Category Archives: Triathlon

Kicking back, and relaxing

Transition and the off season

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No data has been entered for 5 weeks!

Since ironman Wales I have been pretty busy, and I had a cold for about 2 weeks. Its taken a while but I have relaxed into the minimal activity that I have been doing! I have started planning next season, I’m feeling pretty relaxed about next year though. Meanwhile here are some of the things that I have been up to and enjoying again in the last 5 weeks;

Going to a wedding

I had a cold unfortunately but enjoyed eating, drinking and camping in the New Forest, beautiful…

Surfing

Or attempting to, not ideal conditions the times I’ve been out, but have had fun splashing about in the sea.

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Windy and cold in my ancient wetsuit!

Cycling with my husband

My husband has bought a road bike, so I have been showing him a few routes.

Cooking, cooking, and more cooking

Lots of baking, and experimenting has been going on in my kitchen.

Mushroom hunting

My oldest boy has developed an obsession with identifying mushrooms, which has meant lots of foraging in the woods.

 

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Not edible, but interesting.

The big smoke

As a surprise for my husbands “special” birthday I took him to London. We had a great time wandering around Brick Lane, eating and drinking, and made a special visit to Nopi, which was fantastic, I even saw Ottolenghi at the bar and got a bit star struck. I wanted to go and say hi but by the time I had decided to go over he was leaving, (let that be a lesson!) We spent the next evening watching 3 back to back surf films at The London Surf Film Festival which was a real treat for us.

A bit more bike maintenance

I have been meaning to get my mountain bike gear cables changed, so I did that and then went out on my road bike. The gear cable snapped for the rear derailed, and I had to cycle home in a very hard gear, ouch (luckily it happened at the end of the ride). I investigated and have bought a new derailler, and shifters :-( It is now in quarantine in the garage! I am suddenly desperate to get out on my bike, so I had to go off road this week, which is no bad thing!

My lovely bike, needing repair

My lovely bike, needing repair

 Launching my website

I have spent far too much time in front of a computer setting up my website, but I think its looking good, here is a link, and take the time to like my Facebook page if you haven’t already :-)

 

 

 

Letting the dust settle

A week of relaxing and contemplating

Ironman Wales 2014

(To skip straight to my Ironman Wales race report click here)

It has been a week since I completed Ironman Wales, and I have spent the week doing gentle walking, and a couple of swims. I haven’t really considered next year yet, but I have learned a few lessons from the race. The race itself was a fabulous day, the weather was perfect, the support on the course was incredible, and I would love to experience it again.

Ironman Wales 2014

Sams amazing banner, thanks :-)

One of my pre race mantras was “through my race I learn”, so here I go… Overall I was really pleased with my result. The swim was hard work, I knew I would be slower than hoped but I still came out in an OK time. I pushed myself on the bike, and stayed in the right power zones.

Ironman Wales 2014

What the book says!

 

Ironman Wales 2014

What my power looked like.

I still think my Variability index was a bit high, there were a few instances when I went way over threshold, but it was so hard to keep a lid on it when everyone was cheering and you are going uphill, however my V.I. was 1.08 compared to 1.11 at Wimbleball last year so I’m pleased with that. My intensity factor on the bike was .73, and it should be between .70 and .76 so that was spot on.

Ironman Wales 2014

Power graph, power dropped off towards the end, but not too much!

The run was OK, I had wanted to run about an 8:30 min mile, and thought I may be able to go quicker. You can see that I sustained it for the first 2 laps then didn’t manage to keep up the pace, my heart rate dropped, and I was just trying to keep going.

Ironman Wales 2014

Pace and heart rate dropping

Ironman Wales 2014

Pace dropping from halfway

 

When I finished I wandered around for a bit before realising that all I wanted to do was lie down.

Feeling rough

Feeling rough

I ended up in the medical tent and had 2 drips. Looking back now I started to get a headache on  the second lap of the bike from Carew to Cross Hands. I thought it must have been because I was tired, as I was still drinking and peeing. (I peed 4-5 times on the bike) I had calculated the liquids that I needed and I had enough water (7 bottles). I used electrolyte tablets in my water, but after a bit of research I may have lost too much salt. Next time I will pay attention to any headaches! And carry salt tablets.

Saying all that I still had a brilliant day and was within my goal time, I did my best, and next time…..well I will learn from my experience!

Ironman Wales 2014

My plan

 

 

A week to go.

Last minute anxieties

A few weeks before a race I start thinking “If I had……. it would make my life better” Cue ordering unnecessary stuff. I have so far accumulated energy drink, gels, tyres, and new gloves. The energy drink I won’t use as I haven’t used it in training, the gels I will use, as I have had them before (but I accidentally ordered 3 lots!) and the gloves are not as nice as my old ones. However I did need new tyres.

Moral of the story, “new things will not make me faster”, (repeat, repeat, repeat)

Crazy cooking woman

I also get obsessed with cooking, and have started making yummy things to take on the bike, which I have blogged about here. I did just read in Tri220 that Chrissie only has energy gels, drink, and some dark chocolate on the bike and can’t understand how anyone can eat sandwiches etc on rides, as she is working too hard. “Must try harder on the bike”, (repeat, repeat, repeat) Anyway I made the most of the fantastic weather and sat out on the lawn to calculate my intake of food for the bike leg, and have now planned out what I am taking.

Like summer again!

Like summer again!

Time to take stock

So its time now to reflect on what I have done up to this point and hope that I have a good day next week. I feel ready, but also still wondering if I have planned my peak and taper right, (need to get rid of a few gremlins here!), We will see on race day. I will give it my best.

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A long week and feeling it

Getting to the taper

There comes a point in your training when there is nothing more you can do to increase your fitness and you need to accept that you have done all that you can. Whatever happens on the day will happen, I got back off a long ride feeling pretty negative as my power and speed were low, but thinking about it rationally I had done a 10km (running) Time Trial the night before, and had been building for a while, only having a short recovery after the 100 mile TT, so not surprising really! There is a great post about tapering here which I found helpful and inspiring.

I have been looking at last years taper for Wimbleball and comparing it to my training this year, I had some feedback that my taper may have been a bit drastic, this was because I was ill after a race and then started tapering after I had recovered. This years will not be so drastic and I’ll be nice and ready to race!

This years Performance management chart

This years Performance management chart

Last years Performance management chart. a sharp drop after Slateman

Last years Performance management chart. a sharp drop after Slateman

Time trials and tribulations (garmin data is here, full results here)

I went along to the 10km Time trial organised by Pembrokeshire Triathlon club on Tuesday evening, hoping to better my time from 6 years ago!! I can’t believe how long ago that was. My time in 2008 was 43.23. When I arrived Ian, the timekeeper, decided that I would be fastest and put me last. I was not so sure, but went along with it anyway! Ellie (the only other woman) went off 1 minute ahead of me and I tried to keep her in sight. It soon became apparent that she was flying, as I counted the time from her passing a lamppost, she was already more than a minute ahead within the first few miles. , it was a lovely evening, and nice to have a chat. I got a time of 41.14, so 2 minutes faster than last time. I should be happy with that, but maybe have been feeling a bit negative this week.

The long ride

I decided to ride the whole Ironman course the day after, and was pretty dissapointed in my speed. I may have been tired, and also lacking motivation doing the route on my own. I’m not sure that I really wanted to do it, because I knew that if I was slow it would make me depressed, but Patrick suggested it and I thought the pro’s would outweigh the con’s. Anyway I borrowed his go pro which was quite fun, although I have now spent hours editing the ******* thing.

A bit of geekiness

After I had recovered from the ride, digested my stats, done some more research, and generally got slightly obsessive about numbers, I spotted that my Intensity factor for the ride was based on my old FTP, so with a few calculations I realised that I will be able to go faster on race day, (of course some other factors will come into play too) but if the maths is right then I’m happy !!

Calculating power

Calculating power

 

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!!

Dynamos LEJOG and thoughts on womens cycling

Narberth dynamos lejog and thoughts on womens cycling

Last few weeks events:

  1. LEJOG on turbos with the dynamos.
  2. Devons Birthday.
  3. Thinking about the gender differences.
  4. Time trialling again with Power!

LEJOG

Narberth Dynamos decided to cycle as a Club from Lands End to John O’Groats in 24 hours on turbo trainers. This was part of Narberth Civic week to raise money for Paul Sartori (a local charity). It was Devon’s birthday on Saturday so I managed to get a Friday afternoon slot, and avoid the graveyard shift. We completed hour slots, most people did at least 2 but I didn’t think my husband would appreciate me doing 2 hours! Anyway, people managed an average of 25mph so we made it!! Next year there is a rumour of going further 😮

The boys came up to see me but Devon refused to get his photo taken with me. Milo obliged though

Narberth dynamos lejog and thoughts on womens cycling

Milo, future Dynamo.

Devons Birthday

It was Devons 7th birthday on Saturday, its been a long run up with countdowns from June onwards and early wake ups because of the excitement! Finally the day came and we planned to go to Blue Lagoon, a pool down the road from us with water slides and wave machine. As we were walking from the car to the pool, Devon ran past and tripped, falling on his arm, he was in quite a bit of pain, but soon chirped up when he saw his friends. We carried on with the day, and then the next day took him to hospital, where he had x-rays and a cast put on, a brilliant start to the summer holidays!

Can still do lego!

Can still do lego!

Thinking about the gender differences

I read an article on Total Women’s Cycling, here about the barriers to women cycling, and it got me thinking about the differences between the sexes. My typical male and female sides vary from day to day (probably depending on my hormones!) One thing that came through in the article, was that women don’t like being cat called when exercising. Its threatening and unacceptable, BUT I was cycling with the club the other week, past a pub, and a woman outside the pub shouted out “show em your tits…” to her friend. Nobody called back, I think the woman assumed we were all male. I wondered if the men felt the same way as a group of women would have done, if a male had been calling out to them. I was quite annoyed about it, and chatting to Patrick later on we came to the conclusion that sometimes it is better to behave like a man, and sometimes better to behave like a woman. If we could work out when those situations were and not be pigeonholed into gender stereotypes then we would probably all get along a lot better. Incidently the woman that shouted out was, in my opinion, just rude. Caitlin Moran, has a good theory, that we are all just “the guys” and if you think someone is being rude then you call them on it, then it isn’t labelled as sexism.

Also tweeted a production company about the women’s coverage of The Slateman and received this reply. I think its a bit lame, what do you think? Race is shown here

Narberth dynamos lejog and thoughts on womens cycling

Twitter feed

Time trialling again…

Another time trial with the Velos, improved my time, and got some power data, although I forgot to press start on my garmin and got 1 and a half miles in then realised, so didn’t have the whole distance! Data is here.

I cycled to the start for a change, which made for a long evening. I got about half an hour from home and started to get blurred vision and feel a bit clammy, luckily I had a gel on my bike (in case of emergency) and about 10 minutes later I was feeling OK again. Not pleasant. I have also entered the Welsh championship 10 mile TT in Abergavenny, will probably come in pretty slow compared to others but we might go camping up there for a few days before.

I’m starting to get loads of emails about events for next year now, which to enter?……

An interesting week, and RTTC national time trial

This arrived through the post on Monday. After driving back from Wimbleball on Sunday I had a cursory glance and left it on the table for a week

Just what I always wanted

Just what I always wanted

I had an easy week and did nothing until Thursday. I entered this Time Trial when I was tapering, and full of energy. At the time I wasn’t sure it was such a good idea, but I thought I’d give it a try. Time Trials are great for improving fitness! My start time was 2.46pm (not used to such a late start and only having to remember my bike… a revelation!) So I left home, got to Penblewin roundabout and realised I had left my Garmin at home charging :-0. I always seem to remember something I forgot on that roundabout! Anyway I arrived in plenty of time to drive the course, which was very well signed and marshalled in any case.

Start list

Start list

I signed on at the village hall and helped pin numbers on someone and vice versa. Everyone was very friendly and asked my name and introduced themselves. I had a chat with someone I knew and then went to the car park to get ready, where I chatted with another woman about saddles and chafing, as you do! I was trying something different and set my garmin to beep when I went under a certain wattage, (normally I set it to beep when its above) In retrospect I should have set it 10Watts lower! I went off feeling good, and was overtaken within the first 5 miles. There were people dotted along the course clapping, which was nice. The dual carriageway seemed to go on for a long time (this is the first 50 mile TT I have done) It was a relief to turn off onto the old road, and I knew it was not far to the turn around point. At the turn around point it all changed, the wind was against us and I started to struggle to hold my power, then the dual carriageway just seemed to go on for ever. I was overtaken by several people (stopped counting). I got to the lap point and almost dropped out, but thought I’ll just try and finish, forget about the power. I turned my beeping pest of a Garmin off, and got my head down. I got to the point of no return and was now starting to get uncomfortable in my aero position, had to stretch out a couple of times and was really struggling, it was like the road to hell. I kept wondering why I was riding up a dual carriageway in pain, when I could be at home relaxing! (maybe not, its amazing what you’ll do to get away from the kids for a bit!) I dragged myself to the finish and then to add insult to injury I had to cycle back to the start, which also seemed to take a lot longer on the way back! Many people had parked in a closer lay-by. This was the most mentally challenging race I have done, and I am amazed at the women who do this regularly, well done everyone! Much harder than my race last weekend.

Full results are here, amazing times!

Couldn't take it!

Couldn’t take it!

Finish times, not quite last!

Finish times, not quite last!

I had to get back home to my understanding husband, so didn’t stay for the prize giving, it looked like there was some good cake though! I did an average of 20.4mph so I was quite pleased that I got over 20, I was aiming for that. Drove home and had to stop the car in a lay-by near Resolven as I thought I was going to throw up (didn’t thankfully) Got home and dumped everything in the doorway, could not even be bothered to open the garage.

Left in the doorway

Left in the doorway

And the next day this awaited me!!!

Tidy up time!

Tidy up time!

So would I do it again? Who knows! Never say never :-) Some great photo’s here. and another report. At least I got a good photo though!!

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