Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Chinese Visa!

My Passport arrived back today with my Chinese visa in it! The Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championships Grand Final is in Beijing on 9th September. I am travelling out on 5th September and hope to get over any jetlag quickly so that I can try the course and test my gear out after the long journey.
It's the first time I will have travelled with my hand bike and race chair and hope that my equipment is well looked after by BA. I've heard horror stories of bent and broken frames, ripped upholstery, broken spokes, etc.
I have three days off to see the sights of Beijing after the competition and then hope my coach gives me a well deserved break, although I only started training mid January so have not had such an intense year as others. I do feel that I have perhaps tried to do too much this year and will concentrate on only doing four major Sprints next year. The Europeans are in Eilat next April and the Worlds are in New Zealand, so I will have to work on getting some more sponsorship for travel costs.
I'm really excited about my prospects at Beijing. I just need to stay focused, be more consistent with my training and stay injury/illness free.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Coniston Water 2.4 mile/3.8km swim

Getting up at 5am to drive hundreds of miles for four hours to swim 2.4 miles in Coniston Water must be some people's idea of madness, but I had a great day!
I've never swum so far in the pool or open water, so it was a real taste of what an Ironman distance swim would be like. I plan to do Ironman in two or three years time, with an attempt at Kona if possible.
The organisers, Epic Events, were brilliant at making me feel included and doing all they could to help. Unfortunately, they did not have any water handlers, so it was a bum shuffle out over a stony shoreline until the water was deep enough to swim in. It was a deep water start of 108, the largest field I have ever swum in, with only 35 women competing overall. I swam the first mile at a conservative pace, not knowing if I could last the distance. Pyschologically speaking, once I was half way, I knew I could do it. It was a clear rectangular course and I had managed to draft a quick breaststroker, so I upped my pace and left him behind. It was considerably more choppy on the inward side and the wake from the steamer was disconcerting, but I managed bilateral breathing on the shore side.
My time was 1:25:10, which included another bum shuffle back up the shore onto the timing mat. I came 29th and ninth out of twelve in my age category. On the four hour journey home, I had plenty of time to contemplate what the rest of an Ironman would feel like...

Hyde Park International

It's quite exciting being considered 'elite' and using the same blue carpet the Brownlees and Helen Jenkins have sprinted over on their way to victory.
Unfortunately, having the ParaTriathlon race after the men's elite meant being ejected from the Athlete Lounge into the pouring rain and queueing for transition while they removed their equipment.
Dressed only in a GBR trisuit, I got very cold, being unable to control my body temperature due to my sci. Lots of my fellow competitors were willing to give up their clothing for me, but I refused to accept. I ended up being ushered into the first aid tent and wrapped in a woolly blanket and space blanket, where I put on my wetsuit.
The continuous shivering had made my lower back seize up completely and I considered not doing the race. Thanks to big hugs from Emma and constant attention from John, I did race.
George and Rebecca were excellent transition helpers, enduring the weather without complaint. I did a race Pb of 15:55 for the 806m swim, and 22:44 in the race chair, with an overall PB of 1:39:43, which I am pleased with. My bike was awful because I couldn't use my hands properly to change gear they were so cold. I ended up grinding my way round on the wrong cog, wasting valuable energy. I also left my pushing gloves out in the rain and I got no grip on the rims until they had shed some water. Lots of lessons learnt.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Dextro Energy Hyde Park International Weekend

My training did not go to plan after the Europeans, where I competed with a wrist tendon injury. My Physio insisted I take 10 days off straight afterwards and it was hard to get back to more intense sessions ready for Hyde Park. I then had an upper respiratory infection, ear infection and UTI all at once to add to my misery and had to take more days off plus take it easy for several weeks. I also discovered I have asthma with a persistent, annoying cough. So, a strong dose of antibiotics to cure it all and an inhaler for the asthma, which fortunately is allowed under anti-doping rules.
Unfortunately, the race weekend loomed all too soon. My train was cancelled and I got to London later than planned, as I was being a 'model' for a Classifiers course on Friday. I had a dip in the green water of the Serpentine for the swim familiarisation but broke the zip of my Blue Seventy wetsuit. Fortunately, Jonathan Riall introduced me to James Lock at Zone 3 in the Expo just before they wrapped up for the night. He supplied me with a top end wetsuit for the race.
Saturday was kit drop-off, a quick transition practice with George and Bex, a visit to the Science Museum and race briefing and registration, then to the Proms to see Nigel Kennedy perform. It was a late drive back to Twickenham.