Posts Tagged With: GreenlightPT

Ironman Copenhagen

I finally got around to writing up my Ironman Copenhagen race – only two months late. It’s posted on the GreenlightPT squad website which you can access from the link below:

IM Copenhagen – 2017

As for what’s next – I’ve no idea! I’ve now ticked the IM box so to speak so in theory I don’t need to do another do I? (Although it would be nice to get some decent finish line pictures!)







The reward!

Categories: IM Copenhagen, Races, Training | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chicago World Age Group Triathlon Championships – Race Report

Race morning started a bit earlier than I had planned due to the storm that hit Chicago the previous evening. As a result pre-race racking was postponed until race morning. It was only just light at 7am as I left the Fairmont Hotel (our home for the week) at the top end of Grant Park but surprisingly warm considering the predictions, although my choice of trisuit and team jacket caused some amusement to a pair of Australian competitors who I chatted to at the traffic lights who thought it was rather cold in their woolly hats and thick tights!


Transition was rather large!

Transition was around a 10 minute ride from the hotel and was a good opportunity to test out my last minute pedal and tyre changes – I found a large piece of glass in my tyre and my pedals seized up on the crossing from the UK! How not to be relaxed the night before a race…anyway, short test ride was fine and after the most minor of checks on transition entry (just my brakes – nothing else at all) I eventually found my racking spot. Transition was rather large, rather wet, rather muddy and very sandy – that’ll be nice later!


My spot – bit sandy…

I had quite a nice spot in transition not too far from the end of a row and set my stuff up. A few of my GB team mates were racked near me and we did a quick scout of swim entry, bike and run exits while doing the usual faffing around with kit. Once I felt happy with it all I took an easy walk back up to the hotel for breakfast. With my race not until 11am I didn’t want to hang around the race area and thought I’d be better off chilling back at the hotel for a bit.

I headed to swim start about an hour before my wave to see if I could work out the best starting spot. The swim reccy didn’t enable us to swim the first half of our route so it was a case of winging it and hoping for the best. Following the storm the lake was quite choppy, even within the sheltered Monroe Harbour. From what I could see from previous waves the worst place to start was on the right – not only was it the tightest spot, there was also the danger of someone from a previous wave swimming head on into you. The route followed the harbour wall north for about 350m, round a buoy (or a booey as the swim Marshall called it!) then went south back past the swim start pontoon and all the way to the end of the harbour to the exit.


The pontoon

We were called onto the pontoon and precariously made our way to the end to jump in. The pontoon was so unstable it was difficult to walk along it. I understand not long after my wave it actually broke resulting in later waves having a shortened swim and also diverting the elite men to have to use the age group exit and transition in an underpass!


Swim start – bit of a scrum!

I opted for a start on the left and we were off. I’ve been a bit hit and miss with my swimming in races this year. Training has gone well but in races I’ve either had a stormer or as in the ETU Champs a panic attack. As a result my last few races I’ve started nice and steady and then build throughout. This seems to suit me and psychologically works as I pass people towards the end of the swim. The downside of this means little draft opportunities. I was going well, came back past the pontoon and was pulling away from the group I was with. Only trouble was the water was so choppy I couldn’t see any swim exit buoys at all. I could see the Field Museum which I knew was near swim exit so used that as a guide and used the harbour wall to stay straight. Eventually I saw the final turn buoy and had to double back a bit as I was too far over but came out of the water ahead of the group I’d passed earlier and started the 500m run to transition.

I wiped my sandy feet on my wetsuit – top tip from the sprinters – bike shoes on and I was on my way. I’m still not brave enough to do the shoes on my bike thing yet but this does have it’s advantages as I was moving very quickly passing quite a few girls still grappling getting their feet in. I capitalised on this and rode hard knowing the course was flat.


Entrance to Lower Wacker drive

The Chicago bike route was rather unique in that no competitor had been able to ride it before the race. We’d all seen the route map, been warned about the change of light conditions and also the dodgy narrow tunnel on the secret road. So, it was with some trepidation that threw myself into the bike leg and despite the lack of course knowledge I loved it. Much of the course followed Lower Wacker Drive. To the film buffs out there you’ll know this better as the tunnel in the Dark Knight where the Joker and Batman chase each other. It was fab to ride in – part was open on one side, then it turned dark – and was rather quick. I was grinning like a Cheshire cat – not many of us in this world have had the opportunity to cycle down here and I was loving it. Judging by some of the other whoops and yells I could hear so were others!


The ‘secret road’

Following the tunnel, we surfaced briefly before entering the ‘secret road’, a private busway that runs alongside the train tracks. This was just like a normal road but in a cutting and partly underground. It was rather narrow in places so made it difficult to pass and it was clear there was a lot of drafting going on. I pushed on although I was conscious I had been passed by a fair few girls. I was passing people but more were passing me. After Edmonton where I had about the third slowest bike split in my AG I had resolved to work on my bike over the last year so that didn’t happen again. I got my head down and pushed on. We arrived back near transition, did a 180 turn and went back out for another lap. Two GB girls had caught me up and overtaken me and I worked like hell to catch them back up. After a fair bit of cat and mouse I hit transition ahead of them both – just! My bike time was solid midpack and I know there is still so much more to come.

20150919_132231It was a long run from dismount to the racking and was not a comfortable experience in bike shoes – another thing to work on next year – I was so pleased to get my trainers on and start running. The run was 3 and 3/4 laps. Not the most inspiring of routes but we got to run around the Buckingham Fountain four times plus it was great for supporters. I got to see them twice on every lap which was great for morale. After a fantastic start to the season I had trouble with my calf from late June resulting in a painful 10km at the ETU champs in Geneva, thought it was fixed until a week before Vitruvian in late August when it went again, resulting in a great swim/bike at Vitruvian but a DNF on the run. I had done very little run training as a result so was quite nervous about this final leg. As it was probably my last race of the season I was just going to go for it and if it went it went, I’d blinking well crawl to the end if I had to! Mercifully after a steady first km all felt good and I felt good. I’d got a good pace going and was passing people. I passed a few GB girls so knew I was going well. The heat was rising so maintaining pace was difficult but I dug deep and left nothing behind and made it to the finish in one piece! I finished in 37th place and fourth GB in my age group – a massive improvement on last year where I had very few girls behind me in the race and was last GB home! I was super proud – one of my best races of the season, my swim wasn’t my fastest, nor my bike or run but overall as a race it all came together. After a summer of injury it finally came good at the right time.

wpid-20150919_143415.jpgMy improvement this year is no small part a result of my coaching from Adam Gibson at GreenlightPT. It makes such a difference to have someone else doing the thinking about what training needs to be done and how much and when and keeping it interesting. It means I can just get on and train. Working full time with a young family means one less thing to worry about. Another benefit is the voice of reason when you’re heading for disaster. Under normal circumstances I’d have hobbled round Vitruvian as I was in an age group podium place at the time but going into the race I was under strict instructions to stop if there was any pain otherwise I’d most likely jeopardise Chicago. Deep down I knew this but sometimes you need someone else to tell you it. Coaches know their stuff and you have to trust them!

20150919_191348I have also had brilliant support at home from friends, work colleagues, teammates at GreenlightPT and Redway Runners but most of all my family. I was lucky enough that my husband, son and sister were able to make the trip to Chicago with me and it does make a difference to have them there – especially my husband when my bike doesn’t do what I expect it to do (hence a dash to the LBS to buy new pedals!). It’s been a brilliant season, probably my best to date and I know there’s still more in the tank for next year. Just one last little local triathlon at the weekend and that’s me done for the year.

Categories: Races | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Getting ready – plans for 2015


Edmonton, Canada

Watching Top Gear tonight and their trip to Canada made me reminisce about my trip to Edmonton last year and also reminded me that I hadn’t written anything here for a couple of months. As my race number for the MK half dropped through the door this week it seems quite timely to update what is going on in my world.

The MK Half will be my first race of the year. It should have been the Bucks County XC Champs but as has been the case since May last year, my calf had other ideas. A common theme throughout my posts last year was my struggles with issues with both my calf’s. Although my running has gone from strength to strength (I’ve PB’d at every distance raced in the last 12 months) my calf’s neglected to join the party. Any time I run over 10 miles or a hard track session they give up, cramp up and generally cause me grief to the point I finished most of my running races nearly in tears and then need loads of physio to get me running for my next triathlon. Funny thing is, I never get the problem in a tri…

Anyway, after the MK Winter Half in December, I took some time off from running, ramped up the physio and have spent most of the winter doing strengthening exercises. Touch wood, the problem has eased massively but I’m nervous about next Sunday. It’s so early in the season and I’ve lots planned so first sign of trouble and I’ll be backing off!

Aside from my running woes everything else is going pretty well. I decided at the end of last year that I wanted to have a bit more structure to my training so have teamed up with Adam from GreenlightPT and it’s already working wonders. My time off the road has been well spent on the bike (mostly the turbo thanks to the wonderful British weather) and in just 8 weeks I managed to increased by FTP by 10%. I also decided to treat my swimming with a bit more respect, rather than the necessary evil that triathletes have to endure and have made some big gains in the pool over the last few weeks.



I also treated myself to a TT bike. After my son started school in September I decided to up my hours at work back to full time and along with an unexpected pay rise, the extra cash was burning a hole so I now am the proud owner of a Planet X TT. It’s still sat on the turbo but as soon as the weather clears up we’ll be whipping up and down the lanes of North Bucks and South Northants. I know it’s all about the engine that drives it but to quote a well known supermarket ‘every little helps’!

So the next few months will be a lot of hard work to get ready for the ITU qualifiers, Outlaw Half and the ETU Champs in Geneva. I’m really looking forward to Outlaw. With an improved bike leg I know there’s gains to be made as long as I can run comfortably. I’ve no idea how the qualifiers will go. I’m now the baby in a new age group with the over 40s – I only turned 39 10 weeks ago so have no idea where I sit in the scheme of things, and am very conscious of the fact I got lucky with my qualification for Edmonton last year – hopefully luck with be with me again this year!

Categories: Injury, Outlaw, Races, Training | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thank you 2014…you were great

wpid-20140731_110606.jpgIt has to be said, from my point of view, it’s been a pretty awesome year and beyond my wildest expectations.

As the clocked turned midnight at the start of the year, I was injured (again) but with one main goal and a ‘would like to have’ goal. The main goal was to complete the Outlaw Half in a decent time plus at some point get 1:40 in a half marathon (current PB was 1:45). As it turned out – I achieved both and a whole lot more. I wont bore you with the details – the rest of the blog is full of it, but in summary:

  • Duston pool triathlon – age group win (April)
  • MK Half Marathon – PB 1:42 (May)
  • Outlaw Half 5:42 – earning me a European Middle Distance Triathlon Champs place (June)
  • Dambuster – Qualified for World AG Triathlon Champs (and subsequently European AG Champs)
  • MK 10km – PB 45:02 (July)
  • MK Triathlon – age group win (July)
  • Parkrun – PB 21:03
  • ITU World Triathlon Champs in Edmonton Canada – 41st place (August)
  • Northampton Half Marathon – 3rd in County AG Champs (September)
  • ETU Middle Distance Champs in Paguera, Mallorca – 19th place (October)
  • MK Winter Half – pb 1:39 (December)

I knew deep down with the right training and some luck with injuries there was some good stuff in there but I just needed to get to it! But with support from my family and friends and some fantastic help from GreenlightPT, I achieved things beyond anything I could have predicted at the start of the year. My swimming has gone from strength to strength, my cycling is getting there and my running has hit numbers I never thought possible. Running with Redway Runners is always good fun and there’s always someone to run with and the GreenlightPT squad are a great crew – swimming on a Wednesday has been such good fun, even when we’re a mess by the end of it.

My proudest moment was the parade from the athletes tent in Edmonton to the lake for the start of the ITU World AG Champs – we were led by pipers and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a lump in my throat.

So, what about 2015? Well I hope for more of the same – I’m giving GB AG qualifying a bash with the hope of a slot for Chicago and also getting that sub 5:30 for a half ironman. I’m actually (for the first time in about 5 years) hitting New year uninjured and raring to go. I’m working with Adam at GreenlightPT again and hope to outdo this year – it’ll be a tough call but I’m ready…are you?


Medal haul for 2014

Categories: Outlaw, Races, Training | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Outlaw Half – Race Report


National Water Sports Centre – Holme Pierrepont

Race morning started at about 3am thanks to a rather noisy chap returning to his room in our hotel after a night out. I dosed for about another half hour then got up – too excited to stay in bed. Porridge down, race number tats on and down to reception to meet my brother-in-law at 4:30.


Start of wave four – that’s me – just there…

The lake looked beautiful in the early morning light – but it did mean the turn buoys were hardly visible in the distance – it looked a long way. I positioned myself to the left of the start on the side at the front but out of the way – it was a bit weedy but at least that should mean it was relatively clear of other swimmers. I quickly found some feet and stuck on them, but then seemed to hit a wall of swimmers – I went through them and could see a pack ahead and tried to catch them. Within about 400m we already were catching up with the previous wave, but I found another swimmer and stuck with her all the way to the first turn, except she didn’t seem to want to turn! I eventually forced the issue and we turned but I could tell I’d swum a great big semi-circle round the two top buoys – not the best route but as I came of the top buoy to head back I seemed to have escaped the main pack and could see only a few white caps ahead – trouble was there were a lot of red caps now and I spent the next 750m swimming around the previous wave, we even caught up some silver caps from the second wave that started 20 minutes before us.

I got to the ramp and climbed out – no pulling out needed for a change! I felt really good – in the scheme of things 1.9km is not too long a swim. I quickly got my wetsuit down around my waist and ran into T1. Wave four had a separate transition from the rest of the field which meant a long run along the lake before getting to the bike. As I came into T1 one of my GreenlightPT training weekend buddies came down and we had a quick wave and shout – quite a coincidence when you consider there were some 350-400 people in that wave. I quickly set about getting the rest of my suit off, shoes, helmet and number belt on and then set off with my bike. Turns out my T1 was pretty quick as I overtook a fair few people…


T1 – really pleased with the number of bikes still in transition as I left!

First part of the bike was a loop of the lake. I wanted to take on food quickly so got stuck into half a Powerbar cereal bar. I felt great and was looking forward to the next 90km in the saddle. The first part of the course was very fast, although I did have a steady stream of both men and women passing me – the downside of being a faster swimmer and not such a good cyclist – but didn’t let that deter me as I was flying! At about 18 miles I checked my overall average and it was well over 19mph – I have never ridden that fast in my life and although I was feeling really good I was very mindful of the words of wisdom from Ian Turner (finished second at Outlaw Half in 2013 and 2014) who came to our training weekend about not burning yourself out on the bike. We had the only major climb of the day between 20-21 miles so I took that steady, although still passing people before we hit the first drink station. Luckily we had practiced this at the training weekend meaning I took my Outlaw branded High 5 bottle with no problem at all. Judging by the number of bottles scattered around, others were not so fortunate! The route continued in reasonably flat surroundings until we completed the northern loop and rejoined the original route before branching off again. For about 5/6 miles we met cyclists coming the other way – these were the leaders finishing the southern loop and heading back towards Holme Pierrepont.

The southern loop was much more rural than the northern loop. Pretty villages and winding lanes, but along with that came not such good road surfaces. As we were now over 30 miles into the bike leg the field seemed to settle down and I found myself overtaking and been overtaken by the same people. One chap and me exchanged places along a good 20 miles – which gave for a good bit of banter each time we swapped over – he’d usually wait until I was taking a gel or a drink and then blast past laughing that I couldn’t catch him – I did though 😉 . Didn’t half make the last 20 miles fly by! The last three miles of the route back into Holme Pierrepont was the worst surface of the day – would have been better off on a MTB.


T2 – still pleased with the number of bikes ‘not’ in transition!

Back into T2 and I was still feeling good. I’d caught up with another fellow GreenlightPT swimmer so we ran the first bit out of T2 together which was nice. As we came out of the mens transition area I met the GreenlightPT support crew. They were brilliant and just what I needed. They were great and really got me going on the run, except after I passed them cramp kicked in big style on both quads – ouch! I tried to stretch it out but that caused both hamstrings to go – I gave up the stretching malarky and decided to run it off – the worst 5km of my life – but then it eased.  I was  almost running to the schedule that I had planned and felt ok. The out and back route along the river meant I got to see loads of team mates. A few gentle high fives were the order of the day although this had changed to more of a grunt by the second lap! I had a really bad spell on the first lap of the lake after coming off the river route and did a lot of walking. The regatta lake that we had earlier swum in looked so long and we had to run the whole way round it – twice. Coming off the lake the I passed the GreenlightPT crew again. It gave me a real lift as I was hurting by then. There was a feed station just after and I took a caffeine gel. It kicked in and I felt a whole load better so I took another one as I came back off the river for a second time – I ran the rest of the way – all the way to the top of the lake and back down again. It was a long, long slog, but I was passing people and the finish never seemed to get nearer but eventually I saw the red carpet and the finish line. I even got a bit of a spurt on – although it probably looked like a shuffle to anyone watching. But I crossed the line and stopped my watch – just sneaked inside 2 hours for the run – poor but I didn’t care as I realised I’d broken my 6 hour target – by nearly 20 minutes!


All over – I am an Outlaw!

Recovery drink - it really is!

Recovery drink – it really is!

I loved that race – I felt good throughout, bar a bad patch on the run and this is due in no small part to my GreenlightPT training plan that Adam provided me with. I’ve followed it for 19 weeks, only really missing out on the running at the start and at the end due to injury. The training weekend gave us the insight to plan nutrition and think about pacing – something I probably would not have given too much thought to on my own. I went into the race prepared and confident I would finish with a rough idea of an achievable target. There was a large group of us from GreenlightPT participating and the camaraderie all weekend was great and made the whole event a fantastic occasion which I thoroughly recommend.

So, I am now an Outlaw (half sized)!!! When’s the next one? Got a target now…

Stats of the day:
Total time – 5:41:18 (32:22 swim, T1 2:13, 3:05 bike, T2 1:43, 1:59 run)
Overall position: 482 out of 1107
Female position: 50 out of 246
AG position: 17 out of 60


The bling


A copy of this report can also be found on the GreenlightPT site

Categories: Outlaw, Races | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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