I have fallen in love again…

I loved it.

I loved the swim.

I loved the bike.

I loved the run.

I loved it all.

I loved triathlon today.

So today, I raced with Britain’s finest triathletes – once again, they were fast.  The course was fast.  And, I was fast, for me!

Today was a totally different experience to last weekend.  The water was warmer, there was no wind, my fellow triathletes were so friendly and most of all I wasn’t intimidated by the speedy bikes – okay I lie, I was initially.

My club mates were also racing – it’s so nice having them there – so supportive.  Also, a friend, who moved to Australia and has come back was also there, so nice to see Lorna again, racing!

I said goodbye to my little support crew, Matt and his daughter Eloise (I cried.. wtf… I cried) and made my way to the swim start.

I enjoyed the swim – it was a good swim.

Next up the bike, but first to get through transition – not bad, could do a little better, but not bad.   No socks today – now that’s a first!

The bikes, whizzing around on closed roads – 4 loops – just loved it.  You could draft today which meant that there were no TT bikes.  I found myself alone for a while and then managed to attach myself to a group, especially for the last lap.  It was a large group.  A friendly bunch.  I even managed to throw in a flying dismount – just loved the bike today!

Transition no. 2… speedy .. kind of.  No socks again for the run – whoooah!

The run.  I can honestly say, I actually enjoyed the run.  Good pacing by Miss V, even if I do say so myself.

And then to the finish.  I could hear Lorna screaming out my name.  Matt and Eloise with the cowbell.  Over the finish line.  I worked hard.  Very hard.  I loved it all.  It was awesome.

We stayed on, with a picnic (which featured.. pork pies, cherry bakewells and cherry coke – those that know me will chuckle at that) and watched fellow club mates race.  The races were staggered all morning based on age groups.

Overall time 1hr 21minutes 57 seconds (750swim / 20km bike / 5km run) – I will take that – I am super happy with my time. Will I get a roll down place, possibly?  Who knows, who cares, I just loved it so much.

I think, after all my triathlons, sprint, Olympic, 70.3 and Ironman distance – I have found my favourite distance.

It has to be sprint.

I have fallen back in love again with Triathlon.

Miss V

 

Now that was something….

 

We turned up, we raced… we went home – what a hard morning’s work…

We had decided that we would try to qualify for GB in Standard Distance triathlon on Sunday 13 May in St Neots – Cambridgeshire.

It had been raining heavily all afternoon and into the evening and even whilst I was watching The Eurovision Song Context whilst Matt slept.   I kept checking the weather app in the hope that the rain would disappear… and it did.

And there we were… parked up, eating our porridge in a nice a warm car looking at each other, thinking the same thing … why are we doing this?

Into transition, racked the bikes, laid out our bike shoes and trainers… the wetsuit was already half on to keep us warm…. and then off to the start line.  Matt was first into the water in Wave 2… I was Wave 4.  I felt for Matt.  The water wasn’t warm (13.8 degrees apparently) and the lake wasn’t calm.  Matt doesn’t enjoy swimming but he’s improved so much over the last year.  He was off.  I stood there, with some of my club mates, who have been super supportive, and I think again, we were all thinking ‘why are we doing this’?

Time for my wave, Wave 4, all the ladies, all age groups.  Into the water.  It was cold.  There were lots of us.  I placed myself in the middle of the pack.   Off we went.

I enjoy swimming, it’s my strongest discipline.  Now, open water swimming in race conditions is nothing like swimming in a nice calm pool or even at the training lake.  This was fight for your own space, take a few knocks here and there…. swallow some water.. try to look in the right direction and swim in the right direction.  I had someone, constantly next to me… and every now and again, I would get hit on the head… on the back… on my legs… after a while I realised, it was one of my club mates.  She didn’t realise it was me until afterwards.    I was happy with my swim.  It was strong in the conditions.

But I was cold… I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands and I now had to find my bike whilst trying to remove my wetsuit… that probably didn’t look all too pretty.  I looked over at Matt’s area in transition, and his bike was gone, he had completed the swim – awesome!

Off on the bike… now before I go into how that went just a little bit of bike stuff…. The bikes that were racked either side of me… even in the whole transition area were speed machines… I mean… speed machines… costing an arm and a leg.  My car isn’t worth half of what some of the bikes are worth.  I know, some of you will say, it’s about the engine on the bike.  But if you have a super duper aero bike, of course it’s going to go just a tad quicker than a road bike.

So out I went on the bike  – trying to keep positive and wondering when I would feel my feet again.  I was working hard.. and so was the wind.  I enjoyed the second half of the bike more – I felt comfortable.  It’s fast and furious this Standard Olympic Triathlon stuff, there’s no time to look at the scenery… or even just ease off slightly!  You can hear the expensive bikes coming up behind you, they have a unique sound.  It was nice to see Matt twice on the course as it was and out and back course.   Matt smashed the bike – he pedalled so well!

Finished the bike… thinking, phew, that wasn’t so bad – back into transition, rack the bike, change the shoes – once again, fast and furious.. no time for a snack or to take your time.

Out on the run.  OMG… my legs!  They hurt.  They didn’t work.  They didn’t want to work.  Every step hurt.  I saw a team mate, Clare, she looked so comfortable.  I decided now would be a good time to start taking my gels.  My legs hurt.  I tried to tell myself they didn’t, that I was strong.  My body was telling me something else.  I saw Matt coming into the home straight – he was pegging it. Once again it was an out and back course.

I can’t say I enjoyed the run – it wasn’t comfortable but I did it and coming into the home straight, seeing Matt and my club mates cheering me in made it worth while.

I was 2 minutes slower than my predicted time with an overall time of 2hrs 47 minutes.

Back to the car we went, we sat there eating our picnic watching people load their cars with their expensive bikes… and had the same conversation … ‘why do we do this’?

We came to the conclusion that we both love the training but are not so keen on the races.  It’s been great to have Matt by my side, throughout all my training and coming along on the journey.  He has improved so much in the couple of years, he’s strong and super fast!

Now, to get in, to represent Great Britain in Australia in September you have to be within 115% of the winning time within your age group.  Both of us were outside of this with exactly the same percentage.

However, only 15 people have registered their intent to represent GB in my age group, so I might get a roll down place if nobody else registers their intent before the next 2 qualifying races in a couple of weeks.  There are 20 places up for grabs.   Matt’s age group is so competitive and his age group is over subscribed (more than 20 people have registered their intent).

So, I can either sit here and wait and see… or…..

Yes… or….

Do I race another qualifier..?

I am going to race another qualifier… however, a shorter distance, Sprint Distance, 750m swim / 21km bike / 5km run this Sunday at Dorney Lake!

Please don’t shake your head.. I know you are.

As Matt reminded me yesterday, it was my goal for this year to qualify for Great Britain, so I have to give it my best shot.

I will still turn up on my little bike but this time, I won’t be intimidated by the speed machines around me or those in their flash kit.

I will do my best.

Determined V x

 

 

 

 

The training is done…

This weekend, we are heading to St Neots, Cambridgeshire.

It’s triathlon time… but this time, we are going to give it our best shot and attempt to qualify to represent Great Britain at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, Gold Cost, Australia in September 2018.  We are going for the Standard distance – 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run.

We’ve done the training, we’re not injured and enjoying a week of tapering.

The venue has changed slightly since our little recce a month ago.  The swim will now be a lake swim (hopefully not too cold) and not river.  The bike course is different, so we’ll drive that on Saturday and the run is different but nothing to worry about.

There have been some serious moments of doubt, ‘Am I Good Enough‘, but with the help of a local NLP coach, my mind is now in the right headspace.

I have been looking after my body with regular massages at @ThealeWellbeingCentre  with Yulia.  She definitely knows her stuff and has managed to keep any little niggles at bay.  Definitely worth the investment – something us triathletes are not too good at.

A little shout out to Charley Henkey of Espina Chiropractic – who pops all my bones back into place and straightens me out – it’s important we look after our skeleton as it’s the thing that will keep us upright as we age!

I have decided to race on my lovely Boardman Elite Air that has been well looked after by @Pankhurstcycles.   On my last training ride, my bike had a bit of a mechanical (thankfully it happened on Tuesday and not on race day), I called Pankhurst, dropped my bike off and 2hrs later it was fixed.  Just awesome service – thank you!

Yesterday we practised one final thing … the flying mount and dismount off the bike… let’s say, it didn’t look pretty but we managed it.  It certainly looks easier than it is.

That’s it… no more training,  just a matter of one more Kettlebell class to deliver this evening (once again, I know I say it a lot – Kettlebells have definitely kept me strong and injury free during my training).

I will give it my best shot, I will believe in myself and I will enjoy it.

Thank you to Matt for being the most supportive partner I could have asked for and for my friends for all their support.  Matt – let’s go do this… we’ve got this!

Vanessa

 

 

Oh hello… open water

It’s not quite like the pool, warm and you have a line to follow to keep you on the straight and narrow as well as being able to push off the wall every 25 metres.

The good news is that I could still get myself into my wetsuit!

I sat on the pontoon and dipped my toe in… whooooah… it didn’t feel tropical and most certainly not 16degrees – maybe I thought it would feel warmer.

I was aiming for 2 laps – 1500mtrs.

I don’t like the restriction of a wetsuit but it certainly does keep you warmer.

There were some people in there without a wetsuit.  I needed to man up!

In I went.

Off I went.

My face – I thought it would fall off… got to the first buoy… still frozen… second buoy… feet are feeling a tad cold… and what’s happening to my hands…third buoy… okay, my head is spinning a little … fourth buoy … home straight for the first lap.. should I get out before I really freeze… no I will keep going.. surely I will warm up?

I never warmed up.

I finished the two laps.

swimstats

I got out – struggled out of my wetsuit (I must practise that before race day as that’s vital time that could be lost!), into the shower and headed home.

As I type this, almost 3hrs later, my toes are still feeling cold.

So that’s my first open water swim done – the first is always the worst.  I will head back during the week and again next weekend and slowly acclimatise.  3 weeks and counting.

Fingers crossed the water temperature doesn’t drop!

Miss V (still thawing out!)

 

 

 

Am I good enough?

I am back… it’s been a while I know but there’s a reason.

I have been trying to get my head straight.

If you have been following my journey, you will know that I suffered the ‘ironman blues’ after Ironman Vichy last year.

I set myself my next goal which is just over 3 weeks to go – to qualify for Great Britain.

I hit a bit of ‘am I good enough period’?  This wasn’t just in Triathlon, but also my personal life, my business as well as my swimming, biking and running.

Matt has been extremely supportive – he listens and he tells me that I am good enough.  I am only just starting to believe it.  I am having some life coaching to change my mindset – to help me to get to the start line in the best possible shape both mentally and physically.

I need to change the way I think and also talk about myself – it’s going to be a slow process but I am heading in the right direction.

I have kept a low profile but now I am ready to start blogging again in readiness for the big day.

We popped down to St Neot’s (the race location) last weekend – I know what to expect and can use the next few weeks to adapt my training accordingly.  Hopefully, I won’t stop for icecream on the run!

First stop – my first Open Water swim on Sunday at the lake – let’s see how my hours of early morning swimming translates when I put on my wetsuit and swim outdoors!

Stay tuned!

Miss V – I am good enough!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can I do it….?

I am going to try and represent Great Britain and enjoy the experience of racing at an Internal Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championship!

Next year’s World Championship will be in Australia – Gold Coast.

thTo qualify I need to do extremely well at St Neots Standard Triathlon (1500m Swim / 40k bike / 10k run).  It will take place early May next year!   There will only be 20 places available in my age group (45 – 49) to represent Great Britain in Australia.

So, me being as organised as I am … I have entered my qualifying race, booked my accommodation and am starting to write my training programme to get me to the start line in May in the best condition I can be.

Looking at this year’s results, I will really need to work on my run speed – my least favourite of the 3 disciplines but at least it’s not too far too run and with a good structured programme, I can definitely improve.

So there you have it… the sad Ironman has now found her next focus – now bring it on!

 

Road rage and pool rage…

Those that cycle and those that swim, will understand.

Cycling on the roads has its risks but I do not expect to have a full can of drink thrown at me by a passing van, or abuse hurled at me by passing drivers, or even those that deliberately pull in front of me, slow down, hurl abuse and then drive off shouting expletives?

I don’t understand why people would do such a thing.  I have a right to be on the road as much as any other car user.  I drive a car myself.

Some motorists think cyclists should hog the verge to allow them to squeeze by without crossing the centre line.  Or get extremely angry, if cyclists cycle 2 abreast.

The reality is that motorists must give cyclists as much room as you would when overtaking a car.

When overtaking cyclists, motorists should be on the other side of the road, just as if they were overtaking a car. It’s simple really but it doesn’t seem that some motorists know or understand this rule, if they did, there would be far less cars passing extremely close to cyclists and less road rage between the two groups. Below is my illustration of how not to and how to overtake a cyclist:

On Sunday, whilst cycling with Matt, an Audi over took us, with the passenger hurling abuse at us whilst passing – no idea why – it baffles me.

and now to my favourite subject… Swimming Pool Lane Rage….!

I swim – I like swimming – I swim at my local pool and with my Triathlon Club – no lane rage occurs at the club swim sessions only at my local pool.

I would class myself as a good swimmer within my local community and therefore, if appropriate, place myself in the fast lane, after assessing the other lanes.  Yes, I assess the lane situation before getting in.

Take last night…

General swim taking place in the first 2 lanes.  The 3rd lane had a few people doing breaststroke and the fast lane had a young lad swimming up and down, mixing his strokes (he is raising money for his granddad and swims most evenings to swim a certain distance).  I ask him politely if I can come in to the lane and we agree to swim side by side as it’s not busy.

We are happily swimming, when… yes… wait for it… a woman is coming directly towards me swimming breaststroke.  I narrowly avoid colliding her and think wtf and she continues unawares of  what could have happened.  She then commands the lane doing as she pleases.  All the while, the lifeguard watches and does nothing.   The young lad moves into general swim but I will not move.  I am a fast swimmer and I am in the fast lane.  I continue to swim around the breaststroker.  She leaves after 10 minutes after causing internal lane rage.

It gets worse…

Happily continuing with my swim and rudely stopped mid length ,whilst doing frontcrawl by a swim instructor, hitting me with a woggle advising me that a swimming lesson is going to take place and for me to move.

That was the final straw.  There were no scheduled private lessons on the timetable and anyone that teaches swim, should know that you place a float at the end of the lane under the water to attract the attention of swimmers, not hit them on the head with a woggle.

Meanwhile, the lifeguard just looks on.

Those that know me, will know, that I will take great satisfaction in now writing a formal complaint to the leisure centre.  Watch this space!

Leading by example…

I am a Personal Trainer and a British Triathlon Coach.

I like to think that I don’t just ‘do’ my job, but that I lead by example.

In my Kettlebell classes, I like to think that I am not only a good instructor, but that I inspire others to push themselves.  Someone once said, how can you use a 12kg for all those moves during your class, yet you are not bulky.  There is still this perception, that if you use weights, you’ll ‘bulk’ out.  This is not the case.

My job requires me to be fit.   I have to lead by example.

Today, I had 2 cycle clients.

I did hill reps with Alison  Alison has come a long way since I first started coaching her early this year.  Alison is passionate, dedicated and determined.  This really showed today.  She owned those hills!  Good work Alison!

Lucy – Lucy is a committed, determined and focussed PT client of mine.  Lucy has come a long way in the year that I have been training her.  Lucy happily swings a 16kg Kettlebell during her workouts.

Lucy bought a new road bike.

Today, was day one on a road bike with clipped in feet.  Lucy took to it like a duck to water.  Taking corners, stopping at junctions without falling off, descending and ascending hills.  Lucy is going to be a great cyclist.  She loved it.

In order for me to do my job, I need to remain fit and one step ahead of my clients.

This keeps me focussed and driven.

Your sad Ironman, out there inspiring others!

 

 

 

 

Taking my job seriously…

I like to think that I am organised.  Always have been, both in my personal life and professional life.

I am always writing programmes for my clients and classes.

workouts

I like to challenge my clients and keep their workouts exciting and fresh.  It ensures that they remain motivated and that they get the most out of their workouts.  This has been evident over the last year – I have kept my client base and they love their sessions.

I also do the same for my kettlebell classes.  I am constantly thinking of how I can challenge them and keep them coming back for more.  Each class is different so they don’t know what to expect.  Most of the classes feature burpees… they don’t like burpees!  My classes continue to grow week on week with new joiners.

burpees

I am not an expensive Personal Trainer although some, who look for sessions for £20 p/hr think I am.

My costs don’t just cover the session with my clients.  My costs cover my travel time, my fuel, my time for programme writing, my equipment, my qualifications, my experience and passion.  As I am self employed, my costs also cover my tax, national insurance, sick and holiday pay.

I was told never to undersell my services – so I don’t.  I don’t offer any Personal Training Packages such as Buy Five Sessions get One Free.  If anyone is serious about Personal Training and would like to see results and hire the best, they are prepared to pay for it.

This week I tried a different Tri20 swim session.  I usually attend the Tri20 swim session on Wednesday which is structured and well thought out.  I thought I would go on Friday too – to stay motivated what with my lack of motivation at the moment.  Swimming with others really helps.  The session was well thought out, clearly explained beforehand and was very challenging.  I like to think that my Personal Training and class sessions are the same.

This afternoon has been spent writing next week’s Personal Training and class programmes.  Clients and classes.. you have been warned!

Your  less sad but very organised Ironman.