Saturday, 28 May 2011

a little movie from lanzarote

I've been keeping myself busy this week and just published my little movie to my MobileMe Gallery. Thanks to russ cox, steven lord, andy bruce and carlos gutierrez for the footage (and support!) Click the link below to check it out.

Ironman Lanza 2011

Sunday, 22 May 2011

OUCH - my IM Lanzarote report!!

the first race of my 2011 season yesterday …and it was a bit of a shocker. To be honest, it's a total mystery for me as to what exactly went wrong, and why but it's not an experience I'm keen to repeat so once i've given myself a couple of days to celebrate the success of my friends and athletes who raced yesterday too and put my own disappointment behind me disappointment I'll be looking closely for clues in my final preparations.

But, back to the start of the day: I arrived early in transition to prepare my bike and do final checks because i knew that with so many athletes, including my sister, racing there would be a lot of distractions. These were quite welcome distractions really, and certainly helped with all of our pre race nerves. Our support crew were already positioned for a long day of filming and yelling, passing their final good luck wishes through the railings of transition zone.

I'd been lying awake in the early hours of the morning listening to what sounded like very strong winds, but the morning was calm and as it slowly became lighter, the huge crowd of Ironmen and women to-be gathered on the beach, whilst we warmed up in the professional start area. I was excited and calm and we all greeted one another with good luck wishes. Gun start and its a case to get in the water and swim as hard as possible to make some space before the descending crowd of age-groupers hit us! Very rough, and rather frustrating for the entire back stretch of the first lap, but with plenty of company I was getting good draft and no chance to slow up because of those behind. I was aware that there were several green hats indicating female pros around me ,which was encouraging. I stayed within the same group after the land-buoy for the second lap which apart from a couep of tussles and brief double calf cramp as i turned around the far marker buoy ,was just smooth, strong swimming. I was running up the beach within 57 minutes -a huge personal best swim time..setting me up for the day that i was expecting based on the shape i have been in training recently.
My bike did look quite lonely in transition, but the results tell hat i was actually the 4th female pro out of the ocean. Natasha Badman's Cheetah was still in place, though it was only a matter of km long before she'd passed my and was a speck in the distance. However, as we made our way westwards into a healthy head-wind, found myself riding in the company of Emma-Ruth Smith ( who 's number bib read "curly - em"!) and Karina Ottenson, exchanging positions as we went. It seemed that i was making my passes on the inclines whilst they both seemed to have the advantage when the road tipped down. I knew that I had to take advantage of the motivation that the 'racing' experience gives me, and so kept my efforts up even after they'd both pedalled out f sight on the long sweeping down hill stretch of highway to El Golfo - confident that I'd see them again once we hit the undulations of that loop. As it happened, I was at the top of Fire Mountain, having been extremely frustrated by the line of tourist coaches blocking the course -whY???? - before I caught back up to Emma -Ruth, who then bowled over the ridge on her drops and out of sight. The winds were pretty strong blowing from the North-East, which meant a headwind for much of the first 2/3rds of the course. It was pretty draining but luckily, we had a crew of super -EverydayTraining supporters out and about- Ali and Farouk and Naomi and Thomas leaping around like loons at various points to give me a lift. Aside form that though, there was a general atmosphere of gritted teeth about the race - very little exchange between the athletes, which is unusual in my experience of this race. I certainly noticed that I was feeling the strain a lot earlier in the route than i had last year, despite feeling in much better shape prior to the race. I was passed by anther Fpro on Haria -and though i did not know my position, figured that I was probably near last. But fought to stay positive and focused on keeping my own power and effort up to what i knew i needed to do. Despite this, it was clear that this was going to be my slowest ever bike split on this course - as these were the toughest conditions that i've raced here in. My mined did go back to Wanaka (jan 2011) -it certainly wasn't as tough as that!! Te final portion of the course was mostly with a tail -wind - with 52 chain ring this forced me to really get my cranks spinning, which i reckoned would do me good for the run. I found myself passing people in this last portion of the ride, and started thinking about my run. I have ben in great running shape recently and was looking forward to making up some places once off the bike.

Using my new Timex Global GPS, since traditionally there have been no distance markers out on this run, I set out just a bit (but not too much) faster than my target pace of 4:40, and got into a stride. A spanish guy asked me my division, several time before i understood his accent, and i admit o was a bit snappy with him - a sign that was working a bit too hard to want to chat. However he did not seem to take any offence and complimented my running as we fell into stride together. About 3km along the beach front course the head wind hit, and he encouraged me to run in his draft. I wasn't going to turn that offer down! I'd seen some of the other girls already heading out past the 2km point as i'd ridden in, so knew that i had at least 15 min to make up.
Lap 1 of the run is an 18km out-and back most of the 9km out into a headwind and even on the shoulder of my spanish friend, i was finding it tough. Our pace had dropped to run 5min/km -but that would be so much quicker on the return - however, just as we got into sight of the far turn, I found myself slowing…and then having to make surges to close the small gap up. Perhaps it was these short efforts that brought on the stitch (or maybe the cup of ice water I threw on myself, or the can of red-bull in transition) that forced me to slow for a moment. He actually looked like he was waiting for me, so i made an effort to catch up again, but my stomach cramped again and i waved goodbye whilst i jogged a little and stretched out my rib-cage. Pretty much from that moment on ,only 10km into the race, it was all over for me. The stitch passed, but i was barely able to run under 5min/km with the wind on my back. I cant really describe, or even adequately remember the feeling -my legs were not sore, no stitch, it wasn't low blood sugar or caffeine or any other familiar bad running experience - just spaced out and drained. With the wind on my back and the sun out, it felt extremely hot -but i usually handle the heat pretty well. I was caked in salt, but that's not unusual for me and i had been taking on adequate electrolyte drinks, magnesium and salt tabs. I have had poor runs before, but that usually means just going a bit slow because of sore legs or general fatigue. This was different - i felt like i was giving hard effort, HR was high and i was breathless, but still barely running -in fact there was a lot of walking. And a lot of thinking about pulling - the thought of how long it might take to walk 24km was pretty daunting! But, at the same time i could see that others ahead of me were finding it tough, and was hopeful that i'd recover my ability to run.

Well, i stuck at it and saw all our coaching athletes, my sister, our friends on the course and had huge amount of support along the way - despite my obvious detonation people were saying such encouraging things. With a run split of 3:59 and race finish of 11:10 I placed 7th Fpro overall and have plenty to reflect on.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

final preps and new team

yesterday was my last 'proper' training day: a early 3hr ride in the Blackdowns with Taunton's locals, 5 mile race-pace run before packing up the bike ( not my favourite chore) and heading over to wellington for and a set of 20 x 150m in the deserted windowless pool there. Todays short spin and steady swim rounds off a week of about 80% volume, 70% load of recent weeks before my trip to the island on monday.

It's been quite a week though - the highlight being the launch event for The Challenger World UK Tri Team in london on Wednesday and Thursday. It was great to see the other team members again ( i dont run into them much since we're all based in far flung locations and the ITU triathlon and Ironman circuit don't cross over much) and have a chance to meet our new sponsors and support network for 2011. The team, formerly Team TBC Sportsaid retains our association with Sportsaid, but with Challenger World and other new sponsors on boards this year, the level of professionalism and athlete support has really moved up a level. Ryan (Bowd) was running around like a blue-arsed fly throughout the entire 48 hr period, but has done a magnificent job on our behalf. Aside from the invaluable product that we all received from Speedo, Evans, Asics, Timex, Maxifuel and Gatorade, sports performance footwear advice and support from Profeet and being hosted by Crowne Plaza Hotel and Virgin Active gyms, this was a great opportunity to meet and talk to our sponsors face -to -face. I always make a point of learning as much as I can about the products that we'll be using as well as the motivation behind the sponsorship and what I can offer as an athlete to give them the most value in return. It's really nice that on the whole, the people representing these brands and organizations are keen on sports themselves and its generally easy to find a common ground and rapport, making for an enjoyably social couple of days.

On the other end of the spectrum, Steven is currently out in Lanzarote so here in Somerset it's very quiet. It has been great to be able to hermit myself away whilst finalising my race preparations ,catch up on work and sleep really well. The caffeine weening process is now complete - the first two days are murder and i'm best left alone anyway -and i'm sleeping really well in a big comfy bed to myself. The place is a bit of a tip though so one of toady's jobs is get it straightened out before i leave!

This year's Lanzarote is going to be AWSOME! we have a huge posse out racing:
EverydayTraining athletes: Simon, Mel, Kevin, Mark, Lotte, Roz, Paul T, Paul W, Sergio & Jamie..then others from our training camp: Emma, Jon, Brett, Ted, Matt and Mark - maybe.....and other friends Helen, Raff...with my mum, steven and russ and the other halfs of most of those listed doing the cheerleading!
i think the post-race partying could be more fun than the race itself :o)

Righto- its 6:30am and i've a busy day so i'd better get on with it!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Financing the dream

My latest Tri247 column gives a little insight into how i keep myself out of trouble, and make ends meet, since 'giving up the day job'

Monday, 2 May 2011

building a race day nutrition plan

check out my coaching blog for tips for developing a race-day nutrition strategy

everydaytraining coach's blog

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