Wow!!! What an amazing past 3 days!! We left Changping on monday to begin 3 days of sightseeing around Beijing to finish off our trip in China. Having just raced, packed my bike up, watched the elite women, gone to closing ceremony all on the Sunday I was pretty flipping exhausted but China awaited and this was a once in a lifetime chance! We began our sightseeing in the Ming Tombs. We visited the tomb of one of the emperor’s from the Ming Dynasty, who had built his tomb in this area because of the good ‘Fung Shui’ when he was 19years old. He then celebrated his 24th birthday in the tomb….bit creepy but nevermind!
Next on our travels was the Great wall of China. I have to say this was probably the highlight for me of the whole trip. Now the great wall spans 5000miles across China but exists in different passes. We visited the Juyong pass and with two different ways to climb the wall, we began our ascent. Having completed this side in not too long a time and realising that the other way went higher and longer AND our tour bus leaving in less than an hour ….this seemed like a good challenge. With a bet of alcohol thrown in that we couldn’t climb the other side in 20mins this was all I needed to get going!! Now, if you have ever been to the great wall you will understand that’s it’s blooming steep steps of varying heights and they go on and on and on….. This was hard work but the view at the top was amazing!!! The scenery was just breathtaking. Unfortunately the weather let us down as it was really misty which kind of spoiled the view but it was something else! the way down was pretty precarious and outstretching both hands to steady myself with full concentration on controlling my legs I knew I was going to suffer later for this. As we made our way down carefully, a chinese man with 3 bin bags full of rubbish came running by….DOWN…the wall!! Fair enough he’s probably had a lot of practice but SACK THAT as a job! Very impressive!
I won’t go through everything else in quite so much detail but other things encountered in the past few days include:
Summer Palace (including a boat ride….vomit)
Temple of heaven
Lama Temple (not related to Temple of Heaven)
Silk Factory (was really only a couple jars filled with preserved larvae)
Kong Fu Show
‘Genuine’ chinese man’s house….or basically a long tale
now I think that’s it…. apart from the bus banter….karaoke tonight ‘chinese style’…
It’s been an amazing visit, and it really is a very interesting place with very strong culture. I won’t say too much about the politics about the place because that would be a whole other kettle of fish….plus the internet is restricted enough over here I wouldn’t want to be arrested for saying something out of line! It truly was a great experience, with a great race and fantastic end to the season.
Coming home tomorrow though and there is a TT on Sunday which I may just do for fun….then there’s Huntly triathlon next weekend….again, just for fun of course….THEN I’ll finish my season….maybe…..
Well, must get packed and find my passport which I actually seem to have misplaced at the moment! But it must be here somewhere….otherwise I may be here a little longer and to be honest I think Ive had enough of eating rice, breathing smog and squatting toilets so Ive got to find it!
Thanks for following my blogs over this visit. Please subscribe to my blog and I will continue to update with details of my next adventures….STATESIDE BABY 🙂
For the last time….Goodnight China, Goodafternoon Scotland and Goodmorning America
…..and DEFINITELY NOT the day to sleep through my alarm!!! 2.30am and I woke suddenly thinking that it was time, but after looking at my phone realised that I had another hour to sleep. Great…I thought. I then woke suddenly again but THIS time is was 4.20am!!!! 50mins AFTER I was supposed to have gotten up and eaten breakfast! After jumping out of bed and swearing a few times, I wolfed down my breakfast and completed the rest of my pre-race morning routine but as if in a fast forward mode! Now as any athlete will tell you, everyone has their own routine, their own needs and requirements that allow them to be fully ready for their event. Eating 3 hours before has always been my routine and it works so the fact that I ate 2 hours before sent me into a blind panic….it might sound crazy, but you’ve got to make sure that your digestive system is properly awake and ready for a 2-2.5hour race!! So, throwing everything into a bag (so glad I laid it all out last night) I jogged out of my hotel down through the shanty town, dodging the odd bicycle or rickshaw that would appear out of nowhere, toward the race venue, trying not to panic but panicking all the same.
This was of course time for a Mummy call. After a 5min calm down chat with Mum I felt a little better, still nervous but able to calm myself. enough.
Once I got to the venue I collected my timing chip, smiled sweetly at some guy to let me borrow his track pump, set up my transition area, went to the toilet, put bag into storage, and all of a sudden….everything was ok. I was ready and I had plenty time to spare. This of course was spent in the toilet cue again, but at least now I new i was ready.
Stepping into the holding pen with the other girls made it a definite reality and focussed head came on. Although it wasn’t raining it was still only 6.30am and blooming FREEZING so once onto the pontoon, sitting down on the edge and dipping your feet in was bliss. All too soon however we were in and the horn went!
I managed to keep a reasonable pace through the first leg of the swim, keeping a good sight on where I was headed, kept going ok until turn 3 turned in toward the sunrise and I could barely make out where I was aiming for. I ke;pt going hoping for the best and eventually, with one detour only, I completed the swim. 13th in my age category and 87th overall. Hmmm…
Now I actually still havent seen the results so can only say what Ive been told by my Mum. However throughout the bike I was able to creep by quite a few women, and finish with the 2nd fastest bike split from my category. happy with that! Onto the run and I knew my legs were hurting but I had a job to do! The three-and-a-half lap course was a brutal one with two very steep inclines thrown in. On the first lap and on the first hill, my left quad muscle began to cramp. I’ve never had this before, but after battling with an ITB issue on this leg I was nervous of it going. A quick 5sec stretch and harsh word with myself that even if it does go, there is no WAY of pulling out now! And I was good to go. Through the run I managed to keep overtaking some more girls however I was struggling to find the D category girls (everyone has their age category letter written on the back of their calf muscle). Passed a few E’s – that’s good cause I’ll be one of them next year! – and had a few encouraging words from fellow GB athletes and spectators.
Onto the final lap and at the half way turn point I glanced to see an Aussie girl about 200m in front with that D on her leg. I kept her in my sights, lifted my legs higher and ignored all pain and fatigue. I seemed to be catching her a bit but we still had a climb to go! Turning the corner into the ascent I kept strong and planned to open up my stride as soon as I reached the summit, no matter how painful…and boy were my legs screaming then! Running down through the stadium I was closing down on her. Making the U-turn into the finishing straight and I was 5m from her. I thought of all those track sessions with Ken and the team and broke into a sprint. I passsed her and kept going…scared to turn to see if she’d taken me on but scared to be pipped to the post. However the distance grew as the finishing line drew in. Over the line in 5th position, down from 13th and a respectable 16th overall from 87th after the swim.
What a race, and a good end to the season! (although I think I’ll still do huntly…just for fun of course). I’ve been desperate to see the results to analyse where I could improve, how much faster were the other girls, how do I compare to the age group above etc etc but perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise and a sign that I should enjoy this moment, enjoy the rest of my stay in China and leave the scheming and such like until I’m home…..
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank a few people who have really been key to me getting here and have helped me so much, to whom I’m incredibly grateful:
Ken Bryson – to my coach who has provided my with training programs designed specifically around my goals (one of which was top 10 finish at worlds) and has been instrumental to my progress throughout one of the busiest years of my life! Thank you Ken, I really couldn’t have got here without you
Ingrid Machell – My friend, my masseuse, my training buddy….your help and company, especially over the past few weeks with my hip, has been invaluable! I look forward to our end of season celebrations!
Mum – you are my hero. There are not enough words to express how grateful I am for your constant support and encouragement. You give me strength and help me focus when I no-one else can. I have always looked up to you and hope to make you proud. Love you lots. Here’s to the Lairig!
Adam – my boddam. Thank you for putting up with a triathlete girlfriend, who trains a lot, works a lot, and often falls asleep half way through movies. You’re always there for me, even if not in person, and I thank you for it xxxx
Dad – thanks for your support and encouragement. Thanks for believing in me and for your extremely helpful graduation present 🙂 Best bike bag ever!
….there are many many people who I am very thankful to, who have supported me financially, mentally, physically, who I’ve trained with and raced with who have helped me get that racing edge. YOu know who you are. I love you guys.
well I think that’s about enough for one post 🙂 Im off to get some shut eye 😉
Goodnight China, Afternoon Scotland, Morning America
Special thoughts going out to those you lost loved ones 10years ago today in 9/11 attacks.
Day 4 in China and it’s been chucking it down all day!! A bit unfortunate for the Sprint distance Triathletes who braved the cold and rain this morning! The rain however, didn’t stop there….it went on….and on…and on…..
It did not hold back our two english lads – the beloved Brownlee brothers (whose training grounds I believe are usually the yorkshire dales, so a bit of rain and mud but nothing they weren’t used to!!). The brothers dominated the race finishing with a strong gold for Alistair and a close 3rd for Jonny. The pair are honestly phenonemol to watch…wish I could hold that pace for 1k nevermind 10k!! Still after a few more track sessions with my Total Endurance buddies and I’ll be there 🙂
Well after racking my bike into a flooded transition area and being assured again that it will be sunny tomorrow and it will STILL be a non-wetsuit swim (not convinced tbh) I walked most of the way back to hotel until a lovely german couple gave me a lift the rest of the way.
I’ve now laid out my kit and eaten dinner and now just trying to chill out and focus. Easier said than done that’s for sure but I’ll get there. … i hope….
3.30am start for breakfast…walk to event at 4.30am for 5am transition open and 6.35am start….
Goal for tomorrow: Season goal has been top 10 at worlds so that would be nice, but anything other than last, 4th or 11th would be nice! Try and swim faster so the gap to chase down is a little smaller. Absolutely boss the run starting steady and get faster and faster….mantra to repeat during the run ‘Run like a kenyan, keep strong, stay fast’
now I’m stalling and hoping that if I keep typing it’ll postpone tomorrow a little longer. Tomorrow…the result of months and months of hard work and the support of so many very special people. Thank you for giving me this opportunity and believing in me. Please God don’t let me let anyone down!!
ps thanks for your running tracks – comments today: What is your training/racing Mantra?
Sun shining in Changping today, great day for a recce of the bike course. Toddled off with Kathryn up to the race venue before setting off on our own individual course routes (Olympic and Sprint distances racing different routes. As today should of been a rest day I was VERY careful to not go fast at all and quite happily soaked up the idyllic and breathtaking surroundings. Strange little chinese dogs trotting by at the side of the road, rickshaw trailers carrying a load, staggeringly high mountains in the distance with greenery all around. It’s difficult to not become mesmorised by the place!
Met a nice guy half way round and slowly cycled the remainder of the lap of the 3 lap course, including a recce of transition with a flying off transition from a rather steep descent. Something that would make my dear friend Lewis Murchie proud 🙂
In the afternoon I watched the paratriathlon. Now if ever you are looking to be inspired this is an event to watch….cycling with one leg or one arm, or running with your complete trust in your guide because you’re blind or being carried into the water to begin your race because your legs don’t work at all….these guys defy all odds to become Triathlon world champions.
So after an inspirational afternoon, I mosied back to the hotel contemplating the things that I am grateful for…some which I miss here…like toilets that are not just a hole in the ground….but all in all feeling good.
The triathlete’s lifestyle can be quite lonesome and often all I have is my iPod for a pick-me-up. Whilst updating it tonight I wondered if you – yes YOU – could let me know what music track is your ‘pick-me-up’ tune, or what would compile your inspirational/motivational playlist? Comments Please 🙂
Well Goodnight/ Bon Soir China
Day 2 inChinaand things are hotting up – not the weather fortunately but the excitement for what the next few days will bring!! Today we woke up to quite a hazy day with little actual sunshine and a quite mild temperature. This burned off around 4pm…fine by me when my race is 6.30am! Also quite reduces the chances of getting heat exhaustion from watching the elite mens race on Sunday J
Went to the Shisanling (Ming Tombs) reservoir for the swim familiarisation today. Now I have to be honest this is the part of triathlon that I dislike – open water freaks me out anyway, I’m scared of swimming with live things that are not human, and I’m not very good at it – so this was definitely worth practising before race day. Now inScotlandthe water temperature for open water events seems to range between 10-14 degrees. Here the water is 28degrees! Safe to say wetsuits were banned for use in competition (this happens when water rises above 22degrees). The swim was actually rather pleasant, was a lovely shade of green but clear enough to see your whole arm pull underwater….was quite happy I couldn’t see any deeper to be honest! Water temp was just like swimming in a pool….apart from the green, the strange shaped weeds at the side and the speedboats of course. Anyway it’s all in all do-able. I CAN DO THIS!!!
Registered for race and went to Sprint and Olympic team briefings (actually only listened during Olympic briefing…spent the sprint briefing watching tea leaves float to the bottom of my mug…)
Now as anyone of my siblings would tell you, no visit is complete without a trip to Walmart…even inChina!! But, I now am stocked up on fruit (and M&M’s) so very content.
Night Night China, Good afternoon Scotland and Good morning America x
Well…..after a VERY long journey we have now finally arrived at our hotel. With much confusion as we are not anywhere near where we thought we’d be which makes getting around alot more tricky! Nevertheless we have arrived safely WITH luggage and at this stage that’s all we could hope for!
The people here in China are very welcoming and eager to help despite the language barrier but hopefully as more brit’s start to arrive things will become easier.
Its an incredibly cloudy/overcast/smoggy day here in Beijing also, and apparently this is probably this best it’ll get – not sure what that means…. It is however very warm and muggy so in room with wondows closed and air conditioning ON!
Due to our new hotel difficulties I might leave building bike til later until I can find out where would be best to leave it, but we shall see.
It’s now 3.16pm in China here and I’m not really sure what time my body is on – my watch still says it’s Tuesday but I’m pretty sure it’s not?? But I am doubting myself…….I’ve been up a LONG time. Think I’ll go and investigate things in a little while. Don’t have facebook here as it’s restricted by CHINA so feel free to post comments or questions on here instead. Would be nice to remain in contact with the world 🙂
I think that very soon an emotional post will be uploaded but I’ll leave that for now. Speak soon world…..
Well where has the time gone?!?!?! In fact where has the summer gone?? Or did it ever actually arrive? I don’t know, but somehow it’s nearly September and with just a week and a half before I head off to Beijing reality is finally kicking in!!
Alot to update on:
Visa – finally after getting that lovely invitation from China, my Visa is through so I am definitely allowed to now go there legally 🙂 bonus really, would be a bit awkward otherwise…
Acclimatising: I have done a couple sessions now in the gym wearing a bin bag….now that’s a whole new level of sweating!!! And a whole new level of looking like a tool in the gym but worth it I’d say 🙂
Time Zones: My attempt to try and get on to China time (that’s right 7hours ahead!!!) has kind of failed this week however it was probably a bit early anyway? However as I;m working early shifts over the next couple weeks which start at 5.30am, my plan is to get up at 3am(?) have breakfast, train, work, eat, sleep and repeat. Any other suggestions would be gratefully received! With a 6.30am race start I feel these measures may be neccessary 😦
Kit: Got myself a pair of Compressport calf guards this week….VERY excited to try them out and tomorrow’s track session seems like the perfect time and place to do it 🙂 Might even make me keep up with the mighty Phil Edgely, although I seriously doubt that…the man is fast!
Sponsorship: A huge thank you to Ken Bryson of Total Endurance for recent financial support which will ensure that my bike can come with me to China 🙂 Not only this but without Ken’s help I would not be where I am today and would not have achieved so much over the past few months so I am very grateful for all his support, guidance and encouragement.
Will leave the blog there just now but will be sure to report back on the super duper calf guards after saturday’s session…excited already! (Sad huh!!) In the mean time relax, take a seat and enjoy the weekend beacuase…
…IT’S FRIDAY BABY!!! 🙂
What a week!
Monday – Ran(/Walked over boulder field) the Lairig ghru from Aviemore Police station to Braemar Police station….a whopping 28miles! Just about making the 6 hour mark, my legs were definitely feeling the wrath of the miles, but gave me great confidence that my fitness is such that I could actually run a marathon with no training…not well…but I could. However, this increases my 10k confidence so bring on the next standard race.
Tuesday – Get lots of little jobs done, whilst looking out the window at bucketing rain wondering if tonights Time Trial will be a ‘Yay’ or ‘Nay’?! Come 5pm I think, no my legs are sore from 28mile run just do an easy cycle in gym and go for a swim. 5.30pm and I’m on my way to TT because I’m a masochistic Triathlete! 9mile TT done and very happy I made the decision. Great new route for Deeside Thistle and definitely one to do next year!!!
Wednesday – 8am @ Queen Street police station for fingerprinting. Done. Speed session running. Done. Drive to Edinburgh. Done. Run through Shhh… the musical in our shhh… house. Done. Out in the town for a cider quickly followed up by a bottle of water as I remember how seldom I drink any alcohol. Done. Bed (aka sleeping bag on sofa). Done.
Thursday – Joined Bannatyne’s gym to ensure no training is missed and enjoy the added bonus of having a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna to maximise recovery!! Flyering begins down the royal mile and technical rehearsal at Venue 45. Everything going well so we go and see ‘Baby wants Candy’ a brilliant improv musical which is hilarious!!! Well worth a watch but only if you’re in Edinburgh for two nights as it’s on at the same time as Shhh…!!
Friday – First Show…..I forget how to act and sing but struggle through regardless…. glad to be done first show….
Saturday – Second show goes frigging fantastically!!! Great audience, great acting, great singing, great night!! Drive home through torrential rain, flooded motorway and a couple crashes, on a latte and mountain dew singing ‘Schadenfraude’ ….. LONGEST AND SCARIEST DRIVE EVER!!!!
Sunday – Inverurie Triathlon. Still raining. A lot. Swim ok, then jump onto bike and having changed saddle on saturday to realise that it is now too low by about 2 inches!! Complete cycle looking like a BMX’er and then head off for a strong run – took 3/5k to feel my feet again but nevermind. Scalding shower, first place by 9mins and a hot chocolate made up for it! 🙂 Now at my Dad’s for a house cooling party (is that what you call it when you sell??) and then back to Edinburgh first thing tomorrow for Shhh… stages on the royal mile at 3pm and third show at 8.10pm……….
If anyone reads this and then sees me over the next few days/week, please feel free to give me a hug as this madness and mayhem of juggling 101 things does get to me sometimes 😦 however is often alleviated by cuddles, chocolate and starbucks 🙂
ps sorry for an incredibly long blog but its been a LONG week 🙂 xx
Happy Birthday to my super brother David!!!!
Well our team came a very strong 6th today at the TTT Championships! Great ride with excellent team effort!!! Have to say my derrier was less than comfortable after drive down, cycle, then drive back up! Muscles a tad sore!! Mild panic on the way home when crossing Tay Bridge when 3 high rise blocks of flats blew up!! the crowd on the opposite side of the river and amount of calm police people indicated that it was probably planned though….quite cool to watch however! Amazing how quickly it happens too! Explosion, building bursts into dust and then nothing there! Almost magic…maybe it was?… i need sleep
Now to recover and get ready for this sponsored 28mile jog/walk tomorrow… something tells me this is ain’t gonna be easy!!! Had a great track session yesterday with my coach Ken Bryson, feeling my running really coming together now and these sessions are great for pushing that extra bit! Along with the great company and post workout hot chocolate , it’s quickly becoming my favourite weekly session! Comment topic of the day: What’s your favourite recovery drink/food?
Would like to say a BIG well done to my friend Hannah Miley on winning silver medal for the 400m I.M in the World Swimming Championships!!! Great achievement and brilliant stepping stone before Olympics next year!! C’mon Hannah!!!
Off to prepare for a typical 4-seasons-in-one-day-even-though-its-July-but-hey-its-scotland day tomorrow for our mammoth adventure…..unprepared doesn;t come close…….
In the height of our Aberdeen summer, in a week of grey days, and chilly nights, the sun seems to now be making an appearance…thank goodness.
In other news, I have now been officially invited to China…best biggest invite ever…hands down!! Now I just need to figure out the next part…actually acquiring the visa. Will attempt this with Chinese embassy on Monday. Have only really tried to call china once before and that was for my sister Jessica’s birthday as one of her 20 challenges. We tried ordering pizza from pizza hut in beijing, but a distinct language barrier and time difference hindered our plans.
I’m now back in the full swing of training after illness and very happy to be too! Tomorrow I will be competing in the Scottish Team Time Trial Championships in Glenrothes with my super duper DTCC teammates, Laura Sarkis and Cathy Wyse. 28 miles of cycling in chaingang formation (a la tour de france) with the added complication of 18 roundabouts?! This, accompanied a journey leaving aberdeen at 6am should account for an interesting day 🙂
Had to make an interesting phone call this week, which went something like this:
Me: Hello is this the police station
Lady: Yes, can I help you?
Me: Yes…can you take my fingerprints please?
Lady: (awkward pause)….what did you do?
…I then explained that I needed to get this done as I’m moving to practice Physiotherapy in America and they require your fingerprints kept on a database. Big Brother-ish or what?! So now this Wednesday I will be making my way to Edinburgh for our show in the Fringe, looking like a thug having just been fingerprinted by PC McInkster.
Speaking of the show, our preview nights this week in Inverurie went incredibly well! Voice held up through most of it, and now quite excited to go and perform in Edinburgh for 8 nights….remember Shhh… The Musical @ ‘The Space’ 8.10pm 5-13th August (clever plug)
Finally, only two days until me and my mum (affectionally known as Mama Watt) are tackling the Lairig Ghru as a sponsored walk to help raise funds for my event in Beijing. We initially were aiming to complete this 28 mile hike in under 6hours but the competitive spirit inside me thinks maybe 5.5hours is do-able?? Still accepting sponsors for this event, but I would also like to request your guesstimations on our final time?? Please leave a comment on here or on my facebook page, and subscribe to my blog to AUTOMATICALLY be updated with updated blogs from around the world (and Scotland!)
All for now….just need to finish work, finish making my gluten-free jam doughnuts, pack my bike and kit up for tomorrow and catch some Zzz’s…..aah the exciting weekend of an athlete…. yet again…… ❤