Category Archives: Racing

Spain, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Asturias 2014

We have been to Asturias 3 times on holiday now, the area is lovely, and part of my reasoning to go back this year was that I knew a lot of routes that I could run or cycle without having to navigate too much. So it was less stressful for me in the run up to Ironman.

The area around us, Picos de europa

The area around us, Picos de europa

With limited time I have condensed the holiday into the good, the bad, and the ugly! (Its mostly good)

The good

  • Watching a fixie criterium at Gijon, (I was actually entered for this but then realised it was fixie only and didn’t have a bike, (didn’t stop me having a mad dash to find one, even though I have never ridden a track bike before! Maybe next year ;-))Patrick has done all the hard work with pictures here and a short video here 

 

  • A nice top end endurance ride around Cabrales getting a few QOM’s
My longest ride

My longest ride

  • Swimming in the sea, feeling more confident about donning my wetsuit and dodging beach goers to swim

 

Swim before watching the criterium

  • Great food, lots of sea creatures
crustaceans

crustaceans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Devons birthday, I managed to order a cake in my limited Spanish, and he requested “hiking in the mountains” as his birthday treat.
  • Too many more good things to mention, and I came back to do my best ever hill session, averaging an extra 4-5 Watts per interval, and on longer intervals too! A change is definitely as good as a rest!

P1050877

The Bad

  • Some dodgy fabes con almejas (clams and beans) at a sideria in Ribadasella, which had me up all night with stomach cramps, wondering if it would hinder my training :-/

The ugly

  • Our plumbing in the holiday let. After a day or 2 every time we flushed the toilet the contents came up in the bath. This coincided with the above (eurgh) it may have been Devon shoving half a toilet roll down there on the 2nd day, but I didn’t mention that. Luckily a man with a mop turned up after I reported it, and fixed the problem :-)

Next up

100 mile Welsh championships on Sunday with wind and rain forecast, good to be home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long Course weekend

This weekend was the Long Course weekend in Tenby. I entered this after my failed attempt at the Tour of Pembrokeshire 76 mile route, as I wanted to do a longish sportive before Ironman Wales. When I told Patrick that I had entered all 3 events he was a bit surprised, but then he decided to enter the Half Marathon on the Sunday. Luckily for us my mum was on hand to look after the kids so we could both run!

Tenby Harbour with swimmers waiting in the pen on the left hand side

Tenby Harbour with swimmers waiting in the pen on the left hand side

The Swim (2.4 miles) Garmin data here Results here

The swim is a 2 lap course and conditions were pretty perfect, swim starts are always a bit nerve racking, but I am getting more confident now. I have learned not to listen to the stories people tell about the start and just focus on what I’m doing. There were 2 men behind me chatting and saying how it would be a scrum to the first buoy. I decided I didn’t really want to listen to that conversation so moved away from them. It’s one of the things that irritates me when people perpetuate fear and anxiety to make themselves look good! It really isn’t that bad, and telling people how awful something is really doesn’t help anyone. The start was busy and I did get a couple of elbows in my goggles, but I was soon in clear space and feeling great. I stroked a few jellyfish, and was on my second lap. The pace at the end of the second lap around the last buoy picked up so I hitched a ride with a massive group, we were flying, and all scrambled out together.

My mum, surprised that she missed me come in!

My mum, surprised that she missed me come in!

The swim was a bit of a test for Ironman Wales. I was hoping to complete the swim in about 1 hour and 5 to 1 hour 10. I was very surprised, and on a bit of a high when I came out of the water in 57.28. Didn’t sleep very well that night!

The Wales sportive (70 miles) Garmin data here Results here

There is a choice of 40, 70, or 112 mile routes for the sportive. It follows the same route as the Ironman course. If you are doing 112 miles you do both the 40 and 70 mile loops. I chose to do 70 miles because I didn’t want to exhaust myself over the weekend and be unable to train the week after. I decided to park in New Hedges and cycle down to Tenby to avoid the chaos of parking in town. When I arrived I spotted Clair, and we had a quick hello, then I made my way down to the start. I was super early so decided to spend my emergency cash on a macchiato from the teeny tiny coffee van. At the start I shoved in next to Clair, she was meeting Tom (her other half) en route and he was going to pace her on the ride.

power surges at the beginning, then lower when I was in a pack, and dropping as I got tired

power surges at the beginning, then lower when I was in a pack, and dropping as I got tired

At this point I had a bit of a battle going on in my head. I had planned to try and stick to about 150-160 watts the whole way round, but I thought it also may be good to push a bit and see what I could do. When we started I thought I would try and stick with Clair, as it might be easier to have someone to ride with, but it became clear in the first half hour that they were going for it, and I decided to err on the side of caution and drop back! I was on my own then from Lamphey to Castlemartin, where I tried to hang on the back of another group I managed to stay with them until after Angle then got spat out the back. The rest of the ride I was solo, but it was good to see how hard I could push it. I was feeling pretty tired and when a few people passed me that I knew, it was nice to hear a bit of encouragement.

I averaged 156 watts on the course but, for Ironman, my pacing will be a lot different! I was happy with my time though, as I was aiming for about 4 and a half hours. Clair did an amazing time of 3 hours 55, there was no way I could have caught her! Fortunately she was still at the finish when I arrived and she very kindly gave me a lift back up the hill to New Hedges, (very grateful!)

I got home and was about to do my stretching when I had an overwhelming urge to have a sleep so I had a nap for an hour (luxury sleeping during the day :-))

P.S. I was glad of my delicious portables that I had brought! (short blog post about that here).

The Wales Half Marathon (13.1 miles) Garmin data here Results here

When I finished the bike I said I would jog the run on Sunday. Patrick had entered too, and was also planning on taking it steady. The run starts in Pembroke, and you run to Tenby, after a bit of discussion we had decided to take the train from Narberth. When we stopped in Tenby quite a few other runners got on, and we arrived in time to march up the high street with the band to the start. The only problem with the train, was that I had change jangling in my back pocket the whole way to Tenby! (extra weight too ;-))

Feeling good

Feeling good

We were off and I kept an eye on my heart rate, as I know how easy it is to start following people. I kept a steady 152 average which is upper endurance for me ,probably a bit faster than I should have gone, but I was feeling pretty relaxed and strong. I had to tell myself to slow down a few times and let people go that I normally would have chased!

Taking it steady

Taking it steady

Anyway I was very happy with my time, I was 2nd in my age category, and not too exhausted afterwards. Patrick came in 4 minutes after me and I was there to watch his sprint finish, very impressive on only a couple of runs a week! We then headed down to the beach for a BBQ with the boys.

The weekend was fantastic, support on the course is amazing, and there is such a good atmosphere everywhere. The weather was pretty good, and I had a successful testing weekend which will have benefitted my training a lot. No posts for a while now as we’re off to Asturias for a couple of weeks, looking forward to riding in the Picos!

 

 

 

 

Easy week and racing

Half term

The days leading up to Half Outlaw I learned a few more things about what I end up doing before races.

  1. Made sure all the lawn was mowed before we went away.
  2. Had a slight cleaning binge.
  3. Decided to make bread and pizza on the day that we left.
Baking, baking, baking...

Baking, baking, baking…

So expect more baked creations before Ironman Wales, who knows what we’ll end up with, but it was nice to have bread in the freezer when we got home 😉

It was great that it was half term during the same week as Half Outlaw, as it meant we could go and stay a few days in Nottingham, and revisit my old stomping ground! I met up with a friend and took the boys round the castle, and had some lovely meals out (we’ll not include the Pizza Express one, where my vegetarian lasagne was not, and my friends baked pasta was more burnt).

Coffee and cake at the pudding pantry.

Coffee and cake at the pudding pantry.

I did have a good few days though and felt a lot more relaxed than I did at Wimbleball, (probably due to me not being woken up by ringing bells every 15 minutes!) I had a great race, which you can read about in my race report which is here.

We got home at about 9pm on Sunday with 2 very tired boys and a mess to tidy up the next day

Just some of the aftermath.

Just some of the aftermath.

 

 

DNF and the aftermath

The run up to Bala was a mixture of cramming too much in, and distraction technique for me. The boys went back to school/nursery, and for some reason I got obsessed with photographing food rather than preparing for the race. I entered because I wanted to have an end of season race to aim for, and to see if I could qualify for the European championships.

We camped at Pen Y Bont campsite, which is very convenient for the race, about a 15 min walk to transition, and went to Ruthin for the day on Saturday, the weather was not great, cooler and quite wet!

Ruthin Jail

Ruthin Jail

Anyway, to cut a long story short on Sunday I DNF (did not finish) for the first time. You can read the full race report here.

Getting back home this week I have been looking at the reasons why I DNF; there are many!

  • I wasn’t really inspired by the race, and only entered because I had done it before.
  • I set an unrealistic goal for my swim.
  • I wasn’t prepared mentally.
  • Even if I had qualified for the European champs I wouldn’t have been able to go, as I have entered Half Outlaw 2 weeks before.
  • I sabotaged my race by panicking on the swim.

On a positive note I asked Devon what his favourite part of camping and going away was. He said it was watching me coming out of the swim. I’m sure he said it just to cheer me up, but it brought a tear to my eye! :-)

Baking frenzy, visitors, and time trials.

Baking

I began a baking frenzy last week, making cakes picture here and then ordering new cook books after going to a friends birthday and feeling inspired.

Contrasting books.

Contrasting books.

Adding to my collection

Adding to my collection.

I used a trip to Caldey island with the in-laws to try out a recipe from the feed zone book, and made some pancakes with spring onions in. They were very tasty and enjoyed by everyone. Have ordered some mochi flour, corn flour, and black glutinous rice, to make more snacks, I haven’t used the clandestine cake book yet, but made chocolate buns out of my bread book for the boys.

My attempts at food photography.

My attempts at food photography.

This then got me thinking about trying to photograph food, so I have another book on its way…..watch this space! Oddly I saw this article in Total womens cycling just after I wrote this post about DIY nutrition.

Time trial

I did the Bangeston 10 on Wednesday and used it as an opportunity to try out my rice cakes, after bonking the other week on the way home. I had one before I left, and then had a waffle and some homemade sesame snaps before I rode home, (didn’t bonk)

I posted a PB by 1 second!!! Remembered to press my lap button for a change. I was number 13 and had a near miss on the roundabout on my warm down, as a white pick-up pulled out in front of me.

Power for Bangeston 10

Power for Bangeston 10

The dip in the middle is the roundabout, where someone overtook me, I tried to drop back a bit so as not to draught. Starting to feel a bit stronger, and slowly building my fitness back up, before the Welsh Championships in Abergavenny at the weekend

Beginning to pick up again

Beginning to pick up again

Womens sport in the media

I read this in the i (newspaper) last week and was flabbergasted. I have read something similar before. I think it was a man saying that Chrissie Wellington didn’t “win” Ironman Hawaii because men had beaten her, it sparked off a big online debate about physiology, and somebody replied with a very good analogy between boxing weight classification, and asked, would you put a heavyweight boxer against a welterweight? On the plus side there were some women promoting the European U19 women’s football championship, Wales v France next week! Have some free tickets so may take the boys:-)

I almost can’t believe this letter is serious.

Can you believe this letter!

Can you believe this letter!

Belated Mountain Biking

I promised my husband I would put a link to his mountain biking video in so here it is! Probably didn’t do it before as there is footage of me being a wuss!!

Lead up to Wimbleball and race report

A hectic week last week, with all my preparation going into the race on Sunday. My mum drove me down to Dunster on Thursday, where we had booked a holiday cottage for the weekend, and Patrick and the boys came down on Friday after school. We arrived at about 4pm and had a walk round the village. The sun was shining at this point, but it was very windy!

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We had some dinner after the walk and then had an early night. The village of Dunster is really pretty and has an amazing play park for the kids, but….it also has a lovely church which does a LOT of bell ringing!! As we soon found out…

carillon (400 x 400)

The Carillon goes on for about 5 minutes and the church was opposite the house we were staying in. If you click on the picture above it takes you to a youtube recording. The bell also chimes on the hour and every 15 minutes!! So my restful few days were not quite so restful, as I kept being woken up by chiming! Read the race report here

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