PRE-PANAMA 70.3

I cannot believe my first race of 2014 is only 16 days away! EEK!! It has been a lovely off-season though. I had some great work-outs in Argentina and some nice time at home over the holidays.

 

I came back from Christmas break and was really thrown into it. Now that I am near the end of this training block I can say that I enjoyed it! I sort of had to pre-plan my weeks a few days before they happened or everything I needed to get done would topple into destruction. I also really tried to get more sleep this semester. It has been tricky because I always feel like I need to be studying and it is so easy to trade sleep for studying but I know how bad this is for the ol brain and bod.

 

I am very excited to go into this season with all of the things I learned from my last season. I seriously need to make a list and go over it…mostly to go over the mental lessons. As I sit typing this I can feel the rush of racing and am so excited to be back there.

 

I am headed to Panama the Thursday before the race and should arrive late Thursday night. The race is Sunday so I have some time to acclimate and HOPEFULLY get somewhat used to the heat before the race. Ummm questionable. I have been forgoing the fan on a lot of my trainer work outs to try and suffer a bit more but I know the 90 degree temps will be brutal.

 

One thing I learned in Norway was to really rest my legs before the race, even minimal walking. Even though I would like to explore the area I really need to make myself rest up in the hotel room and stay hydrated and get the jet lag gone ASAP. One thing my coach taught me is that sleep is sleep and whenever you can get it before a race is good, even if you are not making it onto the schedule. This took the stress away for me that I get when I cannot fall asleep when traveling.

 

The Monday after the race I will be volunteering at SpayPanama, a local animal shelter that works with the stray cat and dog populations of Panama. I am so excited! I was definitely inspired by Do More Than Sport and their initiative to help out in the communities where you race. Even though I am only able to give a day of my time I hope to help in any way I can there and that this can be a spot I can return to once I am a veterinarian to really help with their initiative.

 

If you want more information on Spay Panama then click here.  

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Pictures from Scotland

Thought I would just post some of my fav pics from Scotland! I have really grown to love Edinburgh more and more. It is the perfect size city for me. I am now back for the winter holidays after one of the toughest exam weeks I have had. I had exams Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. The toughest exam was on Friday because it included pharmacology, radiology, introduction to cancer, anaesthesia, surgery and some statistics. I was soooo scared walking into the exam but I walked out feeling ok! Tired and disgusting but ok. I think it helped it was in a building where they filmed part of Harry Potter!  Mostly glad to be headed home! I spent the 2 weeks before our exam week in Argentina revising and getting in some really good training in the summer temps. I am now back in Lexington and it has been so nice catching up with friends, meeting new babies and spending time with my family. I am also getting back on top of some training since exam week was much more study focused and I ended it curled in a ball with a coffee ulcer, doughy thighs a crooked neck. Ew.

So it is lovely to be home and putting training, nutrition and family/friends first!

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My LOYAL steed. This bike is amazing and gets me out and back to school and all over town! Best 60 pounds spent here!

 

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A picture from Arthur’s Seat. Whenever my coach calls for a long trail run I just head here (5 min from my flat) and run all over.

 

 

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The castle downtown.

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My view from the last week….I had well over 800 notecards.

 

 

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Yes. It does rain in the UK. Plenty!

 

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The view from the skylight in my room. Lots of rain does mean lots of rainbows!

 

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On a walk with one of the most well behaved/sweet dogs I have ever met, Chili.

 

 

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This is one of the buildings in the Old College which is close to downtown.

 

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Also one of my favourite runs…in the Pentland Hill range which is about a mile from the vet school. So when I have a 2 hour break and a long run to complete this is where I head!

 

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Views of the lake.

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At the top of red stone rig, a tricky very steep climb, in the hills with some guys from the tri club.

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There are lots of sheep and cattle gates but for the most part the sheep are just allowed to roam where they please!

 

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I really do love it here. It is even gorgeous when it rains!

 

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Perfect sheep land.

 

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Here you can see the sheep! They are literally all over the hills here!

 

 

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This is from the back side of Arthur’s seat. The swans really make this a pretty area.

 

 

 

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From the top of one of the climbs on a ride.

 

I am very glad I made it through this semester but I am already excited to get back and into a solid block of training for the season. It is already creeping up! As of now I am planning on doing the following races.

Panama 70.3 Feb 16th

Brasilia 70.3 April 6th

Cairns 70.3, Australia June 6th

That could all easily change but it is nice to have a rough idea of what I am looking at for the season. Hope to see many of you over this break and if not come to Scotland!!

 

Nutrition like WOAH

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Protein is a hot topic among athletes and the question “where do you get yours” often comes up. The only thing that worries me about being more “plant-based” is making sure I am getting all the different types of proteins I need. How much protein you eat is irrelevant if you are not consuming the correct ones. Simply put, in most cases, humans have 9 essential amino acids they must consume because the body cannot synthesize them.  I make sure to vary my protein sources between different types of beans, lentils, vegetables (yes veggies!!), nuts and some other pulses. This way I cover all the essentials and also get a variety of enzymes, vitamins and minerals.

After a hard work out or race I really want to be sure to refuel properly to hasten proper recovery. This is where VEGA comes in extremely handy. I know if I have a VEGA shake I have all of my bases covered when it not only comes to protein but the proper carbohydrates and vits/mins my body needs. I pop one of the packs in with some water or if at home I might put it in the blender with some spinach or kale, fruit, whatever I fancy. Once downed I know my body is in good hands! How simple is that?

VEGA also has many other treats such as savi seeds (like nutritional power nuts) in karamelised and chocolatey coated goodness, some protein bars that are yummy and easy on the tummy before or after a work out and many other products.

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I would say my other fav is the new vega sport energiser which is a powder base that can be mixed into water to optimise performance and give you a boost before any work out, hard, long, short or easy! It tastes good so it also makes you want to drink and therefore get nice and hydrated.

So yeah simply put it is simple for me to be a healthy, strong and plant based athlete. I do eat a vegan diet but sort of stray from this word because of the other connotations it can carry. I prefer the plant-based title but honestly prefer to not use anything to identify myself. I like healthy food and try my best to fuel correctly but also with periodisation.

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VEGA just came out wth a new product as well! It is a tasty smoothie that can be a great option for on the go nutrition. All in one…tough to beat!! So yay!

ZEL AM SEE 70.3 RACE REPORT

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This was a long time in the making, writing this bad boy. I went straight from race to convalescing in Valencia, to playing tour guide showing my parents around Edinburgh and starting school the day after they left. I was also just OUT of triathlon mode because this was my 2 week off-season, no triathlon break! Must say it was pretty needed and I took full advantage, only going on a couple of runs once I could handle athletic clothing on my back.

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RACE MORNING

Came with some gloom because it was raining BUT ALSO SOME CHEER! The race start time was 10 AM!!! So amazing. Waking up for a race at 7 is something that should be embraced in some places with similar climates to Austria. We leisurely walked over to transition in the rain only to arrive to some mayhem! The entrance into transition was just so congested with people also trying to get into the swim start area so I quickly was getting behind schedule and had to say good bye to my parents in a super rush. Not ideal. I got into transition and was one of the last to uncover my bike. People were frantically running around and the pump up music was so loud and I was letting it get to me, just getting more and more panicky. I saw another pro, a guy, with headphones in just like doing his thing getting his bike ready not at all in a rush or looking like he was feeling tardy. I tried to take some of his zen but as I ran away from my bike I still wasn’t too relaxed. As I was getting to swim start I still needed to put my race suit all the way on, Vaseline up and get my wetsuit on. AHH! I ran by my parents one last time, which was nice. I quickly shoved everything while on suffering minor palpitations although I had a good 30 minutes. The atmosphere was just insane. Then I gave my white street clothes bag to a stranger to drop off for me and headed to swim start, finally feeling relaxed….

Until I reached the timing mat and realized my CHIP WAS IN MY BAG. WELLLLLLL CRAP. Panic mode back! I asked an official and they said I needed to go get it. I ran against the flow trying to stay calm, got to the truck FULL of white bags and when I asked if they could find mine they looked at me like I had 5 heads. I quickly went back to the start area and found another official, who eventually, after I was sitting there panicking, got the race director then a member of the timing team. In the mean time they were announcing the pros at the race and I heard them say my name and where I was from and everything but couldn’t even appreciate it at the time!

I also spotted my parents. The timing people were like omg honestly haha I was just like I know I know I’m so awful! But they were AMAZING and had an extra chip but no strap…one of the guys pulled out a roll of duct tape and I was about to strap that crap on my ankle but then I motioned for my mom and took her hair tie and made a nice little strap out of that. PHEW!! Most impressively the timing guy got it all fixed so my splits were working the whole time. I quickly got in the water, no time for warm up, and took a few deep breaths before the gun went off.

SWIM

 

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The pros start was with a “10m” gap to the 30-40 year old age group men. This gap obviously quickly disappeared to nothing. The best part about the rain was the sun was not out so I could breath to my preferred right side with no blinding light. Sweet! I actually had a fairly good start and I just WENT. There is always a point in the swim for me, about 400 in when I’m like so where is the wall, like do I get a break now? I’m pretty tired. It never fails that I get a bit disappointed when I realize umm nope, just have to umm keep going for likeee almost 5 hours. Having the realization that this happens is half the battle though because now I can preempt it and know better how to deal with it. I was pleased to see another female pro next to me and we were breathing into each other’s faces. We were also fighting for some prime age group guys feet. Mine!!! The swim was a super simple triangle and besides some jostling I was able to hang onto some feet most the way out and a little of the way back into shore. I came upon the girl I started with again and she and I came out of the water together. I was pretty happy when I saw my bike had like a couple buddies on the rack! Phew. I hoped on and headed out of transition all excited to tackle the bike course.

BIKE

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The bike course was two laps and pretty much flat. There were a few climbs but the most difficult parts were all of the turns and the 180 turn-around points. Since it was raining my power meter was not working, again, so I knew I was just going to have to go off of feel. The roads were soaked and the rain was driving but I was really enjoying not having too many other racers around and just steadily laying down some watts. At the first turn around I was pretty pleased to see the front girls were really not that far off! I mean this wasn’t that bad! The rain was tricky but the race wheels I was using felt great on the roads. About ½ through the first lap the course comes up on a shared part of road then people coming back into town were ushered to the left when the road split. Then we were meant to cross over and get back on the right side of the road. There were some signs on the side of the road indicating they were doing some road construction in the area.

As I went to cross over the road I realized too late there was a gap in the asphalt just a little larger than a bike wheel. I can still see it in my head. Right when I realized this I already had both wheels trapped in it…. too late to do anything about it. My sideways momentum carried my wheel into the side of the asphalt, sending my bike and I flying sideways. I was going at a pretty good clip since it was just a flat section where I was just hunkering down and going. The worst part about this crash was I was conscious of what was happening the whole time. I felt myself go sideways then land on my right hip and back on the road before careening in a diagonal all the way across the road, not stopping till well off the side of the road in the grass. Honestly I felt like I had skinned my back completely off and would need a skin transplant. It honestly felt awful. I had also never crashed my bike before  (besides 1 time practicing dismounting in a parking lot, at like 0 mph) so I just laid there in shock before popping up just whimpering in shock. As soon as I got up I saw a volunteer rushing towards me. He said are you ok you ok? I said I dunno! Am I? How is it? Am I ok??? I just had no idea what it looked like I just knew how it felt. He was a bit speechless and I think just freaked out but he got my bike out of the way of other racers and said well I think we need an ambulance, you are ok, how do you feel? I just kept saying how is it? I don’t know! I was also just so upset because I just didn’t want to stop and it was so agonizing thinking about facing the decision to drop out or not. I said does it need stitches? Like how is it? He said yes I think so…I dunno. I was still like holding myself in a half crunched up position so scared to move. We decided to cross the road so he could call someone to look at me. Some other volunteers were there and they were like eekk I dunno… my guy went to get me some water and shortly thereafter 2 race officials pulled up on a motorcycle. I was still agonizing with what to do and they were like well are you ok? How do you feel? I still didn’t know! Ha but I turned around to show her and she said I mean yeah, it’s not good but you can go on it’s up to you. I said well I think I feel ok? Might as well try?

By then he had brought water back and said ok, lets pour this on so we can see what’s going on because it was just covered in blood and gravel. Right when he started pouring I was all no!!!! ha it stung so bad. But I’m sure it helped clean it up a bit. Then I sort of said ok, yeah I’m going to go. Next thing we hear a crash and another guy had done the same thing as me! He went down right in front of the gap though instead of going across the road. So bad though…so people went to help him and I said you have to block that off now! People are going to start coming through in huge numbers! After according to my Garmin 7 minutes I leisurely got back on my bike.

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I was anything but comfortable as the wind and rain just felt awful moving against my open skin. I also realised the cut and bruise I had on my right hip as I began to cycle. This was not feeling too good but I said ok, you are close to town, so just one step at a time, first, get to mom and dad. This was a reasonable goal so I went with it and it was motivation for me to keep going. I tried to move into my aero bars but realized I had done something to the right side of my bike because the pad was completely jacked up. It also made the stinging of the rain/wind worse so I tried to avoid them. Coming into towns the crowds were a real lift up. I slowed down to try and spot my parents and when I came upon them it was at the end and they were cheering their heads off. Right when I spotted them a guy rode up next to me and just looked at me and said way to go. Ha I admit I got tears in my eyes but it gave me such courage and then I decided ok, you can do this. What’s a little pain? My new goal was to just get through in a timely manner but I was just so nervous on my bike after the wreck and the wet roads were not helping. Going into the second lap I dropped a gel ha but that was the least of my worries. I must say one of the best parts was when someone would come up next to me and go woaaahhh or if I passed and then I could hear them. One guy rode up to me and said “ohh shiza!” in german. That made me smile. People were so supportive so it was very helpful.

It was all getting very stiff and at one point I moved my arms in a running fashion and said oh no, this is not happening there is no way I can run. I made my way around the second lap and with anxiety came upon the crash area only to find they had thankfully completely blocked it off and were directing people safely across the road. As I passed my parents again I tried to point at my back but they didn’t see. Then a race official road up next to me and said are you ok? Ha I said well you tell me, how does it look, it doesn’t feel too good! He said, umm well….are you ok? You are doing great, really great. This again spurred me on.

Entering T2 I said ok one step at a time, just see how it goes. I so thankfully hoped off my bike and grabbed my run gear with some stiff waddling.

RUN

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Putting on my shoes I sort of did a mini assessment of my body and was pretty sure I could at least get through the run. I wanted to so badly because it was a flat course, 3 loops (my fav) so great opportunities to see my parents and have lots of people cheering. I certainly didn’t feel good but I also didn’t feel like I couldn’t go on. Early on I didn’t look at my Garmin at all, the last thing I needed was anything negative! I made my way close to town and got to pass my parents and based on how hard they were cheering I knew they had not seen my back yet. As I passed I pointed it out but then got myself into some sort of zone. It was going better than I could have hoped! It was also fun to pass people then hear their reactions. I saw the female race unfolding in front of me at the turn arounds and these girls looked so incredibly strong, it was so inspirational. Coming into town the second time I passed my parents and slowed a bit and knew they had seen me as my mom was crying, saying “are you ok??” and I just said yeah yeah and spurred on, fighting back a few tears because I just wanted a hug. I finished the last lap, really giving it what I had left and was so thankful to cross the finish line. I was so happy to be finished I was like surprised when they were like you need to go to the med tent. I thought oh yeah! My parents were right there and they got ushered into the finish area and they swept us all there. I was so relived to be finished and with them but still a bit euphoric and like what just happened.

 

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The medical team was so great and since I was the only person in there at the time I was very well taken care of. I finally saw a picture of what my back looked like (just so curious!!). I had to strip down my top and hold a t-shirt on part way to get rid of the straps from my tri suit and they went to work cleaning it up which stung a lot but I had gotten used to the feeling by then. They said they needed to get a race doctor in because they could not get the gravel out. I didn’t mind waiting because there were about 5 EMT guys in there and they were pretty easy on the eyes! The doctor came in and tried but she also couldn’t get it removed and they said I had to go in the ambulance to the hospital. I was like no, that’s so not happening, but my parents sort of insisted. My mom went to get my morning clothes bag and then we rode to the hospital.

 

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I had a great time in my gown, but the best part was the numbing ointment they put all over my back. Phew, a bit of relief! I was still just stiff and sore and my hip was feeling worse but I was so happy! I sat on the hospital bed and mixed up my Vega shake, immersed in recovery mode.

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Recovering in Valencia!

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Button-up backwards. Thank goodness my mom brought this shirt!

 

This race didn’t exactly go how I thought it would. I had built it up in my head so much as being a break through race for me, and one that would show all the work I had put in over the spring and summer and really display lessons I had learnt from other races. It was not so much a break through as far as time (4:47) or placement goes  (12th) but it was for mental toughness. I am very glad I finished. It was not easy but I was also so lucky. I saw other people go down and have seen many people go down in races before and sometimes the results are terrifying. I am so so thankful my injuries were just some pretty bad road rash and deep bruising. I consider myself lucky.  I do remember thinking about Chrissy Wellington during the race and how she raced Kona with major wounds from a previous bike wreck and rib damage. I mean, if she can do that can I not finish a dinky half ironman? YES.

I also thought about all of my family and friends and everyone that supports me and listens to my training ups, downs and in betweens. Mostly I listened to myself. I thought it so funny looking back that my last post was about looking for reasons to drop out of a race and sometimes wishing for them. Now I know: this is absolute crap. I had every reason to stop this race but when push came to shove I didn’t, I couldn’t and didn’t want to. This can do nothing but help me in future races to stomp out the mental demons of stop stop, please lay off this hurts a bit too much.

I am flying to Miami as I type this for Miami 70.3. I was not planning on doing this race until my coach and I decided we could give this one more go before the season is over. I have only ridden my tri bike outside once since the accident but have been riding my commuter bike all over the place. I am hopeful that I can deliver at this race. My parents and brother are also coming which will be so amazing and I am so thankful to have them there.

Thanks for reading whether you stuck through the whole report or skipped to the end!! Happy training and see you out there!

PRE/POST ZELL AM SEE 70.3

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Quaint streets of downtown Zell Am See

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Best fans ever! So happy they were there!

This race was a long time coming. Since I had just started up with my new coach in March I wanted to pick a late season race to see some of the progress we were making. It became even more important when my parents decided to trek over to Austria for the race as well! This was shaping up to be a “real smasher!” This would be my first race as a professional with anyone watching me that I actually knew! Needless to say I was very excited to have my best fans and lets be honest, some awesome pre race distraction and yeah, help on race morning.

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YAM yoga in Munich. Wonderful spot and so fun to take a yoga class in German. Something I have learned from taking yoga classes in Spanish/German/Swedish: I can walk away knowing how to say “butt” in the local language.

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Repping VEGA in the Munich train station. Quite tired!

I flew from Edinburgh to Munich and had a night there on my own till my parents arrived the next day. I luckily found a yoga studio and VEGAN café just 4 blocks away! So that Thursday morning I had a wonderful class complete with the playing of this lovely accordion and some chanting-omming to get my day going. Then an almond milk latte and some lovely roast veggies later I was meeting my parents in the Munich train station! Surreal! We took the train to Zell Am See and the train ride itself was amazing. So gorgeous riding through the mountains and so nice to be together.

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We got to Zell Am See and quickly discovered the venue was amazing…just a gorgeous gorgeous place to have a race. We were staying in an apartment very close to the race start which was really convenient. Jose took such good care of us and you can find information on his rental properties here, highly recommended! We spend the first night just getting unpacked and settled. My dad promptly took a nap as they had been traveling for a very long time at this point! I put my bike together and we went for a nice meal at a local type restaurant. I quickly learned a lot of my diet in Austria would consist of potatoes, either just baked or made in spaetzle, so I was super happy with this. YUM. Friday I got my work outs in and my mom and I checked out transition and the local food shops.

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Gorgeous swim venue. Honestly just perfect!

I got a swim in at the venue and the water was just pristine and the views from the water were spectacular. We spent the afternoon in town just exploring, having coffees and pub stops when we wanted. Such a cute place! Saturday I got my bike work out in on the way to the pro meeting where I got to scope out the other pros. So fun for me to just ogle some of these athletes ha in a non-creepy way. After this I got my bike checked in and bags racked.

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Ironman branding all over town! So cute and we had great weather in the days leading up to the race.

After this we got a real treat! Jose was very kind and drove us up to these ski lifts that take you up 3,000m into the mountains to the Kitzsteinhorn glacier! It was beautiful. We had to take a series of 3 lifts to get to the top, the terrain getting snowier with each transfer. It was absolutely gorgeous though. So fun to see the little mountain animals on the way up as well, goats, sheep and cattle alike. My dad was quite squeamish of the height but my mom and I helped by staying away from the view points. Needless to stay we didn’t stay at the top for long!

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On our way up to the glacier! Such a nice day for it.

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View from the top!

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Dad was getting a bit freaked but it was a great view!

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I didn’t cross it before race day just looked forward to seeing it again!

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Halfway up to the top.

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On one of my bike rides found these adorable long hair goats.

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Pre race swim! Love my MAKO wetsuit.

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These guys drove these bizarre cars around town blasting music just doing laps thinking they were so cool. Hilarious!

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My bike all ready to go!

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Pretty awesome view from transition!

That night I made some dinner in the flat (rice, stir fry broccoli, peppers, mushrooms) and just took it easy, going over my race plan. The weather so far had been perfect but rain was in the forecast. Considering my past 2 races had been in rainy conditions I was so not surprised.

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Top of the glacier!

I woke up race morning to plenty of rain! I will post the race report after this post.

After the race we were a bit limited with my hospital visit and I honestly just wanted to  shower and get as comfortable as possible. Oh and eat some popcorn. I talked to my brother, sister, and my other besties to let them know I was fine and just, well, disappointed and sore! But SOOOO THANKFUL, seriously thankful.

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Swim entry and sooo pretty!

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Cute old women. This was part of the run course.


That night we went to a nice dinner, our last in Zell Am See and I got some unsettling sleep on my stomach (yuck) to avoid my bandaged back and the next morning (Monday) we got on a train to Munich! We played lots of cards on the train and were in Munich before we knew it, at about 2 so with plenty of time to explore! We dropped off the bags an bike box and swung by my vegan café (YUM!) and I devoured some post race I-feel-sorry-for-myself desserts and a latte. So amazing. then we went to see the Glockenspiel and to have lunch in the Hofbräuhaus house. I also found some candied almonds which was another one of my faves and I could feel it healing the skin on my back. After some more walking we got our last german dinner and headed to bed.

The next morning we flew to Valencia, Spain for a lovely 6 night vacation!

Aberfeldy Mid-Distance (70.3) Scottish National Champs

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Very pretty when the sun is shining! Scottish hills are some of the best.

 

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Perk of this race? Borrowing these race wheels from a friend at the Bicycle Works. Awesome bike shop! Click the pic for a link to their site.

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Very pretty church in Pitlochery, where we ate after the race.

I wish I had a flat……

Riding through the Scottish hills with rain slashing my face so hard it stung my skin, made me blind and wind coming in gusts threatening to blow me over at any point, I confess I had the thought: maybe my tire is flat? Could it please be flat…cause then I would have to stop, pull over and be done! Finished! No more race and I would be on my way to a hot shower. No more shivering and dodging sheep on these roads and definitely no run. That could be nice, right?

Wrong. It is so easy to come up with reasons why to drop out of a race while in moments of “no fun” during the race. If I dropped out what the heck is the point of training? All this travel? Working with my coach? Having great sponsors? The thoughts of a DNF quickly went to the back of my mind as I powered and pushed on through the wind up the hills.

My first race in Scotland was a tough-ie: The Scottish National Championships held in Aberfeldy at the half-ironman distance. I put this race on my calendar early in the season thanks to guidance from my bloc3 coaches. As I filled in the rest of my calendar and added Salzburgerman 70.3 only 2 weekends after Aberfeldy my coach and I wanted to train through Aberfeldy to put my marbles in the Salzburg basket since my family would be at that race supporting me (so excited for this!). So I had some tough training up till 2 days before the race and just did a light jog the night I arrived in Aberfeldy. There was race packet pick up and a nice meeting explaining some of the particulars and then I was back to my dorm style hotel room to eat dinner (stir fry broccoli, green beans and mushrooms in soy sauce) and try to sleep before the race. The band in the hotel and the teens outside my room were not very helpful with this but I have stopped worrying about not getting enough sleep the night before a race because I just expect it to never be good so even one hour is a +!

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Yep. Apprehensive! Love my Mako suit though!!

All of the forecasts said it was going to be chilly (11 C and water temp 13.8 C), rainy and windy (15-30 mph) so I layered up that morning and stepped out of the hotel and was pleasantly surprised by how warm it was! Also not too windy! This could be ok! I had been painting a picture of true misery out there so things were looking up! I racked my bike, got covered in Vaseline, wet suit on, double swim-capped and headed into the water with the rest of the seals. From shore the water looked almost calm but once out in the loch the truth came out as there was a head wind sweeping across the water making some nice rollers with white caps coming across the long side of the lake, the direction we had to swim into for the long part of the triangle of this swim. Yippee! I got a nice warm up in before the in-water start and felt ok with my position.

The water turned into the normal washer and I was surprised at how long it took the crowd to spread out, but I found some nice feet and barely sighted all the way to the first turn bouy. We turned into the head wind waves and it was a different story. Rolling and breathing, taking in water, I tried to stay on some feet but fell off a few times. I could tell people were thinning out so I was happy I was still going strong. Once we turned towards shore I couldn’t see anything over the swim caps and waves so I tried to stay with people but kept getting pushed to the inside and was correcting myself every 10 strokes. I was very excited to get out of that mess!

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I think I was making this face the whole bike ride…HOLD ON TIGHT!!

I got into transition, looked at my rain jacket and arm warmers, didn’t see any rain, and decided to just go off in my tri suit. Dummy decision. But I beat the girl I came out of the water with out of transition and was ready to cycle away the cold and frustration of “swimming” with all my new close friends. I looked down and my power meter wasn’t working…I had a feeling this would happen, just like in Norway, so I just had to keep an eye on my heart rate and try not to kill it up the hills too early.  About 3 miles into the ride the girl from transition came blowing past me. I passed her back but not for long as she powered past again. My HR was high and I knew it was going to be a long day so I decided to try and keep her in my sights but not kill myself. The ride took us over a hill range, then around a lake then back over the hills. I didn’t want to go all out on these hills and be dead the rest of the ride so I stayed within myself. But soon the girl was out of sight.

Then the rain came and it poured on and off the rest of the race. The roads were wet, I was getting hypothermic in my tri suit and a bit frustrated that the girl was up the road without me. A few things did make me smile through the stinging rain:

-I was coming up a climb and saw 2 cyclists up the road and thought oh goody! I can catch them! But as I got closer realized it was just 3 sheep in the road, hanging out.

-After a VERY windy section where I was literally pedaling in place against the wind, another guy road up to me and said “that wind was MENTAL” in his Scottish accent and I loved it.

-A warm latte, bath and a finish line

The ride was gorgeous and in between the rainy parts I would look over and see beautiful hills above the loch with rainbows arching right into the water. Mental picture taking.

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This is like not me but this pic was so pretty and really showed some of the scenery

After I got off my bike I couldn’t feel my feet and legs so had a very sloowwwww time putting on my shoes. At first people were cheering me then it turned to a sort of slow, awkward clap and I took forever to get going. Once I started running it wasn’t much better because I was running on numb, dangling legs that felt nothing like my own. The run was an out and back and apparently flat. Nope. I consider flat to be no rises or drops, like flat, at 0 degrees. No. This was flat-ish but then had some actual little hills. My calves quickly started to feel the 7x1K repeats I had done Thursday evening and protested early on. I knew this was going to be a long one….

 

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Joy!!!

There were only 3 aid stations on the run that you pasted 2 times each and I had stocked them with my own mini squeeze bottles full of coke. I knew I was in second after the turn around and the girl in first looked good and was too far ahead of me to catch. I kept looking over my shoulder and didn’t see anyone so I was not putting the pressure on myself to buck up. The last 2 miles felt far too long but I finally finished in 4:50:05, in second place female.

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Woo Hoo!!

I was just ok with this because I just didn’t feel good about my negative talk on the run. This is something I have to work on. Although my run time was alright for me I was just disappointed in myself and not pushing it for my own benefit. I too easily gave into the negative reasoning and reasons not to run harder, dig deeper. I am hoping this will come more with experience and when my body is actually rested for a race. Post race I downed my Vega recovery shake then got a nice latte and one of my favs here, a baked potato covered in baked beans. YUM.

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Adorable church in Pitlochry after the race.

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More recovery food at this cute pub!

Hopefully the truth will tell in Zel Am See, Austria! Bring on Salzburgerman!

Heia Heia! Haugesund 70.3 Race Report

Race report finally complete! To make it more entertaining I sprinkled some random pics throughout. Thanks to finisherpix for some of the photos. I had a nice lonngggg time to acclimate to Norway before the race. I even took a ferry down to Stavanger for the afternoon and walked around one of the cutest towns. I could for sure live there.

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Flying over Haugesund after the race. This is where we were biking!

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Another gorgeous view from the plane.

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Host hotel excitement!

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Swim course. Thankful for the swan poo!

Race morning came and it was a rainy one. The hotel was great and Ironman did a wonderful job organizing shuttles from the hotel down to transition and the swim start. I got my bike and everything set up but then had to wait in a very long port o john line then literally had to run up, throw my wetsuit on and was quickly in the water. It was pretty chilly water so I splashed my face and then just sort of squatted in the water to get my wetsuit full of the chill, looking up at the other female pros around me thinking ohhh myyyy here we go :).

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Downtown Haugesund

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My visit to Stavanger.

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The cute streets of Stavanger.

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From the ferry.

The only thing I have a problem with is when the age groupers start right with us, like literally they said they would be 50 m back but this obviously turned to nothing as we were all floating there. So right when the gun went off it was mayhem and I was toppled over by huge men. I tried my best to find some feet but there were so many limbs dancing around it was hard to tell what was going on. It really didn’t spread out much and I was not feeling too strong in the water since I was constantly body checking people for space. After a few of the turns I found a male pros feet and got in a good section following him but lost him at a turn and was on my own the whole way back. Oh well!

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Walk long the water in Haugesund with many restaurants.

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Ferry ride!

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Pretty cool banner in Stavanger

Getting to my bike I was like well crap….because there it was, all alone with only one other bike keeping it company, poor little bike in the rain. So I hopped on and took off while grappling with some arm warmers which must have been comical to watch me trying to get them on. I also knew I was in trouble early on because although my power meter had calibrated before the race it was not working at all, no cadence or anything so there went my race plan. I felt like oh no!! This wasn’t in the cards! How do I do this! So just had to try and guess.

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The arm warmers never made it all the way up my arms. Way too difficult with wet skin and cold hands!

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Fart juice advert on the bus stop.

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My dad would love the architecture here!

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The bike course was very pretty and considering it was up in the fjords and amazing pristine areas and not through any major towns it was pretty well populated and fun to hear the Norweigian cheer of “HEIA!!” everywhere on the course and be waved onward with the norweigian flag. I did not do a good job of taking in fluids or nutrition though because I was so focused on the rain and making sure I was staying safe on the wet, winding roads and the up and down climbs. I was pretty down on myself but then I caught another female pro and that made me much happier but I was still not really in my head. I had already written the race off with the rain and no power meter. This was really silly and I need to work on this!

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My attempt at focusing. Glasses mostly halfway down so because there was too much rain.

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L arm looks ridiculous. What a mess.

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Going through these pics, maybe I walked around too much before the race! That is where my run legs went. Oops.

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Great coffee here.

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Downtown Stavanger

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Vikings.

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Race morning! Too bad this pic doesn’t capture the rain!

Getting off my bike my legs were like wooahhh what?? Again though there were lots of soaking wet spectators lining the whole run course (3 loops in downtown) which really helped with the morale. I even ran with a guy from Turkey for awhile which helped with pacing. I was doing exactly what my coach told me NOT to, running to hang on, but it was truly all I could muster. I was mentally checked out of this one and feeling my inconsistent bike effort. Not to mention hills! There were hills in this thing which I didn’t expect. The sun did come out though which was nice and I eventually made it to the finish line in 9th place. Fair enough!

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Swim start area

Ironman did a great job putting on this race and I had a great time. I learned a lot about mental strength and that I really have to stop coming up with excuses during a race. I just need to go strong, know I am doing the right training to succeed, and embrace whatever position I am in. Hopefully over time I will chisel my way up there.

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Stavanger had lots of flower beds full of these wooden woodland creatures. Very cute!

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FINALLY, post race! At least the sun came out for that!

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After the race I had packed a VEGA recovery pack in my bag so I downed that, had a massage (20 minutes!!), got some food, rounded up all my things, then had about an hour to shower and pack my bike box before heading to the airport. The next 9 hours of my life were a bit miserable, as I had to take a flight to Copenhagen, get out of the airport with my bike box and take a train to Lund, Sweden where my sweet friend stayed up till 1 am to pick me up. Then it was bed before waking up at 6:30 am to go work on a pig farm for the week! More on that later J

Thanks for reading and MAJOR thanks go out to Physfarm for excellent coaching and support, Bloc3 for wonderful sessions that put me through my paces, Mako wetsuits for a fast shark-like suit with great fit and Vega nutrition for helping me stay a well-rounded healthy athlete!

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Check ya later Norway. On the way to Denmark/Sweden.