could get back in an even time i'd go 21 which would be pretty good going after the slow pace i've been training at for the last 6 months. I caught u pwith the other guy eventually, using him as a marker to get past, the wind was pushing me back all the time and making me cross.

I pushed on towards my least favourite bit of the route and thankfully it wasnt so open so got some respite from the wind and trudged on through the finish, pouring with sweat, it was proper humid and grim. I was first lady back and run time was 22.02 which isn't actually too shabby all things considered. Am hoping once I've lost some weight and I'm more run fit i'll be able to bang out 20's.

As the race was a series, it was best of 5 and I wont 4 of them, so I got a prize - yay! :)

Will most likely do the winter series too, as even though last year was fucking freezing and icy it's a nice distance to keep my brain and legs in check (and stop me gonig out on the piss on a friday night!)

Wednesday 28 July 2010

".... you are an IronMan!" Switzerland IronMan 2010 - July 25th

It was a long day, so this is bound to be a long report... you have been warned.

This really needs a blog of it's own given the time it's taken to prepare and train for it.

The decision manifested itself back in September after I'd attempted a few triathlons, entered a half and had a little look at possibilities on the Internet. Until about November time the idea settled down to a gentle muttering in the back of my brain, then I joined my local Tri Club, and talking to people the idea came a bit further forward, I mentioned I was thinking about maybe doing one in October 2011 when someone said "what about Switzerland, there's a big group of us going from the club".

So the idea was now bouncing around the front of my brain like a crazy monkey in a cage trying to escape, I looked on line at the course, the website the details, and a week later, I'd signed up! Just like that.... then it began to dawn on me what I was about to embark on.....

3.8km swim (Not quite as far as a race for life distance but not far off)
180km bike (hilly by the look of the course profiles 4500ft of climbing!)
42.2 km run (that's a marathon to you and me)

Prior to this I'd run a couple of marathons and from reading previous running misadventures, you'll know I'm a keen runner, i hadn't however ridden more than maybe 40 miles in one go - if that! So why then was I about to embark on a 6 month training plan to get myself across the finish line in an ironman race (hopefully)!

The months passed, winter was a long cold one, so bike training on the turbo trainer was plentiful, a bit of mountain biking in the snow, an accident involving getting knocked off my bike by a car set me back 2 weeks, (and the rest)  a sprained ankle had me off running for 6 weeks, reading books on ironman training, cycling training, lactate threshold and Physiological testing, new bike to replace the written off one in aforementioned accident, practice triathlons, half ironman event, failed attempts at losing weight (do you know how hungry this makes you?!) a 360 mile bike ride to Paris, weekend after weekend of 80 - 100 mile bike rides followed by short runs, long runs, swimming in a lake in April 2 weeks after an inch of ice had thawed, and for why??

To do something that the average person doesn't do of course.

The biggest challenge for me through out my entire training was to let go of my "runner" mentality. I wasn't going out to do a marathon PB, from this moment on i was a triathlete, not a runner. The run was just something that was to be an extension of a long day of aerobic exercise. This was the other struggle. I had to be very disciplined with training in the correct HR zones. Train too hard and you can risk over training, don't train hard enough and don't make gains on your fitness.... this is where I called in the professionals... in the form of vo2 max testing, which has been invaluable in my learning curve in this wonderful sport. But there's too much science to go into right now...

Basically that is the back story... now on with the fun stuff!! :-)

Taper week was a weeeeird place for me, I had been training between 14 and 20 hours a week, training 6 days a week, twice a day in most cases, the first week of the taper knocked me for 6, my training load halved, and suddenly my body went a bit mad, all it wanted to do was sleep, everything ached, pains that weren't there before (taper madness some people call it) so I went into the weekend, instead of doing the training I'd had in the plan, going out and getting smashed - self destruct button alert. The final week before the race i was only due to do 4 hours of training plus the race, still i felt shattered, so only managed a 30 min interval session to sharpen me up, a commute to work and a 45 min steady run. I felt really under prepared - stupid I know given how much training I'd done. Three nights on the trot I had weird dreams that my teeth fell out (not on the race, just in general) which i was told either meant i was coming into money or i was worried about something, so I bought a lotto ticket and won a tenner ;)

I'd been conscious for months that my running isn't where I'd like it to be due to the time off with injury I'd had but the last 6 weeks had been solid, I'd done plenty of decent runs, a few decent pace runs and my legs were strong, and running is about strength, and the last 6 months training was about endurance, the two combined should see me through the finish line.

Thursday came round all too quickly, my bike was packed (shoved in a bike bag wrapped in bubble wrap surrounded my the rest of my luggage to protect it!)

We arrived in Zurich, turbulently, in what appeared to be monsoon season. For the last two weeks, we'd been watching the weather closely, there was an upper limit on the lake temperature telling whether you could wear a wet suit or not, 24.5 degrees C or above and they re banned. the week before they'd broadcast 25.1. IT didn't really bother me too much as I'm slow either way and I'd done dorney and Florida without, so some of the others were panicking, until the rain came, and brought a welcome drop in temperature.

The rain however went on for days! We didn't want to race in the rain ! :( how had a massive 3 week heatwave broken into monsoon? how unfair was that!

9 of us were staying in a hostel about a kilometer from the race  the other 10+ and their supporters were at various hotels and apartments around Zurich, including my parents. We checked in and found our "room" basically 4 beds, (bunks) with a communal showers and toilets - to be fair the place was pristine so there was nothing to complain about really plus breakfast was included, if you are happy with bread, bread, bread, bread , cheese and muesli.

Zurich itself is a beautiful city, with views up the mountains and across the lake, so tidy and clean it makes you feel ashamed to look at the state of our country. The only thing that spoiled it was the damn rain!!! It was relentless - oh and the extortionate price tags on everything, we went out to dinner that night and after seeing the "house red" was 38 francs (about 25 quid!) we decided we'd stick with tap water. The nights sleep was hot, as KT kept saying "it's hotter than the sun on this top bunk" she was right, i had a top bunk too and was muggy as you like.

On the Friday we woke early, and sweaty with the rain coming down even harder, we went down to breakfast and fed on bread bread, bread, bread and muesli, went back up and unpacked our bikes and reassembled them, my handlebars had been a bit squished on the flight but luckily it was just the hood and needed a bit of shifting. Captain Turdseye (of the Swindon to Paris adventure) had lent me some tri bars as mine I decided at the last minute were too heavy. We joked between us about not trying anything new on race day... pah, I've run a marathon with brand new trainers before! My rear tyre was also misbehaving and after about half an hour of fiddling about, Mark Q and Andy P lubed up my rim for me, and it all seemed to be working much better!

After the bikes were all sorted, we all headed down to registration in the pissing rain, expo looked more like a festival than an ironman summer event, there were people sloshing around with water proofs and umbrellas. At registration we were given a super sexy rucksack, which is the type I've wanted to buy for ages as they're perfect for running to work with as they are small but hold lots and are really stable, a drinks bottle, some pasta, some weird sachets of stuff, some detergent, suncream (perfect as this was the one thing I'd forgotten not that it looked like we'd need it)

The race briefing in English was going to be at 3pm, so we all headed into the tent to keep dry get some grub and coffee, and sit through the German briefing first. Most of the guys had a massivo sausage for lunch, i have a big plate of pork stir fry which was mostly a lot of meat.

Graham M had set up his phone so that if any of us texted him, he could distribute it to the whole group, which was cool, as it meant we could all send out messages to each other but this was slightly abused over the weekend and some of mine got vetted :( race briefing was full of the usual characters wearing the usual ironman finishers tops or loads of IM branded shite, proper peacock behaviour. I was also impressed by the quantity of hot guys on display. I'd like to have brought a few home with me......

After briefing we headed back to hostel, showered and got ready for the "Welcome party" we ordered some cabs and when the driver arrived he asked me where we were going.

"I'm not sure.."
"Die Shitsen Housen?"
"ha, the what?!"
"Die Shitsen Housen"
I looked blank, and Ian said yes that was where we were going.

Still laughing i got in the first cab, and en route I rang Ali to tell her where she needed to get the cab to drop the rest of them, she thought I was taking the piss, probably not helped by the fact that I was pissing myself laughing by telling her we were going to the Shit house for dinner... Ian was sat behind me, telling me how it was spelt....

"Die Schutzen Hausen"


Dinner was a monster meal of the following:

Salad (avec a lot of jizzy dressing)
"Pasta course" - Spag Bol and Penne Pasta! (you could go up for 2nds too, but I had given Andy half my pasta already)
"Meat Course" - Grilled chicken, loads of rice (which Andy got most of)
Dessert - was marble cake, but we left so we missed the rush getting a cab.

During dinner, we were entertained by a yodeller, accordion playing, didgeree doo joker, some Euro electro pop, and the video from last years event, which stopped my heart beating briefly! I felt bit emotional watching it - and fucking scared!

Saturday I had arranged t go to my parents hotel for breakfast, so my dad bless his heart took an hour getting to me on trains and buses,  took me back to their hotel on more trains, I had a little jog and they let me feast on their amazing breakfast buffet. I was so sick of bread so all the fruit, nuts,  meat, smoked salmon and eggs that were on offer was so tempting so i got stuck right in - as you do.

I sent a group text (which was vetted) "I've just put a lot  of meat in my hole"

After crashing out for a bit in their room, we went to the supermarket to get some stuff for my breakfast the next morning as there were no cooking facilities I'd be doing my first ever event after not having porridge. Dad then took me back on the trains once more (he actually is the best) I could have got a train myself except that he had a pass for my mum so let me use that.

Back in our room I started getting my transition bags ready for race morning, and doing some final bike checks. I had intended doing a short bike and a swim on the days before but as the weather was so shit I couldn't be bothered. The rain had stopped now, so I took my bike out for a spin... as soon as I got on, it felt weird, the position felt all wrong, the tri bars weren't the right size, i moved my seat around to try and find the right spot, but still it felt weird. I put it down to not riding for a few days, so took bike, and helmet down to rack, the queue was frickin huge, despite being given time slots to go and rack, my time was between 3.30 and 4.30 but I didn't get down there til gone 4 and there were people from later time slots queueing.

Normally you are given a number wrist band which matches the sticker on your bike, race number and helmet, but here they took a photo of you, your number, and your bike. Great idea but time consuming.

So now bikes racked, and covered over, back to hostel for a light snack not that i was hungry at all, made some Jam sarnies to put in my bike bag for the ride and went to bed.

Race Morning I'd set my alarm for 3:45, I got woken up by Ali at 4:10 as I'd fallen back to sleep, had a couple of choc spread and banana sandwich and lazed around for a bit before going to get some coffee. Looking outside the weather looked clear! I really didn't fancy riding in the rain, that would be shit. I have no idea why bu I still wasn't feeling nervous... it was odd. We chucked on our wetsuits up to our waists (the rain had cooled the water sufficiently to be able to wear them) last minute checks of  my transition gear and loaded myself up and walked back down to the transition area.

I found my bike, uncovered it and laid out my kit in piles as I'd need it and covered it over in case the rain started again, checked my watch - it was 6,30, so time for a wee, the queue wasn't massive but clearly everyone was taking a shit as it was slow moving, i finally got out of the loo at 6:50! so ran back to my bike, dumped off my jumper, grabbed my goggles, swim cap and streetwear bag (for after the race) and ran back out of transition to where i saw everyone else disappearing to. No 6:55 and the gun had gone off for the pro start, and i was still a long way from the start point. I spotted Andy P, Justin and Steve and got them to do up my wetsuit, dumped off my bag at the designated area and carried on through, realised I still had on my flip flops so ran back, put them in my bag after unburying it from the mound of bags, ran back to the guys to hear the gun go off for the mass start!

Shit! I was still at the top of the beach and the swim was meant to be a deep water floating start. After a minute I reached the water, waded in, and looked out to see where I needed to be heading. I was expecting huge buoys like they had in Florida but I could only see one large one waaaay in the distance with hundreds and thousands of yellow caps floating around and spread across about 100m of the water, still not sure which way to go, i got in and down to business, and decided to just follow the people already out there in the vague direction of the big buoy 100 miles away! (or thereabouts) I recalled what was said in the race briefing "the buoys are to your right and the boats to your left. I finally reached the start line , and tried to get a bit of rhythm, there were a few people around - not many since i was one of the last in the water! Though looking behind I could see there were some slower people still behind me, and I managed to start overtaking some of the reaaaaly shit swimmers, dodging feet and fists that were pounding the water around me, I took a gulp of air containing a gulp of water, and choked, and pulled up and skulled and treaded water for a bit whilst i cleared my windpipe and coughed out the water.

Sometimes i find it easier to get my breath back by breathing out under water so I did breast stroke for a bit and exhaled hard and tried to calm myself down, once I felt OK, i got back on with it, starting to get back into a rhythm and onto my pace. Although it wasn't really my pace, being so far back I was surrounded by lots of even shitter swimmers than me, which is saying a lot, so even though there was a decent amount of room, i was getting on top of people and having to weave around. I looked up to locate the buoys and finally found the first one - no bigger than a large kids balloon! They were numbered though so found something to occupy myself while swimming along, however I also saw that they were about 20m to the right of me, I tried to change my direction to get closer to them, but just crashed with other crap swimmers going the wrong way. I tried to battle my way nearer to the buoys as they cropped up but they still seemed to be miles away. Buoy 5 was a massive inflatable one signalling a change in direction - a right hand turn - I headed for it to round tightly to gain back some distance, when I got there there were people hanging on to it and I got round with only a few punches in the head but had to drop back to breaststroke for a bit. I got round the rest of the route with loads of clear water which was great so i started to practice my stroke technique and focus on extending and increasing my strokes per breath. I begun to enjoy the swim now, and appreciate how clean and beautiful the lake was. I looked up to my left and saw boats, looked to my right and saw hundreds of yellow hats, the reason i had so much clear water was because no other fucker was going round the buoys!!

Coming to the last buoy of the loop i could head and feel something coming - I looked left and saw a big group of swimmers going hell for leather, I pulled over and let them pass/swim over me, and i realised it was the pro's coming in to finish their first lap! how humiliating!! I had been lapped!

I swam under the bridge into the shallow water and to the ramp got helped out up the ramp, over the timing mat, down the other side and back into the lake for lap 2! I had checked my watch and it said 46 mins - fuck! and the second lap is about 300m  longer than the first!

All the cheaters from the first lap were now swimming way to the left so i stuck to the buoys as best i could and got back into enjoying the scenery and underwater singing, I wasn't going to get anywhere burning myself out in the swim for the sake of saving maybe 5 mins tops. I finally swam under the bridge for the second time swam to the ramp got hauled out the other side, up the ramp with wibbly legs, whipped off hat and goggles and trotted into transition.

In T1 there were still a *few* bikes remaining! Not many mind!! I took off my wetsuit and towelled down, I'd planned on taking my time, making sure i was comfy - better to use a couple of extra mins now than get sore later and lose half an hour. So, cycling shorts on over tri shorts, top on, socks, shoes, gloves, sunnies, helmet on. Gels in back pockets, bike off rack, and walked out of transition - again no point in running and getting my HR all excited before i even get on the bike - or indeed trip over the matting! It was a bit of a trek from where i was racked to the bike exit.

I got out of transition and mounted, took a few minutes to get settled, took a drink, checked my HR; I was conscious that I'd not got inside the swim target time I'd wanted and had some catch up to do but knew I couldn't do anything about it - whats done is done, move on and focus on the next stage. So focused on keeping my HR in the right zone, not blowing up and my main plan of action was to have plenty left in the tank and my legs for the run which I didn't want a repeat of Florida. I still didn't feel like I was in the right position, i couldn't use the tri bars as they seemed too short and narrow, so I tried to ride on the drops as much as I could, but still didn't feel right, so I got off and shifted my saddle slightly.

The first 20miles were reasonably flat, still conscious of not riding at my threshold pace  - yes it was a Time trial, but it was a 112 mile TT not a 10 mile TT. I picked people off as I came to them, got overtaken by others who were clearly even worse swimmers than me. For a couple of miles i had this weird locking knee pain I'd had randomly last week and started panicking a bit that i had an injury so steadied up a bit and waited for it to stop.

A cute British guy came up beside me and we rode together and chatted, he said "this hill's a bit cheeky" - he wasn't wrong. I couldn't see his name as his number was tucked up into his top. He told me he'd driven round the course the day before and "the beast" was big and about 20 km further along, but we were still climbing now.. how big was the "Beast" going to be!!? I'd seen an elevation map of the route and it did look big, but i didn't recall anything like what we were already climbing so the beast must be massive!!

We overtook each other for the next 10 miles or so, we were passed by a man wearing the tiniest pants (almost a thong!) I've ever seen on a bike, they left little to the imagination and we both pissed ourselves laughing!

Before long the "Beast" was upon us, it wasn't hugely steep, it  just went on and on and my friend compared it to Alps D'hez  but shorter and with only a few switch backs, it was only about 5km of climbing but knowing I had to do it all over again on the 2nd lap was difficult. Rounding a big sweeping bend was the most amazing view over the city and lake, it made the climb worth every pedal stroke, it was breath taking. I caught up with the guy on one of the switch backs and said "this'll be the beast then?" and dropped him and carried on up feeling pretty good now.

As I reached the top of the beast someone tried to overtake me, but I made chase and he good spiritedly tried to let me take the win but i didn't quite manage it, so he said i could win down the hill, ;) Down the other side was quality, topping 35 mph, into a Sharp right turn, carrying on down, there were signs up saying you weren't allowed to use your tri bars, onto a gravelly slope which could have been carnage if it was wet or you hit the brakes. A few slalommy turns, through a own, over some roundabouts, then another climb! I didn't realise there was another! This one actually felt tougher than the beast,  again it wasn't steep just long and draggy and a constant pressure on the legs. But once more the reward was a big sweeping descent, through a tunnel and heading back to the start.

I saw some of our guys from club heading back out on their second lap, a good 45 ins ahead of me, waved and yelled when i spotted anyone. I looked at my bike computer and saw I'd done 50 miles and still not come across "Heartbreak hill" the infamous hill on the course, I've seen YouTube footage of it but it was hard to tell what it was going to be like.

A further couple of miles and i finally started to climb once more, i was feeling great and overtook people as they started going backwards down the hill. I'd been drinking and fuelling well and felt good, being cautious all the while of my heart rate not going too high. When it did I'd steady up and let it settle.

Anyway, back to "heartbreak" - the climb was steep steep steep but the road conditions were amazing, it had several switch backs and i overtook most the people in front of me, dancing on my pedals. Rounding the last corner was a steel band playing, and a loud speaker shouting your name out as you came up to the top, The last stretch was the steepest yet and looking up there were probably a thousand people lining the hill, cheering, shaking cowbells and yelling and waving stuff  - it was awesome! they only left a gap of a bike to get up and it was like the tour De France! I had gained on "Massimo" in front and he was slwing up my pace, so i looked for a gap and overtook him to more cheers. Everyone was shouting "Hopp, Hopp" and "allez Allez!" .

I was up and over the summit, and grabbed a drink from he aid station that was just at the top of the descent. Flew down the other side letting my HR come back down.

I rolled through to the second lap and saw my parents waving, it was such a great feeling seeing them, my mum looked so happy.... out on the course  it seemed a little windier and harder - probably more the fact that i was getting a bit tired. I was desperate for a piss so stopped at the WC sign (they'd said there were plenty of loo's on route and not to piss along the course this was crap - i saw 3 toilets!) so there was a queue, balls. Speaking to some of the others after - they just went in their pants, but I can't bring myself to do that at this early stage in my triathlon "career"

After emptying my bladder I got back on, a few miles down the road, I felt my saddle had slipped - I hadn't tightened it up enough from the earlier adjustment, so got off again and tightened it, got back on and i felt all wrong again! grrrr! So for the next 15 mins I rode for a couple of mins, got off, adjusted my seat, got back on, rode on, got off.. what a dickhead, I should have just gone out in the rain the days before and tested it all out properly!

The hills the 2nd time round were much tougher, although the I've done some high mileage rides , none  of them have been constant as there have been breaks of at least 10 mins or lunch stops so to churn out 112 miles non stop (if you exclude wee stops and the mechanical problems) was a first.

I caught up with another girl in my age group, the flag on her number said she was Czech but she was from Manchester, we rode together and chatted for a while before I departed once more at the bottom of the "Beast" for the 2nd time. I passed "Angry Dave" walking carrying his shoe, I yelled to him to get back on and started the 10/15 miles of "rolling hills" they were much tougher this time and although my HR was much lower (prob because I was tiring) and my knee started locking out again so i took a painkiller.

The flat section towards heartbreak hill was windier still (or was I just getting more tired?) I spotted Pete then Mark N on the run and yelled andwaved, I spotted Ali coming back from her last go up Heartbreak and she yelled to me to go for it. Heartbreak the 2nd time was still great - only a dozen or so people were there now as it was getting late in the day now! Back over the summit I grabbed water and a bottle of coke and cycled under the sprinklers, down the hill drinking the coke knowing I needed to be fully fuelled for the run.....

I'd been riding with another English guy called Hamilton who was quite hot, and joked "you warmed up now to go and run a marathon?" seriously what was I doing? But in reality I was actually looking forward to the run, and had been since halfway through the second lap.

I pushed through the last few miles and into transition, hopped off and walked my bike back down to the rack, i was desperate for a piss again, my parents had walked down to my transition space and dad shouted "only 3 more hours to go!" - "and the rest!!" :)

I was going to just get changed at my bike space but as I needed a piss I ran with my kit towards the loo's which were next to the changing tent and got changed in there without worrying about getting naked in front of people.

I ran back to my bike, dumped off my cycling stuff, cap on, fuel belt of gels and sweets on, drink in hand and ran out to the run exit. I spotted Steve and bounced up to him, my legs felt great, and he was bent over swiping a wasp off his leg so i slapped his arse, he stood up and i asked how he was feeling "fucking awful!" I felt fucking great so i bounded off and left him.

Once more sticking to my pace that Filipe had told me to use back when I had my physiological testing 9and ignore in Florida!) keeping an on eye first on my HR then on my pace.

The course started off going over a bridge, then under an underpass, back up it the other side and a funny sort of figure of 8 loop for 4 circuits. \I knew that underpass would hurt later.

The run felt great, it was steady but i felt strong and in control. I religiously sipped my drink, planed on a gel every 30 mins, refilled my bottle when it emptied by carrying on jogging and grabbing a cup of water at aids stations and swigged coke. I saw all of the guys out on the course at some point or other as there were lots of out and back sections which passed each other, it was a great course for that and you got to see spectators along pretty much the entire course.

About 7k into each lap you were given a different colour wrist band to say which lap you were on, I was looking at what other people had and getting blue band envy! I was gradually working my way through the masses, people struggling, walking, talking to themselves. This is what I love doing, it's my first love and i was really enjoying it, still I was keeping an eye on my HR as I didn't want to blow up. The kilometers were ticking passed quickly - i preferred km markers to miles as they're much quicker mentally.

I got to halfway still feeling strong, if i could keep this pace i would maybe just maybe sneak inside 4 hours, but my paces started to drop  a little, i was struggling to eat anything solid, so just drank coke and water.

I passed my mates, the ones who take the piss out of my shit swimming and cycling; hare and the tortoise style! :D I had seen my parents on every loop and it was great, it kept me going seeing them beaming from the crowds.

The last lap was starting to hurt a bit, I'd been counting down the kilometers from about 25 in and now only had 10 to go, i couldn't face running up the ramp of the underpass again so i allowed myself to walk for 1 min or however long it took to get there, then stuck my face in the water fountain that was just round the corner. I gave myself a 3-2-1 and go and started back at a "run" (jog/mince) again.

After this I just focused on keeping on running,  "just to that lamp post" "to that sponge on the floor" "to that man walking" and so on for the next 10k, just little goals to keep reaching 5 meters in front. I wasn't going to make 4 hours but i wasn't going to walk or bonk. I reached where I knew was either a marker saying 39.5km or 40.5km i really hoped it was the latter, and i told myself if it was the first I'd have a little walk, but gladly it was 40.5 so i kept going, 1500 m to go, less than a mile! Thank fuck - my legs were now started to hurt, I went back to my 5 meter rule, and worked my way along the course, I saw the final turn around point 400m to go! and walked so i could sort out my cap for the finish line ;) Ran on once more and finally turned into the finish ramp, which zigzagged through the stadium on a bouncy blue carpet that felt like a gymnasium mat, i bounced up and i still felt reasonably good! I think I felt worse after running my first marathon.

I crossed the line in 13hr20, 200th woman, and 24th in my age group.. my splits were Swim - 1:38! (oops- Bike 7:08! (yikes) Run: 4:20 ( yay) and after 7 months of preparation I was finally an IRONMAN!!

Can't wait to smash that time next year doing another :)

Thursday 1 July 2010

Dorney Sprint Evening Triathlon - Wednesday 30th June

Part of the Triathlon 220 evening series, I hadn't done the first one, but entered for this one. There were 3 start times to choose from, so I went for the latest at 7pm as I had to drive an hour from work to get there and didn't want to rush too much.

My mum came down with me as she's not seen me compete Triathlon yet and it's a great venue to see lots as you can see the lake, each bike lap and the run turnaround and finish.

Dorney is the home of Eton Rowing Lake and is a brilliant venue, the lake is clean, the roads are free from traffic and deadpan flat, what more could you ask for.

The event itself was really well organised too, i was really impressed.

The evening was really warm, as we're in the midst of a heatwave, i could see the other waves coming through transition and noone seemed to have wetsuits on, so i decided I wouldnt either as i'd look like a plonker. I'd swam Florida half without one so wasnt too worried although I was dubious that the water would be as warm as Orlando!

When i went to register, I found out that wetsuits were actually banned as the water temperature was above 23.5 degrees, so that was taht really. A few people were fretting but mine's a bit tight cos i'm a fatty anyway so i'm happier without - at least I don't get strangled!

After racking my bike we were called for the pre race briefing where we were told the course - once lap of the lake round the 4 bouys, of 750m, out through transition onto the bike, 6 laps of the marked course, totally 20km, back through transitoin and out on to the run, 2 laps of 2.5k each, back through the finish.

Each section and transtion was chip times so you could get a split for each leg accurately.

The swim was a deep water start so we got in (it wasnt cold at all, it was really refreshing) and made our way to the start posts and skulled until the gun went off.

I tried to stay nearer the back so i didnt get swum over too much, and I felt I was in an OK position in the water and set off, I swam Polo style for the first few meters whilst I found a path to take, as there were arms and legs and feet everywhere (there were about 150 people in the water - in zurich there will be 2400!!!!)

The first 200m was a struggle, I kept getting dunked, and punched, and splashed, and inhaling water I started to panic a little and considered putting my arm up to get the lifeguardd to fish me out but thought that was totally pussy so carried on and found some space. Ther rest of the swim was pleasant, it got a bit choppy about 150m from the end but as I came to the bank with wobbly legs, i could see I wasnt last!! That was enough of a result for me. I looked at my watch and saw a 16 on the numbers! (My official time was 16:42) This time is great for me, I'm shit and my first open water swim in the UK with no wetsuit.

Transition wasnt too much of a pickle as normal, i faffed a little putting socks and gloves on but better to be confy right? T1 took about 90 seconds.

The bike was brilliant, the road was so smooth, and althoguh there were a lot of people out of the water in front of me and i had to do some work, i began trying to chase people down, it was a bit difficult to know where thery were in teh race though - they could be on the 3rd lap for all i knew! I pushed hard for the entire thing, the home straight of each lap was pretty blowy but i still kept in control, i had to keep fannying about with my HR monitor as it had slipped down during the swim, I know its not really the place to fuck around but I was trying to keep tabs on it as my training for the IM has been based on HR.

I overtook lots of peoplee, was overtaken by a few (including someone on the same bikeas me - "nice bike" i said as he passed)

I came back into transition and looked at my computer which said i'd done the bike in about 37 (37.06 was the officila;) so again i was realy pleased, i'd given myself a target of sub 40 and this was it. And an average speed of 20 mph isnt bad either, shame there weree those turns at the ends as i reckon I lost a bit on them being wimpy round them!

I got through T2 in 1min 1second, this is great for me, as i'm renowned for being shit in transition!

The run immediately felt hard work, my legs werne't burning they were just a bit heavy, i was paying for the bike leg. I just focussed on picking people in front off one by one. I was only overtaken by one person on the whole run, i checked my watch at the half way point and was heading for a 23 ish time, pretty shit but not much i could do. Mike had text me early telling me to leave myself empty at the line, I knew there was more in there, but I realy struggle red lining, knowing my luck i'll empty just before the line.

I was watch watching the whole way back, earlier that day my boss had asked what time i wanted to do, I said i'd love to do 1hr20, so as I came to the last 500m with 1hr18 on the clock i was going to be cutting it fine, I dug in and pushed on for the finish line, and stopped the clock - 1hr20:04!! I'll have that, 4 seconds..... I was happy as a pig in shit, even though my run time was a sack of dogshite (23.46!!!) thats the slowest i've run 5k for year i think.

I hung about a bit with my ma, and watched the winners get announced - first girl was a 16 year old called "Sky Draper" I'm not sure if this is a piss take or what but she was fucking fast 1hr01!

I was 10th lady overall and 4th for my age group so a pretty decnet result for a novice like me :)

Sunday 20 June 2010

Southern Sportive and Ridgeway Relay

Today was going to be a tall order from the onset. I'd planned on doing a long brick session for training and it turned out that there was a Sportive event going on just up the road (literally) so a whole bunch of us entered this and I was going to do a 10 mile run after.

Running club were a man down on the annual Ridgeway relay so i offered to do the last leg of the run which was funnily enough 10 miles. I did it last year and fricking loved it. But warned the guys i was doing a cycle event during the day and would be using it as a brick session so taking it steady.

The plan was 8 am kick off for the sportive, get up to barbury castle for the last leg for 5pm. I'd hoped to do the bike ride in 6hr30 to acheive the gold standard, this in itself knowing some of the hills which were involved was going to be a push, but i'd been feeling fairly strong until Thursdays Time trial ((when the wheels fell off)

A bunch of the Ironman crew and the swindon to paris guys were all doing it, and going for gold too, so we planned to stick together as best we could - knowing that i'd get dropped pretty much at the first climb Gareth and Nathan said theyd stick with me. I had thought i'd keep up with them ok.

After 3 miles the first massive climb was upon us, i was out the back door of the pelaton faster than you could say Lance armstrong. I caught up with Gareth and Nathan (who i think were holding back) and Ali (another Ironman lady) caught us up to. For the first 25 miles or so we stuck together. Ali and I got dropped on another long drag and when we got to the top Gaterh and Nathan had waited. I told them they neednt wait - after all it was their ride too, and they could still stand a chance at getting a gold standard. But they stuck with us a bit longer.

After another mamoth climb up hackpen hill was an aid station where they were once more stopped, we discussed what to do  and i told them to kick on, me and Ali were goin much the same pace so would stick together.

I'm pretty scarred from todays ride, i hated most of it, the hills were so tough, it was nothing like the cheshire twat ride in that there was hills but big flat patches, on this, there were hills, drags and when we got flat bits there was a horrid head wind.

I nearlty cried several times, had it not been for Ali i would have rung my dad to get me. we ploughed through the big hills like the air was made of syrup - up snap whcih snuck from nowhere,

We went through 50 miles in 3 hours so were still in with a chance of getting the 6.30 gold time. But i was battered already,  from 50 - 80 miles we seemed to make no progress. I wanted to scream at the wind, the hills the potholes. About 10 miles from the end Ali pushed on a bit, and i was alone trying not to cry - just ten more miles i told myself. piece of piss. yeah right. I had heard rumours of "Foxhill" but this was a bitch. so near to the end, it made me nearly grind to a halt. i just had to keep that front wheel turning  and on the ground. I finally reached the top and had a brief decnet down. Then shortly after another virtical climb! I had been worrying for the last 30 miles about a) getting to the relay in time (given that it was getting on a bit now!) and b) that mmy legs would be any kind of state to even run!

I finally got back to the race HQ in about 7.5 dismal hours. But what made me smile was Gary, Ali, Gareth and Nathan all at the finish line cheering for me, they'd waited around for ages for me. It was really sweet of them and i was so grateful to them.

Stats of Ride
107 Miles
6778ft Ascent
100% hell

I didnt have time to hang around as i had to now get my bike inthe car and head up to barbury castle to run my leg of the relay.

I boshed some painkillers downed some energy drink and wnet ot eat some haribo but theyd all melted into one big lump :(

I spoke to Tony en route and the team were doing well, they'd not had to use any mass starts so far and Martin was due at the last leg in about an hour so i had a little bit of time to warm up (not that i wasnt warm) quick wetwipe wash, change and prepare myself.

The run was the same 10 mile  leg i did last year and i loved it. I knew i wouldnt do it in the same time or near (of 1hr09) but decided to do what i could without blowing myself up.

I got off 5 mins before the mass start so had the first couple of miles running alone. I had forgotten how much up there was on this leg, the trail was fairly firm under foot, with some moguls and pot holes from mountain bikes, so you had to keep watch of where you were going constantly.

After 20 mins or so the first person from the mass start overtook me, i was feeling ok, but i couldntg have done much more withoutt risking the wheels falling off, so i just maintained the pace i was doing, and got myself into a rhythm as a few more people overtook. I had to remember this was ironman prep, iim not going to do an all out race, and how many of these guys have just got off a 107 mile hilly bike course?!

After about 7 miles the course starts to descent into Marlborough, so my legs got a rest and i got a chance to get my breath back. I hit the road which i remember from before but i knew i had to get back onto the ridgeway at some [point to go up a grassy hill then back out into the town and through the finish

I never found that bit back on to the ridgeway i found myself with another lady in the town, runing the wrong way off course. I knew the finish was somewhere near the leisure centre so headed in that direction.

I ran towards the finish (from the wrong side) and my team mates were all looking the other way so i ran past, did an about turn and ran through the finish again! I'd added a mile to my leg to make it 11 miles but felt ok, and completed it in 1hr 22 which i was  pretty happy with to say the least!

Not sure where we came yet - TBC but it was a nice end to a shit day!

Saturday 19 June 2010

19th June - Calne Aquathlon Series Race 3

400m swim/5k Run.

First race of a busy weekend today, I had told the organiser I may not turn up as I'm pooped; from riding to Paris last weekend, coming back and training hard and doing a 10 mile Time trial on thursday and i gave blood yesterday avo and they were trying to scare me into not racing, but last time I gave blood i raced the next day and got a PB.

I woke up before my alarm so decided to man up and go along, even if it were just for a bit of speed work. Also i'd seen the race list and there were more girls than normal competing so wanted to have a better competition than normal. Oh and to hold onto my winning streak if possible! So i had some weetabix (was bit late for my usual porridge)

I swam with club on thursday for the first time in weeks and really noticed it, I really struggled so have made a concious decision to make at least 2 of the 3 weekly sessions and not worry so much about the lake swims, as my laziness at going has really made a negative difference to my ability.

I got there quite late and they said they werent expecting me, but were cool with me taking part still i was half asleep and put my things in transition and went to the poolside. There were two waves this week with all the women in wave one which was good as it meant i could keep an eye on them all and see where i was in relation to them once out on the run.

We got off on the swim, i was 2nd whistle off the clock and went about my business. I found it really hard work today, i couldnt get my breathing right, my legs kept wanting to sink, and i kept swallowing too much water. So I just focussed on getting to the end, keeping as good a form as I could and working o nmy technique. The girl who was started off ten seconds ahead a good 2 lengths ahead of me when i finally got out. I hauled my fat arse onto the pool side and ran out the door towards transition. Swim time was actually a pretty respectable (for me) 8.01.

My HR was waaaaay up from the effort i had put in, so took a bit of time in Transition to calm down my breathing a little, i still got confused though, i put one sock and trainer on, then looked down and saw i'd put on a trainer without a sock so had to redo it, i coudl have saved a bit of time and not bothered but i get really bad bleedy blisters if i run without socks. I eventually got out on the run after 1;15 of farting about.

Several people had already got out on the run ahead of me, so I knew i had some work to do. The lady who was ahead of me in my lane got taken out about 400m in to the run, my HR was at threshold for the enitre run and it hurt, I couldnt have gone any faster, my legs didn't have mch in them so i just focussed on catching people ahead of me. I caught a few blokes who'd also got me in the swim, and about 800m ahead i could see another woman.... i had to catch her, i wanted to keep my first place for the series, so i dug in, and slowly watched the gap decrease. At the turn around I was on  11 mins, I had really wanted to get a time under 30 mins but it wasnt to be today, as there was no way i was going to do a negative split, an even split was going to be hard enough.

I finally caught her, and passed the other women coming in the other direction, unless something went really wrong they weren't going to catch me, my lungs hurt, my legs wouldnt go any faster so i let them maintain the rhythm they had and just kept pushing on. The end was just a kilometer away, 5 mins max, I didnt catch any of the other guys ahead of me before the finish and managed to get myself across the line without puking in bang on 22 mins - this is prob my first even split for this distance, it's not something i'm ever able to do. I carried on jogging after the finish line for 5 mins to flush out my legs.

Showered, chatted with the other ladies in the buff and went for the results - hurrah! first lady still. So long as noone pulls out some ridiculous times the series title is mine :) But i still want that sub 30!

Concious of a big day tomorrow I've stayed off my bike today and skipped swim training this evening.

Saturday 29 May 2010

Saturday May 29th - Aquathlon Series Race 2

Another one of these... they're pretty good actually, it's nice to throw in a short sprint in to the mix to keep things moving and remind my legs what they used to be fairly good at. I've not managed to do any interval training really until yesterday.

Ever since the time off I've been forced to take i've been feeling more and more unfit, running fitness is such a different thing to anything else, i feel heavy and sluggish so last night I had scheduled some intervals - partly to check if I should even  bother with todays Sprint!

So went to the track (which was locked up) so did laps round the outside of the running track, through the carpark which i've had to refer back to previous times doing this (many months ago!) which is measured at 840ish meters. I was going to do 800s so this was perfect. Did 5 reps off 5 mins (3:15 for each 800 and rest up to 5 mins)

Last time I did this I was doing 3:05 - 3:15 and  yesterday i was realy struggling to do 3:15s - I didnt reach puke speed I just didnt feel great. The only good thing about it was my recovery was better than ever, my HR dropping to the 80s by the end of the rest period even though when i was running I was well in my LT zone.

I send my mate "Mike the running/traflon guru" a whining text, asking what the hells happened to me, why have i got so shit and will i be able to get it baack in 6 weeks before i have to taper for the big event!?
As always he gave me some sound advice and put my head in a better place so slaped myself round the face a bit and accepted that the above times were perfectly acceptable to do a semi decent 5k time today.

Todays race then:

I talked my mate Mark into doing this too (it didnt take much as he's easily lead) we've been doing a lot of training together as he only lives round the corner and he suggested we cycled there, its only about 15 miles and since we're donig an ironman todays distances were nothing compared to the miles we've been putting in on the bike and in the lake lately.

We left and it was drizzling a bit, by the time we arrived it was drizzling a lot. We signed in, got numbered up and milled about til race off time. Being a funny fucker, i had sent Marks entry in with his age as 64 so he was down as M60s age group :D  He's a much quicker swimmer than me so was in the second wave, i would have preferred him to be the same wave so I could overtake him on the run :)

The swim was as always 400m - 16 lenghts of the pool, i was feeling strong and covering the water well I felt. After half way, i steady up my stroke and tried to cover the same distance in the same time with less effort and this seeemed to work fine. I got to what i thought was length 12 and i touched the wall to turn and my hand met a float (they stick a float in the water when you've got 2 lenghts to go)

I got all confused, and paused a bit, and then carred back on. I got back to the other end, and said i hadnt done enouhg? but got out and checked my watch which said 7 something... i was still confused but got out and  ran on out into the car park, and then realised I'd miscounted my lengths and had donea pretty decent time. Officially 7:56 - if i'd been concentrating i could have got this down a bit. But still under 8 mins which is fucking awesome for me beings such a shit swimmer.

Transition was a bit of a pickle, it was pissing down, i'd put my trainers in a carrie bag to keep them dry which was stupid, and my socks wer all wet and hard to put on, i finally wriggled into them and ran out of the car park putting on my race belt as i ran. Transition was about 1:15! really Anna you need to sort this out  - its fair enough in long distnace but sprints arent for fannying about!

The run was 5k as always, I started off with a high cadence covereing the ground fairly well, i passed a couple of people who had got out of the swim before me, follwed the course onwards and got into a rhythm. Iwasnt going flat out but i was pushing on, I got round the next corner and overtook some more folks, and got onto the straight to see that there was noone else in front of me.

I kept on til the turnaround point and checked my watch 10:30 for the first half, I pulled back the pace a little (not deliberately really) but slowed my cadence and increased my stride length. the people behind were now heading towards me going for the turnaround and about half way back the second wave of ridiculoulsly fast swimmers and runners were heading my way too. rounding the last kilometer or so, i spotted mak coming my way and we high 5'd I came back into the car park with a total time of 30:40 making my run time about 21:30 - not too shabby, but I dont know if i'll ever nail a negative split!

I was first lady again - best 3 times of the 5 series wins prizes, so i'm still in the lead. Next race is 19th June and I'm hopefully going to have put in some proper run training by then so am really going to try and push under 30 mins. :)

Friday 21 May 2010

Florida 70.3 Half Ironman

I'm not sure where to start on this without it becoming a massive epic, part of me wants to keep it short but I have so much to write about it almost needs a whole blog but I think i'm going to try and keep it brief.

Me and Suzie entered this last year and it was oringally it was going to be my main event - but then I signed up for Switzerland Full Iron Man for the end of July, so this became my B race - or a warm up (!!)

My running has been suffering due to various injuries and haven't really been able to put in the time on my feet I'd have liked and i'm also very lardy at the moment which isnt helping a) my speed and b) my head.

We arrived n Orlando (Disneyworld no less) on Friday afternoon, after a giggly fun filled (but long) flight over, the worry of the bikes getting damaged in the hold was my main issue up to now.

When we got to our log cabin (very little house on the prairie) we upacked and reassembled our bikes - phew all was ok with them! I went for a little run whilst suzie rode her bike alongside, and we had a little mooch about and found the shops etc. even at 8pm it was really hot and humid.

Saturday we had to register and rack our bikes. Suzie wanted to go for a run, so I rode and checked my gears and brakes were all working ok whilst she ran, then we went to register and eat a "large" breakfast! going by the endurance fuelling method i use of large breakfast, moderate lunch and small dinner. Well we werent even hungry until dinner time!

Whislt racking our bikes, i felt very much like i didnt belong here, i felt very unfit and overweight here around all these lean triathletes :( flip side is there were some ridiculously hot guys mincing about! There was some serious bike porn too, some proper bling, not that i minded as my bike is lush.

after setting everything up in transition for the following morning, we set off back to the cabin got our kit ready for the morning and waited for my one of best friend'a Ellen and Suzie's friend to arrive (and soak up some sun )

We needed to be at the start for 5am to get marked up so set my alarm for 4am and i did something i never do.... slept through it! 4.30 and Suzie luckily had woken up so flung open my door and i crawled out of bed and we got ourselves fed, dressed and down to the start.

The Swim: 1.2 miles open water
The swim was set off in 22 waves 3 minutes apart by age group categoryy, mine was due to be set off at 7am, Suzies at 7.06 so we got to watch the Pro's get off and show us how its meant to be done! I was in awe. A pro woman (Emma Kate Lidbury) who some people from my club know was racing and i saw her warming up before the swim. That's how a triathlete should look - not a big whale! :(
Suzie and I hugged goodluck, somehow getting black ink on our faces off each others arms from the numbers.... 6.58 came and I was lined up next to 150 or so other girls in pink hats (each wave had different colours on)

The water was 84 degrees so wetsuits werent allowed which i'd been shitting myself about. But when the Klaxon went off and i ran in trying not to get too close to the quicker girls, it was so warm and relaxing i didn't mind it at all and got straight down to business (business being flapping my way through the water aroud the buoys (or as the yanks pronounce them - boo-eees)

The swim itself wasn't too eventful, i really enjoyed it mostly, i found myself overtaking the waves ahead (well the slow people) and getting overtaken by the faster swimmers coming from waves behind, so i rarely had any clear water had to stop a couple of times to regroup and get out of peoples way but nothing major. There was the odd patch of water that tasted of diesel - which was nice. and on the return jounrey i was using the person on my right to stay straight and totally took for granted that they were going the right way, and went so far off course i nearly went past the canoes!

I finally exited the water to cheers (something that didnt stop all day  - its amazing what a big crowd 2500 competitors will draw in) and ran up towards transition, my exit time on the swim was 43 mins and i was 31st in my age group, which i was made up with, this is the furthest i've "raced" in the water ( I late found out an Aligator had been spotted out there!!)

Transition 1
There was a long run up to the bike transition area through bark chips which stuck to my feet. i dried off a little when i got to my bike cleaned up my feet and got into my shoes, slathered on a thick layer of factor 50 and set out on the bike.

The Bike: 56 Miles
I love my bike and i love riding her, and this course was great, i felt good from the start, it was a bit windy and slow getting out of the campsite but once out on the open road, there was miles and miles of smooth fast road, i overtook plenty of people which i loved keeping an eye on my HR trying not to go to lactate threshold, there were a few slight climbs and the last 10 miles was into a head wind, I reached 41 mile in bang on 2 hours so i thought i may get 2:45 which is well above my expectations. I had a few issues getting drinks on the course, knocling them out of peoples hands, having to slow almost to a stop but had a great ride, went totally to plan and i came in in 2:52 which i never in a million thought i'd do. There was an instant i thought i was gonna come off - a bus went past in the other direction and the draft sent me flying! I got to see Suzie out there a couple of times pasing each other in the opposite way and yelled and waved.

Transition 2
I ran back in with my bike and saw Ellen cheering at the side and gave a wave, fannied about swapping shoes, putting on a hat, and tying back my hair, i needed a piss too so ran into the portaloo where i promptly found myself tied into my shorts so took ages untying them!

The Run: 13.1 miles
Well fuck me, this was the worst 13 miles of my life. I got out to a good start of 8 min miles but remembered what i'd been told about trying to hold back and maintain a slow consistnet pace in preparation for the full monty. On the bike i'd not realised how hot it was, it was coming up to the hottest part of the day and the mercury had been in the 90s for the last few days.
The run was 3 loops, largely on grass with potholes, a pictresque swamp! alongside. Noone out there could understand why the run route didnt go along the nice trails of the campsite through the shade, but no, it was all open in beaming sunshine.
There were aid stations every mile, 2 sprinklers and lots of crowds.
I got to 3 miles and realised i was going to have to push out this last 10 miles.... i was in hell. every aid station took a bit longer to reach than the last, i couldnt get enough fluids in, i was constantly thirsty, i'd stop at each station to shove ice down my top, drink some coke and some water. i couldnt eat by this stage, my stomach had shut down. i tried to break the run down but all i could think was "i've got 3 loops to do!!!" and "how the fuck am i going to do double all this??"

just coming out of the first loop inot hte second i saw Suzie, i gave her a woop, i was surpriesd to see her so sooon off the bike. but really please for her, she must have done a stonking bike!

The last 8 miles were just hell, a guy (my new best friend at this point in the day) came alongside me and asked if we could run together for a while, and i agreed, we chatted a little, i was a lap ahead of him, he was struggling too and on for a Personal worst for the run too. We kept each other going, to each aid station where we'd pour water over ourselves, drink what we could then get back out there. I felt bad when i got to turn off to the finish and he had another lap to go, i wished him well and got his number (race number not phone number!) so i could look out for him at the finish.

I finally went through the finish to more cheering in a total time of 5hr 55 and 16th in my category. My target was sub 6 so just scraped in.

I went to cool down in the lake where i then found out noone was allowed back in cos an aligator had been spotted!!

I went back to the run course and waited to see Suzie, she passed me on her last lap and i told her i'd wait for her at the finish post, so went and found Ellen and Luke and went to the finish line to jjump about and yell.

The rest of the time there was spent eating drinking and a bit of training now home, even fatter and shitting myself about a small matter of Switzerland IM in 9 weeks!! Eek!

Saturday 1 May 2010

Half Iron Swindonman - 1st May 2010

Today was an "half ironman training day" organised by one of the guys from club targetted at those of us who are doing switzerland IM but was open to any of the club or friends of club who fancied taking part. We weren't allowed to call it an "event" for H & S reasons but it was being timed and marshalled etc so it was really. There were only about 40 of us, some doing just Swim and run, some only doing part of the bike, some only doing part of the run.

I had intended originally only doing the swim and bike as they're my weaker disciplines and I've got Florida 70.3 in two weeks and thought it might be a bit much. I then decided I'd do half the run so I could get a good feel for the bike - run transition.

Last week was a 20 hour training week so this week i've been pretty pooped and hadnt taken a rest day for 10 days, so had Monday & Friday as total rest days, and thursdays sessions were chopped to a 30 min run, a body balance class and swim. I rode Tuesday and Wednesday though because I got my new bike finally after B was written off in the accident earlier this year. The bike is A-Mazing!! I'm in love with it, the difference between full carbon and aluminium is insane. Thankfully Mike had given me his old Scott bike, so i have been able to carry on training, and I think training on the heavier bike has actually been a blessing in disguise.

I wasnt really that fussed about today, some of the others were getting stressed about it, but as far as I was concerned it was a training day or dress rehearsal for Florida, so was mucking about fitting tri bars and downloading music til midnight last night instead of getting a decent nights sleep.

My alarm went off at 4.30am and I made some porridge, loaded up the car, minced about til 5.30 and set off to the lake. Everyone else was already there by the time I arrived as there was going to be a briefing at 5:45. I racked my bike on the scaffolding we'd been lent and went and got my wetsuit on. Came back and got Mark to lube me up so i didnt chafe in the lake. Noone likes chafing!

The swim route was 1.9k - two laps round the buoys with a short beach run between the laps, we got in to get wet and used to the cold water then went back to the shore to start. We set off, and at first i thought perhaps i'd be able to keep up with the pack. But with a few punches to the head from passers by, i soon found myself pretty much alone. I just concentrated on getting round, and not going miles out into the lake like i have been in training and making sure I spotted regularly.

I came to the shore for the beach run which was just a few meters, round a bollard and back in, i glanced behind to see only about 4 other people in the water and everyone else miles into the second lap and said "Wow i'm shit!" to the marshalls. and jumped back in for the second lap.

About half way round the other shit swimmers were gaining on me and starting to overtake, i tried to stay with them, i really didnt want to be last out! Coming from the last buoy i picked up some speed and pushed on to get out before them! Phew!! I wasnt' last!! Very nearly but not quite!

I checked my watch in transition and saw I'd got round in about 38 mins, which despite being so near the back I am really happy with.

I took my time in T1 to make sure i was comfy, I um'd and ah'd about whether to wear a jacket over my tri suit it wasnt even 7.30 yet but it looked sunny i decided to wear a jersey and if needs be i could drop it off.

I got out on the bike, my beautiful new shiny bike and set off on the course, it was a 56 mile flat course of out and back and out and back with the two of the turnarounds a big steep hill.

I was flying, i did the first 10 miles in a smidge under 30 mins, and overtook a couple of people. I was loving this new turn of speed. I dropped my jacket at the first turnaround and whizzed back down the steep hill, it was all quite uneventful but very enjoyable, I got to the second turnaround and got confused and carried on thinking i'd not reached it yet, going a mile in the wrong direction before realising the turnaround was back behind me. "bugger!"

I got back on the course to find i'd been overtaken by a few people! double bugger! I caught up with a couple of them, stopped for a wee in a bush, came back to transition. Swapped shoes, downed some jiz gel and straight out onto the run. Did the bike in 3hrs! Wow, i'd never thought i'd do that, and i did feel like i could push harder but I hadnt wanted to jeopardise the run too much (or burn out for florida)

The run was 13 miles, or 6 laps of the lake. I was going to see how i went, and maybe do three. I got on the run and felt great, no jelly legs and got straight into a nice rhythm, the first lap took about 16 mins, as did the 2nd. I was really enjoying it. It was getting pretty hot though. I decided i may as well just complete it and get a proper feel for how a half ironman feels. I over took some people who were on their last lap, some who were on the same lap as me, some who were only doing half etc....the last lap was painful... well more heavy legged than anything, i didnt get my nutrition quite right and could have done with more fluids but i was nearly home now so plugged on and managed a respectable 1:45 half marathon time.

My total time including transitions was 5:35 which i'm amazed at. I had previously given myself Plan A, B and C for florida sub 6 hours was Plan A and i thought highly unlikely! So i'm going to go for it in 2 weeks. Taper, nourish myself properly and kick some ass! Only trouble is its going to be a non wetsuit race so i'm pretty worried.

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This latest blog will be hopefully following my transwales experience. Enjoy with me :-)