Today has been a crazy busy day, but a great day.

Today was not your typical day, but in some ways it was, everyday is very different in my life.

It’s a Friday, which means morning swim at Bradfield College with my Triathlon Club, Tri20 at 5.55am – poolside.  I love my morning swims with the club.  Today’s session was all about speed.

Quick turnaround, and ready for my very first Personal Training client, that I signed up just under 2 years ago, at 7.15am.  She works so hard during our sessions, I love seeing her progress so much.  It’s a short and sharp workout today!

8.00am appointment with my Chiropractor Charley Henkey.  Charley’s a good egg.  I suffer with lower back / hip issues, and she pops me back in place so that I can carry on training.

Quick zoom home to walk the dog around the block and eat some breakfast before heading to Pangbourne for 10.00am to meet a photographer, freelancing for the Guardian.

They are doing an article on Wild Swimming and were looking for some swimming ‘models’ – I was successful in my application so spent 2-3 hrs swimming in the Thames, near Lower Basildon whilst the photographer took some action shots.    Admittedly, it’s the first time I have swum there, but it was truly beautiful.  A secret little hideaway and I will be returning.

Zoom home, grab a quick bite and then back out to train 2 clients with Kettlebells.  Both work so hard, a true inspiration!

And now to a very exciting bit of my day – this bit is about bikes.  I have a lovely red Boardman that I race on but it could do with some upgrading and today, the clever people of Pankhurst Cycles upgraded some parts without it costing me an arm and leg.  They switched over some major components from another bike (which were better) and put them on my red racing bike.  I picked it up this evening.  My little red racing bike is all sparkly with some super speedy bits and I can’t wait to cycle on it tomorrow

Second walk with Percy, water the plants… and now I am sat behind my laptop doing some admin, writing client programmes for next week and typing this.

Just a normal day in the life of me.

Miss V

 

 

I was never the sporty type.

I was the chubby teenager who conveniently forgot her PE kit, especially for athletics and cross country.

If I did have to wear my gym knickers, I would insist on wrapping my school cardigan around my waist to prevent my wobbly thighs being on show.

And, the day, they got out the trampoline, I never went on it.  The fear that I would fall through.

As a child, I was fairly active, doing child stuff, such as skating, biking, hula hooping, elastics, marbles and a little bit of swimming.  My parents were not overly active, Dad was in the army and my mum was a stay at home mum.  We lived in Germany.  My mum liked to cycle and sometimes we would go for long rides – well, compared to today, they were not long, but then, they felt like forever.

I loved to eat and my mum was a bit of a feeder – so I ended up equally wide as I was tall.

I did like playing netball.  Or did I?  I was tall, conveniently tall to defend, so I would play Goal Keeper.  The only issue with playing netball, was, that I had to wear a short skirt.

When I was 17, I was off to play netball and my mum remarked on my fat thighs.

That was the turning point.

 

 

As my fish fingers cook in the oven (fish finger sandwiches are my favourite if you didn’t know)… I am sat here contemplating if I should head out to Australia to represent Great Britain at the World Triathlon Championships in September.

OMG.. I am a GB Triathlete…

Yes, me….

I qualified…

To represent Great Britain in my Age Group (45 – 49)…

In September…

In Australia!

It was my goal and I am so glad I have achieved it.  I am so happy!

So, now to reality… (fish fingers are still cooking)… financially this is a massive commitment – I won’t beat around the bush here – I will need to fund my entire trip, kit and race entry.  Nothing is for free.

So, if you are reading this, and would like to sponsor / help a GB Triathlete to fulfil her dream – then please do get in contact.  If you are an organisation and would like your logo on my kit, get in contact…I am good at negotiating – butt cheeks are premium locations for logos!

Oh, there’s my timer.. time to rescue to the fish fingers…

Miss V… GB Triathlete 🙂

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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!)