Bad Blogger but I’m Back :-)

Shockingly my last blog was December 2014 when after nearly 6 month of recovery from my rib injury sustained in IMUK. Well I have taken my own advice and been building back up to training with baby steps.

January – I did get back into regular training and followed my coaches plan and completed a 9 mile across country race with a smile on my face and covered in mud from top to toe and had an early ice bath mid race which froze the lower half of my body from a dammed stream.

Frozen finishers at Slaughterford
Frozen finishers at Slaughterford

February – This was a bit start stop due to work as I have a new European contract so away in Brussels for a few days every other week in the European Parliament.  I did a very chilly Longleat 10km race and 10 miler in Melksham with my step daughter as part of her training for London marathon. Then away for my alternative cross training of three weeks snowboarding from end of February.

Longleat 10k running away from lions & cold
Longleat 10k running away from lions & cold

March – First fortnight in Canada – high altitude training on a snowboard. All was great until I face planted / bellyflopped on the last day, in slow motion but gravity and a mountain side weren’t kind to me. Even Mike’s first words were “Ohhh that’ll hurt !” Winded and crushed I packed my snowboard away for the season and headed home.

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A couple of days after returning home I was pacing Emma around Silverstone Half Marathon, she wanted a 2:30 PB,  after only two hours sleep, jet lag and still a little bruised from my faceplant I managed to bring her in at 2:26 not sure who suffered the most but she was ecstatic. We lost Vic at mile 8 who pulled up she was my back up pacer So it was me the wind and Emma that battled to the line in freezing windy conditions. Next year has to be nice spring like weather at Silverstone as we’ve had two crappy weather years now !

Silverstone Half
Silverstone Half

On the training side I joined a Running workshop with Westonbirt tri team. From video analysis I’m quad dominant and so need to activate the glutes more. However good news I’m not such a heavy heel striker and ripping the heels off my shoes any longer, but more a heel kisser/midfoot striker. This has changed over a few years from my initial analysis with James, Kinetic Revolutions and has stopped the braking effect. My head and arm positions have also improved – head up, arms swinging and driving front & back inline. Little tweaks and changes have helped so far but more to focus on with drills. £2 coin, smashing the glass, lifting my knees, picking up heels and more Pilates or planking ! etc.

April – getting back into the swing of things and my diary resembles and look like what triathlon training should be. The weekly hours are building and I’m swimming, cycling & running. Not made many Pilates classes as I’ve been away in Brussels.

I returned to the complete the hilly Easter Monday Cotswold sportive 65miles. It was good riding with a couple of Pirates and enjoying the social side of the ride this year. Notable for two incidents, first my right leg cramping on the last hill 5 miles from finish and falling into the earth bank and wild garlic. I told the others to go on and I’d see them at the finish. Then secondly coming across an accident that had just happened involving a dog and three cyclist just 2 miles from the finish. The girl was in a bad way with a broken collar-bone and possible ankle too, one bloke was walking wounded with huge amount of gravel rash,  the third was unscathed but his bike a right off and the dog had run off.

Pilates in The Cotswolds
Pirates in The Cotswolds

Swift assessment of the scene and casualties, called race HQ for paramedics and ambulance, closed the road and directed traffic for about twenty minutes until ambulance and bike recovery came. Back to finish for pasta, coffee & Easter egg in goody bag for Mike and meet up with my mates.

Organised a few trail runs with our four-legged friend up and around the chalky trains of the White horse hills. Megan was a star on and off the lead she wouldn’t leave my side. Often thought I’d lost her but she was just so close to me I didn’t notice. All 7 dogs got on well and we had plenty of stop & sniff, drink from muddy puddles, limbo under gates and poo bags at hand for toilet stops ( for the dogs!) Great to be out in the Wiltshire countryside for social runs.

The highlight of my training this year has to be going on my first triathlon training camp in Mallorca with my coach Neil, Performance Edge. This was an impulsive booking and thanks to Mike who got it for my birthday. I will complete a full Camp report & post later but in summary I rode, swam & ran more miles in 5 days than the whole of my monthly totals this year. Got into the sea for my first open water swim of the season and climbed more mountains than Billy the goat.

Not sure what to expect on a training camp I was slightly nervous that I was under trained and overweight, but pleased I completed all sessions. The support from other athletes and coaches was fantastic. We were a mixed group of experience and ability but all worked together in a great location and the hotel was a triathletes dream – outdoor heated pool, spa, close to beach, smooth roads, considerate drivers who respect cyclists, warm weather, great scenery, killer hills to conquer and some great laughs as we learnt new drills & skills.

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Mallorca – first tri camp, first sea swim

I came back from camp renewed with my training mojo jumping with go go go juices. So next day back I did a 50 mile bike ride then day after that a 10k local race. Yes my legs were tired but my training High was soaring 🙂 bringing my weekly mileage to an all time high. Woo hoo

I felt a bit tired at end of week with the triathlon event
I felt a bit tired at end of week with the triathlon event

On 26th April I was in London to support and cheer Emma on as she completed her first marathon. Back in 2013 she came to watch me run London marathon and since then has run four halves ( two with me), lost 5 stone, stopped smoking and looks fab. Mary & I walked 15 miles supporting Emma & my friend Pat that day. We all met in the Breast cancer care  charity reception then enjoyed a night in London near Tower Bridge and had a meal and few drinks to celebrate the marathon. Planning Dublin marathon for the four of us next.

Proud step mum from inspiring Emma to start running
Proud step mum from inspiring Emma to start running

May training continued in Macclesfield for the PSOF DIY Half. Unfortunately I did the bike ride on the Saturday in the worst conditions for weeks. We had driving rain and 50mph gusts that forced us to pedal downhill into the headwind ! Many did less than the 12 bike laps as hyperthermia was setting in, I chose to drive on and was fuelled by cups of tea after laps 3,6,9 & 11 to warm up and keep going. Now known as Red Stripe or ironBrew. Typical British bank holiday weather with beautiful hilly countryside made a challenging course.

I completed the swim & run on the Sunday under blue skies and an occasional gentle breeze. The pool was a little crowed and I clashed knuckles a few times coming off worse.  Thanks to Ewen for the loan of his Garmin in the pool which he also lent out to another runner so his Garmin has the winning swim bike & run combined time for the DIY weekend ! Again a full race report to follow.

PSOF crew mates day 1 & 2
PSOF crew mates day 1 & 2

A great weekend with like minded triathletes who embrace the Pirates ethos – enjoy yourself, race hard, have fun, don’t be shit. Support each other and see you all for a beer in the pub after.

Washing of a load of Lycra kit the repack as I was off to the Gower with    a few friends for more ironman training. We drove through black skies, driving rain and winds that buffeted our cars along the M4. Then as we approached the caravan in the Gower the skies cleared and we grabbed out bikes for a 60 mile very windy ride. Beautiful scenery, lots of hills and silence as the mobiles were out of service. We managed a couple of sea swims, beach runs and a 90 mile ride up and over the Brecon Beacons.

Gower - Chippenham Tri & couple of Pirates training
Gower – Chippenham Tri & couple of Pirates training
Come on in the waters lovely
Come on in the waters lovely

Then my training streak came to a halt as I got a message my sister had been taken by ambulances to hospital with pneumonia. Nearly two weeks later and she is still in hospital attached to IV’s, oxygen, chest drain and a cocktail of morphine & pain killers by injection and tablets as complications have developed with new viruses forming. She has had endless ECG, CT scans, blood test, x-rays, temperature & blood pressure reading and looks like a Dalmatian dog from all the bruising needles have caused plus as she’s been stuck in bed she suffering bed sores.

Poor little sis is having a really rough time. I’ve been juggling and helping my brother-in-law with their four kids for visiting, shopping, washing, school drop offs and pick ups, poorly kids, speaking to teachers and this morning negotiating with an 8 year old about going to school today all at 7:30am Not my normal Monday morning.

Looks like I’ll be in Auntie duty for a while longer and so training will be snatch and grab what I can when I can.

I have managed a few lake swims and this weekend I was due to be doing the Beaver tri but stayed at home and did my own deconstructed DIY tri.

I ran 10km on Saturday looking for Beat The Street bonus boxes on the chalk trails of Morgans hill.

Swam 1650m in the lake first thing Sunday morning then hopped on my bike for a 26mile ride around the Cotswolds.

Olympic triathlon distance completed in between visiting, washing & shopping 🙂 Race bike serviced and ready to race when I am.

2 comments

  1. Great blog, Zoe. What are those run drills you mention, £2 coin, smashing the glass? Be good to know where you got them from. Hope you’re happy to share.
    Thanks. Peter

    • Hi Peter, the drills are help me activate my glutes and core whilst running to help keep my form. By imaging you are clenching a £2 coin in your bum cheeks you activate the glutes, push the hips forward and it helps foot placement directly under the body. The smashing the glass is designed to get you to lift your knees and in turn feet to promote forward propulsion and effortless movement. This is similar to picking up heels. They are best demonstrated by my coach rather than in my words. I’m sure you can google them or look at Kinetic Revolution website which has videos of these and more drills

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