What's it all about?

I decided to write a blog following my training and triathlon season. For me, I have always participated in sports for as along as I can remember, whether it was being one of the only girls playing football with the boys, playing hockey at numerous clubs or running around cross country circuits in the pouring rain. This year I plan to work hard on my swimming, cycling and running in an effort to qualify for the World Championships in Triathlon and represent my age group. I hope that you enjoy my blog or rather my ramblings and feel free to comment.

Kerry X

Monday, 30 April 2012

Racing ahead.....in Lincoln!

So the day finally dawned and the first race of the season was upon me. Rising around 5.30am I had already packed everything in the car the night before, with clothing to prepare for every eventuality.
The morning was cool and drizzly, not the best start for a triathlon, but nevertheless, Will and I drove up arriving at David Lloyd Gym in Lincoln just in time for the registration and to rack my bike before the rain came again.
Having looked at the profile of the bike route, I knew that there was a short sharp hill initially, but then the rest of it would be rolling and downwards with a short interlude on the A46 (hmmmmm).

I was pretty excited but also really nervous as it would be the first time in Stamford Triathlon Club colours and others from my club would be there too. Paul, Jimmy, Sandie, Karl and a couple of others would be racing too and I felt quite pleased as I dressed in my new trisuit ready to race.

With a slightly more sociable start time of 10.20am, it gave me chance to look around transition and get fully prepared for the race. Starting so late only meant one thing and with a quicker swim time came a chance for the fast people to come past me on the bike. The problem was I felt as though the entire bike was into a headwind, so when Paul and Jimmy flew past me (quite literally) it was a struggle to keep on going through the biting wind.

With the swim going as well as expected, with an official recorded time of 7:05 (which included a 15-20 second run to the timing mat from poolside) I was immediately pleased when I glanced at my watch as it meant that I had swam around 6:40 (confirmed by Will afterwards who watched and timed it), but then the stinging cold wind whipped across my face and wet body and I ran as fast as I could into T1 to pull a jacket over me and get my helmet and shoes on. A quick T1 time (including the jacket) was pleasing again. The bike leg began with a steady climbing road and as I passed one competitor with a puncture I could only shout my apologies for not having anything to assist him and worked my way up the winding village to the top of the ridge. It was a fairly gutsy hill but short enough that you could recover quickly and then turn left into a blustery drizzly rest of the bike leg. However I soon found that it was pretty tough into the wind, as even descending the ridge I was pedalling hard and was fighting to keep on pushing. I was pleased to get a fair way before Jimmy and Paul both passed me, but with others passing me on full TT bikes, it was a hard thing to keep pressing on, but I managed it all the same! After 52 awful minutes I was back into the ground of the gym and ready to run.

Coming into T2
Coming into T2 was a bit of a respite from the weather and managed to grab my cap and running shoes on I was off. I was pressing the pace and with an estimated distance to the first turn around point on the canal being 1.25km I was fairly pleased to see my time being below what I expected and then on approaching the throng of supporters by the finish line (halfway through the run) I was chuffed to actually pass people.
The turn around part was pretty awful though as I began to feel the tiredness creep in and the pain in my stomach increased as I saw the finish line. I was pretty pleased I wasn’t sick, as the cameraman was right in front of the finish! Imagine that photo! I managed a 24:13 for the 5km run which is a PB for a 5km in a triathlon so that was really great. Only problem was I hadn’t anticipated the finish being so close, I was all set out ready for a sprint finish and really wished I had pushed a bit more earlier on so that I could have gone sub-24 minutes.
In the end I was mostly pleased with my result of 1:25:39 and just thought I need to work on my cycling but the swimming and running efforts are clearly paying off and my thoughts are now on Grendon sprint triathlon which is a mere two weeks away! (Pictures are courtesy of Will :)
I was 4th in my age group out of 20 ladies and was 20th lady overall, so nothing too spectacular, but still pretty good all the same! I finished 204th overall out of 444 people in total too.
Also just to keep you in the loop I attended my level 1 BTF coaching course this weekend, and it was fantastic! I will write another post about that once I am finished (20thy May fingers crossed!).

Happy Training!


Friday, 20 April 2012

3, 2, 1 go!

Hello guys,
Just a quick update as I will be writing a full race report on here on Sunday following Lincoln Sprint Triathlon! Have had all of the emails through and have confirmed my start time for 10.20am on Sunday morning. As far as triathlon start times go, this is extremely sociable and means that I don't have to be up until at least 6.30am!

Training for me this week has take a bit of a back step, I haven't tapered off entirely but I have done a few but quality sessions rather than a bulk of training. Monday consisted of an early morning swim and then a brick session in the evening which was pretty tough. I had Tuesday and Wednesday off as I was away with work then last night was a quick track session of 5 x 400ms just to get those legs moving, but on a rain soaked grass track it wasn't much fun!
Tonight I will be running a quick circuit around my block followed by some strides and stretching and then tomorrow will be a quick zoom on the bike, literally to spin the legs and then stretching and psyching myself up for Sunday's grand kick off to the season. I have been waiting near enough 7 months and when I think back to when I began training back in October, I am pleased that I have just about managed to ward off injury and am absolutely bursting to get racing again. This is just what I need to kick start my year of triathlons.
I have to say though the weather isn't too appetising and I hope that it will warm up soon in time for the 13th May- first OW triathlon of the year at Grendon. (it was frikking freezing two years ago and I think that this year will be no different!).

If anyone else is racing this weekend, I wish you all the best, finally it is time to test those legs and see what the winter training has done for us!
Happy training (& racing!) :)


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

April Showers and races ahead

After a scorching March and getting out on the bike practically every day, the start of April has been really hard to motivate myself with training. The best part for me about this time of year is the fact that race season is but a whiff of May blossom away. Training in this rain and wind and grizzly weather is starting to wear thin, but I keep thinking ahead to those races and the intensity of the training sessions.
I have upped the miles running and have really progressed (in my opinion) but only the races results will tell! I have yet to don my wetsuit and join the fools rushing off into the open water sessions. I want to feel warm air on my skin first before diving into that water! I have however had to change to swim early mornings. The pools where Will and I normally swim on Tuesday and Wednesday nights have been closed for maintenance and Easter. I can really see now how training with a club or group of people for a swim session is much more enjoyable. I have had my fair share of bruises from our local pool. They also fail to put out any lane ropes, and then you feel a bit like it’s a free for all. I smacked right into one guy this morning and it really does get quite annoying. I think that there should be some kind of rule system in place…… if you swim at a local pool like me then I expect you have the same grumbles! I have to be pleased though, my swim times are consistently dropping, and assistance last week from Mary and her endless pool analysis gave me some good pointers for the season ahead and some more things I can work on to improve my speed and results.
Cycling hasn’t been too bad up to now either, I have still managed to get out at least 3 times a week, which when I compare this to last year, I am really pleased with. I have been out on the racing machine only once (the Felt F5), and the rest of the time my trusty Monoc is always there. Having a spare winter bike has been awesome as the weather and all of the rubbish on the roads inevitably ends up on your bike and then you tirelessly spend ages cleaning it, only to go out on it then next day and end up dirty again! A thankless task but one that certainly needs doing. Getting to know your bike and some small self-maintenance is crucial for all people using bikes. If you don’t know how to change a tyre or to use a chain breaker these are some things I suggest you learn quickly!
Running has really become my passion again of late. I found myself running through the hurricane like weather last week and then even went for two runs on Friday. I felt pretty good and managed to clock up around 22kms of running- which when you consider I wasn’t even running a couple of months back, then that is really good! I just hope that I can produce some good results this year and qualify for the Worlds again! Putting the whole package together I am starting to feel really good about the coming season. All of my races are booked, I have plenty of time in-between each race to recover and train. My weight has pretty much dropped away to my ideal racing weight (56kgs- my lightest in YEARS!) which will certainly help even more. I just cannot wait to get going and Lincoln Sprint Triathlon is less than two weeks away!

Finally it is at this part of the year that things start getting really exciting. The elites are all starting to up their game ready for the races that they will compete in this season. This part of the year is especially important for them as it is Olympic year and the selection races for the teams are nearly upon them. I would like to wish them all good luck and hopefully we will have some fine GB triathletes to support this year.

Hopefully everyone is training well and keeping on going for just that little bit more before we start to race.

Also if anyone has any race they would like to review I can add it to my page or links to other blogs.

Happy training!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Inspiring me to Tri: Mary Hardwick

I first met Mary Hardwick back in 2009 when on a flight to Australia to support Will in the GB age group worlds, Mary was sat beside us. I remember her words of encouragement that I could also do the same and truth be told, this is what I did in 2010.

here is an interview with Mary Hardwick who has recently set up Inspire 2 tri with her partner in crime Gail Warner. their combination of experience and dedication and fitness will make their company a very successful one :)

Inspire2tri- what is it all about?
Well Kerry, I jokingly call it my ‘retirement dream’ but it’s not that far from the truth! ‘Inspire2tri’ is a brand new coaching, training and fitness venture that grew from the shared passion of myself and my business partner, Gail Warner, to help people to realise remarkable sporting and fitness achievements from any starting point in life. Having competed at a decent level for most of my life in a whole range of individual and team sports and battled with the familiar challenges of injury and ‘real life’ commitments, the people who motivated me to succeed shared two common traits – a ‘personal touch’ and an incredibly infectious enthusiasm. If we can do the same for all of our clients in future then we will be two happy people!    

What is your favourite session to coach?
I think this has to be a pool session based on learning to develop and hold an even pace. You know I have a bit of a ‘bee in my bonnet’ about the importance of good pacing, but I honestly think it’s the critically important skill for a triathlete to have. We have a whole host of training aids when we’re running and cycling to give us constant feedback that keeps us in that optimal aerobic zone, but once we get into that long swim we have to rely on our own internal clocks and so learning to ‘set those clocks’ to the optimal pace and holding can make all the difference to your race.   

Proudest moment as a coach?
This is a no-brainer. It has to be when Gail qualified for the GB Age Group Team for Eilat having only learnt to swim and ride a bike four months earlier! I was actually at the medal ceremony for the Worlds Age Group in Beijing when the qualifying race started and so as soon as I’d got my medal I dashed outside to get on the phone and find out how it was going. I think this was when I mentally made the transition from ‘competitor’ to ‘coach’ and realised that, whilst I’m not likely to stop competing any time soon, my priorities are certainly changing!

Favourite place to swim/bike/run?
Can I have two please?! The most memorable is definitely the Gold Coast in Australia for my first Age Group World Championships. The sheer size and ‘buzz’ around the event, not to mention the glorious weather made it an unforgettable experience. But if we’re coming closer to home it just has to be Rutland Water and the Dambuster and Vitruvian Triathlons. Great scenery, challenging bike course and beautiful running around the water – so lucky to have this on our doorstep.

Most memorable moment in Triathlon?
You’re probably expecting me to say when I won a race or got a medal but it’s actually none of those. We were sitting on the start pontoon in Budapest Worlds about 30 second before the gun went off for the Sprint race and the weather was appalling. Everyone was shivering with a mixture of cold and fear and the Australian competitor next to me looked across and just said ‘can I have a hug please!’ I think this says it all about the spirit that exists in Triathlon even at every level.

I am struggling with confidence as a triathlete, what wise words would you say to me?
You will never be alone!! Triathlon is a hugely technical sport and very few people are really good at every discipline but it’s what makes it such fun and will keep you coming back and back to try and get better. Be sure to set your own goals and celebrate your successes however small and you’ll be well on your way. 

Where do you see Inspire2tri going in the future?
Goodness, that’s a difficult question when we are only just getting started! Maybe the best way I can answer that is by saying where I don’t see Inspre2tri going. We have no desire to become a Triathlon Club: We want to help and support local clubs, not compete for members. We are also absolutely committed to staying small and personalised as this is what we are about and what drives our passion. Otherwise, we’re open to wherever the journey takes us that makes sense for us, our clients, and our long suffering families that are supporting us wholeheartedly in this exciting new venture!

Any future goals as a triathlete?
I guess winning the double gold in Beijing was about as ‘good as it gets’ but I don’t see myself giving up competitive triathlon any time soon as I love the challenge of training and the buzz of competing although it will probably be a bit more tempered by coaching commitments (notice I didn’t use the ‘age’ excuse!).

Could we see you taking up long distance tri?
My heart would just love to have a go at an ironman to just see if I really could do it, but my head and most other parts of my body, as well as my new business partner are telling me it’s not a very sensible idea! I have a much admired Age Group Triathlon friend (Peggy Crome) who is planning an ironman for her 70th birthday and so I haven’t totally given up the idea of following her example as it gives me a bit more time to think about it!

What is your number one triathlon tip for a beginner/novice triathlete?
HAVE FUN! Maybe you were expecting words of ‘technical’ wisdom, but honestly, everything starts from just enjoying the experience and finding out what you really do when you put your mind to it. I’m not saying it won’t be challenging both physically and mentally but take time to learn, enjoy the camaraderie and set yourself little goals along the way – then go celebrate when you achieve them!

What inspired to you take up triathlon?
Well, I’d not been doing too much sport for work reasons and took up running in 2000 to lose some weight and rediscover what ‘fit’ was like. I remember my first 5 mile run – I had to go to bed afterwards and couldn’t walk for several days! Several marathons later my knee decided enough was enough and as part of the rehab I bought a road bike. I hadn’t been in the pool regularly for over 30 years but as that was also low impact it was an obvious addition to the exercise routine. Add back a little bit of running and a triathlete was born! The rest is history and I wouldn’t change it for the world, so good luck to all aspiring triathletes out there and just remember –it’s never too late to do your best and ‘remarkable results really can come from real lives’!
Many thanks to Mary for taking the time out of their busy start up to answer my questions! (And also for swim analysis this week! Picture above!)

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Tired legs and PMA (positive mental attitude)

Well I hope that everyone enjoyed the gorgeous weather that enveloped the UK this week.
It's all back to normal now with slightly chillier temperatures and reason to wear more layers.
This week has taken a bit of a back step with training due to the high volume of training that I completed last week for my crash week. I have completed around 2 swims, 3 bikes and only 2 runs, but this has totalled 8 hours of training with a hard week back at work.
My legs today were ready to give up on me and I felt utterly awful this morning on our long hilly ride of 50km. Will was great but I began the ride in a foul mood, and not even the sun shining could cheer me up. I went mountain biking yesterday at Cannock Chase with Les (Chester Tri friend) and it really beasted me more than I could imagine. My legs not only had all of last week's riding in them, but yesterday's tough session and today they just didn't want to work. I thought on every single hill that I was going to topple over and stop. It was pretty miserable to say the least, but after discussion with Will and consideration, I have to remember that I did well and truly beast myself last week and it is always the recovery week which makes you feel worse!

Other than that this week has been one of feeling pretty tired, however I do have to reflect that when you are tired from a hard week of training, you will be at your fittest which is a bit strange. Only from those really hard sessions will you improve and I think that today was not only hard physically, but almost torture in my mindset. I cannot stress the importance of a positive frame of mind and confidence, as today was tough for me and I have to admit that I did have a bit of a whinge and I was truly in a whole WORLD of PAIN!

Hopefully I can take a lot from today's session and feel pleased that I still managed to ride a very very hilly (up and down and up and down and barely any flat) route and kept going even when I wanted to get off.
I think I needed an extremely healthy dose of PMA and also to reward those efforts such as today's was in order.

Also forgot to say... I have got a place on the Level 1 Triathlon Coaching Course in April. I have had to forgo the Rutland CiCLE event on the 28/29th April, but I think you will agree that a coaching qualification will be a great alternative!

As promised I will upload my interview with Mary Hardwick from Inspire2tri for my next post.

I hope that you all have a great block of training.... the race season is nearly upon us!
(for me it's the 22nd April and literally 3 weeks away! I can't wait)

Happy Training!