After the Hillingdon triathlon in mid-July my focus turned to surviving the school summer holidays! Training became somewhat of a challenge, I accepted that it would be impossible to aim for 3 or 4 sessions a week and that I’d just take what I could get… I found myself running and swimming when we were on family holidays and I could leave the kids with my husband. I also dragged the kids along with me on their bikes, while I ran with the dog. If I could manage it, I’d also go out very early, before my husband went to work.
… and I did it!
Last Sunday morning (15th of July) was the date for my third triathlon of the season, the Hillingdon Series Race 3 in Harefield. I had been quite anxious about it in the run up, as it was going to be my first lake swim of the year and the weather hasn’t exactly been kind!
I woke before the alarm and found myself squeezing into my new wetsuit at 5.45am. I’d decided it would be better to at least get my legs into the suit before I left the house and finish off when I got there. I’d followed advice and smothered myself in body lotion and then used an anti chafe balm around the points where the suit could rub.
I arrived at the venue around 6.45 and got in line for registration. Listening to the chit chat in the queue, I realised that this was different to other events I’d been to. It was smaller and full of experienced, super fit men and women who were all raring to go! There were at least two triathlon clubs with a big presence, I wished I had some team mates to share some banter with.
We all have times when finding the motivation or time to train is difficult. Sometimes in season, you find that the adrenaline from one race doesn’t necessarily carry you to the next or that with all of summer’s festivities, finding the energy to fit it all in is a challenge! Trigirl ambassador, Katie Emery, shares a few of her mid-season blues with us; but ultimately she finds that if you fall off (your bike or your training program!) the best thing to do is to get back on…
Three weeks since my last triathlon and over three until my next one. I’m doing my best to keep up the training, but half term holidays and Jubilee celebrations have made things really tricky. I’ve had to get creative with my training sessions and accept that three a week will have to do for now…
I’ve been running with my dog through the woods and fields, nearly killing myself on the mountains of slippy mud that covers any woodland path (must treat myself to some off-road shoes). I’ve made a couple of 7am spinning classes that have really set me up for the day, though it usually takes me five minutes to work out how I got from bed to bike!
The event was at Shiplake College, just outside Henley on Thames. It was in a beautiful setting and even though I had to arrive at the ridiculously early hour of 7am (a 5.45 alarm), the glorious surroundings managed to put a smile on my face! The event was very laid back and quite small really. I loved the relaxed feel and would highly recommend this as a first event – there were two distances: Tri a Tri with a 300m swim, 14.5k bike and a 3.2k run and a Sprint with 400m swim, 28.5k bike and 5k run.
Well, my first tri of the year came and went last bank holiday Monday at Hart Leisure Centre in Fleet. On Sunday night I packed my bag, checked and re-checked it, then loaded my precious bike into the back of the car.
I woke with a few nerves on Monday morning, put on my lovely new tri suit which outshone the old and battered running shoes I’d decided to wear. I predicted that the cross country run was going to be a mud bath after all the rain.
The venue was already really busy when I got there just before 9am an hour before my designated start time. There’s a really great buzz at these events, it’s contagious. Everyone is busying themselves, setting up their bikes and laying out their kit for the transitions. It’s very exact, with gels, shoes, hats, gloves, all being laid out in a very specific manner. I seemed to have more ‘stuff’ than anyone else and was very glad that I’d brought some big plastic bags to lay over and under my kit, as it was threatening to rain at any moment.
I’ve dug out my times and really hope I can beat them for a number of reasons: I like to think I’m fitter (I’d only trained for 4 months prior to the event last year) and of course, I now have the added bonus of a decent bike to help speed things up. Also, the transitions should be quicker as I will be familiar with the process and will try to avoid the general faffing of last year. I know it really doesn’t matter if my hair looks a mess and not sure the face moisturiser was really necessary after the swim!
3 weeks until my first tri of the season. How did that happen? I had been totally geared up for full on training, great diet, cutting down the booze, etc. Then, the school holidays arrived and it went downhill rapidly from there! I usually have a well planned training routine which goes along the lines of: drop kids at school, have a run/swim/spin/cycle, walk dog, fit in some work…
… However, over the two week holiday my training consisted of one evening swim – Andy (my very tolerant husband) walked through the door and I walked out. I’m not used to swimming so late in the day and it felt like a real struggle from start to end.
Seven weeks until my first triathlon of the season… I think I’ve been in a bit of denial up until today! Three workouts a week has seen me through the winter but I’m now starting to gear myself up for some more intense training. I’ve been managing around two runs and one swim a week, this hasn’t been hard as I really enjoy both. Cycling is a whole different thing – it’s my least favourite of the three disciplines, yet such an important element of the whole event!
I joined a spinning class last week and will continue to go once a week, it’s a brilliant workout – so hard on my legs that I sometimes think I’ll keel over in the middle of a ‘hill climb’, but surely it can only help to build those leg muscles up for the big event?
Katie is relatively new to triathlon, completing her first races last May and June. This year she plans to expand her race portfolio with 4-5 sprint-distance triathlons. Katie has inspired friends and family with her new-found athletic feats… going from a child who ‘hated any form of exercise’ to discovering triathlon in her 40s!
Read more about Katie on our website here and follow her progress throughout the season on her Trigirl blog.