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I am a mother of 2 boys. with a passion for exercise, the outdoors, food, and nutrition.

I provide coaching services to help you achieve your goals.

I aim to work with you as an individual, and find out your unique training needs.

I have a proven track record of self coaching with success at all distances of Triathlon.

I started Triathlon as a way of getting back into fitness after my first son was born, I have gone on to compete in all distances of triathlon, with success in self coaching.

I believe that through my varied experience (outdoor instructor, teacher, and cycling coach) I have the tools to help people to achieve their goals.

My ethos

  • To empower you to make positive improvements in your life.
  • To demonstrate and teach best practice.
  • To keep up to date with developments and apply these to your training.
  • To be flexible in my approach.
  • To find out about what works for you as an individual.

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To see what I can offer you please click here.

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

 

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!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An unexpected result

An easy week

After last weeks mini holiday, it was back to it. Luckily I had an easy week planned as there was the washing, shopping, and general catch up that you need after going away. I had also entered Pembrokeshire coast Triathlon at Broadhaven at the weekend so it meant I would have a bit of a rest before the race.

I had a great bike session on Tuesday. I had been thinking on my previous long ride that I tend to get a bit lazy towards the end of a ride and start dropping the watts, so when I was at the side of the road checking my bike for creaks, and a man flew past asking if I was OK I thought I would see if I could catch him!

I was near the end of my ride so it was ideal for me to push a bit more than usual. It became apparent that I was catching him on the ups and then he was pulling away slightly on the downs. I managed to reel him in after Yerbeston, on the Ironman course, we got chatting and it was someone whose name I had seen on strava (Dave Swan if you’re curious!) I turned off at Molleston and left him to complete the rest of the Ironman loop.

You can see my increase in power at about 2 and a half hours in!

You can see my increase in power at about 2 and a half hours in!

Still getting the power dropouts, but have sent my power meter back, again…I may write a post about that bit of kit someday! Had a long run on Thursday and was surprised to see that my running has improved again!

A similar run last year and my run this week

A similar run last year and my run this week

Cancelled my swim session on Friday, as I was feeling a bit fed up with the pool and I didn’t want to do another session for the sake of it. On Saturday I raced Broadhaven and won! That was a real surprise, I knocked 5 minutes of my previous time, so I was obviously very pleased with that! Full race report is here.

Comparison between the years

Comparison between the years

I still need to do some work on programming myself to believe that I am a strong swimmer, as it was always my weak sport, so, in my subconscious, I still think I am not good, but the last 2 races I have done I have had pretty good swim times. Must keep that in mind 🙂

Look away now if you don’t want to read about hormones, and periods!

One thing men don’t have to worry about too much is how their hormones affect them during races, they pretty much have the same cycle of hormones every day ( high testosterone in the morning, which drops off during the day and is lowest in the evening) This is also affected by their actions, e.g. racing will produce a rise in testosterone, read more about this here.

Women, as you will know have varying hormones throughout the month, so at times all we really want to do is sleep all the time, when at other times of the month we are outgoing and confident, this corresponds to our cycle. I have been doing a bit of research on this, as I find it quite interesting. There is a lot more detail on hormone horoscope, which I find really helps me to deal with moods and how I feel certain times of the month!

The female cycle

The female cycle

The reason I am writing about this is that my period was due on the week of Broadhaven and all week I was worrying about when it would start, and whether I would have to deal with it on race day. I looked at a couple of forums, and found a post by a man who said don’t worry about it, chances are nobody will care, or notice, just wear some black shorts and get on with it. This relaxed me quite a bit, and I also mentioned to Patrick the night before, that the last time I had my period on a race I won!

I didn’t get my period until after the race but I still find it really interesting, as I am about a kilo heavier in the week before I start my period, so you would think that my performance would be worse. You would also think that there would be loads of interesting research on this, but I’m not sure if there is or where to find it. I did read Victoria Pendleton’s book and she mentioned that she always seemed to have her period on competition days. Maybe its time we started taking it into consideration, it is a massive part of women’s lives, but seems like people don’t really want to talk about it, although with online forums maybe people are starting to discuss more topics like this.

I did find some useful information here, which I recommend to anyone interested in how hormones affect your training and performance.

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.

 

 

Dyfi Enduro 2014, feeling tired.

Dyfi Enduro 2014

The Bank Holiday weekend was our annual trip to the Dyfi Enduro. I didn’t manage to take the camera, as I had enough to worry about, but I got a few snaps. There is a good write up of the event here, and my race report is here, I took it steady and was quite pleased that I was 2nd female in the distance that I did. (I did the shorter loop) Afterwards I also noticed that my neck, shoulders and back were not so stiff as usual, must be due to the strength and conditioning work that I have included in my training this year, its amazing what a few press ups will do. However I’m feeling the effects of staying up late, camping, and off roading, so have adapted my training for the week!

Time and result

Time and result

Comparison between this year and last years data

Comparison between this year and last years data

Back to it

I tried to do a tempo run on Tuesday but my legs were not feeling it, so I eased off and cancelled my swim plan hoping for a better session on Wednesday. My swim on Wednesday was pretty lethargic too!

If you are interested heres the data!

If you are interested heres the data!

My plan is for quality workouts, so I missed my long ride and opted for a shorter turbo session with focussed intervals instead, I spent most of the morning (when I should have been on the turbo) faffing about with the computer.

I decided to do a job that I had been putting off instead and went up to get an old bikes bottom bracket removed at AWP engineering. I watched two men struggle with my seat post for about half an hour, which was quite interesting, then got home to do my turbo, finally. I’m quite looking forward to doing up the bike though, its slowly getting there!

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Work in progress

The Preseli Beast

I’m very excited to have entered The Preseli Beast, well the beast bach anyway, I had a look at this race last year and thought it looked fun, but I haven’t been doing the run mileage to be able to do the long one, and I would also probably set myself up for an injury again! Will be a good run though 🙂

Long time no posts

Easter holidays

Easter has been a busy time, with visitors staying over both weekends, and a lot of furniture being delivered, which is now in boxes waiting to be assembled! I haven’t had any time to do anything except train and entertain the kids, now they are back at school I should be able to get back to some sort of routine.

A lot of work to be done..

A lot of work to be done..

First time trial of the year

I did the Neyland 10 , and was fairly pleased with my effort. Unfortunately I had a mechanical, my chain came off and got jammed against the frame, so I spent nearly 2 minutes on the verge wrestling with it and pulling paint off my frame :-s This meant my time wasn’t great but my power output was about the same as last year and I had a VI (variability index) of 1, which I was pretty pleased with. This means that I didn’t surge in power too much and kept a steady pace throughout. If you are interested in the full definition, then a lot of useful information is here

Trianing peaks data

Trianing peaks data

The Tour of Pembrokeshire

My friend Rachel and I planned to do the tour of Pembrokeshire 75 mile route. She arrived on Friday evening with her family, to lovely weather, we even ate outside. I had seen the forecast for Saturday, but was hoping for a change, it does do that sometimes, anyway it was pretty awful, I was quite jealous of the husbands still in bed when we left, with children still sleeping!!

We started out and agreed that if it didn’t improve then we would do the 50 mile route instead. At the feed station we decided we should cut it short, it was windy and wet so we couldn’t even chat! So we arrived back in St Davids to a welcome pork roll, and warm cafe, then went home to takeaway and Prosecco . I attempted to make a video with Patrick’s “go pro” the battery ran out way before the end but I managed to get a small amount of footage. which is here.

The Tour of Pembrokeshire

Next weekend The Dyfi Enduro…

 

 

 

 

Ramping it up

Increasing the Training load

With 10 weeks to go until Half Outlaw, (:-o) I have been increasing the intensity of my bike workouts. Had a great turbo session on Thursday. (I never thought I’d say that!) I used a Sufferfest video for my intervals, but ignored their instructions and focussed on 4 sweet spot intervals with long recoveries. There was a bit of stupidness at the end when you were meant to attack on and off, which I did do, which accounts for my power surges at the end. I also managed to run for 30 minutes on Monday without pain in my knee, so I’m feeling a lot more optimistic on that front. I also had a good swim on Friday, getting a PB for 400m, what a great week.

Training peaks data

Training peaks data

My grandad

My mum found some old photo’s of my grandad which she let me scan in. He was a cyclist, and died before I was born at the age of 49. He had the same birthday as me too, a bit of inspiration for me.

Robert Le Poulain 1950

Robert Le Poulain 1950

RobertLePoulain02

Marked on the back is “Paris-Dieppe 1950”

First meeting of the Dynamos running  group

On Saturday I organised the first meeting of the Narberth Dynamos running group. We met up at Templeton airfield and did a couple of intervals at tempo, trying to keep the same pace for both intervals. My volunteers did really well at pacing, and said they enjoyed it, so they will be back for some hill reps next week!

I did the risk assessment for it a few days before, as you can see my Garmin is still going crazy, so I phoned Garmin, and they are going to send me a refurbished/new one, the only trouble is I have to send it back! Without data for a few days how will I survive?

The route

The route

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