Postpartum fitness Journey

4th trimester and onwards – Slowly getting back into fitness

February 2nd 2019 Rupert finally made his entrance to the world two weeks late. I can’t believe how much he has changed since this photo. He is a happy and smiley boy we are very lucky and totally in love! We have decided not to post any facial photos of Rupert (apart this initial one) on social media.

Rupert

The first five weeks I just rested and healed. I did go on lots of short walks but nothing strenuous. I really didn’t have any desire to train nor is it advised! The first few weeks feel like a blur of sleep deviation, sore nipples, haemorrhoids, naps, breastfeeding and visitors. I went out for a walk most days with Rupert in the carrier, just to get out due to cabin fever.

When I was pregnant I saw on Joe Wick’s instagram AKA the body coach a post on Carifit workout. Carifit is a baby wearing workout, designed to reintroduce exercise postnatally and get closer to your baby whilst working out. It’s to be used from when the baby is six weeks old and up to eighteen months. By using the baby weight, light weights and intervals to get fitter and stronger. I tried the three taster sessions with the body coach and Carifit founder Vern Hill. I really enjoyed them and it also helped Rupert sleep during the day (baby wearing is a miracle worker).

A couple of weeks later after doing the tasters a few times I took the plunge and bought the six months membership plan. You can also do live classes with Vern and other instructors but the commute to London from Galashiels seems a bit far. You can opt for two to four sessions a week. I chose four and I’m sticking to them most weeks. The classes aren’t more than thirty minutes so fairly easy to fit in the day. I’ve found most of the classes focus on lower body so lots of squats and lunges with some upper body included with additional core workouts as well. I enjoy being able to workout at home, no babysitter required and can be done at my convenience at any time in the day. Rupert seems to enjoy it as he’s sleepy usually within minutes of starting so when he’s been really unsettled I’ve done extra workouts.

A couple of weeks ago I was in London for a wedding. I booked myself onto one of the Carifit Live classes and got to meet Vern in the flesh! I was excited to see him as he is regularly on the screen at home. I found the class much harder than at home workouts and the other ladies very welcoming. I really enjoyed being in a class, since Rupert my exercising has mainly been in the garage at home. Group exercise does really motivate me more and peer pressure encourages me to lower my squats. If I lived in London I would definitely be attending the classes and highly recommend them as well as the online subscription.

http://carifit.co.uk

Alongside Carifit workouts I started swimming again at from five weeks postpartum. It felt good to be back in the pool and in a normal swimming costume again. I was quite surprised how quickly my times improved but it’s likely because I’m a little more aerodynamic without the pregnancy bump. My Tumble-turns have been much easier! The only problem with swimming is that is led by my local swimming pool public swim timetable, breastfeeding and when someone is available to look after Rue. This isn’t a great mix, I usually manage once a week or don’t. In May I only went once the entire month! Hopefully things will get easier when he starts eating solids. My current aim is to be more consistent and try at least swim once a week and hopefully soon get in open water now that it’s summer.

At six weeks postpartum I started running again……. well briefly. Since Rue’s birth the pain in my symphysis pubis had eased so I thought I would slowly reintroduce running again. I started with walk \ run for a short distance and then gradually built up running for longer and walking less. I had a little mild pain at the end of some of the runs but it eased straight after. I left at least 1-2days between runs. It felt so good to be running again after six months off, even though I was much slower and my legs felt like lead. Two weeks after I started running I went for a continuous 5km run, big mistake! The last kilometre I had the same pelvic pain pre birth and after the run it didn’t go away for 24 hours. I stopped running and referred myself to women’s health physiotherapist. Maybe I pushed myself too quickly? Maybe I started running again too quickly? I don’t know but I didn’t want to make it any worst.

When I got assessed by the therapist at 15 weeks postpartum she was happy my pelvis was inline correctly, my posture was good and I had minimal abdominal separation (Diastasis Recti). Just that it’s going to take time for my ligaments to readjust and time to recover from pregnancy and delivery. She noted that my upper abdominal muscles were much stronger than my lower and I had tight hip flexors. She stated just recently new guidelines of postnatal running advises now to wait a minimum of twelve weeks for impact exercises or sports after birth. Low impact was fine to start earlier eg walking, swimming, light weights. I was given exercises including; pelvic floor exercises, lower abdominal exercises and stretches.
No running yet but to continue the low impact exercises I’m doing currently and the physio exercises. I was to see her again in a month. She also stated that hopefully I should be able to do the great north run in September and set that as my goal.

A comprehensive postnatal return to running for clinicians guide was published in March 2019 with a guide of exercise progression in the weeks post birth. It’s very informative and I would recommend my colleagues (midwives and doctors) to read as well as mums to be. Link below.

http://www.running-physio.com/postnatal-guide/

At my following appointment at 20 weeks postpartum she was pleased with my progress, my lower abdominals were stronger and engaging more, my hip flexors were less tight but a work in progress and I felt my pelvic floor was much stronger. She has given me the green light to run again. She has instructed me to do the NHS couch to 5K app. This plan involves three runs a week, with a day rest in between that takes nine week to builds up to 5 kilometres of continuous running. My physiotherapist Gill was happy for me to skip some weeks if it’s very easy but it should take a minimal of 6 weeks to complete. If I have any pains or concerns to repeat the same week and to see her again in a month. I’m really excited but also nervous hopefully my running will be more successful this time round. I will be keeping a diary of my runs to see how I’m getting on.

At eight weeks postpartum I started cycling again, indoor on the turbo trainer. I hadn’t been on a bike since June last year. I’m currently cycling on my husbands bike as he’s “borrowing” my power meter and speedometer so it’s all set up. We are both the same height so our bike set up is pretty similar. I’m just missing my comfortable long distance bike seat. When I start training for a race again I will set myself properly on my own bike. I’m only doing short sessions at the moment.

I used to hate being on the turbo trainer but now I love it. Firstly I have a power meter so I know my output and can set up a workout to that. (I got the power meter last year for my birthday). Secondly we have a better set up, TV and iPad holder, no more using the ironing board! Thirdly it’s just so convenient. Rupert usually has one to two naps a day. I can watch him on the baby monitor as I work out, no need for babysitter and if he wakes up I’m there in seconds.

The turbo trainer is my main source for exercise now, I usually train three to five times a week. Most of the sessions are short only thirty to fourth minutes long. For this reason I do sprints or high intensity as it’s better at fat burning and more advantageous for the time I’ve got. I do at least one hour long spin once a week and that’s usually when my husband is at home. I’ve got quite motivated to pushing myself on the sprints to see how high I can get my watts and then overall throughout the session. I’m not following any plan or have a coach. I’m just being flexible for Rupert and taking on knowledge from training previously. I tend to do one session short sprints all out and the following session keeping a certain wattage for a longer period of time. Mixing it up also makes it more fun and having a plan of what the session is encourages me to finish it.

Working out around Rupert can be hard sometimes and some days it’s just not possible. I’m very lucky to have a supportive partner and family helping me to exercise between feeds where possible. I’ve found the tiredness the hardest barrier, if I’ve not slept well the previous night I prioritised daytime naps rather than exercise.

I decided not to enter any races this year.. I enter the ballot each year for The Great North run, previously I’ve never got entry and typically this year I have! At the moment it seems unlikely I will compete. I need to see how my running goes. I hope to get back to racing next year.

Five months on after delivery, I’m regularly exercising again which is great. I’m looking forward to reintroducing running again and that’s my main aim at the moment. Late summer I hope to get outdoors on the bike before winter.

Jenwaar

April Training update 2018

April training update

Training has definitely rammed up and I’m starting to see improvements in the weather and also my fitness. I am finally managing to get out on my bike outdoors regularly, hooray!

muddy face

The start of the month I was in Devon for Easter weekend, visiting family but managed a couple of runs and a 60mile ride from Hatherleigh to Torringdon and along the Tarka trail with my husband Sam.

I was away in Mallorca for training week in April with my coach. I had a great week and did lots of cycling around 400miles in total!  I am now seeing the benefits of this trip, my speed has increased, my bike handling is much better and I am much more confident going downhill. Highlights of the trip include cycling up Sa Calobara and Puig de Major. I also enjoyed swimming in the clear sea at Porte de Pollencsa. See my previous post for the details of the trip.

Coll de Reis
Group shot
Swimming at Port de Pollensa

After Mallorca I was unwell for a few days due to throat viral infection so had a rest week instead of a recovery week as planned. I think my body particularly my legs were pleased, they felt pretty heavy and sore after all the cycling In Mallorca.

April’s mileage

Swim 10.4miles (16.7km)

Bike 651.8miles (1048.9km)

Run 49.1miles (79km)

Swim mileage was similar in March, I’m happy with my pace, just need to get a few longer swim sessions in. In Mallorca I swam in the sea a couple of times, trying out my new wetsuit which I love, great flexibility and fits me well.

Cycling has massively improved since Mallorca. The mileage is much higher than last month, hopefully I can keep it up!

Running… I feel I have been neglecting. I know I haven’t done enough, I should have run more in Mallorca and throughout the month. Running has always been one of my strengths and this year I have been racing less so taken this for granted. Last year I was stronger runner (but a slower cyclist).  I have only a few weeks until Celtman so I am going to focus more on my running and not miss any run sessions (or any training sessions).

I’ve also got a little confession… I started having the occasional alcohol beverage after stating I wouldn’t have any until after Celtman. After a little peer pressure and not much persuading… I’ve had the occasional drink. Overall, I am still not drinking much or any. I did have a few too many drinks at a friend’s wedding in April but that was a one off. I am just going to continue to be sensible and have the occasional drink if I want.

Sometimes we make an effort!

In May the training volume is increasing in all disciplines. Longer brick sessions and practising kit, food and race conditions. At the end of May I am going up North to recce Celtman bike and run the course with fellow Celtman competitors.

Top of Puig de Major

Jenwaar

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

February Training update

I can’t quite believe how quickly February has gone! The last four weeks training has gone well. I’ve completed nearly all of my planned sessions and feeling fitter for it. The only real problem has been the weather!

 

I completed my first race in February, Livingston half marathon (see previous blog post for race report). Due to the ice and frost I used the race as a training run rather than a race, I kept to my planned pace and managed to get through it with only a scraped knee!

 

This month, the mileage of all disciplines has increased;

Swim 22.24miles (35.8kms)

Bike 342miles (550.3kms)

Running 74.2miles (119.4kms)

Swimming, I feel I’ve made the most difference, my times are quicker and my technique is getting better. I have been swimming at least 3 times a week.

Cycling has been going well apart from most of my cycling has been on a turbo trainer or Watt bike. I have only managed one successful outdoor bike ride in February! It’s been really cold, icy or snowing! During a ride with friends my whole hand went numb, so I couldn’t feel if I was braking, so stopped at a café to warm up. For safety I decided to go home and train on the turbo trainer. As a result, I haven’t been on any long rides apart from one 50mile ride at the start February. I’m currently writing this post snowed in at home. I’m praying the weather will improve soon so I can get more miles done on the bike outdoors!

Running is slowly improving, the mileage this month has increased and I’ve started running longer distances. I really enjoy the track session I do each week and feel I am becoming a stronger runner because of it.

It’s been six weeks since I have stopped drinking alcohol. Surprisingly, I’m not actually missing it! I thought I may struggle at a few occasions in February including a friend’s hen do but I didn’t. I have noticed I am more aware when I’m tired and leave events earlier than previously. I am not missing the hangovers. I do feel more focused and have more energy during training (perhaps due to the extra sleep).

March goals are pretty similar to February: up the mileage on all disciplines and get out on my bike!!!! I have an open water adventure swimming race- Neptune Steps- on 10th March in Glasgow. I am trying not to think about how cold it will be and I will definitely be wearing my heat vest under my wetsuit. The distance is only 400metres so hopefully won’t be in the water too long!

Jenwaar

January back to training

January Back to training

First month back into training, it certainly was a shock to the system! I have really enjoyed following my training plan and slowly regaining my fitness back. For the New Year I changed my hair colour to orange. I wonder how long this colour will last!


This month’s numbers;
Swim 13.3 miles (21.4km)
Bike 283.9 miles (456.9km)
Run 50.6 miles (81.4km)

From these figures I really need to get out running a little more. The weather in January wasn’t great. There was heavy snow for a week, so I couldn’t run or use the track that week. Overall, I’m pretty pleased and I even managed one very cold and windy ride with Zoe. Hopefully the weather will improve so I’m out on the bike more rather than the turbo trainer or Watt bike at the gym.


I’ve started adjusting to training in my new area. I have to plan my sessions more, such as the local pool doesn’t have lane swimming all day and opening hours are much shorter particularly at the weekend (only 9am-1pm). Its winter, so running in the dark can be limiting, as it’s a smaller area so less street lighting. The positives are definitely when it’s light; I can get out running the hills and along the Tweed river, it’s beautiful. I’m closer to a running track and the roads are much quieter so when I can get out on the bike it should be better. It’s also very hilly which is great for Celtman training.


In January, I joined my local triathlon club – Borders Triathletes. It’s a much smaller club but very welcoming and friendly. They only train once a week and when I’m not working I’m there. I am still a member with Edinburgh Triathletes (sorry you can’t get rid of me yet) and go along, when I can, to early morning swim sessions. I will be mainly racing for Borders but a few events I will race for Edinburgh. 

I’ve decided I’m not going to drink alcohol until after Celtman in June. It may seem drastic, but it does really affect my training. After a friend’s 30th I didn’t train due to the hangover, but it also affects my mood. I can become low and unmotivated. I will still be going out to social events and seeing friends but minus the alcohol. I really want to improve this year and it’s only until June! Hopefully, I can save a few pennies to buy more kit – ha!

February goals are just to up the mileage on all disciplines; try and get out on the bike more (weather depending) and complete all my training sessions in my plan. I have Livingston half marathon on 11th February, I’m not fit enough to get a PB, but I will stick to a planned pace and enjoy it.

Jenwaar

Edinburgh Ironman 70.3 Race Report

Edinburgh Ironman 70.3 Race Report

I wasn’t in the best condition or well prepared for Ironman 70.3 Edinburgh. Two weeks previously I completed Celtman Extreme Triathlon followed by two weeks of travelling around the west coast of America enjoying myself, eating my weight in food and minimal exercise. Celtman was my focus this year, any other race was an extra and I wanted to enjoy my holiday away after months of solid training. A few friends and family thought I was a little crazy to do them so close together but how could I miss the first Ironman event in Scotland on my door step?!

I arrived back in Scotland on the Friday night after a six-hour flight delay from America, urgh! Registration and bag drop off was the next day so I packed all my triathlon gear, ready for Saturday. My wonderful friend Eilidh washed all my kit post Celtman (as we pretty much drove straight to Manchester airport from finishing Celtman). Thanks, Eilidh!!!

Saturday morning, I got up early to register at Meadowbank stadium. I got my race pack, number 406 and bags to drop off at transition. This triathlon has a split transition, a point to point race. This means there are two transitions, I had to sort my kit into two bags, drop them off in two different places and also rack up my bike. I filled both my bike and run bag with kit, and headed firstly to the swim location at Prestonpans. I saw a few members of Edinburgh triathletes (ET) at transition and had a quick chat. By coincidence I saw Eilidh at the bike rack and she was next to me, number 407. I dropped off my bike and bike bag in transition and collected my timing chip. I drove back to Meadowbank stadium for the mandatory race briefing and dropped my red run bag at the run transition- by Holyrood Palace- afterwards.

Briony, my friend, was visiting this weekend so after dragging her around Ironman transitions in the morning. I spent the rest of the day hanging out with her in Edinburgh and having a big dinner. I went to bed early whilst she and my husband Sam had a few cocktails (not jealous at all).

Everyone competing in the race received an email at 7pm from the race organisers. Potentially the swim may have to be cut short to 0.6miles (instead of 1.2miles) depending on the sea conditions the following day. We would all know at the 6am race start. I was a little disappointed as the swim is my best discipline but our safety is paramount.

Sunday morning I awoke at 4am, Celtman was 2am so practically a lie in! I got ready, made my breakfast and left. I met Eilidh and we walked to Meadowbank for the coaches to transfer us to the swim start at Prestonpans. I ate my lukewarm porridge on the coach. I bumped into Robin on the bus who also completed the Celtman triathlon two weeks before. We all discussed the uncertainty of the swim and the wind speeds. Yesterday morning when I was at transition it didn’t look too bad but apparently the wind was very strong overnight. Once I got off the coach, I felt how strong the winds were and I started to get cold. After a quick loo stop, I checked my bike and got my wetsuit on an hour before the start as I felt so cold! The wind was bracing but once I had my wetsuit on it was fine.

Swim (950metres/ 0.6miles) 20mins 29secs.

At 6am they announced the swim would be cut short, even for the pro athletes. This was no surprise as the conditions were crazy for swimming, waves over a metre high, lots of athletes were happy with this decision. I got a quick group photo with fellow Edinburgh Triathletes, then dropped off my dry clothes and headed for the swim pen. I decided against my pre-swim banana due to the rough conditions. I lined up with fellow athletes based on our swim predicted swim times. Most Ironman events now start with rolling starts. You place yourself into your predicted swim time and each group commence a rolling start based on these times with the fastest athletes first. Each athlete’s race started once they crossed the swim timing mat. The pros started and because the swim was shortened we saw them complete the circuit before I started so I knew exactly where to swim. The buoys were also quite close together so less chance to go off course (which I’m really bad for doing). We were set off in fours, 4 seconds apart and before I knew it, I was running into the sea.

Prior to starting the race Ironman very kindly advised that the hardest part of the swim would be the swim to the first buoy, as we were swimming into the waves. They suggested you kick as hard as you can during this part and after turning past the first buoy the swim would be better. This was now my game plan, however once I was in the water, my plan changed to swimming hard for the whole swim.  I’m a strong swimmer and now a fairly experienced open water swimmer, it was tough and the roughest conditions I’ve ever had in a race. I swam through the waves to the first buoy and decided to bilaterally breath (I usually unilaterally breath) and sight every other stroke. I did not want to swim any extra distance in these conditions! I inhaled a lot of sea water during this part but once I turn after the first buoy I was able to get into a rhythm and feel comfortable swimming. After that I found the swim fine, it was still very wavy, like swimming in a washing machine! Although the conditions were challenging I found no one was drafting each other, so no kicks or hits to the face or legs which I enjoyed and it was not really congested, even at the turning buoys. I think it’s the best I’ve ever sighted during a race, my lines were pretty straight on strava rather than wiggly. I was much more relaxed as I knew I wasn’t going to get a fast time and just wanted to get out in one piece. I didn’t see anyone getting pulled out of the swim but I heard 60-80 athletes were assisted out and a few people decided not to start the race after looking at the sea. Swim time wasn’t great but so was everyone else’s.

Swim to Bike transition (T1) 5 minutes 39 seconds

Surprisingly, the sea wasn’t that cold so running out of the water into transition I felt warm. I grabbed my bag, sat down and got the rest of my wetsuit off and bike kit on. I saw a couple of people vomiting, I was so glad I didn’t eat that banana! I felt a little disoriented but once I was on my bike I was fine, a couple of others around me fell off their bikes after mounting them.

Bike (91kms /56miles) 3 hours 24minutes 22 seconds

Initially, I felt strong on the bike- a tailwind does that! Along the east coast trail, I was in my TT bars and overtaking others. I was making sure I was eating, I didn’t want to bonk on the upcoming hills and the challenging Gifford/Garvald loop. I had the advantage of being a local, completing most of the course a few times before and practising the hills. On the first big hill, just before Haddington, I was powering through and enjoyed the long hill down into Haddington. Out of Haddington the head wind was strong and my lack of training between events was evident. I just didn’t have the power in my legs to keep up with the others around me so I kept eating and dug deep. The rest of the bike was just a battle with either cross or head winds: when I could I pushed. You would think I would be accustomed to the wind after Celtman and living in Scotland but today was particularly bad. The bike course was quite technical in parts, I took them safely. I’m glad I did the course before as I saw the results of a couple of crashes, a few athletes receiving aid from ambulance crews.

Some of the bike course is a “there and back with a loop” which was great as I saw so many of the club members and everyone was cheering each other on. On the last big hill to Cousland I got a second wind and it’s more inland so the wind didn’t feel as bad. There was a sign in Cousland stating this was “the last hill” which was is a cheeky lie! After Cousland it’s a windy course back to Edinburgh through Dalkeith county park; Bonnyrigg; and then a cycle around Arthur’s seat; a nice short steep hill to finish your legs before the run. The views coming back down to transition are worth it. Again, not a great time but my legs just didn’t have the power or energy since Celtman.

Still smiling after climbing up Arthurs seat!

Bike to run transition 2 minutes 39 seconds  Transition two was unremarkable: in and out pretty quick and grabbed my energy gel for later.

Run (Half marathon 21kms/ 13.1miles) 1 hour 53mins 43 secs

Out on the run, the sun came out and it was warm. The run course is the usual Ironman three lap course, starting with a run up Arthur’s seat (900ft ascent), with a few turn and backs with gentle inclines and a run up and down the innocent railway tunnel.  Not the easiest half marathon I’ve ever done. Lap one was fine, I was elated with the support from club members, volunteers and other supporters, wearing club kit in a home race was so much fun. I, stupidly, didn’t take on any fluids on the first lap and paid for it in the second, so drank at every feed station thereafter: Edinburgh was surprisingly hot for once. Energy levels were low as I started the third lap so had my energy gel and pushed on to the finish. I managed a sprint finish in the last 500m and down the red carpet to finish.

Finishing time- 5hours 46mins 70.3miles (69.7)

Hands down, this was the hardest 70.3, well technically 69.7 middle distance triathlon, I’ve ever done. It makes Staffordshire Ironman 70.3 last year seem much easier in comparison. The course is brutal; rough sea swim; hilly, windy, technical bike; and hilly run. Despite the harsh conditions and gruelling course, I still had a great time. Plus my legs hadn’t full recovered from Celtman and also the none existent training over the previous two weeks didn’t help. The support during the race was immense throughout the race and especially on the run! Being a home race, wearing club kit meant I was cheered all the way to the finish. I wouldn’t recommend this race as a first 70.3 middle distance race or for a personal best time but more for the challenge in the beautiful Edinburgh and East Lothian surroundings.

Thank to Sam my wonderful husband for supporting me. Also thanks to Aisling, Alex and Briony for cheering me on at the end and post-race treats!

My next race is Aberfeldy middle distance race in two weeks.

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

 

 

 

 

 

May Training update

May Training Update 

May has been a busy month! Big birthday, big training sessions and weekends away! I’ve been a very lucky and busy lady.


Big Birthday….So a few days ago I turned the big 3 0! I’m excited to be in my thirties, just worried
 how quickly the last few years have gone! I’ve been spoiled rotten with a surprise trip to Copenhagen with one of my close friends Naomi, trip to Las Vegas, LA and San Francisco in June, meals out and my birthday party at Musselburgh races last week. I’m so lucky to have such wonderful friends, family and husband. Thank you for all your love and generosity!!

Big tra
ining sessions… less than two weeks to Celtman, I feel ready to race, I think training has gone well, my fitness has vastly improved over the last few months and I just want to complete it now!

Over the last few weeks, once a week I have a long brick session usually consists of a bike ride followed by a run. Progressively over the weeks the distance and time has got longer and longer. During the longer rides and runs I have been asking friends to come along with me for support. A few members of the triathlon club also have upcoming Ironman or long-distance events and have been keen to join me, thankfully! Although on the race day I will be by myself, during training it helps to have a friend to keep moral and make the training more fun. Thanks for th
e support everyone especially Sam, Zoe, Laura and Carrie!

At the start of May, I finally got time trial (TT) bars on my bike and a bike fit with Edinburgh Bike Fitting. I don’t know why I was ever scared of getting TT bars, I find the position comfortable and not as unstable as I thought. I feel I am faster on the bike especially with a head wind. I may even buy a TT bike in the future. 

In May, I have been trying to focus on doing my long runs on trails and hills and at least one open water swim a week. I have been running mostly on the Pentland hills or up Arthur’s seat to try and mimic race conditions. I’ve also managed to keep up my open water swims every week, even on holiday in Copenhagen without a wetsuit in fourteen degrees sea dock water (it wasn’t a long swim)!

Early May I went up to the north of Scotland to Sheildaig, to recce some of the Celtman course with my husband Sam. I met up with other competitors over the weekend, Robin, Kevin and Andrew. On the Saturday, we cycled the bike route (plus a little more), my longest bike ride to date 135miles! On race day, it will be 127miles. Sam joined us for the first hundred miles, and Robin for the first forty due to work commitments.

We were very lucky with the weather with only a sprinkle of rain but mostly a cloudy dry day.  The first part of the route takes you along the west coast, it’s a beautiful coast, and we even spotted seals sunbathing on the beach! After mile 75-80mile the route takes you back inland, it is less hilly but we were hit with a brutal head wind for about 20-25miles. Kevin’s wife Louise was practising supporting Kevin driving the course and stopping at lay bays. We were fortunate to be able to give our drinks and food to Louise, and top up when we stopped. I was able to practice eating and drinking regularly on the bike. We stopped three times in total to refuel, it took us just over eight hours in total. 

On Sunday early morning, I had a quick dip in the sea at Sheildaig with Andrew and Kevin. This is where we will be coming out of the water on race day. The water was cold but once I was fully submerged and swimming I warmed up. The water temper
ature was cold but living in Scotland I’m used to it, so not too shocking for me. I have been told about jellyfish during the race. That morning there were no jellyfish but I have been warned they come in June. I will definitely be wearing gloves, I really don’t want to touch their slimy bodies!

After breakfast, we headed over to transition two (T2) to complete part of the run course. The first section of the run is called Coulin Pass, its 18km. This section starts with a gradual hill for the first few kilometres, followed by a downhill and fairly flat to Transition 2A (T2A). From T2A the run starts climbing up Be
inn Eighe. Unusually, there are two transitions on the run T2 and T2A. The second transition you are checked to see if you’re fit enough to go over the mountain and also a time limit cut off for the race. The first limit is 11 hours (blue t-shirt) from race start to completion of the full mountain course and 13 hours (white t-shirt) for the lower mountain course. After 13 hours, you have to stop the race. We took the run fairly leisurely, my legs were very tired from the ride the day before. After the run, we headed home. Ideally, I would have gone up Beinn Eighe to get an idea for race day but didn’t have enough time. Thankfully I have a support runner to help read the map and guide us up the mountain on race day.

It was a successful weekend and it was great meeting fellow competitors, Celtman triathlon has a real family feel to it, supportive rather than competitive. It gave me a real confidence boost, I now know I can complete the bike course (my biggest worry). Being faced with Beinn Eighe Mountain however, looked very daunting! I am fully aware I will be walking some of the marathon on the climb up the mountain.

With only two weeks left, I’ve now started my taper before the race. Tapering is basically when you reduce your training load over a period of time leading up to a race. Aiming to recover from training fatigue and maximise race day freshness.The key is to cut back your mileage, but to maintain training intensity (not to stop or relax). I am actually finding it strange reducing training but enjoying the extra time. However, that is being filled with race preparation, ha!

Overall, I am excited about the race and looking forward to putting the last seven months of training to good use!

My next blog post should hopefully be me celebrating finishing the race. Not long now, eeeeekkkkkkk!!!

Jenwaar

April Training update

It’s actually quite scary how quick this year is going! I can’t quite believe it’s May and only six weeks till Celtman! I am excited, worried and scared – all at the same time. It’s the final push and my training swims, rides, runs and brick sessions are getting longer and longer!

 April’s distances: I swam 22.3miles, cycled 207.5miles (not including turbo sessions) and ran 99.1miles. During April I swam and ran more and cycled less but I think that was down to racing twice in April. This will certainly change in May, looking at my training plan!

I completed a couple of races in April; East Fife Sprint triathlon and Great Edinburgh Run, (see my previous post for the race reports), I now have no more races until Celtman so I will be concentrating on the long-distance training.

In April, I went back to blonde, the blue has gone (for now ha!). I prefer being lighter but not really sure what colour I will go next!

 I’ve been reading lots of blogs from previous competitors of Celtman, and trying to find tips about the course. I’ve been really inspired by all their posts and it’s spurred me on in my training. Many people have mentioned the jelly fish in the Loch, I am dreading touching their slimy bodies on race day. Throughout all the posts I’ve read, everyone has thoroughly enjoyed the race and highly recommended doing it, which is reassuring.

I have been buying kit for the race, and starting to use them in training. Due to the nature of the race, I am required to have mandatory kit. During the run I have to run with a bag containing kit, food and water. I’ve been practising running with my bag with full kit, in preparation, and practising eating and drinking whilst running.

 Training has gone much better now the weather has improved. Last week was my first open water swimming session. I organised a social swim with members of Edinburgh Triathletes at Threipmuir reservoir in the Pentlands. It was a very windy day. The normally calm reservoir was very wavy, with almost sea like conditions! Lots of club members came and managed a short swim, it was very cold, I’m glad I had my extra heat vest under my wetsuit!

May training is getting quite intense, lots of long brick sessions, increasing every week. I’m practising what I plan to eat during the race, I’m awful at eating and exercising but definitely need to eat as I will be exercising all day!

Jenwaar

 

East Fife Sprint Triathlon

East Fife Sprint Triathlon

I woke up Sunday morning feeling tired, and with a sore tummy, not a great start for a race! After breakfast, I did feel a little better, I worked Friday night and I hadn’t quite caught up on sleep. My husband Sam wasn’t feeling great either but that could be down to race day nerves. It was his first ever triathlon!

We arrived in Cupar early, registered and racked up in transition. This was a pool based swim, unusually the swim heats were not in the traditional slowest swimmers first to the fastest in the final heat. They changed the format, the fastest two heats went first followed by the two slowest and then the two heats in between. Sadly, this meant I wouldn’t see Sam swim but I would see him finish the race.

Photo credit; Mac Images Active Lifestyle Photography

After race briefing, I went straight to the pool as I was in the first heat. Pool side nerves kicked in especially when everyone else about you is wearing Scotland and Great Britain age group team tri suits! Once I started I felt fine, the lanes were pretty crowded with 6 in each lane. The swim was a bit of a disaster, I was third in my lane it took a few lengths before I was in front. The swimmer behind me touching my leg and I moved over (as per race instructions) but then she would swim slower after that, basically kept swapping between 3-4 of us. Some of the athletes got a bit vicious with the leg pulling and I didn’t want to go all out on the swim so dropped to second or third in the lane and drafted. In hindsight, I should have gone a bit faster to begin with, then settled into the swim rather than swim at my long-distance pace in preparation for Celtman. Swim time 11mins 50secs but I was aiming for 11mins, but considering what happened I was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t slower.

  Photo credit: Chris Wallard Photography

Out of the pool and into transition when it got was a pretty heated between two athletes in my swim lane. I kept my cool and got out of transition as soon as I could. T1 time, 1min 35secs.

Photo credit; Mac Images Active Lifestyle Photography

I felt pretty fresh after the swim, and jumped on my bike out of Duffus park. The first part of the bike race was on a gravely path before getting onto the road and straight up a long steep hill. The course has a two loop around Moonzie and then back down the big hill at the start. I really enjoyed the course, mixture of hills and flat sections, apart from the strong head wind on the A92! I passed a couple of people cycling up the hill and kept my pace. No one overtook me, which is really unusual! I definitely feel I have made vast improvements on the bike and managed an 18.9mph average! My bike time 47mins 54secs- super pleased. Transition two was uneventful, T2 time 52secs.

Photo credit; Mac Images Active Lifestyle Photography

The run course was one lap, 4.7km. Out of the car park and up a long hill for the first couple of kilometres. Surprisingly, it was sunny in Scotland and I actually felt hot in just my tri suit! The run route took us through a farm and along a closed road back to Duffus park to the finish. My legs were pretty tired, one of my club members overtook me towards the end and I couldn’t keep up with him. Run time 20minutes 55secs.

Photo credit: Rose Campbell

After the race I got to see Sam finish his bike leg and cheer him on during the run and finish. He did really well and I’m super proud, however I don’t think I can convince him yet to compete in another triathlon anytime soon.

Overall my race went well… I was fifth female and second senior female! My first ever podium and most likely last, total surprise! My total time was 1 hour 23minutes 7secs. The race was well organised, the volunteers and marshals very friendly. I have a few areas for me to improve on but overall the race was a success. My next race is Edinburgh Great run on 23rd April.

Jenwaar