Outlaw Holkham – 1st Elite

19858511_10158996610855644_29802709_n

 

Well, where do I start? I’m still absolutely buzzing from the weekend! My 1st middle distance triathlon and 1st win in an elite race!

That was hands down the TOUGHEST race I have EVER done. To be in the lead by over 9 minutes off of the bike in an elite field, but having failed to fuel during the bike, meant I had to FIGHT for 13.3(hold on!) miles of hilly torture to hold off the other phenomenal girls, both mentally and physically! I joke about learning from every race I’m doing, considering I’m still relatively new to the sport, but since Noodles told me he would disown me if I mention any more mistakes, let’s just pretend I had a perfect race and came away with the win with ease and then he can stop reading here.


First of all a MASSIVE thanks to my sponsors. Without you I wouldn’t be anywhere near as speedy (and yes High5 I have already talked to you about strategy!) OR be able to literally say I have all the gear and no idea 😉

@Speedhub for taking me on and being SO FRIENDLY and banterous over the weekend! Felt like I’d known you guys for years! And dealing with my stooped questions (there have been several), you still treat me like an athlete

@Feltbikes for an unreal ride. If this novice can manage 22.2mph on those lumpy windy roads then it must be down to the IA2

@Zoot for the wetsuit (that gives me a fake six-pack and makes me look like a legit pro). It felt like a second skin and helped me chick the majority of the lads

@Aquasphere for the googles. Not once have they leaked or been pulled off. The suction is perfect and the plus is that they are green and therefore I stand out to my spectators!

@POC for the aerodynamic helmet. As a beginner I thought they would only weigh me down or make me feel claustrophobic but I was totally wrong. It was so light, the attached sunglasses kept me focussed on the road and it must have boosted that cycle speed of mine!

@Cobb saddles for a comfy seat for a couple hours…I am very fussy in this department

@High5 for fuelling me sufficiently before and after the race. But perhaps not during. But that is 100% down to me being a muppet! I have been living off of your protein hits as my elevenses (and oneses, and threeses…etc) instead of my usual brownies or tiffin

Lewis Walker (Kyle’s coach) for agreeing to take me on. He is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate and patient with me. I think we are both excited with this result, considering I never got to show my run form and he is a world renowned running coach.


I shall start by what went well and go from there. Coincidentally (not at all), that would be the swim and bike.

At 3.36am on race morning, I woke up naturally (and clearly checked the time). Not wanting to wake up sleeping beauty ugly, I came out of the tent (yep, camping was the easiest option!), stretched out, grabbed some food (I’m glad I had back up to my instant porridge…I forgot you don’t get boiling water on a field unless you have fancy camping stoves (which we do not have). Instead, I had a large pretzel, 2x zero tablets in about a litre of water, a large chocolate flapjack, a banana and some fig newtons. The previous night, I tried to eat as much as I can, and I have recently developed an addiction to Maoam pinballs, which I totally used as my carb-loading excuse 200g later.

19756113_10211773944396632_269024767_n

(bikes had to be racked the night before)

I had organised my stuff the night before (yes, Mum, I am listening!) and I headed to transition. Supporters can’t enter that area so I left Kyle to get some needed extra shut eye after driving most of the way on Saturday following his Half Marathon win in Birmingham, beating a Commies athlete in the process…But that’s for another post!

I meant fellow Speedhubber Twigg in transition, and he helped pump up my tyres and kept me calm. More to come on him later! It was super windy so I tried to make some jokes to the people around me, but realising people deal with nerves differently, I made the call to quickly set up my area and grab a coffee at the food trucks instead.

19758433_10211773943076599_605507305_n

By the time I got back to camp, it was just before 6 so I grabbed Kyle and we headed to the start area. I felt quietly confident, but was actually the most concerned about the swim. After my bike crash, my shoulder has still been bothering me and I wasn’t sure how creaky it would feel over the swim, and then being hunched over on the bike for 56+ miles. BUT I was trying to remain optimistic, thinking it’s the shortest part of the race and you can make up time on your biking and running – which, you may not believe after Sunday’s result, is actually going really well! It was the discipline I was looking forward to! But those legs decided not to come to Holkham.

Anyway, back to the swim. The elite males and females went off together at 6.27am. I got a spot at the front, which was pretty intimidating as I lost Twigg and swimming with boys scares me. They seem to punch and pull even harder than the girls (although it happens in both!) so I was fully expecting a black eye by 6.29am.

When the gun went off, I sprinted for maybe 35m just to get a wee lead on the majority of the others, then sensible Debbie stepped in (shock, horror) and told me to calm down as we had a long way to go. A lot of guys ended up about 10m ahead as they kept sprinting, but within about 400m I had reeled a few in and started passing them by the time we got to the island. On the way there, the water was so shallow that with every pull, you were grabbing weeds. I REALLY hope I haven’t been papped during the swim as one long reed got lodged in my goggle strap for a while! In training, that would totally phase me and I was do a diva strop, but I quite indifferent at this point.

Going round the island, the sun was rising and was so bright that I couldn’t see a thing! I started breathing 1 in every 4 strokes, just so I could see splashing under the water to make sure I was going the right way! It got worse on the way back, and I had no hope of buoy spotting (a sport I am so good at out of the water…) so just trusted the feet in front of me. Back to the weedy patch, I looked up and noticed hardly anyone ahead of us. I had surged pretty hard, but I didn’t know I was doing this well in an elite field with dudes in it?!

After a couple of confusing weaving (turns out guy in front of me…sorry I have no idea who you were but thanks for the tow for a while…missed a buoy so I think we doubled back) we ended up at the exit. Well, almost. We were about 10m to the left of the exit. The sun was so bright none of us spotted it, so we just sculled over and out we got. By this point there was a lead group of about 5 and I WAS ONE OF THEM!

As I tried to pass a couple guys in the run to transition, the commentator couldn’t work out who/what I was. I was a male for a few seconds, then a Speedhubber, but they know Twigg and there was no one else in the elite field from that team, so there was a bit of an awkward silence until they realised I was a girl. That got the crowd going, and me buzzing, so off I went on the bike beaming with confidence.

So much so that I actually thought I could compete with these lads.

Silly Debbie.

But it is really disheartening when you have come out in the lead pack, only to be constantly overtaken by people (so what if they’re men!?).  In my head, I beat a bunch of men at Suie, so why can’t I beat them here?

In an elite field.

Where a national TT bike CHAMPION is an example of who overtook me.

…What a rookie!

Anyway, I pedalled my little heart out having not the slightest idea how much of a gap I had on 2nd girl out of the water (nearly 3 minutes), and knowing that there were a couple girls in the field that can go sub60 minutes for 25miles, I was cycling like I’d stolen something!

The Tri247 article was correct. You have to remember there is a half marathon to do after the bike. I’d forgotten about this minor detail for the majority of the cycle. Instead I was pedalling on anger, firstly because I’d been overtaken by like 10 guys, but secondly because I saw two or three guys DRAFTING, and not enough motorbikes to police this. If any of you guys are reading, just because you can’t swim and got chicked, don’t cheat your way up the field. Not cool.

The course was STUNNING. So much so that I didn’t care about the brutal side wind for the majority of the course. It passed through Sandringham Estate and some lovely holiday villages and my little tour of the area was worth it! I enjoyed the lumps on the course. They were intense at times, but never lasted long enough so they were almost refreshing and mixed up the terrain! My 2nd half was faster than the first but I think that’s more due to the road quality than conditions because the winds was coming at all angles and we never really got a true tailwind.

I’d meant to take more water at the 2nd feed station, around 45miles in, but stupid me thought slowing to what 15mph for 5 seconds would affect my 9 minute lead. Massive lesson learned as with over 20mins left racing and no water/gels/food, I began to lag a little.

19601157_10211749481185067_4133561426021967858_n

(when Kyle’s your photographer, this is what you get 😉 …approaching transition and super thirsty!)

I came off the bike on track for a course record with a 2.33 bike split, averaging about 22.2mph. I was happy given the course and conditions. Sub 2.30 I’m coming after you! Into transition, the commentator was BUZZING! It gave me such a boost. I was chatting to a guy who came in ahead of me who had to pull out with a shoulder injury – I hope you get better! This was while trying to put on socks/trainers with my mad Raynauds fingers…it was a struggle! When I finally got out onto the run I was a little dizzy but the crowds were phenomenal and pushed me up the 1st hill towards the fuel stop.

I had a lead biker with me. I’ve never had that before! Interesting fact: I did the Cuba Havana marathon and was leading, but it was a 1960’s American style motorbike that was following me, and with the fumes that omit from them, I was REALLY ill and ended up walking a VERY long way!

19873625_10158996609075644_1041580392_n

Anyhoo, I HAVE TO apologise to her because I always try to be as polite, courteous and appreciative to all volunteers/helpers/supporters/spectators because without them the race isn’t possible. I usually love the water stops, using lame jokes like “I wish this was vodka” sort of banter.

Well, not today.

Today I was being chased down, running on empty, and the sun was only getting stronger. My Hyde had taken over my Dr Jekyll norm and I was shouting at her for time gaps to second place, and she had to stop/start far too many times, after my stops, walks and strops.

I stopped the 1st time right after I saw Kyle. I shouted at him too! “What do you mean looking good. I look horrendous. Go away.” Haha I am SO sorry to both of you!

Surprised that she didn’t just cycle off, she was still so supportive and even carried extra gels at the feed stations, knowing I was in a bad place. After lap 1, I had lost 3 minutes on my lead. I was hoping the worst was over and now that I had about 18 gels binged down my throat (I exaggerate but I’m not far off). My aim on this lap was to only walk at the fuel stops. Surely that would only add about 90seconds if there are 3 stations.

19692585_10158996608900644_520952051_n

(Not my best look)

So that almost worked, but I did walk up the majority of the first hill. So I lost another 3 minutes on lap 2. HOWEVER, at the end of lap 2, just before the finishing chute, the lead bike for the male race overtook me, followed closely by TWIGGY!!!! He passed me, tapped me on the butt with a HUGE smile on his face, and off he went down the finishing chute, high fiving kids and getting confetti thrown over him.

That was exactly what I needed!

My team mate just WON the entire race in a NEW COURSE RECORD!! I couldn’t let him down – I just HAD to go for the double!

This final lap, my actual moving pace was definitely way slower (the previous laps I weirdly could only either run at a decent pace, or not at all. I didn’t wear a watch but Kyle said he couldn’t catch me running 6.40s at one (very short) point). This lap was around 7.30s BUT I only stopped at the water stops, and it was the most mentally painful 4miles of my life! With 2 miles to go, I had 3minutes on 2nd. Doing serious calculations in my head of just how fast one could go, and what the slowest pace I could go to still win, made time stand still.

However, with a mile to go, there was no way I was stopping. I started lapping athletes and – again, apologies as I could not speak a word – they were all cheering for 1st lady.

As the bike reared left so I got the limelight down the finishing chute, I slowed to a walk over the line, lifted the tape, bowed to the spectators (again, you were AMAZING!) and smiled to the photographers!

19756087_10158996611140644_477839222_n19858511_10158996610855644_29802709_n19620601_10155479963844868_6950974477425490660_o

Funnily enough, all the pain suddenly disappeared and I was ready for an interview and an Erdinger! I lost my appetite for a few hours, and was a little dizzy for a while, but after a shower and some chill time watching the other finishers, I started to feel normal again.

19832565_10211773942276579_961703068_n.jpg

(such a fun day!)

19866397_10211773942836593_2093312199_n

Into the afternoon before the prize-giving, it was like a festival! Food trucks, music blasting, people (ok ok mainly kids) dancing – it was so much fun! Such a family oriented event where everyone was so happy and friendly! If you’re looking for a seaside getaway with a 70mile race thrown in, this one’s for you!

19732200_10211749481225068_2283647431883326254_n

(a double for Speedhub!)

Thanks for having me, Holkham!

 

Advertisements

Aberdeen Sports Awards Female Achiever of the Year Runner Up 2015

Oops I meant to have written all about this over the weekend but moving has been tough! It has taken up all of my time! Sorry, folks.

So on Thursday evening I was invited to the Aberdeen Sports Awards. Basically, this is a ceremony run by Sport Aberdeen to recognise those doing well in all sports around the area. Well I ended up being nominated, and then shortlisted for Female Achiever of the Year, due to my horrendous yet courageous summer!

It was held at the beach ballroom and I dragged took Kyle with me (he was really ill that morning and his usual attire is a 10 year old 5k race top and shorts. Dressing up isn’t his forte and he isn’t fond of these big flashy events). A nice excuse to wear some makeup after a fortnight of being ill, and put on a pretty dress. Uh oh…I just got lip gloss on the only dress I looked out for this event. Everything else is packed. Grrrrr work dress it is *cries*.

12071552_10156160706955644_557601570_n

(the famous Beach Ballroom)

When we got there, I saw from the seating plan that we were at table number 1 (!) with one of my really good friends Robbie Renwick’s parents (he was up for the male version in my category after taking the GB team to a World Championship victory in the 4×200 freestyle relay In Kazan this year!), Ada and Peter. I hadn’t seen them in YEARS so we spent hours catching up! Rabster couldn’t make it as he is in a busy training block (he lives in Stirling now). It was so interesting to hear about all the Olympic/Commonwealth Games experiences from a parents’ perspective (in summary: EXPENSIVE!)!

Kyle and I felt a weeeeeeee bit out of place at our table. At our table was Robbie’s parents, Kenny Herriot (who made an exceptional speech near the end!), the winner of coach of the year, and the lifetime achievement award winner (who we found out is the father of one of our friends, Leroy, (lots of socialising went on at that table!), so we felt a bit out of our depth!

12167642_10156160707210644_1286865029_n

(table 1…Kenny Herriot in shot)

A video montage played of all the athletes (I was in it swim training at ASV the previous Friday morning), then when a few speeches were given, I was in one inspired mood! Some of the stories were incredible and really touched me!

Our award was considered one of the more prestigious, so it was announced second to last (preceding the lifetime achievement award). It was fun listening to all the nominations and being in a room ballroom filled with such talent and dedication! In fact, I think Noodles has won it previously, so he’s going to think I’m copying him!

Robbie’s category was called out first and he WON!! Runner up was Neil Fachie. Well done, boys!

12168169_10156160707000644_440666235_n

(photos of Robbie as they summarised his awesome year)

12167099_10156160707045644_106882384_n

(Peter and Ada collecting his award)

Next up…Female Achiever of the Year! And I was runner up! I don’t know where they got all the details from (they knew all about my swimmer background, and how I was hit by the car travelling to the Balmoral races, and even read out my Ironman splits (I cringed when I heard the marathon split read out to all those people, until I realised I had had zero training and prep, as well as being hit by a car a couple month beforehand.). I held back the tears and went up on stage to collect my award. I later found out Ada had forced a traffic jam at the photographer area because she had wanted to see me on stage! It was then time for some photos (hopefully they can be issued soon…some were in the paper, but I haven’t seen them all yet. I’ll post them when I do!), and back to the table to watch the final few minutes of the awards.

12166380_10156160707065644_181785586_n

12166765_10156160707115644_1533089778_n

The winner in my category was superstar runner Rhona Auckland – she has had one phenomenal year so definitely deserves the win! I have never met her, and she didn’t make the awards because she is training in America just now, but I did meet her mum and she was lovely!

Oh, and one of my friends from swimming days, Audrey Cooper, won the Veteran Achiever of the Year!! She has faaaaar too many European/British records for her age group (60-64) to count, so instead I’ll just say well done!!

12108893_10154228523544056_2550851459632034671_n

(Audrey with her award)

It was quite surreal to have even been invited to the awards. To think of myself as an inspiration is just crazy…I cried and felt like giving up after the crash, like anyone would do! Maybe the difference is that I didn’t give up, but it just shows what hard work, motivation and dreams can do!

12166863_10156160707160644_1688469663_n

1937858_10156160707285644_98176936_n

(Kyle’s amazing photography skills…I missed the Renwicks! They are so nice! On a separate note, why is my head so big?)

Capture

(Facebook comment from healing hands Helen…I wouldn’t have done anything without her! X)

Oh, and just for comedic effect, Kyle attempted to film me going up on stage. We missed the background story (both our faults!), and there is a big gap where he puts the phone down to clap, but yeah. Here’s a video:

Thanks to everyone for all the support once again! ❤

An Exciting Announcement

I have some exciting and fun news….:

12067172_10156123864840644_1742603466_n

I’ve been nominated for “Female Achiever of the Year” at the Aberdeen Sports Awards!

I guess what I’ve done this summer is a cool achievement, but to be recognised for it is awesome! Thanks to all of you for sticking by me and motivating me through the bad times! I ❤ all my family and friends! xxx

A Numbers Game

Amount of hours trained in peak week: 26hours 30mins (holy moly!)

How this broke down:

Swimming: 1hour 48 (a low week for me)

Cycling: 17hours 1minute (random but Strava don’t lie)

Running: 7hours 40minutes

Longest swim: 2hours (5.8km)

Longest cycle: 7hours 1minute (THAT’s where the 1minute came from!) up Tomintoul road! 117miles with Keithy Babez

Longest run: 2hours40 (20miles) a looonnnnngggggg time before Ironman. There was no running 4 weeks prior to the race

Hours spent doing weights: 0

Weeks off after car accident: 5

Amount of situps performed throughout training block: like 4. Nah, I did some core work before jumping in the pool in morning sessions with COAST, but that slowly turned into foam rolling/stretching/lying on a mat hoping noone notices I’m sleeping.

Amount of weight put on in 4 weeks post Ironman: 4.5kg (oops!) <– I only know this because I was forced along to some biometric tests at work to encourage our department to get involved…I don’t like knowing my weight; it changes too much! Pop Tarts seemed to be my food of choice this last month.

So a few people have asked how I fitted everything in, so I thought I’d show you what a typical week looked like for me, when I was in full training (this didn’t happen so much after the blood clot in my lung appeared). Here goes:

Monday

5.16am – alarm goes off, put swimsuit on, brush teeth, grab bag packed from previous night with towel & work clothes, drive to pool

5.30am – like a scene from the Walking Dead, make my way onto poolside, grab a mat, do some core/foam rolling/stretching/sleeping/gossiping with teenage girls since I am the oldest there and like to feel young, all dependent on how sleepy I am

5.50am – get kit from cupboard (paddles, fins, buoy, float, cap/goggles) and pick the lane with people who don’t mind how slow I am, then complete (usually painful) 4-5km, and get out at 7.30am whining about how slow I am compared to 10 years ago

7.45am – drive to work, taking as many back roads as possible to avoid rush hour traffic

8am – get into work smelling of chlorine and with soaking hair. Sneak to toilet to sort my life out and plaster on the makeup before anybody sees me grabbing a large coffee and porridge. Oh, and do some work

5pm – leave work. Go to bed. Eat 5million calories while watching reality trash tv/Game of Thrones

10pm – bed time

Tuesday

5.50am – wake up feeling sick from all chocolate consumption, put on running clothes

6am – set off on 16mile/2hour run (1st mile doesn’t break 9 minutes). Admire sunrise and finish at work, stopping in past flat at 14miles to grab prepacked clothes bag)

8am – get into work. See above, minus chlorine

5pm – verrryyyy slow jog home (it’s downhill!)

5.20pm – get bike ready for a 2 hour bad boy (usually along N Deeside Rd – I like flat roads!)

7.30pm – dinner & Sons of Anarchy

Wednesday

Morning – see Monday

12pm – easy run around Hazelhead. Realise all my muscles hurt and snails are overtaking me, but enjoy being outside and the fun trails right by work

5pm – head home and within 20minutes I’m usually on the turbo doing some hard gear work while watching trashy tv for an hour

7pm – after showering, consume all the things

Thursday

6am – get up, shove cycle shorts/sports bra on, jump on turbo by 5 past

7am – after a pathetically slow turbo session, shower and jog 1.5 miles to work (let’s call this my brick session)

12pm – do a run session at Hazelhead track: usually something like 2×300, 2×400, 2×500 and then back down with 100 recov

1pm – back at work with my 3 course lunch (free lunch at work is awesome)

5pm – steady recovery jog home (sometimes making it a longer 2.5miles)

5.30pm – another turbo session, working harder this time. OR if I have friends, go out for a cycle

7pm – consume all the foods and watch tv all night

Friday

See Monday morning

12pm – easy run around Hazelhead (about 7 miles)

5pm – head home and either do a light cycle, put pjs on, or socialise

Saturday (my big day!)

7am – get up early, have a big breakfast and head out for a cycle to Braemar (112 mile round trip), stopping every couple of hours for a flapjack, and stopping in Ballater on the way out to refill water (TT bike only has one cage), and Banchory on the way back

2pm – quickly take off cycle jersey, put on tshirt, change shoes to trainers and do 20-25mins brick run

3pm – looonnnnggggg shower and make sure Kyle has made a big lunch for me (he was AMAZING!!)

6pm – another run, this time 10 miles up to Hazelhead/Countesswells and finishing at the flat

8pm – lie in bed crying wondering why I have done this to myself

Sunday

10am/whatever time I can feel human again – get up, realise I am STARVING, eat all the things, go for easy 2-3 hour cycle, usually dragging Kyle with me for moral support

5pm – swim 4-5km, alot of paddle work and with at least 3km non-stop. Gotta get that distance in

This happened most weeks, but with a shorter cycle on the Saturday (it varied from 2 – 6 hours, with a lot of 4 hour bad boys), and Tuesday’s morning run was usually only (!) 80-90mins. As you can imagine, all I did at my desk was drink coffee and eat so I could cope with the work!

Don’t worry – I’m nowhere near that now!!


What does your training look like?

How does it all fit in?

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!!)
  • 11944803_10156000413395644_2138146354_n
  •  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!)
  • 11908039_10156000413425644_1110779202_n
  • 11938965_10156000413430644_535510259_n
  • 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).

20150818_100131

  • 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.

11948243_10156000413440644_2130667067_n

11935726_10156000413450644_1148595681_n

  • 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.

11909773_10156015466210644_1208507429_n

11933101_10156015466270644_1588365197_n

11938829_10156000413470644_1692334964_n

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

11944982_10156000413510644_914711770_n

11896900_10156000413500644_536895747_n

  • 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.

11911068_10155970143475644_677607304_n

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

11950883_10156000413525644_1834885681_n 11880810_10156000413535644_1322272432_n 11938130_10156000413545644_1743734829_n

  • 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

20150817_22121611922091_10156000413550644_920645599_n

  • 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.

11880826_10156000413565644_340003456_n

11857494_10156000413560644_371451113_n

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

11923357_10156000413575644_663666151_n

  • 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: I am a Kona Qualifier :)

If you haven’t seen my race recaps yet, where have you been? Just kidding (not really) – you can find them here, here AND here!


Firstly, I want to do my thank yous…without these guys I wouldn’t have even made the start line. In no particular order so please don’t fight:

  • A massive thank you to Planet X for the bike that got me through a tough and mentally windy 112 mile bike course! And for understanding the reason I wrote off your first TT bike you sent me. 
  • Helen Strachan, THE BEST physio I have EVER come across! I pretty much moved in there the first month after the accident and she put in a fair shift trying to get my knee to bend again. She didn’t even mind touching that horrific new scar of mine! She is a legend and now a great friend!!
  • Gordon, Gregor and COAST for re-teaching me how to swim (I am now only 15 seconds off my lifetime best for 100m free! haha) and helping me to be 1st out of the water in Sweden. There is so much work still to be done in that discipline again so you will see me back on poolside at 5.30am soon in the future. Maybe. 😉
  • Steven Miles at Holburn Cycles for his ridiculous stories and advice. This weeks’ stories involved a midnight bike race/scavenger hunt around Aberdeen trying to find outrageous clues, such as purchasing the item belonging to a given barcode in a 24 hour supermarket (it was bag of ice), and choosing his “favourite” page in an abandoned cottage (page being of a p0rn magazine in a building in the countryside)…the things he gets up to! I digress.
  • Phil Mann and Callum Walker for continual check ups on me throughout my rehab , Freyja Prentice (who has another inspiring story of 13th at the Modern Pentathlon European Champs after nearly breaking her leg!) and her fam for whisking me away for some TLC, and EVERYONE else who has continued to rescue me for coffee and cakes, come round for catch ups, or send me such kind words. I love and appreciate every single one of you!
  • Mum, Emma, Kyle and Keith of course!! I would be a mess if I didn’t have their support. They deserve my trophy more than anyone for putting up with an injured drama queen all summer! ❤

Heroes Hour of the Ironman was pretty spectacular. Those guys who have been going for nearly 16 hours truly are heroes in my eyes. I think 10 or so hours is a long time to be out there on a race course, but me going at “race effort” for 16 hours?! That sounds even more painful! The same applies to the marathon; I am going as hard as possible for 26.2 miles but it takes me just under 3 hours. Those guys who push themselves as hard as possible for 26.2 miles in 4 or 5 hours deserve a larger medal in my eyes (seriously, you should see me at finish lines…I get so teary-eyed!)!

After a long ice bath (I’m sure the water sizzled as I entered it, I was so hot!), a light massage, and having grabbed a beer (non-alcoholic…don’t worry, it was put straight back) and a few slices of pizza (that was not put back and was inhaled in seconds) in the athletes’ finisher area, I met my support crew and they helped me with EVERYTHING (collecting bike, carrying bags, holding me up) as I hobbled my way back to the hotel.

When I arrived back at the room, I should really have showered but instead I READ EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR MESSAGES and cried my eyes out! Poor Kyle had a lot to deal with this holiday! A quick shower later (I didn’t want to be alone – I hadn’t talked much in over 10 hours and I wanted lots of attention for doing so well!!) and I put my legs up on the bed while Mum and Keith came in and told me they hadn’t eaten all day out of following me/spectating/anxiety, so they were going to grab food, so we headed to the canteen (where there was a massive spread and a LOT of fajitas were demolished).

Coach Noodles called me to go over the race with me and for once I actually detected some pride in his voice! I had achieved the unachievable; never mind the Ironman, I put a smile on Scott Neyedli’s face. I also chatted to his girlfriend (who I can confirm is real!) who was soooo nice and I can’t wait to meet her (yes I am coming over to visit, Scott. Get your spare room ready).

When we finally made our way back to the finishing line, the crowds were so loud and excited, myself included! It was just after 11pm and it was like a massive party! When the final runners came in together, and the commentator announced that one was a successful Ironman, having completed the course in 15hours59minutes, he also announced that the last athlete crossing the line that day had done so in 16hours0minutes and a couple of seconds, not being able to be called an Ironman. I think every single one of the thousands of spectators’ hearts sank. The silence was deafening. In my eyes if you cross that line, who are an Ironman.

After that last athlete came in, the fireworks started, which still gives me a lump in my throat thinking about it. They represented so much to me (and on top of that they were SUPER romantic!) – I don’t think in that moment I have ever been happier or more proud of myself, and I had accomplished had finally sunk in.

Ok, back to the fun stuff: the following day, I woke up STARVING!!!! Phil was fidgety all night so was up and already having breakfast in the canteen, so as soon as I woke up I met him straight away (pretty much in my pjs and I had certainly not bothered to look in the mirror yet) and I left Kyle to join us later! That morning was when Swedish meatballs have never tasted so good!

We decided a walk would do us good, so after packing up (Keith dismantled my bike – thank yoooou!), we said goodbye to Mum and Keith (they headed to Stockholm earlier than us to have more time there – and probably get rid of the kids for a few extra hours…we wanted to stay for the awards banquet – for obvious reasons!) and headed to the shop to spend a ridiculous amount of money on all the Ironman-branded stuff I could find. I am a sucker for marketing.

Kyle bought me a bright hoody so everyone can see I did an Ironman (I WILL be “that” guy when you next see me!), and I bought some tshirts, cycling stuff and a visor (I think I may have been the only person out of 3,000 competitors that day not wearing a visor).

11911030_10156001104440644_1826354852_n

(what Mum had been wearing the previous day…no wonder I spotted her!)

11950982_10156001104670644_962737769_n

(I didn’t buy this one, HOWEVER look at the other Moore in the race – I want to be called SKEETER!!)

The three of us then ventured to Ben & Jerry’s to get cinnamon bun ice cream (new flavour! Delicious!) because we had had breakfast a whole 30minutes ago and were hungry again, then to the Coop (actually pronounced “coop” funnily enough) for train snacks (can you see a theme here), then realised our priorities may have needed readjusting as the ceremony had already started. In a taxi we go straight to the banquet.

11925980_10156001080090644_29128506_n

(I love ice cream)

Winner! We get a table at the back with no people on it (I think a lot of people had headed home, considering it was already noon and Kalmar is pretty hard to get to) which was full of ALCOHOLIC beer this time! We watched a quick slide show of maybe 20-30 photos of the day, and I was on 1 of the slides – just me! What are the odds?! It was a close up of me swimming with my brightly coloured nails (that matched my Planet X fluorescent bike!) with a Scottish flag and Swedish flag on each 4th finger) – hope I can find it again!

11944944_10156001079900644_1962042450_n

(yep, and I was caught eating yet again. Chicken and beer this time. Gotta have protein and electrolytes post race)

Then it was time for the Kona slots and awards for top 3 in each age group.

This is where I have some news to tell you. I didn’t accept my place at Kona, and it went to 3rd, hence why she is wearing the Hawaiian flower lei around her neck and not me.

11925931_10156000413320644_77811835_n

11896920_10156000413355644_1820579701_n

11911918_10156000413380644_2016506645_n

11948060_10156001080015644_1593571698_n

Why?

Because if I want to go all the way to Hawaii to compete in the World Championships with the best people in the world, I want to be the best Debbie I can be. And after the summer I have had, I am not anywhere CLOSE to that. I’m sure you can all appreciate how mentally and physically tough this year has been for me and, as I have said a bazillion times, health comes first. I have plenty time and hopefully I can qualify again when I am fully fit and ready to COMPETE and not COMPLETE the world champs!

…I can still milk that I qualified though, right?! 😉

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!).

11951062_10155987320170644_1146916734_n

(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!

finisherpix_1120_000034

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.

unnamed (5)

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!).

unnamed (6)

(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!

finisherpix_1120_012927

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…!

finisherpix_1120_008742

(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.

finisherpix_1120_016189

(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

unnamed (2)

(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!

unnamed (4)

(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.

unnamed (1)

(where’s Wally??)

awdasd

(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.

unnamed

(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.).

unnamed (3)

(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 😉