Sunday, 3 March 2019

Crazy weather February 2019

Ramping it up.

Training has just started to ramp up a bit and I have really been enjoying using The Sufferfest app alongside my new smart turbo. When its cold wet and windy outside I'd much rather be set up for a good session in my pain cave which used to be our living room !

Apparently at one point I was trying so hard at a swimming session I burst my swim cap !

Enjoying the club winter series way too much

We had the 5th running of the club winter 5 and 10 km timed run. This is great fun with runners generally setting off in pairs about 10 seconds apart. It really is a race against the clock but for me its great to start a few people back so that I have people to chase. Not my fastest time this one but always a good effort as its a tough route with several hills. Coffee back at the leisure centre afterwards to warm up with the rest of the club runners.

Sweating it out in the pain cave (note the dew drop)
Queen of the mountain, February sunshine 
I was intending to race in a low key local duathlon on the 24th, you could enter on the day so I held off to see what the weather was going to be like! Race day morning came round and the weather in Malvern was very foggy. But, I decided to go along to race HQ in Peopleton as sometimes the fog can be quite localised. However, not on this occasion! It really was a pea souper and conditions seemed to be getting worse. All participants were hanging around wondering whether or not to race and waiting to see what decision was to be made by the race offical and the organisers. The start was to be delayed an until 10am and also it was to be a run only event, with the fog proving to make the bike leg too dangerous. I decided not to pay the race entry and instead came home to do a 'run, turbo, run' ....which personally I think was a good move.

February weather has been crazy ! Really warm for a couple of days. It was fantastic to take advantage of this and ride in shorts and run in shorts and T shirt on the Malvern hills ! But then litteraly a couple of days later  the same week back in fleecy base layers, and windproofs !

I went to a charity auction in aid of raising some money to help one of our younger Malvern Triathlon club members out as he has been selected for the BTF west midlands academy. Over £1000 was raised for him and I successfully bid for a couple of signed caps and a Tshirt from long distance elite triathlete Nikki Bartlett ! Good fun and all for a good cause. Several elite triathletes and runners donated signed items including GB Tri suits, books and posters.

Of course all training has been fueled and refueld by Tailwind Nutrition UK.  All you need, all day, really.

As you were February... 2 days after the sunny pic !
So, with this weather change again it seems March is coming in like a lion,...with it go out like a lamb? Watch this space...more next month! Happy training.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

I'm Back !!

Summary of 2018 (very brief)

Yep, I've had a whole year off this blog, but I have been active with triathlon and other races. The year was spent focusing on swimming and resting my poor right knee...However, amongst other races I managed to complete the Gauntlet middle distance triathlon at Hever castle on a boiling hot day which resulted in a compulsory non wet suit swim. And Ironman Weymouth 70.3 which was the extreme end of the weather spectrum and was freezing cold blowing a hooley. There were a couple other standard distance sea swim triathons in there, sea swimming being the big deal for me in 2018. So, i'm over that, and ready to go again.

So it's 2019 and I have a brand new goal


I've bitten the bullet and entered this race that excites and scares me all at once. Perfect.
If I am going to do one full Ironman in my life I want it to be a toughy. I've been sucked in by all the hype about Tenby, and part of me can not wait.

This  year has started brilliantly for me as I have been chosen (along with 12 others) as a Tailwind nutrition UK trailblazer for 2019. Picked from nearly 300 applicants. It's great to be a part of the team.  Tailwind is 'All you need, all day, really'. It does what it says on the sachet. No extra gels or food needed, a completely liquid source of energy for endurance training and events. The recovery powder is second to none in my opinion. Tastes, good, mixes easily with no lumps and it really works ! Rumour has it that some trailblazers make cakes/brownies using the chocolate recovery powder.

So, I finished 2018 with the Telford 10k on the 9th December, and after that took a few weeks of enjoying some social riding and running.  It was lovely to have a little break and just do what I fancied really. I was then raring to get back into proper training from about the 2nd week in January....just around my 53rd birthday !

So, training has begun, nothing too much just yet. Just a bit of structure and a few efforts on the turbo for cycling and hills with my running.

The Pain Cave.

True love, The Malvern Hills.

The Malvern Hills always play a big part in my run would be criminal if they didn't when I am lucky enough to live with them on  my doorstep.

 I have membership at both the Malvern Splash and Malvern Active so have access to swimming pools on a very regular basis, along with the Tri club coached swim sessions on Friday nights which are brilliant. Strength and resistance training usually comes from my own classes which I teach, this involves body weight exercise with plyometrics, I also teach Fitness Pilates so plenty of core work on a weekly basis too. I use The Sufferfest on the turbo, the app also includes yoga sessions for pre and post workout and strength and conditioning sessions.

Parkrunning as a Malvern Buzzard.
Parkrun has become part of my life again after a long break so this will be incorporated into my training too.

I have membership to two local clubs in Malvern, Malvern Triathlon Club and Malvern Buzzards running club. Both are very welcoming clubs, encouraging and motivating. Because of my anti social working hours I find it tricky to fit in many training sessions with either club but do so when I can.

As IM Wales isn't until September I needed an earlier focus, so the Cotswold 113 (middle distance tri) is booked up for June. I should be incorporating a few local races and time trials in the build up to this. So, watch this space.

The club social ride was cancelled this morning due to the weather forecast, so instead I had a teetered run on on the very icy Malvern hills and an easy half hour on the turbo to spin the legs through. Then a long soak in the bath listening to 'The Brick Session' podcast, an episode on an interview with Louise Minchin, talking about her experience at the Patagonman triathlon at the end of last year. A great listen and very thought provoking. She talks about how she is not going to enter and more GB stuff but instead go for events/races that offer more of an experience. This struck a chord with me.. So, here's to 2019, the year I become an Ironman.
The best gym in Malvern.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Cotswold Classic middle distance triathlon

I did it!

So, I said 2018 was the year I was to become a successful triathlete and I have !

Cotswold classic, 113 events.
Swim 1.9kms. Bike 56 miles Run 13.1 miles 
After weeks and months of working on my swim in both the pool and at Upton Warren lake my time and effort paid off! The club technique sessions on Friday nights from October to July were the absolute corner stone of my swim journey. Huge thanks go to Stewart, one of our tri club swim coaches, as without his expertise, passion and patience I would not have made the swim gains that got me around the 1.9km lap of Lake 32 at the Cotswold water park.

There were 14 of Malvern Tri club members taking part at the event. For most of us it was our first Middle distance., Half Iron distance.,113. 70.3.,We called it everything !

Apart from the swimming the rest of my training, as usual, was done alone. Huge thanks go to Neill from the club for his help and experience that went towards my training schedule.

Of course the special thanks goes to Ron, for all his support, encouragement and technical expertise. Helping me with decisions on gearing and wheel choice throughout my training as well as race day. And of course for the hours he spends on maintaining and cleaning my bikes. Planning my bike ride routes and generally looking after me !

Race day eve
We stayed overnight in a lovely room in Cirencester. Blaize court studio. 
After an early carb loading meal at the local Italian restaurant we returned to the room to watch Mo Farrah get Silver in the 5000m and settled down to a pretty good nights sleep. Setting the alarm for just after 4am!

Excited in transition.
Race day morning. 
An early start...Ron drove me so far and then dropped me off with my bike and bag to cycle the last bit of the way to the start. Thus avoiding the huge queues for the car park but more importantly Ron could get back to the room and get back into bed for an hour whilst I met up with my MTC team mates and sorted my transition area out. Transition closed at 6.15.

Swim 38.24
I was surprisingly calm at the start. I knew I had trained for this, I felt prepared. I had swam over distance several times at UW lake and felt pretty confident. The lake was warmer than I anticipated.  Malvern were all starting together so there was loads of comfort and support as we all entered the lake together. Dave from the club had arranged for us all to start in the same wave and even managed to get our requested green swim caps !
Seeing the whole 1.9km course in one go surprisingly did not daunt me.
These guys are great. 
I started relaxed and finished relaxed. I thought about my technique all the way. I tried to draft where possible to save energy but never managed to stay on anybody's feet for very long.
After being helped from the water from one of the many volunteers at the finish it took a few steps to get my balance before I could jog through to T1, I glanced at my watch and saw 38 minutes !! Wowee, I was genuinely expecting 40-45. So this gave me a huge boost. I saw Bill and Cliff in transition and realised that I'd done all right !

T1 3.54
I didn't rush it.  Water in my ear was a bit disconcerting so I jiggled around and jumped up and down until that cleared, I didn't want to be dizzy on the bike. Stepping into my already done up race belt was much better than trying to clip it together.

Bike 2.44.10
I was aware that I had not done a ride anywhere near distance since April. I took a steady start for the first few miles, had a drink and something to eat (Peanut butter/cocoa/honey in bitesize wrap) and got comfortable. Steve from the club came along and asked what pace I was riding at as he had left his Garmin in transition ! I saw him several times on the bike leg, along with Bill and Cliff.
Ron was out supporting on the  course, I saw him 4 times. Each time I think I was either eating, or drinking and probably not looking very speedy !
The 2 lap course was smooth going for me. My bike was running very smoothly thanks to Ron. I managed to keep a steady pace of 20-21 mph for the 2 laps. The course is flat, (one hill) with several bends and turns. This really highlighted the fact that my bike handling skills do not match my pedal power. If I need to work on anything its definitely my cornering...something Ron has been telling me for years. I just don't know how to work on it !

T2 2.03
Again no issues. I sat to change my shoes as I was desperate for a wee. A female GB athlete, who shall remain nameless, gave me a top tip at Zofingen last year. She said if you sit on the grass in transition you can have a wee and nobody will know ! I tried. I failed to deliver. Maybe something else to work on !

Run 1.47.42
No problems with starting, my legs were working and i was not daunted by the distance. The sun was shining and I knew the course was flat, and lovely through the woods and around the lake. However I still needed a wee. A fellow female MTC member, who shall also remain nameless (you know who you are) is very proud of the fact that she can go on the run...Literally! I tried,....again I failed to deliver! So, I spotted some toilets en route and dived in. Getting a one piece tri suit down isn't the issue, it's trying to put it back on again over a sweaty body, all whilst your heart rate is about 90 percent of your max !
And relax! post wee.
I did feel much more comfortable for going though, and a glance at my watch made me realise I had started way too fast. I planned on 8 minute mile pace but this was more like 7.30s.  My first of the 3 lap course was too quick. Stupidly I should know better than this and in hindsight should've slowed to my original 8 min mile pace plan.

I saw Ron several times as always giving me great encouraging support. Telling me I looked strong. I felt it. I was really enjoying the run. The marshals were very encouraging and very clear and helpful. Maria, Jess and Matt from the club were marshaling and were doing a great job. Loads of supporters were out. It was great.
Running too fast but loving the moment.
It was just before lap 3 when I started to get a bit of cramp in both calves. My toes started to curl of their own accord, first one foot, then the other. The cramp started to get worse, I was forced to slow quite a bit and tried to relax. It was never enough to stop me completely or reduce me to a walk, but I had to bring the pace right down. This was a bit disappointing as I really wanted a 1 hour 45 minute run.
I approached the finish funnel very happy. Very strong. Very pleased to have finished even though the run was 1 hour 47 minutes.
Arms in the air I was determined to get a good pose for my finish photo !

Finish 5.16.15
I approached the line and heard my name announced. Ron was there and I heard him shouting and congratulating me. He said 'you tore it up didn't you?' Haha! great. Very pleased it was over.
Yep! done.

I went to the finish area for a bottle of water and some salted peanuts and a banana. Cliff from the club had finished 4 or 5 minutes ahead of me. We queued for our timing slips together and shared our race story.

I then joined Ron on the finish line to watch the rest of the club members come home. All with very different reactions as they crossed the line. It was brilliant. Rich from the club was there taking fabulous photos of us all.

Once were all in we had a team photo and then all headed for home. We had a post race curry night to be ready for!
On the way home I got a message from Heather who was there working on the 'Big bobble hats' stand. I had won a prize for finishing 3rd female over 50! As she coincidentally lives in Malvern she had picked it up for me.

A trophy, and a big bobble hat ! Fantastic, what a great surprise.

Analysing my results later I saw that I was just 8 seconds off 2nd in age group....I now have to work on either my bike handling or my bladder inhibitions ! ...or maybe both.

The event
It's brilliant. I can't fault it. I heard that the car park (new set up this year) was an issue, which didn't affect us, but the organisers (113 events) I'm sure will try to sort this for next year.
I highly recommend this to anybody doing their first middle distance. Or anybody wanting a flat, fast course for both the bike and the run. The lake is also very clean and lovely. Lots of support and lots of very helpful marshals.

I am thrilled to have successfully completed my first middle distance triathlon. I'm feeling so much better about my swimming and know that I can now only improve on this. It's highlighted that I need to put some time into honing my bike skills and that it's still stupid to start the run too quickly, even if you do feel great at the start of it. Next time transitions will not be so relaxed either, but I wanted to be sure I didn't forget anything this time round.
So clearly I'm already thinking about my next one ! Could this be the turning point?

Post race
Quite a few of us from the race met up for a curry and a beer back in Malvern. Club Chair Sarah joined us and got us to all individually stand up and tell the rest of the group what our favourite moment of the weekend was. We had a fabulous night all sharing our stories. Lots of inspirational and happy memories. As ever MTC camaraderie was top notch.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

TriFerris womens only sprint triathlon

Swim 750m bike 20km run 5km

OK, so this was it. Time to dip my toe back into the water and race my first Triathlon for 2 years.
The TriFerris womens only sprint triathlon at the Cotwold water park seemed a great triathlon to get me back into my wetsuit and back on the tri scene.
I wasn't let down.
The organisation  from the TriFerris team and their marshals was spot on with friendliness from other competitors, supporters and employees of the water sports centre being second to none today.
The only gripe was the amount of pot holes on the bike route....but this is not the responsibility of the race organisers.

Morning of the race
I'm not a fan of a 5am wake up call but thats what it took for us to leave the house at 6 to arrive at the venue for 7am. Easy access to parking and race set up went smoothly, although I did have to rush to the lake for the briefing which had started earlier than advertised.

Swim 17:03
This was to be the test today. I have been swimming with the club sessions in the pool since just before Christmas. These sessions have been a tremendous help, I'm still slow, but I can honestly say that I look forward to these sessions and feel I have become a born again swimmer ! Who knew? My confidence has built and I no longer think of myself as a non swimmer....I still have a lot to learn, and need to make big improvements, but the will is now there...we just have to find the way.

I started towards the back, letting the faster women go off first and I wanted to keep myself from getting caught up too much in the washing machine effect. This worked well as I actually swam past a few people, and did a bit of draughting too.  I didn't panic, and if I felt myself fighting the water I quickly reminded myself to relax and soon got back into a good breathing pattern.  I thought my sighting went well although I lost my way a bit coming into the finish.

I was 77th out of the water!

T1 1:52
I got a bit dizzy in T1, I managed to whip my wetsuit down to my waist whilst running from the lake to transition. I stopped at my bike and slipped the one leg out easily but then I got giddy !! and had to hold on to the scaffolding for a bit and struggled with the other leg. I'd also caught my timing chip and had to redo the velcro. I ran off with my bike and then realised I had made my mistake of the day, a real school boy error as I'd not put my race belt/number on so had to go back. I lost vital seconds here and had a word with myself about it too.

Bike 33:25
Dry side
Once on the bike I was away. The dizziness had gone and I was up for a race. I dug deep and raced well.....I over took 61 women!  This felt great and I was loving it. The course was flat and fast. As previously mentioned the pot holes were a bit off putting at times and also there was a lot of standing water, but I don't feel this hampered my ride too much and it was the same for everybody.
I had a smooth flying dismount, putting to bed the memory of St Wendel last month when I skidded off the bike at this point. I had gone past a women right at the end of the bike leg and knew she was
following me into transition.

T2 0.41
This was better, smooth, no problems. I was trying my Zoot triathlon running shoes for their first race, they were great, no faffing. Didn't lose any places here.

Guns out

Run 19:58
The woman I over took at the end of the bike leg was hot on my heels but I pulled away and didn't see her again. The run was 2 laps around the lake. The course was flat, multi terrain and Beautiful.
I couldn't see anybody up in front of me so had nobody to chase. However, I ran hard and felt I was giving it everything.

Finish 1:13:01
I crossed the finish line with a smile, I genuinely felt happy with my race.
Unbelievably it was still only 9:15am Sunday morning !! This short stuff is funny!

Overall I came 16th and was 2nd in the 50-54 age group.

I promise that's a smile :)
If only I could swim faster !! I gave away 6 minutes or so to the top athletes in the swim, and some unnecessary silly seconds in T1, but was pleased that my bike and run times were up there with the top few. Not bad for a long distance duathlete :)

It was good to catch up with Sara Northover, who had a great race and for the second year running not only won our age group but was first female overall. Inspirational Sara, congratulations.

So, I've learned from today's race, if not only to try and remember to put my race belt on before heading off on the bike. It has also made me look forward to swimming more and to get to the lake for some open water practice as much as I can, which unfortunately is only once per week. Next up is Upton Triathlon standard distance next this space.

TriFerris womens only triathlon is a great event that I would highly recommend. As well as the sprint there is a super sprint which has a 400m swim and just one lap on the run and a novice race which has a 200m swim and one lap of the run (I did this back in 2011) All distances do the same bike leg. So, a good place to start your triathlon journey.

As ever thanks to Ron, Neill and Stewart.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

ETU Middle Distance Duathlon championships. Germany.

 ETU Powerman Middle distance duathlon championships
 St. Wendel, Germany.
 21st May 2017.
 Run 10k, cycle 60k, run 10k

Its a long one but I need to get this one off my chest, draw a line under it and move on.

Build up

This was to be my spring A race. I had pre qualified for this race after winning a bronze medal at the same distance championships in Copenhagen last year.
Run and bike course profiles.

I followed a strict training schedule from Christmas. Once I found out that the course was going to be very hilly, for both runs and the bike, training was structured around that. It all went very well. I progressed with both my running and cycling. I became stronger on local bike climbs, of all gradients and length, and ran on the Malvern hills weekly, increasing pace and distance. Four weeks before St Wendel I raced Storm the Castle duathlon in Ludlow. Advertised as the 'UKs toughest duathlon!' It was tough, they were right, very hilly. I raced well and was 3rd female overall. This gave me a huge amount of confidence one month before my A race. I had lost a few pounds of weight (fat), had a last minute position change for the TT bike and was feeling more aerodynamic, fit, lean and ready.

The journey there
When the Germans shut motorways, divert you off, but then don't tell you how to get back on....several times, and you have no sat nav....yes, that.

Accomodation and the couple of days before the race
Not a poo bag or MacDonald wrapper in sight
We were staying in a lovey quiet apartment about a 15 minute drive from St Wendel. We usually go for an apartment over a hotel as I'm a bit of a fussy eater and like to cook most of my own food.
There was a perfectly tarmaced cycle path all the way to from our village to St Wendel..perfect for pre race day easy runs/bikes. The weather was very very wet for the few days prior to the race.

On Friday we drove the bike course and walked the run course. I was excited as the whole course was right up my street, everything I like about running and riding (hills, hills and hills) and none of it daunted me.
That night I cooked dinner. Prawns.

Bike recce, photo credit to Nicola Nobles selfie 
On Saturday morning we both went down with a tummy upset....lets just say we both lost a lot of fluid !
I went on the bike recce with our team manager Baron and some of the other GBR athletes and I made a point of drinking plenty of electrolytes for the rest of the day but didn't really have an appetite until late at night and ate late, after the team briefing which didn't start until 7pm.

Race Day.

I woke early Sunday and was as usual, nervcited. I'd got everything ready the night before when I knew I would have a clearer head. This included making up sandwiches for post race refuelling and putting my timing chip in a safe place where I wouldn't forget it. We'd racked our bikes the afternoon before, but were allowed into transition in the morning to check tyre pressures and add water bottles etc. So, I'm pretty relaxed as I know everything is sorted and I didn't need to rush. That was until I suddenly panicked as I hadn't checked what time transition closed on race day morning !!! It was now 7.50am and we hadn't put everything in the car ! Luckily I found the piece of paper I had it written down on and to my relief it didn't close until 8.30am. The next half hour was a bit of a blur. We managed to park close to race HQ and I ran in with my bag which had in it my helmet, water bottle, gels, cycle shoes etc. Luckily I had ran through bike/run in and out the night before so could focus on getting my transition area ready. Wheres my timing chip? Wheres my timing chip? I put it in my helmet so I wouldn't forget it. It wasn't there. I told Barron and Ron and thought I was going to have to go DataSport in the sports hall to try to sort something out. I continued to panic also carried on getting my area ready. I was about to walk away, still panicking,when I realised I hadn't put my cycle shoes out ! Doh! Cycle shoes out of the bag...timing chip inside one of my shoes.....

...As you were.

This was my 7th international representing GBR....WTF was I doing ? #rookie

Team mate Kate 'up the old birds' Morris was setting up near by. We had a pre race hug and photo and I showed here the hole that had appeared in my GB  tri suit that morning #bonding.
Where's Gill Fullen?!

Run 1

And they're off.

Two laps of a very hilly course totaling just over 10kms.  Multi terrain too, very pretty in places but pretty concrete in others. It was potentially leg sapping from the start.One of the hills had a 10% gradient. But all was good, I prefer a hilly race to a flat race. Kate was off and ahead of me from the start, this was no surprise as she was favourite to win our age group. Other than that there were 2 German women in our AG. Claudia Hille, who is a coach and ex Ironman elite athlete with several Kona appearances amongst other achievements under her tri suit,  and AN Other German who's name I couldn't remember on the morning. I finished the run just ahead of Claudia but had no idea where the other woman was.
Showing Claudia Hille the way !

As practiced, no issues.

Bike course
Originally I heard that the roads were to be closed to traffic. Then we were told that traffic would be flowing in just one direction...the same direction as us, but on race day none of the roads were closed and there was 2 way traffic all around the course.

The course went up from transistion, immediately followed by a fast descent into town, followed by a short sharp uphill, not long after that the first long climb starts...Its a pretty long drag, about 1.3 miles of climbing, the descent is long and fast.  Then there was a couple of punchy little uphills and a tricky 'chicaney' bit through a small village, another fast stretch followed by the second climb uphill (taking us back into St Wendel) of about 1 mile. Each lap of just over 13 miles had over 1000 ft of climbing.

Lap 1
I was on my bike and away. The new position felt good and the first climb brought no problems...the descent however was a different storty. I dropped onto the bars ready to fly when I was struck with excruciating calf cramp on the right leg. I free wheeled and tried desperately to rub my calf and stretch it out whilst on the move. It was so painful but most of all it was psychologically a nightmare. I haven't suffered with cramp for years, not since I was running marathons. Why was I getting it now? Was this going to be race over so soon. PLEASE NO! I had 500ml of electrolyte drink in the reservoir of my TT bike, I gulped loads of this and then sipped at it through the rest of the lap. The calf kept twitching and threatening but didn't spasm again.
Lap 2 and 3
Heading towards the dismount line
Felt much better, I was able to push harder again. I continued to fuel on the bike with electrolytes, energy drink and gels.
I had pulled well away from Claudia Hille but still did not know where the AN Other was. I had a great race with 2 German women, I was guessing one of them was the fourth 50 plusser. I raced hard into transition and was not going to give anything away.
I wanted that silver medal.
I raced right up to the transition line and on this occasion had decided not to do a flying dismount as I was worried about cramping. So I uncleated one foot as I approached the line, and CRAMPED! Proper spasm...fell off..gravel rashed my shoulder and knee, calf still spasming the marshals were great and lifted my bike off me and made sure I was ok and didn't need medical assistance before I carried on. I was aware of cyclists I'd overtaken whizzing past me as I sat on the floor. Tail between my legs, head hanging low I hobbled through transition miserably, racked my bike and set off slowly on the run sore and deflated.

Run 2.

Very early on I saw Ron, I told him what had happened. He told me how much lead I had on Claudia ! Great, she was still behind, but was I in second or third position at that moment?

Feeling sore and sorry for myself I carried on. Just starting lap two Claudia Hille came running past me, Noooo  She was so much stronger at this point. I felt so disappointed. Ron saw me and shouted 'don't you dare drop your head, the race isn't over yet' He was right, just what i needed to hear. I dug in and decided I was going to race to the line no matter how much it hurt. This I did, but it wasn't enough, she'd pulled well away from me.

I crossed the line knowing I hadn't got the result that I had set my heart on. However,at this point I think I've got bronze. I finished 1 minute 45 seconds behind Claudia Hille.
Close, but no cigar.

Immediately post race
As always Ron was there for me. So too was Kate, who'd had a storming race and easily taken the gold for us. She told me it was ok to have a little cry over my disappointment and then proceeded to put her arm around me onto my bad shoulder!
Leslie from Tri247 took this picture and told us that she'd just heard the news that our team mate Gill Fullen had just won the Outlaw half. First female! We were thrilled to bits for her.
As you can see Mozza is already on the gin :)

Medal ceremony

Hob nobbing with Emma

Powerman events are unique whereby the elites share the age groupers medal ceremony. Emma Pooley spent some time chatting with us telling us about her race (she won easily), her new bike and her future race plans,

Ron quickly checked the results table before the ceremony started, good news, I had got bronze, bad news, AN Other German was a DNS !
However, I felt much better when I looked at the overall results for all age groups, men and women, and was really pleased with my performance and overall postition. I was really disappointed at the time but soon realised that actually I had had a good race, performed well even with the unfortunate cramping and gravel rash, and just happened to be up against 2 very high ranking athletes in my age category.

All smiles on the podium with Kate and Claudia
Evening celebrations

Matt, Dr H, Kate, Nicola, Kirsty
When in Rome...
Later that night we headed back into town to celebrate with some of the other GB athletes. The atmosphere was great, it was a fab team. Very supportive of each other, we'd been through a brutal race together and all had stories to tell.

On reflection
A great race, brutal course that caught a few out. Believe in yourself, its right to be upset if things don't go to plan: get patched up,  have a little cry, a large beer, a few group hugs from team mates and everything is ok again. Team camaraderie really was top notch this time. Loads of support and laughs.
Thanks to Ron, for as always, helping with race prep, being the best supporter and picking up the pieces. Neill for all his help through my training. Barron Mendelssohn for once again being a fab team manager and describing the course as one of the most brutal he's been to!  Kate, Dr H, Kirsty and Matt and Nicola for cheering me up in the evening. Along with the rest of the GBR team throughout the weekend.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Duathlon Cymru

Duathlon Cymru at Margam castle. Sunday 12th March 2017.
Challenge Wales Events.

Motel room 'Selfie' early start !
I had a different race booked for this weekend but unfortunately the company closed down and refunded us our entry fee, so I quickly googled Duathlons for today's date and this one came up. It was sold out but I spotted on their facebook page that 10 extra places had become available and I was quick to dive in and get one.  It was the first running of this event. Two distances were available, Classico and Piccolo. (Olympic and Sprint.) I opted for Classico.

The (short) 10k run was 2 laps through the beautiful wooded trails around Margam castle. Some of it hard standing and some of it trail. There was a short sharp hill to contend with on each lap which added a little sting! I had a pretty good run and finished it as 2nd lady.

 T1 was fluid and I headed out onto the 40k bike route.....2 loops of a 2 lap course. This description confused me so we took time to clarify what this meant, as it also involved several roundabouts, so we drove the course the night before so that I had it clear in my head! It was flat (one little rise) and fast with a really good road surface and very little traffic. I raced well, negotiated the course correctly and came into T2 as 1st lady. 

T2 was good although I should've left my trainers upside down as they were full of rain water when I put them on.

The last run was a (short) 5k loop through Margam park again... wet, muddy, earthy.. lovely, however I was really aware of the short sharp hill this time around! 


 I didn't have a lot of company at this point, (other than the horse box that tried to follow me down the course to the finish gantry !) but again I ran well, all be it on stumpy cold feet, and finished the race 1st lady. 
Unfortunately there was dispute as the lady who finished 2nd (she was in the lead at the end of run 1) told the race organisers that she had not seen me cycle passed her on the bike leg. After a short discussion it became clear that she had cycled the wrong course and turned at a wrong roundabout, this must have been when I nipped in front of her as she would have cycled a little further than she needed to.
Prizegiving 'crackajack' style !
In the briefing before the race started the organiser explained the route twice and clearly asked if anybody was unsure of the route, nobody asked any questions on it. Later, on 'Strava' we checked out my 'flybys' and spotted a few others had made the same mistake as the woman that finished second, however the majority of people cycled the correct route.

In the meantime as the official winner of the ladies race I picked up a Slate trophy (cheese plate) 2 pairs of technical running socks, a bottle of prosecco and a beautiful bouquet of flowers! 

I really enjoyed this race but it has to be said that there is a little room for improvement in some areas. However, it was the first running of this event and the first duathlon that the race organisers had put on. For me the positives outweigh the negatives. If this race takes place again next year I would definitely recommend it. The setting is beautiful, the run through Margam park is stunning and the bike course is like a 25 mile TT course. 

Moral of the story, 'know the course!' It's all part of a successful race day.

Margam Castle