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The Kona Diaries – Days 1-4

We arrived on the big island of Hawaii on Thursday night after a draining 24 hours of travel. It was pleasantly warm, the sweating started the moment we stepped of the plane. But to be fair this year it hasn’t seemed as hot as two years ago. Much felt like coming home, we are even in the same apartment block as last time, about 2 miles down Alii Drive from the pier.

After a uncharacteristically good first night – I slept from half 11 at night till 9am, we just took it easy the next day to recover from the travel, collected our hire cruiser bikes, shopped for groceries, visited the farmer’s market for yummy local pineapple, passion fruit, papayas, avocados, apple bananas, and mangos. After lunch we put the bikes back together and I headed out for a first ride to check everything works and to spin out the legs. It was warm and windy. Not a surprise then. I didn’t feel particularly strong but that was to be expected, 24 hours of travel don’t pass you by without leaving some sort of mark.

Autumn – A Time for Reflection and Action Plans!

Hola!

So it is nearly end of the triathlon racing season in the UK. Leaves are turning brown, sleeves are the norm when going out on the bike and open water swim venues are closing. Booo! This means a several things to me.

1)      Reflect on my season to date
2)      Review plans for Kona 2012
3)      Draw up action plan including consideration of the following

While writing my race report about the Château de Chantilly triathlon (http://chasingchrissie. wordpress.com/2011/09/01/chateau-de-chantilly-tri-race-report/) it occurred to me that while race mornings don’t stress me out any longer because they have become such routine, this may not be the case for everyone. So I though it may be helpful for some to see what I do.

Firstly, one of the tricks to get it right is to have a plan, and stick to it. You may adapt it for the next race if things didn’t quite work but at 5 am on a Sunday morning it’s best not to challenge your brain too much. I used to write the steps on a piece of paper the day before. By now this is no longer necessary, because I’ve obviously memorised it over the years. I pack my bags the night before, the same goes for attaching spares to my bike, and checking everything is in working order. But let’s have a look at it.

I love racing. After all, this is why I do this sport. But if you race lots it tends to disrupt your training somewhat. So after two Olympic distance triathlons on consecutive weekends, I felt very ready to tackle my next big block of training towards Kona. 3 weeks of uninterrupted swimming, biking, and running until my arms and legs were ready to fall off. Then recover, and race again to test the state of affairs. I can’t even begin to explain how much I was looking forward to this.

And it’s exactly what I did. Ticking off the sessions on the plan, and ready to push my body and mind further in every session.

Last Saturday saw me complete my first ever triathlon, and I’ve been beaming ever since!

I decided to dip my toe into the triathlon world with the Cheltenham Tri in the Park tipped to be a great event for first timers. This was a super sprint tri – 400m pool swim, 6 mile bike, and 2.5m run, set in the very sunny Pitville Park. I took along my friends and boyfriend for moral support and we had a fantastic day.

We arrived about an hour and a half early to check out the sports centre and for me to get my bearings of the course. I was ‘branded’ by the race organisers with a big black permanent marker on my arms and legs as number 5. My nerves were settled meeting several people beforehand who were also first timers. I was a little worried that my mountain bike would look a little out of place, but looking around setting up there were all sorts of different bikes!

When it came to my start time, I walked with the others in my start group into the pool where we had a supportive briefing. Luckily, I was in the first 5 so I go to start the swim with an entire lane to myself. The swim got off to a great start, but after a couple of lengths I had to take a few breathers to settle my nerves and get my breath back. From the pool, there was a short run outside to the transition area, where I got lots of cheers being the first lady out of the pool!

Hi Trigirls!

I raced in Antwerp 70.3 this weekend – a beautiful city and although the bike course was not “scenic” as such as it went round and round their industrial dock yards x3… if you like industry and dock yards then this is the course for you. Personally I quite liked them but I understand that they are not everyone’s choice! It was strong winds in all directions (through and between stacks of shipping containers) but the course was pretty flat with the exception of the odd gear change for a road bridge.

Organisation was good, registration easy the day before or there was an option of registering on race morning. Racking was on race morning and we had a very sociable start time

At the end of September last year I raced the Hever castle tri as my end of season race, and really enjoyed it. So when the race director asked me whether I’d like to return in 2011, it didn’t take any persuading, and I signed up for 3 of the 4 Castle triathlon series races. The first one was a only 1 week before Ironman France, so I had to give it a miss.

So on Saturday I embarked on an epic drive up to Yorkshire. Probably not the best preparation for a race, to spend 6 hours in a car without air conditioning, but thanks to numerous episodes of IMTalk and MarathonTalk podcasts I made it to the campsite by 4pm, and just went about relaxing.

I didn’t really know what to expect for the race with regards to my fitness. The last month had contained an Ironman taper

I’m aware that I was awfully quiet on the blog front leading up to Ironman France. There could have been many reasons for this, like training very hard, lots of work or similar. Unfortunately it was much less pleasant. My mum was diagnosed with a brain tumor. That’s bad in any case, but made worse by the fact that I’m in a different country. She’s also not been one for telling us things like this until she had to, and even then she still tried to keep us away. Not an easy situation, but one that does happen more often than we think. 1 in 3 people are affected by cancer, I think the statistics are.

I don’t want to go on about just how ridiculously rubbish I felt, and all the things I failed to do during the first few weeks. What I want to talk about is how much the sport helped me cope once again.

I’ve less than 3 weeks to go until my very first sprint triathlon at Cheltenham Tri in the park. This one is a 400m pool swim, 10Km bike ride and a 5K run, and will (hopefully) ease me in gently before the Cotswold Tri later on in the year. Training has been going really well, in fact I’m really enjoying myself – particularly with the recent good weather – it’s lovely being outside. Doing different things each evening rather than just going for a run, has given me an extra spurt of motivation, as it’s been rewarding seeing my progress over time.

For the last 4 weeks I’ve been going to a spin class on a Monday with a girlfriend to help build my speed and leg strength on the bike. It’s an absolute killer, but I’ve noticed my performance on the bike improve since. I’ve ditched driving to work and now cycle in every day with my boyfriend to get used to my bike. The journey is a 6 mile round trip with hills on the way in. Every other week I’ve stayed out for an hour to get a good session in.

Training before work has been a bit of a revelation for me, I used to find it really hard to get up and train – it always seemed like so much effort. But now, I find

I finished off my training week with a race. I made the long journey (all of 10min) to race at Dorney Lake this morning at the SteelMan olympic distance triathlon.

I came in first lady at 2.04.56

Swim: 0.23.40

T1: 0.01.07

Bike: 1.03.01

T2: 0.00.45

Run: 0.36.20

Many thanks to you all for all of your support – it was great to be back racing, even if it did feel like it was over before I’d started!

Next week is Henley Challenge River Swim, I’ll keep you posted…

This year’s Ironman World Championships is on the day of my 28th birthday. When I found this out last year it proved too much temptation to not try and be there.

So on Sunday the 26th of June I found myself nervously standing on the pebble beach in Nice waiting for the start signal for Ironman France. There were 17 girls in my age group competing for a single slot to be on the start line in Kona, Hawaii on the 8th of October. I knew my preparation had

Hello Trigirls!

Hope this finds you in good health? If the health is not so good – I hope that this finds you in good spirits! Every cloud has a silver lining and all that…

At the moment, while I’m not in perfect health (I’m having a few back problems that have prevented me from long distance triathlon racing so far this season), I still feel that there is plenty to work on, and there is plenty of hope on the horizon.  I’ve just had to re-evaluate my short-term goals and while I’m confident that my long-term goal of racing at the World Championships Ironman in Hawaii (in 2012) is still achievable, it is going be via a different route to the one planned at the beginning of this year.

So what are your triathlon or training goals? Are they achievable? Are they too easy even? Do they need re-evaluating? I try and have goals for every session; it can take less than 30seconds to clarify what the

A week on from the Trigirl Novice Triathlon Workshop I’m having loads of fun starting out as a triathlete. It’s been a manic week at work with two business trips scheduled in and early starts for my train journeys.

I spent Tuesday totally engrossed on the train in some Triathlete specific magazines only to find Kim featuring in one of them with some tips for novices! I’ve managed to squeeze in a run with a friend, plus I cycled to work on the days I was in the office.

I was thrilled when I found out that I’d won the Trigirl competition. I’d wanted to get into triathlon training for a while and didn’t really know where to start, so I was delighted to get the chance to go on the Trigirl Workshop as part of my competition prize. I felt a little bit daunted being a complete novice as to what to expect, but the workshop day was pitched just right for someone like me.

The group consisted of 6 ladies of varying ability, some were runners, we had an experienced swimmer, a couple of ladies that did duathlons and one lady that had completed a couple of sprint tri’s – a really good mixture. Our coach for the day was Kim Ingleby who really knew her stuff being a current competitor herself.

We covered all three of the disciplines starting with cycling. I hadn’t even considered certain aspects such as dismounting and mounting your bike, and how to change your tyre at the side of the road. Kim gave some great advice on choosing the right gear, I don’t have a tri bike just yet so it was reassuring to hear that there are people that compete without them to start with, and that I won’t look daft on a mountain bike! It was great fun to practice this with the other ladies. We went over the details around transition and had a practice at getting our gear ready with tips on how to lay it all out ready for action.  

“Looking for something to fill the gaps in you gear? The new Trigirl winter warmer set is just the ticket.
Including a Tubette scarf and a pair of wrist warmers it’s hard to find something better to give you that little bit of extra warmth on a cold winter’s day.

The versatile Tubette scarf can be worn as a hat or scarf or both. I love wearing it on the bike to extend my cycling top upward beyond my neck, and keeping the draught out. Take that chilly breeze from the North! In fact I like it so much that I’ve stopped wearing my scarf completely – it’s stylish enough that I can get away with wearing it outside of a sporting environment.