Mallorca Training Week

Mallorca Training Week


I’ve been really excited about Mallorca over the last few weeks. The weather has been so bad in the UK that I haven’t been cycling as much compared to last year. I’ve also never cycled in Mallorca before and lots of my friends told me of the great road quality, warm weather as well as the many climbs!


The training week was organised by my coach Barron and, sharing lead rider duties, assistant coach Kevan. The week was predominantly focused on bike volume, with options of adding swimming and running if you wanted. We were sent an advance itinerary of the week and kit list.

I knew a few coming along to the training week including my husband. He decided to bring his bike, and I opted to hire a bike in Mallorca. Six of us were flying from Edinburgh and the rest of the group met in Mallorca. In total there were fourteen of us including the coaches.


Day one; we arrived early morning in Mallorca and were transferred to our accommodation at Aparthotel Duva, Porte de Pollenca, in the north of the island. We spent the late morning to early afternoon building bikes or picking them up and settling into our accommodation. In the afternoon we rode an easy ride as a group, testing out the bikes and getting our legs spinning, ready for our first proper day of training the following day. We rode along the coast from Porte de Pollensa to Alcudia and climbed up to Ermita de la Victoria. We had a quick stop and headed back- 24 miles in total. It was good to get used to my hire bike and get my legs spinning after an easy week on the run up to Mallorca.


Day two; we rode together, acclimatising to riding in a group. The ride was based on the Mallorca 70.3 route, on the climb up to Luc, we had a fitness threshold test. At the bottom of the climb we commenced the test and finished the test when we got to the top, or twenty minutes from starting the climb (whichever comes first). Coll de Femenia is a 7.6km climb with an average gradient 6% and was a taste of the climbs to come! During the climb I saw Emma Pooley fly past whilst I was a slow salty mess! The test is based on heart rate and power. I don’t have a power meter, but I do have a heart rate monitor and my heart rate threshold increased, which is an improvement! 

Coll de Femenia

 

After the climb we had a stop for coffee and almond cake. We proceeded down the other side of the climb and continued on the 70.3 route to Muro. After our break, it started to rain; luckily after the descent. Unluckily, whilst cycling in a group we had a crash on a bend. Three of us, including myself, came down but other than a bit of road rash, grazes and a bit of shock, we were all fine. My bike was fine but the other two needed to get repairs. The group continued to cycle in the rain. When we finished the ride it had stopped raining, typical! Just shy of 60miles and I finished with a short 3-mile brick run. I spent the rest of the day chilling by the pool in the sun.

Team Tuesday!


Day three; this was the first of our longer rides of the week. We started early and split the group into two: based on ability. I really didn’t want to hold up the group so went for the slower of the two groups. Our ride took us back up Coll de Femenia, with a short climb up to Coll dels Reis from the aqueduct. We went down to the famous Sa Calobra to the village, 9.5km of descending, with a short stop at the bottom to regroup then the long climb back up to reach the top of Coll dels Reis -9.5km with 7% gradient. We set off early so our descent down was quiet. On the way back up it was busy with many other cyclists and traffic including big buses. After the big climb we had some lunch, thankfully as I was getting very hungry at this point.

Sa Calobra village
Coll de Reis (Sa Calobra climb)
Reaching the top of Coll dels Reis!


The second half of the ride was back down Coll de Femenia to Port de Pollensa, up Coll de Sa Creueta -3.7km 5% gradient- to Formentor (Lighthouse) Mallorca’s most northern point. We regrouped at the Lighthouse and some of us made friends with the goats! At this point the group had different energy levels so we made our own way back to Port de Pollensa at our own pace. 86miles and over 9,000ft of climbing. In the group there was varied ability to climb and descend so the ride for me felt a little disjointed rather than a fluid ride. I did really enjoy the route: quite challenging with good company and a beautiful sunny day! The rest of the day was spent by the pool.

Views at the Lighthouse
Kevan making friends


Day four: this was a recovery day. I caught up on sleep and took the opportunity to test out my new wetsuit. I bought an Orca Alpha wetsuit at Christmas when on sale and hadn’t tried it out yet. Pier, Vicki, Eilidh and myself had a short swim in the sea at Port de Pollensa. The sea was very clear, and I was watching the fish swim beneath us as we were swimming. We swam at a steady pace between buoys, in total we swam for about twenty minutes. I am really impressed with the wetsuit. It’s designed for swimmers, so the arms have less neoprene so there is much more flexibility and easier to rotate my shoulders. The fit is good, I tend to have problems as I have broad shoulders (for a woman), the thinner neoprene arms help so it’s not tight and I don’t feel restricted when swimming. (This is not a sponsored post).

Swimming at Porte de Pollensa


In the afternoon we rode as a group at an easy pace to Coves de Campanet for lunch and back. My legs were very heavy from the climbs on the previous day, 30miles in total. Afterwards, I did lots of stretching and foam rolling to try and loosen up my legs.

Day 5; this was the longest ride and the most climbing of the week. My legs were feeling surprisingly fresh after an easier session the previous day. I went in the faster group after guidance from the coaches. I was initially worried that I would hold everyone up but this spurred me on to cycle faster to keep up. The route follows the Tramuntana epic ride and follows the majority of MA-10. We started at Pollensa and out to Alcudia then on to the foothills of the Tramuntana, Alora where the climbing begins. We started the ride quickly working as a group. When the climbs began we regrouped at the top or bottom whichever suited. We had a quick coffee stop (or juice for me) after two hours of riding we started climbing. We climbed Orient Valley and descended to Bunyola where we stopped for a quick lunch. I don’t think I will eat baguettes again after this trip!

After lunch we cycled to the coast, climbing up smaller hills and mountains to Deia. It was much warmer- 22 degrees and I was feeling it, the sun felt strong. We stopped at a petrol station to refuel. After this stop we descended to Soller. This was my favourite descend of the holiday, big wide roads, beautiful coastal views and probably my fastest downhill speed of the week. Getting back to sea level and 70miles into the ride we started the long climb up Puig Major, Mallorca biggest climb -13.9km, average gradient 6.2%. Barron stayed with me throughout the climb coaching and pushing me. I could see Sam ahead and was determined not to let him get away from my sight (which I didn’t). I was done when I got to the top. Eilidh took this photo at the top, I look happy, but I was pretty spent!

Top of Puig de Major
Sam and I at the top


We descended back to the aqueduct, refuelled and headed back to Pollenca. Luckily, it was mainly downhill and slightly undulating. At the bottom of Coll de Femenia, it was a fairly flat back to Pollenca. I was struggling, I had been dropped by the group, so Barron waited for me and pushed me to catch up, I held on to Barron’s wheel (for dear life). We just managed to catch up when we arrived back at the apartment, I was well and truly broken and had given it my all. I had intended to do a short brick run but every fibre of my being said no. Instead, I jumped into the pool, had a pint of beer (carb loading) and sun bathed. I really enjoyed the ride and had never been pushed like that during a ride before. In total 105miles, 10,000ft of climbing. Thanks coach Barron and the team for looking after me! 


Day 6; thankfully we had a late start at 9.30am. My legs were sore this morning! Initially, at the start of the ride I had issues with my gears which seemed to resolve by itself. I usually take a few miles or an hour to get properly warmed up on the bike, the faster group were too fast for my tired legs and I kept getting dropped on the climbs. We were doing the same route as the other group and I waited to join them. Luckily, they welcomed me back, I struggled for the first 30miles, legs were so heavy, and I felt I couldn’t climb any incline. Once my legs had warmed up and loosened up a bit cycling felt normal again.

Top of Coll de Randa

We cycled out to Llubi onto Montuiri and climbed to the top of Puig de Randa- 5.5km, gradient 6%. It was worth the climb as it had spectacular views of central Mallorca and the monastery of Santuari de Cura at the top. We stopped at the monastery cafe for lunch. After lunch, we headed back to Port de Pollensa via Algaida, Sencelles and Inca. The ride was good as it was more undulating with less big and long hills (apart from Puig de Randa) so as a group we were riding together and sharing the workload. After 85miles my legs and saddle-sore bottom were done. We finished the ride together with an ice cream by the beach at Port de Pollensa. I possibly could and should have done a brick run but once I had my ice cream, my body was in relaxed mode, so I had a dip in the pool and enjoyed the rest of the late afternoon/evening sunbathing.

Group shot at the top of Puig de Randa


Day 7; a few of the group entered the Tolo’s Time Trial bike race in the morning. I was initially undecided on entering as I thought I would be too tired to race after a week of long distance cycling. I was so glad I did not enter, there was no way my bottom would let me sit on my bike saddle on Saturday! Instead I went for a run along the beach followed by a swim. I wanted to go for a long swim in the sea and Kevan kindly volunteered to Kayak beside me. I’ve never swam with my own security before and I liked it. The only problem was I was a little lazy and didn’t sight much as I knew I could follow Kevan. We went a lot further out in the sea and the water was still so clear! I swam about 3km in about 50mins. I loved the swimming in sea, in Mallorca, it was so calm, clear and warm, very different to being back home! After the swim we headed out for lunch and joined the rest of the group at Tolo’s restaurant. I relaxed for the rest of the day and had a couple of drinks with everyone. The next day we were flying early so it was our last day exercising.

 

Captain Kevan
Having a quick drink

I had a great week, Thanks to Barron and Kevan for organising and coaching us all. I am definitely feeling the improvements in my cycling since Mallorca. Thanks also to everyone who came along, everyone in the group were very supportive, friendly and great to train with (like minded nutters). I certainly will be back to Mallorca cycling again soon.

 

Jenwaar

Aberfeldy Middle Distance Triathlon Race Report 2017

 

Aberfeldy Middle Distance Triathlon 2017

This year’s race was now organised by Dirty events (previously live active sport) so the race course was slightly different and no longer the Scottish Championship race. The swim was exactly the same in Loch Tay. The bike course was essentially the same cycling over Schiehallion and around Loch Rannoch but instead of cycling to Aberfeldy to finish the bike course, it took you back to Kenmore. The bike route was a little short at 90Km (usual middle distance is 91Km). The run route was completely different: a three lap course around the grounds of Taymouth castle. Perhaps they should change the name of the race to Kenmore triathlon as the race no longer goes to Aberfeldy!

 

I headed up to Kenmore on Saturday afternoon with Sam via Sterling. Sam bought a new bike at Velocity 44 in Sterling. We just made it to race briefing for five. After briefing we checked in our accommodation at Kenmore hotel (few hundred meters from the start). In the evening a few of us from Edinburgh triathletes had a pre-race dinner at Taymouth restaurant.

Sunday morning my alarm went off at 5.15am. The hotel put on an early breakfast for athletes. I unusually felt hungry, so had two slices of toast and my usual pre race breakfast of porridge and green tea. I had breakfast with my friend Cat and then headed back to the room to take my bags, kit and bike to transition.

This race has a split transition, transition one and two were only a few hundred meters apart so I dropped my running kit at transition two and cycled with my bike to start for transition one. I lay out my kit in transition one with my bike and walked to the start.

I met up with a few club members at the start and donned my wetsuit. We had a quick team photo altogether before the start. The weather was perfect, it was warm, sun shining and everyone was in good spirits. I genuinely felt good and was aiming to push hard on the swim to get a good swim time.

I was in the first swim heat so headed into the water. Last year I remembered the water was really cold. This year I was pleasantly surprised, it felt warm when I got in. It was 15 degrees, I think it was about 12-13 the previous year.  My plan for this race was to swim fast, then pace the bike and run. The swim start was between two canoeists about 20-30metres from the water’s edge. By the time I swam to the start, the siren went off and the race began.

 

Swim (1900m / 1.2miles) 34minutes 34seconds

 

I started swimming and my positivity and optimism of the race diminished. I felt nauseous as soon as I started swimming.  The water wasn’t particularly choppy but I felt every motion. I got around the first buoy trying to ignore my stomach, but after the buoy the pack got quite brunched up. I thought it wasn’t too bad until I started burping and tasting my breakfast. I had a couple people drafting me, by my side and on my feet. Suddenly I had what felt like a blow to my side and hip then uncontrollably I vomited, and moved over from the pack. I didn’t really stop and slowly continued to swim (avoiding vomit) breathing every other stroke but after 150metres I vomited again. I thought about stopping but I managed half the swim so carried on. I did feel better after but the feeling of nausea remained. I continued my swim at a much slower pace and hoped for the best.

Swim to Bike transition (T1) 3minutes 58seconds

 

When I got to the marina and was so happy to have finished the swim. I jogged up to transition and sat down to get changed. I was so relieved to be out the water but also annoyed at myself for eating too much at breakfast. I didn’t even look at my swim time as I knew it wouldn’t be great. I felt much better being on land and headed out on the bike.

 

Bike (90kms /55miles) 3 hours 12minutes 40 seconds

 

I started the bike well, trying to make up the time I missed on the swim. The weather was sunny and warm which also helped! My nausea just wouldn’t shift; I found it difficult to take sips of my drink never mind food. By the time I was over Schiehallion and commenced cycling into head wind around Loch Rannoch my energy levels were low. I felt like everyone was overtaking me at this point. I ate and drank slowly.

When I was cycling on the other side of the Loch I felt much better and ate as much as I could before the climb back up Schiehallion. I was overtaking other athletes up the hill and managed to pick up pace again. I really enjoyed the dissent back down to Keltneyburn. I narrowly avoided a crash when another athlete just overtook me and judged the corner ahead wrong. Luckily when she fell she slid to the side otherwise I would of gone straight into her. I checked she was ok and continued my race. I found out later she only had bad bruising and road rash grazes across her face, nothing too serious. I got back to Kenmore to transition and was ready for the run.

Bike to run transition (T2) 1 minute 35 seconds 

 

Transition two, was quick in and out. My only problem was that there were no toilets in transition. The bike route also doesn’t have toilets at the feed stations. I didn’t want to expose myself on the bike or run. When I started my run I had to go off course to use the portaloos, I was pretty desperate at this point. It is also against the triathlon rules to get naked during the race and will be taking this up with dirty events.

 

Run (Half marathon 21kms/ 13.1miles) 1 hour 52mins 44 secs

After my toilet dilemma I started the run well, I felt the best I had all day. I had a planned pace and tried to keep it up. The run was actually quite similar to Edinburgh Ironman run route, three laps and one big hill. I really enjoyed the new run route, spectators were able to cheer you on and the route was much more interesting, a mixture of road and trail. By the third lap my legs were goosed. I couldn’t keep the planned pace my legs were very heavy and sore.

The last three miles were a real struggle, however I think everyone else around me was the same. All the smiles and enthusiasm from other club members and competitors had gone. I tried a sprint finish but my legs didn’t have it in me. I was so relieve once I finished!

 

Finishing time- 5hours 45mins 32 seonds 70.3miles (70.3)

Overall I was disappointed how it went but also pleased I managed to complete it. I really liked the new run route however my Garmin did clock up 13.6miles! I had a great time with fellow club members and the race was well organised. This is still one of my favourite races in such a beautiful setting. I still somehow manage to get a faster time than last year but the course had changed. On reflection essentially never do anything new on race day! I usually find it a struggle to eat in the morning so I thought eating a little extra wouldn’t do me any harm, I was so wrong!

Last week I finished my last triathlon this year at Haddington Sprint triathlon, a week after Aberfeldy. The race report will be coming soon. My next big race is Loch Gu Loch on 30th September. It’s my first Swimrun event which I’m completing with my friend Lisa. We race as a pair and complete thirteen open water sections and twelve trail run sections. In total we will swim 7.4km and run 47.4km. I do love a challenge and very excited to try a new event!

Jenwaar

Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon 2017

 

Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon 2017

Photo credit: Colin Henderson Photography

Friday morning my support crew Sam and Eilidh, and I drove to Sheildaig in preparation for Celtman. We headed straight to registration at Torridon Community Centre to register, had a quick lunch and then back to the community centre for race briefing. I saw a few friendly faces, we caught up and talked about our excitement for Celtman the following day.

Race briefing commenced with a short film of last year’s race, with a musician playing music that inspired him during his race at Celtman in 2015. It was inspiring and emotive, I nearly had a tear in my eye watching the film! This was followed by the Torridon Mountain Rescue Team, who support athletes during the mountainous part of the course. They are currently fundraising for new facilities, they are a vital volunteer team that save lives in the mountains in and around Torridon (including 17 Munro’s!). Please donate: http://www.torridonmrt.org.uk/

The rest of the race briefing was the usual do’s and don’ts as per the race pack. After leaving the race briefing my nerves well and truly kicked in! We arrived at the accommodation: I checked my bike over; had a quick spin and short run. I made up all my food ready for the race. We all had dinner and I was in bed by nine. Eating dinner was a real struggle, I was extremely nervous and quiet (very out of character). I don’t think I’ve ever been nervous the night before for a triathlon before. This race had such a big build up, seven months of training and sacrifices all for one day. I wasn’t even this nervous before my own wedding! I knew I could complete it but that didn’t settle my nerves. I was also a little worried about the weather, it was forecast for strong winds and rain all day.

I awoke at two, got ready and slowly forced myself to eat my bowl of porridge. I double checked, then tripled checked I had everything ready for transition. I was convinced I had forgotten something. Sam and I made it to transition, leaving Eilidh to sleep. I collected my GPS tracker and set up my bike and bag at transition. I stupidly forgot my midge spray (I was right) and got bitten lots in transition. I had about twenty fluid filled blisters a few days later! Sheildaig was a little windy and warm so I was optimistic about the weather. Once I got acquainted with my surroundings and my kit in transition, I got my wetsuit on and walked over to the swim pick up point on the other side of Sheildaig.

celtman

I saw Kevin who I did a recce of the bike course a few weeks earlier by the coaches and boarded the coach with him to the swim start. Sam waved us off. I was so lucky to sit by Kevin, he was chatting away, whilst I was so nervously thinking about the race. He was a great distraction, and put me at ease, thanks Kevin! The journey was short but once we were off the coach I felt an instant relief. I had a quick toilet stop, donned my neon pink Celtman swim cap and had a group hug from Andrew, Kevin and Robin (Celtman recce crew). Before I knew it… the Celtman sign was lit, bagpipes and drummers started playing, followed by a group photo before heading into the sea. The majestic start to Celtman that everyone sees on the videos and clips I didn’t really absorb or enjoy, I was too focused on getting in the water for the start on time. It all seemed like a blur looking back.

Photo credit: Alligin Photography

Once I was submerged in the water, I was pleasantly surprised how warm the water felt, in May on the recce it felt so cold. The water was still only 12-13 degrees but having a heat vest under the wetsuit and gloves on definitely helped or maybe it was also the adrenaline pumping through me. I made it to the start line between the canoes just in time and we were off. I was a little too wide at the start so initially felt quite far away from the front pack. For once I didn’t have my usual panicky start in the swim, I kept my cool and swam at a comfortable pace. I didn’t want to overdo it on the swim as I had a long day ahead. I was able to pick people off one by one, I could see the fast swimmers ahead so I was sighting them and the White House on the hill (as per race briefing instructions).

Photo credit: Steve Carter (I’m on the left looking at the rock/ tree with blue goggles)

The jellyfish appeared about 20-30minutes into the swim. There were so many however I was fortunate that they were about a metre below me, apart from one that touched my face, yuck! I actually found it quite fascinating watching hundreds of them swim below me, the water was so clear. I was mesmerised by the volume of jellyfish dancing beneath me, it was a great distraction. I found I was breathing every five so I could observe them all flout in the water. It was like they were performing and I would have been disappointed if I didn’t see them. They have become such an iconic part of the swim in the race.

Towards the end of the swim at Sheildaig the water got a little choppy but I managed a fast finish. I was assisted (yanked) out the water by one of the volunteers, thanks! I always get a dizzy feeling after a long swim from horizontal to vertical. Sam met me by the water, kept me steady and held my hand going up the ramp. Swim time one hour, twenty five seconds, I was aiming for under an hour but pleased as I felt really fresh for the bike and what’s a few seconds in a fifteen hour race?

Photo credit: Alligin Photography

Both Eilidh and Sam helped me out my wetsuit and into my cycling gear, I had a quick sip of hot chocolate, and was ready to go. Suddenly I started feeling this burning feeling on my neck. I had crazy neck burn which developed the following day into what looked like ligature marks around my neck and proceeded to scab over. Maybe I forgot to use my bodyglide? Luckily I had a long bike ride to distract me! Transition was 6 minutes, 17 seconds and whilst getting changed I was interviewed by one of the camera crews. It had started raining so started the bike with the waterproof on.

Neck burn!

Photo credit: Meg Jones (Just out of transition and on the bike)

Out of transition and onto the bike, the course starts with a short steep hill. The first twenty miles, to Kinlochewe, were quite challenging- the rain was lashing down with strong cross winds, I was barely on my TT bars even downhill as it felt so unstable and unsafe. Some parts I was clinging onto the bike, praying I wouldn’t fall off. A few competitors overtook me during this period but I couldn’t have gone any faster. I did manage to eat and drink well. My watch was only showing me my overall time but not my distance and pace. When my support crew appeared, I was getting them to work out my pace. As I had previously done on recce of the course I did have a fair idea of what distance I had done so I had a vague idea what pace I was doing. It wasn’t until I started the run I noticed I must have pressed my watch twice so my transition two time was actually my bike time, pants! When I first saw Sam and Eilidh it was about two hours into the cycle. I got them to pull over, I had drunk two bottles in 90 minutes, so had a quick toilet stop and swapped my bottles. The rain had stopped so took the waterproof off, as I was hot. The wind was an absolute killer, and the roads wet. I tried to go as fast as I could when it felt safe to do so.

Photo credit: Ross Millar

Just after Gairloch I caught up with American Parker, we were chatting prior to the race. I got him on the hills and he would pass me on the way down or flats. We had a little chit chat about the great Scottish weather and encouraged each other on. I didn’t see Parker after seeing the seals on the rocky beach by Little Gruinard. I also have to mention Parker’s partner she was full of cheer and support on the bike course thanks!

Photo Credit: Ross Millar

Second quick stop, for the loo and topped up my food and drink. I was feeling a little tetchy, I hadn’t eaten enough so after a talking to by the team, I ate as much as I could stomach. It really helped and I felt good going over the last of the big hills. From mile 70 the pace slowed down, the cross winds were strong, I just kept peddling and eating when I could. I stopped for a third time, kept needing the loo, I was drinking lots as I did really struggle eating. Both Sam and Eilidh were great at giving me updates, encouragement and making me eat during a pee stop. My stops only lasted 1-2minutes so I was speedy and back on the bike quickly.

Photo credit: Ross Millar

After mile 100 I had well and truly bonked. It was raining again and the head wind was so strong (20mph). I had my emergency cheese twist and thought I was going to be sick. I got lots of support from my team and other support crews as they drove past. I kept drinking, having gels and eating when I could. I had Eilidh’s voice going round my head, “you have to keep eating and drinking”. Bananas went down easily so kept eating them. I was genuinely worried I couldn’t finish the race and felt awful, cold and was in a ‘dark place’. I loathed my bike at this point. I didn’t want to stop as I thought I wouldn’t get back on my bike. It felt like other athletes were flying pass me, when I was almost at a standstill. The last twenty miles were tough and more about survival. I knew at this point, it was unlikely I would get to the check point for the blue t-shirt time. Surprisingly, in the last 3-4miles on the bike I got a second wind, felt alright and went as fast as I could towards transition.

Photo credit: Alligin Photography

When I got to transition cars were turning around and blocking the road, I had to go between cars and cycled up the ramp to finish. My bike time was 8hrs 25mins, I was disappointed and I know I could have gone quicker but the conditions were horrid and I should have eaten more on the bike. My goal was 8 hours. I’ve also got to stop being so harsh on myself, only a few weeks before I cycled my first hundred miles on the bike and last year I hadn’t cycled more than sixty miles. I am still relatively new to triathlon and this was my first long distance event. I met Eilidh in transition two, had a quick change of shoes, toilet stop and we commenced running together. I spotted other athletes with fold up chairs, changing. I was pretty jealous, whilst I looked and felt like Bambi on ice changing my shoes.

The heavens had well and truly opened, the rain was lashing down. It felt amazing to be off the bike and running. Eilidh informed me that no one was going across the mountain because the conditions weren’t safe so everyone was doing the lower course. The run starts with a long hill up Coulin pass, I was picking off people up the hill and was the only competitor running all the way to the top of the hill. That was down to Eilidh pushing me and distracting me from my groin pain, that settled after a couple of miles.

Down the hill the path was a mud bath, I was so glad I had trail shoes on. Eilidh kept me going and telling me to eat and drink. I was having small sips if water and gels when told. We both knew after the hill it was unlikely I was able to run a personal best run time to make the blue t-shirt cut off of 11 hours to Transition 2A(T2A). I felt alright so kept a steady pace to T2A, so my race plan changed to trying to get the best white t-shirt time and enjoying the race. I got to T2A in 11hours 14mins 55secs, 15mins short! I had my mandatory stop for two minutes for a kit check and I ate a banana. A few of the volunteers for Celtman were from Edinburgh triathletes and I had a quick chat before I set off for the second part of the run.

In the second part of the run, I was feeling good, running up the trail and walking only at steep or rocky parts. The trail was really water logged and felt like we were gorge walking and river crossing rather than running. I started to get cold at this point as I couldn’t run due to nature of the course and we were completely soaked. We both swapped our wet tops for dry tops and put on our waterproofs, hat and gloves (I was so glad of my mandatory kit!). I didn’t think we realised how cold we were until we did this!

Photo credit: Alligin Photography (looking tired)

Along the ‘trail’ we regularly passed the Torridon mountain rescue teams, cheering us on and providing us with homemade cakes and gummy bears thank you! We also passed a bag piper playing in the pouring rain which kept my spirits up, thanks!

Photo credit: Alligin Photography

My pace slowed but when we got closer to the road the trail became a path so started running again. Back on the road I was overtaking the runners that overtook me on the rocky parts of the path, most were walking and I ran all the way to the finish. The rain finally stopped during the last couple of miles and Torridon looked beautiful.

When I saw the finish after the last hill I sprinted to the finish. I was so elated and sore, and so very glad to have finished! I hugged Eilidh, then John (race organiser and Edinburgh Triathletes coach) and Mandy (fellow ET member and John’s wife). It was wonderful seeing friendly faces at the finish. Sadly, Sam missed my finish. I received my beer from John- I completed Celtman!! Overall time 14hours 37minutes, 47secsonds, little disheartened I didn’t make the cut off for the blue t-shirt but I wasn’t far off. This was my first long distance and extreme triathlon in awful conditions. It didn’t go to race plan but I kept going and finished.

Post Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Post-race, we all had a meal at the community centre-macaroni cheese- and caught up with other finishers and volunteers. I was even talking about doing the race again to get the elusive blue t-shirt! We headed back shortly afterwards for a shower and set off back to Edinburgh. I was going on holiday the next day. Sadly, I couldn’t go to the ceremony the next day but received my white Celtman finishers top before I left. Celtman was a truly amazing experience. This race is a community of friendly like-minded nutters, like no other. I’ve enjoyed the whole journey from training, to the organisng and the race itself. It really did live up to expectation despite the weather, typical Scotland!

Me and Andrew post Celtman

I honestly couldn’t have done it without Sam and Eilidh, they kept my spirits up and supported me amazingly throughout the day.  I need to thank my coach Barron for his support and training plans. My friends and family, I have to thank you for all your encouragement and understanding this year. A special mention for Sam who has supported me during these last seven months of training, including lots of early 5am alarm starts and mood swings from hunger after training. I can’t thank you enough, I’m a lucky lady!

Dream Team!

 

Now a month on from the race, I definitely want to return, surely it can’t be bad weather two years on the trot?

Go pro Video of my Celtman race coming soon.

Jenwaar

 

 

 

 

 

Tranent Sprint Triathlon

Edinburgh University Tranent Sprint Triathlon

Tranent Sprint Triathlon is a popular race which sells out each year with a long waiting list. Finally, this year I got my act together and entered as soon as entry was live. It is a well-established race hosted by Edinburgh University Triathlon.

First race of the season, I was excited and little nervous at breakfast. My wake up wasn’t too early as the race is fairly local. I really didn’t have any expectations, time or goal for the race, which maybe I should have… I kept having random thoughts such as; I’ve been running at zone two pace (running slower for aerobic endurance) and heartrate for most my runs the last three months I wondered if I could run faster? Should I go all out at the swim? Will I be able to sprint the whole race when I’ve been training for endurance? I think it was just race nerves but having some sort of plan may have helped. I decided to see how I felt at the start and have fun.

Being so close to home, lots of the Edinburgh triathlete club members compete. I think we had a head count of about twenty-ish of us, all in purple. Seeing so many other club members always puts me at ease on race day. I can talk over my race day nerves, discuss the course, kit and tactics etc. The support is also great, cheering each other on and celebrating PB’s and podium places.

I arrived at Tranent for 8am to register and set up in transition, briefing was at 8.30am and the race started at 9am. The swim is in a pool, you are placed in heats on your predicted swim time. The longer swim times swim first with the quickest in the last heat. There were eight heats, I was in heat seven which didn’t start till 11.25am so had a long wait. I just relaxed, chatted with other club mates and cheered on others who started before me.

When my heat was called up, I was quite relieved and just wanted to get on with the race. 750metres in a 25metre pool, 30 lengths in total. Each lane had five swimmers, each of us had a coloured cap to wear. The caps represented which order in the lane you started in. I was the fourth swimmer in my lane. From looking at my heat prior to race I noted my whole lane had the same predicted time. I usually put a slower time, so if I wasn’t feeling great on the day I don’t feel overwhelmed by my predicted time. Once we started I felt at ease and within four lengths of the pool I was the first swimmer in the lane. After a few lengths I lost count, I looked down at my watch and realised it was in open swim mode, oops. Luckily there are marshals counting for me but I couldn’t really predict how fast I was swimming so I went at a comfortable pace until I was told it was my last two lengths by the marshal and sprinted the last 50 metres. I jumped out the pool, and cautiously ran downstairs and outside to transition. Swim time; 11mins 41 secs, little disappointed as I know I can swim faster but a solid time.

Transition one was quite quick for me; helmet, shoes, socks and bike on and off I went. Transition one time; 1min 33secs.

The bike course is 12miles, fairly hilly route through Elphinstone, towards Cousland and Ormiston, back to Tranent. I did a recce of the bike course in the run up to the race, unfortunately, it is not a closed road event and there are two sets of traffic lights. This year at the four-way traffic lights (second set of lights) organisers arranged to have the path over the bridge reserved for competitors so you didn’t have to stop at the lights.

Sadly, in addition to the one set of permanent traffic lights, the local council had commenced some roadworks with temporary traffic lights in Ormiston. Marshals were at the roadworks, if you got stopped, they took down your number and deducted the time of your wait at the lights from your total cycle time. I got stopped at the roadworks for about 60-80seconds, at this point I got cold from the wait and it did interrupt momentum somewhat.

When I started on the bike, the heavens decided to open and as I am quite a timid cyclist at the best of times I went as fast as I felt safe. Once I got back to transition my hands and feet were numb. Why did I think competing in just a tri-suit in March was a good idea? I was fairly pleased with my bike ride as I’ve improved so much in the last twelve months however my bike time wasn’t amended! Bike time; 38minutes 16secs.

Transition two was uneventful, T2 time; 1min 5secs.

The five kilometre run route was a double loop of the local housing estate. I was pretty cold after the bike so was looking forward to warming up on the run. I managed to keep a steady pace and my feet warmed up quiet quickly. I was pleasantly surprised I could keep up a faster pace despite my zone two worries. Run time; 22mins 50secs.

The race was a success and it was nice to get back into racing. I was fourth female overall and third in my age group, my total time was1 hour 15mins 28secs. Looking back at my previous results my last sprint triathlon was at Hawick 2015 and my overall time was 1 hour 25mins 15secs so a massive PB, super pleased.

I really enjoyed the race, it was well organised and had a very relaxed atmosphere. All competitors, volunteers and marshals were very friendly and encouraging. Apart from the wait to start the race (unavoidable) and my bike time not being amended, I would highly recommend this race especially for your first ever triathlon. Well done to all the Edinburgh triathletes especially Eilidh Yates for winning overall female and Lynn Hanley for winning female super Veteran.

My next race is East Fife sprint on 9th April. This will be my husband’s first triathlon, so really, I’m supporting him but hopefully I can improve my times.

Jenwaar

February Training update

Training is going well, I’m pretty much managing to complete all my sessions with the occasional tweak due to work or tiredness.

The weather is finally getting better (above freezing) so I’ve been out on the bike at least once a week getting a long ride in, less time on the turbo which is amazing! I usually have one social ride a week with either friends or with the triathlon or cycling club, making training much more fun.

I have slowly increased the amount and the distance for running, my calf coping well as long I continue to stretch and do my physiotherapy exercises. I feel much lighter on my feet, stronger and faster on my track training days.

Swimming has taken a little bit of a back seat but mainly that’s my doing……getting more ink. My tattoo is finally finished so I can regularly swim again, but this isn’t too much of a problem as it is my strongest discipline.

Towards the end of February I had a trip up to the Isle of Skye for a long weekend with family and friends. Sadly, the weather wasn’t in our favour, it was either very windy or very windy with torrential rain. I didn’t really have high exceptions of the weather as it was February and it’s also the West coast of Scotland! I bought my bike with me thought I may have one good day to cycle however that day did not arrive but I brought my turbo trainer so training wasn’t missed. The views from the house were amazing even in the rain. I managed to either use the turbo trainer or run or both whilst away. One day I drove an 80mile trip to the only pool in Skye to get kicked out 30 minutes later as the timetable changed for the half term for family fun time (damn those inflatables!) The trip was lovely: to get away; to catch up with family and friends; and still manage to train.

I am rather anti-social at the moment, I feel I am constantly apologising for missing group social gatherings, turning up late (no change), leaving to go home early or not drinking when I do socialise. I am trying to juggle work, training and trying to see friends and family. Maybe the latter I’m not doing too well at. I also know this will only get worse as my volume in training increases as I get closer to the race. I would just like to apologise to friends and family as ultimately I’m doing this race for me and it is affecting your lives too, especially my poor husband. I should be back by July once Celtman and Ironman training has finished. I would like to thank you all for your patience, support and love, it is really appreciated.

On a more positive note, this week race season has commenced. I will be competing in the Tranent Sprint Triathlon on Saturday. I am really excited as so many other Edinburgh Triathlete club members are competing, it will be well supported and it’s my first time competing in this triathlon. I’m unsure how it will go as all my training is geared towards long distance rather than sprinting but super excited to be competing again!

Jenwaar

Australia – Sydney

 

Australia- Sydney

Our Australian adventure started in Sydney.   We arrived on Saturday evening, had a quick bite to eat and headed out to Newtown, King Street to stretch out our legs and have a few drinks.

We stayed at Meriton serviced apartments in Mascot, close to the airport, the train station was a 2 minute walk away from the apartment with regular trains into Sydney. Mascot is only two train stops into the city centre. The apartment was clean, spacious and had air conditioning (essential in summer!)

On Sunday we had a leisurely start to the day, with late Aussie breakfast (avocado and poached eggs) and headed to Bondi beach. To get around Sydney we chose public transport using Opal cards, similar to London’s Oyster card for trains, buses and ferries. The Opal card gives you cheaper travel and sets a limit of cost per day $15. The card itself is free, all you need to do is top it up to pay your fare. Bondi beach isn’t next to any train stations, so we travelled to Bondi Junction and got a bus to Bondi beach. We sunbathed all afternoon, and had a dip in the sea. Bondi beach has good waves, strong rifts and most of the beach is used for surfers, one section of the beach is flagged for swimming and the life savers and lifeguards monitor this area from 7am to 6pm every day. This beach is where the famous TV programme Bondi rescue is filmed; lucky we didn’t see any rescues whilst we were there.

In the evening we stayed in Bondi for a few drinks and nibbles at Mamasan, the cocktails were good and the Asia fusion tapas was delicious, we would highly recommend it. We went on for a few more drinks at Beach Road Hotel outdoor area and then Bondi Hotel.

I was still training whilst on holiday (less than normal but enough to not hinder the last few weeks of training). Monday morning, I headed over to North Sydney Olympic pool, it’s a very picturesque pool with amazing views of Sydney harbour bridge. The outdoor pool uses seawater, but is cleaned so the water is clear. Great facilities, big pool and sun loungers. Make sure you apply sun cream prior to swimming; I totally forgot and got a burnt back afterwards!

The rest of the day we fully embraced being a Sydney tourist. We walked over the Sydney harbour bridge, and walked to the Sydney Opera house. We had lunch at one of the outdoor  restaurants at Sydney Opera house overlooking the harbour bridge, called Opera Kitchen. The Food was nice, a little more expensive but worth it for the views. I had chicken laksa and dumplings and the portion was massive, I couldn’t finish it!

In the afternoon we got a ferry to Manly beach from the harbour. The slow ferry takes 30 minutes and use can use your Opal card. There is a quicker ferry which takes 16 minutes but costs more and you cannot use the Opal card. We took the slower ferry, it operates every 30mins and you can take bikes with you at no extra cost.

Once you’re off the ferry it’s a short walk to the beach, Manly is a vibrant town with many shops and restaurants. Manly beach is much bigger than Bondi but personally I preferred Bondi. We spent the rest of the day on the beach, soaking up the sun. On the way, home we had a cheeky doughnut from Doughnut time, I had the salted caramel one. I found it quite doughy, the filling is put in the top of the doughnut (instead of the side) so it wasn’t evenly spread but still enjoyable. Maybe I just chose the wrong one.

Tuesday, we got up early, 4.45am and not for a flight! We got early tickets to climb Sydney harbour bridge at 6am. Prior to traveling to Australia I was contemplating whether or not to pay so much to climb the bridge (it was $565 for two adults). All my friends who have been before raved about it so I kind of thought-would I get this chance again? I chose the early slot as we had plans later in the day but it was also the cheapest time to go. When we arrived, we were put in groups, had a full safety briefing and changed into ‘jazzy’ boiler suits and caps. Our group had ten people in and we were guided up the bridge by Chris our climb leader.  The climb isn’t too strenuous, it’s a slow pace and we stopped a few times during the climb for photos taken by Chris. There are even water fountains to have sips of water during the climb. We were given headphones prior to the climb and Chris describes the climb, bridge and local landmarks with a few jokes for good measure. The climb up and back down took about 2hr 30mins in total (about 3 hours from entering to leaving). I really enjoyed it, the views were amazing, going early meant it wasn’t too hot and we had the rest of the day to do other things. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, thanks to Fiona for encouraging me to book it!

After our climb, we went to FairPlay cafe by the harbour for breakfast, it did not disappoint. I had breakfast bruschetta, we shared corn fritters and Sam had a chicken sandwich, all very scrumptious, I particularly enjoyed the corn fritters.

For that day we hired road bikes from Livelo Sydney, good quality bikes with all the extras (bottles, puncture repair kit, helmet), all we needed was our bike shoes and they put on the appropriate pedals prior to our arrival. The staff were friendly and very accommodating. We headed north through Sydney and over the harbour bridge. Initially, we cycled on the A8 but the road was very busy, so we went along the coast line, stopping at most of the beaches to top up our water bottles. We ended up at Newport Beach and stopped there for lunch. Afterwards we cycled to Manly beach and got the ferry back to Sydney, 46miles in total. It was 34-36 degrees, very hot, so we took the ride easy and enjoyed the scenery. Ideally we should have cycled in the early morning when the temperatures are lower and less traffic on the roads. I’m at freshwater beach in this photo, sadly my phone battery died so didn’t take many photos that day.

Wednesday, we dropped the bikes off and I ran back to the apartment. We headed back to Bondi, I had a swim at Icebergs, outdoor Olympic pool by Bondi beach. The pool is filled with sea water and every Thursday they empty the pool to clean it. Swimming on Wednesday meant the water was quite murky, I couldn’t see the bottom of the pool and much in front. This was good practice for the open water conditions I require during open water swimming in triathlons. Being so close to the sea, occasionally you may feel the waves crashing over the sides into the pool as you swim. I was at Icebergs late morning, early afternoon and the pool lanes were not marked by ability but lucky the lanes are wide enough to overtake with ease. The swim was an experience in a beautiful setting.

From Bondi we walked to Coogee beach with my little brother James and Sam’s friend Jordan. The coastal walk takes you along seven beaches before getting to Coogee. It took us all about an hour and a half to walk at a leisurely pace in the heat.  At Coogee beach we stopped off at the Pavilion for a few drinks and food. The pavilion has spectacular rooftop bar, with views over Coogee beach. The pizzas were delicious and very good value, although you had to go downstairs to order and eat them.

James and I, with Bondi beach in the background.

Tamarama beach

Gordon’s Bay

Coogee Beach

In the evening we went to Sydney festival, a music, art and performance festival across Sydney. The festival is free and many of the acts you don’t require tickets in advance. We watched a few cabaret acts, pole dancing, singing and aerial hoop at Hyde park.

Thursday, we continued our holiday to Melbourne.

January training update

January Training Update

I’ve been back from Australia for over a week (booo). Whilst away I did train but it wasn’t planned-more leisurely and when I could.  I’m back to work and full time training, which was a shock to the system!

In Sydney, I managed to use some of the amazing outdoor pools the city has to offer, I don’t think the Scottish weather would really suit outdoor pools! I swam at Sydney harbour bridge pool with amazing views of the bridge and Icebergs by Bondi Beach, again cracking views! Both 50metres pools and use seawater with some chlorine. At Icebergs you may feel the waves crashing over the sides as you swim! When I was at Whitsunday Islands I swam in the sea a couple of times, on one of my swims I got a bit spooked by seeing a large sea turtle and stingray swimming near me!

I hired road bikes, with my husband, and cycled up to Newport beach, North from Sydney and back. Both of us were not used to the heat-36 degrees- so we took it easy, visiting the beaches along the east coast. I would also not recommend cycling through Sydney in the day, it’s pretty much like cycling through London!

I did run a couple of times, however I couldn’t handle the heat too well, so I ended up doing short runs and long walks or hikes. Ideally I should have got up earlier when it was cooler but I was on holiday and enjoying myself. This me looking like sweaty mess after a short run.

Now I’m back in Edinburgh, the holiday bubble has popped and my tan is fading. Last week my coach got me back on an easy week which felt tough. I was a little worried I hadn’t done enough training over my holidays, losing the fitness levels I’ve started to build over the last 2 months. After a few days, I got back into it and the holiday fluff/ heaviness lifted.

On Sunday, was my first outdoor ride this year (in Scotland), I started out with Portovelo cycling club but after 20miles, my friend and I peeled off to do a different route. We stopped off at Bass rock for a quick photo. We completed over 60miles and I felt pretty good, so much better being outdoors than on the turbo trainer!

This week I’m continuing to build on distance and trying to get out on the bike once a week.

Jenwaar

48 hours in Berlin

 

48 Hours in Berlin

Berlin is a huge city and you won’t be able to see it all in 48 hours. It’s a vibrant and multicultural city full of history, food, art, culture and nightlife. It’s one of my favourite places and this was my fourth visit.

berlin

Last week my friend and fellow Midwife Fiona and I flew to Berlin for a small mini break. We left Tuesday morning, landing in Berlin early afternoon. We checked into the hotel at Alexanderplatz and were upgraded to a suite! Thanks Hotel indigo! Our room was in the top floor with a big balcony (sadly too cold to use), the suite was beautiful and the beds, big and comfy!

berlin

I’ve been to Berlin a few times before, Fiona hasn’t and she wanted to visit the Currywurst museum. Currywurst is a German delicacy of sausage and a special curried tomato sauce, sprinkled with curry powder. After we checked in, we made our way to the museum. Our ticket includes a sample of the sausage and entry into the museum. The currytwurst itself was nice but the museum quite small and amusing. Don’t expect to learn much but you’ll have a good laugh. I would recommend going to one of the street vendors and trying out the Currywurst instead.

berlin

We went on to checkpoint Charlie (checkpoint C) the famous western Allied Berlin Wall crossing point between West and East Germany during the Cold War. It was one of the many checkpoints representing the separation from the West and East Berlin. We looked around a free gallery by the checkpoint, telling the stories of people who escaped, those who sadly failed and those who also lost their lives. The checkpoint Charlie museum continues this with more detail and tells the history of the Berlin Wall. Definitely worth a visit.

berlinberlin

After We headed to Augustiner’s to enjoy German beer from a barrel and eat more sausage with sauerkraut. Both were delicious!

berlin

For dinner we went for Thai, at Thai inside. We had Mai tai cocktails followed by Chicken Satay, vegetable gyoza and chicken pad Thai all to a good standard and reasonably priced (cocktails were excellent).

berlin

We continued our evening visiting microbrewery, Lemke Berlin and onto ‘the pub’ pouring our own Berliner pints of beer.

berlinberlin

Wednesday we headed out for brunch at the house of small wonder. At the entrance you walk up a beautiful spiral staircase, to this green and quirky cafe in Mitte. Serving Japanese and breakfast cuisine. I had Croque Monsieur and mint tea and Fiona had the homemade granola with Greek yoghurt. Both were filling, delicious and good value.

berlin

berlin

We walked off our breakfast, visiting the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall, now known as The East Side Gallery, near Ostbahnhof in Friedrichshain. The Wall was constructed in 1961, to stop Eastern emigration from communist East Berlin to free West Berlin. The wall is now a memorial for freedom, with paintings by artists all over the world. It was last renovated in 2010. Sadly, they have now put metal fences in front of most of the wall to stop people graffitiing, so it was hard to take photos. Most of the photos below were from a previous trip three years ago.

berlinberlin wallberlin wallberlin

Late afternoon, we visited one of my favourite places in Berlin Markthalle Neun which translates to Market Nine. In the heart of Keruzberg, this market sells an array of foods, alcohol and street foods. Every Thursday evening, they host their street food market and throughout the month they host special markets e.g. Cheese, Mexican food etc. It was quiet this afternoon, which I enjoyed. Previously I’ve been on the weekend and you are fighting for seats. We both had a ‘small’ meat platter of pulled pork, salad and potatoes, best meal of the trip! Followed by baked cheesecake and washed down by a Moscow mule and a large glass of Pinot Noir.

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After a big night on Tuesday, we decided to have an early night and get up early before our flight in the afternoon.

berlin

Thursday morning, we intended to go up the TV tower (Fernsehturm), the mist had finally lifted from the last two days. The queue was large so we decided to give it a miss, on a previous visit I went up the tower, you get great views of across the city and can have a cheeky cocktail at the bar. Instead we walked to see the holocaust memorial and Brandenburg gate. When we got to the memorial and the gate, sadly, both were cordoned off by police due to President Obama visiting. Normally you can walk through the memorial and feel the soberness, dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide. I managed one good photo of the memorial (without police and riot vans).

berlin

We headed back to the hotel, picked up our bags and set off for the airport.

A few other places I would recommend visiting is Judisches (Jewish) Museum, predominantly about the events of World War II but also gives the history of Jewish people in Germany. This museum is vast, make sure you have lots of time to visit. Tiergarten, Berlin’s biggest park, with the zoo at the south west corner. In summer, hire bikes, the city has many bike lanes and flat terrain, easiest way to get around the city!

Jenwaar

Edinburgh Triathlete’s winter training weekend

Apologies for my lack of posts….A fortnight ago I went along to Edinburgh Triathletes winter training weekend. This is annual winter training weekend ET organise every year. I previously went two years ago. Friday evening, I headed over to Bridge of Earn in Perthshire. Friday night was spent catching up with everyone, eating pizza and have a cheeky glass of wine.

Saturday morning commenced with an early morning run, I’m currently not running at the moment, so spent an extra hour in bed! At 9.30am we went off for a group ride, two groups were formed based on ability.

triclubPhoto credit: Euan Batten

We headed off into the rain in the beautiful Perthshire countryside. After ten minutes we were all soaked but that didn’t dampen our spirits! After an hour of cycling we had a Pit stop at Loch level larder. I had my ‘go to’ cycling snack, a sausage bap and hot chocolate (this time I had a chai latte but basically a hot milk drink). Highly recommend this cafe, I have been many times before for lunch and afternoon tea.

img_4224img_4225Photo credit: Euan Batten

After our stop we continued the ride. A few minutes into the ride Paul had to stop for a puncture so a few of us in the group had a plank off competition. The girls won, sorry Pierre! Look how much mud we have on our bottoms! The ride was only 28miles but quite hilly and wet so I glad to get back to the lodges and put on dry clothes!

plankingPhoto credit: Euan Batten

In the afternoon Richard, one of the coaches, conducted a ‘Q&A’ type of talk answering all questions on everything triathlon. We submitted questions in advance of the weekend. Richard covered questions from kit, coaching, racing and training, giving tips and advice. I found this really interesting and useful. I particularly found his advice on improving my times on the bike helpful and will use this in my training and racing. It also made me really want to buy a time trial bike!

Late afternoon we had a swim session at Strathallan School swimming pool which was very cold! The focus was on technique and good form. We were practicing tumble turns, rotation, push offs, streamlining and posture. This was good session, breaking down our swimming technique to build on form to swim more efficiently and effectively. ‘Swim well before swimming fast’.

In the evening we all went out for a meal at a local restaurant, followed by a couple of drinks at the local pub.

Sunday morning, we were back in the pool for a 9am start. We warmed up with a few lengths and continuing good technique. We were then divided into four groups and started racing! Sadly, all my good form went out the window whilst racing (game face)! Individually, I came second in my heat but in our team relay we came last. I had lots of fun diving off the blocks, however need to practice sprinting, I’ve not raced competitively since I was a child.

I headed home after swimming. The rest if the triathlon club completed a mini duathlon in the rain, followed by a short trail run.

The weekend was great, I loved the relaxed nature of the weekend and socialising with other club members. Big thanks to Mike for organising the weekend and Richard and Euan for coaching!

Jenwaar

Aberfeldy Middle Distance Triathlon

I’ve been lacking in blog posts recently apologies. Sadly, my Granddad suddenly passed away four weeks ago and my husband broke his wrist during a bike race (on the same day).

Granddad

My Granddad has always been a big part of my (and my family’s) life especially over the last few years as we’ve lived so close by.  I got my sportiness from my Granddad. He had always been into sports, competing when he was younger playing football, golf and badminton. He was a coach and umpired many matches. He also umpired the Badminton for the Edinburgh Commonwealth games in 1970.  In his later years he took up the role of the spectator.  He supported me during my first half marathon four years ago in Glasgow, and watched me in London at ITU triathlon last year. He always thought I was mad completing in triathlons! He will be so sadly missed!!

granddad

Sam is making a good recovery, is now back to work and now doing some light exercise.

sam

As a result my training and blog writing two weeks prior to Aberfeldy was sporadic and somewhat lacking.

loch tay

Saturday afternoon Sam and I drove up to Perthshire, checked into our beautiful AirBnB accommodation overlooking Loch Tay. I then went to register for the triathlon, go to race briefing and drop of my transition two bag. In the evening we went to an Italian restaurant with some friends from Edinburgh triathletes for a good carbohydrate load.

loch tay

Sunday morning 4.45am alarm, triple checked my kit, ‘evacuated’ and had my usual race day breakfast porridge with blueberries, banana and cup of green tea. I was surprisingly relaxed; I hadn’t put any pressure on myself this race. I’ve had a lot of trouble with my ankle and not been running (maybe 5-6 times in the last two months) so all I wanted to do was complete the race and not worsen my injury.

edinburgh triathletes

I made it down to Loch Tay with just enough time to check my tyre pressures, rack up, get my wet suit on and also get bitten by a few midges!  I saw a few friendly faces from Edinburgh Triathletes, managed a quick team photo and we were called to the start.

The start was in the water between two buoys, the water temperature was 13 degrees, pretty cold and clustered start! Once I got going the temperature was no longer a problem and I was able to swim away from the main group. The swim route was one lap and in a triangle. This race I felt my sighting was better, maybe because I was in the first group and there were less competitors in this race.  My garmin statistics say otherwise, I swam an extra 200metres and my swim time wasn’t great for me (34minsmins 33secs) so I was a little disappointed.

loch tay

I got out of the water feeling a little dizzy and ran up to transition one to my bike. I had to sit down to take off my wetsuit and put my cycling gear on. When I was ready the dizziness had passed and I ran out of transition, and started cycling. Transition time 4mins, 28secs.

The cycle route went ok; the weather was beautiful which helped. I felt alright going up Schiehallion, however I found cycling around the first side of Loch Rannoch quite hard. There was a strong head wind, my legs were pedalling but I felt like I was going slowly and lots of people were overtaking me. Once I got around the other side of the Loch and had the couple of gels and jelly babies I had kicked in. I felt stronger and my pace was better. Going back over Schiehallon wasn’t too bad either; I think I was just looking forward to the long dissent back down. I found the last 10miles after the dissent from Keltneyburn to Aberfeldy a struggle, lucky it was fairly flat and made it back to transition two in one piece.  My bike time was 3hrs 15mins 7secs, pretty pleased with that as it was quite a hilly course.

cycle route

Picture credit: live active sport

Transition two was fairly uneventful, apart from my dash to the toilet, I needed to go for an hour on the bike and there were no toilets at the feed stations. I didn’t want to expose myself to follow competitors on the bike route. Transition time 2mins, 35secs.

 

So the run was hard, very hard! My legs felt tired right away. Straight out of transition we ran up a small hill and I honestly thought ‘was I going to complete this?’ I ran past Sam after the hill, shouting and cheering, which spurred me on. The course was a there and back along a quiet road, with the occasional car passing. It was now 11am, the sun was shining and it was 18-20 degrees!  Lucky I remembered to put my sunscreen on in the morning. My plan was just to make it to the end so I decided to walk at the feed stations (under a minute each time), take on a little water each time and have at least two gels during the run. My tactics worked quite well, I managed to run past a few runners. The course was quite undulating, I was aware of my ankle (not painful) between mile three and five which then subsided. At mile eight my legs felt like pure lead. At this point I started to see fellow ET’s going the other way, the friendly faces and a few high fives helped me continue on. I was really struggling the last three miles, I knew I would finish but I was so tired and frustrated that my legs were heavy and sore. At this point I was constantly looking at my watching checking the total distance. I made it to the finish and even managed a ‘sprint finish’ through the finishing tunnel. Run time 1hr 52mins 38secs. I knew my time wasn’t going to be any good due to the lack of run training however I finished and my ankle held up.

finish photo

Overall it was a successful race, I finished uninjured and it was a beautiful course and day. Total time was 5hrs 49mins 22secs. I was 5th in my age group and 14th female overall. This race was never going to be my best due to the build-up, my recent training and my ankle injury.  Taking the pressure off the race did make it more enjoyable. Not to have that constant stress of finishing in certain time or being disappointed at the finish if you didn’t. On reflection I need to still work on my open water swimming and sighting, be quicker in transition one and hopefully get back to regular running again.

results

Next challenge is the Scottish half marathon on 18th September. Since Aberfeldy my ankle has, so far, been ok and I have been running twice a week. It’s so frustrating that I’m not at my usual fitness but I’m so glad to be running again. This next race I will be doing with friends; my aim is to finish uninjured so I won’t be pushing for a personal best or a particular finishing time.

Jenwaar