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

Friday, 24 February 2012

An Easy and a Tough Life

How is it when you are trying to fit in lots of training sessions and keep things consistent that other parts of your life keep trying to take over?!
I find that as the nights get shorter I keep thinking about my long term goals of qualifying for the Worlds, and that (along with a bit of a shove from Will) helps me to crack on with those hard sessions. When I am back from work late, or have been driving up and down the country (as I often do with my job as a Sales Rep) I have to be very dedicated to even think about training when I get home. However, I still have been managing to average around 10 hours of training a week, and that is still with mostly swimming and cycling as I am only just now starting to put in a few more running sessions.
Chatting with other triathletes helps to put it into perspective.
I am just becoming an avid user of Twitter and find that most of the people I follow are elite triathletes and sports people. When you are sat on the turbo in the kitchen watching Michael McIntyre on DVD (who by the way is very funny!) and then see that the elites are training in South Africa/Gold Coast/California/New Zealand then it can sometimes get you down. However, I find that thinking of how much training they do as a full time job, and that they really can't afford to screw up and get injured as that is their livelihood, then I feel a bit better when it is raining outside and I have to go for a run just as the wind is whipping up around me.
Most of my triathlete friends are pretty dedicated to the cause, some with similar goals to myself, some just in it for the fun, and some are trying to get fit, I think it's hard to compare yourself with others who are doing it as a full-time occupation.
I took up tri as a way of keeping fit, but also as it is three disciplines and varies the types of training. I find that no two sessions are the same and this is something I enjoy. I have managed to keep going despite an injured plagued start to my winter training, and I am getting fitter and feeling stronger with each training week. With a few races entered and my 2012 racing season pretty much planned out, I am looking forward to getting in those key sessions to fine tune and race hard. Training smart is key to a successful year, and if I manage to stay injury free this year, then that will be a great success for me.
In many ways I am glad I am not an elite triathlete as I would have to give up a job I love, and race for money, which would involve winning, and I don't think that will be on the cards for a while!

Another key aspect for me is having a great set of friends who can appreciate your lifestyle and your love for the sport, if they can't appreciate why the hell you are up on a Sunday morning to swim in a lake at 7am and cycle and run all before 10am then maybe you should invite them along to watch. It's quite fun to watch people's reactions to tri and I think it's important to have that support for your training and dedication. Then they might understand why you aren't going hard out on the lash getting bladdered every single weekend.
There again outlines another reason not be an elite triathlete, at least we amateurs can indulge in a bit of grape juice now and again without the guilt!

I must also say that having a coach has helped me improve greatly this year. Mary Hardwick is an absolute star and having just launched their website www I must urge you to check it out. My swimming has come on no end, and without her help I think I wouldn't be achieving PBs every  session- so thank you!.inspire2tri.co.uk

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Snow and training in extreme temperatures

Jimmy Robinson enjoys the -11 temperatures!
Rutland saw some significant snowfall and extreme temperatures this week. It began last Saturday night with a bet on whether the snow would come, which it did (and I was instantly 35 better off- thanks Will!). Although not as much snow as last year, it decided to stick around. Then overnight temperatures over the week saw much of it freeze leaving our pavements and roads like skating rinks. Many of my friends and I spent time on the treadmills, indoor bikes and the swimming pool which can be terribly boring is if were not were for interesting sessions!
Most of my week has been about keeping consistent with my training and Tuesday saw a 1km time trial in the pool. Managing to take 40 seconds off my previous time of 17:15 to swim 16:34 was pretty amazing. It just goes to show that an increase in fitness and time spent getting your pacing right pays off.- so thanks Mary and Stamford Tri :)
I want to go even faster in four weeks time at the next TT, but that will take much more work to take time off!
I also got to enjoy the delights of aquajogging, which is seriously good for you if you are injured and just very good for you in general as it helps with your core. It did amuse me slightly that there were 6 of us in the pool on Friday night bobbing up and down in a circle for over 15 minutes not really getting anywhere. That is the only real frustration, as you don't seem to do many miles, but the next day your muscles certainly feel the effects.
After more snow on Thursday and a real deep freeze of -16 on Friday night, my plan for Saturday fully depended on the weather. Myself and a couple of friends made plans to cycle around Rutland Water on mountain bikes, this being a great alternative to the road bikes which wouldn't be coming out of their hiding places unless being put on the turbo trainer!
I layered up, and heading out of the door yesterday morning, I couldn't quite believe how cold it was. My face was frozen and toes began to hurt almost instantaneously.
Somehow I managed to keep on the bike most of the way to meet my friends, although I did come off and give myself a great bruise on the shin. Having met my friends, it was funny to spot that my water bottle has already started to freeze up.

Setting off in the fog we cycled through the snow giggling most of the way and finding it a real test of fitness to get up small rises with snow covered tyres. Our feet were the main topic of conversation, although we also discussed races and training this week being heavily disrupted.
The point where I took my photo of Jimmy, he decided to test the temperature, a balmy -11! With the freezing fog, it certainly took our breath away.
The ride home was probably quicker than I cycled out, probably as I wanted to get back and seriously defrost my toes and waterbottle which was now a solid brick of juice. (Which reminds me to tell you that you should never try to warm up your toes quickly, as I can tell you that it was extremely painful to do so!)
Despite the cold, it was a fantastic way of staving off the indoor blues and really made me feel appreciative of the beauty of where I live. If you ever get a chance to come to Rutland Water, you really should. The roads are pretty good for cycling, the path around the reservoir is really great for running and cycling and in the summer the sailing and windsurfing is pretty epic too.

So for today with snow still on the ground and ice still threatening to freeze my toes, I have opted for an indoor 90 minute turbo session with a film on DVD at the ready. However the weathermen have reassured us that the thaw is on the way- confirmed by Will on his way to work that there was no ice on the cars this morning, so suggested going out on the bike outside. Despite the temperature having risen slightly, it has probably only just got above freezing, which is still not quite warm enough for me just yet!

Have no fear fellow triathletes, the longer nights and warmer weather is only just around the corner, lets see what March and April brings us!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

2012 Race Calendar

Last week was rather easy in comparison to the week before. Clocked around 8 hours of training, but then I have had a visitor and snow fell over the weekend. I am trying to keep consistent, but finding that an easy week followed by a much harder week works better for me and my recovery.
Managed a 3.5km run yesterday (on the treadmill) so I am slowly building it back up. I don't want to aim too fast, although anything under 25 minutes for a 5km at the end of a triathlon will be good, especially in my first triathlon of the year. (It would also be a PB for a 5km at the end of a tri!)
I have tried to space out the races I want to do, as well as pick and choose the ones which will give me the best chance of qualifying.
The following races are ones I have already entered or plan on entering very soon:-
  • Sunday 22nd April - Lincoln Pool Sprint Triathlon 400m/20/5
  • Saturday 28th April - Rutland CiCLE Event, either 100miles or 54 miles
  • Sunday 13th May - Grendon Sprint Triathlon (Worlds 2012 Qualifier) 750m/20/5
  • Sunday 27th May - Nantwich Pool Sprint Triathlon 400m/20/5
  • Saturday 16th June - Dambuster Olympic Triathlon (Worlds 2012 Qualifier)1500m/40/10
  • Saturday 30th June - Deva Divas Triathlon Sprint Relay Event (Swim only)  750m
  • Sunday 1st July - Deva Olympic Triathlon (Worlds 2012 Qualifier) 1500m/40/10
  • Sunday 15th July - Bristol Sprint Triathlon (Worlds 2012 Qualifier) 750m/20/5
  • 25th/26th BH Weekend August National Club Relays  500m/15/5
  • Sunday 23rd September - London Olympic Triathlon 1500m/40/10
  • Worlds NZ 17-23rd October  (If I qualify!)
I have given myself a few chances to qualify, however it will be expensive and a whole 2 weeks out of work so I have to really give myself plenty of time to save up!
I really want to do this this year, and the hard work and training has already started.
I also hope to make it to London on the 7th August to watch the Men's Triathlon Olympic event. It will be AMAZING!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Clocking up the miles and a TT to boot

So what was last week all about? Sleep Eat Work Train Eat Sleep! It seems to be all I am doing, but I am really REALLY enjoying the fact that I am putting in some hard sessions and clocking up the miles. I have done nearly 40 hours of training for January with 2 weeks of just over 8 hours and 2 weeks of 12 hours +! That is pretty good when I think of how I was in 2010 and still managing to qualify. My running is building up very slowly, but I still am managing to do some 2-3km of running sessions a week.
I have had some excellent swim sessions recently, in a very interesting format with Mary Hardwick again.  Coaching is something which I eventually want to be doing, I think I would quite like to get involved with coaching, and so am on the lookout for a course, once I have some more money!
The other great thing about the end of January is the fact that I got paid (16th December was last pay day!!!) and managed to book myself in on a couple of races, the Lincoln pool sprint being one of them. This is a fairly local event and is a great early season starter and will be pretty crucial for me to see how my last 3 months of training has gone and how my running will fare! It's on the 22nd April and very cheap compared with the extortionate prices that you can pay for races now.
The other great thing is that Spring will be here soon (well not quite yet with the snow forecast for this weekend), but the nights will get lighter and it means training in the evening will become a bit more pleasant!
29th January saw the inaugural Stamford Triathlon Club Bike TT around Rutland Water. We cycled up to Whitwell for a 9.30am start, and let me tell you, the three pairs of socks, overshoes and foil (yes foil) on my feet were not to prepare me for the cold cold cold temperatures!
I didn't manage last place (14/16) however I still have plenty of work to do on that front! Let's see what the spring brings!