Scottish Standard Champs – 1st

I do love Knockburn! The fact it is around 45mins from my house, stunning scenery surrounds the facilty, and I don’t think you could find a flat, easy course in the area if you tried (even the swim on Sunday was hilly given the conditions!) so it’s always a fun challenge!

On Sunday, Knockburn hosted the Scottish Standard distance championships (the distance that you see them race in the Olympics). I won the title last year at Lochore Meadows, and also won the sprint distance (the distance you will see in next year’s Commonwealth Games)  a couple of months ago, one week after winning Outlaw Holkham Half Iron Elite women’s race (yes it has been a busy summer!). I hope this makes sense to any non-triathletes out there!

The field wasn’t as stacked as last year, but there were still nearly 200 entrants, so I wasn’t getting too excited. Also the fact that the previous week I had been on a surprise getaway with my Mum and sister to Spain (more on that in my next post!), where lots of champagne, sangria and Mahou was consumed, and in the days leading up to the race I had been hit with a terrible cold, meant that I didn’t have my usual mojo going into it.

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(drinking Mahou at 8am a week before race day is not conducive to good performance)

When I woke up race morning and it was pouring rain and the trees were shaking, I was actually dreading it! Again, it was awesome being a home race as I woke up IN MY BED and got to pack up THAT morning (although I was probably cutting it fine when I was cleaning my bike and chain at 7am…!) I did a wee 10min warmup on the turbo in the garage, as I don’t usually get a chance to ride at the race location because of racking bikes etc. That woke me up a bit, so had some breakfast (my usual overnight oats, peanut butter, chia seeds and banana) and coffee and headed off with Kyle as my taxi/PA.

I wasn’t sure we’d get parked at the venue as it can get pretty busy so I was thinking of options in my head. But I was pleasantly surprised when we got an amazing space with no stress – major kudos to the race organisers for that one! About 30 seconds from registration, I was straight to the front with no issues, returned my trophy from last year (which I wasn’t allowed to keep – apparently people keep losing them…boooooo!). I then sorted out my transition area (I’m so glad it was numbered so we each got an allocated place…first come first serve transitions are AWFUL!), did a wee jog with the fiancé, had a couple belvitas biscuits, then realised it was 9.50 and I should probably get my wetsuit on.

I didn’t have a tri belt!! Oops! I left mine at Holkham (oops again) and have been tattooed at my last few races that I totally forgot! I found some safety pins, got the PA to secure my number to my back, then back on with the wetsuit, and off the the loch I went!

We got a couple minutes to “warm up” but when the water is alledgedly 13C (we’re all sure it was colder!) it’s pretty difficult to get warm! I couldn’t get my face in for a while and just tried to relax.

Being called to the start “line”, we had to wait quite a while for all the people to get in (it was a mass start at 10am), it got me used to the cold water…a little.

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(I should be somewhere near the front here…)

The gun went off and I tried to sprint for a good minute to get some clear water. I swallowed soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much water from all the splashing (men – you splash a LOT!). Around the island, I found someone’s feet but after 200m or so, they were too fast for me, so I had some clear water for most of the 1st lap.

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(the masses going around the island)

By the 2nd lap, I had actually warmed up and felt SO MUCH better, and even overtook a couple people and got back on someone’s feet! The 1st half of each lap was really fun because it was into a headwind, so there were actually waves in the normally –calm water. I really liked trying to manoeuvre my way through the chop! On the way back to finish the lap, there was a tailwind and you felt like Phelps! And I use the word “felt” pretty loosely considering the 1500m took me 20minutes (fastest swim by 1 minute)… A wee leg kick appeared with 100m to go, purely to try and get some blood flow to my legs before the cycle.

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(don’t zoom – it’s not pretty – BUT if you did you’d see I literally have blue lips!!!)

Coach Broon(!!!) was there to help us blue-lipped triathletes (literally) out the water and I coukdnt feel ANYTHING to get my wetsuit off. Was very surprised my transition was just over 40 seconds as I couldn’t even feel the zip to pull down. Once down though, it flew off with ease (thanks Zoot!) and on with the POC aero helmet (which was like a HUGE warm hug as it went on!) and could barely get on the bike as I couldn’t feel my toes and where to put them! Note: I do normally love an exaggeration however I suffer from really bad circulation issues, particularly since the accident (hence why I’m either freeeeeezing or sweating like cray-cray). It really sucks (I always carry spare clothes in case either of those issues happen). Anyhoo, back to the bike.

Getting my feet in my shoes took ages and 2 guys overtook me (grrrr). I used it as a positive, however, and didn’t want to lose them! There were marshals on every turn (HUGE shout out to the Sahraies and Duncan for the encouragement while standing looking SO COLD!) and the course was awesome. Some light undulations, tight turns and a pretty steep incline in the middle of every lap. In the 1st lap, it was pouring rain, so I took off the glasses attached to my helmet (MUCH easier than I thought) and all I could think of was “but I’m not wearing mascara for the photos” *must change mindset.

Ok lap 2! OATEY was number 1 cheerleader of the day (sorry Kyle!) – he lives literally on the course, and said he’d support (albeit with no time to make a banner…)  and was cycling the course waiting for me! He did a lap in reverse, caught me and then the next lap waited for me and got in trouble for drafting! I told him I hated where he lived (we were on the steep hill at this point) and he laughed at me, shouted some words of encouragement, and off I pedalled away from him! Major kudos for heading out on the bike in those conditions!

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(I ❤ my bike!)

Lap 3 was uneventful…there were more cars on the road and all the athletes were now on the course so there was a lot of slowing down and manoeuvring, but that’s what you get at an open road race – just make it an obstacle course!

I slowed down to turn into Knockburn one hill too early (!!). There were lots of people gathered at a corner, so I assumed that was the turn off, but they were just cheering, so stupid me had to get speed up the next hill and got overtaken into transition! Got my shoes on with ease (surprising since I still lost feeling in my toes) and aimed to overtake a couple of guys I saw in front.

Cycle time was 1.10 which was just over 22mph for the 26mile course (fastest girl by 4mins).

The 1st lap on the run was fun. It was never going to be a fast time given it was pretty much cross country apart from 400m-ish of road per 5km (the rest is grass, trail and woodland narrow path) and had 2 hills in it, but I just wanted to push the effort on the 1st lap. I was overtaken by Alan Semple about 1km into the run (thanks for the encouragement later on!) and I got to see Kyle multiple times! Also, at each turnaround the marshals were in fancy dress which DEFINITELY brought a smile to my face! I tried to crack a couple jokes so sorry if they were cringey!

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(up the hill I go)

About to go onto the 1st lap, I got encouragement from Michelle and Coach Broon which gave me a burst of energy, I then saw Kyle and asked how my lead was. Apparently it was nearly 10 minutes. I didn’t want to push the run too much given I had been ill and would rather finish slower than not at all, so I thought I’d do my last effort up the 1st hill and then jog it in after that (I asked Kyle permission to jog with about a mile to go, just in case!). I got pretty sniffly and mucussy (we’ll make that a word) up the 2nd hill and so I did walk a bit, but then manned up and jogged to the finish for a 41 minute split, which was still the fastest of the day! Andy Redman mentioned at the end they changed the course last year but it came up about 300m short, so they added that 300m in this year to make it a perfect 10k.

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(This is a real and not photo shopped actual smile!)

Happy to come top 10 overall, and win by 9ish minutes 🙂

And how do you end a race when Coach Broon is there? Jelly babies of course! Then straight into the shower, where I chatted with Kirsty (2nd place superstar!) for ages, then realised all my faffing meant the burger queue had started growing (don’t worry I waited – I don’t turn down free burgers)!

I was really happy with the organisation of transition too…we didn’t have to wait to collect our stuff. They had a really good system, so I collected my bike with ease, packed up the car (ok ok my PA did it) and then chilled in the sun froze in the wind and rain until presentations. Unfortunately, this did take a while but we had to wait for every age category winner to finish, so understandable.

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I collected my prizes and got interviewed (sorry for speaking rubbish as always!) and we headed on a celebratory café trip to the Potarch for some cake and hot chocolate!

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The rest of the day was spent watching Pirates of the Caribbean by the fire and sorting out more wedding stuff….2 weeks on Saturday!!

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(I do like being asked how I balance a career with the sport! I’ve been asked that a few times so I might write a post on it?)

Interviews and race video can be found here and here  🙂

 

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Scottish Aquathlon Champs – 3rd female

Positive: Glad I did it to get the race experience, good to get used to getting knocked about on the swim (and experience racing outdoors), got some dolla dolla $$, didn’t give up after being behind after transition, it was a glorious day!

Negative: Got knocked and fell back on the swim, swallowed so much water I couldn’t run fast, couldn’t get wetsuit off, couldn’t get either foot in either shoe, transition was about 20 seconds slower than anyone else in the top 15/20, probably didn’t push the run as hard as I could have (I was apprehensive given I have been/am injured, and already admitted defeat beforehand “I can’t run cross country”)

What a gorgeous day!! There were no excuses weather-wise! Zero wind (until the relays), bright sunshine (my face is still rosy!) and warm temperature (unless you were in the loch. That wasn’t warm at 15C!).

It was my 1st mass start from the water (Kalmar people jumped in the sea in waves of their predicted time) so that was…erm…interesting. I got kicked a few times and crossed elbows after the gun went off, but it was quite fun! My Kaiman Exo goggles from Aqua Sphere were actually phenomenal! They never fogged or leaked once, and usually at races I am panicking rubbing my lenses a good dozen times beforehand!

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Coming back round to the boathouse, I passed a couple of people but kept swallowing water (ewwww to drinking a litre of lake water in under 10 minutes!) then out I got with a stomach sloshing away and failing to unzip my suit because I wasn’t feeling great. When I got to my shoes and eventually pulled off my wetsuit, despite my towel lying there, I couldn’t get my feet dry enough to fit into my trainers! Cue a bazillion people leaving transition before me.

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I kept trying to pick people off, particularly on the wee hill we went up a couple of times, and by the time we got to the forest, I was about 30s down on Julie (who smashed it and came 2nd overall!), and could just about see her in the distance. I managed to narrow the gap in the 2nd lap, but not by much, so I crossed the line in 3rd place behind Natalie and Julie! I’m really glad I got the experience and it gives me more confidence for future races with outdoor swims!

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(Top: girl winners, Middle: age group winners, Bottom: overall winners)

 

Mixed Relay

A couple hours later, we were taking part in the mixed relay. There were 2 Triathlon Scotland Performance teams going head to head, and I was to go last in our team, comprising of Stefan (a PHENOMENAL para-triathlete!), Sarah (who is flying having broken her arm recently) and Kate (she is in the youth squad but could kick all the senior boys’ butts in a track race 😉 !)

Because I had 2 swims, I brought 2 wetsuits, keeping my Aqua Sphere Phantom wetsuit for the relay to try and win for the team! Fiona was calling out splits, so when Stefan slapped me and it was my turn to go, I was just over a minute behind the other TS team! I swam hard (perhaps venturing off course slightly…oops to getting overexcited and forgetting to look where I was going), managed to get my wetsuit off in good time this time, but couldn’t jump on the bike (get some confidence girl!), so another poor T1 time for me!

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The wind had really picked up now and I was riding solo, but I felt strong going into the dead turn. After probably the slowest turn of the day, I got round the cone and tried really hard to nail it up the hill into the headwind. When I got back to about 200m from transition, I had to slow down for an ambulance who had come to rescue Tracy (she broke her toe after a nasty crash…SPEEDY recovery so you can SMASH Celtman in 4 weeks!), which again made me panic a bit getting of my bike, so coming off my shoe hit the ground and came off the bike.

The run was pretty slow for me. My legs were a little tired from earlier but I just kept trying to pick up the cadence. I was 40seconds down on the other TS team after the cycle so I tried to keep pushing so catch him! Again, the run was just that little bit too short and I managed to close the gap to 15seconds behind them. Grrr!!!! Next time!

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It was a really fun day and getting back home around 4.30 meant we could get the BBQ we bought on Saturday going, and have a few protein shakes beers in the sun before it disappeared and the working week started again!

Hope you had a good weekend and IF you happen to be reading the Scottish Herald on Saturday, look out for a certain Debzie Babez…! 😉

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 😉

Interview Numero 5 – Robbie Renwick

Some of you may know Robbie Renwick as a double Olympian, Commonwealth Gold medalist, British record holder, multiple Scottish record holder; but I just see Robbie as Robbie!

We are the same age, started swimming around the same time, and trained around 26 hours per week together (we got on each other’s nerves a lot!) for about 6 years (with only 2 weeks off per year…)!

So yeah, we have known each other nearly 19 years I’d say, love picking on each other, but have also had lots of banter and great times! He lives in Stirling now, but whenever he is up we’ll meet for lunch or dinner (or the occasional cocktail if he doesn’t have a big meet coming up!).

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His best times include a 49.17 for 100m freestyle long course (47.96 short course), 1.45.99 for the 200m freestyle long course, and 3.40.22 for the 400m freestyle short course. Unbelieveable! Although, I moved into top squad approximately 1 month before him, so I beat him at one thing 😉 !

Ok, now on to my questions…!:

What is your greatest sporting memory?

Winning commonwealth gold at Delhi Commonwealth Games!


Favourite place you have trained/competed?

Favourite place was at the University of Florida training with the Gators and swimmers such as Conor Dwyer and Ryan Lochte. Worked really hard and partied hard too!

(Deb edit: if you watched “What would Ryan Lochte do”, he even featured in it! I love reality garbage!)

Give me a day in the life of Robster!?

Get up at 6:30am, go train for 2 hours, then a gym lifting or circuit session. Then back to bed and back at the pool again for 3:00pm for another 2 hr swim. Chill out in the evenings!
What is your diet like?

Quite good – I eat very cleanly during the week and weekends allow myself some bad food and beers. Always trying to watch my weight as i swim at my best with low skin fold.
Do you find time for a social life?

Yes, it helps most of my friends are swimmers and weekends are generally quite free.

Do you ever get time off?

We get a week here and there but our main break is after summer competition usually about 3 weeks long, it goes by fast!


What are your main goals this year?

To win a medal at the world championships in Russia, Kazan – our 4×200 relay team is looking in good stead for a medal this summer which is exciting!


Pre-race superstitions?

None! I stay away from superstitions.
What are your future goals?

Rio 2016 Olympics –  to come home with a medal of any colour!
3 pieces of advice you would give young athletes?

Don’t always listen to your coach; listen to your own body and trust that the most.

Have fun and not take it too seriously;

Have other passions in your life to break up your time so you have things to look forward to in your time off.
Favourite training/racing kit? 

Adidas AdiZero suit is my favourite suit and Speedo goggles.


What makes you love swimming?

Trying to be the best and compete against the best in the world.


Who/what inspires and motivates you?

Gold at Rio 2016 is huge motivation, i motivate myself.

What is on your bucket list (doesn’t have to be swimming related!)?

To go travelling for a while see a lot of the world, i have been to most places around the world but only the hotel and the swimming pool!!

 

Do you miss the swimming world when Debbie was in it?!

Haha yes! 🙂

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Now that I have bigged you up Rabster, you can cook for me after the Scottish duathlon champs in Stirling next month m’kay? Cool.

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His next comp is the Edinburgh International meet in a couple weeks (if I remember correctly!), so wish him luck! Can’t wait to watch you in Rio, dude!!

Interview Numero 3 – Ismael Ortiz

Once upon a time when I was still a swimmer and training at Pine Crest, Ft Lauderdale (MUCH hotter than Aberdream!), I was fortunate enough to be training in one of the best facilities you could imagine….it was a public school as opposed to state school, so a lot of money went into the building of it.

It was JUST like the movies!

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(one of the high school buildings)

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(the football stadium)

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(this is maybe one quarter of the gym..!)

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(the diving pool)

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(the short course pool – 25yds)

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(the long course pool – 50m)

Anyway, while I was there, I was training with some pretty amazing guys! The head coach has been introduced into the Broward County Sports Hall of Fame, a lead coach was a 2-time Olympian who once held an Olympic record in freestyle, the head dive coach was a high dive world record holder, and a few of the athletes were Olympians (my room-mate Catherine was not only a swimmer but also a L’oreal model) so it was one surreal experience!!

One of my best friends while I was there…Olympian Ismael Ortiz. He swam in the Athens Olympics for Panama (sprint freestyler) and, since then, became a country celebrity and was even on their version of DANCING WITH THE STARS!!!

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(he is a MASSIVE poser 😉 but you have to have an ego to be a great sprinter, right?!)

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SO, I Skyped him recently and told him he MUST answer some questions for me! Here they are:

What is your greatest sporting memory?

Has to be teaching a blind girl how to swim.

 

Favourite place you have trained/competed?

Favorite place was Chile because I made my Olympic cut there for 2008 (edit by Deb: Despite qualifying with a 22 second 50m freestyle, domestic political circumstances prevented him from competing in the Games, causing a small public outcry in Panama…)

 

What would a typical day have been like for you at the peak of your career?

Sh*t hahahhaah I wake up at 7, train for 2 or 3 hours, rest , lunch, rest, train for 2 or 3 hours, sleep hahahah not that complicated.

 

What was your diet like?

I eat everything because i burned it all on those days hahahaha!

 

Did you find time for a social life (I already know the answer to that from your mental nights out…I was sadly underage 😦   )?

At the beginning i didn’t  have any because I though it will distract me from my performance, but my nature is to be social so when i grew up i find time to perform and be social!

 

Any regrets?

Losing focus at college swimming but I learned from it, so i don’t know if it is a regret!

 

What were your pre-race superstitions?

No superstition i will always think im going to win no matter what hahahah 😉

 

3 pieces of advice you would give young athletes?

Follow your dreams

Everything is possible

Do not disappoint your parents!

 

What made you choose swimming?

I flooded the house when i was a kid and my parents decide to put me in swimming!

 

What was it like seeing your face on the billboards when you went home (Ish trained/lived/studied at Drury University in Missouri and didn’t go home often)?

It was fun but I actually see my face more on billboards now than back then because of DWTS hahahahah

 

Did you feel like you’d made it when you went on Dancing with the Stars?

DWTS was so much fun… But it was a full of emotions at the same time hahahah can you imagine?

 

Who/what inspires and motivates you?

There are different types of people that surround me. I try to learn from everyone!

 

What is on your bucket list (doesn’t have to be swimming related!)?

Hahahahahhaaha none
I will have to make one after this question!

 

Don’t you miss Debbie soooooo much?

I miss Debbie!! We Skype a lot and her accent is fun!!! (edit by Deb: he spent a good hour a day asking how to say different things in my accent! And he taught me some interesting phrases in Spanish too!)

There you have it! Despite being from Panama (not really known for it’s swimming), Ish’s crazy personality, generosity, intelligence (he conversed no problem with the Italians, Czechs, Brazilians and French athletes while they had to speak English to me…I hate how ignorant we are expecting everyone to speak English. Deduct cool points from Debster. Anyway…), speed and energy made him a celebrity over there! Not only that, but since retiring from the sport, he is now a successful artist!

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(how cool is this?!)

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(I got a good tan when I stayed there!)

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(told you he was crazy!)

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(and the above 2 are of my roomie, Cat!! A French-Canadian beauty!)

Ish I miss you (I’m sure my Mum does too since he made her chat to him on Skype to laugh at the Scottish twang!!) and Cat I miss you as well!!! It can be a small world but it can also be too big to organise reunions 😦 !!

2014 Roundup

This is a long (and therefore probably boring) post, so please feel free to scroll down and think of other things while you “read” my roundup! I saw a few blogs were doing a review of their year so I thought I’d join in!

So I traced what I wrote last year on Facebook…

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Running:

So I definitely got over the 3,000 mile mark this year, but by how much I’m not sure. My computer crashed a couple of months ago and I lost my spreadsheet where I keep track of things and kinda just went “meh I’ll track training in the New Year again”. So that’s that.

I do know that the most miles I did in 1 week this year was 103 (suck it Debbie-from-2013, I beat you!)

My goal of a sub-18.45 5k was done once in ParkRun in 18.32 in August, and again as a split in the Paisley 10k in August (18.15 – TOTALLY went out too fast and died #standarddebtactics), and then again in my split for Ribble Valley 10k on Sunday (18.40ish).

My goal of a sub-40 10k was also done at Paisley, where I came 5th in 38.43 (I got injured during this race and was out for about 10 weeks afterwards 😦 and, was demolished on Sunday at the Ribble Valley 10k (inc North England champs) where I came 9th in 37.32

I haven’t really done a PB worthy half marathon course this year so my PB still stands from Feb 2013 (oops). Inverness would have been a great course to do it on back in March, but it was the day after a Michael Buble concert in Glasgow and a road trip the morning after a few cocktails and Buble wasn’t going to get me that PB…My best time this year actually ended up being in Lanzarote but I’m not going to count that one!

I think that my best run was the Edinburgh Marathon in May. I entered it the day after the Manchester marathon (coincidentally the deadline date) because I was disappointed with my (12 minute PB) time of 3.05. I’d trained for sub3 and I felt fit enough to do it. But the wind, along with my mental strength wasn’t there that day. Then, 3 weeks later, I did the Balmoral 5k and 10k within an hour of each other, and fell down my stairs that evening so spent my Saturday night in A&E (I was actually heading to Nicolle’s bday party – sorry I missed it again Colley!). I was in crutches for a few days, slowly came back to running, tried to be sensible, and another 3 weeks later I broke 3 hours!!

In amongst those races, I also won my 1st real race in the Stonehaven Half marathon (hills and wind must have been my forte that day!) as well as the Fare Challenge 10k (it was such a fun day!! Do it next year if you can!)

Triathlon:

So the “dabble in a triathlon or two” mentioned above was a slight understatement. I always told myself if I broke 3 in the marathon, I’d get back in the pool and buy a bike. I just never realised it would happen so quickly (my 1st run was the Great North Run in September 2011 where I was a total novice; apparently holding a hand-held water bottle isn’t what real runners do in a 90min race…well, it took me 95 minutes that time!)

I called on my friend Max who is a bike expert to help me choose a bike, then when he left for a superstar job in London, I annoyed Noodles, Andy and Doug until they took me out for cycles. I learned so much from them and still have so much to learn! I also pestered Gordon who allowed me to swim with his speedy squad at COAST, where I have met some great people that keep me motivated and enjoy getting up at 5am 3 x per week!

So far, I have done 3 triathlons, won 3 triathlons (in course records), and have done 2 duathlons, winning 1 (the other being a DNF because of a technical issue) and have entered an Ironman (duh, otherwise this blog would make no sense.)

Travel:

I have been so fortunate to be able to go away to so many places this year! At the start of the year I went to Berlin, then after Edinburgh marathon, I went on a girls’ trip to Turkey, then Barcelona/Salou, Lanzarote and Budapest! So far, next year will include Rotterdam in April (Kyle’s debut marathon – he will be PHENOMENAL), Ireland in May (my 1st half iron distance tri!), and Sweden in August! Hopefully I can throw in another training holiday somewhere (Doogz and Kyle were thinking Tenerife…Thoughts please people? For tri training??) and maybe a celebratory trip at the end of the year. Oh, and Hawaii? Let’s hope Hawaii.

Other:

Other awesome things that have happened this year are getting a great job as a contractor in a major oil and gas operator (fingers crossed the market picks up!), getting laser eye surgery (one of the BEST things I have ever done!), Kylie Babez moving in (I ❤ how Kirsty’s household now calls him Kylie Babez – sorry Kyle!), Mum getting engaged at Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Paris, and Emma ROCKING another lead role in the Pantomime this year! I have ALSO just found out one of my besties is pregnant, but I can’t reveal that just yet as it is a bit too early!! Aunty Deb is so proud as she will be the best Mummy ever!! 😉

2015 Goals:

Finally, my main goal for next year is to stay healthy! I was SO CLOSE this year to making it to the end without injury, but September and October ended up being write offs running-wise (I was so thankful I could still swim/cycle)! I want to get to every start line next year without any niggles!

Ironman Sweden is the main goal. I would love to give it my all there and finish with some good news, “A” goal being to make Kona, “B” goal being to beat Phil (muhahaha) and “C” goal being to finish strong!

I would also like to do well in the half distance I have entered in May. Between now and then I will really work on getting a cycling base so I can rock that race!

Running goals will take a slight back seat, but let’s make some time goals just for the bantz:

5k: break 18 (probably won’t happen as I can imagine there will be little speed work in Ironman training)

10k: break 37 – I think a 36-something would look great on a triathlon CV if my swim times were also considered

HM: get that 82 mins I was talking about last year

Marathon: Sub 2.55 

Kind of on the side, but I was disappointed with my 400m free time in Lanzarote (long course swim plus transition = 5.58, so maybe swim time 5.20?) so I would like to break 5 mins again (I think my pb back in the day was 4.24), and I would love to get my 1500m time into the low 19s, maybe even high 18s (again, back in the day I was in the mid-17s) so I can have a solid start to an Olympic distance tri. We shall see – Gordon you have your work cut out for you!

Well, here’s to a successful and amazing 2015!! May all of you achieve – if not surpass – your goals and have the best year of your life (so far!)!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!

Day 3: Broken athletes and facing open water fear

On Thursday we both woke up broken…. we were so so tired and our muscles were so fatigued. The problem was we both knew an easy run/walk would help us but we didn’t have the mindset to do it! After crawling out of bed and taking approximately 7 minutes to put on one pair of shorts (oh, the pain!), we headed out towards the beach for an easy-on-the-mind out and back run on the sand trails.

We were flying barely making it under 9 minute miles, but we felt SO MUCH BETTER afterwards! Glad we forced ourselves out the door for 8.5 miles 🙂

We then went straight to the pool where I played pacemaker for Kyle’s sprint set I gave him (he was buzzing after winning the triathlon so wanted a swim set to get him faster!) 10×50 as fast as maintainable with 30 secs rest. I put in my pullbuoy and paced him to make them all under 42. Bearing in mind this was long course, I was so surprised at how amazing he did!! His last one was a 39!! So much for being a broken man that morning! I need to watch my back!

In exchange for pacing him, he agreed to go in a kayak while I attempted open water swimming in the lagoon straight afterwards. I HATE open water. I have done it once in my life and this was captured beforehand:

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(a picture is worth a thousand words)

The above race didn’t go so well – I swam the wrong way and ended up in the reeds. I couldn’t see a thing! Luckily, I ended up 3rd overall out the water and 1st female, but it was ~6mins of sheer fear and pain!

Anyway, this open water swim was neither in a freezing Scottish loch nor at night in the dark:

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(blame K for the blurriness)

The visibility still wasn’t great (about as great as that picture up there) but I practiced lifting my head out of the water to see the buoys to aim for and that seemed to work. I did the half ironman course (untimed) but the wind made me feel invincible on the way out but the way back I swallowed soooooooo much water from the waves!

We chilled by the pool after lunch, but the sun got a bit too much for the pale skinned Kylie boy:

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(a jacket covering his face with sunglasses for good measure…amn’t I a lucky girl?)

When it got cooler, we hired bikes and did a really easy cycle to explore!

Then we ended up having dinner at a very posh restaurant in La Santa itself10859759_10154938515735644_1600495680_n

I wish we took pictures of all the food we got! Mixed fish platter with all the fish local to the area (sardines, amberjack, calamari and something that looked like mackerel), beetroot risotto, falafel, eton mess and some tasty sangria! We were so full afterwards we took a walk around the harbour

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Then we got chased by a stray rat dog so that ended that.

“What’s the Deal with the Old Guy?” = not just me!

I started swimming when I was 8.

My 1st morning session before school happened when I was 10.

When I made the cut to get into COAST (you had to qualify), I was 11 years old and swimming 3 mornings per week before school, and every evening after school.

At 13, I moved into a higher squad and swam 3 x mornings for 2 hours @ 5.30am, followed by 6 x evenings for 2 hours, and 2 x gym sessions (circuits)

From the ages of 14 and 18, I got up at 4.45am 4 x mornings before school, skipped and did some light jogging poolside before getting in from 5.30am – 8am, went to school for 8.30am. I finished school at 3.45, headed straight to the gym at 4pm for circuits with the Institute coaches, finished circuits at 5 and had to jog/walk a mile to the swimming pool to get in and swim from 5.30pm-7.30pm. On Fridays, the gym session didn’t happen, and on Sundays (if I wasn’t at Scottish squad training in Stirling) I would do another 2-2.5 hours in the pool.

For 4 years I was doing around 28 hours per week of training, on top of school work. I’d love to say I don’t have a clue how I managed to fit studying in to get into law, however, I truly believe training and sport teaches you to have good time management/prioritisation skills and high aspirations!

Apparently, swimming has come on a lot since I stopped 8 years ago. There is a lot more attention to detail and less pounding up and down the pool (we tended to never focus on technique or important skills like turns and dives until the once-a-year taper before nationals), but actual time spent focusing on the sport of swimming for the athletes is still in the 20+ hours range ie not 3 times a week for an 90 mins a time, like I’m doing currently.

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Until this summer, I had not done a proper swimming training session for at least 6 years. I tried to swim again with Silver City Masters team in my 2nd year at uni a couple of times a week (I would have been 19 then), but that only lasted from September until February, but they trained late at night and I was in my prime as a student and preferred nights out.

So for 6 YEARS I have hardly touched a pool. Unless I was in a bikini, the pool was outside, and I had a cocktail in my hand.

When Gordon (head coach) invited me to train with his top squad after SIX YEARS out, it was terrifying! However, I knew that was the only way I could get better if I wanted to be a decent triathlete. This is one of the best squads in the country (3 of his guys qualified for Commies this year!) and I was about to join them.

The majority are in their teens and I am 26 – by no means old – but in teenage years, 10 years older is OLD. My first session with them was intimidating, however, they were so welcoming and knew my background so were impressed a swimmer could run! Keeping up with them, on the other hand, is near impossible! The squad is very motivating and good fun, but when I read this article today I had to post it.

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This is EXACTLY how I feel now that I’ve gone back to COAST:

“What’s the Deal with the Old Guy?”

Bring 18 year-old-me back to train with them and it may be a different story (only maybe though – they are phenomenal!) but for now, the amount of time you have to dedicate to be a great swimmer (20+ hours to my 4.5 at the moment) as well as having had pretty much 8 years out of swimming altogether, can be disheartening. Especially considering what I used to be capable of. I must remember I can only give my best!

If I didn’t laugh I’d cry…

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Questions for you:

Ever attempted a comeback? How was your mindset?

That Training Day I was Telling you About (after an Enchanted Castle Evening)

Remember on Friday I did a 5.6km swim, an 83km cycle and a 10km run? Well, I am proud of that, so we’re going to talk about that m’kay?

On Thursday, after I had put on my Out of Office, I was in holiday mode.I had 1 day’s annual leave left to take, and I needed one (the last time I took one was at the start of September when Emma and I went to Salou and Barcelona!). Some girls take a day to pamper and relax. I decided to do 6 hours+ of sport.

Thursday night, Kyle and I headed to Crathes Castle for their Enchanted Castle event.

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(soaked)

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(ghost ballroom)

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(freeeezing)

It was pouring rain, but still gorgeous the way the castle and it’s grounds were lit up! There were even fire dancers and acrobats!

After walking around, then getting a venison hot dog (amazing!), we left early since I was getting up at 5am!

My alarm went off and to the pool I went! After our usual 20 mins of core/foam rolling, it was the longest session I had done in 8 years (5,600m)! Back in the day, I averaged around 75-80km per WEEK in the pool (up to 10km per SESSION!) but nowadays anything over 5km seems so far!

There was a lot of pull involved so my shoulders were crying out for a rest, but I keep thinking how much strength I’ve lost in 8 years of not swimming, and I have to be happy with the times I’m hitting now! It was so hard trying to keep up with the young speedsters!

1hr45mins later, I had a quick shower and headed home to have breakfast and change into cycling stuff. When I got home just after 8am, Kyle was still in bed (!), so I made him breakfast and forced him out the door!

I left to meet Ian at 9am (we were meeting in Kingswells at 9.15) but I had to stop because my chain kept coming off. This is where I should have realised something was not right and headed back to Alpine Bikes. Instead, I chose to train, and we cycled to meet Doug for a loop around Garlogie (20 miles) and then Ian and I went off to Midmar and back on the Alford road. We had to stop a few times because of my chain, but the views were great and I was surprised I hadn’t bonked, so it was all in all a great cycle! On the way back, with about 10 miles to go, I was getting seriously tired, but I held on and made it back to the flat in one piece! Ian is awesome – so inspiring and motivating! I could cycle and listen to him for hours about his achievements and experience!

Around 3 hours later, I was back home for a quick change into running stuff (I was hoping to change/drink/have a snack within 10 mins in order to REALLY felt the cycle muscles on the run!) and I headed towards the beach. I left my Garmin at work, so I was just going by feel (probably a good thing!) but at 2 miles I was dying a slow and painful death! Every step felt like I was carrying concrete and I was sooooo soooooo thirsty!

Like an act of God, who comes bounding down the beach? None other than Kylie Babez!!! He was doing his lunchtime easy run and he encouraged me to keep up! I was so happy to see him! We crossed the Bridge of Don, then headed to Seaton Park, along the river and back to the university. He left me with about 1.5 miles to go (hilly miles might I add) but I got through it!! I thought the run would be torture but it ended up being good fun! Thanks for going slow for me, Kyle!

A VERY VERY long shower later, a couple of episodes of Grey’s anatomy and a MASSIVE delicious lunch later (I put bread in the bread maker in the morning ready for me finishing…..yummy!!), Kyle was back from work and off to Dizzy’s for dinner we went!

I was so proud of myself and I am so thankful that there are so many people around me willing to help swim, bike and run with me! I need to learn to do these things solo, however for the time being I need all the help I can get! Thanks everyone! 🙂


Questions for you:

What’s the most exercise you’ve done in a day?

Working out with people or solo?