racing, Training, travel, Triathlon, Uncategorized

London Triathlon & Mixed Relay Cup

When Triathlon Scotland invited me to be on the Scottish Stirling Team (there is only the one performance centre in Scotland!) for the Mixed Relay Cup after I won the national sprint champs, I was in two minds. I was very thankful they wanted me on their team, it would be really fun to compete against some of the best triathletes in the world, but I would have an iron distance triathlon 5 weeks later and should probably be training for a 10 hour race as opposed to a 20 minuter.

I decided to do it, provided I got into the elite individual race the following day, and use it as some speed training!

I’ve still got a couple lingering injuries, but training has been relatively consistent, and I had no idea how I would get on in a 300m swim, 6km bike and 1500m run! I was terrified of the transitions too.

Flying down after work on Friday was fun (although Flybe you need to make your mind up whether you can pre-book bike onto London City flights), flying over the centre of London (I haven’t flown into that airport before!). I was actually next to a lovely guy who tweeted me later on, after finding out who I was and wishing me luck! Great detective skills, if you are reading this!

I met the rest of the team, who were already at dinner, and built my bike around 10pm with a couple of the guys. Because I am the granny of the group, it is so refreshing observing the youngsters, and I remember my swimming days and how hyperactive and sociable I was(am!). They are always so fun and don’t make fun of me too much for being old!

The race wasn’t until 6pm the following day, but I never realised how much faffing media commitments, briefings, route recces, warm ups, registering, UCI checks etc there would be! So we actually had to be ready for 1pm! For a 20min race!

39004255_264539957483680_375026133285994496_n

My roomie, fellow relay teammate, and new friend, Hannah and I spent the day together, doing a wee jog, grabbing breakfast and coffee and sitting in the sun (36C people!!) and she was lovely! She didn’t race as well as she’d hoped, but she’ll smash the next one!

At the briefing, seeing several Olympians was pretty intimidating (and there was definitely a clique-ness environment…no one wanted to mingle until the race was over interestingly enough) but I saw it all as some fun (I guess it is most of their careers and speciality). Being introduced to the crowd and on BBC was cool, and soon enough the gun went off for the 1st female in each team to go.

38985042_2206305856323307_294958704413900800_n

Unfortunately, we handed over at the back of the pack to Cam who managed to work his way up a couple of places. I was in the pen waiting for him, when I saw Vicky, Rob and the kids, which gave me a buzz!

39017527_1826730517410270_6041360836037967872_n

39003735_361856644349278_3508536819639648256_n38896369_225127294863714_6939809196258885632_n

(my cheerleaders!)

I got tapped, ran towards the ramp down to the Thames, and really enjoyed my running dive into the water! I kicked for an entire 300m (swim friends be impressed…you know I love a 2 beat kick!), and exited with the girl ahead of me.

Terrified of transition (after there were multiple falls in leg 1 on the slippery red carpet), I was dropped again however I time trialled my way back up to the girl in front within a couple of minutes (it was fun trying to hunt people down, like in the national time trial champs a few weeks ago!). Again, coming off the bike I was apprehensive, so took my time and would call it more of a falling dismount than flying dismount, but I did it, then struggled to get my trainers on! I didn’t get my right heel properly in my shoe, but I’m a bit of a toe-y runner so it actually didn’t bother me!

38681702_2252805838068327_6542699745591164928_n

The run was over so quickly! I just remember breathing hard, aiming for the girl in front, and getting her at the last second, and handing over to Luca! I remember a lot of Scottish accents cheering me which was awesome, but even more exciting was finding out it was McDOOGZ!!! He moved to London about 3 years ago and it was so nice to see him, as well as the Smiths! We spent the following day after the race together catching up 🙂

38439965_2251408334874744_2027074497554677760_n38912513_924406027763230_7236180339322781696_n

Luca was awesome, but we ended up finishing 13th ish out of 15. We weren’t last, but there were definitely improvements that could be made. On my part, more run speed training and transitions, transitions, transitions!

Luca, Hannah and I then went for a very late Saturday night dinner at a very romantic pizza place on a balcony overlooking the Thames! Luca and I had the individual race the next day, while Hannah was done and was looking forward to meeting her girlfriends the next day.


 

The following morning, I wasn’t too sore, but I was drained from all the focus that comes with such a short race. We did a slow shake out and strides in the morning, I packed everything up to check out, and I headed to the Excel (a 2min bike ride from the hotel). Although I was there with a team, Luca and I went to my race ourselves because there was more focus on the juniors who were racing a couple hours later. I liked this, because it meant I could do my own thing (which ended up being talking to Mum about Amsterdam car hire!), but it was weird! I usually have Kyle, or friends I know competing, but I was Debbie nae mates, and Luca went off after me and was warming up!

I got speaking to double world duathlon champ, Felicity Sheedy-Ryan, who was really nice, and we were both last minute prepping! We got to the briefing, was informed it would be full Olympic distance, but the run was being reduced to 5km (!), and there was a gasp from the girls! I had found out that morning it may be the case, but I must say we weren’t emailed about it, nor was it on the website, so if that were my “A” race I would be very disappointed.

We were announced to the crowd and, as a late entry, I was last to dive into the water. I picked a position and the gun went off after a couple minutes of sculling. I thought I could get on the feet of some of the names I recognised but my swimming shoulders didn’t get the memo that I was racing two days in a row, and I was dropped after about 50m! I genuinely thought I was in last place (the field was amazing), that all I could think about was how embarrassing getting out of the water would be. UNTIL, about 300m in I finally felt someone behind me hit my feet! Yass I didn’t even care that I was leading the chase pack and not drafting…someone was behind me!

And then a boat came towards me and shoved a camera in my face for what seemed like minutes! Do I look up more for air time (look for the green goggles when it gets televised!). No Debbie stop being so distracted and swim!

I kept my group lead the whole way and exited with a Czech girl and Sheedy-Ryan. They ran super fast to their bikes (I was sprinting!) and we took off together.

Within about 5mins, we caught an American who was in no man’s land (she told me later she got dropped in the swim at about half way and she too thought she was last and considered stopping!).

Capture

(no big deal…I’m just leading a pack with a Czech national champ, a USA athlete and an Ozzie world champ!)

I learned some real lessons here. I can ride with the best of them, but when it comes to corners, I am horrendous. Getting off and walking around the corners would probably be faster. So I had to play catch up every.single.deadturn. And there were quite a few! This lasted about 30km. Then at the last deadturn on the 3rd lap, I did something which made my brakes rub right onto my front wheel.

I made the stupid decision to just push harder after trying to fix it while riding to no avail, but really I should have stopped and started. I lost 3minutes in 10km and I was now in no man’s land. Hearing McDoogz and the Scottish team made me go from feeling like I was in a great position, to feeling utterly humiliated.

38490867_2252678621414382_2392569583014772736_n

(I wasn’t a happy camper triathlete here…)

Rolling into T2, I got my shoes on this time, and it was a pretty uneventful run to the finish. Although I didn’t know how many laps I was doing! I guessed each lap was a mile, but could it be a couple of km, and then a longer run once in the Excel? The latter was true, and to be honest I wasn’t pushing anyway. I didn’t want to aggravate my injury, I was never catching the group I was with on the bike, and the group behind us were pretty far back.

So, after seeing Doogz entering the arena, I apologised to him then jogged into 10th place.

Last year I was 5th and had a way better race, but this year the field was even more stacked, plus it was definitely good training with my TT effort for 10km 😉

38461308_2252804494735128_2450082768521003008_n

(Protip: ALWAYS race for beer and cuddles!)

Next up is the Scottish middle distance champs, then the 100 mile TT champs.

Standard
70.3, challenge, Ironman, racing, Training, travel, Triathlon, Ultrarunning, Uncategorized

Bad luck but beautiful place!

Well. I’m not sure where to start with my recap (edit: this is a huge ramble and apologies in advance!)…

I’m going first because we should end our trip blogs with Kyle’s phenomenal performance…!


Basically, it was one of those days where I had ZERO luck.

In the lead up, training was going better than ever. I was finally beginning to swim fast again (I really struggled going from squad led sessions with an amazingly successful swim team at ASV, to just me – and Chris! I couldn’t do it without him – doing sessions together for 40mins during our lunch hour (Aberdeen just isn’t feasible anymore with the new job). Cycling, although 99% in my garage using the legendary Zwift, was going scary well. I mean, I managed an entire 2 hour session with an average of 230W. So I was quietly confident about that, and I just hoped with a few cycles in NZ in the lead up to the race, I would be able to feel the road again. And, well, running has probably improved the most thanks to Lewis!

Let’s rewind to the morning we leave for Glasgow to fly to NZ that evening. From about 6am-10am I worked on my laptop, then I started to dismantle the bike. Bike wouldn’t dismantle. Basically, the screws on my handlebars had some sweat on them from a winter of turbo-ing (gross!) that they rusted, and with several allen key attempts (thanks to neighbours!), and multiple calls with Twiggy (fellow Outlaw champ who JUST TURNED 48 and looks like a supermodel! I hope Speedhub makes me age gracefully!), we were at a loss, so we packed up the car and headed to Holburn Cycles (the best bike shop in Aberdeen by FAR). They were incredible and as soon as I arrived everything was dropped and there were 4 people working on my bike! Kyle and I were famished so headed to Melt for the greasiest most delicious sandwich ever, and when we came back, it was all ready to go! Phew!

We got to Glasgow in good time, and even managed a wee pre-flight session, before flying at 9pm!

We had worked on the time difference so aimed not to sleep on first flight, and then slept on the Dubai flight, so when it came to arriving in Auckland, we actually felt ok!

28511204_10160149131440644_1719465892_n

(at least one of us did…)

I didnt build my bike until a couple days later, just because we had so much to do the following day (register Kyle…what an ordeal that was!!!), do a recce etc etc.

28537747_10160149130315644_1011429456_n20180209_025323

(about 12 hours after arriving and not jet lagged at all!)

The plan was while Kyle SMASHED HIS RACE (wait til you hear his story!!!!!! I couldn’t be more proud!!), I would ride after dropping him at his 5am bus, then do the local parkrun, hit the mall, do a wee lake swim, then drive to the nearby aid stations for his final 40km!

Well, wasn’t it one of the worst storms ever?! No cycling could be done! And even though we built the bike, we only went and forgot a pump! So I dropped Kyle at the bus, went back to our house for breakfast (ate a bit too much after wanting to try ALL THE THINGS from our first NZ shop!), then went to parkrun at around 7.30am for their 8am start. Plan was a couple of longer intervals and then strides. So I thought parkrun would work. I managed a decent 18 and a half and 3rd overall over the geyser fields (SO bouncy it was hilarious!). Because of the rain, it was slippy and the sulphur smell was pretty potent that on the second lap I could taste my breakfast and had to slow down a bit! The next repeats I was so drenched that it was just a “get it done” workout.

28450437_10160149131280644_1969930789_n

(20C but SOAKED!)

28554663_10160149384490644_1356212169_o

(Running through areas like this was so weird but so cool at the same time!)

I then dried off and went to the mall to get a pump (and maybe some earrings and tops for me), when Phil messaged to say Kyle was in 5th and they hit the marathon in sub3! WHAT?!?! He was about 20mins ahead of what he reckoned. And in those conditions I was even more surprised!

Anyway, more on his race later, but in summary no cycling was done but the bike was now ready.

28459478_10160149131385644_850022680_n28459281_10160149131130644_706860798_n

(2x aid stations…it was THAT muddy!)

After his race we headed to Coromandel. It was a long drive where it rained non-stop. I was getting anxious about a lack of cycling that Kyle threw me out of the car at one point and said “just try it”. It was a long straight road so I did. That ride lasted 13 minutes and Kyle came and got me. I was nearly blown off at a bridge. Stupid Cyclone Gita.

I then tried a second cycle which lasted half an hour but finished at a treacherous gorge where we found a car IN the river. AND a screw came loose with the bumpy roads (I didn’t screw them tight enough) so my tri bars were dangling about the place. Sorry mum! Shout out to the bike shop owner in Thames who gave us screws and really helped us!

28511927_10160149384570644_1687439982_n

(if you look really closely you will see a car in there)

And that was that. I didn’t cycle again until Waiheke island, which was super hilly. And still rainy.

28555305_10160149130595644_2051483203_o

(Waiheke cycle)

I DID manage sea and lake swims. Kate French (5th in the Olympics for modern pent) came for a swim in the sea with me the morning after the lads went fishing and caught a hammerhead shark! Luckily we were ok, but we had her bf and our friend Toby kayak next to us just in case!

Running went a little downhill, due to the uphill! The gradient on the part of the island we were staying at was so tough that it was almost impossible to run! Kyle and I ended up hiring a car so we could head to another beach so I could do my last session: a 10min/5min/5min workout. Which I nailed! So that was a massive confidence boost. But now looking back I just hate all the expenses we added to our trip just so I could train for a race I didn’t finish… 😦

Bike packed up again, we headed to Queenstown after the wedding. Bike built and put in transition. Everything worked ok. It could have done with a hose after the grit from Waiheke but I spent about an hour with a cloth on it so I’d hoped that was enough. I also got a lot of tips from my new friend Jan Van Berkel. He is a phenomenal pro and one of the friendliest guys I have ever met!! We both had nightmare races so I really hope he can SMASH Ironman NZ this weekend! Good luck Jan!

28512167_10160149130975644_434503934_n

(He was dressed like a pro. Me, not so much…)

Race morning (“finally” I hear you say!), I wake up feeling HORRENDOUS!  I had a sore throat, but the kind of soreness that you KNOW is going to turn into something bigger. I had zero energy, and could barely warm up or sip coffee.

Going through the motions, I double checked the bike, then put my fuel in my IA2’s built in bento box, then headed to the swim start to watch the full distance guys and try to psych up.

I had nothing.

I got in the swim and was hoping the water would wake me up. Seeing Gomez warm up next to me, I was hoping that would bring some motivation. Normally, I can get some energy from somewhere, but I felt so flat; I have felt like “I can’t be bothered” in races before, but never “I don’t know if I can do this” feeling.

The gun went off and I swam hard with the lead group of 3 others. Ok ok this is a strong group; 2 ITU girls and an U23 world champion. Just stay on their feet.

200m in and I was dropped. I wasn’t breathing hard which is unusual and I couldn’t move my arms any faster. Weird but I thought even with a solo effort I would come out 4th which is solid.

“Where is the first buoy to swim around? I know it’s red. Oh there it is. Oh wait that looks like…oh that’s a canoe. Ugh! How much time have I wasted swimming to the red canoe? Ugh doesn’t matter just aim for the red buoy this time. I wonder how far in last I am and how much time I’ll have to make up. Why don’t I see anyone? Ok out I come. I am so embarrassed. Oh wait, Amelia was on my feet the whole time (she came 3rd in the end). There is a camera in my face. Oh I’m still in 4th. Nice one!”

In transition, I went right past my bag. Like 50m past it, so I doubled back. Then I misheard the volunteer saying she would repack my bag and I left my wetsuit on the ground. I had to go back and pack my own bag; they just hang up back up for the pros…oops! I caught Amelia again and picked up my bike. I was out of transition before her (a miracle given the bag malarkey) but I couldn’t change gears.

Remember when I said I put my fuel in my bike’s built in storage? Well that is also where the electronic gears are. 10minutes at the side of the road waiting for help, I realised the problem. I had unplugged a cable with my food!

I was MISERABLE! By this time it was raining and every other pro had passed me! It was pouring rain and into a massive headwind at the first out and back and I saw the leading pack of girls (drafting their butts off, by the way), minus Annabel who smashed a solo effort to win, and was really disheartened. They were working together and hitting almost impossible splits.

I passed zero girls on the bike, and with 30km to go I came to the top of a steep hill and couldn’t get into my big ring. The final near hour I was in the little ring!

I roll into T2, snot all over me, wheezing as my throat was getting worse. Spectators were amazing: “Girl power” was my fave! I ran over the bridge and was dizzy. It was game over. I had closed the gap to 3 minutes on the girls in front, and on even an average day I know I would have ran past them, but today I was well below average.

I DNF’d my first race as a professional triathlete and I have been ill ever since. I woke up the following day with the flu, and haven’t really managed to do anything without it draining me!

Hopefully I can get back to training soon and come back with a vengeance!

I am so sorry to disappoint everyone who was following and supporting me, even at ridiculous o’clock in the UK!

…especially Mum, who I sobbed down the phone to after the race. “But you don’t quit. Remember Kalmar? You are not a quitter. I thought something terrible had happened”. Those words were so powerful and I felt awful. However, looking back, I couldn’t have finished. For me to still be ill, something was up. I just hope I have better luck for the rest of the year after that!

All was not lost though…Kyle is now a known name on the international ultra running circuit, and Freyja and Aki had such a perfect wedding (the ONE day it didn’t rain haha!).

Once again, thank you so much for all your support, especially to Speedhub for still believing in me, and a big thanks for still reading if you have made it down this far! Xoxo

Here are some photos of the rest of our trip:

28510839_10160149130940644_205661760_n28450456_10160149130660644_2130928474_n20180218_06175620180218_06123920180218_03053328458623_10160149130745644_1308904948_n20180218_02472120180218_02452820180218_02423320180208_084822

28458971_10160149131540644_1468765814_n28580404_10160149384585644_16972667_o28459269_10160149384660644_387380849_n28511904_10160149384635644_528179865_n28510906_10160149384525644_2121078541_n

Standard
70.3, challenge, Ironman, Marathon, racing, Training, travel, Triathlon, Ultrarunning, Uncategorized

Girls weekend and training update

Just a quick one before we head off to New Zealand for the Tarawera Ultra and Challenge Wanaka, sandwiched with the Fraki Wedding!!! We are so excited!!

For Challenge Wanaka, my training has been going really well. I am pretty intimidated because a) this will only be my 2nd 70.3, b) my first race as a professional, and c) the field is STACKED! And I’m not just saying that…there are ITU girls and a couple top 10 finishers at the Worlds, but I think it will just be fun to see how I fair with the big shots!

After all, it is the end of their summer so they’ll be all super fit from race season and I haven’t even managed to get outside with how cold and icy it’s been! But that hasn’t stopped me.

For swimming, I’ve been training most lunchtimes with Chris (a phenomenal masters sprinter and wine drinker) who is such a positive and encouraging person. I have been working on front end speed with him so hopefully I can make the front pack.

(Lifts to swimming sponsored by Chris, and bright Aquasphere kit for my sessions helps to stay motivated!)

For cycling, Zwift has been incredible for my pain cave workouts! I’ve never known anything about watts and always gone by feel up until I got Zwift but now workouts go by a lot quicker, I am more competitive, and I am seeing improvements which is great! Although I can get to obsessive with the numbers…I need to remember a hard session on fresh legs will produce more power than if I’ve swam and run hard already that day!

tyrty.PNG

For running, KYLE BOUGHT ME A TREADMILL!

We came home from work one Friday and he asked if I could help him in the garage and there it was!! He/it is a life saver! It’s no secret I love treadmills! So what did I do first run on it? Only 15 miles @ 6.35 pace 🙂

27583738_10160032733540644_1376569356_n

I’ve managed a couple of solid workouts; my favourite being a solid wave run on the Deeside line. It was my first run outside in a long time after all the ice and snow and I was nervous the treadmill was giving me false results. But this was one of those special runs where you just zone out and it feels effortless. I get those maybe 1 in every 3,000 runs so I was on cloud 9 at the end of it!

27591772_10160032733670644_985368935_n

( https://www.strava.com/activities/1354891496 – coffee and cake must always follow hard sessions #protip )

UNTIL we realised we got our long sleeves stolen!! In the woods on the outskirts of a village! I was angry, but Kyle was worse – it was one of his GB tops!! You can’t buy those! So if you see a random dude in Aboyne in GB kit, please do us a favour and ask where he got it!

Training wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows though. I had about 3 days off a couple of weeks ago – I couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong but I was so run down I couldn’t get out of bed! To be honest, I think I was trying to act like a full time athlete while holding down a full time job, while also trying to do up our flat and sort out our trip. It wasn’t pretty.

I’ve also had a couple of trips away, but who can say no to a girls trip to London!? It was amazing fun! Emma and I went down to see Vicky (Kyle’s cousin) and Lucy (remember her?!) and saw Dreamgirls at the West End, visited some quirky markets in Brixton (HIGHLY recommended!), had some phenomenal cocktails in Covent Garden, and I also managed to get a course record at a super hilly parkrun (ok ok cause they changed the course) AND squeeze in 16 miles the following day before playing with Vicky’s kiddos!

After a long winter, we are really ready to explore a new country in its summer!

I can’t see it yet, but make sure to check out http://www.taraweraultra.co.nz/ to track Kyle! I have a GREAT feeling about this one!

And for me, http://www.challenge-wanaka.com/ is where you should find some info on how to track meeeee!

Ok see you on the other side! (see what I did there?!)

xoxo

 

Standard