Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Ironman Weymouth 70.3 Race Review

My first 70.3 - Weymouth Race Review
I entered Weymouth back in November 2016, having had a whole a year off racing (mainly duathlons) due to a severe injury. I entered Weymouth as a personal challenge, rather than a race; the distance scared me which is why it appealed. Training had been a little inconsistent in the run up to the event with a flare up of my hip and then a bout of food poisoning which lasted a week, so I didn’t feel the most prepared. 

This was my first Ironman branded event, and to give them credit, they do it very well. We arrived in Weymouth on the Saturday morning and I was impressed that there were no queues to register or rack. The sea looked calm (not for long!)  and I was excited but anxious to start the race.

Race day morning was cold and dark, but I made my way to the start with my head torch on. Within a couple of hours the sun was coming up over the sea and the pros were entering the water. I did a quick warm up, the sea was cold (16 degrees) and very choppy, nothing like the calm, warm(ish) sea I'd recced a few weeks before. I then returned to the start queue with 2600 other athletes, going with the 37min swimmers as I predicted a time of 40ish minutes. It was cold waiting, and I started to regret getting in the sea before!

Standing at the start with the sun coming up I reflect on how lucky I was to be on the start line and to have the support from friends and family. I was also very grateful my Mum had come with me to cheer me on. I started getting excited to start the fun part, the race!

The Swim

The swim can only be described as a washing machine, it was choppy and hard work. The sun was coming up which though very pretty, made sighting a bit tricky. I panicked a few times and I reverted to breaststroke which disappointed me as I knew I could swim the distance, but I was struggling to catch my breath. I emerged feeling very sea sick and cold. However, the spectators, commentator and the crowd as I ran to T1 were amazing!

T1 was a disaster; I think I hold the record for the longest T1 - 13mins 48! Yes, it’s a fairly long run but the problem started when I couldn’t find my bag, it had fallen off its peg, but in the panic, I was sure someone had taken in and charged around the tent. When I eventually found the bag, I was so cold it took me a while to find my bike gear, add some warmer layers and put on my socks. I still don’t understand how it took me 14mins!

The Bike

The bike course is stunning, its undulating with a couple of larger hills. It starts with a long incline which was good for me as I started to warm up and over take a fair few competitors. I was feeling sick from the swim and couldn’t take on any nutrition or water, which was worrying me slightly. As the bike went on and I warmed up I started to really enjoy it, which helped me continue to work my way up through the field, but I knew I had to hold myself back a little as there was still a half marathon to run. The roads were fantastic, being some of the smoothest I’ve ridden in the UK. There’s a large steep hill at mile 38 which is worth knowing about, just after this I had slight gastro problem and after a quick stop I was off again. I then noticed as my feet warmed up I had only put one sock on! Luckily, I had put a fresh pair in my run bag.  As I came into T2, I managed a couple of jelly babies and a glug of water - and hoped I would get around the half marathon.

The Run

T2 was much smoother and with a clean pair of socks and a quick toilet stop I was ready to go. I surprised myself; I felt great! The run is a pan flat 3.5laps along the sea front, which mentally I quite liked. The route is lined by crowds the whole way (apart from about half a km at the end of one lap), which really helped. The sun was out and people were cheering, and telling me I was making it look easy (not sure it felt easy!), and at 10km I finally managed to take on a gel. I was happily sticking at a
pace 4:30-4:45km which was quicker than the plan but I felt good. At 16km doubts started to creep in as this was my longest run for a couple of years, however, with one lap left I held onto the pace and was ecstatic to get onto the iconic Ironman carpet and finish shoot. The feeling coming over line was a mixture of emotion - pleasure, happiness and relief. I had not only completed my challenge but also in a quicker time than I thought. I really enjoyed the challenge of the distance and the variety of training more than duathlons. The organisation, volunteers, crowds and atmosphere in Weymouth were just fantastic, and have left me eager to sign up for my next one!


Overall Time: 5hrs 48mins

Swim: 44mins

T1: 13:48!

Bike: 3:06

T2: 4:50

Run: 1:39


Would I recommend the race to others? Yes definitely for beginners and experienced athletes. With a hilly bike and flat run it’s a great course.  

So what have I learnt from this race:

  1. Sea swims are tough, and there are definitely improvements I can make. Swimming in a lake is great, but it didn't prepare me for the challenge of the sea. 
  2. Plan my transitions before as I head to them, leave my shoes on my bike not in the bag to save time walking in cleats.
  3. Go to the toilet on the bike, (don’t climb over a farm gate and strip off!)
  4. I can still run the distance even if I haven’t done it in training!
  5. I can trust my body again, (after a stress fracture, I was constantly   worried  I would repeat it again and every small niggle would make me panic) this proved to me I can do it!
  6. I want to enter another!

If you entered I’d like to hear how you found the race so please leave a comment below.


Thursday, 8 September 2016

11 Months On from an Femoral Neck Stress Fracture

11 Months on...

It's been nearly a year since my injury and I’ve just started to get running again, I can’t believe it’s taken so long it has generally been the hardest year I’ve ever had. I just hope it makes me stronger and wiser. Every day I still fixate on my injury, and overthink it.  Any ache or pain in the area and I panic, should I still run should I stop? I hope this will pass in time. Sensitivity and phantom pains are normal after a stress fracture.

The first run was daunting and I was terrified. My last run was agony in Adelaide and I just didn’t know what this one would feel like. With the Physio there to support me I started a slow jog on the treadmill (I can’t believe how hard it was) I felt knackered after one minute! However, there was no pain. I was then put on a running plan 1 minute run, 1 minute walk for 10 minutes then adding in an extra minute run each time. This was a painfully slow process for someone with little patience like me but you have to listen to the experts.  I am now running 6k slowly but comfortably and after an initial few weeks of panics and anxiety before my runs I am now over it and am looking forward to my next run, happy to get that running buzz again!

Looking back I’m convinced now that my injury was caused by a mixture of thing;  1.  Too many miles, 2. Not having a proper rest day, 2. Letting my weight get too low, 3. Not refuelling properly after training in the morning. 4. Doing track sessions on concrete. 

It’s taught me a lot and I think I have now created a healthier view and habits especially in regards to nutrition. Food is fuel and is it needed. I had a barrier that putting on weight would slow me down when racing (stupid I know), but in reality my body needed the fuel. I had to get over this to allow my body to heal and yes I am a few Kgs heavier now but people say I look healthier and I feel stronger so going with it, except I am slower cycling up hills! I am also ensuring I do my two resistance strength sessions a week to get my bad leg,  hips and pelvis stronger.  

So what have been up too, I’ve been on my bike a lot. London Ride 100 (100 mile sportive) was the first event since my injury and I was pleased to have a slightly quicker time than last year.  I think my biking is stronger now than before my injury, just now to work on the running.  I recently won a competition and was invited to the Garmin Ride Out. A fantastic day apart from the heaviest rain I have ridden in constantly for 47miles. It was a great excuse to be reunited with my partner in crime “Claire World Champ Steels” I didn’t see her for long during the ride as the speed machine shot off with the pros but it was a great day. We met Alex Downsett and teams Merida, Cannondale and Movistar. They all rode with us, had lunch with and answered any questions we all had.


Alex Downsett, Me and Claire
On Sunday last week I entered the Circuit of Kent a killer 80mile sportive, where we encountered a horrible head wind throughout!  I was pleased with a 1st in my age 15-39 year olds and 3rd Lady home. Just being back at events has cheered me up and I have a few more random ones coming up (a 6 hour mountain bike race, no I can’t mountain bike, a hill climb possibly and a few more sportives).   

Duathlons may have to wait a while until I can get some speed up but it’s good to be back on some sort of training programme!

Back to training now - Training smarter not harder.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Injury, depression and finally a little hope.... #Ashmei Ambassador opportunity?


So I haven't posted anything for a while for a few reasons:

1. I feel I haven't done anything exciting to write about recently due to this on going injury.

2. I've been fairly depressed for the first time in my life and it's taking me a long time to feel like writing again.

In November, the excruciating pain that was now causing me to limp when walking was diagnosed after an MRI as a neck of femur stress fracture, one of the worst injuries a runner can experience. The same injury Paula Radcliffe experienced before the Beijing Olympics. See the picture of the line below, apparently it was at grade 4/5, the next grade up is a full break.

The doctor was surprised I wasn't consuming a large amount of painkillers. I think I had become accustomed to the pain. Hiking around Ayres Rock/Kings Canyon and mountain biking were probably not the best activities to be doing on a partly broken bone but when would I go to Oz again!?

Sitting on top of Kings Canyon

I was put on crutches for 10 weeks. The worst 10 weeks of my life, getting to work on the tube was a struggle but the worse was the sudden free time I had. No training I felt lost, I couldn't easily get anywhere to meet friends. Most of my friends were cycling and running, training for the spring races, going on club runs over Christmas and all I was doing was swimming with just my arms (they are pretty muscular now) and gaining weight!  I felt very low. During my degree I studied sports psychology and was experiencing the depression and the psychological stages of injury. I have to say with 4 months off now,I have experienced the 5 stage grief response (Hardy and Crace,1990).

1. Denial (walk or run it off, it will go, train through it!)

2. Anger (why me, what did I do that others didn't to deserve it?)

3. Bargaining (wanting to come back too soon, mood swings)

4. Depression (loss of identity, lack of confidence, fear I will never return to my sport, isolation) 

5. Acceptance (positive outlook and coping, a sense of progress).

So how do you avoid these feelings, research suggests relaxation techniques, talking to specialist, setting new goals, visualizing yourself coming back to your sport, staying active as much as you can, meeting up with old friends again, trying  new hobbies (I've been on a bike maintenance course so I can now fix my bike and change a puncture on my bike when I ride again),  learning about your injury and your anatomy and  finding out why the injury occurred are proven to reduce these symptoms. Talking to others that have experienced that injury also helps (no, I didn't manage to talk to Paula Radcliffe!)
My weekly plans!

After three months I had a scan, not bad news as such but I felt it put me back to the depression stage. The leg is healing but taking longer that expected to heal. This would explain the pain I still experience occasionally. I felt all the previous emotions return to me especially when withdrawing from Europeans which I had trained so hard to qualify for. All I can do is wait.

With such a long time now off running I need to strengthen my muscles used for running before I start again. I've been lucky enough to try an anti gravity treadmill and  am starting incredibly slowly-  15mins of running with 20% off my body weight, when no symptons occur afterwards I can build this up and re sculpt the muscles (they've all got very squidgy, which has lowered my body confidence completely) baggy tshirts it is now! The machine is hilarious, it lifts you up with air, on the first attempt I couldn't put my feet on the floor. I feel like Mr Blobby running on the moon!

I am trying to stay positive from now on and to set myself some new goals for 2016. I have applied to be an Ashmei Ambassador and was delighted to be shortlisted to the Meet and Greet Day (this includes a trail run which I'm gutted I can't do!) I'm very much looking forward to meeting everyone though and finding out more about the company. We also have homework to do for this day which includes bringing two polariods.
1. A picture of yourself.
2. A picture of a training object that means something to you.
I've been looking through photos from last year trying to pick the best ones.
They are all special to me, most of them a first experience of any race,  a podium, a proud race completion or fun training session. This saddens me slightly. Will I ever be as quick again, will I be able to run up this hill again? I have to feel proud of what I've achieved last year and if I can do it once, it may take time but I can do it again! Anyway the two pictures I have picked are below;
Let me know your thoughts. Hopefully next time I write I'll be jogging around the woods with Mango again!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Taking on my first season racing…the highs and the lows.

 The last month has been very up and down. This has been my first proper “season” of racing, rather than enter a mixture of random events at any time in the year. A month ago I felt great, I was reaching all my running splits (for once!) and hitting my watts on the bike. The last two races I pb’d on my road bike. I was then lucky enough to finally get my hands on a TT bike from an old friend and great cyclist, Pip, two weeks before Nationals. On my first ride, I fell off (it’s a completely different ride) but this was pretty much at standstill, which was quite comical to see! I then took the bike out on a group ride the next day, and managed to break the rear hanger. Taking it back to the bike shop I had to wait a week for it to be fixed, leaving me only a few days before a race with only one ride on a TT bike! . I planned to use the race  as a practice for Worlds, getting used to the bike and practising nutrition and pacing.
"Chris" the new bike..

Oulton Park was my first ever full duathlon that I entered, this time last year. Last year I had a standard road bike and wore a long sleeved t shirt and leggings! Today it was the practice race for Worlds, and so much has changed.  As we lined up I felt very nervous I hadn’t raced this distance since April and though I knew I was fit enough, I always question myself. The whistle went and I charged off forgetting this was a practice race and going into full competitive mode. The first run was quick, 2:30mins quicker than last year. 
Off on the run...
 My transition was fairly smooth and on the new bike, I felt like I was flying. I kept waiting to be overtaken by a mass of girls (as this is what normally happens) but they didn’t come. I knocked off 12 minutes on the bike from last year! When I dismounted though something was wrong I couldn’t put any weight on my right leg, spasms were shooting down it with agonising pain. I kept running thinking it would wear off it could be cramp. I got through the run, hobbling over the finish. I finished 1st in my Age Group which was an incredible result considering my last run, I also knocked off 15 minutes from my time last year! I should have been over the moon but I was just worried about my leg with just 2 weeks until Worlds.

Two physiotherapists and one sports doctor later the verdict was still unknown, possibly a strained groin or a stress fracture. I was devastated I had been the fittest I have ever been. Now I was told to rest and just cycle until race day. I felt my fitness slipping away (athough I know scientifically 1-2 weeks won’t make much difference.) Now rather than competing at Worlds, all I wanted to do was be able to run again to finish the race especially after Alcobendas. I tried to be strong but I still couldn’t walk or bear weight on the leg without pain. Everyone was wishing me good luck as I headed off to Oz and saying “you’ll smash it!” which made me feel even worse like I was letting everyone down. My parents had come out to watch and my friends had all supported me. Nuffield Health had also helped fund me to get me here. Once in Oz the team Physio Leda Cox was so helpful and she tried to give me confidence that I would get through the race. She released all the tension in the muscles which helped relieve the pain,  but we just couldn’t find the route cause. She forced me not to run until the day before the race, this is mentally very tough when all your team mates are going for runs and you just feel lazy and sluggish.
Team GB!

Adelaide Oval and Elder Park where the Race was held
Saturday before the race I did my normal taper session and went to run, the pain was horrific I just couldn’t put weight on the leg. I managed 3 minutes at a ridiculous 7km/hr on the treadmill. Crying my eyes out I knew I couldn’t race, do I go for a DNF or a DNS? Leda found me at breakfast and gave me one last intense session to release the adductors. Jez, the team manager swapped my race for me dropping me down to the sprint (which meant less running) the plan was to finish the race no matter what. That meant I could walk the 5km and 2.5km run, then at least enjoy the bike course and the closed roads and have a taster  for racing internationally. That evening I was so depressed, I should have been excited and nervous and ready to race rather than coming to terms with the fact that I just needed to get through the race and would be the slowest. I would have to watch other competitors that I know I can beat run past me. Mentally this was going to be a very tough challenge. Mum even offered to walk with me which could have been quite funny at a world championship final!

Race Day…

The bikes had been racked the day before, and I woke up early for some Ibuprofen and paracetamol and a few rice cakes to line the stomach! My name was now Helen (as I had swapped places).
 As the whistle went, I started running, ouch this was going to hurt, and was pleased to get through the first 5k, (about 5 minutes slower than normal) but surprisingly not last! With a very unsmooth transition I headed onto the bike course where I started overtaking, 1, 2 , 3 girls, I climbed my way up to 8th position and this was with a slight detour missing the lap turning and having to back up. It didn’t matter, I laughed it off, what else could go wrong?! On dismount I had that pain again and I held onto the bike to hold me up through transition, I then hobbled out on the last run. This was going to be slow and painful, I can’t believe how long it took me but I got through it and was very relieved to see the finish line. I grabbed a GB flag and made it across the line feeling relieved and happy. I found out I was 15th (not bad), but more importantly I had taken part in a World Championship, something I may never do again. I avoided a dreaded DNF. I then found out Claire had won gold and was so happy for her, she’s an incredible and motivated athlete and, like me, only started this year.  We met at these Championships and have had a really good time, with so much in common I am sure we will remain good friends!

Me and a World Champ!
 I have to look at the positives I from this; I competed at a World Championships with a horrific injury and I still came 15th, I made some great friends on the team and so pleased to have been part of it. I want to thank them for all their support out there and congratulations on all your fantastic performances, you all did amazingly.

Two scared first timers pre race!

Opening Ceremony

Now I have to come to terms with this injury, I have an MRI booked now I’m back and I have to rest and get fixed so I can hopefully be back next year for Europeans.  This rest is killing me, being so active before, I just want to run and bike. Looking back I’ve had a pretty phenomenal first season, I’ve competed in my first triathlons (taught myself to swim last year) and have been placed in each (though I’m still always last out the water). Overall, I have been placed in 12 out of 14 races this year, including my first ever British and National Champs, all thanks to Dan Sims and his help with my training and race advice! Worlds is unfinished business, and one day I will get back to this fitness level and race again, nothing beats that feeling of crossing the line in your GB gear waving a flag and having the crowds shout your name!

So I put together a few pointers of things I have learnt from my first season;

1.       I love racing and enjoying the training just as much, if not more. Someone once told me the race is the dessert but  the training is the main course!

2.       Race your own race, don’t let others intimidate you and pace yourself.

3.       Rest days are key, even if you feel like you don’t need one a rest day every week or 10 days is crucial to prevent injury and to allow your muscles to adapt and respond to stressors. Good sleep patterns and sports massages are also important and are regularly forgotten.

4.       Have a training plan and programme – a periodization programme is good to ensure you incororate all important aspects of training including recovery.  

5.       Listen to your body if you feel tired or a twinge don’t be afraid to miss the odd training session it won’t reduce your fitness (even if you worry that you will!).

6.       Always refuel after a hard training session with adequate protein and carbohydrates to reduce your risk of injury and put you in the best form for your next training session. Having a well-balanced diet is also important to ensure you consume adequate calcium and vitamin D for bone health. I  take vitamin D weekly to keep this topped up, especially during the winter months when I’m working inside.

7.       Plan your race day, practice nutrition, regularly check your bike, practice transitions and try and cycle the bike routes so you know what to expect.

8.       Learn to change a puncture quickly – I have yet to have one yet but feel this would be a useful skill and prevent any further DNFs!

Team Dan Sims!


Thanks for reading…watch this space!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

My Weekend Training with GB Olympic Triathlete Helen Jenkins

Another 5 days later post Bewl and I'm driving to Wales with a bike, wetsuit and training gear squashed into the back of my small Peugeot 107. Ready to embark on a training weekend with Helen Jenkins and her coach and husband; Marc. This was run by Science in Sport, the competition was from Triathlon 220 and I was one of 5 lucky winners.

The weekend was fantastic, Friday night was a Meet and Greet with the other lucky winners, SIS  representative  Emma, Helen and her husband/coach an also IC triathlete Mark. Helen brought Welsh cakes which were very tasty and we were all supplied with a SIS endurance pack to help us over the weekend.  

We discussed the weekend. I was a bit worried we wouldnt be doing much training but I quickly released I was wrong. The schedule went as followed;

8am- Park Run
11am - Bike Ride
3pm - Core exercises and stretching,
5pm - Sea Swim

6am - Sea Swim
9am - Bike Ride
10:30am - Brick Run
12pm - Q and As

Saturday morning was the Porthcawl 5k, we had a warm up with Helen then headed to the start line. It was busy around 200 competitors but a beautiful course along the sea front. Helen was off and I had no chance of catching, she got a course record of 16:40!! Unbelievable, I was happy with a sub 20 of 19:50.

The happy finishers...


A quick jog back and breakfast altogether (a full welsh breakfast).  We were off on a 3 hour bike. 47 miles with a lovely challenging Welsh Bryn,this was a good long climb and part of the route was from the famous Dragon Ride. Helens friend Darren Pedal Cover Insurance owner and road champion also joined us. Plus we had our own escort, Mark in the van incase we had any mechanicals or needed some assistance! Riding with Helen was great and I picked up lots of tips, I was admiring her Liv bike! She made all the hills look so easy.

Upon returning, we relaxed in the sun, learnt some stretching and important core exercises from Helen to prevent injury.

We then headed out for a sea swim. Mark and his friend were with us on surf boards. Having never open water swum in the sea, I found it pretty tricky. The sea tastes horrible and the waves are off putting. Mark was very helpful helping me sort out my breathing and giving me tips, while the speedier swimmers stuck with Helen. I made the swim to the other beach but was lucky to head back on the back of Marc's surf board, great fun! The sea was a warming 18  degrees. This was followed by dinner with the Jenkins, where we were chatting about the day.


Gotta eat like a champion to be a champion!

Sunday morning 6 am and I'm peeling on a wet wetsuit. This isn't pleasant. We headed down to the beach for a pre breaky swim, meeting Helen, Mark and his very helpful friend at the beach. Some buoys had been set up for a circuit.

 I have to enter the water?


Mark coached me for the first half and I was surprised how much better I was. We finished with a race running in and out the water, this was tough on the legs! Must be good strengthening for the quads. After this session we were all starving and headed back to the hotel all together for breakfast.


Can we have breakfast now?

We then headed off for an hour's bike, a more relaxed affair and a brick run after. The brick was along the sea front and we kept going as long as we wanted. At an easy pace, I chatted with Helen for a beautiful 10k along the coast. Feeling incredibly lucky to be running alongside a such an inspiring athlete. So as we discussed life and training I was picking up as many tips as I could!


All showered and packed we finished the weekend with a chat, questions and answers in the sun. The sun had been shining all weekend in Wales which is a variety! I didnt want to leave as we said our goodbyes, having met such lovely people over the weekend and enjoying the taste of an Athletes life! Train, eat, train eat, rest..



Helen and Mark were two genuine people, kind, helpful and good fun! Emma from SIS was fantastic too. An inspirational lady with a few ironmans under her belt and no pushing of the brand just helpful nutritional tips throughout the weekend.  Thank you all for such a great weekend! I hope they have another weekend next year I can join!


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Nutrition for Long Rides, Ride 100 and Bewel Water Triathlon

Less than two months until Worlds, it's getting serious now..... The countdown begins..........

The fast few weeks have been extremely busy so apologies for lack of posts, I've taken part in London Ride 100, Bewl Water Sprint Triathlon and was lucky enough to go on a training weekend with Olympic triathlete Helen Jenkins which was an amazing experience. So where to start:

London Ride 100 was an incredible experience. I had a hard training week leading up to it, with the World Champs now being my main focus at the moment so there was no need to taper. I wanted to keep my Duathlon training up. I was then a little worried, realising 100 miles is a very long way. 80 miles being my max distance so far. We left at 5:40am scoffing down some peanut butter, rice cakes and banana before leaving. Everyone has their preferred pre ride/race meal. I struggle with cereal as the yogurt and milk makes me feel queasy cycling. The theory is peanut butter (high in good fats and protein gives you a slow release energy, keeping you feeling full), rice cakes (good carbs for energy but also wholegrain so a slow release on long rides) and the banana for instant energy and potassium to prevent cramps! 8 miles cycling to the start and we were in our pens ready to go! We met the other two in our San Fairy Anne team there.

The closed roads and crowds were great, very encouraging and the first 30 miles flew by! Chatting to cyclists and hanging on the back of different pelotons was great fun! I lost the team after Leith Hill which was a 10 minute battle trying to get past others on the narrow roads, with many people walking which was disappointing. It was a tough hill but 10 mins of steep climbing and you were at the top!  Box Hill was very enjoyable with a beautiful smooth road and an easy gradient up. The last 40miles I was on my own and at mile 75 my belly started rumbling. As a cyclist this is not a good sign, it means that I was soon going to run out of energy and bonk/hit the wall”. To keep your energy levels up and performance at its peak science suggests we should have 0.5-1g of carbs per kg each hour. With all the excitement I had forgotten to eat enough and so refuelled at Hub 3, bananas, flapjacks and good old fig rolls! This perked me up for the last 25miles and I even had a sprint finish, which was quickly halted by an ambulance with a casualty at the finish line.

I therefore included some tips for long rides below; 

Tips for Cycling Fuel:

1.    Eat little and often.  Set a timer to remind you to eat if necessary.  Eat even if you are not hungry, when your hungry its too late..

2.    Eat 0.5-1g of carbs per kg each hour.

3.    Try to drink at least every 15 minutes to hydrate and prevent cramps.

As a guideline;

•      A 500 ml of typical sports drink mixed at 6% will give you 30g of carbohydrate

•      1 gels = 30g

•      1 fig roll (12 g of carbohydrates each) = 12g

•      1 mini pitta breads with peanut butter =18g

•      1 brioche rolls with jam = 28g

•      1 banana = 27g

Now its just putting this into practice on the next ride!
I was very pleased with a quicker than expected time of 5:30hrs (maybe I could have been quicker if I ate more regularly!)

The ride home was not so enjoyable, it was hot and the crowds made leaving the park take forever. The next 8miles back to Greenwich was slow and frustrating with my goody bag on my back and traffic slowing us down. We got through it and stopped for a well-earned drink round the corner from home. The wine hit me pretty quickly! Two sodas were needed to water it down...

In summary the event was a fantastic experience,  the crowds and closed roads were amazing, it was very well organised and I recommend it. Overall we cycled 117miles that day, this gave me a taste for an Ironman.. (so watch this space!)

I would also like to give a shout out to our friend Shaun who finished Ride 100 in a decent time and on a Brompton Bike for charity. Now thats impressive!


 6 days on I then entered a local triathlon Bewl water. I didn't feel too prepared as it had been a while since an open water swim. The start was an early 7am so it wasn't too warm either at this time. The swim was delayed 30 min due to fog on the water and as I had already warmed up in the water and then got out again this wasn't the best start! My swim was even slower than previously.  I was in a woman's wave (which I advise beginners to be in as there's less kicking and shoving!) it just seemed very long and I couldn't get into a rhythm. Upon leaving the water there was a  long up hill run and I somehow cut my foot on the rocks. I ignored it and ploughed on, the bike was lovely well-suited to me;  undulating and I caught up with a few girls. The run was hilly with some steps thrown in! Not my quickest run but I pulled it back and was super pleased with an age group win :). A lovely surprise and confidence booster! Considering I was pretty tired from a hard training block!

What I won?
Happy Podium

Now to ditch the swim training and get ready for the big event of the year Duathlon World Champs.