Saturday, 26 December 2009

Husband vs. Garmin

so it happened. the GARMIN and me are officially an item. husband introduced us on xmas day and i'm sure he'll soon wish he didn't. we sneaked out together for our first date today, and it was spectacular. although i’m not usually one to kiss and tell, here is the report:

what the hell are you talking out?

it’s a garmin forerunner 310XT (yes, i’m into inanimate objects.) it’s basically a big fat ugly GPS watch which is (for the first time) also waterproof. ideal for multi sports. before i used to run and guess what speed i was doing, how fast i was going. now i get beeped at, and, i get accuracy. sweet.

was it hard to get it set up?

let’s be honest, i’ve only scratched the surface, so no; it wasn’t hard to use. i followed all the little instructions and then found a route online which someone else had recorded, clicked the icon to send this to my watch- then it downloaded pretty much instantly. i used this route when running and it was great at telling me when i was off course (though not how to get back on?). the heart rate monitor, speed and distance were super easy to upload to my laptop upon return, and the results were there for all the family to see (“what’s this big spike?” “ummm, that’s me having a little rest.” “oh, there’s a couple of those.” “yeah... hmmmm.. thanks.”)

what about when you were running? that watch is GIGANTIC.

hell yeah, this watch is not small. it’s not pretty and it’s not small. but hey, we’re not always there to look our best right? so who cares.

HOWEVER i don’t usually run with a watch, or use one generally, so i found it pretty irritating. the cord of my ipod earphones kept getting caught in the watch strap. erg. and the watch was so big it rubbed against my skin pretty bad.

so what else?

not much. at the moment i’ve got more questions than answers, so maybe i’ll blog report once we’ve hung out a little more and got better acquainted. it was only a first date people, let’s not rush into things.

but here’s a couple of quasi interesting observations from our first day together;

1. for the first time husband has actually encouraged me to go running. three times. in one day. as it’s his present to me, he now has invested interest in my training. never thought of it like this, but take a page kids.

2. when passing every other runner i felt they were staring at my gigantic watch and wishing they had one. in reality, they were probably wondering why i was running so slow and whether the watch was weighing me down.

3. i can no longer hide from my shiteous running ability. it’s all being recorded now. every damn rest.

4a. i got beeped at for the entire duration of my 19km run. i don't know why but it was GREAT.

4b. i once ran into a hedge pressing a button. okay. twice.

5. i like it. a lot. but unlike a fellow tweep who met her own Garmin for xmas, i did not sleep with it last night. it was only a first date peoples. seriously.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

ho ho ho

not that kind of ho, you crazy kids. and no that will not be followed by a tiger woods joke.

it's a few days until christmas, there's no cervelo shape under the xmas tree, but there is a garmin shape and i'm VERY excited. i'm fully anticipating an xmas day afternoon jog to test her out.

husband made the fatal error of saying, "well i may not have got the *exact* one you were looking for" which then lead me into a tirade of features listing. he had a sparkle in his little eye, though. phew.

last week's totals were rubbish, to the point i'm not even going to list them. c'est la vie.

and with that, happy xmas kids. see you on the other side.

Monday, 14 December 2009

how not to cycle 90kms

being a mileage addict at the moment, i headed off on sunday for a leisurely 90km cycle. joined by training peep Paul the PT, ready to embrace the cold English winter morning.

sure i've been on long cycles before, done my fair share of cycling trips, so i wasn't too concerned about the distance. the plan was to cycle slowly, and consistently. no breaks. just get some good solid miles under the belt.

this was harder than i had anticipated.

90kms is a LONG way. i know that sounds a bit stupid, but until you pedal those little peggies up and down for the whole distance, it's impossible to have an understanding exactly how far it is. i've been scoffing a little at the prospect of a 180km ironman cycle, now i GET IT. it's a LONG WAY. having said that, i still only know how far 90kms is. that is only a half ironman my friends.

for the ironman; let's face it; i've got no idea how far 180kms is. no frigging idea.

180kms inside a nice warm toasty car with snacks offers absolutely no insight into how far this is. train trips glancing at magazines will not do it either. looking at a map; ha! until your pegs have crossed the distance, you're in the dark.

i started off well. totally optimistic. nice comfortable pace, not breaking a sweat. 60kms down, however, i got hungry. unfortunately i'd completely underestimated the availability of snacks in the english countryside, and not only did i get hungry; i started to get delirious (okay, i don't deal with hunger very well at all).

i remember going up a hill, and seeing my cycle computer register 11 kph and thinking, "damn, i'm about to faint, but i'm doing well." i was so low i thought about hitchhiking. with bike. sorry mum.

training peep couldn't deal with my lacking energy and scooted off in the search for food. i got to the top of one too many hills and spotted my lifeline; a petrol station. JOY! SNACKS! ENERGY!

but it was closed. bloody CLOSED. couldn't believe it.

i lay on the forecourt and stared up at the sky, wondering why i was doing this again. weirdly, i notcied the name of the petrol station was this:

and i thought, damn you for giving me this message. so off we went. found snacks, and got over ourselves.

but it wasn't easy. those last 30kms were the most painful on my quads that i've ever felt while cycling, and i had to learn quickly to fall into the rhythm of the pain. it's weird how pain becomes comforting after a while. it becomes normal. you get on with it.

i'm not sure why my quads were so bad. was it the distance alone? the increase in my running mileage in the past few weeks? the lack of food?

other than the pain/starvation situation; there was a lot of joy. we passed a river crossing and it was the first time Paul had ever seen this! (pic below) we have a lot of these in australia, but it was strange trying to explain why the water didn't go under the road inside of over. i'm sure i made some useless inaccurate fact up.

so what have i learnt?

> do NOT embark on a 90km cycle without food. like, hello. 101 peoples.
> do NOT underestimate how far 180kms is ever again. could you have turned around and done that same distance again? no. so respect that.

could you have then run a marathon? HELL no.

so hats of ironmen and ladies reading this. finally, i get it. hats off.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

how tri specific is santa?

this year i'm putting the pressure on santa.

my christmas list is overwhelmingly triathlon related and i don't know how much santa knows about garmin. does he have extensive knowledge on compression gear? will he be able to spot the difference between recovery power bars and energy power bars?!

santa had better start reading triathlon magazines, and FAST (they're on my list too, so you can hand them over after you're done santa)

this week i didn't get as much running done as i would have liked, but did sneak another long run in. am feeling better about getting these base runs in, and this one was marginally easier on my body than the last.

weekly totals:

monday: 19km cycle
tuesday: rest
wednesday: rest
thursday: 16km run
friday: 1 hour swim weights, stretch and .5km swim
saturday: rest
sunday: 90km cycle

so this week i've run 16kms, cycled 114kms, swam .5km

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Stinky Man and Herpes

entries remaining; 1233

i'm stalking the IM France website, keeping an eye on how many brave souls are hitting the register button before me. i'm secretly hoping HIM Monaco will open their entries before that number gets too low, but who knows if it's even running next year? fate is going to be determining a lot here.

anyway i apologise for the sounding board nature of these recent posts. let me offset it by a couple of semi-interesting observations;

1. stupid me. i forgot to take my water bottle into my spinning class and as a result was dying of thirst; obviously quite visibily as another spinner offered me his water bottle. now i do know this guy, sort of, we've spoken in the sauna, been at the same triathlon, but now he is extending a VERY sweaty arm infront of the WHOLE spin class and i CLEARLY need water... damnit!

all my inner germ phobic tendancies start firing madly, and i want to say "no thanks" - i really do, but i'm totally aware of everyone watching and the reality of me actually needing the damn drink, so i TAKE THE BOTTLE. and suddenly i'm drinking, thinking of herpes, thinking of my husband shaking his head, thinking i wish i'd at least wiped the mouth piece but that would have looked uber germ freak phobic. i hand it back and say "thanks" but really i want to say "do you have herpes?"

2. whenever a hot girl enters the gym space, everyone tries not to be caught looking at her. what then takes place is a dancing eyeball mexican wave type thing whenever the hot girl moves from one piece of equipment to the next. she is, of course, completely aware everyone is mexican waving her with their eyeballs, and is glad she's straightened her hair for the occassion.

3. the dude with the big muscles does NOT need to cross the gym floor that many times. we see your muscles, everyone sees your muscles, and we don't really care because even though hot girl has NO muscles, she's still better eye candy.

4. i'm all for a bit of sweat, when working hard, it's inevitable. but when you are so stinky your smell permeates into the space of the next piece of gym equipment - it's time to hit the showers. if you see my cycling next to you with my head turned the other way - it's because of YOU stinky man. and it's not even good sweat smell, like that little bit hot smell, it's overweight older man in business suit on the tube at the end of the night smell. SHOWER NOW.

5. why do i feel a little bit naughty watching people shower before they get into the pool? it's one of those 'shower beside the pool' things to make sure everyone uses it, and as such, everyone is dressed in bathing attire. but watching them makes me feel like i'm getting insight into their shower routine, and that feels like i shouldn't be watching. but everyone watches, like the hot girl, with mexican wave eyeballs.

totals. as this week was super busy, i squeezed as much training in as possible but failed on three occassions;

sunday > rest
monday > 5.5km run, 8km cycle
tuesday > 19 km run
wednesday > rest
thursday > 1 hr swim + bike specific weights
friday > rest
saturday > 20km cycle
sunday > 5.5km run, 5km cycle, 1km swim

totals: this week i ran 30kms, cycled 32kms, swam 1km

entries remaining; 1232 (one less than start of post. could have been me)

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

deciding; with help

thanks everyone for your thoughts on the IM vs. HIM situation. it's so incredibly helpful hearing advice, stories, personal accounts and so forth --> it does seem like an incredibly difficult decision to make and i'm slowly inching even closer...

one of my priorities now is getting my mileage up, and essentially getting a taste of whats to come. this morning, i wanted to run for a long time. this is my biggest weakness, the red devil on my shoulder, so i wanted to remember how it felt running past the hour mark. speed was irrelevant. i wanted mileage.

i ran for 19kms.

yipppeeeee!! longest run for like EVER. actually, since i was half mara training a couple of years ago. inspired by fellow bloggers of late, i decided to take a few snaps of the occassion. here are the best and worst visual delights of the morning. the first is a rather entertainly dodgy affair selling Pie + Mash Liquor (?);

then, as i ran further away from london and closer to the countryside, i was treated with some lovely views over (the frost of winter) morning. click to enlarge pics.

i've just settled home, and discovered the Largest Blister in the World currently enveloping my entire toe; but i feel good. i ran 19km, and sure it was slow, but it was 19km. almost a half mara.

suddenly it's all looking a little more achievable.

(p.s. ok i've been sucked into tweetclouds. here's how my online thoughts look in a cloud:)

Friday, 27 November 2009

To be or not to be... ironwoman?

i feel as though i'm going to look back at this post and see it as the start of something. so here we are, not for the first time, starting something.

this time we're goal assessing. the delay in Monaco half ironman race entries opening has left me wondering what i'm looking to get out of next year. how am i going to feel after a HIM? after training hard for seven months, am i going to feel the Ahhhh of achievement? to be honest, i don't think so. but doing a full IM? now that's something i'd looooove to do!

so the IM i'm looking at is IM France, which gives me seven months to prepare. enough? who knows? i'm not too worried about the swim; 3.8km is totally achieveable. the bike, 180km, is hilly, so will be tough, but again, achieveable. the run, now that my friends, is a totally different story. crikey. one whole marathon. a whole 42km. ouch doesn't even begin to describe it. i've never run that far before. never even got close. and that's not after a 180km cycle. over mountains. in france. in summer.

massive decision to make; and i've pretty much decided but hesitiation is creeping in. that marathon is like a big red flag of CANYOUREALLYDOTHIS? i almost died after the half marathon; but then i'm a lot fitter now than i was back then... but a whole big whole massive long 42km of marathon...? eeeek!

in aid of my possible new training direction; i've changed my weekly totals. this time, instead of clocking my time, i'll be focused on distance. i'm still not sure how FAR i need to go each week for IM training, there's a whole lot to learn. but here's what i got up to this week;

sunday> 3.5km run, 16km cycle, 3.5km run
monday> 1.6km swim
tuesday> 1.5km run (hill session)
wednesday> 5.5km run, 45mins bike and swim weights
thursday> 35km cycle
friday> 5km run, 1km swim
saturday> rest

totals: this week i ran 19kms, swam 2.6km, cycled 41km

so it's public, it's on the table. i haven't booked yet, but my finger is itchy. i want an achievement, i'm a black and white kind of girl. HIM seems too grey. but IM is going to be the biggest thing i've ever done in my life. and that's a big button to push even with an itchy finger :)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Chilly Duathlon; my first du (note lingo use)

on the outskirts of Bristol, on a cold rainy english winter day, i entered the world of duathlon. the event comprised almost entirely of university folk, so the field was stupidly competitive.

overall 1hr 12 mins. i was 32/45 in my Category
so what happened? disaster! here's the story;

RUN (2 miles) - 16.47 mins (35/42)

i'd seen the results from last event, so i knew exactly where to place myself for the run; right at the back. so i did, and it was a good move. the run started fast Swoooosh and they were gone; i was still at the starting line (not really, but you know what i mean)

i'm trying a new technique of running out faster and trying to hold my own for as long as possible, and this worked a treat. my time for this came in at 16.47 - which was great for me, and what i was hoping for. from my dodgy maths, this equates to a 51min 10k - yipppeee! i felt like in my last 10k i went out hard and held my own for a few kms, but without a garmin (fancy gps watch which husband is buying for xmas; thanks babe - see how my life will change?!) i had no proof. NOW it seems like i could actually achieve a 51min 10k, if i could maintain my speed for longer than 3.2k! something to work on!

here's me running into T1; photo taken courtesy of my very first internet stalker (joy!) @
pushpiker is part of the tri (+du?) tweeting crew and saw me at the event. i even asked his wife for directions out of T2 without realising i was coming face to face with my stalker. brilliant, thanks for the pics guys!

(p.s. if you click on pic, it makes it bigger, note this is my first running pic where my feet aren't touching the ground! this is a moment of runners joy described frequently by steve stenzel;

BIKE (10 miles) 38.10 mins (28/42)

hideous hideous cycle. never in one thousand years did i ever think i would hate the cycle leg of a duathlon, but there i was. it all went horribly wrong, and here's why:

training a few days ago, i embark on a 80k cycle. 15ks in, i get a flat. hey, that's cool, i can change it. and i did. ten minutes later, however, down she went again (yes, i checked the inside of the tyre before replacing tube!) a trip to the bike shop later revealed i should also be investing in some new tyres anyway, so i induldge. sweet!

this morning, day of the race, i put the wheels back on my bike. i cycle approx 15 metres to check all is in order. this was my BIG mistake. 15 metres?! what was i THINKING?!?

fast forward to me starting the bike leg. i hear a noise. it's not a good noise. i look down and damnit, my sensor is rubbing against the spokes of my wheel - i hadn't checked this!! i jump off, a quick fix and i'm hoping she does the job, off i go again. then pring pring pring pring - what noooow???

i look down and the cable tie is now hitting my spokes. that's it, i jump off my bike, and declare my competitive spirit lost. when i finally fix it, i've lost my sensor, and now am cycling blind, without any data feeding up into my cycle computer. then i get half way around the circuit and hit the most horrible headwind i've ever encountered. that's IT, seriously, IT. i spend the rest of the cycle begging to get off my bike. for the first time in the history of my short life; i actually wanted to run. good lord.

i finish with a rubbishly average time of 38.10 mins. by the end my breathing wasn't strained in the slighest, and i didn't really care. i've learnt a lesson, now onto the run and get this thing wrapped up!

RUN (2 miles) 18.37 (33/42)

by the time i'm running my enthusiasm is at an all time low, but i think; how can i turn this around into a learning experience? so i figure, why not run these 2 miles as though i've got a whole marathon to undertake (more on this later), and find a comfy pace which settles my bad cycle mood. then something totally brilliant happens.

i notice in the distance there's a girl which i was cycle battling with for the last few laps. she and i overtook eachother for quite some time, and it was nice to see her running off into the distance as expected - or so i thought! suddenly i realise; she's actually getting closer... and closer... and closer... and for the second time in my racing experience of cycle battling with someone - i OVERTOOK her! i know, incredible, amazing, brilliant! she was the only person i did overtake on that run, but damn it felt good.

looking at my times/rank; interestingly i only lost 3 places by running at a slower speed in the second run, even though i was a whole 2 minutes slower. 3 places isn't that much for a whole lot of effort...

so i get the finish line, breathing not laboured, and wonder; am i ever going to do this again?


> taking my strength (swimming) out of a race really sucks. taking my second strength (cycling) out of the race because of my stupid inability to replace a wheel correctly really really sucks.

> training peeps paul + deniz came through well, with good times (11 min 2 miler!!) deniz started strong but unfortunately had a rubbish race in the end, as he accidentally cycled 6 laps instead of 5!

> at the end of the day, this is great brick practise. race pace bricks while tucking race experience under your belt; that's worth the effort :)

Saturday, 21 November 2009

the chick hit (and other cycling observations)

1. definition of 'chick hit': the moment of a female cyclist overtaking a male cyclist. female cyclist is chuffed, male cyclist is most certainly not.

2. please do not look angry at me for being on bicycle just because you are in a car and i exist.

3. don't give me sympathetic looks when it's raining. i WANT to be here (and my gear is waterproof and i'm actually pretty damn cozy)

4. don't grab your small children like i'm going to run them over, particularly if i'm making eye contact with you. on the other hand, please do grab your old folk, because i will run them over. (kidding. a bit)

5. my tyres are like an inch wide, so if i see something on the road, i'll probably avoid it. this change of direction means do NOT drive your car 30cms from me. and don't think i'm a shit cyclist because i've swerved a bit. be careful; inner cyclist demon exists and can be released.

6. stopping for pedestrians waiting to cross the road scores us Cyclist Brownie Points. we need these, because soon, those pedestrians will get into their cars, and we want to live.

7. back to the chick hit. as a female cyclist, this feels so damn good i can't begin to describe it without sounding a bit weird.

8. if i'm changing a flat, feel free to ask me if i require help. but do NOT precede this with, "Hey beautiful."

9. why does walking in cycling shoes make you look like a) a courier b) you have toilet problems

10. if you're on a shitty bike, or a brompton, don't try and race me at the traffic lights. get a life, and a race number, and let's do this properly.

tomorrow is my first duathlon. 2m run, 10m cycle, 2m run. the competition, unlike triathlons, looks much more intense, so i'll be super lucky to hit middle of the pack. more likely; last quarter. but this is experience for me, nothing else. oh, and another attempt at overtaking a few of the boys :) race report pending!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

the shocking results of this weeks training

it's been a long time coming. this week, i did something i should have done a while ago. maybe after the Oly. maybe after the back to back Sprints.

i rested.

six whole days. nothing. i worked my ass off (doing work stuff) but my training over six days peaked at a 8 minute cycle down the shops. hard workout.

a strange thing happened throughout these six days. i felt no guilt. no itching to get back in the saddle. nothing. work stuff was all consuming and there was no room for tri stuff (shocking!)

so what did i get up to this week?

monday: rest
tuesday: rest
wednesday: rest
thursday: rest
friday: rest
saturday: rest
sunday: 1 hr 20 min (32k) cycle drills (the old one legged!), 35 mins swim specific weights

this weekend i've got my first duathlon;
2m,10m, 2m. i'm not racing this for a race, just as training, to keep my bricks happening over the winter months. if it goes well, i'll continue in 2010 using them as training.

this week i'm going to run 2 miles everyday, which incidentally is the length of my fav. little run around town.

then it's duathlon time! and here's a duathlon related question;

how do you hold yourself back on the bike (saving yourself for second run) when running is your weakness? surely it's better to go hard on the bike, to make up for the time you'll loose when you hit the run?

Sunday, 8 November 2009

running a 10k like a speedy duck waddling

this is a story of progress. it doesn't have an end, but it does have a beginning. and that's where we will start.

me. a few years ago. unable to run 50 metres.

then (a lot of blisters later), a slightly ambitious half marathon. i run it for the better half, then walk. finish with a totally unrespectable time of around 2 hours 33 mins.

next; 10k run. unlike half mara, am determined not to walk. succeed. 1 hour 3 minutes.

fast forward to the next 10k run. need to check what time i'll get for the olympic triathlon and hope to sub an hour. succeed. cross the line around 58 mins.

then, today. hello 10k run. hoping that all this damn running training is paying off, hoping to get anything lower than last race, succeed.

cross the line at around 54 mins (official time pending).

so this story has no definitive ending because it's a journey, of how someone can progress from being a total non running waddler into someone who still waddles, but now waddles with speed. i'm sure you didn't think that was possible, but it is. a speedy waddler. oh yes. that's me. used to be a duck just hanging out, now i'm a duck about to take off. hot.

in one year, i've knocked nine minutes off my 10k time. i've improved by over 10% in twelve months. incredible!

and yes, i've got a long way to go to reach my goals. yes, i will almost certainly never get my running to a point it's even marginally competitive, but you know what; who cares. i'm getting better.

i've worked hard for every one of those minutes, and i guess my point here is that improvements happen.

train hard, no matter how much you waddle, and it's inevitable.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

going clipless

so this is it kids, i've done it. the transition has been long, but the results worthwhile; i've gone clipless.

it's a funny old thing, learning to ride a bike again. twice this week i've been in my new shoe/pedal outfit, cycling along with training peep Paul ready for the inevitable fall. fortunately my fall happened on dirt, and fortunately he was able to break it so i escaped with more bruised ego than knee.

the fall didn't just occur from my learning to use clipless, but from my rather adventurous decision to - on the same day - learn how to complete a single leg dismount. what was i thinking, i know, but why make life 10% harder when you can make it 15%, right?

ok, so what's a single leg dismount? in the short, it's what the cool kids do (them, and the elites). it's when you're cycling along, and rather than coming to a full stop and then getting off your bike; you swing your leg over while still in motion, then jump off your bike. it's speedy, saves time, looks hot.

though this picture explains the process, these peeps don't prove the hot theory.

by the end of the session, i hadn't mastered the technique. it was a lot to take in. single leg dismount WHILE clipping out. my brain wasn't coping, need to get back to this one. i did manage it once, but it was a pretty laboured affair. really should have attempted to master it before the clipless thing, but no turning back now.

so how much better is clipless? i'd planned to re-visit one on my timed circuits this weekend but london weather drove me indoors; so hopefully soon i'll have a definite answer. the science is on my side; i should be faster. i feeeel faster (and a bit more hardcore). i also repeat the mantra when coming to a stop "remember clip out remember clip out remember clip out." have yet to commute into central london (stop, start, stop, start) so that will be the real test.

in other news, my weather induced indoor brick session today was a smashing success (thanks for everyone's thoughts + experiences). three of us overtook the spinning room at the gym and cycled 10 minutes, then jumped on the treadmill for five, and repeated this four times at race pace. it was tough, particularly as my quads were screaming from my 10k run the day before, but felt effective. ideally these times should be longer, but these are some of our first dedicated brick sessions, so something to build over winter.

so what did i manage this week?

monday: rest
tuesday: rest
wednesday: yoga (1.5 hrs)
thursday: 45 minutes outdoor brick (cycle/run x 4)
friday: rest
saturday: 10k run (average pace, 59 mins)
sunday: 1 hour race pace indoor brick (10 min cycle/5 min run x 4)

next week i've got the "PLEASE LET ME PB" 10K race (i'm sure it has another name, who cares what that is). two weeks after, my first duathlon (what's the short name for a duathlon? a duo?)

time to start praying to the running gods.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

shimano vs. effective bricks

this week has been haphazard. i've been working insane hours and as important as training is to me, sometimes you've got to prioritise. here's how training looked this week:

sunday: 1 hour cycle (speed work)
monday: rest
tuesday: rest
weds: rest
thurs: 35 minute run
friday: 20 minute run, 40 minute spin class, 15 minute run
sat: rest
sunday: 30 minute cycle (speed work)

here's some random moments from the week:

1. during timed cycle laps of the park on sunday, i came whizzing up to an ill placed pedestrian crossing literally filled with old people crossing with canes. usually i would stop, i promise, but i was being timed and there was NO WAY i was going to render this lap useless just because of the oldies on the crossing. as i whizzed on through one of them raised their cane and screeched, "you're DANGEROUS." sure, it probably looked that way, but do i need to wear a little shirt saying "I'm getting timed on this so please please move outta my way??"

2. i've ordered my cycling shoes twice and twice i've had emails after the fact saying they're out of stock (despite the website saying otherwise!!) i've finally placed the order at and i've heard nothing yet, so fingers crossed. the shoes which i'm (trying to) get are: the Shimano TR51 Road Triathlon Cycling Shoes and they look like this:
3. i had a major running breakthrough during this weeks brick. more to come in later posts.

looking at my training, i'm still not getting enough bricks in. i really need to focus on this, but i find the logistics of bricks quite difficult. cycle hard for a while, then dump bike somewhere to run? where is my lock; on bike; on place to lock up to? where is a locale good for both running and cycling? so complicated, really.

the run/spin class/run theory is easy but i'm conflicted as to how successful it is, i feel like it doesn't truely replicate the experience of a true bike/run.

but as we're coming into winter, surely this will be the best (only) winter training?

how to others do bricks? i feel i need to be googling for some ideas.

so; it's two weeks until the 10k where i'm hoping to prove that all my ultra painful running work has paid dividends. i've been running pretty consistently but haven't run 10k yet. need to pull my finger out a little here. this week, i promise (!)

Sunday, 18 October 2009

The Evolution of Gear

when you first get started into triathlons, the concept of 'gear' is pretty remote. you go with what you've got, what you've been given, or what costs so little you feel like the people who spend an extra £100 for 'carbon' are a little foolish.

the more races you enter, the more you start caring. transitions used to be about pretending like you knew what you were doing, now you're noticing what type of bikes everyone has.

you pick up a triathlon magazine. start recognising brands.

you go for a ride. going pretty hard, feeling good. then a bike whizzes past your old clanker and its one of the brands you've been reading about, and you understand what you're paying £3K for.

slowly but surely, you get sucked into the world of carbon.

after all, you're spending all this time training, trying to shave off a minute here and there - but you're still riding a mountain bike? there comes a point when you just start caring.

so here i am, caring. it's time to go clipless. that means something to most of you, for others it sounds like i'm going to de-clamp something. so here's visual explanation. currently my feet are cycling in this type of (very basic) get up;

but i'm loosing power, effeciency, all that jazz. so it's time to step up to a proper cycling shoe where i'm actually attached to the bike, voila;

so yesterday i'm sitting in London's biggest tri shop. they've got the biggest range of tri specific cycling shoes; and the shop dude brings out the options. all two of them. rubbish, but it's end of season i guess. the first option is the wrong size, but luckily the other one fits like a glove. i love it.

then i notice the sole. it looks rather... plastic. i ask the question; how much are these? £70.

i know they're an entry level shoe, and i've got to a point where i figure it's a waste of money going entry level. the next model up is mid/high range but they don't have it in stock, so i size myself up in store and head home to order over the net (cheaper this way anyway).

so my quest to go clipless continues, until my carbon-ised shoes arrive and i get my pedals fitted. i've got the duathlon next month and am hoping i can get in enough practise before; otherwise i'll be falling off my bike in public, at a race, possibly taking other more experienced cyclists with me. could be very ugly.

in other news; here's how my week of training has looked;

saturday: 25 minute run
sunday: 35 min run
monday: rest
tuesday: 2 x 35 minute cycle
wednesday: 38 minute run
1 hour run
friday: rest
saturday: 1 hour cycle

and fingers crossed this time next week, i've gone clipless, and have fallen off my bike not too many times ;)

p.s. for those of you wondering what i might look like in that moment; here's a couple of tasters

and just a really funny video of how NOT to cross the finish line

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Where to go from here? I've got 70.3 ideas...

ok so two quick thoughts from the week;

1. i officially have a girl crush on chrissie wellington (move over cheryl). chrissie has just won Kona World Ironman Championships for the third time. her first triathlon was five years ago on a £300 third hand racer. incredible lady, on many accounts, and i now admit to occassionally stalking her. join the fun at

2. an incredibly oversized thanks to everyone for their congratulations from last week's efforts; really appreciate it! i know it only takes a few moments to appreciate someone's efforts but it makes a great difference in equalling out all the hard work; so thank you thank you!

so, ok; let's look forward!

the 'A' race for next year is monaco 70.3 --> which will be my first half ironman, held around september, in (wouldn't you know it?) monaco! part of me understands this will be a massive undertaking, however i'm not sure it's really sunk in yet. the distances are pretty monumental; it's nick-named a 70.3 because that's how many miles i've got to conquer; 1.9k swim, 90k cycle, 21.1k run. it's going to hurt.

so how am i going to get there? i've got some work to do, and some races to tuck under my belt. i've spent the weekend signing up, and here's the list:

nov: old deer richmond 10k run, chilly duathlon (2m run,10m bike,2m run)

feb: brighton half marathon (21.1k run)

mar/april: mid distance duathlon

may: stratford triathlon sprint (400m swim, 23k cycle, 5k run)

end may/june: 10k run or duathlon

june: windsor triathlon olympic (1.5k swim, 40k cycle, 10k run)

july: 10k run or duathlon

august: london triathlon olympic (1.5k swim, 40k cycle, 10k run)

september: monaco 70.3 (1.9k swim, 90k cycle, 21.1k run)

but what are races without goals, right? here's my 2010 wish list;

1. cross the finish line at the 70.3 (very doable with the right training!)
2. complete London Olympic in 2 hrs 35 mins (a massive undertaking but possible!)

to accomplish this, i've got two things to focus on.

my weaknesses; the run, and the transition from bike to run.

i'm going to work on this primarily over winter because there's no point lapping the pool when my swim times are seeing me through. so next month i'll be exploring the world of duathlons, which i'll be using as part of my training to train these stubborn legs (and hopefully convince them they really *do* enjoy running, *especailly* after biking).

and breaking news kids; i'll also be investing in clipless pedals next week, so am looking forward to a combination of falling off my bike in public and getting faster bike spilts (combined with slower transition times).

so it's going to be a killer year, with some big objectives, but nothing too crazy (right?)

Monday, 5 October 2009

i came first!!!!!

event: Warwickshire Triathlon

distance: Supersprint (200m,23k,2.5k)

time: 1.06

position overall: 1/84

allow me to preamble (and apologise for a long race report! i promise it's vaguely interesting!)

while my major race achievement this year was undertaking my first Olympic distance tri, the goal has always been to place at the Warwickshire tri. I knew that by doing the supersprint distance that I’d have a chance, not at first; but at second or third.

something went right, so here’s how the day panned out;

i arrived early, to watch the boy sprinters hit the pool. I was supporting two mates, Craig (who did a smashing job on first tri!!) and Will (who is officially to blame for getting me into this business). Admittingly i was slightly distracted by the visual onslaught of fit boy triathletes. Always a pleasant aside to the actual race itself.

not long after my training peeps arrived on the scene and we spent our usual ‘far too long’ faffing around with our gear and rubbishing each other with good natured overly competitive talk. here’s a picture of us looking friendly, but secretly planning overtakes and tri related ambushes (L to R, deniz, me, paul, lisa)

the swim (200m pool)

predicted time: 3.30

actual time: 3.40

previous time: 3.45

i wasn’t too worried about the swim. i knew that my generic time was going to be good enough for a place, and the key were in the legs to follow. so i hit the pool, and kept a pretty consistent speed without going totally nuts. i tried a new technique too! as it’s a pool swim we needed to change lanes, and previously at this event i’d hit the end of the pool, then duck under, then take off. but watching the boys in the morning had introduced a faster means of moving across; where you hit the end, then push off, changing lanes underwater. it looked rather impressive and a *lot* quicker, so of course i had to give it a go. it worked pretty well, except i spent a long time underwater, which i wasn’t used to, and my breathing did suffer. but i wasn’t worried about it, and ended up with a (husband timed swim) of 3.29 which is a good time for me. so, out of the pool, and into T1.


i have a new t1 top tip kids, and it worked a treat this time so allow me to divulge. once you’ve racked your bike, go and stand at the entry you’ll be arriving from the swim and look at your position from this angle; then find your marker to make you remember. i used to find my marker based on where my bike was actually racked; but this isn’t the perspective which will help you find your stuff because you’re already there (cough, cough). or maybe i was the only other person not doing this right (very possible).

so t1 was pretty smooth. no major issues, grabbed bike, HR not through the roof from swim, feeling good + off i went.

bike (23 kms and T1)

predicted time: 49 minutes

actual time: 48 minutes

last event time: 51 minutes

i knew the bike was important to getting a place, so my plan was to ride hard. my running is still rubbish enough to put me at the back of the field, but my cycling can (and does!) pull me back into contention. so needless to say there was no singing (or thought of song) for the duration!

the bad news was that nobody on the cycle overtook me, so i had no pace maker. this was what drove my time down last time i did the event, so i was a little concerned i wasn’t going to be able to push myself alone, just by overtaking others.

fortunately my lovely first time tri-ing friend Lisa had started six minutes before me; so i knew that if i managed to catch her then i was in good form. she was my benchmark. i had already told her of my plan, and had even revealed the sound effect i would make if i did pass her, and it went like PPPpppCHHHhhEEEeeWWWW *someone whizzing past*

Lisa was wearing black, this i knew. but this was all i knew. so every woman i approached wearing black became a potential Lisa. I’d get close, ready to make my little sound, then get close and realise, nope, no Lisa.

At one very terrible moment which i’d like to scratch from my memory but am strangely recording here; i came up behind a woman who i was convinced was Lisa. during the passing moment i turned my head and had half spoken my “PpppCCHHhhhEEEE--” when i discovered from the look of horror on her face, that it was not Lisa. Oh the shame. What must she have thought!!!

Finally, though, as we hit a hill on a dual carriage way, I found her. And this time, playing it safe from the previous tragedy, I held my tongue with the sound effects. After this, knowing I was up a good six minutes, I felt like the place was within my reach. Yipppeee!

So finally I hit the home stretch, changed gear and started spinning, trying to ready myself for the run ahead. I suspected with this cycle time, i wasn’t going to need to go nuts on the run to hit my ideal time, but i still wanted that PB.


another disaster! the only thing indicating my space was a little towel and it had blown away! eeek! So i racked my bike randomly and took off! (note: leave my bag next time)

Run (2.5k and T2)

estimated time: 13.30

actual time: 14.11

last event time: 14.30

i wish i could write good things. i wish i could say that all those hard runs i did paid off. the hills, the humidity, the sprints, the pushing myself through all that damn pain... nothing. well, 20 seconds... basically nothing.

i’ve made a realisation, with gritted teeth. i’ve worked so hard at running faster, and despite my stats i’m sure i’ve picked up a bit of speed. however, i’ve not practiced bricks. really, at all.

so, what’s happening? i cycle hard, get off my bike in pain, and end up running at my ye olde slow comfortable pace because i’m in pain, or fighting a calf seizure or something. sure i might be running faster independently, but that’s no use in this game. i need to combine the two! how i’ve managed to miss this from my training is quite ridiculous, but here i am, with a measly twenty second gain. rubbish.

but you know what, it didn’t matter! my cycle time was enough to carry me through the lame run (thank you cycle time!) I finished to a brilliant crowd support (thanks so much; Mum, Dad, Ant, Ray, Wendy, Richard, Will). I had a good feeling at this point because nobody had overtaken me throughout the whole race, and i’d hit my goal time; yipppeee!

Post Race

we made our into the ceremony space, where triathletes were gathered, hoping for good news. training peeps paul + deniz were also finger crossing for a place.

paul’s place was announced; he came second! massive congratulations!!

then the women were announced. third place went to... second place went to... i knew getting first wasn’t likely, but then second place had got 1.09 and i’m sure i was faster than that... and then, first place to mmmeeeeeeee!

i was soooo excited i did a little a dance. maybe i did two or three even! i was grinning so much i thought my cheeks might fall off. brilliant! super! yippppeee!

after all the training + hard work, it’s so brilliant to have an actual reward at the end. sure, it’s only a supersprint, but that wasn’t making me grin any less!

(and also a big shoutout to Lisa’s super first tri placing of 24th, and Deniz’s crazy good position of 8th; exceptional job and an excellent grounding to the forthcoming winter training)

ok, so a final thought of the day (jerry springer style). sometimes training can feel never ending, and a bit pointless. but now i’ve realised i can actually achieve the goals i’m placing for myself. and it doesn’t get much better than that :)