I am back – back from representing Great Britain at the World Triathlon Championships.

This is going to be a very frank and open blog about my race… so grab a cuppa and settle down.

We landed in Brisbane after a long flight, there were other athletes on the flight, all wearing their kit – I was not.  Why would I?

The GB Athlete hotel was different.  It was on the Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise.  A strange place – like the Blackpool of Australia.  We unpacked the bike and took a wander.  It still remained a strange place.

Monday morning – after a terrible nights sleep, we checked out the area, picked up some food and then headed over to the race venue.  There was an amazing Olympic pool nearby so we gave that a go – 50mtr outdoor pool, what more can I say.  We took a slow run back to the hotel.

Tuesday morning, it was time to meet the other athletes and hop on the bikes and check out the bike course.  Nothing too challenging.  I felt nothing, no excitement.  Matt and I  were tourists for the day and took ourselves up the Skyline to check out the views of the Gold Coast – that was fun.  Late afternoon, I had to go to the Team GB briefing.  I felt intimidated, I felt like I didn’t belong there.  We had a team photograph and then Matt and I went back up the Skyline to watch the sunset over the Gold Coast.  Still a strange place!

Wednesday was another busy day, it was swim familiarisation, registration and bike racking day.  I checked out the swim course without my wetsuit as there was a 50/50 change it might have been a non-wetsuit swim.  It was fine.  I still felt nothing.  We registered and then I racked my bike.   We headed to the opening ceremony that evening and ate pasta.

Thursday morning – Race Day – it was here.  I felt nervous now.  I didn’t feel excited.  We made our way to the race venue.  There were athletes everywhere.  Some people had already started their races.  My race time was 11.30am.  I popped into transition to drop off my running stuff, helmet, glasses etc.  After a short while, I headed back just to check everything was still in order, my sunglasses had gone.  I will presume they had been stolen.  Apparently, this is quite common as I later found out.  I was very angry.  I headed out to find Matt who, thankfully, had some with him, I borrowed them.  I was still very very angry.  There was nothing I could do.  We found a little quiet spot and I got ready for my swim, wetsuit on, and then the emotions surfaced, I cried.  I didn’t want to race.  Matt told me I had nothing to prove and just to go out and enjoy it.  I so didn’t want to race.  I felt a like a joke.  I didn’t belong there.  I couldn’t let those that had supported me down – so off I went.  I headed to my pen with all the other ladies in my age group.  I so wanted to run away.  I met a lovely lady, Rose, from Mexico.  She felt the same.  I later found out, she had a panic attack on the swim but still finished.

It was time to race.

I made my way to the water – stood there thinking why am I doing this and before I had time to come up with the answer, it was time to swim.  I swam well, I could have swum faster, but overall was super happy with my time.  I exited the water and off to find my bike.  Matt was cheering me on.  I found my bike – there were other bikes still around me so I wasn’t last!

Off out on the bike after a long run through transition with the bike.  The bike course was flat but it was very windy.  I was out there on my own for most of it and my mind was telling me to quit, I found it tough but I kept going… I still had the run to go.

I got back safely, with no mechanicals back to transition and yet another long run with the bike to find my racking spot… time to go out on the run.

It was hot, my legs were not working.  It was two laps of 2.5km.  I ran the best I could and the happiest part was coming into the race venue after lap 2, seeing Matt, grabbing the GB flag and getting over that finishing line.  I had finished.   I was so glad to see that finishing line.  I had done it.

I got my medal, I got some watermelon and found Matt.

We hung around to watch some team mates come in and then sat and had a little picnic.  I felt like a joke.  How the hell had I made the team.  Those that were racing were super fit,  I didn’t belong there.

I had raced hard, given it my all and my overall time was the fastest to date I have done for a sprint triathlon.  But yet, I felt nothing, I didn’t feel happy, I wasn’t proud.
CaptureWe picked up my bike mid afternoon and made our way back to the hotel.  It was a slow walk.  The race was over and now the holiday could begin.  Matt had been so supportive leading up to and during the race.

We watched the Elites race on Saturday and Sunday and then headed up the coast for some quiet time together.  We visited a Wildlife sanctuary, did some Whale watching and visited Whitehaven beach.

As I sit here and write this, it all feels very surreal, and yes, I still feel nothing.  Maybe that’s just me.

Would I do it again, probably not to be honest.  Been there now, time to find my next goal.

In the meantime, I am going to take some time out, focus on things that I have neglected over the last few months including myself a little.

Thank you all for all your kind support to get me to that start line.  It was an amazing experience to be there, to see everyone race, team mates as well as the Elites.

If I can do it, anyone can!

V

Reading Triathlon – a triathlon run by triathletes – just the best!

It’s my local triathlon run by my Triathlon Club – Tri20- it’s not my club, but I am a member 🙂 .  It’s such a friendly club and they really know how to put on a great Triathlon!

Today was the 35th Reading Triathlon and I used this to practise my race strategy for Australia.   Thinking about swim placement at the start of the swim, nutrition on the bike and pacing and the run – we all know I don’t like that bit so much – so I just got myself around on that one.  More later on that!

It was a super early start and I cycled down.  Set up in transition and met a few fellow GB Triathletes heading out to Australia.  It was nice to put a face to the name – they were so friendly.  They have been part of the GB team for a while.  It was nice to see many of my club mates helping out with the event as well.

The swim – the swim can be quite terrifying but you need to position yourself well in the water.  I decided to start on the left, mid way in the pack.  Off I went… I could see some swimmers to my right and headed to the first buoy.  But there was no-one near me – where were they?  I could see 2 white caps further ahead but no more.  I carried on swimming.   And carried on swimming, still no-one around me.  I exited the water in 3rd place – I’ll take that one – thank you very much – 12mins 5 secs for 750mtrs.  That was a good swim and I didn’t even draft!  Happy with that!

Now to find my bike and get ready for the bike leg.  I was unsure whether I would have my bike shoes on my bike and took the decision today to not.  So I put them on and then ran to the mount line – it was a long run in bike shoes.  Lesson learned.  The bike was great fun – I felt strong and my time and speed reflects that.  I drank my drink – all of it!  I decided to do a flying dismount, where you take your feet out of your bike shoes whilst still moving and then you can run with your bike to transition ready for the run.  It was a good bike!  Average speed 30.5kph – 43 minutes, 43 secs for 21.8km.  Great speed for a non draft legal race for me!

Now the run – my least favourite of all 3 disciplines and I knew this would be hard.  It’s not a road run – it’s off road, flat but not that great underfoot.  I ticked along just nicely, talking to myself – you cannot walk V, you mustn’t walk V.. just keep moving.  And, so I did, I kept moving.  I finished.  28minutes, 18 secs for 5.3km.  It’s not fast, but it was consistent.

My transitions weren’t too bad – there is a room for improvement on T1 (the swim to bike bit) but overall happy with those.

I crossed that finish line – knowing that I had done it – I had executed my race to perfection.  I came 4th in my Age Group and 7th overall out of 63 females who took part in the Sprint – not a bad day in the office if I do say so myself.  I cycled back home, very very slowly!

I won’t lie, I feel absolutely shattered typing this and this week I will be keeping my training light but sharp and packing for Australia.

A big shout out to both Kate Hulcoop-Allen and Nicky Rogers, who I coached to their first triathlon – they were awesome – well done ladies!

Less than one week to go before I fly to Australia!

Miss V (GB Triathlete)

 

 

I still can’t believe it’s real!  I am going to Australia to represent Great Britain!

5,000 of the world’s best elite and age group triathletes from 46 nations will be heading to Queensland for the final race of the 2018 season and I am one of them!

In just 6 weeks, I will be racing in Australia wearing my trisuit with pride – today it’s making its way to the local printers, Oliver Signs in Burghfield to have the logos printed on it.  Now that is exciting!  I will do my sponsors proud!

Training has been going well.  There have been some early morning starts to get the training in before my day gets going. I have been having a few doubts about my ability this week but those have now gone.  I can only do my best!

My swimming is good – but I need to practise a bit more in my wetsuit so I am grateful for the cooler weather.  There’s a 50/50 chance that the swim could be non-wetsuit.  As I am a strong swimmer, I don’t mind swimming without – let’s hope a shark doesn’t take a fancy to me!

The bike – that’s getting much better.  I am feeling very strong on the bike.  It’s probably a combination of the training and the excellent work that Pankhurst Cycles did on my bike – switching over my groupsets.

The run – I am working hard on my run.  I am doing more interval work to increase my speed.  My runs off my bike are feeling easier, stronger and faster.  In 6 weeks I should feel much more confident.

I haven’t forgotten about transition, flying mounts and dismounts – those are areas that will get focus in a couple of weeks.

6 weeks and counting – staying fit, healthy and injury free is my priority!

Flights and accommodation have been booked – flying out on 8th September and coming back on 22nd September – super excited.  I am going to Oz!

Thank you again for all the kind donations to get me out to Oz – this is real!

Miss V
GB Triathlete…. whoooah!!!

 

 

 

It’s been an overwhelming week this week!

I picked up my race kit on Friday – to say I was excited was an understatement.  I picked up my trisuit, a polo shirt and a swim cap – cannot wait to get to wear it!

The kind donations for sponsorship has been so overwhelming – I cannot believe the kindness that has been shown.

I want to thank everyone who has donated, every little bit helps and will help me fulfil my once in a lifetime trip.  Thank you to #itgames, Allen’s Dog Boarding, Simon Gerhardt, Lucy Burton, Teneo and Pankhurst cycles – you know why – so thank you!

Today, I popped down to a lovely little gathering at the Fox & Hounds to celebrate Allen’s Dog Boarding 10 Year Anniversary.  They’ve been looking after dogs for 10 years and they’ve been looking after Percy for the last 5 years.  He loves them.  They held a raffle and all the donations are being donated to help me get out to Australia – such a kind thing to do.

So, really, this blog is a massive thank you to all my supporters – I won’t let you down!

thank you

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.