Moores on Tour in Malaga

Ok ok so this was a while ago, and I have had my home henny since, BUT there is no WAY I can leave this off the blog!

I was told months ago that I was going on a surprise trip with Mum and Sisterister Emma, but I wasn’t to know where I was going (although it was given away twice, I only knew Spain!).

When I got to the airport, I still wouldn’t know probably to this day had an airport worker shouted at us in the queue to see if anyone going to Malaga would mind putting their luggage in hold!

Admittedly, I thought Malaga was a tacky place, but it turns out it is an amazingly cultured gorgeous city, surrounded by beaches and mountains, with the city centre containing stunning architecture and cathedrals. Malaga airport is just a gateway to the tacky Torremelinos or no-carbs-before-Marbs Marbella….I swear we never saw ONE English speaking person in Malaga itself the entire long weekend we were away! And I would go back in a heartbeat!

Anyway, Mum and Em hired us a villa UP A MOUNTAIN!! The taxi struggled to get us up! But the view was incredible!!! It was literally breathtaking (if you made the hike up there!). It had its own pool with views of both the mountains behind and the sea in front, and there were magnificent pine trees towering over us with….wait for it….PARROTS instead of our usual seagulls flying around us!!!

Basically, I got completely spoiled! We were drinking Tattinger pretty much the entire time, I was treated to the most beautiful spa I have ever been in (Moroccan inspired since it is just across the water!), had the most relaxed (and needed!) massage ever, and of course consumed the necessary sangria and paella in the process!

I also ran, which made it my dream trip!! A wee morning run (which KILLED me given the elevation and heat!) followed by amazing food, champage and spa treatments, and some shopping in the afternoon?! Yes please!

Oh oh and THEN when I came home Kyle proposed a SECOND time (there were ring issues and he had to choose another one)…we went on a run and he made me stop by the river near our house. I asked why (usually I am the one begging for a break!) and he went behind a bush and took out Prosecco and two glasses and MY NEW RING!!! I didn’t even realise he had left the house to plant them!

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(I had been fixing my bike so had chipped nails and bike grease on my hands but WHO CARES I had a Malaga tan!)

 

Anyway, here is a photo dump that I pray captures just how much fun we had and how spoiled I was! I cannot thank you girls enough! Love you Moores on Tour gang! ❤

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(approx 12 seconds after finding out where we were going!)

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(how incredible is our view?! and yes they had tshirts made for us!)

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(our pool – no training was done here…)

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(yes ok we didnt stick to the culture the entire time but we needed to fuel up before hiking up the hill to our hoose! aaaand Emma wanted us to taste chicken fries)

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(couldn’t not take a pic with these dudes)

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(she comes in handy sometimes – this is the walk to the house!)

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(we got lost…)

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(Mum squeezed in a wee run when we got to flat land)

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(Cheetos were also a necessity!)

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(my sister under Cister)

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(Dunkin Donuts and a massive frap tasted unreal on pier after my run from the mountain!)

 

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(Eating was a serious ordeal)

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(we had the BEST time!)

 

 

 

 

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As if I wasn’t busy enough… The Dam and Landan!

…I got the opportunity to head to Amsterdam to visit one of Subsea 7’s pipelay vessels during one of its scheduled dry docks.

When I was a graduate I actually went offshore on a diving vessel, but it was puny in comparison to the Seven Oceans!

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Training took a back seat but I managed a 10.30pm treadmill run after a day of touring the boat, and a selfie with my colleague/foodie expert Andy to tease Kyle! at the Canal Lover’s Cruise…!

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(how romantic)

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The day after I got back, it was time to head to London to visit Kyle’s cousin, give the flower girl Queen her dress to try on and watch the Athletics! I.e. Bolt’s last ever race in the 4×100 relay (I think we know how that went….!) and Mo’s last (official) track race (I believe he is doing a couple more local races).

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I wish Bolt got up “Cool Runnings” style and hobbled to the finish, getting the relay the slowest time in history but then again I have never had hamstring cramp and I imagine it is pretty painful!

And what are the odds/how cool is it that we ended up sitting directly in front of one of Kyle’s Scottish team managers and his wife?! Malcolm is super knowledgeable on the sport so was interesting to hear his insights!

The weather was perfect and we managed to run in the morning, have a lovely brunch both days, shopping, then prosecco on the Thames until we headed to the stadium…my idea of heaven!!

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(cousin Vicky)

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(my fiance is so macho)

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(brunch with the gang!)

 

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(we act like a couple sometimes!)

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(“you kiss like you’re related!”)

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(the perfect way to end a run)

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(they NEED to have these sippy cups for grown ups…no-spill wine!)

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(cheers, Belle!)

 

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(And to finish…the “Horniman”…sorry, Mum)

(Apres)Skiing is great training too, right?

I REALLY need to post more than once a month! Buuuut I never realised how time consuming wedding planning is (every time I speak about it I feel like such a grown up!) and we somehow managed to book two holidays within a month!

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Speaking of the wedding, we got a spread in the Forres Gazette all about our engagement! P&J eat your heart out!

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Obviously last month was Iceland, and last week we were skiing in Chatel in France!! There were 10 of us and the 3 floor chalet with fire and hot tub (and STAFF!!! How posh are we?!!) was spectactular! And the skiing wasnt half bad either 😉

 

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After going pretty hard trying to keep up with the speedsters (I skiied every year when I was young (even did competitions!) at our timeshare in New England, but when my parents split up I took a 15 year hiatus and last Monday was the 1st day of my comeback!), my right shin had swollen up like a cricket ball the 2nd and 3rd day so I wasn’t able to ski!

Instead, I hired a board and made an attempt at remembering the week long block of lessons I have received ever in life and followed everyone up the chairlift to the top of one of the mountains. At the top was when I realised I should have stuck to a green run and questioned my sanity, but I was there anyway so why not take my time down while the others headed to Morzine for the day. I missed a turn and went left instead of right, with the only option being to take another lift further up the mountain. Oops. About an hour later (could have walked faster), I made it to the bottom, gave up and walked back to the chalet, ate cake that our chef had just baked, and people watched from the balcony. Not the worst way to recover!

For those of you wondering, Kyle has never really skied (one week total he reckons) but is one of those people who picked it up quick and just tries to keep up. Well, he managed but we loved his special technique, particularly when in the aero position! I MUST find a pic of this (Aki send over asap!).

We had the most funnest times evers!! And now back to reality again! Next trip will be London for Kyle’s 2nd attempt at the marathon in April – he is back to full training now! And I am 90% injury free *touches wood* just trying to get some fitness back from everything I lost! No races this month but planning a couple in March.

Hope everyone is well! 🙂 and if you’re not, vin chaud cures EVERYTHING!


skiing or boarding?

snow holiday or sun holiday?

beer or vin chaud?

 

Update, including a presentation, a munro and a couple fun runs

Well a few things have happened recently (some good, some “interesting”) but I’ll go into detail on the more negative parts in a post all to itself (just to keep you in suspense!)…

Meanwhile, I’ve been up to a few things:

I forgot to tell you I was asked to give a presentation to some 6th year students on my achievements to date and on how to balance a full time job around a pretty demanding hobby. It was so much fun! I was scared I would come across so super uncool and no one would interact, but I forced them to with my “fake triathlon”:

  • Everyone in the auditorium stands up and sticks their arms out like scarecrows. When you can’t hold your arms at 90degrees anymore you sit down. This is to mimic the sore arms in the swim. Last 10 standing come to the front.
  • The 10 remaining do a “ski sit” against the stage ie pretend they are sitting on a non-existent chair, to mimic the screaming quads in a cycle. Last 5 “sitting” are through to the final.
  • Last 5 race from one end of the stage to the other and back. Winner takes all…!

Anyway, that seemed to work and all the kids engaged and asked plenty questions. Even those who clearly weren’t into sport were interested – when I told them I was sponsored by Aqua Sphere who have also partnered with the likes of Michael Phelps, I was asked who Phelps was 🙂

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(Thanks to Portlethen Academy for having me!)

I also was a pacemaker at our local beach parkrun for our running club takeover. This was a night-before job – I had seen that Callum was pacing 20 minutes so I thought I would ruin his glory and be the fastest pacemaker of 19minutes! Although the joke was on me because my time was recorded wrong and they had me down as 18.10 or something wayyy off, so I probably wont be asked to do it again 😦 I promise I was on for 19 until Mark attacked me to a sprint finish of around 18.50! He smashed it!

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I also took part in Metro’s 3km proms race, which is at noon on the 1st Friday of every month until Feb (I think?). It was SO BUSY on Friday with record numbers. I had swam that morning and a lot going on at work meant that 12pm came too soon and I was tired (and hungry!)! Anyway, I forced Callum to pace me to sub-10.30 (he was awesome!) but I struggled in the final couple hundred metres and finished in 10.34 (grrrrr). The wind was brutal so fingers crossed for a calm day and fresh legs for next time!

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(getting pipped at the finish 😦 …)

And last week Kyle and I took some annual leave! Unfortunately, the weather was horrendous AND we both came down with something, so it was a bit of a waste towards the end and we were stuck having pj days! BUT before the weather/illness hit, we had lots of fun with a sleepover with Amber (Kyle’s goddaughter) and Drew, and we bagged Lochnagar. We had the intention of cycling the 100 mile etape route with JK and Phil followed by beer and hot tub action  BUT there had to be a rain check (I am still forcing you to come out with us in the near future, m’kay??).

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(when we weren’t playing with the kiddos or running up munros, there was a LOT of Dexter and boardgames…)

And there you have it! After a few weeks of both choosing – and being forced – to take some time off, I have the training bug again and will build up the base mileage. I am feeling pretty lost at the moment with goal races, but once I have a nice plan in place for next season I will be even more excited to get out there and smash those sessions!


Do you take time off to recouperate from the previous season and get ready for the next?

Favourite thing to do in the off season?

Tips on how to relieve boredom when the weather sucks and you’re ill?

Thailand, Malaysia, China…WOW!

I’m baaaaaack!

 

I hope that Kyle’s marathon recap and Hannah’s Q&A kept things ticking over around here!

 

Our holiday was unbelieveable! I have never been anywhere so tropical in my life! And I have been to Cuba, the Keys, Mexico, Italy to name a few! If you had to draw paradise, I think our scenery would be on your paper!

 
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Anyway, I am not rubbing it in because I am back and my tan is faded and the weather is cold. It was SO HUMID in Thailand that our longest run was about 28 minutes, and that was a MASSIVE struggle (like 10 minute miles)…it was like going through syrup! I did manage a rusty old gym bike session a couple times, and I managed 2 sessions at the end of the holiday in the resort’s ozone 50m outdoor pool, so that brought back the motivation!

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Oh and we may have done a run on the Great Wall. Just cause.

Running in the jungle was pretty scary though. Bugs EVERYWHERE.

We had the BEST time though and I would LOVE to go back!!!

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Good News All Round!

Remember I mentioned that I was in Stirling on Sunday?

Well, following the last time I was down for training, they asked if I would join in on an Assessment day for their “Girls for Gold Coast” team; a squad with the main objective of going to the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

It consisted of a swim test (4x50m max on 60) and some buoy work in the pool, then a run test around the lake at Stirling University, as well as participating in some team builds, interviews, assessments, and watching presentations. I found out I can’t stand on one leg with my eyes closed. I think my time was 0.42seconds in that assessment.

I was happy with the swim – I had about the 3rd fastest average time for the 50s, and was with a couple of awesome swimmers! – and I won the run by a good margin (although I forgot my inhaler so was wheezing in the final few minutes!).

I managed the 1.5mile run in about 8 and a half mins, which I was happy with considering the ice and dog walkers. Oh, and swans in the way!

Anyhoo, yesterday I was asked to join the team! My response:

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So this is exciting! A new journey to embark on!

IN OTHER NEWS…

…KYLE IS 30 ON SATURDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

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He has annoyed me for like a third of his life, but each day he annoys me less so that’s progress 😉 Love you, Kylie Babez! ❤

Here’s to 30,000,000 more!!

To celebrate, we are off to Prague!! Remember Budapest last year? I hope it’s just as magical, if not more so!


What are you doing to make yourself feel festive?

Any winter holidays planned?

Favourite thing to do in winter?

 

How to recover like a champ

  • Read about yourself on Planet X’s website 😉
  • Get on a train to Stockholm and make Kyle take ALL of the athletes’ luggage ie 2xsuitcases, 2xbike boxes, 2xbackpacks filled predominantly with snacks “just in case”, as well as his own stuff.
  • Fail to research the train/underground system in Stockholm and spend a ridiculous amount of time queuing for the wrong elevators for the wrong platforms, then realise a taxi would have been easier AND cheaper.
  • Get to the hotel so late that Mum and Keith have already finished one of the bottles of fizz meant for the Ironmen.
  • Head out for dinner so late that everywhere is closed apart from the poshest/most expensive restaurant in the old town, where you are forced to eat an amazing meal (sorry, Rudolph!) when really all you wanted was chips, cheese and gravy (I was craving this ALL day!!)
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  •  Get to bed at a semi-decent time (ok ok we got chucked out of the hotel bar at closing), then wake up so excited to finally have no training to do that you…go to the gym! haha well Kyle made use of the Hilton’s gym while I stretched (yes Helen this is true!)
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  • Have the biggest breakfast at the biggest breakfast buffet you have seen in years and consume ALL THE THINGS (yes that waffle is also mine).

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  • Walk around the old town, then to the shopping district, arranging to meet Phil outside H&M. Unbeknown to me at the time, there are a billion H&Ms in that area. Spend a good 45 minutes directing Phil to correct meeting point and go immediately for more food.

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  • Decide on plans for the day. Day session in the sun it is. Bump into Mum and Keith in 1st bar (we happened to do this in Copenhagen as well so either a) great minds think alike, b) this was completely coincidental twice, or c) they don’t trust us so followed us the entire holiday…)
  • Walk around in the sun looking for more bars. Find a gorgeous one on a canal that did delicious cakes, and park there for a good few hours.

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  • Decide that a tipsy trip to the ABBA museum is a great idea (Phil especially, despite his expression)

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  • Discover that the Tivoli (same amusement park we went to in Copenhagen) is only next door so try out as many rides as possible while holding the biggest bucket of butter popcorn known to man (this time I was the scaredy cat in the Haunted House 😦 …)
  • Realise you have had too much fun and are due back at the hotel to meet Mum and Keith for more fizz and a “last supper”, so run horribly struggle as best you can to the nearest taxi.
  • Consume said bottle with copious amounts of peanut butter M&Ms (thanks, Phil!) before heading out to dinner.

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  • Find it funny to pose like Debbie (tilted head/thumbs up) en route to dinner

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  • Once at dinner (a Swedish Italian), have a Swedish meatball pizza and beer until you are so full only a gin and tonic will do the trick

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  • The next morning, have another gigantic breakfast, walk to the supermarket to buy souveniers/more snacks for the plane (God forbid you get hungry on a 40 minute flight to Copenhagen), then get ripped of by a taxi driver to the airport.
  • At the airport, see lots of signs that perhaps I should have taken that Kona spot.

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  • Say bye to Phil as he is going straight to Gatwick 😦

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  • Fly back home to the cold weather of Aberdeen and be sad that’s all over 😦 Agree that to get over this sadness, you will celebrate for the rest of year and milk this race for far too long a time (hence I am still milking it on the blog!)
  • Consider changing the name of the blog, since I “Tri’d” and “Qualified” (poet, don’t know it) – thoughts??

Ironman Sweden: The “Sideways” Bike

Sorry for dragging out this Ironman…I have so much to say about it! Swim recap can be found here!

Before I start on the bike leg, I want to say a MASSIVE thank you to Planet X for sending me AMAZING bikes (I was racing on their Exocet 2 Team Carnac TT bike) and looking after me. Let’s just say cycling isn’t my forte so I needed all the help I could get with a super speedy bike! With my lack of training for obvious reasons, I was really comfortable on it (until my back hurt from tensing so much in the wind…my fault entirely!).

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(Thanks Planet X….if I hadn’t been sent a 2nd bike after my crash I would have been out of the race!)

And another HUGE thank you to Steven at Holburn Cycles for the best service a girl could ask for! He has THE best bike shop in Aberdeen, and even gives good cuddles to girls (having just been hit by a car) when a bike accident happens right outside the door! I was an emotional wreck in his shop recently! He has kept me right and has filled me with advice over the past few months!

Thank yooooou guys!!

Ok back to the race. Transition went smoothly. I saw one other female enter the change tent after me and I congratulated her. She didn’t speak English but responded with a smile and a “F***”!” It’s funny how swear words can be internationally recognised! I let her off considering it was a challenging swim!

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I found my bike, headed to the mount line and tried to get on without falling over or taking too long. The crowds were 3 or 4 rows deep along the road we mounted on and they were going wild for the 1st female out of the water, so I had thought it was inevitable I would slip and fall flat on my face with the bike falling on top of me. Fortunately, this didn’t happen and off I went up the hill towards the Oland Bridge.

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My Garmin was playing up so I was trying to sort that while trying to work out where the wind was coming from. It felt like it was going in circles!! The direction was determined once I turned right onto Oland Bridge. It was hitting me right in the face.

I finally got the Garmin to work while on said bridge, but wished it hadn’t when it revealed my speed. 16kph. On the flat. It was laughable it was so windy! Did I REALLY have to battle through this?! Hang on, the main parts of the bike leg are going to be facing the wind side on….NOOOOOO!!!!!

This was going to be one loooonnnnnnnggggggggggg bike ride.

On the same topic, “Oland” – I found out later – means “land of wind and sun”. Why did I not know this before entering? 120km on a scorching hot, tornado of an island? I could barely hear my own thoughts with the wind hitting all angles of my tear drop helmet (sorry, Steven’s helmet – thanks again, Steve!).

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(oops – sometimes it got so windy I couldn’t stay down in the TT position – sorry coach: photo courtesy of Ambjorn Johansson)

The crowds were amazing for the first 30km of the bike leg. There were Mexican waves, samba bands and children cheerleading on their trampolines! Then, as soon as the crowds died down, in “horse manure county” as I have now named it, two pro women came whizzing past me like I was standing still! How demoralising!

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I don’t mind when guys pass me on bikes thinner than the width of my nails, but whenever a girl passed me (I think there were 4 or 5 in total? Don’t quote me on that) I get annoyed. Granted, I haven’t had much time on the bike, considering I bought my 1st one last July, only started using it in around September, and have been in and out of hospital in recent weeks, but I like to think these thunder thighs of mine can at least keep up with these super human cycling machines!

A good couple of hundred males must have passed me! I had mentally prepared for this, and I took these times as a way to learn more about how those fast guys are so speedy. Some had a super-fast cadence, others were ridiculously slow yet powerful, but they all looked amazing! I did see some struggles from those with full disc wheels in the wind though…not surprising considering I had some near misses and I only had deep rims! My way of tackling these disheartening passings? Counting how many people were called Johan…maybe 20%! I had a cheesy grin on my face when an Olaf passed me; all I could think about was how the snowman from Frozen would cope in those conditions. Hey, I had a good few hours of thinking time – I went off track a few times…!

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(stop posing and FOCUS Debz…!)

One thing that annoyed me was how much drafting went on. Maybe I was just annoyed that I couldn’t keep up on the back of those draft packs, but it was a bit of a coincidence that the majority of women that passed me were on the back of a group of at least 5 who were clearly less than the legal limit of 10m between one another. In my opinion, you don’t deserve that finisher’s medal if you draft. The wind was so strong it would save you so much time and effort if you were in a peloton. The marshals I did see on course did seem to be doing their job though; one motorbike pulled up to me and gave me an informal warning about my number being at the side. The wind had turned it to the side from the back and I hadn’t noticed!

Back on the mainland, we did a wee loop back into Kalmar, which really helped with morale for both the athletes and the spectators. Their cheer was VERY welcome and this point and when I saw Mum, Keith and Kyle after being on that island for nearly 4 hours I just lit up! It gave me an extra boost and I had my energy and mental strength back! The massive tailwind back on Oland Bridge also helped…!

The mainland 60km were pretty undulating and on old country roads. The quality of these roads were just like Aberdeenshire, which was unfortunate – but at least I was used to it! There were potholes, grit and even train lines to negotiate. There were quite a lot of twisty parts, which may have kept it interesting for the good cyclists, but my bike handling skills are still sub-par that I really struggled and lost time in these areas. It was mentally tiring when a group you were finally managing to keep an eye on in the distance would drop you at every aid station and corner, just because you have to slow down so much, and you are so tired from the unplanned lack of training that you have to come up onto your hoods a lot more because if you stayed in the TT position any longer you would rust in that position and remain in that position for the run that was to follow.

An out and back point of the course meant a 180 turn (#fail) and “only” 30km to go to the end of the bike leg. Granted, my nutrition hadn’t been as planned, so I started to struggle a little. Basically, I thought I could master both filling up my Profile aero bottle with water AND grabbing a Powerbar at every aid station, but alas I only managed the former. I had had zero solid food on the cycle and had just relied on the 10 gels I diluted into my water bottle in my bike cage.

Not to worry though, I didn’t have long to go, and the further I went, the more dense the crowds! Although the smell of their bbqs mixed with my lack of solid food reeeeaaaalllllllyyyyyyy played on my mind.

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(nearly there….stop thinking about bbq burgers…)

Finally, I passed our hotel which was only a couple of kms from the transition area and smiled the whole way in! You couldn’t help it with the crowds! The winds were less severe as we were sheltered with more buildings and trees, and I got some motivational words from people that passed me/the small number of people I passed that were bonking pretty hard. As I heard the commentator’s sound on the loud speaker, I know I only had a few more seconds before I could get some relief from sitting on the bike for 5 hours and 44 minutes – WOOHOO!!

I was now down to 2nd place. Time for the run…

Ironman Sweden: The “Hilly” Swim

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(The “Kalmar” sign made it even more exciting!) 

I don’t think I have ever been so nervous yet so calm on race morning in all my life as an athlete. The bus from the hotel to the transition area I couldn’t stop asking questions and panicking and annoying Phil. That is my usual level of nerves pre-race. However, when I started sorting my transition bags and putting Body Glide/sun cream, I just stopped speaking; Phil actually got worried! I’m always chatty before races!

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(this sign was up until the athletes started their Ironman journey at 7am…we found it hilarious! #saddos)

Conversely, once we finished the 5 minute walk to the start line of the swim after pulling our wetsuits on (and melting in the heat with them!), I was strangely calm. I reminded myself I had no pressure, the area was beautiful, and I remembered that we do these things for fun. As I squeezed my way to the front of the swim start (coach’s orders) and the national anthem played, I was ready. I was even papped by Keith (I didn’t see them) with a cheesy grin on my face. I think I was just grateful for making the start line after everything that has happened. Anything else was a bonus.

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(where’s Wally??)

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(there she is! didn’t expect to get papped with a smile – so happy I made the start line after all that has happened!)

As the horn sounded, I made my way into the choppy waters of Kalmar harbour. Apparently it was the worst conditions the event had ever seen in its Ironman history. Within minutes, athletes had already asked for assistance onto the boat, withdrawing from the race.

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(Unfortunately, a lot of people struggled in the choppy waters and Keith took this shot after only a few minutes)

I, however, felt great! I have never swam in waves like it before! I was used to following lane lines in anti-turbulence, chlorinated waters; not brackish, blink-and-you’re-15m-in-the-wrong-direction waters. I loved the challenge! There were a few times I hadn’t looked up in a few strokes, thinking the splashes in front of me were another athletes’’ feet. I’d look up and it had just been a wave and I was a good couple of dozen metres away from the lead pack! At least I thought it was the lead pack. I had started at the front and I was feeling pretty good, but you couldn’t really tell when everything in the water was dark and a lot of the time when you tried to breathe, a wave coming towards you would stop you. I was breathing once in six strokes for a good few minutes in one area of the race!

What I do remember seeing, however, was a massive crowd of spectators once we swam back along the land towards the finish. You couldn’t fault the spectators at all that day! Apparently at Kalmar’s mini triathlon the previous Wednesday, there were MORE SPECTATORS ON COURSE THAN ANY OTHER FULL IRONMAN DISTANCE EVENT IN THE WORLD! And that was just the mini tri! Kalmar is famous for its amazing support!

Anyway, back to the race. I stupidly didn’t really check the swim course beforehand and thought there was only one bridge to go under before the finish. Nope. There were two. So what did I do? Sprinted for about 400m after the 1st bridge. Where is this finish line!? I’ve been nailing it and kicking my legs like crazy for like 5 minutes here! Wait a second, why are we heading away from the land again? Towards another buoy? Oops. Ok. Back to my regular two-beat kick it is.

(at that 1st bridge….I’m at the far left! video courtesy of Ambjorn Johansson)

Even after hurting following that wee hard effort, I managed to catch a few more people who had been ahead of me in the final 10ish minutes. I felt strong the entire way, despite even throwing up in my mouth half an hour earlier when the waves were really affecting me, and after having to sort my cap 3 times after being kicked and forced under the water several times (I didn’t mean to be in the middle of the pack, I seemed to just float right in there. And boys are stronger. So I just manned up and dealt with it.).

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(photo courtesy of Ambjorn Johansson)

Finally we swam under the 2nd bridge and I looked up every couple of strokes just to confirm it was indeed the final bridge before the finish. This area was pretty shallow and I kept catching seaweed (ewwwwww!), but that was the least of my worries; I was about to get ready for a 112 mile bike in those crazy winds!

Another sprint just to “chick” a few more guys, and out the water I came – surprisingly, without falling over! (I was fully expecting this being incredibly clumsy at the best of times) – to a roar of the crowds.

“And 1st age group female out of the water: Debbie Moore of Great Britain”

ME?!?!?! REALLY?!?! I must have swam over 4km there!! Awesome!!! Must.now.look.professional.for.said.crowds.

Oh, AND it turns out I was 2nd FEMALE OVERALL INCLUDING THE PROS!! (When they passed me on the bike I was sooooo confused!! They set off 5 minutes before us!!) and 25th overall both genders, again, including the pros!!

So, all in all, I was pretty happy with the swim 😉