Monday, 28 March 2011

Woodhall ride

Wow! Sunshine and shorts last Friday on a ride round Woodhall Spa with Layla. I'm really pleased with the work TFN have done on my bike; it switched gears beautifully, I didn't get any shoulder pain and my helmet and tri suit were comfy.
I only lost the chain once and that was my fault for trying to switch to the granny cog. Layla popped it back on and wiped the oil onto her leg!
We stopped in Woodhall for an ice-cream, much to everyone's amusement, before changing to the race chair and doing the 5km run course. Someone at the Council has decided chippings on tarmac are cost effective, but it doesn't make for a smooth surface to push the race chair over. I managed to push Layla into a faster pace than she normally does and finished in 25 minutes, so really pleased. Roll on summer.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Volunteer Marshalling at Dambuster Duathlon

As I have never witnessed or participated in Triathlon yet, I thought it would be a good idea to volunteer as a Marshal at the Dambuster Duathlon on Saturday, run by Mark and Sibs of Pacesetter Events. It was a great experience, apart from a severe lack of sleep and a 6:45am start.
I believe everyone should have a go at Marshalling to gain a real insight into exactly what goes into organising and running an event. You'd be surprised!! We were onsite from early in the morning until 2pm, but Mark had provided all the volunteers with dinner, bed and breakfast, lunch and lovely goodies consisting of a sweatshirt and beanie hat.
We were blessed with gorgeous sunshine and I managed to enjoy a leisurely cycle round Rutland Water with Judith and Mike running alongside before my journey home. My hand cycle caused a lot of comments and waves and I even got my photo taken!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Ramp Test!

This is me smiling before the ramp test...You can't see the computerised turbo on my front wheel, or my coach Judith holding the control, and increasing the resistance every two minutes. The pace got progressively harder, until my pesky right shoulder started to hurt and we had to call it a day. I'd worked up a bit of a sweat but wasn't really breathless.
I wore a heart rate monitor for the first time and was pleasantly surprised that my HR dropped quickly after exertion. Judith reckons I must be aerobically fit but now need to work on my endurance. So, either all that swimming has paid dividends at last, or my sci complicates things with an artificially low heart rate. I'd be very interested to know the answer.
Today I have been icing my hand and shoulder after skipping wheelchair training at the track last night. I can't afford to miss training through injury at this stage. I really need to sort out my hand grips and technique first though.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Wheelchair race results...

I never expected to come home with a medal today...but placed second in a time of 20.9 for 60m. I know, it's not fast compared to others, but it was my first race. My second race I did in 20.2 and kept better form until the last ten metres. So, a learning curve. I was surprisingly nervous lined up with all the other novices, all teenagers, but managed to give a young lad in lane six a pep talk before the start! I had to adjust the chair twice in the race as I am right side dominant and I was a bit tense.
Second race I was calmer even though I was up against Matt and Georgina who are awesome racers and did 12.8 and 12.7 respectively and a bright young thing who creamed me. But my technique was so much better, nice and even down the track until I wobbled my head near the finish. I was complimented on my performance by one of the officials whose son was World Champion in the past and he has offered to help me build some gloves and suggested some modifications to the chair I have on loan to get a better seating position. He's also suggested I come along to a CP Athlete Development Day in two weeks time. Maybe my new chair will be ready by then?

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Physio and Yarborough training

This is the cheery lot of novices at Yarborough in Lincoln, before they did a Duathlon...
As I have my very first wheelchair racing competition tomorrow, I decided to practise transitions while I had Judith and Doug all to myself, and save my arms.
My lovely Neuro Physio Laura came and watched me cycle before her hockey practise, to see how I am using my left shoulder on the handbike. I have compensated for years for my weaker right side when walking with sticks, and now have muscle weakness and imbalances in my left side. I even manage to compensate on the bike! I can't hide anything from Laura...She has known me since my initial rehab post injury, and knows all my tricks! Still, I have lots more mobility in my shoulder now since we started working on it in January for which I am very grateful. Still some room for improvement, but it will come right eventually. It took nearly six years to get it wrong, now I just have to unlearn bad habits. I'm going to set up the turbo in the hall with a mirror in front so that my brain logs the new pattern.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


Decided to take my bike and turbo to Alford Wheelers Club house tonight to see if I could get some help with my gears, which are still problematic. Two very helpful blokes had a look at the derailleur and I got my trusty screwdriver out my expanding kit bag. It's still not perfect but better than it was.
They then carried my bike upstairs, set up my turbo and put the telly on! I thought we'd be cycling along watching some country scene, but no, they did all that weeks ago, and this was a Lance Armstrong time trial special.
I valiantly managed to keep hand cranking for an entire 58 mins with cries of "Good job!" from the telly. Seriously, I did learn that I can do different cadences and when I might need to do them, shift gears more smoothly and keep going when it gets tough!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

New Wheels!

Well, another exciting day! I turned up half an hour later than planned at John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds, after a coffee detour, to find the place buzzing! All available disabled parking bays full and it wasn't the bowls centre taking up all the spaces, but elite athletes doing wheelchair race training with Tanni Grey Thompson.
If, like me, Dame Tanni was the first disabled athlete you had ever heard of, have watched winning medals for GB in countless Paralympics and followed avidly throughout her career, you'll know what a pleasure it was to talk to her. In fact, I questioned her mercilessly about her first ever, and definitely last, Paratriathlon, which I had read about in a magazine last year. To say that she is pretty hopeless in the water-by her own admission-is apparent by the tale of the triathlon ordeal, where she thought she might actually drown. It makes my fears about competition pale into insignificance, until she told me about someone who ended up in the lake...strapped to his bike.
Paul Mosely, who runs the wheelchair racing clinics, put a brand new pair of wheels on my chair so I am eager to try them out tomorrow. I did consistent 3:08mins for 400m on Thursday at the track and 1000m in 5:10mins on the last set, so am hopeful of a time of 25.5mins for 5km if I can keep to that pace. And I've still got ten weeks of training...

Friday, 4 March 2011

Things are hotting up!

I feel like I'm on a bit of a roller coaster ride right now! Having just received news of gaining a place on the affiliate performance squad and put the training weekends in my diary, I've had to contact Tom Goldspink, the media manager at BTF, with a quote for a press release to announce the new squads. Gulp! I said how the Open Day in Loughborough really set the ball rolling as it enabled me to think about actually competing in a whole race not just as part of a team, once I was classified. I hope it sounds o.k. after being 'media-managed'.

I also received information from Jonathan Riall, Paratriathlon Programme Manager about a research project specific to Tri1 paratriathletes. It's a study into training for TRI1 Paratriathletes run by Scott Murray who is studying for an Msc. I'll first be assessed using a DXA scanner which shows body percentages and bone density. As a sci paraplegic and going through the menopause, I'm definitely interested in bone density. Then, there will be a series of physical tests done before and after a simulated race, with a program devised from that. Then, after eight weeks, another set of tests to see how things have changed. I've signed up for it as it will be immensely useful for my training. I'll post any interesting information, even if it means I have to admit to too much body fat...

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Ramp test?

This is me at the Zoggs swim zone at the TCR show a couple of weeks ago. Not sure what's happening to my legs...I think this is when I was trying to hold a pullbuoy between them but couldn't feel it through the wetsuit. One has gone up, one down and I'm not kicking-honest! My legs normally spasm when straight so I usually leave them to their own devices if I can't see them. Maybe it was all the cameras that set them off...

As an alternative training session, Judith asked me to do a ramp test based on arm cadence at the pool today. The idea is that you should get more efficient the more arm strokes you do over a set distance. I am absolutely hopeless at maths so water and maths was difficult-even though it was simple counting of strokes (left, then right) over 50m. It was interesting to find that I became more efficient the more tired I got and nearer the end of my sets. Just as well I'm doing an endurance sport then! I shall eagerly await Judith's verdict on the test to see if it sheds any light on my technique.

Tonight was a track session, thankfully only 27 minutes (pretty random, I know, but Dr.J. prescribed it, so I do it). Bit difficult to time myself using my iphone as I had to use my chin to set it off as I have racing gloves on, and it decided to die from battery failure half way through my session. Typical.