London Triathlon – 5th Elite

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With 20,000 people toeing the line – or at least sculling the line – over the weekend, the London Triathlon is the biggest triathlon in the world. With that prestige, it attracts some great competitors, and the winners over the years have all been of Olympic calibre.

Needless to say, being in the elite wave was pretty nerve-racking!


It was a flying visit to London. We were in Edinburgh for commitments on the Friday night and Saturday morning, so got the express train from Edin to London on Saturday evening. With the underground construction works going on, the predicted 10 minute ride from Kings Cross to meet Vicky at Victoria (how we remember where to go!) ended up being 1hour 15, and 4 or 5 switches later. With a suitcase. And a bike.

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(who wants to baby these muppets around London with all that stuff. Vicky, that’s who!)

Getting to bed around 11.30pm, we were thankful for the race start for me being at noon. As long as we were out the door by 8.30am, we would have left plenty time to get to the Excel Centre. Vicky was definitely the Mummy, coming as lead cheerleader, but also telling us where to go, and when to RUUUN, for the next train! Kyle HATES the business of London. He is a caveman at heart, and put him in a tight enclosure with 10 other people makes him go crazy. Like a baboon.

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(Being time efficient while waiting on a train…pumping up the tyres!)

Anyway, we got there in plenty time for me to register, sort transition out (what a faff!), and relax with them with a coffee (that ended up giving me the shakes afterwards because I’d forgotten I’d been drinking High5 caffeinated tablets on the way there!). We went outside (predominantly for me to get fresh air from said caffeine overload) to check out the course and do a wee warm up.

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(Warming up)

It was super sunny and I was excited to start! I saw a couple faces I recognised so was still pretty intimidated but I did come 5th at the British, and won the Scottish a couple weeks ago over the sprint distance, and surely I have a good base from winning Outlaw, so I thought meeting in the middle with a standard distance race couldn’t go too horrendously…

We were announced to the spectators at about 11.45, was allowed to do a warm up, and I even got asked for a photo by someone in the crowd! It was pretty cool to be considered a “real” elite!

We got the race briefing, then went back in the water for the NON WETSUIT swim (ugh!).

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(I REALLY need a new suit so my name goes in the right place…Walker if you laugh again, you die)

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(How to get rid of pre-race nerves..)

Lucy Hall, who was 1st out of the water in the female race at the LONDON OLYMPICS was clearly a favourite going in to the swim. I happened to dive into the water after her, so thought it sensible to go and line up at the starting rope next to her.

The other girls also thought it best to go next to her.

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(The water was pretty choppy but that was not the reason for my average swim!)

So for the 4 minutes until the gun went off,  girls were dunking and trying to push in to get a decent spot. It was SUCH a long 4 minutes and I was MISERABLE (any experts out there – should I have stayed put, or should I have moved to clear water and just sprinted til my damaged little lungs were bursting??). A speaker announced 30 seconds to go.

Then with 10 seconds to go, a girl pushed my head right under the water and sculled on top of me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I heard the horn from under the water, the rope was lifted and I was at the back of the field!! I tried so hard to sprint, and managed to overtake a few. As I moved up to the next pack, a girl I’d overtaken grabbed my ankle so hard THAT I AM STILL BRUISED THERE and pulled me back. Ugh I was at the back again. I surged again, angry this time (but never angry enough for fowl play) and went round one group. By this point we were at the first buoy. I knew that the Olympians would be out in front with clear water, but I didn’t want to be humiliated in this sort of event. I was on the outside of a group that was slowly wittling down to finally me and one other girl. I passed her after wasting energy being side by side in no mans land, and then I saw the chase group about 15m ahead of me. At the last buoy, I tried to reduce that deficit with the plan of smashing transition to cycle with that pack rather than the pack behind me.

I got out of the water, pelted up the stairs 2 at a time to where our bikes were racked in the arena, overtook 3 or 4 girls, realised I’d just been in the THAMES WASHING MACHINE, and peuked in a bin near the bikes. At least it was clean. I have NEVER peuked in a race before! I have felt sick, but never actually been sick. It was an awful feeling but it happens in this sport. Tactics, not to the extent of foul play but apparently that’s going to become more policed, makes the sport exciting I guess.

After a solid transition (only took me a year!), I caught up with the girls in front, and we worked pretty well together. Unfortunately, it was raining when we exited the arena and I had pretty dark shades on. I never realised the roads were so slippy and skidded around the 1st bend. Apologising to the girls around me, I don’t think they liked me after that.

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(I look more fierce in black and white!)

The girls were MUCH better cyclists than the ones I was with in Liverpool. We didn’t work perfectly together – about 3 or 4 of us did the work at the front while the others were happy to sit in – but there were times when I was thankful for the rest! It was a windy course with loads of turns,totally different from previous years. Unfortunately, we didn’t ride to Big Ben and instead we did 4 laps of a twisty, pretty boring course to be honest but it was so that it was better for the spectators. Not really any hills but enough twists to make it technical (something I’m working on!).

I really tried to punish the girls with some surges and longer efforts, as I know I have a strong bike but I wasn’t going to risk a solo breakaway in an elite field, so thought if I make them work they’ll have sore legs for the run.

At T2, another smooth transition, trainers on with ease (who knew talc was so helpful!), and off I strided past the bin sheds (cue near peuking again) and onto the riverside. A couple girls went off like Bolt, but I overtook them all but 1 in the first km and aimed to keep increasing my lead. Sarah Lewis (a Paralympic Guide) had a sensational run, so I couldn’t keep up with her, so it ended up being a solo 10km with Sarah in front and a couple of groups behind.

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The run was strange: over plastic almost giant lego pieces that went over the grass, then up and down some ramps, a twist around a couple aid stations, then a lovely flat straight part. At the end of the straight, there was a 180 turn that went straight into a headwind (no wonder I felt great in the 1st mile!), then up a pretty solid sharp hill back into the Excel, then a windy maybe 600m in the arena (was SO weird to run indoors!) and you do that 3 times! The sun had come out again so it was pretty warm, but the wind actually helped. As did seeing Vicky and Kyle 6 times throughout the run!

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(Keeping themselves entertained for a couple hours!)

The last lap I died a bit and just wanted it to be over. But luckily given the out and back course I saw the 1st group was the only group ahead, so I was pretty sure I was in 5th place! I was never going to catch them, and no one seemed to be behind me, so I didn’t feel any pressure which meant I could just enjoy the moment and be proud of managing this placing after all the (literal) running around and fitting training around real life; work, commutes, travel, wedding planning, holidays, keeping Chewy alive, etc etc.

At the finish, I soaked it in and walked across the line (the finish photos aint pretty, folks), downed a beer (stupid Alcohol free again…) and met a super proud cheerleading team. They were honestly THE loudest group on the course!

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(As sobering as it was, it tasted delicious straight after a tough race!)

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We had an awesome lunch, walked around London together, then split up to catch our trains home again.

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After getting home at 2am Monday morning, my 8am meeting 6 hours later was fun…

 


AND in other news, turns out it was 3 years ago I took up this mad sport!!!

To set the scene, Kyle was training in Chamonix and I was bored. So Phil and I decided to plan a wee race. After this message, I started looking at buying a bike. I then got in touch with Noodles (HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, SCOTT!). And, well, the rest is history!

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Scottish Sprint Champion 2017

I have never been called a chameleon before…! Haha winning the Outlaw middle distance triathlon last week, followed by winning the Scottish Sprint Championships one week later was certainly not expected!

Driving up the road on Sunday, we were exhausted! A whole day in the sun before presentations, the long drives, being busy at work etc etc made us unable to drive the full way on Sunday from Holkham (ok ok we were planning on stopping in Edinburgh to visit friends but close enough) but we gave up and booked a hotel in Sheffield last minute, thinking at least it’s early enough to get a nice dinner and celebrate ourselves.

Wrong. Everywhere was shut and Nandos had to do.

When we finally got up the road and prepped for work again, Kyle was starting to come down with something. I have never seen him that ill before! He suffers migraines, and the occasional manflu/CBA syndrome(!), but he was floored and in bed for 3 days straight with a virus.

I think I caught a little of it because I just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t just fatigue and muscle soreness. I physically couldn’t do anything in the morning but drive to work (not like me if you follow me on strava!) and everything, even typing, felt like an effort.

I developed cold sores, sore heads, and basically was forced to rest. Which probably did me some good.

On Saturday, Kyle’s best man Matt was planning on staying and Kyle persuaded him to join us the following day to watch my race (I think he REALLY wants to enter a triathlon now which is so cool!). But he was coughing and spluttering too! Needless to say race morning I didn’t have the usual pre-race nerves and jitters. I just kinda though, meh.

As in, it would be nice to see if I have any speed in my legs, there’s no pressure considering I am still recovering from a distance 4x as long, and it will be nice to see people.

The race was in Monikie, about 90mins from us (finally a race near-ish by!) so we left around 8am on Sunday with the hungover man-flu lads, stopped at McDonalds in Forfar for our usual required caffeine fix, and got to the race about 10am. It was SO BUSY. I thought I was early! But the car park was full and I may or may not have been last to rack my bike (sorry, Mum. I was organised last week!).

The women’s race was at 11.20am, so I did a WU (ie 5min run in a wetsuit, realised running in a wetsuit isn’t comfortable, so stopped and did 5mins stretch cords instead), then caught up with Sophia and just chilled with Kyle and Matt.

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(Sophia was 1st junior and 3rd overall…I like to think it was because I sorted her strap that she smashed it 😉 !)

I wasn’t “pumped” at all! I needed the swim to wake me up! I felt heavy, slow and fatigued. But I WAS looking forward to the cycle. I LOVED the bike element last weekend and just thought “get through the swim and enjoy the challenge of cycling hard in the wind” (it’s a renowned windy bike course!).

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I toed the line next to Sophia (she is a PHENOMENAL swimmer) thinking I could at least hold on to her feet. Nope. The gun went off and off she went. I found someone’s feet (afterwards I realised the field was stacked with swimmers…a few youngsters could break a minute for 100fc!) and hoped for the best. I exited the water 15secs down on the leader (Soph) in a group of 4 girls and just tried to run up the hill and into transition ahead of the other girls in my chase pack.

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No issues this time and off I pedaled. Because we were the last wave, it was amazing because there was always someone in front to try and pick off! A HUGE contrast to last weekend, where I started with the leading men, only to go backwards as the cycle went on (and might as well have literally ran backwards on that run.).

About a mile in, I saw Sophia at the side of the road – her chain came off! I shouted something I hoped would keep her spirits up, and felt good so upped the pace to try and get the lead.

I passed last year’s winner after about 3 miles and never looked back.

There was a dodgy patch right at the finish, where the parked cars were that were too late for the over flow car park. cars were coming in the opposite direction, so I had to slow down a few times and let them pass. I was just hoping everyone behind me would have to do the same!

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(coming into transition)

I enjoy the bike course at Monikie – you can’t hide in it! It’s an honest course, with decent undulations and super brutal weather. I’ve never had a calm day there! It had about a third of the elevation of Holkham last weekend, but no steep inclines so it keeps it fun 😉

My cycle time was 2 minutes quicker than last year over the 13.3mile course, so that was promising!

In T2 I got my shoes on no problem (hooray!) and off I ran. Now, before the race I was SUPER nervous for the run. What if my training sessions were just a fluke? What if I am just slow now? I hope I have enough of a lead on the bike to hold off any super fast runners (think Beth Potter at Blenheim!).

Well, when it actually came to the run (2 laps around a couple lochs) my mindset completely switched and I just thought to extend the lead and keep pushing, rather than pray that noone catches me. I ended up having the fastest run of the day by 25 seconds and winning the race by over a minute, which was EXACTLY what I needed given my injuries and poor performance last weekend in the run part!

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When I crossed the line, I was happy I managed to pull off a good performance given my prep. Now I can say I’m Scottish champion at all sprint and the standard distances, which is promising for Commonwealth selection.

What was horrendous was at the finish area. I waited around for the next finishers to come in to catch up with them about the race. I went up to shake the girl who came in 2nd’s hand (she won it last year). She tapped my hand, turned her back, and left me in no mans land. I have NEVER in any race I have ever done (including primary school sports day) seen a sheer lack of sporting camaraderie. I’m glad a lot of people saw, including head of performance, Fiona Lothian. I hope she gets an attitude adjustment because we ultimately do sport because we enjoy it and people should be happy they are able to race.

2 years ago I didn’t think I’d ever be walking again, never mind racing again! Geez, people need to chill out.

Oo and just to compare from when I did it last year (albeit with food poisoning)

Swim: 10.58 (2016), 11.01 (2017) (oops, last year I even went the wrong way!)

Bike: 38.43 (2016),  36.07 (2017) (nice one!)

Run: 20.41 (2016), 19.17 (2017) (don’t judge – it’s cross country!)

Overall: 1.10.22 (2016), 1.07.21 (2017) (last year’s winner did 1.08.04 so I have to be happy with that time!)

 

Next up: London Triathlon in a couple weeks 🙂

 

(Apres)Skiing is great training too, right?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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


skiing or boarding?

snow holiday or sun holiday?

beer or vin chaud?

 

Too much time on my hands post Ironman training!

I have so much time to play with now that I’m not training 20+ hours per week! I do miss the EPIC long rides/runs which leave you feeling superhuman (think a 7 hour cycle done before 1pm followed by lunch and shopping!), but I have also been enjoying downtime…more movies to watch, people to see, cakes to bake etc etc.

If anyone cares, I have no real race plans until I am off the medication (January!), so I will be entering races for the banter, then come 2016 real training starts!

Photo Dump now coming your way…!

Thai food with Fiona and Tom (no I wasn’t drunk, I am just a horrible photographer!):

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(Fiona just rocked a sub80 half marathon btw…legend!)

Bubble baths with wine, candles and Great British Bake Off on the ipad:

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(we’re all friends here…sharing is caring!)

Road trips to watch Kyle race requires coffee and Krispy Kremes:

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(apologies for the scar on my right knee….!  😦   )

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(in case you are wondering, yes his pre-race nutrition includes 2 or 3 of these!)

Hitting up the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Kyle’s uni friends was so much fun (this has also made me realise I haven’t posted much in a while…!):

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The above has ALSO made me realise that the following morning I was able to run up Arthur’s Seat…

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…while Kyle couldn’t make it out of bed:

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(Don’t tell him I posted this… He was incredibly hungover!)

I have been cooking more:

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(homemade tacos and sweet potato fries!)

And baking more:

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(2 x different styles of homebakes…OBVIOUSLY with peanut butter M&Ms sprinkled on top!)

We have been hanging around Forres with Kyle’s parents’ more:

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(They are awesome. Mental, but awesome!)

Kyle and I have been on some competitive cycles:

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(21.3 mph trying to drop him…it didn’t work!)

We have been visiting newborns:

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(congratulations again, Hannah & Stephen!)

Kyle has been trying his hand at cycle races:

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(all the gear, nae idea – oddly placed banana though…)

We have made compulsory cake stops (10 points for anyone who guesses the cafe!):

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(carrot cake = my favourite!!)

I have been receiving/milking gifts:

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(Mum & Keith surprised me with a towel they bought!)

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(Planet X sent me a trisuit for the Huntly triathlon!)

Drinks with Phil have also been a necessity:

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(although this photo was post-pub…sent to Callum since he is a slushy addict. Don’t ask)

Speaking of Phil, we also got lost at the Bennachie hill race looking for a shortcut to watch Kyle coming in. Alas, we ended up in the heather!

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Walks on the beach have been fun:

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(Kyle has seen lots of dolphins lately but I haven’t 😦   )

Oh, and of course Noodles has had his say. He said he was surprised by my bike split at the Huntly triathlon (he never gives compliments!), so when I asked him if he was more impressed by that or the Ironman, this was his response:

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(Planet X, do you want to sponsor Kyle too?!)

There you have it! My life the past 6/7 weeks…!

Tonight I have the Aberdeen Sports Awards at the Beach Ballroom – wish me luck!


What do you do when you’re not training due to injury/off season? 

Anyone have any exciting plans the next few weeks?!

Do not try this at home, folks: Winging the Moray Marathon

Remember that Ironman I did 3 weeks ago?

Well, I got bored of my recovery weeks and may have decided to have a YOLO moment on the closing date of the Moray Marathon. I texted Callum (who is even more mental than me – I knew I could persuade him!) so we both entered it as a “fun run” aiming to go just slightly faster than my IM run split (4hr1min).

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Oh no, that’s not the most mental part: I entered on the Sunday, I ran for the 1st time properly since IM on the Tuesday, then on the Wednesday at work I decided that I was now ready to wear heels again at work (I haven’t worn heels since the crash). I take off my shoes to go for a 2nd run and hear a crack! Uh oh! From Wednesday to present I can’t put weight on my left foot.

HOWEVER running, as I found out on Friday, was manageable! Kyle and I were heading to a Sports Awards Event at the Sports Village so we decided to do a wee half hour in the gym beforehand. I hobbled to the treadmill, then did 10 minutes at 9min/miles with no pain!

The following day, Callum, Claire (super mental ultrarunner), Kyle and I, spent the morning in Food Story (delicious cafe 5mins from our flat = dangerous!):

“Callum when are you picking me up tomorrow for the marathon?”

“EH?!?!??!! You’re nae deein the marathon!! You cannae walk!”

“I think I can do it, guys. I ran for 10 minutes yesterday.”

*hobbles to the counter to buy a brownie*

So, no training since Ironman, a predicted broken toe, and a slight hangover from previous sports awards’ free wine, he agrees to pick me up at 7am the next day.

And on top of that, Fraser got news of this last minute entry (thanks, Paul 😉 …) and so a wee article was published in the paper:

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(no pressure then!)

Ok on to race day. Callum, Jeremy (super speedy runner who WILL break 3 hours in 3 weeks time!) and I road tripped up to the Glen Moray Distillery. I had eaten too late on the Saturday night (we didn’t do a food shop until really late so I didn’t have my 7kg of cheesy stuffed pasta until about 9pm), so I couldn’t stomach breakfast until about 30miles into our road trip (pb&j on ciabatta with some chia seeds sprinkled on top) but when you have 26.2 miles to wing forcing food down is a must!

Jeremy was doing the half marathon as a warm up to his “A” race (Robin Hood marathon) so he had an extra hour to wait after we headed off, but registration was so fast and there was no queue for the portapotties which was a massive boost! Don’t think I’ve ever seen that before!

By the time we put our bibs on and dumped our stuff, it was time to make the 5ish minute walk to the start line (it made the course more accurate BUT it did mean we did a net UPHILL marathon!). There weren’t many guys doing it (<100) but everyone was so friendly and the atmosphere was so relaxed and fun!

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We headed off and for once (thanks to Callum!) I didn’t whizz off at my usual unrealistic pace, and even let a girl get in front of me (note: this never happens in a marathon only because I go out at 5km pace and die)! The headwind was mental (20mph) so we could hardly hear each other. It was more noises that Callum made – think moo-ing at the cows, quacking at the ducks etc etc – whenever it was windy instead!

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(that’s me on the right with the bright shorts!)

I prewarned him he needed to have nearly 4hours worth of chat if I was to enjoy this marathon and it actually happened! We never stopped talking the entire way! Let’s see, we talked about houses and pets and weddings and food and marathons and ultras and triathlons and scenery and city breaks and holidays and the weather and tanning and mascara and had a heated discussion about how miles are far better than kilometers(!!) AND he even carried our water!! Best support EVER!

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Unfortunately, although expected, Callum is MUCH fitter than me! He wasn’t out of breath once; even up the huge hill! He is going to SMASH the Budapest marathon in a few weeks! We used to have similar times but he has totally blown me away in the last year!

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(proof of the hills)

The race markers actually counted downwards, which was a great mental boost! As soon as it hit the teens I wrongly mentally thought I was near the finish line….strange but it worked!

It was pretty undulating with a big hill between miles 9 and 11. But the views going up the hill were so pretty it certainly took some of the pain away!

The marshalls were all so supportive (despite calling Callum part of the “leading ladies” – he has never been called a girl so much in his life!) and water stops were plentiful. We carried 3 gels each and I took mine at 7, 14 and 20 miles. I never hit a wall so it did the job!

Oh yeah, and I wore new trainers that hadn’t done over 7 miles so they got a bit clunky at about the 2 hour mark. What’s that saying ingrained into marathoners? “Don’t try anything new on race day!?” Oops!

From about 15 miles onwards we got a great tailwind, and unfortunately, we started passing more and more people. I think if you were to do this race alone it would be very isolating and lonely. Although the course is gorgeous, the small amount of people doing it means there would be times when you are all alone out there (therapeutic to some but I am needy and loved having Callum there!).

As we started picking people off, we upped our pace a wee bit. Nothing too fancy, but we felt good so why not? I did get over excited so didn’t really listen to Callum when he said slow down and stick with the next guy. Sorry I’m not sorry!

Within the last 5km there was about 3km of more headwind (ouch!) and one short but sharp hill, but knowing the last mile had a tailwind, we pushed harder and upped our cadence. Within the last 500m there is one massive stupid hill (that we walked down heading to the start line…booo!) but we passed a few guys from the half marathon which made me feel better!

With 200m to go, Callum was extra-encouraging and told me to sprint finish for the win (I won by 17 minutes so no sprint was necessary, but was fun!) which means I beat him by 1 whole second! 😉

Finishing time 3.16.12 – 1st Female Overall and 1st EVER negative split race (1.40/1.35) – the massive headwind in the 1st half helped!

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I’m not sure if my left big toe issue meant that I overcompensated my running style, therefore damaging something in my right glute but I felt it after about an hour and it is now in AGONY! Another oops! Luckily, there was a physio group there who helped me (and Callum who we find out will do almost any running challenge BUT is terrified of needles!) And because we are soooooo amazingly attractive after marathons, they asked if they could take photos of us for their website! They really knew their stuff and I highly recommend them!

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(Velocity Physiotherapy)

Oh and last but not least, I was given a bottle of wine (this wasn’t part of my prize) by an inspiring man who has done over 50 marathons and named this race as his favourite EVER! To mark that fact, he gave me this:

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We swapped stories (he had heard about my accident/Ironman) and I could have spoken to him for hours!

…However, I was ravenous, as was superCal, so he dragged me to the pies! What a spread of food there was!

We headed home, showered (OH EMM GEEE my hair was so knotted from the wind/sweat/water), and immediately hit the park for some “refreshing” beverages with Callum and Phil!

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(long hair sucks sometimes…any tips more than welcome!)

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It was one of the BEST Sundays I have EVER had!! The one thing missing? We ran through Dallas (Debbie DID Dallas!) and I NEVER got a selfie 😦 …next time!


Anyone ever done a race for fun? What was it?

Do you have “A” races and other tune up races? Or do you just race for fun? Or do you race every race like an “A” race!?

What is the most fun you have had at a race? Why?

How to recover like a champ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chocolate & Cherry Gluten Free Cookies

So the conversation I had with myself last night went a little bit like this:

“aahhh bliss – afternoon off after an awesome recovery day and a productive day at work – let’s bake cookies”

“no Debster you are meant to be an athlete”

“but I love cookies and deserve them”

“how about we compromise and you try out some gluten free ones or protein ones or something the running magazines all rave about”

“let’s do both”

Please pretend I didn’t say that and that I am not a psycho, m’kay?

So I heard cherries are great for recovery:

  • Faster recovery: Marathon runners who drank tart cherry juice five days before, the day of and two days after running experienced a faster recovery of strength compared to those who drank a different beverage. Read more on this study here.
    • Similarly, in another study tart cherry juice helped improve the recovery time after intensive exercise compared to the placebo beverage that was used. Read more on this study here.
  • Decreases muscle pain: Runners in an annual 196-mile relay race in Oregon reported significantly less muscle pain after the race if they drank tart cherry juice twice a day the week before and on the day of the long-distance race. Read more on this study here.
  • Less muscle damage: tart cherry juice decreased some of the symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage following strength training. Strength loss after exercise averaged over four days was only 4 percent, compared to 22 percent among those who drank another beverage.

I don’t tend to stock cherry juice in the house (!), but I DID have some dried tart cherries I bought from Costco the other day, and I searched for a “healthy recipe” for cookies containing these:

CHOCOLATE & CHERRY GLUTEN FREE COOKIES

Summary

Total Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 6 to 8 minutes
Yield: 24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used coconut flour, but you could use whole wheat or gluten free if wanting to stay healthyish!)
  • 1 cup cocoa powder (i used some posh one I got as a present that didn’t have sugar in it)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (I had some gluten free bp in my pantry for some reason so I used that, but it can also be omitted)
  • 3/4 cup refined coconut oil (I used regular coconut oil I got from Costco)
  • 11/4 cups unrefined sugar (I left this out and it still tasted great!)
  • 1/4 cup honey (I used a teeny bit more since I omitted the sugar!)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips (can be omitted, but I kept them in because Debbie doesn’t make cookies without choc chips)

Directions

Preheat the oven 350 degrees F/170 C. and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt the coconut oil.

To the melted coconut oil, add the sugar, honey, vanilla and eggs and stir until well combined. Let sit for 5 minutes to let the sugar dissolve

Add the dry mix to the wet and stir until well combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips and dried tart cherries.

Roll into 24, 1 1/4 -inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Press the balls down with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the cookies appear set in the middle. Do not over bake!

Let the cookies cool for two minutes on the baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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(the finished article – I promise they tasted better than they looked! so chewy!)

These tasted ace! Well worth the Googling – they tasted posh – I think because of the quality of the cocoa powder?? I couldn’t believe there was no butter/sugar in it! Kyle is pretty much a cookie conisseur and he LOVED them!! And Lucy was also over (she eats super healthy 90% of the time) and said they were AMAZING for paleo style baking!!! Yay!!!


Questions for you:

Favourite cookie recipe?

Favourite “healthy alternative” recipe?

Favourite all time whocaresaboutcalorie recipe?

Lazy Evenings with Crazy Visitors…!

Yesterday was fun! Swimming went well in the morning, I ran at lunchtime around Hazlehead in great weather conditions (more like bounded my way over streams and puddles! Kyle, this is why I don’t like trails – they are too muddy!), had a productive day at work, and looked forward to my evening of Lucy coming over to have indepth conversation about politics and current events catch up on Geordie Shore, paint our nails and eat peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon!

This is Lucy and I:

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This is Lucy and I last night:

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(don’t be fooled by appearances on nights out, lads!)

Lucy is a super fit cross-fitting champ and I admire her strength and dedication in everything she does! She used to be an international rower! I love that my closest friends are great sports people!

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I hadn’t seen her in ages as she has been busy with competitions and then holidaying in Ibiza so we were of course talking non-sense for hours!

download (I feel this post is all about Lucy – don’t worry Kyle you’re still safe!) 

Then Kyle came back from dinner with his friend, and was forced to watch another episode of the Geordie maniacs with us. Then Peter came over to take back the ties Kyle borrowed from him for a friend’s funeral 😦 Peter was halfway through his run and had nowhere to store these ties (bad planning, people!) so he decided to finish his run dressed like this:

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…Far too much craziness when I’d been up since 5am!

Questions for you:

What’s the craziest thing you’ve worn on a run?

Favourite mind-numbing tv show (so I can remote-record it immediately!)?