Monday, 19 July 2010

Deva Divas 2010

WARNING:- Very long and very boring

Firstly this was only ever going to be a training event. Secondly I completed it in 2008. Thirdly Lynne stop making excuses and get on with it.

750m Open Water swim. I am a poor swimmer. I can swim crawl. I have a strong(ish) right arm but I drag my left arm. I swam the 750 distance (allegedly!) at one of the training events in June so I was confident of the distance. I was also confident I wouldn’t be last out of the water as there were about 20 behind me in the trining sessions. Had a really good pool based session last Monday where I swam solidly for an hour and the last half an hour crawl without a break. So the swim a great big tick.

16k bike – well lets be honest it’s short. There’s a hill that drags a bit close to the start. It caught me in a training event in 2008 but by race day I powered up it and passed many who were walking their bikes.

Run 5k on grass flat around the Mere – piece of cake.

The week building up I did very little. The ankle that I broke 5 years ago decided to swell. It’s not painful. There’s no reason for the swelling. I hadn’t intended to taper but to be on the safe side I did. I considered withdrawing but after the DNSs (this event being one of them) last year I’d vowed it wouldn’t happen this year.

Wet and windy was the forecast. I wasn’t concerned with the wet but the windy bothered me. I didn’t want to swallow half of the Mere if there were waves.

Race morning – the forecast was correct. I struggled to get the bike in the car (couldn’t remember which way around it went!). As per usual I packed the kitchen sink, even sunlasses, well you’ve got to look on the bright side.

Arrived in Manley at 7:30 with plenty of time. Off to registration. Number 22 and in wave 1 at 10am. The “goodie bag” was really good. A Tri girl pump bag/rucksack, a gorgeous grey and pink t shirt, an energy bar, a freddo the frog and a bottle of water.

Had a chat with the fantastic Sal the race secretary and Chris Morgan Chester Tri's Chairman. And said Hi to Dave the race referee who's such a sweetie.Ref.

Went back to the car to get my bike and transition kit. The transition marshal was fantastic. Every bike was checked and oh the shame I needed more air in my back tyre. He did tell me that my tyres were very good and needed 10lb of pressure for every 10kg of my body weight. Yeh mate there isn’t a tyre in the world that will take that kind of pressure.

It was still raining. I decided to leave everything in my transition box. I left my Tri Talk cycling jersey in the box. It might have been wet but it was still quite warm and the jury was still out as to what I’d wear for the bike leg.

It was at this point that I actually looked at the Mere and the buoys and was hit by blind panic. If that course was what I thought it was it was at least double what we’d done at the training event. As if by magic Colin the course putter outerer appeared and he confirmed my worst fears. Hey ho – the same for everyone.

Back off to the car to get my wetsuit. I couldn’t be bothered with any more back and forth to the car so put my wetsuit on at this point then stashed the car keys and my phone in the glove compartment. Changed my old trainers for flip flops and off to have a wander with far too much time on my hands. Met up with Carole and Sian from Wrecsam Tri but couldn’t find the lovely Debbie. This was her first Tri which she was doing for Breakthrough – Breast Cancer Research.

Decided I needed the loo which made me realise putting on my wetsuit was probably not one of my better ideas. Taking a wetsuit off in the constrains of a portaloo is not easy but with hindsight very funny.

9:45 soon came around and Colin did his legendary briefing. The man is a Superstar. It’s everything you need to know from a safety point of view but with so much humour it had us all relaxed. At this point Debbie turned up by my side looking cool as a cucumber. Colin had us doing the Diva Divas to the tune of the hokey kokey as awarm up and then it was time to kick off the flip flops, get in the Mere and wait for the air horn.

We were off. Getting across the mere is always the most difficult part for me. I felt strong, I swam well, no waves, no panic, no canoe by my side telling me I was doing well (a sure sign that you’re last) I looked back and I was last. Goggles filled up once but sorted them quickly and just kept plugging away. Was a bit hairy when the second wave caught up. Took a few biffs but still kept going. I even overtook someone from my wave. Towards the end got the swimming through treacle feeling and the buoys seemed to be moving further away but was too close then to not carry on. I tried to stand up and couldn’t. Absolute blind panic hit me. I could see Colin on the shore and hear his shouts of encouragement but I just couldn’t stand up. After 5 or 6 attempts I was so relieved and even the nausea and dizziness was put tto the back of my mind. I’d done it! I’d completed the swim.

I was so glad I hadn’t turned on my HRM. I knew my breathing was all over the shop. I’d got my wetsuit down to my waist and then my Fairy Godmother, in the guise of the transition marshal, who’d pumped my tyres earlier talked me down. Once my wetsuit was off the rest of the transition went according to plan. I was boiling so no cycling jersey. Ran to the mount line. I’m absolutely rubbish at getting on my bike and was terrified of falling off but I didn’t and the cheers and applause was fantastic.

Took me a while to get going but nobody overtook and confidence was growing with every turn of the wheel. Pretty soon that “hill” sneaked up on me. I changed down far too early and unclipped far to early (still so scarred of falling off) and knew I wasn’t going to make it but got off and walked. Was overtaken quite a lot at this point. By the time I got back on it was hammering down. The rain actually hurt my bare arms. At this stage it’s just a case of the faster I go the quicker I finish. The road surface was horrendous and obviously what goes up must come down but it was too slippery to get much benefit from the descents. Just before I got to the main road three ladies together overtook me and I then had the pleasure of an escort in the form of a lovely Chester Tri guy all the way home. He encouraged me to drink – like yeh I can take my hand off these handlebars – not. He helped me with gear changes and didn’t get very irate when I changed the wrong way. It was a lovely hand holding exercise. I’d been telling him I was scared of falling off at the finish because I couldn’t unclip and then there appeared an unmitigating disaster. A 4x4 parked and another coming in the opposite direction. I could see tarmac coming my way but as if my magic the parked moved off and yet another disaster was averted. My bike escort was quck to point out thet for someone who couldn’t unclip I’d unclipped pretty sharpishly then.

I’d resigned myself now that I wouldn’t be doing the run. I was too far behind. We came back in to the water sports centre and the cheering was phenomenal. I even stopped at the mount line and didn’t fall off.

My Fairy Godmother appeard again. I told him I was quitting. He asked me if I’d consider doing just one lap of the run? Saw Sian then who was coming up the finishing straight looking amazingly strong. I screamed encouragement and my Fairy Godmother said if you’ve got the energy to scream like that you’re not ready to quit. So trainers on water consumed and off I popped on the run. To see Debbie coming in to the finish line.

Didn’t take me very long to get my running legs. Because it’s out and back you get so much encouragement from the other competitors. I knew that they were all on their second lap and I was just starting my first. I don’t mind being last well not much anyway. I don’t even mind being last by a long way but I couldn’t bear the humiliation of being out there on my own for 20 minutes. Everyone was fantastic with their well dones and not far to gos but I knew I wouldn’t finish. I ran the whole of the out and back and sneaked into transition. I just cried. Well done’s coming from everywhere. No it’s not well done. I quit.

Sal appeared with her congratulations and just hugged me and let me cry she even offered to walk the last lap with me. It wasn’t about walking. If I’d have done the second lap I’d have run it. I quit not because I couldn’t do it but because I was ashamed. She said if she’d seen me quitting she would have forced me back out there. She was right.

Carole appeared and after explaining I’d quit she asked if I knew what time I’d finished? She told me to double my run time and then I’d know my race time.

I left transition to yet more well done’s even off people who knew I’d quit which kind of brought it home to me. I had done well. I’d started.

Sian met me at the transition exit and did exactly what I needed her to. Said absolutely nothing and took my transition box off me and walked me to the car.

I may have DNFs in the future but I’ll never have one because of these circumstances. If my body fails, fine but never because if what’s in my head.

The worst thing about it is I had provisional results today:-

Swim 38:30 exactly 10 minuted longer than last time. Bearing in mind it was a long 750, the problems I had getting out of the water and getting out of my wetsuit that wasn't bad.

Bike 1:01:39 a minute quicker than last time - taking into consideration walking up the hill and the atrocious weather - result

Run - there was no run time but I quit at 12:03 which I calculated to give me a 23 minute run. My T2 was 3:20 so I guess I'd have come in bang on my 42:04 from 2008

I may have DNFs in the future but I’ll never have one because of these circumstances. If my body fails, fine but never because if what’s in my head.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Deva Diva's Two Weeks and Counting

Such a long time…

Deva Diva’s two weeks today so how’s it going?

Swim – I swam the 750m race distance two weeks ago and was absolutely fine so one big tick there. I must swim more though and get some coaching. There’s a big difference to a shallow, warm, mere to Bala in September.

Run – it’s a pancake flat out and back (twice) grass run around the mere. I’ve been practicing on the football pitch across the road from our house. It’s soul destroyingly boring but I’ve got a big fat tick there too. I’m not losing sight of the bigger picture either, Conwy half in November and am getting long and hilly in too.

Bike – well tenacious as I am I gave up with toe clips and opted for SPD’s. With the words “you will fall off “ echoing in my ears was mighty chuffed to say the least to have got round my first attempt unscathed and quite frankly wondered what all the fuss was about. Turned into our street, unclipped, came to stop, realised my right foot had clipped back in. Wasn’t worried because we have railings I can grab, grabbed the railings and fell off spectacularly. Horrible cut to my knee and elbow. Second attempt, chain came off and I fell off in a far more elegant and sophisticated manor. Third attempt, got all the way round, couldn’t turn right into our road as there was a car right up my backside (yes I know I had right of way and should have anyway) so I carried on to the next junction. There was a bus stopped. There was a bus coming in the other direction. I dithered and fell off, in the middle of town. What made it worse was a really old man with a white stick came rushing to my rescue. All I could say was “I’ll be fine. I do it all the time.” I haven’t fallen off this week and shock, horrors I even overtook someone this morning.

Me – I’ve had the kick up the backside I’ve needed for a long time. My heart rate was spiking and I knew things weren’t what they should be. I had a severe bout of gastroenteritis. When I went to the doctors he booked me in to see the nurse for a full MOT and ECG. The ECG was fine but my blood pressure was high at 160 over 110. She told me in no uncertain terms I must lose weight. I went back 2 weeks later it was down slightly but I’d gained a kg. The results of my blood tests were back. Cholesterol, Thyroid, blood sugar were all fine but I have a fatty liver. Wake up call Lynne! I went back to Slimming World last Monday and have lost 5lbs so far this week. I’ve got to go back to see the nurse a week on Wednesday and if my blood pressure hasn’t dropped to under 90 for the bottom one I’ve got to take medication. I will take whatever I’m told to take but I really don’t want to and am determined to control it naturally.

Posted Sunday 16 May

Not a good start to the week felt “not right” The big kid’s Dad and his wife had a bug last week which made them take to their beds for 3 days. I was expecting the worse. Thursday had a grumbling tummy all day and alternated between hot and cold. Friday had the cold from hell. Morgan had an ear infection and needed antibiotics. Saturday I woke up feeling absolutely fine.

Came up with a cunning plan for these damn fire blasted pedals. I’m going to do my normal morning bike sessions and then throw in a couple of evening just getting my feet into the toe clips. If that doesn’t work I think I might just bite the bullet and head straight for cleats.

Had my first “proper” session on the new bike today (who incidentally is called Roger). Boy was it windy. I’m used to a triple and numbers telling me where I am gear wise. It’s a bit of a shock to the system just having red lines which remind me very much of a gone wrong pregnancy testing kit. Started off by my front wall and got both feet in the toes clips and pretty much blasted 10.5 miles. Took 10 minutes off my previous pb. Absolutely loved it. Felt incredibly comfortable on the hoods and even managed some nifty cornering.

This afternoon was the first open water training session in Manley Mere for the Deva Diva’s. Loads of ladies on Mountain Bikes –how superior did I feel? (Pride comes before a fall) Armed with two swim caps and my new aquasphere wetsuit with Ironman across the chest I was ready to take on the world. Amazingly it wasn’t that cold. Started at the back and within about 10m I was thinking “I can’t do this! Get me out of here! How the hell did I ever thing I’d be able to do Bala?” Fortunately good senses prevailed and I carried on. I finished near to the back but a long way from last.

I know today was only a training session but it’s as if the race mentality kicks in and I panic. This is something I’ve really got to get over. How? I’ve no idea.