Thursday 19 September 2019

Vikki Sivertsen 'You are an IRONMAN!'

Yesss....I did it. I slayed the Dragon. And I became a 2019 Ironman Wales Champion.  Age group winner of the F50-54 category in a time of 13 hours 9 minutes and 25 seconds.

Packed and racked.
I slept well the night before knowing everything was packed and ready. I did 15 minutes of relaxation yoga and read a chapter of my book.

Race day morning. A 4.15am alarm call, coffee, porridge, bagel, 2 trips to the loo and I was ready and excited.

Having racked our bikes the day before Ron dropped Neill and I off in Tenby at 5.30am and after the last minute tyre pressure check, putting our water/energy bottles on the bike and bag drop off etc it was time to head down to the beach.

To experience the crowds singing the Welsh national anthem as the sun comes up really does give you goose bumps, and then immediately followed by the opening bars of AC/DC Thunderstruck..It's just magical. The pro's start their the race at 6.55am, closely followed by the age groupers, quite a civilised start compared to Long Course Weekend as its easy to place yourself next to similar paced swimmers as volunteers stand holding huge placards with suggested swim finish times on.
A sight and sound to behold.

Sea Swim 2.4 miles 1:24:08
The civilised start!
No acclimatisation, it's just run/dive in and get on with it. The water was  pleasantly calm and definitely not as cold a Lakeside campus lake was the previous Saturday. I quickly found my own water and soon settled into a rhythm. Sighting is tricky though, you can't really see the buoys, I tried to sight the headland, the lifeboat station and the gap in the houses as everyone suggests and think I did alright. A quick time check as I got out for the Australian exit ...42 mins, I was more than happy with this as I was estimating a 1.30 swim.  I took the Honey Stinger gel that I had shoved up the sleeve of my wet suit and got back in to the sea for a second lap. I can't believe I'm saying this but I quite enjoyed the swim ! I think I have had that many hard rough sea swims in previous tri's  (not to mention the jelly fish soup at LCW) that its prepared me well. So no incidents to report and I was out of the water in a really good time for me, 20th place in my age group.
I heard John Levison from Tri 247 on the microphone giving shout outs ...I was one ! 'Vikki Sivertsen, she's been on the scene for a few years, I often see her name on start lists !! Great, it's little things like this that give you a boost. I then spotted Lorraine up above looking down calling my name! What a great start to my day.

T1 17:48
So onto the zig zags and to collect my pink bag off the numbered racking containing my shoes  to make the 1km run up to the transition area, and a banana with peanut butter on it (i'm always starving after a swim)
Wheres my bag? Where's my bag? Someone has taken  my pink bag. Panic for 30 seconds looking all around on the floor and the pegs by the sides and below. I was just about to find a marsal when I finally came to my senses and realised I was looking at peg 520 and my number was 560. Doh! So, wet suit off and into the bag, shoes on, eat my banana/peanut butter and head off to the transition area. If that run is just 1 km I'll eat my Roka Ironman Wales yellow swim hat! It went on forever...However the streets are already lined with people and its a fab atmosphere. The remainder of T1 went smoothly, I took time to compose myself and made sure I was properly ready and I was off onto the bike.

Bike 112 miles 7:10:44
It started ok... the first part out of Tenby and heading towards Pembroke was very congested with bikes. I was picking my way through and it was quite slow going for a several miles. We cycled past the caravan park we were stopping at and Ron was there cheering me on telling me I'd had a great swim...he had been tracking on the app. The first loop is the fastest part of the bike course, heading out to Pembroke and then Angle. However, after about an hour and 20 minutes of riding I came to stop at Freshwater West as a cyclist had crashed on the decent. An ambulance was completely blocking the narrow road and there was a huge queue of cyclists just stationary. After waiting for a minute or so I thought I may as well take advantage of a situation I could do nothing about and switched my water bottles around as the front hydration unit was pretty much empty, I also went for a wee in the sand dunes! We had to inch our way forward and take turns to push through a narrow gap by the side of the ambulance carrying our bikes. It was a slow filter but no use worrying about it. Everyone just hoped the cyclist was ok (I heard later a dislocated shoulder and a broken collar bone) All in all from stopping to getting onto clear road again was over 10 minutes according to Garmin connect data. The rest of the bike leg was just great. At one point Joe Skipper was in the lead for the Pro men on the bike and he sped past me on his second lap with his police escort like something I have never experienced before ! Oh my god how do they do that? (Joe later got DQ'd for littering) Just after this I saw Ron again so I was able to shout out that I had had a hold up.
The bike course is beautiful and right up my street. I love it.  The crowd support is immense. Pemboke is rocking as is Narberth and the hilly parts are just the best. The towns and villages really embrace this event. Fancy dress nuns, Mexicans, devils, bananas, musicians, men dressed as old women, its amazing. A tractor with the bucket at the front raised with a settee on it with people sat on it ! People with their settees on their front gardens, kids lying on mattresses!
Am I at the top yet Lolly?
All the hills come in the second loop which you do twice. My eldest daughter and her fiance were supporting on heartbreak hill in Saunders foot. An iconic part of the course. It was fantastic to see them there...She's never watched me race before. This gave me a boost, especially as Nick started running up the hill encouraging me all the way! He told me I was 20 minutes off the leader of my age group. The atmosphere on this hill is insane. It really is 'Tour de France' like ! Fancy dress, music, people shouting your name...I can not put into words how great it is. Further towards the top I catch sight of the Team Jade support crew that was Lorraine, Clive and Steve. A fantastic moment. Thanks to Clive for the amazing  photos.  There was some serious effort put into that supporting!
The amazing Team Jade support crew
I was feeling pretty good and had stopped to pick up more water from the aid stations to mix up more Tailwind nutrition, the sachets of which I had shoved up the leg of my tri shorts ! I decided to pick the pace up a bit for the second lap and once again Heidi and Nick were there on heartbreak hill...Nick ran up the hill again and said 'You're just 8 minutes off the leader of your age group.' Progress.  Team Jade were also still at the top and it was smiles all the way. What a club.
At the finish I was a little disappointed with my bike time as I have ridden the course twice in training quicker and was hoping to come in about 6 hours 45 mins. However, the hold up was out of my control and wasn't worth worrying about it. Physically I felt good.

T2 6:43
By this point I was pretty sweaty! I decided to go for a full change of clothes for the run and be comfortable (it's 7 years since I last ran a marathon) I put a bum bag on to carry my Honey Stinger gels and some vaseline and compede plasters just in case. It didn't take too long and before I knew it I was out of the transition tent.

Run 4:10:01
You head out of the town which by now is heaving with supporters. Heidi and Nick had made it over from Saundersfoot and had joined Ron. Ron shouted 'just keep doing what you're doing, you're doing really well'  I was happy and felt great.
Hi 5 with Heidi
I glanced at my watch and realised I was running under 8 min mile pace ! I soon put a stop to that realising it wouldn't be sustainable so I slowed up. I was able to enjoy the atmosphere. You run up the hill to New Hedges, back down, up a couple of side streets, loop through the narrow streets of Tenby and repeat 4 times in total. Team Jade were out on the course and Lorraine shouted 'Just keep doing what you're doing, you're doing really well' Funny that ! I said 'thats exactly what Ron said, Clive said 'Rons right!'
Lovin' it.
It's not and easy course but again I loved it ! Because of the 4 loop course I saw Neill and Steve. I ran with Neill for a short while, he was a lap ahead. It was fantastic to be there at the junction where you carry on to the finish or turn right for the lap as Neill ran into the finish shoot and I turned the corner. I could see him throw his arms into the air and get the crowd whooping and cheering even more as he headed for the red carpet. Congratulations to Neill on a great race.
On each lap I walked through all the aid stations and drank water, I had one gel per lap. Lucy Gossage ran past me at one of the aid stations...the crowd absolutely love her and she loves them. She seemed to be having a great time!
 I saw Ron, Heidi and Nick on each lap. I was just starting lap 4 when Ron asked how I  was doing. I said, 'its just starting to get harder' he asked if I needed a boost.
'Yes ... what?'
 'You've got a 17 and a half minute lead on second place in your age group'
BINGO! Not only did I now know I was going to become 'an Iroman' I also knew I was going to be an age group winner, I knew I had got that last 10km in the bag.  I was getting tired but I was still feeling strong and knowing this put a little spring in my step.  Unknowingly, one step at a time, I had picked them all off and gone into the lead on the first lap of the run.
Yep, I'm good thanks.
That red carpet finish is one of the best experiences I have ever had! Yes I milked it a little bit and why not? So my name was called as I crossed the line, 30 minutes ahead of the second place woman in my age group. I had enjoyed every single swim stroke, bike pedal and run stride along the way. I absolutely loved it. The Mayor presented me with my finisher medal and immediately started talking to me about Malvern ! He'd visited here recently and said how lucky I was to live in such a beautiful place.  He's right.

Post race
Back at the caravan with Ron and Neill we celebrated a fantastic day with Chip shop chips and champagne....Perfect.

Prize giving
This was the following morning..There was a couple of short slide shows of the day which brought back fantastic memories.
The pro's were presented with their awards first followed by the age groupers.  I was so proud and excited to stand on the top step and collect my trophy.
Top step of the podium for the 50-54 age category 
There was just the one slot for the World championships in Kona in my age group and it was mine for the taking. However, Ron and I had discussed this a couple of weeks ago when we could see training had been going well and thought it could be a possibility. I decided not to take the place for various reasons so the slot rolled down and the third placed F50 took it. It's nice to think I helped somebody's dream come true.
Thanks to everyone that suggested a crowd funding page to get me to Kona, it was a very generous thought.  However, this is my hobby, it's something I choose to do in my own time for pleasure. I simply wouldn't feel comfortable asking someone else to pay for it.
My mission was to complete Ironman Wales to the best of my ability and that resulted in me being Ironman champion. I'll take that. Mission complete.

 A huge THANK YOU goes to Ron, without him I would not have even considered taking on such a challenge, I would never have found my way to Tenby for a start !! He has been chief mechanic, bike cleaner, and Mr. Logistics. He is an absolute legend of a supporter and deserves a medal for putting up with my persistent need for wanting to challenge myself and stressing when things don't go to plan.
I couldn't have done it without these two 

Another huge THANK YOU to Neill for all his help with my training and planning for race day as well as the regular sports massage. He has known me a long time and knew exactly what I was capable of in training and on race day.

Three years ago completing an Ironman was just a dream as I really didn't think I would ever be able to swim that far.
I have to say another huge THANK YOU to Lorraine and Dick for the club Friday night swim sessions over the last year. It's because of these sessions and help from the other club coaches along the way that I achieved my goal.

This blog is almost as long as the race itself! Partly because I enjoyed myself so much that I wanted to document the whole experience. I want to come back and read this myself at a later date to remind me of what a great experience it was.
Hopefully, if some of you have made it this far, I have inspired at least one of you to sign up to this race for 2020.  I truly think it's the best race I have ever done. Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales, You have been everything everybody told me you would be and more.
Vikki Sivertsen, Dragon slayer.

Mission complete. 

Tuesday 10 September 2019

It's time to 'Face the Dragon'

August update.


Hours and mileage increased again during this month peaking the 24th and 25th with a 3 mile swim on  Saturday morning and a 5 hour ride plus 1 hour run on the Sunday. Doesn't sound horrendous but with the acumulation of the training that preceded it (including a 19 mile run a few days before) and the fact it was the hottest weekend of the summer made it the toughest training session I've ever done !

So here it is....after 35 weeks of training it's time to 'FACE THE DRAGON'

It all started on the 12th January 2019 with an FTP test on my new Elite Direto smart turbo, coupled with the Sufferfest training app.

Since then I have:

Swum over 156, 642 meters,
Cycled over 2,662 miles
Ran over 575 miles.

This is according to my strava ! so it doesn't include gym sessions, for example the spin classes I teach (I don't log those) or the strength training.

I've raced 6 events:

Sevale open 10 mile TT, 2nd female

Hereford duathlon, 2nd female

Storm the Castle duathlon, 4th female and 1st in age group

Bike Pace 50 mile TT, 3rd female, 1st vet, and a Personal best at this distance (2:08:49)

Cotswold 113 middle distance triathlon, Age group win and 14th female.

Sospan Sizzler middle distance triathlon (with sea swim) 1st female.

And I also participated in  Long Course Weekend Wales swim (2.4 miles in the sea)  and bike (112 mile sportive) and LPS events' 3.8k swim at lake 62 in the Cotswolds as part of my training.

I've also tried to keep a bit of balance in my life and read 7 novels !! Mostly whilst recovering in an Epsom salt bath !!  I've also done 15 minutes of mobilisation/flexibility/yoga every day.

So it really has been a 'journey' and when the dark moments come during the race I intend to look back at what I have achieved already this year during the build up.

I feel as though I can start the race knowing I have done everything I can to be in my best shape to get through the day. Yes, of course, I would like to do well in my age group, but at the same time I am realistic that this is my first full Ironman and the absolute priority is to enjoy the experience and get around the course in one piece (that's me and my bike!)

I want to mention the people that have been there for me throughout this intense year of training, Ron...for sorting the cleaning and maintenance of my bikes and generally putting up with my 'moments'as well as being 'Mr. Logistics', Neill, for all his help with training, plus putting life back into my legs once per month with regular sports massage and (as one of this years Tailwind Trailblazers) Tailwind nutrition for fuelling me all the way.
I feel I have to mention the patience of my class participants too as over the last few months I've participated less in some of my classes due to factoring in rest days and generally just being a little bit more realistic with how much exercise my body can actually do in any one day!!
Gullet Quarry, just one of the beauty spots on my running routes.

'See you on the beach'

Face the Dragon


Monday 5 August 2019

Close encounters of the Jelly fish kind and Chicken for Dinner

July update

I have no idea why I'm smiling!
The month kicked off with LCW (long course weekend) I had only booked onto the Friday night Wales Swim, (2.4 miles sea swim) and the 112 mile Wales Sportive bike ride on the Saturday. As well as the Wales Marathon on the Sunday various other distances were available but it was predominently the swim I wanted to have a go at and as we were staying over night it seems to make sense to do the sportive which covered much of the same course for Ironman wales. This weekend is the perfect opportunity to get some Ironman race practice in as well as it being a fantastic weekend event in itself. More details here.
But onto my experience.......
Lambs to the slaughter
Building up to the sea swim event there is no escape from hearing about the large amounts of jelly fish in the water of North beach Tenby. I was really fed up of seeing photographs on facebook pages leading up to the event. A lot of scaremongering goes on. However, no amount of photographs or video footage actually prepared me for the horror story that the swim actually was ...
Where's the chip shop ?

Not only were there 2 and a half thousand other people all entering the water for a mass start, (I started mid pack with club mates Lorraine and Steve) but there must've been almost the same amount of jelly fish. It really was an unforgettable experience and for me not in a good way. Swimming out to the first buoy seemed to be the worst, I spotted my first jelly fish almost straight away but  it was quite deep in the water so I was ok with that. Then there was one in front of me, and to the left of me, then to the right of me, then I scooped one with my hand and it just went on and on and on like this. Rounding the first buoy was just a matter of survival, I was right in the melee of swimmers. I had started middle of the pack, as I was realistic about how long the swim was going to take me, but I still seemed to be amongst a lot of swimmers of varying pace. The jelly fish were freaking people out so of course then swimmers were changing direction and flailing arms and legs were everywhere. I got a kick in the calf which immediately cramped up, I had to hang onto a canoe until the pain passed before I could carry on. I thought things would ease a little when starting the second lap but it didn't seem to. There still seemed to be swimmers everywhere. I've never been so relieved to finish something in my life !! and I have never been so pleased to see Ron waiting for me with my dryrobe and a first class ticket to the nearest fish and chip shop ! Bring on tomorrow, it's just a hilly 112 mile bike ride ..... walk in the park.

The Wales sportive was right up my street. Before the start, the top 10 men and top 10 women from the swim that are entered into the actual Long Course Weekend event as a whole get to do a Tour de France style ramped tt start ! with flames and everything. It's great fun. I got to the start in time to see this, Lucy Gossage the Duracell Bunnie was amongst the female starters.
I absolutely loved this, 112 hilly miles in perfect riding conditions. I carried most of my fuel with me...fuelled solely by Tailwind. I only used one aid station to refill my bottle with water so that I could add a tailwind stick pack and use the loo. But, there's plenty of food and drink at all of the aid stations should you need it. I wanted to practice my fuelling strategy as close as I could in preparation for IMW. The ride went brilliantly and I was happy with my fuelling practice. You get a medal for each event, and if you entere LCW as the full event you get a fourth medal that links them all together. The weekend is fantastic and I would highly recommend it and I would definitely do it again. In hindsight the swim did me the power of good and I came home feeling confident and really really pleased that I had completed it.
Two out of three ain't bad

 A bit more long distance training for a couple of weeks and then I was into a race!

hunting down the fast swimmers
The Melin Sospan Sizzler  (Burry Port, Carmarthenshire) middle distance triathlon. 
I was railroaded into entering this by club friend Neill! I had just won my age group at the Cotswold 113 and was at the back end of 2 glasses of fizz when Neill text me to say he'd entered this race, 'why don't you join me, it will be great race prep for IM Wales.' Sea swim, tough bike, coastal path run. I entered there and then.
'Healthy life activities' are the organisers and the race was to play host to the Welsh middle distance championships. I hadn't really thought about this race and was planning to use it as a training race/weekend, Neill was injured and unable to make it. Ron and I had a guest house about 500m from the venue which all made for a relaxed start. All competitors gathered in the holding pen above the slipway onto the beach. After the shenanigans of LCW Swim (Zillions of jelly fish and people!) and an unsatisfactory lake swim last week, I decided to place myself right at the back of the swimmers. It was a delayed start as the tide hadn't come in enough and the first buoy wasn't under water ! We had an Australian a mass start running into the sea, we had to run quite a way in before we could start swimming. It was windy and the sea was very choppy, but i had plenty of space around me and there were 0 jelly fish. The water was a good temperature and I relaxed and swam, even though I was losing sight of the buoys in the waves! Aussie exit meant we had to run through the water quite a bit again for the second lap, I wasn't very good at this ! I had a slow swim of approx. 45 mins actual swim time but all times were on 'gun' so my official time was over 52 minutes! I took T1 fairly easy as I knew i was way back in the pack and wondered if I was the last out of the water (I wasn't, It seemed most people found it difficult) I hopped onto my bike really looking forward to this bit as we had driven the course the day before and it was right up my street with a 1.5 mile 15% hill about 8 miles in, as well as other hills and long descents. Two laps. I just got head down and gave it the beans having fun catching all those people that swam faster than me! Going up the big hill first time round I was overtaking all the way, one chap said as I passed him 'you do know you've got to do this twice!' (what was he implying?) What I didn't realise until after the race was over I must have over taken all women in front of me during the bike leg.
Happy place
After a swift T2 I headed out onto the out n back coastal path run. 4 windy laps, it was a little undulating (ok there were no Malvern hills in there but it was not 'flat' as advertised.) and the sun was really quite hot now. As it was laps it was tricky to know who I was ahead of so I just ran and enjoyed the sea view and the supporters along the course. I kept looking at my watch and was surprised to clock my average pace was pretty good, but just kept going as I felt ok. I tried to check out the number of lap wrist bands the other women had on to try to gauge how many were in front of me but could't really see. On the 4th lap I ran into the finish funnel where Ron was there cheering me in...he came over and asked if the race commentator had announced me as I crossed the line, he hadn't. 'Why would he?' I said, 'because you've won' Ron said. haha!! I couldn't believe it and had absolutely no idea. I crossed the line along side a tall chap who was running in with his kids, so I was hidden from the commentator therefore unfortunately missed out on a big finish and no finish photo....
#fail. However, I won a fabulous trophy for being female race champion. There were age group prizes for all age groups in the Welsh championships, which obviously not being Welsh I didn't qualify for, but I did wonder if some of the Welsh women were a bit miffed that some old English bird had rocked up and won their race ! 
Winner winner chicken dinner, but first, a banana.

The venue was at the new RNLI station on the sea front. Whilst the race was taking place the lifeboats went out and basically saved the lives of 2 kayakers that were swept out to sea, getting further and further away. The safety team arrived back as prize giving was taking place so everyone gave them a huge round of applause and cheers. Fantastic.

Thank you Ron and thank you Neill, and of course thank you  Tailwind nutrition for keeping me fuelled throughout the race.

Saturday 29 June 2019

An agegroup win, and open water swimming.

June update.

Race day smiles
This month kicked off with a familiarisation day for the Cotswold 113 middle distance triathlon. These days do exactly what they say on the tin! It's basically a course familiarisation day, great for first timers and anyone who wants to recce the course. For me it was all about my first open water swim of the year. This went well as Jason Tait from South West Swimming leads the swim, stopping every now and then to give course tips.
The following week was the race...I took the age group win, but unfortunately I am still waiting the prize ! Graeme from 113 events assured us that the prizes would be sent by post. Please see separate blog post for the full race report

Rear mounted bottle cage
So I have started to think about race day nutrition for Ironman Wales. Its clear that I want to use Tailwind Nutrition so I needed to start practising how I was going to carry it all on the bike. I have been practising with a rear seat mounted bottle cage. This is going 'ok' ! I can do it..a little more practice needed to keep my pace up though ! However, a bigger problem has been the integral aero hydration system on my Liv Avow. It has a refillable bung on the top, but the fluid spurts out of it at a rate of knots, absolutely covering me in sticky drink. It's a real problem, and I was starting to think I was going to have to completely change my plans on re-fuelling. So, I took to twitter and soon realised that this was a major problem for anyone with an Avow or Trinity. Somebody had a little gadget that you fit inside to prevent splashback. I managed to get my hands on one and hey presto...! Refuelling on the fly is now a thing.
Flippin' freezin' 

So after my first OWS of the year at the familiarisation day it became clear that I was going to have to swim every Saturday morning now.  I can't get to any evening sessions at any of the local lakes due to work commitments. So, I've been going to The Lakeside Campus. The first session I did was Saturday the freezinth of June, sorry, Saturday the 15th June ! Wowzers that lake was cold ! I had face freeze, but somehow pushed on for 3 laps, 1800m or so. I got out, wet suit off, dry robe on, drove home for a hot shower, no hanging about !

I've been twice since in much nicer weather conditions, and today, I did my longest swim ever !! (I sipped on 500ml of Naked unflavoured Tailwind in the car on the way to the lake to fuel me for this). I swam Two and a half miles non stop, apart from a little goggle bother ! I'm so chuffed with myself. It's been a long time coming...4 years or so really. So yes, 6 laps of the lake at 600m a lap. I started a 7th lap but I had missed the cut off time for starting the last lap of the morning so got whistled at by the lifeguard to get out ...however, how good is it that I actually wanted to do a 7th lap? I'm finally becoming a swimmer. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Kerry Anne Payne but my confidence has definitely improved and so has my swimming.
Tri club curry night !

I no longer dread it and I need to stop saying that I'm not a swimmer. An awful lot of credit has to go to Malvern Tri club coaches at our Friday night sessions. We have just had the last of our Friday night sessions for this year until October and we celebrated with relay races in the pool and of course a Tri Club curry night !
What the flock?

As well as the focus being on open water swimming this month I have got some good cycling sessions in and been doing a mixture of speed and hill work on my TT bike. ....Sometimes there are a few hold ups.

Booty drop
The Tailwind Nutrition UK Trailblazers had a parcel drop this month. A great selection of nutrition, tote bag, polo shirts and neck warmer. Thank you Tailwind. It will all come to good use.

So as training months go I'd put June right up there. I feel progression has been made and I'm loving it. Fingers crossed that July brings similar gains.
This is my chuffed face. 

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Cotswold 113 (middle distance triathlon)

 What a great weekend !  
Obligatory medal selfie. 
Eyeballs out all the way
This is a very well organised, friendly race. Attention to detail in the briefing the day before puts your mind at rest. I was  in wave 2 with some other members of Malvern Tri club,  which meant being in the water for a start time of 6.10am. Sounds horrendous...getting up just before 4am, (and it was) but definitely worth it as the traffic can build up at the water park as the day goes on so I think it was a wise choice to opt for an early wave. Also, as the run is 3 laps, some of it on narrow trails, it gets harder to overtake as the race gets busier. Out of the 3 disciplines its no great secret that swimming is not my best. I have grown to really enjoy it now though, and don't have that crazy frog look on my face any more before entering the water ! For me the swim is what it is, it took me forty minutes to swim the 1.2 mile course...i have no idea if I swam a straight course as my watched got kicked early on and only recorded 6 minutes ! I felt ok, especially as I got into T1 and Dick and Drew (2 members of the club who are far better swimmers than me) were only just leaving. Not a bad start. Onto the bike and I was up for giving it the beans. Generally I hold back a little in triathlon on the bike knowing i have to run, so this time I thought Id try harder and see what happens. Its a flat course with several out and backs and a handful of roundabouts. So it was time trialling all the way, which also makes it tough I feel as there is absolutely no respite ! Don't be fooled by a flat course.
First old bird
There were loads of marshals and big clear signage. Several pot holes although some of the road has been resurfaced since I last did this race. I saw all other team jade members en route. My time for the 56 mile bike was 2:34:59. Very pleased with that. T2 was ok, out onto the 3 lap multi terrain run, first lap was hard as I was desperate for a wee, and couldn't relax, I felt better for stopping at the loos at the end of the lap, there's a bloke with a hose pipe at the end of each lap too which was very welcome !
There's plenty of support on the run, and plenty of nutrition too!..(However I fulled the whole race with Tailwind nutrition on the bike and water on the run).the route goes through a little village and through the woods around the lakes. Nothing not to like. My time for the 13.1 mile run was 1:46:59, pleased with this too, but I was hoping for 1:45!  (Never satisfied) The finish is a red carpet with a PA system...lots of supporters at the finish. Free massage, more food, a medal, a T-shirt. And right by the lake so lots of participants get straight back in to cool off the legs! Total time with transitions, 5 hours and 7 minutes exactly.

 I was really pleased to pick up the age group win, there's just 2 categories, 18-49 and 50 plus...(guess which?)...last time I did this race i was third in age. In usual Team Jade fashion we all stayed to see everyone finish. Brilliant.


Thanks to Drew for sorting the accommodation it was perfect. Thanks to Dick for bringing the kids along as the race mascots 🐶🐶. Massive well done to Emma on her first triathlon. Special well done to Dick on his victory run lap. As ever great to have Ron supporting, joined by Andrea and Caroline, Janice was part of a relay and then became part of the support crew, and a guest appearance from Steve James was good too. Steve Clarke and Wayne were also racing.

Team Jade blinged up

Wednesday 5 June 2019

A parkrun, a Time Trial, a recce and a snake.

The merry merry month of May........

On top of the world, well, the Worcestershire Beacon
These photos are taken the same week. A bit bleak on top of the Malvern hills for my run and then glorious sunshine on my bike ride literally a day or so later. 'Ne'er cast a clout until May is out' too true, as I was wrapped up again later in the month.
Sunny (S)miles

On my way to a PB
Malvern Buzzard at Parkrun.
So I threw a Parkrun in this month, just to keep a little bit of speed work going, running a fast 5k on a Saturday morning with other runners always brings better results than me just trying to bang out some fast intervals around a very dull trading estate circuit in Malvern ! I went to Worcester Pitchcroft and was pleased with a sub 21 minute 5k. The following week I threw myself into the deep end and raced a 50 mile Time Trial. It was an open event organised by Bike Pace, basically up and down the A40 in Abergavenny. It was an afternoon start, so a nice relaxed drive over in the morning. It's been a while since i've time trialled a 50, so I had no idea how things were going to go ! I was a bit conservative for the first 5 miles or so, and then thought I may as well just go for it and see what happens. My water container was loaded up with Caffeinated green tea buzz Tailwind, and that was all the nutrition I took on board. It was a 2 lap course, I raced the second lap slightly faster than the first and was rewarded with a 12 minute personal best for the distance. I was 3rd female to finish in a time of 2:08:45...just over 23 MPH.(See separate blog post on time trialling) 

Oooh, new shoes.

I treated myself to some goodies this month too ! I bought a pair of Hoka One One Clifton 5s in preparation for the long mileage building up to Ironman Wales. I tried them on in the kitchen, loved them so much I instantly ordered a second identical pair ! so hopefully that's me shod for the year.
Goggles, tow float and Hokas (Pair 2)
Thinking ahead for open water swimming I also bought a Tow float, essential for open water swimming at some venues, especially the sea. They attached around your waist and float behind you making you very visible in the water to lifeguards, boaters etc. Some, like this one, are waterproof and you can store things keys, inhaler, water bottle, phone, for example. I also ordered a pair of Roka R1 goggles, I received a money off voucher to try a Roka product so thought these were worth a go. Not tried them yet,....I don't get into open water until June !...('Ne'er cast a  clout and all that)

I had to put this picture in ! For 20 years I have been walking and running on the Malvern Hills....this month I was going about my business on British Camp, near the reservoir, bothering nobody, when a brightly coloured ADDER slithered across the path in front of me! I couldn't get my phone out quick enough for  a photo...but the next best thing photographing the look on my face !! This was pretty much my expression for the remainder of my run !! As I was saying repeatedly to myself, 'I've just seen a *******SNAKE !' I was really spooked by it, but then really pleased that I was lucky enough to see an Adder on the Malvern hills, I had heard they were there, but until now......

Recce, done., pass the Tailwind rebuild.
We spent the bank holiday weekend in Tenby. What a beautiful area the Pembrokeshire coast is. On Saturday morning I set off to ride/recce the 112 mile Ironman Wales bike course. I had downloaded the route to my 'Mio' and Ron was around in case I got lost/confused. (I did) It was a long day in the saddle what with trying to work out bits of the course where Mio was telling me I was going wrong. (I wasn't) But nevertheless it was stunning, tough and really enjoyable. The scenery is breathtaking in places, some of the hills are short,sharp, punchy and brutal, (especially second time around) but still very doable on a TT bike. The only nutrition I used was Tailwind, this time I used Caffeinated Green tea buzz, and also the Neutral flavour, I wanted caffeine in the morning, and then towards the end to keep my concentration up, but it was nice to back off and have the neutral flavour in between. This is what I plan to do on race day. I arrived back at the carpark (Transition) and whilst Ron 'lovingly' packed my bike away for me (!) I set off for a short run, 5 miles of the run course. This, to my surprise, was more comfortable than expected, but I was certainly ready for my Tailwind Nutrition chocolate rebuild and recovery shake when it was over. 
However, I'm not going to lie, a curry and a Gin and Tonic were consumed later that evening ! The rest of the bank holiday weekend we enjoyed the Pembrokeshire coast at a more leisurely pace.
Perfect weekend.

(Another) Delivery for Ms. Sivertsen.