Uncategorized

We Made It!! 1 YEAR!!

We officially got to our 1 year wedding anniversary!! Thanks to everyone who made our day so special on 30th September 2017…

Now we’re off to run the Chicago marathon and eat lots of poutine in Canada ❤

Coach Lewis – you lost the bet 😉 we made it!

If you want to follow us, Kyle’s bib number is 457 and Debbie’s is 549 (let’s hope that’s not our times!)…

DK114207DK123911DK125448DK125953DK135125DK140654DK142320DK145301DK145522DK145750DK150416DK151000DK153057DK154018DK163902DK200700

DK161116DK161334DK161758

DK203912

Standard
Uncategorized

Momma’s Castle to Chateau Challenge Complete!

There was never any doubt that Mum would complete this Disney Challenge (she would never fail in the face of Mickey!) BUT 2 PBs over 2 consecutive days and after all the walking around Paris sights and shops the previous day!?!? 

She really is inspiring – I love how she has joined the running world. She knows now that it is not just about getting fit and looking amazing (she is glowing and has definitely toned up!) but you can see more when travelling, get that Runner’s High (which she still claims she has yet to get, but you can see where I get my drama queen genes from!) AND all you need to pack extra in your suitcase is a pair of trainers! 

Here is her recap of yet another Disney Challenge complete!


PART DEUX

I did it!

 

42738398_1960940333954229_5424665925322276864_n

31k Challenge tick_clip_art_9457

Castle to Chateau Challenge tick_clip_art_9457

You know I only did it for the awesome Disney medals (one even glows in the dark) and T-shirts.

42818335_313589549428087_3505342600922005504_n

Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone for their good luck wishes and all the well done’s. I really appreciate the support.

Secondly, if I can do this, then practically anyone can. Take that first step. Download the Couch to 5k app and do it!

42642846_235128710693208_216475998214946816_n

(proudly put up in our dining room!)

Now about our trip….

Everything went quite smoothly. We went to the Expo om Thursday to collect our bibs and Keith was mortified to find out we were both in Corral B. Normally the fastest runners are in the first corrals and us slowbies are at the back. But for some reason Run Disney France decided to mix everybody up. I was quite happy, as being the last to go is horrible and for the first time I wasn’t on my own waiting for my turn.

There wasn’t much at the Expo but we did manage to buy even more T-shirts.

We did over 30,000 steps in Paris on Friday which probably wasn’t the best race preparation but it had to be done. We took the train to La Defense and went up the Grand Arche – what a great view. We then took the metro to Arc de Triomphe, walked down Champs Elysees to the Grand Palais, then Place de la Concorde, through the gardens to the Louvre, had lunch near l’Opera, then to Notre Dame and ice cream at Berthillon. Then to Chatelet les Halles to get the train back to Val d’Europe. There we walked round the outlets before having dinner.

The 10k started at 07.00 so we got the train at 05.45 giving us plenty time to drop off our gear bags and get to the start line (depart). It was good to hear the familiar voice of Paula Radcliffe although she was speaking French too. It was a bit cold and the foil blankets came in handy again.

The 10k route was round the 2 Parks, which was great. The cast members were amazing, lots of Allez Allez being shouted and hands out for high fives. You couldn’t help but smile.

The volunteers were also amazing – directing us and handing out water etc.

42749230_746021919090971_8289327309807157248_n

One of the best things about Disney races are the Park toilets! Portapotties (I hate them) are not necessary! There are plenty of them but you shouldn’t have to use them.

Running up Main Street is always special. That’s where the biggest crowd was. The route took us on the Studios’ Backstage Tour and Catastrophe Canyon which was cool also we ran through the Moteurs Action area. Then boom! There was the Finish Line! (arrive)

I did get a PB according to Strava. Quite happy with that!

The afternoon was spent in the Magic Kingdom. It was very busy and it did rain quite a bit. We did manage Space Mountain, Star Tours, Thunder Mountain and Small World before the Parade at 17.30. We then headed for an early dinner and some rest.

The Half Marathon on Sunday also started at 07.00. It was much warmer but drizzly and breezy. After running through the Parks like the 10k,  the route took us out into the real world, through a housing estate to a normal park where we had to run round a lake, then a long climb back to the main road towards Disney’s Santa Fe Hotel. This is where Emma and I stayed the first time we went to Paris 13 years ago so that gave me a boost. We’d walked along the “Rio Grande” many times and now I was running it!

The route then took us through Hotel Cheyenne (which looked quite cute!) and then to the Newport Resort round Disney Lake. While heading back up the hill I was on a walking break and spotted Keith. He’d finished ages ago and had come looking for me.

Running through the Disney Village was great but it gave me a false sense of it being almost over – still 2k to go! We went back through Hollywood Studios and eventually the Finish Line  was in sight!

42653670_318678635558922_5754067218023317504_n

I was just so relieved it was over. I was happy with my time and that I’d run most of the way, walking at the uphill bits as usual! I am quite chuffed with myself, successfully completing my Disney challenges.

(edit Deb: isn’t she so cute?! So proud!)

I’ll never be a real runner as I simply don’t enjoy it. I would like to continue running as I’ve put so much effort into getting where I am. I don’t want to lose it. I’m sure all my coaches will find something for me!

[edit by Deb and Kyle: this won’t happen…once a runner always a runner – the more you do it the more you’ll love it!]

The CHAS/ASV Santa Run on 9th December is my next outing so get yourselves signed up! And yes the Entry Central link photo is Debbie and I in our costumes!

42756633_2172881182991510_3684045371085946880_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Mum’s Turn Again – Castle to Chateau Challenge!

Hello all! While I’m still recovering/trying to rev my body up to do Chicago marathon in 3 weeks (why do I do this to myself?!) Mum has agreed to take over the blog again, since all I am doing is watching Netflix (Jane the Virgin is my new jam) and eating pie (oh emm gee we have been picking apples and cherries and I have been baking and even I am impressed with the result!) so don’t have much to write about. 

You may remember she was in Florida for New Year, participating in Disney’s Dopey Challenge?! I was so proud of her; she completed a 5km, 10km, half marathon followed by full marathon on 4 consecutive days!! 

Well, she is back to Disney again (remember she is Disney-obsessed…judge away 😉 !), but this time in Paris for a 10km and half marathon, on two consecutive days (this will be a breeeeze in comparison, Mum!).

In case you don’t know, Mum has never been an athlete. She did a couple of 30min cross trainer sessions a week at the gym, along with a couple of pilates classes to keep fit, but about a year ago she broke the news she was doing a couch to 5km plan, and now she is a full blown MARATHONER rock star. She is such an inspiration, showing that anyone can get out of their comfort zone and do it! Now she is slimmer, looks so healthy, and I’m sure she FEELS a lot better (although she would beg to differ and she still maintains her loathing for running!)

Here is her build up to Paris this weekend – wish her luck!!!


 

Now, I don’t want to steal Debbie’s thunder but I have the Disneyland Paris 10k and half marathon this weekend to complete my Castle to Chateau Challenge. To conquer this, you have to complete the Disneyland Paris half and a Disney half or full marathon in USA in the same calendar year. This is a real Challenge – never mind Almere!! (edit Deb: thanks a lot, Ma!)

Keith did the inaugural DLP Half marathon in 2016. Little did he know I’d be joining him 2 years later. I wouldn’t have believed it either, but here I am putting on my running shoes again for Mickey (well he will be 90 in November).

Training since my Dopey Challenge has not been great. I do blame the weather – too cold, too icy, too snowy, too wet, too windy and then too hot! There have been very few weeks when I have managed 3 runs with one excuse or another. But it’s only 10k and 21k right?

41990789_448423465564038_6844419359889162240_n

(I did manage to sneak onto the bypass)

I have tried to run at least 10k most weekends and I did run the Challenge Almere course last week, one lap only of 7k obviously, why would you do 3 or 6 laps? And I can tell you it wasn’t flat! Just for the record, while Keith was doing the middle distance and Debbie the long distance run, I was standing rooted to the spot, being their cheerleader for 5.5 hours. (edit Deb: told you she is the best cheerleader ever!! Also, it was as flat as you’re going to get, so ignore her!)

In some ways being a competitor is far easier than being a supporter, much less stressful for sure.

So, Keith and I fly to Paris on Thursday, staying at Val D’Europe as DLP hotels are way too expensive. We are one train stop away which is around 5 minutes from DLP and then an easy walk to the start line and the Parks. The plan is to collect our bibs then do some shopping. Friday we’ll go into Paris – rain is forecast but it doesn’t matter. I love Paris!

Speaking of weather, it will be much warmer than our Dopey runs in Florida in January so that’s a bonus.

S’il vous plait, wish me “bonne chance” and fingers crossed, je peux aller la distance encore!

WDWRUNDISNEY_WDWMARACOURSEACTION22_20180107_8157930385

(nervous face!)

A bientot

La mere de Debbie


Next blog will be how she gets on!

Standard
Uncategorized

Challenge Almere – 4th professional female

Wow – what a day!

orig-CABC4605

I cannot believe I managed to get 4th pro at Challenge Almere. If you’d told me that would be my result that morning, I would have laughed at you, but my mindset has changed a little and to go from leading for nearly half the race, to falling to 3rd (still podium), but then passed with 7km to go, I was actually disappointed I didn’t get a top 3…

BUT in hindsight, looking back at my preparations and execution of the race, I am absolutely thrilled, knowing I couldn’t have done any more! I gave it my all, the field was stacked, and I am the only one of those pros who works full time (if at all!).

After disappointment at the national middle distance champs, I was glad to get a confidence boost at the national 100 mile cycle champs, so in the lead up to the race, I had never been so excited to start. I felt ready, I had so many butterflies, and I was just wanting the week to hurry up!

I thought it was going to be very stressful, the fact I had no holidays left at work (my working holidays run from Oct – Oct, and since 1st Oct 17, I have been on a 3 week honeymoon, 3 week New Zealand trip, and 10 days on the European Continent. Luckily, this trip actually couldn’t have gone smoother (for me!).

Kyle’s parents had agreed to come, as it was his Dad’s birthday the day of the race so was excited to doubly celebrate, and Mum and Keith also booked to come, as Mum hasn’t seen me race this year apart from at the national duathlon championships, and Keith wanted to do a half ironman by the end of the year! They took the Thursday, Friday and Monday off, and Kyle agreed to take my bike box with him, and build it for me arriving on Friday.

That meant I worked Friday morning, drove 30mins to the airport at lunchtime, parked up, caught the 90min flight to Amsterdam, the race director’s father picked me up right at the gate with a big sign, drove me straight to the race briefing at 4pm, where I then registered with ease, and walked the 3 minutes to our air bnb. How smooth is that!

Little did I know, Kyle had some issues on his flight. I think the airport security did not like that he had a bright pink bike box, so made him PAY to weigh it twice until it was EXACTLY 23kgs. He was very angry and stressed out, but meanwhile I was happily sitting at my desk at work without a care in the world!

At the air bnb I quickly unpacked, checked my bike, racked it and off we popped for dinner (pizza and red wine, of course!). Mum wanted to share a bottle of Prosecco with me, totally forgetting I was racing the following morning! She was on holiday mode and wanted a drinking buddy!

A quick hour long call with Scott to get some race day tips (why are you wearing a one piece you idiot, what if you need to use the portapotty, why are you using wheels you’ve never ridden before, etc etc) and off I went to bed. I couldn’t sleep, mainly out of nerves and excitement (and the apartment was quite noisy) but I knew I was in bed most of Thursday and had a great sleep that night, which was most important!

When my alarm went off at 4am I was EXCITED for once! Usually I wake up with a small amount of fear, but not this morning. I had zero pressure (apart from finishing!) because no one knew who I was and I was confident I could break the infamous 10 hour mark if I just relax and enjoy it.

I put my headphones in, made 2 tubs of porridge with banana, 2 shots of Nespresso, and a pint of High 5. I did some light mobilisation exercises to wake up, when Kyle came through as cheerleader! He was so excited for me! My plan was to head over to transition to pump up my tires, hand in my transition bags, then go back to the apartment to keep warm and relax.

41695191_474130179755966_8287416470267232256_n

(4.30am…getting nervous!)

By this point, the birthday boy and Kyle’s mum were up and ready to come and support (they got in late from a night out in Amsterdam so I was surprised/excited they were up!) and they are the best at making everything fun and light hearted.

They were laughing at the fact that I definitely can’t keep quiet for 10 hours (proven when I looked round and chatted to the cameraman on the motorbike!), and when I asked them for tips on how to break up the race, they asked me to think of what I would buy with £10million. Each lap on the run I had to tell them what I would buy (this was quite fun!), and just general banter at how long a race it really is!

I headed to transition, met Mum (who was probably more nervous than me!), and we headed to the start with about 10 minutes to spare!

41669215_492685004475687_1475425951708872704_n

(Best cheerleaders ever!)

My wetsuit was on, I didn’t need to warm up, so we just took some photos, watched the Challenge guy fall out of a helicopter to deliver the flag marking the start of the race (which was AWESOME!) and got a bit teary-eyed leaving Mum and Kyle.

We were announced to the crowd 2 minutes after the professional men, and off I went into the water.

41428492_1889034851174270_3287828307248152576_n

(oh, the fear was kicking in now!)

I made sure I got used to the water and that my wetsuit was ok before a short 50m warm up to the start line.

I knew I would be one of the stronger swimmers, so made my way to the far right hand side of the start line to get clear water. The left side slowly started moving forward, so I followed suit (I wasn’t starting with a disadvantage) but my canoe blocked me. Luckily, I was listening out closely for the canon and had a good reaction to it, sprinting ahead just before the canoe had a chance to go fully in front of me…phew!

My aim was to swim as fast as I could for 100m then hit a solid effort for the remainder, but a girl was right next to me, so I continued to maybe 200m to try and drop her. We were fortunate enough to have a lead boat with a balloon behind him for the lead swimmer to follow, and I was the one following the balloon. So that was a good sign.

I had no idea where anyone was behind me. I certainly felt hands on my feet at the 1st buoy, so I was annoyed I was going to be giving some girls a free ride. At the turn of the 2nd buoy, I put in a surge, and had a quick look behind me a few metres later to see if it worked…

…it did! I had clear water, so kept powering behind my balloon.

The balloon kept my 57 minute swim entertaining (FYI the commentators and a couple coaches reckoned the swim was around 3 minutes long, compared with last year and the swimmers’ usual times at other races; so just over 4km total in the water I reckon). The wind was pretty mental so one second it was up in the air, then it was in the boat, then it was far left etc etc! Also, I think the boat man got distracted and paddled away, forgetting swimmers are slower, so he would stop and wait, then realise he was too slow and would put in a big paddle and I would get a big wave in my face!

I found this hilarious at the time, but it probably slowed me down and would have given the girls a chance to catch up. Ahh who cares, I was leading the race!

Lap 2 was pretty uneventful. The water got pretty choppy, but I am a swimmer who suits that kind of water, so I didn’t mind. I saw camera crew on my left hand side so I tried to breathe more to that side for more coverage! Unfortunately, the commentators had no idea who had the ugly green goggles so I was the unknown speedy swimmer!

debbie who

(the underdog! Debbie who?)

About 500m from the finish, I overtook a male pro, but was worried it was a girl who had made a surge from my far right, so I started sprinting again. When I passed her/him pretty quickly, I realised it was a male so calmed down a bit. Then I saw 2 more men in the distance, but unfortunately was about 20m short of catching them!

orig-CAAD0080

(noone behind for a while – and it wasn’t cause I was last!)

When I exited, I didn’t look back (out of fear!) and hoped to have a quick transition, taking my wetsuit off, getting my helmet on and putting cap/goggles/wetsuit in my bag and out to my bike before the chase group came in.

orig-CAAD0077

I grabbed my bike, smiled at the camera, and over the mount line I went.

My leg spasmed and I couldn’t get my leg over the bike. It took me ages to mount, and once on I was frustrated and so powered past the family cheering (with their Scotland flag!). They were really excited/relieved because Kyle knows my swim technique and knew I was winning, but the commentator thought I was a Polish girl (also a good swimmer) so they weren’t sure!

orig-CAAA0053

I was on my bike 3 minutes before anyone else.

I had a lead motorbike to follow, so just tried to catch him and judge my cornering based on him.

The 1st 3km of the bike is on a narrow cycle/runner path, and I obviously didn’t have time to recce any of the course, so the plan was to be sensible on all corners just in case (I found out afterwards there were a few crashes due to the tight turns and strong winds!).

We hit a main road and a tailwind which was awesome! It meant I could find my rhythm!

Although I had a problem. I had a camera following me the entire way and I was too scared to take a gel in fear of not looking “pro”! Eventually, about half an hour in I gave up and knew I had to fuel, but I will have to find out how that looked on TV!

And as I said, I also tried to make conversation with the camera crew, given they had been following me for a while and I was feeling pretty awkward…

“Long way isn’t it”

Nothing.

10 minutes later…

“Are you guys finding this windy too?”

Nothing.

Ok I gave up. And continued to power with my tailwind.

Little did I know, I was on a BIG SCREEN at the beer and food festival back at the finish line!

I just assumed there were a few cameras scattered around the course, following the men’s leader and maybe some others.

orig-CAAH0154

But nope, there was a LOT of coverage of my butt, as well as all my rookie errors (cornering, 360 turns, elastic bands still attached between my shoe and bike…!)!!

The course was really pretty! On my left for the first 45km, there was the water, and on my right there was usually a windmill! They were huge! And in full motion as the wind was strong that day!

orig-CAAL3543

Just before the turn (into the headwind) halfway through lap 1 of 2, the two Dutch girls passed me. They looked amazing…so tiny and aero!

I was not letting them go that easy! I stayed on the back of them (giving them the required 20m of course!) and managed to stay with them for 2 surges! We ended up back on a cycle path to avoid a cobbled road, where there were a few pace changes, making me really have to think. I don’t like thinking in races!

Yvonne (Van Vlerken) went for it as soon as we hit the road again, dropping Els (Vissner). I reacted and passed Els, but couldn’t stay with Yvonne.

It was just Els and I for another 10km maybe, but then she surged and I had nothing. By this point, it was a very strong side wind which was brutal both physically and mentally. I then rode the rest of lap one solo, with no one around…it was very lonely!

orig-CAAM0097

(lonely, but pretty!)

On lap 2, I was trying to hold a steady effort when I looked down and realised MY GARMIN HAD FALLEN OFF! Ugh!!! I was originally annoyed my power meter didn’t calibrate with it (I think due to being surrounded by bikes at transition) BUT now I had nothing to gauge my efforts!

Lewis wanted me to negative split, and I knew I did the 1st half in bang on 2.30, so I just kept trying to maintain the same effort and take a gel every 20 minutes.

About 15km into lap 2, Ewa (Kommander) came flying past me. Ugh!! I must be going so much slower this lap! I don’t feel like I’ve hit a wall though? She was amazing in the tail wind.

Then, again, I was left by myself and lonely. There were a couple of cyclists I lapped, but that was it. Oh, and I think 2 age group males overtook me as well.

At the turn for the final quarter of the cycle (into that headwind!) I wanted to push it a bit. I was praying some of the girls behind me would be hurting a little; when you have cycled around 90 miles and then hit a strong headwind, you are bound to get some negative thoughts! Plus, there were starting to be more people on the course to aim for, overtake, and go for again.

orig-CAAR4823

I stayed positive, picked some people off, and at the end of the sidewind stretch (the part I dreaded the most!) I thought I recognised a rider. It was 3rd female, Ewa.

Right, sprint past her – she’ll be too tired to stay with you! Immediately after a right hand turn, I passed as hard as I could until the next left hand turn, and I never looked back the rest of the ride. I was terrified coming into transition that she was right on my wheel.

The remainder of the ride was non-eventful. I continued passing age groupers, the wind was still going strong, I took my fuel like clockwork, and had a lovely tailwind for the 3km back into T2.

I was SO relieved to finally get off my bike! I had no idea what time I posted on the bike (since I was now sans Garmin) BUT turns out I even split!!! 4.59 was my bike split (112 miles), which I am fairly pleased with given my struggle in the wind!!

I got my trainers on with ease (makes a change) and, again, wanted to get out of the changing tent before 4th place rolled in. I was happy I did, because out on the run course I had no idea how far back any of the girls were, but I had a pretty positive mentality at this stage and assumed I had at least a 10 minute gap on everyone bar Ewa.

Running with confidence definitely helped. If I had been running scared, I think I would have bonked and walked a lot out of panic. I also learned a lot from Outlaw last year NOT to try and keep up with the bike, and that he should be trying to stay at your pace.

My “3rd place female” bike was fun for maybe 1 mile. I was passing people who were already on the run course (they were doing the middle distance) who were so positive and cheering me on; moving out of their way so I could have the race line (amazing comradery!). But the bike kept going ahead, looking back, sighing, then slowing down! It must be so boring having to go 7min miles on a bike!

orig-CAAO5707

(my bib was really determined not to fall off…also check the yet another camera!)

Coach Lewis told me that he reckoned I would naturally run the 1st lap at sub 3 pace. And he was bang on (this is one of the reasons he is a legend!). I started about 6.45, then settled in to 6.50, then a couple of 6.55 before slowing down by 5-10 secs every mile.

The run course was 6 laps of a flat route (mainly paved), going around the lake we swam in.

Lap 1, I felt amazing! The runners were cheering, I was hitting sub-7s and I had loads of energy.

orig-CAAO6586

Laps 2 and 3, I was slowing down a lot for each aid station (less than a mile apart which was AMAZING!!) but including the running between them I was still holding 7.30-7.35s. This was my happy place/pace! Mentally it was great, just running to the next station where you can slow down and quench your thirst.

At half way, I could really have been done with being finished! I hit the porta potty for the first time (only to pee – I thought I could hold it in but I was getting desperate!), and it was a struggle getting my speed suit off! That mile was an 8.54, but I was pretty pleased with that!

But unfortunately, that meant I lost some time to girls behind me. I hadn’t actually heard from any of my family where anyone else was, which actually helped me run my own race. I was far too tired at this point to be tactical!

At the end of lap 4, I was thrilled to be 2/3 of the way through, and thoughts of “even walking the next 7 miles would get me a 10ish hour ironman time” were beginning to creep in. That gave me a boost as that was plan B; if I didn’t do well in the pro field, I would aim for time.

But I was still running! I was glad I had my Garmin on (watch this time!) because there were mile beeps where I was scared to look down, thinking it must be a 10, but it was just a high 7. Knowing I wasn’t dying as much as it seemed kept me running.

Oh wait, I need to pee again. Ugh! I made it to the next aid station portapotty, took a bit longer than before (squatting wasn’t an option at this point – my legs would just cramp!), and walked up the bridge right afterwards. My bike man seemed pretty annoyed at me for walking and taking 2 stops – I could tell! But at the top of the bridge, there were spectators shouting on me to refocus, and so I started shuffling/waddling back down the bridge.

bridge

(It was a pretty bridge though!)

That mile or so segment was my only bad patch on the run course, and the only other times I walked were through the aid stations. Makes a difference to Kalmar (where my actual moving time was 3.40 but run split was 4.01 due to a number of strange issues!).

Just before the end of lap 5, I was passed. I knew she was a pro female, and I knew my podium dream was over. She (superstar Lina-Kristin Schink!) looked phenomenal and I was in a bad place. At least my bike man was happy to ditch me for a real runner!

I was pretty upset because I was between 1st and 3rd for nearly 9 hours!!!

orig-CAAO8210

(ticking people off really kept me going…I was in a bad place here!)

But, like I said earlier, I couldn’t have done any more. I was actually more worried that my Mum (who refused to go shopping because she was glued to the big screen watching me on the bike, and did not move from her perfect spot on the run!) would be disappointed.

I didn’t know this, but apparently she was an emotional wreck! She was so excited to see all the coverage of me leading, that she was in tears for a lot of the race – Kyle, I hope you looked after her!

Anyway, like I said, she hadn’t moved from her spot on the run course for that entire 3hours and 18 minutes of my marathon!! When I saw her the 1st time I passed her, I saw her tear up and I tried to hold it together and just shouted that I loved her (but that was tough because if she gets teary, I do too!),  and then every other lap we high fived! She looked so excited to see me!

But at the end of lap 5, when I had just been overtaken and was now in 4th, I just told her I was really sorry when I saw her. She shouted at me not to be silly, and I could tell I had nothing to worry about. Love you, Mum!

Kyle was patiently waiting at the coaches’ corner at this point and tried to force feed me a gel, water and asked if I needed to change shoes (this all sounds lovely, but I told him my feet were sore on lap 1!! Haha oh, Kyle!). Although I was nice to Mum, I took my anger out on Kyle (sorry, husby!) and asked him (in a non-PG way) to leave me alone, then still wanted to know how far back 5th was…

He knew what I needed to hear (“you have loads of time”, and “keep running at this pace [still high 7s] and you have nothing to worry about”! He also said I had the potential to catch Els as I had reduced my gap to her to 2 mins, and 3rd place was also catching her!).

As much as I would love to say I passed her and made podium, sadly this isn’t the case. The last lap weirdly flew by (thankfully!!) and I got to the sign that said 2km to go, and I got a little choked up.

I had no idea the actual time that the canon went off, and I didn’t know my swim OR bike time, but I had my watch set to “time of day” with it flashing every mile, so I knew it was around 4.40pm. If I ran 5 minute kms for the next 2 km I would be around the 9h30 finish time, which I personally consider to be a world class time.

Just run, Debs!

orig-CAAW0262

When I got over the final bridge my watch beeped 26 miles. Ugh, this could be close! I had about 400m to go at this point, but it was straight and I could see the crowds!

I also heard Kyle’s mum before I saw her (standard!), sourced her out in the crowd, signalled to her that I wanted her Scotland flag, grabbed it without a word, turned to the final out and back section, smiled at Mum, waved to the crowd, lifted my flag, and galloped through the finish line.

4th place professional female – 9 hours, 20 mins, 39 secs

orig-CABC4604

Wow! I went straight to 3rd to tell her how amazing her run was, then was pulled off for an interview. I managed to hold it together, and told the crowd how proud I was that I worked full time and managed to make a top 5 which surpassed my expectations entirely, given the calibre of the field and just how much training they can do compared to me.

Then Kyle was shouting on me from the sidelines, and I immediately ran over, jumped on him and started crying! He told me he hasn’t been more proud (INCLUDING our wedding day haha), and he followed me the whole day because of all the footage!

His parents then came over, and I told Norman that was his birthday present, and even he started welling up!

Then it was Mum’s turn. I must have held on to her for minutes! I didn’t want to let go. We just couldn’t stop crying!! I gave my everything for her. And I think I made her proud!

A quick massage later, I got a Heineken with the family, and waddled my way to the restaurant we booked for dinner. After ordering drinks and food, Kyle waddled with me back to the apartment, I painfully showered, and was back to the restaurant in only a few minutes. To reiterate, I loved the location of our air bnb!

41758898_483267215486601_5331764786277384192_n

(Walking was HARD!)

Mum and Keith went back to their apartment (Keith smashed his half distance and so was lagging a little, and Mum was exhausted from such an emotional day!), and us Greigs went to the finish line party (EPIC!) and then out for some more drinks.

41665306_317354312362722_111398171619360768_n

(think dancing, beer, sparklers, fireworks, dancing, music, streamers…!)

The next day, Kyle was hungover and I my muscles were all jittery, so I got up first and tried (and failed) to stretch. He told me we were going into Amsterdam for a surprise and we were leaving soon. I had to be back for presentation at 3.30pm.

41789671_1188239257967968_2284734864156524544_n

Our day of fun began with waffles, coffee, and a lovely walk to a little intimate boat. We were going on an all you can drink cruise along the Amsterdam canals!! Please note this is my perfect weekend so far (although a win would have been better!)!

Afterwards, frites, donuts and more coffee at Dam Square (to sober up!), then back to Almere for presentation, and Mexican food and margaritas in the evening.

41781958_293707804690377_4413997452705660928_n

Apart from having to take the red eye on Monday morning, so I could be back at my desk at work for 9am (the rest of the crew took a later flight), I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. Family, a race, stunning views, great race organisation, easy travel, culture, FOOD and drinks…it was just perfect!

41680159_1710794995709585_3488679399123845120_n

(I didn’t think my colleagues would be that into following me, but they were amazing! I was cheered when I got in! Special thanks to Sylvia for the exceptional cake!)

Thank you Challenge for a great race, and thanks to Lewis for getting me race ready.

A special thanks again to Jon for giving me bike advice, lending me his wheels (yes, I had never tried them before, but they were 25 as opposed to my usual 23 and had deeper rims so Jon advised I would feel more comfortable but without changing too much about my race set up…they worked!)

Thanks to Speedhub for supporting me, and to Helen for getting me on that start line. The amount of foot and back trouble I have had this summer almost stopped my season completely…! Oh, and I suppose I should mention Scott; without his advice on tackling these ridiculous races, I would have even less idea! (I should also mention that his head has swollen after last weekend, as Ironman Wales was on and he is still the only GB male to win that race…he loves to remind me of this).

And thanks to my family. Without you, I wouldn’t have the drive or support I needed!

41777880_685839128451920_1768595995517517824_n

And to you guys for reading this far, and following my journey!!

Love you all! ❤

 

https://www.tri247.com/triathlon-features/gallery-challenge-almere-amsterdam-2018

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Scottish Record Hodler – 100 miles

I am a Scottish record holder. Noone has gone faster for 100 miles in Scotland. How cool is that?!

And totally unexpected.

40157743_1861904077227321_4183583323542519808_n

This was a race that I had my eye on as I thought it fit in perfectly with what I would need to do that weekend in prep for Challenge Almere-Amsterdam two weeks’ later.

I mean, I don’t know about you but if I have to do 100 miles with some effort, I’d rather know I’m doing them with a bunch of other likeminded nutters, than alone in the wind and rain at ridiculous o’clock on a Sunday morning…

Saturday was my first chilled day in what felt like months (probably because it was!). We have been so busy this summer and it was so nice just to do nothing! We went for a wee jog by Bennachie, followed by coffee the best carrot cake I have had in a while, and the afternoon was spent cooking and baking for our guests that evening. Oh, and I also spent a good hour prepping my bike after some excellent advice from Jon, but more on that later!

Because the Great Aberdeen Run was on, Kenny Wilson was staying. So was hill superstar James Espie, but more due to wanting to see us than anything race related (I’m not complaining – he brought a mean blackberry crumble!)! A lovely evening with lots of food and catching up meant I went to bed (a lot later than planned) but feeling chilled.

The alarm was set at 4am. I had very little sleep because – as you all know – I get terrible anxiety when cycling outside after my accident, and kept picturing me going eyeballs out on the A90, only for a lorry to plough into the back of me! Once again, I know I need to relax…as once again, it was the safest I’ve felt during a race!

After faffing around with nutrition – counting out FIFTEEN gels people! – and trying to calculate my caffeinated gel ratio at that time in the morning, I force fed myself some porridge and took a coffee with me. 10 miles down the road, the fuel tank went from 90 miles to go, to 0. Ugh! Luckily, I made it to Stonehaven without any issues.

Oh wait, it’s me; of course there were issues.

I think I ate too much the night before, and mixed with force-feeding the porridge as well as the night of little sleep and anxiety, I had to stop the car and I proceeded to throw up at the side of the road! This has NEVER happened, but I did feel better afterwards (I was ok, Mum! Promise!).

Registration was so quick and easy. Because athletes go off at different times, there was never any rushing around like at mass start races, and I got my gear sorted, caught up with the MIL’s friend Michelle (who did amazing!), and then just sat in the car to keep warm. It was really wet and about 6C outside. I didn’t feel the need to warm up, given I’d have plenty time during the race(!) and it was a short ride to the start line, where I tested that the bike still worked!

More drama…!

I asked a nice lady to pin my bib to my back, but I should have bent over into the cycling position because as soon as I got on my bike and started pedalling, 2 pins popped off my racing suit!

Bear in mind, I wanted to minimise waiting time outside as much as possible, so left with maybe 3 minutes to spare at the start line! Thankfully, a marshal helped me but was sans additional pins, thus my bib number did flap around quite a lot in the wind!

With 30s to go, I got held up by an official, made a couple of jokes (“nice bike”, “thanks – shame about the rider” etc!), and off I went, SO much more relaxed than an hour earlier!

40144088_1861905087227220_3097833823249891328_n

A tandem went off at 7, followed by a few girls, and I was off at 7.08. Typical Debs would aim to tick everyone off as soon as possible, but today I just wanted to be patient. After a terrible cycle at Aberfeldy last week, I did NOT want a bad ride today, otherwise I would have ZERO confidence for Almere. I refused to bonk! Instead, I stayed relaxed and enjoyed the effort.

With no pressure (apart from not bonking) I didn’t care too much about the conditions. I don’t own fancy aero accessories etc but was thankful for my waterproof and fleeced overshoes, and some fleeced armwarmers I stole from Scott before he left for ‘Murica. And gloves I took skiing in Chatel last year!

Speaking of Scott – he has just launched a coaching business, Hold Fast – if you want coached by a triathlon legend (I hope he isn’t reading his or his head will explode), please give him a shout. Remember I only bought a bike less than 4 years ago and I’m not too shabby right now…

Those accessories, along with my actual phenomenal kit, kept my comfortable AND fast the entire ride. I was on my Felt IA2 (which is the most comfortable bike I have ever rode), my POC aero helmet, my Speedhub speedsuit, my BONT cycling shoes AND with a MASSIVE THANKS to Jon, a couple of aero bottles (ok he has helped me significantly more than lending me water bottles BUT that’s for a separate post!)

I broke the ride up into separate distances, which I think made the 100 miles a lot less intimidating. It was 5 miles from Kineff to Stonehaven, then 20 to Stracathro, so I think subconsciously I did a 5/20/20/5/5/20/20/5 breakdown, if that makes sense, given that it was 2x out and back.

I passed Sarah, who went off a minute before me, just after Stonehaven. I know of her from the triathlon world (she, too, has a long distance race coming up so had the same plan I did!) and she actually did Aberfeldy the previous week, too! She looked frozen and was even wearing a jacket due to the conditions.

40194205_1861904977227231_7629396479446089728_n

It was near Inverbervie that I think I became front individual (the tandem was still ahead, but because girls go off first, I was almost leading like at the Scottish 25 mile champs).

About 15miles in, the rain was so heavy that I couldn’t see through my integrated shades. I ended up frisbeeing them to the Stracathro marshall (sorry!), then realised afterwards it could be dangerous riding without glasses too. My poor eyes weren’t protected!

It did make me focus more. Now that I could see, I felt more confident and put out a bit more power. Out and backs and loops meant you could see where people were, so after Stracathro I tried to see if I could spot the girls (and guys!) behind!

The wind was kinda everywhere. As I said, if I knew there was a record within reach, I would maybe have ridden tenser, being mad that the course was so windy (and HILLY by the way!), but I wasn’t bothered. I really wanted at least a podium, and knowing how I did at the 25, I secretly hoped to get the same if not win it. And everyone was stuck with these conditions.

40143695_1861904097227319_4856558278819184640_n

I’d be in the TT position, feeling ok, then suddenly the tree line would run out, I became exposed and had to really focus to stay upright at times. Other times, you think you were riding into a headwind so you would be fine at the turnaround, but would feel that same headwind! How is that even possible?! Only in Scotland (which, scientifically, is a contributor to much slower times up here than even the likes of England)…

I felt great the whole way, have absolutely NO idea what I was thinking about for 4 hours until BOOM, the turnoff to Stonehaven and the 5 miles to Kinneff.

Actually, that’s a lie. I passed the tandem with about 15 miles to go, shouted something motivational, and then got pied. So for about 5 minutes I was wondering why they didn’t hear me. Maybe it was the wind.

Holy moly that was tough.

The only real part of the race where I felt like I could walk faster than I was cycling. The headwind was just horrendous! Any chance of a sub 4.15 was gone in an instant.

Again, I just kept telling myself that everyone was suffering and I just have to keep the effort the same.

It was also uphill. So that hurt a lot when you have 95 windy rainy miles in your legs.

Ugh. Anyway I got through it, totally forgot the course and thought the finish was “just at the top of this hill” only to find it was a couple hills later. And when I did actually reach the finish, I was really confused because there was no official there (*note he WAS there but was so cold and wet, he was sitting in the car that was parked at the finish line*) so I thought that was maybe the turnaround from the half way point and kept pedalling. Nope, that was definitely the finish.

40240034_1861904390560623_9145911717555863552_n

So no sprint finish, but still dipped into the 4.17s and an average speed of 23.4mph. Next time I would prefer NOT to stop at the half way point to then describe my water bottles to the relevant marshal, only to go through a couple before finally finding my one, to then refill a bottle and swap out another bottle while stationary, only then to commence cycle lap 2. Yes, it broke up the race into 2x50milers, but I’m pretty sure I lost a minute or 2.

Too bad Debbie nae mates had no friends as they were all at the Great Aberdeen Run (and did awesome! 2 x silvers for my sleepover boys!).

Back to my car, a quick change and well done chat to Kyle Gordon (who got the men’s record, bettering Jon’s by 10 minutes!), and off I ran 5 miles tempo (boy was it windy and hilly), 1 mile easy. I passed the tandem guys who had just finished, congratulated them (again) for their efforts, got pied (again), gave up on them, sat in the car, wishing I was lying in the fetal position, another change, and it was time for food.

What an amazing spread of food! I love food.

Presentation was quick which was awesome and something I wish happened more. While I was sitting watching all the prize winners, I got a tap on the shoulder…

“Soooo, we’re pretty certain you also got the national record today” (the winning male made it clear he was going for it).

“You’re pretty certain or certain?”

“Well, we don’t have wi-fi to double check”.

“Oh, ok. Well just keep me posted”.

I had NO idea how to respond to that! Should I be excited? Nervous? Frantically checking signal phone signal? Instead, I realised that even if it wasn’t a record, it must have been close, and that’s a pretty big deal. So I got a little emosh. Then realised I had no mates, so tried not to well up.

I drove as fast as I could (within the speed limit, Mum) to Aberdeen to meet Kyle and co. Because the run was still on (I think the half marathoners had been going for 4 hours at this point!), I abandoned my car about a 10minute walk away. Turns out that was a blessing in disguise for recovery, but not good mentally as I was dying to tell someone!

I couldn’t last the 10 minutes, so called Lewis pretty much as soon as I locked the car!

“How did you get on?”

“Yeah it was ok.”

“Just ok?”

“Emmmmmmm…”

“What?”

“So I may now be the national record holder.”

“F***in YASSS!!!!!”

Hahahaha that was an awesome conversation! I like making coach proud! 🙂

In no time I was at the café, hung up on Lewis, went in the door, saw the troops and out the news came! I couldn’t hold it in… I was too excited!!

And what a group of guys I was shouting at! Tom (fellow podcaster with Kyle!), Fiona (just picked for the Commonwealth Half Marathon Champs), Kenny (ditto to Fiona and our sleepover buddy) and Kenny’s coaches! Then Fraser joined us, followed by a Radio Scotland DJ.

Anyway, it was lovely chatting away about our race experiences, then we left to go and see Mum and tell her the news. I actually considered swimming as well to make it a monstrous training day, but cut myself some slack and chose friends and family (and food. Never forget the 3 x Fs) instead!

I know I can go faster that that for the 100. The conditions weren’t the best, it was hilly, and as Jon explained to me (he’s a good mentor like that…) there are LOTS of improvements to be made on positioning and extras alone (eg aero gloves – who knew that was a thing!).

It’s an exciting prospect and I can see myself doing some more time trialling, but for now the focus is on Challenge Almere THIS Saturday!!!!

You can follow me here: http://live.challenge-almere.com/

I’m bib number 12!

Please wish me all the (mechanical) luck in the world – I have no idea how it will go – 10 hours of racing is so intimidating! – but I have worked as hard as I could!  And the field is STACKED, so it will be an exciting race!

 

 

 

Standard