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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Givin’ Some Lovin’ to hard gears and the U. S. of A!

Since this is a sporting blog, I shall post about sport first.

So after my fun session on Monday, I woke up relatively DOMS-free on Tuesday…result! I decided that I would tackle a turbo session Scott sent me after I finished work. We all know how much I love the turbo trainer! Ian Milne (the amazing masters swimmer I have already told you about) let me borrow some Tour De France DVDs, so I put on one of them for inspiration and got to work.

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I thought I liked single leg drills, until I had to do TWENTY THREE MINUTES of them!! I was cursing Noodles by the end of it!

Wednesday was quite painful on the ol’ quads, so I opted for a recovery swim with COAST (while they did some 400-pace stuff and a max kick set), then an easy run in the snow. It was gorgeous!

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Ok, now look away all the “I read this for sporting/healthy living motivation” readers…

One of the directors from our Houston office (the company I work for is American-based) has been coming over every fortnight to help with our company strategies. I have befriended him because he has – unfortunately for him – been placed in my office (sorry, Jason…you must lose all manliness when in Scotland!) and told him how much I love American junk food (see 2 posts ago talking about my peanut butter M&M passion). Well, he has returned and surprised me with THIS:

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I wish I had compared these with a normal-sized pack of crisps or something for scale….these are the SUPERBOWL-size bags!!!!!! God bless America!!

Cheetos (crunchy only. I am glad he remembered this.), peanut butter m&ms (x 2. Good man.), and pretzel m&ms (my 2nd favourite!!). Unfortunately, Kyle had never tried these (he has only been to America once and that was in Alaska for the world hill running champs…probably no junk food allowed), so we are now one pack of Cheetos down. They are so addictive!!

If I lived in America I would have to exercise some MAJOR self-control.

Ok next point:

THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH for supporting me and this wee blog of mine!! I’m so close (like 15 people close) to having had 10,000 viewers so I am uber grateful for all you readers out there! It definitely helps keep me going!

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(my way of saying thanks!)


Questions for you:

Favourite flavour m&ms?

Do you run in the snow or hit the treadmill?

Ever tried cycling with one leg? Ouch!

The aerobar position is tougher than Babysitting

This weekend was soooo chilled I loved it! I was really lame and was asleep by 10pm each night!

On Friday, after Thursday’s fitting at Holburn Cycles, I set up my borrowed TT bike (thanks again Phil!) on the turbo trainer (ALL BY MYSELF!! YAY!), set up netflix and popped on the bike.

I watched the Blackfish documentary on Seaworld….very sad how they treated the killer whales. I am sure they have helped massively in the conservation of smaller animals, but I think the larger mammals have not/do not have good experiences there. I wrote my dissertation on the justification of animal conservation in zoos, you see, so I am quite passionate about this subject (how I got away with that in a law degree was very difficult I can assure you, but I needed something mentally stimulating in order for me to write 10,000+ words on it!). Anyway, I digress…

Boy did I struggle with the positioning!! Steve at HC did warm me I would get a sore neck the 1st few times, and my legs wouldn’t feel as “free” to spin, but everything just felt off.

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(the bike)

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(me on the turbo. struggling.)

I texted the cycle boys and they all told me to man up, but about 30mins later I called it quits. It just wasn’t fun! I’ll do short and often, and build up on it until it feels more natural.

I was goosed after that hard week of training, so while I showered and put on comfy cosy pjs looking like this…

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…I made Kylie Babez brave the icy winds to go to the shop solo for dinner looking like this:

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(yes, they are my Ugg boots. but it was dark and it was cold)

Aren’t we a cute couple!? *cue tumbleweeds* 😉

On Saturday, Kyle had a race back in Forres (10k trail race where he finished 2nd!), and I intended on doing a long cycle and then a wee run up Hill of Fayre. The cycle was cut short when Keith saw a bunch of black ice about 2 miles in, so we took our time and I got in 25 miles. Then a quick change and I drove to Hill of Fayre for what I think is THE coldest run of my life! I couldn’t feel my feet until mile 4 – and I only did 5 miles! I could barely move my fingers to take photos (but I did! cause it was pretty!)

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Not being able to feel my limbs meant the hills didn’t seem that hard! Although it is the first run in a long time where I stopped to contemplate why I was bothering with any of this, considering I was tired, sore and freezing. But I promised myself the views at the top would be worth it!

A looonnnnnggggggg shower at Mum’s house later and homemade soup was waiting for me, along with some yummy treats that she either made that week, or that was still left over from Christmas (how she STILL has leftovers I have no idea. Ours were gone in the 1st week, but who am I to complain?)

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We went to Costco in the afternoon, and bought 30xSnickers bars (as well as loads of other things of course!) and sent a pic straight away to coach Noodles!

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(he force-fed me these on long cycles. I didnt even like them before cycling!)

At night, I met Kyle at Andy’s house with a curry as we had babysitting duties to attend to!

We had a fashion show, watched a couple movies and even changed our 1st nappy!

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We had Princess Ana, Rapunzel, the Little Mermaid, a Hello Kitty princess, and a star from Amber, and Drew – well he insisted on remaining a Triceratops for the evening.


Questions for you:

What did you get up to at the weekend?

Any funny babysitting experiences?

Coldest ever run?

Weekly Training Recap (3/11 – 9/11)

Monday

am: 5,500m swim with 10×300 max (I used paddles) – ouch my arms!

pm: 7.5 mile run really easy

Tuesday

am: 40 mins stairclimb (my legs didn’t feel like running)

pm: 9 miles with 4x800s @10k – HM pace (this hurt. a lot.)

Wednesday

am: 2,800m swim easy with some sprints

pm: 9 miles at around 7.50 pace

also in pm: Kyle dragged me for 3 miles easy

Thursday

1.5 mile commute each way

pm: 8.5 miles with 4×5 mins pickups with Freyja – we got SOAKED!

Friday

am: 5,000m swim with (150/100/50)x10 @400 race pace

pm: 3km Metro Proms race (4th – 11.28. oops)

Saturday

am: 15 miles with 5km @ MP (20.38)

pm: 30min aquajogging (6mins fast/2min recov for 1/2 hour) + 1km swim easy

Sunday

12 mile trail run

TOTALS:

Swim – 14,300m

Bike – 0 miles  (bike has been in shop since Tuesday)

Run – 69 miles (woohooo I can run again!)

Other – 45min core + 40min stairclimb + 30min aquajog

I NEED to work on my cycling when my bike gets fixed. I’ll force myself on the dreaded Turbo as much as I can – ugh! I am happy with my swimming as I feel I’m finally getting quicker, and with running I need to remember I’m not as fit as I was before the injury, and comebacks take time!

Belated Weekly Roundup…

I meant to post this on Sunday but I was enjoying my relaxing pamper day! I want to recap my training on here so I can look back and know what could be worked on and how to move forward (also a way for my coaches to make sure I’m not skiving I guess!)! I hope it won’t, in 10 months time, be looking back figuring out what went wrong, but how it all fitted together to get me my age group win in Kalmar!

Ok so week beginning 20th October…

Monday 20/10

Planned: So I did 107km on the bike the day before in the wind, and wanted nothing more than a long slow recovery swim…

Actual: 4800m w 9×100 fast (last 3 <78 so I was happy with that!); 4 miles @ lunch 7.40 pace; NOTHING but bed after work

Tuesday 21/10

Planned: easy run at lunch, turbo after work, couple miles run straight after

Actual: run commute (1.5 miles each way), 7 @ lunch dec (1st mile 7.55, last mile 6.35 = aided with the mental wind!), 50 mins turbo after work. Legs were goosed afterwards so run was sacked off.

Wednesday 22/10

Planned: swim then run (maybe some hill sprints)

Actual: 4400m swim with lots of sculling (that I haven’t done in a decade!) and sprints. Arms wanted to detach from my body; 4 easy @ lunch (shoulders hurt running – weird!); cycle to Mum’s for dinner after work one way (12km)

Thursday 23/10:

Planned: easy run commute, then speed work after work

Actual: run commute + 4 easy @ lunch; 4 on treadmill after work @ 6.40 pace. Had to get off as really sore lower right leg 😦

Since went to gym with Kyle and he also couldn’t run (sore achilles), we went to Prezzo instead of finishing to set and ate a ginormous pizza each…

Friday 24/10:

Planned: swim then turbo

Actual: 4500m swim (lots of sprints), nothing at lunch; 8 miles @ 7.45 in pm

Saturday 25/10:

Planned: 70 mile cycle followed by 10 min run

Actual: 71 mile cycle @ 26kmh followed by 2 miles run @ 7.30

Sunday 26/10:

Planned: Monymusk Half?

Actual: 12 @ 7.20 (super windy!) left foot/right bumcheek niggled afterwards (too much info?)

TOTALS

Swim: 13.7km

Bike: (whatever 50min turbo gets me) + 127km

Run: 51 miles (is it weird I do the others in km but running in miles?)

Other: core 3×15 mins before each swim session = 45 mins

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(thought I’d add a picture for good measure)


Questions for you:

Please tell me the more you hike up training the more ravenous you are? I can’t stop eating!

What is your training like?

Turbo Training….my Nemesis

Yesterday included a fun run because we have got a yellow weather warning from Hurricane Gonzalo, so I was getting blown all over the place at lunch time! I spent ages brushing my hair out because the wind made it sooooo tangled 😦

Anyway, I still managed 7 miles at lunch with an average pace of 7.40ish. Last couple miles were in the 6s purely because the wind FINALLY was on my back. The first 5 miles felt like an eternity and my watch was in the 9s for some of it! Apparently there were gusts of up to 65mph!

After work, I changed into my cycling shorts and took to the turbo. I wanted to work on my new technique (“push your back – where your bra strap would be – in the way, and bend your arms to 90 degrees”) and those isolated leg repeats.

Because of the bad weather, Sky TV was down so don’t know why I bothered facing the bike to the television. Instead, I blasted my ipad and mixed up each verse being a different leg, doing both legs for the chorus, then maybe on the second song I’d do the chorus all out as fast a cadence as possible etc etc. I think when you’re working out by yourself songs and using them to alter your intensity is more fun than clock watching and doing a minute fast 30secs steady etc etc.

50ish minutes later (I wanted to get at least 45 mins in and by 50 I called it quits cause I was just too sweaty) The fan Scott donated because he couldn’t be bothered going to skip before he left kindly gave me will need to come out next time! This was the end result during my cooldown:

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(you are welcome)

Does anyone else gets reeeeeaaaaaallllyyyyy sweaty on the turbo? The window was only slightly open and my flat is quite hot I suppose…next time I’ll make sure the window is open, I have a towel at the ready and the fan is on!

And what about everyone’s butts? Is it just me or does everyone walk like John Wayne after cycling?

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(maybe I could go as him for Halloween?)

How am I supposed to run a marathon after 112 miles on a sore saddle? I wonder if I could invent a mattress/pillow/cushion time chair specifically moulded to each individual’s “area” and make it aerodynamic enough that I will never have to work again and I will be super famous int he cycling world?

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Ok my rant is over. Maybe I’ll just have to man up and get used to it.

On another note, what has happened to Renee Zellweger’s face?

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(before)

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(after)

I hope it wasn’t because of the Family Guy episode:

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I thought she had a classically beautiful face before – I just hope that she has finished filming the final Bridget Jones movie so it doesn’t look odd she is happier now.


Questions for you:

Girls, any tips/styles on how to avoid tuggy hair? I tried a bun but running impact makes it fall out, and plaits get tuggy too 😦

How do you get more comfortable on the saddle?

How do you mix up solo workouts on the trainer to avoid boredom/slacking off?